The Yemassee

By William Gilmore Simms; Alexander Cowie | Go to book overview
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" Be thy teeth firmly set; the time is come,
To rend and trample. We are ready all,
All, but the victim."

AT dark, Sanutee, Ishiagaska, Enoree-Mattee, the prophet and a few others of the Yemassee chiefs and leaders, all entertaining the same decided hostilities to the Carolinians, and all more or less already committed to the meditated enterprise against them, met at the lodge of Ishiagaska, in the town of Pocota-ligo, and discussed their further preparations at some length. The insurrection had ripened rapidly, and had nearly reached a head. All the neighbouring tribes, without an exception, had pledged themselves for the common object, and the greater number of those extending over Georgia and Florida, were also bound in the same dreadful contract. The enemies of the settlement, in this conspiracy, extended from Cape Fear to the mountains of Apalachia, and the disposable force of the Yemassees, under this league, amounted to at least six thousand warriors. These forces were gathering at various points according to arrangement, and large bodies from sundry tribes had already made their appearance at Pocota-ligo, from which it was settled that the first blow should be given. Nor were the Indians, thus assembling, bowmen merely. The Spanish authorities of St. Augustine, who were at the bottom of the conspiracy, had furnished them with a considerable supply of arms; and the conjectures of Harrison rightly saw in the boxes transferred by Chorley, the seaman, to the Yemassees, those weapons of massacre which the policy of the Carolinians had withheld usually from the hands of the redmen. These, however, were limited to the forest nobility the several chiefs bound in the war; to the commons, a knife or tomahawk was the assigned, and perhaps the more truly useful present. The musket, at that period, in the hands of the unpractised savage, was not half so dangerous as the bow. To this array of the forces gathered against the Carolinians, we must add those of the pirate Chorley a desperado in every sense of the word, a profligate boy, a vicious and outlawed man daring, criminal, and only engaging in the present adven


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