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The Sons of St. Tammany
or Columbian Order

Let us who are born on the same great Continent love one
another; our interest is the same and we ought to be one
people always ready to assist and serve each other. What
are the people who belong on the other side of the water
to either of us?"

               --American Commissioners
     to Sachems of the Six Nations
     at the Treaty of Johnstown,
     Pennsylvania, March 9, 1778[1]

The trade of Pennsylvania has been more considerable
with the Indians than that of the neighbouring colonies.

               --James Wilson, July 26, 1776[2]

Many colonial Americans viewed American society as a synthesis of Native American and European cultures. The Tammany Society, a classic example of the blending of the two cultures, was a broad-based popular movement that reinforced the founders' usage of symbols and ideological concepts indigenous to North America. The celebration of Tammany Day may have been an attempt to adapt May Day and other Old World holidays to the new American environment. Subsequently, when it inherited the patriotic mantle of the Sons of Liberty in Philadelphia, the Tammany society espoused a philosophy that America was a unique synthesis of the best and noblest aspects of Europe and America. Building upon their own experiences with American Indians, founding fathers like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson used the Tammany societies and its membership to forge a new democratic party after the formation of the United States Constitution. Other founding fathers like Benjamin Franklin, John Dickinson and Benjamin Rush became influential members of the society.

To the Tammany Society, American Indians were more than a symbol of freedom. To members of the revolutionary generation, American Indians represented a wellspring of new ideas that freed Europeans from the antiquated ideas of class and autocratic government that had so long existed in Europe. In the late eighteenth century, Tammany Society members from Georgia to Rhode Island to the Ohio River frequently consulted with American Indian leaders and sought to study American Indian languages and ideas. The society's members stressed concepts and values that founders such as Franklin and Jefferson found in native societies -- a weak executive (except in war), popular participation in government, and charity for the poor. Even James Madison was compelled to seek out the Iroquois and their council when he became disillusioned with the Articles of Confederation in 1784.

Although the early history of the Tammany society is ambiguous. It appears that King Tammany, a Delaware chief friendly to William Penn, became a popular figure in the folklore of early Pennsylvania. The Tammany Society becomes an avenue for the expression of a regional American identity by the mid-eighteenth century. The society's ability to synthesize American and European values and forge a new identity made it a potent force in creating a national identity as well. Its use of an amalgam of American Indian symbols and Christopher Columbus denotes that the American colonists were willing and able to change both American Indian and European values in their quest for a viable American identity before, during and after the American Revolution.

Knowledge of American Indian ways meant peace and freedom to many Europeans even before they set foot on American soil. Before William Penn arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682, he was determined to establish amicable and peaceful relations with the American Indians of the Delaware Valley and surrounding areas. On June 21, 1682 before coming to America, Penn wrote a letter to the "Emperor of Canada" (i.e., the Iroquois) stating that:

The Great God that made thee and me and all the World Incline our hearts to love peace and Justice that we may live friendly together as becomes the workmanship of the great God. [3]

This letter is similar to the message of peace that is the basis for the Great Law of the Iroquois.[4] Penn's attitudes of peace and justice in gratiated him to the Delaware Indians. The Tammany society believed that Penn's friendship with the Delaware chief, Tammany, was a product of Penn's sincerity in dealing with the Delawares. Perhaps Penn's initial successes with the Delawares and also the Iroquois were based on the common understanding of the amicable feelings of peace between all human beings that leads to an equitable and just society.

It is well known that Penn was humane and respectful to American Indians in a variety of situations. The folklore of the early settlement of Pennsylvania described William Penn's relationship with American Indians in this manner:

William Penn made himself endeared to the Indians by his marked condescension and acquiescence in their wishes. He walked with them, sat with them on the ground, and ate with them of their roasted acorns and homony. At this they expressed their great delight, and soon began to show how they could hop and jump; at which exhibition William Penn, to cap the climax sprang up and beat them all. [5]

Initially, Penn dealt with the Unami (Turtle Totem) Lenni Lenape (Delaware) tribe when he came to Pennsylvania, and the Delaware Chief, Tammany, played a prominent role in the early treaties negotiated with Penn. Although the real Tammany's mark appeared on only two treaties (June 23, 1683 and June 15, 1692), he was destined to become a legendary figure in united States and Pennsylvania history and folklore.[6] Tradition has it that Tammany's name meant "the affable" and that he was one of the Delaware Indians who welcomed William Penn on his arrival in America, October 27, 1682.[7] By July 6, 1694 in a meeting between the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania and a delegation of Indians, Tammany had become a strong supporter of the whites and their policies.[8] From these facts and folklore, a legendary Tammany was constructed in the early eighteenth century that was the white man's friend and counselor.

Eventually, the celebration of Tammany's friendship was fused with the British May Day traditions. Once this fusion took place, the peace, justice, freedom and strength of American Indian confederacies became a beacon to the American revolutionaries that sought an alternative to the autocracy of the British monarchy.

The diverse roots of the St. Tammany Society are shrouded in the folk culture of early America and the attempt to resolve the conflicts between European and American Indian cultures. As early as 1637, American Indians and colonists erected May poles (usually Pine trees made into posts about 80 feet high) for revelry and celebration on May Day. Often, they nailed buckhorns near the top of the posts and invited American Indians to the celebrations. In this way, the English rite of spring became "Americanized" with American Indian participation.[9]

Building upon the popularity of such early celebrations, Chief Tammany's mythic importance among the people of Philadelphia crystalized when a group of Quakers established the Schuylkill Fishing Company in 1732. Claiming that their fishing rights in the Schuylkill River had been given to them by the Delaware chief and friend to William Penn, Tammany, the company adopted him as its patron saint. The saint's day was designated as May 1, the traditional beginning of the fishing season. At this time, Chief Tammany was viewed by many Philadelphians as a nature spirit whose ritual day was celebrated to assure a bountiful fishing season, but he seems to also have been associated with a resolve to protect the fishing rights (and by proxy, the political rights) of its members.

Within a decade, the Schuylkill Fishing Company began to fictionalize Tammany by creating mottoes attributed to him. In 1747, the company gave a cannon to the Association Battery of Philadelphia, stamped "Kwanio Che Keeteru" ["This is my right, and I will defend it."], a phrase attributed to Tammany.[10] The phrase was ripe with implications for the increasingly restless colonists. By the time of the Stamp Act crisis eighteen years later, images of American Indian, often as Tammany, were being used widely as a symbol of resistance to British authority. The colonists were beginning to forge a new identity, calling themselves "Americans," a word offered in place of their former European nationalities. The colonists were surprisingly conscious of the composite European-American identity they were creating.

Reports indicate that May Day ceremonies involved a legendary Indian chief (Tamina or Tammany) who initially scared children with whoops and then became friendly as families prepared for May Day ceremonies on the evening of April 30. On May 1, 1771, an account of a Tammany Day celebration described people who entered a room, singing songs, "giving the whoop, and dancing in the style of those people" (i.e., American Indians). Such celebrations occurred in Philadelphia and Annapolis on a regular basis by the early 1770s.[11] By the 1770s, members of the Sons of Liberty (a secret revolutionary society organized in the 1760s) adopted Chief or "King" Tammany as their patron saint to validate their emerging identity as Americans. By this time, Tammany was transformed into a powerful mythic figure that would help to mold the new American nation's identity.

The Sons of Liberty, like the Tammany Day celebrants, had a well-known tradition of cloaking themselves in American Indian symbols and utilizing American Indian concepts. One of the group's important leaders, Joseph Allicocke, was a "mulattoe" who led street demonstrations against British authority. Initially an employee of British merchant interests, Allicocke became disillusioned in 1765, when the Stamp Act was passed. Allicocke helped organize the first street protest against the Stamp Act in New York City. On May 21, 1766, Allicocke was called "General," and given a 21-gun salute as the people of New York City celebrated repeal of the Stamp Act. Later, he helped to break up British military parades by throwing "brick-bats" and leading a force of the Sons of Liberty onto the British parade field to stop the exercises of the British troops.

Allicocke was a member of the Sons of Liberty Committee of Correspondence that sent wampum belts from the Sons of Liberty to the Iroquois to request military aid against the British. Allicocke was such a widely respected leader that he met with the Governor of New York on several occasions in an attempt to quell the violence and protests in the streets. British intelligence reports of the time make it clear that Allicocke and Isaac Sears were the main leaders of the New York Sons of Liberty. In order to organize demonstrations and coordinate protests, the Euroamerican leader, Isaac Sears, needed the support of Allicocke since Allicocke had the respect of the apprentices, artisans and laborers of New York City.[12]

According to his biographer, John Rutledge of South Carolina also was exposed to Iroquois ideas while at the Stamp Act Congress. Later, at the Constitutional Convention, Rutledge recalled his experience with the Iroquois.[13] In the hearts and minds of many rebellious American colonists, the Iroquois and American Indians, in general, symbolized autonomy and a new American identity. Since a new identity was a crucial step toward revolution, the ideas and symbols of the Iroquois would be utilized quite effectively as the revolutionary movement evolved. Having to deal with the American Indians was an experience shared by all of the colonists and thus helped them in overcoming sectional and regional differences. Relating to American Indians was one of the few common experiences shared by all the colonies.

Although the Stamp Act Crisis forced the British to compromise their position on taxing the colonies, tensions remained between the colonists and their British masters. Americans contented themselves with shoring up their committees of correspondence in the next few years as a method of promoting colonial unity. At the same time, the Sons of Liberty began transforming themselves in Philadelphia. Because many colonists had been born in America and felt no affinity for the patron saints of the British Isles (Saint George of England and Saint Andrew of Scotland, for example), the Sons of King Tammany were created. Many Americans were already a mixture of various ethnic groups (such as part Scottish and part Irish); thus identifying with an American Indian folk hero like Tammany was a way to assert the new "American" ethnic identity that was emerging.

The reasons for choosing Tammany as a "Saint" in the early 1770s are twofold. First, Tammany was already a part of the folk tradition. Secondly, Tammany was portrayed as a benign Delaware chief who helped the early Pennsylvania colonists and was a friend to William Penn. By cloaking themselves as American Indians, the restive colonists could assert their new identity publicly and protest British imperial policies without attacking their own identity.

On May 1, 1772, the Sons of King Tammany met in Philadelphia as the successor to the Sons of Liberty. The Tammany Society toasted themselves, "St. George, St. Andrew, St. Patrick, and St. David." They also proclaimed that all the saints (including the American Indian, Tammany) should "love each other as the brethren of one common ancestor." Furthermore, the Tammany society believed that all the ethnic societies should unite "in their hearty endeavors to preserve their native Constitutional American Liberties."[14]

Thus, the Sons of King Tammany attempted to unify patriotic Americans under a benign American Indian symbol (see figure 33). In uniting against the British to preserve what they perceived as an American way of life, the Americans wanted to create a symbolic synthesis of European and American Indian ways. By 1773, the Tammany society in Philadelphia had grown disenchanted with King George III, so they held a mock "canonization" of King Tammany in order to change their name to the Sons of St. Tammany.[15] (See figure 34). In With this mock canonization, the organization fused a folk holiday (May Day) with a patriotic organization. Very soon, Tammany societies began to appear in other colonies.

Figure 33

Figure 33. St. Tammany. From Dickenson #203. Courtesy of Library Company of Philadelphia.

In the fall of 1773, a petition was circulated to reinstitute the Sons of Liberty in New York City, after the group had been dissolved in 1766 at the conclusion of the Stamp Act crisis.[16] In December of 1773, the Sons of Liberty began cloaking themselves in Native American symbols and imagery as a prelude of actual armed rebellion. The best-known historical example of this national symbol was the "Mohawk" disguise at the Boston Tea Party, described above in "Mohawks, Axes & Taxes."

By 1776, revolutionaries such as John Adams began to note the existence and influence of American Indian ideas upon American life. On January 24, 1776, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, John Adams attended a dinner with George Washington, his staff, several Caughnawaga Mohawk chiefs and their wives. During the course of the dinner, Washington referred to John Adams (one of the Massachusetts delegates to the Continental Congress) as one of the members "of the Grand Council Fire at Philadelphia."[17] Adams noted that the Mohawks were impressed with Washington's introduction. Adams observed that several of the Caughnawagas were part French and that one chief was English, having been captured "in his infancy."[18] Adams was exited about meeting the Mohawks; he stated to his wife that he was "much pleased with this day's entertainment." By the summer of 1775, Adams was immersed in affairs concerning the Iroquois and the planning of the meeting at Albany in August and September of 1775. In ten years time, Adams became quite familiar with some aspects of Indian governments. He discoursed on the need to study Indian governments since they had one of the best examples of separation of powers, the personal independence of the "Mohawks," the sachemship of the Iroquois confederacy, and "fifty [governing] families" gathered around a center in his Defence of the Constitutions of the . . . United States of America (1787).[19]

Adams also was present when a delegation of Iroquois chiefs visited the Congress in May and June of 1776. As a result of meetings along the frontier in August and September of 1775, the Continental Congress had invited the Iroquois to Philadelphia to see the "Great Council Fire at Philadelphia."[20] The meeting had also recalled the longstanding advice of the Iroquois to the colonists that if "you observe the same methods . . . [of government, then] . . . you will acquire fresh strength and power."[21] As a result of this discussion about the new government, the Iroquois were invited to observe the Congress in session.

Figure 34

Figure 34. From Dickenson #208. Courtesy of Library Company of Philadelphia.

The Iroquois chiefs responded that they would come down to the place where the Americans' "Tree of Peace" was planted in Philadelphia and "sit under it and water its roots, till the Branches should flourish and reach to Heaven."[22] With all their analogies about the "Grand Council Fire in Philadelphia," the visiting Iroquois chiefs were warmly welcomed to Philadelphia in May of 1776. On May 27, 1776, the chiefs had an audience with the members of Congress, and then George Washington reviewed the Pennsylvania Militia to impress the Iroquois with the might of the emerging American nation.[23]

As soon as independence was passed in Congress, John Dickinson of Pennsylvania submitted a rough draft of the Articles of Confederation or "Our League of Friendship," as it also was called. On July 26, 1776, James Wilson of Pennsylvania, argued forcefully for confederation stating that "Indians know the striking benefits of Confederation" and they "have an example of it in the union of the Six Nations." Referring to the Albany and Fort Pitt Conferences of 1775, Wilson stated the "idea of the union of the colonies struck [the Iroquois] forcibly last year." Wilson was pointing out that a strong union similar to the League of the Iroquois would be crucial for the creation of a new nation.[24]

Two weeks later on June 11, 1776, one of the visiting Onondaga sachems named John Hancock (President of Congress) "the Great Tree" during a session of Congress. The sachem was responding to Hancock's analogies about the Congress and the League of the Iroquois being unified under similar principles. Immediately after the meeting with the Iroquois, the Congress proceeded to appoint a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence (composed of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston). After appointing a committee to draft the declaration, Congress then moved to create a committee "to prepare and digest the form of a confederation . . . between these colonies."[25]

In August of 1776, a committee reported suggestions about a seal for the new nation. One of the seals showed the colonies united by a chain; another suggestion was a frontiersman dressed in buckskin "with his tomahawk."[26] By May of 1777, Wilson would state that liberty under the British Constitution no longer existed for Americans, but with "proper culture" in any soil, the transplanted "Branch will flourish though the root be rotten."[27] However, Congress would not approve the revised Articles of Confederation until November of 1777, and it would be another four years until all thirteen states would approve it.[28]

The powers of the Articles of Confederation were not much more than the powers of the Congress. There was neither a judicial nor an executive branch. Congress had powers to engage in diplomacy, coin money, regulate Indian affairs, and settle disputes among the states. It had only limited power to tax or regulate trade. The new government expected to subsist on contributions from the states for defense. Each state had one vote, and the states retained the ordinary powers and duties assigned to governments. The imagery of Iroquois unity served as a catalyst for American unity. If the Iroquois could unite and thwart the colonial designs of France and England then certainly the more populous colonies could do so and successfully challenge British authority. Iroquois ideas of unity were a foil to British authority, and the Iroquois gave ready council on how to form an "American" government that revolutionized and liberated the American people.[29]

As a delegate to the Continental Congress, Adams often witnessed the blending of European and native American ways. On May 1, 1777, John Adams enthusiastically reported the origin of St. Tammany Day in Philadelphia to his wife:

This is King Tammany's Day. Tammany was an Indian King, of this past of the Continent, when Mr. Penn first came here. His court was in this town. He was friendly to Mr. Penn and very serviceable to him. He lived here among the first settlers for some time and until old age.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Some say he lived here with Mr. Penn when he first came here, and upon Mr. Penn's return he heard of it, and called on his grandchildren to lead him to this place to see his old friend. But they went off and left him blind and very old. Upon this the old man finding himself forsaken, he made up a large fire and threw himself into it. The people here have sainted him and keep his day. [30]

By 1777, the Continental Congress was so steeped in Iroquois traditions that it issued a propaganda pamphlet entitled: Apocalypse de Chiokoyhekoy, Chiefs des Iroquois. This extensive pamphlet claimed that an Iroquois prophecy of the apocalypse was coming to pass. The pamphlet showed extensive knowledge of Iroquois culture and diplomacy as it argued that several beasts were fighting for control of Iroquois territory. Eventually, the better beast (the United States) won out over the worst beast (Great Britain). According to the prophecy, the triumph of the U.S. was supposed to allow the Iroquois to return ultimately to their traditional way of life. In many ways, this prophecy of the relative decline and then rejuvenation of the Iroquois people might go a long way to explain the success of Handsome Lake's (Seneca) religious revitalization movement among the Seneca and the Iroquois at the beginning of the nineteenth century.[31]

This piece of propaganda was significant because it demonstrated the understanding that the colonists had of Iroquois concepts, and it also forecast the decline and rejuvenation of Iroquois traditional ways. In the apocalyptic vision, the Americans emerged as the lesser of two evils because they were developing a government that was similar to the Great Law of the Iroquois.

In the winter of 1777-1778, American Indian ways were very much on the minds of the Congress and the Continental Army at Valley Forge. On November 1, 1777, the Continental Congress recommended a day of Thanksgiving for all of the states. This resolution was framed in committee by Samuel Adams, delegate from Massachusetts.[32] No doubt, it was derived from the Thanksgiving feast of the Pilgrims of Massachusetts with the Indians.

More importantly, the direct aid of the Oneidas helped the Continental Army under General George Washington survive the winter at Valley Forge. The Oneidas brought corn to the starving American army at Valley Forge and insured their survival as a fighting force, and the men of the Continental Army did not forget this debt. On May 1, 1778, with the bitter winter over, the Continental Army at Valley Forge held a Tammany Day celebration. After poles were erected on the evening of April 30, there was a ceremony that recalled the symbolic unity of the Iroquois and the United States.[33]

Using the bundle of arrows imagery (Section 57 of the Great Law of the Iroquois), Washington's men spent the day in mirth and jollity the soldiers parading, marching with fife and drum and Huzzaing as they passed the poles their hats adorned with white blossoms. The following was the procession of the 3rd J Regt on the aforesaid day first one serjeant in an Indian habit representing King Tammany. Second Thirteen Serjeants drest in white each with a bow in his left hand and thirteen arrows in his right. Thirdly thirteen Drums and fifes. Fourthly the privates in thirteen platoons, thirteen men each -- The Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers being drawn up in the aforesaid manner on the Regimental Parade gave 3 Cheers at their own pole . . . in the evening the officers of the aforesaid Regt assembled and had a song and dance in honor of King Tammany. [34]

Although Philadelphia was occupied by the British at the time, the Valley Forge celebration of St. Tammany's Day increased the morale of the army and of the people of Pennsylvania.

In September of 1778, the Continental Congress went further than the men at Valley Forge in the synthesis of Native American and European cultures by inviting the Delawares to join the new confederation. While negotiating a treaty with the Delawares, the treaty commissioners took a dramatic step by suggesting that the Delawares might be admitted as a state. The treaty stated:

And it is further agreed . . . should it . . . be found conducive for . . . both parties to invite any other tribes who have been friends to the interest of the United States, to join the present confederation, and to form a state whereof the Delaware nation shall be head, and have a representation in Congress. [35]

The treaty with the Delawares demonstrated that the Continental Congress respected the stature and power of American Indian nations as the new nation struggled to create a new identity for itself. With all of this interaction with the Iroquois and other tribes familiar with the Iroquois Great Law like the Delawares, the Tammany society began to fuse Iroquois imagery to their mythic leader's identity. This was a natural process since the Iroquois were the most well known of the Eastern Woodland Indians to the Americans and perhaps the world. Consequently, George Washington could state at the end of the revolution that:

I have been more in the way of learning the sentiments of the Six Nations than of any of the other tribes of Indians. [36]

After the revolution, American Indian societies and Europeans dressing as American Indians became even more popular. Chapters of the Tammany society quickly spread throughout the states and the North West Territory. Traditional May Day celebrations in the name of St. Tammany were celebrated from Georgia to Rhode Island and on the banks of the Ohio River. In many cases, the post-revolutionary Tammany societies were outgrowths of the local Sons of Liberty. This was especially true of the New York and Philadelphia branches of the society.[37] The Tammany society used the rhetoric of the Iroquois and other American Indian nations in its public speeches and declarations. The society was a potent political force by the 1780s. Its members delighted in welcoming American Indian delegations to the cities of Philadelphia and New York.

By the end of the revolution, the Tammany society in Philadelphia was known as the "Constitutional Sons of St. Tammany." As early as 1772, the Philadelphia Tammany society dedicated itself to the preservation of their "native Constitutional American Liberties."[38] On May 1, 1783, to celebrate the impending conclusion to the revolution, the Philadelphia Tammany Society organized a parade with "thirteen sachems" dressed as Indians in a celebration utilizing many other American Indian symbols. After the Tammany Grand Sachem was vested, in jest, with supreme authority for the day, declaring that every man was "to do as he please during the day," the hatchet was produced by the secretary of the society. The secretary reminded the people that there had been a war but that peace was now imminent. He said that the American people had taken the hatchet and struck the enemy with it, and the enemy had submitted. Victory being assured, the secretary asked the assembled warriors, hunters, and young men to bury the hatchet. The people present at the ceremony agreed to bury the hatchet and each man then tossed a stone on top of the hatchet.

After the ceremony was completed, the cannon was fired and "Yankee Doodle" was played. After the music, a six-foot peace pipe with thirteen feathers and thirteen stars was ceremonially smoked by several hundred people in attendance. Numerous toasts were drunk to St. Tammany, the Constitution of Pennsylvania, the Union, and General Washington.[39] Next, the "chief" sang the ancient song of St. Tammany's Day which was "in vogue in the social celebrations long before the Revolution."


Of Andrew, of Patrick, of David, and George,
      What mighty achievements we hear!
While no one relates great Tammany's feats,
Although more heroic by far, my brave boys,
      Although more heroic by far.

These heroes fought only as fancy inspired,
        As by their own stories we find;
Whilst Tammany, he fought only to free
From cruel oppression mankind, my brave boys,
        From cruel oppression mankind.

When our country was young and our numbers were few
        To our fathers his friendship was shown,
(For he e'er would oppose whom he took for his foes,)
And he made our misfortunes his own, my brave boys,
        And he made our misfortunes his own.

At length, growing old and quite worn out with years,
        As history doth truly proclaim,
His wigwam was fired, he nobly expired,
And flew to the skies in a flame, my brave boys,
        And flew to the skies in a flame. [40]

After singing several more songs and bearing the Grand Sachem of the day on their shoulders on the banks of the Schuylkill, the chief, sachems, and revelers marched back to the city "Indian file," and each man "returned in peace to his own home."[41]

The Tammany Society was a potent political force by the 1780s. Its members delighted in welcoming American Indian delegations to the cities of Philadelphia and New York. By 1782, European scholars such as the Marquis de Chastellux also reflected on American independence and hoped that people would not look to the "old maxims of the Greeks and Romans . . . but follow the wise counsels" of Franklin, the Adamses and the Schuylers.[42]

On May 1, 1784, the Sons of St. Tammany met at Edward Pole's country-seat on the banks of the Schuylkill once again. An account of the festival stated:

The chiefs and sachems were elected, the council fire kindled, the law of liberty proclaimed, the calumet was smoked, and the dance to the calabash performed.

When the feast was prepared and the Sons of St. Tammany seated, intelligence was received that General Washington had just arrived in the city. One of the company, with a voice of exhultation, cried out: "General Washington has arrived. Huzza!" [43]

After a hearty round of cheers for General Washington, the members sat on the grass and toasted various dignitaries and the Pennsylvania Constitution. On their way home from the banks of the Schuylkill, the Sons of St. Tammany saluted Washington while he was dining at Lemon Hill (near Fifth and Market Streets) with Robert Morris, the financier general of the United States. After the salutation, a gentleman appeared in "powwow dress" and performed a "manetta dance" for the benefit of all.[44] Tammany celebrations had become important political events just before the Constitutional Convention. On May 1, 1785, George Washington arranged his itinerary so that he and the governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry, could attend a Tammany celebration in Richmond, Virginia.[45]

As uneasiness with the government increased, Native American alternatives became more attractive to the common man in the Tammany society and to elites like James Madison as well. During the Revolutionary War, the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation were not readily apparent. Except for taxation, there were no attempts to augment the powers of Congress. The weakness of the Articles after the Revolution was primarily due to the absence of an executive or, as the Iroquois would say, someone to "kindle the fire." Absenteeism also was a problem. The Articles stipulated that no delegate could serve any more than three years in six. This misguided effort to promote rotation in office backfired. In fact, delegates moved in and out of office more frequently than the written restrictions. It was a government of amateurs and public service was burdensome because it meant that planters, merchants and others had to leave their business affairs for extended periods of time.[46]

Within the context of these events, James Madison, one of the major architects of the U. S. Constitution, tired of Virginia politics and decided to travel to Iroquois country in 1784 to renew his friendship with the Oneida chief, Grasshopper. Madison was also concerned about western lands and the Canadian border. Perhaps Madison was curious about American Indian governments since the Tammany society was becoming a political force throughout the new nation. At any rate, three Virginians and three future Presidents (James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe) had planned a trip to Iroquois country after the American Revolution. Madison and Monroe were able to go, but Jefferson was called to France as Ambassador and had to content himself with reports from his friends. Certainly, the trip to Iroquois country and the Tammany society played an important part in American politics since Madison and Jefferson would use secret societies like the Tammany society to mold their new Anti-federalist party in the 1790s.[47]

Accompanied by the Marquis de Lafayette, the Chevalier de Caraman (Lafayette`s aide), and Francois de Marbois, French charge d'affaires, it is clear that Madison's mind was on western expansion and the question of the opening of the Mississippi River during his trip to Fort Stanwix, near Rome, New York. Fearing a clash with the Spanish on the navigation of the Mississippi, Madison believed that Spain must look for security "in the complexity of our federal government" and the diversity of "interests among the members of it." Certainly, Madison would find a model for territorial expansion and incorporating diverse elements when he encountered the union and society of the Iroquois.[48]

During Madison's visit, the Oneidas gave him and his French companions some lessons about the virtues of American Indian life. One of the Oneida bearers accompanying Madison on the journey identified himself, in excellent French, as Nicolas Jordan from a French village near Amiens. Jordan related how he had been captured during the French and Indian War and had married a chief's daughter. He confessed to miss France occasionally, but he had lived among the Oneidas so long that my age, my "children, fix me here, forever." As soon as the Oneidas adopted him, he "experienced great humanity from them." Jordan confessed that "I no longer think of leaving them."[49] Such a revelation surprised Madison and his companions.

Even more surprising to Madison was the discovery of a white woman living among the Oneidas with strong opinions about the virtues of Oneida life. Noticing a woman who was fairer than other Oneidas, Madison and his companions verbally hammered her in English until she admitted that she was white. She told them that she had been a servant girl in a New York planter's house and had fled. The Oneidas had welcomed her, and she had lived happily among them. She told the puzzled Frenchmen and Madison that

The whites treated me harshly. I saw them take rest while they made me work without a break. I ran the risk of being beaten, or dying of hunger, if through fatigue or laziness I refused to do what I was told. Here I have no master, I am the equal of all the women in the tribe, I do what I please without anyone's saying anything about it, I work only for myself, -- I shall marry if I wish and be unmarried again when I wish. Is there a single woman as independent as I in your cities?" [50]

These accounts doubtless had an influence upon Madison as he was seeking to create a new government for America in the next few years. In addition to these experiences, Madison renewed his acquaintance with the Oneida chief, Grasshopper, who had visited Philadelphia in 1781. More importantly, Madison was exposed to the governmental structure and free ideals of the Iroquois people.[51]

In April of 1786, the Tammany Society welcomed Cornplanter and five other Senecas to Philadelphia. In a remarkable ceremony, the Tammany sachems escorted the Senecas from their lodgings at the Indian Queen tavern to Tammany's wigwam on the banks of the Schuylkill River for a conference. Cornplanter's address to the assemblage was eloquent.

This great gathering of our brothers is to commemorate the memory of our great-grand-father. It is a day of pleasure (pointing to St. Tammany colors). You know that your and our grandfathers loved one another and strongly recommended to their children to live in union and friendship with all their brethren and to bury the hatchet forever. I also wish (looking up to heaven) that we may all live as our great-grand-fathers lived, in peace and unity!

The business I am come on is to have us all united as one man, and it may be my happiness to have it so. Let us keep fast the chain of friendship, and put the same around us. Then we shall have nothing to fear from the great kings on the other side of the waters. Brothers if we can effect this to become brothers united as one man there is no people that shall think evil of us, that a frown from us will not intimidate. I heard it said that our great-grand-fathers are dead. They are not dead. They now look down upon us and know what we are doing.

After Cornplanter's speech, a Tammany sachem replied,

We meet as brothers, and it is to us a day of pleasure. We meet here every year to remember our great-grand-father Tammany, and three years ago we buried the hatchet in a great deep hole near that stump; we covered it with heavy stones because we wished it never to rise again. You will see great trees growing over it under which we wish our children to sit. We kindled a fire here, it is a bright fire, for our young men to sit by, and there are twelve other fires. But there is a greater fire than all of them. We are glad you are going to that great fire. You will find the road plain and bright. They will bind the chain of friendship round their bodies, and it cannot be broken, but by cutting them in two. We have nothing to fear. Our great men will dry the tears from your eyes. We are pleased that you came; to effect this God sent you. He loves peace and friendship. We love you because you are from the great-grand-father, and we shall never forget that you visited our wigwam. [52]

Within a few days, Cornplanter and the Senecas proceeded to New York City to address Congress. In his address to Congress on May 2, 1786 (see figure 35), Cornplanter expressed concern about the unity of the United States and stated:

Brothers of the Thirteen Fires, I am glad to see you. It gives me pleasure to see you meet in Council to consult about public affairs. May the Great Spirit above direct you in such measures as are good. I wish to put the chunks together to make the Thirteen Fires burn brighter. [53]

Figure 35

Figure 35. On June 11 1776, an Onondaga sachem gave John Hancock an Iroquois name at Independence Hall. By John Kahionhes Fadden.

Even a casual examination of public sentiments in America demonstrates that Cornplanter's council was respected and widely reported in American newspapers of the time.

The Philadelphia Saint Tammany's Day festivities following the Senecas' visit were marked with the usual celebrations and feasts. Charles Biddle, vice president of Pennsylvania, was elected chief sachem and hailed as "Tammany," "the Grand Sachem, or the chief to whom all our nation looks up." On this occasion, Eliza Phile presented a portrait of Cornplanter to Jonathan Bayard Smith, another Tammany sachem. Over a dozen toasts were made, including:

"The Great Council Fire of the United States -- May the [thirteen] fires glow in one blended blaze and illumine the Eagle in his flight to the stars. . . . Our great grand sachem George Washington, Esq. . . . Our Brother Iontonkque or the Corn Plant -- May we ever remember that he visited our wigwam and spoke a good talk from our great-grand-fathers. . . . The Friendly Indian Nations -- our warriors and young men who fought, bled and gave good council for our nation.[54]

The following "Ode to Saint Tammany," which detailed the symbolic significance of Tammany, was then recited.

When Superstition's dark and haugty plan
Fettered the genius and debased the man.
Each trifling legend was as truth received;
The priest invented, and the crowd believed;
Nations adored the whim in stone or paint,
And gloried in the fabricated saint.
Some holy guardian, hence, each nation claims --
Gay France her Denis and grave Spain her James.
Britons at once two mighty saints obey --
Andrew and Greorge maintain united sway.
O'er humbler lands the same odd whim prevails;
Ireland her Patrick boasts, her David wails.
We Pennsylvanians these old tales reject,
And our saint think proper to elect --
Immortal Tammany, of Indian race.
Great in the field and foremost in the chase,
No puny saint was he, with fasting pale.
He climbed the mountain and he swept the vale;
Rushed through the forest in unequal flight --
Your ancient saints would tremble at the sight --
Caught the swift boar and swifter deer with ease,
And worked a thousand miracles like these.
To public views he added private ends,
And loved his country most, and next his friends.
With courage long he strove to ward the blow,
(Courage we all respect e'en in a foe),
And when each effort he in vain had tried,
Kindled the flame in which he bravely died!
To Tammany let well-filled horns go round;
His fame let every honest tongue resound;
With him let every generous patriot vie
To live in freedom, or with honor die!
Nor shall I think my labors too severe,
Since ye, wise sachems, kindly deign to hear. [55]

After the toasts were finished, the Tammany sachems and a great number of spectators proceeded to the residence of "brother Benjamin Franklin who appearing was saluted" and Franklin thanked them for the "honour paid him, then the brothers all retired to their own wigwams."[56]

That May, Saint Tammany celebrations were noted as far away as Savannah, Georgia and Richmond, Virginia. The last toast in Richmond stated: "May the great spirit encircle the whole world in the belt of friendship."[57] On May 1, 1787, Saint Tammany's Day was celebrated in Philadelphia and for the first time in New York City, with a toast: "May the American chain never be tarnished by the rust of discord."[58]

The image of Saint Tammany long outlived its pre-revolutionary roots. Tammany was the main character in a 1795 Broadway play, and reappeared (as "Tamenund") at the conclusion of James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans. Alan Leander MacGregor calls Tammany a "rhetorical surrogate in political debate and action," perhaps the most often-used of several native images in this regard, although not as well-known today as the "Mohawks" of the Boston Tea Party.[59] Tammany, like the Tea Party Mohawks, was used to express a distinct American identity in the face of Europe, as well as to agitate for popular rule.

According to MacGregor, Tammany became "a patron saint in America's civil religion."[60] The fictionalized Tammany's very existence makes the historical point that colonial North America became a laboratory for the testing of the spirit of naturalism that so suffused the Enlightenment. The American colonial environment became a place where the character of Europe and that of America combined into a unique synthesis. In this process, American Indians -- and the images Europeans made of them -- played a very important role.

The Indian as a symbol of anti-authoritarian values was very much on the minds of the rebels who staged the "Whiskey Rebellion" in 1794. The rebellion's major issue was a tax, and, like the Boston tea dumpers, the protesters again dressed as American Indians. They erected Liberty Poles and set forth their grievances in a mock "Indian Treaty."[61]

The image of Tammany also figured prominently in the early political divisions within the United States since it was used by the Jeffersonian anti-Federalists to parody what they saw as aristocratic tendencies among the Hamiltonian Federalists. In 1793, "an Oneida Chief" warned that if "Tories" did not stop vilifying the French Revolution, "the `Mohawks, Oneidas and Senecas' -- the Tammany tribes -- would act."[62]

At about the same time, Mrs. Ann Julia Hatton arrived in New York City and she proceeded to write about controversial political subjects. In March, 1794, she delivered an Ode to the Taking of Toulon, idealizing the French Revolution's ideals of liberty and equality. The next year, her Tammany; or, the Indian Chief was the highpoint of the Broadway season, "a symbol of republicanism . . . patronized by the hot-heads of New York, to the utter rout of the aristocrats." Another reviewer characterized the behavior of the audience at the first performance as "a riot or a frolic."[63]

America was forging a new identity on all fronts. American intellectuals at the end of the 18th century formed the Society for Political Inquiries to free the country from the "intellectual imperialism of Europe." The society wanted to "ascertain what there is peculiar and distinguishing in the state of society in the federal union." David Ramsay, Benjamin Rush and Matthew Carey were counted among its members. The society's statement of purpose reflected the concerns of the time.

In having effected a separate government, we have as yet accomplished but a partial independence. The revolution can only be said to be compleat, when we shall have freed ourselves, no less from the influence of foreign prejudices than from the letters of foreign powers. When breaking through the bonds, in which a dependent people have been accustomed to think, and act; we shall properly comprehend the character we have assumed and adopt those maxims of policy which are suited to our new situation. [64]

The search for a distinct American character manifested itself in many ways. A twentieth century European observer of "American" character, C.G. Jung, believed that

North Americans have maintained the European level with the strictest possible puritanism, yet they could not prevent the souls of their Indian enemies from becoming theirs. [65]

The rhetoric of the Tammany Society illustrates how deftly the native character of America had become interwoven with that of the immigrants' self-image by the beginning of the nineteenth century. By characterizing Indians solely as "enemies," Jung missed some of the complexity in the ideological equation that gave birth to a new nation in America.

For the new American citizens, Tammany would continue to symbolize a distinctly American identity. A look at a speech delivered to the Tammany society reveals a great deal about the nature of the new American identity formed by the early nineteenth century. On May 12, 1802, St. Tammany's Day, James Carson delivered "An Oration on the Past and Present State of Our Country" to his fellow Tammany brothers in Philadelphia. For all the simplicity of its historical analysis, Carson's "Oration" shows how closely revolutionary and constitutional-era patriots identified with America's native peoples. Carson began with a rather overdrawn portrait of the Indians as "the receptacle of peace, happiness and contentment." The native peoples lived, said Carson, "Free as nature . . . as nature's child, unacquainted with the vicious habits and evil propensities with which Europeans were deeply contaminated."[66]

To dismiss Carson's rhetoric as self-serving sentimentality discounts a three hundred year cultural tradition that formed the basis for the belief that Europeans, in America, became Americans with the help of its native people. In the process of Americanization they also had a rare chance to begin anew. The "brothers" of the Tammany Society knew well that they had not rebelled against England merely to replicate its society and institutions in the New World. Carson rhetoric has the natives welcoming the new Americans "with open arms . . . and unbounded hospitality." Even Columbus grieved at the sight of a murdered Indian, in words Carson borrow from his contemporary Phillip M. Freneau.[67]

A lust for possession of gold and native souls then perverts the European pilgrimage, according to Carson, who displays a keen sense for the gap between Christian platitude and practice:

The language of the Cross is, Do good unto all, defraud not, take naught wrongfully from any man. Be kind, for all are your brethren. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Yet the Cross was raised. The raisers proffered to venerate its author, but their actions proclaimed to the surrounding world that they were Christians only in name. Good God!! What scenes of havoc, destruction and distress did hence ensue!! [68, emphasis in original

Opposition to "the longest war" to dispossess America's original people, then three centuries old, seemed to find common cause with the Brothers of Tammany in their own struggle against the oppression of Britain. The Tammany society's rhetoric of triumph is celebrated in a litany of symbols from the Iroquois Great Law: The "chain of union," "the tree of Liberty," its roots fed (as Jefferson was fond of saying), by the blood of patriots and tyrants, the buried tomahawk, the brothers -- a mixture of European nationalities, as well as Indians -- together in their "wigwams," holding fast "the chain of brotherly love," "having one only end in view, the good of our country."[69, emphasis in original]

In testimony to the divergence between pristine ideology and historical reality, Carson's remarks came a mere generation before the Cherokee Trail of Tears, one small fraction of the native blood spilled during the westward movement across a continent Benjamin Franklin thought would not fill for a thousand years. Even during that brutal century of Manifest Destiny, the image of native liberty would continue to provide inspiration to the "half-savage" "hot heads" of America. Their Indian "patron saint" -- born of New World flesh, mixed with myth, exported to Europe, remanufactured by New World flesh, mixed with myth, exported to Europe, remade into the "Noble Savage" by philosophers such as Rousseau, who then exported him back to the land of his birth -- embodied the democratic values and nationalism that shaped America's character. The mythic Chief Tammany was America for many of them, his very being the synthesis of a new and distinctly American culture.


  1. "American Commissioners to Sachems of Six Nations, Treaty of Johnstown [Pennsylvania], March 9, 1778," Indian Boxes, box 2, Manuscript Division, NYPL.

  2. Ford, ed., Journals, VI, p. 1078.

  3. Richard S. and Mary M. Dunn, eds., The Papers of William Penn (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982), II, p. 261. For an even more elaborate discussion of the message of peace, see "William Penn to the Kings of the Indians," October 18, 1681, Ibid., II, p. 128.

  4. By February 8, 1697, William Penn was espousing a "Plan for the Union of the Colonies in America," E. B. O'Callaghan, ed., New York Colonial Documents, IV, pp. 296-297 that "may be usefull to . . . one anothers peace and safety with an universall concurrence." It is remarkable in that the proposal comes after over a decade of relating to American Indian confederacies such as the Iroquois. In sending two delegates from each colony to a central place to discuss commerce and defense, the document may have been a reflection of William Penn's knowledge of American Indian governments. Certainly, Penn knew how the confederacies of Eastern Indians operated as political societies with sachemships inherited through the female side. Penn also briefly described the Council of the Iroquois and some aspects of the Condolence Ceremony (for instance, he notes that when someone kills a "woman they pay double" [the wampum] since "she breeds children which men cannot)." For a fuller discussion of these matters by Penn, see "William Penn to the Society of Free Traders, August 16, 1683," in Dunn and Dunn, eds., Penn Papers, II, pp. 448-455.

  5. John F. Watson, Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania in the Olden Time (Philadelphia: E. Thomas, 1851), I, p. 55.

  6. The Delaware Indians inhabited the region from lower New York State to Eastern Maryland which included all of Eastern Pennsylvania. William Penn uses the spelling "Tammany" in his original draft of his "Account of the Lenni Lenape or Delaware Indians," in Albert C. Myers, ed., William Penn's Own Account of the Lenni Lenape or Delaware Indians (Wilmington, Delaware: The Middle Atlantic Press, 1983), pp. 24-25. Also, other versions of the name appeared in various early treaties, documents and deeds of the period, 1683-1697. These variations include: Tamine, Tamene, Tamina, Tamanee, Tamanen, Tamanend, and Taminent. In the first decade of Pennsylvania history, Tammany was a leading chief in the Bucks County area. Although he was depicted as an amicable chief by the Tammany Society, he appears to have been initially troublesome to the early settlers of Pennsylvania.

  7. Dumas Malone, ed., Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Scribner's, 1936), XVIII, p. 289.

  8. Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania (1852), Vol. I, p. 447.

  9. For a description of an early New England May Day celebration with American Indians, see Thomas Morton, New English Canaan (New York: Da Capo Press, 1969).

  10. Edwin P. Kilroe, St. Tammany and the Origin of the Tammany Society (New York: Private Printing, 1913), pp. 26-36.

  11. See Aubrey C. Land, ed., Letters from America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969), pp. 58-59, and Pennsylvania Chronicle, May 4, 1772.

  12. "Journals of Captain John Montresor 1757-1778," April 4, 1766, Collections of the New York Historical Society (New York: Printed for the Society, 1868-1949, 2nd Set), XIV, p. 357 and May 20, 1766, XIV, p. 367-368. For detail on the life of Allicocke, see Donald A. Grinde, Jr., "Joseph Allicocke: African-American Leader of the Sons of Liberty," to be published in Afro-Americans in New York: Life & History, (Summer, 1990).

  13. Richard Barry, Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1942), p. 338 and Chapter III. See also: E. I. Miller, "The Virginia Committee of Correspondence, 1773-1775," William and Mary Quarterly, 1st Series, XXII, pp. 99-113 and John R. Bartlett, ed., Records of the Colony of Rhode Island . . . (New York: AMS Press, 1968), VII, p. 192.

  14. Pennsylvania Chronicle, May 4, 1772. It is possible that that the Tammany society's development in New England may have been a continuation of the Guy Fawkes celebrations in Boston at the time. In many ways, the creation of the Tammany society foreshadows Stephen A. Douglas "Young America Movement" in the mid-nineteenth century.

  15. See "Extracts from the Journal of Miss Sarah Eve, May 1, 1773," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, V, 1, p. 29. .

  16. New York Gazetteer, December 2, 1773 and New York Journal, December 16, 1773.

  17. Lyman H. Butterfield, ed., Diary and Autobiography of John Adams (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1961), II, p. 226. Adams also wrote of this dinner to wife, see John Adams to Abigail Adams, January 24, 1776 in Butterfield, ed., The Book of Abigail and John, p. 114. While some historians have maintained that the Tammany Society was founded in ]opposition to the Society of the Cincinnati, the two groups often cooperated. In New York, each society regularly drank toasts to the other. In 1790, the sagamore (president) of the Tammany Society sent to the Baron de Steuben, president of the Cincinnati, a peace pipe as a pledge of friendship. George Washington, president general of the Cincinnati, also was made an honorary sagamore of the Tammany Society. [See New York Genealogical and Biological Record, 1937, vol. lxviii, pp. 45-50; Edgar Erskine Hume, ed., George Washington's Correspondence Concerning the Society of the Cincinnati, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1941), p. xviii].

  18. Butterfield, ed., The Book of Abigail and John, pp. 113-114. Adams also refers to this letter on April 28, 1776 in another letter to his wife, Ibid. Adams comment on the racial stock of the Caughanawaga chiefs is not unusual. A century earlier, John Josselyn would comment that the "chief . . . among the Mohawks now living is a Dutchman's Bastard," see Paul J. Lindholdt, ed., John Josselyn, Colonial Traveler: A Critical Edition of Two Voyages to New-England (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1988), p. 103.

  19. Butterfield, ed., The Book of Abigail and John, p. 114. See Adams, Works, IV, pp. 292, 298, 398, 511, and 566-567 for some examples of Adams discoursing American Indian governments (particularly, the Mohawks and the Iroquois) in his Defence.

  20. "Proceedings of the Commissioners Appointed by the Continental Congress to Negotiate a Treaty with the Six Nations, 1775," Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-89, National Archives (M247, Roll 144, Item No. 134). See Treaty Council at Albany, New York, August 25, 1775.

  21. Ibid.

  22. Ibid., August 31, 1775. For an excellent analysis of how multifaceted the Iroquois treatymaking process was to the colonists and the Iroquois, see Mary Druke's excellent essay "Iroquois Treaties: Common Forms, Varying Interpretations," in Francis Jennings, ed., The History and Culture of Iroquois Diplomacy (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1985). It is important to understand that the Iroquois were Influencing the colonist with their rhetoric and imagery. This is different than the rather simple assertion that if there was influence then replication would have occurred.

  23. Richard Henry Lee to General Charles Lee, Philadelphia, May 27, 1776 in Collections of the New York Historical Society (1872), V, p. 46, Caesar Rodney to Thomas Rodney, Philadelphia, May 28, 1776 in Paul Smith, ed., Letters of the Delegates to Congress (1976-), IV, p. 99, Ibid., IV, p. 281, and Pennsylvania Gazette, May 29, 1776. Benjamin Rush wrote to his wife on May 26, 1776 that this parade was to give the "Indian ambassadors now among us an august idea of the military strength of our province." See Lyman H. Butterfield, ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951), I, p. 97.

  24. Ford., ed., Journals, VI, p. 1078.

  25. Worthington C. Ford, ed., Journals of the Continental Congress (Washington: GPO, 1906), V, pp. 430-431.

  26. Ibid,, V, pp. 690-691.

  27. Ibid., VIII, p. 398.

  28. See Gordon S. Wood, ed., The Confederation and the Constitution: The Critical Issues (Boston: Little, Brown, 1973), and Forrest McDonald, E Pluribus Unum (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965) for a deeper analysis of these issues and events. The term "league of friendship" is used in the final draft of the Articles of Confederation (July 9, 1778), Article III in Charles Thomson's "History of Articles of Confederation," February 12, 1781, Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-89, National Archives (M247, Roll 22, Item no. 9).

  29. See William Saunders, ed., State Records of North Carolina (New York: AMS Press, 1968-1978), XI, pp. 461, 477.

  30. Lyman H. Butterfield, ed., Adams Family Correspondence (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963-1973), II, pp. 229-230.

  31. See Apocalypse de Chiokoyhekoy, Chief des Iroquois (1777), p. 93 in Library Company of Philadelphia, and Dwight W. Hoover, The Red and the Black (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1976), pp. 56-57. The prophet bird, Tsklelei or news-carrier, was an image used in the rhetoric of Iroquois diplomacy (See Peter Force, ed., American Archives (Washington: GPO, 1837-1853), 4th Series, Vol. 3, pp. 479 & 491 for examples of how this image was used by the American commissioners and the Iroquois at the Albany Conference of 1775. One of the American commissioners to France in 1777, Silas Deane, was on a committee of Congress to confer with the Rev. Samuel Kirkland about the "Prophet Bird" speech with the Iroquois in 1775. It may be surmised that Franklin, Deane and perhaps Arthur Lee (the three American Commissioners to France) worked on this pamphlet since they were all familiar with Iroquois ideas and imagery (see Ford, ed., Journals, II, p. 186). While debating independence in 1776, it was noted that France and Spain might be jealous of the United States since it might "one day . . . strip them of all their American possessions" (see Ibid. VI, p. 1088). This pamphlet then is a clever combination of ideas and images to allay Spanish, French and Dutch fears about American Independence. It also appeals to the "noble savage" sentiments in France that were so ardently advanced by philosophers like Rousseau. In the nineteenth century, the Tuscarora anthropologist, J. N. B. Hewitt recorded the Tuscarora story, "The Prophetic Bird-like Being" that could foresee events important to the survival of the Tuscarora people (See J. N. B. Hewitt Collection, MSS # 422, NAA, Smithsonian Institution). For a contemporary version of the Iroquois apocalyptic vision, see Wallace (Mad Bear) Anderson, "The Lost Brother: An Iroquois Prophecy of the Serpents, " Shirley H. Witt and Stan Steiner, eds., The Way: An Anthology of American Indian Literature (New York: Vintage, 1972), pp. 243-247. For a more detailed account and interpretation of the religious revitalization movement of the Iroquois lead by the Seneca Prophet, Handsome Lake, see Anthony F. C. Wallace, The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca (New York: Vintage Books, 1972).

  32. Ford, ed., Journals, IX, pp. 854-855, November 1, 1777.

  33. For an account of the Oneidas bringing corn to Valley Forge, see Cara Richards, The Oneida People (Phoenix: Indian Tribal Series, 1974), pp. 53-54. For the bundle of arrows imagery in the Iroquois great Law, see Arthur C. Parker, The Constitution of the Five Nations (Albany: State Museum, 1916), Section 57. James Wilson and Thomas Jefferson were on the Standing Committee on Indian Affairs in the Continental Congress during 1776 (see Ford, ed., Journals, VI, p. 1065). Formal and informal relations with the Iroquois would continue throughout the Revolution.

  34. Quoted from Military Journal of George Ewing (1928) in John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (Washington: GPO, 1931-1944), Vol. 11, p. 342. It should be noted that as Washington and his commanders courted their Iroquois allies through the Tammany Society, and as the Oneidas aided Washington at Valley Forge, the confederacy had split, with many of its westernmost members siding with the British. The warfare was savage at times, including the infamous Sullivan-Clinton campaign of 1779, which devastated 14 Iroquois towns -- the most extensive devastation of the American countryside by war up to that time. As an episode of warfare, it may be compared to General Sherman's march to the sea during the Civil War. Ironically, the revolution that did so much to sustain Iroquois thought in the world of ideas was accompanied by the breakdown of the confederacy as a functioning political system. For a detailed study of the campaign, see Lilias Jones, "The Sullivan-Clinton Campaign of 1779: the Breakup of the League of the Iroquois," [December, 1975], mss. draft supplied by author.

  35. Treaty with the Delawares of September 17, 1778, 7 Stat. 13. No doubt, Charles Thomson (adopted Delaware), secretary to Congress, had a major role in the negotiation and recording of this treaty.

  36. Saul K. Padover, ed., The Washington Papers (New York: Harper,1955), p. 352, and see Richard B. Morris, The Forging of a Nation, 1781-1789 (New York: Harper and Row, 1987), pp. 270-271.

  37. See Augusta Chronicle, May 15, 1790 for an account of a Tammany celebration in Georgia, see also Marcus W. Jernegan, "The Tammany Societies of Rhode Island," Papers from the Historical Seminary of Brown University (1897), VIII, and see also S. P. Hildreth, Pioneer History . . . (Cincinnati: H. W. Derby & Company, 1848), p. 143 for a Tammany society meeting in Ohio in 1786.

  38. Pennsylvania Chronicle, May 4, 1772. .

  39. Freeman's Journal, May 7, 1783. Burying the hatchet, of course, is part of the Iroquois story of the creation of the Great Law of Peace (see Parker, ed., Constitution of the Five Nations, Section 65).

  40. Freeman's Journal, May 7, 1783 and also quoted in Thompson Westcott, A History of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Brinton Coxe, 1884), II, pp. 560-561. For a briefer account of the festivities and proceedings see, Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, May 3, 1783.

  41. Freeman's Journal, May 7, 1783. These events are also related in Westcott, History of Philadelphia, II, p. 561 and Francis Von A. Cabeen, "The Society of the Sons of Saint Tammany of Philadelphia," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XXVI, 2 (July 1902), pp. 216-219.

  42. Chevalier De Chastellux to Gen'l Philip Schuyler, February 18, 1782, in Philip Schuyler Papers, Box 35, Manuscript Division, New York Public Library. De Chastellux was quite informed about the American scene since he was finishing his American travel book. See Howard C. Rice, Jr., ed., Marquis de Chastellux, Travels in North America, 1780,1781, 1782 [2 Vols.](Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1963)

  43. Pennsylvania Packet, May 6, 1784 and Freeman's Journal, May 5, 1784. Both newspapers give accounts in exactly the same words. See also Westcott, History of Philadelphia, p. 565.

  44. Pennsylvania Packet, May 6, 1784, Freeman's Journal, May 5, 1784, and Westcott, History of Philadelphia, III, p. 565.

  45. Virginia Gazette, April 23, 1785, and Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Diaries of George Washington (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1976-1979), IV, p. 132. For a general discussion of the origins of the United States Constitution, see Richard Beeman, et al, Beyond Confederation: Origins of the Constitution and American National Identity (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987)..

  46. Madison was quite clear about conditions of the time. He states: "It required but little time after taking my seat in the [Virginia] House of Delegates in May 1784 to discover that, however favorable the general disposition of the state might be towards the Confederacy the legislature retained the aversion of its predecessors to transfers of power from the state to the government of the union; notwithstanding the urgent demands of the Federal treasury; the glaring inadequacy of the authorized mode of supplying it, the rapid growth of anarchy in the Federal system, and the animosity kindled among the states by their conflicting regulations" (quoted from Hunt and Scott, eds., Debates in Federal Convention, p. 6). Two other future presidents, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe had planned a visit to Iroquois country in 1784 but Jefferson's appointment as ambassador to France prevented him from going on the trip. Monroe went without Jefferson. See Stuart G. Brown, ed., The Autobiography of James Monroe (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1959), pp. 38-39.

  47. James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, August 20 & September 15, 1784 in William C. Rives and Philip R. Fendall, eds., Letters and Other Writings of James Madison (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1865), I, p. 101. For a report of Madison journey to the Oneidas and the journey of James Monroe , see James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, October 11, 1784, in Boyd, ed., Jefferson Papers, VII, pp. 439-441. For an analysis of the "political" importance of the Tammany society in the formation of the Anti-federalist or "Democratic" party, see Freemans's Journal or the North American Intelligencer, April 10, 1805. In the Aurora and Pennsylvania Gazette, May 14, 1808, a historical retrospective of the Tammany Society pointed out that "This society has been the principle rallying point of republicanism through the political storms of the past years" and that it tried desperately to provide informed public opinion after the American Revolution on "the occupation of western posts -- British depredations, and the treaty intrigues of 1793-1794 [Jay Treaty]."

  48. Eugene P. Chase, ed., Our Revolutionary Forefathers: The Letters of Francois, Marquis de Barbe-Marbois (Freeport, New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1969), pp. 191-193 and Irving Brant, James Madison (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, l941-1961), I, pp. 330-331.

  49. Chase, ed., Letters of Marquis de Barbe-Marbois, pp. 211-212.

  50. Brant, Madison, I, Chapter XXI.

  51. Independent Gazetteer, April 22, 1786. The language here is similar to the imagery of the Iroquois Great Law, Sections 3, 57, 59, and 65. See Parker, The Constitution of the Five Nations, Sections 3, 57, 59, and 65.

  52. Ibid. This speech was rich in Iroquois imagery. "Burying the hatchet" is a phrase that comes into English via the Great Law (section 65). The tree-planting image as a metaphor for federal union is also contained in this section. The concept of kindling a fire under the tree comes from section 3 (see Parker, Constitution of the Five Nations, Sections 3 and 65).

  53. Virginia Gazette, May 24, 1786. This imagery closely resembles Sections 2 and 3 of the Iroquois Great Law. (See Parker, Constitution of the Five Nations, Sections 2 & 3.) Edward Telfair, delegate from Georgia, was present at Cornplanter's speech and, no doubt, was influenced by it. By May 1, 1790, Telfair, as governor of Georgia, was made grand sachem at a Tammany Day celebration in Augusta.). To recognize American Indian contributions, a toast was offered to American Indians "sent to the great council fire at the White Town." See New York Journal, July 16, 1790 and Augusta Chronicle and Gazette of the State, May 15, 1790.

  54. Pennsylvania Evening Herald, May 6, 1786. Apparently, Benjamin Franklin was a member of the Constitutional Sons of Saint Tammany. He was frequently toasted as a "brother." On the eve of the Constitutional Convention, the Constitutional Sons of St. Tammany, like Franklin, supported the concept of a unicameral legislature.

  55. Ibid.

  56. Thompson Wescott, A History of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Brinton Cove, 1884), 3: 574.

  57. Pennsylvania Packet, June 5, 1786.

  58. Ibid., May 11, 1787. By 1805, the Freeman's Journal, April 10, 1805 was calling the New York Tammany society a votary of "mummery" since it was fast becoming a political machine.

  59. Alan Leander MacGregor, "Tammany: The Indian as Rhetorical Surrogate," American Quarterly , XXXV, 4 (Fall, 1983), p. 391.

  60. Ibid., p. 392.

  61. Leland D. Baldwin, The Whiskey Rebels: The Story of a Frontier Uprising, (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1939), pp. 83-85, 91.

  62. MacGregor, "Tammany," p. 400. For an account of the Tammany society role in this affair, see Freeman's Journal, April 10, 1805.

  63. MacGregor, "Tammany," pp. 400-401. See also George Clinton Densmore Odell, Annals of the New York Stage, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1927-1949), I, pp. 342, 346-48.

  64. Quoted from Arthur H. Shaffer, The Politics of History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975), pp. 10-11.

  65. C.G. Jung, Contributions to Analytical Psychology (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1928), p. 139.

  66. James Carson, "An Oration on the Past and Present State of Our Country," (Philadelphia: Robert Cochran, 1802), p. 7. In Library Company of Philadelphia.

  67. Ibid., p. 8.

  68. Ibid., p. 9.

  69. Ibid., pp. 14-16.

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