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tribe, speak a dialect of the Muskhogee. The Seminoles or Isty-Semole, (wild men,') who inhabit the peninsula of Florida, are pure Muskhogees, who have gradually detached themselves from the confederacy, but who were still considered as members of it, till the United States treated with them as an independent nation. The name of Seminoles was given to them, on account of their being hunters, and attending but little to agriculture. A vocabulary is wanted, in order to prove conclusively, the identity of their language with the Muskhogee.
6. There is some diversity in the accounts given by the Muskhogees of their origin. The chiefs of the delegation, who attended at Washington, in the year 1826, agreed, that the prevailing tradition among them was, that the nation had issued out of a cave near the Alabama river. The Hitchittees said, that their ancestors had fallen from the sky. These modes of speaking, common to several of the tribes, only show that they have lost the recollection of any ancient migration, and that they consider themselves as aborigines.
“ The Utchees and the Natchez, who are both incorporated in the confederacy, speak two distinct languages, altogether different from the Muskhogee. The Natchez, a residue of the well known nation of that name, came from the banks of the Mississippi and joined the Creeks less than one hundred years ago. The original seats of the Uchees were east of the Coosa, and probably of the Chattahoochee, and they consider themselves the most ancient inhabitants of the country. It appears certain, that at the beginning of the eighteenth century, they were, at least in part, seated on the western banks of the Savannah. It has already been seen, that in 1736, they claimed the country above and below Augusta. In the year 1715, was that of the signal defeat of the Yamassees (in South Carolina.) The Yamassees were driven across the river, (Savannah,) and it is probable that the Uchees were amongst their auxiliaries, and that weakened by this defeat, they found it safer to remove to a greater distance from the English settlements, towards Flint river,” (and Florida.)
“ These five languages, the Muskhogee, the Hitchittee, Uchee, Natchez and the Alabama or Coosada, are, it is
believed, the only one spoken by the different tribes of the Creek confederacy. The Uchee is the most guttural, uncouth, and difficult to express with our alphabet and orthography, of any of the Indian languages within our knowledge.
Although partial and transient collisions with the Creeks, occurred subsequently to the settlement of Georgia, no actual war with them took place for near fifty years. They took an active part in that of the Revolution, against the Americans, and continued their hostilities till the treaty concluded at Philadelphia, in 1795. They then remained at peace eighteen years; but at the beginning of the last war with Great Britain, a considerable portion of the nation, excited, it is said, by Tecumseh, and probably receiving encouragement from other quarters, took arms, without the slightest provocation, and at first committed great ravages. They received a severe chastisement; and the decisive victories of General Jackson, at that time and some years later, over the Seminoles, who had renewed the war, have not only secured a permanent peace with the southern nations, but have placed them all under the absolute control of the United States. The Creeks and Seminoles, after some struggles among themselves, have ceded the whole of their territory, and accepted in exchange, other lands beyond the Mississippi.”
Such is the succinct, but comprehensive account of the Creek Confederacy, by Mr. Gallatin. Bernard Romans, who wrote his book in 1770, says that,“ this confederacy, of remnants of tribes, are very cunning fellows. They are a mixture of Cowittas, Talepoosas, Corsas, Apalachias, Conshaes or Coosadas, Oakmulgees, Oconees, Okchoys, Alibamons, Natchez, Wetumkas, Pakanas, Taensas, Chacsihomas, Abekas, and other tribes." Classifying these numerous tribes by the science of philology, they must be reduced to the number of five, as Mr. Gallatin has showu.
They are jealous, says Romans, of their lands, and endeavor to enlarge their territories by conquest, and claiming large tracts from the Cherokees and Choctaws. They have forced these two tribes into alliance, and they wish to unite all tribes and languages under one general confederation or commonwealth. As an instance of their
jealous policy, it may be related, that in 1764, Messrs. Rea and Galphin, having contracted to supply Pensacola with beef, the Creeks would not allow any other cattle than oxen to pass through their territory.
To my mind, it is evident, that the whole Atlantic coast, from the Mississippi to the country of the Six Nations, in the north, has for centuries past been the theatre of constant revolutions among the aborigines of the soil. Wars, conquests, subjugations, extinctions and productions of new races, migrations and new settlements, I do not doubt, have marked the life of western as well as of eastern nations. On this continent there are no Persepolitan, Etruscan, Egyptian or Runic inscriptions, to attest the rise and decay of nations, their wars, conquests and migrations; and where no records have been made of such movements among races and tribes, the modern science of comparative philology has detected, by speech, the far distant emigration of tribes of men, with as great certainty, as the comparative anatomist detects congeners, among fossil mammals. Thus, the Anglo-Saxon derives his origin through Teutonic and Zend, to Sanscrit in central Asia, with positive certainty.
The historians of Carolina and Georgia, have preserved some slight vestiges of the original inhabitants. The Shawnees appear to have been a peculiarly roving, romantic race. Lawson reports that the Catawbas in Carolina, drove back the Shawnees from the Pedee and Santee rivers. At one time, they were repelled by the Six Nations and retired to the valley of the Ohio. At another, they were found on the Savannah river, which was called Chisketalla fau hatche ; and sometimes Sauvannogee, the name for Shawanoe. This is the report of Mr. Hawkins. It was called Isundiga, by the Carolina tribes. My own opinion is, that the river was so called, from the tribe of Savannahs occupying its banks; who belonged to the great Uchee family. There are many indications however, which favor the settlement of Shawnees on this river.
Hawkins says, that “the village of Sauvanogee, on the waters of Coosa and Tallapoosa, is inhabited by Shawanee. They retain the language and customs of their countrymen to the northwest, and aided them in their late
war with the United States. Some Uchecs have settled with them.”
Entertaining the suspicion, that these Shawanee were in reality Uchees, I found confirmation in Bartram. He says, “their (Uchees) own national language is radically different from the Muscogulgee tongue; and is called Savanna or Savannuca, Savanogee. I was told by the traders, that it was the same as the dialect of the Shawa
The Uchees are in confederacy with the Creeks, but do not mix with them."
The language of the Shawnese is most certainly not like Uchee; and this contradiction of the traders I cannot well explain. Yet I have the conviction, that the tribe of Savannahs were Uchees. All travellers concur in assigning to the Uchees great influence in the confederacy; and Bartram asserts that “they excite the jealousy of the whole Creek union.” Palachoocla or Parachoocla, the capital of the confederacy, with two thousand inhabitants, on the waters of the Chattahoochee, is a very ancient Uchee town. There is at this day an old Indian station in Carolina, on the Savannah river, called Parachoola, which is Uchee. Saukechuh, (saltketchers,) where Governor Craven defeated the Yamassees, is most likely to be a Uchee word. Indeed, until the contrary shall be proved by comparative vocabularies, I shall think that the Savannahs, Sevannahs and Uchees, who conquered and expelled the Westos and Stonos, were one people with the Yamassees.
The Yamassees were, in turn, expelled from Carolina by the English, and took refuge in Florida. The Yamacraws belonged to this tribe. The Uchees seem to have been a conquering people, whose tide of success having been checked, flowed back towards the west, and there met the advancing waves of the Muscogee emigration from the west, rolling eastwardly. Policy and self-preservation combined to suggest a coalition.
And thus, from these principles, acting upon other nomadic or migrating tribes, may have sprung the powerful Creek or Muscogee confederacy.
The existence of the numerous aboriginal tribes within the borders of the United States will, ere long, belong only to history. The generations of Indians that have passed away since the first English settlements in Amer
ica, have left no monuments to attest their dominion. There exist in the valleys of the great west, striking evidences of an anterior civilization, which are objects of wonder to the Indians of our day as well as to ourselves. The only vestiges of their creation, that will be left to posterity, are the books of missionaries printed in their idioms, and vocabularies, unsatisfactory but invaluable to science. Too much honor and praise cannot be accorded to those enlightened men, who have devoted themselves to the preservation of these vestiges which are to become the fossil, organic remains of intellectual humanity. Du Ponceau and Gallatin are the two names which stand pre-eminent in this department of scientific labor. The one has closed his honorable career; the other still devotes, with advancing years, his philosophic mind to these subjects of human and scientific interest. At this moment he is preparing for press a volume of ethnographic investigations in California and New Mexico. The labors of the scholar and historian, will beautifully close the career of the benevolent and disciplined statesman.
WM. B. HODGSON. JUNE 20, 1848.