Page images
PDF
EPUB

660
BLACK-HAWK.

[Book V show me to the great father.On Mr. Catlin's refusing to paint him as he wished, be kept varying his countenance with grimaces, to prevent him from catching a likeness.

Poweeshieck, or Strawberry, is the only Fox among them, the rest being all Sacs. He is the son of the chief Epanoss : his parents dying while he was an infant, he was adopted by Naapope. He is 19 years of age."

Pomahoe, or Fast-swimming-fish, is a short, thick sei, good-natured old brave, who bears his misfortunes with a philosophy worthy of tne ancients."

The following act of congress we extract, as it throws light upon subsequent details : For the expenses of 12 prisoners of war of the Sac and Fox tribes, now in confinement, and to be held as hostages, under the seventh article of the treaty of 21 Sept. 1832, embracing the cost of provisions and clothing, compensation to an interpreter, and cost of removing them to a place of safety, where they may be kept without being closely confined, the sum of 2500."

On the 22 April, (1833,) the captive Indians arrived at Washington, and the next day Black-hawk had a long interview with President Jackson. The first words with which it is said he accosted the president were, “ I AM A MAN, AND YOU ARE ANOTHER.”

The president, after a few brief observations, directed the articles of dress provided for them to be exhibited to them, and told Black-hawk that the whole would be delivered to him to be distributed as, in his judgment, he should think best. He then told them they must depart immediately for Fort Monroe, and remain there contented, until he gave them permission to return to their country. That time, he said, depended upon the conduct of their people; that they would not be set at liberty, until all the articles of the treaty had been complied with, and good feelings were evinced by their countrymen. The Prophet then said :

“We expected to return immediately to our people. The war in which we have been involved, was occasioned by our attempting to raise provisions on our own lands, or where we thought we had a right so to do. We have lost many of our people, as well as the whites. Our tribes and families are now exposed to the attacks of our enemies, the Sioux and the Menominies. We hope, therefore, to be permitted to return home to take care of them.”

Black-hawk spoke some time to the president, giving a clear and comprehensive history of the rise of the war, and, towards the close, said:

“ We did not expect to conquer the whites; no. They had too many houses—too many men. I took up the hatchet, for my part, to revenge injuries which my people could no longer endure.' Had I borne them longer without striking, my people would have said, Black-hawk is a woman; he is too old to be a chief- he is no Sac. These reflections caused me to raise the war-whoop. I say no more of it; it is known to you. Keokuk once here; you took him by the hand, and when he wished to return to his home, you were willing. Black-hawk expects, that, like Keokuk, we shall be permitted to return too."

The president added, that he was well acquainted with the circumstances which led to the disasters to which they had alluded. It was unnecessary to look back upon them. He intended now to secure the observance of peace. They need not feel any uneasiness, he said, about their own women and children. They should not suffer from the Sioux and Menominjes. He would compel the red men to be at peace with one another. That when he was satisfied that all things would remain quiet, then they would be permitted to return. He then took them by the hand, and dismissed them.

It is said, that, while in Washington, the Indians expressed more surprise and pleasure at the portraits of the Indian chiefs in the war department than any thing else that was shown them.

On Friday, 26 April, the captives were conducted from Washington towards Fort Monroe, which is upon a small island, at Old Point Comfort on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay, in Virginia.

Before closing the present chapter, a few other interesting matters shall be laid before our readers. We have just given the description of the Indians while at Jefferson Barracks, by one who visited them there not long after their confinement. We now intend to give what the author of Knicker

vas

bocker says of them soon after. Mr. Irving's account is contained in a letter, dated Washington, 18 Dec. 1832.—“From St. Louis I went to Fort Jefferson, about 9 miles distant, to see Black-hawk, the Indian warrior, and his fellowprisoners—a forlorn crew_emaciated and dejected—the redoubtable chieftain himself, a meagre old man upwards of 70. 'He has, however, a fine head, a Roman style of face, and a prepossessing countenance.”

Since we are upon descriptions, the following will not be thought out of place, perhaps, although we had reserved it for our next chapter. It is from the pen of the editor of the U. States Literary Gazette, Philadelphia. “We found time, yesterday, to visit the Black-hawk, and his accompanying Indian chiefs, and the Prophet, at Congress Hall Hotel. We went into their cbamber, and found most of them sitting or lying on their beds. Black-hawk was sitting in a chair, and apparently depressed in spirits. He is about 65, of middling size, with a head that would excite the envy of a phrenologist one of the finest that Heaven ever let fall on the shoulders of an Indian. The Prophet has a coarser figure, with less of intellect, but with the marks of decision and firmness. His face was painted with red and white. The son of Black-halok is a noble specimen of physical beauty-a model for those who would embody the idea of strength. He was painted, and his hair cut and dressed in a strange fantasy. The other chicfs had nothing in particular in their appearance to distinguish them from other natives of the forest. The whole of the deputation visited the water works yesterday, (June 11 or 12,] and subsequently were taken to the Cherry-hill Prison, and shown the manner in which white men punish. The exhibition of arms and ships at the navy-yard, led the Hawk to remark that he suspected the great father was getting ready for war.

It was remarked by some in Philadelphia that Black-hawk's “ pyramidal forehead” very much resembled that of Sir Walter Scott. Others observed that his countenance strongly reminded them of their late worthy benefactor, Stephen Girard. In Norfolk it was noticed that the old warrior very much res nbled the late Presiden Monroe.

CHAPTER XI.

From the time of the setting out of BLACK-HAWK and his five* companions from For

tress Monroe, 5 June, 1833, to their arrival on the Upper Mississippi, on the first of August following; prefaced by some reflections upon the events of the war.

It is not difficult to perceive, without a formal commentary, that in the late Indian war, much blood was shed which might have been avoided. Twice had the despairing Indians displayed the white flag, to give notice of their willingness to surrender; but, like the wretched Hallibees, the rifle was the only answer they received. When Major Stillman was on his march to Sycamore Creek, a few Indians were sent from Naopope's camp with friendly intentions, and under a white flag; but such was the carriage of the whites, no interview could be had, and they were obliged to fly to save their lives, which all, it seems, were not fortunate enough to do. This, it will be said, is Indian talk-it is even so. What say the whites ? They say, the Indians whom they first discovered were only a decoy. This is mere assertion, and proves nothing on their own side, neither does it disprove the Indian account, Is it not plain that Black-hawk caused a white flag to be exhibited before he was attacked by the steam-boat Warrior? He had resolved to fight no more, if he could get terms of peace; but his flag was at once fired upon; then says the old chief, “ I fired too ;” and the whites expected nothing else, and too many of them, it would seem, desired nothing else. But we reflect no more upon this matter.

The reader has, in the last chapter, been conducted through the principal,

* An anonymous author, of whom we have made considerable use in this chapter, gives as their names, &c. as follows .Mac-cut-i-misk-e-ca-cac,............Black-hark. | Pamaho, Prophet's brother,.. Na-she-escuck, his son,.......... Loud Thunder. Po we-zhick, Prophet's adopted son,.. Strauberry Wa-be-ke-zhick, the Prophet,........Clear Day. Napope, the warrior,...

.. Strong Soup

Fish Fin.

662

BLACK-HAWK.-LEAVES FORTRESS MONROE.

[Book V

and all the important events of the war, and accompanied the chiefs of the Indians engaged in it to Fortress Monroe, in Virginia. We are now to ob serve what passed in their travels from hence through several of our great cities, and thence to their wilderness homes in the distant west.

Having been conducted to Fort Monroe, the captives found themselves in a kind of elegant confinement; and instead of balls and chains to their ankles, were kindly treated, and saw nobody but friends. This state of things, bowever, must have become, in a short time, exceedingly irksome; but an early order for their liberation prevented such result. For, on the 4 June, 1833, orders came for their being liberated ; and the next day, Major John Garland set off with them in a steam-boat for Baltimore, by Norfolk, Gosport, Portsmouth, &c.

During their short stay at Monroe, the Indians became much attached to its commander, Colonel Eustis, and on the afternoon of the same day that the order of release arrived, Black-hawk went and took his leave of him, and at parting made the following speech :

“ Brother, I have come on my own part, and in behalf of my companions, to bid you farewell. Our great father has at length been pleased to permit us to return to our hunting-grounds. We have buried the tomahawk, and the sound of the rifle will hereafter only bring death to the deer and the buffalo. Brother, you have treated the red men very kindly. Your squaws have made them presents, and you have given them plenty to eat and drink. The memory of your friendship will remain till the Great Spirit says it is time for BLACK-HAWK to sing his death-song.–Brother, your houses are as numerous as the leaves upon the trees, and your young warriors, like the sands upon the shore of the big lake, which rolls before us. The red man has but few houses, and few warriors, but the red man has a heart which throbs as warmly as the heart of his white brother. The Great Spirit has given us our hunting grounds, and the skin of the deer which we kill there is his favorite, for its color is white, and this is the emblem of peace. This hunting-dress and these feathers of the eagle are white. Accept them, my brother; I have given one like this to the White-otter. Accept of it as a memorial of BLACKHAWK. When he is far away, this will serve to remind you of him. May the Great Spirit bless you and your children-farewell.”

Colonel Eustis, in his reply, said, the fortune of war had placed him in his hands, and as it was not the practice of the whites to attack an unarmed foe, he was safe ; but that if he had met him in the field of battle, his duty would have required him to have takep his life. He rejoiced, he said, at bis prospect of speedily returning to his friends, and hoped he would never again trouble his white neighbors. To which Black-hawk added,

Brother, the Great Spirit punishes those who deceive us, and my faith is now pledged."

On leaving Fort Monroe, the Indians were taken to Portsmouth and Gosport, to see the navy-yard, the dry-dock, and men-of-war. At Gosport, they went on board the 74 Delaware, where they could not but express much astonishment at the vastness of the “big canoe,” as they called it, and its extraordinary uncouth furniture. Black-hawk seemed the most to admire the ship, and wished to see the chief who commanded it, and especially the man that built it; for he wished, he said, “ to take him by the hand.” When they left the ship, they passed around under her bow, which terminates in a colossal statue of an Indian warrior. This the Indians beheld with considerable emotions of surprise and evident demonstrations of high gratification.

At Norfolk, the rush to see the Indians was very great, and many could not be gratified even with a sight of them. This great curiosity in the very vicinity where they had been for near 10 weeks, will not be thought strange, when it is considered, that no one expected their immediate removal, and therefore few had been to see them; thinking they could do so when some more convenient time offered.

Having taken lodgings at the hotel in Norfolk, the Indians were aware of the great curiosity of the people, and therefore they exhibited theinselves upon the balcony, from whence Wabokieshiek, the Prophet, made the following address :-

“The Great Spirit sent us here, and by the same fiat we are now happily about to return to our own Mississippi, and our own people. It affords us much happiness to rejoin our friends and kindred. We would shake hands with all our white friends assembled, and offer our best wishes for their prosperity. Should any of them go to our country on the Mississippi, we would take pleasure in requiting the many kindnesses we have received from their people here. We will go home with peaceable dispositions towards our white brethren, and endeavor to make our conduct hereafter more satisfactory to them. We bid you all farewell, as it is the last time we may see each other."

Black-hauk then said a few words, expressing the same sentiments; and, one o'clock having arrived, they departed. This was 5 June.

When the steam-boat was near Baltimore, it was discovered that there had been a robbery committed on board ; and when this became known to Blackhawk, he showed considerable concern, fearing some of his party should be suspected; and when the boat lay to at considerable distance from the wharf, to make search for the money, be said, “ he desired that himself and company should be searched, for he would let the whites know that the Sacs did not steal."

President Jackson had arrived in Baltimore, and after Black-hawk's arrival he had an interview with him. The Indians were conveyed in the steamboat Columbus, and arrived about 11 o'clock in the forenoon of the next day, after leaving Norfolk, namely, 6 June. Among the crowds who visited them were many ladies, to whom, generally, the Indians said, “ Pretty squaws, pretty squaws."

The Indians and the president attended the theatre the same night, and it was remarked, that the attention of the house was pretty nearly equally divi ded between them. On the next day occurred the interview between them, of which mention has just been made; at which time, among other things, the president said to the old chief :

“When I saw you in Washington, I told you, that you had behaved very badly, in raising the tomahawk against the white people.” He added, that his conduct last year had caused him to send out his warriors against him, and that he and those with him had been surrendered to him to be kept during his pleasure, or until he should think there would be no danger from letting him go. “ I told you,” he continued, " I would inquire whether your people wished you should return, and whether, if you did return, there would be any danger to the frontier. General Clark and General Atkinson, whom you know, have informed me that Sheckak, your principal chief, and the rest of your people, are anxious you should return, and Keokuk has asked me to send you back. Your chiefs have pledged themselves for your good conduct.”—“ You will see the strength of the white people. You will see that our young men are as numerous as the leaves in the woods. What can you do against us? "_"When you go back, listen to the counsels of Keokuk and the other friendly chiefs."

To this the Prophet said a few words, as follows:“Father, my ears are open to your words; I am glad to hear them; I am glad to go back to my people. I want to see my family. I did not behave well last summer. I ought not to have taken up the tomahawk. But my people have suffered a great deal. When I get back, I will remember your words. I will not go to war again. I will live in peace. I will hold you by the hand."

Black-hawk intended to have made a long speech at this time; but the president was unable to hear him out, on account of the great fatigues he had undergone, and the old chief was, therefore, very short. He said, “ My heart is big, for I have much to say to my great father," and closed, after many expressions of affection and respect for him. The warmth of the weather and the great crowd that surrounded the hotel in which the Indians were lodged, caused them to retire to Fort M'Henry, about 3 miles below the city, The landlord said the crowd was so great about his house, that they had carried away his banisters, windows, and he was fearful, if they remained longer, that his whole house would be carried away also.

664
BALTIMORE.-NEW YORK.

(Boor V. They visited the Washington monument, among other places, while at Baltimore, and were at first afraid to ascend in it, upon its circular steps; saying it was the Manitou of the white people. At length Naopope said be would venture up. Black-hawk observed, that then they would all go ; for if it fell down, he said they would not be safer on the ground at its base than if they were in it.

They visited the circus also, while here, and were much better pleased with the performances there, than at the theatre. The elegant horses pleased them far more than the stars and garters of the mock lords and ladies of the theatre, and it was very natural they should. To see a lady ride upon one foot, while the horse was running at his utmost speed, was matter of fact to them, and excited the greatest admiration. But to see a fellow popping out from behind a curtain, strutting about the stage, uttering to himself some unintelligible nonsense, could not interest any one similarly situated. They said they believed those who rode in the circus could hunt buffalo even better than the Sacs.

Considerable inconvenience was experienced from the meeting of two such conspicuous characters as the PRESIDENT of the United States and Black-hawk, at the same time, in populous places; and it was announced in a Philadelphia paper, of 9 June, that Major Garland had arrived there, but had left the Indians in Baltimore, and that they would not proceed to N. York until the day after the president. Accordingly they did not arrive iu Philadelphia until 10 June, when they were conducted to lodgings in Congress Hall. The next day there was a great military display, accompanied by an immense procession, and the whole passed up Third Street, opposite Congress Hall, by which means the Indians had a fine opportunity to sew and contemplate their numbers. Pointing to the soldiers, Black-hawk asked if they were the same that were in his country last summer.

Having visited all places of amusement and curiosity in Philadelphia, the Indians departed for N. York, where they arrived in a steam-boat of the People's Line, about 5 o'clock, 14 June, on Friday. The arrival of Lafayette, in 1825, could not have attracted a greater crowd than was now assembled at and in the vicinity of Castle Garden. As it happened, Mr. Durant, the aeronaut, had just got ready to ascend in his balloon from the garden. The steam-boat, therefore, rounded to, that the passengers might witness the Ascension. When it was known on shore that the Indians were on board, the cheering and clapping became tremendous; and it was not a little angmenterl from those on board the numerous craft in the river. Those in the boat answered as well as their numbers would admit. The Indians, at first, were some terrified, supposing they had at last come to an enemy, and that the noise about them was the war-whoop of the whites, but were soon undeceived.

Soon after the balloon had cleared the walls of the castle, and Mr. Durant had unfurled his flag, Black-hawk was asked what he thought of it. To which he answered:

That man is a great BRAVE. I don't think he'll ever get back. He must be a Sac.” Another said, “ If he is a Sac, he'll get none of his brothers to follow in his trail. None of 'em will ever see the smoke of his wigwam. He will have to live alone-without any squaw..

When the balloon had attained a vast height, and almost out of the old chief's sight, (which had become considerably impaired,) he exclaimed, I think he can go to the heavens ; to the Great Spirit.Pomahoe then said, “ I think he can see the country of the English." The Prophet, or Wabokieshitk, having been asked what he thought of the balloon, said, “ I can't form any idea, but think he can go up to the clouds if he will. Should think he could see the Great Spirit now."

We can only conjecture what might have been passing in their minds at this strange sight. They were struck with wonder, and no doubt were ready to exclaim, “ What cannot the white people do? Why can they not send an army in that way to hurl down destruction upon their enemies? They surely will do it. If they can ascend to the Great Spirit, they must be Great Spirits too!

« PreviousContinue »