The War Chief of the Six Nations eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 100 pages of information about The War Chief of the Six Nations.
a brigadier-general in the provincial army.  He had formerly lived three miles from Brant, when his home was on the upper Mohawk, and knew him well.  Nothing has ever been said to show that Herkimer lacked courage.  But he was vain enough to think that a few words from him might weaken Brant’s steadfast loyalty.  Furthermore, like too many frontiersmen of his day, he held the Indian race in little esteem and, as we shall see, he did not scruple to treat them with the basest kind of treachery.  The plea may be made that he was apprehensive of duplicity on the part of the Mohawk chief, but this does not wholly excuse his conduct.

After duly making his plans, Herkimer invited Brant to meet him at Unadilla, on the Susquehanna, higher up than Oquaga.  He arrived at this place in the month of July with three hundred and eighty militiamen, but had to wait a week before Brant put in an appearance.  The fact that he came with such a numerous escort was well fitted to cause suspicion.  Captain Brant also came with a large contingent of warriors, pitched his camp at some little distance from the Americans, and sent a runner to ask the general why he had been honoured with this visit.  Herkimer replied that he merely wished to have a talk with his brother Brant and that would be all.  The runner said he would bear the message back, but first asked slyly whether all these men were anxious to talk with the War Chief also.  Before departing, Brant’s messenger signified that the colonials must not trespass upon the field that stretched away towards the Indians’ camp.  About half-way between the two parties a shed was now put up, large enough to seat two hundred people.  It was agreed that each side should send a deputation to this hall, where a meeting would be held.  On no account, however, were any firearms or other weapons to be brought from the camps.

Upon the day appointed Herkimer was the first to reach the spot, while Brant arrived a little later.  The Indian chief had scented danger and was strictly on his guard.  With him were two pale-faces, a Mohawk chief, about two score warriors, and an Indian woman.  It was the custom in such a parley to draw a circle on the ground and for the leaders to stand or sit within this.  Herkimer and two officers entered the circle, while Brant was accompanied by the inferior chieftain.  Brant was all the time watching the general like a hawk and again asked him what was the meaning of his visit.  Herkimer repeated that it was only for the sake of good fellowship.

‘And all these have come on a friendly visit too?’ asked Captain Brant.  ’All want to see the poor Indians; it is very kind.’  Unaffected by Brant’s irony, Herkimer next referred to the troubles between England and the colonies, and tried to draw out Brant.  The chief was slow and taciturn in answering, but at last burst forth in no uncertain language.  He said that ’the Indians were in concert with the King, as their fathers had been; ... that General Herkimer and his followers had joined the Boston people against their Sovereign.’  For all that, he had no fear of the result and knew ’that although the Boston people were resolute, yet the King would humble them.’

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The War Chief of the Six Nations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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