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: 1727-May: The Haudenosaunee Agree to Let the English Build at Oswego; Sixty Soldiers Are Sent Up; the French Invite the Six Nations to Montreal

In May the Commissioners of Indian Affairs heard that Captain Evert Bancker had managed to pursuade the Six Nations to allow the English to build a trading house at Oswego. Bancker consulted with the sachims in laying out the ground, including Teganissorens, referred to by the commissioners here as “the Kanssore.”  Bancker said the sachims left the exact location for the building up to him.  He still needed to find a source for limestone.

The French immediately invited Haudenosaunee leaders to Montreal, presumably to try to change their minds.  In the meantime, sixty British soldiers set out for Oswego in eleven boats, likely embarking at Schenectady, although this is not spelled out clearly. The commissioners oversaw the details, ordering wagons from Schenectady to transport stores and provisions there, making additional “batoes,” and providing everything required for the military detachment to reach Oswego as quickly as possible. With troops in place, it would be harder for the French to interfere with construction.  The commissioners knew that the French would hear about the soldiers’ departure before they reached Oswego, but as long as the Six Nations supported the building they did not think the French could stop it. However they did realize that they might need a French translator just in case. They informed the governor that some of the traders at Oswego could fill this role, but said that if he wanted them to hire someone else for the purpose they would. Laurence Claessen was told to stay at Oswego until the building was complete and to interpret for the “King’s Officer” in charge of the soldiers as well as for Captain Bancker. This detail suggests that even though Evert Bancker was in charge of trading operations, Governor Burnet was not putting him in charge of the military, creating the potential for confusion or even conflict.  Moreover, neither Claessen nor Bancker appear to have spoken English very well, and there is no mention of who would translate between the King’s Officer and Claessen or Bancker, should the need arise.

The commissioners began to arrange for provisions to be delivered to Oswego for the future from whoever could supply them at the lowest cost. This required taking them past the Wood Creek “Carrying Place” from the Mohawk River to Oneida Lake. Some Palatines had already made offers for this work. It is noteworthy that the commissioners don’t mention looking to the Oneidas or other members of the Six Nations, either in buying provisions or as sources of labor of any kind.  The profits from supplying the new fort would enrich Palatine and Anglo-Dutch New Yorkers, but not the Haudenosaunee, another possible source of conflict. And the commissioners’ correspondence with Governor Burnet contains one other ominous detail: Major Lancaster Symes had a “fitt of Sickness” that made him unable to travel. 1727-5-9He was probably not the only one who was already affected by illness, which would soon become a serious problem throughout the area.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the first entry for May 1727 starts here on p. 183. The transcription is below.

[0369] 183

([21

Albany 2 May 1727

May it please yr. Exc.l

Inclosed your Ex.cy has a letter from

Capt. Banker of the 24th April with the Acceptable

News that the Six Nations have given Consent for

building of the house at Osweege we are much Rejoyced

with it while we think it will be pleasing to yr. Ex.cy Save

the Publick Great Expences and as much trouble we hope

Your Excellencys will be perswaded that we act with

As much for the best of the Caution according to our

Ability as we are Capable of.

We hear from the Messengers who brought us

Capt. Bankers letter that french have Desird the

Sachims of ye. Six Nations to Come to Montreal we

Suppose they may Easy Stopd to go thither,

 

[0370] 183a

22)

Albany 2d. May 1727

Capt. Banker

VE ons seer aengenaeme van den 24 april

hebbe Wy met veel blyt Schap ontfangen & hoope dat

alles nu well gaen Sall dat het huys sonder [& blyden – crossed out]

& hindering Sall voltoyt werden D’Sackaemakers die

ghy by geoall [gevall?] Sall ontmoeten gelieft haer van Onsent

weegen te bedanken day sy haar belofte aen Syn Eecl.

Volbrengen dat hy de vener vall uns Een Goede plaets

Can Setten hy Sall het Seer weel Neemen & haer in

Zyn Gunst wegens dese Sack Sterker Continuere dat

de wilden Cruyt Loot & andere Goederen begeeren

geenrum is voor haer best het Can Alles op deie

tydt niet ter right gestelt worden maer als het huys

gemacht is Sall het Cruyt will bewaert kunnen

worden gelieft devoir te doen om D’ Sackemakers te Stuyren om [illeg.]

Canedae te gaen wy hebben gehort sy Syn genodight om

daer te Comen wy leaeste volkoomen aen ue om

Lourence by Us te geven So lang als ghy noodigh Denck

Indien UE Enigh nieus Cruygh geliest het ons te laeten weeten

wy hopen dat ghy So veelwerk volk Imployeert als ghy noodigh

denk dat het op bowen vant huys Spoedigh magh voort gaen en

met UE wynigh Costen als Mogelyck is, man heartlyck groteniss &.

[0371] 184

(23

Att a meeting of the Com.es of ye Indian

Affairs In Albany ye. 4th of may 1727

Present

Phil: Livingston

Langester Symes

Hend.k Renselaer

Reyer Gerritse

St: Groesbeeck

Being honoured this day with a

letter from his Excel.cy of ye 24 Ultimo whereby his Ex.cy

has pleased to direct a Capt. a Lieut. 2 Sargts. 2 Cor: 2 Drum[mers]

& Sixty Men of Greater Troops fourthwith to Osweege

in 11 Batoes to help fourthwith the work there and

to defend it ag.t any attack yt. Might be Made yt. We

Shall fourthwith Send for Waggons from Schinechtady

that all the Stores & provisions may be Sent away

as fast as Can be & that we Shall provide with all

Necessaries that may be yet requird to dispatch the Sd.

Men for their further provisions if it be wanted wh.

his Ex.cy Ingages to pay,

Orderd a letter to be write to Schinechta=

=dy to Capt. Collins to Send fourthwith 26 Waggons

to Carry up ye. batoes Stores & provisions sent up [to – crossed out]

by his Excellency for this Service and that all

Necessaries be provided with all Speed that may be

Requird for the Service.

[0372] 184a

24)

Att a Meeting of the Com.rs of Indian

affairs in Albany ye 5 of may 1727

Present

Philip Livingston

[REMAINDER OF PAGE IS BLANK]

[0373] 185

(25

[Another copy on p. 242a / 0489]

Albany 9 May 1727

May it please your Ex.cy

Your Excellencies most Esteemed favours

of the 24 Ultimo we Rec.d and have Added 4 batoes to the

8 Sent hither, and one more is made at Schinechtady those

Made at New york are much Inferiour & Shilter made

then those here we have provided all the Necessaries yt. have

been requird from us with dispatch to put forw.d the work

that nothing is wanting for the Detachmt. to proceed to

Osweege So that we Expect to hear yt. they put out this day

from Schinechtady hopeing yt. Every thing may Succeed

According to Expectation we Suppose yt. the workmen

Are now beginning to provide Materialls for ye house Capt.

Banker haveing Obtaind Consent from the Sachims of the

6 Nations to Errect ye. house he has the Kanssore & Other

Sachims with him at Osweege to Lay out ye Ground for the

Sd. building the Inclosed is from him [illeg. -crossed out] of the 29th April

wherein he Makes mentions ye. Sachims have Entirely

left it to him build where he pleases he thinks the

Only thing yt. will be Wanting is lime Stone the Stores

were Sent fourthwith to Schinechtady and what we

have provided here & there at the request of the Officers is

Containd in the Inclosed note ym. yt. they Should tell

us what Other Necessaries they wanted for this Expedi=

=tion and we would timely Apply that nothing might

pvent their Going forw.d major Symes has Already fitt of

Sickness wh. has brought him So low yt. we Suppose he’ll

not be able to undergo the feataque of Such teadious

voyage & Journey all persons are very well Satisfyd to

furnish what they have and do what work they Can on

Credit on ye. Encl. Letter

We Suppose yt. ye. Means of this detachmt.

will be

 

[0374] 185a

26)

at Canada much sooner then they Can be at Osweege,

tho. we think the french dare not Oppose this work

while the Indians are for it,

We Shall agree with those yt. Evill Supply the

men with further provisions Cheapest to be Delivered

beyound ye. Carrying place if men want it Some

palatines have Already Offord to do it,

There are Severall Young men at Osswegee who Can In=

+terpret french make no doubt but thy will do it when it

may be Requird, but if Your Ex.cy in your next Shall di=

=rect us to Agree with Some persons to do yt. Service we

Shall do it,

We have write to Lourence Clase to Stay

With Capt. Banker till ye. house be finishd & to

Interpret as well for the kings Officer as for Capt. Bank.r

as your Ex.cy has directed,

We return your Ex.cy our most

harty thanks ye. ho.r & liberty given us to

Consult about the best measures to be taken by us without

wait.g for y.r Excy.s Orders & Execute in without delay

Minute Book 3: 1727-April: The Indians Oppose Construction at Oswego But the Commissioners Move Forward

In April the Commissioners of Indian Affairs sent Laurence Claessen to Oswego to help Captain Evert Bancker as interpreter. Claessen was given detailed instructions about how to reconcile the Six Nations to the construction of a fortified “trade house” there. In theory, Governor Burnet had pursuaded them to agree to it in at a treaty conference in 1724, but it was clear that there was still opposition and that the French were encouraging it. Laurence was told to “tell them [the building] is for ye Conveniency of the traders to Secure their Goods according to the leave & Consent given by the Said Sachims to his Excellency in 1724 to prevent that their goods may not be taken out of their Small bark houses, and that the traders may Secure and Store” unsold goods rather than bringing them home again.  He was also told to say that the French intended to build a fort at Oswego to block trade with Albany even for the Six Nations, so the new building was for their security as well as to protect trade with more distant nations. Moreover the “Great and Good King of great Britain” would take it as “the Greatest Affront” if they opposed the building.

But Evert Bancker did not wait for Laurence.  On April 26th, the commissioners wrote to Governor Burnet to inform him that Bancker had already met with the Sachims who had denied him their consent to build. The commissioners hoped that when Claessen arrived he could change their minds. They also informed the governor about another source of tension. Some of the Palatines living at Schoharie had recently accused Indians there of killing a Palatine hog,. A fight broke out and a Palatine man was wounded. The governor was concerned, but the commissioners suggested waiting to see whether the sachims would not take the initiative to come reconcile matters.

In the meantime, Governor Burnet had already sent the commissioners a model to use for the proposed building and approved their plans for hiring workmen, building boats, sawing boards, and buying horses to send to Oswego to haul stone and timber.  And even though the building was promoted as a trading house, the governor also ordered troops to be sent there immediately, including a captain, two lieutenants, two sergeants, 2 corporals, and a drummer, as well as stores and provisions.  At Burnet’s request the commissioners ordered Captain Collins (probably at Fort Frederic in Albany) to find 26 wagons to carry the supplies up all at once. “If any person Should Refuze they must be Imprest.” Collins was told to find carpenters to make three boats with 66 paddles and 15 iron shod “setting poles” as quickly as possible “not to Lose one day.” The governor promised to pay for all the men.

At Oswego, Captain Evert Bancker would be in charge of the building as well as the trade. The commissioners hired the mason Isaac Bogaert as chief workman and director. Cornelis Waldron was also hired as a mason, Benjamin Bogaert and Nicolaes Groesbeck were hired as carpenters., and Conraet Becker and Christian Jans as sawyers to make boards for the building. Jeremy Schuyler, Johannes Beekman Junior, and Nicholaes Wyngaert agreed to “lett their Servants work as Laborers” on the project for wages. The minutes do not specify how much, if any, went to the servants and how much to their masters. The commissioners did not note the names of the servants, who may have been slaves. The wording suggests that Schuyler, Beekman, and Wyngaert may also have gone to Oswego, possibly to trade. Workmen set out for Oswego on April 13th with a birch canoe and two “batoes,” which the commissioners thought worked better for the purpose.

IMG_1179
Dugout and birchbark canoes on exhibit at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum on the pier at Oswego.

To make sure there was adequate transportation for materials and tools, no one working on the building was allowed to carry trade goods. The minutes specify the terms of employment for each worker, including wages, hours, and travel expenses. From the commissioners’ own funds they added a generous supply of rum. They bought two horses from Peter Van Brugh and a third from Peter Schuyler and sent to them to Oswego with Laurence Claessen. When they heard that the Iroquois had denied consent to build, they offered to send two additional “men who have good Interest among ye Indians” to help Claessen and Bancker as well as more presents to persuade the Iroquois to agree to the building.  They told the governor that the workmen would move ahead and start cutting wood, sawing boards, and digging a well. The governor agreed to guarantee the money for the additional presents. 

Evert Bancker had been travelling and trading in Iroquoia for years, but evidently did not have the same level of skill possessed by Laurence Claessen, whether with languages or diplomacy or both.  Bancker preferred Dutch to English and the entries for April include some of his correspondence in Dutch with the commissioners.  I have included my best shot at transcribing it but I have not tried to translate it.  Volunteers are welcome!

The commissioners also sent the governor a letter that they had received from Massachusetts Governor William Dummer.  The minutes don’t describe its contents except to say that it was “a Strange Retaliation for our good offices & pains” as well as expenses in trying to preserve security on the Massachusetts frontier. Evidently Massachusetts was still at odds with Albany over how to resolve the conflict between the Eastern Indians and the New England colonies.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the first entry for April 1727 starts here on p. 178a. The transcription is below.

Att a Meeting of ye. Com.es of the

Indian Affairs in Albany ye. 3d Apr. 1727

[A duplicate copy can be found at p. 239 [0482].]

Present

Philip Livingston

Peter Vn. Brugh

Henry Renselaer

Rutger Bleecker

Reyer Gerritse

Stephanus Groesbeek

Harmanus Wendell

Nicolaes Bleeker                                 This day Rec.d from his Excel.cy William

Burnet Esq.r &c. two letters of the 23 & 23th past in answer

to two letters from this board of the 16 & 20th Dito directed us

to agree with workmen here on ye best terms Can be done

to build the house at the Mouth of Onnondage river

Near ye lake and to Send up ye Interpreter to Capt. Ban=

=ker in Case we think it Necessary,

In Obedience to his Ex.cys directions agreed this day

with Isaac Bogaert & Cornelis Waldron Masons Benjamin Bogaert

& Nicolaes Groesbeck Carpenters to build Sd. house accor=

=ding to the Modle Sent by his Ex.cy at 8 / diem Each from

the day they Sett out till their Return home Excepting

Sundays to find themselves with provisions. but they to be

provided

 

[0361] 179

Provided with Canoes or baties to bring up the Materialls

and towls Sent hither from new york for ye use of the Sd house

Agreed with Coenraet Becker & Chirstian Jans Law=

=yers to Saw Timber & boards for ye. Use of Sd. house & Such other

Work as they Shall be Imployd at by Capt. Banker & the Chief

builder at 5/ p Diem on Condition as above

Agreed Also with Mr. Jeremy Schuyler Joh.s Beekman

Ju.r & Nicolaes Wyngaert to lett their Servants work as

Laborers at the Sd. house at 4/ p diem for the days they Shall

Work, on their own diat and to be pd. for their Journey back

If they do not Come home with their masters

Its resolved that none of the workmen Shall Carry up any

trading Goods, that they may not be hinderd to Carry up the

necessaries & towls for Sd. building,

Bought from Capt. Peter Van Brugh two horses

and from Mr. Peter Schuyler at £5÷ Each to be Sent up to ye

mouth Of Onnondage river for drawing Stone boards beams &c. for

building Said house,

Orderd yt. a letter be Write & Sent to Lourence Claese

the Interpreteer forthwith to Come hither to Receive orders to go

to Onnondage [river – crossed out] to be Capt. Banker Interpreter

 

Att A Meeting of ye. Com.rs of ye Indian

Affairs in Albany ye 4th. of April 1727

[A duplicate copy can be found at p.239a/ 0483.]

Present

Philip Livingston

Myndert Schuyler

Henry Renselaer

Rutger Bleecker

Reyer Gerritse

Stephanus Groesbeek

Har: Wendell                           The Commissioners have this day agreed & allowd

unto Isaac Bogaert the Sume of 5 pound over & above

his wages of 8/p Diem to be Chief Workmen & director of the

building to be made at ye Mouth of Onnondage river yet

is to be under Command of Capt. Banker

Allowd unto the workmen who are to build ye Sd. house 12

Gallon rum above the Alowance of ye thirty Gallon sent for

  1. from new york all w.h is to be paid by ye Com.rs out of their

Allowance of two hundred pound p annum

 

[0364] 180a [Item 2 – out of chronological order in original.]

Albany 4th April 1727

Capt. Collins

Being this day honourd with a letter from his Ex.cy

who has orderd a Capt. two Lieut. 2 Serg.ts 2 Corpralss & one D[rummer]

to be sent to Osweege and has directed us yt. all the batoes Stores

& provisions be Sent with all Speed to your place in Order to

Imbareg we desire you to procure 26 waggons to Carry up

all at once if any person Should Refuze they must be

Imprest there will be 66 padles 15 Setting poles ye last Shod

with Iron Required wh. we hope youl gett made without

delay you also are Desird to Imploy as many Cerpenters as

Can be Imployd to make three batoes with as much Speed

as possible not to [Refuse – crossed out] Lose one day & if any might refuse

they must be Imprest we want 50 Sk: boiling pease for ye.

Batoes pray let us know if they are to be had at Your place

his Excel.cy has been pleased to Ingage to pay for all ye.

men favour us with a line in answer and youl oblidge

who are with Esteam

 

 

[0362] 179a

13)

[Another copy can be found at p.240 / 0484. It is substantially the same.]

Att a Meeting of the Com.rs of ye

Indian Affairs in Albany ye 6th day of Ap.l 1727

Present

Ph: Livingston

Mynd:t Schuyler

Henry Renselaer

Rutger Bleecker

Reyer Gerritse

St. Groesbeeck

Har. Wendell

Ph: Schuyler                                        This Board acquainted Lourence Claese

that his Ex.y had been please to approve of our Sending

him to Cap. banker at Onneyde to Serve as his Inter=

=preter to Communicate to ye Sachims of ye 5 Nations

that his Excel.cy Wm. Burnet Esq.r &c. good intention

and design to build a trading house at Sweege on ye

mouth of Onnondage river the better to promote

& Carry on a trade with the far Indians,

Agreed with the Said interpreter for his Service at

Onnondage and to bring up with another men (whom he

is to hire on ye best terms he Can) three horses to the mouth

of Onnondage river to be Imployd for drawing timber

& Stone for the Sd. house, for the Sume of £20÷ to be paid

by the Sd. Com.es out of their Allowance of £200÷ but if he

be Obliged to Attend any time on Capt. Banker at the

building its agreed he Shall be allowd what

is Resonable above Sd. Sume

This board have tought [bought] powder to

Send Capt. Banker p Sd. Interpreter the following addi=

=tional Instructions,

Haveing obtaind Consent from his Exc.y Gov.r

Burnet Esq.r &c to Send Lourence Claese the Interpreter

to Inform the Indians with the Intention of his Sd. Ex.cy

for building a house at Sweege it being a matter of Great

Consequence

[0363] 180

(13

Consequence to this Governmt. if it Should be Opposd by

the Indians, you are therefore to use your best Endeavours

to Obtain their Consent for wh. purpose, We Recommend

you that observe & follow such directions as you have & Shall

Receive from his Ex.cy as near as possible you Can in relati=

=on to your treaty with the Sachims of the Six Nations

Concerning his Ex.cys Intention for building a house at Osweege

Near Cadrachqus Lake you must tell them is for ye Conveniency

of the traders to Secure their Goods according to the leave & Con=

=sent given by the Said Sachims to his Ex.cy in 1724 to prevent

that their goods may not be taken out of their Small bark

houses, and that the traders may Secure and Store their

goods for wh. they Can have no ready Sale, and not be Obliged

to bring back hither

You are also to acqu.t ye Indians yt. the Chief motive wh.

Moves this Governmt. to build this trading house at Osweege

is that his Ex.cy is Informd that the french design to

Make a fortification at Sd place which will not Only ye far

Indians from Comeing to trade there and at Albany with the

Inhbitations of this province but also the five nations them=

=selves by which means they Would Entirely make ymSelves

of All the Indians and Surround ye brethren on all Sides, that

they have had Sufficiet proof of ye french fortifying near them

and on ye Contrary that they have had repeated Instances

of the Civil treatmt. and kind behaviour of this Government

towards ym for their Secureity and wellfare for many years

past at this building will pVent the french from makeing

Any Attempt to fortify near it, and as it is done as well

for their Secureity as for promoteing the Sd. trade so we Cant

Suppose but that they [may-crossed out] will readily agree to approve of this

good Intention. that we Cant think yt. they do Entertain or

believe any report or Stories yt. ye. french of Canada may have

Spread am.g ym. to resentmt. yt. our Gov.r has Orderd to begin ye Buil=

=ding & finishd this house if they do our Gov.r who represents

the Great

 

[0364] 180a

14)

The Great and Good King of great Britain their father

& protecter would take it as the Greatest Affront that

can be done his Sd. Majesty and him Given under our

hands in Albany this 6 Day of April 1727

was Signd by these presents as

above

[0365] 181

(15)

Albany 6 april 1727

Capt. Banker

Wy hebben VE laest Geschreven p Mr.

John Cuyler & BPisger nevens Een brief Van Zyn Ea[f]

haar toe Gefonden,

Hier Nevens gaet Een andere brief van Zyn

Ex.cy p Lourence Claese als meede Instructer van ons

Jon.es Vedder heef De presente Van de Viff Naties &

Verre Wilde & Eerste £30÷ & de Laeste 20÷ beftaende

In Sulke Goederen als p inlegende Memorie om door VE

Vergeven te werden als V e. Goet Sall Ordeelin, voor best

Vant publick Wy & hoopen dat gy VE uyterste de voir

Sall Aen wenden dat D Wilde Gewilligh toe Staen het

Op bowen vant huys En ghy niet Mankere Sutt om Suloe

te Scygen willen wy niet aen twyfellen So Sullen

met Slangen D guntt te Uyt Slagh Van VE met patien=

=tie asisaghten

Lourence heeft drie paarden voor hout & Steen &c.

Meede te ryen voor het Opbenden vant huys modell

daer van sullen D’naeste week met het het week

volk opsenden & dan VE verder Schryven ondertusche

& blyde naer haer hartslyck Groetenisse

 

[

 

Albany ye. 10th April 1727

Mr. Lawyer

We have Rec.d your letters of Yesterdays date

that ye Indians have wounded three men at Skohare for

wh. accident of we are very much Concernd & hertily Sorry

for those yt. are fallen under this heavy Afflection We Send

A letter to his Ex.cy Gov.r Burnet to Acqu.t him of this Mis=

=chief what measures he Shall think proper to take we

do not know, mean while We Send to Capt. Banker at

Onnondage that he may acqt. the Sachims of the five

Nations of this fatall Misfortune what will be done

in this Affair we Cant tell but ye. Most Moderable &

amicable means will be best for the best peace of our

Country. We remain

Philip Livingston                    Reyer Gerritse

Myndert Schuyler                  Stephanus Groesbeck

Peter V Brugh                         Harm.s Wendell

Hend.k Renselaer

 

[0368] 182a

18)

Att a Meeting of the Com.es of ye,

Indian affairs in Albany ye. 11 day

of April 1727

Sedert onse Laeste p dese Gelegentheyt van

Lourence Claese ontfangen wy op gifteere het Onaenge=

=naem niews dat Enige wilden & wildinnen tot het

Getall Van 10-12 dewelke Laeste Sondagh aghtermiddagh

drunken asarren op Skohere Een groot onkeyl & oor=

=saakte driegende om d huyse & Schauren int brant

te Steeken om Sulkx voor te Coomen Stellen d.’ palatines

haar tegen dat gedaen Synde gingen D’ Wilden nae

haer huysen & quamen ti Samen met haer roers

peylen & boogen & Vielen aen op Een huys daer Ses man

in ware van wien Sy drie man hebben geschoten twe

daer Van doodelyck gequest, Een weert Gedoght Nu

doot te Syn de wilden niet beeter weetende of Sy waren

doot & daer op manen Sy D Vlught wy hebben Zyn

Excel.cy daer kenniss van te geven maer wat order

hy dies aengaerde Sall Geven waten wy niet,

Ondertuschen oordelen wy noodigh Dat Ghy de

Sackemakers dit on heyl op D. Sagste Mannier bekent

Maakt om So van haar te hooren hoe Sy dit neemen

En wat Sy deer in willen doen wy Soude & wagh-

=ten dat sy Enige Sackemakers Deputere om hurte

Coomen dit onheyl vor te Verschonen & Indien Sy

dit Uyt haar Seff niet doen of pretendere so ordele

wy Noodigh dat Ghy op D’ beste manier ghy Can te wegh

brenght door Enige principaele wilden dat Sy Sulx

te werk Stellen & Satisfactie doen door &soennig on

& der onheyl voor te Comen

 

0366] 181a [Out of order in original]

16)

Albany ye 26th Apr. 1727

Capt. Banker

V E brief den 13 defer Ontfangen waer

by wy vernemen dat Ghy in Onnondage met D Sackema=

=kers hebt Gesproken wegen het Timmeren op Sweege

day Sy het niet willen toestaen dat het huys daer Sall

op gebout werden twelk ops Seer Leet is om tehooren

en Sy Excellency ongelwyfelt Sall het ter hearten

namen wy hoopen & verwaghten dat op D’ Komst

van Lourence ghy D wilden beeter kunnen verstaen

& onderighten want hy verwaght dat Sy het Timme-

=ren niet Sullen tegen Staen maer vrywilligh ons Sullen

laeten vort gaen volgens haer Consent also het voor haer

besten is So als wy Alreede in VE Instructies met

Lourence gemett hebben, Syn Ex.cy heeft het aen ons

gelaeten voor een persoon van aensien Nae VE te

Senden tot VE Aensistenkie om het vry lof van D

wilden Soude Murmereeren te Obtineeren als Sy voor

dese gedaen hebben dat alles wreedigh magh toe=

=gaen also het Een Saach Van D’Groetse Conse=

=quensie is tot dat Governm.t Indien het niet Soude

Gelucken, so hebben wy goet gedaght dat Een of twe

pSoonen van aensien tot VE asustansie Sullen toe

gesonden werden onstants op VE Verder Schryven

dat de Wilde VE Affslaen ondertuschen Sullen

wy alles dat noodigh is voor So-Een Toght Claer

maken & gereert houden tot dien Eynde & Soecken

wy day ghy d Sackemakers by malkander houdt

om Een verdere propositie met haer te maken

So Zy

 

[0367] 182

(17)

So Sy VE Aftgeslagen hebben ondertuschen moet

ghy deprincipaalste wilden om Coopen & over reeden

want het werk moet gaan Laet d’Corter Syn wat

het will der halve verwagten wy VE Schryvens ter=

=post of ghy Consent hebt van d’Wilden of niet

D’Metselaers & Timmerlieden mosten met t’huys

Coomensonder Consent & verder Schryvens van ons

ondertuschen laet het volk geimployeert werden in

hacken planken Laghe Steen Ryen & putmaken &c.

d’wilden den brengeers deses hebben wy voldsen wy

Voldoen wat het Cruyt aengaet weet ghy kunnen

wy niet Indoen d’ datum Van VE brief denken wy

is a buys en Ock het Jaer heb VE gestelt 1717 naer haer=

=telycke groetenisse & blyde

Myndert Schuyler                  Philip Livingston

Rutger bleeker                         Peter van Brugh

Harmanus Wendell                  Reyer Gerritse

Nicolaes Bleecker                    Stevanus Groesbeek

[0477] 236a

* No. 15                                  Albany ye. 26th. april 1727

May it please your Excellency

Your Exce.lys most Esteemed favours

of ye. 10 & 12 Instant we Rec.d Inclosed find your

Ex.lys a letter Sent us by order of Gov.r Dummer

of ye. 13th. Instant whereby we Receive a Strange

Retaliation for our good offices & pains not

to Count yee. Expences we have been & Still are —

like to lay out for their Security & preservation

which we think however in duty & Conscience

bound to do to Save yee. poor Innocents on the fronteers

of Boston those in that Town we Suppose

think themseves [sic] Secure Enough

Inclosed your Excel.ly has a letter from Capt.

Banker as also one from him to us, we are Sorry

that he has made any Speech or proposalls to the

Sachims at onnondage before Lourence Came to

him & by what we hear from the Indians who are

come hither bifferd but 2 a 3 days. the Sachims

Seem to have denyd him their Consent to Errect

the building at oswego. but now while the Inter

=preter is with him we hope he may be able to

Inform them better & Convince them of yee. necessity

to have this house built for the Conveniency of

that traders & thier Security we have now Sent

a letter Express to him if the Indians to presist

in their denying Consent that he forthwith Send

us an account of it by Express on yee. arrivall

thereof we Shall dispatch two men who have good

Interest among ye Indians to assist him with

further psents to onnondage and have desird

him to keep yee. Sachims together till Said Gentle

=men Shall arrive there mean while that yee.

workmen be Imployd to hew wood Saw boards

digging of the well &c. and on Rect. of this advice

Shall

[0478] 237

Shall not neglect to Send your Excellency

an account of it

We are very glad to See by yee. Minute

of your Excel.ly in Councill that our Conduct in

the agreem.t made with ye. workmen & others we

Sent up to build Sd. house of which is approvd

aff. makes us not a little ambitious we take nothing

more to heart then that this building Should be

Erected in a peaceable & amicable manner being

of ye. greatest Consequence to this Province.

and are pleased to See your Excel.ly becomes Security

for the further psents that may be Required the workmen

Sett out from hence yee 13th Instant in Two batoes

& one burch Canoe yee. former are much yee. best as

people tell us who mett them we had much

trouble to dispatch them

Here are three other Batoes finishd

for the use of yee men who are to be Sent up

think two more will be Required

The misfortune happend at Skohere first

arised from yee Indians who had killed a hogg

belonging to one of ye man who is wounded haveing

Chargd them with it, which yee Indians when they

were drunk Resented it tho the pork was found in

their wigwomb & Some of their Number had done

that mischief & ye Palatines not giveing way to

their humour was in Short ye. occassion of the

Quarrel & the indians are a mixture of ye Several

Nations we did not intend your Ex.ly Should

take yee. trouble to Come hither unless the Sachims

acknowledged their Error of their own accord come

Reconcile this

Wee begg your Ex.cy Leave to Refer

that affair Relating ye. Transgressors of ye. late

Acts till our next meeting that we may have

a Compleat number of members. the master of

the Sloop presents to be gone haveing a fair wind

 

Minute Book 3: 1727-March, Pt. 1: Trading House or Fort? Building at Oswego Will Not Be Easy; A Slave is Prevented From Making a “Path for Other Slaves to Desert.”

In March the commissioners began to implement Governor Burnet’s plan for the new stone building at Oswego by hiring carpenters and masons. They looked for “two old horses” to send up located sources for stone and other building materials. They hired Luykas Wyngaert and William Barret to get boards from “Mr. Coeymans” with which Anthony Bogardus and Cornelis Bogaert built four “batoes,” because canoes would not be suitable for transporting workmen to Oswego.  Finding workmen in Albany or Schenectady was a challenge. Masons and carpenters were expensive and had to be paid for the trip as well as the time at the site.  They also had to be skilled enough with boats to make the journey.  Even the Germans who now lived in the Mohawk Valley above the Mohawk towns were asking high prices.  The commissioners suggested looking to New York for cheaper labor.  They also talked to various individuals about working there, including Adam Smith, Keith and William Waldran, Major Isaac Bogaert, Major and Nicolas Groesbeek.  The new building would play a significant role in Albany’s economy that year.

Captain Evert Bancker was commissioned as “Captain of all the Christians who are going to trade at the fixed trading place” and charged with reining in those who were already venturing to “remote” places beyond the limits set by the legislature. He was also to oversee the construction of the new building. The commissioners warned the governor that the French already knew about their plans and that the Indians were strongly against “any building to be made by us.” They recommended sending Laurence Claessen to interpret for Captain Bancker on a permanent basis, since they did not trust the traders as reliable interpreters.  Bancker was provided with generous presents to persuade the Indians to allow construction to procede.

The proposed building was called a “house” and the rationale for its construction was to protect the goods of the traders. Nonetheless, Burnet thought of it as a counterforce to the French forts, especially Niagara, and from the beginning he planned to have a garrison there. The commissioners asked for soldiers to go up with the workmen to protect the construction from a possible French attack, but the governor did not want to send soldiers until the building was complete.

The commissioners also informed the governor that Captain Bancker had reclaimed a negro woman from the Seneca’s country at considerable expence.  1727-3-25slavepath

The commissioners explained that if Bancker had not laid out more that 20 pounds to get her back, the Senecas would have sent her to Canada where she would “make a path for other Slaves to desert that way.” They asked the governor to repay Captain Bancker. It is tempting to speculate as to whether she had already taken steps to make that path, even though she was not able to travel it herself.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the best copy of the entries for March 1727 starts here.

[0353] 175

Albany 13 March 1726/7

Capt. Banker

Sir

Inclosed you have a letter from his Ex.cy

with a Commission to be Capt. of all ye Christians who

are going to trade at the fixed trading place by act of

Generall Assembly one wherefore you are to receive herewith

for your direction as we informd that Severall traders

are already gone and others going dayly with a view as

We Conceive to Endave the true Intent of the ligis=

=lature & trade beyond ye place appointed in the Lake and

place’s Remote wherefore we desire you as soon as you Shall

Receive his Excel.cys Letter & this to Send for all Such

Traders & Command ym. to Come at ye. place appoin=

=ted as they will Answer to ye. Contrary at their peril,

the Charge thereof Shall be paid you by ye Publick

By the next Convenient oppertunity we Shall

Send you to ye. Value of 20 pounds in presents to be gi=

=ven to our Indians as also 10 pounds in goods to be gi=

ven by you to ye. far Indians–

As soon as we Can gett ye. workmen to make ye.

ye. house they Shall be Sent up with all Speed.

Ph: Livingston

M: Schuyler

Peter Vn: Brugh

L: Symes

R: Blecker

St: Groesbeek

P: Schuyler

[0354] 175a

Albany 16 March 1726/7

May it please your Ex.cy

We have been honord with your Ex.cys

Letter of ye 10th Instans [illeg. – crossed out] with ye.

Inclosed minute of Councill and packet for Capt. wh. we for=

=warded Yesterday to ye. Sinnekes Country in Obedience to yr.

Ex.cys ord.r we have Inquird for palatines workman to make ye Stone house but are Informd yt. there are now [none] above

ye falls nor at Skohere we had a palatine mason here

who lives at Schinnecktady he demands 9/p diem on

his own diat from the day he Setts out to his Return

2 Shirts Blankets gun powder [blank space] we had likewise

Masons & Cerpenters of this town who Demand 8/ p diem

they have from ye time they go [away – crossed out] to their return home

All Imploy here & this work being remote from their

Above Demand 12. more yn. their Usual days

hoe here we have made no agreemt. being limited

to palatines workman may probaly he [be] had Cheaper

at N: York So Shall not proceed till we receive y.r

Ex.cys further directions att this Affair ye. presents for Capt.

Banker we Shall Gett ready to be Sent with ye. workman

with Submission we think it to be Very Necessary as this

Jouncture yt. Lourence Claese be Sent to the onnonda=

-ges to Capt. bankers Interpreter to Explain to ye Indians

ye reason making this house for the use of ye. traders & it

being a Matter of Consequence if it Should be obstructed

& there is No depandance on any trader yt. Goes up to

Interpret for him,

We have Inquired of ye. Traders who agree yt.

there is Excellent Stone for building at ye. point of

onnondage

[0355] 176

Onnondage river but now Can Inform us Whether there

be Lime Stone or Not but ye. Measons tell us if ye.

Stone be Good as is Said the house may be made with Clay

& Sand. If So much lime Can but be had for pointing

ye Outside of ye walls wh. must be tryd we Cant learn

if a well Can be made in ye Most Convenient place

where ye. house ought to be Errected, but ye. banks of

the Lake & river being Very near so yt. water may be

had without Difficulty

We Shall gett horses to be Sent up As soon as ye.

workmen go up to buy two old horses will be Cheapest

Adam Smith appeard before this board demended

9/ p diem to Work at ye. house at Onnondage river

& 2 Shirts A blanket gun powder yt. Keth &, Wm. Waldran

Major Isaac Bogaert major & Nicolas Groesbeek Carpt.

demand 8/ p. Diem to Work at ye Sd. house

 

Att a Meeting of the Com.es of the Indian

Affairs in Albany ye 20th March 1726/7

Present

Ph: Livingston

Myn: Schuyler

Hend.k Renselaer

Lancester Symes

Rutger Bleecker

Stephanus Groesbeeck

Nicolaes Bleecker

Ryer Gerritse

We had the honour to receive a letter from his

Excel.cy of the 13 Instant in answer to wh. the Com.es write as

follows

Albany 20 March 1726/7

May it please yr. Exc.y

After ___ Haveing write the foregoing your Excellencys favour

of ye 13th Instant Came to hand whereby perceive that your

Excel.cy doth not think Convenient to Send any Soldiers till ye

house be finishd we do favourably hope yt. the french will not

Attempt to hinder this building in time of peace on our land

nor yt. ye Indians be agt. it Indeed ye. force of all the traders

& ye. 20 Men are but a trifle to what force the french Can

bring there if they design to obstruct it, your Excel.cys orders

to

[0356] 176a

to Capt. Banker to go on with the work are very necessary

but while your Ex.cy is pleased to require our opinion in this

Matter with Submission we Suppose that it Would much

Conduce to ye. forwarding of the building if the 20 Men

went up with ye. Workmen who may be Assistant and Im=

=ployd Makeing the house while there is but litle de=

=pandance, ye. work of the traders for at best few will only

Work their 6 Days and phaps not many will assist

Unless they be well paid we think if ye. Soldiers & work=

=men up at One time ye. Indians Will be less Jealous yn.

yt they Should Come afterwards the house may be So long

Makeing yt. the traders be most Returnd home & yn. the work=

=men wont Care to be left Alone if workmen Can be had on

better terms at N: York then here they must understand to

go up agt. Rapid Water Else they Cant Gett to the lake,

We have Imployd Cerpenters to make forthwith four batoes

yt. we think more Convenient for ye. men yn. Canoes,

The further presents of £10÷ for ye. far Indians

Shall Sent Capt. Banker as also ye. Necessaries for ye buil=

=ding wh. yr. Ex.cy has been pleasd to Send p Oot hout,

This Day agreed with Luykas Wyngaert Wm.

Barret to fitch boards at Mr. Coyemans for four batoes

& knees for ym.

Imployed Anthony Bogardus & Cornelis Bogaert

Cerpenters to make four batoes

[0357] 177

Albany 25 March 1726/7

May it please your Excel.cy

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

the 20th Instant p [by] Peter Winne, Since sh. ave Rec.d ye.

Inclosed from Capt. Banker of the 21th Ultimo wherin we

are adviced yt. ye. Gov.r of Canada has been Speedily Informd of

the design of our building at Sweegue Even as Conceive before it

was determynd to be done by your Excel.cy the french are Certainly mad[e]

Alarmd at this building & will leave No means untrydd With the

five Nations to Oversett Our design if possible they Can Compass it

If they do yn. they again their view and become matters of our Indians

who Seem to be at. Errecting this house out of a vain Conciet they

Entertain yt. we Shall treat them as the french have formerly done not

Considering yt. we have always Supplyd & Assisted ym. & yt. is our In=

trest to Secure ym. future Insult of the french as we Conceive t

hat this Affair is of ye last Consequence to this province if it Should

Miscarry So we may humbly hope that Such proper Measures

Shall be taken yt. it may have ye. desird Effect and not leave ye.

work till prevented by force & Voilence of ye. french or Indians

as ye. Ex.cy has Already Orderd it will be Very Necesary yt. ye.

Indians be prevaild to Consent our Makeing that building for

  1. purpose it will be Absolutely necessary yt. Lourence be

forthwith dispatch to Assist Capt. Banker & withall Carry

up ye. Severall psents for ye Indians not being Able to treat

with ye. Indians ye men who has been his Interpreter is

Returnd hither & None left with him who Can Speak ye.

Indian tongue this men tells us yt. ye. Indians are Strongly

possessd agt. any building to be made by us,

Capt. Banker has Sent us an acct. of Charges one negro wench

he Releasd in ye. Sinnekes Country am.s to £20:1÷ he has had much trou=

=ble to Gett her & prevent yt. She Should not be Sent to Canada &

make a path for other Slaves to desert yt. way we hope he may be

Repayd

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 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

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 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