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February 7, 2013

America and Algiers

From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Feb. 6, 1813

Compiled, with comments




General Tecumseh. We find in the history of Gen. Hull’s expedition the following “brief description” of the celebrated Anglo, savage, brigadier general Tecumseh, late in the British service.

“Tecumseh, is about 45 years of age, of the Shananoe [Shawnee] tribe, six feet high, well proportioned for his height, of erect and lofty deportment, penetrating eye, rather stern visage, artful, insidious, in preparing enterprizes, and bold in their execution.

“His eloquence is nervous, concise and impressive. In his youth, and before the treaty of Greenville, he was one of the boldest warriors who infested the Ohio river — seizing boats — killing emigrants — lading the horses he took with the most valuable plunder — and retiring to the Wabash, where, careless of wealth himself, he soon lavished the treasures of his rapine upon his followers, which, when exhausted he replenished by fresh depredations.

“Among the Indians, Tecumseh is esteemed the boldest warrior of the west.”

COMMENT: Tecumseh (1768-1813) was by far the most important American Indian during the War of 1812. In 1808 he had settled Prophetstown in the Indiana territory. His purpose, throughout his life, was to establish a free Indian nation between the United States and British Canada. In 1795 that purpose was largely defeated by the Battle of Fallen Timbers, after which a coalition of Indians signed the Treaty of Greenville with the United States, giving up most of the Ohio region forever (for goods worth about $20,000). Tecumseh sided with the British during the War of 1812, and sought to enlist the support of all Indian tribes, in hopes of reversing at least some of these territorial losses. He was, however, killed at the Battle of the Thames in 1813 in what is now Ontario, and in 1814 Indian tribes signed a second Treaty of Greenville with Ge. William Henry Harrison and Michigan territorial governor Lewis Cass confirming the Indians’ loss of territory.

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