“There is a small species of sparrow, that inhabits the forests near the settlements in this region, of a very interesting character. It matters not how intense the cold, it never deserts our woods, but remains hunting for insects in the cavities and among the branches of the trees with the most assiduous caution. They hatch their young in holes, which they perforate in decayed trees with their sharp bills. If a person happens to come near their nests during the time of incubation, it vociferates most strenuously against the intrusion, while its feathers expand, its eyes sparkle with rage, and it darts from branch to branch with the most astonishing rapidity. It is frequently to be seen near our houses in the winter, and in the most severe and inclement weather they will tend, by their chirping and gambols, to amuse and enliven our minds, while at the same time they afford us an entertaining study.
“Their wants are very small. If a piece of meat, weighing two or three pounds, is hung against some tree or fence near to our houses in the winter, we can have the pleasure of witnessing them merrily banqueting on it every day for several weeks.
“Sandpipers of the smaller kinds can swim on the surface of the water, dive beneath and remain under it with the same facility as the duck and other aquatic birds, although they do not make use of this property unless driven to extremity. This fact I can pledge my veracity on from personal observation. They need not use this power of swimming for the purpose of procuring food, as the substances on which they subsist are found on the margin of the water.”
Value of the equivalent territory granted to Michigan, by Congress, for the disputed Ohio boundary—Rapid improvement of Michigan—Allegan—Indian legend—Baptism and death of Kagoosh, a very aged chief at St. Mary’s—New system of writing Indian, proposed by Mr. Nash—Indian names for new towns—A Bishop’s notion of the reason for applying to Government for education funds under Indian treaties—Mr. Gallatin’s paper on the Indians—The temperance movement.
1836. Oct. 27th. I embarked this day, at Michilimackinack, with my family, for Detroit, to assume the duties of the superintendency at that point. Nothing, demanding notice, occurred on the passage; we reached our destination on the 30th. Political feeling still ran high respecting the terms of admission proposed by Congress to Michigan, and the convention, which recently met at Ann Arbor, refused their assent to these terms, under a mistaken view of the case, as I think, and the lead of rash and heady advisors; for there is no doubt in my mind that the large area of territory in the upper country, offered as an equivalent for the disputed boundary with Ohio, will be found of far greater value and importance to the State than the “seven mile strip” surrendered—an opinion, the grounds of which are discussed in my “Albion” letters. I expressed this opinion in the spring of the year, before the Judiciary Committee of the Senate, where I attended, on the invitation of Hon. Silas Wright, to impart information, which I was supposed to possess, on the geography and natural resources of the Lake Superior region.