Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter VII >> Page 64

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Page 64

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
rather than nations, and belonged to a few mighty families which dwelt permanently in the interior. They were tributaries of one or other of the several nations of Muscoghees, Cherokees, Catawbas, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, among which the territory of the Carolinas was divided, and perhaps frequently disputed. These Indians, united, could probably bring fifty thousand men into the field. The Muscoghees and Catawbas were the most warlike ; the Cherokees were as numerous as either, but not esteemed so brave. The Choctaws and Chickasaws seem to have been less stationary than these tribes, and most probably resembled those roving bands of the west, who drew their stakes and changed their habitations with the progress of the seasons.
To the infant colony of Carolina, these nations, or the tributary tribes which owned their sway, suggested constant alarm and danger. The Westo and Stono tribes as they were most contiguous, seem to have been the most troublesome. Their assaults were doubly danger-, ous and annoying, as it was found so difficult to provide against them. The superiority of the musket over the bow and arrow was very small. Concealed in the thicket in which he has almost grown a part and is a native, the Indian launches his shaft ere the European has dreamed of the presence of an enemy. Its leaves hide him from the aim, and its mighty trees effectually shield him from the bullet which the angry stranger sends in reply, He ranges the woods in safety while the invader sleeps ; and the swamps, in the atmosphere of which European life stagnates and perishes, yield a congenial element to him. Thus circumstanced in con-