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Title: Adair's History of the American Indians
Author: Adair, James
Language: English
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                          Transcriber’s Note:

This volume is a reprint of Adair’s original text. The editor had
preserved the page numbers in the form of bracketed numbers. Those page
breaks frequently were interpolated in mid-word. In this rendering of
the text, those page numbers are moved slightly to allow each word to
complete without hyphenation.

The Adair’s fifty-six footnotes, originally employing ‘*’ and ‘†’, have
been reindexed sequentially using Roman numerals. As the editor informs
us in his Preface, some of these notes were extended by him. Adair’s
portion is followed by ‘(A)’, for Adair, and his own extended remarks
are followed by ‘(W)’, for ‘Williams.’

The editor’s own footnotes were already numbered sequentially from the
first to the last page, beginning again at ‘1’ after the Introduction.
This approach has been retained, however an ‘i’ is prefixed for the
twenty-seven notes in the Introduction.

Adair’s footnotes have been moved to follow the paragraphs in which they
are referenced. The editor’s notes are gathered at the end of each

This version of the text cannot represent certain typographical effects.
Italics are delimited with the ‘_’ character as _italic_.

Minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected. Please
see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details regarding
the handling of any textual issues encountered during its preparation.


                         Adair’s History of the
                            American Indians


                       OTHER WORKS OF THE EDITOR

       William Tatham, Wataugan, 1923 (out of print)
       History of the Lost State of Franklin, 1924 (out of print)
       Memoirs of Lt. Henry Timberlake, ed., 1927
       Early Travels in the Tennessee Country, 1928
       The Beginnings of West Tennessee, 1929


                            Adair’s History
                                 of the
                            American Indians

                   _Edited under the auspices of the
                    National Society of the Colonial
                    Dames of America, in Tennessee_

                      SAMUEL COLE WILLIAMS, LL.D.

[Illustration: colophon]

                           THE WATAUGA PRESS
                        JOHNSON CITY, TENNESSEE


                            COPYRIGHT, 1930
                  _By the National Society of Colonial
                    Dames of America, in Tennessee_


                    Printed in an edition limited to
                         750 copies from type.

                        MANUFACTURED COMPLETE BY
                         KINGSPORT PRESS, INC.
                          KINGSPORT, TENNESSEE
                       _United States of America_


                            EDITOR’S PREFACE

James Adair’s _History of the American Indians_, published in London in
1775, has always been regarded and treated by ethnologists and
historians as reliable authority on the Southern Indians, as well as on
Southern history in a period of no little obscurity. The book has long
been rare, selling in 1930 at one hundred dollars a copy. Recognizing
its value as source material on Southern history of the colonial period,
the National Society of Colonial Dames of America, in Tennessee,
determined to bring out a reprint, which should be annotated to
supplement in some degree Adair’s own detailed and vivid description of
life among the Indians of the South, east of the Mississippi River; of
the Indian trade and traders, and of intrigues and wars that involved
both the red and the white races, in the years of struggle for the
possession of the Mississippi Valley by the French and English.

The writer was asked to undertake the editorial work. The task of
annotation has proceeded on the basis of a reckoning that Adair’s book
is not true to name—a history of the American Indians—but of its being
an account of the principal tribes of the Indians of the Southeast and
of their countries. His work is all the more unique and useful in that
such is its real scope; and the editor’s notes, speaking generally, have
been brought within the same limitation. The London edition carried no
index—a lack that impaired its useability. One is supplied in this

In the Introduction it is purposed to give as full and accurate an
account of Adair, the man, and of his book, as is feasible. In order to
compass this a fairly wide investigation of archives was entered upon
and a correspondence conducted. To Professor R. L. Meriwether, of the
Department of History of the University of South Carolina, Emmett Starr,
of St. Louis, historian of the Cherokee Indians, John R. Swanton, of the
Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, D. C., W. J. Ghent, of the
staff of the _Dictionary of American Biography_, Judge Samuel Martin
Young, of Dixon Springs, Tennessee, Dr. P. M. Hamer, of the Department
of History of the University of Tennessee, and Miss Mary U. Rothrock,
librarian of the Lawson McGhee Library, Knoxville, Tennessee, the editor
is under obligations for aid given in its preparation. An expression of
gratitude cannot be withheld. The editor, also, has had the hearty
coöperation at all times of the officers of the Society which has
promoted the enterprise, not with a view to financial profit, but under
patriotic prompting.

The notes of Adair are indicated by * and other reference marks; those
of the editor by numerals. In cases where the editor has extended notes
of the author the latter’s work is followed by (A) and the editor’s by

The author’s punctuation, spelling and capitalization have been
followed, but the old form of “s” has been changed to the modern. For
the convenience of students in running references to pages of the
original edition its page-numbers are carried into the body of the text
between brackets.

                                               SAMUEL COLE WILLIAMS.

    Johnson City


                          JAMES ADAIR, THE MAN

James Adair has been called by various writers an Englishman, a
Scotchman and an Irishman—and with some basis of fact in each case. He
derived from the historic Irish house of Fitzgerald. Indeed, Fitzgerald
was his true name. That family descends from Walter, son of Other, who
at the time of the Domesday Survey (1086) was castellan of Windsor and
tenant-in-chief of five of the counties of England. His descendants took
active parts in the conquest of Ireland, where one of them in 1346 came
into the Earldom of Kildare. Another line of the Fitzgeralds was that of
the Earls of Desmond, which also descended from Maurice, the founder of
the family in Ireland. The Desmond branch, under the third earl, who was
viceroy of Ireland in 1367-69, became embroiled in difficulties and
suffered defeat, and was captured by a native king of Thomond.

Robert Fitzgerald, whose patrimonial estate was that of Adare, inclusive
of the manor and abbey of that name, is said to have been the eldest son
of Thomas Fitzgerald, sixth Earl of Desmond. In a dispute over the
succession to the estate of his grandfather, Robert Fitzgerald killed
his kinsman Gerald, the “White Knight,” a man of great distinction. A
powerful combination being formed against him, he fled (1675) from
Ireland to Galloway in Scotland. There he was hospitably received as
guest at various baronial houses. He decided to change his name and took
that of Robert Adare from his Irish estate in county Antrim.[i1]

“During his visit, Currie, who held the castle of Dunskey, was declared
a rebel, as an incorrigible robber and pirate. A proclamation was made
that whoever should produce Currie, dead or alive, should be rewarded by
his lands. Robert Adare saw an opening by which to retrieve his
fortunes, and watched the castle of Dunskey by day and night. At length
the redoubtable robber issued one evening from his hold with few
attendants, and was instantly followed by Adare, who, engaging him hand
to hand, got the better of him, drove him slowly backwards and at last
dispatched him outright by a blow from the hilt of his sword. Possessing
himself of the robber’s head, Adare hastened to court with all
convenient speed, and, presenting his trophy to the king, (as tradition
says) on the point of his sword, his Majesty was pleased to order his
enfestment in the lands and castle of the rebel. His family was known as
the Adairs of Portree, and when a castle was built on the spot [in
Dumfrieshire] where Currie was struck down, it was called Kilhilt, from
which the Adairs took designation.”[i2]

Alexander Adair of Kilhilt held the barony, so obtained from Robert I of
Scotland, during the reign of James V of Scotland, and the barony was in
the possession of the family in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
A Sir Robert Adair was a member of the public committee of Wigtonshire
during the factious period of 1642 to 1649.[i3]

Sir Robert Adair, perhaps son of the above, removed from Scotland to
Ireland before the battle of the Boyne, which was fought in July, 1690,
he having sold his Scottish estate to Lord Stair. It is inferable that
he settled in county Antrim, where our author James Adair was born,
about 1709.

James Adair is silent on the point of his parentage and birth-date; but
it is probable that he was a younger son of this last mentioned Sir
Robert Adair; and that, as has been the case with so many scions of
noble and other houses of Great Britain, facing the vice-grip of the law
primogeniture, he preferred the freedom and opportunities of distant

Animated by something of the spirit of his distant ancestor, James Adair
migrated and appeared in South Carolina in 1735, landing at Charles
Town, in high probability.[i4]

Shortly after his arrival Adair engaged in the Indian trade, then a
business more gainful than was the case in the later years of his
career. In 1736 he was a trader to the Cherokees, and mentions an
incident “in Kanootare, the most northern town of the Cherokee.”[i5]
This town was probably identical with Connutre laid down on George
Hunter’s Map of 1730, in the upper part of the territory occupied by the
Middle Cherokees in the southwestern part of North Carolina. It seems
probable that he formed a connection or traded in that section with
George Haig,[i6] called by Adair “our worthy and much lamented
friend.”[i7] At the Congaree Thomas Brown, also mentioned by Adair
(T.B.), had (1735-1747) a large trading establishment from which the
Cherokees and Catawbas were supplied. Haig was associated with Brown,
and Adair in likelihood had his first transactions as a trader from that
post, visiting both of the tribes mentioned.

Adair’s book gives evidence of the fact that he was among the Overhill
(or Western) Cherokees in the Tennessee Country, whose towns were on the
Tennessee (now Little Tennessee) River, and its branches. Our author,
however, is tantalizingly sparing of dates in that regard. He,
doubtless, came in contact with the enthusiast Priber while the latter
was among the Overhill Cherokees engaged in the projection and
establishment of his “red empire,” in the years 1737-1743.

The same thing is true of the Catawbas. He speaks of his “residence with
them,” but his census of them, of the year 1743, is the only indication
of the period of his stay.

In 1744 Adair transferred his residence and operations to the Chickasaw
nation in what is now North Mississippi. An eastern band of that tribe
had a considerable village across the Savannah River from Augusta,
Georgia, in South Carolina. It is likely that Adair conducted a trade
with the warriors of that village, either from the Congaree or Charles
Town; and becoming measurably conversant with the Chickasaw language,
sought a trade among the main branch of the tribe in the West, where
competition was less keen.

It was among his “cheerful brave Chikkasah” that Adair brought his
career as a trader and diplomat to peak. The innate independence and
bravery of the Chickasaws appealed to him. The glorious history they had
but recently made in two contests with the French and their numerous red
allies under Bienville challenged his admiration. The Chickasaws
reciprocated. They and Adair were well met. Theirs was a kinship of
spirit. It is manifest that he, alongside their chiefs, was their leader
on bloody forays against enemy Indians, particularly the Shawnees, then
in the French interest. If that were possible, he instilled in the
Chickasaws a stronger dislike of the French. That age-old hatred did
more and very much more to save the Mississippi Valley to the English
than histories of our country have so far recorded.

About a year or two after Adair entered upon his life among the
Chickasaws, in the winter of 1745-46, he saw an opportunity to extend
the influence of the Anglo-Americans of Carolina and win at least a
portion of the populous Choctaw nation from the French at New Orleans.
This chance lay in the fact that the goods supplied the Choctaws by
French traders were inferior to goods of English make; and, usually,
they were sold at higher prices. Added to this were the seeds of a
schism among the Choctaws. The forceful but mercurial chief Red Shoes
was leader of one faction. Adair sough to reach and win him, following
the violation of Red Shoes’ favorite wife by a French trader from Fort
Tombikbe (Tombigbee). Adair, in carrying out his plan, had the material
aid of John Campbell, a Carolina trader who had been much longer among
the Chickasaws and Choctaws than the prime mover himself. During the
summer of 1746, with the authority and concurrence of Governor James
Glen, of South Carolina, Adair made presents to the already deeply
incensed Red Shoes and to his followers. The two leaders, white and red,
planned a break with the French—called by the French “the Choctaw
rebellion.” Internecine war was now flagrant among the Choctaws. The
faction of Red Shoes attacked not only the tribesmen who remained true
to the old alliance, but also settlements of the French on the
Mississippi and their commerce on the river. In acknowledgement of his
leadership scalps were brought to Adair.

As successful intriguer Adair naturally expected to be rewarded by the
South Carolina government. He claimed that Governor Glen had committed
himself to see to the grant to Adair and his friends of a monopoly of
the Choctaw trade for a term of years.[i8] Instead, Glen, it was
charged, formed a company—called by Adair the “Sphynx Company”—composed
of his brother and two others to conduct the trade thus opened up. The
sight of three hundred and sixty horse-loads of goods passing to the
Choctaw Country must have enraged Adair. His bitterness towards Governor
Glen was ever afterwards manifest, often in biting sarcasm and
invective.[i9] Adair attributed to this breach of plighted faith his
personal bankruptcy.

Charles McNaire was entrusted by the “Sphynx Company” with the above
cargo of goods, but he proved inadequate to the task. Glen appealed to
Adair to help McNaire out of his difficulties. This Adair says he did on
a renewal of promises of a reward, which was never forthcoming. The
conjuncture of the death of Red Shoes at the hands of an emissary of the
French, and McNaire’s mismanagement brought the “Sphynx Company” to
disaster, not to say retribution.

“Apparently Glen withdrew his patronage of the Sphynx Company. Adair
seems to charge that he turned now to prevent ‘two other
gentlemen’—presumably Matthew Roche and his partner—getting recompense
for losses in the venture,[i10] whereupon a controversy arose between
his Excellency and Matthew Roche, one of the partners, it seems, in the
course of which the latter printed a pamphlet, ‘A Modest Reply to the
Governor’s Answer to an Affidavit made by McNaire.’” (Meriwether)[i11]
The pamphlet incorporated a letter written by Adair on some phase of the
transactions. In umbrage, the Governor asked the Common’s House of the
province to have its committee on Indian affairs investigate and report
on the controversy. This was done. The report branded Roche’s pamphlet
“a false and malicious paper, throwing unjust and slanderous aspersions
on the governor’s honor and character,” and declared Adair’s letter to
be so contradictory of a previous one he had written as to be unworthy
of credit.

“Adair’s was not the only charge against Glen of his having investments
in the Indian trade and of having his official acts influenced thereby.
The fact of such investments is indicated by a suit brought by him which
involved several dealers in the Indian trade, by his relations with
Cherokee traders, such as Grant and Elliott, and by his failure to deny
charges. The bad policy of this is, of course, beyond question, but of
actual fraud there is no evidence.” (Meriwether)

Adair was far from being satiated. He was not content to allow the
contest for his deserts to thus end. He now, for the first time, turned
author and wrote his own brochure or book in vindication. This he
announced by way of an advertisement in the _South Carolina Gazette_ of
April 9, 1750:

“Shortly will be published—A Treatise upon the Importance and Means of
Securing—The Choctaw Nation of Indians—in the British Interest—In which
are interpreted many curious _remarks_—Concerning the History, Policy
and Interest of the Nation—with—Several incontestable Reasons, and
chronological observations, to prove, that the Year of Our Lord 1738 was
several Years antecedent to the year 1747—To which is added—A Genuine
Account—of the most remarkable _Occurences_ since that Period of
Time—Concluding with—Some _Scenes of a Farce_, as the same was some time
ago first rehearsed in private, and afterwards acted publickly; in which
are contained some comical and instructive _Dialogues_ between several
modest _Pretenders_ to the Merit of a certain Revolt, said by them to be
lately projected and effected—The whole supported by Records, Original
Letters, and Living Witnesses.”[i12]

This production was announced in title form or display, but is here
given with dashes to indicate the several lines and divisions. While the
name of no author is given, the prospectus is unmistakably Adair’s—in
his style down to the peculiar punctuation, as well as in its satire. No
one else had the knowledge of the Choctaw intrigue and revolt along with
the literary skill requisite. The reference to “pretenders to the merit
of a certain revolt” is explained by the fact that four different
traders laid claims to the honor of and reward for the Choctaw

Adair petitioned the legislative body of the province for reimbursement
of expenses in bringing about the revolt; but his memorial was rejected
during Governor Glen’s administration, May, 1750. “With a flow of
contrary passions I took leave of our gallant Chikkasah friends,” whom
he had accompanied down to Charles Town. Bankrupt in purse and deeply
resentful in feeling, Adair now entered upon the most trying and morally
perilous period of his career in America. He was off to the Cherokees,
and, we may suspect, to strong drink in association with hardy but
inferior men. He seems to have made head-quarters for a time at the home
of James Francis, an Indian trader of Saluda Town, then to have left for
the Overhill towns with a son-in-law of Francis, Henry Foster. Inquiries
from Glen as to whereabouts and doings followed after him. James Francis
must have pretended ignorance when he wrote (July 24, 1751) to the
governor: “I made it my business to be diligent in my inquiry after him
[Adair] but could no ways understand where he was to be found or I
should have gone any distance of ground to have acquainted him with your
Excellency’s pleasure. She [Mrs. Flood] said that he told her he was
directly going to quit the country and gott a passage from norward to

Adair says that at this time he was tempted by the French to enter into
their service. His letter to Wm. Pinckney of Charles Town, commissioner
for Indian affairs, sheds light upon this stage of his career and his
distraught mental condition. It was written as he was near the Overhill
towns on May 7, 1751. It is of value, too, as showing Adair’s raw
composition—written in the saddle, so to speak:

  “I last summer wrote to the Honble Council and you, each a letter,
  shewing the Force I lay under of going to the French; the Contents
  were very large and the why as uncommon, to which I refer you.
  Monsieur endeavored to Tempt me with Thirty two thousand Livers, which
  not taking they formed Bills of Capital Crimes against me, and
  retained me as close Prisoner for three weeks. In short, for all the
  consequences of the Choctaw war. The world thinks it strange that I
  should be Punished both by the English and French, for that in effect
  that I was some [time] for the one and against the other in time of a
  hot war. But so it happens in Iron-age; only that I behaved like a
  desperado against their garrison, I should have been Hang’d &
  Gibbetted, for they had the plainest proof and clearest circumstances
  against me. Besides I need not mention their policy, envy and

  “This spring I went to the Cherokees, and saw the most evident Tokens
  of war, for Capt. Francis’s son and I were in great danger of being
  cut off by a gang of nor’wd Indians down within Ten Miles of the
  Nation. The evening before I left the Nation a gang of the Cherokees
  returned from the southw’d who killed some white men in Georgia and
  were concluding that night to cut us off. All night we stood on our
  arms; and John Hatton (who was born there and a desperate man besides)
  persuaded us to break off with him to Carolina, but we deferred it and
  the Indians the execution of their designs, yet in the narrow all the
  headmen of Keeokee and Istanory came with Three Linguists and
  Persuaded me to write to his Excellency a most Cunning Remonstrance
  and Pet’n which they dictated; the First Extinuating their crimes and
  murdering the white men and the other requesting some Swivel Guns.
  Several of the Traders, as they were unacquainted with Letters,
  desired me to write to His Excellency & Council the unhappy &
  dangerous situation of affairs in the nation that they might use
  proper measures against the then desponding consequences, for they
  told me the Government disregarded their Reports; and indeed I have
  found the Gov’t very remiss in the like affairs, and being used Ill
  and my credit small after having served them in a continued chain of
  actions, I thought myself blamable to have writ because every Faulty
  character of Indian was rejected, yet to serve the Country I offered
  to Captn Francis to prove on oath all that I knew of the affair. If
  Carol’a designs [not] to stand on the defensive part and willing to
  give me that encouragement which I possibly might merit as well, in
  this, I should induce the Chickesaws at Augusta and many brave
  woods-men to engage in the Publick Service, and, if I’m not mistaken
  in myself, with such Brave Wanton fellows I should be somewhat
  remarkable. I thot I was bound to write so much on sev’l

                                                 “JAMES ADAIR.”[i13]

Adair now passed practically out of public view for several years. Was
he among the Overhill Cherokees, as an irregular, unlicensed trader; or
was he among the eastern band of the Chickasaws engaged in writing his

In 1753, Cornelius Doherty, the old trader, wrote Governor Glen that “a
great many of the Cherokees were gone to Chickasaws to assist them
against the French.” Under Adair’s prompting, in order to aid his well
loved tribe in their dire straits?

On Governor Glen’s visit to Ninety-Six in May, 1756, Adair saw him and
gives details in his book (p. 244). He also met Governor William Henry
Lyttleton at Fort Moore two years later. Lyttleton seems to have made a
favorable impression upon him—quite in contrast with Glen.

Adair was emboldened by the new Governor’s attitude again to petition
for a reimbursement of losses incident to the Choctaw affair. In so
doing he was not able to refrain from tart language. This the
legislature of the province was glad enough to seize upon, with result:

“April 28, 1761. A memorial of James Adair was presented to the House
and the same containing improper and indecent language was Rejected
without being read thro’.”

Adair evidently thought that his former service followed by aid he had
given to the province in its war with the Cherokees just terminated had
justly earned for him better treatment. Into that struggle he had thrown
himself whole-heartedly.

Due to unfortunate happenings in the western part of Virginia—the
killing by frontiersmen of above a dozen Cherokee warriors, including
some of prominence, as they were returning from an expedition in aid of
Virginia against the hostile Shawnees, in 1756—and due, also, to
subsequent mismanagement of affairs in South Carolina, war with the
Cherokees was in prospect towards the middle of the year 1759, and
flagrant in the winter and summer following.[i14] In June a force of
about eleven hundred men under Colonel Archibald Montgomery (later Lord
Eglington) started from Charles Town to reduce the Cherokee towns and
relieve the province’s garrison at Fort Loudoun-on-Little Tennessee,
which had been beseiged by the Cherokees, aided by Creeks.

Adair in his _History_ says that “having been in a singular manner
recommended to his Excellency [Lyttleton], the general, I was preëngaged
for that campaign”—to lead a body of the Eastern Chickasaws. In the
course of preparations Lieutenant-Governor Bull transmitted to the
legislature the offer of Adair to lead without pay the eastern band of
the Chickasaws settled on the Savannah River; these to act as a scouting
party in advance of the troops. Of this small detachment at Saluda Old
Town we get glimpses. Governor Lyttleton in his march up-country was
“joined by 40 Chickasaws, 27 good gunmen, all likely young fellows. The
Chickasaws were drawn up in line and received the Governor with rested
arms. They were all dressed and painted in war attire. At night the
Cherokees attempted to send a string of wampum to the Chickasaws.”[i15]
“Last night [November 17, 1759] we arrived here in five days march from
the Congaree. We met at this camp twenty-seven Chickasaws, the only
allies we have yet seen; they are sprightly young fellows and hearty in
our cause.”[i16]

The Chickasaws would have been valuable as scouts, but for some reason
they were not so used. Montgomery’s campaign went well in the Lower
Cherokee Country, but disaster overtook it in the Middle towns. The
troops “fell into an ambuscade, by which many were wounded; and tho’ the
enemy were everywhere driven off, yet the number of our wounded
increased so fast that it was thought advisable to return as fast as
possible. In these covers a handful of men may ruin an army.” Fort
Loudoun was left to its sad fate.[i17]

South Carolina was in deep humiliation over the retreat of Montgomery to
Fort Prince George. From that place (July 19, 1760) it was reported:
“This morning about nine o’clock arrived here capt. John Brown, with 13
white men dressed and painted like Indians, and 43 Chickasaws, who came
with intent to join Col. Montgomery, not having heard of his return. The
declaration of capt. John Brown, who, with capt. Adair, heads the
Chickasaws, that are come to join Col. Montgomery, imports that the day
before he left the Breed Camp, the Chickasaws advised him, if he wanted
to save his life to go immediately and leave his effects to their care
... for there was no trusting the Creeks any longer who had agreed to
fall on the English.”[i18]

Letters from the expeditionary force, yet preserved in the archives at
Columbia, show that Captain Adair and his party of Chickasaws were bold
and active, doubtless serving as scouts.[i19] In July following, the sum
of two hundred pounds, currency, was included in the appropriation bill
as his compensation. Adair, in 1759, was for attacking and vigorously
pressing the war, but his advice was not attended to. In the meantime
aid had come to the Cherokees from the Creeks under Great Mortar.

Carolina’s prestige was in eclipse, and another campaign was planned for
1761, led by Colonel James Grant, Virginia troops advancing, though
leisurely,[i20] under Colonel Wm. Byrd III, to assist in the subjugation
of the Cherokees in the Overhill towns. Adair’s _History_ indicates his
connection with Grant’s expedition, but is barren of details and it has
proven difficult to trace elsewhere the part he took.

To the far-away Chickasaws, the trader turned to recoup his fortunes
after the termination of the Cherokee War and his repulse in the matter
of his second memorial. There was real need for Adair’s services on the
part of that gallant people. The French were attempting to make a breach
between them and the Choctaws. They were “in great want of ammunition”
and goods.[i21] Adair chose Mobile as mart for his peltry, after the
surrender of the country by the French under the peace treaty of 1763.

Existing records testify to the fact that Adair aided the authorities in
efforts to prevent the Chickasaws being debauched by rum and to hold
unprincipled traders in leash. He supported the commissary of the
government of West Florida, in February, 1766, in the arrest and
prosecution of John Buckles and Alexander McIntosh, in a “Memorandum of
some Material Heads,” in which his powers of invective did not fail to
outcrop: McIntosh “debauched the Indians with rum to the uneasiness and
disgust of orderly traders, the loss of their numerous outstanding debts
and every chance of fair trade ... faithful to his black trust, in his
Arabian-like method of plundering the Indians.... He would make a new
Hell of this place, and it is hoped that he may go thru’ Purgatory

It was during this stay (1761-68) among them that the greater portion of
his _History of the American Indians_ was written. He left his oft-tried
and true friends, the Chickasaws, in the early part of May, 1768,[i23]
and went to the North—doubtless to interview Sir Wm. Johnson for
materials with which to enlarge the scope of his work, his own
experience and observations having been confined to the leading tribes
of the South.

Of Adair in London in 1775 we have not a glimpse. Did he visit Scotland
and Ireland among his kinsmen?

His closing years constitute for the researcher the most baffling period
of his career. Dr. James B. Adair in his _Adair History and Genealogy_
(1924) says that he settled and married in North Carolina after his
return from London in 1775. The locality and name of the woman he is
supposed to have married are not given. On the other hand, Emmett Starr,
the Cherokee historian and genealogist, states in a letter to the writer
that Adair never married. If an inference may be indulged, it seems that
it was in the western part of North Carolina that he settled—the region
west of the Alleghanies, now known as Lower East Tennessee, near the
Tennessee-Georgia line. There a landing on Conesauga River bore the name
“Adair,” a point of transit of shipments by way of the Hiwassee after
portage from Hildebrand’s landing on the Hiwassee, in a somewhat later
period. Just across the state line in Georgia is the village of Adair.

Another fact adds weight to the inference: the descendants of Adair
related their nativity to that region. Without doubt Adair left his
blood strain among the Cherokee and Chickasaws. As those of colonial
days would express it, he was too “full-habited” to have made himself an
exception to the custom of traders resident among the red tribes to form
alliance with Indian maidens, with resultant offspring.

Emmett Starr, in his _History of the Cherokee Indians_, 403, gives:

            “1^1———— Adair
                     1^2 John Adair m. Jennie Kilgore
                     2^2 Edward Adair m. Elizabeth Martin.”

The name of the mother of these two sons of “—— Adair” is not given.
Starr’s genealogical table gives the descendants down to recent times,
among them those of the Mayes family. The blank in the name of the
father may be supplied from a sketch of Joel Bryan Mayes, a Cherokee
chief, and chief justice of the court of last resort of the Cherokee
Nation, in _Appleton’s Encyclopedia of American Biography_, IV, 275:
Mayes “was born in the Cherokee reservation in Georgia, October 2, 1833.
His mother was of mixed blood and descended on the paternal side from
James Adair, an Indian agent [trader] under George III.”[i24]

Starr in a letter to the editor says: “John and Edward Adair, brothers,
married Cherokees and have had a numerous progeny. Their descendants
furnished the most brilliant strain in the old Cherokee Nation,
especially when their blood was blended with the blood of descendants of
General Joseph Martin,[i25] of Virginia-Tennessee, whose descendants
have always been numerous in the Nation. Two of these, William Penn
Adair and Lucian Burr Bell were the brainiest men that I ever met.”
Elizabeth Martin, mentioned above, was in girlhood a resident of Lower
East Tennessee, at Wachowee on a branch of Hiwassee River. Her mother,
Betty, was the daughter of the great Nancy Ward, the Beloved Woman of
the Overhill Cherokees and friend of the white race, and her father was
General Joseph Martin, agent of Virginia among the Cherokees.[i26]

Miss Skinner in her _Pioneers of the Old Southwest_, seemingly
fascinated by Adair, gives 15 of 285 pages to him and his book. She
attributes the arrest of Briber to Adair. “As a Briton, Adair
contributed to Priber’s fate.... Since the military had failed, other
means must be employed; the trader provided them.” This is without
justification in fact. She is fairer elsewhere in her estimate of Adair,
whom she called “Tennessee’s first author”: “His voluminous work
discloses a man not only of wide mental outlook but a practical man with
a sense of commercial values.... The complete explanation of such a man
as Adair we need not expect to find stated anywhere—not even in and
between the lines of his book. The conventionalist would seek it in
moral obliquity; the radical in a temperament that is irked by the
superficialities that comprise so large a part of conventional
standards. The reason for his being what he was is almost the only thing
Adair did not analyze in his book. Perhaps, to him, it was

That Adair was a man of liberal education, for his period, seems clear.
A self-disclosure is that of his applying himself to the mastery of the
rudiments of the Hebrew language among the redmen whom he was studying.
A curious picture that calls for an effort at visualization is that of
Adair, the forest student, traversing the toilsome trail to Charles Town
with peltry to trade for books. It is somewhat difficult to see him,
again, at the head of a band of painted warriors faring forth along the
Massac trace through the dense woods of what is now West Tennessee, or
along the early Natchez trail, west of the Tennessee River and in the
same region, bound for the North on a mission which was, in essence, one
for the British Empire and against that Empire’s antagonist for the
Great Valley of the Mississippi. Yet harder to see in the lover of
erudition is the rollicking Adair, in near-abandon in a period of
stress, finding “brave and cheerful companionship” with an illiterate
and coarse-grained white man, the two riding carelessly along a
dangerous path, singing as they went, each braced by “a hearty draught
of punch,” and further companioned by a keg of rum. Wherever and however
seen, his was an unusual figure, riding, we may be sure, a coveted
Chickasaw steed through vast forest reaches, silhouetted against a
background of forest-green. Whether knight errant or dare-devil, or a
commingling of both, he rode into mundane immortality. He has broken
into every book of comprehensive biography, in whatever language, which
has any sort of pretension of thoroughness.

Adair was a good diplomat in dealing with his inferiors. He was not
diplomatic in his attitude towards those who were officially his
superiors. An acridity of speech, an unsmooth temper and not a little
vanity brought him to breach with such when he deemed himself
mistreated. In an audience with Governor Glen his own words “seemed to
lie pretty sharply upon him.” Adair was a good hater: of Glen, the
French and the Romanists, in particular. But, as is not unusual in such
cases, he was ardent in his friendships—for the Chickasaws in
particular. As “an English Chickasaw,” he recognized in that tribe all
that was best in the Amerind: love of their land, constancy in hatred
and friendship, sagacity, alertness and consummate intrepidity.

                                THE BOOK

Adair purposed a publication of his book several years before the date
of its actual London publication in 1775. In the _South Carolina
Gazette_ of September 7, 1769, it was said: “An account of the origin of
the primitive inhabitants and a history of those numerous warlike tribes
of Indians, situated to the westward of Charles Town are subjects
hitherto unattempted by any pen.... Such an attempt has been made by Mr.
James Adair, a gentleman who has been conversant among the Cherokees,
Chickesaws, Choctaws, etc., for thirty-odd years past; and who, by the
assistance of a liberal education, a long experience among them and a
genius naturally formed for curious enquiries, has written essays on
their origin, language, religion, customary methods of making war and
peace, etc.” It was also announced that the author was “going over to
England soon to prepare for publication.” The _Savannah Georgia Gazette_
of October 11, 1769, carried a similar item, of date New York, February

In October both these newspapers published Adair’s prospectus of the
book, proposed to be sold by subscription. In the “Proposals” the title
was displayed in customary title-form—differing much in wording from the
title page of the 1775 publication:

  “_Proposals for printing by Subscription_: Essays on the Origin,
  History, Language, Religion, and religious Rites, Priests or Magi,
  Customs, Civil Policy, Methods of declaring and carrying on War, and
  of making Peace, Military Laws, Agriculture, Buildings, Exercise,
  Sports, Marriage and Funeral Ceremonies, Habits, Diet, Temper,
  Manners, etc., of the Indians on the Continent of North America,
  particularly of the several Nations or Tribes of the Catawbas,
  Cherokees, Creeks, Chickesaws, and Choctaws, inhabiting the Western
  Parts of the Colonies of Virginia, North and South Carolina, and
  Georgia. Also some Account of the Countries, Description of Uncommon
  Animals, etc., interspersed with useful Observations relating to the
  Advantages arising to Britain from her Trade with those Indians; of
  the best Method of managing them, and of conciliating their
  Affections, and therefore extending the said Trade. Also several
  interesting Anecdotes Collected in a Residence of the great Part of 33
  years among the Indians themselves,

                                                     By JAMES ADAIR.

  “_Conditions_: The Work will be Comprised in two Octavo Volumes, and
  be put to press in London, as soon as a sufficient number of
  Subscriptions are obtained, and will be printed on a good Paper, with
  Letter entirely new.

  “The Price to Subscribers will be two Spanish Dollars, one of which
  will be paid at the Time of subscribing, and the other on the Delivery
  of the Books.

  “Subscriptions are taken by the Printer of this _Gazette_.”

There is no evidence that Adair in pursuance of his purpose went to
London at this time. He did go to New York in 1768 and there in the
early part of the following year issued a prospectus, in like manner.
While there he visited Sir William Johnson at Johnson Hall. This visit,
with subsequent incidents, is shown in a correspondence between Johnson,
Gage and Adair which appears in _The Documentary History of New York_,
IV, 251-252, 259-262. The letters afford side-lights on our author and
his book:

                        Johnson to General Gage:

                                            Johnson hall Decr. 10th 1768

  “Dear Sir: This letter is addressed to you at the intreaty of the
  Bearer Mr. Adair, who I am informed was for many years a Trader of
  first consequence amongst the Cherokees &c. I believe his present
  Circumstances are very indifferent but he conceives he has a prospect
  of some advantages in view from the Publication of a manuscript he has
  wrote on the Manners, Customs & History of the Southern Indians,
  tending to prove their descent from the Hebrews, which performance
  shews him a man well acquainted with the Languages, and very Curious
  in his Remarks. His design is to go for England and (if he may be
  allowed) to take some Chickasaws with him, & as none of that Nation
  were ever there he conceives it would be for the public advantage to
  Shew them the greatness and power of the English.

  “I apprehend that your Patronage in whatever shape you may please to
  Countenance his design, is his principal object. If he is worthy of it
  in any degree my recommendation is needless—His appearance may not be
  much in his favor and his voluminous Work may rather be deemed Curious
  than entertaining, but he is certainly well acquainted with the
  Southern Indians, and a man of Learning tho Rusticated by 30 years
  residence in a Wild Country—He thinks that I could serve him by
  mentioning him to you, and I hope that his importunity in consequence
  of that opinion will apologize for the Liberty I have taken in Giving
  you this Trouble.”

               Adair to Johnson, of March or April, 1769:

  “Sire, About a month ago, I did myself ye pleasure of writing to you,
  both in complyance to yr kindly request, and my own ardent
  inclination. And, now, I re-assume it, returning you my most hearty
  thanks, for your civilities and favours of each kind.

  “In a great measure, I ascribe to you, my Maecenas, that ye Revd.
  Messrs. Inglis and Ogilvie, ye Professors of ye College, and a good
  many of ye Learned, here, including, in a very particular manner, the
  good-humourd, the sensible, the gay, ye witty, & polite, Sir Henry
  Moore, have taken me into their patronage; Tho’ I’m sorry to say that
  Genrl Gage paid so little regard to yr friendly letter in my behalf,
  as not to order his Aid de Camp to introduce me when I called to wait
  on him. Indeed he subscribed for two Setts of my Indian Essays and
  History. And so do several other Gent on account of their reputed
  merit; for ye Learned applaud ye performance. In short, Sir, I look
  down, with a philosophic eye, on that, or any such, neglect as a most
  imaginary trifle. Especially, if what I said to a curious &
  inquisitive Son of Caledonia, concerning ye well-known mismanagement,
  & ill situation, of our Indian affairs, westwardly, should have
  occasioned it; For truth will prevail, when painted with its genuine
  honest colours.

  “In ye historical part, I shall put myself under yr most friendly
  patronage, and yt of Sir Henry Moore, and do myself ye particular
  favour of writing to each of you, from ye southward, before I sett off
  to England, next summer. As His Excelly has not only induced ye Honble
  members of His Majestys Council to give a sanction to my performance,
  and engaged to perswade ye Commons House of Assembly to follow their
  Copy; But, likewise to continue to take in subscriptions, till ye
  Books are published, and remit me a Bill, on ye agent, at London, as
  soon as he has heard, by ye public accounts, of their being in the
  Press. I’m hopeful, you’ll be pleased to excuse my freedom of
  infolding, in this, a New-York printed Proposal; and that yr patriotic
  temper will incite You to shew it to such Lovers of letters, as
  frequent your Hall, in order to gain, at least, nominal subscriptions,
  and give a sanction to the Treatise in Europe. Likewise, yt when I do
  myself ye honour of writing to you, again, you’ll be so kind as to
  remit me their names, at London, according to request.

  “I’ve room to be pretty certain, that four of yr learned friends here;
  viz, the Revd Doctor Acmody, the Revd Doctor Cooper, and ye Revd
  Messrs Inglis and Ogilvie, A.M. will, thro’ a true benevolence of
  heart, recommend me to the notice of ye President of ye Society for
  propogating ye Gospel, in order to obtain a missionary for our old
  friendly Chickosahs; and likewise, their patronage in ye publication
  of my Indian work. When you’re writing to my Lord Hillsborough, should
  yr own public spirit induce you to recommend me to his patronage it
  would prove a great advance towards obtaining satisfaction for what ye
  Governmt is indebted me. That, & ye like, I leave yr own kindness of
  heart, which always leads and directs you, in support of a generous

  “Please to give my most hearty respects to yr cheerful and most
  promising favourite son, Sir John, to ye gay, ye kindly, & ye witty
  Coll Johnson, to his discreet and most amiable Lady, & their pretty
  little Sheelah Grah, who is ye lovely and lively picture of them both.
  To all yours, One by one; To Coll Class & his Lady; To ye Gent with
  you, &c; and to accept ye same, from,

                   “Great Sir Yr very obliged & most Hble Servt
                                                      “JAMES ADAIR.”

             Adair to Johnson, New York, April 30th, 1769:

  “Great Sire, Tho’ I’m just on ye point of returning southwardly, by ye
  way of Philadelphia; yet my gratitude & intense affection incite me to
  send you these lines in return for yr kindness to me at yr hospitable
  Hall; And for yr kindly patronage of my weak & honest productions, on
  ye Origin of ye Indian Americans. All ranks of ye learned, here, have
  subscribed to their being published in London, a half year, hence. And
  ye two volumes, Octavo, wh they consist of, I do myself ye particular
  honour, from an innate generous principle, to dedicate to you & Sir
  Henry Moore; For tho’ he has not seen ye manuscripts, yet, on ye
  strong recommendations of ye Learned, he has patronised me, both here,
  and in ye Islands, and every where else, that his good nature &
  philosophic temper you’d think of. My great Hybernian Maecenas, as
  yo’ve approved of my Indian performance, from yr own knowledge and
  accurate observations, I’m fully perswaded, that, upon my
  sollicitation, you’ll take some convenient opportunity to recommend me
  to ye notice of Lord Hillsborough, yr friends in Ireland, &c. For, you
  know, I came from ye Southward, on purpose to apply to yr friendly
  mediation, of which General Gage has taken notice, on the account, as
  I’m informed by the Clergy, of certain (supposed) Stuart’s principles.
  Opposition makes honest men, only, the more intent and ther’s a
  certain time for every thing. As ye two letters I did myself ye
  pleasure to write to you, from ys place, sufficiently indicate,
  according to my opinion.

  “Please to excuse ys hurry’d-off scroll and to give my sincere and
  lasting respects to yr honb extensive family, one by one; and to
  accept the same, from

                   “Great Sire yr obliged, & very devoted Hble Servt
                                                      “JAMES ADAIR.”

                    Johnson to Adair, May 10, 1769:

  “Sir, I have received two of your Letters since your departure, a
  third which you speak of, never came to hands, but from the others I
  find with pleasure that you have met with the Countenance & patronage
  of the Gentlemen you mention & I sincerely wish they may prove of
  Service to you, tho’ I am concerned that you met with any neglect from
  the quarter you speak of however I am hopefull that the protection you
  have hitherto found will prove a good introduction to your Curious
  performance, & that its publication will tend to your reputation &
  Interest, to which I shall gladly Contribute as far as in me Lyes. I
  am obliged to you for your Intentions respecting the Dedication, which
  I should chuse to decline but that I would not disappoint your good
  intentions, tho’ I would check the flowings of a friendly pen which
  unrestrained might go farther than is consistent with my inclinations.

  “I return you your printed proposals, Subscribed to by myself & family
  with Two or Three others, which are as many as I have hitherto had an
  opportunity of Laying them before, & the time you spent in these parts
  has enabled you I presume to know enough of its Inhabitants not to be
  Surprised that a Work of that Nature shod meet with such Small
  encouragement. Sir John, Col. Johnson &c thank you kindly for the
  manner in which you have remembered them, heartily wishing you
  success, & be assured that I shall be glad to serve you in your
  undertaking as well as to hear of your prosperity being Sir,

                    “Your real Well Wisher & very humble Servt
                                                      “WM. JOHNSON.”

Was there a publication of his book in Boston in 1770? In that
encyclopedic biographical work in French, _Nouvelle Biographie
Générall_, I, 214, in an article on Adair, it is said that he published
an interesting work, entitled _History of the American Indians_,
“Boston, 1770, in—4^o; reimprime a Londres en 1775.” The editor,
intrigued by this statement, has made assiduous search and corresponded
widely to secure corroboration of the statement as to such Boston
edition. The particulars as to the format of the edition, differing
materially from that of the London publication, and Adair’s announced
intention (1769-70) to publish shortly seemed to lend support; but from
every source the reply of leading bibliographers has been: No such
edition is known, and, it is believed, there was none. This statement as
to an edition in 1770 and the prospectus of the book of 1750 have been,
to the writer, bibliographical ghosts, gliding in and out, exciting
curiosity, and leading to search and yet further search—only to end in
the bog of thwart. The like uncertainty attaches to more than one phase
of the career of Adair, the man.

It is clear that the manuscript of the book published at London in 1775
was revised after 1769-70. Events are narrated in the _History_ which
occurred in the period 1770-74.

Elias Boudinot, one time president of the Continental Congress and
author of _A Star in the West_, in that work states:

“The writer of these sheets has made great use of Mr. Adair’s history of
the Indians, which renders it necessary that something should be further
said of him. Sometime about the year 1774, or 1775, Mr. Adair came to
Elizabeth-Town, where the writer then lived, with his manuscript, and
applied to Mr. [Wm.] Livingston, afterwards governor of the state of
New-Jersey, a correct scholar, well known for his literary abilities and
knowledge of the belle-lettres, requesting him (Livingston) to correct
his manuscript for him. He brought ample recommendations, and gave a
good account of himself.

“Our political troubles then increasing, Mr. Adair, who was on his way
to Great-Britain, was advised not to risk being detained from his
voyage, till the work could be critically examined, but to get off as
soon as possible. He accordingly took passage in the first vessel that
was bound to England.

“As soon as the war was over, the writer sent to London and obtained a
copy of the work. After reading it with care, he strictly examined a
gentleman, then a member with him in Congress, of excellent character,
who had acted as our Indian agent to the southward, during the war,
(without letting him know the design) and from him found all the leading
facts mentioned herein, fully confirmed, by his own personal knowledge.”

The book upon its appearance in London in the early part of 1775
(doubtless after revision there by one competent to the task) was
reviewed quite generally in the leading British periodicals—favorably in
every instance but one. The _Scots Magazine_ of June, 1775, carried a
brief and unflattering review. The _London Magazine_ of May, 1775, said
that the book had long been needed, and that Adair was well qualified to
be the historian of the American Indians. “His remarks on the different
subjects he has discussed are sensible; and we think the work calculated
to convey information, entertainment and solid instruction to the public
in general.” This _Magazine_ had in previous issues published two long
extracts from the book, doubtless with the consent of the author.

Adair’s work has been cited widely as basic authority by the best
ethnologists and historians of America. A few of very numerous favorable
comments must suffice.

In Winsor’s _Narrative and Critical History of America_, V, 68: “A work
of great value, showing the relations of the English traders to the
Indians, and is of much importance to the student of Indian customs.”

Field’s _Indian Bibliography_, 3, gives a fair judgment, which, too,
expresses the near-consensus of those capable of passing judgment:
“Although it cannot be claimed for this author that he ranks first in
priority of time, his name is first on our alphabetical register of a
great number of writers whose imagination has been struck by the
astonishing coincidences of many particulars of the customs and
religious rites of some of the American Nations with those of the Jews.
The relations of an intelligent observer (as this Indian trader seems to
have been), for so long a period as forty years, of the peculiarities of
the Southern Indians among whom he resided for that period, is not
without great value; although we should have reason to hold it in still
greater esteem had the author cherished no favorite dogma to establish,
or detested any which he wished destroyed.”

McCrady, the South Carolina historian, speaks most favorably of Adair
and his book. The comments of Logan in his _History of Upper South
Carolina_, as one who lived in the region where Adair resided for a
time, and of which he wrote, are peculiarly interesting, and of weight
in any fair assize of the book:

“From Adair’s book the world has derived most that is known of the
manners and customs of the Southern Indians.... Its style is exceedingly
figurative and characteristic—partakes much of the idiom of the Indian
dialects to which the author was so long accustomed; and this imparts to
it a quaintness, which with the novelty of the subject, the remarkable
life of the writer, the cogency of his reasoning, his ingenious
philosophy, earnest truthfulness and stalwart vigor renders it one of
the most interesting as well as valuable works relating to American

In behalf of Adair, in his theory of the Jewish origin of the American
aborigines, it should be pointed out that a long line of writers both
before and after him held the same view. Soon after the discovery of
America, the theory was advanced that the Indians derived from the Lost
Tribes of Israel. Garcia, in his _Origen de las Medianos_ (1607),
declared that these tribes passed Behring Strait and made their way
southward, and claimed to have found many Hebrew terms in the American
languages. Las Casas was of the same opinion, and the first English
writer on the subject, Thomas Thorowgood in his _Jews in America_ (1650
and 1660) followed Las Casas and the Puritan Apostle to the Indians,
John Eliot in his _Conjectures_.

Antonio Montesinos (1644) found like evidence in Peru, and the learned
Jew Manasseh ben Israel visited among the Indians of the New World and
reached the same conclusion. Cotton Mather, Roger Williams and William
Penn shared the same view.

Charles Beatty in his _Journal of Two Months Tour_ (1678) and S. Seawell
(1697) advanced proofs in support of the argument.

A list of those who wrote after Adair’s period in attempts at
corroboration of the theory of such origin would include, among others:
The celebrated Jonathan Edwards; Elias Boudinot, in _A Star of the West_
(1816) which book has long extracts from Adair; E. Howitt in his
_Selection from Letters_ (1820); Ethan Smith (1825); Israel Worsley in
his _View of the American Indians_ (1828); Calvin Colton in _A Tour of
the Lakes_ (1838); Josiah Priest, _American Antiquities_ (1834); Mrs.
Simons in _The Ten Tribes_ (1836); Modecai M. Noah in Marryatt’s _Diary
in America_ (1837), and G. Jones in the _History of Ancient America_
(1843)—not to mention later writers. It will be noted that Jewish
writers and observers are in accord.[i27] “The theory has not entirely
disappeared from ethnological literature.”

Lord Viscount Kingsborough produced by far the most elaborate argument
that the ancients and Indians of America were of Jewish origin. He
published (London, 1830-48) nine sumptuous volumes, imperial folio, in
which many ancient Spanish, French and Mexican manuscripts were for the
first time printed. This exhaustive work cost Lord Kingsborough, it is
said, above 32,000 pounds, wrecked his fortune and lost him his life. He
died a prisoner for debt. In this production Kingsborough reprinted the
first part of Adair’s book—the “Arguments.” Kingsborough bestowed much
research and care in the annotation of these “Arguments,” and the editor
of the present reprint has availed freely of his notes. Kingsborough
thus prefaces his notes: “The following illustrations of Adair’s
_History of the American Indians_ are chiefly extracted from the
inedited works of French and Spanish authors, and afford the most
satisfactory proof of Adair’s veracity in the minutest particular.”

Of the entire _History_ of Adair there has never been a reprint in
English. Kingsborough’s work is beyond the reach of the average reader
or student; it has become excessively rare, bringing about $500 in the
book market.

The book of Adair was translated into German by Schack Hermann Ewald and
published in Germany: _Geschichte der amerikanischen Indianer, besondere
dem am Mississippi, am Ostund Westflorida, Georgien, Sud-und
Nord-Karolina und Virginien angrenzenden nationen, nebst einem anhange,
von James Adair, Esquire. Aus dem englischen übers._ Breslau, J. E.
Myers, 1782.

The book of Adair was paid the unwanted compliment of being plagiarized
by Jonathan Carver in his _Travels through the Interior Parts_. Carver
appropriated portions of the work during Adair’s lifetime, and an
edition of his book was brought out by Charles Dilly, “in the Poultry,”
London, who had printed Adair’s _History_.

After the passage of more than a century and a half from the date of its
original publication, the book comes to a sort of rebirth in this
reprint, and in a style, so far as format is concerned, of which our
maker and writer of history would not be ashamed.


Footnote i1:

  Agnew, _Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway_, 50 _et seq._

Footnote i2:


Footnote i3:

  Chalmers, _Caledonia_, V, 395.

Footnote i4:

  In Dr. James B. Adair’s _Adair History and Genealogy_ it is stated
  that Adair first settled in Pennsylvania, but Ghent in his article on
  Adair in _Dictionary of American Biography_, I, 33, refuses to follow
  him, and it seems, for good reasons. Only one reference in Adair’s
  book is to Pennsylvania, and that merely to the Pennsylvania Germans.

Footnote i5:

  _History of American Indians_, 307.

Footnote i6:

  Hunter’s Map has a notation which shows that Haig had also made a map
  or sketch of the region.

Footnote i7:

  _Hist. Am. Inds._, 344. See note 194 _infra_.

Footnote i8:

  A monopoly of one year’s duration had been offered McGillivray in 1749
  on condition that he should win over the Choctaws.

Footnote i9:

  Adair was not alone in the indulgence of biting criticism of Glen.
  Gov. Dinwiddie, of Virginia, wrote of him (1755): “He is altogether
  the strangest possitive assuming Man I ever corresponded with, and
  there I leave him.” _Dinwiddie Papers_, I, 508.

Footnote i10:

  _Hist. Am. Inds._, 323.

Footnote i11:

  This pamphlet is referred to in the book. It is not improbable that it
  was composed by Adair for Roche.

Footnote i12:

  If this work ever issued from the press, those best versed in the
  bibliography of South Carolina have never seen or heard of a copy, as
  they state to the writer.

Footnote i13:

  From Beaver Creek, in 2 _Indian Book_ (S. C. Archives), p. 56. For
  other minor or incidental mention of Adair: _Ibid._, 23; Council
  Journal, Jan. 26, 1747; Commons House Journal, Feb. 16, 1747, June 1,
  1749; May 16 and 23, 1750.

Footnote i14:

  See text _infra_.

Footnote i15:

  _Gentlemen’s Magazine_ (1760) XXX, 45, correspondence from South
  Carolina of date Nov. 24, 1759.

Footnote i16:

  _S. C. Gazette_, Nov. 24, 1759.

Footnote i17:

  _Gentlemen’s Magazine_, XXX, 442, 541, 593.

Footnote i18:

  _S. C. Gazette_, July 19, 1760.

Footnote i19:

  Book D, pp. 358, 379, S. C. Archives, and _S. C. Gazette_ of Aug. 2,
  1760. The Chickasaws, under Brown and Adair, were by no means pleased
  by the inactivity of Montgomery at Fort Prince George and less so by
  his decision to beat a further retreat to Charles Town. For mention of
  their own activities, see _S. C. Gazette_ of Aug. 2, 1760, based upon
  communication from that fort of July 14th. “We hear that the
  Chickasaws who arrived at Fort Prince George the 5th instant have left
  that fort with disgust after scouting three or four days about it, and
  that they got a few scalps which they carried with them.” _Ibid._, of
  July 26th.

Footnote i20:

  “The Virginia troops likewise kept far off in flourishing parade,
  without coming to our assistance.” See notes 139-41 to text, _infra_.

Footnote i21:

  _S. C. Gazette_, Aug. 9, 1760.

Footnote i22:

  Canadian Archives, Pub. Rec. Off. Papers, C.O., V, 67.

Footnote i23:

  _Infra_, pp. 289, 365.

Footnote i24:

  About the time of Adair’s reputed death-date the Cherokees in large
  numbers were influenced by British agents to move southward from their
  Little Tennessee River towards and into Upper Georgia.

Footnote i25:

  For sketch of Gen. Martin see Williams, _Lost State of Franklin_, 212,
  323, and _Early Travels in the Tennessee Country_, 251, 465; also
  Weeks, _General Joseph Martin_, _passim_. He was among the Overhill
  Cherokees nearly ten years (1777-1787). Judge Samuel Martin Young, of
  Dixon Springs, Tennessee, a descendant of Col. Wm. Martin, son of
  General Martin, and who has in possession papers of both, writes the
  editor: “I do not doubt that Gen. Martin and James Adair were
  personally acquainted, for I think they were in the same section of
  country for some time, several years, perhaps; but that they were ever
  in any joint work or enterprise, I could not say.” (Jan. 25, 1930.)

Footnote i26:

  Williams, _Early Travels in the Tennessee Country_, 490.

Footnote i27:

  For the views of a Jew who was acquainted with the Southern tribes,
  particularly with the Creeks, see n. 22, _infra_.


  of the
  _adjoining to the_



                                 OF THE

                           AMERICAN INDIANS,




                        AND METHOD OF CURE, AND
                              TO RENDER IT

                       A COMPLETE INDIAN SYSTEM,




                              AN APPENDIX


                            MOTHER COUNTRY.


                        BY JAMES ADAIR, ESQUIRE.



Hon. Colonel George Craghan, George Galphin and Lachlan McGilwray,


To you, with the greatest propriety the following sheets are addressed.
Your distinguished abilities—your thorough acquaintance with the North
American Indian languages, rites, and customs—your long application and
services in the dangerous sphere of an Indian life, and your successful
management of the savage natives, all well known over all the continent
of America.

You often complained how the public had been imposed upon either by
fictitious and fabulous, or very superficial and conjectural accounts of
the Indian natives—and as often wished me to devote my leisure hours to
drawing up an Indian system. You can witness, that what I now send into
the world, was composed more from a regard to your request, than any
forward desire of my own. The prospect of your patronage inspired me to
write, and it is no small pleasure and honor to me, that such competent
judges of the several particulars now presented to public view,
expressed themselves with so much approbation of the contents.

You well know the uprightness of my intentions as to the information
here given, and that truth hath been my grand standard. I may have erred
in the application of the rites and ceremonies of the Indians to their
origin and descent—and may have drawn some conclusions exceeding the
given evidence—but candor will excuse the language of integrity: and
when the genuine principles, customs, etc., of the Indians are known, it
will be easier afterwards for persons of solid learning, and free from
secular cares, to trace their origin, clear up the remaining
difficulties, and produce a more perfect history.

Footnote I:

  The late Sir Wm. Johnson, Baronet, was another of the author’s
  friends, and stood at the head of the MS Dedication. (A) For sketches
  of Galphin and McGilwray, see n. 155 p. 288 _post_. Galphin’s copy of
  Adair’s book with his name and the year “1775” on the fly leaf was
  lodged in the Charleston Library. (W)

Should my performance be in the least degree instrumental to produce an
accurate investigation and knowledge of the American Indians—their
civilization—and the happy settlement of the fertile lands around them,
I shall rejoice; and the public will be greatly obliged to you, as your
request incited to it; and to you I am also indebted for many
interesting particulars, and valuable observations.

I embrace this opportunity, of paying a public testimony of my
gratitude, for your many favours to me. Permit me also to celebrate your
public spirit—your zealous and faithful service of your country—your
social and domestic virtues, etc., which have endeared you to your
acquaintances, and to all who have heard your names, and make you more
illustrious, than can any high sounding titles. All who know you, will
readily acquit me of servility and flattery, in this address.
Dedications founded on these motives, are the disgrace of literature,
and an insult to common sense. There are too many instances of this
prostitution in Great Britain for it to be suffered in America. Numbers
of high seated patrons are praised for their divine wisdom and godlike
virtues, and yet the whole empire is discontented, and America in strong

May you long enjoy your usual calm and prosperity! that so the widow,
the fatherless, and the stranger may always joyfully return (as in past
years) from your hospitable houses—while this Dedication stands as a
small proof of that sincere attachment with which I am,

                                        Your most obedient,
                                               Humble Servant,
                                                        James Adair.


The following history, and observations, are the productions of one who
hath been chiefly engaged in an Indian life ever since the year 1735:
and most of the pages were written among our old friendly Chikkasah,
with whom I first traded in the year 1744. The subjects are interesting,
as well as amusing; but never was a literary work begun and carried on
with greater disadvantages. The author was separated by his situation,
from the conversation of the learned, and from any libraries—Frequently
interrupted also by business, and obliged to conceal his papers, through
the natural jealousy of the natives; the traders letters of
correspondence always excited their suspicions, and often gave
offence.—Another difficulty I had to encounter, was the secrecy and
closeness of the Indians as to their own affairs, and their prying
disposition into those of others—so that there is no possibility of
retirement among them.

A view of the disadvantages of my situation, made me reluctant to comply
with the earnest and repeated solicitation of many worthy friends, to
give the public an account of the Indian nations with whom I had long
resided, was so intimately connected, and of whom scarcely anything had
yet been published but romance and a mass of fiction. My friends at last
prevailed, and on perusing the sheets, they were pleased to approve the
contents, as conveying true information, and general entertainment.
Having no ambition to appear in the world as an author, and knowing that
my history differed essentially from all former publications of the
kind, I first resolved to suppress my name; but my friends advised me to
own the work, and thus it is tendered to the public in the present form.

The performance, hath doubtless imperfection, _humanum est errate_. Some
readers may think, there is too much of what relates to myself, and to
the adventures of small parties among the Indians and traders. But
minute circumstances are often of great consequence, especially in
discovering the descent and genius of a people—describing their manners
and customs—and giving proper information to rulers at a distance. I
thought it better to be esteemed prolix, than to omit any thing that
might be useful on these points. Some repetitions, which occur, were
necessary—The history of the several Indian nations being so much
intermixed with each other, and their customs so nearly alike.

One great advantage my readers will here have; I sat down to draw the
Indians on the spot—had them many years standing before me,—and lived
with them as a friend and brother. My intentions were pure when I wrote,
truth hath been my standard, and I have no sinister or mercenary views
in publishing. With inexpressible concern I read the several imperfect
and fabulous accounts of the Indians, already given to the world—Fiction
and conjecture have no place in the following pages. The public may
depend on the fidelity of the author, and that his descriptions are
genuine, though perhaps not so polished and romantic as other Indian
histories and accounts, they may have seen.

My grand objects, were to give the Literati proper and good materials
tracing the origin of the American Indians—and to incite the higher
powers zealously to promote the best interests of the British colonies,
and the mother country. For whose greatness and happiness, I have the
most ardent desire.

The whole work is respectfully submitted to the candor and judgment of
the impartial Public.






 Argument      I. Their Division into Tribes                        16

     ”        II. Their Worship of Jehovah                          20

     ”       III. Their Notions of Theocracy                        34

     ”        IV. The Belief in the Ministration of Angels          38

     ”         V. Their Language and Dialects                       40

     ”        VI. Their Manner of Counting Time                     77

     ”       VII. Their Prophets and High Priests                   83

     ”      VIII. Their Festivals, Fasts, and Religious Rites       99

     ”        IX. Their Daily Sacrifice                            121

     ”         X. Their Ablutions and Anointings                   126

     ”        XI. Their Laws of Uncleanness                        129

     ”       XII. Their Abstinence from Unclean Things             136

     ”      XIII. Their Marriage, Divorce, and Punishment for      145

     ”       XIV. Their Several Punishments                        153

     ”        XV. Their Cities of Refuge                           165

     ”       XVI. Their Purification, and Ceremonies               167
                  Preparatory for War

     ”      XVII. Their Ornaments                                  178

     ”     XVIII. Their Manner of Curing the Sick                  180

     ”       XIX. Their Burial of the Dead                         186

     ”        XX. Their Mourning for the Dead                      195

     ”       XXI. Their Raising Seed to a Deceased Brother         198

     ”      XXII. Their Choice of Names Adapted to their           199
                  Circumstances and the Times

     ”     XXIII. Their Own Traditions, the Accounts of English    202
                  Writers, and the Testimony Which the Spanish
                  and Other Authors Have Given, Concerning the
                  Primitive inhabitants of Peru and Mexico


           Account of the Katahba Nations, etc.                    231

           Account of the Cheerakee Nation, etc.                   237

           Account of the Muskoge Nation, etc.                     274

           Account of the Choktah Nation, etc.                     302

           Account of the Chikkasah Nation, etc.                   377


           Displaying their Love to their Country—Their Martial    405
             Spirit—Their Caution in War—Method of
             Fighting—Barbarity to their Captives—Instances of
             their Fortitude and Magnanimity in the View of
             Death—Their Reward of Public Services—The Manner
             of Crowning their Warriors After Victory—Their
             Games—Method of Fishing, and of Building—Their
             Utensils and Manufactures—Conduct of Domestic
             Life—Their Laws, Form of Government, etc., etc.



                                 OF THE
                        NORTH-AMERICAN INDIANS,
                           THEIR CUSTOMS, &c.

_Observations on the colour, shape, temper, and dress of the Indians of

The Indians are of a copper or red-clay colour—and they delight in every
thing, which they imagine may promote and increase it: accordingly, they
paint their faces with vermilion, as the best and most beautiful
ingredient. If we consider the common laws of nature and providence, we
shall not be surprized at this custom; for every thing loves best its
own likeness and place in the creation, and is disposed to ridicule its
opposite. If a deformed son of burning Africa, was to paint the devil,
he would not do it in black colours, nor delineate him with a shagged
coarse woolly head, nor with thick lips, a short flat nose, or clumsy
feet, like those of a bear: his devil would represent one of a different
nation or people. But was he to draw an agreeable picture,—according to
the African taste, he would daub it all over with sooty black. All the
Indians are so strongly attached to, and prejudiced in favour of, their
own colour, that they think as meanly of the whites, as we possibly can
do of them. The English traders among them, experience much of it, and
are often very glad to be allowed to pass muster with the Indian
chieftains, as fellow-brethren {1} of the human species. One instance
will sufficiently shew in what flattering glasses they view themselves.

Some time past, a large body of the English Indian traders, on their way
to the _Choktah_ country, were escorted by a body of Creek and Choktah
warriors. The Creeks having a particular friendship for some of the
traders, who had treated them pretty liberally, took this opportunity to
chide the Choktahs, before the traders, in a smart though friendly way,
for not allowing to the English the name of human creatures:—for the
general name they give us in their most favourable _war-speeches_,
resembles that of a contemptible, heterogeneous animal.

The hotter, or colder the climate is, where the Indians have long
resided, the greater proportion have they either of the red, or white,
colour. I took particular notice of the Shawano Indians,[1] as they were
passing from the northward, within fifty miles of the Chikkasah country,
to that of the Creeks; and, by comparing them with the Indians which I
accompanied to their camp, I observed the Shawano to be much fairer than
the Chikkasah[II]; though I am satisfied, their endeavours to cultivate
the copper colour, were alike. Many incidents and observations lead me
to believe, that the Indian colour is not natural; but that the external
difference between them and the whites, proceeds entirely from their
customs and method of living, and not from any inherent spring of
nature; which will entirely overturn Lord Kames’s whole system of
colour, and separate races of men.

Footnote II:

  S is not a note of plurality with the Indians; when I mention
  therefore either their national, or proper names, that common error is
  avoided, which writers ignorant of their language constantly commit.

That the Indian colour is merely accidental, or artificial, appears
pretty evident. Their own traditions record them to have come to their
present lands by the way of the west, from a far distant country, and
where there was no variegation of colour in human beings; and they are
entirely ignorant which was the first or primitive colour. Besides,
their rites, customs, &c. as we shall presently see, prove them to be
orientalists: and, as the difference of colour among the human species,
is one of the principal causes of separation, strife, and bloodshed,
would it not greatly reflect on the goodness and justice of the Divine
Being, ignominiously to brand numerous tribes and their posterity, with
a colour odious and hateful in the sight and opinion of those of a
different colour. Some writers have contended, from {2} the diversity of
colour, that America was not peopled from any part of Asia, or of the
old world, but that the natives were a separate creation. Of this
opinion, is Lord Kames, and which he labours to establish in his late
publication, entitled, _Sketches of the History of Man_. But his
reasoning on this point, for a local creation, is contrary both to
revelation, and facts. His chief argument, that “there is not a single
hair on the body of any American, nor the least appearance of a beard,”
is utterly destitute of foundation, as can be attested by all who have
had any communication with them—of this more presently.[2]—Moreover, to
form one creation of _whites_, a second creation for the _yellows_, and
a third for the _blacks_, is a weakness, of which infinite wisdom is
incapable. Its operations are plain, easy, constant, and perfect. The
variegation therefore of colours among the human race, depends upon a
second cause. Lord Kames himself acknowledges, that “the Spanish
inhabitants of Carthagena in South-America lose their vigour and colour
in a few months.”

We are informed by the anatomical observations of our American
physicians, concerning the Indians, that they have discerned a certain
fine cowl, or web, of a red gluey substance, close under the outer skin,
to which it reflects the colour; as the epidermis, or outer skin, is
alike clear in every different creature. And experience, which is the
best medium to discover truth, gives the true cause why this corpus
mucosum, or gluish web, is red in the Indians, and white in us; the
parching winds, and hot sun-beams, beating upon their naked bodies, in
their various gradations of life, necessarily tarnish their skins with
the tawny red colour. Add to this, their constant anointing themselves
with bear’s oil, or grease, mixt with a certain red root, which, by a
peculiar property, is able alone, in a few years time, to produce the
Indian colour in those who are white born, and who have even advanced to
maturity. These metamorphoses I have often seen.

At the Shawano main camp[III], I saw a Pensylvanian, a white man by
birth, and in profession a christian, who, by the inclemency of the sun,
{3} and his endeavours of improving the red colour, was tarnished with
as deep an Indian hue, as any of the camp, though they had been in the
woods only the space of four years.

Footnote III:

  In the year 1747, I headed a company of the cheerful, brave Chikkasah,
  with the eagles tails, to the camp of the Shawano Indians, to
  apprehend one Peter Shartee, (a Frenchman) who, by his artful
  paintings, and the supine conduct of the Pensylvanian government, had
  decoyed a large body of the Shawano from the English, to the French,
  interest. But fearing the consequences, he went around an hundred
  miles, toward the Cheerake nation, with his family, and the head
  warriors, and thereby evaded the danger.

We may easily conclude then, what a fixt change of colour, such a
constant method of life would produce: for the colour being once
thoroughly established, nature would, as it were, forget herself, not to
beget her own likeness.[3] Besides, may we not suppose, that the
imagination can impress the animalculæ, in the time of copulation, by
its strong subtile power, with at least such an external similitude, as
we speak of?—The sacred oracles, and christian registers, as well as
Indian traditions, support the sentiment;—the colour of Jacob’s cattle
resembled that of the peeled rods he placed before them, in the time of
conception. We have good authority of a Spanish lady, who conceived, and
was delivered of a negro child, by means of a black picture that hung on
the wall, opposite to the bed where she lay. There is a record among the
Chikkasah Indians, that tells us of a white child with flaxen hair, born
in their country, long before any white people appeared in that part of
the world; which they ascribed to the immediate power of the Deity
impressing her imagination in a dream. And the Philosophical
Transactions assure us of two white children having been born of black
parents. But waving all other arguments, the different method of living,
connected with the difference of climates, and extraordinary anointings
and paintings, will effect both outward and inward changes in the human
race, all round the globe: or, a different colour may be conveyed to the
fœtus by the parents, through the channel of the fluids, without the
least variation of the original stamina. For, though the laws of nature
cannot be traced far, where there are various circumstances, and
combinations of things, yet her works are exquisitely constant and
regular, being thereto impelled by unerring divine Wisdom.

As the American Indians are of a reddish or copper colour,—so in general
they are strong, well proportioned in body and limbs, surprisingly
active and nimble, and hardy in their own way of living.

They are ingenious, witty, cunning, and deceitful; very faithful indeed
to their own tribes, but privately dishonest, and mischievous to the
Europeans and christians. Their being honest and harmless to each other,
may be through fear of resentment and reprisal—which is unavoidable in
case of any injury. {4} They are very close, and retentive of their
secrets; never forget injuries; revengeful of blood, to a degree of
distraction. They are timorous, and, consequently, cautious; very
jealous of encroachments from their christian neighbours; and, likewise,
content with freedom, in every turn of fortune. They are possessed of a
strong comprehensive judgment,—can form surprisingly crafty schemes, and
conduct them with equal caution, silence, and address; they admit none
but distinguished warriors, and old beloved men, into their councils.
They are slow, but very persevering in their undertakings—commonly
temperate in eating, but excessively immoderate in drinking.—They often
transform themselves by liquor into the likeness of mad foaming bears.
The women, in general, are of a mild, amiable, soft disposition:
exceedingly modest in their behaviour, and very seldom noisy, either in
the single, or married state.

The men are expert in the use of fire-arms,—in shooting the bow,—and
throwing the feathered dart, and tomohawk, into the flying enemy. They
resemble the lynx, with their sharp penetrating black eyes, and are
exceedingly swift of foot; especially in a long chase: they will stretch
away, through the rough woods, by the bare track, for two or three
hundred miles, in pursuit of a flying enemy, with the continued speed,
and eagerness, of a stanch pack of blood hounds, till they shed
blood.[4] When they have allayed this their burning thirst, they return
home, at their leisure, unless they chance to be pursued, as is
sometimes the case; whence the traders say, “that an Indian is never in
a hurry, but when the devil is at his heels.”

It is remarkable, that there are no deformed Indians—however, they are
generally weaker, and smaller bodied, between the tropics, than in the
higher latitudes; but not in an equal proportion: for, though the
Chikkasah and Choktah countries have not been long divided from each
other, as appears by the similarity of their language, as well as other
things, yet the Chikkasah are exceedingly taller, and stronger bodied
than the latter, though their country is only two degrees farther north.
Such a small difference of latitude, in so healthy a region, could not
make so wide a difference in the constitution of their bodies. The
former are a comely, pleasant looking people; their faces are tolerably
round, contrary to the visage of the others, which inclines much to
flatness, as is the case of most of the other Indian Americans. The lips
of the Indians, in general, are thin. {5}

Their eyes are small, sharp, and black; and their hair is lank, coarse,
and darkish.[5] I never saw any with curled hair, but one in the Choktah
country, where was also another with red hair; probably, they were a
mixture of the French and Indians. Romancing travellers, and their
credulous copyists, report them to be _imbarbes_, and as persons
_impuberes_, and they appear so to strangers. But both sexes pluck all
the hair off their bodies, with a kind of tweezers, made formerly of
clam-shells, now of middle-sized wire, in the shape of a gun-worm;
which, being twisted round a small stick, and the ends fastened therein,
after being properly tempered, keeps its form: holding this Indian razor
between their fore-finger and thumb, they deplume themselves,[6] after
the manner of the Jewish novitiate priests, and proselytes.—As the
former could not otherwise be purified for the function of his
sacerdotal office; or the latter, be admitted to the benefit of
religious communion.

Their chief _dress_ is very simple, like that of the patriarchal age; of
choice, many of their old head-men wear a long wide frock, made of the
skins of wild beasts, in honour of that antient custom: It must be
necessity that forces them to the pinching sandals for their feet. They
seem quite easy, and indifferent, in every various scene of life, as if
they were utterly divested of passions, and the sense of feeling.
Martial virtue, and not riches, is their invariable standard for
preferment; for they neither esteem, nor despise any of their people one
jot more or less, on account of riches or dress. They compare both
these, to paint on a warrior’s face; because it incites others to a
spirit of martial benevolence for their country, and pleases his own
fancy, and the eyes of spectators, for a little time, but is sweated
off, while he is performing his war-dances; or is defaced, by the change
of weather.

They formerly wore shirts, made of drest deer-skins, for their summer
visiting dress: but their winter-hunting clothes were long and shaggy,
made of the skins of panthers, bucks, bears, beavers, and otters; the
fleshy sides outward, sometimes doubled, and always softened like
velvet-cloth, though they retained their fur and hair. The needles and
thread they used formerly, (and now at times) were fish-bones, or the
horns and bones of deer, rubbed sharp, and deer’s sinews, and a sort of
hemp, that grows among them spontaneously, in rich open lands. The
women’s dress consists only in a {6} broad softened skin, or several
small skins sewed together, which they wrap and tye round their waist,
reaching a little below their knees: in cold weather, they wrap
themselves in the softened skins of buffalo calves, with the wintery
shagged wool inward, never forgetting to anoint, and tie up their hair,
except in their time of mourning. The men wear, for ornament, and the
conveniencies of hunting, thin deer-skin boots, well smoked, that reach
so high up their thighs, as with their jackets to secure them from the
brambles and braky thickets. They sew them about five inches from the
edges, which are formed into tossels, to which they fasten fawns
trotters, and small pieces of tinkling metal, or wild turkey-cockspurs.
The beaus used to fasten the like to their war-pipes, with the addition
of a piece of an enemy’s scalp with a tuft of long hair hanging down
from the middle of the stem, each of them painted red: and they still
observe that old custom, only they choose bell-buttons, to give a
greater sound.

The young Indian men and women,[7] through a fondness of their ancient
dress, wrap a piece of cloth round them, that has a near resemblance to
the old Roman toga, or prætexta. ’Tis about a fathom square, bordered
seven or eight quarters deep, to make a shining cavalier of the _beau
monde_, and to keep out both the heat and cold. With this frantic
apparel, the red heroes swaddle themselves, when they are waddling,
whooping, and prancing it away, in their sweltery town-houses, or
supposed synhedria, around the reputed holy fire. In a sweating
condition, they will thus incommode themselves, frequently, for a whole
night, on the same principle of pride, that the grave Spaniard’s winter
cloak must sweat him in summer.

They have a great aversion to the wearing of breeches; for to that
custom, they affix the idea of helplessness, and effeminacy. I know a
German of thirty years standing, chiefly among the Chikkasah Indians,
who because he kept up his breeches with a narrow piece of cloth that
reached across his shoulders, is distinguished by them, as are all his
countrymen, by the despicable appellative, Kish-Kish Tarākshe, or _Tied
Arse_.—They esteem the English much more than the Germans, because our
limbs, they say, are less restrained by our apparel from manly exercise,
than theirs. The Indian women also discreetly observe, that, as all
their men sit down to make {7} water, the ugly breeches would
exceedingly incommode them; and that, if they were allowed to wear
breeches, it would portend no good to their country: however, they add,
should they ever be so unlucky, as to have that pinching custom
introduced among them, the English breeches would best suit their own
female posture on that occasion; but that it would be exceedingly
troublesome either way. The men wear a slip of cloth, about a quarter of
an ell wide, and an ell and an half long, in the lieu of breeches; which
they put between their legs, and tye round their haunches, with a
convenient broad bandage. The women, since the time we first traded with
them, wrap a fathom of the half breadth of Stroud cloth[8] round their
waist, and tie it with a leathern belt, which is commonly covered with
brass runners or buckles: but this sort of loose petticoat, reaches only
to their hams, in order to shew their exquisitely fine proportioned

They make their shoes for common use, out of the skins of the bear and
elk, well dressed and smoked, to prevent hardening; and those for
ornament, out of deer-skins, done in the like manner: but they chiefly
go bare-footed, and always bare-headed. The men fasten several different
sorts of beautiful feathers, frequently in tufts; or the wing of a red
bird, or the skin of a small hawk, to a lock of hair on the crown of
their heads. And every different Indian nation when at war, trim their
hair, after a different manner, through contempt of each other; thus we
can distinguish an enemy in the woods, so far off as we can see him.

The Indians flatten their heads, in divers forms: but it is chiefly the
crown of the head they depress, in order to beautify themselves, as
their wild fancy terms it; for they call us _long heads_, by way of
contempt. The Choktah Indians flatten their fore-heads, from the top of
the head to the eye-brows with a small bag of sand; which gives them a
hideous appearance; as the forehead naturally shoots upward, according
as it is flattened: thus, the rising of the nose, instead of being
equidistant from the beginning of the chin, to that of the hair, is, by
their wild mechanism, placed a great deal nearer to the one, and farther
from the other.[9] The Indian nations, round South-Carolina, and all the
way to New Mexico, (properly called Mechiko) to effect this, fix the
tender infant on a kind of cradle, where his feet are tilted, above a
foot higher than a horizontal position, {8} —his head bends back into a
hole, made on purpose to receive it, where he bears the chief part of
his weight on the crown of the head, upon a small bag of sand, without
being in the least able to move himself. The skull resembling a fine
cartilaginous substance, in its infant state, is capable of taking any
impression. By this pressure, and their thus flattening the crown of the
head, they consequently make their heads thick, and their faces broad:
for, when the smooth channel of nature is stopped in one place, if a
destruction of the whole system doth not thereby ensue, it breaks out in
a proportional redundancy, in another. May we not to this custom, and as
a necessary effect of this cause, attribute their fickle, wild, and
cruel tempers? especially, when we connect therewith, both a false
education, and great exercise to agitate their animal spirits. When the
brain, in cooler people, is disturbed, it neither reasons, nor
determines, with proper judgment? The Indians thus look on every thing
around them, through their own false medium; and vilify our heads,
because they have given a wrong turn to their own. {9}


Footnote 1:

  The earliest home of the Shawnee Indians in historic times was on the
  Cumberland River, in Tennessee, which for a long period was called by
  the French, and so named on their maps, Chaouanon (Shawnee) Riviere. A
  branch of the tribe moved from there southward across the Tennessee
  where the Savannah River took their name. Shortly before 1715 the
  Chickasaw and Cherokee Indians combined and drove the Shawnees from
  their long-established settlements on the Cumberland. Haywood says
  that a part of the tribe returned to the region (about 1745) to be
  again expelled, going to the Creeks.

  The true date seems to be 1749. In a letter of May 4th of that year,
  Comte de Jony wrote that the “Chaouanons, because of the antipathy of
  most of the other nations to them, had decided to separate into two
  bands.... The latter band, after ascending a part of the river of the
  Cherokis [Tennessee] decided to go and join the Creeks.” _Wis. His.
  Col._ XVIII. It is to this band that Adair refers, probably.

  The Shawnees, after a stay in Pennsylvania, had settlements on Scioto
  River in the Ohio Country. They were known as “gypsies of the forest,”
  and a wandering band is referred to by Adair. Prior to 1700 the
  Chickasaws and the Shawnees had as allies fought the Illinois Indians.
  Shea, _Early Mississippi Voyages_, 60, 66, 120. Lawson (1709)
  describes them as formerly living on the waters of the Mississippi,
  “and removed thence to the head of one of the rivers of South
  Carolina” (the Savannah). _History of North Carolina_, 100.

  For generations, from their stronghold on the Scioto, they made war on
  the Overhill Cherokees, with only brief intervals of peace. On the
  Shawnees, see: Haywood, _History of Tennessee_, 426; Hanna, _The
  Wilderness Trail_, II, 240; Thwaites, _Jesuit Relations_, XL, 145;
  Margry, _Decouvertes_, III, 589; Schoolcraft, _Historical Information
  ... Indian Tribes_, IV, 256; Swanton, _Early History of the Creeks_,
  317, 415; Loskiel, _History of the Mission of the United Brethren
  Among the Indians_, pt. ch. 10, and Mooney’s _Myths of the Cherokees_,

Footnote 2:

  p. 7 _post_.

Footnote 3:

  Since a newborn infant of Indian parentage is of varying degrees of
  dusky red, Adair’s argument is that the color was produced by exposure
  and the use of cosmetics by previous generations; not that each
  individual is born white and later takes on a copper color.

Footnote 4:

  Speaking of the Indians of the Mississippi River region, John Lawson
  in his _History of North Carolina_ (1710) says, p. 133: “They are the
  hardiest of all Indians, and run so fast that they are never taken;
  neither do any Indians outrun them if they are pursued.” See also,
  Williams, _Memoirs of Lieut. Henry Timberlake_, 79.

Footnote 5:

  Schoolcraft says the hair of Indians is invariably cylindrical in
  structure; that of Caucasians oval.

Footnote 6:

  Confirmation: Schoolcraft, _Historical Information_, II 322; Cushman,
  _History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians_ (1899), 204.
  Cushman says, however, that the Choctaws and Chickasaws of unmixed
  blood have no hair on any part of the body except the head and, on the
  chins of males, a bare patch of beard.

Footnote 7:

  Compare the account of Wm. Bartram in _Travels_ (1793), p. 499; of Du
  Pratz in _History of Louisiana_, (1763) II, 231, and of Lawson,
  _History of Carolina_ (1712) p. 190.

Footnote 8:

  Stroudwater, as Wm. Byrd II, called it at an earlier day; cloth
  manufactured in Stroud, Gloustershire, England, and widely sold to
  early Indian traders for blankets or garments; usually scarlet-dyed.

Footnote 9:

  Therefore, the Choctaws were called by the traders Flat-Heads (Fr.
  Têtes Plates) a term that came into general use as descriptive of the
  tribe. See on artificial head deformation, Catlin, _North American
  Indians_, and Hodge, _Handbook of American Indians_, I, pp. 97, 465.
  Dumont gives as reason: “So that when they grow up they may be in
  better condition to bear all kinds of loads.” _Memoires Historique sur
  La Louisiane_ (1753) I, 140.

        _Observations on the origin and descent of the Indians._

The very remote history of all nations, is disfigured with fable, and
gives but little encouragement to distant enquiry, and laborious
researches. Much of the early history and antiquities of nations is
lost, and some people have no records at all, and to this day are rude
and uncivilized. Yet a knowledge of them is highly interesting, and
would afford amusement, and even instruction in the most polished times,
to the most polite. Every science has certain principles, as its basis,
from which it reasons and concludes. Mathematical theorems, and logical
propositions, give clear demonstrations, and necessary conclusions: and
thus other sciences. But, _history_, and the _origin_ of tribes and
nations, have hitherto been covered with a great deal of obscurity. Some
antient historians were ignorant; others prejudiced. Some searchers into
antiquities adopted the traditional tales of their predecessors: and
others looking with contempt on the origin of tribes and societies,
altogether exploded them, without investigation. My design is, to
examine, and if possible, ascertain the genealogy and descent of the
Indians, and to omit nothing that may in the least contribute to furnish
the public with a full INDIAN SYSTEM.

In tracing the origin of a people, where there are no records of any
kind, either written, or engraved, who rely solely on oral tradition for
the support of their antient usages, and have lost great part of
them—though the undertaking be difficult, yet where several particulars,
and circumstances, strong and clear, correspond, they not only make room
for conjecture, but cherish probability, and till better can be offered,
must be deemed conclusive.

All the various nations of Indians, seem to be of one descent; they call
a buffalo, in their various dialects, by one and the same name,
“_Yanasa_.” And there is a strong similarity of religious rites, and of
civil and martial customs, among all the various American nations of
Indians we {10} have any knowledge of, on the extensive continent; as
will soon be shewn.

Their language is copious, and very expressive, for their narrow orbit
of ideas, and full of rhetorical tropes and figures, like the
orientalists. In early times, when languages were not so copious,
rhetoric was invented to supply that defect: and, what barrenness then
forced them to, custom now continues as an ornament.

Formerly, at a public meeting of the head-men, and chief orators, of the
Choktah nation, I heard one of their eloquent speakers[10] deliver a
very pathetic, elaborate, allegorical, tragic oration, in the high
praise, and for the great loss, of their great, judicious war-chieftain,
_Shu-las-kum-másh-tà-be_, our daring, brave friend, _red shoes_.[11] The
orator compared him to the sun, that enlightens and enlivens the whole
system of created beings: and having carried the metaphor to a
considerable length, he expatiated on the variety of evils, that
necessarily result from the disappearance and absence of the sun; and,
with a great deal of judgment, and propriety of expression, he concluded
his oration with the same trope, with which he began.

They often change the sense of words into a different signification from
the natural, exactly after the manner also of the orientalists. Even,
their common speech is full of it; like the prophetic writings, and the
book of Job, their orations are concise, strong, and full of fire; which
sufficiently confutes the wild notion which some have espoused of the
North American Indians being Præ-Adamites, or a separate race of men,
created for that continent. What stronger circumstantial proofs can be
expected, than that they, being disjoined from the rest of the world,
time immemorial, and destitute also of the use of letters, should have,
and still retain the ancient standard of speech, conveyed down by oral
tradition from father to son, to the present generation? Besides, their
persons, customs, &c. are not singular from the rest of the world;
which, probably, they would, were they not descended from one and the
same common head. Their notions of things are like ours, and their
organical structure is the same. In them, the soul governs the body,
according to the common laws of God in the creation of Adam. God
employed six days, in creating the heavens, this earth, and the
innumerable species {11} of creatures, wherewith it is so amply
furnished. The works of a being, infinitely perfect, must entirely
answer the design of them: hence there could be no necessity for a
second creation; or God’s creating many pairs of the human race
differing from each other, and fitted for different climates: because,
that implies imperfection, in the grand scheme, or a want of power, in
the execution of it—Had there been a prior, or later formation of any
new class of creatures, they must materially differ from those of the
six days work; for it is inconsistent with divine wisdom to make a vain,
or unnecessary repetition of the same act. But the American Indians
neither vary from the rest of mankind, in their internal construction,
nor external appearance, except in colour; which, as hath been shewn, is
either entirely accidental, or artificial. As the Mosaic account
declares a completion of the manifestations of God’s infinite wisdom and
power in creation, within that space of time; it follows, that the
Indians have lineally descended from Adam, the first, and the great
parent of all the human species.

Both the Chikkasah and Choktah Indians, call a deceitful person,
_Seente_, a snake: and they frequently say, they have not _Seente
Soolish_, the snake’s tongue; the meaning of which, is very analogous to
דפי, a name the Hebrews gave to a deceitful person; which probably
proceeded from a traditional knowledge of Eve’s being beguiled by the
tempter, in that shape; for the Indians never affix any bad idea to the
present reptile fraternity, except that of poisonous teeth: and they
never use any such metaphor, as that of a snake’s teeth.

Some have supposed the Americans to be descended from the _Chinese_: but
neither their religion, laws, customs, &c., agree in the least with
those of the Chinese: which sufficiently proves, they are not of that
line. Besides, as our best ships now are almost half a year in sailing
to China, or from thence to Europe; it is very unlikely they should
attempt such dangerous discoveries, in early time, with their (supposed)
small vessels, against rapid currents, and in dark and sickly monsoons,
especially, as it is very probable they were unacquainted with the use
of the load-stone to direct their course. China is above eight thousand
miles distant from the American continent, which is twice as far as
across the Atlantic ocean.—And, we are not informed by any antient
writer, of their maritime skill, or so much as any inclination that way,
besides {12} small coasting voyages.—The winds blow likewise, with
little variation, from east to west, within the latitudes of thirty and
odd, north and south, and therefore they could not drive them on the
American coast, it lying directly contrary to such a course.

Neither could persons sail to America, from the north, by the way of
Tartary, or ancient Scythia; that, from its situation, never was, or can
be, a maritime power, and it is utterly impracticable for any to come to
America, by sea, from that quarter. Besides, the remaining traces of
their religious ceremonies, and civil and martial customs, are quite
opposite to the like vestiges of the old Scythians.

Nor, even in the moderate northern climates, is to be seen the least
vestige of any ancient stately buildings, or of any thick settlements,
as are said to remain in the less healthy regions of Peru and Mexico.
Several of the Indian nations assure us they crossed the Missisippi,
before they made their present northern settlements; which, connected
with the former arguments, will sufficiently explode that weak opinion,
of the American Aborigines being lineally descended from the Tartars, or
ancient Scythians.

It is a very difficult thing to divest ourselves, not to say, other
persons, of prejudices and favourite opinions; and I expect to be
censured by some, for opposing commonly received sentiments, or for
meddling with a dispute agitated among the learned ever since the first
discovery of America. But, TRUTH is my object: and I hope to offer some
things, which, if they do not fully solve the problem, may lead the way,
and enable others, possessing stronger judgment, more learning, and more
leisure, to accomplish it. As I before suggested, where we have not the
light of history, or records, to guide us through the dark maze of
antiquity, we must endeavour to find it out by probable arguments; and
in such subjects of enquiry, where no material objections can be raised
against probability, it is strongly conclusive of the truth, and nearly
gives the thing sought for.

From the most exact observations I could make in the long time I traded
among the Indian Americans, I was forced to believe them lineally
descended from the Israelites, either while they were a maritime power,
{13} or soon after the general captivity; the latter however is the most
probable. This descent, I shall endeavour to prove from their religious
rites, civil and martial customs, their marriages, funeral ceremonies,
manners, language, traditions, and a variety of particulars.—Which will
at the same time make the reader thoroughly acquainted with nations, of
which it may be said to this day, very little have been known. {14}


Footnote 10:

  “The Choctaws were superior orators. They spoke with good sense, and
  used the most beautiful metaphors. They had the power of changing the
  same words into different significations, and even their common speech
  was full of these changes.” Pickett, _History of Alabama_, (Ed. 1896)

Footnote 11:

  Red Shoes, a noted chief of the Choctaws, is frequently mentioned in
  later chapters. For sketch, p. 335M.

  _Observations, and arguments, in proof of the American Indians being
                       descended from the Jews._

A number of particulars present themselves in favour of a Jewish
descent. But to form a true judgment, and draw a solid conclusion, the
following arguments must not be partially separated. Let them be
distinctly considered—then unite them together, and view their force

                              ARGUMENT I.

As the Israelites were divided into TRIBES, and had chiefs over them, so
the Indians divide themselves: each tribe forms a little community
within the nation—And as the nation hath its particular symbol, so hath
each tribe the badge from which it is denominated. The sachem of each
tribe, is a necessary party in conveyances and treaties, to which he
affixes the mark of his tribe, as a corporation with us doth their
public seal[IV].—If we go from nation to nation among them, we shall not
find one, who doth not lineally distinguish himself by his respective
family. The genealogical names which they assume, are derived, either
from the names of those animals, whereof the _cherubim_ are said in
revelation, to be compounded; or from such creatures as are most
familiar to them. They have the families of the _eagle_, _panther_,
_tyger_, and _buffalo_; the family of the _bear_, _deer_, _racoon_,
_tortoise_, _snake_, _fish_; and, likewise, of the _wind_. The last, if
not derived from the appearance of the divine glory, as expressed by the
prophet Ezekiel, may {15} be of Tyrian extraction. We are told in the
fragment of Sanchoniathon, that the Tyrians worshipped fire and the
ærial wind, as gods; and that Usous, the son of Hyposouranias, built a
sacred pillar to each of them: so that, if it is not of Israelitish
extraction, it may be derived from the Tyrians their neighbours—as may,
likewise, the appellative name of _fish_; especially, as the Indians,
sometimes, invoke the eagle, and the fish, when they are curing their
sick. The Tyrians were the people, in early times, who, above all
others, enriched themselves in the natural element of the fish.

Footnote IV:

  Many of the ancient heathens followed the Jewish custom of dividing
  themselves into tribes, or families. The city of Athens was divided
  into ten parts, or tribes, and which the Greeks called _Phule_, a
  tribe. They named each of the heads that presided over them, Archegos,
  Archiphulogos, &c. And writers inform us, that the East-Indian pagans
  have to this day tribes, or casts; and that each cast chuses a head to
  maintain its privileges, to promote a strict observance of their laws,
  and to take care that every thing be managed with proper order. The
  ancient heathens mimicked a great deal of the Jewish ceremonial law.

The Indians, however, bear no religious respect to the animals from
which they derive the names of their tribes, but will kill any of the
species, when opportunity serves. The _wolf_ indeed, several of them do
not care to meddle with, believing it unlucky to kill them; which is the
sole reason that few of the Indians shoot at that creature, through a
notion of spoiling their guns.[12] Considering the proximity of Tyre to
Egypt, probably this might be a custom of Egyptian extraction; though,
at the same time, they are so far from esteeming it a deity, they reckon
it the most abominable quadruped of the whole creation.

There is no tribe, or individual, among them, however, called by the
name opossum[V], which is with the Cheerake stiled _seequa_; and with
the Chikkasah and Choktah Indians, _shookka_, synonymous with that of a
_hog_. This may be more material than at first appears, as our natural
histories tell us, that the opossum is common in other parts of the
world. Several of the old Indians assure us, they formerly reckoned it
as filthy uneatable an animal, as a hog; although they confess, and we
know by long observation, that, from the time our traders settled among
them, they are every year more corrupt in their morals; not only in this
instance of eating an impure animal, but in many other religious customs
of their forefathers.

Footnote V:

  A creature that hath a head like a hog, and a tail like a rat.

When we consider the various revolutions these unlettered savages are
likely to have undergone, among themselves, through a long-forgotten
measure of time; and that, probably, they have been above twenty
centuries, without the use of letters to convey down their traditions,
it cannot be reasonably expected they should still retain the identical
names of {16} their primo-genial tribes. Their main customs
corresponding with those of the Israelites, sufficiently clears the
subject. Besides, as hath been hinted, they call some of their tribes by
the names of the cherubimical figures, that were carried on the four
principal standards of Israel.

I have observed with much inward satisfaction, the community of goods
that prevailed among them, after the patriarchal manner, and that of the
primitive Christians; especially with those of their own tribe. Though
they are become exceedingly corrupt, in most of their ancient
commendable qualities, yet they are so hospitable, kind-hearted, and
free, that they would share with those of their own tribe, the last part
of their provisions even to a single ear of corn; and to others, if they
called when they were eating; for they have no stated meal-time. An open
generous temper is a standing virtue among them; to be narrow-hearted,
especially to those in want, or to any of their own family, is accounted
a great crime, and to reflect scandal on the rest of the tribe. Such
wretched misers they brand with bad characters, and wish them the fate
of Prometheus, to have an eagle or vulture fastened to their liver: or
of Tantalus, starving in the midst of plenty, without being able to use
it. The Cheerake Indians have a pointed proverbial expression, to the
same effect—_Sinnawah nà wóra_; “The great hawk is at home.”[13]
However, it is a very rare thing to find any of them of a narrow temper:
and though they do not keep one promiscuous common stock, yet it is to
the very same effect; for every one has his own family, or tribe: and,
when one of them is speaking, either of the individuals, or habitations,
of any of his tribe, he says, “He is of my house;” or, “It is my house.”
Thus, when King David prayed that the divine wrath might only fall on
his house, he might mean the tribe of Judah, as well as his own
particular family, exclusive of the aggregate body of Israel.

When the Indians are travelling in their own country, they enquire for a
house of their own tribe; and if there be any, they go to it, and are
kindly received, though they never saw the persons before—they eat,
drink, and regale themselves, with as much freedom, as at their own
tables; which is the solid ground covered with a bear-skin. It is their
usual custom to carry nothing along with them in the journies but a
looking-glass, and red paint, hung to their back—their gun and shot
pouch—or bow and quiver {17} full of barbed arrows; and, frequently,
both gun and bow: for as they are generally in a state of war against
each other, they are obliged, as soon as able, to carry those arms of
defence. Every town has a state-house, or synedrion, as the Jewish
sanhedrim, where, almost every night, the head men convene about public
business; or the town’s-people to feast, sing, dance, and rejoice, in
the divine presence, as will fully be described hereafter. And if a
stranger calls there, he is treated with the greatest civility and
hearty kindness—he is sure to find plenty of their simple home fare, and
a large cane-bed covered with the softened skins of bears, or buffaloes,
to sleep on.[14] But, when his lineage is known to the people, (by a
stated custom, they are slow in greeting one another) his relation, if
he has any there, addresses him in a familiar way, invites him home, and
treats him as his kinsman.

When a warrior dies a natural death, (which seldom happens) the
war-drums, musical instruments, and all other kinds of diversion, are
laid aside for the space of three days and nights. In this time of
mourning for the dead, I have known some of the frolicksome young sparks
to ask the name of the deceased person’s tribe; and once, being told it
was a _racoon_, (the genealogical name of the family) one of them
scoffingly replied, “then let us away to another town, and cheer
ourselves with those who have no reason to weep; for why should we make
our hearts weigh heavy for an ugly, dead racoon?”

But notwithstanding they are commonly negligent of any other tribe but
their own, they regard their own particular lineal descent, in as strict
a manner as did the Hebrew nation.


Footnote 12:

  Mooney witnessed a confirmation among the Cherokees of the Eastern
  Band, in North Carolina: “A man standing one night upon a fish trap
  was scented by a wolf, which came so near that the man was compelled
  to shoot it. He at once went home and had the gun exorcised by a
  conjurer.” _Myths of the Cherokees_, 448.

Footnote 13:

  Mooney gives Cherokee myths built upon Tlanuwa (the great hawk). On
  the north bank of Little Tennessee River, in Blount County, Tennessee,
  is a high overhanging cliff in which is a cave, the place where lived
  the mythic great hawk. _Myths of the Cherokees_, 315. A reciter of one
  of the myths insisted that the whites must also believe in it, as
  evidence pointing to a coin of the United States and to what he called
  the Tlanuwa, holding in its talons the arrows and in its beak the
  serpent of the myth. _Ibid._, 466.

Footnote 14:

   Confirmed as of later date: Cushman, _op. cit._, 487.

                              ARGUMENT II.

By a strict, permanent, divine precept, the Hebrew nation were ordered
to worship at Jerusalem, _Jehovah_ the true and living God, and who by
the Indians is stiled _Yohewah_; which the seventy-two interpreters,
either from ignorance or superstition, have translated _Adonai_; and
is the very same as the Greek _Kurios_, signifying Sir, Lord, or
Master; which is commonly applied to earthly potentates, without the
least signification of, or relation to, that most great and awful
name, which describes the divine essence, who naturally {18} and
necessarily exists of himself, without beginning or end. The ancient
heathens, it is well known, worshipped a plurality of gods—Gods which
they formed to themselves, according to their own liking, as various
as the countries they inhabited, and as numerous, with some, as the
days of the year. But these Indian Americans pay their religious
devoir to _Loak-Ishtōhoollo-Aba_, “the great, beneficent, supreme,
holy spirit of fire,” who resides (as they think) above the clouds,
and on earth also with unpolluted people. He is with them the sole
author of warmth, light, and of all animal and vegetable life. They do
not pay the least perceivable adoration to any images, or to dead
persons; neither to the celestial luminaries, nor evil spirits, nor
any created being whatsoever. They are utter strangers to all the
gestures practised by the pagans in their religious rites. They kiss
no idols;[15] nor, if they were placed out of their reach, would they
kiss their hands, in token of reverence and a willing obedience.

The ceremonies of the Indians in their religious worship, are more after
the Mosaic institution, than of pagan imitation: which could not be, if
the majority of the old natives were of heathenish descent; for all
bigots and enthusiasts will fight to death for the very shadow of their
superstitious worship, when they have even lost all the substance. There
yet remain so many marks, as to enable us to trace the Hebrew extraction
and rites, through all the various nations of Indians; and we may with a
great deal of probability conclude, that, if any heathens accompanied
them to the American world, or were settled in it before them, they
became proselytes of justice, and their pagan rites and customs were
swallowed up in the Jewish.

To illustrate the general subject, I shall give the Indian opinion of
some of the heathen gods, contrasted with that of the pagan.

The American Indians do not believe the SUN to be any bigger than it
appears to the naked eye. Conversing with the Chikkàsah archi-magus, or
high-priest, about that luminary, he told me, “it might possibly be as
broad and round as his winter-house; but he thought it could not well
exceed it.” We cannot be surprised at the stupidity of the Americans in
this respect, when we consider the gross ignorance which now prevails
among the general part of the Jews, not only of the whole system of
nature, but of the essential meaning of their own religious ceremonies,
received from the Divine Majesty. {19} —And also when we reflect, that
the very learned, and most polite of the ancient Romans, believed (not
by any new-invented mythology of their own) that the sun was drawn round
the earth in a chariot. Their philosophic system was not very dissimilar
to that of the wild Americans; for Cicero tells us, Epicurus thought the
sun to be less than it appeared to the eye. And Lucretius says,
_Tantillus ille sol_, “a diminutive thing.” And, if the Israelites had
not at one time thought the sun a portable god, they would not have
thought of a chariot for it. This they derived from the neighbouring
heathen; for we are told, that they had an house of the sun, where they
danced in honour of him, in circuits, and had consecrated spherical
figures; and that they, likewise, built a temple to it; for “they
purified and sanctified themselves in the gardens, behind the house, or
temple of Achad.” In _Isa._ xvii. 8, we find they had _sun-images_,
which the Hebrews called _chummanim_, made to represent the sun, or for
the honour and worship of it: and the Egyptians met yearly to worship in
the temple of Beth-Shemesh, a house dedicated to the sun. Most part of
the old heathens adored all the celestial orbs, especially the sun;
probably they first imagined its enlivening rays immediately issued from
the holy fire, light, and spirit, who either resided in, or was the
identical sun. That idolatrous ceremony of the Jews, Josiah utterly
abolished about 640 years before our Christian æra. The sacred text
says, “He took away the horses, which the kings of Judah had given to
the sun, and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire.” At Rhodes, a
neighbouring island to Judæa, they consecrated chariots to the sun, on
account of his glorious splendour and benign qualities. Macrobius tells
us, that the Assyrians worshipped Adad, or Achad, an idol of the sun;
and Strabo acquaints us, the Arabians paid divine homage to the sun, &c.
But the Indian Americans pay only a civil regard to the sun: and the
more intelligent sort of them believe, that all the luminaries of the
heavens are moved by the strong fixt laws of the great Author of nature.

In 2 _Kings_ xvii. 30, we read that the men of Babylon built
Succoth-Benoth, “tents for young women;” having consecrated a temple to
Venus, they fixed tents round it, where young women prostituted
themselves in honour of the goddess. Herodotus, and other authors, are
also sufficient witnesses on this point. Now, were the Americans
originally heathens, or not of Israel, when they wandered there from
captivity, in quest of {20} liberty, or on any other accidental account,
that vicious precedent was so well calculated for America, where every
place was a thick arbour, it is very improbable they should have
discontinued it: But they are the very reverse. To commit such acts of
pollution, while they are performing any of their religious ceremonies,
is deemed so provoking an impiety, as to occasion even the supposed
sinner to be excluded from all religious communion with the rest of the
people. Or even was a man known to have gone in to his own wife, during
the time of their fastings, purifications, &c. he would also be
separated from them. There is this wide difference between the impure
and obscene religious ceremonies of the ancient heathens, and the yet
penal, and strict purity of the natives of America.

The heathens chose such gods, as were most suitable to their
inclinations, and the situation of their country. The warlike Greeks and
Romans worshipped _Mars_ the god of war; and the savage and more bloody
Scythians deified the _Sword_. The neighbouring heathens round Judæa,
each built a temple to the supposed god that presided over their land.
_Rimmon_, was the Syrian god of pomegranates: and the Philistines,
likewise, erected a temple to _Dagon_, who had first taught them the use
of wheat; which the Greeks and Romans changed into _Ceres_, the goddess
of corn, from the Hebrew, _Geres_, which signifies grain. But the red
Americans firmly believe, that their war-captains, and their reputed
prophets, gain success over their enemies, and bring on seasonable
rains, by the immediate reflection of the divine fire, co-operating with

We are informed by Cicero, that the maritime Sidonians adored _fishes_:
and by the fragment of Sanchoniathon, that the Tyrians worshipped the
element of _fire_, and the _ærial wind_, as gods:—probably having
forgotten that the first and last names of the three celestial cherubic
emblems, only typified the deity. Ancient history informs us, that
Zoroaster, who lived An. M. 3480, made _light_ the emblem of good, and
_darkness_ the symbol of evil—he taught an abhorrence of images, and
instructed his pupils to worship God, under the figurative likeness of
_fire_: but he asserted two contrary original principles; the one of
good, and the other of evil. He allowed no temples, but enjoined
sacrificing in the open air, and on the top of an hill. The ancient
Persians kept up their reputed holy fire, without suffering it to be
extinguished; which their pretended successors observe with the {21}
strictest devotion, and affirm it has been burning, without the least
intermission, several thousand years. But the Indian Americans are so
far from the idolatry of the Sidonians, that they esteem fish only as
they are useful to the support of human life; though one of their tribes
is called the _fish_:—they are so far from paying any religious worship
to the aerial wind, like the Tyrians, that they often call the bleak
northwind, explicatively, very evil, and accursed; which they probably,
would not say, if they derived the great esteem they now have for the
divine fire, from the aforesaid idolatrous nations: neither would they
wilfully extinguish their old fire, before the annual sacrifice is
offered up, if, like the former heathens, they paid religious worship to
the elementary fire; for no society of people would kill their own gods,
unless the papists, who go farther, even to eat him. The Indians esteem
the old year’s fire, as a most dangerous pollution, regarding only the
supposed holy fire, which the archi-magus annually renews for the

They pay no religious worship to stocks, or stones, after the manner of
the old eastern pagans; neither do they worship any kind of images
whatsoever.[16] And it deserves our notice, in a very particular manner,
to invalidate the idle dreams of the jesuitical fry of South-America,
that none of all the various nations, from Hudson’s Bay to the
Missisippi, has ever been known, by our trading people, to attempt to
make any image of the great Divine Being, whom they worship. This is
consonant to the Jewish observance of the second commandment, and
directly contrary to the usage of all the ancient heathen world, who
made corporeal representations of their deities—and their conduct, is a
reproach to many reputed Christian temples, which are littered round
with a crowd of ridiculous figures to represent God, spurious angels,
pretended saints, and notable villains.

The sacred penmen, and prophane writers, assure us that the ancient
heathens had lascivious gods, particularly מפלצת, 2 _Chron._ xv. 16,
which was the abominable Priapus. But I never heard that any of our
North-American Indians had images of any kind. There is a carved human
statue of wood, to which, however, they pay no religious homage: It
belongs to the head war-town of the upper Muskohge country, and seems to
have been originally designed to perpetuate the memory of some
distinguished hero, who deserved well of his country; for, when their
_cusseena_, or bitter, black drink[17] is about to {22} be drank in the
synedrion, they frequently, on common occasions, will bring it there,
and honour it with the first conch-shell-full, by the hand of the chief
religious attendant: and then they return it to its former place. It is
observable, that the same beloved waiter, or holy attendant, and his
co-adjutant, equally observe the same ceremony to every person of
reputed merit, in that quadrangular place. When I past that way,
circumstances did not allow me to view this singular figure; but I am
assured by several of the traders, who have frequently seen it, that the
carving is modest, and very neatly finished, not unworthy of a modern
civilized artist. As no body of people we are acquainted with, have, in
general, so great a share of strong natural parts as those savages, we
may with a great deal of probability suppose, that their tradition of
the second commandment, prevented them from having one, not to say the
same plentiful variety of images, or idols, as have the popish

Notwithstanding they are all degenerating apace, on account of their
great intercourse with foreigners, and other concurring causes; I well
remember, that, in the year 1746, one of the upper towns of the
aforesaid Muskohge, was so exceedingly exasperated against some of our
Chikkasah traders, for having, when in their cups, forcibly viewed the
nakedness of one of their women, (who was reputed to be an
hermaphrodite) that they were on the point of putting them to death,
according to one of their old laws against crimes of that kind.—But
several of us, assisted by some of the Koosah town, rescued them from
their just demerit. Connecting together these particulars, we can
scarcely desire a stronger proof, that they have not been idolaters,
since they first came to America; much less, that they erected, and
worshipped any such lascivious and obscene idols, as the heathens above

The Sidonians and Philistines worshipped Ashtaroth, in the figure of the
_celestial luminaries_; or, according to others, in the form of a
_sheep_: but the Americans pay the former, only, a civil regard, because
of the beneficial influence with which the deity hath impressed them.
And they reckon _sheep_ as despicable and helpless, and apply the name
to persons in that predicament, although a ram was the animal emblem of
power, with the ancient eastern heathens. The Indians sometimes call a
nasty fellow, _Chookphe_ {23} _kussooma_, “a stinking sheep,” and “a
goat.” And yet a goat was one of the Egyptian deities; as likewise were
all the creatures that bore wool; on which account, the sacred writers
frequently term idols, “the hairy.” The despicable idea which the
Indians affix to the species, shews they neither use it as a divine
symbol, nor have a desire of being named Dorcas, which, with the
Hebrews, is a proper name, expressive of a wild she goat. I shall
subjoin here, with regard to Ashtaroth, or Astarte, that though the
ancients believed their deities to be immortal, yet they made to
themselves both male and female gods, and, by that means, Astarte, and
others, are of the fæminine gender. Trismegistus too, and the Platonics,
affirmed there was deus masculo-fæmineus; though different sexes were
needful for the procreation of human beings.

Instead of consulting such as the heathen oracles—or the Teraphim—the
Dii Penates—or Dii Lares, of the ancients, concerning future
contingencies, the Indians only pretend to divine from their dreams;
which may proceed from the tradition they still retain of the knowledge
their ancestors obtained from heaven, in visions of the night, _Job_
xxxiii. “God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a
dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in
slumberings upon the bed, then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth
their instruction.” When we consider how well stocked with gods, all the
neighbouring nations of Judæa were; especially the maritime powers, such
as Tyre and Sidon, Carthage and Egypt, which continually brought home
foreign gods, and entered them into their own Palladia; and that these
Americans are utterly ignorant both of the gods and their worship, it
proves, with sufficient evidence, that the gentlemen, who trace them
from either of those states, only perplex themselves in wild theory,
without entering into the merits of the question.

As the _bull_ was the first terrestrial _cherubic emblem_, denoting
fire, the ancient Egyptians, in length of time, worshipped Apis,
Serapis, or Osiris, under the form of an ox; but, when he grew old, they
drowned him, and lamented his death in a mourning habit; which
occasioned a philosopher thus to jest them, _Si Dii sunt, cur plangitis?
Si mortui, cur adoratis?_ “If they be gods, why do you weep for them?
And, if they are dead, why do you worship them?” A bull, ox, cow, or
calf, was the favourite deity of {24} the ancient idolaters. Even when
YOHEWAH was conducting Israel in the wilderness, Aaron was forced to
allow them a golden calf, according to the usage of the Egyptians: and
at the defection of the ten tribes, they worshipped before the
emblematical images of two calves, through the policy of Jeroboam. The
Troglodites used to strangle their aged, with a cow’s tail: and some of
the East-Indians are said to fancy they shall be happy, by holding a
cow’s tail in their hand when dying: others imagine the Ganges to wash
away all their crimes and pollution. The Indian Americans, on the
contrary, though they derive the name of cattle from part of the divine
essential name, (as shall be elsewhere observed) and use the name of a
buffalo as a war appellative, and the name of a tribe; yet their regard
to them, centres only in their usefulness for the support of human life:
and they believe they can perform their religious ablutions and
purifications, in any deep clean water.

The superstitious heathens, whom the Hebrews called, _Yedonim_,
pretended that the bones of those they worshipped as gods when alive,
revealed both present and future things, that were otherwise concealed:
and the hieroglyphics, the priestly legible images, which the Egyptians
inscribed on the tombs of the deceased, to praise their living virtue,
and incite youth to imitate them, proved a great means of inducing them
in process of time to worship their dead. But the Americans praise only
the virtues of their dead, as fit copies of imitation for the living.
They firmly believe that the hand of God cuts off the days of their dead
friend, by his pre-determined purpose. They are so far from deifying
fellow-creatures, that they prefer none of their own people, only
according to the general standard of reputed merit.

The Chinese, likewise, though they call God by the appellative, _Cham
Ti_, and have their temples of a quadrangular form, yet they are gross
idolaters; like the ancient Egyptians, instead of offering up religious
oblations to the great Creator and Preserver of the universe, they pay
them to the pictures of their deceased ancestors, and erect temples to
them, in solitary places without their cities—likewise to the sun, moon,
planets, spirits, and inventors of arts; especially to the great
Confucius, notwithstanding he strictly prohibited the like idolatrous
rites. And the religious modes of the ancient inhabitants {25} of
Niphon, or the Japanese, are nearly the same; which are diametrically
opposite to the religious tenets of the wild Americans.

The diviners among the Philistines pretended to foretel things, by the
flying, chirping, and feeding of wild fowls. The Greeks and Romans
called fowls, Nuncii Deorum. And Calchas is said to have foretold to
Agamemnon, by the number of sparrows which flew before him, how many
years the Trojan war should last. The Assyrians worshipped pigeons, and
bore the figure of them on their standards, as the sacred oracles shew
us, where the anger of the pigeon, and the sword of the pigeon, points
at the destroying sword of the Assyrians. But, though the American woods
swarm with a surprizing variety of beautiful wild fowl, yet the natives
do not make the least pretension to auguries. They know it is by a
certain gift or instinct, inferior to human reason, that the birds have
a sufficient knowledge of the seasons of the year. I once indeed
observed them to be intimidated at the voice of a small uncommon bird,
when it pitched, and chirped on a tree over their war camp. But that is
the only trace of such superstition, as I can recollect among them.
Instead of calling birds the messengers of the gods, they call the great
eagle, _Ooōle_; which seems to be an imitation of _Eloha_.—This may be
accounted for, from the eagle being one of the cherubic emblems,
denoting the air, or spirit. They esteem pigeons only as they are
salutary food, and they kill the turtledove, though they apply it as a
proper name to their female children.

The Babylonians were much addicted to auguries: and they believed them
to be unerring oracles, and able to direct them in doubtful and arduous
things, _Ezek._ xxi. 21. Those auguries always directed their conduct,
in every material thing they undertook; such as the beginning and
carrying on war, going a journey, marriage, and the like. But, as we
shall soon see, the Americans, when they go to war, prepare and sanctify
themselves, only by fasting and ablutions, that they may not defile
their supposed holy ark, and thereby incur the resentment of the Deity.
And many of them firmly believe, that marriages are made above. If the
Indian Americans were descended from any of the states or people above
mentioned, they could not well have forgotten, much less could they have
so essentially departed from their idolatrous worship. It is hence
probable, they came here, {26} soon after the captivity, when the
religion of the Hebrew nation, respecting the worship of Deity, was in
its purity. And if any of the ancient heathens came with them, they
became proselytes of habitation, or justice—hereby, their heathenish
rites and ceremonies were, in process of time, intirely absorbed in the
religious ceremonies of the Jews.

Had the nine tribes and half of Israel which were carried off by
Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, and settled in Media, continued there
long, it is very probable, that by intermarrying with the natives, and
from their natural fickleness and proneness to idolatry, and the force
of example, they would have adopted, and bowed before the gods of the
Medes and the Assyrians, and carried them along with them. But there is
not a trace of this idolatry among the Indians. The severe afflictions
they underwent in captivity, doubtless humbled their hearts, and
reclaimed them from the service of the calves, and of Baalam, to the
true divine worship—a glimpse of which they still retain. And that the
first settlers came to America before the destruction of the first
temple, may be inferred, as it is certain both from Philo and Josephus,
that the second temple had no cherubim. To reflect yet greater light on
the subject, I shall here add a few observations on the Indians supposed
religious cherubic emblems, the cherubimical names of their tribes, and
from whence they, and the early heathens, may be supposed to have
derived them.

When the goodness of Deity induced him to promise a saviour to fallen
man, in paradise, he stationed flaming _cherubim_ in the garden. The
type I shall leave; but when mankind became intirely corrupt, God
renewed his promise to the Israelites, and to convey to posterity the
true divine worship, ordered them to fix in the tabernacle, and in
Solomon’s temple, _cherubim_, over the mercy-seat,—the very curtains
which lined the walls, and the veil of the temple, likewise, were to
have those figures. The cherubim are said to represent the names and
offices of _Yehowah Elohim_, in redeeming lost mankind. The word כרבים,
is drawn from כ, a note of resemblance, and רב, a great or mighty one;
_i. e._ the “similitude of the great and mighty One,” whose emblems were
the bull, the lion, the man, and the eagle. The prophet Ezekiel has
given us two draughts of the cherubim (certainly not without an
instructive design) in his two visions, described in the first {27} and
tenth chapters. In chap. x. ver. 20, he assures us that “he knew they
were the cherubim.” They were uniform, and had those four compounded
animal emblems; “Every one had four faces—פגים,” appearances, habits, or
forms; which passage is illustrated by the similar divine emblems on the
four principal standards of Israel. The standard of Judah bore the image
of a _lion_; Ephraim’s had the likeness of a _bull_; Reuben’s had the
figure of a _man’s_ head; and Dan’s carried the picture of an _eagle_,
with a serpent in his talons[VI]: Each of the cherubim, according to the
prophet, had the head and face of a man—the likeness of an eagle, about
the shoulders, with expanded wings; their necks, manes, and breasts,
resembled those of a lion; and their feet those of a bull, or calf. “The
sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot.” One would
conclude, from Ezekiel’s visions, and _Psal._ xviii. 10.—_Ps._ xcix. 1.
“He rode upon a cherub, and did fly:”—“The Lord reigneth, let the people
tremble: he sitteth between the cherubim, let the earth be moved,”—that
Elohim chose the cherubic emblems, in condescension to man, to display
his transcendent glorious title of King of kings. We view him seated in
his triumphal chariot, and as in the midst of a formidable war camp,
drawn by those four creatures, the bull, the lion, the man, and the
eagle; strong and descriptive emblems of the divine essence. What animal
is equal to the _bull_, or ox, for strength, indefatigable service, and
also for food? In eastern countries, they were always used to plough,
and beat out the grain, besides other services omitted in modern times;
the _lion_ excels every other animal in courage, force, and prowess:
_man_ far surpasses all other creatures, in understanding, judgment, and
wisdom; and there is no bird so sagacious, or can fly so swift, or soar
so high as the eagle, or that bears so intense a love to its young ones.

Footnote VI:

  The MAN, which the lion on the standard of Judah, and the head on
  Reuben’s, typified, was, in the fulness of time, united to the divine

These are the emblems of the _terrestrial cherubim_: and the Psalmist
calls them Merabha Hashekina, “The chariot of Divine Majesty:” “God
sitteth between, and rideth upon, the cherubim,” or divine chariot. The
_celestial cherubim_ were _fire_, _light_, and _air_, or spirit, which
were typified by the _bull_, the _lion_, and the _eagle_. Those divine
emblems, in a long revolution of time, {28} induced the ancients by
degrees, to divide them, and make images of the divine persons, powers,
and actions, which they typified, and to esteem them gods. They
consecrated the bull’s head to the fire, the lion’s to light, and the
eagle’s to the air, which they worshipped as gods. And, in proportion as
they lost the knowledge of the emblems, they multiplied and compounded
their heads with those of different creatures. The Egyptians commonly
put the head of a lion, hawk, or eagle, and sometimes that of a ram, or
bull, to their images; some of which resembled the human body. Their
Apis, or Osiris, gave rise to Aaron’s, and apostate Israel’s, golden
calf: and their sphynx had three heads. Diana of Ephesus was triformis;
Janus of Rome, biformis, and, sometimes, quadriformis; and Jupiter, Sol,
Mercury, Proserpine, and Cerberus, were triple-headed.

Hesiod tells us, the ancient heathens had no less than thirty thousand
_gods_. It is well known that the ancient heathens, especially the
Greeks and Romans, abounded with male and female deities; and commonly
in human effigy. As they imagined they could not safely trust themselves
to the care of any one god, they therefore chose a multiplicity. They
multiplied and changed them from childhood to old age. The Romans
proceeded so far, as to make Cloacina the guardian goddess of each
house-of-office. The heathens in general, appointed one god to preside
over the land, and another over the water; one for the mountains, and
another for the valleys. And they were so diffident of the power of
their gods, that they chose a god, or goddess, for each part of the
body; contrary to the religious system of their best poets and
philosophers, and that of the present savage Americans: the former
affirmed, _sapiens dominabitur astris_, &c.; “A wife, good man, will
always be ruled by divine reason; and not pretend to be drawn to this or
that, by an over-bearing power of the stars, or fortune:” and the latter
assert, “that temporal good or evil is the necessary effect of their own
conduct; and that the Deity presides over life and death.”

If this first institution of the cherubic emblems was not religious, nor
derived from the compounded figures of the scripture cherubim, how is it
that so many various nations of antiquity, and far remote from each
other, should have chosen them as gods, and so exactly alike? Is it not
most reasonable to suppose, that as they lost the meaning of those
symbolical figures, and {29} their archetypes, fire, light, and air, or
spirit, which represented the attributes, names, and offices of _Yohewah
Elohim_, they divided them into so many various gods, and paid them
divine worship. Yet, though the Indian Americans have the supposed
cherubimical figures, in their synhedria, and, through a strong
religious principle, dance there, perhaps every winter’s night, always
in a bowing posture, and frequently sing _Halelu-Yah Yo He Wah_, I could
never perceive, nor be informed, that they substituted them, or the
similitude of any thing whatsoever, as objects of divine adoration, in
the room of the great invisible divine essence. They use the feathers of
the eagle’s tail[18], in certain friendly and religious dances, but the
whole town will contribute, to the value of 200 deer-skins, for killing
a large eagle; (the bald eagle they do not esteem); and the man also
gets an honourable title for the exploit, as if he had brought in the
scalp of an enemy. Now, if they reckoned the eagle a god, they would not
only refuse personal profits, and honours, to him who killed it, but
assuredly inflict on him the severest punishment, for committing so
atrocious and sacrilegious an act.

I have seen in several of the Indian synhedria, two white painted eagles
carved out of poplar wood, with their wings stretched out, and raised
five feet off the ground, standing at the corner, close to their red and
white imperial seats: and, on the inner side of each of the deep-notched
pieces of wood, where the eagles stand, the Indians frequently paint,
with a chalky clay, the figure of a man, with buffalo horns—and that of
a panther, with the same colour; from which I conjecture, especially,
connected with their other rites and customs soon to be mentioned, that
the former emblem was designed to describe the divine attributes, as
that bird excels the rest of the feathered kind, in various superior
qualities; and that the latter symbol is a contraction of the
cherubimical figures, the man, the bull, and the lion. And this opinion
is corroborated by an established custom, both religious and martial,
among them, which obliges them to paint those sacred emblems anew, at
the first fruit-offering, or the annual expiation of sins. Every one of
their war-leaders must also make three successful _wolfish campaigns_,
with their reputed holy ark, before he is admitted to wear a pair of a
young buffalo-bull’s horns on his forehead, or to sing the triumphal war
song, and to dance with the same animal’s tail sticking up behind him,
while he sings _Yo Yo_, &c. {30}

Now we know it was an usual custom with the eastern nations, to affix
horns to their gods. The Sidonian goddess Ashtaroth was horned: and
Herodotus says, the Egyptians painted their Venus, or Isis, after the
same manner: and the Greek Jo, (which probably was Yo) had horns, in
illusion to the bull’s head, the chief emblem of the celestial cherubic
fire, representing Yo (He Wah) as its name plainly indicates. A horn
was, likewise, a Persian emblem of power[VII].

Footnote VII:

  The metaphorical expressions, and emblematical representations, of the
  law and the prophets, are generally suited to the usages of the
  eastern countries. And this metaphor, of a horn, is commonly so used,
  through all the divine registers, multiplying the number of horns of
  the object they are describing, to denote its various, great, and
  perfect power; unless where seven is mentioned as a number of
  perfection, as in St. John’s figurative, magnificent, and sublime
  description of Christ.

That the Indians derived those symbolical representations from the
compounded figures of the cherubim, seems yet more clear, from the
present cherubic names of their tribes, and the preeminence they
formerly bore over the rest. At present, indeed, the most numerous tribe
commonly bears the highest command; yet their old warriors assure us, it
was not so even within their own remembrance. The title of the _old
beloved men_, or _archimagi_, is still hereditary in the _panther_, or
_tyger family_: As North-America breeds no lions, the panther, or any
animal it contains, is the nearest emblem of it. The Indian name of each
cherub, both terrestrial and celestial, reflects great light on the
present subject; for they call the buffalo (bull) _Yanasa_; the panther,
or supposed lion, _Koè-Ishto_, or _Koè-O_, “the cat of God;” the man, or
human creature, _Ya-we_; and the eagle, _Ooóle_; fire is _Loak_; the
solar light, _Ashtahále_; and air, _Màhàle_, in allusion to מי, water,
and אל, the omnipotent; the note of aspiration is inserted, to give the
word a fuller and more vehement sound. Their eagle and buffalo tribes
resemble two other cherubic names or emblems. They have one they call
_Spháne_, the meaning of which they have lost; perhaps it might have
signified the _man_.

Near to the red and white imperial seats, they have the representation
of a full moon, and either a half moon, or a breastplate, raised five or
six feet high at the front of the broad seats, and painted with chalky
clay; sometimes black paintings are intermixed. But, let it be noticed,
that in the {31} time of their most religious exercises, or their other
friendly rejoicings there, they do not pay the least adoration to any of
those expressive emblems; nor seem to take any notice of them: which is
the very reverse to the usage of all the ancient heathen world. Hence
one would conclude, that they not only brought with them the letter, but
the meaning of those reputed cherubimical figures, which were designed
to represent the inseparable attributes of _Yohewah_.

It is universally agreed, by the Christian world, that every religious
observance of the ancient heathens, which the Mosaic law approved of,
was at first derived from divine appointment; and as we are assured in
the first pages of the sacred oracles, concerning Cain, _Gen._ iv. 16.
“that he went out from the _presence of the Lord_,” we learn, that God,
in that early state of the world, chose a place for his more immediate
presence,—פגים, his faces, appearances, or forms residing in, or
between, the cherubim. We may, therefore, reasonably conclude, from the
various gods, and religious worship of the ancient heathens, and from
the remaining divine emblems, and family names of the Indian Americans,
that the former deduced those emblems they deifyed, from the compounded
cherubim in paradise: and that the Indians derived their cherubic
figures, and names of tribes, from the cherubim that covered the
mercy-seat, in the tabernacle, and in Solomon’s temple, alluded to and
delineated in several parts of the sacred oracles.

                             ARGUMENT III.

Agreeable to the THEOCRACY, or divine government of Israel, the Indians
think the Deity to be the immediate head of their state.

All the nations of Indians are exceedingly intoxicated with religious
pride, and have an inexpressible contempt of the white people, unless we
except those half-savage Europeans, who are become their proselytes.
_Nothings_ is the most favourable name they give us, in set speeches:
even the Indians who were formerly bred in amity with us, and in enmity
to the French, used to call us, in their war orations, _hottuk
ookproose_, “The accursed people.” But they flatter themselves with the
name _hottuk oretoopah_, “The beloved people,” because their supposed
ancestors, as they affirm, were under the immediate government of the
Deity, who was present with them, in a {32} very particular manner, and
directed them by prophets; while the rest of the world were aliens and
out-laws to the covenant.

When the _archi-magus_, or any one of their magi, is persuading the
people, at their religious solemnities to a strict observance of the old
beloved, or divine speech, he always calls them, “The beloved,” or holy
people, agreeable to the Hebrew epithet, _Ammi_, during the theocracy of
Israel: he urges them, with the greatest energy of expression he is
capable of, a strong voice, and very expressive gestures, to imitate the
noble actions of their great and virtuous forefathers, which they
performed, in a surprizing manner, by their holy things, and a strict
observance of the old, beloved speech. Then, he flourishes on their
beloved land that flowed with milk and honey, telling them they had
good, and the best things in the greatest plenty: and speaks largely of
their present martial customs, and religious rites, which they derived
from their illustrious predecessors,—strictly charging them not to
deviate, in the least, out of that old, beloved, beaten path, and they
will surely meet with all the success that attended their beloved

I have heard the speaker, on these occasions, after quoting the war
actions of their distinguished chieftains, who fell in battle, urging
them as a copy of imitation to the living—assure the audience, that such
a death, in defence of their beloved land, and beloved things, was far
preferable to some of their living pictures, that were only spending a
dying life, to the shame and danger of the society, and of all their
beloved things, while the others died by their virtue, and still
continue a living copy. Then, to soften the thoughts of death, he tells
them, they who died in battle are only gone to sleep with their beloved
forefathers; (for they always collect the bones)—and mentions a common
proverb they have, _Neetak Intahah_, “the days appointed, or allowed
him, were finished.” And this is their firm belief; for they affirm,
that there is a certain fixt time, and place, when, and where, every one
must die, without any possibility of averting it. They frequently say,
“Such a one was weighed on the path, and made to be light;” ascribing
life and death to God’s unerring and particular providence; which may be
derived from a religious opinion, and proverb of the Hebrews, that “the
divine care extended itself, from the horns of the unicorn, to the very
feet of the lice.” And the more refined part of the old heathens
believed the like. The ancient Greeks and Romans, who were great copiers
{33} of the rites and customs of the Jews, believed there were three
destinies who presided over human life, and had each of them their
particular office; one held the distaff of life, while another spun the
thread, and Atropos cut it off: a strong but wild picture of the divine
fire, light, and spirit. When Virgil is praising the extraordinary
virtue of Ripheus, who was killed in defence of his native city, Troy,
he adds, _Diis aliter visum est_,—submitting to the good and wise
providence of the gods, who thought fit to call him off the stage.
However, he seems to be perplexed on the subject; as he makes fate
sometimes conditional;

             ———————————————————_Similis si cura fuisset,
             Nec pater omnipotens Trojam nec fata vetabant

“If the usual proper care had been taken, neither Jupiter nor fate would
have hindered Troy from standing at this time.” But, if the time of
dying was unalterably fixed, according to the Indian system, or that of
our fatalists, how would its votaries reconcile the scheme of divine
Providence? which must be in conformity to truth, reason, and
goodness,—and how explain the nature of moral good and evil? On their
principle, self-murder would be a necessary act of a passive being set
on work by the first mover; and his obligations would be proportionable,
only to his powers and faculties; which would excuse the supposed
criminal from any just future punishment for suicide. But religion, and
true reason, deny the premises, and they themselves will not own the

It is their opinion of the THEOCRACY, or, that God chose them out of all
the rest of mankind, as his peculiar and beloved people,—which animates
both the white Jew, and the red American, with that steady hatred
against all the world, except themselves, and renders them hated or
despised by all. The obstinacy of the former, in shutting their eyes
against the sacred oracles, which are very explicit and clear in the
original text, and of which they were the trustees, incites both our
pity and reproof; whereas the others firm adherence to, and strong
retention of, the rites and customs of their forefathers, only attract
our admiration.

The American Indians are so far from being _Atheists_, as some godless
Europeans have flattered themselves, to excuse their own infidelity,
that they have the great sacred name of God, that describes his divine
essence, and {34} by which he manifested himself to Moses—and are firmly
persuaded they now live under the immediate government of the Deity. The
ascension of the smoke of their victim, as a sweet savour to _Yohewah_,
(of which hereafter) is a full proof to the contrary, as also that they
worship God, in a smoke and cloud, believing him to reside above the
clouds, and in the element of the, supposed, holy annual fire. It is no
way material to fix any certain place for the residence of Him, who is
omnipresent, and who sustains every system of beings. It is not
essential to future happiness, whether we believe his chief place of
abode is in _cælo tertio_, _paradiso terrestri_, or _elemento igneo_.
God hath placed conscience in us for a monitor, witness, and judge.—It
is the guilty or innocent mind, that accuses, or excuses us, to Him. If
any farther knowledge was required, it would be revealed; but St. Paul
studiously conceals the mysteries he saw in the empyreal heavens.

The place of the divine residence is commonly said to be above the
clouds; but that is because of the distance of the place, as well as our
utter ignorance of the nature of Elohim’s existence, the omnipresent
spirit of the universe. Our finite minds cannot comprehend a being who
is infinite. This inscrutable labyrinth occasioned Simonides, a discreet
heathen poet and philosopher, to request Hiero, King of Sicily, for
several days successively, to grant him a longer time to describe the
nature of the Deity; and, at the end, to confess ingenuously, that the
farther he waded in that deep mystery, the more he sunk out of his
depth, and was less able to define it.

If we trace Indian antiquities ever so far, we shall find that not one
of them ever retained, or imbibed, atheistical principles, except such
whose interest as to futurity it notoriously appeared to be—whose
practices made them tremble whenever they thought of a just and avenging
God: but these rare instances were so far from infecting the rest, that
they were the more confirmed in the opinion, of not being able either to
live or die well, without a God. And this all nature proclaims in every
part of the universe.

                              ARGUMENT IV.

We have abundant evidence of the Jews believing in the _ministration of
angels_, during the Old-Testament dispensation; their frequent
appearances, and their services, on earth, are recorded in the oracles,
which the Jews themselves receive as given by divine inspiration. And
St. Paul in his {35} epistle addressed to the Hebrews, speaks of it as
their general opinion, that “Angels are ministring spirits to the good
and righteous on earth.” And that it was the sentiment of those Jews who
embraced christianity, is evident from _Acts_ xii. where an angel is
said to deliver Peter from his imprisonment, and when the maid reported
that Peter stood at the gate knocking, his friends doubting, said, “It
is his angel.” Women also are ordered to have their heads covered in
religious assemblies, because of the presence of the angels, and to
observe silence, the modest custom of the eastern countries. The Indian
sentiments and traditions are the same.—They believe the higher regions
to be inhabited by good spirits, whom they call _Hottuk Ishtohoollo_,
and _Nana Ishtohoollo_, “holy people,” and “relations to the great, holy
One.” The _Hottuk ookproose_, or _Nana ookproose_, “accursed people,” or
“accursed beings,” they say, possess the dark regions of the west; the
former attend, and favour the virtuous; and the latter, in like manner,
accompany and have power over the vicious: on which account, when any of
their relations die, they immediately fire off several guns, by one,
two, and three at a time, for fear of being plagued with the last
troublesome neighbours: all the adjacent towns also on the occasion,
whoop and halloo at night; for they reckon, this offensive noise sends
off the ghosts to their proper fixed place, till they return at some
certain time, to repossess their beloved tract of land, and enjoy their
terrestrial paradise. As they believe in God, so they firmly believe
that there is a class of higher beings than men, and a future state and

There are not greater bigots in Europe, nor persons more superstitious,
than the Indians, (especially the women) concerning the power of
witches, wizards, and evil spirits.[19] It is the chief subject of their
idle winter night’s chat: and both they, and several of our traders,
report very incredible and shocking stories. They will affirm that they
have seen, and distinctly, most surprising apparitions, and heard horrid
shrieking noises. They pretend, it was impossible for all their senses
to be deluded at the same time; especially at _Okmulge_,[20] the old
waste town, belonging to the _Muskohge_, 150 miles S. W. of Augusta in
Georgia, which the South-Carolinians destroyed about the year 1715. They
strenuously aver, that when necessity forces them to encamp there, they
always hear, at the dawn of the morning, the usual noise of Indians
singing their joyful religious notes, and dancing, as if going down to
the river to purify themselves, and then returning to the old
town-house: with a great deal more to the same effect. Whenever I have
been {36} there, however, all hath been silent. Our noisy bacchanalian
company might indeed have drowned the noise with a greater of their own.
But as I have gone the tedious Chikkasah war path[21], through one
continued desart, day and night, much oftener than any of the rest of
the traders, and alone, to the Chikkasah country, so none of those
frightful spirits ever appeared to, nor any tremendous noise alarmed me.
But they say this was “because I am an obdurate infidel that way.”

The Hebrews seem to have entertained notions pretty much resembling the
Indian opinions on this head, from some passages in their rabbins, and
which they ground even on the scriptures[VIII]. We read _Isa._ xiii. 21.
“But wild beasts of the desart shall lie there, and their houses shall
be full of doleful creatures, and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs
shall dance there[IX].”

Footnote VIII:

  Lev. xix. 31. I Sam. xxviii. 3, &c. Isa. viii. 19.

Footnote IX:

  Bochart supposes that _tsiim_ signify _wild cats_; and that אחים is
  not any particular creature, but the crying or howling of wild beasts.
  His opinion is confirmed by many judicious writers.

Several warriors have told me, that their _Nana Ishtohoollo_,
“concomitant holy spirits,” or angels, have forewarned them, as by
intuition, of a dangerous ambuscade, which must have been attended with
certain death, when they were alone, and seemingly out of danger; and by
virtue of the impulse, they immediately darted off, and, with extreme
difficulty, escaped the crafty, pursuing enemy. Similar to this, was the
opinion of many of the Jews, and several of the ancient and refined
heathens, and is the sentiment of moderns, that intimations of this
kind, for man’s preservation and felicity, proceed from God by the
instrumentality of good angels, or superior invisible beings, which he
employs for that purpose—who can so impress the imagination, and
influence the mind, as to follow the suggestions, but not so as to
destroy the liberty of the will.—Thus Homer introduces Minerva as
suggesting what was proper for the persons she favoured—and other
superior beings; but they deliberated on the counsel, and chose that
which appeared to be right.

                              ARGUMENT V.

The _Indian language_, and _dialects_, appear to have the very idiom and
genius of the _Hebrew_. Their words and sentences are expressive,
concise, emphatical, {37} sonorous, and bold—and often, both in letters
and signification, synonymous with the Hebrew language. It is a common
and old remark, that there is no language, in which some Hebrew words
are not to be found. Probably _Hebrew_ was the first, and only language,
till distance of time and place introduced a change, and then soon
followed a mixture of others. The accidental position of the characters,
might also coincide with some Hebrew words, in various dialects, without
the least intention. As the true pronunciation of the Hebrew characters,
is lost in a considerable degree, it is too difficult a task, for a
skilful Hebraist, to ascertain a satisfactory identity of language,
between the Jews, and American Aborigines; much more so to an Indian
trader, who professes but a small acquaintance with the Hebrew, and that
acquired by his own application. However, I will endeavour to make up
the deficiency of _Hebrew_, with a plenty of good solid _Indian roots_.

The Indian nouns have neither cases nor declensions. They are invariably
the same, through both numbers, after the Hebrew manner. In their verbs,
they likewise sometimes use the preterperfect, instead of the present
tense of the indicative mood; as _Blahsas Aiahre, Apeesahre_, “Yesterday
I went and saw;” and _Eemmako Aiahre, Apeesahre_, “Now I go and see.”
Like the Hebrews, they have no comparative, or superlative degree. They
express a preference, by the opposite extremes; as _Chekusteene_, “You
are virtuous;” _Sahakse_, “I am vicious.” But it implies a comparative
degree, and signifies, “You are more virtuous than I am.” By prefixing
the adverbs, which express _little_, and _much_, to the former words, it
conveys the same meaning; the former of which is agreeable to the Hebrew
idiom. And a double repetition of the same adjective, makes a
superlative, according to the Hebrew manner; as _Lawwa, Lawwa_, “most,
or very many.” To add _hah_ to the end of an adjective, unless it is a
noun of multitude like the former, makes it also a superlative; as
_Hakse to hah_, “They are most, or very wicked.” _Hakse_ signifies
vicious, probably when the vicious part of the Israelites were under the
hand of the corrector, the judge repeated that word: _ta_, is a note of
plurality, and _hah_ an Hebrew accent of admiration; which makes it a
superlative. To join the name of God, or the leading vowel of the
mysterious, great, divine name, to the end of a noun, likewise implies a
superlative; as _Hakse-ishto_, or _Hakse-o_, “He, or she is very
wicked.” The former method of speech exactly agrees with the Hebrew
idiom; as the original text shews, in innumerable instances. {38}

When the Hebrews compare two things, and would signify a parity between
them, they double the particle of resemblance; “I am as thou art; and my
people as thy people:” And the Indians, on account of that original
defective standard of speech, are forced to use the like circumlocution;
as _Che Ahōba sia_, “I am like you;” and _Sahottuk Chehottuk tooah_, &c.
for _Hottuk_ signifies people, and the _S_ expresses the pronoun my, or
mine: and it likewise changes an active, into a passive verb. Although
this Indian and Hebrew method of speech, is rather tedious and
defective, yet, at the same time, they who attain any tolerable skill in
the dialects of the one, and language of the other, will discover the
sense plain enough, when a comparison is implied.

There is not, perhaps, any one language or speech, except the Hebrew,
and the Indian American, which has not a great many prepositions. The
Indians, like the Hebrews, have none in separate and express words. They
are forced to join certain characters to words, in order to supply that
great defect. The Hebrew consonants, called _serviles_, were tools to
supply the place of the prepositions. The Indians, for want of a
sufficient number of radical words, are forced to apply the same noun
and verb, to signify many things of a various nature. With the Cheerake,
_Eeankke_, signifies a _prisoner_, _captive_, _slave_, _awl_, _pin_,
_needle_, &c.; which occasions the Indian dialects to be very difficult
to strangers. The Jewish Rabbins tell us, that the Hebrew language
contains only a few more than a thousand primitive words, of which their
whole language is formed. So that the same word very often denotes
various, though not contrary things. But there is one radical meaning,
which will agree to every sense that word is used in.

By custom, a Hebrew noun frequently supplied the place of a pronoun; by
which means, it caused a tedious, and sometimes an ambiguous
circumlocution. From this original defective standard of speech, the
Indians have forgotten all their pronouns, except two primitives and two
relatives; as, _Anòwah_, _Ego_, and _Ishna_, _Tu_: the latter bears a
great many significations, both as singular and plural, viz. _Eeàpa_ and
_Eeàko_; which signify he, she, this, that, &c.: And they are likewise
adverbs of place; as here, there, &c. הוא _Hewa_, signifies he or she;
אני _Ani_ we; and אנ, _Anowa_, he, she, him, her, &c. {39}

The Hebrew language frequently uses hyperboles, or magnifying numbers,
to denote a long space of time: the Indians, accordingly, apply the
words, _Neetak akroohah_, “all days,” or, in other words, “for ever,” to
a long series of years. With the Jews, sitting, signified dwelling; and,
with the Indians, it is the very same; for, when they ask a person where
he dwells, they say, _Katèmuk Ishbeneele_ (_chuak?_), which is literally
“where do you sit?” And when they call us irreligious, they say _Nãna
U-bat_, “_No thing_,” or literally, “a relation to nothing;” for _Nãna_
signifies a relation: and the other is always a negative adverbial
period; which seems also to proceed from a religious custom of the
Hebrews, in giving despicable borrowed names to idols; as to בעלים,
Baalim, “Particles of air,” meaning, _nothing_. To which the Psalmist
alludes, saying, “I will not take up their names in my lips.” And St.
Paul says, “We know that an idol is _nothing_.” This expression the
Indians apply, in a pointed metaphor, to the white people, but never to
each other.

Like the Hebrews, they seldom, if ever, double the liquid consonant _R_;
for they generally seem desirous of shuffling over it, at any rate: And
they often give it the sound of _L_; but, if it precedes a word, where
the other consonant soon follows, they always give it its proper sound,
contrary to the usage of the Chinese: as the name of a stone, they often
call, _Tahle_, instead of _Tahrè_; but the Indians say, _“Tahre
lakkana”_, literally, “Yellow stone,” _i. e._ gold.

The Hebrews subjoined one of their serviles, to words, to express the
pronoun relative, _thy_ or _thine_: And as that particle was also a note
of resemblance, it shews the great sterility of that language. As a
specimen—They said אביך, (Abiche) “your father,” and אמך, (Ameche) “Your
mother,” &c. Only that the Hebrew period is initial, in such a case, to
the Indian nouns, they always use the very same method of expression.
This I shall illustrate with two words in the dialects of the Chikkasah
and Cheerake—as _Chinge_ and _Chatokta_, “your father;” _Angge_ and
_Aketohta_ signifying “my father,” in resemblance of אב, _Abba_, of the
same import; likewise _Chishka_ and _Chacheeah_, “your mother;” for
_Saske_ and _Akachee_ signify “my mother,” in imitation of אשה, _Ashe_.
Also _Sas Kish_ signifies podex meus, _Chish Kish_, podex tuus, and
_Kish Kish_, podex illius; which I guess to be an {40} opprobrious
allusion to Kish the father of Saul, for the son’s assuming the throne
at the end of the Jewish theocracy. In their adjectives and verbs, they
use the same method of speech; as _Nahoorèso Chin-Chookoma_, “Your book
is good.” The former word is compounded of נא (_Na_) now, or the present
time, and _Hoorèso_, delineated, marked, or painted. _Aia_ signifies _to
go_, and _Maia-Cha_, “Go along,” or _Maia_, the same; for, by prefixing
מ to it, it implies a requisite obedience. In like manner, _Apeesah_, to
see, and _Peesàcha_, look, or “see you.” And, when that particle is
prefixed to a verb, it always expresses the accusative case of the same
pronoun; as _Chepeesahre_, “I saw you,” and _Chepeesahras_, “I shall see
you.” Each of the Hebrew characters are radicals; although half of them
are _serviles_, according to that proper term of the scholiasts; for,
when they are prefixed, inserted, or subjoined, either at the beginning,
middle, or end of a radical word, _they serve_ to form its various
augments, inflexions, and derivatives. According to this difficult
standard of speech, the Indian nouns, moods, and tenses, are variously
formed to express different things. As there is no other known language
or dialect, which has the same tedious, narrow, and difficult
principles; must we not consider them to be twin-born sisters? The want
of proper skill to observe the original fixed idea of the Indian words,
their radical letters, and the due sounds in each of them, seems to have
been the only reason why the writers on the American Aborigines, have
not exhibited the true and genuine properties of any one of their
dialects; as they are all uniform in principle: so far at least, as an
extensive acquaintance reaches.

The Hebrew nouns are either derived from verbs, or both of them are one
and the same; as ברכה, (Beroche) “Blessing,” from ברך, (Beroch) “to
bless,” and דבר חבר, (Dabar Daber) “he spoke the speech.” This proper
name signifies “loquacious,” like the Indian _Sekàkee_, signifying the
“grasshopper.” The Indian method of expression, exactly agrees with that
Hebrew mode of speech; for they say _Anumbole Anumbole (kis)_ “I spake
the speaking;” and _Anumbole Enumbole (kis)_, “he spoke the speaking, or
speech.” And by inserting the name of God between these two words, their
meaning is the very same with those two first Hebrew words. I shall
subjoin another word of the same sort—_Hookseeleta_ signifies “a
shutting instrument;” and they say _Ishtookseelèta_, or _Hookseelèta,
Ish-hookseetas_, or _Hookseetà Cha_, “You shall, or, shut you the door.”
Their period of the last word, always denotes the second person singular
of the imperative mood; {41} and that of the other preceding it, either
the first or second person singular of the indicative mood; which is
formed so by a fixed rule, on account of the variegating power of the
serviles, by affixing, inserting, or suffixing them, to any root.
According to the usage of the Hebrews, they always place the accusative
case also before the verb; as in the former Indian words.

With the Hebrews, תפלח signified “a prayer,” or a religious invocation,
derived from פלח, Phelac, “to pray to, or invoke the Deity.” In a strong
resemblance thereof, when the Indians are performing their sacred dance,
with the eagles tails, and with great earnestness invoking _Yo He Wah_
to bless them with success and prosperity, _Phale_ signifies, “waving,”
or invoking by waving, _Ishphāle_, you wave, _Phalècha_, wave you,
_Aphalàle_, I waved, _Aphalèlas_, I will wave, &c. Psalmodists seem to
have borrowed the notes _fa_, _la_, from the aforesaid Hebrew words of
praying, singing to, or invoking Elohim. פעל, (Phoole) “to work,” is
evidently drawn from the former Hebrew word, which signifies to invoke
(and probably to wave the feathers of the cherubic eagle before) _Yo He
Wah_. The greatest part of the Levitical method of worshipping,
consisted in laborious mechanical exercises, much after the Indian
manner; which the popish priests copy after, in a great many instances,
as pulling off their clothes, and putting on others; imagining that the
Deity is better pleased with persons who variegate their external
appearances, like Proteus, than with those who worship with a steady,
sincere disposition of mind; besides a prodigious group of other
superstitious ceremonies, which are often shamefully blended with those
of the old pagans.

As the Hebrew word נא, _Na_, signifies the present time—so when the
Indians desire a person to receive something from them speedily, they
say, _Nà_ (short and gutturally) _eescha_, “take it, now.” He replies
_Unta_, or _Omeh_, which are good-natured affirmatives. The pronoun
relative, “you,” which they term _Ishna_, is a compounded Hebrew word,
signifying (by application) the person present, or “you.”

With the Hebrews, הר הר, _Hara Hara_, signifies, “most, or very, hot;”
the repetition of the word makes it a superlative. In a strict
resemblance of that word, and mode of speech, when an Indian is baffled
by any of their {42} humorous wits, he says, in a loud jesting manner,
_Hara Hara_, or _Hala Hala_, according to their capacity of pronouncing
the liquid _R_: and it signifies, “you are very hot upon me:” their
word, which expresses “sharp,” conveys the idea of bitter-heartedness
with them; and that of bitterness they apply only to the objects of

With the Cheerake, Chikkasah, and Choktah Indians, _Nannè_ signifies “a
hill:” and _Nannéh_, with the two last-mentioned nations, “a fish;” and
_Unchàba_, “a mountain.” But they call an alligator, or crocodile,
_Nannéh Chunchāba_, literally, “the fish like a mountain;” which the
English language would abbreviate into the name of a mountain-fish; but,
instead of a hyphen, they use the Hebrew כ, a note of resemblance, which
seems to point at the language from which they derived it. In like
manner, _Aà_ signifies to walk, and _Eette_, wood; but _Eette Chanáa_,
any kind of wheel; which is consonant to the aforesaid Hebrew idiom;
with many others of the like nature: but a specimen of this sort must

The Hebrew and Indian words, which express delineating, writing,
decyphering, marking, and painting, convey the same literal meaning in
both languages; as _Exod._ xvii. 14. כתב שפר (_Chethéba Sepháre_)
“delineate this with delineations;” and, with the Indians, _Hoorèso_ is,
in like manner, the radical name of books, delineating, &c.; and
_Ootehna_ that for numbering, instead of reading. The nearest approach
they can make to it, is, _Anumbōle hoorèso Ishanumbōlas_, “You shall
speak the speech, which is delineated.”

They call a razor, _Baspoo Shaphe_, “A shaving knife:” and _Shaphe_
always signifies to shave; probably, because when they first began to
shave themselves, they were ridiculed by the higher, or more religious
part of the people, for imitating that heathenish custom. The Hebrew שפּה
(_Shaphe_) signifying lip, confession, or worship; which divine writ
assures us, the descendants of Noah changed, when they opposed the
divine will of settling various parts of the earth, and built the great
tower of Babel, as an emblem of greatness, to get them a name[X]. {43}

Footnote X:

  _Skin_ signifies an eye; and _Skeeshāpha_, one-eyed; as if proceeding
  from the divine anger. They often change _i_ into _ee_.

_Loak_ signifies fire, and _Loak Ishtohoollo_, “the holy or divine
fire,” or the anger of Ishtohoollo, “the great, holy One;” which nearly
agrees with the Hebrew להט, that which flames, or scorches with vehement
heat. And it is the scripture method of conveying to us a sensible idea
of the divine wrath, according to the cherubic name אש, which likewise
signifies fire. But the Persians worshipped the burning fire, by the
name of _Oromazes_; and darkness, or the spirit, by that of _Aramanius_;
quite contrary to the religious system of the Indian Americans: and the
aforesaid Indian method of expression, seems exactly to coincide with
the Hebrew idiom.

_Buk-she-ah-ma_ is the name of their Indian flap, or broad slip of cloth
with which the men cover their nakedness; but the word they use to
express our sort of breeches, is a compound, _Bala-phooka_, derived from
the Hebrew באל, which signifies, behind; and the Indian _Naphooka_, a
coat, any kind of clothes, or covering; _Baloka_ signifies, behind;
silently telling us, they formerly wore a different sort of breeches to
what they use at present. They likewise say, _Neeppe-Phú-ka_, “A

The father of King Saul was called Kish, “podex;” which signifies also
the rear of an army, or the hindermost person, according to the Hebrew
idiom. Thus the Indians, by _Kish_, express the podex of any animal—the
hindermost person—the gavel-end of an house, and the like. _Kish Kish_,
is with them a superlative, and, as before hinted, used to convey the
contempt they have for that proper name. May not the contemptible idea
the West-Florida-Missisippi Indians affix to the name of Kish, be on
account of his son’s succession to the throne, at the end of the
theocracy of Israel, and beginning a despotic regal government?

The Indians, according to the usage of the Hebrews, always prefix the
substantive to the adjective; as _Netak Chookòma_, “A good day;”
_Nakkàne_ and _Eho Chookòma_, “A goodly man and woman.” The former of
which is termed, in Hebrew, _Yoma Tobe_, signifying, according to our
method of salutation, a good-day, a merry season, a festival day, &c.
And the Indian appellatives are similarly exprest in Hebrew, _Behtobe_
and _Ashe-Tobe_, “A good, goodly, discreet, or wise man and woman.”
_Chookoma_, with the Indians, is the proper name of a comely woman, when
_A_ is prefixed to it; as _A-chookòma_, “My goodly, or beautiful:” they
use it for a warrior, {44} when it is compounded without the _A_; as
_Chookòma hummáshtàbe_, “One who killed a beautiful, great, red, or
war-chieftain;” which is compounded of _Chookoma_, comely, _Humma_, red,
אש, _Ash_, fire, and _Abe_, a contraction of אבל, _Abele_, signifying
grief, or sorrow. Hence it appears, that because the Hebrews affixed a
virtuous idea to _Tobe_, goodly; the Indians call white by the same
name, and make it the constant emblem of every thing that is good,
according to a similar Hebrew custom. Of this the sacred oracles make
frequent mention.

The Jews called that, which was the most excellent of every thing, the
_fat_; and the Indians, in like manner, say, _Oosto Neehe_, “The fat of
the pompion,” _Tranche Neehe_, “The fat of the corn.” _Neeha_ is the
adjective, signifying _fat_, from which the word _Neeta_, “a bear,” is
derived. They apply the word _heart_, only to animate beings.

As the Deity is the soul of every system—and as every nation, from the
remotest ages of antiquity, believed that they could not live well,
without some god or other; when, therefore, we clearly understand the
name, or names, by which any society of people express their notions of
a deity, we can with more precision form ideas of the nature of their
religious worship, and of the object, or objects, of their adoration. I
shall therefore here give a plain description of the names by which the
Indian Americans speak of God.

_Ishtohoollo_ is an appellative for God. Ishtohoollo points at the
greatness, purity, and goodness, of the Creator in forming איש and אישא:
it is derived from _Ishto_, GREAT, which was the usual name of God
through all the prophetic writings; likewise, from the present tense of
the infinitive mood of the active verb, _Ahoollo_, “I love,” and from
the preter tense of the passive verb, _Hoollo_, which signifies
“sanctifying, sanctified, divine, or holy.” Women set apart, they term,
_Hoollo_, _i. e._ sanctifying themselves to Ishtohoollo: likewise,
_Netakhoollo_ signifies “a sanctified, divine, or holy day;” and, in
like manner, _Ookka Hoollo_, “water sanctified,” &c. So that,
_Ishtohoollo_, when applied to God, in its true radical meaning,
imports, “The great, beloved, holy Cause;” which is exceedingly
comprehensive, and more expressive of the true nature of God, than the
Hebrew name _Adonai_, which is applicable to a human being. Whenever the
{45} Indians apply the epithet, compounded, to any of their own
religious men, it signifies the great, holy, beloved, and sanctified men
of the Holy One.

They make this divine name point yet more strongly to the supreme author
of nature; for, as אב, signifies father; and as the omnipresent Spirit
of the universe, or the holy father of mankind, is said to dwell above,
they therefore call the immense space of the heavens, _Aba_, _Abáse_,
and _Abatàra_: and, to distinguish the King of kings, by his attributes,
from their own _Minggo Ishto_, or great chieftains, they frequently name
him _Minggo Ishto Aba_, &c.; _Ishto Aba_, &c.; _Minggo Aba_, &c.; and,
when they are striving to move the passions of the audience,
_Ishtohoollo Aba_. The Hebrew servants were not allowed to call their
master or mistress אב, _Abba_, till they were adopted: to which custom
St. Paul alludes, _Rom._ viii. 15.

They have another appellative, which with them is the mysterious,
essential name of God—the _tetragrammaton_, or great four-lettered
name—which they never mention in common speech,—of the time and place,
when, and where, they mention it, they are very particular, and always
with a solemn air.

There is a species of tea, that grows spontaneously, and in great
plenty, along the sea-coast of the two Carolinas, Georgia, and East and
West Florida, which we call _Yopon_, or _Cusseena_:[22] The Indians
transplant, and are extremely fond of it; they drink it on certain
stated occasions, and in their most religious solemnities, with awful
invocations: but the women, and children, and those who have not
successfully accompanied their holy ark, _pro Aris et Focis_, dare not
even enter the sacred square, when they are on this religious duty;
otherwise, they would be dry scratched with snakes teeth, fixed in the
middle of a split reed, or piece of wood, without the privilege of warm
water to supple the stiffened skin.

When this beloved liquid, or supposed holy drink-offering, is fully
prepared, and fit to be drank, one of their _Magi_ brings two old
consecrated, large conch-shells, out of a place appropriated for
containing the holy things, and delivers them into the hands of two
religious attendants, who, after a wild ceremony, fill them with the
supposed sanctifying, bitter liquid: then they approach near to the two
central red and white seats, (which the {46} traders call the war, and
beloved cabbins) stooping with their heads and bodies pretty low;
advancing a few steps in this posture, they carry their shells with both
hands, at an instant, to one of the most principal men on those red and
white seats, saying, on a bass key, Y’AH, quite short: then, in like
manner, they retreat backward, facing each other, with their heads
bowing forward, their arms across, rather below their breast, and their
eyes half shut; thus, in a very grave, solemn manner, they sing on a
strong bass key, the awful monosyllable, O, for the space of a minute:
then they strike up majestic HE, on the treble, with a very intent
voice, as long as their breath allows them; and on a bass key, with a
bold voice, and short accent, they at last utter the strong mysterious
sound, WAH, and thus finish the great song, or most solemn invocation of
the divine essence. The notes together compose their sacred, mysterious
name, Y-O-HE-WAH.[23]

That this seems to be the true Hebrew pronunciation of the divine
essential name, יהוה, JEHOVAH, will appear more obvious from the sound
they seem to have given their characters. The Greeks, who chiefly copied
their alphabet from the Hebrew, had not _jod_, but ιοτα, very nearly
resembling the sound of our _Y_. The ancient Teutonic and Sclavonian
dialects, have _Yah_ as an affirmative, and use the consonant _W_
instead of _V_. The high importance of the subject, necessarily would
lead these supposed red Hebrews, when separated from other people in
America, to continue to repeat the favourite name of God, YO HE WAH,
according to the ancient pronunciation.

Contrary to the usage of all the ancient heathen world, the American
Indians not only name God by several strong compounded appellatives,
expressive of many of his divine attributes, but likewise say YAH at the
beginning of their religious dances, with a bowing posture of body; then
they sing YO YO, HE HE, and repeat those sacred notes, on every
religious occasion: the religious attendants calling to YAH to enable
them humbly to supplicate, seems to point to the Hebrew custom of
pronouncing, יה, _Yah_, which likewise signifies the divine essence. It
is well known what sacred regard the Jews had to the four-lettered
divine name, so as scarcely ever to mention it, but once a year, when
the high-priest went into the holy sanctuary, at the expiation of sins.
Might not the Indians copy from them, this sacred invocation? Their
method of invoking God, in a {47} solemn hymn, with that reverential
deportment, and spending a full breath on each of the two first
syllables of the awful divine name, hath a surprizing analogy to the
Jewish custom, and such as no other nation or people, even with the
advantage of written records, have retained.

It may be worthy of notice, that they never prostrate themselves, nor
bow their bodies, to each other, by way of salute, or homage, though
usual with the eastern nations, except when they are making or renewing
peace with strangers, who come in the name of YAH; then they bow their
bodies in that religious solemnity—but they always bow in their
religious dances, because then they sing what they call divine hymns,
chiefly composed of the great, beloved, divine name, and addressed to YO
HE WAH. The favoured persons, whom the religious attendants are invoking
the divine essence to bless, hold up the shells with both hands, to
their mouths, during the awful sacred invocation, and retain a mouthful
of the drink, to spirt out on the ground, as a supposed drink-offering
to the great self-existent Giver; which they offer at the end of their
draught. If any of the traders, who at those times are invited to drink
with them, were to neglect this religious observance, they would reckon
us as godless and wild as the wolves of the desart[XI]. After the same
manner, the supposed holy waiters proceed, from the highest to the
lowest, in their synedrion: and, when they have ended that awful
solemnity, they go round the whole square, or quadrangular place, and
collect tobacco from the sanctified sinners, according to ancient
custom; “For they who serve at the altar, must live by the altar.”

Footnote XI:

  The Mosaic law injoined the offering of libations; as _Exod._ xxix.
  and _Numb._ xv. And the heathens, especially the ancient Greeks and
  Romans, mimicked a great deal of the Mosaic institution. They observed
  the like ceremonies in their idolatrous sacrifices. The priests only
  tasted, and then spilt some wine, milk, or other liquor, in honour of
  the Deity, to whom the sacrifice was offered. Alexander is said to
  have sacrificed a bull to Neptune, and to have thrown a golden vessel
  used for the libation, into the sea.

The Cheerake method of adjuring a witness to declare the truth, strongly
corroborates the former hints, and will serve as a key to open the
vowels of the great, mysterious, four-lettered name of God. On small
affairs, the judge, who is an elderly chieftain, asks the witness,
_Cheeakõhgà (sko?)_ “Do you lie?” To which he answers, _Ansa
Kai-e-koh-gà_, “I do not lie.” But {48} when the judge will search into
something of material consequence, and adjures the witness to speak the
naked truth, concerning the point in question, he says “O E A (_sko_?)”
“What you have now said, is it true, by this strong emblem of the
beloved name of the great self-existent God?” To which the witness
replies, O E A, “It is true, by this strong pointing symbol of YO HE
WAH.” When the true knowledge of the affair in dispute, seems to be of
very great importance, the judge swears the witness thus: O E A—YAH
(_sko_?) This most sacred adjuration imports, “Have you now told me the
real truth by the lively type of the great awful name of God, which
describes his necessary existence, without beginning or end; and by his
self-existent literal name, in which I adjure you.” The witness answers,
O E A—YAH, “I have told you the naked truth, which I most solemnly
swear, by this strong religious picture of the adorable, great, divine,
self-existent name, which we are not to prophane; and I likewise attest
it, by his other beloved, unspeakable, sacred, essential name.”

When we consider that the period of the adjurations, according to their
idiom, only asks a question; and that the religious waiters say YAH,
with a profound reverence, in a bowing posture of body, immediately
before they invoke YO HE WAH,—the one reflects so much light upon the
other, as to convince me, that the Hebrews, both invoked and pronounced
the divine tetragrammaton, YO HE WAH, and adjured their witnesses to
give true evidence, on certain occasions, according to the Indian usage;
otherwise, how could they possibly, in a savage state, have a custom of
so nice and strong-pointing a standard of religious caution? It seems
exactly to coincide with the conduct of the Hebrew witnesses even now on
the like religious occasions—who being sworn, by the name of the great
living God, openly to declare the naked truth, hold up their right hand,
and answer, אמנ אמנ _Amen Amen_, or “very true;” “I am a most faithful
witness.” The Hebrew word signifies faithful, and by being repeated
twice, becomes a superlative, and O E A—YAH is one of the highest

St. John, in his gospel, according to the Hebrew method of adjuration,
often doubles the _Amen_. And the same divine writer, at the beginning
of each of his seven epistles, in describing the glorious and
transcendant qualities of Jesus Christ, and particularly in the epistle
to the church of Laodicea, points at the same custom, “These things
saith the _Amen_, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the
creation of God.” {49}

The Cheerake use another expression, which bears a strong analogy to the
former method of adjuration; though it is not so sacred in their
opinion, because of one letter prefixed, and another subjoined. The
judge, in small controversies, asks the witness, _To e u (sko?)_ To
which he answers, _To e u_, or _To e u hah_, “It is very true,” or “a
most certain truth.” Such an addition of any letter, or letters, to the
vowels of the supposed divine, four-lettered name, seems to proceed from
a strict religious custom of proportioning them to the circumstances of
persons and things, lest, otherwise, they should blaspheme, or prophane
the emblems of the great divine name. And the vowel _U_ seems to allude
to אחד, _i. e._ ONE—a name of God, figuratively—for, in their dialect,
when it is a period, it makes a superlative, according to their usage in
applying the rest of the divine appellatives, symbols, or names.

They esteem _To e u hah_ so strong an assent to any thing spoken, that
_Cheesto Kaiēhre_, “the old rabbet,” (the name of the interpreter) who
formerly accompanied seven of their head warriors to London,[24] assured
me, they held there a very hot debate, in their subterranean lodgings,
in the dead hours of the night of September the 7th, 1730, whether they
should not kill him, and one of the war-chieftains, because, by his
mouth, the other answered _To e u hah_ to his Majesty’s speech, wherein
he claimed, not only their land, but all the other unconquered countries
of the neighbouring nations, as his right and property. When they
returned home, they were tried again, by the national sanhedrim, for
having betrayed the public faith, and sold their country, for
acknowledged value, by firm compact, as representatives of their
country; they having received a certain quantity of goods, and a
decoying belt of white wampum: but, upon serious deliberation, they were
honourably acquitted, because it was judged, the interpreter was bound,
by the like oath, to explain their speeches; and that surprise,
inadvertence, self-love, and the unusual glittering show of the
courtiers, extorted the sacred assent, _To e u hah_, out of the other’s
mouth, which spoiled the force of it; being much afraid, lest they
should say something amiss, on account of the different idiom of the
English, and Indian American dialects[XII]. As there is no alternative
between a falsehood, and a lie, they {50} usually tell any person, in
plain language, “You lie,” as a friendly negative to his reputed
untruth. The cheerful, inoffensive _old rabbet_ told me, he had urged to
them, with a great deal of earnestness, that it was certain death by our
laws, to give his Majesty the lie to his face; and cautioned them to
guard their mouths very strongly from uttering such dangerous language:
otherwise, their hearts would become very heavy, and even sorrowful to
death; as he would be bound as firmly by our holy books, to relate the
bare naked truth, as they were by repeating _To e u ah_, or even

Footnote XII:

  The strong sentiments, natural wit, and intense love of liberty, which
  the Indians shew themselves possessed of, in a high degree, should
  direct our colonists to pursue a different method of contracting
  Indian covenants than they have commonly used. First, let them
  consider the general good of the community, who chose them for that
  end; and then make a plain agreement with the Indians, adapted to
  their fixed notion of liberty, and the good of their country, without
  any deluding sophisms. If they do not keep these essential points of
  amity in view, we shall fare again, as hath Georgia; for, by a
  childish treaty with the Muskohge Indians, when defeated An. 1715, its
  most northern boundaries are confined to the head of the ebbing and
  flowing of Savannah river. We are said to have flourished off very
  commodious Indian treaties in the _council-books_, with the Muskohge,
  which the community know nothing of, except a few plain common
  particulars, as they some years since declared.

The Chikkasah and Choktah method of adjuring a witness to give true
evidence, is something similar to the former attestation, by _To e u
hah_: when they ask them, whether they do not lie, they adjure them
thus, _Chiklooska ke-e-u Chua?_ The termination implies a question of
the second person, singular number, and the whole oath signifies
literally, “Do not you lie? Do you not, of a certain truth?” To which he
answers by two strong negative asseverations, _Aklooska Ke-e-u-que-Ho_,
“I do not lie; I do not, of a certain truth.” When the Choktah are
averring any thing asked of them, they assert it, by saying YAH. This
shews their ignorance of the vowels of the supposed divine four-lettered
name, in comparison of the Cheerake; and that they are become less
religious, by prophaning the divine name, YAH; which confirms me in the
opinion, that the Cheerake Indians were a more civilized people than any
of the other neighbouring Indians.

We are told that the northern Indians, in the time of their rejoicings,
repeat YO HA HAN; which, if true, evinces that their corruption
advances, in proportion as they are distant from South-America, and
wanted a {51} friendly intercourse with those who had an open
communication with those southern regions[XIII]. Living in moderate high
latitudes, would naturally prevent them from sinking into effeminacy,
and inspire them with martial tempers, (as we are told of the Chili
Indians) without being originally a bloodier people than any of the
southern nations. However, we should be sparing of credit to what
unskilful writers have carefully copied from each other, and transmitted
to the learned world.

Footnote XIII:

  They who have a desire to see the genuine oratory of the Indians, may
  find it partly exhibited to the public, by the laborious Mr. Colden,
  mostly in the manner, as I am told, he found it in the
  _council-books_. As that gentleman is an utter stranger to the
  language and customs of the Indians, it was out of his power to do
  justice to the original. Their speech, in general, abounds with bolder
  tropes and figures than illiterate interpreters can well comprehend,
  or explain. In the most essential part of his copied work, he
  committed a very material blunder, by writing in the first edition,
  the Indian solemn invocation, YO HA HAN. I was well assured by the
  intelligent Sir William Johnson, and the skilful, benevolent, pious,
  and reverend Mr. John Ogilvie, that the northern Indians always
  pronounce it YO HE A `AH; and so it is inserted in the second edition.
  In justice to this valuable luminary of the church, and the worthy
  laity of the city of New-York, I must observe, that, while the rest of
  his sacerdotal brethren were much blamed for neglecting their office
  of teaching, and instead thereof, were militating for an _episcopate_,
  that gentleman was universally beloved by all ranks of people. He
  spent his time, like a true servant of God, in performing the various
  duties of his sacred office; and had the utmost pleasure in healing
  breaches, both in public society, and in private families. Great
  numbers of the poor negroe slaves, were instructed by him in the
  principles of Christianity, while the other clergymen were earnestly
  employed in disturbing the quiet of the public, for the sake of their
  favourite Peter’s pence.

I shall hereafter, under another argument, shew, that the Indians
variously transpose, shorten, and lengthen, each syllable of the great
divine name, YO HE WAH, in a very extraordinary manner, when they are
singing and dancing to, and before, the divine essence: and that they
commonly derive such words as convey a virtuous idea, from, or compound
them with that divine, essential name.

I shall now shew a farther parity, between the Hebrew language, and the
Aboriginal American dialects.

_Pushkoosh_ signifies an infant, _Neetta_ a bear, _Nassooba_ a wolf,
&c.——By joining the word _Ooshe_, to the end of the names of animals, it
makes a {52} distinction; as _Nassoob-ooshe_, a wolf-cub, _Neett’-ooshe_
a bear-cub: but though the word _Oophe_ signifies a dog, as an exception
to their general method of speech, they call a puppy _Ooph-ishik_,
because he is so domestic, or sociable, as ישק, to kiss, or fondle. In
like manner, _Pishi_ signifies milk; and _Pishik_ a woman’s breast, or
the udder of any animal; as the young ones, by kissing, or sucking,
shade the breast, פי, with their mouth, and thereby receive their
nourishment. With the Hebrews,עפך (_Oophecha_) signifies active, or
restless: which, according to the Indian idiom, expresses the quality of
a dog; _Oophe_ is therefore the name of this animal, and their period
denotes a similarity, according to the usage of the Hebrews.

_Shale_ and _Shatèra_, signify to carry, _Shapore_, a load. The former
word consists of _Sheth_ and _Ale_. _Illeh_ imports dead, and _Kaneha_
lost. They say _Shat Kaneha_, to carry a thing quite away, or to
Canaan.—Likewise, _Illeht Kaneha_, literally, dead, and lost, or
probably, gone to Canaan. Several old Indian American towns are called
_Kanāai_; and it hath been a prevailing notion with many Jews, that when
any of their people died in a strange land, they passed through the
caverns of the earth, till they arrived at Canaan, their attractive
centre. And the word _Oobèa_, likewise imports dead, or cut off by O E
A, or _Yohewah_; for they firmly believe, as before hinted, they cannot
outlive the time the Deity has prescribed them. They likewise say,
_Hasse Ookklīlle Cheele_, “the sun is, or has been, caused to die in the
water,” _i. e._ sun-set. When they would say, “Do not obscure, or darken
me,” they cry _Ish-ookkīlle Chīnna_, verbatim, “Do not occasion _Ish_,
me, to become like the sun, dead in the water.” They call the new moon,
_Hasse Awáhta_, “the moon is called upon to appear by Yohewah:” which
plainly shews, that they believe the periodical revolutions of the moon
to be caused, and the sun every day to die, or be extinguished in the
ocean, by the constant laws of God. When we ask them, if to-day’s sun is
drowned in the western ocean, how another can rise out of the eastern
ocean to-morrow? they only reply, _Pilla Yammi_, or _Yammi mung_; or
such is the way of God with his people. It seems to be a plain
contraction of יה and אממי _Ammi_; which was the name of Israel during
the theocracy. Besides, _Aeemmi_ signifies, “I believe;” as the peculiar
people believed in Yohewah. And it likewise imports, “I am the owner of,
&c.”——according to the Hebrew idiom, the words and meaning nearly agree.

_Ette_ signifies wood; and they term any kind of chest, box, or trunk,
_Eette Oobe_; and frequently, _Oobe_; which seems to point to the “ark
of the purifier,” that was so fatal to the laity even to touch; a strong
emanation of the holy fire, light, and spirit, residing in it, as well
as in that which the priests carried to war, against the devoted enemy.

The Chikkasah settled a town, in the upper, or most western part of the
Muskohge country, about 300 miles eastward of their own nation, and
called it _Ooe-ása_;[25] which is derived from O E A, and _Asa_,
“there,” or “here, is;” _i. e._ “YO HE WAH presides in this place.” And,
when a person is removing from his former dwelling, they ask him,
_Ish-ooè-à (tūm?)_ “are you removing hence, in the name, or under the
patronage, of YO HE WAH?” And it both signifies to ascend, and remove to
another place. As, O E A, ABA, the omnipresent father of mankind, is
said to dwell above, so the Indian hopes to remove there from hence, by
the bounty of Ishtohoollo, the great holy One: according to their fixed
standard of speech, had they made any nearer approach to O E A, the
strong religious emblem of the beloved four-lettered name, it would have
been reckoned a prophanation.

_Phutchik_ signifies a star, and _Oonna_ “he is arrived:” but _Phutchik
Oonnache_, “the morning-star;” because he is the forerunner of light,
and resembles the sun that reflects it. And _Oonna-hah_ signifies
to-morrow, or it is day. The termination denotes their gladness, that
the divine light had visited them again: and, when they are asking if it
is day, they say _Onna He (tak?)_. The last monosyllable only asks a
question; and the fæminine gender treble note is the mid syllable of the
great divine name—which may reflect some light upon the former

Although the Hebrews had a proper name for the human soul, calling it
נפש; yet in _Prov._ xx. 27, it is called נר יהוה, “The candle, or lamp
of God;” and figuratively applied, it conveys a strong idea of the human
soul: Thus the Indians term it, _Nāna Ishtohoollo_, “something of, or a
relation to, the great holy One;” very analogous to the former method of
expressing the rational Fire, as they believe the Deity resides in the
new year’s, supposed principle, in allusion to the celestial cherubic
name אש, _Ashe_, holy fire. Because _Ish_, Man, received his breath from
the divine inspiration of the beneficent creator YAH, they term the
human {54} species, in their strong-pointing language, _Yāhwè_; which,
though different from the divine, essential, four-lettered name, in
sound has יה, YAH, for its radix. But, because the monkey mimics
_Yahweh_, or the rational creation, more than any other brute, in
features, shape, gesture, and actions; in proportion to the similitude,
they give him a similar name, _Shaw-we_. This indeed makes a near
approach to _Ish_ and _Yah_, and to _Yahwe_; but it wants the radix of
both, and consequently bears no signification of relation to either.
While they urge, that the regularity of the actions of the brute
creatures around them, expresses a nice understanding or instinct; they
deny their being endued with any portion of the reasoning, and living
principle, but bear only a faint allusion to _Nana Ishtohoollo_, the
rational soul. The most intelligent among them, say the human soul was
not made of clay, like the brute creation, whose soul is only a
corporeal substance, attenuated by heat, and thus rendered invisible.

Through a seeming war-contempt of each other, they all use a favourite
termination to their adjectives, (very rarely to their substantives) and
sometimes to their verbs; especially when they are flourishing away, in
their rapid war-speeches, which on such occasions they always repeat
with great vehemence. I shall give a specimen of two words, in the
dialects of our southern Indians. _RI_ is the favourite period of the
Katāhba Indians; as _Mare-ŕi_, or _Wahre-ŕi_, “Good,” and
_Maretawah-ŕi_, or _Wah-rètawàh-ŕi_, “best,” or very good; _Wah_, the
last syllable of the great divine name, is evidently the radix, and
magnifies the virtuous idea to a superlative. In like manner,
_Shegàre-Wahŕi_, “not bad,” but _Sheekàre-ŕi_, signifies “bad.” With
these Indians, _Sheeke_ is the name of a buzzard, which they reckon to
be a most impure fowl, as it lives on putrid carcasses; upon which
account, they choose that word to convey a vicious idea.

_Quo_ is the sounding termination of the Cheerake; as _Seohsta-quo_,
“good,”—and _O-se-u_, “best,” or very good. Here they seem to have
studiously chosen the vowels:—As the following words will illustrate,
_Tonnàte-ū_, “very honest,” or virtuous, and _Y-O-U_, “Evil,” or very
bad. To corroborate the hints I gave, concerning the Indian names of
monkey, and the human species, let it be observed, that though their
words convey a virtuous or vicious idea, in proportion as they are
constituted out of {55} any of their three divine names, YOHEWAH, YAH,
and ISHTOHOOLLO; or contain the vowels of the great sacred name, yet the
aforesaid word Y-O-U, is so far from being a deviation from that general
custom, it is an emphatical, and emblematical term to express evil, by
the negative of good; for, as it is the only substantive or adjective of
that word, it is a strong expressive symbol of the nature, and physical
cause of moral evil, by separating _YO_, the first syllable of the
divine four-lettered name into two syllables; and adding _U_, as a
superlative period, to make it _malum malorum_.

_Shèh_ is the sounding criterion of the Muskohge, or Creek Indians,—a
kind of cant jargon, for example; _Heettla-sheh_, signifies “good,” and
_Heettla-wah-E-sheh_, “very good;” according to their universal standard
of speech, it becomes a superlative, by subjoining that part of the
divine name to it. With the Chikkasah and Choktah, _Heettla_ signifies
dancing; probably because that religious exercise was good and highly
pleasing to them, when, according to ancient custom, they danced in
their symbolical circles, to, and before, YO HE WAH. With the former,
_Apullowhage sheh_, expresses “bad,” or evil, thereby inverting the
divine letters.

_Skeh_ is the favourite termination of the Chikkasah and Choktah—as
_Chookòma-skeh_, “good,” _Chookòmasto-skeh_ (alluding to _Ishto_) “very
good;” and _Ookproo-skeh_, “bad.” Likewise, _Ookproosto_, “worst,” or
very bad; for, by annexing the contracted initial part of the divine
name, _Ishtohoollo_, to the end of it, it is a superlative. These
remarks may be of service to the inhabitants of our valuable and
extensive barriers, in order to discover the national name of those
savages, who now and then cut them off.

_Ookproo-see_, with those Indians, signifies “accursed;” the two last
letters make only a _samech_, which implies a neuter passive: and, as
_Ookproo_ is the only substantive or adjective they use to express
“evil,” by doubling the leading vowel of the four-lettered divine name,
both at the beginning and end of the word; may we not conjecture at its
origin, as glancing at the introduction of sin or evil by man’s
overacting, or innovating, through a too curious knowledge, or choice?
“Ye shall be as gods,” and, in order to gain the resemblance, they ate
what was forbidden. {56}

The greater number of their compounded words, (and, I believe, every one
of them) which convey a virtuous or pure idea, either have some
syllables of the three divine names, or visibly glance at them; or have
one or two vowels of the sacred name, YO HE WAH, and generally begin
with one of them; which I shall exemplify, with a few Chikkasah and
Cheerake words. _Isse-Ahowwè_, “Deer;” _Yanàsa_, Buffalo, which as it
begins with the divine name, YAH, contains no more of their beloved
vowels: in like manner, _Wahka_, “cattle;” _Ishke-Oochēa_, “a mother.”
This last seems to be drawn from _Isha_, the mother of all mankind.
_Ehó_ and _Enekia_ signify “a woman.” The latter is derived from the
active verb, _Akekiuhah_, signifying “to love ardently,” or like a
woman; _Nakkàne Askai_, “a man.” From this word, the Chikkasah derive
_Nakke_, the name of an arrow or bullet: and with the Cheerake _Askai_
signifies “to fear;” as all the American brute animals were afraid of
man, &c.

Words, which imply either a vicious or impure idea, generally begin with
a consonant, and double those favourite vowels, either at the beginning
and end, or in the middle, of such words; as _Nassooba Woheea_, “a
wolf.” With the Chikkasah, _Eassooba_ signifies “bewildered;” _Patche_,
“a pigeon,” and _Patche Eassooba_, “a turtle-dove.” _Soore_ and _Sheeke_
are the Chikkasah and Cheerake names of a “Turkey-buzzard;” _Choola_ and
_Choochòla_, “a fox;” _Shookqua_ and _Seequa_, an “opossum,” or hog;
_Ookoonne_, “a polecat;” _Ookoonna_, “a badger;” _Chookphe_ and
_Cheesto_, “a rabbet.” The last word is derived from the defective verb
_Chesti_, “forbear,” or do not meddle with; and rabbets were prohibited
to the Israelites. In like manner, _Ooppa_ and _Ookookoo_, “a
night-owl;” _Oophe_ and _Keera_, “a dog;” _Nahoolla_ and _U-nēhka_,
“white people,” or “impure animals.” The Chikkasah both corrupt and
transpose the last part of the divine name, Ishtohoollo; and the
Cheerake invert their magnifying termination _U_, to convey an impure
idea. And through the like faint allusion to this divine name, _Hoollo_
signifies “idols, pictures, or images;” a sharp-pointed sarcasm! for the
word, _Hoollo_, signifies also “menstruous women,” who were for the time
an equal abomination to the Israelites, and with whom they were to have
no communion. These two words seem to bear the same analogy to each
other, as אל, _Al_, a name of God, and אלה, _Aleh_, signifying the
covenant of the holy One to redeem man, and אלוה, _Aloah_, execrated, or
accursed of God, as idols were. {57}

With the Cheerake, _Awwa_, or _Amma_, signifies “water,” and _Ammoi_, “a
river;” not much unlike the Hebrew. They likewise term salt, _Hawa_; and
both the conjunction copulative, and “to marry,” is _Tawa_. The name of
a wife is _Awah_; which written in Hebrew, makes הוה, _Eve_, or _Eweh_,
the name of our general mother. So that the Indian name of a wife, is
literally and emphatically, HIS AND, “One absolutely needful for the
well-being of _Ish_, or man;” _Ishtawa (tim?)_ signifies “have you
married?” We gain additional light from the strong significant
appellative, _Ish-ke_, “a mother;” which is an evident contraction of
_Isha_, the mother of _Yawe_, or mankind, with their favourite
termination, _ske_, subjoined; the word becomes thus smoother than to
pronounce it at its full length, _Isha-ske_. If we consider that the
Hebrews pronounced ו, _Vau_, when a consonant, as _W_, here is a very
strong, expressive gradation, through those various words, up to the
divine, necessary, AND, who formed and connected every system of beings;
or to the Hebrew divine original YO HE WAH: at the same time, we gain a
probable reason why so many proper names of old Indian places, in
South-Carolina, and elsewhere, along the great continent, begin with our
Anglo-Saxon borrowed character, _W_; as _Wampee_, _Watboo_, _Wappoo_,
_Wadmolā_, _Wassamèsāh_, &c. Chance is fluctuating, and can never act

To elucidate the aforesaid remarks, it may not be amiss to observe,
that, according to the Israelitish custom both of mourning, and
employing mourners for their dead, and calling weeping, the lifting up
of their voices to God, the Choktah literally observe the same custom;
and both they and the Chikkasah term a person, who through a pretended
religious principle bewails the dead, _Yah-ah_, “Ah God!” and one, who
weeps on other occasions, _Yāhma_, “pouring out salt tears to, or before
God;” which is similar to יהמי. When a person weeps very bitterly, they
say, _Yahmishto_, which is a compounded word, derived from יה, and ומי,
with the initial part of the divine name, _Ishtohoollo_, subjoined, to
magnify the idea, according to the usage of the Hebrews. When the divine
penman is describing the creation, and the strong purifying wind, which
swept along the surface of the waters, he calls it, “the air, or
spirit;” and, more significantly, “the wind of God,” or a very great
wind: and, in other parts of the divine oracles, great hail, a {58}
great lion, and the like, are by the same figure, called the hail of
God. They also apply the former words, _Yah-ah_, _Yah-ma_, and the like,
to express the very same ideas through all the moods and tenses as
_Cheyaàras_, “I shall weep for you;” _Sawa Cheyaàra Awa_, “Wife, I will
not weep for you.” And when the violence of their grief for the
deceased, is much abated, the women frequently, in their plaintive
notes, repeat _Yo Hé (tà) Wāh, Yo Hé (tà) Weh, Yò Hé ta Há, Yo Hê tà
Héh_; with a reference probably to the Hebrew custom of immoderately
weeping and wailing for their dead, and invoking the name of God on such
doleful occasions; and which may have induced these supposed red Hebrews
to believe the like conduct, a very essential part of religious duty.
_Neetak Yah-ah_ signifies “a fast day,” because they were then humbly to
say _Ah_, and afflict their souls before YAH. In like manner, _Yah Abe_
signifies “one who weeps for having killed, or murdered another.” Its
roots are יה, _Yah_, their continual war-period, and, אבל, _Abele_,
signifying “sorrow or mourning;” for, as killing, or murdering, is an
hostile act, it cannot be drawn from אבה, which signifies brotherly
love, or tender affection. _Nana-Yah-Abe_ describes a person weeping,
while another is killing him. Now, as _Nana_ is “a relation,” _Yah_
“God,” and _Abe_ as above, the true meaning seems to be, “One, like
bleeding Abele, weeping to God.” Likewise their name for salt, _Hawa_,
may inform us, that though at present they use no salt in their
religious offerings, they forbore it, by reason of their distant
situation from the sea-shore, as well as by the danger of blood
attending the bringing it through an enemy’s country; for, according to
the idiom of their language, if they had not thought salt an essential
part of the law of sacrificature, they most probably, would not have
derived it from the two last syllables of the great divine name; whereas
they double the consonant, when they express water, without drawing it
from the clear fountain of living waters, YO HE WAH.

With the Hebrews, as before observed[XIV], טפל, _Tephale_, signifies
“shaking or pulling of the hand, cohesion, conjunction, or entering into
society;” and “praying, or invoking.” In conformity to that original
standard, when the Indians would express a strong, lasting friendship,
they have no {59} other way, than by saying, _Aharattlè-la pheena
chemanumbóle_, “I shall firmly shake hands with your discourse, or

Footnote XIV:

  Page 42.

When two nations of Indians are making, or renewing peace with each
other, the ceremonies and solemnities they use, carry the face of great
antiquity, and are very striking to a curious spectator, which I shall
here relate, so far as it suits the present subject. When strangers of
note arrive near the place, where they design to contract new
friendship, or confirm their old amity, they send a messenger a-head, to
inform the people of their amicable intention. He carries a swan’s wing
in his hand, painted all over with streaks of white clay, as an
expressive emblem of their embassy. The next day, when they have made
their friendly parade, with firing off their guns and whooping, and have
entered the beloved square, their chieftain, who is a-head of the rest,
is met by one of the old beloved men, or magi, of the place. He and the
visitant approach one another, in a bowing posture. The former says,
_Yò, Ish la chu Anggòna?_ “Are you come a friend in the name of God?”
Or, “Is God with you, friend?” for, _Yo_ is a religious contraction of
_Yohewah_,—_Ish_ “the man,” _La_ a note of joy, _Chu_ a query, and
_Anggona_ “a friend.” The other replies, _Yah—Arahre-O, Anggona_, “God
is with me, I am come, a friend, in God’s name.” The reply confirms the
meaning of the questionary salute, in the manner before explained. The
magus then grasps the stranger with both his hands, around the wrist of
his right hand, which holds some green branches—again, about the
elbow—then around the arm, close to his shoulder, as a near approach to
the heart. Then his immediately waving the eagles tails over the head of
the stranger, is the strongest pledge of good faith. Similar to the
Hebrew word, _Phále_ with the Indians, signifies “to wave,” and likewise
to shake; for they say, _Skooba—Phále_, “shaking one’s head.” How far
the Indian oath, or manner of covenanting, agrees with that of the
Hebrews, on the like solemn occasion, I refer to the intelligent reader.
Their method of embracing each other, seems to resemble also that custom
of the Hebrews, when a stranger became surety for another, by giving him
his wrist; to which Solomon alludes, “If thou hast stricken hand with
the stranger, &c.”—Their common method of greeting each other, is
analogous with the above; the host only says, _Ish-la Chu?_ and the
guest replies, _Arahre-O_, “I am come in the name of O E A,” or YO HE
WAH. {60}

When _O_ is joined to the end of words, it always denotes a superlative,
according to their universal figurative abbreviations of the great
beloved name; thus with the Chikkasah, _Isse_, “deer,” and _Isse-O_,
“very great deer;” _Yanása_, “a buffalo,” _Yanas-O_, “a very
extraordinary great buffalo;” which is, at least, as strong a
superlative, as אל ביח אל, signifying “the house of the Omnipotent,” or
“the temple.”

With the Cheerake Indians, _A (wàh tà) howwe_ signifies “a great
deer-killer:” it is compounded of _Ahowwe_, “a deer,” _Wah_—the period
of the divine name, and _Ta_, a note of plurality. The title, “the
deer-killer of God for the people,” was, since my time, very honourable
among them, as its radical meaning likewise imports. Every town had one
solemnly appointed; him, whom they saw the Deity had at sundry times
blessed with better success than the rest of his brethren, in supplying
them with an holy banquet, that they might eat, and rejoice, before the
divine essence. But now it seems, by reason of their great intercourse
with foreigners, they have left off that old social, religious custom;
and even their former noted hospitality. I will also observe, that
though necessity obliged them to apply the bear’s-grease, or oil, to
religious uses, they have no such phrase as _(Wah ta) eeōna_; not
accounting the bear so clean an animal as the deer, to be offered, and
eaten in their religious friendly feasts; where they solemnly invoked,
ate, drank, sung, and danced in a circular form, to, and before, YO HE

The Indian dialects, like the Hebrew language, have a nervous and
emphatical manner of expression.—The Indians do not personify inanimate
objects, as did the oriental heathens, but their style is adorned with
images, comparisons, and strong metaphors like the Hebrews; and equal in
allegories to any of the eastern nations. According to the ages of
antiquity, their war-speeches, and public orations, always assume a
poetical turn, not unlike the sound of the measures of the celebrated
Anacreon and Pindar. Their poetry is seldom exact in numbers, rhymes, or
measure: it may be compared to prose in music, or a tunable way of
speaking. The period is always accompanied with a sounding vehemence, to
inforce their musical speech: and the music is apparently designed to
please the ear, and affect the passions. {61}

After what hath been said of their language, it may be proper here to
shew how they accent the consonants: I shall range them in the order of
our alphabet, except those they pronounce after our manner. When _CH_
begins a word, or is prefixed to a vowel, it conveys a soft sound, as
_Cháa_, “high;” but otherwise it is guttural: as is _D_, which is
expressed by fixing the tip of the tongue between the teeth, as _Dawi_,
for David. _G_ is always guttural, as we accent _Go_. They cannot
pronounce _Gn_; and they have not the _Hh_, neither can it be expressed
in their dialects, as their leading vowels bear the force of guttural
consonants. They have not the JOD, as I can any way recollect, or get
information of; nor can they repeat it, any nearer than _Chot_. They
pronounce _K_, as in _Ko_; _L_ and _N_, as _D_—_S_, by fixing the tongue
to the lower teeth; _T_ like _D_, as in the old Hibernian, or Celtic
affirmative, _Ta_. They cannot pronounce _V_, or _X_; they call the
governor of Moveel, (Mobille) _Goweno-Moweeleh_: and they have not a
word which begins or ends with _X_. _KS_ are always divided into two
syllables; as _Hak-se_, “mad,” &c. They have not the letter _Z_; much
less any such harsh sound as _Tz_, although they have _Tl_. As they use
the Hebrew consonants _Y_ and _W_, in their most solemn invocation YO HE
WAH, instead of the present Hebrew _Jod_ and _Vau_; so they seem to
exclude them intirely out of their various dialects: the pronunciation
therefore of the Hebrew characters, which are supposed to convey the
other sounds, they are unacquainted with; and those which seem to be
transposed, may be clearly ascertained by persons of proper capacity and
leisure, by comparing a sufficient number of Hebrew and Indian words
together. The Indian accents, _Oo_, and _O_, _Qu_, and _Tl_, may, prove
a pretty good key to speculative enquirers.

_Tl_ often occur in their words; as _Tlumba_, “to bleed with a lancet,
to bore, scoop, or make any thing hollow;” and _Heettla_, “to dance.”
And the South-Americans, we are told, had likewise the same sound, as in
that national name, _Tlaskala_: it seems to have been universal over the
extensive continent. And, from a similarity of the Hebrew manners,
religious rites, civil and martial customs, we have a strong presumptive
proof, that they used the aforesaid double vowels, and likewise a single
vowel, as a termination, to give their words a soft accent: and it is
plain to me, that the Hebrew language did not sound so harsh, as it is
now commonly expressed, but like the American dialects it was
interspersed with vowels, {62} and a vowel was commonly subjoined to
each word, for the sake of a soft cadence; as _Abele_, and _Ale_,
instead of אבל, _Abel_, and אל, _Al_ &c.

The English characters cannot be brought any nearer to the true
pronunciation of the Indian words, than as above set down: so that
former writers have notoriously strayed, by writing conjecturally, or
taking things on the wing of fame. What Indian words we had, being
exceedingly mangled, either by the fault of the press, or of torturing
pens, heretofore induced skilful persons to conjecture them to be
hieroglyphical characters, in imitation of the ancient Egyptian manner
of writing their chronicles.

The Indians express themselves with a great deal of vehemence, and with
short pauses, in all their set speeches; but, in common discourse, they
express themselves according to our usual method of speech, only when
they scold each other: which I never observed, unless they were
intoxicated with spiritous liquors, or casually overheard a husband when
sober in his own family. They always act the part of a stoic philosopher
in outward appearance, and never speak above their natural key. And in
their philosophic way of reasoning, their language is the more sharp and
biting, like keen irony and satyr, that kills whom it praises. They
know, that thus they correct and subdue the first boilings of anger;
which, if unchecked, proves one of the most dangerous passions to which
human nature is subject. So that remote savages, who have heard only the
jarring screeches of night-owls, and the roaring voices of ravenous
beasts of prey, in this respect give lessons, and set a worthy example
to our most civilized nations.

I have heard several eloquent Indian leaders, just as they were ready to
set off for war, to use as bold metaphors and allegories in their
speeches—and images almost as full and animating, as the eloquent penman
of the old divine book of Job, even where he is painting, with his
strong colours, the gladness and contempt of the beautiful war-horse, at
the near approach of the enemy. I heard one of their captains, at the
end of his oration for war, tell the warriors that stood outermost, he
feelingly knew their guns were burning in their hands; their tomohawks
thirsty to drink the blood of their enemy; and their trusty {63} arrows
impatient to be on the wing; and, lest delay should burn their hearts
any longer, he gave them the cool refreshing word, “Join the holy ark,
and away to cut off the devoted enemy.” They immediately sounded the
shrill whoo-whoop, and struck up the solemn, awful song, _Yo_, &c.

In Virginia, resides the remnant of an Indian tribe, who call themselves
Sepóne;[26] which word, with the Egyptians, signifies the time of
putting their wine into vessels; derived, according to mythologists,
from _Saphan_, “to inclose or conceal.” From thence they formed the
fictitious _Tisiphone_, the punisher of sins, animated with hatred; and
also the rest of their pretended furies, from the like circumstances of
the year. Our early American writers have bestowed on these Indians an
emperor, according to the Spanish copy, calling him _Pawhatan_—contrary
to the Indian method of ending their proper names with a vowel; and have
pictured them as a separate body of fierce idolatrous canibals. We
however find them in the present day, of the same temper and religious
tenets, as the rest of the Indian Americans, in proportion to their
situation in life. Considering the nearness of Egypt to Judea, they
might have derived that appellative from the Egyptians,—especially, as
here, and in several of our American colonies, (particularly on the
north side of Susquehāna river, in Pensylvania) are old towns, called
_Kanāa_. There was about thirty years ago, a remnant of a nation, or
subdivided tribe of Indians, called _Kanāai_; which resembles the Hebrew
proper name, כנענ, (_Canaan_, or _Chanoona_). Their proper names always
end with a vowel: and they seldom use a consonant at the end of any
word[XV]. I cannot recollect {64} any exceptions but the following,
which are sonorous, and seem to be of an ancient date; _Ookkàh_, “a
swan;” _Ilpàtak_, “a wing;” _Kooshàk_, “reeds;” _Sheenuk_, “sand;”
_Shūtik_, “the skies;” _Phutchik_, “a star;” _Soonak_, “a kettle;”
_Skin_, “the eye;” _Ai-eep_, “a pond;” and from which they derive the
word _Ai-ee-pe_, “to bathe,” which alludes to the eastern method of
purifying themselves. _Ilbàk_ signifies “a hand;” and there are a few
words that end with _sh_; as _Soolish_, “a tongue,” &c.

Footnote XV:

  If we consider the proximity of those Indians to a thick-settled
  colony, in which there are many gentlemen of eminent learning, it will
  appear not a little surprizing that the name _Canaanites_, in the
  original language, according to the Indian method of expressing it, as
  above, did not excite the attention of the curious, and prompt them to
  some enquiry into the language, rites, and customs, of those
  Aborigines: which had they effected, would have justly procured them
  those eulogia from the learned world, which their society profusely
  bestowed on the artful, improved strokes of a former prime magistrate
  of South-Carolina, whose conduct in Indian affairs, was so exceedingly
  singular, if not sordid and faulty, (as I publicly proved when he
  presided there) that another year’s such management would have caused
  the Cheerake to remove to the French barrier, or to have invited the
  French to settle a garrison, where the late unfortunate Fort-Loudon
  stood. But a true British administration succeeding, in the very
  critical time, it destroyed their immature, but most dangerous
  threatening scheme. This note I insert here, though rather out of
  place, to shew, that the northern gentlemen have not made all those
  observations and enquiries, with regard to the Indians, which might
  have been reasonably expected, from so numerous and learned a body.

The Indians call the lightning and thunder, _Eloha_, and its rumbling
noise, _Rowah_, which may not improperly be deduced from the Hebrew. To
enlighten the Hebrew nation, and impress them with a reverential awe of
divine majesty, God spoke to them at Sinai, and other times during the
theocracy, with an awful or thundering voice. The greater part of the
Hebrews seem to have been formerly as ignorant of philosophy, as are the
savage Americans now. They did not know that thunder proceeded from any
natural cause, but from the immediate voice of Elohim, above the clouds:
and the Indians believe, according to this Hebrew system of philosophy,
that _Minggo Ishto Eloha Alkaiasto_, “the great chieftain of the
thunder, is very cross, or angry when it thunders:” and I have heard
them say, when it rained, thundered, and blew sharp, for a considerable
time, that the beloved, or holy people, were at war above the clouds.
And they believe that the war at such times, is moderate, or hot, in
proportion to the noise and violence of the storm.

I have seen them in these storms, fire off their guns, pointed toward
the sky; some in contempt of heaven, and others through religion—the
former, to shew that they were warriors, and not afraid to die in any
shape; much less afraid of that threatening troublesome noise: and the
latter, because their hearts directed them to assist _Ishtohoollo
Eloha_[XVI]. May not this {65} proceed from an oral tradition of the war
which the rebellious angels waged against the great Creator; and which
the ancient heathens called the war of the giants? Nothing sounds
bolder, or is more expressive, than the Cheerake name of thunder,
_Eentaquàróske_. It points at the effects and report of the battles,
which they imagine the holy people are fighting above. The small-pox, a
foreign disease, no way connatural to their healthy climate, they call
_Oonatàquára_, imagining it to proceed from the invisible darts of angry
fate, pointed against them, for their young people’s vicious conduct.
When they say, “I shall shoot,” their term is, _Ake-rooka_. The radix of
this word is in the two last syllables; the two first are expressive
only of the first person singular; as _Akeeohoosa_, “I am dead, or
lost;” and _Akeeohooséra_, “I have lost.” _Rooka_ seems to have a
reference to the Hebrew name for the holy Spirit.

Footnote XVI:

  The first lunar eclipse I saw, after I lived with the Indians, was
  among the Cheerake, An. 1736: and during the continuance of it, their
  conduct appeared very surprizing to one who had not seen the like
  before; they all ran wild, this way and that way, like lunatics,
  firing their guns, whooping and hallooing, beating of kettles, ringing
  horse-bells, and making the most horrid noises that human beings
  possibly could. This was the effect of their natural philosophy, and
  done to assist the suffering moon. And it is an opinion of some of the
  East-Indians, that eclipses are occasioned by a great monster
  resembling a bull-frog, which now and then gnaws one edge of the sun
  and moon, and would totally destroy them, only that they frighten it
  away, and by that means preserve them and their light. (A). Mooney
  says that the belief that the eclipse monster can be so frightened
  away was universal among primitives. (W)

The most southern old town, which the Chikkasah first settled, after the
Chokchoomah,[27], Choktah, and they, separated on our side of the
Missisippi, into three different tribes, they called _Yanèka_, thereby
inverting _Yahkàne_, the name of the earth; as their former brotherhood
was then turned into enmity[XVII]. The bold Creeks on the opposite, or
north side of them, they named _Yahnàbe_, “killing to God,” or devoting
to death; for the mid consonant expresses the present time. And their
proper names of persons, and places, are always expressive of certain
circumstances, or things, drawn from roots, that convey a fixed
determinate meaning.

Footnote XVII:

  They call the earth Yahkàne, because Yah formed it, as his footstool,
  by the power of his word. In allusion also hereto, Nakkàne signifies a
  man, because of the mother-earth; and Nakke a bullet, or arrow. When
  the Cheerake ask a person, Is it not so? they say, Wahkane? The divine
  essential name, and Kane, are evidently the roots of these words.

With the Muskohge, _Algeh_ signifies “a language,” or speech: and,
because several of the Germans among them, frequently say _Yah-yah_, as
an affirmative, they call them _Yah-yah Algeh_, “Those of the
blasphemous speech;” which strongly hints to us, that they still retain
a glimpse of the third moral command delivered at Sinai, “Thou shalt not
take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” or apply the name of
YOHEWAH, thy ELOHIM, to vain, or created things. {66}

These Indians, to inculcate on their young people, that YO HE WAH is the
Author of vegetation, call the growth of vegetables, _Wahráah_, “moved
by Yohewah;” for _Aàh_ signifies to walk, or move; and the consonant is
an expletive of distinction. In like manner, _Wah-àh_ signifies, that
“the fruits are ripe,” or moved to their joy, by Yohewah. They likewise
call the flying of birds, _Wahkáàh_; as Yohewah gave them that swift
motion. And, when young pigeons are well feathered, they say, _Patche
hishshè oolphotàháh_—_Patchè_ signifies “a pidgeon,” _Hishshè_, “leaves,
hair, or feathers,” _oolpha_, or _oolpho_, “a bud,” _ta_, a note of
plurality, and _háh_ of admiration, to make it a plural superlative.
But, when the pigeons, in winter, fly to a moderate climate in great
clouds, they use the word, _Wah-àh_, which in every other application
describes vegetation, and say, _Patche Wah-àh_, “the pigeons are moved
to them by Yohewah;” which seems to allude to the quails in the
wilderness, that were miraculously sent to feed the Israelites.

Clay basons they call _Ai-am-bo_, and their old round earthen forts,
_Aiambo Cháah_, this last word signifying “high,” or tall: but a
stockade, or wooden fort, they term, _Hoorèta_, and to inswamp,
_Book-Hoore_, from _Bookse_, “a swamp,” and _Hoorèta_, “a fort, or place
of difficult access.” High waters, conveys to them, an idea only of
deepness; as _Ookka phobe_, “deep waters.” And they say, _Ookka chookòma
intáa_, “The water glides, or moves along pleasantly, or goodly.” That
the word _Intâa_, has _Ya-ah_ for its radix, is apparent from their name
for a rapid current, _Yahnāle_, “it runs with a very extraordinary
force;” the mid consonant is placed there, to give the word a suitable
vehemence of expression—and the word is compounded of יה, _Yah_, and אל,
_Ale_, two names of God. In like manner, _Yahnhà_ signifies “a
pleurisy,” fever, and the like; because they reckon, when YAH says _ha_
in anger, to any of their vicious people, he immediately fires the
blood, and makes it run violently through all the veins of the body.
_Ashtahále_ signifies the reflection of the celestial luminaries, which
is composed of two of the divine names; as אש, _Ash_, the celestial,
cherubimical name of God, signifying fire, _ta_, a contraction of the
conjunction copulative, and אל, _Ale_, the strong, or omnipotent. They
say a river, or warm victuals, is _A-shu-pa_; that is, the former is
become fordable, and the latter eatable. They here divide _Ash_ into two
syllables; and the termination alludes to the word, _Apà_, which
signifies eating. {67}

_Páàh_ signifies to raise the voice, _Vocifero_—for פי, _Phi_, signifies
“the mouth,” and _Aàh_, “to move.” _Opáe_ is the name of a war-leader,
because he is to move his mouth to O E A, or invoke YO HE WAH, while he
carries the beloved ark to war, and is sanctifying himself and his
party, that they may obtain success against the enemy. But _Pae-Minggo_
signifies a far-off, or distant chieftain. _Pa yak Matàháh_, is the high
name of a war-leader, derived from _Páah_, to raise the voice to YAH,
and _Tahàh_, “finished,” meaning his war-gradation: the _M_ prefixed to
it, makes it a substantive, according to the usage of the Hebrews. Any
thing liquid they term _Ookche_, from _Ookka_ and _che_: and _Ookchaah_
signifies “alive.” It is drawn from _Ookka_, “water,” _Ch_, a note of
resemblance, and _Aàh_, “moving;” _i. e._ a living creature resembles
moving water. In like manner, _Ookchà_ signifies to awake out of sleep;
and also to plant any vegetable substance, alluding to their three
different states—they first were enabled to move about—then rest, or
sleep is necessary, and also being planted in the earth—but they hope
that in due time, they shall be moved upward, after they have slept a
while in the earth, by the omnipotent power of _Yah_. They have an idea
of a resurrection of the dead body, according to the general belief of
the Jews, and in conformity to St. Paul’s philosophical axiom, that
corruption precedes generation, and a resurrection.

_Keenta_ signifies “a beaver,” _Ookka_ “water,” and _Heenna_ “a path;”
but, for a smooth cadence, they contract them into one word,
_Keentookheenna_; which very expressively signifies “a beaver-dam.”

The Indian compounded words, are generally pretty long; but those that
are radical, or simple, are mostly short: very few, if any of them,
exceed three or four syllables. And, as their dialects are guttural,
every word contains some consonants; and these are the essential
characteristics of language. Where they deviate from this rule, it is by
religious emblems; which obviously proceeds from the great regard they
paid to the names of the Deity; especially, to the four-lettered,
divine, essential name, by using the letters it contains, and the vowels
it was originally pronounced with, to convey a virtuous idea; or, by
doubling, or transposing them, to signify the contrary. In this they all
agree. And, as this general custom must proceed from one primary cause,
it seems to assure us, they were not in a {68} savage state, when they
first separated, and variegated their dialects, with so much religious
care, and exact art. Blind chance could not direct so great a number of
remote and warring savage nations to fix on, and unite in so nice a
religious standard of speech. Vowels are inexpressive of things, they
only typify them; as _Oo-E-A_, “to ascend, or remove:”—_O E A_, a most
sacred affirmation of the truth. Similar to these are many words,
containing only one consonant: as _To-e-u_, “it is very true;” _O-se-u_,
“very good;” _Y-O-U_, “evil, or very bad;” _Y-â-a_, “he moves by the
divine bounty;” _Nan-ne Y-a_, “the divine hill, or the mount of God,”
&c. If language was not originally a divine gift, which some of our very
curious modern philosophers deny, and have taken great pains to set
aside; yet human beings are possessed of the faculties of thinking and
speaking, and, in proportion to their ideas, they easily invented, and
learned words mixed with consonants and vowels, to express them. Natural
laws are common and general. The situation of the Indian Americans, has
probably been the means of sinking them into that state of barbarism we
now behold—Yet, though in great measure they may have lost their
primitive language, not one of them expresses himself by the natural
cries of brute-animals, any farther than to describe some of the animals
by the cries they make; which we ourselves sometimes imitate, as
_Choo-qua-lê-qua-lôô_, the name they give that merry night-singing bird,
which we call “Whip her will my poor wife,” (much like our cuckoo) so
termed from its musical monotony. No language is exempt from the like
simple copyings. The nervous, polite, and copious Greek tongue had the
loud-sounding _Böô Böao_, which the Romans imitated, by their bellowing
_Boves Böum_; and the Indians say _Pa-a_, signifying the loud noise of
every kind of animals, and their own loud-sounding war _Whoô Whoóp_.
Where they do not use divine emblems, their words have much articulation
of consonants. Their radicals have not the inseparable property of three
consonants, though frequently they have; and their words are not so
long, as strangers conjecturally draw them out. Instead of a simple
word, we too often insert the wild picture of a double, or
triple-compounded one; and the conjugation of their verbs, utterly
deceives us. A specimen of this, will shew it with sufficient clearness,
and may exhibit some useful hints to the curious searchers of antiquity.

_A-nô-wa_ signifies “a rambler, renegadoe, or a person of no settled
place of abode.” _A-nó-wah_, the first person, and _Ish-na_, the second
person {69} singular, but they have not a particular pronoun for the
third; they distinguish it by custom. _Si-a_, or _Sy-ah_, is “I am;”
_Chee-a_, or _Chy-ah_, “you are;” and _Too-wah_, “he is.” _Ay-ah_
signifies “to go;” _Ay-a-sa_, “I remain;” _Ish-i-a-sa_, “you remain;”
_A-sa_, “he remains.” _A-OO-E-A_ is a strong religious emblem,
signifying “I climb, ascend, or remove to another place of residence.”
It points to _A-nó-wah_, the first person singular, and O-E-A, or YO HE
WAH; and implies, putting themselves under his divine patronage. The
beginning of that most sacred symbol, is, by studious skill, and a
thorough knowledge of the power of letters, placed twice, to prevent
them from applying the sacred name to vain purposes, or created things.
In like manner they say, _Nas-sap-pe-O Ish-OO-E-A_, “You are climbing a
very great acorn-tree,” meaning an oak; for _Nas-se_ is the name of an
acorn; and the mid part of that triple compounded word, is derived from
_Ap-pê-la_, “to help;” _Che-ap-pê-la A-wa_, “I do not help you.” The
termination, according to their mixed idiom, magnifies it to a
superlative. _Quoo-ran-hê-qua_, a noted old camping place, fourteen
miles above the settlement of _Ninety-six_, and eighty-two below the
Cheerake, signifies, in their dialect, “the large white oaks.” _Oos-sak_
is the name of a “hickory-nut,” and _Oos-sak Ap-pe-O_ as above. _Oot-te_
signifies “a chestnut;” _Noot-te_, “a tooth;” _Soot-te_, “a pot;” and
_Oo-te_, “to make a fire,” which may be called an Indian type for eating
boiled chestnuts.

When they say, “He is removing his camp,” they express it in a most
religious manner, _Al-bé-na-OO-E-A_. _Al-be-nâs-le_ signifies “I
camped;” _Al-be-nâs-le-chû_, “I shall, or will, camp:” but, according to
their religious mode of speaking, _Al-bé-na A-OO-E-A-re_, expresses the
former, and _Al-bé-na A-OO-E-A-ri-chû_, the latter phrase; likewise,
_Al-bé-na OO-E-As_ signifies _Castra Moveto_, imperatively. It is worthy
of notice, that as they have no pronoun relative to express the third
person singular, they have recourse to the first syllable of the
essential word, _Toowah_, “He is.” In allusion to that word, they term
the conjunction copulative, _Ta-wah_, and _Tee-U-Wah_, “resting.” So
mixed a train of nice and exact religious terms, could not be invented
by people, as illiterate and savage as the Indians now are, any more
than happen by accident.

Though they have lost the true meaning of their religious emblems,
except what a very few of us occasionally revive in the retentive
memories of their old inquisitive magi; yet tradition directs them to
apply them properly.{70} They use many plain religious emblems of the
divine names, YOHEWAH, YAH, and ALE,—and these are the roots of a
prodigious number of words, through their various dialects. It is
surprising they were unnoticed, and that no use was made of them, by the
early voluminous Spanish writers, or by our own, for the information of
the learned world, notwithstanding the bright lights they had to direct
them in that æra, when the decorations of their holy temples and
priests, their religious ceremonies, and sacred hymns of praise to the
Deity, of which hereafter, so nearly corresponded with the Israelitish,
and might have been readily discovered by any who eyed them with
attention. In our time, by reason of their long intercourse with
foreigners, we have necessarily but a few dark traces to guide our
inquiries, in the investigation of what must have been formerly, shining

I must beg to be indulged with a few more remarks on their verbs.[28]—If
we prefix _As_ to _A-a_, “to move,” it becomes _A-sâ-a_, “to offend.”
The monosyllables _Ish_ and _Che_, variously denote the second person
singular; but when the former is by custom prefixed to a verb, the
latter then expresses either the accusative or ablative case singular of
the pronoun relative; as _Ish-a-sâ-ah_, “you are offended, or moved to
say Ah;” _Ish-a-sâ-a-re_, “you were displeased;” but _Che-a-sâ-ah_
signifies “I am displeased with you;” and _Che-a-sâ-a-re_ “I was
offended by you;” _Che-a-sâ-a-chee-le_ is “I occasion, or have
occasioned you to be displeased,” literally, “I produce, or have
produced offence to you;” and _Che-a-sâ-a-cheê-le Awa_, “I shall not
cause you to be displeased.” In like manner, they say _A-ân-ha_, which
signifies “I despise,” or literally, “I move _ha_;” for the mid letter
is inserted for distinction-sake, according to their idiom. So
_A-chîn-ha-chu_, “I shall contemn you;” _A-chîn-ha-cheê-la A-wa_, “I
shall not cause you to become despicable.” _Chee-le_ signifies
literally, “to bring forth young.” So that the former method of
expression is very significant, and yet it shews a sterility of
language, as that single word is applicable to every species of female
animals, fowls not excepted: Thus, _Phoo-she Chee-le_, “the birds lay.”
_Oe-she_ signifies “a young animal,” of any kind—and likewise an egg.
When mentioned alone, by way of excellence, it is the common name of an
infant; but when the name of the species of animals is prefixed to it,
it describes the young creature. _An-push-koosh oo-she_, is what the
tender mother says to her well-pleased infant. The two words import the
same thing. The former resembles the Hebrew, and the latter is likewise
a substantive; they {71} say _Chool-loo-she Teeth-lâ-a-ta-hâh_, “the
fox-cubs are run off;”—_Choo-la_ being the name of a fox.
_Phut-choos-oo-she Wah kâ-as_, “let the young duck fly away;” and
_Phoo-soo-she Hish-she Ool-pha-quî-sa_, “the young wild bird’s hairs, or
feathers, are not sprung, or budded.” _Pa-se_ signifies the hair of a
man’s head, or the mane of animals. _Sha-le_ signifies pregnant,
literally, “to carry a burthen;” as _Oo-she shâ-le_, “she bears, or
carries, an infant;” but, when it is born, _Shoo-le_ is the name for
carrying it in their arms. This bears off from the divine radix, with
great propriety of language. _Im_ prefixed to a verb, denotes the
masculine and feminine pronouns, _illum_ and _illam_. As this is their
fixed method of speech, the reader will easily understand the true idiom
of their language. _Sal-le_ signifies “I am dead,” _Chil-le_, you, &c.
_Il-leh_, he, &c. And this is likewise a substantive, as _Il-let
Min-te_, “death is approaching,” or coming: _Min-té-cha_ signifies “come
you;” and _A-min-té-la A-wa_, or _Ac-min-tá-qua-chu_, “I will not come.”

The former word, _Shâ-le_, “to carry a burthen,” or, she is pregnant,
seems to be derived from ש and אל and, as _A-shâ-le_, _Ish-shâ-le_, and
_E-shâ-le_, are the first, second, and third persons singular of the
present tense, the latter may allude to her conception by the power of
the Deity: and it also points to שול, _Sha-wô-le_, or Saul, “the grave,
or sepulchre,” out of which the dead shall come forth to a new world of
light. In like manner _Chee-le_ “to bring forth,” or _A-chee-lá-le_, “I
brought forth,” appears to be derived from כ, a note of resemblance, and
אל, _A-le_, the fruitful Omnipotent. All the American nations, like the
Jews, entertain a contemptible opinion of their females that are
barren—sterility they consider as proceeding from the divine anger, on
account of their conjugal infidelity.

To enable grammarians to form a clear idea of the Indian method of
variegating their verbs, and of the true meaning they convey, we must
again recur to the former essential word, or rather divine emblem,
_A-ah_, “he moves.” They say _A-as_, “let him move,” and _Ee-má-ko_, or
_Blâ-sas A-â-á-re_, “I now move,” or “yesterday I moved;” for, like the
Hebrews, they sometimes use the preterperfect, instead of the present
tense. _A-â-a-ra-chu_ is the first person singular of the future tense,
in the indicative mood. _A-â-ta-hah_ expresses the third person plural
of the present tense, and same mood. _A-â-ta-hâh-ta-kô-a_ signifies, by
query, “have ye, or will ye move?” It is their method of conjugating
their verbs, that occasions any of their {72} radical or derivative
verbs to exceed three or four syllables; as we see by this, which,
though composed only of two vowels, or short syllables, is yet so
greatly deflected. With them two negatives make an affirmative, as
_Ak-hish-ko-quá_, “I shall not drink;” add the strong negative
termination _A-wa_, it is, “I will certainly drink.” An affirmative
question frequently implies a strong negative; as _Ai-a-râ-ta-kô-a_,
literally, “will, or should, I go?” that is, “I really will not, or
should not go:” and on the contrary, a negative query imports an
affirmative assertion; as _A-kai-u-quâ-ta-kô-a_, “should not I go?” or,
“I surely should go.” _Ee-á ko A-pâ-ret Sa-kâi-a-qua-ta kô-a_, is
literally, “if I ate, should not I be satisfied?” which implies, “If I
ate, I should be fully satisfied.” To drinking, they apply a word that
signifies content; and indeed, they are most eager to drink any sort of
spiritous liquors, when their bellies are quite full. When they are
tired with drinking, if we say to any of them, _Un-ta Ang-go-na
Che-ma-hîsh-kó-la Chû_, “Well, my friend, I will drink with you;”
_Che-a-yôok-pa-chêe-re Too-gat_, “for, indeed, I rejoice in your
company;” he replies, _Hai-a, Ook-ka Hoo-me Hish-ko Sa-nook-tá-ra_;
which is, “No; for I am content with drinking bitter waters.” They
constantly prefix the substantive before the adjective, and place the
accusative case before the verb. If we translate the following words,
_Ook-ka Pangge Hum-ma Law-wa A-hish-kó-le Bla-sas_, they literally
signify, “yesterday I drank a great deal of red-grape water,” meaning
claret. Thus they say, _Tik-ké-ba, Ing-glee-she Fren-she Ee-lap
A-bing-ga E-tee-be_, “formerly, when the English and French fought
against each other;” _Fren-she Ing-glee-she A-be-tâ-le_, “the French
were killed by the English.”

The verbs are seldom defective, or imperfect: though they may seem to be
so to persons who do not understand the idiom of their language, they
are not; they only appear as such by the near resemblance of words,
which convey a different meaning—as _A-kai-a_, “I go,” _Sa-kai-a_, “I am
satisfied with eating,” and _Sal-kai-a_, “I am angry, cross, vexed, or
disturbed in mind;” _Shee-a_, _Che-kai-a_, and _Chil-kai-a_, in the
second person; _Ai-a_, _E-kai-a_, and _Al-kai-a_, in the third person
singular. _A-pee-sa_ signifies “to see,” and _Al-pêê-sa_, “strait, even,
or right;” _Al-poo-ê-ak_, the general name of mercantile goods, I
subjoin, as such a word is uncommon with them; they seldom use so harsh
a termination. I shall here close this argument, and hope {73} enough
hath been said to give a clear idea of the principles of the Indian
language and dialects, its genius and idiom, and strong similarity to,
and near coincidence with the Hebrew—which will be not easily accounted
for, but by considering the American Indians as descended from the Jews.

                              ARGUMENT VI.

They count TIME after the manner of the Hebrews.

They divide the year into spring—summer—autumn, or the fall of the
leaf—and winter: which the Cheerake Indians call _Kogeh_, _Akooèa_,
_Oolekóhstè_, _Kòra_; and the Chikkasah and Choktah nation, _Otoolpha_,
_Tóme palle_, _Ashtòra-móona_, _Ashtòra_. _Kógeh_ is drawn from
_Anantòge_, the general appellation for the sun and moon; because, when
the sun returns from the southern hemisphere, he covers the vegetable
world with a green livery. _Akooèa_ alludes strongly to the essential
divine name, as we have seen in the former argument. With regard to
_Oolekohste_, “the fall of the leaf,” as they call a buzzard, _Soore_,
or _Soole_; and as _Soolekohste_ signifies troublesome, offensive,
disagreeable, the word signifies, that “the fall of the year is as
disagreeable a sight, as that of a buzzard.” _Kora_, as with the
Hebrews, signifies the winter; and is likewise the name of a bone: and
by joining _Hah_, an Hebrew note of admiration, to the end of it, as
_Kora-Hah_, it becomes the proper name of a man, signifying, “all
bones,” or very bony. _Otool-phà_, “the spring season,” is derived from
_Oolpha_, the name of a bud, or to shoot out; because then the solar
heat causes vegetables to bud and spring. _Tomeh_ signifies “the solar
light,” and _Palle_, “warm or hot;” _Ashtora_, “winter,” and _Moona_,
“presently,” &c.

They number their years by any of those four periods, for they have no
name for a year; and they subdivide these, and count the year by lunar
months, like the Israelites, who counted by moons, as their name
sufficiently testifies; for they called them ירחים, the plural of ירח,
the moon. The Indians have no distinct proper name for the sun and moon;
one word, with a note of distinction, expresses both—for example; the
Cheerake {74} call the sun _Eus-se A-nan-tó-ge_, “the day-moon, or sun;”
and the latter, _Neus-se A-nan-tó-ge_, or “the night-sun, or moon.” In
like manner, the Chikkasah and Choktah term the one, _Neetak-Hasséh_,
and the other, _Neennak-Hasséh_; for _Neetak_ signifies “a day,” and
_Neennak_, “a night.”

Here I cannot forbear remarking, that the Indians call the penis of any
animal, by the very same name, _Hasse_; with this difference only, that
the termination is in this instance pronounced short, whereas the other
is long, on purpose to distinguish the words. This bears a strong
analogy to what the rabbins tell us of the purity of the Hebrew
language, that “it is so chaste a tongue, as to have no proper names for
the parts of generation.” The Cheerake can boast of the same decency of
style, for they call a corn-house, _Watóhre_ and the penis of any
creature, by the very same name; intimating, that as the sun and moon
influence and ripen the fruits that are stored in it, so by the help of
Ceres and Bacchus, Venus lies warm, whereas on the contrary, _sine
Cerere & Bacchus, friget Venus_.

They count certain very remarkable things, by knots of various colours
and make, after the manner of the South-American Aborigines; or by
notched square sticks, which are likewise distributed among the head
warriors, and other chieftains of different towns, in order to number
the winters, &c.—the moons also—their sleeps—and the days when they
travel; and especially certain secret intended acts of hostility. Under
such a circumstance, if one day elapses, each of them loosens a knot, or
cuts off a notch, or else makes one, according to previous agreement;
which those who are in the trading way among them, call broken days.
Thus they proceed day by day, till the whole time is expired, which was
marked out, or agreed upon; and they know with certainty, the exact time
of any of the aforesaid periods, when they are to execute their secret
purposes, be they ever so various. The authors of the romantic Spanish
histories of Peru and Mexico, have wonderfully stretched on these
knotted, or marked strings, and notched square sticks, to shew their own
fruitful inventions, and draw the attention and surprise of the learned
world to their magnified bundle of trifles.

The method of counting time by weeks, or sevenths, was a very ancient
custom, practised by the Syrians, Egyptians, and most of the oriental
nations; {75} and it evidently is a remain of the tradition of the
creation. The Creator, indeed, renewed to the Hebrews the old precept of
sanctifying the seventh day, on a particular occasion. And Christianity
promoted that religious observance in the western world, in remembrance
of the work of redemption. The Greeks counted time by decads, or tens;
and the Romans by nones, or ninths. The number, and regular periods of
the Indians public religious feasts, of which presently, is a good
historical proof, that they counted time by, and observed a weekly
sabbath, long after their arrival on the American continent.

They count the day also by the three sensible differences of the sun,
like the Hebrews—sun-rise, they term, _Hassé kootcha meente_, “the sun’s
coming out;”—noon, or mid-day, _Tabookòre_;—and sun-set, _Hassé Oobèa_,
literally, “the sun is dead;” likewise, _Hasse Ookka’tòra_, that is,
“the sun is fallen into the water;” the last word is compounded of
_Ookka_, water, and _Etòra_, to fall: it signifies also “to swim,” as
instinct would direct those to do, who fell into the water. And they
call dark, _Ookklille_—derived from _Ookka_, water, and _Illeh_, dead;
which shews their opinion of the sun’s disappearance, according to the
ancients, who said the sun slept every night in the western ocean. They
subdivide the day, by any of the aforesaid three standards—as half way
between the sun’s coming out of the water; and in like manner, by
midnight, or cock-crowing, &c.

They begin the year,[29] at the first appearance of the first new moon
of the vernal æquinox, according to the ecclesiastical year of Moses:
and those synodical months, each consist of twenty-nine days, twelve
hours, and forty odd minutes; which make the moons, alternately, to
consist of twenty-nine and of thirty days. They pay a great regard to
the first appearance of every new moon, and, on the occasion, always
repeat some joyful sounds, and stretch out their hands towards her—but
at such times they offer no public sacrifice.

Till the 70 years captivity commenced, (according to Dr. Prideaux, 606
years before the Christian æra) the Israelites had only numeral names
for the solar and lunar months, except אביב and האתנים; the former
signifies a green ear of corn; and the latter, robust, or valiant. And
by the first {76} name, the Indians, as an explicative, term their
_passover_, which the trading people call the green-corn dance. As the
Israelites were a sensual people, and generally understood nothing but
the shadow, or literal part of the law; so the Indians closely imitate
them, minding only that traditional part, which promised them a
delicious land, flowing with milk and honey. The two Jewish months just
mentioned, were æquinoctial. Abib, or their present Nisan, was the
seventh of the civil, and the first of the ecclesiastical year,
answering to our March and April: and Ethanim, which began the civil
year, was the seventh of that of the ecclesiastical, the same as our
September and October. And the Indians name the various seasons of the
year, from the planting, or ripening of the fruits. The green-eared moon
is the most beloved, or sacred,—when the first fruits become sanctified,
by being annually offered up. And from this period they count their
beloved, or holy things.

When they lack a full moon, or when they travel, they count by sleeps;
which is a very ancient custom—probably, from the Mosaic method of
counting time, “that the evening and the morning were the first day.”
Quantity they count by tens, the number of their fingers; which is a
natural method to all people. In the mercantile way, they mark on the
ground their numbers, by units; or by X for ten; which, I presume they
learned from the white people, who traded with them. They readily add
together their tens, and find out the number sought. They call it
_Yakâ-ne Tlápha_, or “scoring on the ground.” But _old time_ they can no
way trace, only by remarkable circumstances, and æras. As they trade
with each other, only by the hand, they have no proper name for a pound

The Cheerake count as high as an hundred,[30] by various numeral names;
whereas the other nations of East and West-Florida, rise no higher than
the decimal number, adding units after it, by a conjunction copulative;
which intimates, that nation was either more mixed, or more skilful,
than the rest: the latter seems most probable. They call a thousand,
_Skoeh Chooke Kaiére_, “the old,” or “the old one’s hundred:” and so do
the rest, in their various dialects, by interpretation; which argues
their former skill in numbers. {77}

I shall here give a specimen of the Hebrew method of counting, and that
of the Cheerake, Chikkasah, and Muskohge or Creeks, by which some
farther analogy will appear between the savage Indians, and their
supposed Israelitish brethren. The Hebrew characters were numeral
figures: they counted by them STOPP alphabetically, א (1), ב (2), and so
on to the letter י, the tenth letter of the alphabet, and which stands
for ten; then, by prefixing י to those letters, they proceeded with
their rising numbers, as יא (11), יב (12), יג (13), יד (14), &c. They
had words also of a numeral power, as אח͏ד (1), שני (2), שלשי (3), אדבע
(4), &c. We shall now see how the Indian method of numbering agrees with
this old standard, as well as with the idiom of the Hebrew language in
similar cases.

The Cheerake number thus: _Soquo_ 1, _Tahre_ 2, _Choeh_ 3, _Nankke_ 4,
_Ishke_ 5, _Sootáre_ 6, _Karekóge_ 7, _Suhnâyra_ 8, _Sohnáyra_ 9,
_Skoeh_ 10, _Soàtoo_ 11, _Taràtoo_ 12, &c. And here we may see a parity
of words between two of the Indian nations; for the Muskohge term a
stone, _Tahre_; which glances at the Hebrew, as they not only built with
such material, but used it as a word of number, expressive of two. In
like manner, _Ishke_ “five,” signifies a mother, which seems to shew
that their numeral words were formerly significant; and that they are
one stock of people.

The Chikkasah and Choktah count in this manner—_Chephpha_ 1, _Toogàlo_
2, _Tootchēna_ 3, _Oosta_ 4, _Tathlābe_ 5, _Hannāhle_ 6, _Untoogàlo_ 7,
_Untootchēna_ 8, _Chakkále_ 9, _Pokoole_ 10, _Pokoole Aawa Chephpha_,
“ten and one,” and so on. The Cheerake have an old waste town, on the
Georgia south-west branch of Savannah river, called _Toogàlo_; which
word may come under the former observation, upon the numerical word two:
and they call a pompion, _Oosto_, which resembles _Oosta_, four.

The Cheerake call twenty, _Tahre Skoeh_, “two tens;” and the Chikkasah
term it, _Pokoole Toogalo_, “ten twos:” as if the former had learned to
number from the left hand to the right, according to the Syriac custom;
and the latter, from the right to the left hand, after the Hebrew
manner. The former call an hundred, _Skoeh Chooke_; and, as before
observed, a thousand, _Skoeh Chooke Kaiére_, or “the old one’s hundred;”
for with them, _Kaiére_ signifies “ancient,” or aged; whereas _Eti_, or
_Eti-u_, expresses former old time. {78} May not this have some
explanation, by the “Ancient of days,” as expressed by the prophet
Daniel—magnifying the number, by joining one of the names of God to
it—according to a frequent custom of the Hebrews? This seems to be
illustrated with sufficient clearness, by the numerical method of the
Chikkasah—for they call an hundred, _Pokoole Tathleepa_; and a thousand,
_Pokoole Tathleepa Tathleepa Ishto_; the last of which is a strong
double superlative, according to the usage of the Hebrews, by a
repetition of the principal word; or by affixing the name of God to the
end of it, to heighten the number. Ishto is one of their names of God,
expressive of majesty, or greatness; and _Soottathleepa_[XVIII], the
name of a drum, derived from _Sootte_, an earthen pot, and _Tathleepa_,
perhaps the name or number of some of their ancient legions.

Footnote XVIII:

  The double vowels, _oo_ and _ee_, are always to be joined in one
  syllable, and pronounced long.

The Muskohge method of counting is, _Hommai_ 1, _Hokkóle_ 2, _Tootchēna_
3, _Ohsta_ 4, _Chakàpe_ 5, _Eepáhge_ 6, _Hoolopháge_ 7, _Cheenèpa_ 8,
_Ohstàpe_ 9, _Pokóle_ 10, &c. I am sorry that I have not sufficient
skill in the Muskohge dialect, to make any useful observations on this
head; however, the reader can easily discern the parity of language,
between their numerical words, and those of the Chikkasah and Choktah
nations; and may from thence conclude, that they were formerly one
nation and people.

I have seen their symbols, or signatures, in a heraldry way, to count or
distinguish their tribes, done with what may be called wild exactness.
The Choktah use the like in the dormitories of their dead; which seems
to argue, that the ancienter and thicker-settled countries of Peru and
Mexico had formerly, at least, the use of hieroglyphic characters; and
that they painted the real, or figurative images of things, to convey
their ideas. The present American Aborigines seem to be as skilful
Pantomimi, as ever were those of ancient Greece or Rome, or the modern
Turkish mutes, who describe the meanest things spoken, by gesture,
action, and the passions of the face. Two far-distant Indian nations,
who understand not a word of each other’s language, will intelligibly
converse together, and contract engagements, without any interpreter, in
such a surprizing manner, as is scarcely credible. As their dialects are
guttural, the indications they use, with the hand or {79} fingers, in
common discourse, to accompany their speech, is the reason that
strangers imagine they make only a gaggling noise, like what we are told
of the Hottentots, without any articulate sound; whereas it is an
ancient custom of the eastern countries, which probably the first
emigrants brought with them to America, and still retain over the
far-extended continent[XIX].

Footnote XIX:

  The first numbering was by their fingers; to which custom Solomon
  alludes, _Prov._ iii. 16. “length of days is in her right hand.” The
  Greeks called this, Αποπεμπομαζειv, because they numbered on their
  five fingers: and Ovid says, _Seu, quia tot digitis, per quos numeráre
  solemus_; likewise Juvenal, _Sua dextrâ computat annos_. Others
  numbered on their ten fingers, as we may see in Bede de ratione
  temporum. And the ancients not only counted, but are said to speak
  with their fingers, _Prov._ vi. 13, “The wicked man he teacheth with
  his fingers.” And Nævius, in Tarentilla, says, _dat digito literas_.
  (A). Lord Kingsborough says the statement in the text is confirmed by
  Francisco Vazquez de Coronado. (W).

                             ARGUMENT VII.

In conformity to, or after the manner of the Jews, the Indian Americans
have their PROPHETS, HIGH-PRIESTS,[31] and others of a religious order.
As the Jews had a _sanctum sanctorum_, or most holy place, so have all
the Indian nations; particularly, the Muskohge. It is partitioned off by
a mud-wall about breast-high, behind the white seat, which always stands
to the left hand of the red-painted war-seat; there they deposit their
consecrated vessels, and supposed holy utensils, none of the laity
daring to approach that sacred place, for fear of particular damage to
themselves, and general hurt to the people, from the supposed divinity
of the place.

With the Muskohge, _Hitch Lalàge_ signifies “cunning men,” or persons
prescient of futurity, much the same as the Hebrew seers. _Cheeràtahége_
is the name of the pretended prophets, with the Cheerake, and nearly
approaches to the meaning of נביא, _Nebia_, the Hebrew name of a
prophet. _Cheera_ is their word for “fire,” and the termination points
out men possest of, or endued with it. The word seems to allude to the
celestial cherubim, fire, light, and spirit, which centered in O E A, or
YOHEWAH. These Indians call their pretended prophets also _Loá-che_,
“Men resembling the holy fire,” or as Elohim; for the termination
expresses a comparison, and _Loa_, is a contraction of _Loak_, drawn
from אלה, _Elóah_, the singular number of אלהים, _Elohim_, the name of
the holy ones. And, as the Muskohge {80} call the noise of thunder,
_Erowah_, so the Cheerake by inverting it, _Worah_, “He is;” thereby
alluding to the divine essence: and, as those term the lightning _Elóa_,
and believe it immediately to proceed from the voice of _Ishtohollo Elóa
Aba_, it shews the analogy to the Hebrews, and their sentiments to be
different from all the early heathen world.

The Indian tradition says, that their forefathers were possessed of an
extraordinary divine spirit, by which they foretold things future, and
controuled the common course of nature: and this they transmitted to
their offspring, provided they obeyed the sacred laws annexed to it.
They believe, that by the communication of the same divine fire working
on their _Loáche_, they can now effect the like. They say it is out of
the reach of _Nana Ookproo_, either to comprehend, or perform such
things, because the beloved fire, or the holy spirit of fire, will not
co-operate with, or actuate _Hottuk Ookproose_, “the accursed people.”
_Ishtohoollo_ is the name of all their priestly order, and their
pontifical office descends by inheritance to the eldest: those
friend-towns, which are firmly confederated in their exercises and
plays, never have more than one _Archi-magus_ at a time. But lameness,
contrary to the Mosaic law, it must be confessed, does not now exclude
him from officiating in his religious function; though it is not to be
doubted, as they are naturally a modest people, and highly ridicule
those who are incapable of procreating their species, that formerly they
excluded the lame and impotent. They, who have the least knowledge in
Indian affairs, know, that the martial virtue of the savages, obtains
them titles of distinction; but yet their old men, who could scarcely
correct their transgressing wives, much less go to war, and perform
those difficult exercises, that are essentially needful in an active
warrior, are often promoted to the pontifical dignity, and have great
power over the people, by the pretended sanctity of the office.
Notwithstanding the Cheerake are now a nest of apostate hornets, pay
little respect to grey hairs, and have been degenerating fast from their
primitive religious principles, for above thirty years past—yet, before
the last war, _Old Hop_,[32] who was helpless and lame, presided over
the whole nation, as _Archi-magus_, and lived in Choàte, their only town
of refuge. It was entirely owing to the wisdom of those who then
presided in South-Carolina, that his dangerous pontifical, and
regal-like power, was impaired, by their setting up _Atta Kulla
Kulla_,[33] and supporting him so well, as to prevent the then easy
transition of an Indian {81} high-priesthood into a French American
bloody chair, with a bunch of red and black beads; where the devil and
they could as easily have instructed them in the infernal French
catechism, as they did the Canada Indians: as—Who killed Christ?
_Answer_, The bloody English; &c.[XX]

Footnote XX:

  A wrong belief has a most powerful efficacy in depraving men’s morals,
  and a right one has a great power to reform them. The bloody Romish
  bulls, that France sent over to their Indian converts, clearly prove
  the former; and our peaceable conduct, as plainly shewed the latter,
  till Britannia sent out her lions to retaliate.

To discover clearly the origin of the Indian religious system, I must
occasionally quote as much from the Mosaic institution, as the savages
seem to copy after, or imitate, in their ceremonies; and only the faint
image of the Hebrew can now be expected to be discerned, as in an old,
imperfect glass. The priesthood originally centered with the first male
born of every family: with the ancient heathens, the royalty was annexed
to it, in a direct line; and it descended in that manner, as low as the
Spartans and Romans. But, to secure Israel from falling into heathenish
customs and worship; God in the time of Moses, set apart the Levites for
religious services in the room of the first-born; and one high-priest,
was elected from the family of Aaron, and anointed with oil, who
presided over the rest. This holy office descended by right of
inheritance. However, they were to be free of bodily defects, and were
by degrees initiated to their holy office, before they were allowed to
serve in it. They were consecrated, by having the water of purifying
sprinkled upon them, washing all their body, and their clothes clean,
anointing them with oil, and offering a sacrifice.

It is not surprizing that the dress of the old savage _Archi-magus_, and
that of the Levitical high-priest, is somewhat different. It may well be
supposed, they wandered from captivity to this far-distant wilderness,
in a distrest condition, where they could scarcely cover themselves from
the inclemency of heat and cold. Besides, if they had always been
possessed of the greatest affluence, the long want of written records
would sufficiently excuse the difference; because oral traditions are
liable to variation. However, there are some traces of agreement in
their pontifical dress. Before the Indian _Archi-magus_ officiates in
making the supposed holy fire, for the yearly atonement {82} of sin, the
Sagan clothes him with a white ephod, which is a waistcoat without
sleeves. When he enters on that solemn duty, a beloved attendant spreads
a white-drest buck-skin on the white seat, which stands close to the
supposed holiest, and then puts some white beads on it, that are given
him by the people. Then the _Archi-magus_ wraps around his shoulders a
consecrated skin of the same sort, which reaching across under his arms,
he ties behind his back, with two knots on the legs, in the form of a
figure of eight. Another custom he observes on this solemn occasion, is,
instead of going barefoot, he wears a new pair of buck-skin white
maccasenes made by himself, and stitched with the sinews of the same
animal[XXI]. The upper leather across the toes, he paints, for the space
of three inches, with a few streaks of red—not with vermilion, for that
is their continual war-emblem, but with a certain red root, its leaves
and stalk resembling the ipecacuanha, which is their fixed red symbol of
holy things. These shoes he never wears, but in the time of the supposed
passover; for at the end of it, they are laid up in the beloved place,
or holiest, where much of the like sort, quietly accompanies an heap of
old, broken earthen ware, conch-shells, and other consecrated things.

Footnote XXI:

               Observant ubi sesta mero pede sabbata reges,
               Et vetus indulget senibus clementa porcis.
                                        JUVENAL, Sat. vi.

  When the high-priest entered into the holiest, on the day of
  expiation, he clothed himself in white; and, when he finished that
  day’s service, he laid aside those clothes and left them in the
  tabernacle. _Lev._ xvi. 23.

  When the Egyptian priests went to worship in their temples, they wore
  shoes of white parchment. HERODOTUS, Lib. ii. Cap. v.

The Mosaic ceremonial institutions, are acknowledged by our best
writers, to represent the Messiah, under various types and shadows; in
like manner, the religious customs of the American Indians, seem to
typify the same; according to the early divine promise, that the seed of
the woman should bruise the head of the serpent; and that it should
bruise his heel.—The Levitical high-priest wore a _breast-plate_, which
they called _Hosechim_, and on it the _Urim_ and _Thummim_, signifying
lights and perfections; for they are the plurals of אור, _Awóra_, (which
inverted makes _Erowa_) and תורה, _Thòràh_, {83} the law, as it directed
them under dark shadows, to Messiah, the lamp of light and perfection.
In resemblance of this sacred pectoral, or breast-plate, the American
_Archi-magus_ wears a breast-plate, made of a white conch-shell,[34]
with two holes bored in the middle of it, through which he puts the ends
of an otter-skin strap, and fastens a buck-horn white button to the
outside of each, as if in imitation of the precious stones of Urim,
which miraculously blazoned from the high-priest’s breast, the unerring
words of the divine oracle. Instead of the plate of gold, which the
Levite wore on his forehead, bearing these words,קדש לי יהוה _Kadesh li
Yohewah_, “holy, or separate to God,” the Indian wears around his
temples, either a wreath of swan-feathers, or a long piece of swan-skin
doubled, so as only the fine snowy feathers appear on each side. And, in
likeness to the _Tiara_ of the former, the latter wears on the crown of
his head, a tuft of white feathers, which they call _Yatèra_. He
likewise fastens a tuft of blunted wild Turkey cock-spurs, toward the
toes of the upper part of his maccasenes, as if in resemblance to the
seventy-two bells, which the Levitical high-priest wore on his coat of
blue. Those are as strong religious pontifical emblems, as any old
Hebrews could have well chosen, or retained under the like circumstances
of time and place. Thus appears the Indian Archimagus—not as _Merubha
Begadim_, “the man with many clothes,” as they called the high-priest of
the second temple, but with clothes proper to himself, when he is to
officiate in his pontifical function, at the annual expiation of
sins[XXII]. As religion is the touchstone of every nation of people, and
as these Indians cannot be supposed to have been deluded out of theirs,
separated from the rest of the world, for many long-forgotten ages—the
traces which may be discerned among them, will help to corroborate the
other arguments concerning their origin.

Footnote XXII:

  The only ornaments that distinguished the high-priest from the rest,
  were a coat with seventy-two bells, an ephod, or jacket without
  sleeves, a breast-plate set with twelve stones, a linen mitre, and a
  plate of gold upon his forehead.

These religious, beloved men are also supposed to be in great favour
with the Deity, and able to procure rain when they please. In this
respect also, we shall observe a great conformity to the practice of the
Jews. The Hebrew records inform us, that in the moon _Abib_, or Nisan,
they prayed for {84} the spring, or latter rain, to be so seasonable and
sufficient as to give them a good harvest. And the Indian Americans have
a tradition, that their forefathers sought for and obtained such
seasonable rains, as gave them plentiful crops; and they now seek them
in a manner agreeable to the shadow of this tradition.

When the ground is parched, their _rain-makers_, (as they are commonly
termed) are to mediate for the beloved red people, with the bountiful
holy Spirit of fire. But their old cunning prophets are not fond of
entering on this religious duty, and avoid it as long as they possibly
can, till the murmurs of the people force them to the sacred attempt,
for the security of their own lives. If he fails,[35] the prophet is
shot dead, because they are so credulous of his divine power conveyed by
the holy Spirit of fire, that they reckon him an enemy to the state, by
averting the general good, and bringing desolating famine upon the
beloved people. But in general, he is so discerning in the stated laws
of nature, and skilful in priestcraft, that he always seeks for rain,
either at the full, or change of the moon; unless the birds, either by
instinct, or the temperature of their bodies, should direct him
otherwise. However, if in a dry season, the clouds, by the veering of
the winds, pass wide of their fields—while they are inveighing bitterly
against him, some in speech, and others in their hearts, he soon changes
their well-known notes—he assumes a displeased countenance and carriage,
and attacks them with bitter reproaches, for their vicious conduct in
the marriage-state, and for their notorious pollutions, by going to the
women in their religious retirements, and for multifarious crimes that
never could enter into his head to suspect them of perpetrating, but
that the divinity his holy things were endued with, had now suffered a
great decay, although he had fasted, purified himself, and on every
other account, had lived an innocent life, according to the old beloved
speech: adding, “_Loak Ishtohoollo_ will never be kind to bad people.”
He concludes with a religious caution to the penitent, advising them to
mend their manners, and the times will mend with them: Then they depart
with sorrow and shame. The old women, as they go along, will exclaim
loudly against the young people, and protest they will watch their
manners very narrowly for the time to come, as they are sure of their
own steady virtue. {85}

If a two-year drought happens, the synhedrim, at the earnest
solicitation of the mortified sinners, convene in a body, and make
proper enquiry into the true cause of their calamities; because (say
they) it is better to spoil a few roguish people, than a few roguish
people should spoil _Hottuk Oretoopah_: The lot soon falls upon Jonas,
and he is immediately swallowed up. Too much rain is equally dangerous
to those red prophets.—I was lately told by a gentleman of distinguished
character, that a famous rain-maker of the Muskohge was shot dead,
because the river over-flowed their fields to a great height, in the
middle of August, and destroyed their weighty harvest. They ascribed the
mischief to his ill-will; as the Deity, they say, doth not injure the
virtuous, and designed him only to do good to the beloved people.

In the year 1747, a Nàchee warrior told me, that while one of their
prophets was using his divine invocations for rain, according to the
faint image of their ancient tradition, he was killed with thunder on
the spot; upon which account, the spirit of prophecy ever after subsided
among them, and he became the last of their reputed prophets. They
believed the holy Spirit of fire had killed him with some of his angry
darting fire, for wilful impurity; and by his threatening voice, forbad
them to renew the like attempt—and justly concluded, that if they all
lived well, they should fare well, and have proper seasons. This opinion
coincides with that of the Israelites, in taking fire for the material
emblem of Yohewah; by reckoning thunder the voice of the Almighty above,
according to the scriptural language; by esteeming thunder-struck
individuals under the displeasure of heaven—and by observing and
enforcing such rules of purity, as none of the old pagan nations
observed, nor any, except the Hebrews.

As the prophets of the Hebrews had oracular answers, so the Indian magi,
who are to invoke YO HE WAH, and mediate with the supreme holy fire,
that he may give seasonable rains, have a transparent stone, of supposed
great power in assisting to bring down the rain, when it is put in a
bason of water; by a reputed divine virtue, impressed on one of the like
sort, in time of old, which communicates it circularly. This stone would
suffer a great decay, they assert, were it even seen by their own laity;
but if by foreigners, it would be utterly despoiled of its divine {86}
communicative power. Doth not this allude to the precious blazoning
stones of Urim and Thummim?

In Tymáhse, a lower Cheerake town, lived one of their reputed great
divine men, who never informed the people of his seeking for rain, but
at the change, or full of the moon, unless there was some promising sign
of the change of the weather, either in the upper regions, or from the
feathered kalender; such as the quacking of ducks, the croaking of
ravens, and from the moistness of the air felt in their quills;
consequently, he seldom failed of success, which highly increased his
name, and profits; for even when it rained at other times, they ascribed
it to the intercession of their great beloved man. Rain-making, in the
Cheerake mountains, is not so dangerous an office, as in the rich level
lands of the Chikkasah country, near the Missisippi. The above Cheerake
prophet had a carbuncle, near as big as an egg, which they said he found
where a great rattlesnake lay dead,[36] and that it sparkled with such
surprizing lustre, as to illuminate his dark winter-house, like strong
flashes of continued lightning, to the great terror of the weak, who
durst not upon any account, approach the dreadful fire-darting place,
for fear of sudden death. When he died, it was buried along with him
according to custom, in the town-house of Tymáhse, under the great
beloved cabbin, which stood in the westernmost part of that old fabric,
where they who will run the risk of searching, may luckily find it; but,
if any of that family detected them in disturbing the bones of their
deceased relation, they would resent it as the basest act of hostility.
The inhuman conduct of the avaricious Spaniards toward the dead
Peruvians and Mexicans, irritated the natives, to the highest pitch of
distraction, against those ravaging enemies of humanity. The intense
love the Indians bear to their dead, is the reason that so few have
fallen into the hands of our physicians to dissect, or anatomise. We
will hope also, that from a principle of humanity, our ague-charmers,
and water-casters, who like birds of night keep where the Indians
frequently haunt, would not cut up their fellow-creatures, as was done
by the Spanish butchers in Peru and Mexico.

Not long ago, at a friendly feast, or feast of love, in West-Florida,
during the time of a long-continued drought, I earnestly importuned the
old rain-maker, for a sight of the pretended divine stone, which he had
assured me he was possessed of; but he would by no means gratify my
request. He {87} told me, as I was an infidel, literally, “one who
shakes hands with the accursed speech,” and did not believe its being
endued with a divine power, the sight of it could no ways benefit me;
and that, as their old unerring tradition assured them, it would suffer
very great damage in case of compliance, he hoped I would kindly
acquiesce; especially, as he imagined, I believed every nation of people
had certain beloved things, that might be easily spoiled by being
polluted. I told him I was fully satisfied with the friendly excuse he
made to my inconsiderate request; but that I could scarcely imagine
there were any such beloved men, and beloved things, in so extremely
fertile, but now sun-burnt soil. Their crops had failed the year before,
by reason of several concurring causes: and, for the most part of the
summer season, he had kept his bed through fear of incurring the
punishment of a false prophet; which, joined with the religious regimen,
and abstemious way of living he was obliged strictly to pursue, it
sweated him so severely, as to reduce him to a skeleton. I jested him in
a friendly way, saying, I imagined, the supreme holy fire would have
proved more kind to his honest devotees, than to sicken him so severely,
especially at that critical season, when the people’s food, and his own,
entirely depended on his health; that, though our beloved men never
undertook to bring down seasonable rains, yet we very seldom failed of
good crops, and always paid them the tenth basket-full of our yearly
produce; because, they persuaded our young people, by the force of their
honest example, and kind-hearted enchanting language, to shun the
crooked ways of _Hottuk Kallákse_, “the mad light people,” and honestly
to shake hands with the old beloved speech—that the great, supreme,
fatherly Chieftain, had told his _Loáche_ to teach us how to obtain
peace and plenty, and every other good thing while we live here, and
when we die, not only to shun the accursed dark place, where the sun is
every day drowned, but likewise to live again for ever, very happily in
the favourite country.

He replied, that my speech consisted of a mixture of good and ill; the
beginning of it was crooked, and the conclusion straight. He said, I had
wrongfully blamed him, for the effect of the disorderly conduct of the
red people and himself, as it was well known he fasted at different
times for several days together; at other times ate green
tobacco-leaves; and some days drank only a warm decoction of the button
snake-root, without allowing {88} any one, except his religious
attendant, to come near him; and, in every other respect, had honestly
observed the austere rules of his religious place, according to the
beloved speech that _Ishtohoollo Elóa Aba_ gave to the _Loáche_ of their
forefathers: but _Loak Ishtohoollo_ was sorely vexed with most of their
young people for violating the chastity of their neighbours wives, and
even among the thriving green corn and pease, as their beds here and
there clearly proved; thus, they spoiled the power of his holy things,
and tempted _Minggo Ishto Elóa_, “the great chieftain of the thunder,”
to bind up the clouds, and withold the rain. Besides, that the old women
were less honest in paying their rain-makers, than the English women
behaved to their beloved men, unless I had spoken too well of them. The
wives of this and the other person, he said, had cheated him, in not
paying him any portion of the last year’s bad crop, which their own bad
lives greatly contributed to, as that penurious crime of cheating him of
his dues, sufficiently testified; not to mention a late custom, they had
contracted since the general peace, of planting a great many fields of
beans and pease, in distant places, after the summer-crops were over, on
the like dishonest principle; likewise in affirming, that when the first
harvest was over, it rained for nothing; by that means they had
blackened the old beloved speech, that _Ishtohoollo Eloa_ of old spoke
to his _Loáche_, and conveyed down to him, only that they might paint
their own bad actions white. He concluded, by saying, that all the
chieftains, and others present, as well as myself, knew now very well,
from his honest speech, the true cause of the earth’s having been so
strangely burnt till lately; and that he was afraid, if the hearts of
those light and mad people he complained of, did not speedily grow
honest, the dreadful day would soon come, in which _Lóak Ishtohoollo_
would send _Phutchik Keeraah Ishtò_, “the great blazing star,” _Yahkàne
eeklénna, Loak loáchàché_, “to burn up half of the earth with fire,”
_Pherimmi Aiúbe_, “from the north to the south,” _Hassé oobèa perà_,
“toward the setting of the sun,” where they should in time arrive at the
dreadful place of darkness, be confined there hungry, and otherwise
sorely distrest among hissing snakes and many other frightful creatures,
according to the ancient true speech that _Ishtohoollo Aba_ spoke to his
beloved _Loáche_.

Under this argument, I will also mention another striking resemblance to
the Jews, as to their TITHES—As the sacerdotal office was fixed in the
tribe {89} of Levi, they had forty-eight cities allotted them from the
other tribes. And Moses assures us, in _Deut._ xiv. 28, 29, that those
tribes paid them also once in three years, the tithe, or tenth of all
they possessed, which is supposed to be about the thirtieth part of
their annual possessions; by which means they were reasonably
maintained, as spiritual pastors, and enabled to fulfil the extensive
and charitable application of their dues, as enjoined.

It hath been already hinted, that the Indian prophets undertake by the
emanation of the divine spirit of fire, co-operating with them, to bring
down proper rains for crops, on the penalty of loosing their own lives;
as the Indians reckon that a regular virtuous life will sufficiently
enable their great beloved men to bring blessings of plenty to the
beloved people; and if they neglect it, they are dangerous enemies, and
a great curse to the community. They imagine his prophetic power is also
restrictive as to winter-rains, they doing more hurt than good; for they
justly observe, that their ground seldom suffers by the want of
winter-rains. Their sentiments on this head, are very strong; they say,
_Ishtohoollo Aba_ allows the winter-rain to fall unsought, but that he
commanded their forefathers to seek for the summer-rain, according to
the old law, otherwise he would not give it to them. If the seasons have
been answerable, when the ripened harvest is gathered in, the old women
pay their reputed prophet with religious good-will, a certain
proportional quantity of each kind of the new fruits, measured in the
same large portable back-baskets, wherein they carried home the ripened
fruits. This stated method they yearly observe; which is as consonant to
the Levitical institution, as can be reasonably expected, especially, as
their traditions have been time out of mind preserved only by oral echo.

Modern writers inform us, that the Persees pay a tithe of their revenues
to the chief Destour, or Archimagus of a city or province, who decides
cases of conscience, and points of law, according to the institution of
Zoroaster—a mixture of Judaism and paganism. Their annual religious
offering to the Archimagi, is a misapplication of the Levitical law
concerning tithes, contrary to the usage of the American Aborigines,
which it may be supposed they immediately derived from the Hebrews; for,
as the twelfth tribe was devoted to the divine service, they were by
divine appointment, maintained at the public expense. However, when we
consider that their government was {90} of a mixed kind—first a
theocracy—then by nobles, and by kings—and at other times by their
high-priest, it seems to appear pretty plain, that the Deity raised,
preserved, and governed those people, to oppose idolatry, and continue,
till the fulness of time came, the true divine worship on earth, under
ceremonial dark shadows, without exhibiting their government in the
least, as a plan of future imitation. Besides, as Messiah is come,
according to the predictions of the divine oracles, which represented
him under various strong types and shadows, surely christians ought to
follow the copy of their humble Master and his holy disciples, and leave
the fleecing of the flock to the avaricious Jews, whose religious
tenets, and rapacious principles, support them in taking annual tithes
from each other; who affect to believe that all the Mosaic law is
perpetually binding, and that the predicted Shilo, who is to be their
purifier, king, prophet, and high-priest, is not yet come. The _law of
tithing_, was calculated only for the religious œconomy of the Hebrew
nation; for as the merciful Deity, who was the immediate head of that
state, had appropriated the Levites to his service, and prohibited them
purchasing land, lest they should be seduced from their religious
duties, by worldly cares, He, by a most bountiful law, ordered the state
to give them the tithe, and other offerings, for the support of
themselves and their numerous families, and also of the widow, the
fatherless, and the stranger.

I shall insert a dialogue, that formerly passed between the Chikkasah
Loáche and me, which will illustrate both this, and other particulars of
the general subject; and also shew the religious advantages and
arguments, by which the French used to undermine us with the Indians.

We had been speaking of trade, which is the usual topic of discourse
with those craftsmen. I asked him how he could reasonably blame the
English traders for cheating _Tekapê húmmah_, “the red folks,” even
allowing his accusations to be just; as he, their divine man, had
cheated them out of a great part of their crops, and had the assurance
to claim it as his religious due, when at the same time, if he had
shaked hands with the straight old beloved speech, or strictly observed
the ancient divine law, his feeling heart would not have allowed him to
have done such black and crooked things, especially to the helpless, the
poor, and the aged; {91} it rather would have strongly moved him to
stretch out to them a kind and helping hand, according to the old
beloved speech of _Ishtohoollo Aba_ to his _Hottuk Ishtohoollo_, who
were sufficiently supported at the public expence, and strictly ordered
to supply with the greatest tenderness, the wants of others.

He smartly retorted my objections, telling me, that the white people’s
excuses for their own wrong conduct, were as false and weak as my
complaints were against him. The red people, he said, saw very clearly
through such thin black paint; though, his sacred employment was equally
hid from them and me; by which means, neither of us could reasonably
pretend to be proper judges of his virtuous conduct, nor blame him for
the necessary effect of our own crimes; or urge it as a plea for
cheating him out of his yearly dues, contrary to the old divine speech,
for the crops became light by their own vicious conduct, which spoiled
the power of his holy things. So that it was visible, both the red and
white people were commonly too partial to themselves; and that by the
bounty of the supreme fatherly Chieftain, it was as much out of his
power, as distant from his kindly heart, either to wrong the beloved red
people, or the white nothings; and that it became none, except mad light
people, to follow the crooked steps of _Hottuk Ookproose_, the accursed

As there was no interruption to our winter-night’s chat, I asked him in
a friendly manner, whether he was not afraid, thus boldly to snatch at
the divine power of distributing rain at his pleasure, as it belonged
only to the great beloved thundering Chieftain, who dwells far above the
clouds, in the new year’s unpolluted holy fire, and who gives it in
common to all nations of people alike, and even to every living creature
over the face of the whole earth, because he made them—and his merciful
goodness always prompts him to supply the wants of all his creatures. He
told me, that by an ancient tradition, their _Loáche_ were possessed of
an extraordinary divine power, by which they foretold hidden things, and
by the beloved speech brought down showers of plenty to the beloved
people; that he very well knew, the giver of virtue to nature resided on
earth in the unpolluted holy fire, and likewise above the clouds and the
sun, in the shape of a fine fiery substance, attended by a great many
beloved people; and that he continually weighs us, and measures out good
or bad {92} things to us, according to our actions. He added, that
though the former beloved speech had a long time subsided, it was very
reasonable they should still continue this their old beloved custom;
especially as it was both profitable in supporting many of their
helpless old beloved men, and very productive of virtue, by awing their
young people from violating the ancient laws. This shewed him to be
cunning in priestcraft, if not possessed of a tradition from the Hebrew
records, that their prophets by the divine power, had, on material
occasions, acted beyond the stated laws of nature, and wrought miracles.

My old prophetic friend told me, with a good deal of surprize, that
though the beloved red people had by some means or other, lost the old
beloved speech; yet _Frenshe Lakkàne ookproo_, “the ugly yellow French,”
(as they term the Missisippians) had by some wonderful method obtained
it; for his own people, he assured me, had seen them at New Orleans to
bring down rain in a very dry season, when they were giving out several
bloody speeches to their head warriors against the English Chikkasah
traders. On a mischievous politic invitation of the French, several of
the Chikkasah had then paid them a visit, in the time of an alarming
drought and a general fast, when they were praying for seasonable rains
at mass. When they came, the interpreter was ordered to tell them, that
the French had holy places and holy things, after the manner of the red
people—that if their young people proved honest, they could bring down
rain whenever they stood in need of it—and that this was one of the
chief reasons which induced all the various nations of the beloved red
people to bear them so intense a love; and, on the contrary, so violent
and inexpressible an hatred even to the very name of the English,
because every one of them was marked with _Anumbole Ookkproo_, “the
curse of God.”

The method the Chikkasah prophet used in relating the affair, has some
humour in it—for their ignorance of the christian religion, and
institutions, perplexes them when they are on the subject; on which
account I shall literally transcribe it.

He told me, that the Chikkasah warriors during three successive days,
accompanied the French _Loáche_ and _Ishtohoollo_ to the great beloved
house, where a large bell hung a-top, which strange sight exceedingly
surprized {93} them; for, instead of being fit for a horse, it would
require a great many ten horses to carry it. Around the inside of the
beloved house, there was a multitude of he and she beloved people, or
male and female saints or angels, whose living originals, they affirmed
dwelt above the clouds, and helped them to get every good thing from
_Ishtohoollo Aba_, when they earnestly crave their help. The French
beloved men spoke a great deal with much warmth; the rest were likewise
busily employed in imitation of their _Ishtohoollo_ and _Loáche_. At one
time they spoke high, at another low. One chose this, and another chose
that song. Here the men kneeled before the images of their she-beloved
people; there the women did the like before their favourite and beloved
he-pictures, entreating them for some particular favour which they stood
in need of. Some of them, he said, made very wild motions over their
heads and breasts; and others struck their stomachs with a vehemence
like their warriors, when they drink much _Ookka Homma_, “bitter
waters,” or spirituous liquor; while every one of them had a bunch of
mixed beads, to which they frequently spoke, as well as counted over;
that they loved these beads, for our people strictly observed, they did
not give them to their _Loáche_ and _Ishtohoollo_, as the red people
would have done to those of their own country, though it was very plain
they deserved them, for beating themselves so much for the young
people’s roguish actions; and likewise for labouring so strongly in
pulling off their clothes, and putting them on again, to make the
beloved physic work, which they took in small pieces, to help to bring
on the rain. On the third day (added he) they brought it down in great
plenty, which was certainly a very difficult performance; and as
surprizing too, that they who are always, when opportunity answers,
persuading the red people to take up the bloody hatchet against their
old steady friends, should still have the beloved speech, which
_Ishtohoollo Aba Eloa_ formerly spoke to his beloved _Loáche_.——Thus
ended our friendly discourse.

                             ARGUMENT VIII.

Their FESTIVALS, FASTS, and RELIGIOUS RITES, have also a great
resemblance to those of the Hebrews. It will be necessary here to take a
short view of the principal Jewish feasts, &c. They kept every year, a
sacred feast called the Passover, in memory of their deliverance from
Egyptian {94} bondage. Seven days were appointed, _Lev._ xxiii.—To these
they added an eighth, through a religious principle, as preparatory, to
clear their houses of all leaven, and to fix their minds before they
entered on that religious duty. The name of this festival is derived
from a word which signifies to “pass over;” because, when the destroying
angel flew through the Egyptian houses, and killed their first-born, he
passed over those of the Israelites, the tops of whose doors were
stained with the blood of the lamb, which they were ordered to kill.
This solemnity was instituted with the strongest injunctions, to let
their children know the cause of that observance, and to mark that night
through all their generations.

Three days before this sacred festival, they chose a lamb, without spot
or blemish, and killed it on the evening of the fourteenth day of Abib,
which was the first moon of the ecclesiastical, and the seventh of the
civil year; and they ate it with bitter herbs, without breaking any of
the bones of it, thus prefiguring the death of Messiah. This was the
reason that this was the chief of the days of unleavened bread, and they
were strictly forbidden all manner of work on that day; besides, no
uncircumcised, or unclean persons ate of the paschal lamb. Those of the
people, whom diseases or long journies prevented from observing the
passover on that day, were obliged to keep it in the next moon.

On the fifteenth day, which was the second of the passover, they offered
up to God a sheaf of the new barley-harvest, because it was the earliest
grain. The priest carried it into the temple, and having cleaned and
parched it, he grinded or pounded it into flower, dipt it in oil, and
then waved it before the Lord, throwing some into the fire. The Jews
were forbidden to eat any of their new harvest, till they had offered up
a sheaf, the grain of which filled an omer, a small measure of about
five pints. All was impure and unholy till this oblation was made, but
afterwards it became hallowed, and every one was at liberty to reap and
get in his harvest.

On the tenth day of the moon Ethanim, the first day of the civil year,
they celebrated the great fast, or feast of expiation, afflicted their
souls, and ate nothing the whole day. The high-priest offered several
sacrifices, and having carried the blood of the victims into the temple,
he sprinkled it upon the altar of incense, and the veil that was before
the holiest; and went {95} into that most sacred place, where the divine
Shekinah resided, carrying a censer smoking in his hand with incense,
which hindered him from having a clear sight of the ark. But he was not
allowed to enter that holy place, only once a year, on this great day of
expiation, to offer the general sacrifice both for the sins of the
people and of himself. Nor did he ever mention the divine four-lettered
name, YO HE WAH, except on this great day, when he blessed the people.

Because the Israelites lived in tabernacles, or booths, while they were
in the wilderness; as a memorial therefore of the divine bounty to them,
they were commanded to keep the feast of tabernacles, on the fifteenth
day of the month Tisri, which they called _Rosh Hosanah_, or
_Hoshianah_, it lasted eight days; during which time, they lived in
arbours, (covered with green boughs of trees) unless when they went to
worship at the temple, or sung _Hoshaniyo_ around the altar. When they
were on this religious duty, they were obliged each to carry in their
hands a bundle of the branches of willows, palm-trees, myrtles, and
others of different sorts, laden with fruit, and tied together with
ribbons; and thus rejoice together with the appointed singers, and vocal
and instrumental music, in the divine presence before the altar. On the
eighth day of the feast, one of the priests brought some water in a
golden vessel, from the pool of Siloam, mixed it with wine, and poured
it on the morning-sacrifice, and the first fruits of their latter crops
which were then presented, as an emblem of the divine graces that should
flow to them, when Shilo came, who was to be their anointed king,
prophet, and high-priest—The people in the mean time singing out of
Isaiah “with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

Let us now turn to the copper colour American Hebrews.—While their
sanctified new fruits are dressing, a religious attendant is ordered to
call six of their old beloved women to come to the temple, and dance the
beloved dance with joyful hearts, according to the old beloved speech.
They cheerfully obey, and enter the supposed holy ground in solemn
procession, each carrying in her hand a bundle of small branches of
various green trees; and they join the same number of old magi, or
priests, who carry a cane in one hand adorned with white feathers,
having likewise green boughs in their other hand, which they pulled from
their holy arbour, and carefully place there, encircling it with several
rounds. Those beloved men have their heads {96} dressed with white
plumes; but the women are decked in their finest, and anointed with
bear’s-grease, having small tortoise-shells, and white pebbles, fastened
to a piece of white-drest deer-skin, which is tied to each of their

The eldest of the priests leads the sacred dance, a-head of the
innermost row, which of course is next to the holy fire.[37] He begins
the dance round the supposed holy fire, by invoking YAH, after their
usual manner, on a bass key, and with a short accent; then he sings YO
YO, which is repeated by the rest of the religious procession; and he
continues his sacred invocations and praises, repeating the divine word,
or notes, till they return to the same point of the circular course,
where they began: then HE HE in like manner, and WAH WAH. While dancing
they never fail to repeat those notes; and frequently the holy train
strike up _Halelu, Halelu_; then _Haleluiah, Halelu-Yah_, and ALELUIAH
and ALELU-YAH, “Irradiation to the divine essence,” with great
earnestness and fervor, till they encircle the altar, while each strikes
the ground with right and left feet alternately, very quick, but
well-timed. Then the awful drums join the sacred choir, which incite the
old female singers to chant forth their pious notes, and grateful
praises before the divine essence, and to redouble their former quick
joyful steps, in imitation of the leader of the sacred dance, and the
religious men a-head of them. What with the manly strong notes of the
one, and the shrill voices of the other, in concert with the
bead-shells, and the two sounding, drum-like earthen vessels, with the
voices of the musicians who beat them, the reputed holy ground echoes
with the praises of YO HE WAH. Their singing and dancing in three
circles around their sacred fire, appears to have a reference to a like
religious custom of the Hebrews. And may we not reasonably suppose, that
they formerly understood the psalms, or divine hymns? at least those
that begin with _Halelu-Yah_; otherwise, how came all the inhabitants of
the extensive regions of North and South-America, to have, and retain
those very expressive Hebrew words? or how repeat them so distinctly,
and apply them after the manner of the Hebrews, in their religious
acclamations? The like cannot be found in any other countries.

In like manner, they sing on other religious occasions, and at their
feasts of love, _Ale-Yo Ale-Yo_; which is אל, the divine name, by his
attribute of omnipotence; and י, alluding to יהוה. They sing likewise
_Hewah Hewah_, which is הוה “the immortal soul;” drawn from the divine
essential name, {97} as deriving its rational faculties from YOHEWAH.
Those words that they sing in their religious dances, they never repeat
at any other time; which seems to have greatly occasioned the loss of
the meaning of their divine hymns; for I believe they are now so
corrupt, as not to understand either the spiritual or literal meaning of
what they sing, any further than by allusion.

In their circuiting dances, they frequently sing on a bass key, _Alué
Alué_, _Aluhé, Aluhé_, and _Aluwàh Aluwàh_, which is the Hebrew אלוה.
They likewise sing _Shilù-Yó, Shilù-Yó_, _Shilù-Hé Shilù-Hé_,
_Shilù-Wàh, Shilù-Wàh_, and _Shilù-Hàh Shilù-Hàh_. They transpose them
also several ways, but with the very same notes. The three terminations
make up in their order the four-lettered divine name. _Hah_ is a note of
gladness—the word preceding it, _Shilù_, seems to express the predicted
human and divine שילוה, Shiloh, who was to be the purifier, and

They continue their grateful divine hymns for the space of fifteen
minutes, when the dance breaks up. As they degenerate, they lengthen
their dances, and shorten the time of their fasts and purifications;
insomuch, that they have so exceedingly corrupted their primitive rites
and customs, within the space of the last thirty years, that, at the
same rate of declension, there will not be long a possibility of tracing
their origin, but by their dialects, and war-customs.

At the end of this notable religious dance, the old beloved, or holy
women[38] return home to hasten the feast of the new sanctified fruits.
In the mean while, every one at the temple drinks very plentifully of
the Cusseena and other bitter liquids, to cleanse their sinful bodies;
after which, they go to some convenient deep water, and there, according
to the ceremonial law of the Hebrews, they wash away their sins with
water. Thus sanctified, they return with joyful hearts in solemn
procession, singing their notes of praise, till they enter into the holy
ground to eat of the new delicious fruits of wild Canaan[XXIII]. The
women now with the utmost cheerfulness, bring to {98} the outside of the
sacred square, a plentiful variety of all those good things, with which
the divine fire has blessed them in the new year; and the religious
attendants lay it before them, according to their stated order and
reputed merit. Every seat is served in a gradual succession, from the
white and red imperial long broad seats, and the whole square is soon
covered: frequently they have a change of courses of fifty or sixty
different sorts, and thus they continue to regale themselves, till the
end of the festival; for they reckon they are now to feast themselves
with joy and gladness, as the divine fire is appeased for past crimes,
and has propitiously sanctified their weighty harvest. They all behave
so modestly, and are possessed of such an extraordinary constancy and
equanimity, in the pursuit of their religious mysteries, that they do
not shew the least outward emotion of pleasure, at the first sight of
the sanctified new fruits; nor the least uneasiness to be tasting those
tempting delicious fat things of Canaan. If one of them acted in a
contrary manner, they would say to him, _Che-Hakset Kaneha_, “You
resemble such as were beat in Canaan.” This unconcern, doubtless
proceeded originally from a virtuous principle; but now, it may be the
mere effect of habit: for, jealousy and revenge excepted, they seem to
be divested of every mental passion, and entirely incapable of any
lasting affection.

Footnote XXIII:

  They are so strictly prohibited from eating salt, or flesh-meat, till
  the fourth day, that during the interval, the very touch of either is
  accounted a great pollution: after that period, they are deemed lawful
  to be eaten. All the hunters, and able-bodied men, kill and barbecue
  wild game in the woods, at least ten days before this great festival,
  and religiously keep it for that sacred use.

I shall give an instance of this.—If the husband has been a year absent
on a visit to another nation, and should by chance overtake his wife
near home, with one of his children skipping along side of her; instead
of those sudden and strong emotions of joy that naturally arise in two
generous breasts at such an unexpected meeting, the self-interested pair
go along as utter strangers, without seeming to take the least notice of
one another, till a considerable time after they get home.

The Indians formerly observed the grand festival[39] of the annual
expiation of sin, at the beginning of the first new moon, in which their
corn became full-eared; but for many years past they are regulated by
the season of their harvest. And on that head, they shew more religious
patience than the Hebrews formerly did; who, instead of waiting till
their grain was ripe, forced their barley, which ripened before any
other sort they planted. And they are perhaps as skilful in observing
the revolutions of the moon, as ever the Israelites were, at least till
the end of the first temple; for during that period, instead of
measuring time by astronomical calculations, they {99} knew it only by
the phases of the moon. In like manner, the supposed red Hebrews of the
American desarts, annually observed their festivals, and _Neetak
Yáh-àh_, “days of afflicting themselves before the Deity,” at a prefixed
time of a certain moon. To this day, a war-leader, who, by the number of
his martial exploits is entitled to a drum, always sanctifies himself,
and his out-standing company, at the end of the old moon, so as to go
off at the appearance of the new one by day-light; whereas, he who has
not sufficiently distinguished himself, must set out in the night.

As the first of the _Neetak Hoollo_, precedes a long strict fast of two
nights and a day, they gormandize such a prodigious quantity of strong
food, as to enable them to keep inviolate the succeeding fast, the
sabbath of sabbaths, the _Neetak Yah-ah_: the feast lasts only from
morning till sun-set. Being great lovers of the ripened fruits, and only
tantalized as yet, with a near view of them; and having lived at this
season, but meanly on the wild products of nature—such a fast as this
may be truly said to afflict their souls, and to prove a sufficient
trial of their religious principles. During the festival, some of their
people are closely employed in putting their temple in proper order for
the annual expiation; and others are painting the white cabbin, and the
supposed holiest, with white clay; for it is a sacred, peaceable place,
and white is its emblem. Some, at the same time are likewise painting
the war-cabbin with red clay, or their emblematical red root, as
occasion requires; while others of an inferior order, are covering all
the seats of the beloved square with new mattresses, made out of the
fine splinters of long canes, tied together with flags. In the mean
time, several of them are busy in sweeping the temple, clearing it of
every supposed polluting thing, and carrying out the ashes from the
hearth which perhaps had not been cleaned six times since the last
year’s general offering. Several towns join together to make the annual
sacrifice; and, if the whole nation lies in a narrow compass, they make
but one annual offering: by which means, either through a sensual or
religious principle, they strike off the work with joyful hearts. Every
thing being thus prepared, the _Archi-magus_ orders some of his
religious attendants to dig up the old hearth, or altar, and to sweep
out the remains that by chance might either be left, or drop down. Then
he puts a few roots of the button-snake-root, with some green leaves of
an uncommon small sort of tobacco, and a little of the new fruits, at
the bottom of the fire-place, which he {100} orders to be covered up
with white marley clay, and wetted over with clean water[XXIV].

Footnote XXIV:

  Under the palladium of Troy, were placed things of the like nature, as
  a preservative from evil; but the above practice seems to be pretty
  much tempered with the Mosaic institution; for God commanded them to
  make an altar of earth, to sacrifice thereon. _Exod._ xx. 24.

Immediately, the _magi_ order them to make a thick arbour over the
altar, with green branches of the various young trees, which the
warriors had designedly chosen, and laid down on the outside of the
supposed holy ground: the women, in the interim are busy at home in
cleaning out their houses, renewing the old hearths, and cleansing all
their culinary vessels, that they may be fit to receive the pretended
holy fire, and the sanctified new fruits, according to the purity of the
law; lest by a contrary conduct, they should incur damage in life,
health, future crops, &c. It is fresh in the memory of the old traders,
that formerly none of these numerous nations of Indians would eat, or
even handle any part of the new harvest, till some of it had been
offered up at the yearly festival by the _Archi-magus_, or those of his
appointment, at their plantations, though the light harvest of the past
year had forced them to give their women and children of the ripening
fruits, to sustain life. Notwithstanding they are visibly degenerating,
both in this, and every other religious observance, except what concerns
war; yet their magi and old warriors live contentedly on such harsh food
as nature affords them in the woods, rather than transgress that divine
precept given to their forefathers.

Having every thing in order for the sacred solemnity, the religious
waiters carry off the remains of the feast, and lay them on the outside
of the square; others of an inferior order carefully sweep out the
smallest crumbs, for fear of polluting the first-fruit offering; and
before sun-set, the temple must be cleared, even of every kind of vessel
or utensil, that had contained, or been used about any food in that
expiring year. The women carry all off, but none of that sex, except
half a dozen of old beloved women, are allowed in that interval to tread
on the holy ground, till the fourth day. Now, one of the waiters
proclaims with a loud voice, for all the warriors and beloved men, whom
the purity of the law admits, to come and enter the beloved square, and
observe the fast; he likewise exhorts all {101} the women and children,
and those who have not initiated themselves in war, to keep apart from
them, according to law. Should any of them prove disobedient, the young
ones would be dry-scratched, and the others stript of every thing they
had on them. They observe the same strict law of purity, in their method
of sanctifying themselves for war, in order to obtain the divine
protection, assistance, and success. But a few weeks since, when a large
company of these warlike savages were on the point of setting off to
commence war against the Muskohge, some of the wags decoyed a heedless
trader into their holy ground, and they stript him, so as to oblige him
to redeem his clothes with vermilion. And, on account of the like
trespass, they detained two Indian children two nights and a day, till
their obstinate parents paid the like ransom.

Their great beloved man, or _Archi-magus_, now places four centinels,
one at each corner of the holy square, to keep out every living creature
as impure, except the religious order, and the warriors who are not
known to have violated the law of the first-fruit-offering, and that of
marriage, since the last year’s expiation. Those centinels are regularly
relieved, and firm to their sacred trust; if they discerned a dog or cat
on the out-limits of the holy square, before the first-fruit-offering
was made, they would kill it with their arrows on the spot.

They observe the fast till the rising of the second sun; and be they
ever so hungry in that sacred interval, the healthy warriors deem the
duty so awful, and the violation so inexpressibly vicious, that no
temptation would induce them to violate it; for, like the Hebrews, they
fancy temporal evils are the necessary effect of their immoral conduct,
and they would for ever ridicule and reproach the criminal for every bad
occurrence that befel him in the new year, as the sinful author of his
evils; and would sooner shoot themselves, than suffer such
long-continued sharp disgrace. The religious attendants boil a
sufficient quantity of button-snake-root, highly imbittered, and give it
round pretty warm, in order to vomit and purge their sinful bodies. Thus
they continue to mortify and purify themselves, till the end of the
fast. When we consider their earnest invocations of the divine essence,
in this solemnity—their great knowledge of specific virtues in
simples—that they never apply the aforesaid root, only on religious
occasions—that they frequently drink it to such excess as to impair
their health, {102} and sometimes so as to poison themselves by its
acrid quality—and take into the account, its well-known medicinal
property of curing the bite of the most dangerous sort of the serpentine
generation; must not one think, that the Aboriginal Americans chose it,
as a strong emblem of the certain cure of the bite of the old serpent in

That the women and children, and those worthless fellows who have not
hazarded their lives in defence of their holy places and holy things,
and for the beloved people, may not be entirely godless, one of the old
beloved men lays down a large quantity of the small-leafed green
tobacco, on the outside of a corner of the sacred square; and an old
beloved woman, carries it off, and distributes it to the sinners
without, in large pieces, which they chew heartily, and swallow, in
order to afflict their souls. She commends those who perform the duty
with cheerfulness, and chides those who seem to do it unwillingly, by
their wry faces on account of the bitterness of the supposed sanctifying
herb. She distributes it in such quantities, as she thinks are equal to
their capacity of sinning, giving to the reputed, worthless old
He-hen-pickers, the proportion only of a child, because she thinks such
spiritless pictures of men cannot sin with married women; as all the
females love only the virtuous manly warrior, who has often successfully
accompanied the beloved ark.

In the time of this general fast, the women, children, and men of weak
constitutions, are allowed to eat, as soon as they are certain the sun
has begun to decline from his meridian altitude; but not before that
period. Their indulgence to the sick and weak, seems to be derived from
divine precept, which forbad the offering of sacrifice at the cost of
mercy; and the snake-root joined with their sanctifying bitter green
tobacco, seem to be as strong expressive emblems as they could have
possibly chosen, according to their situation in life, to represent the
sacred institution of eating the paschal lamb, with bitter herbs; and to
shew, that though the old serpent bit us in Eden, yet there is a branch
from the root of Jesse, to be hoped for by those who deny themselves
their present sweet taste, which will be a sufficient purifier, and
effect the cure.

The whole time of this fast may with truth be called a fast, and to the
_Archi-magus_, to all the _magi_, and pretended prophets, in particular;
for, by {103} ancient custom, the former is obliged to eat of the
sanctifying small-leafed tobacco, and drink the snake-root, in a
separate hut for the space of three days and nights without any other
subsistence, before the solemnity begins; besides his full portion along
with the rest of the religious order, and the old war-chieftains, till
the end of the general fast, which he pretends to observe with the
strictest religion. After the first-fruits are sanctified, he lives most
abstemiously till the end of the annual expiation, only sucking
water-melons now and then to quench thirst, and support life, spitting
out the more substantial part.

By the Levitical law, the priests were obliged to observe a stricter
sanctity of life than the laity; all the time they were performing the
sacerdotal offices, both women and wine were strictly forbidden to them.
Thus the Indian religious are retentive of their sacred mysteries to
death, and the _Archi-magus_ is visibly thin and meagre at the end of
the solemnity. That rigid self-denial, seems to have been designed to
initiate the Levite, and give the rest an example of leading an innocent
simple life, that thereby they might be able to subdue their unruly
passions; and that by mortifying and purifying himself so excessively,
the sacrifice by passing through his pure hands, may be accepted, and
the holy Spirit of fire atoned, according to the divine law. The
superannuated religious are also emulous in the highest degree, of
excelling one another in their long fasting; for they firmly believe,
that such an annual self-denying method is so highly virtuous, when
joined to an obedience of the rest of their laws, as to be the
infallible means of averting evil, and producing good things, through
the new year. They declare that a steady virtue, through the divine
co-operating favour, will infallibly insure them a lasting round of

At the end of this solemn fast, the women by the voice of a crier, bring
to the outside of the holy square, a plentiful variety of the old year’s
food newly drest, which they lay down, and immediately return home; for
every one of them know their several duties, with regard both to time
and place. The centinels report the affair, and soon afterward the
waiters by order go, and reaching their hands over the holy ground, they
bring in the provisions, and set them down before the famished
multitude. Though most of the people may have seen them, they reckon it
vicious and mean to shew a gladness for the end of their religious
duties; and shameful {104} to hasten the holy attendants, as they are
all capable of their sacred offices. They are as strict observers of all
their set forms, as the Israelites were of those they had from divine

Before noon, the temple is so cleared of every thing the women brought
to the square, that the festival after that period, resembles a magical
entertainment that had no reality in it, consisting only in a delusion
of the senses. The women then carry the vessels from the temple to the
water, and wash them clean for fear of pollution. As soon as the sun is
visibly declining from his meridian, this third day of the fast, the
_Archi-magus_ orders a religious attendant to cry aloud to the crowded
town, that the holy fire is to be brought out for the sacred
altar—commanding every one of them to stay within their own houses, as
becomes the beloved people, without doing the least bad thing—and to be
sure to extinguish, and throw away every spark of the old fire;
otherwise, the divine fire will bite them severely with bad diseases,
sickness, and a great many other evils, which he sententiously
enumerates, and finishes his monitory caution, by laying life and death
before them.

Now every thing is hushed.—Nothing but silence all around: the
_Archi-magus_, and his beloved waiter, rising up with a reverend
carriage, steady countenance, and composed behaviour, go into the
beloved place, or holiest, to bring them out the beloved fire. The
former takes a piece of dry poplar, willow, or white oak, and having cut
a hole, so as not to reach through it, he then sharpens another piece,
and placing that with the hole between his knees, he drills it briskly
for several minutes, till it begins to smoke—or, by rubbing two pieces
together, for about a quarter of an hour, by friction he collects the
hidden fire; which all of them reckon to immediately issue from the holy
Spirit of fire. The Muskohge call the fire their grandfather—and the
supreme Father of mankind, _Esakàta-Emishe_, “the breath master,” as it
is commonly explained. When the fire appears, the beloved waiter
cherishes it with fine chips, or shaved splinters of pitch-pine, which
had been deposited in the holiest; then he takes the unsullied wing of a
swan, fans it gently, and cherishes it to a flame. On this, the
_Archi-magus_ brings it out in an old earthen vessel, whereon he had
placed it, and lays it on the sacred altar, which is under an arbour,
thick-weaved a-top with green boughs. It is observable, that when the
Levites laid wood on the sacred fire, it was unlawful {105} for them
either to blow it with bellows, or their breath. The Magians, or
followers of Zoroaster, poured oil on their supposed holy fire, and left
it to the open air to kindle it into flame. Is not this religious
ceremony of these desolate Indians a strong imitation, or near
resemblance of the Jewish customs?

Their hearts are enlivened with joy at the appearance of the reputed
holy fire, as the divine fire is supposed to atone for all their past
crimes, except murder: and the beloved waiter shews his pleasure, by his
cheerful industry in feeding it with dry fresh wood; for they put no
rotten wood on it, any more than the Levites would on their sacred
altars. Although the people without, may well know what is transacting
within, yet, by order, a crier informs them of the good tidings, and
orders an old beloved woman to pull a basket-full of the new-ripened
fruits, and bring them to the beloved square. As she before had been
appointed, and religiously prepared for that solemn occasion, she
readily obeys, and soon lays it down with a cheerful heart, at the
out-corner of the beloved square. By ancient custom, she may either
return home, or stand there, till the expiation of sin hath been made,
which is thus performed—The _Archi-magus_, or fire-maker, rises from his
white seat and walks northward three times round the holy fire, with a
slow pace, and in a very sedate and grave manner, stopping now and then,
and speaking certain old ceremonial words with a low voice and a
rapidity of expression, which none understand but a few of the old
beloved men, who equally secrete their religious mysteries, that they
may not be prophaned. He then takes a little of each sort of the new
harvest, which the old woman had brought to the extremity of the
supposed holy ground, rubs some bear’s oil over it, and offers it up
together with some flesh, to the bountiful holy Spirit of fire, as a
first-fruit offering, and an annual oblation for sin. He likewise
consecrates the button-snake-root, and the cusseena, by pouring a little
of those two strong decoctions into the pretended holy fire. He then
purifies the red and white seats with those bitter liquids, and sits
down. Now, every one of the outlaws who had been catched a tripping, may
safely creep out of their lurking holes, anoint themselves, and dress in
their finest, to pay their grateful thanks at an awful distance, to the
forgiving divine fire. A religious waiter is soon ordered to call to the
women around, to come for the sacred fire: they gladly obey.—When they
come to the outside of the quadrangular holy ground, the _Archi-magus_
addresses the warriors, and gives {106} them all the particular positive
injunctions, and negative precepts they yet retain of the ancient law,
relating to their own manly station. Then he changes his note, and uses
a much sharper language to the women, as suspecting their former virtue.
He first tells them very earnestly, that if there are any of them who
have not extinguished the old evil fire, or have contracted any
impurity, they must forthwith depart, lest the divine fire should spoil
both them and the people; he charges them to be sure not to give the
children a bad example of eating any unsanctified, or impure food,
otherwise they will get full of worms, and be devoured by famine and
diseases, and bring many other dangerous evils both upon themselves, and
all the beloved, or holy people. This seems to allude to the theocratic
government of the Jews, when such daring criminals were afflicted with
immediate and visible divine punishment.

In his female lecture, he is sharp and prolix: he urges them with much
earnestness to an honest observance of the marriage-law, which may be
readily excused, on account of the prevalent passion of self-interest.
Our own Christian orators do not exert themselves with half the
eloquence or eagerness, as when that is at stake which they most value.
And the old wary savage has sense enough to know, that the Indian female
virtue is very brittle, not being guarded so much by inward principle,
as the fear of shame, and of incurring severe punishment; but if every
bush of every thicket was an hundred-eyed Argos, it would not be a
sufficient guard over a wanton heart. So that it is natural they should
speak much on this part of the subject, as they think they have much at
stake. After that, he addresses himself to the whole body of the people,
and tells them, in rapid bold language, with great energy, and
expressive gestures of body, to look at the holy fire, which again has
introduced all those shameful adulterous criminals into social
privileges; he bids them not to be guilty of the like for time to come,
but be sure to remember well, and strongly shake hands with the old
beloved straight speech, otherwise the divine fire, which sees, hears,
and knows them, will spoil them exceedingly, if at any time they
relapse, and commit that detestable crime. Then he numerates all the
supposed lesser crimes, and moves the audience by the great motives of
the hope of temporal good, and the fear of temporal evil, assuring them,
that upon their careful observance of the ancient law, the holy fire
will enable their prophets, the rain-makers, to procure them plentiful
harvests, and give their war-leaders victory over their enemies—and by
the {107} communicative power of their holy things, health and
prosperity are certain: but on failure, they are to expect a great many
extraordinary calamities, such as hunger, uncommon diseases, a
subjection to witchcraft, and captivity and death by the hands of the
hateful enemy in the woods, where the wild fowls will eat their flesh,
and beasts of prey destroy the remaining bones, so as they will not be
gathered to their forefathers—because their ark abroad, and beloved
things at home, would lose their virtual power of averting evil. He
concludes, by advising them to a strict observance of their old rites
and customs, and then every thing shall go well with them. He soon
orders some of the religious attendants to take a sufficient quantity of
the supposed holy fire, and lay it down on the outside of the holy
ground, for all the houses of the various associated towns, which
sometimes lie several miles apart. The women, hating sharp and grave
lessons, speedily take it up, gladly carry it home, and lay it down on
their unpolluted hearths, with the prospect of future joy and peace.

While the women are running about, and getting ready to dress the
sanctified new-fruits on the sacred fire, the _Archi-magus_ sends a
religious attendant to pull some cusseena, or _yopon_, belonging to the
temple; and having parched it brown on the altar, he boils it with clear
running water in a large earthen pot, about half full; it has such a
strong body, as to froth above the top by pouring it up and down with
their consecrated vessels, which are kept only for that use: of this
they drink now and then, till the end of the festival, and on every
other religious occasion from year to year. Some of the old beloved men,
through a religious emulation in sanctifying themselves, often drink
this, and other bitter decoctions, to such excess, as to purge
themselves very severely—when they drink it, they always invoke YO HE

If any of the warriors are confined at home by sickness, or wounds, and
are either deemed incapable or unfit to come to the annual expiation,
they are allowed one of the old consecrated conch-shells-full of their
sanctifying bitter cusseena, by their magi. The traders hear them often
dispute for it, as their proper due, by ancient custom: and they often
repeat their old religious ceremonies to one another, especially that
part which they imagine most affects their present welfare; the aged are
sent to instruct the young ones in these particulars. The above
allowance, seems to be derived from the divine precept of mercy, in
allowing a second passover {108} in favour of those who could not go, or
were not admitted to the first; and the latter custom, to be in
obedience to the divine law, which their supposed progenitors were to
write on the posts of the doors, to wear as frontlets before their eyes,
and teach to their children.

Though the Indians do not use salt in their first-fruit-oblation till
the fourth day; it is not to be doubted but they formerly did. They
reckon they cannot observe the annual expiation of sins, without bear’s
oil, both to mix with that yearly offering, and to eat with the new
sanctified fruits; and some years they have a great deal of trouble in
killing a sufficient quantity of bears for the use of this religious
solemnity, and their other sacred rites for the approaching year; for at
such seasons they are hard to be found, and quite lean. The traders
commonly supply themselves with plenty of this oil from winter to
winter; but the Indians are so prepossessed with a notion of the white
people being all impure and accursed, that they deem their oil as
polluting on those sacred occasions, as Josephus tells us the Jews
reckoned that of the Greeks. An Indian warrior will not light his pipe
at a white man’s fire if he suspects any unsanctified food has been
dressed at it in the new year. And in the time of the new-ripened
fruits, their religious men carry a flint, punk, and steel, when they
visit us, for fear of polluting themselves by lighting their pipes at
our supposed _Loak ookproose_, “accursed fire,” and spoiling the power
of their holy things. The polluted would, if known, be infallibly
anathamatized, and expelled from the temple, with the women, who are
suspected of gratifying their vicious taste. During the eight days
festival, they are forbidden even to touch the skin of a female child:
if they are detected, either in cohabiting with, or laying their hand on
any of their own wives, in that sacred interval, they are stripped
naked, and the offender is universally deemed so atrocious a criminal,
that he lives afterwards a miserable life. Some have shot themselves
dead, rather than stand the shame, and the long year’s continual
reproaches cast upon them, for every mischance that befalls any of their
people, or the ensuing harvest,—a necessary effect of the divine anger,
they say, for such a crying sin of pollution. An instance of this kind I
heard happened some years ago in _Talàse_, a town of the Muskohge, seven
miles above the Alebáma garrison.

When we consider how sparingly they eat in their usual way of living, it
is surprising to see what a vast quantity of food they consume {109} on
their festival days. It would equally surprize a stranger to see how
exceedingly they vary their dishes, their dainties consisting only of
dried flesh, fish, oil, corn, beans, pease, pompions, and wild fruit.
During this rejoicing time, the warriors are drest in their wild martial
array, with their heads covered with white down: they carry feathers of
the same colour, either in their hands, or fastened to white scraped
canes, as emblems of purity, and scepters of power, while they are
dancing in three circles, and singing their religious praises around the
sacred arbour, in which stands the holy fire. Their music consists of
two clay-pot drums covered on the top with thin wet deer-skins, drawn
very tight, on which each of the noisy musicians beats with a stick,
accompanying the noise with their voices; at the same time, the dancers
prance it away, with wild and quick sliding steps, and variegated
postures of body, to keep time with the drums, and the rattling
calabashes shaked by some of their religious heroes, each of them
singing their old religious songs, and striking notes _in tympano et
choro_. Such is the graceful dancing, as well as the vocal and
instrumental music of the red Hebrews on religious and martial
occasions, which they must have derived from early antiquity. Toward the
conclusion of the great festival, they paint and dress themselves anew,
and give themselves the most terrible appearance they possibly can. They
take up their war-instruments, and fight a mock-battle in a very exact
manner: after which, the women are called to join in a grand dance, and
if they disobey the invitation they are fined. But as they are extremely
fond of such religious exercise, and deem it productive of temporal
good, all soon appear in their finest apparel, as before suggested,
decorated with silver ear-bobs, or pendants to their ears, several
rounds of white beads about their necks, rings upon their fingers, large
wire or broad plates of silver on their wrists, their heads shining with
oil, and torrepine-shells containing pebbles, fastened to deer-skins,
tied to the outside of their legs. Thus adorned, they join the men in
three circles, and dance a considerable while around the sacred fire,
and then they separate.

At the conclusion of this long and solemn festival, the _Archi-magus_
orders one of the religious men to proclaim to all the people, that
their sacred annual solemnity is now ended, and every kind of evil
averted from the beloved people, according to the old straight beloved
speech; they must therefore paint themselves, and come along with him
according to ancient {110} custom. As they know the stated time, the
joyful sound presently reaches their longing ears: immediately they fly
about to grapple up a kind of chalky clay, to paint themselves white. By
their religious emulation, they soon appear covered with that emblem of
purity, and join at the outside of the holy ground, with all who had
sanctified themselves within it, who are likewise painted, some with
streaks, and others all over, as white as the clay can make them:
recusants would undergo a heavy penalty. They go along in a very orderly
solemn procession, to purify themselves in running water. The
_Archi-magus_ heads the holy train—his waiter next—the beloved men
according to their seniority—and the warriors by their reputed merit.
The women follow them in the same orderly manner, with all the children
that can walk, behind them, ranged commonly according to their height;
the very little ones they carry in their arms. Those, who are known to
have eaten of the unsanctified fruits, bring up the rear. In this manner
the procession moves along, singing ALELUIAH to YO HE WAH, &c. till they
get to the water, which is generally contiguous, when the _Archi-magus_
jumps into it, and all the holy train follow him, in the same order they
observed from the temple. Having purified themselves, or washed away
their sins, they come out with joyful hearts, believing themselves out
of the reach of temporal evil, for their past vicious conduct: and they
return in the same religious cheerful manner, into the middle of the
holy ground, where having made a few circles, singing and dancing around
the altar, they thus finish their annual great festival, and depart in
joy and peace.

Ancient writers inform us, that while the Scythians or Tartars were
heathens, their priests in the time of their sacrifices, took some
blood, and mixing it with milk, horse-dung, and earth, got on a tree,
and having exhorted the people, they sprinkled them with it, in order to
purify them, and defend them from every kind of evil: the heathens also
excluded some from religious communion. The Egyptians excommunicated
those who ate of animals that bore wool, or cut the throat of a
goat[XXV]. And in ancient times, they, and the Phœnicians, Greeks, &c.
adored the serpent, and expelled those who killed it. The East-Indians
likewise, drive those from the {111} supposed benefit of their altars,
who eat of a cow, and drink wine, or that eat with foreigners, or an
inferior cast. Though the heathen world offered sacrifice, had
ablutions, and several other sorts of purifications, and frequently by
fire; yet at the best, their religious observances differed widely from
the divine institutions; whereas the American Aborigines observe strict
purity, in the most essential parts of the divine law. The former
concealed their various worship from the light of the sun; some seeking
thick groves, others descending into the deep valleys, others crawling
to get into caverns, and under their favourite rocks. But we find the
latter, in their state-houses and temples, following the Jerusalem copy
in a surprizing manner. Those of them who yet retain a supposed most
holy place, contrary to the usage of the old heathen world, have it
standing at the west end of the holy quadrangular ground: and they
always appoint those of the meanest rank, to sit on the seats of the
eastern square, so that their backs are to the east, and faces to the
west[XXVI]. The red square looks north; and the second men’s cabbin, as
the traders term the other square, of course looks south, which is a
strong imitation of Solomon’s temple, that was modelled according to the
divine plan of the Israelitish camp in the wilderness. We find them also
sanctifying themselves, according to the emblematical laws of purity,
offering their annual sacrifice in the centre of their quadrangular
temples, under the meridian light of the sun. Their magi are devoted to,
and bear the name of the great holy One; their supposed prophets
likewise that of the divine fire; and each of them bear the emblems of
purity and holiness—while in their religious duties, they sing ALELUIAH,
YO HE WAH, &c. both day and night. Thus different are the various gods,
{112} temples, prophets, and priests of all the idolatrous nations of
antiquity, from the savage Americans; which shews with convincing
clearness, especially by recollecting the former arguments, that the
American Aborigines were never idolaters, nor violated the second
commandment in worshipping the incomprehensible, omnipresent, divine
essence, after the manner described by the popish historians of Peru and
Mexico; but that the greatest part of their civil and religious system,
is a strong old picture of the Israelitish, much less defaced than might
be reasonably expected from the circumstances of time and place.

Footnote XXV:

                ——Lanatis animalibus abstinet omnis
                Mensa; nefas illic fætum jugulare capellæ.
                                       JUVENAL, Sat. xv.

Footnote XXVI:

  The Hebrews had two presidents in the great synhedrion. The first was
  called _Nashe Yo_, “a prince of God.” They elected him on account of
  his wisdom: The second was called _Rosh Ha-Yoshibbah_, “the father of
  the assembly:” he was chief in the great council. And _Ab beth din_,
  or “the father of the consistory,” sat at his right hand, as the chief
  of the seventy-two, of which the great synhedrion consisted, the rest
  sitting according to their merit, in a gradual declension from the
  prince, to the end of the semicircle. The like order is observed by
  the Indians,—and _Jer._ ii. 27, God commanded the Israelites, that
  they should not turn their backs to him, but their faces toward the
  propitiatory, when they worshipped him. I remember, in Koosah, the
  uppermost western town of the Muskohge, which was a place of refuge,
  their supposed holiest consisted of a neat house, in the centre of the
  western square, and the door of it was in the south gable-end close to
  the white cabbin, each on a direct line, north and south.

Every spring season, one town or more of the Missisippi Floridians,[40]
keep a great solemn feast of love, to renew their old friendship. They
call this annual feast, _Hottuk Aimpa, Heettla, Tanáa_, “the people eat,
dance, and walk as twined together”—The short name of their yearly feast
of love, is _Hottuk Impanáa_, “eating by a strong religious, or social
principle;” _Impanáa_ signifies several threads or strands twisted, or
warped together. _Hissoobistarákshe_, and _Yelphòha Panáa_, is “a
twisted horse-rope,” and “warped garter[XXVII].” This is also contrary
to the usage of the old heathen world, whose festivals were in honour to
their chief idols, and very often accompanied with detestable lewdness
and debauchery.

Footnote XXVII:

  The name of a horse-rope is derived from _Tarákshe_ “to tie,” and
  _Hissooba_ “an elk, or horse that carries a burthen;” which suggests
  that they formerly saw elks carry burthens, though perhaps not in the
  northern provinces.

They assemble three nights previous to their annual feast of love; on
the fourth night they eat together. During the intermediate space, the
young men and women dance in circles from the evening till morning. The
men masque their faces with large pieces of gourds of different shapes
and hieroglyphic paintings. Some of them fix a pair of young buffalo
horns to their head; others the tail, behind. When the dance and their
time is expired, the men turn out a hunting, and bring in a sufficient
quantity of venison, for the feast of renewing their love, and
confirming their friendship with each other. The women dress it, and
bring the best they have along with it; which a few springs past, was
only a variety of Esau’s small red acorn pottage, as their crops had
failed. When they have eaten together, they fix in the ground a large
pole with a bush tied at the top, over which {113} they throw a ball.
Till the corn is in, they meet there almost every day, and play for
venison and cakes, the men against the women; which the old people say
they have observed for time out of mind.

Before I conclude this argument, I must here observe, that when the
Indians meet at night to gladden and unite their hearts before YOHEWAH,
they sing _Yohèwà-shoo Yohèwà-shoo_, _Yohewàhshee Yohewàhshee_, and
_Yohewàhshai Yohewàhshai_, with much energy. The first word is nearly in
Hebrew characters, יהושע, the name of Joshua, or saviour, _Numb._ xiii.
8. That ע is properly expressed by our double vowel _oo_, let it be
observed, that as בעל is “a ruler,” or “commanding”—so the Indians say
_Boole Hakse_ “strike a person, that is criminal.” In like manner they
sing _Meshi Yo, Meshi Yo, Meshi He, Meshi He, Meshi Wah Meshi Wah_;
likewise, _Meshi Hah Yo_, &c.; and _Meshi Wàh Háh Meshi Wàh Hé_,
transposing and accenting each syllable differently, so as to make them
appear different words. But they commonly make those words end with one
syllable of the divine name, _Yo He Wah_. If we connect this with the
former part of the subject, and consider they are commonly anointed all
over, in the time of their religious songs and circuiting dances, the
words seem to glance at the Hebrew original, and perhaps they are
sometimes synonymous; for ומו signifies oil; the person anointed משח,
_Messiah_, and he who anointed משיחו, which with the Indians is
_Meshiháh Yo_.

That these red savages formerly understood the radical meaning, and
emblematical design, of the important words they use in their religious
dances and sacred hymns, is pretty obvious, if we consider the reverence
they pay to the mysterious divine name YO HE WAH, in pausing during a
long breath on each of the two first syllables; their defining good by
joining _Wah_ to the end of a word, which otherwise expresses moral
evil, as before noticed; and again by making the same word a negative of
good, by separating the first syllable of that divine name into two
syllables, and adding _U_ as a superlative termination, _Y-O-U_: all
their sacred songs seem likewise to illustrate it very clearly;
_Halelu-Yah_, _Shilu Wah_, _Meshi Wah_, _Meshiha Yo_, &c. The words
which they repeat in their divine hymns, while dancing in three circles
around their supposed holy fire, are deemed so sacred, that they have
not been known ever to mention them at any other time: and as they are a
most erect {114} people, their bowing posture during the time of those
religious acclamations and invocations, helps to confirm their Hebrew

                              ARGUMENT IX.

The Hebrews offered DAILY SACRIFICE, which the prophet Daniel calls
_Tamid_, “the daily.” It was an offering of a lamb every morning and
evening, at the charges of the common treasury of the temple, and except
the skin and intrails, it was burnt to ashes—upon which account they
called it, _Oolah Kalile_, to ascend and consume. The Indians have a
similar religious service. The Indian women always throw a small piece
of the fattest of the meat into the fire when they are eating, and
frequently before they begin to eat. Sometimes they view it with a
pleasing attention, and pretend to draw omens from it. They firmly
believe such a method to be a great means of producing temporal good
things, and of averting those that are evil: and they are so far from
making this fat-offering through pride or hypocrisy, that they perform
it when they think they are not seen by those of contrary principles,
who might ridicule them without teaching them better.

Instead of blaming their religious conduct, as some have done, I advised
them to persist in their religious duty to _Ishtohoollo Aba_, because he
never failed to be kind to those who firmly shaked hands with the old
beloved speech, particularly the moral precepts, and after they died, he
would bring them to their beloved land; and took occasion to shew them
the innumerable advantages their reputed forefathers were blest with,
while they obeyed the divine law.

The white people, (I had almost said christians) who have become Indian
proselytes of justice, by living according to the Indian religious
system, assure us, that the Indian men observe the daily sacrifice both
at home, and in the woods, with new-killed venison; but that otherwise
they decline it. The difficulty of getting salt for religious uses from
the sea-shore, and likewise its irritating quality when eaten by those
who have green wounds, might in time occasion them to discontinue that
part of the sacrifice. {115} They make salt for domestic use, out of a
saltish kind of grass, which grows on rocks, by burning it to ashes,
making strong lye of it, and boiling it in earthen pots to a proper
consistence. They do not offer any fruits of the field, except at the
first-fruit-offering: so that their neglect of sacrifice, at certain
times, seems not to be the effect of an ignorant or vicious, but of
their intelligent and virtuous disposition, and to be a strong
circumstantial evidence of their Israelitish extraction.

Though they believe the upper heavens to be inhabited by _Ishtohoollo
Aba_, and a great multitude of inferior good spirits; yet they are
firmly persuaded that the divine omnipresent Spirit of fire and light
resides on earth, in their annual sacred fire while it is unpolluted;
and that he kindly accepts their lawful offerings, if their own conduct
is agreeable to the old divine law, which was delivered to their
forefathers. The former notion of the Deity, is agreeable to those
natural images, with which the divine penmen, through all the prophetic
writings, have drawn YOHEWAH ELOHIM. When God was pleased with Aaron’s
priesthood and offerings, the holy fire descended and consumed the
burnt-offering on the altar, &c.

By the divine records of the Hebrews, this was the emblematical token of
the divine presence; and the smoke of the victim ascending toward
heaven, is represented as a sweet savour to God. The people who have
lived so long apart from the rest of mankind, are not to be wondered at,
if they have forgotten the end and meaning of the sacrifice; and are
rather to be pitied for seeming to believe, like the ignorant part of
the Israelites, that the virtue is either in the form of offering the
sacrifice, or in the divinity they imagine to reside on earth in the
sacred annual fire; likewise, for seeming to have forgotten that the
virtue was in the thing typified.

In the year 1748, when I was at the Koosàh on my way to the Chikkasah
country, I had a conversation on this subject, with several of the more
intelligent of the Muskohge traders. One of them told me, that just
before, while he and several others were drinking spirituous liquors
with the Indians, one of the warriors having drank to excess, reeled
into the fire, and burned himself very much. He roared, foamed, and
spoke the worst things against God, that their language could express.
He upbraided him with {116} ingratitude, for having treated him so
barbarously in return for his religious offerings, affirming he had
always sacrificed to him the first young buck he killed in the new year;
as in a constant manner he offered him when at home, some of the fattest
of the meat, even when he was at short allowance, on purpose that he
might shine upon him as a kind God.—And he added, “now you have proved
as an evil spirit, by biting me so severely who was your constant
devotee, and are a kind God to those accursed nothings, who are laughing
at you as a rogue, and at me as a fool, I assure you, I shall renounce
you from this time forward, and instead of making you look merry with
fat meat, you shall appear sad with water, for spoiling the old beloved
speech. I am a beloved warrior, and consequently I scorn to lie; you
shall therefore immediately fly up above the clouds, for I shall piss
upon you.” From that time, his brethen said, God forsook that
terrestrial residence, and the warrior became godless. This information
exactly agrees with many such instances of Indian impiety, that happened
within my own observation—and shews the bad consequences of that evil
habit of using spirituous liquors intemperately, which they have been
taught by the Europeans.

The Indians have among them the resemblance of the Jewish SIN-OFFERING,
and TRESPASS-OFFERING, for they commonly pull their new-killed venison
(before they dress it) several times through the smoke and flame of the
fire, both by the way of a sacrifice, and to consume the blood, life, or
animal spirits of the beast, which with them would be a most horrid
abomination to eat.[41] And they sacrifice in the woods, the milt, or a
large fat piece of the first buck they kill, both in their summer and
winter hunt; and frequently the whole carcass. This they offer up,
either as a thanksgiving for the recovery of health, and for their
former success in hunting; or that the divine care and goodness may be
still continued to them.

When the Hebrews doubted whether they had sinned against any of the
divine precepts, they were obliged by the law to bring to the priest a
ram of their flock, to be sacrificed, which they called _Ascham_. When
the priest offered this, the person was forgiven. Their sacrifices and
offerings were called _Shilomim_, as they typified _Shilo-Berith_, “the
purifying root,” who was to procure them peace, rest, and plenty. The
Indian imitates the Israelite {117} in his religious offerings,
according to the circumstances of things; the Hebrew laid his hands on
the head of the clean and tame victim, to load it with his sins, when it
was to be killed. The Indian religiously chuses that animal which in
America comes nearest to the divine law of sacrifice, according to what
God has enabled him; he shoots down a buck, and sacrifices either the
whole carcass, or some choice part of it, upon a fire of green wood to
burn away, and ascend to _Yohewah_. Then he purifies himself in water,
and believes himself secure from temporal evils. Formerly, every hunter
observed the very same religious œconomy; but now it is practiced only
by those who are the most retentive of their old religious mysteries.

The Muskohge Indians sacrifice a piece of every deer they kill at their
hunting camps, or near home; if the latter, they dip their middle finger
in the broth, and sprinkle it over the domestic tombs of their dead, to
keep them out of the power of evil spirits, according to their
mythology; which seems to proceed from a traditional knowledge, though
corruption of the Hebrew law of sprinkling and of blood.

The Indians observe another religious custom of the Hebrews, in making a
PEACE-OFFERING, or sacrifice of gratitude, if the Deity in the supposed
holy ark is propitious to their campaign against the enemy, and brings
them all safe home. If they have lost any in war, they always decline
it, because they imagine by some neglect of duty, they are impure: then
they only mourn their vicious conduct which defiled the ark, and thereby
occasioned the loss. Like the Israelites, they believe their sins are
the true cause of all their evils, and that the divinity in their ark,
will always bless the more religious party with the best success. This
is their invariable sentiment, and is the sole reason of their
mortifying themselves in so severe a manner while they are out at war,
living very scantily, even in a buffalo-range, under a strict rule, lest
by luxury their hearts should grow evil, and give them occasion to

The common sort of Indians, in these corrupt times, only sacrifice a
small piece of unsalted fat meat, when they are rejoicing in the divine
presence, singing _Yo Yo_, &c. for their success and safety: but,
according to the religious custom of the Hebrews, who offered sacrifices
of thanksgiving {118} for every notable favour that Elohim had conferred
either on individuals, or the body,—both the war-leader and his
religious assistant go into the woods as soon as they are purified, and
there sacrifice the first deer they kill; yet, as hath been observed,
they always celebrate the annual expiation of sins in their religious

The red Hebrews imagine their temples to have such a typical holiness,
more than any other place, that if they offered up the annual sacrifice
elsewhere, it would not atone for the people, but rather bring down the
anger of _Ishtohoollo Aba_, and utterly spoil the power of their holy
places and holy things. They who sacrifice in the woods, do it only on
the particular occasions now mentioned; unless incited by a dream, which
they esteem a monitory lesson of the Deity, according to a similar
opinion of the Hebrews. To conclude this argument, it is well known,
that the heathens offered the most abominable and impure sacrifices to a
multiplicity of idol gods; some on favourite high places, others in
thick groves, yea, offerings of their own children were made! and they
likewise prostituted their young women in honour of their deities. The
former is so atrocious in the eyes of the American Hebrews, that they
reckon there needs no human law to prevent so unnatural a crime; the
vilest reptiles being endued with an intense love to their young ones:
and as to the latter, if even a great war-leader is known to cohabit
with his own wife, while sanctifying himself according to their mode on
any religious occasion, he is deemed unclean for the space of three days
and nights; or should he during the annual atonement of sins, it is
deemed so dangerous a pollution, as to demand a strict exclusion from
the rest of the sanctified head-men and warriors, till the general
atonement has been made at the temple, to appease the offended Deity:
besides, as a shameful badge of his impiety, his clothes are stripped
off. Thus different are the various modes and subjects of the heathenish
worship and offerings, from those of the savage Americans. The
surprizing purity the latter still observe in their religious
ceremonies, under the circumstances of time and place, points strongly
at their origin. {119}

                              ARGUMENT X.

The Hebrews had various ABLUTIONS and ANOINTINGS, according to the
Mosaic ritual—and all the Indian nations constantly observe similar
customs from religious motives. Their frequent bathing, or dipping
themselves and their children in rivers, even in the severest weather,
seems to be as truly Jewish, as the other rites and ceremonies which
have been mentioned. Frequent washing of the body was highly necessary
to the health of the Hebrews in their warm climate, and populous
state—but it is useless in this point of view to the red Americans, as
their towns are widely distant from each other, thin peopled, and
situated in cold regions. However, they practise it as a religious duty,
unless in very hot weather, which they find by experience to be
prejudicial to their health, when they observe the law of mercy, rather
than that of sacrifice. In the coldest weather, and when the ground is
covered with snow, against their bodily ease and pleasure, men and
children turn out of their warm houses or stoves, reeking with sweat,
singing their usual sacred notes, _Yo Yo_, &c. at the dawn of day,
adoring YO HE WAH, at the gladsome sight of the morn; and thus they skip
along, echoing praises, till they get to the river, when they
instantaneously plunge into it.[42] If the water is frozen, they break
the ice with a religious impatience: After bathing, they return home,
rejoicing as they run for having so well performed their religious duty,
and thus purged away the impurities of the preceding day by ablution.
The neglect of this hath been deemed so heinous a crime, that they have
raked the legs and arms of the delinquent with snake’s teeth, not
allowing warm water to relax the stiffened skin. This is called
dry-scratching;[43] for their method of bleeding consists in scratching
the legs and arms with goir-fish teeth, when the skin has been first
well loosened by warm water. The criminals, through a false imitation of
true martial virtue, scorn to move themselves in the least out of their
erect posture, be the pain ever so intolerable; if they did, they would
be laughed at, even by their own relations—first, for being vicious; and
next, for being timorous. This will help to lessen our surprize at the
uncommon patience and constancy with which they are endued, beyond the
rest of mankind, in suffering long-continued torture; especially as it
is one {120} of the first, and strongest impressions they take; and they
have constant lessons and examples of fortitude, exhibited before their

The Hebrews had convenient separate places for their women to bathe in,
and purify themselves as occasion required: and at the temple (and the
synagogues, after the captivity) they worshipped apart from the men,
lest they should attract one another’s attention from the divine
worship: and it was customary for the women to go veiled, for fear of
being seen, when they walked the streets. No doubt but jealousy had as
great a share in introducing this custom as modesty, especially while
poligamy was suffered in the rich. But the scantiness of the Jewish
American’s circumstances, has obliged them to purify themselves in the
open rivers, where modesty forbad them to expose their women; who by
this means, are now less religious than the men in that duty, for they
only purify themselves as their discretion directs them. In imitation of
the Hebrew women being kept apart from the men at their worship, the
Indians intirely exclude their females from their temples by ancient
custom, except six old beloved women, who are admitted to sing, dance,
and rejoice, in the time of their annual expiation of sins, and then
retire. In their town-houses also they separate them from the warriors,
placing them on the ground at each side of the entrance of the door
within, as if they were only casual spectators.

It may be objected, that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans
worshipped their Gods, at the dawn of day: and the Persian Magi, with
all the other worshippers of fire, paid their religious devoirs to the
rising sun, but, as the Indians are plainly not idolaters, or
poly-theists; as they sing to, and invoke YAH, and YO HE WAH, the divine
essence, as they run along at the dawn of day to purify themselves by
ablution; it seems sufficiently clear, they are not descended from
either of the last mentioned states, but that their origin is from the
Israelites. This law of purity, bathing in water, was essential to the
Jews—and the Indians to this day would exclude the men from religious
communion who neglected to observe it. f It was customary with the Jews
also after bathing to anoint themselves with oil. All the orientalists
had a kind of sacred respect to OIL; particularly the Jews. With them,
the same word which signified “noon-day” or splendor, צהר, denoted also
“lucid oil.”—And the olive-tree is derived {121} from the verb, to
shine—Because, the fruit thereof tended to give their faces a favourite
glistering colour. ’Tis well known that oil was applied by the Jews to
the most sacred, as well as common uses. Their kings, prophets and
priests, at their inauguration and consecration were anointed with
oil—and the promised Saviour was himself described, by the epithet
“anointed,” and is said Psal. xlv. 7. to be “anointed with the oil of
gladness above his fellows.” We shall on this point, discover no small
resemblance and conformity in the American Indians.

The Indian priests and prophets are initiated by unction. The Chikkasah
some time ago set apart some of their old men of the religious order.
They first obliged them to sweat themselves for the space of three days
and nights, in a small green hut, made on purpose, at a considerable
distance from any dwelling; through a scrupulous fear of contracting
pollution by contact, or from the effluvia of polluted people—and a
strong desire of secreting their religious mysteries. During that
interval, they were allowed to eat nothing but green tobacco, nor to
drink any thing except warm water, highly imbittered with the
button-snake-root, to cleanse their bodies, and prepare them to serve in
their holy, or beloved office, before the divine essence, whom during
this preparation they constantly invoke by his essential name, as before
described. After which, their priestly garments and ornaments, mentioned
under a former argument, page 84, are put on, and, then bear’s oil is
poured upon their head.—If they could procure olive, or palm oil,
instead of bear’s oil, doubtless they would prefer and use it in their
sacred ceremonies; especially, as they are often destitute of their
favourite bear’s oil for domestic uses.

The Jewish women were so exceedingly addicted to anoint their faces and
bodies, that they often preferred oil to the necessaries of life; the
widow who addressed herself to Elisha, though she was in the most
pinching straits, and wanted every thing else, yet had a pot of oil to
anoint herself. This custom of anointing became universal, among the
eastern nations. They were not satisfied with perfuming themselves with
sweet oils and fine essences; but anointed birds—as in the ninth ode of

                      Tot unde nunc odores?
                      Huc advolans per auras,
                      Spirasque, depulisque; {122}

The poet introduces two doves conversing together; one of which carried
a letter to Bathyllus, the anointed beau; and the other wishes her much
joy, for her perfumed wings that diffused such an agreeable smell
around. And the same poet orders the painter to draw this Samian beau,
with his hair wet with essence, to give him a fine appearance. Nitidas
comas ejus facilto. Ode 29. Virgil describes Turnus, just after the same

            Vibratos calido ferro, myrrhaque madentes.
                                               ÆNEID, 1. 12.

Homer tells us, that Telemachus and Philistratus anointed their whole
bodies with essences, after they had visited the palace of Menelaus, and
before they sat down at table. Odyss. 1. 4.

The Jews reckoned it a singular piece of disrespect to their guest, if
they offered him no oil. When any of them paid a friendly visit, they
had essences presented to anoint their heads; to which custom of
civility the Saviour alludes in his reproof of the parsimonious
Pharisee, at whose house he dined. Luke vii. 46.

All the Indian Americans, especially the female sex, reckon their bear’s
oil or grease,[44] very valuable, and use it after the same manner as
the Asiatics did their fine essences and sweet perfumes; the young
warriors and women are uneasy, unless their hair is always shining with
it; which is probably the reason that none of their heads are bald. But
enough is said on this head, to shew that they seem to have derived this
custom from the east.

                              ARGUMENT XI.

The Indians have customs consonant to the Mosaic LAWS OF UNCLEANNESS.
They oblige their women in their _lunar retreats_,[45] to build small
huts, at as considerable a distance from their dwelling-houses, as they
imagine may be out of the enemies reach; where, during the space of that
period, they are obliged to stay at the risque of their lives. Should
they be known to violate that ancient law, they must answer for every
misfortune that befalls {123} any of the people, as a certain effect of
the divine fire; though the lurking enemy sometimes kills them in their
religious retirement. Notwithstanding they reckon it conveys a most
horrid and dangerous pollution to those who touch, or go near them, or
walk any where within the circle of their retreats; and are in fear of
thereby spoiling the supposed purity and power of their holy ark, which
they always carry to war; yet the enemy believe they can so cleanse
themselves with the consecrated herbs, roots, &c. which the chieftain
carries in the beloved war-ark, as to secure them in this point from
bodily danger, because it was done against their enemies.

The non-observance of this separation, a breach of the marriage-law, and
murder, they esteem the most capital crimes. When the time of the
women’s separation is ended, they always purify themselves in deep
running water, return home, dress, and anoint themselves. They ascribe
these monthly periods, to the female structure, not to the anger of
_Ishtohoollo Aba_.

Correspondent to the Mosaic law of women’s purification after
_travel_,[46] the Indian women absent themselves from their husbands and
all public company, for a considerable time.—The _Muskōhge_ women are
separate for three moons, exclusive of that moon in which they are
delivered. By the Jewish law, women after a male-birth were forbidden to
enter the temple; and even, the very touch of sacred things, forty
days.—And after a female, the time of separation was doubled.

Should any of the Indian women violate this law of purity, they would be
censured, and suffer for any sudden sickness, or death that might happen
among the people, as the necessary effect of the divine anger for their
polluting sin, contrary to their old traditional law of female purity.
Like the greater part of the Israelites, it is the fear of temporal
evils, and the prospect of temporal good, that makes them so tenacious
and observant of their laws. At the stated period, the Indian women’s
impurity is finished by ablution, and they are again admitted to social
and holy privileges.

By the Levitical law, the people who had _running issues_, or _sores_,
were deemed unclean, and strictly ordered apart from the rest, for fear
of polluting them; for every thing they touched became unclean. The
Indians, in as strict a manner, observe the very same law; they follow
the ancient {124} Israelitish copy so close, as to build a small hut at
a considerable distance from the houses of the village, for every one of
their warriors wounded in war, and confine them there, (as the Jewish
lepers formerly were, without the walls of the city) for the space of
four moons, including that moon in which they were wounded, as in the
case of their women after travel: and they keep them strictly separate,
lest the impurity of the one should prevent the cure of the other. The
reputed prophet, or divine physician, daily pays them a due attendance,
always invoking YO HE WAH to bless the means they apply on the sad
occasion; which is chiefly mountain allum, and medicinal herbs, always
injoyning a very abstemious life, prohibiting them women and salt in
particular, during the time of the cure, or sanctifying the reputed
sinners. Like the Israelites, they firmly believe that safety, or
wounds, &c. immediately proceed from the pleased, or angry deity, for
their virtuous, or vicious conduct, in observing, or violating the
divine law.

In this long space of purification, each patient is allowed only a
superannuated woman to attend him, who is past the temptations of
sinning with men, lest the introduction of a young one should either
seduce him to folly; or she having committed it with others—or by not
observing her appointed time of living apart from the rest, might
thereby defile the place, and totally prevent the cure. But what is yet
more surprising in their physical, or rather theological regimen, is,
that the physician is so religiously cautious of not admitting polluted
persons to visit any of his patients, lest the defilement should retard
the cure, or spoil the warriors, that before he introduces any man, even
any of their priests, who are married according to the law, he obliges
him to assert either by a double affirmative, or by two negatives, that
he has not known even his own wife, in the space of the last natural
day. This law of purity was peculiar to the Hebrews, to deem those
unclean who cohabited with their wives, till they purified themselves in
clean water. Now as the heathen world observed no such law, it seems
that the primitive Americans derived this religious custom also from
divine precept; and that these ceremonial rites were originally copied
from the Mosaic institution.

The Israelites became unclean only by _touching their dead_, for the
space of seven days; and the high-priest was prohibited to come near the
dead. ’Tis much the same with the Indians to this day. To prevent
pollution, when the sick person is past hope of recovery, they {125} dig
a grave, prepare the tomb, anoint his hair, and paint his face; and when
his breath ceases, they hasten the remaining funeral preparations, and
soon bury the corpse.[47] One of a different family will never, or very
rarely pollute himself for a stranger; though when living, he would
cheerfully hazard his life for his safety: the relations, who become
unclean by performing the funeral duties, must live apart from the clean
for several days, and be cleansed by some of their religious order, who
chiefly apply the button-snake-root for their purification, as formerly
described: then they purify themselves by ablution. After three days,
the funeral assistants may convene at the town-house, and follow their
usual diversions. But the relations live recluse a long time, mourning
the dead.[XXVIII][48]

Footnote XXVIII:

  One of the Cheeràke traders, who now resides in the Choktah country,
  assures me, that a little before the commencement of the late war with
  the Cheerake, when the _Buck_, a native of Nuquose-town, died, none of
  the warriors would help to bury him, because of the dangerous
  pollution, they imagined they should necessarily contract from such a
  white corpse; as he was begotten by a white man and a half-breed
  Cheerake woman—and as the women are only allowed to mourn for the
  death of a warrior, they could not assist in this friendly duty. By
  much solicitation, the gentleman (my author) obtained the help of an
  old friendly half-bred-warrior. They interred the corpse; but the
  savage became unclean, and was separate from every kind of communion
  with the rest, for the space of three days.

The Cheerake, notwithstanding they have corrupted most of their
primitive customs, observe this law of purity in so strict a manner, as
not to touch the corpse of their nearest relation though in the woods.
The fear of pollution (not the want of natural affection, as the
unskilful observe) keeps them also from burying their dead, in our
reputed unsanctified ground, if any die as they are going to
Charles-town, and returning home; because they are distant from their
own holy places and holy things, where only they could perform the
religious obsequies of their dead, and purify themselves according to
law. An incident of this kind happened several years since, a little
below _Ninety-six_, as well as at the Conggarees, in South-Carolina:—at
the former place, the corpse by our humanity was interred; but at the
latter, even the twin-born brother of an Indian christian lady well
known by the name of the _Dark-lanthorn_, left her dead and unburied.

The conversion of this _rara avis_ was in the following extraordinary
manner.—There was a gentleman who married her according to the manner of
the Cheeràke; but observing that marriages were commonly of a short
{126} duration in that wanton female government, he flattered himself of
ingrossing her affections, could he be so happy as to get her sanctified
by one of our own beloved men with a large quantity of holy water in
baptism—and be taught the conjugal duty, by virtue of her new christian
name, when they were married a-new. As she was no stranger in the
English settlements, he soon persuaded her to go down to the Conggarees,
to get the beloved speech, and many fine things beside. As the priest
was one of those sons of wisdom, the church sent us in her maternal
benevolence, both to keep and draw us from essential errors, he readily
knew the value of a convert, and grasping at the opportunity, he changed
her from a wild savage to a believing christian in a trice.

He asked her a few articles of her creed, which were soon answered by
the bridegroom, as interpreter, from some words she spoke on a trifling
question he asked her. When the priest proposed to her a religious
question, the bridegroom, by reason of their low ideas, and the idiom of
their dialects, was obliged to mention some of the virtues, and say he
recommended to her a very strict chastity in the married state. “Very
well, said she, that’s a good speech, and fit for every woman alike,
unless she is very old—But what says he now?” The interpreter, after a
short pause, replied, that he was urging her to use a proper care in
domestic life. “You evil spirit, said she, when was I wasteful, or
careless at home?” He replied, “never”: “Well then, said she, tell him
his speech is troublesome and light.—But, first, where are those fine
things you promised me?” He bid her be patient a little, and she should
have plenty of every thing she liked best; at this she smiled. Now the
religious man was fully confirmed in the hope of her conversion;
however, he asked if she understood, and believed that needful article,
the doctrine of the trinity. The bridegroom swore heartily, that if he
brought out all the other articles of his old book, she both knew and
believed them, for she was a sensible young woman.

The bridegroom had a very difficult part to act, both to please the
humour of his Venus, and to satisfy the inquisitive temper of our
religious son of Apollo; he behaved pretty well however, till he was
desired to ask her belief of the uni-trinity, and tri-unity of the
deity; which the beloved man endeavoured to explain. On this, she
smartly asked him the subject of their long and crooked-like discourse.
But, as his patience was now exhausted, {127} instead of answering her
question, he said with a loud voice, that he believed the religious man
had picked out all the crabbed parts of his old book, only to puzzle and
stagger her young christian faith; otherwise how could he desire him to
persuade such a sharp-discerning young woman, that one was three, and
three, one? Besides, that if his book had any such question, it belonged
only to the deep parts of arithmetic, in which the very Indian beloved
men were untaught. He assured the priest, that the Indians did not mind
what religion the women were of, or whether they had any; and that the
bride would take it very kindly, if he shortened his discourse, as
nothing can disturb the Indian women so much as long lectures.

The _Dark-lanthorn_, (which was the name of the bride) became very
uneasy, both by the delay of time, and the various passions she
attentively read in the bridegroom’s face and speech, and she asked him
sharply the meaning of such a long discourse. He instantly cried out,
that the whole affair was spoiled, unless it was brought to a speedy
conclusion: but the religious man insisted upon her belief of that
article, before he could proceed any farther. But by way of comfort, he
assured him it should be the very last question he would propose, till
he put the holy water on her face, and read over the marriage ceremony.
The bridegroom revived at this good news, immediately sent the bowl
around, with a cheerful countenance; which the bride observing, she
asked him the reason of his sudden joyful looks.—But, what with the
length of the lecture, the close application of the bowl, and an
over-joy of soon obtaining his wishes, he proposed the wrong question;
for instead of asking her belief of the mysterious union of the tri-une
deity, he only mentioned the manly faculties of nature. The bride
smiled, and asked if the beloved man borrowed that speech from his
beloved marriage-book? Or whether he was married, as he was so waggish,
and knowing in those affairs.—The priest imagining her cheerful looks
proceeded from her swallowing his doctrine, immediately called for a
bowl of water to initiate his new convert. As the bridegroom could not
mediate with his usual friendly offices in this affair, he persuaded her
to let the beloved man put some beloved water on her face, and it would
be a sure pledge of a lasting friendship between her and the English,
and intitle her to every thing she liked best. By the persuasive force
of his promises, she consented: and had the constancy, though so
ignorant a {128} novitiate in our sacred mysteries, to go through her
catechism, and the long marriage ceremony,—although it was often
interrupted by the bowl. This being over, she proceeded to go to bed
with her partner, while the beloved man sung a psalm at the door,
concerning the fruitful vine. Her name he soon entered in capital
letters, to grace the first title-page of his church book of converts;
which he often shewed to his English sheep, and with much satisfaction
would inform them how, by the co-operation of the Deity, his earnest
endeavours changed an Indian _Dark-lanthorn_ into a lamp of christian
light. However, afterward to his great grief, he was obliged on account
of her adulteries, to erase her name from thence, and enter it anew in
some of the crowded pages of female delinquents.

When an Israelite died in any house or tent, all who were in it, and the
furniture belonging to it contracted a pollution, which continued for
seven days. All likewise who touched the body of a dead person, or his
grave, were impure for seven days. Similar notions prevail among the
Indians. The Choktah are so exceedingly infatuated in favour of the
infallible judgment of their pretended prophets, as to allow them
without the least regret, to dislocate the necks of any of their sick
who are in a weak state of body, to put them out of their pain, when
they presume to reveal the determined will of the Deity to shorten his
days, which is asserted to be communicated in a dream; by the time that
this theo-physical operation is performed on a patient, they have a
scaffold prepared opposite to the door, whereon he is to lie till they
remove the bones in the fourth moon after, to the remote bone-house of
that family: they immediately carry out the corpse, mourn over it, and
place it in that dormitory, which is strongly pallisadoed around, lest
the children should become polluted even by passing under the dead.
Formerly when the owner of a house died, they set fire to it, and to all
the provisions of every kind; or sold the whole at a cheap rate to the
trading people, without paying the least regard to the scarcity of the
times. Many of them still observe the same rule, through a wild
imitation of a ceremonial observance of the Israelites, in burning the
bed whereon a dead person lay, because of its impurity. This is no copy
from the ancient heathens, but from the Hebrews. {129}

                             ARGUMENT XII.

Like the Jews, the greatest part of the southern Indians _abstain_ from
most things that are either in themselves, or in the general
apprehension of mankind, loathsome, or _unclean_: where we find a
deviation from that general rule among any of them, it is a
corruption—either owing to their intercourse with Europeans, or having
contracted an ill habit from necessity. They generally affix very
vicious ideas to the eating of impure things; and all their prophets,
priests, old warriors and war-chieftains, before they enter on their
religious duties, and while they are engaged in them, observe the
strictest abstinence in this point. Formerly, if any of them did eat in
white people’s houses, or even of what had been dressed there, while
they were sanctifying themselves, it was deemed a dangerous sin of
pollution. When some of them first corrupted their primitive virtue, by
drinking of our spirituous liquors, the religious spectators called it
_ooka hoome_, “bitter waters;” alluding, I conjecture, to the bitter
waters of jealousy, that produced swelling and death to those who
committed adultery, but had no power over the innocent. That this name
is not accidental, but designedly pointed, and expressive of the bitter
waters of God, seems obvious, not only from the image they still retain
of them, but likewise when any of them refuse our invitation of drinking
spirituous liquors in company with us, they say _Ahiskola Awa, Ooka
Hoomeh Ishto_, “I will not drink, they are the bitter waters of the
great One.” Though _Ishto_, one of the names of God, subjoined to nouns,
denotes a superlative degree, in this case they deviate from that
general rule—and for this reason they never affix the idea of bitter to
the spirituous liquors we drink among them. _Hoomeh_ is the only word
they have to convey the meaning of bitter; as _Aneh Hoomeh_, “bitter
ears,” or pepper.

They reckon all birds of prey, and birds of night, to be unclean, and
unlawful to be eaten. Not long ago, when the Indians were making their
winter’s hunt, and the old women were without flesh-meat at home, I shot
a small fat hawk, and desired one of them to take and dress it; but
though I strongly importuned her by way of trial, she, as earnestly
refused it for {130} fear of contracting pollution, which she called the
“accursed sickness,” supposing disease would be the necessary effect of
such an impurity. Eagles of every kind they esteem unclean food;
likewise ravens (though the name of a tribe with them) crows, buzzards,
swallows, bats, and every species of owls: and they believe that
swallowing flies, musketoes, or gnats, always breeds sickness, or worms,
according to the quantity that goes into them; which though it may not
imply extraordinary skill in physic, shews their retention of the
ancient law, which prohibited the swallowing of flies: for to this that
divine sarcasm alludes, “swallowing a camel, and straining at a gnat.”
Such insects were deemed unclean, as well as vexatious and hurtful. The
God of Ekron was _Beelzebub_, or the God and ruler of flies.

None of them will eat of any animal whatsoever, if they either know, or
suspect that it died of itself. I lately asked one of the women the
reason of throwing a dung-hill-fowl out of doors, on the corn-house; she
said, that she was afraid, _Oophe Abeeka Hakset Illeh_, “it died with
the distemper of the mad dogs,” and that if she had eaten it, it would
have affected her in the very same manner. I said, if so, she did well
to save herself from danger, but at the same time, it seemed she had
forgotten the cats. She replied, “that such impure animals would not
contract the accursed sickness, on account of any evil thing they eat;
but that the people who ate of the flesh of the swine that fed on such
polluting food, would certainly become mad.”

In the year 1766, a madness seized the wild beasts in the remote woods
of West-Florida, and about the same time the domestic dogs were attacked
with the like distemper; the deer were equally infected. The Indians in
their winter’s hunt, found several lying dead, some in a helpless
condition, and others fierce and mad. But though they are all fond of
increasing their number of deer-skins, both from emulation and for
profit, yet none of them durst venture to slay them, lest they should
pollute themselves, and thereby incur bodily evils. The head-man of the
camp told me, he cautioned one of the _Hottuk Hakse_, who had resided a
long time at Savannah, from touching such deer, saying to him
_Chehaksinna_, “Do not become vicious and mad,” for _Isse Hakset
Illehtàhah_, “the deer were mad, and are dead;” adding, that if he acted
the part of _Hakse_, he would cause both himself,{131} and the rest of
the hunting camp to be spoiled; nevertheless he shut his ears against
his honest speech, and brought those dangerous deer-skins to camp. But
the people would not afterward associate with him; and he soon paid dear
for being _Hakse_, by a sharp splintered root of a cane running almost
through his foot, near the very place where he first polluted himself;
and he was afraid some worse ill was still in wait for him.

In 1767, the Indians were struck with a disease, which they were
unacquainted with before. It began with sharp pains in the head, at the
lower part of each of the ears, and swelled the face and throat in a
very extraordinary manner, and also the testicles. It continued about a
fortnight, and in the like space of time went off gradually, without any
dangerous consequence, or use of outward or inward remedies: they called
it _Wahka Abeeka_, “the cattle’s distemper,” or sickness. Some of their
young men had by stealth killed and eaten a few of the cattle which the
traders had brought up, and they imagined they had thus polluted
themselves, and were smitten in that strange manner, by having their
heads, necks, &c. magnified like the same parts of a sick bull. They
first concluded, either to kill all the cattle, or send them immediately
off their land, to prevent the like mischief, or greater ills from
befalling the beloved people—for their cunning old physicians or
prophets would not undertake to cure them, in order to inflame the
people to execute the former resolution; being jealous of encroachments,
and afraid the cattle would spoil their open corn-fields; upon which
account, the traders arguments had no weight with these red Hebrew
philosophers. But fortunately, one of their head warriors had a few
cattle soon presented to him, to keep off the wolf; and his reasoning
proved so weighty, as to alter their resolution, and produce in them a
contrary belief.

They reckon all those animals to be unclean, that are either
carnivorous, or live on nasty food; as hogs,[49] wolves, panthers,
foxes, cats, mice, rats. And if we except the bear, they deem all beasts
of prey unhallowed, and polluted food; all amphibious quadrupeds they
rank in the same class. Our old traders remember when they first began
the custom of eating beavers: and to this day none eat of them, except
those who kill {132} them; though the flesh is very wholesome, on
account of the bark of trees they live upon. It must be acknowledged,
they are all degenerating apace, insomuch, that the Choktah Indians, on
account of their scantiness of ammunition while they traded with the
French, took to eat horse-flesh, and even snakes of every kind; though
each of these species, and every sort of reptiles, are accounted by the
other neighbouring nations, impure food in the highest degree. And they
ridicule the Choktah for their cannibal apostacy, and term them in
common speech, “the evil, ugly, Choktah.”

They abhor moles so exceedingly, that they will not allow their children
even to touch them, for fear of hurting their eyesight; reckoning it
contagious. They believe that nature is possest of such a property, as
to transfuse into men and animals the qualities, either of the food they
use, or of those objects that are presented to their senses;[50] he who
feeds on venison, is according to their physical system, swifter and
more sagacious than the man who lives on the flesh of the clumsy bear,
or helpless dunghill fowls, the slow-footed tame cattle, or the heavy
wallowing swine. This is the reason that several of their old men
recommend, and say, that formerly their greatest chieftains observed a
constant rule in their diet, and seldom ate of any animal of a gross
quality, or heavy motion of body, fancying it conveyed a dullness
through the whole system, and disabled them from exerting themselves
with proper vigour in their martial, civil, and religious duties.

I have already shewn their aversion to eating of unsanctified fruits;
and in this argument, that they abstain from several other things,
contrary to the usage of all the old heathen world. It may be objected,
that now they seldom refuse to eat hogs flesh, when the traders invite
them to it; but this proceeds entirely from vicious imitation, and which
is common with the most civilized nations. When swine were first brought
among them, they deemed it such a horrid abomination in any of their
people to eat that filthy and impure food, that they excluded the
criminal from all religious communion in their circular town-house, or
in their quadrangular holy ground at the annual expiation of sins,
equally as if he had eaten unsanctified fruits. After the yearly
atonement was made at the temple, he was indeed readmitted to his usual
privileges. Formerly, none of their beloved {133} men, or warriors,
would eat or drink with us on the most pressing invitation, through fear
of polluting themselves, they deemed us such impure animals. Our eating
the flesh of swine, and venison, with the gravy in it, helped to rivet
their dislike, for this they reckon as blood.

I once asked the _Archimagus_, to sit down and partake of my dinner; but
he excused himself, saying, he had in a few days some holy duty to
perform, and that if he eat evil or accursed food, it would spoil
him,—alluding to swine’s flesh. Though most of their virtue hath lately
been corrupted, in this particular they still affix vicious and
contemptible ideas to the eating of swine’s flesh; insomuch, that
_Shúkàpa_, “swine eater,” is the most opprobious epithet they can use to
brand us with: they commonly subjoin _Akanggàpa_, “eater of dunghill
fowls.” Both together, signifying “filthy, helpless animals.” By our
surprising mismanagement in allowing them a long time to insult, abuse,
rob, and murder the innocent British subjects at pleasure, without the
least satisfaction, all the Indian nations formerly despised the
English, as a swarm of tame fowls, and termed them so, in their set

The Indians through a strong principle of religion, abstain in the
strictest manner, from eating the BLOOD of any animal; as it contains
the life, and spirit of the beast, and was the very essence of the
sacrifices that were to be offered up for sinners. And this was the
Jewish opinion and law of sacrifice, Lev. xvii. 11. “for the life of the
flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar, to
make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood, which maketh an
atonement for the soul.” When the English traders have been making
sausages mixt with hog’s blood, I have observed the Indians to cast
their eyes upon them, with the horror of their reputed fore-fathers,
when they viewed the predicted abomination of desolation, fulfilled by
Antiochus, in defiling the temple.

An instance lately happened, which sufficiently shews their utter
aversion to blood. A Chikkesah woman, a domestic of one of the traders,
being very ill with a complication of disorders, the Indian physician
seemed to use his best endeavours to cure her, but without the least
visible effect. {134} To preserve his medical credit with the people, he
at last ascribed her ailment to the eating of swine’s flesh, blood, and
other polluting food: and said, that such an ugly, or accursed sickness,
overcame the power of all his beloved songs, and physic; and in anger,
he left his supposed criminal patient to be punished by Loak
Ishtohoollo. I asked her some time afterwards, what her ailments were,
and what she imagined might have occasioned them? She said, she was full
of pain, that she had _Abeeka Ookproo_, “the accursed sickness,” because
she had eaten a great many fowls after the manner of the white people,
with the _Issish Ookproo_, “accursed blood,” in them. In time she
recovered, and now strictly abstains from tame fowls, unless they are
bled to death, for fear of incurring future evil, by the like pollution.

There is not the least trace among their ancient traditions, of their
deserving the hateful name of cannibals, as our credulous writers have
carefully copied from each other. Their taste is so opposite to that of
the Anthrophagi, that they always over-dress their meat whether roasted
or boiled.[51]

The Muskoghe who have been at war, time out of mind, against the Indians
of Cape-Florida, and at length reduced them to thirty men, who removed
to the Havannah along with the Spaniards; affirm, they could never be
informed by their captives, of the least inclination they ever had of
eating human flesh, only the heart of the enemy—which they all do,
sympathetically (blood for blood) in order to inspire them with courage;
and yet the constant losses they suffered, might have highly provoked
them to exceed their natural barbarity. To eat the heart of an enemy
will in their opinion, like eating other things, before mentioned,
communicate and give greater heart against the enemy. They also think
that the vigorous faculties of the mind are derived from the brain, on
which account, I have seen some of their heroes drink out of a human
skull; they imagine, they only imbibe the good qualities it formerly

When speaking to the _Archimagus_ concerning the Hottentots, those
heterogeneous animals according to the Portuguese and Dutch accounts, he
asked me, whether they builded and planted—and what sort of food they
{135} chiefly lived upon. I told him, I was informed that they dwelt in
small nasty huts, and lived chiefly on sheep’s guts and crickets. He
laughed, and said there was no credit to be given to the far-distant
writers of those old books, because they might not have understood the
language and customs of the people; but that those, whom our books
reported to live on such nasty food, (if they did not deceive us) might
have been forced to it for the want of better, to keep them from dying;
or by the like occasion, they might have learned that ugly custom, and
could not quit it when they were free from want, as the Choktah eat
horse-flesh, though they have plenty of venison: however, it was very
easy, he said, to know whether they were possessed of human reason, for
if they were endued with shame to have a desire of covering their
nakedness, he concluded them to be human. He then asked me, whether I
had been informed of their having any sort of language, or method of
counting as high as the number of their fingers, either by words or
expressive motion; or of bearing a nearer resemblance to _Yáwe_, the
human creature, in laughter, than _Shawe_ the ape bore; or of being more
social and gregarious than those animals of the country where they
lived. If they were endued with those properties, he affirmed them to be
human creatures; and that such old lying books should not be credited.

The more religious, or the least corrupted, of the various remote Indian
nations, will not eat of any young beast when it is newly yeaned; and
their old men think they would suffer damage, even by the bare contact:
which seems to be derived from the Mosaic law, that prohibited such
animals to be offered up, or eaten, till they were eight days old;
because, till then, they were in an imperfect and polluted state! They
appear, however, to be utterly ignorant of the design and meaning of
this appointment and practice, as well as of some other customs and
institutions. But as the time of circumcising the Israelitish children
was founded on this law of purity, it seems probable, that the American
Aborigines observed the law of circumcision,[52] for some time after
they arrived here, and desisted from it, when it became incompatible
with the hard daily toils and sharp exercises, which necessity must have
forced them to pursue, to support life: especially when we consider,
that the sharpest and most lasting affront, the most opprobious,
indelible epithet, with which one Indian can possibly brand another, is
to call him in public company, _Hoobuk Waske_, Eunuchus, præputio
detecto. They resent it so highly, that in the year {136} 1750, when the
Cheerakee were on the point of commencing a war against us, several
companies of the northern Indians, in concert with them, compelled me in
the lower Cheerakee town to write to the government of South-Carolina,
that they made it their earnest request to the English not to mediate in
their war with the Katáhba Indians, as they were fully resolved to
prosecute it, with the greatest eagerness, while there was one of that
hateful name alive; because in the time of battle, they had given them
the ugly name of short-tailed eunuchs. Now as an eunuch was a
contemptible name with the Israelites, and none of them could serve in
any religious office; it should seem that the Indians derived this
opprobious and singular epithet from Jewish tradition, as castration was
never in use among the ancient or present Americans.

The Israelites were but forty years in the wilderness, and would not
have renewed the painful act of circumcision, only that Joshua inforced
it: and by the necessary fatigues and difficulties, to which as already
hinted, the primitive Americans must be exposed at their first arrival
in this waste and extensive wilderness, it is likely they forbore
circumcision, upon the divine principle extended to their supposed
predecessors in the wilderness, of not accepting sacrifice at the
expence of mercy. This might soothe them afterwards wholly to reject it
as a needless duty, especially if any of the eastern heathens
accompanied them in their travels in quest of freedom. And as it is
probable, that by the time they reached America, they had worn out their
knives and every other sharp instrument fit for the occasion; so had
they performed the operation with flint-stones, or sharp splinters,
there is no doubt that each of the mothers would have likewise said,
“This day, thou art to me a bloody husband[XXIX].” However, from the
contemptible idea the Americans fix to castration, &c. it seems very
probable the more religious among them used circumcision in former ages.

Footnote XXIX:

  Exod. iv. 25, 26.

Under this argument, I must observe that _Ai-ú-be_ signifies “the thigh”
of any animal; and _E-ee-pattáh Tekále_, “the lower part of the thigh,”
or literally, “the hanging of the foot.” And when in the woods, the
Indians cut a small piece out of the lower part of the thighs of the
deer they kill, length-ways and pretty deep. Among the great number of
venison-hams they bring to our trading houses, I do not remember to
{137} have observed one without it; from which I conjecture, that as
every ancient custom was designed to convey, either a typical, or
literal instructive lesson of some useful thing; and as no usage of the
old heathen world resembled this custom; it seems strongly to point at
Jacob’s wrestling with an angel, and obtaining for himself and his
posterity, the name, ישר-אל, (perhaps, _Yosher-ale_) “divine guide,” or
“one who prevails with the omnipotent,” and to the children of Israel
not eating the sinew of the thigh of any animal, to perpetuate the
memory of their ancestor’s sinew being shrunk, which was to obtain the

The Indians always sew their maccasenes with deer’s sinews, though of a
sharp cutting quality, for they reckon them more fortunate than the wild
hemp: but to eat such, they imagine would breed worms, and other
ailments, in proportion to the number they eat. And I have been assured
by a gentleman of character, who is now an inhabitant of South-Carolina,
and well acquainted with the customs of the northern Indians, that they
also cut a piece out of the thigh of every deer they kill, and throw it
away; and reckon it such a dangerous pollution to eat it, as to occasion
sickness and other misfortunes of sundry kinds, especially by spoiling
their guns from shooting with proper force and direction. Now as none of
the old heathens had such a custom, must it not be considered as of
Israelitish extraction.[53]

                             ARGUMENT XIII.

The Indian MARRIAGES, DIVORCES, and PUNISHMENTS of adultery, still
retain a strong likeness to the Jewish laws and customs in these points.

The Hebrews had sponsalia de presenti, and sponsalia de futuro: a
considerable time generally intervened between their contract and
marriage: and their nuptial ceremonies were celebrated in the night. The
Indians observe the same customs to this day; insomuch, that it is usual
for an elderly man to take a girl, or sometimes a child to be his wife,
because she is capable of receiving good impressions in that tender
state: frequently, a moon elapses after the contract is made, and the
value received, before {138} the bridegroom sleeps with the bride, and
on the marriage day, he does not appear before her till night introduces
him, and then without tapers.

The grandeur of the Hebrews consisted pretty much in the multiplicity of
their wives to attend them, as a showy retinue: as the meaner sort could
not well purchase one, they had a light sort of marriage suitable to
their circumstances, called by the scholiasts, _usu capio_; “taking the
woman for present use.” When they had lived together about a year, if
agreeable, they parted good friends by mutual consent. The Indians also
are so fond of variety, that they ridicule the white people, as a tribe
of narrow-hearted, and dull constitutioned animals, for having only one
wife at a time; and being bound to live with and support her, though
numberless circumstances might require a contrary conduct. When a young
warrior cannot dress _alamode America_, he strikes up one of those
matches for a few moons, which they term _Toopsa Táwah_, “a make haste
marriage,” because it wants the usual ceremonies, and duration of their
other kind of marriages.[54]

The friendliest kind of marriage among the Hebrews, was eating bread
together. The bridegroom put a ring on the fourth finger of the bride’s
left hand before two witnesses, and said, “Be thou my wife, according to
the law of Moses.” Her acceptance and silence implying consent,
confirmed her part of the marriage contract, because of the rigid
modesty of the eastern women. When the short marriage contract was read
over, he took a cake of bread and broke it in two, for himself and her;
or otherwise, he put some corn between their hands: which customs were
used as strong emblems of the necessity of mutual industry and concord,
to obtain present and future happiness. When an Indian makes his first
address to the young woman he intends to marry, she is obliged by
ancient custom to sit by him till he hath done eating and drinking,
whether she likes or dislikes him; but afterward, she is at her own
choice whether to stay or retire[XXX]. When the bridegroom marries the
bride, after the usual prelude, he takes a choice ear of corn, and
divides it in two before witnesses, gives her one half in her hand, and
keeps the other half to himself; or otherwise, {139} he gives her a
deer’s foot, as an emblem of the readiness with which she ought to serve
him: in return, she presents him with some cakes of bread, thereby
declaring her domestic care and gratitude in return for the offals; for
the men feast by themselves, and the women eat the remains. When this
short ceremony is ended, they may go to bed like an honest couple.

Footnote XXX:

  Cant. iii. 4. I held him and would not let him go, until I had brought
  him to my father’s house, and into the chambers of her that conceived
  me: See Gen. xxiv. 67. Such was the custom of the Hebrews.

Formerly, this was an universal custom among the native Americans; but
this, like every other usage of theirs, is wearing out apace. The
West-Floridans, in order to keep their women subject to the law of
adultery, bring some venison or buffalo’s flesh to the house of their
normal wives, at the end of every winter’s hunt: that is reckoned a
sufficient annual tye of their former marriages, although the husbands
do not cohabit with them. The Muskóhge men, if newly married, are
obliged by ancient custom, to get their own relations to hoe out the
corn-fields of each of their wives, that their marriages may be
confirmed: and the more jealous, repeat the custom every year, to make
their wives subject to the laws against adultery. But the Indians in
general, reckon that before the bridegroom can presume to any legal
power over the bride, he is after the former ceremonies, or others
something similar, obliged to go into the woods to kill a deer, bring
home the carcass of venison, and lay it down at her house wrapt up in
its skin; and if she opens the pack, carries it into the house, and then
dresses and gives him some of it to eat with cakes before witnesses, she
becomes his lawful wife, and obnoxious to all the penalties of an

The Hebrews had another sort of marriage—by purchase: the bridegroom
gave the father of the bride as much as he thought she was worth: and
according to the different valuation, so sooner or later she went off at
market. The only way to know the merit of a Hebrew lady, was to enquire
the value for which her father would sell her, and the less rapacious he
was, the sooner she might get an husband. Divine writ abounds with
instances of the like kind; as Gen. xxxiv. 12. “Ask me never so much
dowry and I will give it.” David bought Michal, and Jacob dearly
purchased Rachel, &c. The women brought nothing with them, except their
clothes, rings and bracelets, and a few trinkets. When the Indians would
express a proper marriage, they have a word adapted according to their
various dialects, to give them a suitable idea of it; but when they are
{140} speaking of their sensual marriage bargains, they always term it,
“buying a woman;” for example—they say with regard to the former,
_Che-Awalas_, “I shall marry you,” the last syllable denotes the first
person of the future tense, the former, “I shall make you, as _Awa_, or
_Hewa_ was to _Ish_,” which is confirmed by a strong negative similar
expression, _Che-Awala Awa_, “I shall not marry you.” But the name of
their market marriages, is _Otoopha, Eho Achumbàras, Saookcháa_, “In the
spring, I shall buy a woman, if I am alive.” Or _Eho Achumbàra Awa_, “I
shall not buy a woman,” _Sàlbasa toogat_, “for indeed I am poor:” the
former usage, and method of language is exactly calculated to express
that singular custom of the Hebrews, per coemptionem.

They sometimes marry by deputation or proxy. The intended bridegroom
sends so much in value to the nearest relations of the intended bride,
as he thinks she is worth: if they are accepted, it is a good sign that
her relations approve of the match, but she is not bound by their
contract alone; her consent must likewise be obtained, but persuasions
most commonly prevail with them. However, if the price is reckoned too
small, or the goods too few, the law obliges them to return the whole,
either to himself, or some of his nearest kindred. If they love the
goods, as they term it, according to the like method of expression with
the Hebrews, the loving couple may in a short time bed together upon
trial, and continue or discontinue their love according as their fancy
directs them. If they like each other, they become an honest married
couple when the nuptial ceremony is performed, as already described.
When one of their chieftains is married, several of his kinsmen help to
kill deer and buffalos, to make a rejoicing marriage feast, to which
their relations and neighbours are invited: there the young warriors
sing with their two chief musicians, who beat on their wet deer skin
tied over the mouth of a large clay-pot, and raise their voices, singing
_Yo Yo_, &c. When they are tired with feasting, dancing, and singing the
Epithalamium, they depart with friendly glad hearts, from the house of

If an Israelite lay with a bond woman betrothed, and not redeemed, she
was to be beaten, but not her fellow criminal; for in the original text,
Lev. xix. 20. the word is in the fœminine gender. When offenders were
beaten, they were bowed down, as Deut. xxv. 2.—so that they {141}
neither sat nor stood, and their whip had a large knot to it, which
commanded the thongs, so as to expand, or contract them; the punishment
was always to be suited to the nature of the crime, and the constitution
of the criminal. While the offenders were under the lash, three judges
stood by to see that they received their full and just due. The first
repeated the words of Deut. xxviii. 58. the second counted the stripes,
and the third said, “Hack, or lay on.” The offender received three
lashes on the breast, three on the belly, three on each shoulder, &c.
But adultery was attended with capital punishment, as Deut. xxii. 22.
The parties when legally detected, were tried by the lesser judicatory,
which was to consist, at least of twenty-three: the Sanhedrim gave the
bitter waters to those women who were suspected of adultery. The former
were stoned to death; and the latter burst open, according to their
imprecation, if they were guilty: the omnipotent divine wisdom impressed
those waters with that wonderful quality, contrary to the common course
of nature. The men married, and were divorced as often as their caprice
directed them; for if they imagined their wives did not value them,
according to their own partial opinion of themselves, they notified the
occasion of the dislike, in a small billet, that her virtue might not be
suspected: and when they gave any of them the ticket, they ate together
in a very civil manner, and thus dissolved the contract.

I have premised this, to trace the resemblance to the marriage divorces
and punishments of the savage Americans. The middle aged people of a
place, which lies about half-way to Mobille, and the Illinois, assure
us, that they remember when adultery was punished among them with death,
by shooting the offender with barbed arrows, as there are no stones
there.[55] But what with the losses of their people at war with the
French and their savage confederates, and the constitutional wantonness
of their young men and women, they have through a political desire of
continuing, or increasing their numbers, moderated the severity of that
law, and reduced it to the present standard of punishment; which is in
the following manner. If a married woman is detected in adultery by one
person, the evidence is deemed good in judgment against her; the
evidence of a well grown boy or girl, they even reckon sufficient,
because of the heinousness of the crime, and the difficulty of
discovering it in their thick forests. This is a corruption of the
Mosaic law, which required two evidences, and exempted both women {142}
and slaves from public faith; because of the reputed fickleness of the
one, and the base, groveling temper of the other. When the crime is
proved against the woman, the enraged husband accompanied by some of his
relations, surprises and beats her most barbarously, and then cuts off
her hair and nose, or one of her lips. There are many of that sort of
disfigured females among the Chikkasah, and they are commonly the best
featured, and the most tempting of any of their country-women, which
exposed them to the snares of young men. But their fellow-criminals, who
probably first tempted them, are partially exempted from any kind of
corporal punishment.

With the Muskohge Indians, it was formerly reckoned adultery, if a man
took a pitcher of water off a married woman’s head, and drank of it.[56]
But their law said, if he was a few steps apart, and she at his request
set it down, and retired a little way off, he might then drink without
exposing her to any danger. If we seriously reflect on the rest of their
native customs, this old law, so singular to themselves from the rest of
the world, gives us room to think they drew it from the Jewish bitter
waters that were given to real, or suspected adulteresses, either to
prove their guilt, or attest their innocence.

Among those Indians, when adultery is discovered, the offending parties
commonly set off speedily for the distant woods, to secure themselves
from the shameful badge of the sharp penal law, which they inevitably
get, if they can be taken before the yearly offering for the atonement
of sin; afterward, every crime except murder is forgiven. But they are
always pursued, and frequently overtaken; though perhaps, three or four
moons absent, and two hundred miles off, over hills and mountains, up
and down many creeks and rivers, on contrary courses, and by various
intricate windings—the pursuers are eager, and their hearts burn within
them for revenge. When the husband has the chilling news first whispered
in his ear, he steals off with his witness to some of his kinsmen, to
get them to assist him in revenging his injury: they are soon joined by
a sufficient number of the same family, if the criminal was not of the
same tribe; otherwise, he chuses to confide in his nearest relations.
When the witness has asserted to them the truth of his evidence by a
strong asseveration, they separate to avoid suspicion, and meet commonly
in the dusk of the evening, near the town of the adulterer, {143} where
each of them provides a small hoop-pole, tapering to the point, with
knobs half an inch long, (allowed by ancient custom) with which they
correct the sinners; for as their law in this case doth not allow
partiality, if they punished one of them, and either excused or let the
other escape from justice, like the Illinois, they would become liable
to such punishment as they had inflicted upon either of the parties.

They commonly begin with the adulterer, because of the two, he is the
more capable of making his escape: they generally attack him at night,
by surprise, lest he should make a desperate resistance, and blood be
shed to cry for blood. They fall on eager and merciless, whooping their
revengeful noise, and thrashing their captive, with their long-knobbed
hoop-flails; some over his head and face; others on his shoulders and
back. His belly, sides, legs, and arms, are gashed all over, and at
last, he happily seems to be insensible of pain: then they cut off his

Footnote XXXI:

  Among these Indians, the trading people’s ears are often in danger, by
  the sharpness of this law, and their suborning false witnesses, or
  admitting foolish children as legal evidence; but generally either the
  tender-hearted females or friends, give them timely notice of their
  danger. Then they fall to the rum-keg,—and as soon as they find the
  pursuers approaching, they stand to arms in a threatning parade.
  Formerly, the traders like so many British tars, kept them in proper
  awe, and consequently prevented them from attempting any mischief. But
  since the patenteed race of Daublers set foot in their land, they have
  gradually become worse every year, murdering valuable innocent British
  subjects at pleasure: and when they go down, they receive presents as
  a tribute of fear, for which these Indians upbraid, and threaten us.
  The Muskohge lately clipt off the ears of two white men for supposed
  adultery. One had been a disciple of _Black Beard_, the pirate; and
  the other, at the time of going under the hands of those Jewish
  clippers, was deputed by the whimsical war-governor of Georgia, to awe
  the traders into an obedience of his despotic power. His successor
  lost his life on the Chikkasah war-path, twenty miles above the
  Koosah, or uppermost western town of the Muskohge, in an attempt to
  arrest the traders; which should not by any means be undertaken in the
  Indian country.

They observe, however, a gradation of punishment, according to the
criminality of the adulteress. For the first breach of the marriage
faith, they crop her ears and hair, if the husband is spiteful: either
of those badges proclaim her to be a whore, or _Hakse Kaneha_, “such as
were evil in Canaan,” for the hair of their head is their ornament: when
loose it commonly reaches below their back; and when tied, it stands
below the crown of the head, about four inches long, and two broad. As
the {144} offender cuts a comical figure among the rest of the women, by
being trimmed so sharp, she always keeps her dark winter hot house, till
by keeping the hair moistened with grease, it grows so long as to bear
tying. Then she accustoms herself to the light by degrees; and soon some
worthless fellow, according to their standard, buys her for his _And_;
which term hath been already explained.

The adulterer’s ears are slashed off close to his head, for the first
act of adultery, because he is the chief in fault. If the criminals
repeat the crime with any other married persons, their noses and upper
lips are cut off. But the third crime of the like nature, is attended
with more danger; for their law says, that for public heinous crimes,
satisfaction should be made visible to the people, and adequate to the
injuries of the virtuous,—to set their aggrieved hearts at ease, and
prevent others from following such a dangerous crooked copy. As they
will not comply with their mitigated law of adultery, nor be terrified,
nor shamed from their ill course of life; that the one may not frighten
and abuse their wives, nor the other seduce their husbands and be a
lasting plague and shame to the whole society, they are ordered by their
ruling magi and war-chieftains, to be shot to death, which is
accordingly executed: but this seldom happens.

When I asked the Chikkasah the reason of the inequality of their
marriage-law, in punishing the weaker passive party, and exempting the
stronger, contrary to reason and justice; they told me, it had been so a
considerable time—because their land being a continual seat of war, and
the lurking enemy for ever pelting them without, and the women decoying
them within, if they put such old cross laws of marriage in force, all
their beloved brisk warriors would soon be spoiled, and their
habitations turned to a wild waste. It is remarkable, that the ancient
Egyptians cut off the ears and nose of the adulteress; and the prophet
alludes to this sort of punishment, Ezek. xxiii. 25. “They shall deal
furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears.” And
they gave them also a thousand stripes, with canes on the
buttocks[XXXII]. The Cheerake are an exception to all civilized or
savage nations, in having no laws against adultery; they {145} have been
a considerable while under petticoat-government, and allow their women
full liberty to plant their brows with horns as oft as they please,
without fear of punishment. On this account their marriages are ill
observed, and of a short continuance; like the Amazons, they divorce
their fighting bed-fellows at their pleasure, and fail not to execute
their authority, when their fancy directs them to a more agreeable
choice. However, once in my time a number of warriors, belonging to the
family of the husband of the adulteress, revenged the injury committed
by her, in her own way; for they said, as she loved a great many men,
instead of a husband, justice told them to gratify her longing
desire—wherefore, by the information of their spies, they followed her
into the woods a little way from the town, (as decency required) and
then stretched her on the ground, with her hands tied to a stake, and
her feet also extended, where upwards of fifty of them lay with her,
having a blanket for a covering. The Choktah observe the same savage
custom with adulteresses. They term their female delinquents, _Ahowwe
Ishto_; the first is a Cheerake word, signifying, “a deer.”—And through
contempts of the Chikkasah, they altered their penal law of adultery.

Footnote XXXII:

  When human laws were first made, they commanded that if the husband
  found the adulterer in the fact, he should kill them both. Thus the
  laws of Solon and Draco ordained: but the law of the twelve tables
  softened it.

The Muskohge Indians, either through the view of mitigating their law
against adultery, that it might be adapted to their patriarchal-like
government; or by misunderstanding the Mosaic precept, from length of
time, and uncertainty of oral tradition, oblige the adulteress under the
penalty of the severest law not to be free with any man, (unless she is
inclined to favour her fellow sufferer) during the space of four moons,
after the broken moon in which they suffered for each other, according
to the custom of the Maldivians. But her husband exposes himself to the
utmost severity of the marriage law, if he is known to hold a familiar
intercourse with her after the time of her punishment.

                             ARGUMENT XIV.

Many other of the INDIAN PUNISHMENTS, resemble those of the Jews.
Whosoever attentively views the features of the Indian, and his eye, and
{146} reflects on his fickle, obstinate, and cruel disposition, will
naturally think on the Jews. English America, feelingly knows the parity
of the temper of their neighbouring Indians, with that of the Hebrew

The Israelites cut off the hands and feet of murderers, 2 Sam. iv.
12.—strangled false prophets—and sometimes burned, stoned, or beheaded
those malefactors who were condemned by the two courts of judgment. The
Indians either by the defect of tradition, or through a greedy desire of
revenge, torture their prisoners and devoted captives, with a mixture of
all those Jewish capital punishments. They keep the original so close in
their eye, as to pour cold water on the sufferers when they are
fainting, or overcome by the fiery torture—to refresh, and enable them
to undergo longer tortures. The Hebrews gave wine mixt with the juice of
myrrh, to their tortured criminals, to revive their spirits; and
sometimes vinegar to prevent too great an effusion of blood, lest they
should be disappointed in glutting their greedy eyes, with their
favourite tragedy of blood: which was eminently exemplified in their
insulting treatment of Christ on the cross.

The Indians, beyond all the rest of mankind, seem in this respect to be
actuated with the Jewish spirit. They jeer, taunt, laugh, whoop, and
rejoice at the inexpressible agonies of those unfortunate persons, who
are under their butchering hands; which would excite pity and horror in
any heart, but that of a Jew. When they are far from home, they keep as
near to their distinguishing customs, as circumstances allow them: not
being able formerly to cut off the heads of those they killed in war,
for want of proper weapons; nor able to carry them three or four hundred
miles without putrefaction, they cut off the skin of their heads with
their flint-stone knives, as speaking trophies of honour, and which
register them among the brave by procuring them war titles. Though now
they have plenty of proper weapons, they vary not from this ancient
barbarous custom of the American aborigines: which has been too well
known by many of our northern colonists, and is yet shamefully so to
South-Carolina and Georgia barriers, by the hateful name of scalping.

The Indians strictly adhere more than the rest of mankind to that
positive, unrepealed law of Moses, “He who sheddeth man’s blood, by
{147} man shall his blood be shed:” like the Israelites, their hearts
burn violently day and night without intermission, till they shed blood
for blood. They transmit from father to son, the memory of the loss of
their relation, or one of their own tribe or family, though it were an
old woman—if she was either killed by the enemy, or by any of their own
people. If indeed the murder be committed by a kinsman, the eldest can
redeem: however, if the circumstances attending the fact be peculiar and
shocking to nature, the murderer is condemned to die the death of a
sinner, “without any one to mourn for him,” as in the case of suicide;
contrary to their usage toward the rest of their dead, and which may
properly be called the death or burial of a Jewish ass.

When they have had success in killing the enemy, they tie fire-brands in
the most-frequented places, with grape vines which hang pretty low, in
order that they may be readily seen by the enemy. As they reckon the
aggressors have loudly declared war, it would be madness or treachery in
their opinion to use such public formalities before they have revenged
crying blood; it would inform the enemy of their design of retaliating,
and destroy the honest intention of war. They likewise strip the bark
off several large trees in conspicuous places, and paint them with red
and black hieroglyphics, thereby threatening the enemy with more blood
and death. The last were strong and similar emblems with the Hebrews,
and the first is analogous to one of their martial customs; for when
they arrived at the enemies territories, they threw a fire-brand within
their land, as an emblem of the anger of _Ash_, “the holy fire” for
their ill deeds to his peculiarly beloved people. To which custom
Obadiah alludes, when he says (ver. 18.) “they shall kindle in them and
devour them, there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau, &c.”
which the Septuagint translates, “one who carries a fire-brand.” The
conduct of the Israelitish champion, Sampson, against the Philistines,
proceeded from the same war custom, when he took three-hundred
_Shugnalim_, (which is a bold strong metaphor) signifying _Vulpes_,
foxes or sheaves of corn; and tying them tail to tail, or one end to the
other in a continued train, he set fire to them, and by that means,
burned down their standing corn.

In the late Cheerake war, at the earnest persuasions of the trading
people, several of the Muskohge warriors came down to the
barrier-settlements of Georgia, {148} to go against the Cheerake, and
revenge English crying blood: but the main body of the nation sent a
running embassy to the merchants there, requesting them immediately to
forbear their unfriendly proceedings, otherwise, they should be forced
by disagreeable necessity to revenge their relations blood if it should
chance to be spilt contrary to their ancient laws: this alludes to the
levitical law, by which he who decoyed another to his end, was deemed
the occasion of his death, and consequently answerable for it. If an
unruly horse belonging to a white man, should chance to be tied at a
trading house and kill one of the Indians, either the owner of the
house, or the person who tied the beast there, is responsible for it, by
their lex talionis; which seems to be derived also from the Mosaic
precept,—if an ox known by its owner to push with its horn, should kill
a person, they were both to die the death. If the Indians have a dislike
to a person, who by any casualty was the death of one of their people,
he stands accountable, and will certainly suffer for it, unless he takes

I knew an under trader, who being intrusted by his employer with a cargo
of goods for the country of the Muskohge, was forced by the common law
of good faith, to oppose some of those savages in the remote woods, to
prevent their robbing the camp: the chieftain being much intoxicated
with spirituous liquors, and becoming outrageous in proportion to the
resistance he met with, the trader like a brave man, opposed lawless
force by force: some time after, the lawless bacchanal was attacked with
a pleurisy, of which he died. Then the heads of the family of the
deceased convened the lesser judicatory, and condemned the trader to be
shot to death for the supposed murder of their kinsman; which they
easily effected, as he was off his guard, and knew nothing of their
murdering design. His employer however had such a friendly intercourse
with them, as to gain timely notice of any thing that might affect his
person or interest; but he was so far from assisting the unfortunate
brave man, as the laws of humanity and common honour obliged him, that
as a confederate, he not only concealed their bloody intentions, but
went basely to the next town, while the savages painted themselves red
and black, and give them an opportunity of perpetrating the horrid
murder. The poor victim could have easily escaped to the English
settlements if forewarned, and got the affair accommodated by the
mediation of the government. In acts of blood, if the supposed murderer
{149} escapes, his nearest kinsman either real or adopted, or if he has
none there, his friend stands according to their rigorous law,
answerable for the fact. But though the then governor of South Carolina
was sufficiently informed of this tragedy, and that it was done contrary
to the treaty of amity, and that there is no possibility of managing
them, but by their own notions of virtue, he was passive, and allowed
them with impunity to shed this innocent blood; which they ever since
have improved to our shame and sorrow. They have gradually become worse
every year; and corrupted other nations by their contagious copy, so as
to draw them into the like bloody scenes, with the same contempt, as if
they had killed so many helpless timorous dunghill fowls, as they
despitefully term us.

There never was any set of people, who pursued the Mosaic law of
_retaliation_ with such a fixt eagerness as these Americans.[57] They
are so determined in this point, that formerly a little boy shooting
birds in the high and thick corn-fields, unfortunately chanced slightly
to wound another with his childish arrow; the young vindictive fox, was
excited by custom to watch his ways with the utmost earnestness, till
the wound was returned in as equal manner as could be expected. Then,
“all was straight,” according to their phrase. Their hearts were at
rest, by having executed that strong law of nature, and they sported
together as before. This observation though small in itself, is great in
its combined circumstances, as it is contrary to the usage of the old
heathen world. They forgive all crimes at the annual atonement of sins,
except murder, which is always punished with death. The Indians
constantly upbraid us in their bacchanals, for inattention to this maxim
of theirs; they say, that all nations of people who are not utterly sunk
in cowardice, take revenge of blood before they can have rest, cost what
it will. The Indian Americans are more eager to revenge blood, than any
other people on the whole face of the earth. And when the heart of the
revenger of blood in Israel was hot within him, it was a terrible thing
for the casual _manslayer_ to meet him, Deut. xix. 6. “Lest the avenger
of blood pursue the slayer while his heart is hot, and overtake him,
because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of
death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.”

I have known the Indians to go a thousand miles, for the purpose of
revenge, in pathless woods; over hills and mountains; through large cane
{150} swamps, full of grape-vines and briars; over broad lakes, rapid
rivers, and deep creeks; and all the way endangered by poisonous snakes,
if not with the rambling and lurking enemy, while at the same time they
were exposed to the extremities of heat and cold, the vicissitude of the
seasons; to hunger and thirst, both by chance, and their religious
scanty method of living when at war, to fatigues, and other
difficulties. Such is their over-boiling, revengeful temper, that they
utterly contemn all those things as imaginary trifles, if they are so
happy as to get the scalp of the murderer, or enemy, to satisfy the
supposed craving ghosts of their deceased relations. Though they imagine
the report of guns will send off the ghosts of their kindred that died
at home, to their quiet place, yet they firmly believe, that the spirits
of those who are killed by the enemy, without equal revenge of blood,
find no rest, and at night haunt the houses of the tribe to which they
belonged[XXXIII]: but, when that kindred duty of retaliation is justly
executed, they immediately get ease and power to fly away: This opinion,
and their method of burying and mourning for the dead, of which we shall
speak presently, occasion them to retaliate in so earnest and fierce a
manner. It is natural for friends to study each others mutual happiness,
and we should pity the weakness of those who are destitute of our
advantages; whose intellectual powers are unimproved, and who are
utterly unacquainted with the sciences, as well as every kind of
mechanical business, to engage their attention at home. Such persons
cannot well live without war; and being destitute of public faith to
secure the lives of embassadors in time of war, they have no sure method
to reconcile their differences; consequently, when any casual thing
draws them into a war, it grows every year more spiteful till it
advances to a bitter enmity, so as to excite them to an implacable
hatred to one another’s very national names. Then they must go abroad to
spill the enemy’s blood, and to revenge crying blood. We must also
consider, it is by scalps they get all their war-titles, which
distinguish them among the brave: and these they hold in as high esteem,
as the most ambitious Roman general ever did a great triumph. By how
much the deeper any society of people are sunk in ignorance, so much the
more they value themselves on their bloody merit. This was {151} long
the characteristic of the Hebrew nation, and has been conveyed down to
these their supposed red descendants.

Footnote XXXIII:

  As the Hebrews supposed there was a holiness in Canaan, more than in
  any other land, so they believed that their bodies buried out of it,
  would be carried through caverns, or subterraneous passages of the
  earth to the holy land, where they shall rise again and dart up to
  their holy attracting centre.

However, notwithstanding their bloody temper and conduct towards
enemies, when their law of blood does not interfere, they observe that
Mosaic precept, “He shall be dealt with according as he intended to do
to his neighbour, but the innocent and righteous man thou shalt not
slay.” I must observe also that as the Jewish priests were by no means
to shed human blood, and as king David was forbidden by the prophet to
build a temple because he was a man of war and had shed blood—so, the
Indian _Ishtohoollo_ “holy men” are by their function absolutely
forbidden to slay; notwithstanding their propensity thereto, even for
small injuries. They will not allow the greatest warrior to officiate,
when the yearly grand sacrifice of expiation is offered up, or on any
other religious occasion, except the leader. All must be performed by
their beloved men, who are clean of every stain of blood, and have their
foreheads circled with streaks of white clay.

As this branch of the general subject cannot be illustrated, but by
well-known facts, I shall exemplify it with the late and long-continued
conduct of the northern Indians, and those of Cape Florida, whom our
navigators have reported to be cannibals. The Muskohge, who have been
bitter enemies to the Cape Florida Indians, time immemorial, affirm
their manners, tempers and appetites, to be the very same as those of
the neighboring Indian nations. And the Florida captives who were sold
in Carolina, have told me, that the Spaniards of St. Augustine and St.
Mark’s garrisons, not only hired and paid them for murdering our seamen,
who were so unfortunate as to be shipwrecked on their dangerous coast,
but that they delivered up to the savages those of our people they did
not like, to be put to the fiery torture. From their bigotted
persecuting spirit, we may conclude the victims to have been those who
would not worship their images and crucifixes. The Spaniards no doubt
could easily influence this decayed small tribe to such a practice, as
they depended upon them for the necessaries of life: and though they
could never settle out of their garrisons in West-Florida, on account of
the jealous temper of the neighboring unconquered Indians, yet the
Cape-Floridans were only Spanish mercenaries, shedding blood for their
maintenance. A seduced Indian {152} is certainly less faulty than the
apostate Christian who instigated him; when an Indian sheds human blood,
it does not proceed from wantonness, or the view of doing evil, but
solely to put the law of retaliation in force, to return one injury for
another; but, if he has received no ill, and has no suspicion of the
kind, he usually offers no damage to those who fall in his power, but is
moved with compassion, in proportion to what they seem to have
undergone. Such as they devote to the fire, they flatter with the hope
of being redeemed, as long as they can, to prevent the giving them any
previous anxiety or grief, which their law of blood does not require.

The French Canadians are highly censurable, and their bloody popish
clergy, for debauching our peaceable northern Indians, with their
_infernal catechism_,—the first introduction into their religious
mysteries. Formerly, when they initiated the Indian sucklings into their
mixt idolatrous worship, they fastened round their necks, a bunch of
their favourite red and black beads, with a silver cross hanging down on
their breasts, thus engaging them, as they taught, to fight the battles
of God. Then they infected the credulous Indians with a firm belief,
that God once sent his own beloved son to fix the red people in high
places of power, over the rest of mankind; that he passed through
various countries, to the universal joy of the inhabitants, in order to
come to the beloved red people, and place them in a superior station of
life to the rest of the American world; but when he was on the point of
sailing to America, to execute his divine embassy, he was murdered by
the bloody monopolizing English, at the city of London, only to make the
red people weigh light. Having thus instructed, and given them the
catechism by way of question and answer, and furnished them with 2000
gross of scalping knives and other murdering articles, the catechumens
soon sallied forth, and painted themselves all over with the innocent
blood of our fellow-subjects, of different stations, and ages, and
without any distinction of sex,—contrary to the standing Indian laws of

The British lion at last however triumphed, and forced the French
themselves to sue for that friendly intercourse and protection, which
their former catechism taught the Indians to hate, and fly from, as
dangerous to their universal happiness. {153}

When I have reasoned with some of the old headmen, against their
barbarous custom of killing defenceless innocent persons, who neither
could nor would oppose them in battle, but begged that they might only
live to be their slaves, they told me that formerly they never waged
war, but in revenge of blood; and that in such cases, they always
devoted the guilty to be burnt alive when they were purifying themselves
at home, to obtain victory over their enemies. But otherwise they
treated the vanquished with the greatest clemency, and adopted them in
the room of their relations, who had either died a natural death, or had
before been sufficiently revenged, though killed by the enemy.

The Israelites thus often devoted their captives to death, without any
distinction of age or sex,—as when they took Jericho, they saved only
merciful Rahab and her family;—after they had plundered the Midianites
of their riches, they put men women and children to death, dividing
among themselves a few virgins and the plunder;—with other instances
that might be quoted. The Indian Americans, beyond all the present race
of Adam, are actuated by this bloody war-custom of the Israelites; they
put their captives to various lingering torments, with the same
unconcern as the Levite, when he cut up his beloved concubine into
eleven portions, and sent them to the eleven tribes, to excite them to
revenge the affront, the Benjamites had given him. When equal blood has
not been shed to quench the crying blood of their relations, and give
rest to their ghosts, according to their credenda, while they are
sanctifying themselves for war, they always allot their captives either
to be killed or put to the fiery torture: and they who are thus devoted,
cannot by any means be saved, though they resembled an angel in beauty
and virtue.

Formerly, the Indians defeated a great body of the French, who at two
different times came to invade their country. They put to the fiery
torture a considerable number of them; and two in particular, whom they
imagined to have carried the French ark against them. The English
traders solicited with the most earnest entreaties, in favour of the
unfortunate captives; but they averred, that as it was not our business
to intercede in behalf of a deceitful enemy who came to shed blood,
unless we were resolved to share their deserved fate, so was it entirely
out of the reach of goods, though piled as high as the skies, to redeem
them,— {154} because they were not only the chief support of the French
army, in spoiling so many of their warriors by the power of their ugly
ark, before they conquered them; but were delivered over to the fire,
before they entered into battle.

When I was on my way to the Chikkasah, at the Okchai, in the year 1745,
the conduct of the Muskohge Indians was exactly the same with regard to
a Cheerake stripling, whose father was a white man, and mother an
half-breed,—regardless of the pressing entreaties and very high offers
of the English traders, they burned him in their usual manner. This
seems to be copied from that law which expressly forbad the redeeming
any devoted persons, and ordered that they should be surely put to
death, Lev. xxvii. 29. This precept had evidently a reference to the law
of retaliation.—Saul in superstitious and angry mood, wanted to have
murdered or sacrificed to God his favourite son Jonathan, because when
he was fainting he tasted some honey which casually fell in his way,
just after he had performed a prodigy of martial feats in behalf of
Israel: but the gratitude, and reason of the people, prevented him from
perpetrating that horrid murder. If devoting to death was a divine
extraction, or if God delighted in human sacrifices, the people would
have been criminal for daring to oppose the divine law,—which was not
the case. Such a law if taken in an extensive and literal sense, is
contrary to all natural reason and religion, and consequently in a
strict sense, could not be enjoined by a benevolent and merciful God;
who commands us to do justice and shew mercy to the very beasts; not to
muzzle the ox while he is treading out the grain; nor to insnare the
bird when performing her parental offices. “Are ye not of more value
than many sparrows?”

The Indians use no stated ceremony in immolating their devoted captives,
although it is the same thing to the unfortunate victims, what form
their butcherers use. They are generally sacrificed before their
conquerors set off for war with their ark and supposed holy things. And
sometimes the Indians devote every one they meet in certain woods or
paths, to be killed there, except their own people; this occasioned the
cowardly Cheerake in the year 1753, to kill two white men on the
Chikkasah war-path, which leads from the country of the Muskohge. And
the Shawànoh Indians who {155} settled between the _Ooe-Asa_ and
_Koosah-towns_,[58] told us that their people to the northward had
devoted the English to death for the space of six years; but when that
time was expired and not before, they would live in friendship as
formerly. If the English had at that time executed their own law against
them, and demanded equal blood from the Cheeràke, and stopt all trade
with them before they dipt themselves too deep in blood, they would soon
have had a firm peace with all the Indian nations. This is the only way
of treating them now, for when they have not the fear of offending, they
will shed innocent blood, and proceed in the end to lay all restraint

The late conduct of the Chikkasah war-council, in condemning two
pretended friends to death, who came with a view of shedding blood;
shews their knowledge of that equal law of divine appointment to the
Jews, “he shall be dealt with exactly as he intended to do to his

It ought to be remarked, that they are careful of their youth, and fail
not to punish them when they transgress. Anno 1766, I saw an old head
man, called the _Dog-King_ (from the nature of his office) correct
several young persons—some for supposed faults, and others by way of
prevention. He began with a lusty young fellow, who was charged with
being more effeminate than became a warrior; and with acting contrary to
their old religious rites and customs, particularly, because he lived
nearer than any of the rest to an opulent and helpless German, by whom
they supposed he might have been corrupted. He bastinadoed the young
sinner severely, with a thick whip, about a foot and a half long,
composed of plaited silk grass, and the fibres of the button snake-root
stalks, tapering to the point, which was secured with a knot. He
reasoned with him, as he corrected him: he told him that he was
_Chehakse Kanèha-He_, literally, “you are as one who is wicked, and
almost lost[XXXIV].” The grey-hair’d corrector said, he treated him in
that manner according to ancient custom, through an effect of love, to
induce him to shun vice, and to imitate the virtues of {156} his
illustrious fore-fathers, which he endeavoured to enumerate largely:
when the young sinner had received his supposed due, he went off
seemingly well pleased.

Footnote XXXIV:

  As _Chin-Kanehah_ signifies, “you have lost,” and _Che-Kanehah_, “you
  are lost,” it seems to point at the method the Hebrews used in
  correcting their criminals in Canaan, and to imply a similarity of
  manners. The word they use to express “forgetfulness,” looks the very
  same way, _Ish Al Kanehah_, “you forget,” meaning that _Ish_ and
  _Canaan_ are forgotten by _Ale_.

This Indian correction lessens gradually in its severity, according to
the age of the pupils. While the _Dog-King_ was catechising the little
ones, he said _Che Haksianna_, “do not become vicious.” And when they
wept, he said _Che-Abela Awa_, “I shall not kill you,” or “I shall not
put you into the state of bleeding _Abéle_[XXXV].”

Footnote XXXV:

  The Indians use the word _Hakse_, to convey the idea of a person’s
  being criminal in any thing whatsoever. If they mention not the
  particular crime, they add, _Kakset Kanehah_, pointing as it were to
  those who were punished in Canaan. Such unfortunate persons as are
  mad, deaf, dumb or blind, are called by no other name than _Hakse_. In
  like manner _Kallakse_ signifies “contemptible, unsteady, light, or
  easily thrown aside,”—it is a diminutive of קלל, of the same meaning.
  And they say such an one is _Kallaks’-Ishto_, “execrated, or accursed
  to God,” because found light in the divine balance. As the American
  Aborigines used no weights, the parity of language here with the
  Hebrew, seems to assure us, they originally derived this method of
  expression from the Israelites, who took the same idea from the poise
  of a balance, which divine writ frequently mentions. Job, chap. xxi,
  describes justice with a pair of scales, “Let me be weighed in an even
  balance, that I may know my perfection.” And they call weighing, or
  giving a preference, _Tekále_, according to the same figure of speech:
  and it agrees both in expression and meaning, with the Chaldean
  _Tekel_, if written with Hebrew characters, as in that extraordinary
  appearance on the wall of the Babylonish monarch, interpreted by the
  prophet Daniel. When they prefer one person and would lessen another,
  they say _Eeàpa Wéhke Tekále_, “this one weighs heavy,” and _Eeàko
  Kallakse_, or _Kall’aks’ooshe Tekále_, “that one weighs light, very
  light.” When any of their people are killed on any of the hunting
  paths, they frequently say, _Heenna tungga Tannip Tekále_, “right on
  the path, he was weighed for the enemy, or the opposite party,” for
  _Tannip_ is the only word they have to express the words _enemy_ and
  the _opposite_; as _Ook’heenna Tannip_, “the opposite side of the
  water path:” hence it is probable, they borrowed that notable Assyrian
  expression while in their supposed captivity, brought it with them to
  America, and introduced it into their language, to commemorate so
  surprising an event.

Like the present Jews, their old men are tenacious of their ancient
rites and customs; imagining them to be the sure channel through which
all temporal good things flow to them, and by which the opposite evils
are averted. No wonder therefore, that they still retain a multiplicity
of Hebrew words, which were repeated often with great reverence in the
temple; and adhere to many of their ancient rules and methods of
punishment. {157}

                              ARGUMENT XV.

The Israelites had CITIES OF REFUGE, or places of safety, for those who
killed a person unawares, and without design; to shelter them from the
blood-thirsty relations of the deceased, or the revenger of blood, who
always pursued or watched the unfortunate person, like a ravenous wolf:
but after the death of the high-priest the man-slayer could safely
return home, and nobody durst molest him.

According to the same particular divine law of mercy, each of these
Indian nations have either a house or town of refuge, which is a sure
asylum to protect a man-slayer, or the unfortunate captive, if they can
once enter into it.[59] The Cheerake, though now exceedingly corrupt,
still observe that law so inviolably, as to allow their beloved town the
privilege of protecting a wilful murtherer: but they seldom allow him to
return home afterwards in safety—they will revenge blood for blood,
unless in some very particular case when the eldest can redeem. However,
if he should accept of the price of blood to wipe away its stains, and
dry up the tears of the rest of the nearest kindred of the deceased, it
is generally productive of future ills; either when they are drinking
spirituous liquors, or dancing their enthusiastic war dances, a tomohawk
is likely to be sunk into the head of some of his relations.

Formerly, when one of the Cheerake murdered an English trader he
immediately ran off for the town of refuge; but as soon as he got in
view of it, the inhabitants discovered him by the close pursuit of the
shrill war-whoo-whoop; and for fear of irritating the English, they
instantly answered the war cry, ran to arms, intercepted, and drove him
off into Tennàse river (where he escaped, though mortally wounded) lest
he should have entered the reputed holy ground, and thus it had been
stained with the blood of their friend; or he had obtained sanctuary to
the danger of the community, and the foreign contempt of their sacred
altars. {158}

This town of refuge called _Choate_,[60] is situated on a large stream
of the Missisippi, five miles above the late unfortunate
_Fort-Loudon_,[61]—where some years ago, a brave Englishman was
protected after killing an Indian warrior in defense of his property.
The gentleman told me, that as his trading house was near to that town
of refuge, he had resolved with himself, after some months stay in it,
to return home; but the head-man assured him, that though he was then
safe, it would prove fatal if he removed thence; so he continued in his
asylum still longer, till the affair was by time more obliterated, and
he had wiped off all their tears with various presents. In the upper or
most western part of the country of the Muskóhge, there was an old
beloved town, now reduced to a small ruinous village, called
_Koosah_,[62] which is still a place of safety for those who kill
undesignedly. It stands on commanding ground, over-looking a bold river,
which after running about forty leagues, sweeps close by the late
mischievous French garrison _Alebámah_, and down to _Mobille-Sound_, 200
leagues distance, and so into the gulph of Florida.

In almost every Indian nation, there are several _peaceable towns_,
which are called “old-beloved,” “ancient, holy, or white towns[XXXVI];”
they seem to have been formerly “towns of refuge,” for it is not in the
memory of their oldest people, that ever human blood was shed in them;
although they often force persons from thence, and put them to death

Footnote XXXVI:

  WHITE is their fixt emblem of peace, friendship, happiness,
  prosperity, purity, holiness, &c. as with the Israelites.

                             ARGUMENT XVI.

Before the Indians go to WAR, they have many preparatory ceremonies of
_purification_ and _fasting_, like what is recorded of the Israelites.

In the first commencement of a war, a party of the injured tribe turns
out first, to revenge the innocent crying blood of their own bone and
flesh, as they term it. When the leader begins to beat up for
volunteers, he goes three times round his dark winter-house, contrary to
the course of the sun, sounding the war-whoop, singing the war-song, and
beating the drum. {159} Then he speaks to the listening crowd with very
rapid language, short pauses, and an awful commanding voice, tells them
of the continued friendly offices they have done the enemy, but which
have been ungratefully returned with the blood of his kinsmen; therefore
as the white paths have changed their beloved colour, his heart burns
within him with eagerness to tincture them all along, and even to make
them flow over with the hateful blood of the base contemptible enemy.
Then he strongly persuades his kindred warriors and others, who are not
afraid of the enemies bullets and arrows, to come and join him with
manly cheerful hearts: he assures them, he is fully convinced, as they
are all bound by the love-knot, so they are ready to hazard their lives
to revenge the blood of their kindred and country-men; that the love of
order, and the necessity of complying with the old religious customs of
their country, had hitherto checked their daring generous hearts, but
now, those hindrances are removed: he proceeds to whoop again for the
warriors to come and join him, and sanctify themselves for success
against the common enemy, according to their ancient religious law.

By his eloquence, but chiefly by their own greedy thirst of revenge, and
intense love of martial glory, on which they conceive their liberty and
happiness depend, and which they constantly instil into the minds of
their youth—a number soon join him in his winter-house, where they live
separate from all others, and purify themselves for the space of three
days and nights, exclusive of the first broken day. In each of those
days they observe a strict fast[63] till sun-set, watching the young men
very narrowly who have not been initiated in war-titles, lest unusual
hunger should tempt them to violate it, to the supposed danger of all
their lives in war, by destroying the power of their purifying beloved
physic, which they drink plentifully during that time. This purifying
physic, is warm water highly imbittered with button-rattle-snake-root,
which as hath been before observed, they apply only to religious
purposes. Sometimes after bathing they drink a decoction made of the
said root—and in like manner the leader applies aspersions, or
sprinklings, both at home and when out at war. They are such strict
observers of the law of purification, and think it so essential in
obtaining health and success in war, as not to allow the best beloved
trader that ever lived among them, even to enter the beloved ground,
appropriated to the religious duty of being sanctified {160} for war;
much less to associate with the camp in the woods, though he went (as I
have known it to happen) on the same war design;[64] —they oblige him to
walk and encamp separate by himself, as an impure dangerous animal, till
the leader hath purified him, according to their usual time and method,
with the consecrated things of the ark. With the Hebrews, the ark of
_Berith_, “the purifier,” was a small wooden chest, of three feet nine
inches in length, two feet three inches broad, and two feet three inches
in height. It contained the golden pot that had manna in it, Aaron’s
rod, and the tables of the law. The INDIAN ARK[65] is of a very simple
construction, and it is only the intention and application of it, that
makes it worthy of notice; for it is made with pieces of wood securely
fastened together in the form of a square. The middle of three of the
sides extend a little out, but one side is flat, for the conveniency of
the person’s back who carries it. Their ark has a cover, and the whole
is made impenetrably close with hiccory-splinters; it is about half the
dimensions of the divine Jewish ark, and may very properly be called the
red Hebrew ark of the purifier, imitated. The leader, and a beloved
waiter, carry it by turns. It contains several consecrated vessels, made
by beloved superannuated women, and of such various antiquated forms, as
would have puzzled Adam to have given significant names to each. The
leader and his attendant, are purified longer than the rest of the
company, that the first may be fit to act in the religious office of a
priest of war, and the other to carry the awful sacred ark. All the
while they are at war, the _Hetissu_, or “beloved waiter,” feeds each of
the warriors by an exact stated rule, giving them even the water they
drink, out of his own hands, lest by intemperance they should spoil the
supposed communicative power of their holy things, and occasion fatal
disasters to the war camp.

The ark, mercy-seat, and cherubim, were the very essence of the
levitical law, and often called “the testimonies of _Yohewah_.” The ark
of the temple was termed his throne, and David calls it his foot-stool.
In speaking of the Indian places of refuge for the unfortunate, I
observed, that if a captive taken by the reputed power of the beloved
things of the ark, should be able to make his escape into one of these
towns,—or even into the winter-house of the Archi-magus, he is delivered
from the fiery torture, otherwise inevitable. This when joined to the
rest of the faint images of the Mosaic customs they still retain, seems
to point at the mercy-seat in the sanctuary. It is also highly worthy of
notice, that they {161} never place the ark on the ground, nor sit on
the bare earth while they are carrying it against the enemy. On hilly
ground where stones are plenty, they place it on them: but in level land
upon short logs, always resting themselves on the like materials.
Formerly, when this tract was the Indian Flanders of America, as the
French and all their red Canadian confederates were bitter enemies to
the inhabitants, we often saw the woods full of such religious
war-reliques. The former is a strong imitation of the pedestal, on which
the Jewish ark was placed, a stone rising three fingers breadth above
the floor. And when we consider—in what a surprising manner the Indians
copy after the ceremonial law of the Hebrews, and their strict purity in
their war camps; that _Opae_, “the leader,” obliges all during the first
campaign they make with the beloved ark, to stand, every day they lie
by, from sun-rise to sun-set—and after a fatiguing day’s march, and
scanty allowance, to drink warm water imbittered with rattle-snake-root
very plentifully, in order to be purified—that they have also as strong
a faith of the power and holiness of their ark, as ever the Israelites
retained of their’s, ascribing the superior success of the party, to
their stricter adherence to the law than the other; and after they
return home, hang it on the leader’s red-painted war pole—we have strong
reason to conclude their origin is Hebrew. From the Jewish ark of the
tabernacle and the temple, the ancient heathens derived their arks,
their _cistæ_ or religious chests, their Teraphim or Dii Lares, and
their tabernacles and temples. But their modes and objects of worship,
differed very widely from those of the Americans.

The Indian ark is deemed so sacred and dangerous to be touched, either
by their own sanctified warriors, or the spoiling enemy, that they durst
not touch it upon any account[XXXVII]. It is not to be meddled with by
any, except the war chieftain and his waiter, under the penalty of
incurring great evil. {162} Nor would the most inveterate enemy touch it
in the woods for the very same reason; which is agreeable to the
religious opinion and customs of the Hebrews, respecting the sacredness
of their ark, witness what befel Uzzah, for touching it, though with a
religious view, and the Philistines for carrying it away, so that they
soon thought proper to return it, with presents.

Footnote XXXVII:

  A gentleman who was at the Ohio, in the year 1756, assured me he saw a
  stranger there very importunate to view the inside of the Cheerake
  ark, which was covered with a drest deer-skin, and placed on a couple
  of short blocks. An Indian centinel watched it, armed with a hiccory
  bow, and brass-pointed barbed arrows, and he was faithful to his
  trust; for finding the stranger obtruding to pollute the supposed
  sacred vehicle, he drew an arrow to the head, and would have shot him
  through the body, had he not suddenly withdrawn; the interpreter, when
  asked by the gentleman what it contained, told him there was nothing
  in it but a bundle of conjuring traps. This shews what conjurers our
  common interpreters are, and how much the learned world have really
  profited by their informations. The Indians have an old tradition,
  that when they left their own native land, they brought with them a
  _sanctified rod_ by order of an oracle, which they fixed every night
  in the ground; and were to remove from place to place on the continent
  towards the sun-rising, till it budded in one night’s time; that they
  obeyed the sacred mandate, and the miracle took place after they
  arrived to this side of the Missisippi, on the present land they
  possess. This, they say, was the sole cause of their settling here—of
  fighting so firmly for their reputed holy land and holy things—and
  that they may be buried with their beloved fore-fathers. I have seen
  other Indians who pretend to the like miraculous direction, and I
  think it plainly to refer to Aaron’s rod, which was a branch of an
  almond-tree, and that budded and blossomed in one night. (A) The
  Overhill Cherokees under Ostenaco (Outasite, another name) were on the
  campaign of 1756, in aid of the British and American forces. Dinwiddie
  Papers, II, 446 _et seq._ (W)

The leader virtually acts the part of a priest of war,[66] _pro
tempore_, in imitation of the Israelites fighting under the divine
military banner. If they obtain the victory, and get some of the enemies
scalps, they sanctify themselves when they make their triumphal
entrance, in the manner they observed before they set off to war; but,
if their expedition proves unfortunate, they only mourn over their loss,
ascribing it to the vicious conduct of some of the followers of the
beloved ark. What blushes should this savage virtue raise in the faces
of nominal christians, who ridicule the unerring divine wisdom, for the
effects of their own imprudent or vicious conduct. May they learn from
the rude uncivilized Americans, that vice necessarily brings evil—and
virtue, happiness.

The Indians will not cohabit with women while they are out at war;[67]
they religiously abstain from every kind of intercourse even with their
own wives, for the space of three days and nights before they go to war,
and so after they return home, because they are to sanctify themselves.
This religious war custom, especially in so savage a generation, seems
to be derived from the Hebrews, who thus sanctified themselves, to gain
the divine protection, and victory over their common enemies: as in the
precept of Moses to the war camp when he ascended Mount Sinai; and in
Joshua’s prohibition to the Israelites[XXXVIII]; and in the case of
Uriah. The warriors consider themselves as devoted to God apart from the
rest of the {163} people, while they are at war accompanying the sacred
ark with the supposed holy things it contains.

Footnote XXXVIII:

  Joshua commanded the Israelites the night before they marched, to
  sanctify themselves by washing their clothes, avoiding all impurities,
  and abstaining from matrimonial intercourse.

The French Indians are said not to have deflowered any of our young
women they captivated, while at war with us;[68] and unless the black
tribe, the French Canadian priests, corrupted their traditions, they
would think such actions defiling, and what must bring fatal
consequences on their own heads. We have an attested narrative of an
English prisoner, who made his escape from the Shawanoh Indians, which
was printed at Philadelphia, anno 1757, by which we were assured, that
even that blood-thirsty villain, Capt. Jacob, did not attempt the virtue
of his female captives, lest (as he told one of them) it should offend
the Indian’s God; though at the same time his pleasures heightened in
proportion to the shrieks and groans of our people of different ages and
both sexes, while they were under his tortures.

Although the Choktah are libidinous, and lose their customs apace, yet I
have known them to take several female prisoners without offering the
least violence to their virtue, till the time of purgation was
expired;—then some of them forced their captives, notwithstanding their
pressing entreaties and tears. As the aforesaid Shawanoh renegado
professed himself so observant of this law of purity, so the other
northern nations of Indians, who are free from adulteration by their
far-distance from foreigners, do not neglect so great a duty: and it is
highly probable, notwithstanding the silence of our writers, that as
purity was strictly observed by the Hebrews in the temple, field and
wilderness, the religious rites and customs of the northern Indians,
differ no farther from those of the nations near our southern
settlements than reason will admit, allowing for their distant situation
from Peru and Mexico, whence they seem to have travelled.

When they return home victorious over the enemy, they sing the triumphal
song to YO-HE-WAH, ascribing the victory to him, according to a
religious custom of the Israelites, who were commanded always to
attribute their success in war to Jehovah, and not to their swords and

In the year 1765,[69] when the Chikkasah returned with two French
scalps, from the Illinois, (while the British troops were on the
Missisippi, about 170 leagues below the Illinois) as my trading house
was near the Chikkasah {164} leader, I had a good opportunity of
observing his conduct, as far as it was exposed to public view.[70]

Within a day’s march of home, he sent a runner a-head with the glad
tidings—and to order his dark winter house to be swept out very clean,
for fear of pollution. By ancient custom, when the out-standing party
set off for war, the women are so afraid of the power of their holy
things, and of prophaning them, that they sweep the house and earth
quite clean, place the sweepings in a heap behind the door, leaving it
there undisturbed, till _Opáe_, who carries the ark, orders them by a
faithful messenger to remove it. He likewise orders them to carry out
every utensil which the women had used during his absence, for fear of
incurring evil by pollution. The party appeared next day painted red and
black, their heads covered all over with swan-down, and a tuft of long
white feathers fixt to the crown of their heads. Thus they approached,
carrying each of the scalps on a branch of the ever-green pine[XXXIX],
singing the awful death song, with a solemn striking air, and sometimes
YO HE WAH; now and then sounding the shrill death _Whóo Whoop Whoop_.
When they arrived, the leader went a-head of his company, round his
winter hot house, contrary to the course of the sun, singing the
monosyllable YO, for about the space of five seconds on a tenor key;
again, HE HE short, on a bass key; then WAH WAH, gutturally on the
treble, very shrill, but not so short as the bass note. In this manner
they repeated those sacred notes, YO, HE HE, WAH WAH, three times, while
they were finishing the circle, a strong emblem of the eternity of Him,
“who is, was, and is to come,” to whom they sung their triumphal song,
ascribing the victory over their enemies to his strong arm, instead of
their own, according to the usage of the Israelites by divine
appointment. The duplication of the middle and last syllables of the
four-lettered essential name of the deity, and the change of the key
from their established method of invoking YO HE WAH, when they are
drinking their bitter drink, (the _Cusseena_) in their temples, where
they always spend a long breath on each of the two first {165} syllables
of that awful divine song, seems designed to prevent a prophanation.

Footnote XXXIX:

  As the Indians carry their enemies scalps on small branches of
  evergreen pine, and wave the martial trophies on a pine-branch before
  YO HE WAH; I cannot help thinking that the pine was the emblematical
  tree so often mentioned in divine writ, by the plural name, _Shittim_;
  especially as the mountain Cedar, comparatively speaking, is low and
  does not seem to answer the description of the inspired writers;
  besides that כפר _Chepher_ is figuratively applied to the mercy-seat,
  signifying, literally, a screen, or cover against storms; which was
  pitched over with the gum of the pine-tree.

The leader’s _Hetissu_, “or waiter,” placed a couple of new blocks of
wood near the war pole, opposite to the door of the circular hot-house,
in the middle of which the fire-place stood; and on these blocks he
rested the supposed sacred ark, so that it and the holy fire faced each
other. The party were silent a considerable time. At length, the
chieftain bade them sit down, and then enquired whether his house was
prepared for the solemn occasion, according to his order the day before:
being answered in the affirmative, they soon rose up, sounded the death
whoop, and walked round the war pole; during which they invoked and sung
three times, YO, HE HE, WAH WAH, in the manner already described. Then
they went with their holy things in regular order into the hot-house,
where they continued, exclusive of the first broken day, three days and
nights apart from the rest of the people, purifying themselves with warm
lotions, and aspersions of the emblematical button-snake-root, without
any other subsistence between the rising and the setting of the sun.

During the other part of the time, the female relations of each of the
company, after having bathed, anointed, and drest themselves in their
finest, stood in two rows, one on each side of the door, facing each
other, from the evening till the morning, singing HA HA, HA HE, with a
soft shrill voice and a solemn moving air for more than a minute, and
then paused about ten minutes, before they renewed their triumphal song.
While they sung, they gave their legs a small motion, by the strong
working of their muscles, without seeming to bend their joints. When
they had no occasion to retire, they have stood erect in the same place,
a long frosty night; and except when singing, observed a most profound
silence the whole time. During that period, they have no intercourse
with their husbands; and they avoided several other supposed pollutions,
as not to eat or touch salt, and the like.

The leader, once in two or three hours came out at the head of his
company, and raising the death whoop, made one circle round the red
painted war pole, holding up in their right hands the small boughs of
pine with the scalps fixt to them, singing as above, waving them to and
fro, and then returned again. This religious order they strictly
observed the whole time {166} they were purifying themselves, and
singing the song of safety, and victory, to the goodness and power of
the divine essence. When the time of their purification and thanksgiving
expired, the men and women went and bathed themselves separately,
returned in the same manner, and anointed again, according to their
usual custom.

They joined soon after in a solemn procession, to fix the scalps on the
tops of the houses of their relations who had been killed without
revenge of blood. The war chieftain went first—his religious attendant
followed him; the warriors next, according to their rising merit; and
the songstresses brought up the rear. In this order they went round the
leader’s winter-house from the east to the north, the men striking up
the death whoop, and singing the death song; and then YO, HE HE, WAH
WAH, as described; the women also warbling HA HA, HA HE, so that one
might have said according to the sacred text, “great was the company of
the women who sung the song of triumph.”[XL] Then they fixed on the top
of the house, a twig of the pine they had brought with them, with a
small piece of one of the scalps fastened to it: and this order they
observed from house to house, till in their opinion they had appeased
the ghosts of their dead. They went and bathed again; and thus ended
their purification, and triumphal solemnity—only the leader and his
religious waiter kept apart three days longer, purifying themselves. I
afterward asked the reason of this—they replied they were _Ishtohoolo_.
This seems to be so plain a copy of the old Jewish customs, I am
satisfied the reader will easily discern the analogy, without any
farther observations.

Footnote XL:

  Last year I heard the Choktah women, in those towns which lie next to
  New Orleans, sing a regular anthem and dirge, in the dusk of the
  evening, while their kinsmen were gone to war against the Muskohge.

I cannot however conclude this argument, without a few remarks
concerning the Indian methods of _making peace_, and of renewing their
old friendship. They first smoke out of the friend-pipe, and eat
together; then they drink of the _Cusseena_, using such invocations as
have been mentioned, and proceed to wave their large fans of
eagles-tails,—concluding with a dance. The persons visited, appoint half
a dozen of their most active and expert young warriors to perform this
religious duty, who have had their own temples adorned with the
swan-feather-cap. They paint their bodies with white clay, and cover
their heads with swan-down; then approaching the chief {167}
representative of the strangers, who by way of honour, and strong
assurance of friendship, is seated on the central white or holy seat,
“the beloved cabbin” (which is about nine feet long and seven feet
broad), they wave the eagles tails backward and forward over his
head[XLI]. Immediately they begin the solemn song with an awful air; and
presently they dance in a bowing posture; then they raise themselves so
erect, that their faces look partly upwards, waving the eagles tails
with their right hand toward heaven, sometimes with a slow, at others
with a quick motion; at the same time they touch their breast with their
small callabash and pebbles fastened to a stick of about a foot long,
which they hold in their left hand, keeping time with the motion of the
eagles tails: during the dance, they repeat the usual divine notes, YO,
&c. and wave the eagles tails now and then over the stranger’s head, not
moving above two yards backward or forward before him. They are so
surprisingly expert in their supposed religious office, and observe time
so exactly, with their particular gestures and notes, that there is not
the least discernible discord. If the Hebrews danced this way, (as there
is strong presumptive proof) they had very sweating work, for every
joint, artery, and nerve, is stretched to the highest pitch of exertion;
and this may account for Saul’s daughter Michal, chiding David for
falling in with the common dancers.

Footnote XLI:

  When they are disaffected, or intend to declare war, they will not
  allow any of the party against whom they have hostile views, to
  approach the white seat; as their holy men, and holy places, are
  considered firmly bound to keep good faith, and give sure refuge.
  Indeed in the year 1750, after having narrowly escaped with my life
  from the Cheerake lower towns, I met two worthy gentlemen at the
  settlement of Ninety-six, who were going to them. I earnestly
  dissuaded them against pursuing their journey, but without effect:
  when they arrived at the middle Cheerake towns, the old beloved men
  and war chieftains invited them and twenty of the traders to go in the
  evening to their town-house, to sit on their white beloved seat,
  partake of their feast, and smoke together with kindly hearts,
  according to their old friendly custom. The gentlemen happily rejected
  the invitation, and boldly told them they were apprised of their
  treacherous intentions: they braved a little, to surprise and
  intimidate the Indians, and then mounted, directed their course toward
  the place where a treacherous ambuscade had been laid for them—but
  they soon silently took another course, and passing through an
  unsuspected difficult marsh, and almost pathless woods, by the dawn of
  the morning they reached the Georgia side of Savannah river, which was
  about 80 miles, where a body of the Muskohge chanced to be preparing
  for war against the treacherous Cheerake. These protected them from
  their pursuers, and the gentlemen arrived safe at Augusta, the upper
  barrier and Indian mart of Georgia.

The Indians cannot shew greater honour to the greatest potentate on
earth, than to place him in the white seat—invoke YO HE WAH, while {168}
he is drinking the Cusseena, and dance before him with the eagles
tails.[71] When two chieftains are renewing, or perpetuating friendship
with each other, they are treated with the same ceremonies. And in their
circular friendly dances, when they honour their guests, and pledge
themselves to keep good faith with them, they sometimes sing their
divine notes with a very awful air, pointing their right hand towards
the sky. Some years ago, I saw the Kooasahte Indians (two hundred miles
up Mobile river) perform this rite with much solemnity; as if invoking
the deity by their notes and gestures, to enable them to shew good-will
to their fellow-creatures, and to bear witness of their faithful vows
and conduct. This custom is plainly not derived from the old Scythians,
or any other part of the heathen world. Their forms and usages when they
made peace, or pledged faith, and contracted friendship with each other,
were widely different: but to those of the Jews it hath the nearest

                             ARGUMENT XVII.

The Indian origin and descent may also be in some measure discerned by
their taste for, and kind of ORNAMENTS.[72]

The Israelites were fond of wearing beads and other ornaments, even as
early as the patriarchal age, and the taste increased to such a degree
that it became criminal, and was sharply reprehended by the prophets,
particularly Isaiah. The Israelitish women wore rich garters about their
legs, and against the rules of modesty, they shortened their under
garments, in order to shew how their legs and feet were decorated;
Isaiah, chap. iii. 18. “The Lord will take away the bravery of their
tinkling ornaments about their feet,” which loaded them so heavy that
they could scarcely walk; and ver. 19, 20, 21. “The chains and the
bracelets—The ornaments of the legs—and the ear-rings—The rings and nose
jewels.” In resemblance to these customs, the Indian females continually
wear a beaded string round their legs, made of buffalo-hair, which is a
species of coarse wool; and they reckon it a great ornament, as well as
a preservative against miscarriages, hard labour, and other evils. They
wear also a heap of land {169} tortoise-shells with pebbles or beads in
them, fastened to pieces of deer-skins, which they tie to the outside of
their legs, when they mix with the men in their religious dances.

The Indian nations are agreed in the custom of thus adorning themselves
with beads of various sizes and colours; sometimes wrought in garters,
sashes, necklaces, and in strings round their wrists; and so from the
crown of their heads sometimes to the cartilage of the nose. And they
doat on them so much as to make them their current money in all payments
to this day.

Before we supplied them with our European beads, they had great
quantities of wampum; (the Buccinum of the ancients) made out of
conch-shell, by rubbing them on hard stones, and so they form them
according to their liking. With these they bought and sold at a stated
current rate, without the least variation for circumstances either of
time or place; and now they will hear nothing patiently of loss or gain,
or allow us to heighten the price of our goods, be our reasons ever so
strong, or though the exigencies and changes of time may require it.
Formerly, four deer-skins was the price of a large conch-shell bead,
about the length and thickness of a man’s fore-finger; which they fixed
to the crown of their head, as an high ornament—so greatly they valued
them. Their beads bear a very near resemblance to ivory, which was
highly esteemed by the Hebrews.

The new-England writers assure us, that the Naragansat Indians paid to
the colony of Massachusetts, two hundred fathoms of wampum, only in part
of a debt; and at another payment one-hundred fathoms: which shews the
Indian custom of wearing beads has prevailed far north on this
continent, and before the first settling of our colonies.

According to the oriental custom, they wear ear-rings and finger-rings
in abundance. Tradition says, they followed the like custom before they
became acquainted with the English.

The men and women in old times used such coarse diamonds, as their own
hilly country produced, when each had a bit of stone fastened with a
{170} deer’s sinew to the tying of their hair, their nose, ears, and
maccaseenes: but from the time we supplied them with our European
ornaments, they have used brass and silver ear-rings, and
finger-rings;[73] the young warriors now frequently fasten bell-buttons,
or pieces of tinkling brass to their maccaseenes, and to the outside of
their boots, instead of the old turky-cock-spurs which they formerly
used. Both sexes esteem the above things, as very great ornaments of
dress, and commonly load the parts with each sort, in proportion to
their ability of purchasing them: it is a common trading rule with us,
to judge of the value of an Indian’s effects, by the weight of his
fingers, wrists, ears, crown of his head, boots, and maccaseenes—by the
quantity of red paint daubed on his face, and by the shirt about the
collar, shoulders, and back, should he have one.

Although the same things are commonly alike used or disused, by males
and females; yet they distinguish their sexes in as exact a manner as
any civilized nation. The women bore small holes in the lobe of their
ears for their rings, but the young heroes cut a hole round almost the
extremity of both their ears, which till healed, they stretch out with a
large tuft of buffalo’s wool mixt with bear’s oil: then they twist as
much small wire round as will keep them extended in that hideous form.
This custom however is wearing off apace. They formerly wore
_nose-rings_, or jewels, both in the northern and southern regions of
America, according to a similar custom of the Jews and easterns; and in
some places they still observe it. At present, they hang a piece of
battered silver or pewter, or a large bead to the nostril, like the
European method of treating swine, to prevent them from rooting the
earth; this, as well as the rest of their customs, is a true picture and
good copy of their supposed early progenitors.

I have been among the Indians at a drinking match, when several of their
beaus have been humbled as low as death, for the great loss of their big
ears. Being so widely extended, it is as easy for a person to take hold
of, and pull them off, as to remove a couple of small hoops were they
hung within reach; but if the ear after the pull, stick to their head by
one end, when they get sober, they pare and sew it together with a
needle and deer’s sinews, after sweating him in a stove. Thus the
disconsolate warrior recovers his former cheerfulness, and hath a
lasting caution of not putting his ears a second time in danger with bad
company: {171} however, it is not deemed a scandal to lose their ears by
any accident, because they became slender and brittle, by their virtuous
compliance with that favourite custom of their ancestors.

                            ARGUMENT XVIII.

The Indian manner of CURING THEIR SICK, is very similar to that of the
Jews. They always invoke YO HE WAH, a considerable space of time before
they apply any medicines, let the case require ever so speedy an
application. The more desperately ill their patients are, the more
earnestly they invoke the deity on the sad occasion. Like the Hebrews,
they firmly believe that diseases and wounds are occasioned by the holy
fire, or divine anger, in proportion to some violation of the old
beloved speech. The Jews had but small skill in physic.—They called a
physician “a binder of wounds,” for he chiefly poured oil into the
wounds and bound them up. They were no great friends to this kind of
learning and science; and their Talmud has this proverb, “the best
physicians go to hell.” King Asa was reproved for having applied to
physicians, for his disease in his feet. The little use they made of the
art of medicine, especially for internal maladies; and their persuasion
that distempers were either the immediate effects of God’s anger, or
caused by evil spirits, led them to apply themselves to the prophets, or
to diviners, magicians and enchanters. Hezekiah’s boil was cured by
Isaiah—Benhadad king of Syria, and Naaman the Syrian applied to the
prophet Elisha, and Ahaziah king of Israel sent to consult Baal-zebub.
The Indians deem the curing their sick or wounded a very religious duty;
and it is chiefly performed by their supposed prophets, and magi,
because they believe they are inspired with a great portion of the
divine fire. On these occasion they sing YO YO, on a low bass key for
two or three minutes very rapidly; in like manner, HE HE, and WA WA.
Then they transpose and accent those sacred notes with great vehemence,
and supplicating fervor, rattling all the while a calabash with small
pebble-stones, in imitation of the old Jewish rattles, to make a greater
sound, and {172} as it were move the deity to co-operate with their
simple means and finish the cure[XLII].

Footnote XLII:

  Formerly, an old Nachee warrior who was blind of one eye, and very
  dim-sighted in the other, having heard of the surprising skill of the
  European oculists, fancied I could cure him. He frequently importuned
  me to perform that friendly office, which I as often declined. But he
  imagining all my excuses were the effect of modesty and caution, was
  the more importunate, and would take no denial. I was at last obliged
  to commence Indian oculist. I had just drank a glass of rum when he
  came to undergo the operation at the time appointed; he observing my
  glass, said, it was best to defer it till the next day.—I told him, I
  drank so on purpose, for as the white people’s physic and beloved
  songs were quite different from what the red people applied and sung,
  it was usual with our best physicians to drink a little, to heighten
  their spirits, and enable them to sing with a strong voice, and
  likewise to give their patients a little, to make their hearts weigh
  even within them; he consented, and lay down as if he was dead,
  according to their usual custom. After a good many wild ceremonies, I
  sung up _Sheela na Guira_, “will you drink wine?” Then I drank to my
  patient, which on my raising him up, he accepted: I gave him several
  drinks of grogg, both to divert myself, and purify the obtruding
  supposed sinner. At last, I applied my materia medica, blowing a quill
  full of fine burnt allum and roman vitriol into his eye. Just as I was
  ready to repeat it, he bounded up out of his seemingly dead state,
  jumped about, and said, my songs and physic were not good. When I
  could be heard, I told him the English beloved songs and physic were
  much stronger than those of the red people, and that when they did not
  immediately produce such an effect as he found, it was a sure sign
  they were good for nothing, but as they were taking place, he would
  soon be well. He acquiesced because of the soporific dose I gave him.
  But ever after, he reckoned he had a very narrow chance of having his
  eye burnt out by _Loak Ishtohoolo_, for drinking _Ooka Hoome_, “the
  bitter waters,” and presuming to get cured by an impure accursed
  nothing, who lied, drank, ate hog’s flesh, and sung _Tarooa
  Ookproo’sto_, “the devil’s tune,” or the song of the evil ones.

When the Indian physicians visit their supposed irreligious patients,
they approach them in a bending posture, with their rattling
calabash,[74] preferring that sort to the North-American gourds: and in
that bent posture of body, they run two or three times round the sick
person, contrary to the course of the sun, invoking God as already
exprest. Then they invoke the raven, and mimic his croaking voice: Now
this bird was an ill omen to the ancient heathens, as we may see by the
prophet Isaiah; so that common wisdom, or self-love, would not have
directed them to such a choice, if their traditions had represented it
as a bad symbol. But they chose it as an emblem of recovery, probably
from its indefatigableness in flying to and fro when sent out of the
ark, till he {173} found dry ground to rest on[XLIII]. They also place a
bason of cold water with some pebbles in it on the ground, near the
patient, then they invoke the fish, because of its cold element, to cool
the heat of the fever. Again, they invoke the eagle[75] (_Ooóle_) they
solicit him as he soars in the heavens, to bring down refreshing things
for their sick, and not to delay them, as he can dart down upon the
wing, quick as a flash of lightning. They are so tedious on this
subject, that it would be a task to repeat it: however, it may be
needful to observe, that they chuse the eagle because of its supposed
communicative virtues; and that it is according to its Indian name, a
cherubimical emblem, and the king of birds, of prodigious strength,
swiftness of wing, majestic stature, and loving its young ones so
tenderly, as to carry them on its back, and teach them to fly.

Footnote XLIII:

  The ancients drew bad presages from the situation, and croaking of
  ravens and crows. They looked on that place as unhappy, where either
  of them had croaked in the morning. Hesiod forbids to leave a house
  unfinished, lest a crow should chance to come and croak when sitting
  on it. And most of the illiterate peasants in Europe are tinctured
  with the like superstition, pretending to draw ill omens from its

Josephus tells us, that Solomon had a divine power conferred upon him,
of driving evil spirits out of possessed persons—that he invented
several incantations by which diseases were cured—and left behind him
such a sure method of exorcising, as the dæmons never returned again:
and he assures us, the Jews followed the like custom as late as his own
time; and that he saw such a cure performed by one Eleazar. They
likewise imagined, that the liver of a fish would keep away evil
spirits, as one of the apocryphal writers acquaints us[XLIV]. {174}

Footnote XLIV:

  They imagined incense also to be a sure means to banish the devil;
  though asafœtida, or the devil’s dung, might have been much better. On
  Cant. iv. 6. “I will get me to the hill of incense,” the Chaldee
  paraphrast says, that, while the house of Israel kept the art of their
  holy fore-fathers, both the morning and mid-day evil spirits fled
  away, because the divine glory dwelt in the sanctuary, which was built
  on Mount Moriah; and that all the devils fled when they smelled the
  effluvia of the fine incense that was there. They likewise believed
  that herbs and roots had a power to expel dæmons. And Josephus tells
  us, that the root _Bara_, immediately drives out the devil. I suppose
  it had such a physical power against fevers and agues, as the jesuit’s

  The church of Rome, in order to have powerful holy things, as well as
  the Jews, applies salt, spittle, holy-water, and consecrated oil, to
  expel the devils from the credulous of their own persuasion; and the
  oil alone is used as a viaticum, on account of its lubricous quality,
  to make them slippery, and thereby prevent the devil from laying hold,
  and pulling them down when they ascend upward. They reckon that
  observance a most religious duty, and an infallible preservative
  against the legions of evil spirits who watch in the aerial regions;
  and also necessary to gain celestial admission for believers.

In the Summer-season of the year 1746, I chanced to see the Indians
playing at a house of the former Missisippi-Nachee,[76] on one of their
old sacred musical instruments. It pretty much resembled the
Negroe-Banger in shape, but far exceeded it in dimensions; for it was
about five feet long, and a foot wide on the head-part of the board,
with eight strings made out of the sinews of a large buffalo. But they
were so unskilful in acting the part of the Lyrick, that the _Loache_,
or prophet who held the instrument between his feet, and along side of
his chin, took one end of the bow, whilst a lusty fellow held the other;
by sweating labour they scraped out such harsh jarring sounds, as might
have been reasonably expected by a soft ear, to have been sufficient to
drive out the devil if he lay any where hid in the house. When I
afterward asked him the name, and the reason of such a strange method of
diversion, he told me the dance was called _Keetla Ishto Hoollo_, “a
dance to, or before, the great holy one;” that it kept off evil spirit,
witches, and wizards, from the red people; and enabled them to ordain
elderly men to officiate in holy things, as the exigency of the times

He who danced to it, kept his place and posture, in a very exact manner,
without the least perceivable variation: yet by the prodigious working
of his muscles and nerves, he in about half an hour, foamed in a very
extraordinary manner, and discontinued it proportionally, till he
recovered himself. This surprising custom I have mentioned here, because
it was usual among the Hebrews, for their prophets to become furious,
and as it were beside themselves, when they were about to prophesy. Thus
with regard to Saul, it seems that he became furious, and tortured his
body by violent gestures: and when Elisha sent one of the children of
the prophets to anoint Jehu, one said to him, wherefore cometh this mad
fellow? The Chaldee paraphrast, on 1 Sam. xviii. 10. concerning Saul’s
prophesying, paraphrases it, cæpit furire, “he began to grow mad, &c.”

When the East-Indian Fakirs are giving out their pretended prophecies,
they chuse drums and trumpets, that by such confused striking sounds,
{175} their senses may be lulled asleep or unsettled, which might
otherwise render them uncapable of receiving the supposed divine
inspiration. And they endeavour to become thus possest before crowds of
people with a furious rage, by many frantic and violent motions of body,
and changes of posture, till they have raised it to the highest pitch
they are capable of, and then fall on the ground almost breathless; when
they recover themselves a little, they give out their prophecies, which
are deemed oracular.

Lactantius and others tell us, that the Sibyls were possest of the like
fury; and most part of the ancients believed they ought to become
furious, the members of the body to shake, and the hairs of their head
to stand an end before they could be divinely inspired: which seems
plainly to shew, that though the ancient heathens mimicked a great deal
of the Mosaic law, yet theirs had but a faint glance on the Hebrew
manner of consulting Yohewah; whereas the Indian Americans invoke the
true God, by his favourite essential name, in a bowing posture, on every
material occasion, whether civil, martial, or religious, contrary to the
usage of all the old heathen world.

In the year 1765, an old physician, or prophet, almost drunk with
spirituous liquors, came to pay me a friendly visit: his situation made
him more communicative than he would have been if quite sober. When he
came to the door, he bowed himself half bent, with his arms extended
north and south, continuing so perhaps for the space of a minute. Then
raising himself erect, with his arms in the same position, he looked in
a wild frightful manner, from the south-west toward the north, and sung
on a low bass key _Yo Yo Yo Yo_, almost a minute, then _He He He He_,
for perhaps the same space of time, and _Wa Wa Wa Wa_, in like manner;
and then transposed, and accented those sacred notes several different
ways, in a most rapid guttural manner. Now and then he looked upwards,
with his head considerably bent backward;—his song continued about a
quarter of an hour. As my door which was then open stood east, his face
of course looked toward the west; but whether the natives thus usually
invoke the deity, I cannot determine; yet as all their winter houses
have their doors toward the east, had he used the like solemn
invocations there, his face would have consequently looked the same way,
contrary to the usage of {176} the heathens. After his song, he stepped
in: I saluted him, saying, “Are you come my beloved old friend?” he
replied, _Arahre-O_. “I am come in the name of _OEA._” I told him, I was
glad to see, that in this mad age, he still retained the old Chikkasah
virtues. He said, that as he came with a glad heart to see me his old
friend, he imagined he could not do me a more kind service, than to
secure my house from the power of the evil spirits of the north, south,
and west,—and, from witches, and wizards, who go about in dark nights,
in the shape of bears, hogs, and wolves, to spoil people: “the very
month before, added he, we killed an old witch, for having used
destructive charms.” Because a child was suddenly taken ill, and died,
on the physician’s false evidence, the father went to the poor helpless
old woman who was sitting innocent, and unsuspecting, and sunk his
tomohawk into her head, without the least fear of being called to an
account. They call witches and wizards, _Ishtabe_, and _Hoollabe_,
“man-killers,” and “spoilers of things sacred.” My prophetic friend
desired me to think myself secure from those dangerous enemies of
darkness, for (said he) _Tarooa Ishtohoollo-Antarooare_, “I have sung
the song of the great holy one.” The Indians are so tenacious of
concealing their religious mysteries, that I never before observed such
an invocation on the like occasion—adjuring evil spirits, witches, &c.
by the awful name of deity.[77]

                             ARGUMENT XIX.

The Hebrews have at all times been very careful in the BURIAL of their
dead—to be deprived of it was considered as one of the greatest of
evils. They made it a point of duty to perform the funeral obsequies of
their friends—often embalmed the dead bodies of those who were rich, and
even buried treasure in the tombs with their dead. Josephus tells us,
that in king David’s sepulchre, was buried such a prodigious quantity of
treasures, that Hyrcanus the Maccabean, took three thousand talents out
of it, about thirteen hundred years after, to get rid of Antiochus then
besieging Jerusalem. And their people of distinction, we are told,
followed the like custom of burying gold and silver with the dead. Thus
it was an universal custom with the ancient Peruvians, when the owner
died to bury his {177} effects with him, which the avaricious Spaniards
perceiving, they robbed these store-houses of the dead of an immense
quantity of treasures. The modern Indians bury all their moveable
riches, according to the custom of the ancient Peruvians and Mexicans,
insomuch, that the grave is heir of all.

Except the Cheerake, only one instance of deviation, from this ancient
and general Indian custom occurs to me: which was that of _Malahche_,
the late famous chieftain of the _Kowwetah_ head war-town of the lower
part of the Muskohge country, who bequeathed all he possessed to his
real, and adopted relations,—being sensible they would be much more
useful to his living friends, than to himself during his long sleep: he
displayed a genius far superior to the crowd.

The Cheerake of late years, by the reiterated persuasion of the traders,
have entirely left off the custom of burying effects with the dead body;
the nearest of blood inherits them. They, and several other of our
Indian nations, used formerly to shoot all the live stock that belonged
to the deceased, soon after the interment of the corpse; not according
to the Pagan custom of the funeral piles, on which they burned several
of the living, that they might accompany and wait on the dead, but from
a narrow-hearted avaricious principle, derived from their Hebrew

Notwithstanding the North-American Indians, like the South-Americans,
inter the whole riches of the deceased with him, and so make his corpse
and the grave heirs of all, they never give them the least disturbance;
even a blood-thirsty enemy will not despoil nor disturb the dead. The
grave proves an asylum, and a sure place of rest to the sleeping person,
till at some certain time, according to their opinion, he rises again to
inherit his favourite place,—unless the covetous, or curious hand of
some foreigner, should break through his sacred bounds. This custom of
burying the dead person’s treasures with him, has entirely swallowed up
their medals, and other monuments of antiquity, without any probability
of recovering them[XLV]. {178}

Footnote XLV:

  In the Tuccabatches on the Tallapoose river, thirty miles above the
  Allabahamah garrison, are two brazen tables, and five of copper. They
  esteem them so sacred as to keep them constantly in their holy of
  holies, without touching them in the least, only in the time of their
  compounded first-fruit-offering, and annual expiation of sins; at
  which season, their magus carries one under his arm, a-head of the
  people, dancing round the sacred arbour; next to him their
  head-warrior carries another; and those warriors who chuse it, carry
  the rest after the manner of the high-priest; all the others carry
  white canes with swan-feathers at the top. Hearing accidentally of
  these important monuments of antiquity, and enquiring pretty much
  about them, I was certified of the truth of the report by four of the
  southern traders, at the most eminent Indian-trading house of all
  English America. One of the gentlemen informed me, that at my request
  he endeavoured to get a liberty of viewing the aforesaid tables, but
  it could not possibly be obtained, only in the time of the yearly
  grand sacrifice, for fear of polluting their holy things, at which
  time gentlemen of curiosity may see them. _Old Bracket_, an Indian of
  perhaps 100 years old, lives in that old beloved town, who gave the
  following description of them:

[Illustration: image]

  _Old Bracket’s_ account of the _five copper_ and _two brass plates_
  under the beloved cabbin in Tuccabatchey-square.

  The shape of the five copper plates; one is a foot and half long and
  seven inches wide, the other four are shorter and narrower.

  The largest stamped thus [Illustration: i_188b] The shape of the two
  brass plates,—about a foot and a half in diameter.

  He said—he was told by his forefathers that those plates were given to
  them by the man we call God; that there had been many more of other
  shapes, some as long as he could stretch with both his arms, and some
  had writing upon them which were buried with particular men; and that
  they had instructions given with them, viz. they must only be handled
  by particular people, and those fasting; and no unclean woman must be
  suffered to come near them or the place where they are deposited. He
  said, none but this town’s people had any such plates given them, and
  that they were a different people from the Creeks. He only remembered
  three more, which were buried with three of his family, and he was the
  only man of the family now left. He said, there were two copper plates
  under the king’s cabbin, which had lain there from the first settling
  of the town.

  This account was taken in the Tuccabatchey-square, 27th July, 1759,
  per _Will. Bolsover_. (A) It was at this town, the great Shawnee
  leader, Tecumseh, delivered orations against the Americans and their
  government which led the Upper Creeks to rise in arms (1813), and
  finally to the Creek War. The same plates are referred to in C. Swan’s
  Account in Schoolcraft’s _Information Indian Tribes_, V, 283. (W)

As the Hebrews carefully buried their dead, so on any accident, they
gathered their bones and laid them in the tombs of their
fore-fathers:[78] Thus, all the numerous nations of Indians perform the
like friendly office to every deceased person of their respective tribe;
insomuch, that those who {179} lose their people at war, if they have
not corrupted their primitive customs, are so observant of this kindred
duty, as to appropriate some time to collect the bones of their
relations; which they call _bone gathering_, or “gathering the bones to
their kindred,” according to the Hebrew idiom[XLVI]. The Cheerake, by
reason of their great intercourse with foreigners, have dropped that
friendly office: and as they seem to be more intelligent than the rest
of our English-American Indians in their religious rites, and ceremonial
observances, so I believe, the fear of pollution has likewise
contributed to obliterate that ancient kindred duty. However, they
separate those of their people who die at home, from others of a
different nation; and every particular tribe indeed of each nation bears
an intense love to itself, and divides every one of its people from the
rest, both while living, and after they are dead.

Footnote XLVI:

  With the Hebrews, “to gather,” usually signified to die. Gen. xlix.
  33. Jacob is said to be gathered to his people. Psal. xxvi. 9. Gather
  not my soul with sinners. And Numb. xx. 24. Aaron shall be gathered to
  his people.

When any of them die at a distance, if the company be not driven and
pursued by the enemy, they place the corpse on a scaffold,[79] covered
with notched logs to secure it from being torn by wild beasts, or fowls
of prey: when they imagine the flesh is consumed, and the bones are
thoroughly dried, they return to the place, bring them home, and inter
them in a very solemn manner. They will not associate with us, when we
are burying any of our people, who die in their land: and they are
unwilling we should join with them while they are performing this
kindred duty to theirs. Upon which account, though I have lived among
them in the raging time of the small pox, even of the confluent sort, I
never saw but one buried, who was a great favourite of the English, and
chieftain of _Ooeasa_, as formerly described.

The Indians use the same ceremonies to the bones of their dead, as if
they were covered with their former skin, flesh, and ligaments. It is
but a few days since I saw some return with the bones of nine of their
people, who had been two months before killed by the enemy. They were
tied in white deer-skins, separately; and when carried by the door of
one of the houses of their family, they were laid down opposite to it,
till the female {180} relations convened, with flowing hair, and wept
over them about half an hour. Then they carried them home to their
friendly magazines of mortality, wept over them again, and then buried
them with the usual solemnities; putting their valuable effects, and as
I am informed, other convenient things in along with them, to be of
service to them in the next state. The chieftain carried twelve short
sticks tied together, in the form of a quadrangle; so that each square
consisted of three. The sticks were only peeled, without any paintings;
but there were swans feathers tied to each corner, and as they called
that frame, _Tereekpe tobeh_, “a white circle,” and placed it over the
door, while the women were weeping over the bones, perhaps it was
originally designed to represent the holy fire, light, and spirit, who
formerly presided over the four principal standards of the twelve tribes
of Israel.

When any of their people die at home, they wash and anoint the corpse,
and soon bring it out of doors for fear of pollution; then they place it
opposite to the door, on the skins of wild beasts, in a sitting posture,
as looking into the door of the winter house, westward, sufficiently
supported with all his moveable goods; after a short elogium, and space
of mourning, they carry him three times around the house in which he is
to be interred, stopping half a minute each time, at the place where
they began the circle, while the religious man of the deceased person’s
family, who goes before the hearse, says each time, _Yàh_, short with a
bass voice, and then invokes on a tenor key, _Yo_, which at the same
time is likewise sung by all the procession, as long as one breath
allows. Again, he strikes up, on a sharp treble key, the fœminine note,
_He_, which in like manner, is taken up and continued by the rest: then
all of them suddenly strike off the solemn chorus, and sacred
invocation, by saying, on a low key, _Wàh_; which constitute the divine
essential name, _Yohewah_. This is the method in which they performed
the funeral rites of the chieftain before referred to; during which
time, a great many of the traders were present, as our company was
agreeable at the interment of our declared patron and friend. It seems
as if they buried him in the name of the divine essence, and directed
their plaintive religious notes to the author of life and death, in
hopes of a resurrection of the body; which hope engaged the Hebrews to
stile their burying places, “the house of the living.” {181}

When they celebrated these funeral rites of the above chieftain, they
laid the corpse in his tomb, in a sitting posture, with his face towards
the east, his head anointed with bear’s oil, and his face painted red,
but not streaked with black, because that is a constant emblem of war
and death; he was drest in his finest apparel, having his gun and pouch,
and trusty hiccory bow, with a young panther’s skin, full of arrows,
along side of him, and every other useful thing he had been possessed
of,—that when he rises again, they may serve him in that tract of land
which pleased him best before he went to take his long sleep. His tomb
was firm and clean in-side. They covered it with thick logs, so as to
bear several tiers of cypress-bark, and such a quantity of clay as would
confine the putrid smell, and be on a level with the rest of the floor.
They often sleep over those tombs; which, with the loud wailing of the
women at the dusk of the evening, and dawn of the day, on benches close
by the tombs, must awake the memory of their relations very often: and
if they were killed by an enemy, it helps to irritate and set on such
revengeful tempers to retaliate blood for blood.

The Egyptians either embalmed, or buried, their dead: other heathen
nations imagined that fire purified the body; they burned therefore the
bodies of their dead, and put their ashes into small urns, which they
religiously kept by them, as sacred relicks. The Tartars called
_Kyrgessi_, near the frozen sea, formerly used to hang their dead
relations and friends upon trees, to be eaten by ravenous birds to
purify them. But the Americans seem evidently to have derived their copy
from the Israelites, as to the place where they bury their dead, and the
method of their funeral ceremonies, as well as the persons with whom
they are buried, and the great expenses they are at in their burials.
The Hebrews buried near the city of Jerusalem, by the brook Kedron; and
they frequently hewed their tombs out of rocks, or buried their dead
opposite to their doors, implying a silent lesson of friendship, and a
pointing caution to live well. They buried all of one family together;
to which custom David alludes, when he says, “gather me not with the
wicked:” and Sophronius said with regard to the like form, “noli me
tangere, hæretice, neque vivum nec mortuum.” But they buried strangers
apart by themselves, and named the place, _Kebhare Galeya_, “the burying
place of strangers.” And these rude Americans are so strongly partial to
the same custom, that they imagine if any of us {182} were buried in the
domestic tombs of their kindred, without being adopted, it would be very
criminal in them to allow it; and that our spirits would haunt the eaves
of their houses at night, and cause several misfortunes to their family.

In resemblance to the Hebrew custom of embalming their dead, the Choktah
treat the corpse just as the religious Levite did his beloved concubine,
who was abused by the Benjamites; for having placed the dead on a high
scaffold stockaded round, at the distance of twelve yards from his house
opposite to the door, the whole family convene there at the beginning of
the fourth moon after the interment, to lament and feast together: after
wailing a while on the mourning benches, which stand on the east side of
the quadrangular tomb, they raise and bring out the corpse, and while
the feast is getting ready, a person whose office it is, and properly
called the bone-picker, dissects it, as if it was intended for the
shambles in the time of a great famine, with his sharp-pointed, bloody
knife. He continues busily employed in his reputed sacred office, till
he has finished the task, and scraped all the flesh off the bones; which
may justly be called the Choktah method of enbalming their dead. Then,
they carefully place the bones in a kind of small chest, in their
natural order, that they may with ease and certainty be some time
afterward reunited, and proceed to strike up a song of lamentation, with
various wailing tunes and notes: afterwards, they join as cheerfully in
the funeral feast, as if their kinsman was only taking his usual sleep.
Having regaled themselves with a plentiful variety, they go along with
those beloved relicks of their dead, in solemn procession, lamenting
with doleful notes, till they arrive at the bone-house, which stands in
a solitary place, apart from the town: then they proceed around it, much
after the manner of those who performed the obsequies of the Chikkasah
chieftain, already described, and there deposit their kinsman’s bones to
lie along side of his kindred-bones, till in due time they are revived
by _Ishtohoollo Aba_, that he may repossess his favourite place.

Those bone-houses are scaffolds raised on durable pitch-pine forked
posts, in the form of a house covered a-top, but open at both ends. I
saw three of them in one of their towns, pretty near each other—the
place seemed to be unfrequented; each house contained the bones of one
tribe, {183} separately, with the hieoglyphical figures of the family on
each of the old-shaped arks: they reckon it irreligious to mix the bones
of a relation with those of a stranger, as bone of bone, and flesh of
the same flesh, should be always joined together; and much less will
they thrust the body of their beloved kinsman into the abominable tomb
of a hateful enemy. I observed a ladder fixed in the ground, opposite to
the middle of the broad side of each of those dormitories of the dead,
which was made out of a broad board, and stood considerably bent over
the sacred repository, with the steps on the inside. On the top was the
carved image of a dove, with its wings stretched out, and its head
inclining down, as if earnestly viewing or watching over the bones of
the dead: and from the top of the ladder to almost the surface of the
earth, there hung a chain of grape-vines twisted together, in circular
links, and the same likewise at their domestic tombs. Now the dove after
the deluge, became the emblem of _Rowah_, the holy spirit, and in
process of time was deified by the heathen world, instead of the divine
person it typified: the vine was likewise a symbol of fruitfulness, both
in the animal and vegetable world.

To perpetuate the memory of any remarkable warriors killed in the woods,
I must here observe, that every Indian traveller as he passes that way
throws a stone on the place, according as he likes or dislikes the
occasion, or manner of the death of the deceased.[80]

In the woods we often see innumerable heaps of small stones in those
places, where according to tradition some of their distinguished people
were either killed, or buried, till the bones could be gathered: there
they add _Pelion_ to _Ossa_, still increasing each heap, as a lasting
monument, and honour to them, and an incentive to great actions.

Mercury was a favourite god with the heathens, and had various
employments; one of which was to be god of the roads, to direct
travellers aright—from which the ancient Romans derived their _Dii
Compitales_, or _Dei Viales_, which they likewise placed at the meeting
of roads, and in the high ways, and esteemed them the patrons and
protectors of travellers. The early heathens placed great heaps of
stones at the dividing of {184} the roads, and consecrated those heaps
to him by unction[XLVII], and other religious ceremonies. And in honour
to him, travellers threw a stone to them, and thus exceedingly increased
their bulk: this might occasion Solomon to compare the giving honour to
a fool, to throwing a stone into a heap, as each were alike insensible
of the obligation; and to cause the Jewish writers to call this custom a
piece of idolatrous worship. But the Indians place those heaps of stones
where there are no dividings of the roads, nor the least trace of any
road[XLVIII]. And they then observe no kind of religious ceremony, but
raise those heaps merely to do honour to their dead, and incite the
living to the pursuit of virtue. Upon which account, it seems to be
derived from the ancient Jewish custom of increasing Absalom’s tomb; for
the last things are easiest retained, because people repeat them
oftenest, and imitate them most.[81] {185}

Footnote XLVII:

  They rubbed the principal stone of each of those heaps all over with
  oil, as a sacrifice of libation; by which means they often became
  black, and slippery; as Arnobius relates of the idols of his time;
  Lubricatum lapidem, et ex olivi unguine fordidatum, tanquam inesset
  vis presens, adulabar. _Arnob. Advers. Gent._

Footnote XLVIII:

  Laban and Jacob raised a heap of stones, as a lasting monument of
  their friendly covenant. And Jacob called the heap _Galeed_, “the heap
  of witness.” Gen. xxxi. 47.

Though the Cheerake do not now collect the bones of their dead, yet they
continue to raise and multiply heaps of stones, as monuments for their
dead; this the English army remembers well, for in the year 1760, having
marched about two miles along a wood-land path, beyond a hill where they
had seen a couple of these reputed tombs, at the war-woman’s creek, they
received so sharp a defeat by the Cheerake, that another such must have
inevitably ruined the whole army.

Many of those heaps are to be seen, in all parts of the continent of
North-America: where stones could not be had, they raised large hillocks
or mounds of earth, wherein they carefully deposited the bones of their
dead, which were placed either in earthen vessels, or in a simple kind
of arks, or chests. Although the Mohawk Indians may be reasonably
expected to have lost their primitive customs, by reason of their great
intercourse with foreigners, yet I was told by a gentleman of
distinguished character, that they observe the aforesaid sepulchral
custom to this day, insomuch, that when they are performing that
kindred-duty, they cry out, _Mahoom Taguyn Kameneh_, “Grandfather, I
cover you.”

                              ARGUMENT XX.

The Jewish records tell us, that their women MOURNED for the loss of
their deceased husbands, and were reckoned vile, by the civil law, if
they married in the space, at least, of ten months after their death. In
resemblance to that custom, all the Indian widows, by an established
strict penal law, mourn for the loss of their deceased husbands; and
among some tribes for the space of three or four years. But the
East-India Pagans forced the widow, to sit on a pile of wood, and hold
the body of her husband on her knees, to be consumed together in the

The Muskohge widows are obliged to live a chaste single life, for the
tedious space of four years; and the Chikkasah women, for the term of
three, at the risque of the law of adultery being executed against the
recusants. Every evening, and at the very dawn of day, for the first
year of her widowhood, she is obliged through the fear of shame to
lament her loss, in very intense audible strains. As _Yah ah_ signifies
weeping, lamenting, mourning, or Ah God; and as the widows, and others,
in their grief bewail and cry _Yo He (ta) Wah, Yohetaweh_; _Yohetaha
Yohetahe_, the origin is sufficiently clear. For the Hebrews reckoned it
so great an evil to die unlamented, like Jehoiakim, Jer. xxii. 18. “who
had none to say, Ah, my brother! Ah, my sister! Ah, my Lord! Ah, his
glory!” that it is one of the four judgments they pray against, and it
is called the burial of an ass. With them, burying signified lamenting,
and so the Indian widows direct their mournful cries to the author of
life and death, insert a plural note in the sacred name, and again
transpose the latter, through an invariable religious principle, to
prevent a prophanation.

Their law compels the widow, through the long term of her weeds, to
refrain all public company and diversions, at the penalty of an
adulteress; {186} and likewise to go with flowing hair, without the
privilege of oil to anoint it. The nearest kinsmen of the deceased
husband, keep a very watchful eye over her conduct, in this respect. The
place of interment is also calculated to wake the widow’s grief, for he
is intombed in the house under her bed. And if he was a war-leader, she
is obliged for the first moon, to sit in the day-time under his mourning
war-pole[XLIX], which is decked with all his martial trophies, and must
be heard to cry with bewailing notes. But none of them are fond of that
month’s supposed religious duty, it chills, or sweats, and wastes them
so exceedingly; for they are allowed no shade, or shelter. This sharp
rigid custom excites the women to honour the marriage-state, and keeps
them obliging to their husbands, by anticipating the visible sharp
difficulties which they must undergo for so great a loss. The three or
four years monastic life, which she lives after his death, makes it her
interest to strive by every means, to keep in his lamp of life, be it
ever so dull and worthless; if she is able to shed tears on such an
occasion, they often proceed from self-love. We can generally
distinguish between the widow’s natural mourning voice, and her tuneful
laboured strain. She doth not so much bewail his death, as her own
recluse life, and hateful state of celibacy; which to many of them, is
an uneligible, as it was to the Hebrew ladies, who preferred death
before the unmarried state, and reckoned their virginity a bewailable
condition, like the state of the dead.

Footnote XLIX:

  The war-pole is a small peeled tree painted red, the top and boughs
  cut off short: it is fixt in the ground opposite to his door, and all
  his implements of war, are hung on the short boughs of it, till they

The Choktah Indians hire mourners to magnify the merit and loss of their
dead, and if their tears cannot be seen to flow, their shrill voices
will be heard to cry, which answers the solemn chorus a great deal
better[L]. However, they are no way churlish of their tears, for I have
seen them, on the occasion, pour them out, like fountains of water: but
after having {187} thus tired themselves, they might with equal
propriety have asked by-standers in the manner of the native Irish, Ara
ci fuar bass—“And who is dead?”

Footnote L:

  Jer. ix. 17. 19. Thus saith the Lord of hosts: consider ye, and call
  for the mourning-women, that they may come; and send for cunning
  women, that they may come. For a voice of wailing is heard out of
  Zion, how are we spoiled? we are greatly confounded, because we have
  forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast us out.

They formerly dressed their heads with black moss on those solemn
occasions; and the ground adjacent to the place of interment, they now
beat with laurel-brushes, the women having their hair disheveled: the
first of which customs seems to be derived from the Hebrew custom of
wearing sack-cloth at their funeral solemnities, and on other occasions,
when they afflicted their souls before God—to which divine writ often
alludes, in describing the blackness of the skies: and the laurel being
an ever-green, is a lively emblem of the eternity of the human soul, and
the pleasant state it enters into after death, according to antiquity.
They beat it on the ground, to express their sharp pungent grief; and,
perhaps, to imitate the Hebrew trumpeters for the dead, in order to make
as striking a sound as they possibly can on so doleful an occasion.

Though the Hebrews had no positive precept that obliged the widow to
mourn the death of her husband, or to continue her widowhood, for any
time; yet the gravity of their tempers, and their scrupulous nicety of
the law of purity, introduced the observance of those modest and
religious customs, as firmly under the penalty of shame, as if they bore
the sanction of law[LI]. In imitation of them, the Indians have copied
so exactly, as to compel the widow to act the part of the disconsolate
dove, for the irreparable loss of her mate. Very different is the custom
of other nations:—the Africans, when any of their head-men die, kill all
their slaves, their friends that were dearest to them, and all their
wives whom they loved best, that they may accompany and serve them, in
the other world, which is a most diabolical Ammonitish sacrifice of
human blood. The East-India widows may refuse to be burned on their
husbands funeral piles, with impunity, if they become prostitutes, or
public women to sing and dance at marriages, or on other occasions of
rejoicing. How superior {188} is the virtuous custom of the savage
Americans, concerning female chastity during the time of their

Footnote LI:

  Theodosius tells us, Lib. I. Legum de fecundis nuptiis, that women
  were infamous by the civil law, who married a second time before a
  year, or at least ten months were expired.

The Indian women mourn three moons, for the death of any female of their
own family or tribe. During that time, they are not to anoint, or tie up
their hair; neither is the husband of the deceased allowed, when the
offices of nature do not call him, to go out of the house, much less to
join any company: and in that time of mourning he often lies among the
ashes. The time being expired, the female mourners meet in the evening
of the beginning of the fourth moon, at the house where their female
relation is intombed, and stay there till morning, when the nearest
surviving old kinswoman crops their fore-locks pretty short. This they
call _Ehó Intànáah_, “the women have mourned the appointed time.” _Ehó_
signifies “a woman,” _Inta_ “finished by divine appointment,” _Aà_
“moving” or walking, and _Ah_, “their note of grief, sorrow, or
mourning:” the name expresses, and the custom is a visible certificate
of, their having mourned the appointed time for their dead. When they
have eaten and drank together, they return home by sun-rise, and thus
finish their solemn _Yah-ah_.[82]

                             ARGUMENT XXI.

The surviving brother, by the Mosaic law, was to RAISE SEED to a
deceased brother who left a widow childless, to perpetuate his name and
family, and inherit his goods and estate, or be degraded: and, if the
issue he begat was a male child, it assumed the name of the deceased.
The Indian custom[83] looks the very same way; yet it is in this as in
their law of blood—the eldest brother can redeem.

Although a widow is bound, by a strict penal law, to mourn the death of
her husband for the space of three or four years; yet, if she be known
to lament her loss with a sincere heart, for the space of a year, and
her circumstances of living are so strait as to need a change of her
station—and the elder brother of her deceased husband lies with her, she
is thereby exempted {189} from the law of mourning, has a liberty to tie
up her hair, anoint and paint herself in the same manner as the Hebrew
widow, who was refused by the surviving brother of her deceased husband,
became free to marry whom she pleased.

The warm-constitutioned young widows keep their eye so intent on this
mild beneficent law, that they frequently treat their elder
brothers-in-law with spirituous liquors till they intoxicate them, and
thereby decoy them to make free, and so put themselves out of the reach
of that mortifying law. If they are disappointed, as it sometimes
happens, they fall on the men, calling them _Hoobuk Wakse_, or
_Skoobále, Hassé kroopha_, “Eunuchus præputio detecto, et pene brevi;”
the most degrading of epithets. Similar to the Hebrew ladies, who on the
brother’s refusal loosed his shoe from his foot, and spit in his face,
(Deut. xxv. 9.); and as some of the Rabbies tell us they made water in
the shoe, and threw it with despite in his face, and then readily went
to bed to any of his kinsmen, or most distant relations of the same line
that she liked best; as Ruth married Boaz. Josephus, to palliate the
fact, says she only beat him with the shoe over his face. David probably
alludes to this custom, Psal. lx. 8. “Over Edom I will cast out my
shoe,” or detraction.

Either by corruption, or misunderstanding that family-kissing custom of
the Hebrews, the corrupt Cheerake marry both mother and daughter at
once; though, unless in this instance, they and all the other savage
nations observe the degrees of consanguinity in a stricter manner than
the Hebrews, or even the Christian world. The Cheerake do not marry
their first or second cousins;[84] and it is very observable, that the
whole tribe reckon a friend in the same rank with a brother, both with
regard to marriage, and any other affair in social life. This seems to
evince that they copied from the stable and tender friendship between
Jonathan and David; especially as the Hebrews had legal, or adopted, as
well as natural brothers. {190}

                             ARGUMENT XXII.

When the Israelites gave names to their children or others, they chose
such appellatives as suited best with their circumstances, and the
times. This custom was as early as the Patriarchal age; for we find
Abram was changed into Abraham; Sarai into Sarah, Jacob into Israel;—and
afterwards Oshea, Joshua, Solomon, Jedidiah, &c. &c. This custom is a
standing rule with the Indians, and I never observed the least deviation
from it. They give their children names, expressive of their tempers,
outward appearances, and other various circumstances; a male child, they
will call _Choola_, “the fox;” and a female, _Pakahle_, “the blossom, or
flower.” The father and mother of the former are called _Choollingge_,
and _Choollishke_, “the father and mother of the fox;” in like manner,
those of the latter, _Pakahlingge_, and _Pakahlishke_; for _Ingge_
signifies the father, and _Ishke_ the mother. In private life they are
so termed till that child dies; but after that period they are called by
the name of their next surviving child, or if they have none, by their
own name: and it is not known they ever mention the name of the child
that is extinct. They only faintly allude to it, saying, “the one that
is dead,” to prevent new grief, as they had before mourned the appointed
time. They who have no children of their own, adopt others, and assume
their names, in the manner already mentioned. This was of divine
appointment, to comfort the barren, and was analogous to the kindred
method of counting with the Hebrews: instead of surnames, they used in
their genealogies the name of the father, and prefixed _Ben_, “a son,”
to the person’s name. And thus the Greeks, in early times. No nation
used surnames, except the Romans after their league and union with the
Sabines. And they did not introduce that custom, with the least view of
distinguishing their families, but as a politic seal to their strong
compact of friendship; for as the Romans prefixed Sabine names to their
own, the Sabines took Roman names in like manner. A specimen of the
Indian war-names, will illustrate this argument with more clearness.

They crown a warrior, who has killed a distinguished enemy, with the
name, _Yanasabe_, “the buffalo-killer;” _Yanasa_ is a buffalo,
compounded of _Yah_, the divine essence, and _Asa_, “there, or here is,”
as formerly mentioned: and _Abe_ is their constant war-period,
signifying, by their rhetorical figure “one who kills another.” It
signifies also to murder a person, or beat him severely. This proper
name signifies, the prosperous killer, or destroyer of the buffalo, or
strong man—it cannot possibly be derived from אבה, _Abeh_, which
signifies good-will, brotherly love, or tender affection; but from אבל,
_Abele_, grief, sorrow, or mourning, as an effect of that hostile act.

_Anoah_, with the Indians, is the name of a rambling person, or one of
unsettled residence, and _Anoah ookproo_, is literally a bad rambling
person, “a renagadoe:” likewise _Anoah ookproo’shto_ makes it a
superlative, on account of the abbreviation of _Ishto_, one of the
divine names which they subjoin. In like manner, _Noabe_ is the war-name
of a person who kills a rambling enemy, or one detached as a scout, spy,
or the like. It consists of the patriarchal name, _Noah_, and _Abe_, “to
kill,” according to the Hebrew original, of which it is a contraction,
to make it smoother, and to indulge a rapidity of expression. There is
so strong an agreement between this compounded proper name, and two
ancient Hebrew proper names, that it displays the greatest affinity
between the warfaring red and white Hebrews; especially as it so clearly
alludes to the divine history of the first homicide, and the words are
adapted to their proper significations.

Because the Choktah did not till lately trim their hair, the other
tribes through contempt of their custom, called them _Pas’
Pharáàh_,“long hair,”[85] and they in return, gave them the contemptuous
name, _Skoobálè’shtó_, “very naked, or bare heads,” compounded of
_Skooba_, _Ale_, and _Ishto_: the same word, or _Waksishto_, with
_Hasseh_ prefixed, expresses the _penem præputio detecto_; which shews
they lately retained a glimmering, though confused notion of the law of
circumcision, and the prohibition of not polling their hair. They call a
crow, _Pharah_; and _Pas’pharáàbe_ is the proper name of a warrior, who
killed an enemy wearing long hair. It is a triple compound from _Pásèh_,
“the hair of one’s head,” _Pharaah_ “long,” and _Abe_, “killing,” which
they croud together. They likewise say, their tongue is not {192}
_Pharakto_, “forked,” thereby alluding probably to the formerly-hateful
name of the Egyptian kings, Pharaoh.

When the Indians distinguish themselves in war, their names are always
compounded,—drawn from certain roots suitable to their intention, and
expressive of the characters of the persons, so that their names joined
together, often convey a clear and distinct idea of several
circumstances—as of the time and place, where the battle was fought, of
the number and rank of their captives, and the slain.[86] The following
is a specimen: one initiating in war-titles, is called _Tannip-Abe_, “a
killer of the enemy;”—he who kills a person carrying a kettle, is
crowned _Soonak-Abe-Tuska_; the first word signifies a kettle, and the
last a warrior. _Minggáshtàbe_ signifies “one who killed a very great
chieftain,” compounded of _Mingo_, _Ash_, and _Abe_. _Pae-Máshtàbe_, is,
one in the way of war-gradation, or below the highest in rank, _Pae_
signifying “far off.” _Tisshu Mashtabe_ is the name of a warrior who
kills the war-chieftain’s waiter carrying the beloved ark.
_Shulashum-mashtabe_, the name of the late Choktah great war-leader, our
firm friend _Red-shoes_, is compounded of _Shulass’_, “Maccaseenes,” or
deer skin-shoes, _Humma_, “red,” _Ash_, “the divine fire;” _T_ is
inserted for the sake of a bold sound, or to express the multiplicity of
the exploits he performed, in killing the enemy. In treating of their
language, I observed, they end their proper names with a vowel, and
contract their war-titles, to give more smoothness, and a rapidity of
expression. _Etehk_ is the general name they give to any female
creature, but by adding their constant war-period to it, it signifies
“weary;” as _Chetehkabe_, “you are weary:” to make it a superlative,
they say _Chetehkabe-O_: or _Chetehkabeshto_.

The Cheerake call a dull stalking fellow, _Sooreh_, “the
turkey-buzzard,” and one of an ill temper, _Kana Cheesteche_, “the
wasp,” or a person resembling the dangerous Canaan rabbit, being
compounded of the abbreviated name of Canaan, and _Cheesto_ “a rabbit,”
which the Israelites were not to meddle with. One of our chief traders,
who was very loquacious, they called _Sekakee_, “the grass-hopper,”
derived from _Sekako_, “to make haste.” To one of a hoarse voice, they
gave the name, _Kanoona_, “the bull-frog.” {193}

The Katahba Indians call their chief old interpreter, on account of his
obscene language, _Emate-Atikke_, “the smock-interpreter.” The
“_raven_,” is one of the Cheerake favourite war-names. Carolina and
Georgia remember _Quorinnah_, “the raven,” of _Huwhase-town_; he was one
of the most daring warriors of the whole nation, and by far the most
intelligent, and this name, or war-appellative, admirably suited his
well-known character. Though with all the Indian nations, the raven is
deemed an impure bird, yet they have a kind of sacred regard to it,
whether from the traditional knowledge of Noah’s employing it while he
was in the ark, or from that bird having fed Elijah in the wilderness
(as some suppose) cannot be determined; however with our supposed red
Hebrews the name points out an indefatigable, keen, successful warrior.

                            ARGUMENT XXIII.

Although other resemblances of the Indian rites and customs to those of
the Hebrews, might be pointed out; not to seem tedious, I proceed to the
last argument of the origin of the Indian Americans, which shall be from
their own traditions,—from the accounts of our English writers—and from
the testimonies which the Spanish writers have given, concerning the
primitive inhabitants of Peru and Mexico.

The Indian tradition says, that their forefathers in very remote ages
came from a far distant country, where all the people were of one
colour; and that in process of time they moved eastward, to their
present settlements. So that, what some of our writers have asserted is
not just, who say the Indians affirm, that there were originally three
different tribes in those countries, when the supreme chieftain to
encourage swift running, proposed a proportionable reward of distinction
to each, as they excelled in speed in passing a certain distant river;
as, that the first should be polished white—the second red—and the third
black; which took place accordingly after the race was over. This story
sprung from the innovating superstitious {194} ignorance of the popish
priests, to the south-west of us. Our own Indian tradition is literal,
and not allegorical, and ought to be received; because people who have
been long separated from the rest of mankind, must know their own
traditions the best, and could not be deceived in so material, and
frequently repeated an event.[87] Though they have been disjoined
through different interests, time immemorial; yet, (the rambling tribes
of northern Indians excepted) they aver that they came over the
Missisippi from the westward, before they arrived at their present
settlements. This we see verified by the western old towns they have
left behind them; and by the situation of their old beloved towns, or
places of refuge, lying about a west course from each different nation.
Such places in Judea were chiefly built in the most remote parts of the
country; and the Indians deem those only as beloved towns, where they
first settled.

This tradition is corroborated by a current report of the old Chikkasah
Indians to our traders, “that about forty years since, there came from
Mexico some of the old Chikkasah nation, (the Chichemicas, according to
the Spanish accounts) in quest of their brethren, as far north as the
Aquahpah nation, about 130 miles above the Nachee old towns, on the
south side of the Missisippi; but through French policy, they were
either killed, or sent back, so as to prevent their opening a brotherly
intercourse, as they had proposed.” And it is worthy of notice, that the
Muskohgeh cave, out of which one of their politicians persuaded them
their ancestors formerly ascended to their present terrestrial abode,
lies in the Nanne Hamgeh old town,[88] inhabited by the
Missisippi-Nachee Indians, which is one of the most western parts of
their old-inhabited country.

I hope I shall be excused in reciting their ancient oral tradition, from
father to son to the present time. They say, that one of their cunning
old religious men finding that religion did not always thrive best,
resolved with himself to impose on his friends credulity, and alter in
some respects their old tradition; he accordingly pretended to have held
for a long time a continual intercourse with their subterranean
progenitors in a cave, above 600 miles to the westward of Charles-town
in South-Carolina, adjoining to the old Chikkasah trading path; this
people were then possest of every thing convenient for human life, and
he promised them fully to supply their wants, {195} in a constant
manner, without sweating in the field; the most troublesome of all
things to manly brisk warriors. He insisted, that all who were desirous
of so natural and beneficial a correspondence, should contribute large
presents, to be delivered on the embassy, to their brethren—terræ
filii,—to clear the old chain of friendship from the rust it had
contracted, through the fault of cankering time. He accordingly received
presents from most of the people, to deliver them to their beloved
subterranean kindred: but it seems, they shut up the mouth of the cave,
and detained him there in order to be purified.

The old waste towns of the Chikkasah lie to the west and south-west,
from where they have lived since the time we first opened a trade with
them; on which course they formerly went to war over the Missisippi,
because they knew it best, and had disputes with the natives of those
parts, when they first came from thence. Wisdom directed them then to
connive at some injuries on account of their itinerant camp of women and
children; for their tradition says, it consisted of ten thousand men,
besides women and children, when they came from the west, and passed
over the Missisippi. The fine breed of running wood horses they brought
with them, were the present Mexican or Spanish barbs. They also aver,
that their ancestors cut off, and despoiled the greatest part of a
caravan, loaded with gold and silver; but the carriage of it proved so
troublesome to them, that they threw it into a river where it could not
benefit the enemy.

If we join together these circumstances, it utterly destroys the fine
Peruvian and Mexican temples of the sun, &c.—which the Spaniards have
lavishly painted from their own fruitful imaginations, to shew their own
capacity of writing, though at the expence of truth; and to amuse the
gazing distant world, and lessen our surprise at the sea of reputed
heathenish blood, which their avaricious tempers, and flaming
superstitious zeal, prompted them to spill.

If any English reader have patience to search the extraordinary volumes
of the Spanish writers, or even those of his catholic majesty’s chief
historiographer, he will not only find a wild portrait, but a striking
resemblance and unity of the civil and martial customs, the religious
rites, and traditions, of the {196} ancient Peruvians and Mexicans, and
the North-Americans, according to the manner of their moresque
paintings: likewise, the very national name of the primitive Chikkasah,
which they stile Chichemicas, and whom they repute to have been the
first inhabitants of Mexico. However, I lay little stress upon Spanish
testimonies, for time and ocular proof have convinced us of the laboured
falshood of almost all their historical narrations concerning every
curious thing relative to South America. They, were so divested of those
principles inherent to honest enquirers after truth, that they have
recorded themselves to be a tribe of prejudiced bigots, striving to
aggrandise the Mahometan valour of about nine hundred spurious catholic
christians, under the patronage of their favourite saint, as persons by
whom heaven designed to extirpate those two great nominal empires of
pretended cannibals. They found it convenient to blacken the natives
with ill names, and report them to their demi-god the mufti of Rome, as
sacrificing every day, a prodigious multitude of human victims to
numerous idol-gods.

The learned world is already fully acquainted with the falsehood of
their histories; reason and later discoveries condemn them. Many years
have elapsed, since I first entered into Indian life, besides a good
acquaintance with several southern Indians, who were conversant with the
Mexican Indian rites and customs; and it is incontrovertible, that the
Spanish monks and jesuits in describing the language, religion, and
customs, of the ancient Peruvians and Mexicans, were both unwilling, and
incapable to perform so arduous an undertaking, with justice and truth.
They did not converse with the natives as friends, but despised, hated,
and murdered them, for the sake of their gold and silver: and to excuse
their own ignorance, and most shocking, cool, premeditated murders, they
artfully described them as an abominable swarm of idolatrous cannibals
offering human sacrifices to their various false deities, and eating of
the unnatural victims. Nevertheless, from their own partial accounts, we
can trace a near agreement between the civil and martial customs, the
religious worship, traditions, dress, ornaments, and other particulars
of the ancient Peruvians and Mexicans, and those of the present North
American Indians.[89] {197}

Acosta tells us, that though the Mexicans have no proper name for God,
yet they allow a supreme omnipotence and providence: his capacity was
not sufficient to discover the former; however, the latter agrees with
the present religious opinion of the English-American Indians, of an
universal divine wisdom and government. The want of a friendly
intercourse between our northern and southern Indians, has in length of
time occasioned some of the former a little to corrupt, or alter the
name of the self-existent creator and preserver of the universe, as they
repeat it in their religious invocations, YO HE A AH.[90] But with what
show of truth, consistent with the above concession, can Acosta describe
the Mexicans as offering human sacrifices also to devils, and greedily
feasting on the victims!

We are told also that the Nauatalcas believe, they dwelt in another
region before they settled in Mexico; that they wandered eighty years in
search of it, through a strict obedience to their gods, who ordered them
to go in quest of new lands, that had such particular signs;—that they
punctually obeyed the divine mandate, and by that means found out, and
settled the fertile country of Mexico. This account corresponds with the
Chikkasah tradition of settling in their present supposed holy land, and
seems to have been derived from a compound tradition of Aaron’s rod, and
the light or divine presence with the Israelites in the wilderness, when
they marched. And probably the Mexican number of years, was originally
_forty_, instead of _eighty_.

Lopez de Gomara tells us, that the Mexicans were so devout, as to offer
to the sun and earth, a small quantity of every kind of meat and drink,
before any of themselves tasted it; and that they sacrificed part of
their corn, fruits, &c. in like manner; otherwise, they were deemed
haters of, and contemned by their gods. Is not this a confused Spanish
picture of the Jewish daily sacrifice, and first-fruit-offering, as
formerly observed? and which, as we have seen, are now offered up by the
northern Indians, to the bountiful giver, the supreme holy spirit of
fire, whom they invoke in that most sacred and awful song, YO HE WAH,
and loudly ascribe to him _Hallelu-Yah_, for his continued goodness to

The Spanish writers say, that when Cortes approached Mexico, Montezuma
shut himself up, and continued for the space of eight days in {198}
prayers and fasting: but to blacken him, and excuse their own diabolical
butcheries, they assert he offered human sacrifices at the same time to
abominable and frightful idols. But the sacrifices with more justice may
be attributed to the Spaniards than to the Mexicans—as their narratives
also are a sacrifice of truth itself. Montezuma and his people’s
fastings, prayers, &c. were doubtless the same with those of the
northern Indians, who on particular occasions, by separate fastings,
ablutions, purgations, &c. seek to sanctify themselves, and so avert the
ill effects of the divine anger, and regain the favour of the deity.

They write, that the Mexicans offered to one of their gods, a sacrifice
compounded of some of all the seeds of their country, grinded fine, and
mixed with the blood of children, and of sacrificed virgins; that they
plucked out the hearts of those victims, and offered them as
first-fruits to the idol; and that the warriors imagined, the least
relic of the sacrifice would preserve them from danger. They soon
afterwards tell us of a temple of a quadrangular form, called
_Teucalli_, “God’s house,” and _Chacalmua_, “a minister of holy things,”
who belonged to it. They likewise speak of “the hearth of God,—the
continual fire of God,—the holy ark,” &c. If we cut off the jesuitical
paintings of the unnatural sacrifice, the rest is consonant to what hath
been observed, concerning the North American Indians. And it is very
obvious, the North and South American Indians are alike of vindictive
tempers, putting most of their invading enemies that fall into their
power to the fiery torture. The Spaniards looking upon themselves as
divine embassadors, under the imperial signature of the HOLY LORD of
Rome, were excessively enraged against the simple native
South-Americans, because they tortured forty of their captivated people
by reprisal, devoting them to the fire, and ate their hearts, according
to the universal war-custom of our northern Indians, on the like
occasion. The Spanish terror and hatred on this account, their pride,
religious, bigotry, and an utter ignorance of the Indian dialects,
rites, and customs, excited them thus to delineate the Mexicans;—and
equally hard names, and unjust charges, the bloody members of their
diabolical inquisition used to bestow on those pretended heretics, whom
they gave over to be tortured and burnt by the secular power. But it is
worthy of notice, the Spanish writers acknowledge that the Mexicans
brought their human sacrifices from the opposite sea; and did not offer
up any of their own people: so that this was but the same {199} as our
North-American Indians still practice, when they devote their captives
to death; which is ushered in with ablutions, and other methods of
sanctifying themselves, as have been particularly described; and they
perform the solemnity with singing the sacred triumphal song, with
beating of the drum, dances, and various sorts of rejoicings, through
gratitude to the beneficent and divine author of success against their
common enemy. By the description of the Portuguese writers, the
Indian-Brasilian method of war, and of torturing their devoted captives,
very nearly resembles the customs of our Indians.

Acosta, according to his usual ignorance of the Indian customs, says,
that some in Mexico understood one another by whistling, on which he
attempts to be witty—but notwithstanding the great contempt and surprise
of the Spaniards at those Indians who whistled as they went; this
whistle was no other than the war-whoop, or a very loud and shrill
shout, denoting death, or good or bad news, or bringing in captives from
war. The same writer says they had three kinds of knighthood, with which
they honoured the best soldiers; the chief of which was the red ribbon;
the next the lion, or tyger-knight; and the meanest was the grey knight.
He might with as much truth, have added the turky-buzzard knight, the
sun-blind bat knight, and the night-owl knight. His account of the
various gradations of the Indian war-titles, shews the unskilfulness of
that voluminous writer, even in the first principles of his Indian
subject, and how far we ought to rely on his marvellous works.

The accounts the Spaniards formerly gave us of Florida and its
inhabitants, are written in the same romantic strain with those of
Mexico. Ramusius tells us, that Alvaro Nunes and his company reported
the Apalahchee Indians to be such a gigantic people, as to carry bows,
thick as a man’s arm, and of eleven or twelve spans long, shooting with
proportional force and direction. It seems they lived then a sober and
temperate life, for Morgues says, one of their kings was three hundred
years old; though Laudon reckons him only two hundred and fifty: and
Morgues assures us, he saw this young Indian Methusalah’s father, who
was fifty years older than his son, and that each of them was likely by
the common course of nature to live thirty or forty years longer,
although they had seen their fifth generation. Since that time they have
so exceedingly degenerated, in height of body, largeness of {200}
defensive arms, and ante-deluvian longevity, that I am afraid, these
early and extraordinary writers would scarcely know the descendants of
those Apalahche Anakim, if they now saw them. They are at present the
same as their dwarfish red neighbours; sic transit gloria mundi.

Nicholaus Challusius paints Florida full of winged serpents; he affirms
he saw one there, and that the old natives were very careful to get its
head, on account of some supposed superstition. Ferdinando Soto tells
us, that when he entered Florida, he found a Spaniard, (J. Ortez) whom
the natives had captivated during the space of twelve years,
consequently he must have gained in that time, sufficient skill in their
dialect to give a true interpretation and account—and he assures us,
that Ucita, the Lord of the place, made that fellow, “Temple-keeper,” to
prevent the night-wolves from carrying away the dead corpse; that the
natives worshipped the devil, and sacrificed to him the life and blood
of most of their captives;—who spoke with them face to face, and ordered
them to bring those offerings to quench his burning thirst. And we are
told by Benzo,[91] that when Soto died, the good-natured Cacique ordered
two likely young Indians to be killed according to custom, to wait on
him where he was gone.—But the Christian Spaniards denied his death, and
assured them he was the son of God, and therefore could not die. If we
except the last sentence, which bears a just analogy to the presumption
and arrogance of the popish priests and historians, time and opportunity
have fully convinced us, that all the rest is calumny and falshood. It
must be confessed however, that none, even of the Spanish monks and
friars, have gone so deep in the marvellous, as our own sagacious David
Ingram—he assures us, “that he not only heard of very surprising animals
in these parts of the world, but saw elephants, horses, and strange wild
animals twice as big as our species of horses, formed like a grey-hound
in their hinder parts; he saw likewise bulls with ears like hounds; and
another surprising species of quadrupeds bigger than bears, without head
or neck, but nature had fixed their eyes and mouths more securely in
their breasts.” At the end of his monstrous ideal productions, he justly
introduces the devil in the rear, sometimes assuming the likeness of a
dog; at other times the shape of a calf, &c. Although this legendary
writer has transcended the bounds of truth, yet where he is not emulous
of outdoing the jesuitical romances, it would require a good knowledge
of America to confute him in many particulars: {201} this shews how
little the learned world can rely on American narrators; and that the
origin of the Indian Americans, is yet to be traced in a quite different
path to what any of those hyperbolical, or wild conjectural writers have

The Spaniards have given us many fine polished Indian orations, but they
were certainly fabricated at Madrid; the Indians have no such ideas, or
methods of speech, as they pretend to have copied from a faithful
interpretation on the spot: however, they have religiously supported
those monkish dreams, and which are the chief basis of their Mexican and
Peruvian treaties.

According to them, the Mexican arms was an eagle on a tunal or stone,
with a bird in his talons,—which may look at the armorial ensign of Dan.
And they say, the Mexicans worshipped _Vitzliputzli_, who promised them
a land exceedingly plenty in riches, and all other good things; on which
account they set off in quest of the divine promise, four of their
priests carrying their idol in a coffer of reeds, to whom he
communicated his oracles, giving them laws at the same time—teaching
them the ceremonies and sacrifices they should observe; and directed
them when to march, and when to stay in camp, &c. So much might have
been collected from them by signs, and other expressive indications; for
we are well assured, that the remote uncorrupted part of the Mexicans
still retain the same notions as our northern Indians, with regard to
their arriving at, and settling in their respective countries, living
under a theocratic government, and having the divine war-ark, as a most
sacred seal of success to the beloved people, against their treacherous
enemies, if they strictly observe the law of purity, while they
accompany it. This alone, without any reflection on the rest, is a good
glass to shew us, that the South and North American Indians are
twin-born brothers; though the Spanish clergy, by, their dark but
fruitful inventions, have set them at a prodigious variance.

Acosta tells us, that the Peruvians held a very extraordinary feast
called _Ytu_,—which they prepared themselves for, by fasting two days,
not accompanying with their wives, nor eating salt-meat or garlic, nor
drinking Chica during that period—that they assembled all together in
one place, and did not allow any stranger or beast to approach them;
that they had clothes and {202} ornaments which they wore, only at that
great festival; that they went silently and sedately in procession, with
their heads veil’d, and drums beating—and thus continued one day and
night; but the next day they danced and feasted; and for two days
successively, their prayers and praises were heard. This is another
strong picture of the rites of the Indian North-Americans, during the
time of their great festival, to atone for sin; and with a little
amendment, would exhibit a surprising analogy of sundry essential rites
and customs of the Northern and South American Indians, which equally
glance at the Mosaic system.

Lerius tells us, that he was present at the triennial feast of the
Caribbians, where a multitude of men, women, and children, were
assembled; that they soon divided themselves into three orders, apart
from each other, the women and children being strictly ordered to stay
within, and to attend diligently to the singing: that the men sung in
one house, _He, He, He_, while the others in their separate houses,
answered by a repetition of the same notes: that having thus continued a
quarter of an hour, they all danced in three different rings, each with
rattles, &c. And the natives of Sir Francis Drake’s New Albion, were
desirous of crowning him _Hio_, or _Ohio_, a name well known in North
America, and hath an evident relation to the great beloved name. Had the
former been endued with a proper capacity, and given a suitable
attention to the Indian general law of purity, he would probably have
described them singing _Yo He Wah, Hallelu-Yah_, &c. after the present
manner of our North American red natives; and as giving proper names to
persons and things from a religious principle, to express the relation
they bore to the sacred four-lettered name.

These writers report also, that the Mexicans sacrificed to the idol
_Haloc_, “their God of water,” to give them seasonable rains for their
crops: and they tell us, that the high-priest was anointed with holy
oil, and dressed with pontifical ornaments, peculiar to himself, when he
officiated in his sacred function; that he was sworn to maintain their
religion, rights, and liberties, according to their ancient law; and to
cause the sun to shine, and all their vegetables to be properly
refreshed with gentle showers. If we throw down the “monkish idol god of
water,” we here find a strong parity of religious customs and
ceremonies, between the pretended prophets, and high-priests of the
present northern Indians, and the ancient Mexicans. {203}

Acosta tells us, that the Peruvians acknowledged a supreme God, and
author of all things, whom they called _Viracocha_, and worshipped as
the chief of all the gods, and honoured when they looked at the heavens
or any of the celestial orbs; that for want of a proper name for that
divine spirit of the universe, they, after the Mexican manner,[92]
described him by his attributes,—as _Pachacamac_, “the Creator of heaven
and earth.” But, though he hath described them possessed of these strong
ideas of God, and to have dedicated a sacred house to the great first
cause, bearing his divine prolific name; yet the Spanish priesthood have
at the same time, painted them as worshipping the devil in the very same
temple. Here and there a truth may be found in their writings, but if we
except the well-designed performance of Don Antonio de Ulloa, one
duodecimo volume would have contained all the accounts of any curious
importance, which the Spaniards have exhibited to the learned world,
concerning the genuine rites and customs, of the ancient Peruvians and
Mexicans, ever since the seisure of those countries, and the horrid
murders committed on the inhabitants.

But among all the Spanish friars, _Hieronimo Roman_ was the greatest
champion in hyperbolical writing. He has produced three volumes
concerning the Indian American rites and ceremonies;—he stretches very
far in his second part of the commonwealths of the world; but when he
gets to Peru and Mexico, the distance of those remote regions enables
him to exceed himself: beyond all dispute, the other writers of his
black fraternity, are only younger brethren, when compared to him in the
marvellous. His, is the chief of all the Spanish romances of Peru and

He says, the Indian natives, from Florida to Panama, had little religion
or policy; and yet he affirms a few pages after, that they believed in
one true, immortal and invisible God, reigning in heaven, called
_Yocahuuagnamaorocoti_; and is so kind as to allow them images, priests,
and popes, their high-priest being called _papa_ in that language. The
origin of images among them, is accounted for in a dialogue he gives us,
between a shaking tree and one of the Indian priests: after a great deal
of discourse, the tree ordered the priest to cut it down, and taught him
how to make images thereof, and erect a temple. The tree was obeyed, and
every year their votaries solemnized the dedication. The good man has
{204} laboured very hard for the images, and ought to have suitable
applause for so useful an invention; as it shews the universal opinion
of mankind, concerning idols and images. With regard to that long
conjectural divine name, by which they expressed the one true God, there
is not the least room to doubt, that the South-Americans had the divine
name, _Yohewah_, in as great purity as those of the north, especially,
as they were at the fountain head; adding to it occasionally some other
strong compound words.

He says also, that the metropolis of Cholola had as many temples as
there were days in the year; and that one of them was the most famous in
the world, the basis of the spire being as broad as a man could shoot
with a cross bow, and the spire itself three miles high. The temples
which the holy man speaks of, seem to have been only the dwelling-houses
of strangers, who incorporated with the natives, differing a little in
their form of structure, according to the usual custom of our northern
Indians: and his religious principles not allowing him to go near the
reputed shambles of the devil, much less to enter the supposed
territories of hell, he has done pretty well by them, in allowing them
golden suns and moons—vestry keepers, &c. The badness of his optic
instruments, if joined with the supposed dimness of his sight, may plead
in excuse for the spiral altitude, which he fixes at 15,480 feet; for
from what we know of the northern Indians, we ought to strike off the
three first figures of its height, and the remaining 40 is very likely
to have been the just height of the spire, alias the red-painted, great,

The same writer tells us, that the Peruvian pontifical office belonged
to the eldest son of the king, or some chief lord of the country: and
that it devolved by succession. But he anoints him after a very solemn
manner, with an ointment which he carefully mixes with the blood of
circumcised infants. This priest of war dealing so much in blood
himself, without doubt, suspected them of the like; though at the same
time no Indian priest will either shed, or touch human blood: but that
they formerly circumcised, may with great probability be allowed to the
holy man.

The temples of Peru were built on high grounds, or tops of hills, he
says, and were surrounded with four circular mounds of earth, the one
rising {205} gradually above the other, from the outermost circle; and
that the temple stood in the center of the inclosed ground, built in a
quadrangular form, having altars, &c. He has officiously obtruded the
sun into it; perhaps, because he thought it dark within. He describes
another religious house, on the eastern part of that great inclosure,
facing the rising sun, to which they ascended by six steps, where, in
the hollow of a thick wall, lay the image of the sun, &c. This thick
wall having an hollow part within it, was no other than their sanctum
sanctorum, conformably to what I observed, concerning the pretended
holiest place of the Muskohge Indians. Any one who is well acquainted
with the language, rites, and customs of the North-American Indians, can
see with a glance when these monkish writers stumble on a truth, or
ramble at large.

Acosta says, that the Mexicans observed their chief feast in the month
of May, and that the nuns two days before mixed a sufficient quantity of
beets with honey, and made an image of it. He trims up the idol very
genteelly, and places it on an azure-coloured chair, every way becoming
the scarlet-coloured pope. He soon after introduces flutes, drums,
cornets, and trumpets, to celebrate the feast of _Eupania Vitzliputzli_,
as he thinks proper to term it: on account of the nuns, he gives them
_Pania_, “feminine bread,” instead of the masculine _Panis_; which he
makes his nuns to distribute at this love-feast, to the young men, in
large pieces resembling great bones. When they receive them, they
religiously lay them down at the feast of the idol, and call them the
flesh and bones of the God _Vitzliputzli_.

Then he brings in the priests vailed, with garlands on their heads, and
chains of flowers about their necks, each of them strictly observing
their place: if the inquisitive reader should desire to know how he
discovered those garlands and flowery chains; (especially as their heads
were covered, and they are secret in their religious ceremonies) I must
inform him, that Acosta wrought a kind of cotton, or woollen cloth for
them, much finer than silk, through which he might have easily seen
them—besides, such a religious dress gave him a better opportunity of
hanging a cross, and a string of beads afterwards round their necks.

Next to those religious men, he ushers in a fine company of gods and
goddesses, in imagery, dressed like the others, the people paying them
divine worship; this without doubt, is intended to support the popish
saint-worship. Then he makes them sing, and dance round the paste, and
use several other ceremonies. And when the eyes are tired with viewing
those wild circlings, he solemnly blesses, and consecrates those morsels
of paste, and thus makes them the real flesh and bones of the idol,
which the people honour as gods. When he has ended his feast of
transubstantiation, he sets his sacrificers to work, and orders them to
kill and sacrifice more men than at any other festival,—as he thinks
proper to make this a greater carnival than any of the rest.

When he comes to finish his bloody sacrifices, he orders the young men
and women into two rows, directly facing each other, to dance and sing
by the drum, in praise of the feast and the god; and he sets the oldest
and the greatest men to answer the song, and dance around them, in a
great circle. This with a little alteration, resembles the custom of the
northern Indians. He says, that all the inhabitants of the city and
country came to this great feast,—that it was deemed sacrilegious in any
person to eat of the honeyed paste, on this great festival-day, or to
drink water, till the afternoon; and that they earnestly advised those,
who had the use of reason, to abstain from water till the afternoon, and
carefully concealed it from the children during the time of this
ceremony. But, at the end of the feast, he makes the priests and
ancients of the temple to break the image of paste and consecrated
rolls, into many pieces, and give them to the people by the way of
sacrament, according to the strictest rules of order, from the greatest
and eldest, to the youngest and least, men, women and children: and he
says, they received it with bitter tears, great reverence, and a very
awful fear, with other strong signs of devotion, saying at the same
time,—“they did not[94] eat the flesh and bones of their God.” He adds,
that they who had sick people at home, demanded a piece of the said
paste, and carried and gave it to them, with the most profound reverence
and awful adoration; that all who partook of this propitiating
sacrifice, were obliged to give a part of the feed of Maiz, of which the
idol was made; and then at the end of the solemnity, a priest of high
authority preached to {207} the people on their laws and ceremonies,
with a commanding voice, and expressive gestures; and thus dismissed the

Well may Acosta blame the devil in the manner he does, for introducing
among the Mexicans, so near a resemblance of the popish superstitions
and idolatry. But whether shall we blame or pity this writer, for
obscuring the truth with a confused heap of falshoods? The above is
however a curious Spanish picture of the Mexican passover, or annual
expiation of sins, and of their second passover in favour of their sick
people,—and of paying their tythes,—according to similar customs of our
North-American Indians. We are now sufficiently informed of the rites
and customs of the remote, and uncorrupt South-Americans, by the
Missisippi Indians, who have a communication with them, both in peace
and war.

Ribault Laudon describing the yearly festival of the Floridans, says,
that the day before it began, the women sweeped out a great circuit of
ground, where it was observed with solemnity;—that when the main body of
the people entered the holy ground, they all placed themselves in good
order, stood up painted, and decked in their best apparel, when three
_Iawas_, or priests, with different paintings and gestures followed
them, playing on musical instruments, and singing with a solemn
voice—the others answering them: that when they made three circles in
this manner, the men ran off to the woods, and the women staid weeping
behind, cutting their arms with muscle-shells, and throwing the blood
towards the sun; and that when the men returned, the three days feast
was finished. This is another confused Spanish draught of the Floridan
passover, or feast of love; and of their universal method of bleeding
themselves after much exercise, which according to the Spanish plan,
they offered up to the sun. From these different writers, it is plain
that where the Indians have not been corrupted by foreigners, their
customs and religious worship are nearly alike; and also that every
different tribe, or nation of Indians, uses such-like divine proper
name, and awful sounds, as _Yah-Wah_, _Hetovah_, &c. being
transpositions of the divine essential name, as our northern Indians
often repeat in their religious dances. As the sound of _Yah-wah_ jarred
in Laudon’s ear, he called it _Java_, in resemblance to the Syriac and
Greek method of expressing the tetra-grammaton, from which Galatinus
imposed it upon us, calling it _Jehowah_, instead of _Yohewah_. {208}

The Spanish writers tell us, that the Mexicans had a feast, and month,
which they called _Hueitozolti_, when the maiz was ripe; every man at
that time bringing an handful to be offered at the temple, with a kind
of drink, called _Utuli_, made out of the same grain.—But they soon deck
up an idol with roses, garlands, and flowers, and describe them as
offering to it sweet gums, &c. Then they speedily dress a woman with the
apparel of either the god, or goddess, of salt, which must be to season
the human sacrifices, as they depicture them according to their own
dispositions. But they soon change the scene, and bring in the god of
gain, in a rich temple dedicated to him, where the merchants apart
sacrifice vast numbers of purchased captives. It often chagrines an
inquisitive and impartial reader to trace the contradictions, and
chimerical inventions, of those aspiring bigoted writers; who speak of
what they did not understand, only by signs, and a few chance words. The
discerning reader can easily perceive them from what hath been already
said, and must know that this Spanish mountain in labour, is only the
Indian first fruit-offering, according to the usage of our
North-American Indians.

It is to be lamented that writers will not keep to matters of fact: Some
of our own historians have described the Mohawks as cannibals, and
continually hunting after man’s flesh; with equal truth Diodorus
Siculus, Strabo, and others report, that in Britain there were formerly
Anthropophagi, “man-eaters.”

Garcillasso de La Vega, another Spanish romancer, says, that the
Peruvian shepherds worshipped the star called Lyra, as they imagined it
preserved their flocks: but he ought first to have supplied them with
flocks, for they had none except a kind of wild sheep,[95] that kept in
the mountains, and which are of so fætid a smell, that no creature is
fond to approach them.

The same aspiring fictitious writer tells us, the Peruvians worshipped
the Creator of the world, whom he is pleased to call _Viracocha
Pachuyacha ha hic_: any person who is in the least acquainted with the
rapid flowing manner of the Indian American dialects, will conclude from
the wild termination that the former is not the Peruvian divine name.
Next to this great Creator of the universe, he affirms, they worshipped
the sun; and {209} next to the solar orb, they deified and worshipped
thunder, believing it proceeded from a man in heaven, who had power over
the rain, hail, and thunder, and every thing in the ærial regions; and
that they offered up sacrifices to it, but none to the universal
Creator. To prefer the effect to the acknowledged prime cause, is
contrary to the common reason of mankind, who adore that object which
they esteem either the most beneficent, or the most powerful.

Monsieur Le Page Du Pratz tells us, he lived seven years, among the
Nachee Indians, about one hundred leagues up the Missisippi from
New-Orleans; and in order to emulate the Spanish romances of the
Indians, in his performance, he affirms their women are double-breasted,
which he particularly describes: and then following the Spanish copy, he
assures us, the highest rank of their nobles is called suns, and that
they only attend the sacred and eternal fire; which he doubtless
mentioned, merely to introduce his convex lens, by which he tells us
with a great air of confidence, he gained much esteem among them, as by
the gift of it, he enabled them to continue their holy fire, if it
should casually be near extinguished. According to him, the Chikkasah
tongue was the court language of the Missisippi Indians, and that it had
not the letter _R_.—The very reverse of which is the truth; for the
French and all their red savages were at constant war with them, because
of their firm connection with the English, and hated their national
name; and as to the language, they could not converse with them, as
their dialects are so different from each other. I recited a long string
of his well-known stories to a body of gentlemen, well skilled in the
languages, rites, and customs of our East and West-Florida Indians, and
they agreed that the Koran did not differ more widely from the divine
oracles, than the accounts of this writer from the genuine customs of
the Indian Americans.

The Spanish artists have furnished the savage war-chieftain, or their
Emperor Montezuma, with very spacious and beautiful palaces, one of
which they raised on pillars of fine jasper; and another wrought with
exquisite skill out of marble, jasper, and other valuable stones, with
veins glistening like rubies,—they have finished the roof with equal
skill, composed of carved and painted cypress, cedar, and pine-trees,
without any kind of nails. They should have furnished some of the
chambers with suitable pavilions {210} and beds of state; but the
bedding and furniture in our northern Indian huts, is the same with what
they were pleased to describe, in the wonderful Mexican palaces. In this
they have not done justice to the grand red monarch, whom they raised
up, (with his 1000 women, or 3000 according to some,) only to magnify
the Spanish power by overthrowing him.

Montezuma in an oration to his people, at the arrival of the Spaniards,
is said by Malvendar, to have persuaded his people to yield to the power
of his Catholic Majesty’s arms, for their own fore-fathers were
strangers in that land, and brought there long before that period in a
fleet. The emperor, who they pretend bore such universal arbitrary sway,
is raised by their pens, from the usual rank of a war chieftain, to his
imperial greatness: But despotic power is death to their ears, as it is
destructive of their darling liberty, and reputed theocratic government;
they have no name for a subject, but say, “the people.” In order to
carry on the self-flattering war-romance, they began the epocha of that
great fictitious empire, in the time of the ambitious and formidable
Montezuma, that their handful of heaven-favoured popish saints might
have the more honour in destroying it: had they described it of a long
continuance, they foresaw that the world would detect the fallacy, as
soon as they learned the language of the pretended empire; correspondent
to which, our own great Emperor Powhatan of Virginia, was soon
dethroned. We are sufficiently informed by the rambling Missisippi
Indians, that _Motehshuma_ is a common high war-name of the
South-American leaders; and which the fate he is said to receive,
strongly corroborates. Our Indians urge with a great deal of vehemence,
that as every one is promoted only by public virtue, and has his equals
in civil and martial affairs, those Spanish books that have mentioned
red emperors, and great empires in America, ought to be burnt in some of
the remaining old years accursed fire. And this Indian fixed opinion
seems to be sufficiently confirmed by the situation of Mexico, as it is
only about 315 miles from south to north; and narrower than 200 miles
along the northern coast—and lies between Tlascala and Mechoacan, to the
west of the former, and east of the latter, whence the Mexicans were
continually harassed by those lurking swift-footed savages, who could
secure their retreat home, in the space of two or three days. When we
consider the vicinity of those two inimical states to the pretended
puissant empire of Mexico, which might have easily crushed them to
pieces, with her formidable {211} armies, in order to secure the lives
of the subjects, and credit of the state, we may safely venture to
affirm, from the long train of circumstances already exhibited, that the
Spanish Peruvian and Mexican empires are without the least foundation in
nature; and that the Spaniards defeated the tribe of Mexico (properly
called _Mechiko_) &c. chiefly, by the help of their red allies.

In their descriptions of South-America and its native inhabitants, they
treat largely of heaven, hell, and purgatory; lions, salamanders, maids
of honour, maids of penance, and their abbesses; men whipping themselves
with cords; idols, mattins, monastic vows, cloisters of young men, with
a prodigious group of other popish inventions: and we must not forget to
do justice to those industrious and sagacious observers, who discovered
two golgothas, or towers made of human skulls, plaistered with lime.
Acosta tells us, that Andrew de Topia assured him, he and Gonsola de
Vimbria reckoned one hundred and thirty-six thousand human skulls in
them. The temple dedicated to the air, is likewise worthy of being
mentioned, as they assert in the strongest manner, that five thousand
priests served constantly in it, and obliged every one who entered, to
bring some human sacrifice; that the walls of it were an inch thick, and
the floor a foot deep, with black, dry, clotted blood. If connected
herewith, we reflect, that beside this blood-thirsty god of the air, the
Spaniards have represented them as worshipping a multitude of idol gods
and goddesses, (no less than two thousand according to Lopez de Gomara)
and sacrificing to them chiefly human victims; and that the friars are
reported by a Spanish bishop of Mexico, in his letters of the year 1532,
to have broken down twenty thousand idols, and desolated five hundred
idol temples, where the natives sacrificed every year more than twenty
thousand hearts of boys and girls; and that if the noblemen were burnt
to ashes, they killed their cooks, butlers, chaplains, and
dwarfs[LII]—and had a plenty of targets, maces, and ensigns hurled into
their funeral piles: this terrible slaughter, points out to us clearly
from their own accounts, that these authors either gave the world a
continued chain of falsehoods, or those sacrifices, and human massacres
{212} they boastingly tell us of, would have, long before they came,
utterly depopulated Peru and Mexico.

Footnote LII:

  With regard to Indian dwarfs, I never heard of, or saw any in the
  northern nations, but one in Ishtatoe, a northern town of the middle
  part of the Cheerake country,—and he was a great beloved man.

I shall now quote a little of their less romantic description, to
confirm the account I have given concerning the genuine rites, and
customs, of our North-American Indians.

The ornaments of the Indians of South and North America, were formerly,
and still are alike, without the least difference, except in value.
Those superficial writers agree, that the men and women of Peru and
Mexico wore golden ear-rings, and bracelets around their necks and
wrists; that the men wore rings of the same metal in their nose, marked
their bodies with various figures, painted their faces red, and the
women their cheeks, which seems to have been a very early and general
custom. They tell us, that the coronation of the Indian kings, and
installment of their nobles, was solemnized with comedies, banquets,
lights, &c. and that no plebeians were allowed to serve before their
kings; they must be knights, or noblemen. All those sounding high titles
are only a confused picture of the general method of the Indians in
crowning their warriors, performing their war-dances, and esteeming
those fellows as old women, who never attended the reputed holy ark with
success for the beloved brethren.

Don Antonio de Ulloa[96] informs us, that some of the South-American
natives cut the lobes of their ears, and for a considerable time,
fastened small weights to them, in order to lengthen them; that others
cut holes in their upper and under lips; through the cartilege of the
nose, their chins, and jaws, and either hung or thrust through them,
such things as they most fancied, which also agrees with the ancient
customs of our Northern Indians.

Emanuel de Moraes and Acosta affirm, that the Brasilians marry in their
own family, or tribe. And Jo. de Laet. says, they call their uncles and
aunts, “fathers and mothers,” which is a custom of the Hebrews, and of
all our North-American Indians: and he assures us they mourn very much
for their dead; and that their clothes are like those of the early Jews.

Ulloa assures us, that the South American Indians have no other method
of weaving carpets, quilts, and other stuffs, but to count the threads
one by one, when they are passing the woof;—that they spin cotton and
linnen, as their chief manufacture, and paint their cloth with the
images of men, beasts, birds, fishes, trees, flowers, &c. and that each
of those webs was adapted to one certain use, without being cut, and
that their patience was equal to so arduous a task. According to this
description, there is not the least disparity between the ancient
North-American method of manufacturing, and that of the South Americans.

Acosta writes, that the clothes of the South-American Indians are shaped
like those of the ancient Jews, being a square little cloak, and a
little coat: and the Rev. Mr. Thorowgood,[97] anno 1650, observes, that
this is a proof of some weight in shewing their original descent;
especially to such who pay a deference to Seneca’s parallel arguments of
the Spaniards having settled Italy; for the old mode of dress is
universally alike, among the Indian Americans.

Laet, in his description of America, and Escarbotus, assure us, they
often heard the South American Indians to repeat the sacred word
_Halleluiah_, which made them admire how they first attained it. And
Malvenda says, that the natives of St. Michael had tomb-stones, which
the Spaniards digged up, with several ancient Hebrew characters upon
them, as, “Why is God gone away?” And, “He is dead, God knows.” Had his
curiosity induced him to transcribe the epitaph, it would have given
more satisfaction; for, as they yet repeat the divine essential name,
_Yo He (ta) Wah_, so as not to prophane it, when they mourn for their
dead, it is probable, they could write or engrave it, after the like
manner, when they first arrived on this main continent.

We are told, that the South American Indians have a firm hope of the
resurrection of their bodies, at a certain period of time; and that on
this account they bury their most valuable treasures with their dead, as
well as the most useful conveniences for future domestic life, such as
their bows and arrows: And when they saw the Spaniards digging up their
graves for gold and silver, they requested them to forbear scattering
the bones of their {214} dead in that manner, lest it should prevent
their being raised and united again[LIII].

Footnote LIII:

  Vid. Ceuto ad Solin. Benz. & Hist. Peruv.

Monsieur de Poutrincourt says, that, when the Canada Indians saluted
him, they said _Ho Ho Ho_; but as we are well assured, they express _Yo
He a Ah_, in the time of their festivals and other rejoicings, we have
reason to conclude he made a very material mistake in setting down the
Indian solemn blessing, or invocation. He likewise tells us, that the
Indian women will not marry on the graves of their husbands, i. e. “soon
after their decease,”—but wait a long time before they even think of a
second husband. That, if the husband was killed, they would neither
enter into a second marriage, nor eat flesh, till his blood had been
revenged: and that after child-bearing, they observe the Mosaic law of
purification, shutting up themselves from their husbands, for the space
of forty days.

Peter Martyr writes, that that Indian widow married the brother of her
deceased husband, according to the Mosaic law: and he says, the Indians
worship that God who created the sun, moon, and all invisible things,
and who gives them every thing that is good. He affirms the Indian
priests had chambers in the temple, according to the custom of the
Israelites, by divine appointment, as 1 Chron. ix. 26, 27. And that
there were certain places in it, which none but their priests could
enter, i. e. “the holiest.” And Key says also, they have in some parts
of America, an exact form of king, priest, and prophet, as was formerly
in Canaan.

Robert Williams, the first Englishman in New-England, who is said to
have learned the Indian language, in order to convert the natives,
believed them to be Jews: and he assures us, that their tradition
records that their ancestors came from the south-west, and that they
return there at death; that their women separate themselves from the
rest of the people at certain periods; and that their language bore some
affinity to the Hebrew.[98]

Baron Lahontan writes, that the Indian women of Canada purify themselves
after travail; thirty days for a male child—and forty for a female: that
during the said time, they live apart from their husband—that the
unmarried brother of the deceased husband marries the widow, six months
{215} after his decease; and that the outstanding parties for war,
address the great spirit every day till they set off, with sacrifices,
songs, and feasting.

We are also told, that the men in Mexico sat down, and the women stood,
when they made water, which is an universal custom among our
North-American Indians. Their primitive modesty, and indulgence to their
women, seem to have introduced this singular custom, after the manner of
the ancient Mauritanians, on account of their scantiness of clothing, as
I formerly observed.

Lerius tells us, that the Indians of Brasil wash themselves ten times a
day; and that the husbands have no matrimonial intercourse with their
wives, till their children are either weaned, or grown pretty hardy;
which is similar to the custom of these northern Indians, and that of
the Israelites, as Hos. i. 8. He says, if a Peruvian child was weaned
before its time, it was called _Ainsco_, “a bastard.” And that if a
Brasilian wounds another, he is wounded in the same part of the body,
with equal punishment; limb for limb, or life for life, according to the
Mosaic law;—which, within our own memory, these Indian nations observed
so eagerly, that if a boy shooting at birds, accidentally wounded
another, though out of sight, with his arrow ever so slightly, he, or
any of his family, wounded him after the very same manner; which is a
very striking analogy with the Jewish retaliation. He likewise tells us,
that their Sachems, or Emperors, were the heads of their church: and
according to Laet. Descrip. America, the Peruvians had one temple
consecrated to the creator of the world; besides four other religious
places, in resemblance of the Jewish synagogues. And Malvenda says, the
American idols were mitred, as Aaron was. He likewise affirms, as doth
Acosta, that the natives observed a year of jubilee, according to the
usage of the Israelites.

Benzo[99] says, that the men and women incline very much to dancing; and
the women often by themselves, according to the manner of the Hebrew
nation; as in 1 Sam. xxi. 11. especially after gaining a victory over
the enemy, as in Judg. xi. 34.-xxi. 21, 23, and 1 Sam. xviii. 6, 7.
Acosta tells us, that though adultery is deemed by them a capital crime,
yet they at the same time set little value by virginity, and it seems to
have been a bewailable condition, in Judea. He likewise says, they wash
their {216} new born infants, in resemblance of the Mosaic law; as Ezek.
xvi. 9. And the Spaniards say, that the priests of Mexico, were anointed
from head to foot; that they constantly wore their hair, till they were
superannuated; and that the husband did not lie with his wife, for two
years after she was delivered. Our northern Indians imitate the first
custom; though in the second, they resemble that of the heathen by
polling or trimming their hair; and with regard to the third, they
always sleep apart from their wives, for the greater part of a year,
after delivery.[100]

By the Spanish authorities, the Peruvians and Mexicans were Polygamists,
but they had one principal wife to whom they were married with certain
solemnities; and murder, adultery, theft, and incest, were punished with
death.—But there was an exception in some places, with regard to
incestuous intercourses: which is entirely consonant to the usage of the
northern Indians. For as to incest, the Cheerake marry both mother and
daughter, or two sisters; but they all observe the prohibited laws of
consanguinity, in the strictest manner. They tell us, that when the
priests offered sacrifice, they abstained from women and strong drink,
and fasted several days, before any great festival; that all of them
buried their dead in their houses, or in high places; that when they
were forced to bury in any of the Spanish churchyards, they frequently
stole the corpse, and interred it either in one of their own houses, or
in the mountains; and that Juan de la Torre took five hundred thousand
Pezoes out of one tomb. Here is a long train of Israelitish customs:
and, if we include the whole, they exhibit a very strong analogy between
all the essential traditions, rites, customs, &c. of the South and North
American Indians; though the Spaniards mix an innumerable heap of absurd
chimeras, and romantic dreams, with the plain material truths I have

I lately perused the first volume of the History of North America, from
the discovery thereof by Sylvanus Americanus, printed in New Jersey,
Anno 1761, from, I believe, the Philadelphia monthly paper—and was not a
little surprised to find in such a useful collection, the conjectural,
though perhaps well-intended accounts of the first adventurers, and
settlers, in North America, concerning the natives: and which are laid
as the only basis for inquisitive writers to trace their origin, instead
of later and more substantial observations. Though several of those
early writers were undoubtedly {217} sagacious, learned, and candid; yet
under the circumstances in which they wrote, it was impossible for them
to convey to us any true knowledge of the Indians, more than what they
gained by their senses, which must be superficial, and liable to many
errors. Their conjectural accounts ought to have been long since
examined, by some of that learned body, or they should not have given a
sanction to them. However, they are less faulty than the Spanish

I presume, enough hath been said to point out the similarity between the
rites and customs of the native American Indians, and those of the
Israelites.—And that the Indian system is derived from the moral,
ceremonial, and judicial laws of the Hebrews, though now but a faint
copy of the divine original.—Their religious rites, martial customs,
dress, music, dances, and domestic forms of life, seem clearly to evince
also, that they came to America in early times, before sects had sprung
up among the Jews, which was soon after their prophets ceased, and
before arts and sciences had arrived to any perfection; otherwise, it is
likely they would have retained some knowledge of them, at least where
they first settled, it being in a favourable climate, and consequently,
they were in a more compact body, than on this northern part of the
American continent.

The South-American natives wanted nothing that could render life easy
and agreeable: and they had nothing superfluous, except gold and silver.
When we consider the simplicity of the people, and the skill they had in
collecting a prodigious quantity of treasures, it seems as if they
gained that skill from their countrymen, and the Tyrians; who in the
reign of Solomon exceedingly enriched themselves, in a few voyages. The
conjecture that the aborigines wandered here from captivity, by the
north east parts of Asia, over Kamschatska, to have their liberty and
religion; is not so improbable, as that of their being driven by stress
of weather into the bay of Mexico, from the east.[101]

Though a single argument of the general subject, may prove but little,
disjoined from the rest; yet, according to the true laws of history, and
the best rules for tracing antiquities, the conclusion is to be drawn
from clear corresponding circumstances united: the force of one branch
of the subject ought to be connected with the others, and then judge by
the whole. Such {218} readers as may dissent from my opinion of the
Indian American origin and descent, ought to inform us how the natives
came here, and by what means they formed the long chain of rites,
customs, &c. so similar to the usage of the Hebrew nation, and in
general dissimilar to the modes, &c. of the Pagan world.

Ancient writers do not agree upon any certain place, where the Ophir of
Solomon lay; it must certainly be a great distance from Joppa, for it
was a three years voyage. After the death of Solomon, both the
Israelites and Tyrians seem to have utterly discontinued their trading
voyages to that part of the world. Eusebius and Eupolemus say, that
David sent to Urphe, an island in the red sea, and brought much gold
into Judea; and Ortelius reckons this to have been Ophir: though,
agreeably to the opinion of the greater part of the modern literati, he
also conjectures Cephala, or Sophala, to have been the Ophir of Solomon.
Junius imagines it was in Aurea Chersonesus; Tremellius and Niger are of
the same opinion. But Vatablus reckons it was Hispaniola, discovered,
and named so by Columbus: yet Postellus, Phil. Mornay, Arias Montanus,
and Goropius, are of opinion that Peru is the ancient Ophir; so widely
different are their conjectures. Ancient history is quite silent,
concerning America; which indicates that it has been time immemorial
rent asunder from the African continent, according to Plato’s Timeus.
The north-east parts of Asia also were undiscovered, till of late. Many
geographers have stretched Asia and America so far, as to join them
together: and others have divided those two quarters of the globe, at a
great distance from each other. But the Russians, after several
dangerous attempts, have clearly convinced the world, that they are now
divided, and yet have a near communication together, by a narrow strait,
in which several islands are situated; through which there is an easy
passage from the north-east of Asia to the north-west of America by the
way of Kamschatska; which probably joined to the north-west point of
America. By this passage, supposing the main continents were separated,
it was very practicable for the inhabitants to go to this extensive new
world; and afterwards, to have proceeded in quest of suitable
climates,—according to the law of nature, that directs every creature to
such climes as are most convenient and agreeable. {219}

Having endeavoured to ascertain the origin and descent of the
North-American Indians—and produced a variety of arguments that incline
my own opinion in favour of their being of Jewish extraction—which at
the same time furnish the public with a more complete INDIAN SYSTEM of
religious rites, civil and martial customs, languages, &c. &c. than hath
ever been exhibited, neither disfigured by fable, nor prejudice—I shall
proceed to give a general historical description of those Indian nations
among whom I have chiefly resided.[102] {220}

                                 OF THE
                           KATAHBA, CHEERAKE,
                         MUSKOHGE, CHOKTAH, AND
                           CHIKKASAH NATIONS:



             Their LAWS, and the Conduct of our GOVERNORS,
                           &c. towards them.


I begin with the KATAHBA,[103] because their country is the most
contiguous to Charles-Town in South-Carolina. It is placed in our modern
maps, in 34 degrees north latitude, but proper care hath not yet been
taken to ascertain the limits and site of any of the Indian nations. It
is bounded on the north and north-east, by North-Carolina—on the east
and south, by South-Carolina—and about west-south-west by the Cheerake
nation. Their chief settlement is at the distance of one hundred and
forty-five miles from the Cheerake, as near as I can compute it by
frequent journies, and about 200 miles distant from Charles-Town.

Their soil is extremely good; the climate open and healthy; the water
very clear, and well-tasted. The chief part of the Katahba country, I
observed during my residence with them, was settled close on the east
side of a broad purling river, that heads in the great blue ridge of
mountains, and empties itself into Santee-river, at Amelia township;
then running eastward of Charles-town, disgorges itself into the
Atlantic. The land would produce any sort of Indian provisions, but, by
the continual passing and repassing of the English, between the northern
and southern colonies,[104] the Katahba live perhaps the meanest of any
Indians belonging to the British American empire. They are also so
corrupted by an immoderate use of our spirituous liquors, and of course,
indolent, that they scarcely plant any thing fit for the support of
human life. South-Carolina has supplied their wants, either {223}
through a political, or charitable view; which kindness, several
respectable inhabitants in their neighbourhood say, they abuse in a very
high degree; for they often destroy the white people’s live stock, and
even kill their horses for mischief sake.[105]

It was bad policy of a prime magistrate of South-Carolina, who a little
more than twenty years ago, desired me to endeavour to decoy the
Chikkasah nation to settle near New-Windsor, or Savanna town.[106] For
the Indians will not live peaceable with a mixed society of people. It
is too recent to need enlarging on, that the English inhabitants were at
sundry times forced by necessity, to take shelter in New-Windsor and
Augusta garrisons, at the alarm of the cannon, to save themselves from
about an hundred of the Chikkasah, who formerly settled there, by the
inticement of our traders:[107] the two colonies of South-Carolina and
Georgia were obliged on this occasion to send up a number of troops,
either to drive them off, or check their insolence. By some fatality,
they are much addicted to excessive drinking, and spirituous liquors
distract them so exceedingly, that they will even eat live coals of
fire. Harsh usage alone, will never subdue an Indian: and too much
indulgence is as bad; for then they would think, what was an effect of
politic friendship, proceeded from a tribute of fear. We may observe of
them as of the fire, “it is safe and useful, cherished at proper
distance; but if too near us, it becomes dangerous, and will scorch if
not consume us.”

We are not acquainted with any savages of so warlike a disposition, as
the Katahba and the Chikkasah. The six united northern nations have been
time immemorial engaged in a bitter war with the former,[108] and the
Katahba are now reduced to very few above one hundred fighting men—the
small pox, and intemperate drinking, have contributed however more than
their wars to their great decay. When South-Carolina was in its infant
state, they mustered fifteen hundred fighting men: and they always
behaved as faithful and friendly to the English as could be reasonably
expected, from cunning, suspicious, and free savages. About the year
1743, their nation consisted of almost 400 warriors, of above twenty
different dialects. I shall mention a few of the national names of
those, who make up this mixed language;—the _Kátahba_, is the standard,
or court-dialect—the _Wataree_, who make up a large town; _Eenó_, {224}
_Chewah_, now _Chowan_, _Canggaree_, _Nachee_, _Yamasee_, _Coosah_, &c.
Their country had an old waste field of seven miles extent, and several
others of smaller dimensions; which shews that they were formerly a
numerous people, to cultivate so much land with their dull stone-axes,
before they had an opportunity of trading with the English, or allowed
others to incorporate with them.[109] {225}

                                 OF THE
                          CHEERAKE NATION, &c.

We shall now treat of the Cheerake nation, as the next neighbour to

Their national name is derived from _Chee-ra_, “fire,”[110] which is
their reputed lower heaven, and hence they call their magi,
_Cheerà-tahge_, “men possessed of the divine fire.”[111] The country
lies in about 34 degrees north latitude, at the distance of 340 computed
miles to the north-west of Charles-town,—140 miles west-south-west from
the Katahba nation,—and almost 200 miles to the north of the Muskohge or
Creek country.

They are settled, nearly in an east and west course, about 140 miles in
length from the lower towns where Fort-Prince-George stands, to the late
unfortunate Fort-Loudon. The natives make two divisions of their
country, which they term _Ayrate_, and _Ottare_, signifying “low,” and
“mountainous.”[112] The former division is on the head branches of the
beautiful Savanah river, and the latter on those of the easternmost
river of the great Missisippi. Their towns are always close to some
river, or creek; as there the land is commonly very level and fertile,
on account of the frequent washings off the mountains, and the moisture
it receives from the waters, that run through their fields. And such a
situation enables them to perform the ablutions, connected with their
religious worship.

The eastern, or lower parts of this country, are sharp and cold to a
Carolinian in winter, and yet agreeable: but those towns that lie among
the {226} Apalahche mountains, are very pinching to such who are
unaccustomed to a savage life. The ice and snow continue on the
north-side, till late in the spring of the year: however, the natives
are well provided for it, by their bathing and anointing themselves.
This regimen shuts up the pores of the body, and by that means prevents
too great a perspiration; and an accustomed exercise of hunting, joined
with the former, puts them far above their climate: they are almost as
impenetrable to cold, as a bar of steel, and the severest cold is no
detriment to their hunting.

Formerly, the Cheerake were a very numerous and potent nation. Not above
forty years ago, they had 64 towns and villages, populous, and full of
women and children. According to the computations of the most
intelligent old traders of that time,[113] they amounted to upwards of
six-thousand fighting men; a prodigious number to have so close on our
settlements,[114] defended by blue-topped ledges of inaccessible
mountains: where, but three of them can make a successful campaign, even
against their own watchful red-colour enemies. But they were then
simple, and peaceable, to what they are now.

As their western, or upper towns, which are situated among the
Apalahche-mountains, on the eastern branches of the Missisippi, were
always engaged in hot war with the more northern Indians; and the middle
and lower towns in constant hostility with the Muskohge, till reconciled
by a governor of South-Carolina for the sake of trade,—several of their
best towns, on the southern branch of Savanah-river, are now forsaken
and destroyed: as _Ishtatohe_, _Echia_, _Toogalo_, &c., and they are
brought into a narrower compass. At the conclusion of our last war with
them,[115] the traders calculated the number of their warriors to
consist of about two thousand three-hundred, which is a great diminution
for so short a space of time: and if we may conjecture for futurity,
from the circumstances already past, there will be few of them alive,
after the like revolution of time. Their towns are still scattered wide
of each other, because the land will not admit any other settlement: it
is a rare thing to see a level tract of four hundred acres. They are
also strongly attached to rivers,—all retaining the opinion of the
ancients, that rivers are necessary to constitute a paradise. Nor is it
only ornamental, but likewise beneficial to them, on account of
purifying themselves, and also for the services of common life,—such as
fishing, {227} fowling, and killing of deer, which come in the warm
season, to eat the saltish moss and grass, which grow on the rocks, and
under the surface of the waters. Their rivers are generally very
shallow, and pleasant to the eye; for the land being high, the waters
have a quick descent; they seldom overflow their banks, unless when a
heavy rain falls on a deep snow.—Then, it is frightful to see the huge
pieces of ice, mixed with a prodigious torrent of water, rolling down
the high mountains, and over the steep craggy rocks, so impetuous, that
nothing can resist their force. Two old traders saw an instance of this
kind, which swept away great plantations of oaks and pines, that had
their foundation as in the center of the earth.—It overset several of
the higher rocks, where the huge rafts of trees and ice had stopped up
the main channel, and forced itself across through the smaller hills.

From the historical descriptions of the Alps, and a personal view of the
Cheerake mountains—I conclude the Alps of Italy are much inferior to
several of the Cheerake mountains, both in height and rockiness: the
last are also of a prodigious extent, and frequently impassable by an
enemy. The _Allegeny_, or “great blue ridge,” commonly called the
_Apalahche_-mountains, are here above a hundred miles broad; and by the
best accounts we can get from the Missisippi Indians, run along between
Peru and Mexico, unless where the large rivers occasion a break. They
stretch also all the way from the west of the northern great lakes, near
Hudson’s Bay, and across the Missisippi, about 250 leagues above
New-Orleans. In the lower and middle parts of this mountainous ragged
country, the Indians have a convenient passable path, by the foot of the
mountains: but farther in, they are of such a prodigious height, that
they are forced to wind from north to south, along the rivers and large
creeks, to get a safe passage: and the paths are so steep in many
places, that the horses often pitch, and rear an end, to scramble up.
Several of the mountains are some miles from bottom to top, according to
the ascent of the paths: and there are other mountains I have seen from
these, when out with the Indians in clear weather, that the eye can but
faintly discern, which therefore must be at a surprising distance.

Where the land is capable of cultivation, it would produce any thing
suitable to the climate. Hemp, and wine-grapes grow there to admiration:
{228} they have plenty of the former, and a variety of the latter that
grow spontaneously. If these were properly cultivated, there must be a
good return. I have gathered good hops in the woods opposite to Nuquose,
where our troops were repelled by the Cheerake, in the year 1760. There
is not a more healthful region under the sun, than this country; for the
air is commonly open and clear, and plenty of wholesome and pleasant
water. I know several bold rivers, that fill themselves in running about
thirty miles, counting by a direct course from their several different
fountains, and which are almost as transparent as glass. The natives
live commonly to a great age; which is not to be wondered at, when we
consider the high situation of their country,—the exercise they
pursue,—the richness of the soil that produces plenty for a needful
support of life, without fatiguing, or over-heating the planters,—the
advantages they receive from such excellent good water, as gushes out of
every hill; and the great additional help by a plain abstemious life,
commonly eating and drinking, only according to the solicitations of
nature. I have seen strangers however, full of admiration at beholding
so few old people in that country; and they have concluded from thence,
and reported in the English settlements, that it was a sickly
short-lived region: but we should consider, they are always involved in
treacherous wars, and exposed to perpetual dangers, by which, infirm and
declining people generally fall, and the manly old warrior will not
shrink. And yet many of the peaceable fellows, and women, especially in
the central towns, see the grey hairs of their children, long before
they die; and in every Indian country, there are a great many old women
on the frontiers, perhaps ten times the number of the men of the same
age and place—which plainly shews the country to be healthy. Those reach
to a great age, who live secure by the fire-side, but no climates or
constitutions can harden the human body, and make it bullet-proof.

The Cheerake country[116] abounds with the best herbage, on the richer
parts of the hills and mountains; and a great variety of valuable herbs
is promiscuously scattered on the lower lands. It is remarkable, that
none of our botanists should attempt making any experiments there,
notwithstanding the place invited their attention, and the public had a
right to expect so generous an undertaking from several of them; while
at the same time, they would be recovering, or renewing their health, at
a far easier, cheaper, and safer rate, than coasting it to our northern
colonies. {229}

On the level parts of the water-side, between the hills, there are
plenty of reeds: and, formerly, such places abounded with great brakes
of winter-canes.—The foliage of which is always green, and hearty food
for horses and cattle. The traders used to raise there flocks of an
hundred, and a hundred and fifty excellent horses; which are commonly of
a good size, well-made, hard-hoofed, handsome, strong and fit for the
saddle or draught: but a person runs too great a risk to buy any to take
them out of the country, because, every spring-season most of them make
for their native range. Before the Indian trade was ruined by our
left-handed policy, and the natives were corrupted by the liberality of
our dim-sighted politicians, the Cheerake were frank, sincere, and
industrious. Their towns then, abounded with hogs, poultry, and every
thing sufficient for the support of a reasonable life, which the traders
purchased at an easy rate, to their mutual satisfaction: and as they
kept them busily employed, and did not make themselves too cheap, the
Indians bore them good-will and respect—and such is the temper of all
the red natives.

I will not take upon me to ascertain the real difference between the
value of the goods they annually purchased of us, in former and later
times; but, allowing the consumption to be in favour of the last, what
is the gain of such an uncertain trifle, in comparison of our charges
and losses by a merciless savage war? The orderly and honest system, if
resumed, and wisely pursued, would reform the Indians, and regain their
lost affections; but that of general licences to mean reprobate pedlars,
by which they are inebriated, and cheated, is pregnant with complicated
evils to the peace and welfare of our valuable southern colonies.

As the Cheerake began to have goods at an under price, it tempted them
to be both proud, and lazy. Their women and children are now far above
taking the trouble to raise hogs for the ugly white people, as the
beautiful red heroes proudly term them. If any do—they are forced to
feed them in small penns, or inclosures, through all the crop-season,
and chiefly on long pursly, and other wholsome weeds, that their rich
fields abound with. But at the fall of the leaf, the woods are full of
hiccory-nuts, acorns, chesnuts, and the like; which occasions the Indian
bacon to be more streaked, firm, and better tasted, than any we meet
with in {230} the English settlements. Some of the natives are grown
fond of horned cattle, both in the Cheerake and Muskohge countries, but
most decline them, because the fields are not regularly fenced. But
almost every one hath horses, from two to a dozen; which makes a
considerable number, through their various nations. The Cheerake had a
prodigious number of excellent horses, at the beginning of their late
war with us; but pinching hunger forced them to eat the greatest part of
them, in the time of that unfortunate event. But as all are now become
very active and sociable, they will soon supply themselves with plenty
of the best sort, from our settlements—they are skilful jockies, and
nice in their choice.

From the head of the southern branch of Savanah-river, it does not
exceed half a mile to a head spring of the Missisippi-water, that runs
through the middle and upper parts of the Cheerake nation, about a
north-west course,—and joining other rivers, they empty themselves into
the great Missisippi. The above fountain, is called “Herbert’s
spring[LIV]:” and it was natural for strangers to drink thereof, to
quench thirst, gratify their curiosity, and have it to say they had
drank of the French waters.[117] Some of our people, who went only with
the view of staying a short time, but by some allurement or other,
exceeded the time appointed, at their return, reported either through
merriment or superstition, that the spring had such a natural bewitching
quality, that whosoever drank of it, could not possibly quit the nation,
during the tedious space of seven years. All the debauchees readily fell
in with this superstitious notion, as an excuse for their bad method of
living, when they had no proper call to stay in that country; and in
process of time, it became as received a truth, as any ever believed to
have been spoken by the delphic oracle. One cursed, because its
enchantment had marred his good fortune; another condemned his weakness
for drinking down witchcraft, against his own secret suspicions; one
swore he would never taste again such known dangerous poison, even
though he should be forced to do down to the Missisippi for water; and
another comforted himself, that so many years out of the seven, were
already passed, and wished that if ever he tasted it again, though under
the greatest necessity, he might be confined to the stygian waters.
Those who had their minds more inlarged, diverted themselves much at
their cost, {231} for it was a noted favourite place, on account of the
name it went by; and being a well-situated and good spring, there all
travellers commonly drank a bottle of choice: But now, most of the
packhorse-men, though they be dry, and also matchless sons of Bacchus,
on the most pressing invitations to drink there, would swear to forfeit
sacred liquor the better part of their lives, rather than basely renew,
or confirm the loss of their liberty, which that execrable fountain

Footnote LIV:

  So named from an early commissioner of Indian affairs. (A). Maj. John
  Herbert who made a map of the Cherokee Country in 1715. In January of
  that year he accompanied Col. George Chicken on a journey towards the
  Tennessee Country, which Chicken journalized. Describing the spot, he
  wrote: “We come to ye top of ye mountain and there we see the hade of
  a River that Rones in to Chattahoushey River; about a mile on ye other
  side of ye mountain ther begon ye hade of another River that Rones
  into masashipey (Mississippi). Ouer march this day was 40 miles. Wee
  come to Quoneashee ⅐ hower after 5 a clocke where ye River that we see
  ye hade of was verry brode.” _Charleston Year Book for 1894_, p. 315.

About the year 1738, the Cheerake[118] received a most depopulating
shock, by the small pox, which reduced them almost one half, in about a
year’s time: it was conveyed into Charlestown by the Guinea-men,[119]
and soon after among them, by the infected goods. At first it made slow
advances, and as it was a foreign, and to them a strange disease, they
were so deficient in proper skill, that they alternately applied a
regimen of hot and cold things, to those who were infected. The old magi
and religious physicians who were consulted on so alarming a crisis,
reported the sickness had been sent among them, on account of the
adulterous intercourses of their young married people, who the past
year, had in a most notorious manner, violated their ancient laws of
marriage in every thicket, and broke down and polluted many of the
honest neighbours bean-plots, by their heinous crimes, which would cost
a great deal of trouble to purify again. To those flagitious crimes they
ascribed the present disease, as a necessary effect of the divine anger;
and indeed the religious men chanced to suffer the most in their small
fields, as being contiguous to the town-house, where they usually met at
night to dance, when their corn was out of the stalks; upon this pique,
they shewed their priest-craft. However, it was thought needful on this
occasion, to endeavour to put a stop to the progress of such a dangerous
disease: and as it was believed to be brought on them by their unlawful
copulation in the night dews, it was thought most practicable to try to
effect the cure, under the same cool element. Immediately, they ordered
the reputed sinners to lie out of doors, day and night, with their
breast frequently open to the night dews, to cool the fever: they were
likewise afraid, that the diseased would otherwise pollute the house,
and by that means, procure all their deaths. Instead of applying warm
remedies, they at last in every visit poured cold water on their naked
breasts, sung their religious mystical song, _Yo Yo_, &c. with a doleful
tune, {232} and shaked a calla-bash with the pebble-stones, over the
sick, using a great many frantic gestures, by way of incantantion. From
the reputed cause of the disease, we may rationally conclude their
physical treatment of it, to be of a true old Jewish descent; for as the
Israelites invoked the deity, or asked a blessing on every thing they
undertook, so all the Indian Americans seek for it, according on the
remaining faint glimpse of their tradition.

When they found their theological regimen had not the desired effect,
but that the infection gained upon them, they held a second
consultation, and deemed it the best method to sweat their patients, and
plunge them into the river,—which was accordingly done. Their rivers
being very cold in summer, by reason of the numberless springs, which
pour from the hills and mountains—and the pores of their bodies being
open to receive the cold, it rushing in through the whole frame, they
immediately expired: upon which all the magi and prophetic tribe broke
their old consecrated physic-pots, and threw away all the other
pretended holy things they had for physical use, imagining they had lost
their divine power by being polluted; and shared the common fate of
their country. A great many killed themselves; for being naturally
proud, they are always peeping into their looking glasses, and are never
genteelly drest, according to their mode, without carrying one hung over
their shoulders: by which means, seeing themselves disfigured, without
hope of regaining their former beauty, some shot themselves, others cut
their throats, some stabbed themselves with knives, and others with
sharp-pointed canes; many threw themselves with sullen madness into the
fire, and there slowly expired, as if they had been utterly divested of
the native power of feeling pain.

I remember, in _Tymáse_, one of their towns, about ten miles above the
present Fort Prince-George, a great head-warrior, who murdered a white
man thirty miles below _Cheeòwhee_, as was proved by the branded
deer-skins he produced afterward—when he saw himself disfigured by the
small pox, he chose to die, that he might end as he imagined his shame.
When his relations knew his desperate design, they narrowly watched him,
and took away every sharp instrument from him. When he found he was
balked of his intention, he fretted and said the worst things their
language {233} could express, and shewed all the symptoms of a desperate
person enraged at his disappointment, and forced to live and see his
ignominy; he then darted himself against the wall, with all his
remaining vigour,—his strength being expended by the force of his
friends opposition, he fell sullenly on the bed, as if by those violent
struggles he was overcome, and wanted to repose himself. His relations
through tenderness, left him to his rest—but as soon as they went away,
he raised himself, and after a tedious search, finding nothing but a
thick and round hoe-helve, he took the fatal instrument, and having
fixed one end of it in the ground, he repeatedly threw himself on it,
till he forced it down his throat, when he immediately expired.—He was
buried in silence, without the least mourning.

Although the Cheerake shewed such little skill in curing the small pox,
yet they, as well as all other Indian nations, have a great knowledge of
specific virtues in simples; applying herbs and plants, on the most
dangerous occasions, and seldom if ever, fail to effect a thorough cure,
from the natural bush. In the order of nature, every country and climate
is blest with specific remedies for the maladies that are connatural to
it—Naturalists tell us they have observed, that when the wild goat’s
sight begins to decay, he rubs his head against a thorn, and by some
effluvia, or virtue in the vegetable, the sight is renewed. Thus the
snake recovers after biting any creature, by his knowledge of the proper
antidote; and many of our arts and forms of living, are imitated by
lower ranks of the animal creation: the Indians, instigated by nature,
and quickened by experience, have discovered the peculiar properties of
vegetables, as far as needful in their situation of life. For my own
part, I would prefer an old Indian before any chirurgeon whatsoever, in
curing green wounds by bullets, arrows, &c. both for the certainty,
ease, and speediness of cure; for if those parts of the body are not
hurt, which are essential to the preservation of life, they cure the
wounded in a trice. They bring the patient into a good temperament of
body, by a decoction of proper herbs and roots, and always enjoin a most
abstemious life: they forbid them women, salt, and every kind of
flesh-meat, applying mountain allum,[120] as the chief ingredient. {234}

In the year 1749, I came down, by the invitation of the governor of
South-Carolina, to Charles-Town, with a body of our friendly Chikkasah
Indians: one of his majesty’s surgeons, that very day we arrived, cut
off the wounded arm of a poor man. On my relating it to the Indians,
they were shocked at the information, and said, “The man’s poverty
should have induced him to exert the common skill of mankind, in so
trifling an hurt; especially, as such a butchery would not only
disfigure, but disable the poor man the rest of his life; that there
would have been more humanity in cutting off the head, than in such a
barbarous amputation, because it is much better for men to die once,
than to be always dying, for when the hand is lost, how can the poor man
feed himself by his daily labour—By the same rule of physic, had he been
wounded in his head, our surgeons should have cut that off, for being
unfortunate.” I told the benevolent old warriors, that the wisdom of our
laws had exempted the head from such severe treatment, by not settling a
reward for severing it, but only so much for every joint of the branches
of the body, which might be well enough spared, without the life; and
that this medical treatment was a strong certificate to recommend the
poor man to genteel lodgings, where numbers belonging to our great
canoes, were provided for during life.[121] They were of opinion
however, that such brave hardy fellows would rather be deemed men, and
work for their bread, than be laid aside, not only as useless animals,
but as burdens to the rest of society.

I do not remember to have seen or heard of an Indian dying by the bite
of a snake, when out at war, or a hunting; although they are then often
bitten by the most dangerous snakes—every one carries in his shot-pouch,
a piece of the best snake-root, such as the _Seneeka_, or
fern-snake-root,—or the wild hore-hound, wild plantain, St. Andrew’s
cross, and a variety of other herbs and roots, which are plenty, and
well known to those who range the American woods, and are exposed to
such dangers, and will effect a thorough and speedy cure if timely
applied. When an Indian perceives he is struck by a snake, he
immediately chews some of the root, and having swallowed a sufficient
quantity of it, he applies some to the wound; which he repeats as
occasion requires, and in proportion to the poison the snake has infused
into the wound. For a short space of time, there is a terrible conflict
through all the body, by the jarring qualities of {235} the burning
poison, and the strong antidote; but the poison is soon repelled through
the same channels it entered, and the patient is cured.

The Cheerake mountains look very formidable to a stranger, when he is
among their valleys, incircled with their prodigious, proud, contending
tops; they appear as a great mass of black and blue clouds, interspersed
with some rays of light. But they produce, or contain every thing for
health, and wealth, and if cultivated by the rules of art, would furnish
perhaps, as valuable medicines as the eastern countries; and as great
quantities of gold and silver, as Peru and Mexico, in proportion to
their situation with the æquator. On the tops of several of those
mountains, I have observed tufts of grass deeply tinctured by the
mineral exhalations from the earth; and on the sides, they glistered
from the same cause. If skilful alchymists made experiments on these
mountains, they could soon satisfy themselves, as to the value of their
contents, and probably would find their account in it.

Within twenty miles of the late Fort-Loudon, there is great plenty of
whet-stones for razors, of red, white, and black colours. The silver
mines are so rich, that by digging about ten yards deep, some desperate
vagrants found at sundry times, so much rich ore, as to enable them to
counterfeit dollars, to a great amount; a horse load of which was
detected in passing for the purchase of negroes, at Augusta, which
stands on the south-side of the meandering beautiful Savanah river, half
way from the Cheerake country, to Savanah, the capital of Georgia. The
load-stone is likewise found there, but they have no skill in searching
for it, only on the surface; a great deal of the magnetic power is lost,
as being exposed to the various changes of the weather, and frequent
firing of the woods. I was told by a trader, who lives in the upper
parts of the Cheerake country, which is surrounded on every side, by
prodigious piles of mountains called Cheèowhée, that within about a mile
of the town of that name, there is a hill with a great plenty of
load-stones—the truth of this any gentleman of curiosity may soon
ascertain, as it lies on the northern path[122] that leads from
South-Carolina, to the remains of Fort-Loudon: and while he is in search
of this, he may at the same time make a great acquest of riches, for the
load-stone is known to accompany rich metals. I was once near that
load-stone {236} hill, but the heavy rains which at that time fell on
the deep snow, prevented the gratifying my curiosity, as the boggy deep
creek was thereby rendered impassable.

In this rocky country, are found a great many beautiful, clear,
chrystaline stones,[123] formed by nature into several angles, which
commonly meet in one point: several of them are transparent, like a
coarse diamond—others resemble the onyx, being engendered of black and
thick humours, as we see water that is tinctured with ink, still keeping
its surface clear. I found one stone like a ruby, as big as the top of a
man’s thumb, with a beautiful dark shade in the middle of it. Many
stones of various colours, and beautiful lustre, may be collected on the
tops of those hills and mountains, which if skilfully managed, would be
very valuable, for some of them are clear, and very hard. From which, we
may rationally conjecture that a quantity of subterranean treasures is
contained there; the Spaniards generally found out their southern mines,
by such superficial indications. And it would be an useful, and
profitable service for skilful artists to engage in, as the present
trading white savages are utterly ignorant of it. Manifold curious works
of the wise author of nature, are bountifully dispersed through the
whole of the country, obvious to every curious eye.

Among the mountains, are many labyrinths, and some of a great length,
with many branches, and various windings; likewise different sorts of
mineral waters, the qualities of which are unknown to the natives, as by
their temperate way of living, and the healthiness of their country,
they have no occasion to make experiments in them. Between the heads of
the northern branch of the lower Cheerake river, and the heads of that
of Tuckasehchee, winding round in a long course by the late Fort-Loudon,
and afterwards into the Missisippi, there is, both in the nature and
circumstances, a great phænomenon—Between two high mountains, nearly
covered with old mossy rocks, lofty cedars, and pines, in the valleys of
which the beams of the sun reflect a powerful heat, there are, as the
natives affirm, some bright old inhabitants, or rattle snakes,[124] of a
more enormous size than is mentioned in history. They are so large and
unwieldy, that they take a circle, almost as wide as their length, to
crawl round in their shortest orbit: but bountiful nature compensates
the heavy motion of their bodies, for {237} as they say, no living
creature moves within the reach of their sight, but they can draw it to
them; which is agreeable to what we observe, through the whole system of
animated beings. Nature endues them with proper capacities to sustain
life;—as they cannot support themselves, by their speed, or cunning to
spring from an ambuscade, it is needful they should have the bewitching
craft of their eyes and forked tongues.

The description the Indians give us of their colour, is as various as
what we are told of the camelion, that seems to the spectator to change
its colour, by every different position he may view it in; which
proceeds from the piercing rays of light that blaze from their
foreheads, so as to dazzle the eyes, from whatever quarter they post
themselves—for in each of their heads, there is a large carbuncle, which
not only repels, but they affirm, sullies the meridian beams of the sun.
They reckon it so dangerous to disturb those creatures, that no
temptation can induce them to betray their secret recess to the
prophane. They call them and all of the rattle-snake kind, kings, or
chieftains of the snakes; and they allow one such to every different
species of the brute creation. An old trader of Cheeowhee told me, that
for the reward of two pieces of stroud-cloth, he engaged a couple of
young warriors to shew him the place of their resort; but the head-men
would not by any means allow it, on account of a superstitious
tradition—for they fancy the killing of them would expose them to the
danger of being bit by the other inferior species of that serpentine
tribe, who love their chieftains, and know by instinct those who
maliciously killed them, as they fight only in their own defence, and
that of their young ones, never biting those who do not disturb them.
Although they esteem those rattle snakes as chieftains of that species,
yet they do not deify them, as the Egyptians did all the serpentine
kind, and likewise Ibis, that preyed upon them; however, it seems to
have sprung from the same origin, for I once saw the Chikkasah
Archi-magus to chew some snake-root, blow it on his hands, and then take
up a rattle snake without damage—soon afterwards he laid it down
carefully, in a hollow tree, lest I should have killed it. Once on the
Chikkasah trading war-path, a little above the country of the Muskohge,
as I was returning to camp from hunting, I found in a large cane swamp,
a fellow-traveller, an old Indian trader, inebriated and naked, except
his Indian breeches and maccaseenes; in that habit he sat, {238} holding
a great rattle-snake round the neck, with his left hand besmeared with
proper roots, and with the other, applying the roots to the teeth, in
order to repel the poison, before he drew them out; which having
effected, he laid it down tenderly at a distance. I then killed it, to
his great dislike, as he was afraid it would occasion misfortunes to
himself and me. I told him, as he had taken away its teeth, common pity
should induce one to put it out of misery, and that a charitable action
could never bring ill on any one; but his education prevented his fears
from subsiding. On a Christmas-day, at the trading house of that
harmless, brave, but unfortunate man, I took the foot of a guinea-deer
out of his shot-pouch—and another from my own partner, which they had
very safely sewed in the corner of each of their otter-skin-pouches, to
enable them, according to the Indian creed, to kill deer, bear,
buffaloe, beaver, and other wild beasts, in plenty: but they were so
infatuated with the Indian superstitious belief of the power of that
charm, that all endeavours of reconciling them to reason were
ineffectual: I therefore returned them, for as they were Nimrods, or
hunters of men, as well as of wild beasts, I imagined, I should be
answerable to myself for every accident that might befal them, by
depriving them of what they depended upon as their chief good, in that
wild sphere of life. No wonder that the long-desolate savages of the far
extending desarts of America, should entertain the former superstitious
notions of ill luck by that, and good fortune by this; as those of an
early Christian education, are so soon imprest with the like opinions.
The latter was killed on the old Chikkasah, or American-Flanders
path,[125] in company with another expert brave man, in the year 1745,
by twenty Choktah savages, set on by the Christian French of Tumbikpe
garrison; in consequence of which, I staid by myself the following
summer-season, in the Chikkasah country, and when the rest of the
trading people and all our horses were gone down to the English
settlements, I persuaded the Choktah to take up the bloody tomohawk
against those perfidious French, in revenge of a long train of crying
blood: and had it not been for the self-interested policy of a certain
governor, those numerous savages, with the war-like Chikkasah, would
have destroyed the Missisippi settlements, root and branch, except those
who kept themselves closely confined in garrison. When I treat of the
Choktah country, I shall more particularly relate that very material
affair. {239}

The superior policy of the French so highly intoxicated the light heads
of the Cheerake, that they were plodding mischief for twenty years
before we forced them to commit hostilities. The illustration of this
may divert the reader, and shew our southern colonies what they may
still expect from the masterly abilities of the French Louisianians,
whenever they can make it suit their interest to exert their talents
among the Indian nations, while our watch-men are only employed in
treating on paper, in our far-distant capital seats of government.

In the year 1736, the French sent into South-Carolina, one Priber[126] a
gentleman of a curious and speculative temper. He was to transmit them a
full account of that country, and proceed to the Cheerake nation, in
order to seduce them from the British to the French interest. He went,
and though he was adorned with every qualification that constitutes the
gentleman, soon after he arrived at the upper towns of this mountainous
country, he exchanged his clothes and every thing he brought with him,
and by that means, made friends with the head warriors of great Telliko,
which stood on a branch of the Missisippi. More effectually to answer
the design of his commission, he ate, drank, slept, danced, dressed, and
painted himself, with the Indians, so that it was not easy to
distinguish him from the natives,—he married also with them, and being
endued with a strong understanding and retentive memory, he soon learned
their dialect, and by gradual advances, impressed them with a very ill
opinion of the English, representing them as a fraudulent, avaritious,
and encroaching people: he at the same time, inflated the artless
savages, with a prodigious high opinion of their own importance in the
American scale of power, on account of the situation of their country,
their martial disposition, and the great number of their warriors, which
would baffle all the efforts of the ambitious, and ill-designing British
colonists. Having thus infected them by his smooth deluding art, he
easily formed them into a nominal republican government—crowned their
old Archi-magus, emperor, after a pleasing new savage form, and invented
a variety of high-sounding titles for all the members of his imperial
majesty’s red court, and the great officers of state; which the emperor
conferred upon them, in a manner according to their merit. He himself
received the honourable title of his imperial majesty’s principal
secretary of state, and as such he subscribed himself, in all the
letters he wrote to our government, and lived in open defiance {240} of
them. This seemed to be of so dangerous a tendency, as to induce
South-Carolina to send up a commissioner, Col. F—x,[127] to demand him
as an enemy to the public repose—who took him into custody, in the great
square of their statehouse: when he had almost concluded his oration on
the occasion, one of the head warriors rose up, and bade him forbear, as
the man he entended to enslave, was made a great beloved man, and become
one of their own people. Though it was reckoned, our agent’s strength
was far greater in his arms than his head, he readily desisted—for as it
is too hard to struggle with the pope in Rome, a stranger could not miss
to find it equally difficult to enter abruptly into a new emperor’s
court, and there seize his prime minister, by a foreign authority;
especially when he could not support any charge of guilt against him.
The warrior told him, that the red people well knew the honesty of the
secretary’s heart would never allow him to tell a lie; and the secretary
urged that he was a foreigner, without owing any allegiance to Great
Britain,—that he only travelled through some places of their country, in
a peaceable manner, paying for every thing he had of them; that in
compliance with the request of the kindly French, as well as from his
own tender feelings for the poverty and insecure state of the Cheerake,
he came a great way, and lived among them as a brother, only to preserve
their liberties, by opening a water communication between them and New
Orleans; that the distance of the two places from each other, proved his
motive to be the love of doing good, especially as he was to go there,
and bring up a sufficient number of Frenchmen of proper skill to
instruct them in the art of making gun-powder, the materials of which,
he affirmed their lands abounded with.—He concluded his artful speech,
by urging that the tyrannical design of the English commissioner toward
him, appeared plainly to be levelled against them, because, as he was
not accused of having done any ill to the English, before he came to the
Cheerake, his crime must consist in loving the Cheerake.—And as that was
reckoned so heinous a transgression in the eye of the English, as to
send one of their angry beloved men to enslave him, it confirmed all
those honest speeches he had often spoken to the present great
war-chieftains, old beloved men, and warriors of each class.

An old war-leader repeated to the commissioner, the essential part of
the speech, and added more of his own similar thereto. He bade him to
inform {241} his superiors, that the Cheerake were as desirous as the
English to continue a friendly union with each other, as “freemen and
equals.” That they hoped to receive no farther uneasiness from them, for
consulting their own interests, as their reason dictated.—And they
earnestly requested them to send no more of those bad papers to their
country, on any account; nor to reckon them so base, as to allow any of
their honest friends to be taken out of their arms, and carried into
slavery. The English beloved man had the honour of receiving his leave
of absence, and a sufficient passport of safe conduct, from the imperial
red court, by a verbal order of the secretary of state,—who was so
polite as to wish him well home, and ordered a convoy of his own
life-guards, who conducted him a considerable way, and he got home in

From the above, it is evident, that the monopolizing spirit of the
French had planned their dangerous lines of circumvallation, respecting
our envied colonies, as early as the before-mentioned period. Their
choice of the man, bespeaks also their judgment.—Though the philosophic
secretary was an utter stranger to the wild and mountainous Cheerake
country, as well as to their language, yet his sagacity readily directed
him to chuse a proper place, and an old favourite religious man, for the
new red empire; which he formed by slow, but sure degrees, to the great
danger of our southern colonies. But the empire received a very great
shock, in an accident that befel the secretary, when it was on the point
of rising into a far greater state of puissance, by the acquisition of
the Muskohge, Choktah, and the western Missisippi Indians. In the fifth
year of that red imperial æra, he set off for Mobille, accompanied by a
few Cheerake. He proceeded by land, as far as a navigable part of the
western great river of the Muskohge; there he went into a canoe prepared
for the joyful occasion, and proceeded within a day’s journey of
Alebahma garrison—conjecturing the adjacent towns were under the
influence of the French, he landed at Tallapoose town, and lodged there
all night. The traders of the neighbouring towns soon went there,
convinced the inhabitants of the dangerous tendency of his unwearied
labours among the Cheerake, and of his present journey, and then took
him into custody, with a large bundle of manuscripts, and sent him down
to Frederica in Georgia; the governor committed him to a place of
confinement, though not with common felons, as he was a foreigner, and
was said to have held a place of considerable rank in {242} the army
with great honour. Soon after, the magazine took fire, which was not far
from where he was confined, and though the centinels bade him make off
to a place of safety, as all the people were running to avoid danger
from the explosion of the powder and shells, yet he squatted on his
belly upon the floor, and continued in that position, without the least
hurt: several blamed his rashness, but he told them, that experience had
convinced him, it was the most probable means to avoid imminent danger.
This incident displayed the philosopher and soldier, and after bearing
his misfortunes a considerable time with great constancy, happily for
us, he died in confinement,—though he deserved a much better fate. In
the first year of his secretaryship I maintained a correspondence with
him; but the Indians becoming very inquisitive to know the contents of
our marked large papers, and he suspecting his memory might fail him in
telling those cunning sisters of truth, a plausible story, and of being
able to repeat it often to them, without any variation,—he took the
shortest and safest method, by telling them that, in the very same
manner as he was their great secretary, I was the devil’s clerk, or an
accursed one who marked on paper the bad speech of the evil ones of
darkness. Accordingly, they forbad him writing any more to such an
accursed one, or receiving any of his evil-marked papers, and our
correspondence ceased. As he was learned, and possessed of a very
sagacious penetrating judgment, and had every qualification that was
requisite for his bold and difficult enterprize, it is not to be
doubted, that as he wrote a Cheerake dictionary, designed to be
published at Paris, he likewise set down a great deal that would have
been very acceptable to the curious, and serviceable to the
representatives of South-Carolina and Georgia; which may be readily
found in Frederica, if the manuscripts have had the good fortune to
escape the despoiling hands of military power.

When the western Cheerake towns lost the chief support of their imperial
court, they artfully agreed to inform the English traders, that each of
them had opened their eyes, and rejected the French plan as a wild
scheme, inconsistent with their interests; except great Telliko,[128]
the metropolis of their late empire, which they said was firmly resolved
to adhere to the French proposals, as the surest means of promoting
their welfare and happiness. Though the inhabitants of this town were
only dupes to the rest, yet for {243} the sake of the imagined general
good of the country, their constancy enabled them to use that disguise a
long time, in contempt of the English, till habit changed into a real
hatred of the object, what before was only fictitious. They corresponded
with the French in the name of those seven towns, which are the most
warlike part of the nation: and they were so strongly prepossessed with
the notions their beloved secretary had infused into their heads, in
that early weak state of Louisiana, that they had resolved to remove,
and settle so low down their river, as the French boats could readily
bring them a supply. But the hot war they fell into with the northern
Indians, made them postpone the execution of that favourite design; and
the settling of Fort Loudon, quieted them a little, as they expected to
get presents, and spirituous liquors there, according to the manner of
the French promises, of which they had great plenty.

The French, to draw off the western towns, had given them repeated
assurances of settling a strong garrison on the north side of their
river, as high up as their large pettiaugres could be brought with
safety, where there was a large tract of rich lands abounding with game
and fowl, and the river with fish.—They at the same time promised to
procure a firm peace between the Cheerake and all the Indian nations
depending on the French; and to bestow on them powder, bullets, flints,
knives, scissars, combs, shirts, looking glasses, and red paint,—beside
favourite trifles to the fair sex: in the same brotherly manner the
Alebahma French extended their kindly hands to their Muskohge brethren.
By their assiduous endeavours, that artful plan was well supported, and
though the situation of our affairs, in the remote, and leading Cheerake
towns, had been in a ticklish situation, from the time their project of
an empire was formed; and though several other towns became uneasy and
discontented on sundry pretexts, for the space of two years before the
unlucky occasion of the succeeding war happened—yet his excellency our
governor[129] neglected the proper measures to reconcile the wavering
savages, till the gentleman[130] who was appointed to succeed him, had
just reached the American coast: then, indeed, he set off, with a
considerable number of gentlemen, in flourishing parade, and went as far
as Ninety-six[LV] settlement; from whence, as most probably he expected,
he was fortunately recalled, and joyfully superseded. I saw him on his
way up, and plainly observed he was unprovided for the journey; it must
unavoidably have proved abortive {244} before he could have proceeded
through the Cheerake country,—gratifying the inquisitive disposition of
the people, as he went, and quieting the jealous minds of the
inhabitants of those towns, who are settled among the Apalahche
mountains, and those seven towns, in particular, that lie beyond them.
He neither sent before, nor carried with him, any presents wherewith to
soothe the natives; and his kind promises, and smooth speeches, would
have weighed exceedingly light in the Indian scale.

Footnote LV:

  So called from its distance of miles from the Cheerake. (A). Adair
  makes a slight slip here. Ninety-Six was the name applied as early as
  1730 to the point ninety-six miles _from Charles Town_. Salley,
  _George Hunter’s Map of 1730_, p. 3. (W)

Having shewn the bad state of our affairs among the remotest parts of
the Cheerake country, and the causes.—I shall now relate their plea, for
commencing war against the British colonies; and the great danger we
were exposed to by the incessant intrigues of the half-savage French
garrisons, in those hot times, when all our northern barriers were so
prodigiously harrassed. Several companies of the Cheerake,[131] who
joined our forces under General Stanwix at the unfortunate Ohio,
affirmed that their alienation from us, was—because they were confined
to our martial arrangement, by unjust suspicion of them—were very much
contemned,—and half-starved at the main camp: their hearts told them
therefore to return home, as freemen and injured allies, though without
a supply of provisions. This they did, and pinching hunger forced them
to take as much as barely supported nature, when returning to their own
country. In their journey, the German inhabitants, without any
provocation, killed in cool blood about forty of their warriors, in
different places—though each party was under the command of a British
subject.[132] They scalped all, and butchered several, after a most
shocking manner, in imitation of the barbarous war-custom of the
savages; some who escaped the carnage, returned at night, to see their
kindred and war companions, and reported their fate. Among those who
were thus treated, some were leading men, which had a dangerous tendency
to disturb the public quiet. We were repeatedly informed, by public
account, that those murderers were so audacious as to impose the scalps
on the government for those of French Indians; and that they actually
obtained the premium allowed at that time by law in such a case.
Although the vindictive disposition of Indians in general, impetuously
forces them on in quest of equal revenge for blood, without the least
thought of consequences; yet as a misunderstanding had subsisted some
time, between several distant towns, and those who chanced to lose their
people in Virginia, the chiefs of those families being afraid of a civil
war, {245} in case of a rupture with us, dissuaded the furious young
warriors from commencing hostilities against us, till they had demanded
satisfaction, agreeable to the treaty of friendship between them and our
colonies; which if denied, they would fully take of their own accord, as
became a free, warlike, and injured people. In this state, the affair
lay, for the best part of a year, without our using any proper
conciliating measures, to prevent the threatening impending storm from
destroying us: during that interval, they earnestly applied to Virginia
for satisfaction, without receiving any; in like manner to
North-Carolina; and afterwards to South-Carolina, with the same bad
success. And there was another incident at Fort Prince-George, which set
fire to the fuel, and kindled it into a raging flame: three
light-headed, disorderly young officers of that garrison, forcibly
violated some of their wives, and in the most shameless manner, at their
own houses, while the husbands were making their winter hunt in the
woods—and which infamous conduct they madly repeated, but a few months
before the commencement of the war: in other respects, through a haughty
over-bearing spirit, they took pleasure in insulting and abusing the
natives, when they paid a friendly visit to the garrison. No wonder that
such a behaviour, caused their revengeful tempers to burst forth into
action. When the Indians find no redress of grievances, they never fail
to redress themselves, either sooner or later. But when they begin, they
do not know where to end. Their thirst for the blood of their reputed
enemies, is not to be quenched with a few drops.—The more they drink,
the more it inflames their thirst. When they dip their fingers in human
blood, they are restless till they plunge themselves in it.

Contrary to the wise conduct of the French garrisons in securing the
affection of the natives where they are settled—our sons of Mars
imbittered the hearts of those Cheerake, that lie next to South-Carolina
and Georgia colonies, against us, with the mid settlements and the
western towns on the streams of the Missisippi: who were so incensed as
continually to upbraid the traders with our unkind treatment of their
people in the camp at Monongahela,—and for our having committed such
hostilities against our good friends, who were peaceably returning home
through our settlements, and often under pinching wants. The lying over
their dead, and the wailing of the women in their various towns, and
tribes, for their deceased relations, at the dawn of day, and in the
dusk of the evening, proved another strong provocative to them to
retaliate blood for blood. The Muskohge {246} also at that time having a
friendly intercourse with the Cheerake, through the channel of the
governor of South-Carolina, were, at the instance of the watchful
French, often ridiculing them for their cowardice in not revenging the
crying blood of their beloved kinsmen and warriors. At the same time,
they promised to assist them against us,[133] and in the name of the
Alebahma French, assured them of a supply of ammunition, to enable them
to avenge their injuries, and maintain their lives and liberties against
the mischievous and bloody English colonists; who, they said, were
naturally in a bitter state of war against all the red people, and
studied only how to steal their lands, on a quite opposite principle to
the open steady conduct of the generous French, who assist their poor
red brothers, a great way from their own settlements, where they can
have no view, but that of doing good. Notwithstanding the repeated
provocations we had given to the Cheerake,—and the artful insinuations
of the French, inculcated with proper address; yet their old chiefs not
wholly depending on the sincerity of their smooth tongues and painted
faces, nor on the assistance, or even neutrality of the remote northern
towns of their own country, on mature deliberation, concluded that, as
all hopes of a friendly redress for the blood of their relations now
depended on their own hands, they ought to take revenge in that equal
and just manner, which became good warriors. They accordingly sent out a
large company of warriors, against those Germans, (or Tied-arse people,
as they term them) to bring in an equal number of their scalps, to those
of their own murdered relations.—Or if they found their safety did not
permit, they were to proceed as near to that settlement, as they
conveniently could, where having taken sufficient satisfaction, they
were to bury the bloody tomohawk they took with them. They set off, but
advancing pretty far into the high settlements of North-Carolina,[134]
the ambitious young leaders separated into small companies, and killed
as many of our people, as unfortunately fell into their power, contrary
to the wise orders of their seniors, and the number far exceeded that of
their own slain. Soon after they returned home, they killed a reprobate
old trader; and two soldiers also were cut off near Fort Loudon. For
these acts of hostility, the government of South-Carolina demanded
satisfaction, without receiving any; the hearts of their young warriors
were so exceedingly enraged, as to render their ears quite deaf to any
remonstrance of their seniors, respecting an amicable accommodation; for
as they expected to be exposed to very little danger, on our remote,
dispersed, and {247} very extensive barrier settlements, nothing but
war-songs and war-dances could please them, during this flattering
period of becoming great warriors, “by killing swarms of white dung-hill
fowls, in the corn-fields, and asleep,” according to their war-phrase.

Previous to this alarming crisis, while the Indians were applying to our
colonies for that satisfaction, which our laws could not allow them,
without a large contribution of white scalps, from Tyburn, with one
living criminal to suffer death before their eyes,—his excellency
William Henry Lyttleton, governor of South-Carolina, strenuously exerted
himself in providing for the safety of the colony; regardless of
fatigue, he visited its extensive barriers, by land and water, to have
them put in as respectable a condition, as circumstances could admit,
before the threatening storm broke out: and he ordered the militia of
the colony, under a large penalty, to be trained to arms, by an adjutant
general, (the very worthy Col. G. P.) who saw those manly laws of
defence duly executed. We had great pleasure to see his excellency on
his summer’s journey, enter the old famous New-Windsor garrison, like a
private gentleman, without the least parade; and he proceeded in his
circular course, in the same retired easy manner, without incommoding
any of the inhabitants. He fully testified, his sole aim was the
security and welfare of the valuable country over which he presided,
without imitating the mean self-interested artifice of any predecessor.
At the capital seat of government, he busily employed himself in
extending, and protecting trade, the vital part of a maritime colony; in
redressing old neglected grievances, of various kinds; in punishing
corruption wheresoever it was found, beginning at the head, and
proceeding equally to the feet; and in protecting virtue, not by the
former cobweb-laws, but those of old British extraction. In so laudable
a manner, did that public-spirited governor exert his powers, in his own
proper sphere of action: but on an object much below it, he failed, by
not knowing aright the temper and customs of the savages.

The war being commenced on both sides, by the aforesaid complicated
causes, it continued for some time a partial one: and according to the
well-known temper of the Cheerake in similar cases, it might either have
remained so, or soon have been changed into a very hot civil war, had we
{248} been so wise as to have improved the favourable opportunity. There
were seven northern towns, opposite to the middle parts of the Cheerake
country, who from the beginning of the unhappy grievances, firmly
dissented from the hostile intentions of their suffering and enraged
country-men, and for a considerable time before, bore them little
good-will, on account of some family disputes, which occasioned each
party to be more favourable to itself than to the other: These, would
readily have gratified their vindictive disposition, either by a
neutrality, or an offensive alliance with our colonists against them.
Our rivals the French, never neglected so favourable an opportunity of
securing, and promoting their interests.—We have known more than one
instance, wherein their wisdom has not only found out proper means to
disconcert the most dangerous plans of disaffected savages, but likewise
to foment, and artfully encourage great animosities between the heads of
ambitious rival families, till they fixed them in an implacable hatred
against each other, and all of their respective tribes. Had the French
been under such circumstances, as we then were, they would instantly
have sent them an embassy by a proper person, to enforce it by the
persuasive argument of interest, well supported with presents to all the
leading men, in order to make it weigh heavy in the Indian scale; and
would have invited a number of those towns to pay them a brotherly
visit, whenever it suited them, that they might shake hands, smoke out
of the white, or beloved pipe, and drink physic together, as became old
friends of honest hearts, &c.

Had we thus done, many valuable and innocent persons might have been
saved from the torturing hands of the enraged Indians! The favourite
leading warrior of those friendly towns, was well known to
South-Carolina and Georgia, by the trading name—“_Round O._” on account
of a blue impression he bore in that form. The same old, brave, and
friendly warrior, depending firmly on our friendship and usual good
faith, came down within an hundred miles of Charles-town, along with the
head-men, and many others of those towns, to declare to the government,
an inviolable attachment to all our British colonies, under every
various circumstance of life whatsoever; and at the same time, earnestly
to request them to supply their present want of ammunition, and order
the commanding officer of Fort-Prince-George to continue to do them the
like service, when necessity should force them to apply for it; as they
were fully determined to war {249} to the very last, against all the
enemies of Carolina, without regarding who they were, or the number they
consisted of. This they told me on the spot; for having been in a
singular manner recommended to his excellency the general, I was
pre-engaged for that campaign—but as I could not obtain orders to go
a-head of the army, through the woods, with a body of the
Chikkasah,[135] and commence hostilities, I declined the affair. Had our
valuable, and well-meaning Cheerake friends just mentioned, acted their
usual part of evading captivity, it would have been much better for
them, and many hundreds of our unfortunate out-settlers; but they
depending on our usual good faith, by their honest credulity were
ruined. It was well-known, that the Indians are unacquainted with the
custom and meaning of hostages; to them, it conveyed the idea of slaves,
as they have no public faith to secure the lives of such—yet they were
taken into custody, kept in close confinement, and afterwards shot dead:
their mortal crime consisted in sounding the war-whoop, and hollowing to
their countrymen, when attacking the fort in which they were imprisoned,
to fight like strong-hearted warriors, and they would soon carry it,
against the cowardly traitors, who deceived and inslaved their friends
in their own beloved country. A white savage on this cut through a
plank, over their heads, and perpetrated that horrid action, while the
soldiery were employed like warriors, against the enemy: to excuse his
baseness, and save himself from the reproaches of the people, he, like
the wolf in the fable, falsely accused them of intending to poison the
wells of the garrison.[136]

By our uniform misconduct, we gave too plausible a plea to the
disaffected part of the Muskohge to join the Cheerake, and at the same
time, fixed the whole nation in a state of war against us—all the
families of those leading men that were so shamefully murdered, were
inexpressibly imbittered against our very national name, judging that we
first deceived, then inslaved, and afterwards killed our best, and most
faithful friends, who were firmly resolved to die in our defence. The
means of our general safety, thus were turned to our general ruin. The
mixed body of people that were first sent against them, were too weak to
do them any ill; and they soon returned home with a wild, ridiculous
parade. There were frequent desertions among them—some were afraid of
the small-pox, which then raged in the country—others abhorred an
inactive life; this fine silken body chiefly consisted of citizens and
planters from the low settlements, unacquainted with the hardships of a
wood-land, savage {250} war, and in case of an ambuscade attack, were
utterly incapable of standing the shock. In Georgiana,[137] we were
assured by a gentleman of character, a principal merchant of Mobille,
who went a voluntier on that expedition, that toward the conclusion of
it, when he went round the delicate camp, in wet weather, and late at
night, he saw in different places from fifteen to twenty of their guns
in a cluster, at the distance of an equal number of paces from their
tents, seemingly so rusty and peaceable, as the loss of them by the
usual sudden attack of Indian savages, could not in the least affect
their lives. And the Cheerake nation were sensible of their innocent
intentions, from the disposition of the expedition in so late a season
of the year: but their own bad situation by the ravaging small-pox, and
the danger of a civil war, induced the lower towns to lie dormant.
However, soon after our people returned home, they firmly united in the
generous cause of liberty, and they acted their part so well, that our
traders suspected not the impending blow, till the moment they fatally
felt it: some indeed escaped by the assistance of the Indians. In brief
we forced the Cheerake to become our bitter enemies, by a long train of
wrong measures, the consequences of which were severely felt by a number
of high assessed, ruined, and bleeding innocents—May this relation, be a
lasting caution to our colonies against the like fatal errors! and
induce them, whenever necessity compels, to go well prepared, with
plenty of fit stores, and men, against any Indian nation, and first
defeat, and then treat with them. It concerns us to remember, that they
neither shew mercy to those who fall in their power, by the chance of
war; nor keep good faith with their enemies, unless they are feelingly
convinced of its reasonableness, and civilly treated afterward.

Had South-Carolina exerted herself in due time against them, as her
situation required, it would have saved a great deal of innocent blood,
and public treasure: common sense directed them to make immediate
preparations for carrying the war into their country, as the only way to
conquer them; but they strangely neglected sending war-like stores to
Ninety-six, our only barrier-fort, and even providing horses and
carriages for that needful occasion, till the troops they requested
arrived from New-York: and then they sent only a trifling number of
those, and our provincials, under the gallant Col. Montgomery, (now Lord
Eglington).[138] His twelve hundred brave, hardy highlanders, though but
a handful, were much abler, however, to {251} fight the Indians in their
country than six thousand heavy-accoutered and slow moving regulars: for
these, with our provincials, could both fight and pursue, while the
regulars would always be surrounded, and stand a sure and shining mark.
Except a certain provincial captain who escorted the cattle, every
officer and private man in this expedition, imitated the intrepid copy
of their martial leader; but being too few in number, and withal, scanty
of provisions, and having lost many men at a narrow pass, called Crow’s
Creek, where the path leads by the side of a river, below a dangerous
steep mountain,—they proceeded only a few miles, to a fine situated town
called Nuquose; and then wisely retreated under cover of the night,
toward Fort-Prince-George, and returned to Charles-town, in August
1760.[139] Seven months after the Cheerake commenced hostilities,
South-Carolina by her ill-timed parsimony again exposed her barriers to
the merciless ravages of the enraged Indians—who reckoning themselves
also superior to any resistance we could make, swept along the valuable
out-settlements of North-Carolina and Virginia, and like evil ones
licensed to destroy, ruined every thing near them. The year following,
Major Grant, the present governor of East-Florida, was sent against them
with an army of regulars and provincials, and happily for him, the
Indians were then in great want of ammunition: they therefore only
appeared, and suddenly disappeared. From all probable circumstances, had
the Cheerake been sufficiently supplied with ammunition, twice the
number of troops could not have defeated them, on account of the
declivity of their stupendous mountains, under which their paths
frequently run; the Virginia troops likewise kept far off in flourishing
parade,[140] without coming to our assistance, or making a diversion
against those warlike towns which lie beyond the Apalahche
mountains,—the chief of which are, _Tennàse_, _Choàte_, _Great-Telliko_,
and _Huwhàse_.

At the beginning of the late Cheerake war,[141] I had the pleasure to
see, at _Augusta_ in _Georgia_, the honourable gentleman who was our
first Indian super-intendant;[142] he was on his way to the Muskohge
country, to pacify their ill disposition toward us, which had irritated
the Cheerake, and engaged them in a firm confederacy against us. They
had exchanged their bloody tomohawks, and red and black painted swans
wings, a strong emblem of blood and death, in confirmation of their
offensive and defensive treaty. But, notwithstanding our dangerous
situation ought to have directed any gentleman worthy of public trust,
to {252} have immediately proceeded to their country, to regain the
hearts of those fickle and daring savages, and thereby elude the
deep-laid plan of the French; and though Indian runners were frequently
sent down by our old friendly head-men, urging the absolute necessity of
his coming up soon, otherwise it would be too late—he trifled away near
half a year there, and in places adjoining, in raising a body of men
with a proud uniform dress, for the sake of parade, and to escort him
from danger, with swivels, blunderbusses, and many other such sorts of
blundering stuff, before he proceeded on his journey. This was the only
way to expose the gentleman to real danger, by shewing at such a time, a
diffidence of the natives—which he accordingly effected, merely by his
pride, obstinacy, and unskilfulness. It is well known, the whole might
have been prevented, if he had listened to the entreaties of the Indian
traders of that place, to request one (who would neither refuse, nor
delay to serve his country on any important occasion) to go in his
stead, as the dangerous situation of our affairs demanded quick
dispatch. But pride prevented, and he slowly reached there, after much
time was lost.

The artful French commander, had in the mean while a very good
opportunity to distract the giddy savages, and he wisely took advantage
of the delay, and persuaded a considerable body of the Shawano Indians
to fly to the northward,—as our chief was affirmed to be coming with an
army and train of artillery to cut them off, in revenge of the blood
they had formerly spilled. We soon heard, that in their way, they
murdered a great many of the British subjects, and with the most
despiteful eagerness committed their bloody ravages during the whole

After the head-men of that far-extending country, were convened to know
the import of our intendants long-expected embassy, he detained them
from day to day with his parading grandeur; not using the Indian
friendly freedom, either to the red, or white people, till provisions
grew scanty. Then their hearts were imbittered against him, while the
French Alebahma commander was busy, in taking time by the forelock. But
the former, to be uniform in his stiff, haughty conduct, crowned the
whole, in a longer delay, and almost gained a supposed crown of
martydom,—by prohibiting, in an obstinate manner, all the war-chieftains
and beloved men then assembled together in the great beloved square,
from handing the friendly white pipe to a certain great {253}
war-leader, well-known by the names of _Yah-Yah-Tustanage_, or “the
Great Mortar,”[143] because he had been in the French interest. Our
great man, ought to have reclaimed him by strong reasoning and good
treatment: but by his misconduct, he inflamed the hearts of him and his
relations with the bitterest enmity against the English name, so that
when the gentleman was proceeding in his laconic stile,—a warrior who
had always before been very kind to the British traders, (called “the
_Tobacco-eater_,” on account of his chewing tobacco) jumped up in a
rage, and darted his tomohawk at his head,—happily for all the traders
present, and our frontier colonies, it sunk in a plank directly over the
superintendant;[144] and while the tobacco-eater was eagerly pulling it
out, to give the mortal blow, a warrior, friendly to the English,
immediately leaped up, saved the gentleman, and prevented those
dangerous consequences which must otherwise have immediately followed.
Had the aimed blow succeeded, the savages would have immediately put up
the war and death whoop, destroyed most of the white people there on the
spot, and set off in great bodies, both to the Cheerake country, and
against our valuable settlements. Soon after that gentleman returned to
Carolina, the Great Mortar persuaded a party of his relations to kill
our traders, and they murdered ten;—very fortunately, it stopped there
for that time. But at the close of the great congress at Augusta, where
four governors of our colonies, and his majesty’s superintendant,
convened the savages and renewed and confirmed the treaty of peace, the
same disaffected warrior returning home, sent off a party, who murdered
fourteen of the inhabitants of Long-Cane settlement, above Ninety-six.
The result of that dangerous congress, tempted the proud savages to act
such a part, as they were tamely forgiven, and unasked, all their former
scenes of blood.

During this distracted period, the French used their utmost endeavours
to involve us in a general Indian war, which to have saved
South-Carolina and Georgia, would probably have required the assistance
of a considerable number of our troops from Canada. They strove to
supply the Cheerake, by way of the Missisippi, with warlike stores; and
also sent them powder, bullets, flints, knives, and red paint, by their
staunch friend, the disaffected Great Mortar, and his adherents. And
though they failed in executing their mischievous plan, both on account
of the manly escape of our traders, and the wise conduct of those below,
they did not despair. Upon studious deliberation, they concluded, that,
if the aforesaid chieftain {254} _Yah Yah Tustanàge_, his family, and
warriors, settled high up one of their leading rivers, about half way
toward the Cheerake, it would prove the only means then left, of
promoting their general cause against the British colonists: And, as the
lands were good for hunting,—the river shallow, and abounding with
saltish grass, for the deer to feed on in the heat of the day, free of
troublesome insects,—and as the stream glided by the Alebahma garrison
to Mobille, at that time in the French hands, it could not well fail to
decoy a great many of the ambitious young warriors, and others, to go
there and join our enemies, on any occasion which appeared most
conducive to their design of shedding blood, and getting a higher name
among their wolfish heroes. He and his numerous pack, confident of
success, and of receiving the French supplies by water, set off for
their new seat, well loaded, both for their Cheerake friends and
themselves. He had a French commission, with plenty of bees-wax, and
decoying pictures; and a flourishing flag, which in dry weather, was
displayed day and night, in the middle of their anti-anglican theatre.
It in a great measure answered the serpentine design of the French, for
it became the general rendezvous of the Missisippi Indians, the
Cheerake, and the more mischievous part of the Muskohge. The latter
became the French carriers to those high-land savages: and had they
received the ammunition sent them by water, and that nest been allowed
to continue, we should have had the French on our southern colonies at
the head of a dreadful confederated army of savages, carrying desolation
where-ever they went. But, the plan miscarried, our friendly gallant
Chikkasah, being well informed of the ill design of this nest of
hornets, broke it up. A considerable company of their resolute warriors
marched against it; and, as they readily knew the place of the Great
Mortar’s residence, they attacked it, and though they missed him, they
killed his brother. This, so greatly intimidated him, and his clan, that
they suddenly removed from thence; and their favourite plan was
abortive. When he got near to a place of safety, he shewed how highly
irritated he was against us, and our allies. His disappointment, and
disgrace, prevented him from returning to his own native town, and
excited him to settle in the remotest, and most northern one of the
whole nation, toward the Cheerake,[145] in order to assist them, (as far
as the French, and his own corroding temper might enable him) against
the innocent objects of his enmity: and during the continuance of the
war we held with those savages, he and a {255} numerous party of his
adherents kept passing, and repassing, from thence to the bloody
theatre. They were there, as their loud insulting bravadoes testified,
during our two before-mentioned campaigns, under Hon. Col. Montgomery,
and Major Grant. The wise endeavours of Governor Bull, of
South-Carolina, and the unwearied application of Governor Ellis, of
Georgia, in concert with the gentlemen of two great trading houses, the
one at Augusta, and the other on the Carolina side of the river, not far
below, where the Indians crowded day and night, greatly contributed to
demolish the plan of the French and their ally, the Great Mortar.

When public spirit, that divine spark, glows in the breast of any of the
American leaders, it never fails to communicate its influence, all
around, even to the savages in the remotest wilderness; of which
Governor Ellis is an illustrious instance. He speedily reconciled a
jarring colony—calmed the raging Muskohge, though set on by the
mischievous Alebahma French,—pacified the Cheerake, and the rest of
their confederates—sent them off well pleased, without executing their
base design, and engaged them into a neutrality. The following, is one
instance—As soon as the Indians killed our traders, they sent runners to
call home their people, from our settlements: a friendly head warrior,
who had notice of it at night, near Augusta, came there next day with a
few more, expressed his sorrow for the mischief his countrymen had done
us, protested he never had any ill intentions against us, and said that,
though by the law of blood, he ought to die, yet, if we allowed him to
live as a friend, he should live and die one. Though thousands of
regular troops would most probably have been totally cut off, had they
been where the intended general massacre began, without an escortment of
our provincials; yet an unskilful, haughty officer of Fort-Augusta
laboured hard for killing this warrior, and his companion, which of
course, would have brought on what the enemy sought, a complicated,
universal war. But his excellency’s humane temper, and wise conduct,
actuating the Indian trading gentlemen of Augusta, they suffered him to
set off to strive to prevent the further effusion of innocent blood, and
thus procured the happy fruits of peace, to the infant colonies of
Georgia and South-Carolina. {256}

                                 OF THE
                          MUSKOHGE NATION, &c.

Their country is situated, nearly in the centre, between the Cheerake,
Georgia, East and West-Florida, and the Choktah and Chikkasah nations,
the one 200, and the other 300 miles up the Missisippi. It extends 180
computed miles, from north to south. It is called the Creek
country,[146] on account of the great number of Creeks, or small bays,
rivulets and swamps, it abounds with. This nation is generally computed
to consist of about 3500 men fit to bear arms; and has fifty towns, or
villages. The principal are _Ok-whûs-ke_, _Ok-chai_, _Tuk-ke-bat-che_,
_Tal-lâ-se_, _Kow-hé-tah_, and _Cha-hâh_. The nation consists of a
mixture of several broken tribes, whom the Muskohge artfully decoyed to
incorporate with them, in order to strengthen themselves against hostile
attempts. Their former national names were _Ta-mé-tah_, _Tae-keo-ge_,
_Ok-chai_, _Pak-ká-na_, _Wee-tam-ka_; with them is also one town of the
_Sha-wa-no_, and one of the _Nah-chee_ Indians; likewise two great towns
of the _Koo-a-sâh-te_. The upper part of the Muskohge country is very
hilly—the middle less so—the lower towns, level: These are settled by
the remains of the _Oosécha_, _Okone_, and _Sawakola_ nations. Most of
their towns are very commodiously and pleasantly situated, on large,
beautiful creeks, or rivers, where the lands are fertile, the water
clear and well tasted, and the air extremely pure. As the streams have a
quick descent, the climate is of a most happy temperature, free from
disagreeable heat or cold, unless for the space of a few days, in summer
and winter, according to all our American climes. In their country are
four bold rivers, which spring from the Apalahche mountains, and
interlock with the eastern branches of the Missisippi. The Koosah river
is the western boundary of their towns: It is 200 yards broad, and runs
by the late Alebahma, to {257} Mobille, eastward. Okwhuske lies 70 miles
from the former, which taking a considerable southern sweep, runs a
western course, and joins the aforesaid great stream, a little below
that deserted garrison; since the year 1764, the Muskohge have settled
several towns, seventy miles eastward from Okwhuske, on the Chatahooche
river, near to the old trading path. This great lympid stream is 200
yards broad, and lower down, it passes by the Apalahche, into Florida;
so that this nation extends 140 miles in breadth from east to west,
according to the course of the trading path.

Their land is generally hilly, but not mountainous; which allows an army
an easy passage into their country, to retaliate their insults and
cruelties—that period seems to advance apace; for the fine flourishing
accounts of those who gain by the art, will not always quiet a suffering
people. As the Muskohge judge only from what they see around them, they
firmly believe they are now more powerful than any nation that might be
tempted to invade them. Our passive conduct toward them, causes them to
entertain a very mean opinion of our martial abilities: but, before we
tamely allowed them to commit acts of hostility, at pleasure, (which
will soon be mentioned) the traders taught them sometimes by strong felt
lessons, to conclude the English to be men and warriors. They are
certainly the most powerful Indian nation we are acquainted with on this
continent, and within thirty years past, they are grown very warlike.
Toward the conclusion of their last war with the Cheerake, they defeated
them so easily, that in contempt, they sent several of their women and
small boys against them, though, at that time, the Cheerake were, the
most numerous. The Choktah were also much inferior to them, in several
engagements they had with them; though, perhaps, they are the most
artful ambuscaders, and wolfish savages, in America.—But, having no
rivers in their own country, very few of them can swim, which often
proves inconvenient and dangerous, when they are in pursuit of the
enemy, or pursued by them. We should be politically sorry for their
differences with each other to be reconciled, as long experience
convinces us they cannot live without shedding human blood somewhere or
other, on account of their jealous and fierce tempers, in resentment of
any kind of injury, and the martial preferment each obtains for every
scalp of an enemy. They are so extremely anxious to be distinguished by
high war-titles, that sometimes a small party of warriors, on failing of
success in their campaign, have been detected in murdering {258} some of
their own people, for the sake of their scalps. We cannot expect that
they will observe better faith towards us—therefore common sense and
self-love ought to direct us to chuse the least of two unavoidable
evils; ever to keep the wolf from our own doors, by engaging him with
his wolfish neighbours: at least, the officious hand of folly should not
part them, when they are earnestly engaged in their favourite element
against each other.[147]

All the other Indian nations we have any acquaintance with, are visibly
and fast declining, on account of their continual merciless wars, the
immoderate use of spirituous liquors, and the infectious ravaging nature
of the small pox: but the Muskohge have few enemies, and the traders
with them have taught them to prevent the last contagion from spreading
among their towns, by cutting off all communication with those who are
infected, till the danger is over. Besides, as the men rarely go to war
till they have helped the women to plant a sufficient plenty of
provisions, contrary to the usual method of warring savages, it is so
great a help to propagation, that by this means also, and their artful
policy of inviting decayed tribes to incorporate with them, I am assured
by a gentleman of distinguished character,[148] who speaks their
language as well as their best orators, they have increased double in
number within the space of thirty years past, notwithstanding their
widows are confined to a strict state of celibacy, for the full space of
four years after the death of their husbands. When we consider that two
or three will go several hundred miles, to way-lay an enemy—the
contiguous situation of such a prodigious number of corrupt, haughty,
and mischievous savages to our valuable colonies, ought to draw our
attention upon them. Those of us who have gained a sufficient knowledge
of Indian affairs, by long experience and observation, are firmly
persuaded that the seeds of war are deeply implanted in their hearts
against us; and that the allowing them, in our usual tame manner, to
insult, plunder, and murder peaceable British subjects, only tempts them
to engage deeper in their diabolical scenes of blood, till they commence
a dangerous open war against us: the only probable means to preserve
peace, is either to set them and their rivals on one another, or by
prudent management, influence them to employ themselves in raising silk,
or any other staple commodity that would best suit their own temper and
climate. Prudence points out this, but the task is too arduous for
strangers ever to be able to effect, or they care not about it. {259}

Before the late cession of East and West Florida to Great Britain, the
country of the Muskohge lay between the territories of the English,
Spaniards, French, Choktah, Chikkasah, and Cheerake.—And as they had a
water carriage, from the two Floridas; to secure their liberties, and a
great trade by land from Georgia and South-Carolina, this nation
regulated the Indian balance of power in our southern parts of
North-America; for the French could have thrown the mercenary Choktah,
and the Missisippi savages, into the scale, whenever their interest
seemed to require it. The Muskohge having three rival Christian powers
their near neighbours, and a French garrison on the southern extremity
of the central part of their country ever since the war of the year
1715; the old men, being long informed by the opposite parties, of the
different views, and intrigues of those European powers, who paid them
annual tribute under the vague appellation of presents, were become
surprisingly crafty in every turn of low politics. They held it as an
invariable maxim, that their security and welfare required a perpetual
friendly intercourse with us and the French; as our political state of
war with each other, would always secure their liberties: whereas, if
they joined either party, and enabled it to prevail over the other,
their state, they said, would then become as unhappy as that of a poor
fellow, who had only one perverse wife, and yet must bear with her
froward temper; but a variety of choice would have kept off such an
afflicting evil, either by his giving her a silent caution against
behaving ill, or by enabling him to go to another, who was in a better
temper. But as the French Alebahma Garrison[149] had been long directed
by skilful officers, and supplied pretty well with corrupting brandy,
taffy, and decoying trifles at the expence of government, they
industriously applied their mischievous talents in impressing many of
the former simple and peaceable natives with false notions of the ill
intentions of our colonies. In each of their towns, the French gave a
considerable pension to an eloquent head-man, to corrupt the Indians by
plausible pretexts, and inflame them against us; who informed them also
of every material occurrence, in each of their respective circles. The
force of liquors made them so faithful to their trust, that they
poisoned the innocence of their own growing families, by tempting them,
from their infancy, to receive the worst impressions of the British
colonists: and as they very seldom got the better of those prejudices,
they alienated the affections of their offspring, and riveted their
bitter enmity against us. That conduct of the Christian French has fixed
many of the Muskohge {260} in a strong native hatred to the British
Americans, which being hereditary, must of course increase, as fast as
they increase in numbers; unless we give them such a severe lesson, as
their annual hostile conduct to us, has highly deserved since the year
1760. I shall now speak more explicitly on this very material point.

By our superintendant’s strange pursuit of improper measures to appease
the Muskohge, as before noticed, the watchful French engaged the
irritated Great Mortar to inspire his relations to cut off some of our
traders by surprise, and follow the blow at the time the people were
usually employed in the corn-fields, lest our party should stop them, in
their intended bloody career. They accordingly began their hostile
attack in the upper town of the nation, except one, where their
mischievous red abettor lived: two white people and a negroe were
killed, while they were in the horsepen, preparing that day to have set
off with their returns to the English settlements. The trader, who was
surly and ill-natured, they chopped to pieces, in a most horrid manner,
but the other two they did not treat with any kind of barbarity; which
shews that the worst people, in their worst actions, make a distinction
between the morally virtuous, and vicious. The other white people of
that trading house, happily were at that time in the woods;—they heard
the savage platoon, and the death, and war-whoop, which sufficiently
warned them of their imminent danger, and to seek their safety by the
best means they could. Some of them went through the woods after night,
to our friend towns; and one who happened to be near the town when the
alarm was given, going to bring in a horse, was obliged to hide himself
under a large fallen tree, till night came on. The eager savages came
twice, pretty near him, imagining he would chuse rather to depend on the
horse’s speed, than his own: when the town was engaged in dividing the
spoils, his wife fearing she might be watched, took a considerable sweep
round, through the thickets, and by searching the place, and making
signals, where she expected he lay concealed, fortunately found him, and
gave him provisions to enable him to get to our settlements, and then
returned home in tears: he arrived safe at Augusta, though exceedingly
torn with the brambles, as his safety required him to travel through
unfrequented tracts. In the mean while, the savages having by this
inflamed their greedy thirst for blood, set off swiftly, and as they
darted {261} along sounding the news of war, they from a few, increased
so fast, that their voices conveyed such thrilling shocks to those they
were in quest of, as if the infernal legions had broken loose through
their favourite Alebahma, and were invested with power to destroy the
innocent. The great Okwhusketown, where they reached, lay on the western
side of the large easternmost branch of Mobille river, which joins a far
greater western river, almost two miles below the late Alebahma; and the
English traders store-houses lay opposite to the town. Those red
ambassadors of the French, artfully passed the river above the town, and
ran along silently to a gentleman’s dwelling house, where they first
shot down one of his servants, and in a minute or two after, himself:
probably, he might have been saved, if he had not been too desperate;
for a strong-bodied leading warrior of the town was at his house when
they came to it, who grasped him behind, with his face toward the wall,
on purpose to save him from being shot; as they durst not kill himself,
under the certain pain of death. But very unluckily, the gentleman
struggled, got hold of him, threw him to the ground, and so became too
fair a mark.—Thus the Frenchified savages cut off, in the bloom of his
youth, the son of J. R. Esq;[150] Indian trading merchant of Augusta,
who was the most stately, comely, and gallant youth, that ever traded in
the Muskohge country, and equally blest with every social virtue, that
attracts esteem. The very savages lament his death to this day, though
it was usual with him to correct as many of the swaggering heroes, as
could stand round him in his house, when they became impudent and
mischievous, through the plea of drinking spirituous liquors: when they
recover from their bacchanal phrenzy, they regard a man of a martial
spirit, and contemn the pusillanimous.

While the town was in the utmost surprise, the ambitious warriors were
joyfully echoing—“all is spoiled;” and sounding the death-whoop, they,
like so many infernal furies commissioned to destroy, set off at full
speed, dispersing their bloody legions to various towns, to carry
general destruction along with them. But before any of their companies
reached to the Okchai war-town, (the native place of the Great Mortar)
the inhabitants had heard the massacre was begun, and according to their
rule, killed two of our traders in their house, when quite off their
guard: as these traders were brave, and regardless of danger by their
habit of living, the savages were afraid to bring their arms with them,
it being unusual, {262} by reason of the secure situation of the town. A
few therefore entered the house, with a specious pretence, and
intercepted them from the fire-arms, which lay on a rack, on the front
of the chimney; they instantly seized them, and as they were loaded with
large shot, they killed those two valuable and intrepid men, and left
them on the fire—but if they had been a few minutes fore-warned of the
danger, their lives would have cost the whole town very dear, unless
they had kindled the house with fire-arrows.

Like pestilential vapours driven by whirlwinds, the mischievous savages
endeavoured to bring desolation on the innocent objects of their fury,
wherever they came: but the different flights of the trading people, as
well as their own expertness in the woods, and their connections with
the Indians, both by marriage and other ties of friendship, disappointed
the accomplishment of the main point of the French diabolical scheme of
dipping them all over in blood. By sundry means, a considerable number
of our people met at the friendly house of the old Wolf-King, two miles
from the Alebahma Fort, where that faithful stern chieftain treated them
with the greatest kindness. But, as the whole nation was distracted, and
the neighbouring towns were devoted to the French interest, he found
that by having no fortress, and only forty warriors in his town, he was
unable to protect the refugees. In order therefore to keep good faith
with his friends, who put themselves under his protection, he told them
their situation, supplied those of them with arms and ammunition who
chanced to have none, and conveyed them into a contiguous thick swamp,
as their only place of security for that time; “which their own valour,
he said, he was sure would maintain, both against the French, and their
mad friends.” He was not mistaken in his favourable opinion of their war
abilities, for they ranged themselves so well, that the enemy found it
impracticable to attack them, without sustaining far greater loss than
they are known to hazard.—He supplied them with necessaries, and sent
them safe at length to a friendly town, at a considerable distance,
where they joined several other traders, from different places, and were
soon after safely escorted to Savanah.

It is surprising how those hardy men evaded the dangers they were
surrounded with, especially at the beginning, and with so little loss.
One of {263} them told me, that while a party of the savages were on a
corn-house scaffold, painting themselves red and black, to give the
cowardly blow to him and his companion, an old woman overheard them
concerting their bloody design, and speedily informed him of the
threatening danger: he mentioned the intended place of meeting to his
friends, and they immediately set off, one this way, and another that,
to prevent a pursuit, and all met safe, to the great regret of the
Christian French and their red hirelings. I was informed that another
considerable trader, who lived near a river, on the outside of a town,
where he stood secure in the affection of his savage brethren, received
a visit from two lusty ill-looking strangers, without being discovered
by any of the inhabitants. They were anointed with bear’s oil, and quite
naked, except a narrow slip of cloth for breeches, and a light blanket.
When they came in, they looked around, wild and confused, not knowing
how to execute the French commission, consistently with their own
safety, as they brought no arms, lest it should have discovered their
intentions, and by that means exposed them to danger. But they seated
themselves near the door, both to prevent his escape, and watch a
favourable opportunity to perpetrate their murdering scheme. His white
domestics were a little before gone into the woods; and he and his
Indian wife were in the storehouse, where there chanced to be no arms of
defence, which made his escape the more hazardous. He was nearly in the
same light dress, as that of his visitants, according to the mode of
their domestic living: he was about to give them some tobacco, when
their countenances growing more gloomy and fierce, were observed by his
wife, as well as the mischievous direction of their eyes; presently
therefore as they bounded up, the one to lay hold of the white man, and
the other of an ax that lay on the floor, she seized it at the same
instant, and cried, “husband fight strong, and run off, as becomes a
good warrior.” The savage strove to lay hold of him, till the other
could disengage himself from the sharp struggle the woman held with him;
but by a quick presence of mind, the husband decoyed his pursuer round a
large ladder that joined the loft, and being strong and swift-footed, he
there took the advantage of his too eager adversary, dashed him to the
ground, and ran out of the house, full speed to the river, bounded into
it, soon made the opposite shore, and left them at the store-house, from
whence the woman, as a trusty friend, drove them off, with the utmost
despight,—her family was her {264} protection. The remaining part of
that day, he ran a great distance through the woods; called at night on
such white people, as he imagined his safety allowed him, was joined by
four of them, and went together to Pensacola. Within three or four days
march of that place, the lands, they told me, were in general, either
boggy and low, or consisting of sandy pine-barrens. Although they were
almost naked, and had lived for many days on the produce of the woods,
yet the dastardly Spaniards were so hardened against the tender feelings
of nature in favour of the distressed, who now took sanctuary under the
Spanish flag, as to refuse them every kind of assistance; contrary to
the hospitable custom of the red savages, even towards those they devote
to the fire. A north-country skipper, who rode in the harbour, was
equally divested of the bowels of compassion toward them,
notwithstanding their pressing entreaties, and offers of bills on very
respectable persons in Charles-Town. But the commandant of the place
soon instructed him very feelingly in the common laws of humanity; for
on some pretext, he seized the vessel and cargo, and left the
narrow-hearted miser to shift for himself, and return home as he could:
those unfortunate traders were kindly treated however by the head-man of
an adjacent town of the Apalahche Indians, who being a considerable
dealer, supplied them with every thing they stood in need of, till, in
time, they were recalled; for which they soon very thankfully paid him
and the rest of his kind family, with handsome presents, as a token of
their friendship and gratitude.

In the mean while, some of the eloquent old traders continued in their
towns, where the red flag of defiance was hung up day and night, as the
French had no interest there: and, in a few other towns, some of our
thoughtless young men, who were too much attached to the Indian life,
from an early pursuit in that wild and unlimited country, chose to run
any risk, rather than leave their favourite scenes of pleasure. In the
day-time, they kept in the most unfrequented places, and usually
returned at night to their friend’s house: and they followed that
dangerous method of living a considerable time, in different places,
without any mischance. One of them told me, that one evening, when he
was returning to his wife’s house on horse-back, before the usual time,
he was overtaken by a couple of young warriors, who pranced up along
aside of him. They spoke very kindly according to their custom, that
they might shed blood, like wolves, without hazarding their own
carcases. As neither of them had any weapons, except a long knife round
their neck in a sheath, they were afraid to attack him, on {265} so
hazardous a lay. Their questions, cant language, and discomposed
countenances, informed him of their bloody intentions, and cautioned him
from falling into any of their wily stratagems, which all cowards are
dextrous in forming. When they came to a boggy cane-branch, they strove
to persuade him to alight, and rest a little, but finding their labour
in vain, they got down: one prepared a club to kill him, and the other a
small frame of split canes tied together with bark, to bear his
scalp—seeing this, he set off with the bravado whoop, through the high
lands, and as he rode a swift horse, he left them out of sight in an
instant. He took a great sweep round, to avoid an after-chase. At night,
he went to the town, got fire-arms, and provisions, and soon arrived
safe in Georgia.

Other instances may be related, but these will suffice to shew how
serviceable such hardy and expert men would be to their country, as
heretofore, if our Indian trade was properly regulated; and how
exceedingly preferable the tenth part of their number would prove
against boasted regular troops, in the woods. Though the British legions
are as warlike and formidable in the field of battle, as any troops
whatever, as their martial bravery has often testified; yet in some
situations they would be insignificant and helpless. Regular bred
soldiers, in the American woods, would be of little service. The natives
and old inhabitants, by being trained to arms from their infancy, in
their wood-land sphere of life, could always surround them, and sweep
them off entirely, with little damage to themselves. In such a case,
field-pieces are a mere farce. The abettors of arbitrary power, who are
making great advances through the whole British empire, to force the
people to decide this point, and retrieve their constitutional rights
and liberties, would do well to consider this. Is it possible for
tyranny to be so weak and blind, as to flatter its corrupt greatness
with the wild notion of placing a despotic military power of a few
thousand regular troops, over millions of the Americans, who are trained
to arms of defence, from the time they are able to carry them—generally
inured to dangers, and all of them possessing, in a high degree, the
social virtues of their manly free-minded fore-fathers, who often bled
in the noble cause of liberty, when hateful tyranny persisted in
stretching her rod of oppression over their repining country? Tyrants
are obstinately deaf, and blind; they will see and hear only through the
false medium of self-interested court-flatterers, and, instead of
redressing the grievances of the people, have sometimes openly {266}
despised and insulted them, for even exhibiting their modest prayers at
the foot of the throne, for a restoration of their rights and
privileges. Some however have been convinced in the end they were wrong,
and have justly suffered by the anathematizing voice of God and a
foederal union. That “a prince can do no ill” is a flat contradiction of
reason and experience, and of the English Magna Charta.[151]

Soon after West-Florida was ceded to Great-Britain, two warlike towns of
the _Koo-a-sah te_ Indians removed from near the late dangerous Alabahma
French garrison, to the Choktah country about twenty-five miles below
Tumbikbe[152]—a strong wooden fortress, situated on the western side of
a high and firm bank, overlooking a narrow deep point of the river of
Mobille, and distant from that capital, one hundred leagues. The
discerning old war-chieftain of this remnant, perceived that the proud
Muskohge, instead of reforming their conduct towards us, by our mild
remonstrances, grew only more impudent by our lenity; therefore being
afraid of sharing the justly deserved fate of the others, he wisely
withdrew to this situation; as the French could not possibly supply
them, in case we had exerted ourselves, either in defence of our
properties, or in revenge of the blood they had shed. But they were soon
forced to return to their former place of abode, on account of the
partiality of some of them to their former confederates; which proved
lucky in its consequences, to the traders, and our southern colonies:
for, when three hundred warriors of the Muskohge were on their way to
the Choktah to join them in a war against us, two Kooasâhte horsemen, as
allies, were allowed to pass through their ambuscade in the evening, and
they gave notice of the impending danger. These Kooasâhte Indians,[153]
annually sanctify the mulberries by a public oblation, before which,
they are not to be eaten; which they say, is according to their ancient

I am assured by a gentleman of character, who traded a long time near
the late Alebahma garrison, that within six miles of it, live the
remains of seven Indian nations, who usually conversed with each other
in their own different dialects, though they understood the Muskohge
language; but being naturalized, they were bound to observe the laws and
customs of the main original body. These reduced, broken tribes, who
have helped to multiply the Muskohge to a dangerous degree, have also a
fixed oral tradition, that they formerly came from South-America, and,
after sundry struggles {267} in defence of liberty, settled their
present abode: but the Muskohge record themselves to be terræ filii, and
believe their original predecessors came from the west, and resided
under ground, which seems to be a faint image of the original formation
of mankind out of the earth, perverted by time, and the usual arts of

It will be fortunate, if the late peace between the Muskohge and
Choktah, through the mediation of a superintendant, doth not soon affect
the security of Georgia, and East and West-Florida, especially should it
continue long, and Britain and Spain engage in a war against each other:
for Spain will supply them with warlike stores, and in concert, may
without much opposition, retake the Floridas; which they seem to have
much at heart. A Cuba vessel, in the year 1767, which seemed to be
coasting on purpose to meet some of the Muskohge, found a camp of them
almost opposite to the Apalache old fields, and proposed purchasing
those lands from them; in order to secure their liberties, and, the same
time, gratify the inherent, ardent desire they always had to oppose the
English nation. After many artful flourishes, well adapted to soothe the
natives into a compliance on account of the reciprocal advantages they
proposed, some of the Muskohge consented to go in the vessel to the
Havannah, and there finish the friendly bargain. They went, and at the
time proposed, were sent back to the same place, but, as they are very
close in their secrets, the traders know not the result of that affair;
but when things in Europe require, time will disclose it.

As the Muskohge were well known to be very mischievous to our
barrier-inhabitants, and to be an over-match for the numerous and fickle
Choktah, the few warlike Chikkasah, by being put in the scale with
these, would in a few years, have made the Muskohge kick the beam. Thus
our southern colonists might have sat in pleasure, and security, under
their fig-trees, and in their charming arbours of fruitful grape-vines.
But now, they are uncertain whether they plant for themselves, or for
the red savages, who frequently take away by force or stealth, their
horses and other effects. The Muskohge chieftain, called the “Great
Mortar,” abetted the Cheerake against us, as hath been already noticed,
and frequently, with his warriors and relations, carried them as good a
supply of ammunition, as the French of the Alebahmah-garrison could well
spare: for by order of their government, they were bound to reserve a
certain quantity, for any unforeseen occasion {268} that might happen.
If they had been possest of more, they would have given with a liberal
hand, to enable them to carry on a war against us, and they almost
effected their earnest wishes, when the English little expected it; for
as soon as the watchful officer of the garrison, was informed by his
trusty and well instructed red disciple, the Great Mortar, that the
Cheerake were on the point of declaring against the English, he saw the
consequence, and sent a pacquet by a Muskohge runner, to Tumbikbe-fort
in the Choktah country, which was forwarded by another, and soon
delivered to the governor of New-Orleans: the contents informed him of
the favourable opportunity that offered for the French to settle
themselves in the Cheerake country, where the late Fort-Loudon stood,
near the conflux of Great Telliko and Tennase-rivers, and so distress
our southern colonies, as the body of the Cheerake, Muskohge, Choktah,
Aquahpa, and the upper Missisippi-Indians headed by the French, would be
able to maintain a certain successful war against us, if well supplied
with ammunition. Their deliberations were short—they soon sent off a
large pettiaugre, sufficiently laden with warlike stores, and decoying
presents; and in obedience to the orders the crew had received of making
all the dispatch they possibly could, in the third moon of their
departure from New Orleans, they arrived within a hundred and twenty
computed miles of those towns that are a little above the unhappy
Fort-Loudon: there they were luckily stopped in their mischievous
career, by a deep and dangerous cataract; the waters of which rolled
down with a prodigious rapidity, dashed against the opposite rocks, and
from thence rushed off with impetuous violence, on a quarter-angled
course.[154] It appeared so shocking and unsurmountable to the
monsieurs, that after staying there a considerable time, in the vain
expectation of seeing some of their friends, necessity forced them to
return back to New Orleans, about 2600 computed miles, to their
inconsolable disappointment.

These circumstances are now well known to our colonies: and, if our
state policy had not sufficiently discovered itself of late, it would
appear not a little surprising that the Great Mortar, should have such
influence on the great beloved man, (so the Indians term the
superintendant) as to move him, at a congress in Augusta, to write by
that bitter enemy of the English name, a conciliating letter to the
almost-vanquished and desponding Choktah—for where the conquerors have
not an oblique point in {269} view, the conquered are always the first
who humbly sue for peace. This beloved epistle, that accompanied the
eagles-tails, swans-wings, white beads, white pipes, and tobacco, was
sent by a white interpreter, and _Mesheshecke_, a Muskohge
war-chieftain, to the perfidious Choktah, as a strong confirmation of
peace. Without doubt it was a master stroke of court-policy, to strive
to gain so many expert red auxiliaries; and plainly shews how extremely
well he deserves his profitable place of public trust. I am assured by
two respectable, intelligent, old Indian traders, G. G. and L. M. G.
Esq;[155] that they frequently dissuaded him from ever dabling in such
muddy waters; for the consequence would unavoidably prove fatal to our
contiguous colonies. This was confirmed by a recent instance—the late
Cheerake war, which could not have commenced, if the Muskohge and
Cheerake had not been reconciled, by the assiduous endeavours of an
avaricious, and self-interested governor. If any reader reckons this too
bold, or personal, I request him to peruse a performance, entitled, “A
modest reply to his Excellency J. G. Esq;” printed in Charles-town, in
the year 1750,[156] in which every material circumstance is sufficiently

When we consider the defenceless state, and near situation of our three
southern barrier colonies to the numerous Muskohge and Choktah—what
favourable opinion can charity reasonably induce us to form of the
continued train of wrong measures the managers of our Indian affairs
have studiously pursued, by officiously mediating, and reconciling the
deep-rooted enmity which subsisted between those two mischievous
nations? If they could not, consistent with the tenour of their
political office, encourage a continuance of the war, they might have
given private instructions to some discreet trader to strive to
influence them, so as to continue it.

It is excusable in clergymen that live in England to persuade us to
inculcate, an endeavour to promote peace and good will, between the
savages of the remote desarts of America; especially if they employ
their time in spiritual affairs, to which they ought to be entirely
devoted, and not as courtiers, in the perplexing labyrinths of state
affairs: but what can be said of those statesmen, who instead of
faithfully guarding the lives and privileges of valuable subjects,
extend mercy to their murderers, who have {270} a long time wantonly
shed innocent blood, and sometimes with dreadful tortures? The blood
cries aloud to the avenging God, to cause justice to be executed on
their execrable heads: for a while they may escape due punishment, but
at last it will fall heavy upon them.

When the superintendant’s deputy[157] convened most of the Muskohge
head-men, in order to write a friendly mediating letter to the
Chikkasah, in behalf of the Muskohge, the Great Mortar, animated with a
bitter resentment against any thing transacted by any of the British
nation, introduced a considerable number of his relations, merely to
disconcert this plan. The letter, and usual Indian tokens of peace and
friendship, were however carried up by a Chikkasah trader: but the Great
Mortar timed it so well, that he soon set off after the other with
ninety warriors, till he arrived within 150 miles of the Chikkasah
country, which was half way from the western barriers of his own; there
he encamped with 83, and sent off seven of the staunchest to surprize
and kill whomsoever they could. Two days after the express was
delivered, they treacherously killed two young women, as they were
hoeing in the field; all the people being off their guard, on account of
the late friendly tokens they received, and the assurance of the white
man that there were no visible tracks of any person on the long trading
path he had come. This was the beginning of May, in the year 1768, a few
hours after I had set off for South-Carolina. As soon as the sculking
barbarians had discharged the contents of their guns into their innocent
victims, they tomohawked them, and with their long sharp knives, took
off the scalps, put up the death _whoo-whoop-whoop_, and bounded away in
an oblique course, to shun the dreaded pursuit. The Chikkasah soon put
up their shrill war-whoop, to arm and pursue, and sixty set off on
horse-back, full speed. They over-shot that part of the woods the enemy
were most likely to have fled through; and four young sprightly
Chikkasah warriors who outran the rest, at last discovered, and
intercepted them;—they shot dead the Great Mortar’s brother, who was the
leader, scalped him, and retook one of the young women’s scalps that was
fastened to his girdle. Three continued the chase, and the fourth in a
short time overtook them: soon afterward, they came up again with the
enemy, at the edge of a large cane-swamp, thick-warped with vines, and
china briers; there they stopped, and were at first in doubt of their
being some of {271} their own company: the pursued soon discovered them,
and immediately inswamped, whereupon the four were forced to decline the
attack, the disadvantage being as four to eight in an open engagement.
In a few days after, I fell in with them; their gloomy and fierce
countenances cannot be expressed; and I had the uncourted honour of
their company, three different times before I could reach my destined
place, on account of a very uncommon and sudden flow of the rivers,
without any rain. Between sunset and eleven o’clock the next day, the
river, that was but barely our height in the evening, was swelled to the
prodigious height of twenty-five feet perpendicular, and swept along
with an impetuous force.

It may not be improper here to mention the method we commonly use in
crossing deep rivers.—When we expect high rivers, each company of
traders carry a canoe, made of tanned leather, the sides over-lapped
about three fingers breadth, and well sewed with three seams. Around the
gunnels, which are made of sapplings, are strong loop-holes, for large
deer-skin strings to hang down both the sides: with two of these, is
securely tied to the stem and stern, a well-shaped sappling, for a keel,
and in like manner the ribs. Thus, they usually rig out a canoe, fit to
carry over ten horse loads at once, in the space of half an hour; the
apparatus is afterwards commonly hidden with great care, on the opposite
shore. Few take the trouble to paddle the canoe; for, as they are
commonly hardy, and also of an amphibious nature, they usually jump into
the river, with their leathern barge a-head of them, and thrust it
through the deep part of the water, to the opposite shore. When we ride
only with a few luggage horses, as was our case at _Sip-se_, or
“Poplar,” the abovementioned high-swelled river, we make a frame of dry
pines, which we tie together with strong vines, well twisted; when we
have raised it to be sufficiently buoyant, we load and paddle it across
the stillest part of the water we can conveniently find, and afterward
swim our horses together, we keeping at a little distance below them.

At the time we first began to search for convenient floating timber, I
chanced to stand at the end of a dry tree, overset by a hurricane,
within three feet of a great rattle snake, that was coiled, and on his
watch of self-defence, under thick herbage. I soon espied, and killed
{272} him. But an astrologer, of twenty years standing among the
Indians, immediately declared with strong asservations, we should soon
be exposed to imminent danger; which he expatiated upon largely, from
his imagined knowledge of a combination of second causes in the
celestial regions, actuating every kind of animals, vegetables, &c. by
their subtil and delegated power. I argued in vain to hush his
groundless fears: however, while the raft was getting ready, another
gentleman, to quiet his timorous apprehensions, accompanied me with
fire-arms, pretty near the path in the beforementioned cane-swamp, and
we staid there a considerable while, at a proper distance apart—at last
we heard the well-mimicked voice of partridges, farther off than our
sight could discover, on which one of us struck up the whoop of
friendship and indifference; for I knew that the best way of arguing on
such occasions, was by a firmness of countenance and behaviour. I then
went near to my companion, and said, our cunning man was an Aberdeen
wizard, as he had so exactly foretold the event. The savages had both
discovered our tracks, and heard the sound of the ax. We soon met them;
they were nine of the mischievous _Ohchai_ town, who had separated from
the rest of their company. We conversed a little while together upon our
arms, and in this manner exchanged provisions with each other—then we
went down to the bank of the river, where they opened their packs,
spread out some hairy deer and bear skins with the fleshy side
undermost, and having first placed on them their heavy things, and then
the lighter, with the guns which lay uppermost, each made two knots with
the shanks of a skin, and in the space of a few minutes, they had their
leathern barge afloat, which they soon thrust before them to the other
shore, with a surprisingly small deviation from a direct course,
considering the strong current of the water. When our astrologer saw
them safe off, he wished them a speedy journey home, without being
exposed to the necessity of any delay. He was soon after carried safe
over on our raft, though once he almost over-set it, either by reason of
the absence, or disturbance, of his mind. Had he contracted a fever,
from the impending dangers his knowledge assured him were not yet past,
the cold sweat he got when left by himself, while we were returning with
the raft, and afterward swimming with the horses, must have contributed
a good deal to the cure. Soon afterwards, we came in sight of their camp
in a little spot of clear land, surrounded by a thick cane-swamp, where
some traders formerly had been killed by the Choktah. Our astrologer
{273} urged the necessity of proceeding a good way farther, to avoid the
danger. I endeavored to convince him by several recent instances, that a
timorous conduct was a great incentive to the base-minded savages, to do
an injury, not expecting any defence; while an open, free, and resolute
behaviour, a show of taking pleasure in their company, and a discreet
care of our firearms, seldom failed to gain the good will of such as are
not engaged in actual war against our country: he acquiesced, as I
engaged to sit next to the Indian camp, which was about a dozen yards
apart from our’s. He chose his place pretty near to mine, but in the
evening, I told him, that as I did not understand the Muskohge dialect,
nor they much of the Chikkasah language, I would give him the
opportunity of diverting himself at leisure with them, whilst on account
of the fatigues of the day, I would repose myself close at the root of a
neighbouring tree. This method of encamping in different places, on
hazardous occasions, is by far the safest way. I told them, before my
removal to my night quarters, that he was almost their countryman, by a
residence of above twenty years among them,—their chieftain therefore
readily addressed him, and according to what I expected, gave me an
opportunity of decently retiring. But when he expected a formal reply,
according to their usual custom, our astrological interpreter spoke only
a few words, but kept pointing to the river, and his wet clothes, and to
his head, shaking it two or three times; thereby informing them of the
great danger he underwent in crossing the water, which gave him so
violent a head-ach, as to prevent his speaking with any pleasure. I
laughed, and soon after endeavoured to persuade him to go over a little
while to their camp, as I had done, and by that means, he might know
better their present disposition; he replied with a doleful accent, that
he was already too near them, to the great danger of his life, which he
now too late saw exposed, by believing my doctrine of bringing them to
observe friendly measures, instead of pushing beyond them as he had
earnestly proposed. I asked him how he could reasonably fear, or expect
to shun a sudden death, no[158] account of his knowledge of the starry
influences, and skill in expounding dreams, and especially as he seemed
firmly to believe the deity had pre-determined the exact time of every
living creature’s continuance here: upon this he prevaricated, and told
me, that as I knew nothing of astrology, nor of the useful and skilful
exposition of important dreams, neither believed any thing of witches
and wizards being troublesome and hurtful to others, he could not
imagine I believed any thing of a divine providence or a resurrection of
the dead; which were evidently, {274} alike true, as appeared both by
divine writ, and the united consent of every ancient nation. He said,
people were ordered to watch and pray; I therefore could not be ruled by
the scripture, for why did I go to bed so soon, and leave all that
trouble to him. I told him, I wished he might by prayer, obtain a calm
composure of mind. He said, I was the cause of all his uneasiness, by
inducing him, contrary to his over night’s bloody dream, to lie so near
those wolfish savages. Then, in an angry panic, he cursed me, and said,
he should not that night have prayed there, only that the devil tempted
him to believe my damned lies, and sin against the divine intimations he
had received just before.

Within half a day’s ride of Augusta, I met the gentlemen who were
appointed to meet certain head-men of the Muskohge, to run a line,
between Georgia and the Muskohge country. The superintendant’s deputy
before-mentioned, accompanying them; I then informed him of the bad
situation of the Indian trade, both in the Chikkasah, and Muskohge
nations—The cause thereof—The dangerous policy of having reconciled
those jarring warlike savages—the ill disposition of the latter toward
us,—and it was the opinion of all the traders (one excepted) that
nothing, but their hot war with the Choktah, prevented them from
executing their mischievous intentions against us. I said this to the
commissary before the several gentlemen; but his conduct, and that of
his brother officer in the Chikkasah country, were no way correspondent
to the advice. While he benefited the ungrateful Muskohge, and gave them
a plea to injure the traders, he was free from personal danger, from the
red quarter; but one night at camp, after the line had been, at the
friendly and artful persuasions of G. G. Esq; run above twenty miles
beyond the southern limites agreed upon, he almost fatally experienced
the effects of their revengeful temper; which cannot be restrained when
they imagine themselves really injured, and afterwards insulted: for as
he was chiding a noted warrior with sharp language, the savage leaped
up, seized the other’s gun, cocked, and presented it against his breast;
but luckily he could not discharge it, as it was double-tricker’d,
contrary to the model of their smooth-bored guns. The public prints,
however, echoed the success of our directors of Indian affairs, on this
important occasion; though it was entirely owing to the abilities and
{275} faithful application, first, of Mr. G. G. and afterwards of Mr. L.
M. G. which the deputy almost prevented by his imprudent conduct, that
had nearly cost him also his life, and endangered the public

In the year 1749, when I was going to Charles-town, under the provincial
seal of South-Carolina, with a party of the Chikkasah Indians, the
small-pox attacked them, not far from the Muskohge country; which
becoming general through the camp, I was under the necessity of setting
off by myself, between Flint river, and that of the Okmulgeh. I came up
with a large camp of Muskohge traders, returning from the English
settlements: the gentlemen told me, they had been lately assured at
Augusta by the Cheerake traders, that above a hundred and twenty of the
French Shawano might be daily expected near that place, to cut off the
English traders, and plunder their camps, and cautioned me, with much
earnestness at parting, to keep a watchful eye during that day’s march.
After having rode fifteen miles, about ten o’clock, I discovered ahead
through the trees, an Indian ascending a steep hill: he perceived me at
the same instant, for they are extremely watchful on such dangerous
attempts—Ambuscade is their favourite method of attack. As the company
followed their leader in a line, each at the distance of a few yards
from the other, all soon appeared in view. As soon as I discovered the
foremost, I put up the shrill whoop of friendship, and continually
seemed to look earnestly behind me, till we approached near to each
other, in order to draw their attention from me, and fix it that way, as
supposing me to be the foremost of a company still behind. Five or six
soon ran at full speed on each side of the path, and blocked up two
vallies, which happened to be at the place of our meeting, to prevent my
escape. They seemed as if their design was to attack me with their
barbed arrows, lest they should alarm my supposed companions by the
report of their guns. I observed that instead of carrying their bow and
quiver over their shoulder, as is the travelling custom, they held the
former in their left hand, bent, and some arrows. I approached and
addressed them, and endeavoured to appear quite indifferent at their
hostile arrangement. While I held my gun ready in my right hand about
five yards distant from them, their leader who stood foremost came and
struck my breast with the but-end of one of my pistols, which I had in
my left hand: I told him with that vehemence of speech, which is always
requisite on such an occasion, that I was an English Chikkasah; and
informed him by expressive gestures that there were two tens of
Chikkasah {276} warriors,[159] and more than half that number of women,
besides children, a little behind, just beyond the first hill. At this
news, they appeared to be much confused, as it was unexpected for such a
number of warlike enemies to be so near at hand. This Shawano party
consisted only of twenty-three middle sized, but strong bodied men, with
large heads and broad flat crowns, and four tall young persons, whom I
conjectured to be of the Cheerake nation. I spoke a little to a
hair-lipped warrior among them, who told me he lived in _Tukkasêhche_, a
northern town of that country. The leader whispered something to his
waiter, which, in like manner, was communicated to the rest, and then
they all passed by me, with sullen looks and glancing eyes. I kept my
guard till they were out of arrow-shot, when I went on at a seemingly
indifferent pace. But, as soon out of their view, I rode about seventy
miles with great speed, to avoid the danger of a pursuit, as I imagined
they would be highly enraged against me for their double disappointment.
About sun-set of the same day, I discovered more Indians a-head; but,
instead of sounding the usual whoop of defiance, I went on slowly, and
silently, a little way, reasoning with myself about the safest method in
so dangerous a situation: I had apprehensions of their being another
party of the Shawano company, separated in that manner to avoid a
pursuit; which otherwise might be very easy, by the plainness of their
tracks, through the long grass and herbage. But, at the critical time,
when I had concluded to use no chivalry, but give them leg-bail instead
of it, by leaving my baggage-horses, and making for a deep swamp, I
discovered them to be a considerable body of the Muskohge head-men,
returning home with presents from Charles Town, which they carried
chiefly on their backs. The wolf-king (as the traders termed him)[160]
our old steady friend of the Amooklasah Town, near the late Alebahma,
came foremost, harnessed like a jack-ass, with a saddle on his back,
well girt over one shoulder, and across under the other. We semed
equally glad to meet each other; they, to hear how affairs stood in
their country, as well as on the trading path; and I to find, that
instead of bitter-hearted foes, they were friends, and would secure my
retreat from any pursuit that might happen. I told them the whole
circumstances attending my meeting the Shawano,[161] with their being
conducted by our deceitful Cheerake friends, who were desirous of
spoiling the old beloved white path, by making it red; and earnestly
persuaded them to be on their guard that night, as I imagined the enemy
had pursued me when they {277} found I had eluded their bloody
intention. After a long conversation together, I advised them to go home
through the woods, to prevent a larger body of the lurking enemy from
spoiling them, and their beloved country, by the loss of so many old
beloved men, and noted warriors. I said this, to rouse them against the
Cheerake; well knowing that one pack of wolves, was the best watch
against another of the same kind. They thanked me for the friendly
notice I gave them, and the care I shewed for their safety, and engaged
me to call the next day at a hunting camp, where was a war-leader, the
son of the dog-king of the Huphale-Town, with a considerable number of
their people, and desire them to remove with all speed to their camp, at
the place they then fixed on. We smoked tobacco, and parted well
pleased. According to promise, I went the next day to the camp, and
delivered their message, which was readily complied with. The Shawano
whom I had eluded, after rambling about, and by viewing the smoke of
fires from the tops of high hills and trees, and carefully listening to
the report of guns, fell in with two Chikkasah hunters, who were adopted
relations of the Muskohge, and killed, and scalped them, and then ran
off to the northern towns of the Cheerake. This was the true and sole
cause of the last war between the Muskohge and Cheerake: and the
following account of the cause of those nations entering into amity with
each other, will, on the strictest enquiry, be found as true. The cause
and direful effects are still feelingly known to great numbers of the
suffering inhabitants, which I insert by way of caution to states-men

As the Indians have no public faith to secure the lives of friendly
messengers in war-time, their wars are perpetuated from one generation
to another, unless they are ended by the mediation of some neutral
party. A very polished courtier presided in South Carolina,[162] who was
said to have cast a very earnest eye on the supposed profits of the
Cheerake trade, which were much lessened by the Muskohge war; and, in
order to establish it at its former value, so as to be worth some
hazard, he exerted himself to reconcile the Muskohge and Cheerake. If he
succeeded, he was sure to be something in pocket, and could report at
home, the profound peace he had effected between those nations by his
unwearied endeavours. He accordingly applied to some of the most
intelligent and leading traders among those warring savages, and
atempted to persuade them {278} by the ruling motive of mutual interest,
to be reconciled through his brotherly mediation. Though the Cheerake
were great losers in the war, yet the surviving relations of those who
had been killed without equal revenge of blood, were at first
inflexible, and deaf to the mediation: but, by the oratory of some of
their own speakers who had not suffered, connected with our traders
persuasions, each separate family at last consented to meet their
enemies, at the time and place appointed by brotherly request, and there
bury the bloody tomohawk under ground, and smoke together, out of the
friendly white pipe. But, as the Muskohge were conquerors, and
frequently returned home in their favourite and public triumphant
manner, and had then no mischievous views against the English, as at
present, it was a very difficult task to reconcile them to our beloved
man’s pacific measures: their head-men had great sway over the
ambitious, and young rising warriors, and by the former manly conduct of
South-Carolina, in obtaining speedy redress for every material injury,
the more sensible and honest part of the old leading men were as much
averse to peace, as the light-headed warriors. They well knew the fickle
and ungovernable temper of their young men, and ambitious leaders, when
they had no red enemies to war with, to obtain higher war-titles by
scalps—and their wisdom saw at a distance, the dangerous consequences
that must attend a general peace: for a considerable time, therefore,
they highly inveighed, and firmly guarded against it. But when a man’s
private interest coincides with what he intends to accomplish, he is
assiduous and more intent to effect it. This was verified by the
unwearied diligence of the prime magistrate alluded to; he knew the
Indians could not kill so many deer and beaver in the time of war as of
peace, and by his address, he persuaded several of the leading traders,
even contrary to their own outward security and inward choice, to exert
their strongest endeavours with the Muskohge for a reconciliation with
the Cheerake. The chief of those trading gentlemen, who unwillingly
involved himself in this pernicious affair, was the humane and
intelligent L. M’G—l—wr—, Esq.[163] Each had their lessons, to set forth
the reciprocal advantages of the contending parties, by such a
coalition; but it was finished by that gentleman’s earnest and
well-timed application, connected with his great natural sense, and easy
flow of their own bold figurative way of expression—and their favourable
opinion of his steady, honest principles. Since that unlucky period, he
has as often lamented his success in that affair, as the discerning
honest rulers of the Muskohge opposed it. He told me, that {279} when he
was soliciting some of the head-men to comply with the fraternal
proposals of our kindly ruler, he unexpectedly met with a very sharp
repulse;—for, when he had finished his oration, on the disadvantages of
frowning war, and the advantages of smiling peace, an old war-leader
retorted every paragraph he had spoken, and told him, that till then he
always had reckoned the English a very wise people, but now he was sorry
to find them unwise, in the most material point: adding, “You have made
yourself very poor, by sweating, far and near, in our smoky town-houses
and hot-houses, only to make a peace between us and the Cheerake, and
thereby enable our young mad people to give you, in a short time, a far
worse sweat than you have yet had, or may now expect. But, forasmuch as
the great English chieftain in Charles Town, is striving hard to have it
so, by ordering you to shut your eyes, and stop your ears, lest the
power of conviction should reach your heart, we will not any more oppose
you in this mad scheme. We shall be silent concerning it; otherwise, I
should be as mad as you, if I reasoned any more with one who is wilfully
blind and deaf.”

A number of their warriors met at Charles Town, at the time appointed:
their high-stationed English friend then took a great deal of pains to
inform them of the mutual advantages, that would accrue to them, by a
firm peace, and he convinced their senses of it, by a visible proof; for
he borrowed from one of them an arrow, and holding each end of it in his
hands, he readily broke it, which surprized none of the red spectators,
except the owner,—they did not then regard it as a symbolical
performance, but a boyish action. He again requested from the same young
warrior, the loan of his remaining sheaf of arrows, who reluctantly gave
them, as he feared they would all singly fare the fate of the former.
But, when he held the bundle by each end in his hands, and could only
bend it a little, he revived the watchful owner, and pleasingly
surprized the attentive savages, as he thereby had strongly demonstrated
to them, that _vis unita fortior_, upon which he expatiated, in easy
fine language, to the great joy of his red audience. By such evidence,
they were induced to shake hands firmly together; and likewise to
endeavour to preserve a perpetual union with all their neighbouring
nations, lest the wolf should attack them separately. And ever since
that impolitic mediation, they have been so strongly convinced of their
great advantage and security, {280} by a close friendly union with each
other, that all the efforts of the wise and honest Georgia patriot,
Governor Ellis, in concert with the Indian trading merchants, to
dissolve it in the year 1760, proved abortive with the wary and jealous
Muskohge, while we were at war with the Cheerake—and many of the
out-settlers of Georgia and South Carolina were plundered and murdered
by them, without sparing women or children; many instances of which we
were too often well acquainted with on the spot. The Cheerake, however,
stood in such great awe of about sixty Chikkasah warriors, that except
once when they were repulsed by a treble inferior number, they durst not
attempt any sort of attack on Georgia barriers, during the whole
continuance of the war. The wisdom of the ruling members of that weak
colony directed them, in their dangerous circumstances, to chuse the
least of two evils,—to humour, and bear with those mischievous Muskohge,
rather than involve themselves in a complicated war with those two
confederated nations; which must have ruined Georgia, in the weak
condition it then was. And, notwithstanding they have considerably
increased since, both in wealth and number of inhabitants, it is
probable, the colony is now less capable of bearing with any sort of
firmness, a sudden shock from these savages, than they were at that
time. For, though the people were then fewer in numbers; yet their
settlements were more compact. By this means, they could easily join in
social defense, on any alarm: and, as the circumstances of most of them
did not tempt them to enervating luxury, so the needful exercises they
daily pursued, enabled them to make a diversion of ranging the woods,
when occasion required. Plantations are now settled, often at a great
distance from each other, even to the outmost boundaries of the colony,
where commonly the best gunsmen reside, but who probably would be cut
off by surprize, at the first onset: and, lower down, their dispersed
settlements are often separated, either by difficult or unpassable
morasses,—slow running black waters,—or broken salt-water sounds; which
of course would be a great impediment to the people supporting each
other: so that each plantation is exposed to a separate assault, by a
superior body of those cunning savages, who attack, and fly away like a
sudden thunder gust. We have no sure way to fight them, but in carrying
the war into the bowels of their own country, by a superior body of the
provincial troops, mixed with regulars; and as we can expect no mercy in
case of a defeat, we should not despise their power, but prepare
ourselves for a sure conquest. {281}




The Choktah country lies in about 33 and 34 Deg. N. L. According to the
course of the Indian path, their western lower towns are situated two
hundred computed miles to the northward of New Orleans; the upper ones
an hundred and sixty miles to the southward of the Chikkasah nation; 150
computed miles to the west of the late dangerous French Alebahma
garrison, in the Muskohge country; and 150 to the north of Mobille,
which is the first settlement, and only town, except New Orleans, that
the French had in West-Florida.

Their country is pretty much in the form of an oblong square. The
barrier towns, which are next to the Muskohge and Chikkasah countries,
are compactly settled for social defense, according to the general
method of other savage nations; but the rest, both in the center, and
toward the Missisippi, are only scattered plantations, as best suits a
separate easy way of living. A stranger might be in the middle of one of
their populous extensive towns, without seeing half a dozen of their
houses, in the direct course of his path. The French, to intimidate the
English traders by the prodigious number of their red legions in
West-Florida, boasted that the Choktah consisted of nine thousand men
fit to bear arms: but we find the true amount of their numbers, since
West-Florida was ceded to us, to be not above half as many as the French
report ascertained.[164] And, indeed, if the French and Spanish writers
of the American Aborigines, had kept so near the truth, as to mix one
half of realities, with their flourishing {282} wild hyperboles, the
literati would have owed them more thanks than is now their due.

Those who know the Choktah, will firmly agree in opinion with the
French, concerning them, that they are in the highest degree, of
a base, ungrateful, and thievish disposition—fickle, and
treacherous—ready-witted, and endued with a surprizing flow of smooth
artful language on every subject, within the reach of their ideas; in
each of these qualities, they far exceed any society of people I ever
saw. They are such great proficients in the art of stealing, that in our
store-houses, they often thieve while they are speaking to, and looking
the owner in the face. It is reckoned a shame to be detected in the act
of theft; but, it is the reward they receive, which makes it shameful:
for, in such a case, the trader bastinadoes the covetous sinner, almost
as long as he seems sensible of pain. A few years ago, one of the
Chikkasah warriors told me, he heard a middle-aged Choktah warrior,
boast in his own country, at a public ball-play, of having artfully
stolen several things from one and another trader, to a considerable
amount, while he was cheapening goods of us, and we were blind in our
own houses.

As their country is pleasantly interspersed with hills, and generally
abounds with springs and creeks, or small brooks; and is in a happy
climate, it is extremely healthful. Having no rivers in their country,
few of them can swim, like other Indians; which often proves hurtful to
them, when high freshes come on while they are out at war. Their towns
are settled on small streams that purl into Mobille river, and another a
little to the southward of it. Koosah, the largest town in their nation,
lies within 180 miles of Mobille, at a small distance from the river
which glides by that low, and unhealthy old capital. The summer-breezes
pass by Mobille, in two opposite directions, along the channel of the
river; and very unhealthy vapors keep floating over the small
semicircular opening of the town, which is on the south-side of the
river, opposite to a very low marsh, that was formed by great torrents
of water, sweeping down rafts of fallen trees, till they settled there,
and were mixt with the black soil of the low lands, carried, and
subsiding there in the like manner. From thence, to the opposite shore,
the river hath a sandy bottom, and at low water is so very shallow, that
a person could almost walk across, though {283} it is two leagues broad.
The southern side of the river is so full of great trees, that sloops
and schooners have considerable difficulty in getting up abreast: and
for a considerable distance from the sea-coast, the land is low, and
generally unfit for planting, even on the banks of the river. About
forty miles up, the French had a small settlement of one plantation
deep, from the bank of Mobille river. The rest of the land is sandy pine
barrens, till within forty miles of the Choktah country, where the oak
and the hiccory-trees first appear; from whence, it is generally very
fertile, for the extensive space of about six hundred miles toward the
north, and in some places, two hundred and fifty, in others, two hundred
and sixty in breadth, from the Missisippi: This tract far exceeds the
best land I ever saw besides in the extensive American world. It is not
only capable of yielding the various produce of all our North-American
colonies on the main continent, as it runs from the south, towards the
north; but, likewise, many other valuable commodities, which their
situation will never allow them to raise. From the small rivers, which
run through this valuable large tract, the far-extending ramifications
are innumerable; each abounding with ever-green canes and reeds, which
are as good to raise cattle in winter, as the best hay in the northern
colonies. I need not mention the goodness of the summer-ranges; for,
where the land is good, it always produces various sorts of good timber,
such as oak of different kinds; hiccory, wall-nut, and poplar-trees. The
grass is commonly as long and tender, as what the best English meadows
yield; and, if those vacant fertile lands of the Missisippi were settled
by the remote inhabitants of Virginia, the Ohio, and North-Carolina,
they, from a small stock, could in a few years raise a prodigious number
of horses, horned cattle, sheep, and swine, without any more trouble
than branding, marking, and keeping them tame, and destroying the beasts
of prey, by hunting them with dogs, and shooting them from the trees.
Soon they might raise abundance of valuable productions, as would both
enrich themselves and their off-spring, and, at the same time, add in a
very high degree to the naval trade and manufactures of Great-Britain.

The Choktah flatten their foreheads with a bag of sand, which with great
care they keep fastened on the scull of the infant, while it is in its
tender and imperfect state. Thus they quite deform their face, and give
themselves an appearance, which is disagreeable to any but those of
their own {284} likeness. Their features and mind, indeed, exactly
correspond together; for, except the intense love they bear to their
native country, and their utter contempt of any kind of danger, in
defence of it, I know no other virtue they are possessed of: the general
observation of the traders among them is just, who affirm them to be
divested of every property of a human being, except shape and language.
Though the French at Mobille, and some at New Orleans, could speak the
Choktah language extremely well, and consequently guide them much better
than the English (notwithstanding we gave them a far greater supply of
every kind of goods than they could purchase) yet, the French allowed
none of them arms and ammunition, except such who went to war against
our Chikkasah friends. One of those outstanding companies was composed
also of several towns; for, usually one town had not more than from
five, to seven guns. When the owners therefore had hunted one moon, they
lent them for hire to others, for the like space of time; which was the
reason, that their deer-skins, by being chiefly killed out of season,
were then much lighter than now. The French commandant of Tumbikpe
garrison supervised the trade, as none was ever chosen to preside in so
critical a place, unless well and early acquainted in the dialect,
manners, and customs of the savages. The French Indian garrisons
consisted of chosen provincial families, who had not the least spark of
that haughty pride and contempt, which is too often predominant, at
least among the ignorant part of the soldiery, against all, except their
own fraternity. (The Choktah were known to be of so fickle, treacherous,
and bloody a disposition, that only three or four pedlars were allowed
to go among them at a time: when they returned to the fort, the same
number went out again, with as many trifles as a small barrel would
conveniently contain. Thus they continued to amuse the savages of low
rank, but they always kept the head-men in pay.) These, at every public
meeting, and convenient occasion, gave stated energetic orations in
praise of the French; and, by this means, the rest were influenced. The
pedlars thus got almost what they were pleased to ask, in return for
their worthless trifles. All the way up the numerous streams of the
Missisippi, and down those of Canada river, their wisdom directed them
to keep up the price of their goods, and, by that means, they retained
the savages in the firmest amity with them; no trader was allowed among
them, except those of sufficient skill, in that dangerous sphere of
life, and of faithful principles to government. The French very justly
say, the English spoil the savages, wherever their trade extends among
{285} them. They were too wise ever to corrupt them, according to our
modern mad schemes. They had two great annual marts, where the Indians
came to traffic for their deer-skins, beaver, and peltry; the one, at
Montreal; and the other, at the Illinois, under the cannon of those
garrisons. But the Philadelphians,[165] in order to ingross the trade of
the latter place, by a foolish notion of under-selling the old French
traders, have ruined, and, as I am lately informed, entirely
discontinued it. They who speak so much in favour of lowering the Indian
trade, ought first to civilize the savages, and convince them of the
absolute necessity there is of selling the same sort of goods, at
various prices, according to different circumstances, either of time or
place. While the present ill adapted measures are continued, nothing
less than the miraculous power of deity can possibly effect the Indians
reformation; many of the present traders are abandoned, reprobate, white
savages. Instead of shewing good examples of moral conduct, besides
their other part of life, they instruct the unknowing and imitating
savages, in many diabolical lessons of obscenity and blasphemy.

When the English were taking possession of Mobille, the French commander
had given previous orders to a skilful interpreter, to inform the
Choktah, that his Christian Majesty, for peace-sake, had given up
Mobille garrison to the avaricious English nation; but at the end of
three years, the French would return and see to what purpose they had
applied it. The Choktah believed the declaration to be as true, as if
several of their old head-men had dreamed it. The fore-sighted French
knew their fickle and treacherous dispositions, and that by this story,
well supported with presents, they would be able, when occasion
required, to excite them to commence a new war against us. The masterly
skill of the French enabled them to do more with those savages, with
trifles, than all our experienced managers of Indian affairs have been
able to effect, by the great quantities of valuable goods, they gave
them, with a very profuse hand. The former bestowed their small favours
with exquisite wisdom; and their value was exceedingly inhanced, by the
external kindly behaviour, and well adapted smooth address of the giver.
But our wise men in this department, bestow the presents of the
government, too often, in such a manner as to rivet the contempt they
have imbibed against us; for I have been frequently upbraided, even by
the old friendly Chikkasah, when inebriated, that the English in general
despised their friends, and {286} were kindest to those who most
insulted and injured them; and, that the surest way for the red people
to get plenty of presents, was not to deserve them, but to act the
murdering part of the ill-hearted Muskohge. In confirmation of their
strong invectives, they recited above seventy instances of the Muskohge
having murdered the English, not only with impunity, but with silent
approbation; as they soon afterward received large presents, which must
be either as a due for the bloodshed, or tribute given through fear.
They enumerated some facts, which were attended with shocking
circumstances: as, an innocent mother of good report, and two of her
little children, put to slow torture in boiling water; and several of
the like nature, which the Muskohge themselves had informed them of in a
way of boasting, and to induce them to imitate their mischievous, but
profitable example. While we bear any cool premeditated acts of Indian
hostility with that crouching base behaviour, such passive conduct will
serve only to tempt the Indians to advance in their favourite science of
blood, and commence a general war. For cowards they always insult and
despise, and will go any distance to revenge the blood of one of their
tribe, even that of an old woman.

As it was confidently reported, that a military government would be
continued by us in West Florida, till it was thick settled, the French
inhabitants imagining that event could not happen till doom’s-day,
mostly retired to New Orleans, in order to shun such a tyrannic police.
They were afraid of being imprisoned, and whipped, at the
Governor’s[166] caprice, and even for things unnoticeable in the eye of
the law; for as he ruled imperial over the soldiery, he would expect all
his orders to be readily obeyed by every other person, without any
hesitation. Such things are too common in a military government, and it
was fatally experienced in this. In order to establish his absolute
power, as the merchants, and other gentlemen at Mobille, of generous
principles despised it, he found a plea to contend with one of them,
though it was both illegal, and entirely out of his element. A Choktah
having bought a small brass-kettle of one of the principal merchants of
that place, was persuaded by a Frenchman, to return it, bring the value
to him, and he would give him a better one in its stead; for there
happened to be a very small crack of no consequence, and scarcely
discernible, just above the rim. The Indian accordingly went to return
it; but the gentleman would not receive it, as it was good, and fairly
sold at {287} the usual price. The Choktah went back to the Frenchman to
excuse himself in not being able to deal with him, as proposed; who
persuaded him to complain to the Governor of the pretended injustice he
had received from the merchant—he did, and the ruler gladly embraced the
opportunity to gratify his pride, and aggrandize his power. He
immediately sent some of his underlings, with a positive verbal command
to the gentleman, to cancel the bargain with the Choktah, and deliver to
him what he claimed, on receiving his own: the free-born Briton excused
his non-compliance, in a rational and polite manner, according to his
constant easy behaviour. Upon this, like a petty tyrant, the chief sent
a file of musqueteers for him. When he appeared before his greatness, he
asserted the common privileges of a trading free subject of Great
Britain, with decent firmness; and set forth the ill consequences of
giving the troublesome savages an example so hurtful to trade, with
other arguments well adapted to the occasion. The return was, an order
to thrust the gentleman into the black-hole of the garrison, where he
was detained and treated as a capital criminal, till, by the loss of
health through the dampness of that horrid place, the love of life
prompted him to comply with every demand. Had he waited the award of a
court-martial, probably he would have had justice done him; for, except
a couple of the officers of the commander’s own principles, all the rest
blamed, if not despised him for his haughtiness and ungenerous
principles. This is a genuine sample of military governments—the
Canadians may expect many such instances of justice and humanity in
consequence of the late Quebec act, if it be not repealed. While this
military man acted in the magisterial office, though in pain when not
triumphing over those peaceable subjects who would not stoop before him
below the character of freemen, to flatter his lordly ambition; yet it
was affirmed, he could not stand the sight of the inebriated Choktah.
One instance of his passive conduct toward them, deserves to be
recorded—As the centinels at the gates of his house, were strictly
ordered not to resist the savages, these soon became so impudent as to
insult them at pleasure; and one of them, without the least provocation,
struck a soldier (while on his duty standing centry) with a full bottle
on his head, with that violence, as to break his scull, the unfortunate
soldier languished, and died, by the blow, without the least
retaliation; though so absolutely needful in our early state of settling
that part of the continent. {288}

We well know the fate of the British Americans in general, as to
property, liberty, and life, if their court-enemies could but
metamorphose them into asses, and quietly impose upon them military men
as governors, and magistrates, to inforce a strict obedience to their
grasping hand, and boundless will. But, may our wise statesmen
henceforth rather keep them at home, and place them over such mean
spirits as have sold their birth-rights for a mess of pottage, and are
degenerated from every virtue of the true and brave Englishman!

Though the French Americans were as desirous of purchasing Indian
deer-skins and beaver as the English could well be; yet they wisely
declined, where the public peace and security required it. By their
wisdom, they employed the savages, as occasion offered, and kept them
entirely dependant. They distributed through each nation, a considerable
number of medals and flourishing commissions, in a very artful
gradation, so as to gratify their proud tempers, and obtain an universal
sway over them. They also sent a gun-smith to each of their countries,
to mend the locks of their guns, at the expence of government: and any
warrior who brought his chieftain’s medal as a certificate, was waited
on, and sent off with honour, and a very _bon grace_, to his entire
satisfaction: with this, and other instances of good conduct, they led
the savages at pleasure. When the French evacuated the Alebahma
garrison, the Muskohge despitefully objected against receiving any such
favours from us. Even our old friendly Chikkasah were only tantalized
with our friendship on that occasion, for the gun-smith was
recalled—which, joined with the rest of the bad conduct of our managers
of Indian affairs, vexed them so exceedingly, that they were on the
point of committing hostilities against us, in the year 1769; so widely
different is our Indian-trading conduct from that of the French.

They wisely preferred the security of their valuable, but weak country
to the dangerous profits of trade; they kept the best orators and the
head-men as pensioners, on their side, and employed the rest of the
warriors in their favourite science against the Chikkasah. As with the
high placed mercenaries in Great Britain, so it will be a very difficult
task (for some time) to manage any of the Indians well, particularly the
Choktah, unless they in {289} some manner receive a favourite bribe,
under the name of presents, as they usually had from the French. By
reason of our misconduct, and the foolish distribution of presents,
since Florida was ceded to us, they have been twice on the point of
breaking with us, though the managers of our Indian affairs were at the
same time echoing in the public papers of Georgia and South-Carolina,
the peaceable and friendly disposition of all the savage nations around
the colonies. The Choktah were designed to strike the first blow on
their traders, and immediately to follow it on the inhabitants of
Mobille; which, they imagined, they could easily effect by surprise in
the night, and so enrich themselves with an immense booty. The first of
those bloody plans was concerted against us, October the 18th 1765. The
cause of which I shall relate.

In the eastern part of the Chikkasah nation, there is a young, and very
enterprising war-leader, called “the Torrepine Chieftain,” or “The
leader of the land-tortoise family:” his ambitious temper, which one of
the traders at first imprudently supported against our old friendly war
chieftain, _Pa-Yah-Matahah_, has unhappily divided the nation into two
parties, which frequently act in opposition to any salutary measure,
which is either proposed, or pursued by the other. The Torrepine chief
received an embassy from the Muskohge Great Mortar to engage him against
us, through a false pretence that we intended to take their lands, and
captivate their women and children; as the vast strides we lately made
through that extensive tract, from Georgia to New Orleans, and up the
Missisippi, all the way to the Illinois, he said, would clearly convince
so wise a people. He exhorted the Choktah war-leaders and old beloved
men to rouse their martial tempers to defend their liberty and property,
and preserve their holy places, and holy things, from the ambitious
views of the impure and covetous English people, to listen to the loud
call of liberty, and join heart and hand in its generous defence, which
they now could easily effect, by crushing the snake in its infant state;
whereas delay would allow it time to collect strength, to the utter
danger of every thing they held as valuable—that now was the time to
avert those dangerous evils, and that their mutual safety was at stake.
He assured them from repeated experience, that the very worst that could
befall them would be only a trifling scolding in their ears, and
presents in their hands to make up the breach. The aspiring Chikkasah
leader was, in a great measure, induced to fall {290} in with that
cunning deceiver’s measures by having seen above sixty of the Muskohge
head-men and warriors, who received considerable presents from Geo.
Johnstone, Esq; Governor of West-Florida, at Pensacola. They told him
our liberality proceeded intirely from fear; that when they killed any
of our despicable and helpless swarms, they always received the like
quantity, to quiet the martial hearts of their gallant young warriors;
and that the sole reason we were so frugal to the Chikkasah, was owing
to their unwise attachments to us; but if they followed their copy, they
would soon become as rich as themselves.

If the sagacious, and gallant governor could have executed his will,
they would not have thus boasted—he warmly debated in council to order
each of them to be secured, as hostages, and kept aboard a man of war in
the harbour, till satisfaction was remitted for the unprovoked, and
wilful murders that nation had committed on several of his majesty’s
peaceable subjects: but his spirited resolution was overborne by a
considerable majority of votes. However, when they got home, they told
our traders that his excellency’s speech was quite different to that of
the beloved white man, meaning the super-intendant, for it was very
sharp and wounding; and that his eyes spoke, and glanced the fire also
which was burning in his heart. No people are more observant of the
passions in the honest face than they. Their eyes and judgment are
surprisingly piercing; and in consequence of this Governor’s open,
steady, virtuous conduct, all our neighbouring nations honour and love
him, to this very day.

The Chikkasah chief sent his bloody embassy to the Choktah by a cunning
and trusty uncle, who accompanied me to the late Tumbikpe-fort. I was
ignorant of the mischievous plan, till we arrived at camp, near the
Great Red Captain’s: there, in bed at night, I plainly overheard the
whole, and saw the white swan’s wings, and others painted red and
black,—persuasive and speaking emblems of friendship to the one party,
and war, blood, and death to the other. They received those base tokens,
according to the mischievous intention of those who sent them. As they
are fond of novelty, the news was conveyed through the nation, with
profound secresy: besides, they were very much rejoiced at so favourable
an opportunity of making peace with the Muskohge, who awed them
exceedingly, on account of their repeated losses, which were chiefly
occasioned by their want {291} of skill in swimming. Tumbikpe garrison,
a little before this time, was very unwisely removed; but, to supply
that wrong measure, our super-intendant of Indian affairs, stationed
here one of his representatives. He was as much unacquainted with the
language, manners, and customs of the Indians, as his employer: and yet
wrote a considerable volume how to regulate Indian affairs in general,
and particularly in the Choktah country. Besides his want of proper
qualifications in so nice and difficult an office, he was in his temper
so turbulent, proud, and querulous, that his presence instead of
quieting the savages, was more than sufficient to disoblige, and
distract them, in the most friendly times. He lived in the deserted
garrison, as a place of security, kept weighty pullies to the gates, and
his own door shut, as if the place had been a monastery; which was the
worst measure he could possibly have pursued, considering the proud and
familiar temper of those he had to deal with, and the late soothing
treatment of the French to them. _Kapteny Humma Echeto_ “the Great Red
Captain,” sent word to him he would call there, on a certain day, to
confer with him on some material business. On account of their
fluctuating councils in so weighty an affair as the intended war, he
prolonged the time of going there, for the space of eight days; the
gentleman engaged me to stay till the affair was decided. I continued
without the least reluctance, as I saw the black storm gathering, and
hoped I might be able in some measure to dispel it. When the Red Captain
came, his chief business was to demand presents, in the same manner they
received them from the French, as the war-chiefs and beloved men were
grown very poor; and to know whether our government would enable them to
revenge their dead, by bestowing on them ammunition to continue the war
against the Muskohge, who highly despised us, and frequently committed
acts of hostility against our people. Contrary to my advice, he gave a
plain negative to each of his queries, without considering
contingencies—Because the neighbouring town was silent, and very few of
them came near the fort, he flattered himself that those dangerous
tokens proceeded intirely from the cold reception, and frequent denials
he had given them; and that for the future, he could live there in a
retired and easy manner. But had he taken the trouble to go among them,
as I did, he might have seen by their gloomy faces what bitter rancour
was in their hearts. Next day, I discovered at the most unfrequented
part of the fort, which was near the south east corner, on the
river-side, that the wary savages had in the night time {292} forced two
of the great posts so far apart, as one person could easily pass through
at a time; as such ocular proof might have made my host uneasy, I
thought it wrong to molest his tranquillity by the discovery. The Red
Chief would now drink no spirituous liquors, though I pressed him to it.
They know their weakness then, which might lead them to divulge their
country’s secrets,—a great disgrace to a warrior. He went home with his
heart greatly inebriated however, on account of the flat denials he had
received; especially, as the warriors would depreciate him for his ill

In a few days after, I set off with my red companion, and lay all night
at the Red Captain’s house, which stands in one of their northern
barrier towns. He walked out with me in the evening, but in his
discourse, he used as much evasion and craft, as an old fox in his
intricate windings to beguile the earnest pursuers. At night his house
was very quiet, as if their long heads and treacherous hearts were
equally at rest;—but I plainly saw into their favourite and laboured
plan, and one of their females told me there was at that time, a great
many head-men of different towns, at a neighbouring house, conferring
together concerning the white people; and that she believed their speech
was not good, as they did not allow any women or boys to hear it. The
Red Chief and I parted like courtiers; it soon began to rain, so as to
swell the waters to such a considerable height, as rendered them
unpassable to horsemen, whose circumstances were not quite desperate.
The Choktah leader sent a sprightly young man, his nephew, with me,
under pretence of accompanying me and the above-mentioned Chikkasah
warrior; but I was not without strong suspicion, that he was sent to
shoot me by surprise, as soon as he heard the whooping death-signal in
pursuit of me. For they had sent runners to call home those who were
hunting in the woods, and the last company of them we met, reaching our
camp in the night, staid there till the morning. We conversed together
without the least disguise; they were confident the traders were killed,
and their favourite war and death-cry would soon reach their listening
ears. I thought it improper to make a jest of so serious an affair, and
determined to set off, though my red companions endeavored to delay me
as much as they could. Early in the morning I took out my saddle, which
the Choktah mentioned to the others through a suspicion I intended to
make my escape: but they quieted his jealousy, by telling him I did so,
only because I was lazy to walk. About half a mile from camp, I soon
catched and mounted one of {293} my horses, and set off, keeping clear
of the trading path for about four miles, in order to perplex any
pursuers that might be sent after me. When my horse tired, I led it on
foot through the pathless woods about fifty miles, and heard no more of
them. Had the Choktah known how to obtain a sufficient supply of
ammunition, they would at this very time, have commenced war against us.
That only checked their bloody aim, to their unspeakable grief, and
prevented our being engaged in a dangerous war.

All our Indian-traders well know, that the misconduct and obstinacy of
the first super-intendant of Indian affairs, was the sole occasion of
irritating the Great Mortar to become bitter-hearted against us, and
devoting himself with a blood-thirsty desire to injure us, wherever his
black policy could reach. And as the first, by his stiff behaviour set
on the Mortar,—his successor, by ill-timed presents instead of demanding
satisfaction, gave him as good an opportunity as he could have desired,
to impress the warriors of his own and other nations, with a strong
opinion of our timid disposition, and incapacity of opposing them. The
impression of Governor Johnstone’s speech, plainly declares they would
not have been so weak as to utter their base threats against us, to the
Chikkasah leader at Pensacola, only that they were previously corrupted
by the mismanagement of Indian affairs. I am well assured, they
frequently applauded his martial conduct when they returned home, and
said he was a man and a warrior, which is as great an encomium, as they
can bestow on any mortal. May West-Florida, and New Georgiana on the
extensive and fertile lands of the meandring Missisippi, have a
continual succession of such chief magistrates as Mr. Johnstone, and his
worthy successor Montfort Browne, Esq; to study and promote the public
good, and cause the balance of justice to be held with an even hand!

The following relation will serve to display what should be our manner
of treating the Indians—A white man, on Mobille river, sold spirituous
liquors to a couple of the Choktah, till they were much intoxicated, and
unable to purchase any more; he then strenuously denied to credit them:
their usual burning thirst exciting them to drink more, they became too
troublesome for any spirited person to bear with. He took up an ax, at
first in his own defence, but when they endeavoured to run off, he, in
the heat of passion pursued; and unhappily killed one of them. The other
ran, and told his {294} relations the sad disaster. Presently, nothing
could be heard through the nation, but heavy murmurs and sharp threats.
Governor Johnstone had the murderer soon apprehended, and confined him
to be tried in due course of law. This delay of executing justice on
one, and whom we only secured from their resentment as they imagined,
tempted them to think on a general massacre. Soon after the sitting of
the general court, their revengeful hearts became easy: for the man was
fairly tried, and condemned, because he did not kill the savage in his
own defence, but while he was retreating from him. I have reason to
believe the Indians would not have allowed the French, when in garrison
among them, to delay shooting any of their people, whom they but even
suspected of having killed the meanest of their kindred: for, in the
year 1740, the Muskohge, on a false suspicion, forced the commanding
officer of the Alebahma garrison, by their loud threats, to kill one of
the militia soldiers. When they were leading him to the place of
execution, he requested the favour of a bottle of wine, to enable him to
die with the firm constancy of an honest French warrior: he received,
and drank it off, and declared his innocence of the imputed crime, with
his last words. The signal was given, and the soldiers, by order,
quickly shot the unfortunate man. But the Englishman, who had been
likewise a soldier, would not have been condemned by the mere assertion
of the Choktah savage, cost what it would; as it was both repugnant to
our law, and too dangerous a precedent to give to so treacherous a
people. He was justly condemned on his companion’s oath. His excellency
Governor Johnstone acted so fairly and tenderly in this affair, that, by
his request, one of the Chikkasah traders was summoned to sit on the
trial, as he of a long time knew the base disposition of the Choktah;
but no favourable circumstances appearing on his side, he was condemned.

Although the Choktah had their desired revenge, yet, when their leader
came parading into Tumbikpe garrison, with a gun he had taken from a
white man, whom he murdered on the Chikkasah trading path; our
super-intendant’s representative shamefully refused to act the part of
the magistrate, or to impower the commanding officer of the Fort to
secure the murderer, though he pressed him with manly earnestness, and
protested that he would gladly confine him, were it not contrary to the
tenour of his commission. The savage having boasted a while after his
triumphal entrance, {295} returned exultingly to his country-men, to the
shame and regret of the traders. Our white beloved man thought himself
best employed in other affairs than these, and doubtless, profitable
family jobbs ought to be well minded.

His successor was equally skilful in managing the Indians as himself,
though much his inferior. His only merit was, the having been a clerk to
the Chikkasah white beloved man, who resigned his place, on account of
the discontinuance of his British pay. He corrupted and practised with
the Indians, according to the system his teacher pursued. One instance,
among many, will shew this: a gentleman came to view the Missisippi
lands, from the settlements which are on the Yadkin, a large and
beautiful river, that, after gliding down 300 miles to the Sand-hill,
Wilmington, and the waste Brunswick, is stiled Cape-Fear-River.[167] He
was highly pleased with the soil, climate, and situation of the lands he
came in quest of: but told me, in a humorous manner, that, when he was
at a French man’s house, on the Spanish side of the river, a very lusty
Choktah called there, in company with others upon a hunt. As the French
Choktah was desirous of ingratiating himself into the favour of the
host, he began to ridicule my friend with gestures, and mocking
language: the more civilly the Englishman behaved, so much the more
impudently the savage treated him. At length, his passions were
inflamed, and he suddenly seized him in his arms, carried him a few
steps off, and threw him down the bank into the Missisippi. The laugh
now turned against him loud; for, if the Indians saw their grandmother
break her neck by a fall from a horse, or any other accident, they would
whoop and halloo. The Baptist, or dipped person, came out ashamed, but
appeared to be very good-humoured after his purification, as he found he
had not one of the French wood-peckers to deal with. However, one night,
when the gentleman was on his return, the savages pursued, and
endeavoured to kill him, and did seize his horses and baggage. He had a
narrow escape for his life before he came to Quansheto, where the
towns-people of the late Great Red Shoes had settled, and our white
beloved man resided. He made his complaint to him, which might have been
expected to produce both pity and justice in any heart that was not
callous. But, instead of endeavouring to redress his grievance, which he
could have easily effected, he aggravated his sufferings {296} by abuse.
As the savage had been brought up with the English traders, so as to be
called the boy of one of them, and lived in _Yashoo_, the town of the
present Red Shoes, our chief could easily have had every thing returned,
had he only demanded it in form. But, like his predecessor, he
endeavoured to keep in with the Indians—he deemed their favourable
report of his friendly conduct toward them, to be the main point he
ought to observe, in order to secure the embassy from suffering damage,
whatever became of truth, or justice.

The Choktah have a remote, but considerable town, called _Yowanne_,
which is the name of a worm that is very destructive to corn in a wet
season. It lies forty miles below the seven southernmost towns of the
nation, toward Mobille, and 120 computed miles from thence, on a
pleasant small river, that runs south of the town. As it is a remote
barrier, it is greatly harrassed by the Muskohge, when at war with them.
Here, a company of them came lately looking for prey; but missing it, as
the Choktah were apprized, and staid at home, their pride and
disappointment excited them to injure those strangers who chanced to
fall in their way. About six miles below the town, they came to the camp
of two white men, who were just ready to set off to Mobille, with loaded
horses; being resolved not entirely to miss their errand of blood and
plunder, they attacked them with their tomohawks, cautious of not
alarming the neighbouring enemy by the report of their guns. They
speedily dispatched one of them; but the other being strong bodied, very
fiery, and desperate, held them a sharp struggle, as it appeared
afterward: his gun was found much battered, and the long grass quite
beat down for a considerable way round the place where the Yowanne
Indians found him suspended in the air. For as soon as those savages
perpetrated that diabolical act, they hanged each of them on trees, with
the horses halters, and carried away six of the horses loaded with drest
deer-skins, as far as Mobille-river. _Minggo Humma Echeto_, the Great
Red Chieftain, of the aforesaid town, on his return from war with the
Muskohge, fortunately intercepted them, killed and scalped two, and
retook the horses and leather. These, he sent home, as he imagined the
owner then resided in the nation, and would gladly redeem them with
reasonable presents: while he went down to Mobille to shew his trophies
of war, in full hopes of getting a new supply of ammunition from the
deputy super-intendant,[168] to be used against the common enemy. He
flattered himself that the scalps brought into our maritime town, in
solemn {297} triumph, would prove a gladsome sight to our people, and
enlarge their hearts towards him and his fatigued poor warriors. But he
perceived nothing of this kind, of which he complained to me with very
sharp language, and returned home, highly incensed against his new
English friends.

I have reason to remember this too well; for, a little after those white
men were murdered, business calling me to Mobille by myself, I chose to
decline the eastern path, and the middle one that leads by the
_Chakchooma_ old fields, as they were much exposed to the incursions of
the Muskohge; and rode through the chief towns of the nation, along the
horse-path that runs from the Chikkasah, nearest the Missisippi, to
Mobille. About six miles below the seven-towns that lie close together,
and next to New Orleans, I met a considerable party of the leaders and
head-warriors returning home from war. We shook hands together, and they
seemed very glad to see me. They earnestly dissuaded me from proceeding
any farther, advised me to return to their friendly town, and rest
awhile among them, declaring, that if my ears were mad, and would not
hear their friendly speech, I should surely be killed, the enemy were
ranging the woods so very thick. They were good judges of the danger, as
they knew the treacherous plan they had concerted together at _Yowanne_.
But the memory of past times, moved them to give me that kindly caution.
I thanked them, and said, I wished business allowed me to act according
to their advice, and accept of their generous invitation; but it did
not: however, if my limited days were not finished before, I would
shortly have the pleasure to see them again. I proceeded, and met
several parties of the same main company, several miles distant from
each other, carrying small pieces of a scalp, singing the triumphal
song, and sounding the shrill death-whoop, as if they had killed
hundreds. On my resting and smoking with the last party, they informed
me, that their camp consisted of two hundred and fifty warriors, under
great leaders, who were then returning from war against a town of the
Koosaahte Indians, who had settled twenty-five miles above Mobille, on
the eastern side of the river; that they had killed and wounded several
of them, suspecting them of abetting the Muskohge, and fortunately got
one of their scalps, which the warriors of separate towns divided, and
were carrying home, with joyful hearts.

A stranger would be much surprised to see the boasting parade these
savages made with one scalp of a reputed enemy. To appearance, more
{298} than a thousand men, women, lusty boys, and girls, went loaded
with provisions to meet them; and to dance, sing, and rejoice at this
camp, for their success in war, and safe return. Their camps were made
with the green bark and boughs of trees, and gave a striking picture of
the easy and simple modes of early ages. Their chieftains and great
warriors sat in state, with the assuming greatness of the ancient
senators of imperial Rome. I had the honour to sit awhile with them, and
was diverted with the old circling and wheeling dances of the young men
and women. I smoked with them, and then took my leave of this last camp
of rejoicing heroes. The Choktah are the most formal in their addresses,
of all the Indian nations I am acquainted with: and they reckon the
neglect of observing their usual ceremonies, proceeds from contempt in
the traders, and from ignorance in strangers.

I encamped early, and within two leagues of _Yowanne_, as it seemed to
be a good place for killing wild game. I imagined also, that here the
people were awed by the Muskohge from ranging the woods, but, it
happened otherwise: for, soon after the horse-bells began to ring, two
sprightly young fellows came through the cane-swamp, and as enemies,
they crawled up the steep bank of the creek, near to me, before I
discovered them. My firearms were close at hand, and I instantly stood
on my guard. They looked earnestly around, to see for the rest of my
company, as it is very unusual for any of the traders, to take that
journey alone. I asked them who they were, from whence they came, and
what they were so earnestly searching for. They evaded answering my
queries, and asked me if I did not come by myself. I told them, without
hesitation, that some way behind, my companion rode out of the path to
kill deer, as his gun was good, and he could use it extremely well. On
this, they spoke a little together, with a low voice; and then told me,
that they belonged to _Yowanne_, and were part of a hunting camp, which
was near at hand, and in view of the path. I asked them to sit down,
which they did, but their discourse was disagreeable, as my supposed
fellow-traveller was the chief subject of it. They said they would go
back to their camp, and return to mine soon, to see whether the white
man was come from hunting. They went, and were as good as their word;
for, they did me the honour to pay me a second visit. As they were so
very earnest in that which did not concern them, unless they had ill
intentions, the sight of them would have instantly inflamed the heart of
one not infected with stoicism, to wish for a proper {299} place to make
a due retribution. At this time, the sun was near three hours from
setting. The white hunter’s absence was the first and chief subject of
their discourse, till evening. As on a level place, all the savages sit
cross-legged, so my visitors did, and held their guns on their knee, or
kept them very near, with their otter-skin shot pouch over one of their
shoulders, as is usual in time of danger. I observed their mischievous
eyes, instead of looking out eastwardly toward the Muskohge country,
were generally pointed toward the N. W. the way I had come. As by
chance, I walked near to one of them, he suddenly snatched up his gun.
No friendly Indians were ever known to do the like, especially so near
home, and a considerable camp of his own people: innocence is not
suspicious, but guilt. He knew his own demerit, and, perhaps imagined I
knew it, from concurring circumstances. To see whether his conduct
proceeded from a fear of danger, or from accident, I repeated the trial,
and he did the same; which confirmed me in my opinion of their base

In this uneasy and restless manner we continued till sun-set, when one
of them artfully got between me and my arms. Then they ordered me to
stop the bells of my horses, which were grazing near the camp, (used
partly on account of the number of big flies that infest the country.) I
asked them the reason—they told me, because the noise frightened away
the deer. I took no notice at first of their haughty command, but they
repeated it with spiteful vehemence, and I was forced to obey their
mandate. They looked, and listened earnestly along the edge of the
swamp, but being disappointed of their expected additional prey, in
about the space of ten minutes they ordered me to open the bells again.
Of the manifold dangers I ever was in, I deemed this by far the
greatest, for I stood quite defenceless. Their language and behaviour
plainly declared their mischievous designs. I expected every minute to
have been shot down: and though I endeavoured to shew a manly aspect,
the cold sweat trickled down my face through uneasiness, and a crowd of
contrary passions. After some time, in this alarming situation, they
told me the ugly white man staid long, and that they would go to their
camp a little while, and return again,—they did as they said. To deceive
them, I had made my bed as for two people, of softened bear and buffalo
skins, with the long hair and wool on, and blankets. My two watchmen
came the third time, accompanied with one older than themselves: he
spoke little, was artful, {300} and very designing. They seemed much
concerned at the absence of my supposed companion, lest he should by
unlucky mischance be bewildered, or killed by the Muskohge. I gave them
several reasons to shew the futility of their kindly fears, and assured
them he usually staid late to barbicue the meat, when he killed much, as
he could not otherwise bring it to camp; but that he never failed, on
such an occasion, to come some time in the night. The cunning fox now
and then asked me a studied short question, in the way of cross
examination, concerning the main point they had in view, and my answers
were so cool and uniform, that I almost persuaded them firmly to credit
all I said. When he could no way trepan me, and there was silence for
several minutes, he asked me, if I was not afraid to be at camp alone. I
told him I was an English warrior,—my heart was honest—and as I spoiled
nobody, why should I be afraid? Their longing eyes by this time were
quite tired. The oldest of them very politely took his leave of me in
French; and the others, through an earnest friendly desire of smoking,
and chatting a little with my absent companion, told me at parting to be
sure to call them, by sounding the news-whoop, as soon as he arrived at
camp. I readily promised to comply, for the sake of the favour of their
good company: and to prevent any suspicion of the truth of my tale, I
added, that if he failed in his usual good luck, they ought to supply us
with a leg of venison, or we would give them as much, if he succeeded.

And now all was well, at least, with me; for I took time by the
fore-lock, and left them to echoe the news-whoop. _Yowanne_ lay nearly
south-east from me; but to avoid my being either intercepted on the
path, or heard by the quick-ear’d savages, I went a quarter of a mile up
the large cane swamp, and passed through it on a south west course, but
very slow, as it was a dark thicket of great canes and vines,
over-topped with large spreading trees. I seldom had a glimpse of any
star to direct my course, the moon being then far spent. About an hour
before day-light, I heard them from the top of an high hill, fire off a
gun at camp; which I supposed was when they found me gone, and in order
to decoy my supposed companion to answer them with the like report;
conjecturing he would imagine it was I who fired for him, according to
custom in similar cases. I kept nearly at the distance of three miles
from the path, till I arrived at the out-houses of Yowanne. As I had
never before seen that town, nor gone to Mobille that way, one of the
warriors at my request {301} conducted me to the river, which we waded
breast-high, and went to the palisadoed fort of _Minggo Humma Echeto_,
which stood commodiously on the bank of the river. He received and
treated me very kindly; I concealed what befel me at camp, though I had
reason to believe, he was informed of my escape by a runner, as I saw
fresh tracks when I returned. I pretended to have come from camp, only
to confer with him, concerning the situation of Mobille path, and follow
his advice, either to proceed on, or return home, being convinced so
great a chieftain as he, who lived in defiance of the Muskohge on that
remote barrier, must be a better judge, than any of those I had met. He
commended me for my caution, and assured me there were several companies
of the Muskohge, then out at war on the path; and that as they hated and
despised the English, they would surely kill me, if I continued my
journey. I thanked him for his friendly caution, and told him it should
not fall to the ground. I soon discovered his great resentment against
the English, on account of the impolitic and unkind treatment he had
received at Mobille. He reasoned upon it with strong natural good sense,
and shewed me in his museum, the two red-painted scalps of the Muskohge
who had murdered our people, and left them in contempt hanging like
mangy dogs, with a horse’s rope round each of their necks. He then
shewed me the flourishing commissions he had received from both French
and English. He descanted minutely on the wise and generous liberality
of the former, on every material occasion; and on the niggardly
disposition and discouraging conduct of the latter, when they ought to
stretch out both their hands to those red people who avenged their
wrongs, and brought them the scalps of the very enemy who had lately
shed their blood. The French never so starved the public cause; and
though they frequently gave sparingly, they bestowed their favours with
a winning grace, and consummate wisdom.

This conduct of ours excited the crafty _Minggo Humma Echeto_, to give
loose to his vindictive temper; and at the same time, to make it
coincide with the general welfare of his country. For as the Muskohge
had proved an over-match for them in almost every engagement, and had
lately committed hostilities against us in their neighbourhood, he
persuaded those head-men I had met, when convened in a council of war,
that if they with proper secresy repeated the like hostile act on any of
our people who first came that way, and reported it to have been done by
the Muskohge, it would {302} certainly obtain that favourite point they
had long wished for, of drawing us into an alliance with them against
the common enemy, as we must have some of the inward feelings of men for
our lost people. Probably, the decree of that red council would have
been soon put in execution had it not been for me. When I took my leave
of the red chief to return, the drum was beat to convene the people to
tell them the cause of my coming to him, and returning home; and that as
the women and children had seen me in the town, their late plan of
execution must be entirely laid aside. One of the warriors was sent to
accompany me, though rather by way of escortment. In my return I called
at the before mentioned camp, and put up the whoop; my two former
watchmen, on seeing me, resembled wolves catched in a pit, they hung
down their heads, and looked gloomy, and wrathful. I asked them why they
were ashamed, and why their hearts weighed so heavy; they said they were
ashamed for me, I was so great a liar, and had earnestly told them so
many ugly falshoods. I said, my speech to them could hurt no honest
persons.—My head, my eyes, my heart, assured me their hearts were then
like the snakes; and my tongue only spoke the speech of honest wisdom,
so as to save myself from being bitten—That it was the property of
poisonous snakes, when they miss their aim, to be enraged, and hide
their heads in their hateful coil; and concluded, by telling them I went
through the woods to Yowanne, to shew them publicly I was not hurt by
lurking snakes—and that I would now return to the harmless Chikkasah,
and tell them so—on this we parted.

A timely application of proper measures with the savages, is our only
method to secure their feeble affections. If those, who are employed for
that salutary purpose, justly pursued that point, its effect would soon
be openly declared, by the friendly behaviour and honest conduct of the
various western nations. But where interest governs, iniquitous measures
are pursued, and painters can be got who will flatter the original, be
it ever so black. Some of our chiefs, with a certain military officer in
West-Florida, like trembling mice, humbly voted not to demand any
satisfaction from the savages, for that most shocking act of cool murder
I have just mentioned, lest it should provoke them to do us more
mischief. But to the honour of George Johnstone, Esq; then Governor of
West-Florida, as a representative of the suffering people, he despised
such obsequious and pusillanimous councils, and insisted, in his usual
manly manner, on an equal {303} revenge of blood, and had it speedily
granted, as far as the situation of affairs could possible allow: for by
a council of the red Sanhedrim, they condemned three of the chief
murderers to be killed, and formally sent down to him two of their
scalps to stop the loud voice of blood: but the third made off to the
Cheerake, by which means he evaded his justly deserved fate—and too nice
a scrutiny at such a time would not have been convenient. All the
western Indian nations, bear the highest regard to that paternal
governor, and plain friend of all the people: and I record his conduct
to do justice to so uncommon a character in America, as well as to
engage his successors to pursue the same measures, and copy after him.

The Choktah, by not having deep rivers or creeks to purify themselves by
daily ablutions, are become very irreligious in other respects, for of
late years, they make no annual atonement for sin. As very few of them
can swim, this is a full proof that the general opinion of the young
brood of savages being able to swim like fish, as soon as they come into
the world, ought to be intirely exploded. The Indian matrons have sense
enough to know, that the swimming of human creatures is an art to keep
the head above water, which is gained by experience; and that their
helpless infants are incapable of it. Probably, the report sprung from
their immersing the new-born infants in deep running water by the way of

The Choktah are the craftiest, and most ready-witted, of any of the red
nations I am acquainted with. It is surprising to hear the wily turns
they use, in persuading a person to grant them the favour they have in
view. Other nations generally behave with modesty and civility, without
ever lessening themselves by asking any mean favours. But the Choktah,
at every season, are on the begging lay. I several times told their
leading men, they were greater beggars, and of a much meaner spirit,
than the white-haired Chikkasah women, who often were real objects of
pity. I was once fully convinced that none was so fit to baffle them in
those low attempts without giving offence, as their own country-men.
One, in my presence, expatiated on his late disappointment and losses,
with the several unexpected causes, and pressingly sollicited his
auditor as a benevolent kinsman, to assist him in his distress: but the
other {304} kept his ear deaf to his importunity, and entirely evaded
the artful aim of the petitioner, by carrying on a discourse he had
begun, before his relation accosted him as a suppliant. Each alternately
began where they had left off, the one to inforce the compliance of his
prayer, and the other, like the deaf adder, to elude the power of its
charming him. Nature has in a very surprising manner, endued the Indian
Americans, with a strong comprehensive memory, and great flow of
language. I listened with close attention to their speeches, for a
considerable time; at last the petitioner despairing of impressing the
other with sentiments in his favour, was forced to drop his false and
tragical tale, and become seemingly, a patient hearer of the conclusion
of the other’s long narrative, which was given him with a great deal of
outward composure, and cool good-nature.

In the years 1746 and 1747, I was frequently perplexed by the Choktah
mendicants; which policy directed me to bear, and conceal as well as I
could, because I was then transacting public business with them. In
1747, one of their warriors and a Chokchooma came to me for presents;
which according to my usual custom in those times, I gave, though much
less than they presumed to expect. The former, strongly declaimed
against the penurious spirit of the French, and then highly applauded
the open generous tempers of the English traders: for a considerable
time, he contrasted them with each other, not forgetting, in every point
of comparison, to give us the preference in a high degree. He was endued
with so much eloquence and skill as to move the passions, and obtain his
point. A considerable number of Chikkasah warriors who were present,
told me soon after, that his skilful method of addressing me for a
bottle of spirituous liquors, seemed to them astonishing: an old beloved
man replied, that the worst sort of snakes were endued with the greatest
skill to insnare and suck their prey, whereas, the harmless have no such

The Indians in general do not chuse to drink any spirits, unless they
can quite intoxicate themselves. When in that helpless and sordid
condition, weeping and asking for more _ookka hoome_, “bitter waters,” I
saw one of the drunkard’s relations, who some time before had taken a
like dose, hold the rum-bottle to the other’s head, saying, when he had
drank deep, “Hah, you were very poor for drinking.” Though I appealed to
all the Chikkasah warriors present, that rum never stood on hand with
me, when the {305} people were at home, and several time affirmed to the
importunate Choktah, that it was entirely expended; yet my denial served
only to make him more earnest: upon this, I told him, that though I had
no _ookka hoome_, I had a full bottle of the water of _ane hoome_,
“bitter ears,” meaning long pepper, of which he was ignorant, as he had
seen none of that kind. We were of opinion that his eager thirst for
liquor, as well as his ignorance of the burning quality of the pepper,
and the resemblance of the words, which signify things of a hot, though
different nature, would induce the bacchanal to try it. He accordingly
applauded my generous disposition, and said, “his heart had all the
while told him I would not act beneath the character I bore among his
country-people.” The bottle was brought: I laid it on the table, and
told him, as he was then spitting very much, (a general custom with the
Indians, when they are eager for any thing) “if I drank it all at one
sitting, it would cause me to spit in earnest, as I used it, only when I
ate, and then very moderately; but though I loved it, if his heart was
very poor for it, I should be silent, and not in the least grudge him
for pleasing his mouth.” He said, “your heart is honest indeed; I thank
you, for it is good to my heart, and makes it greatly to rejoice.”
Without any farther ceremony, he seized the bottle, uncorked it, and
swallowed a large quantity of the burning liquid, till he was near
strangled. He gasped for a considerable time, and as soon as he
recovered his breath, he said _Hah_, and soon after kept stroaking his
throat with his right hand. When the violence of this burning draught
was pretty well over, he began to flourish away, in praise of the
strength of the liquor, and bounty of the giver. He then went to his
companion, and held the bottle to his mouth, according to custom, till
he took several hearty swallows. This Indian seemed rather more sensible
of its fiery quality, than the other, for it suffocated him for a
considerable time; but as soon as he recovered his breath, he tumbled
about on the floor in various postures like a drunken person, overcome
by the force of liquor. In this manner, each of them renewed their
draught, till they had finished the whole bottle, into which two others
had been decanted. The Chikkasah spectators were surprised at their
tasteless and voracious appetite, and laughed heartily at them,
mimicking the actions, language, and gesture of drunken savages. The
burning liquor so highly inflamed their bodies that one of the Choktah
to cool his inward parts, drank water till he almost burst: the other
rather than bear the ridicule of the people, and the inward fire that
{306} distracted him, drowned himself the second night after in a broad
and shallow clay hole, contiguous to the dwelling house of his uncle,
who was the Chikkasah Archimagus.

There was an incident, something similar, which happened in the year
1736, in _Kanootare_, the most northern town of the Cheerake. When all
the liquor was expended, the Indians went home, leading with them at my
request, those who were drunk. One, however, soon came back, and
earnestly importuned me for more _Nawohti_, which signifies both physic
and spirituous liquors. They, as they are now become great liars,
suspect all others of being infected with their own disposition and
principles. The more I excused myself, the more anxious he grew, so as
to become offensive. I then told him, I had only one quarter of a bottle
of strong physic, which sick people might drink in small quantities, for
the cure of inward pains: and laying it down before him, I declared I
did not on any account choose to part with it, but as his speech of few
words, had become very long and troublesome, he might do just as his
heart directed him concerning it. He took it up, saying his heart was
very poor for physic, but that would cure it, and make it quite
streight. The bottle contained almost three gills of strong spirits of
turpentine, which in a short time, he drank off. Such a quantity of the
like physic would have demolished me, or any white person. The Indians
in general, are either capable of suffering exquisite pain longer than
we are, or of shewing more constancy and composure in their torments.
The troublesome visitor soon tumbled down and foamed prodigiously.—I
then sent for some of his relations to carry him home. They came—I told
them he drank greedily, and too much of the physic. They said, it was
his usual custom, when the red people bought the English physic. They
gave him a decoction of proper herbs and roots, the next day sweated
him, repeated the former draught, and he soon got well. As those
turpentine spirits did not inebriate him, but only inflamed his
intestines, he well remembered the burning quality of my favourite
physic, which he had so indiscreetly drank up, and cautioned the rest
from ever teizing me for any physic I had concealed, in any sort of
bottles, for my own use; otherwise they might be sure it would spoil
them, like the eating of fire.

The Choktah are in general more slender than any other nation of savages
I have seen. They are raw-boned, and surprisingly active in
ball-playing; {307} which is a very sharp exercise, and requires great
strength and exertion. In this manly exercise, no persons are known to
be equal to them, or in running on level ground, to which they are
chiefly used from their infancy, on account of the situation of their
country, which hath plenty of hills, but no mountains; these lie at a
considerable distance between them and the Muskohge. On the survey of a
prodigious space of fertile land up the Missisippi, and its numberless
fine branches, we found the mountains full three hundred miles from that
great winding mass of waters.

Though the lands of West-Florida, for a considerable distance from the
sea-shore, are very low, sour, wet, and unhealthy, yet it abounds with
valuable timber for ship-building, which could not well be expended in
the long space of many centuries. This is a very material article to so
great a maritime power, as Great Britain, especially as it can be got
with little expence and trouble. The French were said to deal pretty
much that way; and the Spaniards, it is likely, will now resume it, as
the bounty of our late ministry has allowed the French to transfer
New-Orleans to them, and by that means they are able to disturb the
British colonies at pleasure. It cannot fail of proving a constant bone
of contention: a few troops could soon have taken it during the late
war, for it was incapable of making any considerable resistance; and
even French effrontery could not have presumed to withhold the giving it
up, if the makers of our last memorable peace had not been so extremely
modest, or liberal to them. If it be allowed that the first discoverers
and possessors of a foreign waste country, have a just title to it, the
French by giving up New Orleans to Great Britain, would have only ceded
to her, possessions, which they had no right to keep; for Col. Wood[169]
was the first discoverer of the Missisippi, who stands on public record,
and the chief part of ten years he employed in searching its course.
This spirited attempt he began in the year 1654, and ended 1664. Capt.
Bolton made the like attempt, in the year 1670. Doctor Cox[170] of New
Jersey sent two ships Anno 1698, which discovered the mouth of it; and
having failed a hundred miles up, he took possession of the whole
country, and called it Carolana: whereas the French did not discover it
till the year 1699,[171] when they gave it the name of Colbert’s-river,
in honour of their favourite minister, and the whole country they called
Loisinana, which may soon be exchanged for Philippiana—till the
Americans give it another and more desirable name. {308}

The Choktah being employed by the French, together with their other red
confederates, against the English Chikkasah, they had no opportunity of
inuring themselves to the long-winded chace, among a great chain of
steep craggy mountains. They are amazingly artful however in deceiving
an enemy; they will fasten the paws and trotters of panthers, bears, and
buffalos, to their feet and hands, and wind about like the circlings of
such animals, in the lands they usually frequent. They also will mimick
the different notes of wild fowl, and thus often outwit the savages they
have disputes with. Their enemies say, that when at war, it is
impossible to discover their track, unless they should be so lucky as to
see their persons. They act very timorously against the enemy abroad,
but behave as desperate veterans when attacked in their own country.
’Till they were supplied by the English traders with arms and
ammunition, they had very little skill in killing deer; but they improve
very fast in that favourite art: no savages are equal to them in killing
bears, panthers, wild cats, &c. that resort in thick cane-swamps; which
swamps are sometimes two or three miles over, and an hundred in length,
without any break either side of the stream.

About Christmas, the he and she bears always separate. The former
usually snaps off a great many branches of trees, with which he makes
the bottom of his winter’s bed, and carefully raises it to a proper
height, with the green tops of large canes; he chooses such solitary
thickets as are impenetrable by the sunbeams. The she bear takes an old
large hollow tree for her yeaning winter-house, and chuses to have the
door above, to enable her to secure her young ones from danger. When any
thing disturbs them, they gallop up a tree, champing their teeth, and
bristling their hair, in a frightful manner: and when they are wounded,
it is surprising from what a height they will pitch on the ground, with
their weighty bodies, and how soon they get up, and run off. When they
take up their winter-quarters, they continue the greater part of two
months, in almost an entire state of inactivity: during that time, their
tracks reach no farther than to the next water, of which they seldom
drink, as they frequently suck their paws in their lonely recess, and
impoverish their bodies, to nourish them. While they are employed in
that surprising task of nature, they cannot contain themselves in
silence, but are so well pleased with their repast, that they continue
singing _hum um um_: as their pipes are none of the weakest, the Indians
by this {309} means often are led to them from a considerable distance,
and then shoot them down. But they are forced to cut a hole near the
root of the tree, wherein the she bear and her cubs are lodged, and
drive them out by the force of fire and suffocating smoke; and as the
tree is partly rotten, and the inside dry, it soon takes fire. In this
case, they become very fierce, and would fight any kind of enemy; but,
commonly, at the first shot, they are either killed or mortally wounded.
However, if the hunter chance to miss his aim, he speedily makes off to
a sappling, which the bear by over-clasping cannot climb: the crafty
hunting dogs then act their part, by biting behind, and gnawing its
hams, till it takes up a tree. I have been often assured both by Indians
and others, who get their bread by hunting in the woods, that the
she-bear always endeavours to keep apart from the male during the
helpless state of her young ones; otherwise he would endeavour to kill
them; and that they had frequently seen the she bear kill the male on
the spot, after a desperate engagement for the defence of her young
ones. Of the great numbers I have seen with their young cubs, I never
saw a he bear at such times, to associate with them: so that it seems
one part of the Roman Satyrist’s fine moral lesson, inculcating peace
and friendship, is not just, _Scœvis inter se convenit Ursis_.

At the time Mobille (that grave-yard for Britons) was ceded to
Great-Britain, the lower towns of the Choktah brought down all the
Chikkasah scalps they had taken, in their thievish way of warring, and
had them new painted, and carried them in procession on green boughs of
pine, by way of bravado, to shew their contempt of the English. They
would not speak a word to the Chikkasah traders, and they sollicited the
French for their consent to re-commence war against us, and establish
them again by force of arms, in their western possessions; but they told
them, their king had firmly concluded upon the cession, through his own
benevolence of heart, to prevent the further effusion of innocent
blood.—By this artful address, they supported their credit with the
savages, in the very point which ought to have ruined it.

When the Choktah found themselves dipped in war with the Muskohge; they
sollicited the English for a supply of ammunition, urging with much
truth, that common sense ought to direct us to assist them, and deem the
others our enemies as much as theirs. But Tumbikpe-garrison was
evacuated through the unmanly fear of giving umbrage to the Muskohge,
{310} at the very time it would have been of the utmost service to the
general interest of our colonies to have continued it.

The commander concealed his timorous and precipitate retreat,[172] even
from me and another old trader, till the very night he confusedly set
off for Mobille by water, and left to us the trouble of apologizing to
the savages for his misconduct. But after he got to a place of safety,
he flourished away of his wisdom and prowess. As a just stigma on those
who abuse their public trust, I cannot help observing, that in imitation
of some other rulers, he persuaded the Indians not to pay us any of our
numerous out-standing debts, though contrary to what was specified in
our trading licences. They have not courage enough to venture their own
valuable lives to those red marts of trade; if they had, they would
persuade the Indians rather to pay their debts honestly, year by year,
as we trust them in their want, and depend on their promise and
fidelity. The gentlemen, who formerly traded with the Muskohge, told me
that the Georgia-governor, through a like generous principle, forgave
that nation once all the numerous debts they owed the traders. But as
soon as the Indians understood they would not be credited again, under
any circumstances whatsoever, they consented to pay their debts, and
declared the Governor to be a great mad-man, by pretending to forgive
debts contracted for valuable goods, which he never purchased, nor
intended to pay for.

Though the French Louisianians were few, and far dispersed, as well as
surrounded by the savages, yet close application and abilities in their
various appointments, sufficiently made up their lack of numbers. When,
and where, their security seemed to require it, they with a great deal
of art fomented divisions among their turbulent red neighbours, and
endeavoured to keep the balance of power pretty even between them.
Though they had only one garrison in the country of the Muskohge, and
another in that of the Choktah, yet the commanders of those two posts,
managed so well, that they intimidated those two potent nations, by
raising misunderstandings between them, and threatening (when occasion
required) to set the one against the other, with their red legions of
the north, unless ample satisfaction was speedily given by the offending
party, and solemn promises of a strict observance of true friendship for
the time to come. How far our super-intendants, and commissioners of
Indian affairs, have imitated that wise {311} copy, our traders can
feelingly describe: and it will be a happiness, if our three western
colonies have not the like experience, in the space of a few years. We
assure them, that either the plan, or the means, for producing such an
effect, has been pretty well concerted by the authors of that dangerous
and fatal peace between the Muskohge and Choktah. Their own party indeed
will greatly applaud it, and so will the much obliged Spaniards,
especially if they soon enter into a war with Great Britain. It is to be
wished, that those who preach peace and good-will to all the savage
murderers of the British Americans, would do the same as to their
American fellow-subjects,—and not, as some have lately done, cry peace
to the Indians, and seek to plunge the mercenary swords of soldiers into
the breasts of those of our loyal colonists, who are the most powerful
of us, because they oppose the measures of an arbitrary ministry, and
will not be enslaved.

In the year 1766, the Choktah received a considerable blow from the
Muskohge. Their old distinguished war-leader, before spoken of, _Minggo
Humma Echéto_, set off against the Muskohge, with an hundred and sixty
warriors, to cut off by surprise one of their barrier towns: as the
waters were low, a couple of runners brought him a message from the
nation, acquainting him there were two white men on their way to the
Muskohge, and therefore desired him to send them back, lest they should
inform them of the expedition, and by that means, endanger the lives of
the whole. But though he treated these traders kindly at his war camp,
and did not shew the least diffidence of them respecting their secrecy;
and sent this account back by the running messengers to his advisers,
that the English were his friends, and could not be reasonably suspected
of betraying them, if it were only on the situation of their own trading
business, which frequently called them to various places,—yet those
base-minded and perfidious men violated the generous faith reposed in
them, and betrayed the lives of their credulous friends. They set off
with long marches, and as soon as they arrived in the country of the
Muskohge, minutely informed them of the Choktah’s hostile intentions,
and number, and the probable place of attacking the aforesaid camp, to
the best advantage. The news was joyfully received, and, as they had
reason to believe they could surprise the enemy, or take them at a
disadvantage, in some convenient {312} place near their own barriers, a
number of chosen warriors well prepared, set off in order to save their
former credit, by revenging the repeated affronts the Choktah leader had
given them in every engagement. He, in the most insulting manner, had
often challenged their whole nation to meet him and his at any fixt time
of a moon, and place, and fight it out, when the conquerors should be
masters of the conquered—for the Muskohge used to ridicule the Choktah
by saying, they were like wolf-cubs, who would not take the water, but
the thick swamp, as their only place of security against the enemy. It
must here be remembered, that the Indians in general, are guided by
their dreams when they attend their holy ark to war, reckoning them so
many oracles, or divine intimations, designed for their good: by virtue
of those supposed, sacred dictates, they will sometimes return home, by
one, two, or three at a time, without the least censure, and even with
applause, for this their religious conduct. Thus, one hundred and twenty
of these Choktah, after having intimidated themselves apart from the
rest, with visionary notions, left the war-camp and returned home. Our
gallant friend, _Minggo Humma Echeto_, addressed his townsmen on this,
and persuaded them to follow him against the enemy, saying, it was the
part of brave warriors to keep awake, and not dream like old women. He
told them their national credit was at stake for their warlike conduct
under him; and that honour prompted him to proceed against the hateful
enemy, even by himself, though he was certain his townsmen and warlike
relations would not forsake him. Forty of them proceeded, and next day
they were surrounded by an hundred and sixty of the Muskohge, several of
whom were on horseback to prevent their escape. When the Choktah saw
their dangerous situation, and that they had no alternative but a
sudden, or lingering death, they fought as became desperate men,
deprived of hope. While their arrows and ammunition lasted, they killed
and wounded a considerable number of the opposite party: but the enemy
observing their distressed situation, drew up into a narrow circle, and
rushed upon the remaining and helpless few, with their guns, darts,
clubs, and tomohawks, and killed thirty-eight. They were not able to
captivate but two, whom they destined for the fiery torture: but at
night, when the camp was asleep in too great security, one of them
fortunately made his escape out of a pair of wooden stocks. They had
flattered him with the hopes of being redeemed; but he told them he was
{313} too much of a warrior to confide in their false promises. He got
safe home, and related the whole affair.

Formerly, by virtue of the pressing engagement of a prime magistrate of
South-Carolina,[173] I undertook to open a trade with the Choktah, and
reconcile their old-standing enmity with the Chikkasah. I was promised
to be indemnified in all necessary charges attending that attempt. As
the Choktah, by the persuasions of the French, had killed my partner in
the trade, I was desirous of any favourable opportunity of retaliating:
especially, as we were exposed to perpetual dangers and losses, by the
French rewards offered either for our scalps or horses-tails; and as the
French were usually short of goods, while Great Britain was at war with
them, we were liable to most damages from them in time of peace. They
used to keep an alphabetical list of all the names of leading savages,
in the various nations where they ingarrisoned themselves; and they duly
paid them, every year, a certain quantity of goods besides, for all the
damages they did to the Chikkasah, and our traders; which tempted them
constantly to exert their abilities, to the good liking of their
political employers. It happened, however, that one of the French of
Tumbikpe-fort, being guided by Venus instead of Apollo, was detected in
violating the law of marriage with the favourite wife of the warlike
chieftain of Quansheto, _Shulashummashtabe_,[174] who by his several
transcendant qualities, had arrived to the highest pitch of the red
glory. He was well known in Georgia and South-Carolina, by the name of
Red Shoes; as formerly noticed. As there lived in his town, a number of
the Chokchoomah, the senior tribe of the Chikkasah and Choktah, and who
had a free intercourse with each of their countries, we soon had an
account of every material thing that passed there. I therefore resolved
to improve so favourable an opportunity as seemed to present itself, and
accordingly soon privately convened two of the leading men of the
Chikkasah nation, to assist me to execute the plan I had in view. One
was the Archimagus, _Pastabe_, known in our colonies, by the name of
“the Jockey,”—and the other, by that of _Pahemingo-Amalahta_, who was
the only Indian I ever knew to die of a consumption; which he contracted
by various engagements with the enemy when far off at war, contrary to
their general rule of martial purification. The violent exercise of
running a great distance under the violent rays of the sun, and over
sandy, or hilly grounds, would not allow him to {314} inswamp, and he
fired his blood to such a degree, that a few years after this, when on a
visit to our English settlement, he died at Augusta with this ailment.
It is needful to mention those well-known circumstances, as the
following relation of facts, depends in a considerable measure on them.

We three agreed to send some presents to _Red Shoes_, with a formal
speech, desiring him to accept them with a kind heart, and shake hands
with us as became brothers, according to the old beloved speech. Their
own friendly messages, and treaties of peace, are always accompanied
with so many sorts of presents, as their chiefs number. We in a few days
packed up a sufficient quantity, to bury the tomohawk which the French
had thrust into their unwilling hands, and to dry up the tears of the
injured, and set their hearts at ease, for the time to come, by joining
with the English and their old friendly Chikkasah, _Inggona Sekanoopa
toochenase_, “in the triple knot of friendship,” in order to cut off the
dangerous snake’s head, and utterly destroy the power of its forked
tongue. As our real grievances were mutually the same, and numerous, we
gave liberally. Having every thing as well concerted for the embassy, as
such occasions require, my two red friends sent a trusty messenger for a
couple of the foresaid neutral Indians, who had been a few days in the
Chikkasah country, to accompany him late at night to my trading house.
They readily obeyed; and, as the good-natured men and their families,
through friendship to us, must infallibly have been sacrificed to French
policy, if we failed of success, or they were discovered by captives, or
any other means, we used the greatest secresy, and placed a centinel to
keep off all other persons during our private congress. After we had
conversed with them a considerable time, on the necessity of the
proposed attempt, and the certainty of succeeding in it, we opened our
two large budgets, and read over the strong emblematical contents,
according to their idiom, till we gave them a true impression of the
whole. The next day we took care to send them off well pleased: and as
several material circumstances conspired to assure us they would
faithfully discharge the office of trust, which we reposed in them, we
in a short time had the satisfaction to hear by other private runners of
their countrymen, from our brave and generous patron, Red Shoes, that
they were so far from breaking the public faith, that they read to him
every material head of our embassy, and urged it with all their powers.

That red chieftain introduced our friendly embassy, with such secresy
and address to all the head-men he could confide in, that he soon
persuaded most of them in all the neighbouring towns, to join heartily
with him in his laudable plan. The sharpness of his own feelings for the
base injury he had received from the French, and the well-adapted
presents we sent him and his wife and gallant associates, contributed
greatly to give a proper weight to our embassy. Such motives as these
are too often the mainsprings that move the various wheels of
government, even in the christian world. In about a month from the time
we began to treat with Red-Shoes, he sent a considerable body of his
warriors, with presents to me, as the representative of the English
traders, and to my Chikkasah friends, consisting of swans-wings, white
beads, pipes and tobacco; which was a strong confirmation of our treaty
of peace,—and he earnestly requested of me to inform them with that
candour, which should always be observed by honest friends, whether I
could firmly engage that our traders would live, and deal among them, as
we did with the Chikkasah; for a disappointment that way, he said, would
prove fatal, should we entangle them with the French, in resentment of
the many injuries they had long unprovokedly done us. I quieted their
apprehensions on that material point of jealousy, to their entire
satisfaction, and my two Chikkasah friends soon expatiated upon the
subject to him, with a great deal of that life, wit and humour, so
peculiar to the red Americans. We explained and confirmed anew, the
whole contents of our former talk concerning the dangerous French snake;
assuring them, that if they did not soon exert themselves against it, as
became brave free-men, they would still continue not only poor, and
shamefully naked, below the state of other human beings, but be
despised, and abused, in proportion to their mean passive conduct,—their
greatest and most favourite war-chieftains not excepted, as they saw
verified in their chief leader, _Shoolashummashtabe_. But if they
exerted themselves, they would be as happy as our friendly, brave, and
free Chikkasah, whom the French armies, and all their red confederates,
could no way damage but as hidden snakes, on account of their own
valour, and the steady friendship of the English,[175]—who were always
faithful to their friends even to death, as every river and creek
sufficiently testified, all the way from the English settlements to the
Chikkasah country. We mentioned how many were killed at several places,
as they were going in a warlike manner to supply their beloved friends,
without any being ever captivated by the numerous enemy, {316} though
often attacked at a disadvantage—which ought to assure them, that
whenever the English shaked hands with people, their hearts were always
honest. We requested them therefore to think, and act, as our brotherly
Chikkasah, who by strongly holding the chain of friendship between them
and the English, were able in their open fields, to destroy the French
armies, and in the woods bravely to fight, and baffle all the efforts of
their despicable mercenary enemies, though their numbers of fighting men
consisted of few more than one hundred to what the Choktah contained in
old hundreds, or thousands. The French, we added, were liberal indeed;
but to whom, or for what? They gave presents to the head-men, and the
most eloquent speakers of their country, to inslave the rest, but would
not supply them with arms and ammunition, without the price of blood
against our traders and the friendly Chikkasah; that they themselves
were witnesses, a whole town of sprightly promising young men had not
now more than five or six guns; but they would learn to kill as many
deer as the distinguished Chikkasah hunters, if they firmly shook hands
with the English. We convinced them, that the true emblem of the English
was a drest white deer-skin, but that the French dealt with them only in
long scalping knives; that we had a tender feeling, when we heard the
mourning voice of the tender-hearted widow, and only supplied our
friends in their own defence, or in revenge of crying blood; but that
the French delighted in blood, and were always plotting how to destroy
them, and take away their lands, by setting them at war against those
who loved them, and would secure their liberties, without any other view
than as became brothers, who fairly exchanged their goods. We desired
them to view the Chikkasah striplings, how readily their kindly hearts
led them to listen to the friendly speech of their English trading
speaker, because they knew we loved them, and enabled them to appear in
the genteel dress of red people.

At the whoop, they soon appeared, and cheerfully complied with our
various requests, to the great satisfaction of our new Choktah friends.
The Chikkasah head-men told them with pleasure, that they were glad
their own honest eyes had seen the pure effects of love to their English
trader; and that their old people, time out of mind, had taught them so.
Then they humourously enlarged on the unfriendly conduct of the French
in a comparative manner, and persuaded them to keep their eyes open, and
remember {317} well what they had seen and heard, and to tell it to all
their head-men.

We adjusted every thing in the most friendly manner, to the intire
satisfaction of the Choktah. I supplied each of them with arms,
ammunition, and presents in plenty—gave them a French scalping knife
which had been used against us, and even vermilion, to be used in the
flourishing way, with the dangerous French snakes, when they killed and
scalped them. They returned home extremely well pleased, echoed every
thing they had seen and heard; and declared that the Chikkasah, in their
daily dress, far exceeded the best appearance their country-men could
make in the most showy manner, except those whom the French paid to make
their lying mouths strong. They soon went to work—they killed the
strolling French pedlars,—turned out against the Missisippi Indians and
Mobillians, and the flame speedily raged very high. One of the Choktah
women, ran privately to inform a French pedlar of the great danger he
was in, and urged him immediately to make his escape. He soon saddled a
fine strong sprightly horse he chanced to have at hand: just as he
mounted, the dreadful death whoo whoop was sounded in pursuit of him,
with the swift-footed red Asahel, _Shoolashummashtabe_, leading the
chace. Though, from that place, the land-path was mostly level to
Tumpikbe-garrison (about half a day’s march) and though the Chikkasah
and Choktah horses are Spanish barbs,[176] and long winded, like wolves;
yet Red-Shoes, far ahead of the rest, ran him down in about the space of
fifteen miles, and had scalped the unfortunate rider some time before
the rest appeared.

It is surprising to see the long continued speed of the Indians in
general—though some of us have often ran the swiftest of them out of
sight, when on the chase in a collective body, for about the distance of
twelve miles; yet, afterward, without any seeming toil, they would
stretch on, leave us out of sight, and out-wind any horse.[177] When
this retaliating scheme was planned and executing, I was the only
British subject in the Chikkasah country; and as I had many goods on
hand, I staid in the nation, while we sent down our horses to the first
English settlements,—which was full eight hundred miles distant, before
the two Floridas were ceded to us. Seventeen were the broken days,
according to the Indian phrase, when the Choktah engaged to return with
the French scalps, as a full confirmation of their having {318} declared
war against them, and of their ardent desire of always shaking hands
with the English. The power of the French red mercenaries was however so
very great, that Red Shoes could not with safety comply with his
deputy’s promise to me, to send the French snake’s head, in the time
appointed by our sticks hieroglyphically painted, and notched in due
form. The fall time drawing on, obliged me to set off for the
Koosah-town, which is the most western of the Muskohge nation, about
three hundred miles distant. I was accompanied by my two cheerful and
gallant Chikkasah friends, already mentioned, with forty of their chosen
warriors, brave as ever trod the ground, and faithful under the greatest
dangers even to the death.[178] On our way down, escorting the returning
cargo, four Chikkasah, who were passing home through the woods, having
discovered us, and observing in the evening a large camp of 80 French
Choktah in pursuit of us; they returned on our tracks at full speed, to
put us on our guard; but though we were so few, and had many women and
children to protect, besides other incumbrances, yet as the enemy knew
by our method of camping, and marching, we had discovered them, they
durst not attack us.

Another time there was a hunting camp of only seventeen Chikkasah, with
their wives and children, who were attacked by above sixty Choktah; but
they fought them a long time, and so desperately, that they killed and
wounded several, and drove them shamefully off, without any loss. It is
usual for the women to sing the enlivening war song in the time of an
attack; and it inflames the men’s spirits so highly, that they become as
fierce as lions. I never knew an instance of the Indians running off,
though from a numerous enemy, and leaving their women and children to
their barbarous hands.

Soon after we arrived at the upper western town of the Muskohge, which
was called _Ooe-Asah_, and settled by the Chikkasah and Nahchee,[179] a
great company of Red Shoes warriors came up with me, with the French
scalps, and other trophies of war: but because a body of our Muskohge
mercenary traders found their account in dealing with the French at the
Alebahma-fort, they to the great risk of their own country’s welfare,
lodged so many caveats in my way by the mediation {319} of the Muskohge,
that I found it necessary to consent that the scalps should be sent with
the other trophies, in a Muskohge white deer-skin, to the French fort at
the distance of seventy miles, to be buried deep in the ground, instead
of sending them by the Choktah runners, to his excellency the governor
of South-Carolina, who had engaged me to strive to open a trade with
those Indians. These opulent and mercenary white savages being now dead,
I shall not disgrace the page with their worthless names. Soon after we
had reached the Chikkasah country, Red Shoes came to pay us a friendly
visit, accompanied with a great many head-men and warriors, both to be
relieved in their poverty, and to concert the best measures of still
annoying the common enemy. We behaved kindly and free to them, to their
entire satisfaction, and sent considerable presents to many head-men who
staid at home, in confirmation of our strong friendship; acquainting
them of our various plans of operation against the enemy, in defence of
their lives, freedom, and liberty of trade, in which the English and
Chikkasah would faithfully support them. Every thing was delivered to
them according to our intention, and as kindly received. And as all the
Indians are fond of well-timed novelty, especially when they expect to
be gainers by it, the name of the friendly and generous English was now
echoed, from town to town, except in those few which had large pensions
from the French.

In the beginning of the following spring, which was 1747,[180] above
fifty warriors from several towns of the Muskohge, came to the Chikkasah
country, on their way to war against the Aquahpah Indians,[181] on the
western side of the Missisippi, one hundred and fifty miles above the
Nahchee old fields. By our good treatment of them, and well-timed
application, they joined a body of Chikkasah warriors under _Payah
Matahah_, and made a fleet of large cypress-bark-canoes, in which they
embarked under the direction of three red admirals, in long pettiaugers
that had been taken from the French, as they were passing from New
Orleans up to the Illinois. They proceeded down the Missisippi to the
French settlements, and attacked and burned a large village at break of
day, though under the command of a stockade-fort; from which the
Chikkasah leader was wounded with a grapeshot in his side. On this, as
they despaired of his life, according to their universal method in such
a case, they killed most of their unfortunate captives on the western
bank of the Missisippi; and enraged with {320} fury, they overspread the
French settlements, to a great distance, like a dreadful whirlwind,
destroying every thing before them, to the astonishment and terror even
of those who were far remote from the skirts of the direful storm. The
French Louisianians were now in a desponding state, as we had beaten
them in their own favourite political element, in which they had too
often been successful even at the British court, after our troops and
navies had scoured them out of the field and the ocean. They had no
reason here to expect any favour of us, as we were only retaliating the
long train of innocent blood of our fellow-subjects they had wantonly
caused to be shed by their red mercenaries, and their fears now became
as great as their danger—but they were needless; for though the Alebahma
French, and many towns of the Muskohge, were in a violent ferment, when
the foresaid warriors returned home, yet by the treacherous mediation of
the above-mentioned traders and their base associates, the breach was
made up. Had they been blest with the least spark of that love for the
good of their country, which the savages and French are, they could have
then persuaded the Indians, to have driven the French from the dangerous
Alebahma; and an alliance with the Chikkasah and Choktah would have
effectually destroyed the dangerous line of circumvallation they
afterwards drew around our valuable colonies. And as the Cheerake, by
their situation, might easily have been induced to join in the
formidable treaty, they with encouragement, would have proved far
superior to all the northern red legions the French were connected with.

At that time I sent to the Governor of South Carolina, a large packet,
relating the true situation of our Indian affairs, directed on his
majesty’s service: but though it contained many things of importance,
(which the French, under such circumstances, would have faithfully
improved) and required immediate dispatch; our Muskohge traders, to
whose care I had sent it by some Chikkasah runners, were so daringly
base as to open it, and destroy what their self-interested views seemed
to require, and delayed the conveyance of the rest a considerable time,
to prevent others from reaping the benefit of the trade before them.
When I went down, I complained of their misconduct, and the Governor
having promised me a public seal, threatened them loudly; but some after
circumstances in trade made him to think it not worth while to put his
threats in execution. When the French were destitute of goods at
Tumbikpe-garrisons, while {321} they were at war with the English, their
policy allowed them to suffer several of our traders to deal with the
Choktah, without any interruption, in order to keep them quiet; but as
soon as they had a proper supply, they excited their treacherous friends
to plunder, and kill our people. They, who had the fortune to get safe
away, made great returns; which induced some to entertain too high
notions of their profits, and so strangers hazarded too much at once.
While the French had possession of Tumbikpe, we, who knew them, used to
send there only small cargoes from the Chikkasah country, to avoid
tempting them too far: but one of our great men was reported to have
persuaded a couple of gentlemen to join in company with his brother
(well known by the name of the Sphynx company)[182] in the Choktah
trade, and to have supplied them very largely. They loaded, and sent off
360 valuable horses, which with all other concomitant charges, in going
to such a far-distant country, swelled it to a high amount. The
traders,[183] who were employed to vend the valuable cargo, gave large
presents to six of the Muskohge leaders, known to be most attached to
the British interest, to escort them, with a body of the Choktah, into
the country. They passed by Alebahma, in the usual parade of the
Indian-traders, to the terror of the people in the fort. They proceeded
as far as a powerful body of our Choktah friends had appointed to meet
them, but considerably overstaid the fixed time there, in want of
provisions, as their common safety would not allow them to go a hunting:
by the forcible persuasion of the Muskohge head-men, they unluckily
returned about one hundred and forty miles back on a north-east-course.
But a few days after, a party of Choktah friends came to their late
camp, in order to encourage them to come on without the least dread, as
a numerous party were watching an opportunity to attack the French, and
their own slavish countrymen; and that they would surely engage them
very successfully, while the traders were fording Mobille-river, eight
miles above Tumbikpe-fort, under a powerful escortment of their faithful
friends. So wisely had they laid their plan, though it was disconcerted
by the cautious conduct of the Muskohge head-men: for they are all so
wary and jealous, that when they send any of their people on a distant
errand, they fix the exact time they are to return home; and if they
exceed but one day, they on the second send out a party on
discovery[LVI]. {322}

Footnote LVI:

  I shall here mention an instance of that kind: at this time, a hunting
  camp of the Chikkasah went out to the extent of their winter-limits
  between the Choktah and Muskohge countries: but being desirous of
  enlarging their hunt, they sent off a sprightly young warrior to
  discover certain lands they were unacquainted with, which they pointed
  to by the course of the sun, lying at the distance of about thirty
  miles. Near that place, he came up with a camp of Choktah, who seemed
  to treat him kindly, giving him venison and parched corn to eat: but
  while he was eating what some of the women had laid before him, one of
  the Choktah creeped behind him, and sunk his tomohawk into his head.
  His associates helped him to carry away the victim, and they hid it in
  a hollow tree, at a considerable distance from their camp; after which
  they speedily removed. When the time for his return was elapsed, the
  Chikkasah, next day, made a place of security for their women and
  children, under the protection of a few warriors; and the morning
  following, painted themselves red and black, and went in quest of
  their kinsman. Though they were strangers to the place, any farther
  than by their indications to him before he set off, yet so swift and
  skilful woods-men were they, that at twelve o’clock that day, they
  came to the Choktah camping place, where, after a narrow search, they
  discovered the trace of blood on a fallen tree, and a few drops of
  fresh blood on the leaves of trees, in the course they had dragged the
  corpse; these directed them to the wooden urn, wherein the remains of
  their kinsman were inclosed. They said, as they were men and warriors,
  it belonged to the female relations to weep for the dead, and to them
  to revenge it. They soon concluded to carry off the corpse, to the
  opposite side of a neighboring swamp, and then to pursue. Having
  deposited the body out of the reach of beasts of prey, they set off in
  pursuit of the Choktah: they came up with them before day-light,
  surrounded their camp, attacked them, killed one, and wounded several,
  whooping aloud, “that they were Chikkasah, who never first loosed the
  friend-knot between them and others, nor failed in revenging blood;
  but ye are roguish Choktah; you know you are likewise cowards; and
  that you are worse than wolves, for they kill, only that they may eat,
  but you give your friends something to eat, that you may kill them
  with safety.” They told them, as they had left their gallant relation
  unscalped in a tree, they left their cowardly one in like manner,
  along-side of another tree. They put up the death whoo whoop,
  returned, scaffolded their dead kinsman, and joined their own camp
  without any interruption. The reader will be able to form a proper
  judgment of the temper and abilities of the Indian savages, from these

Our Choktah traders having been thus induced to return to the Muskohge
country, proceeded soon afterwards seventy miles on almost a northern
course, and from thence to the Chikkasah about west by north—300 miles
of very mountainous land, till within forty miles of that extensive and
fertile country—afterward, on a southern direction to the Choktah, 160
miles. This was a very oblique course, somewhat resembling the letter G
reverted, its tail from Charles-town, consisting of 720 miles, and the
head of 530, in all 1250 miles—a great distance to travel through woods,
with loaded horses, where they shifted as they could, when the day’s
march was over; and through the varying seasons of the year. These
traders were charged with great neglect, in being so long {323} before
they reached the Choktah country; this was to invalidate the pretensions
of two other gentlemen, towards obtaining bills of exchange on the
government, according to the strong promises they had, for any losses
they might sustain in their Choktah cargo of goods, &c. Notwithstanding
the former were utter strangers to the Chikkasah and Choktah, and in
justice could only expect the common privilege of British subjects, yet
his Excellency bestowed on them a large piece of written sheep-skin,
bearing the impression of the threatening lion and unicorn, to frighten
every other trader from dealing with the Choktah, at their peril. The
Chikkasah traders were much terrified at the unusual sight of the
enlivened pictures of such voracious animals. My situation caused me
then to be silent, on that strange point; but when the chief of them,
who carried those bees-wax-pictures, came to my trading house, chiefly
to inlarge on the dreadful power of those fierce creatures,—I told him,
as they answered the design, in making so many trembling believers,
among the Indians, I did not imagine him so weak as to attempt to impose
his scare-crows upon me; but that, as his Excellency had dipped me too
deep in a dangerous and very expensive affair, and had done me the
honour to send for me to Charles-town on his majesty’s service, at the
very time I could have secured them in the esteem of the fickle Choktah,
I should not by any means oppose their aim of grasping the whole Choktah
trade, be their plan ever so unwise and unfair. The letter the gentleman
delivered to me was dated April 22, Anno 1747, in which his excellency
acknowledged, in very obliging terms, that I had been very serviceable
to the government, by my management among the Choktah, and might be
assured of his countenance and friendship. As the rest of it concerned
myself in other matters, and contained some things of the measures of
government relating to the point in view, it may be right not to publish
it: but it is among the public records in Charles-town, and may be seen
in the secretary’s office. The traders, after this interview, set off
for the Choktah; and I in a few days to South Carolina.

Soon after I arrived at Charles-town, I could not but highly resent the
governor’s ungenerous treatment of, and injustice to me, in sending for
me to the neglect of my trade, only to carry on his unparalleled
favourite scheme,—and I soon set off for the Chikkasah, without taking
the least formal leave of his Excellency. By some means, he soon knew of
my departure, {324} and persuaded G. G——n, Esq;[184] (one of the two
friends in South-Carolina, who only could influence me against my own
liking) to follow till he overtook me, and urge me to return, and
accompany me to his Excellency’s house. At his earnest sollicitations,
the gentleman complied, came up with me, and prevailed on me to go back
according to request. I had plenty of courtly excuses for my complaints
and grievances, and in the hearing of my friend was earnestly pressed to
forget and forgive all that was past; with solemn promises of full
redress, according to his former engagement of drawing bills of exchange
in my favour, on the government, if South-Carolina had not honour enough
to repay me what I had expended in opening a trade with the numerous
Choktah—besides gratuities for hardships, hazards, &c.

I wish I could here also celebrate his sincerity and faithfulness on
this occasion—As I could not well suspect a breach of public faith,
after it had been pledged in so solemn a manner, he had not much
difficulty in detaining me on sundry pretexts, till the expected great
Choktah crop of deer-skins and beaver must have been gathered, before I
could possibly return to the Chikkasah country, and from thence proceed
to rival the Sphynx-company. Under those circumstances, I was detained
so late in November, that the snow fell upon me at Edisto, the first
day, in company with Captain W——d,[185] an old trader of the Okwhuske,
who was going to Savanah. In the severity of winter, frost, snow, hail,
and heavy rains succeed each other, in these climes, so that I partly
rode, and partly swam to the Chikkasah country; for not expecting to
stay long below, I took no leathern canoe. Many of the broad deep
creeks, that were almost dry when I went down, had now far overflowed
their banks, ran at a rapid rate, and were unpassable to any but
desperate people: when I got within forty miles of the Chikkasah, the
rivers and swamps were dreadful, by rafts of timber driving down the
former, and the great fallen trees floating in the latter, for near a
mile in length. Being forced to wade deep through cane-swamps or woody
thickets, it proved very troublesome to keep my fire arms dry, on which,
as a second means, my life depended; for, by the high rewards of the
French, some enemies were always rambling about in search of us. On the
eastern side of one of the rivers, in taking a sweep early in a wet
morning, in quest of my horses, I discovered smoke on a small piece of
rising ground in a swamp, pretty near the edge; I {325} moved nearer
from tree to tree, till I discovered them to be Choktah creeping over
the fire. I withdrew without being discovered, or the least apprehension
of danger, as at the worst, I could have immediately inswamped, secured
a retreat with my trusty fire-arms, and taken through the river and the
broad swamp, which then resembled a mixt ocean of wood and water. I soon
observed the tracks of my horses, found them, and set off. At the
distance of an hundred yards from the river, there was a large and deep
lagoon, in the form of a semi-circle. As soon as I swam this, and got on
the bank, I drank a good draught of rum:—in the middle of the river, I
was forced to throw away one of my belt-pistols, and a long French
scalping knife I had found, where the Choktah killed two of our traders.
When I got on the opposite shore, I renewed my draught, put my fire-arms
in order, and set up the war-whoop. I had often the like scenes, till I
got to the Chikkasah country, which was also all afloat. The people had
been saying, a little before I got home, that should I chance to be on
the path, it would be near fifty days before I could pass the
neighbouring deep swamps; for, on account of the levelness of the land,
the waters contiguous to the Chikkasah, are usually in winter so long in
emptying, before the swamps become passable. As I had the misfortune to
lose my tomohawk, and wet all the punk in my shot-pouch by swimming the
waters, I could not strike fire for the space of three days, and it
rained extremely hard, during that time. By being thoroughly wet so
long, in the cold month of December, and nipped with the frost, seven
months elapsed before I had the proper use of the fingers of my
right-hand. On that long and dangerous war-path, I was exposed to many
dangers, and yet so extricated myself, that it would appear like
Quixotism to enumerate them.

I often repented of trusting to the governor’s promises, and so have
many others. The Cheerake, _Attah Kullah Kullah_, whose name is the
superlative of a skilful cutter of wood, called by us, “The Little
Carpenter,” had equal honour with me of receiving from his Excellency a
considerable number of letters, which he said were not agreeable to the
old beloved speech. He kept them regularly piled in a bundle, according
to the time he received them, and often shewed them to the traders, in
order to expose their fine promising contents. The first, he used to
say, contained a little {326} truth, and he excused the failure of the
greater part of it, as he imagined much business might have perplexed
him, so as to occasion him to forget complying with his strong promise.
“But count, said he, the lying black marks of this one:” and he
descanted minutely on every circumstance of it. His patience being
exhausted, he added, “they were an heap of black broad papers, and ought
to be burnt in the old years fire.”

Near the Muskohge country, on my way to the Chikkasah, I met my old
friends, _Pa Yah-Matahah_, the Chikkasah head war-chieftain, and _Minggo
Pushkoosh_, the great Red-Shoes’ brother, journeying to Charles-town,
with one of the beaus of the Sphynx-company, to relate the loss of the
most part of that great cargo they so unwisely carried at once, and to
solicit for a further supply. Those traders, one excepted, were very
indiscreet, proud and stubborn. They strove who could out-dress, or most
vilify the other even before the Indians, who were surprised, as they
never heard the French to degrade one another. The haughty plan they
laid, against the repeated persuasions of the other, was the cause of
all their losses—they first lost the affection of the free, and equally
proud Choktah; for they fixed as an invariable rule, to keep them at a
proper distance, as they termed it; whereas I, according to the
frequent, sharp, upbraiding language of the familiar savages to them,
sat and smoked with the head-men on bear-skins, set the young people to
their various diversions, and then viewed them with pleasure.

Notwithstanding the bad treatment I had received; as I was apprehensive
of the difficulties they would necessarily be exposed to, on account of
their ignorance and haughtiness, I wrote to them, by a few Chikkasah
warriors, truly informing them of the temper of the Indians, and the
difficulties they would probably be exposed to, from the policy of the
French at Tumbikpe; and that though I had purposed to set off for
South-Carolina, I would postpone going so soon, if they were of my
opinion, that Mr. J. C——l[186] (who joined with me in the letter) and I
could be of any service to their mercantile affairs. They received our
well-intended epistle, and were so polite as to order their black
interpretress to bid our red couriers tell us, they thanked us for our
friendly offer, but did not stand in need of our assistance. They walked
according to the weak crooked rule they had received below, and fared
accordingly: for the dis$2 $1 ged savages took most part of the tempting
cargo. At this time, the French had only two towns and a half in their
interest, and they were so wavering, that they could not rely on their
friendship, much less on their ability of resisting the combined power
of the rest of the nation; and they were on the very point of removing
that useful and commanding garrison Tumbikpe, and settling one on
another eastern-branch of the river, called Potagahatche, in order to
decoy many of the Choktah to settle there by degrees, and intercept the
English traders, on their way up from our settlements. This was as wise
a plan as could possibly have been concerted, under the difficult
circumstances they laboured at that time. But the unjust and unwise
measures of the governor of South-Carolina, in sending his favourite
traders with a scarecrow of bees-wax, to keep off others who were more
intelligent, gave the desponding French a favourable opportunity to
exert their powers, and regain the lost affections of a considerable
number of our red allies; for none of our traders had now any goods in
the Choktah country, nor were likely soon to carry any there.

Mr. C——l, the trader I just mentioned, was of a long standing among the
Chikkasah, and indefatigable in serving his country, without regarding
those dangers that would chill the blood of a great many others; and he
was perfect master of the Indian language. About a year after this
period, he went to Red Shoes’ town, and in a summer’s night, when he was
chatting with our great English friend along-side of his Chikkasah wife,
a party of the corrupt savages, that had been sent by the French, shot
him through the shoulder, and her dead on the spot. Red Shoes afterwards
fared the same fate, by one of his own countrymen, for the sake of a
French reward, while he was escorting the foresaid gallant trader, and
others, from the Chikkasah to his own country. He had the misfortune to
be taken very sick on the path, and to lye apart from the camp,
according to their usual custom: a Judas, tempted by the high reward of
the French for killing him, officiously pretended to take great care of
him. While Red Shoes kept his face toward him, the barbarian had such
feelings of awe and pity, that he had not power to perpetrate his wicked
design; but when he turned his back, then he gave the fatal shot. In a
moment the wretch ran off, and though the whole camp were out in an
instant, to a considerable breadth, he evaded their pursuit, by darting
himself like a snake, into a deep crevice of the {328} earth. The old
trader, who was shot through the shoulder, going two years after the
death of this our brave red friend, unfortunately a quarter of a mile
into the woods, from the spacious clearing of the Chikkasah country,
while all the men were on their winter hunt, and having only a tomohawk
in his hand, the cowardly French Indians attacked him by surprise, shot
him dead, and carried his scalp to Tumbikpe-fort: another white man
unarmed, but out of the circle they had suddenly formed, ran for his
fire-arms; but he and the traders came too late to overtake the
blood-hounds. In this manner, fell those two valuable brave men, by
hands that would have trembled to attack them on an equality.

The French having drawn off some towns from the national confederacy,
and corrupted them, they began to shew themselves in their proper
colours, and publicly offered rewards for our scalps. Of this I was soon
informed by two Choktah runners, and in a few days time, I sent them
back well pleased. I desired them to inform their head-men, that about
the time those days I had marked down to them, were elapsed, I would be
in their towns with a cargo, and dispose of it in the way of the French,
as they were so earnest in stealing the English people. I charged them
with a long relation of every thing I thought might be conducive to the
main point in view; which was, the continuance of a fair open trade with
a free people, who by treaty were become _allies_ of Great Britain; not
_subjects_, as our public records often wrongly term them—but people of
one fire. As only merit in war-exploits, and flowing language and
oratory, gives any of them the least preference above the rest, they can
form no other idea of kings and subjects than that of tyrants
domineering over base slaves: of course, their various dialects have no
names for such.

I left the Chikkasah, and arrived in the Choktah country before the
expiration of the broken days, or time we had appointed, with a
considerable cargo. By the intended monopoly of our great beloved man,
in frightening the Chikkasah traders, there were no English goods in the
nation, when I went: and the necessity of the times requiring a liberal
distribution, according to my former message, that alone must have
fallen heavy upon me under the public faith, without any additional
expences. A day before I got there, _Minggo Pushkoosh_, the half-brother
of Red Shoes, was returned home from Charles-town,[187] and by him I had
the honour of receiving {329} a friendly and polite letter from the
governor. His main aim, at this sickened time of Indian trade, was to
recover the value of the goods that had been lost in the Choktah
country. He recommended one of the traders of the Sphynx-company to my
patronage, pressing me to assist him as far as I possibly could, and
likewise to endeavour to storm Tumbikpe-fort, promising at the same
time, to become answerable to me for all my reasonable charges in that
affair. I complied with every tittle of the gentleman’s request, as far
as I could, without charging him for it in the least. As I had then, the
greatest part of my cargo on hand, I lent the other what he stood in
need of, that he might regain what his former pride and folly had
occasioned to be lost. At that time, powder and ball were so very
scarce, that I could have sold to the Choktah, as much as would have
produced fifteen hundred buck-skins, yet the exigency was so pressing, I
gave them the chief part of my ammunition, though as sparingly as I
could—for the French by our pursuit of wrong measures, (already
mentioned) and their own policy, had dipped them into a civil war. As I
had then no call to sacrifice my private interest for the emolument of
the public, without indemnity, so I was not willing to suspect another
breach of public faith. Red Shoes’ brother came up freighted with plenty
of courtly promises, and for his own security he was not backward in
relating them to his brethren; otherwise, they would have killed both
him and me; which would have reconciled them to the French, who a few
days before, had proposed our massacre by a long formal message to them,
as they afterwards informed me. I plainly saw their minds were unfixed,
for their civil war proved very sharp. _Minggo Pushkoosh_ and several
head-men conducted me from town to town, to the crowd of the seven lower
towns, which lie next to New Orleans: but they took proper care to make
our stages short enough, that I might have the honour to converse with
all their beloved men and chief warriors, and have the favour to give
them plenty of presents, in return for so great an obligation. The
Indian headmen deem it a trifle to go hundreds of miles, on such a
gladsome errand; and very few of them are slow in honouring the traders
with a visit, and a long, rapid, poetic speech. They will come several
miles to dispose of a deer-skin.

When I arrived at the thick settlement of these lower towns, I began to
imagine they had opened a communication with their subterranean brethren
of Nanne Yah;[188] I was honoured with the company of a greater number
{330} of red chiefs of war, and old beloved men, than probably ever
appeared in imperial Rome. They in a very friendly manner, tied plenty
of bead-garters round my neck, arms, and legs, and decorated me, _a la
mode America_. I did myself the honour to fit them out with silver
arm-plates, gorgets, wrist-plates, ear-bobs, &c. &c. which they kindly
received, and protested they would never part with them, for the sake of
the giver. However, by all my persuasions, they would not undertake to
storm Tumbikpe-fort, though I offered to accompany them, and put them in
a sure way of carrying it. They told me I was mad, for the roaring of
the cannon was as dreadful as the sharpest thunder, and that the French
with one of their great balls would tear me in pieces, as soon as I
appeared in view.

While they declined a French war, their own civil war became bitter
beyond expression. They frequently engaged, one party against the other,
in the open fields: when our friends had fired away all their
ammunition, they took to their hiccory-bows and barbed arrows, and
rushed on the opposite party, with their bare tomohawks, like the most
desperate veterans, regardless of life. They did not seem to regard
dying so much, as the genteel appearance they made when they took the
open field, on purpose to kill or be killed. They used to tell the
English traders they were going on such a day to fight, or die for them,
and earnestly importuned them for a Stroud blanket, or white shirt
a-piece, that they might make a genteel appearance in English cloth,
when they died. It was not safe to refuse them, their minds were so
distracted by the desperate situation of their affairs; for as they were
very scarce of ammunition, the French wisely headed their friend-party,
with small cannon, battered down the others stockaded-forts, and in the
end reduced them to the necessity of a coalition. These evils were
occasioned merely by the avarice and madness of those I have stiled the

At this dangerous time, the small-pox also was by some unknown means
conveyed into the Choktah country, from below: and it depopulated them
as much as the civil war had done. The Choktah who escorted me into the
Chikkasah nation, were infected with that malady in the woods, and soon
spread it among others; these, a little time after, among the Muskohge,
who were in company with me, on our way to Charles-town. I unluckily had
{331} the honour to receive from the Governor, another polite letter,
dated September 17th, anno 1749, citing me, under the great seal of the
province, to come down with a party of Indians, as I had given his
excellency notice of their desire of paying a friendly visit to South
Carolina. And having purchased and redeemed three French captives which
the Chikkasah had taken in war, under their leader _Pa-Yah-Matahah_, I
now bestowed them on him, to enable him to make a flourishing entrance
into Charles-town, after the manner of their American triumphs. He was
very kind to them, though their manners were as savage as his own:
excepting a few beads they used to count, with a small silver cross
fastened to the top of them, they had nothing to distinguish them, and
were ignorant of every point of Christianity. I set off with above
twenty warriors, and a few women, along with the aforesaid war-leader,
for Charles-town. As the French kept a watchful eye on my conduct, and
the commanding officers of Tumbikpe garrison in the Choktah, and the
Alebahma in the Muskohge country kept a continual communication with
each other, the former equipped a party of their Choktah to retake the
French captives by force, if we did not previously deliver them to a
French party of the Muskohge, who were sent by the latter as in the name
of the whole nation, though falsely, to terrify us into a compliance. We
had to pass through the Muskohge country in our way to the British
settlements; and though the French were at a great distance, yet they
planned their schemes with consummate wisdom: for the two companies met
at the time appointed, from two opposite courses of about a hundred and
fifty miles apart, on the most difficult pass from Charles-town to the
Missisippi, where the path ran through a swamp of ten miles, between
high mountains; which were impassable in any other place for a great
distance, on either side. Here, the Muskohge left the Choktah company,
and met us within half-a-day’s march of their advantageous camping
place. The foremost of our party had almost fired on those Muskohge who
were a-head of the rest; but, as soon as they saw their white emblems of
peace, they forebore, and we joined company. As soon as I heard them
tell their errand, I sent out three warriors to reconnoitre the place,
lest we should unawares be surrounded by another party of them; but
there was no ambuscade. The Muskohge leader was called by the traders,
“the Lieutenant,” and had been a steady friend to their interest, till
by our usual mismanagement in Indian affairs, he became {332} entirely
devoted to the French; his behaviour was confident, and his address

The red ambassador spoke much of the kindly disposition of the French to
such of his countrymen as were poor, and of their generous protection to
the whole; contrasted with the ambitious views of the English, who were
not content with their deer-skins and beaver, but coveted their lands.
He said, “the Muskohge were sorry and surprised that their old friends
the Chikkasah, in concert with a mad Englishman, should seduce their
warriors to join with them to spill the blood of their French beloved
friends, when they were by national consent, only to revenge crying
blood against the Aquahpah; and that the former would be ashamed to
allow the latter to carry those captives, who were their friends,
through their nation to Charles-town. But, said he, as the Muskohge are
desirous always to shake hands with the Chikkasah, the head-men have
sent me in their name, to request you _Pa-Yah-Matahah_[190] and other
beloved warriors, to deliver to me those unfortunate prisoners, as a
full proof you are desirous of tying fast the old friend-knot, which you
have loosed in some measure.” In this manner, the red ambassador of the
dangerous Alebahma French captain flourished away and waited for a
favourable answer, according to the confident hopes his employer had
taught him to entertain, by the strong motive of self-interest.

But though the daring Chikkasah leader, and each of us, according to
custom were silent, during the recital of the disagreeable harangue,
only by stern-speaking countenances, _Pa-Yah-Matahah_ replied, “O you
Muskohge corrupted chieftain, who are degenerated so low as to become a
strong-mouthed friend of the French, whose tongues are known of a long
time, to be forked like those of the dangerous snakes; your speech has
run through my ears, like the noise of a threatening high wind, which
attacks the traveller as soon as he climbs to the top of a rugged steep
mountain: though as he came along, the air was scarcely favourable
enough for him to breathe in. You speak highly in praise of the French;
and so do the baser sort of the Choktah, because every year they receive
presents to make their lying mouths strong. That empty sounding kettle,
fastened at the top of your bundle along side of you, I know to be
French, and a true picture both of their messages, and methods of
sending them. The {333} other things it contains, I guess, are of the
same forked-tongued family; for if your speech had come from your own
heart, it must have been straighter. What can be more crooked than it
now is? Though I have no occasion to make any reply to your unjust
complaints against the English people, as their chieftain, my friend,
has his ears open, and can easily confute all you said against his
people and himself; yet to prevent any needless delay on our day’s
march, I shall give as full an answer to your speech, as the short time
we can stay here will allow. Since the time the English first shaked
hands with you, have not they always held you fast by the arm, close to
their heart, contrary to the good liking of your favourite French? And
had they not helped you with a constant supply of every thing you stood
in need of, in what manner could you have lived at home? Besides, how
could you have secured your land from being spoiled by the many friendly
red people of the French, issuing from the cold north? Only for their
brotherly help, the artful and covetous French, by the weight of
presents and the skill of their forked tongues, would before now, have
set you to war against each other, in the very same manner they have
done by the Choktah; and when by long and sharp struggles, you had
greatly weakened yourselves, they by the assistance of their northern
red friends, would have served you in the very same manner, their lying
mouths, from their own guilty hearts, have taught you so unjustly and
shamefully to repeat of the English. You have openly acknowledged your
base ingratitude to your best and old steady friends, who, I believe,
could damage you as much as they have befriended you, if you provoke
them to it. Allowing the speech you have uttered with your mouth to be
true, that you are sent by all the red chieftains of your Muskohge
people, were your hearts so weak as to imagine it could any way frighten
the Chikkasah? Ye well know, the ugly yellow French have proved most
bitter enemies to us, ever since we disappointed them in their spiteful
design of inslaving and murdering our poor, defenceless, and inoffensive
red brethren, the Nahchee, on the banks of the Meshesheepe water-path.
Ye may love them, if it seems good to your hearts; your example that way
shall have no weight with us. We are born and bred in a state of war
with them: and though we have lost the greater part of our people,
chiefly through the mean spirit of their red hirelings, who were
continually stealing our people for the sake of a reward; yet they
feelingly know we beat them, and their employers, in every public
engagement. We are the same people, and we shall certainly live and die,
in {334} such a manner as not to sully the ancient character of our
warlike fore-fathers. As the French constantly employed their red people
in acts of enmity against our English traders, as well as us,—my beloved
friend, standing there before you, complained of it to the
_Goweno-Minggo_ in Charles-town, (the Governor of South-Carolina) and he
gave him _Hoolbo Hooreso Paraska Orehtoopa_, (their method of expressing
our provincial seal, for _hoolbo_ signifies a picture, _hooreso_ marked,
or painted, _paraska_ made bread of, and _oretoopa_ beloved, or of high
note or power,) I and my warriors gladly shaked hands with his speech;
and so did those of your own country, who assured us, they always
scorned to be servants to the crafty lying French. At their own desire,
our old beloved men crowned them warriors, in the most public and solemn
manner. They were free either to shut or open their ears to the English
beloved speech. And why should we not be as free to go to war against
our old enemies, as you are against yours? We are your friends by
treaty; but we scorn a mean compliance to any demand, that would cast a
disgrace on our national character. You have no right to demand of me
those ugly French prisoners. We took them in war, at the risque of
blood: and at home in our national council, we firmly agreed not to part
with any of them, in a tame manner, till we got to Charles-town. If the
Muskohge are as desirous as we to continue to hold each other firmly by
the hand, we shall never loose the friend-knot: we believe such a tie is
equally profitable to each of us, and hope to continue it, to the latest

When the French ambassador found he must fail in his chief aim, he with
a very submissive tone, requested the Chikkasah war-leader to give him a
token, whereby he might get the other captives who were left at home:
but as they usually deny with modesty, he told him, he could not advise
him to take the trouble to go there, as he believed the head-men had
kept them behind on purpose that they should be burnt at the stake, if
any mischance befell him and his warriors, before they returned home, on
account of his French prisoners. Finding that his threats and entreaties
both proved ineffectual, he was obliged to acquiesce. Soon after, we set
off, and he and his chagrined mercenaries quietly took up their
travelling bundles, and followed us.

On that day’s march, a little before we entered the long swamp, all our
Chikkasah friends staid behind, killing and cutting up buffalo: {335} By
this means, I was a considerable way before the pack-horses, when we
entered into that winding and difficult pass, which was a continued
thicket. After riding about a mile, I discovered the fresh tracks of
three Indians. I went back, put the white people on their guard, gave my
horse and sword to a corpulent member of the Sphynx-company, and set off
a-head, shunning the path in such places where the savages were most
likely to post themselves. Now and then I put up the whoop on different
sides of the path, both to secure myself and intimidate the opposite
scout-party; otherwise, I might have paid dear for it, as I saw from a
rising point, the canes where they were passing, to shake. I became more
cautious, and they more fearful of being inclosed by our party. They ran
off to their camp, and speedily from thence up the craggy rocks, as
their tracks testified. Their lurking place was as artfully chosen, as a
wolf could have fixed on his den. When our friendly Indians came to our
camp, it was too late to give chase: they only viewed their tracks. At
night, the Chikkasah war-leader gave out a very enlivening war speech,
well adapted to the circumstances of time and place, and each of us lay
in the woodland-form of a war-camp. As we were on our guard, the enemy
did not think it consistent with their safety to attack us—ambuscading
is their favourite plan of operation. The next day by agreement, the
Indians led the van, and I brought up the rear with the French
prisoners. A short way from our camp, there were steep rocks, very
difficult for loaded horses to rear and ascend. Most of them had the
good fortune to get safe up, but some which I escorted, tumbled
backwards; this detained us so long, that the van gained near three
miles upon us. I posted myself on the top of one of the rocks, as a
centinel to prevent our being surprised by the Choktah, and discovered
them crawling on the ground behind trees, a considerable way off, on the
side of a steep mountain, opposite to us. I immediately put up the war
whoop, and told a young man with me the occasion of it; but he being
fatigued and vexed with his sharp exercise, on account of the horses,
only cursed them, and said, we were warriors, and would fight them, if
they durst come near enough. As I was cool, I helped and hastened him
off: in the mean while, I cautioned the captives against attempting to
fly to the enemy in case they attacked us, as their lives should
certainly pay for it—and they promised they would not. We at last set
off, and met with no interruption: the enemy having a sharp {336} dread
of our party ahead, who would have soon ran back to our assistance, had
they attacked us—About an hour after our company, we got to camp. The
Choktah at night came down from the mountains, and creeped after us. Our
camp was pitched on very convenient ground, and as they could not
surprise us, they only viewed at a proper distance, and retired. But
they used an artful stratagem, to draw some of us into their treacherous
snares; for they stole one of the bell horses, and led it away to a
place near their den, which was about a mile below us, in a thicket of
reeds, where the creek formed a semi-circle. This horse was a favourite
with the gallant and active young man I had escorted the day before to

As he was of a chearful and happy temper, the people were much surprised
to find him at night peevish and querulous, contrary to every part of
his past conduct; and though he delighted in arms, and carried them
constantly when he went from camp, yet he went out without any this
night, though I pressed him to take them. In less than an hour, he
returned safe, but confused and dejected. When he sat down, he drooped
his head on his hands, which were placed on his knees, and said, the
enemy were lurking, and that we should soon be attacked, and some of us
killed. As I pitied the state of his mind, I only told him, that
yesterday, he and I knew the French savages were watching to take an
advantage of us; but for his satisfaction I would take a sweep, on foot,
while the Chikkasah painted themselves, according to their war-custom
when they expect to engage an enemy. I went out with my gun, pouch, and
belt-pistols, and within two-hundred yards of the camp, discovered the
enemies tracks; they had passed over a boggy place of the creek, upon an
old hurricane-tree. I proceeded with the utmost caution, posting myself
now and then behind large trees, and looking out sharply lest I should
fall into an ambuscade, which the Choktah are cunning artists in
forming. In this manner I marched for three quarters of an hour, and
then took to high ground, a little above the enemies camp, in order to
return for help to attack them. But the aforesaid brave youth, led on by
his ill genius, at this time mounted a fiery horse, which soon ran into
the ambuscade, where they shot him with a bullet in his breast, and
another entered a little below the heart. The horse wheeled round in an
instant, and sprung off, but in pitching over a large fallen tree, the
unfortunate rider, by reason of his mortal wounds, {337} fell off, a
victim to the barbarians. One of them soon struck a tomohawk into his
head, just between his eyes, and jerked off a piece of scalp about the
bigness of a dollar—they took also his Indian breeches, and an
handkerchief he had on his head, and immediately flew through a thicket
of briars, to secure their retreat. When they fired their two guns, I
immediately gave the shrill war-whoop, which was resounded by one of the
Chikkasah that had been out a hunting from the camp. They instantly set
off full speed, naked, except their Indian breeches and moccasenes. I
put myself in the same flying trim, on the enemies firing; we soon came
to the tragical spot, but without stopping, we took their tracks, gave
chase, and continued it a great way: unluckily, as we were running down
a steep hill, they discovered us from the top of another, and soon
dispersed themselves; by which means, not being able to discover one
track of those foxes on the hard hilly ground, we were obliged to give
over the chace, and returned to camp. We buried our friend, by fixing in
a regular manner a large pile of great logs for the corpse, with big
tough sapplings bent over it, and on each side, thrust deep into the
ground, to secure it from the wild beasts. Though the whole camp at
first imagined the enemy had killed me and captivated the other, yet the
warriors did not shew the least emotion of gladness, nor even my
favourite friend, the war-leader, when they first saw me safe: but the
women received me with tears of joy. I mention this to shew the force of
education and habit—those who are used to scenes of war and blood,
become obdurate and are lost to all the tender feelings of nature; while
they, whose employment it is to mourn for their dead, are susceptible of
the tender impressions they were originally endued with by Deity.

As the French frequently had been great sufferers by the Chikkasah, ever
since the year 1730, necessity obliged them to bear their losses with
patience, till they could get them revenged by the friendly hands of
their red mercenaries. As soon as they had ingratiated themselves into
the affections of all those Indians who were incorporated among the
Muskohge, and had settled them near the Alebahma-garrison; and other
towns, besides headmen, in sundry parts of the nation, being devoted to
their service, they imagined they had now interest enough to get several
of those warriors killed, who had joined the Chikkasah against their
people over the Missisippi. But the old head-men of the Muskohge
convened together, {338} and agreed to send a peremptory message to the
French, ordering them, forthwith, to desist from their bloody politics,
otherwise the river should carry their blood down to Mobille, and tell
that garrison, their own treachery was the sole occasion of it, by
mischievously endeavouring to foment a civil war between them, as they
boasted they had done among the foolish Choktah. With much regret they
laid aside their scheme, and were forced openly to wipe away the memory
of every thing which had before given them offence; and to include all
indiscriminately in the treaty of friendship, as all had only one fire.
This proved a mortifying stroke to the French on sundry accounts: and
during the continuance of this distracted scene, if any British governor
of capacity and public spirit, had properly exerted himself, they must
have withdrawn to Mobille, without any possibility of ever returning.
For the enmity would soon have advanced to a most implacable hatred, as
in the case of the Chikkasah and French: but such a conduct was
incompatible with the private views of some among us.

As the small-pox broke out in our camp, when we got nigh to the Muskohge
country, and detained the Indians there till they recovered, I set off
without them for Charles-town. By the benefit of the air, and their
drinking a strong decoction of hot roots, they all recovered. A Choktah
warrior of Yahshoo-town, humorously told me afterwards, that _ookka
hoomeh_, “the bitter waters,” meaning spirituous liquors, cured some
people, while it killed others. He, by the advice of one of the English
traders, administered it in pretty good doses to seven of his children
in the small-pox, which kept out the corrupt humour, and in a short time
perfectly cured each of them, he said, without the least appearance of
any dangerous symptoms; whereas the disorder proved very mortal to the
young people in the neighbourhood, who pursued a different course of
physic. As most of the Indian traders are devotees of Bacchus, their
materia medica consists of spirituous liquors, compounded with strong
herbs and roots, of which they commonly have a good knowledge: and I
have observed those who have left off the trade, and reside in the
British settlements, to give their negroes for an anti-venereal, a large
dose of old Jamaica and qualified mercury mixt together,—which, they
say, the blacks cheerfully drink, without making a wry face, contrary to
their usage {339} with every other kind of physic; and it is affirmed,
that by this prescription, they soon get well.

The small pox with which the upper towns of the Muskohge were infected,
was of the confluent sort, and it would have greatly depopulated them,
if the officious advice of some among us, of all the other towns to cut
off every kind of communication with them, on the penalty of death to
any delinquent, had not been given and pursued. They accordingly posted
centinels at proper places, with strict orders to kill such, as the most
dangerous of all enemies: and these cautious measures produced the
desired effect. And by the mean mediation of several of our principal
traders, joined with the interest of their red friends, the commandant
of the Alebahma fort, prevailed at last on the Chikkasah chieftain to
take the three French prisoners to him, as he would pay him to his own
satisfaction, give him presents, and drink with him as a friend, who had
buried the bloody tomohawk deep in the ground. They were delivered up;
and by that means the French were enabled to discourage those Muskohge
warriors, who had joined the Chikkasah in the aforesaid acts of
hostility against the Missisippi inhabitants. In about the space of
three months from the time the Chikkasah left their own country with me,
they arrived at the late New-Windsor garrison, the western barrier of
South-Carolina, and beautifully situated on a high commanding bank of
the pleasant meandering Savanah river; so termed on account of the
Shawano Indians having formerly lived there, till by our foolish
measures, they were forced to withdraw northward in defence of their

At the request of the governor and council I rode there, to accompany
our Chikkasah friends to Charles-town, where, I believe, on my account,
they met with a very cold reception: for as something I wrote to the two
gentlemen who fitted out, and sustained the loss of the Sphynx-company,
had been inserted in the “modest reply to his Excellency the Governor,”
formerly mentioned, in order to obtain bills of exchange on Great
Britain, I was now become the great object of his displeasure, and of a
certain sett, who are known to patronise any persons if they chance to
be born in the same corner of the world with themselves. The Chikkasah
had a very ungracious audience: On account {340} of the excessive
modesty of this warlike people, their chieftain gave out a short
oration, without hinting in the most distant manner, at any difficulties
they underwent, by reason of their strong attachment to the British
Americans,—concluding, that as the English beloved men were endowed with
a surprising gift of expressing a great deal in few words, long speeches
would be troublesome to them. He intended to have spoken afterwards of
the Choktah affairs, and that I was a great sufferer by them, without
any just retribution, and accordingly was very desirous of a second
public interview; but our cunning beloved man artfully declined it,
though they staid as late as the middle of April. It was a custom with
the colony of South-Carolina towards those Indians who came on a
friendly visit, to allow them now and then a tolerable quantity of
spirituous liquors, to cheer their hearts, after their long journey;
but, if I am not mistaken, those I accompanied, had not a drop, except
at my cost. And when the Governor gave them, at the entrance of the
council-chamber, some trifling presents, he hurried them off with such
an air as vexed them to the heart; which was aggravated by his earnestly
pointing at a noted war-leader, and myself, with an angry countenance,
swearing that Indian had been lately down from Savanah, and received
presents. They had so much spirit that they would not on any account
have accepted his presents, but for my persuasions. As for myself, I
could not forbear saying, honour compelled me as solemnly to declare
that his assertion was not true, and that I had often given more to the
Choktah at one time, than he had ever given to the Chikkasah, in order
to rivet their enmity against the French of Louisiana, and thereby open
a lasting trade with them, from which I was unfairly excluded, on
account of a friendly monopoly, granted by him for a certain end to mere
strangers. My words seemed to lie pretty sharp upon him, and I suppose
contributed not a little to the uncourtly leave he took of our gallant,
and faithful old friends. Soon after, at the request of the Governor and
council however, I accompanied them the first day’s march, on their way
home from Charles-town: they had no public order of credit for their
needful travelling charges, though I sollicited his Excellency and the
council to grant them one, according to the ancient, hospitable, and
wise custom of South-Carolina, to all Indians who paid them a friendly
visit, whose journey was far shorter, were often uninvited, and of much
less service, than the Chikkasah to the British interest. As their
horses were {341} very poor, I told the Governor they could travel only
at a slow pace, and as the wild game was scarce in our settlements,
hunger, and resentment for their unkind usage, would probably tempt them
to kill the planters stock, which might produce bad consequences, and
ought to be cautiously guarded against; but I was an unfortunate

With a flow of contrary passions I took my leave of our gallant
Chikkasah friends. I viewed them with a tender eye, and revolved in my
mind the fatigues, difficulties, and dangers, they had cheerfully
undergone, to testify the intense affection they bore to the British
Americans,—with the ill treatment they had received from our chief
magistrate, on account of his own disappointments, and sharp-felt
censures, for some supposed mismanagement, or illicit measures in trade.
He is reported to have been no way churlish to several of the dastardly
Choktah, notwithstanding his unprecedented and unkind treatment of our
warlike Chikkasah—two hundred of which would attack five hundred of the
others, and defeat them with little loss. Their martial bravery has
often testified this against enemies even of a greater spirit.

Not long after the Chikkasah returned homeward, I advertised in the
weekly paper, that as I intended to leave Charles-town in a short time,
I was ready and willing to answer any of the legislative body such
questions as they might be pleased to propose to me concerning our
Indian affairs, before the expiration of such a time; and that if his
Excellency desired my attendance, and either notified it in writing, or
by a proper officer, I might be found at my old lodgings. On the evening
of the very last day I had proposed to stay, he sent me a peremptory
written order to attend that night, on public business, concerning
Indian affairs; I punctually obeyed, with respect to both time and
place. He was now in a dilemma, by reason of his (supposed)
self-interested conduct concerning the Choktah trade, which occasioned
the aforesaid _modest reply_, that arraigned his proceedings with
severity and plainness. As I came down with the Indians, and was
detained by his Excellency, under the great seal of the province, till
this period, April 1750, I had just reason to expect that good faith
would have been kept with me—that I should have been paid according to
promise, at least for all the goods I gave the Indians, by virtue
thereof; and have had a just compensation for the great expenses I {342}
was at in serving the government;—but except the trifling sum of four
pounds sterling, when I was setting off for the Indian country, I never
received one farthing of the public money, for my very expensive,
faithful, and difficult services.[191]

In most of our American colonies, there yet remain a few of the natives,
who formerly inhabited those extensive countries: and as they were
friendly to us, and serviceable to our interests, the wisdom and virtue
of our legislature secured them from being injured by the neighbouring
nations. The French strictly pursued the same method, deeming such to be
more useful than any others on alarming occasions. We called them
“Parched-corn-Indians,”[192] because they chiefly use it for bread, are
civilized, and live mostly by planting. As they had no connection with
the Indian nations, and were desirous of living peaceable under the
British protection, none could have any just plea to kill or inslave
them. But the grasping plan of the French required those dangerous
scout-parties, as they termed them, to be removed out of the way; and
the dormant conduct of the South-Carolina chief, gave them an
opportunity to effect that part of their design; though timely notice,
even years before, had been given by the Cheerake traders, that the
French priests were poisoning the minds of those Indians against us, who
live among the Apalahche mountains, and were endeavouring to reconcile
them to all the various nations of the Missisippi and Canada savages;
and that there was the greatest probability they would accomplish their
dangerous plan, unless we soon took proper measures to prevent it. The
informers had ill names and resentment for their news, and the assembly
was charged with mispending their time, in taking notice of the wild
incoherent reports of illiterate obscure persons. But it afterwards
appeared, that according to their testimony, the interest and security
of South-Carolina were in great danger. By the diligence of the French,
their Indians entered into a treaty of friendship with the Cheerake: and
their country became the rendezvous of the red pupils of the black
Jesuits. Hence they ravaged South-Carolina, beginning at the frontier
weak settlements, and gradually advanced through the country, for the
space of eight years, destroying the live stock, insulting, frightening,
wounding, and sometimes killing the inhabitants, burning their houses,
carrying away their slaves, and committing every kind of devastation,
till they proceeded so low as within thirty miles of Charles-town.[193]
The sufferers often exhibited their complaints, in the most pathetic and
public manner; and {343} the whole country felt the ill effects of the
late over-bearing and negligent conduct. False colouring could serve no
longer, and a few inconsiderable parties were sent out—but not finding
any enemy, they were in a few months disbanded, and peaceable accounts
were again sent home.

Our Settlement-Indians were at this time closely hunted, many were
killed, and others carried off. A worthy gentleman, G. H. Esq;[194] who
lived at the Conggarees, suffered much on the occasion—he was employed
to go to the Cheerake country, in quest of valuable minerals, in company
with an Indian commissioner:[195]—in one of their middle towns, he
retook some of our Settlement-Indians from the Canada-savages, whom a
little before they had captivated and carried off from South-Carolina in
triumph. While they were beating the drum, singing, dancing, and pouring
the utmost contempt on the English name, honour prompted him to prefer
the public credit to his own safety. By the earnest mediation of one of
the traders, the head-men of the town consented to be neutral in the
affair, and act as impartial friends to both parties. He then, with Col.
F—x,[196] and some of the traders, went in a warlike gallant manner, and
regardless of the savages threats, took and brought to a trader’s house,
our captivated friends:—they stood all night on their arms, and at a
convenient interval, supplied those whom they had liberated, with
necessaries to carry them to our settlements, where their trusty heels
soon carried them safe. The gallant behaviour of those gentlemen gained
the applause of the Cheerake—and each soon returned in safety, without
any interruption, to their respective homes, where I wish they had ever
after continued. But Mr. G. H. having considerably engaged himself in
trade with the Katahba Indians, set off afterwards in company with an
half-bred Indian of that nation, the favourite son of Mr. T. B. a famous
old trader: in their way to the Katahba, they were intercepted, and
taken by some of the very savages who had threatened him among the
Cheerake, when he released our domestic Indians. The government of
South-Carolina was soon informed of the unhappy affair: and they
dispatched a friendly embassy to the lower towns of the Cheerake,
requesting them to intercept and retake the prisoners, if they passed
near their country, and offered a considerable reward. Our friends were
carried a little to the northward of the Cheerake nation, where their
captors camped several days, and the Cheerake held with them an open
friendly intercourse, as in despite to the English. The head men of the
lower towns, not only stopped the traders and their red friends from
going to rescue them, {344} but likewise threatened them for their
generous intention. The savages, instead of keeping a due northern
course homeward, took a large compass north-west, by the side of the
Cheerake mountains, being afraid of a pursuit from the Katahba Indians.
They marched fast with their two captives, to secure their retreat till
they got within the bounds of the French treaty of peace, and then
steered a due northern course, continuing it till they got nigh to their
respective countries, where they parted in two bodies, and each took one
of the prisoners with them. But as travelling so great a way in the heat
of summer, was what Mr. G. H. was unaccustomed to, he was so much
overcome by fatigue and sickness, that for several days before, he could
not possibly walk. He then requested them to put him out of his misery,
but they would not; for they reckoned his civil language to them
proceeded from bodily pains, and from a martial spirit, which they
regarded. They consented to carry him on a bier, which they did both
with care and tenderness. But on parting with his companion, he refused
absolutely to proceed any farther with them, when they tomohawked him,
just as his parted friend was out of the hearing of it. The last
afterwards got home, and told us this melancholy exit of our worthy and
much-lamented friend—who died as he lived, always despising life, when
it was to be preserved only in a state of slavery. Though he was thus
lost to his family and the community, by a manly performance of the
duties of his office, in which he engaged by the pressing entreaties of
the Governor, yet his widow was treated ungenerously and basely, as was
Capt. J. P. at the Conggarees.—But there would be no end, if we were to
enter into particulars of court policy, and government honor and


If our watch-men had not been quite remiss, they would have at least
opposed the French emissaries on their first approach to our colonies,
and have protected our valuable civilized Indians; for our negroes were
afraid to run away, lest they should fall into their hands. The scheming
French knew of what importance they were to us, and therefore they
employed their red friends to extirpate them. And while those remote
savages of Missisippi and Canada were pretending to seek the revenge of
some old grievance, they wounded us at the same time in two very
material points,—in getting a thorough knowledge of the situation of our
most valuable, but weak southern colonies, and thus could strike us the
{345} deeper,—and in destroying such of our inhabitants, as were likely
to prove the greatest check to their intended future depredations. By
our own misconduct, we twice lost the Shawano Indians; who have since
proved very hurtful to our colonies in general. When the French employed
them to weaken South-Carolina, a small company of them were surrounded
and taken in a remote house of the lower settlements: and though they
ought to have been instantly put to death, in return for their frequent
barbarities to our people, yet they were conveyed to prison, confined a
considerable time, and then discharged, to the great loss of many
innocent lives. For as the Indians reckon imprisonment to be inslaving
them, they never forgive such treatment; and as soon as these got clear,
they left bloody traces of their vindictive tempers, as they passed
along. About this time, a large company of French savages came from the
head-streams of Monongahela-river to the Cheerake, and from thence were
guided by one of them to where our settlement-Indians resided. They went
to a small town of the _Euhchee_, about twelve miles below Savanah-town,
and two below Silver-bluff, where G. G. Esq; lives, and there watched
like wolves, till by the mens making a day’s hunt, they found an
opportunity to kill the women and children. Immediately after which,
they scouted off different ways, some through Savanah-river, which is
about 200 yards broad; and others to the hunting place, both for their
own security, and to give the alarm: We had on this occasion, a striking
instance of the tender affection of the Indian women to their children,
for all those who escaped, carried off their little ones. The men, by
the alarming signal of the shrill-sounding war-cry, soon joined, ran
home, and without staying to view the bloody tragedy, instantly took the
enemies tracks, and eagerly gave chase. To avoid the dreaded pursuit,
the Cheerake guide led the French mercenaries a northern course, as far
as the thick woods extended, which was about fifteen miles from the
place of their murders. From thence they shifted toward the north-west,
and were stretching away about 10 miles to the north of Augusta, for
Ninety-Six, which lay in a direct line to the lower towns of the
Cheerake; when unluckily for them, just as they were entering into the
open, and long-continued pine-barren, they were discovered by one of our
hunting white men, who was mounted on an excellent white horse, and
therefore a fine mark to be shot, which they would have done for their
own security, only he outstripped them, and kept in their back-tracks,
to trace them to their theatre of blood—their posture and countenances
plainly told him what they had done, on {346} some of our barriers. He
had not proceeded far, when he met the enraged Euhchee, on the hot
pursuit. He told them their course, and that their number was
twenty-six. In running about twelve miles farther, they came in sight of
the objects of their hatred and rage: presently, they ran on each side
of them, engaged them closely, and killed several. Those who escaped,
were forced to throw away nine guns, (they had taken from some of our
people) and almost every thing, even their light breeches, to save their
lives. They were so exceedingly terrified, lest the enraged pursuers
should continue the chase, that they passed wide of our then weak
settlement of Ninety-Six, and kept on day and night, till they got near
to their conductor’s mountainous country. This was in the beginning of
May 1750: and in our Indian-trading way, we say that, when the heat of
the new year enables the snakes to crawl out of their lurking holes, the
savages are equally moved to turn out to do mischief. Many have
experimentally felt the truth of this remark.

I had at this time occasion to go to the Cheerake country; and happened
to have a brave chearful companion, Mr. H. F.[197] of Ninety-Six
settlement. We had taken a hearty draught of punch, about ten miles from
Keeohwhee-town, opposite to which the late Fort-Prince-George stood, and
were proceeding along, when we discovered the fresh tracks of Indians in
the path, who were gone a-head. As we could not reasonably have the
least suspicion of their being enemies, we rode quite carelessly: but
they proved to be the above-mentioned Monongahela-Indians. Their
watchfulness, and our singing, with the noise of our horses feet, made
them hear us before they could possibly see us,—when they suddenly
posted themselves off the path, behind some trees, just in the valley of
Six-mile-creek, in order to revenge their loss by the Euhchee, which
they ascribed to the information of the white man. But their Cheerake
guide prevented them from attempting it, by telling them, that as his
country was not at war with us, his life must pay for it, if they
chanced to kill either of us; and as we were fresh and well-armed, they
might be sure we would fight them so successfully, as at least one of us
should escape and alarm the towns: with this caution they forbore the
hazardous attempt. They squatted, and kept close therefore, so as we did
not see one of them; and we suspected no danger. By the discontinuance
of their tracks, we soon knew we had passed them: but, just when we had
hidden two cags of {347} rum, about two miles from the town, four of
them appeared, unarmed, stark naked, and torn by the thickets. When we
discovered them, we concluded they had been below on mischief. If we had
not been so nigh the town, my companion would have fired at them. We
went into the town, and the traders there soon informed us of their
cowardly design.

We went as far as the mid-settlements, and found most of the towns much
disaffected to us, and in a fluctuating situation, through the artifice
of the French. In a few days we returned, but found they had blocked up
all the trading paths, to prevent our traders from making their escape.
Just as we descended a small mountain, and were about to ascend a very
steep one, a hundred yards before us, which was the first of the
Apalahche, or blue ridge of mountains, a large company of the lower town
Indians started out from the sloping rocks, on the north side of the
path, a little behind us. As they were naked except their breech-cloth,
were painted red and black, and accoutered every way like enemies, I bid
my companion leave the luggage-horses and follow me: but as he left his
arms at the lower town, and was not accustomed to such surprises, it
shocked him, till they ran down upon him. On this I turned back, and
stood on my arms, expecting they would have fired upon us. However, they
proposed some questions, which I answered, as to where we had been, and
were going, and that we were not any of their traders. Had it been
otherwise, the dispute would have been dangerous. We got over the
mountain, and safe to Tymahse; here we rested two nights, and found the
people distracted for mischief, to which the many causes before
mentioned prompted them. The governor, in less than a month after this
period, had the strongest confirmation of the ill intention of these
savages and their allies. Many expresses with intelligence I sent, but
the news was pocketed, and my services traduced—because I would not
assist the prime magistrate in a bad cause, he and his humble servants
depreciated the long series of public services I had faithfully
performed, and called them mere accidental trifles; contrary to his
former acknowledgments, both verbal and in writing. The French, however,
had a different opinion of my services; they were so well acquainted
with the great damages I had done to them, and feared others I might
occasion, as to confine me a close prisoner for a fortnight when I went
to the Alebahma-garrison, in {348} the Muskohge country. They were fully
resolved to have sent me down to Mobille or New Orleans, as a capital
criminal, to be hanged for having abetted the Muskohge, Chikkasah, and
Choktah, to shed a torrent of their christian blood; though I had only
retaliated upon them, the long train of blood they had years before
wantonly spilled. They wanted to have confronted me with the French
prisoners I formerly mentioned, and with the Long Lieutenant, whom we
met two days before the Choktah killed one of our people below
_Book’pharaah_, or the long swamp. I was well assured, he was to have
gone down to be baptized, and so become a good West-Florida-French
christian, in order to condemn me, the poor bloody heretic. I saw him,
and they had by this time taught him to count beads; but I doubted not
of being able to extricate myself some way or other. They appointed
double centries over me, for some days before I was to be sent down in
the French king’s large boat. They were strictly charged against laying
down their weapons, or suffering any hostile thing to be in the place
where I was kept, as they deemed me capable of any mischief. I was not
indeed locked up, only at night, lest it should give umbrage to our
friendly Indians, but I was to have been put in irons, as soon as the
boat passed the Indian towns, that lay two miles below the fort, in the
forks of the Koosah and Okwhuske rivers. About an hour before we were to
set off by water, I escaped from them by land: and though they had
horses near at hand, and a corrupt town of savages settled within 150
yards of the garrison, yet under those disadvantages, besides heavy
rains that loosened the ground the very night before, I took through the
middle of the low land covered with briers, at full speed. I heard the
French clattering on horse-back along the path, a great way to my left
hand, and the howling savages pursuing my tracks with careful steps, but
my usual good fortune enabled me to leave them far enough behind, on a
needless pursuit. As they had made my arms prisoners, I allowed them
without the least regret to carry down my horses, clothes, &c. and
punish them by proxy, in the manner they intended to have served the
owner, for his faithful services to his country.

While Governor G— presided in South-Carolina, it was needless to apply
for a payment of the large debt the government owed me: but on his being
succeeded by his Excellency W. H. L. Esq; I imagined this a {349}
favourable time to make my address. This worthy patriot had been well
informed, by several Indian trading merchants of eminent character, of
the expensive, difficult, and faithful services I had cheerfully done my
country, to the amount of above one thousand pounds sterling on the
public faith, and of the ungenerous returns I had received: he according
to his natural kindness and humanity, promised to assist me. I then laid
my case, with the well-known and important facts, before the members of
the house of assembly in Charles town; and when they convened, presented
a memorial to the legislative body. But several of the country
representatives happened to be absent; and as the governor could not be
reasonably expected in a short time, to purify the infected air which
had prevailed in that house for fourteen years, a majority of the
members had evidently determined not to alleviate my long complaint of
grievances. To invalidate its force, they objected, that my claim was
old; but did not attempt to prove the least tittle of what I exhibited
to them to be false; they knew they could not. After a long and warm
debate, when my secret enemies observed the clerk of the house was
drawing near to the conclusion of my memorial, they seized on a couple
of unfortunate monosyllables. I had said, that “the Indian Choktah had a
great many _fine_ promises;” the word _fine_ was put to the torture, as
reflecting on the very fine-promising gentleman. And in another
sentence, I mentioned the time his excellency the late Governor of
South-Carolina did me the honour to write me a very _smooth_ artful
letter, by virtue of which I went all the way to Charles-town, &c. The
words _smooth_, so highly ruffled the smooth tempers of those gentlemen,
that they carried a vote by a majority, and had it registered,
importing, that they objected against the indelicacy, or impropriety, of
the language in my memorial,[198] but not against the merit of its
contents. The minute, I here in a more public manner record anew, to the
lasting honour of the persons who promoted it. The voice of oppressed
truth, and injured innocence, can never be wholly stifled. Lest my
memorial should again appear at the public bar of justice, in a less
infected time, it was not sent to the office; which indicates that the
former art of pocketing was not yet entirely forgotten. Indeed every
state suffers more or less, from some malign influence, one time or
other; but I have the happiness to say that the infection was not
universal. South-Carolina has always been blessed with steady patriots,
even in the most corrupt times: and may she abound with firm pillars of
the constitution, according to our Magna Charta Americana, as {350} in
the present trying æra of blessed memory, so long as the heavenly rays
shall beam upon us!

As the power and happiness of Great Britain greatly depends on the
prosperity of her American colonies, and the heart-soundness of her
civil and ecclesiastical rulers—and as the welfare of America hangs on
the balance of a proper intercourse with their Indian neighbours, and
can never be continued but by observing and inforcing on both sides, a
strict adherence to treaties, supporting public faith, and allowing only
a sufficient number of such faithful and capable subjects to deal with
them, as may gain their affections, and prove centinels for the public
security—I presume that the above relations, and observations, instead
of being thought to be foreign, will be deemed essential to an history
of the Indians. The remarks may be conducive also to the public welfare.
Ignorance, or self-interest, has hitherto wrongly informed the community
of the true situation of our Indian affairs westward. {351}




The Chikkasah country lies in about 35 Deg. N. L. at the distance of 160
miles from the eastern side of the Missisippi; 160 miles to the N. of
the Choktah, according to the course of the trading path; about half way
from Mobille, to the Illinois, from S. to N; to the W. N. W. of the
Muskohge (Creeks) about 300 computed miles, and a very mountainous
winding path; from the Cheerake nearly W. about 540 miles; the late
Fort-Loudon is by water 500 miles to the Chikkasah landing place, but
only 95 computed miles by land.[199]

The Chikkasah[200] are now settled between the heads of two of the most
western branches of Mobille-river; and within twelve miles of the
eastern main source of _Tahre Hache_, which lower down is called
_Chokchooma_-river, as that nation made their first settlements there,
after they came on the other side of the Missisippi. Where it empties
into this, they call it _Yahshoo_-river. Their tradition says they had
ten thousand men fit for war, when they first came from the west, and
this account seems very probable; as they, and the Choktah, and also the
Chokchooma, who in process of time were forced by war to settle between
the two former nations, came together from the west as one family.[201]
The Chikkasah in the year 1720, had four large contiguous settlements,
which lay nearly in the form of three parts of a square, only that the
eastern side was five miles shorter than the western, with the open part
toward the Choktah. One was called _Yaneka_, about a mile wide, and six
miles long, at the distance of twelve {352} miles from their present
towns. Another was ten computed miles long, at the like distance from
their present settlements, and from one to two miles broad. The towns
were called _Shatara_, _Chookheereso_, _Hykehah_, _Tuskawillao_, and
_Phalacheho_. The other square was single, began three miles from their
present place of residence, and ran four miles in length, and one mile
in breadth. This was called _Chookka Pharáah_, or “the long house.” It
was more populous than their whole nation contains at present. The
remains of this once formidable people make up the northern angle of
that broken square. They now scarcely consist of four hundred and fifty
warriors, and are settled three miles westward from the deep creek, in a
clear tract of rich land, about three miles square running afterward
about five miles toward the N. W. where the old fields are usually a
mile broad. The superior number of their enemies forced them to take
into this narrow circle, for social defence; and to build their towns,
on commanding ground, at such a convenient distance from one another, as
to have their enemies, when attacked, between two fires.[202]

Some of the old Nahchee Indians[203] who formerly lived on the
Missisippi, two hundred miles west of the Choktah, told me the French
demanded from every one of their warriors a drest buck-skin, without any
value for it, i. e. they taxed them; but that the warriors hearts grew
very cross, and loved the deer-skins. According to the French accounts
of the Missisippi-Indians, this seems to have been in the year 1729. As
those Indians were of a peaceable and kindly disposition, numerous and
warlike, and always kept a friendly intercourse with the Chikkasah, who
never had any good-will to the French; these soon understood their
heart-burnings, and by the advice of the old English traders, carried
them white pipes and tobacco in their own name and that of
South-Carolina,—persuading them with earnestness and policy to cut off
the French, as they were resolved to inslave them in their own beloved
land. The Chikkasah succeeded in their embassy. But as the Indians are
slow in their councils on things of great importance, though equally
close and intent, it was the following year before they could put their
grand scheme in execution. Some of their head-men indeed opposed the
plan, yet they never discovered it. But when these went a hunting in the
woods, the embers burst into a raging flame. They attacked the French,
who were flourishing away in the greatest security; and, as was
affirmed, they entirely cut off the garrison, and neighbouring
settlements, {353} consisting of fifteen hundred men, women, and
children—the misconduct of a few indiscreet persons, occasioned so great
a number of innocent lives to be thus cut off.

The Nahchee afterwards built and settled a strong stockade fort,
westward of their old fields, near a lake that communicates with _Bayouk
Dargent_; but the ensuing summer, near 2000 French regulars and
provincials, besides a great body of the Choktah and other savages
invested it. The besieged sallied on them, with the utmost fury, killed
a considerable number, and in all probability, would have totally
destroyed the white soldiery, but for the sharp opposition of the
Choktah in their own method of fighting. The Nahchee were at length
repulsed, and bombarded with three mortars, which forced them to fly off
different ways. The soldiers were too slow footed to pursue; but the
Choktah, and other red allies, captivated a great number of them, and
carried them to New Orleans, where several were burned, and the rest
sent as slaves to the West India Islands: the greater part however went
to the Chikkasah, where they were secured from the power of their French
enemies. The French demanded them, but being absolutely refused,
unluckily for many thousands of them, they formally declared war against
the Chikkasah. In the open fields the Chikkasah bravely withstood, and
repelled the greatest combined armies they were able to bring against
them, north and south, and gave them and their swarms of red allies
several notable defeats.[204]

A body of the lower French, and about fourteen hundred Choktah, attacked
the Long House Town, when only sixty warriors were at home; yet they
fought so desperately, as to secure themselves, their women and
children, till some of the hunters, who had been immediately sent for,
came home to their assistance; when, though exceedingly inferior in
number, they drove them off with great loss. Another time, the lower and
upper Louisiana-French, and a great body of red auxiliaries, surprised
late at night all their present towns, except Amalahta, that had about
forty warriors, and which stood at some distance from the others. A
considerable number of the enemy were posted at every door, to prevent
their escape; and what few ran out were killed on the spot. The French
seemed quite sure of their prey, having so well inclosed it. But, at the
dawn of day, when they were capering and using those flourishes, that
are peculiar {354} to that volatile nation, the other town drew round
them stark naked, and painted all over red and black; thus they attacked
them, killed numbers on the spot, released their brethren, who joined
them like enraged lions, increasing as they swept along, and in their
turn incircled their enemies. Their release increased they joy and fury,
and they rent the sky with their sounds. Their flashy enemies, now
changed their boasting tune, into “Oh morblieu!” and gave up all for
lost. Their red allies out-heel’d them, and left them to receive their
just fate. They were all cut off but two, an officer, and a negroe who
faithfully held his horse till he mounted, and then ran along side of
him. A couple of swift runners were sent after them, who soon came up
with them, and told them to live and go home and inform their people,
that as the Chikkasah hogs had now a plenty of ugly French carcases to
feed on till next year, they hoped then to have another visit from them
and their red friends; and that, as messengers, they wished them safe
home. They accordingly returned with heavy hearts to the Chikkasah
landing place, N. W. on the Missisippi, at the distance of 170 miles,
where they took boat, and delivered their unexpected message:—grief and
trembling spread through the country,—and the inhabitants could not
secure themselves from the fury of these war-like, and enraged
Chikkasah. Every one of their prisoners was put to the fiery torture,
without any possibility of redemption, their hearts were so exceedingly
imbittered against them.

Flushed with this success, many parties turned out against the French,
and from time to time hunted them far and near:—some went to the
Missisippi, made a fleet of cypress-bark canoes, watched their trading
boats, and cut off many of them without saving any of the people.[205]
The French finding it impracticable for a few boats to pass those red
men of war, were obliged to go in a fleet, carry swivel-guns in their
long pettiaugres, with plenty of men; but always shunning the Chikkasah
side of the river, and observing the strictest order in their movements
by day, and in their stations at night. The walking of a wild beast, I
have been assured, has frequently called them to their arms, and kept
them awake for the whole night, they were in so great a dread of this
warlike nation. The name of a Chikkasah became as dreadful, as it was
hateful to their ears.[206] And had it not been more owing to French
policy than bravery, in uniting all the Missisippi and Canada-Indians in
a confederacy and enmity against them, Louisiana-settlements {355} would
have been long since, either entirely destroyed, or confined to

When any of the French armies made a tolerable retreat, they thought
themselves very happy. Once, when the impression was pretty much worn
out of their minds, and wine inspired them with new stratagems, and
hopes of better success, a great body of them, mixed with a multitude of
savages, came to renew their attack. But as their hostile intentions
were early discovered, the Chikkasah had built a range of strong
stockade forts on ground which could not safely be approached, as the
contiguous land was low, and chanced then to be wet. A number of the
French and their allies drew near the western fort, but in the manner of
hornets, flying about to prevent their enemies from taking a true aim,
while several ranks followed each other in a slow and solemn procession,
like white-robed, tall, midnight-ghosts, and as if fearless, and
impenetrable. The Indians did not at first know what sort of animals
they were, for several shots had been fired among them, without
incommoding them, or retarding their direct course to the fort:—as they
advanced nearer, the Chikkasah kept a continual fire at them, with a
sure aim, according to their custom; this was with as little success as
before, contrary to every attempt they had ever made before against
their enemies. The warriors concluded them to be wizards, or old
French-men carrying the ark of war against them. In their council, they
were exceedingly perplexed: but just as they had concluded to oppose
some of their own reputed prophets to destroy the power of those cunning
men, or powerful spirits of the French, lo! those uncommon appearances
spread themselves in battle-array, along the south-side of the fort, and
threw hand-granadoes into the fort. Hoop Hoop Ha was now joyfully
sounded every where by the Chikkasah, being convinced they had skin and
bone to fight with, instead of spirits. The matches of the few shells
the French had time to throw, were too long; and as our traders had
joined their friends by this time, they pulled out some, and threw out
other shells, as near to the enemy as they possibly could. They soon
found those dreadful phantoms were only common French-men, covered with
wool-packs, which made their breasts invulnerable to all their
well-aimed bullets. They now turned out of the fort, fell on, fired at
their legs, brought down many of them and scalped them, and drove the
others with considerable loss quite away to the southern hills, where
the {356} trembling army had posted themselves out of danger. In the
midst of the night they decamped, and saved themselves by a well-timed
retreat, left the Chikkasah triumphant, and inspired them with the
fierceness of so many tygers; which the French often fatally
experienced, far and near, till the late cession of West-Florida to
Great Britain. I have two of these shells, which I keep with veneration,
as speaking trophies over the boasting Monsieurs, and their bloody

In the year 1748, the French sent a party of their Indians to storm some
of the Chikkasah traders’ houses. They accordingly came to my trading
house first, as I lived in the frontier: finding it too dangerous to
attempt to force it, they patted with their hands a considerable time on
one of the doors, as a decoy, imitating the earnest rap of the young
women who go a visiting that time of night. Finding their labour in
vain, one of them lifted a billet of wood, and struck the side of the
house, where the women and children lay; so as to frighten them and
awake me—my mastiffs had been silenced with their venison. At last, the
leader went a-head with the beloved ark, and pretending to be directed
by the divine oracle, to watch another principal trader’s house, they
accordingly made for it, when a young woman, having occasion to go out
of the house, was shot with a bullet that entered behind one of her
breasts and through the other, ranging the bone; she suddenly wheeled
round, and tumbled down, within the threshold of the house—the brave
trader instantly bounded up, sounding the war whoop, and in a moment
grasped his gun, (for the traders beds are always hung round with
various arms of defence) and rescued her—the Indian physician also, by
his skill in simples, soon cured her.

As so much hath been already said of the Chikkasah, in the accounts of
the Cheerake, Muskohge, and Choktah, with whose history, theirs was
necessarily interwoven, my brevity here, I hope will be excused.—The
Chikkasah live in as happy a region, as any under the sun. It is
temperate; as cool in summer, as can be wished, and but moderately cold
in winter. There is frost enough to purify the air, but not to chill the
blood; and the snow does not lie four-and-twenty hours together. This
extraordinary benefit, is not from its situation to the equator, for the
Cheerake country, among the Apalahche mountains is colder, in a
surprising degree; but from the nature and levelness of the extensive
circumjacent lands, which in general are very fertile. They have no
running stream in {357} their present settlement. In their old fields,
they have banks of oyster-shells, at the distance of four hundred miles
from the sea-shore; which is a visible token of a general deluge, when
it swept away the loose earth from the mountains, by the force of a
tempestuous north-east wind, and thus produced the fertile lands of the
Missisippi, which probably was sea, before that dreadful event.

As the Chikkasah fought the French and their red allies, with the utmost
firmness, in defense of their liberties and lands, to the very last,
without regarding their decay, only as an incentive to revenge their
losses; equity and gratitude ought to induce us to be kind to our steady
old friends, and only purchase so much of their land, as they would
dispose of, for value.[207] With proper management, they would prove
extremely serviceable to a British colony, on the Missisippi.[208] I
hope no future misconduct will alienate their affections, after the
manner of the super-intendant’s late deputy, which hath been already
mentioned. The skilful French could never confide in the Choktah, and we
may depend on being forced to hold hot disputes with them, in the infant
state of the Missisippi settlements: it is wisdom to provide against the
worst events that can be reasonably expected to happen. The remote
inhabitants of our northern colonies are well acquainted with the great
value of those lands, from their observations on the spot.[209] The soil
and climate are fit for hemp, silk, indigo, wine, and many other
valuable productions, which our merchants purchase from foreigners,
sometimes at a considerable disadvantage—The range is so good for
horses, cattle, and hogs, that they would grow large, and multiply fast,
without the least occasion of feeding them in winter, or at least for a
long space of time, by reason of the numberless branches of reeds and
canes that are interspersed, with nuts of various kinds. Rice, wheat,
oats, barley, Indian corn, fruit-trees, and kitchen plants, would grow
to admiration. As the ancients tell us, “Bacchus amat montes,” so
grape-vines must thrive extremely well on the hills of the Missisippi,
for they are so rich as to produce winter-canes, contrary to what is
known at any distance to the northward. If British subjects could settle
West-Florida in security, it would in a few years become very valuable
to Great Britain: and they would soon have as much profit, as they could
desire, to reward their labour. Here, five hundred families would in all
probability, be more beneficial to our mother-country, then the whole
colony of North Carolina: besides innumerable branches toward Ohio and
Monongahela. {358}

Enemies to the public good, may enter caveats against our settling where
the navigation is precarious; and the extraordinary kindness of the late
ministry to the French and Spaniards prevented our having an exclusive
navigation on the Missisippi. Aberville might still become a valuable
mart to us; and from New Orleans it is only three miles to Saint John’s
Creek, where people pass through the lake of Saint Louis, and embark for
Mobille and Pensacola. The Spaniards have wisely taken the advantage of
our misconduct, by fortifying Louisiana, and employing the French to
conciliate the affections of the savages; while our legislators,
fermented with the corrupt lees of false power, are striving to whip us
with scorpions. As all the Florida Indians are grown jealous of us,
since we settled E. and W. Florida, and are unacquainted with the great
power of the Spaniards in South America, and have the French to polish
their rough Indian politics, Louisiana is likely to prove more
beneficial to them, than it did to the French. They are fortifying their
Missisippi settlements like a New Flanders, and their French artists, on
account of our ministerial lethargy, will have a good opportunity, if an
European war should commence, to continue our valuable western barriers
as wild and waste, as the French left them. The warlike Chikkasah proved
so formidable to them, that, except a small settlement above New
Orleans, which was covered by the Choktah bounds, they did not attempt
to make any other on the eastern side of the Missisippi, below the
Illinois; though it contains such a vast tract of fine land, as would be
sufficient for four colonies of two hundred and fifty miles square. Had
they been able by their united efforts, to have destroyed the Chikkasah,
they would not have been idle;[210] for, in that case, the Choktah would
have been soon swallowed up, by the assistance of their other allies, as
they never supplied them with arms and ammunition, except those who went
to war against the Chikkasah.

From North-Carolina to the Missisippi, the land near the sea, is, in
general, low and sandy; and it is very much so in the two colonies of
Florida, to a considerable extent from the sea-shore, when the lands
appear fertile, level, and diversified with hills. Trees indicate the
goodness or badness of land. Pine-trees grow on sandy, barren ground,
which produces long coarse grass; the adjacent low lands abound with
canes, reeds, {359} or bay and laurel of various sorts, which are shaded
with large expanding trees—they compose an evergreen thicket, mostly
impenetrable to the beams of the sun, where the horses, deer, and
cattle, chiefly feed during the winter: and the panthers, bears, wolves,
wild cats, and foxes, resort there, both for the sake of prey, and a
cover from the hunters. Lands of a loose black soil, such as those of
the Missisippi, are covered with fine grass and herbage, and well shaded
with large and high trees of hiccory, ash, white, red, and black oaks,
great towering poplars, black walnut-trees, sassafras, and vines. The
low wet lands adjoining the rivers, chiefly yield cypress-trees, which
are very large, and of a prodigious height. On the dry grounds is plenty
of beach, maple, holly, the cotton-tree, with a prodigious variety of
other sorts. But we must not omit the black mulberry-tree, which,
likewise, is plenty. It is high, and, if it had proper air and
sun-shine, the boughs would be very spreading. On the fruit, the bears
and wild fowl feed during their season; and also swarms of paroquets,
enough to deafen one with their chattering, in the time of those joyful
repasts. I believe the white mulberry-tree does not grow spontaneously
in North-America. On the hills, there is plenty of chesnut-trees, and
chesnut-oaks. These yield the largest sort of acorns, but wet weather
soon spoils them. In winter, the deer and bears fatten themselves on
various kinds of nuts, which lie thick over the rich land, if the
blossoms have not been blasted by the north-east winds. The wild turkeys
live on the small red acorns, and grow so fat in March, that they cannot
fly farther than three or four hundred yards; and not being able soon to
take the wing again, we speedily run them down with our horses and
hunting mastiffs. At many unfrequented places of the Missisippi, they
are so tame as to be shot with a pistol, of which our troops profited,
in their way to take possession of the Illinois-garrison. There is a
plenty of wild parsley, on the banks of that river, the roots of which
are as large as those of parsnips, and it is as good as the other sort.
The Indians say, they have not seen it grow in any woods remote from
their country. They have a large sort of plums, which their ancestors
brought with them from South-America, and which are now become plenty
among our colonies, called Chikkasah plums.[211]

To the North West, the Missisippi lands are covered with filberts, which
are as sweet, and thin-shelled, as the scaly bark hiccory-nuts. {360}
Hazel-nuts are very plenty, but the Indians seldom eat them. Black haws
grow here in clusters, free from prickles: and pissimmons, of which they
make very pleasant bread, barbicuing it in the woods. There is a sort of
fine plums in a few places, large, and well-tasted; and, if
transplanted, they would become better. The honey-locusts are pods about
a span-long, and almost two inches broad, containing a row of large seed
on one side, and a tough sweet substance the other. The tree is large,
and full of long thorns; which forces the wild beasts to wait till they
fall off, before they can gather that part of their harvest.—The trees
grow in wet sour land, and are plenty, and the timber is very durable.
Where there is no pitch-pine, the Indians use this, or the sassafras,
for posts to their houses; as they last for generations, and the worms
never take them. Chinquapins are very plenty, of the taste of chesnuts,
but much less in size. There are several sorts of very wholesome and
pleasant-tasted ground nuts, which few of our colonists know any thing
of. In wet land, there is an aromatic red spice, and a sort of cinnamon,
which the natives seldom use. The Yopon, or Cusseena, is very plenty, as
far as the salt air reaches over the low lands. It is well tasted, and
very agreeable to those who accustom themselves to use it: instead of
having any noxious quality, according to what many have experienced of
the East-India insipid and costly tea, it is friendly to the human
system, enters into a contest with the peccant humours, and expels them
through the various channels of nature: it perfectly cures a tremor in
the nerves.[212] The North-American tea has a pleasant aromatic taste,
and the very same salubrious property, as the Cusseena. It is an
evergreen, and grows on hills. The bushes are about a foot high, each of
them containing in winter a small aromatic red berry, in the middle of
the stalk: such I saw it about Christmas, when hunting among the
mountains, opposite to the lower Mohawk Castle, in the time of a deep
snow. There is no visible decay of the leaf, and October seems to be the
proper time to gather it. The early buds of sassafras, and the leaves of
ginseng, make a most excellent tea, equally pleasant to the taste, and
conducive to health. The Chinese have sense enough to sell their
enervating and slow-poisoning teas, under various fine titles, while
they themselves prefer Ginseng-leaves. Each of our colonies abounds with
ginseng, among the hills that lie far from the sea.[213] Ninety-six
settlement, is the lowest place where I have seen it grow in South
Carolina. It is very plenty on the fertile parts of the Cheerake {361}
mountains; it resembles Angelica, which in most places is also plenty.
Its leaves are of a darker green, and about a foot and half from the
root; the stalk sends out three equal branches, in the center of which a
small berry grows, of a red colour, in August.—The seeds are a very
strong and agreeable aromatic: it is plenty in West-Florida. The Indians
use it on religious occasions. It is a great loss to a valuable branch
of trade, that our people neither gather it in a proper season, nor can
cure it, so as to give it a clear shining colour, like the Chinese tea.
I presume it does not turn out well to our American traders; for, up the
Mohawk river, a gentleman who had purchased a large quantity of it, told
me that a skippel, or three bushels, cost him only nine shillings of New
York currency: and in Charles-Town, an inhabitant of the upper Yadkin
settlements in North Carolina, who came down with me from viewing the
Nahchee old fields on the Missisippi, assured me he could not get from
any of the South Carolina merchants, one shilling sterling a pound for
it, though his people brought it from the Alehgany, and Apalahche
mountains, two hundred miles to Charles-Town.

It would be a service, worthy of a public-spirited gentleman, to inform
us how to preserve the Ginseng, so as to give it a proper colour; for
could we once effect that, it must become a valuable branch of trade. It
is an exceeding good stomachic, and greatly supports nature against
hunger and thirst. It is likewise beneficial against asthmatic
complaints, and it may be said to promote fertility in women, as much as
the East-India tea causes sterility in proportion to the baneful use
that is made of it. A learned physician and botanist assured me, that
the eastern teas are slow, but sure poison, in our American climates;
and that he generally used the Ginseng very successfully in clysters, to
those who had destroyed their health, by that dangerous habit. I advised
my friend to write a treatise on its medical virtues, in the posterior
application, as it must redound much to the public good. He told me, it
would be needless; for quacks could gain nothing from the best
directions; and that already several of his acquaintance of the faculty
mostly pursued his practice in curing their patients. The eastern tea is
as much inferior to our American teas, in its nourishing quality, as
their album græcum is to our pure venison, from which we here sometimes
collect it; let us, therefore, like frugal and wise people, use our own
valuable aromatic tea, and thus induce our British {362} brethren to
imitate our pleasant and healthy regimen; shewing the utmost
indifference to any duties the statesmen of Great-Britain, in their
assumed prerogative, may think proper to lay on their East-India
poisoning, and dear-bought teas.

The industry of the uncorrupt part of the Indians, in general, and of
the Chikkasah, in particular, extends no farther than to support a plain
simple life, and secure themselves from the power of the enemy, and from
hunger and cold. Indeed most of them are of late grown fond of the
ornaments of life, of raising live stock, and using a greater industry
than formerly, to increase wealth. This is to be ascribed to their long
intercourse with us, and the familiar easy way in which our traders live
with them, begetting imperceptibly an emulous spirit of imitation,
according to the usual progress of human life. Such a disposition, is a
great advance towards their being civilized; which, certainly must be
effected, before we can reasonably expect to be able to bring them to
the true principles of christianity. Instead of reforming the Indians,
the monks and friars corrupted their morals: for, in the place of
inculcating love, peace, and good-will to their red pupils, as became
messengers of the divine author of peace, they only impressed their
flexible minds with an implacable hatred against every British subject,
without any distinction. Our people will soon discover the bad policy of
the late Quebec act, and it is to be hoped that Great-Britain will in
due time, send those black croaking clerical frogs of Canada home to
their infallible mufti of Rome.

I must here beg leave to be indulged, in a few observations on our own
American missionaries. Many evils are produced by sending out ignorant
and wicked persons as clergymen. Of the few I know,—two among them dare
not venture on repeating but a few collects in the common prayer. A
heathen could say, “if thou wouldst have me weep, thou must first weep
thyself:” and how is it possible we should be able to make good
impressions on others, unless they are first visible on ourselves? The
very rudiments of learning, not to say of religion, are wanting in
several of our missionary Evangelists; the best apology I have heard in
their behalf, is, “an English nobleman asked a certain bishop, why he
conferred holy orders on such a parcel of arrant blockheads? He replied,
because it was better to have the ground plowed by asses, than leave it
a waste full of thistles.” {363}

It seems very surprising, that those who are invested with a power of
conferring ecclesiastical orders, should be so careless in propagating
the holy gospel, and assiduous to prophane holy things, in appointing
and ordaining illiterate and irreligious persons to the service. What is
it? but saying, “go teach the American fools. My blessing is enough.
Cherish confidence, and depend upon it, they will not have confidence to
laugh at you: Leave the remote and poor settlements to the care of
divine providence, which is diffusive of its rich gifts. The harvest is
great elsewhere. Only endeavour to episcopize the northern colonies; it
is enough: there they are numerous, and able to pay Peter’s pence, as
well as our old jewish, and new parliamentary tithes; and in time your
labours will be crowned with success.”

That court however, which sends abroad stupid embassadors to represent
it, cannot be reasonably expected to have success, but rather shame and
derision. What can we think at this distance, when we see the number of
blind guides, our spiritual fathers at home have sent to us, to lead us
clear of the mazes of error? but, that they think of us with
indifference, and are studiously bent on their own temporal interest,
instead of our spiritual welfare. There are thousands of the Americans,
who I believe have not heard six sermons for the space of above thirty
years—and in fact they have more knowledge than the teachers who are
sent to them, and too much religion to communicate with them. And even
the blinder sort of the laity not finding truth sufficiently supported
by their purblind guides, grow proud of their own imaginary knowledge,
and some thereby proudly commence teachers,—by which means they rend the
church asunder; and, instead of peace and love, they plant envy,
contempt, hatred, revilings, and produce the works of the flesh, instead
of those of the spirit.

Not so act the uncivilized Indians. Their supposed holy orders are
obtained from a close attention to, and approved knowledge of their
sacred mysteries. No temptations can corrupt their virtue on that head:
neither will they convey their divine secrets to the known impure. This
conduct is worthy to be copied, by all who pretend to any religion at
all, and especially by those who are honoured with the pontifical
dignity, and assume the name of “Right reverend, and Most reverend
Fathers in God.” I have been importunately requested at different times,
by several eminent gentlemen, {364} who wish well to both church and
state, to represent the evils resulting from such missionaries, in hope
of redress; and on this occasion, I thought it criminal to refuse their
virtuous request. The representation is true, and the writer is
persuaded he cannot give the least offence by it, to any but the guilty.

My situation does not allow me, to fix the bounds our legislators claim
on the Missisippi: but I have good reason to believe that the fine court
title which France, in her late dying will, has transferred to
Great-Britain, mostly consists in ideal possessions she never enjoyed.
The monopolies already made, are equally unjust and pernicious. They,
who take up valuable lands, especially on such a barrier, ought to
settle them in a reasonable time, or be prevented from keeping out
industrious inhabitants, and causing the place to continue in a
defenceless condition. Before we can settle the Missisippi, with any
reasonable view of success, the government must build sufficient places
of strength, both to make the colony appear respectable in the eyes of
the Indians, and guard it from the evil eye of the Spaniards, who are
watching at New Orleans, and over the river, to impede our interests, in
that valuable but dangerous quarter. It might become an impenetrable
barrier, if proper encouragement was given to the laborious and hardy
inhabitants of our northern settlements, on the various branches of the
Ohio, and in the back settlements of North Carolina, who are now almost
useless to the community. As Great-Britain would be the chief gainer by
their removal, she ought to encourage them to remove.[214] Great numbers
of them were preparing to come down,[215] even in the years 1768 and
1769; but finding too many inconveniences and hazards in their way, they
declined the attempt. As it is natural for every colony to endeavour to
increase its number of industrious inhabitants, it cannot be expected,
even if the mother country behaved more prudently than of late, that any
of them would exert themselves much on such an occasion, as to raise
dangerous rivals in their own staple commodity.—However rice, indigo,
silk, hemp, wine, and many other valuable productions are suitable to so
fine a soil and climate; besides great quantities of beef, pork, and
every kind of useful timber for Jamaica, which is contiguous to the
mouth of the Missisippi. So great an acquisition of raw materials would
soon prove very beneficial to Great-Britain, as well as a great
safe-guard to the best part of our other colonies, and a very needful
check to Spanish insolence. {365} Such a material undertaking, as the
colonizing of so important a barrier, deserves public encouragement to
put it in a fair way of doing well; and the continuance of a supply, and
protection through its infant state, to secure it from any artful
attempts the Spaniards and their French subjects might plot to disturb
its tranquility, and thereby check its growth.

There might be introduced even among the Indian nations I have
described, a spirit of industry, in cultivating such productions as
would agree with their land and climates; especially, if the
super-intendency of our Indian affairs, westward, was conferred on the
sensible, public-spirited, and judicious Mr. George Galphin, merchant,
or Lachlan M’Gilwray, Esq; of equal merit. Every Indian trader knows
from long experience, that both these gentlemen have a greater influence
over the dangerous Muskohge, than any others besides. And the security
of Georgia requires one or other of them speedily to superintend our
Indian affairs. It was, chiefly, the skilful management of these worthy
patriots, which prevented the Muskohge from joining the Cheerake,
according to treaty, against us in the year 1760 and 1761,—to their
great expence and hazard of life, as they allowed those savages to eat,
drink, and sleep at Silver-Bluff, below New Windsor garrison, and at
Augusta fifteen miles apart, and about 150 miles from Savanah. I write
from my own knowledge, for I was then on the spot, with a captain’s
commission from South Carolina. A Muskohge war against us, could easily
be prevented by either of those gentlemen, if chosen, and the
destructive plan of general licences was repealed. It is to be hoped,
that they who are invested with the power, will retract their former
error, and have the pleasure of knowing the good effect it would
produce, by giving an opportunity of civilizing and reforming the
savages; which can never be effected by the former usual means. Admit
into Indian countries, a sufficient number of discreet orderly
traders.—This needful regulation will likewise benefit trade, which is
almost ruined; and our valuable weak frontier colonies would thereby
increase in numbers, proportionable to their security.

Formerly, each trader[216] had a licence for two towns, or villages; but
according to the present unwise plan, two, and even three Arab-like
pedlars sculk about in one of those villages. Several of them also
frequently emigrate into the woods with spirituous liquors, and cheating
trifles, {366} after the Indian hunting camps, in the winter season, to
the great injury of a regular trader, who supplies them with all the
conveniences of hunting: for, as they will sell even their wearing shirt
for inebriating liquors, they must be supplied anew in the fall of the
year, by the trader. At my first setting out among them, a number of
traders who lived contiguous to each other, joined through our various
nations in different companies, and were generally men of worth: of
course, they would have a living price for their goods, which they
carried on horseback to the remote Indian countries, at very great
expences. These set an honest copy for the imitation of the natives, for
as they had much at stake, their own interest and that of the government
co-incided. As the trade was in this wise manner kept up to its just
standard, the savages were industrious and frugal. But, lowering it,
through a mistaken notion of regaining their affections, we made
ourselves too cheap to them, and they despised us for it. The trade
ought to be raised to a reasonable fixed price, the first convenient
opportunity—thus we shall keep them employed, and ourselves secure.
Should we lower the trade, even fifty per cent below the prime cost,
they would become only the more discontented, by thinking we had cheated
them all the years past. A mean submissive temper can never manage our
Indian affairs. The qualities of a kind friend, sensible speaker, and
active brisk warrior, must constitute the character of a superintendant.
Great care ought to be taken, not to give the Indians offence, or a mean
opinion of the people or government our Indian superintendants

At a general congress in Mobille, Anno 1765, where were present his
Excellency the learned, cheerful, patriotic Governor of West-Florida,
George Johnstone Esquire, the present superintendant of Indian affairs,
and the head-men and warriors of the Choktah, and warlike Chikkasah
nations, a tariff of trade was settled on every material article, in the
most public and solemn manner,[217] mostly according to the Muskohge
standard, and to the great satisfaction of the Indians. The price for
which the corrupt and shamefully-indulged vagrant pedlars forced the
traders at the risque of their lives, to traffic with them, being then
about 70 per cent, below the French tariff in Indian trade up the
Missisippi. Each of these traders took out Indian trading licences, to
which the fixed prices of various goods were annext, thereby impowering
them to traffic during the space of a twelvemonth; and they gave penal
bonds of security to the {367} secretary, for the just observance of
their instructions. This proved however, through a bare-faced
partiality, only a shameful farce on œconomy and good order. His
Excellency, and the honourable Col. W——n,[218] were so strongly
convinced of my former integrity, that in order to testify publicly
their approbation of my good conduct, they did me the honour to pass
security in the secretary’s office, for my dealing with the Indians in
strict conformity to the laws of trade. As I lost in the space of a
year, to the amount of two and twenty hundred dollars-worth of goods at
prime cost, by the disorderly conduct of other licensed traders, and had
just reason to hope for redress on exhibiting a well-supported
complaint; I drew up on my own account, and at the importunate request
of the Chikkasah head-men, a memorial, setting forth their having
notoriously violated every essential part of their instructions,
enticing the Indians also to get drunk, and then taught them to
blaspheme their maker. This I proved, and that some of the lawless
traders had furnished the Indians, in the space of a few months, with so
great a quantity of prohibited liquors, as either did, or might enable
some of them to decoy the savages to squander away thousands of drest
deer-skins,—but they escaped with impunity.

A few months before this period, some family disputes rose very high
between the Chikkasah, on the following account. The Indians being
ambitious, free, and jealous of their liberties, as well as independent
of each other, where mutual consent is not obtained; one half of the
nation were exceedingly displeased with the other, because, by the
reiterated persuasions of a certain deputy, the latter had disposed of a
tract of land, twelve miles toward the south, on the upper trading
Choktah, or Mobille path, to one of those disorderly traders. By the
application of the deputy, the head-men of both parties met him
according to appointment, and partook of a plentiful barbicued feast,
with plenty of spirituous liquors. As such conduct was against his
majesty’s proclamation, and appeared to me to be calculated, either for
a clandestine trade, or family-job, I rejected the invitation, lest
otherwise I might be charged as a party. When they became intoxicated
with liquor, a war-leader of the dissenting party, struck his tomohawk
at the head of a noted chieftain, upbraiding him for bringing a strange
fire into their land; but happily the blow missed its aim. Their
disputes consequently rose higher every day; and the {368} dissidents
informed the Muskohge of their then situation, and future intentions.
_Yah-Yah-Tustanage_, “the Great Mortar,” a bitter enemy of the English,
soon sent up a company of his war-relations, to persuade them to guard
in time, against our dangerous encroachments, by killing all the
English, that planted their lands without the general consent of the
owners, and to take their black people as a good prize; because they
were building and planting for the reception of an English garrison,
which was to come from the Missisippi, and be the first means of
enslaving them. While their transport of madness lasted, it was
fruitless to reason with them; but at every convenient opportunity, I
used such plain, friendly, and persuasive arguments to sooth them, as I
imagined might regain their lost affections, and procrastinate the
dangerous impending blow. They consented at last to forbear every kind
of resentment against our late suspicious conduct, on condition of my
writing to those who could redress them, and our people speedily
withdrawing from their land the intruding planters. This I did; and at
Mobile I delivered my remonstrance to the superintendant. Upon my urging
the absolute necessity of pacifying our old steady friends, by removing
the ungenerous cause of their jealousy, he assured me, that he would
gladly comply with so just a request, especially, as it exactly
coincided with his majesty’s proclamation, then fixed on the fort-gate.

In the space of about ten days after, by order of Governor Johnstone,
all the Chikkasah and Choktah traders were cited to appear before him
and the superintendant, in order to know the merit of, and answer to, my
numerous complaints. When they appeared, and every thing was properly
adjusted, his secretary read paragraph by paragraph, and his excellency,
very minutely examined all the reputable traders, who confirmed to his
full satisfaction, the truth of every thing in my complaint. But tho’
the memorial set forth, among other instances, that “but a few minutes
after I had once a troublesome dispute with the abovementioned Chikkasah
leader, on account of the traders prohibited and poisoning liquors, he
went home distracted, and finding none but his aged mother, he would
have killed her with his tomohawk, only for her earnest entreaties, and
then sudden escape,”—yet none of those disorderly people were either
suspended from trading with the Indians, or forfeited the penalty of
their bonds—neither was the Indians request complied with. Though, I
believe, the termination was to the no small mortification of his
excellency. {369}

Anno 1767, the super-intendant’s deputy convened all the Chikkasah
traders and head-men of the nation, declaring that he had received
positive orders from the superior over Indian affairs, to bring the
trade to the late standard of the Muskohge. The head-men replied, that
if their traders, or the superintendant acted unwisely, they were not
bound to follow the copy. We urged, that he had already exceedingly
lowered the Missisippi-Indian trade, and had, at the Mobille congress,
fixed a Tariff, a copy of which every one of us had, as well as a
regular licence, having given approved security for our peaceable
conduct, and fair dealing with the Indians, for the space of a year: and
that besides the wrong policy of such an edict, as he now proposed, if
we proved rogues to our own interest with them, we ought to be arrested
as fools below. We concluded, by observing the great disadvantage of
navigation that Mobille lay under, to which Charles-town was no way
exposed in imports and exports; and that if the aforesaid Indian trade
should, by any act be reduced below its present standard, it must
necessarily cease of itself, unless as free-men, we said No to the
command. Which the traders did, and resolved to support it.

The deputies[219] treatment of Capt. J. C—l—b—rt,[220] who has lived
among the Chikkasah from his childhood, and speaks their language even
with more propriety than the English, deserves to be recorded—but I hope
the gentleman will soon do it himself, to shew the higher powers the
consequences of appointing improper, mercenary, and haughty persons to
such offices. Sir William Johnson acted very differently—he was kind,
intelligent, intrepid—he knew when to frown and when to smile on the
Indian nations he was connected with, and blended the serpent with the
dove. He chose his deputies or representatives in the Indian countries,
according to their qualifications in the Indian life; and not unskilful
men, and mere strangers, like some who have been obtruded into our
southern nations. His prudent and brave deputy Col. Craghan,[221] did
our chain of colonies more real service in a few months, than all our
late southern commissioners of Indian affairs could possibly have done
in ages. In the dangerous time of our settling the Illinois-garrison,
500 leagues up the Missisippi, he went from Johnson’s Hall, in the lower
part of the Mohawk country, and from thence coursed through the various
nations of Indians, to the head-branches of Canada; and in like manner,
down those of the Missisippi, to the garrison, amidst the greatest
dangers; pleasing and reconciling the savages as he proceeded. {370} The
Chikkasah first informed me of his journey and success—and I had it some
time after, circumstantially confirmed to me by Sir W. Johnson. When I
spoke to the Col. himself on his fatigues and perils, he modestly
replied “that while he was performing the needful duties of his office,
and acting the part of a beloved man with the swan’s wing, white pipe,
and white beads, for the general good of his country, and of its red
neighbours, he had no leisure to think of any personal dangers that
might befall a well-meaning peacemaker.” Having reconciled the Kuskuske
Indians,[222] whom the French garrison had decoyed by their false
painting of us, to remove with them over the Missisippi,—he from thence
proceeded down by water to New Orleans; afterwards, along the
gulph-stream of Mexico, to the place from whence he set off, amounting
nearly to 5000 miles, in the oblique course he was forced to take.

In brief, able superintendants of Indian affairs, and who will often
visit the Indians, are the safest and strongest barrier garrisons of our
colonies—and a proper number of prudent honest traders dispersed among
the savages would be better than all the soldiers, which the colonies
support for their defence against them. The Indians are to be persuaded
by friendly language; but nothing will terrify them to submit to what
opposes their general idea of liberty. In the disputes between
governors, superintendants, their deputies, and the traders, care should
be taken to keep them very secret from the Indians,—for they love such
traders as are governed by principle, and are easily influenced by them.
Several agents of governors and superintendants have experienced this,
when dispatched into their countries to seize either the goods or
persons of one and another trader, who was obnoxious by not putting the
neck under their lordly feet. Some have hardly escaped from being
tomohawked and cut to pieces on the spot by the enraged Indians, for the
violence offered to their friendly traders.—When an Indian and trader
contract friendship, they exchange the clothes then upon them, and
afterwards they cherish it by mutual presents, and in general, will
maintain it to the death. As early as 1736 the Georgia governor began to
harrass the licensed traders, and sent a commissioner to seize the goods
of several Carolinian traders: in executing his commission, he was soon
encircled by twenty-three Indians, and would have been instantly
dispatched, but for the intercession of one of the suffering traders,
Mr. J. G—r of Tennase.[223] When a governor of any of our colonies, is
either weak in his {371} intellects, or has self-interested pursuits in
view, incompatible with the public good, he will first oppress the
Indian traders, and misrepresent all under his government who oppose
him; and then adopt and pursue the low and tyrannical court maxim
“divide, and you will subdue and rule them.” Whether the animosities
that subsisted among the inhabitants of Georgia, when Mr. Ellis went to
preside there, sprung from any such cause, I will not say, but I well
know that by his wisdom, cheerful and even temper, and an easy winning
behaviour, he soon reconciled the contending parties in his gay and
friendly hall.

The grateful and polite in that colony, have taught their rising
families to revere his name, on account of his generous and patriotic
spirit. He instructed the inhabitants of that infant colony, by example,
how to fortify themselves against hostile dangers. The people were few,
weak, harrassed, and disheartened: but as soon as the father and general
put to his helping hand, their drooping spirits recovered. Then,
defensible garrisons sprung up, after the manner of ancient Thebes; but
as he knew that peace with the numerous nations of neighbouring Indians
was essential to the welfare of a trading colony, he acted the part of
the Archimagus, or great beloved man, with the swan’s wing, white pipes,
and tobacco, between the mischievous Muskohge and our colonies, at
Savanah, in concert with the two worthy gentlemen before-mentioned. At
that time our Indian affairs in general wore a most dangerous aspect—and
the public stock was expended:—when the governor saw that he could not
shake hands with the Indians, empty handed, he cheerfully supplied their
discontented head-men with his own effects, and even his domestic
utensils. They set a high value on each gift, chiefly for the sake of
the giver, whom they adopted as brother, friend, father. He gave the
colony a strong example of public spirit, by sacrificing his ease, and
private interest, to the welfare of the people; whom he faithfully
patronized (during his too short stay) according to the paternal
intentions of his late Majesty. He was never ordered by his Prince to
inform the legislative body of the colony, that, if the electors
petitioned his majesty for the liberty of chusing representatives, he,
through his own grace and goodness, would order his governor to inform
them he was pleased to indulge them in the object of their submissive
prayer. But had it been otherwise, Mr. Ellis would have deemed such a
ministerial order, a gross attack upon his honour, if not on the
constitutional rights of British subjects, and {372} have rejected it
with contempt. When a gentleman of abilities employs his talents, in his
proper sphere, in promoting the general good of society (instead of
forwarding only his own interest) he is both an honour and a blessing to
the community: the grateful public always revere such a character, and
fail not to hand it down to the latest posterity, to stimulate others to
follow the example. Such was Mr. Ellis in Georgia; and such was the
learned, wise, polite, affable, and now much lamented Sir Henry Moore
Bart., the late governor of New-York colony. His virtues so strongly
endeared him to those he governed, and to every one who had the pleasure
of his acquaintance, that his memory will never be forgotten. He came to
his government at the most confused time America ever knew. He found the
senior member of the council strongly barricaded in the fort,—but
presently he ordered away the cannon, and put a stop to other hostile
preparations. He conversed with the people as a father. They were soon
convinced of his upright intentions, and he lived triumphant in their
hearts. If strict integrity, great abilities, and the most ardent
desires and endeavours to promote the mutual interests of prince and
people,—if the most impartial administration of justice to every
denomination of faithful subjects—if indefatigable application to public
business, and a cheerfulness to redress every grievance that had the
least tendency to affect the lives or property even of the meanest
person: if these be the characteristics of one of the best of governors,
our hearts feelingly testify, and the tears of a grateful people plainly
shewed, he enjoyed them in the most eminent degree. His stay, however,
among them was but short, for having given a finished copy for others to
pursue, heaven called him home to reward him for his shining virtues:
and, though the other worthy patriot is in being, yet the honest sons of
Georgia deeply lament his being lost to them.[224] {373}

                                 ON THE
                        NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS;

Their love to their country—Their martial spirit—Their caution in
    war—Method of fighting—Barbarity to their captives—Instances of
    their fortitude and magnanimity in the view of death—Their rewards
    of public services—The manner of crowning their warriors after
    victory—Their games—Method of fishing, and of building—Their
    utensils and manufactures—Conduct in domestic life—Their laws, form
    of government, &c. &c.



                                 ON THE

                        NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS.

In the following pages, the reader will find as great a variety of
entertainment, as can well be expected in describing a rude and
uncivilized people. The Indians having for a long time no intercourse
with the rest of the world, and seldom one nation of them with another,
their rites and customs are in several respects different. But as they
agree in essentials through the whole extent of the American world, such
agreement is apparently owing to tradition, and the usage of their
ancestors, before they were subdivided as at present. Uniformity cannot
be attributed to chance.

Through the whole continent, and in the remotest woods, are traces of
their ancient warlike disposition. We frequently met with great mounds
of earth, either of a circular, or oblong form, having a strong
breast-work at a distance around them, made of the clay which had been
dug up in forming the ditch, on the inner side of the inclosed ground,
and these were their forts of security against an enemy. Three or four
of them, are in some places raised so near to each other, as evidently
for the garrison to take any enemy that passed between them. They were
mostly built in low lands; {377} and some are overspread with large
trees, beyond the reach of Indian tradition. About 12 miles from the
upper northern parts of the Choktah country, there stand on a level
tract of land, the north-side of a creek, and within arrow-shot of it,
two oblong mounds of earth, which were old garrisons, in an equal
direction with each other, and about two arrow-shots apart. A broad deep
ditch inclosed those two fortresses, and there they raised an high
breast-work, to secure their houses from the invading enemy. This was a
stupendous piece of work, for so small a number of savages, as could
support themselves in it; their working instruments being only of stone
and wood. They called those old fortresses _Nanne Yah_, “the hills, or
mounts of God.”

Probably, different parties, and even nations, were formed at first,
either by caprice, differences, or the fear of punishment for offences.
The demon of persecution however was never among them—not an individual
durst ever presume to infringe on another’s liberties. They are all
equal—the only precedence any gain is by superior virtue, oratory, or
prowess; and they esteem themselves bound to live and die in defence of
their country. A warrior will accept of no hire for performing virtuous
and heroic actions; they have exquisite pleasure in pursuing their own
natural dictates. The head-men reward the worthy with titles of honour,
according to their merit in speaking, or the number of enemies scalps
they bring home. Their hearts are fully satisfied, if they have revenged
crying blood, enobled themselves by war actions, given cheerfulness to
their mourning country, and fired the breasts of the youth with a spirit
of emulation to guard the beloved people from danger, and revenge the
wrongs of their country. Warriors are to protect all, but not to molest
or injure the meanest. If they attempted it, they would pay dear for
their folly. The reason they are more earnest than the rest of mankind,
in maintaining that divine law of equal freedom and justice, I
apprehend, is the notion imbibed from their (supposed) Hebrew ancestors
of the divine theocracy, and that inexpressible abhorrence of slavery,
which must have taken place after their captivity by the Assyrians, or
the Babylonians.

Every warrior holds his honour, and the love of his country, in so high
esteem, that he prefers it to life, and will suffer the most exquisite
tortures {378} rather than renounce it: there is no such thing among the
Indians as desertion in war, because they do not fight like the Swiss
for hire, but for wreaths of swan-feathers. If the English acted on that
noble principle, or were encouraged by an able, public-spirited
ministry, to cherish it, Britannia need neither sue, nor pay any of the
German princes for protection, or alliances.

The equality among the Indians, and the just rewards they always confer
on merit, are the great and leading—the only motives that warm their
hearts with a strong and permanent love to their country. Governed by
the plain and honest law of nature, their whole constitution breathes
nothing but liberty: and, when there is that equality of condition,
manners, and privileges, and a constant familiarity in society, as
prevails in every Indian nation, and through all our British colonies,
there glows such a chearfulness and warmth of courage in each of their
breasts, as cannot be described. It were to be wished, that our military
and naval officers of all ranks, instead of their usual harsh and
imperious behaviour, would act the part of mild and good-natured patrons
to those under them: kind, persuasive language has an irresistible
force, and never fails to overcome the manly and generous heart, and
love is strong as death. If the governed are convinced that their
superiors have a real affection for them, they will esteem it their duty
and interest to serve them and take pleasure in it. The late gallant
Lord Howe, General Wolfe, and Admiral Warren, are still alive in the
grateful hearts of the Americans, and also of the soldiers and seamen,
who fought under them. No service was too difficult to oblige them, and
they were ashamed to do any thing amiss. If every British officer set
the like example, there would be little occasion for new mutiny acts,
and other such like penal regulations. We have frequent instances in
America, that merely by the power of affability, and good-natured
language, the savage Indian, drunk and foaming with rage and madness,
can be overcome and brought to weep. Lately, some came among us,
inflamed and distracted foes; we persuaded them of our constant kindly
intentions, and they repented, made atonement in regard to themselves,
and checked the mad conduct of others.

The Indians are not fond of waging war with each other, unless prompted
by some of the traders: when left to themselves, they consider {379}
with the greatest exactness and foresight, all the attending
circumstances of war. Should any of the young warriors through
forwardness, or passion, violate the treaty of peace, the aggressing
party usually send by some neutral Indians, a friendly embassy to the
other, praying them to accept of equal retribution, and to continue
their friendship, assuring them that the rash unfriendly action did not
meet with the approbation, but was highly condemned by the head-men of
the whole nation. If the proposal be accepted, the damage is made up,
either by sacrificing one of the aggressors, of a weak family, or by the
death of some unfortunate captive, who had been ingrafted in a wasted
tribe. If a person of note was killed, the offended party take immediate
satisfaction of their own accord, and send back the like embassy,
acquainting them, that as crying blood is quenched with equal blood, and
their beloved relation’s spirit is allowed to go to rest, they are fond
of continuing the friend-knot, and keeping the chain of friendship clear
of rust, according to the old beloved speech: but, if they are
determined for war, they say _Mattle, Mattle_, “it is finished, they are
weighed, and found light.” In that case, they proceed in the following

A war captain announces his intention of going to invade the common
enemy, which he, by consent of the whole nation, declares to be such: he
then beats a drum three times round his winter house, with the bloody
colours flying, marked with large strokes of black,—the grand war signal
of blood and death. On this, a sufficient number of warriors and others,
commonly of the family of the murdered person, immediately arm
themselves, and each gets a small bag of parched corn-flour, for his
war-stores. They then go to the aforesaid winter house, and there drink
a warm decoction of their supposed holy consecrated herbs and roots for
three days and nights, sometimes without any other refreshment. This is
to induce the deity to guard and prosper them, amidst their impending
dangers. In the most promising appearance of things, they are not to
take the least nourishment of food, nor so much as to sit down, during
that time of sanctifying themselves, till after sunset. While on their
expedition, they are not allowed to lean themselves against a tree,
though they may be exceedingly fatigued, after a sharp day’s march; nor
must they lie by, a whole day to refresh themselves, or kill and
barbicue deer and bear for their war journey. The more virtuous they
are, they reckon the greater will be their success against the enemy, by
the bountiful smiles of the deity. To {380} gain that favourite point,
some of the aged warriors narrowly watch the young men who are newly
initiated, lest they should prove irreligious, and prophane the holy
fast, and bring misfortunes on the out-standing camp. A gentleman of my
acquaintance, in his youthful days observed one of their religious
fasts, but under the greatest suspicion of his virtue in this respect,
though he had often headed them against the common enemy: during their
three days purification, he was not allowed to go out of the sanctified
ground, without a trusty guard, lest hunger should have tempted him to
violate their old martial law, and by that means have raised the burning
wrath of the holy fire against the whole camp. Other particulars of this
sacred process for war, have been related in their proper place.[LVII]

Footnote LVII:

  Vide p. 143 &c.

When they have finished their fast and purifications, they set off, at
the fixed time, be it fair or foul, firing their guns, whooping, and
hallooing, as they march. The war-leader goes first, carrying the
supposed holy ark: he soon strikes up the awful and solemn song before
mentioned, which they never sing except on that occasion. The rest
follow, in one line, at the distance of three or four steps from each
other, now and then sounding the war whoo-whoop, to make the leader’s
song the more striking to the people. In this manner they proceed, till
quite out of the sight, and hearing of their friends. As soon as they
enter the woods, all are silent; and, every day they observe a profound
silence in their march, that their ears may be quick to inform them of
danger: their small black eyes are almost as sharp also as those of the
eagle, or the lynx; and with their feet they resemble the wild cat, or
the cunning panther, crawling up to its prey. Thus they proceed, while
things promise them good success; but, if their dreams portend any ill,
they always obey the supposed divine intimation and return home, without
incurring the least censure. They reckon that their readiness to serve
their country, should not be subservient to their own knowledge or
wishes, but always regulated by the divine impulse. I have known a whole
company who set out for war, to return in small parties, and sometimes
by single persons, and be applauded by the united voice of the people;
because they acted in obedience to their _Nana Ishtohoollo_, “or
guardian angels,” who impressed them in the visions of night, with the
friendly caution. As their dreams are reckoned ominous, so there is a
small uncommon bird, called the “kind ill messenger,” which they {381}
always deem to be a true oracle of bad news. If it sings near to them,
they are much intimidated: but, if it perches, and sings over the
war-camp, they speedily break up. This superstitious custom prevailed
with the early heathens, who pretended to prophesy by the flight of
birds, and it reached even down to the time of the Romans.

Every war captain chuses a noted warrior,[225] to attend on him and the
company. He is called _Etissû_, or “the waiter.” Every thing they eat or
drink during their journey, he gives them out of his hand, by a rigid
abstemious rule—though each carries on his back all his travelling
conveniences, wrapt in a deer skin, yet they are so bigoted to their
religious customs in war, that none, though prompted by sharp hunger or
burning thirst, dares relieve himself. They are contented with such
trifling allowance as the religious waiter distributes to them, even
with a scanty hand. Such a regimen would be too mortifying to any of the
white people, let their opinion of its violation be ever so dangerous.

When I roved the woods in a war party with the Indians, though I carried
no scrip, nor bottle, nor staff, I kept a large hollow cane well corked
at each end, and used to sheer off now and then to drink, while they
suffered greatly by thirst. The constancy of the savages in mortifying
their bodies, to gain the divine favour, is astonishing, from the very
time they beat to arms, till they return from their campaign. All the
while they are out, they are prohibited by ancient custom, the leaning
against a tree, either sitting or standing: nor are they allowed to sit
in the day-time, under the shade of trees, if it can be avoided; nor on
the ground, during the whole journey, but on such rocks, stones, or
fallen wood, as their ark of war rests upon. By the attention they
invariably pay to those severe rules of living, they weaken themselves
much more than by the unavoidable fatigues of war: but, it is fruitless
to endeavour to dissuade them from those things which they have by
tradition, as the appointed means to move the deity, to grant them
success against the enemy, and a safe return home.

It may be expected I should describe the number of men their war
companies consist of, but it is various, and uncertain: sometimes, two
or three only will go to war, proceed as cautiously, and strike their
prey as panthers. In {382} the year 1747, a couple of the Mohawk Indians
came against the lower towns of the Cheerake, and so cunningly
ambuscaded them through most part of the spring and summer, as to kill
above twenty in different attacks, before