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-September: The Six Nations Will Defend Oswego From Attacks by Native Nations; Problems Continue At the New Fort

The Schuyler brothers (Peter and Philip) returned from Onondaga with Laurence Claessen on September 2d and reported on the meeting there. The Commissioners of Indian Affairs enclosed the report in a letter to Governor Burnet in which they said the trip had met with success, but there is no copy of the report itself in the records.  The commissioners immediately sent Laurence back to tell the Six Nations that George II had succeeded George I as King of Great Britain.  He was also instructed to prevent the Onondagas from going to war against the Flatheads by telling them that the French were encouraging it in order to get them out of the way and then destroy them. Claessen was also told to encourage the Onondagas to defend Fort Oswego if anyone attacked it and to learn what messages the French had been sending the Six Nations.  Guysbert Van Brakel Junior went with Laurence at the commissioners’ expence.

On September 13th, the commissioners met with the Onondaga sachim Teganissorens (written here as D’ Kannasorie) and a Cayuga sachim named Ondariagen, who brought information backed by seven bands of wampum that “a nation Called the Jenontadies who live at le detroit,” (the Tionontaties or Petun) had concluded a peace with the “Waganhoes,” the Iroquois term for Anishinaabeg peoples. The Waganhoes promised to maintain the alliance they had made with New York and the Six Nations and turn down any requests by the Governor of Canada to take up the hatchet against them.

The record of this meeting reveals what happened when the Schuyler brothers went to Onondaga. The Six Nations agreed to send messengers to “the Indians liveing at & near Canada” to tell them that the Six Nations had decided to defend Fort Oswego if any Indian nation attacked it, but the English and the French would have to fight it out on their own if a conflict broke out between them.  Teganissorens said that the messengers were about to set out when he left home. The commissioners told them about the death of King George I and the succession of King George II, Laurence’s mission to stop the excursion against the Flatheads, and recent letters exchanged between the governors of Canada and New York.

The commissioners posted three Indians (not named) to Lake St. Sacrement (Champlain) to find out what the news was from Canada. As they wrote to the governor, it made them uneasy that no Indians from Canada had been to Albany, suggesting that the French order not to come there was effective and the French might be planning some mischief.

Fort Oswego continued to have problems. The river was still low. It was expensive to transport provisions and some soldiers had deserted and were in custody.  The commissioners thanked Governor Burnet for his support in maintaining the garrison, to which he had sent bedding and provisions. They kept him informed him about the situation and promised to send him an accounting of expenses as soon as possible.  At the request of the Palatines who had the contract for delivering provisions to Oswego, Johan Jurch Kast and Johan Joost Petri, the commissioners sent six men to repair the road at the Oneida Carrying Place.  Captain Holland went to Schenectady to see the soldiers when they finally embarked in ten batoes along with five men assigned to stay at Oswego, where they would  be employed to transport provisions.

Oswego2_DeleryExc
Detail from De Lery map of 1727 showing boats and canoes as well as the new building at the mouth of the Oswego River.

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the first entry for September 1727 starts here on p. 202. The transcription is below.

[0407] 202

(57

Albany the 5th Septemb. 1727

May it please your Excel.cy

This comes to Acquaint your Excellency that Captain

Philip Schuyler & his brother Peter Schuyler with Lauren[ce]

Returd here [illeg.] on the Second Instant from Onnongo their p[r]=

=oceedings And good Sucess will appear to your Excel.cy by the inclo=

=sed proopositions which we Dout not but will be pleasing to your Ex.cy

we have thought it Nesesary according to the old Custum to acq.t

the Six Nations of Indians with the Decease of his Late Majesty

King George of blessed memory and the Succession of his pre=

=sent Majesty our Sovereign Lord King George the Second on

ye throne in Order to which we Shall Dispatch Lourence

up to the Six Nations & also give him Directions to Endea=

=vor to Stop ye. Onnondages from their resolution wh. they have

taken by the nistigation of the french to go to war against

the flattheads wh. we Conceive is the polacy of the french

to gett ym. from home & out of the way but we hope we

may Defeat their Designs they maght undertake against the

building at Osweego, & we have good bacon [sic] to believe Such

Since the Indians have taken Such prime & loyall Resolution to

our intrest as appears by the Inclosed proposition,

We Shall not be wanting in Sending up the provisions

& to [illeg.] you Ex.cys orders & Directions & Milarge by our

Next we remain with Due respect

 

[0408] 202a

58)

By the Commiss.es of Indian Affairs

at Albany 9 Septemb. 1727

[See Wraxall p. 171]

Instructions for Mr. Lourence Claese the Interpreter

You are hereby Directed to go fourthwith to the sachims of

the Six nations to acquaint them at their Severall Castles

of the Decease of his late Majesty King george of glorious

Memory, & that his son the high & Mighty Prince George of

Wales Is now his Successor to the Imperiall Crowns of great

Britain France & Ireland to whom they are to pay all Sub=

=mission & Alligance,

You are to Endeavour to Stop ye. Onnondages from

their Resolution wh. (we hear) they have taken by the Instiga=

=tion of the french to go to war ag.t the flatt heads, which you

Must tell them the french do with an Intent to get ym

from home out of the way or by these means to destroy and

Deminish ym. If possible,

You are to Incourage ym. to presist in their good resolu=

=tion wh. they have taken to Defend the house at Osweege If

any french or Indians might Attack it,

You must Enquire what french massages have

lately been sent among the Six Nations & what the purport

of ym. Are, whether at ye. Sinnekes Country are any of the

other Castles & if any thing might happen whilst you are a=

=mong the Indians wh. we Cant foresee at psent you are to

Act in it as you Judge will be most [humble – crossed out] for his majes=

=ty intrest given under our hands in albany ye. 9th. September 1727

Philip Livingston

Myndert Schuyler

Pieter Van Brugh

Harmanus Wendell

Reyer Gerritse

Rutger Bleecker

 

[0409] 203

(59

Resolved that three Indians be Sent to the lake

St. Sacrement to See whether there be any Indians by

Whom they may learn what news there be at Canada we

[hope – crossed out] not hveing had Intelligence from thence this long

time, & yt. yt. Charges thereof be pd. by the Com.es Agreed with

Guysbert Vn. Brakel Ju.r to go with Lourence Claese to the 6

Nations for three pound twelve Shillings p.r Month

lb.

28        Bread               2 ps. Tapes

[illeg.] bacon                25 shirts

Keg rum                      12 ails

2 Doz Knives

 

Att A Meeting of the Com.es of the Indian

affairs In Albany the 13th. Day of Sep.b 1727

[Not in Wraxall]

Present

Philp Livingston

Myndert Schuyler

Peter Vn. Brugh

Rutger Bleecker

Stephanus Groesbeeck

Harmanus Wendell

Nicolaes Bleecker

D’ Kannasorie a Sachim of onnondage & Ondariagen a

Sachim of Cayouge being Arrivd at place Say by 7 bands of wampum

That the Sachims from a Nation Called the Jenontadies who

live at le detroit yt. we Sent Messengers to ye Waganhoes [&?]

far Nations to make peace are Safely returnd home yt. they

had Concluded a peace but the term were not yet Known

That the nations of Waganhoes Say yt. they will firm=

=ly keep to all Alligance they have made with this Govermt. as

the brethren of the 6 Nations do & will refuse the hatchet of

war if the Governt. of Canada offer & Desire ym. to take

it up Agt. ye. English or Six Nations

 

[0410] 203a

60)

That what ye Sachims had promisd Capt. Philip

Schuyler when he was at Onnondage yt. one of Each nation

should be Sent with a Message to the Indians liveing at & near

Canada that the Six Nations have resolved to Defend the

house at Oswege against them if they Should offer to molest

it, but that the English & french might oppose one another

  1. messengers D. Kanasorie says were ready to go when he

Came from home,

They Say they have no other news of moment to acqut. the brethren

with & desire ye. Com.s to acqt. ym. what news ye. Com.es acq.ted ym ye Decese

of his late majesty king George of Glorious memory & yt. his

Son prince George of wales is proclaimd King of Great britain

&c. yt. his present majesty is very well belovd of all his Subjects,

That Lourence Claese ye. Interpreter is Sent to ye 6 na=

=tions to Acqt. ym. of ye. decease of his late Maj.ty & yt. he is

to Endeavour to Stop the Onnondages who we are Informd &

prepared to go out a fighting by ye. Influence of ye. Gov.r of Canada

We Acquainted Sd. two Sachims with ye. Contents a let=

=ter to Gov.r of Canada write to his Ex.cy our Gov.r & his answer

Johan Jurch Kast & Johan Jost Petri Inform this

board yt. the Road from the maquse River to ye. Sd. wood creek

On ye. Onneyde Carrying place is very much out of repair and

Impractable to ride over a load provisions, or a batoe if it be

not repaird with all Speed they Cant perform their agreemt.

to deliver ye. provisions at ye. wood Creek for the Detatchmt at Oswego.

Resolved yt. 6 men be had to repair ye. Sd. [wood – crossed out] road

As soon as may be on acct. of the publick yt. ye. provisions &c. may

be Transported to Osweego if it be not paid soon yt. the Com.s

of Indian Affairs Ingage for ye. paymt. of the Same —

 

[0411] 204

(61

Albany 13.th Sep.t 1727

[Not in Wraxall]

May it please your Excel.cy

We have been honourd with your Excel.cys acceptable

Letters of ye. 22th & 24th of august ye. bedding & provisions were

Sent up Directly to Schinnechtady pease wheat meal & what

Other Necessaries yt. may be wanting for ye. Detachmt. at

Oswego shall be Supployd & provided by us we hear yt. the

Soldiers and men we hird to go up thither with ye. provisions

have had a fetaque in Getting forwd. Reason of ye. low water

in the wood Creek we Expect to get four batoes ready

before ye. men can Come back with ye. Other, its a great

pleasure for us to See yt. Your Excel.cy is So hearty to main=

=tain and keep the Garryson at Osweege we Shall not be

wanting in any thing for promoting so good a work the

batoes wh. remain at the house will be better for putting in

pease & meal, where yt. Capt. Banker has gott the pork bar=

=rel Cleand & filld with water its no Diffecult matter

for the men there to make a good port Cully to fall down

upon Occasion within ye. door we Shall give Directions about it

Capt. Nicolls has Sent us a Memorandum for Severall

Necessaries wanting at Oswege wh. we Shall provide & Send p the

first batoes that Shall go up thither

We hear no manner of Intelligence from Canada wh. makes

us Uneasy what is hatching there the french must Certainly have

a great Command and Influence over their Indians yt. they Can

Keep ym So Close yt. not one Single one Should Come hither

we have orderd three Indians from Schinechtady to Lake St.

Sacremt. to See us if no Canada Indians are hunting there & if

they find none they are to go forwd. to Canada & ye. other is to come back

The road & bridges on the Carrying place are So bad yt its

Impractable to ride Over ye. provisions & batoes, we have desird

  1. Justices among ye. palatines to hire men to go & repair ye.

Same

[0413] 204b

Albany 28 Sept 1727

May it please your Ex.cy

We are honoured with your Ex.cys favours of ye 23th Instant

p Capt. Ingoldsby. the deserters are Securd in ye fort here. Capt. holland is gone

to Schinechtady to see ye Detachmt. Imbark in 10 batoes from [hence] . 5 men who are to             Stay [illeg.] at

Osweege are to go with the [detachmt – crossed out] and more [will = crossed out] Shall    be hird if

they be wanting to bring up Provisions. we cant Suppose yt. ye Assembly

[sh]all suffer to let any thing fall on y.r Ex.cy. the accounts Shall be

[?]bus as soon as they can be gott in. if no more come wel Send those

[have gott in – crossed out] have by us. we cant gett them all while there is

[da]yly some Expenecs. we Shall Eniarge in current mean while

[we] Remain with Great Esteem & Respect

P L St. Gr

N B RG PL

 

 

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: 1723-August

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

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

On August 9th, delegates of the Six Nations stopped at Albany on their way to Boston for the upcoming peace conference to resolve the war between Massachusetts Bay and the Abenaki. Their speaker Odastichta told the commissioners that a new leader, Annatseineiin, or Annutseerie, had been appointed to replace Blue Back, who had recently passed away and who had cultivated good relations with the English. They also addressed the issue of forts and trading posts in their country, taking a diplomatic approach in explaining why the French had not removed the trading post at Niagara as New York Governor Burnet had requested. They explained that they had asked the French interpreter and diplomat to the Six Nations, Jean Coeur (Louis-Thomas Chabert de Joncaire) to remove it, but he said he would have to discuss it with the French governor. Odasticha said he thought that the kings of France and England would have informed the commissioners about this by now.

The Six Nations also announced that they were now entirely at peace with the Waganhas (Anishinaabeg), French allies who had nonetheless joined with the Six Nations in the Covenant Chain. Last but not least, they asked the commissioners to appoint three representatives to go with them to Boston.

The commissioners condoled the deaths of Blue Back and two other sachems who recently died. They agreed to tell the governor about the Six Nations attempts to remove the trading house at Niagara and Jean Coeur’s response, and said they were glad that the Waganhas had joined the Covenant Chain. Somewhat surprisingly, the commissioners declined to send representatives to Boston, explaining that the New York governor had not asked them to do so.

On the 20th of August the commissoners wrote to New York Governor Burnet, explaining what they had done to enforce the oath against trading with Canada and informed him that they had heard from Laurence Claessen that a party of Eastern Indians were going to attack New England, and also a rumor that Rutland had actually been attacked. They feared being attacked themselves, and asked for help in building stockades for the blockhouse at Mount Burnet.

They also informed the Governor that Massachusetts had communicated directly with Peter and John Schuyler about the upcoming peace negotiations, that John Schuyler had gone to Boston, and that Massachusetts would ask him to lead their forces [against the Abenaki]

The last entry for August is a request that the government reimburse the Reverend Thomas Barclay for the costs of educating Michell Montour, the son of Louis Couq dit Montour, a French and native trader who was killed by Chabert de Joncaire in 1709 after he began to work for the English recruiting “far Indians” to trade at Albany. The year before he was killed, Montour asked Barclay to care for Michell, who was five years old at the time.