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other French of Louisiana had been harassed with continual qnarrels with the Indians, seemingly caused by haughty and unscrupulous maltreatment from the Europeans. Although the Natchez had received D'Iberville with respect and kindness, yet his brother Bienville, a man of strong and imperious will, had, as early as 1716, showed great harshness in settling quarrel between the small garrison of Fort Rosalie, and the neighboring savages. Again, in 1723, a more serious outbreak occurred. By the causeless violence of some French soldiers, one warrior was killed, and another wounded; the savages, in revenge, , waylaid, robbed; and murdered along the frontier ; and at length a war party of eighty made an open attack upon
the settlements. The assailants were repulsed, but not before two planters were slain, and many depredations committed. The chief “Suns,” as they were called, of the tribe, hastened, however, to secure a peace, by treating with the commandant of the fort. Bienville now coming on to the post, ratified the agreement, and departed in apparent friendship. But with a duplicity and ferocity far more shameful than that of these ignorant children of the forest, he fell suddenly upon them, seven months afterwards, with seven hundred troops, ravaged their country with fire and sword, mercilessly destroyed men, women and children, and sternly insisted that they should buy a peace by delivering to death one of their sacred
chieftains, the Suns. The horrified but helpless Indians offered several common warriors to death, instead; two successively devoting themselves were slain, and their heads offered to Bienville. But the inexorable Frenchman persisting, at last succeeded in forcing the sacrifice, and thus having exacted his own measure of punishment for deeds provoked by his fellow Frenchmen, and having chosen in doing it to violate every feeling and passion of their savage hearts, he returned home in ruthless triumph. The unfortunate Natchez, now despairing of any reliable amity with the French, repaid for kindness with the most bitter insult and with irreparable injuries, and seeing the power and the tyranny of their foes increase together, in cautious silence began to plot revenge, and nurtured their schemes for six years, finally to be developed by the attempt to crown the long course of injuries by another gratuitous oppression, threatened by a subaltern against the nation.
Chopart, the brutal commandant at Fort Rosalie, had long been the object of peculiar hatred to the cribe; and between him and them there had long been going on an exchange of bitter injuries. Having been once even cited to New Orleans to answer to the complaints against him laid before M. Perrier by the Natchez chiefs, he managed to maintain himself in his command, and returning to his post gratified his revengeful anger by contriving new and elaborate insults. About three leagues from the fort, upon an extensive and fertile level, stood the village of the White Apple Chief, a Sun of the Natchez tribe. In the open sunny plain, humble and happy homes were scattered here and there amongst the wide fields of corn, pumpkins and beans, and in the midst, upon an artificial mound, and near a rivulet, stood the sacred abode of the Grand Sun. Here, from time immemorial, generation after generation had lived, loved and died; around this happy spot clustered all the associations sacred to their family, their nation, their religion.
The wrathful amazement of the chief cannot be pictured, upon being rudely summoned to the presence of the brutal commander, and coolly informed that he and his nation must forth with remove their habitations to some other spot, and permit their sprouting crops to be laid waste. Chopart pretended that he needed the ground for a military post; his intention was, at the same time to gratify his insane enmity against the Indians, and to lay out a magnificent plantation for himself upon the ruins of their dwellings. Gravely hiding his emotion, after the decorous savage manner, the Sun replies, that“ their fathers for many years have occupied that ground, and it is good for their children still to remain on the same." The military tyrant threatens violence; and
' the chief calls his council together to determine upon
MASBACRE AT FORT ROSALIE.
action in the case. Further forbearance was decided upon, and a tribute of a basket of corn and a hen for each cabin being promised, Chopart is bribed thereby to postpone the day of destruction until the young crops shall have been gathered in. But as the time for destroying the village approaches, the smothered flame of savage indignation burns, quietly still, but hotter and hotter. In secret council the chiefs of the Natchez resolve upon revenging their cruel wrongs, and securing themselves for the future, by exterminating the whole colony; killing men and enslaving women and children. The secret is confined to the chiefs and warriors. Runners sent out in every direction advise the confederate tribes; the indomitable and ferocious Chickasaws to the north, the northern affiliated bands of their Natchez kinsmen, the Creeks to the east, and to the west, the nearly related tribe of the Tensas, that the time is at hand for the execution of the design, which together they have so faithfully guarded from suspicion, and for whose opportunity they have waited with such untiring patience, for six long years. Bundles of reeds, equal in number, are distributed to all the villages. Beginning with the next new moon, a reed is daily to be withdrawn; and upon the day when the last is taken, the attack is to be made. Chopart and the garrison receive repeated intimations of the approaching danger, but the tyrant's heart is hard
ened-he grows even more careless of defence or cir. cumspection, and meets the messengers with violent threats for their pains.
By some error not sufficiently explained, the Natchez bundle of reeds was exhausted too soon. А day or two before the proper time, then, the Natchez having learned that a large supply of ammunition has just reached Fort Rosalie, conceal weapons within their dress, and gradually insinuating themselves in considerable numbers within the fort, they chaffer for powder and ball, which they say they need for a great hunting match about to come off; and they offer uncommonly good bargains in poultry and corn. Utterly unsuspicious, the French eagerly take the usual white man's advantage of the simple savage, and bargain hard. In the bustle of the sales, the number of red men who have distributed themselves dispersedly all about the buildings is unnoticed. But suddenly every frightened Frenchman sees the wild light of savfury flame out of the Indian's dark eyes. The Great Sun has given the appointed signal; and before he can grasp a weapon, almost before he can cry out, the wretched victim is struck down, brained, thrust through. Like banded fiends risen through the earth, the red devils strike all together; and where but one moment before the purlieus of the fort were scattered over with laughing or scolding couples, groaning, writhing men, lie in their gore here and there, and the wild