America and West Indies: September 1687, 1-15

Pages 426-443

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 12 1685-1688 and Addenda 1653-1687. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

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September 1687

Sept. 1. 1,420. Journal of Council and Assembly of Nevis. The Governor and Council, on the motion of the Assembly, agreed that measures should be taken to prevent the engrossing of provisions by merchants. Order for an Act to be prepared forbidding the sale of provisions for retail until eight days after importation, under pain of a fine of 50,000 lbs. of sugar. A joint committee appointed to draw the bill. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVIII., pp. 159–161 and p. 219.]
Sept. 2.
1,421. Peter Schuyler to Governor Dongan. Anthony Lespinard and Jean Rosie have arrived from Canada with letters for you. I have, therefore, despatched Lespinard with two Indians, his companions being sick. He has gathered the following news. (1.) He heard from Father Valiant that the French will not release our people unless you promise not to supply the Senecas with arms and ammunition. (2.) The fathers know that the Senecas are ready to exchange prisoners. (3.) The French think that now they have a great advantage of you and the Indians, having so many English and Indian prisoners. (4.) He heard that the Christian Indians were disinclined to engage in the war if the Maquas, Oneidas, and Onandagas were concerned, so all means were employed to keep these three nations quiet, and five Christian Onandagas had been sent with belts and presents to persuade them not to fight. (5.) The French only wanted to fight the Senecas, and would make peace with them if they would surrender ten or twelve of the best Sachems' children as hostages. (6.) The Governor of Canada ordered all the bushlopers at Ottawa to meet him at Cadaraqui. About three hundred came, leaving their beavers at the Jesuit's house at Dionondade, and so marched with the Governor against the Senecas. Meanwhile an accidental fire destroyed the house and all the beaver skins, twenty thousand of them. The bushlopers were like to go distracted when they heard it. (7.) It was proclaimed that as soon as war with the Senecas was over the Ottawa trade should be passed out, which displeased the bushlopers. (8.) Many of the bushlopers would have come here, being unwilling to fight the Senecas, but dared not for fear of Indians in the way. (9.) It was believed that the Senecas would go to Canada and sue for peace, their corn being destroyed. If the Senecas were supplied by Albany the French would come in the winter and plunder it, having fifteen hundred pair of snow shoes ready, and if they found that we gave the Senecas the least assistance, would not spare the child in the cradle. (10.) He heard a merchant say that if we supplied the Senecas they would transport our prisoners all over the world, the English having kept Mons. Pere eighteen months in close prison in London. (11.) The French acknowledge that the Senecas fought well, and that had they been more numerous the fight would have gone ill for themselves. The new men were not used to hear the Senecas whoop and halloo, and all their officers fell flat on the ground. The officers jeered at each other about it at Montreal. All this Lespinard got from Rosie, an honest man though a Frenchman. They were kept five weeks in arrest after they reached Canada, it being pretended that their passes were false. He begs for some consideration for his pains and loss of time. We have taken down his examination, and send it herewith (see No. 1,435). We have news that the Indians have taken eight men, one woman, and eight scalps, and killed over twenty men at the place where the barks are. The selling of strong liquor to the Indians hinders their enterprise much. They stay drinking continually at Senectady. You would do well to prohibit it for two or three months. Signed, Pr. Schuyler. 2 pp. Printed in New York Documents III., 478, 479. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXI., No. 24.]
Sept. 2.
1,422. Robert Livingston to Governor Dongan. Kemar came here last night, having left his prisoners at his home at Senectady, being too weary to reach this. They are six, all women; the seventh, a boy, is at Cayouge. They shall all be despatched when they arrive, with the Sachems that are here. Kemar rode forward to say that two hundred and eighty Indians had been at Cadaraqui, burned the houses and barn before the fort, and captured four men and one woman. They saw and spoke with Father Lamberville, who came out to them with a white flag and asked who they were. Their leader, an Onandaga, replied, all Onandagas (though really they were of all Five Nations) and that they were come to take revenge for the injury the French had done the Senecas. They asked the father what his business was there. He said he was kept by the Governor of Canada to see if any of the Indians would seek for peace, excused himself, exclaimed against the Governor of Canada, and said that he and all of his profession had done their best to dissaude him from the war, but in vain. They told the father in derision that they were come to see if the French would not seek for peace, pointing to the five prisoners they had taken. When near Cadaraqui twelve Onandagas resolved to go down to the rifts and try their fortune there. Eighteen leagues below Cadaraqui they saw two barques and some canoes unloading provisions. Other canoes came up, but as they could not all unload together, some men came ashore, while the rest were unloading. The Onandagas gave them a volley as soon as they landed, killed eight and took their scalps, knocked several on the head whose scalps they could not get, drove others into the stream where they were carried away, and took nine prisoners. They believe they killed at least twenty, and not so much as one of themselves was even wounded. They have divided the prisoners, the Maquas taking one, the other four nations two apiece. This success has encouraged three hundred Indians to go out and lie in wait for others. I hope that they will not kill the prisoners. This letter goes by Lespinard. If you do not pay the Indians that are with him please tell me what I shall give them. Signed, Robt. Livingston. The Maqua who went with our people to Ottawa last fall was in the French Army, and deserted to the Senecas, and was one of the eight who brought Kemar this news. He says he has lost all, and begs for a gun and ammunition, which I shall give him. I have given the Indians two fathoms of duffles, as they had no clothes. 3 pp. Endorsed. Printed in New York Documents, Vol. III., pp. 480, 481. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXI., No. 25.]
Sept. 3. 1,423. Minutes of Council of New England. Joseph Dudley, William Stoughton, Robert Mason, John Usher and Edward Randolph appointed as a committee to draw up and settle the fees of Court, etc. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXIV., p. 140.]
Sept. 5.
1,424. Robert Livingston to Governor Dongan. I send herewith the six Virginia prisoners whom the Oneidas have delivered to me. I have told them to get the boy who they say is given to the Senecas. See the propositions enclosed. The Sachems of the Onandagas and Senecas are not come as you appointed, there being daily rumours that the French are coming to attack them. Here goes the Englishman for Cayouge, two for the Oneidas, two for the Maquas since their Sachems are not come, one for the Skachkook Indians, and two for the Mahekanders. We hear from Oneida that the Indians have taken more French prisoners. I am afraid that they will burn them, so exasperated are they, though all means shall be used to prevent it. The Mayor himself goes westward to-morrow to hinder their cruelty, for we hear that they have cut off a finger from one of the Frenchmen. I hope the Maquas will bring their prisoners here. The seventy Maquas are still doing nothing at Senectady, refusing to budge till they know what you will do with Jannitie. They would be satisfied if he were confined, but would be displeased if he were worse used. To-morrow the Court of Sessions sits, and the fortification of the town will be discussed. We want a skilled person to direct and order business. John Rosie forgot to say when he was examined that the French in Canada seem to be much incensed over a picture which they found in the Senecas country, made by us as they say, viz., a man on horseback; the horse with an axe in his mouth, and under his belly abundance of ropes, two Indians smoking together and an eagle between them. The man on horseback is Arnout, bidding the Senecas kill the French. The two Indians are the Senecas and Cayouges united to war with the French; the eagle is the Onandagas flying to and fro, and uncertain which to join. Signed, Robt. Livingston. 2½ pp. Endorsed. Printed in New York Documents III., 481. Annexed,
1,424. I. Propositions of the Oneidas' Sachems to the Mayor and Aldermen of Albany, 3 September 1687. Present: P. Schuyler, Mayor; D. Wessels, Recorder; Adr. Gerritse, Lovinus van thaek, Hend. Cuyler, Alb. Rykman, aldermen. The Sachems announce that they have delivered six prisoners, taken by mistake a hundred miles from Virginia, to Robert Livingston. The Mayor answered: You do well to restore these prisoners, but if you had kept your covenant as honest men you would have been spared this trouble. It is false that you took them a hundred miles from Virginia. Lord Effingham has told us that you took them from the Wayncake Indian town, where you made an attack on their fort, and robbed and plundered several Englishmen's houses, threw the feathers out of the beds, and carried away the tickings. Here is witness against you (shewing them a pair of women's red stockings and a child's cap that they had brought with them). We assure you that but for the Governor, the people of Virginia would have made war on you long ago, which would have been a hundred times worse than the French; and you may be sure that unless you forbear, the Governor will be as good as his word, will aig up the axes, give one to the Governor of Virginia, and join with him against you. Then you will pay once for all. So remember what the Governor said, and make haste to send the Indian boy whom you stole like a prisoner from the friends that are in covenant with you in Virginia. If you want to shew your courage, do so against the French your enemies, not against your friends.
The Indians replied that the boy was delivered to the general of the Senecas, but that they would send for him, and they promised not to go near the English plantations for the future. Signed, Robt. Livingston. 2½ pp. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXI., Nos. 26, 26I.]
Sept. 5. 1,425. Journal of Council and Assembly of Nevis. Act against engrossing of provisions passed. Petition from the planters of the South West division praying that masters and owners may be made liable for damage done by servants and slaves trespassing on any plantation without leave. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVIII., pp. 161, 162, and p. 218.]
Sept. 6. 1,426. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Orders for sundry payments on account of fortifications, negroes executed, and expenses of revision of the laws. A committee appointed to superintend the erection of a mole in Carlisle Bay. John Farmer sworn of the Council, also Mr. Rowland Bulkeley. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XII., pp. 57–61.]
Sept. 7.
1,427. Peter Schuyler to Governor Dongan. The river Indians who went with our people to Ottawa in the spring are returned from Canada, and we have taken the opportunity to examine them. They say, among other things, that the Twichtwicks, Ottawas and other distant nations were very unwilling to proceed in the war against the Senecas, and went home as soon as the fight was over with a resolve not to help the French. It is therefore very likely that they will listen to a peace with the Senecas as you intended. When the river Indians came to Montreal, in company with the Onnagonque Indians, who had been in the engagement, they received a great deal of kindness from them. They declared their dislike of the French war against the Senecas, and of their abuse of our people. They told us, too, that it would be no very difficult matter to persuade them to come here, there being eighty of them in a fort near Quebec, and thirty of the Onnagonques near Montreal. They put our Indians on the way hither, giving them provisions enough to carry them to the Pennekook Indians, where they wanted for nothing. They gave us such assurance of the Indians' inclination to come hither that we were at once resolved to send some of our Indians with belts of wampum to that castle of the Pennekooks, to be forwarded thence to the Onnagonques at Canada, but we thought it prudent first to consult your Excellency, and have sent down Mr. Marte Gerritse express with three of the Indians, to lay the whole state of affairs before you, ordering the Indians meanwhile to make provision against they come up. The river Indians while in Canada loged in the Maquas' castle, and found some of them more inclined to come here than stay there; but we refer you to the Indians themselves for this. The reports that reach us daily have set us thinking about our own defence. We do not know what the French design, and this place must certainly be the general rendezvous of the country, so we beg your orders and advice, and that the country may be ordered to assist us. We have consulted the justices as to the farmers bringing in provisions before winter, which they approve of, and we beg for an order from you forbidding any man to go hence, for we find that some would willingly absent themselves. We doubt not that you will not forget our poor prisoners in Canada. Signed, Pieter Schuyler. 1½ pp. Endorsed. Printed in New York Documents, Vol. III., p. 482. Annexed,
1,427. I. Examination of three river Indians who went with Macgregory, were taken prisoners and escaped from Montreal. We were taken prisoners by from two to three hundred French, besides Indians. We were asked where we were going, and answered that we were going to fetch beaver. The French said that we had no business in their lands, but should go to the war with them, and in spite of our protests forced us to go, threatening to kill us. Two Christians and four Indians were then put aboard a barque, two left at the landing, and the rest carried along with the army. The Indians marched in front and the French in rear, till at a small creek the Senecas opened fire, and the French fired back. The French would have had the Ottawas and other distant Indians help them to make a fort, but they refused, saying that the French had done them injury by taking prisoners the men who had come to trade with them; and with that they went away and left the French. The French, after building a fort at Onygra, left four hundred men there, returned to Montreal. The Christian prisoners there encouraged us, saying that we should soon be set at liberty, but we were separated from them and not allowed to speak to them, and the Christians were sent to Quebec. We were told that we must stay at Montreal, but the Onangonques asked to take us with them, and then bade us to escape. They told us they did not like the war, and would go no further with it; and so we escaped as they had bidden us. 4½ pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXI., Nos. 27, 27I.]
Sept. 7.
New York.
1,428. Information of Nanning Harmesen and others. We left Albany last fall under command of Captain Roseboom with the Governor's pass to trade with the Ottawa Indians. We had reached the Ottawas' Lake [Huron] when we were assaulted by some hundred and twenty French and Indians, who bade us surrender on pain of death. We were in all twenty-nine Christians, three Mohoukes and two Mohicander Indians. The French took all our goods, which were worth eight thousand beavers. The Ottawas were at first much incensed against us, being set on by the French, but when they heard that we came to trade and to propose a peace with the Senecas, and had brought back five Ottawa prisoners, they shewed us great kindness. We were carried away to a place called Oniagra. The French on the way thither met Captain Macgregory's party of twenty-nine Christians, six Indians and eight prisoners, and took and plundered them likewise. From Oniagra we were sent to Cadaraqui. One of the party, however, was shot by order of the Governor, because he was a Frenchman born. At Cadaraqui we were very barbaously treated, being employed in drawing the bark and materials for the fort. We were then sent on to Montreal, where we were left with greater liberty until the arrival of Anthony Lespinard, when we were again put under close confinement and sent to Quebec; here all the prisoners were let out to farmers to work for their victuals. We heard several times that the Governor would not discharge his prisoners unless Governor Dongan ceased to supply the Senecas with ammunition, and that the Governor had orders from his master to prosecute the war against the Senecas vigorously, and not cease till they were utterly destroyed. Four of us escaped from Quebec and came to Albany in five days, all the way by water excepting one carrying place of about one hundred and fifty paces. We heard Macgregory say that Espinard had told the French that Governor Dongan could not hinder the Indians from being supplied with powder, for the people of Albany would supply it despite all prohibitions. Signed, Dyrick van der Heyden, Nanning Harmesen, Fredryk Barmythan. Sworn before N. Bayard, Mayor. We further declare that on our way to Albany we met Kryn, the Sachem of the French Maquas, and seven more, who told us that he had gone to persuade the Maquas of Albany not to fight the French but to come and live in Canada, or otherwise he would come and live at Albany if the Governor would send priests to the castles, as he had long promised but not performed. Certified Copy. 10 pp. Printed in New York Documents III., pp. 436–438. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXI., No. 28.]
Sept. 8.
New York
1,429. Governor Dongan to the Earl of Sunderland. The French have advanced on this side of the lake to war with the Senecas. I send the bearer, Judge Palmer, to inform the King of this unprovoked invasion. His instructions contain an account of their proceedings. The Senecas asked me for men, but I put them off with supplies of arms and ammunition and by making such proposals as I thought would please them, being unwilling actually to engage the French without orders. Speaking impartially, the French are very unjust to invade our territory after the offers that I made to them. They will pretend that our Indians have wronged them, but it is not so. The beaver trade is the sole end of their designs, whatever they say, which is only hindereaa by the adhesion of the Five Nations to us. These Five Nations are very brave, the awe and dread of all other Indians in America, and a better protection to us than the same number of Christians. The claim of the French to any Indians on this side of the lake is no better than they can make to Japan, that some of their priests have resided among them. Whether it be peace or war it will be very necessary to send out some men and to build the forts that I have mentioned in my instructions to Judge Palmer, for the French are encroaching as fast as they can, and a little thing now may prevent great expense of blood and money hereafter. There are people enough in Ireland, without pretence to estates there and of no advantage to the country, who would live here very happily. If the King will employ my nephew, he will bring over as many as the King will find it convenient to send, who will be no expense to his Majesty after they are landed, provided Connecticut and the Jerseys are added to this Government. To add Connecticut to Boston is a most unproportionable thing, for they have a hundred times more than we in wealth, land and population, and a great advantage by the portion of this Government which was given to them. I hope that if the French pursue this war, the King will order all the Colonies to help each other. Mr. Graham and Mr. Cortlandt will send accounts of the revenue, though it is much lessened by the French diversion of the beaver trade. Still, I doubt not that it will be better this year than it ever was in Mr. Santen's time. I wish Mr. Graham could be made collector and Mr. Cortlandt auditor of the King's revenue. I know them both to be just men, who would for no consideration betray their trust. The Attorney-General has requested me to ask for a salary for his place. He has done and is doing good service. In Mr. Santen's time revenue enough never went through my hands to pay the judges and officers. The garrison was upwards of a year on my hands before any revenue came in. The forts were in sad want of repair. If the money that Mr. Santen pretended was due had come to my hands, the King's debts and my own had not been so great. I see no way of retrieving ourselves or subsisting for the future without annexation of some of the other Colonies.
Sept. 5. The King not long since ordered that we should have some arms and ammunition. I received only fifty barrels of powder and fifty arms; but to build the new forts we must have spades, pickaxes, and hatchets, and ten or twelve thousand weight of nails. We have grenade shells enough, but nobody understands how to use them. I am surprised to hear that the French have hanged one of our people, a Frenchman, who went with Gregory and Roseboom, and have taken prisoners several of our Indians, with whom they pretend to be at peace. I send copies of some of my letters to Mons. de la Barre and Mons. Denonville, to shew you what offers I have made them, and how I have tried to keep on good terms with them. I also send the propositions I lately made to the Indians, their answers, and a relation of the late engagement with the French. Since I began this letter the messenger sent with the articles of peace to Canada is returned, bringing a very mean answer to mine, in insolent and provoking language. I send a copy of it and of my answer. Pray send me orders what I am to do in this unjust and unprovoked invasion of our territory. Denonville now tries to lay the blame on me, but without reason. I have done my best to secure the beaver trade and the Five Nations, without whom the King's revenue and the King's subjects are alike in danger. Judge Palmer will be asking for a maintenance for himself and the other judge. Pray refer the question to me, for I know how much salary they ought to have. Signed, Tho. Dongan. 5 pp. Endorsed. Read to the King 30 Oct. 87. Printed in New York Documents III., 428–430. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXI., No. 29, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXIX., pp. 150–156.] Annexe
1,429. I. Governor Denonville to Governor Dongan. Vill marie, Montreal, 21 August 1687. Your letters to n on my arrival encouraged me to think that we should live on the best understanding possible, but events have shown that your intentions do not correspond with you fair words. You remember that in that letter you asked me that all disputes should be referred to the Kings, our masters; your subsequent letters prove me that you received my letter of compliance with you request. Yet while you give me these civilities, you give orders and signed passports to send trading canot to Michillimaquinac, where no Englishman has ever set foot, and where the French have been established more than sixty years. I say nothing of the proceedings or intrigues of your people by your orders in exciting a the savage tribes to revolt against us, nor of your efforts to make the Iroquois declare war against us. You traders from Albany have published them widely enough, and your presents of arms and ammunition made for this purpose last year put an end to all doubt on the matter, even if I had no other proof. You might have behaved better towards the subjects of a King whose bread you ate for long, and who treated you well enough to merit a better return. What pains have you not taken to prevent the Senecas from restoring to me the Ottawa and Huron prisoners which they took treache ously last year. What goings to and fro through you and your merchants to hinder the restoration of there I confess that I did not expect such proceedings on you part. They will not be approved by the King of England, nor will he be pleased to near that when I summon the Iroquois to make satisfaction for their violence, you forbid them with threats to obey. Three years ago you made use of them for war against the French. You took great pains to provide them with arms and ammunitic beyond what they asked of you, and more than that you promised them a reinforcement of men against the French. Lately you have pushed your ill-will still further by sending two parties to Michillimaquinac drive us from thence and take possession, contrary your promise to take no steps until the matter had been settled by our masters. Finally, the Iroquois, besides refusing to meet me, have committed robbery and plunder upon us, and insult our missionaries daily, not only those who are actually among them, but also those whom they have driven away after twenty years' residence in the villages. You have had little respect for the Treaty Neutrality. Pray read it attentively, and you will see how anxious are the two Kings to preserve friendly relations between their subjects, meaning that the enemies of your nation shall be the enemies of both. Were you not more influenced by the avarice of your traders than by the desire to execute your master's orders, I should doubtless have received before now some proof of your wish to fulfil this treaty, whereby you are forbidden to offer asylum or protection to tribes hostile to the French, or to provide them with arms. Yet I know that since the treaty was published both these things have been done, and by your orders. I have reason indeed to complain of you and beware of you.
I received your letter of 11 June (see next abstract), on my return from the campaign against the Senecas. You send me a copy of the Treaty of Neutrality. I send you one likewise; all that remains to be done is to execute it punctually. To that end you must cease to protect and receive the enemies of this Colony, and keep your word of last year that all disputes over boundaries shall be referred to our masters. You must also abstain from all expeditions against our settlements, most of which were in existence long before Albany, and long before Manhattan had heard of Iroquois and Ottawas. When you first took up your government, were not the French missionaries among all the Five Nations of the Iroquois The heretic traders have caused nearly all of them to be expelled, which is not honourable to your government. Only three years ago most of them were obliged to go; only the two fathers Lamberville endured insults and ill-treatment caused by your traders. Is it not true that your sole endeavour was to make them abandon their mission ? You remember that last year you made it your official duty to advise them to withdraw on the pretext that I was about to declare war against the Onandagas. Why did you expect war, it not because you had forbidden them to restore the prisoners which I demanded of them, and they surrendered to me ? You foresaw the war, by the war which you have urged the Senecas to wage against me. Events are easily foreseen in this way.
I am surprised at the passage in your letter wherein you say that the King of England has a juster claim than the King of France to the posts which we occupy. It is sufficient refutation of your mischievous reasoning to say that you are ill-read in the maps of the country, and even worse in the points of the compass. I must ask you how long have we held these forts, and were they discovered by you or by us, and who holds possession of them now ? Then read the 5th article of the Treaty of Neutrality, and judge if you had any right to send an armed force against Michillimaquinac. I send you copy of your letter with each article answered, so need say no more. Finally, let me tell you that I am keeping your officer, Mr. Gregory, and all the members of your pretended expedition, having been arrested in French parts. My first idea was to send them back, but knowing that you gave your help and protection the Iroquois, and provided them with arms and ammunition contrary to the Treaty of Neutrality, I have resolved to keep them all until you execute that treaty I cannot but treat you as an enemy since you uphold my enemies. I can only add that I shall regulate my conduct by your own, and that the responsibility for the execution of the treaty shall rest with you. You pretend that the Iroquois are your subjects: I do not agree, but our masters shall decide. But be they subjects or not, as soon as they are become our enemies they should also be yours; and if you help them I must look upon you as an enemy, and use the right to malke prisoners feel what you would reserve for us. I await your assurance that you do not employ the Iroquois make war upon us. Let us obey our masters' orders and live on good terms. I am ready to do so, but I am not a man who allows tricks to be played on me. return you Anthony Lespinard, your bearer, and await your resolutions as to the prisoners. Signed, Le M. de Denonville. French. 6 pp. Endorsed. Read to his Majesty, 30 Octob. 1687. Translated in New York Documents III., 466–468.
1,429. II. Governor de Denonville's answer to Governor Dongan letter of 20 June. 1. I shall punctually observe the Treaty of Neutrality; if you do the same we shall work together well. But you go the wrong way when you put forward claims which we decided were to be settled by our masters. You are wrong to call the Iroquois your Indians. You must leave things as you found them when you came. The Five Nations have been ours for twenty years in virtue of various reasons, notably the residence of our missionaries among them in spite of the discouragement of your traders. 2. You have no right to wage war for the purpose of extending your boundaries and claim free trade with the Indians till those boundaries shall be settled. 3. You are evidently very ill-informed as to the situation of the distant Indians. 4. As to the removal of Indians to Canada you ought to know that our missionaries have laboure among them more than eighty years. I am surprise that you do not know that when New York was Dutch and heretic our missionaries found protection there. Is it possible that now, when the country is under a Catholic King, you are scandalised at the labours of these missionaries? I have more reason to be astonished that you should have sent Christians to debauch our Christian Indians. 5. I willingly believe that you have not give the Iroquois orders to plunder our traders; but you ought to help me to satisfaction for their outrages, if you have any regard for our friendly relations. As to the French in the woods, I am glad that you do not think they should be plundered, and that you have recalled your orders. But you do not observe your promise as regards the arrest of French without passes, for you have a number of our rogues and vagabonds with you whom you entertain. 6. I should have thought you ought to have awaited the decision of our masters as to boundaries before sending for English priests for the Iroquois. It would have been more honourable for you to have supported the present missionaries. You know that if these missionaries go, the poor people will be left long without instruction. You do not understand the zeal of our missionaries, when you ask them to be content with the Christian Indians in Canada. 7. I wish you would allow us to be on such terms as to visit each other. I would come to our frontier, which is close to Albany. Signed, Le M. de Denonville. Arranged in parallel columns of Governor Dongan's letter and Denonville's reply. French. 5 pp. Endorsed. Printed in New York Documents III., pp. 469–472.
1,429. III. Instructions of Governor Dongan to John Palmer. You will tell the King that I have had information of the intention of the French Governor to make war against the Senecas, that the Council resolvea that we ought to help our Indians, and that you, Major Brockholes and others were sent to Albany fot the purpose. The French pretext for this war is that our Indians war with the farther nations at the back of Virginia, Maryland and Carolina. This is a feigned pretence, for I have several times written to Mons. de la Barre that satisfaction should be given for all injury done by our Indians. But that would not satisfy him, for he came to Cayonhage, where the Indians wished me to build a fort and there trade in peace with them. As to their warring with the farther Indians, that is more hurtful to us than to the French, they being inclined to trade with us rather than with them. In my opinion Christians ought not to meddle with the Indians' quarrels, they bringing ruin to themselves. But Mons. de Denonville has no ground whatever for what he does, for I have offered to give him satisfaction for any ill the Indians should commit, and sent a messenger this spring for the purpose, giving him notice also that the Five Nations were the English King's subjects. Their real reason for the war is that the Five Nations will not submit to them. They have a further design to engross the whole trade of the country by ruining them. The King has sent over three thousand men to Canada; a fort has been built at Chambly, another at Montreal, another at Trois Rivierés, another at Cadaraqui, and this spring another at Oniagra, where I had thought to have built one myself. If they compass this design it will be of very ill consequence to all the King's subjects in these parts of America. The Five Nations are the best of bulwarks against the French; and if the French have all that they pretend to in those territories, the King of England will not have the width of a hundred miles from the sea. The people of Canada are poor and live only on beaver and peltry. The English, living plentifully, have not regarded the making of discoveries into the country, until of late one, Mr. Roseboom, encouraged by me, had leave in 1685 to go as far as the Ottawas, where they were well received. A little while after their visit, however, a party of our Indians attacked a castle of theirs and took away five or six hundred prisoners. I ordered these prisoners to be delivered to Roseboom and one Macgregory, and as many of them as were willing to return with them to their own country. Governor Denonville, hearing of this, sent a party which took the whole of them prisoners. This Government is poor, and if the war continues, it will be impossible to help the Indians without the assistance of our neighbours or of men from England. The revenue is particularly short this year, few beaver skins having been shipped to England. New York, Albany, and Esopus have raised a penny per 1b. to help the Government, but, excepting Long Island, the rest of the country does not advance the King's revenue £150 per annum. To secure the peltry trade and the King's right to the County, I and my Council recommend the building of a fort at Lake Corlaer to secure us from French or Indian invasion, another at Cayonhage, a third at Oniagra, and two or three smaller forts between Senectady and the lake. This cannot possibly be done without four or five hundred men from Europe, but if Connecticut and the Jerseys be annexed to us, it will cost the King nothing. It would be very convenient if the boundaries could be fixed at home, provided that the country be first well discovered by us, wherein the French have much the advantage of us. It is very unreasonable that the French, who lie so far to north, should extend themselves so far to south and west, when they have any quantity of land lying in rear of their own dominions. Whether it be peace or war, the forts should be built, and priests sent to the Indians. I have influence enough to prevent our Indians warring with any that live among the King's subjects. The money now to be raised is to pay for arms and ammunition supplied to the Indians. I beg for instructions as early as possible. You will inform the King of my efforts to live on good terms with the French. Signed, Tho. Dongan. 7 pp. Printed in New York documents, Vol. III., pp. 475–477. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXI., Nos. 29I–III., and Enclosure III., only Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXIX., pp. 157–163.]
Sept. 9. 1,430. Governor Dongan to M. de Denonville. I have received yours of 21 August, and am sorry to see that you have so soon forgotten your orders to live well with the English. I find the air of Canada has strange effects on all the Governors' bodies, for I no sooner entered the province than Governor de la Barre asked my help to war against the Senecas. On this I went to Albany, summoned the Five Nations, and rebuked them for attempting to do anything to the French that might disturb them. On this they assured me that they had done nothing to the French but what Mons. de la Barre had ordered them, namely, if they met with any French hunting without his pass to take what they had from them; but that if any of their people had committed injuries of which they did not know they would give satisfaction. Nevertheless, he came in a hostile manner to Cayonhage, on this side of the lake, and then by means of the Onandagas made a peace with the Senecas. So that whatever fault had been committed by the Senecas was concluded and cleared up then. But I appeal to any rational man, whether it was fit for any Governor of Canada to treat or make peace with the King of England's subjects without apprising the Governor of the Province under whom they live. But I find that your design to ruin these Five Nations, since you cannot win them to your side, is more than three or four years old. You propose to follow in your predecessor's footsteps, but though you have made so fair a beginning, I am sure you will not make so good an end. Our Indians on this side of the lake took alarm at your preparations at Cadaraqui, and I sent to you to ask what you meant. Your answer was that you were resolved to have a good number of men there, and were therefore accumulating stores against the long winter. Had I not believed you I might have been as ready to have gone on the other side of the lake as you were on this. Now I shall not imitate your style of expression, but ask you plainly to peruse my former letters. You will see that I still coveted nothing more than friendship between the two nations. Which of us is it that has taken the way to untie the knot of friendship ? Your invasion of our territory in a hostile manner (though not received quite according to your expectation) is so plain a matter of fact that it is undeniable. Whether you did it designedly to create a misunderstanding I cannot tell. If you did, I hope that it will have no effect, but that our masters at home, notwithstanding all your trained soldiers and great officers come from Europe, will suffer us poor planters and farmers to do ourselves justice for the spoil you have committed on us. I assure you that if my master gives me leave I shall be at Quebec as soon as you will be at Albany.
As for Macgregory, he had no pass from me to go to Michillimaquinac, but a pass to the Ottawas, where I thought it might be as free for us to trade as for you; and as for giving him a commission to disturb your people, I assure you you do me wrong. If you will read his instructions you will find that I give express orders to the contrary. As to your sixty years of possession it is impossible, for the Ottawas and the Indians with pipes through their noses traded with Albany long before the French settled at Montreal. Even were it as you say, I do not see how you could have prohibited them from going to that particular place and let them to go to some other nation. It is true that I offered to leave the decision of all disputes to our masters. How have I acted to the contrary ? You say that I hindered the Five Nations, our subjects, from meeting you at Cadaraqui. I did, and I thought it very unjust in you to invite them. My King did not send me here to suffer you to give laws to his subjects. Again, you say that I ordered the Indians to pillage and make war on your people. You forget that in your letters you told me that many of your people ran away to this province, and desired me to take and send back any that should be found on this side of the lake without your pass. I therefore ordered the people at Albany and the Indians to seize and secure all such persons, English or French, which had not your pass or mine. I deserve rebuke for this, since it has kept thousands of beaver skins from coming to Albany. Then you blame me for hindering the Senecas from delivering up their Ottawa prisoners to you. I did so for good reasons, for what pretence had you to make your application to them and not to me? I sent the prisoners back to the Ottawas with Major Macgregory; and if your claim be only to Michillimaquinac, what cause had you to prevent him from going to the Ottawas. As to my assisting the Senecas with arms, I never did so until the 6th August last, when I heard of your unjust invasion of my master's territory. Then I gave them ammunition, but I never offered them a man, for all our people were busy at harvest; and I leave it to your judgment if there were any occasion for it when only four hundred of the Indians engaged your whole army. You say that if I help the Indians you will esteem me an enemy. Let me tell you that you are a far worse enemy to your Colony than I am. I have always striven to keep these Indians from warring with you, often though you have provoked them. But you have spilled a deal of Christian blood without gaining your point; and you have gone so far as to take English prisoners in time of peace and confiscate their goods without just cause, so I doubt not that you will use the prisoners as you threatened to do. You say the King of England has no right to the Five Nations on this side the lake. Then whose subjects are they? You tell me of your having had missionaries among them. It is a very charitable act, but I believe that it gives no just title to the government of a country. Father Bryare writes that the King of China never goes anywhere without two Jesuits with him. I wonder you do not claim that kingdom. You say that you had many missionaries among the Indians when I came. I never heard of any but the two Lambervilles, whom I protected from the insolence of the Indians, as their own letters of thanks can prove. But when they understood your intentions they thought fit to go without taking leave; and I found that they had been there for other ends than propagating the Christian religion. Now that you have failed in your unjust aims you are willing to refer everything home. I shall endeavour to protect my master's subjects from your invasions until I hear from him. It is true that I have eaten a deal of the bread of France, and have, in requital, complied with my obligations in doing what I ought. I should always prefer the French service before any but my own. I have a great respect for all people of quality of your nation, which engages me to advise you to send home all the English subjects, Christian and Indian, whom you now unjustly detain. Copy. 11 p. Printed in New York Documents II1., 472. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXI., No. 30.]
Sept. 9. 1,431. Proposals made by the Maquas to the Mayor and Aldermen of the city of Albany. Present: Peter Schuyler, Mayor. Dirick Wessels, Recorder, Adr. Gerritse, Hend. Cuyler, Albt. Ryckman, Aldermen, H. Keeman and Robert Sanders, interpreters. Rode spoke as follows. Brethren, you know that the Governor has begun an illegal war upon us without any provocation. He throws his axe everywhere without respect of persons. He has not only taken prisoners of our people in time of peace, but also of the English that were travelling to the Ottawas, which you have as good a right to as the French. Arnout the interpreter, who is among the prisoners, has done us good service, and we having a French prisoner, do deliver him to Arnout's family in his stead. The Governor of Canada's heart is naught, but we hold fast to our covenant with you. (Here he gave a belt of wampum fourteen deep, and resumed) Let the Governor of Canada do what he will, and pull as hard as he can, he shall not break the chain of our friendship with you. (Here he gave a belt of wampum twelve deep, and resumed) Listen to no private discourse or prattle of drunken Indians, but only to the Sachems. (Here he gave a belt ten deep, and resumed) I shall pass now to military matters. We are full of grief over the misfortune that our people did not bring in Kryn and his company prisoners (he gave a belt twelve deep). The Governor has often told us not to trust the Governor of Canada, and we thank him for his advice. We openly declare war against him. We have a company of 130 men at Senectady who start to-morrow for the lake to do all the mischief they can to the French, and we have already three companies out on the same way. (Here he gave a belt ten deep.) We intend to pursue the war with vigour, and beg your Excellency to induce as many natives as possible to join us. If any Indians newly invited to our covenant be inclined towards the French and break a link of the chain, we must ask the smith to mend it. (Here he gave a belt of wampum ten deep.)
Answers to the foregoing proposals. You have done well in delivering the French prisoner, and we feel sure that it will be acceptable to the Governor. We bid you remind the other four nations of what his Excellency said and you have remembered, to spare your prisoners. You need not doubt that Corlaer will keep the covenant chain fast, and will be glad to hear that you are united. Since you have resolved to fight, proceed with vigour and courage, and be careful that business may be carried on with more prudence than that of Kryn. We have never been credulous of common reports. Satisfy yourself of the truth of any story, though the magistrates before you blaze it abroad. Certified copy. 6½ pp. Endorsed. Printed in New York Documents, Vol.III., p. 483. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXI., No. 31.]
Sept. 12.
New York.
1,432. Governor Dongan to the Earl of Sunderland. Messages have reached me from Albany of their apprehensions of the French, which oblige me to take two hundred men thither in addition to the garrison, and to stay there for the winter. I must also collect five or six hundred of the five nations about Albany and Senectady; it will be expensive, but I see no remedy. It is a great misfortune that there are so few English in this Colony; the majority are Dutch, who would not be very fit for service on emergency. I am sending to the farther Indians to try and make a peace between them and the Senecas, also to the Christian Indians in Canada to let them know that I shall get a priest for them. I shall do what I can to serve the Government against the French till I have your orders. Signed, Tho. Dongan. 1½ pp. Printed in New York Documents III., 477. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXI., No. 32, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXIX., pp. 156, 157.]
Sept. 14. 1,433. Proposals made by the Onandagas to the Mayor and Aldermen of Albany. We heard of the French intentions to make war on us in the spring. We have heard and approve the Governor's proposals that we should send our wives and children here for relief. We, and all the natives, except the Maquas, have lately been at Cadaraqui, and have got some prisoners. We desire some great guns for our fort at Onandage. The Governor of Canada has invited us to meet him at Cadaraqui this spring, but we obeyed his Excellency and would not go. We thank his Excellency for his gift of powder and lead, and have spared our prisoners as he bade us. We have searched for the French army as he told us, and have found that they have now entrenched at Cadaraqui and a fort at Oniagra. The Cayonges and Senecas see that the French are so powerful that they begin to be fainthearted; they desire his Excellency's help, or we shall not be able to subsist. We think that the fort which he proposes to build at Cayonhage would be better at Sowego [Oswego], a day's journey from Onandage.
Answer to the foregoing. You did well to obey the Governor's advice, which is always good. We will tell him of your request for great guns, but you are not wise in asking for cannon, for they would tend to your greater ruin if the French should surprise you, as they did the Senecas. The Governor has received a very angry letter from the Governor of Canada because he supplied you with ammunition, but his Excellency will stand by the Five Nations, and will be here in person in the spring. He has sent orders for all the wives and children of the Five Nations to winter at convenient places along the river, that we may help them. Remember your promise to make no peace with the French without informing him, for the French will always cheat you as long as they can. Withdraw from all your castles that are not fit for war. The French are making great preparation of snow-shoes, and if they cannot ruin you otherwise, will try to do it by surprise. So send down your wives and children and bury all the corn that you do not want for the castles secretly in the woods, or bring it here. His Excellency is sending an answer to the French Governor's angry letter, and has written in not less anger to demand the Christian and Indian prisoners. He is also sending me to England to tell the great King of the French doings. So seize any Christian Indians who come to you with proposals for peace. We will tell the Governor what you say about the fort. Let the Cayonges and Senecas take courage; the Governor will stand by them.
On receipt of the Governor's letter the Indians were told that the Governor was coming up to Albany himself with some of the militia and the garrison to help the brethren; and that he asked for three hundred men for the Five Nations to winter with him at Albany. The Indians were much pleased, and said they would go home and acquaint the rest of their people. Certified copy. 8 pp. Printed in New York Documents III., p. 485. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXI., No. 33.]
Sept. 14. 1,434. Minutes of Council of Maryland. James Cullen appointed assistant clerk of Council. The Nanticoke Indians appeared and presented themselves in a friendly manner. They were welcomed, and told that their grievances would be attended to. They asked for a patent for their land, and complained that an Englishman had stolen some furs from them. They also prayed for a free trade with the English.
Sept. 15. Resolved that Long Tom the Indian be tried by statute law for ravishing an Englishwoman. Order for survey of the Indians' lands, and for proclamation of liberty of trade with them. The Indians came and set about renewing the peace, praying also that they might be excused for Long Tom's offence. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LIV., pp. 113–116.]
Sept. 15.
New York.
1,435. Information of Anthony Espinard. I was sent in June last to Canada with letters to the Governor. The first place we stopped at was Chambly, where my company were detained on pretence of false passports, and myself sent in under a guard to Montreal. There again the Mayor said that my pass was false, as Governor Dongan was said to have been recalled. Five weeks later Governor Denonville came to Montreal, who appeared much dissatisfied that Governor Dongan supplied the Indians with arms and sent armed parties away in spite of the Treaty of Neutrality. Three weeks later Macgregory and his fellow prisoners were brought in, but I was not allowed to speak to them, and could not find out what was to be done with them. I saw Kryn the Indian and found him very loyal to the French, and in great esteem with them, both he and others. Governor Denonville told me that he did not go up with any intention to war against the Senecas with his army, but to renew the peace, which being refused he resolved to force them. The French officers seemed very bitter against the Senecas, and I heard that the Senecas behaved themselves valiantly and would have done more harm to the French had their powder been better. There was hardly a house at Montreal that had not one or more soldiers in it. Signed, Anthonie Lespinard. Sworn before N. Bayard, Mayor. Certified copy. 4 pp. Printed in New York Documents III., 487, 488. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXI., No. 34.]