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At a meeting in the Court House at Albany, on Wednesday, the 3d July, 1754, A. M. Present,
John Chambers and William Smith, Esq'rs, of the Council of New York; Samuel Welles, John Chandler, and Oliver Partridge, Esquires, Commissioners for Massachusetts Bay; Theodore Atkinson and Richard Wibird, Esquires, Commissioners from New Hampshire; the Commissioners from Connecticut; Martin Howard, Esq. a Commissioner from Rhode Island; all the Commissioners from Pennsylvania; Benjamin Tasker, Jun. Esq. one of the Commissioners from Maryland.
A draught of the reply proposed to be made to the speech of the Six Nations of the 1st inst. which the committee appointed yesterday afternoon had drawn up, was read. Mr. Chambers desired to carry it to his Honor the Lieut. Governor for his opinion; which was agreed to. Took their seats at the Board,
His Honor the Lieut. Governor, Joseph Murray and William Johnson, Esq'rs, of the Council of New York ; Thomas Hutchinson and John Worthington, Esq'rs, Commissioners for Massachusetts Bay; Meshech Weare and Henry Sherburne, Esq'rs, Commissioners for New Hampshire; Stephen Hopkins, Esq. one of the Commissioners from Rhode Island; Abraham Barnes, Esq. one of the Commissioners from Maryland.
His Honor laid before the Board certain matters which he proposed to be inserted in the reply to be made to the Six Nations; which, together with the draught from the committee, was read and debated.
The Commissioners from Pennsylvania also laid before the Board an addition in behalf of their Province, and proposed it to be added to the reply. The Commissioners from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut proposed also some additions.
These several draughts being read and considered, the following reply to the Six Nations was agreed upon by the Board.
It gives us great pleasure to see you so ready to renew and brighten the ancient chain of friendship. We wish the farther extension of it, and shall not fail joining our utmost endeavors for that purpose.
We are sorry that any neglect has been shown to you, and we hope that nothing of that kind will happen hereafter, or any misunderstanding arise between you and any of his Majesty's Governments. You are our old and steady friends. We assure you not one thought has ever come into our minds of rejecting you. Our hearts have ever been warm towards you; and we now gladly meet, and open our hearts to you. The covenant is renewed, the chain is brightened, the fire burns clear, and we hope all things will be pleasant on both sides for the future. A Belt.
We gladly understand that you gave no countenance to the French who went to Ohio and have entered on your lands. They are always your and our open or secret enemies. You did put this land under the King our father. He is now taking care to preserve it for you. For this end, among others, he has directed us to meet you here; for although the land is under the King's government, yet the property or power of selling it to any of his Majesty's subjects, having authority from him, we always consider as vested in you. Brethren,
You say that the Governors of Virginia and Canada are fighting about lands belonging to you, and that the Governors of Virginia and Pennsylvania have opened new roads and built houses at Ohio.
What you say is a great surprise to us. We all know that for five years past, in the face of all the Six Nations, in open daylight, the French have been marching troops into that country, which we ever did and do still acknowledge to belong to you, though within your father the King of Great Britain's dominions, and under his protection. And the French did publish everywhere their designs to build forts and drive away the English traders, and they did carry them into execution by seizing the traders, and did last year actually build two forts in that country. But we never heard, notwithstanding these open hostilities of the French, that ever Virginia or Pennsylvania sent one soldier or built one house for their or your protection till this present year.
It is fortunate that Mr. Weiser, who transacts the public business of Virginia and Pennsylvania with your nations, and is one of your council, and knows these matters well, is now present. Hear the account he gives, and that will set this matter in a true light. Brethren, The road to Ohio is no new road ; it is an old and frequented road. The Shawanese and Delawares removed thither above thirty years ago from Pennsylvania; ever since which that road has been travelled by our traders at their invitation, and always with safety, until within these few years that the French, with their usual faithlessness, sent armies there, threatened the Indians, and obstructed our trade with them. The Governor of Virginia, observing these hostilities in time of full peace, sent his Majesty an account of them. His Majesty was pleased to order his Governor to hold an interview with the Six Nations, to consult measures with them how to put a stop to these French proceedings, equally injurious to them as to his subjects; and that they might better know them, it was thought the interview might best be held at some place near the country where these hostile proceedings were carried on. His Majesty likewise ordered a present to the Six Nations, as a further token of his affection for them. Accordingly Mr. Weiser in 1750 was sent to Onondago by the Governor of Virginia, and invited the Indians to come and treat at Fredericksburg, in that Province, and receive the King's presents; but could not prevail. The Governor of Virginia, finding the French still continuing their hostilities, sent Commissioners in 1751 to the Indians at Ohio, and delivered them the King's present; and by a belt of wampum proposed that a strong house might be built near the mouth of Monongahela for their mutual protection. The Indians made answer that they were well pleased with the proposal, and would send that belt to Onondago, and join one of their own to it. Nothing was heard of this belt, and the last year the French invaded the country of Ohio with a strong hand. Whereupon the Indians residing there, your flesh and blood, sent repeated messages to the Governor of Virginia to send his young men to their assistance. But he being a person of great forethought and prudence, still forebore to do it; and instead thereof, sent two messages by Mr. Andrew Montour to Onondago, for your advice how to act. It happened that no council could be called at either time. The chiefs of Onondago desired Mr. Montour to tell their brother the Governor of Virginia to act cautiously, and let the French strike the first blow.
The French then coming nearer and nearer, Tanacharisson, (otherwise called the half king) was sent to them by the United Nations at Ohio, together with the Shawanese and Delawares, to forewarn them off their land. In the mean time, other chiefs of these several nations came to Virginia and Pennsylvania, and told us what they had agreed upon in council, viz. that they, the rest of the chiefs, should come to us and desire us to call our people from over the Alleghany hills, to prevent bloodshed between the English and French. But when these Indians returned, and found that the French paid no regard to their warning, but told them positively that if they opposed their taking possession of that country, they would cut them off, they sent repeated messages to the Governors of Pennsylvania and Virginia to apprize them of their (the Indians') immediate danger, telling them they would find nothing but the ashes of their houses and their hones, if they did not forthwith send warriors, and build them a house to fly to; having a late example before their eyes in that the French had fallen upon their brethren the Twightwees on a sudden, and killed them in their houses, as well as some English who were there trading with them.
On this melancholy account the Governor of Virginia, agreeable to the request of the Indians, sent people to build a house at the mouth of Monongahela. But before they had finished it, the French came down the river with a thousand men, and eighteen cannon, and told the people who were building it, and were but forty-four in number, that they must either fight or give up possession ; which last they were obliged to do, on account of the superior force of the French. Brethren,
This is the truth, which we have thought proper to relate so particularly, that the prudent and cautious conduct of Virginia might be known to the Six Nations. As to Pennsylvania, they have never sent a warrior or built a fort at Ohio. This belt is given to confirm what is said, and that you may remember what has been now related to you.
A BelU Brethren,
You tell us we are open and defenceless. We are consulting how far it will be necessary to fortify our frontiers. At the same time we expect you will take care to keep your people from going over to the French. We are able, when united with you, to resist any force the French and their allies can bring against us.
The following paragraphs were to be spoken by the Governor of New York in his own name. Brethren,
You have told me that this is the place of treaty ; that it is now three years ago since you were asked to smoke a pipe here; that there are Commissioners, but they have never invited you to smoke with them. It was their duty, on their appointment, to acquaint you with it, and to invite you to smoke with them, and to rekindle the fire which was then almost extinguished; and if they had done it earlier, and before I sent them directions, it would have been very agreeable to me. Brethren,
You say the houses here are full of beaver. This is a trading-place, and the merchants have a right to traffic for beaver or other skins, which they sometimes pay for in goods, and sometimes in money. But as to what you say about guns and powder being sold to the French, I have made all the inquiry I fcould into this matter, and am assured you are misinformed, for that neither guns nor powder are sold by any persons here to the French. Brethren,
You tell me that whilst Col. Johnson had the management of Indian affairs, you all lived happy; that you loved him, and he you, and that he has always been your good and trusty friend. I am very sensible you had good reason to look upon him in this light, and fully convinced that he is still your friend. But as this is the place where the ancient fire was kindled which was nearly burnt out, and as Col. Johnson for some reasons declined the management of Indian affairs, it was thought proper to rekindle the fire here by appointing Commissioners; whom I shall direct to receive and consult with you upon all business that may concern our mutual interests; and I expect that you will for the future apply to them, according to the custom of your forefathers, to tell your news, and in return to receive from them what shall be thought necessary to be imparted to you ; and I will give them directions that they treat you with the affection due to you as brethren. I will make trial of them another year; and if you do not meet with the kind treatment you have a right to