"You have chosen the tomahawk instead of the peace-pipe. Shall Multnomah choose the tomahawk also? Know you not that Multnomah holds your lives in his hand, and that he can crush you like an eggshell if he chooses?" The war-chief lifted his arm as he spoke, and slowly closed his fingers till his hand was clinched.
He had nearly overtaken it, when more than a hundred men appeared suddenly on the shore, with bows bent to defend their countrymen. La Salle called out to Tonty to withdraw. He obeyed; and the whole party encamped on the opposite bank. Tonty offered to cross the river with a peace-pipe, and set out accordingly with a small party of men.
La Salle went to meet them, with some of his men, opened a parley with them, and kept them seated at the foot of the hill till his three messengers returned, when, on seeing the peace-pipe, the warriors set up a cry of joy.
All day the fumes of the peace-pipe filled the hall, and threats and promises were made, and sealed with long strings of wampum. It would have taken much less time to make one treaty with all the Indians, but Sir William Johnson sought to discourage the idea of a common cause, which Pontiac had done so much to arouse among the Indians.
Again the day had come when it seemed to Pontiac wise to let his hatred of the English sleep. He sent his great peace-pipe to Sir William Johnson and promised to go to Oswego in the spring to conclude a treaty with him. True to his promise, in the spring of 1766, Pontiac, greatest war chief and sachem of the Ottawas, presented himself in the council chamber of Sir William Johnson.
Barely had he obeyed when to the shouting and dancing of the multitude, "a chain" was thrown over his neck, "a crown" placed on his head, and "the sceptre" put in his hand. According to Indian custom, Drake was welcomed by the ceremony of adoption in the tribe, "the sceptre" being a peace-pipe; "the crown," an Indian warrior's head-dress.
That done, he must needs gloat, Indian-wise, over his fallen adversary, turning the headless body with his foot and gibing at it. "Wah! Call hisself the Great Bear, hey? Heap lie; heap no bear; heap nothing, now. Papoose bear no let hisself be trap' that way. No smoke peace-pipe "
At the entrance of the chief's lodge, Hennepin was met by a decrepit old Indian, withered with age, who offered him the peace-pipe, and placed him on a bear-skin which was spread by the fire. Here, to relieve his fatigue, for he was well-nigh spent, a small boy anointed his limbs with the fat of a wild cat, supposed to be sovereign in these cases by reason of the great agility of that animal.
Holding up the peace-pipe that had been smoked at the great council and afterward given to the medicine-men of the Bannocks as a pledge of Cayuse sincerity, he broke the long slender stem twice, thrice, crushed the bowl in his fingers, and dashed the pieces at Snoqualmie's feet.
"Blackgown," he said, "and you, Frenchman, I give you this peace-pipe to be your safeguard wherever you go among the tribes. It shall be feathered with white plumes, and displaying it you may march fearlessly among enemies. It has power of life and death, and honor is paid to it as to a manitou.