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NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE INDIANS-SCENES IN THE OHIO COUNTRY
the envoy from Pennsylvania, with Montour was graciously received, but no answer could his interpreter, had passed through Logstown be given until a grand council of the western a week previously, on his way to the Twightwees tribes had been held, which was to take place and other tribes, on the Miami branch of the at Logstown in the ensuing spring. Ohio. Scarce any one was to be seen about the village but some of Croghan's rough people, whom he had left behind-" reprobate Indian traders," as Gist terms them. They regarded the latter with a jealous eye, suspecting him of some rivalship in trade, or designs on the Indian lands; and intimated significantly "that he would never go home safe."
Similar results attended visits made by Gist and Croghan to the Delawares and the Shawnees at their villages about the Scioto River; all promised to be at the gathering in Logstown. From the Shawnee village, near the mouth of the Scioto, the two emissaries shaped their course north two hundred miles, crossed the Great Moneami, or Miami River, on a raft, swimming their horses; and on the 17th of February arrived at the Indian town of Piqua. These journeyings had carried Gist about a
Gist knew the meaning of such hints from men of this stamp in the lawless depths of the wilderness; but quieted their suspicions by letting them know that he was on public busi-wide extent of country beyond the Ohio. It ness, and on good terms with their great man, George Croghan, to whom he despatched a letter. He took his departure from Logstown, however, as soon as possible, preferring, as he said, the solitude of the wilderness to such company.
At Beaver Creek, a few miles below the village, he left the river and struck into the interior of the present State of Ohio. Here he overtook George Croghan at Muskingum, a town of Wyandots and Mingoes. He had ordered all the traders in his employ who were scattered among the Indian villages, to rally at this town, where he had hoisted the English flag over his residence and over that of the sachem. This was in consequence of the hostility of the French, who had recently captured, in the neighborhood, three white men in the employ of Frazier, an Indian trader, and had carried them away prisoners to Canada.
Gist was well received by the people of Muskingum. They were indignant at the French violation of their territories, and the capture of their "English brothers." They had not forgotten the conduct of Celeron de Bienville in the previous year, and the mysterious plates which he had nailed against trees and sunk in the ground. "If the French claim the rivers which run into the lakes," said they, "those which run into the Ohio belong to us and to our brothers the English.' And they were anxious that Gist should settle among them, and build a fort for their mutual defence.
A council of the nation was now held, in which Gist invited them, in the name of the Governor of Virginia, to visit that province, where a large present of goods awaited them, sent by their father the great king, over the water to his Ohio children. The invitation
was rich and level, watered with streams and rivulets, and clad with noble forests of hickory, walnut, ash, poplar, sugar-maple, and wild cherry trees. Occasionally there were spacious plains covered with wild rye; natural meadows with blue grass and clover; and buffaloes thirty and forty at a time grazing on them as in a cultivated pasture. Deer, elk, and wild turkeys abounded. "Nothing is wanted but cultivation," said Gist, "to make this a most delightful country." Cultivation has since proved the truth of his words. The country thus described is the present State of Ohio.
Piqua, where Gist and Croghan had arrived, was the principal town of the Twightwees or Miamis; the most powerful confederacy of the West, combining four tribes, and extending its influence even beyond the Mississippi. A king or sachem of one or other of the different tribes presided over the whole. The head chief at present was the king of the Piankeshas.
At this town Croghan formed a treaty of alliance in the name of the Governor of Pennsylvania with two of the Miami tribes. And Gist was promised by the king of the Piankeshas that the chiefs of the various tribes would attend the meeting at Logstown to make a treaty with Virginia.
In the height of these demonstrations of friendship, two Ottawas entered the councilhouse, announcing themselves as envoys from the French Governor of Canada to seek a renewal of ancient alliance. They were received with all due ceremonial; for none are more ceremonious than the Indians. The French colors were set up beside the English, and the ambassadors opened their mission. "Your father, the French king," said they, "remembering his children on the Ohio, has sent them
DIPLOMACY AT PIQUA-FRENCH SCHEME.
these two kegs of milk," here, with great
the 18th of March for the Cuttawa, or Ken-
In the end the ambassadors were assured that the tribes of the Ohio and the Six Nations were hand in hand with their brothers, the English; and should war ensue with the French, they were ready to meet it.
So the French colors were taken down; the "kegs of milk" and roll of tobacco were rejected; the grand council broke up in a wardance, and the ambassadors departed, weeping and howling, and predicting ruin to the Miamis. When Gist returned to the Shawnee town, near the mouth of the Scioto, and reported to his Indian friends there the alliance he had formed with the Miami confederacy, there was great feasting and speech-making, and firing of guns. He had now happily accomplished the chief object of his mission-nothing remained but to descend the Ohio to the Great Falls. This, however, he was cautioned not to do. A large party of Indians, allies of the French, were hunting in that neighborhood, who might kill or capture him. He crossed the river attended only by a lad as a travelling companion and aid, and proceeded cautiously down the east side until within fifteen miles of the Falls. Here he came upon traps newly set, and Indian footprints not a day old; and heard the distant report of guns. The story of Indian hunters then was true. He was in a dangerous neighborhood. The savages might come upon the tracks of the horses, or hear the bells put about their necks, when turned loose in the wilderness to graze.
Abandoning all idea, therefore, of visiting the Falls, and contenting himself with the information concerning them which he had received from others, he shaped his course on
For six weeks was this hardy pioneer making his toilful way up the valley of the Cuttawa, or Kentucky River, to the banks of the Blue Stone; often checked by precipices, and obliged to seek fords at the heads of tributary streams; and happy when he could find a buffalo path broken through the tangled forests, or worn into the everlasting rocks.
On the 1st of May he climbed a rock sixty feet high, and crowning a lofty mountain, and had a distant view of the great Kanawha, breaking its way through a vast sierra; crossing that river on a raft of his own construction, he had many more weary days before him, before he reached his frontier abode on the banks of the Yadkin. He arrived therein in the latter part of May, but there was no one to welcome the wanderer home. There had been an Indian massacre in the neighborhood, and he found his house silent and deserted. His heart sank within him, until an old man whom he met near the place assured him his family were safe, having fled for refuge to a settlement thirty-five miles off, on the banks of the Roanoke. There he rejoined them on the following day.
While Gist had been making his painful way homeward, the two Ottawa ambassadors had returned to Fort Sandusky, bringing word to the French that their flag had been struck in the council-house at Piqua, and their friendship rejected and their hospitality defied by the Miamis. They informed them also of the gathering of the western tribes that was to take place at Logstown, to conclude a treaty with the Virginians.
It was a great object with the French to prevent this treaty, and to spirit up the Ohio Indians against the English. This they hoped to effect through the agency of one Captain Joncaire, a veteran diplomatist of the wilderness, whose character and story deserve a passing notice.
He had been taken prisoner when quite
CAPTAIN JONCAIRE-PREPARATION FOR HOSTILITIES.
young by the Iroquois, and adopted into one of their tribes. This was the making of his fortune. He had grown up among them, acquired their language, adapted himself to their habits, and was considered by them as one of themselves. On returning to civilized life he became a prime instrument in the hands of the Canadian government, for managing and cajoling the Indians. Sometimes he was an ambassador to the Iroquois; sometimes a mediator between the jarring tribes; sometimes a leader of their warriors when employed by the French. When in 1728 the Delawares and Shawnees migrated to the banks of the Ohio, Joncaire was the agent who followed them, and prevailed on them to consider themselves under French protection. When the French wanted to get a commanding site for a post on the Iroquois lands, near Niagara, Joncaire was the man to manage it. He craved a situation where he might put up a wigwam, and dwell among his Iroquois brethren. It was granted of course, "for was he not a son of the tribe-was he not one of themselves?" By degrees his wigwam grew into an important trading post; ultimately it became Fort Niagara. Years and years had elapsed; he had grown gray in Indian diplomacy, and was now sent once more to maintain French sovereignty over the valley of the Ohio.
He appeared at Logstown accompanied by another Frenchman, and forty Iroquois warriors. He found an assemblage of the western tribes, feasting and rejoicing, and firing of guns, for George Croghan and Montour the interpreter were there, and had been distributing presents on behalf of the Governor of Pennsylvania.
Joncaire was said to have the wit of a Frenchman, and the eloquence of an Iroquois. He made an animated speech to the chiefs in their own tongue, the gist of which was that their father Onontio (that is to say, the Governor of Canada) desired his children of the Ohio to turn away the Indian traders, and never to deal with them again on pain of his displeasure; so saying, he laid down a wampum belt of uncommon size, by way of emphasis to his message.
For once his eloquence was of no avail; a chief rose indignantly, shook his finger in his face, and stamping on the ground, "This is our land," said he. "What right has Onontio here? The English are our brothers. They shall live among us as long as one of us is alive. We
will trade with them, and not with you;" and so saying he rejected the belt of wampum.
Joncaire returned to an advanced post recently established on the upper part of the river, whence he wrote to the Governor of Pennsylvania: "The Marquis de la Jonquiere, Governor of New France, having ordered me to watch that the English make no treaty in the Ohio country, I have signified to the traders of your government to retire. You are not ignorant that all these lands belong to the King of France, and that the English have no right to trade in them." He concluded by reiterating the threat made two years previously by Celeron de Bienville against all intruding fur traders.
In the mean time, in the face of all these protests and menaces, Mr. Gist, under sanction of the Virginia Legislature, proceeded in the same year to survey the lands within the grant of the Ohio company, lying on the south side of the Ohio River, as far down as the great Kanawha. An old Delaware sachem, meeting him while thus employed, propounded a somewhat puzzling question. "The French," said he, "claim all the land on one side of the Ohio, the English claim all the land on the other side-now where does the Indians' land lie?"
Poor savages! Between their "fathers," the French, and their "brothers," the English, they were in a fair way of being most lovingly shared out of the whole country.
THE French now prepared for hostile contingencies. They launched an armed vessel of unusual size on Lake Ontario; fortified their trading houses at Niagara; strengthened their outposts, and advanced others on the upper waters of the Ohio. A stir of warlike preparation was likewise to be observed among the British colonies. It was evident that the adverse claims to the disputed territory, if pushed home, could only be settled by the stern arbitrament of the sword.
In Virginia, especially, the war spirit was manifest. The province was divided into military districts, each having an adjutantgeneral, with the rank of major, and the pay of one hundred and fifty pounds a year, whose
SCENES AT BARBADOES TROPICAL FRUITS.
duty was to attend to the organization and recording the wind and weather, but no events equipment of the militia.
Such an appointment was sought by Lawrence Washington for his brother George. It shows what must have been the maturity of mind of the latter, and the confidence inspired by his judicious conduct and aptness for business, that the post should not only be sought for him, but readily obtained; though he was yet but nineteen years of age. He proved himself worthy of the appointment.
He now set about preparing himself, with his usual method and assiduity, for his new duties. Virginia had among its floating population some military relics of the late Spanish war. Among these there was a certain Adjutant Muse, a Westmoreland volunteer, who had served with Lawrence Washington in the campaigns in the West Indies, and had been with him in the attack on Carthagena. He now undertook to instruct his brother George in the art of war; lent him treatises on military tactics; put him through the manual exercise, and gave him some idea of evolutions in the field. Another of Lawrence's campaigning comrades was Jacob Van Braam, a Dutchman by birth; a soldier of fortune of the Dalgetty order; who had been in the British army, but was now out of service, and, professing to be a complete master of fence, recruited his slender purse in this time of military excitement, by giving the Virginian youth lessons in the sword exercise.
worth citation. They landed at Barbadoes on the 3d of November. The resident physician of the place gave a favorable report of Lawrence's case, and held out hopes of a cure. The brothers were delighted with the aspect of the country, as they drove out in the cool of the evening, and beheld on all sides fields of sugar cane and Indian corn, and groves of tropical trees, in full fruit and foliage.
They took up their abode at a house pleasantly situated about a mile from town, commanding an extensive prospect of sea and land, including Carlyle bay and its shipping, and belonging to Captain Crofton, commander of James Fort.
Barbadoes had its theatre, at which Washington witnessed for the first time a dramatic representation, a species of amusement of which he afterwards became fond. It was in the present instance the doleful tragedy of George Barnwell. "The character of Barnwell, and several others," notes he in his journal, were said to be well performed. There was music adapted and regularly conducted." A safe but abstemious criticism.
Among the hospitalities of the place the brothers were invited to the house of a Judge Maynards, to dine with an association of the first people of the place, who met at each other's house alternately every Saturday, under the incontestably English title of "The Beefsteak and Tripe Club." Washington notes with admiration the profusion of tropical fruits with which the table was loaded, "the granadilla, sapadella, pomegranate, sweet orange,
Under the instructions of these veterans Mount Vernon, from being a quiet rural retreat, where Washington, three years previously, had indited love ditties to his "low-water-lemon, forbidden fruit, and guava." The land beauty," was suddenly transformed into a school of arms, as he practised the manual exercise with Adjutant Muse, or took lessons on the broadsword from Van Braam.
His martial studies, however, were interrupted for a time by the critical state of his brother's health. The constitution of Lawrence had always been delicate, and he had been obliged repeatedly to travel for a change of air. There were now pulmonary symptoms of a threatening nature, and by advice of his physicians he determined to pass a winter in the West Indies, taking with him his favorite brother George as a companion.
They accordingly sailed for Barbadoes on the 28th of September, 1751. George kept a journal of the voyage with logbook brevity;
homely prosaic beefsteak and tripe must have contrasted strangely, though sturdily, with these magnificent poetical fruits of the tropics. But John Bull is faithful to his native habits, and native dishes, whatever may be the country or clime, and would set up a chop-house at the very gates of paradise.
The brothers had scarcely been a fortnight at the island when George was taken down by a severe attack of small-pox. Skilful medical treatment, with the kind attention of friends, and especially of his brother, restored him to health in about three weeks; but his face always remained slightly marked.
After his recovery he made excursions about the island, noticing its soil, productions, fortifications, public works, and the manners of its inhabitants. While admiring the productive
RETURN HOME OF WASHINGTON-DEATH OF LAWRENCE.
ness of the sugar plantations, he was shocked at the spendthrift habits of the planters, and their utter want of management.
"How wonderful," writes he, "that such people should be in debt, and not be able to indulge themselves in all the luxuries, as well as the necessaries of life. Yet so it happens. Estates are often alienated for debts. How persons coming to estates of two, three, and four hundred acres can want, is to me most wonderful." How much does this wonder speak for his own scrupulous principle of always living within compass.
He was now afflicted with painful indecision, and his letters perplexed his family, leaving them uncertain as to his movements, and at a loss how to act. At one time he talked of remaining a year at Bermuda, and wrote to his wife to come out with George and rejoin him there; but the very same letter shows his irresolution and uncertainty, for he leaves her coming to the decision of herself and friends. As to his own movements, he says, "Six weeks will determine me what to resolve on. Forbes advises the south of France, or else Barbadoes." The very next letter, written shortly afterwards in a moment of de
The residence at Barbadoes failed to have the anticipated effect on the health of Law-spondency, talks of the possibility of "hurryrence, and he determined to seek the sweet ing home to his grave!" climate of Bermuda in the spring. He felt the absence from his wife, and it was arranged that George should return to Virginia, and bring her out to meet him at that island. Accordingly, on the 22d of December, George set sail in the Industry, bound to Virginia, where he arrived on the 1st February, 1752, after five weeks of stormy winter seafaring.
The last was no empty foreboding. He did indeed hasten back, and just reached Mount Vernon in time to die under his own roof, surrounded by his family and friends, and attended in his last moments by that brother on whose manly affection his heart seemed to repose. His death took place on the 26th July, 1752, when but thirty-four years of age. Lawrence remained through the winter at He was a noble-spirited, pure-minded, accomBarbadoes; but the very mildness of the plished gentleman; honored by the public, climate relaxed and enervated him. He felt and beloved by his friends. The paternal the want of the bracing winter weather to care ever manifested by him for his youthful which he had been accustomed. Even the in-brother George, and the influence his own variable beauty of the climate, the perpetual character and conduct must have had upon summer, wearied the restless invalid. "This him in his ductile years, should link their is the finest island of the West Indies," said he; "but I own no place can please me without a change of seasons. We soon tire of the same prospect." A consolatory truth for the inhabitants of more capricious climes.
Still some of the worst symptoms of his disorder had disappeared, and he seemed to be slowly recovering; but the nervous restlessness and desire of change, often incidental to his malady, had taken hold of him, and early in March he hastened to Bermuda. He had come too soon. The keen air of early spring brought on an aggravated return of his worst symptoms. "I have now got to my last refuge," writes he to a friend, "where I must receive my final sentence, which at present Dr. Forbes will not pronounce. He leaves me, however, I think, like a criminal condemned, though not without hopes of reprieve. But this I am to obtain by meritoriously abstaining from flesh of every sort, all strong liquors, and by riding as much as I can bear. These are the only terms on which I am to hope for life."
memories together in history, and endear the name of Lawrence Washington to every American.
Lawrence left a wife and an infant daughter to inherit his ample estates. In case his daughter should die without issue, the estate of Mount Vernon, and other lands specified in his will, were to be enjoyed by her mother during her lifetime, and at her death to be inherited by his brother George. The latter was appointed one of the executors of the will; but such was the implicit confidence reposed in his judgment and integrity, that, although he was but twenty years of age, the management of the affairs of the deceased was soon devolved upon him almost entirely.. It is needless to say that they were managed with consummate skill and scrupulous fidelity.