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CHAPTER XVI.

(TECUMSEH.)

As the heroic and undaunted Tecumseh* was so conspicuous in the annals of this war for his fidelity and devotion to the British crown, and as his name has occurred so often in these pages, a chapter, with a concluding and connected notice of him, will surely be deemed but an act of justice to his memory.

This renowned aboriginal chief was a Shawanee, and was born in 1769 or 1770, about the same year as his "brave brother warrior," Sir Isaac Brock. He may be said to have been inured to war from his infancy, as the Indian nations continued in hostility against the United States after their independence was achieved, alleging that they infringed on their territories. In 1790, about which period Tecumseh first gave proofs of that talent and daring which so distinguished his after-life, General Harmer was dispatched with a competent force to punish the predatory incursions of the Indians; but he was glad to return, with the loss of many of his men. In the following year, General St. Clair proceeded with another army to ravage the Miami and Shawanee settlements, and was even more unfortunate than his predecessor, as the Indians boldly advanced to meet him on the way, attacked his encampment, and put his troops to a total rout, in which the greater part were cut off and destroyed. In 1794, however, a

"Tecumseh was pronounced Tecumthé, and is said by some to have signified a crouching panther; by others, a falling star."-Note in Tecumseh, a Poem, by G. H. Colton. New York, 1842.

much more formidable expedition, under General Wayne, entered the Indian territory; the warriors gradually retired as the Americans advanced, but at length imprudently determined on making a stand. In the battle which ensued, the Indians were so completely discomfited, that, the following year, they agreed to the treaty of Greenville, by which they were compelled to cede a large tract of country as an indemnity for past injuries! As Tecumseh had then scarcely completed his twenty-fifth year, and as the Indians pay great deference to age, it is not probable that he had any hand in this treaty, the more especially as, from that period to 1812, he laboured incessantly to unite the numerous aboriginal tribes of the North American continent in one grand confederacy, for the threefold purpose of endeavouring to regain their former possessions as far as the Ohio, of resisting the further encroachments of the whites, and of preventing the future cession of land by any one tribe, without the sanction of all, obtained in a general council. With this object he visited the different nations; and having assembled the elders, he enforced his disinterested views in strains of such impassioned and persuasive eloquence, that the greater part promised him their co-operation and assistance. But, to form a general alliance of so many and such various tribes, required a higher degree of patriotism and civilization than the Indians had attained. From the numbers, however, who ranged themselves with Tecumseh under the British standard, on the breaking out of the war in 1812, it is evident that he had acquired no little influence over them, and that his almost incredible exertions, both of mind and body, had not been altogether thrown away.

About the year 1804, Els-kwà-ta-wa, brother of Tecumseh, proclaimed himself a prophet, who had been commanded by the Great Spirit, the Creator of the red, but not of the white, people, to announce to his children, that the misfortunes by which they were

assailed arose from their having abandoned the mode of life which He had prescribed to them. He declared that they must return to their primitive habits -relinquish the use of ardent spirits and clothe themselves in skins, and not in woollens. His fame soon spread among the surrounding nations, and his power to perform miracles was generally believed. He was joined by many, and not a few came from a great distance and cheerfully submitted to much hardship and fatigue, that they might behold the prophet, and then return. He first established himself at Greenville, within the boundary of the United States; but the inhabitants of Ohio becoming alarmed at the immense assemblage of Indians on their frontier, the American authorities insisted on his removal. Accordingly he proceeded, in 1808, to the Wabash, and fixed his residence on the northern bank of that river, near the mouth of the Tippecanoe. Here his popularity declined, but, through the influence of Tecumseh, he was again joined by many among the neighbouring tribes." The prophet's temporal concerns were conducted by Tecumseh, who adroitly availed himself of his brother's spiritual power to promote his favorite scheme of a general confederacy.

In 1811, Tecumseh, accompanied by several hundred warriors, encamped near Vincennes, the capital of Indiana, and demanded an interview with the governor of that state, Major-General Harrison, the same officer who, in 1813, commanded the victorious troops at the battle of the Thames, in which Tecumseh lost his life. The interview was agreed to, and the governor inquired whether the Indians intended to come armed to the council. Tecumseh replied that he would be governed by the conduct of the white people; if they came armed, his warriors would be armed also; if not, his followers would come unarmed. The governor informed him that he would be attended by a troop of dragoons, dismounted, with their side arms only, and that the Indians might bring their

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war clubs and tomahawks. The meeting took place
in a large arbour, on one side of which were the
dragoons, eighty in number, seated in rows; on the
other, the Indians. But besides their sabres, the
dragoons were armed with pistols. The following
incident is said to have occurred at this interview.
Tecumseh looked round for a seat, but not finding
one provided for him, he betrayed his surprise, and
his eyes flashed fire.
The governor, perceiving the
cause, instantly ordered a chair. One of the council
offered the warrior his chair, and, bowing respect-
fully, said to him: "Warrior, your father, General
Harrison, offers you a seat." My father!" ex-
claimed Tecumseh, extending his hand towards the
heavens, "the sun is my father, and the earth is my
mother; she gives me nourishment, and I will repose
on her bosom." He then threw himself on the ground.
When the governor, who was seated in front of the
dragoons, commenced his address, Tecumseh declared
that he could not hear him, and requested him to
remove his seat to an open space near himself. The
governor complied, and in his speech complained of
the constant depredations and murders which were
committed by the Indians of Tippecanoe; of the
refusal on their part to give up the criminals; and of
the increasing accumulation of force in that quarter,
for the avowed purpose of compelling the United
States to relinquish lands which they had fairly pur-
chased of the rightful owners. Tecumseh, in his
answer, denied that he had afforded protection to the
guilty, but manfully admitted his design of forming
a confederacy of all the red nations of that continent.
He observed, that "the system which the United
States pursued, of purchasing lands from the Indians,
he viewed as a mighty water, ready to overflow his
people, and that the confederacy which he was form-
ing among the tribes, to prevent any tribe from selling
land without the consent of the others, was the dam
he was erecting to resist this mighty water."

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he added, "your great father, the president, may sit over the mountains and drink his wine, but if he continue this policy, you and I will have to meet on the battle field." He also admitted, that he was then on his way to the Creek nation, about 600 miles distant from the Wabash, for the purpose he had just avowed, and he continued his journey two days after, with twelve or fifteen of his warriors. Having visited the Creek and other southern tribes, he crossed the Mississippi, and continued a northern course as far as the river Demoins, whence he returned to the Wabash by land. But a sad reverse of fortune awaited his return; he found his town consumed, his bravest warriors slain, and a large deposit of provisions destroyed. On his departure, the settlement at Tippecanoe was left in charge of his brother, the prophet, with strict injunctions to prevent all hostile incursions, as they might lead to extremities before his plans were matured. Els-kwà-ta-wa, however, wanted either the inclination or the authority to follow these injunctions; and the Americans assert, that murder and rapine occurred now so frequently, that they were compelled, in their own defence, to punish the delinquents. Accordingly, General Harrison proceeded with nearly 1,000 men to Tippecanoe, and on his approach, in November, 1811, was met by about 600 warriors; a battle ensued, in which the Indians, deprived by the absence of their chief of his counsel and example, were defeated, but with nearly equal loss on both sides. Assured by the prophet that the American bullets would not injure them, they rushed on the bayonets with their war clubs, and exposed their persons with a fatal fearlessness. But Els-kwàta-wa himself remained during the battle in security on an adjacent eminence; he was chaunting a war song, when information was brought to him that his men were falling.* "Let them fight on, for my pre

* "Els-kwà-ta-wa was tall, but too slight to be well proportioned, with a keen eye and a thin gloomy visage. 'Tecumseh,' says Thatcher in

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