« AnteriorContinuar »
Charges which I despise, and which nothing would induce me to notice but the concern which many respected Chiefs of my nation feel ju the character of their aged comrade. Were it otherwise, I should not be before you. I would fold my arms, and sit quietly under these ridiculous slanders.
“ The Christian party have not even proceeded legally, according to our usages, to put me down. Ah! it grieves my heart, when I look around me and see the situation of my people,--in old times united and powerful, now divided and feeble. I feel sorry for my nation. When I am gone to the other world, when the Great Spirit calls me away,—who among my people can take my place ? Many years have I guided the nation.”
Here he introduced some artful observations on the origin of the attack made upon him. He then alluded to the course taken by the Christians, as ruinous and disgraceful, especially in their abandonment of the religion of their fathers, and their sacrifices, for paltry considerations, of the lands given them by the Great Spirit. As for the ‘Black-Coats,' Mr. Calhoun had told him at Washington, four years before, that the Indians must treat with them as they thought proper; the Government would not interfere. "I will not consent,"—he concluded, sagaciously identifying his disgrace with his opposition to the Christians “I will not consent silently to be trampled under foot. As long as I can raise my voice, I will oppose such
As long as I can stand in my moccasins, I will do all that I can for my nation.” It is scarcely necessary to add, that the result of the conference was the triumphant restoration of the Oraror to his former rank.
Red-Jacket visited the Atlantic cities repeatedly and for the last time, as late as the spring of 1829 He was, on these occasions, and especially
on the latter, the object of no little curiosity and attention.*
* Of more indeed than he was probably aware. Wit
He enjoyed both, and was particularly careful to demean himself in a manner suited to the dignity of his rank and reputation. His poetical friend does him but justice in thus alluding to his Washington medal, his forest costume, and the fine carriage which the Chieftain still gallantly sustained. Thy garb—though Austria's bosom-star would frighten And George the Fourth wore, in the dance
mat Brighton, A more becoming evening dress than thine : Yet 'tis a brave one, scorning wind and weather,
And fitted for thy couch on field and flood,
Or forest green for England's Robin Hood.
Thou art as tall, as sinewy, and as strong,
Heroes in history, and gods in song.
Those strictly personal attractions which most subu served his forensic success, are not unfairly delineated by the same elegant observer. And this is not the only civilized authority to the same effect, for one of the most distinguished public men of the State in which the Chieftain resided, was wont to say that the latter reminded him strongly of the celebrated orator of Roanoke, in his best estate, and that they two were
ness the following advertisement in the Boston papers :
6 RED-JACKET.—This celebrated Indian Chief, who has recently attracted so much attention at New-York and the Southern cities, has arrived in this city, and has accepted an invitation of the Superintendant to visit the New-ENGLAND Museum, this evening, March 21, in his full Indian costume, attended by Captain Johnson, his interpreter, by whom those who wish it can be introduc ed and hold conversation with him."
the only orators of nature he had ever heard or seen. “Who will believe ?”-asks the poet
-that, with a smile whose blessing Would, like the patriarch's, sooth a dyirg hourope, With voice as low, as gentle, and caressing,
As e'er won maiden's lip in moonlight bower;
With look, like patient Job's, eschewing evil ;
With motions, graceful as a bird's in air ; Thou art, in sober truth, the veriest devil
That e'er clenched fingers in a captive's hair!
That in thy veins there springs a poison fountain,
Deadlier than that which bathes the Upas tree; And in thy wrath a nursing cat o’mountain
Is calm as her babe's sleep, compared with thee?
And underneath that face, like summer's ocean's
Its lip as moveless, and its cheek as clear,Slumbers a whirlwind of the heart's emotions,
Love, hatred, pride, hope, sorrow—all, save fear. Love-for thy land, as if she were thy daughter;
Her pipes in peace, her tomahawk in wars ;
Pride—in thy rifle-trophies and thy scars;
Remembered and revenged, when thou art gone ;
Thy name, thy fame, thy passions, and thy throne.
In the last of these stanzas is an allusion to the melancholy domestic circumstances of the subject of them. He had been the father of thirteen children, during his life-time, and had buried them all.
Red-Jacket is said to have understood English quite well, although he would never converse in it. We have often beard it from a gentleman well acquainted with him, that he once met him hastening out of Buffalo when all the neighboring country was eagerly rushing in to witness the execution of three culprits; and that the Chieftain recognized him, and made him understand by signs, that he was hurrying away from the horrid spectacle which so many thousalmohad seady assembled to enjoy. Levasseur states, that, in his conference with Lafayette, he evid dently comprehended every thing uttered in his presence, while he would speak only Indian; and that his former high opinion of the General seemed to be much increased by a few chance-medley Seneca words, which the latter had the good fortune to remember, and the courtesy to repeat. We also have been informed that, many years since, when the notorious Jemima Wilkinson compassed the country in the business of making proselytes to her doctrines, she invited some of the Senecas to a conference. Red-Jacket attended, and listened patiently to the end of a long address. Most of it he probably understood, but instead of replying to the argument in detail, he laid the axe at the root of her authority. Having risen very gravely, and spoken a few words in Seneca, he observed his adversary to enquire what he was talking about? “Ha!"-he exclaimed, with an arch look,—“She inspired,-she Jesus Christ,and not know Indian ?” The solidity of her pretensions was at once decided in the minds of at least the heathen part of her audience.
At the date of bis last-mentioned visit to the Atlantic cities, the Chieftain was more than seventy years of age, and though then habitually temperate, excess had already hastened the work of time. He died in January, 1830, at the Seneca village, near Buffalo, where his funeral took place on the 21st of the month. It was attended by all parties of his own tribe, and by many Americans, drawn together by a curiosity to witness the obsequies. His body was removed from his cabin into the mission-house, where religious services were performed. In these the Pagans took but little interest. Wrapped in profound and solemn thought, they however patiently awaited their termination. Some of them then arose, and successively addressed their countrymen in their own language. They recounted the exploits and the virtues of him whose remains they were now about to bear to his last home. They remembered his own prophetic appeal—“Who shall take my place among my people ?” They thought of the ancient glory of their nation, and they looked around them on its miserable remnant. The impression was irresistible. Tears trickled down the cheeks of the grave comrades of the dead.