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CHAPTER VI.

PASSAGE DOWN THE QUISCONSIN AND MISSISSIPPI RIVERS.

Passage down the Ouisconsin-An accident—Scenery of the Ouisconsin—A

parley with the Indians_Visit to their village—Distribution of presents-Meeting with General Atkinson at Le Petit Roche-Difficulties of navigationChanges in the river-Junction with the Mississippi—Prairie du Chien-Origin of the name Description of the Prairie-Scene and story of “the murders"_Apprehensions of another attack—Mystery of “Red-Bird's” outrage explained-Passage down the Mississippi-Grave of Julian Du Buque-GalenaThe lead-mines—Trespass upon Indian lands—Causes of the Black Hawk and Seminole wars-Rents at Galena enormously high-Rock Island—Exceeding beauty of the place-Boundary between civilized and savage life-Familiar sounds—Wrecks in the river-Fort Edwards—Encampment on an Island-Visit to the farm-house of a settler—A peep at the newspaper—Pelican Island—Shooting-Panic of the inhabitants—The milk-sickness.

Orr voyagers felt now, upon this onward current, as the mariner feels, when both the wind and tide, after having been long contrary, turn in his favor—and when he is assured there will be no change, till he reaches the port of his destination.

I had engaged a fine-looking Indian to join the count as a voyager, hoping thereby to add to the speed of his canoe, and that we might, in our descent to the Mississippi, keep close company. I had heard much of the scenery of the Ouisconsin, and felt that my admiration of it would be stimulated, if the count, with his lustrous eyes, could be along to see the beauty and grandeur of the scenes, and in such close neighborhood to me, as to interchange sentiments and feelings in their contemplation. An accident deprived the count of the services of the Indian

The Rev. Mr. J., being unpracticed in the handling of fire-arms, was sitting on a log with the count's doublebarrelled gun across his lap—the muzzle pointed in a line with another log, at some twenty paces distant, upon which sat the Indian-when, as luck would have it, one of the barrels was discharged, the shot rattling against the log, and scattering the sand about, besides a few penetrating the Indian's leggins. Up sprang the astonished brave and voyager, and eyeing Mr. J. for a second or two, said “ That man don't know what he's about”—then, looking over his shoulder at Mr. J., walked off.

We had not been long under way, before I saw the count's force was inadequate. I made a pause till he came up, and transferred to his canoe one of my men; the force proving yet too feeble, I assisted him with another—when onward we went, to the music of the voyagers' songs—happy in the reflection that our expedition had, so far, terminated otherwise than in blood. We were charmed, too, at having escaped the monotony, as well as the tedium of the ascent of the Fox river. There are, it is true, upon its shores, many beautiful upland views, where the trees grow apart, and without undergrowth, conveying to the eye the almost certain presence of civilization and cultivation. But, in the main, its shores are level, and its waters are dark, and filled with the folle avoin, or wild rice, and various aquatic plants besides; some of them, the lily, especially, very beautiful. Nature would seem, even here, to have made provision for the gratification of man; and, if the way was monotonous, she kindly scattered flowers to diversify the scene, and regale the voyager. Here, on the Ouisconsin, are sandy shores, and sand-bars, and islands, and rolling and Jure-capped shores, and hills and mountains—with

3 of the richest green, in which there would seem to have been a war, even of the elements; and these

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again were relieved by miniature representations of the pictured rocks of Lake Superior.

The water of the Ouisconsin is of the color of brandy, with less sediment than is found in that of the Fox river. Neither, however, should be drunk, in my opinion, without having first undergone the process of boiling. Every mile of our descent increased the variety, and grandeur, and beauty of the shores. Hills shooting up into more towering heights, without a tree, but clothed in the brightest green; others again, with summits resembling dilapidated fortifications, and so like them, as to cheat the observer into the belief that they were, sure enough, once, what they now seem to have been. In one of these, we noticed a tall, leafless, and dead pine, so exactly resembling a flagstaff, not in exterior, only, but in its position, as to convince at least one of the party that a fortification had once crowned that hill, and in its destruction, the flagstaff had escaped the conflagration, by being only charred. Many of these elevations rise from the river, in the terrace form; the lower, all soft and green, and beautiful; the upper, crowned with dark evergreens, arranged so as to wear the appearance of having been planted upon a regular plan, the whole conception and execution of some mind richly stored with all the elements of a practical science. And was it not

“ NATURE, enchanting nature, in whose form
And lineaments divine, I trace a hand

That errs not ?" We had not been many hours on the Ouisconsin, before, on looking to my right, I saw some hundred or more Indians appear suddenly on the summit of a hill of some sixty feet elevation, overlooking the river, and form in line, with their rifles. What their object was, I could not divine, but every movement seemed to indicate a purpose to greet us with a shower of leaden deaths. There was not a second to spare ; so I ordered my steersman to turn in,

instantly. The head of the canoe was in a moment changed from its line down the river, and brought in one to the shore. This movement brought all their rifles across the arms of the Indians, who, being suddenly struck by this prompt movement, were at a loss to comprehend its meaning, and seemed resolved to await its issue. Our guns were concealed. On reaching the beach, I ordered the men to be ready for any emergency; and so, buckling on my sword, and putting a pair of pistols in my pockets, I directed Ben to fill his pockets with tobacco and Indian jewelry, and follow me and the interpreter up the steep ascent.

Ben's color changed from its fine and glossy ebony to a sort of livid paleness, and a trembling seized him. He had often predicted, as well the year before, as now, that we should never see home again; and this he verily believed was to be the hour when his prophesy was to be fulfilled. This change in his complexion was nothing new to me, having had occasion to observe it frequently; and, in my “ Tour to the Lakes,” to record it.

On arriving at the summit of the hill, I stood' a moment. The Indians had all changed their position, and were now facing me. Not a word was spoken, nor did a man of them stir. After a short pause I inquired, through the interpreter, if their chief was present. He was. “Tell him to come and shake hands with me. I am from where the sun rises, and near his Great Father's lodge, in the great If Washington, where I have often seen and shaken

ry of the great men of the Indian race. I

way to see them in their own country, back to their Great Father, I may be able w his red children are-what are their wants

I go, if I can, to make peace among them.” Hi this was interpreted, the whole party gave a 1'probation, long, loud, and emphatic; when a

and good-looking Indian, from his position on me richt. walked up and shook hands with me

Ben was

most cordially. I asked his name—and then calling him by it, said, “ You hold in your hand, the hand of a friend and brother”—when the whole party advanced and shook hands with me.

Seeing their village at about a quarter of a mile back, on the plain, I asked to be allowed to go there, that I might shake hands with the squáws and papooses, and make them some presents. We marched to the village. A buffalo robe was spread out for me to sit upon, the calumet lighted, and we smoked—I, according to my custom, (for I never smoke,) blowing the smoke out of the bowl of the pipe, like a steam-engine. I was never suspected of not relishing this great luxury, the prized, and cherished, and enjoyed, alike by savage and civilized man. This ceremony over, I directed Ben to cut up the twists of tobacco into smaller portions, and divide it among the men. so much relieved of his terrors, as to be specially prompt, on this occasion, and he so employed his eye in counting, and his judgment in cutting up the tobacco, as to make it hold out exactly; for this I gave him great commendation. The distribution of the tobacco having been made, and to the high gratification of this tobacco-loving people, I proceeded to distribute the jewelry, consisting of finger-rings, made of cheap metals, set with variously colored glass, and ear-bobs, &c. These I threw, by the handful, on the ground, which produced an excitement, and a display of muscular dexterity, which told well for the activity of these, at other times, indolent-looking squaws. The scene was a literal scramble ; and it was carried on with the energies of the prize-fighter, and amidst expressions of mingled joy and surprise, that made the affair quite a circumstance in the lives of these poor destitute people. I was made happy myself, in seeing them so.

After an hour spent in these ceremonies, I told the chief I was short of hands, and wanted two of his braves to accompany me to Prairie du Chien. He shook his head, and

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