Attakullakulla, otherwise Little Carpenter, who was not only esteemed the wisest man in the nation, but also the most firmly attached to the English. This old warrior, though just returned from an excursion against the French, in which he had taken a number of prisoners, hastened to the governor's camp, and presented him with one of the captives.
The sachem, after a conference with the governor, requested that some of the head-men might be released, in order to assist him in brining his people to terms of peace. In compliance with his request, the governor released the great warrior Ouconnostota, and two more of the head-men. The next day they delivered up two Indians. The governor putting them immediately in irons, so alarmed the Cherokees that they fled out of the way and no more could be obtained.
As Attakullakulla now left the camp, despairing of making any accommodation, he was sent for to return by the governor, who concluded a treaty with him, holding twenty-two of the chieftains as hostages until as many of the warriors who had committed murder should be delivered up.
Scarcely had the governor finished the treaty, when the small-pox broke out in his camp. Few of the army had been infected with the disease, and the physicians were wholly unprovided for such an event. The men were struck with a general terror, and with the utmost haste returned to their respective settlements. Such was the fear which each had of his fellow, that all intercourse, on the return, was cautiously avoided. By this means the men suffered exceedingly with hunger and fatigue. The governor soon followed them, and arrived safely at Charleston. Here, though a drop of blood had not been spilt, nor scarcely anything achieved but what was highly perfidious and inglorious, he was received as a conqueror. From different societies and professions he received the most flattering addresses. By illuminations and bonfires the citizens expressed the high sense which they entertained of his services and of the happy consequences of his expedition.
Their congratulations proved somewhat too hasty. The Indians were so incensed by the perfidy with which their messengers had been treated that they ignored the treaty of peace.
Attakullakulla, by reason of his known attachment to the English, had little influence with his countrymen. Ouconnostota, whose influence was great, was now become an implacable and vindictive enemy. He determined to follow the example of the governor, and to repay meanness and perfidy in their own kind. No attention was paid to the treaty, but Ouconnostota, collecting a strong party, killed fourteen men in the neighborhood of Fort Prince George, surrounded the fort, and confined the garrison to their works. Finding that he could make no impression upon the fort, he contrived a stratagem for its surprisal, and the relief of his countrymen who were there in confinement.
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