History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Life and Times of
Sir William Johnson, Bart.,
by William L. Stone
Albany: J. Munsell, 78 State Street, 1865.
During the winter and spring, Sir William Johnson
was engaged in fitting out parties of Indian braves against the Delaware and
Shawanese villages. To prevail on the friendly nations of the Confederacy
to go upon the war path was no longer difficult. The unsuccessful attempt
of Pontiac upon Detroit, and the numerous conferences held with the Six Nations
at Johnson Hall in the winter of 1763, had induced them to throw off their
neutrality. An additional incentive, moreover, was given to their zeal by
the inducements which the Baronet held out to their prowess; the latter offering
in one instance, out of his private purse, fifty dollars each for the heads
of the two chief men of the Delawares, Under this stimulant, a party of two
hundred Tuscaroras and Oneidas, under the command of Captain Montour, left
their castles in the middle of February, with the intention of falling upon
the towns of the Delawares and Shawanese lying near the forks and branches
of the Ohio and Susquehanna. When in the vicinity of the main branch of the
latter river, on the twenty-sixth of July, they ascertained that a party of
forty Delawares, under the command of Captain Bull, a son of the ill-fated
Teedyuscung, was encamped in the neighborhood on their way to attack the English
settlements. Upon the receipt of this intelligence, they marched stealthily
upon the camp, and surrounding it at daybreak, rushed upon the Delawares,
who, completely surprised, offered no
resistance, and were all captured.1 The prisoners were
1 Manuscript letter; Sir William Johnson-to Col. Bradstreet, 2d March, 1764.
immediately bound and taken under a strong guard, by way of Fort Stanwix, to Johnson Hall, whence, for greater security, Captain Bull and thirteen of his braves were sent to New York and lodged in the jail, the remainder being distributed among the Confederates to replace their deceased relatives. Shortly afterward another party, led by Joseph Brant, surprised a band of Delaware warriors, killing their chief and taking three prisoners. Nor did they return to their homes, until they had burned the town of Kanestio, and six other large villages lying on the head waters of the Susquehanna.
As the Baronet had anticipated, the mere fact of the Confederates taking up the hatchet in favor of the English, struck terror into the hostile tribes. Those of the Delawares whose castles had been destroyed were in despair, and in their dismay fled to the Seneca village of Chenussio for protection. The Senecas were also dispirited; and fearing the destruction of their own castles, sent, early in April, a deputation of four hundred of their chief men to Johnson Hall to sue for peace.
Had the policy of Sir Jeffrey Amherst toward this nation been carried out by the Baronet, far from their request for peace being granted, they would have been treated with great severity; their castles destroyed, and themselves rendered an implacable foe, and the scourge of the border for years. Happily, however, Amherst had now left the province, and Sir William was at liberty to follow out the peaceful policy, which he ever deemed the most judicious, except in cases of great emergency.1 The visit of the deputies was therefore made the occasion by the superintendent, to reap important advantages for the English, as the conditions upon which peace would be granted. The preliminary articles of the treaty stipulated that the Senecas should at once stop hostilities and engage never
1 It is true that Johnson was responsible to General Gage as the successor of Amherst, but Gage deferred in all matters of Indian policy entirely to the superintendent.
again to make war upon the English; that they should deliver up at Johnson Hall all their prisoners, within three months after the signing of the articles ; that they should cede to his majesty the Niagara carrying place, and should agree to allow the free passage of troops through their country ; and, finally, that they should renounce all intercourse with the Delawares and Shawanese, and assist the English in bringing them to punishment. Should these preliminary articles be strictly adhered to, Sir William agreed, in the name of his majesty, to grant them a full pardon for all past offenses, and leave them in the quiet enjoyment of all their rights ; he also promised them that upon their signing a definite treaty of peace to be concluded hereafter at Niagara, they should be admitted again into the covenant chain, and share all the benefits arising from a free and open trade with the English. To all these articles the deputies cheerfully agreed; and leaving three of their principal chiefs as hostages for their faithful performance, they departed to their homes sincerely penitent for their past misconduct.1
Meanwhile two expeditions were fitting out under the direction of General Gage for the thorough chastisement of those tribes that still refused to make peace with the English. The first of these expeditions, under Colonel Bouquet, was to act against the Delaware and Shawanese villages west of the Ohio, and to march by way of Fort Pitt; and the other, under Colonel Bradstreet, was to advance by way of Lakes Ontario and Erie to Detroit, and while it relieved Major Gladwin, was to infuse into the neighboring tribes a wholesome fear of the English. It was intended that the troops which were to compose these expeditions should be raised by the colonies; and in view of this, General Amherst, before he left America, had made requisitions upon the several provincial governors.
1 Articles of peace concluded with the Seneca Indians.-N. Y. Col. Doc. vol. vii., p. 621.
To this request, the general assembly of New York did not respond with alacrity. In the fall session of 1763, Lieutenant Governor Colden, the acting governor, in place of Monckton who had returned to England, demanded fourteen hundred men. In answer to this, however, the legislature voted at the time but three hundred; and in April of the present year, it provided for only one hundred and eighty additional troops, so that New York had scarcely five hundred men in the field. The assemblies of New England, New Jersey and Pennsylvania were equally backward. It was, therefore, with feelings of deep chagrin that Colonel Bradstreet found himself in the spring, with an army of but fourteen hundred Provincials, including three hundred Canadians.2 The colonel had designed leaving Albany with his troops the first of April. The tardiness however, of the Connecticut levies under the command of Israel Putnam, caused a delay of several weeks; so that it was not until the end of June that he was able to advance to Oswego, and thence to Niagara. The character which is given of Colonel Bradstreet by Mr. Parkman in his Conspiracy of Pontiac, is eminently just. Although Bradstreet was a brave man, and had performed a signal service in the late war, by the capture of Fort Frontenac, yet he was vain, headstrong, imperious and flighty-qualities which illy fitted him for the conduct of the expedition, wherein was required patience and sound judgment, rather than brilliant and dashing bravery. The result, as well as the conduct of the expedition which will hereafter appear, shows how incompetent he was to have its command.
While these two expeditions were in course of preparation, the Baronet, through Indian runners, notified all the tribes coming within his jurisdiction, of the intended advance of the English armies; requesting, at the same
1 Journals of the Assembly.
2 Manuscript letter; Bradstreet to Amherst, 6th April, 1764.
time, all who were desirous of becoming reconciled to the English to meet him at Niagara in July. His messages were received with peculiar favor. Many of those nations who had joined Pontiac, seeing now the utter hopelessness of his cause, eagerly embraced this opportunity of making friends with the English; while others again, partly from curiosity and still more by the hope of receiving presents, looked forward to the meeting at Niagara with pleasure.
The trader, Alexander Henry, to whom allusion has heretofore been made, gives in his travels an account of the reception of one of Sir William's messengers by a wandering tribe of the Objibwas, of which he was an eyewitness. A council having been called, the messenger with a belt of wampum thus spoke: "My friends and brothers, I am come with this belt from our great father, Sir William Johnson. He desired me to come to you, as his ambassador, and tell you that he is making a great feast at Fort Niagara; that his kettles are all ready and his fires lighted. He invites you to partake of the feast, in common with your friends, the Six Nations, who have all made peace with the English. He advises you to seize this opportunity of doing the same, as you cannot otherwise fail of being destroyed; for the English are on their march with a great army, which will be joined by different nations of Indians. In a word, before the fall of the leaf they will be at Michillimackinac, and the Six Nations with them."
The superior intelligence of the Iroquois Confederacy to the tribes of the Algonguin stock, appears, perhaps, no more clearly, than in the manner in which the Objibwas received this communication. Had the Onondagas, for instance, received a similar invitation, their course would have been to recommend a council of all the nations of the Confederacy, probably at Onondaga; and the expediency of either rejecting or accepting it having been,discussed in a rational manner, an answer in accordance with their decision would have been given. Such a proceeding, however, was too simple a one for the superstitious Objibwa. Before an answer could be given to so important a communication, the Great Turtle, "the chief of all the spirits," must be consulted through their medicine man.
The answer of the oracle was favorable; for having probably in view the many presents of tobacco and rum that were to be obtained by a visit to Niagara, he told them that "Sir William Johnson would fill their canoes with presents; with blankets, kettles, guns, gun powder and shot, and large barrels of rum, such as the stoutest of the Indians would not be able to lift; and that every man would return in safety to his family." It may readily be supposed that a response so congenial to their inclinations was hailed with delight; and amid the general joy, many voices were heard to exclaim, "I will go too ! I will go too!"1
The Baronet arrived at Oswego, on his way to Niagara, the twenty-sixth of June, accompanied by five hundred and fifty Indians, who, at his request, were on their way to join the army under Colonel Bradstreet. Stopping a few days to attend to some private matters, and also to condole with the Onondagas upon the death of Red Head, who had fallen down dead in the fort a few days before his arrival, he sailed from Oswego on the third of July, arriving at Niagara on the eighth.
The sight which greeted him as he stepped from his boat upon the sandy beach, must have been peculiarly gratifying to his self-love. In response to his invitations, he beheld, far stretched across the fields, the wigwams of over a thousand Indians, whose number, but a few days after his arrival, was increased to two thousand and sixty, of whom seventeen hundred were warriors.2 Deputations from all the nations dwelling in that vast region lying between the pine forests of Nova Scotia and the head springs of the Mississippi, were here assembled. Ottawas and Hurons, Chippewas and Caughnawagas, Sacs and
2 Sir William Johnson to the lords of trade, 30th Aug., 1764.
Foxes, picturesquely attired, strolled in groups about the fort; while here and there might be seen an Indian from tribes that trapped the beaver on the margin of Hudson's Bay, and hunted the moose on the northern shores of Lake Superior. The Sioux and Pottawattamies alone were absent,-the former having been kept away by the feud existing between their nation and the Chippewas, and the latter, conscious of their previous conduct, afraid of trusting themselves in the power of the English.1 Of the Six Nations the Senecas alone were not prompt.2 This arose not from any hostile feelings, but because they were doubtful whether their brother Warraghiyagey would really forgive their past misconduct.3 A few Mohawks were accordingly dispatched to assure them that their fears were unfounded, and hasten their coming.
Although the feelings of this motley assemblage were as friendly as could be expected, when in the hearts of many, the embers of rebellion were still smoldering, yet it required adroit management on the part of the Baronet, backed by the guns of the fort, to prevent an open rupture. Indeed an incident which occurred at this time threatened for a little while to thwart all his efforts. It seems that a small party of Indians on their way to Niagara, in passing one of the posts on the carrying place, sang their war song, and fired their guns by way of a salute to the garrison. The commander of the post, mistaking this piece of Indian military etiquette for a hostile movement, discharged a cannon loaded with grape shot among them, wounding three of the party.4 Fortunately none were killed, otherwise the affair would have been productive of very serious consequences. As it was, the Indians were at first disposed to resent it, suspecting foul play, and that it was only a
1 Manuscript letter; Sir William Johnson to Alex Colden, 23d Aug., 1764.
2 The Six Nations, -with the exception of the Senecas, attended this meeting merely as spectators.
3 Manuscript letter; Johnson to Gage, 6th Aug., 1764.
4 Manuscript letter; Sir William Johnson to Gen. Gage, 29th June, 1764.
prelude to a general attack; and it was not until many explanations had been given that harmony was restored.
While waiting for the delinquent Senecas, the Baronet, upon the eighteenth of July, concluded a treaty with the Hurons. The basis of the treaty was similar in its chief features to the preliminary articles of peace entered into with the Senecas in April. They pledged themselves to abstain from any future hostilities, and to deliver up within one month to Major Gladwin all of their prisoners; they moreover promised to treat all tribes inimical to the English as common enemies, and agreed to protect the navigation of the passage from Lake Erie to Detroit. But by far the most important article in the treaty was the fourth, by which they ceded to the crown of Great Britain the right and title to all the lands lying on both sides of the strait from their village to Lake St. Clair, in as full and ample a manner as they were ever claimed or enjoyed by the French. In consideration of which they were guarantied a free and open trade with the English, and were restored to all their former priviliges.1
The Seneca deputies arrived on the first day of August, bringing with them fourteen English captives and one deserter. In the conference which Sir William held with them upon the day of their arrival, he reproved them sharply for detaining the company so long, and told them that as a punishment for their tardiness, they would not be allowed to take up the time as usual in preparatory ceremonies, but that they must come at once to the point, and declare whether they would or would not fulfill their engagements made last April.2 In reply to this rebuke, they answered without hesitation, that although they had "scarcely had time to draw their breath, having just arrived," yet they wished him to understand that they had come fully prepared to fulfill every promise made by them last spring,
1 Original manuscript; "Articles of peace concluded by Sir William Johnson with the Hurons of the Detroit, Niagara, 18th July, 1764."
2 Manuscript proceedings at Niagara, 1764.
and to enter into a firm and enduring peace. A formal treaty was thereupon drawn up between their nation and the English, and signed by the superintendent and the deputies on the sixth of August. The preliminaries which had been signed by their deputies at Johnson Hall were made the basis of the treaty. In addition, however, to the grant made by them at that time, of the land from Fort Niagara to the upper end of the carrying place, they now relinquished a strip of land of the same breadth from Fort Schlosser to the rapids of Lake Erie; and thus a tract of land four miles in width on either side of the river from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, was vested in the British crown. This land, however, was given with the express provision that as it was near their hunting grounds, it should be for the sole use of his majesty and his garrisons, and should never become private property. An exception, moreover, was made in this grant to the islands lying in the Niagara river. These they begged the Baronet to accept as a slight compensation for the trouble which their nation had given him. The latter, unwilling to refuse for fear of the ill effects which might arise from it, accepted the gift; and as the islands-one of which was estimated to contain fifteen thousand acres-contained land well adapted for grazing, he in turn ceded them to his sovereign for the use of the cattle of the garrisons.1
During the negotiations, the Senecas stated that those Delawares who had fled to Chenussio for protection were also desirous of entering into a treaty with the English. The Baronet, however, refused to treat with them upon any terms, until they had delivered up their king, and Squash Cutter their chief warrior, together with all the prisoners in their possession. These conditions the Senecas agreed to see performed, and to prove their sincerity, it was made a special article in the present treaty that they
1 Articles of peace between Sir Wm. Johnson and the Genesee Indians.- N. Y. Col. Doc., vol. vii, p. 652. Sir Wm. Johnson to the Earl of Halifax, 30th Aug, 1764.
should leave in his hands two of their own chiefs as hostages for its performance. The treaty was thereupon ratified, the covenant chain brightened; all past transgressions forgiven, and their nation received into the full enjoyment of all their rights and possessions.1
Although numerous councils were held with the Indians, yet no formal treaty was made with any tribe except the Hurons and Senecas. The other nations declared that they only came to renew their engagements, not having approved of the war, or engaged in it; and they therefore very shrewdly refused to enter into a treaty, as by that act they would have virtually admitted the falsity of their story. It was useless to question their veracity, and they were therefore all received into the covenant chain upon their agreeing to the reestablishment of Michillimackinac, and promising moreover to indemnify the traders for their losses since the beginning of hostilities.2 Everything at length having been arranged to the satisfaction of the Indians, and medals having been distributed to those of the Confederates that had proved throughout the war their fidelity, the Baronet set out on his return the sixth of August. The passage down Wood creek from Oneida lake was attended with much difficulty. The creek was so low that staunch boats were unable to come up, and the Baronet's thigh not allowing him to ride, he was forced to make the rest of his journey in a leaky boat, with no covering, and exposed to a pelting rain during the whole trip. He however reached Johnson Hall on the nineteenth of August, and immediately inserted in the public prints,
1 Manuscript letter; Johnson to Gage, 5th Aug., 1764. Johnson to the lords of trade, 30th Aug., 1764.
2 "A treaty was only made with the Hurons and Senecas, and the covenant chain received for the other Indians."-Manuscript letter; Sir Wm., Johnson to Gen. Gage, 22d Aug., 1764.- Sir Wm. Johnson to the lords of trade, 30th Aug., 1764. Some writers, Parkman among them, have stated that "separate treaties were made with each individual band." This however, was not the case.
for the benefit of their relatives, a description of all the prisoners who had been rescued by him from captivity.
The peace thus made with the Indians, diffused general joy throughout the province; and Lieutenant Governor Colden, in his opening message on the fourth of September, failed not to congratulate the assembly upon the peace lately concluded at Niagara, " through the ability, experience and zealous efforts of Sir William Johnson." But while the meeting at Niagara promised to be of benefit, other measures were still required before Indian relations could be placed on a permanent basis. "To render this peace lasting," wrote the Baronet to the lords of trade shortly after his return home, "I know no methods better than to conquer their prejudices by our generosity. They will then lay aside their prejudices, and we may rest in security."
On the same day that the Baronet embarked for Oswego on his homeward voyage, Colonel Bradstreet left Fort Niagara for Detroit. His army was now increased by three hundred Iroquois, under John Johnson and Henry Montour, and also by nearly a hundred Ojibwas and Mississaugas, who were under the command of Alexander Henry. These latter allies, however, availed little ; for while the army was still at Fort Schlosser, taking offense at the sternness of the discipline, they deserted one night in a body. On the eighth of August, the army embarked in their boats from Fort Schlosser, but when in the vicinity of Presque Isle, they were obliged in consequence of a violent storm to go ashore and encamp. While waiting for the storm to cease, Colonel Bradstreet was visited by ten Indians, who pretended to have been sent by the Delawares and Shawanese to sue for peace. These pretended deputies were at once declared by the Indian allies to be spies, and in confirmation of this, they pointed out to Colonel Bradstreet several proofs, among others, that they had brought with them only one belt of wampum with which to ratify the treaty. They therefore requested that he would either allow them to be killed, or that at least he would hold no intercourse with them. To this latter suggestion, however, the colonel gave no heed, and in defiance of the well known character of their nations for treachery and cruelty, he held with the spies a preliminary treaty in which he promised to forbear marching against their castles as he had intended, provided that all their prisoners should be delivered up to him at Sandusky within the ensuing twenty-five days, and that they should then and there ratify a firm and lasting treaty.1
The conduct of Colonel Bradstreet in this affair was inexcusable, and could only have been prompted by excessive vanity. Even had the deputies been duly accredited, his instructions gave him no authority to conclude a peace.2 His orders from General Gage directed him in the most positive terms to attack the Shawanese and Delawares,3 and in case those tribes made submission, to offer, but not to conclude peace, a power, which, by virtue of his being his majesty's sole agent and superintendent of Indian affairs, was lodged in Sir William Johnson alone.4 The allies, as
1 Original manuscript minutes of a treaty of peace between Colonel Bradstreet and the Delawares and Shawanese, concluded at the camp at L'Ance aux Feuilles, Aug. 4, 1764.
2 1 herewith send you a most astonishing treaty of peace, which Colonel Bradstreet has taken upon himself to conclude with the Shawanese and Delawares, which contains no one article whereby the least satisfaction is given for the many horrid murders committed by those barbarians, the sole promoters and contrivers of all our troubles, and the chief actors in the bloody tragedy. I know not on what foundation he builds, to imagine himself empowered to conclude any peace and dictate the articles thereof, agreeable to his own judgment. He has lately seen you, his majesty's sole agent and superintendent of Indian affairs at Niagara on the business of peace. He might perhaps be empowered to consent to a suspension of arms, and refer them to you to settle and conclude the peace, but he has taken the whole upon himself."-Manuscript letter; Gage to Johnson, 2d Sept., 1764.
4 "To offer peace, I think can never be construed a power to conclude and dictate the articles of peace, and you certainly know that no such power could with propriety be lodged in any person but in Sir William Johnson, his majesty's sole agent and superintendent for Indian affairs:" Manuscript letter; Gage to Bradstreet, 2d Sept. 1764.
it afterward appeared, were entirely correct in their suspicion; for, while Bradstreet was signing the treaty with the treacherous deputies, the tomahawks and scalping knives of the Shawanese and Delawares were even then reeking with the warm mood of the settlers along the Pennsylvania and Virginia frontiers. As soon as the preliminary articles of the treaty were signed, the colonel, without even waiting until he should see if the promises of the deputies were faithfully kept, wrote to Colonel Bouquet to the effect that Indian affairs were now amicably adjusted, and that he might disband his troops, as his aid was no longer required. Colonel Bouquet, however, who had advanced as far as Port Loudoun when this important message arrived, treated it with the slight that it deserved, and continued his march, haying first written to Gage that the conditions of the treaty were so disgraceful, that he should continue his operations until he received orders from him to the contrary.
But in other respects, the conduct of Colonel Bradstreet was extremely culpable. By his harsh treatment of his Indian allies, he completely alienated that branch of his army. During the whole expedition he seemed to be guided by no fixed purpose, and frequently by his flighty and strange conduct gave serious offense. Often, after stating to his army that he should encamp so long at a certain place, suddenly, without any emergency or necessity having arisen, he would give orders to move directly ; so that in several instances many Indians, who had gone out in pursuit of game, returned within the appointed time, only to find the smoldering embers of the deserted camp fires. They were therefore obliged to pursue the rest of the journey on foot, and several of them reached Detroit half starved. At other times, when asked by the Indian officers (when the boats were crowded) how they and the Indians should be transported, he would reply in a surly and profane manner, "that they might swim and be damned."1 It may therefore readily be seen that an officer who conducted himself in such a manner was not calculated to win the confidence of his men; and thus as a natural result, quarrels and insubordination were constantly arising throughout the whole of the expedition.
At Sandusky, Bradstreet was again beguiled by the fair promises of the Ottawas, Wyandots and Miami's residing near that post, although his orders were to give them a thorough chastisement. While here, Captain Morris was dispatched with a few Canadians and Indians into the very heart of the Illinois country, to induce Pontiac and the tribes residing in that vicinity to sue for peace. The sending of this officer at this time, before Indian relations had been amicably settled, was certainly very rash and in bad policy. Pontiac, it was well known, was still chafing and raging at his ill successes, and yet Captain Morris, with only a few attendants-some of them of doubtful loyalty was sent to beard the enraged tiger in its very den. His mission, as might have been foreseen, was productive of no good, and he, himself, after owing his life to the singular forbearance of the Ottawa chieftain, was allowed to depart having been robbed of everything except his arms, clothing and canoe. Colonel Bradstreet has been called an "excellent officer." He may have been ; but his allowing Morris thus uselessly to peril his life does not indicate extraordinary military judgment.
On the twenty-sixth of August, the hearts of Major Gladwin and his brother officers were gladdened by the sight of the long expected succors, and Detroit was at once supplied with a fresh garrison. A council was next held on the seventh of September, and in defiance of express instructions, a definite treaty of peace was concluded with a few Ottawas, Ojibwas, Pottawattamies and other neighboring
1 Manuscript paper containing remarks upon, and details of Bradstreet's conduct during tins campaign, and drawn up by the officers who served under him, and taken down by Sir Wm. Johnson.
tribes. Leaving out of view, however, the question of Bradstreet's authority, the treaty itself shows his ignorance of the character of those with whom he was dealing, and how incompetent, therefore, he was to its performance. " It is a peace," writes Gage to Johnson, "derogatory to the honor and reputation of his majesty's arms amongst the Indian nations, unsafe for the future peace and tranquility of his majesty's subjects, and is a basis of future massacres."l -In the treaty, moreover, he spoke of the Indians as subjects, an appellation that the Indians never would have accepted had they understood its true signification.2 " You may be assured," wrote the Baronet to Gage upon hearing of this treaty, "that none of the Six Nations or Western Indians ever declared themselves subjects, or will ever consider themselves in that light, while they have any men or an open country to retire to. The very idea of subjection would fill them, with horror."3
As soon as the treaty was ratified by the different chiefs, Captain Howard was sent with a considerable force to regarrison Michillimackinac and the more remote posts of Green Bay and Sault St. Marie; and Colonel Bradstreet, having again succeeded in disgusting his red allies by conducting the council through a French interpreter, and also by chopping to pieces with a tomahawk a belt of wampum with which he had just been addressed by a messenger from Pontiac,4 hastened back to Sandusky to meet the
1 Manuscript letter; 2d Sept., 1764.
2 Original manuscript treaty between Col. Bradstreet and the Pottawattamies, Ottawas, Chippewas and Miamis, Detroit, Sept. 7, 1764.
"I don't know what to think of this new treaty of Colonel Bradstreet. He seems to tell them they are all subjects, and that the king has dominion over all their country. Was not this formerly ill taken by the Six Nations, who never would be called subjects but allies : and this dominion over their country, will it not confirm them in their opinion of our designs, to have all their lands?"-Manuscript letter: Gage to Johnson, 14th Oct., 1764.
3 Manuscript letter: Johnson to Gage, 31st Oct., 1764.
4 " Had anything effectual been prosecuted against him" [Pontiac] wrote Johnson to Gage, " the circumstance of cutting the belt would have appeared well enough, but since that was all we did, he must think little of us,"- an act of impotent rage, it only disgusted.
Shawanese and Delaware deputies. As might have been expected, the appointed day came but not the deputies, and while, chagrined at their breach of faith, he was still awaiting their appearance, he received a letter from the commander-in-chief annulling the treaty that he had made at Presque Isle, and commanding him to march forthwith against the enemy. Enraged and mortified at this rebuke, he refused to obey the instructions of Gage, alleging that his Indian allies declined accompanying him, and also that the Sandusky river-the route to Scioto plains where lay the hostile castles-was too low for the passage of the boats. The Indians, it is true, disgusted at his conduct, did refuse to go alone, but expressed their willingness to accompany the army, who in good spirits and impatient of their continued inactivity, eagerly desired a brush with the savages. Finally, after consuming much time in building a fort upon a piece of ground that was so low as to be overflowed by every freshet, he suddenly on the eighteenth of October, gave orders to embark for Niagara. His departure was marked by a piece of cruelty which was wanton in the last degree inasmuch as nothing had occurred that justified the hasty embarcation. Two New Jersey soldiers and five Indians, who had been sent out to catch fish for his table, were still absent when the orders were given to embark. The officers remonstrated, and begged that the departure of the army might be delayed an hour or two longer, or at least that he would allow a boat to be left for their use. To this request, however, Bradstreet replied with an oath "that the soldiers might stay there, but not a boat should wait for them a minute." No garrison having been left in the partially erected fort,1 the poor soldiers
1 It has been generally stated by writers that the soldiers were out for game for the officers; but from original manuscript statements of the officers themselves in my possession, it appears that they were out for Bradstreet himself.
when othey arrived, had no alternative but to either throw themselves upon the tender mercies of the savages; perish miserably in the wilderness.
The sequel of the expedition was singularly unfortunate. When a few days out from Sandusky, and about to encampfor the night, Colonel Bradstreet, instead of landing at the mouth of a neighboring river, where the boats could have lain in safety, persisted in disembarking at a spot which, it was told him, was visited by heavy surfs. The resultof this obstinacy was, that a heavy storm arising, twenty-five of the batteaux were dashed to pieces, and most of the ammunition and baggage lost, together with the field train of six brass cannon. A hundred and fifty men were therefore compelled to make the journey to Niagara on foot, through a wilderness of four hundred miles, filled with savage men and savage beasts, and crossed by deep rivers and fearful morasses. Many perished on the way, and those who finally reached Niagara were spent with fatigue, cold and hunger. On the fourth day of November, the main body of the army, weary and shattered, entered the gates of Niagara. Stragglers continued to come in day after day; nor was it until the last of December, that all the survivors reached their homes.1
With the exception of supplying Detroit with a fresh garrison, and the reoccupation of Michillimackinac and the further posts, the expedition had accomplished nothing. Its main object-that of punishing the Shawanese, Delawares and other tribes-was still unaccomplished. None of the rebellious tribes had yef been brought to feel the power of the English; and the expedition, instead of inspiring dread in the hearts of the savages, had. elicited only ridicule. The pacific efforts of Sir William Johnson at Niagara, which had been aided in no slight degree by the prospect of the advancing army, were to a great extent
1 Manuscript remarks on the conduct of Colonel Bradstreet. Manuscript letter; Johnson to Lt, Col. Eyre, Dec. 17th, 1764. Manuscript Johnson papers. Johnson to the lords of trade, 26th Dec., 1764.
rendered abortive. "Since I have had the pleasure of knowing yon," wrote Gage, in relation to the failure of the expedition, to the Baronet, "you have been as much employed to patch up and mend what others have put out of order, as in the ordinary course of your business. I fear that will be the case now, and that you must still have conferences with all the savages of Detroit, to put matters in a right channel."1
While Colonel Bradstreet was concluding useless treaties with the western nations, the controversy between New York and New Hampshire in relation to their boundary line, was at its height. It has already been mentioned, in connection with the congress held at Albany in 1754, that the charters of the colonies of Connecticut and Massachusetts Bay were of a very liberal and uncertain character. The charter granted to the Plymouth company in 1620--from which was derived that of Connecticut,-covered the expanse from the fortieth to the forty-sixth degree of northern latitude, extending from tlie Atlantic to the Pacific ocean. New York, or more properly the New Netherlands, being then a Dutch possession, could not, however, be claimed as a portion of these grants, as an exception was made of all territory "then actually possessed by any other Christian prince or state." The dispute concerning the Wyoming lands was not the only one to which the indefinite phraseology of the charters had given rise. Upon the conquest of the New Netherlands by the Duke of York, in 1664, controversies immediately arose between that province and those of Connecticut and Massachusetts bay. These disputes, however, were subsequently adjusted by negotiation and compromise-the commissioners agreeing that the boundary between New York and Connecticut and Massachusetts, should be a line drawn north and south, twenty miles east of the Hudson river. Hardly had the controversy been thus settled, when New Hampshire, without
1 Manuscript letter; 31st Oct., 1764..
out the least justice or title, insisted, upon having the same western boundary as her sister colonies. The people of New York, -who had yielded to the decision of the commission era with a very bad grace, were in no mood to brook further encroachments upon their territory, and they therefore boldly protested against this assumption of New Hampshire.
Protests, however, availed little. In 1749, Benning Wentworth, at that time Governor of New Hampshire, granted a township six miles square within the territory claimed by New York, and which, in honor of the governor, was named Bennington. This grant was the occasion of a lengthy correspondence between Wentworth and Clinton, and renewed protests on the part of the latter. Protests and letters, however, were alike unheeded by the governor of New Hampshire, who intent upon increasing his private fortune, continued in defiance of all right to issue patents to those who wished and could afford to pay for them. Such persons were not few. A road, which had been cut through the wilderness from Lake Champlain to Charlestown in New Hampshire by Amherst as a means of communication with Crown Point, had revealed the richness of the land. Many therefore hastened to purchase, and during the year 1761, no less than sixty patents were issued, a number that in 1763, had been increased to one hundred and thirty-eight. At length justly alarmed at the growing audacity of Wentworth, and having written a letter to him with no effect, Lieutenant Governor Colden, on the eighteenth of December, 1763, issued a proclamation, in which the grant of Charles the Second to the duke of York, was recited; the jurisdiction of New York as far eastward as the Connecticut river, asserted; and the sheriff of Albany county enjoined to return the names of all persons, who by virtue of the New Hampshire grants, held possession of lands westward of that river.1 This was answered three mouths after on the
thirteenth of March, by a counter proclamation from Governor Wentworth, declaring that the grant to the duke of York was void, and that the grantees should be encouraged in the possession of their lands.
Meanwhile, the assembly, through their agent Mr. Charles, laid the question in dispute before the board of trade, setting forth in their petition, "that it would be greatly to the advantage of the people settled on those, lands to be annexed to New York." The result was, that on the twentieth of July, 1764, an order was made by the king in council, declaring "the western banks of Connecticut river, from where it enters the province of Massachusetts bay, as far north as the forty-fifth degree of latitude, to be the boundary line, between the two provinces of New Hampshire and New York." This decision of the crown was received by the latter province in September, with great satisfaction. Had the matter been allowed forest here, all would have been well; Governor Wentworth in obedience to the royal authority, ceased issuing patents westward of the Connecticut river; and those who had settled upon the grants, were indifferent as to which government received their allegiance, provided they could cultivate their lands in quietness. No sooner however, was this decision received, than the government of New York chose to interpret the words to be as referring to past time, and construed them as a virtual admission that the Connecticut river always had been the eastern boundary of its province. It therefore declared that the grants from Wentworth were invalid, and insisted that the grantees either should surrender or repurchase the lands upon which they had settled and in many instances improved. To this unjust demand the majority of the settlers refused to accede. Notwithstanding which the governor of New York regranted their lands anew to others, who forthwith brought ejectment suits against them and obtained judgments at the courts of Albany. All attempts however, to enforce these judgments thus obtained, were met by the settlers with a spirited resistance. The civil officers sent to eject them "were seized by the people, and severely chastised with twigs of the wilderness"; and a proclamation from Governor Tryon offering a reward of one hundred and fifty pounds for the apprehension of Ethan Allen, the principal offender, was met by a burlesque proclamation from the latter, offering five pounds for the attorney general of the colony of New York.
Thus arose that fierce controversy between the hardy Green Mountain Boys and the authorities of New York, which lasting with great violence for twenty-six years, was finally terminated by the long disputed New Hampshire grants being, in 1791, received into the federal union as the state of Vermont.1
The effect of Colonel Bradstreet's ill-starred expedition was in a measure counteracted by the success of the one under Colonel Bouquet. In the early part of October, that officer left Fort Pitt with one thousand Provincials and five hundred regulars, and after a march of ten days through a trackless wilderness, encamped on the banks of the Muskingum near the deserted wigwams of a Tuscarora village, whose inhabitants had fled at his approach. The advance of Colonel Bouquet into the very heart of their country, filled the Shawanese and Delawares with alarm. Their experience at Bushy Run the previous year, had taught them that the man with whom they now had to deal, was made of different stuff from the officer whom they had so lately cajoled on the, shores of Lake Erie. They felt that their temporizing policy would no longer answer, and that the time had come when they must either submit or be exterminated. Two men, who had been seized by the Delawares on their way to Bradstreet with letters from Bouquet, were therefore now brought into the camp charged with a message to the effect that their chiefs would soon come and conclude a treaty of
1 Belknap. Allen's Narrative. Slade's Vermont State Papers.
peace. Accordingly, a few days after, a deputation of the head chiefs of the Delawares, Shawanese, and a Seneca tribe settled on the Ohio, made their appearance at the camp, bringing with them eighteen of their captives. The remaining prisoners, they said, should be brought in as soon as they could be collected.
In his reply to their speech, in which the whole responsibility of their past conduct was thrown upon the western nations, Bouquet was stern, and unyielding. He told them plainly that their behavior was without excuse, and that he saw through all their subterfuges. He then entered into a relation of their past treachery and their numerous murders of the traders, while they were yet in a state of professed peace; their attacking Fort Pitt, and those other posts that had been built with their permission; and their black treachery in the massacre of those garrisons that had surrendered. They had refused, moreover, to attend the meeting at Niagara in July, and while their former allies, the Ottawas, Ojibwas, and Wyandots, were suing for peace, they, the most relentless and inhuman of savages, were committing their horrid butcheries upon the frontiers. They were then given to understand, that it would be owing entirely to the clemency of the English, if their nations were not utterly exterminated, and that their treatment in future would depend solely upon their behavior. "I now," concluded he, "give you twelve days from this date to deliver into my hands all the prisoners in your possession, without exception ; Englishmen, Frenchmen, women and children; whether adopted into your tribes, married or living among you under any denomination or pretense whatever. And you are to furnish these with clothing, provision, and horses, to carry them to Fort Pitt. When you have fully complied with these conditions, you shall then know on what terms you may obtain the peace you sue for."
This serious rebuke, and the determined character of the man who now addressed them, were sufficient. The chiefs now really anxious to conciliate, hastened to send to Bouquet their prisoners. Every day added a few more to the number, until in a short time there were nearly two hundred in the camp. A few captives were still among the Indians, but as they belonged to warriors away from their homes and could not be brought in without their permission, the chiefs delivered up some of their own people as hostages for their future surrender. Then and not till then, did Bouquet relax the sternness which he had hitherto purposely assumed in his dealings with the rebellious chieftains. But now convinced of their sincerity, he consented to hold friendly communications with them. The answer of the colonel to their request for peace was right manly, and spoke the true soldier. "The king, my master," said he, "has commissioned me, not to make treaties for him, but to fight his battles ; and though I now offer you peace, it is not in my power to settle its precise terms and conditions. For this, I refer you to Sir William Johnson, his majesty's agent and superintendent for Indian affairs, who will settle with you the articles of peace and determine every thing in relation to trade."
They were then required to deliver up additional hostages for their good faith, and as a pledge that they would send to the superintendent a deputation of their chiefs, who should be fully authorized to treat in behalf of their nation.
These conditions, which, it will hereafter appear, were faithfully performed, were readily agreed to and the required hostages at once given. The main objects of the expedition having been thus successfully accomplished, Colonel Bouquet, with two hundred of the rescued captives and fourteen hostages, returned to Fort Pitt on the twenty-eighth of November, to receive from his sovereign the appointment of brigadier, and the command of the southern department.1
l Parkman. Manuscript letter Johnson to Lieut. Col. Eyre 17 Dec. 1764. Johnson to the lords of trade 26 Dec. 1764.
The closing year brought no relaxation to the labors of the Baronet. "I have at present," he writes in December, "every room in my house full of Indians, and the prospect before me of continual, business all the winter, as the Shawanese and Delawares may be expected in a few days."
to James F. Morrison for loaning his book for the purpose of putting it on
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