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.
With the capture of Quebec, the political influence of the Indian race began to wane. The reason is obvious. So long as the two great powers of England and France contended for the mastery among the rocks and solitudes of North America, both nations had striven to win the affections of the red man, that they might convert him into a powerful ally. In this, the French had been vastly more successful than the English. This was owing, as we have seen, partly to the religious element which they introduced into their persuasions, but more, perhaps, to their having treated the Indian as a fellow being. All the tribes of the north and northwest, and some of the nations in the south, had acknowledged their influence and cheerfully yielded to their sway. The causes which prevented their winning over the Six Nations, both before and during the life of Sir William Johnson, have been fully explained; although indeed even of that people, some few from each nation had wandered off to Oswegatchie, and there settled. Thus until the reduction of Canada, the Indians had always held the balance of power in America. Rapid, however, as their political decline would have been from this time, had no extraneous influences intervened, yet various causes greatly hastened this result.
Although the French had entirely relinquished the idea of ever again possessing Canada, yet with a malicious pleasure they still continued to stir up jealousy and hatred among the Indians, against the English. It is moreover the sad truth, that the conduct of the colonists themselves was directly calculated to aid their efforts. We have already seen, how strenuously Sir William Johnson labored to maintain a good understanding between the English garrisons and the Confederates ; and the animosity on the part of the soldiers toward the Six Nations, which, so long as it had been necessary for their own safety to humor the Indians, had been curbed, now that the same necessity no longer existed, burst forth with renewed intensity. "We are now left in peace," wrote some Christian Oneidas, in the simplicity of their hearts, to Sir William, "and have nothing to do but to plant our corn, hunt the wild beasts, smoke our pipes, and mind religion. But as these forts, which are built among us, disturb our peace, and are a great hurt to religion, because some of our warriors are foolish, and some of our brother soldiers don't fear God, we therefore desire that these forts may be pulled down, and kicked out of the way." Scenes between the soldiers and the Indians, such as are related in the sachem Abraham's speech, in Appendix No. 1 of this volume, became disgracefully frequent; and although those garrisons that came within the immediate circle of the Baronet's influence, and therefore more under his control, were kept within bounds, yet, in forts more remote, scenes daily occurred, the relation of which causes the honest cheek to mantle with shame for the honor of the English race.
But these were not the only wrongs which the Indian, through the silent watches of the night, brooded over on his bear skin couch. Unscrupulous traders, like a flock of harpies, hovered over their prey until they could safely pounce upon their victims; and now that hostilities had ceased, they poured in from all quarters upon the frontiers of New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Many of the traders were men of desperate fortunes-villains of the vilest sort; who, while they cheated and plundered the Indian, hesitated not to outrage his wife or daughter to gratify their brutal passions:-"offering when compared with the French traders, who were under better regulations, a most unfavorable example of the character of their nation." The government officers, also, though forced by their position to conduct themselves more decorously, in many instances neglected no opportunity of cheating the Indians, by selling to them at a high price, those articles that the government had sent to be distributed among them as presents. Guns, ammunition, and clothing, moreover, which the French had always been in the habit of giving to their red allies, were now, through a mistaken policy, suddenly withheld ; so that many of those nations, who had thrown away the bow and arrow for the powder horn and rifle, were in an extremely destitute, if not a starving condition.
It was also evident, that the neglect with which the nations of the far west had been treated by the English, since they had occupied the posts on the great lakes, was another source of dissatisfaction. In the spring of this year, Alexander Henry, an English trader, traveled to Michilimackinac, and whenever he came in contact with the western tribes, he found the most inimical feelings against his nation, who, said the Indians, had by no word or deed, done anything to conciliate them. At Michilimackinac, which place he reached at great peril of his life, he was waited upon by Minavavana, a Chippewa chief, who, while he promised protection to the trader, inveighed bitterly against the neglect with which his people were treated by the English, as shown, more especially, in the fact that no treaty had yet been made with his people, nor presents sent to them.l
1 Travels of Alexander Henry.
During this interval, the Chippewa chieftain delivered to Henry the following phillipic:
"Englishmen ! Although you have conquered the French, you have not yet conquered us! We are not your slaves ! These lakes, these woods, these mountains, were left to us by our ancestors. They are our inheritance, and we will part with them to none. Your nation supposes that we, like the white people, cannot live without bread, and pork and beef. But you ought to know that He, the Great Spirit and Master of Life, has provided; food for us upon these broad lakes and in these mountains."
these hostile feelings, the Delaware and Ohio Indians were again viewing with suspicion the movements of the Ohio company, who, having, in 1760, sent to England for such instructions to the Virginia government as would enable them to successfully prosecute their undertaking, were now preparing to colonize their original grant. Along the borders, also, of Virginia and Pennsylvania, the settlers who had fled to the cities at the beginning of the war, were gradually reoccupying their old farms; while to add to all these grievances, General Monckton had, in the summer of the same year, by a treaty at Pittsburg, prevailed upon the Indians to-allow the building of military posts in their wild lands--each stockade having land enough around it for a garrison garden.1
But while these gradual encroachments were going on in the west, the wrath of the Confederates was kindled at the rumored settlement of Wyoming by the Connecticut settlers. They were also the more irritated, as they had always justly considered the Wyoming lands as their own property, the right to which they had never relinquished. "I am sorry to acquaint you," wrote Governor Hamilton to Sir William Johnson, "that the Wyoming settlement still goes on,-the very place appointed by the Six Nations for the residue of the Delawares and other tribes, who were obliged to remove from the inward forts of the province on account of the great increase of our people, which spoil their hunting; and I have been, and still am, so much afraid
1 North American. Review, July 1839.-At a council held in August of this year, at Philadelphia, a sachem of the Six Nations said : "We, your brethren of the Seven Nations, are penned up like boys. There are forts all around us, and therefore we are apprehensive that death is coming upon us." "Nothing is more certain than that the lauds do yet belong to these nations; [the Six Nations] having never, that I have heard of, been fairly and openly purchased from them. Nor can the people of any other province have a right to purchase lands in the very heart of Pennsylvania -all such purchases being declared null and void by an ancient and standing law of this government.-Manuscript letter; Governor Hamilton to Johnson, 12th May, 1761.
that this manner of proceeding will occasion a fresh rupture with the Indians, that I have written to General Amherst upon it, and prayed his interposition; in addition to which, I now also beg the favor of yours in such a manner as you shall judge most proper ; and unless by these means a stop can he put to this enterprise, I despair of its being done at all."1 Despite of all efforts, however, the Connecticut company were sufficiently influential to settle;
the valley; and although the rupture with the Six Nations, which the governor of Pennsylvania so much feared, did not occur during the life time of the Baronet, yet it was only deferred; and from the massacre of Wyoming, in 1778, until the close of the revolutionary struggle, revenge upon Wyoming seemed a cherished luxury to the infuriated savage, who regarded that settlement as an object of inextinguishable rancor-of unappeasable hate. In addition to all this, the Mohawks had also their own peculiar wrongs to settle with those land speculators from Albany and Schenectady, whose frauds they yet remembered with an intensity only increased by long meditation upon the subject.
Yet with all these causes of irritation rankling in their breasts, and with the example before them of the Cherokees, who were now waging a bloody war along the frontiers of Georgia and the Carolinas, the Six Nations, ever under the persuasive influence of the Baronet, remained, with the exception of a few Senecas, faithful to their ancient alliance. Sufficient apprehension, however, was excited to show the necessity of at once conciliating the tribes of the north west. In June, Captain Campbell, who had been left in charge of Detroit, the preceding autumn, was startled by intelligence that the Senecas had not only sent belts of wampum to the nations from Nova Scotia to the Illinois, inviting them to take up the hatchet against the English, but that two of their chiefs were even then holding a private council with the Wyandots, to induce them to massacre the neighboring garrison at Detroit. But this
1 Manuscript letter ; Gov. Hamilton to Johnson, 12th May, 1761.
was not all. Farther investigation revealed that the Senecas, Shawanese and. Delawares, having assembled at a certain rendezvous, were to fall simultaneously upon Niagara and Fort Pitt, the garrisons of which were also to be tomahawked and scalped. Immediately upon the receipt of this information, Captain Campbell sent expresses to General Amherst and the officers commanding at the different frontier posts, putting them on their guard; and thus this partially matured plot was for the present broken up.1
Such was the condition of Indian relations, when in the early summer of this year, Sir William Johnson, whose jurisdiction extended over all the tribes of the northern colonies, determined, at the request of General Amherst, to visit Detroit.2 His main object in this was twofold:- first to conclude a solid and lasting treaty with the western tribes-the neglect of which had been a source of so much dissatisfaction; and secondly, to regulate the fur trade, and settle the prices of clothes and provisions at those posts, which, until recently, had been occupied by the French. Since the close of hostilities, the conduct of many of the traders, as has been intimated, had been shameful in the extreme; and it was with a view of correcting this source of annoyance, that the entire supervision of all trade along the northern tier of forts, was now given to the Baronet; so that, hereafter, no trader could pursue his traffic unless he had a license granted him by the latter, or by his deputy, (George Croghan. But Sir William Johnson had other motives in this journey. Among the Baronet's papers, I find the following memoranda of several matters to he attended to upon his arrival at Detroit:3
1 Manuscript letter ; Captain Campbell to major Walters, commanding at Niagara "17th June, 1761-two o'clock in the morning."
2 Although the death of George II. in October 1760, dissolved Sir William Johnson's commission as superintendent, &c., yet a new one was granted him by George III, " during the king's pleasure," in March of this year.
3 The insertion of the sememoranda in the text is not deemed irrelevant, going to show, as they do, the great extent of country over which was Sir William Johnson's jurisdiction, and the minuteness of detail, as well as the method, which -was so characteristic of him.
"1st. To learn from M. La Bute and St. German the names of several nations of Indians in this country, their number of men, places of residence, their connections, disposition and wars.
"2d. How many posts the French had in the Indian country, the number of men in each, how maintained, from whom they received their orders, how often relieved, how liked by the Indians, on what footing trade was carried on with the Indians in all those parts-and how far the bounds;.'' of Canada extend, and that of Mississippi.
" 3d. Whether the French had any shipping on the Lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior; whether and which of them is reckoned the best navigation, how late and early they can be used in the season.
"4th. Which post or place was always looked upon as the best for trade ; what prices the French generally paid for beaver, furs, &c.
"5th. What posts and settlements from Mississippi to the Illinois country, and what number of inhabitants, soldiers and slaves."
The journey was now, even more perilous than when undertaken by Major Rogers, the previous autumn; but the mutterings of those distant tribes could no longer be passed unheeded; while no one could so well pour oil upon the troubled waters, as the Baronet, whose intimate knowledge of the Indian character and widely extended influence would, it was hoped, shield him from danger.
Previous to his leaving home, the Baronet acquainted both the Mohawk castles with the object of his intended journey, requesting them to behave as courteously as possible to their white neighbors during his absence. The Indians appeared to be pleased with his object in going but at the same time confessed to him their solicitude for his personal safety. They also seemed gratified at his thus throwing them upon their good behavior; and since he was determined to go, they promised to follow strictly his advice, and use all their influence to prevent their young men from committing any irregularities either with the soldiers or the inhabitants. They, however, begged that he would forbid their white brethren pressing and "teasing them for their lands, "which, they said, "were now so clipped about at every side, that they could scarce live by hunting on what was now left." In reply, they were assured that no land could now be taken from them until it had been fairly purchased-his majesty having given it particularly in charge to his governors, to see that no land was taken up without their consent, and payment being made them for it." "They expressed much satisfaction at this," adds Sir "William in his private diary, "and so we parted."1
Everything being at length in readiness, and the large quantities of goods, sent by General Amherst for the use of the Indians at Detroit, having arrived, Sir William, upon the fifth of July, set out from Fort Johnson. He was accompanied by his son, John Johnson, and by his nephew-subsequently his son in law-Lieutenant Guy Johnson, who was to act as his private secretary. Captain Andrew Montour, and a few Mohawks and Oneidas, also went with the party to act as a sort of body guard. The water being very low-owing to the severe drought which had continued for some weeks previous, and which, indeed, lasted the entire summer-great difficulty was experienced with the heavily laden bateaux in passing down Wood creek. While the party were thus delayed at Fort Stanwix, they were overtaken by Colonel Eyre, with a letter to the Baronet from General Amherst, enclosing the communication from Captain Campbell in relation to the designs of the Senecas, to which allusion has already been made. Resolved to
1 The private manuscript diary to which allusion is here made, was kept by Sir William Johnson during his journey to and from Detroit, and given at length, in appendix,No. iv. of this volume.
find out how far this conspiracy was participated in by the Confederacy, the Baronet took occasion, upon the chief sachem of the Tuscaroras coming into his tent, to question him in regard to it. To the questions, whether any deputies had been sent by the Six Nations to Detroit during the spring and summer, the sachem answered, that two had been sent by the Senecas; that the Cayugas were also to have sent one, but on the arrival of the Cayuga deputy in the Seneca country, he was told that it would not be prudent for him to venture so far alone, and that he had therefore remained at home. On his being farther asked the object of the Seneca's journey, he replied, that it was understood they had gone, on behalf of the Six Nations, to perform the ceremony of condolence for those Indians who had been killed in the battle of Niagara ; that some Cayugas had also gone to Cadaracqui to perform the same ceremony with the northern Indians, and that upon their return, a meeting was to be called at Onondaga, when the result of both meetings would be made known to the whole Confederacy. "After this," says the private diary just quoted, " I let him know, he being one of their most sensible men, that the Senecas who went to Detroit, were acting another part, and that their plot was discovered. I then told him as much of the intelligence sent by Captain Campbell, as I thought necessary, and laid before him the madness of such an attempt, and the very fatal consequences of it to all their nations; concluding with my advice to him and all of them, that if any such wicked design was intended, he, and the rest of the considerate part of them, would immediately put a stop to it-otherwise it must inevitably bring on their ruin, which, I was certain, would be more agreeable to his majesty to avoid if possible. On hearing what I said, he seemed much surprised, and declared there was no such scheme agreed on by the Six Nations, nor such message sent by them to the Detroit or Cadaracqui meetings; that if what I now told him was true, it must come from the Seneca Nation; and he concluded by assuring me he would, on his arrival at his castle, acquaint the rest of the sachems, and then fall on the best measures they could, to find out what the Senecas had done at Detroit, and if it was, as they now heard, would endeavor to put a stop to it." The information which the Tuscarora gave, the Baronet afterward ascertained was correct; and with the exception of the Senecas, all suspicion of the faith of the Confederacy was removed.
At Oswego, which was reached on the nineteenth, the Baronet tarried two days to distribute among those Indians who had remained with the army the preceding year, some silver medals sent to them by General Amherst as a reward for their good conduct.1 He also found it necessary to hold a small council with the Onondagas, in order to allay the jealousy which his contemplated visit to Detroit had provoked. "We are surprised," said their speaker, "at your going to call a council at Detroit, when you know that the chief and only council fire burns at your house and Onondaga; besides these Indians you are going to, ought rather, as being aggressors, to come to you. You recommend to us to mind our hunting and trade, and to live in friendship with our brethren at the several posts. This we would be very desirous of doing, but they, by their behavior to us at the several posts, seem not to have any liking for us, and use us very ill at times, taking our women from us by violence, using them and us ill, and hindering us from hunting and fishing on our own grounds near the posts-often taking what we catch and kill from us. This is not agreeable to the promises made us, or the friendship so long subsisting between us and you. "We beg, brother, you will interpose and see justice done us, and that there may be a fair trade carried on by your people." Thus, whenever opportunity was given, throughout the entire journey complaints were poured into the Baronet's ears, of the injustice and rapacity of the traders-showing
1 These medals, by order of Amherst, were stamped upon one side with the Baronet's coast of arms.
that his journey had not been undertaken a moment too early.
On the twenty-fourth, the party arrived at Niagara; and on the thirty-first Sir William dispatched the following letter to General Amherst:
"NIAGARA, July 30th, 1761.
"Although I did myself the honor of writing your excellency the 24th inst. by one of the traders, I would not slip so favorable an opportunity of Colonel Eyre's return, to inform you that since my last, I had a meeting with several chiefs of the Chipeweigh nation and some Mississageys, to whom I expressed my satisfaction at the good character I had here received of them ; and after communicating the intention of my journey, I recommended it to them to continue to deserve our friendship and protection, which were so essential to their own interest. I then desired them to send some of their sachems to be present at the general meeting at Detroit, that they might be able to acquaint their nations with what might pass at the meeting, and let them know the mutual engagements entered into thereat, by the several nations of Indians and us ; and concluded with promises to use all my endeavors for the better regulating of trade, and with assuring them of our friendship so long as their conduct deserved it. The chief of the Chipeweighs returned many thanks for what I had said, and after smoking out of one pipe together, according to their custom-the smoke of which, they said, would ascend so high as to be seen by all the nations over the lakes-they begged I would consider their necessities, having scarcely clothes to cover them, they not being able to trade, as they were not allowed to buy powder for hunting, and ended with requesting that they might have some provisions. I have received a very good character from the commanding officer, and every one else here, of these Indians' behavior, and am convinced they are not concerned in any schemes against us.
"I intend giving them some clothing; but I see plainly,that there appears to he an unusual jealousy amongst every nation, on account of the hasty steps they look upon we are taking towards getting possession of their country, which uneasiness, I am certain, will never subside whilst we encroach within the limits which, you may recollect, have been put under the protection of the king in the year 1726, and confirmed to them by him and his successors ever since, and by orders sent to the governors not to allow any of his subjects settling thereon; which they were acquainted with, by his late majesty, in your speech of the twenty-second of April 1760, delivered by Brigadier General Monckton. You then promised to prevent any person, whatsoever, from settling or even hunting therein; but that it should remain their absolute property. I thought it necessary to remind your excellency thereof, as the other day on my riding to the place where the vessels are building. I found some carpenters at work, finishing a large house for one Mr. Stirling, near the falls, and have since heard others are shortly to be built thereabouts. As this must greatly add to the Indians' discontent, being on the carrying-place, and within the very limits, which, by their own agreement, they are not so much as allowed to dispose of, I should be glad to know whether I can acquaint them that those people will be ordered to remove or not; and I hope from your excellency's answer to be able to satisfy them on that head.
"I am also apprehensive, the erecting a fort at Sandusky will likewise greatly alarm them; and I could wish that I had time enough at Detroit, to reconcile them to our establishing ourselves there, which otherwise will give great disgust to the nations of the [Ottawa] Confederacy.
" I yesterday dispatched a boat to Sandusky, with a letter to Mr. Croghan, with orders immediately on its arrival there, to proceed with the Indians to Detroit, as I cannot now delay my journey by calling at a place so much out of my route. I have also by the same opportunity written to Captain Campbell to inform him of my being thus far on my way, and to apprise the Indians, in that quarter, of Major Gladwin's coming with some troops, that they may not be alarmed at their appearance. My bateaux with the presents are not arrived, but as I may now hourly expect them, hope to be enabled to set out from hence in a few days.
"I am. Sir
"Your most humble serv't
Is it strange that the red men reverenced the writer of this letter, when all their interests were watched by him with such a jealous eye?
While the party were detained here for the boats, the Baronet, having resolved to ferret out the designs of the Senecas, called that nation to a council on the eighth of August. In this conference, the sachems were taken severely to task for their behavior. After informing them of the suspicions under which they rested, the Baronet asked them plainly it it was with their sanction that the deputies had gone to the Wyandot village ? In their reply, the next day, they appeared surprised at the charge against their nation, and denied any knowledge of the affair. They stated, however, that the two deputies who had gone to the Wyandots lived near Fort Pitt, and that they had probably been induced to do so by Jean Coeur, who, they said, had long meditated the massacre of the English garrisons by the Indians, in case the French should be conquered.
In this denial, the Baronet evidently did hot place much confidence ; for in his reply, he addressed them as follows:
" Brethren of the Seneca ration: I have with attention and surprise heard you now declare your innocence and ignorance of the late message to Detroit by two of your
1 Manuscript letter.
people, who, although they live detached, from you, would not, I am certain, presume to take upon them an affair of that kind, without your consent or approbation, as I well know, that in matters of less moment you all consult each other. As this is so villainous an affair, and carried so far, I must tell you plainly, that I look upon what you now tell me only as an evasion, and a kind of excuse to blind us. And I tell you, that all the excuses you can make, and all the rhetoric your nation is master of, will not satisfy the general, nor convince me of your innocence unless a deputation of your chiefs appear at the general meeting, which I am now calling at Detroit, and then in the presence of all the nations, declare your innocence, and disapprobation of what was done by the two messengers last month at Detroit. This, I expect you will do, to show your brethren your innocence, and all the Indians your detestation of so vile and unnatural a plot." "I here returned them their own wampum," says the Baronet, " to show them I paid no regard to what they said-which greatly staggered them all; and after some time spent in talking, their speaker said, "Brother, you are very hard upon us after our honest declaration of innocence. However, as it does not give you satisfaction, we will send off tomorrow morning your belt to our nation with what you have said thereon; and we doubt not but some of our chief men will be ready to go to the proposed meeting at Detroit, and there satisfy you and the world of their innocence." Sir William appeared satisfied with this, and having expressed the hope that they would lose no time, that the meeting might not be delayed, promised to give them a few presents on the next day. In reply to their request for ammunition, they were told it was owing to their ill behavior, the previous year, in leaving him after the surrender of Isle Royal, that they were treated with so little attention; besides how could they expect that arms and ammunition would be placed in the hands of people "who were mad enough to think of quarreling -with the English ?" However, as they had now solemnly declared, themselves innocent of the charge, and had promised, to behave hereafter as friends, they were told that they should, have sufficient ammunition to kill some game on their journey home.1 The conference then ended; and the chiefs retired, doubtless well pleased having escaped so easily.
On the nineteenth, the party having been joined by a company of the Royal Americans, and a few New York volunteers under Lieutenant Ogden, embarked in thirteen battaux and one birch canoe. The voyagers were overtaken on the twenty-fifth, by Captain Lottridge with dispatches from General Amherst, announcing the capture of Belle Isle, and the defeat of the Cherokees, on the tenth of July, by Colonel Grant. This intelligence diffused general joy; and by the order of the Baronet, the party went on shore, that the Royal Americans, having been drawn up into line, might fire three volleys and drink a glass to his majesty's health. With the exception of this circumstance, the voyage to Detroit was without incident; and on the third of September, the mouth of the Detroit river having been reached, Sir William made the following entry in his diary:
"Thursday 3d. At four o'clock I arose, and wrote Mr. Croghan a few lines by Mr. Gambling's canoe to meet me about six miles this side of the fort with horses. I take Mr. Gambling in my boat: Fine morning but cold and the wind right ahead. Embarked at seven o'clock, and on our way passed several fine islands, and drowned meadows: about twelve, came to the house of Captain Jones of the militia, which is the best house I have seen in the neighborhood. Eat some melon there, and set off for Detroit, which is but a league from the house. Opposite the
1 Manuscript private diary, for a fuller account
of Sir William's transaction with these Senecas at Niagara, and his farther
proceedings with Old Belt, a Seneca chief who arrived the eleventh, see private
diary in appendix iv.
Huron toward Potawatemy village, saw Mr. Croghan and St. Martin, the Huron interpreter, with horses expecting us. On coming farther the Indian towns drew out, and began to fire with cannon and firearms, which I returned by three vollies from the Royal American detachment. Then went on shore and rode to town through a number of settlements. All along the road was met by Indians, and near the town by the inhabitants, traders, &c. When I came to the verge of the fort, the cannon thereof were fired, and the officers of the garrison, with those of Gage's light infantry, received me, and brought me to see my quarters which us the house of the late commandant Mr. Belleter."
On the following day, deputations from different tribes waited upon Sir William, bringing presents of maize. This the latter reciprocated by giving the Indians pipes and tobacco, and a barbecue of a large ox roasted whole. Belts, meanwhile, were sent out to the several nations of the Ottawa Confederacy, notifying them of the approaching council. While waiting for their answers, Sir William's time was fully occupied. The provisions which he had confidently expected from Fort Pitt for the Indians, had not yet arrived, boats were accordingly sent back to Niagara to bring a sufficient supply. Many of the Indian presents, owing to the leaking of the boats on the passage, were entirely spoiled. The number of the garrisons to be stationed at the remote parts of Michillimackinac, St. Marie, and St. Joseph, had to be settled ;1 and the "instructions and orders" for the officers, who were to have the charge of those posts, made out. His speech to the Indians at the coming treaty had also to be written, and the fur trade and the general traffic of the traders to be arranged; so that altogether he had his hands fall. The evenings, however, were devoted to recreation; and while the days
1 The soldiers were distributed as follows:-an officer and thirty men at Michillimaekinac ; an officer and fifteen men at St. Joseph: and the same number at the Miamies and other posts.
were occupied in close consultations with Major Gladwin and Captain Campbell in reference to military and Indian relations, the nights were spent in dances given in honor of the Baronet, in which the French officers and their families participated.1
At ten o'clock, on the morning of the ninth, the firing of two cannon summoned the Indians to the council. There being no house in the settlement sufficiently large to accommodate all of the assemblage, seats were prepared in the open air. Indeed, the number of tribes represented was much larger than any one had anticipated. The Hurons, the Pottawatamies, the Wyandots, the Chipewas, and the Ottawas were all present. Indians from regions far beyond the Superior also came, that, with their own eyes, they might behold the; man 1, whose house was the fire place of the dreaded Iroquois. Nor was the assemblage confined solely to the western tribes; numbers of the Shawanese, Delawares, and other Indians from the Ohio were there as spectators. As soon as they were all seated, Sir William Johnson, accompanied by Captain Campbell, Mr. Croghan, Lieutenant Johnson and the officers of the garrison-all in full uniform-walked to the council and took their places. Then amid a profound silence, the Baronet arose, and delivered his speech with all that dignity of mein which is so pleasing to the Indian. The chief topics adverted to in the address were, the recent conspiracy and the desire of the English to cultivate, through an honest trade, amicable relations with the western tribes. In alluding to the former, Sir William thanked the Hurons and Wyandots for their good will, as shown by their revealing the plot to Captain Campbell, and hoped they would ever continue the steadfast friends of the English. As soon as he had ended, the council, according to Indian ceremonial, broke up for the day. Late in the afternoon,
1 "They assembled at about eight o'clock at night to the number of about twenty. I opened the ball with Mademoiselle Curie, a fine girl; we danced until five o'clock next morning "-Private Diary, Manuscript before quoted.
a number of Huron chiefs waited upon Sir William at his quarters, and stated that as some of the chiefs might take to drinking if they loitered long around the fort, they would be glad if he would receive their answer the following day. To this very sensible proposition, the Baronet readily acceded; and having informed them that the usual signal would be given the next afternoon by the firing of two cannon, they were dismissed with the usual presents of pipes and tobacco.
"The answer of the Nations," says the Baronet, ''was very satisfactory ; and at its close, Kaiaghshota, a Seneca chief, and one who had accompanied the two messengers to the Wyandots, arose, and with consummate eloquence and resolution, endeavored to clear himself of the charge that had been laid to his nation. In the midst of his speech, however, Adariaghta, the chief warrior of the Hurons, coming forward, confronted him, and disclosing everything that had occurred, revealed to, all present the Seneca's duplicity. Upon this, the White Mingo, an Ohio Indian, retorted by accusing the Huron of endeavoring to incite the Ohio Indians to a general massacre of the garrisons; and the altercation would probably have ended in blows, had not Sir William broken up the meeting, by announcing that, upon the ensuing day, he would distribute the presents which he had brought for them all.
The instructions, which the Baronet gave to the officers of the different posts, were eminently judicious. Each officer was admonished to keep up a good understanding with all the Indian nations, but especially with those residing near his post, or coming thither on business. They were also to keep a strict watch, that no injustice was done to the Indians either in trade or otherwise; and all but strictly necessary intercourse between the garrison and the savages was expressly forbidden. The better to conciliate the French inhabitants, interpreters were to be chosen from among that class. They were, moreover, enjoined to keep up a lively correspondence with the officers of the principal posts, especially with the commandant at Detroit-"which," say the instructions, "will enable him to act uniformly, and have good intelligence and knowledge of the disposition of those Indians in whose neighborhood they are posted." In order, also, to prevent abuses in trade, no traders were to be allowed to go to any nation north or ''west of Detroit, except where there was a garrison; and the commandant of each post was to see that every trader, before he was permitted to trade, had a passport either from the superintendent or his deputy, sealed with the Baronet's coat of arms. If these directions were strictly followed, Sir William hoped that those annoyances to which both garrisons and Indians had hitherto been subjected would be removed.
Several more days were occupied in holding informal meetings with different nations, each of whom had some peculiar favor to ask from the Baronet; and on the afternoon of the seventeenth, the latter reembarked upon his homeward journey. Before his departure, that he might reciprocate the many civilities which he had received during his visit at Detroit, he gave a grand dinner to the inhabitants, closing the entertainment with a large ball in honor of the wives and daughters of the officers. On his return, Sir William halted a day at San dusky to examine the proposed site for the blockhouse ; and as there was a direct road from this place to Presque Isle, Mr. Croghan was dispatched to Colonel Bouquet with instructions for the traders at Fort Pitt. At Niagara, which was reached the fifth of October, he was confined several days to his bed by his old wound, but was soon able to proceed by easy stages to Fort Johnson, where he arrived upon the thirtieth of October, as appears by the last entry in his diary:
" Friday, 30th. Fine morning, but smart white frost. Set off at eight o'clock. Dined at Hannis Ecils, and arrived at my house about half after seven at night, where I found all my family well; and so ended my tour-Gloria Deo soli."
The result of the journey was satisfactory. " The western Confederacy of Indians," wrote Sir William, "seem entirely disposed to favor the English; and will not, in my opinion, unless provoked, be ever persuaded to break the peace which I have made with them." 1
1 Manuscript letter; Johnson to Lieutenant Governor Colden, 6th November, 1761.
to James F. Morrison for loaning his book for the purpose of putting it on
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