« ZurückWeiter »
By WILLIAM HULL, GOVERNOR OF THE TERRITORY OF MICHIGAN, AND COMMANDING THE
Inhabitants of Canada : After thirty years of peace and prosperity, the United States have been driven to arms. The injuries and aggressions, the insults and indignities, of Great Britain, have once more left them no alternative but manly resistance or unconditional submission. The army under my command has invaded your country; the standard of the Union now waves over the territory of Canada. To the peaceable, unoffending inhabitants, it brings neither danger nor difficuliy. I come to find enemies, not to make them. I come to protect, not to injure you.
Separated by an immense ocean and an extensive wilderness, from Great Britain, you have no participation in her councils, no interest in her conduct. You have felt her tyranny, you have seen her injustice. But I do not ask you to avenge the one, or redress the other. The United States are sufficiently powerful to afford every security consistent with their rights and your expectations. I tender to you the invaluable blessings of civil, political, and religious liberty—and their necessary results, individual and general prosperity ; that liberty which gave decision to our councils and energy to our conduct, in a struggle for independence, which conducted us safely and triumphantly through the storiny period of the Revolution ; that liberty, which raised us to an elevated rank among the nations of the world; and which afforded a greater measure of peace and security, of wealth and improvement, than ever fell to the lot of any people.
In the name of my country, and the authority of its Government, I promise you protection to your persons, property, and rights. Remain at your homes, pursue your peaceful and customary avocations-raise not your hands against your brethren. Many of your fathers fought for the freedom and independence we now enjoy. Being children, therefore, of the same family with us, and heirs to the same heritage, the arrival of an army of friends must be hailed by you with a cordial welcome. You will be emancipated from tyranny and oppression, and restored to the dignified station of freemen. Had I any doubt of eventual success, I might ask your assistance ; but I do not; I come prepared for every contingency. I have a force which will break down all opposition, and that force is but the vanguard of a much greater. If, contrary to your own interest, and the just expectations of my country, you should take a part in the approaching contest, you will be considered as enemies, and all the horrors and calamities of war will stalk before you. If the barbarous and savage policy of Great Britain be pursued, and the savages be let loose to murder our citizens and butcher our women and children, this war will be a war of extermination. The first stroke of the tomahawk, the first attempt with the scalping-knife, will be the signal of one indiscriminate scene of desolation. No white man found fighting by the side of an Indian, will be taken prisoner. Instant death will be his lot. If the dictates of reason, duty, justice, and humanity, cannot prevent the employment of a force which respects no rights, and knows no wrong, it will be prevented by a severe and relentless system of retaliation. I doubt not your courage and firmness; I will not doubt your attachment to liberty. If you tender your services voluntarily, they will be accepted readily. The United States offer you peace, liberty, and security. Your choice lies between these, and war, slavery, or destruction. Choose, then choose wisely, and may He, who knows the justice of our cause, and who holds in his hand the fate of nations, guide you to the result the most compatible with your rights and interest, your peace and happiness.
The remarks of Mr. Secretary Armstrong, that Governor Hull had nothing to do, “but to lead his enemy into indiscretions," and then “punish” him, especially when that
enemy was Sir Isaac Brock, reminds us of the story of the rats belling the cat; and is only equalled by the Chinese “ making up faces, and all sorts of grimaces," in their rocent attempts at resisting the veteran legions of England.
The author is aware, that the account here given of General Hull's expedition, varies in some particulars from other published accounts. Breckenridge, in his History of the late War, nowhere men ions the armistice entered into by General Dearborn, on the 8th of August, at Albany. General Brock, it seems, arrived at Malden on the 14th of the same month, with reinforcements. General Brock could not have known it when he left Niagara, and must, therefore, have anticipated the “suspension of hostilities.” That the armistice had an important bearing upon the result of the campaign, no one can deny.
CHAPTER X VI.
Chicago-Origin of its name -A fort erected here in 1804— Its advantages Pottawato
mies in its neighborhood— Tecumseh, in 1809, meditates its destruction-Massacre of White and others at Lee's Place, April 7, 1812–Winnemeg, a Pottawatomy Indian, arrives in Chicago, with dispatches from General Hull, August 7th, 1812Advises Captain Heald to remain in the garrison, or abandon it immediately-Advice disregarded-Order to evacuate read on the parade-Lieutenant Helm and Ensign Ronan remonstrate against it—Dissatisfaction in Camp—Savages more and more insolent-A council held August 12th, 1812_Captain Heald attends it alone Captain Heald resolves to destroy the arms and ammunition not in use, also the liquor and stores August 13th, the goods distributed among the Indians—Arms, ammunition, and liquor destroyed-August 14th, Captain Wells, Mrs. Heald's brother, arrives in camp—Another council held with the Indians—The latter indignant at the destruction of the arms, etc.-Black Hawk's assertion-A portion of the Chiefs still friendly-Black Partridge-August 15th, 1812, garrison marches out of the FortAttacked by the Indians on their march-After a severe action, in which two-thirds of the whole number are slain, the residue capitulate-Ensign Ronan and Dr. Voorhes killed—Prisoners and children massacred after the battle—Billy Caldwell-A party of savages from the Wabash arrive-Mrs. Heald— Mrs. Helm-Lieutenant Helm and other prisoners—Their subsequent fate.
Our misfortunes did not cease with the surrender of Detroit. Other garrisons more remote, and worse provided for, in like manner were abandoned or surrendered, some with, and others without resistance.
When Detroit was thus invested by a British force, and at the very time its surrender was demanded by General Brock, a tragedy was acting at Chicago in Illinois, which cast all others in the shade. (See note 1.)
By the treaty of Greenville, in August, 1795, negotiated by General Wayne, as well with the Pottawatomies as the Miamies, a tract of land six miles square, at the mouth of “the Chikago river,” was ceded to the United States. From certain expressions used in the treaty, it would seem that a settlement had been made, and probably a fort, or blockhouse, had been erected by the French, on the lands thus ceded, some time before. Be that, however, as it may, the subject is no longer material. No vestige of such a settlement for many years has been visible. In 1804, a small fort was erected here by the United States. It consisted of two blockhouses, and a subterranean passage, from the perade to the river, the whole of which was surrounded by a picket, and furnished with three pieces of light artillery. A company of United States troops, about fifty in number, many of whom were invalids, constituted its garrison. Its position was well calculated for offence or de. fence; and its situation well adapted to effect the object for which it was intended, that is, “ to supply the Indian's wants, and control the Indian's
The Pottawatomies at that time inhabited, or rather overran, the country in its vicinity. They were a numerous and warlike tribe ; had fought the armies of Harmar, St. Clair, and Wayne; and in the (then) recent battle of Tippecanoe, a number of their chiefs had fallen. Though hostile to the whites in general, they were partial to individuals among them, who by continued kindness had won, and afterward retained, their friendship
In addition to its garrison, a few families had removed thither, both French and Canadian. This little community, disconnected as it was from the whole civilized world, except through Indian trails to Detroit, Fort Wayne, and St. Louis, and across the waters of Lake Michigan, on which the proud flag of England triumphantly waved previous to the war of 1812, furnished scarcely an incident worthy of record.
In 1809, it was selected by Tecumseh as the theatre, and marked out by him for savage massacre. The plans, however, of that celebrated warrior being then immature, its doom was postponed ; and the battle of Tippecanoe having been fought in his absence, Tecumseh repaired to Malden, where the Pottawatomies, for several years, had received pres. ents from their allies, and being there aided by the English, resumed again his schemes of vengeance.
On the 7th of April, 1812, a number of persons, and among them a Mr. White, were massacred at a place called Hardscrabble, (then Lee's place,) about four miles from Chicago, by a marauding party of Winne. bagoes. No connection, however, existing between the Winnebagoes concerned, and the other tribes in their vicinity, and no concert being apparent, between those who committed the murder and the residue of the tribe, the transaction, though barbarous in its nature, was permitted to slumber, without exciting that interest which such occurrences usually inspire.
When war was declared in 1812, the little garrison at Chicago, consisting, as already stated, of a single company, was commanded by Captain Heald ; Lieutenant Helm and Ensign Ronan, were officers under him, and Dr. Van Voorhes, its surgeon.
The nation, which declares war, selecting, of course, its own time for doing it, is wholly inexcusable, when no warlike preparations accompany the act. The last moments of peace with considerate men, will always be employed in obtaining correct knowledge of the force they may have to encounter. Another duty is equally imperative; that of speedily withdrawing, or promptly reinforcing, all remote and isolated posts. If there be anything in their position, which renders their retention important, either to the progress or result of the war, the latter course will
always be pursued; but if, on the contrary, they have no material bearing on either, such garrisons ought speedily to be recalled, and the posts abandoned, while it is yet in their power. The administration knew, or ought to have known, that so long as the English commanded Lake Michigan, and the northwestern Indians were allies of the latter, the little fort at Chicago would not be sustained. The policy and humanity, there. fore, of reinforcing or withdrawing its garrison, was too plain to require an argument.
General Hull, as commander-in-chief of the northwestern army, had charge of the forts at Mackinaw and Chicago, and was, of course, in. trusted with their defence; both of which were forgotten alike by the Government and commanding general, until it was too late. General Hull, we have already observed, reached Detroit on the 5th of July, 1812. Mackinaw, two hundred and forty miles distant by land, was captured on the 17th, twelve days thereafter; and the first intimation that war existed between the United States and England, was communi. cated to Lieutenant Hanks, its commanding officer, in a note, signed by Captain Roberts of the British army, requiring his surrender.
On the 7th of August, (1812,) in the afternoon, Winnemeg, or Catfish, a friendly Indian of the Pottawatomie tribe, arrived at Chicago, and brought dispatches from General Hull, containing the first, and at that time, the only intelligence, of the declaration of war. General Hull's letter announced the capture of Mackinaw, and directed Captain Heald “ to evacuate the fort at Chicago if practicable, and in that event, to distribute all of the United States property contained in the fort, and the United States factory, or agency, among the Indians in the neighborhood, and repair to Fort Wayne.” Winnemeg having delivered his dispatches to Captain Heald, and stated that he was acquainted with the purport of the communication he had brought, urged upon Captain Heald the policy of remaining in the fort, being supplied, as they were, with ammunition and provisions for a considerable time. In case, however, Captain Heald thought proper to evacuate the place, he urged upon him the propriety of doing so immediately, before the Pottawatomies (through whose country they must pass, and who were as yet ignorant of the object of his mission,) could collect a force sufficient to oppose them. This advice, though given in great earnestness, was not sufficiently regarded by Captain Heald; who observed, that he should evacuate the fort, but having received orders to distribute the public property among the Indians, he did not feel justified in leaving it, until he had collected the Pottawatomies in its vicinity, and made an equitable distribution among them. Winne. meg then suggested the expediency of marching out, and leaving every. thing standing ; “while the Indians," said he, "are dividing the spoils, the troops will be able to retreat without molestation.” This advice was also unheeded, and an order for evacuating the fort was read next morning on parade. Captain Heald, in issuing it, had neglected to consult his junior officers, as it would have been natural for him to do in such an