|Logan, Part 1 -- Table of Contents and Introduction: The Effects of a Great Speech.|
by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, 1793-1864.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Effects of a Great Speech
Logan appeared on the stage of American history at a time when the white man was particularly sensitive on the subject of the power and influence of the Indians who occupied the regions west of the Allegheny Mountains. Those tribes had, for several years, shown a disposition to oppose the advance of the Anglo-Saxon white man into those regions; and their movements, from 1763, had at least the effect to alarm, if they did not seriously threaten, the colonies.
The Indians had produced several chiefs who had extraordinary capacity to direct and unite the principal Indian bands. Such men as Kilelimend, Cornstalk, Bukanjahela, and Pontiac, appeared at distant places within this time period, showing that the feeling of hostility in the western tribes was widespread, and that they believed they still had the power of the French in Canada as an ally and rallying point.
Braddock, with a large and well equipped British army, had been defeated in 1755, by a comparatively small body of French soldiers supported by a large force of Indians; and when the power of France fell with Montcalm, in 1759, the Indians, with whom France had had close relations from early days, could not believe that France's flag and strength finally had been removed from Canada.
In this state of circumstances, the small English posts of Le Boeuf, Venango, Maumee, and several others, including the stone-bastioned fort of Michilimackinac, had been attacked and taken. Major Gladwyn, after a siege of several months, finally broke the stranglehold on Detroit in 1763 with the defeat of the Indians at Bloody Bridge. The next year, Col. Bouquet crossed the Allegheny Mountains, beat the Indians in a desperate battle at Brushy Run on the Sewickly, and penetrated, with a triumphant army, to the banks of the Muskingum River, where a general peace was achieved. The Indian power, which had cast such a gloom over the colonies, was essentially crushed; and Briton and American forces celebrated their joint triumph over the Indians.
Like most treaties of Europeans with the Indian power -- which were produced by force and not by mutual, willing consent -- this pacification was not permanent. In less than ten years, the Virginia and Pennsylvania frontiers had experienced frequent attacks, and a strong military force was again considered necessary. In 1774, Lord Dunmore penetrated, with an army, to the banks of the Scioto River, the principal capital and seat of the Indian power. Again the Indians, who seldom could muster forces sufficient to resist large armies, were brought to terms.
The Shawnees, who had been the "head and front" of this war, were once more compelled to sue for peace; and all the notable Indian participants in the war presented themselves at the conqueror's camp, except Logan. For many years, the name of Logan had been familiar on the frontiers, and had recently received particular attention. But he scornfully refused to show himself at the headquarters of a conqueror, beneath whose flag and in whose name the white men had committed treacherous acts that deeply affected him personally. Instead, he sent the following address, by an interpreter, to reveal his position.
"I appeal to any white man to [ask] if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry, and I gave him not meat; if ever he came cold or naked, and I gave him not clothing. During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained in his tent, an advocate for peace; nay, such was my love for the whites, that those of my own country pointed at me as they passed by, and said, 'Logan is the friend of white men!' I had even thought to live with you, but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, ... last spring, in cool blood, and unprovoked, cut off all the relations of Logan, not even sparing my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any [other] human creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought [revenge and] I have killed many -- I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country, I rejoice at the beams of peace; but do not harbor the thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one."
There was celebration at Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia, on the return of Dunmore's army. It was the seat of the royal government and local aristocracy, and the prominent resort of the British and colonial military officers who had been involved in the war. When the tale of Logan was told in its saloons, its effect was electrifying. It had great impact wherever the story was repeated. Thomas Jefferson inserted Logan's statement in his book, NOTES ON VIRGINIA, and it soon acquired worldwide celebrity.
"The speech," said Jefferson, "was so fine a morsel of eloquence, that it became the theme of every conversation in Williamsburg, particularly, and generally, indeed, where any of the officers resided or resorted. I learned it in Williamsburg, I believe at Lord Dunmore's (1774), .... precisely in the words stated in the NOTES ON VIRGINIA.
Inquiries were immediately made into the personal history of Logan. "A heart capable of expressing such sentiments was worthy to beat in the noblest bosom of the human race" -- and the white man wanted to know more about the Indian behind those words.
See next entry: Logan, Part 2 -- His Heritage: Chief Shikellamy, 1690-1748.
This entry is adapted from Henry R. Schoolcraft's massive six-volume work, INDIAN TRIBES OF THE UNITED STATES...., which was published during the 1850s and 1860s. This entry has been reedited extensively for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Web site by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Web site. It may not be copied or downloaded, but may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Web site. Please note that this Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.
URL: HTML version of: Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson:
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