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A chief of the Chippewas, who upon that occasion acted as his guide, was apprehensive that their small party might be perceived and followed by some straggling band of the Naudowessies (or Scioux Indians), with whom the Chippewas were constantly at war.
The chief accordingly stripped some of the bark from a tree at a conspicuous spot near the mouth of the Chippewa river, and having mixed up some charcoal with bear's grease, drew, in a rough style, on the stem of the tree, first, the town of the Ottogamies, then a man dressed in skins, intended to represent a Scioux, with a line drawn from his mouth to that of a deer — the symbol of the Chippewas. He then painted a canoe as proceeding up the river, and a man sitting in it with his hat on : this was to represent an Englishman (Carver); and another man was described with a handkerchief tied round his head paddling the canoe; viz.
. the French canoeman by whom Carver was accompanied He then added some other significant emblems, among which was the pipe of peace at the prow of the canoe.
“ The meaning,” says Carver," which he intended thus to convey to the Naudowessies - and which, I doubt not, appeared perfectly intelligible to them — was, that one of the Chippewa chiefs had received a speech from some Naudowessie chiefs at the town of the Ottogamies, desiring him to conduct the Englishman, who had
lately been among them, up the river, and that they required that the Chippewa, notwithstanding he was an avowed enemy, should not be molested by them in his passage, as he had the care of a person whom they esteemed as one of their own nation."
* The Chippewa Indians and the Scioux appear to have been from time immemorial in almost constant rivalship; and their hostility continues to the present day. When I was in the interior country of the Chippewas, in the year 1822, a gentleman who had resided a considerable time among the Red Lake Indians (of the Chippewa nation), related to me a circumstance that had occurred not long before in his neighbourhood, and which exhibits an instance of that respect with which the North American Indian often regards acts of bravery, even in an inveterate enemy. A band of the Scioux having killed two of the Red Lake Chippewas, the latter tribe determined to take ample revenge. Sixteen of their warriors accordingly set out, and reached the Scioux village, where they found their enemy in great force. They stationed themselves in a small wood, near the village, from whence they fired upon the Scioux. The latter immediately assembled, and surrounded the wood. One of the Chippewas made his escape, but the remaining fifteen, after defending themselves gallantly, were all killed. Seventeen of the Scioux also fell; but their chief ordered that none of the Chippewas should be scalped, as they had fought bravely. He then caused a large and deep grave to be dug, in which those who had fallen in battle on either side were all honourably interred; the body of a Scioux and of a Chippewa being alternately deposited in
La Hontan, nearly a century and a half ago, inserted in his Travels a graphic illustration of an Indian hieroglyphic ; and his accuracy - so often and so unjustly called in question — has received a strong corroboration by the later statements of Carver, Heckewelder, Hunter, Schoolcraft, and others, upon this subject.
The drawing alluded to is divided into several compartments. The first exhibits a tomohawke (the symbol of war), with the fleur-de-lis, the arms of France, underneath, meaning that the French had commenced war; eighteen other marks shewing the number of their troops, each mark standing for ten soldiers. On the right of the second compartment is represented a mountain (the emblem of Montreal), from which a bird is directing its flight, meaning that the French had set out. A moon in its first quarter, placed on the back of a deer, tells the time of their departure — the beginning of the month of July, termed by the Indians “the Moon of the Deer.” In another division, the picture of a canoe shews that they first advanced by water, and a group of cabins (as sleeping places) points out the number of days occupied in their voyage. The representation of a human foot shews that the French marched by land (a day's march being generally about five French leagues) as many days as there are cabins marked in that compartment; and, in the next, a hand pointing to three cabins
signifies that they had approached within three days' march of the Seneca village, the emblem of which is a long cabin or lodge with a tree at each end of it. The sun is represented at the right hand of this emblem, shewing that the affair took place on the east side of the village. In the next division of the picture there are twelve marks, each mark meaning ten men, and the Seneca emblem accompanying them shews that they are Indians of that nation. A person drawn lying as if asleep on the ground, means that they were taken by surprise: a war club and eleven human heads, that eleven Senecas were killed ; and five men, represented each with a particular mark, imply that fifty of thern were taken prisoners. In another compartment, nine heads within a bow, mean that nine of the attacking enemy were killed ; and twelve underneath it, that twelve of them were wounded. Arrows represented as flying in the air in different directions, shew that they fought well on both sides ; and, lastly, a number of arrows flying all one way, that the conquered party fled or retreated in disorder.
Thus,” says the baron, in explaining his Iroquois Gazette, “ the French soldiers, to the number of 180, having set out from Montreal about the beginning of July, proceeded twenty-one days in their canoes; then advancing thirty-five leagues on foot, they surprised 120 Senecas on the east
side of their village, of whom eleven were killed and fifty taken prisoners, with the loss, on the part of the French, of nine killed and twelve wounded—the battle having been well contested.”*
Although, therefore, the author of the Recherches Philosophiques may have triumphantly held the Indians in contempt, because, at the time when America was first discovered, there was not to be found a native in that continent who could read or write, yet enough has probably been inserted in these Notes to shew that, at all events, the Indian may fairly be reckoned not incapable of being taught. And to the charge which the same writer has gravely added, that “even in our days there is not one of the Indians who has the
power to think,” we may be permitted to close this part of the subject with the thoughts so eloquently expressed by his own contemporary, the celebrated Indian, Logan - whose speech has been so much admired on both sides of the Atlantic. The authenticity of this specimen of Indian eloquence having been called in question, induced Mr. Jefferson, the late president of the United States, to ascertain it beyond the shadow of a doubt; and in an Appendix (published at Philadelphia in 1800) to his Notes on Virginia, he expressed his wish that in any subsequent edition of that work
• La Hontan, vol. ii. p. 210.