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.
-THE annalist is the narrator of events in exact order of time: the biographer is a relator, not of the history of nations, but of the actions of particular persons: the office of the historian is to digest and record facts and events in a narrative style, but of yet greater security and dignity. Such, at least, should be the office of the writer who aspires to the more elevated walks of history. It is not intended that the present work shall he confined within the limits of either of the preceding definitions; but rather that it shall to an humble extent, combine the characteristics of all. Were it strictly biographical, it would be in order to introduce the principal personage concerning whom it is written, upon the stage of action in his own proper person, at the outset. But, as the life of Sir William Johnson was, for a long series of years, identified with the Indian history of the colony of New York, it seems to be necessary, in order to a proper understanding of the relations subsisting between the English and the Six Nations, at the time when he was appointed to the head of the Indian Department,- and in order, also, that the difficulties he was required to surmount may be adequately appreciated,-to give a summary review of the intricate and curiously interblended history of the Iroquois Confederacy, as connected with the English and French colonies, from the time of the Dutch conquest, and the cession of the colony to the Duke of York, down to the year in which Johnson, in his youth, established his residence in the valley of the Mohawk.
It is not to be denied that the French, from the day of their arrival in the St. Lawrence to the fall of their power in America, were generally more successful in winning the confidence and affections of the Indians with whom they came into immediate contact, than any other European people, not even excepting the Dutch. Their traders threaded the forests, and navigated the lakes and rivers, from the Gulf of the St. Lawrence to the Delta of the Mississippi,- planting posts among them at pleasure, adopting their habits, and intermarrying with their women. Their missionaries went forth unarmed and alone, everywhere exhibiting the most beautiful examples of patience, meekness, and self-denial; and, with rare exceptions, gaining the confidence of even the most savage hordes whom they encountered. Still there was one exception to this general success; and the time was long after their establishment in Canada, before they succeeded in making any favorable impressions upon the Iroquois. This delay was probably owing to the circumstance that when the French first ascended the St. Lawrence, they found the Confederates, upon whom they bestowed that name, (1) at war with the Hurons and Adirondacks, or Algonguins,- with which latter nations their first amicable relations were established, and as the allies of whom, under Champlain,
(1) " Iroquois," I need scarcely remark, was not an Indian, but a French name. The Five Nations called themselves "Aquanu Schioni," or " The United People." Iroquois is a generic term, bestowed by the French on that type of languages of which the Five Nations - the Tugcaroras, and, originally, the Wyandots, spoke dialects. The term, however, was early restricted to the two former; and the latter, for distinction's sake, and owing to striking events in their history, were called Hurons.
they engaged in the contest. The consequence of that alliance was a bitter hostility on the part of the Iroquois toward the French, which continued until after the conquest of New York from the Dutch, in 1664.(1) During that long period even the artful Jesuits failed to make any considerable impression upon them,- especially upon the Mohawks, at whose hands three of their number suffered martyrdom with the spirit of a primitive apostle.(2) More than once, likewise, before and after that date, the Iroquois swept over the French settlements with the torch, and tomahawk, tracking their paths in blood, and carrying consternation even to the gates of Quebec. But the French and Adirondacks having successively invaded the country of the Mohawks with a strong force, in the spring of 1666, a peace was concluded in the following year, through the influence, in chief, of the English colonial government, acting in obedience to instructions from the Duke of York,-afterward King James II.,-to whom the colony had been granted by his brother, the second Charles, of profligate memory.
The first three English governors of the colony, or rather lieutenants
of the Duke of York, viz: Colonels
Nicholls, Lovelace, and Major, afterward Sir Edmund Andross, bestowed but inconsiderable attention upon the Five Nations, (3) not seeming to appreciate either the impor-
(1)Dr. Colden's Memoir on the Fur Trade.
(2) Father Joques, Breboeuf, and Lallemand. Vide Bancroft's United States, vol. iii, pp. 135-142.
(3) Nicholls, the first English governor, was the commander of the expedition to whom Governor Stuyvesant capitulated, August twenty-seventh, 1664. Francis Lovelace, a colonel, succeeded Nicholls in 1667. He was a man of moderation, under whom the people lived very happily until the re-surrender of the colony to the Dutch, which ended his administration in 1673. But on the peace between the English and the states general, in February, 1674, the colony reverted back to England; and Major Andross (afterward Sir Edmund), was appointed to the government; the province being resigned to him in October following. Andross continued in the government of New York until 1682. In 1686 he displayed a tyrannical disposition. In 1688 New York was annexed to the jurisdiction of New England.
tance of their trade, of of their friendship. (1) Still, the mortal hatred they had borne the French, inclined them rather to prefer the friendship of the English. But the Duke of York, in his affection for the Church of Rome, shutting his eyes to what unquestionably should have been of the true policy of the English toward the Indians, had conceived the idea of handing the Confederates over to the Holy See, as converts to its forms, if not to its faith.
1667. Hence the efforts to mediate the peace between the Iroquois and the French, of 1667 ; which were followed by invitations to the Jesuit missionaries, from the English, to settle among the Confederates, and by persuasions to the latter to receive them. The Mohawks were either too wise, or too bitter in spirit toward the French, to listen to the proposal. But not so with the other nations of the alliance; and the Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas opened their arms to the insidious strangers in holy garb, causing infinite mischief in after years, as will appear in the sequel.
This peace of 1667 continued several years, during which time both the English and French prosecuted their trade with the Indians to a great and profitable extent. The French, especially, evinced a degree of energy, and a spirit of enterprise, almost unexampled in the history of colonization-planting their trading posts, under the lead of the adventurous La Salle, at all the commanding points of the great lakes, and across the country of the Illinois to the Mississippi; and stealing the hearts of the Indians through the arts of the crafty ministers of the order of Jesus, whom they sprinkled among the principal nations
(1) Smith's History of New York.
over the whole country of the exploration. By these bold advances deep into the interior, and the insidious wiles which everywhere characterized their movements, the French acquired a decided advantage over the English colonists in the fur trade, which it was evidently their design exclusively to engross; while the direct tendency of the Duke of York's policy, originating in blindness and bigotry, was to produce exactly the same result.
1683 The error was soon perceived by Colonel Dongan, who arrived in the colony as the successor of Major Andross, in 1683. Though his religious faith was in harmony with that of his royal master, he nevertheless possessed an enlarged understanding, with a disposition, as a civil governor, to look more closely after the interests of the crown than those of the crosier. He had not been long at the head of the colony, before he perceived the mistakes of his predecessors in the conduct of its Indian relations. In fighting men, the Five Nations at that time numbered ten times more than they did half a century afterward ; (1) and the governor saw at once their importance as a wall of separation between the English Colonies and the French. He saw, also, the importance of their trade, which the Jesuit priests were largely influential in diverting to Canada. He saw that M. de Courcelles had erected a fort at Cadaraqui, within the territory of the Iroquois, on the north side of Lake Ontario, (2) and that La Salle had built a bark of ten tons upon that lake, and another of fifty upon Lake Erie; planting, also, a stockade at Niagara. He saw that the French were intercepting the trade of the English upon the lakes, and that the priests had succeeded in
(1) Memoir of Dr. Colden, concerning the fur trade,presented to Gov. Burnett, in 1724.
2 The site of Kingston, Canada West.
seducing numbers of the Mohawks and river Indians (1) away from their own country, and planting their colonies upon the banks of the St. Lawrence, in the neighborhood of Montreal, through whose agency an illicit trade had been established with the city of Albany, by reason of which Montreal, instead of Albany, was becoming the principal depot of the Indian trade. (2) He saw, in a word, that the subtle followers of Ignatius Loyola were rapidly alienating the affections of the Confederates from the English and transferring them to the French, (3) and that unless the policy respecting them was changed, the influence of the English would, at no distant day, be at an end with them. Nor had the priests confined their efforts simply to moral suasion; but as though aiming to separate the Confederates from the English at a blow, and by a gulf so wide and deep as to be impassable, they had instigated them to commit positive hostilities upon the frontier settlements of Maryland and Virginia.
Having made himself thoroughly acquainted with these matters, Colonel Dongan lost no time in seeking to countervail the influence of the French, and to bring back the Indians to a cordial understanding with his own people. His instructions from home were to encourage the Jesuit missionaries. These he not only disregarded, but he ordered the missionaries away, and forbade the Five Nations to entertain them. (4) It is true this order was never enforced to the letter,-the priests,-some of
(1) The Mahickanders, or Stockbridge Indians. This tribe was composed of Mohegans, Narragansetts, the Farmington Indians, and refugees from what were called the Seven Nations of Connecticut Indians, who, fleeing before the march of civilization in New England, united with the Schaghtikoke Indians, and afterward settled together, as one people, at Stockbridge, and subsequently were generally known as the " River Indians."
(2) Dr. Colden's memorial.
(4) Smith's History of New York.
them at least,-maintaining a foothold at several points of the Confederacy,-dubious, at times, certainly,- yet maintaining it for three-quarters of a century after- ward. Still, the measures of conciliation adopted by Colonel Dongan, made a strong and favorable impression upon the Indians.
1684 Availing himself of the difficulty between the Confederates and Virginia, consequent upon the outrages just adverted to as having been instigated by the priests, Colonel Dongan was instrumental in procuring a convention of the five Nations, at Albany, in 1684, to meet Lord Howard of Effingham, Governor of Virginia, at which he (Dongan), was likewise present. This meeting, or council, was attended by the happiest results. The difficulties with Virginia were adjusted and a covenant made with Lord Howard for preventing further depredations.(l) But what was of yet greater importance, Colonel Dongan succeeded in completely gaining the affections of the Indians, who conceived for him the warmest esteem. They even asked that the arms of the Duke of York might be put upon their castles;--a request which it need not be said was most readily complied with, since should it afterwards become necessary, the governor might find it convenient to construe it into an act of at least partial submission to English authority, although it has been asserted that the Indians themselves looked upon the ducal insignia as a sort of charm, that might protect them against the French.(2)
There was likewise another fortunate concurrence of events just at that time which revived all the ancient animosity between the Iroquois and the French. "While the conferences between Lord Howard and the Indians were yet in progress, a message was received from M. De la
(1) Smith's History of New York.
(2) Colden's History of the Five Nations.
Barre, the Governor of Canada, complaining of the conduct of the Senecas in prosecuting hostilities against the Miamies and other western nations in alliance with the French, and thus interrupting their trade. Colonel Dongan communicated the message to the Iroquois chiefs, who retorted by charging the .French with supplying their enemies with all their munitions of war. "Onontio(1) calls us children," said they, "and at the same time sends powder to our enemies to kill us!" This collision resulted in open war between the Iroquois and the French,-the latter -Bending to France for powerful reinforcements, with the design of an entire subjugation of the former in the ensuing year. Meantime the French Catholics continued, to procure letters from the Duke of York to his lieutenant, commanding him to lay no obstacles in the way of the invaders. But these commands were again disregarded. Dongan apprised the Iroquois of the designs of the French, not only to march against them with a strong army, but simultaneously to bring down upon them the western Indians in their interest. The English governor also promised to assist them if necessary.
1685. Thus by the wisdom, and the strong sense of justice, of Colonel Dongan, was the chain of friendship between the English and the Five Nations, brightened, and the most amicable relations reestablished. Yet for the course he had taken, he fell under the displeasure, of his bigoted master on his accession to the throne, in 1685.(2)
It is not, of course, within the purpose of this retrospect, to trace the progress of the long and cruel wars that succeeded the negotiations between Colonel Dongan and
(1) The name by which the Iroquois were wont to speak of the French governors of Canada.
(2) Colonel Dongan continued in the government of the colony from 1688 to 1688. He was highly respected as governor, being upright, discreet and of accomplished manners. He gave the colony its first legislative assembly, and after his return home became Earl of Limerick.
the Confederates. Briefly it may be said, in respect, to the expedition of M. de la Barre, that it failed by reason of sickness in his army at Cadaraqui, before crossing the lake. He was succeeded in the government of Canada by the Marquis Denonville, who invaded the Seneca country in 1687 with a powerful force; gaining, however, such a victory over the Indians, in the Genesee Valley, as led to an inglorious retreat. This invasion was speedily recompensed by the Confederates, who descended upon the French settlements of the St. Lawrence like a tempest and struck a blow of terrible vengeance upon Montreal itself.
New York, was at this time, torn by the intestine commotions incident to the revolution which drove the Stuarts from the English throne, and ended the power of the Catholics in the colony. It was a consequence of these divisions, that the English could afford the Indians no assistance in their invasion of Canada, at that time, else that country would then doubtless have been wrested from the crown of France. But the achievements of the Indians were, nevertheless, most important for the colony of New York, the subjugation of which was at that precise conjuncture meditated by France, and a combined expedition by land and sea, was undertaken for that purpose,-Admiral Caffniere commanding the ships which sailed from Rochefort for New York, and the Count de Frontenac, who had succeeded Denonville, being the general of the land forces. On his arrival at Quebec, however, the count beheld his province reduced to a field of devastation, and he was therefore constrained to abandon the enterprise.
During the civil feuds of the revolution, and those that followed under the contested Leislerian administration, the Indian affairs of New York were neglected. Meantime the New England colonies becoming involved in a war with the Eastern Indians, sent a deputation to Albany to invite the five Nations to take up the hatchet in their cause; but the invitation was declined.
1687. The revolution which brought William and Mary upon the throne having been followed by war between England and France, the colonies were of course involved in the conflict whereupon Count Frontenac revived the policy of attempting to detach the Confederates from the English interest. To this end, through the efforts of a Jesuit residing among the Oneidas, all the Confederates save the Mohawks were induced to meet the emissaries of the French in council at Onondaga. At the same time, with a view of making an unfavorable impression upon the Mohawks, as to the power of the English to defend their own settlements against the arms of the French king, a secret expedition was set on foot against Schenectady, which resulted in a frightful massacre of the slumbering inhabitants of that devoted town, on the night of the eighth of February, 1690. But the Five rations were neither won to the interests of the French by the persuasions of the agents at Onondaga, nor by the terrors of the scene at Schenectady. The veteran chief, Sadekanaghtie, an Onondaga orator of great eminence acted the skillful diplomatist at the council, while the Mohawks deeply sympathized with their suffering neighbors of Schenectady and harrassed the invaders to good purpose on their retreat,-sending their war parties again into Canada, even to the attack once more of the island of Montreal.
It required, however, as will often appear in the present work, the most unremitted attention of the government to maintain those close relations of amity with the Five Nations which were essential to the true interests and safety of the province. Their jealousies were far more easily awakened than allayed; and unless continually caressed and propitiated by frequent largesses, they became restless and frowning. Hence, notwithstanding the alacrity with which the Mohawks had sought to avenge the murders of Schenectady, in February, 1690, the neglect they experienced during the agitations attending and following the foul judicial murder of Leisler and his son-in-law, not only disaffected them toward the English, but they even went so far as to send an embassy of peace to Count Frontenac. Meantime, in order to defeat this purpose, Colonel Sloughter, who had superseded Leisler in the government, (1) succeeded in holding a council with the four nations of the Confederates, exclusive of the Mohawks, which was attended by happy results,-the designs of the Mohawks, moved, probably, by a sudden impulse, being frustrated, and they themselves renewing their covenant chain.
In order to maintain the advantages secured by these negotiations, and keep in action the hostile feelings of the Confederates against the French, Major Peter Schuyler, the white man of all others in whom the Five Nations reposed the greatest confidence, planned and executed his bold irruption through Lake Champlain into Canada during the same season,- defeating, with his Indians, De Callieres, governor of Montreal, and keeping the whole
(1) Colonel Sloughter wag commissioned to the government of New York in January, 1689, but did not arrive until the nineteenth of March, 1691. The selection of Sloughter was not fortunate. According to Smith, he was utterly destitute of every qualification for government; licentious in his morals, avaricious, and base. Leisler, who had administered the government after a fashion, since the departure of Dongan, intoxicated with power, refused to surrender the government to Sloughter, and attempted to defend the fort in which he had taken refuge against him. Finding it expedient, however, very soon to abandon the fort, he was arrested, and with his son-in-law Milburne, tried and executed for treason. Still, on the whole, the conduct of Leisler during the revolution had been considered patriotic, and his sentence was deemed very unjust and cruel. Indeed, his enemies could not prevail upon Sloughter to sign the warrant for his execution, until, for that purpose, they got him intoxicated. It was a murderous affair. Sloughter's administration was short and turbulent. He died July twenty-third, 1691.
Canadian country in constant alarm by frequent incursions of war-parties against the French settlements. Active hostilities were likewise prosecuted by the Confederates against the French traders, and their posts, upon Lake Ontario. The celebrated Onondaga chief, Black- Kettle, one of the bravest and most remarkable warriors of his race, was the leader in that quarter. Being taken in the same year, he was put to death by the most frightful torments.
On the death of Sloughter, Richard Ingoldsby, the captain of an independent company, was made president of the council, to the exclusion of Joseph Dudley, who, but for his absence in Boston, would have had the right to preside, and upon whom the government would have devolved. But although Dudley very soon returned to New York, he did not contest the authority of Ingoldsby, who administered the government until the arrival of Colonel Fletcher, with a commission as governor, in August, 1692. In the preceding month of June, Ingoldsby met the Five Nations in council at Albany, on which occasion they declared their enmity to the French in the strongest possible terms. Their expressions of friendship for the English were also renewed. " Brother Corlaer," said the sachem, "we are all the subjects of one great king and queen; we have one head, one heart, one interest, and are all engaged in the same war." They nevertheless condemned the English for their inactivity, " telling them that the destruction of Canada would not make one summer's work, against their united strength, if ingeniously exerted." (1)
In conducting the Indian affairs of the colony, Colonel Fletcher took Major Schuyler into his councils, and was guided by his opinions. (2) No man understood those affairs
(1) Smith's History of New York.
(2) Fletcher was by profession a soldier, a man Of strong passions, and inconsiderable talents ; very active, and equally avaricious. His administration was so energetic and successful, the first year, that he received large supplies, and a vote of special thanks from the assembly. He was a bigot, however, to the Episcopal form of church government, and labored hard to encourage English churches and schools, and was shortly involved in a violent controversy with the assembly, who inclined rather to favor the Dutch churches. He was also unpopular because of his extravagant demands for money. He continued in the administration of the government until the year 1695, inclusive.
better than he; and his influence over the Indians was so great, that whatever Quider,(1) as they called, him, either recommended or disapproved, had the force of a law. This power over them was supported, as it had been obtained, by repeated offices of kindness, and his single bravery and activity in the defence of his country." Through the influence of Quider, therefore, Colonel Fletcher was placed upon the best footing with the Indians, by whom was conferred upon him the name of Cayenguinago, or "The Great Swift Arrow," as a compliment for a remarkably rapid journey made by him from New York to Schenectady on a sudden emergency. (3)
1693. Despairing, at length, of accomplishing a peace with the Five Nations, Count Frontenac determined, to strike a blow upon the Mohawks in their own country,- which purpose was securely executed in the month of February, For once this vigilant race of warriors were taken by surprise, two of their castles being entered and captured without much resistance - the warriors of both having been mostly absent at Schenectady. On assailing the third, or upper castle, however, the invaders met with a different reception. The warriors within, to the number of forty, were engaged in a war-dance, preparatory to some military expedition upon which they were about
(1) Quider, the Iroquois pronunciation of Peter. Having no labials in their language, they could not say Peter,
(2) Smith's History of New York.
(3) Colden's Six Nations.
entering; and though, inferior in force, yet they yielded not without a struggle, nor until thirty of the assailants had been slain. About three hundred of the Mohawks were taken prisoners in this invasion, in respect to which the people of Schenectady have been charged with bad conduct. They neither aided their neighbors, nor even apprised them of the approach of danger, although informed of the fact in due season themselves. But Quider, the fast friend of the Indians, took the field at the head of the militia of Albany, immediately on hearing of the invasion, and harassed the enemy sharply during their retreat. Indeed, but for the protection of a snowstorm, and the accidental resting of a cake of ice upon the river, forming a bridge for their escape, the invaders would have been cut off.
The loss of the Mohawks by this incursion, added to dissatisfaction arising from the many unfulfilled promises made to them by the English, disheartened them so much that, in the spring of 1693, the Oneidas sued the French for peace,-- a purpose which was frustrated only by the promptness of Fletcher's movements. A timely supply of presents for the Indians, received from England, enabled him to convene a council of the whole Confederacy at Albany, in July, and by a liberal distribution of arms and ammunition, knives, hatchets, and clothing, they were pacified, and, to use their own figure of speech, made "to roll and wallow in joy, by reason of the great favor the king and queen had done them." Yet, a Jesuit priest, resident with the Oneidas, named Milet, soon afterward succeeded in persuading all the nations, excepting the Mohawks, to open their ears to the propositions of certain emissaries dispatched upon the insidious errand to Onondaga. But the demands of the French, particularly for permission to rebuild the fort at Cadaraqui, were greater than the Indians were willing to concede, and the war was renewed in 1694, during which year Count Frontenac sent an expedition of three hundred men against such of the Five Nations as might be found in the region of the Niagara peninsula. Only a small number of Indians were met with, some of whom were killed, and others made prisoners. These latter were taken to Montreal and tortured to death by fire. The Five Nations likewise, renewed their incursions into Canada, and the fate of their brethren was avenged by a holocaust, in which ten of their Indian captives were burnt.
In the year 1696, the Count de Frontenac made a yet more formidable effort for the subjugation of the Five Nations. To this end, an army, consisting of two battalions of regular troops, four battalions of militia, together with the warriors of all the Indian tribes, under his influence, was assembled, with which the count ascended the St. Lawrence to Cadaraqui, and crossing thence to Oswego, made a descent upon the Onondagas. But it was a bootless expedition. The Indians, apprised that the French were bringing several small pieces of artillery against them, before which they knew they could not stand, set fire to their principal towns, and retired with their women and children, and their old men, to their wilderness labyrinths. One only of their nation remained to receive the invaders,-an old man, whose head was whitened with the snows of a hundred winters. He refused to leave his lodge, and was put to death by torture, dying as bravely as he had lived, and laughing to scorn the efforts by his tormentors to wring a groan or a murmur of complaint from his bosom. It is difficult to conceive how the officers of a civilized and gallant people, like the French, could have permitted such a murder. One would have thought that in admiration of his fortitude, his patriotism, and his courage, a hundred swords would have leaped from their scabbards for the defence of a venerable brave like him. But it was not thus; and the death of the old sachem was the only exploit which crowned the last campaign of the Count de Frontenac against the indomitable Iroquois. Not a single Onondaga captive was made, and their conquest was a field of smoldering ashes. Subsequently, by treachery, thirty-five Oneidas were taken prisoners and carried into Canada; but on the retreat of the army, the Onondagas fell upon its rear and cut off several bateaux. Nor was this all, the warriors of the Five Nations renewed their incursions, even to the gates of Montreal, and by tomahawk and fire caused another famine in Canada. On the other hand, the scalping parties of the French and the Indians in their alliance, hung upon the skirts of the English colonies, infesting even the precincts of Albany.
1697. The peace of Ryswick, in 1697, put an end to these barbarities. The Earl of Bellamont had by that time succeeded Colonel Fletcher in the government of New York (1) and some difficulties arose between his lordship and the French governor, in the negotiations that ensued for a mutual release of prisoners. In these negotiations the earl claimed the Iroquois as the subjects of, or dependents upon, the crown of Great Britain,- a claim in which Count Frontenac was by no means inclined to acquiesce. Pending these diplomatic proceedings, the count died, and the exchange of prisoners was effected by the Indians
(1) Richard, Earl of Bellamont, was appointed governor of New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, in May, 1795, but did not arrive in New York until May, 1698. He was appointed by King William with a special view to the suppression of piracy in the American seas - New York, at that time, having been a commercial depot of the pirates, with whom Fletcher, and other officers in the colony, had a good understanding. Kidd was fitted out with a ship by Bellamont, Robert Livingstone and others, including several English noblemen. Turning pirate himself, Kidd was afterward arrested in Boston by the Earl, and sent home for trial. The Earl was a nobleman of polite manners, a great favorite of King William, and very popular among the people both of New York and Boston. He had been dissipated in his youth, but afterward became penitent and devout. He died in New York, in March, 1701.
themselves, without the earl's consent, leaving the disputed point unsettled. Still, the Five Nations declared their continued attachment to Corlaer, and refused a residence at Onondaga to the Jesuit missionary Bruyas, who had acted as an ambassador in the negotiation.
1700 Nevertheless the French were far from relinquishing their designs of supplanting the English in the affections of the Iroquois; to which end so many Jesuit priests were introduced among them that in the year 1700 an act was passed by the provincial assembly for putting to death by hanging, every Popish priest coming voluntarily within the bounds of the colony.
In the spring of 1702, hostilities were again proclaimed by England against France and Spain. Happily, however, the Five Nations had just previously concluded a treaty of neutrality with the Canadian French, and the murderous border-forays incident to Indian hostilities, were not renewed.
But even the terrors of the halter were insufficient to deter the Jesuits from communicating with the Five Nations, nor were their artful dealings with them persisted in without partial effect. The indications were indeed such in the year 1708, as in the opinion of Lord Cornbury, (1)
(1) Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, was the son of the Earl of Clarendon. On the death of Earl Bellamont, the government devolved upon Mr. Nanfan, the lieutenant-governor, until the appointment of Lord Cornbury, in 1702. He was a very tyrannical, base, and profligate man, and was appointed to the government of New York by King William, as a reward for his desertion of King James, in whose army he was an officer. He was a savage bigot and an ungentlemanly tyrant. He imprisoned several clergymen who were dissenters, and robbed the Rev. M. Hubhard, of Jamaica, of his house and glebe. He was wont to dress himself in women's clothes, and thus patrol the fort. His avarice was insatiable, and his disposition that of a savage. Becoming at length an object of universal abhorrence and detestation, he was superseded by the queen (Anne), who, in the autumn of 1708, appointed Lord Lovelace in his place. He was then thrown into prison by his creditors, where he remained until the death of his father, when he became Earl of Clarendon. He died in 1733.
then at the head of the colony, to require such an appropriation as would enable him to meet them in council, and conciliate them with the needful presents. This timely measure was successful. The rusty spots upon the chain were again rubbed off; and in the succeeding year, through the indefatigable exertions of Colonel Schuyler,- Quider - the Five Nations were engaged heartily in Colonel Nicholson's remarkable though entirely abortive expedition for the subjugation of Canada,-an expedition the organization of which cost the colonies,- that of New York in particular,- a vast amount of money, and the failure of which caused deep and widespread mortification.
1710. Colonel Schuyler was greatly beloved by the five Nations, and having excited their expectations to a high pitch of enthusiasm in regard to the projected conquest of Canada, he felt keenly the miserable failure of Nicholson's expedition. Still, distinctly perceiving the importance of effecting that conquest, and with a view, probably, of diverting the attention of the Indians from their disappointment, he determined upon a voyage to England to represent the actual state of the country, in person, to the parent government. His views were seconded by the colonial assembly, and he took with him the five Iroquois chiefs whose appearance in the British capital created so great a sensation, according to the chroniclers of those days. (1) This visit was made in 1710. Schuyler returned with his chiefs in the autumn of the same year,-the latter being highly gratified with their voyage, and their reception by the great queen, before whom they had strongly seconded the arguments of Quider for the speedy reduction of Canada, as the only effectual measure of peace and security to the northern English colonies.
1711. In accordance with this advice, another expedition for
(1) Vide, one of the numbers of Adison's Spectator.
that object was undertaken in the next year--1711; great preparations being made therefor, both by the parent govemment and the colonies. The French, aware of the design, were equally active in concerting measures of defence. The Indians in their immediate alliance were induced to take up the hatchet, and renewed attempts were made upon the fidelity of the Iroquois. No perceptible impression was made upon their virtue, however; but the expedition resulted in another sad miscarriage, alike upon the land and the wave,-whereat the Confederates were greatly disheartened, and at length, under their repeated disappointments, they again began to "open their ears" to the insidious counsels and persuasions of the French. Indeed, but for the peace of Utrecht, concluded in the spring of 1713, it was believed that the Senecas, and perhaps others of their Confederacy, would then have turned their arms upon the English. Yet one important point connected with the Indian relations of the English, was secured by this treaty, if no more by its provisions the long contested question of English supremacy over the Five Nations and their territory, which in his negotiations with the Earl of Bellamont, Count Frontenac had refused to recognize, was conceded by the French. The Indians of this Confederacy had previously, under the administration of Colonel Fletcher, thrown themselves upon the English for protection,- as they likewise did again at a subsequent period, for the same object,-making a formal surrender of their country to the English; not as an unqualified cession, however, but to be held and protected by the crown for their use. In other words, the Indians seem to have supposed that they were investing the English with a sort of superior jurisdiction over their territory, reserving to themselves their own distinct sovereignty in every other respect.
Brigadier-General Hunter, who was appointed to the government of New York, as the successor of Lord Lovelace, was required to take no very active part in the Indian affairs of the colony. (1) The peace of Utrecht being followed by several years of repose, the colonies were relieved from the terrible inflictions of Indian hostilities,-a species of warfare the most frightful that can be imagined, as well from its certain, as from its uncertain character,- uncertain, always, when, or where, the dreaded enemy might strike, and equally certain that his path would be illumined by fire, and made red with blood. Meantime the Confederates, being likewise relieved from hostilities with the French, and the Indians in their interest, again directed their arms against their ancient enemies in the South,- in the countries of the Carolinas and Georgia, among the Catawbas and the Cherokees, even to the headwaters of the Mobile. The most powerful nation in the midlands of Carolina, were the Tuscaroras, kindred, as their speech testified, either of the Wyandots, or the Five Nations, or both. In either case, their language, having no labials, bore so strong an affinity to that of the Five Stations, that they were claimed by the latter as relations; and with their own consent were transplanted to the north, within the bosom of the Iroquois Confederacy. It has been asserted by a high authority, that at a date so recent as the year 1708, the Tuscaroras possessed fifteen towns, and could count twelve hundred warriors as brave as the Mohawks. (2) This enumeration must have been erroneous, or else their numbers were rapidly diminished by pestilence
(1) John, Lord Lovelace, Baron of Hurley, appointed to supersede Lord Cornbury, entered upon the government of the colony on the 18th of December, 1708. He died on the 5th of May in the next year, of a disorder contracted in crossing the ferry at his first arrival in New York. His lady remained in New York many years after his death. On the death of his lordship, the government once more devolved upon Richard Ingoldsby, the lieutenant-governor of the colony, until the arrival of Governor Hunter, in the summer of 1710.
(2) Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. iii.
or war, or by some other calamity, since at the time of their transplantation, five years afterward, they were but a comparatively feeble clan. Yet they were counted as a nation; and the Iroquois Confederacy was thenceforward called THE SIX NATIONS.(1)
General Hunter continued at the head of the colonial administration until the summer of 1719, when he went back to England on leave of absence, as well on account of his health, as to look after his private affairs. He intimated that he might return to the government again, but did not. (2) The chief command on his departure, devolved on the Hon. Peter Schuyler, as the oldest member of the council, but only for a brief period. He however held a treaty with the Six rations at Albany, which was considered satisfactory; yet it would have been more so, had his efforts to induce the Confederates to drive Joncaire,
(1) The history of the Tuscaroras, and the manner or cause of their removal to the north, and their incorporation with the Iroquois Confederacy, are involved in doubt. According to some accounts, they are said to have been first conquered by the Five Nations, and then adopted among them because of discovered relationship. Dr. Colden says they fled to the Five Nations, before the arms of the people of Carolina. Smith gives a still different account of their southern locality, thus: " The Tuscaroras possessed a tract of land near the sources of James river, in Virginia, -whence the encroachments of the English induced them to remove, and settle near the southeast end of the Oneida lake."-SMITH.
(2) Hunter was a Scotchman, and when a boy, an apprentice to an apothecary. Leaving his master, he entered the army, and being a man of wit and beauty, gained promotion, and also the hand of Lady Hay. In 1707 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Virginia, but being captured by the French on his voyage out, on his return to England he was appointed to the government of New, York and New Jersey, then united in the same jurisdiction. Governor Hunter was the man who brought over the three thousand Palatines from Germany, who founded the German settlements in the interior of New York and Pennsylvania. He administered the government of the colony "well and wisely," as was said to him in an affectionate parting address by the general assembly, until the summer of 1719, when he returned to England on leave, to look after his private affairs.
the artful agent of the French, out of their country, been successful. This Jesuit emissary had resided among the Senecas from the beginning of Queen Anne's reign. He had been adopted by them, and was greatly beloved by the Onondagas. He was incessant in his intrigues in behalf of the French, facilitating the missionaries in their progress through the country, and contributing greatly to the vacillating course of the Indians toward the English. Schuyler was aware of all this; but notwithstanding his own great influence over the Six Nations, -he could not prevail upon them to discard their favorite. In other respects the government of Schuyler was marked, by moderation, wisdom, and integrity.(1) .
William Burnet, son of the celebrated prelate of that name who flourished in the reign of William and Mary, succeeded to the government of the colony, in the year 1720; and of all the colonial governors of New York, with the exception of Colonel Dongan, his Indian policy was marked by the most prudent forecast and the greatest wisdom. Immediately after the peace of Utrecht, a brisk trade in goods for the Indian market, was revived between Albany and Montreal,-the Caughnawaga clan of the Mohawks residing near Montreal serving as carriers. The chiefs of the Six Nations foresaw the evil and inevitable consequences to result from allowing that trade to pass round in that direction, inasmuch as the Indians would of course be drawn exclusively to Montreal for their supplies, to be received immediately at the hands of the French, - and they cautioned the English authorities against it. Mr. Hunter had indeed called the attention of the general assembly to the subject at an antecedent period; but no action was had thereon until after, Mr. Burnet had assumed the direction of the colonial administration. The policy of the latter was at once to cut off an intercourse, so unwise and so dangerous, with Montreal, and bring the
(1) Smith's History of New York.
entire Indian trade within the limits and control of New York. To this end an act was passed at his suggestion, subjecting the traders with Montreal to-a forfeiture of their goods, and a penalty of one hundred pounds for each infraction of the law. It likewise entered into the policy of Mr. Burnet to win the confidence of the Caughnawagas, and reunite them with their kindred in their native valley. But the ties by which the Roman priesthood had bound them to the interests of the French, were too strong, and the efforts of the governor were unsuccessful.
In furtherance of the design to grasp the Indian trade, not only of the Six Nations, hut likewise that of the remoter nations of the upper lakes, a trading post was established at Oswego in 1722. A trusty agent was also appointed to reside at the great council-fire of the Onondagas,-- the central nation of the Confederates. A congress of several of the colonies was held at Albany, to meet the Six Nations, during the same year, which, among other distinguished men, was attended by Governor Spottswood, of Virginia, Sir William Keith, of Pennsylvania, and by Governor Burnet. At this council the chiefs stipulated that in their future southern war-expeditions they would not cross the Potomac, and in their marches against their southern enemies, their path was to lie westward of the great mountains - the Alleghanies meaning. Mr. Burnet again brightened the chain of friendship with them, on the part of New York, notwithstanding the adverse influences exerted by the Chevalier Joncaire, the Jesuit agent residing alternately among the Senecas and Onondagas. .
The beneficial effects of Mr. Burnet's policy were soon apparent. In the course of a single year more than forty young men plunged boldly into the Indian country as traders, acquired their languages, and strengthened the precarious friendship existing between the English and the more distant nations; while tribes of the latter previously unknown to the colonists, even from beyond Michilimackinac, visited Albany for purposes of traffic.
The establishment of an English post at Oswego was a cause of high displeasure to the French, who, in order to intercept the trade from the upper lakes that would naturally he drawn thither, and thus he diverted from Montreal, determined to repossess themselves of Niagara, rebuild the trading-house at that point, and repair their dilapidated fort. The consent of the Onondagas to this measure was obtained by the Baron de Longueil, who visited their country for that purpose, through the influence of Joncaire and his Jesuit associates. But the other members of the Confederacy, disapproving of the movement, declared the permission given to be void, and dispatched messengers to Niagara to arrest the procedure. With a just appreciation of the importance of such an encroachment upon their territory, the Confederates met Mr. Burnet in council upon the subject, at Albany, in 1727. "We come to you howling," said the chiefs; "and this is the reason why we howl, that the governor of Canada encroaches on our land and builds thereon." Governor Burnet made them a speech on the occasion, beautifully expressed in their own figurative language, which gave them great satisfaction. (1) The chiefs, declaring themselves unable to resist this invasion of the French, entreated the English for succor, and formally surrendered their country to the great king, " to be protected by him for their use," as heretofore stated. But Governor Burnet being at that period involved in political difficulties with an assembly, too shortsighted, or too factious, to appreciate the importance of preserving so able a head to the colonial government, was enabled to do nothing more for the protection of the Indians than to erect a small military defence at Oswego; and even this work of necessity he was obliged to perform at his own private expense. Meantime
(1) Smith's History of New York.
the French completed and secured their works at Niagara without molestation.
In the course of the same year, having been thwarted 1727 in his enlarged and patriotic views by several successive assemblies, Mr. Burnet, the ablest and wisest of the colonial administrators, retired from the government of New York, and accepted that of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. (1) Mr. Montgomery succeeded him in New York, in 1728. He was an indolent man, and had not character enough to inspire opposition. The French, enraged at the erection of a fort at Oswego, were now menacing that post. The new governor thereupon met the Six Nations in council at Albany, to renew the covenant chain, and engage them in the defence of that important station. Large presents were distributed among them, and they declared their willingness to join the reinforcements detached from the independent companies for that service. Being apprised of these preparations, the French desisted from their threatened invasion. (2)
Much of the opposition to the administration of Governor Burnet, had been fomented and kept alive by the Albanians who, by the shrewdness of his Indian policy, and
(1) Governor Burnet was not only a man of letters, but of wit-a believer in the Christian religion, yet not a serious professor. A variety of amusing anecdotes has been related of him. When on his way from New York to assume the government at Boston, one of the committee who went from that town to meet him on the borders of Rhode Island, was the facetious Colonel Tailer. Burnet complained of the long graces that were said before meals by clergymen on the road, and asked when they would shorten. Tailer answered: 'The graces will increase in length till you come to Boston ; after that they will shorten till you come to your government of New Hampshire, where your excellency will find no grace at all."
(2) Colonel John Montgomery succeeded Mr. Burnet in the government of the colonies of New York and New Jersey, in the month of April, 1728. He was a Scotchman, and bred a soldier. But quitting the profession of arms, he went into parliament,-serving also, for a time, as groom of the bedchamber to his majesty George II, before his accession to the throne. He was a man of moderate abilities and slender literary attainments. He was too good-natured a man to excite enmities; and his administration, cut short by death in 1731, was one of tranquil inaction.
the vigorous measures by which he had enforced it, had been interrupted in their illicit trade in Indian goods with Montreal,- and also by the importers of those goods residing in the city of New York. Sustained, however, by his council-board, and by the very able memoir of Doctor Colden upon that subject, Mr. Burnet, as the reader has already been apprised, had succeeded in giving a new and more advantageous character to the inland trade, while the Indian relations of the colony had been placed upon a better footing, in so far at least as the opportunities of the French to tamper with them had been measurably cut off. But in December of the succeeding year, owing to some intrigues that were never clearly understood, all these advantages were suddenly relinquished by an act of the crown repealing the measures of Mr. Burnet; reviving, in effect, the execrable trade of the Albanians, and thus at once reopening the door of intrigue between the French and the Six Nations, which had been so wisely closed.
On the decease of Colonel Montgomery, the duties of the colonial executive were for a brief period exercised by Mr. Rip Van Dam, as president of the council. (1) His administration was signalized by the memorable infraction of the treaty of Utrecht, by the French, who then invaded the clearly defined territory of New York, and built the fortress of St. Frederick, at Crown Point, a work which gave them the command of Lake Champlain,-the highway between the English and French colonies. The pusillanimity evinced by the government of New York or the occasion of that flagrant encroachment upon its domains, excites the amazement of the retrospective reviewer. Massachusetts, alarmed at this advance of the rivals, if not natural enemies, of the English upon the settlements of the latter first called the attention of the authorities
(1) Mr. Van Dam was an eminent merchant in the city of New York, "of a fair estate," says Smith, the historian, "though distinguished, more for the integrity of his heart, than his capacity to hold the reins of government."
of New York to the subject; but the information was received with the most provoking indifference. There was a regular military force in the colony abundantly sufficient, by a prompt movement, to repel the aggression;yet not even a remonstrance was uttered against it.
1732. During the stormy administration of Colonel Cosby, from 1732 to 1736 inclusive, no attention whatever appears to have been directed to Indian affairs. The incessant quarrels of this weak and avaricious man with the people and their representatives, left him apparently no time to bestow upon the external relations of the colony; and the Six Nations, in the absence of other employment, again resumed hostilities against their enemies at the South. One of their expeditions, directed against the Chickasaws, was fearfully disastrous. They fell into an ambuscade, and fought until all but two of a strong body of warriors were slain. One only of those two two returned to rehearse the tale. He struck off deep into the forest, and supporting himself by game on the way, succeeded in traversing the whole distance back to his own country without meeting a single human being during the journey.(1) Another expedition, yet stronger, was sent against the Catawbas and Cherokees. They met upon the banks of the Cumberland river, now in Kentucky, at a place called "the bloody lands." Ascertaining that their enemies were advancing to meet them, the Six rations in turn drew them into an ambuscade, and a terrible battle followed, in which the southrons, after a contest of two days, were defeated, with a loss of twelve hundred braves killed on the field.(2)
These retrospective glances have now brought down to the year 1735, the date of the arrival in America of
(1) Relation of General Schuyler to Chancellor Kent. Vide note in Kent's Commentaries, vol. iii.
(2) Life of Mary Jennison, the Seneca white woman. Hiockatoo, her husband, was in the battle. Still the numbers said to have been killed may be an exaggeration.
the extraordinary youth whose life will form a prominent subject of these memoirs. And although that individual does not yet appear upon the theatre of public action, still, in order to the completeness of his "life and times," it will be necessary henceforward to set forth both the Indian and the civil history of the colony with more fullness of detail than in the preceding pages.
1736. On the demise of Colonel Cosby,(1) Mr. George Clarke, long a member of the council, after a brief struggle with Mr. Van Dam for the precedency, succeeded to the direction of the government; and being shortly afterward commissioned as lieutenant-governor, he continued at the head of the colonial administration from the autumn of 1736 to, that of 1743,- seven years. Mr. Clarke was remotely connected, by marriage, with the family of Lord Clarendon,-having been sent over as secretary of the colony in the reign of Queen Anne. Being, moreover, a man of strong common sense and of uncommon tact; and by reason of his long residence in the colony, and the several official stations he had held, well acquainted with its affairs; his administration,- certainly until toward its close,-was comparatively popular, and, all circumstances considered, eminently successful. In the brief struggle for power between himself and Mr. Van Dam, the latter had been sustained by the popular party, while the officers of the crown, and the partisans of Cosby, with few if any exceptions, adhered to Mr. Clarke.(2) This difficulty had been speedily ended by a royal confirmation of the somewhat
(1) Colonel William Cosby, appointed to the government of New York in 1732, had formerly been governor of Minorca, where he acquired no very enviable name by the scandalous and corrupt practices to which he was prompted by his avarice. His administration was turbulent and exceedingly unpopular, and deservedly so, for his conduct was atrocious. He died universally detested, on the tenth of March, 1736.
(2) Mr. Van Dam had been privately, and, as he and his partisans contended, illegally removed from the council-board by Cosby, in a fit of passion, almost upon his deathbed. Hence the struggle to which I have referred in the text.
doubtful authority assumed by Mr. Clarke. His own course, moreover, on taking the seals of office, was conciliatory. In his first speech to the general assembly he referred in temperate language to the unhappy divisions which had of late disturbed the colony, and which he thought it was then a favorable moment to heal. The English flour-market being overstocked by large supplies furnished from the other colonies, the attention of the assembly was directed to the expediency of encouraging domestic manufactures in various departments of industry. To the Indian affairs of the colony, Mr. Clarke invited the special attention of the assembly. The military works of Fort Hunter being in a dilapidated condition, and the object of affording protection to the Christian settlements through the Mohawk valley having been accomplished, the lieutenant-governor suggested the erection of a new fort at the carrying-place between the Mohawk river and Wood creek (1) leading into Oneida lake, and thence through the Oswego river into Lake Ontario; and the transfer of the garrison from Fort Hunter to this new and commanding position. He likewise recommended the repairing of the blockhouse at Oswego, and the sending of smiths and other artificers into the Indian country, especially among the Senecas.(2)
These recommendations were repeated in the executive
(1) The site, afterward, of Fort Stanwix,-now the opulent town of Rome.
(2) In the course of this session of the general assembly, Chief Justice DeLancey, speaker of the legislative council, announced that his duties in the Supreme Court would render it impossible for him to act as speaker through the session. It was therefore ordered that the oldest counselor present should thenceforward act as speaker. Under this order, Doctor Cadwallader Colden first came to the chair.
On the twenty-sixth of October, the council resolved that they should hold their sittings in the common council chamber of the City-Hall. The House immediately returned a message that they were holding their sessions, and should continue to hold them in that chamber; and that it was conformable to the constitution that the council, in its legislative capacity, should sit as a distinct and separate body.
speech to the assembly in the spring of 1737 and also again to a new assembly which had been called in the summer of the same year. The lieutenant-governor farther informed the new assembly that it had become necessary for him to meet the chiefs of the Six Nations in council at Albany in consequence of certain negotiations pending between the Senecas and the French, by virtue of which the latter were on the point of obtaining permission to erect a trading-post at Tierondequot, which would enable them to intercept the fur-trade of the upper lakes on its way to Oswego. (1)
For the purpose of defeating this sagacious movement of the French, and if possible yet further to circumvent them by obtaining the like permission for the English to establish a trading-post at the same point, the meeting with the Confederate chiefs took place in Albany, as suggested in the speech. The objects of the interview, however, were only obtained in part. The Senecas agreed not to allow the French agent, John Coeur, to build at Tierondequot; but neither would they permit the English to plant themselves there. Still they gladly acceeded to the proposition of the lieutenant-governor to send a gunsmith to reside among them,- with whom were also dispatched an interpreter, and three other agents, to assist in circumventing the intrigues of the French. At the succeeding autumnal session of the assembly, these measures were sanctioned by that body, and provisions made for strengthening Oswego, and for the farther promotion of commerce with the Indians.(2)
(1) Irondequot, now well known as an inlet, or bay, a few miles east of the mouth of the Genesee river,-the place where Denonville landed in his memorable expedition against the Senecas, half a century before.
(2) Vide Legislative Journals. Also Smith's History of New York. At the Session of the Assembly, October thirteenth, of this year, the council having sent a message to the house by the hand of a deputy clerk, a message was transmitted back, signifying that the house considered such a course disrespectful. Until that time, messages had been conveyed between the houses, with bills, resolutions, &c., by the hands of their members respectively. The house considered the sending of a clerk an innovation upon their privileges; and Col. Phillipse, ,Mr. Verplank, and Mr. Johnson, were appointed a committee to wait upon the council and demand satisfaction. The council healed the matter by a conciliatory resolution, declaring that no disrespect had been intended.
During the greater part of the year 1738 but little attention was paid to Indian affairs,-the principal historical incident of that year being the memorable contested election between Adolphe Philipse and Gerret Van Home, in connection with which, owing to the extraordinary skill and eloquence of Mr. Smith, father of the historian, and of counsel for Van Home, the Hebrew freeholders of the city of New York, from which place both parties claimed to have been returned to the assembly, were most unjustly disfranchised, on the ground of their religious creed, and their votes rejected. (1) The colony was greatly excited by this question, and the persuasive powers exerted by Mr. Smith, are represented to have been wonderful,-equaling, probably, if not surpassing, those of Andrew Hamilton, four years previously, in the great libel case of the Zengers,- and possibly not excelled even by Patrick Henry, a few years afterward, when he dethroned the reason of the court, and led captive the jury, in the great tobacco case in Virginia. (2)
Yet the movements of the Indians, and the designs of the French in Canada were not entirely overlooked. On the thirteenth of October, the general assembly being in session, the lieutenant-governor summoned the house before him, and announced the receipt of intelligence of a design by the French, to establish themselves at the carrying-place upon Wood creek, between the head, or southern end
(1) For an animated account of this celebrated case, drawn,
the partial hand of a son writing of his father, see Smith's History, vol. ii.
(2) See Wirt's Life of Patrick Henry.
of Lake Champlain, and. the Hudson river, (1) and calling for means to enable him to build a fort and plant a colony of settlers there for the defence of the northern frontier, to be composed of emigrants from North Britain. (2) The lieutenant-governor also announced, in the same speech, that a delegation of the Senecas had departed for Quebec, to treat, as it was understood, with M. Beauharnois, then the governor of Canada, with a view, after all, of allowing the French to plant themselves in the beautiful valley of the Tierondequot,- a measure which, said the speech, "would put an end to the Oswego trade." In conclusion the lieutenant-governor asked for an appropriation of money to enable him to frustrate their designs, and to make another effort for the purchase of the Tierondequot. The assembly having been suddenly dissolved a few days subsequent to the delivery of this speech, no steps were taken in reference to either of its recommendations, and they were each pressed urgently upon the new assembly summoned in the spring of the next year, 1739.
(l) The Wood creek here mentioned is altogether a different stream from that spoken of a few pages back, at the Mohawk carrying-place, which leads into the Oneida lake. These duplicated names are apt to create confusion. The present town of Whitehall stands upon the Wood creek spoken of here in the text, which pours into Lake Champlain.
(2) The North Britons here spoken of, whom Mr. Clarke proposed-colonizing at the head of Lake Champlain, were a company of between four and five hundred adult Highlanders, with their children, who had been brought to the colony by Captain Laughlin Campbell, in the expectation of settling them upon a manor of thirty thousand acres of land, which he, Campbell, alleged had been promised him by the lieutenant-governor,-Campbell, who was a Highland chief, calculating to become, as it were, "lord of the manor." Smith roundly asserts that Clarke had stipulated to make the grant to Campbell; but the statement was contradicted by Dr. Colden, who was at the time in question a member of the executive council. Certain it is however, that Campbell had the emigrants with him in New York; yet Colden says that many of them came out at their own expense, and that no more land had been promised to Campbell than he could bring into cultivation. Be this as it may, the disappointment of the emigrants was great, and they suffered much keen distress before they could take cars of themselves.
The years 1738 and 1739, were marked by increasing political excitement, and the dividing line of parties, involving the great principles of civil liberty on the one side, and the prerogatives of the crown on the other. Were more distinctly drawn, perhaps, than at any antecedent period. The administrations of the earlier English governors, Nicholls and Lovelace, were benevolent, and almost parental. Andross, it is true, was a tyrant; and during his administration parties were formed, as in England, upon the mixed questions of politics and religion, which dethroned the last and most bigoted of the Stuarts, and brought William and Mary upon the throne. Dongan, however, the last of the Stuart governors in New York, although a Roman Catholic, was nevertheless mild in the administration of the government, and a gentleman in his feelings and manners. It was upon his arrival in the autumn of 1683, that the freeholders of the colony were invested with the right of choosing representatives to meet the governor in general assembly. (1) For nearly twenty years subsequent to the revolution of 1689, the colony was torn by personal, rather than political factions, having their origin in the controversy which compassed the judicial murder of the unhappy Leisler and his son-in-law Milborne. These factions dying out in the lapse of years, other questions arose, the principal of which was that important one which always, sooner or later, springs up in every English colony, involving, on the
(1) Two years previous to the arrival of Dongan, the aldermen, of New York, and the justices of the peace of the court of assize, in consequence of the tyranny of Andross, had petitioned the duke that the people might be allowed to participate in the affairs of the government by the construction of a general assembly, in which they might be represented. Through the interposition of William Penn, who enjoyed the favor both of the king and the duke, the point was yielded, and Colonel Dongan was instructed to allow the people a voice in the government. Greatly to the joy of the inhabitants, therefore, who had become turbulent, if not disaffected, under the despotic rule of Andross, writs were issued to the sheriffs summoning the freeholders to choose representatives to meet the new governor in assembly on the seventeenth of October, 1683.
one hand, as I have already remarked, the rights of the people, and on the other the claims of the crown. Invariably, almost, if not quite, the struggle is originated upon some question of revenue,- either in the levying thereof;or in its disposition, or both. Thus in the origin of those political parties in New York, which continued with greater or less acrimony until the separation from the parent country, Sloughter and Fletcher had both endeavored to obtain grants of revenue to the crown for life, but had failed. Subsequently grants had been occasionally made to the officers of the crown for a term of years; but latterly, especially during the administration of Governor Cosby, the general assembly had grown more refractory upon the subject,-pertinaciously insisting that they would vote the salaries for the officers of the crown only with the annual supplies. This was a principle which the governors, as the representatives of the crown, felt bound to resist, as being an infringement of the royal prerogative. Henceforward, therefore, until the colony cast off its allegiance, the struggle in regard to the revenue, and its disposition, was almost perpetually before the people, in one form or another; and in some years, owing the obstinacy of the representatives of the crown on one side, and the inflexibility of the representatives of the people on the other, supplies were not granted at all. Mr. Clarke, although he had the address to throw off, or to evade, the difficulty, for the space of two years, was nevertheless doomed soon to encounter it. Accordingly, in speech to the assembly at the autumnal session of 1738, he complained that another year had elapsed without any provision being made for the support of his majesty's government in the province,- the neglect having occurred by reason of "a practice not warranted by the usage any former general assemblies." He therefore insisted strongly upon the adoption of measures for the payment of salaries; for the payment of the public creditors for the general security of the public credit by the creation of a sinking fund for the redemption of the bills of the colony.
The assembly was refractory. Instead of complying with the demands of the lieutenant-governor, the house, resolved unanimously that they "would grant no supplies upon that principle; and in regard to a sinking fund for the redemption of the hills of credit afloat, they refused any other measure than a continuance of the existing excise. These spirited and peremptory resolutions gave high offense to the representative of the crown; and on the day following their adoption, the assembly was summoned to the fort, and dissolved by a speech, declaring the said resolutions "to be such presumptuous, daring, and unprecedented steps that he could not look upon them but with astonishment, nor could he with honor suffer their authors to sit any longer."
The temper of the new assembly, summoned in the spring of the succeeding year, 1739, was no more in unison with the desires of the lieutenant-governor, than that of the former. The demand for a permanent supply bill was urged at several successive sessions, only to be met with obstinate refusals. The second session, held in the autumn, was interrupted in October, by a prorogation of several days, for the express purpose of affording the members leisure "to reflect seriously" upon the line of duty required of them by the exigencies of the country; for, not only was the assembly resolutely persisting in the determination to make only annual grants of supplies, but they were preparing to trench yet farther upon the royal prerogative, by insisting upon specific applications of the revenue, to be inserted in the bill itself. Meantime, on the thirteenth of October, the lieutenant-governor brought the subject of his differences with the assembly formally before his privy council. In regard to the new popular movement of this assembly, insisting upon a particular application of the revenues to be granted in the body of the act for the support of the government, the lieutenant- governor said they had been moved to that determination by the example of New Jersey, where an act of that nature had lately been passed. He was unwilling to allow any Encroachment upon the rights of the crown. Yet, in consideration of the defenceless situation of the colony, he felt uneasy at such a turn of affairs; and not being disposed to revive old animosities, or to create new ones by another summary dissolution, he asked the advice of the council. The subject was referred to a committee, of which the Hon. Daniel Horsmanden, an old member of the council, was chairman. This gentleman was one of the most sturdy supporters of the royal prerogative; but, in consequence of the existing posture of affairs, and the necessity of a speedy provision for the public safety, the committee reported unanimously against a dissolution. They believed, also, that the assembly, and the people whom they represented, had the disputed point so much at heart that it would be impossible to do business with them unless it was conceded; and, besides, it was argued, should a dissolution take place, there was no reason for supposing that the next assembly would be less tenacious in asserting the offensive principle. Since, moreover, the governor of New Jersey had yielded the point, the committee advised to the same course in New York. (1) The point was conceded; and the effect, for the moment, was to produce a better state of feeling in the assembly. Supplies were granted, but only for the year; and various
(1) See the old minutes of the executive or privy council, in manuscript, in the secretary of state's office in Albany. To avoid confusion hereafter, it may be well to state in this connection, that the council acted in a twofold capacity: first, as advisory; second, as legislative. "In the first," says Smith, in his chapter, entitled Political State, they are a privy council to the governor." When thus acting they are often called the executive or his majesty's council. Hence, privy council and executive council are synonymous. During the session of the legislature, however, the same council sat (without the presence of the governor) as a legislative council; and in such capacity exercised the game functions as the senate of the present day-so far as regards the passing of laws. The journals of this last or legislative council have recently been published by the state of New York under the supervision, of Dr. E. B. O'Callaghan.
appropriations were made for placing the colony in a posture of defence. The Mohawks, among other things, required either that the dilapidated defences of Dyiondaroga (Fort Hunter) should he repaired or rebuilt, and that a garrison should be continued there, under a threat of leaving their own country and removing into Canada; and they were considered of too much importance as a line of defence against the French, to allow their demand in this respect to be disregarded. But it is seldom that the wheels of revolution roll backward, and the concession which allowed the general assembly to prescribe the application or disposition of the supplies they voted, ever before claimed as the legal and known prerogative of the crown, appeased the popular party only for a very short time. Indeed, nothing is more certain, whether in monarchies or republics, than that the governed are never satisfied with concessions, while each successful demand only increases the popular clamor for more. Thus was it in the experience of Mr. Clarke. It is true, indeed, that the year 1740 passed without any direct collision upon the question of prerogative; although at the second short session of that year, the speech alleged the entire exhaustion of the revenue, and again demanded an ample appropriation for a term of years. But the controversy was reopened at the spring session of the following year,-1741,- on which occasion the lieutenant-governor delivered a speech, long, beyond precedent, and enumerating the grievances of the crown by reason of the continued encroachments of the general assembly. The speech began by an elaborate review of the origin and progress of the difficulties that had existed between the representatives of the crown and the assembly, in respect to the granting of supplies,- evincing - such, indeed, is the inference, a want of gratitude on the part of the latter, in view of the blessings which the colony had enjoyed under the paternal care of the government since the revolution of 1688. But it was not in connection with the supplies, only, that the assembly had invaded the rights of the crown. It was the undoubted prerogative of the crown to appoint the treasurer. Yet, the assembly had demanded the election of that officer. Not satisfied with that concession, they had next claimed the right of choosing the auditor-general. Failing in that demand, they had sought to accomplish their object by withholding the salary from that officer. These encroachments, he said, had been gradually increasing from year to year, until apprehensions had been seriously awakened in England "that the plantations are not without thoughts of throwing off their dependence on the crown." He, therefore, admonished the assembly to do away such an impression "by giving to his majesty such a revenue, and in such a manner, as will enable him to pay his own officers and servants," as had been done from the revolution, down to the year 1709-during which period the colony was far less able to bear such a burden than now.(1)
Thus early and deeply were those principles striking root in America, which John Hampden had asserted, and poured out his blood to defend, in the great ship money contest with Charles I, in which fulfilling the apprehensions of Mr. Clarke,-thirty-five years afterward, separated the colonies from the British crown;- although in the answer of the house to the "insinuation of a suspicion" of a desire for independence, with real or affected gravity, they "vouched that not a single person in the colony had any such thoughts; adding-" for under what government can we be better protected, or our liberties or properties so well secured ?"(2)
The Indian relations of the colony were not forgotten
(1) Vide Journals of the Colonial Assembly, vol. i, Hugh Gaine's edition. This (1741), was the year in which the chapel, barracks, secretary's office, &c., of Fort George (the Battery), were burnt, and the speech referred to in the text, asked an appropriation for their rebuilding-but without success.
(2) Smith, vol. ii.
at any time By Mr. Clarke. The Mohawks having requested an appropriation for the rebuilding of their chapel, the attention of the assembly was invited to the subject, and the occasion was improved to bestow a well-deserved compliment to the English missionary among that people the Rev. Mr. Barclay, who, it was said, "had opened a glorious prospect of spreading the Christian faith and worship throughout the Six Nations." (1) The assembly declined making the grant-alleging that if the Christian converts in that nation were increasing, the funds required for a new chapel should be raised by private contributions.
But there were other considerations connected with the Indian policy, which it would not answer to neglect. War had been declared by the parent government against Spain; and lively apprehensions were entertained of an approaching rupture with France. In anticipation of such an event, fortifications were required for the security of the harbor of New York, and also for the defence of the frontiers-particularly of Oswego, to the importance of strengthening which the lieutenant-governor repeatedly called the attention of the assembly. In the event of a war with France, he was greatly apprehensive that this post would be taken, in which case there was reason to fear from the temper of late manifested by the Six Nations, that they would all fall away to the enemy. In this emergency, appropriations were asked to enable the lieutenant-governor to convoke a grand council of the Confederates at Albany, which was accordingly held in the
(1) The missionary thus mentioned in the text, was the Rev. Henry Barclay, afterward a doctor of divinity, and rector of Trinity Church in the city of New York. He was a native of Albany, and a graduate of Yale College of the year 1734. He received orders in England; and after several years service in the Mohawk country, as a missionary, was called to New York. The translation of the liturgy into the Mohawk language, was made under his direction, and that of Rev. W. Andrews and the Rev. J. Ogilvie. Mr. Ogilvie succeeded him both in the mission, and also, on his decease, in Trinity Church. Mr. Barclay died in 1765.
month of August. The lieutenant-governor's opening speech to the assemblage of sachems and warriors was both happily conceived and expressed-creditable alike to his head and his heart. After an apology for not having met them at an earlier day, in consequence of the prevalence of the smallpox in New York, the infection of which he was apprehensive might be conveyed among their people, he admonished them against the dangers arising from the propensity of their young warriors to join the Indians in the interest of the French, in their hostile expeditions against the more distant tribes of their own kindred. The enticing of their young men in those expeditions, he argued, was an artful device of the French to divide and weaken them. "When united," -said he, "you are like a strong rope, made of many strings and , threads twisted together, but when separated, weak and easily broken. Thus they attempt to divide and weaken you, by leading your rash young men upon their distant wars. They hope so to weaken you by degrees, as by and by to be able to conquer you. If they were lovers of liberty themselves, they ought not to try to enslave other nations."
It was doubtless owing in a great measure to this species of intercourse between the Iroquois and the Indians on the Canadian side of the line, that the former were so frequently disposed to join the French-a disposition requiring so many largesses, and so much tact and activity to counteract. The lieutenant-governor likewise drew a contrast between the tyrannical and overbearing conduct of the French toward the Indians, as compared with the liberal and humane treatment which the red-men had always received at the hands of the English. Whether that contrast was in all respects a just one, it were bootless now to inquire.
In course, of the speech, the lieutenant-governor attempted to impart to the sachems and warriors some wholesome lessons of filial piety, and to infuse into their hearts some juster and loftier notions of true courage than were prevalent among that rude people. He endeavored to impress it upon their minds that wars upon women and children were the opposite of brave, and that the scalps of such when brought in from the warpath, were the trophies of cowards. He also exhorted them to abandon the cruelties practiced by their people in war-reminding them that the cruelties they inflicted upon others, were sure in the end to be visited upon themselves in return; and in again admonishing them against their associations with the French, he reminded them of the fact, that in some of their distant expeditions in company with the Indians in that interest, they had been compelled to strike the heads of their own remote allies, and sometimes it had been proved that they had struck down their own people-probably unawares.
In connection with this intimacy with the French, Mr. Clarke complained that some of the Onondaga chiefs had even been to converse with the governor of Canada, after the council they were then holding had been summoned. Still, he thanked them for the disposition they had shown to keep the path open to the trading-post at Oswego, and complimented them for their wisdom in keeping the French from Tierondequot. In conclusion he informed them that he had it in charge from the great king their father, to negotiate a general peace among all the Indians, so that they, with all the red-men south and west to the great Mississippi, should form a mighty chain, strong and bright. This work, he said, he was determined to do.
The sachems were shrewd in their replies. In regard to Oswego, they wished "their brother Corlaer, (1) would
(1) The name or title by which the Six Nations always designated the English governors of New York. The original Colaer was German trader greatly beloved by the Six Nations. He was drowned in Lake Champlain while on one of his trading trips.
make powder and lead cheaper there, and pay the Indians better for helping to build their houses." Of the Tierondequot matter they replied: "You said that we had acted very wisely in not suffering the French to settle at Tierondequot, and that if they only had liberty to build a fishing-hut there, they would soon build a fort. We perceive that both you and the French intend to settle that place, but owe are fully resolved that neither you nor they shall do it. There is a jealousy between you and the governor of Canada. If either should settle there it would breed mischief. Such near neighbors can never agree. "We think that the trading houses at Oswego and Niagara are near enough to each other." Touching the simile of the rope, they said it was their desire to make it strong by preserving friendship with as many nations as they could. As our great father the great "king has commanded us that we should be as one flesh and blood with the Indians to the southward and westward as far as the Mississippi, so we accept of them as brethren, that we may be united as one heart and one flesh, according to the king's commandment. But we desire that some of the sachems of those southern Indians do come here, which will strengthen and confirm this treaty. We will give them two years time to come in, and in the mean time keep at home all our fighting men."
In his rejoinder, the lieutenant-governor told them he could perceive
no necessity for any meeting between them and the chiefs of the south and
west. He was already clothed with power to conclude for them a general peace.
He farther informed them that he had some presents from the governor of Virginia, but was instructed not to deliver the articles unless they first received all the Indians under his majesty's protection into the covenant chain.
The result of the conference, after the chiefs were made to understand that Corlaer was empowered fully to treat in behalf of the southern Indians, was, that they agreed to receive them all into the covenant chain,- adding: " and we shall ever look upon them as our own brethren, and as our own flesh, as if they had been born and bred amongst us. And as we have never yet been guilty of violating treaties, so you may depend that we will keep this inviolable to the end of the world."(1)
The council broke up amicably, and the Indians, well laden with presents, returned to their homes, professing friendship for Corlaer which was to endure so long as the Great Spirit should cause the grass to grow and the water to run. But however firm the grasp by which they purposed to hold on to their end of the covenant chain, their good resolutions were liable to be shaken by every trifling circumstance that awakened their unslumbering jealousy, while the hold upon the affections of the Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas, which the Jesuits retained till the last, in all times of peril, rendered their constancy an object of doubtful solicitude in the minds of the English. Still, the pacification effected by Mr. Clarke contributed largely to the repose of the Six Nations for the two ensuing years,-1741 and 1742. (2) The lieutenant-governor, it
(1) Unpublished minutes of the executive council, secretary of state's office, in Albany.
(2) In the manuscript journals of the privy council which have never been published, and which are only to be found in the office of the secretary of state in Albany, it is stated, under the date of May thirty-first, 1742, that the lieutenant-governor announced to the council-board that he had summoned the Six Nations to meet him in Albany, on the seventh of June; but that he had not been able to obtain the necessary funds from the treasurer to purchase presents for the Indians. The treasurer alleged that he had not the money nor could he obtain it. He had, however, some other funds, to the amount of £600, which he offered to furnish toward the necessary supply. But the lieutenant-governor said he could not go unless an amount sufficient to answer the object could be procured. Whereupon Mr. Livingston offered to make the necessary advance. It is not however certain that the council was held, since I have not been able to find any account of it either in the council minutes or elsewhere.
is true, adverted to the defenceless condition of the Indian frontiers occasionally in his speeches to the general assembly, especially to the important post of Oswego. But this popularity of Mr. Clarke was rapidly on the wane. Chief Justice De Lancy, the master spirit of the council, having rather abandoned him, and attached himself to the popular party, managed to preserve a considerate coolness on the part of that body toward their executive head, while the house heeded but little his recommendations.
The only subject of local excitement, however, during the year 1741, was the celebrated plot supposed to have been discovered on the part of the Negroes, to murder the inhabitants of New York, and ravage and burn the city, an affair which reflects little credit either upon the discernment, or the humanity, of that generation.
The burning of the public buildings, comprising the governor's residence, the secretary's office, the chapel and barracks, in March, 1741, an occurrence which has ready been anticipated in a note to a preceding page, was first announced to the general assembly by the lieutenant-governor as the result of an accident,- a plumber, who had been engaged upon some repairs, having left fire in a gutter between the house and chapel. But several other fires occurring shortly afterward, in different parts of the city,-some of them, perhaps, under circumstances that could not readily be explained, suspicions were awakened that the whole were acts of incendiaries. Not a chimney caught fire, and they were not at that day very well swept, but; the incident was attributed to design. Such was the case in respect to the chimney of Captain Warren's house, situated near the ruins of the public building by the taking fire of which the roof was partially destroyed, and other instances might be enumerated. Suspicion, to borrow the language of Shakespeare, "hath a ready tongue," and is "all stuck full of eyes," which are easily put to sleep. Incidents and circumstances, ordinary and extraordinary, were seized upon and brought together by comparison, until it became obvious to all that there was actually a conspiracy for compassing such a stupendous act of arson as the burning of the entire town and murder of the people. Nor was it long before the plot was fastened upon the Negro slaves then forming no inconsiderable portion of the population. A Negro, with violent gesticulation, had been heard to utter some terms of unintelligible jargon, in which the words "fire, fire, scorch, scorch," were heard articulated, or supposed to be heard. The crew of a Spanish ship, brought into the port as a prize, were sold into slavery. They were suspected of disaffection, as well they might be, and yet be innocent; seized, and thrown into prison. Coals were found disposed, as was supposed, for burning a haystack; a Negro had been seen jumping over a fence, and flying from a house that had taken fire, in another place; and in a word a vast variety of incidents, trifling and unimportant, were collated, and talked over, until universal consternation seized upon the inhabitants, from the highest to the lowest. As Hume remarks of the Popish plot in the reign of Charles II, "each breath of rumor made the people start with anxiety; their enemies, they thought, were in their bosoms. They were awakened from their slumbers by the cry of Plot, and like men affrighted, and in the dark, took every figure for a scepter. The terror of each man became a source of terror to another. And, an universal panic being diffused, reason, and argument, and common sense, and common humanity, lost all influence over them."' A Titus Oates was found in the person of a poor weak servant-girl in a sailor's boardinghouse, named Mary Burton, who, after much importunity
(1) Quoted by Dunlap, who has given a good collection of facts respecting this remarkable plot, though not rendered into a well-digested narrative. See chapt. xxi, of his History.
confessed that she had heard certain Negroes, in the preceding February, conferring in private, for the purpose of setting the town on fire. She at first confined the conspirators to blacks; but afterward several white persons were included, among whom were her landlord, whose name was Hughson, his wife, another maidservant, and a Roman Catholic named Ury. Some other information was obtained from other informers, and numerous arrests were made; and the several strong apartments in the City Hall called "the jails," were crowded with prisoners, amounting in numbers to twenty-six whites and above one hundred and sixty slaves.(1) Numerous executions took place, upon the most frivolous and unsatisfactory testimony; but jurors and magistrates were alike panic-stricken and wild with terror. Among the sufferers were Hughson, his wife, and the maidservant, as also the Romanist Ury, who was capitally accused, not only as a conspirator, but for officiating as a priest, upon an old law of the colony, heretofore mentioned as having been passed at the instance of Governor Bellamont, to drive the French missionaries from among the Indians. "The whole summer was spent in the prosecutions; every new trial led to farther accusations: a coincidence of slight circumstances was magnified by the general terror into violent presumptions; tales collected without doors, mingling with the proofs given at the bar, poisoned the minds of the jurors; and this sanguinary spirit of the day suffered no check until Mary, the capital informer, bewildered by frequent examinations and suggestions, began to touch characters which malice itself dared not suspect." Then, as in the case of the Popish plot, and the prosecutions for witchcraft in Salem, the magistrates and jurors began to pause. But not until many had been sent to their final account by the spirit of fanaticism which had bereft men of their reason,
(1) Smith's History of New York, vol. ii, pp. 70, 75.
as innocent of the charges laid against them as the convicting courts and jurors themselves. Thirteen Negroes were burnt at the stake, eighteen were hanged, and seventy transported. (1)
(1) Smith. Daniel Horsmanden, the third justice of the supreme court, published the history of this strange affair in a ponderous quarto. He was concerned in the administration of the judicial proceedings, however, and wrote his history before the delusion had passed away. Chief Justice De Lancey presided at least at some of the trials; and he, too, though an able and clear-minded man, was carried away by the delusion.
to James F. Morrison for loaning his book for the purpose of putting it on
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