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We subjoin, with pleasure, Mr. Hodgson's remarks, made in the course of this and other journeys, on the character of the American people; as we trust that they will contribute to the increase of friendly feelings on both sides of the Atlantic :—
Although, in this narrative I have confined myself almost entirely to an acccount of my route through the Indian Nations. I cannot conclude without expressing my deep regret at the erroneous ideas which prevail in England on the subject of America generally.
With a decided preference to the manners and institutions and form of government of my own country (a preference only confirmed by opportunities of comparison,) it has been impossible to avoid perceiving, that those ideas are in many respects as unjust to the United States, as they are discreditable to Great Britain. To what cause we are to attribute the ignorance and prejudice of my enlightened and generous country on almost every topic connected with America, it is foreign to my purpose to inquire. The subject is a very interesting one; but it would lead to a discussion for which I have neither abilities nor leisure.
I should, however, do great injustice to my own feelings, if I did not state, that, in the course of a journey of between 5000 and 6000 miles, in which I passed through the States of Vermont, New-Hampshire, Massachusetts. NewYork, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee, and mixed rather extensively with society, I received impressions of America and its inhabitants, very different from those which prevail among a large portion of my countrymen, or which are to be derived from our books of Travels or Reviews.
I appeal, therefore, to the candour of my countrymen, whether, if those representations were true, which in many cases are most erroneous, the tone and temper with which the subject of America is sometimes discussed among us, are either courteous or liberal-whether they are calculated to elicit or obscure the truth, to extinguish or inflame animosity-whether they are becoming the dignity and magnanimity of Great Britain-whether they are consistent with Christian Principles-and whether in their įresult, they are likely to confirm or to invalidate that combination of the benevolent efforts of the two countries, so favourable to the cause of Humanity and Religion?
It is with reluctance that we omit any part of Mr. Hodgson's Narrative; but our limits oblige us to abridge it in a few places.
In the present Number we shall give his account of the Creeks that of the Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Cherokees, will be reserved for the next Number.
In his journey across Georgia, from Augusta to Mobile, Mr. Hodgson passed through the territory of the Creek Indians, in the central parts of that State. On crossing the River Ockmulgee, he entered the Nation, and proceeded forward to the " Agency," or residence of the person who acts as Agent between the United States and the Indians of Georgia, which lies on the Flint River. Pine forests of many miles extent lie in the way, and stretch to the horizon on every side. Of the state of the people, and of the scenery, our readers will find a very interesting description.
Cabins are placed throughout the Creek Nation, at distances of about thirty miles, for the convenience of travellers. Of the first of these which he met with, Mr. Hodgson says:
As we approached it, we saw some Indians in their wigwams on the road-side. One was lying asleep before the door, his head covered with a blanket; and when I pointed to him, a woman, who was sitting over him, said, "Whiskey sick-Whiskey sick." Some had brought their little parcels of Indian corn from an Indian town about eight miles distant, and were selling it to the people of the inn. The young men were shooting at small birds with their bows and arrows; and the little children who appeared very active, were trying to walk on their hands, as the children in England occasionally do.
The Maitre d'Hotel of our little cabin, was a white man, the partner of an Indian Chief;-the Creek Indians allowing no white person to settle in their nation, except as their partners, as husbands of Indian women, of as, in some way or other, closely connected with themselves. He gave us some coffee, and Indian-corn bread, and bacon; a plain substantial fare, which you seldom fail to obtain, throughout the nation, sometimes improved by the addition of su
gar and cream and butter, and sometimes varied by the introduction of wild venison, or wild turkeys.
As we purposed sleeping in the woods that night, there being no cabin within a convenient distance, we had here to lay in provision for our horses. At four o'clock, we set out-my servant carrying a handkerchief full of Indiancorn leaves, the substitute for hay in this country, being tied behind me on my horse, half as high as my shoulders. On the banks of several streams, we saw parties of Indians, who had settled themselves there for a few days, to assist travellers in swimming their horses; but, as the waters had subsided, we did not require their assistance. Their rude dwellings were formed of four upright saplings, and a rough covering of pine-bark, which they strip from the trees with a neatness and rapidity which we could not imitate. Before them, the women were sitting, dressing Indian corn or wild venison; the men lying by their side with intelligent and happy countenances, graceful in their attitudes, and grave and dignified in their address. Some of the parties whom we passed in the glens at sun-set, had a very picturesque appearance.
We rode nearly two hours by moonlight, before we could find water for our horses: at length observing some fires at a distance in the woods, we struck toward them; but they were surrounded by Indians, to whom we could not make ourselves intelligible. At last we discerned a stream of water, and near it two or three parties of travellers; who had already lighted their fires, by which they were toasting their bacon, and boiling their coffee. We invited ourselves to join one, consisting of a little Alabama cotton-planter and his daughter, whom we had met in the course of the day. He was in a situation of life corresponding, perhaps, with that of our second or third-rate farmers; and was bringing his daughter from school at Milledgeville in Georgia, from 300 to 400 miles from hence. They travelled in a little Jersey Waggon or (Dear-born, or Carry-all, or Carryhalf, as this humble vehicle is variously denominated)Camping out" every night, and cooking their bacon and coffee three times a day.
Some stragglers from the other parties joined us, for a little chat before bed-time; and were consulting on the propriety of proceeding directly to the end of their journey, or staying for a season, as is very common, to "make a crop" on some of the unappropriated public lands. When they were gone, our Alabama friends sat reading by the
fire, for an hour or two before they retired to rest, when the little girl ascended the waggon and her father covered her with a blanket, and spread an umbrella over her, to protect her from the dew. As for ourselves, having secured our horses and given them their supper, and contributed our supply to the stock of wood for the night, we lay down in the blankets which we always put under the saddles, to prevent our horses' backs being galled; taking our saddlebags for pillows, and placing our pistols by our side.
In the course of the night, a few Indians paid us a visit; walking round us, and examining us very attentively, but without speaking. The novelty of the scene, however, prevented my sleeping much. On my left hand, were my friend the Alabama planter, and his daughter, with her coffee-pot, and her "Tales of my Landlord," at her father's feet. About 100 yards from us were the Emigrants from Georgia and Carolina, with their five or six little fires; alternately decaying till they almost disappeared, and then bursting forth with a vivid flame which illuminated the intervening space, and flashed on the horses and waggons ranged around: on our right were the Indian wigwams; and before us, at a distance, some acres of pine woods on fire. Yet, notwithstanding the strong light which occasionally emanated from so many sources, and the features of the grotesque which the picture certainly contained, the stillness of the night, the deep blue of the sky above us, and the sombre colouring of the heavy forests in which we were enveloped, imparted to this novel scene a character of solemnity which preponderated over every other expression.
We set off as soon as it was light; and, passing several creeks, arrived at the extremity of a ridge, from which we looked down into a savannah, in which is situated the Indian town of Cosito, on the Chatahouchy. It appeared to consist of about 100 houses, many of them elevated on poles from two to six feet high, and built of unhewn logs, with roofs of bark, and little patches of Indian corn before the doors. The women were hard at work, digging the ground, pounding Indian corn, or carrying heavy loads of water from the river: the men were either setting out to the woods with their guns, or lying idle before the doors; and the children were amusing themselves in little groups. The whole scene reminded me strongly of some of the African towns, described by Mungo Park. In the centre of the town, we passed a large building, with a conical roof, supported by a circular wall about three feet high: close to it
was a quadrangular space, enclosed by four open buildings, with rows of benches rising above one another: the whole was appropriated, we were informed, to the Great Council of the town, who meet, under shelter, or in the open air, according to the weather. Near the spot was a high pole, like our May-poles, with a bird at the top, round which the Indians celebrate their Green-Corn Dance. The town or township of Cosito is said to be able to muster 700 warriors, while the number belonging to the whole Nation is not estimated at more than 3500.
About a mile from the town we came to the Chatahouchy, a beautiful river. We were ferried over by Indians, who sang in response; the Indian Muses, like their Eastern Sisters, appearing to "love alternate song." Their dress frightened our horses; and, as we were pushing from the shore, a young hunter leapt into the boat, with no other covering than his shirt and belt, and his bow and arrows slung behind.
We arrived at Ouchee Bridge about one o'clock; and our horses being rather tired, we determined to rest the remainder of the day at a stand kept by a young man from Philadelphia, whose partner is a half-breed. I slept in a log-cabin, without windows; and supped with my host and several unwashed artificers, and unshaved labourers, who, according to the custom of this part of the country, even when not within Indian limits, sat down with us in their shirt-sleeves, fresh from their labours. Our host had killed a panther a few days previously, within twenty yards of the house.
Ouchee Creek, which is here to form the boundary between Alabama and Georgia, when the Indian title is extinguished, derives its name from the Ouchees, a conquered tribe of Indians; many of whom were long held in captivity by the victorious Creeks. We saw several of them, who exhibited in the subdued and dejected expression of their countenances, indications of their degraded condition.
We left Ouchee Bridge on the 26th of May; and early in the afternoon, arrived at Irish Bainbridge, where we found a stand in which the "Big Warrior" is a sleeping partner, and a head waiter from one of the principal inns in Washington, the efficient man. There is, however, another partner, whom I found highly interesting. had lived fifteen years in the heart of the Indian country, having married an Indian wife, and adopted the manners of the natives. He appeared to unite great mildness and in