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首页 » 英文名人传记 » Lives of Famous Indian Chiefs » CHAPTER VI.
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This unfortunate chief is better known to the world by the eloquent and pathetic speech, which he has left as a record of his misfortunes and sorrows, than by his exploits in war. His father, Shikellimus, was a Cayuga chief, whose house was on the borders of Cayuga Lake, in New York. He was a personal friend of the benevolent James Logan, the intimate friend of William Penn and the founder of the Logonian Library, at Philadelphia. The name of the second son was probably derived from this person.
Logan inherited his gifts and noble nature from his father, who was ever a lover of peace, and also known as the white man's friend. His wigwam was famed far and near as the abode of hospitality, friendship, and kindness. It was a wigwam, but there was something of the halo about it which invested a feudal castle in the days of English chivalry and romance.
Shikellimus was a good provider, and those who gathered around his comfortable fire, which was lighted for every stranger by the forest chieftain, felt the independence of the lone traveler in some old baronial hall; and he who presided at the feast to which all were welcome, was not less noble or less dignified than an English lord. Had there been a pen to record his hospitality and table talk, there would probably have been seen in it more wisdom than entered into the discourse of many a prince or potentate. But, alas, for forest eloquence, it was wafted only by the breeze, and its echo died away forever.
So much for the environment of the home of his childhood. Another thing which no doubt influenced his character was the fact that in boyhood he came under the influence of the sweet-spirited Moravian missionaries, with their gentle manners and soothing words. There was about him a similar quiet and softened dignity, a refinement of sentiment and delicacy of feeling, which characterizes none but the lofty, and exhales from none but the pure.
Logan moved in early life to the banks of the Juniata, which is a beautiful little river, flowing through a wild, romantic country, watered also by the Susquehanna. In a pleasant valley he built his cabin, and married a Shawnee wife. Thus he became identified with the Shawnees and Delawares, though belonging to the Six Nations. Logan inherited his father's talents of oratory and bid fair to be equally prosperous. He took no part in the French and Indian war of 1760, nor that of Pontiac which followed, except to assume the role of peacemaker.
His house, like his father's, was the Indian's and the white man's home, the dwelling-place of love. Alas! that the milk of human kindness in his bosom should ever have been turned to gall by cruel and inhuman wrongs. In his childhood a little cousin had been taken captive by white men, under aggravating circumstances, but for this he did not become the foe of the white race.
"Forgive and forget," seems to have been his motto at this time; and he lived to be an aged man, before vengeance took possession of his soul.
In all the country where he dwelt he was known, and to every cottage Logan was welcome; terror did not creep into the heart of woman nor fear disturb the little child, when his footsteps were heard at their doors. And this, as was afterwards proved, was not because he had not all the traits which make a brave warrior, but from a settled principle that all men were brothers and should love one another.
Minnie Myrtle, in her interesting book, "The Iroquois," says of Logan: "He set forth at one time on a hunting expedition, and was alone in the forest. Two white hunters were engaged in the same sport, and having killed a bear in a wild gorge, were about to rest beside a babbling spring, when they saw an Indian form reflected in the water. They sprang to their feet and grasped their rifles, but the Indian bent forward and struck the rifles from their hands, and spilt the powder from their flasks. Then stretching forth his open palm in token of friendship, he seated himself beside them and won his way to their hearts. For a week they roamed together, hunting and fishing by day and sleeping by the same fire at night. It was Logan, and henceforth their brother. At the end of their hunt, he pursued his way over the Alleghenies, to his lodge, and they returned to their homes, never again to point a gun at an Indian's heart.
"Some white men on a journey stopped at his cabin to rest. For amusement a shooting match was proposed, at which the wager was to be a dollar a shot. During the sport Logan lost five shots, and when they had finished he entered his lodge and brought out five deer skins in payment of his losses, as a dollar a skin was the established price in those days and the red man's money. But his guests refused to take them, saying they had only been shooting for sport and wished no forfeit. But the honorable Indian would take no denial, replying, 'If you had lost the shots I should have taken your dollars, but as I have lost, take my skins.'
"Another time he wished to buy grain, and took his skins to a tailor, who adulterated the wheat, thinking the Indian would not know. But the miller informed him, and advised him to apply to a magistrate for redress. He went to a Mr. Brown, who kindly saw that his loss was made up, for Logan came often to his house, and he knew his noble heart and grieved to see him wronged. As he was waiting the decision of the magistrate, he played with a little girl, who was just trying to walk, and the mother remarked that she needed some shoes, which she was not able to purchase for her.
"The child was very fond of Logan and loved to sit upon his knee, and when he went away was ready to go too. He asked the mother if he might take her to his cabin for the day, and she, knowing well the attention which would be bestowed upon her in the Indian's lodge, consented. Toward night there was a little anxiety about the child, but the shades of evening had scarcely begun to deepen, when Logan was seen wending his way to the cottage with his precious charge; and when he placed her in her mother's arms, she saw upon her feet a tiny pair of moccasins, neatly wrought and ornamented with beads, that his own skilful hands had made. Was not this a delicate way of showing gratitude and expressing friendship? Was it a rude and savage nature that prompted this attention to a little child, to gladden a mother's heart? Not all the refined teachings of civilization could have invented a more beautiful tribute of sympathy and grateful affection."
The hunters and backwoodsmen of the period describe Logan as a chief or headman, among the outlying parties of Senecas and Cayugas, and the fragments of broken tribes that lived along the upper Ohio and its tributaries.
They tell us he was a man of splendid appearance, over six feet tall, straight as a spear-shaft, with countenance as open as it was brave and manly, until the wrongs he endured stamped on it an expression of gloomy ferocity. He had always been the friend of the white man, and had been noted particularly for his kindness and gentleness to children. Up to this time he had lived at peace with the borderers, for though some of his kin had been massacred by the whites, years before, he had forgiven the deed—probably because he had knowledge of the fact that others of his relatives and people had been concerned in equally bloody massacres of the whites.
A skilled marksman and mighty hunter, of commanding presence, who treated all men with grave courtesy and dignity, and exacted the same treatment in return, he was a prime favorite with all the white hunters and borderers whose friendship and goodwill was worth having. They admired him for his skill and courage, and they loved him for his straightforward integrity and his noble loyalty to his friends of both races.
In the "American Pioneer" an old hunter is quoted as saying that he considered "Logan the best specimen of humanity he ever met with, either white or red."
Logan was never tempted to touch a drop of "fire-water" until after his great wrongs kindled revenge in his soul. He adopted few of the customs and rejected all the vices of civilization. Such was Logan before the evil days came upon him and his heart was fired with the passion for revenge. And such, indeed, would have been recorded of many other Indians had they received the same kind treatment they extended to the whites. But, "alas for the rarity of human charity under the sun."
Early in the spring the border settlers began to suffer from the deeds of straggling bands of Indians. {FN} Horses were stolen, one or two murders were committed, the inhabitants of the more outlying cabins fled to the forts, and the frontiersmen began to threaten fierce vengeance.
{FN} Thatcher says these robberies were all charged to Indians, "though perhaps, not justly, for it is well known that a large number of civilized adventurers were traversing the frontiers at this time, who sometimes disguised themselves as Indians and committed many depredations and even murder."
On April 16 an Indian trader by the name of Butler had his store attacked and plundered by a roving band of Cherokees. Of the three men in charge at the time one was killed, another wounded, but the third made his escape and raised the alarm. Immediately after this, Connolly, who was acting as Governor Dunmore's lieutenant on the border, issued an open letter, commanding the frontiersmen to hold themselves in readiness to repel any attack of the Indians, as the Shawnees were known to be hostile.
Among the backwoodsmen was one Michael Cresap, a Maryland borderer, who had moved to the banks of the Ohio to establish a home for his family. Roosevelt, in "The Winning of the West," says of Cresap: "He was of the regular pioneer type; a good woodsman, sturdy and brave, a fearless fighter, devoted to his friends and his country; but alas, when his blood was heated, and his savage instincts fairly roused, inclined to regard any red man, whether hostile or friendly as a being who should be slain on sight. Nor did he condemn the brutal deeds done by others on innocent Indians."
Cresap, who had been appointed a captain of the frontier militia, was near Wheeling at the time Connolly's letter was received, with a band of hunters and scouts. These were fearless men who had adopted many of the ways of the Indians, including their method both of declaring war and fighting. Of course, they put a very liberal interpretation upon the order given them by Connolly to repel an attack and proceeded to declare war in the regular Indian style. Calling a council, they planted the war-post, and after marching around it many times, brandishing their hatchets, knives, swords or whatever weapon they carried, all at a signal from their leader struck the post, leaving their weapons sticking in it, and waited eagerly for a chance to attack their common enemy, the Indians.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, the first blood shed was that of friendly Indians. It seems that Butler, the Indian trader, hoping to recover some of the peltries of which he had been robbed by the Cherokees, had sent two friendly Shawnees in a canoe to the place of massacre. Cresap and his men ambushed these friendly Indians on the 27th near Captina, and killed and scalped them. Some of the more humane of the frontiersmen strongly protested against this outrage; but a large majority of them were excited and enraged by the rumor of Indian hostilities, and threatened to kill whoever interfered with them, cursing the traders as being worse than the Indians, as was often the case. Cresap boasted of the murder, and never said a word against scalping. The next day he again led out his men and attacked another party of Shawnees, who had been trading near Pittsburg, killed one and wounded two others, one of the whites being also wounded.
Shortly after this Cresap and his band started to Logan's camp, then located at Yellow Creek, some fifty miles distant. After marching several miles they began to reflect on what they were about to do; calling a halt, they discussed the fact that the camp they were going to attack consisted of friendly Indians, and mainly women and children; their better nature asserted itself, and they immediately returned home.
"But," as Roosevelt says, "Logan's people did not profit by Cresap's change of heart. On the last day of April a small party of men, women and children, including almost all of Logan's kin, left his camp and crossed the river to visit Daniel Greathouse, as had been their custom; for he made a trade of selling rum to the savages, though Cresap had notified him to stop. The whole party were plied with liquor, and became helplessly drunk, in which condition Greathouse and his associate criminals fell on and massacred them, nine souls in all. It was an inhuman and revolting deed, which should consign the names of the perpetrators to eternal infamy."
The whole family of Logan perished in this and other similar massacres; in one of the last were his brother and sister.
It will excite the wonder of no man that Logan from this moment breathed nothing but vengeance against the treacherous and inhuman whites. A general Indian war immediately followed. Logan was the foremost in leading his countrymen to the slaughter of their perfidious enemies. On July 12, with a party of only eight warriors, he attacked a settlement on the Muskingum, captured two prisoners and carried them off. When they arrived at an Indian town, they delivered them to the inhabitants, who at once prepared to put them to death by torture. Logan, however, in the heat of his vindictive feelings, displayed the humanity of his nature. He cut the cords of one of the prisoners, a man named Robinson, who was about to be burned at the stake, and saved his life at the risk of his own. A few days afterward he suddenly appeared to this prisoner with some gunpowder, ink and a wild-goose quill, wherewith to make a pen, and dictated to him a note. This note was afterward tied to a war-club and left in the house of a settler, whose entire family had been butchered by the savages. It was brief, but written with ferocious directness to the man whom he wrongly believed to be the author of his heart-rending troubles. It read as follows:
"Captain Cresap"
"What did you kill my people on Yellow Creek for? The white people killed my kin at Conestoga, a great while ago, and I thought nothing of that. But you killed my kin again on Yellow Creek, and took my cousin prisoner. Then I thought I must kill too; and I have been three times to war since; but all the Indians are not angry, only myself.
   "July 21, 1774.                 Captain John Logan."
The frontier was now in a blaze, and the Indians made preparations for war. The Mingos, Shawnees, Delawares, Wyandots and outlying Iroquois, especially the Senecas, together with a party of warriors of the Miamis from western Ohio, all banded themselves together, under the command of Cornstalk, the great Shawnee chieftain, and Logan.
Meantime Governor Dunmore was making ready a formidable army with which to overwhelm the hostile Indians. The plan was to raise three thousand men; one half, or the northern wing, was to be under the command of Lord Dunmore in person, while the other, composed entirely of border men, living among the mountains west of the Blue Ridge, was under Gen. Andrew Lewis.
Both wings were ordered to take a position at Point Pleasant, where the Great Kanawha empties into the Ohio. The division led by Lewis reached this place and, having camped on a jut of land between the two rivers, waited the coming of Lord Dunmore and his command.
But the crafty Cornstalk did not propose to wait for the coming of the other wing; through his runners he had full knowledge of the movements of the frontier militia. He was greatly outnumbered; but he had at his command over a thousand warriors, the very pick of the young men to be found among the tribes between the Great Lakes and the Ohio. His foes were divided, and he determined to strike a decisive blow before they were again united. Accordingly, he led his long file of warriors to the mouth of the Kanawha, and attacked the division under Lewis on the morning of October 10, 1774, about daylight.
This battle, known in history by two names—Point Pleasant and the Great Kanawha—was purely an American affair because it was fought solely by the backwoodsmen on one side, and American Indians on the other. It was Greek meeting Greek, or, better still, white American meeting Red, and was one of the most stubbornly fought and bravely contested in the annals of history.
The fight was a succession of single combats, each man sheltering himself behind a stump, or rock, or tree-trunk, or whatever was at hand. The backwoodsmen were the best shots, but the Indians excelled in the art of hiding and shielding themselves from harm. The two lines, though more than a mile in length, were so close together that many of the combatants grappled in hand-to-hand combat, using knife or tomahawk. The crack of the rifles was continuous, while above the noise could be heard the groans of the wounded and the shouts of the combatants, as each encouraged his own side or jeered at the enemy. The cheers of the whites mingled with the war-whoops of the Indians. The chiefs continued to exhort their warriors to still greater deeds of valor.
Cornstalk, the commander of the savages, distinguished himself in all his maneuvers throughout the engagement by the skill as well as the bravery of a consummate general. During the whole of the day his stentorian voice was heard throughout the ranks of his enemies, vociferating, "Be strong! be strong!" After an incessant fire of about twelve hours' duration darkness put an end to the conflict. The Indians now made a most skilful retreat, carrying all their wounded in safety across the Ohio, and the Americans were too exhausted to pursue them.
This battle was not only stubbornly contested but bloody. The whites, though claiming the victory, had suffered more than their foes, and indeed had won only because it was against the entire policy of Indian warfare to suffer a severe loss, even if a victory could be gained thereby. Some seventy-five of the whites had been killed or mortally wounded, and one hundred and forty severely or slightly wounded, so that they lost a fifth of their entire number. Of the Indians, the loss was not much more than half as many; only about forty were killed or mortally wounded. No chief of importance was slain among the Indians, while the whites lost in succession their second, third and fourth in command, and had seventeen officers killed or wounded.
The spirit of the Indians had been broken by their defeat. Cornstalk and Logan alone were ready and eager to continue the war. But when the former saw that he could not stir the hearts of his warriors, even with his burning eloquence, to continue the war, he stuck his tomahawk into the war-post, and said that if he could not lead them in battle he would lead them in making peace. Accordingly, with all his fellow-chiefs, except Logan, he went to Lord Dunmore's camp, and there entered into a treaty. In this the Indians agreed to surrender all the white prisoners and stolen horses in their possession, to renounce all claim to the lands south of the Ohio, and to give hostages as an earnest of their good faith.
Cornstalk was their chief spokesman, and though obliged to assent to the conditions imposed, yet preserved through all the proceedings a bearing of proud defiance that showed that he at least was not conquered, and was a stranger to fear. In all his talks, he addressed the white leaders with a tone of vehement denunciation and reproach, that seemed to evince more the attitude of a conqueror than of one of the conquered. The Virginians, who prized skill in oratory only less than skill in warfare, were greatly impressed by the chieftain's eloquence, marvelous voice and majestic bearing. Some of them afterwards stated that his oratory fully equaled that of their great speakers, Richard Henry Lee and Patrick Henry.
Meantime Logan remained apart in the Mingo village, brooding over his wrongs and the vengeance he had taken. The other Indians, when asked about Logan and the reason of his absence, replied that he was like an angry dog, whose bristles were still up, but that they were gradually falling, and when he was urged to attend the meeting he replied that he was a warrior, not a councillor, and would not come.
Since the mountain would not come to Mohammed, that prophet was forced to go to the mountain; as it was deemed absolutely imperative to have an understanding with this great leader, and learn his intentions. Accordingly a messenger was sent to interview Logan. John Gibson, a frontier veteran, who had long lived among the Indians and knew thoroughly both their language and their manners and customs, was chosen for this task. To him Logan was willing to talk. Taking him aside, he suddenly addressed him in a speech that will always retain its place as one of the finest outbursts of Indian eloquence recorded in the history of our country. John Gibson was a plain, honest backwoodsman, utterly incapable of "doctoring" a speech for the better, so he took it down in writing, translating it literally, and, returning to camp, put it into Dunmore's hands. The Governor then read it in council before the entire frontier army, including George Rogers Clark and Cresap, to whom Logan imputed the butchery of his family.
The speech, when read, proved no acknowledgment of defeat, nor expression of desire for peace, but rather a pathetic recital of the heartbreaking wrongs which had been perpetrated against him, even though innocent of harming the whites, and a fierce justification of the vengeance he had taken. The justly famous speech is as follows:
"I appeal to any white man to say if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry and he gave him not meat; 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 camp, an advocate for peace. {FN} Such was my love for the whites that my countrymen pointed as I passed and said, 'Logan is the friend of the white man.' I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man, Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not even sparing 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 sought it. I have killed many. I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country I rejoice at the beams of peace; but do not harbor 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."
{FN} Logan here refers to the French and Indian and Pontiac wars, when he refused, positively, to join the Indians, though often urged to dig up the hatchet.
The backwoodsmen listened with almost breathless attention to the reading of this speech, and many of them no doubt regretted the wanton and brutal murder. They were so much impressed by it, that it was the one subject of conversation around the evening campfire, and they continually attempted to rehearse it to each other. {FN} This was especially true of the last clause; one would ask the question, "Who is there to mourn for Logan?" and another would answer with much feeling, "Not one." But they were very well aware that Daniel Greathouse, and not Michael Cresap, was the guilty fiend who wantonly murdered this innocent family, and when the speech was read George Rogers Clark turned to Cresap and said, "You must be a very great man, that the Indians shoulder you with every mean thing that has happened." Whereat Cresap, much angered, swore that he had a good mind to tomahawk Greathouse for this heinous murder. We can only express a regret that Cresap did not carry out his threat, and a hope that some Indian meted out justice to Greathouse as he richly deserved.
{FN} Jefferson's Manuscript
Concerning this powerful address, Thomas Jefferson says: "I may challenge the whole orations of Demosthenes and Cicero, and of any more eminent orator—if Europe has furnished more eminent—to produce a single passage superior to the speech of Logan"; and Clinton, in his "Historical Discourse," subscribes to this noble eulogium:
               "Old Logan was the white man's friend
                But injuries forced his love to end;
                Of children, wife and kindred shorn,
                None left for him to joy or mourn,
                He rose in calm, vindictive ire,
                And bade them, by their fathers slain,
                No more in voiceless peace remain,
                But lift the brand, and battle cry.
                For vengeance, if not victory." {FN}
{FN} Minnie Myrtle.
Roosevelt says, of the close of his career, "Proud, gloomy Logan never recovered from the blow that had been dealt him; he drank deeper and deeper, and became more and more an implacable, moody and blood-thirsty savage, yet with noble qualities that came to the surface now and then. Again and again he wrought havoc among the frontier settlers; yet we several times hear of his saving the lives of prisoners. Once he saved Simon Kenton from torture and death, when Girty, moved by a rare spark of compassion for his former comrade, had already tried to do so and failed. At last he perished in a drunken brawl by the hand of another Indian."
We notice the authorities differ in their account of Logan's death. Drake says of him: "The melancholy history of Logan must be dismissed with no relief to its gloomy colors. He was himself a victim to the same ferocious cruelty which had already rendered him a desolate man. Not long after the treaty (of Wayne at Greenville) a party of whites murdered him as he was returning from Detroit to his own country."
There were none to mourn for Logan; but as Jefferson well says, "his talents and misfortunes have attached to him the respect and commiseration of a world."
Cornstalk died a noble death, but by an act of cowardly treachery, which is one of the darkest stains on the pages of our frontier history. In the early part of the year 1777 he came into the garrison at Point Pleasant to explain that, while he was anxious to keep the terms of the treaty his warriors were determined to go to war; and frankly added, that if they did he would be compelled to join them. He and three others, including his son, Ellinipsieo, and the chief Red Hawk, were retained as hostages and confined in the fort. About this time a member of a company of rangers was killed by the Indians near the fort; whereupon his comrades, headed by their captain, one John Hall, rushed furiously into the fort to murder the Indian prisoners. Cornstalk heard them rushing in and knew what to expect. Never for an instant did his courage fail him. Turning to Ellinipsieo, the youngest of the group, he thus exhorted him: "My son, the Great Spirit has seen fit that we should die together, and has sent you to that end. It is his will, and let us submit." Then, drawing his blanket around him, with the grace and dignity of a Roman Senator, he faced his assassins, and fell dead, pierced by seven or eight bullets. The other helpless and unarmed Indians were butchered at the same time.
Mr. Withers, in his "Chronicles," writes thus of Cornstalk and this indefensible murder: "Thus perished the mighty Cornstalk, a sachem of the Shawnees, and King of the Northern Confederacy, in 1774, a chief remarkable for many great and good qualities. He was disposed to be at all times the friend of the white men, as he ever was the advocate of honorable peace. But when his country's wrongs 'called aloud for battle,' he became the thunderbolt of war, and made her oppressors feel the weight of his uplifted arm. His noble bearing, his generous and disinterested attachment to the colonies when the thunder of British cannon was reverberating through the land, his anxiety to preserve the frontier of Virginia from desolation and death, the object of his visit to Point Pleasant—all conspired to win for him the esteem and respect of others; while the untimely and perfidious manner of his death caused a deep and lasting regret to pervade the bosoms even of those who were enemies to his nation, and excited the just indignation of all toward his inhuman and barbarous murderers."


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