By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Great Indian Chief of the West - Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk
Author: Drake, Benjamin, 1794-1841
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Great Indian Chief of the West - Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

[Illustration: BLACK HAWK.]










  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1843,
  In the Clerk's Office of the District of Ohio.

|Transcriber's Note: There are inconsistencies in the Index   |
|and in the spelling of tribal names.                         |
|These have been left as originally printed.                  |


In presenting to the public the life and adventures of Black Hawk, some
account of the Sac and Fox Indians--of Keokuk, their distinguished
chief--and of the causes which led to the late contest between these
tribes and the United States, was necessarily involved. The introduction
of these collateral subjects, may possibly impart additional interest to
this volume.

In speaking of the policy of the government towards the fragment of Sacs
and Foxes, with whom Black Hawk was associated, it has been necessary to
censure some of its acts, and to comment with freedom upon the official
conduct of a few public officers.

The Indians are frequently denounced as faithless, ferocious and
untameable. Without going into the inquiry, how far this charge is
founded in truth, the question may be asked, has not the policy of our
government contributed, essentially, to impart to them that character?
Have we not more frequently met them in bad faith, than in a Christian
spirit? and sustained our relations with them, more by the power of the
sword than the law of kindness? In the inscrutable ways of Providence,
the Indians are walking in ignorance and moral darkness. It is the
solemn duty, and should be the highest glory of this nation, to bring
them out of that condition, and elevate them in the scale of social and
intellectual being. But, how is this duty performed? We gravely
recognize them as an independent people, and treat them as vassals: We
make solemn compacts with them, which we interpret as our interest
dictates, but punish them if they follow the example: We admit their
title to the land which they occupy, and at the same time literally
compel them to sell it to us upon our own terms: We send agents and
missionaries to reclaim them from the error of their ways--to bring them
from the hunter to the pastoral life; and yet permit our citizens to
debase them by spirituous liquors, and cheat them out of their property:
We make war upon them without any adequate cause--pursue them without
mercy--and put them to death, without regard to age, sex or condition:
And, then deliberately proclaim to the world, that they are
savages--cruel and untameable--degraded and faithless.

If the present volume shall, in any degree, contribute to awaken the
public mind to a sense of the wrongs inflicted upon the Indians, and to
arouse the Christian statesmen of this land, to the adoption of a more
liberal, upright and benevolent course of policy towards them,
something will have been gained to the cause of humanity and of national

The author takes this opportunity of acknowledging his obligations to
James Hall, Esq., for the valuable assistance received from him, in the
preparation of this volume. In collecting the materials for that
magnificent work, on which he is now engaged, "The History of the
Indians of North America," this gentleman has become possessed of much
interesting matter, in regard to the Sacs and Foxes, and especially the
chief Keokuk; to all of which he has kindly permitted the author to have

  Cincinnati, May, 1838.



  Origin of the Sac and Fox Indians--Removal to Green Bay--Their
  subjugation of the Illini confederacy--Their attack upon St. Louis
  in 1779--Col. George Rogers Clark relieves the town--Governor
  Harrison's letter--Maj. Forsyth's account of the conquest of the
  Illini--Death of the Sac chief Pontiac--Sac and Fox village on
  Rock river--Description of the surrounding country--Civil polity
  of the Sacs and Foxes--Legend about their chiefs--Division of
  the tribes into families--Mode of burying their dead--Idea of a future
  state--Their account of the creation of the world--Marriages--Social
  relations--Music and musical instruments--Pike's visit to
  them in 1805--Population--Character for courage                     13


  Treaty with the Sac and Fox Indians in 1789--treaty and cession of
  land to the United States at St. Louis in 1804--Black Hawk's account
  of this treaty--Erection of Fort Madison--The British excite
  the Sac and Fox Indians to make war upon the United States--A
  party under Black Hawk join the British standard in 1812--Treaty at
  Portage des Sioux in 1815--Treaty of peace with Black Hawk and his
  band at same place in 1816--Treaty for part of their lands in Missouri
  in 1824--Treaty of Prairie des Chiens in 1825--Treaty for the mineral
  region in 1829--Treaty of peace in 1832, after the "Black
  Hawk war"--Present residence of the Sacs and Foxes                  49


  Birth of Black Hawk--Early adventures--Battles with the Osages and
  Cherokees--Death of his father--Interview with Lieutenant Pike--Attack
  upon Fort Madison--Joins the British in the late war--Marches
  to lake Erie--Returns home after the attack upon Fort
  Stephenson--Murder of his adopted son--Battle of the Sink-hole near
  Cap au Gris--Treaty of peace at Portage des Sioux in 1816           74


  Building of Fort Armstrong--The good Spirit of Rock Island--Death
  of Black Hawk's children--Young Sac offers to die in place of his
  brother--Black Hawk's visit to Malden--Whipped by some whites--Whites
  settle at his village--Black Hawk's talk with Governor Coles
  and Judge Hall--Sale of the lands on Rock river--Indians ordered to
  remove--Agreement to remove for six thousand dollars--Memorial of
  the white settlers to Governor Reynolds--The Governor's letters to
  General Clark and General Gaines--The latter leaves Jefferson Barracks
  with six companies of the United States troops for Rock Island--His
  interview with Black Hawk--Calls upon the Governor of Illinois
  for militia--The Indians abandon their village--treaty of peace made
  with them--Official letters to the war department--Summary of the
  causes which brought on this disturbance--Black Hawk's attempt to
  form an alliance with other tribes                                  91


  Keokuk's birth--Kills a Sioux when fifteen years old--Prevents the
  abandonment of the Sac village--Bold manoeuvre with the Sioux--Perils
  his life for the safety of his people--Speech to the Menominies
  at Prairie des Chiens--Called upon to lead his braves to join
  in the Black Hawk war--Allays the excitement of his people on this
  subject--Deposed from his post as head chief and a young man elected
  in his place--Re-established in power--Delivers up his nephew to
  the whites to be tried for murder--Letter to the Governor of
  Illinois--Council at Washington in 1837--Retorts upon the Sioux--His
  visit to Boston--His return home--His personal appearance--And
  his character as a war and peace chief                             118


  Murder of twenty-eight Menominies by the Foxes of Black Hawk's
  band--Naopope's visit to Malden--Black Hawk recrosses the
  Mississippi--General Atkinson orders him to return--Stillman's
  attack--Defeated by Black Hawk--His white flag fired upon--He sends
  out war parties upon the frontier--Attack upon Fort Buffalo--General
  Dodge's battle on the Wisconsin--Black Hawk and his band leave the
  Four Lakes and fly to the Mississippi--Pursued by General Atkinson--Black
  Hawk's flag of truce fired upon by the Captain of the
  Warrior--Twenty-three Indians killed                               143


  General Atkinson overtakes Black Hawk--Battle of the Bad Axe--Atkinson's
  official report--Incidents of the Battle--Capture of
  Black Hawk and the prophet--Naopope's statement to General Scott--General
  Scott and Governor Reynolds conclude a treaty with the
  Sacs, Foxes and Winnebagoes--Causes which led to the war--Motives
  for getting up Indian wars--First attack made by the Illinois
  militia--Report of the Secretary at War in regard to this
  campaign--General Macomb's letter to General Atkinson--Secretary
  Cass' statement of the causes which led to this war--Comments upon
  this statement, and its omissions pointed out                      166


  Black Hawk, Naopope, the Prophet and others confined at Jefferson
  Barracks--In April 1833 sent to Washington--Interview with the
  President--sent to Fortress Monroe--Their release--Visit the eastern
  cities--Return to the Mississippi--Conference at Rock island between
  Maj. Garland, Keokuk, Black Hawk and other chiefs--speeches
  of Keokuk, Pashshepaho and Black Hawk--Final discharge of the
  hostages--Their return to their families--Black Hawk's visit to
  Washington in 1837--His return--His personal appearance--Military
  talents--Intellectual and moral character                          200


  Black Hawk at the capture of Fort Erie--At the battle
  of the Thames--His account of the death of Tecumthe--His
  residence and mode of life after his last visit to the
  east--His Fourth of July speech at fort Madison--His death
  and burial                                                         234

  APPENDIX--Sketches of the Sioux                                    222
                     Colonization of the Indians                     228
                     Indian Dancing Ceremonies                       237
                     Sale of Whiskey to the Indians                  245

  INDEX                                                              285







Origin of the Sac and Fox Indians--Removal to Green Bay--Their
  subjugation of the Illini confederacy--Their attack upon St. Louis in
  1779--Col. George Rogers Clark relieves the town--Governor Harrison's
  letter--Maj. Forsyth's account of the conquest of the Illini--Death of
  the Sac chief Pontiac--Sac and Fox village on Rock river--Description
  of the surrounding country--Civil polity of the Sacs and Foxes--Legend
  about their chiefs--Division of the tribes into families--Mode of
  burying their dead--Idea of a future state--Their account of the
  creation of the world--Marriages--Social relations--Music and musical
  instruments--Pike's visit to them in 1805--Population--Character for

The word Saukee, or O-sau-kee, now written Sauk or more commonly Sac, is
derived from a compound in the Algonquin or Chippeway language,
a-saw-we-kee, which means "yellow earth." Mus-qua-kee, the name of the
Fox Indians, signifies "red earth." These two tribes have long resided
together, and now constitute one people, although there are some
internal regulations among them which tend to preserve a distinctive
name and lineage. The chiefs, on ceremonial occasions, claim to be
representatives of independent tribes, but this distinction is nominal.
For many years past the principal chief of the Sacs, has been, in fact,
the chief of the Foxes likewise. They are united in peace and war, speak
the same language, claim the same territory, have similar manners and
customs, and possess traditions which represent them as descended from
the one common origin--the great Chippeway nation.

Both tribes originally resided upon the waters of the St. Lawrence. The
Foxes removed first to the west, and established themselves in the
region of Green Bay. Upon a river bearing their name, which empties into
the head of this Bay, they suffered a signal defeat by a combined body
of French and Indians, at a place, since known as La Butte de Mort, or
the Hill of the Dead.[1] Subsequently to this battle, they were joined
by the Sacs, who having become involved in a war with the Iroquois or
Six Nations, were also driven to the westward. They found their
relatives, the Foxes, upon Green Bay, but so far reduced in numbers, by
the attacks of other tribes, that they were no longer able to sustain
themselves as an independent people. The union between these two tribes,
which then took place, and continues to this day, was as much a matter
of necessity as of feeling. The period of their migration from the St.
Lawrence to the upper Lakes cannot be satisfactorily ascertained. La
Hontan speaks of a Sac village on Fox river, as early as 1689; and
Father Hennepin, in 1680, mentions the Ontagamies or Fox Indians, as
residents on the bay of Puants, now Green Bay.

From this place, the Sauks and Foxes, crossed over to the eastern bank
of the Mississippi, and combining with other tribes, began to act on the
offensive. The period of this irruption from the north, it is not easy
to determine. Major Thomas Forsyth, who resided for near twenty years
among the Sauks and Foxes, in a manuscript account of those tribes, now
before us, says:

"More than a century ago, all the country, commencing above Rock river,
and running down the Mississippi to the mouth of the Ohio, up that river
to the mouth of the Wabash, thence up that river to Fort Wayne, thence
down the Miami of the Lake some distance, thence north to the St.
Joseph's and Chicago; also the country lying south of the Des Moines,
down perhaps, to the Mississippi, was inhabited by a numerous nation of
Indians, who called themselves Linneway, and were called by others,
Minneway, signifying "men." This great nation was divided into several
bands, and inhabited different parts of this extensive region, as
follows: The Michigamies, the country south of the Des Moines; the
Cohakias that east of the present village of Cohokia in Illinois; the
Kaskaskias that east of the town of that name; the Tamarois had their
village nearly central between Cahokia and Kaskaskia; the Piankeshaws
near Vincennes; the Weas up the Wabash; the Miamies on the head waters
of the Miami of the Lakes, on St. Joseph's river and at Chicago. The
Piankeshaws, Weas and Miamies, must at this time have hunted south
towards and on the Ohio. The Peorias, another band of the same nation,
lived and hunted on the Illinois river: The Mascos or Mascontins, called
by the French _gens des prairies_, lived and hunted on the great
prairies, between the Wabash and Illinois rivers. All these different
bands of the Minneway nation, spoke the language of the present Miamies,
and the whole considered themselves as one and the same people; yet from
their local situation, and having no standard to go by, their language
became broken up into different dialects. These Indians, the Minneways,
were attacked by a general confederacy of other nations, such as the
Sauks and Foxes, resident at Green Bay and on the Ouisconsin; the Sioux,
whose frontiers extended south to the river des Moines: the Chippeways,
Ottoways, and Potawatimies from the lakes, and also the Cherokees and
Choctaws from the south. The war continued for a great many years and
until that great nation the Minneways were destroyed, except a few
Miamies and Weas on the Wabash, and a few who are scattered among
strangers. Of the Kaskaskias, owing to their wars and their fondness for
spiritous liquors, there now (1826) remain but thirty or forty
souls;--of the Peorias near St. Genevieve ten or fifteen; of the
Piankeshaws forty or fifty. The Miamies are the most numerous; a few
years ago they consisted of about four hundred souls. There do not exist
at the present day (1826) more than five hundred souls of the once great
and powerful Minneway or Illini nation. These Indians, the Minneways,
are said to have been very cruel to their prisoners, not unfrequently
burning them. I have heard of a certain family among the Miamies who
were called man-eaters, as they were accustomed to make a feast of human
flesh when a prisoner was killed. For these enormities, the Sauks and
Foxes, when they took any of the Minneways prisoners, gave them up to
their women to be buffeted to death. They speak also of the Mascontins
with abhorrence, on account of their cruelties. The Sauks and Foxes have
a historical legend of a severe battle having been fought opposite the
mouth of the Iowa river, about fifty or sixty miles above the mouth of
Rock river. The Sauks and Foxes descended the Mississippi in canoes, and
landing at the place above described, started east, towards the enemy:
they had not gone far before they were attacked by a party of the
Mascontins. The battle continued nearly all day; the Sauks and Foxes,
for want of ammunition, finally gave way and fled to their canoes; the
Mascontins pursued them and fought desperately, and left but few of the
Sauks and Foxes to carry home the story of their defeat. Some forty or
fifty years ago, the Sauks and Foxes attacked a small village of
Peorias, about a mile below St. Louis and were there defeated. At a
place on the Illinois river, called Little Rock, there were formerly
killed by the Chippeways and Ottowas, a number of men, women and
children of the Minneway nation. In 1800 the Kickapoos made a great
slaughter of the Kaskaskia Indians. The Main-Pogue, or Potawatimie
juggler, in 1801, killed a great many of the Piankeshaws on the Wabash."

The land on which St. Louis stands, as well as the surrounding country,
was claimed by the Illini confederacy, which had acquiesced in the
intrusion of the whites. This circumstance, it is supposed, led the
northern confederacy to the attempt, which they made in 1779, to destroy
the village of St. Louis, then occupied by the Spaniards. As the Sacs
and Foxes were active participators in this attack, no apology is
necessary for introducing the following graphic account of it, from the
pen of Wilson Primm, Esqr. of St. Louis.[2]

"In the mean time numerous bands of the Indians living on the lakes and
the Mississippi--the Ojibeways, Menomonies, Winnebagoes, Sioux, Sacs,
&c. together with a large number of Canadians, amounting in all to
upwards of fourteen hundred, had assembled on the eastern shore of the
Mississippi, a little above St. Louis, awaiting the sixth of May, the
day fixed for the attack. The fifth of May was the feast of _Corpus
Christi_, a day highly venerated by the inhabitants, who were all
Catholics. Had the assault taken place then, it would have been fatal to
them, for, after divine service, all the men, women and children had
flocked to the prairie to gather strawberries, which were that season
very abundant and fine. The town being left perfectly unguarded, could
have been taken with ease, and the unsuspecting inhabitants, who were
roaming about in search of fruit, have been massacred without
resistance. Fortunately, however, a few only of the enemy had crossed
the river and ambushed themselves in the prairie. The villagers,
frequently came so near them, in the course of the day, that the Indians
from their places of concealment, could have reached them with their
hands. But they knew not how many of the whites were still remaining in
the town, and in the absence of their co-adjutors, feared to attack,
lest their preconcerted plan might be defeated."

On the sixth, the main body of the Indians crossed, and marched directly
towards the fields, expecting to find the greater part of the villagers
there; but in this they were disappointed, a few only having gone out to
view their crops. These perceived the approach of the savage foe, and
immediately commenced a retreat towards the town, the most of them
taking the road that led to the upper gate, nearly through the mass of
Indians, and followed by a shower of bullets. The firing alarmed those
who were in town, and the cry "to arms! to arms!" was heard in every
direction. They rushed towards the works and threw open the gates to
their brethren. The Indians advanced slowly but steadily towards the
town, and the inhabitants, though almost deprived of hope, by the vast
superiority in number of the assailants, determined to defend themselves
to the last.

"In expectation of an attack, Silvio Francisco Cartabona, a governmental
officer, had gone to St. Genevieve for a company of militia to aid in
defending the town, in case of necessity, and had at the beginning of
the month returned with sixty men, who were quartered on the citizens.
As soon as the attack commenced, however, neither Cartabona nor his men
could be seen. Either through fear or treachery, they concealed
themselves in a garret, and there remained until the Indians had
retired. The assailed being deprived of a considerable force, by this
shameful defection, were still resolute and determined. About fifteen
men were posted at each gate; the rest were scattered along the line of
defence, in the most advantageous manner.

"When within a proper distance, the Indians began an irregular fire,
which was answered with showers of grape shot from the artillery. The
firing, for a while, was warm; but the Indians perceived that all their
efforts would be ineffectual on account of the intrenchments, and
deterred by the cannon, to which they were unaccustomed, from making a
nearer approach, suffered their zeal to abate, and deliberately retired.
At this stage of affairs, the Lieutenant Governor made his appearance.
The first intimation that he received of what was going on, was by the
discharge of artillery, on the part of the inhabitants. He immediately
ordered several pieces of cannon, which were posted in front of the
government house, to be spiked and filled with sand, and went, or rather
was rolled in a wheelbarrow, to the scene of action. In a very
peremptory tone, he commanded the inhabitants to cease firing and return
to their houses. Those posted at the lower gate, did not receive the
order, and consequently kept their stations. The commandant perceived
this and ordered a cannon to be fired at them. They had barely time to
throw themselves on the ground, when the volley passed over them, and
struck the wall, tearing a great part of it down. These proceedings, as
well as the whole tenor of his conduct, since the first rumor of an
attack, gave rise to suspicions very unfavorable to the Lieutenant
Governor. It was bruited about, that he was the cause of the attack,
that he was connected with the British, and that he had been bribed into
a dereliction of duty, which, had not providence averted, would have
doomed them to destruction. Under pretext of proving to them that there
was no danger of an attack, he had a few days before it occurred, sold
to the traders, all the ammunition belonging to the government; and they
would have been left perfectly destitute and defenceless, had they not
found, in a private house, eight barrels of powder, belonging to a
trader, which they seized in the name of the King, upon the first alarm.
Colonel George Rogers Clark, who was at this time at Kaskaskia, with a
few men under his command, understanding that an attack was meditated on
the town, offered all the assistance in his power, to aid in the
defence. This offer was rejected by the Lieutenant Governor. All these
circumstances gave birth to a strong aversion to the commandant, which
evinces itself, at this day, in execrations of his character, whenever
his name is mentioned to those who have known him. Representations of
his conduct, together with a detailed account of the attack, were sent
to New Orleans by a special messenger, and the result was that the
Governor General appointed Mr. Francisco Cruzat, to the office of
Lieutenant Governor.

"As soon as it was ascertained that the Indians had retired from the
neighborhood, the inhabitants proceeded to gather the dead, that lay
scattered in all parts of the prairie. Seven were at first found and
buried in one grave. Ten or twelve others, in the course of a fortnight,
were discovered in the long grass that bordered the marshes. The acts of
the Indians were accompanied by their characteristic ferocity. Some of
their victims were horribly mangled. With the exception of one
individual, the whites who accompanied the Indians, did not take part in
the butcheries that were committed. A young man by the name of Calve,
was found dead, his skull split open, and a tomahawk, on the blade of
which was written the word Calve, sticking in his brain. He was supposed
to have fallen by the hand of his uncle. Had those who discovered the
Indians in the prairie, fled to the lower gate, they would have escaped;
but the greater part of them took the road that led to the upper gate,
through the very ranks of the enemy, and were thus exposed to the whole
of their fire. About twenty persons, it is computed, met their death in
endeavoring to get within the entrenchments. None of those within were
injured, and none of the Indians were killed, at least none of them were
found. Their object was not plunder, for they did not attempt, in their
retreat, to take away with them any of the cattle or the horses that
were in the prairie, and that they might have taken; nor did they attack
any of the neighboring towns, where danger would have been less, and the
prospect of success greater. The only object they had in view was the
destruction of St. Louis; and this would seem to favor the idea that
they were instigated by the English, and gives good ground, when
connected with other circumstances, to believe that Leyba was their
aider and abettor.  *   *   *   *

"A Mr. Chancellier had gone on the day of attack, to the prairie for
strawberries, with his wife, two daughters and an American, the first
that had ever been in the country, in a cart drawn by two horses. When
they perceived the Indians, they immediately fled towards the town in
the cart; Mr. Chancellier being seated before, and the American behind,
in order to protect the women, who were in the middle. In their flight
the American was mortally wounded. As he was falling out, Mr.
Chancellier seized him and threw him into the midst of the women,
exclaiming, "they shan't get the scalp of my American." He was at the
same time struck by two balls, which broke his arm in as many places,
above the elbow. His wife received a bullet through the middle of her
hand, the elder daughter was shot through the shoulder, immediately
above the breast, and the younger was struck on the forehead, but the
ball glanced aside and merely stunned her. The moment Mr. Chancellier
arrived at the gate, his horses dropped dead, pierced with a hundred
wounds, but his family was saved."

Mr. Primm, the writer of this interesting narrative, has probably not
been fully informed in regard to the extent of Colonel George Rogers
Clark's participation in this affair. In a written memorandum now before
us, made on the authority of his brother, General William Clark of St.
Louis, who it is presumed has possession of his father's official
papers, it is stated, in reference to this affair, that although the
Spanish Governor could not be made to believe that an attack was
intended, the principal inhabitants sent over an express to Colonel
Clark, who was then at Kaskaskia with five hundred men, to come and
protect them. He accordingly marched his force up opposite the town and
encamped a little distance from the river. He did not send over any
troops, but was to do so, in case of an attack; when it was actually
made Colonel Clark crossed the river; and upon seeing the "long knives,"
as the Indians called his troops, they hastily retreated, having killed
seventy-two or seventy-three of the Spaniards, before his arrival. This
sudden appearance of Colonel Clark, upon the scene of action, explains
the conduct of the Indians. So large a body of warriors, making a
preconcerted attack, upon a town but badly protected, would not, it is
thought, have given up the assault so suddenly and before they had lost
a single man, unless alarmed by the presence of a superior force. On the
supposition that Colonel Clark actually crossed the river with his
troops, the flight of the Indians is easily explained. They were
probably apprised of Colonel Clark's being at Kaskaskia, and his name
was every where a terror to the Indians. As an evidence of this, a short
time afterwards, he sent a detachment of one hundred and fifty men, as
far up the country as Prairie des Chiens, and from thence across Rock
and Illinois rivers and down to Kaskaskia, meeting with no molestation
from the Indians, who were struck with terror at the boldness of the
enterprise, saying that if so few dared to come, they "would fight like

General William H. Harrison, long familiar with the North West Indians,
in an official letter to the secretary at War, dated H.Q. Cincinnati,
March 22d, 1814, giving an able view of the Indian tribes, makes the
following remarks on the descent of this northern confederacy, upon the
great Illini nation.

"The Miamies have their principal settlements on the forks of the
Wabash, thirty miles from fort Wayne; and at Mississineway, thirty miles
lower down. A band of them, under the name of Weas, have resided on the
Wabash, sixty miles above Vincennes; and another under the Turtle, on
Eel river, a branch of the Wabash, twenty miles north west of Fort
Wayne. By an artifice of the Little Turtle, these three bands were
passed on General Wayne as distinct tribes, and an annuity was granted
to each. The Eel river and Weas however to this day call themselves
Miamies, and are recognized as such by the Mississineway band. The
Miamies, Maumees, or Tewicktovies are the undoubted proprietors of all
that beautiful country which is watered by the Wabash and its branches;
and there is as little doubt, that their claim extended as far east as
the Sciota. They have no tradition of removing from any other quarter of
the country; whereas all the neighboring tribes, the Piankeshaws
excepted, who are a branch of the Miamies, are either intruders upon
them, or have been permitted to settle in their country. The Wyandots
emigrated first from Lake Ontario and subsequently from lake Huron, the
Delawares from Pennsylvania and Maryland, the Shawanies from Georgia,
the Kickapoos and Pottawatamies from the country between lake Michigan
and the Mississippi, and the Ottawas and Chippeways, from the peninsula
formed by lakes Michigan, Huron and St. Clair, and the strait connecting
the latter with Erie. The claims of the Miamies were bounded on the
north and west by those of the Illinois confederacy, consisting
originally of five tribes, called Kaskaskias, Cahokias, Peorians,
Michiganians, and Temorias speaking the Miami language, and no doubt
branches of that nation.

"When I was first appointed governor of Indiana Territory, these once
powerful tribes were reduced to about thirty warriors, of whom twenty
five were Kaskaskias, four Peorians, and a single Michiganian. There was
an individual lately alive at St. Louis, who saw the enumeration of them
made by the Jesuits in 1745, making the number of their warriors four
thousand. A furious war between them and the Sacs and Kickapoos reduced
them to that miserable remnant, which had taken refuge amongst the white
people of Kaskaskia and St. Genevieve. The Kickapoos had fixed their
principal village at Peoria, upon the south bank of the Illinois river,
whilst the Sacks remained masters of the country to the north."

These historical facts are interesting, as showing the manner in which
the Sauks and Foxes obtained possession of the fertile plains of
Illinois; and, as adding another to the many instances on record, in
which hordes of northern invaders have overrun and subjugated the people
of more southern regions. The causes are obvious for this descent of the
Sauks and Foxes, upon their southern neighbors. They reached a more
genial climate, a country where game was more abundant than in the
region they left behind, and in which they could, with greater facility,
raise their corn, beans and pumpkins. Other causes than these might have
had their influence. The Illini confederacy may have provoked the
descent of the northern tribes upon them. On this point, Lieutenant Pike
in his travels to the sources of the Mississippi, has the following

"By killing the celebrated Sauk chief, Pontiac, the Illinois, Cahokias,
Kaskaskias and Peorias, kindled a war with the allied nations of the
Sauks and Reynards, which has been the cause of the almost entire
destruction of the former nations."

The death of Pontiac may have been the immediate exciting cause of the
war, but it is more than probable that the love of conquest and the
hope of obtaining a more fruitful and genial country, than is to be
found upon the shore of the lakes, were the principal reasons which
impelled the northern confederacy to the subjugation of the Illini.

The principal village of the Sacs and Foxes, for a long period of time,
was on the north side of Rock river, near its junction with the
Mississippi. It contained at one time upwards of sixty lodges, and was
among the largest and most populous Indian villages on the continent.
The country around it is fertile and picturesque, finely watered, and
studded with groves and prairies. It is described in the following
graphic manner, by a gentleman[3] who travelled over it in 1829.

"The Mississippi, which below its junction with the Missouri, is a
troubled stream, meandering through low grounds, and margined by muddy
banks, is here a clear and rapid river, flowing over beds of rock and
gravel, and bordered by the most lovely shores. Nothing of the kind can
be more attractive, than the scenery at the upper rapids. On the western
shore, a series of slopes are seen, commencing at the gravelly margin of
the water, and rising one above another, with a barely perceptible
acclivity, for a considerable distance, until the back ground is
terminated by a chain of beautifully rounded hills, over which trees are
thinly scattered, as if planted to embellish the scene. This is the
singular charm of prairie scenery. Although it is a wilderness, just as
nature made it, the verdant carpet, the gracefully waving outline of the
surface, the clumps and groves and scattered trees, give it the
appearance of a noble park, boundless in extent, and adorned with
exquisite taste. It is a wild but not a savage wild, that awes by its
gloom. It is a gay and cheerful wilderness, winning by its social aspect
as well as its variety and intrinsic gracefulness. The eastern shore is
not less beautiful: a broad flat plain of rich alluvion, extending from
the water's edge, is terminated by a range of wooded hills. A small
collection of the lodges of the Saukies and Foxes stood on this plain
when the writer last saw it, but their chief village was about three
miles distant. In the front of the landscape, and presenting its most
prominent feature, is Rock Island, on the southern point of which,
elevated upon a parapet of rock, is Fort Armstrong. The region around is
healthy and amazingly fruitful. The grape, the plum, the gooseberry and
various other native fruits abound,--the wild honeysuckle gives its
perfume to the air, and a thousand indigenous flowers mingle their
diversified hues with the verdure of the plain. But all this fertility
of soil and scenic beauty has produced no ameliorating effect upon the
savages. The Sauks of Illinois, when first visited by the French
missionaries were as they are now. They are still savages, as much so as
the Osages, Comanches and Seminoles, and not superior to the wandering

The civil polity of these two tribes bears much resemblance to that of
the north western Indians generally. The peace chiefs are partly
elective and partly hereditary. The son succeeds the father by the
assent of the tribe, if worthy of the office, and if not, a successor,
of a more meritorious character, is chosen by them from some collateral
branch of the family. There is a legend among them relating to the
relative rank of their chiefs, which, although perhaps purely
figurative, may not be uninteresting to the reader. They say that a
great while ago, their fathers had a long lodge, in the centre of which
were ranged four fires. By the first fire stood two chiefs, one on the
right, who was called the great Bear, and one on the left, called the
little Bear: these were the village or peace chiefs: they were the
rulers of the band, and held the authority corresponding to that of the
chief magistrate. At the second fire stood two chiefs: one on the right,
called the great Fox, and one on the left, called the little Fox: these
were the war chiefs or generals. At the third fire stood two warriors,
who were called respectively the Wolf and the Owl. And at the other
fire, two others who were the Eagle and the Tortoise. These four last
named were not chiefs but braves of distinction, who held honorable
places in the council, and were persons of influence in peace and in
war. This lodge of four fires may have existed among these tribes. It is
true that their chiefs remain as described in the legend.

The peace chief or head-man presides in council, and all important
public acts are done in his name; but unless he be a man of popular
talents and great energy of character his place confers more of honor
than power. If a weak or irresolute man, although he nominally retain
his authority, the war chiefs actually exercise it. It is very seldom
that he acquires property, for he is expected to make feasts and
presents, and is compelled to be hospitable and liberal as a means of
sustaining his power among his people.

The office of war chief is never hereditary, but results from skill and
intrepidity in battle, and is held so long as those qualities are
successfully retained. It may readily be conceived that among such a
race the war chiefs, having the braves and young men of the nation under
their command, would generally maintain a controlling influence. The
leading war chief is always better known than the principal peace chief,
is often confounded with him, and still oftener exercises his authority.

The Sauks are, at the present time, divided into twelve families, and
the Foxes into eight, each known by the name of some animal. Among the
Sauks there is another division peculiar to it. The males are all
classed in two parties or bands--one called Kish-ko-guis, or long hairs;
the other Osh-cushis or braves, the former being considered something
more than brave. In 1819 each party numbered about four hundred members,
and in 1826, the number was increased to five hundred in each. The
standard of the Kish-ko-guis or long hairs, is red, and that of the
Osh-cushis or braves, blue. Every male child, soon after its birth, is
marked with white or black paint, and is classed in one of these two
parties, the mother being careful to apply the two colors alternately,
so that if the number of males in a family be even, each band will
receive an equal number of members, and the whole nation will thus be
nearly equally divided into the two colors of black and white. These
distinctive marks are permanently retained through life, and in painting
themselves for any ceremonies or public occasions, those of one party
use white, the others black paint, in addition to other colors which may
suit their fancy. The reason of this singular custom is for the purpose
of creating and keeping alive a spirit of emulation in the tribe. In
their games, sham-battles and other pastimes, the whites and blacks are
opposed to each other; and in war, each party is ambitious of bringing
home a greater number of scalps than the other.

The chiefs have the management of public affairs, but as we have already
seen are more or less influenced, especially in matters of war or peace,
by the braves. In their councils, questions are not considered,
generally, as decided, unless there be unanimity of opinion. Their laws
are few and simple. Debts are but seldom contracted by them, and there
is no mode of enforcing their collection. For redress of civil injuries,
an appeal is usually made to some of the old men of the tribe, mutually
selected by the parties concerned; and their decision is considered as
binding. A murder among them is seldom punished capitally. The relatives
of the deceased may take revenge in that way, but it is much more common
to receive compensation in property. If the relatives cannot agree upon
the amount of the compensation, the old men of the tribe interfere and
settle it. The kinsfolk of the deceased say, that by killing the
murderer, it will not bring the dead to life, and that it is better to
take the customary presents, which often amount in value to a
considerable sum. Occasionally the murderer arranges the whole matter,
by marrying the widow of the man he has killed. There is but one offence
that is considered of a national character, and that is of rare
occurrence. It consists in aiding the enemies of the tribe, in times of
war, and is punishable with death. A sentinel who has been placed on
duty by a chief, but who neglects it, is publicly whipped by the women.
The Sauks and Foxes have no established mode of declaring war. If
injured by a neighboring tribe they wait a reasonable time for
reparation to be made, and if it is not, they avail themselves of the
first fitting opportunity of taking revenge. The young Indians manifest,
at an early age, a love of war. They hear the old warriors recounting
their exploits, and as the battle-field is the only road to distinction,
they embrace the first chance of killing an enemy. When the question of
going to war is under consideration, some one or a number of them,
undertake to consult the Great Spirit by fasting and dreams. These
latter are related by them in public, and often have their influence,
being generally so interpreted as to inspire confidence in those who may
join the war party. If a party is victorious in battle, the individual
who killed the first enemy, leads them back, and on the way, if they
have prisoners with them, it is not uncommon to kill those who are old.
The young ones are generally adopted into the families of such as have
lost relatives in the battle, or whose children have died a natural
death. Upon the return of the victorious party to their village, a war
dance is held round their captives by way of celebrating their triumph.
Prisoners are sometimes held as slaves, and as such are bought and sold.
If they go to war, which they are encouraged to do, and succeed in
killing one of the enemy, the slave changes his name and from that time
becomes a freeman. The Sauks and Foxes treat their prisoners with
humanity, and if they succeed in getting to the village alive, they are
safe, and their persons are held sacred. But one instance is known of
their having burned a prisoner, and that was in a war with the
Menominies, and in retaliation for a similar act, first committed by
that tribe. The young Indians go to war generally between the age of
seventeen and twenty, but sometimes as early as fifteen. Many of them at
the age of forty and forty-five, look old and are broken down in their
physical constitution, in consequence of the hardships which they have
endured in war and the chase. In old age they are usually provided for,
and live in peace at their villages. When one of them is sick, and
thinks he is about to go to the land of spirits, he not unfrequently
directs the manner in which he wishes to be buried, and his instructions
are complied with. The Sauks and Foxes bury their dead in the ground,
and have preferences for particular places of interment. The graves are
not dug to any great depth, and a little bark from a tree is made to
answer the purpose of a coffin. The body is usually carried to the grave
by old women, who howl at intervals, during the ceremony, most
piteously. Before closing the grave, one of the Indians present at the
funeral will wave a stick or war-club, called "puc-ca waw-gun," saying
in an audible voice, "I have killed many men in war, and I give their
spirits to my dead friend who lies here, to serve him as slaves in the
other world:" after which the grave is filled up with earth, and in a
day or two a rude cabin or shed is made over it of rough boards or bark.
If the deceased was a brave, a post is planted at the head of the grave,
on which, in a rude manner, the number of scalps and prisoners he has
taken in war, is represented by red paint. Upon the death of an adult,
his property is usually distributed among his relatives, and his widow
returns to her own family or nearest kinfolks. The widow is the
principal mourner for the deceased and her grief seems to be sincere.
Her countenance becomes dejected--she seldom smiles--clothes herself in
rags, and with disheveled hair and spots of black paint on her cheeks,
wanders about in a pensive mood, seldom shedding tears, except when
alone in the woods. They generally cease mourning at the suggestion of
some friend, wash, paint themselves red and put on their best clothes
and ornaments. Some of the Sauks and Foxes entertain the opinion that
the spirit of the deceased hovers about the village or lodge, for a few
days, and then takes its flight to the land of repose. On its way, they
suppose it passes over an extensive prairie, beyond which the woods
appear like a blue cloud. Between this woodland and the prairie, there
is a deep and rapid stream of water, across which there is a pole, kept
in continual motion by the force of the current. This stream, the spirit
must cross on the pole, and if it has belonged to a good person, it will
get over safe and find all its good relations that have gone before it.
In this woodland, game of all kinds is abundant, and there the spirits
of the good live in everlasting happiness. If on the contrary, the
spirit has belonged to a bad or wicked person in this world, it will
fall off the pole into the stream, and the current will sweep it down to
the land of evil spirits, where it will forever remain in poverty and
misery. There is nothing very peculiar in the religious opinions of the
Sauks and Foxes, to distinguish them from the aborigines of this
country, generally. They believe in one Great and Good Spirit, who
controls and governs all things, and in supernatural agents who are
permitted to interfere in their concerns. They are of opinion that there
is also a bad spirit, subordinate, however, to the great Manito, who is
permitted to annoy and perplex the Indians, by means of bad medicines,
by poisonous reptiles, and by killing their horses and sinking their
canoes. All their misfortunes are attributed to the influence of this
bad spirit, but they have some vague idea that it is in part permitted
as a punishment for their bad deeds. They all believe in ghosts, and
when they fancy that they have seen one, the friends of the deceased
give a feast and hang up some clothing as an offering to appease the
troubled spirit. So far as the ceremonials are concerned, the Sauks and
Foxes may be called a religious people. They rarely pass any
extraordinary cave, rock, hill or other object, with out leaving behind
them some tobacco for the use of the spirit who they suppose lives
there. They have some kind of prayers, consisting of words which they
sing over in the evening and at sunrise in the morning.

Their tradition in regard to the creation of the world, the deluge and
the re-peopling of the earth, is a singular mixture of truth and
fiction. If anterior in its origin, to the arrival of the whites on this
continent, it presents matter of curious speculation. The following
account of it, entitled the Cosmogony of the Saukee and Musquakee
Indians, is taken from Doctor Galland's Chronicles of the North American

"In the beginning the Gods created every living being which was intended
to have life upon the face of the whole earth; and then were formed
every species of living animal. After this the gods also formed man,
whom they perceived to be both cruel and foolish: they then put into man
the heart of the best beast they had created; but they beheld that man
still continued cruel and foolish. After this it came to pass that the
Almighty took a piece of himself, of which he made a heart for the man;
and when the man received it, he immediately became wise above every
other animal on the earth.

"And it came to pass in the process of much time, that the earth
produced its first fruits in abundance, and all the living beasts were
greatly multiplied. The earth about this time, was also inhabited by an
innumerable host of I-am-woi (giants) and gods. And the gods whose
habitation is under the seas, made war upon We-suk-kah, (the chief god
upon the earth) and leagued themselves with the I-am-woi upon the earth,
against him. Nevertheless, they were still afraid of We-suk-kah and his
immense host of gods; therefore they called a council upon the earth;
and when they were assembled upon the earth, at the council, both the
I-am-woi and the gods from under the seas, after much debate, and long
consultation, they resolved to make a great feast upon the earth, and to
invite We-suk-kah, that they might thus beguile him, and at the feast
lay hands upon him and slay him.

"And when the council had appointed a delegate to visit We-suk-kah, and
commanded him to invite We-suk-kah to the great feast, which they were
preparing upon the earth for him; behold, the younger brother of
We-suk-kah, was in the midst of the council, and being confused in the
whole assembly, they said unto him, "Where is thy brother We-suk-kah."
And he answering said unto them "I know not; am I my brother's keeper?"
And the council perceiving that all their devices were known unto him,
they were sorely vexed; therefore, with one accord, the whole assembly
rushed violently upon him and slew him: and thus was slain the younger
brother of We-suk-kah.

"Now when We-suk-kah had heard of the death of his younger brother, he
was extremely sorrowful and wept aloud; and the gods whose habitations
are above the clouds, heard the voice of his lamentations, and they
leagued with him to avenge the blood of his brother. At this time the
lower gods had fled from the face of the earth, to their own habitations
under the seas; and the I-am-woi were thus forsaken, and left alone to
defend themselves against We-suk-kah and his allies.

"Now the scene of battle, where We-suk-kah and his allies fought the
I-am-woi, was in a flame of fire; and the whole race of the I-am-woi
were destroyed with a great slaughter, that there was not one left upon
the face of the whole earth. And when the gods under the sea, knew the
dreadful fate of their allies, the I-am-woi, whom they had deserted,
they were sore afraid and they cried aloud to Na-nam-a-keh (god of
thunder) to come to their assistance. And Na-nam-a-keh heard their cry
and accepted their request, and sent his subaltern, No-tah-tes-se-ah,
(god of the wind) to Pa-poan-a-tesse-ah, (god of the cold) to invite him
to come with all his dreadful host of frost, snow, hail, ice and
north-wind, to their relief. When this destroying army came from the
north, they smote the whole earth with frost, converting the waters of
every river, lake, and sea into solid masses of ice, and covering the
whole earth with an immense sheet of snow and hail. Thus perished all
the first inhabitants of the earth both men, beasts and gods, except a
few choice ones of each kind, which We-suk-kah preserved with himself
upon the earth.

"And again it came to pass in the process of a long time, that the gods
under the sea came forth again, upon the earth; and when they saw
We-suk-kah, that he was almost alone on the earth, they rejoiced in
assurance of being able to destroy him. But when they had exhausted
every scheme, attempted every plan, and executed every effort to no
effect, perceiving that all their councils and designs were well known
to We-suk-kah as soon as they were formed, they became mad with despair,
and resolved to destroy We-suk-kah, by spoiling forever the whole face
of the earth, which they so much desired to inhabit. To this end,
therefore, they retired to their former habitations under the sea and
intreated Na-nam-a-keh (the god of thunder) to drown the whole earth
with a flood.

"And Na-nam-a-keh again hearkened to their cries, and calling all the
clouds to gather themselves together, they obeyed his voice and came;
and when all the clouds were assembled, he commanded them and they
poured down water upon the earth, a tremendous torrent, until the whole
surface of the earth, even the tops of the highest mountains were
covered with water. But it came to pass, when We-suk-kah saw the water
coming upon the earth, he took some air, and made an o-pes-quie,
(vessel, boat or shell) and getting into it himself, he took with him
all sorts of living beasts, and man; and when the waters rose upon the
earth the o-pes-quie was lifted up and floated upon the surface, until
the tops of the highest mountains were covered with the flood. And when
the o-pes-quie had remained for a long time upon the surface of the
flood, We-suk-kah called one of the animals, which was with him in the
o-pes-quie, and commanded it to go down through the water to the earth,
to bring from thence some earth; and after many repeated efforts and
with great difficulty, the animal at length returned, bringing in its
mouth, some earth; of which, when We-suk-kah had received it, he formed
this earth, and spread it forth upon the surface of the water; and went
forth himself and all that were with him in the o-pes-quie, and occupied
the dry land."

In the social or family relations of the Sauks and Foxes, it is
considered the duty of the men to hunt and clothe their wives and
children--to purchase arms and the implements of husbandry so far as
they use them--to make canoes and assist in rowing them--to hunt and
drive their horses, make saddles, &c. &c. The duties of the women, are
to skin the game when brought home and prepare the skins for market, to
cook, to make the camp, cut and carry wood, make moccasins, plant and
gather the corn, beans and pumpkins, and do all the drudgery connected
with the domestic affairs. It is the commonly received opinion among the
whites that the female Indians are the slaves of their husbands. This is
not literally true. The men seldom make their wives feel their
authority: as a general rule among the Sauks and Foxes, they live
happily together. The wives take the liberty of scolding their
husbands, very frequently, and it is considered by both parties that
every thing in the family, except the war and hunting implements,
belongs to the wife, and she may do with it as she pleases. The men may
each have two or three, or even more wives. They generally prefer to
take sisters, as they agree better together in the same lodge: the
eldest usually regulates all the domestic affairs of the family and has
charge of the property belonging to it. The men turn off their wives and
the latter leave their husbands whenever they become discontented. While
living together, the women are generally faithful to their husbands. The
daughters seldom leave their mothers until they are married, which
usually occurs when they are about fourteen or fifteen years of age. The
parents of an Indian girl are generally conciliated by presents from her
lover, but they may insist upon servitude from him, which sometimes runs
throughout one, two or three years. There is no particular marriage
ceremony among them, beyond that of the contract between the parents or
parties. A young Sauk lover is represented as a silly looking fellow,
who can neither eat, drink or sleep--he appears to be deranged, and with
all the pains he takes to conceal his passion, his malady is still
apparent to his friends. The faithfulness of this sketch, will hardly be
questioned, when the close analogy which it bears to a pale-faced lover,
is recalled to mind. The Sauks and Foxes, when pinched with hunger, will
eat almost any kind of meat, but prefer venison and bear's meat to all
other; they never eat it unless cooked. They make much use of corn,
beans and pumpkins, and annually raise considerable quantities. They are
not fond of fish and seldom eat them if they can procure other kinds of

There are but three kinds of musical instruments used among these
tribes. The drum, which is beat at their feasts, dances and games, the
tambourin, and a kind of flageolet, made of cane or two pieces of soft
wood hollowed out and fastened together with strips of leather. Their
tunes are always on a flat key, have but few variations and are mostly
of a melancholy character. According to Mr. Atwater, who visited those
residing near Rock Island, in 1829, the Sacs and Foxes have "tunes
evidently of French origin, and some songs of considerable length."
"These Indians have among them, what answers to the Italian
Improvisatori who make songs for particular occasions." The same writer
says, "the Sauks and Foxes have a considerable number of songs, suited
to a great many occasions in their own language." He further adds,
"Among the Indians of the Upper Mississippi, the Sauks and Foxes are
decidedly the best actors, and have the greatest variety of plays among
them." In common with the Indian tribes generally, they have a variety
of athletic games, in which both the men and women join. They are
addicted to cards and other games of chance, and often bet very high.

Touching the condition of these tribes in 1805, Lieutenant Pike, in his
travels to the sources of the Mississippi, says, "The first nation of
Indians whom we met with, were the Sauks, who principally reside in
four villages. The first at the head of the rapids des Moyens, on the
west shore, containing thirteen lodges. The second on a prairie on the
east shore about sixty miles above. The third on the river De Roche
[Rock river] about three miles from the entrance, and the last on the
river Iowa. They hunt on the Mississippi and its confluent streams from
the Illinois to the river Des Iowa; and on the plains west of them which
border the Mississippi. They are so perfectly consolidated with the
Reynards (the Foxes) that they can scarcely be termed a distinct nation;
but recently there appears to be a schism between the two nations: the
latter not approving of the insolence and ill-will, which has marked the
conduct of the former towards the United States, on many late
occurrences. They have for many years past made war (under the auspices
of the Sioux) on the Santeaux, Osages and Missouries; but as recently a
peace has been (through the influence of the United States) made between
them and the nations of the Missouri, and by the same means between the
Sioux and the Santeaux (their principal allies) it appears it would be
by no means a difficult matter to induce them to make a general peace,
and pay still greater attention to the cultivation of the earth: as they
now raise a considerable quantity of corn, beans and melons. The
character which they bear with their savage brethren, is, that they are
much more to be dreaded for their deceit and inclination for stratagem,
than for open courage.

"The Reynards reside in three villages. The first on the west side of
the Mississippi six miles above the rapids of the river de Roche. The
second about twelve miles in the rear of the lead mines, and the third
on Turkey river, half a league from its entrance. They are engaged in
the same wars, and have the same alliances as the Sauks, with whom they
must be considered as indissoluble in war and peace. They hunt on both
sides of the Mississippi, from the river Iowa (below the prairie des
Chiens) to a river of that name, above said village. They raise a great
quantity of corn, beans and melons; the former of those articles in such
quantities, as to sell many hundred bushels per annum."

At this period, 1805, according to Lieutenant Pike, the total number of
souls in the Sauk nation was 2850, of whom 1400 were children, seven
hundred and fifty women, and seven hundred warriors. They resided in
their villages and had about seven hundred stand of arms. Their trade
was principally in deer skins, with some bear and a few otter, beaver
and raccoon skins. The total number of the Foxes was 1750, of whom eight
hundred and fifty were children, five hundred women and four hundred
warriors, with about four hundred stand of arms. Their number of
villages and their trade being the same with the Sauks.

Some further items of information about these tribes may be gleaned from
the statistical view of the Indian nations furnished by Lewis and
Clark's Expedition. It is there stated that the Saukee, or O-sau-kee,
speak a primitive language, dwell principally in two villages, have
about five hundred warriors and 2000 souls in the tribe, were at war
with the Osage, Chippeway and Sioux. The Foxes or Ot-tar-gar-me, in the
Saukee language, number not more than 1200 souls, and about three
hundred warriors. These nations, the Sauks and Foxes, says Mr. Lewis,
are so perfectly consolidated that they may in fact be considered as one
nation only: "they are extremely friendly to the whites and seldom
injure their traders; but they are the most implacable enemies to the
Indian nations with whom they are at war; to them is justly attributed
the almost entire destruction of the Missouries, the Illinois, the
Cahokias, Kaskaskias, and Peorias."

In 1825, the Secretary at War, estimated the entire number of Sacs and
Foxes at 4,600 souls, and in 1826, the warriors were supposed to amount
to between twelve and fourteen hundred. Supposing these estimates to
approximate the truth, it appears that during the twenty years between
1805 and 1825, these tribes had increased very considerably in numbers.

The traders generally and those who have had most intercourse with the
Sauks and Foxes, speak of them as honest in their dealings, and feel
safe among them, seldom locking their doors by day or night, and
allowing them free ingress to their stores and houses. Their reputation
for courage, it appears, does not stand quite so fair. Lieutenant Pike
speaks of them as being more dreaded by their savage brethren for "their
deceit and inclination for stratagem, than for their open courage."
Major Thomas Forsyth, late U.S. agent among the Sacs and Foxes, calls
them a dastardly and cowardly set of Indians. The correctness of these
charges may be questioned. Mr. Schoolcraft, in speaking of the Foxes
says, "the history of their migrations and wars, shows them to have been
a restless and spirited people, erratic in their dispositions, having a
great contempt for agriculture, and a predominant passion for war." He
adds, "they still retain their ancient character, and are constantly
embroiled in wars and disputes with their neighbors, the results of
which show, that they have more courage in battle, than wisdom in
council." In a report of the war department to the President, made by
the secretary Mr. Cass, in 1832, the Sacs and Foxes are spoken of as
being distinguished for their "daring spirit of adventure and for their
natural courage."

The truth appears to be, that the Sacs and Foxes fought their way from
the waters of the St. Lawrence to Green Bay, and after reaching that
place, not only sustained themselves against hostile tribes, but were
among the most active and courageous in the subjugation or rather
extermination of the numerous and powerful Illini confederacy. They have
had many wars, offensive and defensive, with the Sioux, the Pawnees, the
Osages and other tribes, some of whom are ranked among the most fierce
and ferocious warriors on the continent; and, it does not appear, that
in these conflicts, running through a long period of years, they were
found wanting in this greatest of savage virtues. In the late war with
Great Britain, a party from the Sacs and Foxes, fought under the British
standard as a matter of choice: and in the recent contest between a
fragment of these tribes and the United States, although defeated and
literally cut to pieces by an overwhelming force, it is very
questionable whether their reputation as braves, would suffer by a
comparison with that of their victors. It is believed that a careful
review of their history, from the period when they first established
themselves on the waters of the Mississippi, down to the present time,
will lead the inquirer to the conclusion, that the Sacs and Foxes are
truly a courageous people, shrewd, politic, and enterprising, with not
more of ferocity and treachery of character, than is common among the
tribes by whom they are surrounded.


Treaty with the Sac and Fox Indians in 1789--treaty and cession of land
  to the United States at St. Louis in 1804--Black Hawk's account of
  this treaty--Erection of Fort Madison--The British excite the Sac and
  Fox Indians to make war upon the United States--A party under Black
  Hawk join the British standard in 1812--Treaty at Portage des Sioux in
  1815--Treaty of peace with Black Hawk and his band at same place in
  1816--Treaty for part of their lands in Missouri in 1824--Treaty of
  Prairie des Chiens in 1825--Treaty for the mineral region in
  1829--Treaty of peace in 1832, after the "Black Hawk war"--Present
  residence of the Sacs and Foxes.

The first treaty between the United States and the Sacs, was made at
Fort Harmar, on the Muskingum river, on the 9th of January 1789. It was
concluded by Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Territory north west of
the Ohio, on the part of the United States, and the sachems and warriors
of the Chippeway, Ottawa, Pottawatamie, Delaware, Wyandotte and Sac
tribes of Indians. The object of this treaty seems to have been the
confirmation of former treaties and the adjustment of boundary lines of
previous cessions of land. By the fourteenth article of this treaty, it
is provided, that the United States, "do also receive into their
friendship and protection, the nations of the Pottawatamies, and Sacs;
and do hereby establish a league of peace and amity between them
respectively; and all the articles of this treaty, so far as they apply
to these nations, are to be considered as made and concluded, in all and
every part, expressly with them and each of them."

On the 27th of June 1804, the President, Mr. Jefferson, directed
Governor William H. Harrison, to make a treaty with the Sacs, and
obtain, if possible, cessions of land on both sides of the Illinois
river, and to give them, in lieu thereof, an annual compensation. In
November following, Governor Harrison concluded a treaty with the Sacs
and Foxes, under his instructions. As this treaty has formed the basis
of all the subsequent ones made with these tribes, and as its validity,
has been disputed by some of the Sac nation, it is deemed expedient, to
copy it entire, in this place, more especially as it will be matter of
frequent reference in the subsequent pages of this work.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Articles of a treaty, made at Saint Louis, in the district of
Louisiana, between William Henry Harrison, governor of the Indiana
Territory and of the district of Louisiana, superintendent of Indian
affairs for the said territory and district, and commissioner
plenipotentiary of the United States, for concluding any treaty, or
treaties which may be found necessary with any of the north western
tribes of Indians, of the one part; and the chiefs and head men of the
united Sac and Fox tribes of the other part."

Article 1. The United States receive the united Sac and Fox tribes into
their friendship and protection; and the said tribes agree to consider
themselves under the protection of the United States, and of no other
power whatsoever.

Art. 2. The general boundary line between the lands of the United
States and of the said Indian tribes shall be as follows, viz: Beginning
at a point on the Missouri river, opposite to the mouth of the Gasconade
river; thence, in a direct course so as to strike the river Jeffreon, at
the distance of thirty miles from its mouth, and down the said Jeffreon
to the Mississippi; thence, up the Mississippi to the mouth of the
Ouisconsin river, and up the same to a point which shall be thirty-six
miles, in a direct line from the mouth of said river; thence, by a
direct line to a point where the Fox river (a branch of the Illinois)
leaves the small lake called Sakaegan; thence down the Fox river to the
Illinois river, and down the same to the Mississippi. And the said
tribes, for and in consideration of the friendship and protection of the
United States, which is now extended to them, of the goods (to the value
of two thousand, two hundred and thirty-four dollars and fifty cents)
which are now delivered, and of the annuity hereinafter stipulated to be
paid, do hereby cede and relinquish forever, to the United States, all
the lands included within the above described boundary.

Art. 3. In consideration of the cession and relinquishment of land made
in the preceding article, the United States will deliver to the said
tribes, at the town of St. Louis, or some other convenient place on the
Mississippi, yearly and every year, goods suited to the circumstances of
the Indians, of the value of one thousand dollars (six hundred of which
are intended for the Sacs, and four hundred for the Foxes,) reckoning
that value at the first cost of the goods in the city or place in the
United States, where they shall be procured. And if the said tribes
shall hereafter, at an annual delivery of the goods aforesaid, desire
that a part of their annuity should be furnished in domestic animals,
implements of husbandry, and other utensils, convenient for them, the
same shall at the subsequent annual delivery, be furnished accordingly.

Art. 4. The United States will never interrupt the said tribes, in the
possession of the lands which they rightfully claim; but will on the
contrary, protect them in the quiet enjoyment of the same, against their
own citizens, and against all other white persons, who may intrude upon
them. And the said tribes do hereby engage, that they will never sell
their land, or any part thereof, to any sovereign power but the United
States; nor to the citizens or subjects of any other sovereign power,
nor to the citizens of the United States.

Art. 5. Lest the friendship which is now established between the United
States and the said Indian tribes, should be interrupted by the
misconduct of individuals, it is hereby agreed, that for injuries done
by individuals, no private revenge or retaliation shall take place; but,
instead thereof, complaint shall be made by the party injured to the
other; by the said tribes, or either of them, to the superintendent of
Indian affairs, or one of his deputies; and by the superintendent, or
other person appointed by the President, to the chiefs of the said
tribes. And it shall be the duty of the said chiefs, upon complaint
being made, as aforesaid, to deliver up the person, or persons, against
whom the complaint is made, to the end that he, or they, may be
punished agreeably to the laws of the state or territory where the
offence may have been committed. And, in like manner, if any robbery,
violence or murder shall be committed on any Indian, or Indians,
belonging to the said tribes, or either of them, the person or persons
so offending, shall be tried, and if found guilty, punished, in like
manner as if the injury had been done to a white man. And it is further
agreed, that the chiefs of the said tribes shall, to the utmost of their
power, exert themselves to recover horses, or other property which may
be stolen from any citizen or citizens of the United States by any
individual or individuals of their tribes. And the property so
recovered, shall be forthwith delivered to the superintendent, or other
person authorized to receive it, that it may be restored to the proper
owner. And in cases where the exertions of the chiefs shall be
ineffectual in recovering the property stolen, as aforesaid, if
sufficient proof can be obtained, that such property was actually stolen
by any Indian, or Indians, belonging to the said tribes or either of
them, the United States may deduct from the annuity of the said tribes,
a sum equal to the value of the property which was stolen. And the
United States hereby guaranty to any Indian or Indians, of the said
tribes, a full indemnification for any horses, or other property, which
may be stolen from them, by any of their citizens: _Provided_, that the
property so stolen cannot be recovered, and that sufficient proof is
produced that it was actually stolen by a citizen of the United States.

Art. 6. If any citizen of the United States, or any other white person,
should form a settlement, upon the lands which are the property of the
Sac and Fox tribes, upon complaint being made thereof, to the
Superintendent, or other person having charge of the affairs of the
Indians, such intruder shall forthwith be removed.

Art. 7. As long as the lands which are now ceded to the United States
remain their property, the Indians belonging to the said tribes shall
enjoy the privilege of living and hunting upon them.

Art. 8. As the laws of the United States regulating trade and
intercourse with the Indian tribes, are already extended to the country
inhabited by the Sacs and Foxes, and as it is provided by those laws,
that no person shall reside, as a trader, in the Indian country, without
a licence under the hand and seal of the Superintendent of Indian
affairs, or other person appointed for the purpose by the President, the
said tribes do promise and agree, that they will not suffer any trader
to reside among them, without such licence, and that they will, from
time to time, give notice to the Superintendent, or to the agent for
their tribes, of all the traders that may be in their country.

Art. 9. In order to put a stop to the abuses and impositions which are
practised upon the said tribes, by the private traders, the United
States will, at a convenient time, establish a trading house, or
factory, where the individuals of the said tribes can be supplied with
goods at a more reasonable rate, than they have been accustomed to
procure them.

Art. 10. In order to evince the sincerity of their friendship and
affection for the United States, and a respectful deference for their
advice, by an act which will not only be acceptable to them, but to the
common father of all the nations of the earth, the said tribes do,
hereby, promise and agree that they will put an end to the bloody war
which has heretofore raged between their tribe and the Great and Little
Osages. And for the purpose of burying the tomahawk, and renewing the
friendly intercourse between themselves and the Osages, a meeting of
their respective chiefs shall take place, at which, under the direction
of the above named commissioner, or the agent of Indian affairs residing
at St. Louis, an adjustment of all their differences shall be made, and
peace established upon a firm and lasting basis.

Art. 11. As it is probable that the government of the United States will
establish a military post at, or near the mouth of the Ouisconsin river,
and as the land on the lower side of the river may not be suitable for
that purpose, the said tribes hereby agree, that a fort may be built,
either on the upper side of the Ouisconsin, or on the right bank of the
Mississippi, as the one or the other may be found most convenient; and a
tract of land not exceeding two miles square, shall be given for that
purpose; and the said tribes do further agree, that they will at all
times, allow to traders and other persons travelling through their
country, under the authority of the United States, a free and safe
passage for themselves and their property of every description; and
that for such passage, they shall at no time, and on no account
whatever, be subject to any toll or exaction.

Art. 12. This treaty shall take effect and be obligatory on the
contracting parties, as soon as the same shall be ratified by the
President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the
United States.

In testimony whereof, the said William Henry Harrison, and the chiefs
and head men of said Sac and Fox tribes, have hereunto set their hands
and affixed their seals. Done at St. Louis, in the district of
Louisiana, on the third day of November, one thousand, eight hundred and
four, and of the independence of the United States the twenty-ninth.

  Additional article.

It is agreed that nothing in this treaty contained shall affect the
claim of any individual or individuals, who may have obtained grants of
land from the Spanish government, and which are not included within the
general boundary line, laid down in this treaty: _Provided_, that such
grant have at any time been made known to the said tribes and recognized
by them.

    WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON.                   L.S.
    LAYOWVOIS, or Laiyuva, his X mark.        L.S.
    PASHEPAHO, or the Stabber, his X mark.    L.S.
    QUASHQUAME, or jumping fish, his X mark.  L.S.
    OUTCHEQUAHA, or sun fish, his X mark.     L.S.
    HASHEQUARHIQUA, or the bear, his X mark.  L.S.

  In presence of

    William Prince, Secretary to the Commissioner.
    John Griffin, one of the Judges of the Indiana Territory.
    J. Bruff, Maj. Art'y. U.S.
    Amos Stoddard, Capt. corps of Artillerists.
    P. Choteau, Agent de la haute Louisiana, pour le department sauvage.
    Ch. Gratiot.
    Aug. Choteau. Vigo.
    S. Warrel, Lieut. U. States Artillery.
    D. Delaunay.
    Joseph Barren.                } sworn
    H'polite Bolen, his X mark.   } Interpreters.

On the 31st of December 1804, the President of the United States,
submitted this treaty to the Senate for their advice and consent, and it
was by that body duly ratified.

In a Life of Black Hawk, dictated by himself and written by J.B.
Patterson, to which there is a certificate of authenticity appended from
Antoine Le Clair. U.S. interpreter, for the Sacs and Foxes, under date
of 16th October 1833, there is the following statement concerning the
manner in which this treaty was made.

"Some moons after this young chief (Lieutenant Pike) descended the
Mississippi, one of our people killed an American, and was confined, in
the prison at St. Louis for the offence. We held a council at our
village to see what could be done for him--which determined that
Quash-qua-me, Pa-she-pa-ho, Ou-che-qua-ha, and Ha-she-quar-hi-qua,
should go down to St. Louis, and see our American father, and do all
they could to have our friend released; by paying for the person killed,
thus covering the blood and satisfying the relations of the man
murdered! This being the only means with us of saving a person who had
killed another, and we _then_ thought it was the same way with the

"The party started with the good wishes of the whole nation, hoping they
would accomplish the object of their mission. The relations of the
prisoner blacked their faces and fasted, hoping the Great Spirit would
take pity on them, and return the husband and the father to his wife and

"Quash-qua-me and party remained a long time absent. They at length
returned and encamped a short distance below the village, but did not
come up that day, nor did any person approach their camp. They appeared
to be dressed in fine coats and had medals. From these circumstances, we
were in hopes they had brought us good news. Early the next morning, the
council lodge was crowded--Quash-qua-me and party came up, and gave us
the following account of their mission.

"On their arrival at St. Louis, they met their American father, and
explained to him their business, and urged the release of their friend.
The American chief told them he wanted land, and they agreed to give him
some on the west side of the Mississippi, and some on the Illinois side
opposite the Jeffreon. When the business was all arranged, they expected
to have their friend released to come home with them.--But about the
time they were ready to start, their friend was led out of prison, who
ran a short distance and was _shot dead_. This is all they could
recollect of what was said and done. They had been drunk the greater
part of the time they were in St. Louis.

"This is all myself or nation knew of the treaty of 1804. It has been
explained to me since. I find by that treaty, all our country east of
the Mississippi, and south of the Jeffreon was ceded to the United
States for one thousand dollars a year! I will leave it to the people of
the United States to say, whether our nation was properly represented in
this treaty? or whether we received a fair compensation for the extent
of country ceded by those four individuals. I could say much more about
this treaty but I will not at this time. It has been the origin of all
our difficulties." p. 27.

The power among the Indian tribes of this country to sell their lands,
has always been considered as vested in the chiefs. They, however, are
accustomed to consult the whole nation, and, possibly, it may be
necessary, in all cases, that its assent should be obtained. It has not
been the practice of our government, it is believed, in its negotiations
with the Indians, to institute particular enquiries for the purpose of
ascertaining, how far the chiefs were authorized to act by their people.
A number of treaties have been formed, at different times, in which the
chiefs must have acted under the general authority with which they are
clothed on this point; the circumstances of the case being such, as to
have precluded all opportunity of their ascertaining the sense of the
tribes, after the negotiations had been commenced.

In the case under consideration, notwithstanding the statement of Black
Hawk, there was every reason, especially on the part of the
Commissioner, for believing, that the chiefs who signed the treaty, were
fully authorized to act. In the first place, Government, in its
instructions to the Commissioner, to make a purchase of lands, of the
Sacs and Foxes, had given as a reason for it, that it was a matter of
complaint, on the part of these two tribes, that they were not, like
their neighbors, receiving an annuity from the United States. They owned
a very large extent of territory, and had, comparatively, but a limited
population. It was natural that they should wish to dispose of some
portion of it, for the purpose of receiving an annual supply of goods
and money. In the second place, five chiefs of the Sacs and Foxes,
united in the treaty, one of them, Pah-she-pa-ho, being at the time the
great head-chief of the Sac nation. It is admitted by Black Hawk that a
council had been held by these two tribes, and that Pah-she-pa-ho and
his associates had been authorized to visit St. Louis to purchase the
release of a prisoner. It is probable that the sale of a part of their
territory may have been agreed upon by this council. In the third place,
there must have been a prevailing opinion in St. Louis, that these
chiefs were authorized to act in the case. The treaty was publicly made,
and a number of high-minded and honorable men, are parties to it, in the
character of commissioner, secretary, and witnesses. Among them are
several officers of the army; the first governor of the territory of
Louisiana; and Pierre Chouteau, at that time Agent for the Sac and Fox
Indians, and well acquainted with them. These circumstances forbid the
idea of the treaty having been formed under circumstances in which there
were not satisfactory reasons for believing, that the Indians, parties
to it were fully authorized to act.

Black Hawk is mistaken in some things about this treaty, and it may be
that he has been misinformed in regard to the authority of his chiefs to
make this sale of their lands. He says, for instance, that the treaty
was made some moons after the return of Lieutenant Pike from the sources
of the Mississippi; when in fact Pike did not leave St. Louis upon his
expedition, until the 9th of August 1805, nearly a year after the date
of the treaty. Again, he says, it was made by four of the chiefs. The
treaty is signed by five. But admitting that the deputation of chiefs
transcended their authority in the sale of the lands, made at that time,
it would seem that the Sacs and Foxes acquiesced in it. They never
disavowed the treaty, but have regularly received their annuity, and, on
more than one occasion, have recognized it, as binding. Even Black Hawk
and his band, made this recognition, in the treaty of peace which they
signed with the United States, at Portage des Sioux, in 1816.

It may be questioned, however, whether good faith towards the Indians
and a due regard to national honor, do not make it expedient that our
government should invariably hold its treaties with them, in their own
country, and in the midst of the tribe owning the lands proposed to be
purchased. In such case, the assent of all the Indians might be
obtained, and the charge of having formed a fraudulent treaty, with
unauthorized individuals, could never be raised. The peculiar relation
subsisting between the government of the United States and the Indian
tribes, within its territory, demands on on the part of the former,
great delicacy of action, liberality and perfect good faith. By such a
course, alone, can our national honor be preserved untarnished.

Subsequently to the treaty of 1804, the erection by the government of
the United States, of Fort Madison on the Mississippi, above the Des
Moines rapids, gave some dissatisfaction to the Sacs and Foxes. This was
increased by the British agents and traders, who instigated them to
resist the encroachments of the Americans, now beginning to press upon
their hunting grounds. Of this interference on the part of the British,
with the Indians, there can be no doubt. Governor Harrison in a letter
to the secretary of war, dated Vincennes, July 15th, 1810, says, "a
considerable number of the Sacs went some time since to see the British
superintendent, and on the first instant, more passed Chicago, for the
same destination." General Clark, under date of St. Louis, July 20th,
1810, says, in writing to the same department, "One hundred and fifty
Sacs are on a visit to the British agent by invitation, and a smaller
party on a visit to the island of St. Joseph, in lake Huron." John
Johnson, Esq. the Indian agent, at Fort Wayne, under date of August 7th,
1810, says, to the secretary at war, "About one hundred Saukees have
returned from the British agent, who supplied them liberally with every
thing they stood in need of. The party received forty-seven rifles, and
a number of fusils with plenty of powder and lead."

McKee, Dixon, and Girty were open and active agents in exciting the
Indians to attack the American frontiers. They held frequent talks with
them and supplied them liberally with goods and munitions of war. In
1811, there being a strong probability of a war with Great Britain, a
deputation of the Sauks and Foxes, visited Washington city, to see the
President, by whom they were told that in the event of a war taking
place with England, their great father did not wish them to interfere on
either side, but to remain neutral: He did not want their assistance but
desired them to hunt and support their families and live in peace.
Immediately after the war of 1812, the Sacs and Foxes, with whom, as
with Indians generally, war is the great business of life, felt that
they ought, as a matter of course, to take sides with one party or the
other, and went to St. Louis, to offer their services to the United
States agent, to fight against the British; but the offer was declined,
on the ground that the government of the United States had resolved not
to employ the Indians in that capacity. The machinations of the British,
were successfully continued. The Sacs and Foxes divided upon the
question of taking up arms against the United States. A part of them
claimed the protection of the American government and received it; a
part joined the British standard, Black Hawk among the number, and
fought against the Americans until the peace of 1815. The number of
warriors who joined the British is supposed to have been about two
hundred, and they have ever since been known as the "British Band," at
the head of which has been "General Black Hawk."

On the 14th September, 1815, William Clark, Ninian Edwards and Auguste
Choteau, commissioners on behalf of the United States, concluded a
treaty with the chiefs and warriors of the Fox tribe, by which all
injuries and acts of hostility, committed by either party during the
late war, were to be forgiven, and peace and friendship established
between the two nations. The fourth article of the treaty contains a
recognition of the former treaty in these words. "The said Fox tribe or
nation do hereby, assent to, recognize, re-establish and confirm the
treaty of St. Louis, which was concluded on the 3rd of November, 1804,
to the full extent of their interest in the same, as well as all other
contracts and agreements between the parties." This treaty was made at
Portage des Sioux.

On the 13th of September, 1815, the same commissioners, at the same
place, concluded a treaty of peace and friendship with the chiefs and
warriors of that part of Sac nation of Indians residing on the
Mississippi river. The first article recognizes the treaty of 1804 in
the following words. "The undersigned chiefs and warriors for
themselves and that portion of the Sacs which they represent, do hereby
assent to the treaty between the United States of America and the united
tribes of Sacs and Foxes, which was concluded at St. Louis on the third
of November 1804; and they moreover promise to do all in their power to
re-establish and enforce the same." There is a further provision that
they will remain distinct and separate from the Sacs of Rock river,
giving them no assistance whatever, until peace shall be established
between them and the United States. The Sacs on Rock river were that
part of the tribe which had been engaged in the late war, and who now
declined making a treaty with the United States, and continued, although
officially notified of the peace, to commit occasional depredations on
the frontiers; and, it was not until the following spring that
hostilities on their part actually ceased.

On the 13th of May, 1816, the same commissioners effected a treaty with
the chiefs and warriors of the Sacs of Rock river, and the adjacent
country. The first article of this treaty provides, that, "The Sacs of
Rock river and the adjacent country, do hereby unconditionally assent
to, recognize, re-establish and confirm the treaty between the United
States of America and the united tribes of Sacs and Foxes, which was
concluded at St. Louis on the 3d November 1804, as well as all other
contracts and agreements, heretofore made between the Sac tribe and the
United States." Under the 9th article of the treaty of Ghent, concluded
24th December 1814, between the United States and Great Britain, it was
stipulated, that each party should put an end to Indian hostilities
within their respective territory, and place the tribes on the same
footing upon which they stood before the war. Under this provision, the
second article of the treaty with the Sacs of Rock river, stipulated
that they are placed upon the same footing which they occupied before
the late war, upon the single condition of their restoring the property
stolen by them, from the whites, subsequent to their notification that
peace had been made between the United States and Great Britain.

Under the 9th article of the treaty of 1804, the United States agreed to
establish a trading-house to supply the Sacs and Foxes with goods at a
more reasonable rate than they had been accustomed to procure them. On
the third of September 1822, Maj. Thomas Forsyth, the U.S. Indian agent,
made a treaty at Fort Armstrong, with the chiefs, warriors and head men
of the Sacs and Foxes, by which, in consideration of the sum of one
thousand dollars, they forever released the United States from all
obligation contained in said ninth article of the treaty of 1804.

On the fourth of August 1824, at Washington city, William Clark, Indian
agent and sole commissioner of the United States, effected a treaty with
the Sacs and Foxes through their chiefs and head men, by which, for the
sum of one thousand dollars per annum for ten years, they ceded all
their interest and title to any lands claimed by them in the state of
Missouri, which are situated, lying and being between the Mississippi
and Missouri rivers, and a line running from the Missouri at the
entrance of Kansas river, north one hundred miles, to the north west
corner of the state of Missouri, and from thence east to the
Mississippi. By this treaty, these tribes acknowledged the land east and
south of the lines above described, so far as the Indians claim the
same, to belong to the United States, and that none of their tribes
shall be permitted to settle or hunt upon any part of it, after the
first day of January 1826, without permission from the Superintendent of
Indian affairs.

Upon the 19th of August 1825, William Clark and Lewis Cass,
Commissioners on behalf of the United States, concluded a treaty at
Prairie du Chien, in the territory of Michigan, with the chiefs and
warriors of the Sioux, Winnebagoes, Menominees, Chippewas, Ottawas,
Pottawatamies, Sacs, Foxes and Ioways. The objects of this treaty were
the restoration of peace among the Indian tribes, several of whom had
been for some time waging war against each other; the settlement of
boundary lines between these tribes respectively, and between them and
the United States. The Commissioners succeeded in effecting a peace
between the Sioux and Chippeways, and between the Sacs, Foxes and Ioways
on the one part, and the Sioux on the other; and also in adjusting the
boundary lines of the territory of each tribe to the satisfaction of all
parties. Under this treaty nothing was asked by the United States nor
was any thing granted to them: the character in which the government
presented itself, being simply that of a pacificator.

The concourse of Indians assembled at this council was very great. About
3000 came to the council ground, clothed in their war dresses, and armed
with bows, war-clubs and tomahawks. The Sacs and Foxes were the last to
arrive, but were very imposing and warlike in their appearance when they
reached the ground. They ascended the Mississippi, to Prairie du Chien,
in a fleet of canoes, lashed together. They passed and repassed the town
in a connected squadron, standing erect, in their canoes, in full dress,
singing their war songs. Upon landing, they drew up in martial order, as
if in warlike defiance of their bitter enemies, the Sioux, who were
encamped near the shore, and who in turn shot back the fierce look of
hostility upon their ancient foe. An eye witness describes this scene as
one unique and singularly magnificent. The council was held under a
spacious booth of green boughs, and lasted for several days. Keokuk was
present on this occasion, as the head chief of the Sacs, and took an
active part in the council; his course being marked by that moderation
and sound policy, for which he is eminently distinguished.


In the early part of the year 1828, the President of the United States,
appointed Governor Cass and Colonel Pierre Menard, to treat with certain
tribes of Indians for the cession of what is called the "mineral region"
lying on the Mississippi, south of the Wisconsin. The commissioners
arrived at Green Bay late in the summer of that year, and on the 25th
of August, made a temporary agreement with the Indians, by which the
whites were allowed to occupy the country where the lead mines were
worked; and in the ensuing year a treaty was to be held with the Indians
for the purchase of the mineral country: in the mean time, no white was
to cross a certain line, described in said agreement, to dig for ore;
and finally the Indians were paid twenty thousand dollars in goods, for
the trespasses already committed on their lands by the miners. This
agreement was ratified by the President and senate of the United States
on the 7th January, 1829. Soon after President Jackson came into office
in 1829, he appointed General McNeil of the army, to fill the place of
Governor Cass in the said commission, which was to meet at St. Louis and
under the agreement above described, proceed to the mineral region, to
effect by treaty, its purchase. In consequence of some disagreement in
opinion between these two commissioners, the President subsequently
united with them, Caleb Atwater, Esq. of Ohio. They reached Prairie du
Chien about the middle of July, where they met deputies on the part of
the Winnebagoes, Chippeways, Ottowas, Pottawatimies, Sioux, Sauks, Foxes
and Menominees; and on the first of August, a treaty was concluded for
about eight millions of acres, extending from the upper end of Rock
island to the mouth of the Wisconsin, from latitude 41° 15' to latitude
43° 15' on the Mississippi. Following the meanderings of the river the
tract is about two hundred and forty miles from south to north. It
extends along the Wisconsin and Fox rivers from west to east so as to
give a passage across the country from the Mississippi to lake Michigan.
At this treaty Keokuk and Morgan, with two hundred warriors of the Sac
and Fox tribes were present, and according to the statement of one of
the commissioners, rendered essential service to them, by intimidating
the Winebagoes, who from some dissatisfaction, threatened to assassinate
the commissioners and those associated with them.

On the 21st Sept. 1832, after the conclusion of the Black Hawk war,
General Scott and Governor Reynolds concluded a treaty with the Sacs and
Foxes, by which about six million acres of land were acquired, for which
the United States were to pay them the sum of twenty thousand dollars
per annum for thirty years, to pay off the debts of the tribes and to
support, at the discretion of the President, a black and gun smith among
them. A reservation was made of forty miles square, on the Ioway river
in favor of Keokuk, (since purchased,) including his village, as a
reward for his fidelity to the United Slates. Black Hawk, his son and
the Prophet were to be held as hostages during the pleasure of the
President. This is known as the "Black Hawk purchase." The whole of the
six millions lie upon the west side of the Mississippi and are included
within the following boundaries: Beginning on the Mississippi river at
the point where the Sac and Fox northern boundary line is established,
by the second article of the treaty of Prairie des Chiens of 15th July,
1830, strikes said river; thence up said boundary line to a point fifty
miles from the Mississippi, measured on said line to the nearest point
on the Red Cedar of Iowa, forty miles from the Mississippi river; thence
in a right line to a point in the northern boundary of the state of
Missouri fifty miles measured on said boundary from the Mississippi
river; thence by the last mentioned boundary to the Mississippi river,
and by the western shore of said river to the place of beginning.

The Sac and Fox tribes are now residing on the west side of the
Mississippi, and are living upon friendly terms with the United States.
As a general remark, it may be said, that their intercourse with the
United States has been of a pacific character. They took no part in the
war of the Revolution: they were not parties to the Indian disturbances
which terminated in the treaty of Greenville in 1795. Tecumseh and the
Prophet failed to enlist them in their grand confederacy against the
Americans, which was nearly broken up by the premature battle of
Tippecanoe. The machinations of the British agents and traders, backed
by the most liberal distribution of goods and fire arms, induced but a
small party of them, not exceeding two hundred, to join the British
standard in the late war with England. In the still more recent
disturbance, on the frontiers of Illinois, called the "Black Hawk war,"
but a portion of these tribes, took up arms against the United States,
the great mass of them refusing to take any part in it; while Keokuk,
their principal chief, exerted all his influence to dissuade the
"British Band" from engaging in so hopeless a contest.





Birth of Black Hawk--Early adventures--Battles with the Osages and
  Cherokees--Death of his father--Interview with Lieutenant Pike--Attack
  upon Fort Madison--Joins the British in the late war--Marches to lake
  Erie--Returns home after the attack upon Fort Stephenson--Murder of
  his adopted son--Battle of the Sink-hole near Cap au Gris--Treaty of
  peace at Portage des Sioux in 1816.

Black Hawk is a remarkable instance of an individual, in no
wise gifted with any uncommon physical, moral or intellectual
endowments, obtaining, by the force of circumstances, the most
extraordinary celebrity. Since the year 1831, his name has been
familiarly known to the people of the United States; and the terror,
which for a brief period, it excited upon the frontiers of Illinois,
Missouri and Indiana, was only surpassed by the curiosity which pervaded
every part of the union, to behold this notable chief of the woods,
after he had been conquered, and was carried a prisoner of state, from
the wilds of the West to the Atlantic sea-board. His tour through the
United States, partook largely of the triumphal march of a successful
hero. In the number of persons who flocked around him, the honors which
he received were scarcely less flattering than those awarded to the
illustrious Lafayette, while the "nation's guest." In the one case there
was curiosity alone, in the other, curiosity and gratitude blended. To
the casual observer, the distinction between the two cases is not very

The causes which created a desire so universal, to behold this
aboriginal chief, have awakened a corresponding interest in the public
mind, to learn more of his history, than was revealed in the events of
the campaign of 1832. To gratify this curiosity, is the object of the
present volume. The author has carefully consulted all the sources of
information, touching the life and character of Black Hawk, that were
within his reach; and has studiously avoided the presentation of any
fact which did not seem to be well authenticated. Should the incidents
here narrated, in the life of this celebrated Indian, not prove as rich
and amusing as might be anticipated, from the wide spread notoriety
which he has obtained, the work will still be found of some value. It
presents in a connected form, and as the author trusts, with historic
accuracy, one link in the great chain of political relations between the
United States and the Indian tribes of North America. Every day is
increasing the interest and magnitude of these relations, and any effort
to preserve the facts with which they are associated, would seem to be
worthy of public consideration. Black Hawk may die, his name be
forgotten, and the smoke of his wigwam be seen no more, but the "Black
Hawk war" will long form a page of deep interest, in the history of
this country.

The subject of this memoir is by birth a Sac, having been born at the
principal Sac village, on Rock River, in the year, as he himself states,
1767. His father's name was Py-e-sa, his grandfather's Na-na-ma-kee or
Thunder. Black Hawk was not by birth a chief, but at the early age of
fifteen, having distinguished himself by wounding an enemy, he was
permitted to paint and wear feathers; and was placed in the rank of the
Braves. About the year 1783, he united in an expedition against the
Osages, and had the good fortune to kill and scalp one of the enemy: for
this act of youthful valor, he was, for the first time, permitted to
mingle in the scalp-dance. This triumph was followed shortly afterwards
by two more excursions against the same tribe. In the first, Black Hawk
was the leader of seven men, who suddenly attacked a party of one
hundred Osages, killed one of them, and as suddenly retreated without
loss. This exploit, so far increased the number of his followers, that
he soon afterwards started with a party of one hundred and eighty
braves, and marched to an Osage village, on the Missouri; but found it
deserted. Most of the party being disappointed, left their leader and
returned home. Black Hawk, however, with but five followers, pursued the
trail of the enemy, and after some days succeeded in killing one man and
a boy; and, securing their scalps, returned home. In the year 1786,
having recovered from the effect of his late unsuccessful excursion,
Black Hawk found himself once more at the head of two hundred braves,
and again set off to avenge the repeated outrages of the Osages upon the
Sac nation. Soon after he reached the enemy's country, he met a party
about equal in number to his own. A battle ensued. The Osages lost near
one hundred men, and Black Hawk nineteen. He claims, in the attack, to
have killed five of the enemy, with his own hand. This severe engagement
had the effect, for some time, of keeping the Osages upon their own
lands and arresting their depredations upon the Sacs. This cessation of
hostilities gave the latter an opportunity of redressing the wrongs
which the Cherokees had committed upon them, by murdering some of their
women and children. A party was raised for this purpose, and met the
Cherokees upon the Merrimack river, below St. Louis, the latter being
most numerous. In this battle Py-e-sa, the father of Black Hawk was
killed. The Cherokees were compelled to retreat with the loss of
twenty-eight men, the Sacs having but seven killed. Upon the fall of
Py-e-sa, Black Hawk assumed the command and also took possession of the
"medicine bag," then in the keeping of his father. Owing to the
disasters of this expedition, and especially the death of his father,
Black Hawk, for the ensuing five years, refrained from all warlike
operations, and spent his time in fishing and hunting. At the end of
this period, being about the year 1800, he made another excursion,
against the Osages, at the head of about five hundred Sacs and Foxes and
a hundred Ioways, who had joined him as allies. After a long march they
reached and destroyed about forty lodges of the enemy, killing many of
their bravest warriors, five of whom were slain by the leader of the
invading army. In the year 1802, he terminated a severe and protracted
campaign against the Chippewas, Kaskaskias and Osages, during which six
or seven battles were fought and more than one hundred of the enemy
killed. The following summer Black Hawk made one of his periodical
visits to St. Louis to see his Spanish father, by whom he was well
received. Upon his next visit to this Spanish dignitary, he found many
sad and gloomy faces, because the United States were about to take
possession of the town and country around it. "Soon after the Americans
arrived," says Black Hawk, "I took my band and went to take leave, for
the last time, of our father. The Americans came to see him also. Seeing
them approach, we passed out at one door, as they entered at
another--and immediately started, in our canoes, for our village on Rock
river--not liking the change any more than our friends appeared to at
St. Louis. On arriving at our village, we gave the news that strange
people had taken St. Louis, and that we should never see our Spanish
father again. This information made all our people sorry. Sometime
afterwards (1805) a boat came up the river with a young American chief
(Lieutenant, afterwards General Pike,) and a small party of soldiers. We
heard of them, soon after he had passed Salt river. Some of our young
braves watched him every day, to see what sort of people he had on
board. The boat at length arrived at Rock river, and the young chief
came on shore with his interpreter--made a speech, and gave us some
presents. We, in return, presented him with meat and such provisions as
we could spare. We were well pleased with the speech of the young chief.
He gave us good advice; said our American father would treat us well. He
presented us an American flag, which was hoisted. He then requested us
to pull down our British flags, and give him our British
medals--promising to send us others on his return to St. Louis. This we
declined as we wished to have _two fathers_."

Subsequently to this period, the building of Fort Edwards, near the head
of the Des Moyens rapids, gave much uneasiness to the Sacs. Some of the
chiefs and a party of their followers went down to this point, and had
an interview with the war chief who had command of the troops engaged in
constructing the fort. The Indians became satisfied and returned home.
Not long afterwards a party, of which Black Hawk was one, determined to
attack and take Fort Madison, standing upon the west side of the
Mississippi, above the mouth of the Des Moyens, which was then
garrisoned with about fifty men. Their spies having ascertained that the
troops marched out of the fort every morning to exercise, they concealed
themselves near it, with an agreement to fire upon them when they came
out. About sun rise, on the morning of the proposed attack, the gate
opened, and a young man made his appearance, but was suffered to return
without being molested. The gate was again opened and four soldiers came
out. They were followed by a fifth, who was instantly killed. The others
then ran for the fort, but two of them were shot down before they
reached it. The Indians continued for two days, shooting into the fort,
and endeavoring to set fire to it. Finding their efforts unavailing,
they gave up the attack and returned home.

The period had now arrived when the difficulties between this country
and Great Britain, were to be settled by an appeal to arms. Some
discontent had prevailed among the Sacs, in regard to the encroachments
of the Americans upon their hunting grounds. They, however, offered
their services to the United States, to fight against the British, but
their offer was declined. They had not been as liberally supplied with
presents and goods at Fort Madison, as they had anticipated, and in the
mean time, the British agents had artfully fomented their discontent,
and labored to win their confidence by the most liberal distribution
among them of goods and ardent spirits. Shortly after the declaration of
war, Girty, a British trader, arrived at Rock island with two boats
loaded with goods, and the British flag was hoisted. He informed the
Indians that he had been sent to them by Colonel Dixon, with presents, a
large silk flag and a keg of rum. The day after his arrival, the goods
were divided among the Indians, they promising to pay for them, in furs,
in the following spring. Girty informed Black Hawk that Colonel Dixon
was then at Green Bay, with a large quantity of goods, arms and
ammunition, and was desirous that he should raise a party of warriors
and join him. Black Hawk succeeded in collecting about two hundred
braves, and soon reached Green Bay, where he found Dixon encamped, with
a large body of Indians, assembled from other tribes, who had been
already furnished with clothing and with arms. Black Hawk had an
interview with Dixon, two other war chiefs and the interpreter. "He
received me," says Black Hawk, "with a hearty shake of the hand, and
presented me to the other chiefs, who shook my hand cordially, and
seemed much pleased to see me. After I was seated, Colonel Dixon said,
"General Black Hawk, I sent for you, to explain to you, what we are
going to do, and the reasons that have brought us here. Our friend
Girty, informs us in the letter you brought from him, what has taken
place. You will now have to hold us fast by the hand. Your English
father has found out that the Americans want to take your country from
you, and has sent me and his braves to drive them back to their own
country. He has likewise sent a large quantity of arms and ammunition,
and we want all your warriors to join us." He then placed a medal round
my neck, and gave me a paper, (which I lost in the late war,) and a silk
flag, saying, "You are to command all the braves that will leave here
the day after to-morrow, to join our braves near Detroit."

On the following day, arms, clothing, knives and tomahawks, were
distributed to Black Hawk's band, and upon the succeeding morning, they
started, in all near five hundred braves, to join the British army.
This was in August, 1812, shortly after the surrender and massacre of
the American troops at Chicago, which place they passed a few days after
it had been evacuated. Of the movements of Black Hawk during his
connection with the British upon our north west, no satisfactory
information has been obtained. It appears that he was in two
engagements, but seems not to have distinguished himself. The last of
these was the attack, in August 1813, upon Fort Stephenson, then under
the command of Major Croghan. The gallant defence of this post, and the
fatal repulse given to the combined British and Indian forces, seem to
have disheartened Black Hawk; for soon afterwards, tired of successive
defeats, and disappointed in not obtaining the "spoils of victory," he
left the army, with about twenty of his followers, and returned to his
village on Rock river. It is probable that he would have remained
neutral during the remainder of the war, had it not been for one of
those border outrages, which lawless and unprincipled white men but too
often commit upon the Indians, under pretence of self defence or
retaliation, often a mere pretext for wanton bloodshed and murder.
Previous to joining Colonel Dixon, Black Hawk had visited the lodge of
an old friend, whose son he had adopted and taught to hunt. He was
anxious that this youth should go with him and his band and join the
British standard, but the father objected on the ground that he was
dependent upon his son for game; and, moreover, that he did not wish him
to fight against the Americans who had always treated him kindly. He
had agreed to spend the following winter near a white settler, upon Salt
river, one of the tributaries of the Mississippi which enters that
stream below the Des Moyens, and intended to take his son with him. As
Black Hawk was approaching his village on Rock river, after his campaign
on the lakes with Dixon, he observed a smoke rising from a hollow in the
bluff of the stream. He went to see who was there. Upon drawing near to
the fire, he discovered a mat stretched, and an old man of sorrowful
aspect sitting under it, alone, and evidently humbling himself before
the Great Spirit, by fasting and prayer. It proved to be his old friend,
the father of his adopted son. Black Hawk seated himself beside him and
inquired what had happened, but received no answer, for indeed he seemed
scarcely alive. Being revived by some water, he looked up, recognized
the friend of his youth, and in reply to Black Hawk's second inquiry,
said, in a feeble voice,

"Soon after your departure to join the British, I descended the river
with a small party, to winter at the place I told you the white man had
requested me to come to. When we arrived, I found a fort built, and the
white family that had invited me to come and hunt near them, had removed
to it. I then paid a visit to the fort, to tell the white people that
myself and little band were friendly, and that we wished to hunt in the
vicinity of their fort. The war chief, who commanded it, told me that we
might hunt on the Illinois side of the Mississippi, and no person would
trouble us. That the horsemen only ranged on the Missouri side, and he
had directed them not to cross the river. I was pleased with this
assurance of safety, and immediately crossed over and made my winter's
camp. Game was plenty: We lived happy and often talked of you. My boy
regretted your absence, and the hardships you would have to undergo. We
had been here about two moons, when my boy went out as usual to hunt.
Night came on and he did not return. I was alarmed for his safety and
passed a sleepless night. In the morning my old woman went to the other
lodges and gave the alarm, and all turned out in pursuit. There being
snow on the ground, they soon came upon his track, and after pursuing it
some distance, found that he was on the trail of a deer, that led to the
river. They soon came to the place where he had stood and fired, and
found a deer hanging upon the branch of a tree, which had been skinned.
But here also were found the tracks of white men. They had taken my boy
prisoner. Their tracks led across the river, and then down towards the
fort. My friends followed them, and soon found my boy lying dead. He had
been most cruelly murdered. His face was shot to pieces, his body
stabbed in several places, and his head scalped. His arms were tied
behind him."

The old man ceased his narrative, relapsed into the stupor from which he
had been aroused and in a few minutes, expired. Black Hawk remained by
his body during the night, and next day buried it upon the peak of the
bluff. Shocked at the cruel fate of his adopted son, and deeply touched
by the mournful death of his old comrade, he was roused to vengeance
against the Americans, and after remaining a few days at the village,
and raising a band of braves, prepared for offensive operations upon the

Having narrated to his band the murder of his adopted son, they began to
thirst for blood, and agreed to follow Black Hawk wheresoever he might
lead. The party consisted of about thirty. They descended the
Mississippi in canoes to the place where Fort Madison had stood, but
found it abandoned by the American troops and burnt. They continued
their course down the river and landed near Cap au Gris, on the 10th of
May, where they killed one of the United States Rangers, named Bernard,
but were driven off by Lieutenant Massey, with a detachment from Fort
Howard. The Indians, however, rallied in the woods, and on the 24th of
May, a severe battle and of a character somewhat novel, was fought
between the troops at Fort Howard, under Lieutenant Drakeford of the U.
S. Rangers, and Black Hawk and his party. The former, in his official
report of this engagement, says,

"Yesterday, about twelve o'clock, five of our men went out to some
cabins on the bluff, about one quarter of a mile below the fort, to
bring a grind-stone. The backwater of the Mississippi, rendered it so
they went in a canoe. On their return they were attacked by a party of
Indians, supposed to be about fifty in number; they killed and
tomahawked three and wounded one mortally. While about this mischief, we
gave them as good a fire from a little below the fort, as the breadth of
the backwater would permit. Captain Craig and myself with about forty
men, waded across the water and pursued them: in going about half a
mile, we came on them and commenced a fire which continued about one
hour, part of which time at a distance of forty steps, and no part of
the time further than a hundred and fifty steps: shortly after the
commencement of the battle, we were reinforced by Captain Musick and
twenty of his men; the enemy now ran; some made their escape, and others
made to a sink-hole that is in the battle ground, and from there they
returned a most rapid fire; it being very dangerous, to approach nearer
than fifty steps of the sink, we at length erected a breast-work, on
the two wheels of a wagon, and resolved upon moving it up to the edge of
the sink, to fire from behind, down into the sink and preserve us from
theirs. We got the moving battery finished about sunset, and moved it up
with a sufficient number of men behind it, whilst all other posts round
were sufficiently guarded, in case they should be put to the route.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF SINK HOLE.]

"We had not moved to within less than ten steps of the sink, before they
commenced a fire, which we returned at every opportunity. Night came on
and we were obliged to leave the ground, and decline the expectation of
taking them out without risking man for man, which we thought not a
good exchange on our side. During the time of the battle another
party of Indians commenced a brisk fire on the fort. Captain Craig was
killed in the commencement of the battle, Lieut. Edward Spears at the
moving of the breast work to the sink. The morning of the 25th we
returned to the ground and found five Indians killed and the sign of a
great many wounded, that had been taken off in the night. The aggregate
number of killed on our part is one captain, one third lieutenant, and
five privates; three wounded, one missing, one citizen killed and two
wounded mortally."

Black Hawk states that but eighteen of his men were in the sink with
him, and that they dug holes in the sides of the bank, with their
knives, to protect them from the fire of the Americans: Some of his
warriors commenced singing their death songs; but he, several times
called out to the enemy, if brave men, to come down and fight them. He
describes the wagon-battery, and its inefficiency in dislodging them
from their depressed but safe situation. His retreat to the sink-hole
under the circumstances, was a sound military movement. Lieutenant
Drakeford having withdrawn his forces, Black Hawk and his party left
their intrenchment and returned by land, to their village.

The tribes of Indians on the Mississippi, were notified in the early
part of this year, 1815, that peace had been concluded between the
United States and England. Most of those who had been engaged in the
war, ceased hostilities. Black Hawk, however, and his band, and some of
the Pottawatamies, were not inclined to bury the tomahawk. Even as late
as the spring of 1816, they committed depredations. Some palliation for
these outrages may be found in the fact, that the British, on the
north-west frontier, long after they were officially notified of the
peace, continued to excite the Indians to acts of violence against the
United States; and, indeed, participated in them likewise. It was in the
spring of this year that they captured the garrison at Prairie du Chien,
and instigated Black Hawk and his party to attack some boats, which were
ascending the Mississippi to that point, with troops and provisions. In
this attack, Black Hawk was the leader. One of the boats was captured
and several of the crew killed. They were compelled to return, and
dropped down to the fort at the mouth of the Des Moyens river. As a
reward for their attack upon these boats, the British agents distributed
rum among the Indians engaged in the affair, and joined with them in
dancing and feasting.

In May, Black Hawk and his party, having been again summoned by the
Americans, to make peace, concluded to descend the Mississippi to
Portage des Sioux, to meet the American commissioners who were there for
that purpose. On the 13th of May, 1816, a treaty of peace was signed by
Clark, Edwards, and Choteau on behalf of the United States, and the
chiefs and warriors of the Sacs of Rock river and the adjacent country.
To this treaty Black Hawk was a party. It recognizes the validity of the
treaty of St. Louis, of November 1804.


Building of Fort Armstrong--The good Spirit of Rock Island--Death of
  Black Hawk's children--Young Sac offers to die in place of his
  brother--Black Hawk's visit to Malden--Whipped by some whites--Whites
  settle at his village--Black Hawk's talk with Governor Coles and Judge
  Hall--Sale of the lands on Rock river--Indians ordered to
  remove--Agreement to remove for six thousand dollars--Memorial of the
  white settlers to Governor Reynolds--The Governor's letters to General
  Clark and General Gaines--The latter leaves Jefferson Barracks with
  six companies of the United States troops for Rock Island--His
  interview with Black Hawk--Calls upon the Governor of Illinois for
  militia--The Indians abandon their village--treaty of peace made with
  them--Official letters to the war department--Summary of the causes
  which brought on this disturbance--Black Hawk's attempt to form an
  alliance with other tribes.

From the treaty of peace, between the United States and the Sac Indians
of Rock river, in 1816, to the commencement of hostilities between these
parties in 1832, the life of Black Hawk seems to have been quiet and
monotonous, occasionally relieved by a warlike excursion, but generally
spent in hunting, throughout the winter, and in loitering about his
village, during the summer. Such, indeed, is the life of most Indians.
Having no intellectual pursuits and little desire for the acquisition of
property, beyond the supply of their immediate wants, they have in
reality but two sources of excitement--war and the chase. They take no
interest in the domestic affairs of their families, have little taste
for the pursuits of agriculture, and, if not engaged in hostile
excursions, in following the deer, or in trapping the beaver, they sink
into listless inactivity. It is highly probable that many of their wars
are undertaken, more for the gratification of that love of excitement,
which is an indestructible element of the human mind, than from any
constitutional proneness to cruelty and bloodshed. They need both
physical and intellectual excitation, and having none of the resources
which mental and moral culture throws open to civilized man, they seek
it in making war upon each other or upon the wild animals which share
with them the woods and the prairies.

Subsequently to the treaty of 1816, and perhaps in that year, the
government of the United States built Fort Armstrong, upon Rock Island,
in the Mississippi river, and but a few miles from the village where
Black Hawk and his band resided. This measure, though not actually
opposed, was by no means acceptable to them. They probably did not
relish the gradual advances upon them, of the white population; but they
entertained, moreover, a special regard for this beautiful island, which
is justly considered one of the finest in the whole extent of the
Mississippi. It is fertile, and produces many varieties of nuts and
fruits, and being in the rapids of the stream, the waters which lave its
shores, yield an abundance of excellent fish. In addition to all this,
they have a traditionary belief, that the island was the favorite
residence of a good spirit which dwelt in a cave in the rocks on which
Fort Armstrong now stands. This spirit had often been seen by the
Indians, but after the erection of the Fort, alarmed by the noise and
intrusion of the white man, it spread its beautiful, swan-like wings,
and disappeared. During the year 1817, the Sacs sent out some warriors
against the Sioux, and succeeded in killing several of them, but Black
Hawk was not of the party. About this time, his eldest son sickened and
died, and within a short period afterwards, he lost his youngest
daughter. This affliction seems to have made a deep impression upon him;
and according to a custom common among the Indians, he blacked his face,
and for the ensuing two years lived at home, in seclusion, drinking
water at mid-day, and eating boiled corn but sparingly, in the evening.
In the winter of 1819-20, there was a disturbance between the Sacs and
Ioways, one of the latter having killed a young man belonging to the
former. Under the agreement of a late council between these two tribes,
the old custom of appeasing the friends of one who had been killed, by
presents, had been abolished, and each party had promised, that in
future, the murderer should be surrendered up, that he might be punished
with death. A party of Sacs, of which Black Hawk was one, agreed to
visit the Ioway village on this occasion, and when about to depart,
called at the lodge of the young man who had committed the outrage, to
take him along. He was sick, but still ready to accompany them. His
brother interfered, and insisted that he was too unwell to travel; that
he would himself go and die in his place, and finally set off with the
party. On the seventh day, they reached the Ioway village. They
dismounted a short distance from it, and bid farewell to their young
brave, who went calmly forwards, alone, singing his death-song, and
seated himself in the middle of the lodges. One of the Ioway chiefs
went out to Black Hawk, who told him the brother had come in the place
of the young man that had committed the murder, he being sick. Black
Hawk and his party, now mounted their horses and set off on their
return; and casting their eyes towards the village, saw the Ioways,
armed with spears and clubs, gathering around the young prisoner. At
night the returning party, having stopped and kindled a fire, were
suddenly alarmed by the tramping of horses. They immediately stood to
their arms, but were soon relieved, by finding, instead of a foe, their
young brave, unhurt and in the possession of two horses. They
ascertained that the Ioways, at first threatened him with instant death,
but finally, changing their purpose, had given him something to eat,
smoked the pipe with him, and presenting him with two horses, bid him
return home in safety. The generous conduct of the Ioways is deserving
of praise, but the genuine affection of this young brave, in nobly
volunteering to die in place of his sick brother, presents one of those
rare cases of self-devotion, which should be held in remembrance.

In the following autumn, Black Hawk and some of his band went on a visit
to their British father at Malden and received presents from him. A
medal was given to Black Hawk for his fidelity to the British in the
late war, and he was requested to come up annually, to that place, with
his band, and receive such presents, as had been promised them by
Colonel Dixon, when they joined the English forces. These visits were
regularly made, it is believed, from that time down to the year 1832. It
is owing to this circumstance that Black Hawk's party has long been
known by the appellation of the "British Band."

In the winter of 1822, Black Hawk and his party, encamped on the
Two-rivers, for the purpose of hunting, and while there was so badly
treated by some white men, that his prejudices against the Americans
were greatly strengthened. He was accused of having killed the hogs of
some settlers, who, meeting him one day in the woods, wrested his gun
from his hands, and discharging it in the air, beat him so severely with
sticks that for several nights he was unable to sleep. They then
returned him his gun and ordered him to leave the neighborhood. Of the
perpetration of this outrage, there is little doubt, while the fact of
Black Hawk's having committed the offence charged upon him, rests, at
best, upon suspicion. Supposing him to have been guilty, and the
supposition is at variance with the whole tenor of his intercourse with
the whites, it was on their part, one of those brutal appeals to _club_
law, which are but too often practised towards the Indians; and which,
when avenged by them, not unfrequently brings upon their nation, the
power and the arms of the United States.

The ensuing summer, the expediency of a removal of the whole of the Sacs
and Foxes, to the west side of the Mississippi, was urged upon them by
the agent at Fort Armstrong. The principal Fox chief, as well as
Keokuk, assented to the removal. The latter sent a messenger through the
village informing the Indians that it was the wish of their great
Father, the President, that they should remove, and he pointed out the
Ioway river as presenting a fine situation for their new village. There
was a party, however, among the Sacs, made up principally of the
"British Band," who were decidedly opposed to a removal; and they called
upon their old leader, Black Hawk, for his opinion on the question. He
took the ground that the land on which their village stood had never
been sold; that the Americans had, therefore, no right to insist upon
the measure, and that as a matter of policy he was opposed to it. The
old man was probably swayed in his decision by another cause. He felt
that his power in the tribe was waning before the rising popularity of
Keokuk. Here was a question on which their people differed in opinion.
By placing himself at the head of one of the parties, he might recover
his influence, or at least sustain himself against the overshadowing
ascendancy of his rival. He had an interview with Keokuk to see if the
matter could not be adjusted with the President, by giving him other
lands in exchange for those on which their village stood; and the latter
promised to see the great chief at St. Louis, on the subject. During the
following winter, while Black Hawk and his party were absent on a
hunting expedition, several white families arrived at their village,
destroyed some of their lodges and commenced making fences over their
corn-fields. Black Hawk upon hearing of this movement, promptly
returned to Rock river, and found his own lodge occupied by the whites.
He went to Fort Armstrong and complained to the interpreter, the agent
being absent. He crossed the Mississippi and travelled several days to
converse with the Winnebago sub-agent, who concurred with the
interpreter in advising the Sacs to remove to Keokuk's settlement on the
Ioway. He then visited the prophet, Wabokieshiek, or White-Cloud, whose
opinions were held in much respect by the Sacs and Winnebagoes. He urged
Black Hawk not to remove, but to persuade Keokuk and his party to return
to Rock river, assuring them that if they remained quietly at their
village, the whites would not venture to disturb them. He then rejoined
his hunting party, and in the spring when they returned to their
village, they found the white settlers still there, and that the greater
part of their corn-fields had been enclosed by fences. About that time
Keokuk visited Rock river and endeavored to persuade the remainder of
the Sacs to follow him to the Ioway. He had accomplished nothing with
the great chief at St. Louis, in regard to their remaining at their
village, and as a matter of policy, that peace might be preserved, he
was warmly in favor of the proposed removal. Black Hawk considered it an
act of cowardice to yield up their village and the graves of their
fathers, to strangers, who had no right to the soil, and the breach
between Keokuk and himself was widened.

The white immigrants continued to increase, and the Sac village was the
great point of attraction to them. It was situated on the neck of land
formed by the junction of Rock river with the Mississippi, and had been
the chief village of the tribe for sixty or seventy years. "Their women
had broken the surface of the surrounding prairie with their hoes, and
enclosed with a kind of flimsy pole fence, many fields, which were
annually cultivated by them, in the raising of corn, beans, potatoes and
squashes. They had also erected several hundred houses of various
dimensions, some probably an hundred feet in length by forty or fifty
broad; which were constructed of poles and forks, arranged so as to form
a kind of frame, which was then enclosed with the bark of trees, which,
being peeled off and dried under a weight for the purpose of keeping it
expanded, was afterwards confined to the walls and roof by means of
cords, composed of the bark of other trees. This indeed is a delightful
spot:--on the north-west rolls the majestic Mississippi, while the dark
forests which clothe the numerous islands of Rock river, with its
several rippling streams on the south-east, form a delightful contrast,
which is rendered still more pleasing from the general declivity of the
surrounding country, as it sinks gradually away to the shores of these
rivers. This ancient village had literally become the grave-yard of the
nation. Scarcely an individual could be found in the whole nation, who
had not deposited the remains of some relative, in or near to this
place. Thither the mother, with mournful and melancholy step, annually
repaired to pay a tribute of respect to her departed offspring; while
the weeping sisters and loud lamenting widows, joined the procession of
grief; sometimes, in accordance with their own feelings, no doubt, but
always in pursuance of an established custom of their nation, from time
immemorial. On these occasions they carefully clear away every spear of
grass or other vegetable, which they find growing near the grave, and
make such repairs as may be thought necessary. They also carry to the
grave some kind of food, which they leave there for the spirit of the
deceased: and before they conclude these ceremonies, they often, in a
very melancholy and lamenting mood, address the dead, enquiring how they
fare, and who, or whether any one performs for them the kind offices of
mother, sister or wife; together with many other enquiries which a
frantic imagination may happen to suggest. This being one of the most
important religious duties, is scrupulously observed by all the better
class of this people."[4]

The whites who established themselves at this place, in violation of the
laws of congress, and the provisions of the treaty of 1804, committed
various aggressions upon the Indians, such as destroying their corn,
killing their domestic animals, and whipping the women and children.
They carried with them, as articles of traffic, whiskey and other
intoxicating liquors, and by distributing them in the tribe, made
drunkenness and scenes of debauchery common. Black Hawk and the other
chiefs of the band, remonstrated against these encroachments, and
especially in regard to the introduction of spirituous liquors among
their people: and, upon one occasion, when a white man continued,
openly, to sell whiskey to them, the old chief, taking with him one or
two companions, went to his house, rolled out the barrel of whiskey,
broke in the head, and emptied its contents upon the ground, in presence
of the owner. This was done, as he alleges, from the fear that some of
the white persons would be killed by his people when in a state of
intoxication. Thus things wore on until 1827. During that winter, while
the Indians were making their periodical hunt, some of the whites, in
the hope of expediting their removal to the west side of the
Mississippi, set on fire, in one day, about forty of their lodges, a
number of which were entirely consumed. When the Indians returned in the
spring and demanded satisfaction for the destruction of their property,
they were met by new insults and outrages.

In the summer of 1829, Black Hawk happened to meet, at Rock island, with
the late governor Coles, of whom he had heard as a great chief of
Illinois, in company with "another chief" as he calls him--Judge Hall.
Having failed in his appeals to the Indian agents, for redress of the
grievances of his people, he determined to apply to these two chiefs, on
the subject, and accordingly waited upon them for that purpose.

He spoke of the indignity perpetrated upon himself, (his having been
beaten with sticks by the whites,) with the feeling that a respectable
person among us would have shown under such circumstances; and pointing
to a black mark on his face, said that he wore it as a symbol of
disgrace. The customs of his nation required, that he should avenge the
wrong that he had received, but he chose rather to submit to it for the
present than involve them in a war. And this was the only alternative,
for if an Indian should kill, or even strike a white man, the aggression
would be eagerly seized upon and exaggerated; the whole frontier
population would rush to war, and the Indians would be hunted from their
houses like wild beasts. He spoke of the intrusion upon their fields,
the destruction of their growing corn, the ploughing up of the graves of
their fathers, and the beating of their women; and added, "we dare not
resent any of these things. If we did, it would be said that the Indians
were disturbing the white people, and troops would be sent out to
destroy us." We enquired, "why do you not represent these things to our
government?--the President is a wise and a good ruler, who would protect
you." "Our great father is too far off, he cannot hear our voice." "But
you could have letters written and sent to him." "So we could," was his
reply, "but the white men would write letters, and say that we told
lies. Our great father would not believe an Indian, in preference to his
own children."[5] Black Hawk in reference to this interview, says,
"Neither of them could do any thing for us; but both evidently appeared
very sorry. It would give me great pleasure at all times, to take these
two chiefs by the hand."

Under the seventh article of the treaty made at St. Louis in 1804, it is
provided that, "as long as the lands which are now ceded to the United
States remain their property, the Indians, belonging to the said tribes,
shall enjoy the privilege of living and hunting upon them." It was not
until the year, 1829, that any part of the lands upon Rock river, were
brought into market by the United States. It follows as a matter of
course, that all the white settlers upon them prior to this period, were
trespassers, being there in violation of the laws of Congress, and the
provisions of the treaty. Although the frontier settlements of Illinois,
had not approached within fifty or sixty miles of Rock river, and the
lands for a still greater distance around it, had not been offered for
sale, yet in this year, government was induced to make sale of a few
quarter sections, at the mouth of Rock river, including the Sac village.
The reason for this uncalled for measure, is obvious--to evade the
provisions of the foregoing treaty of cession, and create a pretext for
the immediate removal of the Indians to the west side of the

In the spring of 1830, when Black Hawk and his band returned from their
annual hunt, to occupy their lodges, and prepare as usual for raising
their crop of vegetables, they found, that the land in and around their
village, had been brought into market, and that their old friend, the
trader at Rock Island had purchased a considerable part of it. Black
Hawk, greatly disturbed at this new condition of things, appealed to the
agent at that place, who informed him, that the lands having been sold
by government to individuals, he and his party had no longer any _right_
to remain upon them. Black Hawk was still unwilling to assent to a
removal, and in the course of the summer, he visited Malden to consult
his British father on the subject, and returned by Detroit to see the
great American chief, Governor Cass, residing there. Both of these
persons told him that if the Indians had not sold their lands and would
remain quietly upon them, they would not be disturbed. Black Hawk,
acting upon the assumption that the land on which their village stood,
never had been legally sold to the United States, returned home
determined to keep possession of it. It was late in the fall when he
arrived: his people had gone to their hunting grounds for the winter and
he followed them. They made an unsuccessful hunt and the season passed
off in gloom. Keokuk again exerted his influence to induce them to
desert Black Hawk and remove to the Ioway. Such, however, was their
attachment to their favorite village, that the whole band returned to it
in the spring of 1831. The agent at Rock island forthwith notified them
that if they did not remove from the land, troops would be sent by the
United States to drive them off. Black Hawk says, he had a conference,
about this time, with the trader at Rock Island, who enquired of him, if
some terms could not be made, upon which he and his party would agree
to remove to the west side of the Mississippi. To this he replied, that
if his great father would do justice to them and make the proposition,
they would remove. He was asked by the trader, "if the great chief at
St. Louis would give six thousand dollars, to purchase provisions and
other articles," if he would give up peaceably and remove. To this he
agreed. The trader accordingly sent a message to the agent at St. Louis,
that Black Hawk, and his whole band, could be removed for the sum of six
thousand dollars, but the answer was, that nothing would be given, and
that if they did not remove immediately, an armed force would be sent to
compel them.

The squaws had now planted their corn, and it was beginning to grow,
when the whites again commenced ploughing it up. Black Hawk at last
determined to put a stop to these aggressions upon his people, and
accordingly gave notice to those who were perpetrating them, that they
must remove, forthwith, from his village. In the mean time, after the
return of the Indians, which took place in April, eight of the white
settlers united in a memorial to the Executive of the state of Illinois,
in which they set forth that the Sac Indians of Rock river had
"threatened to kill them; that they had acted in a most outrageous
manner; threw down their fences, turned horses into their corn-fields,
stole their potatoes, saying _the land was theirs and that they had not
sold it_,--although said deponents had purchased the land of the United
States' government: levelled deadly weapons at the citizens, and on some
occasions hurt said citizens for attempting to prevent the destruction
of their property," &c. &c. The memorial concludes with the still more
startling outrage, that the said Indians went "to a house, rolled out a
barrel of whiskey and destroyed it." One of these eight afflicted
memorialists, swore the other seven to the truth of their statements,
and with an earnest prayer for immediate relief, it was placed before
his Excellency, on the 19th of May.

This long catalogue of outrages, backed by other memorials, and divers
rumors of border depredations, committed by "General Black Hawk" and his
"British Band," called into immediate action the patriotism and official
power of the Governor. Under date of Bellville, May 26, 1831, he writes
to the superintendent of Indian affairs, General William Clark, at St.
Louis, that in order to protect the citizens of Illinois, which he
considered in a state of "actual invasion," he had called out seven
hundred militia to remove a band of Sac Indians, then residing at Rock
river, and he pledges himself to the superintendent, that in fifteen
days he will have a force in the field, sufficient to "remove them
_dead_ or _alive_, over to the west side of the Mississippi." But to
save all this disagreeable business, his Excellency suggests to General
Clark that perhaps a request from him to these Indians, to remove to the
west side of the river, would effect the object of procuring peace to
the citizens of the state. The letter concludes with the magnanimous
declaration that there is no disposition on the part of the people of
the state of Illinois to injure these unfortunate, deluded savages, "if
they will let us alone."

General Clark, under date of St. Louis, 28 May, 1831, acknowledges the
receipt of the above letter, and says, that he had already made every
effort in his power, to get all the Indians who had ceded their lands to

On the same day, 28th May, 1831, Governor Reynolds writes to General
Gaines, then at St. Louis, that he had received information that Black
Hawk and his band had invaded the state of Illinois; and that he had
called out seven hundred troops to meet them. General Gaines, on the
29th of May, replies to his Excellency that he had ordered six companies
of United States troops from Jefferson Barracks to Rock Island, and that
they would be joined by four other companies from Prairie des Chiens,
making in all ten companies; a force which he deemed sufficient to repel
the invasion and give security to the frontier: That if the residue of
the Sacs and Foxes, or other tribes should unite with the band of Black
Hawk, he would call on his Excellency for some militia, but did not then
deem it necessary.

On the 30th of May, the troops, accompanied by General Gaines, left
Jefferson barracks, in a steam boat, for Fort Armstrong; and upon the
7th of June, the commanding general held a council on Rock island, at
which Black Hawk and some of his braves were present. Keokuk, Wa-pel-lo
and other chiefs from the west side of the Mississippi were also in
attendance. When the council was opened, General Gaines rose and stated
that the President was displeased with the refusal of the Sacs of Rock
river, to go to the right bank of the Mississippi, that their great
father wanted only that which was reasonable and right, and insisted
that they should remove. Black Hawk replied, in substance, that the Sacs
had never sold their lands and were determined to hold on to their
village. General Gaines inquired, "who is Black Hawk? Is he a chief? By
what right does he appear in council?"

No reply was made; Black Hawk arose, gathered his blanket around him,
and stalked out of the council room. On the following morning he was
again in his seat, and when the council was opened, he arose and said,
"My father, you inquired yesterday, "who is Black Hawk? why does he sit
among the chiefs?" I will tell you who I am. I am a Sac, my father was a
Sac--I am a warrior and so was my father. Ask those young men, who have
followed me to battle, and they will tell you who Black Hawk is--provoke
our people to war, and you will learn who Black Hawk is." He then sat
down, and nothing more was said on the subject. The result of this
conference was, that Black Hawk refused to leave his village, and that
General Gaines informed him and his party, if they were not on the West
side of the Mississippi within a few days, he should be compelled to
remove them by force. The General anxious, if possible, to effect the
object without bloodshed, deemed it expedient to increase his forces,
that the Indians might be intimidated, and thus induced to submit; or,
in case of a resort to hostile measures, that he might be fully
prepared to act with efficiency. He accordingly called upon the Governor
of Illinois for some militia, to co-operate with the United States'
troops under his command. On the 25th of June, Governor Reynolds, and
General Joseph Duncan with 1600 mounted militiamen, principally
volunteers, reached Rock river. On the morning of the 26th, General
Gaines with his combined forces, took possession of the Sac village
without firing a gun or finding an Indian; the whole party, with their
wives and children, having crossed over the Mississippi the previous
night. On the following day they were found on the west bank of that
stream, encamped under the protection of a white flag.

On the 30th of June, General Gaines and Governor Reynolds signed a
treaty of capitulation and peace, with Black Hawk, Pa-she-pa-how,
Wee-sheat, Kah-ke-ka-mah, and other chiefs and head men of the British
band of Sac Indians, and their old allies of the Winnebago, Pottawatamie
and Kickapoo nations. The preamble to this treaty is worthy of
preservation. It is in these words.

"Whereas, the British Band of Sac Indians, have in violation of the
several treaties, entered into between the United States and the Sac and
Fox nations, in the year 1804, 1816 and 1825, continued to remain upon
and to cultivate the lands on Rock river, ceded to the United States by
said treaties, after the said lands had been sold by the United States,
to individual citizens of Illinois and other states: and whereas the
said British Band of Sac Indians, in order to sustain their pretensions
to continue upon said Rock river lands, have assumed the attitude of
actual hostility towards the United States, and have had the audacity to
drive citizens of the state of Illinois from their homes, destroy their
corn, and invite many of their old friends of the Pottawatamies,
Winnebagoes, and Kickapoos, to unite with them the said British band of
Sacs, in war, to prevent their removal from said lands: and whereas many
of the most disorderly of these several tribes of Indians, did actually
join the said British band of Sac Indians prepared for war against the
United States, and more particularly against the state of Illinois; from
which purpose they confess nothing could have restrained them, but the
apprehension of force far exceeding the combined strength of the said
British Band of Sac Indians, with such of their aforesaid allies, as had
actually joined them; but, being now convinced that such a war would
tend speedily to annihilate them, they have voluntarily abandoned their
hostile attitude and sued for peace." Therefore, &c.

The first article stipulates that peace is granted by the United States
to the British Band of Sac Indians--the second that they are required to
submit to the chiefs of the Sac and Fox nations, who reside on the west
side of the Mississippi--the third that the United States guaranty to
them the integrity of their lands west of that river under the treaties
of 1825 and 1830--the fourth that the said British Band shall not trade
with any nation but the United States--that the United States have a
right to establish military posts and roads within their country--the
sixth that the chiefs and head men of the Sac and Fox nations shall
enforce the provisions of this treaty--and finally that permanent peace
and friendship be established between the United States and the said
British Band of Sac Indians, and that the latter are not to return to
the east side of the Mississippi without the permission of the former.

The commanding General, under date of sixth of July, 1831, informs the
war department, that, "The mounted volunteers, the regulars, two pieces
of artillery, and some musquetry and riflemen, induced the Indians to
abandon the village before our arrival, without firing a gun. Deserted
by their allies, this disorderly band was left alone to seek security in
a speedy flight to the right bank of the Mississippi, where they were
found the next day, under the protection of a white flag." Governor
Reynolds in his official despatch to the same department, under date of
Belleville. Ill. 7th July 1831, says:

"The Indians with some exceptions, from Canada to Mexico, along the
northern frontier of the United States, are more hostile to the whites,
than at any other period since the last war; particularly the band of
Sac Indians, usually and truly called the "British Band," became
extremely unfriendly to the citizens of Illinois and others. This band
had determined for some years past to remain at all hazards, on certain
lands which had been purchased by the United States, and afterwards some
of them sold to private individuals by the general government. They
also determined to drive off the citizens from this disputed territory.
In order to effect this object, they committed various outrages on the
persons and property of the citizens of this state. That this band might
the more effectually resist all force that would be employed against
them, they treated with many other tribes to combine together for the
purpose of aiding this British Band to continue in possession of the
country in question." General William Clark, the Indian agent at St.
Louis, in his official communication to the department, says, "The
disaffected Sacs were depending for an increase to their number from the
discontented parts of the Kickapoos, Pottawatamies and Winnebagoes," and
that they exhibited a daring opposition, &c. &c.

From the tone and pomposity of these documents, commencing with Governor
Reynold's annunciation to General Clark, that Illinois was in a state of
"actual invasion," and ending with the letters to the war department,
just cited, it might appear, to one not familiar with the facts in the
case, that a powerful confederacy of warlike Indians, after years of
secret preparation, had made a sudden and bold descent upon the state of
Illinois, and were about to carry war and desolation throughout the
frontiers--to make the heavens lurid with the conflagration of dwelling
houses, and the air resonant with the wails of women and children
sinking beneath the murderous tomahawk: and, that this banded horde of
northern savages, had been successfully met, captured or dispersed, by
the patriotism, valor and overwhelming power of the combined army of
the United States and the militia of Illinois! And yet, will it be
credited by posterity, that this "actual invasion" of the state, fierce
and appalling as it has been represented, consisted simply in this: a
part of the Sac tribe of Indians, residing within the boundaries of
Illinois, at their village on Rock river, where they were born and had
lived all their lives, refused to give up their corn-fields to some
white men, who had purchased the same, under a sale made by the
government of the United States for the purpose of a technical evasion
of one of its own treaties. In short, thus far, it was little more than
a neighborhood quarrel between the squaws of the "British Band" of
Indians, and a few white settlers,--most of whom were there in violation
of the laws of the country--about the occupancy of some corn-fields,
which, from time immemorial, had been annually cultivated by the Indian
women. Black Hawk became excited by these outrages, as he deemed them,
upon the rights of his people; but instead of killing every white man in
his vicinity, which he could have done in one night, he simply commanded
them to leave his village: and threatened in case they did not, to
remove them by force. Such is the substance of the "actual invasion" of
the state of Illinois, by the British Band of Sac Indians.

It is alledged, however, by the defenders of this memorable campaign,
that this band of Sacs had, in violation of the treaties of 1804, 1816
and 1825, continued to remain upon and cultivate the land on Rock
river, ceded to the United States, after it had been sold by the United
States to individual citizens of Illinois and other states--that they
had refused positively to remove to the west side of the
Mississippi--that they had endeavored to persuade some of the
neighboring tribes to unite with them in defending this land against the
rightful occupancy of the white purchasers--that they had "threatened to
kill" them--"thrown down their fences"--on some occasions "hurt" said
settlers--"stole their potatoes" saying they had not sold these
lands--otherwise "acted in a most outrageous manner," and finally, in
the words of the capitulation on the 30th June, 1831, "assumed the
attitude of actual hostility towards the United States, and had the
audacity to drive citizens of the state of Illinois, from their homes."
Admitting these allegations to be true, what may be said in behalf of
the party against which they are made? It may be replied, that under the
treaty of 1804, the Indians had an undoubted right to "live and hunt"
upon the land ceded by that treaty, so long as it remained the property
of the United States: that as early as 1823-4 the whites had intruded
upon the land on Rock river around the principal village of the Sacs and
Foxes--the United States neglecting to have these intruders removed, as
by the treaty they were solemnly bound to do: that these whites
frequently beat the Indian men, women, and children with sticks,
destroyed their corn fields, distributed whiskey among them, cheated
them out of their furs and peltries and on one occasion, when the
Indians were absent on a hunting excursion, set fire to some thirty or
forty of their lodges, by which many of them were totally destroyed.

These outrages were perpetrated before a single acre of the land upon
Rock river, had been sold by the United States, and when in fact, the
regular frontier settlements of Illinois, had not approached within
fifty miles of the Sac village. Consequently they were committed in
express violation of the most solemn treaties and of the laws of the
United States, for the protection of the Indians. In 1829, clearly with
a view, on the part of those who brought about the measure, of evading
the force of that article of the treaty of 1804, which permitted the
Indians to live and hunt upon these lands, so long as they remained the
property of the United States, a few quarter sections were sold, on Rock
river, including the Sac village. New insults and outrages were now
offered to the Indians, and they were again ordered to remove, not from
the quarter sections which had actually been sold, but to the west side
of the Mississippi. Against this, they remonstrated and finally refused,
positively, to be driven away. The results of this refusal have already
been shown in the narration which has been made of the events following
upon the "actual invasion" of the state of Illinois, in the spring of
1831. But it has been said that these Indians endeavored to form an
alliance with some of the neighboring tribes to defend their lands.
There is no doubt that Black Hawk labored to persuade Keokuk and the
Sac Indians residing with him, to return to the east side of the
Mississippi and assist in defending their village. His effort to unite
with him, in alliance against the United States, the Winnebagoes,
Pottawatamies and Kickapoos, was probably for the same object, though
the case is not so clearly made out. Mr. Schoolcraft in his "Narrative"
speaks of a war message having been transmitted to the Torch lake
Indians, by Black Hawk, or his counsellors, in 1830, and repeated in the
two succeeding years; and adds that similar communications were made to
other tribes. The message, continues Mr. Schoolcraft, was very
equivocal. It invited these tribes to aid the Sacs in fighting their
enemies. Whatever may have been the object, no success attended the
effort. Other motives than that of retaining possession of these lands,
may have prompted Black Hawk to seek this alliance. Being an ambitious,
restless man, he may have thought it expedient to do something to keep
himself in power with his people. A military campaign is occasionally a
fortunate circumstance for a politician, whether his skin be red or
white. Gunpowder-popularity is of equal importance to the chiefs of the
Sacs and the chiefs of the Illini. An "actual invasion" of a
state--which, in these modern times, is supposed to consist in
"levelling deadly weapons" at the inhabitants thereof, and "stealing
their potatoes," is quite a wind-fall to political aspirants.

That the British Band of Sac Indians cherished the feeling of active
hostility towards the whites, that has been attributed to them, may
well be questioned. That they were provoked to a feeble assertion of
their rights by the injustice of our government and the lawless conduct
of the white settlers among them, is unquestionably true. But it should
be recollected, that from the period of their treaty with the United
States, in 1816, to their capitulation in 1831, they had not killed one
of our people. For a number of years prior to 1831, the Americans had
constantly passed through their country, unarmed, carrying with them
large amounts of money and of goods, for the trade at the lead mines:
and yet not one of these travellers, sleeping in the woods and the
Indian lodges, had been molested in person or property. For several
years, the whites residing at and around the Sac village on Rock river
were trespassing upon these Indians, for the purpose of driving them to
the west side of the Mississippi, but still the tomahawk was not raised
for retaliation. If Black Hawk and his party, had really intended to
resort to arms, who that understands the Indian character, can doubt for
a moment, that they would have struck a decisive blow, and murdered
every white settler upon Rock river, before General Gaines ascended the
Mississippi? After our army reached Fort Armstrong and General Gaines
had been informed by Black Hawk that he would not remove, he gave orders
to his braves, that if the American war chief came to the village to
force them away, not a gun should be fired, nor any resistance offered;
but that they must remain quietly in their lodges and let the war chief
kill them if he chose. Under these circumstances, it is as difficult to
believe that Black Hawk and his band seriously intended to make war upon
the whites at that time, as it is to admit that the United States had a
right to force the Indians to remove to the west side of the
Mississippi, because a few quarter sections of the land at the mouth of
Rock river, had been prematurely sold; while millions of acres around,
were still the property of the United States, and as such, under the
treaty of 1804, the Indians were expressly permitted to live and hunt
upon them.

In the course of this narrative, frequent mention has been made of the
leading chief of the Sac nation, who is highly distinguished by his
influence, pacific character and fine talents. The relation he sustains
to Black Hawk and his band, connects him directly with our narrative. On
this account, as well as to gratify the interest which is felt in his
history, the succeeding chapter will be occupied with a brief sketch of
the life and adventures of Keokuk, the Watchful Fox.




Keokuk's birth--Kills a Sioux when fifteen years old--Prevents the
  abandonment of the Sac village--Bold manoeuvre with the
  Sioux--Perils his life for the safety of his people--Speech to the
  Menominies at Prairie des Chiens--Called upon to lead his braves to
  join in the Black Hawk war--Allays the excitement of his people on
  this subject--Deposed from his post as head chief and a young man
  elected in his place--Re-established in power--Delivers up his nephew
  to the whites to be tried for murder--Letter to the Governor of
  Illinois--Council at Washington in 1837--Retorts upon the Sioux--His
  visit to Boston--His return home--His personal appearance--And his
  character as a war and peace chief.

It is no easy task to present in a satisfactory manner, a biographical
sketch of an Indian. However eventful his life may have been, it is only
a few of the more prominent of his deeds which become known to the
world; while the minor incidents, those small matters, which make up the
sum of human character, pass unobserved by his companions, or if
noticed, are soon forgotten. The subject of the present chapter, is yet
in the meridian of life, high in power, and in the enjoyment of a
distinguished reputation. Yet the materials for estimating his
character, and for tracing his progress, step by step, from the
obscurity of a private station, to the most honorable post in the nation
over which he now presides, are neither full nor satisfactory. Barely
enough is known of him, throughout the United States, to create the
desire to know more; and it is to be regretted that the means of
gratifying this laudable curiosity, are not more abundant.

Keokuk is a native of the Sac nation of Indians, and was born near or
upon Rock river in the north western part of what now constitutes the
state of Illinois, about the year 1780. He is not a hereditary chief,
and consequently has risen to his present elevation by the force of
talent and of enterprize. He began to manifest these qualities at a very
early period of his life. While but a youth he performed an act, which
placed him, as it were by _brevet_, in the ranks of manhood. In the
first battle in which he engaged, he encountered and killed a Sioux
warrior, with his spear, while on horseback; and as the Sioux are
distinguished for their horsemanship, this was looked upon as so great
an achievement, that a public feast was made in commemoration of it, by
his tribe; and the youthful Keokuk, was forthwith admitted to all the
rights and privileges of a Brave. It was further allowed, that ever
afterwards, on all public occasions, he might appear on horseback, even
if the rest of the chiefs and braves were not mounted.

During the late war between the United States and Great Britain, and
before Keokuk was entitled to take his seat in the councils of his
nation, an expedition was sent by our government, to destroy the Indian
village at Peoria, on the Illinois river. A rumor reached the Sac
village, in which he resided, that this expedition was also to attack
the Sacs, and the whole tribe was thrown into consternation. The
Indians were panic stricken, and the council hastily determined to
abandon their village. Keokuk happened to be standing near the
council-lodge when this decision was made. It was no sooner announced
than he boldly advanced to the door and requested admission. It was
granted. He asked leave to speak, and permission was given him. He
commenced by saying he had heard with deep regret, the decision of the
council--that he himself was wholly opposed to flight, before an enemy
still distant, and whose strength was entirely unknown. He called the
attention of the council to the importance of meeting the enemy in their
approach--of harassing their progress--cutting them off in detail--of
driving them back, or of nobly dying in defence of their country and
their homes.

"Make me your leader," he boldly exclaimed; "let our young men follow
me, and the pale-faces shall be driven back to their towns. Let the old
men and the women, and all who are afraid to meet the white man, stay
here, but let your braves go to battle." Such intrepid conduct, could
not fail to produce its effect upon a race so excitable as the Indians.
The warriors with one voice, declared they were ready to follow Keokuk;
and he was at once chosen to lead them against the enemy. It turned out,
however, that the alarm was false, but the eloquence of Keokuk in the
council, and his energy in preparing for the expedition, placed him at
once in the first rank of the braves.

His military reputation, was, on another occasion, much increased, by
the skill and promptness with which he met a sudden emergency on the
battle field. With a party of his braves, Keokuk was hunting in the
country which lies between the residence of the Sacs and that of the
Sioux, betwixt whom, for many years, a deadly hatred had existed. Very
unexpectedly, a party of the latter well mounted, came upon them. The
Sacs were also on horseback, but their enemies being superior horsemen
and fully equipped for war, had a decided advantage. There was no covert
from behind which the Sacs could fight, and flight was impossible.
Keokuk's mode of defence was as novel as ingenious. He instantly formed
his men into a compact circle, ordered them to dismount, and take
shelter behind their horses, by which movement they were protected from
the missiles of the Sioux, and at the same time placed under
circumstances in which they could avail themselves of their superiority
as marksmen. The Sioux, raising the war-whoop, charged upon their
entrenched foe with great fury, but were received with a fire so
destructive that they were compelled to fall back. The attack was
repeated but with the same result. The hordes could not be forced upon
those whose guns were pouring forth vollies of fire and smoke, and after
several unsuccessful attempts to break the line, the Sioux retreated
with considerable loss.

At a subsequent period, during a cessation of hostilities between these
tribes, the Sacs had gone to the prairies to hunt buffalo, leaving their
village but slightly protected by braves. During the hunt Keokuk and
his band, unexpectedly approached an encampment of a large number of
Sioux, painted for war, and evidently on their way to attack his
village. His own braves were widely scattered over the extensive plains,
and could not be speedily gathered together. Possessing the spirit of a
fearless and generous mind, he instantly resolved upon the bold
expedient of throwing himself between the impending danger and his
people. Unattended, he deliberately rode into the camp of his enemy. In
the midst of their lodges rose the war-pole, and around it the Sioux
were dancing, and partaking of those fierce excitements, by means of
which the Indians usually prepare themselves for battle. It happened
that revenge upon the Sacs constituted the burden of their songs, at the
moment of Keokuk's approach. He dashed into the midst of them and boldly
demanded to see their chief. "I have come," said he, "to let you know
that there are traitors in your camp: they have told me that you are
preparing to attack my village: I know they told me lies, for you could
not, after smoking the pipe of peace, be so base as to murder my women
and children in my absence. None but cowards would be guilty of such
conduct." When the first feeling of amazement began to subside, the
Sioux crowded around him in a manner evincing a determination to seize
his person, and they had already laid hold of his legs, when he added,
in a loud voice, "I supposed they told me lies, but if what I have heard
is true, then the Sacs are ready for you." With a sudden effort, he
dashed aside those who had seized him, plunged his spurs into his
gallant horse, and rode off at full speed. Several guns were discharged
at him, but fortunately without effect: a number of the Sioux warriors
instantly sprung upon their horses and pursued him, but in vain. Keokuk,
on horseback, was in his element; he made the woods resound with the
war-whoop, and brandishing his tomahawk in defiance of his foes, soon
left them far behind, and joined his little party of braves. His
pursuers, fearful of some stratagem, gave up the pursuit, after having
followed him for some distance, and retired to their camp. Keokuk took
immediate steps to call in his braves and speedily returned to protect
his village. His enemies, however, finding themselves discovered,
abandoned the contemplated attack and retraced their steps to their own

The eloquence of Keokuk and his sagacity in the civil affairs of his
nation, are, like his military talents, of a high order. One or two
cases in which these have been exhibited, are worthy of being recorded.
A few years since, some of his warriors fell in with a party of unarmed
Menominies, at Prairie des Chiens, in sight of fort Crawford, and
murdered the whole of them. Justly incensed at this outrage, the
Menominies prepared to take up arms against the Sacs, and prevailed upon
the Winnebagoes to join them. For the purpose of allaying the rising
storm, the United States' agent, at Prairie des Chiens, General Street,
invited the several parties to a council at that place for the purpose
of adjusting the difficulty, without a resort to arms. They accordingly,
out of respect to the agent, assembled at fort Crawford, but the
Menominies refused, sternly, to hold any conference with the Sacs on the
subject. Keokuk told the agent not to be discouraged, for he would
adjust the difficulty with them, before they separated, in despite of
their prejudices and their positive refusal to treat: He only asked an
opportunity of meeting them face to face in the council-lodge. The
tribes were brought together, but the Menominies persevered in their
determination to hold no conference with the Sacs. The negociation
proceeded, and a friendly feeling was re-established between the
Winnebagoes and the Sacs. Keokuk then rose and with much deliberation,
began his address to the Menominies. At first they averted their faces
or listened with looks of defiance. He had commenced his speech without
smoking the pipe or shaking hands, which was a breach of etiquette; and,
above all, he was the chief of a tribe that had inflicted upon them an
injury, for which blood alone could atone. Under these discouraging
circumstances, Keokuk proceeded, in his forcible, persuasive and
impressive manner. Such was the touching character of his appeal, such
the power of his eloquence, that the features of his enemies gradually
relaxed; they listened; they assented; and when he concluded by
remarking, proudly, but in a conciliating tone, "I came here to say that
I am sorry for the imprudence of my young men; I came to make peace; I
now offer you the hand of Keokuk; who will refuse it?" they rose one by
one and accepted the proffered grasp.

In the late contest between the United States and Black Hawk's band,
Keokuk and a majority of the Sacs and Foxes, took no part. Black Hawk
made several efforts to induce them to unite against the whites, which
they were strongly inclined to do, not only from their love of war and
of plunder but on account of the injustice with which very many of them
believed they had been treated by the people of the United States. It
required all of Keokuk's influence and moderation to prevent the whole
nation from enlisting under the Black Hawk banner. He requested the
agent of the American Government to send to his village, on the west
side of the Mississippi, a white man who understood the Sac language,
and who might bear witness to his, Keokuk's sincerity and faithfulness
to the whites. Such a person was sent. The excitement raised by Black
Hawk and the war in which he was engaged, continued to increase among
Keokuk's people. "He stood on a mine, liable to be exploded by a single
spark. He was in peril of being slain as the friend of the whites. He
remained calm and unawed, ruling his turbulent little state with
mildness and firmness, but at the constant risk of his life. One day, a
new emissary arrived from Black Hawk's party. Whiskey was introduced
into the camp, and Keokuk saw that the crisis was at hand. He warned the
white man who was his guest, of the impending danger, and advised him to
conceal himself. A scene of tumult ensued. The emissary spoke of blood
that had been shed--of their relations being driven from their hunting
grounds--of recent insults--of injuries long inflicted by the
whites--hinted at the ready vengeance that might be taken on an exposed
frontier--of defenceless cabins--and of rich booty. The desired effect
was produced. The braves began to dance around the war pole, to paint
and to give other evidences of a warlike character. Keokuk watched the
rising storm and appeared to mingle in it. He drank and listened and
apparently assented to all that was said. At length his warriors called
out to be led to battle, and he was asked to lead them. He arose and
spoke with that power which had never failed him. He sympathized in
their wrongs--their thirst for vengeance--he won their confidence by
giving utterance to the passions by which they were moved, and echoing
back their own thoughts with a master spirit. He then considered the
proposition to go to war, alluded to the power of the whites--the
hopelessness of the contest: He told them he was their chief--that it
was his duty to rule them as a father at home: to lead them to war if
they determined to go. But in the proposed war, there was no middle
course: The power of the United States was such, that unless they
conquered that great nation, they must perish; that he would lead them
instantly against the whites on one condition, and that was, that they
should first put all their women and children to death, and then
resolve, that having crossed the Mississippi, they would never return,
but perish among the graves of their fathers rather than yield them to
the white-men. This proposal, desperate as it was, presented the true
issue: it calmed the disturbed passions of his people, the turmoil
subsided, order was restored, and the authority of Keokuk, became for
the time being firmly re-established."[6]

Black Hawk and his band have always been opposed to Keokuk, and since
the late war, which proved so disastrous to them, and into which they
were plunged, in opposition to his counsel, they have looked upon him
with increased aversion.

They have made repeated efforts to destroy his influence with the
remainder of the tribe, and owing to the monotony of his pacific rule,
were, on one occasion, nearly successful. A spirit of discontent
pervaded his people--they complained of the extent of the power which he
wielded--they needed excitement, and as his measures were all of a
peaceful character, they sought it in a change of rulers. The matter was
at length openly and formally discussed. The voice of the nation was
taken, Keokuk was removed from his post of head man and a young chief
placed in his stead. He made not the smallest opposition to this measure
of his people, but calmly awaited the result. When his young successor
was chosen, Keokuk was the first to salute him with the title of Father.
But the matter did not rest here. With great courtesy, he begged to
accompany the new chief to the agent of the United States, then at Rock
island; and with profound respect, introduced him as his chief and his
father--urged the agent to receive him as such, and solicited, as a
personal favor, that the same regard that had ever been paid to him, by
the whites, might be transferred to his worthy successor. The sequel may
be readily inferred. The nation could not remain blind to the error they
had committed. Keokuk as a private individual was still the first man
among his people. His ready and noble acquiescence in their wishes, won
both their sympathy and admiration. He rose rapidly but silently to his
former elevated station, while the young chief sunk as rapidly to his
former obscurity.

Some time in 1832, five of the friendly Sacs belonging to Keokuk's
party, murdered a man by the name of Martin, in Warren county, Illinois.
One of these, proved to be a nephew of Keokuk, but by the orders of his
uncle, he was seized and delivered over to the civil authority of that
state to be tried for the murder. The other four made their escape. Some
time afterwards, Keokuk was called upon to deliver up the other four
Sacs, who had been concerned in the outrage, that they also might be
brought to justice. He replied that they were beyond his reach, but that
he would call a council of his head-men and take measures to give
satisfaction to the whites. The council was held, and Keokuk stated the
demand of their Great Father, the President; and that if satisfaction
were not made to him, he feared an army would be sent into their
country, and that many troubles would overtake them. Immediately four
young warriors arose and offered to be surrendered up to the whites,
and suffer death in place of the real offenders, to prevent their nation
from incurring the displeasure of the President. Keokuk, supposing that
this would satisfy the demands of justice, delivered them up as the
murderers and they were imprisoned. Upon their trial, Keokuk was
present, as a witness. In giving his testimony, he stated with honest
simplicity, that the young men then arraigned in court, for the murder
of Martin, were not the guilty ones, but they had agreed to die in place
of the real murderers who could not be found. The prisoners were, as a
matter of course, set at liberty.

Some months after the close of the "Black Hawk war," Keokuk was informed
that reports were in circulation, in the state of Illinois, that the
Indians were dissatisfied and preparing for fresh hostilities. He
dictated a letter to the Governor upon the subject, which was forwarded
to him. It is in these words.

                 "Raccoon Fork of Des Moines river, Nov. 30, 1832.
      "To the Great Chief of Illinois.

"I have been told by a trader, that several of your village criers
[editors] have been circulating bad news, informing the whites that the
Indians are preparing for war, and that we are dissatisfied. My Father,
you were present when the tomahawk was buried, and assisted me to place
it so deep, that it will never again be raised against your white
children of Illinois.

"My Father, very few of that misguided band that entered Rock river
last summer, remain. You have humbled them by war, and have made them
friendly by your generous conduct to them after they were defeated.

"Myself and the greater part of the Sacs and Foxes, have firmly held you
by the hand: We followed your advice and did as you told us. My Father,
take pity on those of my nation that you forgave, and never mention the
disasters of last summer. I wish them to be forgotten.

"I do not permit the criers of our village or camps to proclaim any bad
news against the whites, not even the truth. Last fall an old man, a
Fox, was hunting on an island, a short distance below Rock river for
turkeys to carry to Fort Armstrong: he was killed by a white man. My
Father, we passed it over: we have only spoken of it in whispers; our
agent has not heard of it. We wish to live in friendship with the
whites; if a white man comes to our camp or village, we give him a share
of what we have to eat, a lodging if he wants it, and put him on the
trail if he has lost it.

"My Father, advise the criers of your villages to tell the truth
respecting us, and assist in strengthening the chain of friendship, that
your children may treat us friendly when they meet us: and be assured
that we are friends, and have feelings as well as they have.

  "My Father, this is all I have to say at present.
             "KEOKUK, Chief of the Sac nation."

In the autumn of the year 1837, Keokuk and a party of his warriors made
a visit to Washington city. Black Hawk was of the party, having been
taken along, it is supposed by the politic Keokuk, lest in his absence,
the restless spirit of the old man should create some new difficulties
at home. We are indebted to a gentleman[7] who happened to be at the
capital at the time of this visit, for the following sketch of a
council, held under the direction of the Secretary at War, Mr. Poinsett,
for the laudable purpose of reconciling the long cherished feeling of
hostility between the Sacs and Foxes, and the Sioux,--a deputation of
chiefs from this latter nation being also at the seat of government. The
council was held in a church. The Indians were seated on a platform
erected for the purpose, the spectators occupying the pews. The
Secretary, representing the President, was seated on the center of the
platform, facing the audience--the Sioux on his right hand and the Sauks
and Foxes on his left, forming a semi-circle. "These hostile tribes,
presented in their appearance a remarkable contrast. The Sioux tricked
out in blue coats, epaulettes, fur hats and various articles of finery,
which had been presented to them, and which were now incongruously worn
in conjunction with portions of their own proper costume; while the
Saukies and Foxes, with a commendable pride and good taste, wore their
national dress, without any admixture, and were studiously painted
according to their own notions of propriety. But the most striking
object was Keokuk, who sat at the head of his delegation, on the
extreme left, facing his mortal enemies the Sioux, who occupied the
opposite side of the stage; having the audience upon his left side, and
his own people on his right, and beyond them the Secretary at War. He
sat grasping in his right hand the war banner, the symbol of his station
as ruling chief. His person was erect and his eye fixed calmly but
steadily upon the enemies of his people. On the floor, and leaning upon
the knee of the chief, sat his son, a boy of nine or ten years old,
whose fragile figure and innocent countenance, afforded a beautiful
contrast with the athletic and warlike form and the intellectual though
weather-beaten features of his father. The effect was in the highest
degree picturesque and imposing. The council was opened by smoking the
pipe, which was passed from mouth to mouth. The Secretary then briefly
addressed both parties, in a conciliating strain, urging them, in the
name of their great father, the President, to abandon those sanguinary
wars, by means of which their race was becoming extinct, and to
cultivate the arts, the thrift and industry of the white men. The Sioux
spoke next. The orator, on rising first stepped forward, and shook hands
with the Secretary, and then delivered his harangue in his own tongue,
stopping at the end of each sentence, until it was rendered into English
by the interpreter, who stood by his side, and into the Saukie language
by the interpreter of that tribe. Another and another followed, all
speaking vehemently and with much acrimony. The burthen of their
harangue was, the folly of addressing pacific language to the Sauks and
Foxes, who were faithless and in whom no confidence could be placed. 'My
father,' said one of them, 'you cannot make these people hear any good
words unless you bore their ears with sticks.' 'We have often made peace
with them,' said another speaker, an old man, who endeavored to be
witty, 'but they would never observe any treaty. I would as soon think
of making a treaty with that child,' pointing to Keokuk's little boy,
'as with a Saukie or Musquakee.' The Sioux were evidently gratified and
excited by the sarcasms of their orators, while their opponents sat
motionless, their dark eyes flashing, but their features as composed and
stolid, as if they did not understand that disparaging language that was
used. We remarked a decided want of gracefulness in all these speakers.
Each of them having shaken hands with the Secretary, who sat facing the
audience, stood immediately before and near to him, with the interpreter
at his elbow, both having their backs to the spectators; and in this
awkward position, speaking low and rapidly--but little of what they said
could be heard except by the persons near them. Not so Keokuk. When it
came to his turn to speak, he rose deliberately, advanced to the
Secretary, and having saluted him, returned to his place, which being at
the foot of the stage, and on one side of it, his face was not concealed
from any of the several parties present. His interpreter stood beside
him. The whole arrangement was judicious, and though apparently
unstudied, shewed the tact of an orator. He stood erect, in an easy,
but martial posture, with his robe thrown over his left shoulder and
arm, leaving the right arm bare, to be used in action. His voice was
firm, his enunciation remarkably clear, distinct, and rapid. Those who
have had the gratification of hearing a distinguished senator from South
Carolina, now in Congress, whose rapidity of utterance, concentration of
thought and conciseness of language are alike peculiar to himself, may
form some idea of the style of Keokuk, the latter adding, however, an
attention to the graces of attitude and action, to which the former
makes no pretension. He spoke with dignity but great animation, and some
of his retorts were excellent. 'They tell you,' said he, 'that our ears
must be bored with sticks, but, my Father, you could not penetrate their
thick skulls in that way--it would require hot iron.' 'They say they
would as soon make peace with a child, as with us,--they know better,
for when they made war upon us they found us men.' 'They tell you that
peace has often been made, and that we have broken it. How happens it
then that so many of their braves have been slain in our country? I will
tell you--they invaded us; we never invaded them: none of my braves have
been killed in their land. We have their scalps and can tell where we
took them.

"As we have given the palm to Keokuk, at this meeting, we must in
justice to the Sioux, mention an eloquent reply, made by one of the same
party, on a different day. The Secretary at War, met the Sioux
delegation in council to treat for the purchase of some of their
territory. A certain sum of money being offered them for the land, they
demanded a greater price. They were then told that the Americans were a
great people, who would not traffic with them like a trader--that the
President had satisfied himself as to the value of the territory, and
offered them the full price. Big Thunder, a son of the Little Crow,
replied that the Sioux were a great nation, and could not, like a
trader, ask a price and then take less: and, then to illustrate the
equality of dignity, between the high contracting parties, he used a
figure, which struck us as eminently beautiful--'the children of our
white parent are very many, they possess all the country from the rising
of the sun to noon-day:--the Sioux are very many, the land is all theirs
from the noon-day to the setting sun.'"

After leaving Washington city, Keokuk, attended by his wife and son,
four chiefs of the united Sac and Fox tribes, and several warriors among
whom were Black Hawk and his son, proceeded as far north as Boston, and
attracted in all the cities through which they passed great attention.
They were met in Boston, with distinguished honors, being received by
governor Everett on behalf of the state, and the mayor, on behalf of the
city. The ceremony of receiving the Indians occurred on the 30th of
October, and no public spectacle in the history of Boston, ever
assembled so great a number of its citizens. Between the hours of ten
and twelve, the chiefs held a levee in Faneuil Hall, for the visits of
the ladies, exclusively, an immense concourse of whom, thronged the old
"cradle of liberty" to look upon the stranger guests. At 2 o'clock, P.M.
the chiefs were escorted by the Lancers to the State House, which was
filled with ladies, the members of the legislature, the civil
authorities, &c. Governor Everett, first addressed the audience, by
giving them a brief account of the different tribes represented by the
Indian chiefs then present. Then turning to the Indians, he said,

"Chiefs and warriors of the united Sac and Fox tribes, you are welcome
to our hall of council. You have come a far way from your homes in the
west to visit your white brethren. We are glad to take you by the hand.
We have heard before of the Sacs and Foxes--our travellers have told us
the names of their great men and chiefs. We are glad to see them with
our own eyes.

"We are called the Massachusetts. It is the name of the red men who once
lived here. In former times the red man's wigwam, stood on these fields,
and his council fires were kindled on this spot.

"When our fathers came over the great waters, they were a small band.
The red man stood on the rock by the sea side, and looked at them. He
might have pushed them into the water and drowned them; but he took hold
of their hands and said, welcome, white man. Our fathers were hungry,
and the red man gave them corn and venison. Our fathers were cold, and
the red man spread his blanket over them and made them warm.

"We are now grown great and powerful, but we remember the kindness of
the red man to our fathers.

"Brothers, our faces are pale and yours are red, but our hearts are
alike. The Great Spirit has made his children of different complexions,
but he loves them all.

"Brothers, you dwell between the Mississippi and the Missouri--they are
mighty streams. They have great arms--one stretches out to the east and
the other away west to the Rocky mountains. But they make one river and
they run together into the sea.

"Brothers, we dwell in the east and you in the far west, but we are one
family, of many branches but one head.

"Brothers, as you passed through the hall below, you stopped to look at
the great image of our father Washington. It is a cold stone and cannot
speak to you. But our great father Washington loved his red children,
and bade us love them also. He is dead but his words have made a great
print in our hearts, like the step of a strong buffalo on the clay in
the prairies.

"My brother, (addressing Keokuk) I perceive by your side your young
child sitting in the council hall with you. May the Great Spirit
preserve the life of your son. May he grow up by your side like the
tender sapling by the side of the mighty oak. May you long flourish both
together, and when the mighty oak is fallen in the forest, may the young
tree take its place, and spread out its branches over the tribe.

"Brothers, I make you a short talk, and bid you welcome once more to our
council hall."

Keokuk rose first in reply, and shaking hands with the Governor and
others near to him, spoke with fine emphasis and much earnest and
graceful gesticulation, holding his staff, which he frequently shifted
from hand to hand.

"Keokuk and his chiefs are very much gratified that they have had the
pleasure of shaking hands with the head man or governor of this great
state, and also with all the men that surround him.

"You well say, brother, that the Great Spirit has made both of us,
though your color is white and mine is red; but he made your heart and
mine the same. The only difference I find is, he made you speak one
language, and I another. He made the same sky above our heads for both.
He gave us hands to take each other by, and eyes to see each other. I
wish to take all present by the hand,--to shake hands with all my white

"I am very happy to say, before I die, that I have been in the great
house where my fathers and your fathers used to speak together as we do
now. And I hope the Great Spirit is pleased with this sight; and will
long continue to keep friendship between the white and red men. I hope
that now, in this presence, he sees us; and hears our hearts proffer
friendship to each other; and that he will aid us in what we are now
engaged in.

"My remarks are short and this is what I say to you. I take my friends
all by the hand, and wish the Great Spirit to give them all a blessing."

Several other chiefs spoke, and after them Black Hawk made a short
address. To these several speeches the governor replied collectively.
Presents were then distributed among them by the governor. Keokuk
received a splendid sword and brace of pistols; his son, Musanwont, a
handsome little rifle: The head chiefs received long swords and the
others short ones. Black Hawk was also presented with a brace of pistols
and a sword. When this ceremony had ended, the Indians repaired to the
common in front of the capitol, and there, in the presence of some
thirty thousand spectators, exhibited themselves in a war dance, for
about half an hour; and from thence returned to their lodging.

Throughout the whole of his visit in Boston, Keokuk preserved his grave
and dignified manners, winning the respect and admiration of all who had
an opportunity of coming in contact with him. Upon his return to the
west, he spent a few hours in Cincinnati, and was visited by a great
number of persons. We had the pleasure of taking him by the hand, and of
making some inquiries in regard to his character, of those who were
personally acquainted with him.

In person, Keokuk, is stout, graceful and commanding, with fine features
and an intelligent countenance. His broad expanded chest and muscular
limbs, denote activity and physical power; and he is known to excel in
dancing, horsemanship, and all athletic exercises. He has acquired
considerable property, and lives in princely style. He is fond of
travelling, and makes frequent visits of state to the Osages, the
Ottaways, the Omahas and the Winnebagoes. On these occasions he is
uniformly mounted on a fine horse, clad in a showy robe wrought by his
six wives, equipped with his rifle, pipe, tomahawk and war-club. He is
usually attended in these excursions by forty or fifty of his young men,
well mounted and handsomely dressed. A man precedes the party to
announce his approach to the tribe he is about to honor with a visit;
and such is his popularity, that his reception is generally in a style
corresponding with the state in which he moves. These visits are most
frequently made in autumn, and are enlivened by hunting, feasting,
dancing, horse-racing and various athletic games, in all of which Keokuk
takes an active part. He moves, it is supposed, in more savage
magnificence, than any other Indian chief upon the continent.

In point of intellect, integrity of character, and the capacity for
governing others, he is supposed to have no superior among the Indians:
Bold, courageous, and skilful in war--mild, firm and politic in peace:
He has great enterprize and active impulses, with a freshness and
enthusiasm of feeling, which might readily lead him astray, but for his
quick perception of human character, his uncommon prudence and his calm,
sound judgment. At an early period of his life he became the chief
warrior of his tribe, and by his superior talents, eloquence, and
intelligence, really directed the civil affairs of his nation for many
years, while they were nominally conducted in the name of the hereditary
peace chief. Such is Keokuk, the Watchful Fox, who prides himself upon
being the friend of the whiteman.


Murder of twenty-eight Menominies by the Foxes of Black Hawk's
  band--Naopope's visit to Malden--Black Hawk recrosses the
  Mississippi--General Atkison orders him to return--Stillman's
  attack--Defeated by Black Hawk--His white flag fired upon--He sends
  out war parties upon the frontier--Attack upon Fort Buffalo--General
  Dodge's battle on the Wisconsin--Black Hawk and his band leave the
  Four Lakes and fly to the Mississippi--Pursued by General
  Atkinson--Black Hawk's flag of truce fired upon by the Captain of the
  Warrior--Twenty-three Indians killed.

Black Hawk and his band were not long upon the west side of the
Mississippi, before new difficulties arose, calculated to disturb the
harmony which it was hoped the treaty of the 30th of June, had
established between them and the United States. The period of their
removal to the west side of the Mississippi, was too late in the season
to enable them to plant corn and beans a second time; and before autumn
was over they were without provisions. Some of them, one night,
recrossed the river to _steal roasting-ears from their own fields,_--to
quote the language of Black Hawk,--and were shot at by the whites, who
made loud complaints of this depredation. They, in turn, were highly
exasperated at having been fired upon for attempting to carry off the
corn which they had raised, and which they insisted, belonged to them.

Shortly after this, a party of Foxes, belonging, it is believed, to
Black Hawk's band, went up the Mississippi, to Prairie des Chiens, to
avenge the murder of some of their tribe, which had been committed in
the summer of 1830, by a party of the Menominies and Sioux. The Foxes
attacked the camp of the Menominies and killed twenty-eight of them. The
authorities at Prairie des Chiens, made a demand of the murderers, that
they might be tried and punished under the laws of the United States,
according to the treaty of 1825. Black Hawk, with other chiefs, took the
ground that the United States had no right to make this demand, and
refused to give them up. Here then was another source of difficulty.

Neapope, a chief of the British band, and second in command to Black
Hawk, prior to the removal of the Indians to the west side of the
Mississippi, had started on a visit to Malden, to consult their British
Father in regard to the right to retain their lands on Rock river. He
returned late in the fall, bringing word that in his opinion, the
Americans could not take their lands, unless by purchase; and this
purchase, it was contended by Black Hawk had never been made. Neapope on
his way from Malden, called to see the Prophet, who assured him that
early the ensuing spring, not only the British, but the Ottawas,
Chippewas, Pottawatomies and Winnebagoes, would assist them to regain
their village and the lands around it. Black Hawk believed, or affected
to believe, this information, and began to make preparations to increase
the number of his braves by recruiting from different villages. He sent
a messenger to Keokuk, and to the Fox tribe, to inform them of the good
news he had heard, and to ask their co-operation. Keokuk had too much
sagacity to be imposed upon by tales of either British or Indian
assistance, and sent word to Black Hawk that he was deceived and had
better remain quiet. With a view of preventing further difficulty, he is
said to have made application to the agent at St. Louis, that the chiefs
of the Sacs and Foxes might be permitted to visit Washington city, to
see the President, and if possible make a final adjustment of the matter
in dispute. Black Hawk alledges he was anxious to make this visit to his
Great Father, and had determined, to submit peaceably to his counsel,
whatever it might be. But the arrangement for the visit, from some
cause, was not perfected, and Black Hawk proceeded with his own plans.
He established his head quarters at the point where Fort Madison
formerly stood, on the west side of the Mississippi, and made another
unsuccessful effort to draw into his support some of the braves under
Keokuk. Having assembled his own party he began to ascend the
Mississippi--the women and children in canoes with their provisions,
camp equipage and property--his warriors armed and mounted on their
horses. Below Rock island, they were met by the Prophet, who informed
them that there was a great war chief then at Fort Armstrong, with a
large body of soldiers. The Prophet stated that the agent and trader at
Rock island, had attempted to dissuade him from joining Black Hawk, but
he had refused to take their advice, because so long as they remained at
peace, the Americans dare not molest them. Having reached the mouth of
Rock river, in the early part of April 1832, the whole party rashly and
in violation of the treaty of the previous year, crossed to the east
side of the Mississippi, for the avowed purpose of ascending Rock river,
to the territory of their friends, the Winnebagoes, and raising a crop
of corn and beans with them. General Atkinson with a body of troops was
then at Fort Armstrong, having been ordered by government to that point,
for the purpose of preventing a war between the Menomenies and the
Foxes, and demanding the surrender of those Indians who had committed
the murders at Fort Crawford. After Black Hawk and his party had
proceeded some distance up Rock river, he was overtaken by an express
from General Atkinson, with an order for him to return and recross the
Mississippi, which he refused to obey, on the ground that the General
had no right to make such an order; the Indians being at peace and on
their way to the prophet's village, at his request, to make corn. Before
they had reached this point, they were overtaken by a second express
from General Atkinson, with a threat, that if they did not return,
peaceably, he would pursue and force them back. The Indians replied that
they were determined not to be driven back, and equally so not to make
the first attack on the whites. Black Hawk now ascertained that the
Winnebagoes, although willing that he should raise a crop of corn with
them, would not join in any hostile action against the United States.
The Pottowatomies manifested the same determination, and both denied
having given the prophet any assurances of co-operation. Black Hawk
immediately came to the conclusion, that if pursued by General Atkinson,
he would peaceably return with his party, and recross the Mississippi.
He was encamped at Kish-wa-cokee, and was preparing to compliment some
Pottowatomie chiefs, then on a visit to him, by a dog-feast.

In the mean time the Illinois militia, ordered out by Governor Reynolds,
upon his hearing of this second "invasion," of the state, had formed a
junction with the regular troops under General Atkinson at Rock island,
the latter assuming the command of the whole. From this point, the
militia, being generally mounted, proceeded by land to Dixon's ferry on
Rock river, about half way between the mouth of that stream and the
encampment of Black Hawk. General Atkinson with three hundred regulars
and three hundred militia ascended Rock river in boats to the same
point. Major Stillman, having under his command a body of two hundred
and seventy-five mounted volunteers, obtained leave of General
Whitesides, then in command of the Illinois militia, at Dixon's ferry,
to go out on a scouting expedition. He proceeded up Rock river about
thirty miles, to Sycamore Creek, which empties into that river on the
east side. This movement brought him within a few miles of the camp of
Black Hawk and a part of his braves, at the time when the old chief was
engaged in getting up a dog-feast in honour of his Pottowatomie


It was on the 14th of May, that Black Hawk, while engaged in this
ceremony, was informed that a large number of mounted volunteers, had
been seen about eight miles from his camp. "I immediately started,"
says he, "three young men, with a white flag, to meet them and conduct
them to our camp, that we might hold a council with them, and descend
Rock river again: and directed them in case the whites had encamped, to
return, and I would go and see them. After this party had started, I
sent five young men to see what might take place. The first party went
to the encampment of the whites, and were taken prisoners. The last
party had not proceeded far, before they saw about twenty men coming
towards them in full gallop. They stopped and finding that the whites
were coming so fast, in a warlike attitude, they turned and retreated,
but were pursued and overtaken and two of them killed. The others made
their escape. When they came in with the news, I was preparing my flags
to meet the war chief. The alarm was given. Nearly all my young men were
absent about ten miles off. I started with what I had left, (about
_forty_,) and had proceeded but a short distance, before we saw a part
of the army approaching. I raised a yell, and said to my braves; "some
of our people have been killed, wantonly and cruelly murdered! we must
avenge their death." In a little while we discovered the whole army
coming towards us in full gallop! We were now confident that our first
party had been killed. I immediately placed my men in front of some
bushes, that we might have the first fire, when they approached close
enough. They made a halt some distance from us. I gave another yell, and
ordered my brave warriors to charge upon them, expecting that we
would all be killed! they did charge--every man rushed and fired, and
the enemy retreated in the utmost confusion, and consternation; before
my little but brave band of warriors. After pursuing the enemy for some
distance, I found it useless to follow them, as they rode so fast, and
returned to my encampment with a few of my braves, (about twenty-five
having gone in pursuit of the enemy.) I lighted my pipe, and sat down to
thank the Great Spirit for what he had done. I had not been long
meditating, when two of the three young men I had sent out with the
flag, to meet the American war chief, entered. My astonishment was not
greater than my joy to see them living and well. I eagerly listened to
their story, which was as follows:

"When we arrived near to the encampment of the whites, a number of them
rushed out to meet us, bringing their guns with them. They took us into
the camp, when an American who spoke the Sac language a little, told us
that his chief wanted to know how we were, where we were going, where
our camp was, and where Black Hawk was. We told him that we had come to
see his chief: that our chief had directed us to conduct him to our
camp, in case he had not encamped; and in that event to tell him, that
he (Black Hawk) would come to see him; he wished to hold a council with
him, as he had given up all intention of going to war. At the conclusion
of this talk, a party of white men came in on horseback. We saw by
their countenances that something had happened. A general tumult arose.
They looked at us with indignation--talked among themselves for a
moment, when several cocked their guns; in a second they fired at us in
the crowd; our companion fell dead. We rushed through the crowd and made
our escape. We remained in ambush but a short time, before we heard
yelling, like Indians running an enemy. In a little while we saw some of
the whites in full speed. One of them came near us. I threw my tomahawk
and struck him on the head, which brought him to the ground. I ran to
him and with his own knife took off his scalp. I took his gun, mounted
his horse, and took my friend here behind me. We turned to follow our
braves, who were running the enemy, and had not gone far before we
overtook a white man, whose horse had mired in a swamp. My friend
alighted and tomahawked the man, who was apparently fast under his
horse. He took his scalp, horse and gun. By this time our party was some
distance ahead. We followed on and saw several white men lying dead on
the way. After riding about six miles, we met our party returning. We
asked them how many of our men had been killed. They said none after the
Americans had retreated. We inquired then how many whites had been
killed? They replied they did not know; but said we will soon ascertain,
as we must scalp them as we go back. On our return we found ten men,
besides the two we had killed before we joined our friends. Seeing that
they did not yet recognize us, it being dark, we again asked, how many
of our braves had been killed? They said five. We asked who they were.
They replied that the first party of three, who went out to meet the
American war chief, had all been taken prisoners, and killed in the
encampment; and that out of a party of five who followed to see the
meeting of the first party and the whites, two had been killed. We were
now certain that they did not recognize us, nor did we tell them who we
were, until we arrived at our camp. The news of our death had reached it
some time before, and all were surprised to see us again."[8]

Such is the narrative of this defeat, as given by Black Hawk, and two of
his men who were the bearers of his white flag and a proposition to
surrender. The accounts given by Major Stillman's troops--for it is not
ascertained that the commander published any official statement of the
battle--is in substance about the following. The force under Major
Stillman, two hundred and seventy-five in number, on the afternoon of
the fourteenth of May, met three Indians bearing a white flag, one of
whom, after having been taken prisoner, was shot down. The army encamped
just before sunset, in a piece of woods, surrounded by an open prairie,
about three miles from Sycamore creek. Soon after they had halted, five
more Indians, with apparent pacific intentions, were seen approaching
the camp. Captain Eades, with a party of armed troops, dashed at full
speed towards them, when they became alarmed and commenced a retreat.
The Captain, after following them for some distance, and killing two of
the party, gave up the pursuit, and was on his return to the camp, when
he was met by the whole detachment. The pursuit of the retreating
Indians was immediately renewed, and continued until both parties had
crossed Sycamore creek. This brought them upon the camp of Black Hawk,
who having been apprized of the approach of the whites, had mounted his
men and prepared for action. The Indians were concealed behind some
bushes, and after having fired their guns, raised the war-whoop and
resorted to the tomahawk. Their fire was returned, with but little
effect, and then Major Stillman, instantly ordered a retreat across the
creek, and the route became general. His troops fled through their camp,
and did not stop until they reached Dixon's ferry, distant thirty miles.
Some of them deemed it prudent to seek a place of still greater safety,
than the flag of General Atkinson, and continued their flight for more
than fifty miles, and until they reached their own fire-sides. The roll
was called at Dixon's ferry next morning, and fifty-two were found
missing. It was, however, subsequently ascertained that more than half
of this number were among those who rode express to the "settlements" to
carry the news of their gallant attack upon General Black Hawk and his
British band. Such was the panic among the troops engaged in this
skirmish, that they reported the Indian force at 1500 and even 2000 men!
Black Hawk's statement has already been given, in which he places his
number at forty; and one of the volunteers whose horse was lame, and who
hid himself, and watched the Indians as they passed him in the pursuit
and on their return, did not estimate them at more than a hundred. It is
probable the real number of the Indians did not exceed fifty. It is
painful to contemplate this whole affair, for it is alike discreditable
to the national faith and the national arms. The violation of a flag of
truce, and the wanton destruction of the lives of some of those who bore
it, not only placed an indelible stigma upon the character of the
country, but led to a war, in the prosecution of which, much blood and
much treasure were expended. Had a conference with Black Hawk been held,
scarcely a doubt remains, considering his failure to secure the
co-operation of other tribes, and his utter destitution of provisions,
that he and his band would have returned, peaceably, to the west side of
the Mississippi. The precipitate flight of the troops under Major
Stillman, has no justification. Supposing the panic to have been such as
to render a retreat across Sycamore creek necessary, it should have
terminated when the troops reached their encampment; which, being in a
copse of woods, surrounded by a prairie, they would have been protected
by trees, while the Indians, if they continued the attack, must have
fought in the open plain. But no effort was made to rally at the
encampment, and all the baggage of our troops--blankets, saddle-bags,
camp equipage and provisions,--fell into the hands of the Indians. Black
Hawk finding that there was now no alternative, determined to fight.
Indignant at the attack upon his flag of peace--encouraged by his signal
success in putting to flight, a force vastly superior in numbers to his
own--and strengthened by the booty--especially the provisions--he had
taken, he assembled his braves and prepared for an active border war. He
immediately sent out spies to watch the movements of General Atkinson,
and prepared to remove his women and children, from the seat of war to
the head waters of Rock river, where he supposed they would be safe from
the attacks of the whites. In passing to this point, by the sources of
the Kish-wa-co-kee, he was met by some Winnebagoes, who had heard of his
victory, and were now disposed to join him. Some additional war parties
were sent out, the new recruits from the Winnebagoes, constituting one
of them. This arrangement completed, Black Hawk proceeded with the women
and children to the Four Lakes, in which Catfish, one of the tributaries
to Rock river, has its origin.

Stillman's defeat spread consternation throughout the state of Illinois.
The Indian forces were greatly magnified in number, and Black Hawk's
name carried with it associations of uncommon military talent, and of
savage cunning and cruelty. General Atkinson proceeded to fortify his
camp, at Dixon's ferry, and the Executive of the state made a call for
more mounted volunteers. The Secretary at War sent about 1000 United
States' troops from the sea-board to the scene of action; and General
Winfield Scott was ordered to proceed to the north west, and direct the
future operations of the campaign. A bloody border contest ensued. Many
frontier families were massacred with savage ferocity, and some were
carried into captivity. A party of Pottowattomies, thirty in number,
fell upon a little settlement on Indian creek, one of the tributaries of
Fox river, and murdered fifteen men, women and children, taking two
prisoners, the Misses Hall; who were subsequently placed in charge of
some Winnebagoes, and by them returned in safety, a few weeks
afterwards, to their friends. At Kellog's grove, not far from Galena, in
the early part of June, a party of Indians stole some horses. Captain J.
W. Stephenson pursued them with twelve men. A skirmish ensued, which
resulted in the death of three of our troops and five or six of the
enemy. On the evening of the 14th of June, a party of eleven Sacs,
killed five white men at Spafford's farm. General Dodge with twenty-nine
men, followed and overtook them in a swamp, where the whole were shot
down and scalped, they having first killed three of Dodge's men. The
barbarous practice of scalping the dead, was in this case adopted by our
troops and sanctioned by their officers.[9]

On the 24th of June, the Indians made an attack upon the fort at Buffalo
grove, twelve miles north of Dixon's ferry. It was defended by a hundred
and fifty men, under the command of Captain Dement, some of whom, with
about forty horses, were killed. The commander did not deem it prudent
to march out and encounter the Indians, who finding that they could not
take the fort, secured a quantity of provisions, some horses and cattle,
and commenced a retreat. They had not proceeded far, before they were
overtaken by a detachment of volunteers under Colonel Posey, who had
come to relieve the fort. Black Hawk, who commanded the Indians in this
affair, says, "We concealed ourselves until they came near enough, and
then commenced yelling and firing and made a rush upon them. About this
time their chief, with a party of men, rushed up to the rescue of those
we had fired upon. In a little while they commenced retreating, and left
their chief and a few braves, who seemed willing and anxious to fight.
They acted like braves, but were forced to give way when I rushed upon
them with my braves. In a short time, the chief returned with a larger
party. He seemed determined to fight and anxious for battle. When he
came near enough, I raised the yell, and firing commenced from both
sides. The chief, who is a small man, addressed his warriors in a loud
voice; but they soon retreated, leaving him and a few braves on the
battle field. A great number of my warriors pursued the retreating
party, and killed a number of their horses as they ran. The chief and
his braves were unwilling to leave the field. I ordered my braves to
rush upon them, and had the mortification of seeing two of my chiefs
killed, before the enemy retreated. This young chief deserves great
praise for his courage, but fortunately for us, his army was not all
composed of such brave men."

The Indians had about two hundred men in this engagement. The troops in
the fort united with those under Colonel Posey, exceeded, in number
Black Hawk's party. The loss of life was inconsiderable on either side.

On the 4th of July, the main army under General Atkinson, arrived at the
foot of lake Coshconong, formed by an expansion of Rock river, in the
vicinity of which the Indians had been embodied. On the 9th of July,
General Atkinson says, in a letter to General Scott, that he had not yet
been enabled to find the Indians, who he supposes to be seven or eight
hundred strong, his own force amounting to four hundred regulars and
2100 mounted volunteers.

Two brigades of the mounted volunteers, under General Dodge, pursued the
Indians from this place towards Fort Winnebago. They were overtaken on
the 21st of July, about sun down, on the banks of the Wisconsin. An
attack was immediately made, and about forty of the Indians are supposed
to have been killed. General Dodge lost one man and had eight wounded.
The exact loss of the Indians in this engagement cannot be ascertained.
One account places the number at sixteen.[10] Black Hawk says he had but
fifty warriors with him in the engagement, the rest being engaged in
assisting the women and children in crossing the Wisconsin to an
island, to protect them from the fury of the whites: That he was
compelled to fall back into a deep ravine where he continued to maintain
his ground until dark, and until his people had had time to reach the
island, and that he lost but six of his men. This is undoubtedly a
mistake, owing in all probability to the interpreter in taking down his
statement; for some of his men, subsequently, placed the number at
sixty. The condition of the Indians at this time was most deplorable.
Before breaking up their encampment, upon the Four Lakes, they were
almost destitute of provisions. In pursuing their trail from this point
to the Wisconsin, many were found literally starved to death. They were
compelled to live upon roots, the bark of trees and horse flesh. A party
of Black Hawk's band, including many women and children, now attempted
to descend the Wisconsin upon rafts and in canoes, that they might
escape, by recrossing the Mississippi. They were attacked however, in
their descent, by troops stationed on the bank of the river, and some
were killed, others drowned, a few taken prisoners, and the remainder,
escaping to the woods, perished from hunger. Black Hawk, and such of his
party as had not the means of descending the Wisconsin, having abandoned
all idea of any farther resistance, and unwilling to trust themselves to
a capitulation, now determined to strike across the country, and reach
the Mississippi, some distance above the mouth of the former stream, and
thus effect their escape. They struck it at a point opposite the Ioway,
and about forty miles above the Wisconsin, losing on their route,
many of their people from starvation. So soon as they reached the
Mississippi, a part of the women and children, in such canoes as they
could procure, undertook to descend it, to Prairie des Chiens, but many
of them were drowned before they reached that place, and those who did
arrive at it, were found to be in a starving condition. On the first of
August, while in the act of crossing the Mississippi, an attack was made
upon Black Hawk and his party by the steam boat Warrior, with an armed
force on board. The commander of the boat, under date of Prairie des
Chiens, 3d August 1832, gives the following account of it.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF BAD-AXE.]

"I arrived at this place on monday last, (July 30th) and was despatched
with the Warrior alone, to Wapeshaws village, one hundred and twenty
miles above, to inform them of the approach of the Sacs, and to order
down all the friendly Indians to this place. On our way down we met one
of the Sioux band, who informed us that the Indians, our enemies, were
on Bad-axe river, to the number of four hundred. We stopped and cut some
wood and prepared for action. About four o'clock on wednesday afternoon
(August 1st) we found the _gentlemen_ [Indians] where he stated he left
them. As we neared them, they raised a white flag, and endeavored to
decoy us; but we were a little too old for them; for instead of landing,
we ordered them to send a boat on board, which they declined. After
about fifteen minutes delay, giving them time to remove a few of their
women and children, we let slip a six-pounder, loaded with canister,
followed by a severe fire of musketry; and if ever you saw straight
blankets, you would have seen them there. I fought them at anchor most
of the time and we were all very much exposed. I have a ball which came
in close by where I was standing, and passed through the bulkhead of the
wheel room. We fought them for about an hour or more until our wood
began to fail, and night coming on, we left and went on to the prairie.
This little fight cost them twenty-three killed, and of course a great
many wounded. We never lost a man, and had but one man wounded, (shot
through the leg.) The next morning before we could get back again, on
account of a heavy fog, they had the whole [of General Atkinson's] army
upon them. We found them at it, walked in, and took a hand ourselves.
The first shot from the Warrior _laid out three_. I can hardly tell you
any thing about it, for I am in great haste, as I am now on my way to
the field again. The army lost eight or nine killed, and seventeen
wounded, whom we brought down. One died on deck last night. We brought
down thirty-six prisoners, women and children. I tell you what, _Sam_,
there is no fun in fighting Indians, particularly at this season, when
the grass is so very bright. Every man, and even my cabin-boy, fought
well. We had sixteen regulars, five rifle men, and twenty of ourselves.
Mr. How, of Platt, Mr. James G. Soulard, and one of the Rolettes, were
with us and fought well."

The flippant and vaunting style of this letter is in good keeping with
the spirit which prompted the firing upon a flag of truce. By what
circumstance the commander of the Warrior ascertained that this white
flag was intended as a decoy, is left wholly unexplained. As he and his
men, were beyond the reach of the Indians, humanity and the rules of
war, required that he should have allowed himself more than _fifteen
minutes_, to ascertain the true object of the Indians, in raising the
symbol of a capitulation. Black Hawk himself, asserts that he directed
his braves not to fire upon the Warrior, as he intended going on board
in order to save the women and children; that he raised a white flag and
called to the captain of the boat, desiring him to send his canoe on
shore, that he might go on board, as he wanted to give himself up. The
deplorable condition to which Black Hawk was at this time reduced,
flying for safety to the west side of the Mississippi, encumbered by his
women and children, and his whole party exhausted by fatigue and hunger,
renders it extremely difficult to believe that any decoy was intended by
him. Indeed, nothing can be more certain, than that he was most heartily
desirous of ending the disastrous and fatal contest in which he had
become involved, without the slaughter of any more of his people. If the
thirst for blood had been less rapacious on the part of the Americans,
or their respect for a flag of truce something greater, the further
destruction of life would have been spared; and the nation preserved
from the charge of having fired upon a flag, held sacred throughout the


General Atkinson overtakes Black Hawk--Battle of the Bad Axe--Atkinson's
  official report--Incidents of the Battle--Capture of Black Hawk and
  the prophet--Naopope's statement to General Scott--General Scott and
  Governor Reynolds conclude a treaty with the Sacs, Foxes and
  Winnebagoes--Causes which led to the war--Motives for getting up
  Indian wars--First attack made by the Illinois militia--Report of the
  Secretary at War in regard to this campaign--General Macomb's letter
  to General Atkinson--Secretary Cass' statement of the causes which led
  to this war--Comments upon this statement, and its omissions pointed

After the battle upon the Wisconsin, the whole army, under the command
of General Atkinson, crossed to the north side of that river, at Helena,
and on the twenty-ninth of July, commenced the pursuit of the Indians,
by forced marches, over a rugged and mountainous country. On the morning
of the second of August, while ten miles from the Mississippi, it was
ascertained that the enemy were upon the bank of that stream, near the
Bad-axe, and in the act of crossing to the west side. Arrangements were
immediately made for an attack. Gen. Dodge's squadron was placed in
front, followed by the infantry, and these by the brigades of Henry,
Alexander, and Posey. The army had proceeded in this order about five
miles, when some Indians were discovered and fired upon. They
immediately retreated to the main body, on the bank of the river. To
prevent the possibility of the escape of the enemy, Generals Alexander
and Posey, were directed to form the right wing of the army, and march
to the river, above the Indian encampment, and then to move down along
the bank. General Henry formed the left wing, and the United States'
infantry and General Dodge's squadron, occupied the centre. In this
order, the army descended a bluff bank into a river bottom, heavily
timbered, and covered with weeds and brush-wood. General Henry first
came upon a portion of the enemy, and commenced a heavy fire upon them,
which was returned. General Dodge's squadron and the United States'
troops, soon came into the action, and with General Henry's men, rushed
upon the Indians, killing all in the way, except a few who succeeded in
swimming a slough of the Mississippi, about a hundred and fifty yards
wide. During this time the brigades of Alexander and Posey, in marching
down the bank of the river, fell in with another party of Indians, and
killed or routed the whole of them. When the Indians were driven to the
brink of the river, a large number of men, women and children, plunged
into the water to save themselves by swimming; but only a few escaped
"our sharpshooters." The battle lasted about three hours. In the
afternoon, of the same day, Generals Atkinson, Dodge and Posey,
descended the Mississippi, to Prairie des Chiens, in the Warrior, and
there awaited the arrival of the mounted volunteers, who reached that
place on the fourth. Among the Indians who escaped the slaughter was
Black Hawk. Twelve of those who effected their escape, were captured on
the fourth, by a party of whites, from Cassville, under the command of
Captain Price, and most of those who succeeded in reaching the west
side of the Mississippi, were subsequently attacked by a party of
hostile Sioux, and either killed or taken prisoners. The brief, but
official account of this battle is given by the commanding general, in
these words.

  Head Quarters, First Artillery Corps, North-western Army
                    Prairie des Chiens, Augt. 25, 1832.

SIR: I have the honor to report to you that I crossed the Ouisconsin on
the 27th and 28th ultimo, with a select body of troops, consisting of
the regulars under Col. Taylor, four hundred in number, part of Henry's,
Posey's and Alexander's brigades, amounting in all to 1300 men, and
immediately fell upon the trail of the enemy, and pursued it by a forced
march, through a mountainous and difficult country, till the morning of
the 2d inst., when we came up with his main body on the left bank of the
Mississippi, nearly opposite the mouth of the Ioway, which we attacked,
defeated and dispersed, with a loss on his part of about a hundred and
fifty men killed, thirty-nine women and children taken prisoners--the
precise number could not be ascertained, as the greater portion was
slain after being forced into the river. Our loss in killed and wounded,
which is stated below, is very small in comparison with the enemy, which
may be attributed to the enemy's being forced from his positions by a
rapid charge at the commencement, and throughout the engagement--the
remnant of the enemy, cut up and disheartened, crossed to the opposite
side of the river, and has fled into the interior, with a view, it is
supposed, of joining Keokuk and Wapello's bands of Sacs and Foxes.

The horses of the volunteer troops being exhausted by long marches, and
the regular troops without shoes, it was not thought advisable to
continue the pursuit; indeed a stop to the further effusion of blood
seemed to be called for, till it might be ascertained if the enemy would

It is ascertained from our prisoners, that the enemy lost in the battle
of the Ouisconsin sixty-eight killed and a very large number wounded;
his whole loss does not fall short of three hundred;--after the battle
on the Ouisconsin, those of the enemy's women and children, and some who
were dismounted, attempted to make their escape by descending that
river, but judicious measures being taken by Captain Loomis and Lieut.
Street, Indian agent, thirty-two women and children and four men have
been captured, and some fifteen men killed by the detachment under
Lieut. Ritner.

The day after the battle on this river, I fell down with the regular
troops to this place by water, and the mounted men will join us to-day.
It is now my purpose to direct Keokuk, to demand a surrender of the
remaining principal men of the hostile party, which, from the large
number of women and children we hold prisoners, I have every reason to
believe will be complied with. Should it not, they should be pursued and
subdued, a step Maj. Gen. Scott will take upon his arrival.

I cannot speak too highly of the brave conduct of the regular and
volunteer forces engaged in the last battle and the fatiguing march
that preceded it, as soon as the reports of officers of the brigades and
corps are handed in, they shall be submitted with further remarks.

  5 killed, 2 wounded, 6th inft.
            2   do.    5th inft.
  1 captain, 5 privates Dodge's Bat. mounted.
  1 Lieut. 6 privates Henry's
  1 private wounded, Alexander's
  1 private, Posey's.

  I have the honor to be with great respect,
    Yr. obt. servant,      H. ATKINSON,
               Brevet Brig. Gen. U.S.A.

  Maj. Gen. Macomb, Com. in Chief, Washington.

The destruction of life in the battle of the Bad-axe, was not confined
to the Indian warriors. Little discrimination seems to have been made
between the slaughter of those in arms and the rest of the tribe. After
they had sought refuge in the waters of the Mississippi, and the women,
with their children on their backs, were buffeting the waves, in an
attempt to swim to the opposite shore, numbers of them were shot by our
troops. Many painful pictures might be recorded of the adventures and
horrors of that day. One or two cases may be cited. A Sac woman, named
Na-ni-sa, the sister of a warrior of some note among the Indians, found
herself in the hottest of the fight. She succeeded at length in reaching
the river, and keeping her infant child, close in its blanket, by force
of her teeth, plunged into the water, seized hold upon the tail of a
horse, whose rider was swimming him to the opposite shore, and was
carried safely across the Mississippi. When our troops charged upon the
Indians, in their defiles near the river, men, women and children were
so huddled together, that the slaughter fell alike upon all of them. A
young squaw was standing in the grass, a short distance from the
American line, holding her child, a little girl of four years old, in
her arms. In this position, a ball struck the right arm of the child,
just above the elbow, and shattering the bone, passed into the breast of
its young mother, and instantly killed her. She fell upon the child and
confined it to the ground. When the battle was nearly over, and the
Indians had been driven from this point, Lieutenant Anderson of the
United States army, hearing the cries of the child, went to the spot,
and taking it from under the dead mother, carried it to the place for
surgical aid. The arm was amputated, and during the operation, the half
starved child did not cry, but sat quietly eating a piece of hard
biscuit. It was sent to Prairie des Chiens, and entirely recovered from
its wound.

When the fortunes of Black Hawk became desperate, his few straggling
allies, from other tribes, not only deserted him, but joined his
enemies. It is to two Winnebagoes, Decorie, and Chaetar, that the fallen
chief is indebted for being taken captive. On the 27th of August, they
delivered Black Hawk and the Prophet to the Indian agent, General
Street, at Prairie des Chiens. Upon their delivery, Decorie, the
One-eyed, rose and said:

"My father, I now stand before you. When we parted, I told you I would
return soon; but I could not come any sooner. We have had to go a great
distance [to the Dalle, on the Wisconsin, above the portage.] You see we
have done what you sent us to do. These, (pointing to the prisoners) are
the two you told us to get. We have done what you told us to do. We
always do what you tell us, because we know it is for our good. Father,
you told us to get these men, and it would be the cause of much good to
the Winnebagoes. We have brought them, but it has been very hard for us
to do so. That one, Black Hawk was a great way off. You told us to bring
them to you alive: we have done so. If you had told us to bring their
heads alone, we would have done so, and it would have been less
difficult than what we have done. Father, we deliver these men into your
hands. We would not deliver them even to our brother, the chief of the
warriors, but to you; because we know you, and we believe you are our
friend. We want you to keep them safe; if they are to be hurt we do not
wish to see it. Wait until we are gone before it is done. Father, many
little birds have been flying about our ears of late, and we thought
they whispered to us that there was evil intended for us; but now we
hope these evil birds will let our ears alone. We know you are our
friend, because you take our part, and that is the reason we do what you
tell us to do. You say you love your red children: we think we love you
as much if not more than you love us. We have confidence in you and you
may rely on us. We have been promised a great deal if we would take
these men--that it would do much good to our people. We now hope to see
what will be done for us. We have come in haste; we are tired and
hungry. We now put these men into your hands. We have done all that you
told us to do."

The agent, General Street, replied: "My children, you have done well. I
told you to bring these men to me, and you have done so. I am pleased at
what you have done. It is for your good, and for this reason I am
pleased. I assured the great chief of the warriors, (General Atkinson)
that if these men were in your country, you would find them and bring
them to me, and now I can say much for your good. I will go down to Rock
island with the prisoners, and I wish you who have brought these men,
especially, to go with me, with such other chiefs and warriors as you
may select. My children, the great chief of the warriors, when he left
this place, directed me to deliver these and all other prisoners, to the
chief of the warriors at this place, Col. Taylor, who is here by me.
Some of the Winnebagoes, south of the Wisconsin, have befriended the
Saukies, and some of the Indians of my agency have also given them aid.
This displeases the great chief of the warriors, and your great father
the President, and was calculated to do much harm. Your great father,
the President at Washington, has sent a great war chief from the far
east, General Scott, with a fresh army of soldiers. He is now at Rock
Island. Your great father the President has sent him and the Governor
and chief of Illinois to hold a council with the Indians. He has sent a
speech to you, and wishes the chiefs and warriors of the Winnebagoes to
go to Rock Island, to the council on the tenth of next month. I wish you
to be ready in three days, when I will go with you. I am well pleased
that you have taken the Black Hawk, the Prophet and other prisoners.
This will enable me to say much for you to the great chief of the
warriors, and to the president your great father. My children, I shall
now deliver the two men, Black Hawk and the prophet, to the chief of the
warriors here. He will take care of them till we start to Rock Island."

Col. Taylor upon taking charge of the prisoners made a few remarks to
their captors, after which Chaetar, the associate of Decorie, rose and

"My father, I am young, and do not know how to make speeches. This is
the second time I ever spoke to you before people. I am no chief; I am
no orator; but I have been allowed to speak to you. If I should not
speak as well as others, still you must listen to me. Father, when you
made the speech to the chiefs, Waugh Kon Decorie Carramani, the one-eyed
Decorie, and others, I was there. I heard you. I thought what you said
to them, you also said to me. You said if these two, (pointing to Black
Hawk and the prophet) were taken by us and brought to you, there would
never more a black cloud hang over your Winnebagoes. Your words entered
into my ear, my brains and my heart. I left here that same night, and
you know that you have not seen me since until now. I have been a great
way; I had much trouble; but when I remembered what you said, I knew
what you said was right. This made me continue and do what you told me
to do. Near the Dalle on the Wisconsin, I took Black Hawk. No one did it
but me. I say this in the ears of all present, and they know it--and I
now appeal to the Great Spirit, our grandfather, and the Earth, our
grandmother, for the truth of what I say. Father, I am no chief, but
what I have done is for the benefit of my nation, and I hope to see the
good that has been promised us. That one, Wabokieshiek, the prophet, is
my relation--if he is to be hurt, I do not wish to see it. Father,
soldiers sometimes stick the ends of their guns into the backs of Indian
prisoners, when they are going about in the hands of the guard. I hope
this will not be done to this man."

Naopope the second in command, with a few other Indians who escaped from
the battle of the Bad-Axe, were also brought in by the Sioux, who being
the ancient enemy of the Sacs and Foxes, seized upon this opportunity of
waging war upon the remnant of Black Hawk's band. They were placed by
General Street, in the custody of Colonel Taylor.

On the seventh of September, the prisoners were placed on board the
steam boat Winnebago, and sent down to Jefferson Barracks, a few miles
below St. Louis. The arrival of General Scott at the scene of action,
was unfortunately delayed until after the campaign was closed, in
consequence of the Asiatic cholera having broken out, among the troops
under his command, while ascending the lakes. The disease continued to
rage among them, with dreadful mortality, for some time after their
arrival at Rock island. Of course, this campaign added no new laurels to
the military reputation of General Scott; but, by his humane and
tireless exertions for the alleviation of the sufferings of his
soldiers, he won for himself more true glory, than the most brilliant
victory, over an Indian enemy, could confer.

While at Rock Island, General Scott instituted some inquiries among the
Indians, in regard to the difficulties between them and the whites.
Among others interrogated was Naopope, the friend and counsellor of
Black Hawk, who participated in the campaign, and on account of his
courage and skill as a warrior, directed to a great extent, the
movements of the band, from the period of their recrossing the
Mississippi, until the battle of the Bad-Axe. His statement confirms the
declaration of Black Hawk, that in coming over to the east side of the
river, there was no intention of making war upon the frontier settlers;
and that they really intended to surrender to Major Stillman, upon
Sycamore creek, on the 14th of May, and actually sent a white flag, in
evidence of their submission, which was fired upon by the American

"I always belonged to Black Hawk's band. Last summer I went to Malden;
when I came back, I found that by the treaty with General Gaines, the
Sacs had moved across the Mississippi. I remained during the winter
with the Prophet, on Rock river, thirty-five miles above the mouth.
During the winter the Prophet sent me across the Mississippi, to Black
Hawk, with a message, to tell him and his band to cross back to his
village and make corn: that if the Americans came and told them to
remove again, they would shake hands with them. If the Americans had
come and told us to move, we should have shaken hands, and immediately
have moved peaceably. We encamped on Sycamore creek. We met some
Pottowatomies and made a feast for them. At that time I heard there were
some Americans [under Maj. Stillman] near us. I prepared a white flag to
go and see them, and sent two or three young men on a hill to see what
they were doing. Before the feast was finished, I heard my young men
were killed. This was at sunset. Some of my young men ran out; two
killed, and the Americans were seen rushing on to our camp. My young men
fired a few guns, and the Americans ran off, and my young men chased
them about six miles."

Naopope further stated that the Pottowatomies immediately left them, and
that none of the Kickapoos ever joined them. A few of the Winnebagoes
did, and brought in scalps at different times; but so soon as they
discovered that the whites were too powerful for the Sacks, they turned
round and fought against them. Some of the other witnesses examined on
this occasion, testify, that when Black Hawk saw the steam boat Warrior
approaching them, on the first of August, he said he pitied the women
and children; and, having determined to surrender to the commander of
the boat, raised a white flag which was immediately fired upon. This
fact is stated in the letter of the Captain of the Warrior, and is
corroborated by Lieutenant Kingsbury, who had charge of the troops on

Among the prisoners delivered to General Street, was the prophet
Wabokieshiek, or the White Cloud, a stout, shrewd looking Indian about
forty years of age. This individual exercised considerable influence
over Black Hawk and his band. He had a village, called after him, upon
Rock river, where he usually resided, and was recognized among the
village chiefs. He claimed to be part Winnebago and part Sac, his father
belonging to one and his mother to the other of these tribes. He wore a
full suit of hair, with a white head-dress rising several inches above
the top of his hair--a style of dress suited, it is supposed, to his
profession. He seems to have had sagacity and cunning--two qualities
essential to the character of a prophet, and without which they could
not long retain their influence and sacred character. Wabokieshiek has
been represented as the priest of assassination, but the evidence on
which this charge is made, seems to be wanting. He was instrumental in
persuading Black Hawk and his party to return to the east side of the
Mississippi in 1832, and went down to the mouth of Rock river to meet
them, and encourage the belief that the Americans would not interfere
with them, so long as they refrained from any offensive operations. He
made a speech to the braves and warriors of Black Hawk, in which he
told them they had nothing to fear and much to gain: That the American
war chief, would not molest them so long as they acted peaceably: That
the time would come when they would be ready to pursue a different
course; but that they must await such reinforcements as would enable
them to resist the army of the whites. The Prophet was either duped
himself, or playing upon the credulity of Black Hawk and Naopope. He was
constantly giving them assurances of assistance from the other tribes
and from their British Father at Malden. There may have been reason for
expecting it from the former, but none from the latter. He entertained
strong prejudices against the whites, and being naturally prone to
mischief making, was willing to stir up the Indians to resistance,
without caring for the results that would be likely to follow a border
war. The likeness of him, which is here given, is said to convey a good
idea of his style of dress and the expression of his face.


On the 21st of September, General Scott and Governor Reynolds concluded
a treaty with the Winnebagoes, and the Sacs and Foxes; the provisions of
which have been stated. For the faithful performance of it, on the part
of the Indians, it was stipulated that Black Hawk and his two sons,
Wabokieshiek the Prophet, Naopope and five other chiefs of the hostile
band, should be retained as hostages during the pleasure of the
President. The remainder of the prisoners, captured during the
campaign, were set at liberty.

In recurring to the causes which led to this war and the spirit and
military skill with which it was conducted, there is nothing on which a
citizen of the United States can dwell with satisfaction. Looking alone
to the official documents, that have been published on the subject, it
would appear that the Indians were the aggressors--that they invaded the
territory of the United States, marking their path with outrages upon
the unoffending citizens; and that they were met, encountered, and
defeated, under circumstances which shed renown upon the arms and humane
policy of the government. But it is necessary, in doing justice to both
parties in this contest, to destroy this flattering picture.

Some of the causes which operated to render Black Hawk and his band,
discontented with the conduct of the United States, and with their
condition upon the west side of the Mississippi, have been enumerated.
Whatever may have been their ulterior views, in returning within the
limits of the state of Illinois, in the spring of 1832, it cannot be
supposed that they came with any immediate hostile intentions. Had they
been determined upon war, they would neither have encumbered themselves
with their wives and children, nor have openly recrossed the
Mississippi, near to Fort Armstrong, when they knew there was an officer
of the United States army, with a body of troops, stationed at that
point, for the express purpose of preserving peace upon the frontier.
Such movements would have been at variance with the well known military
policy of the Indians. Judging from the success of General Gaines, in
removing this same band, in 1831, without blood shed, to the west side
of the Mississippi, it has been supposed, that a pacific conference
between the commandant of Fort Armstrong and Black Hawk, in 1832, before
he had commenced his ascent up Rock river, would have resulted in the
peaceable return of the Indians to their own hunting grounds. The
condition of things at that time, warrants such a belief, and the
subsequent declarations of the Indians, strengthen the opinion, that had
the experiment been made, it would have been successful. It is true,
that the commanding officer at Fort Armstrong, sent two messages to
Black Hawk upon this subject; but the first is represented by the
Indians to have been an _order_ for them to return; and the second, that
if they did not, they would be pursued and _forced_ to recross the
Mississippi. These efforts failed, but it does not follow that a
friendly council upon the subject, would not have resulted differently.

Many causes operate in bringing about an Indian war, and in plunging the
government of the United States, prematurely and unnecessarily, into it.
There is generally upon the frontiers a class of persons who have
nothing to lose, and much to gain by such a contest. It gives them
employment and circulates money among them. With such pioneer loafers,
an Indian war is always popular. Then there is the "Indian Hater,"[11]
a numerous and respectable body of men, to be found upon the frontier
settlements, who, from having suffered in their persons and property by
the barbarities and plunder of the Indians, have come at length to look
upon them as no better than the wild beasts of the forest, and whose
many atrocities make it a moral duty, on the part of the whites, to
exterminate by fire and the sword. Again there is the regular _squatter_
and land speculator, whose interest is always promoted by a war, because
it usually results in driving the Indians further back from the
frontier. Intermixed with these classes, are many quiet and worthy
citizens, who with their families, have been carried to the frontiers,
in the ordinary course of events, by the tide of emigration. These may
have neither a desire for war nor a feeling of hostility towards the
Indians, but when the tomahawk is raised, they contribute to swell the
alarum, and oftentimes, by their very fears of a war, do much to bring
it about. Finally, it is not to be disguised, that there are many
individuals, in the states, who are prone to look to an Indian war, as a
means of gratifying their love for adventure and excitement; or who,
having political aspirations, are disposed to make the military renown,
which may be gained in a campaign, the means of attaining civic honors.
It is obvious, if there be any foundation for these positions, that an
Indian war may oftentimes be undertaken without any just cause,
prosecuted without system and terminated in dishonor to our government.

When Black Hawk and his party rashly determined, in the spring of 1832,
to recross the Mississippi, a fine opportunity was presented, for
getting up a border war, and the necessary machinery was speedily put in
motion. The old chief, with a few hundred braves and their women and
children, carrying with them their cooking utensils and personal
property, had no sooner reached the east bank of the Mississippi, than
the alarm note was sounded upon the frontier, and echoed from cabin to
cabin, until it was spread throughout the state of Illinois. The most
dreadful anticipations of savage cruelty were indulged--the force of
Black Hawk was greatly magnified--his thirst for vengeance upon the
whites was only to be appeased by blood--the state was actually invaded
by a powerful and remorseless enemy--and memorials and petitions, for an
armed force to repulse the invaders and protect the frontiers, flowed in
upon the Governor, from all quarters. Such was the excited state of
public feeling, such the force of public sentiment, that little time was
left for Executive deliberation. Governor Reynolds issued his
proclamation, reiterating the dangers of the frontier, and calling for a
body of the militia to march and protect it. A call under such
circumstances was promptly responded to, and in a short time, a large
body of mounted volunteers, embracing many of the most respectable and
influential citizens of Illinois, were in the vicinity of the invading
foe, and ready for co-operation with the regular troops under General
Atkinson. A concentration of these two forces was made at Dixon's ferry,
on Rock river, about thirty miles below the encampment of Black Hawk and
his party. Had a conference now been sought with the Indians, their
prompt submission cannot be doubted. Black Hawk, whatever might have
been his previous expectations, had received no addition of strength
from other tribes--he was almost destitute of provisions--had committed
no act of hostility against the whites, and with all his women, children
and baggage, was in the vicinity of an army, principally of mounted
volunteers, many times greater than his own band of braves. He would
probably have been glad of any reasonable pretext for retracing his
precipitate steps. Unfortunately no effort for a council was made. A
body of impetuous volunteers dashed on, without caution or order, to
Sycamore creek, within three miles of the camp of a part of Black Hawk's
party. He instantly sent a white flag to meet them for the purpose of
holding a council, and agreeing to return to the west side of the
Mississippi. Unfortunately, for the cause of humanity, as well as the
good faith of the United States, this flag was held to be but a decoy,
and without waiting to ascertain its true character, the bearers of it
were fired upon and one of them killed. An onset was immediately made by
Maj. Stillman upon Black Hawk, who finding there was no alternative but
war, met our troops, and put them to flight in the manner already
described. Emboldened by his brilliant success in this engagement, and
finding that he would not be permitted to capitulate, he sent out his
war parties, removed his women and children up Rock river, and a regular
border war was commenced. The murders which his men committed upon the
frontier settlers, naturally increased the alarm throughout the state,
additional volunteers rushed to the seat of war, and the commanding
General commenced his military operations for a regular campaign. In
about two months, Black Hawk, having lost many of his men, in the
different skirmishes with the American troops, and not a few of his
women and children by actual starvation, found himself upon the bank of
the Mississippi, endeavoring to escape the pursuing enemy, by crossing
to the west side of that stream. While engaged in this act, the steam
boat Warrior, having an armed force on board, ascended the river for the
purpose of cutting off his retreat. Once more Black Hawk raised the
white flag, and sought to surrender himself and his whole band, to the
whites. Again his flag was looked upon as a decoy, and in fifteen
minutes, a round of canister shot, from the boat, was fired, with deadly
fatality into the midst of his men, women and children. The following
morning, the main army, under General Atkinson, reached the scene of
action. His force must have been six or eight times greater than that of
the Indians, and by a judicious movement, the latter was promptly
surrounded on three sides by the pursuing army, while on the other, the
steam boat Warrior, the waters of the Mississippi, and a band of
hostile Sioux on its west bank, precluded all chance of escape in that
quarter. A demand upon the Indians, at this time, to surrender,
unconditionally, would undoubtedly have been most cheerfully acceded to.
But it appears not to have been made. It is probable that General
Atkinson whose character for humanity, has always stood high, could not
restrain the impetuosity of his troops long enough to propose a
capitulation. They had been deeply excited by the murders perpetrated by
the Black Hawk band--had been harassed by a long and fatiguing
march--and perhaps felt, that the results of the campaign, thus far, had
been rather inglorious to their arms. These causes may have conspired to
precipitate them into a battle, which had been better spared than
fought, inasmuch as it resulted, necessarily, in the death of a great
many miserable women and children, who were already on the brink of the
grave, from hunger and exhaustion.

A brief recapitulation of a few of the events of this disastrous
campaign, has thus been made, for the purpose of showing, that however
hostile Black Hawk and his band may have been, originally, towards the
whites, he did not make the first attack upon them; and that the war
might in all probability have been prevented, or arrested in any stage
of its progress, by the exercise of that forbearance, good faith and
sound policy, which should ever be cherished by the United States.

The official report of General Atkinson to General Macomb, after the
battle of the Bad-axe has been quoted in full. On the 25th of November
1832, the Secretary at War, Mr. Cass, in his annual report to the
President, says, in speaking of this campaign,

     "General Atkinson, with the regular troops and militia under his
     command, pursued the Indians through a country very difficult to be
     penetrated, of which little was known, and where much exertion was
     required to procure regular supplies. These circumstances
     necessarily delayed the operations, and were productive of great
     responsibility to the commanding officer, and of great sufferings
     and privations to all employed in this harassing warfare. The
     Indians, however, were driven from their fastnesses, and fled
     towards the Mississippi, with the intention of seeking refuge in
     the country west of that river. They were immediately followed by
     General Atkinson, with a mounted force, overtaken, and completely
     vanquished. The arrangements of the commanding general, as well in
     the pursuit as in the action, were prompt and judicious, and the
     conduct of the officers and men was exemplary. The campaign
     terminated in the unqualified submission of the hostile party, and
     in the adoption of measures for the permanent security of the
     frontiers, and the result has produced upon the Indians of that
     region, a salutary impression, which it is to be hoped will prevent
     the recurrence of similar scenes."

On the 25th of October 1832, General Macomb transmitted to General
Atkinson, the following letter, from the Secretary at War.

                               Department at War, Oct. 24th. 1832.

     SIR: The return of the President to the seat of government, enables
     me to communicate to you his sentiments in relation to the
     operations and result of the campaign, recently conducted under your
     orders, against the hostile Indians; and it is with great pleasure,
     I have received his instructions to inform you, that he appreciates
     the difficulties you had to encounter; and that he has been highly
     gratified at the termination of your arduous and responsible duties.
     Great privations and embarrassments, necessarily attend such a
     warfare, and particularly  in the difficult country occupied by the
     enemy. The arrangements which led to the defeat of the Indians, were
     adopted with judgment and pursued with decision, and the result was
     honorable to yourself, and to the officers and men acting under your

     I will thank you to communicate to the forces that served with you,
     both regulars and militia, the feelings of the President upon this
     occasion. I have the honor to be very respectfully, your obt.
     servant.                                   LEWIS CASS.

     Gen. H. Atkinson, Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.

In the report of the Secretary at War which has just been referred to,
there is the following statement of the causes which led to this
contest. "The recent hostilities, commenced by the Sac and Fox Indians,
may be traced to causes, which have been for some time in operation, and
which left little doubt upon the minds of those acquainted with the
savage character, that they were determined to commit some aggression
upon the frontier. The confederated tribes of the Sacs and Foxes have
been long distinguished for their daring spirit of adventure and for
their restless and reckless disposition. At the commencement of the
eighteenth century, one of these tribes made a desperate attempt to
seize the post of Detroit; and during a period of forty years,
subsequent to that effort, they caused great trouble and embarrassment
to the French colonial government, which was only terminated by a most
formidable military expedition, sent by that enterprizing people into
their remote regions west of Green Bay. During the last war with Great
Britain, this confederacy entered zealously into the contest, and was
among the most active and determined of our enemies. After the peace
their communication with the Canadian authorities was preserved; and, in
every year, large parties of the most influential chiefs and warriors
visited Upper Canada, and returned laden with presents. That this
continued intercourse kept alive feelings of attachment to a foreign
power and weakened the proper and necessary influence of the United
States, is known to every one who has marked the progress of events and
conduct of the Indians upon the north western frontier. The tribes upon
the upper Mississippi, particularly the Sacs and Foxes and Winnebagoes,
confident in their position and in their natural courage, and totally
ignorant of the vast disproportion between their power, and that of the
United States, have always been discontented, keeping the frontier in
alarm, and continually committing some outrage upon the persons or
property of the inhabitants. All this is the result of impulse, and is
the necessary and almost inevitable consequence of institutions, which
make war the great object of life. It is not probable, that any Indian
seriously bent up on hostilities, ever stops to calculate the force of
the white man, and to estimate the disastrous consequences which we know
must be the result. He is impelled onward in his desperate career, by
passions which are fostered and encouraged by the whole frame of
society; and he is, very probably, stimulated by the predictions of some
fanatical leader, who promises him glory, victory and scalps.

"In this state of feeling, and with these incitements to war, the Sacs
and Foxes claimed the right of occupying a part of the country on Rock
river, even after it had been sold to citizens of the United States, and
settled by them. In 1829 and in 1830, serious difficulties resulted from
their efforts to establish themselves in that section, and frequent
collisions were the consequence. Representations were made to them, and
every effort, short of actual hostilities, used by the proper officers,
to induce them to abandon their unfounded pretensions, and to confine
themselves to their own country on the west side of the Mississippi
river. These efforts were successful, with the well disposed portion of
the tribes, but were wholly unavailing with the band known by the name
of the "British party." In 1831, their aggressions were so serious, and
the attitude they assumed, so formidable, that a considerable detachment
of the army, and of the militia of Illinois, was called into the field;
and the disaffected Indians, alarmed by the preparation for their
chastisement, agreed to reside and hunt, "upon their own lands west of
the Mississippi river," and that they would not recross this river to
the usual place of their residence, nor to any part of their old hunting
grounds east of the Mississippi, without the express permission of the
President of the United States, or the Governor of the state of

"This arrangement had scarcely been concluded, before a flagrant outrage
was committed, by a party of these Indians, upon a band of friendly
Menomomies, almost under the guns of Fort Crawford. Twenty-five persons
were wantonly murdered, and many wounded, while encamped in the Prairie
du Chien, and resting in fancied security upon our soil, and under our
flag. If an act like this, had been suffered to pass unnoticed and
unpunished, a war between these tribes would have been the consequence,
in which our frontiers would have been involved, and the character and
influence of the government, would have been lost in the opinion of the

"Apprehensive, from the course of events already stated, and from other
circumstances, that the disaffected band of Sacs and Foxes, would again
harass and disturb the settlements upon our borders, and determined that
the murderers of the Menomenies should be surrendered or taken, the
department ordered General Atkinson, on the 7th of March last, to ascend
the Mississippi with the disposable regular troops at Jefferson
barracks, and to carry into effect the instructions issued by your
direction. Still further to strengthen the frontiers, orders were given
for the re-occupation of Chicago.

"The demand for the surrender of the Menomenie murderers was entirely
disregarded: and the British party of the Sacs and Foxes recrossed the
Mississippi, and assuming a hostile attitude, established themselves
upon Rock river. The subsequent events are well known, and the result
has already been stated in this report."

In the annual report of Maj. General Macomb to Congress, of November
1832, very much the same positions are taken in regard to the causes
which led to this contest with the Indians, that are contained in the
report from the War Department. Its leading object seems to be to place
the United States in the right--the Indians in the wrong.

It is to be regretted that the Honorable Secretary, whose opinions and
statements on all subjects connected with the Indians, carry with them
great weight, had not been more explicit, in assigning the causes which
led to the late war, with a portion of the Sacs and Foxes. It is not to
be supposed that the Secretary would designedly omit any thing, which in
his opinion, was necessary, to a fair presentation of this matter; but
as the case stands, his statement does not, it is believed, do justice
to the Indians. The Secretary says the Sacs and Foxes "have always been
discontented, keeping the frontier in alarm, and continually committing
some outrage on the persons or property of the inhabitants." Between the
treaty of peace at Portage des Sioux, in 1816, and the attack of Major
Stillman, in 1832, it is supposed that the Sacs and Foxes never killed
one American; and, their aggressions upon the persons and property of
the whites, consisted principally, in an attempt to retain possession of
their village and corn-fields, when pressed upon by the white settlers,
who, in violation of the laws of Congress and express treaty provisions,
were committing outrages upon the Indians: The report of the Secretary
further states, that the Sacs and Foxes "claimed the right of occupying
a part of the country upon Rock river, even after it had been sold to
citizens of the United States, and settled by them." But the report does
not state that under the treaty of 1804, by which these lands were
ceded, it is expressly provided that so long as they remain the property
of the United States, the Indians of said tribes shall enjoy the
privilege of "living and hunting upon them;" it does not state that for
six or eight years before the government had sold an acre of land upon
Rock river, the white settlers were there, in violation of the laws,
trespassing upon these Indians, and thus creating that very hostility of
feeling, which, is subsequently cited as a reason for the chastisement
inflicted upon them by the United States: it does not state, that in the
year 1829, government, for the purpose of creating a pretext for the
removal of the Indians from Rock river, directed a few quarter sections
of land, including the Sac village, to be sold, although the frontier
settlements of Illinois had not then reached within fifty or sixty miles
of that place, and millions of acres of land around it, were unoccupied
and unsold: it does not state that instead of requiring the Indians to
remove from the quarter sections thus prematurely sold, to other lands
on Rock river, owned by the United States, and on which, under the
treaty, they had a right to hunt and reside, they were commanded to
remove to the west side of the Mississippi: it does not state, that the
"serious aggressions" and "formidable attitude" assumed by the "British
party," in 1831, consisted in their attempt to raise a crop of corn and
beans, in throwing down the fences of the whites who were enclosing
their fields, in "pointing deadly weapons" at them and in "stealing
their potatoes:" it does not state that the murder of the Menominie
Indians, at Fort Crawford, by a party of the "British band," was in
retaliation, for a similar "flagrant outrage," committed the summer
previous, by the Menominies, upon Peah-mus-ka, a principal chief of the
Foxes and nine or ten of his tribe, who were going up to Prairie des
Chiens on business and were within one day's travel of that place: it
does not state that one reason assigned by the "British party" for
refusing to surrender the murderers of the Menominies, was the fact that
the government had not made a similar demand of that tribe for the
murderers of the Sacs: it does not state that the "hostile attitude"
assumed by the Sacs and Foxes, in 1832, after recrossing the
Mississippi, and their establishment on Rock river, simply amounted to
this; that they came over with their women and children for the avowed
purpose of raising a crop of corn with the Winnebagoes--were temporarily
encamped on that stream--had committed no outrage upon person or
property--and were actually engaged in entertaining some guests with a
dog-feast, when the Illinois militia approached their camp, and killed
the bearer of a white flag, which Black Hawk sent to them, in token of
his peaceable disposition. These may be unimportant omissions, in the
opinion of the Secretary, but in looking to the causes which led to this
contest, and the spirit in which it was conducted, they have been deemed
of sufficient importance, to receive a passing notice, when referring to
his report.

The opinion has been expressed more than once in the course of this
work, that there was in reality, no necessity for this war. A firm but
forbearing course of policy, on the part of the United States, towards
this discontented fragment of the Sacs and Foxes, would, it is believed,
have prevented any serious aggression upon our people or their property.
Certain it is, that a few thousand dollars, superadded to a humane
spirit of conciliation, would have effected the permanent removal of
Black Hawk and his band, to the west side of the Mississippi: and, as
the government was not contending with them, in support of its national
faith, nor about to punish them for an insult to its national honour,
there could have been no disgrace in purchasing the settlement of the
difficulty, on such terms. It has been stated that in the spring of
1831, Black Hawk agreed to remove his band to the west side of the
Mississippi, and relinquish all claims to the lands upon Rock river, if
the United States would pay him six thousand dollars, with which to
purchase provisions and other necessaries for his people; and that the
Indian agent at St. Louis, was informed of this fact. Moreover, it has
been publicly alleged that before the campaign against Black Hawk, in
the summer of 1832, the President and Secretary at War, were both
informed, that the "British Band" of the Sacs and Foxes, could be
peaceably removed to the west side of the Mississippi for six or eight
thousand dollars. The secretary was assured, in the presence of a member
of congress, that the inquiry had been made by a person familiar with
the Indians, and the fact of their willingness to remove upon these
terms distinctly ascertained.[12]

Under the treaty of 1804, the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States,
more than twenty millions of acres of first rate land, for less than
twenty thousand dollars. Black Hawk not only contended for the
invalidity of this treaty, but insisted that the price paid by the
United States was wholly below the value of the land. Under such
circumstances, the course of the government was obvious--to have quieted
the complaints of the Indians and secured their peaceable removal to the
west, by a second purchase of their interest to the territory in
question. Had it cost twenty, fifty or one hundred thousand dollars, to
effect this object, our country would still have been the gainer, both
by the preservation of the national faith and the national treasure--for
the former was wantonly violated, and the latter uselessly squandered.
The contest with Black Hawk and his party, destroyed the lives of four
or five hundred Indian men, women and children--about two hundred
citizens of the United States--and cost the government near two millions
of dollars! Such are the results of a war commenced and waged by a great
nation, upon a remnant of poor ignorant savages;--a war which had its
origin in avarice and political ambition, which was prosecuted in bad
faith and closed in dishonor.


Black Hawk, Naopope, the Prophet and others confined at Jefferson
  Barracks--In April 1833 sent to Washington--Interview with the
  President--sent to Fortress Monroe--Their release--Visit the eastern
  cities--Return to the Mississippi--Conference at Rock island between
  Maj. Garland, Keokuk, Black Hawk and other chiefs--speeches of Keokuk,
  Pashshepaho and Black Hawk--Final discharge of the hostages--Their
  return to their families--Black Hawk's visit to Washington in
  1837--His return--His personal appearance--Military
  talents--Intellectual and moral character.

Black Hawk, his two sons, Naopope, Wabokiesheik, and the other
prisoners, who under the treaty of 21st September, were to be held as
hostages, during the pleasure of the president, having been sent down
the Mississippi, to Jefferson Barracks, under charge of Lieutenant
Davis, were immediately put in irons, a measure of precaution,
apparently, as unnecessary as it was cruel.

"We were now confined," says the old chief, "to the barracks, and forced
to wear the _ball and chain_! This was extremely mortifying, and
altogether useless. Was the White Beaver [Gen. Atkinson] afraid that I
would break out of his barracks and run away? Or was he ordered to
inflict this punishment upon me? If I had taken him prisoner upon the
field of battle, I would not have wounded his feelings so much, by such
treatment, knowing that a brave war chief would prefer death to
dishonor. But I do not blame the White Beaver for the course he
pursued--it is the custom among white soldiers, and I suppose was a part
of his duty.

"The time dragged heavily and gloomily along throughout the winter,
although the White Beaver did every thing in his power to render us
comfortable. Having been accustomed throughout a long life, to roam
through the forests--to come and go at liberty--confinement under any
such circumstances, could not be less than torture.

"We passed away the time making pipes, until spring, when we were
visited by the agent, trader, and interpreter, from Rock Island, Keokuk,
and several chiefs and braves of our nation, and my wife and daughter. I
was rejoiced to see the two latter, and spent my time very agreeably
with them and my people as long as they remained."

During the winter they were visited by a great number of persons, one of
whom remarks, "We were immediately struck with admiration at the
gigantic and symmetrical figures of most of the warriors, who seemed as
they reclined, in native ease and gracefulness, with their half naked
bodies exposed to view, rather like statues from some master hand, than
beings of a race whom we had heard characterized as degenerate and
debased. They were clad in leggins and moccasins of buckskin, and wore
blankets, which were thrown around them in the manner of the Roman toga,
so as to leave their right arms bare. The youngest among them were
painted on their necks, with a bright vermilion color, and had their
faces transversely streaked, with alternate red and black stripes. From
their faces and eyebrows, they pluck out the hair with the most
assiduous care. They also shave or pull it out from their heads, with
the exception of a tuft about three fingers width, extending from
between the forehead and crown to the back of the head; this they
sometimes plait into a queue on the crown, and cut the edges of it down
to an inch in length, and plaster it with the vermilion which keeps it
erect, and gives it the appearance of a cock's comb." The same writer
adds, that, "but for the want of that peculiar expression which emanates
from a cultivated intellect," Nasinewiskuk, the eldest son of Black
Hawk, could have "been looked upon as the very personification, of the
_beau ideal_ of manly beauty." Among their many visitors while at this
place, was the distinguished author of the "Sketch Book," who in a
letter, under date of 18th of Dec. 1832, says, "From St. Louis, I went
to Fort Jefferson, about nine miles distant, to see Black Hawk, the
Indian warrior and his fellow prisoners--a forlorn crew--emaciated and
dejected--the redoubtable chieftain himself, a meagre old man upwards of
seventy. He has, however, a fine head, a Roman style of face, and a
prepossessing countenance."[13] When Catlin the artist, visited
Jefferson Barracks for the purpose of painting the portraits of these
chiefs, and was about to commence the likeness of Naopope, he seized the
ball and chain that were fastened to his leg, and raising them on high,
exclaimed with a look of scorn, "make me so, and show me to the great
father." Upon the artist's refusing to paint him as he wished, he kept
varying his countenance with grimaces, to prevent him from catching a

During the visit of Keokuk to Jefferson Barracks, he made exertions to
obtain the release of the prisoners, pledging himself to the Indian
agent at St. Louis, and to General Atkinson, to be responsible for their
good conduct in future. Soon afterwards, however, the General received
orders from the secretary at war to have the prisoners sent to
Washington city. It was in the latter part of April, 1833, that they
reached the capitol, under the escort of an officer of the army. In the
first interview between President Jackson and Black Hawk, the latter is
represented to have said, "I am a man and you are another." In the
course of their interview, the President informed him that he and his
companions must proceed on the following day to Fortress Monroe, there
to remain, until the conduct of their people at home was such as to
justify their being set at liberty. In reply to this, the Prophet said,
"We expected to return immediately to our people. The war in which we
have been involved was occasioned by our attempting to raise provisions
on our own lands, or where we thought we had a right so to do. We have
lost many of our people, as well as the whites. Our tribes and families
are now exposed to the attacks of our enemies, the Sioux, and the
Menominies. We hope, therefore, to be permitted to return home to take
care of them." Black Hawk concluded his address to the President, which
embraced a history of the late war, by saying, "We did not expect to
conquer the whites, no. They had too many houses, too many men. I took
up the hatchet, for my part, to revenge injuries which my people could
no longer endure. Had I borne them longer without striking, my people
would have said, Black Hawk is a woman. He is too old to be a chief--he
is no Sac. These reflections caused me to raise the war-whoop. I say no
more of it; it is known to you. Keokuk once was here; you took him by
the hand, and when he wished to return to his home, you were willing.
Black Hawk expects, that, like Keokuk, we shall be permitted to return
too." The President gave them assurances that their women and children
should be protected from the Sioux and the Menominies, and that so soon
as he was satisfied that peace was restored on the frontiers, they
should be permitted to return home.

On the 26th of April, they set off for Fortress Monroe, at Old Point
Comfort, where they remained until the fourth of June, when, an order
was received, from the President, by the commanding officer, for the
liberation of the Indian captives. The kind treatment of the prisoners
by Colonel Eustis, then in command at Fortress Monroe, had won greatly
upon their regard. When about to depart, Black Hawk waited upon the
Colonel, and said;--

"Brother, I have come on my own part, and in behalf of my companions, to
bid you farewell. Our great father has at length been pleased to permit
us to return to our hunting grounds. We have buried the tomahawk, and
the sound of the rifle will hereafter only bring death to the deer and
the buffalo. Brother, you have treated the red men very kindly. Your
squaws have made them presents, and you have given them plenty to eat
and drink. The memory of your friendship will remain till the Great
Spirit says it is time for Black Hawk to sing his death-song. Brother,
your houses are as numerous as the leaves upon the trees, and your young
warriors, like the sands upon the shore of the big lake that rolls
before us. The red man has but few houses, and few warriors, but the red
man has a heart which throbs as warmly as the heart of his white
brother. The Great Spirit has given us our hunting grounds, and the skin
of the deer which we kill there, is his favorite, for its color is
white, and this is the emblem of peace. This hunting dress and these
feathers of the eagle are white. Accept them, my brother; I have given
one like this to the White Otter. Accept of it as a memorial of Black
Hawk. When he is far away this will serve to remind you of him. May the
Great Spirit bless you and your children--farewell."

On the fifth of June, under the charge of Major John Garland of the
United States army, Black Hawk and his five companions, took their
departure from Fortress Monroe. Before leaving the Chesapeake, they
visited Norfolk and the Navy Yard at Gosport. They were taken on board
the Delaware, 74, and were much delighted with its appearance. Black
Hawk expressed a strong desire to see the chief who commanded it, and
to take the man who built it, by the hand.

At Norfolk a large concourse of persons visited them. Wabokieshiek, the
prophet, addressed them from the balcony of their hotel, as follows:

"The Great Spirit sent us here, and now happily we are about to return,
to our own Mississippi, and our own people. It affords us much happiness
to rejoin our friends and kindred. We would shake hands with all our
white friends assembled here. Should any of them go to our country on
the Mississippi, we would take pleasure in returning their kindness to
us. We will go home with peaceable dispositions towards our white
brethren, and make our conduct hereafter, more satisfactory to them. We
bid you all farewell, as it is the last time we shall see each other."

Black Hawk made a few remarks, and at one o'clock, June the fifth, they
started for Baltimore, which place they reached at eleven o'clock on the
following day, and were greeted by crowds of curious spectators. The
renown of Black Hawk had every where preceded him, and all were anxious
to behold the old chief whose name and deeds had excited so much
commotion on the frontiers of the north west. The President happened to
be in Baltimore at the same time, and, the "monumental city" was never,
perhaps, honored by the presence of two more distinguished "lions" upon
the same day, than upon this occasion. They both attended the theatre on
the evening of the sixth; and, it is said, that the attention of the
house was very equally divided between them. On the following day an
interview took place between them, when the President said to the old

"When I saw you in Washington, I told you that you had behaved very
badly, in raising the tomahawk against the white people, and killing
men, women and children upon the frontier. Your conduct last year,
compelled me to send my warriors against you, and your people were
defeated, with great loss, and your men surrendered, to be kept until I
should be satisfied, that you would not try to do any more injury. I
told you, I would enquire whether your people wished you to return, and,
whether if you did return, there would be any danger to the frontier.
Gen. Clark and Gen. Atkinson, whom you know, have informed me that
Sheckak, your principal chief, and the rest of your people are anxious
you should return, and Keokuk has asked me to send you back. Your chiefs
have pledged themselves for your good conduct, and I have given
directions that you should be taken to your own country.

"Maj. Garland who is with you will conduct you through some of our
towns. You will see the strength of the white people. You will see that
our young men are as numerous, as the leaves in the woods. What can you
do against us? You may kill a few women and children, but such a force
would soon be sent against you, as would destroy your whole tribe. Let
the red men hunt and take care of their families, but I hope they will
not again raise their hands against their white brethren. We do not
wish to injure you. We desire your prosperity and improvement. But if
you again plunge your knives into the breasts of our people, I shall
send a force, which will severely punish you for all your cruelties.
When you go back, listen to the councils of Keokuk and the other
friendly chiefs. Bury the tomahawk and live in peace with the frontiers.
And I pray the Great Spirit to give you a smooth path and a fair sky to

The reply of Black Hawk to this address, was brief, and the Prophet
merely said,

"My father,--my ears are open to your words. I am glad to hear them. I
am glad to go back to my people. I want to see my family. I did not
behave well last summer. I ought not to have taken up the tomahawk. But
my people have suffered a great deal. When I get back I will remember
your words. I won't go to war again. I will live in peace. I shall hold
you by the hand."

The object of the President, in directing the captives to be taken home
through some of the principal cities of the union, was to exhibit to
them the extent of the population, wealth, and means of defence of the
United States; in the hope, that such impressions would be made on their
minds, as would induce them to refrain from creating disturbances in
future upon the frontiers. They were accordingly directed to be carried
as far north as Boston, and thence through Albany, Buffalo and Detroit,
to their own country.

The captives reached Philadelphia on the 10th of June, and remained at
Congress Hall, until the 14th. During their stay in the city, which was
prolonged to four or five days, they visited the United States' Mint,
the Fair Mount Water Works and other objects of curiosity. They had also
an opportunity of witnessing a grand military display in front of their
quarters in Congress Hall. Black Hawk wished to know if these were the
same soldiers, who were in his country last summer. In making reference
to his late contest with the United States, he said to those around him,

"My heart grew bitter against the whites, and my hands strong. I dug up
the tomahawk, and led on my warriors to fight. I fought hard. I was no
coward. Much blood was shed. But the white men were mighty. They were
many as the leaves of the forest. I and my people failed. I am sorry the
tomahawk was raised. I have been a prisoner. I see the strength of the
white men. They are many, very many. The Indians are but few. They are
not cowards. They are brave, but they are few. While the Great Spirit
above, keeps my heart as it now is, I will be the white man's friend. I
will remain in peace. I will go to my people and speak good of the white
man. I will tell them, they are as the leaves of the forest. Very
many--very strong; and that I will fight no more against them."

On the morning of the 14th, they set off for New York, and reached that
city at 5 P.M. and had an opportunity, at the moment of their arrival at
the Battery, of beholding the greatest assemblage of people they had
yet seen, drawn together to witness the ascent of a balloon from Castle
Garden. This novel spectacle, greatly astonished the Indians, and one of
them asked the prophet, if the aeronaut was "going to see the Great
Spirit." When the crowd ascertained that Black Hawk and his party were
on the steam boat, the air resounded with shouts of welcome. Upon their
landing, such was the press of the multitude to get a look at the
strangers, that they could not reach their lodgings until placed in
carriages, and committed to the charge of the police officers. They were
finally, with much difficulty, taken to the Exchange Hotel, which was
immediately surrounded by thousands of people, who would not retire to
their houses, until "General Black Hawk," had presented himself several
times at the window, and graciously bowed to the eager and admiring
multitude. During their whole visit to the city of New York, they were
treated with marked attention. Their rooms were crowded, daily, with
ladies and gentlemen, and they were conducted with ceremony to the
theatres, the public gardens, the arsenal, and other places of interest.
Speeches were made to them, and they received many handsome presents.
Among other civilities, John A. Graham, Esq., waited upon them, and made
the following address.

"Brothers, open your ears. You are brave men. You have fought like
tigers, but in a bad cause. We have conquered you. We were sorry last
year, that you raised the tomahawk against us; but we believe you did
not know us then as you do now. We think that in time to come, you will
be wise and that we shall be friends forever. You see that we are a
great people--numerous as the flowers of the field, as the shells on the
sea-shore, or the fish in the sea. We put one hand on the eastern, and,
at the same time, the other on the western ocean. We all act together.
If some time our great men talk long and loud at our council fires, but
shed one drop of white men's blood, our young warriors, as thick as the
stars of the night, will leap on board of our great boats, which fly on
the waves, and over the lakes--swift as the eagle in the air--then
penetrate the woods, make the big guns thunder, and the whole heavens
red with the flames of the dwellings of their enemies. Brothers, the
President has made you a great talk. He has but one mouth. That one has
sounded the sentiments of all the people. Listen to what he has said to
you. Write it on your memories. It is good--very good.

"Black Hawk, take these jewels, a pair of topaz earrings, beautifully
set in gold, for your wife or daughter, as a token of friendship,
keeping always in mind, that women and children are the favorites of the
Great Spirit. These jewels are from an old man, whose head is whitened
with the snows of seventy winters, an old man who has thrown down his
bow, put off his sword, and now stands leaning on his staff, waiting the
commands of the Great Spirit. Look around you, see all this mighty
people, then go to your homes, open your arms, to receive your families.
Tell them to bury the hatchet, to make bright the chain of friendship,
to love the white men, and to live in peace with them, as long as the
rivers run into the sea, and the sun rises and sets. If you do so, you
will be happy. You will then ensure the prosperity of unborn generations
of your tribes, who will go hand in hand with the sons of the white men,
and all shall be blessed by the Great Spirit. Peace and happiness by the
blessing of the Great Spirit attend you. Farewell."

Black Hawk accepted the present and said in reply.

"Brother, we like your talk. We will be friends. We like the white
people. They are very kind to us. We shall not forget it. Your counsel
is good. We shall attend to it. Your valuable present shall go to my
squaw. We shall always be friends."

While at New York, Major Garland came to the determination not to take
the captives to Boston, but to ascend the North river, and proceed
directly to the west. This created much disappointment, among the
citizens of that city, who were generally anxious to behold the "great
agitator" of the north western frontier.

In pursuance of this new arrangement, on the 22d of June, the party left
New York, in a steam boat for Albany, where they arrived on the
following day. At this city, they were met by a crowd of spectators,
drawn together by their anxiety to see Black Hawk, so numerous, that it
was found necessary to disguise the Indians, in order to enable them to
reach their lodgings. They remained in Albany until the morning of the
25th, when they departed for Buffalo, which place they reached on the
twenty-eighth. During their stay in Buffalo which lasted for three days,
they had an interesting interview with some of the Seneca Indians, who
are residing on their reservation near that place. They were addressed
by Karlundawana, a worthy Seneca chief, who after expressing the
pleasure of his people to meet the Sacs and Foxes, and referring to the
condition of the Indians generally, respectfully counselled Black Hawk
and his party, to return home in a peaceable mind; to take up the
tomahawk no more against the white people; but to cultivate the earth,
and be happy. Black Hawk replied, "Our aged brother of the Senecas, who
has spoken to us, has spoken the words of a good and a wise man. We are
strangers to each other, though we have the same color, and the same
Great Spirit made us all, and gave us this country together. Brothers we
have seen how great a people the whites are. They are very rich and very
strong. It is folly for us to fight with them. We shall go home with
much knowledge. For myself I shall advise my people to be quiet, and
live like good men. The advice which you gave us, brother, is very good,
and we tell you now we mean to walk the straight path in future, and to
content ourselves with what we have, and with cultivating our lands."

From Buffalo the captives were taken by water to Detroit, where their
reception is said to have been much less enthusiastic than in the other
cities through which they had passed. It was stated in the newspapers of
the day, that they were burnt in effigy in that place. Black Hawk, in
visiting the the former residence of Governor Cass, remarked, "This is
the old council ground. I have had much good counsel here; but my trail
led to the opposite shore, and my ears were closed." Their visit to
Detroit being over, they proceeded to Green Bay, and thence descended
the Wisconsin to the Mississippi and down that river to Fort Armstrong,
on Rock Island, which place they reached about the first of August. In
passing by the site of the old Sac village, Black Hawk was deeply
affected, and expressed much regret for the causes which compelled him
to emigrate beyond the Mississippi. The return of the Prophet was also
attended with melancholy associations. His village over which he had
long presided, was entirely broken up--his wigwam in ashes--his family
dispersed, and, he, a suppliant for a home in the village of some other

Fort Armstrong, was chosen by Major Garland as the most appropriate spot
for the ceremonies of the liberation of Black Hawk and his party; as its
central position, would enable him to assemble, at a short notice, many
Indians from the surrounding villages. This was the favorite island of
the Indians; in former years abundant in fruits and flowers; and, from
time immemorial the fancied abode of a good Spirit, which watched over
their village, and protected their hunting grounds. No spot could have
been selected, calculated to awaken so many painful associations in the
mind of Black Hawk, as Rock Island. For half a century it had been the
witness of his power and influence; it was now to become the scene of
his disgrace, and reluctant submission to a rival.


Immediately after Major Garland's arrival at Fort Armstrong, he sent out
runners for the purpose of assembling the neighboring Indians. The
messenger despatched for Keokuk and his chiefs, found them encamped
about twenty miles below the island, having just returned from a buffalo
hunt, and being on their way to fort Armstrong, in expectation of
meeting the returning captives. The runner returned that night, and
reported to Major Garland, that on the morrow, Keokuk with a party of
braves would reach Rock Island. About noon, on the following day, the
sound of the Indian drum, and the shouts and wild songs of his people,
announced the approach of the princely Keokuk. He ascended the
Mississippi by water, and led the van with two large canoes, lashed side
by side, handsomely decorated, with a canopy erected over them, beneath
which sat the chief and his three wives, with the American flag waving
over them. More than twenty canoes followed the chieftain, each
containing from four to eight of his warriors, whose shouts and songs,
swept over the transparent waters of the Mississippi, and were echoed
from shore to shore. This fleet of canoes, was rowed slowly up the
stream, until it passed the camp of the captives; it then returned and
the party landed on the bank of the river, opposite to the camp of Black
Hawk. Here Keokuk and his party spent several hours in arranging their
dress, painting their faces and equipping themselves with their
implements of war. This duty of the toilet being finished, they
returned to their canoes, resumed their songs, and proceeded directly
across the river. Keokuk, very elegantly dressed, decorated with his
medals and fully armed, was the first to land, and turning to his
followers, said, "The Great Spirit has sent our brother back. Let us
shake hands with him in friendship." He then proceeded slowly, followed
by his warriors, towards Black Hawk, who was seated, with his party, in
front of his temporary lodge, leaning upon his staff, and deeply
affected by the occasion. Keokuk kindly extended his hand to him, which
the old man took with some cordiality. Having saluted the rest of the
captives, he took a seat, his companions following his example. For some
time all was silence--no one presuming to utter a word until the chief
had spoken. At last, Keokuk inquired of Black Hawk how long he had been
upon the road; and, remarked that he had been expecting his arrival, and
was coming up the river to meet him, when met by the messenger of Major
Garland. The pipe was now introduced and passed round among both
parties, and an interchange of friendly civilities ensued. After an hour
of alternate smoking and talking, Keokuk arose and shook hands with
Black Hawk, saying he should return to-morrow; and then recrossed the
river in silence. A considerable part of that night was spent by the
chief and his party in singing and dancing.

The grand council, for the final liberation of the captives, was held,
with all due solemnity, upon the ensuing day. It presented the novel
spectacle of a chief, compelled by a third power, to acknowledge the
authority of a rival, and formally descend from the rank which he had
long sustained among his people. Fort Armstrong presented a commodious
room, for the ceremonies of the day, and it was fitted up for the
occasion. About ten o'clock in the forenoon, Keokuk and one hundred
followers, recrossed the river, and proceeded in martial array to the
garrison. They were conducted into the council room, and shown the seats
which they were to occupy. Keokuk was seated with Pashepahow (the
Stabber) on one side, Wapellar (the little Prince) on the other. The
former a chief of the Sacs, the latter of the Foxes. The remainder of
his band took their seats in the rear, and maintained throughout the
ceremony, profound silence.

It was not long before Black Hawk and his associates, made their
appearance. As they entered the room, Keokuk and the two chiefs by his
side, arose and greeted them. They were seated directly opposite to
Keokuk. Black Hawk, and his son, Nasinewiskuk, who seems to have been
warmly attached to his father, appeared to be much dejected. They had
the day previous made objections to this council, as unnecessary, and
painful to their feelings. They now came into it with deep feelings of
mortification. For a time profound silence reigned throughout the
assembly. Major Garland at length arose and addressed the council. He
was pleased to find so much good feeling existing among the Sacs and
Foxes towards Black Hawk and his party; and he felt confident from what
he had observed, since their arrival, that they would hereafter live in
peace: He had but little further to add, as the President's speech,
addressed to Black Hawk and his party, in Baltimore, contained the views
of their great Father on the matters before them; and, this speech he
should cause to be again interpreted to them.

Keokuk followed Major Garland, and after having shaken hands with those
around him said,

"I have listened to the talk of our great Father. It is true we pledged
our honor with those of our young braves, for the liberation of our
friends. We thought much of it--our councils were long--their wives and
children were in our thoughts--when we talked of them our hearts were
full. Their wives and children came to see us, which made us feel like
women; but we were men. The words which we sent to our great Father were
good: he spoke like the father of children. The Great Spirit made his
heart big in council. We receive our brothers in friendship--our hearts
are good towards them. They once listened to bad counsel; now their ears
are closed: I give my hand to them; when they shake it, they shake the
hands of all. I will shake hands with them, and then I am done."

Major Garland rose a second time, and stated, that he wished it to be
distinctly understood by all persons present, in the council, that their
great Father, the President, would hereafter receive and acknowledge
Keokuk, as the principal chief of the Sac and Fox nation; that he wished
and expected Black Hawk to listen and conform to his counsels; if any
unkind feeling now existed, it must that day be buried, and, that the
band of Black Hawk must be henceforth merged in that of Keokuk. The
interpreter so reported the remarks of Major Garland, that Black Hawk
understood the President to say that he _must_ conform to the counsels
of Keokuk; and, the old chief, losing all command of his feelings,
became deeply and instantly excited. The spirit which had sustained him
in earlier and better days, burst forth with uncontrollable violence. He
sprung upon his feet, but so deeply excited as to be almost unable to
utter a word. With the most indignant expression of countenance, and
with a vehemence of manner characteristic of the savage when roused to
action, he exclaimed,

"I am a man--an old man--I will not conform to the counsels of any one.
I will act for myself--no one shall govern me. I am old--my hair is
gray--I once gave counsels to my young men--Am I to conform to others? I
shall soon go to the Great Spirit, when I shall be at rest. What I said
to our great Father at Washington, I say again--I will always listen to
him. I am done."

The speech of Black Hawk--the last struggle of a fallen chieftain,
caused a momentary excitement throughout the council. When it had
subsided, the interpreter was directed to explain to him, that the
President had only _requested_ him to listen to the counsels of Keokuk.
He made no reply, but drawing his blanket around him, sat in moody
silence. Keokuk approached him, and in a low but kind tone of voice
said, "Why do you speak so before the white men? I will speak for you;
you trembled--you did not mean what you said." Black Hawk gloomily
assented, when Keokuk arose and remarked to the council,

"Our brother who has again come to us, has spoken, but he spoke in
wrath--his tongue was forked--he spoke not like a man, a Sac. He knew
his words were bad: he trembled like the oak whose roots have been
wasted away by many rains. He is old--what he said let us forget. He
says he did not mean it--he wishes it forgotten. I have spoken for him.
What I have said are his own words--not mine. Let us say he spoke in
council to-day--that his words were good. I have spoken."

Colonel Davenport of the United States army, then in command of Fort
Armstrong, next arose, and taking Black Hawk by the hand, remarked that
he was glad to meet him, that once he was his enemy, but now he met him
as a friend; that he was there by the command of the President, and
should always be glad to see him; and, would at all times be ready to
give him any advice which he might need: that during his absence he had
held frequent talks with the Sacs and Foxes, who were anxious for his
return, and he felt authorized to say, that the nation entertained for
him and his party, the most friendly feeling. Black Hawk listened with
much apparent interest to the remarks of Colonel Davenport.[14]

Major Garland now arose and told Black Hawk he was at liberty to go
where he pleased;--that the people of the United States, as well as
himself, were pleased with the uniform good conduct of all the captives
while among them--that they were convinced their hearts were good, but
they had listened to bad counsels: Having now seen the power of the
white men, and taken their great father by the hand, who had restored
them to their families, he hoped there would be no further difficulties;
but that peace and harmony would long exist between them.

Black Hawk, rose in reply, cool and collected, and remarked, that having
reflected upon what he had said, it was his wish that if his speech had
been put upon paper, a line might be drawn over it--he did not mean it.

Wapellar, the chief of the Foxes, rose up to say that he had nothing to
say. "I am not in the habit of talking--I think--I have been thinking
all day--Keokuk has spoken: am glad to see my brothers: I will shake
hands with them. I am done." The chiefs all arose, a general shaking of
hands, followed by an interchange of civilities, ensued, and the
council finally adjourned.

In the evening, Maj. Garland invited the principal chiefs, together with
Black Hawk, to his quarters, as it would afford a good opportunity to
ascertain explicitly, the feeling which existed among them towards their
fallen foe. About seven o'clock they arrived. They took their seats in
silence, passed the pipe for all to take a whiff, and in return, quaffed
a glass of champagne, which seemed to have a peculiar relish.
Pashepahow, shook hands with all present, and commenced:--

"We met this morning: I am glad to meet again. That wine is very good; I
never drank any before; I have thought much of our meeting to-day: it
was one that told us we were brothers:--that we were Sacs. We had just
returned from a buffalo hunt, we thought it was time for our brothers to
be here, as our father at St. Louis told us this was the moon. We
started before the rising sun to meet you; we have met, and taken our
brothers by the hand in friendship. They always mistrusted our counsels,
and went from the trail of the red men, where there was no hunting
grounds nor friends; they returned and found the dogs howling around
their wigwams, and wives looking for their husbands and children. They
said we counselled like women, but they have found our counsels were
good. They have been through the country of our great Father. They have
been to the wigwams of the white men, they received them in kindness,
and made glad their hearts. We thank them: say to them that Keokuk and
Pashepahow thank them. Our brother has promised to listen to the
counsels of Keokuk. What he said in council to-day, was like the
Mississippi fog--the sun has shone and the day is clear--let us forget
it--he did not mean it. His heart is good, but his ears have been open
to bad counsels. He has taken our great Father by the hand, whose words
are good. He listened to them and has closed his ears to the voice that
comes across the great waters. He now knows that he ought to listen to
Keokuk. He counselled with us and our young braves, who listened to his
talk. We told our great Father that all would be peace. He opened his
dark prison and let him see the sun once more, gave him to his wife and
children, who were without a lodge. Our great Father made straight his
path to his home. I once took the great chief of the Osages prisoner. I
heard the cries of his women and children; I took him out by the rising
sun, and put him upon the trail to his village; "there" said I, "is the
trail to your village; go and tell your people, that I, Pashepahow, the
chief of the Sacs, sent you." We thank our great Father--our hearts are
good towards him; I will see him before I lay down in peace: may the
Great Spirit be in his councils. What our brother said to-day let us
forget; I am done."

Keokuk, after going through the usual ceremonies, said, "We feel proud
that you have invited us here this evening, to drink a glass with you;
the wine which we have drank, we never tasted before; it is the wine
which the white men make, who know how to make anything: I will take
another glass, as I have much to say; we feel proud that we can drink
such wine: to-day we shook hands with our brothers, who you brought to
us; we were glad to see them; we have often thought of our brothers;
many of our nation said they would never return: their wives and
children often came to our wigwams, which made us feel sad: what
Pashepahow has said is true; I talked to our young men, who had the
hearts of men; I told them that the Great Spirit was in our councils,
they promised to live in peace: those who listened to bad counsels, and
followed our brothers, have said their ears are closed, they will live
in peace. I sent their words to our great Father, whose ears were open,
whose heart was made sad by the conduct of our brothers; he has sent
them to their wigwams. We thank him: say to him Keokuk thanks him. Our
brothers have seen the great villages of the white men: they travelled a
long road and found the Americans like grass; I will tell our young men
to listen to what they shall tell them. Many years ago I went through
the villages of our great Father--he had many--they were like the great
prairies; but he has gone; another is our father; he is a great war
chief; I want to see him; I shall be proud to take him by the hand; I
have heard much of him, his head is gray, I must see him: tell him that
as soon as the snow is off the prairie, I shall come. What I have said I
wish spoken to him, before it is put upon paper, so that he shall hear
it, as I have said it: tell him that Keokuk spoke it: What our brother
said in council to-day, let us forget; he told me to speak; I spoke his
words; I have spoken."

Black Hawk then said, in a calm and dejected manner,

"I feel that I am an old man; once I could speak, but now I have but
little to say; to-day we met many of our brothers; we were glad to see
them. I have listened to what my brothers have said, their hearts are
good; they have been like Sacs, since I left them; they have taken care
of my wife and children, who had no wigwam; I thank them for it, the
Great Spirit knows that I thank them; before the sun gets behind the
hills to-morrow, I shall see them; I want to see them; when I left them,
I expected soon to return; I told our great father when in Washington,
that I would listen to the counsels of Keokuk. I shall soon be far away,
I shall have no village, no band; I shall live alone. What I said in
council to-day, I wish forgotten. If it has been put upon paper, I wish
a mark to be drawn over it. I did not mean it. Now we are alone let us
say, we will forget it. Say to our great father and Governor Cass, that
I will listen to them. Many years ago I met Governor Cass in councils,
far across the prairies to the rising sun. His counsels were good. My
ears were closed; I listened to the great father across the waters. My
father listened to him whose band was large.--My band was once large.
Now I have no band. I and my son and all the party, thank our great
father for what he has done. He is old, I am old; we shall soon go to
the great Spirit, where we shall rest. He sent us through his great
villages. We saw many of the white men, who treated us with kindness. We
thank them. We thank you and Mr. Sprague for coming with us. Your road
was long and crooked. We never saw so many white men before. When you
were with us, we felt as though we had some friends among them. We felt
safe. You knew them all. When you come upon the Mississippi again, you
shall come to my wigwam. I have none now. On your road home, you will
pass where my village once was. No one lives there now; all are gone. I
give you my hand; we may never meet again; I shall long remember you:
The Great Spirit will be with you, and your wives and children. Before
the sun rises, I shall go to my family. My son will be here to see you
before we go. I will shake hands with my brothers here, then I am done."

Early on the following morning, the Indians crossed to the west side of
the Mississippi, and returned to their villages.

In the autumn of 1837, deputations from several Indian tribes, residing
upon the waters of the upper Mississippi, were invited to Washington
city, by direction of the President of the United States. Among those
represented were the united Sac and Fox tribe, and their ancient enemy
the Sioux, between whom hostilities were then raging. For the purpose of
effecting a peace between them, and also making a purchase of land of
the Sioux, several councils were held under the direction of the
Secretary at War, but without accomplishing the object in either case.
Black Hawk, was connected with the delegation from the Sacs and Foxes,
but not in the character of a delegate or chief. Keokuk, apprehensive,
that if left at home, the old man might create some new difficulty, had
prudently taken him along. He treated him, uniformly, with great
respect, and invited him to sit with them in the councils.

After leaving Washington the delegation visited the principal eastern
cities, and Black Hawk again attracted much attention. Public curiosity
was still alive to see the renowned but fallen chieftain of the famous
Black Hawk war. In Boston, which place he did not visit on his former
tour, he was waited upon by a great concourse of citizens, and in common
with the rest of the delegation, was publicly presented with some
military weapons by the governor of the state, and made a brief speech
upon the occasion.

Before the return of the deputation to the west, they remained a few
hours in Cincinnati. Keokuk was sick and received but few visitors.
"Which is Black Hawk," was the eager inquiry of almost every individual
who succeeded in threading his way through the crowd, to the cabin of
the steam boat. The old man manifested no interest in the passing scene.
He was not inclined to conversation, but sat moody and silent, with an
expression of countenance strongly indicative of wounded pride and
disappointed ambition. He seemed to feel deeply the degradation of his
situation. Shorn of power among his people, compelled to acknowledge the
authority of his rival, and bending beneath the infirmities of age, it
is not singular that he should shrink from the prying gaze of curiosity,
and sigh for the deep seclusion of his wild hunting grounds.

In height Black Hawk is about five feet ten inches, with broad
shoulders, but limbs not very muscular. His nose is sharp and slightly
aquiline, and his eyes are of a dark hazel color. The most striking
peculiarity in his personal appearance is the head, which is singularly
formed, and has been pronounced, by some observers, the envy of
phrenologists. His countenance is mild and benevolent, having little if
any of that dark and ferocious expression, not uncommon among the
Indians; and which, during the late border war, was imagined to be
eminently characteristic of Black Hawk. In tracing his history, few, if
any incidents can be found, which bear out the charge of savage cruelty
that has sometimes been preferred against him. On the contrary, he seems
to have an amiable disposition. He himself repels, with indignation, the
charge of his ever having murdered women and children; and, declares the
accusation made against him, on this point, to be wholly false. The
character of Black Hawk for honesty in his dealings, and for general
integrity, stands fair. In his domestic relations he appears to be kind
and affectionate, and in one particular, is an exception to the chiefs
and warriors of his tribe. He has never had but _one_ wife. After his
return from the campaign on the lakes, during the war with England, his
first act was to visit his family. "I then started," says he, "to visit
my wife and children. I found them well and my boys were growing
finely. It is not customary for us to say much about our women, as they
generally perform their part cheerfully, and never interfere with
business belonging to the men. This is the only wife I ever had, or will
ever have. She is a good woman and teaches my boys to be brave." It is
said, however, and upon pretty good authority, that on a certain
occasion, Black Hawk's vow of exclusive devotion to _one_ wife, had well
nigh been broken. While visiting a respectable frontier settler, many
years since, he became pleased with the comely daughter of his host; and
having seriously contemplated the matter, decided in favor of the
expediency of adding the pale faced beauty, to the domestic circle of
his wigwam. He accordingly expressed his wishes to the father of the
young lady, and proposed to give him a horse, in exchange for his
daughter, but to his surprise the offer was declined. Some days
afterwards he returned and tendered two fine horses, but still the
father refused to make the arrangement. The old chief's love for the
young lady, growing stronger, in proportion to the difficulty of gaining
her father's assent, he, subsequently, offered five or six horses for
her. But even this munificent price was rejected by the mercenary
father. Black Hawk now gave up the negociation, not a little surprised,
at the high value which the white men place upon their daughters.

It is questionable whether Black Hawk possesses any marked military
talents, although during his contest with the United States, it was
common to represent him as an able warrior, who by the eloquence and
fluency of his harangues, commanded the unlimited confidence of his
band. He has, most probably, been overrated both for his eloquence and
his skill in the battle field. He is no doubt a man of courage, and
seems, from early life, to have had a strong predisposition for war.
Many of his measures as a leader, have been more influenced by a sense
of what was right in the abstract, than expedient in practice. This
circumstance has often placed him in situations, inimical to the
permanent prosperity of his people.

Black Hawk never made any claims to the office of a peace chief. Even as
a war chief, he was not recognized by all the tribe to which he
belonged. A fragment of the Sacs and Foxes, however, followed his banner
for more than twenty years, and acknowledged him in that capacity: and,
over them, he certainly exercised, from their confidence in his
judgment, his warlike talent, or some other cause, no small amount of
influence. His age and kindness of disposition, probably, strengthened
their attachment to him. In the campaign of 1832, although terminating
in the defeat of Black Hawk, and the almost entire annihilation of his
band, his military reputation did not suffer much, if the circumstances
under which he was placed, be recollected. During the operations of that
period, General Atkinson estimated the warriors of Black Hawk at seven
or eight hundred, but the better opinion is that it did not, at any
time, exceed five hundred; and several persons, who had favorable
opportunities for judging, place the estimate still lower. The
commander of the United States troops, had with him, in the pursuit of
Black Hawk, twenty seven hundred men, all of them well armed and most of
them well mounted. This was independent of the militia in the different
military posts and fortified stations. The entire number of the American
forces, engaged in the campaign, is supposed to have approached to three
thousand, five hundred. Black Hawk was encumbered with the wives and
children, the household property and travelling equipage of his whole
band; and from the time of his recrossing the Mississippi to the battle
of the Bad-axe, was constantly in want of provisions. Indeed, in the
month of July, many of his party actually starved to death. Under such
circumstances, the wonder is not, that he was finally defeated and
captured, but that it should have required a campaign of three months in
which to accomplish that object. The defeat of Stillman and the attack
upon the fort at Buffalo Grove, may be claimed by Black Hawk and his
band, to have been as honorable to their arms, as were the victories of
the Wisconsin and the Bad-axe to those of the United States.

But whatever may be the ultimate opinion in regard to him, either as a
warrior or a man, his career for good and for evil, is now ended. The
war-banner has passed from his hand--his seat in the council-house is
vacant--the fire of his lodge is nearly extinguished: the autumn of life
is upon him--and, in a little while the autumn leaves will rustle over
the lone grave of Black Hawk.


Black Hawk at the capture of Fort Erie--At the battle of the Thames--His
  account of the death of Tecumthe--His residence and mode of life after
  his last visit to the east--His Fourth of July speech at Fort
  Madison--His death and burial.

Since the three first editions of this work were published, the death of
Black Hawk has occurred; and a few additional particulars of his life
have been collected. These, it is proposed to embody in a new chapter.

In the course of the preceding pages, the difficulty of procuring full,
and always exact information, in regard to the lives of a people having
neither records nor historians, has been alluded to. This difficulty
will be encountered by any one who may attempt to chronicle the annals
of the aborigines in their aggregate condition, or to portray their
individual history. In the compilation of this volume, much pains were
taken to obtain all the prominent events in the life of Black Hawk, and,
it is supposed, as much success attended the effort, as is usual in
similar cases. Since its publication, however, it appears that all his
military movements have not been narrated, and we proceed to supply the

At page 82 of this volume, it is stated that Black Hawk was only in two
engagements in the late war with Great Britain, and that the last of
these was the assault upon Fort Stephenson, in August 1813, then under
the command of Major Groghan. It is true that he and his band were with
the British army in the attack upon this post, but his connection with
that army did not cease until after the capture of Fort Erie. The
authority for this fact is to be found in the "Book of the Indians,"
page 145. The author of that work, in narrating the incidents of Black
Hawk's return to the north-west, in 1833, after his imprisonment at
Fortress Monroe, says: "Having arrived at Buffalo, on Friday the 28th of
June, they (the party returning with the old warrior) remained there
until Sunday morning. The day after their arrival, they rode over to
Black Rock, where they viewed the union of the grand canal with the lake
at that place. From this point they had a full view of the Canada shore,
and Black Hawk immediately pointed out Fort Erie, and seemed well
acquainted with the adjacent country; he having been there in the time
of the last war with England, in the British service; and at the time
'when the Americans walked into Fort Erie,' as he expressed the capture
of it." Of the extent of his participation in the events attendant upon
this capture, there is no satisfactory information.

Black Hawk was likewise in the battle of the Thames, a fact not
previously stated in this work, and which is now given on the authority
of a writer in the Baltimore American, to whose respectability the
editor of that paper bears testimony. We have, indeed, no reason to
doubt the accuracy of this statement, which will be read with the more
interest, from the circumstance that it embraces Black Hawk's account
of the death of Tecumthe in regard to which much has been written and
published. It is not proposed, on the present occasion, to compare the
relation given by Black Hawk, of the fall of Tecumthe, with the
testimony of others who have appeared as historians of this event, but
shall content ourselves with simply quoting the article to which
reference has been made. The writer professes to have been intimately
acquainted with Black Hawk, and in the brief sketch which he has
presented of the life of this warrior, we find corroborating evidence of
the truth of many of the traits of character, which, in the course of
this volume, has been assigned to him both as a man and a warrior. The
article is in these words:

"MESSRS. EDITORS--Hearing of the death of the celebrated Sauk
chieftain, BLACK HAWK, I am induced to make you the following
communication, which may be interesting to some of your readers.

"During a residence of several years in what is now the Territory of
Iowa, I had many opportunities of seeing and conversing with this noted
warrior, and often look back with feelings of great pleasure to the many
tokens of good will and friendship that he has frequently bestowed upon
me. His lodge was always open to a stranger, and he was ever ready to
share that with him which he might most want, either his furs and
blankets for a couch, or his corn and venison for a repast. He always
spoke in terms of high regard of the whites, saying, that in war he
fought like a brave man, but in peace he wished to forget that his hand
had ever been raised against them. His career as a warrior commenced at
a very early age; when he was but fourteen years old, his father,
Pawheese, led a war party against the Osages, in which expedition he
accompanied him. They succeeded in reaching the village of Osages, which
they attacked, and after a very severe encounter, they routed their
enemies and burnt their town. In this battle Black Hawk's father was
killed, but he revenged his death by killing and scalping the Osage who
had slain him. He was fond of recounting his earlier exploits, and often
boasted of his being at the right hand of Tecumthe, when the latter was
killed at the battle of the Thames. His account of the death of this
distinguished warrior, was related to me by himself, during an evening
that I spent in his lodge some winters ago. In the course of our talk, I
asked him if he was with Tecumthe when he was killed. He replied--

"'I was, and I will now tell you all about it.--Tecumthe, Shaubinne, and
Caldwell, two Potawattimie chiefs, and myself, were seated on a log near
our camp fire, filling our pipes for a smoke, on the morning of the
battle, when word came from the British general, that he wished to speak
with Tecumthe. He went immediately, and after staying some time rejoined
us, taking his seat without saying a word, when Caldwell, who was one of
his favorites, observed to him, 'my father, what are we to do? Shall we
fight the Americans?' 'Yes, my son,' replied Tecumthe, '_We shall go
into their very smoke_--but you are now wanted by the General. Go, my
son, I never expect to see you again.' Shortly after this, (continued
Black Hawk,) the Indian spies came in, and gave word of the near
approach of the Americans. Tecumthe immediately posted his men in the
edge of a swamp, which flanked the British line, placing himself at
their head. I was a little to his right, with a small party of Sauks. It
was not long before the Americans made their appearance; they did not
perceive us at first, hid as we were by the undergrowth, but we soon let
them know where we were by pouring in one or two volleys as they were
forming into a line to oppose the British. They faultered a little, but
very soon we perceived a large body of horse (Colonel Johnson's regiment
of mounted Kentuckians) preparing to charge upon us in the swamp. They
came bravely on, yet we never stirred until they were so close that we
could see the flints in their guns, when Tecumthe springing to his feet,
gave the Shawnee war cry, and discharged his rifle. This was the signal
for us to commence the fight; but it did not last long; the Americans
answered the shout, returning our fire, and at the first discharge of
their guns, I saw Tecumthe stagger forwards over a fallen tree near
which he was standing, letting his rifle drop at his feet. As soon as
the Indians discovered he was killed, a sudden fear came over them, and
thinking that the Great Spirit was displeased, they fought no longer,
and were quickly put to flight. That night we returned to bury our dead,
and search for the body of Tecumthe. He was found lying where he had
first fallen; a bullet had struck him above the hip, and his skull had
been broken by the butt end of the gun of some soldier, who had found
him, perhaps, when life was not yet quite gone. With the exception of
these wounds, his body was untouched; lying near him, however, was a
large, fine looking Potawattimie, who had been killed, decked off in his
plumes and war paint, whom the Americans no doubt had taken for
Tecumthe; for he was scalped, and every particle of skin flayed from his
body. Tecumthe himself, had no ornaments about his person save a British
medal. During the night we buried our dead, and brought off the body of
Tecumthe, although we were within sight of the fires of the American

"This is somewhat different from the account which is commonly given of
Tecumthe's death, yet I believe it to be true; for after hearing Black
Hawk relate it, I heard it corroborated by one of the Potawattimie
chiefs, mentioned by him. I asked him if he had ever fought against the
whites after the death of Tecumthe. He said not--that he returned home
to his village on the Mississippi, at the mouth of Rock River, and there
he remained until driven away by the whites, in the year 1832. The wish
to hold possession of this village, was the cause of the war which he
waged against the whites during that year. He told me that he never
wished to fight; that he was made to do so; that the whites killed his
warriors when they went with a white flag to beg a parley, and that
after this was done, he thought they intended to kill him at all
events, and therefore he would die like a warrior.

"In speaking of his defeat, he said it was what he expected; that he did
not mind it; but what hurt him more than any thing else, was our
government degrading him in the eyes of his own people, and setting
another chief (KEOKUK) over him. This degradation he appeared
to feel very sensibly, still he continued to possess all his native
pride. One instance that came under my observation, I recollect well, in
which it was strongly displayed. He happened to be in a small town in
Iowa, on the same day in which a party of dragoons, under Captain ----
arrived: and in paying a visit to a friend with whom he always partook
of a meal, whenever he stopped at the village, he met with the Captain,
who had been invited to dine. Black Hawk remained, also expecting the
usual invitation to stay and eat with them: but when the dinner was
ready, the host took him aside, and told him the Captain, or rather the
white man's chief, was to dine with him that day, and he must wait until
they had finished. The old chief's eye glistened with anger as he
answered him, raising the fore-finger of one hand to his breast, to
represent the officer, 'I know the white man is a chief, but _I_,'
elevating the finger of the other hand far above his head, 'was a chief,
and led my warriors to the fight, long before his mother knew him. _Your
meat,--my dogs should not eat it!_' Saying this, he gathered the folds
of his blanket about him, and stalked off, looking as proudly as if he
still walked over ground that he could call '_my own_.'

"Black Hawk possessed, to a great degree, one fine trait which it is not
usual for us to concede to the Indian--kindness and affection for his
wife. He never had but one, and with her he lived for upwards of forty
years; they had several children, three of whom still survive, two sons
and a daughter. The eldest son is now one of the most promising young
braves of the nation, and bids fair to be one of its most noble men. The
daughter is still quite young, and is considered to be the most
beautiful maiden belonging to her tribe.

"He has now departed on his long journey, to join those of his people
who have gone before him to their happy hunting grounds, far beyond the
setting sun. May the Great Spirit grant him a clear sunshine, and a
smooth path."

For the particulars, given below, of the last days and death of Black
Hawk, we are indebted to a highly respectable gentleman, W. Henry Starr,
Esq. of Burlington, Iowa Territory. His communication, under date of
March 21st, 1839, is given entire, that the interest of the narrative
may be preserved.

"Your letter of the 2nd of January came to hand in due course of mail,
in which you make some enquiries concerning the old chief of the Sac and
Fox tribes--the venerable BLACK HAWK. I should have replied to
it sooner, could I have done so satisfactorily either to you or myself.
I knew much by report of the old chief, and something from personal
acquaintance; but my knowledge was not so accurate as to be serviceable
to a faithful biographer. I have, therefore, taken sometime to make the
necessary enquiries, and satisfy myself of their accuracy.

"After Black Hawk's last return from the eastern states, he passed the
winter of 1837-8 in the county of Lee, in the south-eastern portion of
this territory, on a small stream called Devil-creek. The white
settlements extended for forty miles west of him, and the tribe to which
he belonged, with the exception of a few old braves, and his family,
resided on the frontier. From his tribe he was isolated in position and
feeling. His family consisted of a wife, two sons, Nasheaskuk and
Samesett, (as they are pronounced here,) a daughter and her husband.
They passed their time principally in hunting deer, wild turkies, and
the prairie hen, which are abundant in that quarter of the territory.
For hunting, Black Hawk is said to have displayed no fondness; but chose
to spend his time in improving his place of residence, and exercising
his ingenuity with mechanic tools. In the spring of 1838, they removed
to the frontier, and settled upon the Des Moines river, about eighty or
ninety miles from its mouth, near to a trading post, and in the
immediate vicinity of the villages of the other chiefs of the tribe.
Here he had a very comfortable bark cabin, which he furnished in
imitation of the whites, with chairs, a table, a mirror, and mattrasses.
His dress was that of the other chiefs, with the exception of a
broad-brimmed black hat, which he usually wore. In the summer he
cultivated a few acres of land in corn, melons, and various kinds of
vegetables. He was frequently visited by the whites, and I have often
heard his hospitality highly commended.

"On the 4th of July last, he was present at Fort Madison, in Lee county,
by special invitation, and was the most conspicuous guest of the
citizens assembled in commemoration of that day. Among the toasts called
forth by the occasion was the following:

"'_Our illustrious guest, Black Hawk_.--May his declining years be as
calm and serene as his previous life has been boisterous and full of
warlike incidents. His attachment and present friendship to his white
brethren, fully entitle him to a seat at our festive board.'

"So soon as this sentiment was drank, Black Hawk arose and delivered the
following speech, which was taken down at the time by two interpreters,
and by them furnished for publication.

"'It has pleased the Great Spirit that I am here to-day--I have eaten
with my white friends. The earth is our mother--we are now on it--with
the Great Spirit above us--It is good. I hope we are all friends here. A
few winters ago I was fighting against you--I did wrong, perhaps; but
that is past--it is buried--let it be forgotten.

"'Rock river was a beautiful country--I liked my towns, my cornfields,
and the home of my people. I fought for it. It is now yours--keep it as
we did--it will produce you good crops.

"'I thank the Great Spirit that I am now friendly with my white
brethren--we are here together--we have eaten together--we are
friends--it is his wish and mine. I thank you for your friendship.

"'I was once a great warrior--I am now poor. Keokuk has been the cause
of my present situation--but do not attach blame to him. I am now old. I
have looked upon the Mississippi since I have been a child. I love the
Great River. I have dwelt upon its banks from the time I was an infant.
I look upon it now. I shake hands with you, and as it is my wish, I hope
you are my friends.'

"In the course of the day he was prevailed upon to drink several times,
and became somewhat intoxicated, an uncommon circumstance, as he was
generally temperate.

"In the autumn of 1838, he was at the house of an Indian trader, in the
vicinity of Burlington, when I became acquainted and frequently
conversed with him, in broken English, and through the medium of
gestures and pantomime. A deep seated melancholy was apparent in his
countenance and conversation. He endeavored to make me comprehend, on
one occasion, his former greatness; and represented that he was once
master of the country, east, north, and south of us--that he had been a
very successful warrior,--called himself, smiting his breast, 'big
Captain Black Hawk,' 'nesso Kaskaskias,' (killed the Kaskaskias,) 'nesso
Sioux a heap,' (killed a great number of Sioux.) He then adverted to the
ingratitude of his tribe, in permitting Keokuk to supersede him, who, he
averred, excelled him in nothing but drinking whiskey.

"Toward Keokuk he felt the most unrelenting hatred. Keokuk was, however,
beyond his influence, being recognized as chief of the tribe, by the
government of the United States. He unquestionably possesses talents of
the first order, excels as an orator, but his authority will probably be
short-lived on account of his dissipation, and his profligacy in
spending the money paid him for the benefit of his tribe; and which he
squanders upon himself and a few favorites, through whose influence he
seeks to maintain his authority.

"You enquire if Black Hawk was at the battle of the Thames? On one
occasion I mentioned Tecumthe to him, and he expressed the greatest joy
that I had heard of him: and pointing away to the east, and making a
feint, as if aiming a gun, said, 'Chemokaman (white man) nesso,' (kill.)
From which I had no doubt of his being personally acquainted with
Tecumthe; and I have been since informed, on good authority, that he was
in the battle of the Thames and in several other engagements with that
distinguished chief.

"Soon after this interview with Black Hawk, he set out for the frontier,
where a payment was soon to be made to the tribe, of a portion of their

"The weather was both hot and wet, and it is supposed, that, on this
journey, he imbibed the seeds of the disease which soon after terminated
his existence. This journey was in September. Early in October, the
commissioner for adjusting claims with the Sac and Fox tribes, was to
meet them at Rock Island, and most of the Indians were there on the
first of that month. Black Hawk was taken sick and was unable to
accompany them. A violent bilious fever had seized upon him, and on the
3d of October, after an illness of seven days, he died. His only medical
attendant was one of the tribe, who knew something of vegetable
antidotes, and was called doctor. His wife, who was devotedly attached
to him, mourned deeply during his illness. She seemed to have had a
presentiment of his approaching death, and said, some days before it
occurred, 'he is getting old--he must die--Monotah calls him home.'

"After his death, he was dressed in the uniform presented to him at
Washington, by the President or Secretary at War, and placed upon a rude
bier, consisting of two poles with bark laid across, on which he was
carried by four of his braves to the place of interment, followed by his
family and about fifty of the tribe, (the chiefs being all absent.) They
seemed deeply affected, and mourned in their usual way, shaking hands,
and muttering in guttural tones, prayers to Monotah (their deity) for
his safe passage to the land prepared for the reception of all Indians.
The grave was six feet deep and of the usual length, situated upon a
little eminence about fifty yards from his wigwam. The body was placed
in the middle of the grave, in a sitting posture, upon a seat,
constructed for the purpose. On his left side the cane given him, as I
am informed, by Mr. Henry Clay, was placed upright, with his right hand
resting upon it. Many of the old warrior's trophies were placed in the
grave, and some Indian garments, together with his favorite weapons. The
grave was then covered with plank, and a mound of earth, several feet in
height, was thrown up over it, and the whole enclosed with pickets
twelve feet in height. At the head of the grave a flag staff was placed,
bearing our national banner; and at the foot there stands a post, on
which is inscribed, in Indian characters, his age.

"I do not know the exact age of Black Hawk, but understood from him,
that he was seventy-two. His virtues commanded the respect of all the
whites who knew him. He possessed much magnanimity of soul, and under
all the mortifications to which he has been subjected, and the insults
that have been heaped upon him by his tribe, and especially by the
haughty Keokuk, he maintained, until the last years of his life, a
uniform cheerfulness and resignation of mind, which bespoke a conscious

       *       *       *       *       *

With this sketch of the last days of Black Hawk, our narrative of his
life is closed. After an eventful and restless career of "three score
and ten years," this celebrated Sac has been "gathered to his fathers."
His name cannot be forgotten, for his deeds are a part of the history of
this country. If not distinguished for a high order of talent, or
renowned for great warlike achievements, he has not often been surpassed
in the history of his race, for those less dazzling virtues, humanity,
courage, and love of country. "He was an Indian who had a sense of
honor, as well as policy; a man in whom those who know him
confided."[15] In the last speech which he made in the last year of his
life, in alluding to his difficulties with the whites, he says, "Rock
river was a beautiful country--I liked my towns, my cornfields, and the
home of my people;--I fought for it,"--a declaration as creditable to
the heart of the speaker, as it is important to a just estimate of his
conduct, in resisting the removal of his tribe from their native land.
The love of country is not confined to civilized life, but swells the
heart and nerves the arm of the untutored man of the woods. "I LIKED
IT," should be inscribed over the humble grave of Black Hawk.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE.--Since writing that portion of the foregoing narrative
which treats of the causes of the late war with the Sacs and Foxes, the
following article, from the able pen of judge Hall, has met our
observation. It was published in the Western Monthly Magazine in 1833,
one year after the termination of that conflict. The writer was then a
resident of Illinois, and intimately acquainted with the relations
existing between the whites and Indians. His remarks are valuable. They
embrace a graphic description of the region inhabited by the Sacs and
Foxes, and fully sustain the position which we have taken in this
volume, that the "Black Hawk war" was the result of unprovoked
agressions made by the American people upon the Indians.

     "I have just returned from a delightful voyage. I have explored a
     portion of the exquisitely beautiful shores of the upper
     Mississippi; and am ready to confess that until now, I had little
     idea of the extent, the grandeur, or the resources of the west. The
     world cannot produce such another country as this great valley of
     ours. Yet to understand its value, one must ascend the Mississippi
     and the Illinois, and see the noble prairies of the two states
     which are destined to eclipse all others. I cannot convey to you in
     adequate language, my admiration of this attractive region. The
     traveller who visits the western country, and fancies he has
     acquired _any_ knowledge of it--I say _any_, by simply tracing the
     meanders of the Ohio, or spending weeks, or years, if you please,
     at Cincinnati or Louisville, is very much mistaken. There is much
     to admire in western Pennsylvania and Virginia; Kentucky and Ohio
     are full of attraction; but the man who is really an admirer of
     nature, and would witness the most splendid exhibitions of the
     creative power, must go to Illinois and Missouri.

     "I visited this region for the first time four years ago, while the
     Sacs and Foxes were at peace with the whites, and before Black Hawk
     had got to be a great man. They were friendly and well-disposed,
     and the white people residing near them, would almost as soon have
     distrusted or disturbed each other, as those peaceful red men. I
     took great interest in noticing their dwellings, and remarking
     their deportment, as it was the first occasion I had ever enjoyed
     of seeing the savage in his own wild home. I had embarked on board
     a steamboat at St. Louis, intending to take a pleasant excursion
     to the falls of St. Anthony. The weather was very delightful, only
     a little too warm; and the river was unfortunately so low, that on
     arriving at the _Des Moines_ rapids, we found it difficult to
     ascend them, and above that point, our progress was continually
     impeded by the difficulty of the navigation. This circumstance,
     though vexatious to such of the passengers as had business ahead,
     or families at home, was not disagreeable to one who, like myself,
     travelled only for amusement, as it afforded opportunities of
     exploring the romantic shores. We spent a day at the Lower Rapids,
     and I have seldom seen a more attractive country. The land is high
     on both sides, and rises gradually in beautiful swells. I saw
     hundreds of acres covered with the native buckeye, the most
     beautiful tree of the forest--if, indeed, any can be entitled to
     that distinction among so great a variety of noble and majestic
     trees. Beneath, was a rich undergrowth of wild gooseberry bushes.
     Add to these the beautiful creeper, and the wild honeysuckle, which
     were occasionally seen, and it is impossible to imagine a
     vegetation more splendidly luxuriant and ornamental. The whole
     country is based on rock, and the springs which burst out from the
     hill sides are clear as crystal and delightfully cold. The shores
     of the river are plentifully strewed with crystalizations and
     petrifactions. We picked up some fine specimens of cornelian, and
     saw a vast number of geodes of every size, from one inch in
     diameter to fifteen.

     "It was Sunday. Have you ever experienced the singular and pleasing
     associations connected with a sabbath passed in the wilderness? I
     have often enjoyed these feelings, but never felt them with such
     force as on this day. It was calm and sultry. The brilliant
     sunbeams were brightly reflected from the broad bosom of the
     Mississippi, and the deep green outline of the forest was
     splendidly illumined, while the deep shadows underneath the foliage
     afforded an attractive appearance of coolness and seclusion. The
     passengers and crew were scattered about singly or in small
     parties, so that when I wandered but a small distance from the
     vessel, and seated myself on a hill which commanded a view of the
     river and its banks, I found myself perfectly alone. Not a living
     object was visible, not a sound was heard, not a leaf or a limb
     stirred. How different from the streets of a city upon a sabbath
     morn, when crowds of well-dressed persons are seen moving in every
     direction; when the cheerful bells are sounding, and the beautiful
     smiling children are hurrying in troops to Sunday school! Here I
     was in solitude. I saw not the laborer resting from toil, nor the
     smile of infancy, nor the christian bowing before his God; but
     Nature proclaimed a sabbath by the silence that reigned abroad, and
     the splendor with which she had adorned her works.

     "It is natural that these recollections of my first visit to the
     frontier should mingle with the observations made in my recent tour
     through the same scenes; I shall therefore not attempt to separate
     the remarks made on either occasion, but give some of the results
     of both voyages.

     "I can scarcely describe the sensations with which I first saw the
     solitary lodge of an Indian hunter, on the shore of the
     Mississippi. In my childhood I had read with thrilling interest,
     the tales of border warfare; but I had not learned to hate an
     Indian with mortal hatred. I verily believe they have souls. People
     may think differently in certain places, which shall be nameless,
     but I cannot be persuaded to the contrary. You cannot imagine any
     thing more frail than an Indian wigwam--a mere shelter of poles and
     mats, so small, so apparently inadequate to any purpose of
     security or comfort, that it is hardly possible to believe it to be
     intended for the residence of human beings. In such habitations
     reside the Indian warrior, whose name is a terror to his enemies;
     and the dark maiden, whose story supplies the poet with rich
     materials, with which to embellish the page of fiction. In such
     wretched hovels reside the aboriginal lords of the soil.

     "I _have_ seen in this region, evidences of persecution perpetrated
     by our people upon this unhappy race, such as the American people
     would scarcely believe; and I am satisfied that if the events of
     the late war could be traced to their true source, every real
     philanthropist in the nation would blush for his country.

            *       *       *       *       *

     "I could relate many anecdotes, to show the friendly feelings
     entertained towards our government and people by the Sacs--feelings
     which, whether of fear or of kindness, have rendered them wholly
     submissive, and which nothing but the most unprovoked aggression on
     our side, could have kindled into hostility. I will only, at this
     time, repeat one, which occurred during my first voyage, reserving
     others for a future letter.

     "One day, when the boat stopped to take in wood, some of us
     strolled up to the house of a Mr. D., a respectable farmer from
     Pennsylvania. He had been living here several years, at a spot
     distant from any settlements, and without a single neighbor. Upon
     our inquiring whether he felt no alarm in residing thus alone in
     the vicinity of the Indians, he replied that his family had
     formerly experienced much uneasiness, but that they had long since
     become satisfied that there was no ground for apprehension. He was
     convinced that the Sacs, their nearest neighbors, so far from being
     disposed to injure the whites, were cautious and timid of giving
     offence. In support of this opinion, he related the following

     "His house stands on a high bank of the Mississippi, and the family
     were one day much alarmed by discovering a large number of Indians
     passing up the river in canoes. They passed along in a most
     disorderly manner, some paddling their little vessels, and others
     strolling along the shore, but the majority evidently intoxicated.
     It was the latter circumstance which caused alarm. The Indians had
     been to St. Louis to receive their annuities, and had procured a
     sufficient supply of whisky to render them unsafe visitors. They
     continued, however, straggling along in larger or smaller parties
     all day, without stopping. At night, one of them, a young warrior
     of prepossessing appearance, came to the house, and in the most
     respectful manner, asked permission to sleep upon the floor of the
     cabin. Mr. D., although by no means pleased with his guest, knew
     not how to refuse. The Indian warrior was invited to supper. A
     plentiful meal, such as composed the ordinary repast of the family,
     was placed before him, and having satisfied his hunger, he wrapped
     himself in his blanket, threw himself on the floor before the fire,
     and went to sleep. In the course of the night, Mr. D. happening to
     go out, discovered some Indians lying in the bushes not far from
     the house; without disturbing them, he proceeded in a different
     direction, where he found another party; they were strewed, in
     short, entirely around his dwelling. The fact of being thus
     surrounded, the concealment, and the silence of the Indians, all
     conspired to awaken suspicion, and he passed the night in no small
     degree of uneasiness. He rose early in the morning; his Indian
     guest also started up, gathered his blanket around him, and took
     leave; first, however, explaining to Mr. D. that he belonged to a
     party of Sacs who were returning from St. Louis, and that many of
     them being intoxicated, it had been thought proper to station a
     guard round Mr. D.'s house, to protect him and his property from
     injury. He added, that if any depredation should be discovered to
     have been committed by the Indians, the chiefs would pay Mr. D. the
     full amount. Such an example of the care taken by the chiefs of
     this tribe to avoid giving umbrage to the whites, affords the
     highest testimony, either of their friendship for our people, or
     their respect for our power.

     "The Sac and Fox tribe inhabited, at that time, a beautiful tract
     of country in Illinois, upon the borders of Rock river. These two
     tribes are usually mentioned in conjunction; because the Foxes,
     many years ago, having been nearly exterminated in a war with some
     of their neighbors, the remnant of the nation, too feeble to exist
     as a separate tribe, sought refuge in the Sac villages, and have
     remained ever since incorporated with the latter people. They are a
     fine looking race of people, and are well disposed towards the
     whites. They have long been divided, however, into two parties, one
     of which is friendly towards our government, while the other,
     called the _British band_, is under the influence of the British
     traders. It has always been the policy of the latter, to keep the
     Indians upon the western frontier in a state of disaffection
     towards the American people, and by these means, to secure to
     themselves an undue proportion of the fur trade. So long as it
     should remain difficult upon our part to gain access to the tribes,
     and our intercourse with them be liable to interruption, jealousy,
     and distrust, so long would the British trader possess an advantage
     over us in relation to this traffic. The British fur companies,
     whose agents are numerous, intelligent, and enterprising, have
     always acted upon this policy, and the English officers in Canada,
     both civil and military, have given it their sanction. Almost all
     the atrocities which have been committed on our frontiers by the
     Indians, within the last fifty years, have been directly or
     indirectly incited by the incendiary agents of that mercenary
     government. The _British band_ of the Sacs and Foxes have been in
     the habit of visiting Malden annually, and receiving valuable
     presents--presents, which being made to a disaffected portion of a
     tribe residing not only within the United States, but within the
     limits of a state, could be viewed in no other light than as
     bribes,--the wages of disaffection. Black Hawk, though not a chief,
     is one of the most influential individuals of the _British band_."

       *       *       *       *       *

In a late number of the American Museum, we find the following article.
It bears intrinsic evidence of coming from the same pen, and presents in
a striking point of view the rapid extension of our settlements, and the
consequent recession of the Indians.

     Most of our readers have become familiarly acquainted with the
     name of the redoubted Black Hawk, whose adventures are detailed in
     this volume and whose fame has been spread from Maine to Florida.
     There was a time when he shared the eager attention of the public
     with Fanny Kemble and the cholera, and was one of the lions of the
     day; and as regularly talked about as the weather, the last new
     novel, or the candidates for the presidency. The war in Illinois,
     though of brief duration, and not marked by any stirring events,
     came suddenly upon us after a long series of peaceful years upon
     the northwestern border. The savages, weary of fruitless conflicts,
     or quelled by the superior numbers of a gigantic and growing foe,
     seemed to have submitted to their fate, and the pioneer had ceased
     to number the war-whoop among the inquietudes of the border life.
     The plains of Illinois and Missouri were rapidly becoming peopled
     by civilized men. A race less hardy than the backwoodsmen were
     tempted by the calm to migrate to those delightful solitudes, that
     bloomed with more than Arcadian fascinations of fruitfulness and
     beauty. The smoke of the settler's cabin began to ascend from the
     margin of every stream in that wide region, and the cattle strayed
     through rich pastures, of which the buffalo, the elk, and the deer,
     had long enjoyed a monopoly--an unchartered monopoly--wondering, no
     doubt, at their good luck in having their lives cast in such
     pleasant places.

     It was the writer's lot to ramble over that beautiful country while
     these interesting scenes were presented; while the wilderness still
     glowed in its pristine luxuriance: while the prairie-grass and the
     wild flowers still covered the plain, and the deer continued to
     frequent his ancient haunts, and while the habitations of the new
     settlers were so widely and so thinly scattered, that the nearest
     neighbors could scarcely have exchanged the courtesy of an annual
     visit without the aid of the seven-leagued boots of ancient story.
     But though in solitude, they lived without fear. There were none to
     molest nor make them afraid. If they had few friends, they had no
     enemies. If the Indian halted at the settler's door, it was to
     solicit hospitality, not to offer violence. But more frequently he
     stalked silently by, timid of giving offence to the white man, whom
     he doubtless regarded as an intruder upon his own ancient heritage,
     but whose possession he had been taught to respect, because he had
     ever found it guarded by a strong and swift arm, that had never
     failed to repay aggression with ten-fold vengeance. Suddenly,
     however, a change came over this cheering scene. The misconduct of
     a few white men disturbed the harmony of a wide region. The Indians
     were oppressed and insulted to the last point of forbearance, and a
     small but restless band, regarded as insubordinate and troublesome
     even by their own nation, seized upon the occasion to rush to war.

     It is wonderful to look back upon this eventful history. The
     country over which Black Hawk, with a handful of followers, badly
     armed, and destitute of stores or munitions of war, roamed for
     hundreds of miles, driving off the scattered inhabitants, is now
     covered with flourishing settlements, with substantial houses, and
     large farms--not with the cabins and clearings of bordermen--but
     with the comfortable dwellings and the well-tilled fields of
     independent farmers. Organized counties and all the subordination
     of social life are there; and there are the noisy school-house, the
     decent church, the mill, the country store, the fat ox, and the
     sleek plough-horse. The yankee is there with his notions and his
     patent-rights, and the travelling agent with his subscription book;
     there are merchandise from India and from England, and, in short,
     all the luxuries of life, from Bulwer's last novel down to
     Brandreth's pills. And all this has been done in six years--in less
     than half the time of Jacob's courtship. In 1832 the Saukie
     warriors ranged over that fertile region, which is now (1838)
     covered with an industrious population; while the Territories of
     Wisconsin and Iowa, and vast settlements in Missouri, have since
     grown up, beyond the region which was then the frontier and the
     seat of war.



The Sioux or Dacotas, are a numerous, powerful and warlike nation of
Indians, who have been appropriately called the Arabs of the west.
Between them and the Sacs and Foxes, there has existed, from the
settlement of the two latter tribes on the waters of the Mississippi, a
hostility of feeling that has kept them embroiled in a constant warfare.
The efforts of government to break down their prejudices and make peace
between them, have failed in accomplishing that benevolent end. It is
not, however, against the Sacs and Foxes alone, that their arms are
turned. From time immemorial they have been at war with the Chippeways,
and are also constantly making hostile incursions upon other neighboring
tribes. They usually fight on horseback, and being very superior
horsemen, they are generally more than a match for their antagonists. In
Schoolcraft's Narrative, we find the following account of their numbers,
habits and peculiarities of character.

"The numerical strength of the Sioux nation was stated by the late
General Pike at 21,675, three thousand eight hundred of whom are
warriors. This is the most powerful Indian tribe in North America. It
consists of seven bands, namely the Minokantongs, the Yengetongs, the
Sissitongs, the Wahpetongs, the Titongs, the Mendewacantongs and the
Washpecontongs. These are independent bands under their own chiefs, but
united in a confederacy for the protection of their territories; and
send deputies to a general council of the chiefs and warriors, whenever
the concerns of their nation require it. If one of the tribes is
attacked, the others are expected to assist in the repulsion of the
enemy. They inhabit all the country, between the Mississippi and
Missouri rivers, from north latitude about 46° to the junction of these
rivers near St. Louis, with trifling exceptions in favor of some
scattered bands of Foxes, Sacs and Kickapoos. Their country also extends
south of the Missouri, where the principal part of the Titongs reside,
and east of the Mississippi to the territories of the Chippeways--the
Winnebagoes and the Menominies. The greatest chief of the nation at
present (1820) is Talangamane, or the Red Wing.

"The Minocantongs, or people of the waters, are located at St. Peters,
and along the banks of the Mississippi towards Prairie du Chien. They
reside in four principal villages.

"The Yengetongs and the Sessitongs inhabit the upper parts of the river
St. Peters, and are sometimes called the Sioux of the plains. Their
traffic is principally in Buffalo robes. The Wahpetongs, or people of
the leaves are the most erratic in their dispositions of all the Sioux;
they inhabit the St. Peters between the Prairie de Francois and the
White Rock, during a part of the year, and generally go out to hunt
above the falls of St. Anthony towards the sources of the river De
Corbeau, and upon the plains which give origin to the Crow, Sac and Elk

"The Titongs inhabit both banks of the Missouri, and rove in quest of
game over an immense extent of country. They are said to be related to
the Mahas, and some other bands south of the Missouri.

"The Mendewacantongs, or people of the Medicine Lake, the
Washpecontongs, or people of the Leaves, who have run away, and some
other scattered bands, whose names are unknown, inhabit the country
generally, from St. Peters south to the mouth of the Missouri, and are
chiefly located upon the sources of the rivers Ocano, Iowa, and

"The Sioux are generally represented as a brave, generous and spirited
people, with proud notions of their origin as a tribe, and their
superiority as hunters and warriors, and with a predominant passion for
war. They speak the Narcotah language, which is peculiar to themselves,
and appears to have little affinity with any other Indian tongue. It is
not so soft and sonorous as the Algonquin which abounds in labials, but
more so than the Winnebago, which is the most harsh and guttural
language in America. The Narcotah sounds to an English ear, like the
Chinese, and both in this, and in other respects, the Sioux are thought
to present many points of coincidence. It is certain that their manners
and customs differ essentially from those of any other tribe, and their
physiognomy, as well as their language, and opinions, mark them a
distinct race of people. Their sacrifices and their supplications to the
unknown God--their feasts after any signal deliverance from
danger--their meat, and their burnt offerings--the preparation of
incense, and certain customs of their females, offer too striking a
coincidence, with the manners of the Asiatic tribes, before the
commencement of the Christian era, to escape observation, while their
paintings and hieroglyphics bear so much analogy to those of the Asteeks
of Mexico, as to render it probable that the latter are of Naudowessian

"From my knowledge of the Sioux nation," observes Lieutenant Pike, "I do
not hesitate to pronounce them the most warlike and independent nation
of Indians, within the boundaries of the United States, their every
passion being subservient to that of war. Their guttural pronunciation,
high cheek bones, their visages, and distinct manners, together with
their own traditions, supported by the testimony of neighboring nations,
put it in my mind beyond a shadow of doubt, that they have emigrated
from the north west point of America, to which they had come across the
narrow streights, which in that quarter divide the two continents; and
are absolutely descendants of a Tartarean tribe."

The following anecdote of a Sioux chief, and of a council held by
Governor Cass, some years since, for the purpose of making peace between
the Sioux and Chippeways, is drawn from a letter from that officer, to
the war department.[16]

"Some years since, mutually weary of hostilities, the chiefs of both
nations met, and agreed upon a truce. But the Sioux disregarding the
solemn compact they had formed, and actuated by some sudden impulse
attacked and murdered a number of Chippeways. The old Chippeway chief
was present at the time, and his life was saved by the intrepidity and
self-devotion of a Sioux chief. This man intreated, remonstrated,
threatened. He adjured his countrymen, by every motive, to abstain from
any violation of their faith: and finding his remonstrances useless, he
attached himself to the Chippeway chief, and avowed his determination to
save him or perish. Awed by such intrepidity, the Sioux finally agreed
that he should ransom the Chippewa. This he did at the expense of all
the property he possessed. The Sioux chief now accompanied him on his
journey, until he considered him safe from any of the parties of the
Sioux, who might be disposed to pursue him.

"Believing it equally inconsistent with humanity and sound policy, that
these border contests should be suffered to continue; and feeling that
the Indians have a full portion of moral and physical evils, without
adding to them the calamities of a war, which had no definite object,
Governor Cass being at Sandy lake, offered his mediation to the
Chippeway chiefs, to which they readily acceded. In consequence, a
deputation of ten of their men descended the Mississippi with him.

"The Chippeways landed occasionally, to examine whether any of the Sioux
had recently visited that quarter. In one of these excursions, there was
found, suspended to a tree, in an exposed situation, a piece of
birch-bark, made flat, by being fastened between two sticks, about
eighteen inches long by fifteen broad. This bark contained the answer of
the Sioux nation, to overtures which the Chippeways had made, on
Governor Cass' offer of mediation:--which overtures had been found and
taken off by a party of the Sioux. So revengeful and sanguinary had the
contest been between these tribes, that no personal communication could
take place. Neither the sanctity of the office, nor the importance of
the message, could protect the ambassador of either party from the
vengeance of the other.

"The preliminaries to a peace being thus settled, the Sioux and
Chippeways met in joint council--smoked the pipe of peace together, and
then in their own figurative language, 'buried the tomahawk so deep,
that it could never be dug up again.'"

Another anecdote is related by Mr. Schoolcraft which we quote as
illustrative of the character, in some degree, of this singular and
warlike race."

"Le Petit Corbeau, a chief of a small band of Sioux, located upon the
banks of the Mississippi, towards the confines of the Chippeway
territory, going out one morning to examine his beaver trap, found a
Sauteur in the act of stealing it. He had approached without exciting
alarm, and while the Sauteur was engaged in taking the trap from the
water, he stood maturely surveying him with a loaded rifle in his hands.
As the two nations were at war, and the offence was in itself one of the
most heinous nature, he would have been justified in killing him on the
spot, and the thief looked for nothing else, on finding himself
detected. But the Sioux chief walking up to him discovered a nobleness
of disposition which would have done honor to the most enlightened of
men. 'Take no alarm,' said he, 'at my approach; I only come to present
to you the trap of which I see you stand in need. You are entirely
welcome to it. Take my gun also, as I perceive you have none of your
own, and depart with it to the land of your countrymen, but linger not
here, lest some of my young men, who are panting for the blood of their
enemies, should discover your footsteps in our country, and fall upon
you.' So saying he delivered him his gun and accoutrements, and returned
unarmed to the village of which he is so deservedly the chief."


The plan, now in progress of execution, for the removal of all the
Indians, within the limits of the United States, to a region of country
west of Missouri and Arkansas, will of course, when carried out, greatly
modify our relations with them. New laws must be enacted by Congress,
and new treaties formed between the Indians and the United States.

From the organization of the federal government to the present time, our
relations with the Indians have been the subject of frequent
legislation, and the statute book bears many evidences of benevolent
action towards this ill-fated race. If the laws enacted by Congress for
the protection and civilization of the aborigines of this country, had
been regularly and rigidly enforced, and a more impartial interpretation
of the treaties made with them, had been observed, their condition would
have been far better than it now is--they would have passed from the
hunter to the pastoral state, and have grown in numbers, virtue and
intelligence. But these laws and these treaties, have been year after
year violated by our own people, and the result has been a constant
deterioration of the Indians. This is especially true of those laws
intended to prevent our citizens from hunting on the Indian lands,
residing in their country, and trading with them without a license from
the United States. These have generally been a dead letter upon the
national statute book, and the encroachments of the lawless
frontiers-men, the trader, the land speculator, and the vender of
spirituous liquors, have impoverished degraded, and vitiated, more or
less, every tribe within the limits of the United States. It is to this
intercourse, with these classes of persons, that the bad faith, the
savage barbarities, and border-wars, of which so much complaint is made
against the Indians, are to be mainly attributed. The rapacity of our
people, for their peltries and their land, the feeble execution of laws
made for their protection, and the loose morality which has governed our
general intercourse with them, have wasted their numbers, debased their
character, and tarnished the honor of that nation, which, from the very
organization of its government, has claimed to be their benevolent

The plan of removing the Indians beyond the limits of the United States
is not new. If not original with Mr. Jefferson, it was commended by him,
and has been approved, we believe, by each successive administration
since his day. It looked of course to a peaceable not a forcible removal
of them. Whether the details of the original plan corresponded with
those of the law, under which this removal is going on, we do not know.

The substance of the present plan may be gathered from the following

1st. To secure the lands on which they are placed to the several tribes
by patent, with only such restrictions as are necessary to prevent white
men from purchasing them, or encroaching upon them.

2d. To establish a territorial government, all the offices of which,
(except those of the governor and secretary,) are to be filled with
Indians, wherever competent natives can be obtained.

3d. To provide for a general council of delegates, chosen by and from
the tribes, with legislative powers; their enactments not to be valid
till they have been approved by the President of the United States.

4th. To have a delegate, always a native, remain at Washington, during
the sessions of Congress, to attend to the affairs of the territory,
who shall be allowed the pay and emoluments of a member of Congress.

5th. To encourage, by liberal annual payments of money provided for in
treaties, the establishment of schools and colleges; in which competent
native teachers are always to be preferred when they can be had.

The power and influence of the United States are to be directed in
protecting them from the whites; in preserving peace among the different
tribes, and in stimulating them, by rewards and emoluments, in acquiring
the habits of civilized life. The efforts of the benevolent to carry
christianity among them, if made in conformity with the regulations of
the territory, are to be cherished. These are the leading features of
the new system of Indian regulations, established by government for the
civilization of the Indians. The territory set apart for this object,
lies west of the states of Arkansas and Missouri, running north from the
Red river about six hundred miles, and west from the western boundaries
of these states about two hundred miles. The number of Indians within
the territory of the United States is estimated to approach to near half
a million of souls.

It must be obvious to every one familiar with the Indian character, and
with the history of our past relations with this people, that the
success of this plan, will depend, in a very great degree, upon the
manner in which its details shall be executed by the government. A
failure will inevitably ensue, if white men are permitted to come in
contact with the Indians. The strong arm of the military power of the
United States, will be requisite to stay the encroachments of our
people, whose love of adventure and whose thirst for gain, will carry
them among the Indians, unless arrested by more cogent considerations
than a sense of duty, or the prohibitions of the statute book.

Instead of attempting to supply them with goods by licensing traders to
reside among them, they should be encouraged to sell their furs and
peltries and to make their purchases in the United States. On the former
system they are liable to constant imposition, and the very articles
which the traders carry among them, are worthless in kind and poor in
quality; but if the Indians traded with us, within the limits of the
United States, they would have the competition arising from a number of
buyers and sellers, they would obtain better prices for their furs and
procure more valuable articles, upon fairer terms, in exchange. They
would also be benefitted by observing our manners and customs, adopting
our style of dress, learning the value of property, and gaining some
knowledge of agriculture and the use of mechanical tools, and implements
of husbandry. But the most important advantage to be gained by their
trading within the United States, would be in their protection from
imposition. It has been truly and forcibly remarked,

"Humanity shudders at the recital of the nefarious acts practised by the
white traders upon the Indians. Yet not half of them are known or
dreamed of by the American people. We refer again, to Mr. Tanner's
Narrative, which every man who has a vote on this subject ought to read.
Here we find the traders sometimes taking _by force_, from an Indian,
the produce of a whole year's hunt, without making him any return,
sometimes pilfering a portion while buying the remainder, and still
oftener wresting from the poor wretches, while in a state of
intoxication, a valuable property, for an inadequate remuneration. In
one place, our author tells of an Indian woman, his adopted mother, who,
"in the course of a single day, sold one hundred and twenty beaver
skins, with a large quantity of buffalo robes, dressed and smoked skins,
and other articles, _for rum_." He pathetically adds, "of all our large
load of peltries, the produce of so many days of toil, so many long and
difficult journeys, one blanket and three kegs of rum, only remained,
besides the poor and almost worn out clothing on our bodies." The
sending of missionaries, to labor by the side of the miscreants who thus
swindle and debauch the ignorant savage, is a mockery of the office, and
a waste of the time of these valuable men. If the Indians traded within
our states, with our regular traders, the same laws and the same public
sentiment which protects us, would protect them."

This is no exaggerated picture. Fraud, oppression and violence, have
characterized our intercourse with the Indians, and it is in vain to
hope for any amelioration of their savage condition, so long as an
intercourse of this kind is permitted. In the very nature of things, the
plan of civilizing the Indians, by forming a confederacy of them, beyond
the limits of the United States, will prove unsuccessful, unless they
are surrounded by a cordon of military posts, and the whites are stayed,
by physical force, from entering their territories for any purpose

It is to this intercourse that the Indian wars, which have so frequently
caused the blood of the white and the red man to flow in torrents, upon
our frontier, are mainly to be attributed. It has been asserted, even by
those who claim to be the grave historians of this unfortunate people,
that these wars are almost without exception, the result of that cruelty
and insatiable thirst for blood which belong to the Indian character.
One of these writers, the Rev. Timothy Flint, in his "Indian Wars of the
West," says, "We affirm an undoubting belief, from no unfrequent, nor
inconsiderable means of observation, that aggression has commenced, in
the account current of mutual crime, as a hundred to one, on the part of
the Indians." We do not question the sincerity of this belief, but we do
question, entirely, the correctness of the conclusion to which the
writer brings his mind: we affirm without hesitation, that it is a
conclusion that cannot be sustained by testimony. If the individual
making it, had looked less superficially at the case, and had gone to
the primary causes that have produced the bloody collisions between his
countrymen and the Indians, he could never have made so great a mistake
as the one he has committed in the paragraph quoted above. If kindness,
good faith and honesty of dealing, had marked our social, political and
commercial intercourse with the Indians, few, if any of these bloody
wars would have occurred; and these people, instead of being debased by
our intercourse with them, would have been improved and elevated in the
scale of civilization. The history of the early settlement of
Pennsylvania and its illustrious founder, affords the strongest
testimony on this point. The justice, benevolence and kindness which
marked the conduct of Penn towards the Indians, shielded his infant
colony from aggression, and won for him personally, a generous
affection, that would have been creditable to any race of people.

Upon this point it has been well and forcibly remarked by a
philanthropic writer,[17] of our country, that,

"The American Indian is sometimes regarded as a being who is prone to
all that is revolting and cruel. He is cherished in excited
imaginations, as a demoniac phantasm, delighting in bloodshed, without
a spark of generous sentiment or native benevolence. The philosophy of
man should teach us, that the Indian is nothing less than a human being,
in whom the animal tendencies predominate over the spiritual. His morals
and intellect having received neither culture nor developement, he
possesses on the one hand, the infirmities of humanity; while on the
other the divine spark in his heart, if not blown into a genial warmth,
has not been extinguished by an artificial polish. His affections are
strong, because they are confined to a few objects; his enmities are
deep and permanent, because they are nursed in secret, without a
religion to control them. Friendship is with him a sacred sentiment. He
undertakes long and toilsome journeys to do justice to its object; he
exposes himself, for its sake, to every species of privation; he fights
for it; and often dies in its defence. He appoints no _fecial_ messenger
to proclaim, by an empty formality, the commencement of war. Whilst the
European seeks advantages in the subtle finesse of negociation, the
American pursues them according to the instincts of a less refined
nature, and the dictates of a less sublimated policy. He seeks his enemy
before he expects him, and thus renders him his prey."

No better evidence need be adduced of his capacity for a lively and
lasting friendship, than the history of Pennsylvania, during the life
time of the founder. It is refreshing and delightful to see one fair
page, in the dark volume of injustice and crime, which American annals,
on this subject present. While this page reflects upon the past an
accumulated odium, it furnishes lessons for the guide and edification of
the future. Let me invite the philanthropist to this affecting story.

A chief object of Penn, in the settlement of his province, was neither
land, gold nor dominion, but "the glory of God, by the civilization of
the poor Indian." Upon his arrival in Pennsylvania, the pledge contained
in his charter was redeemed by a friendly compact with the "poor Indian"
which was never to be violated, and by a uniform and scrupulous devotion
to his rights and interests. Oldmixon and Clarkson inform us, that he
expended "thousands of pounds" for the physical and social improvement
of these untutored and houseless tenants of the woods. His estate became
impaired by the munificence of his bounty. In return for benevolence so
generous and pure, the Indians showed a reality of affection and an
ardor of gratitude, which they had on no previous occasion professed.
The colony was exempted from those calamities of war and desolation,
which form so prominent a picture in the early annals of American
settlements. During a period of forty years, the settlers and natives
lived harmoniously together, neither party complaining of a single act
of violence or the infliction of an injury unredressed. The memory of
Penn lived green and fresh in their esteem, gratitude, and reverence, a
century after.

The tribe thus subdued by the pacific and philanthropic principles of
Penn, have been untruly described as a cowardly and broken down race.
They were a branch of the great family of Indians, who, for so many
years, carried on a fierce and bloody strife with the Alligewi on the
Mississippi, and waged a determined hostility with the Mengwe. At one
period they were the undisputed masters of the large tract of country,
now known as the territory of the middle states. On the arrival of the
English, their number in Pennsylvania was computed at thirty or forty
thousand souls. Their history spoke only of conquest. They were a brave,
proud and warlike race, who gloried in the preservation of a character
for valor, descended from the remotest times. The confederacy of the
Six Nations, by whom they were finally vanquished, was not formed until
1712, and their defeat, as evidenced by their peculiar subjugation
occurred within a few months antecedent to the demise of the
proprietary. The same people annihilated the colony of Des Vries, in
1632, formed a conspiracy to exterminate the Swedes, under Printz, in
1646; and were the authors of the subsequent murders which afflicted the
settlements, before the accession of the English colonists.

"Such an example furnishes some insight into the elements of Indian
character. Little doubt can exist, if the subject were fairly examined,
that most of those sanguinary wars, of which history speaks with a
shudder, would be found to have arisen less from the blood-thirsty
Indian, than from the aggressions of the gold-thirsty and land-thirsty


In a historical memoir of the Indians, published in the North American
Review and attributed to the able pen of our present minister to France,
there is a description of a war-dance, from which the following extract
is made.

"An Indian War Dance is an important occurrence in the passing events of
a village. The whole population is assembled, and a feast provided for
all. The warriors are painted and prepared as for battle. A post is
firmly planted in the ground, and the singers, the drummers and other
musicians, are seated within the circle formed by the dancers and
spectators. The music and the dancers begin. The warriors exert
themselves, with great energy. Every muscle is in action: and there is
the most perfect concord between the music and their movements. They
brandish their weapons, and with such apparent fury, that fatal
accidents seem unavoidable. Presently a warrior leaves the circle, and
with his tomahawk or casse-tete, strikes the post. The music and dancing
cease, and profound silence ensues. He then recounts, with a loud voice,
his military achievements. He describes the battles he has fought--the
prisoners he has captured--the scalps he has taken. He points to his
wounds, and produces his trophies. He accompanies his narrative with the
actual representation of his exploits; and the mimic engagement, the
advance and the retreat, are all exhibited to his nation as they really
occurred. There is no exaggeration, no misrepresentation. It would be
infamous for a warrior to boast of deeds he never performed. If the
attempt were made, some one would approach and throw dirt in his face
saying, "I do this to cover your shame; for the first time you see an
enemy, you will tremble." But such an indignity is rarely necessary:
and, as the war parties generally, contain many individuals, the
character and conduct of every warrior are well known. Shouts of
applause accompany the narration, proportioned in duration and intensity
to the interest it excites. His station in the circle is then resumed by
the actor, and the dance proceeds, till it is interrupted in a similar

"In the poem of Ontwa, a scene like this is so well described, that we
cannot resist the temptation to transfer it to our pages. Of all who
have attempted to embody in song, the "living manners" of the Indians,
the anonymous author of that poem has been the most successful. His
characters, and traditions and descriptions, have the spirit and bearing
of life; and the whole work, is not less true to nature than to poetry.

  A hundred warriors now advance,
  All dressed and painted for the dance;
  And sounding club and hollow skin
  A slow and measured time begin:
  With rigid limb and sliding foot,
  And murmurs low the time to suit;
  Forever varying with the sound,
  The circling band moves round and round.
  Now slowly rise the swelling notes
  When every crest more lively floats;
  Now tossed on high with gesture proud,
  Then lowly mid the circle bow'd;
  While clanging arms grow louder still,
  And every voice becomes more shrill;
  Till fierce and strong the clamor grows,
  And the wild war whoop bids it close.
  Then starts Skunktonga forth, whose band
  Came from far Huron's storm-beat strand,
  And thus recounts his battle feats,
  While his dark club the measure beats."

Major Long of the U.S. army, in his Expedition up the Missouri, gives an
account of a council which he held, at Council Bluff, with a party of
one hundred Ottoes, seventy Missouries, and fifty or sixty Soways. The
Otto nation is known by the name of Wah-toh-ta-na. Their principal
village is situated on the river Platte, about forty miles above its
junction with the Missouri. At the period of this visit, these Indians
had held little if any intercourse with the whites. After the council
was over, they performed a dance, in honor of their visitors, the
description of which will convey to the reader a very vivid picture of
this ceremony. We give it, in Major Long's own words.

"The amusement of dancing was commenced by striking up their rude
instrumental and vocal music; the former consisting of a gong made of a
large keg, over one of the ends of which, a skin was stretched, which
was struck by a small stick, and another instrument, consisting of a
stick of firm wood, notched like a saw, over the teeth of which a small
stick was rubbed forcibly backward and forward. With these, rude as they
were, very good time was preserved with the vocal performers, who sat
around them, and by all the natives as they sat, in the inflection of
their bodies, or the movements of their limbs. After the lapse of a
little time, three individuals leaped up, and danced around for a few
minutes; then, at a concerted signal of the master of ceremonies, the
music ceased and they retired to their seats, uttering a loud noise,
which, by patting the mouth rapidly with the hand, was broken into a
succession of similar sounds, somewhat like the hurried barking of a
dog. Several sets of dancers succeeded, each terminating as the first.
In the intervals of the dances, a warrior would step forward, and strike
a flag-staff they had erected, with a stick, whip, or other weapon, and
recount his martial deeds. This ceremony is termed _striking the post_,
and whatever is then said, may be relied upon as rigid truth, being
delivered in the presence of many a jealous warrior and witness, who
could easily detect, and would immediately disgrace the _striker_ for
exaggeration or falsehood. This is called the _beggar's dance_--during
which, some presents are always expected by the performers; as tobacco,
whiskey, or trinkets. But on this occasion, as none of these articles
were immediately offered, the amusement was not, at first, distinguished
by much activity.

"The master of the ceremonies continually called aloud to them to exert
themselves, but still they were somewhat dull and backward. Iëtan now
stepped forward, and lashed a post with his whip, declaring that he
would punish those that did not dance. This threat, from one whom they
had vested with authority for this occasion, had a manifest effect upon
his auditors, who were presently highly wrought up, by the sight of two
or three little mounds of tobacco twist, which were now laid before
them, and appeared to infuse new life.

"After lashing the post, and making his threat, Iëtan went on to narrate
his martial exploits. He had stolen horses seven or eight times from the
Kanzas; he had first struck the bodies of three of that nation slain in
battle. He had stolen horses from the Iëtan nation, and had struck one
of their dead. He had stolen horses from the Pawnees, and struck the
body of one Pawnee Loup. He had stolen horses several times from the
Omawhahs, and once from the Puncas. He had struck the bodies of two
Sioux. On a war party, in company with the Pawnees, he had attacked
the Spaniards, and penetrated into one of their camps; the
Spaniards--excepting a man and a boy--fled, himself being at a distance
before his party; he was shot at and missed by the man, whom he
immediately shot down and struck. 'This, my father,' said he, 'is the
only material act of my life that I am ashamed of.'

"After several rounds of dancing, and of striking at the post, by the
warriors, Mi-a-ke-ta, or _The Little Soldier_, a war-worn veteran, took
his turn to strike the post. He leaped actively about, and strained his
voice to its utmost pitch, whilst he portrayed some of the scenes of
blood in which he had acted. He had struck dead bodies of individuals of
all the Red nations around; Osages, Konzas, Pawnee Loups, Pawnee
Republicans, Grand Pawnees, Puncas, Omawhaws, Sioux, Padoucas, La Plain,
or Bald heads, Iëtans, Sacs, Foxes, and Ioways. He had struck eight of
one nation, seven of another, &c.

"He was proceeding with his account, when Iëtan ran up to him, put his
hand upon his mouth, and respectfully led him to his seat. This act was
no trifling compliment to the well-known brave; it indicated, that he
had so many glorious achievements to speak of, that he would occupy so
much time, as to prevent others from speaking; and, moreover, put to
shame the other warriors, by the contrast of his actions with theirs.

"Their physical action in dancing is principally confined to leaping a
small distance from the ground, with both feet, the body being slightly
inclined, and, upon alighting, an additional slight but sudden
inclination of the body is made, so as to appear like a succession of
jerks; or the feet are raised alternately, the motion of the body being
the same. Such are the movements in which the whole party correspond;
but, in the figures--as they are termed in our assembly rooms--each
individual performs a separate part, and each part is a significant
pantomimic narrative. In all their variety of action, they are careful
to observe the musical cadences. In this dance, Iëtan represented one
who was in the act of stealing horses; he carried a whip in his hand as
did a considerable number of the Indians, and around his neck were
thrown several leathern thongs, for bridles and halters, the ends of
which trailed upon the ground behind him. After many preparatory
manoeuvres, he stooped down, and with his knife, represented the act
of cutting the hopples of horses. He then rode his tomahawk, as children
ride their broomsticks, making use of his whip, as to indicate the
necessity of rapid movement, lest his foes should overtake him.
Wa-sa-ha-jing-ga, or _Little Black Bear_, after a variety of gestures,
threw several arrows in succession, over his own head--thereby
indicating his familiarity with the flight of such missiles. He, at the
same time, covered his eyes with his hand, to indicate that he was blind
to danger. Others represented their manoeuvres in battles, seeking
their enemy, discharging at him their guns or arrows, &c. &c.

"Most of the dancers were the principal warriors of the nation--men who
had not condescended to amuse themselves or others, in this manner, for
years before. But they now appeared in honor of the occasion, and to
conciliate, in their best manner, the good will of the representative of
the government of the _Big Knives_. Amongst these veteran warriors,
Iëtan, or _Sha-mon-e-kus-see_, _Ha-she-a_ (the Broken Arm), commonly
called Cut Nose, and _Wa-sa-ha-zing-ga_ (or Little Black Bear), three
youthful leaders, in particular, attracted our attention. In consequence
of having been appointed soldiers on this occasion, to preserve order,
they were painted entirely black. The countenance of the first indicated
much wit, and had, in its expression, something of the character of that
of Voltaire. He frequently excited the mirth of those about him, by his
remarks and gestures. _Ha-she-a_, (called Cut Nose, in consequence of
having lost the tip of his nose, in a quarrel with Iëtan,) wore a
handsome robe of white wolf skin, with an appendage behind him, called
a _crow_. This singular decoration is a large cushion, made of the skin
of a crow, stuffed with any light material, and variously ornamented. It
has two decorated sticks, projecting from it upward, and a pendent one
beneath; this apparatus is secured upon the buttocks by a girdle passing
round the body. The other actors in the scene were decorated with paints
of several colors, fantastically disposed upon their persons. Several
were painted with white clay, which had the appearance of being grooved
in many places. This grooved appearance is given by drawing the
finger-nails over the part, so as to remove the pigment from thence in
parallel lines. These lines are either rectilinear, undulated, or
zigzag; sometimes passing over the forehead transversely, or vertically;
sometimes in the same direction, or obliquely over the whole visage, or
upon the breast, arms, &c. Many were painted with red clay, in which the
same lines appeared. A number of them had the representation of a black
hand, with outspread fingers, on different parts of the body, strongly
contrasting with the principal color with which the body was overspread;
the hand was depicted in different positions upon the face, breast, and
back. The face of others was colored, one half black, and one half
white, or red and white, &c. Many colored their hair with red clay, but
the eye-lids and base of the ears were generally tinged with vermilion.

"At the conclusion of the ceremony, whiskey--which they always expect on
similar occasions--was produced, and a small portion was given to each.
The principal Chiefs of the different nations who had remained passive
spectators of the scene, now directed their people to return to their
camp. The word of the Chiefs was obeyed, excepting by a few of the
Ioways, who appeared to be determined to keep their places,
notwithstanding the reiterated command of the Chiefs. Iëtan now sprang
towards them, with an expression of much ferocity in his countenance,
and it is probable a tragic scene would have been displayed, had not the
chiefs requested him to use gentle means; and thus he succeeded; after
which, the Chiefs withdrew."



In tracing out the causes which led to the late war with the Sac and Fox
Indians of Rock river, reference was made to the violations of the laws
of Congress in the introduction of whiskey among them by the white
traders. The opinion, moreover, was expressed that the licensed traders
of the United States, among these tribes, were in the habit of selling
this article to them, and under circumstances which must have brought
home the fact to the knowledge of our Indian agents. Black Hawk with
other chiefs of the band to which he belonged, earnestly remonstrated
against the introduction of whiskey among his people, because of its
debasing effect upon their morals, and the danger of its provoking them
to acts of aggression upon the whites, while in a state of intoxication.
One of the facts, set forth in the memorial which the white settlers on
Rock river, presented to Governor Reynolds, in 1831, and upon which he
declared the state to be actually invaded by the Sac and Fox Indians,
and ordered out the militia to repel it, was the destruction, by Black
Hawk, of a barrel of whiskey, which the owner was retailing to the
Indians. The violation of the laws of Congress and of express treaty
provisions, in the sale of ardent spirits to the Indians, winked at, as
they undoubtedly were, by the public agents, mainly contributed to bring
about a war, which resulted in the destruction of a great part of the
band of Black Hawk. That the allegations, in regard to the sale of
intoxicating liquors, to the Indians, by the regularly licensed traders
of the United States, may not be supposed to rest upon gratuitous
assumptions, the following letter, is quoted, which places the matter
beyond all question.

                                     _St. Peters, July 25, 1832_

       GEN. JOSEPH M. STREET,        }
     Indian Agent, Prairie du Chien. }

     SIR--I arrived at this place yesterday from the sources of
     the Mississippi, having visited the Chippewa bands and
     trading-posts in that quarter. Much complaint is made respecting
     the conduct of the persons licensed by you last year, who located
     themselves at the Granite Rocks, and on the St. Croix. No doubt can
     exist that each of them took in, and used in their trade, a
     considerable quantity of whiskey. And I am now enabled to say, that
     they each located themselves at points within the limits of my
     agency, where there are no trading-posts established. My lowest
     trading-post on the Mississippi, is the Pierced Prairie, eighteen
     miles below the mouth of the De Corbeau. It embraces one mile
     square upon which traders are required to be located. On the St.
     Croix, the posts established and confirmed by the Department are
     Snake River and Yellow River, and embrace each, as the permanent
     place of location, one mile square. I report these facts for your
     information, and not to enable you to grant licenses for these
     posts, as the instructions of the Department give to each agent the
     exclusive control of the subject of granting licenses for the
     respective agencies.

     Much solicitude is felt by me to exclude ardent spirits wholly from
     the Chippewas and Ottowas, the latter of whom have, by a recent
     order, been placed under my charge. I am fully satisfied that
     ardent spirits are not necessary to the successful prosecution of
     the trade, that they are deeply pernicious to the Indians, and that
     both their use and abuse is derogatory to the character of a wise
     and sober government. Their exclusion in every shape, and every
     quantity, is an object of primary moment; and it is an object which
     I feel it a duty to persevere in the attainment of, however traders
     may bluster. I feel a reasonable confidence in stating, that no
     whiskey has been used in my agency during the last two years,
     except the limited quantity taken by special permission of the
     Secretary of War, for the trade of the Hudson's Bay lines; and
     saving also the quantity clandestinely introduced from Prairie du
     Chien and St. Peters.

     I know, sir, that an appeal to you on this subject cannot be lost,
     and that your feelings and judgment fully approve of temperance
     measures. But it requires active, persevering, unyielding efforts.
     And in all such efforts, judiciously urged, I am satisfied that the
     government will sustain the agents in a dignified discharge of
     their duties. Let us proceed in the accomplishment of this object
     with firmness, and with a determination never to relinquish it,
     until ardent spirits are entirely excluded from the Indian country.

                                          I am sir,
                                            Very respectfully,
                                              Your obedient servant,
                                                HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

     P.S. Capt. Jouett, commanding at this post, has recently seized
     sixteen kegs of high-wines. His prompt, decisive, and correct
     conduct in this, and other transactions relating to Indian affairs,
     merits the approbation of government.

     The Petite Corbeau has requested that no trader may be located at
     the mouth of the St. Croix.

The following picture of the present condition of the Winnebagoes, given
in the St. Louis Bulletin, shows the deplorable results of the
intercourse of the whites with the Indians--the baneful effects of
spirituous liquors upon their morals and habits. The Winnebagoes were
neighbors of the Sacs and Foxes, and long intimately associated with
them. Twenty years ago, all of these tribes, raised annually more corn,
beans and other vegetables, than were needed for their own consumption.
Now they are miserable, squalid beggars, without the means of
subsistence. The faithlessness of the Government, the perfidy and
avarice of its agents and citizens, have brought this race of people to
the horrible condition, in which they are represented in the statement
that follows.

     An agent of the Temperance Society, in a journal of a late tour to
     the region of the Upper Mississippi, presents a picture, melancholy
     indeed, of the present condition of the Indian tribes in that
     quarter, which must deeply rouse the commiseration of every
     benevolent man. From our own personal observation one year since,
     we would corroborate the assertion, that were the world ransacked
     for a subject in which should be concentrated and personified
     injustice, oppression, drunkenness, squalid filth, and degradation,
     one would point to the straggling Indian on the banks of the Upper
     Mississippi for the aptest exemplification.

     There were some two or three hundred of these
     stragglers--Winnebagoes, chiefly, about Prairie du Chien--men,
     women, and children, many of whom had scarcely the fragments of a
     filthy blanket to hide their nakedness or screen them from the
     cold--strolling and straggling about in squads of from two to a
     half dozen each, begging for whiskey, or cold potatoes, or crusts
     of bread. One old female, doubtless turned of threescore and ten,
     half naked, was gathering up from the dirt and ashes about the
     boiler of the steam boat, a few pieces of dried apples that had
     been dropped and trodden under foot, which, with her toothless
     gums, she attempted to masticate with all the eagerness of a
     starving swine. Little children, from one to four years old, were
     crawling about in a state of nudity, and almost of starvation,
     while their own mothers and fathers, were staggering, and fighting,
     and _swearing_. It is a fact, that while these poor creatures
     cannot articulate a word of any thing else in English, the most
     awfully profane expressions will drop from their lips in English,
     as fluently as if it had been their vernacular tongue. When the
     whites first settled in that neighborhood, the Indians raised corn
     and other provisions enough, not only for their own use, but also
     for the fur-traders and settlers.

     Now they are altogether dependent for even the scanty subsistence
     by which they are dragging out the remnant of a miserable life,
     upon the whites. And what has been the cause of so great a change
     in a few years in the circumstances and habits of a whole people!
     The answer is plain to every one at all acquainted with Indian
     history. It is the perfidy and avarice of the whites, and
     WHISKEY, WHISKEY has been the all potent _agent_ by which
     it has been effected. By selling and giving them whiskey till they
     become drunk, they are soon filched of the little annuities
     received from government; and then treated the rest of the year
     like so many dogs.--As an illustration of the feeling towards them,
     a merchant at Prairie du Chien expressed the very humane wish, that
     there might soon be another Indian war to kill them all off.



  Armstrong fort built, 96.

  Atkinson, General, ordered to Rock Island, 140
    directs Black Hawk to return to the west side of the Mississippi, 140
    takes command of the Illinois militia, 141
    proceeds to Dixon's Ferry, 141
    attack on Black Hawk at Bad-axe, 156
    official account, 158
    his letter of approval from War Department, 179.


  Black Hawk's account of the treaty of 1804, 58.

  Black Hawk Purchase, in 1832, 70.

  Black Hawk, birth and early adventures, 74
    his battle with the Osages in 1786, 75
    with Cherokees, 75
    with Chippeways, Kaskaskias and Osages, 76
    his account of Pike's visit, 77
    his attack on Fort Madison, 78
    joins the British army, 80
    his return, 80
    murder of his adopted son, 81
    battle of the sink-hole near Cap au Gris, 83
    his attack upon boats going to Prairie des Chiens, 86
    makes peace with the United States, 86
    death of his eldest son, 90
    visit to the Ioway village, 89
    visit to Malden, 90
    whipped by some Americans, 91
    refuses to remove to the west side of the Mississippi, 92
    whites encroach upon his village, 93
    burning of his lodges, 96
    interview with Governor Coles and Judge Hall, 96
    agrees to remove for six thousand dollars, 100
    interview with Gaines, 103
    removes to west side Mississippi, 104
    treats with Gaines and Reynolds, 104
    causes which led to the war, 108
    his attempted alliance with other tribes, 111
    discontented on west side of the Mississippi, 138
    sends messenger to Keokuk, 138
    collects his band at Fort Madison and crosses to east side
      of the Mississippi, 139
    proceeds to the prophet's village up Rock river, 140
    ordered back by General Atkinson, 141
    makes his camp at Kisk-wa-cokee, is attacked in his camp
      by Maj. Stillman, 145
    his flag of truce fired upon, 145
    defeats Stillman, 146
    attack upon Buffalo Grove, 149
    his battle on the Wisconsin, 151
    flies to the Mississippi, 152
    attacked by the steam boat Warrior, 153
    his white flag fired upon, 153
    his defeat at the Bad-axe, 156
    escape, 161
    capture, 162
    causes leading to this war, 171
    at Jefferson Barracks, 189
    sent to Washington city, 192
    confined at Fortress Monroe, 193
    interview with the President, 192
    speech to Col. Eustis, 193
    released, 195
    visit to Norfolk, 196
    to Baltimore, 196
    interview with President, 197
    visit to Philadelphia, 199
    to New York, 200
    to Albany, 202
    to Buffalo, 202
    interview with Senecas, 203
    visit to Detroit, 203
    reaches fort Armstrong, 206
    refuses to submit to Keokuk, 209
    his final speech in the council, 215
    visit in 1837 to Washington, 216
    visit to Boston, 217
    to Cincinnati, 217
    his character and personal appearance, 218
    number of his warriors in campaign of 1832, 220.


  Cahokias conquered, 16.

  Clark, George Rogers, relieves St. Louis, 24
    sends troops into the Indian country, 25.

  Cole, Governor, meets Black Hawk, 96.

  Clark, General, letter to War Department, 107.

  Cap au Gris, battle of, 83.

  Cholera among Scott's troops, 166.

  Cass, Lewis, report to the President, 178.

  Cass' letter to Gen. Atkinson, 179.

  Cass' account of Sacs and Foxes, 181.

  Colonization of the Indians, 228.


  Drakeford's battle near Cap au Gris, 84.

  Dodge, General, kills 29 Indians, 149
    his battle of the Wisconsin, 151.

  Davenport, Col. Wm., speech to Black Hawk, 210.


  Everett, Governor, speech to Keokuk in Boston, 131
    makes them presents, 135.


  Fort Armstrong built, 87.

  Foxes, party of, murder 28 Menominies, 137


  Good spirit of Rock Island, 87.

  Galland's description of Sac village, 94.

  Gaines, General, letter to Reynolds, 102
    orders troops to Rock Island, 102
    interview with Black Hawk, 103
    takes possession of Sac village, 103
    treats with the British Band, 104
    his letter to War Department, 106.

  Garland, Maj., takes charge of prisoners, 197
    his release of Black Hawk, 211.


  Harrison, General, account of the conquest of the Illinois tribes, 26
    his treaty with the Sacs and Foxes in 1804, 50.

  Hall, Judge, account of Sac village, 28
    his interview with Black Hawk, 96
    his account of the Sacs and Foxes at Washington, 127.


  Illinois tribes conquered, 15.

  Indians, power to sell lands, 59.

  Johnson, John, letter to Secretary at War, 63.

  Illinois militia, flight at Sycamore creek, 146.

  Irving, Washington, account of Black Hawk, 191.

  Indian dancing ceremonies, 237.


  Kaskaskias conquered, 16.

  Keokuk removes west of Mississippi, 92
    his birth, 114
    age, 115
    admitted to the council-lodge, 116
    bold adventure with the Sioux, 117
    his interview with the Menominies, 119
    in peril with his tribe, 122
    removed from his post of head chief, 123
    re-instated, 124
    delivers up his nephew to be tried for murder, 125
    his letter to Governor of Illinois, 125
    visit to Washington city in 1827 and council with Secretary at War, 127
    visit to Philadelphia, New York and Boston, 132
    speech in reply to Gov. Everett, 133
    return to the west, 135
    character, 135
    his visit to Jefferson barracks, 190
    his speech on the liberation of Black Hawk, 208
    final speech in the council, 213
    his visit to Washington in 1837, 216
    conduct to Black Hawk, 217.


  Lewis and Clark's account of Sacs and Foxes, 45.


  Minneway tribes, 15.

  Mascontins, battle with Sacs and Foxes, 17.

  Memorial to Gov. Reynolds, 102.

  Menominies, murdered by the Foxes, 138.

  Macomb, Gen., report to Secretary at War, 178.


  Naopoke's visit to Malden, 138
    captured, 165
    his testimony before Scott, 166
    at Jefferson barracks, 189.


  Osages, battle with Sacs and Foxes, 75.


  Peorias conquered, 16.

  Primm's account of the attack on St. Louis in 1779, 18.

  Pike's account of Sacs and Foxes, 44.

  Posey, Col., at Buffalo grove, 150.

  Prophet, Wabokieshiek, 168.

  Pashepahow's speech, 212.


  Quashquame, account of treaty of 1804, 58.


  Reynolds, Governor, letter to Clark, 101
    to Gaines, 102
    declares the state to be invaded, 101
    letter to War Department, 106
    orders out the militia and joins Atkinson, 141
    makes a treaty with the Sacs and Foxes, 170.


  Sac and Fox Indians, origin of, 13
    Identity of the tribes, 14
    residence, 14
    removal to the west, 14
    conquest of the Illini tribes, 15
    their attack on St. Louis in 1779, 18
    their village, 28
    their war and peace chiefs, 30
    division into families, 31
    mode of burial, 35
    idea of a future state, 36
    in regard to the creation of the world, 37
    social relations, 41
    musical instruments, 41
    Pike's account of them, 45
    their character for courage, 48
    treaty with the United States in 1789, 49
    ditto at St. Louis in 1804, 50
    they are excited to hostilities by British agents, 62
    offer to fight against England, 63
    part of them join the British standard, 64
    treaty with them 13th Sep. 1815, 64
    ditto 14th Sep. 1815, 64
    ditto with British Band, 64
    relinquish lands in Missouri, 66
    treaty of Prairie des Chiens in 1825, 65
    treaty for mineral region in 1828, 68
    Black Hawk purchase in 1832, 70
    their present residence, 71
    sale of their lands on Rock river, 99
    treaty with Scott and Reynolds, 170
    described by Gov. Cass, 181.

  Stillman, Maj., proceeds to Sycamore creek, 141
    attacks Black Hawk and is defeated, 142
    fires upon Black Hawk's flag of truce, 145.

  Stephenson, J.W., kills some Indians, 149.

  Scott, General, arrival at Rock Island, 165
    treaty with Sacs and Foxes, 170.

  Senecas, their speech to Black Hawk, 203.

  Sioux Indians, sketches of, 222.

  Sale of whiskey to the Indians, 245.


  Wabokieshiek, advice to British Band, 93.

  Warrior's attack on Black Hawk, 153.

  Wapellar's speech, 211.


[1] Schoolcraft's Travels, p. 347.

[2] Published in the Illinois Magazine under the head of "History of St.

[3] James Hall, Esqr.

[4] Chronicles of the North American Savages, No. 4. page 53.

[5] History of the North American Indians, by James Hall, Esq.

[6] James Hall, Esq.

[7] Judge Hall.

[8] Patterson's Life of Black Hawk, dictated by himself.

[9] See Adjutant W. W. Woodbridge's statement.

[10] "The Book of the Indians of North America," p. 127.

[11] This class is admirably described by the author of "Legends of the

[12] See St. Louis Times of 13th April, 1833.

[13] "The Book of the Indians of North America," by Samuel G. Drake of
Boston, containing much interesting matter about the aborigines of this
country, and from which we have copied several of the speeches made upon
the liberation of Black Hawk.

[14] Black Hawk seems to have entertained a warm friendship for Colonel
Davenport. On another occasion, speaking of this council, he said, "I
here met my old friend, a great war chief, [Colonel William Davenport]
whom I had known for eighteen years. He is a good and a brave chief. He
always treated me well, and gave me good advice. He made a speech to me
on this occasion, very different from that of the other chief. It
sounded like coming from a _brave_." He adds, "If our great father were
to make such men our agents, he would much better subserve the interests
of our people, as well as his own, than in any other way; and had the
war chief alluded to, been our agent, we never should have had the
difficulties with the whites which we have had."

Those who have the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with Colonel
Davenport will join in Black Hawk's spontaneous tribute to his character
as a _brave_, and a gentleman of humane and noble feelings.

[15] Colonel Whittlesey, of the Geological Corps of Ohio. See Hesperian
for February, 1839, in which this gentleman has given valuable
recollections of a tour through Wisconsin in 1832.

[16] See Traits of Indian Character, by G. Turner.

[17] See a "Discourse on the Surviving Remnant of the Indian Race in the
United States," by Job R. Tyson, Esq. of Philadelphia.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Great Indian Chief of the West - Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.