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War Talk-1815

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  • War Talk-1815

    Speech of Black Thunder
    The speech of Black Thunder, or Mackanatnamakee, generally styled the patriarch of the Fox Tribe, before the American commissioners, who had assembled many chiefs at a place called the Portage, July, 1815. He rose and addressed himself thus, to the commissioners who opened the talk:

    "My father, restrain your feelings, and hear calmly what I shall say. I shall say it plainly. I shall not speak with fear and trembling. I have never injured you, and innocence can feel no fear. I turn to you all, red skins and white skins -- where is the man who will appear as my accuser? Father, I understand not clearly how things are working. I have just been set at liberty. Am I again to be plunged into bondage? But I am incapable of change. You may, perhaps, be ignorant of what I tell you; but it is a truth, which I call heaven and earth to witness. It is
    [p. 284]
    a fact which can easily be proved, that I have been assailed in almost every possible way that pride, fear, feeling, or interest could touch me -- that I have been pushed to the last to raise the tomahawk against you -- but all in vain. I never could be made to feel that you were my enemy. If this be the conduct of an enemy, I shall never be your friend. You are acquainted with my removal from Prairie du Chien. I went and formed a settlement, and called my warriors around. We took counsel, and from that counsel we never have departed. We smoked, and resolved to make common cause with the United States. I sent you the pipe -- it resembled this -- and I sent it by the Missiouri, that the Indians of the Mississippi might not know what we were doing. You received it. I then told you that your friends should be my friends -- that your enemies should be my enemies -- and that I only awaited your signal to make war. If this be the conduct of an enemy, I shall never be your friend. Why do I tell you this? Because it is a truth, and a melancholy truth, that the good things which men do are often buried in the ground, while their evil deeds are stripped naked, and exposed to the world. When I came here, I came to you in friendship. I little thought I should have to defend myself. I have no defence to make. If I were guilty, I should have come prepared; but I have ever held you by the hand, and I am come without excuses. If I had fought against you, I would have told you so; but I have nothing now to say here in your councils, except to repeat what I said before to my Great Father, the President of your nation. You heard it, and no doubt remember it. It was simply this. My lands can never be surrendered; I was cheated, and basely cheated, in the contract; I will not surrender my country, but with my life. Again I call heaven and earth to witness, and I smoke this pipe in evidence of my sincerity. If you are sincere, you will receive it from me. My only desire is, that we should smoke it together -- that I should grasp your sacred hand: and I claim for myself and my tribe the protection of your country. When this pipe touches your lip,
    [p. 285]
    may it operate as a blessing upon all my tribe. May the smoke rise like a cloud, and carry away with it all the animosities which have arisen between us."

  • #2
    War Talk-Pottowattomies

    Speech of Metea
    The Speech of Metea, Chief of the Pottowattomies, at Chicago, before Governor Cass, against selling land.

    "My father, we have listened to what you have said. We shall now retire to our camps and consult on it. You will hear nothing more from us at present. We met you here to-day because we had promised it, to tell you our minds, and what we have agreed upon among ourselves.

    "You will listen to us with a good mind, and believe what we say. You know that we first came to this country a long time ago, and when we sat ourselves down upon it, we met with a great many hardships and difficulties. Our country then was very large, but it has dwindled away to a small spot, and you wish to purchase that. This has caused us to reflect much upon what is going forward. You know your children. Since you first came among them, they have listened to your words with an attentive ear, and have always hearkened to your counsels, whenever you have had a proposal to make to us. Whenever you have had a favour to ask of us, we have always lent a favourable ear, and our invariable answer has been 'Yes.' This you know. A long time has passed since we first came on our lands, and our old people have all sunk into their graves. They had sense. We are all young and foolish, and do not wish to do anything that they would not approve, were they living. We are fearful we shall offend their spirits, if we sell our lands; and we are fearful we shall offend you, if we do not sell them. This has caused us great perplexity of thought, because we have counselled among ourselves, and do not know how we can part with

    the land. Our country was given to us by the Great Spirit, who gave it to us to hunt upon, to make our corn-fields upon, to live upon, and to make down our beds upon when we die. And he would never forgive us, should we bargain it away. When you first spoke to us for lands at St. Mary's, we said we had a little, and agreed to sell you a piece of it; but we told you we could spare no more. Now you ask us again. You are never satisfied! We have sold you a great tract of land, already; but it is not enough! We sold it to you for the benefit of your children, to farm and to live upon. We have now but little left. We shall want it all for ourselves. We know not how long we may live, and we wish to have some lands for our children to hunt upon. You are gradually taking away our hunting grounds. Your children are driving us before them. We are growing uneasy. What lands you have, you may retain for ever; but we shall sell no more. You think, perhaps, that I speak in passion; but my heart is good towards you. I speak like one of your own children. I am an Indian, a red skin, and live by hunting and fishing, but my country is already too small; and I do not know how to bring up my children, if I give it all away. We sold you a fine tract of land at St. Mary's. We said to you then it was enough to satisfy your children, and the last we should sell; and we thought it would be the last you would ask for. We have now told you what we had to say. It is what was determined on in a council among ourselves; and what I have spoken is the voice of my nation. On this account, all our people have come here to listen to me; but do not think we have a bad opinion of you. Where should we get a bad opinion of you? We speak to you with a good heart, and the feelings of a friend. You are acquainted with this piece of land -- the country we live in. Shall we give it up? Take notice it is a small piece of land, and if we give it away, what will become of us?

    "The Great Spirit, who has provided it for our use, allows us to keep it, to bring up our young men and support our families. We should incur his anger, if we bartered it away. If we had more land, you should get more; but our land has
    been wasting away ever since the white people became our neighbours, and we have now hardly enough left to cover the bones of our tribes; you are in the midst of your red children. What is due to us in money we wish, and I will receive at this place; and we want nothing more. We shall shake hands with you. Behold our warriors, our women, and children; take pity on us and on our words."


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