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relates to bloody wars of the savages among themselves, and the successive struggles of the English, the Indians, and the French, for the right of domain, little of interest has been transmitted to our times.

The “ Historical Sketches,” whose title we have prefixed to our remarks, comprise a series of discourses delivered by Lewis Cass, our present Minister to France, Henry Whiting, John Biddle, and Henry R. Schoolcraft, the accomplished western scholar and antiquary, before the Historical Society of Michigan. This Society, it appears, was founded in 1829, for the purpose of collecting and perpetuating its historical records. The facts which are embodied in these Discourses, are, from the causes which we have mentioned, fragmentary, and of course form no compact and connected chain of bistory. They are, however, as interesting as could be collected by able and ingenious minds from crude materials, and are brought down to the year 1832. From certain causes which do not appear, they are destitute of a particular and accurate jurisprudential bistory of the State, commencing with the administration of Governor Cass. This is now, therefore, a great desideraturn; because the organization of the territorial government into a firm and compact body politic, may be dated from his induction into office. Before that period, the jurisprudence of the territory was comparatively loose, unsetiled, and desultory. To a lawyer of talents, this portion of its history would form a valuable subject for a future discourse.

The Discourse of Mr. Schoolcraft is confined to the consideration of Indian history. This subject falls properly within the scope of the historical sketches of Michigan, because out of relations to the savage tribes, arose all events of principal importance in its early settlement. They were proprietors of the soil, and the whites were their tenants at will'; until by fraud, force, or policy, the Indians were themselves ejected from their ancestral domain. Mr. Schoolcraft has been long conversant with their character, as Indian Agent for the United States ; and bis habits of accurate observation and philosophical investigation, attach the highest authority to his opinions on all matters connected with them. The character of that fast fading, but, with all their errors, noble race, is a subject full of attraction to the philosophical student of man.

It must be acknowledged that there is no nation on record, which, at a period anterior to civilization, has exbibited stronger and more exalted traits of character; and the subject acquires a melancholy interest from recent occurrences, wherein we view them rousing into one more desperate effort before they sink. We find them in league successively with the English, the French, and the Americans, and they have seldom evinced a want of talents or courage. As early as 1535, the French emigrants encountered the most formidable opposition from the Iroquois, or Five Nations. These tribes were closely affiliated, with the exception of the Wyandots or Hurons, * who severed from their family and took part with the French. They had their domiciles at the head of the most important streams; and their success was consequent, according to Mr. Schoolcraft, on their having early acquired the use of firearms, while the other tribes adhered with obstinacy to the use of the bow and the war club.

Against this confederacy, the French courted an alliance with the Algonquins, a race which were scattered along the banks of the St. Lawrence, and exerted a powerful influence towards the north and west, extending even to the principal tribes of New England. The Foxes were neutral, and destroyed their own influence by acquiring the hatred of both parties. The Chippewas subsequently formed an alliance with the French against the Foxes, and drove the latter race into the country west of the Mississippi. The French, who had most to fear from the enmity, and most to hope from the friendship of the Algonquins, took advantage of the hostilities between this tribe and the Iroquois, to secure the former to their cause, attending them in their hunting and war parties, intermarrying with them, and settling in their remotest villages. The Iroquois were a brave and crafty tribe, and carried the most savage war into the territory of their enemies; but were finally conquered by the French, backed by their confederates, the Algonquins.

Mr. Schoolcraft thinks that the declension of the Indians arises from causes incident to their own condition and habits, as much as from contact with civilization. Among these causes he enumerates disease, springing from an ignorance of medical science, wars, sudden transitions from heat to cold, from abstinence to repletion, and from exertion to indolence. We cannot forbear quoting his language in illustration of their melancholy decay, as the sentiments of a man who has thoroughly studied the Indian character.

* Lake Huron derives its name from this tribe.

“But not they only, – our entire Indian population appears fated to decline; not so much, it is apprehended, from the want of external sympathy, as from their falling under the operation of a general principle which spares neither white or red man, but inevitably dooms all who will not labor, to suffering and want. Accustomed to live on game, they cannot resolutely make up their minds to turn agriculturists, or shepherds, or mechanics. They have outlived the true hunter state of the country, yet adhere with fatal pertinacity to the maxims of a wandering life. They pursue their intestine feuds with as determined a rancor, as if they still had ample stores of animal food, and unbounded ranges of territory to flee to. They cannot be persuaded that there is any better mode of living, than that pursued by their forefathers, or any species of freedom, superior to the state of savage independence. This is the whole mystery of their decline, however other secondary causes may have hastened, and may still continue to accelerate it.

“They have been taught from early life, that tilling the earth is dishonorable; that war is the true path of glory; that happiness consists in sensual enjoyments ; that forecast is distrust of Providence; the acquisition of property degrading, and generosity the test of greatness. But their generosity often degenerates into extravagance, and their trust in Providence into an excuse for indolence. Their aversion to labor is often to be traced to the fear of ridicule ; their contempt of wealth, to the rage for popularity. The desire of personal distinction is frequently indulged at the expense of private rights and of national faith. Bravery is often another term for assassination ; and riot, a milder word for homicide.

“ These remarks may appear severe, but they are not intended to be so. They are conceived to be just; and we may appeal for their truth, to every person of observation, who has been long and intimately acquainted with our Indian tribes.

No one can be insensible to the heroic traits of the Indian character; to his open hospitality, his constancy in professed friendships, his filial piety, his resignation under suffering, his valor in battle, and his triumph at the stake. No nation, perhaps, ever felt a stronger love of country, or cherished a deeper veneration for their dead. And they linger round the places of their sepulture, as if conscious that the period of separation was limited, and the soul itself was immortal.

“There is a charm cast over the hunter's life, which it is easier to appreciate than describe. There is something noble in the situation and circumstances of the Indian, who, confident in his own skill, is buoyed up in his frail canoe, or, trusting to his own prowess, plunges into the deepest forests, reckless alike of want and danger, roving at will, without the ties of property to embarrass, or the obligation of laws to restrain him. But it is the charm of poetry, and not of real life. It is sweet to the contemplation, but bitter to the taste. The pleasure arises from associations which few will stop to analyze, but every heart can feel. It is a pleasure which will remain and be cherished as a species of intellectual talisman, long after the people who are the sources of it shall have submitted to their probable fate.”- Pp. 83 - 85.

Mr. Schoolcraft enters into an argument to show, that the abridgment of their hunting grounds is one prominent cause of their declension ; and he affirms, that their character presents almost insuperable obstacles to the success of philanthropic labors for their improvement. He remarks ;

“They neither desire our knowledge nor our religion. They are not in a situation to appreciate our customs or institutions. They distrust our power, decry our refinements, and condemn our laborious industry. All the motives that can operate on unenlightened minds, pride of character, the hope of fame, the fear of evil, tend powerfully to oppose civilization and Christianity. The Jew is not more wedded to his peculiarities, nor the Mussulman to his slothful habits and erroneous faith.”- p. 88.

The recorded history of Michigan, commences with the emigration of Jacques Cartier, the first European adventurer to that region, who landed about three centuries ago upon the island of Montreal. Before this period, the vast region of country beyond the lakes was held through occupancy, by numerous Indian tribes, who had been previously engaged in a long series of disastrous and bloody wars with each other, for conquest or revenge. Cartier, however, was only the pioneer. Champlain, a French naval officer, laid the foundation of French influence in this country, by the establishment of a colony upon the banks of the river St. Lawrence, which gradually spread itself until it disputed the sovereignty of North America with England. By his agency, and that of the emigrants who explored the interior for the sake of gain, besides the Christian exertions of a body of Roman Catholic

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missionaries, a knowledge of the country was gradually acquired, and the dominion of civilization extended.

In 1632, these missionaries had advanced as far as Lake Huron. They identified their fortunes with those of their converts, the Wyandot Indians, and suffered the same carnage with them, when they were conquered by their savage enemies, the Iroquois.

The French trade soon took the course of the upper Lakes ; and trading posts with the Indians were established about the middle of the 17th century, at the Sault Ste. Marie, Green Bay, Chicago, St. Joseph, and Michilimackinac.

Robert de la Sale, a Frenchman, was the first complete discoverer of the course and outlet of the Mississippi river, previous attempts for that object having been made and failed. Having built the first ship at Erie which had ever navigated the western Lakes, he embarked on board of that ship, and in 1679 ascended the Lakes to Michilimackinac ; where he left his

: vessel, and embarked his party on Lake Michigan in canoes. Coasting along its shore to its southern extremity, he found his way over land to the Illinois, and descending that river and the Mississippi, he first saw, on the 7th day of April, 1681, the mingling of its waters with the Gulf of Mexico. He made such a report of the advantages of the country through which he had passed, after meeting the most discouraging obstacles, and suffering extraordinary hardships, as to induce the French government to establish a cordon of posts along the western Lakes and rivers, extending from Quebec to the delta of the Mississippi, which should keep the Indians in check, and monopolize the trade. It is a somewhat remarkable fact, that General Washington entered on his public career, in a mission to remonstrate with the commanding officers of the French, upon the Ohio and Alleghany, against these advancing establishments.

Detroit was founded, in 1701, by Monsieur de la Motte Cadillac, who left Montreal in Canada with a hundred men and a Jesuit, and made a permanent establishment at this point. This was the first white settlement in the region ; and here was laid the foundation of the State of Michigan. The name Detroit, derived from the French word étroit, a strait, was given to the city from the fact that it was the prominent point upon the river, or strait, connecting Lake Erie with Lake St. Clair. Before this name was selected, Detroit was known to the French, and was styled in the early grants, Fort Pontchartrain of the strait of Lake Erie.

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