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

News from Mohawk Country

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food, Arms, and Powder for Oswego

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

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

 

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

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

[0430] 213

At a Meeting of the Com.es of the Indian

Affairs in Albany the 3.d March 1727/8

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

Present

Philip Livingston

Myndert Schuyler

Evert Banker

Peter V.n Brugh

Rutger Bleecker

Langerter [Lancaster] Symes

Stephanus Groesbeeck

Nicolaes Bleecker

Hendrick & Seth two Sachims of the mohawks Indians

being arrived here inform that board that 2 Onnogonque indians

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

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

on the wood Creek where they had been on hunting there

with Severall other Canada Indians Say that two Cachnawage

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

their brethren at Albany about three Indians who were on

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

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

thousand french men were Actually gone on their march against

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

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

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

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

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

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

any attempts against Osweege or the Indians which we have

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

home to be ready to defend on any Surprise,

[0431] 213a

At a Meeting of the Com.es of Indian

Affairs in Albany this 14th day of March

1727/8 Speech made by an oneyde Sachim

Present

Ph: Livingston

Henry Holland

Myndert Schuyler

Langester Symes

Stephanus Groesbeeck

Harmanus Wendle                              Brother Corlaer & quieder

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

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

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

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

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

=tage whereon we Considered & did Concent the building

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

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

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

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

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

that we Should have had goods cheaper then formerly but

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

Gill therefore Brother Corlaer & quieder we desire that we

May have powder Cheaper there

Brother the reason we desire that Goods may be Sold

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

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

french at Canada; we Cant much Complain about the

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

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

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

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

often agree on the Subject and then there is again again

a time that you maintain a great frindship together,

Brother we desire that you will be pleased to give

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

powder & lead Cheaper then you do now because it has

often happend that we have Desird or proposed a matter

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

of Wampum

Answer

[0432] 214

Answer

Brethren

We are Sorry to her that you are Concernd

and afflected that the building at Osweege does not give you

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

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

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

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

with your request that you may have a Speedy & Acceptable

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

taken of Redress for you that powder & lead shall be

Offerd you there Cheaper as has been Sold last winter

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

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

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

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

is a report that the french will take it by thretetoun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greater quantity of goods we have to Supply Such trade as

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

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

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

together wherefore we dont think that they will molest

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

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

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

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

against the foxes a Nation of Indians Liveing on a breach

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

for that only Strengthten the french make them proud and

is drawing you from your habitations & bringing a war on

you

[0433] 214a

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

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

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

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

Whereas the Garryson at Osweege by the last advice

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

meal Wherefore its resolvd that two batoes be Repaird at

Schinechtady four men hird there one hundred Skiple

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

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

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

Send to receive that there all which Philip Livingston

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

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

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

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

provide & pay for the same

Att a Meeting of the Com.es of Indian

Affairs in albany ye 19th March 1727/8

Present

Philip Livingston

Henry Holland

Myndert Schuyler

Peter Vn. Brugh

Hend.k Vn. Renselaer

Langester Symes

Rutger Bleecker

Stepha: Groesbeek

Nicolaes Bleecker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resolvd that his Excel.cy  for Capt. Nicolls best

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

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

letter Express to Osweege with all Convenient Speed —

[0434] 215

Albany the 21 March 1727/8

May it please your Exc.y

We are honourd with your Excel.cy fav=

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

will take care to Send up pork by the return of

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

Nicolls ( As soon as the River is Navigable & free

from Ice with hundred Sheple pease & 100 wheat

Meal the last from the Carrying place to the Carry=

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

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

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

whether will permit,

We suppose the best & Sevelt way to provide provi=

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

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

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

be Requird to have Six Tarpellins made of Course Duck,

Inclosed Send your Excel.y Capt. Nicolls last letter

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

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

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

=thy your Excel.cy Notice a psent wherefore Conclude

with that we are with great Esteem & Respect

Philip Livingston        Hend.r Vn. Renselaer

Henry Holland            Rutger Bleeker

Myndert Schuyler       Stephanus Groesbeek

Evert Banker               Har: Wendle

Peter Vn. Brugh          Nicolaes Bleecker

[0435] 215a

Att A meeting of the Comm.es of ye

Indian Affairs in Albany the 27th

March 1727/8

Present

Philip Livingston

Henry Holland

Myn: Schuyler

Har: Wendle

Ryer Gerritse

Nicolaes Bleker

Mr. Harmanus Wendle Engages to pay

Jacobus Peek for such quantity of pease as the 3

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

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

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

bly

[There are no entries for April 1728]

Advertisements

Minute Book 3: 1727-July: Oswego Needs Food and Trade; Murder at Schoharie; French Governor Visits Albany

On July 5th the Commissioners of Indian Affairs informed Governor Burnet that the building at Oswego would be finished by the first of August according to Captain Evert Bancker. Supplies of food were running low there because the Palatines who had engaged to provide it had only limited amounts and supplying Oswego directly from Albany was prohibitively expensive.  The commissioners tried to reassure the governor that with the bacon they had sent up the previous month and the “wheat meal” provided by the Palatines, matters were not as bad as Captain Nicolls at Oswego suggested. They agreed with him, however, that Oswego very much needed a good Indian Interpreter.

Trade at Oswego was poor and some traders would likely have to bring their goods back. No nations from the vicinity of Tuchsagrondie (present day Detroit) had been there and few from the east. The only trade was coming from closer by, on the north side of Lake Ontario (Cadaraghi) or from those the commissioners described as “our own Indians.” Trade was further complicated by recent changes in the laws that ended the prohibition on trading Indian goods to the French in Canada but still required traders to pay additional duties on them. Governor Burnet accused the commissioners of failing to enforce the new version, but they insisted that they had issued summonses against traders who were out of compliance.

Can a British Governor Punish Indian Murderers at Schoharie?

The commissioners attempted to explain to Governor Burnet the complexities involved in punishing the death of the Palatine settler at Schoharie who had been killed in a quarrel with some Indians after accusing them of stealing a hog. They admitted that an Indian had been hanged in New Jersey for killing an Englishman, but insisted Schoharie was “different Scituated.”  The Six Nations were more numerous and of a “different temper” from the native people living in New Jersey. Moreover the Six Nations were aware that Europeans had killed people from the Six Nations and escaped execution even following a trial and judgement.  The commissioners told the governor they did not know how to apprehend the murderers in the Schoharie case.

French Threats and Diplomacy

The commissioners learned from John Tippets, a New England man who went to Canada to redeem his captive children, that 400 Frenchmen and 600 Indians were ready to attack Oswego, destroy the new building, kill the English living there, and seize their goods.  They also had “private intelligence” that an unidentified individual in Canada had undertaken to surprise and capture Fort Oswego in exchange for 50 pounds. They conveyed this information to Captain Nicolls at Oswego and advised him to be on guard.

Fortunately for the English, Jean Bouillet de La Chassaigne, the governor of Trois Rivieres, arrived in Albany on July 24th with an entourage of his officers and sent a message to Governor Burnet that he wanted to negotiate.  The commissioners paid four pounds and ten shillings to Jacob Visger to convey the party to New York in Jacob Visger’s sloop.

By now the French knew the details of the building at Oswego.  Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Lery, the engineer for the French fort at Niagara as well as many other buildings in French Canada, drew a plan of the new fort as it existed in 1727. It probably seemed primitive to him compared to his grander vision for Niagara and the other public works that he designed. Below is a copy:

Oswego_nypl.digitalcollections.0c5097c0-1484-0134-524f-00505686a51c.001.g
Chaussegros de Léry, Gaspard-Joseph, 1682-1756,”Plan of Oswego, 1727.”  Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 3, 2018.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the first substantive entry for July 1727 starts here on p. 191a. The transcription is below.

[0385] 191

(37

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

Affairs in Albany ye. 1 of July 1727

[REMAINDER OF PAGE IS BLANK]

[0386] 191a

38)

Att a Meeting of ye Com.es of Indian

Affairs in Albany ye. 5.th of July 1727

We had ye. hon.r to write your Ex.cy on ye. 28.th past

Since wh. have Rec.d nothing of Moment from ye. west=

=ward only this inclosed we had to day from Capt. Banker

of the 25th whereby it is to Seem how the building goes

forwd. at Osweege by the Information we have from ye.

head Carpenter it will be finishd by ye. first of ag.t next

the men Capt. Nicolls Sent with a batoe to ye. palatines

for provisions have only 30 Bushels wheat meal from them

So yt. the bacon we Sent Will Come in good time. we

Intend to Send more in a Short time yt. it may Serve

ye. Detachmt. till ye. palatines Can provide with beef & por[k]

[0378] 187a

[Other copies on p. 191a [0386] and p. 243a [0491]]

Albany ye. 14 July 1727

May it please your Ex.cy

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

p Oothout Since wh. have none of your Ex.cys favours,

the inclosed is from Capt. Nicolls to Capt. Holland

whereby your Ex.cy has an Acct how it goes on with the

building at Osweege, how the Detachmt. are provided

with provisions and what trade is Carryed on there, it

is Supposed yt. Some traders will not have yt Success

as ws Suspected and will Come back with part of

their Goods, for want of Vent, the Detachmt. may

want some provisions but not So much as Nicolls Seen

to Mention ye Men he Sent with a batoe for provisions

to ye palatines had 130 bushel wheat Meal & we Sent

Near 500 lb bacon as we write in our last wh. Arrivd

Soon After he writ last we Calculate yt. Capt. Banks

will have 2 Months provisions for his Detachmt.

Expected pease wh. we do not know how to Supply now,

it may be time Enough to Send ym. further provisions

wn. we Shall have ye hon.r to receive Your Excel.cy answer

how to proceed ye palatines Cant Supply ym. till

Sept. Unless with wheat Meal & Indian Corn, on your

Commands to us of ye 12th April & 19th June relating our

proceeding to ye Acts of Assembly agt. those who have not

Come in & taken ye Advantage of the last Act, made

in their favours we had Sundry Meetings & persu=

=all of the Act passd ye 17th June 1726. we find yt

Every Article Clause or things in ye former Acts are

Inforced, so yt. we humbly conceive yt. wt. Sumonces

have been Issued by the Com.rs are Still in force &

Since no further Complaints are made to ue agt. any

person we Can not proceed we take leave to Subscribe

our Selves yt. we are with Esteem

 

[0387] 192 [Item 2 on page]

(39

Albany 17.th July 1727

Your Ex.cys favours of ye. 15 Instant we Rec.d & observe

ye Contents our last was ye. 14.th Instant. whereto we take

leave to refer, the agreemt. with the palatines we Could

not make more favourable to Send it from hence would

Cost much More while its a great distance thither

they think they have a hard bargain to furnish ye. provi.s as we agreed

We have been Informd yt. an Indian was hangd for killing

an English-Men in N:yerseys yt. place is place is [sic] different

Scituated in respect to our five nations numerous are of a

different temper & More they those who live in ye. Jerseys

& on an other hand their have Indians been killd by our

people who have not been Executed for it but made

their

[0388] 192a

40)

their Escape after tryall & Judgemt. wh. they allways abridge [upbraid?]

us with how to Apprehend ye. Murderers now yt. killd ye.

Palatine at Skohere we cant tell we gave your Ex.cy

timely notice of this fact,

We Cant hear yt. there has been in a Manner any

Trade at Oswegee from Tuchsaghrondie Indians all yt.

has been there this year is from our own Indians

& those Living on ye. North Side Cadaraghqus lake & few

living to ye. Eastward of it its Supposed many of our traders

will be obliged to Com Back with their goods its Said yt.

Clear rum has already been Sold there at 3/ p gallon

by one trader to Another,

We are at a Stand what to Conjecture yt. ye french are

doing at Canada haveing had no manner of Intillegence

from there since April,

We are of Opinion with Mr. Nicolls yt. an able

Indian Interpreter will be much wanting at Osweege

 

Albany ye. 25 July 1727

[See Wraxall p. 170 for brief mention.]

Present

Philip Livingston

Myndert Schuyler

Peter Vn. Brugh

Henry Renselaer

Lancester Symes

Ryer Gerritse

Stephanus Groesbeeck

Harmanus Wendell

Nicolaes Bleecker

May it please your Ex.cy

We take this oppertunity to Inform your

Ex.cy yt. Yesterday arrivd here Mon.s Lasasangie Gov.r

of trois riviere accopanyd with Some Officers message is to

your Ex.cy & Intends to Sett out from hence in a 3 days

by what we hear is ye. Subject of his Errant is ab.t our

building at Oshweege M.r John Tippets from N: England

who has been to Canada to redeem his Captive Children

Inform us yt. 400 french & 800 Indians have been ready

to March directly to Oshweege to Destroy ye. building kill

& take our people & their goods, but has been happyly by

the advice

[0389] 193

(41

the advice Mons.r Lasasangie who has Offerd his Service to

Undergo ye. fetague of this Journey to Mediate this Affair

with your Ex.cy Mean time an Officer is Sent to Oshweege

with orders to desire our people their to desist from building

till they have ye. resolt of this message their forces are to be

kept ready at an hours warning ye. Indians of Cachnawage

have firmly promisd ye. Gov.r of Canada not to have any

Communication with this place. Sd. Tippits is going to New

york who Can give your Excy. a particular Acct. how Affairs

are at Canada

Inclosed is a letter from Capt. Banker wherein is

no better Intelligence yt. we have from Montreal.

The Com.es agreed with Mr. Jacob Visger to Carry Mon.s

Lasasanie Gov.r of trois rivier now in town with people

in his Company in his Sloop to N: York for Seaven pounds

ten Shillings for ye. trip down & for four pound ten Shil=

=lings up hither again & to lye 8 a 9 days at N: York

[“Mons. Lasasangie” refers to Jean Bouillet de La Chassaigne (1654-1733) who became governor of Trois-Rivieres in 1726. He traveled to New York to urge Governor Burnet to remove Fort Oswego according to his entry in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.]

[0390] 193a

42)

Att a meeting of ye Com.es of Indian

Affairs ye. 26 July 1727

Capt. Nicolls

We had ye. perusall of yours to Capt. Holland

wherein you very Justly Imagine yt. ye french are

hatching some mischief ag.t us we have ye Same

Intilligences from Canada as you intimate & ye. Gov.r

of trois rivere is here & going to his Ex.cy our Gover.r with

a message abt. our building at Oshweege, we have

private Intilligence yt. a Man at Canada has undertaken

for £50 with a few men to Surprize you & take possession

of ye building & disposess you wh. would be dangerous

Consequence to this province wherefore we desire you

to be on your Gaurd & not to Suffer on no acct. whatsoever any

french or any of their Indians to Enger into ye. house

We Send you a half barrel powder 56 lb lead & 28 lb

Shot for a Small Supply & [blank space] lb bacon we wish you all

well & Assure you yt. we are —-

[0392] 194a

44)

Albany ye. 26 July 1727

May it please your Ex.cy

We had ye. hon.r Yesterday to acqt. your Ex.cy

yt Mons.r Lassasnaje Gov.r of trois Rivine arrive here

ye 24th Instant as we are Informd with a message from ye.

Gov.r of Canada to y.r Ex.cy haveing good reason to be

perswaded yt. ye. Subject is Errant about our building at

Osweege & as we hear ye. french at Canada are very much alarmd

at our possessing yt. place & ye. forces ready to Attack & dispo=

=ses us is a great presumtion in ym. & of ye. last Consequence

to this province all ye. Neigbouring provinces on this Con=

=tenant wh. we humbly hope may be treated with great

Caution & delibration yt. ye. good union & firm aligance wh.

Subjects between ye. two Crowns may not be violeted by ye.

french of Canada, & its province disturbd in their Just & In=

=doubted right & possession of ye. lands Solemnly agreed to

belong to ye Crown of great britain & they in no manner

to preven any Indians freely to trade with ye. british

Subjects, as this Gentlemen is a person of Distinction & yt. we

are in Expectation yt. your Exc.y may be pleased with our

Opinion on this Cretical Subject wh. would take up too

much room to write out of ye. Great Concernd we have desird

& prevaild on Coll. M: Schuyler & Mr. Livingston with whom we

have discourd & told our Sentiments Abt. this Affair wh. we

hope may be Acceptable to y.r Ex.cy with respect we

Remain

Your Ex.cys most humble

& most Obed.t Servants

Peter Vn. Brugh                      Nicolaes Bleecker

Lancester Symes                     Harmanus Wendle

Rutger Bleecker                       Ph: Schuyler

St: Groesbeeck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[0375] 186

(27

Albany ye [10] June 1727

May it please your Ex.cy

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

which we Should have Answerd much Sooner but have

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

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

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

news from ye westward to Communicate to your Ex.cy

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

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

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

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

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

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

been 20 odd its Conjecturd yt. the french at Jagara

Stop ym. while the traders who pass by our trading

place are party loaded with Brandy w.h they never

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

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

We Write Some time Since to Capt. Banker to

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

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

thither tho chiefly from Onnondage who are Inclind in

the french Intrest

We write to ye. two Justices Living among the

palatines above the falls to Come hither to agree with

Us for ye Delivery of provisions for ye Detachmt. gone

to Osweege,

It is long Since we had any manner of

Intelligence from Canada, no Indians Come from

thence to trade here,

We return you Ex.cy Our most herty thanks for

Sending

 

[0376] 186a

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

favour, we hope his Majesties arms may have Such

Good Success, over ye Spanish & Imperor as we desire

from the bottom of Our hears,

Its Conjecturd yt. ye Detachmt. Sent to Osweege

are arrivd there abt. ye 7 Instant they might have

been there Sooner had they not Met with bad

Whether & litle water in ye wood Creek

 

Albany the 12 June 1727

[Second copy on p. 243 [0490]]

May it please yr. Ex.cy

Since we had the hon.r to write to your

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

men Lately Come from philadelphi but last from

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

=pering with Severall Negro Slaves at this place to run

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

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

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

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

waite for ye Oppertunity of these three french=

=Men lately come from Canada & gone to philadel=

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

be Securd yt. he may not go thither this way

[0377] 187

[Second copy on p. 243 [0490]]

Albany 16 June 1727

May it please Your Excell.cy

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

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

Inclosed from Capt. Nicolls ye traders Inform us

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

Nicolls Suppose it would be 6 Weeks before it would

be finish we Cant Understand yt. Only 2 Masons are

at Work while more are there who Can be Imployd

we have Sent A Second letter for the palatines to Come

hither to Agree with us for the Delivery of provisions

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

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

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

have Already finish ye building at Jagara as

their traders are Allowd brandy they will do us no

litle damage yet hope Every thing may Succeed

According to your Ex.cy Expectation,

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

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

An Interpreter what they Shall purpose will not faile

to Communicate to your Exc.y pr first Oppertunity mean

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

& Respect, —

 

[0379] 188                                                                                                      (31

Att a meeting of the Com.es of the

Indian Affairs in Albany ye. 18th of

June 1727

Present

Philip Livingston

Myndt. Schuyler

Peter Van Brugh

Henry Van Renselaer

Rutger Bleecker

Lancester Symes

Reyer Gerritse

Step. Groesbeeck

Harmanus Wendell

Nicolaes Bleecker

Two Indians Sachims one from detroit alias

Tuchsachronde named ajastoenies & ye Other from ye.

Nation Calld by ye french poatamis named Wynamack

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

blew, who make the following Speech,

We are not Come hither only on an Idle Errant

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

how they do, and how Affairs are here,

We are Sent by ye. Sachims of Tuchsachrondie

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

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

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

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

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

father Corlaer may be Acquainted with,

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

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

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

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

one of ym

[0380] 188a

32)

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

Nation Calld patamis & am Come hither directly from

hunting in company with this old men ajastoenies Else

would have brought Some psents from my nation but can

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

Come to trade here,

I have had but an Indifferent hunting

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

Came down but they would give me but trifles for it

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

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

I am come now but with a few Skins to See

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

a good penny worth I Come again with large quantity

of Skins,

I have Mett with Great Diffeculty from

the french who would prevent me going to See you

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

herken to any thing they told me, being Assurd other

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

Represent him therefore I presisted in my Design to

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

thing ye french told me Depending on what has

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

here for the far Nations who are Civilly & Kindly

treated.

It was represented unto me yt. Some Ill Shouts

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

=ses & Engagemts yt. we Should be Always wellcome

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

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

by my constant resolution in Comeing hither & now find &

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

Skins )

Answer of ye

[0381] 189

(33

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

We are Rejoycd to see you here & bid you

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

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

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

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

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

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

=ted whose reach now over all your habitation under whose

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

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

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

your Nations treatmt. here we Expect will Induce a greater

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

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

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

come without any Apprehension of fear, wherefore be Content

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

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

may Exact & Impose on you as they have done for

these Many Years past to make you their goods at an

Extravagent high price, wh. we hope you may perceive

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

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

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

together for they will Contrive to prevent your Comeing to

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

freely pass without any Interruption & therefore we recommend

you

[0382] 189a

34)

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

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

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

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

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

with Other psons to treat with you & all Other remote

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

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

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

here is Always a perpetuall Succession of Sachims as you

Now See.

You find our Goods Very Cheap here we have

Abundance at this time for have sufficiently provided

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

far Indians would have Come to trade with Skins &

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

backward in Comeing Contrary to the former promisses

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

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

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

 

[0383] 190

(3

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

Affairs in Albany ye 22th June 1727–

Present

Philip Livingston

Pe: Van Brugh

Rutger Bleeker

Ryer Gerritse

Lancester Symes

St. Groesbeeck

Harmanus Wendell

Nicolaes Bleeker

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

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

with Johan Jurch Kast & Johan Joost Petri ye 2 Justices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

willing yn. to do It.

 

[0391] 194

(43

Albany 26 June 1727

Capt. Banker

VE aengenaeime p.r Mr. Hend Cuyler hebbe roy

ontfangen en den Inhout Estaen het is ons Seer lief

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

wegens de france in canada om met maght ons volk

op oshweege te overvallen & possessie vant huys neemen

wy hebben daer Sekerhegt van over dese wegh dat 400

franse & 800 wilden Claer geweeft Lyn in Montreal om

dat Ongeoorlooft werk uyte voeren dogh als wy Geinformeert

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

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

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

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

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

& So daer possessie van te neemen, twelk Informatie wy

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

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

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

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

gasie bestaelt Sall worden So als VE Sall Accorderen & hoope

VeE sult met Lourence der over Avissoren

 

[0384] 190a

36)

Att a Meeting of the Com.es of ye.

Indian Affairs in Albany ye. 28th June

1727

Philip Livingston

Langester Symes

Rutger Bleecker

Ryer Gerritse

Harmanus Wendell

Stephanus Groesbeeck

May it please your Ex.cy

Your Excellencys favours of the 19th Instant

we received since which no oppertunity has offerd, we give

your Excellency thanks for Ordering the frenchmen not to Return

hither again,

The building we hear by the Last advice

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

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

Holland has had the peruzall of your Excellencys letter

and has write to Captain Nicolls to gett Skins for Shoes

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

The report about the young men who had found

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

hear he Shewd the place,

We hope that our ambassador in france who has orders

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

We have agreed with ye. palatines to furnish ye

Detachmt. have Osweege with provisions for one year as

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

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

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

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

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

our next,

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

Carrying place want to be repaird

Minute Book 3: 1727-May: The Haudenosaunee Agree to Let the English Build at Oswego; Sixty Soldiers Are Sent Up; the French Invite the Six Nations to Montreal

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

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

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

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

[0369] 183

([21

Albany 2 May 1727

May it please yr. Exc.l

Inclosed your Ex.cy has a letter from

Capt. Banker of the 24th April with the Acceptable

News that the Six Nations have given Consent for

building of the house at Osweege we are much Rejoyced

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

the Publick Great Expences and as much trouble we hope

Your Excellencys will be perswaded that we act with

As much for the best of the Caution according to our

Ability as we are Capable of.

We hear from the Messengers who brought us

Capt. Bankers letter that french have Desird the

Sachims of ye. Six Nations to Come to Montreal we

Suppose they may Easy Stopd to go thither,

 

[0370] 183a

22)

Albany 2d. May 1727

Capt. Banker

VE ons seer aengenaeme van den 24 april

hebbe Wy met veel blyt Schap ontfangen & hoope dat

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

& hindering Sall voltoyt werden D’Sackaemakers die

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

weegen te bedanken day sy haar belofte aen Syn Eecl.

Volbrengen dat hy de vener vall uns Een Goede plaets

Can Setten hy Sall het Seer weel Neemen & haer in

Zyn Gunst wegens dese Sack Sterker Continuere dat

de wilden Cruyt Loot & andere Goederen begeeren

geenrum is voor haer best het Can Alles op deie

tydt niet ter right gestelt worden maer als het huys

gemacht is Sall het Cruyt will bewaert kunnen

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

Canedae te gaen wy hebben gehort sy Syn genodight om

daer te Comen wy leaeste volkoomen aen ue om

Lourence by Us te geven So lang als ghy noodigh Denck

Indien UE Enigh nieus Cruygh geliest het ons te laeten weeten

wy hopen dat ghy So veelwerk volk Imployeert als ghy noodigh

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

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

[0371] 184

(23

Att a meeting of the Com.es of ye Indian

Affairs In Albany ye. 4th of may 1727

Present

Phil: Livingston

Langester Symes

Hend.k Renselaer

Reyer Gerritse

St: Groesbeeck

Being honoured this day with a

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

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

& Sixty Men of Greater Troops fourthwith to Osweege

in 11 Batoes to help fourthwith the work there and

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

Shall fourthwith Send for Waggons from Schinechtady

that all the Stores & provisions may be Sent away

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

Necessaries that may be yet requird to dispatch the Sd.

Men for their further provisions if it be wanted wh.

his Ex.cy Ingages to pay,

Orderd a letter to be write to Schinechta=

=dy to Capt. Collins to Send fourthwith 26 Waggons

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

by his Excellency for this Service and that all

Necessaries be provided with all Speed that may be

Requird for the Service.

[0372] 184a

24)

Att a Meeting of the Com.rs of Indian

affairs in Albany ye 5 of may 1727

Present

Philip Livingston

[REMAINDER OF PAGE IS BLANK]

[0373] 185

(25

[Another copy on p. 242a / 0489]

Albany 9 May 1727

May it please your Ex.cy

Your Excellencies most Esteemed favours

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

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

Made at New york are much Inferiour & Shilter made

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

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

that nothing is wanting for the Detachmt. to proceed to

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

from Schinechtady hopeing yt. Every thing may Succeed

According to Expectation we Suppose yt. the workmen

Are now beginning to provide Materialls for ye house Capt.

Banker haveing Obtaind Consent from the Sachims of the

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

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

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

wherein he Makes mentions ye. Sachims have Entirely

left it to him build where he pleases he thinks the

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

were Sent fourthwith to Schinechtady and what we

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

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

us what Other Necessaries they wanted for this Expedi=

=tion and we would timely Apply that nothing might

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

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

not be able to undergo the feataque of Such teadious

voyage & Journey all persons are very well Satisfyd to

furnish what they have and do what work they Can on

Credit on ye. Encl. Letter

We Suppose yt. ye. Means of this detachmt.

will be

 

[0374] 185a

26)

at Canada much sooner then they Can be at Osweege,

tho. we think the french dare not Oppose this work

while the Indians are for it,

We Shall agree with those yt. Evill Supply the

men with further provisions Cheapest to be Delivered

beyound ye. Carrying place if men want it Some

palatines have Already Offord to do it,

There are Severall Young men at Osswegee who Can In=

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

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

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

Shall do it,

We have write to Lourence Clase to Stay

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

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

as your Ex.cy has directed,

We return your Ex.cy our most

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

Consult about the best measures to be taken by us without

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Att a Meeting of ye. Com.es of the

Indian Affairs in Albany ye. 3d Apr. 1727

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

Present

Philip Livingston

Peter Vn. Brugh

Henry Renselaer

Rutger Bleecker

Reyer Gerritse

Stephanus Groesbeek

Harmanus Wendell

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

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

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

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

to build the house at the Mouth of Onnondage river

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

=ker in Case we think it Necessary,

In Obedience to his Ex.cys directions agreed this day

with Isaac Bogaert & Cornelis Waldron Masons Benjamin Bogaert

& Nicolaes Groesbeck Carpenters to build Sd. house accor=

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

the day they Sett out till their Return home Excepting

Sundays to find themselves with provisions. but they to be

provided

 

[0361] 179

Provided with Canoes or baties to bring up the Materialls

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

Agreed with Coenraet Becker & Chirstian Jans Law=

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

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

builder at 5/ p Diem on Condition as above

Agreed Also with Mr. Jeremy Schuyler Joh.s Beekman

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

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

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

If they do not Come home with their masters

Its resolved that none of the workmen Shall Carry up any

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

necessaries & towls for Sd. building,

Bought from Capt. Peter Van Brugh two horses

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

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

building Said house,

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

the Interpreteer forthwith to Come hither to Receive orders to go

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

 

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

Affairs in Albany ye 4th. of April 1727

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

Present

Philip Livingston

Myndert Schuyler

Henry Renselaer

Rutger Bleecker

Reyer Gerritse

Stephanus Groesbeek

Har: Wendell                           The Commissioners have this day agreed & allowd

unto Isaac Bogaert the Sume of 5 pound over & above

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

building to be made at ye Mouth of Onnondage river yet

is to be under Command of Capt. Banker

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

Gallon rum above the Alowance of ye thirty Gallon sent for

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

Allowance of two hundred pound p annum

 

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

Albany 4th April 1727

Capt. Collins

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

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

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

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

Imbareg we desire you to procure 26 waggons to Carry up

all at once if any person Should Refuze they must be

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

with Iron Required wh. we hope youl gett made without

delay you also are Desird to Imploy as many Cerpenters as

Can be Imployd to make three batoes with as much Speed

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

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

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

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

men favour us with a line in answer and youl oblidge

who are with Esteam

 

 

[0362] 179a

13)

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

Att a Meeting of the Com.rs of ye

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

Present

Ph: Livingston

Mynd:t Schuyler

Henry Renselaer

Rutger Bleecker

Reyer Gerritse

St. Groesbeeck

Har. Wendell

Ph: Schuyler                                        This Board acquainted Lourence Claese

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

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

=preter to Communicate to ye Sachims of ye 5 Nations

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

and design to build a trading house at Sweege on ye

mouth of Onnondage river the better to promote

& Carry on a trade with the far Indians,

Agreed with the Said interpreter for his Service at

Onnondage and to bring up with another men (whom he

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

of Onnondage river to be Imployd for drawing timber

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

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

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

building its agreed he Shall be allowd what

is Resonable above Sd. Sume

This board have tought [bought] powder to

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

=tional Instructions,

Haveing obtaind Consent from his Exc.y Gov.r

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

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

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

Consequence

[0363] 180

(13

Consequence to this Governmt. if it Should be Opposd by

the Indians, you are therefore to use your best Endeavours

to Obtain their Consent for wh. purpose, We Recommend

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

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

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

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

Near Cadrachqus Lake you must tell them is for ye Conveniency

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

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

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

houses, and that the traders may Secure and Store their

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

to bring back hither

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

Moves this Governmt. to build this trading house at Osweege

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

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

Indians from Comeing to trade there and at Albany with the

Inhbitations of this province but also the five nations them=

=selves by which means they Would Entirely make ymSelves

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

they have had Sufficiet proof of ye french fortifying near them

and on ye Contrary that they have had repeated Instances

of the Civil treatmt. and kind behaviour of this Government

towards ym for their Secureity and wellfare for many years

past at this building will pVent the french from makeing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the Great

 

[0364] 180a

14)

The Great and Good King of great Britain their father

& protecter would take it as the Greatest Affront that

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

hands in Albany this 6 Day of April 1727

was Signd by these presents as

above

[0365] 181

(15)

Albany 6 april 1727

Capt. Banker

Wy hebben VE laest Geschreven p Mr.

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

haar toe Gefonden,

Hier Nevens gaet Een andere brief van Zyn

Ex.cy p Lourence Claese als meede Instructer van ons

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

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

In Sulke Goederen als p inlegende Memorie om door VE

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

Vant publick Wy & hoopen dat gy VE uyterste de voir

Sall Aen wenden dat D Wilde Gewilligh toe Staen het

Op bowen vant huys En ghy niet Mankere Sutt om Suloe

te Scygen willen wy niet aen twyfellen So Sullen

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

=tie asisaghten

Lourence heeft drie paarden voor hout & Steen &c.

Meede te ryen voor het Opbenden vant huys modell

daer van sullen D’naeste week met het het week

volk opsenden & dan VE verder Schryven ondertusche

& blyde naer haer hartslyck Groetenisse

 

[

 

Albany ye. 10th April 1727

Mr. Lawyer

We have Rec.d your letters of Yesterdays date

that ye Indians have wounded three men at Skohare for

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

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

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

=chief what measures he Shall think proper to take we

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

Onnondage that he may acqt. the Sachims of the five

Nations of this fatall Misfortune what will be done

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

amicable means will be best for the best peace of our

Country. We remain

Philip Livingston                    Reyer Gerritse

Myndert Schuyler                  Stephanus Groesbeck

Peter V Brugh                         Harm.s Wendell

Hend.k Renselaer

 

[0368] 182a

18)

Att a Meeting of the Com.es of ye,

Indian affairs in Albany ye. 11 day

of April 1727

Sedert onse Laeste p dese Gelegentheyt van

Lourence Claese ontfangen wy op gifteere het Onaenge=

=naem niews dat Enige wilden & wildinnen tot het

Getall Van 10-12 dewelke Laeste Sondagh aghtermiddagh

drunken asarren op Skohere Een groot onkeyl & oor=

=saakte driegende om d huyse & Schauren int brant

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

haar tegen dat gedaen Synde gingen D’ Wilden nae

haer huysen & quamen ti Samen met haer roers

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

in ware van wien Sy drie man hebben geschoten twe

daer Van doodelyck gequest, Een weert Gedoght Nu

doot te Syn de wilden niet beeter weetende of Sy waren

doot & daer op manen Sy D Vlught wy hebben Zyn

Excel.cy daer kenniss van te geven maer wat order

hy dies aengaerde Sall Geven waten wy niet,

Ondertuschen oordelen wy noodigh Dat Ghy de

Sackemakers dit on heyl op D. Sagste Mannier bekent

Maakt om So van haar te hooren hoe Sy dit neemen

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

=ten dat sy Enige Sackemakers Deputere om hurte

Coomen dit onheyl vor te Verschonen & Indien Sy

dit Uyt haar Seff niet doen of pretendere so ordele

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

brenght door Enige principaele wilden dat Sy Sulx

te werk Stellen & Satisfactie doen door &soennig on

& der onheyl voor te Comen

 

0366] 181a [Out of order in original]

16)

Albany ye 26th Apr. 1727

Capt. Banker

V E brief den 13 defer Ontfangen waer

by wy vernemen dat Ghy in Onnondage met D Sackema=

=kers hebt Gesproken wegen het Timmeren op Sweege

day Sy het niet willen toestaen dat het huys daer Sall

op gebout werden twelk ops Seer Leet is om tehooren

en Sy Excellency ongelwyfelt Sall het ter hearten

namen wy hoopen & verwaghten dat op D’ Komst

van Lourence ghy D wilden beeter kunnen verstaen

& onderighten want hy verwaght dat Sy het Timme-

=ren niet Sullen tegen Staen maer vrywilligh ons Sullen

laeten vort gaen volgens haer Consent also het voor haer

besten is So als wy Alreede in VE Instructies met

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

gelaeten voor een persoon van aensien Nae VE te

Senden tot VE Aensistenkie om het vry lof van D

wilden Soude Murmereeren te Obtineeren als Sy voor

dese gedaen hebben dat alles wreedigh magh toe=

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

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

Gelucken, so hebben wy goet gedaght dat Een of twe

pSoonen van aensien tot VE asustansie Sullen toe

gesonden werden onstants op VE Verder Schryven

dat de Wilde VE Affslaen ondertuschen Sullen

wy alles dat noodigh is voor So-Een Toght Claer

maken & gereert houden tot dien Eynde & Soecken

wy day ghy d Sackemakers by malkander houdt

om Een verdere propositie met haer te maken

So Zy

 

[0367] 182

(17)

So Sy VE Aftgeslagen hebben ondertuschen moet

ghy deprincipaalste wilden om Coopen & over reeden

want het werk moet gaan Laet d’Corter Syn wat

het will der halve verwagten wy VE Schryvens ter=

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

D’Metselaers & Timmerlieden mosten met t’huys

Coomensonder Consent & verder Schryvens van ons

ondertuschen laet het volk geimployeert werden in

hacken planken Laghe Steen Ryen & putmaken &c.

d’wilden den brengeers deses hebben wy voldsen wy

Voldoen wat het Cruyt aengaet weet ghy kunnen

wy niet Indoen d’ datum Van VE brief denken wy

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

=telycke groetenisse & blyde

Myndert Schuyler                  Philip Livingston

Rutger bleeker                         Peter van Brugh

Harmanus Wendell                  Reyer Gerritse

Nicolaes Bleecker                    Stevanus Groesbeek

[0477] 236a

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

May it please your Excellency

Your Exce.lys most Esteemed favours

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

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

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

Retaliation for our good offices & pains not

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

like to lay out for their Security & preservation

which we think however in duty & Conscience

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

of Boston those in that Town we Suppose

think themseves [sic] Secure Enough

Inclosed your Excel.ly has a letter from Capt.

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

that he has made any Speech or proposalls to the

Sachims at onnondage before Lourence Came to

him & by what we hear from the Indians who are

come hither bifferd but 2 a 3 days. the Sachims

Seem to have denyd him their Consent to Errect

the building at oswego. but now while the Inter

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

Inform them better & Convince them of yee. necessity

to have this house built for the Conveniency of

that traders & thier Security we have now Sent

a letter Express to him if the Indians to presist

in their denying Consent that he forthwith Send

us an account of it by Express on yee. arrivall

thereof we Shall dispatch two men who have good

Interest among ye Indians to assist him with

further psents to onnondage and have desird

him to keep yee. Sachims together till Said Gentle

=men Shall arrive there mean while that yee.

workmen be Imployd to hew wood Saw boards

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

Shall

[0478] 237

Shall not neglect to Send your Excellency

an account of it

We are very glad to See by yee. Minute

of your Excel.ly in Councill that our Conduct in

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

Sent up to build Sd. house of which is approvd

aff. makes us not a little ambitious we take nothing

more to heart then that this building Should be

Erected in a peaceable & amicable manner being

of ye. greatest Consequence to this Province.

and are pleased to See your Excel.ly becomes Security

for the further psents that may be Required the workmen

Sett out from hence yee 13th Instant in Two batoes

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

people tell us who mett them we had much

trouble to dispatch them

Here are three other Batoes finishd

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

think two more will be Required

The misfortune happend at Skohere first

arised from yee Indians who had killed a hogg

belonging to one of ye man who is wounded haveing

Chargd them with it, which yee Indians when they

were drunk Resented it tho the pork was found in

their wigwomb & Some of their Number had done

that mischief & ye Palatines not giveing way to

their humour was in Short ye. occassion of the

Quarrel & the indians are a mixture of ye Several

Nations we did not intend your Ex.ly Should

take yee. trouble to Come hither unless the Sachims

acknowledged their Error of their own accord come

Reconcile this

Wee begg your Ex.cy Leave to Refer

that affair Relating ye. Transgressors of ye. late

Acts till our next meeting that we may have

a Compleat number of members. the master of

the Sloop presents to be gone haveing a fair wind

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[0353] 175

Albany 13 March 1726/7

Capt. Banker

Sir

Inclosed you have a letter from his Ex.cy

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

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

Generall Assembly one wherefore you are to receive herewith

for your direction as we informd that Severall traders

are already gone and others going dayly with a view as

We Conceive to Endave the true Intent of the ligis=

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

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

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

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

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

the Charge thereof Shall be paid you by ye Publick

By the next Convenient oppertunity we Shall

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

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

ven by you to ye. far Indians–

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

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

Ph: Livingston

M: Schuyler

Peter Vn: Brugh

L: Symes

R: Blecker

St: Groesbeek

P: Schuyler

[0354] 175a

Albany 16 March 1726/7

May it please your Ex.cy

We have been honord with your Ex.cys

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

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

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

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

ye falls nor at Skohere we had a palatine mason here

who lives at Schinnecktady he demands 9/p diem on

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

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

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

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

All Imploy here & this work being remote from their

Above Demand 12. more yn. their Usual days

hoe here we have made no agreemt. being limited

to palatines workman may probaly he [be] had Cheaper

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

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

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

with Submission we think it to be Very Necessary as this

Jouncture yt. Lourence Claese be Sent to the onnonda=

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

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

being a Matter of Consequence if it Should be obstructed

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

Interpret for him,

We have Inquired of ye. Traders who agree yt.

there is Excellent Stone for building at ye. point of

onnondage

[0355] 176

Onnondage river but now Can Inform us Whether there

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

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

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

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

if a well Can be made in ye Most Convenient place

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

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

had without Difficulty

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

workmen go up to buy two old horses will be Cheapest

Adam Smith appeard before this board demended

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

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

Major Isaac Bogaert major & Nicolas Groesbeek Carpt.

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

 

Att a Meeting of the Com.es of the Indian

Affairs in Albany ye 20th March 1726/7

Present

Ph: Livingston

Myn: Schuyler

Hend.k Renselaer

Lancester Symes

Rutger Bleecker

Stephanus Groesbeeck

Nicolaes Bleecker

Ryer Gerritse

We had the honour to receive a letter from his

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

follows

Albany 20 March 1726/7

May it please yr. Exc.y

After ___ Haveing write the foregoing your Excellencys favour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to

[0356] 176a

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

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

Matter with Submission we Suppose that it Would much

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

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

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

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

Work their 6 Days and phaps not many will assist

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

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

yt they Should Come afterwards the house may be So long

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

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

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

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

We have Imployd Cerpenters to make forthwith four batoes

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

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

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

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

This Day agreed with Luykas Wyngaert Wm.

Barret to fitch boards at Mr. Coyemans for four batoes

& knees for ym.

Imployed Anthony Bogardus & Cornelis Bogaert

Cerpenters to make four batoes

[0357] 177

Albany 25 March 1726/7

May it please your Excel.cy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miscarry So we may humbly hope that Such proper Measures

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

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

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

Indians be prevaild to Consent our Makeing that building for

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

forthwith dispatch to Assist Capt. Banker & withall Carry

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

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

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

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

possessd agt. any building to be made by us,

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

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

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

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

Repayd

Minute Book 3: 1726-March: Conflicts Over Alcohol Continue; the French Presence in Iroquoia is Growing

It is not clear how well Laurence Claessen knew English.  The commissioners often instructed him to keep journals of his diplomatic missions, but they generally submitted their own versionVersion 3 into the record.  In March, Claessen appeared before them and gave them his journal of his recent trip. The minutes describe “in substance” what it said, including a day by day account of how he went to several towns of the Six Nations and invited leaders to a meeting that was held in Seneca country beginning on February 22nd.  The participants discussed the ongoing conflicts over the sale of alcohol in Iroquoia and other matters including an English boy taken captive from Virginia and thought to be held in Iroquoia. The Six Nations said they did not have the boy.  They asked once again that the English prohibit the sale of alcohol in their country, but Claessen could only tell them once again that sales would be restricted to “Far Indians” from outside Iroquoia to promote the fur trade. The sachems described how alcohol was leading to violence and other problems, even to murders.  They gave Claessen a belt of wampum to take back to the English authorities to confirm their position that it should be banned completely. However they agreed not to molest the traders or the far Indians.

In Seneca country, Claessen found Juriaen Hogan, the blacksmith sent by the English, as well as a party of French residents that included a French smith and his family.  The Iroquois said the French smith had come to live with them “in a deceitful manner,” returning with a Six Nations delegation that had gone to condole the death of the French governor Ramsay. The smith and his party were, of course, also sending information back to the French, just as Claessen and Hogan were doing for the English. Claessen provided an account of new French boats being constructed on Lake Ontario (Cataraqui) and said the Onondagas had given permission to the French to build a new trading house on the south side of the lake where the Niagara River flows into it. He described the composition of the parties that had gone out fighting over the previous winter, and conveyed the Six Nations’ request for a meeting with the governor in the spring. Claessen also reported that the Six Nations was sending ambassadors to the Waganhas proposing a meeting and invited the commissioners to send their own wampum belts along.

The commissioners wrote to Governor Burnet, passed on the intelligence about French activities, and told him (in somewhat confused English) that the French must be prevented from settling in Iroquoia, and asked for funds to support an ongoing English presence among the Six Nations.  They conveyed the request to stop selling alcohol, blamed it on the French influence, and insisted that the traders could not maintain the fur trade without alcohol. They expressed concern that the Six Nations had sent deputies to meet in Seneca country, where the French influence was strongest, instead of to Onondaga as was customary. They also sent the governor the English boy who had run away from the Mohawks at Fort Hunter earlier in the year. Finally they described how Jan Wemp and Jacob Glen had cleared and mended the road at the Oneida Carrying Place, and given a bond to repair the bridge there over Wood Creek.

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

Below is the full transcription:

[0247] 122

[Wraxall p. 162 et seq.]

Att a meeting of the Com.rs of

Indian affairs in Albany the 16th

Day of March 1725/6

Present

Philip Livingston

Henry Holland                        } Esq.rs Com.rs

Evert Bancker

Peter van Brugh

This Day Lourence Claese the Inter=

=preter Appeard before this Board and Said that he

had Pursuant to y.e Instructions Deliverd him dated

the first day of febr.y been at y.e Severall Castles of

the five Nations and had acquainted them with y.e

Contents of the Same of which he has kept a Journall which is in

Substance as follows that on y.e 5.th of s.d month he

arrived in y.e maquase Country where he Communicated

to the Sachims that touching the prohibition of ye

5 Nations of Rum to be Sold unto y.e Indians at ye

falls or Lake his Ex.cy had given Strict orders that

no pson under his Governm.t Should Sell any to the Indians

of y.e five Nations at those places. but only to y.e far

Indians the better to Promote a trade with them

That his Ex.cy Recommended unto them not to molest

or hinder any of y.e far Indians in their Comeing to trade

with the Inhabitants of this Province or Return home

nor to any of our Trders [sic] —

That the Com.rs are Informd that there

is a french Smith from Canada at y.e Sinnekes Country

and that there is another English boy among y.e

five Nations taken from virginia —

Answer from y.e Sachims

That they Could give no Liberty that Rum Should be

Sold to the far Indians in their Country but faithfully

Promise not to hinder nor molest them, nor any of y.e

traders in their going up or Comeing Down

You make Enquiry if here is an English

Prison. from Virginia, to which we answer that

here is None

 

[0248] 122a

We have also heard y.t there is a french Smith in [ye]

Sinnekes Country with his wife & Children —

That on y.e 6th feb. he Left fort hunter

and arrived y.e 13th dit.o at onneyde where he Communi[cated]

to the Sachims there y.e Contents of his Instructions the

14th Received an answer from them and Said that

they Could not give a full answer to his Proposition

But that Some of their Deputed Sachims were Sent

to y.e Sinnekes Country and Desired him to acquaint

them with it and what they in their behalf Should

Conclude they would approve of

On the 15 Ditto went from Oneyde & Arriv’d at

Onnondaga the 17 Ditto, where, when the Sachims

were Conveen’d, acquainted them with the Contents

of his Instructions, on which they directly gave

the Same Answer as those at Oneyde had Done

That some of their Deputed Sachims were gone

to the Sinnekes Country, that they should give

him and Answer, and what they Concluded or

Consented they would approve.

On the 18th went from Onnondage and

arriv’d at Cayouge the 20.th D.o & having call’d

the Sachims to meet acquainted them with

Contents of his Instructions who immediatly

answer’d him that they had sent Deputies to the

Sinnekes Country & what they should resolve

with the rest of the Sachims they would Confirm

and approve off

He arriv’d at the Sinnekes Country on the

22.d of s.d month and found there the Deputed

Sachims of the four Nations, who he desir’d

Immediatly to meet together, and when they

were Conven’d acquainted them what he was

directed by his s.d Instructions & found Jurian

Hogan work there as Smith, as also a french

Smith, with his wife and three Children and an

Assistant; there are also three french men

who take Notice of all Transactions and

Occurences

On the 26

 

[0249] 123

On the 26th he being calld before the meetting

of the Sachims of the four Nations they said

that they were resolv’d to send two Deputies of

each Nation to his Excel.y at New York, because they

suspected that the Com.rs were negligent to acq.tt

his Exce.ly with their prohibition of the Rum

being sold to the Ind.ns in their Country at the fall

of Onnondage River; the same Day he reply’d

that his Excel.y has been fully Inform’d w.t their

Desires, and that his Excel.y has there upon given

Orders, that no Rum shall be sold to any of the

five Nations at the fall of Onnondage river

but only to the farr Ind.ns to promote a Trade

w.t them, and further what he was directed by

his Instructions, on w.ch they s.d that they fully

approvd of every thing he had s.d Except that

Rum should be sold in their Country w.ch they will

not allow off, and in Case they or the far Ind.ns have

Occasion for Rum, that they may go & buy it at

Albany or at Schinectady, as they have formerly

done then they & we shall be free from being

the authors of any mischief or murther yt shall be

Comitted there, for they added that what has been

done is [now] Imputed to them & the Brethren

the Christians, and therefore they desire wt this

Belt of Wamp.m as as Token from the 5 Nations

that the Gent.mn Com.rs will be pleas’d forthwith

to Issue a prohibition that no Rum may be carried

up into their Country Except for the traders own

Use and desire that his Excel.y may fortwith be

acquainted herew.t hoping that their Request

may be taken in Consideration, that it may

tend for the wellfare of us all being yt Strong

Liquor is the root of all Evil, w.ch we our Selves

have many times had sad Experience off. and saw last

year some Christian Ind.ns of ye 5 Nations & far Ind.ns

lying drunk to excess among one another at ye fall

who then gett in Quarrel together by w.ch many

sad Accidents may arise & if any do we clear our

selves of the Guilt

The french Smith came here in a deceitfull manner

We had sent Deputies to Canada to Condole the

Death

 

[0250] 123a

Death of Gov.r D Ramsey & they have brought him

along wtout our Order or knowledge, but we return

our Brother Corlaer our most hearty thanks for

sending us a Smith

The Sachims desire that his Excel.y will be pleas’d

to meet them at Albany [early-crossed out] in the Spring, they

have to treat ab.t matters of great moment Con=

=cerning the welfare of us All, They desire a good

Beek Iron for ye Smith that is w.t them & some

tools w.t out w.ch he can make no good work

The s.d Interpreter is Inform’d that ye ffrench

have finish’d and rig’d one Vessel at Cadarachqui

and another is to be lanchd this Spring

That the five Nations have Concluded to Send

of each Nation two Messengers to the Waganhas

or far Ind.ns in the beginning of June next with

Belts of Wampum to treat with them, & they

desire to know whether the Com.rs will Join in it

by sending belts of Wampum to the s.d Ind.ns

That he is inform’d from trusty Ind.ns that the

Gov.r of Canada has last year obtain’d liberty from

the Onnondages to build a trading house on the

West Side of Jagara River w.ch vents it self

into the Cadarachqui lake on the South side

thereof in the passage of the Ind.ns to this place

Mon.sr Longueill the present Gov.r of Canada has

been there last year to view the place, the french

are to have sd house built this Spring

That there are gone out a fighting this last

Winter 21 Mohoggs 40 Onnondages 20 Tuscaroras

40 Cayouges 40 Sinnekes and that there were

going yet 130 of the last among whom is to go

a french Man from Canada who is marryed w.t a

Sinneke Squa

 

[0251] 124

[Wraxall p. 163 has excerpt.]

Albany 18 March 1725/6

May it please your Excel.y

We have been honourd wt. your Ex.ys favours of ye 8 Inst.

with Submission to your Excel.y we are humbly of Opinion

that it is a matter of the [last] Consequence to the province

that no Care be taken to prevent the ffrench to reside

among our Ind.ns and that no person of Ability wt a

Number of Men be sent to dwell Continually among

them, We hope the Assembly will pleast to Consider

how to raise a fund to Defray the Charge without

which it appears plain to Us that the french gett

daily more footing & our Interest decreases wch. at

last may end in our Destruction

We are very glad your Ex.y is pleas’d to approve of our

sending the Interpreter to quiet the minds of the Ind.ns

he is Return’d. Inclos’d is his Journal wch. we refer

to your Ex.ys Consideration, by wch. it appears that the

Ind.ns persist in their first Resolution, that no

Rum shall be sold at the falls or Onnondage River, and

many of our traders are already gone wt. Rum —

thither, how it can be prevented now we dont know

for our people will go, Neither do we Conceive that

they can carry on a Trade with the far Indians

without it, So that we perceive that the ffrench

Interest greatly sways the Indians to prevent the

Selling of Rum

The ffrench we see are not Idle in Obstructing

our Trade, for we hear they will now build a trading house

at the place where we Imagen’d we had one, & what

will be the Event of the [Essecs] in the lake is uncertain

Yet it may be Conjucture’d it will be to prevent the

Ind.ns from coming to us to trade We must acknowledge y.t

the Ind.ns are greatly under ye Subjection of ye ffrench

who keep them in awe

It is with no little Concern & without precedent that

we see the Ind.ns have sent Deputies to the Sinnekes

Country to the ffrench who are there, whereas Onnondage

has always been the place appointed to Consult & treat

about publick Affairs

On the whole at this Juncture we are humbly of Opinion

that it will be for his Maj.es Service yt Some pson of Experi=

=ence wt. the Interpreter be sent among ye Ind.ns at Onnondage

to stay there (till your Exc.y sahll meet the Sachims here)

to quiet the minds of ye Ind.ns & keep them from molesting

our Traders, [for – crossed out] wch. we hope your Exc.y will be pleas’d to di=

=rect Us as soon as may be. By the Bearer we send the Eng.

boy taken by the Ind.ns from Virgin.a his Charge & Cloathing [&c]

amt to £       [blank in original] as p Acco.t here inclosd

 

[0252] 124a

Jan Wemp & Jacob Glen have produc’d affidavits

unto Us whereby it appears that they have sufficiently

clear’d up & mended the Road on Oneyde Carrying place

and that they clear’d & Cutt the Wood Creek & Carried

away the Trees So that the same is Navigable to the

Onneyde lake & that they have made a sufficient Cart

way from the End of the Road formerly made to the

Wood Creek from thence to the place where the

Canada Creek falls into the sd Wood Creek, but the

bridge over the Wood Creek they Could not Compleat

last Summer, tho’ have given Bond to pform that

this Summer according to agreem.t desiring they

may receive their Money for the whole Work

wch. they will not fail to Effect

Minute Book 3: 1725-September

Blocked from Trading with Montreal, Albany Traders Move West

In September the commissioners made good on their promise to give the governor an account of the volume of the fur trade to the west. Captain Harme Vedder, stationed in Seneca Country, returned with his company and 50 bundles of fur. Many other traders were now going west as well. Despite the difficulties involved, the commissioners put together a detailed list of who had gone to Indian country and how many furs and skins they had purchased.  At least fifty-one canoes, each carrying several traders, had been to the lakes and returned with 738 bundles of furs. The list of names covers many if not most Albany families. It also includes an unnamed Indian couple, several unnamed hired men, and a member of the versatile Montour family, Jean Montour. Some traders went more than once and some trips for which details were not provided brought 50 additional bundles of furs.  In addition, 43 canoes of “far Indians” came to Albany and Schenectady with 200 bundles. 

The direct trade from Albany to Canada was far smaller, as estimated by the commissioners and Lieutenant Blood, who was stationed at the English garrison at Mount Burnet, on the Hudson north of Albany.

1725trade0288

1725trade0289

Commerce between Albany and Canada continued however. On September 6th, Colonel Myndert Schuyler and Captain De Peyster returned from Canada and took the oath required of persons suspected to have traded with the French, which strongly suggests that they had in fact traded with the French. Moreover they confirmed that they had seen large quantities of strowd blankets sent from Albany to Montreal.

Trade with Montreal is Illegal, But News from Montreal is Valuable;

Grey Lock is Raiding New England

Schuyler and De Peyster also brought important news. A party of 150 warriors had left Montreal on their way to attack New England, passing Chambly, where others were encamped who planned to go as well. The French, including their priests, were encouraging them to fight, and Montreal was fortifying itself with a stone wall. The commissioners informed both New York Governor Burnet and the government of New England about the situation. In a subsequent letter they told Governor Burnet that the party at Chambly had been persuaded to go home instead of attacking New England, but the party of 150 from Montreal were sill out fighting. Two small groups of nine and fourteen were supposed to be lurking on the western frontiers, lead by Grey Lock (Wawenorrawot). The commissioners told Governor Burnet that the Indians were tired of war and wanted peace, but the French continued to push them to war.

The Six Nations Meet with the French

Schuyler and De Peyster said that a large group of leaders from the Six Nations had come to Montreal, where they were honored with a cannon salute.   According to some Seneca leaders who came to Albany to tell the commissioners about the situation, and who had resolved not to go to Montreal themselves, the Six Nations contingent included eleven Seneca sachems from Canossodage and six from Onnahee. They went to condole the passing of “Lieutenant Governor” Monsieur “D Ramsay,”  (Claude de Ramezay, the governor of Montreal who had died the previous summer.) Probably they also discussed their concerns about the escalating construction of forts in their country by both the French and the English.

Kahnawage, Rondax, and Schawenadie Want a General Treaty

Lieutenant Colonel Stephanus Grosbeeck had also been in Montreal. He told the commissioners that the sachims of Kahnawage and Schawenadie had sent him an express as he passed La Prairie, asking him by seven hands of wampum to bring a message that they were coming to Albany about October 1st, where they wanted to meet with the governors of New York and Boston (i.e. Massachusetts Bay) as well as the Six Nations. The commissioners contacted Massachusetts Bay Governor William Dummer directly to pass on this message, sending their letter by way of the authorities of Westfield Massachusetts, in order to inform them that they were at risk of attack.

The Six Nations Confirm the Treaty of 1722 with New York and Virginia

On September 26th, twelve sachems from Onondage, Cayuga, and Tuscarora came to Albany and met with the Commissioners. They said they had been sent to look into rumors spread among them and find a way to prevent such stories. They asked the Commissioners to read them the treaty made in 1722 between Virginia and the Six Nations, which was done.

Their speaker D’Kanasore (Teganissorens) gave a speech addressed to Asserigoa, the Iroquois name for the Governor of Virginia, asking the Commissioners to pass it on. He pointed out that the Six Nations had returned two prisoners taken in Virginia, an Indian (probably meaning Governor Spotswood’s Saponi servant) and a “Negroe boy,” (probably Captain Robert Hicks’ slave). He said that whoever was going fighting towards Virginia from Canada or from the Six Nations’ castles was doing it without their consent. Nonetheless, if they went past the line agreed to in the treaty of 1722 and were taken prisoner, they should likewise be returned.

Teganissorens also complained that the gunpowder they had purchased recently was defective. He asked for more powder as well as lead and gunflints, pointing out that the cost would be made up by the value of the skins they could obtain with it through hunting. He also asked for a smith as soon as possible, one better than those who had been working there, whose work was not the best.

The Six Nations Have New Objections to Burnet’s Trading House

Like the delegation from Kahnawake and Schawenadie, Teganissorens was not happy with Governor Burnet’s proposal for a trading house on the Onnondage (Oswego) River. He admitted that the Six Nations had consented to it, but he said they now feared it would cause mischief because alcohol would be sold there. People would get drunk, become unruly, and and cause harm. In addition some would likely buy rum instead of ammunition. Teganissorens asked that in the future traders would bring powder and no rum. A slightly different version of this speech was written out and then crossed out. It appears on page 146a.

The Commissioners responded the next day in a speech that verged on being abrupt, even rude. They told the delegates they were glad they wanted to prevent rumors from spreading; the only way to do so was simply refuse to listen to those who tried to delude them. They promised to convey Teganissorens’ speech to the Governor of Virginia, but added that the Six Nations should not let their people go past the boundary line agreed to in 1722. The people of Virginia “will never molest you if you do not excite them to it” and if you commit mischief you will have to answer for it, as also for “those for whom you are become Security.” The reference was to Kahnawake and its allies, the “French Indians.”

In response to the complaint about powder, they said they were sorry the Six Nations were too impoverished to buy enough powder to meet their needs. The Commissioners would ask the governor to write to England to have better powder made, but the real reason for their poverty was that they went fighting against people who had not attacked them. Instead they should stick to hunting. They agreed to convey the request for a smith and expected the governor would send one.

In response to the Six Nations’ request that traders bring powder rather than rum to sell on the Onondaga River, the Commissioners would only say that they would ask the governor to prevent traders from selling rum to the Six Nations and to sell them powder and lead. However, the traders would continue selling rum to the Far Indians because otherwise they would be unable to sell their goods. They urged the delegates to be kind to all traders on the Onondaga River and the lakes and to invite the far Indians to come trade with Albany in order to get goods cheaper than from the French. To encourage this they agreed to supply them with power, lead, and flints to meet their present needs.

The Six Nations added that the bellows at Onondaga was old and not fit for service. They asked for a new one before winter set in. They said they expected their speech to go to the governor of New York and then be forwarded to Virginia, acknowledged that the commissioners had asked them to keep the Treaty, and said they expected Virginia and its Indian allies to do the same. They expected that those who brought evil reports to them (that is rumors) probably did the same with the governor of Virginia, so they hoped he would not listen. They agreed to be kind to traders in their country and assist them however they could.

The commissioners asked what Monsieur Longuiel said when he came to their country, and Teganissorens quoted him at length. “Fathers, [the Six Nations had adopted Longueuil as their “child”] I desire that you be not surpriz’d when any blood shall be shed on the Onnondage River or at the side of the Lake for we and the English can’t well abide one another, do you not meddle with the Quarrel butt Set Still smoke & be neuter.” Tegannisorens confirmed that they had sent wampum to Canada to answer the governor saying they were surprised that the French should “trample on the Blood of their Brethren” in the Six Nations country. If they wanted to fight, they should “go to sea and fight where you have Room.”

Kahnawage, Rondax, and Schawenadie Appear, Expecting the General Treaty; They Offer an Indian Woman to Make Up for the Murder of a Soldier

Prior to the commissioners’ response to Teganissorens, seven sachems from Kahnewake, Schawenadie and Rondax appeared.  They said they had come to meet with the governors of New York and Boston, as they had requested in the message they sent by Stephanus Grosbeeck a few weeks earlier. They expected the commissioners to provide lodging in Albany in the meantime. They had no wampum, for which they asked to be excused. The commissioners provided them with housing and necessities.

On September 28th, they formally condoled the man murdered at Saratoga by their people, presumably the English soldier named Williams from the garrison at Mount Burnet. They asked for reconciliation and forgiveness and gave wampum to wipe off the tears of those in mourning for him. And in addition they offered the commissioners a captive, an Indian woman, in place of the man they had lost. They said it was “not our maxim to do so yet we do it to satisfie you for the breach that is comitted.”

They said those who killed the soldier had been on their way to fight in New England. Their young men were unruly and could not be prevented from going to help the Eastern Indians fighting against the English. They asked the Commissioners to do everything they could to end the war.

The Commissioners explained that they had gotten the wampum message that Kahnawage, Rondax, and Schawenadie wanted to meet with the governors of New York and Massachusetts Bay and had sent notice to Boston. The governor there had said that he had to attend a treaty there with the Indians who were at war and asked the Commissioners to hear on his behalf what Kahnawage, Rondax, and Schawenadie had to say. The sachems said they would do so only if Colonel John Schuyler were present to represent Massachusetts. The Commissioners said that Colonel Schuyler was welcome to attend, but they did not think he would come. If the sachems did not want to deliver their message to the Commissioners to pass on to him, perhaps they could meet with him alone, or perhaps they would like to go to Boston, where they would be well received.

The next day the Commissioners gave a more full answer, reproaching the sachems for the murder of the soldier when the parties were at peace. They accused them of deliberately breaching the Covenant Chain in order to undermine the good relations between them. Those who committed such murders should be punished. But since the sachems had come to “mediate and reconcile” the matter, the commissioners said they would ask the governor to forgive the injury on condition that the sachems agree to deliver over anyone who committed such an offense in the future. They accepted the woman in place of the dead soldier “as a Token of your Repentance and sorrow for what is past” and gave a belt of wampum. After harangueing them further to the same effect, they gave them additional wampum. The sachems responded that they had heard the message and would communicate it to their leaders at home, since they were not empowered to promise to deliver up people who transgressed in the future.

The Commissioners wrote to the governor of Massachusetts Bay and described the meeting. They referred the governor to Colonel John Schuyler for more information, explaining that the sachems had refused to deliver their message except to him. They wished the governor success in making peace.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, September 1725 starts here at page 142 through 152a and jumps back here  to p. 113.

 

 

 

 

Minute Book 3: 1725-June

The French Still Plan to Build Fort at Niagara

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

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

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

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

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

Some Albany Traders Agree Not to Trade With the French

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

The Jenondadies (Petun) Come to Trade

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Minute Book 3: 1725-May

Dummer’s War Drags On

The first entry for May is a letter from Samuel Thaxter, William Dudley, and Theodore Atkinson, representatives from Massachusetts Bay who had gone to meet with Governor Vaudreuil in Montreal to negotiate the release of captives and try to end the war. The first page is missing, but Peter Wraxall’s Abridgment of the Indian Affairs summarizes the complete letter on p. 157-158. Vaudreuil had heard about New York’s plan to build a block house at Oswego and he considered it a violation of the Treaty of Utrecht between France and England. If the blockhouse was constructed, he would tear it down. Vaudreuil claimed that he could order the Five Nations to take English prisoners whenever he liked.

Vaudreuil supported the Abenaki demand that if the English wanted peace, they must return all Abenaki lands, including all of Lacadie (Nova Scotia) except the fort at Anapolis Royall as well as everything claimed by Massachusetts for 30 leagues along the Atlantic coast, including existing English settlements and forts. Massachusetts Bay (and Wraxall) considered these demands to be absurd. The Abenaki also asked that their church at Norridgewalk, which the English had destroyed, be rebuilt, the plunder taken there returned, and a priest restored to them. Their priest, Father Sebastien Rale, had been killed in the fighting the previous summer.

Vaudreuil claimed that he did not encourage the Abenaki, although papers taken at Norridgewalk showed otherwise. He refused to put anything in writing. He also refused to do anything to retrieve the English captives held by Indians. Even as to English captives held by the French, he told the Massachusetts Bay representatives that they would have to ransom them at whatever price was set by their owners.

The Massachusetts Bay representatives bemoaned Vaudreuil’s conduct. Many French owners of captives had raised their ransom prices. The letter ended with a plea for help: everything showed “what hardships and Intolerable Burthen his Maj.es Good Subjects lye under, being used more like brute creatures than Men & Christians & call alowd upon all Men under the Same King to lend a helping hand to gett the aforesd. Governm.tts out of this Unjust War.”

The term “unjust war” carried a lot of legal weight during this period. It suggests that the representatives may have been starting to question their governor’s aggressive policies towards the Abenaki. Not surprisingly, Wraxall’s Abridgement does not include this part of the letter, in which the New England representatives sound strangely like the Six Nations, tired of the war and looking for help in persuading the government to end it. At the conference with Governor Burnet in September 1724, the Six Nations had reminded the governor that they had sent a wampum belt to King George with a message that “this matter of peace lieth with you.”

Albany Passes on the Iroquois Message to Governor Burnet

The next entry, dated May 6th, is a copy of a letter from the commissioners to the governor. They passed on the message from the “Canada Indians” (Kahnawake and its allies) and confirmed by the Six Nations asking the British and the French both to refrain from building additional forts and trading houses in the country of the Six Nations for fear they would come to blows with each other.  The commissioners had to be tactful because the governor had previously insisted that it was Albany traders who persuaded the Six Nations to oppose his proposed trading house at Oswego, where the Six Nations thought it was likely to provoke a French attack. The commissioners also passed on the Six Nations’ request for a meeting with the governor.

The 1722 Law Against Trading Indian Goods with Canada is Still Not Working

The commissioners told the governor that they would try “as much as lyes in our Sphere of bussiness” to discourage “French Indians” from transporting strowd blankets in violation of the governor’s trade policy, but the implication is clear: they did not believe they had the authority to take direct action. They also informed the governor that action had been taken against Nicholas Schuyler and Jacob Wendell, who had been caught with goods intended for the illegal trade with Canada the previous October, but their description probably did not satisfy the governor. The sheriff agreed to keep Schuyler at his own house while Schuyler gathered bedding and other things in preparation for going to jail, but as they were going there Schuyler made his escape. They informed Evert Wendell, a commisioner himself, about the situation. It is unclear what happened to Jacob Wendell.

Finally the commissioners said they were looking for a smith to go to Indian Country and passed on the information obtained from the Massachusetts Bay Commissioners.

Governor Burnet Won’t Meet the Six Nations; The Commissioners Try to Reassure Them

Governor Burnet wrote to the Commissioners telling them that he could not possibly meet the Six Nations that year because he was occupied with business in another province, but he would meet them the following year. The commissioners sent Laurence Claessen to Onondaga with this message and the mission to “quiet the minds of the Indians” in the face of the French efforts to undermine their alliance with New York. Laurence was told to explain that the governor did not plan to make a fort on Lake Ontario, but just a trading house on the “Onnondage River,” now called the Oswego River. The commissioners also agreed with Harme van Slyck Junior and Egbert Egbertse to work as smiths at Onondaga.

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

Minute Book 3: 1725-April

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minute Book 3: 1724-January

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

DeLeryMap_Severance_OldFrontier
The pace of competition between France and England was heating up as both attempted to build new forts at strategic locations on the routes into the interior. The image is from Frank Severance, An Old Frontier of France, NY: Dodd Mead, 1917, v. 1 p.236

As 1724 began, the struggle between England and France for trade and a military presence in the North American interior continued in full force even though technically they were at peace. Both imperial powers were pressuring the Six Nations and the many nations to the west, south, and north of them for exclusive trade agreements. English and French diplomats and military commanders came into conflict with each other as they attempted to get permission from the Six Nations and other native people to build trading centers and forts around the Great Lakes.

In the meantime, the war between New England and the Eastern Indians (primarily the Abenaki Confederacy) continued.

Laurence Claessen returned from a trip to the Six Nations (Haudenosaunee), where the commissioners had sent him in November 1723, and gave them an account of what had transpired. His first order of business was to ask the Seneca to take wampum belts to the “far nations” to the west of Iroquoia to encourage them not to listen to the French government in Canada.  The commissioners believed that the French were encouraging the far nations to join the Eastern Indians in their war against New England (Father Rale’s War), thus preventing them from trading with Albany.

The Six Nations met and considered this proposal for several days before telling Lawrence that they agreed that the French would do everything possible to prevent a direct trade between the far Indians and New York. The Six Nations feared that the Governor of Canada was planning to incite the far Indians to attack the Haudenosaunee, and for that reason the Seneca had stayed home. Finally three Seneca sachems agreed to take the commissioners’ belts to the far nations and added six belts of their own, explaining that they needed additional belts to cover all the different nations that needed to get the message.

The Seneca said they would come to Albany the following Spring with a large number of the far Indians and would meet Captain Jacob Verplank at the Lake, as the Governor of New York had requested. “The Lake” probably means Lake Ontario near Irondequoit Bay, where a contingent of Dutch traders had been living among the Seneca. They also explained that Jean Coeur (Louis Thomas Chabert de Joncaire) planned to build a fort and trading house at Irondequoit the following Spring with the Six Nations consent.

The commissioners conveyed this information to New York Governor Burnet in a letter. They added that they had retrieved a “negroe boy” from a “ffrench Indian” who had taken the boy from “Captain Hicks,” probably Captain Robert Hicks, a Virginia trader who commanded Fort Christianna, Governor Alexander Spotswood’s project to educate (and control) the Saponi and other indigenous nations.