« AnteriorContinuar »
exact direction of that city from their villages, and had never lost sight of it, although they had already travelled three hundred miles through the woods, and had upwards of four hundred miles more to go before they could reach the place of their destination. Of the exactness with which they can find out a strange place to which they have been once directed by their own people, a striking example is furnished, I think, by Mr. Jefferson, in his account of the Indian graves in Virginia. These graves are nothing more than large mounds of earth in the woods, which, on being opened, are found to contain skeletons in an erect posture: the Indian mode of sepulture has been too often described to remain unknown to you. But to come to my story. A party of Indians that were passing on to some of the seaports on the Atlantic, just as the Creeks, abovementioned, were going to Philadelphia, were observed, all on a sudden, to quit the straight road by which they were proceeding, and without asking any questions, to strike through the woods, in a direct line, to one of these graves, which lay at the distance of some miles from the road. Now very near a century must have passed over since the part of Virginia, in which this grave was situated, had been inhabited by Indians, and these Indian travellers, who were to visit it by themselves, had unquestionably never been in that part of the country before: they must have found their way to it, simply from the description of its situation, that had been handed down to them by tradition.-Weld's Travels in North America, Vol. II.
GERTRUDE OF WYOMING.
Stanza 16. l. 4.
The Mammoth comes. That I am justified in making the Indian chief allude to the mammoth as an emblem of terror and destruction, will be seen by the authority quoted below. Speaking of the mammoth, or big buffalo, Mr. Jefferson states, that a tradition is preserved among the Indians of that animal still existing in the northern parts of America.
“ A delegation of warriors from the Delaware tribe having visited the governor of Virginia during the revolution, on matters of business, the governor asked them some questions relative to their country, and, among others, what they knew or had heard of ihe animal whose bones were found at the Saiclicks on the Ohio. Their chief speaker immediately put himself into an attitude of oratory, and with a pomp suited to what he conceived the elevation of his subject, informed him, that it was a tradition handed down from their fathers, that in ancient times a herd of these tremendous animals came to the Big-bone-licks, and began an universal destruction of the bear, deer, elk, buffalo, and other animals which had been created for the use of the Indians. That the Great Man above, looking down and seeing this, was so enraged, that he seized his lightning, descended on earth, seated himself on a neighbouring mountain on a rock, of which his seat, and the prints of his feet, are still to be seen, and hurled his bolts among them, till the whole were slaughtered except the big bull, who presenting his forehead to the shafts, shook them off as they fell, but, missing one at length, it wounded him on the side, whereon, springing round, he bounded over the Ohio, over the Wabash, the Illinois,
and finally over the great lakes, where he is living at this day."Jefferson's Notes on Virginia.
Stanza 17. 1. 1. Scorning to wield the hatched for his bride, 'Gainst Brandt himself I went to battle forth. This Brandt was a warrior of the Mohawk nation, who was engaged to allure by bribes, or to force by threats, many Indian tribes to the expedition against Pennsylvania. His blood, I believe, was not purely Indian, but half German. He disgraced, however, his European descent by more than savage ferocity. Among many anecdotes which are given of him, the following is extracted from a traveller in America, already quoted. “ With a considerable body of his troops he joined the forces under the command of Sir John Johnson. A skirmish took place with a body of American troops ; the action was warm, and Brandt was shot by a musket ball in his heel, but the Americans, in the end were defeated, and an officer, with sixty men, were taken prisoners.- The officer, after having delivered up his sword, had entered into conversation with Sir John Johnson, who commanded the British troops, and they were talking together in the most friendly manner, when Brandt, having stolen slily behind them, laid the American officer low with a blow of his tomahawk. The indignation of Sir John Johnson, as may be readily supposed, was roused by such an act of treachery, and he resented it in the warmest terms. Brandt listened to him unconcernedly, and when he had finished, told him, that he was sorry for his displeasure, but that, indeed, his heel was extremely painful at the moment, and he could not help revenging himself on the only chief of the party that he saw taken. Since he had killed the officer, he added, his heel was much less painful to him than it had been before.—Weld's Travels, Vol. II. p. 297.
Stanza 17. l. 8 and 9.
No, not a kindred drop that runs in human veins. Every one who recollects the specimen of Indian eloquence given in the speech of Logan, a Mingo chief, to the governor of Virginia, will perceive that I have attempted to paraphrase its concluding and most striking
expression—There runs not a drop of my blood in the, veins of
livil g creature. The similar salutations of the fictitious personage in my story, and the real Indian orator, make it surely allowable to borrow such an expression; and if it appears, as it cannot but appear, to less advantage than in the original, I beg the reader to reflect how difficult it is to transpose such exquisitely simple words, without sacrificing a portion of their effect.
In the spring of 1774, a robbery and murder were committed on an inhabitant of the frontiers of Virginia, by two Indians of the Shawanee tribe. The neighbouring whites, according to their custom, undertook to punish this outrage in a summary manner. Colonel Cresap, a man infamous for the many murders he had committed on those much injured people, collected a party and proceeded down the Kanaway in quest of vengeance. Unfortunately, a canoe with women and children, with one man only, was seen coming from the opposite shore unarmed, and unsuspecting an attack from the whites. Cresap and his party concealed themselves on the bank of the river, and the moment the canoe reached the shore, singled out their objects, and at one fire killed every person in it. This happened to be the family of Logan, who had long been distinguished as a friend of the whites. This unworthy return provoked his vengeance; he accordingly signalized himself in the war which ensued. In the autumn of the same year a decisive battle was fought at the mouth of the great Kanaway, in which the collected force of the Shawanees, Mingoes, and Delawares, were defeated by a detachment of the Virginia militia. The Indians sued for peace.-Logan, however, disdained to be seen among the supplicants ; but lest the sincerity of the treaty should be distrusted from which so distinguished a chief abstracted himself, he sent, by a messenger, the following speech to be delivered to Lord Dunmore. “I ap
any white man if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave him not to eat; if ever he came cold and naked and he clothed him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my
love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said, Logan is the friend of white men. I had even thought to have lived with you but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, murdered all the relations of Logan, even my women and children.
“ There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature.--This called on me for revenge.I have fought for it-I have killed many:-1 have fully glutted my vengeance.-For my country I rejoice at the beams of peace—but do not harbour a thought that mine is the joy of fear.-Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life.- Who is there to mourn for Logan? not one !"-Jefferson's Notes on Virginia.
Verse 2. l. 9. Kerne, the plural of Kern, an Irish foot soldier. In this sense the word is used by Shakspeare. Gainsford in his Glory's of England says, “They (the Irish) are desperate in revenge, and their kerne think no man dead until his head be off.”
Verse 4. 1. 2.
In Erin's yellow vesture clad. Yellow dyed from saffron, was the favourite colour of the ancient Irish, as it was among the Belgic Gauls; a circumstance which favours the supposition of those who deduce the origin of the former from the latter people. The Irish chiestains who came to treat with queen Elizabeth's lord lieutenant, appeared as we are told by Sir John Davies, in saffron coloured uniform