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.
Sir William Johnson's "new settlement" had now become a flourishing village. During the past year, it had been increased by eighty families, and had received the name of Johnstown, in honor of its founder. In the spring, several new streets were laid out; and numerous gaily painted signs, swinging from over the doors of tradesmen who had recently moved in, gave it quite a businesslike air. Its wants were constantly provided for by the Baronet. The inhabitants were supplied with lumber from his sawmills, and with pearl-ashes from a manufactory built on his estate for their special benefit. Nor, while attending to their temporal wants, did he neglect their spiritual and educational interests. In March, he began the erection of the stone church which stood in the village until 1836, when it was destroyed by fire;1 and in the same month, he
1 Rev. Richard Moseley was the first pastor settled
over this church. He commenced his labors in the summer of this year, but
was compelled by ill health to resign in the spring of 1774. The character
of the relations which existed between the Baronet and his pastor will appear
from the following manuscript letter written to the former, shortly after
the latter's departure.
"NEW YORK, April 11th, 1774.
I am at a loss to express my gratitude to you for your unbounded goodness to me during my residence at Johnstown, and particularly at my departure. I shall always retain a most grateful sense of your generosity; and that it, may please God long to prolong your life, and possess you with a good state of health, will be the constant prayer and wishes of one, who has the honor of subscribing himself,
"Your much Obliged
"and very Humble Serv't
advertised in the "New York and Philadelphia newspapers for a teacher, who was proficient in reading, writing, and arithmetic," to take charge of a free school which he proposed establishing for the benefit of the village children. While the Baronet was thus advancing the interests of his little colony, in which he justly took great pride, he was no less active in the adornment and cultivation of his own immediate estate. Among my collection of manuscripts, I find a letter, written to a friend in Connecticut, in which he requests him to purchase and send him a large quantity of a superior quality of oats, which, it seems, were only raised in Saybrook. "I have sent you in a small box," writes another of his correspondents from Philadelphia, a collection of scions for grafting which are cut in good season, and if you have proper stocks, I doubt not they will succeed;" and at the same time that the box arrived, he also received several bundles of choice fruit trees from another friend in New London.
Indeed the valley of the Mohawk-the fertility of which had been discovered by Sir William at so early a day-had assumed, in the immediate vicinity of his residence, the appearance of a rich farming country. The indefatigable zeal with which he had labored for so many years to develop the resources of the valley, and to instill into the minds of his Indian and white neighbors a love of agricultural pursuits, was beginning to bear fruit. Many of the Mohawks had become good farmers; the whites took special pride in raising good crops and choice stock; and rich farms, and beautiful meadows had succeeded the wilderness of forest that had first greeted the eyes of the young Irishman upon taking charge of his uncle's estate. Nor was his interest in the inhabitants of the Mohawk valley confined merely to his immediate neighborhood. The settlements of Fort Hunter, Canajoharie, Burnet's Fields, and even the older one of Schenectady, came within the immediate circle of his personal influence. Especially was he indefatigable in procuring spiritual food for their inhabitants. He was in constant correspondence with the friends and patrons of the "Venerable Society for propagating the gospel in foreign parts;" and in August, he received the formal thanks of that body for his successful efforts in furthering its plans. The spiritual and temporal condition of the Mohawk valley at this time, as well as the direct supervision exercised by him over it, will, perhaps, be best illustrated by the following extract from a letter written by Sir William, under date of February twenty-eighth, to the Rev. Mr. Burton of London:
"I am unable to make a suitable return for the warm wishes you express for me, but I feel them very sensibly, and you have every thing in answer that the strongest friendship can dictate, and I cannot but greatly regret your distance and the peculiarity of your situation, which deprives me of the opportunity of a more friendly intercourse, often wishing that you could partake in the pleasing prospects which this country now affords from the advancement of religion and the improvements in agriculture. Mr. Stuart has been for sometime at his mission (Fort Hunter) where he is much esteemed, not only by the Indians, but by the Dutch inhabitants, who constantly resort to his church; his situation enables me to see him often, and I have great hopes from his appointment. Mr. Hall has an allowance from the society, and is to reside at Canajoharie until he is of age to take orders. Mr. Andrews, who has brought over a wife, is long since at Schenectady. He is sensible, and will, I believe, be of great use there, being connected with a principal inhabitant of that place. His congregation is as yet small, but zealous, and likely to increase. The only mission in this quarter, as yet unsupplied, is mine at Johnstown; the church at which being small and very ill built. I am preparing stone and materials for erecting one much stronger and larger, that will accommodate near one thousand souls."'
Nor while thus engaged in aiding Episcopal missions,
1 Manuscript letter.
was he, as before observed, in the least sectarian. Rev. Samuel Kirkland - a dissenter, now settled near Fort Stanwix,-received his cordial sympathy and support; and in many letters from the Baronet, was bidden Godspeed in his noble work.1
1 In connection with Sir William Johnson's efforts to christianize the Indians, the attention of the reader is specially directed to the following letter from the Tuscaroras of Cherry Valley, to Sir William, and the latter's reply-both of which I find among my manuscripts.
"CHERRY VALLEY 27th June, 1774. "Brother:
"We beg leave to address you, though, by our conduct, we have made ourselves unworthy of your notice, living in the neglect of religion, and in those practices that are entirely contrary thereto. But God in his mercy has opened our eyes to see, in some measure, the necessity as well as the pleasures of a religious life; but we are destitute of those things which are necessary in order to make progress in religion. Therefore we lay our case before you, begging that you would consider us. Our brethren, the Oneidas, just by us have the word of God printed. We think it would be serviceable to us and greatly assist us in acquiring that knowledge which is so necessary for all. If you can help us in this case, we shall look upon it [as] a great favor. Some also have a desire to learn to write, but have not paper or ink. Perhaps our brother out of pity to us will help us with paper, ink, holders and powder, [sand?] We only acquaint him with our circumstances and leave it before him; whatever he shall do, we will acquiesce in.
"Please to accept our compliments and wishes for your health and prosperity:
"From your Brethren Tuscaroras.
"in the name of the rest."
Sir William Johnson's reply,
"Brethren of Onoghquaqy:
"I have received your letter, and am well pleased to hear your pious resolutions, and the sense you have of the importance of a religious life. Indeed, I have long regarded you as a people who knew the value of Christianity. The chiefs at Onoghquaqy, having formerly been instructed by some worthy divines of the church of England, afterwards to my knowledge, took great pains with their people, teaching them to pray and to praise their Creator-to promote which I have given them many books, sufficient (I apprehend) for your purpose at present; and I wish you may continue to pay due regard to them. But I am very sorry to find that for some time past, there is not that cordial affection between you and the rest (Continued)
During the early summer, the Baronet was confined to the Hall by his general ill health. But although thus debarred from active employment, he was not idle. He took this opportunity to replenish his library with the new and standard works of the day; and also to write a series of letters to Arthur Lee of Virginia upon the manners, customs, and government of the Six Nations.1 His supervision, moreover, of all the nations coming within his department, required his constant attention, and his correspondence with his deputies, was consequently unremitting. A diligent watch over the movements of the several tribes seemed at this time to be particularly necessary. The threatened rupture between England and Spain was well known to the western tribes, who, influenced by the Spanish traders along the Mississippi, waited in anxious suspense for the declaration of hostilities, to desolate the settlements with fire and tomahawk. Preparatory, however, to going upon the warpath, a large council of Indian tribes, had been held, late in the winter, on the plains of Scioto, the object of which, had been to promote a general alliance between the northern and southern nations, with a view of offensive operations against the English.2 This council, it is true, had broken up, through want of unanimity, with no definite result; but enough of the leaven at
of your village that ought to subsist between brothers and fellow Christians, but that you appear to be separating yourselves from the Oneida chiefs who are the proper heads of your settlement, and whom I know to be good men.
"Let me advise you to consider this in its true light; to remember that the Oneidas, the proprietors of that country, gave you a settlement then out of kindness; that you lived happily with them-whilst you regarded their civil and religious instructions; and that you ought still to continue to do so, in which case you may be assured of my countenance.
"I have sent, you a little paper by this opportunity, which I hope you will make a good use of; and above all things that you will accord with your older brethren in the practice of piety and charity one to another; and I trust, that you will profit by this wholesome advice from your friend and well wisher. " W. J."
1 For one of these valuable and interesting letters, see appendix. No. VII.
2 Johnson to the minister, 18th Feb., 1771.
work among the Indians, was then apparent, to excite lively apprehension. Jealous, moreover, of the influence exerted over the Six Nations by the superintendent, the Shawaneae and Delawares strove continually to excite the distrust and suspicion of the latter against the Confederacy. The fidelity which these nations had shown to the English had been, as they well knew, the chief cause of the failure of Pontiac's rebellion; and aware that this attachment would form a great obstacle In the way of a successful future resistance, no efforts that malice and cunning could devise were spared to produce a rupture. Accordingly, it excited no surprise when, In May, a Shawanese Indian informed Croghan at Fort Pitt, of an attempt on the part of the Six Nations to incite his nation and the Delawares to a general revolt. This report was not credited, nevertheless the Baronet thought it expedient to summon the suspected chiefs at once to the Hall, "not so much," as he writes, "by reason of any suspicion of the Confederacy, as to show them that such designs, by whatever nation carried on, could not be totally concealed."
The congress, which was attended by the chiefs and their families to the number of three hundred and fifty, was opened In due form by the Baronet on the thirteenth of July. The Indians, upon being acquainted with the object of the meeting, warmly protested their innocence, and appeared exceedingly grieved that they should have been even suspected, as a Confederacy, of so foul a design. The story told at Fort Pitt by the Shawanese, said their speaker, had arisen from the conduct of Graustarax, a former chief of Chenusaio, who, when alive, "had privately and wickedly concerned himself in the name, but without the privity, of the Six Nations." This man, he continued, had sent, during the late Indian war, a belt-hatchet with many bad speeches to the Shawanese and to all the people living that way, but had kept it very secret. By this belt he had acquainted all those nations, that he would remove the door of the Six Nations, which had formerly been at Chenussio, to the Scioto plains, and that he expected their assistance to enable him to fight his way there. This had not been discussed for a considerable time afterward, when his acts were at once disavowed by the entire Confederacy. "Having now," added the speaker in conclusion, "truly and fairly related to you all that we are acquainted with touching this disagreeable news, we declare that in case any such secret hatchet should be still among the Indians about the Ohio, we are ready and willing to use our utmost authority to take it away and bury it forever." This frank statement, related with all the bearing of conscious innocence, fully established in the mind of the Baronet, the falsity of the report; "Although," he wrote to General Gage, "there is some reason to doubt of the friendship of the Senecas on the Ohio, and at Chenussio, yet I had not, neither have I, any reason to suspect the rest of the Senecas, or any other of the Confederate nations. Indeed, I am now convinced that the name of the Six Nations is often made use of by the rest as a cloak for their own intrigues, and with a view to exasperate us against them so far as to force the Six Nations to join in their undertakings, and totally withdraw themselves from our interests."
On the nineteenth, the Indians were dismissed with the customary presents. The chiefs returned to their castles, well pleased at their having removed the suspicions under which they had rested; and Sir William set off on a visit to the High Rock spring, with the design of trying once more the efficacy of the water.
On the eighth of July, Sir William Tryon, Bart, having rendered himself odious to the people of North Carolina by his petty tyranny, arrived in New York bearing his majesty's commission as governor and commander-in-chief, in the place of Lord Dunmore, who was transferred to the government of Virginia.
The general assembly, which had been prorogued
1 Manuscript letter; Johnson to Gage, 9th Aug., 1771.
to the seventh day of August, 1771, was now farther prorogued from time to time to the seventh of January, when it again met; and on the eighth, the session was opened for business by a speech from the new governor, of a mild and conciliatory character. His arrival had been greeted by affectionate addresses of congratulation to which he referred with apparent warmth. His recent, cruel conduct in North Carolina was then justified, as a meritorious effort to preserve the constitution and the laws; and in seeming mockery, his late wonderful achievement in that province of dispersing with over one thousand armed troops, an unarmed and inoffensive crowd - was attributed to the special favor of a kind Providence. The necessity of passing a good militia bill was then pointed out; and the thorough repairing of the fortifications of the city, which had become greatly injured by the weather, was also recommended as worthy of immediate attention. "Influenced only," he added with consummate flattery, "by principles that flow from an honest heart, I feel an ardent desire to cooperate with you in every measure that will best promote the honor and dignity of his majesty's government, and advance the real felicity of a people eminently distinguished by their loyalty to the best of sovereigns, and affectionate disposition to their mother country." The address sent in to the governor by the house, on the seventeenth, was conceived in the same spirit that dictated the opening speech. It accorded high praise to the brief administration of the Earl of Dunmore, for its equity, impartiality, and disinterestedness ; and expressed strong confidence in the wisdom which was to mark that of his lordship's immediate successor, as shown more particularly in his beneficent administration of his former government!
Indeed it seemed as if in this address, the last lingering embers of resistance to ministerial tyranny in the colony of New York, had expired. A few staunch patriots, such; as Philip Schuyler, it is true, still remained in the assembly, but their voices,were powerless to turn back the tide which now rolled in from the ocean of ministerial patronage. William Tryon, a man fully as subservient as Hutchinson without his ability, backed by the upper house, and rendered, moreover, independent of the colony by a recent order of the crown that his salary should hereafter be paid from the revenue chest, was well fitted for the purpose for which he had been transferred to the chair lately occupied by the mild, but passive and inefficient Duumore indeed, if anything was wanting to show the subserviency of the present assembly, it was supplied by the utter indifference with which this attempt to render the executive independent of the people, was received. In former assemblies, such an announcement would have been met with an outburst of indignation before which no governor could have stood ; but now, a message from Tryon in February, refusing to receive a salary from the people, produced not a word of comment, and the removal of this strong bulwark of their liberties was quietly acquiesced in. Far different, however, was the action of the assemblies of Massachusetts and the other colonies, to whom the ministerial instruction in relation to salaries also extended. In the former body, especially, the recent act of parliament was boldly denounced; other colonial legislatures did the same; New York was silent. True men looked on in amazement; and in anxious expectation strained their eyes for the first rays of the daystar of hope.
But while the representatives of the people were thus unmindful of their liberties, they were more attentive to the local interests of the colony. At the close of the present session many praiseworthy acts were passed; and among them one for founding the present New York Hospital, and another for dividing Albany county into three counties, Albany, Tryon, and Charlotte.
The project of dividing the county of Albany was first broached in the house by Philip Schuyler in the spring of l769. Owing, however, to the manner in which it was then proposed to make the division, the bill had met, as it will be recollected, with a strong opposition from the western portion of the county, and the effort had at that time failed. In the spring of the present year the project was again reviewed; and on the second of January, Sir William Johnson forwarded to the assembly, through James DeLancey, a second petition from the inhabitants of the whole county, praying for a division, and naming such boundaries as would be agreeable to the petitioners. "The advantages of the division, to the landed people here,"-he wrote when forwarding the petition, "and the necessity there is for it from the vast extent of the old county and the increasing state of the inhabitants, are so well known, that the people are unanimous in their appeal." Accordingly on the fourteenth of January, Jacob H. Ten Eyck, the colleague of Schuyler as representative from Albany, brought in a bill entitled an act "to divide the county of Albany into two counties," which was then read the first time and ordered to a second reading. During its passage through the house, Philip Schuyler, who was now on good terms with Sir William, addressed him the following letter:
Colonel Philip Schuyler to Sir Wm. Johnson.
"NEW YORK, January 18th, 1772.
"The bill for the partition of Albany is so far advanced
that it is already under commitment, and I believe will soon pass. In which
case, it will be absolutely necessary to have the new county divided into
districts. I am so totally ignorant of what a proper division would be that
I must entreat you to furnish me with the bounds of each. A clause in the
bill empowers the justices of the new county together with the supervisors
to raise a sum not exceeding one thousand pounds for the purpose of erecting
a goal and courthouse. Hence the necessity of sending down a list of the persons
proper to be commissioned, which should be done as early as possible. Should
you have any commands whilst here I shall most readily execute them.
"Your most Obed't and
"The Honorable Sir William Johnson, Baronet."1
To this letter an answer was immediately returned, in which the Baronet divided the proposed county into five districts -the Mohawk, Stone Arabia, Canajoharie, Kingsland, and German Flats - a division which was at once adopted.2
The bill at first seemed likely to pass without difficulty.
1 Manuscript letter.
2 The minutes which the Baronet sent to Schuyler to guide him in the formation of the districts are now before me in his own hand writing and are as follows:
"The first, or Mohawk district, to be bounded easterly by the west bounds of the township of Schenectady, north, as far as the settlements shall extend, south, to the south bounds of the county, and west by a north and southline crossing the Mohawk river at Anthony's nose.
"The second, or Stone Arabia, district, to be entirely on the north side of the river,bounded easterly by the west bounds of the late mentioned district, northerly as the former, and westerly by a north and south line to cross the Mohawk river at the Little Falls.
"The third, or Canajoharie district, to be bounded north by the Mohawk river, south by the bounds of the county, east by the west bounds of the first mentioned district, and west by the aforesaid line to be continued south from the Little Falls.
"The fourth, or Kingsland district, to be bounded southerly by the Mohawk river, easterly by a north line from the Little Falls, northerly and westerly as far as the settlements extend.
"The fifth, or German Flats district, to be bounded northerly by the Mohawk river, easterly by the line to be continued south from the Little Falls, southerly as far as the county extends, and westerly by the boundary line settled with the Indians at the general treaty [Fort Stanwix] in 1768, - and for the collecting taxes &c., that the inhabitants of each district do yearly on the first Tuesday in April, elect, and appoint one freeholder be a supervisor, two assessors and one collector, in every precinct or district in said county."
"The county bill," wrote Hugh Wallace to Johnson under date of February eighth, " is still in the Common's House. I find there is no danger of its missing, for all the members that I have spoken to about it, seem pleased to have an opportunity to serve or oblige you." "You will do well," he also adds, "to write the governor for a roll of officers. There must he four judges, six assistant justices, or justices of quorum, ten or twelve justices of the peace, a clerk and. a coroner."1 Yet it would appear that there was more opposition than was at first anticipated, as the same writer in a subsequent letter to Sir William, on the fourth of March, says. "I have the pleasure to advise you that your county bill is passed after great altercation and struggle." In the same letter Wallace writes, "a new county is also made north of Saratoga. Your county is named Tryon and the other Charlotte-the governor and crown to appoint the places for the court houses. Yours will certainly be fixed at Johnstown. I hope you will send down to the governor the names of your county officers, and I am sure he will appoint whom you please.1" Both of these conjectures proved to be correct. With but one exception - the clerk of the county - all the civil officers, recommended by Sir William, were appointed; and on the tenth of May, Governor Tryon fixed the county seat at Johnstown.3
All now was activity in the shire town. The erection of a jail and courthouse was begun toward the end of May: new roads, leading in various directions from the
1 Manuscript letter.
2 Manuscript letter.
3 Manuscript letter; Hugh Wallace to Johnson, 10th May, 1772.
The first court of general quarter sessions for Tryon county was held in Johnstown on Tuesday the eighth of September, 1772. The bench was made up as follows:
"Guy Johnson, Judge; John Butler, Peter Conyne, Judges; Sir John Johnson, knight, Daniel Claus, John Wells, Jelles Fonda, Assistant Judges; John Collins, Joseph Chew, Adam Loucks, John Fry, Young, Peter Ten Broeck, Justices.
village, were laid out; and scores of settlers flocked in, and hastened to purchase lots and build dwellings. Sir William Johnson's time was consequently much occupied. An urgent Invitation to visit New Brunswick, as one of the trustees of Queen's College,1 was necessarily declined; and when, on the fourteenth of July, Governor Tryon and his wife arrived at the Hall as his guests, they found him busily engaged in establishing the county courts and other civil offices.
The ostensible object of the governor's visit was to hold a council with the Mohawks of the Lower Castle in relation to their land grievances. His real one, however, was to acquire a knowledge of the upper portion of the province by making a tour through the Indian country, and effect some land purchases for private speculation. At the council with the Canajoharies, on the twenty eight, of July, it appeared that the chief cause of complaint arose from the evil practices of their old enemy, George Klock, who, it seems, had refused to join William Livingston and the other patentees in executing a release of the Canajoharie land. The case was simply and touchingly stated to Governor Tryon by Joseph Brant, who assumed upon this occasion the office of speaker. Running over in his address the whole history of that fradulent transaction, including the moonlight survey and the council held in 1763, he informed Tryon that Klock still persistently refused to execute the release, and that, too, in defiance of the express commands of the late Governor Moore in 1768. "Now brother," added Thayendanegea, "we rely on your justice for relief, and hope we may obtain it, so as to continue to live peacefully as we have hitherto done. "We are sensible that we are at present but a small number, but nevertheless our connections are powerful, and our alliances many; and should any of these perceive that we,
1 Now Rutgers College. The charter was given by Governor Franklin on the 20th March, 1770. The name of Sir Wm. Johnson stands first on the list of trustees in the charter.
who have been so remarkable for our fidelity and attachment to you, are ill used and defrauded, it may alarm them, and be productive of dangerous consequences." The reasons thus urged by the young Mohawk brave were cogent. The Indian trade, since the crown had placed its regulation in the hands of the colonies, had been badly managed. The convention of commissioners from the different colonies, for the purpose of regulating the trade - proposed in an act of the New York assembly in November 1769-had been vetoed by the ministry, who perceived in it a step toward union; and the consequent lack of system in this department was already beginning to produce serious dissatisfaction among the Six Nations. It was policy, therefore, to avoid any additional cause of irritation. All these considerations gave weight to the Mohawk's reasoning; and the importance of at least calming their minds was apparent. Accordingly, the governor, in his reply the following day, stated to the Mohawks, that his majesty's express commands to him were, that he should do them all possible justice, and support them against the frauds and oppression of those who were inclined to injure them. Upon investigating, moreover, the fraudulent transaction to which they had referred the previous day, he had found that the original patentees had no authority from government to run the survey and that it was consequently void. He should, therefore, at once order the surveyor general or one of his deputies to make a survey of the laud on which they resided, preparatory to soliciting the king in their behalf.1
Notwithstanding, however, these fair promises, Tryon, who appears to have been more interested in obtaining lands on speculation, than desirous of having justice done,- proceeded no farther in the matter. George Klock, although not daring to avail himself of his fraud, continued his villainies, until he finally became so odious to the
1 Original manuscript minutes of the council.
Indians, that fearing for his personal safety, he removed from Canajoharie.
Before Governor Tryon returned home, he reviewed three regiments of militia; the first at Johnstown, the second at Burnet's Field, the third at the German Flats- amounting in all to fourteen hundred effective men. This he did at the special request of his entertainer, who was justly proud of the soldierly appearance of the men. Indeed, the Baronet, since his appointment as brigadier over the northern department, had been, as before observed, indefatigable in reorganizing and rendering efficient this arm of the military service. His command, which embraced all of the province north of the Highlands, had been divided by him into districts; and in commissioning the colonels of the different regiments, he had taken great pains to select those with whose fitness for the office he had acquainted himself, either by personal examination, or by diligent inquiry of persons who were competent to judge.1 His services were fully appreciated by the governor, who shortly afterward forwarded to him a commission of major general of the northern department - an appointment which he held during the remainder of his life.
The governor tarried in the Indian country a few days longer, to complete the purchase of a large tract of land north of the Mohawk; and then returned to New York, having been absent on his tour of inspection five weeks. "It was with real satisfaction," he wrote to the minister the day after his return, "that I saw the credit and confidence in -which Sir William was held by the Indian tribes. It is impossible for any man to have more uniform zeal and attention than he has in his department, so much so, that it would be no great impropriety to style him the slave of the savages."
1 "It is my usual practice to inquire among the inhabitants concerning those officers, with whom it is impossible I should be acquainted." Manuscript letter; Johnson to Henry Van Schaick, 24th April, 1772.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Franklin had been vigorously pressing upon the ministry, both with pen and personal influence, his favorite plan of the Ohio settlement. The board of trade was again solicited to report in its favor; and Lord Hillsbrough, who still continued his opposition, reported against it in 1771. Franklin, however, having gained over several influential men, among whom were Gover, the president of the council, and Camden, bore down all barriers; and when, on the fourteenth of August, the royal assent to a grant of twenty-three millions of acres, north of the Ohio, was obtained, the minister, considering himself publicly insulted, resigned. Before, however, the grant could be made available, it was necessary that the tribes living on the Ohio should be prepared for its settlement. Accordingly, Lord Dartmouth, on his succeeding to the post of colonial secretary, informed Sir William Johnson, that it was his majesty's pleasure that the Six Nations and their allies should be at once apprised of the royal intentions respecting the land ceded by them at Fort Stanwix.1
It so happened, that when the dispatches from the minister to the superintendent arrived, the latter was engaged in holding a council with the chiefs of the Confederacy. It was an auspicious moment in which to broach the subject, The Indians had come down to the Hall, to represent the growing laxity in the Indian trade, and complain of the continued frauds practiced upon them by the traders. The Baronet, therefore, lost no time in acquainting them with the king's wish, and the advantages which they would derive from a fixed government, that could administer justice without delay between their people and the unprincipled frontiersmen. This way of presenting the case was a happy one. The chiefs, who saw in the arrangement a remedy for the very evil which had brought them to the Hall, readily acquiesced;1 and at Sir William's
1 Lord Dartmouth to Sir William Johnson, 2d Sept.,
2 Manuscript letter ; Johnson to Dartmouth, 30th April, 1773.
suggestion, immediately dispatched deputies to the Senecas of the Ohio to inform them of the measure. At the same time to still farther conciliate the southwestern tribes, the Baronet sent Alexander McKee, a subdeputy of Croghan, to the Indian country, with orders to acquaint the different Indian villages as far as Scioto, that it was the king's intention to have Fort Pitt abandoned, as a mark of his friendship toward them.1
At every castle where the messenger tarried, his tidings were hailed with joy; and when, late in the fall, Fort Pitt, by order of General Gage, was dismantled, the barracks destroyed, and the garrison removed, the good effect of this conciliating policy became apparent. "I have spoken to many Indians," wrote Croghan from the dismantled fort to Johnson, " and am now fully convinced that their sulkiness and jealousy for some years past, proceeded from a suspicion that the troops kept here and at Fort Chartres, were intended one day or other to be used against them. Since, however, the troops are gone they seem of a quiet temper, and there is no doubt but they " will receive a civil government with open arms." 2
In January of this year, Rev. Dr. Cooper, the second president of King's College, visited England for the express purpose of laying before Hillsborough a memorial drawn up by Sir William, in which the spiritual wants of the savages were set forth, and an appropriation from the home government solicited, for the support of missionaries and schools in the Indian country.3 The influence of Doctor Lowth, the worthy and learned bishop of Oxford, who was warmly interested in the conversion of the Indians, was also brought to bear upon the colonial secretary. The latter, however, did little more than speak words of encouragement ; and the memorial lingered along until his
l Manuscript letter; Alexander McKee to Johnson,
26th Nov., 1772.
2 Manuscript letter ; George Croghan to Johnson, 24th Dec., 1772.
3 Manuscript letter; Johnson to Rev. Charles Inglis, 27th June, 1772. Inglis took charge of the college during the absence of Dr. Cooper.
resignation; soon after which, Doctor Cooper returned home, and the matter rested. In the fall, the project was again revived, and the Baronet endeavored to interest the Society for Propagating the Gospel, in its favor. "I always was, and am, of the opinion," wrote Rev. Charles Inglis to Sir William, "that if this is ever to he done, it must he by your interposition. Providence points you out, in many respects, for this purpose. I have not a doubt but the society will concur and exert themselves on the occasion." From the well known piety of Lord Dartmouth, moreover, its success was considered certain; and in a letter to the Baronet from the same writer occurs the following passage;
"Although I am sorry for "Lord Hilleborough's resignation, yet it may turn out for the benefit of this scheme. Lord Dartmouth is one of the most religious men in England. His piety and charity are universally known and acknowledged. You may judge of them in some measure from this circumstance, which may be depended on as true; - that he frequently visits his poor tenants and neighbors in the country, when sick, prays with them himself as a clergyman, and gives them money. A man of this turn must necessarily be influenced by religious motives, which are infinitely the strongest to promote such a scheme as this. I therefore submit it to you, whether it would not he advisable to transmit a copy of the memorial to him. If you approve of this, and will mention the subject to his lordship, I will have a fair copy transcribed for the purpose." 1
Whether a second memorial was ever sent does not appear. The question, however, is not material, as the troublous times, which soon afterward ensued, prevented the farther carrying out of the project.2
1 Manuscript letter; Rev, Charles Inglis to Sir Wm. Johnson, 27th Oct., 1772.
2 Although it is doubtful, as stated in the test, whether another memorial was sent to the minister, yet it is very probable that Lord Dartmouth's donation to the college now bearing his name, was first suggested by this memorial of Sir William.
By the end of the year, Tryon county had become thoroughly organized. On the twenty-fifth of November, writs were issued for the first election, which resulted in the choice of Colonel Guy Johnson and Colonel Hendrik Frey as representatives from the new county; and they accordingly took their seats in the general assembly on the eleventh of January 1773. The new members met with a cordial reception from the house; and Colonel Schuyler, especially, on account of his friendship for the uncle, vied in kind attentions to the nephew.
Indeed, Sir William Johnson was now unquestionably the most influential man in the province. A Baronet of -the British realm,-superintendent of the Indian departments-a member of his majesty's council,-a major general of militia, and an extensive landholder,-he was courted, admired, and respected. "Sir William Johnson's influence," said a lawyer, "can carry anything he pleases now; he returns two members by his nod, and can direct the election of the Albany and Schenectady members as he pleases." "I wish his influence," remarked a friend, "was twice as great, for we are sure its his inclination, and greatly his interest, to use it all for the good of the province."
to James F. Morrison for loaning his book for the purpose of putting it on
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