An Exceptional Canadian Native American Rarity.
Separately issued hand-colored lithograph of Nicholas Vincent Tsawanhonhi, published in London, circa 1825, drawn from an original painting by Edward Chatfield.
Nicolas Vincent (baptized Ignace-Nicolas; 11 April 1769 - 31 October 1844), known also as Tsaouenhohoui, meaning “one who plunges things into the water,” or Tsawenhohi, meaning "he who sees clearly," was the Grand Chief of the Hurons of Lorette from 1811 to 1844. He was the last Huron chief to bear the name Tsaouenhohoui. In 2001, he was listed as a Person of National Historic Significance for having "elevated the position of Grand Chief to an unprecedented level of respectability".
In 1803, he was named War Chief. By 1810, he became Grand Chief. For the next three decades, he actively tried to reclaim and secure Huron lands from colonizers and loggers operating within the borders of the Huron-Wendat. This effort that eventually took him to England in 1825, alongside the Council Chiefs, André Romain (Tsohahissen) and Stanislas Koska (Aharathanha), and the War Chief, Michel Tsiewei (Téhatsiendahé). They had several conversations with various members of Parliament including the colonial secretary, Lord Bathurst. On 8 April 1825, King George IV received the four Huron chiefs. The London Times reported the exchange between the Huron grand chief and the British sovereign, who had bestowed medals bearing his likeness to the four.
In French, Vincent addressed the sovereign:
I was instructed not to speak in the royal presence unless in answer to your Majesty’s questions; but my feelings overpower me; my heart is full; I am amazed at such unexpected grace and condescension, and cannot doubt that I shall be pardoned for expressing our gratitude. The sun is shedding its genial rays upon our heads. It reminds me of the Great Creator of the Universe – of him who can make alive and who can kill. Oh! may that gracious and beneficent Being, who promises to answer the fervent prayers of his people, bless abundantly your Majesty! May he grant you much bodily health; and, for the sake of your happy subjects, may he prolong your valuable life. It is not alone the four individuals who now stand before your Majesty who will retain to the end of their lives a sense of this kind and touching reception; the whole of the nation, whose representatives we are, will ever love and be devoted to you their good and great father.
After the speech, King George IV promised that he would take every occasion to enhance their well-being, ensure their happiness, and show himself to be truly a father. He then conversed with them in French for more than a quarter of an hour.
This print was published on the occasion of Vincent's 1825 visit to the United Kingdom.
The print includes the following caption:
Principal Christian chief, and Captain of the Huron Indians established at La Jeune Lorette, near Quebec, habited in the costume of his country, as when presented to his majesty George IV, on the 7th of April, 1825, with three other chiefs of his nation, by Generals Brock and Carpenter. The Chief bears in his hand the wampum or collar on which is marked the tomahawk given by his late majesty, George III. The gold medal on his neck was the gift of his majesty on this presentation.
They were accompanied and introduced into England on the 14th Decr. 1824 by Mr. W. Cooper, who though an Englishman they stated to be a Chief of their Nation, and better known to them as Chief Tourhaunché
We locate two copies of the print; one in the Winkworth Collection at the National Archives of Canada and the other at Yale University. William Reese Co. sold an example for which they listed at $12,500.