“Yes,” returned Corporal Flint, who delighted in talking of the wars, “it was very much as Parson Amen says. The savages, by their nimbleness and artifices, would first ambush us, and then break away from our charges, until the gin’ral bethought him of bringing cavalry into the wilderness. Nobody ever thought of such a plan, until old Anthony invented it. As soon as we got the fire of the savages, at the Mawmee, we charged with the baggonet, and put ’em up; and no sooner was they up, than away went the horse into them, flourishing the ‘long knife’ and pressing the heel of the ’leather-stocking’ into the flanks of their beasts. Mr. Amen has found a varse in Scriptur’s that does come near to the p’int, and almost foretells our victory, and that, too, as plain as it stood in dispatches, arterward, from headquarters.”
“‘Gad, a troop shall overcome him,’” put in the missionary, triumphantly.
“That’s it—that’s it; there was just one troop on ’em, and not a man more! Mad Anthony said a troop would answer, arter we had put the red-skins up out of their ambushes, or any other bushes; and so it did. I must acknowledge that I think more of the Scriptur’s than ever, since Parson Amen read to me that varse.”
“Hearken unto this, friend bee-hunter,” added the missionary, who by this time had fairly mounted his hobby, and fancied he saw a true Israelite in every other Indian of the west, “and tell me if words were ever more prophetic—’Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour his prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.’ The art of man could not draw a more faithful picture of these Indians.”
Boden was not much skilled in sacred lore, and scarce knew what to make of all this. The idea that the American Indians were the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel was entirely new to him; nor did he know anything to boast of, touching those tribes, even in their palmiest days, and while in possession of the promised land; still he had some confused recollection of that which he had read when a child—what American has not?—and was enabled to put a question or two, in return for the information now received. “What, do you take the savages of America for Jews?” he asked, understanding the general drift of the missionary’s meaning.
“As sure as you are there, friend bee-hunter, though you are not to suppose that I think Peter Onoah of the tribe of Benjamin. No, I turn to the 21st verse for the tribe of Peter Naphthali—Naphthalis, the root of his stock. ’Naphthali is a hind, let loose: he giveth goodly words.’ Now, what can be plainer than this? A hind let loose is a deer running at large, and, by a metaphor, that deer includes the man that hunts him. Now, Peter has been—nay, is still—a renowned hunter, and is intended to be enumerated among the hinds let loose; ‘he giveth goodly words,’ would set that point at rest, if anything were wanting to put it beyond controversy, for Onoah is the most eloquent speaker ear ever listened to! No one, that has ever heard him speak, can doubt that he is the one who ’giveth goodly words.’”