George W. (George Washington) Schuyler.

Colonial New York : Philip Schuyler and his family online

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chappel at Whitehal, and mightily pleased with their kind reception. 'Tis
said the queen has ordered some land forces to be sent to the West Indies
with those kings and scire upon the French settlement about Canada."

" Thursday 27 Aprill. The same day (the 26th) the 4 troops of guards
of horse, with the grenadeers, were reviewed in Hyde Park by the duke of
Ormond &c. when were present the four Indian kings."

" Saturday 29 Aprill. Yesterday the New England and New York
merchants treated very splendidly the 4 Indian kings, to each of whom
the Archbishop of Canterbury has presented an English Bible, and they
will speedily return home."


" these just and generous princes, who act according to
the dictates of natural justice, thought it proper to confer
some dignity upon their landlord (an upholsterer) before
they left his house. One of them had been sick during
his residence there, and having never before been in a
bed, had a very great veneration for him who made that
engine of repose, so useful and so necessary in his dis-
tress. It was consulted among the four princes by what '
name to dignify his great merit and services. ... It
was therefore resolved to call their landlord Cadaroque,
which is the name of the strongest fort in their p&rt of the

Addison, writing the next year, uses them to introduce
a satire on England. With regard to this paper, Swift
writes to Stella, in his journal on April 28, 1711 :

" The Spectator is written by Steele, with Addison's
help : 'tis often very pretty. Yesterday it was made of a
noble hint I gave him long ago for his Tatlers, about an
Indian, supposed to write his travels into England. I re-
pent he ever had it. I intended to have written a book
on that subject. I believe he has spent it all in one
paper, and all the under-hints there are mine, too ; but I
never see him or Addison."

These Indian sachems also gave the name to that club
of bullies, the Mohocks, who disturbed the streets of Lon-
don in 1712, and twice served as themes for papers in the
Spectator (Nos. 324 and 347).

During Schuyler's absence, Ingoldesby's commission as
lieutenant-governor had been revoked and a new governor
i had been appointed, who had arrived before him. There
had been three needy lords successively in the guberna-
torial chair, two of whom had died before they had time
fully to develop their fitness for office, and the third had
been recalled because of his incapacity. The queen and her
ministry now invoked the aid of one of the middle class to


assist them in the government of a colony torn by fac-
tions, and far from prosperous, owing chiefly to the un-
wisdom of its lordly governors.

Colonel Robert Hunter was appointed governor of New
York and New Jersey on September 9, 1709. He was
Scotch by birth, and when a boy had been apprenticed to
an apothecary ; he had not fancied the business, and,
leaving his master, had entered the army. By his fine
personal appearance and accomplishments, he had soon
found patrons, who secured his rapid advancement. He
was a gallant soldier, and had distinguished himself in the
operations of the army in Holland. Becoming disgusted
with the treatment he received from his general, he re-
turned to England, and soon after was appointed the suc-
cessor of Lord Lovelace. He arrived in New York on
June 14, 1710, and assumed the duties of a troublesome
office. His term was extended to July 21, 1719, and on
the whole he proved to be the best English governor who
presided over the afEairs of the colony. He doubtless met
Colonel Schuyler in England, and began a friendship
which lasted through his term of ofiBce.

Governor Hunter made it one of his first duties to con-
fer with his Indian allies, who were duly requested to
meet him at Albany within forty-five days. He was
prompt to the appointment, and arrived at the council-
house on August 7th. He was met as soon as he landed
by the sachems who had just returned from England, and
by some others, who requested him to prohibit the sale of
rum during the conference. Certainly their morals had
not been corrupted by their entertainment at the tables of
the nobility. He gave them assurances that rum should
not be sold during the stay of their countrymen.

The conference with the Five Nations, the River In-
dians, the Schaghticokes, and the Christian Mohawks con-


tinued through two weeks, and passed oflf satisfactorily to
all parties. Hunter distributed in public a large amount
of presents which he had brought with him from Eng-
land, and ia private he gave to the principal sachems,
instead of laced coats and hats, an unusual quantity of
ammunition and other warlike appliances.' The Indians
made few presents in return, because they were poor,
having hunted little for two years on account of the war.
They expressed themselves well pleased with the reception
given to their sachems in England, and requested espe-
cially that they might be supplied with missionaries and

Toward the close of the session, a letter was received
from Governor Dudley, of Massachusetts, earnestly re-
questing Governor Hunter to take some measures with
the Five Nations, for the purpose of having them chastise
the Eastern Indians for their inhuman barbarities on the
frontiers of New England. Hunter referred the letter to
the Indian board, with directions to consult the sachems.
The commissioners could not prevail upon the Indians to
do anything more than to send belts to the proselytes
of Canada and remind them of their former promise of
neutrality. In making their report, the commissioners re-
minded the governor that there was no money in the
treasury, nor were there sufficient arms and ammunition
for the defence of the frontiers. It was therefore better
to avoid any measure causing extra expense until the
Assembly had made an appropriation.

In November Governor Hunter presented a letter frorti
the home government to the Council, then in secret ses-

' The governor also distributed the medals of the queen, " with her royal
effigy on one side, and the last gained battle on the other," one to each
ration; also, "her picture on silver, twenty to each nation, to be given
to the chief warriors."


sion, which stated that another expedition would be under-
taken against Canada in the following spring, and direct-
ed preparations to be made in the province to assist in
the undertaking. Secrecy was enjoined, lest the enemy-
should become aware of the intention, and be prepared to
meet the invaders. The Assembly was then in session,
and Colonel Schuyler was appointed to confer with them.
Such an important State secret, necessarily divulged to
the Council and Assembly, could not be kept. During
the winter it leaked out in whispers, and soon reached the
ears of the French officials in Canada through their prose-
lytes, who still visited their old Mohawk friends, and did
some shopping by the way at Albany.

Toward the last of April, 17 ii, a letter was received by
Governor Hunter from the commissioners for Indian af-
fairs, to the effect that there were two French officers and
thirty men in the Indian country, and that the sachems
of Onondaga desired the immediate presence of Colonel
Schuyler. Hunter, by advice of Council, commissioned
him to go to Onondaga, and gave him instructions. He
received his commission on April 30th, and the next day
began his journey. He was accompanied by Captains
Roseboom and Bleecker ; his nephew, Nicholas Schuy-
ler, then nineteen years old ; four men, and nine In-
dians, with the interpreter, Van Eps. On his arrival at
the Christian Mohawk village, he learned that the French
at Onondaga were preparing to build a house. At the
second village the sachems gratefully accepted the queen's
arms, to be affixed to the gates of their castle, but de-
clined to send any one with him to Onondaga. Mean-
time, Laurence Clasen, an interpreter, who had been sta-
tioned at Onondaga, arrived in Albany, and informed the
Indian board that the French had made several proposi-
tions to the Five Nations, warning them not to take up


the hatchet at their peril. Should they listen to the gov-
ernor of New York, and engage in the war, they would
certainly be destroyed. They were counselled to remain
quiet, and take no part in active hostilities. The French
officer closed his speech with a present, chiefly in ammu-
nition, to the value of ;^6oo. The interpreter also told
the board that the French were engaged in building a
block-house thirty feet long, with loop-holes. In other
words, they were erecting a fort, and, having brought on
their household furniture, they had come prepared to

Schuyler arrived at the Oneida castle on the 6th, and at
his request three sachems and several warriors -joined his
party. The next day he met some Indians, who told him,
that as soon as the French ofBcer heard he was on the
way, he had stopped work on the block-house, and had re-
tired to the lake, where his canoes were stored. Schuyler
arrived at Onondaga in the evening, and was cordially re-
ceived by the sachems of the English faction. The next
day the sachems of the Five Nations were convened in
council. They expressed great concern about an appar-
ently authenticated report, that the English had resolved
to drive them out of their country in order to take posses-
sion of their lands. They then told him a long story of
what had been said to them by the French officer, and
their reply. According to their own report, they remind-
ed the Frenchman that while the French had often treach-
erously injured them, Corlaer and Quidor had been true
to them.

Schuyler said that he had come at their request, to con-
sult with them as to what the French had proposed to
them. He was well satisfied with their answer to the French
propositions, and said that the false report as to taking
their lands needed no reply, for they themselves did not


believe it. " But how happens it, brethren, that you have
permitted the French to build a fort in your midst ? Why
are you so blind, that you do not see its consequences on
your liberty and welfare ? For your own sakes it should
not be permitted. As your friend, I am determined it
shall be broken down before I go."

The next morning the sachems told him that he was at
liberty to tear down the block-house. If he resolved to
destroy it, they would send word to the Frenchmen, who
were still lingering at the lake. " Do as you choose," said
he, " but tell them that I am now engaged in its demoli-
tion ; " and he immediately gave directions to his men and
Indians to' pull down the fort and destroy the materials,
together with those provided for the chapel. After the
work was done, the sachems told him that, now that they
had consented to all his measures, they hoped to be able
to get some powder at reasonable prices, for without it
they could neither hunt nor lift the hatchet.

Joncaire, a French officer, was in the Seneca country
with several men, engaged in building a chapel and a fort
•for a permanent residence. As soon as he heard of what
had been done at Onondaga, he sent his men away, but
remained himself, as he had been adopted by that tribe, to
watch events. For this time the French were defeated in
their plans to secure control of the Iroquois.

Schuyler returned to Albany on May isth, having been
absent a fortnight. He showed his usual courage, both in
undertaking the journey and in the work that he per-
formed. The French had acquired much influence over
the Onondagas, Senecas, and Cayugas, and had a strong
party among them. They were in the Indian country with
a number of men ; they were confident of success, and not
easily intimidated. The Mohawks were cowed, and re-
fused to send any men to aid in Schuyler's undertaking.


He took with him only a small party to meet his antago-
nists, and he could not well judge of the result. It might
be discomfiture and death. His success was due to his
courage and prudence ; and he raised himself still higher
in the estimation of the Indians.

In his report to Governor Hunter, he said that he had
incurred some private expenses, and had made some
pledges to certain sachems, which he was not in a position
to bear or redeem. He had never been a rich man. His
recent voyage to England with the Indian chiefs, made at
his own expense, had exhausted his ready money. He
now asked the governor to protect his promises, and
cover his expenses from the treasury. Besides the pres-
ents he carried with him, he had promised to the sachems
two hundred pounds of powder, thirty shirts, and two
pieces of strouds. While at Onondaga, Schuyler notified
the sachems that Governor Hunter would meet them in
conference at Albany in June. The records of the confer-
ence are not presei-ved ; but we leai-n that it was satisfac-
tory to the governor. The covenant-chain was renewed ;
fair promises were made to obey the queen's commands,-
and not to leave home without consent. On his way back
to New York, Hunter met an express sent by Nicholson
from Boston, with letters from England, containing the
queen's instructions relative to the expedition into Can-
ada. The sachems were in Albany when he left, and, sup-
posing them to be there still, he sent a message to have
two of each nation remain until further orders. At New
York he gave directions to ^ave the army supplies got in
readiness, and then hastened, to New London to attend a
congress of the colonial governors to concert measures for
the expedition. The congress was in session only two
days. Of the army directed toward Montreal, New York
was required to furnish nearly one-half. It was arranged


that Colonel Vetch, who was governor of Annapolis,
should have an opportunity of participating in the glory
of the campaign by the appointment of a deputy. Colonel
Schuyler, a member of the congress, hurried home to call
another conference with the Five Nations, and to direct
them to bring down their warriors with all their canoes.
Everything was astir, but quietly, to be in readiness when
the fleet should arrive. There was more confidence than
ever before in the success of their plans.

Hunter met the Assembly of New York on his return,
and soon afterward that of New Jersey. Much had to be
done in a short time, owing to the long passage of the ship
which brought the queen's instructions. Provisions for
the land and sea forces were required, and they could
not be purchased without appropriations ; Indians had to
be managed, boats and canoes to be built. Hunter was
a busy man. The New York Assembly appropriated
_^io,ooo for the expenses of their quota, which they
thought was out of all proportion to the others ; and in-
deed it was. The New Jersey Assembly appropriated
_;^5,ooo. The quota of New York was made up of 350
whites, 150 Indians, and 100 Palatines. Before the end
of July the New York troops were raised and equipped ;
three hundred and fifty batteaux were built, each carrying
six men with their rations, and all the supplies provided.
On August 9th, in order to hold a conference with the
Five Nations, Governor Hunter left for Albany, in com-
pany with General Nicholson, who had been again se-
lected to command the army. The Indians were a little
late in their appearance, but on August 24th they came,
" a jolly crew," eight hundred strong. All the cantons
were represented, and came in the best of spirits. Large
presents were made to them, and they entered on the cam-
paign with their old-time ardor.


The land forces for this expedition were made up of
Colonel Ingoldesby's regiilient of regulars and Palatines,
600 ; Colonel Schuyler's regiment of provincials, Palatines,
and Indians, 550 ; Colonel Whiting's regiment of Connect-
icut levies, 360 ; Five Nation Indians and their allies, 800 ;
in all 2,310 men — a large army compared to Winthrop'sof
twenty years before.'" The army was marched to the old
camping-ground. Wood Creek, the head-waters of Lake

The forces to operate by sea against Quebec consisted
of five thousand troops from England and Flanders, under
command of General Hill, twelve men-of-war, forty trans-
ports, and six store-ships, with a train of artillery, mili-
tary stores, and other equipments. The fleet sailed from
Boston on July 28th, and on August r4th was in the mouth
of the St. Lawrence, all in good condition. On receipt of
this intelligence, Hunter wrote a hopeful letter to Secre-
tary St. John, giving a brief account of all that had been
done to make the expedition a success. His next advices
dashed his sanguine hopes. General Hill, under date of
August 25th, informed him that the fleet had met with a
serious disaster. It had been driven on the north shore
of the bay, and although the war-ships escaped, eight
transports and a store-ship, with eight hundred men, were
lost. At a council of war after the disaster, it was decided
to abandon the enterprise and to return home. ^

The disaster to the fleet was not the only misfortune
of this ill-starred expedition. General Hill and Admiral
Walker had directed Governor Hunter to send them an
additional stock of provisions, that in case they were
obliged to winter in Canada they might not starve.

' Smith, in his History of New York, says that the army numbered
4,000 men — evidently a mistake. Hunter is the best authority.


Hunter loaded three transports with supplies, and put
them under convoy of a ship of war. They were wrecked
on Cape Breton, and wholly lost, with all the ofEcers, ex-
cept two, arid one hundred seamen.

General Nicholson, learning that the fleet had returned
home, retired with his army from the camp on Wood
Creek to Albany, and disbanded the troops, retaining one
hundred and fifty men to guard the frontiers. Hunter
met the Indians at Albany on their homeward march, and
gave them assurances of continued friendship and protec-
tion. Having broken the peace by taking up arms, and
joining the army for the invasion of Canada, they feared
the vengeance of the French, and asked that the long
neglected forts at Albany and Schenectady might be re-
paired, and new ones erected in their countries. This was
promised ; and Hunter at once gave his directions for the
repairs of the old forts, and entered into contracts for
building one in the Mohawk country and another at

The frontiers were now open to the scalping parties of
the French and Indians. The truce of neutrality was
broken, and soon the old work of cruelty and death be-
gan. Hunter had hardly reached the capital when he
received a letter from the Indian commissioners, giving
him a circumstantial account of the inhuman murder of
men, women, and children at Schaghticoke by a party of
French proselytes. During the years of neutrality farmers
had ventured to live on their farms in houses partially
fortified. The conviction that the late expedition would
be successful had been so general, that after the truce had
been broken these isolated families had taken no precau-
tions for their safety, and since the army was disbanded
there had been little time for them to decide what to do.
Hunter's intelligent mind was active in devising measures


of relief from such barbarous visits, and quick in putting
them into execution. There were no other tragedies of a
lilce character enacted on the frontiers thereafter during
the war.

Notwithstanding failures and misfortunes, and a heavy
debt, the Council and Assembly united in an address to
the queen, praying that the effort for the subjugation of
Canada might be renewed. It was also understood in
Canada, that the English intended to make another trial,
and to this end Colonel Nicholson had again gone to
England. The governor of Canada was informed by the
French minister, that Nicholson's mission would be in
vain. The minister knew whereof he spoke, and that
peace was only a question of time. The European bellig-
erents were becoming exhausted by the ten years' war, in
which no party had gained any great advantage, and evi-
dences were multiplying that the war must soon close for
want of men and money.

It was no surprise to Governor Hunter, when, on Octo-
ber i8, 1712, he received orders for a cessation of hostili-
ties. It was time, both for his own relief and for that of
the people. His own private fortune and credit were ex-
hausted. He had hitherto carried on the government
without any public money. The Assemblies had refused
to make appropriations for his salary and contingent ex-
penses, except on conditions which he could not accept.
Hunter had also expended large sums in the support of
the Palatines, the drafts for which the government at
home had allowed to be protested. The people of the
province rejoiced that they were again permitted to pursue
their usual occupations untrammelled by the requisitions
of war. There was now no fear of military drafts to crip-
ple commerce ; no fear of cruisers and privateers to inter-
fere with the voyages of merchant ships ; the Iiusbandmen
Vol. II — 4.


no longer hesitated to cultivate their fields and reap their
harvests by reason of lurking scalping parties lying in
wait around their dwellings and ripening crops. The
treaty of peace, signed at Utrecht, on April 13, 17 13, gave
great joy to an impoverished province. The colony en-
joyed rest for thirty years, until the beginning of the Old
French War (so-called) of 1744, or the third of the French
and Indian wars against the English in America.

As soon, however, as hostilities had ceased, new troubles
arose with the Indians. On the borders of North Caro-
lina lived a large tribe of savages, called the Tuscaroras.
They were related to the Five Nations, and in their war
with the English of Carolina they called their relatives
from the nortli to their assistance. The Five Nations
were still under apprehensions of entire destruction by
their allies, the English, and their fears in this regard
were kept alive and stimulated by the French residents in
their countries, who encouraged them to accept the invita-
tion and go to the relief of their kinsmen. A general
council of Indian tribes, including the Five Nations, was
held on the Susquehanna River, which the people of Al-
bany considered to be of evil omen, and they were alarmed
at the outlook. The Common Council petitioned the gov-
ernor to take some means to pacify the Indians. To this
end, they asked that Colonel Peter Schuyler be restored
to his place as chairman of the Board of Commissioners
for Indian AfEairs.' They alleged that Schuyler "is much
esteemed by the Indians, and has great influence on them."
At the same time the commissioners wrote to Hunter,
that they were informed that the Five Nations were going

' While Colonel Schuyler was in England, in April, 1710, Lieutenant-
Governor Ingoldesby had reorganized the board, and left Schuyler off-
doubtless on account of his absence.


south on the war-path, having procured powder from the
French, and that it was feared they would join the Tusca-
roras against the English ; that, moreover, they had for-
bidden any of their nations to visit Albany, believing what
the French had told them as to the designs of the English
on their country. These letters, after being read in Coun-
cil, were sent to the Assembly, with their opinion, that
" it was absolutely necessary to send some men of credit
among them with a present, to renew the covenant-chain."
The Assembly promptly appropriated ;^ioo — one-half for
the expense of the mission, and the rest for a present.
The governor wrote to Schuyler, enclosing instructions,
and directed him to go to Onondaga; for, said he, "we are
of opinion you are the properest person to be employed
in this affair." Hunter also said that he and the Coun-
cil considered the business of great importance, and
hoped that he would be successful in quieting the excite-

No records of Colonel Schuyler's negotiations during
this visit to Onondaga are preserved. We learn incident-
ally that he left Albany on June 24th, and that before he
reached Schenectady he met Dekanissora, who told him
that the Mohawks were greatly excited over the death of
some friends, who had been killed by the English ; that
they were proposing to destroy the Christians, and had sent
to the other nations for assistance. This intelligence was

Online LibraryGeorge W. (George Washington) SchuylerColonial New York : Philip Schuyler and his family → online text (page 4 of 41)