Description of the Indians by Lt. James Hadden

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The Men are in general tall, active & well made, qualifications absolutely necessary for a Race of Hunters : a small Tuft of Hair is left on the back part of their Heads, To which they fasten & wear a feather for every Scalp taken in War, the rest being plucked out as soon as they are of an Age to go to War, during this operation the young Hero sings a War Song : Their Ears are slit and they wear a number of small Rings round their separated Gristle, they also wear mock jewels &c. by way of Ear Rings, and the Gristle of the Nose being bored serves to support a small kind of Silver Bob & Ring. When prepared for War they paint themselves with Vermilion & other colors. Their dress is a Blanket and Arse Clout, or covering for the Privates ; at great War Dances they are sometimes totally Naked, at the end of the Penis the head & Neck of some handsome bird is fastened, the Nation of Fox Indians were thus equipped on the present occasion, and some others had their Bodies painted in Stripes of different colors.

The Men get rid of their Beards & all other superfluous Hair in this way. It is to be remarked that the natural inhabitants of the Southern parts of America and indeed all over it have few hairs except those on the Head. Their complexions are swarthy, and their Hair very coarse & black. They (particularly the Women) cover themselves with greese as a de fence against ye Mousqueeto’s & other Flies, this makes them far from tempting and we are there fore not surprised to see their Women employed in all Laborious occupations (even carrying their Provisions) except Hunting. The Barter with them is Blankets Cloth, Rum and Trinkets, these go up in Canoes which return loaded with Furs of various kinds. The Savages are immoderately fond of Spirits, of this the Traders make their advantage, tho’ sometimes in a state of intoxication the whole is seized and the unhappy Traders scalped. If the Indians have any Religion ’tis Roman Catholic and in many Towns a Priest of that persuasion lives with them. All the Interpreters are of that Religion; This might prove bad policy in case of a French attack.

The Indians are cunning and Treacherous, more remarkable for rapid marches and sudden attacks than Courage. I heard Gen’l Burgoyne declare that a Thousand Savages brought into the Field cost more than 20.000 Men. The Presents to them are usualy Silver Bracelets, Gold laced Hats, & Coats, Feathers, Paints, Arms of various sorts &c, in all of which both Govern ment and the Indians are much cheated by the Traders who on these occasions are Interpreters. The Time of amusing them with Tinsel & such Baubles is over they want useful or valuable Trinkets, and will always point to the Broach in their Shirt (a present some of the Nations occa sionally use) that being Silver & of intrinsic value. Their Arms are a Wooden Ball fixed to a handle, a Tommy hawk or hand hatchet, and a Scalping Knife. Those employed in our Service had a kind of light Musquet which they use very skilfully. I shall conclude remarking that the most mis chievous and treacherous Nations are those who are nearest & mix most with the Europeans ; they acquire only our Vices & retain their ferocity.

Hadden’s Journal and Orderly Books

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