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The Natchez

On February 11th, 1700, De Iberville, Bienville, Perricaul and Tonti ascended the Mississippi River as far west as the present city of Natchez. They were kindly received (so states the journalist) by the great chief, or sun, as he was termed, surrounded by six hundred of his warriors, who, according to their own account, had formerly been a great nation. On the 13th the party left Natchez and visited the villages of the Taensas, the customs and habits of who were the same as the Natchez, being evidently a branch of the latter. During their stay the sacred temple of these Indians was struck by lightning and burned to ashes. To appease the Sun God, the poor, infatuated women threw themselves, and parents, their children, into the consuming flames of the burning temple. Perricaul, who was one of the witnesses of the fearful scene, thus wrote of it: “We left the Natchez and coasted along to the right, where the river is bordered with high, gravelly banks for a distance of twelve leagues. At the extremity of these bluffs is a place called Petit Gulf, on account of the whirlpool formed by the river for the distance of a quarter league. Eight leagues higher up we came to Grand Gulf, which we passed a short distance above, on the right hand side. We landed to visit a village four leagues in the interior. These Indians are called the Taensas. We were well received, but I never saw a more sad sight, frightful and revolting spectacle than that which happened the second day, 16th of April, after our arrival in...

The Natchez and the French

But alas for the poor Natchez! An evil day brought the pale-faces among them in the year 1716, who built the Fort Rosalie among them and in it garrisoned, as a matter of course, a body of soldiers as a protection in their intended aggressions upon and usurpations of the Indians rights; and from that day the sun of the Natchez’s happiness began to wane, but to speedily set forever in the oblivion of utter extermination. As an introduction, Cadillac, on his way up the Mississippi river to search for gold and silver, stopped at Natchez. As soon as the Indian chiefs learned of his approach they marched out in state to meet him, and according to their custom, presented the calumet of peace to him in token of their desired friendship with him. Cadillac became greatly offended at what he regarded as presumption of the Indians in supposing that he would contaminate his pure patrician lips with the touch of their vile pipe. He accordingly treated the peace desiring Indians as uncouth animals thrusting themselves into his august presence; and un ceremoniously departing without having consented to smoke with them, he impressed the Natchez who could not comprehend his rough manners toward them, or understand the nature of his pride, with the belief that he meditated war upon their tribe and was secretly preparing to make an at tack upon them; and finding a few French strolling about in their village after the departing of Cadillac, and regarding them as spies, they killed them. Hence the origin of the first misunderstanding between the Natchez and the French.” Then following in the wake...

Gov. Perier and Bienville

While the English east of the Alleghany mountains were adopting active, but secret measures, to stop the progress of French colonization on the banks of the Mississippi river, their traders were meeting the French traders every where among the southern Indians, and their mutual animosity and competition causing frequent quarrels, oft terminating in collisions, in which the unfortunate Indians always became involved on the one or the other side. But the French, at an; early day had excited the animosity of the Chickasaws by failing to protect a band of their warriors who had solicited an escort from Mobile to their homes through the Choctaw Nation, with, whom they were then at war; but in passing; through the Choctaw Nation, though under a French escort, they were slain to a man by the Choctaws. The Chickasaws, believing it was done through the connivance of the French, never forgave them; and in all the quarrels between the French and English traders they took sides with the latter and “finally became the firm and undeviating friends, and allies of the English, and the most bitter” enemies of the French, giving them more trouble than all the other southern tribes, and whom they regarded as the most dreaded enemies among all the Indians in the Mississippi valley. Their territory lay exactly between the French settlements in Louisiana and Illinois and thus made all intercourse extremely dangerous. The high point upon which, Memphis, Tennessee, is located, then known as the Chickasaw Bluffs, was a favorite spot selected by the shrewd and wily Chickasaw warriors from which to make their attacks upon the French boats ascending...

Early Exploration and Native Americans

De Soto and his band gave to the Choctaws at Moma Binah and the Chickasaws at Chikasahha their first lesson in the white man’s modus operandi to civilize and Christianize North American Indians; so has the same lesson been continued to be given to that unfortunate people by his white successors from that day to this, all over this continent, but which to them, was as the tones of an alarm-bell at midnight. And one hundred and twenty-three years have passed since our forefathers declared all men of every nationality to be free and equal on the soil of the North American continent then under their jurisdiction, except the Africans whom they held in slavery, and the Native Americans against whom they decreed absolute extermination because they could not also enslave them; to prove which, they at once began to hold out flattering-inducements to the so-called oppressed people of all climes under the sun, to come to free America and assist them to oppress and kill off the Native Americans and in partnership take their lands and country, as this was more in accordance with their lust of wealth and speedy self-aggrandizement than the imagined slow process of educating, civilizing and Christianizing them, a work too con descending, too humiliating; and to demonstrate that it has been a grand and glorious success, we now point with vaunting pride and haughty satisfaction to our broad and far extended landed possessions as indisputable evidence of our just claims to the resolution passed by our pilgrim ancestors, “We are the children of the Lord”; and to the little remnant of hapless, helpless and...

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