MEMOIRS OF Charles Dennis Rusoe D' Eres, A NATIVE OF CANADA;



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MEMOIRS OF Charles Dennis Rusoe D'Eres, &c.

I WAS born in the city of Quebec*, on the seventh day of April, one thousand seven hundred and sixty one, of parents much respected. My father, whose name was Luois Rusoe D'Eres, in early life acquired the blacksmith's business; soon after his freedom from his master, he settled in the city, and by industry in a short time acquired much property. My mother was a descendant from a family of good reputation in Que­bec. My parents lived in the conjugal life upwards of twenty-five years, during this period, my mother bore sixteen children, of which number I was the youngest; twelve of my father's children died previous to my birth. My mother died soon after I was born. My being left by my mother, at so early a period of life, naturally drew my father's attention to me, I therefore soon engrossed his affections, and was caressed by him and his family; retiring from business he frequently dandled me on his knee, and with tears droping from [Page 8] his eyes, would, with a deep sigh, exclaim ah, my little son! thy mother, under whose watchful eye thy educa­tion would (under the smiles of Providence, have been conducted with the closest attention, and doubtless with happy success, is now no more; in you I behold traces of her countenance, & at times almost lose the keenness of my sorrows, occasioned by my loss in her. May you, my dear son, be continued for my comfort, through the future stages of my life, and a prop to thy fond father through his declining days. Such language as the foregoing, I was frequently entertained with, but alas! his joy and good wishes for future days of happy enjoyment were soon, too soon cut off, as by the subsequent Narrative will appear.

My father being frequently called from a private to a public life, had many opportunities in political science to improve his mind; about this time, that is, when I arrived at the fourteenth year of my age, 'twas frequently mentioned in private circles of friends in Quebec, that a rupture would soon take place between Great Britain, and some (at least) of her American Colonies. My father obtained the best information con­cerning the dispute, soon determined in favour of the Colonies, and being fully persuaded that their opposi­tion to the British ministry, would prove successful, he ardently wished for an opportunity of proving his faith by his works. In October, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, General Montgomery, with [Page 9] a large number of troops from Newengland, entered the borders of Canada, with an intention of reducing it to the American standard. The troops made rapid pro­gress towards Quebec, without much opposition. The then commander in chief of Canada*, issued his proc­lamation, giving liberty to such of the Inhabitants of Quebec as chose to leave the city, to depart within a limited time, with such of their personal property as they should choose to carry, promising those persons a restoration of such real property as they should leave behind them (provided the rebellious army should not succeed in their proposed plan) my father availed him­self of this, and moved with his family, and such of his personal property, as were portable to St. Nicola, nine miles from Quebec. Leaving in the city, real property to a large amount, consisting of a spacious dwelling-house, built with stone and lime, and covered with tin, over which were layed several coats of paint, to preserve the tin from rust—a large blacksmith's shop with tools sufficient to employ many workmen: he then be­ing imployed in the King's works, with many other buildings for domestic use. My father soon became acquainted with General Montgomery, with whom he took an active part against the British government, and was honored with a Captain's commission, and with the army marched to Quebec, with a view to reduce it to the American faith. A general consultation among the officers, took place respecting the [Page 10] mode of procedure against the city; the result whereof, was, to storm it. An attempt accordingly took place on the last day of December, one thousand seven hun­dred and seventy five. In the attempt the valiant Montgomery fell, with some of his officers and men, the major part of his army were taken and imprisoned; some few only escaped, among those, were my father & only brother. My father, apprehensive of the evil con­sequence of his & their conduct, in taking up arms against the King, endeavoured not only to secret himself & son from the royal hunters; but also to secure as many of his followers, as was in his power. He owning a coal hut in the woods, not far from St. Nicola, concluded there to hide them; to this place they retired, intend­ing to tarry until the British wrath subsided; but even in this retreat they were discovered. My Father hav­ing learned this, immediately furnished as many of them as was in his power, with provision, a pocket compass, and other necessaries, bid them shift for themselves; while he and his son returned to St. Nicola, to provide themselves with necessaries, intending to flee to a more distant and more safe retreat: all which by secret intel­ligence, reached the ears of the Commander in Chief at Quebec, who immediately sent an officer, with a num­ber of men to St. Nicola, and made my father, brother, & myself, though young, prisoners; my two sisters made their escape, by jumping out of the chamber windows. The officer ordered his men to fire my father's house, and turn the cattle out of the barn, and to burn that [Page 11] also, which was soon done, and in a few moments both buildings were levelled with the ground. We were carried prisoners to the city, in the night, and confined in the guard house; next day at ten o'clock (the time of relieving the guard,) we were brought before the general officers, who, after a lengthy trial, pronounced the following sentence, viz. that my father and brother should be confined in the common goal, there to re­main until the then war should close; they then turn­ing to me, attentively viewing me, observing my slen­der & youthfull appearance, being then fourteen years and eight months old, said one to the other, what shall we do with this little yankee, this little rebel? it will not do to put him in goal, he will die there in 2 or 3 days, let us said one, give him to the Indians; let them take him, kill him, scalp him, or do what they will with him. My dear father, on hearing this sentence passed on me, faint­ed and fell to the ground. I in the utmost agony cried and begged to be released from the sentence, but all to no purpose. I sprang to my father, clasped my arms round his neck and kissed him. On his recovery, he pleaded earnestly that I might not be given to the In­dians; but all in vain, they violently pulled me from him and pushed me towards the Indians, saying, take that little Yankee, that little Rebel, and kill, or scalp him; do with him as you please; on which one In­dian took me by the hand and forced me from my dear­est [Page 12] connections: saying, go with us, we no kill you; we no hurt you; he French boy.

I soon learned that the Indians, to whom I was giv­en, were of the Scanyawtauraguohrooote tribe, and that they lived no less than fifteen hundred miles from Que­bec. Thus far, reader, I have led you on in my narra­tive without a realizing sense of my certain doom; now, nothing left me but a small glimmer of hope, that at some far distant period, if life remained I might once more realise my freedom and enjoy the tender em­braces of an affectionate and tender father, brother and sisters; but oh! how can I describe my situation! forced from my father, and forbid the tender embrace of a beloved brother and of near, dear and truly affec­tionate sisters, now under the controul of savages of the wilderness, whose tender mercies are cruelty. My at­tachment to the beloved city, was so great, that my dread of future evil, did not prevent my keeping my wishful eyes on it; particularly on that part in which my father dwelt.

The Indians retired from Quebec to the country, not forgetting to take me with them; I found that re­sistance was in vain, I therefore, with apparent cheer­fulness, trip'd along with them, frequently turning my glazed eyes towards them, and viewing, with horror, [Page 13] their Indian dress, and uncouth appearance; but, con­trary to my fears, they used me tenderly in their way; the Squaws appeared more mild and tender, than the men; fawned over and flattered me, and by this mean, I became more familiar with them, and frequently used to run to them for protection, when I thought myself in danger from the men; for several days, I scarce­ly eat or drank with them, their provision and mode of living, being so disagreeable to me, that I was much reduced for want of proper food. After being with them about fifteen days, I became in a measure, recon­ciled to them, and used much familiarity with them. One day an Indian Chief, took me by my hand, and with apparent good humour, told me I must be dressed like them, and bid me pull off my breeches, which I re­luctantly did; he then put on me a clout, and belt, In­dian-fashion, and threw my breeches into the fire, where they were soon consumed; he with a hearty laugh, or­dered me to strip off my other garments, which I read­ily obeyed, and they shared the same sate with my bree­ches; he then completely dressed me in an Indian uni­form, consisting of a blanket, feathers, giving me a stone pipe and tobacco pouch; then painted my face, according to their custom, and told me that was to make me look fine; then flattered me, saying, you be good boy me give you little tomahawk, fine cap and broaches; me no give you name now, me see how you behave, then give you name; you be bold like big man, [Page 14] me give you name like great King; you be coward, and be like Squaw, me give you little name like Squaw.

About three months after I was given to the In­dians, they received the thanks of the British govern­ment, (for their good behaviour,) and large presents, and were permitted to return to their own country. They di­rected their course to fort Michilimackinac, nine hundred miles northwest of Montreal; nothing very material, for or against me, turned up during this route; each day I attentively listened to their language, and by de­grees learned to speak to, and answer them tolerably well; in this, the Squaws were peculiarly helpful. At the above described place, we tarried two months, where the Indians built birch canoes, sufficient to carry five hundred persons with their implements for hunting, and fishing. There we drew provision from the king's store; but not allowed rum for daily use, with which the Indians appeared tolerably satisfied, having the promise of as much as they could drink the last day of their tarry. After completing their canoes, the day of departure arrived, and they received a large quantity of rum, of which they drank so freely, that they soon became intoxicated, almost to a man, so that but a few were able to take care of the presents, made them as a­bove related. This state of intoxication lasted until the next day, when, instead of departing, they begged for more rum, but being denied, they soon became tu­multuous, [Page 15] and attempted to break into the king's stores, which was soon effected. They turned out a number of hogsheads of rum, the garrison being unable to prevent it; of course, the Indians soon became drunk, and a general clamour succeeded, with fighting, Sanop a­gainst Squaw, and Squaw against Sanop, to that de­gree, that many were in danger of losing their limbs, if not life also. This fray continued until the rum was wholly exhausted. During this frolick, about sixty In­dians of the Shawanee tribe, came in birch canoes load­ed with fur, proposing to trade at the fort; the Indians, of whom I now was counted one, soon began to quar­rel with the Shawanee Indians, engaged them with hel­lish fury, and slaughtered the whole number in the most barbarous manner, cutting open their bodies, while a­live, tearing out their bowels, plucking their hearts from their bodies, and greedily eating them, even while palpitating in their hands; incessantly yelling and whooping during the carnage, which was followed by a total destruction of their canoes, and furs.

After spending five days in the manner above des­cribed, we took our departure from Michilimakinak down Lake Superior. Here it may not be amiss to des­cribe Michilimakinak, and Lake Superior.

Michilimackinac, is an island near the entrance of Lake Superior, and takes its name from the appearance [Page 16] of a certain island, lying about six, or seven miles northeast, within sight, which at a distance appears not unlike an animal, called a Tortoise; the word Michili­makinak, in the Indian language, signifying a Tor­tose. On this island of Michilimakinak, is a stockaded fort, usually defended with one hundred men; here are about thirty or forty dwelling-houses, one of which, belongs to the governor, and another to the commissary; several traders from different quarters also, dwell with­in its fortifications; here trade is carried on with In­dians, from almost all parts of America.

Lake Superior, is so called on account of its superi­ority in magnitude to any of the lakes on the continent of America, and is supposed to be the largest body of fresh water on the globe; in circumference, is said to be sixteen hundred miles.*

Having described, as I proposed, the island of Michilimakinak, and Lake Superior, according to the best information I am able to obtain, I now proceed in my narrative.

Steering in our canoes (as near as I could guess,) northwest, we were soon overtaken with a heavy gale of wind, which continued three days and nights; dur­ing which, we laboured hard to keep our canoes before the wind, to prevent upsetting, not being able to gain [Page 17] the shore on either side, by reason of huge rocks and banks, which in many places were nearly perpendicular. On the fourth day the wind abated, towards even­ing we discovered an island to which we paddled and landed thereon; where we tarried four or five days to refresh ourselves, and to catch some game and fish, to recruit our stores. Here we caught many fish of vari­ous kinds; the lake abounding in fish, such as Trout, Pike, Pickerel and Porch, with many others, for which I want names.

Having provided ourselves with provision, consisting of fish, and flesh, such as the island afforded, we took our departure from the isle, and continued our voyage notherly, and in about thirty days, catching fish as of­ten as occasion required, not quitting our canoes day nor night, we were obliged to eat our sweet morsels uncooked; realizing that barking stomacks strain no compliments. We arrived at the mouth of Maccatah River, which comes from stupendous mountains, lying far north from this river's mouth, which is about thirty feet wide, the waters whereof, are of an extraordinary quality, being very thick, of a greenish colour, and un­fit for use. This river runs from the mountains with great rapidity; at the bottom of which, at its entrance into the lake, are discovered large rocks of a redish cast, which our Indians called blood-stone, at a short distance north, from this river's mouth, a very singular opening [Page 18] appears on the side of a mountain, apparently cut through solid rock, which is very hard each side of the entrance, is of a black colour, and very smooth; the entrance is about thirty feet diameter, and continues of this magnitude some way into the mountain; many of the Indians repeatedly with lighted torches, have at­tempted to trace it to its utmost extent; but hitherto have failed, not being able to keep torches burning for any length of time, gave over searching further. The rock at the entrance is ornamented with curious carvings of various kinds, such as animals of different forms, some appear suspended from the rock, of different shapes, in a most curious manner, all which our Indians could not account for. The eldest of them observed, that such has been its appearance ever since they had any knowledge of the place. But what I have now to relate is still more marvellous.

During our tarry at this place were heard, at all times, voices, not unlike the crying of young children, as if in the utmost distress. In the morning are plainly seen on the smooth sand on the beach, at the mouth of this horrible cavern, marks like foot-steps of children; and, although smoothed down in the morning, the fol­lowing morning similar marks will appear, as nume­rous as the preceeding day. From this place we con­tinued our course north for two days and one night in our canoes, and arrived at the Red River, which takes [Page 19] its rise from Lake Superior, and runs a southwesterly course very rapidly; in which are many falls. We paddled down this river forty days, frequently shooting over falls with such force, that our canoes sometimes would skip out of the water; but such was their con­struction, that they would always fall on their bottoms, being properly balanced by their navigators falling flat on their backs within them. Many falls were so tremen­dous, that we were obliged to haul out our canoes and carry them on our backs by land, until passing the rap­ids, slide them into the river and pursue our course. We arrived at an island in this river, after forty days sail from its mouth. Here we tarried five or six days to furnish ourselves with a new recruit of provision. Soon after our landing, six Indians, belonging to the Annoowechen Tribe, made us a visit in their canoes, constructed something different from ours, both in form and ornament. Those Indians came, as they said, with an intention to inform us of something greatly to our advantage, and if we would make them some good presents, we should be let into the secret—whereupon, we gave each one a blanket, and they then informed us, that the Annoowechen Tribe had heard of our return from Canada, and of our possessing many valuable presents, made us, when there; and of their intention to surprise and rob us before the next morning. They soon departed, and we being fore-warned, put ourselves in the best posture for defence; knowing that our in­tended [Page 20] robbers were not prepared with fire arms—hav­ing nothing wherewith to make the assault, excepting axes made of flint stone, fixed in the end of a split stick; these axes were their principal weapons for war; we having fire arms, ammunition and tomahawks in plen­ty, did not fear them, be their number ever so large. However, we put ourselves in the best posture for de­fence, and kept a good look out through the night. Just before the dawn of day (it being very calm weather) we could hear their paddles strike the water; and they soon came in sight. I counted forty-two canoes— the smallest number in a canoe was fourteen, and in some were more than twenty. We permitted them to advance till they came near the shore, and then fired upon them, which made terrible havoc. They being unacquainted with fire arms, were put into the greatest confusion—some crawled to the shore, others jumped into the water, and attempted to save themselves by swiming—a small number escaped. Forty of them we took alive, and killed all except ten, who were reserved for future diversion. After the battle was over, we counted among the dead on shore, and in the water, two hundred and fifty, without any loss on our side. Soon after, the forenoon of that day, several of them were most inhumanly slaughtered by the toma­hawk and knife, cutting open their bodies, and with their hands scooping up the warm blood out of their bodies, while alive, and drinking it greedily, [Page 21] whooping and dancing merrily, as if partaking of the most agreeable repast. Some of our Indians observing my backwardness to join them, ordered me to do as they did—with which I was obliged to comply so far, as to scoop up blood into my hands, and daubed it over my mouth and face, to make them believe I drank it; they then said I was good man.

The prisoners who survived, were kept confined without any sustenance, and every day were whipt and tortured, by burning their fingers; forcing them into their pipes, when smoaking, and there confining them, until burnt to the bone; whooping and dancing round them—this was their practice day by day, until this scene changed, by a scene more horrible, which cannot be realized by my readers; nothing but occular dem­onstration can bring this to a proper point of view, to this day, (a recollection of the scene) it being transacted before my eyes, at a period of life, when the smallest im­pression must make a lasting continuance—even now, makes me to shudder. The manner of sacrifice, is as follows, viz.

The prisoner, destined for each day's diversion, was led from among his companions to the place of execu­tion, bound with strong cords, (prepared from sinews of wild animals,) to a post fixed in the ground, to which the victim is strongly tied, having his hands fas­tened behind him, his back towards the post, and in such [Page 22] a manner, that he could step round from side to side, keeping his back towards the fixed post. At a small distance, in a circular form round the unhappy sufferer, fire was then kindled, consisting of pitch pine splinters, with other combustible matter, so as to make a small, but constant fire. As soon as the man feels the heat, he moves with a view to fly from the fire; but alas▪ 'tis fruitless, for turn which way he will, he still feels the force of the increasing element—our Indians then shew their joy, by whooping, dancing, rattling their kettles, prepared for this purpose, by putting small stones and bullets into them. This diversion continues until the sufferer appears nearly exhausted. The pris­oner during his suffering never shews the least reluc­tance; but often would say, you no understand best way to torment—at the same time pointing out differ­ent modes of punishment; exultingly would whoop and say, me die like man, so died my father, my grand-father, and all good fighters die like men.

When the prisoner appears nearly expiring, which is known by his faultering voice, and declining head; the by-standers then, to increase his anguish, heat the bails of their kettles red hot, and throw them over the expiring prisoner's head, which causes him to revive and greatly enhances his torment, in his last moments. This awful scene was repeated day by day, until all the prisoners were executed. We tarri­ed [Page 23] here but a few days after this savage repast closed; but attempted to recruit our provisi [...] [...] was our inva­riable practice at every stage, when [...]. By this time I became more Indian-like, and tolerably content with my lot, endeavouring to mimic them in all their manners; finding it best to be a conformist—for by this, I found that they were pleased, and I soon became their favourite.

From this island we departed, and paddled half a day, steering south, till we struck the south shore of Red River; we hauled our canoes out of the river, and trav­elled fifteen miles, observing a southerly course, carrying our canoes, &c. over mountains, valleys and rocks, un­til we came to the river, called Rontooroo; we in our canoes following this river (which appear'd narrow on our first entrance) forty-five miles—here the river is nine miles from shore to shore. After sailing some con­siderable time, further down the widest part of this river, which kept a southerly course, I espied near the centre of this river, a very large island (on which I afterwards learned our tribe lived,) on a nearer approach to it, I could see a very large number of buildings in a form new to me, these were wigwams, constructed by the In­dians, and spread over a large extent. They appeared in the form of a Cone, circular, broad at the bottom, and gradually falling in at the top, which ended in a small point, with a hole in the centre, to carry off smoke, &c. The wigwams appeared nearly of equal height, which [Page 24] was about twenty feet. I was much startled at the sight, thinking that we should soon engage our ene­mies, and a horr [...] scene of war would ensue. I ask­ed an Indian what that appearance before us meant? A Squaw came to me and told me not to be frightened. On our nearer approach to the shore, I discovered a number of flags-hoisted; some appeared very broad, and long, and of various colours, whereon were drawn figures of animals of different kinds, and neatly execu­ted. The inhabitants, of all ages, and sexes, ran towards the shore, whooping and dancing with great vehemence, at which I was terrified to that degree, that I fainted, expecting soon to be devoured by them. A number of Squaws came to me, threw water in my face, and tick­led the bottoms of my feet, sides, and belly. I soon re­vived, and we landed. The people on shore hauled our canoes out of the water, and took care of our baggage, all which, they carried from the water's edge, to different wigwams, in a manner, before to me unknown, which was by placing them at arms length over their heads, whooping extravagantly as they passed along. On our coming to the centre of the wigwams, in an open space, large fires were kindled, over which were hung on poles, a number of large brass kettles, contain­ing indian corn, and meat of different kinds. At a small distance from the fire, a large number of wood­en dishes were piled up bottom upwards. At this place, preparation was made for a feast, prepared for [Page 25] their returning friends. The whole number who par­took of this feast, amounted to some hundreds. All were seated round the fire cross legg [...] ▪ About twenty Indians, who appeared as waiters, [...]ght forward the wooden dishes, and with ladles, made of wood, filled them with the prepared food from the kettles; of which no one must taste, until the whole number were served, and then all must begin at once, and every one must eat all contained in his dish, without breaking a bone, or hire some others to eat what the holder of his dish could not devour. A large bone falling to my share, I took it from my dish, and with a stone, tried to break it in order to suck the marrow out of it; at that time I did not fully comprehend the mode of regulating so important a feast; one of the chiefs attentively viewing me, saw my transgres­sion, immediately sprung from his seat, and with an open knife in his hand, made directly towards me; I was much alarmed, and starting from my seat on the ground, ran, the Indian soon overtook me, and with an apparent design to take my life, caught hold of my arm; I made all the resistance in my power, by scratching, biting, and kicking him, but all to no purpose; for he forced me back to my seat, and bid me eat all in my dish, and that I must not crack a bone; he then retired to his seat. This manoeuver so affrighted me, that I could not eat any more. At a small distance from the place of festivity, was prepared a large pile of dry wood, [Page 26] to which fire was put, which raged with such rapid­ity, that the whole pile, which was large, become a gen­eral conflagrat [...] ▪ To this place, the Indians having finished their brotherly feast, repaired about sun set, each person rising from his seat, all at once, every one carrying his dish in his hand, and advancing near the fire, threw the bones into it. Various instruments for music were also brought forward, consisting of small kettles, containing bullets and small stones, and a small piece of hard wood scooped out so large as to contain about two quarts; into these were thrown small pebbles, each one containing an equal quantity; this piece of wood was constructed in an orbicular form, into which was fixed a handle about six inches in length; with these instruments, adding the Indian whoop, commen­cing all at the same time, with dancing round the fire— all engaging without distinction of age or sex, struck me with an agreeable surprise. This continued without intermission, until the whole constructed pile of wood was consumed, to that degree, that the Indians could run over it, which they did, stamping and kicking it about, until the whole was extinguished. The nation­al pipe was then brought forward, of curious construc­tion, and made of stone; the bowl was so large as to contain several pounds of tobacco, with curious engrav­ings on the outside; the stems* consisted of many joints, equidistant one joint from the other, all of stone, artful­ly made, in a tubicular form, of a great length; under [Page 27] the bowl was placed a large block of wood, so as to keep it upright; directly under each joint of the stems, was placed blocks, continued to its extremity, at which another block was also fixed, upon which, each Indian was to sit and smoke in the following order.

As the stem consisted of seven joints, seven Indians were alternately called to those last fixed blocks; the great pipe being lighted, the first seven came forward, one after the other, sitting down, and drawing three whiffs a piece, withdrew. This continued seven at a time, coming on and going off, in the same manner, until the whole assembled multitude, went through this ceremony. This was their method of renewing and confirming their covenants on all great occasions, to strengthen and unite their nation in a strict adherence to their laws, thereby to regulate their proceedings in war, defensive or offensive, in peaceful covenants with other tribes, on the safe return of long absent friends, at marriages, &c. Those ceremonies were ever consider­ed, and kept as sacred and binding as a solemn oath. Any one refusing to smoke at this pipe, were ever con­sidered, and treated as enemies to our tribe, and not un­der the national law; therefore, liable to be killed with impunity, by any who had smoked the great pipe. Those various scenes continued through the greatest part of the night. At the close, our Indian Chief ascended a large block of wood, fixed at one end in the ground, [Page 28] so high as to contain seven steps; on the top of this block he sat down, cross legged; upon which, a profound silence [...] kept by the surrounding multitude; he then made a speech, directed principally to those, who had assisted their friends, the English, and had returned to their tribe in peace, to the following pur­pose, viz.

"Ye sons of warriors, you have played the man, you have honored your nation, by your heroic actions, in surmounting difficulties, which cannot be performed by any, except by the Scanyawtauragahrooote Tribe. Welcome my sons, to your native soil, and may your good conduct on this, as on many other occasions, be had in remembrance by you and your friends of this nation. Ever keep yourselves in readiness, to defend yourselves, and dearest connections, from the assaults of your inveterate foes; which, if you uniformly observe in unity with your brethren of this Tribe, we have noth­ing to fear. The assaults of our enemies, however formidable, and fierce, must in the end prove ineffectual. I now dismiss you with my sincere wishes, that you may ever prove successful in war, with our national enemies, and when called to war with our friendly allies; in hunting the Buffalo, Bear, Beaver, and all other great and good game—in catching the big fish, and in all your domestic concerns. Each of you now retire to his respective, peaceable wigwam."

[Page 29]The Chief having finished his great speech, the at­tentive multitude shew their approbation by a general whoop, with dancing round the great man, which last­ed a few moments, and each one peaceably retired to his home.

My reader will naturally consider me as now about to encounter many new, and apparently insurmountable trials. Being far removed, not less (as I conceive) than 15 or 16 hundred miles from my native country, nev­er more to enjoy domestic peace, which is and has been the happy lot of many, among their friends; no more to enjoy the fraternal embrace of the kindest and ten­derest of fathers; deprived of sweet interviews with the best of brothers, and two most desirable sisters; add to all this, a total deprivation of even the most distant pros­pect of a tolerable education in my own country, and native language. My education at the time of my be­ing given to the Indians, was, as it were, but in embrio. Now inexpressible ideas would alternately fill my youth­ful mind; deprived of the comforts and convenience of life; not fully understanding the Indian language, thereby unable to communicate my ideas of want, and sorrow, that I might meet with some mitigation at least though from savages. My being a stranger to all except those with whom I had journeyed, being constantly ex­posed to their insults, and every day liable to be killed by them, and all perhaps by my unavoidably commit­ting [Page 30] blunders, merely for want of a thorough knowl­edge of their language; add to this the disagreeable manner of preparing and eating their food; their man­ner of sleeping; their frequent Indian yellings, all con­tributed more or less to inhance my lonely feelings. However, I soon found that my lamentations would be [...]o no purpose; I put on as manly a countenance, and ac­tions as possible, trying to recommend myself to their fa­vourable notice. In this, I was successful, being often called to mingle with them in their diversions; such as [...]hooting with bow and arrow, hunting, &c. This Island [...] considered as my future home. Soon after my arrival, an Indian Squaw observing my disconsolate state, and youthful appearance, made me a visit, fawned over me, and claimed me as her son, and told me I should live with her. I gladly accepted the invitation, went with her and soon became her favourite; strictly observing such of her orders as I could understand; constantly following her wherever she went. Here I cannot but notice the interposition of providence to­wards me, in raising up this old Squaw, at once, to be­come not only my friend, but what is still much greater, my mother also. With this Squaw, I enjoyed myself tolerably well. My following her about, and frequent visits, made with her among our neighbors, was partic­ularly noticed by our young Indians, insomuch, that they would frequently retort upon me, and say, you no leave your mother, you great pappoose; this netled me, [Page 31] and I soon became acquainted with, and followed them for awhile in their diversions. One day in my walk with my comrades, I observed a building of a different form, from any I had seen on this island. I was informed that this building was some years before, built by a Spaniard to carry on the gun-smith's business, who had accumulated great wealth, consisting of furs, &c—our Indians envying him—killed him. I with my friends, entered this house, which was built with square tim­ber, confined at each end, in the same manner as log houses are built in this country; here we found vari­ous tools, sufficient to carry on the black-smith's, gun-smith's, and silver-smith's business; a thought struck my mind, that an opportunity now presented for me to advance myself in property and friendship with my new friends. I learnt that the Indians did not make any use of this building nor tools; I soon obtained liberty to improve them as my own. My father having in Canada carried on the black-smith's work before I left him, as well as after my return, gave me frequent op­portunities to handle his tools in some little measure, in my earliest life—I now commenced black-smith. The first work I attempted, was to make a scalping knife in imitation of their's, which I soon effected, much to their liking; I then mended some kettles, made several tom­ahawks, steel-traps, mended gun-locks, &c. I now be­came a favourite among them, and of no small con­sequence with them; still boarding with my old mother, [Page 32] the Squaw, whose name was Chawwensee. Many of my comrades importuned me to live with them, court­ing my company, and favours, but my mother I count­ed my best friend, therefore kept with her. My shop was frequently crouded with them, admiring my workmanship; saying, I could work as well as the Span­iard;—they soon became clamorous, frequently saying, you must go eat with us; to prevent any further dis­pute, I often gratified them, by eating with them. I ob­served, that broaches were a favourite ornament among them began to make some but poorly executed, a number coming inone day, I bid them throw all their broaches into one crucible, which they did telling them he that threw in the greatest number should have the largest number of new ones, and the prettiest. The crucible being filled I soon melted them all together, turning the silver thus melted into a brass kettle, it soon became one solid body, after it cooled I took it into my tongs and began to heat it, as I heat my iron, and began to hammer it, telling one of them to strike with me, the silver broke in pieces, I said stop, stop, we must take a welding heat. I then put it into the fire, and blew it briskly, then attempt­ing to take it out, sound nothing in my tongs; the In­dians then began to whoop & laugh, jumping about the shop, clapping their hands with many contemptuous sneers, this I could not well relish, however it passed off tolerably well, they then said you must go with us to Tartarrac* where lived many gold smith's, who [Page 33] would learn me to make broaches. I asked them how far it was to that place? they said, little way, nine hun­dred miles. I had now lived with them about two years, and learnt their language, and habituated my­self to their mode of living. I consented, it being near autum, the usual time of their going to Tartarrac to trade.

We set out in our canoes, consisting of forty-five, with a small quantity of provision. The number who embarked with me, were seven hundred, men, squaws and children—carrying with us fur and ginsang, fit for a Spanish market. I was then posses­sed of the largest share of any one. This river on which we embarked is very wide and deep, and by our Indians called Tartarrac River.

Our voyage, which was nearly of forty days contin­uance, and without any impediment by rapids, not having occasion to travel by land any part of this great distance, sometimes stoping to catch fish, as occa­sion required, we arrived safe at the city above men­tioned, with our furs, &c. On our entering the city, we were kindly received, and began our trade—our Indians prefered rum and other spirits, in preference to any other articles, in exchange for theirs—and now a most horrible scene commenced, the Indians partaking too freely of the good creature, were generally drunk, [Page 34] and with tomahawks and scalping knives, fell on with­out discrimination, father against son, and son against father, sanops and squaws, all endeavoring to kill the first person they met with. The city being in an uproar, we were all turned without the walls, and prevented entering until the tumult should subside, which was not until the next morning. During the night the noise and confusion was kept up—I was much distressed least I should be killed among them, but esca­ped unhurt. Early in the morning, upon examina­tion we found four of our number killed, and many others badly wounded. The inhabitants learning our peaceful state, fired a cannon in token of their readiness to renew our trade with them—we all marched in and began to trade, which went on for a time well; but the just described scene soon was discovered, and began to take place, occasioned by rum—we were all turned out as before related. This receiving into, and turn­ing out of the city, lasted four days. Such was my situation, that I had no opportunity to learn the method to make broaches. In this confusion, the fifth day we left the city without knowing how our accounts with the Spaniards stood; we took to our canoes, paddling up the river for thirty-nine days and nights, until we ar­rived at our island; supplying ourselves with fish, by catching them in the river, and eating them without cooking.

[Page 35]On our return, we found that nothing material had happened (to our friends we left behind) during our absence. I continued my business at my forge for some time, but the hunting season coming on, our young men prepared to hunt the Buffalo, and by general invi­tation I joined them.

We took our departure from our island early in the morning, and from the opposite shore, westerly we trav­elled through the woods about fifteen or twenty miles— here, in a convenient place we halted, in the wilderness, to reconnoitre our party, consisting of fifteen hundred, and to arrange our matters, so as to make a secure and successful hunt. Our first work was, to form a hedge fence, beginning at a notherly point, thence extending southerly, forming two sides of a triangle, to some miles extent; the fence was built sufficiently strong, to re­tard the flight of the Buffalo on that quarter, then from the southermost point of the fence extending to a proper length easterly, a living fence was built in the fol­lowing manner: about a hundred men were formed thus, the first with his left hand clasping the first stake in the fence, at its southermost extent, thence standing in an eastern direction, the length of his arm, thence extend­ing his right arm its whole length, one other man stands fimly fixt, with arms extending as the former, and so on in the same manner until the whole number are in this manner, consisting of a hundred men, com­pletely [Page 36] formed. This fence serves but to frighten the Buf­falos to that quarter, guarded by the impenetrable hedge; the men forming their part of the fence after extending to a proper length easterly, are continued then in a circular form, towards the northern point of the hedge, leaving a space of about one mile between the two ex­tremes. Having thus completed our fence, a number of men sufficient for the purpose, scoure the woods, collecting a large number of Buffalos, (for this is a Buffalo hunt,) not regarding animals of an inferior bulk or value. The animals roused and put in motion from different quarters, are by their drivers collected into one general company, which is done without much trouble, as they naturally herd together—the hunters scatter as much as they can, but not so far as to pre­vent the game from retreat in the rear; thus drove on, they enter the opening, as above described. The ani­mals now enclosed, the men forming the northern part of the line join, the hunters close up towards the south­ern part of the inclosure—the herd finding no escape on the quarter forming the hedge fence, fly to the o­ther quarter, from which they are soon driven by the living fence, formed as above described; all things now prepared, a number of the most expert hunters en­ter among the animals, which generally consist of a ve­ry large number of old and young, fat and lean. The fatest and best are prefered, leaving the poor and young­est for future supplies. Having killed as many as we [Page 37] chose, the remainder we set at liberty. This hunt is performed in as secret a manner as possible, to prevent the neighboring tribes from entering our borders, and sharing with us, in our diversion and profits. The Buffalos killed at this time, are brought together and dressed, by skinning and taking out their entrails—the meat is preserved by smoke, as is practiced by the In­dians, when desirous of preserving their meat any length of time, which when smoked, is fit for use. The manner of smoking meat is thus, a long and narrow building, built by setting up poles in the ground at equal distance one from the other, in two strait lines, interwoven with slim, pliable poles, covering over from side to side of the thus fixed poles with bark, they are completed, fit to receive the meat—this receiver is ea­sily and soon completed, as they are temporarily set up wherever we meet a sufficient quantity of meat worth smoking. The skins taken from those animals are dres­sed immediately, with the brains and marrow of the original owners, which when dressed, leaving the hair on, are fit for trade with the northern tribes; with whom they are exchanged for mogasons, &c. The In­dians are careful to carry each man a small quantity of salt, not to use with their meat, but as an antidote against the bite of rattle snakes, which often happens, and to extract any other poison. Having smoked our meat, dressed our skins, &c. we returned with our boo­ty to our dwellings, each one receiving his equal share.

[Page 38]On my return, I went on with my business in my shop as heretofore; such was the demand for toma­hawks, traps, &c. that I now began to fix prices for my work, and told them I would not work any longer without pay, they said what must we give you? I said, I want better clothes and more broaches; they then brought me the best blanket that could be found, ad­ding a large number of broaches of the best workman­ship; also a very handsome gun, with the accoutre­ments fit for hunting, &c. Thus encouraged, I strove to please them, which I happily effected in a short time; they frequently visited me at my shop, loading me with presents of fur, ginsang, and many other smaller matters.

This pleasing scene continued but for a short time, being interrupted by news, that a tribe not far distant, had encroached on our hunting ground. On this, a council of war was held, consisting of the whole tribe, myself included, not one man missing. A solemn con­sultation was held, every man without distinction was allowed freely to give his opinion of the important question. Shall we make war, and drive off the intru­ders? or shall we allow them to enter our borders and hunt with impunity? they all appeared ready and wil­ling to make war with and drive from our lands the insulting foe.

I attentively listened to the debate, but was so un­fortunate as to dissent from them in opinion. I well [Page 39] knew that my advice would be listened to, and be by them counted of much weight. I therefore with the importance of a councellor, demanded silence and at­tention to what I was about to say on the subject— they all, with silence, listening sat. This making war, said I, upon a slender cause like unto the present, is not justifiable, 'tis bad policy, we have no certain informa­tion, nothing but report, no one will say he saw this in­trusion, and destruction made on our hunting ground, 'tis but hearsay report; my advice, therefore is, that some one trusty, mild (if any one can be found) mem­ber of our tribe be appointed, and properly authorised to go from this nation, to the Rahatoree Tribe, the supposed intruders, and there make proper enquiry in­to facts touching their conduct towards us; if they have intruded, and it is properly substantiated, let him immediately return, then we will adopt, and pursue the best measures in our power for retalliation; if the report should prove groundless, let him go prepared further to strengthen our friendship.

My advice was approved of by the whole council, and was immediately put in practice in the following manner. One of the number was chosen and made ready agreeably to the prescribed method. The mes­senger was dressed in our usual mode—to make him respectable, he was ornamented with wampum, consist­ing of beeds, belts, becoming one of so much con­sequence; [Page 40] he hastily proceeded on his journey—on his arrival made known his message. By enquiring into their conduct, whether they had made any intru­sion on the Scanyawtauragahrooote Tribe; the an­swer was, that they had hunted on their lands, and that they would whenever they saw fit; if our tribe disliked it, they might take what measures they thought best, to prevent it. Upon this our envoy soon return­ed, and reported to proper persons of our nation, ap­pointed therefor. This report having been made pub­lic, the general cry was War! War! the whole tribe assembled, the national pipe, already described, was by special order brought forward, and all who were inclin­ed to go on this expedition, were to smoke three whiffs a piece. The number who smoked on this occasion consist­ed of five thousand. Here an important question arose, whether we should be successful or not—to determine this 'twas necessary to consult—the Powow* must be called; who living at some distance, was sent for, and soon made his appearance. The place into which the Powow was placed, was prepared by fixing a number of flexible poles in the ground, thus, one end drove down, bending over, the other end fixed into the ground, forming an arch, and so on, as to form a space suffi­cient to contain one person only—the spaces between these poles were filled up with interweavings of bark, rine and twigs, so closely as not to admit light; each [Page 41] end was also secured, so close as to exclude the least ray. In this dismal place the juggler was placed, confined on his back with ligatures, crossways and lengthways of his body, in such a manner, as to pre­vent motion in any one member, except his head. He being thus confined, a number of Indians came for­ward, and formed a circle round him, setting on the ground cross legged, with blankets covered over their heads, observing a profound silence—in a short time the Powow begins to mutter in a low voice, which rises in a language new and strange, for a long time, then a noise is heard like a rushing wind, ringing of bells, in about fifteen minutes, the prisoner is in­vincibly released, and runs violently to the water, fol­lowed by his cross legged brethren, and there contin­ues so long as to dive three times, thence rushing from the water ran to his former retreat, there lay without speaking, not eating or drinking for twenty-four hours, then eats and drinks plentifully; after which, informs the gaping multitude that the expedition should prove successful, that but nine hundred men would oppose them. Upon this agreeable information, our island rang with whooping and dancing, rejoicing and boasting at the advantage they had of five thousand opposing nine hundred. Orders were then given, that all those who had smoked the great pipe, should immediately prepare to march, which began by painting their faces in the following manner: the right [Page 42] side red with half the nose, the left side of the face and nose black, the top of the head, which is without hair, of different colours chequer-wise, all which denote courage without fear. Each man fixed on his warlike weapons, and were ready—the preparation took up but two days.

With twenty canoes we left our island, cautiously paddled to the main. On striking the shore, we hauled up our canoes, and carried them on our backs, crept through the bushes some miles, until we came to a great lake; on an island in this lake, our enemies dwelt. We, without noise, put our canoes into the wa­ter, and paddled within a few rods of the island; here we made a halt, and dispatched a small number to re­connoitre the island—of this party I was one—(here it must be observed, that our canoes were of various sizes, some would carry twenty-six or thirty men; the largest six men could carry with ease.) On our near approach, we saw a number paddling round the island, as if to keep a good look out, for they expected us; we soon returned to our party, and informed what we had seen; upon this, our whole body cautiously moved on, it being dark, as we came near, keeping a profound silence—our ene­mies' arrows whistled about our ears; we could per­ceive them in quick motion, and silent—they had much the advantage among the bushes, and we in open sight, and before we recovered the shore, they killed 25 of [Page 43] our number, three of their arrows stuck into my cap, I being in one of the foremost canoes. The night being calm, we soon went on shore, and pursued the enemy in all directions—the island being small, we soon found their lurking places, and destroyed many. As soon as day light appeared, here a dreadful carnage ensued, accompanied with savage yelling, which served but to increase savage fury. Our enemies finding our number much exceeded theirs they endeavoured to make off; some by swimming from the island, some took to their canoes, but we prevented them, by closely pursuing and knocking them in head, some we shot in the water; some who had reached their canoes, we also shot. This carnage went on with increasing fury, until nearly all of them were killed, or taken alive; a small number however, reached the opposite shore;—their canoes al­so fell chiefly into our hands; many we stove in pieces, others we kept for our own use. Among the prisoners, we culled fifty of the tallest and best men, to carry our spoils, &c. to our island, we also reserved one boy, the others we took, were directly killed in a most savage and brutal manner. Thus in about twenty-four hours after landing, we killed and took the whole number of the enemy, consisting of five hundred. Upon examining our party, we missed ninety-two of our number, includ­ing those killed on our landing.

This island being now in peace, with our prisoners and spoil, we left it, and without any material hind­rance [Page 44] we arrived at our island. On our safe return, we were received with the usual ceremonies, performed on similar occasions of conquest, as has been already related. After a short refreshment, a council was held, to determine in what mode to execute the prisoners; the result was, to bring them out the next morning, and in the most public manner proceed as follows: sixteen stakes fixed into the ground, at about fifty feet one from the other; at each stake one prisoner was tied his face towards the stake, his hind parts ex­posed to the persecutors; then a large number of squaws appeared, every one armed with a club of three feet in length, and four inches in circumference. Round each unhappy sufferer, a strong guard is placed, to pre­vent any squaw from liberating a prisoner, which some­times happen without this precaution;— this done, the squaws march in a single file, giving every prisoner one blow on his naked back; when they came to the boy, the squaws unitedly begged his life, which by the Indian Chiefs was granted, and given to me, who afterwards became singularly useful, and tarried with me during my stay with the Indians; after the squaws had per­formed their part, then an equal number of boys, each one with his pipe filled with tobacco and fire, went up, thrusting the sufferers' fingers into the pipe, when hot, confining them until the finger was blistered; then a number of other boys came on, and with blunt arrows, shot at them, never missing the mark—this continued [Page 45] for three days. The prisoners were kept in the same position, without any sustenance during the whole transaction, all which they bore without any seeming reluctance, although irritated with reflections on their past conduct, as cowards, and of unequal strength to oppose our tribe, and by bringing food before them, and frequently put to their mouths, of which they were forbid to taste. At the expiration of the third day, their bodies appeared one general wound; then dry wood was brought and piled around each vic­tim, and set on fire at each corner; when ensued dan­cing, &c. round the consuming pile, in the same man­ner as hath already been related on similar occasions.

This more than brutal scene being finished, which took up some days, the tormentors and other spectators went each one to his wigwam, I to my shop, with my boy, whom I considered as my apprentice. My business daily increasing, and customers punctual in payment, gave me peculiar pleasure, so that I almost forgot my former mode of living, and sweets of a relative life; frequently diverting myself by fishing, and hunt­ing near home.

The disadvantage I had laboured under, during my peregrination, rendered it almost impossible to keep a true Kalendar; my reader, therefore, must not expect an exact account of the times, in which the several trans­actions [Page 46] took place, as mentioned in this detail, although perfectly true.

And now about this time, another tramp to Tartar­rac was planned, and preparation was accordingly made, by collecting together our fur, ginsang, &c. Thus prepared, we set off in our canoes, and frequent­ly put on shore on either side of the river, to catch Wild Turkeys, and other small game. One day as I was travelling through some woods near the river, I es­pied a Monkey, and soon caught him, and carried him in my canoe to Tartarrac here we arrived in the usu­al time spent in paddling do [...]n to the city—on our being admitted, we began ou [...] [...]. I took my Monkey* under my arm, travelled through several streets trying to sell him; at length I saw a boy standng near an ele­gant house, I asked him in Indian language, if he would buy my Monkey? he answered, his master was gone from home, but if I would stop he would go up stairs and ask his mistress—he then took a key from his pocket, ran up stairs, soon returned and asked my price? I said, three dollars—he took my Monkey, car­ried it to his mistress—returned, and in lieu of my Pug, gave me my price; I was then invited to eat, which I gladly accepted. While I was eating, the master re­turned, [Page 47] and immediately went up stairs to his lady, see­ing a Monkey in her lap, enquired how she procured him? she answered, a young Indian left it with her—he asked if it might be bought? she answered, the owner is below. He immediately came down to me, and ask­ed if I owned the Monkey? if I would sell him? I re­plied yes, will take what you please to give, (for I found he knew nothing of my trade with his wife.) After I had eat and drank sufficiently, he asked me to go with him to his store? I followed him, and he gave me two dollars in money, and [...]ree dollars in ar­ticles I wanted, and found there. Now the Monkey is his, the money and such a [...]les [...] he gave are mine.

In staring round the store, I saw a number of odly form'd things, appearing something like cross belts, locked together with padlocks; the boy being present, the merchant left the store—I having an itching desire to know the exact form, and use of them, I took up one in my hand, viewing it attentively, I found some part lined and stuffed with wool; I asked the boy, (who could converse in our language) what it was? and of what use? he told me that the Spaniards were jeal­ous of their wives, and to prevent an unlawful inter­course with other men, this instrument was contrived, and always by the husband put on and locked round his wife, in such a manner, as to prevent any immodest connections between different sexes—this the husband [Page 48] never neglected, when about to leave his wife, even but for a short time. That was the invariable practice, as the boy told me with his master, which accounts for the boy's taking a key from his pocket, and going up stairs, when I offered to sell him my Monkey; for the husband never leaves his house, until his wife is prop­erly equiped, and locked up in her chamber, the key of which, and of the padlock, is delivered to the maid or boy of the family, who keeps them until the re­turn of the husband, and to him only, are the keys de­livered.*

I left the store and joined my brethren, to whom I communicated my good luck. We went on with our trade tolerably well, in purchasing some iron, steel, led and powder, with many other necessary articles, all which I carefully stowed in our canoes—the manage­ment of our trade, &c. devolving principally on me. Having now brought the Indians into such subjection, that I could say to one come, and he came, to another go, and he went.

We tarried four days only, at this time in Tartar­rac. The fourth and last day, our Indians began to [Page 49] break over the orders, and drank too freely—the suc­ceeding night became a scene of horror and bloodshed. I had as much as I could do, to keep them from des­troying one another—by my exertion, the greater part of their weapons were kept from them; however, one young Indian found means to procure a tomahawk, and did much mischief, before I had knowledge of it. An old squaw came running to me, and inform'd that two of them, father and son, had engaged. I sprung for­ward, catched a club, ran to them, ordered the son im­mediately to give up his weapon; which he, knowing my voice, gave to me—turning myself from them, they made a most hideous yell—I turned, and found the son had got his father by his head, which he sudden­ly pulled down, and against his up-lifted knee, broke his father's neck. The son immediately absconded, and has never been seen with us since. No other death happened through the night. The force of the liquor having abated, a new scene [...]ow took place as follows: The whole number seated themselves in companies on the ground, crosslegged; each one throwing his blan­ket over his head—all seated in a circular form, a hid­eous yelling commenced; each one lamenting his own misfortunes, the loss of his grand father, his father, and other friends. This continued for some hours, after which, we prepared to return.

My visits to Tartarrac, to me were very agreeable, having an opportunity of conversing with people who [Page 50] conducted much as the people of Canada. Their bread I was much pleased with.

Our business being conducted much as heretofore, we took to our canoes, and in the usual time returned to our friends. On my return, I and my boy went on with our business—our Indians employed in their seve­ral diversions, for the men never perform any manual labour, except making instruments for war. The squaws always perform the harvest work, such as to plant and dress the corn, bring from the woods such game as the hunters from time to time recover.

In about six months after our return, some of our warriors formed a plan to rob a distant nation of their furs, &c. (for they continue peaceable but for a short time together.) This nation was called the White In­dian, and lived about three hundred miles north. Five hundred of the spriest and most enterprising of our Indians, of whom I was counted one, went through the ceremonies usually practised on like occasions, set out on the proposed robbery, without any provision, de­pending wholly on hunting for a supply.

We marched with proper guides for three weeks. Coming near to the place of destination, we made a halt, and consulted the best method to fall upon them. 'Twas agreed that a number sufficient for the purpose, [Page 51] (for they were a harmless, defenceless people) should divide themselves into small companies of two each— every company take a different rout in a circuitous march round the mountain.* My companion, with whom I travelled, took orders and departed, both car­rying fire arms and ammunition, with a strict charge to return at a certain time, as had been agreed on, whether successful or not.

We travelled five days, without making any discov­ery; at length, on the sixth day, as we were chatting together, my friend espied a man standing naked, with a bow in his hand, at the entrance of a cave—I ran to him, and with my tomahawk dispatched him—he did not shoot, although armed with bow and arrow. The way being prepared for our entrance into the cavern in search for plunder, a dispute arose between us, who should enter first; we at length determined by casting lots, and the lot fell on me. I with a lighted torch en­tered, my friend followed with his tomahawk close to my heels—here we met with many difficulties; I with my torch in my left hand, my tomahawk in my right; he with his loaded gun in one hand and tomahawk in the other; we crawled on our hands and knees, scarce­ly daring to breathe, much less to whisper. After [Page 52] moving on for some considerable length, we were stopt by a short turn to the right; from thence creeping forward with as much silence as possible, I found ano­ther turn to the left; in this course we steered for some time, at length I discovered by the light of my torch, a large opening, apparently of about fifteen or twenty feet square. In this opening we discovered a number moving about. I then began to realise my situation, to be more critical than ever before or since—no re­treat, for we could not turn to get out, our enemies before us, and we knew not in what manner they were prepared to receive us.* On our nearer approach, we raised our voices into yelling and whooping, in order to intimidate them, and prevent their making any de­fence—this succeeded, and prevented their making the least defence. They all, consisting of four women, five men and three children, huddled together in one corner —here as was previously agreed on, I waved my torch to keep it burning, and to give my companion every assistance in my power to execute his part, which was [Page 53] to kill all we should find within. The executioner per­formed his part, by killing the whole with his toma­hawk. Those persons appeared quite different from any I had ever before seen.

The adults appeared about five feet high, very large, round heads, flat noses, wide mouths, very large and white teeth, very long, strait and very white hair, pale countenance, having no occasion to ramble abroad, ex­cept to hunt for food and bedding; a small portion of each serving them—they are strangers to fire and cloth­ing, living a most indolent life. We found no kind of tool with them, excepting one made something like a hatchet, having a stone made flat at one end, and fas­tened into a stick split at one end. The bottom of the cavern was covered over with skins, piled up one on a­nother, to a considerable height, consisting of Buffalo, Bear, Fox and of almost every species of animals, common to that part of the country.* In one corner of this room, we found a quantity of meat, stinking horribly; this appeared to be their only food; howev­er, we were obliged to feed on some through necessity. We carried out some of the best fur, as Beaver and [Page 54] Raccoon, and at the mouth of the cave, loaded our­selves with as much spoil as we could stand under, and as expeditious as possible, travelled on to our head quarters, where we found our several companions, who had as before described, performed their several routs; they were successful, and joined the main body, loaded with like plunder. Hereupon a general shout took place with claping of hands, &c. being much pleased with our good luck. The whole company freely par­took of such fare, as our friends had in our absence (which was nine days from the time of our departure) prepared—the whole body, each one taking his propor­tional share of baggage, began our retreat homewards.

During our march from a neighbouring pond, we heard noises, as of many water fowls, which we conclu­ded had collected in the pond. We were much elated at this, having a keen appetite for fowl; a number were sent off to search the pond, myself mak­ing one, we soon reached it; but to our surprize found the fowl had (confiding in their trusty wings) left the water—casting our eyes over the pond, we discovered a very large white Bear diving frequently, as if for fish— he at length fixed himself on a large flat rock on one side, looking into the water, striking his fore paw, as though catching fish, at every stroke lifting up his paw, as if to see its contents—I being eager, fired from the shore at the Bear, but without effect; my ball as I [Page 55] could plainly see struck his side, his hair being very thick and long, prevented my killing him; on which, an experienced gunner steped up, observing his raised paw, aimed at the space between the under side of the paw and body, shot and killed him instantly. This was a lucky event; we soon drew him from the water— which in some measure made up for our disappoint­ment in the water fowls. We dressed our game, and with it joined our brethren, the main body, and soon renewed our march homewards, which we in three weeks performed.

After making an equal distribution of plunder, each one retired to his home and employment. Our great men now began to think it high time to honor me with the Insignia of their tribe, and to give me a new and ma­jestic name, having in many excursions witnessed my valor. I dreaded the operation; however, was obli­ged to submit.

The mark by which the Tribe I belonged to was distinguished from all others, was that of the sun on the inside of the right leg, and of the moon and seven stars on the outside of the same leg. This was performed on me by pricking with a sharp needle into my right leg, the various prescribed forms, in red and blue colours. Having marked my leg, they proceeded to mark my face, which I much opposed, determined not to con­sent [Page 56] —I therefore struggled, and endeavoured to escape by biting, kicking, they however went on and slightly marked my face—they proceeded to pluck my hair from my head, excepting a small part on the back the bigness of my hand—they proceeded to dress me; at this I made no further opposition, not willing to lose the good opinion my friends had formed of me, which by this time, became of no small consequence to me. They painted my head in chequers of different colours; then fixed a gold ring in my nose, silver drops to my ears; then fastened a strap to my lock of hair behind, which reached to the ground, filled with broach­es from top to bottom; then tied a string of beads of various colours round my neck, interspersed with differ­ent coloured feathers, all fixed into a leather collar of curious workmanship; a leather strap ornamented as above was thrown over my shoulders, at each end were fixed two silver plates with engravings; on one, the form of a Buffalo, on the other, that of a Panther; to this they added the best blanket the Tribe possessed, ornamented with five hundred broaches; my shirt a gay calico; my buskins red, moggasons yellow, orna­mented with beads and feathers of many colours, tied together with party coloured ribbands, two Peacock feathers stuck into my lock of hair, completed my dress —then proceeded the formality of giving me some great name; the greatest and most learned were con­sulted on this occasion. After a long consultation, [Page 57] 'twas agreed on, and a Chief whose office it was, step­ped up to me, and in a loud voice proclaimed my name, Rooostontee Cowawoo.*

After this ceremony closed, I retired to my shop, and with my apprentice, carried on my business; the Indians frequenting it as usual; at all times coming in, and with deference and respect, approached me, knowing my important station. Thus invested with the highest honor, they could confer on me, I realised my importance and power, and soon began a reform among them—all my instructions were attentively o­beyed. In this way I went on for some length of time; receiving and making congratulatory visits from, and to my neighbours.

Some time after, one of my familiar acquaintance proposed a short hunt for small game. I readily con­sented, and we two set off, prepared with traps, guns and ammunition.

After travelling five days, we came to an extensive plain, totally divested of any kind of vegetable, and nothing but sand, dry and light; which on a gentle breeze of wind is put in motion—sometimes the wind when raised to a high degree, and blowing one way for [Page 58] any considerable time, puts the sand into a quick and violent motion, and rolls it up into the appearance of waves, forming deep troughs between each roll or wave; whenever this happens, no one can pass over this track­less waste. Soon after our coming to this place, sud­denly a strong wind from the north arose, and formed the surface of this plain, into the appearance as just re­lated. Near by we were obliged to camp, and tarried four days, until the storm abated. Our tarry here, was attended with difficulty, not having a sufficiency of food, and no opportunity of supply presented, we were reduced to the last morsel. In our feeble state, (a calm season,) we attempted to cross over this, apparently, im­passable heath. On our way we found two human bo­dies almost petrified by the heat of the sun, and warm sand, which through the whole, retained such a degree of heat as to blister our feet.

During our, encampment and travel over the sand, our guides (which were the sun by day, and moon and stars by night) forsook us, being cloudy the whole time. On examining our stores, we found but one pound of smoaked Buffalo for us both. We marched on northerly, towards our village; having the sun for our guide, (it now pleasantly appearing.)

After four days travel from the sand, we came to a spacious meadow; here I failed for want of food, sat [Page 59] down, and expected here to end my days; but my companion kept up his courage, and travelling a small distance from me, espied a Deer laying down behind a windfall—he ran back to me, and told me he had found good meat. He soon killed the Deer, and opening his body, devoured in a naked state the entrails; this I could not partake of. My friend chopped up some meat and made broth, which I greedily swallowed, which was the most delicious morsel I ever tasted, hav­ing for some days before received no kind of nourish­ment, except our leather belts cut up and soaked in water.

One night, soon after laying down to sleep, we were roused with a heavy shower of rain, attended with tre­mendous thunder and sharp lightning—this further en­feebled me, having nothing to screen me from the wea­ther. In this feeble state I continued some days— my companion fixed his traps in different parts of the mea­dow, baited with flesh we had cut and prepared from the dead bodies we found in the sand—he caught many Beaver, &c. During our tarry here, the weather pro­ved rainy and the sun beclouded, so that we could not leave the swamp, not knowing which way to steer.

One day just before sun set, we happily discovered our retreat from this dismal swamp, by the sun. We immediately improved this opportunity for escape by [Page 60] bundling up our furs, and by the help of the moon decamped, steering a north course, and by morning hap­pily found ourselves quite out of the meadow*—we then lay down and slept soundly until noon—eat hear­tily of the venison my friend killed in the swamp, some part we smoaked; here we tarried until the next day, in order to recruit and rest our weary limbs. On our way home, each night we prepared and set traps for Fox, Sable, Beaver and Mink; each morning we found that our traps caught more or less, so that before we came to our homes we collected a very large quantity, inso­much, that our bundles were too heavy for us to carry. We travelled on, and in a few days after came safely to our friends; from whom we met a hearty welcome, which was shown by claping of hands, whooping and dancing round us.

Soon after my return, I was seized with a violent fever, of the pleuretic kind, which continued for a long time, and ended in a long intermitting fever. Here I realised the comforts of the close attention of a friend, who stuck by me closer than a brother; I mean the aid of my adopted mother, the Indian squaw before mentioned. She never left me, day nor night, during [Page 61] my illness, which continued five months—her friendly hand administered suitable anodynes, prepared from suitable herbs and roots, spontaneously growing in that country. She frequently would call in the neigh­bouring aged, and most experienced squaws,* and with them, consult the best means of application, and how­ever difficult to recover, spared no cost nor pains to obtain and prepare them for my use. In this sickness, I was reduced very low, laying in bed so long as to rob my back and sides of their natural covering, my skin; all which, my faithful nurse replaced by exter­nal applications.

After my long and tedious confinement, I too soon went abroad—my business urged me to work; I being the only blacksmith in our Tribe, too resolutely began to work, and thereby brought on a relapse, which a­gain confined me to my wigwam, and a long, feeble state of health ensued—I again had recourse to my nurse and doctor, my mother; she attentively considered my case, pronounced it desperate, past recovery, unless prevented by my steady adherence to her prescriptions; I promised strictly to obey, and cheerfully gave myself into her hands—she undertook my cure, and soon check­ed [Page 62] my disorder, by giving me Buffalo's blood to drink lukewarm—I drank more or less every day, until my complaints were no more.

My strength gradually increasing with my return­ing health, I soon recovered; but before I entered on shop business, I visited our chiefs, with a view to carry on my proposed plan of reform among them; setting forth the advantage, that the more civilized part of mankind enjoyed than they in their rude and uncul­tivated state. I began by informing them of the man­ner of my father's particular mode of family govern­ment, of conducting his domestic business, &c. to all which, they gave attention, and answered, by first shaking their heads in disapprobation of my plan, then sneeringly would say, you tell a pretty good story, but ours is much better than yours, our nation greater and more ancient than yours—we live great while in the world, and know much more than your nation; our ways are preferable to yours, we will be Indian. I found my attempts were fruitless, therefore for the present dropt my plan, intending at some future time to pursue it, if a convenient opportunity should offer.

In a few days I went on with my business in my shop, my boy continuing with me, who by this time became very helpful, having acquired a considerable insight into the business, which daily increasing, afford­ed [Page 63] me much comfort and profit—our Indians constantly employing me in making their tomahawks, scalping knives, and traps; mending guns, and sometimes mak­ing new gun-locks; all which, they were obliged to go to Tartarrac for, previous to my coming among them.

On delivering my work, I received my price in furs, ginsang, carefully storing them until an opportunity presented to traffick at Tartarrac. My employers would frequently make me large presents in addition to the stipulated price for my work—the squaws in particular, would make me many and val­uable ones, consisting of sap-sugar, annually made in February. Of this sugar, I could collect on any sud­den emergency, large quantities. The squaws would enter my shop with the sugar wrapped up in the fore part of their blankets; on their coming near, they would drop a low courtesy, saying, Rooostontee, me give you good sugar; I with a nod of my head, thanked them, pointing to a large cabin in one corner of my shop, bid them throw it up there, which they cheerful­ly did; turning to go out, they would drop a courtesy and go off.

I steadily pursued my work, not without frequent visits from young Indians, my intimates. One day a number gathered, and began to banter one another, [Page 64] and braging of their superior abilities in jumping, wrest­ling, one in particular offered to bet fifty broaches against an equal number that he could jump higher than any one present—upon this an intimate of mine took him up and proposed that I should jump with him; we jumped one after the other; all agreed to decide the wager in my favour. Upon examining my antago­nist, I found that he had no broaches with him; I re­sented his conduct and told him he was a rogue in bantering the company, without having it in his power to pay his bet; he promised to pay me soon, but neglected.

One day he came into my shop with a good blan­ket loaded with broaches, I catched his blanket from his back and tore off fifty broaches, and threw his blan­ket under my bellows; he crawled under them for his blanket, exposing his posteriors; I snatched my rod from the fire, and whipped him so as to blister his back sides, he yelled heartily, ran to the river and plunged in; this brought a number round me, hastily enquiring the cause of so much noise; I told them my story, they all justified me, and so the matter blew over.

Some time after an Indian came to my shop, and asked me to go with him to a neighbour's wigwam? I asked for what purpose? he informed me that an In­dian lately returned from Tartarrac had brought rum, [Page 65] and kept drunk for some time; that his squaw could not find his rum. I went with my friend to the tipler's wigwam, and we found him almost in a lifeless state. We searched every place, likely for him to secreet his rum, but to no purpose; but as we came from the wig­wam, we found two sturgeon fish, which my friend attentively viewing, supposed the rum might be con­cealed within them—he ripped open the fish, and in each he found a bottle of rum, artfully concealed; this we soon destroyed, and left the wigwam and the drunkard—returned to my shop and went on as usual▪ I and my boy turning off work to advantage.

Soon after, as I and my boy lay in sound sleep at midnight, I was roused by a heavy voice from without, calling me by name, demanding entrance? I knew his voice,* and refused to let him in; he persisted, and said he would come in, saying, I want to speak with you very much; I bid him go home and come in the morning; he made every effort to force open my door, but not succeeding, he came to the window, and forced the shutter open, discharged his gun upon me—the ball entered the side of my shop about six inches from my head, as I lay on my bed. This roused me, and springing up, I caught my gun which stood near me loaded with ball, (as was my practice always to keep my gun near [Page 66] me at night, to defend myself against every intruder,) stepped up to the window and shot him, who dropt and died instantly.

The firing of two guns in the dead of night, caused a general alarm through the village. A large number soon collected, and understanding the cause, took and put me under keepers, to be brought forth in the morning for trial. I contentedly submitted, knowing my cause to be good, having acted on the defensive only.

In the morning I was conducted to the place of trial, which was in the open air, and at a small distance from my shop. On my coming near to the council of trial, a thought struck my mind, that if the trial should go against me, I should be tortured in a savage-like manner; determining to die on the spot, rather than submit to their tortures, which I had frequently before seen on their enemies. I asked liberty to return to my dwelling, to adjust some affairs there—I gave my word soon to return, which they (knowing my exalted sta­tion and importance with them,) without hesitation granted. I returned to my shop, and armed myself with two pistols and a trusty knife; concealing them under my blanket. Thus prepared for every event, I returned to the court, who were formed in the follow­ing manner; on a block of wood fixed one end in the [Page 67] ground, about six feet from its surface, sat the chief justice; and at his feet on a small block, sat the crimin­al; on the right and left from the chief justice, sat a number of the chiefs of the Tribe, in a circular form; all sitting crosslegged. The court being thus seated, a profound silence ensued, which continued for two hours —they all sat staring on one another, as if at a loss in what manner to proceed—at length the cause came on, the accuser* stept forward, and affirmed that I had wantonly killed his friend by shooting him, who was in the lawful pursuit of his business. That I killed him, I did not pretend to deny; but affirmed that I killed him in my own defence; that he came to my shop at an unseasonable time of the night, and that with an in­tention to kill me, as I could plentifully prove—upon this, I begged leave to call forward the deceased's squaw, and the person present at finding the rum as be­fore related—this was granted; the witnesses came for­ward. The squaw affirmed that her sanop, on coming out of his drunken fit, sought for his rum, but could not find it; that on this he appeared much incensed, enquired of her, who had got his rum; she informed him that Rooostontee and his friend had destroyed it; he raved round the wigwam and swore revenge, by killing Rooostontee; and that he on the night in which he was killed, left his home, having loaded his gun [Page 68] for the purpose of killing me. My friend asserted that he with me destroyed the deceased's rum;* and that the slain had frequently, after the rum frolick, swore revenge on me; which he (the witness) sooner or la­ter, expected would be put in practice, as the indians never pass over an affront with impunity.

The judge listened to the charge against me, and the evidence produced to substantiate my defence, ap­peared ripe to pronounce for or against me.

It is impossible for the reader to realise my feelings, at this most critical and important moment—before the tribunal of a savage, assisted by savage council only, whose friendship at best is but momentary. Oh! thought I; if my tender and affectionate father could but view me in my present condition; how would his parental bowels move for me? on his knees, with up lifted hands, would he plead, Oh! spare my darling son once more; set him at liberty—I know his inno­cence—let me once more embrace him, who was torn from my arms, doomed to bondage, and unjustly suf­fered already too much, but for savage nature to in­dure—come ye who are fathers, liberate him, and view the parental embrace, not to be realised, but by parents [Page 69] on similar occasions. All this, and much more might have been uttered, had my father been present; but alas! he is at too great a distance even to hear my cry.

Such thoughts as I have just related, struck me with solemn awe; with trembling heart I wished for, but dreaded to hear the sentence pronounced from the jud­ge's lips. The judge held in his left hand a long stick, his right hand grasped the dreaded knife. He with majestic look, turned to the circled chiefs, and ordered them, one at a time, to give their opinions for, or a­gainst the prisoner as he should direct. Those in fa­vour, and willing to acquit him, should declare by lift­ing up their right hands—the dreaded moment came, and they one at a time raised their right hands; the judge carefully cut a notch on the right side of his stick, for every one in favour; on the left side he cut one notch for every up lifted hand against me. This hav­ing been attended to, the judge counted the favourable notches, and the unfavourable ones, and found the whole number (excepting two) were for setting me at liberty, and strongly recommended me to the good will of my fellow villagers.

This joyful event was publicly notified, and the na­tional pipe brought forward and placed on the block, on which I sat when on trial; to which the whole vil­lage assembled and smoked in token of approbating the [Page 70] conduct of the judge in setting me at liberty; and in token of receiving me to their former favour and good will; no one (excepting those two who had voted a­gainst me) refused to smoke at the great pipe. Thus the matter ended, and I went much pleased to my usual employment.

I worked in my shop daily, but not without fear from those who appeared against me on trial, knowing an Indian's temper—they never forget a seeming inju­ry; and knowing that those two were nearly related to the deceased—I therefore, always went armed, ex­pecting some secret revenge would soon take place. However, my having gained the good will of our chiefs, by my heroic deeds on many former occasions; and my conduct in defending myself, when assaulted by my adversary, and manfully killing him, served to keep up my spirits tolerably well. But time, that great de­vourer of past evils, however strongly impressed on the mind, concurred in lulling me into too great a degree of security, expecting my enemies would forget, and pass over the supposed injuries done them; but in this I was mistaken, as by the sequel will appear.

Some time after having occasion to set and burn a kiln of char-coal, at some distance from my home; one night as I was tending my coal without any per­son with me, (having sent my boy home to take his [Page 71] rest) never leaving it myself day nor night, until fully burnt—some one from the neighbouring bushes, fired upon me, the ball entered my left thigh just below my hip bone; I fell immediately, and lay bleeding on the ground, unable to help myself—I made several attempts to rise, but in vain—hallowed for help for a long time; at length a friend hearing my voice, came to me, and by his friendly aid, supporting me in his arms, I safely returned to my dwelling.*

On my return, my old doctor searched the wound, found that the ball was in my thigh, but could not ex­tract it; she applied some mollient plasters, which in some measure eased my pain. After laying four days, she delivered me of the ball, by squeezing the wound, which by this time had festered.

I was under the doctor's hands twenty days before I was able to walk with crutches. My lameness con­tinued five months. The fear made by this shot, is vi­sible to this day.

Having in a good measure recovered, I resumed my former business; my customers calling every day for [Page 72] my work, having been for some time in want, occasion­ed by my long confinement.

Nothing material turned up for, or against me for one year after. At length, wanting coal, I erected a new kiln, and in scraping up the leaves and dry dust with my hands to cover it over, I roused a Rattle Snake; who in his anger bit my hand; at this I was much troubled, supposing the bite would prove fatal, but in this was pleasingly disappointed by an effectual cure wrought by a skilful surgeon, who soon came to my help, several of my neighbours accompanied her, who immediately wound a strong cord* round my arm be­low my elbow, binding it so tight as to prevent the cir­culation of blood below the cord; this done, she with a flint scarified my hand, crossing the wound in different angles; she then with salt in her mouth sucked the poi­son from the wound, on which she strewed some salt; this was repeated several times without loosening the cord until the next day; when the cord is taken off, the swel­ling subsides, a cure is effected, and my arm, which during the operation was numb and useless, immedi­ately recovered its wonted vigor. Several times after I was bitten by Rattle Snakes; like applications were made, which effected like cures.

[Page 73]Notwithstanding I had got rid of one of my mor­tal enemies, one still remained equally revengeful. This brought me to a disagreeable situation, being al­ways obliged to carry defensive weapons about me wherever I went, and never wishing to mingle with my comrades in their diversions—before this, I ever was one of the foremost in all our amusements.

In this troubled state I remained for some time, un­willing to unburden myself to any one; at length one of my most intimate friends being in my shop, having for some time observed my dejected countenance and reser­ved behaviour, anxiously enquired the cause; I taking him to be one of my most confidential friends, told him the real cause. He was much touched with my rela­tion, but bid me to keep up a good heart; that I was among my friends, who would defend me at all haz­ards. I told him I did not doubt of the good will of my neighbours, and added that if ever I should fall by my enemie's arm, it would be in a sly, secret manner— he would take the advantage of me by way laying my walks in the night, or when detained from home, as was the case when wounded by my former foe—to this my friend observed that this might happen, but he hoped not. He proposed, that if the hatred continued, I should leave this Tribe for two or three years, join some other Tribe, and there carry on my business, by that time he hoped my adversary would be dead, or forget the injury.

[Page 74]I thought much of this advice, and con'd it over frequently in my mind, not knowing how to commu­nicate it to others; for to put the plan into practice, I must consult all our chiefs, or not obtain their consent; without it I could not depart, nor pass any Tribe to a more distant one, without first procuring my pass and recommendation from the Tribe to whom I belonged, and so on from Tribe to Tribe, until I should find some one Tribe who would give me proper encouragement to tarry with them.

A ray of hope now flushed my mind, that I might once more visit and enjoy my friends in my native country; I therefore determined to ask leave of absence for three years to visit my friends, expecting that the chiefs would as readily grant me liberty to return to my friends, as to join some other distant Tribe of In­dians. Flushe [...] with this idea, I communicated my wishes to some chosen friends, they in my name went to the respective chiefs, who summoned a general coun­cil on the occasion. After a lengthy debate, I obtained free liberty to be absent for three years to visit my friends, on my promise to return to them at the expira­tion of the term, (extraordinaries excepted) allowing me four young men to attend me to the next Tribe.

Having prepared myself by dressing in my best at­tire, equiped with the best gun I should choose, and [Page 75] every other necessary, I took my leave of my friends, not without great regret, apparent on both sides—ma­ny of my friends collected to bid the friendly adieu; here I could not refrain shedding tears, especially on leaving my trusty boy, who clung around me, begging that he might go with me; but our chiefs would not consent, expecting he might be of service to them in my absence, as he had now become a considerable workman.

With my waiters I departed in my canoe, steering for the main, which I soon recovered, and with our canoe, &c. we directed our course through the woods to the nearest water, as there is no travelling a great way through this country without canoes, by reason of the many lakes and rivers.

After thus travelling fifteen days, we arrived on the borders of the next Tribe; here I made a halt, and sent two of my waiters into their wigwams, with my pass and recommendation from our Tribe, as was my constant practice to every Tribe through which I passed on my way to Canada. My waiters were kindly received, and obtained liberty to pass through their na­tion.* The Tribe received me with peculiar satisfac­tion, knowing my Tribe, and my rank among them.

[Page 76]My tarry among them was but short, pushing for­ward towards home with all speed. Here I dismissed my waiters, who returned back to their homes; four others of the Scarreosaw Tribe were allowed to accom­pany me to the next Tribe, which was invariably prac­ticed by every Tribe through which I passed.

Having procured some provision, with my new companions I took my leave and departed, observing a northern course. This Tribe at their own expence provided for me a canoe and provision. We travelled on for thirty-three days before we came to the next Tribe; each day on our encampment, at evening, we took care to cook (except when on the water) a suf­ficiency for twenty-four hours, frequently killing fowl and other game as came in our way. I was received by this Tribe with every mark of friendship. Here I tarried a short time.*

During my stay among them, after dismissing my former servants, this Tribe made the necessary prepa­ration for my journey, in waiters, canoe and provision. In this people I observed a sensible difference between their language and ours, insomuch that I could under­stand but very little of theirs, I must therefore be put to much difficulty in my travel, but the waiters who al­ternately [Page 77] waited on me, sufficiently understood the dif­ferent language to transact the necessary business, so that I found no great difficulty of being introduced to the several chiefs with whom I had occasion to transact my necessary business—one Tribe sufficiently under­standing the language of the next Tribe, and so on from Tribe to Tribe until my arrival within the limits of Canada. With my promises of future friendship with them, and not hesitating to mention my making them some valuable presents on my return, (for they were informed by my waiters of the object of my jour­ney) if ever put in practice, with the usual ceremonies and necessaries I departed.

On my way I crossed a river very wide, the water appeared remarkably white, which I understood was caused by a bed of silver ore. Having travelled on in this manner for about nine months I came in sight of a large pond, on the opposite side was a village, the resi­dence of another Tribe. After crossing this pond I sent two of my men to the Tribe as I had practiced heretofore, my messengers after about an hour's absence returned with the following story, that on their arrival they enquired for the chief or head Indian of that Tribe, they were informed that the Tribe was under the com­mand of a very old squaw, to her they delivered their message, who replied that she would receive me provi­ded I could stand her trial of my courage as a good [Page 78] warrior, saying that she had a method whereby she could distinguish a man of courage from a coward, that if I would consent to stand the trial, she was wil­ling so far to receive me. On hearing this I entered the village, determining to stand trial, eagerly intent on my journey, determining to surmount every impedi­ment; by the direction of my guides I soon found my lady's wigwam; on coming near, saw her standing at the door with a pistol in one hand, with the other hand she caught hold of my right hand and discharged the pistol, pointing it to my breast; at this I neither winked nor started back; she saw my firmness, pulled me into her wigwam, entertained me and my attendance in the best manner according to their method of treating strangers of the first rank.* The next morning the old squaw informed me that she would provide all the necessaries for my journey, I then dismised the young men who attended me to this Tribe. The old Queen and I soon became acquainted, and in my broken way I communicated to her the motives for my undertaking this journey, and some sketches of my former sufferings, to all which she paid particular attention, and observing my sprightly actions and warlike appearance, made me an offer of being one of her first officers and [Page 79] favourites, and that I should marry her favourite daughter if I would tarry with her, with many other persuasive arguments. She endeavoured to prevent my pursuing my plan of returning to my friends, but all to no purpose—she found that I would not tarry, made the necessary preparation for my departure, and in six days after my first acquaintance with her, I took my leave and departed, with four men, canoe and provi­sion. My joy increasing on my nearer approach to my own country served as wings to waft me on.

I continued my journey from Tribe to Tribe in the same manner as before described. Some villages, the residence of each particular Tribe were distant one from the other, some forty, some fifty miles. On my way I crossed a very large and rapid river, supplied by three remarkable large springs on the side of a large moun­tain, not far distant from the place of the river where I passed over. I cheerfully went on with my young men, canoe, &c. for about one month after passing o­ver this river, I travelled on, and on the 19th day of June 1787, I arrived at Detroit after eleven years absence.

Although now among my countrymen, I but poor­ly enjoyed myself for several days, having been so long absent I had almost forgot my French language, and the inhabitants took me for an Indian; however, [Page 80] one day I entered the store belonging to a Mr. Baibie, his clerk attentively viewed me, saw something in my countenance different from the countenances of my In­dian companions, asked me in French, if I was all In­dian? I answered him in the negative; on his question­ing me further, I informed him, though in a broken manner, of my misfortunes among the Indians, and that my father lived near Quebec, on my leaving him in the first of the year 1776; the clerk immediately called Mr. Baibie and informed him who I was, of my sufferings, whether bound, &c. This worthy man mov­ed with the account I had given of myself, took partic­ular notice of me, and gave me provision during my tarry at Detroit. Here I dismissed my friendly com­panions, the Indians who came with me to Detroit; they bid me an affectionate farewel and departed for their homes. Mr. Baibie furnished me with money to pay my passage over the Lakes St. Clair and Erie, I heartily thanked my benefactor, took my leave of him after I had spent ten days at Detroit, and departed, homewards bound, and arrived at Lake Erie in a few days Here I tarried but one day, from thence I went on by the way of Niagara Falls to Lake Ontario; here I tarried a few days, waiting for a passage over this Lake. I was much reduced, having sold what trifles I could spare, at length hearing of a small ves­sel arriving from Cataraque, I immediately went on board, and to my great joy, found the commander to [Page 81] be my cousin from Quebec—we had not seen each oth­er for eleven years; the joy felt by us both on this joy­ful meeting, is better felt than expressed—with this friend I crossed the Lake and came to Montreal.

While at Cataraque, being in a lonely, disconsolate state, destitute of money and friends, I met with a gen­tlemen* to whom I communicated my wants; he, touch­ed with my distress, at once became my friend, and be­ing a man of compassion and large property, he took off my uncouth dress (Indian fashion) and gave me one agreeably to the dress of the people with whom I now resided—here I tarried for one month under the eye and assistance of my invaluable friend and benefac­tor—after which, as above related, I (my new dress giving me some uneasiness) aukwardly strolled about for some time; at length finding a vessel bound to Quebec, I engaged my passage thither, and after four days arrived at the city, the sight of which gave me inexpressible joy. On my landing, my eyes were struck with a most agreeable satisfaction, viewing now an ob­ject which heretofore, in my juvenile state, filled me with singula [...] pleasure; anon an edifice of public resort struck me with inexpressible joy—walking from street to street, I saw many of my former acqaintance, to me [Page 82] fully known, but to them I was as a stranger—my joy on seeing them, many of whom being my former inti­mates at school and juvenile excursions, overflowed to that degree, that I could not restrain, but in a flood of voluntary tears of joy I stopped them, and caught them by the arm, with a sobing heart, in broken French cried out, do you not know me? I am Charley, your once beloved and faithful companion in sorrow and joy; I am he who you saw wontonly torn from your affec­tions, and from the embraces of an indulgent, tender father, and by the command of a tyrannical ruler, un­reservedly given to the Savages of the wilderness, with them I have encountered many dangers, surmounted unheard of (by you) trials; I have sought you with wearisome steps, and here in this beloved, peaceful city I have found you. On their recognising me, they with open arms received and embraced me, and with un­feigned friendship, one and all invited me to their res­pective dwellings.

With my quondam, bosom companions, I tarried but a few days, enjoying their sincere congratulations on my safe return to the city, wherein my first young pulse began to beat; my anxiety of seeing my dear father* and family, urged my departure.

[Page 83]I arrived at Quebec on Saturday, August the 10th, 1787, and on Monday following, I took my leave of my Quebec friends, and at three o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, arrived at my father's house at St. Nicola,* without much difficulty I found his dwelling, and eagerly entered; here I found a beloved sister, who intent on her domestic affairs, on my entering took but little notice of me, however she complimented me with a seat near her; I attentively viewed her, and easily discovered in her countenance a family likeness. I was eager to inform her of the cause of my visit; I therefore began to converse with her, as who is the master and owner of this house? is he within? or gone some distance from home? to which she answered, this house is owned and occupied by Mr. Louis Rusoe D'Eres, who is now in his shop hard by; I then question­ed her about the owner's family? she informed me that his family was but small, having heretofore had a large one; that but three children were left, she being one; that the family had been unfortunate, having parted with two sons much beloved, one was gone to France to perfect his trade, being a [...]ner, the other, a beloved brother, the youngest of the family, was by a more than brutal decree given to Indians, and by them carried to their far distant dwellings, this by my aged and tender [Page 84] father was severely felt, for many days and lonely nights he lamented the loss of his much beloved son, would often in the extremity of grief cry out, Oh my son! my son! how wast thou torn from thy fond fa­ther's embrace? and that at a period most engaging, and what adds to my infelt sorrow, given to the uncul­tivated Savages of the trackless wilderness, where noth­ing but brutal roar, increased by the more brutal man­ners of case-hardened wretches, strangers to every feel­ing of humanity; all this and much more was the dai­ly effusions of my father's parental breast. I too, said my sister, mingled my tears and cries with the best of fathers, but alas! alas! our sighings were lost in air, my once beloved brother is gone, no more to be seen and caressed by his fond father and dearest connec­tions.

This moving account given by my sister, entered my inmost soul, and roused all my passions to the high­est key, for some time I was unable to utter even one word, at length my tender passions but a little subsided, I began by informing her, that I had travelled among Indians of various Tribes, that in my travels I heard much of a person who had been wontonly delivered to them, that I had often heard his lementations echo through the uncultivated desert; at this she attentively eyed me, and burst into tears, here a scene opened im­possible for me to describe; here sat a long absent and [Page 85] almost forgotten brother, there a beloved sister, eager­ly catching every falling word from the lips of a friendly stranger—I could no longer refrain, but sprang from my seat, caught her in my willing arms, and with a stam­mering voice, exclaimed, I am your brother! I am he who was torn from my friends and suffered, was dead to them, now alive to declare to you what I have expe­rienced in the various turns of Providence during my long absence—does my father live? is his life still con­tinued to receive the filial embrace? and to give the parental welcome? my sister was much overcome and for awhile could not realise my safe return, she at length recovered, saying, stay my brother, I will has­ten to my father. My sister ran to my father, found him in the shop directing his workmen, she immedi­ately informed him of what she had seen and heard, he listened with indifference, saying all this cannot be true, your brother is long since dead, your informer is some impostor, who on hearing the particulars of our loss in your brother, now to curry favour with us, has contrived this plausible story to impose on us. Her tar­rying so long increased my desire to see him, I ran to the shop, on entering I at once knew him, he turned to­wards me and caught me in his arms; now thought I, my joy is compleat, my toils are at an end, once more I realise the embrace of a long absent father; begone ye delusive fantoms, keep back ye visionary dreams, [Page 86] let me bathe, securely bathe in the joyful tears,* and embrace the tenderest of fathers; to this the specta­tors could but utter, how tender the embrace of long absent friends?

After many expressions of unfeigned joy, we retired to my father's house, where he gave me a minute ac­cou [...] of his trials after I left him, of my brother and other sister. He told me that he and my brother were [...]fined in the guard house during the American war, [...]d at the commencement of peace were liberated; that he had suffered much in his property, having lost his real property in Quebec, in consequence of his tak­ing an active part with General Montgomery, as has been related; that my brother was gone to France; that my other sister was now in a family state, having been married about two years.

My father being (previous to my return) left with­out a son, he proposed that I should tarry with him and go on with his black-smith' [...] business—to this I readily consented, and went on in that line four years, enjoy­ing myself with my friends, with as much ease and sat­isfaction as if I had been with them from my youth, forgetting all things behind, looking for better things [Page 87] to come. Thus I went on until an unexpected letter from Montreal marr'd all my comforts.

Two Indian chiefs arrived at my father's with a letter from Colonel Campbell* at Montreal. On their coming I was much alarmed, knowing them to belong to a Tribe through which I passed, when on my return to Canada. I communicated this to my father, who was much troubled and advised me to take no notice of his letter, which was to invite me to repair to Mon­treal, there to undertake to go as interpreter among the Indians to negociate the business for the English a­mong them. My father anxiously enquired of the chiefs what Mr. Campbell wanted of me? why he had sent for me? they replied, they knew nothing of the busi­ness. I hearing of Colonel Campbell's gentleman-like character did not hesitate, but with the chiefs set off for Montreal.

On my arrival Mr. Campbell informed me, that he was in want of an interpreter to go with the In­dians, the Indians recognising my person, claimed me as having received many favours from them, when among them. On this I began to fear some trap was layed to carry me back to the Indians.

[Page 88]The very idea of returning among them was sufficient to forbid my undertaking, I therefore discovered a backwardness; on which Mr. Campbell used many persuasive arguments to gain my consent; as that I should be allowed captain's pay with rations, and other priviledges annexed to that office; that those Indians came for this purpose three hundred miles, and could not be denied; that the trade with them was of the greatest consequence to the British nation.* All this Mr. Campbell supposed was a sufficient inducement for me to engage in this important mission, and proposed that I should take the oath of office and of allegiance to the British King, &c. &c. This sensibly touched me, at once realising my former treatment from that King's officers. I was so much irritated that I shew my resentment in words, (perhaps too severe) this the Colonel resented as pointed at him and his King; he called a guard to take me into custody—this incensed me but the more; I was so far from being intimidated, that I even damned him, and defied his guard. The Indians being now absent, I turned my back, ran to the river, jumped into a boat, which fortunately pre­sented for my escape. In this boat I crossed the St. Lawrence and with all speed made towards St. Nicol [...].

[Page 89]Colonel Campbell immediately dispatched a mes­senger with a letter to governor Carlton at Quebec, containing an account* of my escape, and the necessity of apprehending me. This messenger arrived at Que­bec nearly as soon as I arrived at St. Nicola, and with­in two days after my arrival, a serjeant with his guard properly equiped, came to my father's house in quest of their prey—on hearing this I armed myself, went out to them, and informed them that I was determin­ed not to be taken alive, that I would kill the first per­son who should touch me—this brought on a parley, they informed me that they did not wish to injure me, that they had no orders for this; on this they retired to a neighbouring house, which gave me an opportun­ity to reflect on my situation and mode of my future conduct.

On a mature deliberation of my present situation I thought it best to decamp, and push for the United States, hoping there to find a secure asylum from the British. This plan I communicated to my father, and to some few of my best friends—this they consented to reluctantly, in hopes of my safe return to them at [Page 90] some future period. Having their consent and appro­bation, I prepared myself as well as my time and cir­cumstances would allow.

I left my father's family, directed my course to St. Johns, where I safely arrived; here I procured a pass to Onion Rriver, Vermont State, and arrived without much difficulty, and let myself to General Allen, with whom I wrought one month; he not having any further employ for me, I then engaged with a Mr. Boynton an innkeeper for two months, to work at the blacksmith's and farmer's business; I also wrought at my trade with a Mr. Collins.

One Evening at Mr. Boynton's, I found two men* who came from Montreal, bound to Hatfield and Northampton—I supposing myself to be at too short a distance from Mr. Campbell, and that he might by some means find out my place of abode; I therefore engaged a passage with the travellers in their carriage, intending to push further on towards Boston or New-York.

On our arrival at Northampton, they generously gave me half the sum agreed on for my passage, having paid an equal proportion of our expence on the jour­ney. I endeavoured to enter on some employment in [Page 91] this town, but found none—parted with my two friends and left the town, having Boston in view—travelled on the road leading thither; at length coming into Brook­field, I again offered my service, but finding none at my trade—at length I entered the house of a G—m M—e, and enquired if they wanted to hire a good hand to assist them in their domestic business? on my putting my question, a rough looking, hard fac'd old man,* setting by the fire place, turned to me, ques­tioned me of my good qualities and skill in work? I answered that I was acquainted with the blacksmith's business, that I also had some knowledge of farming, and of other domestic employments, that I had sought employment at my trade, but of late found none, that I was willing on proper encouragement to engage in farming, to which he listened, and replied that he was not a mechanic, but that he was a farmer and want­ed help; I said I should be glad to engage with him if a­greeable: he made me an offer, which although small wages I accepted, and covenanted to tarry with him seven months. Here opened a new scene, being unac­customed to this new employ; however, I made the best of a bad bargain, and exerted every nerve to please my employer, but my attempts were fruitless. He treated me with rigor; turning me out early, and keep­ing [Page 92] me late in the meanest and most arduous labour; turning me from his table into the kitching among his negroes, and other menial servants, with whom I drew an equal share of coarse and rough food—at night I was obliged to turn in with a boy who invariably stuck to his rule of wetting his couch every night, not with tears only, but with a liquid, the English name of which being so disagreeable I forbear to pronounce, although a monosyllable. In this disagreeable state I wrought with him through the seven months, for which I enga­ged. My employer treated me thus roughly thinking to oblige me* to quit his service before my time of en­gagement expired, thereby to clip me of my wages; but in this he was mistaken—in many other respects he treated me with more than savage brutality (executions only excepted) insomuch that I frequently wished my­self with my Indian friends, at Scanyawtauragahrooote Island. With much difficulty I recovered my wages of this churl; who answered to every [...]d quality both in mind and person. After this I let myself out to work at my trade for fifteen months with a Mr. Abbot, who carried on the smith's business with dispatch, and to good advantage. My tarry with this man was most agreeable, he and his family treated me in every respect with humanity, and on all occasions with tenderness. Here I became acquainted not only with the inhabi­tants [Page 93] of this, but of the neighbouring towns also. Be­fore the expiration of my term I engaged for with Mr. Abbot, I found an opening at Spencer, a neighbouring town suitable for my business—thither, on the expira­tion of the term I engaged for, after receiving my wa­ges, I removed, and with suitable encouragement set up for myself; soon became acquainted with the inhabi­tants, and gained much custom.

Thus seated, I began to turn my mind upon the comforts of a conjugal life, having previously gone through my portion of sorrow and fatigue. I became acquainted with a female* of this town, to whom I made my addresses, and in a proper time, agreeably to the custom of this country, made her my wife—this took place August 19th, 1794. In this town of Spen­cer I tarried thirteen months after marriage, enjoying all the comforts of a domestic life, surrounded with many friends, formed by my new conjugal connection.

This town is an inland situation, made up principal­ly of farmers—my unaccustomedness to work suitably for them, led me to consider this town not as a suitable place for my future residence and employ; I therefore fought for a town better situated for such business, as I was most acquainted with and best calculated to pursue. [Page 94] I made all the enquiry in my power for such a town; at length, hearing much said of a northern State,* that business was carried on there to great advantage, I resolved to try my luck in that quarter: with this view I left Spencer—travelled until I came to a town which on my first entrance agreeably struck my mind— here I sought employ, and luckily found a man who wanted my work; with him I engaged, and from him and his family received much kindness. I be­came intimate and made him my confidential friend: he having learnt the history of my past life, and future wishes, encouraged me to set up my business in the town, by whose friendly advice and assistance I made an attempt, and found it successful in gaining custom and credit.

Soon after my settlement in my new and last sta­tion, I sent for my yokefellow, with whom I now re­side in a [...] agreeable situation, where I hope to con­tinue so long as my strength, skill and integrity shall aid me in gaining custom and reputation, as becomes all good citizens.



MUCH hath been said and published (by the learned) on the origin of the aborigines of this country at different periods, since the first discovery and settlement of America, by Europeans. However plausible their hypothetical mode of reasoning may be, nothing as yet hath ever appeared sufficiently conclu­sive on that subject, and I conceive never can be, as the materials necessary for compiling an authentic history never can be obtained; the natives not having it in their power to give any account from whence their ancestors sprang, nor even to give any account of matters that have taken place in modern times any further back, than by saying that such and such matters, as battles fought by them and victory on their side succeeded, &c. so many moons past, (as they count by moons that alternately succeed after such events.)

Any further attempts, therefore, to trace Indian chronology so far as to reduce it to any tolerable de­gree of satisfaction, must be fruitless; however, I leave that to those who are pleased with the study of artiqui­ty, [Page 96] and who are fond of drawing positive consequences from (as they say) circumstantial premises.

As my residence among those Indians to whom I was given was for a considerable length of time, the account I propose to give of them may be depended on, having been an eye witness to many of their move­ments, both in war and peace, myself being accounted, by them, as one, and that of no small consequence, both in the cabinet and in the field of Mars.

That the reader may have a better idea of their manners, customs, &c. &c. I shall give it in chapters, as by the following sequal may be read.

My acquaintance with the Tribes of Indians in the vicinity of the island of Scanyawtauragahrooote, was but small, although with that Tribe ten years. I shall therefore confine myself to as particular a description of the Tribe, their manners, &c. with whom I resided. That Tribe was the most numerous (as I was informed by their chiefs) of any in that part of America, and most warlike, as I often realised this during my resi­dence with them, not having known them once to fail in their warlike feats, either defensive or offensive.

[Page 97]


THEY are in general tall and strait limbed. A de­formed person is rarely to be found among them. Their skin is of a copper colour—their eyes are large and very black, and of a piercing sight, discovering objects, though small, at a great distance, insomuch, that they seldom fail of striking the mark aimed at by the guide of the feathered arrow. Their teeth are well set, and seldom fail, even in old age—their breath sweet as the gentle zephyr of an unclouded morning of May —their cheek bones are rather raised, more so in the female than the male; the former are more fleshy, and shorter than the latter. The hair of both sexes is very long, coarse, and of the blackest hue; the females pride themselves much in the length and straitness of theirs; for this purpose they frequently apply Bear's grease, and a certain powder pulverised from the bark of elm or brown ash; thus prepared, they hang to the extremity of their hair lead weights, which serves to facilitate the growth.

The Indians are careful to prevent the growth of any hair upon any part of their body, the hairy scalp only excepted. The males extract their beards, &c. [Page 98] with nippers made of wire, procured from the Span­iards.

The males of all ranks, from the warrior to the pappoose, are marked with the sun on the outside of the right leg, the moon and seven stars on the inside of the same: those of the males who have distinguished them­selves by their extraordinary exertions in war, and there­by acquired great names, are distinguished from others by the singular dress of the head. The hair is plucked from the head, except a small portion on the back part the bigness of a man's hand; the hair thus left on is permitted to grow to a great length, and ornamented with silver broaches and feathers of various colours, from the crown of the head to the extremity of the hair. Their blankets also, are of the first quality, and ornamented with silver clasps; the first, which is fixed at the nape of the neck behind, is as large as a crown piece, and are placed equidistant in a strait line to the bottom of the blanket. Each clasp or broach (for 'tis immaterial which, just as it suits the hero) proportion­ably decrease in size from the uppermost to the lower­most, which is fixed at the lowest extremity, and not larger than a piece of silver coin of the smallest value. The persons thus decorated, are respected by the com­monalty at feasts, tournaments, and all public games, as the nobility and gentry of European nations are by the peasantry.

[Page 99]The Indians of both sexes are fond of paint, and use it on all occasions. The males in going to war paint their faces of different colours, the right side black, the left red, sometimes in chequers of various colours, as black, red, green, yellow, &c. The females paint a small portion of each cheek of vermillion, at some particular seasons their arms and necks, their breast also they pay particular attention to. Th [...]se of the better sort suspend rings of gold or silver from their noses and ears.

The common dress of the males consists of a blank­et, clout and shirt, unconfined at the rists or collar, this would confine their arms so much as to prevent any great exertions of the body; their legs and feet are covered with stockings of Beaver skins, and mogasons of Moose hide poorly dressed. Their blankets are carefully thrown over their shoulders, holding the upper end by two corners; with a trusty knife in one hand, pipe, tobacco pouch, &c. in the other, they walk about the village; but in their dances, they throw off the blanket.

The females wear a covering, some of leather, oth­ers of linnen, when they can procure it from the Span­iards; this often happens, which covers the peticoats* [Page 100] down to the knees—their legs and feet are dressed like the males.

The manner of constructing their wigwams hath already, in the memoirs, been sufficiently described. Their utensils for domestic convenience, are in general tolerable, such as brass kettles, both large and small, as occasion requires. Knives are seldom used but in scalping and carving on wood, making wooden la­dles, &c. Their vessels used at feasts are wooden dish­es and bowls; into which the prepared food is dipped by wooden ladles. Every member of a family or collect­ed multitude, is furnished with a wooden spoon tolera­bly executed.

Their other furniture consists of beds, formed by piling up skins of Bear, Beaver and Buffalo, to a­bout two feet from the ground, on which their beds, without order or distinction, are placed. The beds of the parents are indiscriminately prepared, so that the parents' lodging one night, often becomes the lodging of the sons or daughters the succeeding night, and so on just as it happens. A perfect harmony, however, prevails through each family, both at their meals and retirements.

[Page 101]


THE males in general live an idle, careless life, never undertaking business in a domestic line, leaving that to the females, who not only execute every kind of manual labour at home, but are obliged to travel into the woods and bring home the game, whether great or small, when obtained by their husbands.

Each family hath a particular spot of ground as­signed it by the chiefs, whereon to raise corn, beans, all which is tilled by the females of each family, and in autumn, whatever grows thereon, whether corn or any other vegetable, the profits of their labour is care­fully secured, so that the males are left to their ease, while at home, realising that the wife is truly an help meat.

What adds much to the arduous toil of the women already described, is, they are obliged to carry with them into the corn field such infants as depend on the mother's breast for support. Those children are care­fully lashed to the concave side of some thick bark, or to some piece of wood formed for that purpose. From the wigwam to the field the tender mother carries her [Page 102] babe slung to her back; when arrived, she seeks for some sure and trusty prop, to which she ties the rising hope of her family in such a manner, and in such a sit­uation, as by the gentle wind and melodious notes of airy songsters, the child securely sleeps until exhausted nature rouses the body, which by its infantile cries soon brings the nurse, who from the yielding breast supplies the calls of nature with ambrosial treat; this (drawn through canals unimpaired by time, or the more dangerous assaults of intemperance, long multiplied and handed down from mother to daughter) affords a liquor at once nourishing and salubrious. The tender offs­pring therefore is reared, corporally, active and vigo­rous; the young and expanding mind, the better part must have an almost unbounded latitude for growth when assisted by the more accomplished artist; for want of this, the young savage dwindles down to as abject a state of uselessness as the long cultivated debau­ [...]hee in (what are called polite and well informed nations.)

The males are careful not to intrude into the fe­males company at particular times, when obliged se­cretly to retire—during the continuance of certain pe­riodical evacuations to which the females are peculiarly incident, or in the more important hour of nature's struggle into life.

[Page 103]Both sexes make and receive visits at proper times. Whenever a woman visits her female neighbour▪ she enters the wigwam without reserve, and with an open▪ unreserved frankness, peculiar to a people uncloged with unmeaning complimentary sentences, (never to be found in female companies of the more polite, whose visits are managed with futile and evasive words to little or no purpose, and of no more consequence nor edi­fication, than whether a cat, to be a good mouser, should be black or white) the conversation turns upon subjects peculiarly adapted for domestic use and nation­al profit, such as the best method to cultivate the soil in proper seasons—to rear their tender offspring in the best manner for future usefulness, both in the cabinet and in warlike feats—teach them in their respective lines, both male and female, the best and safest mode of pursuit, which if persevered in, will lead them on to honor and respectability, both in their own nation and with the Tribes of the vicinity.

Such is the conduct of the respective nurses towards their several charges, leaving the management of na­tional concerns, more weighty and more important for national protection to the males, whose business it is to plan and execute all matters tending to peace or war. In overtures for peace made by the opposing enemy, they with all the cool, dispassionate attention necessary to determine so important a matter enter on the subject, [Page 104] and in open council,* one at a time gives his opinion for or against the proposals, ever keeping their na­tional honor in view. But of this subject and their manner of managing their wars, must be left as the subject of some future chapter.


WHEN we consider that the Indians are totally ignorant of astronomical calculations, whereby with precision to determine the regular revolutions of the planetary system or periodical returns of the revolving seasons, we are struck with astonishment—when we are told that their mode of calculation never fails of a sat­isfactory conclusion, that at least 'tis tolerable.

They divide the year into twelve equal parts, ac­counting the waxing and waning of each moon through the year for one equal part thereof. They pay par­ticular attention to the first appearance of each moon, and on the occasion repeat some animating expressions, heightened by some harmonious sounds. Each month [Page 105] through the year with them hath a name expressive of its season, as March, with them, begins the year. After the vernal equinox, they call

First spring moon.
Second spring moon.
Third spring moon.
First summer moon.
Second summer moon.
Third summer moon.
First fall or autumnal moon.
Second fall or autumnal moon.
Third fall or autumnal moon.
First winter or frosty moon.
Second winter or frosty moon.
Third winter or frosty moon.

When the moon does not appear they say it is dead; when it first appears they say it is come to life again. They make no further division of time into weeks, hours, but when conveying the idea of a day they call it a sleep.

They are totally ignorant of geography, yet will draw on birch bark, charts tolerably exact of their country, &c. They direct their travels in the night, [Page 106] when the moon does not shine by the polar star. They reckon the distance of one place from another by one sleep or one day's travel; each sleep they allow to be about twenty or twenty-five miles per day. They have no idea of arithmetic.

During my tarry with them I frequently endeavour­ed to instruct them in my mode of reckoning, but their fondness for prefering their own, by counting a cer­tain number of beads, prevailed; I therefore gave over any further attempt.


THE Scanyawtauragahrooote Tribe being very nu­merous and warlike, particular care is taken, both in domestic and distant operations, when called sepa­rately as a nation, or in junction with some other Tribe. The persons who are chosen to conduct as chiefs (for they are considered as separate departments) act sep­arately. The one who conducts the operations of war and peace, is one who has long been approved [Page 107] in warlike feats, for he rises purely by merit, is prefer­ed, and is implicitly obeyed, no one ever daring to op­pose his mandates; but may, when called upon by the chief, give his opinion on the best and surest mode of advance or retreat.

The person who conducts their internal police, is one who hath by long and often tried abilities approv­ed himself one of sound and judicious abilities; most likely to govern without austerity, partiality or preju­dice whatever he undertakes to decide upon. He pays particular attention to the charge alledged against the offender; never admits circumstantial evidence as having any weight, either in condemning or acquiting the accused. All the evidence pro and con, is impar­tially weighed, and without favour or affection decided upon. Those of the males who are distinguished as above described, are ever elected whenever a vacancy requires a new choice, never admitting of hereditary successions.

In their domestic government, a number of persons are elected to execute matters of less consequence; as to put into execution certain mandates issued by the com­mander in chief, and are often called upon as assist­ants to the supreme judge, in trying and deciding mat­ters of life and death.

[Page 108]Whenever occasion requires to send intelligence to distant Tribes, 'tis done by arranging a certain num­ber of beads of different colours, in such a manner as to convey the intended idea of intelligence. The bead which is to begin the first word is stopped up at its eye, and is of a larger size. A number of beads of the same colour are placed in a direct line to the right, and so on, alternately placing different coloured and sized beads so as to convey the whole of the proposed in­telligence. The persons thus informing, and thus receiving intelligence, are sufficiently instructed so as to convey and receive certain and infalible intelligence.

Soon after the death or resignation of any one of the commanders in chief, the whole of the males as­semble for a new choice, which is made in open air, and in a convenient place for that purpose. The national pipe is brought on, and a large block is fixed in the ground at a small distance, on which the candidate is placed, crosslegged (for they set up but one at a time.) The matter is determined by the number of persons who alternately smoke at the pipe: if a large majori­ty use the pipe at this time, 'tis determined in favour of the first candidate, if otherwise, a second is set up as the first, and the Tribe proceed as before, and so on until one is chosen by a majority of smokers present.

Whenever a person is chosen, proclamation is im­mediately made of the person, his age and qualities. [Page 109] If he accepts the office, all persons without distinction encircle him; he then makes a lengthy speech, declar­ing his acceptance and determination strictly to adhere to their national laws, and his determiation inviolately to hand down to his successor all the rights and cere­monies peculiar to their nation. The multitude are then dismissed. The sachem exercises all the authority given him as handed down by his predecessor, until his power ceaseth, which is at his death or resignation only.

As it rarely happens that any one resigns his office, electioneering but seldom takes place among them. It often happens that the young warriors are called upon to assist in council on matters of war or peace. They attentively listen to the arguments for or against any proposed question, never speaking on the subject; but by saying I approve or disapprove, and that will do or will not do, just as it suits him. The whole debate ends by the largest number of answers as above.

The war and civil departments are by their prima­ry constitution* so formed, that one never interferes or clashes with the other. Each branch strictly adher­ing [Page 110] to the laws formed to support and to carry into effect, the mandates issued by its particular com­mander in chief.

Such is the power of long habit, no one of inferior rank ever shews the least reluctance in performing whatever is in his power, sparing no pains day nor night, but cheerfully executes all orders properly authenticated, even at the hazard of his life; ever keep­ing it in his mind, that to preserve his own life and property, 'tis necessary to dedicate his own power and time to the national welfare. However, it some times (though rarely) happens that one or two will resent and endeavour to frustrate the purposes and decrees of the civil magistrate, as was the case on my trial. Whenever such conduct is discovered, the offenders are punished with death, and that in a most excrucia­ting manner, unless prevented by the delinquents leav­ing the nation for ever after.


FEASTING and dancing, among the Indians, are accounted the most honorable and satisfactory past time. Nothing is wanted, in their power to furnish, on public feasts, to render the entertainment most agreea­ble.

[Page 111]The animal food they use principally, is of the Buffalo, Bear, Beaver and Racoon, with many other small meats, as their appetite may direct their choice.

Whenever a public feast is proposed by the com­mander in chief of the civil department, preparation is immediately made in some airy and convenient spot; for the whole Tribe, male and female, assemble.

A certain number of cooks and waiters prepare the food, by boiling Bear, Buffalo, Beaver, Deer and Moose—but above all, the tail of the Beaver is prefer­ed and served up to the commanders in chief. With this variety of meat is added Indian corn and beans, all boiled together in such a manner that it is eat, both flesh and vegetables, with spoons only.

The feast being prepared, the multitude assemble and form a circle on the ground crosslegged—in the centre the national pipe is placed, in a manner already described. The two chiefs sit near the pipe on blocks crosslegged. A particular attention is paid to them by waiters of distinction. As soon as may be, the col­lected citizens are served by waiters placed on different quarters, with the food in wooden bowls, each one sep­arately—to each a wooden spoon is added. By a par­ticular sign given by the master of ceremonies, every guest begins at one and the same time, ever bearing in mind never to crack a bone which may fall to his share, and to eat all contained in his dish.

[Page 112]The feast ended, they all rise and carry towards a large fire, (prepared for the purpose) his bowl, into which the bony contents is flung, and there left to consume. This done, the bowls and spoons are care­fully secured in some convenient department, always ready for future use.

The assembled multitude then surround the great pipe, and (led on by the commanders) alternately smoke, which further cements the nation. Dancing now takes place, which is performed in equal divisional parties, led on by each respective master, with an e­qual number of musicians, each furnished with the instru­ment of music already described, or in want thereof, with a brass kettle turned bottom upwards. The music being well performed, serves to animate the dancers, and adds much to the entertainment: each dancer carefully observes time, as beaten by the players.

After dancing for some considerable length of time, a new scene takes place, which begins by some distin­guished warrior, who steps forward and in a loud, vehe­ment voice, harangues the multitude to the following purpose, viz.

Whenever I view you in a collected body, and realise your strength and skill in wielding the trusty bow and never failing arrow; at the same time know­ing [Page 113] your valour in battle, your unanimity in council, I am ready to exclaim, Oh happy nation! happy be­yond the conception of your envious neighbours: you have nothing to fear, not even from the most formida­ble enemy, however famed for planning and executing seats of war.

Your situation is such, having good lands for tillage, and hunting ground sufficient for the support of your families at home, and the warrior whenever called to defend his national, unimpaired liberties. Add to this the great abundance of fish swimming in our rivers and lakes, to be caught in the most rigorous as well as the more mild seasons of the revolving year. Go on my brethren to cultivate the more mild and harmonious spirit now prevailing among you. Let no root of bit­terness spring up to choak the better growth of peace, at different periods sown and cultivated by your res­pective leaders.

To this they all give their approbation, by whoop­ing, clapping hands, and at proper intervals pronoun­cing the words, true, you have told nothing but the truth; united we stand, but divided we fall. Then each one adds Peacock feathers, and other party col­oured ones to their caps, &c.

During the whole scene they make use of no other liquid to moisten their throats than pure water, to [Page 114] which they add a small portion of Indian meal, made better by a small quantity of sap sugar.

The multitude being sufficiently satisfied and tired, the assembly is dismissed, and every one peaceably re­tires to his or her wigwam.

Feasts of this description never take place, but in times of public joy. Feasts in families on weddings, &c. less ceremonies are often observed, but more of this hereafter.


THE supplies of the more substantial part of their food being obtained by hunting, 'tis necessary that a very considerable portion of their time should be taken up in this most necessary article. Great care therefore is taken that every rising generation of the males should be well instructed in this art.

They are early taught the use of the bow and ar­row, by shooting at marks fixed at a proper distance from the archer. This is daily practiced until the young pupil becomes a complete marksman, not inferior to [Page 115] his instructor. They are also practiced in wielding the tomahawk, which is peculiarly serviceable in hunt­ing, &c.

The hunting season approaching, peparation is made for that purpose by fixing their traps, bows, &c.

The first hunting season commenceth about the first of November annually, and continues with but small intervals during the winter, until March: after this month, and so on during the summer, animals of every species are of less value, whether for food or cloth­ing, &c.

The quadrupeds they principally aim at in hunting, are the Buffalo, Deer, Moose, Bear, Otter, Beaver, Raccoon and the Porcupine. At this time the indo­lence peculiar to the hunters during the summer sea­son is lost, and an active, persevering, indefatigable spirit pervades the whole.

They are sagacious in discovering the retreat of the animal they propose to hunt, and are equally so in the means used to destroy it. They can easily discover the footsteps of the Beasts they are in pursuit of, although imperceptible by every other traveller, and with cer­tainty follow their prey through the pathless wilderness.

Their particular movements on this occasion, are by a council in the previous summer determined upon, [Page 116] as well as the number each party shall consist of (for they hunt in different companies, and pursue different routs.)

Their method of hunting the Buffalo hath al­ready been described.—Previous to each company's setting out on their different routs, agreeably to the de­termination of the council, every person belonging to each company prepares himself by fasting three days; during which, he neither tastes of food nor even water, nor suffers his dog, who he proposes to accompany him, to eat any thing. During this self denial they appear alert and happy.

The reasons they give for this fasting, is, that it keeps off the evil spirit, and renders their enterprises most propitious; that it causeth them to dream what course to pursue in order to obtain the best and greatest quantity of game, &c.

All the prerequisites being made ready, each party sets out under the direction of some long experienced hunter, taking with them their dogs and a small num­ber of young archers.

Various methods are practiced to hunt the Deer: sometimes by shooting him with the arrow, sometimes by knocking him in head with the tomahawk when o­vertaken in deep snow; but the most effectual method [Page 117] is by forming a triangular fence enclosing a small piece of meadow, to which they resort.* This fence is con­structed of pliable poles interwoven between posts set up at a proper distance one from the other. Within this triangular fence snares are prepared from the rhine of certain weeds, not unlike the nettle of this country, spontaneously growing with them, and are so fixed that the animal coming within this enclosure cannot retreat, but is easily taken.

Any number discovered in the woods are by the hunters and their dogs put in motion and drove on un­til caught by the snares. This method is less expensive and most successful.

The Moose is hunted by first discovering his foot­steps in the snow, which the hunters with weary and persevering steps pursue until the animals are overtak­en in their retreats (for they herd together, sometimes a large number, just as it happens) which is called the Mooseyard, formed by them in trampling down the snow, a space sufficiently large to contain the assembled num­ber. Here they tarry until all the small branches of the surrounding trees are entirely lopped off by the Moose, or driven from thence by the hunters, their never failing enemy.

[Page 118]'Tis impossible truly to describe the agility and per­severance of the hunters when in persuit of their game; neither mountains, valleys, swamps, thickets, torrents, rivers, or even lakes retard their progress, but march strait forward in the most direct line they possibly can; ever having it in their power to help themselves with food of small game, as the woods every where plenti­fully supply.

The Bear is caught frequently by setting traps, for they have no particular place of resort, unless when in their dens, which are generally the hollow of some re­maining stub of some old tree, or under some roots of windfalls; they are therefore but accidentally dis­covered.

The method of setting traps, is first to find some old tree most likely for them to repair to for winter quarters: into this tree about six inches from the ground a hole is made, into which a large plug is driven, and at ten feet in a direct line a stake is fixed in the ground of about six feet in height from the plug fixed in the tree, to the top of the stake a heavy pole is slightly laid on, and on either side from the tree to the stake wood is piled up in such a manner as to prevent the Bear's retreat, but at the entrance a piece of fish is fixed on the end of the pole as near the plug as may be, which allures the hungry animal to the bait, and as soon as [Page 119] touched, the pole which is sufficiently large and heavy, falls, and at once crushes the unwary Bear.

The Otter being an amphibious animal, is caught principally by setting steel traps in the water sufficiently deep as to cover the trap so as not to be discovered by the animal. The trap is baited by fish of any kind, the more stale the better. Near the trap a stake is fixed, and smeared with the entrails of fish, the more putrified the greater the attraction. The trap and stake thus pre­pared, great care must be taken to allure the Otter to the trap; for this purpose the hunter in leav­ing the trap, goes a circuitous rout to a point about one fourth of a mile from the bait, then rubs over the bottoms of his mogasons tainted fish, then in his mog­asons, travels on in a strait line to the trap; this leaves on the ground a scent sufficiently strong for the purpose: this done, the mogasons are taken off, and the hunter, barefooted, in a new rout returns fully satisfied with the sufficiency of his trap and precaution, which sel­dom fail.

The Beaver is also an amphibious animal, and of the greatest consequence to the hunter, as well for food as for clothing and bedding. The tail properly dressed is accounted the most delicious of any meat whatever, and sought for at all public entertainments. The flesh of [Page 120] the Beaver is also much valued by the Indians*—the fur not only serves for clothing, &c. but is the most valuable article for trade with the Spaniards of South America, with whom our Indians barter for such ar­ticles as are not to be found among themselves.

This species of animals are by many considered as under a particular mode of government, not unlike re­publicanism, most sagacious, and not only endeavour to prevent the assaults of the hunters, but also intrusions of animals less formidable. Nothing however can pre­vent their regular and artful mode of constructing hab­itations exactly suited for their convenience and comfort, but more of this hereafter.

As those animals ever herd together, every precau­tion is taken, by them, to prevent being taken by sur­prise; for this purpose they are careful to six guards at proper intervals. The trusty guard give the earliest in­telligence to the community, who immediately secreet themselves in a retreat beyond the skill of the intruder to penetrate. Every precaution therefore is necessary to be used by the hunter to become successful.

Many methods are alternately tried, some with ev­ery prerequisite, however fail; but the most approved mode is by setting steel traps.

[Page 121]In catching every other amphibious animal with steel traps, some bait particularly suited to allure the devoted quadruped, is cautiously fixed to each trap; but in catching the Beaver a quite different method is used.

The hunter on finding their dam, carefully surveys its extent and particular construction, and at some con­venient place in the dam makes a small breach on the upper side, next to the stagnated water, fixes his trap nine inches below the surface; this serves to catch the oldest Beavers first, and by this mode the greater part of the community are taken, for the old ones finding the water lower above the dam, cautiously send out the youngest to search the breach, and by reason of their short legs swim over the trap without harm; upon this the full grown ones venture out and swim towards the breach, and are taken. As soon as the oldest ones are taken, the trap is placed nearer the surface of the water, proportional to the length of the young Bea­ver's legs, they also are in like manner taken.

Many traps are fixed as above, just as the hunters think best, and all are fixed in the day time. At night the over matched animals leave their retreats to exam­ine their dam, and to mend whatever breaches are made.

[Page 122]The Raccoon is generally found in the cavity, formed by the ravages of time in large trees. As soon as their retreat is discovered, a trap is fixed at a small distance from the tree, thus, a semi-circular fence is formed by driving into the ground a sufficient number of stakes at about three inches one from the other: within this space a crotched stake is fixed, on which a heavy pole is placed, and at its inmost extremity, a bait, either of fish or flesh is placed: the Raccoon in helping himself to the bait starts the pole, which instantly falls, and the hungry animal is taken.

The Porcupine is often discovered when in search for food in the day time, ever retreating at night to his den, which is dug into the side of a hill or moun­tain. Whenever he is seen in open air he is shot by the archer with his well directed feathered arrow; sometimes he is found in his den, which is known by introducing a long pole; the hunter on discovering the animal is careful to fasten the end of the pole into the Porcupine's hair and pulls out the devoted creature to the den's mouth, where he is secured.

Smaller animals are occasionally hunted, principal­ly by the archers, excepting the Mink, Musk-Rat, Sa­ble, Fox and Wolfe, which are caught by traps simply prepared: the meat and fur is secured—the meat by smoking—the fur is carefully dried in the air and sun, and in a proper time the hunters return to their respec­tive [Page 123] homes, richly laden with the plunder obtained by destroying the once defenceless inhabitants of the un­cultivated, pathless wilderness.

On the hunters return an equal distribution of game is made, which being often repeated, would soon en­rich the Indians, provided they disposed of their prop­erty to any good advantage, but their being unac­quainted with the proper mode of traffic, they are ea­sily imposed upon, and the end of one hunt is but the beginning of a second, and so on during the hunting season. Necessity, however, urges them to practice hunting as often as the seasons will permit, as their principal dependance for support is on the beasts of the wilderness; who are very numerous, and during the winter (which is the best hunting season) are very fat.

In describing the manner of catching the animals there particularly mentioned, I omitted describing the manner of catching the Fox, and although not in order, in this place for the benefit of hunters in this country, I here give it.

The Fox is the most subtil and difficult to catch of any animal whatever; therefore the greatest care and secrecy is necessary to be observed to take him. He is catched in a steel trap.

[Page 124]Previous to setting the trap, 'tis necessary to allure the Fox near some convenient place where you propose setting the trap: carry to the spot a quantity of the entrails of some animal, no matter of what kind—con­fine the bait by tying it to some tree, here let it remain until the Fox by the scent will discover it, perhaps the first night after the bait is prepared. As soon as the hunter discovers that the Fox has eaten part of the bait, he will then set his trap at about five paces from the bait. Before the trap is set, it should be rubbed over with the liver of some animal—while among the In­dians I used Deer's liver, since my return to Canada, I have used Hog's, which is much the best. The liver must be boiled, and lest the Fox should discover the trap by the scent left on from the hunter's hands, he is care­ful to put on a pair of leather gloves, and then rub the boiled liver over every part of the trap, and on the bot­tom of his shoes or mogasons, and is careful not to touch any thing near the trap without his gloves on; then he takes a quantity of the same kind of liver, ba­ked in the ashes, or which is best, in the oven (if it can be done) to s [...]h a degree as to pulverise it: this pow­der is sprinkled over the hunter's tracks to and from the trap, for the Fox is caught with more ease when the snow is deep. The track must be made from the first fixed bait to and over the trap. A piece of white birch bark is placed on the trap, or which is better, with clean paper, if to be procured; this prevents the snow [Page 125] from gathering over the trap, which might prevent it from springing. Great care must be taken to place some part of the liver under the trap to prevent it from sinking too deep in the snow.

The hunter may, if he chooses, allure Foxes from any other quarter to his trap, by walking with his shoes on, prepared as above, towards his trap from his neighbour's traps not properly prepared.


INDIANS in general are tenacious of their rights and priviledges, jealous of their neighbours, lest at any time they intrude on hunting ground not their own, (for each Tribe hath a particular piece of land assign­ed it, as well for tillage as hunting.) Some Tribes have a larger extent of territory than others. The Tribe to which I belonged, possessed hunting ground extending not only throughout the island, but on the main also, some part far distant from our village; therefore often trespassed upon by the neighbouring Tribes. This being the case, our nation always were [Page 126] (excepting in hunting seasons) planning and carrying on war, or receiving overtures for peace from some Tribe or other.

As Indians are naturally sprightly, enterprising and indefatigable, and of a restless, uneasy make, add to this their jealous, suspicious temper; they seem peculiar­ly fitted for war and really delight in its operations, however rigorous and doubtful.

The yearly trade our Indians carry on with the Spaniards (as hath been observed) gives them opportu­nities sufficient to furnish themselves with fire arms and ammunition, which the Indians are careful to keep in readiness, prepared at all times to repel invasions, or to carry into effect a plan of warlike operation with some distant Tribe.

The Tomahawk and scalping knife also, are arti­cles peculiarly useful, especially when closely engaged with the enemy.

They are careful not to burden themselves with baggage unnecessary; carrying from home but a small quantity of provision,* unless the nation they propose to contend with are at a great distance, in such a case, [Page 127] what provision they carry they deposit in some secret hiding place the greater part, ready for supply if obliged suddenly to retreat, which but seldom happens with our nation.

Besides the weapons above described, our islanders sometimes use the bow and arrow on particular occa­sions: their chief dependance being on the fire arms and tomahawk.

Their movements previous to their march, consult­ing the Powow or praying Indian, &c. &c▪ hath in the memoirs been sufficiently described; however, I would here observe that in their marches they make as little noise as possible, and whenever they travel over land whereon their feet make any impression, they are care­ful to cover such foot-steps previous to their departure, lest the enemy should thereby discover their route and numbers.

Their treatment of their captives is ever practiced as described in the before cited passage.—The return of the warriors to the village is announced by their whooping, as often repeated as they have recovered prisoners and scalps. Those who tarry at home re­ceive them with the ceremonies usual on like occasions.

The prisoners are paraded, when such squaws as have lost husbands and sons in that expedition, are per­mitted [Page 128] to choose out so many as to supply the number lost; who are afterwards considered as adopted chil­dren, and treated every way as children of the families to whom, by the chiefs, they are given.

If any prisoners remain after the above mentioned distribution, they are executed in the usual mode, by burning at the stake.


ALTHOUGH Indian wars are conducted with great spirit and cruelty, yet the contending powers, af­ter a long scene of bloodshed and destruction of prop­erty, one or more powers when greatly reduced, sue their opponents for peace; each party reluctantly make the first proposal. That Tribe who first make them, send three of their nation, who are men of integrity and of consequence to the nation; who carry with them a letter formed by beads, recommending their persons, declaring the purpose for which they visit the power who have been contending with them. They also [Page 129] carry a belt of wampum.* Wherever this belt ap­pears, its bearers are treated with respect.

It sometimes happens that overtures for peace are made by the mediation of some power in alliance with that power to whom proposals are made; this mode generally proves the most successful, and seldom fails of its desired effect.

The envoys with their wampum, immediately on their arrival, repair to the head quarters of the nation, (to whom they are sent) which is the seat of the com­mander in chief of the war department, who immedi­ately sends for his privy council; to them, in presence of the captain general, the foreign ministers are intro­duced, who deliver the wampum, letters missive, which are in an elevated voice read by a person skilled in hyeroglyphical modes of conveying intelligence, &c. On this the envoys are ordered to retire for a short time; when the chief, with his council, takes the sub­ject into consideration, deliberately weighing the good and evil consequences that may insue on their rejecting the proposals, also the consequence of listening to the preliminaries about to be made, ever keeping their na­tional [Page 130] honor in view on both sides of the question, lay­ing aside all sinister views as of no weight when com­pared with public.

If the council are willing to listen to the proposals, the envoys are called in and the business goes on; if otherwise, the strangers are ordered immediately to de­part with their peaceful belt to their own Tribe, and so the matter ends, and the war is carried on with greater vigor than ever; but if otherwise, the principal speak­er of the envoys comes forward and makes a speech to the following purpose, viz.

Great Chief, son of the great warrior, father of a great and powerful nation, commander of the big island, happy in governing a nation not to be con­quered; whose councils are able, faithful to the trust reposed in them by the potent Scanyawtauragahrooote Nation.*

I count myself happy in being intrusted with my faithful colleagues with a message so important, so hap­py in the event (if rightly conducted) to both nations; in making our proposals we have not our national good solely in view, but also the weal of the Scanyawtaura­gahrooote Nation we have long contended with.

[Page 131]War, although necessary sometimes, hath a tend­ency not only to interrupt the internal good order of a nation, but also to depopulate and impoverish the op­posing nations. Willing that your Tribe with ours might once more realise the happy effects resulting from a peace founded on equal ground, we now ap­pear to make our terms, and are willing to lis­ten to your proposals; we therefore ask for a par­ticular time and place appointed for this very impor­tant purpose—we wait your answer.

The orator having closed his speech, he and his brethren again retire, when the chief in council ap­points a day and place further to consult and to make and ratify articles of peace; all this the ambassadors are notified of.

The day arrived, the opposite parties meet, every article is separately taken up and separately voted to pass or not, which is determined by a majority of votes on both sides. All debates closed, and articles fully adjusted, the whole Scanyawtauragahrooote Nation are called together for their approbation or disappro­bation of the peaceful articles. If approved of, which rarely happens to the contrary, then the often men­tioned national pipe is brought forward, placed in the manner before described; then the next in command to the sagamore fills the pipe with tobacco mixed [Page 132] with a certain weed, used commonly with tobacco— lights the pipe—the chief advances and takes the first whiff; then the strangers, followed by the principal officers of the nation; then by the whole nation, seven at a time, which is a retification of peace. Af­ter this the envoys are dismissed and bear a belt of wampum from our nation to theirs, leaving theirs with us, which are kept by both nations as sacred de­posits and sure tokens of peace.

The nations thus forming a peace, are considered as in alliance with the Scanyawtauragahrooote Nation; and when called upon by them to act in connection, whether in an offensive or defensive manner, never fail. And so whenever the other allied nations call upon the Scanyawtauragahrooote Tribe, they in like manner assist their friendly neighbours.

This state of harmony between friendly nations, continues for a great length of time, and as a mean of strengthening the friendship, the belts or wampum used in forming the alliance, is frequently exchanged by one nation to the other, which serves further to cement the friendly Tribes with each other.

Some very extraordinary ill conduct in one Tribe against its neighbour, in alliance, must take place be­fore the harmony, formed by exchange of wampum, [Page 133] can be broken. Whenever such conduct does take place, that nation who are instrumental in breaking the harmony, immediately bring upon themselves war with all its horrors, which are by their offended neigh­bours, executed with the utmost rigor; insomuch, that a total depopulation of the offending nation with its property, sometimes is the consequence.


THE Indians are often at leisure, and have many opportunities of gratifying their passions for different kinds of diversion, as playing ball, running, leaping, shooting with the bow and arrow, throwing the tom­ahawk, &c.

In playing at ball, they form themselves into companies of about twenty each—selecting some lev­el, smooth piece of ground, most suitable for this pur­pose. Each company is divided into two equal parts, and a bet is laid, consisting of a certain number of broaches, as by the parties agreed on, to be delivered to the victors. As the broaches, previous to the game, [Page 134] are delivered into the hands of some trusty bystander, that side which gains the victory never fails of receiv­ing it.

Their balls are made in an orbicular form of Buf­falo's hair, and covered with leather of Moose hide.— The instrument with which they strike the ball, is about four feet in length—in form like a fishhook. That part designed to strike the ball is interwoven with the sinews of Deer, which (on striking the ball) by reason of its elasticity, sends it to a much greater dis­tance than if struck by a stick prepared as in this country.

The person who strikes the ball, stands near to a hole formed in the ground, to which another standing at a distance, aims to trundle the ball, into which (if not prevented by him who holds the stick) it will fall, and then the gamester gives up his stick to some other of his side, and so the game goes on until the whole number chosen on both sides have alternately gone through the same.

At the close, the person to whom the broaches are delivered, having kept an exact account of the number of times they on striking the ball run from the hole to a stake fixed at a certain distance as agreed upon, while the trundl [...] recovers the ball every time it is struck on [Page 135] both sides, and that side in whose favour the person to whom it is left gives the preference, receives the broaches, and thus the game ends.

Running matches are frequently formed among them; at such times a large number collect, when a certain mark is made on the ground from which the combatants take their departure; they run to a mark made in the ground at such a distance from the first mark as by the company is determined upon. The race commences sometimes by two only, but often of a larger number, just as it happens. The wager is made by depositing a certain quantity of broaches into the hands of some indifferent person, who gives them to him who first crosseth the last fixed bounds, near which the man who determines the contest stands. The run­ners lay aside every part of their clothing that may in the least retard their motion. The victor receives the applause of the multitude, and is honored by their songs and instruments of music as performed on all pub­lic rejoicings.

Leaping is also publicly attended to, and is by some one indifferently chosen for that purpose, who receives the number of broaches the parties agree upon (for bets at all times of diversion consist of broaches only.) He who on a level plain leaps the greatest number of [Page 136] paces, takes the broaches and receives the plaudits of the multitude as on all other public diversions and decisions.

The use of the bow and arrow is of so much con­sequence to the nation, that great pains are taken, early to instruct the youth in this art, designed for hunters and warriors; for this purpose, a certain number of good marksmen are assigned as instructors, who daily lead forth a certain number of boys, and by repeated trials they become masters, and can with exactness strike a mark fixed at a reasonable distance. Hence this diversion of shooting at marks, to be decided in public, which is determined in the same manner as before mentioned of playing at ball, &c.

The proper mode of using the tomahawk is of as much national consequence as the proper use of the bow and arrow; therefore similar pains are taken to instruct in the latter, as in the former art.

The person who throws the tomahawk, holds it in a perpendicular position with its pole or shank outwards, the edge towards his body, and with as much force as the wielder is capable to give, the weapon f [...]es, turn­ing the handle over the better part a number of times, proportional as the distance of the object is from him [Page 137] who throws this cruel weapon. When thrown by an able marksman, it rarely fails to strike the destined ob­ject, whether man or beast.

Those who are most expert in this noble art, fre­quently banter each other, and on public days bets of broaches* are made and given to him who excels, which is determined as in the former cases.

The before mentioned diversions are as often re­peated as fancy leads the idle savage. Some other di­versions are also frequently practiced by them: such as angling in the rivers or ponds near the shore for small fish, which of themselves afford but small profit. The larger rivers and lakes abound in fish of the largest size in fresh water, such as Sturgeon, Pike, &c.

[Page 138]


NO Nation, whether civilized or not (that I have ever read or have any knowledge of) ever have totally omitted certain ceremonies to be used in joining the male to his female; although it rarely happens that any two nations make use of the same form for one and the same purpose; that is, in forming a new and endearing connection between two persons of opposite sexes, under the character of husband and wife.

Some of the Indian Tribes (as I was informed, when on my return to Canada) proceed to the mar­riage ceremony without any previous acquaintance, or even the consent of the parties; but with the Scanyaw­tauragahrooote Tribe 'tis quite otherwise, for previous to marriage, a courtship takes place between the man and woman, who are afterwards married.

Whenever a single man wishes to form an acquain­tance with any particular female, he pays the family, to whom she belongs, a visit in the evening; if she hap­pens to be at home, after a short introductory conver­sation with the father, he fixes his eyes upon the female [Page 139] he proposes to form a new connection with. After set­ting without uttering one word for some considerable time, he then takes a stick of about four inches in length (for he always at such times carries three sticks with him) and throws it into her lap; she knowing the in­tention, carefully secures it; he then after a short in­terval throws a second stick, and then the third—she secures the whole number; this done, the man imme­diately retires and leaves the family to their wonted repose. Then on the next succeeding evening he visits the same family, and in the same manner spends his time, not forgetting to leave the same number of sticks as above, and so the next succeeding night, performing the same ceremony. The third and last evening, the fe­male having received nine sticks; if she approves of his suit, carefully keeping the whole number, runs im­mediately out of the wigwam, followed by her lover, to a short distance from the habitation, when a short dia­logue between them takes place; then each retire to their own wigwams; but if she disapproves of his suit, she on the third evening throws the nine sticks into her suiter's face, and so the matter ends. If his visits are approved of, her parents make preparation to solem­nize the marriage, which is performed the first day af­ter concluded upon in a convenient place in open air.

On this important occasion, a large number collect of all ages and sexes, where they are entertained by [Page 140] feasting and dancing, with such music as is commonly used on public rejoicing: but previous to this, the mat­rimonial ceremony takes place, which is thus performed: the lovers are seated crosslegged on the ground, directly opposite one to the other, their knees touching each other; this done, the fathers of the young couple come forward with a blanket in their hands, which they gently place over the young candidates, then the mul­titude form a circle round them, to which the parents also join; then after a small space the two fathers come to the young couple, and taking hold of the two opposite corners of the blanket utter a few significant words, as, we wish you joy, 'tis our wish that you may live long and peaceably together; that your offspring may be numerous; that you may be an honor to your nation; that your children may by good citizens, and that their children may also honor their country, sup­port its rights, and inviolately hand down their nation­al priviledges to the future rising generations. The blanket then drops, the fathers join the encircled multi­tude; then the mothers approach the happy couple, and raise the two opposite corners of the blanket, un­touched by their husbands, and in language similar to that delivered by their husbands, for a moment address the young and rising hopes of their family honor; this done, the mothers join the multitude, when a dance, honored with the national music, concludes the ceremony. The male and his female conforming to [Page 141] this mode, are now and ever after, so long as they live considered as man and wife.

It sometimes happens that the proposed couple are destitute of parents; in this case four persons, consisting of an equal number of both sexes, are by the proposed couple selected, and on the matrimonial ceremony, ap­pear and act the part assigned the parents on the same occasion.

Polygamy is here tolerated, and every time the male wishes to add a new female to his bed, he con­sents to the usual ceremonies, which are as often repeat­ed as he admits a new partner.

In those families where a plurality of wives are found, there appears a perfect harmony among the fe­males, each one endeavouring to recommend herself to the good will of her lord and master, the husband and head of the family.

Adultery is not known among them; jealousy there­fore, is a stranger. Fornication however, is punished thus: the female when found guilty, is by the aged matrons roughly handled, by cutting the delinquent's hair as close as may be to the head, then she is obliged to take her paramour by his right hand, and in this manner the two delinquents are drove through the village. On this occasion the populace treat them with the greatest indignity, hooting and throwing [...] [Page 142] at them, and in every contemptuous manner [...] them as they pass. This, however, but seldom happens. The female delinquent is ever after treated by her friends and acquaintance with neglect.

As soon as may be after a young couple are married, the whole nation assemble, and clear a certain piece of land assigned them by the chiefs for their future improvement. The trees standing on this land, wheth­er large or small, are removed root and branch in the following manner.

The roots running from each tree is carefully sepa­rated from the trunk; then a large rope,* sufficiently long and strong, is fixed near the centre of the bo­dy, at each extremity of this rope a number of strong, hearty pearsons are placed, who by strength pull down and carry off the trees until the whole piece of land is properly cleared and fit for tillage.

The young bride remains one year with her parents after marriage, by this time her husband recovers one crop from his patrimony.

The male children have names given them by the father, the females by the mother; those names are without any significancy, and are given merely to distinguish one child from the other while in a state of [Page 143] minority.* Whenever they perform any feat worthy of public note, whether in hunting, gaming, or in the more noble art of war, they then receive new and sig­nificant names, such as Buffalo, Bear, Fox, Deer, Bea­ver, Tyger, Porcupine, Otter, sometimes some rep­tile or insect, whatever animal the action the person performs shall most resemble. Some one who excels others in subtility, is called Fox; another who excels in ingenuity and industry, is called Beaver: a man of short legs, and of a snarling, touchy disposition, they call Porcupine: one of a long neck and long legs is called Turkey, &c.

Every head of a family prides himself in the num­ber of children he hath in his family; for this purpose he marries as many women as he can support by his hunting, aided by their industry and oeconomy.

The parents are remarkably fond of their children, especially while in their infantile state. Nothing can exceed the mother's attachment to her infant; she takes unwearied pains to nurse it, never omitting any means or pains to prevent its being unuseful when com­ing into an active life. As soon as born, she plunges it in cold water, and as often afterwards as is necessa­ry repeats it—she is careful to prevent its limbs from [Page 144] deformity by lacing the young and pliable body to some piece of wood or bark exactly fitted for this purpose. This motherly fondness continues until the child's new relation, in a conjugal state takes place.


THE Scanyawtauragahrooote Indians hold to a plurality of Gods, as the sun, moon, seven stars, north or polar star. They also suppose that evil geniuses, or bad spirits more or less effect their national and private operations. To the sun, however, they give the pref­erence; ever on its rising and setting, paying homage by bowing &c. towards it, in token of submissive de­pendance on its power.

The moon and stars are considered as subordinate powers, and take their authority from the sun. The moon on its first appearance, whether in the wane or increase, is particularly attended to. When it first ap­pears in its full orbit, nothing can exceed the joy which pervades the whole village—shouting, dancing, and every other mode of exulting [...] seen and heard a­mong [Page 145] the inhabitants, ejaculatory prayers are intermix­ed, asking the moon's interest with the sun, praying that he would be propitious to them, in giving them success in hunting, tilling their lands, &c.

The stars are considered as having rule at night in the absence of the moon; the Indians therefore, pray that they would use their influence with the sun as su­preme; that he would hasten the return of the moon, continue its lustre and influence longer than at one time heretofore; that the stars would preside over their traps, give success to their endeavours to catch the Beaver, Fox, Wolfe, and all other animals taken by traps during the night season.

They hold that certain evil spirits have power to counteract the good influence of the sun, moon, that they can, and often do reveal secrets to the Pow­ows or praying Indians. Those Powows are always consulted on public enterprises, such as going to war, &c. The inhabitants suppose the Powows hold a secret correspondence with those evil geniuses.

How those praying Indians come by this secret pow­er, I am at a loss to determine, although when among them I made all the enquiry into this matter. The man­ner of the Powow's religious operations hath already been fully described.

[Page 146]The Indians appear in their religious principles to be rude, and for want of a knowledge of the scriptures of divine revelation, but a small remove above the bru­tal creation, not having even a faint idea of any power necessary to exist before, and superior to the sun, moon, &c. in order to create them.

In instances of earthquakes, heavy thunder and lightning, they say it is because the sun, moon, or stars are angry, because they have omitted paying their hom­age to one or all of their deities, or have not in the best manner improved their hunting seasons, or have not (through their own neglect) improved any advan­tage they have at any time gained over their enemies in battle, &c.

If it happens that earthquakes are not so often re­peated, as for the most part is the case among them, they say their Gods are in friendship with them, and that they have nothing to fear from their enemies, and cheerfully pass away time, not even entertaining any notion of a state of future rewards or punishment; but that death puts an end to the difficulties attendant on this life; that the hunter shall no more be obliged to travel so far, and suffer so much as he now does in pro­curing food, &c. for himself and family; that the state on which they enter at the close of this life, is every way better calculated to make them happy; that good [Page 147] hunting lands, crowded with animals of the first quali­ty and in the greatest plenty and perfection, are there enjoyed; that hunting in the new country will not be fatiguing, but delightful and profitable, beyond pres­ent conception.


IN general, Indians are healthy, and are but seldom visited by the Doctor.—Many diseases to which those nations are incident, who pride themselves in being cal­led civilized, are not known among the Indians, and ev­er will be strangers with them so long as luxury and sloth are not introduced into that uncivilized country; however, the many hardships and fatigues they endure in hunting, or war; their being exposed to the inclem­ency of the changing seasons; their often fasting and gratifying their appetites whenever a plenty of food tempts them, with many other incidental causes, often bring on a variety of diseases, such as pains of the head, stomach, and limbs; but the most prevalent disorder to which they in general are incident, is the pleurisy or pulmonick fever.

[Page 148]In cases of sickness and pain, they always apply to the old experienced squaws, who are their doctors.—In the pleurisy the first trial the squaw makes to remove the disorder, is to bleed the patient; this is done nearly in the same manner as performed by doctors in this country, which is by winding a small cord round the patient's arm above the elbow, and opening a vein by a sharp flint. This is done in a masterly manner, my­self having been operated upon several times during my tarry with them. The doctor then proceeds to a su­doriffic mode of cure (if phlebotomy does not effect a cure) which is thus performed; a number of stakes are drove into the ground, forming a space sufficiently large as to contain one body only, with the necessary furni­ture, &c. Those stakes are set so closely together, as by weaving in between them certain pliable twigs, air is totally excluded above as on all sides. Into this en­closure two large rocks, previously made very hot are placed; on to those rocks water is frequently thrown: the patient at the same time being confined within this enclosure, here tarries for one hour, which brings on a free and plentiful perspiration; in this state the patient plunges himself into cold water so deep as at once to cover his whole body.

This method, however inconsistent it may appear to practitioners in this country, is invariably used by the female practitioners among the Indians, and is said to be [Page 149] in general successful, when followed by internal medic­inal decoctions of herbs, &c.

Dropsical and paralytical complaints are rarely (if ever) known among them. Wounds made in war, or by any other accident, are frequent with them; in such cases the squaws act the surgeon's part, who by external applications of herbs and roots, spontaneously growing with them, and familiarly known to the surgeons, are applied, and never fail of a perfect cure. The method of cure in the bite of the Rattle Snake hath been descri­bed in the memoirs.

Sometimes the patient supposes that his disorder ariseth from the malice of evil spirits; in this case the Powows are consulted▪ who enquire in their usual way of the cause and mode of cure, which is by the physicians particularly attended to.

All the physicians' and surgeons' prescriptions, are founded on their knowledge of simples only, which are taught them by long experience and indefatigable at­tention to their operations.

The females in the hour of nature's struggle, meet with but little or no difficulty, being always delivered alone, and without the aid of any one of her female friends, or any other person. This to some may ap­pear a false representation, but however strange, 'tis perfectly true.

[Page 150]


HOWEVER terrible the near approach of death may be to the greater part of mankind, causing the animal frame to shudder even at the idea of dissolution, the Indian meets this last enemy with as much compo­sure as though he was not the person designed to en­counter this never failing conqueror; even when de­clared by his physician, that any further attemps to res­tore him to health, would be fruitless, makes no visi­ble impression on the dying man, but with composure he receives the last visits of his friends and acquaint­ance, who assemble round their departing friend, and never omit to refresh his memory with a recital of some of the most distinguished traits of his conduct in hunting and war; also the great advantage his family in particular, and the nation in general might receive from him if he was to continue for any greater length of time among them; add to this the lementations ut­tered by his nearest connections, make no impression; but with heroic boldness, as he was wont to meet his opposing enemy in the field of battle, he receives the last words of his friends, and with equal composure, first addresseth himself to his family in general, then to his visiting friends; lastly to her who he expects to [Page 151] take care of and guide the children he may leave in a state of minority and dependance. To his family he gives council and directions how they ought to conduct themselves to gain the good will of the nation, and to gain the approbation of their national Deities; that they must consider themselves as about to act (each one according to the station of life in which they are placed) with equal fidelity and honor the part that he, their father, hath before them acted, both as a good hunter and successful warrior; that in all their conduct they must keep their national honor in view, ever sac­rificing their own private interests for the public good, whenever called thereto. He then addresseth himself to his intimates present; tells them that a retrospec­tive view of his and their conduct, when called to war; their fortitude, strength and skill in directing the ar­row, in handling the trusty firelock, and never failing tomahawk, gives him peculiar satisfaction; that his own conduct while in active life, will entitle him to a free and sure passport at death, into a country far better than the country they now enjoy; that in that country, hunting is continued through the twelve moons; that the best of game is always to be had without any fatigue or disappointment to the hunter, or his trusty dogs; bids his friends strictly to adhere to the wholesome and well fabricated rules, calculated to support their national honor, as handed down by their fathers; that they also must hand them down to their [Page 152] posterity, with a particular charge to their children, that they do the same to theirs; that the generations yet unborn may reap the benefit of so valuable a bequest as their national rights, &c.

To his wife he makes his last speech, and endeavours to encourage her in performing the duty, which on his death must be greatly increased; that her reward for her good services will assuredly be given her in com­mon with the nations in the other world, at which the faithful will arrive. In this calm, conversable manner the savage, without one groan or struggle, yields his breath as conquered. As soon as the body becomes lifeless, preparation is then made for its burial in the following manner.

It is stretched out on some skins of animals, suf­ficiently large. Round the dead man's neck is fixed by a string, his scalping knife, leaving his head and neck bare—round his body his blanket is wrapped, and confined by the broaches he was at his death possessed of, with all his other ornaments. Thus prepared for interment, his neighbours assemble, and make ready his grave, which is dug in some convenient, retired place and unfit for tillage, in a perpendicular form, sufficiently large to contain the body, the deceased's gun, a quantity of ammunition, his bow and arrow, his tomahawk, which they suppose he will want to gain a living in the future state. The grave then is lined [Page 153] with some thick bark; then the body is carried without any ceremony or order, and in an erect pos­ture placed in the prepared grave, with the imple­ments, covered over with bark; over which, earth is carefully laid on, sufficiently high as to distinguish the grave from the surrounding earth. All present, both friends and neighbours follow the corps without dis­tinction or order; tarry until the funeral sevices are per­formed, then in the same confused manner return each one to their respective homes.

At any time after, whenever the spirits of the sur­viving friends are raised, they assemble round the grave, there dancing and whooping in a most extrava­gant manner; and then recite over the extraordinary feats performed by the deceased when living. This concludes the scene, when all retire to their wonted employment and diversions.


IN all civilized nations, opposite characters are to be found. Some appear mild and calm on every occasion: nothing however gloomy or terrifying to others hath any ill effect on them: others appear in every circum­stance [Page 154] of life uneasy, churlish and discontented, whether in prosperity or adversity, nothing appears to please them, even the occurrences of common Providence disaffects them; at times they are ready to say that such and such events are the result of wrong calculations. Such characters are to be met with in all orders of men. The farmer will frequently discover this by saying the season is too wet or too dry, too hot or too cold; if in the winter, they say (if the season be favourable for business) that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy; if the season be otherwise, they say my cat­tle are eating my provender without any profit, &c. This complaining spirit appears to prevail more or less among people who pretend to an uncommon share of philosophic knowledge: but among the Indians who have not the advantage of education, this spirit does not appear so much to prevail.

The character of an Indian, is a compound of fe­rocity and gentleness; they are at once led away by passion, & at the same time possess virtues that would do honor to people of more refined taste: they will discov­er a most diabolical temper in executing such prisoners as are destined to suffer, at the same time will shew all the compassion and tenderness in their power towards those whose happy lot it is to be selected from the num­ber of prisoners, and are adopted by those squaws who have lost their friends in battle. Such instances I have known when among them; no pains are omitted that [Page 155] are necessary to make such persons as happy as Indian accommodations can afford.

I myself have experienced much of their kindness, although not taken in battle; yet as a stranger, both in sickness and in health. They used every mean in their power to mitigate my sorrows on my first arrival a­mong them.

Nothing can exceed their spirit of resentment, whenever their honor is touched. They never pass by an affront with impunity; but will watch night and day in some secret place, near which the offender is likely to pass, and all this without food or even sleep for two days and nights together; and will make their way through pathless deserts, with no other sustenance than what accidentally falls in their way, to be reven­ged on an enemy.

Whenever the father of a family is called to be ab­sent from his family for any great length of time, on his return he is not unmindful of his connubial and paren­tal feelings, but with open heart and unfolded arms meets his family, and with a degree of unaffected satis­faction receives the congratulations of them on his safe return to his wigwam; will entertain them with a par­ticular recital of all the events that have taken place during his absence, whether for or against him, and with a satisfaction no less pleasing, will he attend to a [Page 156] recital made by his wife and children of those events that took place among them during his absence.

Nothing can exceed an Indian's attachment to his nation, on all occasions when called to council or to battle. When public honor or interest is at stake, the whole take the alarm, and act as if actuated by one soul. All private interest is considered as of no weight when compared to national honor.

Being accustomed to hardships from their youth, they will surmount every obstacle however hazardous; even the near prospect of death will not abate their zeal when about to execute the commands of their leaders, whether in battle with their enemies or in hunting.

It frequently happens that in their long marches, provision falls short with them; in this case not a mur­muring word is heard among them: the pleasing pros­pect they entertain of success in their enterprise allays the calls of nature. This they will endure for some days, unless relieved by taking some game which pre­sents when on their march, for they never turn aside from their proposed route, but keep as strait and direct a course towards the destined place as possible, however great the calls of nature may be.

I have known them on such marches to be so far reduced for want of food, that they have been obliged to eat reptiles, frogs, &c. and that in a raw state; some­times [Page 157] for want of this unsavoury food, they will de­vour the leaves and rind of trees as they pass along.

The Indians are remarkably generous to strangers who visit them, whether on public business or acciden­tal; the best of their food is unreservedly set before them, and they are bid a cordial welcome to every con­venience in the power of the family to help them to to allay their hunger, or to gratify their passions dur­ing their tarry, whether longer or shorter.

The foregoing relation of the different prevailing passions reigning in the breast of the Scanyawtauragah­rooote Indians must suffice to give the reader an idea of their character.


OF these I shall treat in alphabetical order; and first of the quadrupeds, Bear, Beaver, Buffalo, Cat of the Mountain, or Wild Cat, Deer, Dog, Fox, Hare, Hedgehog or Porcupine, Marten, Mink, Moose, Musk­quash, Mouse, Mole, Otter, Porcupine, Rabbit, Rac­coon, Skunk, Squirrel, Tiger, Weasel, Woodebuck and Wolf.

[Page 158]Bears are to be found in great plenty in this, as well as in many other parts of America. The hunting of this animal is much attended to for food, clothing and bedding: the flesh is esteemed the first of any to be found in the wilderness, both for its flavour and mild­ness. What adds much to recommend this diet, is, that it never cloys; a person making a meal of it one day may feed heartily upon it the next, and so on (if to be obtained) for one month or longer. Such is its sa­lubrious quality, that it is highly recommended by practitioners to the invalid, as it sits easy on the stom­ach, and of easy digestion. With the inhabitants of the interior parts of New-England 'tis much prized, as it supplies them, when salted, with meat but little inferi­or to pork. With the first settlers, where pork cannot be procured, 'tis of the first consequence, for in a plen­tiful supply they are enabled to execute plans the most arduous among them. Among the Indians 'tis of no less consequence; their method of smoking meat (as hath already been described) serves to preserve large quantities of this food for supply, when hunting sea­sons are over.

The skin of the Bear is also of value among the In­dians, as their beds and some part of their clothing con­sist of those skns. The fat is much used by the In­dians; they frequently rub it over their bodies, especial­ly over their limbs; to this they attribute their agility. Bear's greese is used by them to facilitate the growth of the hair on their heads.

[Page 159]This animal is so well known in this country, that a minute description of its bulk or colour when fully grown, or when in a young state, is here needless; however, I would observe that this much valued ani­mal produces but two Cubs at a litter, and but once in one season, which is not so with some other quadrupeds of this western continent. And what is particularly noticed of the Bear, is, that during the winter it rests in its safe retreat in a dormant state. On its first taking possession, it is careful to stop or plug up the most material outlet of its body, with a certain gum or gluy substance taken from the pine or hemlock tree. In this state they are often found with one of its hind paws in its mouth, and what is worthy of note, the Bear is then the fattest and most profitable to the hunter.

The Beaver is an amphibious animal, and delights much in water: they are to be found and caught in or near this element.

Much has been said and published on the singular qualities of this valuable animal, and if rational or thinking qualities may with propriety be considered as making a part of a quadruped's inherent faculties, the Beaver first claims the right; for, as hath in this work been already noticed, they are by some authors said to be in a state of republicanism; having myself been an eye witness to their manner of constructing their dams, which with peculiar pleasure I often attended to by [Page 160] moonlight (when with the Indians) for they are most industrious by night as well as by day, unless interrup­ted by some accident, or by the near approach of some more fatal enemy.

Their first movement (after collecting a sufficient number for the purpose) is to find out and determine upon some convenient place as well for constructing their habitations as for food; this must be a small rivu­let, surrounded with a plenty of timber suitable to build a dam from shore to shore to stop the running water; this being unanimously determined upon by the com­munity, each citizen hath his particular part assigned him to act, whether as a labourer, an overseer,* or in the more important office of councillor.

All the prerequisites being adjusted, the business commences, and is conducted by the strictest rules of in­dustry and oeconomy. The younger and more robust, whose teeth are best calculated to perform the wood­cutter's part, assemble round the handiest trees; to each a sufficient number is placed as can work without in­terruption. They are careful to gnaw the tree so as that [Page 161] it may fall towards the rivulet. As soon as the tree is fallen, they, whose business it is, take an exact measure of the distance from shore to shore; the trunk of the tree is then measured, and at a suitable length is gnawed off; when others are employed to carry the prepared timber to its place of deposit. The wood-cutters go on to prepare more timber as above related.

Their manner of draging timber is by their tails thus, a suitable number for the purpose place their tails all on one side of the timber, while others on the oppo­site side gently role the timber on to the prepared vehi­cles; thus fixed, the timber is drawn forward to the spot, and there placed. They proceed in the same manner until a number sufficient for their purpose is drawn on and placed; then a number appear and act the mason's part, who with their tails as with a trowel plaster on between the timber, interwoven with small branches of the felled trees—the morter used is prepar­ed by the Beaver's feet. They also carry upon their tails rocks of very considerable weight, further to strengthen their dams.

Having completely stoped the running water, they then proceed to form their cabins, or lodging places; these are constructed in an oval form, and are built either on piles by them formed in the pond above the Beaver dam, or on the extremity of some point of land running into the pond. The greater part of the cabin [Page 162] stands above the water. Each cabin is so large as to contain a number of inhabitants; each one hath a particular spot assigned it, the floor of which is strewed over with leaves or small branches of pine trees. Their cabins are so nearly situated, that an easy communica­tion is kept up between them. The floor of the cabin is so constructed that the innermost part is six or eight inches higher than at the entrance; the Beaver then in laying down keeps his body dry, while his tail is kept in the water, for it must be kept wet, otherwise the animal is sickly. The manner of the Beaver's laying down in his cabin, accounts for this animal's knowing that some breach is made in the dam, which, as hath been described, gives the hunter an opportunity of catch­ing his game; for when the water is drawn off, the an­imal's tail is dry, which gives its owner a restless feeling, and increaseth to such a degree as to cause the Beaver to risk his life in searching out the cause, and in repair­ing the breach.

Their habitations are completed by the latter end of September, and their stock of provision to serve them through the winter is provided. Their provision con­sists of small pieces of wood whose texture is soft, such as puplar, willow, &c. which they lay up in piles in such a manner as to preserve their moisture.

The Beaver being an animal but seldom seen but by those who hunt them, I shall here describe it. The [Page 163] largest are nearly four feet in length, and about fifteen inches over the haunches; they weigh, one with anoth­er, when fully grown, about fifty-five or sixty pounds. Its head resembles that of the Otter—its snout is long— the eyes small—the ears short, round, hairy on the out­side and smooth within—its teeth very long; the under ones stand out of their mouths about one inch, the upper teeth about one fourth of an inch; all are broad, strong and sharp; the under teeth before, are formed like a carpenter's gouge, and seem peculiarly formed to fall trees, &c—their fore legs are shorter than their hind ones—their toes in the fore feet are separate, each toe furnished with a nail—its hind feet are furnished with membranes, which join their toes much like unto the feet of water fowl, thus prepared it can swim with as much ease as any other aquatic animal. The tail in some measure resembles that of a fish, and seems to have no relation to any other part of the body, except the hind feet, all the o­ther parts being similar to other land animals. The tail is about twelve inches in length, and about four inches broad in the middle, the root and its extremity being much narrower; 'tis about two inches thick near the body, where it is almost round, but gradually thinner and flatter towards the end, 'tis covered over with scales like unto those of fish. The colour of the Beaver differs according to the different climates where they are found. In the northern parts they are almost black—in the more temperate climate, brown. Their colour grows lighter as they approach towards the south. [Page 164] Their fur is of two sorts, all over the body, except the feet—the longest is about one inch and of no value, the other part is a very thick and fine down, almost as soft as silk; this sort is much used in the hatter's business, &c. The Castor is found in this animal, and is of peculiar use in certain disorders, and of no small profit to the hunter.

The Buffalo is found in the greatest perfection and plenty in this quarter, and of great consequence to the Scanyawtauragahrooote Indians; it is much larger than a common Ox—has short black horns, with a large beard under its chin; his head is so full of hair that it falls over its eyes, which gives a disagreeable appearance. This animal is distinguished from others by a large bunch on its back, beginning at the haunches, increas­ing gradually to the shoulders and neck. The whole body is covered with long hair of a dun or mouse colour —its head is larger than a Bull's, with a very short neck— the breast is broad— the body decreaseth towards its rump.—The Buffalo's flesh is excellent food—its hide very useful—its hair much used in manufacturing many articles.

Cat of the Mountain, or Wild Cat, in shape much re­sembles our common house Cat, but much larger. Their whole skin is beautified with black spots—the hair which covers the body, in general, is of a redish cast. This animal is very fierce, and will engage animals of [Page 165] superior bulk, and by its dexterity in using its claws will conquer animals of superior strength and agility.

Deer. This animal is well known in this country. They are of a deep fallow or pale colour—light on the foot, and excellent food, and are in great plenty in the un­cultivated parts of America.

Dogs among the Indians are numerous, and of great use and much profit as well in hunting animals of the wilderness, as in quest of water fowl and other feathered game. They are early taught to follow and assist the hunter whenever necessary. 'Tis rare to meet an In­dian in the woods without his Dog (unless when on some warlike enterprize) who is treated by his master with familiarity, and at all times with his benefactor shares in what the wigwam affords while at ease, crouch­ing at his master's feet, and in hunting does not loose his share of the game.

Nothing can exceed the attachment and fidelity of the Dog to his owner on all occasions by night as well as by day.

The Indian Dogs appear to be of one species, in those, the qualities of the Spaniel, the Grey-Hound, the Mastiff, the Bull-Dog, the Fox-Hunter, and the Blood-Hound, [Page 166] so much prized in European nations, seem to unite in forming one complete Indian Dog, whose head as well as the other parts of his body as nearly resembles that of a Wolfe as any animal whatever.

Many anecdotes have been related of the sagacity and fidelity of a Dog to his master; among a variety, I shall select one only.

"In one of the western forts within the limits of the United States, an American officer, accompanied by his trusty Dog only, left the fort in quest of some small game, having travelled some way into the woods was met by two Indians, who knocked the officer down and scalped him; the Dog was not noticed by the Indians, who, after the enemy had left his master, licked the wound, and tarried by the body for some time, often repeating his friendly aid, at length discovering some motion in the mangled body, the Dog (as though he knew that some further assistance was necessary to compleat a cure) ran to the fort; some officers at that time walking at a small distance from the parade, the Dog run up to them fawning round them, and running from them towards the place where lay his master's almost lifeless body. The officers at first but little noticed him, but upon the Dog's repeating the same, they followed the friendly animal, who led them to the wounded man. The offi­cers [Page 167] carried the body to the fort, where, by proper ap­plication the maimed officer soon recovered his wonted health, and afterwards became an ornament to the American heroes."

The Fox, Hare, Marten, Mole, Mink, Muskquash, or Water-Rat, Mouse, Rabbit, Squirrel, Skunk, Weasel and Woodchuck are so well known in almost every part of the United States, that a particular description in this book must be needless; I therefore shall pass them over and proceed in the proposed order to describe such as are commonly found in the Indian country, and are strangers to this part of America.

The Hedgehog and Porcupine so nearly resemble each other that in describing one the reader may form an idea of the other, although by some considere [...] as two distinct animals. It is about the bulk of a small Dog, but of shorter legs; its body is covered with hair of a dark brown, and armed with quills on almost every part of the body; those on its back are most substan­tial. Those quills are this animal's defensive and of­fensive weapons, which at pleasure he discharges at his enemy. Whenever they enter the flesh in any degree, they will sink into it, and are not to be extracted but by incision. The Indians make use of these quills in boring their ears and noses to insert their pendants, [Page 168] and also as ornaments to their stockings, mogasons, hair, their flesh is esteemed by the Indians.

The Moose by some is said to be of the Deer kind, but on a close examination 'tis found to be an animal of a distinct species from the Deer, both in its bulk and particular formation; the Deer being gant and of a slender body, long leged and light on the foot—its horns long, slender, round and branching. The Moose is in body nearly of the bulk of a well fed horse, its legs shor­ter and more stockey—its horns near the base are nearly round and large, as they expand, more flat and less branching. This animal sheds his horns annually—its hair is of a light grey, with a small mixture of blackish red—the tail very short—its flesh is good food, nour­ishing and easy of digestion; the upper lip when prop­erly cook'd is much esteemed—its hide is very proper for leather, being thick, strong, soft and pliable. The Moose never appears when in motion, but on a trot. This animal is rarely to be met with on or near the Scanyawtauragahrooote Island, its haunts being much further north—its food through the winter is the buds and moss of trees.

The Otter is an amphibious animal, and much re­sembles the Beaver in its head and fore parts of the body—its teeth are shaped more like a Fox or Wolf. [Page 169] The Otter's hair is much longer than that of the Bea­ver, and of a greyish cast. This animal is to be met with in almost all parts of uncultivated America, is mischievous, and if closely pursued will attack men as well as dogs—in the summer season it feeds on fish, during the winter 'tis content with the bark of trees, &c —its flesh is of a fishy taste and smell, and is not eaten but in cases of necessity.

Raccoon. This animal is something smaller than a Beaver—its legs shorter—its head is much like a Fox —its ears shorter, more round and naked—its hair is thick, long and soft, intermixed with a sort of fur, which is of great use to the hatter—on its face a broad stripe of white runs across it which includes the eyes, which are large—the teeth are similar to a Dog's in shape and number—the tail is long and round, with annular stripes on it—the feet have five long slender toes, each armed with a sharp claw by which they with ease climb trees into the extremity of the boughs—it uses its fore feet like the Squirrel to feed itself—its flesh in autumn, after being fattened on nuts, &c. eats very good, and is much valued by the hunters in that season.

Tiger. This is an animal much shunned by the Indians, as they are ravenous and of no consequence when caught by the hunter; they are much in form like the Wolfe, armed with claws, long and very [Page 170] sharp; their hair is of a darkish fallow, and entirely free from spots—they secreet themselves under the cover of some thick bushes, and on the near approach of some animal or hunter, suddenly leaps from his re­treat, seizes its prey, which falls a sacrifice; for from the Tiger's claws there is no escape; those animals are but rarely met with, which the Indians esteem as one of the greatest favours.

Wolf. This animal by some is called the wild Dog, and much resembles him in its form; they are however much longer bodied and longer leged—their colour in general, is that of a dun or dark brown—some few are grey; whether this is owing to their great age, or is their natural hue, I am at a loss to determine. The Wolf is a great night walker, and often thins the new settler's stock, as well the yearling cattle as sheep and lambs in the interior parts of this country. Wolves often herd together in the night, which is generally known in the vicinity of their resort, by the hideous yellings the Wolves are careful rarely to omit.


BLACK-BIRD, *Blue-Jay, *Crane, *Crow, *Cuc­koo, *Duck, *Eagle, *Fish-Hawk, *Goose, *Hawk, 51 [Page 171] Humming-Bird, *King-Bird, *Lark, *Loon, *Martin, *Night-Hawk, *Owl, *Parrot, *Partridge, *Pellican, *Pigeon, *Quail, *Raven, *Robin, *Snipe, *Stork, *Swallow, *Teal, *Thrush, *Turkey, Wacon-Bird, *Water-hen, Whetsaw, *Whippoorwill, *Woodpecker & *Wren are to be met with in all parts of this country during the summer months.

Black-Bird. There are three sorts of birds in A­merica (that naturalists) distinguish under this name, viz. the Crow Black-Bird, which is of the largest size, and builds its nest on high trees, inaccessable to boys in quest of bird's eggs; of this kind there are a great plenty; in autumn they are seen in large flocks, and greatly infest cornfields, and do much dam­age by robbing the industrious farmer of the fruit of his summer's toil, unless prevented by timely pre­cautions; however, their rapacity is but of short con­tinuance, for when frost nips hard they are seen no more for that season; as they are birds of passage, they retire to some unfrequented and more favourable cli­mate. [Page 172] The second sort are of a smaller size than the former, and are distinguished from them by the name of the Red-Wing Black-Bird, having the whole of its body covered with black feathers, except on the lower edge of its wings, which is of a bright scarlet—this sort build their nest on low bushes, on or near swampy ground, their eggs are comeattible by boys, which ac­counts for their scarcity when compared with the Crow Black-Bird. They are not (either sort) prized for their songs. The third and last sort are much smaller than either of the former, and are of a jet black, except a small part of white on its head and back—this sort build their nests on the ground, and use a few warbling notes. The female is of a brown colour and is not a singer.

The Humming bird is peculiar to America, and is not known in any other part of the globe; 'tis the smal­lest of the feathered airy inhabitants—its legs are pro­portionally small to its body, and are not biger than two small needles—its plumage exceeds description—it has a small tuft on its head of a shining black—its breast is red—the belly white—the back, wings and tail a pale green—small specks of a gold cast are scattered over the whole body—an almost imperceptible down softens the colours, and produces the most pleasing [Page 173] shades—with its bill, which is proportionably small to its body, it extracts moisture from flowers, which is its nourishment; over which it hovers like a Bee, without lighting, constantly moving its wings with such veloci­ty, that the motion is imperceptible; this quick motion causeth a humming noise, from whence it receives its name.

The Wacon-Bird is nearly the size of the swallow, of a brown colour, shaded about the neck with a bright green; the wings are of a darker brown than the body —its tail is composed of four or five feathers beautifully shaded with green and purple, and is three times as long as its body, it carries this length of plumage in the same manner as the Peacock does, but does not raise it into an erect position—the name of this bird signifies the bird of the great spirit, and is held in great veneration by the Indians, and treated by them as a bird of superior rank to any of the feathered race.

The Whetsaw is of the Cuckoo kind, is a solitary bird, and rarely to be met with in the summer months —'tis heard in the groves; its noise sounds like the whetting of a saw, from whence it receives its name.


THERE is as great a variety of fish in the rivers and lakes within the territory of the Scanyawtauragah­rooote [Page 174] Indians as are to be caught in any other interior part of America: those that are accounted of the greatest value, are the Sturgeon, Pout or Cat-Fish, Pike, Carp and Club: these are (in their season) caught in great plenty and are of superior excellence.


RATTLE-SNAKE, long Black-Snake, Adder, Striped-Snake, Water-Snake, Hissing-Snake, Turkey-Snake, Green-Snake, Speckled-Snake, and Ring-Snake are to be met with in almost all the Indian territories.

As all the above mentioned snakes are to be found in many parts of the United States, except the Rattle-Snake and Turkey-Snake, I shall not attempt a partic­ticular description of any except those two.

Rattle-Snake. This serpent is of all the serpentile species most to be feared; its bite (if not prevented by some early and proper application) proves fatal—at its full growth 'tis about five feet in length, it mea­sures round its body about eight inches, from its centre it gradually decreaseth both towards its head and tail— the neck is small, the head broad and depressed—they are of a brown colour—the eye appears of a bright red and very piercing—the upper part of its body of a brown, mixed with a ruddy yellow, and chequer'd with [Page 175] many regular lines of a deep black, gradually to a gold colour—the belly is of a pale blue, which grows fuller as it approacheth its sides. This snake gives the trav­eller notice of his danger by shaking the rattles at its tail; the number denotes its age as one is added every year of its life.

The Turkey-Snake is about six feet in length, pro­portionally large in its body, and of a dusky colour— this snake takes its name from its preying upon the Wild-Turkey principally. The method of its taking the Turkey is in the manner following.

The snake on finding a tree on which the Turkeys are wont to roost at night, ascends it, to its lowest branches entwines its tail round a branch with its head downwards, draws its body into a small compass, not unlike the form of a Wasp's nest. Whenever [...] Turkey approaches its wonted place of rest, the Snake suspended as above related, with a hissing noise draws a Turkey directly under its enemy, who, as by a charm seizes its deluded prey, entwines its body round the Turkey's neck, robs it of life, then with its tongue licks every part of the bird, which leaves a certain gluey substance that serves to lubricate the body so that the snake swallows the bird with more ease; thus prepared the serpent takes it by the head and gradually sucks in the body with its feathers, &c.

[Page 176]Insects, Lizards, &c. are of the same kind and qualities as in this country.

TREES as well those of high land as low, are there found in as great plenty in that country as in this part of America, and as great a variety, but in general of a larger growth.

The soil appears more rich in the Indian country than in any part of the United States, at least in such parts as I have travelled, the height and bulk of the trees clearly evinces this.

Roots, plants and flowers appear of the same form and quality as in New-England, but of a spontaneous growth.

Indian corn, or maize. Beans and squashes are the only food cultivated by the Scanyawtauragahrooote Indians.


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