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

[There are no entries for August 1726.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[0315] 156

[Not in Wraxall.]

By his Exc.ly William Burnet

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

of the Provinces of New York New

Jersey &c.

A Proclamation

Whereas I have Summoned the Indians of the five Nations to

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

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

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

other Strong Liquor to those Indians hath been of Dangerous

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

Publick welfare of the Inhabitants of this place I have therefore

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

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

or other Strong Liquor to any Indian or Indians Dureing my

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

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

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

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

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

that this proclamation be duely observed and the Delinquents

brought to Condign punishment Given under my hand and Seal

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

Anno Domini 1726

W. Burnet

[0316] 156a

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

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

 

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Minute Book 3: 1726-January

Conflicts in Iroquoia: Captives, Smiths, and Alcohol

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

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

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

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

Below is the full transcription:

[0240] 118a

[Not in Wraxall]

Att a meeting of ye Com.rs of ye Indian

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

Present

Phil: Livingston

[Henry Holland – crossed out]

Peter van Brugh

Evert Bancker

Henry van Rensslaer

The Com.rs this day ye following letter to

his Excellency [sic]

Albany 4 Jan.ry 1725/6

may it Please your Ex.cy

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

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

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

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

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

Fort Hunter whom we have Cloathed & Shall maintain & keep

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

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

Nations at ye Same time they Robbd Capt Hicks in virginia

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

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

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

the other two are among ye Indians. we have some

Information that their is another English boy among our

Indians taken from virginia who we shall

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

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

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

Conceive would in a great measure be prevented if

some able psons did Continually Reside at onnondage

with great Respect we Remain

[0241] 119

[Not in Wraxall]

Copy                                                               Att a meeting of ye Com.rs of ye

Indian affairs in Albany ye 9th

Jan.ry 1725/6

Present

Ph. Livingston             }

Evert Bancker

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

Letter from Jacob Brower Smith at onnondage

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

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

good work without a new bellows Its Resolved that a

new Bellows be forthwith made yt. ye Indians

may be Supplyd with such Smith work

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

[0242] 119a [Not in Wraxall.]

Copy

Att a meeting of ye Com.es of ye

Indian affairs in albany ye 15 Day

of Jan.ry 1725/6

 

Present

Ph Livingston

Henry Holland                        }

P.v. Brugh

E Banker

H v Renselear

This day the Com.rs write a letter to Jacob

Brower Smith at onnondage with a smiths Bellows

as also to Jurian hogans at Sinnekes Country

which last is as follows.

We have write you & Jacob Brower Smith at

onnondage if you would work as Smith for ye Indians

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

Governmts. but have Recd now manner of answer

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

has Recd a letter from you wherein you mention

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

wife & Children and other french with their wives

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

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

that affair. that we may a Right Information

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

Indians. Send your letter to Jacob Brower and he

will forward ye same unto us. we are.

[0243] 120

[Not in Wraxall.]

Copy

Att a meeting of ye Com.rs of ye Indian

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

Present

Ph. Livingston

Henry Holland

Peter van Brugh          }

Evert Bancker

Henry van Renselaer

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

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

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

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

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

their Resoluttion in Relation to that affair

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

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

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

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

Instructions in Relation to that affair

Minute Book 3: 1725-March

A Conference With Kahnawake, Schawenadie, the Kaniengeha’ka, and Albany

On March 13 the commissioners met with five leaders from Kahnawake (spelled Cachnawage in the records) and Kahnawake’s ally Schawenadie, in this case spelled Scanrinadie. (My best guess is that Schawenadie is the Iroquois name for the community that gradually relocated in the early 18th century from the Island of Montreal to Lac des Deux Montagnes on the Ottawa River nearby, becoming known as Kanesetake.) Some Kaniengeha’ka (Mohawk) leaders were also present. The record of this conference is a good example of the ongoing diplomacy between Iroquois communities in the Saint Lawrence Valley, the Six Nations, New France, and Albany that was conducted outside the initiatives of English governors. It also shows how events in Dummer’s War looked from a native perspective and confirms that Burnet was wrong when he accused the Albany traders of manipulating the Six Nations into objecting to Burnet’s plans for a trading house at Oswego. In reality those objections reflected the Six Nations’ valid concerns about the situation, concerns that Albany shared. The conference is omitted from Peter Wraxall’s  Abridgement except for a brief reference to the information provided about French plans. I have not found that it is printed anywhere else.

The Iroquois Object to Shifting the Fur Trade to Oswego

The speaker was Ondatsagto (possibly the Oneida leader Ondatsighta).  The minutes say he spoke for Cachnawage and Schawendie, although he seemed at times to speak for the Haudenosaunee as a whole. He began by saying that he was glad that some of the Maquas (Kaniengeha’ka or Mohawk) sachems were present. After explaining that “we are but youngsters, our ancestors understood affairs better than we,” he said that they would speak plainly. The ancient friendship among the parties was declining as though they were no longer brothers. They came to rekindle the fire at Albany, long established as the place to treat about matters of public concern.

Ondatsagto went on to explain that Kahnawake had six sachims, two of whom had been made “children” of Albany who were responsible for telling the commissioners if there was a threat to them. One of them had died and the commissioners had appointed someone to take his place. He was now present and would convey important information.

Ondatsagto next referred to the treaty conference held the previous year with Governor Burnet. New York had asked the Iroquois to persuade the Eastern Indians to end their war with New England. Ondatsagto said that the Iroquois had tried to end the war, but their efforts were undermined by the news that New England had taken an Eastern Indian town. This news made the Iroquois ambassadors ashamed. The Eastern Indians accused them of being spies because they remained at peace with New England while it subjected the Eastern Indians to a bloody war. Ondatsagto reproached the commissioners with not keeping their promise to write to the governor of New England to ask him to stop his people from attacking the Eastern Indians.

Next Ondatsagto said that D Cannihogo, the Kahnawake leader appointed to maintain ties between New York and Kahnawake, now had news for them. Kahnawake had learned that at the treaty the previous year, Governor Burnet insisted on his plans to build a trading house at the mouth of the Onnondaga River (Oswego) over the objections of the Six Nations, who wanted it to be located at the west end of Oneida Lake. But there were serious problems with Burnet’s desired location. It was already in use by the French to travel from Montreal to the “far nations” beyond Iroquoia, and was first possessed by them. The Governor of Canada would undoubtedly destroy any English trading house built at that location, which could trigger a conflict between the French and the English.  Ondatsagto advised the commissioners to keep the trade at Albany. They would get more beaver that way, and the French might be persuaded not to build their proposed fort at Niagara. On this proposition he gave a large belt of black wampum. The recorder first wrote and then crossed out that if the English insisted on their location a war would ensue and destroy the beaver trade.

Ondatsagto reminded the commissioners that the Onondagas had accepted Monsr. De Longueuil, the Governor of Montreal, as their child and allowed him to build a house at Onondaga. Pieter Schuyler then tore the building down, claiming that its construction was a breach of the Covenant Chain. The French could be expected to destroy Governor Burnet’s proposed building at Oswego for the same reason.

The “French Indians,” that is the people from Kahnawake and Schawenadie, then addressed the Mohawks and said their ancestors all lived in one country as one people, but now everyone had gone where they pleased and it was their lot to settle in Canada. They acknowledged a belt sent to them by the Mohawks asking them to keep the Covenant Chain, promised to do so, and said they expected the same on the Mohawks’ part.

The pages of the minutes are out of order at this point and it is possible that some material has been lost.

The Commissioners Response: England Claims the Six Nations as Subjects

Three days later the commisioners responded. They thanked the Sachims for speaking clearly and clearing up “the mistake that happen’d.” It is not clear exactly what they meant. They expressed appreciation that the other Sachims had come with DCannihogo to tell them about the French plans. They renewed the Covenant Chain, assuring all present of their continued friendship, and gave a belt of Wampum.

Then they explained the trading house situation from England’s point of view. They claimed that Pieter Schuyler destroyed the French trading house at Onondaga because Onondaga was on “Land belonging to the five Nations who are Subjects to the King of Great Britain.” The same logic allowed the English to build their house at Oswego on “Land belonging to the English.” The French would not dare to break it down because the two crowns were at peace. They said they would give Governor Burnet the information about the French plans and gave another belt of wampum. If Ondatsagto responded to the commissioners’ claim that the Six Nations were English subjects and England owned the land in their country, his answer is not recorded.

The commissioners said they did not remember promising to write to New England to ask them to end hostilities and they could not do such a thing while the Eastern Indians continued to kill New England settlers. They asked D Cannihogo to continue bringing information.

D Cannihogo said again that the French intended to break down the proposed trading house at Oswego. He added that the Governor of Canada planned to build two ships at Cadaraqui (the location of present day Kingston, Ontario) to be used in transporting furs from Niagara to Montreal, another ship above Niagara Falls to bring furs there, and a strong fort at Niagara itself.

The Commissioners Ask the Governor to Work Directly With the Senecas

The commissioners passed this information on to Governor Burnet in a letter, enclosing a copy of the minutes of the meeting. They asked the governor to give the Senecas presents in order to persuade them not to allow the French to execute their plans for a fort and repeated their suggestion to make an English settlement at Irondequoit (present day Rochester, NY) in order to counter the influence of the French. Significantly, they did not offer to negotiate with the Senecas themselves, a sign of the ongoing tensions between them and Governor Burnet. At the treaty conference the previous year, when the Six Nations objected to Burnet’s proposed location for a trading house, he accused them of being manipulated by Albany traders. Now the commissioners seemed to be trying to put the burden of dealing with the situation back on him.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, March 1725 starts here and then jumps to here.

Minute Book 3: 1723-October

In Cornell’s digital copy of the original minutes, October 1723 starts here

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

The Albany Indian Commissioners were increasingly anxious that their own community would be attacked in the course of the ongoing war between Massachusetts Bay and the Abenaki (Dummer’s War). They took it as a bad sign that no Indians had come to Albany from Canada recently, as was usual. Rather than attributing this to New York’s ban on trading Indian goods to Canada, they began to worry that the Saint Lawrence Valley communities like Caughnawaga (Kahnawake) were going to join the Abenaki in attacking English settlements, including theirs. They decided to send two Indian observers to Canada to see what was going on and to persuade the young men at Caughnawaga and elsewhere to stay at home, as their leaders had agreed.

When the deputies of the Six Nations came through Albany on their way back from the peace negotiations at Boston, it was clear that there were serious disagreements between the Six Nations and the commissioners, between New York and Massachusetts, and within Albany itself. John (Johannes) Schuyler, former mayor of Albany, an Indian Commissioner himself at times, and one of the people most trusted by the Six Nations, had gone to Boston at the invitation of Massachusetts, independently of the commissioners or the governor of New York. The commissioners asked the Six Nations deputies to tell them what happened at the meeting, to which they responded that Schuyler had written it down and given an account to the governor, so there should be no need for them to repeat it. The commissioners said they did not want to rely on Schuyler’s account and preferred to hear what happened directly from the deputies. The Six Nations deputies equivocated, first saying that Schuyler asked them to join the war on Massachusetts’s behalf and they had accepted, then denying that it happened. They said that they had asked Massachusetts to tell the kings of France and Great Britain to end the war in the colonies since they were at peace in Europe. They finally admitted that a few men from the Six Nations had joined Boston’s forces. John Schuyler had agreed to provide them with ammunition and to pay the 100 pound bounty for each Eastern Indian scalp they took. After the other deputies had left, Hendrick (probably Hendrick Tejonihokarawa) assured the commissioners that John Schuyler had approved everything they did at Boston. The Six Nations delegates seemed to be stubbornly holding to the position that John Schuyler represented Albany regardless of what the commissioners said.

The commissioners also learned that Schuyler had sent his own belts (wampum belt messages) to Canada by way of the commissioners’ messenger-observers. The commissioners feared the belts would be taken by the Abenaki as signs that they were working together with Schuyler. Massachusetts had also sent two more Albanians, Philip Schuyler (probably Johannes Schuyler’s son by that name) and John Groesbeeck, to Canada to redeem prisoners.

The commissioners learned that Rutland had not been attacked, but two forts nearby at Northfield had been overrun by a war party of 60-80. Colonel John Stoddard of Massachusetts asked them to send a force from the Six Nations and River Indians to Otter Creek (in present day Vermont) to intercept the attackers, but the commissioners told him they would not be able to muster a force in time to do any good. Nonetheless they informed three Mohawks who were in Albany, including the sachim Taquajanott, who said they would tell their people.

The commissioners wrote to New York Governor Burnet to try to convince him that the danger to New York was real, expressing regret that “you Excel.cy is not pleas’d to agree in our Opinions.” They stated openly that they believed Massachusetts wanted to sacrifice them in order to pursue its own “quarrel” with the Abenaki. In an enigmatic footnote, they added that Cornelis Cuyler, one of those who had refused to take the oath that he was not trading with Canada, had now gone to Canada along with “the three french men” (probably the same ones who had gone to Pennsylvania in June?) to recover his debts. Evidently suppressing the Albany-Canada trade had serious economic repercussions for those who had invested in it. And perhaps the economic repercussions for indigenous traders in Canada were adding to the commissioners’ fears that their allies there would be more likely now to join the war on the French side and even target Albany.

Minute Book 3: 1723-May

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

In May, the Albany Indian Commissioners were busy on several different fronts simultaneously. They entertained and traded with two groups of people from “far Nations,” a general term for the peoples to the west and north of Iroquoia. The second group of Far Indians came not only to trade, but to meet with the Mohawks and to tell the commissioners that they were joining the Five Nations. The proceedings held with them are printed in Volume 5 of O’Callaghan’s Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, beginning on page 693. Simultaneously, Albany hosted a major treaty conference with representatives from the Five Nations and Massachusetts Bay to discuss the ongoing war between New England and the Abenaki. They also met with an Abenaki delegate who appeared unexpectedly (at least to the reader.) The initial proceedings between the Five Nations and Massachusetts can be found in the Livingston Indian Records beginning on page 236, but the Livingston records do not include a gruesome Massachusetts proposal to pay for Abenaki scalps.

The May minutes also include related entries not printed in these sources, including a report by Laurence Claessen Van der Volgen about his recent trip to invite the Five Nations to the meeting with Massachusetts, during which which he learned that they had officially accepted the Tuscaroras as a sixth nation. He also encountered problems with the Senecas and Onondagas, who initially did not want to come to the meeting because the French had advised them to stay away.  Representatives of all of the Six Nations came to Albany in the end.

 The first group of twenty “far Indians” arrived on May 8th, followed by a larger group on May 29th that included 80 men in addition to women and children whose number is not given. Simultaneously, the Five Nations sent a delegation of 80 people and Massachusetts sent at least three representatives, William Tailer, Spencer Phips, and John Stoddard. The first group of twenty “far Indians” was housed in the Indian houses that Albany maintained in order to provide a place where people who came to trade could stay without being pressured to sell their goods to a particular trader.  If all the other native visitors stayed there as well, the Indian houses must have been filled to capacity.

Cadwallader Colden described one of these houses as it looked when he visited it two years earlier in early September 1721:

Wee diverted ourselves one day before the Indians were all meet in a Large boarded house without the towne which stands their alway for Lodging the Indians Their wee saw a great many animals tollerably well delineated with coal by the Indians on the boards of the house The most remarkable was a Crocodile very well designed which shows that they travell very far to the southward’s perhaps near to the mouth of the river Misasipi The Indians pointed towards the southwest as the place where these animals are found The Interpeter told us they have the dried skin of one of them att one of their Castles They had beefs likewise drawn in sevaral postures which show’d that the persone who did them was not without a genius for Painting these the Indians pointed to us were found to the Westward We saw fowls exactly resembling Harpies butt perhaps they were design’d for owls. [Collections of the New-York Historical Society for the Year 1917, NY, 1918, p. 128]

Trade

The nation of the first group of 20 Far Indians is never identified. Possibly they were an advance party from the second group. They began by smoking the calumet (peace pipe) and singing, after which they said they had come to Albany to trade. They explained that they came from several castles (communities) which had sent them to see whether they could get good prices at Albany. The commissioners welcomed them, accepted their calumet to show to others of their nations who might come to trade, warned them against listening to the French, gave them a present of blankets, shirts, food, and liquor, and assured them that they would find cheap goods and pure rum at Albany.

Expanding the Six Nations to Seven?

The second group, led by Awistoenis, or Owiestoenis, and a Seneca translator, Sakema,   described themselves as the true members of the “Denighcariages Nation.” They told the commissioners that others who had visited Albany claiming to be from that nation were not telling the truth. The commissioners asked what the French called their settlements, to which they responded “Monsiemakerac.” They came from six communities, one of which, Neghkareage (probably the same word as “Denighcariages”) had two castles (towns). The other four are written as Ronawadainie, Onnighsiesannairoene, Kajenatroene, and Tienonoatdeaga. In a note on p. 693 of DRCHNY 5, O’Callaghan identifies them as Hurons from “Mtellimakenack,” based on a French map. The name of their fourth town suggests that they were from the Tobacco Nation. also known as the Petun or Tionondati. The French built Fort Michilimackinac on the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron around 1715. In describing the Denighcariages visit to Albany, Governor Burnet said in a letter to Lords of Trade that they came from “Misilimakenak, which lyes between Lac superieur & Lac Huron” (DRCHNY 5:684). Clearly they were from somewhere in the area where the three great lakes meet. Like the first group, they brought a calumet and left it with the commissioners to use when others from their nation came to Albany.

The Denighcariages, the Mohawks, and the commissioners began by smoking the calumet together, then proceeded to discuss trade, as well as a proposal that the Denighcariages join the Five Nations as the Tuscarora were in the process of doing. The commissioners promised them cheap goods and encouraged the idea that they should join the Five Nations, becoming the Seventh Nation, since the Tuscaroras were now the Sixth. The commissioners worded this in terms of joining “this Government,” seeming to imply that New York and the Five Nations were one. The commissioners promised to address Awistoenis’s complaint that local waggoners had overcharged them for transporting their goods, assuring them that it would not happen again and sending them on their way with blankets, shirts, food, and 26 gallons of rum.

The map at the front of Volume 2 of Cadwallader Colden’s History of the Five Indian Nations, shows the Necariages of Misilimacinac. The legend explains that they were “received to be the seventh Nation at Albany, May 30th 1723: at their own desire, 80 Men of that Nation being present beside Women and children.”

"A Map of the Country of the Five Nations ...
“A Map of the Country of the Five Nations belonging to the Province of New York and of the Lakes near which the Nations of Far Indians live, with part of Canada” from Cadwallader Colden, The History of the Five Indian Nations …

ColdenMapExcerpt

Massachusetts Offers to Pay for Scalps

In the conference between the Five Nations and the three commissioners sent from Massachusetts, the parties began with an initial meeting on May 28th in which they followed the usual protocols to renew the covenant chain of friendship. The Five Nations reminded Massachusetts that it was customary for the English to mend their guns, kettles, and hatchets on such occasions.

On May 30th the Massachusetts commissioners proceeded to business, laying out a proposal from Governor Dummer that spelled out the the terms on which Massachusetts wanted the Five Nations to join it in fighting the Abenaki Confederacy. After rehearsing the ways in which Massachusetts considered the Abenaki to have wronged the English, the proposal, worded like a legal contract, says that “for the further Encouragement of your Warlike peopl[e]” Massachusetts will pay 100 pounds for the scalp of every male enemy Indian of twelve years or older, and 50 pounds for the scalps of all others killed “in fight.” Massachusetts will pay 50 pounds for each male prisoner. The Five Nations may keep female prisoners and children under twelve, as well as any plunder taken. The Massachusetts government will supply the Five Nations with any needed provisions or ammunition, but the value will be deducted from the money paid for scalps.

For each ten members of the Five Nations, Massachusetts planned to assign two Englishmen to accompany them in order to protect them from “any mischief that may happen to them from our Souldiers by mistake” and to avoid disputes about scalps. The Englishmen would confirm under oath that the scalp was that of an enemy Indian killed in battle as well as the age and sex of the person scalped. For testifying, the Englishman would receive an amount equal to what was payed to the warrior who took the scalp or prisoner.

Guns, kettles, and hatchets would be mended only if the Five Nations accepted the offer, and Massachusetts would also give them a large present if and when they did so.

At Least Some of the Abenaki Want Peace

As was customary, the Five Nations did not respond right away to Massachusetts’ proposal. And on the following day the minutes record a new development with the arrival of Achjamawat, a delegate sent to the Six Nations by three Eastern Indian castles, “Owanagonga, Kwepowanne, and Onjanawarea.” Although they were still in Albany, the Massachusetts commissioners are not listed as being present when Achjamawat met with the Albany commissioners.  The Five Nations are not listed either, but his words are addressed to them (as the Six Nations) and the interpreter for the meeting was the Mohawk leader Hendrick, who translated from Abenaki to Mohawk, after which Laurence Claessen translated from Mohawk to Dutch and Philip Livingston translated from Dutch to English for the written record.

Achjamawat began with an extended condolence ritual in which he reiterated several times that Albany was the place to treat about peace and to condole any blood shed “through Rashness or misunderstanding.” He went on to say that the Eastern Indians regret that they could not meet with the Six Nations when they came to Boston the previous fall to meditate between them and Massachusetts. They received the message sent by the Six Nations asking them to stop fighting. His people have now sent him to lay down the hatchet against New England and bury it forever.

 

Minute Book 3: 1723-April

1280px-FORT_CHRISTANNA,_BRUNSWICK_COUNTY,_VA
Fort Christanna (from Wikipedia, taken by Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28230287)

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

On April 6th, the Onondaga diplomat Teganissorens (the commissioners spelled his name D’Canassore) came to Albany to discuss relations between the Five Nations and Virginia. He assured the Commissioners that the Five Nations would respect the peace agreement they had made with Virginia the previous fall and refrain from attacking Virginia’s native allies. By 1723, Teganissorens had had a long and successful career during which he helped to shape the relations between indigenous and colonial powers throughout the North Atlantic region. He was no longer young, and the journey from Onondaga to Albany was a lengthy one. His trip to Albany suggests that the treaty with Virginia had been called into question in a significant way.

The next entry in the Minute Book, an April 23rd letter to New York Governor Burnet, suggests that the issue was the Saponi man taken captive near Fort Christanna in Virginia by a raiding party from Kahnawake, the Mohawk community near Montreal, as described in the minutes for January and February. The commissioners told Burnet in their letter that they had still been unable to get him released. Perhaps Governor Spotswood of Virginia, who saw the Saponi captive as his own servant, had argued that keeping the prisoner violated the treaty and asked Governor Burnet to pressure the commissioners to force the Five Nations to use their influence with the Kahnawagas to have the captive returned.

Teganissorens reassured the English that the treaty remained in place, but if the captive was the issue, he either could not or would not force his return. The end of the letter finally reveals what is really going on.  The captive has chosen to go to Kahnawake in Canada rather than return to his own country, and now he has been made a Sachim. The commissioners have sent orders to Kahnawaga for him to return, but they don’t expect him to do so. Apparently the captive, who remains anonymous, would rather be a chief at Kahnawake than work for Governor Spotswood.

From the Five Nations and Kahnawake point of view, he likely could be a valuable player in Iroquois negotiations with the Sapponis as well as the English. His proficiency in his own language as well as English could be an important asset. Perhaps he had even learned to read and write at Governor Spotswood’s school at Christanna, making him even more useful.

As often happened, the commissioners were caught in the middle of a delicate situation. Kahnawake and the Five Nations had the upper hand.  All the commissioners could do was try to assure the English authorities that they had done everything they could to assert English sovereignty and get the captive returned.  Their letter provides insights into the relations between Kahnawake and the Five Nations, as well as between the Five Nations, Albany, and the English government. As they explain, the residents of Kahnawake are part of the Five Nations. If they are treated roughly, the Five Nations will take offense. They may not react publicly, because they want to maintain good relations with Albany, where they obtain “bread & Cloathing.” But they will find “underhand” ways to injure English subjects in the “remotest part of the Government,” that is the areas distant from the centers of colonial control. The commissioners and their families frequented those areas. Without the support of the Five Nations, even Albany itself was still vulnerable to military attack and the loss of the fur trade.

The entry for Fort Christanna in the WordPress blog Native American Roots provides some interesting additional information. The fort itself was closed in 1718, but Saponi people continued to live in the area. Some of their children were “bound out” to local colonists. Perhaps this is how the captive became Governor Spotswood’s servant.

 

 

 

Minute Book 3: 1723-February

1723-Feb

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

There is only one entry for February, a copy of a letter to Governor Burnet that reveals more about the story of Governor Spotswood’s Saponi servant. Taken prisoner in Virginia, Spotswood’s servant prefers to go to Canada with his Kahnawake captors rather than return to servitude in Virginia. The Albany Indian Commissioners claim that they did everything they could to persuade the Mohawks to turn him over, but to no avail. They say they could not force the issue without jeopardizing the Five Nations’ support for suppressing the Eastern Indians (Abenaki Confederacy.) hostilities against New England. They explain to New York Governor Burnet that the Five Nations consider the “Canada Indians” who hold the prisoner to be part of themselves.

Minute Book 3: 1723-January

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In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, January 1723 starts here

The minutes for January begin with the Albany Indian Commissioners and the Haudenosaunee (Five Nations) in the middle of negotiations with New England authorities, usually referred by the Five Nations to as “Boston” or “the Brethren of New England,” and the “Eastern Indians,”  a coalition of Abenaki nations allied with New France. (“Abenaki” loosely translates as “Eastern Indians.”) Massachusetts and the Abenaki coalition were caught up in a conflict known by various names, including Dummer’s War, Gray Lock‘s War, and Father Rale’s War. The fighting had started a year earlier in 1722, triggered by conflicts over land, sovereignty, and Massachusetts’ attack on Father Sebastian Rale, a Jesuit priest who lived at the Abenaki town of Norridgewock on the Kennebec River in what is now Maine.

Massachusetts, supported by New York Governor William Burnet, wanted the Albany Commissioners to persuade the Five Nations (Haudenosaunee) to enter the war on Massachusetts’ side. The Haudenosaunee preferred to try to negotiate a peace. Albany also preferred peace. As they explain to Governor Burnet in a letter dated January 9, they do not want to get caught up in a war that might lead to retaliation on their own settlements by France and its native allies.  For diplomatic reasons, however, neither Albany nor the Five Nations want to directly refuse the requests of Governor Burnet or the Massachusetts authorities. Their language in the minutes must be read with these complications in mind.

The initial entry is a report by Laurence Claessen (Van der Volgen), Albany’s main interpreter and on the ground liaison to the Five Nations during this period. He describes a recent trip by Haudenosaunee diplomats to Boston, where they tell the Boston government that the Eastern Indians have put themselves under the Five Nations’ protection and are required to remain peaceful under that arrangement. They assure Boston that New England has a valid case, and promise to destroy the Eastern Indians if they don’t stop fighting, but they ask for time to speak to them. They set up a meeting with the Governor of Massachusetts at Albany for the coming Spring. In an interesting footnote, “Hendrik,” a member of the Five Nations’ delegation, says that he talked to a minister at Boston who spoke “the Eastern Language” about coming to teach the Mohawks in their country. “Hendrik” is probably Tejonihokarawa (ca. 1660-1735), although he could also be Theyanoguin (ca. 1691=1755), who would have known “the Eastern language” because his father was Mohegan. The Albany Commissioners send this report to Governor Burnet and propose to work with the Five Nations on a diplomatic solution.

The second theme in January concerns a prisoner, a servant of Colonel Alexander Spotswood, the Governor of Virginia. He was taken prisoner in Virginia by “French Indians” from Canastoque & two from Fort Hunter, a statement that does not make sense since Fort Hunter at this period can only refer to the Lower Mohawk Town, Tiononderoga, in the Mohawk Valley at the mouth of Schoharie Creek. His captors are taking him to Kahnawake, the Mohawk community on the Saint Lawrence river, but they agree to meet with the Albany Commissioners. “Canastoque” is probably Kanesatake, near Montreal, although there was also a settlement of the Susquehannock nation at Conestoga on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania at this time.

The prisoner is identified as a Saponi Indian, but never identified by name, although he speaks good English. He tells the commissioners he is from “Christiana,” presumably Fort Christanna, where Governor Spotswood had settled the Sapponis on a reservation designed to educate them in English and incorporate them into colonial society. Governor Spotswood has requested the prisoner’s return, and the Albany Commissioners tell Governor Burnet they are trying to secure it. The nature of the prisoner’s servitude is never described. Is he a slave or an indentured servant? What claim of ownership does Governor Spotswood have to him, and how was it acquired? Has he been taken prisoner or liberated? For more on the Saponi (also spelled Sappony) Nation and their history, see http://www.sappony.org/index.htm and http://haliwa-saponi.com .

Plug for a Journal

The Conference on Iroquois Research has a journal now, Iroquoia. It will be of interest to many readers of this blog. I have an article in the first issue, “Tiononderogue: the Struggle for a Mohawk Town, 1686-1797.” It tells one part of the story that first got me interested in the Albany Indian Commissioners and their evolution from a group of traders, who needed to maintain positive relations with their Haudenosaunee and Mohican neighbors and customers, to a group of land speculators who primarily wanted to take the land from those same nations.

Here is the abstract for the article:

In 1786 a Mohawk leader named Aneqwendahonji, or Johannes Crine, filed a petition with the New York State Legislature that tells a compelling story. At the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, Aneqwendahonji lived with his people at a place on the Mohawk River called Tiononderogue, where the Mohawks had been “from time Immemorial.” He owned “three Good Dwelling Houses, two Barns and an Orchard thereon, And was also possessed of a considerable personal Estate consisting of Household, furniture, Farming Utentials, Cattle Horses, Sheep, Swine, etc.” The petition recounts how Aneqwendahonji remained friendly to the Americans during the war. In 1780, he left his home to go on an American mission to Fort Niagara with three companions, but at Niagara the British put them in jail. Soon afterwards British troops raided the Mohawk Valley and took his wife and family prisoner. At the end of the war Aneqwendahonji returned home to find that the City of Albany and private individuals had taken the Mohawks’ lands, improvements, livestock, and household goods, leaving them destitute and homeless. Aneqwendahonji and the other Mohawk people who lived at Tiononderogue before the Revolution never got back their lands. This paper examines the hundred-year process that led up to their loss.

The journal has many other excellent articles. There is a paywall, but it is not too high. And in case you have written something relevant and are looking for a venue in which to share it,  the editors are looking for submissions for their third issue.

“History as Archaeology”

The Conference on Iroquois Research held their annual meeting last weekend in Albany New York. This conference is an invaluable opportunity for native and non-native scholars, academics, and independent researchers to meet each other and hear presentations on all aspects of Iroquois Studies. I had a great time! Below is the powerpoint for my presentation on “History as Archaeology, the “Schedule of Propositions of the Indians and answers thereto from government …” which is an introduction to the Schedule of Propositions notes on the first two Minute Books of the Commissioners.

history-as-archaeology – as a PDF: should open on your computer.

history-as-archaeology – as a Powerpoint: should download to your computer.

1677 December 20: Propositions made by the Oneidas at Albany

Source: New York State Archives: A1894,  New York (Colony) Council Papers 26-161.

Transcribed 9-7-2016 by Ann Hunter.

The Schedule of Propositions says this begins on p. 2 of Volume I of the Minutes of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs.

The document is damaged. Material in brackets is my best guess for what it said before the damage occurred.

See S of P 28149 [0006], Richter 46-47, Colden 24-25, DRCHNY 13:516.

Propositions made by ye Oneydes to ye Commander & Commissaries of Albanie Colonie [of] Renselaerswyck &c. in ye. Court house of Albanie this 20th day of December 1677

[Translated] by [Arnout] Cornelise Viele

The Sachims are

Sweensee

Jagoseragaraw

Degahowagoe

Sagahaurnichta

Soringwasorni

They say Brethren —

1st       Our Young Indians have a while agoe by a misunderstanding taken a Mahikander Boy Prisoner at [Claverack] being in ye Governr. Genls Government where it is not free for us to doe [in yr house] & whereas ye Gov: Genl. did [advertise us] (by a maquese who Brought 9 hand of white Zewt. as a Letter) that we should deliver up [said young Mahicander] who was already [become a part in our] Castle to Remain there, we [illeg] that, [illeg.] order, & doe deliver him [illeg.] to you (who Represent [illeg.]) Gov: Genl. Wee were here we [illeg.] 4 Monthes agoe to see & speak wt. his honr. ye. gov. genl. but had no occasion to doe ye Same, and now we heare he is gone to England [hole in mss.] [nevert]helesse we obey his Comma[nd to] bring iyr this young Indian [hole in mss.] 3 Layss.

And if soo bee ye maquese might chance to say that they were ye occasion of this our obedience, believe them not for we only doe obey the Gov: Genl. herein

2          Doe Say That there is a Covenant made here Lately, betwixt Collonel Coursey authorized from Maryland & us that we use no hostility one against another: but Live in Love & friendship (as ye Covenant is betwixt the Gov: Genl. & us,) but there happend something after the makeing of this Covenant [illeg] Some Sinnekes & Oneydes were [out] against there enemies (but quite ignorant of foresaid Covenant, being gone [hole in mss.] before the Same was made) [hole in mss.] were fallen upon behind virginis by ye. Susquehannes (Indyans of Maryland) who Shott upon them [&] wounded two, one throw the arm, and another throw ye Shoulder, whereupon they Likeways fell upon the Susquenannes and killed four & took six Prisoners, and being come home it was thougt good by ye Sinnekes Sachims to send home the 5 which there Poeple had taken Prisoners wt Presents, ye better to keep the Covenant which was made, and ye 6th is wt us at Liberty and goes out a hunting

This is that which the Sinnekes desired us to acquaint you withall, & doe give a bever (being sent from ye. Sinnekes) which they call there Letter, & another Bever as a letter for to desire that ye news be sent to them of maryland

This is a true Coppy

Translated & Compaired

By me

Robt. Livingston Secr.