Minute Book 3: 1729-February:

 

1729-2-22_alcohol[There are no entries for January 1729.]

In their first conference with Governor John Montgomerie in October 1728, the Haudenosaunee are recorded as saying they were glad the new Brother Corlaer was “a wise and prudent Man.” Perhaps this was more than the language of diplomatic flattery. Montgomery does seem to have gone farther than his predecessors in responding to one of the long standing complaints of the Six Nations, who had been trying for years to stem the destructive flow of alcohol into their country.  In February, after the Six Nations reminded them of Montgomerie’s agreement, the Commissioners of Indian Affairs issued a proclamation to all traders and others forbidding the transportation of strong liquor to any place in or near the “upper castles” (towns) of the Six Nations. Only Oswego was exempt, as agreed to at the conference. On the other hand, their use of the term “upper castles” suggests that at the very least Fort Hunter, and probably other Mohawk and Oneida communities, were not protected.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the entry for February is here on p. 281.

[0566] 281 [Wraxall mentions this p. 176.]

Albany the 22d Febry 1728/9

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Present

Philip Livingston

Henry Holland

[Jo]h: Cuyler

Peter Van Brugh

Evert Bancker

Rutger Bleecker

Evert Wendell

Nicolas Bleecker

Abraham Cuyler

[Joh].s Roseboom

Barent Sanders                        Whereas It has been represented in publick

Proposition to his Excy John Montgomerie Esq.r

Governour of New York &c by the Sachims of the 6 nations

how Dangerous the Selling of Rum & other Strong Liquor

is in their Castles and that great mischiefe may Ensue

from it they have Straineously desired that it may be

Prohibited, that no Christians may bring or Carry any Rum

among them in their Countrey for that will one way or Other

Create a Quarrell between them and our people; which

request has been granted them by his said Excy. And w.ch

the Sd. Indians have now lately repeated to the Comm:rs of the

Indian Affairs at Albany. Wherefore the said Comm.rs

have thought fit for his Majesties Service to Notifie to

All Traders and others, not to Convey Transport or Carry

any Rum or Other Strong Liquor at or near the upper Castles

of the Five Nations (Oswego only Excepted) on Penalty as

they Shall Answer the Contrary on their perill for Such

Contempt in disturbing the publick peace of this Province

 

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Minute Book 3: 1728-October Part 1: Governor Montgomerie’s First Conference with the Six Nations, Schaghticokes, and “River Indians”

Governor John Montgomerie’s first conference with New York’s native allies  began on October first.  The records contain two versions. What was probably the official version begins on page 299a of the records and is printed in DRCHNY volume 5, beginning at 5:859. Another version, likely a first draft, begins on page 263 of the records. It is worded a little differently but the sense is the same.

Land at Oswego for the English to Raise Food, Evidence of Haudenosaunee Orchards?

The Haudenosaunee sachims welcomed the new governor in a meeting held before the conference opened. They expressed sorrow over the death of King George I and celebrated the succession of George II in a speech that is interesting because it uses metaphors related to the cultivation of fruit trees, including grafting branches and covering roots, suggesting that these techniques may have been part of their practices during this period. The conference opened the next day with a speech by the new governor, who described his difficult five-month journey across the Atlantic before conveying greetings from the new King of England and renewing the covenant chain in his name.

Governor Montgomerie then asked to have land at Oswego marked off for the English to raise food for the troops. The Six Nations (Haudenosaunee) agreed to this idea, naming Laurence Claessen as the best person to assist with measuring and marking the land.  They refused to say how much land they would provide, explaining that they needed to consult with people not present at the conference before they could give a figure. No mention was made of a sale and no deed was signed. The orders given to Laurence Claessen after the conference ended instruct him to carry out a precise survey of “as Large a Tract of Land at Oswego as possible you Can” and bring it back to the commissioners.

A Compromise on Alcohol

Besides discussing the land, the parties renewed the Covenant Chain with each other, exchanged gifts including wampum, and went over issues familiar from previous conferences. The Haudenosaunee asked the new governor to prevent traders from bringing alcohol to their country because it was leading to violence and even murders. He insisted that the traders needed to bring rum to refresh the soldiers at Oswego and asked them not to molest the traders. Eventually they agreed to the use of alcohol at the Oswego Trading House and Montgomerie agreed to forbid the English to take it to the communities of the Six Nations. The Haudenosaunee also asked that the traders sell pure rum rather than mixing it with water. It is possible that the illness that still afflicted the troops at Oswego was related to problems with Oswego’s water supply which could affect rum if the tainted water was used to dilute it.

Who Defends Fort Oswego Against the French?

The governor also asked the Haudenosaunee to protect Fort Oswego against possible French attacks. They responded that it was their understanding that it had been constructed to protect them rather than for them to protect. Eventually they agreed to assist with its defense, acknowledging their experience with French attacks. They urged   the English both to make sure that the traders bring guns and ammunition to Iroquois and to keep military supplies on hand at Albany in case of need. Both sides promised to support each other and boasted of their military prowess.

The governor also urged the Haudenosaunee not to join the French and their allies in the war against a “Remote Nation,” probably meaning the Meskwaki (Fox). They asked for cheaper prices for goods and requested Joseph Van Size and Hendrick Wemp to work as smith and armorer in their country, adding that the French smith there was old and going blind.

Anglo-Dutch Farmers Encroach on Schaghticoke Lands

img_0112
Corn growing near the Knickerbocker Mansion Historic Site at Schaghticoke NY, August 2015

Governor Montgomerie renewed the Covenant Chain in a separate conference with the Schaghticoke and River Indians, for which they thanked him. He urged them to bring back those of their nation who had moved away, but they explained that it was difficult because they had less and less land at Schaghticoke to plant on. They told him that recently their European neighbors had planted on the Scaghticoke’s land, allowed their cattle to destroy Schaghticoke crops, and carried off corn from their fields. The governor asked for the names of the trespassers so he could punish them.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the entry for the draft version starts here on p. 263. The transcription is below.

[0530] 263

X                                 Albany p:rmo Octob.r 1728

Present

His Ex.cie John

Montgomerie Esq.r

Fran. Harrison }

Esq.rs of the Council

Ph: Livingston}

The Comm:rs of Ind:n  Affairs

The Sachims of the Six Nations

being this day Arrived desired to have a Conference

with his Ex:cy Jn.o Montgomerie Esq:r before His

Ex.cy Made his Proposition to them who appeared at

His Ex:cies Lodgings and Made the following Speech

Brother Corlaer

Last fall you Sent us a messuage, w:th a

Token to Each Nation that his late Majesty King

George the first was deceased for which wee was very

[Sorry – crossed out] Much Concernd and heartily Sorry because he

Was a King of Peace a Mighty Protector

of his Subjects and allies, but at the Same

Time wee reced the good news that his Son Prince

George now King George the Second Was already

Crown’d in his Place hopeing that he may follow

his fathers Steps — Give a Few Skinns

You Acquainted us at the Same Time

that King George was a young man Wee hope he

may Follow his Fathers Steps that he may be as a

Large Flourishing Tree that the branches thereof

may reatch up to Heaven that he may be Seen of

all People and Nations in the World

Wee Ingraft Siantes on the Same branches

Which Wee hope may Thrive and that the Leaves

thereof May never Fade nor Fall off but that the

Same May grow and Flourish that his Majestys

Subjects and his Allies May Live in Peace and

Quiet

[0531] 263a

quiet under the Shade of the same: Gave a Few Skinns

Just Now Wee grafted on the Large fine

Flourishing Tree Now Wee Come and Cover the Roots

Thereof in Case there might be any Part of them bear

that the Roots may be Sound and Spread themselves

through the whole Earth that the Tree may Stand fast

and Firm that no Storms nor Violent Tempestes may

be able to Move Shake or Endanger the Same, Gave a

Few Skinns

Wee have now done wt wee Intended to Say at

Present

His Excell:y answerd Them

I am Thankfull for your kind Speech His Maj:tie

has ordered me to Tell you that he Will be your kind

Father and Protector, I shall too Morrow Acquaint

With the Messuage His Majesty has orderd me to

Deliver to you And gave them a barrell of

Beer to drink his Majestys Health

[0532] 264

Propositions Made by his Ex:cie John Montgomerie

Esq:r Captain Generall and Governour in Chiefe of the

Provinces New York New Jersey &c. to the Sachims of the

Six Natkions viz:t Maquase Onydes Cayouges, Onondages

Sinnekes and Tuskarois in Albany the 2d day of October

in the Second year of his Maj.ties Reign Ann.o Domni 1728

Present

His Ex:cie John

Montgomerie

Esq.r

Geo: Clerke

Francis Harrison

Ph: Livingston            } Esq.rs of his Maj.ties

Capt. Long                              Councill

[Lt.] James

D Lansee

The Comm:rs of

Indian Affairs

The Mayor

[&] Aldermen

Brothers

The Concern you Exprest

yesterday for the Loss of his late Majesty the King of

Great Brittain will Recommed you very much to the favour

of his Son the Present King who as he Succeeds to his throne

Inheritts all his Virtues and I hope the kind Message

I am to deliver to you from him Will Comfort you for his

Fathers Death. Give three Stroud blankets

[0533] 264a

Brethren

It is w.th great Pleasure that I meet you here and

I am verry Sorry that I Could not do it Sooner, but you will

be Convenced that it was not my Fault when I tell you that

in Crossing the great Lake I met wth So Violent Storms that

I was driven Quite off this Coast and it being in the Winter

Season was Forced to go a great way Southard to refit the

Man of War in Which I Came So it was five Months after

I Came from England before I arrived in New Yorke. The

business of that Province w.ch was Absolutely necessary

to be done at my first arrival has detained me there Ever

Since and retarded my delivering [to you – crossed out] the kind Message

I am Charg’d with from my Master the King of Great

Brittain His Majesty has order’d me to Tell you that

he Loves you as a Father dos his Children, and that

this affection [in him – crossed out] towards you is occasiond by his

being Certainly Informed that you are a brave and

Honest People the Two Qualitys in the World that

Recommend most Either particular Persons or a

People to him. He has also been Informed that you Love

his Subjects the English and that you desire to Live w.th

them as Brethren. He has therefore Commanded me to

Renew the old Covenant Chain between you and all

his Subjects in North America and

[several lines crossed out appear to say “I have (illeg.] Indians under his Majesty’s Protection, and to Make it Brighter if possible than ever it was before]

to make it brighter if

Possible than Ever it was before and I expect you will give me

[illeg.] to do the like on your Parts

Give a Large Belt of Wampum

Brethren

Besides the two Qualitys of Bravery and

Honesty his Majesty is convinced that you are a wise

People and good Judges of your own Intrest; How

happy then must you think your Selves when the greater

and Powerfullest Monarch in Christendom Sends me

here to Confirm the ancient Friendship betwixt you

and his Subjects to Assure you of his Fatherly Care

[0534] 265

And to tell you that he thinks himselfe Oblidged to Love

and Protect you as his own Children You need fear no

Enemies while you are true to your Alliance w.th him; I

Promise you to take Care that none of your Brethren here

Shall do you Wrong and if any other Neighbouringe

Nations be So bold as to attempt to Disturb you, You

need not fear what they Dare or Can do, Since you have the

King of Great Brittain on your Side, who is a Prince

Early Initiated in the Art of War and formed by Nature

for the greatest Military Atchievements, will when Ever

there is Occasion for it Put himselfe at the head of the finest

body of Troops in the World who are all his own Naturall

born Subjects has at Present a Fleet of Shipps in So good

Order and So well Commanded that they would be Masters

of the great Lake altho’ the Fleets of all the Kings in Europe

Were Joyn’d against them. Give a Belt

Brethren

After what I have Told you I am Convinced

That So wise a People as you are will glory in behaving

as becomes the Faithfull Children of So great and Powerful

a King who Loves you and will Resent any Injury done

you as if it was done to his Children on the other Side of

the great Lake  Gave a [belt – crossed out] String

Brethren

I expect you are now Convinced that the

Garrison and house Erected at Oswego is not only for the

Conveniency of the far Indians to Carry on their Trade w:th the

Inhabitants of this Province but also for your Security and

Conveniency to Trade there for Such Necessarys as you

have Occasion for and at as Easy Terms as if none of the

upper Nations Came to Trade thither — I make no doubt

but you will at all Times willingly defend this Garrison

against all Attempts which may be Made against

It

[0535] 265a

It according to your Former Promises and Engagemts

I desire you to give and Grant unto your kind Father

His Most Sacred Majesty a Convenient Tract of Land to

be Cleared and Manured for his Men to Raise Provisions

for them and Pasturadge for their Cattle; Give a Belt I heare that you

have been often apprehensive that a Trade w:th the far Nations

Would be to your Prejudice, as that it would Make the

Goods you Want dear But I Can assure you that the Woolen

Manufactory in England is Able to Supply the whole

[Christian – crossed out] World. Therefore the greater trade is Carried on

the More and greater will be the Supply and Cheaper

than formerly; And I do Entreat you to be kind to the

Traders and not Molest them as they go up but to lett

Them pass Quietly Give a String of Wampum

I am Informed that the Indians from Canada who are

gone up w:th the French Army agt. a Remote Nation of

Indians have been Among you Endeavourd to Intice

your young men to go to Warr w.th them agt. a People who

never do anoy nor Molest you Am glad they have refusd

to Joyn w.th them, whereby you Show you Endeavour to

Cultivate a good Understanding with those Indians

Make them thereby your Friends and Encourage the

good Design of Promoteing a Trade w:th us and you;

I do Expect they will Persist in their good Deportment

Towards those and all other Remote Nations which

Will be a Means to Strenghten your Alliances and

Make you a great People  Give a String of Wampum

I do Inform you that His most Gracious Sovereign King

George my Mast.r your Indulgent Father has orderd me to make

you in his name a Handsome Present in Such Goods as are

most Suitable for you w:ch you Shall Receive as Soon as you

Shall have Given me your answer  Give a String

[0538] 267

X

Annswer made by the Sachims of the Six

Nations 1728 The Maquace Oneydes Onondages

Cayouges Sinnekes and Tuskaroras to His Excy John

Montgomorie Esq:r The 4.o day of October 1728

Present

His Ex.cy John Mont

gomerie Esq:r &c.

Geo: Clarke     }

Ph: Livingston }          Esq.rs of the Councill

The Comm:rs of Ind Affairs

Brother Corlaer

Wee are very glad that you are

arrived here in good health you Told us that your

Master the King of Great Brittain had Sent you

It is a very Dangerous Voyage in Coming over the

great Lake, The reason that wee are glad you are

arrived in health is because of the good Messuage

you bring us of your great Master the King of Great

Brittain, Wee would have been very Sorry If any

accident had happend to your Ex.cie in this dangerous

Voyage

 

Brother

You acquainted us w:th your Coming

Hither that you have Mett w:th an Accident and been

Driven from the Coast &c. and been five Months in

Coming to [the – crossed out] your Governmt.

 

Brother

You Acquainted us that was the

Reason that Detained you At your first

Arrivall

[0539] 267a

 

Arrivall from Meeting us no Sooner

You Told us also you was orderd by the

Great King your Master to Renew in his Name the

Old Covenant Chain w:th us, not only to Renew the same

but To make it brighter and Stronger than Ever

Brother Corlaer

You have renewed the old

Covenant Chain w.th the five nations in the name

of your Master now the King of Great Brittain

Wee Renew the old Covenant Chain in the like

Manner                        Give a Belt

 

Brother

This Silver Coven.t Chain wherein Wee are

[Joynd – crossed out] Linkd together That wee Make Stronger & Cleaner

that the Same be bright, Brother Wee shall not give

you any occasion of the breach of our Covenant If you

are Like Minded Then Wee and our Childrens Children

Shall Live in Peace

 

Brother Corlaer

You Acquainted us also that the

Great King your Master and our Father, Bears

great kindness to us as a Father Doth to his

Children; And If any Harm or Attempts shall be

Made on us, That our Father will Resent it

as If it was done to his Children on the other Side

Of the great Lake for w.ch kind Messuage Wee return

you our most hearty Thanks — Gave a Belt

 

Brother Corlaer           Wee shall not repeat your Excies Proposition

but Only the Principall Matters therein Contained

 

[0540] 268

 

Brother Corler

You Told us what was the reason why

His Majesty the King our Father so Affectionatly

Loved us for Two Qualifications of being an honest &

brave People

Brother Corlaer

It is true as you Say that the Six Nations

When they are Sober and not in Drink They will not

Molest or Injure any body, but there is one thing in

the Way that is Strong Liquour Which your Subjects

bring up to our Country — Therefore brother Wee desire

you very Strongly to Prohibitt the Sending or Carrying up

any Strong Liquour for that Will by one thing or

Other Create a Quarrell between your People and our young

Indians, our Ancestors have Fetched the Rum out of

this City when they wanted it. Let them who want Rum

be it Man or Woman Fetch it [hither – crossed out] from hence — Therefore Wee

Desire again that you do not Refuse our Request but to

Grant it Effectually; If you knew it Wee have already

Lost Many Men thro Liquor which has been brought

up; that our People kill one another Give a String of Wampum

This is now a day of Joy & gladness that wee meet together in this place

of Treaty That wee May Smoke a Pipe in friendship and it is very

acceptable to us to meet yr Excy here in good health —

Brother Corlaer

You have recomended us relateing the Traders

Who go up to lett them Pass and Repass freely without any

Molestation; Wee Promise to do them all Friendly Offices

in our Power, Let them Come w.th Such Goods as Powder

Lead Strowds and other dry Goods [&c.] They will be welcome

Except w.th Rum —

Brother Corlaer

you desired us for a Tract of Land near

The House at Oswego for the men to Plant on To raise

Provisions for them and Pasturadge for their Cattle

[0541] 268a

Brother Corlaer

It is with full Consent of the Six Nations

[illeg. crossed out] allowed you to Plant and sow at or near Oswego

and to have Pasturadge for your Cattle according to your Desire

and Wee shall make out such a Tract of Land as shall be necessary

to Raise Provisions for the men and Pasturadge for

their Cattle but Wee should not be Pleased that after it

be markd out, You do go beyond the Limitts which

Wee do Fix Give a String [Give a Belt – Crossed out]

Brother Corlaer

You Told us also that you Expected If

any Attempts be Made Against the House at Oswego

Wee Should Defend it; Wee Acquaint you that last

year when Liberty was Desired to build there it was

told us that the same was built there on Purpose to

Defend and Protect the Six Nations because It is

a Fronteer of our Nations Therefore Wee Rely on

your Promises to Perform them

Brother Corlaer

you told us also that the Six Nations

Imagined that If the farr Indians bought

Goods there thy would become Dear, but that the more

Trade there is the more Goods will be sent hither

and that there is Wool Enough in England to Supply

the whole World w:th Goods

Brother Corlaer

you acquainted us that you have

Goods Enough for the whole world w:ch Wee are very glad

to Hear the House at Oswego is such a Convenient Place

for Trade as Can be any where It is a place where all the

farr Indians must necessarily pass Wee desire also

that goods May be Sold Some what Cheaper to us

and that would be a Motive to Draw all the farr

Nations to us and Joyn w:th us for thro’ Cheapness

 

[0542] 269

of goods will become peace & make unity Give a belt

of wampum

Brother Corlaer

You told us you had been Informed

That when the french Army who went up Last Spring

against the farr Nations that Some French Indians

had been amongst us to Intice some of our young men

to go to Warr w.th them, That they are a Peaceable People

against whom the French now make Warr. That you

Was glad wee refused to go s.th them That those Indians

by these Means would become Friends to the 6 Nations

Brother Corlaer

It is True that the French have desired

It from us, but wee refused and Rejected their Proposall

because wee are Convinced that the French bear us no

Friendship, and wee have no very great Dependance

On them, for their Army Could have Subdued the Six

Nations, and Instead of going to the Foxes Could

Have masterd us While it has been Peace has

made us Severall Threatnings

Brother Corlaer

You have recommended unto us

that wee should Cultivate a Good Understanding

With the farr Indians and Draw them as Much

as Wee Can It is True Wee have had Warr agt. this or

that Nations, but never been the First Aggressors, But

Those who made Warr s:th us have Felt the Weight of

It Wee Promise you to Draw as Many farr Indians

to this Government as Wee Can — Give a Belt

 

[0543] 269a

Brother Corlaer

You Acquainted us also that you

had a fine Present for us Wherefore Wee thank you heartily

you told us that as soon as Wee had given our answer

you would Deliver it But as it is Late Wee Desire you

may give the same too Morrow

His Ex.cys answer

In answer

As to what you desire in Relation that no Rum should

be Sent up to your Country It is absolutely Necessary to

Send Rum to Oswego for the refreshmt. of the Men there

and those who Do Carry up Provisions I shall give Strict

Orders that none of my People do send or Carry up

and Strong Liquour to your People If any shall Trans=

=gress I Expect you will Inform against them; For

your know how Difficult it is to Restrain them from

Selling as well as is Difficult for your People from

bringing it

I thank you in my Master the King of Great

Brittains name for the land you have Granted

for the use of his Garrison at Oswego, I desire you will

Express how Many 1000 Faddom in length and

breadth you Will grant him, and I will Send up a fitt

Person to Marke out the bounds w:th you and I promise

you not to go beyond these bounds, by this you Will

See that the English do not Deal w:th you as the French

Do Who Take your Land without your Leave

The house at Oswego Was built for your Protection

So I Expect you will Assist me If it be attacked

by any body whatsoever that you will assist the

English

[0544] 270

Garrison there in Defending it for Nothing Can be

more Naturall than for you to Assist in the Defence of a

Place which is Maintained for your Security

I desire you to Send Some of your People too

Morrow Morning to Receive the Presents

Albany the 5.o of October 1728

A Private Conferrence Held w:th His Excell.y John

Montgomerie Esq:r &c. and Two Sachims of Each of the

Six Nations

 

Brother Corlaer

Wee are Very glad that you have

Renewed the ancient Covenant and strengthned the

Same w:th us and w:ch wee have on both Sides hitherto

kept Inviolable

Wee are also very glad that you our brother

Corlaer Who is now Come over to us is a wise Prudent

man. Wee must Esteem you So because you have spoken

very Sensibly — Brother — It Seemed yesterday as

If you were Displeased [dissatisfied – crossed out] that Wee did not Promise to

Defend the house at Oswego It has been of old Concluded

betwen your and our Ancestors that wee should be

one body and one heart, So what [was to be – crossed out] is Done to one

Member the whold must be Sensible of it and

Defend

[0545] 270a

Defend the Injury Done to any Part of it

Brother Corlaer

Wee have just now Told you that wee are one

body and one Heart you Desired us that when any

Attempt be Made ag.t the House at Oswego that Wee

should Defend It, how Can you Imagine that Wee

Should not do so, for wee have no Affection for the French

Who have been our Ancient Enemies Who Wee in the

Late Warr had almost Subdued & Conquerd for Wee

have Run Down and Destroyed whole Villages So

that If the bones of the French and of us Were gatherd

together It would make Heaps as high as houses

Brother Corlaer

Yesterday when wee made our answer Wee

did not Proceed in Regular order Wee Understood from

you that when any of our Neighbours might be So

bold as to Disturb us Wee need not fear while our

King our Common Father will Protect us who has

a Large Fleet of Shipps Ready to Employ on any

Occasion

You Told us that our great King is very

Watchfull to have So great a fleet ready on all occasions

Which is very Prudent, but that is a great Distance from

hence, and Can’t Defend us here. Wee hope that you

Will be Pleased to Take the Same Care here to have Every

thing in readiness in Case wee or you should be molest:d

by our Enemies for w.ch End it would be very Proper to

have a Magazine at this Place of all thing is necessary

for Warr on Occasion

Brother Corlaer           Wee Desire for the last Time that you may not

be Negligent to have a Magazine here of all things

Necessarys

[0546] 271

Necessary, to be ready on all occasions, but to grant

it and gett it Done, for wee may be attackd by our Enemies

on a Sudden, and when a Magazine is Furnishd, Wee

may want for nothing, for Wee have never made any

Promises on our side to former Governours but wee

Performd them

Brother Corlaer

You may Possibly know more than wee Do, and

know If there be any Likelihood of War, between the

Kings of Great Brittain and France Wee Desire you to

Inform us w:th what you know about that Matter. If there

be any Probability of It Wee begg that Wee may be Informd

and well Supplyed w:th Ammunition, for Wee have never

Waged War w:th any Nation but Wee have Subdued &

Conquerd them

Brother Corlaer

This is the only Method of Security for you and

us to have Amunition Enough in Readiness, In former

Times Wee were sufficiently Supplied w:th it by which Wee

Conquerd out Enemies, and for w:ch Wee were oblidged to

our Brethren who supplied us Cheap, for then Wee Could

buy more for one Bear Skin, than Wee Can for four or

five Now

Brother Corlaer

Wee have Spoake yesterday relateing the Rum

That your People shou’d not Carry it up to our Country

for If Wee See it wee Cannot forbear to buy and Drink it

Wee Desired that no Rum may be brought up, but

Pray understand us right, Wee Do not Mean that no

Rum should be Carryed up at all but none brought

in our Castles, Let it be brought to the Tradeing house

at

[0547] 271a

At Oswego, but Pray Take Care that the Traders Do not

mix it w.th Water Let them Sell Pure Rum and those

who buy let them Pay for it

Brother Corlaer

This is what wee should have Said yesterday

Wee begg again that you give strict orders to your

People not to Carry up Rum to Our Castles, where they

Come and Intice us to buy it and Drink it Let them

bring it to Oswego but at the Same Time give Particular

Directions that they bring thither Guns and Amunition

and Such things as Wee have occasion for but not

Rum only

Brother

Wee Desire also If it be in your Power to Let us have

goods Cheaper than they are Sold to us at Present

Brother            You Desired us yesterday how many 1000

Faddom the Land Wee have granted to his Majtie

at Oswego Should Extend in Length and breadth which

is a thing wee Can’t very well Tell now while Severall

Sachims are at home in our Castles w.th whom Wee

Ought first to Consult as to the Quantity Who would

Otherwise be Displeased at it

Brother

The Land w:ch you Desired is absolutely granted to

His Majesty our Common Father on w:ch you may

Depend for it is agreed by us all that he shall have it

but as to the Quantity Wee must Consult first w:th the

rest of the Sachims, and then shall Marke it out

Wee have Said that wee should marke out ye Land for

you when Wee Come home & have Consulted ye. rest of ye Sachims

Pray Let a fit Person go up w:th us and named Lourence

Clace the Interpreter who they Said is one of us and understands

Our Language, Wee have Done Speaking [now – crossed out] and what

have said now Wee should have Said yesterday in Publick but has been

Neglected

 

[0548] 272

Answer of       His Excelly John Montgomerie Esq:r

Captain Generall & Gov:r in Chiefe of the

Provinces New: Yorke New Jersey &c

Brethren

Now Since I have had Two or three meetings

w:th you, [think – crossed out] Like you better than before, because I am better

acquainted w:th you the kind Answer you have given

will Confirm his Majtie in the good Opinion he had of you

that the thing w.ch Seemed to Displease me yesterday when

you made Some Difficulty to Assist the English to Defend

Oswego was this, that I have orders from the King of Great

Britain our Father to Assist the Six Nations in Case

any of their Enemies should Attack them, but that you

have now Satisfied me and as Wee are Children of one

Common Father, If any Enemies Attack you I will Send

you Assistance and Come my selfe to Defend you If it be

Necessary as to your Trade of Rum and other things

I shall Take Care, that you Shall not be Abused and

what you Demand be Granted according to your Desire

As to what you Desire to know of the King of Great

Brittains Alliance w:th the King of France they are at

Present in very good Friendship together but as there

has been often War between them, The King of Great

Brittain will Always be ready to go to War in Case

the French Attack you or us; I believe he will have

Large Magazines here and in other convenient Places to Supply all

his Children in Case of War

I Consent that Laurence Clase the Interpreter go

up w:th you as you Desire to Marke out the Land, and

I Expect that you will give your kind Father a Large

Trade

You may now when Ever you are ready receive

the Presents I am to make you in name of my Master

the

[0549] 272a

The King of Great Brittain your Father, You shall

have Provisions for your Journey, and Waggons to bring

you to Snachntdy, the Rum shall be Delivered you above

Snachnatdy, for you have shown the Inconveniency of

your young men Getting Drunk w:th it; I wish you w:th

All my Heart a good Journey home and all Happiness

A Sinneke Sachim stood up & Said

Brother Corlaer

It has been Customary when Wee Come here

Towards the fall that a Smith & an Armourer has

been orderd to go w:th us to Worke in our Country. Wee begg

you to Grant us now that Joseph van Sige and Hend

Wemp may be order’d to go up w:th us who are fitt Persons for our

Occasion

His Excelly Answerd them

That he would order a Smith and an Armourer to

be Sent to Worke for them but then he Expected that

they would not Suffer the French Smith who is

now there nor any other from Canada to Reside

among them for the future

[0550] 273

A Speech made by His Excelly John Mont=

=gomerie Esq: Captain Gen:ll and Governour in

Chiefe of the Provinces of New York New Jersey &c

To the Schaakook & River Indians in

Albany the 5:o of Octob: 1728

[Printed DRCHNY 5:868 et seq. with some differences in list of those present and time sequence. Summary Wraxall p. 175-176.]

Present

His Excelly Jno Montgomerie Esq:r

George Clarke}           Esq:rs of His Majties Coun:ll

Ph: Livingston}

 

Captain Long}

Mr. Jam:s D Lansey}

 

Mynd:t Schuyler}

Evert Bancker }

Rutger Bleecker}        Esq:rs Comm:rs

[J]eremy Renslaer}

Children

I Sent for you my Children to give

you fresh assurance’s of the Protection of the Great

King of Great Brittain My Master Our Common

Father and Sovereign and to Acknowledge in this

Publick manner the Just Sense I have for your former

dutifull behaviour and Fidelity to his Royall Predecessors

and your Affection to your Brethren the rest of His

Subjects in these Parts & in his name & by his order

I renew w:th you the Ancient Coven.t Chain & give you a

Present of Such things as are of use to you and I expect

youl Continue firm to your Duty at all Times to Come

as you have Done in Time Past, and in Doing So you

may rest Assured not only of Protection but of all other

good Offices in the Poser of those that are in Authority

under the King our Common Father & Protector

Give a Belt

I am Concern’d I must Tell you that I am

Inform’d that many of your Nation have of late Mis=

=behaved themselves who on Frivolous Pretences and

Wrong Notions have Left their Native Country

Schaakook

[0551] 273a

Schaakook and gone to Live in Canada a place not so

good and Fertile as they Deserted from, I Exhort you to

use all proper Means to pswade them to Return back, &

Proper Care Shall be Taken that they and you Shall

have Sufficient Land and more than you and your

Children can Cultivate and plant on, That you & they

may Again Shelter under the branches & Leaves of

that Tree of Peace which has long since been planted

at Schaakook. Ile Take Care that the Same Shall Flourish

and grow, and when you hear any Rumours be not

Too Credulous as many of you have been Lately, but

Inform me of it and I will undeceive you, and Tell

you the Truth  Give a Belt

The Indians made Answer

Father Corlaer

Wee are very glad that you are Come to Visit your

Children & Rejoyced to See that the Tree w.ch has been long

since Planted at Schaakook which wee thought was

almost Witherd & Decayed is Come to Life again and

getts Nourishm:t and Wee are Extreamly well pleased

to Perceive that the fire w:ch used to burn and was

almost Extinguishd is kindled again Gave Two

Bever Skinns

Father

Wee are much Comforted to hear that you have

Renewed the Ancient Covenant Chain w:th us Wee Do

now do bring fur to wrap it up in that ye Same may not

rust but keep bright and Clean Give Two Beav:r Skinns

Father

Wee are Rejoyced that your Grandfather hath

Such a great value and Esteem for us in Sending you

(one of his Sons) hither to be our Father who Does us

the Honour to Send for us       Give Two Beaver Skinns

[0552] 274

Father

You have recommended unto us that wee should

use our Endeavours to Fetch back from Canada those who

deserted from Schaahkook Wee Promise to use all

Possible means to Perswade them to Return to their

Native Country, Give Two Beaver Skinns

It is Somewhat Difficult for us to Encrease our

Number at Schaahkook It is often Recomended to us

by those in Authority here to Settle there & bring those

back who are gone to Canada for Wee Can Scarcely have

the Land w:ch is Promis’d us and are Molested on that

w:ch is our own by People who Live near us — Wee Came

home Late last Spring from our Hunting and Planted

Some Land; and now this Fall our Indian Corn has

been Carried away

The Fences about our Land are old and rotten

So that the Cattle Distroy much of our Cropps Wee Came

home Late last Spring and found Some of our Land

Planted on by Christians, whom Wee would have paid

for their Trouble but they refused yet wee howed the

Indian Corn Twice, and now your People have ag:t our

Wills and by Violence Carried off the Corn from our

fields

His Excelly: Answerd them

Children

I thank you fore your kind Speech

I shall Acquaint your Grandfather w:t good People

you are

As to the Complaint you have made ag.t

the Christians If you will Let me know the Peoples

names who have Injured you I shall order them

to be Punished and you Satisfied

[0553] 274a

Albany 7:o October 1728

[Printed DRCHNY 5:867 with different wording.]

Present

His Ex.cy John Montgomerie Esq:r

Ph: Livingston

Mynd.t Schuyler

Evert Bancker

Rutger Bleecker

Henry Holland

Peter van Brugh

J: Cuyler

Steph: Groesbeek        } Esq.rs Comm:rs

Evert Windell

Joh: Roseboom

Har. Windell

Reyer Garrison

Abraham Cuyler

Ph. Schuyler

Nicolas Bleeker

Joh.s Lansigh

His Exy not having been able to deliver the

Presents to the Sachims of the 6 Nations in Publick

on Saturday last as he Intended being Prevented by

the Rain the Said Presents were this day Delivered

them by his Said Excy. in Name of His Majtie King

George the Second w:ch Presents Consist of the

following Particulars vizt

66 Fuzees                                40 £ Beads

65 Coats                                  48 Tobacco boxes

66 Hatts                                   54 Looking Glasses

8 Peices Strouds                      23 doz: Clasp knives

6 D.o Duffells                         8 D.o Single

6 D.o Blanketting                   1500 Flints

8 D.o Halfe Thicks                 1000 £ Powder

256 Course Shirts                   12 Casks Tobacco

57 Fine D.o                             1 box Pipes

30 Kettles                                1 Hhd Rum

59 Hatchetts                            6 barrells Porke

14 Doz Stockings

[0554] 275

The Rum shall be Delivered you above

Snachnatdy as I already have Told you, I wish you

a good Journey to your Habitations and hope to meet

again as soon as may be you shall have Provisions for

too Day and for your Journey and too Morrow a Bull

to Hunt, I Desire you to Recommend and Prevent

your young men not to Do mischiefe to the Peoples

Cattle as they go up, I have orderd Two barrells of

Cheer to Drink his Majties Health

[0555] 275a

[Printed in DRCHNY at 5: 868 with different wording.]

The Sachims Answerd

Brother Corlaer

You acquainted us that your Master the King of

Great Brittain our Common Father has Sent w:th you for us

This Present you Could not Deliver it last Saturday by

reason of the Rain, and that the Powder shall be Delivered us

which you Say is very Strong and good, for all which Wee

are very thankfull

Brother Corlaer

Wee are ver glad & Joyfull that wee See you have

Such a great Affection for us this is the Place appoint.d

of old to meet, Wee are very much Rejoyced our Brother

Corlaer is Safely Arrived here because the Sea is So

Dangerous and Tempestious to Cross, Wee have brought

a Small Present to your Exy: for your long Jouney

hither to meet us to Anoint your Feet w.th

Brother

Wee wish you a happy Voyage, and shall be

glad to Hear that you are Safe Arrived for Death follows

in Every where wee have now Done to Speak

A Sachim in behalfe of the Sinnekes said

Brother Corlaer

Wee desired you for a Smith and an Armour.r

but wee Do not hear further of it you Spoake ab.t a French

Smith who is there now, he can make no Worke if any our

Brethren be there from hence for he is an old man and

Can Scarcely See and Desire that Jos. van Size and

Hendrick Wemp do now go up along w:th us — Gave a

Few Skinns

Wee would Fain now have the Smith and armourer

Go

[0556] 276

Go up along up w:th us that wee may be Sure of them

Otherwise It may be Neglected

His Excy Replied

That he would give Effectuall orders to ye Comm:rs to get

the Said Smith and Armourer to go as they Desire that

After they have Divided the Presents they shall have a

barrell of Beer to Drink the Kings Health

 

Minute Book 3: 1728-March: Mohawk Leaders Ask About Missing Kahnawake Hunters and Bring News of French Plans to Attack Oswego; The Six Nations Complain About Insults and High Prices at Oswego; The Garrison Needs Food

News from Mohawk Country

The Mohawk leaders Hendrick and Seth met with the Commissioners of Indian Affairs on March third. They said that two “Onnogonque indians” who had moved from Canada to live with the Haudenosaunee at Oriskany had come to a Mohawk castle (i.e. town) from hunting at the little falls on Wood Creek with other Canada Indians.  Two Kahnawake Indians had inquired about the three hunters from Kahnawake who had disappeared on the New England frontier.  Hendrick and Seth asked their “brethren at Albany” for news about the missing hunters, but the commissioners’ response is not recorded.

Hendrick and Seth also said that the Kahnawake Indians told the Mohawks that an army of a thousand Frenchmen were marching on Oswego.  The Mohawks immediately sent a messenger with wampum to inform the rest of the Six Nations.  They acknowledged the English advice to the Six Nations the previous summer urging them to keep their men at home to defend Oswego rather than allowing them to go to war elsewhere.

The English Won’t Let Indians Inside Fort Oswego and Powder is Too Expensive

On March 14th, an unnamed leader from Oneida complained to the commissioners about the situation at Oswego. He spoke in the name of the entire Six Nations. There may have been other Six Nations representatives present, since the commissioners responded using the term “Brethren.”

The speaker began by reminding the commissioners that the Six Nations had agreed to the trading house at Oswego because it was supposed to be for their benefit as well as that of the English.  Now the English at Oswego were preventing people from the Six Nations from coming into the house to warm themselves, or if “any one Obtains that liberty before he can be half warm he is out Doors.” Moreover the Six Nations had expected goods to become cheaper, but instead powder had become more expensive. The speaker pointed out that cheap goods would draw “waganhoes & far Indians” to trade with the English rather than the French. He also reprimanded the commissioners because Oswego was supposed to be “a house of peace” but the English were still at odds with the Governor of Canada much of the time. He presented seven hands of wampum and asked again for cheaper powder and lead as well as a quick response.

The commissioners said they were sorry that the new building was not providing “Such releave as was first Intended by our Gov.r” in the form of cheap power, lead, and other goods.  They said the men at Oswego had not brought enough powder and that they would tell the governor and obtain a “Speedy & Acceptable answer.” They assured the speaker that the governor wanted to provide cheap goods to encourage trade. The rest of their response contains some contradictions and it would be interesting to know what the Oneida speaker thought about them, but nothing is recorded about it. The commissioners blamed the rude reception for Indians at the Oswego trade house on the commander there and on the report that the French were threatening to attack it. At the same time they insisted that there was a “firm peace” between the crowns of France and England.  Despite the firm peace, they cautioned the Six Nations against joining the French war against the “foxes a Nation of Indians Liveing on a breach [branch] of the Mississippi” on the grounds that the French wanted the Six Nations to fight the Fox in order to weaken the Six Nations and prevent trade with the English.

The French were fighting a devastating war with the Fox  (Meskwaki) during this period. Apparently some of the Meskwaki had joined the Six Nations, since the commissioners added that “part of the Same indians are now liveing among you” so the Six Nations should be able to make peace with the rest.

Food, Arms, and Powder for Oswego

Several entries in March deal once again with getting supplies to the garrison at Oswego, which was running low on peas and wheat. One of the commissioners, Philip Livingston, put up the money to provide these goods, which required repairing batoes at Schenectady, fitting them with tarpaulins to keep off the rain, and hiring four men to convey them to the Oneida Carrying Place. Captain Nicolls, the commander at Oswego, would send his men to the carrying place and take the supplies the rest of the way to the fort.  Another commissioner, Harmanus Wendell, put up the money to pay Jacobus Peek for a batoe load of peas.

"Poling a Batteau," as depicted by an unknown artist, probably in the 1880s.
“Poling A Batteau,” from p. 423 of A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times, by Jonathan Pearson. Albany: Munsell, 1883. Artist and date unknown.                           Much of the food for the Oswego garrison was sent there from Schenectady by batteau. According to Pearson, batteaus could be either paddled, poled, or towed by workers walking along the riverbank or through the shallows.

 

Governor Burnet informed the commissioners that he was sending pork for the garrison as well as orders that anyone who wanted a license to go there should be required to carry arms and powder.  A somewhat confused entry in the records appears to say that the commissioners asked the interpreter at Schenechtady to hire a “trusty Indian” to take a letter to Oswego to convey orders from Colonel Rensselaer (possibly Hendrick Van Rensselaer, who was also a commissioner) to Captain Nicolls that men going to Oswego should take arms and ammunition with them.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the first entry for March starts here on p. 213. The transcription is below.

[0430] 213

At a Meeting of the Com.es of the Indian

Affairs in Albany the 3.d March 1727/8

[Another copy, substantially the same, can be found on p. 174a.]

Present

Philip Livingston

Myndert Schuyler

Evert Banker

Peter V.n Brugh

Rutger Bleecker

Langerter [Lancaster] Symes

Stephanus Groesbeeck

Nicolaes Bleecker

Hendrick & Seth two Sachims of the mohawks Indians

being arrived here inform that board that 2 Onnogonque indians

who are Removd from Canada to live among the 5 Nations ovis=

=kanie [p. 174a says “at Oriskany] Come to their Castle [blank space] days ago from the little falls

on the wood Creek where they had been on hunting there

with Severall other Canada Indians Say that two Cachnawage

Indians came there in 8 Days from that Castle to inquire of

their brethren at Albany about three Indians who were on

hunting on the fronteers of N. England that are missing wt. is become of ym.

The said Cachnawage indians also Said that an armey of [a]

thousand french men were Actually gone on their march against

the building at Osweege on which we Sent an Express with Seven

hands of wampum to go past day & Night to Inform the rest of the

nations with the french design & Intention & Suppose by this time

it is Reachd as far as the Sinnekes Country you have last Summer

advicd ye. Six Nations not to admit their men to go to war but to

keep them at home for the fear that the french Should make

any attempts against Osweege or the Indians which we have

Observed & taken notice of, & order them only to go hunting near

home to be ready to defend on any Surprise,

[0431] 213a

At a Meeting of the Com.es of Indian

Affairs in Albany this 14th day of March

1727/8 Speech made by an oneyde Sachim

Present

Ph: Livingston

Henry Holland

Myndert Schuyler

Langester Symes

Stephanus Groesbeeck

Harmanus Wendle                              Brother Corlaer & quieder

I Speak in the name of the Six Nations its not that

I that have Contrive what I am to Say but its Concluded by

all the nations what I Shall now Say, you have last Summer

desird to build a house at Osweege, and you Said at the

Same time that that house Should be to your & our Advan=

=tage whereon we Considered & did Concent the building

of the Same house but we [Con -crossed out] find it on the Contrary

that its not to our Advantage for we have not the liberty

when we Come there to Enter into the house to warm our Selves

If they of any one Obtains that liberty before he Can be half

warm he is out Doors, we had also thought at the Same

that we Should have had goods cheaper then formerly but

find it the Contrary for the powder is Sold us there by the

Gill therefore Brother Corlaer & quieder we desire that we

May have powder Cheaper there

Brother the reason we desire that Goods may be Sold

us Cheaper is that thereby you will Incourage all the wa=

=ganhoes & far Indians to Come & trade with you & leave the

french at Canada; we Cant much Complain about the

price of Dry goods but only the powder & lead you sell too

dear you Said also when you desird liberty to build the house

that it Should be a house of peace but it Seems often to be

the reverse as we Suppose that you & Gov.r of Canada cant

often agree on the Subject and then there is again again

a time that you maintain a great frindship together,

Brother we desire that you will be pleased to give

us a Speedy answer on the Subject that you will give us

powder & lead Cheaper then you do now because it has

often happend that we have Desird or proposed a matter

we never Rec.d any answer thereon gave a String of 7 hands

of Wampum

Answer

[0432] 214

Answer

Brethren

We are Sorry to her that you are Concernd

and afflected that the building at Osweege does not give you

Such releave as was first Intended by our Gov.r to Supply you

with powder & lead & other Necessaries for your use & Convi=

=ence that the Camidities are not Sold you there So Cheap as

you would have them we Shall not faile to Inform our Gov.r

with your request that you may have a Speedy & Acceptable

answer we have no rum [room] to doubt but proper Care will be

taken of Redress for you that powder & lead shall be

Offerd you there Cheaper as has been Sold last winter

it Seems that the men there have not taken Care to Carry

with them Such a Supply as has been necessary for you & that

you have not been well Rec.d at the house is to be im=

=ted & that [Our] are not known to the Commander there

is a report that the french will take it by thretetoun

Otherwise would be rec.d with [Ceivality] its our Gov.es Chief aim

to Induce the far Indians to Come & trade with the people

of this province & you & he knows ye. greatest motive to draw

them is to give them goods Cheap Which you must acknow=

=ledge are Sold at [ye] very Low rate to Recommend you to

give all the Incouragemt. in your power & free trade is

advantagous to us & you for the more trade we have the

Greater quantity of goods we have to Supply Such trade as

it is a firm peace between the two Crowns of Great brit=

=tain & france So we & the french of Canada who are Sub=

=jects must as long as Continues in frindship & good Continuence

together wherefore we dont think that they will molest

us In the peaceable possession of the house at Osweege if they

Should they break the peace they Cant never Justify Such a vaile

Accout for pretending a right to your land we must needs give

you a Certain not to joyn the french in their pretending war

against the foxes a Nation of Indians Liveing on a breach

of the River of Mississipi, with an Intend to Subdue ym.

for that only Strengthten the french make them proud and

is drawing you from your habitations & bringing a war on

you

[0433] 214a

You while you Can Live at peace for part of the Same

indians are now liveing among you do reather go on hun=

=ting & because your wives & Children we suppose its more

its more to Stop the trade to us then to Subdue them

Whereas the Garryson at Osweege by the last advice

from Capt. Nicolls will Soon be in want of pease & wheat

meal Wherefore its resolvd that two batoes be Repaird at

Schinechtady four men hird there one hundred Skiple

pease & 100 Sheple wheat meal he [be] brought & 100 bags be

made to put them in to bring it up to the Onneyde Carrying

place to deliver it to the men which Capt. Nicolls is to

Send to receive that there all which Philip Livingston

offers to provide & Stand Securety for & for the Charges which

may come thereon wh. the Com.es do resolve & Imagine Shall

be paid & Riembarzd unto ye Sd. Philip Livingston on order

out of the next Com.es Messy if the Next Assembly do not

provide & pay for the same

Att a Meeting of the Com.es of Indian

Affairs in albany ye 19th March 1727/8

Present

Philip Livingston

Henry Holland

Myndert Schuyler

Peter Vn. Brugh

Hend.k Vn. Renselaer

Langester Symes

Rutger Bleecker

Stepha: Groesbeek

Nicolaes Bleecker

Phil: Schuyler             This Day Recd. a Letter from his Ex.cy

Gov.r Burnet Esq.r Dated the 19 feb. wherein he men=

=tions to have Rec.d ours of the 14 D.o that he will Send

up pork by the return of the Sloops to Send an Express

with a letter for Capt. Nicolls at Osweege & that wh.

any desires lycences to go up there be Requird to de=

=mand  from them by his Exce.cys order to Carry arms &

powder. Every one as last year which the Com.es desird Colonel

Renselaer to Order the Capt. of Regimts. to warm [warn] their

Men yt. go up to take arms & amination with them to Swege

Resolvd that his Excel.cy  for Capt. Nicolls best

the Interpreter at Schinechtady) Inclosed in a [letter – crossed out]

letter to Direct him to hire a trusty Indian to Carry the Sd.

letter Express to Osweege with all Convenient Speed —

[0434] 215

Albany the 21 March 1727/8

May it please your Exc.y

We are honourd with your Excel.cy fav=

=vours of the 29th feb.y whereby perceive that your Ex.cy

will take care to Send up pork by the return of

the Sloops, we are about to hire men to Send for Capt.

Nicolls ( As soon as the River is Navigable & free

from Ice with hundred Sheple pease & 100 wheat

Meal the last from the Carrying place to the Carry=

=ing place where we writ him an Express your Ex.cy di=

=rected us to send to Osweege with the [pack] to Send batoes

to the wood Creek to receive those provisions as soon as the

whether will permit,

We suppose the best & Sevelt way to provide provi=

=sions for the Garryson at Osweege will be to Send thither in

may for 12 Moths wh. would Safe much trouble & more Cost &

Charges these are but four batoes Safe & free from rain will

be Requird to have Six Tarpellins made of Course Duck,

Inclosed Send your Excel.y Capt. Nicolls last letter

whereby your Ex.cy will see in what Condition ye. garryson

at [yt. time] & how necessary its to Send them [more illeg. – crossed out]

pease & Meal In wh. no time, we have nothing more wor=

=thy your Excel.cy Notice a psent wherefore Conclude

with that we are with great Esteem & Respect

Philip Livingston        Hend.r Vn. Renselaer

Henry Holland            Rutger Bleeker

Myndert Schuyler       Stephanus Groesbeek

Evert Banker               Har: Wendle

Peter Vn. Brugh          Nicolaes Bleecker

[0435] 215a

Att A meeting of the Comm.es of ye

Indian Affairs in Albany the 27th

March 1727/8

Present

Philip Livingston

Henry Holland

Myn: Schuyler

Har: Wendle

Ryer Gerritse

Nicolaes Bleker

Mr. Harmanus Wendle Engages to pay

Jacobus Peek for such quantity of pease as the 3

man who go up to the Carrying place can load a batoe wh.

the Com.es promise shall be paid unto him at the first Com.es

Messy if it be not otherwise paid for by the next Assem=

bly

[There are no entries for April 1728]

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: 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

Minute Book 3: 1725-October

Trade is Welcome in Iroquoia; Alcohol and Quarrels Are Not

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

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

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

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

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

Minute Book 3: 1725-June

The French Still Plan to Build Fort at Niagara

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

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

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

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

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

Some Albany Traders Agree Not to Trade With the French

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

The Jenondadies (Petun) Come to Trade

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Minute Book 3: 1725-April

 

The Six Nations Don’t Want a French-English War in Iroquoia

On April 11th, a delegation from Onondaga, Cayouga, and the Tuscaroras came to Albany on behalf of the Six Nations as a whole. They told the commissioners that Governor Vaudreuil had sent a message to Jean Coeur (Louis-Thomas Chabert de Joncaire) in Seneca Country telling him that someone from New England had revealed Governor Burnet’s plan for a trading house at the mouth of the Onondaga River (Oswego). Governor Vaudreuil described his own plans to build a fort at Niagara and ships to sail Cadarachqui (Lake Ontario) as well as his intention to destroy the English house at Oswego.

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

The delegates said that the Six Nations reminded Jean Coeur that the French and the Haudenosaunee had recently fought a bitter war that ended with an agreement not to make war over frivolous things such as “Beavers and furrs.” If the French destroyed the English trading house and built the proposed ships and fort, it could mean war. They urged the French to live in peace with the English. They did not want blood shed in their country.

They begged their brother Corlaer (New York) to listen to this message too.  The French and the English should “live like friends together,”  neither becoming the first aggressor.  The delegates said they would take particular note of whether Corlaer followed this advice, in support of which the sachims had sent a large belt of wampum. They had sent a belt to the French with the same message. They wanted Governor Burnet to meet them at the beginning of June to renew the covenant and discuss important matters.

The commissioners responded that they were surprised that the Six Nations would allow the French to impose on them in such a way, at which point the page ends.  The remainder of their answer is missing.

(I have edited this post to remove the sections relating to French forts, Abraham Schuyler’s assignment, and problems at Tiononderogue. The records begin to get out of order here, and I made a mistake in the dates of the entries relating to these issues, which date from 1726, not 1725. Apologies to my readers!)

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

Minute Book 3: 1725-January

Things were still not going well between the commissioners and William Burnet, the governor of New York and New Jersey.

Governor William Burnet
Governor William Burnet. Portrait by John Watson, from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Burnet_(colonial_administrator))

In January the commissioners replied to a letter from the governor in which he told them not to give Nicholas Schuyler and Jacob Wendell the oath against trading with the French because they were already trading with the French in contravention of the Act of 1720 that prohibited it. In this letter the governor accused the commissioners of taking ‘no more Notice of [his] minute in Council then if it had been waste paper.” Presumably he was angry about the incident the previous October in which Schuyler and Wendell had been caught red-handed in the woods north of Albany with a group of native people and a large quantity of strowd blankets that they were obviously transporting to Canada to trade with the French. No doubt it seemed pointless to have traders take loads of goods to Montreal and take the oath against doing so only after they returned.

In their reponse to the governor, the commissioners said they were sorry that he felt this way. They insisted that they were doing their best to comply with his directions but the Act of 1720 did not authorize them to do more than what they were doing.

The governor’s letter also asked for changes to their report responding to the petition of the London merchants opposed to the Act and sent them a printed copy of the Act. They thanked him for it, and for the suggestions for changes. The London merchants’ petition and the final version of the response of the New York government can be seen here in the printed Papers Relating to an Act of the Assembly of Province of New-York, For Encouragement of the Indian Trade &c. and for Prohibiting the Selling of Indian Goods to the French viz. of Canada. NY: Bradford, 1724. The papers include a map that shows the route from Albany to Iroquoia, featuring the Five Nations, and showing rivers, lakes, and carrying places. The map does not show the native communities in the Saint Lawrence Valley and elsewhere that were affected by suppressing the trade between Albany and Montreal.

Colden's Map included with Papers on the Fur Trade
Map included with Papers Relating to an Act of the Assembly of Province of New-York, For Encouragement of the Indian Trade &c. and for Prohibiting the Selling of Indian Goods to the French viz. of Canada. NY: Bradford, 1724.

In their letter to the governor the commissioners also suggested that it would be useful to have an English settlement at Irondequoit (the location of present-day Rochester) so that if there was a dispute between the far Indians (members of nations coming to trade from beyond Iroquoia)  and the French who wanted to prevent that trade, they could encourage the Six Nations to support the far Indians.

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

Minute Book 3: 1724-September

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, September 1724 starts here

Most of the minutes for September cover a treaty conference with New York Governor William Burnet, the Six Nations, and the Schaghticokes that was held in Albany beginning on September 14th. They are printed in O’Callaghan’s Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, volume 5, beginning on page 713. I have not transcribed them because O’Callaghan’s version is essentially identical, but will briefly summarize them here.

On September 14th, Governor Burnet held a private conference with the Six Nations, New York Council member Francis Harrison, and Massachusetts Bay Council member John Stoddard. They discussed what had happened between the Six Nations messengers sent to bring the Eastern Indians to a peace treaty at Boston and the Eastern Indians (Abenaki) at the mission town of St. Francis.

The messengers said that they went first to Montreal and met with the Governor, who wanted to hold the meeting at Montreal so that he could be there. The messengers agreed in order to get an interpreter. While waiting for the St. Francis Indians, they went to Caughnawaga (Kahnawake) until the St. Francis delegates arrived. They invited the St. Francis sachems to come to Albany to talk about peace, but they replied that they could not lay down the hatchet against New England, because New England had taken their land and still held their people prisoner. They said that they would make peace when New England restored the land and freed the prisoners. They suggested that the parties wishing to make peace should come to Montreal rather than Albany.

Governor Burnet reminded the messengers that the Six Nations had told Boston that they would take up arms against the Eastern Indians if they did not comply with their requests. They denied agreeing to this, despite all his efforts,  “they knew not of any promise or Engagement, only that they promised His Excellency to be mediators for Peace.”

The next day Governor Burnet welcomed the Six Nations in the name of King George and gave them wampum belts incorporating letters of the alphabet. 1724-9-15The meanings of many of these initials are somewhat obscure. He thanked them for opening the path for far nations to come trade at Albany, claiming that this meant that goods were now more plentiful for the Six Nations. (While this might have been the case for those in the west, it is questionable whether things were working out equally well for the Mohawks). He noted that he had also improved the passage at Wood Creek where goods were carried from the Mohawk River watershed to Oneida Lake and eventually Lake Ontario by way of the Onondaga River (now called the Oswego River), a bottleneck for trade to and from the west.

Governor Burnet also said that he was keeping a force of young men with the Senecas with a smith and a trading house and that he also planned to send some men to the Onondagas, where the main trade with the far nations would pass. They planned to build a block house at the mouth of the Onondaga River. (“Onondaga River” did not mean what is now called Onondaga Creek, but rather what is now called the Oswego River where it enters Lake Ontario at Oswego.) Burnet’s men planned to live there along with a smith so they could be good neighbors to the Six Nations “and live as comfortably among you as they do here at home.” He explained that this would bring the beaver trade into Iroquoia along with cheaper goods. Governor Burnet explained that to show how much he wanted their beavers, he was wearing clothes made of beaver cloth. He asked the Six Nations to keep the path open for the far nations and to welcome the New Yorkers living in Seneca country as well as those who would be coming to Onondaga to build the new blockhouse.

Next Governor Burnet reminded the Six Nations that they had said they would send messengers to the Eastern Indians and take appropriate measures if the Eastern Indians continued to fight against New England. He said their continued friendship depended on them keeping their word, but he would leave it to the deputies from Boston to discuss the details.

On September 16th, the Six Nations met with the Commissioners for Massachusetts Bay. Despite the decision of Massachusetts Bay not to print records relating to their war with the Abenaki, the minutes of this meeting made it to England. They were not included in the Albany Indian Commissioner record books, but they are printed in O’Callaghan’s Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, volume 5, beginning on page 723.  Massachusetts rehearsed the occasions on which the Six Nations had allegedly said they would take up arms against the Eastern Indians if they did not stop attacking New England and urged them to do so now that the Eastern Indians had refused to comply with all requests to stop fighting. The Six Nations said that they were still waiting for an answer to the belt of wampum which they had sent to King George in England. They reiterated the position of the Eastern Indians that they would not make peace until their land and hostages were returned. They said that because England and France were at peace, “this matter of Peace lieth with you.” The best way to move forward would be to for Boston to return its Indian captives.

“Tho the Hatchett lays by our side yet the way is open between this Place and Canada, and trade is free both going and coming and so the way is open between this place of Albany and the six Nations and if a War should break out and we should use the Hatchett that layes by our Side, those Paths which are now open wold be stopped, and if we should make war it would not end in a few days as yours doth but it must last till one nation or the other is destroyed as it has been heretofore with us.” The speaker blamed the Governor of Canada for pushing the Eastern Indians to keep fighting even though they were inclined to peace. They asked the Massachusetts commissioners to try themselves to make peace with the Eastern Indians, since the Six Nations’ efforts had not succeeded. They intended to remain at peace and were not forsaking their brothers.

The next day, on September 17th, the Six Nations renewed the Covenant Chain with New York and thanked the governor for providing a smith to the Senecas and Onondaga, for clearing the passage at Wood Creek and for encouraging the far Indians to come to trade. They agreed to the block house near Onondaga, but expressed concern about what the prices for goods would be. They asked that the proposed blockhouse be located at the end of Oneida Lake instead of at the mouth of the Onondaga River. They acknowledged having said that they would “resent it” if the Eastern Indians continued to attack New England, and agreed to speak to the Boston commissioners about it. The Senecas asked why Myndert Wemp, a smith who they found “good, kind, & charitable” had not returned after spending time there with Major Abraham Schuyler two years before.

Despite the decision of Massachusetts Bay not to print records relating to their war with the Abenaki, the minutes of the proceedings between the  Commissioners for Massachusetts Bay and the Six Nations on September 16th made it to England. They were not included in the Albany Indian Commissioner record books, but they are printed inO’Callaghan’s Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, volume 5, beginning on page 723.  Massachusetts rehearsed the occasions on which the Six Nations had allegedly said they would take up arms against the Eastern Indians if they did not stop attacking New England and urged them to do so now that the Eastern Indians had refused to comply with all requests. The Six Nations said that they were still waiting for an answer to the belt of wampum which they had sent to King George in England. (This belt is described in the record of the treaty conference at Boston in August 1723, which can be found on page 197 of volume 5 of the Massachusetts General Court, Journals of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts 1723-1724.) The Six Nations explained the position of the Eastern Indians, who refused to make peace until their land and hostages were returned. They said that because England and France were at peace, “this matter of Peace lieth with you.” The best way to move forward would be to for Boston to return its Indian captives.

“Tho the Hatchett lays by our side yet the way is open between this Place and Canada, and trade is free both going and coming and so the way is open between this place of Albany and the six Nations and if a War should break out and we should use the Hatchett that layes by our Side, those Paths which are now open wold be stopped, and if we should make war it would not end in a few days as yours doth but it must last till one nation or the other is destroyed as it has been heretofore with us.” The speaker blamed the Governor of Canada for pushing the Eastern Indians to keep fighting even though they were inclined to peace. They asked the Massachusetts commissioners to try themselves to make peace with the Eastern Indians, since the Six Nations’ efforts had not succeeded. They intended to remain at peace and were not forsaking Massachusetts.

A few days later, on September 19th, Governor Burnet addressed the Six Nations again. Burnet’s tone was testy, even autocratic, and reveals the rifts still present between the British authorities and the Albany traders. Burnet told the sachems that the English blockhouse needed to be at the mouth of the Onondaga River in order to control the beaver trade, and that it must be the bad advice of the Albany traders that led the Six Nations to prefer the Oneida Lake location. He also blamed the traders for suggesting that goods should be as cheap at Onondaga as at Albany despite the additional work involved to bring them there from Albany, and for suggesting that Abraham Schuyler and Myndert Wemp return. He said that Albany was interfering in order to preserve its own trade with the French and asked the Six Nations not to consult the Albany traders in the future. He told them that he, not the Six Nations, would appoint his officers, that he would not appoint Abraham Schuyler because “he has taken a wrong way to get himself named,” and that he was sending Harme Vedder and Myndert Wemp’s brother to the Seneca instead of Schuyler and Mydert Wemp. (In the end, however, he appears to have sent Myndert Wemp after all.) He said that if he knew who had put these false notions into the minds of the Six Nations he would punish them.

Burnet said that the Six Nations had admitted to the Boston commissioners that they had agreed to support Boston against the Eastern Indians. He was not happy with their decision to wait for a response from the King of Great Britain before taking up arms. He claimed that the colonies were authorized by the king to make war with Indians on their own without the king’s consent. Burnet insisted that if the Six Nations were so “unworthy and cowardly” as to refuse to make war, they must at least allow their young men to enlist as soldiers in Boston’s army. He gave them what he described as “a very large Present” and wished them a safe journey home.

The Six nations sachems replied by D’Kannasore (Teganissorens) that since the governor did not approve of the location at Oneida Lake, they wished him “joy” where he proposed to make it and hoped it would bring many beavers. He thanked the governor for wishing them a good trip home, for many of their leaders had been lost on such journeys. He asked how many people planned to settle at the end of the Onnondaga river, to which the governor estimated 40 or 50. Teganissorens explained that he had been appointed as speaker by the Six Nations on the governor’s recommendation and that they had agreed to take his advice. He asked the governor whether he would also accept his advice, which the governor said he would do on matters of consequence.

Governor Burnet also met with the Schaghticoke sachems and complained that some of their people had been involved in attacks on New England. The Boston Commissioners at the meeting accused individuals from Schaghticoke named Schaschanaemp and Snaespank of injuring settlers on the frontiers, acknowledging that people at Schaghticoke had formerly lived “on our frontiers”. They were still welcome to hunt there “on the Branches of our Rivers” and considered friends who should not harbor New England’s enemies. The Schaghticokes admitted that Schaschanaemp and another person had come through Schaghticoke and had gone to the Half Moon and Saratoga. They said that the attacks might have been committed by people who had left Schaghticoke to live in Canada. In response to Governor Burnet’s question as to why so many people were moving from Schaghticoke to Canada, they said that one group had left because they heard that they were going to be attacked next by the Indians who were attacking New England, but they did not tell the rest of the Schaghticokes before they left. The governor accused the sachems of having no command over their people and reminded them that a Tree was planted by a former governor for them to live under (a metaphor for Governor Edmund Andros’s policy of sanctuary for refugees from New England).

The Schaghticokes said the tree was decaying, its leaves withering, and they had only a little land now to plant on. Some of them had gone hunting peacefully on the New England frontiers two years before, but were taken prisoner and put in jail in Boston. Jacob Wendell, an Albany trader who became a merchant in Boston, rescued them, but without him they would have been treated as enemies. Some of those who had been jailed had now gone to fight against New England to revenge themselves. The Boston commissioners said they were jailed by mistake because they were on Pennecook River where Boston’s enemies lived, but they were freed as soon as the mistake was discovered.

The Schaghticokes ended by renewing the covenant and affirming the Tree of Peace and Friendship planted at Schaghticoke. They would turn down requests to fight with the Eastern Indians against New England and follow the lead of the Six Nations. They, like the Six Nations, were waiting to hear King George’s response to the wampum belt message sent to him. Governor Burnet renewed the covenant and gave them gifts.

The Albany Indian Commissioners records for September 1724 include one document not printed in O’Callaghan, the record of a meeting on September 19th between the commissioners and Governor Burnet. Burnet changed the makeup of the commissioners by removing Johannes Wendell and restoring Robert Liviingston Junior. He arranged to pay back Jan Wemp and Jacob Glen for financing the work done at the Wood Creek carrying place by Major Goose Van Schaick and David Vanderheyden. He also arranged to get additional work done there to make a bridge over the creek and remove trees from the Mohawk River channel. He appointed Harme Vedder to go the Seneca Country and specified that he get the canoes used there by Jacob Verplank.  He also laid out other details about work to be done in Iroquoia. Myndert Wemp or Juriaen Hogan were preferred as smiths at Onondaga, and tools were to be provided there, although he said he would need to get the funding confirmed by the New York Council.

Last but not least, Governor Burnet said that he would not allow any more money for the interpreter’s travel expenses except if the governor ordered him to go. The interpreter, Lawrence Claessen, traveled to Iroquoia on a regular basis and these trips were important in diplomatic relations between New York and the Six Nations. Burnet was making it more difficult for the Albany Indian Commissioners to conduct their affairs. Clearly matters were still not resolved between the governor and the commissioners.

Minute Book 3: 1724-June

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, June 1724 starts here

New York’s diplomacy continued to be hampered by a lack of communication and even some outright conflicts between Governor Burnet, former Indian commissioner Colonel Johannes Schuyler, and the Albany Indian Commissioners. The commissioners had not been informed in advance that three representatives of New England had come to Albany to meet with the Kahnawake sachems and they did not know whether the governor had been informed of it, but they wrote to him saying that they presumed that he had been told. Colonel John (Johannes Schuyler), a former mayor of Albany and Indian Commissioner, had sent his own belts of wampum to Kahnawake the previous fall asking the Kahnawake sachems to come to Albany and to keep their people out of the conflict between New England and the Abenaki. Now the New England representatives sent their own messenger to the Six Nations asking them to come to the treaty. Massachusetts Governor Dummer wrote to the Albany Indian Commissioners asking them to pay part of the costs of the treaty. In their letter to the governor they said they could not pay the costs without being authorized to do so.

They also informed Governor Burnet that seven Indians from Kahnawake had gone to Otter Creek on Lake Champlain on their way to raid New England and several parties of Eastern Indians were also out raiding. The commissioners just wanted the war to end.

The commissioners met with the deputies of Kahnawake and its allies, Schwannadie, Adirondax, and Skightquan (Nippissing) on June 10th. The deputies addressed the commissioners as “Corlaer,” the term used for the governor of New York, seemingly unaware of the confusion or choosing to ignore it. They admitted that they had gone to war against New England again.

They said they wished to lay down the hatchet (make peace), but they had heard that New York, the Haudenosaunee, and New England had all agreed to take up the hatchet against them and the Abenaki. They asked that New York lay down the hatchet as well. They said that the belts they had received the previous winter had told them they should not make war while the governments of Great Britain and France were at peace. They said they agreed and promised to “stop up the path to New England,” that is stop sending warriors there. They asked that both sides bury the hatchet in “everlasting oblivion” and throw it in “a swift Current of Water to Carry it away.” They thanked God for giving New York the wisdom to mediate between them and Boston.

They added that at New York’s request they had asked the Indians at St. Francis to lay down the hatchet as well. The St. Francis Indians had said they would not come to treat about peace until Boston returned the Indian prisoners that they were holding, although they authorized the four allied nations to act as they thought best for the welfare of all. Governor Veaudreuil had given them his word that when Boston set its captives free, then he would command the Eastern Indians to make peace with New England. They also suggested that if New York had included the Eastern Indians in the belts sent out to invite Kahnawake to this treaty they would have been there too to talk of peace. Finally they said that as they were leaving Montreal they learned that some Indians living near Quebec were setting out against the English. They sent the principal sachem of Skawinnadie to tell them to stay at home until the delegates returned from the treaty. The commisisoners told them they were glad to see them and approved of their answer.

The commissioners wrote to Governor Burnet explaining what had transpired. Governor Dummer had told John Schuyler and Colonel Stoddard, who were now representing Boston, to cultivate a good relationship with the commissioners, and the commissioners seemed to be taking ownership of the wampum belt message that Colonel Schuyler had sent the previous winter even though Schuyler had not consulted them in advance. The government of New England, or “Boston” as both the commissioners and the Haudenosaunee often called it, was beginning to be more inclined to make peace with the Eastern Indians, realizing that war would get them nowhere.

They added that they were receiving complaints from Indians against traders who “defrayed them in their trade” and asked to be empowered to act against such traders.  They wanted to be able to compel traders accused of such practices to testify under oath about whether the complaint was true.

A few days later, on June 23rd, the Kahnawake sachems met with the Board again. They said that they had found the Indian prisoner taken in Virginia in 1722, likely the servant of Governor Spotswood who is mentioned in the minutes for 1723. He had been adopted by a woman in the place of her dead son, and she did not want to give him up, but they had persuaded her to do so. They suggested that she should be compensated for her loss. The commissioners thanked them and the woman. They agreed to give her a present to wipe off her tears.

Finally on June 25th, the Commissioners gave a formal answer to Kahnawake and its three allied nations. They thanked them for laying down the hatchet and assured them that New York had not agreed with New England to take up the hatchet against them. They also thanked them for sending the Skawinnadie sachem to prevent the Quebec Indians from going out against New England. But they said they could not get New England to make peace because fresh murders had now been committed there. They agreed to use their best efforts as mediators. They did not think New England would agree to the request from the St. Francis Indians that they free their Indian hostages until peace was actually concluded.

They belittled Governor Vaudreuil’s offer to end the war if the hostages were freed. And they now identified the leader of the party of seven Indians from Kahnawake who had gone to fight in New England as none other than “that treacherous felon Skononda.” They demanded that the sachems free the prisoners in the hands of this party when they returned to Kahnawake.

They also told them that several negro slaves had recently fled to Canada and that others had been enticed to do so by “some of your men now here.” They asked the sachems to discourage such practices, which they said were “the same as robbing us of our Goods” and could interfere with the good relations between them.

The sachems said that they would discourage their young men from luring negro slaves to Canada, and that Sconondo and his party went out against their orders. The commissioners said they were glad that the conference had ended so well and hoped that the meeting with Boston would do the same. The Indians “gave four [shouts] in Confirmation of what has been transacted at this Meeting.”

Minute Book 3: 1723-July

In Library and Archives Canada digital copy of the original minutes, July 1723 starts here

More groups of native traders came to Albany in July. Fourteen “Twightwights” or Miami met with the commissioners on July 12th. Like the “Denighcareage” group that came in May, they were accompanied by a Haudenosaunee translator who lived among them, a man named Dewadirko who was an Onondaga who had been taken prisoner by them. They recited a story similar to that of the previous groups, rehearsing the difficulties of their journey, emphasizing that the French had tried to discourage them from coming, asking for good prices on trade goods, and leaving calumet pipes for the commissioners to keep and smoke when others of their nation came.

At the same meeting, an Onondaga man named Oquaront reported that another nation living farther away than the Miami, called Agottsaragoka (or Oguttsarahake) wished to make an agreement to pass through the Five Nations and come to trade at Albany. In addition, some native traders arrived from Tughsaghrondie, the area where the French had built Fort Detroit at the beginning of the century. They renewed the Covenant Chain and they too asked for cheap goods, suggesting that the French goods at Fort Detroit were not meeting their needs.

The commissioners welcomed all of the visitors, accepted the Miami calumet pipes, assured Oquaront that the way would be clear for the Oguttsarahake to come to trade, and renewed the Covenant Chain with the Tuchsagrondie. They invited the group to send some principal leaders to New York to meet the governor, but were told it was too late in the year. However, they offered to come to see the governor the following spring.