Travels in the Central Portions of the Mississippi Valley: Comprising Observations on Its Mineral Geography, Internal Resources, and Aboriginal Population

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Collins and Hannay, 1825 - 459 pages
 

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Itinerary (1821): Starts in the Michigan territory on the Detroit River (Chapters I-II); rides to Fort Wayne (III), travels on Indiana rivers, ending up on the Wabash (IV-VII); down the Ohio (VIII-X) and up the Mississippi to St. Louis (XI); then into the Missouri territory on the Missouri (XII-XIII), returning to St. Louis (XIV); then travels up the Illinois River (XIV-XV), eventually crossing over on horseback to Chicago, where the party was attending a treaty conference with two to three thousand Indians. The next two chapters deal with the proceedings of the conference, and the final two make general ethnographic observations on the Native Americans.
The author was the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Michigan. He was trained as a geologist, and well respected in that field prior to his appointment, but over time his genuine interest in Indian life made him a pioneer scholar in the ethnography of Native Americans. Though his style is more scholar than journalist, and he “draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than his wit,” he is a comprehensive commentator, combining direct observation with historical and scientific knowledge. The reader may not have equal interest in all parts of the book, but this is a rich trove of information on this time and place.
Jonathan Smith
Hanover College
 

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Page 316 - ... Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses ; whatever makes the past, the distant, or the future predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far from me and from my friends be such frigid philosophy, as may conduct us indifferent and unmoved over any ground which has been dignified by wisdom, bravery, or virtue. That man is little to be envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow • warmer among...
Page 456 - From every account, the enemy amounted to two thousand combatants ; the troops actually engaged against them were short of nine hundred. This horde of savages, with their allies, abandoned themselves to flight, and dispersed with terror and dismay, leaving our victorious army in full and quiet possession of the field of battle, which terminated under the influence of the guns of the British garrison, as you will observe by the inclosed correspondence between Major Campbell, the commandant, and myself,...
Page 49 - We have beaten the enemy twice, under separate commanders. We cannot expect the same good fortune always to attend us. The Americans are now led by a chief who never sleeps ; the night and the day are alike to him. And during all the time that he has been marching upon our villages, notwithstanding the watchfulness of our young men, we have never been able to surprise him. Think well of it. There is something whispers me, it would be prudent to listen to his offers of peace.
Page 444 - In testimony whereof, I have caused the Seal of The United States to be hereunto affixed, having signed the same with my hand.
Page 456 - ... extent of their lines, that the enemy were in full force in front, in possession of their favorite ground and endeavoring to turn our left flank. I therefore gave orders for the second line to advance and support the first, and directed Major General Scott to gain and turn the right flank of the savages, with the whole of the mounted volunteers...
Page 342 - You think, perhaps, that I speak in passion; but my heart is good towards you. I speak like one of your own children. I am an Indian, a red-skin, and live by hunting and fishing, but my country is already too small ; and I do not know how to bring up my children, if I give it all away.
Page 320 - tis, to cast one's eyes so low! The crows and choughs, that wing the midway air, Show scarce so gross as beetles : Half way down Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade! Methinks, he seems no bigger than his head: The fishermen, that walk upon the beach, Appear like mice; and yon...
Page 223 - Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters : and maketh the clouds his chariot, and walketh upon the wings of the wind.
Page 455 - It is with infinite pleasure that I announce to you the brilliant success of the federal army under my command, in a general action with the combined force of the hostile Indians, and a considerable number of the volunteers and militia of Detroit...

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