THE OHIO VALLEY-GREAT LAKES ETHNOHISTORY
ARCHIVES: THE MIAMI COLLECTION
It is noted that the following work from the Miami Archives should be read and considered within the historical context in which it was composed and printed. The opinions expressed and the language used do not reflect the opinions or standards of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, but are, rather, indicative of thought in that historical moment during which the document was published.
(Johnson Hall, Feb. 19, 1764)
Johnson, Sir William in: The
of Sir William Johnson,
vol. 4, pp. 328-333.
Several of the White men amongst the Chenussies are deserters as you observe few, or none having been taken by them, but there are some who have been prisoners amongst them for many years: The Fellow I sent to Goal was taken many years ago near Fort Cumberland when a Young Lad- by the Delawares & by them delivered up to the Senecas: he was never in our Service, but I know he will prove a dangerous enemy if he is ever permitted to return amongst them.
It is but Just that the Western Indians should discharge the debts due to the Traders, and I imagine they will readily agree to it when the peace is made, in which it can be stipulated.
I was all along apprehensive concerning the Stability of the Peace to the Southword: the war commenced by the Northern Inds has probably hurried them on to begin sooner than they would otherwise have done, and I wish the declaration of the Creeks may be true. I have had two Letters from Mr Stewart on that head, desiring my Sentiments. In short we seem to stand on such in different terms with several of the Nations that it will evidently appear our interest for the future to establish a good name amongst them, by every proper method in our power.
I have the pleasure to acquaint you that the Indians appear as Zealous as I could wish, and that Six days ago a body of 200, with several Woodsmen & Indn officers, marched for Oneida on their way to Kanestia, which they are if possible to cut off; I have directed next to fall upon the Delaware & Shawaney Castles about the Ohio, and as the place of Destination has been kept a perfect Secret till their setting off from Oneida I have great hopes of their being able to effect that necessary service, another party is now here which I shall be able to set off in a day or two; and more are Expected. Indeed I have great pleasure in finding that I shall be able in some measure to answer your wishes and Expectations concerning the Friend Indians, who had offered their Service the whole last Summer, but were not made use of till now, at present they may be said to be let loose, against our Enemys, and I flatter myself (page 330) they will answer my most Sanguine hopes. To effect these necessary ends I have not the smallest leisure. Conferences are incessantly succeeding one another, and 'twill continue so a considerable time. The consumption of provisions & Good are as unavoidable as necessary, & to prevent my being unable to supply them in the Spring, I could wish you would please to order up here as much as might prevent me from being obliged to send down, at a time when it is scarce possible to be got up from the badness of the Road here.
It is highly necessary that the Chenussios should make proper concessions, & altho' the Six Nations have never given up any of their people, I have notwithstanding some hopes that the Chensussios may be brought to terms of that Nature, especially as I find that the 5 Nations, are unanimously inclined to us, & that some of their People have even declared to me that they wod go against the Chenussios as soon as against any other people.
I mentioned in my letter of the 27th that I Judged it too great a Compliment to treat with the Indians in their own Country, indeed was it not for the Expence of bringing them down, it would be probably best to treat with them here, as they all consider this place as their Grand Fireplace for Treatys of that Nature; but I am induced to think that Oswego, or Niagara would answer very well, because great part of the Chipeweighs, & Missassagas, live on the North sides of Lakes Ontario & Erie to which Niagara would serve as a Centre without being too distant for those who live in the Neighbourhood of Detroit & if we treat with the Chenussios, or any of that Quarter (which may probably be the case) no place can be better calculated. [In this case I would beg leave to propose that Deputys consisting of the Chiefs of each Nation should only meet, the rest being of no great consequence, and that1] At this Treaty wheresoever held we should tye them down [in the peace1] according to their own forms of which they take the most notice, for (page 331) Example by Exchanging a very large belt with some remarkable & intelligible figures thereon. Expressive of the occasion which should be always shewn at public Meetings, to remind them of their promises; and that we should Exchange Articles with the Signatures of the Chiefs of every Tribe; [Some of The five Nations have but Three, the Western Indians several.1] The use of frequent Meetings with Inds is here pointed out. They want the use of letters, consequently they must frequently be reminded of their promises, & this custom they keep up Strictly, amongst themselves, since the neglect of the one, will prove a breach of the other.
In my opinion a Treaty of Offensive & Defensive Alliance would be the best, as we should then have a right to claim their assistance on occasion, & they would hardly ever desire ours for any thing more than Arms & Ammunition which it would be our interest to give them in a War with one another. That we should enter into this with each Confederacy against the other, which would put them more on their guard hereafter. That they should deliver up all prisoners, deserters, & Frenchmen (of whom there are several) amongst them, Engaging never to admit any of the Two latter into their Castles. That they should agree to the removal of the Jesuits whenever it may be demanded. The occupancy of all the French posts &ca to be left to our discretion & a free passage by land or Water to them, as also the Navigation of the upper Lakes &ca. The payment of debts, & free permission to all Traders to pass unmolested.- with regard to the Senecas, that they Guarranty the carrying place. I would add from the importance of Aserotus 2 & Arundiquat 3 (both along Ontario) the former as a harbour for Vessells, the latter for Boats, and being a Convenient & near rout into their Country, That we might be at liberty to make use of them, or Erect places of security at them, whenever we (page 332) found it necessary, That a free passage be likewise granted thro' their Country to & from Niagara when occasion required, That the Misisaga's &ca living on the N side of Ontario Guarranty the Communication down the R. St. Lawrence to Oswegatchy. That none of the Nations treat with the Shawanese & Delawares for the future without our knowledge & permission, & That all intercourse be imediately stopt between our Friends, & any who may hereafter commit hostilities (this they call shutting up the Road of peace) && that every Nation for the future shall on our requisition properly made deliver up, such of their people as may be guilty of Robbery or Murder, that they may be tried according to the English Laws. This may & doubtless will appear hard (& is contrary to the original Covenant) but is nevertheless a very necessary point to push and lastly that they ratify & confirm all their Engagements entred into by that Covenant, as well as those entered into between them & the French.- on our part I believe it will be necessary To assure them of A Free fair & open Trade, at the principal Posts, & a free intercourse, & passage into our Country. That we will make no Settlements or Encroachments contrary to Treaty, or without their permission. That we will bring to Justice any persons who commit Robberys or Murders on them & that we will protect & aid them against their & our Enemys, & duly observe our Engagements with them.
These few Remarks I submit, with deference to your opinion, nor would I abuse the freedom with which you have indulged my Sentiments, but from my hopes that some of them will agree with your own upon this Subject.
I shall for the time to come give orders to keep each Department as seperate as possible. Capt Claus, set out for Montreal but was obliged to return as there was not passing the Lakes, I hope he may be able soon to go to his post-
I must beg the favour of your Certificate in favour of Lieut Johnson setting
forth his rank, & that he is reduced, The Governor informing me that it is
necessary in order to his obtaining the Lands agreable to his Majesty's
1 Crossed out in the original.
Return to TOC, p. 17
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