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indeed, -as the Iroquois orators told the English at Albany,—signified nothing,' in itself; and yet, as referring to the term Father, applied by Minavavana and the Northern Indians generally, to his Christian Majesty, it did signify, at least, that Pontiac meant to pay a slighter deference to the British king than to the French. No allegiance was acknowledged to either. As Minavavana said, “the Indians had no Father among the white men"--passing that courtesy for what is was worth—" but the king of France."
That, however, did not prevent them from owning and claiming their own woods and mountains. It did not entitle the French king to command the services, instead of "employing the assistance of their young
It did not blind them to the fact that although the English had conquered the French, they had not conquered them.* It makes the matter still more clear, in regard to what was the understanding of Pontiac, and what ought to have been that of Rogers, that, according to his own statement, the Chieftain - assured him (on the same occasion when the language last referred to is said to have been uttered,] that he was inclined to live peaceably with the English, while they used him as he deserved, and to encourage their settling in his country, but intimated that if they treated him with neglect, he should shut up the way, and exclude them from it.” In short, concludes the same writer, “his whole conversation sufficiently indicated that he was far from considering himself a conquered Prince, and that he expected to be treated with the respect and honor due to a King or Emperor, by all who came into his country or treated with him.” 1
On the whole, we have seen no evidence, and we know of no reason for presuming, that he was ever any farther attached to the British interest,' or rather any otherwise affected towards the idea of becoming attached, than is indicated by the very independent declaration made as above stated. In regard to the
Speech of Minavayana. + Rogers' Account, p. 242 question why he never did become attached to the British interest,--taking that for the correct representation of the fact,-history is silent, as unfortunately it is in regard to most of the remarkable occurrences on the frontiers which accompanied and followed his enterprise. The conjectures of any one man, who has intelligently investigated and reflected upon such history as there is, may be worth as much as those of any other. It seems to be probable, however, that although hostilities might have been prevented by a system of good management on the part of the English, (in which their predecessors could have given them a lesson,) they did not arise from any particular acts of aggression.
Pontiac reasoned as well as felt. He reasoned as Philip had done before him, and as Tecumseh will be found to have done since. He had begun to apprehend danger from this new government and people; danger to his own dominion and to the Indian interest at large; danger from their superiority, in arms, their ambition, their eagerness in possessing themselves of every military position on the Northern waters ;—and we may add also, their want of that ostensible cordiality towards the Indians, personally, to which the latter had been so much accustomed and attached in the golden days of the French, and which they were apt to regard as a necessary indication of good faith as of good will. In the language of the Chippewa orator, the French had lived in the same lodge with them. They had sent them missionaries; and invited them to councils, and made them presents, and talked and traded with them, and manifested an interest in their affairs, *_always suspected by the Indians less, and yet always effecting their own purposes better and farther, than any other people.
The English, on the other hand, if they committed no aggressions,—the expedition of Rogers was perhaps considered one; but that Pontiac forgave, yet
* Discourse of Schoolcraft.
manifested but a slight disposition for national courtesy, or for individual intercourse, or for a beneficial commerce of any description. In other words, they neglected to use Pontiac's phrase,--all those circumstances which made the neighborhood of the French agreeable, and which might have made their own at least tolerable. The conduct of the latter never gave rise to suspicion. Theirs never gave rest to it.
Thus, we suppose, the case might present itself to the mind of the Ottawa Chieftain. And while such was the apparent disposition, or indifference to disposition in particular, of the English towards the Indians--and such the consequent liability, if not the reasonable prospect on the part of the latter, if the former should occupy Canada,--Pontiac was not likely to forget that they had conquered the French. He saw too that they were rapidly and firmly establishing their new dominion, by movements which, at all events, did not purport to promote the interest of the Indians. And he knew, no doubt,-certainly he soon ascertained, that whereas the French of Canada and the Colonies of New-England had hitherto, by their action upon each other, left the third party in a good measure disengaged, -the new comers were themselves from Old England, if not New ;-speaking the same language (and that a strange one to the natives ;) subject to the same government; and ready at all times to be very conveniently supplied and supported, to an indefinite extent, by those powerful Southern Colonies which
had long before destroyed or driven off the Indians from their own borders.
So Pontiac reasoned ; and he looked into futurity far enough to foresee that ultimate fatal result to his race, which now was the only time, if indeed there was yet time, to prevent. Immediate occasions of hostility there might be besides ; but these must be the subject of mere speculation. Affections which do him honor, predisposed him to believe that the EngJish had done injustice to his old friends the French; and the French might further endeavor to persuade him that they had also done injustice to himself. But, it was certain,' they had treated him with neglect.' And therefore, following his own principle, as well as the impulse of pride, he resolved to shut up the way.' How far he succeeded, and by what means, will be our next subjects of consideration.
Pontiac's plan of campaign-He commences active pre
parations-Council of the Ottawas-Grand Council of the Northern tribes-Dream of the Delaware-Maxims promulgated by Pontiac->Estimate of the number and force of his allies—Commencement of the warSurprisal of nine English posts---Mode of surprisal Artifice adopted at Michilimackinac, and result-Re. duction of Detroit undertaken by Pontiac in
personHis interview with the commandant-His plan discov. ered, and the surprise prevented-Letter from Detroit.
The plan of operations adopted by Pontiac, for effecting the extinction of the English power, evinces an extraordinary genius, as well as a courage and
energy of the highest order. This was a sudden and contemporaneous attack upon all the British posts on the Lakes at St. Joseph, Ouiatenon, Green Bay, Michilimackinac, Detroit, the Maumee, and the Sandusky-and also upon the forts at Niagara, Presqu'Isle, Le Bæuf, Verango and Pittsburg. Most of the fortifications at these places were slight, being rather commercial depôts, than military establishments. Still, against the Indians they were strong-holds; and the positions had been so judiciously selected by the French, that to this day they command the great avenues of communication to the world of woods and waters in the remote north and west. It was manifest to Pontiac, familiar as he was with the geography of this vast tract of country, and with the practical, if not technical maxims of war, that the possession or the destruction of these posts,-saying nothing of their garrisons,—would be emphatically shutting up the way. If the surprise could be simultaneous, so that every English banner which waved upon a line of thousands of miles should be prostrated at the same moment, the garrisons would be unable