Minute Book 3: 1727-October: Oswego Accounts; Arossaguntigook Traders; Laurence Claessen’s Journal

The Commissioners of Indian Affairs spent a lot of money in 1727 on building boats, renting wagons, and hiring workers to build the fort at Oswego and supply the garrison and workers there with provisions.  They wrote Governor Burnet on October 5th to say they were in the process of getting final accounts from the “Country people” and would submit it all. They also informed him that a detachment of soldiers had finally left Schenectady for Oswego along with five civilians who would stay until April.

Arossagunticook Hunters Come To Trade

Diplomacy from earlier in the year continued to pay off. A group of people from Asigantskook (probably Arossagunticook) sent messengers to verify that the road to Albany was still open.  They said their people were hunting near Wood Creek on Lake Champlain and would like to come to Albany to trade, but it was difficult to transport deer skins at this season (probably because of the low water) and they had many elders with them who would not be able to make the trip. They asked to be supplied with necessaries at Saratoga as cheaply as they would be at Albany and offered to bring their furs and deerskins to Albany in the Spring, when travel was easier.  The commissioners welcomed them and invited them to trade but said they could not provide goods as cheaply at Saratoga as at Albany because they would have to pay to transport them there. They suggested that the hunting party send their young men to bring the skins down or hire horses to transport them.  It would all be affordable because “goods are much Cheaper then Ever they had been” at Albany.

1727-10-12Laurence Claessen’s Journal

At the end of October the commissioners gave the governor an English version of Laurence Claessen’s journal of his trip to the Six Nations in September to tell them.  The record includes a full copy. Claessen visited the Mohawks, Oneidas, and Tuscaroras and acquainted each nation with the news that King George II had succeeded George I as king of Great Britain.  Proceeding to the Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas, he did the same thing, but here he found that warriors were preparing to go out to fight at the request of the new Governor of Canada (the Marquis de Beauharnois). Claessen did not say who they were proposing to fight, but it was probably one or more of various nations to the south who were known as Flatheads. On behalf of New York’s Governor William Burnet, Claessen gave them gifts and urged them not to listen to the French or leave their homes to fight.  He managed to persuade most of them not to go on the grounds that the French were just looking for a chance to take possession of the new building at Oswego. Moreover when he returned to Onondaga, the sachims there who had agreed with the Schuyler brothers to ask other nations in Canada not to help the French were keeping their word and setting out on a trip to convey the message.

When Claessen arrived in the Seneca capital Canosedeken, which here is spelled “Canosade,” the diplomat and interpreter “Jean Coeur” had been there just two days earlier promoting the French trade goods now available at the new building at Fort Niagara, including inexpensive blankets, guns, fine shirts, stockings, and brandy. There was also a French smith living in Seneca country with his wife, children, and servant, who was trading for furs. And Claessen learned that there was a French settlement on the Susquehanna River “a little abovre Casatoqu” whose inhabitants stayed in touch with Canada by way of a small river that flowed into Lake Ontario above Niagara Falls.

The enlarged French fort at Niagara and the new English fort at Oswego had expanded the European presence in Iroquoia along with the potential for violent conflict. The Six Nations had said all along that this was a problem. It was one of the reasons that they objected to the location of Fort Oswego when Governor Burnet first proposed it in September 1724. In Seneca Country Claessen was told that the Seneca leaders who had recently gone to Canada to condole the death of Governor Vaudreuil and confirm Beauharnois as the new governor had urged the French not to create a disturbance or shed blood, even though the English and the French were “very Jealous of one another about their buildings at Osweege & Jagara.” Instead, if they wanted to fight each other, they should “decide it at Sea.” Beauharnois asked them to tell the English to move the new building at Oswego further up the river from Lake Ontario to leave a clear passage on the lake for French traders. Their response is not recorded.

One more interesting detail from this journal is that the French were trying to persuade the Schawenos (Shawnee) living at Niagara to leave; it is not clear why.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the first entry for October 1727 starts here on p. 204a. The transcription is below.

[0412] 204a

Albany 5th October 1727

May it please yr. Excel.cy

We have been very pressing to gett in the acct.

of the Expences this year for building batoes ye. house at Oswe=

=ge provisions waggon hire peoples wages &c. in transporting

the provisions thither & Indicent a mounting in all as may

Appear [by] the Said accts. & list herewith to £ [blank space] we

Suppose there more to Come in which we Shall Send his Exc.y

As soon as may be Some of the accts. of ye. Country people are

not Certyfied tho Suppose they are Just

The Detachment sett out from Schinnechtady yester=

=day with five of our Country people who are to Stay at Oswege

till april next as also 6 more are hird to help up the batoes

at £5÷÷ Each for the Trip the Charges runs high which

Could not be prevented for the Securety of the house

and Garryson while we think it of the Greatest Consequence

Every thing may Succeed according to Expectation

with Great Esteem & Respect

Philip Livingston

Henry Holland

Johannes Cuyler

Stephanus Groesbeeck

Harmanus Wendle

Nicolaes Bleecker

 

[0414] 205

At A meeting of the Com.es of the Indian

Affairs in Albany ye. 6 October 1727

[illeg.]

[Not in Wraxall]

Present

Philip Living.n

Henry Holland

J: Cuyler

Myn: Schuyler

Peter Vn. Brugh

Lancester Symes

Harmanus Wendle

Reyer Gerritse

Nicolaes Bleecker

An Indian Messenger from ye. Asikants=

=kook Indians came to this City who Says yt. it is the goodness

of god that we meet together in good Health

That he is Sent from the Sachims of the Said Indians who

are now on their hunting with a number of their purpose about the

End of the wood Creek & to the eastwd. of the Drowned land that

what he is in behalf of & in name of the Said all the Indians

who are now about the Said places on their hunting that they

have Sent him to See if the path to this place is free & open for

them to Come to trade hither if it be Acceptable to the bretheren

the Commissioners to give them liberty to Come gave a String

of Wampum

Brethren

We have been here last Summer and you gave us then

Liberty to Come to trade hither but as we have a great num=

=ber of ancient men among us who Can [give – crossed out] hardly undergo the

fetaque to come down to this place wherefore we desire that

we may be furnishd & Supplyd with Necessaries at Saragtoque

as Cheap as there are to [Come down to this place where=

=fore we desire yt. we may be furnishd & Supplyd with

Necessaries at Saragtoe – all crossed out] to be had here while it is very

Difficult at this season to draw & Carry down ye. Deer

Skins but in the Spring w.[?] we Can Come down in

Canoes wee

[0415] 205a

Canoes we Shall Come hitherr with a great number of our

people and abundance of beaver and peltry and then

our Sachims Shall also Come, Gave a String of Wampum,

Answer

We are very glad that it has pleased Almighty god to

preserve your Sachims and people in good health & yt. they

have Sent them to Come hither to trade, we do assure you

and promise that ye. Same Shall be kept open & free for

all your nation to come thither to trade as Long as they

demean themselves well [J – crossed out] and peacable as we Sent you

word Last Summer by the messengers they sent us at ye. time

As to what you desire that Some persons may Suppose [sic]

you with Necessaries at Saraghtoga as Cheap as they are here

because you all Alleadge yt. it is Difficult for the old men

to bring down their Skins hither wh. is a thing yt. we Can

not promise you neither Can any person afford ym So Cheap

as they are to be had here for ye. must Consider yt. they must

be paid for bringing up the the [sic] goods thither and if your young

men do bring down the Skins belonging to the old men or hire Steads

to ride them Down wh. will be but a trifle Considering

how much Cheaper goods are here yn. at Saragtoque

therefore we recommend you to tell your Sachims we de=

=sire that they and all their young men do Come hither

to trade while, goods are much Cheaper then Ever they

had been

 

[0416] 206

Albany 30th October 1727

May it please your Excel.cy

It would be very acceptable to us to hear

of your Excel.cys health and prosperity Inclosed your Ex.cy

has the Journall of Mr. Lourence Claese the Interpre=

=ter to the Six Nations by relation it appears that the

Indians are well Affected to the british Interest but in one

Opinion what has been [brought – crossed out] begun to Secure them ought

to be permd. for they begin now to See of what Consequence

of building at Osweego will be [at – crossed out] to them for they perceive

that we Can defend and Secure them against the attempt of

the french of Canada which we humbly hope that our Assem=

=bly will Conceive that the Support of the Six Nations &

Securety of our trade is of the Greater Consequence to this

province and that they will raise a Sufficient Supply to

discharge the expence already layd out and what may be

wanting to lay out for the next year,

The Interpreter Informs us that the french Smith free=

=ly trades among the Sinnekes which we wish Could be preven=

=ted it Seems a great hardship to us that the french may trade

there and our people be prevented to do the like by a law wh.

we beg your Excel.cy may be repeald by a Cause in any bill

that may pass this Sessions, wh. will be very acceptable to

who are with great Esteem and Respect

Phil: Livingston

Henry Holland

Hend.k Vn. Renselaer

Stephanus Groesbeek

Harmanus Wendle

Nicolaes Bleecker

 

[0417] 206a [Out of order chronologically because sent with previous letter.]

12 Octob 1727

Journall of Mr. Lourence Claese the

Interpreter of his Journey to the Six

Nations being Translated into English

is as follows

In pursuance of my Instructions from the Com.es

of indian affairs at Albany dated the ninth Sept. I went

to the Mohoggs Country acquainted the Sachims there of the

decease of his late Majesty King George of Glorious memory

and [that his son prince george – crossed out] of the Accession of his pre=

=sent Majesty King George the second to the Imperi=

=all Crowns of Great britain france and Ireland, from

thence I went to Oneyde and Tuskerores and Acquainted

those Sachims with the Same,

On the 25th of Sept. I Arrivd at Onnondage

where I found 160 men ready to go a fighting by order

of the Governour of Canada of wh. 48 of ym. went out

the Same day I came there, whereupon I calld the

Sachims and warriou[r]s to Come together, I Acquainted

them also of the Decease of his late Majesty King

George & of the acceptation of his present Majesty

King George ye. Second to the Imperiall Crowns of

Great britain &c. and Spoake to ym. in name of

his Excel.cy William Burnet Esq.r &c our Governour

  1. he was very much Surprizd that they Sufferd that they

Sufferd [sic] themselves to be Commanded by the Governour of

Canada who has been always their Ancestors Enemy and

is So Still Who, by Shew of frindship Seeks to deprive ym

of their land and priviledges where our Governour gives

Sufficient Instancs of his Sincere affection & frindship

towards the well being of the Six Nations which he Endeavors

to Accomplish and Intends to preserve in it —

The King of France himself owns that the

Six Nations belong only to the Crown of Great Britain

Therefore brethren I Desire you in his Excel.cys Name

that you do no go fighting on ye. Comand from ye. Gov.r

of

 

[0418] 207

of Canada but that you Stay at home & go hunting for

the Sustenance of your wives and Children, and not to Untertake

nor do any thing without advice from brother

Corlaer and to fitch those Indians back who are gone

out fighting whereon I gave ym two blankets Strouds Desire=

=ing ym. to give me an Answer at my return from the Sinne=

=kes Country

On the 27th D.o I Came at Cayouge I acquainted

the Sachims also as before of the Decease of his late

Majesty & of ye. Accession of his present majesty King

George ye. Second to ye. Imperiall Crowns of great britain

&c. I found at Cayouge 140 Men ready to go out fighting

to prevent wh. I made ye speech to ym. as I had done

above to the Onnondages and gave ym. a blanket Strouds

they promist directly to Stay at home & go on their hunting,

On ye 29th D.o I arrivd at the Sinnekes Country where I found

the Sachims & warriou[r]s people at home, who I Acquainted with ye.

foregoing they promist me that none of their people Should go fighting in

a years time because they Saw yt. ye. french were Crafty & deceitfull where=

by they think to gett possession of the house at Osweege, they hold

firm to the Covenant which our and their fathers have made

I found a french Smith in the Sinneke Castle with

his wife Children, and Servant who Sold goods there to your Indi=

=ans for Skins & peltry, your Indians Inquired of me if the Smith

from hence Should brings there to Supply there necessity, if he

Did not they would be Dispatchd about it,

The Sachims of the Sinnekes answerd me to what I

had told ym. in name of the Six Nations yt. they were much

Concernd to her the Maloncholy news of his late Majesty

they Rejoyed again to hear yt. his Son King George the

Second Sitts on the throne & hoped yt. his present Majesty

Might follow this fathers Steps for the welfare of the kingdoms

of great britain yt. the Might be as a tree which Reaches

to the heaven, & his branches may Spread over ye. whole Earth

that they might rest under the Shadow of those leaves, wh. they

hope my [render -crossed out] never fade or whether & yt. ye Roots there of

may go through ye. Earth, that no Storm or Tempest may

[Danmify]

 

[0419] 207a

Damnify the Same, & Expected in the Spring to Speak the

Gov.r touching this affair

The Sinneke Sachims Informd me

that the french of Canada keep a Continuall Correspondance

with Some people who live on the [french – crossed out] Susquahana river

a little above Casastoqu a french Interpreter from montreal

had been there last year by the way of a Small River wh.

vents into the Cadaraghqus Lake above the falls of Jagara &

the head of that river by a Carrying place till thay meet

with water Carryage & So Down the Szxquehanna River to

the Setlement where some french live who are much Disaf=

=fected to ye. British Interest

That the Said french Interpre=

=ter has Usd his Endevours with the Schawenos Indians

to have them Removed if they love their loves a from ye. place

Near Niagara

That Jean Coeur the french Interpreter had

been gone from the Sinneke Castle Called two days before I came to

Canosade ye. Chapitall of ye Sinnekes he Informd ye. Indians yt. he had a

Great Store of goods in the house at Jagara & Invited ym. to trade with ym

there he had formerly given Strouds at 8 bever Skins a blanket but

none he would Sell it at three a Choice french blanket at

the Same price a fine french gune at £7÷÷ Ketles &

powder their wt. in bever a fine men Shirt as appear fine

Ratine Stockings At 1 1/4 bever, 4 french potts pure brandy

at 1 bever he had Sent for a Cooper to make keggs who Exp.d daly,

The Sinneke Sachims who have made lately in Canada to

Condoke [Condole] ye Death of Mons.r V: Veaudreul where returnd home

who had told the Gov.r of Canada yt. they English & french were

very Jealous of one another about their buildings at Osweege

& Jagara they desird him yt. there might be no Disturbance

in the Country nor blood Shed about it for if they Say it

Might Resence if but if these places Credits any disturbance

they might decide it at Sea whereon this gave a belt of Wampum

 

[0420] 208

The Gov.r of Canada took up Sd. belt and again De=

=sireing ye. Said Indians to tell ye. Govern.r of New York to

remove yt. ye. house [abt.?] Osweege further up the River from

the lake wh. has been for many years past ye. passage for

his trade is to ye. far Indians

On the Second October I went from ye Sinnekes Country

& Arrivd on Onnondage on the 4th. D.o who gave me an An=

=swer to my former Speech & told me they were Convined of

his Excel.cy Good Intention for their welfare yt. they would

all Stay at home & go hunting those who were gone fighting

where home but Desird to have a Smith them as soon as

May be, further I found all the ye. [sic] Indians of the Six

Nations at home none were gone fighting, most of ym. are

on their hunting

That the Deputed Sachims of Onnondage were

Sett out on ye 3d. Instant to Canada with a message to ye.

Indians liveing there to that they do not at any time

Assist the french to Attack the house at Osweege

Advertisements

Minute Book 3: 1727-June: Construction at Oswego Continues Despite Illness and French Threats; Sachims From Detroit Condole Pieter Schuyler; the French Encourage Albany’s Slaves to Run Away

By mid June Lancaster Symes was well enough to attend a meeting of the Indian Commissioners but a “Distemper” now “raged” in both the city and county of Albany., affecting some of the commissioners By the end of June, two workmen at Oswego were sick and Evert Bancker’s son had set out to help his father, who was so gravely ill that he needed to return home. Nonetheless the work on the trading house continued and the commissioners assured the governor that it was going well.  The contract for providing food to the troops at Oswego went to Johan Jurch Kast and Johan Joost Petri, two justices of the peace living among the Palatines “above the falls” (present day Little Falls?).  The agreement was made for the coming year, but the Palatines had no bacon, pork, or beef, so the commissioners sent up 400 pounds of bacon. They corresponded with the governor as well as with Evert Bancker (in Dutch), Captain Holland, and Captain Nicolls about progress on the building and other details of the operation, such as obtaining skins for shoes for the men at the fort, finding limestone, repairing the road and bridges at the Oneida Carrying Place, and the details of where to deliver supplies. Wood Creek was running low, making it more difficult to transport goods. Overall, progress was steady but slower than expected.

The commissioners hoped that the British would succeed in convincing the French government that the French fort at Niagara violated the Treaty of Utrecht, but in reality the French had already finished Fort Niagara. There was now a real danger that they could prevent travel from distant nations to Albany. The French had also repealed their former ban on selling alcohol to Indians in order to better compete with the English. And despite Captain Bancker’s efforts to prevent them, the Six Nations had sent sachims to meet with the governor of Canada, mainly from Onondaga. Trade did fall off, both at Oswego and at Albany, where no Indians from Canada were seen. The price of rum at Oswego fell and the commissioners did not hear any news from Canada because no one from Canada came to Albany to trade. In addition to creating a surplus of trade goods, this cut off a source of intelligence.

Pieter Schuyler is Condoled by the Potowatomi and Tuchsagrondie (Detroit)

The exception occurred on June 16th, when Wynamack, a leader from a nation “called by the French poatami” (most likely the Potowatomi), appeared in the company of Ajastoenis, an old man who was identified as coming from Tuchsagrondie (Detroit). After finding a translator who could speak their language, the commissioners held a formal meeting with them at which the visitors condoled Pieter Schuyler, (Quider), who had died more than three years before, in February 1724. They lit a calumet pipe of peace painted blue and smoked it with the commissioners. Wynamack said that he was leaving the calumet at Albany as a token that his nation would come to trade there if he could report back to them that he was treated well and prices were cheap. He also said the French  had tried to stop him from coming and told him that he would be badly received now that Pieter Schuyler was dead. He did not believe them based on former promises that  “ye houses would be open here for the far Nations who are Civilly & Kindly treated.” (Likely these promises were made by one of the messengers sent west to distant nations in the name of the commissioners over the previous few years.) The commissioners welcomed Wynamack and Ajastoenis with gifts of blankets and rum, thanked them for condoling Pieter Schuyler, and assured them that the governor had appointed others in his place to treat with them. They advised them to ignore the French threats and promised that “[H]ere is Always a perpetuall Succession of Sachims as you Now See.” They said that the tree of friendship still grew at Albany to protect them from all evil. They hoped it would spread over all the “remote Indians” and that they would come to trade both at Albany and at Oswego. They explained that goods were expecially cheap because so few others had come to trade that year and invited them to test this for themselves.

A Frenchman from Philadelphia is Encouraging Albany’s Slaves to Run to Canada

The commissioners complained to Governor Burnet that a Frenchman had come from Philadelphia to Albany by way of New York.  In their words, “we find on Examination [that he] has been pampering with Severall Negro Slaves at this place to run to Canada [which] is of Dangerous Consequence [that] our Slaves Should be Intic’d to run thither.” They ordered him to go back where he came from. The somewhat confusing of their letter wording suggests that they sent him to New York on a boat with Captain Peter Winne and “Jacobse,” but the unnamed Frenchman told them that he would wait there and return to Canada with three other Frenchmen who had recently  gone to Philadelphia. The commissioners asked Governor Burnet to “secure” him to prevent his return to Albany.  It appears that Governor Burnet responded by ordering him not to come to Albany again. It is interesting to speculate as to whether the runaway slave retrieved from Seneca country in May by Evert Bancker had been working with this Frenchman.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the first entry for June 1727 starts here on p. 186. The transcription is below.

[0375] 186

(27

Albany ye [10] June 1727

May it please your Ex.cy

Your Ex.cys Severall Acceptable favours we have Rec.d

which we Should have Answerd much Sooner but have

been pvented yt. Some of us have been out of town, others

Out of order with ye Distemper w.h rages in our City

& County, & that haveing had had of late any Materiall

news from ye westward to Communicate to your Ex.cy

we are Assurd by ye traders who are Come Down yt. ye

building at Osweege goes on very well yt. on ye 4th Instant

the beams of the first Store was to be layd as may ap=

=pear by the Inclosed from the head Carpenter, we are

told yt. but 2 or 3 Canoes with Indians have been to

trade there Since Capt. Banker write last y.r there had

been 20 odd its Conjecturd yt. the french at Jagara

Stop ym. while the traders who pass by our trading

place are party loaded with Brandy w.h they never

premitted to Carry up till Now to Cut of our trade it is Re=

=ported yt. they think our people have found Lime Stone,

We Write Some time Since to Capt. Banker to

Stop the Sachims of the 6 Nations to go to Canada on ye

Invitation of ye Governour, but hear yt. Severall are gone

thither tho chiefly from Onnondage who are Inclind in

the french Intrest

We write to ye. two Justices Living among the

palatines above the falls to Come hither to agree with

Us for ye Delivery of provisions for ye Detachmt. gone

to Osweege,

It is long Since we had any manner of

Intelligence from Canada, no Indians Come from

thence to trade here,

We return you Ex.cy Our most herty thanks for

Sending

 

[0376] 186a

Sending us the news, wh. we take very kind & as a great

favour, we hope his Majesties arms may have Such

Good Success, over ye Spanish & Imperor as we desire

from the bottom of Our hears,

Its Conjecturd yt. ye Detachmt. Sent to Osweege

are arrivd there abt. ye 7 Instant they might have

been there Sooner had they not Met with bad

Whether & litle water in ye wood Creek

 

Albany the 12 June 1727

[Second copy on p. 243 [0490]]

May it please yr. Ex.cy

Since we had the hon.r to write to your

Excell.cy on the 10 Instant we are Informd yt. a french=

men Lately Come from philadelphi but last from

N: York who we find on Examination has been pam=

=pering with Severall Negro Slaves at this place to run

to Canada w.h is of Dangerous Consequence yt. our Slaves

Should be Intic’d to run thither, this fellow we had orderd

to return from whence he Came p.r Capt. Winne who

is to take him on board) he gives Out yt. he will

waite for ye Oppertunity of these three french=

=Men lately come from Canada & gone to philadel=

=phia to go with ym. but we humbly hope yt. he may

be Securd yt. he may not go thither this way

[0377] 187

[Second copy on p. 243 [0490]]

Albany 16 June 1727

May it please Your Excell.cy

We had the hon.r to write your Ex.cy

p.r peter Winne & Jacobse Since wh. we had ye

Inclosed from Capt. Nicolls ye traders Inform us

yt. it Would be done 3 weeks but it Seems yt. Capt.

Nicolls Suppose it would be 6 Weeks before it would

be finish we Cant Understand yt. Only 2 Masons are

at Work while more are there who Can be Imployd

we have Sent A Second letter for the palatines to Come

hither to Agree with us for the Delivery of provisions

for ye Men at Osweege, who we Expect in a few days

We Suppose they’l not be Able prevaild on to deliver

it further yt. the Wood Creek, it Seems yt. ye. french

have Already finish ye building at Jagara as

their traders are Allowd brandy they will do us no

litle damage yet hope Every thing may Succeed

According to your Ex.cy Expectation,

This day Arrivd here a few [days ago – crossed out] far Indians

but Cant Speak with ym. till to Morrow for want of

An Interpreter what they Shall purpose will not faile

to Communicate to your Exc.y pr first Oppertunity mean

while take leave to —- yt. we are with Great Esteem

& Respect, —

 

[0379] 188                                                                                                      (31

Att a meeting of the Com.es of the

Indian Affairs in Albany ye. 18th of

June 1727

Present

Philip Livingston

Myndt. Schuyler

Peter Van Brugh

Henry Van Renselaer

Rutger Bleecker

Lancester Symes

Reyer Gerritse

Step. Groesbeeck

Harmanus Wendell

Nicolaes Bleecker

Two Indians Sachims one from detroit alias

Tuchsachronde named ajastoenies & ye Other from ye.

Nation Calld by ye french poatamis named Wynamack

Appeard before this board with a Calumet pipe pointed [painted?]

blew, who make the following Speech,

We are not Come hither only on an Idle Errant

but Chiefly to Visit & See our fathers with our own Eyes–

how they do, and how Affairs are here,

We are Sent by ye. Sachims of Tuchsachrondie

with this Errant yt. they have heard yt. Coll. Peter Schuy=

=ler is dead, to Inquire whether it be so or not, & while we

are Assurd yt. he is departed this life We Come to Condole his

Death & Cover his grave with a bever Coat yt. it may

not be Exposd to ye. rain wh. we desire his Excel.cy our

father Corlaer may be Acquainted with,

They filld ye. Calumet with tobacco lighted it, yn. one

one of ym. went abt. & lett all the Com.rs take Some whiffs

Out of It as a Ceremony among ym. of peace & frindship

yt. they use in their treaties with ye. neighbouring Nations,

one of ym

[0380] 188a

32)

One of ym. Said I am but a young man of the

Nation Calld patamis & am Come hither directly from

hunting in company with this old men ajastoenies Else

would have brought Some psents from my nation but can

Only leave this pipe as a toaken yt. our Nation will

Come to trade here,

I have had but an Indifferent hunting

of bevers wh. ye. french would have traded from me as I

Came down but they would give me but trifles for it

and having heard yt. goods were So Cheap here induced to

Come to make a tryall of it the old Indian Ajastoenis,

I am come now but with a few Skins to See

how you do here & if I meet with good treatmt. & get

a good penny worth I Come again with large quantity

of Skins,

I have Mett with Great Diffeculty from

the french who would prevent me going to See you

Alleadeing yt. Coll. Schuyler dead & by yt. I would not

herken to any thing they told me, being Assurd other

men would be Appointed by our Selves ye. Gov.r to

Represent him therefore I presisted in my Design to

go & see my fathers. & would give no Credit to any

thing ye french told me Depending on what has

been formerly promised me yt. ye. houses would be open

here for the far Nations who are Civilly & Kindly

treated.

It was represented unto me yt. Some Ill Shouts

befall on me from you but I depened on your promis=

=ses & Engagemts yt. we Should be Always wellcome

I was almost in great darkness & Coverd over yt. I

Could Scarcely see ye. sun, but I have Uncoverd ye. [roofs]

by my constant resolution in Comeing hither & now find &

soe a Clear [resol – crossed out] sun Shine & Every thing well give a few

Skins )

Answer of ye

[0381] 189

(33

Answer of ye Com.es made on 19.th June 1727

We are Rejoycd to see you here & bid you

hearty Welcome at this place yt. we have ye Oppertunity to

Smoake together out of ye. pipe of peace its a pleasure for

us to hear from you yt. you have not regarded what ye. french

did falsely Insinuate ag.t us to prevent your Comeing hither

You will ever find true & Certain what we promise you, yt.

this place is a seat peace where ye. tree of fridship is Plan=

=ted whose reach now over all your habitation under whose

Schilter you may be Certain to & be Secure from all Evill

the Evil, ye Sun wh. Shines on yt. tree will we hope Spread

Over All ye. remote Indians, & ye. Good report you will bring

your Nations treatmt. here we Expect will Induce a greater

Number to Come hither or to ye. trading place at Ochsweege

where you please,) wh. house is build there as a token yt. ye.

path hither Shall be at all times open & Clear for you to

come without any Apprehension of fear, wherefore be Content

& never Regard what ye french may tell you yt. we Shall

Use you Ill, wh. they do with no Other View but yt. they

may Exact & Impose on you as they have done for

these Many Years past to make you their goods at an

Extravagent high price, wh. we hope you may perceive

now to open your Eyes, we Cant Omit to advice you

not to hearken to ye. french if they Should propose to unto

you or any other Indians near yow to Engage in a war

together for they will Contrive to prevent your Comeing to

trade here his Excel.cy Injoyns ye. five Nations to lett you

freely pass without any Interruption & therefore we recommend

you

[0382] 189a

34)

You to [Stay – crossed out] keep a Strict & firm Alliance & good

Understanding with ym.) we Return you thanks for ye.

Condoling ye. Death of Coll. Schuyler wh. we take very

kind from you (& Shows the true regard you have for

this Governmt. ye. Gov.r of this province had Appointed him

with Other psons to treat with you & all Other remote

Indians, here is at All times Some persons who Repre=

=sent our Gov.r Your Kind & Indulgent father if one pSon

dyes he Appoints Others in the room if he thinks fitt So yt.

here is Always a perpetuall Succession of Sachims as you

Now See.

You find our Goods Very Cheap here we have

Abundance at this time for have sufficiently provided

our Selves of all Sorts in Expectation yt. a great Number of ye.

far Indians would have Come to trade with Skins &

peltry & now our Stores are all filld & your people are

backward in Comeing Contrary to the former promisses

to do, now to Convince you of what we Say you may

go & try were Ever you please & yn. you find true wh. we Say

Given them 20 Gall. Rum 6 blankets Strouds & 4 blankets

 

[0383] 190

(3

Att A meeting of the Com.es of ye. indian

Affairs in Albany ye 22th June 1727–

Present

Philip Livingston

Pe: Van Brugh

Rutger Bleeker

Ryer Gerritse

Lancester Symes

St. Groesbeeck

Harmanus Wendell

Nicolaes Bleeker

Rec.d this day a letter from his Ex.cy

Wm. Burnet Esq.r &c. dated ye 19th Instant ye. Com.es agreed

with Johan Jurch Kast & Johan Joost Petri ye 2 Justices

liveing above ye falls among ye palatines for ye. Delivery of

provisions for ye. Detachmt. who are to Stay at Osweege,

to Deliver it at ye. Wood Creek over the Carying place

Or at the Canada Creek where it Comes into ye. Sd. wood

Creek to witt for a lb. pork 4 1/2, a lb. beef 3 3/4, a Skeple

wheat meal or a Skeple pease 5/ for one year & yt. at

Expiration thereof to provide for a longer time if his Ex.cy

Gov.r Burnet Esq.r &c. Approves of this agreemt. & they are

willing yn. to do It.

 

[0391] 194

(43

Albany 26 June 1727

Capt. Banker

VE aengenaeime p.r Mr. Hend Cuyler hebbe roy

ontfangen en den Inhout Estaen het is ons Seer lief

dat het gebouw by nae Claer is, het, gerught dat ve heb

wegens de france in canada om met maght ons volk

op oshweege te overvallen & possessie vant huys neemen

wy hebben daer Sekerhegt van over dese wegh dat 400

franse & 800 wilden Claer geweeft Lyn in Montreal om

dat Ongeoorlooft werk uyte voeren dogh als wy Geinformeert

Syn is het getackt tot dat de Gov.r Van Trois Riviere Mons.r

Lasoasanje Syn Ex.cy onse Gov.r Sall Gesproken hebben wien

nu aft gaet N: York wy hoopen dat het Een Goede uytstaef

magh hebben, wy Estaen dat Een psoon in Canada ondernoi=

=men heeft voor £50 met 10 a 12 man om het huys te Erassen

& So daer possessie van te neemen, twelk Informatie wy

nu aen Capt. Nicolls Senden dat ock de raede is van dese

Express dat hy op Syn           [blank space] magh syn wy ordeelen he raat=

=saen dat Ghy D’ Sackemakers dit behant te maken en dat

ghy 6 Trouwe wilden in gagert om op Osweege te leggen in

gasie bestaelt Sall worden So als VE Sall Accorderen & hoope

VeE sult met Lourence der over Avissoren

 

[0384] 190a

36)

Att a Meeting of the Com.es of ye.

Indian Affairs in Albany ye. 28th June

1727

Philip Livingston

Langester Symes

Rutger Bleecker

Ryer Gerritse

Harmanus Wendell

Stephanus Groesbeeck

May it please your Ex.cy

Your Excellencys favours of the 19th Instant

we received since which no oppertunity has offerd, we give

your Excellency thanks for Ordering the frenchmen not to Return

hither again,

The building we hear by the Last advice

goes not So forward, as we Expected 2 of the workmen are

Sick which may keep it back for Some little time, Capt.

Holland has had the peruzall of your Excellencys letter

and has write to Captain Nicolls to gett Skins for Shoes

for the men as we Shall do by ye first Opertunity,

The report about the young men who had found

lime Stone, and would not discover it proves false for we

hear he Shewd the place,

We hope that our ambassador in france who has orders

to represent agt. ye. building at Jagara may have good Succeed,

We have agreed with ye. palatines to furnish ye

Detachmt. have Osweege with provisions for one year as

Appears by our Minute of ye. 22th Instant, but they have no

bacon pork nor beef now we Send now thither 400 lb. bacon

by Capt. Bankers Son who going up to See his father who

we hear is Sick but Cant learn yt. he is very Ill we

Shall look out for a Smith & armourer & Inform y.r Ex.cy in

our next,

P.S. by ye. Information we have ye. road & bridges on ye

Carrying place want to be repaird

Minute Book 3: 1726-September pt. 2: Evert Banker replaces Abraham Schuyler in Iroquoia

Having obtained the deed he sought, Governor Burnet met with the Commissioners of Indian Affairs and appointed a new commissioner, “Captain Lancaster Syms,” probably Lancaster Symes, Jr., since his father, also named Lancaster Symes, was a major rather than a captain.  Burnet approved the commissioners’ request for money for the family of Major Abraham Schuyler, who had died on his mission to Iroquoia. He replaced Schuyler with one of the commissioners, Captain Evert Bancker, who was posted to the Seneca’s Country for the winter and then to the trading place at the falls of the Onondaga River (Oswego) for the rest of the year. Banker’s salary was 100 pounds on condition that he would not trade himself except for provisions. He also received Schuyler’s birch canoe, two assistants, and money for expenses.

Payments were authorized for Jacob Brower, Harme Vedder Jr., Jurian Hogan, Jost Van Seysen, and Nicholas Wemp for working in Iroquoia as smiths and armorers, to Lawrence Claessen for his journey to the Seneca, and to Cornelis Cuyler for the birch canoe made for Major Schuyler.

Governor Burnet issued formal instructions to Captain Bancker, who was to reside “either at Canosidague [probably Canadasaga] or Onahee” or to travel between these two Seneca towns. According to the Smithsonian’s Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Canadasaga was one of the main Seneca towns at this time, located at the north end of Seneca Lake, near present day Geneva N.Y. (See Handbook part 1 (1907) p. 198). Onnahee was farther west in what is now the town of Hopewell N.Y. (Handbook part 2 (1910), p. 128.)

Captain Bancker was to travel to Cayuga or Onondaga as needed, and to cultivate “a famillar acquaintance” with the Haudenosaunee leadership in order to pursuade them to be faithful to the British and mistrustful of the French. In particular Banker should prevent the Six Nations from entering any agreements with the French or consenting to the construction of French fortifications at Niagara or elsewhere. Evert was also told to encourage other native nations to trade with the British rather than the French, to gather intelligence, to send news of important events to the governor directly as well as the commissioners, and to keep a journal about his actions.  A few days later, Bancker met with the commissioners who agreed to his request for a larger canoe, a belt of wampum, and a supply of rum.

1726-9-14Banker

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the meeting of September 14 1726 starts here. The transcript is below.

[0465] 230a

[Another copy of Minutes of Sept. 14 1726 meeting between Gov. Burnet & the AIC can be found on p. 170.]

Att a Meeting of Comissioner

of Indian Affairs in Albany

the 14th day of Septemb. 1726

Present

His Excellency William

Burnet Esq.r &c

Philip Livingston

Henry Holland

John Cuyler

Peter Van Brugh

Evert Bancker

Myndert Schuyler                  His Excellency thought fitt to Appoint

Capt. Lancester Seyms to be one of the Comissioners

for the Indian Affairs at this place

His Excellency Desird an account of what

has been Expended for the publick service on

Credit of what Should be Raizd by act of

Assembly

It appeard that £25 on Credit of a minute

of Councill of October Last was

allowed by the Commissioners to Jacob Brower

and Harme Vedder Jun. Smith at Onnondage

and £5.10 for their towls &c £35:– to Jurian

Hogan & Comp.ny as Smiths at Sinnekes Country

Last year & £5: for a Smiths Bellows at onnon=

=dage

It is further observd that Major Abraham

Schuyler Deceasd has been in the Indian Country

by his Excellencys order Dureing the Space of three

months till the time of his death for which his

Exce.ly in Consideration of ye. Misfortune of his

family his Execly. would Recomend it to the

Council at New York for the Allowence of £50:–

there was Likewise producd on acc.t of presents

furnish’d by Philip Livingston Actually given by

Major Ab: Schuyler Amo.t to the Sume of £31:7:6–

[On] Accot

[0466] 231

An Account for two men his Attendants £22:–

by his agreement a bursh Canoe from M. Cornelis

Cuyler agreed for £10:– provisions £8:19. 1 1/2

Jurian hogan psents given by Lourence Clase

amo.t £4:7:– an Acc.t of D.o for Carying up an

Anwill &c. £6:19:– a Smith’s anvill from Philip

Livingston for the Sinnekes Country amounting

to £7:13:6 An acct. of Lowrence Claes[en] for his

Journey to the Sinnekes Country in bringing down

the Sachims now with horse here & Charging in 4 fitching

Sachims from hunting amounts to £32:2:–

all which his Excellency Informd the Com.es he

would Recommend to the Councill at New York

for their Consent that warr:t on the Treat.y [treasury?]

may Issue for Payment of Said Severall Accts.

His Exc.ly further acquainted this board

that he Intended to Send Capt. Evert Bancker

to the Sinnekes Country for the winter and the

Remainder part of the year to Reside at Such

places at or near the falls of Onnondage River

as he Shall be Directed; y his Exc.lys further

Instructions & that his Exc.ly will Recomend

to the Gentlemen of the Councill & that he be

allowed £100:– for his years Sallery on Condi=

=tion that at his Return to Albany he Declares on

Oath that he has not traded Directly by

himself or Indirectly by others Dureing his

Stay in the Indian Country (Excepting only for

Provisions for himself & his two attendants).

and that he may be Allow’d £25:– for psents

to the Indians providing he declares on oath

the Same has been given to them according to

the best of his Judgement for the publick Service

and that there be allowed £30:– for two

attendants Dureing the said time & £10:– for

Interpreters as he Shall have occasion for

them of which he is to give at his Return

an Attest’d Acct. if Required by his Excellency

That the Bursh Canoe Lately bought &

made

[0467] 231a

Made use of by Major Abraham Schuyler

belonging to the Government be made use

of by Capt. Bancker Dureing the time he

Shall be in the Sd. years Service

That his Exce.ly further will Recomend

to the Gen.t of ye. Councill yt. ye. Sume of £20: be

allowd To Jost van Seysen Armourer & Nicolas wemp

Smith together for their Service & work for the

Indians in the Sinnekes Country till the

first of may next provided they Stay there

till that day

[That] his Excellency will also Recomend

to ye Councill yt. £12:– be allowd unto Capt

Evert Bancker in full of all Provisions

Necessaryes whatsoEver dureing his Stay

among ye Indians

 

Att a meeting of the Com.rs

of Indian Affairs in Albany

the 15.th September 1726

Present

His Exc.ly William Burnet

Esq.r &a.

Philip Livingston

Henry Holland

John Cuyler

Myndert Schuyler

Hend.k Renselaer

Lancester Seyms         By his Exce.ly William

Burnet Esqr. &a.

Instructions for Capt. Evert

Bancker –

You are forthwith to Repair

to the Sinnekes Country and there to Reside

till april next Either at Canosedague or

Onahee or go from time to time from the one

Castle to the other as you Shall think most

tending to the Publick Service and you are

to

 

[0468] 232

To take a Journey to Cayouge or Onnondage

when you think the publick Service Requires

it not otherwise —

You are to use your Uttmost Endeavors to

Cultivate a femillar acquaintance with the

Principall men among the Indians . and per=

=swade them with all your might to be faith

=full to ye Brittish Interest and do your Endea

=vor to bring aff those that are Inclind to

the french —

You are to find out with all poss=

=ible Diligence what news the french Spread

among the Indians or what design they have

and Defeate them with the uttmost of your Ability

you are to keep a particular Journall of all your

own Proceeding and of all that you hear Concern=

=ing the french or the Indians and Transmitt

accounts of what is most Matteriall to me as

Likewise to ye Com.rs of Indian affairs at Albany

and if any thing Extraordinary Should happen

you are to Send an Indian or a Christian Express

with an acct. of it in Case you Judge there be

occasion for it —

You are Particularly to Strenghten the

Indians in their Dislike to the french fortifying

Onjagara by Reminding them of the mishifes

the french fforts have Allways done them and you

are to perswade them not to Enter into any manner

of agreement with the french & Particularly not

give their Consent to their fortifying Niagara

or any where Else on the South Side of the Lake

and you are to use the Same diligence to prevent

the Onnondages from giveing any Consent to the

french fortifying on this Side of the Lake upon

any Notice you have that any Such thing is

proposed to them by the french; you are to follow

from time to time Such Directions as you shall Receive

from me or yee Com.rs of the Indian affairs at Albany

you are to use your best Endeavors to promote

the

 

[0469] 232a

The Brittish Interest among any of yee farr

Indians with whom you Shall have any opper=

tunity of Doing it – and perswade as much as

in you Lyes to trade with yee People of this

Province from whom they may allways be Supplyd

with goods Cheaper then by the french either at

albany where they are Cheapest or if they can

not come as far at the mouth of onnondage River

and by telling them that this Government & the

6 Nations will always keep ye path open &

Clean for them which you are Likewise to

Remind the Sinnekes that they have promist

So often to this Government to do, and you are

to Represent to them how much it is for their

Interest to have a free Intercourse & Strict

frindship with all the far Nations that so ye

french May not be able Ever to Engage the

far Nations to make war as they formerly

have done a gainst ye 5 Nations, in the medle

of april next you are to Repair to the falls

at Onnondage River and there you may Expect

to Receive further Instructions for your

Conduct Dureing the Rest of ye Summer according

to what may be Enacted in the Generall Assembly

for Regulating the trade with the farr Indians

upon the Sd. River or what may be Directed

by me & Councill in Case no act of Assembly be

made for that purpose or any other Service

which we Shall Recomend to your Care

Given under my hand & Seale this 15th day of Sept.

in the thirteenth year of his Maj.st Reign Ao Do. 1726

 

Was Signd

W Burnet

 

 

[0470]            233

Att a meeting of the Com.rs of Indian

Affairs in Albany the 20th Sep.r 1726

Present

Ph: Livingston

Henry Holland

Peter van Brugh          } Esq.rs Com.rs

Evert Banker

Lancester Seyms

Capt Evert Bancker Informs this Board that his Ex.cy

has been pleased to appoint him to Reside among the Indians

for one year and allowd him to go up in the Bursh Canoe

which Major Abraham Schuyler decd. had Last Summer

to the Sinnekes Country. which Capt Bancker Says he

has Caused to be viewd and finds it too Small for him and

two men with their provisions & necessaries to go in

to the Sinnekes Country, and proposes that the Com.rs may

furnish him with a good burch Canoe

The Com.rs Considering that the season of the year being

far advancd. that a good Canoe is Requird to go up with

do approve yt Capt Bancker do buy a good Canoe and Sell

the other for what it will yield. and they will Endeavr

that the Residue be paid either by ye Province or Com.rs

That a belt of wampum be purchasd by Capt Bancker

for his use to Speak with to the Indians and that ye Charge

Shall be paid and that he take with him 5 gallon Rum

for his Journey & 5 gall. d.o to drink his Ex.cys health with

the Sachims

Capt Bancker is desired to See the Armourer & Smith

sent by the Gov.r to work at the Sinnekes Country be put

in Possession of ye Smiths Shop & toils

Minute Book 3: 1726-September pt.1: Governor Burnet Holds a Conference and Obtains a Questionable Deed

[There are no entries for August 1726.]

1726-9-7In preparation for the conference held September 7-14, Governor William Burnet issued a proclamation that prohibited giving liquor to Indians  or trading in Indian goods to be used as presents, thus maintaining control over goods that might influence native decision makers. The proceedings printed in Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, Volume 5, beginning on page 786, are substantially the same as the version in the records of the Indian Commissioners. I have not transcribed them, but they are summarized below. DRCHNY also includes a letter that Governor Burnet sent to the Lords of Trade (p. 783 et seq.) along with the treaty, in which he explains that his main goal was to prevent the Six Nations from authorizing the French fort at Niagara. He added some related correspondence between himself and the Governor of Montreal and a questionable deed to Seneca, Cayuga, and Onondaga lands (DRCHNY 5:800) negotiated secretly with a small group of sachims at the end of the conference. The deed is not part of the records of the Indian Commissioners.

On September 7th Governor Burnet held a private meeting with his staff and a small group of two sachems from each of the Six Nations. Part of the record of this meeting is written out as a series of queries and answers, a different format from the usual one in which wampum belts were presented on specific points and the other side would consider them before responding to them as a group. Burnet, or whoever wrote up the minutes of the meeting, may have structured it this way in order to create a record that supported the idea that the Six Nations were subject to British dominion and the governor could query them as he would do with a subordinate official.

At the private meeting, the Onondaga speaker Ajewachta recounted how the French envoy “Monsieur Longueuil” (Charles Le Moyne de Longueuil, 1687-1755) had presented the building at Niagara as a trading house to replace an existing bark house that had fallen into disrepair. According to Ajewachta, the Onondagas agreed to it despite objections from the Senecas who actually owned the land. Ajewachta tried to reassure Governor Burnet that the region encompassing Niagara and Lake Ontario, would remain “a path of peace for all christians and Indians to come and go forward and backward on account of Trade.” He said the Six Nations told the French that they held firm to the alliance with the English as well as to peace with the French.  They wanted the French and the English to settle any disagreements “at Sea and not in [the Six Nations’] Country.”

When Governor Burnet asked the sachims whether they were not sorry that they had agreed to the new building at Niagara, they said Longueil had won them over but they immediately regretted it. They described the extensive negotiations between them and the French in which the Onondagas had tentatively agreed to the French request., but subject to the approval of the rest of the Six Nations and void if they disallowed it. A Seneca Sachim named Kanakarichton verified that the land at Niagara belonged to the Senecas along with land on the other side of the lake. Nonetheless, the French who came to build the fort insisted on finishing it even while the Six Nations were still discussing the situation with the French governor through the interpreter Jean Coeur (Louis-Thomas Chabert de Joncaire). When the building was finished it would be staffed by 30 soldiers as well as officers and a priest.

The Six Nations also said they had heard that two Frenchmen had asked an unidentified nation living on the Ohio River to take up the hatchet against the Six Nations on behalf of the French, but that nation had refused. The Frenchmen told them that papers were going to circulate to Philadelphia, New York, Albany, and Montreal about an agreement between the French and the English to cut off their nation once the fort at Niagara was complete, but the warriors burned the papers, preventing it. They also heard ominous things from Canada about proceedings between the French and the English, and asked Governor Burnet what news he had heard. Finally they said the traders in their country were cheating them by selling water disguised as rum that went bad in a day or two.

Governor Burnet promised to send someone to oversee the trade to prevent cheating. He explained that France and Great Britain were currently allies who were going to war with Spain.  He read them the text of a letter that he had sent to the governor of Canada about the Treaty of Utrecht, which required the French in Canada not to hinder or molest the five Nations or their allies and guaranteed free trade for all. After Governor Burnet encouraged them to do so, the 12 sachims asked him to contact King George and request him to write the King of France to object to Fort Niagara. Burnet closed the meeting by stating that what had transpired would now be stated publicly.

Two days later proceedings resumed with a full gathering of all the representatives of the Six Nations, Governor Burnet, the Commissioners for Indian Affairs, and aldermen from the City of Albany. Governor Burnet, who had been studying the French works on the subject, reviewed in detail the history of the wars between France, its native allies, and the Six Nations, as well as their peaceful relations with the English. He told them that the King of Great Britain was their “true father” who had always fed and cloathed them and provided them with arms.  He renewed the Covenant Chain and gave them a belt of wampum.

Governor Burnet told the gathering that Monsieur Longueuil (Charles Le Moyne de Longueuil, 1656-1729, Governor of Montreal, whose son of the same name was in charge of Fort Niagara) had sent him a letter claiming that the Six Nations had unanimously agreed to the new fort at Niagara, but the Six Nations now said they were afraid the fort would enable the French to keep them from their hunting grounds and prevent the far nations from coming to trade.  He explained the free trade provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht and said he would convey the Six Nations’ complaints about Fort Niagara to King George, who would ask the King of France to review whether it violated the Treaty of Utrecht. If the fort was in violation it should be removed.

Governor Burnet also said that when he conveyed a request from the Six Nations to the governor of Virginia to set up a meeting, Virginia and South Carolina had complained about attacks on their frontiers by Tuscaroras and others. Burnet asked that the offenders be punished. In particular the Senecas attacked an English trading house called Constichrohare at Characks (Cheraw) and captured an Indian boy who was the slave of Nathaniel Ford along with guns, blankets and powder.  The goods and the Indian slave should be delivered to Peter Barbarie, who would reimburse the captors in the name of the owner.  Burnet asked the Six Nations not to allow “French Indians” to pass through their country in order to attack the southern colonies.

Kanakarighton responded for the Six Nations. After renewing the Covenant Chain, he said that the Six Nations had already asked the Governor of Canada to stop building the fort at Niagara.  They now came to the English “howling” because the French were building on their land. He presented a belt to the governor and asked him to write to King George as soon as possible to have the fort removed.

Kanakarighton notified Governor Burnet that Jean Coeur was expected soon at Onondaga, where he would probably spread negative rumors about the English. He asked Burnet to send a “Man of Experience” to Onondaga to hold a meeting with Jean Coeur in front of the Six Nations. It should be conducted  speaking “nothing but Indian between the brother Corlaer and the French, every one to answer for himself concerning what ill Reports he shall have spread” in order to get to the truth and “know who is the lyar.”

Kanakarighton acknowledged Burnet’s concerns about frontier attacks on Virginia and South Carolina. He said that Senecas, Mohawks, Tuscaroras, and “French Indians” were all involved, but their intention was only to pursue Indian enemies present in the trading house that was attacked. The slave that Governor Burnet wanted returned had been given to “Indians who live on a Branch of Susquehannah River, which is called Soghniejadie.” He suggested that the English look for him there themselves because the place was “nearer to you than us” (probably meaning nearer to Virginia.) He asked that the attacks be forgiven as merely accidents committed without the approval of the sachems and agreed to try to stop French Indians to travel through Iroquoia to go fighting.  He pointed out that the English must do their part “for many go fighting thro’ Albany to the English Settlements, who do not come thro’ the Six Nations.

Kanakarighton concluded by adding to what Burnet had said about the history of relations between the Six Nations and the English. They arose through trade at a time when goods were cheap, but now goods had become expensive. He asked for cheaper prices, especially for powder.  Moreover, now that the Six Nations had agreed to let the English trade (“place Beaver Traps”) on the Onondaga River, they had been deceived, since traders there sold river water as rum for a high price. But instead of asking for better rum, he asked for no rum, since it was causing quarrels between married couples and between young Indians and sachims. When Indians from beyond Iroquoia wanted rum, they should come to Albany for it as they used to do, while traders to the Six Nations should bring powder and Indian goods for the same price as they would cost at Albany.

Finally he conveyed a request from the Senecas that Myndert Wemp return to their country as a smith along with an armorer, Andries Nak, who should be taught to speak their language.

Governor Burnet agreed to ask King George to persuade the King of France to remove Fort Niagara.  He did not agree to send a representative to Onondaga for a meeting with Joncaire, claiming that the Six Nations’ own experience should be enough to show that French reports about the English were false. However, he said he would send someone to the Senecas for the winter to address their concerns. He said he would tell the governor of Virginia what the Six Nations asked (that frontier incidents be forgiven) but the best way to prevent Virginia from taking up the hatchet was to stop such attacks. Burnet said he could not control what merchants charged for their goods, and refused to stop selling rum on the Onondaga River.  However, he would post someone there to oversee the trade and prevent cheating, and would ask Myndert Wemp to return to the Seneca country as a smith along with an armorer. He wished them a good journey home, told them he was providing them with a “noble Present” from the king, and explained that rum and provisions would be given to them for their journey after they were “past Schenectady.”

Burnet also held a brief conference with the River (Mohican) and Schaghticoke Indians the same day, condoling two sachims who had died, and recommending Wawiachech to replace them, renewing the Covenant Chain, and admonishing them to stay at Schaghticoke and not go to Canada.  They thanked him and explained that the people who left for Canada were fleeing debts, but those who remained would live and die at Schaghticoke.

On September 14th Burnet held another private conference, this time with two sachims each from the Senecas and Onondagas and three from the Cayugas, but no Oneidas, Tuscaroras, or Mohawks. The names of those who attended are given as Kanakarighton, Thanintsoronwee, Ottsochkooree, DeKanisoree, Aenjeweerat, Kackjakadorodon, and Sadekeenaghtie. Going considerably beyond what had been discussed in the full conference, the small group consented to Governor Burnet’s suggestion that they sign what Burnet called a “deed of surrender” putting their land in trust to the King of England to be protected for the use of their nations.

A deed was signed, becoming part of the “Original Roll in the Secretary of State’s Office” in Albany and later printed in DRCHNY 5:800. No copy was kept in the records of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs, which generally did not include deeds. Peter Wraxall was not aware of the deed when he wrote his Abridgement, which discusses the September 1726 conference on p. 168-169.

In his letter to the Lords of Trade sent with the treaty, (DRCHNY 5:783-785) Governor Burnet explained that he did not tell the Mohawks or Oneidas about the September 14th meeting, since their lands were not at issue and if he told them the French might learn about it sooner. Burnet told the Lords of Trade that he pursuaded the New York Assembly to agree to his proposal to build an English fort at the mouth of the Onondaga River (Oswego). Once it was built he intended to meet the Indians again and get them to publicly confirm the deed, which “some of them have signed.” Thus he acknowledged that it required further confirmation.  The deed surrenders the land to be “protected & Defended” by the king for the use of the three nations. It says nothing about building forts. At Burnet’s conference with the Six Nations in 1724, he had succeeded in getting them to agree reluctantly to a trading house at Oswego, but not to a fort.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the proclamation of September 2 1726 starts here.

[0315] 156

[Not in Wraxall.]

By his Exc.ly William Burnet

Esq.r Capt. Gene.l and Gov.r in Chief

of the Provinces of New York New

Jersey &c.

A Proclamation

Whereas I have Summoned the Indians of the five Nations to

meet me at this place to treat with them about publick affairs Some

of them being arrived at Schinectaday and this day expected here and

it being found by Experience that the Selling or giveing of Rum and

other Strong Liquor to those Indians hath been of Dangerous

Consequence and very prejudiciall to his maje.st Interest and the

Publick welfare of the Inhabitants of this place I have therefore

thought fitt by vertue of the powers and authorities in me Reside=

=ing here by Strictly to prohibit the giveing or Selling of and Rum

or other Strong Liquor to any Indian or Indians Dureing my

Residence in this City and County and that no person or pesons [sic]

Shall Receive buy or take in pawn any goods to be given as presents

to the Indians on penalty to be prosecuted with ye. uttmost Severity

for any Such misdemeanons [sic] and all Magistrates and Justices of

the peace in this City and County are hereby Required to take care

that this proclamation be duely observed and the Delinquents

brought to Condign punishment Given under my hand and Seal

this 2.d day of September in the 13th year of his Majesties Reign

Anno Domini 1726

W. Burnet

[0316] 156a

[Beginning of the conference held with the Six Nations in Albany on Sept. 7, 1726, by Governor William Burnet, nearly identical to the version printed in DRCHNY, beginning at 5:786. Differences do not appear significant. The version in the AIC records appears to be a copy, slightly imperfect in that it leaves out a word occasionally as well as the last part of Governor Burnet’s speech on Sept. 7. The notes in the margin identifying terms used in the treaty are briefer in the AIC version, but substantially the same. The governor of South Carolina, or possibly South Carolina itself, is not in the DRCHNY version, but is given in the AIC version as Troskrohare, and the Governor of Virgina as Assarigo and Assorigo. (p. 154a, image 0332). The records contain another complete copy of this conference on pages 218-230 and a fragment p. 248-248a.

In the DRCHNY, the treaty is followed by a Sept. 14 1726 Deed of Trust to the King from the Seneca, Cayuga, and Onondaga for the hunting country around the Great Lakes. The deed is not in the AIC records, which go on to additional proceedings between the commissioners and the governor. For more on Burnet’s thinking on the fort / trading post see his Dec. 20 1726 letter to the Lords of Trade DRCHNY 5:810 et seq. specifically p. 812.]

 

Minute Book 3: 1726-June: An Impressive French Fort at Niagara Threatens British Trade

The rumors were true. The commissioners learned from Major Abraham Schuyler and others that the French had sent 120 men to Jagara (Niagara) to build a new fort there on the south side of the river. French ships filled with lime for its construction were on their way from Cadarachqui, the site of present day Kingston Ontario. A strong new fort at Niagara would cut off native fur traders bringing their goods to Oswego or Albany from the Great Lakes, and would even prevent the Senecas from returning with furs from their hunting territories. The French planned to store goods at Niagara in order to replace the English as suppliers to all the nations in the area.

The commissioners heard that the French had 400 militia men ready to go to Niagara to defend the fort if need be. They urged the governor to look for a legal remedy based on the treaty in force between France and England. Major Schuyler sent several letters that were not copied into the record, although there is a space left for them.  The Onondaga Indians who brought the most recent one appeared to be suspicious of the English and the commissioners urged the governor once again to post some “men of Experience and Conduct” in Iroquoia to restore good relations between the British and the Six Nations.

 An Old Frontier of France, by Frank Severance (NY: Dodd, Mead, 1917, p. 225 et seq.) explains in detail how Fort Niagara was planned and constructed. Below is the plan drawn up for the new fort by Governor Vaudreuil’s military engineer, Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Lery.

Severance-FrenchFrontier_FtNiagPlan1
Plans for the fort that France wanted to build at Niagara. From Frank Severance, An Old Frontier of France, NY: Dodd Mead, 1917, v.1, p. 240.

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

Below is the full transcription.

[0258] 127a

[Not in Wraxall.]

Att a meeting of ye Com.rs of

the Indian affairs in albany

the 5th of June 1726.

Present

Ph Livingston

Henry Holland

Peter van Brugh          }

Evert Bancker

Henry [Holland – crossed out] Renslaer

The Com.es Recd this day two letters

from maj.r Abraham Schuyler [dated at onodage – smudged or crossed out]

the

[REST OF PAGE IS BLANK]

[0259] 128

[Wraxall p. 163 et seq.]

Att a meeting of ye Com.es of ye

Indian affairs in albany ye 8th of

June 1726

Present

Ph Livingston

Henry Holland

Peter van Brugh          }

Evert Banker

Henry Renslaer

May it Please your Excellency

It is with no Litle Concern that the Intelligence

we had from Montreal and we Informd your Excel.y

with that the french were Sending up a Number

of men to Jagara proves ture [true?] there are now 120 men

as major Abr. Schuyler advices us, and now we have

an acco.t that the 2 vessels build by the french at

Cadarachquis passd by the mouth of the onnondage

River bound to Jagara with Lime &c. to make the

above building this may and we humbly Conceive

will prove of fatall Consequence to this Province

in Particular, and very distructive to the fur Trade

by what we are assurd that this building is to be

at the South Side of Jagara River. where is a good

harbour for Vessells and Conveniently Scituated

to Intercept all the fur trade of the upper nations

and even of our Sinnekes who must pass by that

Place as they come from their hunting, who cant

avoid Passing by that place or So Near it that the

french there will trade with them. they are to

have a larger Store of goods there for Supplying

the Indians

We hope your Ex.ly will be pleasd

to take Such proper measures as your Excellency

in your great wisdom Shall Seem most proper

to frustrate the french Pernicious Designs, in put=

=ting up this building on Land belonging to the,

Indians we are assurd that 400 men of ye. milita at mon

=treal are Detachd to be Ready on the first notice

to go up to Jagara, if the Indians Should Restrain

them from makeing that building, by this and

their other Vigilant actions it appears plain

to us

[0260] 128a

To us that they will use their uttmost Endeavours to

Prevent us from having any trade at all from any Indians

Setled above Jagara or about the Lake of Cadarachqui how

this agrees with the treatie of Commerce your Ex.cy may be

best Judge. Received this Day a letter from Maj. Abra.m

Schuyler of the first Instant brought by three onnondage —

Indians who Say to be Sent by the Sachims to know the

Contents of the S.d Letter w.h was accordingly explaind

unto them, it Seems that the Indians Intertain very Sus=

=picious & Jealous thoughts of us. and w.h never will be

otherwise untill men of Experience & Conduct be posted &

Live [and-crossed out] among them. here are also two other Letters

from M.r Schuyler Rec.d ye. 5th Instant we have no more to

add at present but that we are with great Respect

May it Please your Exce.ly

[0309] 153

Att a meeting of the Commiss.

of the Indian affairs in Albany

23th June 1726

[REMAINDER OF PAGE IS BLANK]