Thomas Jefferson published the “Notes on the State of Virginia” in 1781. In one section he pointedly addressed some prominent European celebrity writers who were of the opinion that nothing good could ever come out of America. (Do things never change?)

“They have supposed there is something in the soil, climate and other circumstances of America, which occasions animal nature to degenerate, not excepting the man, native or adopted, physical or moral. This theory, so unfounded and degrading was called to the bar of fact and reason.”


In response, Jefferson recites a message sent by Mingo Chief John Logan to Lord Dunmore in 1774.

“I may challenge the whole orations of Demosthenes and Cicero, and of any more eminent orator, if Europe has furnished more eminent, to produce a single passage superior to it.”


Mingo Chief John Logan (Tahgahjute) was a Native American Indian born in 1725. He was a friend and supporter of the white man (a most unpopular position at the time with other Indians). In 1774 Logan was away on a hunting trip when his entire family was treacherously slaughtered by a marauding band of white settlers. His pregnant sister was mutilated in what can only be described as a despicably demonic way. When Logan returned he found their bodies. Every living relative that he knew of at the time. Children to grandparents. Generations lost.

This event, called the “Yellow Creek Massacre,” sparked Lord Dunmore’s War of 1774.

Logan sought revenge. And got it. Many times over.

But the Indians were quicky defeated in the war and a party went to Lord Dunmore for a peace council. Logan would not attend the council but sent a message that reverberated throughout the world.This speech was taught and memorized by children in American schools for many years afterwards.

Thomas Jefferson himself memorized it in 1775.


“I appeal to any white man to say, if ever he entered Logan’s cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed 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 men. I have even thought to live with you but for the injuries of one man. Col. Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not sparing even my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This has 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.”

The war ended. Logan never really recovered.

Would you?

Tahgahjute – Mingo Chief John Logan – quickly slipped into alcoholism and was murdered in 1780.


Flickr images courtesy of H.Kopp Delaney.