History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Life and Times of
Sir William Johnson, Bart.,
by William L. Stone
Vol. II Albany: J. Munsell, 78 State Street, 1865.
Clouds of black portent hung over the opening of the new year. The storm, which Sir William Johnson had predicted as the result of the loss of Oswego, had burst with all its fury upon the frontier settlements.
The Six Nations, who had so long wavered in their attachment to the English, now threw off all equivocation, and in April boldly sent a large delegation from each castle, to make their peace with the governor of Canada. Our promise, said they, to remain firm to the English was given with the understanding that the war should be prosecuted vigorously; and now that they saw the French victorious on every side, and the English army retreating, as it were, into winter quarters, they considered themselves released from all previous obligation, and determined to take the matter into their own hands. At the same time, swarms of hostile Indians, emboldened by this action of the Confederacy and instigated by the wily priest at La Presentation, roamed through the forests between Oswego and Schenectady in quest of scalps and plunder. Numerous were the murders committed on the border. The manuscripts of Sir William abound with letters written to him, at this time, from officers of militia and private individuals, either relating some heart rending occurrence, or imploring his aid. A messenger, sent by the Baronet with a letter to General Webb at Albany, was waylaid, scalped, and his body thrown into the Mohawk.1 Some men in a field, within a stone's throw of Schenectady, were shot down in their tracts. Small war
1 Manuscript letter; Henry J. Wendell to Johnson.
parties continually hovered in the vicinity of Mount Johnson, watching an opportunity to take its occupant or his scalp into Canada. To add to all these horrors, rumors came by Indian runners, that a large party of French and Indians, was on its way to the German Flats, with the intention of laying it in ashes, preparatory to marching on the lower settlements. To these scenes of bloodshed, the Six rations, who had hitherto been a barrier against the predatory excursions of the enemy, now remained, with the exception of the Mohawks, idle and indifferent spectators, refusing to take up the hatchet either for or against the English, until the result of the congress then holding between their sachems and De Vaudreuil, should be known. While, however, they witnessed the sufferings of the border with such apathy, they remained firm in their attachment to Sir William, who was at this period, the recipient of numerous messages from the several castles of the Confederacy, putting him on his guard against those prowling bands that had sworn to entrap him.1
The Baronet did not despair. Summoning the Six Nations to meet him once more at Fort Johnson on the tenth of June, he devoted himself with more than his usual assiduity, to win their confidence and respect. Captains Thomas Butler, John Butler and Funda were sent by him through the different cantons with friendly messages, having orders to tarry at Onondaga castle, and keep a watchful eye upon its movements; while he himself, as a preparatory step to the important council in June, repeatedly held informal meetings with the Indians at his own house, feasting them, distributing presents, and in short, neglecting no opportunity of winning his way to their hearts by those pleasant little arts which he alone knew so well how to employ. Nor was he confined to a merely
1 Manuscript letters to Sir William Johnson, warning him of his danger. The Baronet's friends were also solicitous for his safety even among the Six Nations. "For God's sake, don't expose yourself among the Indians; rather send for them and let them wait upon you." Manuscript letter: William Corry to Johnson, June, 11th 1767.
negative policy. It has been already stated, that the Mohawks formed a noble exception to the indifference of the other nations of the Confederacy. Secure in the attachment of that clan, he availed, himself of those allies to annoy the enemy as much as possible. To do this was no easy task; and indeed it required the utmost activity of the superintendent to keep himself well informed of the actual or intended movements of the foe. This is evident by Sir William's manuscript journal for this year. As the latter has never seen the light, and is curious in itself, a few extracts from it will probably not be unacceptable- serving, as they will, to illustrate not only the present history, but also the character of the relations existing between the English and the Confederates during the administration of the Indian department by the principal personage of this work.1
"l757 Friday, May l3th.-Captain Dick, a Mohawk, and five more of said nation, and one Canoy Indian, were fitted out by Sir William with everything necessary for warriors, and sent off for Tiendarago2 or Crown Point, from whence they expected to return in twenty days. Sir "William gave them a red flag and a pass."
"Wednesday the 18th.-Sir William received a letter from Captain John Butler, acquainting him that some of his scouts had discovered and spoke with two Missiasagey Indians coming as spies to the German flats. Copy of which letter he sent immediately to Major General Webb by express."
"Thursday, May the 20th.-Sir William gave Peter of Canajoharie, a war belt,3 to get a prisoner or scalp in the room of Eseras, a Mohawk who lately died here. He promised him to be here with his party in a few days in order to go upon said service, gave him paint for his party,
1 Some of the entries in this journal are in the handwriting of Peter Wraxall, at this time Johnson's private secretary.
2 Ticonderoga-always spelt thus by Sir William Johnson.
3 The war-belt was given as a sort of commission authorizing its holder to scalp the enemy.
&c., and so parted. N. B. Sir William sent four strings of black wampum by him to let their people know that the French and Indians had begun to scalp and take prisoners, having killed four, and taken three prisoners at Fort Edward, which behavior of theirs (after what the French governor said to the Six Nations in Canada last winter) he desired they would consider of, and hoped they would act thereon as became " brethren and friends."
" Eo die. Sir William Johnson spoke with Nickus Hance, alias Tacarihogo, a Canajoharie chief, who came to see him and told him, that as he was much concerned by the loss of his (Hance's) mother, who lately died, that he expected he would remove his concern by going to war and bring him either a prisoner or scalps to put in her room, instead, as is usual among Indians. Upon this Sir William gave him a very fine black belt to enforce his request. Tacarihogo returned Sir William thanks for the concern he showed for the loss of his mother, accepted the belt, and promised he would on his return home call his young men together, and lay Sir William's belt and request before them."
" May 22d.-Mores, with three Mohawks, returned from Tiendarago, where they lay waiting for a prisoner twenty-four hours close to the fort on the hill the other side of the river coming from Lake George which overlooks the fort. No morning or evening gun fired there. They did not see an Indian about the place. They have no advanced post as yet along the lake-sent the above intelligence to Major General Webb."
" Tuesday, May 21st.-Laurence, a Mohawk chief, with four men of said castle, and four Delawares, came to my house in order to be fitted out; and told me they would join the Schoharie Indians who were then ready to move against the enemy. They joined David of Schoharie accordingly, and told me they would set out for Crown Point the next morning, being fifteen Indians in number and two white men, in all seventeen men-The next day were joined by six Indians which made the party consist of twenty-three."
" June 2d.-Zacharias and Little Hance with eight men of the tribe of the turtle,1 were fitted out with all necesaries, and told Sir William that they would be ready to set off for Canada the 4th inst., and desired to know what part of the country he would have them go to. To which he answered that at the two French forts he imagined the enemy would be on their guard, therefore thought it best to attack their boats coming along Lake Champlain. Eo die. Captain Dick with his party returned from near Tiendarago in seven days, and says that the enemy have an advanced post near a saw mill where they have about forty men, who kept so close in and about the kind of fort they have, that there was no possibility of taking any of them. Besides there was a large party of the enemy constantly scouring the woods thereabouts, whom they very narrowly avoided."
Nothing so loses the respect of the red man as imbecility; the inactivity of the English and consequent successes of the French had, as has been intimated, aided the latter in their efforts to alienate the Confederacy from the English interest; and an occurrence therefore which happened at this time, by turning a little the scale, greatly assisted the Baronet in his efforts.
The report that a French army was on its way to attack the lower settlements, was not without foundation. Early in the morning of the eighteenth of March, the attention of the garrison of Fort William Henry was attracted to a mysterious light at some distance down the lake. The conjectures to which this appearance gave rise, were soon set at rest, when the gray dawn disclosed on the ice in front of the fort fifteen hundred French regulars, Canadians and Indians, armed with three hundred scaling ladders and everything necessary for a vigorous attack. Hardly, however,
1 Each of the original Five Nations was divided into three tribes-the tortoise, the bear and the wolf.
had the sun appeared above the horizon, when the guns of the fort served by William Eyre, one of Braddock's most skillful artillerists, compel the enemy to retire with considerable loss. Towards noon, with their forces arranged in a semi-circle, they renew the attack, but with no better success. At midnight of the same day, they attempt a surprise, but accomplish nothing except the burning of the sloops and most of the bateaux. Finally, their demand for a surrender being refused, and another spirited attack being bravely repelled by the undaunted defenders, the French beat a retreat; and being seized by a panic-the cause of which has never been ascertained- they flee precipitately down the lake, leaving behind them twelve hundred of their sledges and a great quantity of military equipments.1 In the loss of men the enemy suffered severely; and the warm April sun revealed many a ghastly form wrapped in a winding sheet of snow.2
1 Manuscript letter: Major William Eyre to Sir William Johnson, 8d April, 1757.
2 The following anecdote of General John Stark-who was at the time of the attack in command, of the rangers stationed at Fort William Henry-is related by Caleb Stark, in his biography of his grandfather:
"While going his rounds, on the evening of the sixteenth, Captain Stark overheard a squad of his men, who were of the Scotch-Irish race, planning a celebration in honor of St. Patrick, for the next night. He afterward said he had then no presentiment of approaching danger, but disliked these wild Irish demonstrations. He therefore called for the ranger suttler, Samuel Blodget, and gave him directions to deliver the rangers their regular rations of grog until the evening of the seventeenth; and after that no more, -without a written order from himself. On that evening he retired to his quarters, directing his orderly sergeant to say to all applicants for written orders that he was confined to his bunk with a lame right, hand, and would not be disturbed. The Irish troops, (regulars) secured an extra supply of rum on the night of the sixteenth, and commenced their carousal, which they carried on with unabated vigor through the night and during the ensuing day, in honor of St. Patrick and his wife Sheelah. They drank so freely that the officer of the day could find none of them fit for duty as sentinels, and the rangers who were sober, supplied their places. The rangers, seeing the Irish thus enjoying themselves, desired (lie same privilege. The sutler informed them of his orders, and the captain's quarters were beset to obtain a written order. The orderly refused to disturb his officer, as he was confined (continued)
The news of this attack was conveyed to the Baronet in a letter from Colonel, afterward General Gage, on Sunday, the twentieth of March. He immediately issued orders for the militia on the Mohawk river to muster at his house as soon as possible, and sent Arent Stevens to the Mohawks, who, with others of the Confederates then at Mount Johnson, agreed to march forthwith. Such was the prompt response to his call, that at daybreak of Monday morning, he set out from Mount Johnson with the Indians and twelve hundred militia, reaching Fort Edward on Thursday, the twenty-fourth. Receiving, however, on his arrival, intelligence from Major Eyre that the enemy had retreated, he began his march homeward on the twenty-sixth; but scarcely was he out of sight of the fort, when an express met him bringing the alarming news that the French were even then marching upon the German Plats. A moment's delay might prove fatal, and giving the militia and Indians orders to follow immediately, he rode all that night, arriving at Port Johnson at four o'clock the next morning ! Here he was informed by some Indian scouts who had just come in, that the alarm was groundless. Choosing, however, to be on the safe side, he transferred his head quarters on the eighth of April to Burnet's Field, whence he issued orders to his Indian officers to keep themselves and their scouts on the alert-at the same time dispatching a trusty party of Mohawks to Swegatchie to ascertain the movements of the enemy.2
with a painfully lame right hand, and could not write. The soldiers felt somewhat cross, but bore their disappointment like philosophers. At two o'clock on the morning of the eighteenth, a ranger sentinel on the ram- parts observed, a light upon the lake, and soon afterward became aware that a large force was advancing in the direction of the fortress. Notice was instantly conveyed to the ranger captain. The lame hand was instantly restored to health, and he was among his soldiers. The commander of the fort was quietly notified, and the rangers silently mustered upon its walls." The near approach of danger dissipated the fumes of liquor from the brains of the regulars, "and the garrison was soon in condition for a vigorous defence."
2 One cannot help contrasting the energy which Sir William displayed in this emergency, with the poltroonery of General Webb in refusing to reinformce Fort William Henry a few months later.
It would seem as if the Fates had combined to thwart the efforts of the Baronet, for scarcely were the Confederates mollified and prepared to give a willing ear to his persuasions, when a circumstance occurred which threatened to throw all his plans into confusion, and seriously mar that harmony and good feeling which at this critical time were so essential to the success of the approaching council. It happened that a party of Mohawks, while loitering around Fort Hunter, fell into a dispute with the soldiers of the garrison, which though trivial at first, resulted in several of the Indians being dangerously wounded. "I have settled some differences," wrote the Baronet on this occasion to General Abercrombie, "which happened between the garrison and them before, but this is of so high a nature, that it is not in my power to reconcile it, unless the whole garrison be withdrawn and that very soon. I can assure you sir that in a meeting [at my house] two of their chief men (with tears in their eyes, which is not very common) declared they were afraid that as soon as the relations of those wounded and the rest of their people returned from their hunting (whom they daily expected) and got a little liquor, it would not be in their power to prevent their attempting to have satisfaction. Wherefore they most earnestly entreat you to remove this garrison, and if any more troops be sent there, that they may be such people as are acquainted with them and their customs; then they can live in peace and comfort with them."
"It is very unlucky at this time, when a meeting of all the nations is soon expected, whereat I have great hopes matters may be brought to a better issue than was expected. There is nothing would give the French more pleasure, than a difference between us and the Mohawks at present."
The exertions of Sir William, however, prevented the ill effects which he so feared; and on the tenth of June a full delegation from the Confederacy, with the exception of the Oneidas and Tuscaroras, assembled at Fort Johnson, according to appointment. Such had been his personal influence that previous to the assembling of the council, the effects of the Montreal conference were in a great measure counteracted, so that on the present occasion the Upper Nations,1 far from the boldness which they had but a little while before assumed, now attempted to excuse their former lukewarmness on the ground that it had arisen not from any indifference to the interests of the English, but from the fear in which they stood of their own castles being attacked by the French. To this quibble, the Baronet, tempering seventy with mildness, replied: " It is certain, Brethren, the covenant chain was made for our common good and safety, and it is well known to you all, that it speaks in this manner:-that the English and the Six Nations shall consider themselves as one flesh and blood, and that whenever any enemy shall injure one, the other is to feel it and avenge it, as if done by himself. Have not the French hurt us? Is not their ax in our heads ? Are they not daily killing and taking our people away ? Have not some of your nations both to the southward and the northward joined the French against us ? Nay some of you, by your own confession, have gone out by yourselves and struck the English. Have you not now several of our people prisoners amongst you, whom you conceal from me? Have you not lately suffered the Swegatchie Indians to come through your habitations and take one of our people from the German Flats ? Let me ask you now if all this is behaving like brethren, and whether you ought not to be ashamed when you put us in mind of the covenant chain? Surely you dream or think I have forgot the old agreement between us, when you talk in this manner. I take you therefore by the head and rouse you from your lethargy and bring you to your senses."
The council continued ten days; and when the prodigious
1 The Upper Nations were the Senecas, Cayugas and Onondagas. The lower were the Mohawks, Oneidas and Tuscaroras.
efforts of De Vaudreuil and the Jesuit priests to alienate the Confederates is taken into consideration, its results may be considered eminently satisfactory. The Mohawks needed no urging to use the hatchet against the French; and the Senecas, Cayugas and Onondagas promised at least neutrality, at the same time expressing their unanimous determination " to hold fast the covenant chain" of friendship, and remain allies to his majesty, and brethren to his subjects." "I am fully persuaded," wrote the Baronet to the lords of trade-alluding to this result, " that the loss of Oswego has produced the present neutrality agreed on by the Upper rations." He was also fearful that the destruction of the fort at the Oneida carrying-place by Webb, and his precipitate retreat from that post, would be the means of the Oneidas and Tuscaroras likewise declaring themselves neutral. In this, however, he was happily disappointed; for, not long after, those two Nations declared boldly in favor of the English; and although they did not enter into the war with the same alacrity as the Mohawks, yet their services were very valuable to the English during the entire contest. Thus again, was French influence over the Six Nations thwarted by the mere personal attachment of the latter to the Baronet; and the war deprived of half its terrors to the inhabitants on the border.
Indian relations now wore a brighter hue. The baffled priest at Presentation saw his predatory bands return chagrined and disappointed. Those nations of the Confederacy, who had declared unequivocally in favor of the English, entered into the contest with spirit, and were now as anxious to be led against the enemy, as they had been before indifferent and apathetic. Still the Baronet thought it not prudent to relax his watchfulness, and the months of June and July were spent by him in sending out war parties into Canada, and allaying the innumerable petty jealousies that were continually occurring between the Indians and whites. The manner in which he was employed at this time will, however, be more apparent from the following letter written by him to his former aid, and now his intimate friend and secretary. Captain Peter Wraxall.
"FORT JOHNSON, 17th July, 1757.
" I received the first letter you wrote me since you left us, just as I was going to Canajoharie and the German Flats. At the former I clothed all their women, old men, and children, who are much more numerous than I imagined, and gave them provisions which they are very scarce of. Their number amounts to two hundred and forty-seven exclusive of the young men. At the latter, I had that unhappy affair of the two Indians (belonging to the party of the Five Nations, whom I fitted out to go to Canada but were murdered by Tom Smith) to make up. It was the most difficult job I ever had, as the Five Nations who were at the meeting lately were all there yet, and so enraged (saying that these two made five now murdered by us within a year) that I had hard work to prevent their spilling blood for it. However, by condoling their death, taking our hatchet out of their heads, and several other forms used by them, and at a very considerable expense besides, I made them easy for this time. * * * * I have now five parties out on different days; some of whom I expect daily; others making ready to go out. I hear some of the Aughquagas 1 are coming here in order to go out unasked-all the Indians daily asking me when the army is to move towards the enemy and when I go. * * * * * * I write now to Major General "Webb- from whom I had a letter the same time I received yours -wherein he expresses great satisfaction at my taking the first prisoner brought in, out of the hands of the Indians. It was with a good deal of difficulty, and I much doubt my
1 Aughquaga on the Susquehanna river, was at this time an Aboriginal Port Royal, where many of the Six Nations who had become disgusted with the politics of their several castles, were in the habit of settling.
being able to get all they may be able to take from them without giving such umbrage and dissatisfaction as may overset the whole-as they well know the French Indians are allowed to keep and dispose of their prisoners as they please, which is the greatest encouragement they can have given, them. However, I shall endeavor all in my power to follow the general's directions in that point, as near as I can. I have nothing to write you from this quarter. All our hopes and expectations are from his lordship's success and yours that way.
"I am, dear Wraxall,
Your sincere well-wisher and
" WM. JOHNSON."l
" His Lordship's success," to which allusion is here made, had reference to the expedition against Louisburg under Lord Loudoun, which had already sailed from New York. On the nineteenth of January, a council of war had been held by the viceroy, composed of the governors of New England and Nova Scotia, having reference in a measure, if not wholly, to an attack on that fortress. In this council, Loudoun proposed that four thousand troops should be raised by New England for this year's campaign, and that New York and New Jersey should furnish their quota of men for the same object. Although his lordship did not deign to reveal the plan of operations which he designed to follow-veiling it under the pompous declaration "that the interests of the British service forbade him immediately to disclose it"-yet it was well understood that an attack was contemplated upon either Louisburg or Crown Point. The arrogance and insolence with which Loudoun conducted himself on the present occasion towards the colonial governors,-ascribing, as he did, all the ill successes of the last campaign to the Provincial troops, completely disgusted the people of New
1 Manuscript letter.
England. Nevertheless, as his requisition on them for men was so moderate, compared with -what they had expected, they responded with promptness to his demand, and their quota was soon in the field.
It was partially with a view of meeting this requisition of Loudoun, that Governor Hardy convened his assembly on the sixteenth of February. In his opening message, after informing both branches of his legislature of the renewed proof which his majesty had given, of his interest in the welfare of the colony, by sending over additional reinforcements into the province, he acquainted them with the recent proceedings of Lord Loudoun and of the latter's requisition upon the province of New York for its proportion of troops. The abortive measures undertaken last year for the defence of the province, and the advances which the enemy had recently made, showed the necessity of vigorous action. " And," continued the governor, "from the proofs I have had of your affection to his majesty, and of your zeal for the support of the common cause, I persuade myself, you will not fail to furnish the quota of men demanded of you, and thus strengthen the hopes of success, that we may reasonably have from an able and experienced direction of his majesty's forces, attended with the divine blessing, on his arms. The season requires that no time be lost, and I must press you, to be early in your resolutions, that I may give the necessary orders as soon as possible."1
But the message was not entirely devoted to the necessity of furnishing troops. Other and equally weighty matters at home demanded their immediate attention. The disputes with New Jersey and Massachusetts Bay concerning their boundaries, had arisen to fever heat. The proposition of the lords of trade, long since made- that money should be appropriated for defraying the expenses of commissioners to settle the controversy-had been unaccountably neglected by the assembly, until the
1 Journals of the assembly.
social condition of those residing on the border had become really lamentable. In one instance, especially, in the early part of the present year, a riot had occurred in the manor of Livingston. The sheriff in the execution of his office was roughly handled, and a man whom he had called to his aid, killed. Added to this, the affair, at first confined merely to the question of boundary, had now become much more complicated from the fact, that the Stockbridge Indians, some of whom had been present at the riot, took sides, and in many instances sold lands twice over to interested parties, in utter disregard of former patents. This action of the Indians, however, was soon stopped by Sir William Johnson, who, at the solicitation of the governor, wrote to the sachems and chiefs of the Stockbridge Nation requesting them to remain neutral; but the whites still carried on the controversy with increased bitterness. Sir Charles, therefore, now demanded of the assembly, that it would immediately institute such proceedings as would effectually settle these disputes. Soon after coming to the government, he had recommended that provision should be made for the expense of proper commissioners to adjust the boundaries; "and," added he, "I have their lordship's repeated directions, to recommend it again to your consideration, and to acquaint you, that as this is a matter of high concernment to the peace and quiet of government, and the lives and properties of his majesty's subjects, his majesty does expect that you will forthwith make a proper provision for the expense of such commissioners, that there may be no farther delay in a matter of so great importance."2
Before the governor closed, he alluded to another matter, by far the most important of any yet mentioned. "In my speech to you," said he, "of the twenty-fourth of September last, I repeated the necessity of the legislature's
1 Manuscript letter; Sir William Johnson to the sachem of the Stock-bridge Indians.
2 Journals of the assembly.
interposing in the case of those exorbitant grants of land, complained of by the Indians as fraudulent. I cannot avoid, mentioning this again to you, and recommending it to, your consideration; the passing of a law for vacating and annulling such grants, appearing to me not only a just but necessary measure, as by redressing this real grievance of those people we may give a happy turn to our negotiations with them, and induce them to throw in their whole weight to our assistance."1.
This is a straightforward and manly avowal, and reveals the true source, whence sprung most of those difficulties which were continually arising between the Indians and whites in both the northern and southern provinces. It has been seen that the chief cause of the bloody war, which was even now raging in Pennsylvania, was the deceit which had been practiced upon the Delawares in the sale of their lands, at the congress at Albany in 1754. The grievances, moreover, to which the Six Nations had been subjected in the sales of their lands, from traders and land agents in; the vicinity of Albany - of which Lydius was a fit type-had been one of the greatest impediments to the success of Johnson among the Indians. The Baronet had repeatedly written to the ministry and the different colonial governors, that his efforts among the Delawares and other Southern Indians, and also among the Six rations, would be of no avail, unless these fraudulent purchases were revoked; and in a very able letter to the lords of trade, under date of September of this year, he urged to the infinite disgust of the proprietaries-that the surest method of giving tranquillity to Pennsylvania, would be an open and voluntary surrender of the deed of sale given at Albany. It is very probable, therefore, that the efforts of Sir Charles Hardy, at this time, to prevail upon his assembly to vacate those fraudulent grants were due to his influence. This inference is moreover rendered reasonable from the fact, that when in June 1756, Sir
1 Journal of the Assembly.
Charles proposed to his assembly an act for annulling the patents of Kayaderosseros, Cannajohary, and Oriskany, on the ground of their having been fraudulently obtained from the Indians, the Baronet was universally regarded as its author.
The assembly sent up its answer to the governor's message on the eighth. Regarding the request for troops, it responded with alacrity; promising to furnish their full quota of men, in order "that whatever may be the fate of our upright cause, we may not be in any ways instrumental to our ruin, by tedious delays, timid resolutions, or an ill timed parsimony." With respect, however, to the boundary question, the reply of both houses was less satisfactory. They wished that they could see it their duty to engage for what they believed would be a heavy expense; but, said they, referring to the existing war, "we would humbly observe, that a line of a much more serious nature, at present engages our whole attention, and justly claims the substance we have to spare." The governors of those colonies, with whom was the dispute, could, they thought, preserve peace and order in their respective borders, until they had repelled the common enemy, and could with propriety say that they had lands to divide, or jurisdiction to settle. Still if it was the intention of the lords of trade to bring this question to an immediate issue, they suggested that the money arising from quit-rents was the natural fund out of which to discharge the expense of commissioners, especially as that fund was so deeply interested in the issue of the controversy.1 As to the fraudulent grants of land to which his excellency had been pleased to refer, they admitted that they had been productive of many evils to the colony, both by retarding the settlement of lands, " and by giving the Indians perhaps too just cause of complaint." As, however, the owners of those lands, had paid considerable sums to the Indians
1 Journals of the assembly.
for their rights, and, in addition, given large amounts to the governor and other civil officers for the patents-often more than the lands were worth-to deprive them of their possession without a consideration would be, in their estimation, harsh and unjust. And as in the present condition of affairs, no settlements could he made upon them, and the Indians would therefore be their sole occupants for some time to come, they begged that the consideration of this matter might for the present be postponed.1 Although these were the ostensible reasons given, yet the real one unquestionably was, that the DeLancey family were interested in the Oriskany patent- a very rich tract of land some twenty miles in length, lying along both banks of the Mohawk river near Wood creek,-and therefore brought all their immense influence to bear, in defeating the just request of the governor.2
The session of the assembly continued ten days, during which the sum of twenty one thousand and some odd pounds was appropriated for raising and equipping one thousand men to act with the four thousand already raised by Massachusetts, "which," said the speaker, "is our full proportion according to the plan of union, and was all his lordship demanded."3
This was Sir Charles Hardy's last meeting with his assembly; for having asked and obtained permission to resign the government and return to his former profession, he hoisted his flag as rear admiral of the blue, and leaving the government in the hands of the lieutenant governor, sailed on the second of July to take command of the expedition against Louisburg.
1 Journals of the assembly.
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