Minute Book 3: 1727-December: Schawenadie Heeds the French Call to Attack Oswego; Laurence Claessen Returns to Onondaga

The last entry for the year describes a meeting on December 27th with an Oneida leader named Canachquanie.  He had been sent to bring some alarming news that the Oneidas had heard from Seneca and Cayouga Indians about events in Canada. An officer at the French fort at Cataraqui (Fort Frontenac, located at present day Kingston Ontario) had recently told Haudenosaunee people there to return to the Six Nations quickly before the commander of the fort arrived from Montreal in order to avoid any “unhappy accident.” Moreover “the Indians of Schowinnade & about the number of 700 made frequently their dances of war According to their Custum to go to war in the Spring” to destroy the new house at Oswego. Everyone knew about it and children “sung these Songs of war in the Streets.” The French at Montreal had confirmed this news.

Canachquanie told the commissioners that the Onondaga messengers who had agreed with Philip and Peter Schuyler to visit Canada and persuade Indians there not to attack Oswego had only gone one day’s journey before they returned, saying they were sick. As described in the record, this was a “feigned excuse,” but considering how many people had been sick the previous summer at Albany and Oswego, it is easy to believe that the messengers were telling the truth. On the other hand perhaps they heard about the war dances and decided not to proceed.

Canachquanie said that the Oneidas promised to send messengers themselves “on pretence of trade to prevent the Said french Indians to joyn with ye french & also to discover what is hatching in Canada [against] the house at Osweege.”The commissioners thanked Canachquanie for his service and gave him gifts.

The commissioners immediately resolved to send Laurence Claessen back to Onondaga accompanied by Canachquanie and an assistant, Jacob Glen Junior. The commissioners agreed to pay Claessen and Glen for this trip themselves if the government did not do so. Clearly they thought it essential to counteract the French threats.1727-12-27

Claessen’s instructions lay out the arguments to use to convince the Six Nations to send delegates to Canada in order to prevent Indians there from listening to the French. The Six Nations should make clear to Indians in Canada that the Six Nations had consented to the English building at Oswego and agreed to defend it against attack by other Indians. To keep “a good correspondence” with the Six Nations, they must stay neutral and not harken to French proposals.

[There are no entries for November 1727.] In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the entry for December 27 starts here on p. 208a.

[0421] 208a

At A Meeting of the Com.s of the

Indian affairs in Albany ye. 27th Dec.r


[Another copy can be found on p. 256a.]


Philip Livingston

Henry Holland

John Cuyler

Myndert Schuyler

Evert Banker

Peter Vn. Brugh

John Collins

Rutger Bleeker

Harmanus Wendle

Nicolaes Blecker

An Oneyde Sachim Named Canachquanie arri=

=ved here with a message from the rest of the Sachims

of that Castle that pursuant to the ancient Covenant

between you & ym. & the other nations that when

any news of moment Should Come to Either of them

it Should be communicated without loss of time they have

Received advice from Cadrachqui by a Sinneke & a Ca=

=youge Indians yt. an officer of that place had Advi=

=sed the Indians who were Inclind to go to Canda Shoud

fourthwith depart and those who Intended to Re=

=turn to the Six Nations Should go with all Speed

before the Commander of yt. fort Should arrive from

Montreal that no unhappy accident men befall ym.

the Sinneke Indian who lately Came from Cana=

=da Affirms that the Indians of Schowinnade & about

the number of 700 made frequently their dances of war

According to their [Ansunt – crossed out] Custum to go to war in the

Spring to Cutt off & destroy the house at Osweege this

was no Secret there while the Children sung these

Songs of war in the Streets that the Indians were Im=

=ployd in makeing padles for the french but what num

=ber of french would go on this Expedition with the

Said indians the Sinneke doth not know, but had

heard from the french at montreal that they Inten=

=ded to go on this Expedition against the house at

Osweego the next Spring

The Sachims of Onneyde to acquaint this road

that the Onnondage messengers who had promist Cap.

Phil: Schuyler & Capt. Peter Schuyler last Summer to go

to the Canada indians not to molest or disturb us the

quit Setlemt. At Osweege yt. if they Should Commit

any acts of hostillities their ye. Six Nations Should Defend

against them & the English agt. ye. french are retur=

=nd back haveing been only one days Journey & have


[0422] 209

Not deliverd their Message according to ther promise &

Consent from home of the Six Nations as directed by ym. mak=

=ing fained Excuse that they were Sick,

Since the Said messengers have faild to perform this

Message the Sd. onneyde Sachims promise yt. this board

Should Send Indians to Canada on pretence of trade

to prevent the Said french Indians to joyn with ye.

french & also to discover what is hatching in Canada

agt. ye. house at Osweege yt. all ye. indians of ye. 6 nations are at

& [Near] home,

the Com.es Answerd the Sd. Messenger yt. they re=

=turn thanks to the Onnagdage Sachims for their Care

In Sending to acqt. us with the Neglect of the Onnon=

=dage Sachims in performing their promise & Engagements

made to Capt. Schuyler to let their Messengers proceed to

the Canada Indians yt. ye. Six nations had Resolved to

defend the Sd. house at Osweege against them & ye. En=

=glish against the french that the board are unthank=

=full to him bringing this Message hither & Rely on him

while they are Sinciable of this former faithfull Servi=

=ces to this Governmt. & as a reward give him a psent

of a blanket a pair of Stockings a lap of Stroads a Shirt

& a looking Glass,

Resolved that Lourence the Interpreter go to onnonda=

=ge with a men for his Assistant in Company with the Sd.

Onneyde messenger to Endeavour the Six Nations Send one

of Each nation to pform ye. Message to the Canada indi=

=an they had formerly promisd to Mr. Schuyler for wh. purpose

its tought fitt to give him the following Instructions,

By the Com.s of the Indian Affairs

at Albany

Instructions for Lourence Claese the Interpreter to

  1. 6 Nations whereas we are Informd by a message recd. this

Day from the Onneyde Sachims yt. ye. Onnondages have not

Sent Messengers to the Cannada indians as they had



[0423] 209a

promisd last Summer to Messrs. Schuylers yt. they Should

not Molest us in the quit Setlemt. by ye. house at Osweege

that ye Six Nations are Resolved to defend ye Sd. building

agt. ym. & yt. ye English will maintain & defend ye. Same

agt. ye. french and being Informd that the indians at Canada

are designed to ioyne with the french of Canada to Mo=

=lest us at Oswege wh. is Contrary to the treaties of peace

that we Should be Attackd on the land belonging

to the Six Nations [under the Six Nations – crossed out] under the Sub=

=jection & protection of his present Majesty King George ye.

Second, our Sovereign & their King & indulgent [& King-crossed out] father

& whereas Such attempts to be made by the french

or Indians agt. Oswege will be Violation of ye. peace &

frindship wh. Sub[ject – crossed out]sity between the two Crowns of

great britain & yt. of france & may be of dangerous

Consequence to this his Majesties province in par=

=ticular & to all his Majesties Governmts. on ye. Contenant

in generall the prevention wherefore will be of

great Servise to his Majes.s province & his loyal Subjects

in these parts,

Wherefore you are Required & Commanded to go

with all Speed accompanyd with Jacob Glen Jn.r to

the Six Nations acq.t ym. yt. we have Rec.d Intillegence

  1. ye. messengers wh. the onnondages Sachims had promisd to

Send to the Canada Indians last Summer have not pro=

=ceeded in their Journey by reason of Sickness yt. that mes=

=sage Should be Accomplishd & that by one Deligate from

Each of the Six Nations to tell the Indians dwelling

or rendeing, or Such fett persons as they Shall think

proper, near Canada in their names only they are In=

=formd that the french excite [the french – crossed out] & Stir them

up to Assist them in disturbing their brethren the English

in their quit Setlemt. Enjoyne of the Sd. house at Oswege

  1. had been Errected by their provious Consent & good like=

=ing and for their own Securety, wherefore you are to prevail

on ye Sd. Sachims to Said Delegates a aforesd. yt. they are

Sent to forwd. & ye Sd. Sachims not to Assis [the fre]=

=nch in this lawfull undertakeing but if they [should (ink spill?)]



[0424] 210

but if they Should be So Stuped & Senceless to be

prevaild on the french in this Expedition yt. the ye. 6

Nations have resolved in their Generall meeting

to defend ye. Sd. house agt. ym. ye. Sd [illeg. – crossed out] Indians

& ye. English are determd to do like agt. the french

that a good amicable Carespondance between yt. ye. [like – crossed out]

Six Nations cant be maintaind unless they will keep

ym.selves neuter & not to herken to any proposalls to be

made by the french on yt. Subject nor to be assistant in this matter

Given under our hands in albany ye. 27 Day of De.c

in the first year of his Maj.ys Reign anno [illeg.] D.o 1727

Resolved ye. Interpreter have a Copy of the English Transla=

=tions in Dutch of ye. Sd. Instructions for his better Information

It is agreed by the Com.s with Lourence

Clase & Jacob Glen that if they be not paid by the

publick for their journey [to – crossed out] & Service now to the Six

Nations, that the Commis. will pay them out of their