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

 

Advertisements

Minute Book 3: 1726-July: Major Schuyler Dies; Abenaki are Welcomed Back to Schaghticoke; Albany Reassures its Neighbours

On July 21 the commissioners informed Governor Burnet that a messenger had brought word that Major Abraham Schuyler was dead. They included no details about how it happened. They also said they had sent the interpreter (Laurence Claesson) to bring the Six Nations to the conference with the governor scheduled for September. They included the news that “Mr. Livingston” had just taken leave of them and departed for Canada, but did not explain what his goals were. Possibly Philip Livingston sought to protect his and Albany’s business interests from the impending threat that the French were going to use their new fort at Niagara to monopolize the fur trade.

The following day a man named Poquin arrived from “Assekontoquoq” with a group of other people to respond to a message sent by a wampum belt two years earlier.  Poquin said that no matter where his people went, they were always in danger. He also said that they used to be able to take shelter at Schaghticoke, the community established in 1677 where the Hoosick River meets the Hudson north of Albany. Because of threats from the “Lower Indians” they could not come sooner, so they had gone to “mesixque” in the lake where they used to live. My interpretation of this language is that Poquin’s group were people from Schaghticoke who moved to Missisquoi in August 1724 and joined the Abenaki who were raiding New England with support from the French. “Assekontiquoq” may refer to Arossagunticook, an Abenaki community on what is now called the Androscoggin River. However, an enlightening new book has recently come out on the mission communities of the Saint Lawrence Valley which reveals that the name of the mission community on the Ste. Francois River, now known as Odanak, was called “Arsikantegouk” during this period (Jean-Francois Lozier, Flesh Reborn: The Saint Lawrence Mission Settlements through the Seventeenth Century. p. 256-257.) I suspect that this community is where Poquin’s people had been. Now they wanted to come back to Schaghticoke. They were not sure whether they could safely return, given that they had fought against New England. The term “lower Indians” likely refers to the Mohawks or Mohicans who disapproved of their actions.

The Indian Commissioners clung to a neutral position in Dummer’s War and wanted to end it through diplomacy rather than by supporting Governor Dummer’s military ambitions. They also wanted native people to continue living at Schaghticoke. In August 1724, rather than driving away those who joined the raids against New England, they sent messengers with wampum belts to persuade them to stop raiding and come back. The belt to which Poquin referred was probably part of this process.

The commissioners told Poquin’s group that the Tree of Peace and Welfare still grew at Schaghticoke and they were welcome to live there again. They gave them a belt of wampum and a keg of rum.

The next entry is a copy of a letter from the commissioners that does not give the name of the recipient. The context suggests that it was probably a New England government official. The commissioners said they had no recent news, but would always pass on any information that came their way and behave themselves “as neighbours and brethren.” Possibly this letter reflects the need to reassure neighbouring New England towns that were uneasy about the return of the Schaghticoke Abenaki.

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

Below is the full transcription.

[0310] 153a

att a meeting of the Comissioners

of the Indian affairs in Albany

the 21st July 1726

[Not in Wraxall.]

Sir

We just now received ye. Enclosed by an Indian

who Brings the news of the Death of Maj: Abraham

Schuyler we Design now and are met accordingly

to write ye. Interpreter to Say [sic] there and bring ye.

Indians down according to your Excel.lys appoint

=ment. Mr. Livingston this minute took his Leave

of the Commission.ers in order for Canada we

have no further to Informe your Excel.cy but

begg Leave to Subscribe our Selves your

Ex.cys most obedient humble Servants

[0311] 154

albany ye. 22.th of July 1726

[Not in Wraxall.]

Came before the Commissioners an Indian Named

Poquin from assekontoquoq to whom was Sent

a belt of wampum Two years ago when we

could not agree but now ye Same Comes with a

belt of wampum who Declares that he dose

not know ye. reason or what is ye. matter that

where they Goe they are all ways in Danger —

2d.ly    formerly he Says they used to have a great

tree at Schachtekoke where they Could Shadow

themselves under

3d.l      the Lower Indians had threatened them

which was ye. Reason they Came not Sooner, they

had taken their Refuge place in mesixque

in the Lake where they formerly Lived —

In Anser thereto —

The Commissioners told them that the

Same tree was Still in being and was never

taken away by them and that they was welcome

to Shadow themselves under ye. Same again. —

whereupon they Gave them a belt again —

ordered that they get a Cagg of Rum —

[0312] 154a

Albany 30 July 1726

[Not in Wraxall.]

Sir

We Received yours of the 21st of this instant

and in answer there to these are to Informe

you that we have had no news Since our first infor

=mation but you may assure your Self we Shall

allways behave our Selves as neighbours and

brethren Towards your assistance to all ye.

news that might or may Come this way. we

having nothing more but our hearty wishes

for ye. well fare of your Self & Government

and begg Leave to Subscribe our Selves

your Hon.s most

obediant Humble Serv.ts

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-August

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

The commissioners began to prepare for another major treaty conference with Governor William Burnet and the Six Nations by sending Laurence Claessen to invite them to come to Albany on September 10th. They asked that the total delegation not exceed 70 people, probably because of the expenses involved in hosting such events. Claessen was told to come back to Albany with the most distant group.

More far nations came to trade. On August 7th, the “Kenondadies” arrived. They also condoled the deaths of both Pieter Schuyler and Hendrick Hansen. They gave twelve hands of wampum to wash off the tears of their relatives, and many skins and furs “to bury them.” I have not found any informations on “Kenondadie.” It might be a misspelling of “Tionondadie,” a name for the Petun  people who were close allies of the Wendat (Huron). Or perhaps it is the name of a particular village.

Jacob Adatsondie and the other messengers sent by the Six Nations to the Eastern Indians returned and gave an account to the commissioners, but they did not write down what they said. However their next entry concerns a group of Schaghticoke Indians who had gone to Missisquoi, an Abenaki territory on Lake Champlain and joined in the attacks on New England. The commissioners decided to have Johannes Knickerbacker (who had land at Schaghticoke and a connection to the Schaghticokes as an interpreter) arrange to send a delegation of “trusty Indians” with wampum belts to persuade the Schaghticokes to come back.

The oath against trading Indian goods to the French was offered to a number of Albany merchants, including some of the commissioners, pursuant to the Act of 1720 prohibiting the trade. Those who took the oath included Johannes Cuyler, Philip Livingston, Evert Wendell, Abraham Cuyler, Nicholas Bleecker, Gerrit Roseboom, and Robert Roseboom. John (Johannes) Schuyler refused to take it. The sheriff was directed to levy a fine against him of 100 pounds.

Minute Book 3: 1724-February

In Library and Archives Canada digital copy of the original minutes, February 1724 starts here

On February 14th, the commissioners continued negotiations with the four nations in Canada that included Kahnawake, Rondax, Schawenadie, and Skightqan (Nippising).  On February 14, they met with a delegation led by a Kahnewake sachem whose name is spelled in various ways, including Sconondo, Schonondoe, Sconondoe, and other variations. Possibly this was the Oneida leader John Skenandoa, who died in 1816 and may have been born as early as 1704. It was not uncommon in the 18th century for people to move back and forth between Kahnawake and the communities in Oneida and Mohawk country further south. However, even if the 1704 date is correct, he would have been very young to be a sachem in 1724. The commissioners used the word “sachem” to refer to many different kinds of leaders, and judging by later developments, Sconondo was the leader of a small group of people who were trading or hunting when they came to Albany, but later went raiding against New England. If Sconondo is not John Skenandoa, perhaps he was an ancestor.

Sconondo told the commissioners that an Onondaga called the Great World had asked the French authorities about a rumor that the Ottowawas planned to attack the Six Nations. If Sconondo was referring to Ohonsiowanne, an Onondaga sachem who is documented for the period between 1699-1704, this would mean that Ohonsiowanne continued to exert influence for a much longer period than historians have realized.

Governor Vaudreuil  denied the rumor, but the Great World remained suspicious. He told the governor that he planned to prevent the Wagonhaes (Anishinaabeg) from coming to Albany. (The Odawa (Ottawawas) were included in the term Wagonhaes.) The Governor thanked the Great World (since France did not want western nations to trade at Albany), but advised him not to strike first. If the Wagonhaes attacked them, the Six Nations should ask the French for help. The French would then be mediators between the parties. Schonondoe asked the commissioners not to name him as the source of this information.

The commissioners asked Sconondo to bring wampum belt messages to Kannawake and the other three nations asking them to make peace with New England. They said that if the four nations did not stop fighting with the Eastern Indians against New England, the path between Albany and Canada might become completely blocked and it would be their own doing. They reminded the delegation that the Eastern Indians had been their enemies in the past and were not to be trusted.

The commissioners reproached Sconondo’s delegation with committing new assaults on New England even after agreeing to peace the previous summer, reminding them that England and France were at peace and could not approve of the subjects of either one being murdered. Sconondo said that he understood and would do his best to persuade Kahnawake and its allies to listen to the message. He said the Sachems of the four nations were planning to come to Albany early in the Spring and asked for assurance that they could travel safely, without fear of attack by New England’s forces. He asked that the Governor of New York speak to the Governor of Boston in order to guarantee their safe passage.

The next entry for February is a letter from the commissioners to New York Governor Burnet. It is obvious from their  letter that they were still in conflict with him. He had accused them of undermining New England’s efforts to recruit the Six Nations and their allies to fight on the side of New England in the ongoing conflict with the Abenaki known as Father Rale’s War. More specifically Governor Burnet believed that the commissioners had privately told the Six Nations not to allow their young men to accept New England’s call to arms. The commissioners denied this charge. They protested that they would be blamed if the Indians did not fight for New England, even if it was really because of pressure from the French or other reasons. They expressed doubts about the wisdom of  Governor Burnet’s suggestion to “break” the fort that the French were trying to build at Irondequoit Bay.

The commissioners explained that they had sent Lawrence Claessen to the Senecas to ask them to send messengers to invite the “far Indians” living beyond the Six Nations to come to Albany to trade. They also said that the Eastern Indians were trying to draw the Schaghticoke Indians away to fight with them, and asked for more fortifications to ensure the safety of the local farmers and remove their “pannick frights.” The commissioners asked for money to reimburse the costs of recovering an Indian captive, the “negroe boy” mentioned in the January minutes. They asked how the governor would like to send him back to his owner in Virginia. Finally they told the governor that Captain Verplank, who was stationed in Seneca country, had written them that many far Indians were coming to trade in the spring, although the French were sending a force out to stop them.

Pieter_Schuyler
The death of Pieter Schuyler marked the end of an era.  Representatives from many native nations honored him with condolence rituals over the following months. The image was downloaded from the New York State Museum web site via Wikipedia. According to the NYSM, it was painted by Nehemiah Partridge between 1710 and 1718 and is now in the collection of the City of Albany.

In a postscript the commissioners noted that two former commissioners had passed away that month.The trader Hendrick Hansen, who challenged the infamous sale of the Mohawk Valley tract to Godfridius Dellius, Pieter Schuyler, and others in 1697, died on February 17th. His rival Colonel Pieter Schuyler, the famous “Quider,” died the following day.

In the final entry for February, the commissioners noted that people from the government of Massachusetts or Connecticut were in Kinderhook trying to buy land in New York from the Indians illegally, without a license from the government. They resolved to issue a warrant to bring the offenders in to answer this charge.

There are no entries for Marcb or April.

Minute Book 3: 1723-November

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

The two observer-messengers (or spies) sent to Canada in October returned in November. They told the commissioners what they had seen there, but the commissioners asked them to repeat it with Lawrence Claessen present. Perhaps this was because the commissioners did not speak the Mohawk language as well as he did, or perhaps it was because they wanted to bring in his expertise in diplomacy. Either way, it shows how much they relied on him. For most of 1723, no members of the Schuyler family are included in the lists of those present at the commissioners’ meetings, and developments in October had already revealed that John (Johannes) Schuyler was conducting parallel diplomacy on his own. The commissioners may have felt that they were loosing their influence with the Six Nations and needed all the help that Claessen could provide.

In any case, the messengers confirmed that John Schuyler gave them wampum belts to take to three “castles,” i.e. native communities, in Canada: Cachnawage (Kahnawake) Kanighnoghquadee (Gananoque?) and Rondaxis. (The Rondaxes or Adirondacks were Algonquian speakers who lived at Three Rivers and Oka, according to p. 239 of the Livingston Indian Records.) Schuyler had not informed the commissioners about the belts, but he  sent them in the name of Boston and New York. Apparently he was working behind the Albany Indian Commissioners’ back with New York as well as Massachusetts.

Schuyler’s wampum belt messages asked the three castles to stop fighting with the French and Abenaki against New England in the ongoing hostilities known to historians as Dummer’s War. He also invited them to “use and Cultivate the Road from Canada hither and trade as Usual,” promising to remove any obstacles to doing so. “Hither” apparently meant Albany. Did Schuyler promise to restore the trade in Indian goods between Albany and Montreal, a short distance from Kahnawake? That trade had benefits for both native and French traders in the St. Lawrence Valley, as well as for many Dutch traders in Albany, even though the commissioners were working with New York’s Governor Burnet to suppress it.

The few Kahnawake leaders who were home when the messengers arrived promised to convey their message to those who were away hunting and fighting. They sent wampum belts in return to the belts brought by the messengers, but they were delivered directly to John Schuyler.

The commissioners also learned that the French and their native allies had asked more distant “upper and remote” nations to join the French side in Dummer’s War the following spring. The commissioners feared that this would not only put New England in peril, but also jeopardize the trade between those distant nations and Albany that they were trying to encourage. They sent Lawrence Claessen to the Seneca Country to engage paid messengers there to negotiate with those nations on Albany’s behalf, in particular they wanted to encourage the “Denighcariages”, a nation that, at least in the understanding of the commissioners, had joined the Six Nations that summer as the Seventh Nation. Claessen was told to assure the far nations that peace was being negotiated between the Eastern Indians and New England, the road to Albany though the Six Nations would be safe, and Albany had cheap and plentiful goods for sale.

The remainder of the entries for November concern the Schaghticoke Indians. Located north of Albany where the Hoosick River joins the Hudson from the east, Schaghticoke was on Mohican land and the path along the Hoosick was a well used road to the Connecticut Valley, one of the areas where New England was under attack. The Schaghticoke community were refugees under New York’s protection, mainly people displaced by settlers in New England and the lower Hudson, close allies of the Mohican. They were caught in the middle of Dummer’s War both geographically and diplomatically, since many were Abenaki themselves. The commissioners reproached them with leaving their homes and “Stragling & Scatter[ing]” from one place to another, instead of staying at Schaghticoke under the “Tree of Friendship and Welfare” that was the symbol for New York’s protection. People from Schaghticoke had even been seen on their way to Canada, where the commissioners undoubtedly feared that they would join the French. The commissioners believed that the Schaghticokes needed to appoint some leading men as sachems to keep them in one place, and persuade those who had left for Canada to come back.

The Schaghticokes acknowledged the agreement made almost half a century earlier with New York, joining them together and giving them protection at Schaghticoke. They said they wanted to stay there even if Canada offered them land. They agreed to consider the proposal to appoint leaders and try to bring back those who had left. They offered the commissioners gifts of venison and strings of wampum, as was customary. But the following day they said it would be impossible to get the people who had left to come back, since they had fled after committing robberies at Saratoga. They also pointed out that the Tree of Welfare was now bare at the roots, that is that their relationship with Albany was under a strain because they did not have enough land at Schaghticoke and the (Dutch) inhabitants there were harassing them. The Minute Book entry does not say what the commissioners knew well. The reason the Schaghticokes had little land left was that under New York law Albany owned that land and was leasing more and more of it out to Dutch farmers. It was Albany’s tenants who were harassing the Schaghticokes.

The Schaghticokes proposed that part of their people should move to Sinchjack, where there was still good land available. Sinchjack, which they also spelled as Sinkhaijck, probably refers to the area farther up the Hoosic River from Schaghticoke, near where the Walloomsac River flows into it in the vicinity of present day Williamstown Massachusetts. It was also known as St. Croix.  Its history is discussed in Arthur Latham Perry’s Origins In Williamstown, beginning on p. 114.

The Schaghticokes asked the commissioners to nominate leaders for them and to mend their weapons, as was customary. The commissioners agreed to all of this, including the move to Sinckhaijck. They nominated Nanratakietam, Aspenoot, Wapelanrie, Kakaghsanreet, Mashequant, and Akamsomett, with Nansasant as a successor if any of them passed away. They said it was essential to bring back those who had gone to Canada, and offered to forgive those who had committed faults, that is the Saratoga robbers. They also promised to stop the settlers at Schaghticoke from interfering with the Schaghticokes’ use of their land. They thanked them for the venison, promised to have their weapons mended, and gave them gifts of ammunition, shirts, and alcohol, with blankets for the elders Nanratakelam and Waleghlanret..

There are no entries in the Minute Book for December, so this concludes the summaries for 1723.

Minute Book 3: 1723-June

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

The conference with Massachusetts Bay and the Six Nations (I will refer to them that way from now on, since the Tuscaroras were now established as a member of the Five Nations) continued on June 1st, when William Tailer, Spencer Phips, and John Stoddard renewed the Covenant Chain with the Schaghticoke, Katskill, and “River” Indians, a term used for the Mohican and the peoples of the lower Hudson.  Massachusetts Bay asked them to join the war if the the Six Nations accepted the Massachusetts Bay offer to fight the Eastern Indians. They replied that they would follow the Six Nations’ lead.

The Six Nations gave their answer on June 3rd. They soothed the feelings of the Massachusetts Bay representatives by rehearsing the wrongs inflicted on them by the Eastern Indians. But they explained that the Eastern Indians, had now sent a messenger to make peace. They needed to discuss matters further and it would take several months.

The representatives from Massachusetts Bay were clearly disappointed. They asked what the point of renewing the covenant was if the Six Nations would not help them fight their enemies, especially since they would be generously rewarded. They explained that they were not empowered to make peace with the Eastern Indians and asked once again for the Six Nations to join the war. Instead the Six Nations urged them to meet with the Eastern Indians at Boston in two months to discuss peace, promising to punish the Eastern Indians if an agreement was reached and they did not honor it. The Massachusetts Bay delegates finally agreed to attend the proposed meeting.

The Six Nations and the Albany Indian Commissioners went on to discuss their own issues, in particular the competing centers for French and English trade that were being constructed in Iroquoia. The French diplomat Louis-Thomas Chabert de Joncaire, referred to by the commissioners using every imaginable variant spelling of “Jean Coeur” had persuaded the Six Nations to allow the French to build a trading center at Kaskeghsago near Irondequoit, at the site of present day Rochester, where the Genesee River meets Lake Ontario. The commissioners asked the Six Nations to reverse this decision and forbid the French to build any settlements in Iroquoia, predicting that if  the French built a trading house at Irondequoit it would become a fort that would be used to stop “far Indians” from coming to Albany and eventually to take control of the Six Nations’ country. Furthermore, they asked the Six Nations to tell the French to remove their trading center already constructed at Niagara, as they had promised the New York governor previously. The Six Nations speaker, Thannintsorowee, said they would take the request back to their council and provide a response at the Boston meeting.

The Six Nations and the Albany commissioners held another meeting with the Abenaki envoy, lectured him about the violence inflicted on New England by the Abenaki, and told him that the Eastern Indians should come to the meeting in Boston scheduled in two months to negotiate.

The rest of June was devoted to trade. Another group of 10 far Indians came to trade on June 16th, asking for good prices and promising to bring more people if they received them. They were welcomed with provisions and rum, and assured that prices would be good. The name of their castle is left blank, suggesting that the commissioners were not familiar with it and unable to make sense of it. Magepanans, a River Indian, was asked to invite more nations to come to trade and promised a reward if he succeeded.

Governor Burnet had asked the Albany Indian Commissioners to enforce a recent act of the New York Assembly intended to stop the flourishing trade between Albany and Montreal. In this trade, which had been going on for decades, English goods were sold to the French and the French then resold those goods to indigenous fur traders. This practice undermined the English policy that aimed to monopolize the fur trade for England by persuading the indigenous fur traders to bring their goods directly to Albany.

Under the new act, Albany traders had to swear an oath that they were not trading with Canada, on penalty of a fine of a hundred pounds. The commissioners took the oath themselves and spent several days at the end of June in summoning local traders, many of whom were prominent citizens or relatives of the commissioners, and asking them to take the oath. Several refused and were fined, including Colonel John Schuyler and his son Philip Schuyler. The notes indicate that the money would be applied to repairing Albany’s fortifications or used as needed. On the 22nd, they wrote to the governor and reported on this, assuring him that they supported the policy, while acknowledging that goods were still being traded with the French. They also asked the governor to allow passage for three Frenchmen who were going to visit their uncle, a “famous trader” in Pennsylvania.

 

Connecting past with present: Schaghticoke, Governor Edmund Andros, and Governor Andrew Cuomo

A few days ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote a letter affirming the safety of those who fear being targeted by the incoming Republican administration.

His reassurance that New York is a safe place brings to mind a much earlier Governor, Sir Edmund Andros,

Sir Edmund Andros RI State House

who worked with the Albany Indian Commissioners, the Haudenosaunee, and the Mohicans to make New York a safe haven for the native peoples who were targeted by governments in New England following Metacomet (King Philip)’s War (1675-1678). During Metacomet’s War, casualties on both sides were high, but they were far higher for the native peoples of New England.  Thousands were  displaced from their lands, even those who had remained at peace. Many were sold into slavery in the West Indies by the governments of Boston and Connecticut. Andros worked with the Mohawks and Mohicans to prevent Metacomet from using New York as a military base, but once peace was achieved, he showed no desire to take revenge on native people or exploit the situation to acquire or sell slaves. On December 5, 1679, New York’s Council adopted a resolution declaring that Indians in New York could not be held as slaves. (Documents Relative to the Colonial History of New York, v. 13, p.537-538). Connecticut asked Andros to return Indians who had fled from there in order to punish them, but Andros refused (Trelease, Allen W., Indian Affairs in Colonial New York: the Seventeenth Century,. Ithaca: Cornell, 1960, 235; DRCHNY 13:496-497).

Mohawks, Mohicans, Dutch, and English worked together to invite the refugees to settle on Mohican land at Schaghticoke, New York, where the Hoosick River meets the Hudson.The photograph at the top of this page shows the remains of a very old white oak tree at Schaghticoke on the Knickerbacker Mansion historic site, the home of Dutch trader and translator Johannes Knickerbacker. Local tradition asserts that Governor Andros planted this “council tree” in 1676 to represent protection and refuge. The records of the Albany Indian Commissioners show that the Schaghticoke Indians repeatedly thanked successive British governors for inviting them to take shelter under the “Tree of Welfare” planted at Schaghticoke, and asked for assurances that they could remain secure there. Governor after Governor assured them that they could live there in peace.  In many of these meetings it is clear that Schaghticoke leaders and British governors used the Tree of Welfare as a metaphor rather than referring to a physical tree, but the physical tree came at some point to represent Andros’s policy, even if he did not actually plant it. The town of Schaghticoke still remembers this history.

Unfortunately, the Albany Indian Commissioners began to lease land at Schaghticoke to Dutch settlers, starting in 1707. Although they continued to invite Indians to come there, they also continued to lease out more of the land, and the Tree of Welfare policy gradually fell apart. The last Schaghticoke Indians left the area in 1754 during a raid by the French (Shirley Dunn, The Mohicans and their Land, 1609-1730. Fleischmann’s, NY: Purple Mountain Press, 1994, p. 162.) Many settled at the French mission town at Odanak, now an Abenaki First Nations community.

Even though the Tree of Welfare eventually succumbed to colonialism, at least Schaghticoke provided a sanctuary for three quarters of a century to people who needed one. May Governor Cuomo’s policy last even longer.

 

 

Schedule of Propositions made by the Indians … 1677-1714

Click on the links below to download my transcription of the collection of notes entitled Schedule of propositions made by the Indians and answers given to them. These notes were taken in the nineteenth century, probably by British government officials. They cover portions of the first two volumes of the Albany Indian Commissioners’ Record Books for the period from 1677-1714. The original volumes are lost, so these notes provide information not available elsewhere.

The notes are now held by Library and Archives Canada. You can view their descriptive record here. The online images are available here.

You can also view the transcription directly online by hovering your cursor over Schedule of Propositions… in the menu at the bottom of the image at the top of the page, then clicking on the portion you want to see.

The transcription is divided into three parts, organized by date.

Part I provides only a rough outline or index of the first portion of the lost Volume I of the Albany Indian Commissioners records, covering 1677-1704. It has very little detail, in part because many entries were in Dutch, which the note takers could not speak, misidentifying it as “Indian.”

aic_sp_1677-1704-edited

Part II, which contains more detailed notes on 1705-1706, the last portion of Volume I, includes much material not available elsewhere. By this time more of the AIC records were in English.

aic_sp_1705-1706-edited

Part III includes notes for 1705-1706, the first seven years of Volume II of the AIC records, with a lot of detail and information not available elsewhere.

aic_sp_1707-1714-edited

For an introduction to these materials, see this post containing the slides from a talk that I gave about them in October 2016.