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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treaty. Several kettles of rum and glasses
were brought and the conference closed.

" 19th, First-day. Held a meeting for wor-
ship ; a considerable number attended, who
lived generally from two to ten miles distant.
Many of them came on foot, there being but
few horses in this country and fewer wheel-
carriages of any kind. One family came a
considerable distance upon a sled drawn by
four stout oxen. The people were solid, and
through Divine favour it proved a good meet-
ing, many were very tender and parted with
us lovingly. It does our hearts good to see
the gratitude some of the poor frontier people
manifest, and the pains they take to be at a
religious meeting. O Philadelphians, how
abundant ought your gratitude to be for the
enjoyment of your multiplied blessings.

"Tenth month 20th. Attended a very large
Indian council, at which the commissioner con-
doled with the Delawares for the loss of one
of their people, and by his speech and gestures
performed the ceremony of burying him after
the Indian custom, and covering the grave with
leaves, so that when they passed by they should
not see it any more. He took the hatchet out of
his head, and m words tore up a large pine tree
and buried the hatchet in the hole, then covered
it thick with stones and planted the pine tree
on the top of it again, so that it should never
more be taken up. He wiped the blood from
their beds and the tears from their eyes, and
opened the path of peace, which the Indians



were requested to keep open at one end and
the United States at the other, as long as the
sun shone. Many other things of the like
nature he said to them, after the figurative
style of the natives, that all might be cleared
out of the way before the business of the
treaty commenced. In the course of his
speaking on different subjects, he gave them
as many strings of wampum as were thought
to be worth near one hundred dollars.

" The Farmer's Brother then spoke with
great energy to his Indian brethren, and they
not being ready to answer colonel Pickering's
speech, the council fire was covered and the
rum brought in as usual.

" Third-day, 21s(,. Jemima Wilkinson being
come to this place last evening, sent a message
by two of her flock to James Emlen and my-
self, desiring our company; but as it snowed
very fast and was a stormy time, we did not
hnmediately obey the summons. Afl:er an
early dinner, David Bacon being with us, we
went and found her at Thomas Morris's, by
invitation of colonel Pickering to dine with
him ; D. Waggoner, and Enoch and Rachel
Malin were also there. The colonel paid great
attention to Jemima, and seemed to be glad of
having an opportunity to gratify his curiosity,
as he had never seen her before. She was
placed at the head of the table, and the con-
versation being on a variety of subjects, she
bore a considerable part therein. A message
was received informing that the Indians were
collected. We went to council, whither Jemima
and her disciples followed us, and were placed
in the centre. Fish Carrier spoke in answer
to the commissioner's address yesterday, till he
had passed through his hands one by one, all
the strings that were given them, and made a
full reply : then with assurances of the deter-
mination of the Six Nations to keep hold of
the chain of friendship with the fifteen fires,
he delivei'ed fifteen strings of chequered wam-
pum as a seal to it. Colonel Pickering intro-
duced himself as sole commissioner on the
part of the United States, whom the Six Na-
tions had requested might be appointed on the
present occasion ; gave them assurances of
his desire to promote the happiness and peace
of their nations, and told them that they might
depend upon one thing at least, which was,
that he never would deceive them. He also
introduced us, their old friends the Quakers,
as having come forward at their (the Indians')
request, and with the appi'obation of the Presi-
dent. We then read the address from Friends,
Jasper Parrish interpreting, which they re-
ceived with frequent expressions of entaw or
approbation; and afterwards Clear-Sky said,
they were glad to see us among them, and
thanked us for our speech. It is however ex-

pected that they will give us a more full an-
swer before the treaty is over. Immediately
after we had read our speech, Jemima and all
her company kneeled down and she uttered
something in the form of prayer, after which
she desired to speak, and liberty not being re-
fused, she used many texts of Scripture, with-
out much similarity or connection. The Indians
having prepared belts as records of the death
of several of their noted chiefs, intended to
preserve the memory of their usefulness to
the nation ; a short speech was made on each
of them to their brethren, and they were then
delivered to the care of an ancient chief,
whereupon the council fire was covered.

" 23d. Captain John, an Indian chief, visited
us, and had much to say about the many de-
ceptions which had been practised upon them
by the white people ; observing, that however
good and honest white men might be in other
matters, they were all deceivers when they
wanted to buy Indian lands ; and that the ad-
vantages of learning which they possessed,
made them capable of doing much good and
much evil.

Colonel Pickering requesting our attend-
ance at a council ; we went about eleven
o'clock. Nearly fortj^ chiefs being assembled,
captain John in a humorous manner, informed
the commissioner of a council they were called
to attend, but when the chiefs had collected,
they were invited up stairs to take a dram be-
fore they began. Perceiving that Berry was
to be the commissioner, they concluded it was
no good council fire, so he came off and drew
the rest of the Indians with him; it appearing
that it was a design to get the chiefs to convey
to him some Indian lands after he should have
filled them with liquor. The colonel highly
approved of the Indians conduct, and said he
would have Berry removed off those lands.
An account was brought to the council of the
death of an ancient Oneida, upon which cap-
tain John made a speech to their brothers of
the other nations. They agreed that as the
Great Spirit had brought them together to
promote the work of peace, it could not be
unacceptable to Him if they went on with the
council, though it was contrary to their com-
mon custom. Being about to proceed to busi-
ness, a request was made from three Indian
women to be admitted to the council and de-
liver their sentiments, which being granted,
they were introduced by Red Jacket. He ad-
dressed himself to the sachems and wari'iors,
desiring their indulgence of the women, and
also to the commissioner, enforcing their re-
quest by observing, that the other day one of
our women had liberty to speak in council.
He was then desired to act as orator for the
women, and deliver to the council what they



had to say. The substance of this was, that
they felt a deep interest in the affairs of their
nation, and having heard the opinions of their
sachems, they fully concurred in them, that the
white people had been the cause of all the In-
dians' distresses ; that they had pressed and
squeezed them together, until it gave them
great pain at their hearts, and that the whites
ought to give them back the lands they had
taken from them. That one of the white wo-
men had yesterday told the Indians to repent;
and they now called on the white people to
repent, for they had as much need as the Indi-
ans, and that they should wrong the Indians
no more.

" The colonel thanked them for the speech,
and replied, that it was far from him to think
meanly of women : he should always be wil-
ling to hear them when they had anything of
importance to say, but as they had mentioned
as a precedent, the woman who spoke the
other day, he must assure them, that it was
not with his approbation ; she had forced her-
self into council contrary to his advice ; but
as she was a woman, he was tender of her.

" The commissioner gave us some informa-
tion of the speech of the Indians yesterday,
when we were not present. They said, when
the white people first came on this island, they
saw that they were men and must have some-
thing to subsist upon, they therefore pitied them
and gave them some land, and when they com-
plained that the land became too small for them,
they gave them more from time to time, for
they pitied them. At length a great council
fire was kindled at Albany, where a silver
chain was made, which was kept bright for
many years, till the United States and the
great king over the water differed ; then their
brothers in Canada talked with them, and they
let the chain fall out of their hands, yet it was
not their fault, it was the white people's. They
then repeated how things went at the end of
the war, the substance of the treaty at fort
Stanwix, and several grievances which they
had suffered. The commissioner spoke per-
haps two hours respecting the ancient bounda-
ries of the Six Nation's land, and inquired
what was the extent of it. They told him,
all the land from a point on lake Erie to Mus-
kingum was theirs, and that the council at the
Miami last summer, acknowledged it. This
takes in a great part of what the Western
Indians are fighting for. The commissioner
told them, he did not approve of the conduct
of the commissioners at fort Stanwix — that
they had just then become conquerors, and
the Indians must make some allowances if
they spoke harshly and proudly to them. This
council held five hours, and much was said on
both sides.

" This morning, the 25th, snow was seven
or eight inches deep, and having been out in
it yesterday, I was unwell. Abundance of
deer are killed by the Indians, perhaps not
less than one hundred to-day, within a few
miles of this place, some in sight ; one man
killed three in a short time. A man named
Johnson, having arrived two days ago from
fort Erie, with a message from captain Brandt,
a Mohawk chief, to the Six Nations ; assem-
bled some chiefs yesterday and delivered it to
them. Being in the character of a British in-
terpreter, he appeared at the council with the
Indians to-day, and seemed very intimate with
them. Cornplanter rose to vindicate his com-
ing, being privy to the great uneasiness it had
given colonel Pickering: he expressed his sur-
prise, that ever since the conclusion of the
peace with the British nation, such an antipa-
thy had existed, that the United States and
the British could not bear to sit side by side
in treaties held with the Indians. He said, John-
son had the care of the Senecas at Buffalo-
creek, and had bx'ought a message to the Six
Nations assembled at this council fire, from
Brandt, whom he left with governor Simcoe
at fort Erie ; they having just returned to-
gether from Detroit : that when he went some
time ago to see the Western Indians, he sat in
council with the Delawares, Shawnese, Wy-
andofs and Miamies, and the Western Indians
expressed great joy at seeing the Six Nations
represented by him among them ; they told
him he recollected that the business of the
treaty last year did not go on, but the fault
was not theirs, it was that of other people,
and the Indians were led astray, for which
they were sorry. The misfortunes that had
fallen upon them were very heavy, and our
brothers the British, who were sitting by gave
us no relief. We allow you who are listening
to us, to be the greatest, we will therefore hear
what you say. We desire a council fire may
be kindlod next spring at Sandusky, for all
nations of Indians. Captain Brandt sends his
compliments to the chiefs at Canandaigua,
and says, you remember what we agreed on
last year, and the line we then marked out :
If this line is complied v/ith, peace will take
place ; and he desires us to mention this at
Canandaigua ; after the council at Canada is
over, it is my earnest desire you will imme-
diately come to Buffalo-creek, and bring gene-
ral Chapin with you — I will wait here till you

" Colonel Pickering rose and said, he was
sorry that anything should happen to interrupt
this council fire: but it is now interrupted by
the coming of Johnson, whom he considered
as a British spy, and that his being here was
an insult to him, to their Friends the Quakers



and to the fifteen fires. That the intrusion of
this man into our councils, betrayed great im-
pudence, and was a fresh proof of British in-
solence. It was perhaps as well that there
was no council yesterday, for he could not
say how far the first emotions of his mind at
seeing this fellow here, might have carried
him; he hoped he was now a little cool, and
would endeavour to moderate his expressions
as much as he was capable of He begged
their patience, for he must be obliged to say a
great deal to inform them of many of the rea-
sons of his indignation at this step of the
British government, and why it was totally
improper to go on with the business while a
British spy was present. He then went into
a very lengthy detail of the ill-treatment of
that government to the United States, for se-
veral years past, and concluded with saying,
that either this man must immediately be sent
back to those who sent him, or he, Pickering,
would cover up the council fire ; for his in-
structions from general Washington were, to
suffer no British agents at the present treaty.
" The Indians appeared in amazement at
the warmth with which the commissioner de-
livered himself, and said, when he sat down,
the council fire grows warm, the sparks of it
fly about very thick. As to Johnson, he ap-
peared like one that was condemned to die,
and now rose and left us. The Indians
requesting we would withdiaw, counselled
among themselves about half an hour, and
sent for us again. Cornplanter rose and said,
the reason why the council fire has not been
uncovered to-day is, because of a British man
being present. It was caused by us, we re-
quested him to come here, it is true, but the
fault is in the white people. I am very much
surprised and deceived by what you told us at
fort Stanwix, M-hen you laid before us a paper
which contained the terms of peace agreed on
between you and ihe English nation ; and told
us it was agreed on in the presence of the
Great Spirit, and under his influence. We
now discover what the commissioners then
told us was a lie, when they said they had
made the chain of friendship bright; but I now
find there has been an antipathy to each other
ever since. Now our sachems and warriors
say, What shall we do? we will shove Johnson
off: Yet this is not agreeable to my mind, for
if I had kindled the council fire, I would suffer
a very bad man to sit in it that he might be
made better : but if the peace you made had
been a good peace, all animosities would have
been done away, and you could then have sat
side by side in council. I have one request to
make, which is, that you would fui'nish him
with provisions to carry him home. The
council having sat about five hours, adjourned

till to-morrow. We dined by candle light,
with the commissioner and about fifteen chiefs,
among whom were Cornplanter, Red Jacket,
Little Beard, Big Sky, Farmer's Brother, Fish
Carrier, Little-Billy, &c. Many repartees of
the Indians, which Jones interpreted, mani-
fested a high turn for wit and humour. Red
Jacket has the most conspicuous talent that
way; he is a man of a pleasing countenance,
and one of the greatest orators amongst the
Six Nations.

" 26th. First-day, several of our friends
from parts adjacent came in, expecting a
meeting for worship, but the commissioner
having called the council together, no meeting
was held. The council being assembled, the
first business was the presentation of a letter
which the Indians having got prepai'ed since
yesterday ; they thought proper for the com-
missioner to see it, as they intended to send it
by Johnson to captain Brandt. The contents
of it were not altogether agreeable to the com-
missioner. They expressed their sorrow that
Johnson could not be permitted to stay, the
reasons for which, he would doubtless inform
them when he got home. It assured Brandt,
they were determined to insist on the line
agreed to last year, and expressed the sense
they now had, that they were a poor despised,
though independent people, and were brought
into suffering by the two white nations striving
who should be greatest. The Indians appear-
ed pretty high to-day, and little was done but
clearing up some misunderstanding respecting
the cause why the treaty was not held at Buf-
falo-creek, agreeably to the Indians request —
the disposition of the Senecas appeared rather
more uncompromising than heretofore.

" 27th. Expecting a council, we went to
the commissioner who was in private confer-
ence with some chiefs; but he informed us he
is now preparing the way for a full and gene-
ral council to-morrow, when he will cut the
business short by decidedly opening the pro-
posals of accommodation : this is agreeable
news to us, who have been already much wea-
ried with continual delays. Colonel Butler of
Niagara, had despatched a runner, a Tusca-
rora, who brought intelligence of a late en-
gagement between the Western Indians con-
nected with some British soldiers, and general
Wayne, fought near the forks of the Glaize,
in which many on both sides were killed; and
being weary, the combatants withdrew from
the field of battle. The Indians appear cau-
tious of letting out the particulars, probably,
from the fear that they may operate to their
disadvantage at this critical juncture of the
treaty ; and the accounts being very various,
nothing can be clearly ascertained. Saga-
reesa, chief of the Tuscaroras, and several



others of his nation, spent most of the after-
noon with us ; a half-Indian who lives with
them, interpreted, and the conference was to
satisfaction. We endeavoured to obtain a
correct account of the numbers remaining in
the Six Nations, and find as follows, viz : the
Senecas number about nineteen hundred ; the
Tuscaroras, three hundred ; the Oneidas, six
hundred ; the Cayugas, four hundred ; the
Onondagoes, five hundred ; the Mohawks,
eight hundred. A considerable part of the
Cayugas and Onondagoes, have moved off
their reservation and reside mostly with the
Senecas and Tuscaroras, but some of them
have gone over the lake to the Mohawks,
within the British territories. By the best
computation we can make, the number of
acres that each nation still holds, is as fol-
lows, viz : The Senecas, about four millions
of acres ; the Oneidas, two hundred and
fifly-six thousand ; the Cayugas, sixty-four
thousand ; the Onondagoes, seventy thou-
sand. The Tuscaroras have no land of their
own, but are settled near the Senecas on their
lands. The Stockbridge and Brotherton In-
dians, two small remnants, have some land
which was granted to them by the Oneidas
and confirmed by government, viz : Stock-
bridge, twenty-three thousand and forty acres;
Brotherton, thirty-eight thousand and forty
acres. The Brothertons are an assemblage
of about one hundred and fifty Indians of
various tribes, from New England, settled
near Brotherton on the Mohawk river. The
Mohawks are at the Grand river and the bay
of Quinta, on the North sides of lake Erie
and lake Ontario, in the British government.

" This evening Friends being quietly to-
gether, our minds were seriously turned to
consider the present state of these Six Na-
tions ; and a lively prospect presented, that a
mode could be adopted by which Friends and
other humane people might be made useful to
them in a greater degree than has ever yet
been effected ; at least for the cause of hu-
manity and justice, and for the sake of this
poor declining people, we are induced to hope
so. The prospect and feelings of our minds
were such as will not be forgotten, if we are
favoured to return home. The happy effects
of steady perseverance in the cause of the
Africans, is an encouraging reflection, and
may serve as an animating example in this.
Our business here, though trying and tedious,
is sometimes accompanied with an ample re-

" 28th. Red Jacket visited us with his wife
and five children, whom he had brought to
see us; they were exceedingly well clad in
their manner, and the best behaved and pret-
tiest Indian children I have ever met with :

Jones came to interpret. Red Jacket informed
us of the views which the Indians had in in-
viting us to the treaty ; which Jones con-
firmed, being present at the council at Buffalo-
creek ; viz. Believing that the Quakers were
an honest people and friends to them, they
wished them to be present that they might see
the Indians were not deceived or imposed upon.

Yesterday many of the chiefs and war-
riors were very uneasy at Cornplanter's fre-
quent private interviews with the commis-
sioner, and Little Billy spoke roughly to him,
told him he should consider who he was, that
he was only a war chief, and it did not be-
come him to be so forward as he appeared to
be ; it was the business of the sachems, more
than his, to conduct the treaty. He told them
he had exerted himself for several years, and
taken a great deal of pains for the good of the
nation, but if they had no further occasion for
him he would return home ; and he really in-
tended it ; but colonel Pickering and general
Chapin interested themselves to detain him.
The dissatisfaction of the Senecas rose so high,
that it was doubtful whether a council would
be obtained to-day, but about three o'clock
they met ; Cornplanter not attending. The
commissioner spoke, and told them of the
several conferences that had been held with a
number of the chiefs since last public council,
and what the substance of their business was.
He also told them, he was sorry that they
were made uneasy at the conduct of their
war chief, but they ought not to blame him,
for he, the commissioner, had invited Corn-
planter to his quarters, and therefore if there
was any impropriety, to blame him, for it was
his fault. This pacifying them, he then said,
the business of the treaty had been retarded
so long, that he was now determined to open
to them fully and candidly, the terms upon
which the chain of friendship would be bright-
ened, and the extent of what he intended to
do towards it. He produced his commission,
with full power to propose and adjust the ac-
commodation of all differences between them
and the United States ; which he handed me
to read.

" After many observations upon former
treaties, and the grant made by their old
father, the king, to William Penn, he opened
the terms, which were as follow : but in the
first place, perhaps, as this is an important
matter, it will be most proper to take notice,
that he acquainted the Indians now collected,
both chiefs and warriors, being more thr.n at
any council we have yet had, that the chiefs
had laid before him only two rusty places in
the chain, one of which he had already
brightened, the other was thought by their
chief warrior to be very deep, though the



sachems thought it not of so great moment ;
that in order to clean this rusty spot, their
chief warrior had proposed a new line be-
tween them and the United States, to begin
where the Alleghany crosses the north line of
Pennsylvania, thence to French-creek below

the forks of creek; thence to the forks

of Muskingum; thence down the Muskingum
to the Ohio. This, he apprehended, would re-
move every cloud of difficulty. He observed
to them, that the sachems had acknowledged,
it was now four years since he had been
brightening the chain of friendship between
them and the United States, and that it had
been even as in the days of sir William John-
son, that the rusty part now alluded to, had
never before been complained of to him, ex-
cept by their elder brother, the Mohawk.
Colonel Pickering thought it was rather with-
in the claim of the Western Indians ; and as
they had from time to time acquiesced in the
treaty of fort Stanwix, they might reasonably
suppose that their conduct in relation to the
affair at Presque-isle, must have given sur-
prise to the President., who, feeling a fatherly
care for their nations, had required of the
persons to desist, who were about to form a
settlement at that place ; and had appointed
him to inquire into, and endeavour to adjust
the difference subsisting between them : since

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 78 of 105)