Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time

By Freeman Cleaves | Go to book overview

VIII
THE MARCH UP THE WABASH

THE Motive of Tecumseh, in hovering above Vincennes to collect his land forces, could only be interpreted as hostile. After promising to bring only a few warriors he had descended menacingly upon a town inadequately protected. Indians whom Harrison classified as neutral expressed the belief that some sudden blow was meditated. In the opinion of the French traders and friendly chiefs whom the Governor questioned, Tecumseh's intention was to demand that the new purchase be abandoned. If this had been refused, he would have seized and put to death the treaty-signing chiefs who were present, indicating Harrison as the man actually responsible for bloodshed. Should Harrison have interfered there would have been further outbreak. "Had he found me unprepared I am certain that he would have found means to pick a quarrel," the Governor contended. "That he had some design in view he thought fit to abandon is most evident."1

Whatever his motive, Tecumseh had broken his promise to limit his forces and had shown a singular lack of understanding of the temper of the whites. As he made his departure, on August 5, he left behind him a spirit of retaliation which he failed to comprehend. Even before the council was over, a group of citizens had held an indignation meeting. A committee headed by Samuel T. Scott, the Presbyterian minister, drew up an address to the President urging the "exertion of some rigor" against The Prophet's band, and adopted a brace of stern resolutions:

"Resolved, That the . . . safety of the persons and property of this frontier can never be effectually secured but by the breaking up of the combination formed by the Shawanese prophet. . . .

"Resolved, That we are fully convinced . . . this combination . . . is a British scheme, and that the agents of that power are constantly exciting the Indians to hostility. . . .

"Resolved, That the assemblage of Indians at this place . . . was calculated to excite the most serious alarm, and but for the energetic

-83-

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Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT vii
  • THE HARRISON FAMILY ix
  • Contents xi
  • Illustrations xiii
  • I- Colonel Ben Harrison 1
  • II- Student of War 9
  • III- Delegate to Congress 22
  • IV- A New Frontier 33
  • V- Two Shawnee Brothers 51
  • VI- The Treaty of Fort Wayne 61
  • VII- quickening of War 69
  • VIII- The March Up the Wabash 83
  • IX- Tippecanoe 98
  • X- Kentucky Crosses the Ohio 112
  • XI- Massacre at the River Raisin 132
  • XII- A Fort is Built 151
  • XIII- The Siege of Fort Meigs 162
  • XIV- "We Have Met the Enemy . . ." 172
  • XV- Victory in Canada 188
  • XVI- The Hero of the Thames 206
  • XVII- Harrison Resigns 216
  • XVIII- Harrison Asks Congress to Judge 229
  • XIX- Political Fortunes 243
  • XX- South American Adventure 261
  • XXI- Depression Years 276
  • XXII- Evolution of a Candidate 288
  • XXIII- Harrison versus Van Buren 301
  • XXIV- Tippecanoe and Tyler Too 314
  • XXV- Jubilation and Mourning 329
  • Notes 345
  • Bibliography 392
  • Index 403
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