« ZurückWeiter »
words. They sunk deep into their hearts. The advice was good; it was kind. They said to one another, "The Six Nations are a wise people. Let us hearken to them, and take their counsel, and teach our children to follow it. Our old men have done so. They have frequently taken a single arrow, and said, Children, see how easy it is broken. Then they have taken and tied twelve arrows together with a strong string or cord, and our strongest men could not break them. See, said they, this is what the Six Nations mean. Divided, a single man may destroy you; united, you are a match for the whole world." We thank the great God that we are all united; that we have a strong confederacy, composed of twelve provinces, New Hampshire, &c. These provinces have lighted a great council-fire at Philadelphia, and have sent sixty-five counsellors to speak and act in the name of the whole, and consult for the common good of the people, and of you, our brethren of the Six Nations, and your allies; and the talk of this great Council we shall deliver to you to-morrow. A Belt.
Albany, Saturday, 26th August, 1775. Present this day, Gen. Schuyler, Col. Francis, Col. Wolcott, Mr. Douw, Commissioners; the chairman and committee of the city of Albany.
The Indians having informed the Commissioners they were ready to proceed to business, the treaty was opened in the following manner.
Brothers, sachems, and warriors, Let this string open your ears to hear, and incline your hearts to accept the talk of your brethren of the Twelve United Colonies, which they have sent to you by their deputies. They speak as follows.
Brothers, sachems and warriors of the Six United Nations,
We, the delegates from the Twelve United Provinces now sitting in General Congress at Philadelphia, send this talk to you, our brothers. We are sixty-five in number, appointed by the people throughout all these Provinces and Colonies, to meet and sit together in one great Council, to consult together for the common good of this land, and to speak and act for them.
Brothers, In our consultation we have judged it proper and necessary to send you this talk, as we are upon the same island, that you may be informed of the reason of this great Council, the situation of our civil constitution, and our disposition towards you, our Indian brothers of the Six Nations, and their allies.
Brothers and friends, now attend. When our fathers crossed the great water, and came over to this land, the King of England gave them a talk; assuring them that they and their children should be his children, and that if they would leave their native country, and make settlements, and live here, and buy and sell and trade with their brethren beyond the water, they should still keep hold of the same covenant chain, and enjoy peace ; and it was covenanted that the fields, houses, goods and possessions which our fathers should acquire, should remain to them as their own, and be their children's forever, and at their sole disposal. Trusting that this covenant should never be broken, our fathers came a great distance beyond the great water, and laid out their money here, built houses, cleared fields, raised crops, and through their own labor and industry grew tall and strong.
They have bought, sold and traded with England, according to agreement, sending to them such things as they wanted, and taking in exchange such things as were wanted here. The King of England and his people kept the way open for more than one hundred years, and by our trade became richer, and by union with us greater and stronger than the other kings and people who live beyond the water. All this time they lived in great friendship with us, and we with them, for we are brothers, one blood.
Whenever they were struck, we instantly felt it as if the blow had been given to us. Their enemies were our enemies. Whenever they went to war we sent our men to stand by their side and fight for them, and our money to help them and make them strong. That we have done this, brothers, you have been all witnesses to in the last war. You know we assisted them in taking Niagara, Cataroqui, Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and Canada; and lastly, when they had no more enemies upon this island, we went to fight and helped them to take many large islands that lay in the hot countries, where they got more than thirty cart-loads of silver. They thanked us for our love, and sent us good talks, and renewed their promise to be one people forever; and when the war was over, they said, Children, we thank you that you have helped to make us great. We know that it has cost you a great deal of money; and therefore, children, we give you a present that you may maintain your warriors. A Belt.
Brothers and friends, open a kind ear. We will now tell you of the quarrel between the counsellors of King George and the inhabitants and Colonies of America. Many of his counsellors are proud and wicked men. They persuade the King to break the covenant chain, and not send us any more good talks. A considerable number have prevailed upon him to enter into a new covenant against us, and have torn asunder and cast behind their backs the good old covenant which their ancestors and ours entered into and took strong hold of. They now tell us they will slip their hand into our pocket without asking, as if it were their own, and at their pleasure they will take from us our charters, or written civil constitutions, which we love as our lives; also our plantations, our houses and goods, whenever they please, without asking our leave; that our vessels may go to this island in the sea, but to this or that particular island we shall not trade any more; and in case of non-compliance with these new orders, they shut up our harbors. Brothers, This is our present situation. Thus have many of the King's counsellors and servants dealt with us. If we submit, or comply with their demands, you can easily perceive to what state we shall be reduced. If our people labor in the field, they will not know who shall enjoy the crop. If they hunt in the woods, it will be uncertain who shall taste the meat or have the skins. If they build houses, they will not know whether they may sit round the fire with their wives and children. They cannot be sure whether they shall be permitted to eat, drink, and wear the fruits of their own labor and industry. A Broken Belt.
The Commissioners then informed the Indians, that as the business they were upon was very important, and as they knew they were a wise and prudent people, and weighed every thing with great deliberation, they would not at this time hurry them, nor burthen their memories with too much, and therefore would defer what they had further to say until Monday.
Albany, Monday, 28th August, 1775.
The treaty was again renewed. Present,
Col. Francis, Col. Wolcott, Mr. Douw, Commissioners; Mr. Lynch, of South Carolina, Mr. Duane, of New York, Mr. Robert Livingston, members of the Continental Congress; the chairman and committee of the city of Albany.
The Commissioners proceeded with the speech of Congress. Brothers and friends, attend.
We upon this island have often spoke and entreated the King and his servants the counsellors, that peace and harmony might still continue between us; that we cannot part with or loose hold of the old covenant chain, which united our forefathers and theirs ; that we wanted to brighten this chain, and keep the way open, as our forefathers did ; that we want to live with them as brothers, labor, trade, travel abroad, eat and drink in peace. We have often asked them to love us and live in such friendship with us as their fathers did with ours. We told them again that we judged we were exceedingly injured ; that they might as well kill us, as take away our property and the necessaries of life. We have asked why they treat us thus. What has become of our repeated addresses and supplications to them? Who hath shut the ears of the King to the cries of his children in America? No soft answer, no pleasant voice from beyond the water has yet reached our ears.
Thus stands the matters betwixt Old England and America. You Indians know how things are proportioned in a family between the father and the son; the child carries a little pack. England we regard as the father; this island may be compared to the son. The father has a numerous family, both at home, and upon this island. He appoints a great number of servants to assist him in the government of his family. In process of time, some of his servants grow proud and ill-natured. They were displeased to see the boy so alert, and walk on so nimbly with his pack. They tell the father, and advise him to enlarge the child's pack. They prevail, and the pack is increased. The child takes it up again—as he thought it might be the father's pleasure—speaks but few words, those very small; for he was loath to offend the father. Those proud and wicked servants, finding they had prevailed, laughed to see the boy sweat and stagger under his increased load. By and by they apply to the father to double the child's pack, because they heard him complain, and that without any reason, say they. He is a cross child ; correct him, if he complains any more. The boy entreats the father, and addresses the great servants in a decent manner, that the pack may be lightened; he could not go any farther. He humbly asks if the old fathers, in any of their records, had described such a pack for the child.
After all the tears and entreaties of the child, the pack is redoubled. The child stands a little while, staggering under the weight, ready to fall every moment. However, he entreats the father once more, though so faint, he could only lisp his last humble supplication; waits a while; no voice returns. The child concludes the father could not hear. Those proud servants had entirely intercepted his supplication, or stopped the ears of the father. He therefore gives one struggle, and throws off the pack, and says he cannot take it up again; such a weight will crush him down and kill him; and he can but die, if he refuses. Upon this those servants are very wroth, and tell the father many false stories concerning the child. They bring a great cudgel to the father, asking him to take it in his hand and strike the child.—This may serve to illustrate the present condition of the King's American subjects or children.
Amidst those oppressions, we now and then heard a mollifying and reviving voice from some of the King's wise counsellors, who are our friends, and feel for our distresses. When they heard our complaints and our cries, they applied to the King ; also told those wicked servants that this child in America was not a cross boy; it had sufficient reason for crying; and if the cause of its complaint was neglected, it would soon assume the voice of a man, plead for justice like a man, and defend its rights, and support the old covenant chain of the fathers.
Brothers, listen. Notwithstanding all our entreaties, we have but little hope the King will send us any more good talks, by reason of his