Minute Book 3: 1726-March: Conflicts Over Alcohol Continue; the French Presence in Iroquoia is Growing

It is not clear how well Laurence Claessen knew English.  The commissioners often instructed him to keep journals of his diplomatic missions, but they generally submitted their own versionVersion 3 into the record.  In March, Claessen appeared before them and gave them his journal of his recent trip. The minutes describe “in substance” what it said, including a day by day account of how he went to several towns of the Six Nations and invited leaders to a meeting that was held in Seneca country beginning on February 22nd.  The participants discussed the ongoing conflicts over the sale of alcohol in Iroquoia and other matters including an English boy taken captive from Virginia and thought to be held in Iroquoia. The Six Nations said they did not have the boy.  They asked once again that the English prohibit the sale of alcohol in their country, but Claessen could only tell them once again that sales would be restricted to “Far Indians” from outside Iroquoia to promote the fur trade. The sachems described how alcohol was leading to violence and other problems, even to murders.  They gave Claessen a belt of wampum to take back to the English authorities to confirm their position that it should be banned completely. However they agreed not to molest the traders or the far Indians.

In Seneca country, Claessen found Juriaen Hogan, the blacksmith sent by the English, as well as a party of French residents that included a French smith and his family.  The Iroquois said the French smith had come to live with them “in a deceitful manner,” returning with a Six Nations delegation that had gone to condole the death of the French governor Ramsay. The smith and his party were, of course, also sending information back to the French, just as Claessen and Hogan were doing for the English. Claessen provided an account of new French boats being constructed on Lake Ontario (Cataraqui) and said the Onondagas had given permission to the French to build a new trading house on the south side of the lake where the Niagara River flows into it. He described the composition of the parties that had gone out fighting over the previous winter, and conveyed the Six Nations’ request for a meeting with the governor in the spring. Claessen also reported that the Six Nations was sending ambassadors to the Waganhas proposing a meeting and invited the commissioners to send their own wampum belts along.

The commissioners wrote to Governor Burnet, passed on the intelligence about French activities, and told him (in somewhat confused English) that the French must be prevented from settling in Iroquoia, and asked for funds to support an ongoing English presence among the Six Nations.  They conveyed the request to stop selling alcohol, blamed it on the French influence, and insisted that the traders could not maintain the fur trade without alcohol. They expressed concern that the Six Nations had sent deputies to meet in Seneca country, where the French influence was strongest, instead of to Onondaga as was customary. They also sent the governor the English boy who had run away from the Mohawks at Fort Hunter earlier in the year. Finally they described how Jan Wemp and Jacob Glen had cleared and mended the road at the Oneida Carrying Place, and given a bond to repair the bridge there over Wood Creek.

In Cornell’s digital copy of the original minutes, March 1726 starts here.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, March 1726 starts here.

Below is the full transcription:

[0247] 122

[Wraxall p. 162 et seq.]

Att a meeting of the Com.rs of

Indian affairs in Albany the 16th

Day of March 1725/6

Present

Philip Livingston

Henry Holland                        } Esq.rs Com.rs

Evert Bancker

Peter van Brugh

This Day Lourence Claese the Inter=

=preter Appeard before this Board and Said that he

had Pursuant to y.e Instructions Deliverd him dated

the first day of febr.y been at y.e Severall Castles of

the five Nations and had acquainted them with y.e

Contents of the Same of which he has kept a Journall which is in

Substance as follows that on y.e 5.th of s.d month he

arrived in y.e maquase Country where he Communicated

to the Sachims that touching the prohibition of ye

5 Nations of Rum to be Sold unto y.e Indians at ye

falls or Lake his Ex.cy had given Strict orders that

no pson under his Governm.t Should Sell any to the Indians

of y.e five Nations at those places. but only to y.e far

Indians the better to Promote a trade with them

That his Ex.cy Recommended unto them not to molest

or hinder any of y.e far Indians in their Comeing to trade

with the Inhabitants of this Province or Return home

nor to any of our Trders [sic] —

That the Com.rs are Informd that there

is a french Smith from Canada at y.e Sinnekes Country

and that there is another English boy among y.e

five Nations taken from virginia —

Answer from y.e Sachims

That they Could give no Liberty that Rum Should be

Sold to the far Indians in their Country but faithfully

Promise not to hinder nor molest them, nor any of y.e

traders in their going up or Comeing Down

You make Enquiry if here is an English

Prison. from Virginia, to which we answer that

here is None

 

[0248] 122a

We have also heard y.t there is a french Smith in [ye]

Sinnekes Country with his wife & Children —

That on y.e 6th feb. he Left fort hunter

and arrived y.e 13th dit.o at onneyde where he Communi[cated]

to the Sachims there y.e Contents of his Instructions the

14th Received an answer from them and Said that

they Could not give a full answer to his Proposition

But that Some of their Deputed Sachims were Sent

to y.e Sinnekes Country and Desired him to acquaint

them with it and what they in their behalf Should

Conclude they would approve of

On the 15 Ditto went from Oneyde & Arriv’d at

Onnondaga the 17 Ditto, where, when the Sachims

were Conveen’d, acquainted them with the Contents

of his Instructions, on which they directly gave

the Same Answer as those at Oneyde had Done

That some of their Deputed Sachims were gone

to the Sinnekes Country, that they should give

him and Answer, and what they Concluded or

Consented they would approve.

On the 18th went from Onnondage and

arriv’d at Cayouge the 20.th D.o & having call’d

the Sachims to meet acquainted them with

Contents of his Instructions who immediatly

answer’d him that they had sent Deputies to the

Sinnekes Country & what they should resolve

with the rest of the Sachims they would Confirm

and approve off

He arriv’d at the Sinnekes Country on the

22.d of s.d month and found there the Deputed

Sachims of the four Nations, who he desir’d

Immediatly to meet together, and when they

were Conven’d acquainted them what he was

directed by his s.d Instructions & found Jurian

Hogan work there as Smith, as also a french

Smith, with his wife and three Children and an

Assistant; there are also three french men

who take Notice of all Transactions and

Occurences

On the 26

 

[0249] 123

On the 26th he being calld before the meetting

of the Sachims of the four Nations they said

that they were resolv’d to send two Deputies of

each Nation to his Excel.y at New York, because they

suspected that the Com.rs were negligent to acq.tt

his Exce.ly with their prohibition of the Rum

being sold to the Ind.ns in their Country at the fall

of Onnondage River; the same Day he reply’d

that his Excel.y has been fully Inform’d w.t their

Desires, and that his Excel.y has there upon given

Orders, that no Rum shall be sold to any of the

five Nations at the fall of Onnondage river

but only to the farr Ind.ns to promote a Trade

w.t them, and further what he was directed by

his Instructions, on w.ch they s.d that they fully

approvd of every thing he had s.d Except that

Rum should be sold in their Country w.ch they will

not allow off, and in Case they or the far Ind.ns have

Occasion for Rum, that they may go & buy it at

Albany or at Schinectady, as they have formerly

done then they & we shall be free from being

the authors of any mischief or murther yt shall be

Comitted there, for they added that what has been

done is [now] Imputed to them & the Brethren

the Christians, and therefore they desire wt this

Belt of Wamp.m as as Token from the 5 Nations

that the Gent.mn Com.rs will be pleas’d forthwith

to Issue a prohibition that no Rum may be carried

up into their Country Except for the traders own

Use and desire that his Excel.y may fortwith be

acquainted herew.t hoping that their Request

may be taken in Consideration, that it may

tend for the wellfare of us all being yt Strong

Liquor is the root of all Evil, w.ch we our Selves

have many times had sad Experience off. and saw last

year some Christian Ind.ns of ye 5 Nations & far Ind.ns

lying drunk to excess among one another at ye fall

who then gett in Quarrel together by w.ch many

sad Accidents may arise & if any do we clear our

selves of the Guilt

The french Smith came here in a deceitfull manner

We had sent Deputies to Canada to Condole the

Death

 

[0250] 123a

Death of Gov.r D Ramsey & they have brought him

along wtout our Order or knowledge, but we return

our Brother Corlaer our most hearty thanks for

sending us a Smith

The Sachims desire that his Excel.y will be pleas’d

to meet them at Albany [early-crossed out] in the Spring, they

have to treat ab.t matters of great moment Con=

=cerning the welfare of us All, They desire a good

Beek Iron for ye Smith that is w.t them & some

tools w.t out w.ch he can make no good work

The s.d Interpreter is Inform’d that ye ffrench

have finish’d and rig’d one Vessel at Cadarachqui

and another is to be lanchd this Spring

That the five Nations have Concluded to Send

of each Nation two Messengers to the Waganhas

or far Ind.ns in the beginning of June next with

Belts of Wampum to treat with them, & they

desire to know whether the Com.rs will Join in it

by sending belts of Wampum to the s.d Ind.ns

That he is inform’d from trusty Ind.ns that the

Gov.r of Canada has last year obtain’d liberty from

the Onnondages to build a trading house on the

West Side of Jagara River w.ch vents it self

into the Cadarachqui lake on the South side

thereof in the passage of the Ind.ns to this place

Mon.sr Longueill the present Gov.r of Canada has

been there last year to view the place, the french

are to have sd house built this Spring

That there are gone out a fighting this last

Winter 21 Mohoggs 40 Onnondages 20 Tuscaroras

40 Cayouges 40 Sinnekes and that there were

going yet 130 of the last among whom is to go

a french Man from Canada who is marryed w.t a

Sinneke Squa

 

[0251] 124

[Wraxall p. 163 has excerpt.]

Albany 18 March 1725/6

May it please your Excel.y

We have been honourd wt. your Ex.ys favours of ye 8 Inst.

with Submission to your Excel.y we are humbly of Opinion

that it is a matter of the [last] Consequence to the province

that no Care be taken to prevent the ffrench to reside

among our Ind.ns and that no person of Ability wt a

Number of Men be sent to dwell Continually among

them, We hope the Assembly will pleast to Consider

how to raise a fund to Defray the Charge without

which it appears plain to Us that the french gett

daily more footing & our Interest decreases wch. at

last may end in our Destruction

We are very glad your Ex.y is pleas’d to approve of our

sending the Interpreter to quiet the minds of the Ind.ns

he is Return’d. Inclos’d is his Journal wch. we refer

to your Ex.ys Consideration, by wch. it appears that the

Ind.ns persist in their first Resolution, that no

Rum shall be sold at the falls or Onnondage River, and

many of our traders are already gone wt. Rum —

thither, how it can be prevented now we dont know

for our people will go, Neither do we Conceive that

they can carry on a Trade with the far Indians

without it, So that we perceive that the ffrench

Interest greatly sways the Indians to prevent the

Selling of Rum

The ffrench we see are not Idle in Obstructing

our Trade, for we hear they will now build a trading house

at the place where we Imagen’d we had one, & what

will be the Event of the [Essecs] in the lake is uncertain

Yet it may be Conjucture’d it will be to prevent the

Ind.ns from coming to us to trade We must acknowledge y.t

the Ind.ns are greatly under ye Subjection of ye ffrench

who keep them in awe

It is with no little Concern & without precedent that

we see the Ind.ns have sent Deputies to the Sinnekes

Country to the ffrench who are there, whereas Onnondage

has always been the place appointed to Consult & treat

about publick Affairs

On the whole at this Juncture we are humbly of Opinion

that it will be for his Maj.es Service yt Some pson of Experi=

=ence wt. the Interpreter be sent among ye Ind.ns at Onnondage

to stay there (till your Exc.y sahll meet the Sachims here)

to quiet the minds of ye Ind.ns & keep them from molesting

our Traders, [for – crossed out] wch. we hope your Exc.y will be pleas’d to di=

=rect Us as soon as may be. By the Bearer we send the Eng.

boy taken by the Ind.ns from Virgin.a his Charge & Cloathing [&c]

amt to £       [blank in original] as p Acco.t here inclosd

 

[0252] 124a

Jan Wemp & Jacob Glen have produc’d affidavits

unto Us whereby it appears that they have sufficiently

clear’d up & mended the Road on Oneyde Carrying place

and that they clear’d & Cutt the Wood Creek & Carried

away the Trees So that the same is Navigable to the

Onneyde lake & that they have made a sufficient Cart

way from the End of the Road formerly made to the

Wood Creek from thence to the place where the

Canada Creek falls into the sd Wood Creek, but the

bridge over the Wood Creek they Could not Compleat

last Summer, tho’ have given Bond to pform that

this Summer according to agreem.t desiring they

may receive their Money for the whole Work

wch. they will not fail to Effect

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Minute Book 3: 1726-February

Laurence Claessen is Sent to Negotiate (and Obtain Intelligence)

The commissioners sent Laurence Claessen to Onondaga with instructions to resolve the ongoing conflicts between Albany traders and the Haudenosaunee over the sale of rum at the falls on the Onondaga River. The traders, backed by the commissioners, insisted that they had to sell rum to the “far Indians” from beyond Iroquoia in order to attract their trade in furs. The Haudenosaunee had now been saying for several years that they did not want rum sold at all in their country. Laurence Claesson was supposed to resolve this by delivering a belt of wampum telling them that their request had been received by Governor Burnet and that rum would not be sold to the Six Nations.

Claessen was also told to try to obtain the release of an English boy from Virginia who was being held captive in Iroquoia, and to work with Juriaen Hogan, the Anglo-Dutch smith, to obtain information about how many of the Six Nations were out fighting and the actions of the French smith and other Frenchmen living in Seneca Country.

The commissioners wrote to Governor Burnet and informed him about what they were doing, expressing regret for the Six Nations attacks on Virginia and explaining that the Six Nations were wavering in their attachment to the English, leaning instead towards the French at times. To counteract this they recommended posting “some persons of Distinction” in Iroquoia to advance the English cause. They also rejoiced in the news that a peace had been concluded between “Boston” (i.e. New England) and the Eastern Indians (Abenaki) in Dummer’s War.

Many thanks to the Schenectady Historical Society for permission to use this image of the portrait of Laurence Claessen that hangs in their collection!

Laurence Claessen Van der Volgen

Attributed to Nehemiah Partridge. Held at the Schenectady Historical Society, 32 Washington Avenue, Schenectady, NY 12305 and used with their permission. They give the date as 1725.

In Cornell’s digital copy of the original minutes, February 1726 starts here.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, February 1726 starts here.

[0244] 120a

[Wraxall p. 161 gives date as 12 Feb.]

Copy

Att a meeting of ye Comrs of ye

Indian affairs in albany ye [1st]

day of feb 1725/6

Present

P L.

H H

Jons Cuyler

P V Brugh         }

E Bancker

J Collins

H V Renslaer

It is Resolved by ye Comrs to give Lowrence

Claese ye following Instructions

By the Com.rs of ye Indian

affairs at albany

Instructions for Lowrence Claese the Interpreter

Whereas ye Indians of ye five nations have sent two

Severall messages to ye Com.es Last fall Complaining of Rum being

Sold unto their People by ye traders at ye falls and ye lake near ye

onnondage River which they Conceive will be very pernicious (if not

prevented and whereby many unhappy accidents may [Ensue – crossed out] arise.

they acknowledge to have given Liberty unto his Ex.cy their Brother

Corlaer Gov.r Burnet to Sett beaver Traps at ye lake, but they

alleadge that ye bait his people ye Christians use meaning ye Rum

will Catch Men and therefore desired that no Rum might be Carryed

up thither for ye future. but that ye Traders Should only carry up [f– crossed out]

dry goods to Supply ye far Indians to wh. messages ye S.d five nations

Expect an answer as soon as may be and on failure thereof [they – crossed out] we are

Informd yt [ye – crossed out] they have Concluded to Execute their Resilution in

Relation to ye affair and since its Impracticable to prevent ye

young Traders to Carry up Rum to ye lake to trade with ye far Indians

and in order to quiet ye minds of ye Indians You are here by Required

and Directed forthwith to go to onnondage (takeing a Christian with you)

at your arrival there you are to Inform ye Sachims of ye 5 nations in name

of his Ex.cy Gov.r Burnet Esq.r &c. that he has Received their Propositions

In Relation

[0245] 121

in Relation to the Rum not to be sold & Carryd up to ye lake. that he has

given orders that none of his people under his Government Shall Sell

any Strong Liquor unto any of ye 5 nations at ye falls or Lake but that they

are only to Sell it to ye far Indians for Promoteing & Encouraging ye

trade with you that his Ex.cy earnestly desires that none of ye Traders be

any ways Molested or hindered in their trade with ye far Indians that his Excy

at his next meeting Shall Settle that and other affairs with you, for ye gen.le

good and welfare of us all. In ye meantime its Expected that they and their

young men will behave ymselves peaceable to All his Maj.es Subjects and not

allow any french to Reside in any of their Castles on w.ch you are to Lay

down [illeg.] a belt of wampum herewith delivered you

You are to use your best Endeavor to Release an English

Boy which we are Informd is in Some of ye Indian Castles and taken

from virginia by some of ye 5 nations or Canada Indians wh Charge Shall

be paid you

as We are Informd that a french Smith with his family &

Some other french men from Canada are at ye Sinnekes Country wh.

if Confirmd to you at onnondage you are to proceed to that place

where you are to make the Same Proposition as you are directed to do at

onnondage which you are also to Communicate unto ye other nations as you

go along. you are to Inform your Self how & in what manner ye french

are posted there and by whose directions and what their Chief [Business] is

[If] ye Beck Iron belonging to this Government be broake & if Jurian Hogan

accepts to work as smith [illeg.- crossed out] at ye Sinnekes Country according to

the Letters write unto him by ye Com.rs, how ye Indians are generally

[afflasted] what number of ye 5 nations are gone out a fighting & agts

what nations and Generally what news you can learn of any

moment among ye Indians of all which you are to keep a Journall

in Writeing. Given under our hands in albany — [illeg.] day feb.y in ye

twelfth year of his Maj.e Reign an Do 1725/6

[0246] 121a

[Not in Wraxall.]

Albany 8 feb 1725/6

May it please yr Excy

Your Excy’s favour of ye 23rd Jan.ry we recd according

to your Excys Directions shall send ye English Boy p the first

Sloop wt an Recott of the Charges we have disbursd, Indeed the base

behaviour of our Ind.ns towards Virgina is very provoking of

wch we are ashamed wt Submist we humbly are of opinion yt it

can’t be pvented, unless some able psons of Distinction be posted

among them to dissuade them from such ill practices & keep ym

firm to yr allegiance to his Maj.ie for they are very waver=

ing & much Inclind to ye french Interest

We shall not be wanting to Encourage as much as in Us

lyes all those yt are inclined to trade next Spring at ye Lake

& advise ym from your Excel.y to behave themselves diferectly

towards [y – crossed out] our Ind.ns in Case any Disputes do arise & not to

give any Cause of Complaints, & yt they only sell Rum to the

far Ind.ns on this Occasion we have thought fitt for his Maj.e

service to make an Answer to ye Proposition of ye Indns mad

last fall through Lawrence Claese ye Interpreter Copy of

his Instructions are herein Inclosd We hope he will be

able to quiet ye minds of ye Ind.ns for ye Safety of those who are

going to trade at ye Lake We are glad ye peace is concluded

between Boston & ye Eastern Ind.ns wen wch we wish may be

lasting wt our best Respects we remain

May it please your Ex.cy

Your Ex most humble and

most Obedient Serv.ts

Sign                             Philip Livingston

Henry Holland

Pieter van Brugh

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Minute Book 3: 1726-January

Conflicts in Iroquoia: Captives, Smiths, and Alcohol

The commissioners wrote to Governor Burnet to tell him about the English boy they had taken in after he ran away from the Mohawks at Fort Hunter. They had now learned that the boy was captured in a raid on Captain Robert Hicks’s estate in Virginia, in which the boy’s father was also captured, as well as five native women. The boy’s father was released, one of the women was killed “by the way,” while two were “burnt” in Oneida and then, according to the commissioners, eaten. Two remained captive. They had also heard that there was another English boy taken from Virginia who was still held captive, but they were doubtful whether there was any hope of getting him back. The letter uses the stories of the captives to attack the “falsehood of ye 5 nations” and suggest that the English should post “some able persons” permanently at Onondaga. The allegations about burning and eating people should likely be evaluated cautiously, especially because no source is given for them. Clearly relations between the commissioners and the Haudenosaunee were under a strain as they tried to implement Governor Burnet’s plans for a stronger English presence in the heart of Iroquoia.

The commissioners also corresponded with Jacob Brower and Jurian Hogan, who were serving as smiths at Onondaga and in the Seneca country respectively.  They arranged to provide Brower with a new bellows to replace one that had rotted out, and asked Hogan for information about a french smith who was living at the Seneca castle along with other frenchmen and their families. (It is interesting to speculate on what happened when the French and Anglo-Dutch smiths encountered each other, as must have occurred.)

The commissioners heard that the Six Nations expected an answer to their request the previous fall that the sale of alcohol be prohibited at the falls on the Onondaga River, (meaning the Oswego river at the site of present day Fulton New York) and intended to take steps themselves to end it if they did not get a satisfactory response. The commissioners feared for the safety of traders the following spring. They decided to send Laurence Claessen to Onondaga and sent him a request to appear before them to receive instructions.

In Cornell’s digital copy of the original minutes, January 1726 starts here.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, January 1726 starts here.

Below is the full transcription:

[0240] 118a

[Not in Wraxall]

Att a meeting of ye Com.rs of ye Indian

Affairs in albany ye 4th Jan.ry 1725/6

Present

Phil: Livingston

[Henry Holland – crossed out]

Peter van Brugh

Evert Bancker

Henry van Rensslaer

The Com.rs this day ye following letter to

his Excellency [sic]

Albany 4 Jan.ry 1725/6

may it Please your Ex.cy

Your Ex.cys favours of ye 3. 9.ber [November?] we Read. and Shall

observe your Ex.cys directions therein Contained. we have at

psent nothing of moment to Comunicate unto yr Ex.cy only

that we have had ye good fortune a few days [illeg.-crossed out] since to

gett an English boy who is Run away from y.e Maquas at

Fort Hunter whom we have Cloathed & Shall maintain & keep

here till your Ex.cys pleasure Shall be known. this Boy by

what we Can Learn from him has been taken by our five —

Nations at ye Same time they Robbd Capt Hicks in virginia

they took then this Boys father but Sett him at Liberty —

but took five Squas along with them. one they killd by ye

way. two they burnt in oneyde & did Eat them. and

the other two are among ye Indians. we have some

Information that their is another English boy among our

Indians taken from virginia who we shall

Endeavor to gett out of their hands. but have no great

hope to Compass it. this is a sufficient proof of ye

Case & falsehood of ye 5 nations. Such base actions we

Conceive would in a great measure be prevented if

some able psons did Continually Reside at onnondage

with great Respect we Remain

[0241] 119

[Not in Wraxall]

Copy                                                               Att a meeting of ye Com.rs of ye

Indian affairs in Albany ye 9th

Jan.ry 1725/6

Present

Ph. Livingston             }

Evert Bancker

This day arrived here Two [three-crossed out] Indians with a

Letter from Jacob Brower Smith at onnondage

dated ye 3th Instant, wherein he signifies that ye old smith

Bellows is Rotten & of no use So yt. he cant make any

good work without a new bellows Its Resolved that a

new Bellows be forthwith made yt. ye Indians

may be Supplyd with such Smith work

as they have Occasion for. [additional crossed out words omitted.]

[0242] 119a [Not in Wraxall.]

Copy

Att a meeting of ye Com.es of ye

Indian affairs in albany ye 15 Day

of Jan.ry 1725/6

 

Present

Ph Livingston

Henry Holland                        }

P.v. Brugh

E Banker

H v Renselear

This day the Com.rs write a letter to Jacob

Brower Smith at onnondage with a smiths Bellows

as also to Jurian hogans at Sinnekes Country

which last is as follows.

We have write you & Jacob Brower Smith at

onnondage if you would work as Smith for ye Indians

at ye Sinnicke Country, till Sept. next and Credit ye

Governmts. but have Recd now manner of answer

from you. in ye mean time we hear [from – crossed out] that you wife

has Recd a letter from you wherein you mention

that there is a french smith in ye Sinnekes Castle with his —

wife & Children and other french with their wives

that they [illeg. crossed out] or ye Indians have [broaken] ye [Beche]

[Iron] we desire you to write unto us at large about

that affair. that we may a Right Information

and if you will stay there to work as smith for ye

Indians. Send your letter to Jacob Brower and he

will forward ye same unto us. we are.

[0243] 120

[Not in Wraxall.]

Copy

Att a meeting of ye Com.rs of ye Indian

affairs in albany ye 25th Jan.ry 1725/6

Present

Ph. Livingston

Henry Holland

Peter van Brugh          }

Evert Bancker

Henry van Renselaer

The Com.rs being Informd yt. ye. Sachims of ye

five nations expect an answer to their Propositions made unto them,

last fall in Relation to their Prohibition of Rum sold to their

people at ye falls on ye onnondage River & ye lake that in Case they

gett no [satisfactory] answer they have [Resolved – crossed out] Concluded to put in                                            Execution

their Resoluttion in Relation to that affair

Whereon It is thought [fitt for – crossed out] Proper for ye safety &

Tranquility of ye traders who design to go to trade next Spring

that Lawrence Claes ye Interpreter be sent to onnondage. order a

Letter be wrote unto him to appear be fore this meeting to Receive

Instructions in Relation to that affair

Posted in 1726, English History, Iroquois History, New York History, Slavery, Servitude, Captivity, Trade, Virginia History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Complete Transcription for 1723-1732

Just in time for the New Year, I have finished transcribing the records from what I call Minute Book 3. On Cornell’s website they are Volume 1, because they are the earliest surviving volume of the originals. On Heritage Canada’s website they are labeled by the microfilm reel as C-1220.

Some portions of them are out of order and there are a lot of duplicate copies for some years. In fact for 1727 and 1728, it looks as though someone may have removed originals and put in duplicates. I created a spreadsheet and used it to generate tables that identify duplicates and provide a way to follow chronological order.

 

You are welcome to download pdfs of the transcription and the tables here: Minute Book 3: COMPLETE

I will also keep working on a chronological version. And the site is due for a little tidying up and revamping, especially in relation to tags and categories. Stay tuned and Happy Holidays!

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Conference on Iroquois Research 2017 Presentation

The Conference on Iroquois Research met last week in Oswego, New York. It included many excellent presentations. I gave a talk based on the AIC records for 1723-1725 entitled “The Sappony Prisoner: Servant, Captive, Runaway, or Chief?” It concerns a Sappony captive taken from Virginia to Kahnawake in 1723 and his subsequent fate.
Here is a pdf copy: Captivity_Paper .

The C.I.R. is evolving in very interesting ways. Check out the web page to learn about their work, including their journal, which just published a third issue. They also have a Facebook Page where you can see pictures of the conference and learn more about the presentations.

This is a map of Oswego in 1727, and a marker and plaque from the site of the fort built that year.

 

 

This is what it looks like now:

 

 

I kept thinking about the Iroquois of 1723, as well as the French and Anglo-Dutch traders. They used to navigate these waters in canoes like the ones now on display in the H. Lee White Maritime Museum, following the river up to Onondaga and Oneida. What would they make of the present  day city?

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The view from my window at the Oswego Best Western Plus, where the conference took place.

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Small (wooden?)  boat outside the H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego. My guess is that there were some boats a bit like this one around after the 1727 fort was constructed and certainly later in the century as French and British sailing ships began to ply Lake Ontario.

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Dugout and birchbark canoes on exhibit at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum on the pier at Oswego. Most traffic in 1723 was by canoe.

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Cadwallader Colden’s Papers: Another source for 1707-1720 (Minute Book 2) besides the Schedule of Propositions …

In addition to Peter Wraxall’s An Abridgement of the Indian Affairs and the The Livingston Indian Records, I recently discovered that Cadwallader Colden compiled detailed notes from the records of theAlbany Indian Commissioners for the period from 1707 through 1720 for a continuation of his History of the Five Indian Nations. He never completed the book, but the notes are printed in Volume 9 of The Letters and Papers of Cadwallader Colden, printed for the New York Historical Society in 1937, which is available on the Internet Archive here. The continuation of the History begins on page 359.

Colden’s notes roughly correspond to the second volume of the records. They cover much of the same period as the detailed portion of the Schedule of Propositions Made by the Indians and Answers Given to Them … Colden’s notes are better written but less comprehensive. They confirm the basic accuracy the Schedule of Propositions by including some things covered in it that Wraxall omitted. Colden omits many things himself, but his notes are a valuable addition to the fragmentary record for this period.  I’ve added notes about them to my transcription and I am re-posting an updated version on this blog. Here is a PDF:AIC_SP_1707-1714-WithColdenNotesedited

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Cadwallader Colden, by Matthew Pratt. (Engraving by P. Purdon Graham?] Frontispiece to volume one of the Cadwallader Colden Papers, in Collections of the New-York Historical Society 1917 (v. 50).

 

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Minute Book 3: 1725-December

In December the commissioners received a letter from Captain John Collins in Schenectady about a Christian boy who had been taken captive by “some of our upper nations.” The commissioners still used “Christian” to mean “European” even though by this time many Native Americans and African Americans were also Christian. They had not yet adopted the use of the term “white,” or at least not in their records.

The boy was taken captive along with this father, who was employed driving horses for traders, and “a negro.” No mention is made of what happened to the other two captives. The boy was taken to Canojoharie (which during this period was one of the two major Mohawk (Kaniengeha’ka) towns, then moved to “the foremost Castle,” which probably means Tiononderoga. According to Collins’s letter, the Indians to whom the boy was given treated him badly and he was advised by other Indians to run away for fear of his life. He now wanted the Christians to rescue him from the “fury of the heathen.” The boy had forgotten English, and had to communicate by way of Lawrence Claessen the interpreter.

The commissioners decided to take him in until Governor Burnet could advise them about what to do with him. They arranged to give him clothing and sent him to live with Captain [Evert] Bancker until spring. Like other captives mentioned in the records during this time, the boy, his father, and the African American taken captive with them, all remain unnamed.

In Cornell’s digital copy of the original minutes, December 1725 starts here.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, December 1725 starts here.

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Minute Book 3: 1725-November

The next entry is a November 4th letter from the Commissioners but written by James Stevenson (perhaps the one in this biography) because Philip Livingston, the Secretary for Indian Affairs, was absent. James Stevenson was not a commissioner, raising the question why Henry Holland and Evert Bancker, the commissioners present, did not write the letter themselves. Perhaps the Dutch commissioners were still not confident about their ability to write adequate English. Their letter is a response to a letter from Joseph Willard, Secretary of Massachusetts Bay, who had received from Colonel Stoddard the Commissioners’ message about the forces that had left Canada to attack the New England frontiers. It informs him that they have no additional news except that the governor of Canada was dead. They would continue to watch the enemy and provide intelligence as occasion offered.

On November 25th the commissioners agreed with Jacob Brower and Harme Vedder to go to Onondage as smiths. They asked Juriaen Hogan, his brother, and the assistant “Lansingh” to stay on as smiths in Seneca country, giving them leave to return to Albany on lawful business if they wished. It does not appear that they complied with the Six Nations’ request to provide new and better smiths.

In Cornell’s digital copy of the original minutes, November 1725 starts here.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, November 1725 starts here.

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Minute Book 3: 1725-October

Trade is Welcome in Iroquoia; Alcohol and Quarrels Are Not

On October 10th, another delegation from the Six Nations met with the Commissioners. This time Thanentsaronwe (Thannintsorowee) was the speaker. He came to complain again about the sale of alcohol by the European traders in Iroquoia, and to object once more to Governor Burnet’s proposed trading house on the Onnondage (Oswego) River. Alcohol had led to the death of a principal sachem, Sogeanjawa, who had been “stuck dead with a knife.” Several people had had noses and ears cut off, and nine of the “Far Indians” had killed each other. In the name of the whole Six Nations, he asked that no alcohol be transported to Iroquoia for the consumption of the Far Indians or the Six Nations. Traders were welcome to come and trade wherever they wished, with any other sort of goods. He also expressed uneasiness that the governors of New York and Canada could not agree. He begged them not to shed blood in the Six Nations’ country, where both were trading. He asked that if any English people should encounter the French “they may kindly love & friendly greet one another.” He explained that they had told the governor of Canada the same thing.

Thanentsorowee told the Commissioners that strowd blankets were now being sold to the French at the Onnondage River, despite the New York law against it. He said he had heard that people from Albany were taking credit for bringing Far Indians to Albany to trade, but actually the Six Nations should get the credit for going to the Far Nations and asking them to come to Albany to trade, with the result that five Far Nations had promised to do so. The Six Nations was paying the expenses in wampum and blankets to engage in this promotion. He asked that Albany help them with strowds, powder, and lead in order to continue doing so.

He also complained that the message that the governor of New York could not meet that summer had not been properly conveyed to the Senecas from Onondage, and if it had they would not have come. In the future, messages should be sent directly to the Senecas. He also asked for a better smith, since they did not like the one sent to them, and requested that Myndert Wemp come back with them immediately along with tools.

The Commissioners responded by thanking the delegates for bringing Far Nations to Albany to trade. They gave them powder, lead, and strowd blankets as they had requested, along with two kegs of Rum. They acknowledged the remainder of the message but did not respond to it. However they forwarded the minutes of the meeting to Governor Burnet.

In Cornell’s digital copy of the original minutes, October 1725 starts here.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, October 1725 starts here.

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Minute Book 3: 1725-September

Blocked from Trading with Montreal, Albany Traders Move West

In September the commissioners made good on their promise to give the governor an account of the volume of the fur trade to the west. Captain Harme Vedder, stationed in Seneca Country, returned with his company and 50 bundles of fur. Many other traders were now going west as well. Despite the difficulties involved, the commissioners put together a detailed list of who had gone to Indian country and how many furs and skins they had purchased.  At least fifty-one canoes, each carrying several traders, had been to the lakes and returned with 738 bundles of furs. The list of names covers many if not most Albany families. It also includes an unnamed Indian couple, several unnamed hired men, and a member of the versatile Montour family, Jean Montour. Some traders went more than once and some trips for which details were not provided brought 50 additional bundles of furs.  In addition, 43 canoes of “far Indians” came to Albany and Schenectady with 200 bundles. 

The direct trade from Albany to Canada was far smaller, as estimated by the commissioners and Lieutenant Blood, who was stationed at the English garrison at Mount Burnet, on the Hudson north of Albany.

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Commerce between Albany and Canada continued however. On September 6th, Colonel Myndert Schuyler and Captain De Peyster returned from Canada and took the oath required of persons suspected to have traded with the French, which strongly suggests that they had in fact traded with the French. Moreover they confirmed that they had seen large quantities of strowd blankets sent from Albany to Montreal.

Trade with Montreal is Illegal, But News from Montreal is Valuable;

Grey Lock is Raiding New England

Schuyler and De Peyster also brought important news. A party of 150 warriors had left Montreal on their way to attack New England, passing Chambly, where others were encamped who planned to go as well. The French, including their priests, were encouraging them to fight, and Montreal was fortifying itself with a stone wall. The commissioners informed both New York Governor Burnet and the government of New England about the situation. In a subsequent letter they told Governor Burnet that the party at Chambly had been persuaded to go home instead of attacking New England, but the party of 150 from Montreal were sill out fighting. Two small groups of nine and fourteen were supposed to be lurking on the western frontiers, lead by Grey Lock (Wawenorrawot). The commissioners told Governor Burnet that the Indians were tired of war and wanted peace, but the French continued to push them to war.

The Six Nations Meet with the French

Schuyler and De Peyster said that a large group of leaders from the Six Nations had come to Montreal, where they were honored with a cannon salute.   According to some Seneca leaders who came to Albany to tell the commissioners about the situation, and who had resolved not to go to Montreal themselves, the Six Nations contingent included eleven Seneca sachems from Canossodage and six from Onnahee. They went to condole the passing of “Lieutenant Governor” Monsieur “D Ramsay,”  (Claude de Ramezay, the governor of Montreal who had died the previous summer.) Probably they also discussed their concerns about the escalating construction of forts in their country by both the French and the English.

Kahnawage, Rondax, and Schawenadie Want a General Treaty

Lieutenant Colonel Stephanus Grosbeeck had also been in Montreal. He told the commissioners that the sachims of Kahnawage and Schawenadie had sent him an express as he passed La Prairie, asking him by seven hands of wampum to bring a message that they were coming to Albany about October 1st, where they wanted to meet with the governors of New York and Boston (i.e. Massachusetts Bay) as well as the Six Nations. The commissioners contacted Massachusetts Bay Governor William Dummer directly to pass on this message, sending their letter by way of the authorities of Westfield Massachusetts, in order to inform them that they were at risk of attack.

The Six Nations Confirm the Treaty of 1722 with New York and Virginia

On September 26th, twelve sachems from Onondage, Cayuga, and Tuscarora came to Albany and met with the Commissioners. They said they had been sent to look into rumors spread among them and find a way to prevent such stories. They asked the Commissioners to read them the treaty made in 1722 between Virginia and the Six Nations, which was done.

Their speaker D’Kanasore (Teganissorens) gave a speech addressed to Asserigoa, the Iroquois name for the Governor of Virginia, asking the Commissioners to pass it on. He pointed out that the Six Nations had returned two prisoners taken in Virginia, an Indian (probably meaning Governor Spotswood’s Saponi servant) and a “Negroe boy,” (probably Captain Robert Hicks’ slave). He said that whoever was going fighting towards Virginia from Canada or from the Six Nations’ castles was doing it without their consent. Nonetheless, if they went past the line agreed to in the treaty of 1722 and were taken prisoner, they should likewise be returned.

Teganissorens also complained that the gunpowder they had purchased recently was defective. He asked for more powder as well as lead and gunflints, pointing out that the cost would be made up by the value of the skins they could obtain with it through hunting. He also asked for a smith as soon as possible, one better than those who had been working there, whose work was not the best.

The Six Nations Have New Objections to Burnet’s Trading House

Like the delegation from Kahnawake and Schawenadie, Teganissorens was not happy with Governor Burnet’s proposal for a trading house on the Onnondage (Oswego) River. He admitted that the Six Nations had consented to it, but he said they now feared it would cause mischief because alcohol would be sold there. People would get drunk, become unruly, and and cause harm. In addition some would likely buy rum instead of ammunition. Teganissorens asked that in the future traders would bring powder and no rum. A slightly different version of this speech was written out and then crossed out. It appears on page 146a.

The Commissioners responded the next day in a speech that verged on being abrupt, even rude. They told the delegates they were glad they wanted to prevent rumors from spreading; the only way to do so was simply refuse to listen to those who tried to delude them. They promised to convey Teganissorens’ speech to the Governor of Virginia, but added that the Six Nations should not let their people go past the boundary line agreed to in 1722. The people of Virginia “will never molest you if you do not excite them to it” and if you commit mischief you will have to answer for it, as also for “those for whom you are become Security.” The reference was to Kahnawake and its allies, the “French Indians.”

In response to the complaint about powder, they said they were sorry the Six Nations were too impoverished to buy enough powder to meet their needs. The Commissioners would ask the governor to write to England to have better powder made, but the real reason for their poverty was that they went fighting against people who had not attacked them. Instead they should stick to hunting. They agreed to convey the request for a smith and expected the governor would send one.

In response to the Six Nations’ request that traders bring powder rather than rum to sell on the Onondaga River, the Commissioners would only say that they would ask the governor to prevent traders from selling rum to the Six Nations and to sell them powder and lead. However, the traders would continue selling rum to the Far Indians because otherwise they would be unable to sell their goods. They urged the delegates to be kind to all traders on the Onondaga River and the lakes and to invite the far Indians to come trade with Albany in order to get goods cheaper than from the French. To encourage this they agreed to supply them with power, lead, and flints to meet their present needs.

The Six Nations added that the bellows at Onondaga was old and not fit for service. They asked for a new one before winter set in. They said they expected their speech to go to the governor of New York and then be forwarded to Virginia, acknowledged that the commissioners had asked them to keep the Treaty, and said they expected Virginia and its Indian allies to do the same. They expected that those who brought evil reports to them (that is rumors) probably did the same with the governor of Virginia, so they hoped he would not listen. They agreed to be kind to traders in their country and assist them however they could.

The commissioners asked what Monsieur Longuiel said when he came to their country, and Teganissorens quoted him at length. “Fathers, [the Six Nations had adopted Longueuil as their “child”] I desire that you be not surpriz’d when any blood shall be shed on the Onnondage River or at the side of the Lake for we and the English can’t well abide one another, do you not meddle with the Quarrel butt Set Still smoke & be neuter.” Tegannisorens confirmed that they had sent wampum to Canada to answer the governor saying they were surprised that the French should “trample on the Blood of their Brethren” in the Six Nations country. If they wanted to fight, they should “go to sea and fight where you have Room.”

Kahnawage, Rondax, and Schawenadie Appear, Expecting the General Treaty; They Offer an Indian Woman to Make Up for the Murder of a Soldier

Prior to the commissioners’ response to Teganissorens, seven sachems from Kahnewake, Schawenadie and Rondax appeared.  They said they had come to meet with the governors of New York and Boston, as they had requested in the message they sent by Stephanus Grosbeeck a few weeks earlier. They expected the commissioners to provide lodging in Albany in the meantime. They had no wampum, for which they asked to be excused. The commissioners provided them with housing and necessities.

On September 28th, they formally condoled the man murdered at Saratoga by their people, presumably the English soldier named Williams from the garrison at Mount Burnet. They asked for reconciliation and forgiveness and gave wampum to wipe off the tears of those in mourning for him. And in addition they offered the commissioners a captive, an Indian woman, in place of the man they had lost. They said it was “not our maxim to do so yet we do it to satisfie you for the breach that is comitted.”

They said those who killed the soldier had been on their way to fight in New England. Their young men were unruly and could not be prevented from going to help the Eastern Indians fighting against the English. They asked the Commissioners to do everything they could to end the war.

The Commissioners explained that they had gotten the wampum message that Kahnawage, Rondax, and Schawenadie wanted to meet with the governors of New York and Massachusetts Bay and had sent notice to Boston. The governor there had said that he had to attend a treaty there with the Indians who were at war and asked the Commissioners to hear on his behalf what Kahnawage, Rondax, and Schawenadie had to say. The sachems said they would do so only if Colonel John Schuyler were present to represent Massachusetts. The Commissioners said that Colonel Schuyler was welcome to attend, but they did not think he would come. If the sachems did not want to deliver their message to the Commissioners to pass on to him, perhaps they could meet with him alone, or perhaps they would like to go to Boston, where they would be well received.

The next day the Commissioners gave a more full answer, reproaching the sachems for the murder of the soldier when the parties were at peace. They accused them of deliberately breaching the Covenant Chain in order to undermine the good relations between them. Those who committed such murders should be punished. But since the sachems had come to “mediate and reconcile” the matter, the commissioners said they would ask the governor to forgive the injury on condition that the sachems agree to deliver over anyone who committed such an offense in the future. They accepted the woman in place of the dead soldier “as a Token of your Repentance and sorrow for what is past” and gave a belt of wampum. After harangueing them further to the same effect, they gave them additional wampum. The sachems responded that they had heard the message and would communicate it to their leaders at home, since they were not empowered to promise to deliver up people who transgressed in the future.

The Commissioners wrote to the governor of Massachusetts Bay and described the meeting. They referred the governor to Colonel John Schuyler for more information, explaining that the sachems had refused to deliver their message except to him. They wished the governor success in making peace.

In Cornell’s digital copy of the original minutes, September 1725 starts here at page 142 and runs through p. 152a but then jumps back here to p. 113.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, September 1725 starts here and jumps back here. The pages in the document are the same as Cornell’s version, but the Image numbers on the screen are different.

 

 

 

 

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Minute Book 3: 1725-August

The next letter from the Commissioners to New York Governor Burnet passed on several items of news. The Six Nations had sent delegates to meet with the governor of New France and there was speculation that they might sell the land on the Oswego River (which they called the Onnondage River) where Albany traders were trading with “Far Indians” from beyond Iroquoia.

David Van Dyck and Goose Van Schaik had been to Canada where they learned that four people from Schawenadie were the culprits in the death of Williams, a soldier from Mount Burnet who had been missing for some time. Kahnawage was very concerned and was sending envoys to Albany.

The Six Nations had sent 100 men to Virginia, where they planned to take revenge for the deaths of 150 of their people who had been killed by the English and their indigenous allies.

The commissioners continued to issue summonses to people who were suspected of trading illegally with the French, with little success. Strowd blankets were still being sold to the French, but now the traders were using the Oswego River location as well as Albany to carry on this trade.

The commissioners also told the governor that six French soldiers had deserted from Montreal and come to Albany. They were allowed their freedom to stay there and work, pending instructions from the governor about what to do with them.

The commissioners said it would be difficult to give the governor an exact account of how many furs have been traded at Lake Ontario, what had come from Canada, and the value of goods carried to the west, because many traders refused to provide information. They were confident, however, that profits were high and the number of skins was more than what had come (illegally) from Canada.

In Cornell’s digital copy of the original minutes, August 1725 starts here.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, August 1725 starts here.

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Minute Book 3: 1725-July

The commissioners wrote to the governor again, responding to a letter from him that is not part of the record. They told him that trade on the Lake (Ontario / Cadaraqui) was doing well, but needed more than cheap goods to succeed. They expressed concerns about the French threat and promised to give him a full account of the trade to lay before the New York Assembly.

In Cornell’s digital copy of the original minutes, July 1725 starts here.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, July 1725 starts here.

 

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Minute Book 3: 1725-June

The French Still Plan to Build Fort at Niagara

On June 5th the commissioners wrote to the governor explaining that they had sent Laurence Claessen and two smiths to Onondaga. They added that David Van Dyck had resigned as commissioner, as Johannes Bleecker had done the previous November. A few days later, on June 11th, Claessen returned and gave an account of his journey.

Claessen arrived at Onondaga on May 27th to find the sachims of the Oneidas, Tuscaroras, Cayougas, and Senecas and Onondagas who had recently met with “Mons. Longueil, Lieut. Gov.r of Canada,” (Charles Le Moyne, Baron de Longueuil).

Claessen gave them seven strings of wampum, the agreed upon protocol that confirmed an official message. He told them that Governor Burnet (William Burnet, Governor of New York and New Jersey) had sent him to say that he could not comply with their request to meet, but that he would meet them the following year. They were happy to hear that Burnet only planned to build a trading house at Oswego, not a fort, and said they had nothing against building a house. They also thanked the governor for sending the smiths and promised to make them very welcome. They told Claessen that Longueuil had been at Onondaga until May 25th, two days before Claessen arrived. The records include what purports to be Longueuil’s speech at Onondaga.

Addressing the Haudenosaunee as “Children,” according to French custom, Longueuil said that he had been ordered to come there by the governor. He performed the customary condolence ceremony and gave a large belt of wampum, adding additional belts for each point in his speech. He said he had heard that the Six Nations were “jealous” of the French and expressed the hope that the bad feelings generated by the previous war between them were over and forgotten, since France and England were now at peace. He urged them to forget old differences and promised to “Imprint in the memory of our Children to observe the treaties of Peace & friendship” between them, so that it would live on even when “we aged Men” were dead and gone.

Longueuil confirmed that he was going to Tierondequoit (Irondequoit at the site of present day Rochester) and then to Seneca Country and Niagara, where he planned to build a strong trading house and sell goods more cheaply than before to the Six Nations as well as the nations beyond them. He also planned to build two ships to bring goods there.

Some Albany Traders Agree Not to Trade With the French

On June 11th the commissioners continued to attempt to enforce Governor Burnet’s prohibition against selling Indian goods to the French by resolving to direct the sheriff to issue summonses to a number of traders including John Schuyler, Stephanis Groesbeck, Nicholas Bleecker, Cornelis Cuyler, Hans Hansen, Edward Collins, David Schuyler Jr., Johannes Roseboom and Gerrit Roseboom Jr. They were directed to appear and take the oath against trading Indian goods with the French as required by the Act of 1720. All of them all except John Schuyler and Gerrit Roseboom Jr. appeared and took the oath. So did Jacob Verplanck. It is unclear whether “John Schuyler” refers to Colonel Johannes Schuyler or his son Johannes Schuyler, Jr.

The Jenondadies (Petun) Come to Trade

On June 19th, some “far Indians” came to trade, a group of “Jenondadies”  (Tionondati or Petun) who lived near the French fort at Detroit. Their leader Schaojiese thanked the commissioners for inviting them to come to Albany to trade and asked that the path be kept clear for them. They condoled Colonel Peter Schuyler and Hendrick Hanson, who had both died in February 1724, and requested “that their Eldest Sons may be accepted in their places that the tree may grow under w.h all ye upper nations may Shelter themselves.” They also said they were “great Lovers of Liquor” and asked for good Rum, not watered down.

The commissioners thanked them for coming and for their condolences and assured them that goods would be cheap. They promised to do what they could to prevent traders from watering down rum. They appeared taken aback by the request to appoint the eldest sons of Schuyler and Hansen in their place. They explained that the choice was in the hands of the governor. They assured the Tionontaties that the tree of peace and friendship would grow as strong as ever and the upper nations would be welcome to take Shelter under it.

The Twightwighs (Miamis) Send Joseph Montour and his Cousin Maconte as Messengers

Two members of the Montour family, who had married into the Twightwigh (Miami) nation and lived among them, met with the commissioners, Jean Fafar alias Maconte, was the nephew of Louis Montour, killed by the French in 1709 for encouraging far nations to trade with the English, and Joseph Montour, Louis’s son.  They brought a message from a group of Twightwigh (Miami) who had sent nine canoes to trade but were stopped at the falls of Oneida by the people who lived there. The reference appears to be to European traders, probably English subjects, because if they were French, the commissioners would have noted it. Possibly Abraham Schuyler and his party were trading while stationed with the Iroquois to reassure them about the expanding English presence in their country.

The Miami wanted to come renew their treaties and wondered why they had been stopped. Maconte and Joseph gave some dressed deerskins and a calumet pipe to the commissioners. The commissioners thanked them, but did not show much sympathy for the Miami. They expressed surprise that they had not come to Albany, since they had joined themselved in the Covenant Chain. They should not have allowed the people at Oneida falls to persuade them to trade there instead of at Albany, where goods were cheaper. They asked the Miami not to listen to such people in the future. They gave the Montour cousins some rum and blankets for the Miami sachems.

In Cornell’s digital copy of the original minutes, June 1725 starts here.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, June 1725 starts here.

 

 

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