Cincinnati, Sept. 23
We have received, in a letter from Fort Wayne, dated September 6, the following important intelligence. The National Intelligencer says – In the year 1810, a Miami chief having received at Fort Malden his annual donation of goods, was thus addressed by Ellicott, the British Agent.
My son, keep your eyes fixed on me - - my tomahawk is up: be you ready - - but do not strike until I give you the “signal.”
So some of these Indians appear to have gone to Malden to receive the British signal, and appear anxious to "strike."
In consequence of supposed hostilities being offered to the United States by the celebrated Shawanoe [Shawnee] chief, Tecumseh, and that the Miami tribe of Indians were adherents of the prophet [Tenskwatawa]: his excellency William H. Harrison dispatched a messenger, about the 21st of August, with a speech to be delivered to the Miami tribe of Indians at this place.
On the 3d of September, nearly the whole of the Miami tribe of Indians amounting in number to 350, assembled at Fort Wayne, for the purpose of answering to certain interrogatories made by Governor Harrison to the Shawanoe Prophet.
The Indians met at the Public Store, accompanied by the public officers and citizens of the place, where a very lengthy and friendly speech from Gov. Harrison was read to them by John Shaw, Assistant Indian Agent, and delivered in their own language by capt. William Wells. The strictest decorum was observed while delivering the speech and from the frequent acclamations by our red brethern, we were in hopes that the Indians would be united, and the meeting prove salutary both to the white and red people. After the close of the Governor's speech, a few observations were made by some of the chiefs, and then requested until next morning to give their answer. Accordingly the next morning the assemblage met at half past 10 o'clock and proceeded to the business of the day.
Speech of Laprusieur [La-passiere, also known as A-she-non-qua], orator for the Wea’s a branch of the Miami tribe of Indians.
William H. Harrison, governor of the Indiana Territory, listen to what I have to say - - you wish the know what I have to say.
You now tell us that we are on a wrong road, a road that will lead us to destruction. You are deceived. When I was walking along, I heard you speak respecting the Shawanoe [Prophet.]* You said we were of his party. I hold you and the Shawanoe both by the hand; I hold him slack. You have both told me one story; that if I would adhere to you, my people (the women and children) would be happy.
The heart of the Miamies is good. The Great Spirit has put them in the choicest spot of ground; and we are now anxiously waiting to see which of you tells the truth.
Now, Father - - For the first time, your eyes are open. When you cast them on your children you see they are poor; some of them are even destitute of the necessaries of life. We want ammunition to support our women and children; this has compelled us to undertake our present journey.
Father - - we have not yet let you go; we yet hold you by the hand; nor do we hold the hand of the Prophet with a view to injure you. I therefore now tell you that you are not correct when you supposed we joined hands with the Prophet to injure you.
Father - - I listened to you a few days ago, when you pointed out to me the depredations & murder committed by Indians on the Mississippi. I told you that I and my people had no wish to join in acts of that kind. I told you that we both loved our people, that it gives us pleasure when we see them standing round us - - that we should deprive ourselves of this pleasure if we commenced a war with each other, as a war would be the destruction of both parties.
You always told me that our great Father, the President of the United States has placed you here for good purposes - - that his heart is good towards his red children! How then does it happen that our father’s heart is changed towards his red children?
Father - - you have called upon us to fulfil the treaty of Greenville. In that treaty it is stipulated that we should give you information, if we knew of any hostile design of a foreign power against each other. I now tell you that no information from any quarter has reached our ears to injure any of your people, except from yourself. You have told us that the thunder begins to roll.
Father - - your speech has overtaken us here. We have heard it; it has not scared us; we are not afraid of what you say. We are going on to that country which has been frequented by Tecumseh; and we shall be able to know in the course of our journey whether he has told us lies or not; that all the Indians are of the same opinion that he is. But when we return we shall be able to inform you whether what Tecumseh has told us be true or not. Now father, you have heard what I have to say; you will hear it well what comes from me.
Father - - you have told me twice that you were very angry with me; I went to see you, with my warriors with me; when we were sitting face to face and toes to toes, you told me that the Indians on the Mississippi had struck your people; and I said nothing to you. You tell us that you sent a messenger after us; that we insulted your messenger, yourself and our great father. This is twice you have said you was angry at us - - we have looked for the cause but can find none.
Father - - We the Miamies are not a people that are passionate. We are not so easily made angry as it appears you are. Our hearts are as heavy as the earth! Our minds are not easily irritated. We don’t tell people we are angry at them for light causes; we are afraid if we did fly in a passion for no cause, we should make ourselves contemptible in the eyes of others. We therefore hope you will no more say you are angry with us, lest you should make yourself contemptible to others. We have told you we would not get angry for light causes. We have our eyes on our lands on the Wabash, with a strong determination to defend our rights, let them be invaded from what quarter they may. When our best interests are invaded, we will defend them to a man, and be angry but once.
Father - - Now consider what your children, the Miamies, have said to you. You have now offered the warclub to us; you have laid it at our feet, and told us we might pick it up if we chose. We have refused to do so; and we hope that this circumstance will prove to you that we are people of good hearts. We hope father, that you will not be angry any more with us, we will not be angry with you. This is all I have to say to you at present.
From an observation made by Mr. Dubois Gov Harrison’s express, the following words fell from the mouth of Laprusieur:
If Governor Harrison draws a line and leaves us out, he may strike us; if he takes us in, it is very good. But if our lands are invaded, we will defend them to a man of us and die with the land.
Speech of Silver Heels, a Massassinway [Mississinewa] chief.
He informed his people that he conceived it greatly to the interest of his nation, that a decisive answer should be given to their
Great Father’s speech, that he had asked for it, and he was entitled to receive it; that for himself he had always detested the
Prophet and his party; and that the interest of their nation required that the Miamies should have no connection with him;
that in case a misunderstanding should take place between the United States and the Prophet, it is the interest of our nation
to remain neutral and hold our father by the hand. My chiefs and warriors now present, I hope this will be the answer that you
will send to our great Father, the President of the United States.
Address of Ofeemit [also known as "Ossemeet, brother to Five Medals"] a Puttawatamie [Potawatomi] chief.
I do not want what I am now going to say to be written down—but I think it is the interest of my nation that I should make some few observations. It appears to me that some of my younger brothers residing on the Wabash have got in a wrong road; that our father has told them of it, and it is not too late for them to return. We, the Puttawatamie chiefs have told our young men not to listen to the Prophet but notwithstanding, some of them were foolish enough to believe what he said.
Address of Charley [also known as Ka-Tun-ga] an Eel-River chief.
Laprusieur has come forward and made a speech without consulting or knowing the opinion of the Indians which I conceive to be very improper.
Speech of Little Turtle, [also known as Mishikinakwa] a Miami chief.
Father - - your speech by Mr. Dubois was communicated to us yesterday.
Father - - your children the Miamies of the Wabash, are all glad of what you say. This is the sentiment of the Indians.
Father - - you have asked us whether we are prepared to take part with the Prophet, or still hold you fast by the hand. This question causes us to believe that some misunderstanding has taken place between you and some of our people that have visited you lately; it also appears that you have made known your intentions to the Puttawatamies, respecting the Prophet. You have told the Puttawatamies and other Indians residing on the Wabash to leave him - - you have told the Miamies the same. These are things that surprise us. The transactions which took place between the Indians and white people at Greensville are yet fresh in our minds. At that place we told each other that we would in future be friends, doing all the good we could to each other and raise our children in peace and quietness. These are yet the sentiments of your children the Miamies.
Father you have told us you would draw a line; that your children should stand on one side and the prophet on the other. We, the Miamies, wish to be considered in the same fight by you, as we were at the treaty of Greenville, holding fast to that treaty which united us, Miamies and Puttawatamies, to the United States.
Father - - listen to what I have to say; it is our request that you pay particular attention to it. We pray you not to bloody our ground if you can avoid it. For the first instance, let the Prophet be requested in our terms to comply with your wishes; and avoid if possible, the spilling of blood. The land on the Wabash is ours. We have not placed the Prophet there. But on the contrary, we have endeavored to stop his going there. He must be considered as settling there without our leave.
Father - - I must again repeat that you said you should draw a line between your children and the Prophet. We are not
pleased at this because we think you have no reason to doubt our friendship towards you. I have not said much to you, but
I think I have said enough for the present; my words are few but my meaning great. I shall close by requesting that you will
pay particular attention to what I have said. This is all, father, I have to say. I have said it in the presence of your
messenger, the commanding officer, your people, and all mine.
Speech of Ofeemit, a Puttawatamie chief.
I have said that I am here alone; I have come to attend to the interest of my women and children; I have thought it my duty to do so, as the other chiefs of my nation are absent. When I heard the words of my father, we, the Puttawatamies inhabiting the Lakes, from Chikago around to the East, are of the same opinion as those of the Miamies just delivered by Little Turtle; notwithstanding some of our foolish young men have killed some of the whites. We, the chiefs of our nation, have told our young men not to listen to any bad birds that are flying in the air, but some of them have been led astray, inasmuch as they have not followed our advice, and have imprudently involved themselves in difficulties.
We the chiefs of the Puttawatamies are determined that their [faults?] shall not be charged to our nation. We the Puttawatamies and Miamies have been friends since our infancy. We shall continue to be so; their sentiments are ours and ours theirs.
Father - - what we said to each other at the treaty of Greenville, is fresh in our memories. We there told each other that
the improper conduct of individuals should not [reinvolve us in difficulties?]; this must also be fresh in your memories as
you [wrote?] it down, and I hope it will ong be remembered by both of us. I have nothing further to say.
Address of White Loon [also known as Wa-pa-man-gwa], a chief on [the Wabash?]
You have heard what my uncle, the Little Turtle, has said, and my opinion is the same.
On the morning of the 5th inst. Laprusieur and his party [left?] this place for Fort Malden in Upper Canada, and all the rest [returned?] to their [illegible] homes, with the exception of
[illegible] who went [illegible], and [illegible] the British government.