Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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be far more easily maintained, And truly its very necessary to have a Fort there,
it being a frontier place both to the Indians and flfrench.

At a session of the Council held at New York city October 1, IB'.ll,
there was enacted a second "Bill for dividing this province and de-
pendancyes into shires and countyes, " which was principally in con-
firmation of the first. In reference to Albany coimty, "the town of
Albany" was omitted; " Mannor of Ranslaerwyck " was substituted
for the "Collony of Ranslaerwyck," and "to the uttermost end of
Sarraghtoga," for the words, " to the Sarraghtoga." "An Act for an-
nexing that part of the Mannor of Livingston which now lyes in
Dutchess County, unto the County of Albany," was passed by the
Council May 27, 1717. The division of the Manor into two districts
and the erection of the several towns have already been noticed.


Durino- the progress of the events described in the precedino- chap-
ter, tlie French had been energetically extending their domain, their
influence, and their fur trade in Canada (New France). The same
causes that animated the English also inspired the French with an ar-
dent desire for conquest in the western world, and both of these powers
fully realized the vital importance of securing the allegiance of the
Iroquois Indians. With their aid either nation might hope to win;
without it the one deprived must surely lose. When the long-con-
tinued efforts of the French failed to win the fealty of the Indians a
bloody and unavailing war was begun upon the natives which con-
tinued many years, with intervals of peace. As early as IGfiS, the
French minister in Canada was called upon to furnish his government
with reasons for and against war with the Indians. One of his items
in favor of war reads :

That the success of the Expedition [by Courcelleji] against the Mohawks opens
the door for the seizure of Orange [Albany] the rather as the Dutch may be found
inchned to unite with the [French] Kings arms in aiding the attack and capture of
that fort.'

On the other hand and against war he wrote :

That the English and Dutch, who, up to this time, have committed no act of hus-
tihty. will possibly declare war against us if they see us destroy an Indian tribe which
appears to be under their protection. -

Throughout the period in which the French were actively warring
upon the Indians Albany stood in fear, for the Dutch and English
clearly realized the jealotisy entertained by the French of their amity
with the Indians and their exten.sive fur trade, while the importance of
the place from a military standpoint led the inhabitants to anticipate
that attempts would be made to capture it.

In February, 10G6, Courcelles, then Governor in Canada, mide an
unsuccessful expedition against the Mohawks. The following is . rom
the records:

His forces came unwittingly " within two miles of a small village called Schenec-
tade, lying in the woods beyond Fort Albany in the territoryes of his Royall High-
ness, He fell into an ambush and lost some of his men. Seven who were wounded
were sent the next day to the village, where they were carefully drest and sent to
Albany. The Dutch bores carried to the camp such provisions as they had, and
were too well paid for it; especially peaz and bread, of wch a good quantity was
bought. He inquired what garrison or fort was at Albany. 'Twas told him a captain
and CO English Soldyers with nine pieces of ordnance in a small fort of four Bas-
tions, and that the Captain thereof, Capt. Baker, had sent for 20 men from another
garrison of the King's at Sopes.

The reader of the Paris Documents (vol. IX, Col. Doc.) will be con-
vinced that the capture of " Orange and Manatte," as Albany and New
York were called, was continually contemplated and advised by the
French officials in Canada. M. Talon wrote in October, 1G67:

The means, in my opinion, to secure the whole Colony more effectually against
either the Europeans or the savages, would be to give Manatte and Orange to the
King [the French King] by conquest or acquisition, as I had the honor to propose
to you.'

Sentiments thus expressed were persistenly reinforced by complaints
against the English and Dutch for encroachments on French territory in
pursuit oi the fur trade. M. Talon's memoir of November, 1670, says :

The English of Boston, and the Dutch of Manatte and of Orange who are subject
to them, attract, by means of the Iroquois and other Indian tribes m their neighbor-
hood, over twelve hundred thousand livres of Beaver, almost all dry and in the best
condition. All this Beaver is trapped in countries subject to the King. I find con-
siderable occupation in diverting the greater part of this trade, etc.2

Courcelles wrote in 1G71 :

The Iroquois, however, trade scarcely any with us, but carry all their peltries to
New Netherland. . . Wherefore some means were sought a long time ago, to
prevent the Iroquois going to New Netherland to trade.'

Frontenac in 1674, advised the French to imitate the Dutch and
English in the fur trade, by designating the place where the trade
should be carried on, and "prohibit it in private settlements; it is thus
our neighbors have built up Manatte and Orange."

On April 6, 1672, Louis de Bouade, Count de Frontenac, was ap-
pointed governor of Canada, and under his efficient management the
confidence of the colony was restored and in 1673 a treaty of peace was
made with the Iroquois. Concerning this treaty he wrote:

In spite of the efforts of the Dutch to get the Iroquois to make war on the French,
'Col. Doc. vol. i.x, p. 60. 2 Ibid, p. 0.5. ^Ibid, p. 119.

the Iroquois came last year on soleni embassy to Montreal ; brought eight children
belonging to the principal families of their villages, and ratified the treaty made with
them in 1673.

Another rupttire took place in lljS4 between the French and the In-
dians, the principal feature of which was an expedition against the
Senecas by De la Barre, who had been appointed goveiTior of Canada
in 1G83, but the expedition proved a failure. De la Barre was suc-
ceeded by the Marquis de Nonville in 1685. He made a report on
the condition of the country as he found it, which was replete with
the old complaints; the Dutch and English were selling guns and
ammunition to the Indians at so low a price that they could obtain
all they wanted and thus be better able to fight the French. "The
gain of the merchants of Orange and Manette," he wrote, ""is par-
amount to every public interest." In 1680 he wrote that Governor
Dongan was giving away guns to the Indians and advising them to
plunder the French in the woods. In November he wrote his govern-
ment to send him orders, " for I am disposed to go .straight to Orange,
storm their fort, and burn their whole concern."

In 1688 a revolution placed William of Orange on the English throne
and war with France promptly followed. The Indian allies of the lat-
ter were almost powerless against the dreaded Iroquois, who harassed
the Canadian settlements until the French foresaw defeat. In 1680
Count de Frontenac was again sent over; he was an old man, but vig-
orous and capable, and revived the spirits of the French settlers. He
endeavored at first to negotiate a peace with the Iroquois, but failed,
the English being on the ground and succeeding in retaining the good
will of the Indians. Albany was looked upon by the English crown a.s
a point of greatest importance, both in war and in peace, and its preser-
vation was regarded as most essential to the English cause. Governor
Sloughter wrote:

If the French should assault and gain Albany, all the English colonies on both
sides of us would be endangered. For we have nothing but that place that keeps
our Indians steady to us, and the loss of that must be the loss of all the King's in-
terest on this continent.

But the war was ttpon them. At a meeting held at Albany, Novem-
ber 24, 1689, there were present, "Ye Commissioners for ye Citty and
County of Alb. advysing with Sundrey officers of ye militia There."
It was

Resolved, That y following Persones be commissionated, vizt. : Captain Jochim


Staets Comdr, of Fort Orange always to keep under command in s^ fort sixty men ;
Lieut. Jonathan wrigt; Ens: John Hater. For the city of albany, Pieter minne,
Toune Major, Capt. Johannis wendel, Melgert Wynants, Ens: Regnier Barentse,
Capt. Pieter van waggden, Leift. Robt. Sander.s, En.s: Joh: Bleeker, Jun' Capt.
Barnet Lievvis, Leift. Marte Klock, Ens. For the County of Albany, Capt. Martin
gerritse, Lieut. Evert d'Ridder, Ens: Zymon van ness, Capt. Alexander glen, Leift.
Johannis glen. Ens: douwe Aukus, Capt. Johannis Bensing, Leift. Andries Bar-
rentse, Ens. Johannis Janse.

Ordered That y' aforesaid Commissionated officers now are Established, and shall
from this tune forth Remaine and be in full Power cK: y>' Authority, & y Authority
for y

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 4 of 138)