Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York;
procured in Holland, England and France
by John Romeyn Broadhead, Esq., Agent,
Weed, Pasons and Company, Printers, 1855.

(Note the spelling is from the 18th Century)

Governor Burnet to the Lords of Trade.
[New York Papers, Cc., 96.]

New York 21st Nov(r) 1722

My Lords
I now send your Lordships all the Propositions made to the Indians at Albany by the Governors of Virginia & Pensylvania as well as my own, with the several Answers of the Indians: which I hope have laid such a foundation for a good understanding between the several Provinces in their Management with the Indians as will make them look upon us as a much more powerful people than the French of Canada while they see us united in our Proceedings, whereas the frequent occasions they have had to observe that the Provinces acted upon separate Interests, have been the cheif cause of their unsteadiness and of their fearing the French more than us

The Governor of Virginia having the year before complained to me that the five nations made frequent inroads into that Province contrary to their ancient Treatys made at Albany with Lord Howard of Effingham, Governor of Virginia forty years ago, & which were several times renewed I did then purpose that they should not exceed certain Bounds in their Hunting or warlike expeditions to the Southward so as to keep clear of Virginia to which Proposal the Indians did consent but expected that the Government of Virginia should send them some Person of distinction to renew the Covenant Chain, as they call it that is to give them a fine present to refresh their Memorys Upon my acquainting Coll Spotswood of this he did at last prevail with the Assembly in Virginia to provide for the necessary charge of this Embassy and accordingly came himself to treat with them on this view, first obtaining my approbation with that of the Council of New York, for every single point he proposed, And this is the subject matter of his two days Propositions to the Indians and of their answers in which they perfectly agreed to what he proposed for the Particulars of which I humbly beg leave to refer your Lordships to the Papers themselves which I have distinguished by Titles on the Back

The Governor of Pensylvania found it necessary to give these Indians a meeting upon an unfortunate accident of an Indian of the five Nations, being killed in Pensylvania by a Christian, for whose death he had not sufficient evidence The Offender continued a Prisoner till the Indians desired his enlargement and declared themselves satisfied and this is the subject, of the conference between S(r) William Keith and the five Nations

Though I doubt not but Coll Spotswood & S(r) W(m) Keith will give your Lordships an account at large of these Proceedings, yet as they were transacted in this Province in my own sight. I thought it my duty to do it myself likewise

I had likewise received a Proposal some time ago from the Government of Boston, that they might send Deputys to treat with the five Nations in order to engage them against the Eastern Indians, but finding a great averseness in the Council of this Province that their Deputys should treat with the five Nations unless the particulars were first regulated with the Goverment here & the Government of New England not agreeing to send commissioners to treat with us previously upon the heads to be proposed to the Indians, I found no way but to take this matter wholly upon myself and I accordingly proposed to the Indians the very terms desired by the Government of Boston and have effected the interposition of the five Nations, by messengers now gone from them to Boston & from thence to the Eastern Indians; for which I have the thanks of Governor Shute for making this affair succeed, when he had little reason to expect it, from the indiscretion of some Persons sent from Boston to Albany, which attempted to treat with the five Nations of Indians without the knowledge of this Government which had raised the jealousy here to that Degree, that I had no small difficulty to bring the Council to agree with me in that affair, which however I did at last. And this is the main matter that is new in my treaty with the Indians of the five Nations and I did also enforce what I had recommended to them the year before to avoid all Dependance on Canada, and hearkening to their emissarys and to encourage the Trade from hence with the far Nations which has had good success, and is in a fair way to encrease their being now a constant company resident on the Lake Ontorio, and who have in presence of the French at Niagara sold goods by our Indians hands for half the value that the French used to extort by which they are likely to loose ground to us in that Trade every year. In my last Speech I did in the presence of the two other Governors take notice of the present strong Union and good intelligence, there is between all the Provinces, which shewed itself in their acting in concert in every thing and that they looked on themselves as concerned equally in what was done to any one of them and so renewed the old Covenant in behalf of the whole British Interest, for the particular of all which I must likewise take the liberty to refer your Lordships to the Papers themselves, all which I have annexed together, with my propositions to the River Indians, as we call them who live interspersed among the Inhabitants and are not so numerous or warlike as the five Nations and much more under command, I have also sent their answer to me

When I was at Albany I expected to have fixed the Palatines in their new Settlement which I had obtained of the Indians for them at a very late purchase, but I found them very much divided into Parties and the cunningest among them fomenting their Divisions on purpose that the greatest number might leave the Province and then the great Tract of Land lately purchas(d) would make so many considerable estates to the few Familys that should remain- And with this view they told me that they found the Land was far short of what the Indians had represented it to them and that not above twenty Familys could subsist there which I shewed them was a mere pretence by naming a Tract where 130 Familys live and flourish, which by their own confession was less and no better soil than theirs however since I found it was their humour to undervalue what had been done for them I thought it best to wait till they should of themselves be forward to settle this new Tract rather than to shew too much earnestness in pressing them to it. But as about sixty familys desired to be in a distinct Tract from the rest & were those who had all along been most hearty for the Government I have given them leave to purchase land from the Indians, between the present English settlements near Fort Hunter & part of Canada on a Creek called Canada Creek where they will be still more immediately a Barrier against the sudden incursions of the French, who made this their Road when they last attacked & burned the Frontier Town called Schonectady-The other Palatines have since my return to New York, sent some of their body to desire a warrant of Survey for y(e) New Tract already purchased, which convinces me that I had done right, in not being too ernest in that affair when I was at Albany And indeed in my dealings with those people I find very little gratitude for favors done them, & particularly that those who were best taken care of & settled on good Lands by my Predecessor are the most apt to misrepresent him and this is managed by a few cunning persons among them that lead the rest as they please, who are for the generality a laborious and honest but a headstrong ignorant people

I have now sent your Lordships one private act for the sale of some houses and Lands belonging to Gilbert Livingstone which will not be effectual till confirmed by his Mat(y) & as all the Partys concerned to this act, and it is the only way the Debt to the revenue can be paid by this Gilbert Livingstone, who was the later Farmer of the Excise I hope your Lordships will favor me with an effectual & speedy recommendation of this Act to His May(y) for His Royal Approbation

I intend by the next opportunity to send y(e) Lordships all the other Act pass(d) in this session of the Assembly at New York with some account of them. I should apprehand being tiresome to your Lordships had not your favorable construction of all my former importunity emboldened me to subscribe myself with a great deal of Cheerfulness as well as with the sincerest respect.

Your Lodps mo Obed(t) Servant

sg(d) W. Burnet

1998, -- 2002. Fort Klock Historic Restoration, Indian Castle Church, Berry Enterprises. All rights reserved. All items on the site are copyrighted. While we welcome you to use the information provided on this web site by copying it, or downloading it; this information is copyrighted and not to be reproduced for distribution, sale, or profit.

Contents Introduction Links Home