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William Evans.

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upon rulers, in order to promote the general
welfare of mankind, that they do justly and



WILLIAM SAVERY.



341



love mercy ; without which there can be no
solid basis for a hope of enjoying peace, har-
mony and concord ; a blessing to nations and
individuals infinitely more valuable than the
most heroic conquests of war, the accumula-
tion of riches or the extension of territory.

" 20th. Visited by Indians of different na-
tions daily — we thus become acquainted with
their customs and dispositions, which we hope
will some time turn to profit. Saw another
Roman Catholic funeral, giving us a greater
opportunity than heretofore, of being acquaint-
ed with their superstitious ceremonies and
empty parade: we could not behold it without
secret pity. — The Chippeway Indians being at
continual war with the Pawnee nation, of whom
they take many prisoners, men, women and
children, they bring, them into this settlement
and sell them at from ten, to one hundred
pounds each; and it is computed that at present
there are here about three hundred of these
poor creatures in slavery. This trade com-
menced about twenty-five years ago, before
which time, we are informed, the Chippeways
put all their prisoners to death, being deter-
mined to extirpate the nation.

" First-day, 21st, had a large meeting in
the sail-loft, which was thought to be a solid,
favoured time ; that in the afternoon not quite
so large. As this was likely to be a parting
meeting with the people here, many of whom
had constantly attended and shown themselves
very affectionate to us, the congregation was
unusually serious, and we were favoured to
take leave of them, under a solemn sense of
Divine mercy and goodness being with us ;
which I believe will not soon be forgotten by
them or us. Many took leave of us with ex-
pressions of gratitude that Divine Providence
had permitted our being among them, and
prayers for our I'eturn home in peace. Divers
of the soldiers were tender.

" 22nd. A vessel arriving last evening,
brought us intelligence that the commission-
ers, several interpreters, &c. had landed at
the mouth of the I'iver, eighteen miles from
hence, where they wait the invitation from the
Indians to go to Sandusky, and they request
us to come to them when this vessel is ready
to take us. This i-eanimated us with hope
that a treaty would yet take place, and our
long detention here would soon terminate.
Every countenance expressed the relief it
gave us. The interview between the com-
missioners and the Indian chiefs concluded
more favourably than we expected. Such is
our interest in the affections and good wishes
of many of the people of this place, that I be-
lieve it would make them unhappy to hear of
any injury being done to us.

" 23d. The vessel not being likely to sail



for some days, the commandant and captain
Robinson called on us, and consistent with his
usual generosity and attention, desired to know
our wishes respecting our departure, that he
might order things accordingly ; if we wished
to go before the vessel sailed, his barge well
manned should be at our command; for which,
and for all his former favours, we thanked
him, but concluded to stay for the vessel.

" 25th. After taking an affectionate leave
of many kind friends, who appeared much
interested in our preservation and welfare,
being accompanied by their good wishes, we
went on board with colonel England, adjutant
O'Brien and lieutenant Hendricks, and several
women who had been captives with the Indi-
ans, and were desirous of returning home
with us. We sailed pleasantly for two hours,
when the wind falling, the colonel, officers and
three of us Friends, got into a large covered
barge, and were rowed down to the commis-
sioners at the mouth of the river. They and
we were glad to see each other after our long
separation.

" 26th. Having pitched our tents on a fine
green, making a wing to a long row before
erected, we slept comfortably. The commis-
sioners Avere well accommodated in captain
Elliott's house, which is large and conveni-
ent. Fourteen tents, pitched on a beautiful
green bank before the door, are occupied by
Friends, the interpreters, two British officers,
general Chapin, &c. A number of Indians
encamped along side of us. The day was
spent agreeably, and the colonel and officers
from Detroit returned.

27th. About one o'clock in the morning
came on a tremendous thunder storm, which
continued two hours, raining most of the time
very hard, with continual flashes of lightning
and heavy peals of thunder. The ground of
our encampment being very flat, we were soon
deluged with water over our mattrasses, and
retreating promiscuously into the house, we
got no more sleep. It being necessary for
some of us to return to Detroit, Joseph ]\Ioore
and myself went off in a batteau about ten
o'clock, being rowed by Indians. The day
was hot, with the wind and current against
us, which made the voyage tedious and un-
pleasant. Arrived at Detroit about sun set,
where many of the inhabitants were glad to
see us.

" 28th. First-day morning I was unwell,
probably the effect of our being so wet the
night before last. Several of our acquaint-
ances came to see us, and others sent to in-
quire whether there was to be a meeting at ten
o'clock ; but being poorly, and feeling weak
without our friends, we declined it. After-
noon, not being satisfied at spending the day



342



JOURNAL OF THE LIFE OF



idly, we determined that it would be best to
hold a meeting at five o'clock. Accordingly
upon our intention being known, many people
assembled, and through renewed mercy, it
proved a very tendering season, both to them
and us — we thought more so than at any other
time in Detroit. The colonel, with his usual
kindness, invited me to dine with him ; but
I desired to be excused from dining out on
first-day.

" 29th. Captain Freeman, lieutenant Broad-
head and myself, breakfasted at Freeman's at
five o'clock in the morning ; and the colonel's
barge, manned by eight soldiers, look us down
to our encampment about twelve o'clock, where
they dined and spent the day with us. Joseph
Moore stayed behind to finish some business at
Detroit, and to come on to-morrow.

" 30th. A deputation of twenty-five or thirty
Indians, accompanied by captain Elliott, Tho-
mas M'Kee, Simon Girty and one Smith, an
interpreter, having arrived last evening from
the Rapids, and encamped on an island oppo-
site to us, delivered their message this morn-
ing to the commissioners. The purport of it
was, that they had not fully delivered the mes-
sage from the grand council to the commis-
sioners at Niagara, and were now sent to be
more explicit, and to put the question, Whether
the United States were willing to make the Ohio
the boundary fine 1 This they now brought in
writing and required an explicit answer ; and
that if the United States agreed to this, it
was expected they would immediately remove
all the inhabitants off the land on the west
side of the river. Our commissioners inform-
ed them, that they would take their message
into considei'ation, and give them an answer
when they were ready. After this they sepa-
rated and conversed with us. Among them
were representatives of ten nations, and seve-
ral of them great men among the Delawares
and Shawnese.

" The Shawnese, Delawares and Wyan-
dots, as usual, said they knew Friends, and
were acquainted with our motives in coming.
I presented five of the principal men with neat
tobacco boxes filled with tobacco, which they
said, when they looked upon, they should think
of Friends. They departed in the afternoon
and slept upon the island. Their demand
occasioned us to feel discouraged as to being
able to effect a peace, and we retired to bed
with heavy hearts. A number of Indians
who were encamped very near us, joined by
some white people, were dancing, singing and
yelling most of the night, accompanied with
some Indian music, which, though not what
they style the war dance, was very disagreea-
ble to us, and we got but little rest. This kind
of disturbance we have before been, and no



doubt shall continue to be afflicted with. Our
situation at present is very painful on seve-
ral accounts ; our family consists of about
forty, including the servants, several of them
very loose in their principles ; and we are
sorry to find that open debauchery is too
generally practised on the frontiers ; and so
common has it become, that white men of the
first rank do not appear ashamed of it. Three
young women, Indian captives, designing to
go home with us, went in the vessel to fort
Erie to wait our coming.

" 31st. The Indians came over to us afi;er
breakfast, and staid smoking their pipes and
conversing with us until five o'clock in the
evening, when the council fire was again kin-
dled, and the commissioners requested their
patient attention to their answer, which, as the
subject was of the highest importance, they
could not comprise in a few words. It oc-
cupied several sheets of paper, to explain the
reasons why they thought it impossible to
make the Ohio the boundary line ; but were
still desirous of meeting them in full council,
where they could not doubt, from the ampli-
tude of their powers and the disposition of the
United States to do them strict justice, and
settle large annual payments upon the Indians
for such lands as should be agreed to be con-
firmed to us at the general council, that the
business would yet end in peace, to the satis-
faction of both parties. The speech was then
delivered to them in writing, and they with-
drew to the island with their interpreters and
agents, saying, they would give us an an-
swer to-morrow. Three British officers from
Detroit, who visited and dined with us to-day,
were present.

" Eighth month 1st. At nine o'clock in the
morning the Indians returned ; and after the
fire was kindled, and they and we had smoked
our pipes on the benches under the trees as
before, they delivered an answer ; and re-
marked principally on that part of the speech,
which mentioned the impossibility of removing
the white inhabitants off" the lands which had
cost so much to improve them ; and said, it
was equally hard for them to give up their
land : that they should now return and inform
their warriors what we had said, and that we
might also return and tell our chief W'ashing-
ton. This last sentence was not approved
by cay:)tain Elliott, and some of the Indians,
after the council had risen, taking the speaker
aside, informed him that what he had said,
was not intended to have been offered ; upon
which they returned and told us, they would
now go to the great council and lay our speech
before them, and would send us an account of
their result; and requested us to continue here
till we heard from them.



WILLIAM SAVERY.



343



" The business now appeared to most of us
to be near a conclusion ; and not knowing
whether we might ever see them together, we
sent our address and a letter from ourselves,
to the care and attention of colonel M'Kee and
captain Elliott to deliver, and have interpre-
ted to them. Friends consulted together on
the propriety of some of our number going
with these chiefs to the council. The concern
and fervent engagement of our minds that the
poor Indians might be wisely directed in the
present juncture, produced a resignation in my
mind to be one, though it appeared to me there
would be some risk of our lives; but upon lay-
ing it before the commissioners, captain Bun-
bury and Thomas M'Kee, they were not easy
we should attempt it, as the Indians had posi-
tively forbid any American citizen to come on
the ground, while the grand council held ; we
therefore declined it.

" Eighth month 2nd. The morning passed in
reading and conversation upon the trying sit-
uation we were in, and the necessity of asking
for fresh supplies of wisdom and patience to
enable us to answer, as much as in us lay,
the objects of our journey. In the evening
had conversation with the most libertine part
of the company, who glory in their debauche-
ries ; but it was like casting pearls before swine,
they turn again and rend you.

" 3d. The vessel called Detroit, bound to
fort Erie, appearing in sight, I wrote a hasty
letter home. — Appointed a meeting to be held
at Simon Girly's to-morrow at ten o'clock.

" 4th. First-day morning. Very rainy and
much wet in my tent; rose about three o'clock,
bundled up my mattrass and tied it in a painted
cloth, and sat upon it till sun-rise. The rain
continuing, three of us went to Simon Gii'ty's,
but finding none met, except the family, re-
turned. Captain Hamilton, an amiable man
and an officer in the fifth regiment, dined
with us. The Chippeway, a vessel bound
from fort Erie to Detroit, brought one hun-
dred and eighty Indians and landed them at
the Miami river. The afternoon being plea-
sant, had a meeting at Simon Girty's, about
one and a half miles from our camp, at which
a number of Indians were present and behaved
soberly. General Lincoln, general Chapin,
captain Hamilton, lieutenant Gwans and se-
veral seamen, also attended ; I believe it was
to satisfaction. The few scattered white peo-
ple in this Indian country, many of whom
have been prisoners of war, have no opportu-
nity of public worship; yet some of them are
glad of our meetings ; among whom was the
wife of Simon Girty, who also had been a
prisoner among the Indians. Several of the
Indians who were encamped near us, having



got too much drink, were very abusive and
uni'uly, and some serious consequences were
apprehended ; but they were restrained.

" 5th. Spent the morning in serious confer-
ence with Friends and with some Wyandot
Indians ; they think it unsafe for us to pay
them a visit in the present state of things.
This night was very uncomfortable, owing to
swarms of mosquitoes ; and notwithstanding
every effort to avoid them, I did not sleep one
hour, and many of our company walked the
green most of the night.

" 6th. Were afflicted with disagreeable con-
versation after dinner, which we are subject
to have imposed upon us daily by the libertine
part of our company. One of captain Elliott's
Pawnee slaves, who has been unwell since our
first arrival, died while we were at dinner,
and was buried the same evening ; many
of our company attended, and a number of
Indians, &c. Joseph Moore spoke at the
grave, which appeared satisfactory.

" 8th. Twelve Indians called on us, being
on their way home from the council, which
they left with impressions that a peace would
be made ; but they said there still remained
an opposition, principally from the Shawnese,
Delawares and Pottawattomies ; and also a
few of several other nations. They said the
council had held too long for them, being tired
and their clothes worn out, but they had left
the principal chiefs of their nations, Chippe-
way and Munceys, at the Rapids. In the
evening two Indian canoes having come down
from Detroit, each having a keg of rum, some
of our new visitors, (Indians,) got drunk, and
came into our camp just as we were goino- to
bed, making a great noise and going from tent
to tent. Much persuasion being used, I at
length prevailed on the worst one to let me
lead him away some distance : he frequently
called me brother, and seemed pleased with
my attention; but after I returned, it appeared
to me to have been a very dangerous underta-
king, as he had a long knife at his side which
he had before drawn out and brandished in our
camp ; but Providence preserved me. They
still kept at the distance of about a quarter of
a mile from us, yelling and whooping; several
of our company offered to be watchmen, which
we thought prudent ; and an uneasy night it
was, as they passed frequently backward and
forward by our camp ; but no mischief was
done to any. Early in the morning I was
awakened by one of them, who had gotten
into the middle of our encampment almost na-
ked, very frantic and noisy, with his knife
drawn, which he vapoured in the air and beat
on his breast. Some of the servants and others
would have seized him, but this would have



844



JOURNAL OF THE LIFE OF



been imprudent. After troubling us about half
an hour, an old Indian who was sober, came
and led him away.

" 9th. Most of the day, at intervals, we
looked with anxiety towards a point of land
in the lake, expecting a deputation from the
Indians to invite us from this place, of which
we are all weary, to the council; but no boats
appearing, we must be longer trained in the
school of patience.

" 10th. Complaints were re-echoed from
side to side of the camp, against the dilatory
proceedings of the Indians, and their squan-
dering away the whole summer without coming
to treaty : indeed it has been the most trying
situation I ever experienced. — We were fully
supplied to-day with poultry, butter, eggs,
sheep and pork, from Gross Isle, but at a
very high rate ; yet it is a mercy we can
have such a plentiful supply at any rate.

" 11th. First-day. The Ottaway from fort
Erie passed us; a number of passengers were
on board, some of whom landed; among them
was Jasper Parrish, an interpreter, who brought
letters for us from Philadelphia, which was
agreeable. The commissioners also received
papers and other intelligence. Took an early
dinner, and being accommodated with a boat
and four hands, all the Friends but W. H.,
attended a meeting at Gross Isle at three
o'clock, where I believe several received us
gladly, and all heard patiently. Although the
weather was hot and we had nearly four miles
to walk from the place where the boat landed
us ; yet I was glad I attended. These poor
frontier people have very seldom any oppor-
tunity of assembling for religious worship ;
and though many of them in their dress and
manners, as well as their information, are
very little above the Indians; yet they esteem
it a favour to have the benefit of a free minis-
try, travelling far on foot to attend meetings.
Some are rude and restless at times, but others
appear like thirsty ground, which I trust the
great Lord of the harvest will in his own time
water. Returned to our camp and passed a
painful night with the tooth-ache and swelled
face, from which, with the addition of swarms
of mosquitoes, I slept very little.

" 12th. At break of day was seized with
a chill. I arose, and as well as I could, put
on my clothes. Joseph Moore rising at the
same time, we went to the house and knocked
them up, being advised to take something by
way of medicine. I continued very sick, with
shivering and chill. After some time a fever
succeeded, which continued very hot for about
six hours, with pain in my head and limbs.
Towards evening, with the doctor's advice I
took an emetic, which operated violently ; and
being much fatigued and falling asleep for a



few minutes, I awoke in such a profuse per-
spiration, that by day-break my clothes and
the blankets were wet, and I left extremely
weak. This was a very trying scene to me,
so far from my dearest connections and be-
loved relations ; not knowing but it might be
the Lord's will now to put a period to my stay
on earth. I laboured earnestly to be enabled
to say, 'thy will be done,' and did not perceive
much cloud in the way, but saw it to be an
awful thing to die. — It is a very sickly time
among the inhabitants here, and many of the
Indians have been carried off with a few days
illness ; some of whom I knew. — I had my
mattrass removed into the shade of the tents
of Friends, and laid there most of the day,
taking little nourishment. My friends the
commissioners and their companions were
kind and attentive : at the same time several
of our retinue were unwell ; Jasper Parrish
was thought to be dangerously ill.

" 13th. Very languid and weak, with pain
in my head and face. Captain Wilbank, who
came with the Cherokee Indians to council,
and eight other white people from Detroit and
parts adjacent, dined with the commissioners.
A gloomy depressing day with me, my mind
frequently turned towards home, yet dare not
wish to be there, believing we are in our right
allotment, whatever may be the issue. To-
wards evening I was somewhat better, and a
hope revived of being favoured to see my dear
wife and friends again. The Lord grant I
may be preserved without a stain on my pro-
fession.

" 14th. The servants and others sat up
most of the night and were noisy, with music
and dancing, which with the abundance of
mosquitoes, caused me to sleep very little until
day-light ; after which I got some quiet rest
and rose much refreshed and thankful, and
was enabled to go and sit with Jasper Parrish,
who remains in a high fever, is low in his
spirits and doubtful of recovery. I walked a
little about and felt myself mending, yet my
face continued much swelled. About noon,
three Indians came from the Wyandot town
with intelligence, that an Indian who had left
the council had arrived there yesterday morn-
ing, and says that a deputation was agi'eed lo
be sent, inviting us to the treaty ; but that the
wind being unfair, they could not be expected
suddenly. He also says, that disputes have run
high among themselves, whether we should be
sent for or not, as the commissioners had de-
clared they could not make the Ohio the
boundary line ; but at length it was agreed to
hear what the commissioners had to offer. All
this appeared not to be so fully authenticated
as we could wish. We are however, often
looking towards the point, twenty miles dis-



WILLIAM SAVERY.



345



tance, with a spy-glass, desirous of discover-
ing a boat, but are baffled by the canoes of
the neighbouring Indians, who are daily fish-
ing along the opposite shore. Our commis-
sioners becoming almost impatient at the de-
lay, despatched two swift Indian runners to
the Rapids, about forty miles by land, for in-
formation. I felt much recovered and slept
tolerably.

" 15th. My stock of patience was some-
what renewed, and we sat down with the
company to breakfast, where we were obliged
to explain many things respecting our prin-
ciples, which were but little understood ; this
has indeed been our almost daily employ-
ment to one or another and frequently to
many at once. I hope nothing has ever suf-
fered by our defence, though we often feel
ourselves weak, especially as there are among
us several men of consideration and under-
standing, as well as others, who make light of
almost all religion. The weather being fine
in the afternoon, our company spent much of
the time in walking up or down the river ; as
our camp was thus rendered quiet, I passed
the time in reading.

" 16th. Colonel Pickering being desirous
of giving me more information than I had
yet received, of the treaties held by the United
States with the Indians, and the nature of their
uneasiness, I cheerfully sat with him in his
room till breakfast, and was pleased with the
knowledge obtained ; being also sensible of the
confidence he reposed in me, by showing me
the commissioners' books and papers. About
four o'clock in the afternoon a canoe was dis-
covered coming from a point a few miles dis-
tant, manned by two Indians, who proved to
be deputies from the council ; they brought a
definite message in writing, importing that the
council had considered the answer of the
commissioners to the former deputies, and ob-
jected to several parts of it, viz:

"They did not acknowledge the right of
pre-emption to their lands as vested in the
United States ; but that they (the Indians,)
had a right to sell them to whom they pleased.

" That all the lands west of the Ohio were
theirs — and that as we had told them of a
large sum of money which we would give
them to confirm the sale of those lands to us,
they advised the commissioners to give it to
the poor people who occupied them, and re-
move them away ; and that unless this was
acceded to a meeting was unnecessary.

" As these terms were inadmissible, the
commissioners answered by a line or two,
and immediately began to strike some of the
tents and to take part of the baggage aboard.
About nine o'clock at night our two runners
arrived, bringing no intelligence, as they said

Vol. I.— No. 9.



the Six Nations were not admitted into the
private councils, and they knew not but that
the message of the two Wyandots had been
to ask us to council. As the Six Nations are
in the interest of the United States, the other
nations did not condescend to transmit any
answer. Passed a painful night, under the
prospect that the desirable end of our embassy



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 75 of 105)