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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tion to the will of an all-wise Providence, to
the proof, and I found as I have often before,
that it is one of the highest degrees of attain-
ment, to say with sincerity ' Thy will be done.'

Fifth-day evening, at the request of the offi-
cers, I spent an hour or two with four of them,
and conversed on the nature of our business
with the Indians. They expressed a belief, that
much respect would be paid to the sentiments
of Friends, and assured me that the dis-
couraging sentiments we had heard respecting
our personal safety at the treaty, need not
occasion us a moment's concern, for it was
not strange that such insinuations should drop
from those who were interested in the continu-
ance of hostilities. Some remai'ks on the dif-
ference of our pursuits and profession pro-
duced the expression of a prospect which some
of them had, that before very long they would
exchange the sword for the ploughshare.

"Sixth-day, 21st, a number of Indians arri-
ved from many hundred miles to the North-
west. They were frightfully painted; their
dress more singular than any I have yet
seen, and generally large muscular men. It
is amusing to reflect on the vast distance they
travel in their canoes along the continual
chain of lakes and rivers in this part of
America. We are now fourteen or fifteen hun-
dred miles by the water communication from
the sea at Louisbourg, and the trade is carried
on, it is said, for two thousand miles beyond
this, from whence none but the costliest furs,
as beaver, martin, &c., are worth bringing.
Schooners go about six hundred miles beyond
Detroit ; thus the trade in furs is brought to
this place far beyond what I could ever have
imagined. A vast country, which may in
time become an extensive empire, remains un-
settled in the British territories, in which ai-e
large bodies of excellent land : that which lies
along the' river Le French, about fifty or sixty
miles above this, is fast settling, and two hun-
dred acres to a family are given gratis. Good
fish are plenty in these waters, but no eels have
ever been found above the falls of Niagara,
nor rats on the land.

" First-day, 23d, we held a meeting in a
large sail-loft, but not having given notice to
the colonel of our intention, the soldiers were
out on parade. The gathering was pretty
large, many coming in from the country; and
the doctrine appeared to be closer than some
present could bear. A serious call was sound-
ed, to examine the foundation of a hope of sal-
vation through Christ, while men remain under
the dominion of a long catalogue of sinful in-
dulgences and profanity ; and inculcating the
necessity of having our conversation such as
becometh the Gospel of Christ, in order to ob-
tain an inheritance in his kingdom. The labour
was painful, and tended to our mortification, but
this is good for us ; indeed it would be a vain
expectation for us to think to reign, where
truth so evidently suffers : may we be favoured



with an increase of resignation to the Divine
will. In the afternoon I had some painful re-
flections on the state of the people, and the
prospect of some weeks longer continuance
among them. The upright intention of our
hearts in coming on this fatiguing and exer-
cising journey being recurred to, I went to
bed somewhat revived, in humble confidence
in the Divine arm for support ; and remem-
bering the gracious promise, ' Lo ! I am with
you always.'

" Second-day, 24th, Joseph Moore and my-
self went down to the river La Rouge, and pro-
ceeded five miles up it to a new grist-mill,
where we dined. The people settled on the
sides of the river arc mostly B^rench and Ger-
mans, the land flat and wet. We had con-
versation with several Germans, who appeared
to have a great desire for us to hold a meet-
ing, one man kindly offering to send horses
for us whenever we gave them notice.

" 25th. J. Heckewelder returned yesterday
from the Moravian town, on the river le
French, and brought with him Gabriel Sense-
man a missionary, and six or seven Indians,
among whom was John Killbuck and his son,
who had been educated at Princeton college,
but has again resumed Indian habits and man-
ners. These poor Indians, who do not go to
war, have been driven about from place to place
and much distressed. Governor Simcoe has
now granted them ten miles square of land,
which they are beginning to cultivate, but at
present their situation was represented to be
very distressing for want of provisions, having
scarcely anything to subsist on, but roots,
until their corn grows. Heckewelder and
Senseman requesting our attention to them,
Friends took it into consideration, and no
other resources appearing, we thought it right
to procui'e corn and flour for them to the amount
of one hundred dollars; part of which they im-
mediately took off in their canoes. Dined at
William Forsythe's on the river side, and
wrote an epistle to the Moravian Indians.

" 27th. Spent most of the day at our lodg-
ings ; — a Shawnese chief, who, we were in-
formed, had come from the council at the
Miami rapids, desiring to see us, we had some
conversation with him through an interpreter,
but could not obtain his sentiments respecting
the issue of the treaty : he appeared to be a
quiet cautious man, and thought the treaty
would not be over before frost. We are
almost ready, at times, to apprehend that
our patience will be exhausted, yet cannot
doubt but our unforeseen detention in this re-
mote and libertine place, will have its use.
I am thankful that our little band is pre-
served in good health, and favoured with
unity of prospect and concern ; and hope
Vol. I.— No. 9.

our conversation has in good measure been
such as becometh our profession. It has, how-
ever, been peculiarly trying to me to-day, to
look forward to so long a separation from my
precious home and dear friends, which with
the sentiments we daily hear expressed, of the
danger of losing our lives at the treaty, if the
Indians should not be gratified in their de-
mands, causes us to be serious and thought-
ful, and to search for that foundation where
we may stand unshaken in every trial that
yet awaits us. Some evenings past, two Indi-
ans being intoxicated, quarrelled outside the
garrison, and one killed the other; of which I
do not hear that any notice has been taken ;
but probably the survivor will ere long be
killed by some friend or relative of the de-
ceased, according to Indian custom. No In-
dian is suffered to stay inside the gates of the
garrison after the drum beats ; nor more than
thirty to be within at once in the day time ;
and these all disarmed.

" 28th. Visited captain Labourne, who grant-
ed us the use of his library, and we spent most
of the forenoon in reading. Captain Drake
giving us his company, related many curious
observations he had made during four years
employment on these lakes, having arrived a
few days past from Michillimachinack, about
one hundred and thirty leagues distant, at
the further end of lake Huron. He informed
us that many hundred men are employed by
the North West company, who are constantly
travelling to a very great distance, trading
with the Northern Indians for the richest pelt-
ry, which is mostly brought from high North-
ern latitudes. They are generally French
Canadians, and continue a number of years
without coming into the settlements of the
whites ; living principally on fish and game
without salt — they are remarkably healthy.
All accounts agree that the most distant Indi-
ans yet discovered are peaceable and harmless.
Many of those here, are on the contrary, fierce,
artful and much prejudiced against the inha-
bitants of the United States. This we ex-
perienced, before they knew anything of us,
by their angry looks and drawing away their
hands when we offered ours — calling us Sho-
mochoman or long knives, by which they dis-
tinguish all who are citizens of the United
States. Yet when we have an opportunity of
informing who we are and our motives in
coming here, they become kind and do not
use those epithets. Much, I conceive, may
be done with these poor people, by persua-
sion, kindness and honest dealing ; but little
by compulsion.

" 29th. Visited by a Wyandot chief, who
said he remembered some long and broad belts
that were given to Friends in former treaties,



which were intended to bind us together by the
hands and arms, so that no small accident in
future should be able to make a separation ; and
notwithstanding all that had happened, the Wy-
andots felt some of the old affection to remain.
We assured him, we had the same love and
friendship for them that our forefathers had,
and that our principles had always restrained
us from war ; but believing our government
was disposed to make peace with them on
principles of justice, we were made willing to
leave our families and take this long journey,
to endeavour to promote it, and to be present
at the conclusion of so good a work. He re-
plied, he knew long ago that our Society did
not fight, that he was glad to see us hei'e on so
good a work ; and that as we had come a long
journey, and were all preserved in health, as
he saw us, it was evident the Great Spirit
was pleased with our journey, and he hoped
some good would be done, and that the Great
Spirit would bring us home in health and safety.
" 30th. A blind chief, of the Wyandot na-
tion, visited us with some of his relations.
The meeting for worship in the sail-loft was
large and solid, considering the company ; —
held another at five o'clock in the afternoon,
which was large as before and to good satis-
faction ; the citizens, officers and soldiers all
quiet, though a very warm day.

" Seventh month, 3d. Very warm. The
Ottaway having arrived from fort Erie, we
fully expected the commissioners, or at least
some letters from home, but were disappointed
of both; a fresh occasion for the exercise of
patience and resignation was thus afforded.
Eighteen Oneida Indians came in the Ottaway,
with sixty of other nations, intending for
the grand council at the Rapids, where
the vessel touched, and all but these were
landed with colonel Butler : but these Indians
being esteemed in the American interest, and
the chief unpopular with the war chiefs of
other tribes, the colonel was of opinion their
lives would be in danger, and therefore he
sent them here to go forward with us to San-
dusky. This day the thermometer was at

"Fifth-day, 4th of the month, were informed
the thermometer was at one hundred degrees
in the shade, and one hundred and twenty in
the sun. 5th of the month. We desire to be
preserved from murmuring at our confinement
in this place, but many considerations conspire
to prompt the wish to be released. Our ears
are constantly assailed with multiplied instan-
ces of Indian perfidy and cruelty in their wars ;
several fresh cases related this morning by
one who, with her husband and some others
now in this place, were prisoners. About three
hundred and ninety -five of them had fled into

forts for protection near the close of the war
with Great Britain, consisting of men, women
and children, inhabitants of Kentucky. They
capitulated to a body of British troops and In-
dians, on the condition that their lives were to
be spared, but after a march of a day or two,
a number being aged and infirm, they were
tomahawked; afler which each nation of Indi-
ans claiming a proportion of the prisoners,
husband and wife, parents and children, were
separated and thus involved in the deepest dis-
tress. The family of our informant with many
others were brought to this place. After some
time, receiving intelligence that one of their
children was with the Shawnese, about two
days journey hence, and that a day was ap-
pointed to burn him, the father went off imme-
diately, and with the interest of some traders
and at the expense of one hundred pounds,
obtained his child. They were now in a
thriving way, but had not yet fully discharged
the debt. Numerous well authenticated in-
stances equally distressing, we daily hear,
showing the horrors of Indian war — burning
prisoners in a slow fire of one or two days
dui'ation, with shocking tortures of different
kinds, too much even to relate without the
most painful feelings to every mind not callous
to the sensibilities of humanity. O ye pro-
fessors of the benign and heavenly doctrines
of the Gospel, that breathes nothing but peace
and good-will to men, how will ye appear in
the awful day of retribution, when our Divine
Master shall come to judge the world in righte-
ousness, if any of you have been promoters
of the great devastation, wretchedness and
misery which mark the footsteps of war ? In
justice to the humane and generous officers of
this garrison, we may say, that their efforts
have been numerous and mostly successful in
alleviating the miseries of the poor captives,
many of whom they have purchased at a
great price; some have cost near one hundred
pounds ; — and they have also relieved and
clothed many who have escaped, besides fur-
nishing them with provisions to return home.
This, however, they are instructed by govern-
ment to do ; yet their acts of private benevo-
lence are very extensive, this post being a door
of communication to all the Indian country,
objects are continually offering.

" Intelligence from the council at the Rapids
informs us, that two chiefs from every nation
there assembled, had embarked for Niagara to
inquire of the commissioners the extent of their
powers ; and if they should find that they may
lead to a reconciliation, they are requested to
abide till all the Indians are collected at San-
dusky, being deterrnined, that unless the com-
missioners agree to give up all the lands west
of the Ohio, they will not make peace; and if




any terms short of this should be offered, it is
the opinion here, that the Indians will sacrifice
all the Americans on the spot. One of the two
Shawnese that arrived here, says he was daily
an ear witness to their counsels, and assures
us we may depend on his words as truth. He
says they want neither presents nor purchase
money, but their hunting-grounds ; without
which they cannot subsist ; and for their re-
covery they will risk their lives. He further
added, what he had at times heard from old
men concerning the first coming of the white
people. The wise men among the Indians,
at that time foresaw what has now happened,
and warned their brothers not to countenance
each other in receiving gifts from the white
people; saying, that the Great Spirit had made
the land over the great lake for white people,
and this island for the yellow people. They
then refused to drink rum, and told the whites,
the Indians did not want the bitter water ; that
it was only drink for white people, and that
the Great Spirit had given the brooks and
springs to the Indians for their drink ; and
foretold the consequence of Indians receiving
that, and knives and hatchets, which would be
the ruin of them. He remarked, that now
several of those original tribes were extinct,
and yet the Indians had not adverted to the
advice, but had continued parting with their
lands for these things, until they were almost
driven to where the sun set. Happy would it
have been if these poor Indians had continued
to refuse the bitter water to this day. This
day the thermometer was one hundred and two
in the shade.

" 6th. Not quite so hot as yesterday : spent
the morning in readina; and conversingf with
some visitors. A vessel arriving, confirms
the account of deputies having gone down to
the commissioners ; if their motives are such
as we have heard, probably we may be at the
end of our journey.

" First-day, the 7th ; meeting in the morn-
ing in the sail-loft. A large number of the
officers and soldiers attended, and it was a
solid meeting. In the afternoon went six miles
to the river Rouge, and had a meeting in a mill
among the new settlers on the river; it was as
large as we expected, being composed of Ger-
mans, French and English, and was a satisfac-
tory time : the people attend with gladness, being
willing to go far in these back countries where
opportunities seldom offer. Flere are no places
for worship established but Roman Catholic.
One woman told us, she would be glad to at-
tend our meetings diligently, even though she
might have thirty miles to come, and did not
understand much English. O happy Philadel-
phia, what privileges thy inhabitants enjoy !

Mercies unthankfuUy received or unimproved,
will increase condemnation.

" Second-day, 8th. Received a letter from
captain Hendricks, an Indian at the Rapids,
complaining of short allowance of provisions.
We sent them a barrel of flour, some pork, five
dollars in money, tobacco, &c., and wrote an
answer. He appears to have some hopes of
peace being accomplished; but if we attend to
the various opinions and sentiments we hear,
we are likely to be kept in continual fluctua-
tion. Persons who appear very friendly, and
men of information, advise us by no means to
attend the treaty, that our lives are in the ut-
most danger. It is grateful to find the people
at large solicitous for our welfare ; but our
principal business in this time of suffering and
exercise, is to labour to experience that ' quiet
habitation,' where we may be preserved from
being tossed off the foundation by the many
voices we hear. I endeavour after the resig-
nation of all, even my life, to the Divine dis-
posal ; yet hope we shall be conducted by
prudence in our movements, not rushing hasti-
ly or presumptuously into danger. Saw a bu-
rial procession in the pageanti'y and super-
stition of the Roman Catholic church ; the
deceased was said to be one hundred and
fifteen years old.

"Third-day, 9th, had an interview with the
famous war chief Blue Jacket, a Shawnese ;
he was reserved, saying he had given his sen-
timents at the council.

" 10th. Had a fuller opportunity with Blue
Jacket, who appears to be a man of under-
standing, but still reserved. Reports state,
that the Chippeways and Sioux of the Woods,
who are near lake Superior, have had a battle,
wherein many of the latter were killed, at
which some people rejoice. Visited by seve-
ral Indians, some of whom understand a little
English, and appeared pleased with our views
in coming here. The Shawnese, Wyandots
and Delawares, all appear to have moi'e or
less knowledge of Friends, and acknowledge
that they have confidence in the Society, be-
cause we ai'e peaceable and just. We have
seen some of almost every nation which are
collected at the council, and have been more
or less conversant with them every day since
we arrived. A vessel arriving this afternoon,
we were in great expectation of receiving
letters from home, and some directions from
the commissioners, but are proved with re-
peated disappointments, and must be longer
exercised in the school of patience, yet dare
not murmur. We were informed that the
commissioners were coming on, and would
encamp at the mouth of the river Detroit un-
till the treaty commenced ; but we apprehend



the deputed Indians would arrive in time to
prevent their coming.

" 1 1th. Dined at James Abbott's, who being
much acquainted with Indian affairs for thirty
years, expressed his opinion that no treaty
would take place at present ; or if it did, no
peace would be obtained ; with which our two
interpreters joined ; all agreeing that the In-
dians must iirst be chastised and humbled.
Friends urged their pacific sentiments towards
the natives, and that kind, lenient measures,
accompanied with justice, would prove more
effectual than the sword ; but without much
effect. Men who are in the spirit of war, we
have found in many instances in this place,
cannot possibly see as we see. A long and
truly afflicting recital of Indian cruelty and
perfidy was brought into view, of which we
have been obliged to hear enough before to
fill a large volume. I could several times
have been glad to have stopped my ears from
hearing of blood, as I am confirmed in opinion
that it has a tendency gradually to eradicate
the tenderest feelings of humanity.

" 12th. Embarked with all the family of
our landlord for his place down the river ; —
walked several miles below and rested at a
French-house ; felt the want of the language,
as I have often done before in this journey.
A vessel arriving from fort Erie, we were
informed that the commissioners, after waiting
five days for a fair wind, being met by the de-
putation of Indians, had returned back to the
governors. With this disappointment, and that
of having no letter for us, our patience was
almost exhausted.

"loth. A custom is still retained here, that
whenever there is a sale of lands, it is to be
public and at the church door; and if a planta-
tion is sold even twice in a year, one-ninth of
the purchase money goes, by an old French
law, to the church ; this has enriched some
parishes in Lower Canada to an almost in-
credible degree. By this great imposition they
are enabled to support the superstitious cere-
monies of that church, with great pomp and
pageantry ; but the people entertain a hope,
that it will not continue long. Of all the land
in Upper Canada, which is granted and now
granting, two-sevenths are reserved in every
township, one for the king, and the other for
the priests. The French interest in the legis-
lature has hitherto overbalanced the English.
The arrival of letters from our friends and
relations at home was truly refreshing in our
tried situation, and tended to animate us to
patience and perseverance.

" Fii'st-day, 14th, meeting at ten o'clock,
was large and satisfactory.

" 15th. Our friend captain Elliott arrived
from the Rapids, and brings no additional in-

formation to encourage the hope of a treaty
taking place ; he says there are deputies from
the Cherokee nation, who are at war.

" 16th. On further conference with captain
EUiott as to the best mode of promoting the
concern of our Friends at home, with which
we remain unitedly exercised, it terminated in
this, that there was neither propriety nor safety
in going to their council at the Rapids, and that
if the result of the meeting of the commission-
ers and Indians at Niagara should prove un-
favourable, and prevent the treaty, the Indians
on such intelligence would immediately dis-
perse. It was therefore deemed most advisa-
ble to write to colonel M'Kee, [a British officer]
enclose him the address of Friends, and request
him to deliver it to the Indians if no treaty was
likely to be held.

" 17th. Wrote letters, one to colonel M'Kce
at the Rapids, and one to the Indians assembled
there in council ; which with the address of
Friends, were enclosed as before stated, and
forwarded by captain Elliott. Horrid instan-
ces of Indian barbarity related, and many of
them too well authenticated to occasion a doubt
of their foundation.

" 18th. A false rumour of a vessel being
arrived in the river, — our hope of release
from this dark and wicked place is thus fre-
quently baffled. Further information makes
us almost despair of any treaty at this time,
or if it should take place, that the desirable
object of peace will be obtained, hence we feel
our situation increasingly trying, yet hope we
shall be preserved in patience to the end.

" 19th. Being informed by a merchant, that
the Indians had latterly mixed the sugar, of
which they bring considerable quantities to
this place, with sand — when told of it, they
replied, You learned us by mixing water with
your rum. Thus Christians, so called, are
their instructors in many vices. An old
Indian who paid a visit to the white people a
few years past, and who, on account of his
residence far in the North West, had seldom
ever seen any before, being inquired of re-
specting the country in that I'emote region,
which had been but little explored, replied
' that he was old, but his sons had travelled
very far and told him some extraordinary
things ;' upon which he was asked, ' whether
his sons had not told him lies V ' Lies ! said
he, in amazement ! No, that is impossible, for
they have never yet seen a European.' Friends
retiring into the colonel's garden, spent the time
in serious consideration of the present distressed
circumstances of the poor Indians, and the vari-
ous matters that have contributed to occasion
it; which opened to us the great obligation laid

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 74 of 105)