Friday, April 01, 2011

Chief Logan's Lament

A moving piece, worth sharing, worth being re-read and being passed on.

Reference: Edited excerpt, information and complete speech from Chief Logan's Lament, page 30, The American Reader, Words That Moved a Nation, Perennial Publication (2000) edited by Diane Ravitch


In 1774, there were violent clashes between Indians and whites in the Ohio River valley. Whites were reportedly enraged after a series of robberies assumed to be commited by the Indians and white soldiers wiped off a large number of Indians, including the family of Logan, the chief of the Mingo Indian tribe.

Logan was known as a friend of the whites, but the massacre, and the murder of his entire family at the hands of the whites, prompted him to retaliate. Led by Logan, the Indians went on a rampage, killed several till they were finally defeated by the Virginia militia in October 1774. After defeat, Logan refused to join the other chiefs as a supplicant before the victorious whites. Instead, he sent the following speech to Lord Dunmore, royal governor of Virginia.

Thomas Jefferson included Logan's speech in his Notes on Virginia (1784-85) ... as proof "of the talents of the aboriginals of this country, and particularly of their eloquence."

The speech:

Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one.

I appeal to any white man to say, if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat: if he ever came cold and naked, and he cloathed him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said, "Logan is the friend of the white man." I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not even sparing my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it: I have killed many: I have fully glutted my vengeance: for my country I rejoice at the beams of peace. But do not harbour a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? - Not one.