Hamilton at Vincennes, December 18, 1778, to February 22, 1779

Village of Vincennes Map18th. [December 18, 1778] At 12 o'Clock at noon, the men were drawn out on the Esplanade to fire three vollies, and twenty one rounds of the 6 lbr. as a royal salute-- I declared aloud the occasion, which was the retaking possession (by His Majesty's subjects) of the territory lately invaded by the Rebels, thanked the Officers who had honord me thus far with their company--

The Church bell was then toll'd to assemble the inhabitants

When I represented to them their misbehaviour after the Oath of Allegiance they had taken, and the gratefull address they had presented to Governor Abbote--; told them I placed all this to the account of a few persons, whose base example they had followed, and whose misconduct should be remembered to them, that I could not promise them protection till they recanted their attachment to the Rebels, and that nothing but their future good behaviour could efface the memory of their perfidious conduct--

Held a council with the Savages, explained to them what had just passed--

In the Evening had an account from Mr. F. de Quindre that some of the Rebels were expected from the Ilinois, he offerd to go the west side of the river with some Indians to reconnoitre he went, but it proved a groundless report.

About 12 at night the Corporal of the guard who had been to patrole to the Batteaus, reported that the Indians had surprized three Virginians on the West side of the river--this also proved false--

About one o'Clock Captain Mc. Leod came along with J. Hunot who said he was informed by a Shawanese Indian, that 400 men were on their march from the Ilinois, & would be at the Village of St. Vincennes at Cock crowing-- this also proved false intelligence--

As I have since had reason to believe the inhabitants of the Post were determined upon betraying me on the first opportunity, I must suppose these reports were raised either with the view of seeing what measures I should take in case of an attack, or by repeating false information to make me inattentive to all alarms--

This day Montbrun who had acted as Adjutant to the Rebels at this point came to me, and made a declaration that he had never taken an oath of Allegiance to the Crown, thee he had been sollicited to take a commission from the Rebels, which he deliverd into my hands-- I assured him that if I found his declaration to be true I would consider him accordingly--

19th. Met the inhabitants in the Church at noon-- I informed them of the cause of my assembling them, that as they had brought in their arms when summoned, their lives had been spared, but that they could not expect protection unless they adjured their attachment to the Rebels, and returnd to their Allegiance to their rightful Sovereign, renewing their Oath, that I had drawn up a form of an oath which should be read and explained to them that they might not inconsiderately perjure themselves afresh--They then pressed forward with great eagerness to take the Oath, but I stoppd them and told them they must first hear and think upon the tenor of it-- The Oath was in French to the following purport--

"We whose names are hereto subscribed declare and acknowledge

"having taken an oath of fidelity to the Congress, that in so doing

"we have forgot our duty to God and Man, we implore the pardon

"of God, and hope from the goodness of our lawfull Sovereign

"the King of Great Britain that he will accept our submission,

"and take us again under his protection as good and faithfull subjects

"which we promise and swear before God and men we will hereafter

"become, in Witness whereof we sign our respective names, or set

"our customary Mark, this 19th. day of December 1778

- At Post St. Vincennes -- ( 221)

Two hundred and fifty men capable of bearing arms signed their names to this oath, having first kissed a silver crucifix at the foot of the Altar-- such however was the conduct of these people after this solemn act, that I have no reason to doubt their having immediately after turned their thoughts to the accomplishment of their treacherous designs--

This day two canoes arrived from below loaded witb flour, the men wbo brought tbem being questiond after some equivocation declared there were other small craft below at the distance of 12 leagues, upon which I orderd Lieutenant Schieffelin with a Serjeant and eleven men to fall down the river a little after Sunset to the mouth of the Riviere blanche to intercept them.( 222)

The following transaction (however trifling) may serve to illustrate the character of Indians and their customs in war--

On the day of our arrival at tbe fort, a young Shawanese Wa we ya pe yap in waa desired to see Captain Helm, which being granted he layd his hand on his shoulder, or took him by the hand saying, you are incapable of defending yourself, surrender yourself a prisoner to me-- Just then Kissingua came up, and laying his hand on the Prisoner's head, made the same claim-- The Indians consider that man as a prisoner, who is seized by the hair, so the affair was pleaded in Council, when the Shawanese, not only gave up his claim, but desired Kissingua mighe be reputed the captor, and receive the belt usually given to redeem a prisoner, and which I had at Detroit promised to give to the first who should make a Prisoner, the value about 3£ Sterling--Kissingua's plea was short, do we go to War for heads or hands?

When an Indian would save a prisoner, he throws his belt over his Shoulder, which secures him effectually from all harm, The person who gains a belt as Kissingua did is expected to signalize himself on the first occasion.--

20th Some more of the inhabitants took the oath of fidelity to His Majesty--

I met all the War and Village chiefs at a council in the Fort, The Old Tobacco and his son were present--

Having addressd the chiefs, and returned them thanks for their good behaviour from the time of their leaving Detroit, I observ'd that when I lookd round, I saw but two strange faces, that there were but two men in the council to whom I had not held out my hand, that their imprudent conduct was the cause, and that unles they alterd their sentiments I never should consider them but as links broken off from the chain with which I had bound all my children-- I reproached them with their conduct in regard to Lord Dunmore's grant, & told them how I had acted at Ouiattanon--(223)

Egushewai rose afterwards and advised them to open their ears, and pay attention to what I said, as I spoke the sentiments of all present, thankd me for endeavoring to bring them to their understanding, told them that the lands in question reverted to its former state and owners, expressed his thankfullness to the King, for sending one among them who endeavored to unite them all in one interest, and concluded by advising them not only to listen to, but remember for a long time what they heard this day, took them both by the hand, desiring them to be strong, & think upon what ground they stood--

Necaquongai or the petit Gris exhorted them to think upon God above, and be wise-- Pacane advised them to pay attention to what had been said. Quoiquipinang told them that all the chiefs present had no other sentiments on this subject than their father-- Dawatong desired them to swallow down the words they had just heard, and keep them near their hearts--

The young Tobacco then rose up and said, I thank you all for what I have this day heard, I have not lost a syllable, You are yourselves to blame you chiefs, you have 'till now been afraid to come thus far from your homes to encourage me, I was dismayed being so inconsiderable as I am and without advice or support, I am but a young man; When the Rebels came into the country I was alarmed, what I have done was from a sense of my own weakness; Why should I use many words, I am glad to join my hand with yours, and to shew my father I am sincere I will put into his hands what was given me by a King or great chief--

He then gave me some certificates of different dates, of his good behaviour to the white people, signed by English French and Spanish commanders at different posts.

I told him I was well pleased at his proceeding, that I felt my heart in its right place, since he gave me room to think his professions were sincere &.ca--

Lieutenant Schieffelin returned, without any intelligence. In the evening sent down Lieutenant Chabert and Mr. F. Maisonville with 13 men to stop any craft that might pass the mouth of the Ouabache with supplies to the rebel posts--

wrote to Monsieur de Rocheblave to inform him that I should endeavor at effecting his exchange for Captain Helm--

21st. Nothing extraordinary.

22d. Called the Chiefs together to consult about sending off scouting parties to the rivers mouth, to the falls of Ohio, and to Kaskaskias-- They said they would consider of it, and give me an answer-- This day made a small magazine in the fort coverd with raw hides.

Seven Shawanese came in from their wintering ground on white River, where was an encapment of 40 of them.

23d. Sent for Wyndeego the Pouteouattamie Chief, and proposed his going to the Ilinois with Belts &ca found him as docile as I could wish. Spoke with Kissingua about his undertaking a Journey to the Natchez with letters for Mr. Stuart the agent for Indian affairs, Belts for the Cherakees and Chickasaas, that Edward Hazle should accompany him--

He told me that his design had been to return to the River Glaize but that since I had cast my eyes on him, I should find I had made a good choice, as he was not only a sensible man, but knew the country, was afraid of nothing and was personally known to Mr. Stuart-- He then asked me what consideration he was to have, I told him I should certainly pay him well, but had not time to enter into particulars as I expected the Chiefs--

They came accordingly at 12 o'Clock-- I first talkd with the Ottawas, Chippoweys, and Pouteouattamies, showed them how necessary it was to be well with the Shawanoes and Chickasaas, that the Ouabache Indians would not be induced to act in concert, unless they had some fear from an alliance which would in a manner oblige them to take a part, that tho the Lake Indians had come from so great a distance to drive the Virginians out of their country, they had not strewn any disposition to take an active part, that to keep up an union 'twas proper that all should join in the present war--

I took this opportunity to make some presents to my Son Mahingan the young Ottawa chief, who had followed me from pointe aux Chèsnes tho' very ill, and to Macutté Mung, another young chief of the same natiori-- These two young people I had had but an indifferent opinion of at setting out, but had behaved remarkably well--

The other chiefs came in afterwards, I explained my views to them in sending belts to the Ilinois Shawanese and Chickasaas, which latter I wished should act so as to engage the attention of the Virginians to the southward while we should make inroads upon the frontiers on our side.

Egushewai who had taken notice that some of the Ouabache Indians were hovering about while we were in Council, and he thought might be jealous of our being so long together rose up, saying, Father, you are wrong to make any secret of what we should all be acquainted with, and if the River Indians should be disgusted and go home, you must attribute ie to their suspicious temper, for my part I shall not go home 'till the Spring, but will go to the River's mouth tho the weather be very severe--

Several of the Indians came this day for provision and powder being on their return to their respective Villages--

A dispute happend yesterday between the Chippoweys and Ottawas, but had no issue--

24th. Sent off Lieutenant Schieffelin with 7 men in a Pirogue at the same time Egushewai with some Ottawas, and Canadians with Pierrot Chesne in all 30, to the river's mouth to watch for rebel or other boats, In the Evening one la Tour who had been on the Ohio, and was returning from his hunting was sent to me by Lt. Shieffelin with the information that the Cherakees with some Ottawas, Shawanese and Delawares were assembled at the mouth of the Cherakee river,(224) with design to intercept any of the Rebel boats going down or coming up the Mississipi--

Sent off Lieutenant de Quindre, with the old Raccoon Wabangay, and Methusaagay's son with 16 Indians, to lay upon the road to Kaskaskias, to intercept any Straglers, they returnd at 6 in the Evening, bringing in two prisoners one a Piedmontese named Vigaud, (225) the other a Canadian trader one Renaud with letters from the Ilinois which contained nothing material-

This day some Ouiattanon Indians came to me requesting that they might be permitted to cut a lock of hair off the head of one of the Virginian prisoners taken in the fort, to be placed in the Reliquaire of their Natte or Budgett-- being granted they performed the ceremony with much gravity, and each present shook the prisoner by the hand--

I made a present of a pound of Vermilion to a Warrior of the Ouiattanon nation called great Eyes, which was highly acceptable-- One of the speakers of the nation said to me, Father you have judged well, that man and all his progenitors have been eaters of men, when he goes to war, he rubs his mouth with vermillion that he may inspire those who see him with horror, you could not have made him a greater present-- Whether the meat be green or stale, he can eat it--

I told them I endeavored all I could to give understanding to my children, that those who heard me every day had learned to abstain from cruel actions, that none but men with arms in their hands were proper objects of the warrior's resentment, that to lose the name of Barbarians, they must cease to act as Wolves--

That when a peace should be made by order of the King, those Children who should be spared in the course of the war, would help to water the tree of peace and preserve its branches unbroken.

25. Wyndeego a Pouteouattamie Chief with Eskibee (226) and 13 men set out up on a scout to Kaskasquias, taking with them Letters to Janis and Cerré two of the principal inhabitants at that place, written by Monsr. Monforton advising them to act steadily in support of the English Government.(227)

Methusaagai came in to my room and appeared to be a little in liquor, after some time he asked for a bottle of rum producing an empty one which he had under his blankett-- I told him he appeared to have got enough already, and that I would not give him any more, upon which he rose up as in a fury, and dashed his bottle to pieces--

I appeared perfectly unmoved, he sat down again and continued in sullen silence for a good while, then advancing towards me offerd me his hand, which I receiving he shook mine very heartily and went away smiling-- I found afterwards that this was meant as a tryal, he having taken it in his head that he was slighted and some of the other chiefs, preferrd determined to be resolved, & acted in that manner to see how I should behave, but seeing that I took no offense but treated it merely as a drunken freak he went away contented.

This day Kissingua and Hazle were sent off for the settlement of the Natchez, the former with belts for the Chickasaas & Cherakees, the latter with a letter for John Stuart Esqr. Superintendant of Indians for the Southern department, in which I gave him an acount of the disposition of the Lake and River Indians, and acquainting him that I should be ready in the Spring to make an extensive impression upon the frontier, while he should employ the Southern Indians on the borders of the Carolinas--&cat

These were two daring enterprizing fellows, but I was apprehensive the Indian might in the course of so long a journey conceive a Jealousy which might prove fatal to his companion.

Examined the prisoners brought in from Kaskasquias, found from them that there was no discipline or regularity observed by the Americans, that they were billeted upon the inhabitants, and squandered at large thro' the settlement--

26th. Two Delawares came in from the white river who reported tnat a Chickasaa and a Delaware with two Ottawas went lately to the Shawanese and Delawares, with belts from the Chickasaas and Cherokees by which they desired them to forget former animosities, that they might act strenuously in concert against the Rebels-- that the Southern Indians were assembled at the Chickasaa river, being invited by an Officer in the King's service to oppose the rebels, and keep the Mississipy dear of their boats &ca.-- (228) That in three months they were to proceed to Kaskasquias and St. Vincennes, turn out the Rebels and their abettors--. They said further that the messengers were to have returned in 30 days, but had been now absent 40-- that the Kings troops had dispossessed the Rebels of some settlement they had had possession of on the Mississipi--

I assembled all the chiefs, and related these circumstances to them, as also the purport of Kissingua's errand.--

27th. A party of 5 Quiquaboes went on a Scout towards Kaskasquias.

The deaf man a Peankashaa chief with some of his nation, presented me a string of white Wampum painted green, representing the river Ouabache, which should be always free from all impediments for me and my children (meaning the Lake Indians). Also a string of blue Wampum requesting me to have pity upon their wives and Children, the usual way of begging provisions, cloathing, powder &ca

Wyndeego returnd with a prisoner taken on the road to Kaskasquias but who could not give any information worth notice--

This day some of the inhabitants who had been absent at their Buffaloe hunting when we arrived, took the oath of Allegiance to the number of 40.--

Two hundred and fifty Men, Inhabitants of the Post appeared under Arms this day on the Parade--

The Powder was brought into the new magazine in the Fort, as well what belonged to the King, as that of private persons, which was only deliverd to those who went to hunt Buffaloe for their winter provision-- notwithstanding the most diligent

search made, & a heavy fine laid upon any who should secret Gunpowder, we afterwards found that they contrived to hide it effectually and employ it when occasion offerrd--

28th. Finished a Barrack for 50 men-- At work sinking a Well. Completed a Guard house near the Gate.

A Warparty of Ouiattanons (the petite face at their head) 19 in number desired to go on a decouverte to Kaskasquias and that Charles Baubin should go along with them--

Otners came desiring leave to return to their own homes-- The Grand Sioux was of this number, who said he professed a different religion from the rest, that he worshipp'd the malignant Spirit (The God of War) that as he had not his Natte with him he could not go against the enemy, for not having his Guardian Manitou with him, he was apprehensive that the good and great Spirit might take advantage of it, and destroy him--

At night gave Baubin a letter for Janis at Kaskasquias, and Hypolite Baulon (interpreter to the Ouiattanons another for Monsieur Cerré, with a placart addressed to the inhabitants of the llinois--

The Commissary purchased by order, 30 carcasses of Buffaloe salted at 10 Sols the pound--

Three Messieurs De Quindre Lieutenants in the Indian department desired leave to return to Detroit, I told them that when I engaged them to enter into the Service, I had wished to benefit them as well as the King's service, but since they did not find their account in it, they were at liberty to return, and that I would furnish them with certificates for their pay--

As no cause of discontent had been given 'twas not till some time after I had cause for accounting for this request--

Orderd a recencement of the inhabitants to be taken by Messrs: Bellefeuille and Montbrun--

29th. The following returns were prepared to be sent to the Commander in Chief-- Of Effectives-- Of the Militia of St. Vincennes, Of Stores &ca found in the fort-- A plan of the fort-- Copies, of Captain Helm's letter to Colonel Clark, of the placart, and of the Oath tenderd to the Inhabitants of the post--

Prices of provisions-- (229) &ca--

Gave the de Quindres their certificates--

30th. The Grande Coete (great Queue) principal Chief of the Peankashass arrived with 35 followers on horseback--

31st. [December 31, 1778] Finding a dissatisfaction prevail among the Militia from Detroit, which I could only attribute to the management of some persons who should have acted a far different part, I determined to gratify them by dismissing them which I did giving them certificates for their pay to the 24th. January, and ten days provision to last them to the Miamis-- kept the arms of one half, and allowed arms to the remainder for their security in passing thro' the Indian Villages-- Went this day to the little river (230) to examine the state of a Sawmill, and a grist mill on this stream-- The former is so stationed as to be unserviceable when the Ouabache rises as it did this winter, the latter is but poorly secured against Land floods--

Took down two billiard tables in the Village-- Sent off the packets with letters for the Commander in Chief, (231) Govr: Cramahé, Captain Lernoult & Mr: Macomb at Detroit.

1779 January 1st. The Savages as is usual on the first day of the year, came to make their compliment discharging their pieces at the Gate of the Fort, I went out to give my hand to the Chiefs, when Sastaharitze the Chief of the Wyndatts spoke for the rest, wishing the great spirit might prosper all our undertakings[,] saluted the King of England and his children, and having received the accustomed present of some rum and Tobacco, went away and behaved very quietly & soberly, not so the drunken thoughtless inhabitants of the Village--

The Militia Officers came also in compliment, I told them I hoped they would maintain order and subordination among the inhabitants, that they should be supported in their Authority, and disobedience punished with severity--

From their conversation I found that the attempts of the most reasonable among them to encourage order, decency, or the education of children, were frustrated, or ridiculed by the indolent vicious ignorant inhabitants-- It must be observed that diligence and industry would speedily pay themselves in this Country, very extensive meadows supply abundance of pasture for Cattle in Summer, the hay is sweet and strong, and their Cattle could easyly be fodderd thro' the Winter, but the people are in general too lazy to make sufficient provision-- The soil is rich tho' light, Tobacco, Maiz, wheat, millet, pease, Garden Stuff thrive well-- Sugar is made from the Maple, the woods are distant half a league in some parts a league from the Village, and consist of Oaks of different sorts, Nutwood, Beech of a great size, Elm, Plane, Ash, Mulberry, Yellow wood, Locust, and Leatherwood, the bark of which may be stripped at any time of year, and is very usefull to the Indians and hunters, serving to secure their temporary huts, tie their packs & various other purposes-- The soil is thin and sandy, but black & fertile, below this is gravel to a considerable depth, so that Wells are readily sunk and the water is cool and wholesome, without this circumstance the place would not be habitable, as in Summer the river is very low, the water hot & tastes fishy, the river abounding in fish, yet dhe inhabitants dont take the trouble to catch them--

There are many fine salt springs in the neighbourhood, but salt is sold at 4 pounds New York Currency the bushel!, Maple Sugar tho' to be made with little labour & no expense in the Woods, 4 dollars the pound, the common clay tobacco pipes 6 dollars the dozen, other articles proportionately extravagant. Their fields of corn are not enclosed, all their cattle being pennd in one common enclosure of about 2000 Acres in extent-- Most of the farmers content themselves with harrowing over the old stubbles, and sow their grain without any other precaution-- the harrow commonly used is in the form of a rake ten feet long with teeth about 8 inches in length, this drawn by one horse-- They use no manure even for Tobacco, tho the quantity of filth about their houses would furnish great abundance,

Their barns are rarely weather proof, being carelessly coverd with bark, instead of shingles or thatch which are very easyly procured-- Venison and wildfowl are plentyfull and very good-- The Buffaloe is hunted at a good distance from the settlement, having boned and salted the flesh in bulk, the hunters pour the tallow over it, and thus convey it in their pirogues as far as to N. Orleans where they exchange it for liquors, & other commodities. Deer, Bear, Turkies, Raccoons, Pheasants, Quails are in sufficient numbers--

floating Corn mills might easyly be employed as the current of the river Ouabache is strong most part of the Year, in lieu of these they use Horse Mills which are expensive and tedious-- On a little stream 2 miles to the eastward of the Village is a Grist Mill, which one Cartier (almost the only industrious man among them) has lately improved and repaired, after it had lain unemployed for 5 years-- The Sawmill is a good one--

2d. Some Miamis Indians returnd from a Scout. no. ex.(232)

3d. A party of Quiquaboes returned with a sick man, had left Baulon and Baubin at the little Ouabache--

The Detroit Militia set off this day homeward-- wrote to Monsieur Baby, by Labodie--

4th. Sent for the Officers of the Militia who had receivd commissions under Governor Abbott, which had been replaced by others under the power of Congress-- Among them came Bosseron who had been Captain of the Volunteer Company 70 men designed as garrison in the fort, but who deserted Captain Helm on our approach-- This fellows commission was interlined with the most indecent and scandalous scraps, of disloyalty &ca.

When I showed it to him, he acknowledged that it was shamefull and inexcusable, and that he was heartyly sorry for it, I told him that his sense of his fault was some reparation and that I hoped he would make amends by good behavior for such unmanly doings-- The dissembling Villain went away in tears which appeard to be the genuine effects of shame.

It is scarce to be wondered at, that the inhabitants of this remote place, (a refuge for debtors and Vagabonds from Canada,) should be lost to every principle of probity and honor, when they were under the influence of so worthless a mortal as the Ecclesiastic Gibault-- This man who was openly guilty of every kind of immorality and licentiousness, had, some time after the Rebels had taken possession of the Ilinois, assembled a number of the Inhabitants of St. Vincennes, & told them, that the Americans being now in possession of the Ilinois & Detroit taken, they would be exposed to the resentment of the Americans if they quitted the post without taking out proper papers, and taking an oath of fidelity to the states-- He then formally absolved them from their allegiance to the King of Great Britain, and was the first to cry out Long live the Congress-- In this he was followed by all persons, the King's colour were delivered to the Priest, who carryed them to Colonel Clarke then at Kaskasquias-- (233)

5th. The Piankashaà chief Grande Coète came to me this Morning to explain his situation-- This man had been at Detroit, and was very well treated, came away perfecely satisfyed-- indeed his manner and behaviour entitled him to notice, With very good sense and a very modest behaviour, he was perfectly sober, never touching spirituous liquors, and more from complaisance than liking tasting even wine-- he had a manly openness of Character & was highly esteemd by his own people--

This man told me that he had not listend to the Rebels from inclination, but that having heard that Detroit was for a certainty in their hands, he had no resource for ammunition etca. but from the Americans--

//Had the French inhabitants chose to have set this man right in that point, it was easily to be done, but probably they were the first to impose on him--//

He said he had been at Ouiattanon with Captain Helm from whence he should have proceeded to the Miamis to know the truth of the report, but the Chiefs at Ouiattanon dissuaded him-- // This was probably the doings of Monsieur de Celoron// ---Some Delawares came in from White River, and confirmd the accounts formerly given of the assemblying at Cherakee river (234)

6th. A young Saqui came to ask for a War Axe, saying he never went to war without doing something-- He received one and presented it to the Young Tobacco, who sharpend it for him, that is he took it from him, sung the War song & danced, then returned it.--

The Carpenters were employed in framing a Barrack 40 feet long by 18-- 6 men in digging the Well-- The inhabitants in squaring oak logs for the Blockhouses--

7th. The Well sunk to the level of the water.

8th. Nothing extraordinary--

9th. A young Peankashaa of Baubin's party, returnd with a Prisoner, by the name Jean l'oignon who had been engaged to bring letters from Kaskasquias-- the prisoner was almost perished with cold-- The Indian had swam across the Ouabache with his Gun, leaving his Prisoner (who was not in a condition to escape,) to make a fire for himself at Riviere aux embarras-- Charles Reaume and Grande Coète set off to bring the Prisoner, and returnd with him at 2 o'Clock in the morning-- This man brought a letter from a Lieutenant Rogers to Captain Helm acquainting him among other particulars, that an express had arrived at Kaskasquias from Cahokia, with an account that 500 Indians with some English and French, were in their march to the Ilinois--

//This account respected us who had come by the way of the Miamis, and had probably been given as warning to the Rebels to prepare for an attack// He added that only one boat had arrived at Kaskasquias from New Orleans with Liquors-- that Powder was very scarce, not 1000 lb in the Senlement-- That when the French inhabitants talked of going over to the Spanish side, if the Indians should come against the Fort, Colonel Clarke threatened to burn the houses of any who should leave the SettIement-- That they had not any batteaus at Kaskasquias-- that the settlers at the Natchez had sent a present to Gibault the Priest of a sword, with eight Dollars for the purchase of a string wherewith to hang himself. that fifteen of the Americans had deserted to the Natchez-- (235)

10th-- Sent for the Chiefs, and acquainted them with the Account given by the Prisoner-- We all concluded that Major De Peyster had sent a body of Indians to cooperate with us from St. Josephs and Michillimakina, but that their number could not exceed two hundred at the most-- Lieutenant Schieffelin arrived from his progress to the Ohio, in the course of which a Corporal and six men of Captn. Lamothes Company deserted him-- A Canadian trader used to pass between the Post of St. Vincennes and the Ilinois (Jean l'Ourse by name) was taken with a Pirogue loaded with flour &cat--

Egushewai parted from Lt. S. and proceeded on a Scout to Kaskasquias, with 14 Ottawas and Chippoweys and 1 Delaware--

13th. Snow.

14th. Gave passports to Guillaume le Comte, and Vigaud the Piedmontese (Spanish subjects) the former bound to N. Orleans, the latter to Paincourt a settlement and post on the Western shore of the Mississipi nearly opposite to Kaskasquias-- I gave Le Comte a letter for the Governor of New Orleans, Don Bernardo de Galvez, (236) brother to Don Miguel de Galvez the Spanish Minister, and another for Captain Bloomer commanding at the settlement of the Natchez-- this last letter I did not expect to be deliverd as addressed, and was designed by its contents to keep the different parties who might become acquainted with them, at their several posts-- The former contained chiefly a remonstrance to the Spanish Governor upon the permission granted to the traders of New Orleans, to supply the Rebels at their posts with ammunition &ca. also a warning to the Spanish Officers, commanding at the several posts on the Mississipi, not to give protection to the Rebels, otherways that they must abide the consequences--

15th. [January 15, 1779] Raised the frame of the new Barrack--The young Tobacco desired to know from me if it was true what he had heard, that I only held him by the tips of the fingers only--

1 told him 'twas the first I had heard of it, that my treatment of him would not be regulated by what others said, but by his own Behaviour, advising him to adhere strictly to the promise he had made to the Chiefs in public, since if he proved insincere he must be a lost man, abandoned by the Indians and cast off by myself--

Vaudrie was the Interpreter, and inhabitant of St. Vincennes, who told me he had not been qualifyed as Interpreter by Govr. Abbott--

I promised him on his taking the requisite oaths, that he should have the same pay as Isidore Chésne--

Mr: Elliott returnd from a Scout to the falls of Ohio, the Indians who were with him thought they were discoverd, and could not be prevailed on to proceed-- (237) The young Chief of the Shawanese however continued his march to the Shawanese Towns, saying his giving information to his nation of what was doing at St. Vincennes, was more material than his staying there--

16th. The Miamis came to acquaint me of their bad success at the falls of Ohio, saying they had yielded the command to the Shawanese, and that the Shawanese chief had told them I had only directed them to go to the falls to see if the roads were clear (that is to report if the Enemy had any parties out) therefore he was averse from going in search of men to kill-- that he himself would pass on to the Shawanese Towns and inform his people what had passed since he left them--

Young Tobacco came to take leave--

Three of the inhabitants (by name Boucher) who had been refractory and refused to do their Corvée, and who therefore had been kept to hard work in the Fort, were this day sent to their homes having promised to behave better in future, and taking the oath of Allegiance--

17th. Nothing extraordinary--

18th The Captains of Militia set up their Poles-- The Militia appeard under arms, being divided into three Companies according to their Districts--

A new Union flag was hoisted, and a royal salute fired in honor of her Majesty, our gracious Queen--

The Officers dined together in the Fort, and kept the festival in the best manner possible-- Taffia--

19th. The Wyandatts expressed their desire of returning-- I told them I should lay no restraint upon them, but thought they would be in the right to wait the return of the parties which had been sent out, and the arrival of the Delawares, who had the speeches of the Chickasaas--

They expressed their desire that Mr: Reaume should go with them, I said he was at his own disposal-- he chose to stay

Sent off a small party of Ottawas and Chippoweys with provision and Tobacco to meet the parties from Kaskasquias, and lend them assistance if wanted--

20th. Pacane came to take leave with his young men, saying he should return to me in the Spring by the way of the falls of Ohio--

Wabangai and his brother also who were to go to the Patte de Dinde, (238) and to return by the way of the falls by the time the maple juice should have done running--

The old Tobacco came on a visit and said the Delawares had told him that in the course of this moon, the Chaktaas Chickasaas, Cherakees, and Alibamas would come, part to St. Vincennes to take the Ouabache Indians by the hand

Some to go against the Rebels at the Ilinois, and some to assist the Shawanese upon the frontier--

from him I learnt that the Piankashaas are but lately settled in this neighbourhood, having formerly been a wandering nation-- that before their coming to the Southward they had been stationed near the Patócas, commonly stiled Padoucas in the Maps a nation inhabiting the country 700, or 800 Miles from the mouth of the river Misouri to the N. W.

Mr: Elliott came to desire to leave to go to the Shawanese Towns and from thence toward Fort Pitt, to procure intelligence, as he had not succeeded in a former attempt--

Old Reaume a Miami of Eel river came to take leave, He said, Father, we have followed you to this place, on our march, God has been good to us, we have not lost a man either by the enemy, or by sickness-- We have eaten up a deal of your provision, we have wanted for nothing, should we return to our villages as fat as you now see us, we should be ashamed to be seen, but we mean to take a circuit on our return, as we may possibly fall on the track of an enemy, by which means we may be something thinner on our arrival--

Our Women and children could not have subsisted in the Winter season unless some men had stayed to hunt for them, but in the Summer they do not need their help, we shall therefore on our return tell our men not to grow too fat, and we that go off tomorrow mean to return also

You may expect to hear from us soon--

21st. Nothing extraordinary--

22d. Hypolite Baulon returned from Kaskasquias, and with him the Ottawas and Chippoweys sent to meet Egushewai-- He reported that he had tenderd the papers I had sent by him, but that they were not received-- That Egushewai was near having taken Colonel Clarke on his way to Cahokia-- that a Delaware of Egushewai's party having got into Kaskasquias, had been closely questioned as to his errand, but' had kept his council-- That the Rebels had known nothing of our arrival, till the appearance of the scouting parties at the Kaskasquias--

23d. Lieutenant DuVernet of the Artillery came to tell me he wished to return to Detroit-- I asked his reason-- He said we were quite inactive at this place, that he had come to see service, but since there was nothing to be done, he desired to return-- I told him 'twas true we had not done anything yet, that he might well judge from our leaving Detroit so late as we did, nothing could be undertaken till the Spring, and that his return would have an odd appearance: however as the service could draw little advantage from a person who was detaind against his inclination, I should only represent to him that such a step was not consistent with his voluntary offer of coming-- that the regulars whom I had put under his command must remain without an Officer with other arguments to turn him from his design-- in vain--

He said he was well pleased to be commanded by me, but that he could not brook taking orders from others-- I said he should have reconciled that to himself, before he set out that I being but a militia man myself, he must conclude that those who had command under me, must each be obeyed in his station-- He complained of Captain La Mothe having interfered in the parade with his men, and seemed rather disposed to seek an excuse for his going away, than to listen to any reasons for his stay--

24th. Egushewai and his party with Baubin, Isidore Chésne, Pierre Chésne, Godefroi, Pillette from Kaskasquias-- they had nearly taken Colonel Clarke & 3 of his Officers--

25th. The Hurons declared their intention of going home-- Egushewai said that on his leaving Detroit, he had likewise purposed returning in the Spring, but that it was not yet Spring, that he should remain yet a while with his father and see how matters turned out-- Others might do as they pleased-- The Hurons said that tho they designed to return, they did not for that let go their father's hand, on the contrary they meant to acquaint their nation of what had happened here, and to invite some of their Warriors to come early in the Spring and join him--

The young Tobacco said he had some time ago endeavord to unite all the brown skins in one interest, and had for that purpose sent belts to several nations and to his Father But that probably they had not been deliverd-- He then showed a belt which I had sent to him from Detroit, asked if I knew it again & recollected the purpose of it, which being told him, he gave up the belt, but it was returned to him again with a promise that while he acted up to his professions, he should be treated as well as other Chiefs----- //This same belt however he had given up to Captain Helm, and got back from him after we had got possession of Post Vincennes--- //

Methusaagai gave notice of his design of returning with all his people, and asked for a medal for his son, and one for the Son of Massigaiash-- Seven Shawanese arrived from the Chickasaas, having been 5 months passing from Village to Village with belts--

26th-- The Chiefs of the following nations assembled at the fort this morning--Shawanese, Delawares, Wyandatts, Ottawas Chippoweys, Miamis, Ouiattanons, Quiquaboes, and Peankashaas--(239)

Egushewai rose up, and in the usual stile addressed the supreme being, thanking him for granting us this opportunity of assembling to speak our minds, expressed his good wishes to all present, to His Majesty, the great Chief at Quebec, all His Majesty's Officers and Soldiers in the name of the chiefs present-- then directed his speech to the Shawanese and Delawares, in particular, desiring them to be strong & to hold their Father by the hand as well as his Indian Children.

The master of life has no doubt taken compassion upon us since he has allowed us to assemble as friends in this place, let us then be sincere in our union, and act in concert for the defence of our lands. We see our father was foremost to rise up, and come thus far to frustrate the designs of the Virginians.

Brothers! You know there is a great tree under which we were used to confer peaceably and speak our minds, this tree grows at Detroit; let it be our study to keep that tree strait, that it may not bend to one side or another-- The branches of this tree extend to a great distance and rise to the clouds, who is there capable of hurting even the bark of that tree? no one--

You may recollect that last spring some Chickasaas and Cherakees came to Detroit to water that Tree, I therefore recommend to you once more to be strong, & to defend your possessions, which your father is doing his best to preserve for us.

--The Shawanese Strangers then spoke-- Father and you our brethren listen to us! five Moons are now passed since we left our Village to go to the Creek Country, from whence we are just arrived-- When we last went from this place the Officer who commanded (Captn Helm) gave us a letter for the chief of the Creeks, but as we feared it might contain something contrary to the wellfare of the Indians, we have brought it back unopend, & now put it into your hands--

//This letter contained an exhortation to the Creeks, to discredit the reports of the English who always told them lies, to require them to remain quiet, assuring them that the Ouabache Indians had joined the Americans, and exulting the power and credit of the Americans.//

We have brought a Peoria Woman who was. a prisoner among the Creeks, and whom they deliverd to me, that I might bring her to her nation, but meeting Kissingua who told us he was allied to the Peoria nation, and who asked her of us saying he would deliver her to her friends, we gave her up to him--

There is a white man with him (Hazle)--

Kissingua desired us to tell his brethren of this river, to as semble any prisoners they may have among them belonging to the Creeks, as he designed bringing on his return any of their prisoners resident among the Creeks--

The Shawanese then produced a long white Belt from the great chief of the Creeks, which he desired might be forwarded to the Ouiattanons, and by them sent to the Lake Indians that all the nations might be acquainted with the friendly intentions of the Creeks towards them, and of their enmity to the Americans-- that this belt opend a road of communication between them, which should always be kept dear, so as a child might walk with safety--

He then deliverd a twist of Tobacco for the same Indians, desiring they might smoke it, as the chief of the Creeks did, when he thought on good things, & had compassion on the Women and Children of his nation--

The Shawanese further said that the upper towns of the Creeks had not taken up the hatchet against the Americans until the last Spring, but that at present they were all engaged, and had made their way as far as to the Old Shawanese Villages, & had destroyed several small forts--

That the English had eight Forts on, and near the coast-- that the Rebels had made an attempt on the greatest called the Stone fort, but that the Indians had met them on their March and repulsed them-- That 800 of the inhabitants had come in to beg protection from His Majesty's officers-- That they were in the utmost distress for want of cloathing, and at variance among themselves-- He added that the Southern Indians were never so well supplyed as at present, owing to the care of Mr. Stewart the Superintendant--

27th--- The Chippoweys being about to return, I sent to them to speak about a young man of the name of Williams, who had been taken prisoner by them on our first coming to St. Vincennes, and whom I was desirous of restoring to his friends, on the earnest application of Captain Helm--having told them my intention, Methusaagai said, Father! You ought not to think we can refuse you any request, since you are always ready to grant us what we ask--'tis true, I had set my heart on taking this young man home, and meant to have adopted him in the place of one of my sons who died last year, but I shall give him up to you with pleasure-- I thanked him, saying I had a better opinion of his regard for me, than to propose purchasing a favor of this kind, but that since he made me a present with so good a grace, he must accept something as a mark of my good will.-- (240) On which some armbands, and a medal for the son of Massigaiash as well as for Methasaegai's son, and other silver works--

The old man said further, I am about to return to Detroit, where I shall attend to what the Chief (Captain Lernoult) shall say to me, unless he shall desire me to return to you next Spring with a small number of Warriors, in which case I shall not listen to him, as I am resolved to bring a large number-- I have been ashamed to bring with me so few as have accompanied me on this occasion, it appears, as if I had stolen away from my Nation--

Egushewai and Chamintawa said they should remain with their young men, and act as they should be required, that if any warriors of their nation, or Chiefs, chose to act the same part they might, but Michimunduck was the only one they invited--

This day all the timber and scantling for one of the Blockhouses was finished and ready for raising--

The new barrack was clapboarded-- A Corvée of 30 of the inhabitants was orderd to go to the Miamis, under the direction of the Commissary with ten Pirogues to bring down Provision--

Captain McLeod, Lieutt. St. Cosme, & Charles Baubien had leave to return at their own requests--

28th Two Delawares, A Shawanese, and four Piankashaas, went off to the salt lick above the falls of Ohio on a Scout--

The East Blockhouse was raised--

Eshkibee a Pouteouattamie chief, returnd from hunting he had design'd to have crossed the Ohio to make a Prisoner, but the Spring was not sufficiently advanced for him to bark a tree for making a canoe, so he was obliged to give up any thought of it,

he said however, that as he had voluntarily come with me from Detroit, he should not return 'till I did, that he had now made himself acquainted with the Country and should shortly set off again for the Ohio--

29th The different tribes of Savages met at the fort when the little face rose up, and expressed his satisfaction at the Message deliverd by the Shawanese from the Creek Indians-- The Grande Coète then took me by the hand, saying that in so doing he took all his brethren the Indians by the hand, as they were now all united and had but one Father to look up to, he then presented six strings of black and white wampum with a small scalp, saying his brethren of different nations had often presented him with the like, that he followed their example, having heartily joined them, and presented me with that piece of dried meat, as a proof--

He then presented a pipe of peace, in which all present smoaked the Creek Tobacco, he said he was well pleased at finding a road was now opened between them and the Ouiattanons, that he should promote to the best of his power a firm alliance between the two nations, and act in concert with them--

The little face then gave the Creek belt to Nicaquongai saying that he being of a nation who lived nearer to the Lake Indians than himself, it was proper he should forward it to them--

Nicaquongai made the same speech to the Ottawas and deliverd the belt to them, desiring them to show it to their Allies-- (241)

I thanked them for their attention to the advice they received from time to time, and applauded their unanimity--

Told them I should acquaint their father at Quebec of it, as well as the six nations, and that Methusaagai should take the speech of the Grande Coete with him to Detroit where it should remain till my return--

30th A Chief of the Peoria nation arrived with six of his followers, spoke highly in favor of the English, and professed his regard for Captain Lord who had commanded at the Ilinois-- mentioned the distress of his people for cloathing & ca.--They were well received and the Chief gave up a french Medal of L. 15. in lieu of one on the G. 3d-- (242)

A three pounder mounted in the E. Blockhouse-- The Chippoweys set out for their homes--

31st. [January 31, 1779] Eshkibee presented himself with 10 warriors, & begg'd to have three white persons with him as he meant to go on a scouting party to the falls of Ohio--

Lt. Bondi of the Indian department, Raimbault and Dumai were orderd to accompany them-- (243)

A Shawanese asked for Barblet Searsy This man had been taken prisoner by the Indians and carried to Detroit where he engaged with a Silver Smith & had a Dollar per day wages besides his board & lodging-- after some time he took the oath of allegiance & enlisted with the Volunteers being an able active man and a very good marksman-- on this occasion he deserted I shall have occasion to mention him hereafter--

Egushewai and Chamintawa offerd themselves to go to Kaskasquias on a scout, The Peoria chief was present, who declared his intention to act in concert with his brethren being sensible the English alone were able to provide for the Indians, as he saw tne Americans had not cloathing for themselves--

At 4 p.m. Mr. Adhamar the commissary of provisions, took up ten pirogues & set off for the Miamis for the stores and provisions which were lodged there--

Captain McLeod, Lts. DuVernet & St Cosme, and Mr. Jonathan Schieffelin a Volunteer--

The Wyndatts set out at the same time--

February 1st. [1779] The two Ottawa Chiefs Egushewai & Chamintawa with the Peoria chief came with 10 Warriors, designing to go to the falls of Ohio, & beggd to have Serjeants Robert and Sanscrainte of Captain La Mothe's Company to go with them-- (244)

Eshkibee came soon after for his ammunition, & with him a Squaa name Cataboe who insisted on having a gun and going to War with them--

Dawatong and Shayress the Wyndatts who set off so lately, returned, saying they could not bear the thoughts of going home without seeing the Enemy, and desired they might join the Miamis who were going with the Ottawas--

A son of Pontiach the Ottawa chief, so remarkable among the Indians for the authority courage and influence in the last Indian war, was brought to me by Egushewai, with two other Ottawas of those who live at white river, these latter joined the party going to the falls of Ohio--

2d. Egushewai's party consisting of eight Ottawas, two Wyndatts, 2 Miamis and two Frenchmen, got their ammunition &ca.

3d. The Chiefs determined that Dawatong should remain at St. Vincennes, & only Shayress go to the scouting party--

4th. Mr. Foucher a Canadian trader having lost at play last night 12000 livres, and having given notes of hand on his Brother and Co. at Montreal for the amount, as tho it had been employed in the way of trade, I called in his bill for Indian goods, and it was endorsed so as the Company could not be defrauded-- A letter was also written to his brother acquainting him with the Transaction--

A young Ottawa Squaa who had been sold for a slave by her Brother to Joseph André a trader at St. Vincennes was purchased to be restored to her Nation--

5th. Egusheway, Nicaquongay, Dawatong and the petite face came to inform me they designed to send two young men express to the Miamis, with a message to the grande Coéte and a string of white wampum from the Ottawas to Ottawakie and the Ottawas of the Miami's river, to shew the road to St. Vincennes, telling them that Egusheway lookd towards them and imagined they did the like towards him, that he did not mean to drag them, but left them to come if they thought proper--

6th. This day the Workmen began upon the Blockhouse to be erected at the West Angle of the Fort

7th. Captain McKee with the White fish set out for the Shawanese towns, the former had letters for Detroit to be forwarded from thence--

The River Ouabache rose to a great heighth--

8th. Nothing extraordinary--

9th. The river swelled considerably--

The little salient Angle in the N.E. side of the Fort taken down, the Stockades made to range with that front, and lined--

10th. A Pirogue from the Ilinois arrived, which had been 50 days on the way--

Two Canoes with Delawares from the Ohio--Took down the saillant angle in the S.E. face next the Church yard--

Two Canoes of Peankashaas came down from their wintering ground---

The river continues to rise considerably--

11th. William Williams who had been purchased from the Savages and was on his parole, deserted with Drury Bushe of C. La Mothes

Serjeant Magnian with 8 Men were sent down the river to take them--

Mr: F. Maisonville offered his service, and three Horsemen were sent to seek for their traces on the opposite shore as we judged they went off for Kaskasquias--

Leepahkia and Napikiteeta otherways the red Chief (Peankashaas) came to speak with me, expressed their thankfullness for my coming, and for the transaction relative to the sale of their lands-- said they were not the only fools, that the French people had been parties in the busyness--

12th. Lieutenant Chabert, who had gone on horseback to trace the Deserters, returnd not having been able to make any discovery-- reported the riviere aux embarras (245) overflowed, and the low Country entirely drowned--

13th. The Ouabache continues to rise--

14th. Search made at Henry's the armourer's for the Deserters, in vain--

15th. [February 15, 1779] Captain Maisonville set out for Detroit, having desired leave--

The river continues rising--

Captaln Helm told me a Virginian from the falls had desired to speak with him, but that he had refused and sent him off //This might have been so, but I had afterwards reason for thinking this report was made, in part to make a shew of plain dealing, but with more probability to draw attention to that Quarter from which it since appeared nothing was to be apprehended--// Captain Helm had been observed a little before William William's desertion, to have taken him apart, and to have read a paper to him, which with other circumstances, led us to think he had advised & directed his evasion-- / /

16th. Not to slight the above information, I sent off Isidore Chésne and Charles Reaume on horseback, by the road to the Falls to see if they could make out anything--

The White river rose very high, & from 250 Yards, its common breadth extended to a league--

The Ouabache also overflowed its banks, and many head of Cattle were lost by the low land being drowned--

17th. Nothing extraordinary--

18th. The Ouabache was risen so high as to back the Water of the little river, and prevent the Sawmill going-- The river opposite the Fort being sounded, the depth was found to be 30 feet which in summer was but 10 in the same place--

The Country people who had gone out to relieve their Cattle exposed to the Violence of the flood in the meadows, brought several in from different distances, some from 20 miles off in their Pirogues-- The Waters had risen the last year very high, but not within a foot of the present depth, when near 400 head of Cattle were lost-- The South side of the river appears like a lake for two leagues below the fort--

The Weather is now so open that the Peach trees are in bloom and the Apple trees are in bud--

The N. W. Blockhouse was set up--

19th. the River falls a little--

20th. the River has fallen a foot--

21st. Rain which keeps up the river---

The Ottawas, Wyndatts, Delawares, Miamis, Ouiattanons, and Peankashaas assembled at the fort-- Young Tobacco deliverd a scalp to an old Delaware, saying it had been a custom with their forefathers to make a division of any spoil to keep up a good intelligence between nation and nation-- He then made a solemn address to the divine being, invoking his wrath, if what he said was not true, he then declared the sincerity of his intentions in taking his brethren by the hand, and declining any further intercourse with or dependence upon the Virginians--

Egushewai then rose up, and advised him to be cautious of what he advanced, and to remember well what promises he made in presence of so many persons-- For his own particular, he spoke not only his own sentiments, but those of all the Lake Indians, and with a tone of Authority raising his Voice, desired the Young Tobacco might be cautious in future how he used his Tongue to call the Virginian his father, not to speak from the lips outward, but from the heart--

The manner in which this was deliverd, was considerd by the Indians to convey a threat--

The Young Tobacco got up and said he was as yet but young and ignorant, but that having been very ill in his younger days, and on the point of dying, he had been baptized, and since that time had had too great a reverence for the divine being to advance a falsehood, persuaded that he should be punished by him on the spot, if he professed what was not true, and begg'd the Chiefs to believe he was perfectly sincere--

Just as he had finished, a Messenger came to inform them that the two Miamis and Huron, who set off the 3d. Instt. for the falls had returned with the scalp of a man whose rifle they brought in--

I desired the Chiefs might assemble next day at the Fort, as I had something to communicate worth their attention--

22d [February 22, 1779] The Chiefs being assembled were told, that as I had been used hitherto to communicate to them whatever might regard them, I had now called them together to inform them, I had reason to believe these was or shortly would be a rupture between the Courts of Great Britain and France, but that as the war would probably but little affect us who were so far inland, I required and expected they should behave to the French in this country, as to brothers and fellow Subjects, since tho' they had for a while taken part with the Rebels, they had on our arrival declared their sorrow for their fault, and had called upon the divine Being to witness their sincerity when they took a fresh oath to behave in future as dutyfull and faithfull subjects--

The Chiefs said they had hitherto listend to my advice, and they should continue so to do--They appeard a little struck at this news, tho' 'tis probable they had had intimation of it from the French, as I had heard of rejoycings having been made at the Ilinois, & even at St. Vincennes on the accounts being received of the Alliance of France with the Americans--

//On the 5th. of December last when at Ouiattanon, I received a letter inclosing the Ouebec Gazette of the 8th of October, given a relation of the Engagement between Keppel & D'Orvilliers--/ /(246)

This day the N.W. Blockhouse was completed, except the hanging the Forts, which could not be done, the Ironwork not being yet finished-- A three pounder mounted in it.