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.
(Detroit, April 25, 1778)
Hamilton, Henry in: Thwaites &
Kellogg, Frontier Defense
on the Upper Ohio,
. . . March the 7th Lieutenant Governor Abbot with his family arrived from St. Vincennes, from his report of the state of the post, I am humbly of opinion it must be impossible for the Ouabasha Indians to be kept in order, without a vast expense in presents of the presence of some troops. Indeed in all those Posts where the French had settled a trade and intercourse with the Savages, an Officer's presence with troops is much wanted, for the minds of the Indians in remote posts are poisened by the falsehoods and misrepresentations of the French. As to the Indians of the Ouabash, they have been out of the way of knowing the power of the English and from a presumption of their own importance will be arrogant and troublesome. Monsieur de Celoron writes me word from (page 282) Ouiattonong, that some parties to the number of 56 men, partly Quigeboes, Mascoitainges & Ouiattanongs are gone to war toward the Ohio, their success is not yet known. I have sent him some ammunition & arms & to gratify those among them who behave well. All parties going to war are exhorted to act with humanity as the means of securing a sincere peace when His Majesty shall be pleased to order the Hatchet to be buried.
March 11th. One hundred and twenty five warriors, Mingoes, Shawanese & Delawares with a number of wives & children came to this place, they have accepted War Belts and I believe are too well convinced of the inability of the Virginians to do them either much good or much harm, not to be sincere. The Mingoes delivered me a young boy, whose father they had killed.
29th. John Turney arrived from Quebec. He brought a Belt sent by Colonel Butler addressed to the Lake Indians and all the Western Nations from the Six Nations, by which they declare their resolution to support Government and revenge themselves, desiring all the nations of the Confederacy to act as one man- thanking them at the same time for the zeal and spirit with which they acted last year.
April the 1st. Forty Shawanese arrive having four prisoners whom they delivered to me soon after.
April the 5th. Mr. Charles Baubin who acts at the Miamis came in from a scout- not having been able to prevail on the Miamis to act with spirit. He with a young man named Lorimer engaged four score Shawanese from Tchelacase and Pecori to go toward the Fort on Kentuck River, east of the Ohio into which it discharges directly opposite the great Mineamis or Rocky River.
The fort is about 30 miles from the mouth. The number of men in it about 80. Here they had the good fortune to make prisoners Captain Daniel Boone, with 26 of his men, whom they brought off with their arms without killing or losing a man. The savages could not be prevailed on to attempt the Fort Boonesborough, which by means of their prisoners might have been easily done with success. These Shawanese delivered up four of their prisoners to me; but took Boone with them expecting by his means to effect something. By Boone's account, the people on the frontiers have been so incessantly harrassed by parties of Indians they have not been able to sow grain; and at Kentucke will not have a morsel of bread by the middle of June. Cloathing is not to be had, nor do they expect relief from the Congress.- (page 284) their dilemma will probably induce them to trust to the savages who have shewn so much humanity to their prisoners & come to this place before winter.
The Placarts from this place having found their way among the inhabitants & one in particular signed by several Prisoners who were saved by the Indians, was seen in the hands of Mr. Morgan at Fort Pitt, who refused to let it be publis; however, I believe he will (not) be able to keep up his credit much longer.
April the 20th. Edward Hazle (who had undertaken to carry a letter from me to the Moravian Minister at Kushayking) returned having executed his commission. He brought me a letter & newspaper from Mr. McKee who was Indian agent for the Crown and has been a long time in the hands of the Rebels at Fort Pitt, at length has found means to make his escape with three other men, two of the name of Girty (mentioned in Lord Dunmore's list) an Interpreter and Matthew Elliott, the young man who was last summer sent down from this place a prisoner. This last person I am informed has been at New York since he left Quebec, and probably finding the change in affairs unfavorable to the Rebels, has slipped away to make his peace here.
23rd. Hazle went off again to conduct them all safe thro' the village, having a letter and Wampum for that purpose. Alexander McKee is a man of good character, and has great influence with the Shawanese is well acquainted with the country & can probably give some usefull intelligence, he will probably reach this (page 285) place in a few days. In his letter to me dated Kushayking April 4th he mentioned that no expeditions of any consequence can be undertaken by the Virginians from Fort Pitt thro' the Delaware villages, hitherward; but that they meditated some attempt against the villages upon French Creek (Riviere au Boeuf) and that he had information from some Delawares that six hundred men were to set out on that design the 8th of April, but that the savages being forewarned their scheme must fail.
I have written to Coll. Bolton to acquaint him L. Col. Butler of this as also that a party from Fort Pitt had fallen on a Delaware village & killed or carried off eight persons; but that unfortunately for the Rebels, they had struck in the wrong place & have sent back two squaws who were prisoners to atone for their error.
25th of April. Governor Abbott communicated to me the following extract of a letter from Mr. (page 286) de Rocheblave to one Bosseron at St. Vincennes dated Feby. 28th 78: . . .
(Par un deserteur)
. . . This letter of Mr. Rocheblave explains in part the accounts given by the Delawares of parties forming for Riviere au Boeuf, which can only be calculated to draw off the attention of the Delawares from the lower part of the ohio. I shall if possible lay a bar in the way of the communication to N. Orleans. Your Excellency's orders and instructions which I am in hourly expectation of receiving by Mr. LaMothe51 will be my guide for my conduct.
25th April 1778. Mr. LaMothe not yet arrived. A
Huron of that band settled at Lorette named datahyjas has been lately at Fort
Pitt and say Mr. Bentley supplied ammunition &c. to the Rebels, he also
confirms the reports of the intercourse between the Spaniards and the Virginian
51 Guillaume la Mothe was a French Canadian who entered the British service. Born about 1744, he was in 1767 a trader in the neighborhood of Detroit. At the outbreak of the Revolution he was in New England; whence he retired to Quebec and soon returned to Detroit, where in 1777 he became captain of a scouting party. Apparently he was in Quebec when this letter was written. The next autumn, as captain of Militia, he accompanied Hamilton to Vincennes, where he was captured (1779) and sent prisoner to Virginia. There he was kept in close confinement until exchanged (1781). The following year found him at Detroit. In 1793 he was appointed interpreter at Mackinac, until removed from that position in November, 1795. He retired with the British to St. Joseph Island (1796), where he died in 1799.- Ed.
to TOC, p. 23
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