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.

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).

1633 June 8: Agreement for a Trading House on the Connecticut River (Pre-Minute Books documents)

vancurler_sickenames-drchny2-139The records that were bound together in the mid 18th century and labelled as “Minute Books” of the Albany Indian Commissioners had earlier precedents that were not included in those compilations. I am going to post copies of as many of these as I can find in order to look at how the Albany Indian Commissioners, and the diplomatic protocols they followed, evolved out of both European and Native American traditions.

Here is one of the earliest, an agreement made on June 8, 1633, between Jacob Van Curler, Commissary for the Dutch West India Company, and  Tattoepan, the chief of Sickenames, on the Connecticut River at what is now Hartford. Although framed by the Dutch as the purchase of a piece of land, this agreement contains the condition that the native owners will live there with the Dutch. The purpose of the agreement is clearly to allow the Dutch to build a “trading-house” that can be used by “all tribes of Indians,” even those in conflict with each other. The Dutch proceeded to construct a fort called Huys de Hoop . Sadly, the intent to keep things peaceful did not last and the trading house was soon caught up in the violence of Dutch-English-Pequot quarrels.

Source: E.B. O’Callaghan (ed.). Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, Albany: Weed, Parsons, 1853. You can download it from the Internet Archive here.