The Yemassee

By William Gilmore Simms; Alexander Cowie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II

" Not in their usual trim was he arrayed,
The painted savage with a shaven head,
And feature, tortured up by forest skill,
To represent each noxious form of ill —
And seem the tiger's tooth, the vulture's ravening bill."

THE " great town " of Pocota-ligo, as it was called by the Yemassees, was the largest in their occupation. Its pretensions were few, however, beyond its population, to rank under that title. It was a simple collection of scattered villages, united in process of time by the coalition with new tribes and the natural progress of increase among them. They had other large towns, however, not the least among which was that of Coosaw-hatchie, or the " Refuge of the Coosaws," a town established by the few of that people who had survived the overthrow of their nation in a previous war with the Carolinians. The " city of refuge " was a safe sanctuary, known among the greater number of our forest tribes, and not less respected with them than the same institutions among the Hebrews. * The refuge of the Coosaws, therefore, became recognised as such by all the Indians, and ranked, though of inferior size and population, in no respect below the town of Pocota-ligo. Within its limits — that is to say, within the cordon of pines which were blazed to mark its boundaries, the criminal, whatever his evil deed, found certain security. Here he was sacred. The spot was tabooed to the pursuer and the avenger. The furies had to remain without. The murderer was safe so long as he kept within the marked circuit. But he might never venture forth with hope to elude his enemy. The vengeance of the red man never sleeps, and is never satisfied while there is still a victim.

____________________
*
This peculiar institution among the red men, and which seems to have existed among all the tribes, however unlike in other respects, constitutes one of the arguments among those who insist upon the aborigines as sprung from the Israelites, and who seek to find among them the remnants of the Lost Tribes. Adair has devoted a large portion of his otherwise admirable collection of notes to this wild illusion, to sustain which, he shows himself perversely ingenious in his misuse of history and reason.

-15-

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The Yemassee
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • American Fiction Series *
  • The Yemassee *
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations vii
  • Introduction ix
  • A Simms Chronology xxxvi
  • Selected Bibliography xxxvii
  • The Yemassee Uprising xlii
  • Note on the Text *
  • To Professor Samuel Henry Dickson, M.D., of South Carolina 3
  • Chapter I 9
  • Chapter II 15
  • Chapter III 21
  • Chapter IV 28
  • Chapter V 34
  • Chapter VI 43
  • Chapter VII 51
  • Chapter VIII 65
  • Chapter IX 74
  • Chapter X 81
  • Chapter XI 91
  • Chapter XII 98
  • Chapter XIII 105
  • Chapter XIV 113
  • Chapter XV 118
  • Chapter XVI 123
  • Chapter XVII 133
  • Chapter XVIII 139
  • Chapter XIX 146
  • Chapter XX 151
  • Chapter XXI 159
  • Chapter XXII 165
  • Chapter XXIII 173
  • Chapter XXIV 182
  • Chapter XXV 188
  • Chapter XXVI 201
  • Chapter XXVII 210
  • Chapter XXVIII 215
  • Chapter XXIX 222
  • Chapter XXX 229
  • Chapter XXXI 235
  • Chapter XXXII 243
  • Chapter XXXIII 249
  • Chapter XXXIV 255
  • Chapter XXXV 265
  • Chapter XXXVI 271
  • Chapter XXXVII 276
  • Chapter XXXVIII 283
  • Chapter Xxxix 295
  • Chapter XL 300
  • Chapter XLI 307
  • Chapter XLII 314
  • Chapter XLIII 322
  • Chapter XLIV 329
  • Chapter XLV 336
  • Chapter XLVI 345
  • Chapter XLVII 355
  • Chapter XLVIII 363
  • Chapter Xlix 375
  • Chapter L 382
  • Chapter LI 389
  • Chapter LII 396
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