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Determine to Leave the Sault

Native American Nations | Thirty Years with the Indians
 

15th. Dr. Peters, Secretary of Home Missions, writes to me, from on board a steamboat on Lake Erie, proposing a plan for bringing the subject of chaplaincies in the army to the notice of the Secretary of War.

A letter from a missionary (Boutwell) at La Pointe, L.S., says: "I endeavor daily to do something at the language. But imagine for one moment, what you could do with a boy (his interpreter) who knows neither English, French nor Indian, and yet is in the habit of mangling all. Still I am satisfied he is the best Brother F. could send, though but one remove from none. Of one thing I am determined, that if I cannot teach him English, I can to cut bushes. However, I find, by daily visiting the lodges, that I may retain, and probably add a little now and then. I find there is a trifling difference between the language here, and as spoken at the Sault. The difference consists principally in the accent. I find the interchangeables, if possible, more irregular here than there.

"The old chief (Pezhiki) is very pleasant and kind. I find him a very good standard for testing accents. His enunciation is very distinct."

25th. The sub-agent in charge at Mackinack writes: "The schooner 'White Pigeon' came in this afternoon from Green Bay, having on board Major Fowle's Company. She is to sail early to-morrow morning for the Sault.

"The Indians appear satisfied with their treatment at this office, and it has been observed by them, that more work has been done for them since my arrival here than Colonel B. did for them in one year."

His Excellency, Gov. Porter, called here (on his way to Green Bay) and examined the buildings and rooms of the agency. Casting a hasty look, he observed that the building would bring an income of four or five hundred dollars annually, were it at Detroit, for rent. He was of opinion that the outer steps required repairs, &c.

"Gen. Brook sailed on board the 'Black Hawk' for Green Bay on Sabbath last, accompanied by Lieut. Stockton, and Messrs. Dousman, Abbott, and King. Major Thomson (who relieves him) arrived on Monday last, with the whole of his troops and the officers under his command, Captain Cobbs, Lieut. Gallagher, and Lieut. Patten.

"Lieut. Gallagher joined us at our evening social prayer meeting last night, and it was really cheering and reviving to hear him pray. He is gifted with talent and abilities, and withal meekness and humility."

Nov. 1st. The same agent writes: "I forward to you the chief Shaubowayway's map of that section of the country lying between the Detour and Point St. Ignace, including all the islands on that coast. I am now waiting for the chief to proceed to Chenos as a guide, to enable us to strike in a straight line from thence to Muddy Lake River. Messrs. David Stuart and Mitchell will accompany me."

19th. Mr. Johnston writes: "I volunteered my services to accompany Mr. Ferry to get off the partial wreck of the mission schooner 'Supply,' near the second entrance of the Chenos, eighteen miles from this. Major Thompson furnished a detachment of fifteen men under Captain Cobbs. George Dousman went also with three of the Company's men. Four days' efforts were cheerfully rendered, and the vessel saved and brought into the harbor."

25th. As commerce increases, and stretches out her Briarean hands into the stormy roads and bays of these heretofore uninhabited lakes, losses from wrecks annually redouble. And the want of light-houses, buoys, and harbors is more strongly shown. James Abbott, a licensed trader, was cast ashore by the tempests of Lake Superior, at La Pointe, and, being unable to proceed to his designated post, was obliged to winter there. He gave out his credits, and spread his men, therefore, in another man's district. The agent at Mackinack (E. Stuart) writes, complaining of, and requesting me to interpose in the matter, so as "to confine his trade to such limits as may be equitable to all." It would be impossible to foresee such accidents, and appears almost equally so to correct the irregularities, now that they are done. The difficulty seems rather to have been the employment of a clerk, whose action the Company could not fully control.

29th. Mr. B. E. Stickney, of Vistula (now Toledo), writes: "A few days ago I received from the author, with which I was much pleased, 'an Address before the Chippewa County Temperance Society on the Influence of Ardent Spirits on the Condition of the North American Indians.' We conceived it to be the most fortunate effort of your pen upon the greatest subject. While we have so much reason to approve, we hope you will permit us to be frank. We conceive that, although you have been more cautious than is common, in touching sectarianism, yet, if you had not named, or made any kind of allusion to any religious sect, Christian, Jew, Pagan, or Mohammedan, you would have produced more effect. There are many individuals who neither touch, taste, nor handle this most dangerous of all poisons, who yet refuse to join in the general effort to destroy, prevent the use, or furnish an antidote, because they conceive that the sectarian poison is not an inferior evil, unless it may, perhaps, be so to the use of alcohol."

The true, but concealed, objection of this class of non-concurrents in the cause is not, it is apprehended to "sectarianism," per se, or in any other sense than that it is an evidence of practical Christianity--of morals and axioms based on the teachings of the great Founder of the system--of a belief in a moral accountability to give all influence possessed to advance the adoption of its maxims among men--in fine, of a living, constant, undying faith, not only in the truth of these maxims, but in the divinity of the sublime UTTERER of them.

Dec. 10th. Dr. Houghton, my companion in two expeditions into the Indian country, writes from Detroit: "You will undoubtedly be a little surprised to learn that I am now in Detroit, but probably not more than I am in being here. My passage through Lake Huron was tedious beyond endurance; and so long was I detained in consequence of it, that it became useless for me to proceed to New York. Under these circumstances, after having visited Fredonia, I determined to engage in the practice of my profession, in this place, at least until spring. It is only these three days since I arrived here and I am not yet completely settled, but probably will be in a few days."

[Here are the initial motives of a man who became a permanent and noted citizen of the territory, and engaged with great ardor in exploring its physical geography and resources. For two years, he was intimately associated with me; and I saw him under various circumstances of fatigue and trial in the wilderness, but always preserving his equanimity and cheerfulness. He was a zealous botanist, and a discriminating geologist. Assiduous and temperate, an accurate observer of phenomena, he accumulated facts in the physical history of the country which continually increased the knowledge of its features and character. He was the means of connecting geological observations with the linear surveys of the General Land Office, and had been several years engaged on the geological survey of Michigan, when the melancholy event of his death, in 1846, in a storm on Lake Superior, was announced.]

12th. E.A. Brush, Esq., of Detroit, writes: "Everybody--not here only, but through the Union--seems to think with just foreboding of the result of the measures taken by South Carolina. Their convention have determined to resist, after the first day of (I think) February.

"Gov. Cass's family are well, but he has not been heard from personally since he left here. He is too much occupied, I suppose, with the affairs of his department, at the opening of the session. Of course, you know that General Jackson and Van Buren are in."

 


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Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers, 1851

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