History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Life and Times of
Sir William Johnson, Bart.,
by William L. Stone
Albany: J. Munsell, 78 State Street, 1865.
It was now October, and the time for which provision had been made for the pay of the Provincial troops would soon expire. General Amherst anticipating this, had written to the several colonial governors the latter part of September, requesting that their men might be kept in the field two months longer, in order that the campaign which had been so auspiciously carried on during the summer, might be successfully terminated. In response to this reasonable request, Mr. De Lancey summoned the assembly to meet on the seventeenth of October. On account of the then raging small pox in the city, the house met in the suburbs at the lieutenant governor's country seat, which stood within the recollection of persons now living on the east side of the Bowery above Grand street.
In his opening message on the first day of the session, Mr. De Lancey informed the general assembly of the peculiar reasons which had led to its being summoned at this time. The important acquisitions which had been gained from the enemy, rendered it necessary that such measures should at once be taken as would ensure the advantages of the summer's campaign. He was therefore desirous that provision should be made for keeping in the field those of the Provincials who would otherwise be dismissed on the first of November. " You must be sensible," he continued, "that the enemy have had very small supplies of provisions this year from France, and that most of the men in Canada having been in arms this summer, their crops must have suffered greatly. In this pressing situation it cannot be doubted they will use their utmost efforts to repossess themselves of their strongholds, if it were only with a design of getting subsistence from our magazines : but if they know that there are respectable forts to oppose them, and find that the works are completed, they must lay aside all such attempts as fruitless and vain." These cogent reasons, however, were not needed by the house to convince it of the necessity of prompt action. On the same day it voted a further provision of one month's pay to the troops which had been raised by the province ; and in addition, it resolved with a commendable liberality, to supply each soldier with a pair of shoes and stockings and a warm waistcoat, as a farther encouragement for them to continue in the service. The assembly was then adjourned to the fourth of November.1
Meanwhile, before the next meeting of the assembly, the colonists were electrified by the farther successes of British arms under General Wolfe ; and by the cheering news from the continent, of the glorious and decisive victories which had crowned the efforts of England and her ally, in the route of the French army at Minden, and the defeat of the French fleet off the coast of Algava. There was indeed abundant cause for gratitude in these signal victories, to which Mr. De Lancey, in his message to the legislature on the sixth of December, did not fail to allude in terms of deep feeling.
1760. Although Quebec had yielded to British prowess, there was much to be done before Canada would be completely subdued. Montreal, Detroit, and La Galette yet remained in possession of the French; and it was evident that until the last vestige of French supremacy was blotted out, the tribes of the north and northwest, would allow no peace to the entire line of the border. It was therefore determined by the ministry, that the campaign of this year should complete the reduction of Canada. Accordingly, on the twentieth of February, the lieutenant governor of New
1 Journal of the Assembly.
York received a circular letter from Secretary Pitt, informing him of the determination of the home government to prosecute the war with vigor. The assembly was thereupon convened on the eleventh of March, to respond to the request of the secretary for aid.
"It is the king's pleasure," said Mr. De Lancey in his opening address, "that I do forthwith use my utmost endeavors and influence, to induce you to raise, with all possible dispatch, within this government, at least as large a body of men as you did for the last campaign, and even as many more, as the number of its inhabitants may allow, to be formed into regiments, and to hold themselves in readiness as early as may be, to march to the rendezvous at Albany, or such other place as his majesty's commander in chief in America, shall appoint, in order to proceed from thence, in conjunction with a body of the king's British forces, so as to be in a situation to begin the operations of the campaign, as soon as shall be in any way practicable, by an irruption into Canada, in order to reduce Montreal, and all other posts belonging to the French, in those parts, and farther to annoy the enemy in such manner, as his majesty's commander in chief shall from his knowledge of the countries through which the war is to be carried on, and from emergent circumstances, judge to be practicable. The Provincial officers were also to rank according to their respective commissions, the same as during the last two years. Arms, ammunition, artillery, boats and vessels, were, moreover, to be furnished as heretofore by the parent government; and all that was required on the part of the colonial legislators, was to buy, clothe and equip their own troops.
With renewed confidence in the triumph of British arms, the house proceeded harmoniously in the work for which it had been summoned. A motion of Robert E. Livingston to the effect that an address should be presented, reminding his excellency that the loan to General Amherst was yet unpaid, was negatived; and a like contribution to that of the previous year, was voted, together with a new emission of sixty thousand pounds to defray it, to be sunk by an eight year's tax.1
Any solicitude that might have been felt in relation to the loan, was entirely set at rest by a special message from the executive on the fourteenth of May, in which the house was informed of its entire repayment into the treasury by General Amherst. In the same message, also, aid was solicited for the city of Boston, which had, on the twentieth of March, suffered by an extensive conflagration, by which more than two hundred families had been deprived of a shelter-many of whom were in an extremely destitute condition. The action of the assembly in response to this appeal, was commendable in the highest degree. Although the treasury was very low, owing to the extraordinary demands made upon it during the war, yet twenty-five hundred pounds were at once voted for the relief of its suffering neighbors. Before adjourning the session, Mr. De Lancey gave his assent to several bills, among which was one to regulate the practice of medicine and surgery. "But," says Smith, "the remedy was very inadequate to the evil, for the law which restrained all unlicensed practices under the penalty of five pounds for every offence, was limited to the capitol, and gave the right of examining the candidates to incompetent judges,-the mayor and the attorney general, assisted by such persons as they should think proper to call upon."
This was the last meeting of the assembly which James De Lancey ever attended; for upon the thirtieth of July he died very suddenly from an attack of asthma, a malady to which he had for many years been subject. The day previous to his decease, he had visited Staten Island, and dined with Governor Morris, General Prevost, Mr. Walton and several other distinguished men of the day. Late in the evening, he crossed the bay, seemingly laboring under great depression of spirits, and drove to, his country seat
1 Journal of the assembly. Manuscript minutes of the council. Smith.
in the suburbs. The next morning he was found by one of his little children, sitting in his library in the last agonies of death.
By his violent political enemies, Mr. De Lancey has been represented as a most unprincipled demagogue, while by his satellites, he has been lauded to the skies as a disinterested citizen and patriot. Neither of these views is correct; and the truth, as is generally the case, lies between the two extremes. Mr. De Lancey, undoubtedly, was very ambitious and fond of notoriety; and his love of power and the emoluments of office, often led him into the commission of acts from which otherwise he would have shrunk. While he has been praised for his "broad and popular principles," and for his "political skill in successfully preserving to the assembly the right of annual appropriations," yet he assumed this position more from a determination to displace Clinton that he himself might rule, than from any love for the people. His course, in 1754, in relation to the college charter, alienated his warmest friends; and although he subsequently bitterly repented of giving his sanction to the act of incorporation, yet it was more on account of his loss of popularity, than from any feeling of liberality. He was, however, possessed of many amiable and noble qualities, and private virtues; his disposition was social and genial, and he was withal a good classical scholar and a profound lawyer. His conduct upon the bench was generally irreproachable; and his decisions, in those cases in which the feelings of the political partisan did not enter, were characterized by fairness and discrimination. His death occurring at this time was a great loss to the province; for numerous as were his faults, he was a man of unquestioned ability. During his long administration, he had made himself thoroughly conversant with Indian relations and since the departure of Clinton, had heartily cooperated with the Baronet in all his efforts in that department. By his death the political complexion of the province underwent a material change; and Doctor Golden, by virtue of being president of the council, took the charge of the government until the wishes of the ministry were known.
As soon as the snows had melted from the hill sides, De Levi was sent by De Vaudreuil, with ten thousand men to invest Quebec. On the return of General Townsend to England, Murray had been left in charge of that city with seven thousand men, and with ample supplies of provisions and artillery. During the winter, however, the garrison had been reduced by sickness and death to little more than three thousand effective men. Such being the case, prudence would have counseled acting strictly on the defensive. Not so thought Murray, who on the twenty-eighth of April sallied forth with his whole available force, and attacked the advanced guard of the enemy, under De Bourlamarque. The latter not only sustained the attack without flinching, but pressed the English so vigorously, that, fearing his retreat would be cut off, the English commander fled into the city, leaving behind him all his artillery and a thousand men. "I am apprehensive," wrote Amherst to the Baronet, in communicating this defeat, "that unless our fleet arrive soon, Mr. Murray may be obliged to retreat to the island of Orleans, which is his intention in case it does not."1 His apprehensions were fortunately not verified, for five days before his letter was written, a fleet, sent by the foresight of Pitt, appeared in the St. Lawrence; and De Levi, in the greatest alarm, retreated to Montreal, leaving, in his turn, all his stores and forty pieces of cannon in the hands of the English.
During the winter and spring, Sir William Johnson was diligently employed in attending to Indian relations both at home and abroad, and in founding the settlement which subsequently received from its founder the name of Johnstown.1
1 Manuscript letter : Amherst to Johnson, 22d May, 1760.
2 Manuscript letter: Johnson to Brig. Gage, 28th April, 1760.-It has been the generally received impression that Johnstown was founded, by Sir William in 1770. Vide New York Historical Collections, p. 167.
Teedeyuscung still felt embittered against the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania for their conduct in the purchase of his lands ; and in answer to his complaint which he had sent to the king, the Baronet received in February an order from his majesty requesting him to examine into the disputes between the Delaware chief and the Proprietaries. Teedeyuscung, however, ever uneasy, when informed by the superintendent of the prompt attention which his complaint had received, replied that as he was engaged with the governor of Pennsylvania in bringing about a meeting with the western Indians at Easton, the adjustment of his land difficulties must be postponed. This project was immediately vetoed by Sir William, who saw that it would seriously mar the plan of the approaching campaign. Indeed, this disposition of Governor Hamilton to interfere with the management of Indian affairs without consulting his wishes, was a source of much solicitude to him, and he often complained of it as being utterly subversive to his influence.
In the middle of February a council was held at Fort Johnson with the delegates of the Six Nations, for the purpose of soliciting their aid in the coming campaign. There was, however, no need of urging; and the only difficulty which the Baronet experienced, was in restraining their impatience. Numerous questions were asked by the different chiefs, when they were to start, and where they were to be sent. They were, moreover, desirous that their Iroquois kindred should unite with them against the French. Many of them had already done so, and deputations from the Caughnawagas and Skawendadeys had already met them in council. Other tribes, however, still held back, and the influence of the French was still sufficient to infuse into their answers to the friendly messages of the Confederates, a haughty tone. "If," said they, "the Six Nations wish us to join them, let them come to us." This was repeated to Sir William, on the present occasion, and he was not long in inducing the Confederates to return the reply,-that if they would come to Onondaga, they would talk to them there, but not otherwise. The proceedings of the conference were enclosed by the Baronet in the following letter to General Amherst:
FORT JOHNSON, March; 7th:, 1760.
"As your excellency was pleased to tell me when I had the honor of seeing you at Albany after the last campaign, that you would dispense with my writing to you, unless on matters requiring your immediate cognizance, I deferred troubling you, and gave Brigadier Gage what intelligence I received, which has not been very material.
"I am now to acquaint you that there have been deputies from the Six Nations here lately, to inform me what passed between them and deputies from the Caughnawagas, Skawendadeys, Swegatchys and other French Indians. A copy of what passed at said conferences I herewith send you. There have also been two Swegatchy Indians here, to assure me that the greatest part of their people were determined to leave that settlement and come amongst the Six Nations in the spring. I am far from thinking that this seeming good disposition of theirs proceeds from any real regard for us, but from the low circumstances of the enemy, and their own distresses.
"I was yesterday honored with yours of the 23d ult. Your excellency may depend upon my making use of my utmost influence -with all the nations in amity with us, and will lose no time in preparing as many Indians as I can possibly get, to join his majesty's troops in such operations as your excellency may think fit. Neither shall I neglect to continue to take the properest steps for withdrawing ad many Indians from the French as I possibly can.
" My success will depend in a great measure a good deal on circumstances, and the way they are employed, which they are very pressing to know.
"The clothing, arms, and other necesearies I shall begin
to provide as soon as lean for the campaign, for which purpose your excellency
will please to grant me a warrant for at least five thousand pounds sterling.
The unavoidable expense of supplying great numbers of several nations (who
by the failure of their crops of corn, &c., are actually in a famishing
condition) has been and continues very considerable, notwithstanding they
receive some allowance at; the different posts. As all kinds of provisions
are very scarce and difficult to be got here for any price, I am greatly distressed
: wherefore should be glad your excellency would please to order some pork,
peas and flour to be laid in at my house here, for their use, not being able
to compass it myself for the want of wagons, battoes, &c., which are employed,
or said to be so, in other parts of the service, whenever I have occasion
"I am Sir,
"Your very humble serv't,
"Major General Amherst."
To, this letter General Amherst replied as follows:
"NEW YORK, 16th March, 1760.
"Sir: The last post brought me yours of the 7th instant with its several enclosures, one of which is the conference you held at your house on the thirteenth and fourteenth of last month with deputies from the Six Nations, by which I see that the French Indians assume a superiority, which, from the present low circumstances of their pretended friends the French, little becomes them, and could not have been expected; but however, since they persist in so obstinate and impolitic an attachment, they must take the consequences that will ensue from a continuance of war, which I am determined to pursue with the utmost vigor, and I have not the least doubt but it will end in the entire reduction of Canada; I am therefore hopeful that such of the Confederate nation of Indians in the interest of his majesty, will not be shaken by any speeches of their mistaken brethren, but firmly adhere to their ancient friends
1 Manuscript letter.
and allies ; and in duty to the king, as well as in gratitude for the repeated protection and support they have, and daily do receive from his bounty, join heartily in the present cause, and be aiding and assisting in the punishment of those, who, under the cloak of friendship, do them such daily and manifest injuries.
"Nothing can be more proper than your speech to them upon this occasion, and I am hopeful they will open their eyes, and strictly follow your counsel in not going to Canada, since, if the French Indians are sincere, they may safely meet them at Onondaga: and therefore I beg you will continue to insist upon their compliance with your advice.
"In order to contribute to my utmost, to your success in obtaining as many Indians as possible, to join in the ensuing operations, and to withdraw all those you possibly can from the enemy, I enclose you a warrant for five thousand pounds sterling, which you say are requisite for providing clothes, arms, and other neccessaries for them; but I must at the same time inform you, that our military chest is again at present, so low, that it cannot discharge that warrant. Wherefore, if you can obtain credit, for some time, for these things, you will greatly aid the service. With regard to satisfying these Indians in relation to where they shall be particularly employed, that is what I cannot yet myself determine; when I am fixed in that respect, you shall be informed of it.
"So soon as I get to Albany, I shall fix with the new contractors the several quantities and species of provisions, which you are desirous to be laid in at your house, for the use of the needful nations.
"Your letter to Teedyuscung, of which you also enclosed me a copy, is likewise very proper, and you did well to guard against their appointing the meeting during any time of the campaign, when you will doubtless be wanted elsewhere ; nothing remains therefore now for you to do, than when you are informed of the time the meeting can take place, to send timely notice to the Proprietarie's commissioners, that they may be punctual in their attendance at it.
"I am, with great regard
"Your most obe't. Humble serv't
" Sir William Johnson Baronet."
While the Baronet was thus engaged at home in feeding and providing for the wants of his red family, his influence was again required to dissipate the fears of the Illinois and Mississippi Indians, who had taken alarm at the movements of the English. His views upon the course best to be pursued in relation to this matter, is seen by the following letter to General Gage:
Sir William Johnson to Brigadier General Gage.
"FORT JOHNSON March 17th, 1760."
Dear Sir.-The enclosed are copies of two letters and some intelligence I yesterday received from Mr. Croghan my deputy at Pittsburg, and as a great part of it corresponds with some accounts I have had before, as well as with my own judgment of the matter, I thought it my duty to transmit them to you without delay, that General Amherst may be apprised thereof, which I should think he could already be by General Stanwix, to whom Mr. Croghan has my orders to report every item of intelligence he receives.
"If the French can get supplies of provisions from the Illinois or Mississippi, which I think they have ere now, it is but reasonable to expect that they will, with what Indians they may be able to collect, attempt cutting off our convoys to Pittsburg &c., which I think they may readily do, if we have tolerable large escorts, unless the Indians in that part of the country take upon them to keep the road uninfested, or at least assist our troops therein; they
1 Manuscript letter.
are able alone to do the former, if they are inclined so, but I am afraid that the building so respectable a fort in their country as Pittsburg, being not at all agreeable to any of the surrounding nations, (though they may not now choose to declare their dislike openly) will make them very lukewarm in our cause. If that should be the case, there is but one thing-to engage them heartily in the service, that is to act generously by them during the war. I am certain if they are properly managed, their service will balance the expense.
"My best respects to your lady, and, believe me, sir,
with the greatest regard
"Your most obe't. humble serv't.
"The Hon. Brig. Gage."1
In accordance with the views thus expressed, George Croghan received orders from the superintendent to hold conference with the Indians at Fort Pitt. The result of his deputy's negotiations was satisfactory, as appears by the following extract from a letter to the Baronet, from Amherst then in Albany, under date of May sixteenth:
"Major Tullekens arrived this afternoon, and delivered
me the copy of a conference, held at Fort Pitt on the sixth of April last,
between your deputy, Mr. Croghan, and the Western Indians, by which, as well
as by what the major tells me, there seems to be no doubt but every one of
these people will readily join his majesty's arms; indeed, from the present
situation of the French, who certainly cannot be supposed able to supply those
savages with the needful, and the want the latter must be in of ammunition
&c., must turn them all over to our interest, both in those parts as well as in these, and therefore I trust you will have no difficulty in bringing those expected to the field, at the time you mentioned to me."2
1 Manuscript letter.
The plan of the campaign contemplated a simultaneous attack on Montreal from three points. General Murray was to ascend the St. Lawrence from Quebec; Colonel Haviland was to proceed down Lake Champlain, taking possession, on his way, of Isle-aux-noix; and General Amherst was to lead the main army by way of Oswego, with a view of reducing the forts at La Galette and Oswegatchie. For these operations great preparations had been made by Amherst, who had determined to concentrate against Canada his whole available force. The troops under Stanwix in the west were called in, and the garrisons of the smaller forts in the province of New York, even to the handful of men at Fort Johnson, were all brought into requisition.1 Although General Amherst had purposely delayed his advance until his arrangements could be thoroughly completed, yet he was detained longer than he had intended, by the tardiness of the colonial levies. "The Provincial troops," he wrote to Johnson, "come in slow;" and the delay was still more increased, by the absence of rain for several weeks past, by which the transportation of stores upon the Mohawk and Oneida rivers was greatly retarded.2 At length all his arrangements being completed, Amherst left Schenectady, on the twelfth of June, with an army of six thousand Provincials and four thousand regulars. On the twenty-fifth of July, he was joined by Sir William Johnson with six hundred plumed and painted warriors, whose number was increased by the French Iroquois, before the army left Oswego, to thirteen hundred and thirty. Ordering his officers to leave their chests behind, and their men to be equipped as lightly as possible, General Amherst, having sent forward Colonel Haldimand, with one thousand troops to clear the St. Lawrence
1 "When the troops move forward, I shall not think it requisite to leave any guards in Forts Hunter or Hendrik, and I imagine you will not judge it necessary to have any at Fort Johnson."-Manuscript letter, Amherst to Johnson, 24 May, 1760.
2 Manuscript letter; Amherst to Johnson 16 May, 1760.
of any obstructions that might impede the passage of the bateaux, embarked with his army on the tenth of August.
On the sixteenth of the same month, the advance, under Haldimand, came in sight of a French brig armed with six twelve pounders and four two pounders, lying at anchor and defending the entrance to Oswegatchie. The same evening the troops landed about a quarter of a mile above the town and spent the night under arms, unharmed by the guns of the brig, which continued to fire at the camp during the entire night. Early the next morning, the row-galleys under a severe fire grappled the brig, which, after a desperate engagement of more than three hours, struck her colors and surrendered to the English. The same day the army which had now come up, took possession of the town, the enemy having deserted it and fled to La Galette, or Isle Royal. General Amherst remained at Oswegatchie only long enough to properly garrison that post, and on the seventeenth, advanced against Isle Royal, which was defended by Fort Levi, a formidable work. The troops worked so diligently, that by the twenty-second, three batteries had been placed in position on the main land; and on the ensuing day, the batteries, assisted by three vessels under Captain Loring, opened a brisk cannonade upon the fort. Nothing being gained by this fire, and the vessels having suffered considerable damage from the enemy's guns,-one of the ships having been run aground and abandoned-preparations were made to carry the fort by storm. This, however, was prevented by M. Pouchot, the commandant, who on the twenty-fifth, sounded a parley, and surrendered himself and the garrison prisoners of war.1
On the capitulation of Fort Levi, the Indians, having found in the deserted cabins of the enemy a few Mohawk scalps, wished at once to fall upon the garrison and commence a general massacre. Sir William's influence, however,
1 Manuscript letter; Captain George Clinton to
his father. Mante. Knox's Journal.
again prevailed, and, though not without much ill temper, they retired to their encampment. That same night, while the savages, deeply chagrined, were brooding over this fancied grievance, an officer, partly in anger and partly in jest, observed to some one in his tent, that the English would, on their return from the expedition, exterminate the Indian race. An Indian, overhearing the remark, communicated it to his companions, seven hundred of whom immediately loaded their muskets, and in great wrath threatened to return home, declaring that it was high time to provide for the security of their families, The next day many of them made good their threats, "though there still remained a sufficient number," wrote Johnson to Secretary Pitt, "to answer our purpose and bring us constant intelligence."
Previous to leaving Oswego, Sir William had dispatched several Indian Messengers, with offers of peace and protection, to nine tribes residing in the vicinity of Montreal, and who, being able to bring into the field eight hundred warriors, had it in their power to give considerable trouble were they so disposed. Fortunately, the tribes received this embassy with favor; and on the Baronet's arrival at Fort Levi, he was met by deputies from each of the nine tribes, who, at this time ratified a treaty with the English, in which they bound themselves to a strict neutrality, on condition that they should hereafter be treated as friends, and that all their past enmity should be forgotten. The benefits of this peace were soon obvious. Many of the Indians joined the English and brought in numerous prisoners ; while the remainder preserved such a strict neutrality, that the dangerous rapids of the St. Lawrence were passed, in comparative safety, and the entire journey to Montreal accomplished without opposition.2 .
1 "Review of the trade and affairs of the Indians in the northern district of America." Drawn up for the lords of trade by Sir William Johnson. -N. Y. Col. Doc. vii, 960.
2 Manuscript letter, Johnson to Pitt.
On the last day of August, General Amherst again embarked, and proceeding cautiously down the St. Lawrence, passed the rapids, with the loss of only forty-six men-a loss which must be considered trifling, when the vastness of the armament is taken into account. So admirably had the plans of Amherst been matured, that when, on the sixth of September, he appeared before Montreal, General Murray, on the same day, approached it from Quebec; and the next day Colonel Haviland also joined the army with his division. De Vaudreuil, seeing the folly of farther resistance, signed a capitulation, on the eighth of September, by which Canada, with all her dependencies, was surrendered to the crown of Great Britain. General Gage remained in Montreal as governor; and General Amherst, having ordered Murray to garrison Quebec with four thousand men, returned the last of September to New York, to be received with the firing of cannon and a general illumination.
Thus before the foliage had put on the rich tints of autumn, the reduction of Canada was complete. By the consummate judgment of Amherst, who was as humane as he was brave, this conquest had been achieved with comparatively little bloodshed; and the nation's joy, on the reception of the intelligence, was marred not by weeping households, and seats vacant at the fireside. The footsteps of the victors were traced by no smoldering ruins nor desolated farms ; and the harvests in the open fields yet waited for the sickle. "Sir William Johnson," wrote Amherst at this time, "has taken unwearied pains in keeping the Indians in humane bounds; and I have the pleasure to assure you, that not a peasant woman or child, has been hurt by them, or a house burned since I entered what was the enemy's country."1
1 A tacit tribute to Sir William Johnson is paid by General Amherst, in article 9th of the "Articles of Capitulation between Major General Amherst and the Marquis De Vaudreuil." The article as proposed by the French commander reads as follows:-"The British general shall engage to send back, to their own homes, the Indians and Moraijaus, who make part of his armies, immediately after the signing of the present capitulation. And, in the meantime, the better to prevent all disorders on the part of those who may not be gone away, the said generals shall give safe guards to such persons as shall desire them, as well in the town as in the country." The British general, as if sturdily remanding the marquis to the facts, writes at the foot of the article-" The first part REFUSED. There never have been any cruelties committed by the Indians of our army; and good order shall be preserved."
French colors still floated over Detroit, Michilimackinac, and the more remote posts of St. Marie, Green Bay, and St. Joseph. Accordingly, on the fourth day after the capitulation, Major Rogers received orders from the commander-in-chief, to take possession of those posts, in the name of his Britannic majesty. The day after he received his instructions, the bold ranger set out upon his perilous mission with two hundred of his tried followers, in fifteen whaleboats. Ascending the foaming surges of La Chine and the Cedars, and halting for a day at La Galette to repair the damage which their boats had received from the rapids, they landed at dusk of the twenty-third, at the ruins of Fort Frontinac. Here they remained two days feasting on venison and wild-fowl, which the surrounding Indians, anxious to make friends with their new masters, hastened to bring as an offering of peace. In this manner, occasionally amusing themselves with killing a deer or spearing a salmon, the rangers coasted along the northern shore of Lake Ontario, and arrived, on the first day of October, at Niagara. At this post the party stopped a day to repair the boats, which were again in a leaky condition, and to fit themselves out with blankets and warm coats, which the increasing severity of the season demanded. Leaving Captain Brewer to follow with the men, Rogers, accompanied by two officers, hastened on in advance to Fort Pitt with dispatches, with which he had been charged by Amherst, for Brigadier General Monckton. Having faithfully executed this trust, he rejoined his party at Presque Isle. His force was now increased by Deputy Croghan, who by the orders of Sir William Johnson, had joined him with a number of Indians, and also by a company of Royal Americans under Captain Campbell. As several of the boats and a large quantity of provisions had been lost in the passage from Niagara, the detachments were divided into two companies. One division under Brewer, took the land route to Detroit with a drove of forty oxen, kindly furnished by Colonel Bouquet; and was accompanied by Sir William's interpreter, Captain Montour, with twenty of the Six Nations to serve as scouts.
The division that went by water endured much hardship. The chill winds of late autumn, sweeping across the lake, benumbed the joints of the rowers; and many times the white cap waves nearly swamped the boats. Indeed, it required the utmost precaution to prevent the shipwreck of the entire party. If a gale arose in the day time, a red flag from the major's boat warned the little fleet to land ; while a blue flag displayed at sunset, signified that the journey might be continued with safely during the night. Thus cautiously proceeding, the rangers on a dark and dreary November day, drew up their boats on the sands, at the mouth of a river whose precise locality cannot now be ascertained.1 In the midst of a cold drizzling rain they pitched their tents under the shelter of a neighboring forest, and prepared to remain until
1 Francis Parkman, in his elaborate work on Pontiac, says "the Cuyahoga river, the present site of Cleveland." Bancroft thinks it to have been the Elk, now the Chagrin river. Rogers himself calls it the Chogage. That it -was not the Cuyahoga river, I am inclined to think from this fact, viz ; In Sir Wm. Johnson's private diary, kept by him on his journey to and from Detroit in the summer of 1761, occurs this entry on his return east, just ''after leaving Sandusky : " Embarked this morning at 6 of ye clock, and intend to beach near to Cuyahoga this day." From this it would seem that the river as well as its orthography, was -well known at that day by the name of Cuyahoga, and therefore had that been the river, at the mouth of which Rogers stopped, he would have told us so, instead of saying, the Chogage. It was probably the Sheawga-now Grand river-The similarity of the two words-Chogage and Sheawga, is obvious ; while a vessel could easily keep a southwesterly course for forty-eight miles after leaving this river-the course which. Rogers says he took.
they could pursue their journey under more auspicious signs.
Scarcely had the rangers fastened their boats securely to the shore, when they -were waited on by a deputation of Ottawa, who informed their leader, that the great Pontiac1 was the king and lord of that country, and that he was even then on his way to meet him. Presently the haughty chieftain made his appearance, and demanded of the ranger "why he had ventured into his country with troops without his permission." When told by Rogers in reply, that his mission was pacific; that he had come only to carry into effect one of the conditions of the capitulation of Montreal; and that the troops were merely to escort back the French garrisons, the chieftain's tone softened, and he agreed to take the subject of their farther advance, into serious consideration. "Meantime," said the chieftain, presenting a belt of wampum, "I stand in your path."
1 The name of Pontiac, which is in accordance with the Ottawa dialect, takes a d in the Chippewa.
The next day, Pontiac sent in to the camp gifts of parched corn and other necessaries; and at a second meeting the chief informed the ranger, as they together smoked the calumet of peace, that he had now the most friendly feelings toward him and his company, and that they could pass through his country unmolested.
The detachment were again in motion on the twelfth of November; and passing in safety,-through the influence of Pontiac,-an ambush of four hundred hostile Indians, they appeared before Detroit, on the twenty-ninth of November. The commander of that post had already been informed of the mission of the English, by a letter from De Vaudreuil, which Major Rogers had sent forward in advance of the party. On the appearance of the English, therefore, the garrison marched out in front of the fort, and laid down their arms amid the triumphant yells of seven hundred savages, until then the fast allies of the French. But there was one, who was standing aloof from the rest, shared not the general joy; and as the French colors were lowered from the flagstaff, Pontiac saw in that act, the downfall of Indian supremacy in America. 1
1 Rogers's Journal; Rogers's account of North America; Parkman's Life of Pontiac: Schoolcraftt's Lecture upon Pontiac, 1841. Rogers found at Detroit $500,000 worth of furs--Manuscript letter; Johnson to Wharton, 23 May, 1770.
to James F. Morrison for loaning his book for the purpose of putting it on
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