The new administration--Intellectual contest in the Senate--Sharp
contest for mayoralty of Detroit--Things shaping at
Washington--Perilous trip on the ice--Medical effects of this
exposure--Legislative Council--Visit to Niagara Falls--A visitor of
note--History--Character of the Chippewas--Ish-ko-da-wau-bo--Rotary
sails--Hostilities between the Chippewas and Sioux--Friendship and
badinage--Social intercourse--Sanillac--Gossip--Expedition to Lake
Superior--Winter Session of the Council--Historical
disclosure--Historical Society of Rhode Island--Domestic--French
1830. Jan. 26th. THE NEW ADMINISTRATION.--A friend from
Washington writes: "Nothing has yet been touched in the Indian
department. It is doubtful whether our code will be considered. The
engrossing topic of the session will be the removal of the Indians.
It occupies the public mind through the Union, and petitions and
remonstrances are pouring in, without number. The article (On the
Removal of the Indians) was luckily hit. It has been well
received, and is very acceptable to the government."
Feb. 23d. INTELLECTUAL CONTEST IN THE SENATE.--A
correspondent from Detroit writes: "I refer you to your papers,
which will give you the history of the contest between those
intellectual giants, Hayne and Webster, rather Webster and Hayne, on
the land question, which seems to absorb public interest entirely.
My books containing Extracts of the Eloquence of the British
Parliament, furnish me no such models as that second speech.
Such clearness, simplicity, and comprehensiveness; such a grave and
impressive tread; such imposing countenance and manner; such power
of thought, and vigor of intellect, and opulence of diction, and
chastened brilliance of imagination, have seldom, I was about to say
never, startled the listeners of that chamber."
SHARP CONTEST FOR MAYORALTY OF DETROIT.--A shrewd and observant
correspondent writes: "John R. Williams has been elected mayor,
after a close election, disputed by Chapin. The enemy practised a
good thing on him. During one of the delegate elections, when his
ambition seemed to tower higher than it now does, he published a
sort of memorabilia, like that of Dr. Mitchell, in which was set
forth, with much minuteness of detail, all that he had ever done,
and much of all he ever thought, for the good of this poor
territory. Such, for instance, as that in 1802, he was appointed
town-clerk of Hamtramck; that he offered, in 1811, his services to
Congress in a military capacity, which offer was rejected, and 'was
the first who received intelligence of the capture of Mackinac,' &c.
This thing the remorseless enemy republished, after it had been
fervently hoped, no doubt, that the unlucky bantling had descended
to the tomb of the Capulets. It was so unaccountably weak and
stupid, and so unkindly contrasted at bottom with sundry
specifications 'of how' he had, with a pertinacious consistency,
opposed every projected public improvement here, that his friends
pronounced it a forgery."
April 14th. THINGS SHAPING AT WASHINGTON.--"I reached home,"
says a friend, "last week, after a pleasant journey. The time passed
off, at Washington, pretty comfortably. There was much to see and
hear. The elements of political affairs are combining and
recombining, and it is difficult to predict the future course of
"You will see that, in the fiscal way, the department is better off
than last year. Our friend, Col. McKenney, stands his ground well,
and I see no difference in his situation."
PERILOUS TRIP ON THE ICE.--My brother James left the Sault St. Marie
on the ice with a train, about the 1st of April. He writes from
Mackinac, on the 14th of April: "We arrived here on the 12th, after
a stay of seven days at Point St. Ignace. We were seven days from
the Sault to the Point, at which place we arrived in a cold rain
storm, half starved, lame, and tired. I suppose this trip ranks
anything of the kind since the days of Henry. I am sure mortals
never suffered more than us. After leaving the Sault,
disappointment, hunger, and fatigue, were our constant companions.
The children of Israel traveled a crooked road, 'tis said, but I
think it was not equal to our circuit.
"We found the ice in Muddy Lake very good, in comparison to that of
Huron. After leaving Detour, we were obliged to coast, and that too
over piles of snow, mountains of ice, and innumerable rocks. In one
instance, we were obliged to make a portage across a cedar swamp
with our baggage, and drove Jack about a mile through the water, in
order to continue the 'voyage in a train.' We were obliged to round
all those long points on Huron, afraid if we went through the snow
of being caught on some island.
"Jack fell through the ice three times out of soundings, and it was
with great difficulty we succeeded in getting him out. We lost all
our harness in the Lake, and were obliged to 'rig out' with an old
bag, a portage collar, and a small piece of rope-yarn. Jack was
three days without eating, except what he could pick on the shore.
Take it all in all, I think it rather a severe trip."
MEDICAL OR PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF THIS EXPOSURE TO COLD AND WET.--"I
came to this place (Vernon, N.Y.) much fatigued, and not in the best
health. I think my voyage from the Sault to Mackinac has impaired my
health. I was most strangely attacked on board the Aurora. As I was
reading in the cabin, all at once I was struck perfectly blind; then
a severe pain in the head and face and throat, which was remedied by
rubbing with vinegar; on the whole, rather a strange variety of
KINDNESS TO AN OLD DECAYED "MERCHANT VOYAGEUR."--There lived near
me, on the Canadian shore, an aged Frenchman, a native of Trois
Rivieres, in Lower Canada, whose reminiscences of life in the
wilderness, in the last century, had the charm of novelty. He was
about seventy years of age, and had raised a family of children by a
half-English half-Chippewa wife, all of whom had grown up and
departed. His wife and himself were left alone, and were very poor.
His education had been such as to read and write French well; he
had, in fact, received his education in the College of Quebec, where
he studied six years, and he spoke that language with considerable
purity. As the cold weather drew on in the fall of 1829, I invited
him, with his wife, to live in my basement, and took lessons of him
in French every morning after breakfast. He had all the polite and
respectful manners of a habitant, and never came up to these
recitations without the best attention in his power to his costume.
Such was Jean Baptiste Perrault, who was from one of the best
families in Lower Canada. He had been early enamored with stories of
voyageur adventure and freedom in the Indian country, where he had
spent his life. He was a man of good judgment, quick perceptions,
and most extraordinary memory of things. At my request, he committed
to paper, in French, a narrative of his wild adventures, reaching
from St. Louis to Pembina, between 1783 and 1820. Most of the facts
illustrate the hardships and risks of the Indian trade and Indian
manners and customs. They supply something for the history of the
region while the country was under the English dominion.
Never was a man more grateful for this winter's attention. He moved
back with his wife, who was quite attentive to him, to his little
domicil on the opposite shore in the spring, and lived, I am
informed, till Nov. 12, 1844, when he was about 85.
FOURTH LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL.--I was re-elected a member of the
Legislative Council, and as soon as the lakes and river were fairly
open, proceeded to Detroit, where I arrived about the middle of May.
In this trip I was accompanied by Mrs. S. and my infant son and
daughter, with their nurse; and by Miss Charlotte Johnston, a young
lady just coming out into society. The council met and organized
without delay, the committees being cast much in the manner of the
preceding council, as a majority of the members were re-elected. So
far as changes of men had supervened, they were, perhaps, for the
VISIT TO NIAGARA FALLS.--Early in June, however, it was determined
to take a recess, and I embraced this opportunity to proceed with my
family to visit Niagara Falls. Miss Elizabeth Cass accepted an
invitation to join us, and we had a most interesting and delightful
visit. We were, perhaps, the first party of pure pleasure, having no
objects of business of any kind, who ever went from the upper lakes
to see this grand feature in American scenery. We were most kindly
received by friends and acquaintances at Buffalo, where many parties
were given. We visited both banks of the falls, and crossed over
below the sheet. On passing Black Rock, we were kindly received by
Gen. Porter and his accomplished and talented lady. We returned to
Detroit with the most pleasing reminiscences of the trip.
A VISITOR OF NOTE.--About the 20th of July, Gen. Erastus Root, long
a veteran in the New York Legislature, visited Detroit, having, if I
mistake not, some public business in the upper country. Persons who
have been long before the public acquire a reputation which appears
to make every one familiar with them, and there was much curiosity
to see a person who had so long opposed Clinton, opposed the canal,
and stood forth in some things as a political reformer. I went with
him and his companion, Judge M'Call, after a very hot day, to take
some lemonade in the evening at Gen. Cass's. Gen. Root was not
refined and polished in his manners and converse. He was purposely
rough in many things, and appeared to say things in strong terms to
produce effect. To call the N.Y. Canal the "big ditch" was one of
these inventions which helped him to keep up his individuality in
the legislature. He appeared to me to be a man something after the
type of Ethan Allen.
HISTORY.--During this session of the legislature, I delivered the
annual discourse before the Historical Society. I felt so much
misgiving about reading it before the large assemblage at the State
House, that I had arranged with a literary and legal friend to put
it in his hands the moment I began to falter. For this purpose he
occupied the secretary's desk; but I found myself sufficiently
collected to go on and read it through, not quite loud enough for
all, but in a manner, I think, to give satisfaction.
CHARACTER OF THE CHIPPEWAS.--Wm. S. Mosely, Esq., writes (July 12th)
respecting this influential and wide-spread tribe, proposing a list
of queries transmitted to him by Theodore Dwight, Junr., a
philanthropist of N.Y. One of the questions is as follows: "What
have been the chief impediments between the Indian and civilization?
How would it alter their opinions or influence their conduct if they
could associate with white people without being despised, imposed
upon, or rendered suspicious of their motives? In short, if they
came in contact only with the best white men, and were neither
furnished with ardent spirits nor threatened with extermination by
ISH-KO-DA-WAU-BO.--I had a pleasant passage up the Lakes in the
steamer "Sheldon Thompson." Among the passengers were James B.
Gardiner, of Ohio; charged, with duties from Washington, and John T.
Mason, Commissioner for treating with the Indians at Green Bay. In a
letter of the 13th August, written on his return at Mackinac, Mr.
Gardiner, who is quite a philanthropist and a gentleman of most
liberal opinions, says: "I conceive it my duty to inform you that I
have obtained information from the contractor himself (Mr. Stanard,
who is a fourth owner of the Sheldon Thompson), that under the head
of 'provisions,' he has contracted to deliver, and has actually
delivered, two hundred barrels of whisky, and two hundred barrels of
high wines, at the place for the American Fur Company, which, no
doubt, is designed to be sent into the Indian country the ensuing
ROTARY SAILS.--John B. Perrault, whose name has been before
mentioned, invented a novel boat, to be propelled by the force of
rotary sails acting on machinery, which turns paddle-wheels; a very
ingenious thing. The result of experiments is, however, unfavorable
to its practical adoption.
HOSTILITIES BETWEEN THE SIOUX AND CHIPPEWAS.--These hostilities have
reached such a point, that the department has deemed it necessary to
interpose its friendly offices in a more formidable manner, by
dispatching an expedition into the principal seat of the war. The
instructions, however (of Aug. 9th), by which I was designated for
that purpose, reached me so late in that month, that it was not
deemed practicable to carry them into effect until the next year. I
reported the facts, which are deemed necessary to be known at
head-quarters, in order to give efficacy to this necessary and
proper measure, recommending that the expedition be deferred, and
that, in the meantime, suitable means be provided for making it, to
the greatest extent, effectual.
FRIENDSHIP AND BADINAGE.--A friend writes from Detroit (Aug. 14th):
"For a brief space, that is, about a quarter of an hour, I can
borrow a little use of my own soul, though I cannot call it exactly
my own. You will not fail to note, I trust, how eminently judicious
is the appropriation.
"A few days since, the letter containing the notice of your
appointment to the Lake Superior destination, was mailed for you.
The purpose of this is to suggest the memory of your doubtful
promise, to come down in the fall for the winter session. The Gov.
thinks it too late in the season to attempt your expedition this
fall; and I presume, that it is, I hope, your papers will not reach
you in time to leave this summer, an opinion of questionable
"You can have your table placed in the corner, and amuse yourself
with preparing an article for the N.A., Thus you will
discharge a double duty to your country; one to its political
interests, and another to its department of letters. Whatever
preparations are necessary at your place, can be made in the winter,
under directions left there when you come down, and such as could be
more conveniently made here, you shall have every aid in forwarding.
The fact is, I see not a single objection, I cannot see one,
and more than that, I won't. This I conceive to be the only rational
view to be taken of the subject, and, of course, it follows like the
consequence to the minor of a syllogism; the only one you take. So
don't say any more about it, but come along down, and then you
shall, with more pleasure, satisfaction, and comfort, go along up.
It is, in fact, just as clear, as that one and one, you and me, will
SOCIAL INTERCOURSE,--Maj. W. writes (21st Aug.): "I was sorry, on my
return, to find you gone, for we have left undone that which I hoped
to have done, with your assistance, that is, the arrangement of our
museum. But circumstances were unlucky. Cases were made wrong, or
not made in due time, and absences took some folks away (an
allusion to the trip to Niagara), and the council would
adjourn, &c. You are, however, I understand, to be down here New
Year's day, to which time, for the special accommodation of the
up-country members, I presume the council, as it is said, has
adjourned. An appropriation for snow shoes ought to have been made."
SANILLAC.--"I made an arrangement in Boston for the printing of my
MSS. As I found I was to bear the brunt of the expense, I determined
to make it as small as I consistently could, and have, therefore,
made the volume somewhat smaller than was in my original plan.
"Mr. Ward showed me a hasty note from you relative to the address
(before the Historical Society). I have examined it as published,
and I told him your suggestions were out of the question. There is
not an error that I could detect that is not clearly typographical;
and your fears, that either yourself or the society will be
discredited, are all idle. I do not recollect any of your books
which, I think, do you more credit."
GOSSIP.--Mr. Ward writes: "We have but little news. The governor and
Elizabeth are off to Utica and Troy, and we hope the springs. Mr.
Cass, Lewis, and Isabel to the Maumee. Major and Mrs. Kearsley to
New York and Philadelphia, with Miss Colt in keeping. For all
persons else, one note will answer. They eat drink, and sleep as
they did, and are 'partly as usual.'"
EXPEDITION INTO LAKE SUPERIOR.--"I do not answer you officially,"
says Gov. C. "concerning the expedition into Lake Superior, because
I shall expect you will be here in the last vessel, to attend the
meeting of the council, and Mr. Brush speaks with certainty-upon the
subject. As Mr. Irwin has resigned, and there is no provision for
ordering a new election, your district will be wholly unrepresented
unless you attend. In the mean time I have received the sum allowed
for this service, which you can draw for whenever you please. There
is no doubt but the matter will go on. After you arrive here, and We
have conversed together, I will restate the project of a more
extended expedition, agreeably to your suggestions, and submit it to
the department. I agree with you fully, that the thing should be
enlarged, to embrace the persons and objects you suggest. It would
be an important expedition, and not a little honorable to you, to
have the direction of it, as it will be the first authorized by the
WINTER SESSION OF THE COUNCIL.--On the 16th of November, I embarked
in a large boat at St. Mary's with a view of reaching Mackinack in
season to take the last vessel returning down the lakes. The weather
was hazy, warm, and calm, and we could not descry objects at any
considerable distance. If we were not in "Sleepy Hollow" while
descending the broad valley and stretched out waters of the St.
Mary's, we were, at least, in such a hazy atmosphere, that our eyes
might almost as well have been shut. It seemed an interlude in the
weather, between the boisterous winds of autumn and the severe cold
of December. In this maze I came down the river safely, and
proceeded to Mackinack, where I remained several days before I found
a vessel. These were days of pleasing moral intercourse at the
mission. I do not recollect how many days the voyage lasted, but it
was late in the evening of a day in December, dark and very muddy
when the schooner dropped anchor off the city, and I plodded my way
from the shore to the Old Stone Mansion House in Detroit.
HISTORICAL DISCOURSE.--Mr. Madison, the Ex-president, transmits a
very neat and terse note of acknowledgment for a copy of my address,
in the following words, which are quite a compensation for the time
devoted to its composition:--
"J. Madison, with his respects to Mr. Schoolcraft, thanks him for
the copy of his valuable discourse before 'the Historical Society of
Michigan.' To the seasonable exhortation it gives to others, it adds
an example which may be advantageously followed." (Oct. 23d.)
HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF RHODE ISLAND.--I received a copy of a circular
issued by this institution (Nov. 1), asking Congress for aid in the
transcription of foreign historical manuscripts. "We alone,
(almost,)" say the committee, "among nations, have it in our power
to trace clearly, certainly, and satisfactorily, at a very trifling
expense, the whole of our career, from its very outset, throughout
its progress, down to the present moment--and shall we manifest a
supineness, a perfect listlessness and complete indifference
respecting a subject, that by every other people has been, and is
still esteemed of so vast magnitude, and deep interest, as to have
induced, and still to induce them to pour forth funds from their
treasuries unsparingly, to aid the historians in removing, if
possible, the veil that conceals in dark obscurity their origin?"
DOMESTIC.--Mrs. Schoolcraft writes from Elmwood, St. Mary's
(Dec. 6th): "I continue to instruct our dear little girl every day,
and I trust you will find her improved on your return, should it
please Heaven to restore you in peace and safety. Johnston has quite
recovered, and can now stand alone, and could walk, if he would.
I have called on Mrs. Baxley, and find her a very agreeable woman.
She said she saw you several times at Prairie du Chien. (1825.) I
also went to see the mission farm, and was much pleased with the
teacher, Miss McComber. The weather has remained very fine, till
within two days, when we have had, for the first time, a
sprinkling of snow. Such a season has never been heard of in
this country--not a particle of ice has, as yet, formed anywhere."
FRENCH REVOLUTION.--This political revolution has come like an
avalanche, and the citizens have determined to celebrate it, and
have a public address, for which Major Whiting has been designated.
Thirty-seven years ago the French cut off the head of the reigning
Bourbon, Louis XVI., and now they have called another branch of the
same house, of whom Bonaparte said: "They never learn anything, and
they never forget anything." As the French please, however. We are
all joy and rejoicing at the event. It seems the consummation of a
Mr. Ward (Ed. Jour.) writes 25th Dec.: "Will you send me, by the
bearer, the lines you showed me in Brush's office. They will be
quite apropos next week. Should like to close our form this
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Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the
Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers, 1851
Years with the Indians