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shall be altogether changed, and their territory shall be somewhat better supplied with the good things of this world.*
Of this we are quite sure, that there is one small tribe of Indians mentioned by the author, to whom a visit from those selfish and immoral men, as they very generally are found to be, would be productive of irreparable calamity. We allude to the tribe which he describes, as occupying a few hunting lodges between Spokan house and the Chaudiere falls. Their lands consist of open meadows or prairies, bounded by clear woods, that is to say, woods free from tangled shrubs, and are beautifully interspersed with small lakes and rivulets. They are a perfectly inoffensive people. Their chief is distinguished for his wisdom. He is said to be of the Epicene gender, though he prefers the dress of the female sex, which he wears with a profusion of Indian ornaments. The upper part of his face is quite feminine, as is also his manner of wearing his hair; but the preponderance of the masculine character is attested by a beard, and a strong voice. The author's account of him is worth transcribing.
‘This chief possesses a large number of horses, some of which are the finest in the country. We purchased a few, and found him liberal in his dealings. He is free from the canting hypocrisy so common among Indians; and if he finds any of his young attendants tell a lie, or prevaricate in the least, the offender is punished by a flogging, and sent home, after which no consideration whatever would induce him to take back the delinquent.
‘He seldom visited our fort, but whenever we called on him, we were received with a degree of courteous hospitality which I never experienced elsewhere. He was communicative, and inquisitive, and ridiculed the follies of the Indians in the most philosophical manner. Of these he inveighed principally against gambling, and their improvident thoughtlessness in neglecting to provide, during the summer and autumnal months, a sufficient quantity of dried salmon for the spring, which is the season of scarcity; by which neglect they have been frequently reduced to starvation. He had heard of M*Donald's quarrel with the Indians, which he adduced as one of the bad effects resulting from gambling, and added, “had the Spokan been mad enough to follow the foolish custom of your countrymen, it is probable one of you would have been killed about a foolish dispute, arising out of a bad practice, which every wise man should avoid.”
‘He inquired particularly about our form of government, laws, customs, marriages, our ideas of a future life, &c. Our answers proved generally satisfactory; but the only two things he could not reconcile to wisdom was the law of primogeniture and the custom of duelling: the first, he said,
* By the way, we observe, that in the last number of the North-American Review, there is a laboured defence by the writer of an article on “Steward's Voyage to the South Sea,” of the conduct of the Pacific Missionaries. We must say, however, that the facts mentioned by Lord Byron are worth a whole volume of declamation, and that those facts cannot be contradicted.
was gross injustice; and he thought no one but a man bereft of his senses could be guilty of the latter. Our knowledge of his language was necessarily imperfect, owing to which the attempts I made to explain to him some of the abstruse doctrines of our religion were rather bungling; but he appeared much pleased whenever he ascertained that he comprehended what I wished to convey; and, at the conclusion of our discourse, said he would be glad to converse with some of the wise men we call priests on these matters, and more particularly on the subject of a future state.
“He is fond of tobacco; and the Indians say they often see him sitting late at night, enjoying his calumet at the door of his tent, and observing the various revolutions in the firmament. On all subjects, therefore, connected with the changes of weather, his opinion is deemed oracular, and I understand he is seldom or never mistaken in his prognostications.
“Although clothed in the garments of a female, I have hitherto classed this uncommon being among the masculine portion of the human race; and from his muscular frame, bushy beard, and strong decided tone of voice, I conceive myself justified in so doing. I never saw him angry but once, and that was occasioned by observing some private whispering and tittering going on in his presence, which he suspected had some allusion to his doubtful gender. His countenance instantly assumed a savage fierceness; but he quickly regained his composure on finding the supposed offenders had changed their conduct.
“His dwelling was covered with large deer-skins, and was completely water-proof. The interior was remarkably clean, and spread over with mats. In one corner he had a stock of dried provisions, stored in leather and mat bags, which, in periods of scarcity, he shared liberally among the tribe: in fact, he wanted nothing that could add to his happiness or comfort, and possessed a degree of calm contentment uncommon among savages, and which would put to the blush much of the philosophical wisdom of civilized man.”—vol. i. pp. 362—365.
The reader is not, however, to suppose that the author's time
was spent principally amongst tribes so well governed as that over which this extraordinary person presided. The Englishmen had, in defence of their property, killed two natives of one of the numerous and warlike tribes who dwell upon both banks of the Wallah Wallah river. For the death of these men, they all resolved to unite in order to obtain revenge ; accordingly, a large party of them, well armed, made their appearance near the river, apparently determined to intercept the further progress of the trading party, who were embarked in canoes, which carried also several valuable bales of goods. Their painted skin, closely cut hair, and naked bodies, looked quite ferocious. They refused at first every overture to peace, and declined any sort of compensation for their murdered countrymen, and preparations were made on both sides for a general engagement. In another minute or two the battle would have commenced, if, fortunately for the Englishmen, a young and popular warrior, named “Morning Star,” had not made his appearance. The scene which ensued is highly characteristic of the effect which eloquence sometimes produces, even among the most savage of these Indians.
* An awful pause ensued, when our attention was arrested by the loud. tramping of horses, and immediately after twelve mounted warriors dashed into the space between the two parties, where they halted, and dismounted, They were headed by a young chief, of fine figure, who instantly ran up to Mr. Keith, to whom he presented his hand in the most friendly manner, which example was followed by his companions. He then commanded our enemies to quit their places of concealment, and to appear before him. His orders were promptly obeyed; and having made himself acquainted with the circumstances that led to the deaths of the two Indians, and our efforts towards effecting a reconciliation, he addressed them in a speech of considerable length, of which the following is a brief sketch — .. * “Friends and relations ! Three snows have only passed over our heads since we were a poor miserable people. Our enemies the Shoshones, during the summer, stole our horses, by which we were prevented from hunting, and drove us from the banks of the river, so that we could not get fish. In winter they burned our lodges by night; they killed our relations: they treated our wives and daughters like dogs, and left us either to die from cold or starvation, or become their slaves. “They were numerous and powerful; we were few and weak. Our hearts were as the hearts of little children; we could not fight like warriors, and were driven like deer about the plains. When the thunders rolled, and the rains poured, we had no spot in which we could seek a shelter; no place, save the rocks, whereon we could lay our heads. Is such the case to-day ? No, my relations! it is not. We have driven the Shoshones from our hunting-grounds, on which they dare not now appear, and have regained possession of the lands of our fathers, in which they and their fathers' fathers lie buried. We have horses and provisions in abundance, and can sleep unmolested with our wives and our children without dreading the midnight attacks of our enemies. Our hearts are great within and we are now a nation 1 “Who then, my friends, have produced this change 2 The white men. In exchange for our horses and our furs, they gave us guns and ammunition; then we became strong; we killed many of our enemies, and forced them to fly from our lands. And are we to treat those who have been the cause of this happy change with ingratitude 2 Never ! Never ! The white people have never robbed us; and, I ask, why should we attempt to rob them ' It was bad, very bad l—and they were right in killing the robbers." Here symptoms of impatience and dissatisfaction became manifest among a group consisting chiefly of the relations of the deceased; on observing which, he continued in a louder tone: “Yes! I say they acted right in killing the robbers; and who among you will dare to contradict me? * “You know well my father was killed by the enemy, when you all deserted him like cowards; and, while the Great Master of Life spares me, no hostile foot shall again be set on our lands. I know you all; and I know that those who are afraid of their bodies in battle are thieves when they are out of it; but the warrior of the strong arm and the great heart will never rob a friend.” After a short pause he resumed : “My friends, the white men are brave, and belong to a great nation. They are many moons crossing the great lake in coming from their own country to serve us. If you were foolish enough to attack them, they would kill a great many of you; but suppose you should succeed in destroying all that are now present, what would be the consequence? A greater number would come next year to revenge the death of their relations, and they would annihilate our tribe; or should not that happen, their friends at home, on hearing of their deaths, would say we were a bad and a wicked people, and white men would never more come among us. We should then be reduced to our former state of misery and persecution ; our ammunition would be quickly expended; our guns would become useless, and we should again be driven from our lands, and the lands of our fathers, to wander like deer and wolves in the midst of the woods and plains. I therefore say the white men must not be injured They have offered you compensation for the loss of your friends: take it: but, if you should refuse, I tell you to your face that I will join them with my own band of warriors; and should one white man fall by the arrow of an Indian, that Indian, if he were my brother, with all his family, shall become victims to my vengeance.” —vol. ii. pp. 19—23.
This harangue quelled all opposition, and matters were then amicably arranged. The author was, naturally enough, much enchanted with the speech and manner of “Morning Star.” “His delivery,’ he adds, “ was impassioned, and his action, although sometimes violent, was generally bold, graceful and energetic. Our admiration at the time knew no bounds.’
Our author, in the course of his wandering, met with another of those romances of real life, which sometimes set the powers of imagination at defiance. The history of Mr. Johnston is not indeed
one of a very extraordinary nature, but it will be read with interest.
“The history of this gentleman is remarkable. He was a member of a highly respectable family in the county of Antrim, and in early life moved in the most fashionable circles in Ireland. A circumstance, however, which blasted his early hopes of happiness, induced him to abandon his native country, and about twenty-eight years before this period he arrived in America. After wandering for some time about the continent, he made his way to St. Mary's Fall, where he shortly became a great favourite with the Indians, and entered extensively into the fur trade. The chief had only one child, a daughter. She was a beautiful and interesting girl, and, although sought for as a wife by many of the youthful warriors, she declined all their offers. Her father was old and infirm, and wished her to marry before his death; but still his affection for his daughter was so great, that he would not exercise his parental authority in compelling her to choose. It soon, however, became apparent that Mr. Johnston was the object of her choice. For some time previous, as he told me himself, he began to experience the truth of St. Pierre's opinion, that “man without woman, and woman without man, are imperfect beings in the order of nature.” On learning, therefore, that he had found favour in the sight of this youthful Indian, he at once came to the resolution of rendering both himself and her perfect. Her father consented, and they were married according to the rites and ceremonies of the tribe. Death shortly after deprived the old man of his command; and Mr. Johnston, whose wisdom and courage were highly admired by the Indians, was unanimously elected his successor.
* Some years after his union with the chief's daughter, an extensive property fell to him in the north of Ireland, to which place he repaired in order to take possession. While there, offers of a tempting nature were made to induce him to reside in the country of his nativity, but his fealty to the “Lady of the Lake” could not be shaken; and the moment he had finished his business, he hastened back to St. Mary's. His family consisted of two sons and two daughters, and a Miss Campbell, an interesting girl, whose father had a few years before been shot in a duel by a Mr. Crawford. One son was employed in a public department in Canada, and the other was an officer in a local corps. The mother received us in a friendly manner at the door, but did not join us at the breakfast or dinner table.
“Mr. Johnston has extensive plantations of corn, potatoes, &c., with a beautifully arranged and well-stocked fruit and flower garden. During the late short war with America, he induced one thousand Indian warriors (of whom he took the command) to join the British forces, and rendered important services while so employed.
‘ He suffered severely for his loyalty; for, during his absence with the army, a predatory party attacked his place in the hope of obtaining a large quantity of valuable furs, which they were informed he had in his stores, but which a short time before his departure he had fortunately removed. Disappointed in their hopes of plunder, they burned his house, out-offices, &c.; destroyed the greater part of his valuable stock, and carried away every portable article they could find.* At the period, therefore, of our visit the buildings were quite new, and were constructed with much taste. The furniture was elegant, and the library select and excellent.
‘Mr. Johnston possessed a highly cultivated mind, much improved by extensive reading. He had made many excursions round the shores of Lake Superior, and along the banks of its tributary streams, in which scientific researches imparted a pleasing variety to the business of an Indian trader. His collections of specimens were varied and well selected; and if the result of his inquiries be published, they will, I have no doubt, prove a valuable addition to our geological knowledge of interior America.’— vol. ii. pp. 300–303.
Thus it will be seen that the volumes from which we have made these extracts, contain an abundance of entertaining as well as instructive matter. The portions of America with which they are principally conversant, have hitherto been but little known to us, and no person can be more competent to give an authentic description of them than an intelligent and active individual, who, like Mr. Cox, spent years in traversing their woods, prairies, and rivers, and in residing amongst their highly diversified population. His work has no pretensions to literary polish, but it conveys a great mass of useful intelligence in a clear, fluent, unaffected and agreeable style.
* “I met Mr. Johnston a few years afterwards in England, and was happy to learn that he had succeeded in obtaining from government, compensation for the losses he had sustained on the above occasion.’