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have done them an injury. I say the same, brother, as to the Indians who treat you ill. While I advise you, like an affectionate friend, to avoid unnecessary war, I do not assume the right of restraining you from punishing your enemies. If the English have injured you, as they have injured the French and Spaniards, do like them and join us in the war. General Clarke will receive you and show you the way to their towns. But if they have not injured you, it is better for you to lie still and be quiet. This is the advice which has been always given by the great council of the Americans. We must give the same, because we are but one of thirteen nations, who have agreed to act and speak together. These nations keep a council of wise men always sitting together, and each of us separately follow their advice. They have the care of all the people and the lands between the Ohio and Mississippi, and will see that no wrong be committed on them. The French settled at Kaskaskias, St. Vincennes, and the Cohos, are subject to that council, and they will punish them if they do you any injury. If you will make known to me any just cause of complaint against them, I will represent it to the great council at Philadelphia, and have justice done you.
Our good friend, your father, the King of France, does not lay any claim to them. Their misconduct should not be imputed to him. He gave them up to the English the last war, and we have taken them from the English. The Americans alone have a right to maintain justice in all the lands on this side the Mississippi, on the other side the Spaniards rule. You complain, brother, of the want of goods for the use of your people. We know that your wants are great, notwithstanding we have done everything in our power to supply them, and have often grieved for you. The path from hence to Kaskaskias is long and dangerous; goods cannot be carried to you in that way. New Orleans has been the only place from which we could get goods for you. We have bought a great deal there; but I am afraid not so much of them have come to you as we intended. Some of them have been sold of necessity to buy provisions for our posts. Some have been embezzled by our own drunken and
roguish people. Some have been taken by the Indians and many by the English.
The Spaniards, having now taken all the English posts on the Mississippi, have opened that channel free for our commerce, and we are in hopes of getting goods for you from them. I will not boast to you, brother, as the English do, nor promise more than we shall be able to fulfil. I will tell you honestly, what indeed your own good sense will tell you, that a nation at war cannot buy so many goods as when in peace. We do not make so many things to send over the great waters to buy goods, as we made and shall make again in time of me of peace. When we buy those goods, the English take many of them, as they are coming to us over the great water. What we get in safe, are to be divided among many, because we have a great many soldiers, whom we must clothe. The remainder we send to our brothers the Indians, and in going, a great deal of it is stolen or lost. These are the plain reasons why you cannot get so much from us in war as in peace. But peace is not far off. The English cannot hold out long, because all the world is against them. When that takes place, brother, there will not be an Englishman left on this side the great water. What will those foolish nations then do, who have made us their enemies, sided with the English, and laughed at you for not being as wicked as themselves? They are clothed for a day, and will be naked forever after; while you, who have submitted to short inconvenience, will be well supplied through the rest of your lives. Their friends will be gone and their enemies left behind; but your friends will be here, and will make you strong against all your enemies. For the present you shall have a share of what little goods we can get. We will order some immediately up the Mississippi for you and for us. If they be little, you will submit to suffer a little as your brothers do for a short time. And when we shall have beaten our enemies and forced them to make peace, we will share more plentifully. General Clarke will furnish you with ammunition to serve till we can get some from New Orleans. I must recommend to you particular attention to him. He is our great, good, and trusty warrior; and we have put everything
under his care beyond the Alleghanies. He will advise you in all difficulties, and redress your wrongs. Do what he tells you, and you will be sure to do right. You ask us to send schoolmasters to educate your son and the sons of your people. We desire above all things, brother, to instruct you in whatever we know ourselves. We wish to learn you all our arts and to make you wise and wealthy. As soon as there is peace we shall be able to send you the best of schoolmasters; but while the war is raging, I am afraid it will not be practicable. It shall be done, however, before your son is of an age to receive instruction.
This, brother, is what I had to say to you. Repeat it from me to all your people, and to our friends, the Kickapous, Piorias, Piankeshaws and Wyattanons. I will give you a commission to show them how much we esteem you. Hold fast the chain of friendship which binds us together, keep it bright as the sun, and let them, you and us, live together in perpetual love.
Speeches of John Baptist de Coigne, Chief of the Wabash and Illinois Indians, and other Indian Chiefs.
Thomas Jefferson has the honor to send to the President the speech of De Coigne, written at length from his notes very exactly. He thinks he can assure the President that not a sentiment delivered by the French interpreter is omitted, nor a single one inserted which was not expressed. It differs often from what the English interpreter delivered, because he varied much from the other, who alone was regarded by Thomas Jefferson.
February 1, 1793. The President having addressed the chiefs of the Wabash and Illinois Indians, John Baptist De Coigne, chief of Kaskaskia, spoke as follows:FATHER,—I am about to open to you my heart. I salute first the Great Spirit, the Master of life, and then you.
I present you a black pipe on the death of chiefs who have come here and died in your bed. It is the calumet of the dead— take it and smoke it in remembrance of them. The dead pray you to listen to the living, and to be their friends. They are
gone, we cannot recall them. Let us then be contented; for, as you have said, to-morrow, perhaps, it may be our turn. Take then their pipe, and as I have spoken for the dead, let me now address you for the living. [He delivered the black pipe.]
[Here Three-Legs, a Piankeshaw chief, came forward and carried round a white pipe, from which every one smoked.]
John Baptist De Coigne spoke again:
Father, The sky is now cleared. I am about to open my heart to you again. I do it in the presence of the Great Spirit, and I pray you to attend.
You have heard the words of our father, General Putnam. We opened our hearts to him, we made peace with him, and he has told you what we said.
This pipe is white, I pray you to consider it as of the Wyattanons, Piankeshaws, and the people of Eel river. The English at Detroit are very jealous of our father. I have used my best endeavors to keep all the red men in friendship with you, but they have drawn over the one-half, while I have kept the other. Be friendly then to those I have kept.
I have long known you, General Washington, the Congress, Jefferson, Sinclair. I have labored constantly for you to preserve
You see your children on this side, [pointing to the friends of the dead chief,] they are now orphans. Take care, then, of the orphans of our dead friends.
Father, Your people of Kentucky are like mosquitos, and try to destroy the red men. The red men are like mosquitos also, and try to injure the people of Kentucky. But I look to you as to a good being. Order your people to be just. They are always trying to get our lands. They come on our lands, they hunt on them; kill our game, and kill us. Keep them then on one side of the line, and us on the other. Listen, father, to what we say, and protect the nations of the Wabash and Mississippi in their lands.
The English have often spoken to me, but I shut my ears to them. I despise their money, it is nothing to me. I am attached to my lands. I love to eat in tranquillity, and not like a bird on a bough.
The Piankeshaws, Wyattanons, Wiaws, and all the Indians of the Mississippi and Wabash, pray you to open your heart and ears to them, and as you befriend them, to give them Captain Prior for their father. We love him, men, women, and children of us. He has always been friendly to us, always taken care of us, and you cannot give us a better proof of your friendship than in leaving him with us.
[Here Three-Legs handed round the white pipe to be smoked.] De Coigne, then, taking a third pipe, proceeded:
This pipe, my father, is sent you by the great chief of all the Wiaws, called Crooked-Legs. He is old, infirm, and cannot walk, therefore is not come. But he prays you to be his friend, and to take care of his people. He tells you there are many red people jealous of you, but you need not fear them. If he could have walked he would have come; but he is old and sick, and cannot walk. The English have a sugar mouth, but CrookedLegs would never listen to them. They threatened us to send the red men to cut off him and his people, and they sent the red men who threatened to do it, unless he would join the English. But he would not join them.
The chiefs of the Wabash, father, pray you to listen. They send you this pipe from afar. Keep your children quiet at the Falls of Ohio. We know you are the head of all. We appeal to you. Keep the Americans on one side of the Ohio, from the falls downwards, and us on the other; that we may have something to live on according to your agreement in the treaty which you have. And do not take from the French the lands we have given them.
Old Crooked-Legs sends you this pipe, [here he presented it,] and he prays you to send him Captain Prior for his father, for he is old, and you ought to do this for him.
Father, I pray you to listen. So far I have spoken for others, and now will speak for myself. I am of Kaskaskia, and have always been a good American from my youth upwards. Yet the Kentuckians take my lands, eat my stock, steal my horses, kill my game, and abuse our persons. I come far with all these people. My nation is not numerous. No people can