William Evans.

The Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) online

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kindness shown by those original proprietors
of the soil to the Friends who first landed
on these shores, and the friendship which sub-
sisted between them, the Society had endeav-
oured to cherish that bond of union, and to
evince their gratitude and love by such aid as
it was in their power to bestow.

These acts of benevolence, however, had
been interrupted by war, devastating the frontier
settlements, and staining the land with blood.
Deeply affected with the horrors attendant on
this cruel contest, the Meeting for Suflferings,

* The reader will observe that there is a consi-
derable interval between these dates; no memo-
randa appear to have been made, and the informa-
tion requisite to fill the chasms which are left by
the writer, cannot now be obtained.



in the eleventh month, 1792, was engaged to
prepare a respectful memorial to the President
and Congress of the United States, recom-
mending the adoption of such pacific and just
measures toward the natives, as might arrest
this savage warfare, and establish peace upon
a firm basis. In the second month following,
the meeting was informed that a treaty was
likely to be held at Sandusky, (now in the
State of Ohio,) and by messages received
through captain Hendricks and his brothers,
two Indian messengers recently from the
Western country, and also a letter from Ho-
packon a sachem of the Delaware nation, it
appeared that the Indians were very solicitous
some Friends should attend it, and as a con-
firmation of the message and a token of their
continued friendship, they sent three strings
of white wampum.

Several Friends, of whom William Savery
was one, feeling their minds religiously en-
gaged to visit the Indian country about the
time the treaty was to be held, and producing
to the Meeting for Sufferings in the fourth
month, 1793, minutes, expressing the unity of
their respective Monthly Meetings, and the
approbation of President Washington having
been obtained, they were deputed in its behalf
to attend the said treaty, and present to the
natives the following address, viz :

" To the Indians living on the North-ioestern
and Western borders of the United, States,
and all others whom this writing may con-
cern :

" Brothers,
" Hearken to the speech which your friends
called Quakers, assembled in Philadelphia,
from several parts of Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, &c., now send to you by their bre-
thren John Parrish, William Savery, John
Elliott, Jacob Lindley, Joseph Moore and
William Hartshorne.

" Brothers ; — When our grandfathers came
with Onas over the great waters to settle in
this land, more than one hundred years ago,
they kindled a large council fire with your
grandfathers, and sat together around it in
much good will and friendship, smoking the
calumet pipe together ; and they told your
grandfathers that they were men of peace
and desired to live among you in peace and
love, and that their children might also be
careful always to live in the same love one
with another, as brothers of the same family.
" This council fire was kept burning, with a
clear flame, many years, which gave a good
light to all around the country, and the chain
of friendship which was made at the same
time, was kept clean from rust by our fathers
and your fathers ; until about forty years ago,

an evil spirit whispered bad stories in the ears
of some of your people and of some of the
white people, so that the light of the ancient
council fire was almost put out, and the old
chain of friendship was made dull and rusty.

" Brothers, — Our grandfathers told your
grandfathers, that the Great and Good Spirit
who made them and all people, with a design
that they might live on this earth for a few
years, in love and good will one toward
another, had placed his law in the hearts of
all men, and if they carefully attended to its
inward voice, it would keep them in love and
friendship, and teach them to shun everything
that would occasion them to trouble and hurt
one another.

" Brothers, — Do you not find that after you
have been angry and quarrelsome, or done
any bad action, you are made uneasy and
sorrowful ; and that when you are sober and
serious, and do good actions, your minds feel
pleasant, easy and comfortable? It is the law
from the Good Spirit, who is all love, and who
placed it in your hearts, which gives you such
peace and comfort when you do well, but
when you do evil things, it reproves you and
makes you feel uneasy and sad.

" Brothers, — We wish you to consider and
remember, that the Great Spirit sees and
knows all the thoughts of your hearts, and of
the hearts of all mankind, and all their ac-
tions : And when their bodies die, such men
of all colours and all nations, who have loved,
served and obeyed the holy law of the Good
Spirit, placed in their hearts. He will I'eceive
their souls, which are never to die, and they
will live with Him in joy and peace for ever :
but the souls of bad men who have lived
wickedly in this world, must live, afi;er their
bodies die, with the bad Spirit in a state of
distress and misery.

" Brothers, — We make profession of the
same principles with our grandfathers, which
teach us to love you and all men ; and in that
love we feel our minds drawn to send you this
speech, with a gi'eat desire for your good. —
We were made glad when we heard that the
sober, good people among you wei'e disposed
to promote peace and brighten the old chain
of friendship, with the white people of the
United States ; and that many of you have a
desire that you may be instructed in tilling the
ground, and to live after the manner of the
white people, which we believe you will find
to be more comfortable for you and your
families than to live only by hunting ; and
we think it will also be good for your young
people to be learned to read and write, and
that sober, honest, good men should be sent
among you for teachers.

" Brothers, — We have often told some of



your chiefs when we have had the opportu-
nity of taking them by the hand in this city,
that we are not concerned in the management
of the affairs of government, which are under
the direction of the President of the United
States and his counsellors, but that we should
at all times be willing to do anything in our
power to promote love and peace.

" Brothers, — We greatly desire that the
commissioners who are now sent by the Presi-
dent, and also your counsellors and chiefs,
may look up to the Great Spirit for his wis-
dom and help, that you may all be made wise
and strong to light up the council fire, and
brighten the chain of old friendship, that all
things may be settled to satisfaction, and a
lasting peace established, so that there may
be no more difference or war between your
people and the inhabitants of these States.

" We desire you may receive our friends
by whom we send this writing, in love, as
brothers who are disposed to encourage you
in all good things — And, in the ancient love
which our grandfathers felt for each other, we
salute you, wishing you happiness in this life
and that which is to come, and remain your
friends and brothers.

" Signed by forty-four Friends.

" Philadelphia, fourth month 19th, 1793."

Of this journey, which proved to be one of
great exposure and personal suffering, William
Savery has preserved memorandums ; from
which it appears, that they left Philadelphia
in the fifth month, 1793, and on arriving at
New York, met with John Heckewelder, a Mo-
ravian missionary, who had lived among the
Indians, and was going to attend the treaty.
On first-day, the 5th of the month, they at-
tended two meetings in the city, and appointed
one at seven o'clock in the evening, which was
lai'gely attended by professors of several de-
nominations : it was solid and ended to satis-
faction. They left New York that evening
and got to Albany the 8th.

William says, "our stores having arrived
with general Lincoln, they were nearly all put
on board of eight batteaux built for the purpose;
two of these were covered in the centre with
painted canvass, about nine feet in length sur-
rounded with curtains, and had each a table in
the middle. Embarking the 9th, our little fleet
attracted the attention of the inhabitants, who
were civil, and I believe wished us well. It was
truly a novel scene to most of the passengers.
The Mohawk has a strong current, frequently
rapid, and so shallow that the bottoms of our
boats often rubbed the bed of the river, this
made hard work for the boatmen.

" The 13th, all our boats and baggage being
transported to the landing above the falls, we

went on board and arrived at fort Herkimer,
making only seven miles to-day.

" 14th. J. Heckewelder, Jacob Lindley and
myself, being with general Lincoln, we be-
came engaged in religious conversation with
much kindness and charity ; the general ex-
pressed many just and valuable sentiments on
the weighty subjects under discussion. Arri-
ved at fort Schuyler in the evening.

" 17th. The boats and stores being yester-
day taken over from fort Stanwix to Wood
creek landing, we sat off about eight o'clock
in the morning, but as the creek was only
about six inches deep, were obliged to take
about two tons out of our large boats and
carry it in wagons, to the junction of Canada
creek; after this, having the aid of the waters
of a mill-dam at the head of the creek, the
boats readily floated. Most of the passengers
walked this distance, which was about seven
miles. At three o'clock we embarked again,
and made about sixteen miles to-day; here we
encamped, and next day got to the" mouth of
Oneida lake. About three o'clock got through
the lake to fort Brewington, at the mouth of
Onondago river.

"19th. After breakfast sailed down a beau-
tiful stream twelve miles, to Oswego falls.
Some Onondago Indians followed us in a bark
canoe, and caught some fine salmon and other
fish for us. We encamped and lodged com-
fortably, being about eighty in company.

" 20th. After drawing our boats by hand on
rollers, about one hundred yards, we launched
them below the main falls, and again embark-
ing, went down a rapid rocky current to Os-
wego fort, twelve miles. It is a strong British
garrison, commanded by captain Wickham,
who sent his servant to invite us to his quar-
ters, and treated us respectfully. After being
hospitably entertained, we left the fort and
embarked on lake Ontario; rowed hard to
a harbour fifteen miles, which we reached
about nine o'clock in the evening and en-
camped. Made twenty-nine miles on the 21st.
As the wind was high next day, we lay at the
harbour until afternoon, then sailed seven miles
and encamped on the beach.

" The 25th, got to Niagara fort and staid
until about four o'clock ; then crossed the river,
which is about half a mile wide, and took pos-
session of two rooms in an unfinished house,
which the commissioners had prepared for us,
having our own provisions and mattrasses.

" 26th. Waited on the governor at his re-
quest, and were treated respectfully ; dined at
our lodgings upon wild pigeons, which the
Indians shot flying, with their bows and ar-
rows. The town consists of about fifty houses,
it is laid out in half-acre lots, and is likely from
the extensive navigation and increase of popu-



lation, to be a place of considerable trade in a
few years.

" "27th. Packed up our bedding and pro-
ceeded with all the batteaux and stores to the
landing place, seven miles up the river; pitched
our tents on the bank of a green meadow, and
at the invitation of captain Smith and other
officers, several of us dined with them at the
mess-house. Here are large barracks wilh
three or four hundred men, in a low unhealthy
spot, many of them very sickly, and a num-
ber die almost daily.

" 30th. Were visited by the governor,
Timothy Pickering and others. The gover-
nor offered his house at this place for our
accommodation, but its low situation occa-
sioned us to decline accepting it.

" 31st. Several of us went down in our
boat to Navy Hall, and spent several hours
with the commissioners : we got passes from
governor Simcoe, to go on to Detroit by the
first king's vessel from fort Erie.

" First-day, 2nd of sixth month, a meeting
being appointed to be held in a barn about
four miles from our encampment, Friends and
some people from the landing attended. It was
larger than we expected, being composed of a
variety of professors, among whom were eight
or ten Friends, who are settled in the neigh-
bourhood. No regular place of worship being
kept up for many miles, the opportunity of
assembling for that purpose appeared to be
very acceptable; the meeting was solid and
we hope may be useful.

" 3rd. Struck our tents and packed up as
many stores as were thought necessary — a
wagon being prepared to take them, and one
of our large boats mounted on a carriage, we
set off for Chippeway, the landing place above
the falls, where we lodged at a tolerably good

" 4th. Proceeded early up Niagara river
against a strong current which was rather un-
pleasant, for had we been driven down half a
mile, every effort must have been unavailing
to rescue us from descending the tremendous
cataract. Arrived at a farm-house, where
being supplied with milk and butter, we break-
fasted ; dined at a tavern four miles below fort
Erie, where we found a large number of farmers
convened from a considerable distance, in order
to render an account of their improvements and
property ; several of whom were Friends and
Menonists from Pennsylvania. Reached fort
Erie about four o'clock, and finding three
British vessels, we took our passage, but the
wind being unfavourable could not sail.

"Fourth-day, the 5th, the wind still un-
favourable. The land between Niagara and
this place, is generally rich and well timbered,
and is settling fast by people who are mostly

from the United States, and among them a
greater number of members of our Society
than I had expected to find. While at dinner
the wind becoming fair, a gun was fired to
hasten the Indians and other passengers on
board. We sailed pleasantly at the rate of
about four miles an hour, having on board
about ninety persons, forty-five of whom were
Mohawks, Messasauges, Stockbridge and Cay-
uga Indians.

" Fifth-day, the wind pretty fair ; sailed
pleasantly in much harmony, the time spent
agreeably and usefully. We conversed with
the Indians and made them some small
presents, with which they were much plea-
sed. Towards evening the wind abating,
the vessel rolled so much as to cause many of
the passengers to be sick, myself among the
number. A storm of rain, with thunder and
lightning coming on in the night, some of
us got but little rest, and having a large
quantity of powder on board, our situation
was awful, but Divine Goodness preserved us
through it, for which I desire to remain thank-
ful, and increasingly studious in my inquiry,
' What shall I render him for all his mercies.'

" Sixth-day, the wind unfavourable. Se-
venth-day, sailed perhaps thirty or forty miles.

" First-day, the 9th, about noon came in
sight of the Bass islands, near which are
abundance of fine fish ; — continued heaving
the lead from about eleven o'clock to three —
the water near those islands being shoal. Held
a meeting in the cabin, at which were present
our cabin passengers and some of those in the
steerage, captain Hendricks and his Indians,
captain John and as many of his as could find
room — they all behaved soberly, and it was
satisfactory to us. Several of the Indians ex-
pressed the same ; and captain John informed
the captain of the vessel, he should be glad if
he could have had what was said in writing,
and was more familiar and friendly ever afler.
Arrived at nine o'clock at the mouth of the
river Detroit.

" Second-day, weighed anchor with a fair
wind but a strong current against us ; the
morning being fine, it afforded us a beautiful
prospect of continued houses, farms, wind-
mills, luxuriant meadows and orchards, which
had a very pleasing effect, having seen nothing
like it since we left the Mohawk river. Arri-
ved at Detroit about eight o'clock, and after
breakfasting on board, went on shore to pro-
cure lodgings, but finding the rent of two
rooms to be four dollars per day, we gave up
the idea of finding our own provisions, and
took up our boarding at a house where we
have a good table and sleep upon our own
mattrasses : all kinds of foreign articles are
about three-fold more than in Philadelphia.



Veal one shilling, beef fifteen pence per pound,
fowls four shillings a couple, butter two shil-
lings and six pence, &c.

"Third-day, the 11th, the weather was very
warm : walked round the town and found the
number of houses and inhabitants to exceed
my expectation. We computed the houses,
exclusive of the barracks, at two hundred ;
some of them good, especially along the bank
of the river. There is only one place of wor-
ship, which is a Romish chappel. Lieutenant
colonel England commands the regiment quar-
tered in this place ; he is a very respectable
man : the officers are civil and polite, and
possess a good opinion of Friends.

" Fourth-day, the 12th, many Indians came
to see us, but most of them being intoxicated,
we had little conversation with them. The
people seemed astonished to see Quakers ; and
some of the officers calling to visit us, treated
us respectfully.

" Fifth-day, had a serious conference with
captain John and other chiefs of the Mohawks
to our satisfaction ; they expressed themselves
friendly, and much approved of our attending
the treaty.

" 14th. Almost wearied out with the im-
portunities of the Indians for rum, we however
put them off. Some of the Chippeways having
arrived last evening from Michillimachinack,
and encamped outside the picquets, we paid
them a visit, but they had drank much rum be-
fore we went, were very rude, called us ill names
and appeared very angry. All the Indians I had
ever seen were far short of these in their ex-
traordinary terrifying painting, and the appen-
dages of their dress ; any description I am
capable of giving, must afford a very faint
idea of the ferocious appearance of this nation.
On leaving them, one followed and took hold
of the arm of one of us, crying very harshly,
' come back, come back.' A ship carpenter
who was near, and understood their language,
said he believed if we had returned to them, they
would certainly have killed us, which most
likely they would ; this made us more cautious
of going into their company afterwards, es-
pecially when heated with strong drink. A
number of Indians frightfully painted, passed
through the town, dancing the war dance, some
of whom having knowledge of us, came to our
lodging to pay us a compliment, but I wish to
be excused from a compliment of the like kind
in future. The frightful painting of their faces
and bodies, which are almost naked on such
occasions, their terrifying whoops and yells,
their ferocious countenances and actions, to-
gether with the tomahawks and scalping knives
in their hands, form so horrid a scene, that
every truly Christian mind must recoil from it
with disgust and sadness. Sorrowful indeed it

is to reflect, that such is the depravity of many,
under the dignified character of Christians,
whose conduct towards these poor creatures
ought to have been marked with a pacific
desire of inspiring them with the mild and
blessed doctrines of the Gospel, that they are,
alas ! taking delight in encouraging them to
this exercise, and stimulate them with large
potations of strong liquor until they become

" Dined by invitation at the officers' mess-
house ; their respectful, polite behaviour to
Friends, marked their character as gentle-
men, and merited our acknowledgment ; they
permitted us to use great freedom with them,
and I hope we kept our places.

" Seventh-day, after informing the colonel
of our intention to hold a meeting here to-
morrow, to which he cordially assented, we
viewed two places which were offered for the
purpose; but they being somewhat inconve-
nient, the king's ship-builder offered his boat-
house, which being large and in a fine airy
place on the side of the river, we accepted it.
Being much troubled with the continual visits
of the Indians, begging for rum and other
things, we were obliged to retire up stairs to
avoid them.

"First-day, 16th of sixth month, attended
the meeting at ten o'clock forenoon. The colo-
nel having dispensed with the accustomed mili-
tary exercise, which is practised at that hour, a
large number of soldiers and most of the
officers were present, besides a considerable
collection of the inhabitants of the place of
both sexes ; and as the house was in a large
open lot, great numbei's stood out of doors.
This being doubtless the first meeting of our
Society at Detroit, curiosity was greatly ex-
cited ; their behaviour at first, as might be
expected, was a little restless, talking, taking
snuff, &c., but upon ojie of our company en-
deavouring to set before them the nature of
our mode of worship, with a request they
would join in our manner, they were very
attentive and became still ; some of them, es-
pecially among the poor soldiers, were rever-
ent and thoughtful. The service, which was
considerable, appeared to be received with
openness, and I believe the opportunity ended
to mutual satisfaction. There is no Protestant
place of worship, that I can hear of, within a
long way from this place : all that has the
shadow of woi'ship, except the Roman Catho-
lic, is the reading of prayers and church
service by an officer, sometimes on first-days,
at which the Protestant inhabitants attend.
After dinner the colonel's boat being pre-
pared, about twelve or fifteen of us proceeded
down the river to attend a meeting appointed
at four o'clock, six miles off. Several other



boats set off in company, but the wind being
high, one of them put back — there were a
number of Menonists with long beards present,
some French people, and the farmers in the
neighbourhood : — I hope the meeting ended
well. Returned to Detroit, thankful to the
Author of mercies for his unmerited kindness
during the day.

"Second-day, 17th. We have need to ask
for both faith and patience to support us under
our long detention, and the continual alarming
reports of the disposition of the Indians, who
are collecting for the treaty. Most of those
who pass this place, are said to go prepared
for war, if the commissioners do not comply
with their wishes: they are in a haughty spirit,
being elated with their successes. There are
many among the inhabitants here, kindly dis-
posed towards us, who appear to be very doubt-
ful of our personal safety at Sandusky, and
seem rather to desire we would not venture.
We are thankful in being preserved so far
in quietness and confidence, trusting in the
Omnipotent arm for preservation. We cannot
admit a doubt of the propriety of our coming,
nor of the motives which led to it ; yet I may
say, it is the most trying situation I was
ever brought into. May the Lord preserve
the little band, ' wise as serpents and harmless
as doves.' At four o'clock several of our
company dined at colonel England's. The state
of my mind made me wish to be excused, but
thought it improper to slight so respectful an
invitation to us poor strangers. The colonel
is a man of great openness of manners, quite
a soldier, and his wife an amiable woman.
Five of the officex's of the regiment being
present, we sat down to a table spread in all
the elegance of a populous city. After travel-
ling several hundred miles of wilderness, and
encamping on the ground like poor pilgrims,
it was really marvellous to find plenty and
elegance, at least equal to the most fashionable
houses in our city. He did everything to
make our visit agreeable, which has also been
the disposition of all the officers since we

" Fourth-day, a boat coming for us from
the neighbourhood of the Menonists, which
arrangement had been made on the first-day
preceding, all the Friends, except myself,
went down in it. Having a pain in my head
and bones, and being apprehensive it was the
prelude of a fever, I took some medicine and
confined myself all day. Towards evening was
much relieved, but the prospect of a fit of
sickness so far from home, put my resigna-

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 73 of 105)