« PreviousContinue »
590 BRAST.-CONTENDS FOR THE OHIO BOUNDARY.
(Book V. part against them. It was not agreed to ; but we do not hear that the old chief was actually engaged in the hostilities that followed.
How much the English of Canada influenced the measures of the Indians, it is difficult to determine ; * but men like Pontiac, Brant and Tecumseh could easily see through such duplicity as was practised by a few unprincipled speculators, as M'Kee, Girty and Elliot. They had, doubtless, conceived that if the Ohio and Muskingum were made the boundary, it would be an easy matter for them to possess themselves of the country from thence to the lakes, and thus enlarge the extent of Canada. They knew well that if the Indians possessed this tract of country, it would be no difficult matter to purchase it from them by means of a few trifling articles, comparatively of no consideration, and that worst of calamities, ardent spirits! In this they were disappointed, and, with the battle of Presque Isle, resigned their hopes, at least for a season. They urged upon the Indians what they must have been well assured of-their destruction !
Much bas been said and written of the cold blooded atrocities of Brant, but which, in our opinion, will be much lessened on being able to come pretty near the truth of his history. Every successful warrior, at least in his day, is denounced by the vanquished as a barbarian. Napoleon was thus branded by all the world-we ask no excuse for our chief on this score-all wars are barbarous, and hence those who wage them are barbarians! This we know to be strong language; but we are prepared to prove our assertion. When mankind shall have been cultivated and improved to that extent which human nature is capable of attaining,—when the causes of avarice and dissension are driven out of the human mind, by taking away the means which excite them,—then, and not till then, will wars and a multitude of attending calamities cease.
As a sample of the stories circulating about Colonel Brant, while the affairs of Wyoming and Cherry-valley were fresh in the recollections of all, we extract from Weld's Travels the following:
“With a considerable body of his troops he joined the forces under the command of Sir John Johnston.” “A skirmish took place with a body of American troops; the action was warm, and Brant was shot by a musket wall in his heel; but the Americans, in the end, were defeated, and an officer with about 60 men were taken prisoners. The officer, after having delivered up his sword, had entered into conversation with Colonel Johnston, who commanded the British troops, and they were talking together in the most friendly manner, when Brant having stolen slily behind them, laid the American officer lifeless on the ground with a blow of his tomahawk. The indignation of Sir John Johnston, as may be readily supposed, was roused by such an act of treachery, and he resented it in the warmest terms. Brant listened to nim unconcernedly, and when he had finished, told him, that he was sorry for his displeasure, but that, indeed, his heel was extremely painful at the moment, and he could not help revenging himself on the only chief of the party that he saw taken."
Upon this passage the author of the Annals of Tryon County | observes: “ I have heard a story somewhat similar told of him, hut it was said that the officer was killed to prevent his being retaken by the Americans, who were in pursuit." This we should pronounce very dis-similar to the story
* We will hear a great writer and traveller upon this subject, whose means of forming a correct judgment, it is presumed, will not be questioned. “Je remarquerai à cette occasion sans m'etendre davantage sur ce sujet, que toute la poliique de l'Angleterre avec les Indiens est absolument dans les mains des agens, qui seuls en entendent la langue; et qui seuls sont es distributeurs des presens; &c. Voyage dans les Etats-unis en 1795, etc. Par La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, ii. 18. The duke was at Newark, U. C., at this time, where he witnessed a business assemblage of Indians. After a dance, which they held before their audience with the governor of Canada, the duke says that, “ Pendant ces jeux, l'agent s'est approché du general avec un des chefs, et lui a dit que sa nation de Tuscorora le consultat pour savoir si elle irait à un conseil tenu par les Indiens Oneydas à Onondago pour vendre leurs terres de reserve, que l'Etat de New Yorck désirait acheier. Le gouverneur a répondu trés-vaguement à cette question ; l'agent a traduit comme il a voulu cette réponse; mais il a replique au gouverneur de la part des Indiens qui comme ils croyaient être plus agréables au roy d'Angleterre en n'y allant pas; ils n'iraient pas.” Ibid. 77." * Page 486, octavo ed. London, 1800.
In the Appendix, p. 16.
told by Mr. Weld. But there was, no doubt, some circumstance out of which a story has grown, the truth of which, we apprehend, is now past find ing out.
Colonel Brant was married, in the winter of 1779, to a daughter of Colonel Croghan by an Indian woman. He had lived with her some time ad libitum, according to the Indian manner, but at this time being present at the wedding of a Miss Moore, at Niagara, (one of the captives taken from Cherry-valley) insisted on being married himself; and thus his consort's name was no longer Miss Croghan, but Mrs. Brant. The ceremony was performed by his companion-in-arms, Colonel John Butler, who, although he had left his country, yet carried so much of his magistrate's commission with him, as to solemnize marriages according to law.
King George conferred on his famous ally a valuable tract of land situated upon the west shore of Lake Ontario, where he finally settled and lived after the English fashion. His wife, however, would never conform to this mode of life, but would adhere to the custom of the Indians, and on the death of her husband, which happened 24 November, 1807, she repaired to Grand River, there to spend her days in a wigwam, with some of her children, while she left behind others in a commodious dwelling.* A son, of whom we have spoken, with a sister, lately occupied this mansion of their father, and constituted an amiable and hospitable family. This son, whose name is John, is a man of note, and is the same who was in England in 1822, as has been mentioned, and the same, we conclude, who has been returned a member of the colonial assembly of Upper Canada. His place of residence was in the county of Haldiman, in Brantford, so called, probably, in honor of the old chief:t Several other places are mentioned as having been the residence of Brant-Unadilla, or Anaquaqua, (which is about 36 miles south-west froin the present site of Cooperstown,) and Niagara. He resided at these places before the Mohawks removed to Canada, which was soon after the war of the revolution was ended. They made their principal residence upon Grand River, which falls into Lake Erie on the north side, about 60 miles from the town of Newark, or Niagara. At one time, he had no less than 30 or 40 negroes, who took care of his horses and lands.
“ These poor creatures,” says Mr. Weld, “ are kept in the greatest subjection, and they dare not attempt to make their escape, for he has assured them, that if they did so, he would follow them himself, though it were to the confines of Georgia, and would tomahawk them wherever he met them. They know his disposition too well not to think that he would adhere strictly to his word.” The same author says that Brant received presents, which, together with his half-pay as captain, amounted to £500 per annum.
An idea of the importance of this chief, in 1795, may be formed from the circumstance, that a gentleman considered himself a loser to the amount of £100, at least, by not being able to arrive at Niagara in season to attend to some law case for him. Contrary winds had prevented his arrival, and the business had been given to another.
“Whenever the affairs of his nation shall permit him to do so, Brant declares it to be his intention to sit down to the further study of the Greek language, of which he professes himself to be a great admirer, and to translate from the original, into the Mohawk language, more of the New Testament; yet this same man, shortly before we arrived at Niagara, killed his own son, with his own hand. The son, it seems, was a drunken, good-for-nothing fellow, who had often avowed his intention of destroying his father. One evening, he absolutely entered the apartment of his father, and had begun to grapple with him, perhaps with a view to put his unnatural threats in execution, when Brant drew a short sword, and felled him to the ground. He speaks of this affair with regret, but, at the same time, without any of that emotion which another person than an Indian might be supposed to feel. He
* Buchanan's Sketches, i. 36.
† Mr. Campbell's Annals of Tryon County has been one of our main sources of information throughout this account, especially of the revolutionary period.
# Weld, Travels, 487.
[Book V. consoles himself for the act, by thinking that he has benefited the nation, by ridding it of a rascal.” *
With regard to the dress of the sachem, there has been some contradiction. Mr. Weld, though he did not see him, says he wore his hair in the Indian fashion, as he also did his clothes; except that, instead of the blanket, he wore
kind of hunting frock. This was in 1796. But it was reported, that, in 1792, Brant having waited on Lord Dorchester, the governor of Canada, upon some business, his lordship told him, that as he was an officer in the British service, he ought to lay aside the Indian dress, and assume that of an English captain, and that, if he persisted in wearing an Indian dress, he should stop his pay. It is added that thereupon he changed bis dress.t
When Colonel Brant arrived at any principal city, his arrival was publicly announced in the gazettes with great minuteness. Although we have given some specimens of these, we will add one more :
“New York, June 20, 1792. On Monday last arrived in this city, from his settlement on Grand River, on a visit to some of his friends in this quarter, Captain Joseph Brandt, of the British army, the famous Mohawk chief, who so eminently distinguished himself during the late war, as the military leader of the Six Nations. We are informed that he intends to visit the city of Philadelphia, and pay his respects to the president of the U. States," I General Washinglon, which he did. We have before mentioned his visit to that city.
The very respectable traveller § Rochefoucauld thus notices our chief: “At 24 miles from this place, (Newark, U. Č.) upon Grand River, is an establishment which I had been curious to visit.' It is that of Colonel Brant. But the colonel not being at home, and being assured that I should see little else than what I had already seen among those people, I gave over my intention. Colonel Brant is an Indian who took part with the English, and having been in England, was commissioned by the king, and politely treated by every one. His manners are half European. He is accompanied by two negro servants, and is in appearance like an Englishman. He has a garden and farm under cultivation; dresses almost entirely like an European, and has great influence over the Indians. He is at present [1795) at Miami, bolding a treaty with the United States, in company with the Indians of the west. He is equally respected by the Americans, who extol so much his character, that I regret much not to have seen him." ||
The great respect in which Brant was held in England will be very apparent from a perusal of the
following letter, f dated 12 December, 1785: “ Monday last, Colonel Joseph Brant, the celebrated king of the Mohawks, arrived in this city, [Salisbury,] from America, and after dining with Colonel de Peister, at the head-quarters here, proceeded immediately on his journey to London. This extraordinary personage is said to have presided at the late grand congress of confederate chiefs of the Indian nation in America, and to be by them appointed to the conduct and chief command in the war which they now meditate against the United States of America. He took his departure for England immediately as that assembly broke up; and it is con
* Weld, Travels, 489.
† Apollo for 1792.
American Apollo, 297. Duke de Liancourt, Travels, ii. 81, before cited, from whom we translate this.
This French traveller seems to have been in advance of history, in as far as he thus early sets in their proper light the characters of the heroes of Wyoming. After speaking of the influence of Indian agents over those people, as we have extracted in a previous note, ne thus consigns to Colonel Butler the place which he is doubtless to hold in all after-time in the annals of his country:~" L'ageni anglais dont il est ici queston, est le Colonel Buttler, fameux par ses incendies, ses pillages et ses meurtres dans la guerre d'Amerique. Il est lui-même Américain d'auprès de Wilkesbarre ; (one of the towns in the valley of Wyoming ;) son prétendu loyalisme qu'il a su se faire payer de brevets et de traitemens, lui a fait commettre plus de barbaries, plus d'infamies contre sa patrie, qu'à qui que ce soit. LI conduisait les Indiens, leur indiquait les fermes, les maisons à brûler, les víctimes à scarpeler, les enfans a dechirer. L'Angleterre a recompensé son loyalisme de cinq mille acres de terre pour lui, d'une quantite pareille pour ses enfans, d'une pension de deux à trois cents livres sterlings, d'une place d'agent auprès des Indiens, qui lui en vaut cinq cents autres, avec la facilité de puiser à voJonié dans les magasins de presens." Rochefoucauld, ut supra. (ii. 78—9.)
1 There is no name to this letter ; but it was written in Salisbury, Eng., and thence sent to London, where it was published.
jectured that his embassy to the British court is of great importance. This country owes much to the services of Colonel Brant during the late war in America. Ile was educated at Philadelphia, (at the Moor's charity school in Lebanon, Connecticut] is a very shrewd, intelligent person, possesses great courage and abilities as a warrior, and is inviolably attached to the English pation."
It has been denied that Brant was in any way engaged in the massacres at Wyoming, but it seems hardly possible that so many should have been deceived at that time; and, moreover, we do not find that it was denied until almost every one of that age had left the stage of action. Those who deny that he was at Wyoming should, at least, prove an alibi, or they cannot expect to be believed.*
Brant was said to have been 65 years old at his death. A daughter of his married William J. Ker, Esq. of Niagara, and he had several other children besides those we have mentioned. The son who visited England in 1822, and another named Jacob, entered Moor's school at Hanover, N. H. in 1801, under the care of Dr. Wheelock. The former son, John, died about two years since, in the winter of 1831.
Facts in the history of the Seneca nation—SAGOYEWATHA, or RED-JACKET- His fa
mous speech to a missionary—His interviero with Colonel Snelling-British invade his country--Resoltes to repel them— His speech upon the event — Governor Clinton's account of him-Witchcraft affair-Complains of encroachments-One of his people put to death for being a witch-He defends the erecutioner-His interview with Lafayette-Council at Canandaigua-Farmers-brother-Red-jacket visits Phila delphia-His speech to the governor of Pennsylvania—Speech of Agroelondongwas, or Good-peter-Narrative of his capture during the revolutionary war-FARMERSBROTHER, or HonAYAWUS—Visits Philadelphia—PETER-JAQUETTE_Visits France -Account of his death-Memorable speech of Farmers-brother–His letter to the secTetary of war—Notice of several other Seneca chiefs–KoyingQUATAH, or Young. KING—JUSKAKAKA,or LITTLE-BILLY-Achiout, or Half-town-KIANDOGEWA,OT BIG-TREE-GYENTWAIA, or CORN-PLANT- Address of the three latter to President Washington— Grant of land to Big-tree-His visit to Philadelphia, and deatk-Further account of Corn-plant-His own account of himself-Interesting events in his life-His sons. The Senecas were the most important tribe among the Iroquois, or Five Nations, and, according to Conrad Weiser, they were the fourth nation that joined that confederacy. He calls them † “ leuontowanois or Sinikers,” and says, “ they are styled by the Mohawks and Onondagos, brothers;" and that their title in councils is Onughkaurydaaug. The French call them Tsonnonthouans, from their principal castle, or council-house, the name of which, according to Colden, is Sinondowans. I Other particulars of this nation will be related as we proceed in detailing the lives of its chiefs. Among these, perhaps, the most illustrious was
SAGOYEWATHA, § called by the whites, Red-jacket. His place of resi
* In a late criminal trial which has much agitated New England, reasonable people said, the defendant, out of respect to public opinion, ought to make it appear where he was at the time a murder was committed, although in law he was not bound so to do. An advocate for. his innocence told the writer, that "he was not obliged to tell where he was,” and it was nobody's business; and, therefore, we were bound, according to law, to believe him innocent This we offer as a parallel case to the one in hand. But it happens we are not “ bound by law” to believe our chief entirely innocent of the blood shed at Wyoming. † American Mag.
# Hist. Five Nations, i. 42. The common method of spelling. Governor Clinton writes, Saguoaha. Written to the treaty of “ Konondaigua," (Nov. 1794,) Soggooyawauthau; to that of Buffalo Creck, (June, 1802,). Sooqooyawautau : to that of Moscow, (Sept. 1823.) Sagouatu. It is said io signify “ 'One who keeps awake," or simply, Keeper-awake.“ Šo.gide'-e'-wau''-tõh ; he is wide awake, and keeps every body else awake, a very appropriale name for the Cicerc
dence was, for many years previous to his death, (which happened 20 January 1830, at his own house,) about four miles from Buffalo, and one mile north of the road that leads through the land reserved for the remnant of the Seneca nation, called the Reservation. His house was a log-cabin, situated in a retired place. Some of his tribe are Christians, but Red-jacket would never hear to any thing of the kind. He was formerly considered of superior wisdom in council, and of a noble and dignified behavior, which would have honored any man. But, like nearly all his race, he could not withstand the temptation of ardent spirits, which, together with his age, rendered him latterly less worthy notice. Formerly, scarce a traveller passed near his place of residence, who would not go out of his way to see this wonderful man, and to hear bis profound observations.
In the year 1805, a council was held at Buffalo, in the state of New York, ut which were present many of the Seneca chiefs and warriors, assembled at the request of a missionary, Mr. Cram, from Massachusetts. It was at this time that Red-jacket delivered bis famous speech, about which so much has been said and written, and which we propose to give here at length, and correctly; as some omissions and errors were contained in it as published at the time. It may be taken as genuine, at lenst as nearly so as the Indian language can be translated, in which it was delivered, for Red-jacket would not speak in English, although he understood it. The missionary first made a speech to the Indians, in which he explained the object for which he had called them together; namely, to inform them that he was sent by the missionary society of Boston to instruct them “ how to worship the Great Spirit," and not to get away their lands and money; that there was but one religion, and unless they embraced it they could not be happy; that they had lived in darkness and great errors all their lives; he wished that, if they had any objections to his religion, they would state them; that he had visited some smaller tribes, who waited their decision before they would consent to receive him, as they were their “older brothers."
After the missionary had done speaking, the Indians conferred together about two hours, by theniselves, when they gave an answer by Red-jacket, which follows:
“ Friend and brother, it was the will of the Great Spirit that we should moet together this day. He orders all things, and he has given us a tine day for our council. He has taken bis garment from before the sun, and caused it to shine with brightness upon us; our eyes are opened, that we see clearly; our ears are unstopped, that we have been able to hear distinctly the words that you have spoken; for all these favors we thank the Great Spirit, and him only.
“ Brother, this council fire was kindled by you; it was at your request that we came together at this time; we have listened with attention to what you have said; you requested us to speak our minds freely; this gives us great joy, for we now consider that we stand upright before you, and can speak what we think; all have heard your voice, and all speak to you as one man; our minds are agreed.
“ Brother, you say you want an answer to your talk before you leave this place. It is right you should have one, as you are a great distance from home, and we do not wish to detain you; but we will first look back a little, and tell you what our fathers have told us, and what we have heard from the white people.
“ Brother, listen to what we say. There was a time when our forefathers owned this great island.* Their seats extended from the rising to the setting sun. The Great Spirit had made it for the use of Indians. He had created the buffalo, the deer, and other animals for food. He made the bear and the beaver, and their skins served us for clothing. He had scattered
of the west. His English appellation had its origin from the circumstance of his weanng; when a child, a red jacket.”. Alden's Account of Missions, 162.—This is a very natural derivation ; but from what circumstance some of the Indians derived their names, it would be hard to divine : thus, Red-jacket had an uncle whose name meant a heap of dogs, ib. bit.
* A general opinion among all the Indians that this country was an island.