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.
It would have been strange if Sir William Johnson, who had risen from the body of the people to such prominence in the colony by his own ability, and who had, moreover, thwarted so many, in their schemes of aggrandizement at the expense of the Indians, should not have, presented a conspicuous mark for the envenomed shafts of malice and jealousy. In the beginning of this year, reports were circulated that he had incurred the royal displeasure, and that he was to be removed in disgrace. It was, therefore, with peculiar pleasure, that he received, in January, the intelligence that his son John, upon his presentation at court immediately on his arrival in England, in November last, had been created a knight.
The temperament of the Baronet was such as to render him miserable unless actively employed. Having therefore a little leisure by the termination of Indian hostilities, he turned his attention more particularly to personal and home matters. Accordingly, during the spring months, we find him busily engaged in erecting a grist mill for his tenantry; overseeing the building of an Episcopal church in Schenectady, of which he was the patron; and-having taken a past-master's degree in March-fitting up, at his own expense, a Masonic lodge at Johnson Hall.1 He also built two commodious stone dwellings for his sons-in-law; the families of whom had hitherto resided at the hall- into which they removed the latter part of March.2
1 Sir John Johnson, was the last Provincial Grand Master of the province of New York.
2 With each of these dwellings the Baronet conveyed a farm of six hundred and forty acres. The dwelling occupied by Guy Johnson was called Guy Park, and is still  standing about a mile above the village of Amsterdam. The house occupied by Colonel Claus burned down during the revolution.
One would naturally imagine that these labors would have occupied his whole attention. The thorough system, however, which he introduced into all his affairs, enabled him to accomplish a great deal in a little time; and having received the appointment of commander-in-chief of the militia in the northern district of New York, he found opportunity not only to make a return of his old regiment to Governor Moore, but to assist the latter in reorganizing the state militia, which had fallen, since the war, into a chaotic state. But this was not all. Trade at the different frontier posts, owing to the recent hostilities, had become completely broken up ; and the regulations which the Baronet had established on his journey to Detroit, in 1761, had now to be modified and altered. The lords of trade, moreover, in the spring, had directed the superintendent to curtail as much as possible the expenses of his department; and in conformity with this instruction, General Gage, at his suggestion, ordered the post at Onondaga and a few blockhouses in the Indian country, to be abandoned. Two objects were thus attained. First, the vacating of these posts, removed in a great degree the jealousy of the Indians; and secondly, by concentrating the trade at Oswego and Niagara, the expense was greatly diminished. The frauds of the traders, also, having been a great source of the unfriendly feeling of the Indians, the Baronet determined to effect an entire change in the basis upon which trade should in future be conducted. He therefore, in the spring, appointed at Oswego, Niagara, Fort Pitt, Detroit, and Montreal, commissaries of trade, under whose supervision all trade should be carried on, and whose business it should be, to redress grievances between the whites and Indians. At the same time, the commanders of the several trading posts were forbidden to allow any trader to go among the Indian nations. By these judicious measures those swarms of unprincipled traders that had hovered around the forts, were scattered -one man of character, at each post, transacting the entire business. To further still more this arrangement, Croghan was dispatched in April to the Illinois, with directions to establish trade in that country on the same footing. The deputy accomplished his mission successfully ; and having concluded, in August, a treaty with eight of the more southern nations at Fort Chartres, he returned to New York by way of New Orleans.
The good effect of these measures was soon apparent. Convinced that they were no longer to be imposed upon, the Indians hastened to show by their conduct, that they appreciated the efforts which had been made for their benefit. "The Indians," wrote Lieutenant Roberts, from Niagara, in July, to the superintendent, "are now very honest; and a bateau of rum which they recently discovered, cast away on Lake Erie, they left untouched, and communicated it immediately at this post."
Opposition to the stamp act still continued. In January, a committee from the Sons of Liberty waited upon six persons in Albany and requested them to take an oath that they would not accept the office of stamp distributor. All but Henry Van Schaack, the Albany post master, having complied, the mob went to the latter's house, a little below the city, broke the windows, furniture, and the piazza, and taking his pleasure sleigh into town consumed it in a bonfire, Alarmed at these demonstrations, Van Schaack took the required oath, and the mob dispersed.
In New York city, the committee of which Isaac Sears was chairman were still active. Having ascertained by
1 Manuscript letters; John Brown to Johnson, 3d Jan., 1766; Johnson to Duncan, 9th Jan., 1766 ; Wm. Darlington to Johnson, 2d Feb., 1766 ; Johnson to Capt. McLeod, 16th March, 1706 ; B. Roberts to Johnson, 23d April, 1766; Instructions from Sir Wm. Johnson to John Rosseau, interpreter, 1766.
their secret agents in Philadelphia that a merchant, Lewis Pintard, had sent to that city a Mediterranean pass and a bond on stamped paper, they waited upon the merchant and also upon the naval officer who had given the pass on the twelfth of January, and compelling them to appear on the common, forced them to swear before a crowd of eight thousand people, that the passes which they had signed and delivered were not stamped to their knowledge. Not satisfied, however, with this declaration, the committee conducted them to the coffee house, before which a bonfire had been kindled, and obliged Pintard to commit the passes to the flames with his own hands. On the following day, Governor Moore, who, being of a timid and amiable nature, had a dread of becoming unpopular, sent for one of the committee, and said, in the course of the conversation, that he hoped the "gentlemen his associates," did not suspect him of being cognizant of the Mediterranean passes. Upon being informed that they did not, the Governor farther stated, that he had solicited this interview to o, ' assure the Sons of Liberty, that not only was he ignorant of that transaction, but that he would have nothing to do with any stamps whatever.2
Alarmed at the rapid growth of republican principles in America, the seeds of which had been sown by its own folly, parliament, on the eighteenth of March, repealed the obnoxious act. The British legislature, however, yielded not with a good grace. " The colonists," wrote Sir William Baker to the Baronet, "must not think that these lenient methods were brought about by the inducements of their violence."3 Fearing, therefore, that their action
1 Manuscript letter;-. John Glenn Jun. to Johnson, 7th Jan., 1766.
2 Manuscript letter; Norman McLeod to Sir Wm. Johnson, 14th Jan., 1766.
3 "I hope the last session of parliament has conciliated the North Americans to their mother country; but at the same time it must, be expected from them obedience to the laws of this government. The colonists must not think these lenient methods made use of by that administration was brought about by the inducement of their violence; but was really the effect of conviction that the rash act past the two preceding sessions were unwarantable and oppressive." Manuscript letter; Sir Wm. Baker to Johnson, 7th Nov., 1766.
would be misconstrued, parliament hastened, almost simultaneously with the repeal of the stamp act, to pass a bill, declaring the absolute right of the king and parliament to bind the colonies and people, of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain in all cases whatsoever."
In the first delirium of delight at the repeal, the news of which was communicated to the colonists by their agents, on the sixteenth of May, the tendency of the declaratory act was not heeded. In New York city, especially, the populace seemed wild with joy. Bells were rung, a royal salute of twenty-one guns fired, and the city illuminated. On the fourth of June, the king's birthday, the governor had an ox roasted whole, a hogshead of rum and twenty-five barrels of beer opened, and the people invited to join in the feast. On the same day a mast was erected, inscribed " To his most Gracious Majesty, George the Third, Mr. Pitt, and Liberty." But the enthusiasm of the people did not end here. On the twenty-third of June a meeting was held, at which a petition was signed by a majority of the citizens, requesting the assembly to erect a statue to William Pitt, as a mark of their appreciation of his services in repealing the stamp act. That body entered fully into the feelings of the people; and besides complying with the wishes of their constituents, in relation to Pitt, they made provision for an equestrian statue to his Majesty, George the Third; and also voted their thanks, and a piece of plate, to John Sargeant, "for his services as special agent," during the stamp act controversy. The opening speech of Governor Moore to the assembly, on the twelfth of June, began by adverting to the general satisfaction diffused among the people by the repeal of the stamp act. It was the impression made on the minds of the people by this act of his majesty's favor, that had induced the governor, so early, to call the legislature, in order to give them the earliest opportunity of making those acknowledgments of duty and submission, which, on such an occasion, his excellency thought must arise in the bosom of every individual. It then spoke of the impositions upon the credulity of the people by the misrepresentations of artful and designing men. "Let it be your concern," it continued, "to undeceive the deluded, and by your example, bring back to a sense of their duty, those who have been misled, that nothing which can carry with it the least resemblance of former heat and prejudice may be suffered to prevail, and the minds of those who are too easily agitated be again disposed to a cheerful obedience to the laws, and to sentiments of respectful gratitude to the mother country." Their attention was next directed to the care of those unfortunate persons, who had suffered from the "licentiousness of the populace for their deference to the British legislature," and they were requested, to make full and ample compensation for the goods and effects of the sufferers, that had been destroyed.1 This latter suggestion was owing to circular letters from the minister to the Provincial governors, requesting the colonial assemblies to show their " respectful gratitude for the forbearance of parliament," by indemnifying those who had suffered injury in attempting to execute the late act. In connection with the opening speech, petitions were handed in by Lieutenant Governor Colden and Major James, praying the assembly to make good their losses by the recent riots. These petitions were thereupon referred to a committee of the whole house, who reported favorably upon the claims of Major James, but passed over in silence those of the lieutenant governor - very much to the chagrin of the latter, who forthwith wrote a letter to Conway, begging him to lay his case before the king, that his losses might be recompensed by a pension.2
1 Council minutes.
2 Lt. Gov. Colden to the minister, 24th June, 1766.
The governor now ventured again to request of the assembly its compliance with the demands of the ministry in relation to the quartering of troops, a large body of whom was shortly expected from England. But, although the house had joined with the council in an humble address to the king thanking him for the repeal of the stamp act, and although, moreover, it was perfectly willing to vote statues to his majesty and William Pitt, it was no more disposed to comply with this demand, now that parliament had yielded to its wishes, than it was at the previous session, when the stamp act was in fall force. The house accordingly voted a series of resolutions similar in tone to those passed November, 1765, and postponed farther discussion on the subject until the troops had arrived. A second message, however, from Sir Henry Moore, induced it to alter its determination so far, as to state that the appropriations of 1762 were at his disposal, and might be applied towards providing barracks, firewood, and candles for two battalions and one company of artillery for one year. Beyond this, however, it would not go; and the governor, while he was obliged to be content with this decision, wrote at the same time to the lords of trade, that its partial compliance was more the result of compulsion, than of gratitude for recent favors; and that, in his opinion, every act of parliament, unless backed by a sufficient power to enforce it, would meet with the same fate.1
The time had now arrived for the promised visit of the Ottawa king. Fearing, however, that he might fail to keep his engagement, Sir William Johnson had dispatched, in March, Hugh Crawford with belts and messages to Pontiac and the chiefs of the Ottawas, Hurons, Chippewas and Pottawattamies, with orders to accompany the delegation to Oswego as a body guard. Indeed, it required no little courage on the part of Pontiac, to venture
1 Sir Henry Moore to the lords of trade, 20th June, 1766.
so far east, among those who regarded, his name as a synonym of horror. Several Indians moreover, had been recently murdered by the relentless borderers of the Pennsylvanian frontier, which fact the French traders had not failed to use in their assertions to Pontiac, that the English would never suffer him to return alive. That Pontiac himself was greatly influenced by these insidious efforts to prevent his journey, is evident from a circumstance which occurred while he was at Port Erie on his way eastward. Just after his arrival at that post, on the twenty-seventh of June, a few of the garrison fired at a flock of pigeons. Hearing the report of the shots, so soon upon his entrance into the fort, Pontiac started in evident trepidation, and it was not until after many assurances from the commanding officer, that he was divested of the idea of treachery.1 At Fort Schlosser, which was reached on the last day of June, Pontiac and , his warriors were furnished with a bountiful supply of tobacco ; and carrying their birchen canoes over the portage, they launched them upon Lake Ontario, and soon arrived at their destination.
At Oswego, while waiting the arrival of the superintendent, the party were hospitably entertained by Norman McLeod, the Niagara commissary. The attendance of the Baronet was necessarily delayed. Being desirous of having present at the expected council a few chiefs of the Six Nations, for the purpose of allaying any jealousy which his conference with the western nations might excite, he had dispatched, in June, Captain John Butler to the castles of the Confederacy, inviting them to Oswego. The Mohawks, however, who had promised to be in readiness to start with him by the last of June, were found, when the time arrived, in a beastly state of intoxication, produced by George Klock, who had thus taken his usual preliminary step in some land negotiations. A slight indisposition also
1 Manuscript letter; John Garden (commander at Erie) to Johnson, 30th June, 1766.
detained him, so that it was not until almost the twentieth of July that he reached Oswego.1
The twenty-third of July, was the day appointed for the council. As may he supposed, every effort was made to invest the present occasion with as much augustness as possible. Covenants, solemn and lasting, were now to be entered into between the crown of Great Britain, and a chieftain by far the most powerful that ever trod the forest glades, and one, also, whose beck could at pleasure summon legions of painted warriors upon the war path, or send them cowering to their wigwams. As it was now the warmest of summer weather, the council was held in the open air; the assembly being protected from the rays of the sun, by an awning of evergreens. Indeed the appearance of the council upon that summer's morning was exceedingly picturesque. At one end of the leafy canopy the manly form of the superintendent, wrapped in his scarlet blanket bordered with gold lace, and surrounded by the glittering uniforms of the British officers, was seen with hand extended in welcome to the great Ottawa, who, standing erect in conscious power, his rich plumes waving over the circle of his warriors, accepted the proffered hand, with an air in which defiance and respect were singularly blended. Around, stretched at length upon the grass, lay the proud chiefs of the Six Nations, gazing with curious eye upon the man who had come hundreds of miles to smoke the calumet with their beloved superintendent.
After the salutations of welcome had been interchanged, and the council opened by the usual ceremony of presenting three strings of wampum, Sir William condoled the Hurons on the death of their great sachem Aughstaghregi, covered his grave with a black belt of wampum, and dismissed the meeting for the day.
On the twenty-fourth, as soon as the chiefs were all seated, the superintendent lighted the great calumet of peace,
1 Manuscript report of John Butler to Sir Wm. Johnson, 30 June, 1766; Johnson to the lords of trade, 20 Aug., 1766.
which Pontiac had sent to him by Croghan, and having taken a whiff from its hieroglyphic stem, passed it around every chief in turn. Then amid the profound silence of his auditors, he stood up, and having "opened the door and made the road clear and smooth" by a belt, he thanked them for their kindness to his deputy, the previous summer, and for their disapprobation of the conduct of those who had endeavored, at that time, to "obstruct the good work of peace." " I have now," he continued, "with the approbation of General Gage (your father's chief warrior in this country) invited you here in order to confirm and strengthen your proceedings with Mr. Croghan last year. I hope that you will remember all that then passed, and I desire that you will often repeat it to your young people,and keep it fresh in your minds.
"Children, you begin already to see the fruits of peace, from the number of traders and plenty of goods at all the garrisoned posts; and our enjoying the peaceable possession of the Illinois will be found of great advantage to the Indians in that country. You likewise see that proper officers, men of honor and probity, are appointed to reside at the posts, to prevent abuses in trade, to hear your complaints, and to lay before me such of them as they cannot redress Interpreters likewise are sent for the assistance of each of them; and smiths are sent to the posts to repair your arms and implements. All this, which is attended with great expense, is now done by the great king your father, as a proof of his regard; so that, casting from you all jealousy and apprehension, you should now strive with each other who should show the most gratitude to this best of princes. I do now, therefore, confirm the assurances which I give you of his majesty's good will, and do insist on your casting away all evil thoughts, and shutting your eyes against all flying idle reports of bad people."
Allusion was then made to the murders lately committed on the borders by the frontiersmen ; and while they were assured that no pains would, be spared to bring the offenders to justice, they were reminded that the people of the border had been made frantic by the barbarities that their kindred had suffered, during the late war, by the Indians themselves. Hunting and trade were then recommended, and the efforts which had been made for their protection against fraud again adverted to. "I now," he added in conclusion, "with this belt turn your eyes to the sun rising, where you will always find me your sincere friend; and from me you will always hear what is good and true. I charge you, therefore, never more to listen to those bad birds, who come with lying tongues to lead you astray and to make you break the solemn engagements you have, in the presence of the Great Spirit (who detests liars) entered into with the great king your father and his people. Be strong then, and lay fast hold of the chain of friendship with the English, that your children, imitating your example, may be a prosperous and happy people."
As soon as Sir William had finished, Pontiac thanked him for his speech, every paragraph of which, he said, was good, and promised his reply on the following morning.
The next day Atheriata 1 the Huron speaker, opened the meeting with a short address on behalf of the nations residing in the immediate vicinity of Detroit, who, he said, desired that Mr. Crawford should be appointed to assist Mr. Hay in his duties as commissary at Detroit. As soon as he had ended, Pontiac resumed his reply:
"Father: Let us thank the Supreme Being for enabling us to meet together on so fine and clear a day as this; it seems as if it was with his approbation we are met. I am now speaking on behalf of all the western nations I command, and in their name take you by the hand. You may
1 Spelled thus in the original manuscript minutes of this council, in my possession. It is also written Teata and Tiata. He survived this council but a short time, as appears from the following extract;-Tiata, the Huron speaker, who was at Oswego with me, died at Fort Erie of a hard drinking bout, though the Indians say that a Pottawattamy poisoned or bewitched him." Manuscript letter; Johnson to Colonel Claus, 10 Sept., 1766.
be assured that whatever I now agree upon will be a law to them, and I take the Almighty to witness, that what I am going to say I am determined steadfastly to perform; for it seems that he who made the universe would have if so. While I had the French king by the hand, I kept a fast hold of it; and now having you, father, by the hand, I still do the same, in conjunction with all the western nations in my district, whom I shall acquaint with every transaction of this congress as soon as I return, and who will readily comply with any thing I desire." At this point, he handed to Sir William a large belt of six rows of wampum.
"Father : We sincerely thank you for your goodness in supplying us so plentifully with merchandise, which is a sure means of maintaining a good understanding between us. It gives us great pleasure to hear that, in future, traders will not be allowed to straggle through the woods to trade with us; and that they are to trade only at the posts, under the immediate inspection of the commissaries. "Father : When you address me, it is the same as if you addressed all the nations of the west. This belt, (holding a large belt over the chain belt given the previous day) covers and defends your belt, to the end that if any nation attempts to disturb the peace now so firmly established, we may feel it first and give you notice and assistance. You told us, father, to look towards the rising sun; we cheerfully comply with your desire, and on my return home, I shall direct all the nations I command, to do the same, and look towards their father, so that stretching out their hands they can always take hold of his."
Several days were thus occupied in speeches and inter changes of good feeling; and on the last day of August, Sir William having given to each chief a silver medal, with the inscription, "a pledge of peace and friendship with Great Britain, confirmed in 1766," Pontiac and his warriors again launched their canoes, loaded with presents, upon Lake Ontario; and keeping time with their paddles to a wild and strange melody, they were soon lost to sight on the waste of waters.l
The Baronet tarried a day longer to calm the Six Nations, who were greatly exasperated at a recent murder, by a white, of an unoffending Oneida at Minisink; and on the fifth of August, arrived at Johnson Hall. "Every thing," he wrote a few days afterward, "is settled to my entire satisfaction with Pontiac and the western chiefs, on whose fidelity I think I can safely rely." The writer was not deceived in the sincerity of Pontiac ; for while that rude savage, in December, was refusing a belt from the French inviting him to fall upon the English, Major Rogers, the ranger of St. Sacrement, was planning the delivery of Michilimackinac into the hands of the Spaniards.2
Upon his return home, the Baronet found a letter from the Earl of Shelburne, tendering him the king's thanks for his able management of the Indian department, and also one from Sir Henry Moore, announcing the writer's intention of paying him a visit toward the close of September.
1 The career of Pontiac was brought to an untimely end in the spring of 1769, by the tomahawk of an Illinois Indian, Some writers have attributed his murder, to the jealousy with which he was regarded by the Indians themselves, while Parkman, in his elaborate history of Pontiac's conspiracy says, that his assassin was instigated to the deed by an English trader of the name of Williamson. Although this latter author is unquestionably the best authority, upon this point, yet it may be of interest, in connection -with the former of these statements, to give an extract from a manuscript letter to the Baronet from Norman McLeod, written from Oswego under date of Aug. 4, 1766, four days after Pontiac had left for the west. McLeod says; "Last night. Mon. Degur arrived here from Detroit. He tells me its firmly believed at that place, that Pontiac is to receive 10 shillings sterling a day, from the crown of Great Britain. It seems this report has been raised by his enemies to create a jealousy among the Indians that will end in his ruin. The Frenchman offered to lay me a bet, that Pontiac would be killed in less than a year, if the English took so much notice of him."
2 Rogers was appointed, very much against the judgment of the Baronet, to the command of Michilimakinac by General Gage, in the spring of this year.-Manuscript correspondence of Johnson and Gage, 1765-66.
Meanwhile troubles had arisen in Dutchess county, which, although in no way connected with the issues between the colonies and the mother country, at first threatened serious consequences. In the beginning of this year, the Stockbridge Indians, feeling themselves aggrieved by the intrusion, as they claimed, of some of the people of Dutchess upon their lands, applied through eight of their sachems, to Governor Moore for redress. The latter, wholly disposed to act fairly in the matter, ordered notices to be served upon the trespassers summoning them before the council, promising the sachems, that when they should give him proof of such service, he would appoint a day for hearing their complaint. This course, however, was too slow for the Indians, who in July, feeling perhaps that their claims would not bear investigation, broke into the houses of the alleged trespassers, and turned their families out of doors. As is generally the case on such occasions, several of the vagabond class of whites, ever ready for a fray, joined the rioters, and committed acts of violence throughout the country. The excitement soon extended into Albany county; and the mob, now grown to formidable dimensions, threatened to attack New York city, and, indeed, actually began their march thither. In this exigency, the governor wrote to the superintendent, wlio was then at Oswego, requesting his influence in quelling the disturbance; and at the same time, General Gage ordered up, to meet the insurgents, the twenty-eighth regiment, which had just arrived from England. The appearance of the troops soon brought the rioters to reason; and having succeeded-though not without some bloodshed-in restoring order, they returned to New York with the chief ringleaders of the rebellion.1
The boundary between the provinces of New York and Quebec was still undetermined, and although, shortly
1 Governor Moore to the Minister, 14 July, 1766. Governor Moore to the lords of trade, 12 August, 1766.
after the peace of 1763, the king had fixed the line at the forty-fifth degree of latitude, yet the unsettled state of the country had hitherto prevented any farther steps toward its adjustment. Instructions, however, having been received in the spring, to delay the survey no longer, Governor Moore set out, at the close of August, for Lake Champlain, accompanied by Brigadier Carleton,-who had lately been appointed lieutenant governor of Quebec,1- and an accomplished surveyor. At the foot of the lake the party were joined by the deputy surveyor of Canada, and after a careful survey of three weeks, the division line was fixed in the river Sorel about two miles, and a half below Windmill point.2
On his return, Sir Henry Moore made his promised visit to the Baronet, accompanied by his wife and daughter, and remained at Johnson Hall four days. The principal object of this visit was, to purchase some land, for himself, General Gage, and Lord Holland, with the intention of settling it with emigrants from Europe. In anticipation of this, the Baronet had summoned the Oneidas from whom it was proposed to purchase the land-to meet the governor; and the former had just communicated to the Indians a proclamation of Governor Franklin, of New Jersey, offering a reward of one hundred dollars, for the apprehension of the murderer of the Oneida at Minisink,
1 Manuscript letter ; the Earl of Shelburne to Johnson, 20 June, 1767.
2 Governor Moore to the lords of trade, 7 Nov.,
Governor Moore to the minister, 8 Nov., 1766.
Ibid, Dec., 1767.
The veritable boundary stone which was set up during this survey between New York and Quebec, is now  in the agricultural rooms at Albany, N. Y., having been presented by Jasper Curtis, of St. Albans. It is a shell limestone, and has in quaint, lettering, the word Quebec engraved on the one side, and New York upon the other. The boundary commissioners, in locating the line under the Webster and Ashburton treaty of 1842, placed an iron monument in its place. It is a singular, as well as an interesting fact, as showing the accuracy of the surveys, that at the time of running the lines in 1842, the surveyors ran on to this very stone, and that too, without having had any knowledge of its location. I am indebted for this curious fact to B. P. Johnson Esq., secretary of the N. Y. Agricultural Society.
when the latter arrived. After considerable negotiation, a purchase was consummated of a tract of two hundred thousand acres, lying on the north side of the Mohawk, above the German Flats. The Oneidas, however, while they assented to the sale with seeming willingness, requested, with great simplicity, that they might not be asked "to sell any more." This purchase was subsequently divided into five shares; the three original purchasers retaining each one fifth, and the Baronet, and a Mr. Hasenclever, the other two shares.1 Having finished this transaction, Governor Moore distributed a few presents among the Indians, and hastened home to prepare for the meeting of the general assembly.
The joyous feelings which had followed the repeal of the stamp act was of not long continuance. Hardly had the first gratulations of victory passed, and sober reflection taken its place, when the declaratory act, in all its ominous proportions, loomed up, overshadowing the public mind with gloomy forebodings. The persistent attempt, moreover, to force the province into a compliance with the mutiny act-an act, which to thinking men, seemed intended to provide the nucleus of a standing army alarmed all classes;. and secret leagues were at once formed in most of the colonies, the object of which was to further union of council in resisting oppression. The partial compliance of the assembly, to the requisition of the governor for quarters, had been exceedingly distasteful to the Sons of Liberty, who, upon the arrival of the troops, made no disguise of their feelings. Mutual animosities accordingly arose between the citizens and soldiery, which soon culminated in open acts of hostility. On the tenth of August, some of the troops, exasperated at the people,
1 Manuscript, letter ; Johnson to Colden, 8 Nov., 1766. Manuscript letter; Hasenclever to Johnson, 1766. Mr. Lossing in his Life of Schuyler, states that Schuyler was associated with Moore, in the purchase of lands this year, near Fort Stanwix. That, however, must have been another transaction, as Schuyler's name does not appear in this.
to whose influence they attributed the action of the assembly in depriving them of their liquor, cut down the flagstaff, which, with so much apparent unanimity, had been dedicated to "Pitt and Liberty." The following evening, while the citizens were preparing to reerect the pole, they were assaulted by the soldiers with drawn bayonets, and several of them, among whom was Isaac Sears, were wounded. Governor Moore, who heartily wished the troops away, attempted, with General Gage, to restrain these outrages, and, to some extent, succeeded; but the officers, intent upon gratifying their private malice, winked at the conduct of their men, who thus encouraged, became more violent than ever. Several dwellings of the poorer class, situated in the suburbs of the city, were broken into, on the twenty-third of October; and, on the third day of November, the domestic sanctuary of an honest drayman was entered by a soldier, who, while he wounded its occupant, hesitated not to hamstring his horse, upon which he relied for his daily bread.
These licentious proceedings were not calculated to dispose the assembly any more favorably to the attempt to quarter the obnoxious redcoats at their expense. Accordingly, when, on the seventeenth of November, Governor Moore laid before that body, instructions from the minister, informing them of the king's displeasure at their conduct; their absolute duty to obey the acts of parliament; and of his wish that provision for the troops should be immediately made, they refused outright to make farther provision, choosing to interpret the act as referring solely "to soldiers on the march." On this refusal Governor Moore waited upon the house, and endeavored to prevail upon them to alter their determination. His efforts, however, were unavailing; and having, by the defiant attitude thus assumed, no other alternative left, he prorogued, the assembly on the nineteenth of December".1
1 Governor Moore to the duke of Richmond, 23
Governor Moore to the lords of trade, 19 Dec., 1766.
The Paxton men, notwithstanding the proclamations of the governors of New Jersey and Pennsylvania recommending kindness and humanity to the Indians, still continued their bloody work upon the frontiers. Blinded by their passions, they thought of nothing but revenge for past injuries; and every scalp taken, was so much to be placed to the credit side of the bloody account. Yet while pursuing this course, they seemed conscious that they were drawing down a terrible retribution; and, in the fall, many of them left their farms and again withdrew into the larger towns for protection. Their conduct, in truth, gave reason to fear a renewal of Indian hostilities. Mutterings were again heard among the tribes; and when, in December, a party of Tuscaroras, returning from Carolina, were robbed of their horses at Paxton, the clouded brows of the haughty chieftains presaged fearful vengeance. Even the Baronet felt powerless to avert the storm. "Murders," he wrote, "are now daily committed on the frontiers, and I fear that an Indian war is inevitable."l
1 Manuscript letter ; Johnson to O'Brien.-Johnson to the minister, 16 Dec., 1766.
to James F. Morrison for loaning his book for the purpose of putting it on
Copyright © 1998, -- 2003. Berry Enterprises. All rights reserved. All items on the site are copyrighted. While we welcome you to use the information provided on this web site by copying it, or downloading it; this information is copyrighted and not to be reproduced for distribution, sale, or profit.