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His Honor then produced a letter from the right honorable the Lords of Trade, bearing date the eighteenth of September last, out of which a paragraph was read.
Afterwards were read two minutes of the proceedings of the Commissioners of Indian affairs in this city, dated the 15thand 18th instant; also a remonstrance from the Oswego traders to his Honor.
It was recommended as the first step necessary to be taken at this Congress, that the Commissioners should consider of the several matters they may judge proper to be proposed to the Indians at the intended interview with them, and to prepare the speech to be made on that occasion; for which purpose his Honor acquainted the Commissioners he would direct the Secretary or Agent for Indian affairs to attend them with the records of that office, and the Commissioners of Indian affairs to meet together as often as there should be occasion, in order that they might give them all the information relative to Indian affairs.
At a meeting in the Court House at Albany, Wednesday afternoon, the 19th June, 1754. Present,
The Council of New York and all the Commissioners, as particularly named in the minutes of this morning.
The Board proceeded to take into consideration the matters recommended by his Honor in the morning. The whole letter from the Lords of Trade was read, and is as follows:
Whitehall, Septeinber 18/A, 1753. Sir,
A few days after you sailed from Portsmouth, we received a letter from Mr. Clinton, enclosing minutes of the proceedings between him and a deputation of the Mohawk Indians at Fort George, in the city of New York, in June last, with the Journals of the Assembly then sitting.
You will, without doubt, upon your arrival be fully informed of the particular circumstances of this affair, the resentment expressed by the Indians, and the abrupt and hasty manner in which they went away; and though, from the confidence we have of your vigilant attention to whatever may concern your Government, we are persuaded you will not have failed to have taken every necessary and prudent measure to obviate the fatal consequences which might attend this affair, yet we think it no less our duty to embrace the first opportunity of writing our sentiments to you upon it, and of pointing out to you what appears to us necessary to be done.
When we consider of how great consequence the friendship and alliance of the Six Nations is to all his Majesty's Colonies and Plantations in America in general, as well as to New York in particular; when we consider that this friendship and alliance is only to be gained and preserved by making presents to them at proper times and upon proper occasions, and by an inviolable observance of all our engagements with them; and when we recollect the attempts which have lately been made to withdraw them from the British interest, we cannot but be greatly concerned and surprised that the Province of New York should have been so inattentive to the general interest of his Majesty's subjects in America, as well as to their own particular security, as to have given occasion to the complaints made by the Indians. But we are still more surprised at the manner in which these complaints were received, the dissatisfactory answers given to the Indians, and at their being suffered to depart (though the Assembly was then sitting) without any measures taken to bring them to temper or to redress their complaints.
This being the light in which we see this affair, we think it for his Majesty's service that you should take the very first opportunity of representing to the Council and Assembly, in the strongest manner, of how great importance it is to the Province of New York to preserve the friendship and affections of the Indians, and the fatal consequences which must inevitably follow from a neglect of them; that you should press them to join with and support you in every measure you shall find it necessary to pursue in order to fix them in the British interest, more especially by making proper provision for presents for them; which, joined to the presents allowed by his Majesty, and which you will receive by this conveyance, may serve to facilitate this great end and to wipe away all remembrance of that neglect the Indians now complain of. As a speedy interview with the Indians is from their present disposition become the more necessary, you will no doubt think it proper to advise with the Council as to the time and place of meeting the Indians, in which points we trust you will have a due regard to their convenience; and as it appears from their complaints that Albany, which has been the usual place of meeting, is obnoxious to them, you will, if you find sufficient foundation for this complaint, appoint some other place you shall think more for their ease and satisfaction; and we observe from a report of the Council and Assembly to Mr. Clinton, that Onondago is proposed as the most proper place. We likewise hope that in the choice of the persons who are to attend and assist you at this interview, you will have a regard to such as are best acquainted with the Indians and their affairs, and not obnoxious to them; and as a great deal depends upon the interpreters, we desire you will be particularly careful to appoint such as are well acquainted with the Indian language, and men of ability and integrity.
We hope that the threats of the Mohawk Indians, when they left New York, have not been carried into execution; but think it of absolute necessity, in order to obviate any ill consequences which might attend these threats, that some person of character and discretion should be immediately sent amongst the Indians to acquaint them of your arrival, of the presents his Majesty has ordered to be delivered to them, and of your intention of holding an interview with them for burying the hatchet and renewing the covenant chain; that this person should be carefully instructed to endeavor to remove any prejudices which the Six Nations may have imbibed from the representations of the Mohawks, to obviate the ill effects which would attend a general discontent amongst them at so critical a conjuncture, and to put them upon their guard against any attempts which may be made to withdraw them from his Majesty's interest. And that nothing may be wanting to convince the Indians of the sincerity of our intentions, you will do well to examine into the complaints they have made of being defrauded of their lands, to take all proper and legal methods to redress their complaints, and to gratify them, by reasonable purchases, or in such other matter as you shall find most proper and agreeable to them, for such lands as have been unwarrantably taken from them, or for such other as they may have a desire to dispose of; and we recommend it to you to be particularly careful for the future, that you do not make grants to a&y o
persons whatsoever of lands purchased by them of the Indians upon their own account. Such practices have been found in a neighboring Government to be attended with great mischief and inconvenience. But when the Indians are disposed to sell any of their lands, the purchase ought to be made in his Majesty's name and at the public charge.
As we find it has been usual upon former occasions when an interview has been held with the Indians, for the other neighboring Governments in alliance with them to send Commissioners to be joined with those of New York; and as the present wavering disposition of the Indians equally affects the other Provinces, we have wrote to the Governors of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay and New Jersey, desiring them to represent to their respective Assemblies the utility and necessity of this measure, and to urge them to make proper provision for it; and therefore it will be necessary, that when you have settled the time and place of meeting, you should give them early notice of it; and this leads us to recommend one thing more to your attention, and that is, to take care that all the Provinces be (if practicable) comprised in one general treaty, to be made in his Majesty's name; it appearing to us that the practice of each Province making a separate treaty for itself in its own name is very improper, and may be attended with great inconvenience to his Majesty's service.
So we bid you heartily farewell, and are your very loving friends and humble servants,
A true copy of the original,
Examined by Geo. Banyar, D. Sec'y.
And also were read the following papers from the Commissioners of Indian affairs at Albany, viz.
Albany, 15th June, 1754.
At a meeting of the Commissioners of Indian affairs at Mr. Lutteridge's, Present,
Col. Mynd't. Schuyler, Robert Sanders, Esq., Mayor of the City, Syl't. Van Schaack, Recorder, Capt. Hubart Marshall, Commander of the Fort, Cornelius Cuyler, John Beekman, John Rensselaer, Jacob Coen't. Ten Eyck, Peter Winne, Esquires, Peter Wraxall, Sec'y.
His Honor the Lieut. Governor, the Hon. James Delancey, Esq. having directed Col. Mynd't. Schuyler to convene the Commissioners of Indian affairs, that they might consult together if they had any matters in particular to recommend to his Honor upon the approaching interview with the Six Nations ;—
In consequence hereof, the Commissioners are of opinion that the Six Nations, who now live dispersed and confused, should in the most earnest manner be exhorted to unite and dwell together in their respective castles, and that the Mohawk nation should live in one castle only.
That his Honor apply to the Onondago Indians in particular, to direct and exhort them to live together in one castle, according to their ancient and prudent custom, and to cause all their friends and relations wherever dispersed to join them, particularly those who have separated themselves and live at present at Oswegatchie, (on the south side of the river St. Lawrence, to the eastward of Cadaraqui,) where the French have lately fortified, have a garrison, and where a French missionary constantly resides in order to draw them off from our alliance. At this Oswegatchie the French have lately made a settlement of Indians belonging to the Six Nations, of which the greatest part are from Onondago and Cayuga.
That whereas the French have long been endeavoring to prevail on the Senecas to come and settle at Irondequot, in order to have them nearer to their settlements, the more easily to effect their design of debauching them from the British interest, the Commissioners are of opinion that his Honor should insist on the Senecas, who at present live very remote from one another, to make a general castle near the mouth of the Senecas' river, where they have already begun to build a new castle. This point has been several times recommended to them by former Governors, and which they have faithfully promised to do, but have not hitherto effected.
The Commissioners are of opinion that the most effectual