The War Chief of the Ottawas : A chronicle of the Pontiac war eBook

Thomas Guthrie Marquis
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 83 pages of information about The War Chief of the Ottawas .
doubt with reluctance, and only because of the demand of Amherst—­to bury the hatchet and give up the useless contest.  To continue the struggle for the present would be vain.  Pontiac, though enraged by the desertion of his allies, and by what seemed to him the cowardly conduct of the French, determined at once to accept the situation, sue for peace, and lay plans for future action.  So far he had been fighting ostensibly for the restoration of French rule.  In future, whatever scheme he might devise, his struggle must be solely in the interests of the red man.  Next day he sent a letter to Gladwyn begging that the past might be forgotten.  His young men, he said, had buried their hatchets, and he declared himself ready not only to make peace, but also to ’send to all the nations concerned in the war’ telling them to cease hostilities.  No trust could Gladwyn put in Pontiac’s words; yet he assumed a friendly bearing towards the treacherous conspirator, who for nearly six months had given him no rest.  Gladwyn’s views of the situation at this time are well shown in a report he made to Amherst.  The Indians, he said, had lost many of their best warriors, and would not be likely again to show a united front.  It was in this report that he made the suggestion, unique in warfare, of destroying the Indians by the free sale of rum to them.  ’If your Excellency,’ he wrote, ’still intends to punish them further for their barbarities, it may easily be done without any expense to the Crown, by permitting a free sale of rum, which will destroy them more effectually than fire and sword.’  He thought that the French had been the real plotters of the Indian war:  ’I don’t imagine there will be any danger of their [the Indians] breaking out again, provided some examples are made of our good friends, the French, who set them on.’

Pontiac and his band of savages paddled southward for the Maumee, and spent the winter among the Indians along its upper waters.  Again he broke his plighted word and plotted a new confederacy, greater than the Three Fires, and sent messengers with wampum belts and red hatchets to all the tribes as far south as the mouth of the Mississippi and as far north as the Red River.  But his glory had departed.  He could call; but the warriors would not come when he summoned them.

Fort Detroit was freed from hostile Indians, and the soldiers could go to rest without expecting to hear the call to arms.  But before the year closed it was to be the witness of still another tragedy.  Two or three weeks after the massacre at the Devil’s Hole, Major Wilkins with some six hundred troops started from Fort Schlosser with a fleet of bateaux for Detroit.  No care seems to have been taken to send out scouts to learn if the forest bordering the river above the falls was free from Indians, and, as the bateaux were slowly making their way against the swift stream towards Lake Erie, they were savagely attacked from the western bank by Indians in such force that Wilkins was compelled

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The War Chief of the Ottawas : A chronicle of the Pontiac war from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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