The greeting between these generous leaders was brief. When the first salutations had been interchanged, it was intimated to Tecumseh, through the medium of an interpreter, then in attendance on the General, that a war-council had been ordered, for the purpose of taking into consideration the best means of defeating the designs of the Americans, who, with a view to offensive operations, had, in the interval of the warrior’s absence, pushed on a considerable force to the frontier. The council, however, had been delayed, in order that it might have the benefit of his opinions, and of his experience in the peculiar warfare which was about to be commenced.
Tecumseh acknowledged his sense of the communication with the bold frankness of the inartificial son of nature, scorning to conceal his just self-estimate beneath a veil of affected modesty. He knew his own worth, and while he over-valued not one iota of that worth, so did he not affect to disclaim a consciousness of the fact—that within his swarthy chest and active brain there beat a heart and lived a judgment, as prompt to conceive and execute as those of the proudest he that ever swayed the destinies of a warlike people. Replying to the complimentary invitation of the General, he unhesitatingly said he had done well to await his (Tecumseh’s) arrival, before he determined on his course of action, and that he should now have the full benefit of his opinions and advice.
If the chief had been forcibly prepossessed in favour of the naval commander, the latter had not been less interested. Since his recent arrival, to assume the direction of the fleet, Commodore Barclay had had opportunities of seeing such of the chiefs as were then assembled at Amherstburg; but great as had been his admiration of several of these, he had been given to understand they fell far short, in every moral and physical advantage, of what their renowned leader would be found to possess, when, on his return from the expedition in which he was engaged, fitting opportunity should be had of bringing them in personal proximity. This admission was now made in the fullest sense, and as the warrior moved away to give the greeting to the several chiefs, and conduct them to the council hall, the gallant sailor could not refrain from expressing, in the warmest terms to General Brock, as they moved slowly forward with the same intention, the enthusiastic admiration excited in him by the person, the manner, and the bearing, of the noble Tecumseh.
Again the cannon from the battery and the shipping pealed forth their thunder. It was the signal for the commencement of the council, and the scene at that moment was one of the most picturesque that can well be imagined. The sky was cloudless, and the river, no longer ruffled by the now motionless barks of the recently arrived Indians, yet obeying the action of the tide, offered, as it glided onward to the lake, the image of a flood of quick-silver;