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NARRATIVE OF THE JOURNEY OF COL. THOMAS PROCTOR,
TO THE INDIANS OF THE NORTH-WEST, 1791.
SERIES II, VOL. IV
COL. PROCTOR'S JOURNAL
Gen. Knox, Secretary of War, to Governor Mifflin
June 25, 1791
Sir: -I have the pleasure herewith to forward you a copy of the narrative of Col. Proctor, in his journey to the Indians of the North-west, for your Information.
I have the honor to be,
With great respect,
Your Excellency's Obed't Serv't,
Secretary of War
His Excellency the Governor of Pennsylvania
NARRATIVE OF COLONEL THOMAS PROCTOR
To the Hon. Major General H. Knox, Secretary of War:
SIR: -The following Diary is respectfully submitted for his inspection, being transacted under his commission, granted to THOMAS PROCTOR, ESQ., of the city of Philadelphia, bearing date March 10th, 1791, accompanied with messages from him to the several Indian nations inhabiting the waters near Lake Erie, the Miamies and the Wabash, the same being intended to the establishment of peace and friendly intercourse between the said nations and the United States of America.
Received a draft from the Secretary of War, on Joseph Howell, Esq., paymaster, for the sum of 600 dollars. Purchased a horse from Richard Hunt, for the use of Captain Houdin, sent as my companion into that country - price £25. 4s. Purchased saddlery from I. Polk, the equipment of two horses as per bill rendered - £16. 11s. Money advanced Captain Houdin, to be accounted for by him, £16. 17s. 6d. M'Fadden's draught of North America, &c., 12s. 6d.; pocket compass, best kind, 16s. 8d.; tin box and oil case, 11s. 3d.; as also two small books and one quire of paper, 9s. 4-1/2d.
Left the city of Philadelphia accompanied by Captain M. G. Houdin under a heavy rain, fully evidencing our intention to stop at no difficulties until we should gain the settlement of Cornplanter, alias Capt. O'Beel, one of the chiefs of the Seneca nation residing on the head-waters of the Allegheny river. Our first setting out was big with difficulties, and foreboded some extraordinary events; for, on crossing the Perkiomen, Captain Houdin's horse, after tasting of the water, (which is customary with him,) laid down in the same, and were both nearly covered. On the horse's rising immediately afterwards, the Captain's foot being fast in the stirrup, the horse made several lashes at him with his hind feet before he could disengage himself, but happily received no other injury. Dined this day at Norrington, paid 9s. 9d.; other contingent expenses, 12s. Staid this night with Major Swaine.
Laying on double soles on a pair of boots, 4s. 9d.; shoeing a horse, 4s.; horse feed, wine and bitters, 4s. 6d.; dinners, &c., at Pottsgrove, 9s. 4-1/2d. Halted for the night at Cimleses' tavern, 13s. 10d.
Breakfasts, &c., at Reading, 9s. 4d.; purchase of a tomahawk, 3s. 9d.; straps of a saddle. Proceeded from thence to Caraher's town, in company with Mr. Potts and Mr. Baird, the latter of which gentlemen informed me, that he was engaged to attend General St. Clair to Fort Washington, whither the General was immediately to proceed, in order to prepare for a campaign against the Miami and other Indians, who are daily committing of murders on the defenseless inhabitants on the frontier settlements. Expenses this night, 15s 10d.
Set forward this morning on our journey by daylight; breakfasted at Orwick's tavern, 6s. 9d.; Hallers, do; refreshments, 5s. 7-1/2d. Halted for the night at Tresher's tavern, expense, 13s. 6d. The roads from Philadelphia hither, nearly impassable, occasioned by the heavy rains that had fallen for several days past, and with some danger we forded the little Schuylkill; and, on this day's journey, we crossed the Blue mountain.
Dined at Leidenburgh's tavern, and was informed that 1,200 acre tract of land that I had purchased of Daniel Rees, in Northumberland, was situated three miles from his house, watered by the Cattawissey, and joining lands of Captain Mason, of Philadelphia. Dinners, and for horses, 11s. 3d. Lay this night at Hughsburgh, at the house of George Knefferbergher. By him, I was informed of twenty-five tracts of land I have on Big Fishing creek, which empties into the east branch of the Susquehanna, about two miles above Hughsburgh. Expenses this night, 18s. 10-1/2d.
Crossed the east branch of the Susquehanna, fed our horses, &c., at Miller's tavern, and paid including ferriages over Fishing creek and shoeing a horse, 17s. 3d. Lay this night at Berwick, a small town, situated on the west side of the Susquehanna. Expenses of the night, 17s. 10d.
Proceeded on our journey up the west side of the Susquehanna, above twelve miles; and in endeavoring to go through the narrows, the river being exceeding high and rapid, had a narrow escape of drowning myself and horse, as was the case with Captain Houdin. With great difficulty we mounted the summit of a steep precipice, being unable to return by the same defile we had attempted to pass through. From this I endeavored to go around the mountain, which lay along the river; and, after having traveled one hour and a half, over the most rugged ground and seeing no end to the ridge of mountains, we shaped our course through the woods, to the place from whence we departed in the morning; and, by the entreaty of our host, the ferryman on the opposite shore of the Susquehanna was prevailed upon to venture over the river with his flat, which he did, with the assistance of four other men, and conducted us across, for which I paid him 15s. Dinners and putting one new shoe on a horse, with other repairs, 13s. 1d. From thence we proceeded on the road for Wilksburg by the way of the mountain path, as dangerous for man and horse as was possible to encounter with; and at 9 o'clock in the night we reached the first house in the settlement of Wyoming; but, there being no feed for our horses, I hired a guide to conduct us to a place to lodge in. Paid for a night's fare, 13. 6d.
Arrived at Wilksburg about eleven o'clock; halted here for the night, in order to rest our horses, which were much fatigued and jaded. I should have mentioned in its place, that I did not open the instructions I had received from the Secretary of War, before my arrival at Reading, owing to an intention with me, that no person, not even any of my family, should know what errand I was sent upon. This threw me exceedingly out of my road and by the worse way; for, had I known that Wilksburg was my route to Cornplanter's I should have went through Bethlehem, which would have been fifty miles nearer than the way I went; spent the afternoon at our lodgings with Colonel Butler and Captain Grubb. The former was an officer in the Connecticut line and stationed here during the late war, for the protection of the frontier inhabitants against the British and Indians, in which station he proved to be a vigilant and brave officer. The latter part of the evening I accompanied Colonel Pickering, prothonotary of the county and late adjutant general of the armies of the United States. Here we equipped ourselves with a tinderbox, flints, steel, &c., paid 4s. 6d.; and for helving a tomahawk and leather sling for same, 4s. 9d. Expenses at Mr. Fells, part of two days, 41s. 8d, and for powder and horn 5s. 7-1/2d. Much snow fell while we remained at this place. Weather extremely cold.
This day we set forward for Captain Waterman Baldwin's; arrived there in the evening; halted for him part of two days as I had orders to take him with me to the residence of the Cornplanter, at which place he was intended to act as instructor of the Indian youth, as also a director in the mode and management of agriculture for the use and benefit of the Indians. This gentleman was made prisoner by Cornplanter during the late war, and was treated by him with remarkable tenderness until legally exchanged. Paid for two bushels of oats and two bags, 13s. 1-1/2d.; washing, 2s. 6d.; expense at Baldwin's, 30s.
Ferriage to Captain Jenkins passing the first narrows of Susquehanna, 7s. 6d. Paid for gammon, bread and Spirits, 32s. 6d. to John Davis. Encamped this evening in the woods thirteen miles from Lahawanock, on the water of Buttermilk falls. This cataract has a beautiful appearance from the river. It falls upward of eighty feet; and the place it issues through on the top of the mountain is about six in width, and its torrent is so strong that it is sufficient to serve many mills at one time.
This place I had the opportunity of examining minutely when going on the expedition with General Sullivan against the savages in the year 1779, at which time I had the command of 214 vessels on the Susquehanna, taking with me the provisions and stores of 6,000 men. We anchored off this cataract in the afternoon of the lst of August, and I landed and passed to the top of the mountain to review so great a curiosity.
The Susquehanna being so extremely high and all the waters leading thereto, compelled us to quit the river road and go by that lately cut (though not cleared) by John Nicholson, Esq., comptroller general of the State of Pennsylvania. We reached the settlement called the Hawbottom, which consisted of about fourteen families, the land exceeding rich, inferior to none about the city of Philadelphia; but the lands between this place and our last encampment were chiefly covered with hemlock timber, cold soil and unfit for culture, and one continued rise for nearly thirteen miles with little intermission. Took dinner at the house of Ebenezer Stephens, and purchased from him two bushels of oats which he had for seed; and having brought it afar off, charged for the same 3s. 9d. per bushel. Paid for three persons eating and feed for the horses, 12s. 6d.; one horse bells, 4s. 6d.; three cakes sugar, 4s. 6d. Encamped this evening with some sugar boilers in a hut not finished. The promoter of this manufactory, which appeared to be very extensive from the number of kettles and apparatus belonging thereto, is the comptroller of the State of Pennsylvania; and the conductor of the works, Mr. John Jones, of Northumberland county. They were unfortunate enough two days before to lose most of their provisions by the oversetting of a canoe in the main branch of the Lahawanock; but, of the provisions we had, we gave to them what we could spare, preserving what we thought would take us to Tioga Point, supposed 86 miles. The taking of this road which is cut about 20 feet in width, the trees lying across the same and in every direction, was not a matter of choice but necessity; for the river road was impassable. By the taking of this we escaped some deep waters.
We arrived at the cabin of Richard McNemara, fed our horses with the corn that we brought with us, for we had none but about two quarts for his own use; they, however, provided us with a dish of rye coffee, made fine with the pole of an axe on a smooth stone, and maple sugar as bright and as well tasted as the best 8d sugar in Philadelphia; and, as they deemed it would be charity to us, they gave of the juice of the maple, which appeared as clear as the limpid stream and pleasant to the taste and deemed very wholesome; paid for eating, 3s. 9d. We were obliged to encamp early this afternoon under a very heavy storm of rain, thunder and lightning, and what is very remarkable, the snow was in general fifteen inches deep on the ground.
We still traveled by the way of Nicholson's road, till we reached the one cut by Mr. Ellicott, geographer to the United States, which leads to the great bend on the east branch of the Susquehanna, and to describe the same it is hardly possible, but to say the least of them, there is none can equal them for height of mountains, and swampy valleys. Encamped this night ten miles from Tioga Point; heavy rain as usual, our horses worn down and ourselves more than commonly fatigued; had naught to eat ourselves or for our horses; and I may say with propriety, that until we arrived at Tioga, to save our horse we traveled on foot more than half of the way from the town of Reading.
We arrived at the Ferry at Tioga Point, crossed to the flats, paid ferriage, 3s. 9d.; repair of the horse shoes, 5s. From thence we proceeded on our way to Newtown Point, and lodged at the house of Mr. William Wynkoop. At Tioga Point, I was compelled to purchase a pack horse, as the route we had to take from the Painted Post to the Genesee, was not inhabited, which, by computation, was 99 miles. Captain Baldwin also purchased another horse, the better to enable him to carry on the farming business for the Cornplanter, and for which I advanced him 75s., to be accounted for by him in his settlement with the Secretary of War. From hence, I also took a guide named Peter, in his own language Cayautha, there being nothing but a blind path to the Genesee river; so that my retinue, at this time, amounted to three white men, one Indian and five horses. The horse designed as a pack horse, I received on the order of Colonel Holinback, on Mr. Guy Maxwell, his partner in trade at Tioga, for which I drew in favor of them, on my daughter in Philadelphia, £15, for the horse, and for a saddle and bridle, value £3; took up our quarters this night in the company with Mr. Jabez Colloor, a dissenting minister, at the aforesaid Wynkoop's, with whom we spent a most agreeable evening, and, during our conversation together, he enjoined me, in a very becoming manner, should I at any time see the honorable Major General Sullivan, late the commander-in-chief against the Indians, in the year 1779, to tender to him the grateful thanks of himself and his parishioners, inhabitants of the district of Tioga, for opening a way into the wilderness, under the guidance of Providence, to the well doing of hundreds of poor families for life.
Sunday, March 27th.
Dined at Mr. Isaac Baldwin's, and halted for the night, and reviewed the ground on which the British and Indians were entrenched for better than a mile, against the forces under the command of Major General Sullivan. I also saw many traces made by our round and grape shot against them, and a large collection of pieces of 5-1/2 Inch shells, which I had the pleasure of formerly causing to be exploded amongst them. Expenses at Mr. Baldwin's for present diet, provisions and forage, 53s. 10d.
Took breakfast at William Dunn's; for four persons, 6s.; oats and spirits, 4s. 7-1/2d.; also one chain halter for a horse, 20s. From thence we proceeded to the Painted Post, or Cohocton, in the Indian language; dined and refreshed our horses, it being the last house we should meet with ere we should reach the Genesee river. Addition of stores for ourselves and horses, 36s. 11d.; present dining, 14s. 3d.; four new horse shoes, &c., 6s. 9d.; spirits, 1s. 10-1/2d. Here I was joined company by a Mr. George Slocum, who followed us from Wyoming, to place himself under our protection and assistance, until we should reach the Cornplanter's settlement, on the head waters of the Allegheny, to the redeeming of his sister from an unpleasing captivity of twelve years, to which end he begged our immediate interposition. On the leaving the Painted Post, we entered the Warrior's path, lying on the north-east side of the Tioga river. We had not gone above five miles up the same before we fixed our encampment, having completed thirty-five miles this day, which was more than we had done any one day, within seventeen days, since we left the city, it having rained or snowed every day since, and the worst of roads to encounter with, for, as we passed over mountains and valleys, the frosts were just mellowed enough to admit our falling through in some places, knee depth to the horses; rained this night as usual.
Continued our route by the aforesaid path this day through level land, covered chiefly with hemlock timber, and interspersed with sugar tree bottoms and through which we frequently encountered, with deep sloughs and morasses. In one of them which had the appearance of a long pond, variegated with shrubbery, Captain Baldwin, while leading our forage horse, was by a sudden check, brought backwards from the horse he was riding and immersed in the water, so as to be entirely covered. The same fate had nearly happened to myself, my war horse's feet fastening between two trees which lay on the bottom, of which he fell. All this night we had rain, and with much difficulty could light a fire, at the same time piercing cold.
We began our journey before sunrise, the usual time of our moving, and on the way we discovered in many places fine land; the timber chiefly sugar tree maple and beech, and on this day we passed three principal mountains, the last of which, the Allegheny, that divides the Tioga river from the Coshequa. The latter river runs through a fine flat, resembling much the flats below Tioga; here Captain John resides, and one white family only. I did not see the chief, he being from home a hunting; I should have premised that the course of the Warrior's path gives a traveler a sight of the river Tioga, upwards of sixty miles, and by such a way I would never desire to travel again. The next principal water we crossed, is called, in the Indian language, Connesserago, from whence it is called twelve miles to the Genesee river, where we were conducted by our Indian guide to the house of Captain Ebenezer Allen, about ten o'clock at night, having rode hard and constant to reach it, both our horses and ourselves much fatigued. I purchased from an Indian squaw one and a half bushels corn, at the rate of one dollar and a half per bushel and refused to let me have any more at a less price; adding that the white people had made them pay more the last year, when a scarcity of corn was among them; and that at this place there was neither hay nor grass for our horses to exist upon.
This morning I found myself in a settlement of Indians, called the Squawkey tribe, but a branch of the Seneca nation; having no interpreter with me, I wrote a letter directed to Captain Allen, or Horatio Jones, and sent it by a runner by the way of Connewago, or at such a place where he could meet with either of them, requesting that whosoever received it should repair to Squawkey Hill to meet me; and should they meet any Indian chiefs or warriors, to invite them to meet me also, having business of importance from General Washington, the President of the United States, to lay before their nation. I at the same time despatched two other runners, one to go to the several sugar camps adjacent to give them the like information, and the other to repair to the habitations of Captain Big Tree and Little Beard, who resided about seven miles from hence and deemed to be principal chiefs. To each I paid one dollar for their services. By the middle of the afternoon and in the evening, several Indian warriors and chiefs arrived at Mr. Allen's habitation; amongst the latter, Captain Little Beard, Stump Foot, and the Black Chief; said Stump Foot being the leader of the Squawkey settlement, residing on the high lands above the Genesee river, and from which bluff commands a beautiful landscape of the great flats on the Genesee, being in width about four miles, and the length from Carahaderra about forty-seven miles towards Lake Ontario, where the said river empties into it; the soil exceeding rich, the land as level as a bowling green, beautifully interspersed with groves of trees, some of three acres and not more than five.
Mr. Horatio Jones, Indian interpreter, arrived this morning, and about eleven o'clock there were thirty odd Indians collected agreeable to my invitation. And shortly afterwards, I convened them into council, and introduced my message by some prefatory sentiments, touching on the candor and justice of the United States and of the unexampled conduct of his Excellency the President, in the late interview he had with the Cornplanter and others, who appeared as representatives in behalf of the Six Nations, by restoring unto them all their lands, which they feared were held from them by the power of the United Stated, by which act of his goodness, their situations in life were made comfortable, and as lasting as they should demean themselves as faithful friends to the United States, and by such a becoming deportment, it would entail lasting happiness to their children's children. This simple introduction being ended, I read the message to them from the honorable Secretary of War; having ended the same, they signified their full approbation, in their accustomed manner. For the particulars of their answer, which was delivered by Captain Little Beard, their principal speaker. [See speech #1 at conclusion.]
Captain Little Beard in the close of his speech, acquainted me that their great warrior, Captain O'Beel, or Gyantawanka in the Indian language, had arrived at Pittsburgh from Philadelphia, and sent out runners from thence to summon the chiefs and warriors of the Six Nations at Buffalo, where he desired that the great council fire might be kindled, and where he should lay before them all the business that had been done by him at Philadelphia, and the public papers and documents which he had received from the Six Nations from the President of the United States, the Secretary of War, and from the Governor of the State of Pennsylvania. This information induced me to prepare myself for going to Buffalo in the morning instead of continuing my route to O'Beel's town, and urged it upon them in a very pressing manner that they would accompany me on this deserving errand to Buffalo, as its design was big with advantages to every Indian on the continent. Five of them immediately offered to attend Captain Houdin and myself and chiefs of the first notoriety in this settlement, and accordingly appointed a sugar camp eight miles distant the place of meeting in the morning, where they must go and acquaint their people of this hasty departure.
I now made the necessary inquiry whether it was easy to obtain a good interpreter at Buffalo or otherwise; and being informed that there were no interpreter there but those under British pay and establishment, I conceived it a duty incumbent on me to engage Mr. Jones as being a proper person for my business from the reputation he bore from inquires I had made, and I accordingly agreed with him in the behalf of the United States, to pay him the customary wages so long as I should find occasion for his services.
Having for the best part of two days caused provisions to be provided for myself and people and for several Indians who lived at a considerable distance from here, and at a considerable expense to Mr. Allen and much trouble to his family, I proposed to make him restitution by payment which he modestly refused, adding, that I was going into a country where I would have occasion for my money; I therefore treated his politeness in that manner which I thought would least offend him, by saying he must receive at my hand in Philadelphia a best beaver hat and four dollars' worth in any thing Mrs. Allen should choose to send for, estimating the whole at eleven dollars, for which I hold myself in honor bound to perform. Paid for 2-1/2 bushels corn to Mr. Forrest, 12s. 1d,; amount of Jno. Jones' bill, flour, spirits, and stores laid in for O'Beel's town, 35s. 7d.
Departed from the council fire at Squawkey Hill to proceed by the way of Tanawandy, to Buffalo, presumed distance between 90 and 100 miles; but, agreeable to my promise to the chiefs yesterday, I had to call for them at their sugar encampment. On my way thither, I stopped at the hut of Stump Foot, with the Black Chief, who accompanied me, just at the instant that a runner had arrived there from Buffalo creek, who brought the information that the council fire at that place had been quenched by the direction of the chiefs who had lighted the same, at the instance of O'Beel's message to them, and the same fire was to be covered for one moon, in the words following which he received from the great council, directed to the chiefs and warriors in this settlement, viz:
"BROTHERS: We know from our former intimation to you to meet us here, that you are just now rising from your seats with your backs bent bearing your loaded hoppas; but on hearing us speak, you must sit down again on your seats and remain there for one moon, until you shall hear that our great warrior, O'Beel, (alias Gyantawanka in the Indian,) shall arrive at Buffalo and light it again."
Upon this sudden information to me, and their determination to continue as above directed, I concluded to change my route from this place, and go for the Oil Spring near which the Cornplanter has his residence, and of which intention of mine, I immediately informed them and added, that should I be so happy as to meet him at home, I would use every possible endeavor to bring forward to Buffalo, Captain O'Beel and his chiefs in order to rekindle the council fire, as my intended interview with the chiefs of the Six Nations would have the most happy effect by being instrumental in preserving the lives of many hundreds of our fellow men, when staying one moon longer might prove forever too late. On these remarks we parted, and I proceeded with my people to a village eight miles distant, called Nondas, and halted for the night at the hut of a white woman who had been with the savages from her infancy, and had borne to one of them nine children, all of whom were living. Two of her daughters I have seen, possessing fair features, bearing the bloom upon their cheeks and inclining to the side of beauty; and her second son had lately been adopted a sachem and styled the promoter of peace. Paid for two cakes, sugar and Indian bread, 7s. 6d. Snow this day and excessive cold.
Sunday, April 3d.
Arrived this day at an Indian village called Canaseder, situated on a high bluff of land, over-looking the Genesee river. It consisted of about 30 houses, and some of them done in a way that showed some taste in the workmen. The town was vacated by its inhabitants principally, save only one squaw and a young girl, who were left as guards to the interest of others, who were out providing sugar for their general stock. In this place was erected a wooden statue, (or deity,) fashioned like a fierce looking sage. This form they worship by dancing before it on certain festive occasions or new moons, looking on it as through a veil or assistant, whereby they pay adoration to the Supreme Spirit, as knowing it hath a form, but not a substance. This day we were compelled to swim our horses three times over the Genesee river, and at one of the crossings, Captain Houdin's horse took down the current with him and could not steer him to the intended shore, having crossed the reins of his bridle at mounting, and were it not that he had left the horse to his own management, (by our entreaties,) and our Indian guide rushing into the water to his assistance, and the horse turning for him, the Captain must have certainly drowned in the current, which was excessively rapid a little lower down.
This morning we again swam our horses over the same river, and had the assistance of a canoe, for which I paid 3s. 9d. and crossed it again 10 miles higher up, near the emptying of a small lake. Here, likewise, we had the assistance of a canoe to carry over our saddles, &c. Paid for the same, 3s. 9d. At this village resides a Mr. James Latta, a trader, from whom I purchased bread and sugar, the latter to answer the end of meat, as likewise some spirits, for which I paid him 16s. 11d. From this place we had scarcely the trace of a path, and took up our encampment for the night at an old Indian encampment, where the covering of their wigwams served to shelter us from the inclemency of the weather.
We gained an Indian settlement called Obhishew situate on the waters of Oil creek, the emptying of which into the Allegheny about two hundred yards below the hut; in crossing the Oil creek at a very steep shelving place, my horse fell backward into the water; I happily disengaged myself from falling under him, but got wet through all my clothes. We then entered the cabin of an old Seneca chief who called himself Captain Joseph Hays; I knew him well thirty-two years before at Fort Pitt, and he professed having some small recollection of me, spoke English well, and finding him conversant I gave him to understand the business I was on to the Six Nations, and of the assistance I expected to receive from them as friends to the Thirteen Fires. He seemed very cheerful upon the occasion, and assured me that I should see him at Buffalo as soon as the council fire should be lighted by O'Beel. From him I bought two hams of fresh venison and Indian bread without any salt, for we had none in our possession, not dreaming of it being so scarce and precious an article in this country. We encamped this night at the great bend of the Allegheny, (so called,) on a tract of fine level land covered with plum trees in abundance. At this place we discovered the ruins of a number of Indian huts forming regularly with each other like a streetway. This place was formerly called by the Indians Dunewangua.
This morning having advanced about 4 miles, we met two Indian runners going with belts and speeches from the Cornplanter, alias O'Beel, to the Indians resident in the upper towns, at the head water of the Allegheny, to inform them that several of the Delaware Indians were killed by the white people, said to be a recruiting party of Virginians, near Fort Pitt. The said Indians informed us, That the Indians who had escaped the catastrophe that their brothers had fallen into, turned their resentment for the injury their nation had received, on the white inhabitants who resided on the Allegheny, some miles above Pittsburgh, and killed and scalped 17 in number; that several of the bodies were partly destroyed by fire; that at the same time this mischief happened, Captain O'Beel, the New Arrow chief, and several other chiefs of the Senecas, as also the commanding officer of Venango coming up in the garrison boat and in canoes from Pittsburgh, were overtaken by a party of militia who threatened them with instant death, which was happily prevented, but forcibly carried back the garrison boat and canoes, with all the property purchased by Cornplanter for his nation.
Having at this time no path to go by, and having to keep by the meanders of the Allegheny, made the way lengthy and disagreeable. I therefore desired by interpreter to request that one of them would return with me to O'Beel's town, and as they would by that means be separated, I would give to each, one dollar as a consideration for their trouble. They having acceded to by desires, I paid them 15s., and our guide conducted us in safety, at about 10 o'clock at night, to O'Beels's town, called, in the Indian language, Tenachshegouchtongee, or the burnt house. This town is pleasantly situated on the north side of the river, and contains about 28 tolerable well built houses; and the one which they had selected for me and my followers to reside in, was commodiously fitted up, with births to sleep in, and uncommonly clean; and provided us for the night with plenty of provisions, such as boiled venison and dumplings.
Matters were no sooner arranged than I desired by interpreter to have the chiefs collected where I could speak to them; upon which we found that all the chief and warriors of the town had gone on to Venango, hearing that their head warrior O'Beel, and their sachem, the New Arrow, were forced to take sanctuary in Fort Franklin, (one of our garrisons,) for the protection of their lives; that none remained in the town on this account, but three very old men, the women and children. That such was their fears as we were approaching this town, of which they had information, that they all assembled at their place of worship, believing it was near the hour of their dissolution, and they had called on their God to help them; but being happily informed by our guide of the good intentions we were come upon, they came to make us welcome. I then desired that they would furnish me with a canoe and a guide, to conduct me to the place where I could meet with O'Beel and his people, being desirous of going forward immediately, and that I should, without doubt, be the instrument of bringing their chiefs and warriors to them in a few days. Upon which, they sent five miles to procure me a canoe, and by day light, two young Indians attended me, with whom my interpreter and Captain Baldwin went for French creek, distant about one hundred and thirty miles, and arrived on the 8th day of April, about four in the afternoon, as we worked our canoe by turns all night. Cash paid at New Arrow town, corn for horses, 15s; hire of a canoe and Indians to carry me to French creek, 37s., and 6d; provisions, &c., 13s and 1d.
I no sooner arrived at the garrison on French creek, than I received a visit from Cornplanter, and those Indians who accompanied him at Philadelphia, who professed the greatest happiness to see me, being under the greatest anxiety of mind for the safety of the New Arrow, who was carried in the garrison boat to Pittsburgh, in the forcible manner before related; saying, at the same time, that the whole of their goods were taken from them, which they never expected to recover; that, in this distressed situation, they had not a second shirt to put on. I hereupon used every argument I was master of, to appease the fears they entertained on account of the absence of the New Arrow, as I could not believe that the inhabitants of Pittsburgh would offend, or suffer him to be ill treated; and should any, or the whole of their goods be squandered, by the unwarranted conduct of the militia, that I should make it my duty to present the same to the Secretary of War, who would cause most ample justice to be done them; that on the morrow, I would write to the commanding officer at Pittsburgh to have their sachem, the New Arrow, conducted in safety to this place, as, also, their goods, as I could not possess a belief that any waste would be committed upon them. I therefore desired him, without loss of time, to bring with him into the garrison all the head-men of the nations then present, so that I might inform them of the message I was charged with, from his Excellency, the Secretary of War to the Six Nations, by which means they would be the better able to understand what I had to say to them, before my meeting them in general council tomorrow. Upon this Captain O'Beel left me, and soon after summoned the chiefs presents, eleven in number, who met me in the garrison, by permission of Lieutenant Jeffers, and in the fullest manner, I gave them the necessary information. After some time spent on this business, I adjourned and proposed meeting them again in the forenoon, and of which I desired that they might inform their people, so that none might be absent.
I crossed French creek to their encampment about eleven o'clock, where I found them prepared to receive me, about seventy-five in number, exclusive of women, children and youth; in the whole one hundred and eighty. I read first the message to the Seneca nation, from the Secretary of War; and after explaining the principles upon which it was founded I read to them the message from Governor St. Clair to the Wyandot and Delaware tribes, who were deemed and observed to be friends to the United States. Here I thought it my duty to explain to them the force of my message to the Indians, who were carrying on their wanton depredations and cruelties on the defenseless inhabitants resident near the Ohio; assuring them that it was the last solemn warning, should they refuse to accept the terms of peace now proffered to them that they could lay hold of, until done by a decisive stroke of a superior army just ready to go forward to conquest and be routed out of a country which they might otherwise possess and enjoy in undisturbed tranquillity.
That, with this present council it rests to save those misguided people on the Miamies and Wabash from the destruction that is just ready to fall upon and crush them; and the better to effect so laudable an undertaking, let there be selected from amongst you any number of your chiefs and warriors, no more than fifteen, nor less than five, to guide and accompany me to the Miamies; as by our going from hence, we shall save the distance of four hundred miles, if not compelled to go to Buffalo creek, and, by this act, you will fully complete the end of my message to the Seneca nations, and for your services you shall receive ample rewards from the United States and do honor to your nation.
Hereupon they requested of me to retire from them, and those white persons who attended me, so that what I had said might be the more fully digested by them. We left them for about one hour and a half, when a chief came to inform me that they were desirous of seeing me again at their fire. I accordingly attended, and Captain O'Beel was appointed to acquaint me with the determination of their council, which briefly was, that they could not agree to my request of going directly to the Miamies, as they must determine on that business in full council of the Six Nations at Buffalo creek. Seeing, therefore, that I had no other alternative but by going to Buffalo, I requested, then, that they would prepare themselves to leave this place and proceed for Buffalo on tomorrow, which they readily complied with. [For Cornplanter's (O'Beel's) address to me upon this occasion, see speech #2 at conclusion.]
I immediately from hence retired to the garrison to prepare a letter for his Excellency, Governor St. Clair, through which I gave, in detail, a circumspect account of every material transaction since my arrival in the Indian country; enclosed to him the speeches of Little Beard and Cornplanter, thereby to enable him to judge of the obstructions that had fallen in my way, which, with others that I might probably have to encounter, would be a means of exceeding the time limited by the Secretary of War for my meeting him at Fort Washington, on the Ohio, after passing through the country of the Miamies and Wabash Indians, to which nations my mission was principally intended to the restoration of peace between them and the United States.
During the time I remained at Fort Franklin, I received every mark of attention and respect from the Commandant, Lieutenant John Jeffers of the Connecticut line; and I think it but proper to name it in this place. A few days previous to my arrival at this Fort, the inhabitants resident at Conneyat and on French creek, were driven into the garrison, as also those at Cassawaga and obliged to leave behind them their habitations and effects possessed of every requisite for the comforts of life. David Mead, Esq., formerly of Wyoming settlement, with three of his brothers and their families, were of the number of these unfortunate people. At Venango, I was called upon by a white prisoner, named Nicholas Deanhoat, to give him a blanket, as he wanted one much; I did so, and paid for the same, 18s. 9d. He was dressed in the Indian garb, and what I was grieved to see, his ears were cut around and each hung with considerable weight of lead, designed to stretch them to a proper length. He acquainted me that his friends lived in Schenectady; his father lately dying, left him a considerable sum of money, I urged him to go around with me on my tour, and on our arrival at Philadelphia, I would give him decent apparel, and subsistence while going to his relatives, but he declined it, saying that he could not live so agreeable with the white people as with the Indians. Contingent expenses, mending my sword, two pair moccasins, washing bill, &c., 34s. 4d.; hire of two Indians, from hence to O'Beel's Town, 45s.
Agreeably to the arrangement made by me at the general council yesterday, we set out from French creek, to go up the Allegheny river with thirty canoes, leaving at the same time, with Lieutenant Jeffers, for the defense of the garrison, fifteen Indians, to act as scouts for the garrison, as occasion should require - the garrison being very weakly manned at this time, only for the addition made to it by the inhabitants; neither had they any flour, on account of the detention of the garrison boat, before spoken of, but what was supplied by David Mead, Esq., who had brought from his mills at Conneyat, a sufficient quantity, as, likewise, some hundred gallons of whiskey, which he dealt out to the garrison and inhabitants as they required it.
Halted this night at Oil creek, about eight miles from the garrison. Lieutenant Jeffers came to us at this place, about twelve o'clock at night, and brought with him certain letters that he had received from Pittsburgh that evening, with verbal messages he had received through the express, by which means the Indians were informed, that some of their canoes were plundered of what they contained, but that the garrison boat was returning with their chief, the new Arrow, &c., under the escort of Major Hart, with a proper guard. The news of the canoes being plundered, gave rise to apparent disgust in most of the countenances of the Indians, saving that of Cornplanter's, who received it with that composure that he was usually wont to do. Upon the whole it gave me to fear, that this rude piece of conduct of our militia had damped the zeal of those whom I yesterday conceived were engaged to serve agreeable to my desires. I, however, undertook to give them assurances, that, even should their goods have been plundered, as verbal report gave it, I would use every possible means to have every article replaced; and that, therefore, I earnestly entreated then to dispel those fears for a few days, having in their presence, enjoined Lieutenant Jeffers to forward an express to me, at the castle of O'Beel, and to write me fully, every matter that took place; and to obtain another letter from Major Hart, with whom they were well acquainted, to authenticate the same; and that whatsoever the result should prove, I would faithfully communicate the contents to them. Upon this promise, about ten o'clock in the forenoon of Monday, the 11th of April, we silently began to load our canoes, and shortly after, took up the line of march, O'Beel taking the lead. I held it proper to take my place next to his canoe, to stimulate him to press forward on his journey, ere we could reach Buffalo creek. We arrived this evening at an old Indian settlement called Hog's town; we had much rain this night, and very cold.
I was invited this morning to breakfast with Captain O'Beel, his squaw, &c. Our repast, boiled chestnuts, parched meal sweetened; his daughter made us some tea also, which she put into an open kettle when the water was cold and being boiled in that manner without any cover to the kettle it became very dirty and disagreeable to the taste; but, of the chestnuts, I partook sufficiently. Finding this morning by an Indian who had lately left the garrison, that several canoes loaded had deserted our little fleet, the Indians, being under much intoxication, had returned there again; in consequence thereof I wrote the commanding officer by an express, requesting him to cause the Indians, who were designed to go forward with O'Beel, to quit the garrison and proceed. To express, 11s. 3d.
This day, about one o'clock, we arrived at the Munsee settlement where all the canoes came to at, in order to rest and prepare our dinners. Immediately after we had landed, and what appeared very strange to me, several Indian women cameforward with kettles full of boiled corn and bear's meat, and placed it before Captain O'Beel, whom they had heard was approached with his people. This being done, each family of a canoe, (as in each were women and children,) approached with their kettles without any signal being made to receive their stipend; and, to do which, an old squaw was appointed to act as an issuing commissary, who dealt it out in proportions so justly, that each went away fully satisfied. Captain O'Beel requested of my interpreter to inform me, it was expected that I would partake of what was prepared; I did so accordingly to prevent displeasure, but with the weakest appetite. Expenses at this place for eatables, 22s. 6d.; one gallon of whiskey for O'Beel and his people who accompanied me, 15s. After the whole had refreshed themselves, O'Beel informing the Delawares the business I was on, I was invited to their council fire, of which council Captain Snake was the principal; about thirty of the Delawares were present. I spoke a few words to them introductory to my reading Governor St. Clair's message to their nations residing on the waters near Lake Erie; the same message being directed to the Captain Pipe as the principle chief of that tribe. Shortly after this discourse was ended, Captain Snake spoke through his interpreter to mine, as the person I had could not speak the Delaware tongue, and its contents are as follows:
"BROTHER: -We are thankful to God for the safe arrival of our brother amongst us, and we are glad to see him with such good intentions, and of the good news he brings. It makes us feel warm in our hearts and easy in our minds, that such confidence is placed in our nation. But the request he makes of us, to go with him to Buffalo, we cannot give an immediate answer to, as all our head men are not present; moreover, we want to talk with him and them together, and now we give him the kind invitation of your staying with us all night, and it is likely we shall then help him to the council fire, where he now aks us to go to, and our chiefs shall be sent for."
Here O'Beel spoke, and aided my proposition; and, as I was full sensible of his friendship, I took his counsel, before I should determine on staying in this town. And, finally, judging of it to be a sure means of securing them to go to Buffalo with us, I consented; and of which they being informed, they sent off runners for their chiefs and warriors, while we still remained in the council-house.
At 9 o'clock at night, Capt. O'Beel, the Delaware chiefs, and Senecas, called me into council, when Captain Snake's interpreter gave his speech as follows: "Uncle, (for this is the term given by the Delawares to the Senecas,) God has been good to us this day, for we have each heard the good talk sent from the great Chief of the Thirteen fires; and we have ever said, that we would advise each other of everything that we heard, that was bad or that was like to befall either of our nations. Now, uncle, we have determined to go with you and your brother, who brings to us these good tidings, to Buffalo, and there meet our nations at the great council fire. Blood may fall upon us while we are going, but now we give you our hands as we promised, and we will lie down and will rise together." [Here a belt of wampum was given, consisting of five strings, which Capt. O'Beel viewed in his hand a short time, and then presented it to me.] Captain Snake again repeated: "Uncle, in three days we move our women and children, and all that we have, to your towns; they are to remain with your women until our return." In the course of his speech, he also mentioned that their people expected to receive a stroke from the Messasagoes, a part of that nation who were led to war by their brothers.
Our fleet set out from Hickory town and reached Log-trap creek, 10 miles distant, and encamped. Rained the whole night, and not a day thread of clothes on myself or companions.
Proceeded up the river this day, took up our encampment near the mouth of the Casyonding creek, it being the place where Colonel Broadhead, in the year 1779, had fought against the savages; and in which action, Joseph Nicholson, his interpreter, was wounded.
Being very unwell this morning and overtaken with rheumatism pains, and to such a degree that I was obliged to have assistance to convey me from my canoe to the fire, same time being cold and rainy, I informed Cornplanter that I should leave his fleet and proceed to his lower town to procure some assistance; and I arrived there some time in the night, after a very laborious day's work to the Indians; the current of the river being so very much against us at this place. I applied to an Indian doctor, who prepared poultices of roots and herbage, and applied it to my foot, the power of which over the parts affected, threw it into my knee, which produced the most exquisite pain; and I perceptibly felt that it shortened the sinews under my ham, into which I applied it no more; fearing the consequences might be fatal to me for life. About eight miles about the encampment, where I left O'Beel, I came to a large river called the Conawango; and, at its emptying into the Allegheny, is said to contain as much water as flows in the other river, above it. At the confluence of these two rivers, the Government of Pennsylvania have laid out a manor of 3,000 acres, and up the said river (Conawango) to an Indian town called Cayantha, or the corn fields, are extraordinary rich lands, of which survey was made by David Rittenhouse, Esq., of the city of Philadelphia, some time since. The Indians whom I hired at Venango, to bring me to O'Beel's town, (there being two called by his name,) drew so nice a distinction, that they chose the first and lower town, and insisted that this was the town they intended to come to, and not the other, and should I require their assistance to go to the upper town, I must pay to each one dollar, (fifteen shillings.) The terms being agreed upon, we proceeded to the upper town aforesaid, by some called the New Arrow's town, being the name of the head sachem of that place. At this town I left Captain Houdin, Indian Peter, the guide which I brought from near Tioga Point, also our horses, when I departed from thence to Venango, on the 7th of April, and found the Captain in an enfeebled state of health, owing entirely to the hardships he underwent before his arrival at this place.
At this town I meet in company with Captain Houdin, a French gentleman from Montreal, by the name of Dominick de Barge, who had followed the Indian trade in this country for six years past, and who lost by the same a considerable fortune by the credits he had given to some of the Indians, &c.; with them I found also, a Mr. Culbertson, a trader from Genesee; and it gave me pleasure to find that the Captain was not altogether alone, he seeming to have an aversion in general, to the company of Indians.
This day the canoes, which I left on the 15th, arrived here, and brought news which they had received from an Indian runner, that, on Wednesday last, the 13th, the New Arrow and his associates, with the garrison boat, arrived at Fort Franklin, having suffered no damage in their persons, nor loss of their merchandise, as was reported, which belonged to Cornplanter and other Indians, but two or more cases of gin, taken by the militia, for which Squire Wilkins, of Pittsburgh, caused restitution to be made them. Settled with Mr. James Culbertson, for supplies for my people and horses, during my absence, 44 shillings York, Pennsylvania, 41-3/4.
An express arrived here from the New Arrow, advising that they must send down to him, at Fort Franklin, a certain number of canoes, sufficient to carry the goods brought forward by Cornplanter, from Philadelphia. Finding, from experience, that the Indians were exceeding slow in putting matters in motion, which I held to be important, and slothful to the last degree, I wrote immediately by the return of the canoes to Franklin, to request that the commanding officer would lend them every assistance necessary to their being forwarded to this place, as I was well informed by a person that I employed upon the occasion, to know the general intention of the chiefs, that not one of them would go for Buffalo, with me, until they should see his safe return. This afternoon the canoes, which had loitered on the way, arrived, and by which I was informed that the Delaware and Munsee Indians, at Hickory town, were moving with their stock, &c., to Catteraugus.
O'Beel and chiefs arrived here from the lower town, and ordered their conch shell to be sounded through the village, to summon their head-men into council. After some time spent therein, the whole of them adjourned to my hut, being confined, to pay me and my friend Capt. Houdin, their compliments, as having come to visit them in their settlements under such friendly intentions. Nothing more material this day. But dancing was carried on the major part of the night, assisted by drumming, songs, &c.
An express arrived from Buffalo creek, informing that the fire of the Six Nations had been lighted by a number of chiefs and warriors, and that they had been stirring it long, to keep it alive, waiting for the sachems of the Senecas, and their brothers who were sent by the Great Chief of their Thirteen Fires, whom we want to hear speak with us. It is likewise our desire, that all writings received at Philadelphia, from the great chief, Honondaganius, (General Washington,) may be brought forward with them so that the great council may hear the contents. On receiving this public message, I was requested by O'Beel and the other chiefs to write an answer to this message, on their behalf, as hearing that Colonels Butler and Brandt were at Buffalo, waiting our coming. I complied, agreeable to their request, and directed the same to the Farmers Brother, Kuyasutta and Red Jacket, chiefs of the Six Nations, at Buffalo creek.
This morning the whole town were preparing to have a grand feast, to return thanks to the Great Keeper of all men, for their being spared to meet once more together; several of the chiefs called upon us to give us the invitation to be present, while they should perform divine worship in their way, adding, that Indians worshiped one Supreme head, the Preserver of all, both white and red men. Their speaker advised us, also, to be prudent while they worshiped, and not to be guilty of laughing or gestures, though the manner of it might differ widely from our own mode of worship; he likewise told us, that we must bring with us our ear, (the interpreter) to testify that they taught the true principles, by moral precept, and that their teachers both men and women, admonished their hearers against thieving, lying and speaking lightly of one another.
The manner of their preparing for worship is, that, in every house, they provide large quantities of such provisions as they think proper to bring with them, and the more varied the better, so that they may have a little of every sort, and none of the same returns to that house again; their method being to exchange their victuals on the ground, eating that which was brought by their neighbor; thus prepared, they proceed to the statue, which was erected in the centre of the village, bearing some proportion to a man, and justly painted as the Indians are in coming, but having no weapon of war about him, intimating that he was the maintainer of peace. This figure is about nine feet in height, and stood on a pedestal of about twelve feet, having on breech clout leggings and a sash over its shoulders, and a very terrible appearance. Under this statue were placed two chiefs termed the women's speakers, each of these held in their hands the shell of a large tortoise, the belly part covered with a thin skin stretched very tight, having, in the inside, several small stones, which shells being struck upon a deer skin which is stretched between them, beating time together, accompanying the same with their voices, they made such melody that the whole of the assembly were delighted. The old and young women dance round in a circle, the image in the centre, the men following them, using gestures that would have made a saint laugh had he forgotten that he was in a place of worship; but the women looked meek and humble while they moved in concert in the dance, sliding their feet sideways, and folding their hands before them in a half circle, looking at the same time steadfastly on the ground inclining their heads to the left. The last of worship was performed to what they call a brag dance; the young warriors retire to a house adjacent where are paints, feathers and red clay; with the two former they ornament their heads with feathers and their faces with paint, and their bodies with reddish clay that give their skins all the same cast; some with one-half their faces black and the other red, in order to look more terrible; for in this manner they go to war. When all matters are thus adjusted and ready to sally from their show-box, their leader gives a long yell such as when a scalp is taken; and on the third being given, it is re-echoed by the whole rushing forward at the same time to the place of worship, while they dance round the statue, throwing their bodies and heads in every curious attitude, and brag, alternately, of all the cruelties they had exercised in war, of prisoners taken and of thefts committed on their enemies, and of many other exploits never performed. In the evening of the day, Captain O'Beel and other chiefs told me that they would be ready to go with me to Buffalo Creek in the morning if I thought proper; the information gave me the most heartfelt satisfaction, and I acquainted him that I was ready to depart at any hour they should agree to go, as much precious time had been wasted since my arrival at this place from the Genesee country.
I closed my letters this day for his Excellency the Secretary of War, and a second letter for Governor St. Clair, (having wrote him the first from Venango,) and forwarded the same by a white prisoner, named Nicholas Deamhout, and for which I drew on the commandant at Fort Franklin to pay him to the value of 37s. 6d. in such articles as could be spared from the garrison; paid Indian Peter for services from Newtown Point to O'Beel's town, 22s. 6d.; to mess expense from the 16th to the 23d, including horse feed, £6 18s. 3d.; do, a white prisoner at Cattaragus, 11s. 3d.; she informs me that she is a sister to Henry Kepple, in Market street, born in Germany; her husband, a Lieutenant Groves of the Royal Americans, was killed at Venango in the year 1761; had been prisoner ever since, but too old and enfeebled to leave them; she informed me that she was truly poor; which I had apparent reason to believe, and I mean to inform her friends of the same, which in the cause of my making this minute, as knowing her brother was under wealthy circumstances. Hire of a horse for my servant to Buffalo, and loss of a bell, 15s.; to house and fire wood expense, at New Arrow's town, 15s.; Indian doctor's bill, 11s. 3d.; one pair of old shoes and buckles, 11s. 3d.; cash for an Indian kettle taken away by some of the Indians, 7s. 6d.
We left O'Beel's town about 12 o'clock and proceeded with a few chiefs and warriors, (the whole not being ready to depart with us,) taking the route for Buffalo, through a village called Cattaragus, which we did not reach before the 25th, in the evening; and on our way thither, passed through a settlement of the Delaware or Munsee Indians, in which was about twenty houses. In this place I saw a number of active young men; they being playing the game of bandy wicket, gave me the fairer opportunity of judging; the town of Cattaragus, contains in or near about fifty tolerable houses, bordering on a beautiful river and about two and a half miles from Lake Erie, surrounded by a most beautiful country and excellent land; but the water they have to drink, taken from a pond, is very indifferent. We had arrived but a short time when I caused the chiefs to be summoned into council, and, as thereto, a sentimental speech was delivered by Thyogachee. [See speech #3 at conclusion.] While we remained in this town, they were preparing to bury the daughter of a great chief, and in the house that I was placed, there was a number of the mourners, who appeared under the greatest distress by their cries; during which time, all their heads were covered with their shrouds, but when they had uncovered themselves I did not discover that they had shed one tear. This brought to my recollection the manner of attending wakes in the old country, with the native Irish, where the rich hire old women to lament the loss of the deceased, and to recount all the valuable actions of their past life.
We took up our journey towards Buffalo, and in about five miles going from hence, we came in upon the verge of Lake Erie, which had a beautiful appearance, it being a pleasant morning, and the waters were very serene; and looking over the lake we could just perceive the land at the other side. We traveled along the sandy beach for some miles, but were obliged, at three or four different places, to leave the shore and take to the woods, the rocks having come bluff up to the deep water; from small springs that appeared upon the face of the rocks, it showed that it passed over bodies of mineral, from the hue that it gave; but the greatest curiosity that I had seen was alum lying on the surface of the rocks, of which we might have gathered a pound in a quarter of an hour.
We arrived at Buffalo creek, having traveled through a country of exceeding rich and, from our last encampment, the extent of which I had not been able to ascertain. The Preemptive right to this valuable country was vested in the State of Massachusetts, but at present, the property of the Hon. Robert Morris, of the city of Philadelphia, by a late purchase. The principal village of Buffalo belongs to the Seneca nation, and in it the young King, the Farmer's Brother, resides, as also Red Jacket, the great speaker, and prince of the Turtle tribe. On my entering the town, there were numbers of Indians collected at the hut where we alighted from our horses, and on taking a general view of them, I found that they were far better clothed than those Indians were in the towns at a greater distance, owing entirely to the immediate intercourse they have with the British, being but about thirty-five miles distance from Niagara, and but six miles from Fort Erie, situate on the north side of the lake, from which places they are supplied yearly with almost every necessary they require, so much so, as to make them indifferent in their huntings. And the chiefs, who are poor in general, have to look up to them for almost their daily subsistence, not only of provisions, but for apparel; for the Farmer's Brother, the Young King, was fully regimented as a colonel, red faced with blue, as belonging to some royal regiment, and equipped with a pair of the best epaulettes. So that, from his after conduct, it may not appear extraordinary, where the King has thrown in his opposition to my errand, he being paid so well for his influence over the Indian nations, as to carry his favorite point in question. I had not been long in the village before I was invited to the great council house, with my companions, attended by Red Jacket, O'Beel, and other chiefs. Just as we approached the porch of the council house, they had a two pounder swivel gun, which they had loaded very high, having put into her an uncommon charge, which the acting gunner being sensible of, stood within the door, and fired it from the end of a long stick, which he passed between the logs, which being done, the explosion upset the gun and its fixture. This, they said, was done as a treat for our safe arrival through the dangers that we had encountered, and for which they were thankful to the Great Keeper.
The speech, as an introduction, given by Red Jacket being ended, he came forward to me to the seat I had been ushered to in the centre of the council, and presented me with four strings of wampum which he had held in his hands while speaking. [See speech #4 at conclusion.] Capt. O'Beel having been particularly named by Red Jacket, he rose and returned the compliment in behalf of us that were strangers. Being at this time just sun setting, I apprised the council through my interpreter that I had messages from General Washington, the great chief of the Thirteen Fires, which were particularly addressed to the notice of the Six Nations, the representatives of which nation I presumed were principally present: but, as it was drawing late, I requested leave to postpone the introduction till the morning, which was consented to. Upon this, Red Jacket rose to remark, that many persons had occasionally come into their country, who said that they had also come in by the authority of the Thirteen Fires, but of the truth of which they were not always convinced. This information opened the door that I expected, being informed by a French gentleman, a trader amongst them, that these sentiments had fallen from Colonel Brandt and Butler about seven days previous to our arrival at this place, who desired of the chiefs in private council to pay no attention to what should be said to them by me; and, as they knew the purport of my mission from the chiefs whom I had held council with at the Genesee river, the Colonels advised them not to assist me in going to the Miamies, as the consequence would be fatal to those that should attend me, and consequent death to me and my companion. From these suggestions which had fallen from Red Jacket, I mentioned in open council, that I was desirous that they might call forward any gentlemen of veracity whom they had confidence in, to be present while I should deliver myself to them, and overlook any writings that I was directed to lay before the Six Nations, as by that means proof would be made that my commission was founded on the authority of the United States of America. They then agreed upon sending for the commanding officer of Fort Erie, and despatched a runner for the purpose. Soon after the council broke up, Captain John, of the Onandagoes, came to my hut and informed me in private conversation, that no scruple was made of the authority I came under to them, being well informed by the chiefs of the Genesee who had given that information some considerable time before my reaching Buffalo. Captain John, from his manners appeared to be a man of veracity, and had received a Mohawk education and understood himself very well, and during my stay at Buffalo attached himself to me in person, and promoted all that lay in his power the business I had before the council; but the reasons, he said, they were so particular with me, was on account of a certain William Ewing, a resident from the Connedesago lake, who had come in behalf of the Hon. Robert Morris, whom he called the second greatest man in the Union; that he had convened a council the day previous to my arrival, informing those of the Six Nations present that the preemptive right to the lands in this country as belonging to the State of Massachusetts, were now the property of the said Robert Morris, whensoever the Six Nations of Indians were disposed to sell any part of the same; that, the better to authenticate this business that he had to perform, he produced his instructions under the hands and seals of the Hon. Robert Morris and the Hon. ____ Ogden, both of the State of Pennsylvania, adding, that the chain of friendship now stretched between the said gentlemen and the Six Nations, the centre of which was to be supported by him; that in consequence thereof, he desired their permission to traverse the several courses of the lands granted by their agents, ____ Livingston, of New York, to the said State of Massachusetts.
The council being convened within the house, there appeared to be about one hundred and fifty in number. Mr. Ewing began to open and continue his business, which he had introduced the day before upon which I rose to inform him that he must desist from going on any further, as it was an interference with my mission, that was of the utmost consequence to the United States, and to the Indian nations in general, and that as soon as the same was completed, agreeable to the purport of my coming here, that then I would lend him such assistance as was in my power, and through which I would evidence my respect for the gentleman who sent him.
The commanding officer of Fort Erie sent word to the council this morning that he could not leave his garrison without the express permission of the commandant of Niagara, (Col. Gordon,) but that he had sent Captain Powell, of the Indian Department, as a suitable person to superintend their business.
As a proper introduction to my mission, and by the consent and desire of O'Beel, I began by reading his address to the Governor and Council of the State of Pennsylvania, as also his several letters to the President of the United States, and his Excellency's answer to them in order, and a third letter to the same from the Secretary of War. The reading of these several papers, and the deed from his Excellency the President, for the restoration of their lands in the Six Nations, and the interpreting the same, took up the whole of the day, upon which I concluded to adjourn till tomorrow, leaving them to digest what had been said, and to judge of the great attention that had been paid to then by the Great Chief of the Thirteen Fires. I thought it proper to give the invitation to Captain Powell, to take up his abode at my hut for the night, which he very willingly accepted of. After we had taken a little refreshment we entered into a general conversation, and spoke on many matters, the consequences of the late war. The Captain being free in conversation gave me to understand that Colonels Butler and Brandt, himself and several other officers from Niagara and Fort Erie, had been in Buffalo some time, waiting my coming, as they had advices that I was on the way hither; that while there Brandt received private instructions from headquarters, to set out for the Grand river, and from thence to Detroit. This business, Captain Powell judged, was to carry instructions of some kind to the Indians at war with the United States. It had the appearance of truth, from what had fallen from the lips of Butler and Brandt, some days since with the chiefs of the Onandagos and Senecas, as it had the tendency of their joint advice when they spoke in the great council, viz: that they should not determine on any matter of consequence with me without their concurrence. These injunctions being laid upon them, (as I received it from my informant,) the British officers retired to their different posts.
Friday, April 29th.
The business which I postponed yesterday, I opened in a much larger council than had appeared before; and, after I had read the Secretary of War's message by me to the Six Nations, I continued to read those also directed to the Delawares, Wyandotts, the Miamies and to the Indians inhabiting the Wabash, and closed the whole with an address to then, clearly explaining the greatness and power of the United States, and of their trade and commerce; as also of their being at peace and amity with many of the powerful nations of Europe; and though we were once angry with Great Britain, with whom we had fought for eight returning seasons, and having compelled them by force and arms to quit our country, the red hatchet between them and the United States was buried deep under the earth.
I also went into and explained the treaty, held at New York, between his Excellency the President and Colonel McGillivray, the political chief of the Creek nations, and the most numerous body of Indians on the continent, and at this interview there were thirty-two of the most principal chiefs. Everything being most amicably adjusted at this treaty, they are now become the established friends of the United States, and have firmly engaged themselves to act as our allies in offensive wars, as the nature of the case will require. Morever, as they had journeyed far from their own country, not less than sixteen hundred miles, that, to save them the trouble of returning the same way, an American vessel was properly equipped for their accommodation, and conducted them, fully satisfied, to their own country.
And here I was happy to have it in my power to give a more recent proof to the Six Nations, of the great justice done them by the President of the United States, in the late negotiation had with him by Cornplanter and others, at Philadelphia, to evidence which, no greater testimony can be given than what I have produced this day, in the hearing of this large assembly. And that nothing more remained, at this time, to be done, but for the chiefs of the Six Nations to evidence their attachment to the United States, by their speedily proceeding forward with me to the unfriendly Indians, and assisting me by the same to inform their minds, to reclaim them from the murders and thefts which they were daily committing upon the defenseless inhabitants near the Ohio, &c. By this, they might have an early caution what must be the consequence, should they refuse to accept the terms of peace, and the proffered mercy of the United States, before that a decisive blow be leveled at those misguided people, and which cannot be far off, if they persist in their cruelties. Morever, that it is a business worthy the attention of the Six Nations, nay, of all good men, both of the Indians and of the whites; and the speedier their determination might be made known to me, the better, so that we might go on to the accomplishment of this good work, thereby to preserve hundreds of our fellow men on both sides. The reply of Red Jacket to the foregoing, as it will come more proper in this place, I here insert it at its full length:
"BROTHER FROM PENNSYLVANIA:
"We have heard all that you have said to us, and by which you have informed that you are going to the bad Indians to make peace with them, and that you are sent to us to receive our assistance. Now we must consider the matter thoroughly, and to choose which way we must go, whether by land or by water. You likewise tell us, that you have the messages to the Wyandotts and to Captain Snake of the Delawares, and that they are to take hold of you and us by the hands, and go to the bad Indian nations with us; and this, also, we must consider of thoroughly; for we find that all our Six Nations are not present; and, as our brother, Captain Powell, of the British, is here and true to us, for he is with us at every treaty, we must let you know that we shall move our council fire to Niagara with him, and that you must go with us tomorrow, as far as Captain Powell's house, and as soon as we can know what time we can reach Niagara, we will send runners off to the Fort, to acquaint the commanding officer of the garrison. And now the council want to have your answer."
I did not long hesitate to make answer, in what I deemed a very unwarrantable request; and particularly so from a people that have received so many marks of gratitude and attention from the Government of the United States, I therefore, addressed myself to the council and acquainted them that I had the honor of receiving my instructions and messages for the Six Nations of Indians from the honorable the Secretary of War of the United States of America, by the advice of his Excellency the President , thereof; that by those instructions, I was ordered to proceed to the council fire of the Six Nations, where it should be deemed proper and advisable to light the same. This is, therefore the place I have been led to by some of your principal chiefs; and upon my account, and the messages I have for your nations, this council fire has been lighted; this being truly the case; and that my errand here was to invite you to send with me some of your head men and warriors into the nations of the unfriendly Indians, as proposed at Philadelphia to the Secretary of War, by your chiefs who are present. That on my coming thus far, I am certain to be in the line of my duty; but to move from hence with this council fire to Niagara, a British garrison, there to transact important business in which the United States were concerned, is of such a nature that neither my principles nor commission would warrant me in such a transaction, therefore I should decline to accompany them; adding that if the Six Nations were so far obligated that they must have the particular counsel and advice of any person or persons at Niagara, let them be sent for to this council, so that the result of such deliberations might be done openly at this place and that my desires were, that this fire should not be quenched until the intentions of the Six Nations were full made known to me, so that I might lay the same in form before the Secretary of War, by him to be laid before General Washington, the Chief of the Thirteen Fires.
A silence for some time pervaded the whole of the council , after which, Red Jacket and the Farmer's Brother spoke to the council by turns; the result of it being, that a runner must be immediately sent to Niagara, to request the attendance of Colonel Butler, &c., to meet them in their council as soon as he could make it convenient.
The foregoing speech of Red Jacket, as done by the advice of the Young King and Fish Carrier, (for they sat on either side of him and prompted,) plainly demonstrates, that most of the chiefs of the Six Nations are under the influence of the British; as no business of consequence will be undertaken, to the advantage of the United States, but what must first be sifted by British counsel. These suggestions, which were pressed on my mind at this time, gave me to fear that I should not meet the wished for assistance that I had a right to expect from the Six Nations; but fully determined to persevere in my endeavors till I should gain the summit of difficulty, which was arrayed before me.
No business this day, but private counseling among themselves. In the evening, Captain Powell invited me to go with him to a store about four miles distant, in which he was interested, and his partner who kept it, a Mr. Cornelius Winney, of Fish Kills. With the last named gentleman, I staid till the Monday following, through a very pressing and polite invitation, which at length I accepted of, being lame, and much indisposed, through fatigue and change of diet, such as from poor, to exceeding poor indeed; but with him there was plenty of every necessary and given with so good a grace, that I shall seek occasion to return the compliment.
No further business with me, but the Indians still continue their councils keeping their fire burning waiting the arrival of Colonel Butler, and by information which I received that leaked out of the cabinet of the Sachems, the council were much divided upon my account. About two in the afternoon, a messenger from Niagara arrived informing them, that Colonel Butler, &c., had set out from Niagara for this place. Among other circumstances in their private council by the friends to the British interest, that the place where I was desirous they should accompany me was on the verge of the ocean; that it would take them twelve months to reach the place of treaty; but those falsities were explained soon to my friends and through which I plainly showed them, by my droughts, that the distance from hence to Fort Washington, did not amount to six hundred miles, and that half that distance we should go by the waters of Lake Erie, and that when I was satisfied of their going with me, I would charger one of the trading vessels on the lake for that purpose.
Finding upon inquiry that there was no general council to be held this day, waiting the coming of Colonel Butler, I sent the interpreter to invite the chiefs to my cabin, as I had some matter to communicate to them, previous to their going to general council, they soon attended me, and I took the opportunity to open my map before them, and showed from our situation at Buffalo, the trace we should make into the Miami nation; from thence to Fort Washington, on the Ohio; the first by transport on Lake Erie, to the mouth of the Miami, which, with anything of a fair wind, could be completed in less than two days and two nights. From the mouth of the Miami to the Messasagoe nation, situate on the same, and from thence to the Miami and Wabash tribes, at such place where they might generally be assembled; plainly demonstrating to their satisfaction, that the whole tour could be performed in a short time, and, therefore, enjoined them under the friendship which they professed to bear to the Thirteen Fires, that they would in their next council, promote and further my business, that I came to receive their assistance to perform; so that I might go on my journey without further hesitation, as my orders were not to remain at any council longer than two or three days, if I could possibly do otherwise; so that it might be reasonably expected, that my stay here could not be much longer, this being the seventh day since my arrival, I hoped therefore, that they would not be silent with me longer, as I plainly saw that they were not to exercise their own opinions but on the opinion of the British Agent. These remarks I made with intention that they should feel the force of my observations; upon which Red Jacket desired that I should hear him speak; as I had been speaking a long time. "Tell him, said he (speaking to the interpreter,) that some of his language is soft, but that other parts of it are too strong; for the danger that is before us is great, and our enemies are drunk; and they will not hear what we say, like a man that is sober, and we consider that, whatever number of the Six Nations accompany him, will be in the same danger with himself, and it is likely that we shall not live long, when the bad Indians shall see us, therefore as it is a business of such great weight to us, we must take counsel in order to save ourselves and him from falling by their hands, moreover, the Indians are not like white men; for they must think a great while. He must therefore attend our councils, and look and hear till we shall speak on his business, and tomorrow our head men will meet together and try what can be done." While we were in conversation together, a runner came to the Young King, acquainting him that Colonel Butler with several officers, from Niagara, had arrived at the store house, on Lake Erie, where Colonel Butler desired, that the sachems and head men of the nations should meet him in the morning; but did not advise that I should attend with them. This the Young King desires might be told to me, that I might know that Colonel Butler had called them together. The circumstance of their moving the council fire from hence to Lake Erie, had never been attempted before, and may with propriety be said, that their being called together without my being present, was intended to answer some private purpose; perhaps to damp the ardor of such friends as I might have gained among the Indians, through the fair and honorable statements which I had laid before them in their councils. Since the dusk of the night Captain O'Beel has called a meeting of the chiefs, at the cabin of Cayassutta, as I understood it, to advise them not to do anything to injure me in the business I had to do with them. In the course of this day, Captains Half Town and Big Tree, and several of the head men and warriors from O'Beel's town and Cattaragus, about sixty in number, and Captain Snake, with about forty of the Delawares arrived, attended by many of their women, youth, &c. By invitation I dined this day (in company with Captain Houdin,) with the principal chief of the Onandago nation, named Big Sky. His castle lay about three miles east of Buffalo, near which were about twenty-eight good cabins, and the inhabitants appeared in general to be decent and well clothed, particularly their women, some of which were dressed so richly, with silken stroud, [a blanket or garment] &c., and ornamented with so many silver trappings, that one suit must be of the value of at least thirty pounds; some of the latter attended the feast, which principally consisted of young pigeons, some boiled, some stewed, and the mode of dishing them up was, that a hank of six were tied with a deer's sinew around their necks, their bills pointing outwards; they were plucked, but of pen feathers there plenty remained; the inside was taken out, but it appeared from the soup made of them, that water had not touched them before. The repast being the best I had seen for a long time, I ate of it very heartily, and the entertainment was given with the appearance of much hospitality. Returned about sunset at Buffalo.
The whole of the headmen and warriors repaired to the place yesterday appointed by Colonel Butler, to open that council they intended holding at the British garrison of Niagara, I pressed my friend O'Beel to go forward with them by all means, lest the United States should not be represented. About eleven o'clock an Indian runner delivered me a letter from Colonel Butler, through which Captain Houdin and myself received a polite invitation to dine with him and his officers, viz: Captain Burrows, commandant of Fort Erie, Colonel Street, Captain Johnson, Captain Powell and Captain Butler Shane; most of which gentlemen appeared to speak the Indian language fluently, and all appeared to be busily engaged with the parties, holding converse with them. The tenor of which was, as I since understood it, that they must be cautious what they should undertake to do in such matters as I had laid before then; and before they might determine, they must repair to Niagara and receive the instructions of Colonel Gordon. Colonel Butler speaking to them in my hearing to the same effect, also mentioning, that, as Colonel Brandt, of Grand river and Mr. M'Gee, agent for the Indian affairs for Detroit, were now preparing to go among the Indians at war with the Americans, to know what their intentions were, whether for war or for peace; advising them by all means to wait the information that would be received from then, and, should it not come as early as might be expected, they should not go without it, as thereby they would draw war upon their own nations, for they were very angry with them already, and would be more so in finding an American among them; and that, notwithstanding his going among them was to establish peace, they would kill them all without waiting to hear what errand he had come upon. This, and the like conversation from Colonel Butler beside what were doing by his officers of the Indian department then present, lasted till late dinner time, and previous to their going away to their castle at Buffalo. The Young King and Red Jacket remarked to Colonel Butler, that the speech intended for the Miami and Wabash Indians contained threatening sentences which would be more likely to irritate them than soften them into a compliance. Upon this information being given, I undertook to show them to Colonel Butler and others that were present, that, on the same being read publicly, they acknowledged that they had not understood it so well before, and appeared satisfied that a mistake rested with them. A considerable conversation took place with Colonel Butler and myself in presence of the Young King and other chiefs entirely on the subject of a peace, and of my intended progress through the Miami country which were severally interpreted to them, the tenor of the Colonel's advice being, to leave the whole of the treaty, and adjustment of the same to the chiefs of Buffalo, Colonel Brandt and M'Gee, whom he should engage for to accommodate the disputes between the Indians at war and the United States, and on no account to attempt the undertaking myself, as he was well aware what must be the consequence.
Colonel Butler having given his opinion so fully, gave me the opportunity to explain myself, by saying that, if I possessed weakness enough to submit to a negotiation on the terms he had introduced, that a peace could not be confirmed with the thirteen States, but with his Britannic Majesty's subjects, in their behalf; that, on the completion of this business, due honor would rest with the negotiators, and, by such a passive procedure in me, I should justly entail on myself lasting disrepute. That, for those reasons, the chiefs of the Six Nations must be decisive in their answer to me, within a few days, being compelled by my duty to seek assistance by other expedients, which are in my power - perceiving in some of their chiefs, an indifference of conduct in matters which I held to be of the utmost importance. These expressions having been interpreted to them, they severally retired to their villages, and I received the invitation of continuing the night with those gentlemen, and complying with the same, I received the utmost civility and agreeable conversation till one o'clock in the morning.
This morning Col. Butler and his suite took boat from hence, which was rowed by six British soldiers across the lake, for Fort Erie; and previous to their departure, as before mentioned, I saw that each and every public paper received by Cornplanter, at Philadelphia, together with the message that I brought to the Six Nations, were safely put under the care of Col. Butler, and by him to be presented to the commanding officer of Niagara, as concluded upon by the council of the Six Nations, so that the counsel of Col. Gordon might be obtained by them. In the afternoon of this day, I wrote a letter to obtain permission from the commanding officer of the Niagara, to freight one of the Schooners upon the lake, to conduct me, and such Indians as were willing to go with me to Sandusky, in order that no time might be lost when I should gain their concurrence, and forwarded the same by an Indian, being unwilling to trouble either of the officers with its carriage, to Col. Gordon; paid him 15s. [See letter #8 to Col. Gordon at conclusion.]
Red Jacket and Captain O'Beel came to see me, when the former acquainted me with the reason why no council would be held this day, to wit: That it was their pigeon time, in which the Great Spirit had blessed them with an abundance; and that such was his goodness to the Indians that He never failed sending them such season after season, and although it might seem a small matter to me, the Indians will never lose sight of those blessings. This is, therefore, the reason why our men, women and children, are gone from their towns, but on tomorrow our headmen will return and your business again shall be taken up. 'Tis a matter worthy of observation, that at some convenient distance from every one of the Indian settlements, the pigeons hatch their young in this season of the year, and the trees, which they commonly light on, are low and of the bushy kind, and they are found in such great abundance, that exceeding a hundred nests, a pair of pigeons in each are common to be found in a single tree, so that I have seen in one house, belonging to one family, several large baskets full of dead squabs; theses they commonly take when they are just prepared to leave their nests, and as fat as is possible for them to be made; when after they are plucked and cleansed a little, they are preserved by smoke and laid by for use.
Captain O'Beel called the chiefs together on business concerning themselves; to take into consideration where land should be selected for the accommodation of certain tribes and families, who had put themselves under the protection of the Six Nations, being compelled to leave their former situations, dreading the rage of the Shawnee and Miami Indians. [See speeches #6 & 7 at conclusion.]
To Captain Snake and the Delaware under his immediate care, the place appointed for them to plant in, was near the village of Cattaraugus; to the families of Connondochta, a chief of the Messasagoes, and to the Bear's Oil Chief and his family, who fled from their settlement, Conyatt, all of the same nation, had their planting grounds assigned to them near the village of Buffalo. On the arrival of the Bear's Oil chief and Connondochta at this place, they acquainted me that, from their friends, they had intelligence, that large bodies of Indians were assembled at the Miami, preparing for a descent on some part of our settlements or garrisons, on or near the Ohio, and that many white people had lately fallen by the hands of the Indians, in which attack, two warriors were lost; and by the same information, they received accounts that war traces were seen leading to Fort Pitt. They professed to be very happy in seeing me, as they had heard it in their own country, the business I had come upon. At this meeting, advice was received that the Squawky Indians, those of Carrahadeer, and Hiskhue, were in fear of our white people, and about to leave their settlements and repair to Buffalo. This account several of the chiefs came to make me acquainted with. Upon which, I told them such a report had not the least shadow of truth, for it was a well known subject to the inhabitants of the Genesee, that, by my mission, I was sent to the Six Nations as a pledge for the friendship of the Thirteen Fires, to them; that whosoever was the author of this bad report, was a great enemy to the Indians, as well as to the whites inhabiting the frontiers, and that, therefore, without loss of time, they should send messengers to advise the Indians of those settlements not to stir from their property, but to go on with their planting as usual, and that neither our army nor our militia, dare to disturb the quiet. This, my advice, was communicated to the council, and Cornplanter was active in forwarding the dispatches to them. During this day's business in their council, it was moved that some of their chiefs, attended by the Farmer's Brother, should go to Niagara to obtain the counsel and assistance of Colonel Gordon; but nothing was determined upon.
Mr. Joseph Smith arrived this day from the Genesee with a message from Col. Pickering, intimating to the Six Nations that he had received presents for them from the United States, desiring their attendance at the Painted Post on the Tioga river, on the 16th day of June next. The introductory part of his address pointed out to them the interview that he had had with their chiefs at Tioga Point two years since; that there the mutual friendships between the United States and the Six Nations were entered into; that he was happy to inform them that the chain between them was held fast by the States, and kept from rust. In his next position, he recommended to them to keep peaceable in their towns, and by no means to join the Indians who were carrying on a war against the United States. I seconded the purport of his speech to them and advised, in a particular manner, that the whole of their chiefs and warriors with their women, would present themselves at Cohockton on the day, or as near it as possible, and receive the benefits which would be bestowed upon them by the Thirteen Fires; and this the chiefs promised should be attended to.
Council this day as usual, without my meeting amongst them. Nothing more material.
A great dance was performed here this day, and worship by the Six Nations present; but in the fore part of the day held council, and I was present. For the particulars, see the speech of Fish Carrier, [#5 at conclusion] a chief of the Cayugas, and the right hand man of Brandt and Butler.
The council being convened, I replied to the speech of Fish Carrier delivered yesterday, in which I gave them to understand that I thought it useless for me to stay any longer with them at Buffalo, seeing that those who were in the interest of the British had deterred others of them from serving in the cause of the United States; and that, whatsoever they might have conceived of their conduct throughout this business, that I would lay it in its true colors before General Washington, the President of the United States, that he might be the judge how far the Six Nations deserved his future attention and care. And here I must inform the chief and head men of the Six Nations, that I have, by your desire from time to time, overstayed the period limited me to be at Fort Washington, being the thirteenth day since my arrival. I therefore call upon you for your final answer to my message, and I cannot doubt but it will be such that will remove all those troubles from my mind that it has labored under for many days past; and this you must receive as the last talk I have to make to you, unless something worthy of my attention shall be publicly declared by your head men, that can alter the opinion I now possess. And shall only add in this place, that it is my fervent desire that the Great Spirit may always preside over the councils of the Six Nations, and direct all their doings for their lasting happiness. Previous to my leaving the council, Red Jacket and the Young King desired that I would wait their future deliberations, and from a few words which were afterwards spoken to me by Red Jacket in council, gave me the first reason to expect their assistance.
Worship was performed this day as usual.
The great dance that succeeded was attended with a very drunken entertainment, from the Young King to the meanest subject, Cornplanter and some of the elders of the women excepted; but not the least insolence was offered to me, or any of my people.
There was a general alarm took place in all the villages near this quarter, the cause of it I had judged proceeded from the enemies of the United States; but report gave it that there was a large number of Indians approaching the castle of Buffalo, and that one of them had come to a woman the last evening, and showed her two fresh scalps, one of which was a white man's, and the other an Indian's; the last scalp so large, that the ears with its bobs remained to it, and that the main object was to make demand of the white persons among them, and of me in particular, to be surrendered; and should it be denied, they would commence an open war amongst them. Capt. O'Beel on this feigned alarm, sent out early in the morning of the 13th, a number of his Indians to discover if there was the appearance of an enemy's track; but returned in the afternoon and reported that there had been no Indians where it had been said there were seen in numbers. Some time in the day the Young King went to the encampment of the Bear's Oil chief, and in conversation with him, and many others of the Indians, told them to prepare for going to Niagara in the morning, with him and others, to consult with Col. Gordon what was necessary to be done, as I had required an immediate answer from the Six Nations, on my messages to them, and to determine whether they should take the advice of the United States, or the advice of the British. This information I received from Captain Print, an Indian chief, and one of those who accompanied Gen. Sullivan, speaking the English language sufficiently well to be understood. He told me further, that the British were the main instigation of my not succeeding hitherto. This led me to call a meeting of the chiefs at my cabin this evening, and particularly the Young King to be of the number. Captain Print was present, as also O'Beel. Before them I recounted many principal objects, as the end of my mission to them; and in the clearest and most becoming manner, I showed them where they had failed to perform in many instances, all that I required at their hands; and if such had been attended to by them, the United States would be more liberal in their rewards, but the contrary having taken place, the more straightened their gifts would be in the future; and that the reasons that they were now called to the Painted Post to receive clothing, etc., at the hands of Col. Pickering, were under the firmest belief of the President of the Thirteen Fires, that we are at this time far advanced in the country of the unfriendly Indians, proceeding on our way to the treaty at Fort Washington, which is to be held by Gen. St. Clair, Governor of the Western territories. What passed at this interview between me and them, was soon carried for the information of the elders of the women, and was the cause of the awakening the whole of them from their lethargy. Mess expenses for four persons, and feed for our horses, commencing 27th April to 13th May, both days included, £12 16s. 7d.
Information received this day of Mr. Joseph Smith, interpreter, as he had the same from a Mr. John Knowles, of Detroit, and formerly of the city of Philadelphia, silversmith, viz: that after the battle which was fought last fall, between Colonel Harmar and the Wabash Indians, &c., great quantities of provisions, ammunition and other necessaries, were sent to the seat of war to supply the Indians, and conducted by a Simon Gerty and some other persons from the garrison of Detroit, said to be of more notoriety than said Gerty, this being a fact founded on truth.
Quere. Is not as likely that they are constantly supplied by the same process with every article they stand in need of to carry on war with the United States; and, can this be a principle comporting with the reputation of a brave Briton? I think not.
Private council this day with the Indians, as usual, in which they strongly debated on the principles under consideration between me and Colonel Butler, the particulars of which are more fully explained in the speech of the Young King, assisted by Fish Carrier, which he delivered in my hut after candle light. [See #9 at conclusion.]
The afternoon of the 9th instant, about 5 o'clock, my interpreter came to inform me, that Mr. William Ewing had called the chiefs to his hut, (as was his custom, unknown to me, almost every afternoon,) and that a council fire was lighted in the front of the same; that Fish Carrier, the Farmer's Brother and several other chiefs were present, consulting on the business I have before alluded to. It gave me some concern, that the imprudence of this young man had compelled me to come forward, to silence him, as I was, plainly; and received information also that the Indians were not able to decide what purpose was intended, by sending two extraordinary messengers to them at one time; being led to believe, that the authority of each was nearly similar. I proceeded to the council fire, and in a short manner introduced my business to the chiefs, of what was the cause that brought me forward to interfere in the business of their council.
Upon this, I turned to Mr. Ewing, and charged him with having insidiously thrown obstructions in my way, and was one of the principal causes of my not having succeeded in the purpose of my message to the Six Nations. In consequence of which, I commanded him, in the presence of the chiefs, at his peril to proceed any further, in either their public or their private councils, until my mission was fully decided upon by the chiefs of the Six Nations, and should he attempt it after this caution, that I should be unpleasingly compelled to commit him to the first prison that could be come at within the United States, and prosecute him, on the obvious reasons before recited. The purport of this conversation with Mr. Ewing, I desired my interpreter to communicate to the chiefs, and upon which I left them to regale themselves with liquor, placed before them for the occasion.
On the Young King's closing his conversation with me for the night, and roundly denying that they would accompany me in person to the Miamies, &c., I took this as the last occasion I should have to tell those who accompanied him the sentiments of my mind, and assuring them, at the same time, that whatever I should say to the Secretary of War on my return, should be identically to the same effect that I had upon all occasions accosted them; and that, as I scorned deception, I must generously tell them that I was displeased with their delays, and of the little respect they had paid to the message that I was charged with to their nations. That if the same was well received by the Secretary of War, it would tend to their future advantage; but that I could not persuade myself would be the case, and closed our conversation for the night.
Early this morning the elders of the Indian women resorted to my hut, (present a number of chiefs.) Having heard the general conversation that took place between me and the Young King the evening before, addressed me in the following manner:
"BROTHER: The Lord had spared us until a new day to talk together; for, since you came here from General Washington, you, and our uncles the sachems, have been counseling together. Morever, your sisters, the women, have taken the same into great consideration, because that you and our sachems have said so much upon it. Now, that is the reason why we have come to say something to you, and tell you that the Great Spirit hath preserved you, and you ought to hear and listen to what we women shall speak, as well as to the sachems; for we are the owners of this land and it is ours; for it is we that plant it for our and their use. Hear us, therefore, for we speak of things that concern us and our children, and you must not think hard of us while our men shall say more to you; for we have told them."
The above speech being ended, I acceded to a request they made that I would attend their sachems in council this day, and hear what should be said by the women's speaker, the young prince of the Turtle tribe, (Red Jacket.) Soon after their departure the alarm gun was fired, which was their signal to call their head men into council. They were soon assembled from their adjacent villages, and sent some of their sachems to usher me and my colleague into their assembly. Being arrived, the first matter unusual that presented itself, were the elders of the women seated near their chiefs. When, after a short silence, the speech of the women was continued by Red Jacket, agreeably to the terms entered into between them, and the whole of the leading sachems of the Six Nations, as follows:
"BROTHER FROM PENNSYLVANIA:
You that are sent from General Washington, and by the Thirteen Fires; you have been sitting side by side with us every day, and the Lord has appointed us another pleasant day to meet again.
"Now, listen, Brother: You know what we have been doing so long, and what trouble we have been at; and you know that it has been the request of our head warrior (O'Beel,) that we are left to answer for our women, who are to conclude what ought to be done by both sachems and warriors. So hear what is their conclusion. Brother, the business you have come on is very troublesome, and we have been a long time considering on it, ever since you come here; and now the elders of our women, considering the greatness of your business, have said that our sachems and warriors must help you over your difficulties, for the good of them and their children. Moreover, you tell us since the treaty of Tioga with us, the Americans are strong for peace.
"Now, all that has been done for you by our women, and the rest will be a hard task for us; for the people at the setting sun are bad people, and you have come on us in too much haste for such great matters of importance. And now, brother, you must look when it is light in the morning until the setting sun, and you must reach your neck over the land, and take all the light you can, to show the danger. And this is the words of our women to you, and the sachems and warriors who shall go with you. And now we shall name them, as they have first presented themselves in this full council, viz: Our first great sachem Kuyascetta, Red Jacket, the young prince of the Turtle tribe, Captain John of the Onandagos, the Grand Carrier Awangogathe, [The foregoing are four chiefs of six who were appointed to conduct me into the country of the unfriendly Indians. The names of the other two grand chiefs were at the same time given, but, by some accident not inserted.] And now we will name our chief warriors, viz: Sawishue, Cuyanddoas, Unandasthenous, Thenachqua, Conneague, Tenanquachqua, Otanhjohngottang, Hottendeyouche and Attwanikea.
"Now, brother from Pennsylvania and from General Washington, I have told you what has been directed. Let us, therefore, throw all care on the mercy of our Great Keeper, in hopes that he will assist us. You now know that Col. Butler, of the British, told us that he must take our writings down to Col. Gordon, as he is a very wise man, and perhaps he may have something to say to us that is for our good. And we also want his assistance, as he is the man that keeps all the vessels that are on the lake. Therefore, my brother, make your mind easy, for your request is granted, and when we hear from our brothers, the British, then we shall know what time we can start. And you must not be uneasy that our brother, O'Beel, does not go with you, for he is very tired and he must rest awhile, and take charge of our young warriors while they are playing, (hunting,) to keep them in peace, for fear of danger. And now, while we are speaking, more of our young warriors have given their names to go with you."
Having received this welcome information, and so firmly authenticated by so complete a council, I undertook to write a second letter to Col. Gordon, commandant of Niagara, making request of him to grant me a passage in one of the merchant or other vessels on lake Erie, for a certain number of Indians, and others, intended to accompany me to the Miamies, and from thence to Fort Washington, on the Ohio, and, the better to prevent any miscarriage or delay, I sent it by Mr. Horatio Jones, my interpreter, on the morning of the 16th, enjoining him by all means to present it to the Colonel himself, and to return with an answer to me as speedily as possible. [See #10 at conclusion.]
Early on the morning of the 17th, he crossed the river St. Lawrence to Niagara, and, being well acquainted there, he went through any part of the garrison he thought proper, until about ten o'clock, when he went to the commandant to present my letter. Mr. Jones informed me, that , as soon as it was known that he was charged with a public message from me, the town major had orders to put an orderly non-commissioned officer to attend him, and to prevent his going through the garrison or of holding any particular conversation with the inhabitants. And, as soon as Col. Gordon sent to him the answer to my letter, he was ordered to return to Buffalo by the same route he had come; and the orderly conducted him to the ferry where he had crossed in the morning, and returned on the 19th, to me at Buffalo.
The answer which Col. Gordon sent in his letter was, that, as he had not seen those public documents that I had wrote him of, therefore he could not enter into a discussion with me on the matters of a public nature, viewing me only in the line of a private agent; nor was he authorized to permit me a passage for the Indians I proposed carrying to Sandusky, in any of the vessels on the lake [see #11 at conclusion]. This unfriendly denial puts a stop to the further attempting to go to the Miamies, as the Indian chiefs who proposed to accompany me were unable to walk the distance required, and it was held by them unsafe to go in a large Albany boat I had contracted for, fearing disappointments; as to gain a harbor for such a boat in case of rough water, it could not be met with at times, under going the distance of twelve or fifteen miles, and all winds from the northeast and northwest and northerly, made the lake very turbulent, and the waters as rough as the ocean.
While Mr. Jones continued at Niagara, six engineers and twenty-five or more artificers arrived from Quebec, being sent by Lord Dorchester for the purpose of carrying on some works of fortifications. He likewise saw that fresh work had been done to the face of the garrison, &c.
I have likewise been informed that the British have laid the foundation of a new fortress on the north side of Lake Erie, at some distance higher up the rapids, and I presume, (beyond the range of thirteen inch shells from the present garrison; it being very evident they cannot, in justice maintain it much longer. The reasons of their establishing of new garrisons on the lakes is very obvious, they being intended for the support of the fur trade, which produces abundance of wealth yearly to Great Britain. But this revenue will, I hope, very soon be decreased, on the surrender of the Fort of Detroit, the key of the fur trade by the lakes and such posts as may be established by the United States in the Western territory, near the Mississippi, and also in the Wabash country, and by the Government of Pennsylvania, at the old French garrison of Presque Isle; which will invite most of the trade from the Grand river, that empties itself into Lake Erie, on the north side, and at a small distance from that beautiful station of as fertile lands as America produces, of a pure air and a healthful climate.
During the absence of my interpreter, twelve of the chiefs, headed by the Young King, came to the Store-house on the lake, (at which place I was writing my dispatches for the Secretary of War,) and informed me that they understood that I had intentions of going away secretly from them in the night, and that I had proffered an extraordinary price for a horse for that purpose, and had likewise offered a large sum of money to an Indian to carry my letters to Pittsburgh. I then inquired who was their informant, that I had communicated these things to. They answered that John Berry, an Indian, who interpreted for Mr. Ewing, had told them so, and they had come to know my reason for so doing. I replied, that such a thought had not passed my mind, and that , if I had had such intentions, why should I have sent my interpreter to Niagara, to obtain a vessel to conduct me and them to the place I so earnestly and so constantly had solicited them to accompany me? And that, were I disposed to leave them in that manner, I should not have sold my horse yesterday to their trader, Mr. Vinney; and the sole reason of my having sold him, was, that we could not take a horse by water to Sandusky; for, when there, we should have the utmost occasion for them, having to travel a long distance on foot. But the mistake or wrong interpretation rested on this point. My intentions of going by water, as above related, prompted me to engage one of O'Beel's Indians, whom I believed to be an honest man, to carry my letters to Fort Franklin; and, as well as having offered him certain payment for his services, I had proposed to him a horse to carry him to the New Arrow's town, where the horse belonged, and the rest of the way he might go by water, if he chose to do so. Moreover, to speak in their own language, I was more of a man than to leave my friends in that manner; and that whenever I was about to go from them, I should tell them so, and take my leave of the Six Nations. Having so said to them, I gave them a treat, and they returned to the towns fully pleased and satisfied.
Red Jacket and other of the chiefs informed me that my friends in the different towns expected that I would give them something to drink, as they were going to have a great dance before they should leave their women. I readily accepted his proposition, and ordered eight gallons of the best spirits to be presented them for the entertainment; and I desired that the women should be attended to particularly, for their valuable conduct in the last great council.
May 18th and 19th.
I was engaged in preparing my dispatches for the Secretary of War, and other letters of the same import for Governor St. Clair, and I proposed to forward them by the way of New Arrow's town, thence to Fort Franklin and Pittsburgh, and appointed Captain Stingfish, of New Arrow's town to be the bearer, whose wife was the principal governess and leader of the chiefs among the women, and the principal promoter in gaining the sachems over to my interest. It is well known to every person entrusted with a public commission among the Indians, that they are expected to possess a liberal hand. Red Jacket whom we have often spoken of, waited on me this morning to tell me that his house wanted a floor; that, as he was going with me and desirous to leave his family more comfortable in his absence, he expected that I would have it done for him. Moreover, he wanted some rum for his wife and his mother; and, that he might drink with them before he set out on his intended journey, he wanted a little for himself. The first request of laying his floor, I promised to have done immediately before our going on board the vessel; and to make him and his wife cheerful at parting, gave orders to present him with one gallon of rum. The Young King was not less pressing in his request for rum on various occasions; and although he did not behave so well in their councils as I desired, I did not send them away empty-handed, sound policy having dictated my motives. And, as I perceived that Captain O'Beel's modesty prevented his calling on me in that way, to him and Cuyaratta I was not less liberal. To a Shawnee Indian named Chafudet, (or Hot Sun,) one of the chiefs appointed to conduct me into the Shawnee country, I gave a blanket, being entreated by him in a particular manner to furnish him, for which I gave 18s. 9d. This afternoon and immediately after Mr. Jones' arrival from Niagara, the Young King and the major part of the chiefs came to be acquainted what was the result of Colonel Gordon's answer to me, upon which I informed them to meet me in general council in the morning, being desirous of communicating some matters of consequences to them, and then they should be informed of the contents of his letter. About this time I received information, that, about eight days since, Colonel Brandt had set out from the Grand river with about forty warriors, to touch at Detroit, to take with him Mr. M'Gee, agent for Indian affairs in that district, from thence, to proceed to the great encampment of those Indians at war with the United States; and by those who are professed friends of the British family, believed that his motives were not to pacify them, but to inflame their minds to a more vigorous opposition.
According to my proposals of yesterday, I met them in general council; introduced and explained the substance of Colonel Gordon's letter to me, apprizing them that I was sensible of the cause that led him to give me such a denial, that it was replete with envy in him towards the United States. And it spoke no great affection in him towards the Indians, and that, ultimately, it must reflect on his name and station, the unfavorable epithet of a discernible public, as preferring to cherish the rage of the desolating sword of war, to the happiness which flows in such abundance through the channels of peace. And perceiving from those causes, that nothing further can be done by us at this time, I must take my leave of the Six Nations, and return with my information to the chiefs that sent me, to whose attention I will recommend them, seeing that no fault at this time lays at their door. Having placed the whole of our disappointment to the fount from whence it came, and tomorrow being the day I propose moving hence, I have now to desire that the chiefs will prepare to deliver me their farewell speech, which I will duly communicate to the Great Chief of the Thirteen Fires, and hope that it may be done soon tomorrow.
The whole of the chiefs resorted to my cabin, and the Young King, by appointment, gave their farewell speech, but not without the aid of Fish Carrier, whose physiognomy, when speaking, put me in remembrance of the old Roman senators, possessing so much keen gravity in his manner. [For the conclusive speech of the Farmer's Brother, see #12 at conclusion.]
Settled with Mr. Cornelius Vinney, for liquors, &c., had for the Indians occasionally, £26. 5s., deducting 32 dollars for a horse sold to him, bought of Mr. Maxwell, at Tioga. Also, gave a white prisoner that lived with said Vinney, 9s. 4-1/2d. Having now all matters arranged, I delivered to Captain Houdin all the public writings I had prepared for his Excellency the Secretary of War, and sent him by the Genesee, in company with Messrs. Smith and Ewing, resident of said place, (in the several villages adjacent to the castle of Buffalo, to wit: The Senecas, the Cayugas, the Onandagos, &c., there are more than 170 tolerable well-built huts,) and proceeded by the verge of the lake for Cattaraugus, with my interpreter and servant, where we arrived on the 22d. Paid for the hire of two horses hither, and time for returning, 45s. The reason of my taking the route for Pittsburgh was, that I was apprehensive that my letters might have been intercepted, had I put them into the hands of the Indian before named, and taken to a British garrison for inspection, and that my conducting them myself night give me the opportunity of meeting with General St. Clair or Colonel Butler, and giving them personal information of such matters as might not have been treated on in my letter.
Having found myself fully disposed to make a forced march to Pittsburgh, though late in the afternoon, I hired fresh horses and an Indian to go to New Arrow's Town and to return, for which I paid eight dollars; and for a supply of stores from a British trader 16s. 10-1/12d. I arrived at the New Arrow's Town on the 24th in the evening, (distance 80 miles,) having encamped out in the woods the two preceding nights; I had no sooner arrived that the chiefs were summoned to council by the sound of a conch shell, which was intended for nothing more than to take their leave of me. Here I parted with my interpreter, for him to return to the Genesee country, the place of his residence, and accounted with for sixty-one days' services, allowing him six days to return, at 10-1/2s. per day, a balance appearing in his favor of £24 13s. 1-1/2d. I gave him my obligation to pay the same at sight, in Philadelphia; and at a late settlement with the paymaster general of the United States, I left the same, together with £18 payable to Messrs. Hollinback & Maxwell, for a small horse received of them at Tioga Point, and £7 10s. to the payment of my draft on the Secretary of War, to Joseph Smith, Indian interpreter. Previous to my leaving this town, 23d of April last, I was obliged to send my own riding horse to the Genesee settlement, it being impossible to procure forage or corn for him, and at which place he has remained ever since at expenses. Not having it in my power of doing otherwise, and whether the same will be allowed for me, I must submit to the judgment of the Secretary of War.
Being in private conversation this evening with Captain O'Beel, and setting between him and the New Arrow sachem, I hinted to Captain O'Beel, that if he would go and join General St. Clair with 35 or 40 of his warriors, as well equipped as he could make them, purely to counterbalance the force that Brandt had then with him to the unfriendly Indians, I would use endeavors with the Secretary of War to procure him a commission that should yield to him and his people a handsome stipend. He replied that the Senecas had received a stroke from the bad Indians by taking two prisoners, a woman and a boy from Conyatt; and that, should the hatchet be struck into the head of any of his people hereafter, he would then inform me what he would undertake to do. I hired a canoe and two Indians this evening, to carry me to Fort Franklin, and should have set out immediately, but for a heavy rain that fell. I agreed to pay them $430, and a proportion of whisky when we should reach the garrison, and provisions to bring them back. I arrived the next morning by daylight at Fort Franklin, took breakfast with Lieutenant Jeffers, had a canoe prepared with four fresh hands put into it, and after having adjusted my engagements with the Indians brought from New Arrow's town, pushed off as speedily as lay in our p0wer for Fort Pitt, (distance about 156 miles by water,) and gained the same in 25 hours, the men having worked hard all night to complete it, and assisted myself, for which I paid extra to each, one dollar, and one dollar for entertainment at Pittsburgh, having completed in five days and two nights, going by land or water from Buffalo to this place, 411 miles. Expenses at Pittsburgh the 29th, 40s. 4d. To servant's wages, engaged at Venango, April 8th, 52 days at 3s. 9d. per day, as per receipt, is £9 15s. To Horatio Jones, expenses going to Niagara with my letter, and returning, 46s. 10-1/2d. Set out from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia on the evening of the 29th of May, and arrived the 7th day of June. Expenses from Pittsburgh hither, £7 14s. 3d.; and for keeping of a horse employed in public service, and for stabling in Philadelphia, and returning the horse to James Smith, Esq., Cumberland county, 40s.
PHILADELPHIA, June 8, 1791.
SIR: - I left the castle of the Six Nations of Indians at Buffalo creek, the 21st of the last month, in the afternoon, the forepart of the day being spent in the council with the chiefs of the above nations of which there were a full representation; and, by the following as delivered by the Young King and the Farmer's Brother, will evidence their friendly disposition towards the United States, in maintaining with them an inviolable peace; as, also, with the British, as, from the situation of their nations, they are centrally placed between them.
The same day I sent forward my dispatches for your Excellency, under the care of Captain Houdin by the route of Wyoming, while I should proceed by the way of Forts Franklin and Pittsburgh, with the letters I had written for the information of General St. Clair, and arrived here yesterday afternoon. It is also with pleasure I inform you that as to the several posts on the Allegheny river, &c., they were under no apprehensions of danger from the unfriendly Indians, and were in good health and high spirits.
I am your Excellency's
Most obedient servant,
The Honorable Secretary of War.
SPEECHES & LETTERS
# 1. The Speech of Little Beard, April 1st, 1791.
BROTHER OF THE THIRTEEN FIRES:
Hear what we have to say to you. The Lord has spared us this day to meet together, and for you to let us know what has been done at Philadelphia a few days ago, for our nation.
You say our lands are secured for us, and that the grant given by the Great Chief General Washington, will last as long as the sun goes over us.
That is the reason why we give you great thanks, our lands being secured to our children's children. And great reason we have for doing so.
Every one of us will wish well to the great Chief Honandaganius, (or General Washington,) and our women and our children well thank him, and will look up to him as a strong sun for protecting of the right of their lands to them forever. And you tell us that there is a great paper in the hands of O'Beel for us. Now we want you to show with your finger how large the lands are given to us. [Here I named to them certain grants to land which they had made to the State of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, &c.]
# 2. [Cornplanter's] Captain O'Beel's Speech at Fort Franklin, April 9th, 1791.
We have met out brother here, and I believe he remember what we said at Philadelphia; that we would try our friends once more, viz: the Wyandotts; as there were bad people among them, advising to use the hatchet.
There we said it would be well for one man to go with us from the United States, in order to hear what we should say to them.
Now the Lord has spared us to this day, to meet our brother that has been sent from the Thirteen Fires, and to join our hands with his to have justice done. And we should have been glad that he were with us on our way to Pittsburgh, for then our wagons would not have been stopped, our goods taken and our liquors drank, and that by people whom we thought to be our friends. And when we had got to Pitt, more and great trouble began on us by the bad men of the Big Knife. For when we had started from Pitt, with all our goods and writing with us, to show what we had done for our nation, the white people and our friends seized upon the garrison boat, belonging to French creek, which had our goods in, and several canoes, and forcibly took them back to Pittsburgh, and there deprived us of all that was necessary for the comfort of our women and children; and we are sick for them. And now we wait here to know from our runners, if anything is left for us; and then we are ready to show you the road. In one part of General Washington's speech to us he gives us to choose whether we will go by land or waters, and it affords us great pleasure, as we shall choose for the best and safest, as there are bad men on the way.
Now, the chiefs of our nations here have made their choice, and we must go to Buffalo, where our head men are waiting for us, and where the council fire has been long lighted and put out again, and we must light it the next, and that will be soon. There we shall finish our minds and have good plain faces wheresoever we turn against those bad men, and we shall be strong. Our friend sent by General Washington must not think hard by our requesting of him to wait for us. For this is the last speech the unfriendly people can have. And it is a heavy matter, and we must take time to do the business well and sure.
Now we shall send a runner right off, where the great fire is to be lighted at Buffalo, so that our great men of the different tribes may assemble all their people. And when there, we shall be able to tell you what number of Indians are going to accompany you to the Miamies, and he can write to General Washington of every particular of which our brother wishes to send. And now we have determined to start from here in the morning, although we have left all our papers behind us. But we shall leave some of our young men to bring them after us to the council at Buffalo creek.
This is all we have to say at this time, but to leave the business we have here to do with our brother and the commanding officer of the Fort, to obtain our goods, &c., which your people have deprived us of, and we hope you will now send for them, as we are now going away. Now we want to know if our speech is pleasing to our brother, who will show what we have said to General Washington, for we again say we must go by water, and with all our friends being with us we shall be strong.
#3. Speech of Thyogachee*, Chief of the Senecas, at Cattaraugus, near Lake Erie, as delivered 25th April.
Some time ago there came messages into our country, that our people should meet at Buffalo creek, and then they should hear of our head men from Philadelphia, what they had from the council of the Thirteen Fires.
About this time they had got to Fort Pitt, and we heard there was a great man and a Frenchman coming, also from Philadelphia, in great fear, trying to make peace. Then we thanked God. The next express said that our head men and those from Philadelphia were coming on the waters together, to have the great council fire lighted at Buffalo, and, we that live here, sent on the express, and gave thanks to our Great Keeper.
Now that you and they have arrived here, and have showed your faces at our council fire in trouble and fear, we give great thanks again to the Great Spirit for keeping you and your chiefs from the trouble that befell others coming to this place. Now tell the man from Philadelphia to pity us children, for we are fearful; and we say to you, that will open your throats, that you may speak fair and clear to us without any hard thoughts, when you get to our great council fire of the full nations, that you may deliver any message you are sent upon from the great chiefs at Philadelphia. Besides, now we open your ears to hear anything which may be said by us, and hear the same in peace.
Brother: These are the few words we have to make known to you; and give thanks to God for our safe meeting this day together, our brothers and our chiefs.
[This speech being ended, Thyogachee handed to me a belt of wampum of three strings, and then continued his discourse as follows:]
Brother: This is our custom, to make a small speech on seeing our friends, but Buffalo is the place where you must speak, and at that place matters must be talked over in peace and quietness, and of which, tell all people to be careful. Now wipe the tears form your eyes, and make your throat clear, so that you may be understood.
*Different name spellings given: Thyogasa, Thyogachee and Thyogasy.
#4. The Speech of Red Jacket before the Great Council at Buffalo, April 27th,
as an introduction in the business of the day addressing himself to me:
Listen! It is usual for us to speak; and to you we do it as to a brother that has been absent a long time. Now, we all speak to you, and to our head warrior that left us last fall; and we thank the Great Spirit for his and your safe arrival here, and as you are together, hand in hand, from Honandaganius (General Washington), upon great business.
You have traveled long, with tears in your eyes, upon account of the bad roads and bad season of the year. Besides the disturbances between the bad Indians and our brothers, the white people, everything has been trying to prevent your coming, and to stop your business, and to lose the way.
Thus, the big waters might have stopped your coming, and the wars might have stopped you, and sickness might have stopped you; for we cannot know what is to happen to us until it comes upon us. So, therefore, we thank the Great Spirit who has preserved you from such dangers that might have hindered us from hearing of the good news which you and our head warrior have opened to us. But how could it be that anything bad could have happened to you, while you have such important business to transact, as we understand you have come on.
You must now wipe away those fears occasioned by all the great dangers you have come through. And now we set you upon a seat where you can sit up straight on a seat, where you are secure from the fears of your enemies; where you can look around and see all your friends and brothers in peace. Besides, you have come along, with your heart and your throat stopped up, to secure all that you had to say in your body. But now we open your heart with your brother's hands, and we run our fingers through to open your mouth, to speak clear, and not to be molested. Your ears also have been stopped by Honandaganius until you should see your brothers at this place, being spared by the Great Spirit to arrive safe.
Now open your ears to hear what your brothers may say after you have made your speech. This is, therefore, the compliment of the chiefs and head men of Buffalo creek, to you and our great warrior (O'Beel) and you may, each of you, go on safely with your business.
#5. The Speech of Fish Carrier, Chief of the Cayugas
Monday, May 8th.
In full council. The speech of Fish Carrier, a chief of the Cayugas, and the right hand of Butler and Brandt, as may appear from the following, addressed to me:
Brother, this day you have met again with your brothers in peace; a day provided by the Great Spirit for you and them to sit together, and talk over the business you have been sent to perform by General Washington, the Thirteen Fires, and for which you are to come to our council; and likewise to hear us with regard to the people (the bad Indians) on the other side of your body, toward the setting sun.
Here you have made your business known, and to all the chiefs and warriors, who met every day; and now they understand the same, because they have taken due notice. Therefore, you shall hear what we have determined upon by all of us, for we all had a hand in it, or it would not be strong.
Now, Brother, We shall say more to what General Washington sent you for, and to tell you, that our head warrior, (O'Beel) our nephew, has done things which we know nothing of, and it seems to us, that he has requested that his business should go forward without our consent. Neither do we know you in this matter, and were we to undertake to help you, we do not know what might happen before we went far with you, as that might be the cause of our country being destroyed or broken up by the mad people.
Now we tell you, as we told you before, that we have met on your business, and that the one-half is not for peace. So we look at the man that has been sent to the Shawnees (Brandt), and we have sent to see how matters go at their council fire. We must, therefore, see his face, for we cannot determine until we know what they are about.
So we beg of you to grant our request; to keep your mind easy; for we who do this business, look on you, and hold ourselves to be slaves in making of peace. Now we all say, you must look for Capt. Brandt's coming to hear the words that come from his mouth, for then we can say to you, what towns will be for peace; and this is all we have to say to you at this time.
Upon this I told the council, that in the morning I would give them my talk, in answer to what had been said this day, and immediately return, with what they had spoken in their council, to the Great Chief that had sent me. Captain O'Beel then told them in council, what would be the consequence to the Five Nations, and publicly declared to accompany me, if no other chiefs would attempt to. For further particulars, I beg leave to refer to the continuation of my letter of the 4th of May.
#6. The Speech of Conyandocta, and Onandago Chief, addressed to the Council of the Six Nations through which he explained the dangers which attended on him and his people, should they remain at Coneyat.
There is a great deal of danger at this place, for we are told by the enemy, the Messasagoes, that we must come to their side, or else we won't live long. But said I, we turned our face once, and you did not pay us the compliment to call us to council with you, or even to shake hands with us. Now we turn our face to this council, and you must prepare a place for us when we come; for we mean to be true to the promise we make to you.
(On the close of this speech, four strings of wampum were presented, a mixture of black and white.)
#7. The Speech of Bears' Oil, a Chief, to the same effect as above, who, with his people are in danger of the Messasagoes.
Now hear me a little, I am a Messasago chief belonging to the Six Nations, I and my people are in great danger, because I have been the entire instigation of saving the white settlers at Coneyat and Cassawago; for I told them of the danger they were in, as I heard the Red Indians say they were bound for that place, and that they intended to murder them. Moreover, that if I did not come away to them, I should die, for that was the only way to save my life; and that should I attempt to go to the Six Nations, they would meet me on the way and kill me. For they say, if they meet with any of the Six Nations, they will strike them. But I have not listened to them; I have come to you, and you must have a place ready for me to sit down when I come with my people. These matters I take the liberty of communicating to your Excellency, in order to show you the Six Nations themselves profess that they are not secure from the anger of the Indians who are unfriendly to the United States.
#8. Col. Proctor to the British Commander.
Buffalo Creek, May 5, 1795.
SIR:Although I have not the honor of a personal acquaintance, I am, notwithstanding, emboldened to address you by letter, and through the same to inform you that I am the person charged with certain messages from his Excellency the Secretary of War, for the United States to the Six Nations, and the other tribes of Indians residing near Lake Erie, &c. One of those messages is particularly sent to the tribes now unhappily at war with Americans, and with whom, it is the ardent desire of General Washington, the President, that peace should be established on the most lasting terms of equity and justice to them. My mission is, therefore, to invite them to a treaty with Governor St. Clair, on the Ohio, not far from the country they inhabit.
The better to effect so desirable an object, proposals were made to the President in January last by certain chiefs, who came on business of the Six Nations to Philadelphia, viz: That they would appoint in their councils certain of their head men to accompany such gentlemen as might be sent into the country of those misguided people, to bring them to terms of amity with the thirteen States. This, Sir, you will discover on reading the Secretary of War's letters to the Six nations and committed to my care. It will be handed to you by he Young King with other public papers, which were delivered Captain O'Beel for the better information of the nations concerned. I have, therefore, to entreat you, to conceive the most favorable sentiments on the meaning and intent of those public instruments of writings as they are founded on the principles of humanity, and a regard for the well doing of our fellow men; and I cannot doubt but the same motives will invite you to assist in so laudable an undertaking; the effects of which will establish happiness to the British subjects of Canada, &c., as well as to the United States.
The favor that I here request at your hand, is to permit me to charter one of your vessels in the lake for such number of Indians, &c., who may accompany me to Sandusky, on Lake Erie. So far as my request meets your approbation, I shall receive much pleasure by your signifying the same by a few lines to,
Sir, your most humble servant,
Col. A. Gordon, Commandant of Fort Niagara.
May 14th, 1791.
#9. The Speech of the Farmer Brother, or the King.
The last summer was the time we had our last talk with the Shawnees, and then we tried to make peace in their minds, but they would not listen to us. They named to us their great chief of the Shawnees, called the Little Hoope, who told them, that all the nations beyond them to the setting sun, being in number forty-eight large towns, were all under arms, and that Little Hoope said they would be at peace with the Long Knife. So that when peace was put in their heads, and that we had returned home, then the great fight was had between them and the Virginians, The Long Knife, and that made their determinations stronger for war than ever, because they had killed many of their people, and hurt their nations. And after this, we tried and told the Americans to be at peace and quietness. So we concluded to send somebody again, to know what they were doing among the bad Indians, so that we might judge, and we consented to send a chief to them with whom they were acquainted. And upon that determination, as we told you before, we sent Capt. Brandt, so that he might know how many people were bent for war, or how many nations were not so hard for war, so that we might judge whether it was worth while to try again to make peace. That is the reason why we asked you the other day to attend our council fire, until you should see his mouth yourself, when he should tell us all that was doing in that country. And that is the reason why we are afraid of our brother, for we know that they won't receive you in peace, for it is their determination as we hear. We tell you again, that one of the same mind with us is gone to speak to these people, and we want to hear him as much as General Washington does, and we pay all attention to what he has laid before us; and now our opinion is, we must go alone and try to make peace ourselves; and that is the reason we don't want you to go with us; for this is the outermost edge of the bad people's settlements; and were we to take you by the hand and go together, we must instantly meet with a great loss, which would make war on both sides, and we should be killed. Now we will tell you the reason why they refuse to make peace, is, that General St. Clair, struck the bad Indians while they were thinking of making peace with the Americans, and this is the reason to try ourselves, to make them hear by our chief that is gone before us; and that will be the time for General Washington to light his fires, when he knows they are determined for peace, and we the Six Nations are strong for it; therefore, tell General Washington to hold back his warriors a little, and let his intention be strong for peace, and God will assist the Americans to make it up.
Now the Six Nations give great thanks to General Washington, that his mind is so strong for peace, and the Six Nations look to him for peace. Therefore, the sachems and head men of our nations have come to you this evening, to tell you that you shall not go with them into the towns of the enemy Indians.
#10. Col. Proctor to Col. Gordon.
Buffalo Creek, May 15, 1791.
SIR:The 5th instant I had the pleasure of addressing my first letter to you, and delivered the same to the care of Capt. W. Print, an Indian, to be presented by him, but having received no answer since I presume it has miscarried through some neglect. The purport of it was, to be permitted a passage in one of the vessels on Lake Erie for such number of Indians and white men destined to accompany me to some convenient port on the west end of the Lake. The mission I am charged with, is directed to the Indians now unhappily at war with the United States, with desires to reclaim them to a peaceable demeanor before certain destruction overtakes, which is now pending over them.
Mr. Horatio Jones will deliver you my letter, and wait your answer which I hope will be to the granting of my request. And whatsoever expense may accrue upon this occasion, I shall most cheerfully satisfy the same with the commander; and subscribe myself,
Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
Col. A. Gordon, Commandant at Fort Niagara, &c.
#11. Col. Gordon to Col. Proctor.
Niagara, May 18, 1791.
A few days ago I had your letter of the 5th instant, to which I should have returned an immediate answer, had I not waited for some public papers which you wrote were to be handed to me by the Farmer's Brother and other chiefs who were to wait upon me, to receive my advice on business and importance. They have, however, as yet, never made their appearance at this post.
I think it but proper to give you this explanation of my not having sooner replied to your letter; but as there is no document which places you in any other light than a private agent, I cannot enter into any discussion of a public nature. Whenever any of the chiefs of the Senecas or other of the Six Nations apply to me for counsel, I shall give them such advice as I conceive best suits with the present situation of affairs.
As to that part of your letter which requests to be permitted to freight one of the vessels on Lake Erie, to carry you and such Indians as may be inclined to accompany you to Sandusky, on the west side of the lake, I beg leave to inform you, that I am not authorized to comply with your request.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
#12. The Speech of the Young King of the Six Nations, on my leaving of Buffalo Creek.
May 21, 1791.
We are called together this day by the appointment of yesterday, to hear what answer has been sent to your letter, from the commanding officer of Niagara. And the same having been made known to us, we find that you are disappointed in your expectations of getting a vessel, in which we were to go with you toward the unfriendly Indians, and that, therefore, you would return by the way of Fort Pitt.
You have also said, that you do not blame us, but that you blame the British; and that, therefore, we should be easy in our minds, and be at peace with the United States.
You have also mentioned a letter which came from General St. Clair, to us, and what answer we should give to the same, so that Colonel Butler, at Pittsburgh, might be informed by you.
The answer of our fighting, as requested by General S. Clair. On seeing how your troops should act against the enemy Indians, you must listen and hear what is the full determination of all the sachems and warriors of the Six Nations; what they have determined upon, and that in a few words for Col. Butler to be sent to General St. Clair. Now the answer is, that we are desirous of complying with the instructions of his first letter, sent to Cayasatta, our great chief for the Six Nations; namely, that we must sit still, and not to mind any other business but peace; and those were the words of his letter. Moreover, last fall it was told to us by Col. Pickering, that the Six Nations must take no notice of anything, but what tended to be peaceable; for that would be an advantage to our nation and nothing else. So that ever since, we have conformed to these instructions, in not interfering in any matter that has another tendency; for with the British we are at peace, according to their request of us; and we are the same with the Americans. And should the unfriendly Indians come forward to seek peace by us, we will help to do so; and we are desirous ourselves of remaining peaceable.
The reason why we now tell you these things, is, that we are neither on the one side or on the other, whether of the British or of the Americans, for we desire to be still, and to be at peace with both.
Here, brother, we speak to you on another matter, that has respect to the Six Nations. General Washington, the great chief, has kindled a fire at the Painted Post, and this we expect was done for the sake of peace; for he has called all the nations from the Grand river to the Oneidas. And it is our desire to attend the same, at the time proposed.
Therefore, tell Colonel Butler, at Pittsburgh, that we cannot attend according to the request of General St. Clair; for we shall attend the treaty at the Painted Post, where the fire is lighted by General Washington, and at that place all matters we here related shall then be talked over again. In this, brother, you have heard the sense of the Six Nations, and our sentiments are firm and strong; for amongst us there is not one deficient. This is, therefore, the close of this speech, as we want to talk over other matters which concern the errand that you have come to us upon, and which we cannot go through with, because we cannot speak to the Indians, that reside towards the setting sun. But we have told you, that we have sent Captain Brandt, to know their opinion; and we have always wanted you to stay with us until his return, to know what is the minds of those people towards the Thirteen Fires.
We have also told you, that we shall take the same into consideration, as we want to speak to them once more on terms of peace; for our mind is the same as when you first came amongst us, and we are desirous to seeing Captain Brandt return, and when we hear that those people will incline to peace, we will help it, and try to bring the same to effect, and should Captain Brandt be here before we go for the Painted Post, whatever their intentions are, we shall make the same known; and if for peace, the one-half of our chiefs shall go to the unfriendly Indians, and the other half with our women and children, shall attend the treaty before named, and the same information shall be sent to Fort Pitt, for the information of Col. Butler, as you have requested of us.
This, therefore, is all that we have to say to you at this time, and are desirous that you may go whither you intended.
SIR:This far, I have attempted to delineate the several events and progress of my tour among the Six Nations, &c.
And, although the commissions you were pleased to honor me with were not so completely accomplished as wished for, I nevertheless enjoy a conscious evidence, that, in no instance, have I omitted to put in practice such means as I conceived to be the most conducive to that end.
I have the honor to be,
Your Excellency's most humble servant,
Major General H. Knox, Secretary of War.
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