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THE 


LIFE    AND    TIMES 


SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,  BART., 


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WILLIAM  L.  STONE. 

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VOL.  I. 


ALBANY : 

J.  MUNSELL,  78  STATE  STREET 

1865. 


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Entered  according  to  Act  of  Congress  in  the  year  1864, 
By  William  L.  Stone, 

In  the  Clerk's  Office  of  the  District  Court  of  the  United  States  for  the 
Southern  District  of  New  York. 


vl> 


TO 


THE  MEMORY 


LATE   WILLIAM  L.    STONE,   ESQ. 


NEW   YORK   CITY, 


THIS    WORK    IS    AFFECTIONATELY    INSCRIBED,    BY    HIS    SON, 


THE    AUTHOR. 


PREFACE 


It  may  not  be  generally  known  that  my  father,  the 
late  William  L.  Stone,  Esq.,  commenced  a  history  of 
the  Life  and  Times  of  Sir  William  Johnson,  Bart. 
He  had  employed  several  years  in  collecting  the  ma- 
terials for  this  work,  and  had  written  the  first  seven 
chapters  of  it,  when  death  cut  short  his  labors  in  1844. 
Esteeming  it  a  sacred  duty,  I  have  completed  the 
work ;  and  in  so  doing,  have  endeavored  to  carry  out, 
as  far  as  possible,  his  original  design.  The  result  is 
before  the  reader. 

Perhaps  the  character  of  no  man  prominent  in  our 
colonial  history  has  been  less  understood,  and  less 
fairly  judged,  than  that  of  Sir  William  Johnson,  Bart. 
His  death  occurred  just  on  the  eve  of  the  Revolution- 
ary war  ;  and  the  troublous  times  which  followed,  and 
the  immediate  removal  of  his  private  papers,  by  his 
son,  Sir  John  Johnson,  into  Canada,  prevented  any 
trustworthy  estimate  either  of  the  man  or  of  his  ser- 
vices. As  a  natural  consequence,  the  innumerable 
wild  and  improbable  traditions  afloat  concerning  him, 
have  been  eagerly  seized  and  believed  as  veritable 
history.  It  was  therefore  evident,  that  until  access 
wuld  be  had  to  his  papers  and  private  correspondence, 


VI  PllEFACE. 


it  would  be  impossible  to  prepare  a  faithful  and  accu- 
rate biography  of  him.  After  years  of  search,  mv 
father  procured  from  the  Johnson  family  in  Eng- 
land, and  from  various  other  sources,  a  large  portion 
of  Sir  William's  manuscripts,  which,  with  the  collec- 
tion of  the  Johnson  MSS.  presented  to  the  New  York 
State  Library  by  General  John  Tayler  Cooper,  amounts 
to  more  than  seven  thousand  letters  and  documents. 
Although  many  letters  are  evidently  lost,  yet  enough 
remain  to  answer  the  purpose  of  the  present  work  ; 
while  the  original  records  of  Indian  treaties  and  con- 
ferences, of  which  nearly  all  are  in  existence,  afford  a 
sure  test  of  the  accuracy  of  their  relation. 

Of  this  large  collection,  I  have  read  and  carefully 
compared  each  letter  and  document ;  and  throughout 
the  work  have  made  abundant  reference  to  authorities, 
in  order  that  whoever  desires  may  avail  himself  of  the 
same  sources  of  information. 

To  Hon.  Jared  Sparks  of  Cambridge,  Hon.  George 
Bancroft  of  New  York,  Francis  Parkman,  Esq.,  of 
Boston,  Professor  Robinson  P.  Dunn  of  Brown  Univer- 
sity, and  Edward  F.  De  Lancey,  Esq.,  of  New  York,  I 
am  indebted  for  counsel  and  material  aid.  My  thanks 
are  also  due  to  Anthony  Lamb,  Esq.,  of  Cambridge, 
Doctor  O'Callaghan  of  Albany,  Dr.  R.  L.  Allen,  Hon. 
Judge  Hay,  and  Daniel  Sheppard,  Esq.  of  Saratoga 
Springs,  for  valuable  suggestions.  Nor  must  I  forget 
to  make  special  mention  of  the  kindness  of  the  Regents 
and  Librarians  of  the  New  York  State  University  and 


PREFACE.  Vll 

Library,  in  affording  me  every  facility  for  examining 
the  books  and  original  documents  under  their  control. 
To  Thomas  Simons,  Esq.,  of  Albany,  and  Elnathan 
Judson,  Esq.,  of  New  York,  I  am  truly  grateful  for 
assistance  in  copying  many  pages  of  manuscript. 

In  conclusion  I  may  add,  that  in  the  preparation  of 
this  work,  I  have  made  no  statement,  and  drawn  no 
inference,  that  I  did  not  conscientiously  believe  was 
fully  warranted  by  the  original  authorities  to  which  I 
have  had  immediate  access. 

WILLIAM  L.  STONE. 

Saratoga  Springs,  January  1st,  1865. 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER  I. 

1534_1741. 

Plan  of  the  present  work,  9 — Success  of  the  French  in  winning  the  con- 
fidence of  the  Indians  ;  one  exception  to  this  success,  10 — Inconsidera- 
ble attention  paid  to  the  Five  Nations  by  the  first  three  English  governors, 
11 — Enterprise  of  the  Jesuit  missionaries  during  the  peace  of  1667,  12 — 
Efforts  of  Governor  Dongan  to  thwart  the  influence  of  the  French,  14 — 
Convention  of  the  Five  Nations  at  Albany  in  1684,  15 — Success  of 
Dongan's  efforts,  16 — Neglect  of  Indian  affairs  in  the  colony  of  New 
York  during  the  Leisleriau  administration,  17 — Count  Frontenac  vainly 
attempts  to  detach  the  Confederates  from  the  English  interest,  18 — 
Defeat  of  De  Calliers,  Governor  of  Montreal,  by  Major  Peter  Schuyler, 
19 — Colonel  Fletcher  succeeds  Ingoldsby  as  governor.  Iugoldsby  holds 
a  council  with  the  Five  Nations  at  Albany,  in  1692,  20 — Governor  Fletcher 
takes  Major  Schuyler  into  his  councils,  20 — Count  Frontenac  captures 
two  of  the  Mohawk  castles,  21 — Schuyler  takes  the  field  in  pursuit.  The 
purpose  of  the  Oneidas  to  make  peace  with  the  French  frustrated  by 
Governor  Fletcher,  who  calls  a  council  of  the  Confederacy  in  July,  1693, 
22 — Count  Frontenac  makes  another  effort  to  subjugate  the  Five  Nations, 
23 — The  Earl  of  Bellamont  succeeds  Governor  Fletcher,  24 — Colonel 
Schuyler  visits  England  in  1710  with  five  Iroquois  chiefs,  26 — Senecas 
prevented  from  turning  their  arms  against  the  English  by  the  peace  of 
Utrecht  in  1713,  27 — The  Confederates  meditate  hostilities  against  the 
Catawbas  and  Cherokees.  Numerical  strength  of  the  Tuscaroras,  28 — 
They  are  taken  into  the  Iroquois  Confederacy,  which  is  henceforth  known 
as  the  Six  Nations,  29 — General  Hunter  goes  back  to  England,  leaving 
Schuyler  at  the  head  of  the  colonial  administration.  The  latter  holds  a 
treaty  with  the  Six  Nations,  29 — Failure  to  expel  the  Jesuit  emissary, 
Joncaire,  from  the  Senecas,  30 — William  Burnet  takes  the  reins  of  govern- 
ment in  1720.  Endeavors  to  break  up  the  Indian  trade  between  Albany 
and  Montreal,  30 — Passage  of  an  act  for  that  purpose,  31 — Trading  post 
established  at  Oswego  in  1722.  Beneficial  effects  of  Burnet's  policy,  31 
— The  establishment  of  an  English  post  at  Oswego,  a  source  of  great  dis- 
pleasure to  the  French.  Mr.  Burnet  meets  the  Confederates  at  Albany 
in  1727,  32 — Mr.  Montgomery  succeeds  Mr.  Burnet  in  the  government, 
33 — Revival  of  the  trade  between  Albany  and  Montreal,  84 — Death  of 
Montgomery.  Rip  Van  Dam  succeeds  him  for  a  short  period,  34 — Stormy 
administration  of  Governor  Cosby,  35 — The  Six  Nations  again  resume 
hostilities  against  the  southern  Indians.  The  latter  are  defeated  with 
the  loss  of  twelve  hundred  braves,  35 — George  Clarke,  after  a  brief 
struggle  with  Rip  Van  Dam,  is  commissioned  lieutenant  governor,  36^- 
Recommends  to  the  assembly  various  important  measures,  87 — The  elec- 
tion between  Adolphe  Pbilipse  and  Gerrit  Van  Horn  contested. 
Eloquence  of  Mr.  Smith  on  the  occasion,  39 — Increased  political  excite- 
ment during  the  years  1738 — 1739.     Reasons  for  it,  41 — Demand  for  a  per- 


VI  CONTENTS. 

manent  supply  bill.  Dissolution  of  the  assembly.  Temper  of  the  new 
onej  43 — The  governor  yields  to  the  assembly,  44 — Mr.  Clarke  complains 
bitterly  of  the  continued  encroachments  on  the  crown  by  the  people,  45 — ■ 
The  assembly  decline  making  an  appropriation  for  rebuilding  the  chapel 
among  the  Mohawks,  47 — War  declared  against  Spain,  47 — Grand  council 
of  the  Confederacy  held  at  Albany  by  the  lieutenant  governor  in  1741. 
Satisfactory  result,  51 — The  famous  negro  plot.  Incidents  connected 
with  it,  52. 

CHAPTER  II. 
1742—1744. 
Prominence  of  Sir  William  Johnson  in  the  colonial  annals  of  the  United 
States.  His  life  and  character  hitherto  but  imperfectly  understood,  56 — 
Family  and  descent.  His  uncle  Sir  Peter  Warren,  57 — Marriage  of  Sir 
Peter  Warren.  Birth  of  Sir  William  Johnson,  59 — Arrival  in  America, 
60 — Takes  charge  of  his  uncle's  estate  in  the  Mohawk  valley,  and  keeps 
a  country  store.  Means  of  both  uncle  and  nephew,  at  this  time,  small? 
60 — Receives  advice  from  his  uncle,  61 — His  style  of  living.  Description 
of  his  person.  His  success  in  winning  the  confidence  and  affection  of 
the  Mohawks,  64 — Proposes  to  erect  a  saw  mill.  His  education,  65 — 
Difficulty  in  fixing  the  exact  date  of  his  marriage.  Character  of  his  wife, 
Catharine  Weisenberg,  66 — the  Six  Nations  in  1742,  send  a  large  delega- 
tion to  Philadelphia.  Its  object,  66 — Proceedings  of  the  council,  68 — 
Tact  of  Lieutenant  Governor  Thomas,  69 — Interesting  historical  incident 
during  the  sitting  of  the  council,  71 — Complaint  made  by  the  Indians 
against  the  governor  and  people  of  Maryland.  Misunderstood  on  the 
part  of  Virginia,  73 — A  party  of  Indians  invade  the  county  of  Augusta, 
and  kill  several  Virginians.  Correspondence  between  Lieutenant 
Governor  Gooch  and  Lieutenant  Governor  Clarke  in  relation  to  it,  73 — 
Jacobus  Bleecker  sent  to  Onondaga  by  the  Indian  commissioners,  74 — 
Another  embassy  sent  to  Onondaga.  Result  of  these  missions,  76 — 
Arrival  of  Admiral  George  Clinton  as  the  successor  of  Lieutenant 
Governor  Clarke,  77 — Opening  speech  of  the  new  governor  probably 
moulded  by  Chief  Justice  De  Lancey.  Tone  of  the  speech,  79 — Sketch 
of  Chief  Justice  De  Lancey,  59 — De  Lancey,  in  behalf  of  the  assembly, 
draws  up  an  humble  address,  80 — The  governor  signs  all  the  bills  pre- 
sented to  him,  81 — Removal  of  Mr.  Johnson  from  the  south  to  the  north 
side  of  the  Mohawk.  Opens  a  correspondence  on  his  own  account  with 
the  opulent  house  of  Sir  William  Baker  &  Co.,  London.  Grows  in  the 
public  estimation,  81 — Lays  the  foundation  of  his  future  prosperity  on  the 
basis  of  honorable  dealing,  82 — The  government  of  New  York  authorized 
to  issue  letters  of  marque  against  Spain,  82 — Activity  of  Captain  Warren 
at  sea.  Captures  a  privateer  and  is  promoted,  86 — Clinton  communicates 
to  the  assembly  advices  of  the  intended  invasion  of  England  by  "a  Popish 
Pretender,"  87 — Holds  a  conference  with  the  Six  Nations  at  Albany,  88. 
— Expresses  apprehensions  for  the  post  at  Oswego,  89 — Lays  before  his 
council  a  communication  from  the  commandant  at  Oswego,  in  relation  to 
the  designs  of  the  French  against  that  post,  90 — Grand  Indian  council  at 
Lancaster  in  1744.     Its  proceedings  in  detail,  91 — 109. 

CHAPTER  III. 
1744—1745. 
Repose  of  the  colonies  under  the  administration  of  Sir  Robert  Walpole, 
broken  by  the  declaration  of  war  against  France.  Attempts  of  the 
French  upon  Acadia  and  Placentia,  110 — Declaration  of  hostilities 
announced  to  the  general  assembly  by  Clinton.  Strong  measures  urged 
for  the  protection  of  the  colony  and  city  of  New  York,  111.  The  build- 
ing of  a  strong  fort  in  the  vicinity  of  Crown  Point  recommended,  112 — 
Cowardly  retreat  of  the  English  traders  from  Oswego.     The  house  pledge 


CONTENTS.  Vll 

the  ways  and  means  for  putting  the  colony  in  a  posture  of  defence,  113 — 
The  Caughnawagas  take  up  the  hatchet  against  the  English,  114 — Special 
allowances  voted  for  the  defence  of  Albany  and  Schenectady,  115 — The 
French  again  active  in  their  endeavors  to  win  the  Six  Nations  from  the 
English,  116 — Mr.  Bleecker  is  despatched  into  the  Seneca  country. 
Returns  and  reports  favorably.  Another  report  from  a  French  deserter, 
117 — Arrest  and  discharge  of  David  Leisberger  and  Christian  Frederick 
Post.  Governor  Shirley  proposes  the  capture  of  Louisburg,  118 — 
Description  of  the  harbor  and  defences  of  Louisburg,  119. — Shirley  com- 
municates his  plan  to  the  ministry,  120 — Circular  letters  sent  to  the 
several  colonial  governors,  122 — Lukewarm  reception  of  the  scheme  by 
New  York.  Its  cause,  122 — Conduct  of  the  assembly,  and  its  dissolution 
.by  the  governor,  122 — 128 — Preparations  of  Shirley  for  the  capture  of 
Cape  Breton,  129 — The  command  of  the  land  forces  given  to  Colonel 
William  Pepperell,  130 — Circumstances  which  favored  the  undertaking, 
132 — Unfitness  of  Shirley  to  direct  the  conduct  of  the  expedition,  133 — 
Commodore  Warren  assumes  command  of  the  naval  forces,  136 — Progress 
of  the  seige,  138 — Success  of  Warren  in  cruizing  off  the  harbor,  142 — 
Surrender  of  the  city,  14(5 — The  Mermaid  despatched  to  England  with 
the  tidings.  Effect  of  the  conquest  in  Europe  and  America,  148 — Honor- 
able rewards  to  the  master  spirits  of  the  expedition,  149 — Unwillingness 
of  the  parent  government  to  reimburse  the  colonies  for  their  expenses, 
150 — Efforts  to  detract  from  the  just  fame  of  the  Provincials  defeated, 
151 — Discussion  respecting  the  relative  merits  of  Pepperell  and  Warren, 
156. 

CHAPTER   IV. 

1745—1746. 
David  Jones  of  Queens  county,  elected  speaker  of  the  new  assembly,  157 — 
Clinton  urges  upon  the  assembly  the  importance  of  reinforcing  the 
forces  of  Pepperell  and  Warren.  Doth  branches  of  the  assembly  respond 
cordially.  Indian  relations  of  the  colony  again  critical,  158 — Dissatis- 
faction among  the  Six  Nations.  Examination  of  John  Henry  Lydius, 
159 — Animosity  between  the  Mohawks  and  the  people  of  Albany. 
Conrad  Weiser  sent  on  a  friendly  tour  among  the  Six  Nations,  160 — 
Reception  of  Weiser.  Accusations  against  the  Albanians  by  the  Con- 
federates, 161 — The  commissioners  of  Indian  affairs  announce  the 
approach  of  scalping  parties  of  Canadian  Indians.  Barbarities  of  these 
Indians  on  the  frontier  of  New  Hampshire,  162 — Attention  of  the  assem- 
bly called  to  these  outrages.  A  general  council  with  the  Indians  recom- 
mended, 163 — Proceedings  of  the  council.  Speech  of  Ilendrik,  164 — 
Suspicions  of  the  Massachusetts  commissioners,  170 — Clinton  communi- 
cates the  result  of  the  council  to  the  assembly  in  a  special  message,  172 
— Burning  by  the  French  and  Indians  of  the  settlement  at  Saratoga,  173 
— Destruction  of  the  village  of  Hoosick,  174 — Governor  Clinton  reproves 
the  assembly  for  its  indifference,  175 — Communication  from  Colonel 
Philip  Schuyler  laid  before  the  privy  council.  Dissatisfaction  at  the 
removal  of  the  local  militia  from  the  city,  176 — Prospect  of  a  gloomy 
winter.  Exciting  rumors,  177 — Clinton  asks  for  an  appropriation  to 
build  a  stone  fort  at  the  great  carrying  place  between  Hudson  River  and 
Lake  Champlain,  178 — Doubtful  position  assumed  by  the  Confederacy,  179. 
The  importance  of  an  alliance  with  New  England  for  mutual  protection 
appreciated.  Commissioners  appointed  for  that  purpose,  180 — The  ques- 
tion of  parliamentary  law  and  prerogative  before  the  council  and  assem- 
bly, 181 — The  assembly  driven  from  the  city  by  the  small  pox,  182 — Dis- 
cussion of  the  revenue  bill  by  the  council  and  assembly,  183 — The  victory 
with  the  representatives  of  the  people,  185 — Resolution  adopted  directing 
the  erection  of  six  strong  block-houses.  Appropriations  for  other  import- 
ant objects,  185 — Clinton  again  asks  for  reinforcements   for  Pepperell 


Vlll  CONTENTS. 

and  Warren,  and  is  refused.     Reluctance  of  the   assembly  to  cooperate 
with  the  New  England  colonies  not  easily  explained,  186. 

CHAPTER  V. 

1746. 
Commencement  of  the  brilliant  public  career  of  Sir  William  Johnson. 
He  erects  a  valuable  flouring  mill.  Builds  an  elegant  stone  mansion, 
and  calls  it  Mount  Johnson.  Becomes  known  to  Governor  Clinton, 
probably  through  the  influence  of  Chief  Justice  Do  Lancey,  187 — His 
commercial  affairs  widely  extended.  Is  engaged  in  shipping  furs  to 
London.  Is  commissioned  a  justice  of  the  peace  for  Albany  county. 
Begins  to  participate  largely  in  the  political  concerns  of  the  colony,  as 
shown  by  the  return  of  Mr.  Holland  to  the  assembly  from  Schenectady, 
188 — The  exact  date  of  his  wife's  decease  not  known.  Birth  of  a  sou — 
John  Johnson,  and  of  two  daughters — Mary  and  Nancy.  Is  rapidly 
gaining  an  ascendency  over  the  Iroquois  Confederacy.  Manuscript  letter 
from  James  Wilson  to  Johnson,  189 — Comprehensive  views  of  Shirley, 
190^Coumrunicates  them  to  the  government  of  New  York,  191 — The 
duke  of  Newcastle's  letter  laid  before  the  council,  192 — Joyful  reception 
of  these  communications  by  the  legislature  and  people,  193 — Inaction 
of  the  parent  government,  196 — Expedition  against  Quebec  abandoned, 
198 — Activity  of  the  French,  199 — Alarm  of  the  North  American  seaports 
on  the  approach  of  D'Anville's  fleet,  200 — Quari-el  of  Chief  Justice  Be 
Lancey  with  Governor  Clinton.  Causes  which  led  to  it,  2ul — Governer 
Clinton  arrives  in  Albany  to  meet  the  Six  Nations.  Finds  very  few 
Indians  in  attendance,  202 — Rumors  of  a  French  expedition  against 
Schenectady  communicated  to  Clinton  by  Johnson.  204 — Growing  dis- 
affection of  the  Six  Nations,  205 — The  Jesuits  succeed  in  gaining  over 
some  of  the  chiefs,  206 — Mr.  Clinton  avails  himself,  in  the  Indian 
department,  of  the  services  of  Mr.  Johnson.  Qualifications  of  the  latter 
for  this  branch  of  the  public  service,  207 — Mr.  Johnson  exerts  himself 
successfully  in  winning  back  the  friendship  of  the  Confederates.  Pre- 
vails upon  them  to  attend  the  council,  208 — Is  adopted  by  the  Mohawks, 
and  invested  with  the  rank  of  a  war  chief,  209 — Receives  from  the 
Mohawks  an  Indian  name.  Enters  Albany  at  the  head  of  a  party  of 
Mohawks,  dressed  and  painted  as  a  warrior,  210 — Dr.  Colden  opens  the 
council  with  a  speech,  211 — Reply  of  the  Indians,  213 — An  alliance 
defensive  and  offensive  formed  with  the  Iroquois  Confederacy,  216 — 
Astonishing  ignorance  of  Mr.  Clinton  in  relation  to  affairs  in  New  Eng- 
land, 217 — Efforts  of  the  Canadian  governor  to  neutralize  Mr.  Clinton's 
proceedings,  218 — The  Caughnawagas,  instigated  by  the  French,  vainly 
attempt  to  dissuade  the  Six  Nations  from  their  recent  alliance,  219 — 
Impossibility  of  the  Iroquois  Confederacy,  from  their  geographical 
position,  remaining  neutral,  219. 

CHAPTER  VI. 

1746. 
The  Canadian  Indians  desolate  the  New  England  frontier,  221 — Number 
Four.  Upper  Ashuelet  and  Bernardstown  attacked,  222 — Command  of 
the  posts  west  of  Hoosick  mountain  confided  to  Captain  Ephraim  Williams, 
224 — Vaudreuil  invests  Fort  Massachusetts,  225 — Bravery  of  the  garri- 
son, 226 — Its  capture,  227 — Remarkable  conduct  of  the  Indians,  228 — 
Active  operations  against  Crown  Point  abandoned,  229 — Mr.  Johnson 
directed  to  organize  war  parties  of  Indians  to  harrass  the  French 
settlements,  230.— The  preparations  of  the  French  for  the  reconquest 
of  Cape  Breton  prove  abortive,  232 — Disasters  to  D'Anville's  fleet, 
233 — Suicide  of  D'Estournelle,  234 — Governor  Clinton  returns  to  New 
York.  Dissatisfaction  with  the  Indian  commissioners.  The  manage- 
ment of    the    Indian  department    devolves   chiefly  upon  Mr.    Johnson, 

/ 


CONTENTS.  IX 

235 — Trouble  between  Governor  Clinton  and  his  assembly,  23G — Henry 
Holland,  by  order  of  Colonel  Roberts,  breaks  open  the  public  store  bouses 
in  Albany,  238 — The  assembly  urged  to  their  opposition  of  the  governor 
by  De  Lancey,  240 — Holland  declared  guilty  of  a  high  misdemeanor,  241 
— Review  of  Holland's  conduct,  242 — The  Sckuylers  take  offence  at  the 
growing  influence  of  Johnson,  243 — Johnson  becomes  contractor  for 
supplying  the  Oswego  garrison.  First  step  taken  toward  the  establish- 
ment of  Kings,  now  Columbia  college,  245 — Mr.  De  Lancey  makes 
another  demonstration  against  his  rival,  Dr.  Colden,  246 — Johnson  pays 
a  visit  to  Governor  Clinton  in  the  autumn.  Receives  from  the  governor 
the  rank  of  colonel.  Is  recommended  by  Clinton,  through  the  duke  of 
Newcastle,  to  his  majesty's  favor,  247 — The  operations  of  the  New  Eng- 
landers  in  Nova  Scotia  end  disastrously.  Inactivity  of  the  enemy  during 
the  winter,  248. 

CHAPTER  VII. 

1747. 
Shirley  conceives  the  project  of  a  descent  upon  Crown  Point,  249 — New 
York  deems  the  plan  impracticable,  250 — Active  correspondence  between 
Clinton  and  Johnson  in  relation  to  the  Indian  service,  251 — Exertions  of 
Colonel  Johnson,  254: — Letter  from  Colonel  Johnson  to  Governor  Clinton, 
255 — Enumeration  of  scalps  taken  from  the  enemy,  257 — Attack  on 
Charlestown,  N.  H.,  258 — Raising  of  the  seige,  260— Rebuilding  of  Fort 
Massachusetts,  261 — Clinton  again  involved  in  controversies  with  his 
legislature,  262 — Letter  from  Clinton  to  Johnson  regarding  the  disloyalty 
of  some  Albanians,  266 — Mutiny  of  the  levies  at  Saratoga,  267 — Report 
of  the  committee,  charged  with  the  preparation  of  an  address  to  the 
governor,  273 — The  attention  of  the  assembly  called  to  the  disaffection 
among  the  northern  levies.  Reply  of  the  house,  274 — Movements  of 
Sir  Peter  Warren.  Appointed  second  in  command  under  M.  Anson,  275 
— Is  promoted  to  the  rank  of  rear  admiral  of  the  white,  277 — Meets 
with  great  success  in  his  cruizes,  and  is  returned  to  parliament,  278. 

CHAPTER  VIII. 

1747. 
Military  affairs  in  the  north  in  a  deplorable  condition.  Desertion  of  the 
troops.  Murders  by  the  enemy,  279 — Captain  Chew  defeated  near 
Lake  Champlain  by  M.  Lacose,  and  taken  prisoner.  Schuyler  marches 
to  repel  the  invaders,  280 — The  Six  Nations  complain  to  Schuyler.  Clin- 
ton concerts  measures  with  Schuyler  for  relieving  Oswego.  Governor 
Shirley  meditates  an  attack  upon  Crown  Point,  281 — Clinton  lays  Shir- 
ley's plan  before  the  assembly,  282 — Is  received  coldly,  283 — Activity  of 
the  enemy.  Saratoga  surrendered.  Johnson  writes  to  Clinton,  284 — He 
demands  a  guard  to  escort  the  stores  to  Oswego,  286 — The  assembly 
refuse  to  allow  them,  287 — Letter  from  Clinton  to  Johnson,  288 — High 
estimation  in  which  Johnson  was  held  by  Clinton.  Cause  of  Johnson's 
jealousy  toward  Lydius,  291 — Johnson  returns  from  an  expedition  against 
Crown  Point.  The  fort  at  Saratoga  in  danger  of  being  evacuated  through 
want  of  provisions,  292 — More  trouble  between  Clinton  and  the  assem- 
bly, 293 — Colonel  Roberts  directed  to  send  three  companies  to  Saratoga, 
294 — Colonel  Johnson  visits  New  York  to  consult  with  the  governor 
respecting  tho  condition  of  the  colony.  His  advice,  295 — Clinton  and 
Shirley  still  cling  to  the  expedition  against  Crown  Point.  The  former 
again  appeals  to  his  legislature  and  dwells  upon  the  views  of  Johnson, 
296 — The  assembly  respond  coldly,  299 — The  assembly  in  secret  sitting 
attack  Colonel  Johnson.  Reasons  for  this  attack,  301 — Clinton  charges 
the  house  with  falsehood,  and  adverts  to  the  services  of  Johnson  in 
terms  of  high  praise,  305 — The  hopes  of  the  colonies  fall  to  the  ground. 
The  duke  of  Newcastle  orders  Clinton   and   Shirley  to   desist  from  the 


X  CONTENTS. 

intended  expedition,  310 — Trouble  with  James  Parker,  printer  to  the 
assembly,  311 — -Clinton  proposes  to  detail  large  bodies  of  the  militia  for 
the  defence  of  the  frontiers,  312 — The  assembly  charge  the  governor 
with  inconsistency,  314 — Clinton  again  involved  in  controversies  with 
the  assembly  on  the  question  of  prerogative,  315 — He  dissolves  the 
assembly  much  to  its  surprise,  318 — Review  of  the  controversy,  320 — 
Difficulty  between  Commodore  Knowles  and  the  citizens  of  Boston  on 
the  subject  of  press  gangs.  Shirley's  house  mobbed,  222 — Order 
restored,  225 — Governor  Clinton  presses  the  command  of  the  northern 
frontier  upon  Colonel  Johnson.  The  latter  is  entrusted  with  the  duty  of 
effecting  a  complete  reorganization  of  the  militia.  All  confidence 
reposed  in  him,  326. 

CHAPTER  IX. 
1748. 
Prominence  of  Johnson  in  the  affairs  of  the  colony — Accepts  the  command 
of  the  troops  for  the  defence  of  the  frontiers.  Devotes  himself  to  the 
management  of  the  Indian  department.  Becomes  favorably  known  to 
the  colonial  and  British  government.  Employs  as  his  housekeeper,  Mol- 
ly Brant,  327. — Beneficial  effects  of  this  Indian  alliance,  328. — New 
assembly  chosen.  The  governor's  opening  speech  conciliatory.  Arent 
Stevens  succeeds  Mr.  Bleeker,  deceased,  as  government  interpreter  to 
the  Indians,  329. — The  dissolution  of  the  old  assembly  produces  a  better 
state  of  feeling  in  tbe  new  one.  The  answer  of  the  council  to  the 
governor's  speech  moved  by  De  Lancey,  330 — Resolutions  passed  for 
repairing  the  fortifications  along  the  frontiers.  Robert  Charles  appointed 
agent  for  the  colony,  to  reside  in  London  with  a  salary  of  £200  per  an- 
num, 331 — The  action  of  the  assembly  attributed  to  a  desire  to  supplant 
Clinton  in  the  gubernatorial  chair  by  Sir  Peter  Warren.  Warren  not  a 
party  to  this  intrigue,  332 — Discontent  of  the  Six  Nations.  Alarming 
intelligence  from  Colonel  Johnson  and  Lieutenant  Lindesay  of  Oswego, 
332 — Colonel  Johnson  directed  by  Clinton  to  make  a  tour  in  the  Indian 
country,  333 — Objects  to  be  attained  by  this  tour,  334 — Johnson  sum- 
mons a  council  of  the  Confederacy  at  Onondaga.  Arrives  at  the  Onon- 
daga castle,  and  meets  with  a  flattering  reception,  335 — Proceedings  of 
Johnson  at  the  council,  336 — Communicates  to  the  Indians,  the  intention 
of  Clinton  to  meet  them  at  Albany,  339 — He  recommends  to  the  governor 
strong  legislative  enactments  to  prevent  the  sale  of  rum  to  the  Indians, 
341 — A  grand  council  of  the  Six  Nations  at  Albany,  long  in  contempla- 
tion by  Clinton  and  Shirley,  341 — Clinton's  efforts  to  second  Shirley's 
plan  for  an  expedition  against  Crown  Point  fruitless,  342 — Complains  to 
the  lords  of  trade  of  the  continued  encroachments  of  the  assembly  upon 
the  crown.  Lays  before  the  assembly  Colonel  Johnson's  report  of  the 
council  at  Onondaga,  343 — Urges  an  immediate  exchange  of  prisoners. 
The  assembly  recommends  the  sending  of  a  flag  of  truce  to  Canada,  344 — 
Colonel  Beekman  prefers  a  charge  against  the  governor,  344 — Important 
tidings  received  from  Europe,  345 — Letter  from  Clinton  to  Johnson, 
announcing  that  preliminaries  of  peace  had  been  signed  at  Aix  la  Cha- 
pelle,  346 — Clinton,  accompanied  by  Dr.  Colden,  arrives  in  Albany  to 
attend  the  grand  council.  Unprecedented  number  of  Indians  present, 
348 — Proceedings  of  the  council  not  important,  349 — Massacre  at.  Sche- 
nectady. No  accurate  account  of  it  in  existence,  350 — General  result  of 
the  council  satisfactory,  353 — Heart  rending  tragedy  in  the  town  of 
Hoosick,  354 — The  borders  of  Massachusetts  and  New  Hampshire  again 
suffer  from  the  enemy,  361 — Narrow  escape  of  Captain  Melvin  and  his 
party,  362 — The  enemy  generally  successful  in  these  border  skirmishes, 
363 — Captain  Eph.  Williams  narrowly  escapes  capture,  364 — Serious 
trouble  among  the  troops  stationed  at  Albany  and  along  the  frontiers. 
The  commissioners  refuse  to  execute   the  orders  of  the  governor,  365 — 


CONTENTS.  XI 

Complains  of  this  in  a  letter  to  Colonel  Johnson,  determines  to  reassert 
the  prerogative  in  the  strongest  terms,  by  bringing  the  supply-bill  to  a 
direct  issue,  366 — The  assembly  refuse  to  grant  it,  368 — Various  succes- 
ses of  the  English  fleet  in  the  West  Indies,  369 — Definite  treaty  of  peace 
signed  at  Aix  la  Chapelle.  End  of  the  old  French  war,  370 — The  Con- 
federates demand  the  release  of  their  braves  in  Canada.  Negotiations 
between  Clinton  and  La  Galissoniere  in  relation  to  the  exchange,  371 — 
Embassy  of  M.  Francis  Marie.  Suspicions  of  Johnson,  372 — Mutual 
dissatisfaction  of  all  parties,  373. 

CHAPTER  X. 
1749-1750. 

Johnson  is  entrusted  with  the  transfer  of  the  prisoners.  Success  of  his  nego- 
tiations, 374 — Apprehensions  of  the  Mohawks  artfully  increased  by  La 
Galissoniere.  Johnson  writes  Clinton  upon  the  subject.  Reply  of  the 
governor,  375 — Johnson  summons  both  of  the  Mohawk  castles  to  a  con- 
ference. Happy  results,  376 — Trouble  between  the  Indians  and  a  few 
Albany  traders.  Proclamation  of  the  governor  in  regard  to  it,  377 — 
General  exchange  of  prisoners  effected,  377 — Remarkable  energy  of 
Colonel  Johnson,  378 — He  thwarts  all  the  plans  of  Galissoniere  and  his 
priests,  379 — Encroachments  of  the  French  in  Nova  Scotia,  379 — 
Colonel  Johnson  is  appointed  by  the  crown  to  a  seat  in  his  majesty's 
council  for  the  province  of  New  York,  380 — This  appointment,  though 
unsought,  by  no  means  a  surprise,  381 — Wranglings  between  the 
governor  and  his  assembly  continue.  The  post  at  Oswego  in  danger  of 
being  given  up.  The  assembly  dissolved  and  writs  issued  for  a  new  one, 
382 — The  assembly  allow  Colonel  Johnson  part  of  the  debt  due  him  for 
provisioning  the  Oswego  garrison,  383 — Contemptible  conduct  of  the 
assembly  toward  Johnson.  Falsely  charges  him  with  peculation,  384 — 
Resignation  of  Johnson  as  superintendent  of  Indian  affairs.  The  step 
not  entirely  unexpected  by  Clinton,  385. 

CHAPTER  XI. 

1750-1751. 
The  peace  of  Aix  la  Chapelle  received  by  the  colonies  with  strong  feelings 
of  dissatisfaction,  386 — Proves  to  be  a  peace  only  in  name.  Boundaries 
between  the  English  and  French  possessions  left  undetermined,  387 — The 
French  occupy  the  valley  of  the  Ohio.  La  Presentation  founded  by  Rev. 
Abbe  Piquet,  388 — Sagacity  of  Picquet.  La  Presentation  destroyed  by 
Gage  in  1757,  389 — Jean  Cceur,  a  French  emissary,  stirs  up  the  Six  Na- 
tions against  the  Catawbas.  Johnson  advises  Clinton  of  the  fact,  390 — 
Clinton  acting  upon  the  suggestions  of  Johnson,  summons  the  Confed- 
eracy to  meet  the  Catawbas  in  Albany.  Determines  to  have  the  ends  of 
the  council  take  a  wider  scope,  and  asks  the  different  colonial  governors 
to  send  delegates,  391 — Johnson  informs  the  Mohawks  of  the  governor's 
intentions.  The  invitation  of  Thomas  Lee  of  Virginia  declined  by  the  Six 
Nations,  392 — Commissioners  present  at  the  council,  393 — The  Six 
Nations  are  grieved  at  the  resignation  of  Colonel  Johnson.  They 
despatch  a  fleet  runner  for  him,  394 — Johnson  arrives  in  Albany  to 
attend  the  council.  Is  requested  by  Clinton  to  continue  in  the  charge  of 
the  Indian  department,  but  peremptorialy  declines,  395 — Is  willing  to 
render  every  assistance  in  an  individual  capacity,  396 — Johnson  takes 
the  oaths  of  office  as  a  councillor.  Clinton  opens  the  council,  396 — 
Reply  of  the  Confederates.  Address  of  Mr.  Bull,  commissioner  from 
South  Carolinia,  397 — Speech  of  the  Catawba  king  to  the  Six  Nations, 
398 — Treaty  between  the  Six  Nations  and  the  Catawbas  concluded,  400 — 
Clinton  lays  before  his  council  letters  from  Colonel  Johnson  and  Captain 
Stoddard  of  a  startling  nature.  Designs  of  the  French  upon  Oswego, 
402 — Col  Johnson  sent  down  to  the  house  by  the  council  to  demand  cer- 


Xll  CONTENTS. 

tain  vouchers.  They  are  refused,  403 — Churlish  treatment  of  the 
governor  by  the  house,  404 — Master  stroke  of  policy  on  the  part  of  Mr. 
Clinton,  405 — The  French  plan  farther  encroachments  upon  the  territory 
of  New  York.  Meditate  the  establishment  of  a  missionary  and  military 
post  at  Oswego.  The  design  frustrated  by  Johnson.  The  council  grant 
him  Onondaga  lake  with  the  land  around  it  for  two  miles  in  width. 
Otherwise  than  this  his  debt  from  the  colony  never  paid,  406. 

CHAPTER  XII. 

1752-1753. 

Dawning  of  a  new  era  in  American  literature,  407 — Johnson  indulges  in 
literary  pursuits,  and  sends  to  London  for  books,  408 — Takes  special 
interest  in  the  intellectual  culture  of  the  Mohawk  children.  Becomes  a 
prominent  patron  of  the  mission  school  at  Stockbridge,  409 — Places 
Joseph  Brant  under  the  charge  of  Dr.  Eleazer  Wheelock  at  Lebanon  Ct,., 
410 — Closing  years  of  Sir  Peter  Warren.  His  death  announced  to  John- 
son in  a  letter  from  his  brother  Warren  Johnson,  411 — William  Smith 
appointed  to  the  seat  at  the  council  board,  left  vacant  by  Sir  Peter  War- 
ran's  decease,  412 — Principal  features  of  the  new  assembly,  413 — Clin- 
ton consults  Colonel  Johnson  in  the  appointment  of  a  new  board  of 
Indian  commissioners,  414 — Fees  of  Chief  Justice  De  Lancey,  415 — He 
ceases  his  opposition  to  the  governor,  416 — Difficulty  in  collecting  the 
Oswego  duties  John  De  Peyster  and  Peter  Schuyler  Jr.  charged  with 
peculation.  Johnson  requested  to  sift  the  matter,  416 — Makes  his 
report,  417 — Hostile  Indians  still  hover  along  the  northern  frontier,  A 
party  of  St.  Francis  Indians  surprise  and  capture  John  Stark,  after- 
ward the  hero  of  Bennington,  418 — Clinton's  opening  message  to  the 
assembly,  418 — French  again  active,  419 — Johnson  apprised  of  the  move- 
ments of  the  enemy.  Alarm  of  the  Six  Nations,  420 — Indian  affairs 
sadly  neglected  since  the  resignation  of  Johnson.  King  Hendrik  visits 
Clinton  in  New  York.  Complains  bitterly  of  the  frauds  to  which  the 
Indians  were  subjected  in  the  sale  of  their  lands,  421 — Reply  of  the 
governor.  Disgust  of  Hendrik,  422 — The  general  assembly  request 
Clinton  to  send  Johnson  to  Onondaga  to  pacify  the  Six  Nations,  424 — 
Johnson  summons  the  Mohawks  to  Mount  Johnson,  425 — Sets  out  on  his 
mission,  426 — Conference  at  Onondaga  attended  with  happy  results,  427 — 
Arrival  of  Sir  Danvers  Osborne  as  the  successor  of  Governor  Clinton, 
428 — Strange  conduct  of  the  new  governor.  He  commits  suicide.  Sus- 
picions of  foul  play  clearly  without  foundation,  429 — Mr.  De  Lancey 
takes  the  reins  of  government,  430 — His  opening  message  to  the  assem- 
bly, 431 — Change  in  the  administration  productive  of  one  good  result, 
433 — Death  of  Governor  Clinton.     His  character,  434. 

CHAPTER  XIII. 
1753-1754. 
Period  reached  when  the  active  public  life  of  Colonel  Johnson  begins, 
436 — Claims  of  England  and  France  to  the  Ohio  valley,  436 — Formation 
of  the  Ohio  company,  437 — Christopher  Gist  sent  to  explore  the  country. 
Commissioners  treat  at  Lcgstown  with  the  Mingoes  and  Shawanese,  438 — 
The  French  call  to  their  aid  the  spiritual  arm,  439 — La  Jonquere  seizes 
the  English  traders.  George  Washington  sent  by  Governor  Dinwiddie 
to  remonstrate  with  the  French  commander,  440 — His  reception  by  St. 
Pierre,  441 — Mr.  De  Lancey  informs  the  assembly  of  the  encroachments 
of  the  French,  441 — Niggardly  spirit  of  the  assembly,  442 — The  lieuten- 
ant governor  answers  the  quibbles  of  the  assembly  and  prorogues  that 
body,  444 — Virginia  raises  a  regiment  of  six  hundred  men,  445 — Wash- 
ington with  his  troops  reaches  Will's  creek,  446 — The  fort  at  the  Monon- 
gahela  captured  by  Contrecceur,  who  names  it  Du  Quesne,  447 — Washing- 
ton is  put  on  his  guard   by  the  half    king,  447 — Defeats   De  Jummville. 


CONTENTS.  Xlil 

Builds  a  furl  at  the  Great  Meadows  'which  he  called  Fort  Necessity,  448 — 
Surrenders  Fort  Necessity  to  De  Villiors.  The  French  loll  iu  undisputed 
possession  of  the  basin  of  the  Ohio,  449. 

CHAPTER  XIV. 
1754. 

Congress  of  commissioners  assemble  at  Albany.  Its  object,  450 — Colonies 
represented.  Backwardness  of  the  Six  Nations  in  arriving.  Jealousy 
of  the  Indian  commissioners  toward  Johnson,  451 — True  cause  of  the 
reluctance  of  the  Indians  to  attend  the  council.  Lieutenant  Governor 
De  Lancey  called  to  the  chair,  452 — Opening  speech  of  De  Lancey  to  the 
Indians,  453 — King  Hendrik  replies,  454 — The  venerable  Mohawk  brave 
utters  a  scathing  phillipic,  456 — Speech  of  his  bvother  Abraham. 
Desires  that  Colonel  Johnson  may  be  reinstated.  Biting  irony  of  his 
speech,  456 — Johnson  prepares  an  answer,  which  is  delivered  by  the 
lieutenant  governor,  457 — Johnson,  at  the  request  of  the  commissioners, 
submits  a  paper  on  the  management  of  the  Six  Nations,  458 — Measures 
urged  by  him,  459 — Origin  of  the  Wyoming  lands,  4G0 — The  Con- 
necticut delegates  purchase  the  lands  of  the  Six  Nations.  Extent  of  the 
land  thus  purchased,  464 — Plan  of  a  general  federal  union  taken  into 
consideration,  465 — Plan  not  adopted.  Why  it  was  not,  466 — Savage 
hordes  let  loose  upon  the  whole  frontier.  The  storm  bursts  with  all  its 
fury,  467 — Dutch  Hoosic  burned  by  Schaghticoke  Indians.  Vigorous 
measures  of  Shirley,  468 — Captain  Ephraim  Williams  given  a  command 
with  the  rank  of  major.  De  Lancey  vies  with  Shirley  in  efficient  pre- 
parations for  defence,  469 — The  French  meditate  a  descent  upon  the 
lower  settlements.  Johnson  places  the  militia  in  a  condition  for  efficient 
service.  Difficulties  between  the  militia  and  regulars  at  Schenectady, 
470 — De  Lancey  announces  to  the  general  assembly  the  defeat  of  Wash- 
ington at  the  Great  Meadows,  471  —  Want  of  harmony  in  the  assembly, 
472 — Origin  of  the  famous  college,  controversy,  472 — The  church  party 
writhe  under  the  lash  of  William  Livingstone,  474 — Charter  of  the  col- 
lege granted  by  Lieutenant  Governor  De  Lancey.  He  and  Johnson 
become  warm  friends,  475 — Rev.  Mr.  Barclay  resigns  his  post  among 
the  Mohawks  for  the  rectorate  of  Trinity  Church,  476 — A  fort  on  the 
Hudson  river  above  Albany  ordered  to  be  built,  477 — End  of  the  college 
controversy,  478. 

CHAPTER  XV. 
1755. 

Vascillating  course  of  the  Newcastle  ministry.  Edward  Braddock  sent  to 
America  with  two  regiments,  479 — Dieskau  and  Vaudreuil  arrive  at 
Quebec.  Surrender  of  two  French  men-of-war.  General  assembly  again 
convened,  480 — Johnson  arrives  in  New  York  to  take  his  seat  at  the 
council  board.  Delivers  to  the  lieutenant  governor  a  letter  from  the 
Mohawks,  481 — Shirley  again  agitates  the  question  of  a  descent  on 
Crown  Point.  Thomas  Pownal  sent  as  commissioner  to  New  York. 
Meets  with  a  cold  reception,  482 — Braddock  calls  a  conference  at  Alex- 
andria. Four  separate  expeditions  against  the  French  planned,  483 — 
Johnson  receives  the  command  of  one  of  them,  with  the  rank  of  major 
general.  Form  of  his  commission.  Receives  also  the  appointment  of 
Indian  affairs,  484 — Summons  the  Confederacy  to  a  grand  council  at 
Mount  Johnson.  Informs  the  Indians  of  the  arrival  of  General  Brad- 
dock, 485 — The  Confederacy,  through  Hendrik,  express  great  satisfac- 
tion at  his  being"  again  raised  up,"  486 — Johnson,  by  a  stirring  speech, 
persuades  them  to  take  up  arms  in  favor  of  the  English,  488 — Shirley 
hastens  to  Boston  to  prepare  for  the  expedition  under  his  command, 
489 — The  assembly  of  New  York,  urged  by  De  Lancey,  enter  with  alac- 
rity into  the  work  of  raising  troops  for  Major  General   Johnson,   491) — 


XIV  CONTENTS. 

Conquest  of  Acadia,  491 — Character  of  the  Acadians,  492 — Brutality  of 
General  Monckton,  498 — Cruel  fate  of  the  Acadians,  494 — Expedition  of 
Braddock,  494 — His  defeat,  496 — The  half  king  at  the  solicitation  of 
Johnson,  offers  his  services  to  Braddock,  and  is  refused,  497 — The  French 
prevail  on  several  Indian  tribes  to  take  up  the  hatchet.  Susquehannas 
and  Catawbas  remain  faithful,  498 — Shirley's  expedition  against  Niagara, 
498 — It  proves  abortive,  490 — All  eyes  turned  to  the  expedition  under 
Major  General  Johnson,  500. 

CHAPTER  XVI. 
1755. 
The  forces  destined  against  Crown  Point  assemble  at  Albany.  General 
Lyman  is  sent  forward  with  the  greater  part  of  the  troops.  Johnsonl 
delayed  by  the  leaky  condition  of  the  bateaux,  501 — Difficulty  between 
himself  and  Shirley.  Shirley's  conduct,  502 — He  is  piqued  at  the  seem- 
ing neglect  shown  to  his  position,  504 — Johnson  heals  the  dissensions 
sown  among  the  Indians  by  Lydius.  Arrives  at  the  great  carrying 
place,  accompanied  by  Hendrik  and  Brant,  505 — The  New  England 
troops  burn  to  retrieve  the  disgrace  of  Braddock's  defeat.  General 
Lyman  builds  Fort  Edward,  506 — Johnson  reaches  Lake  St.  Sacrament,  and 
names  it  Lake  George.  Is  joined  by  Lyman,  507 — His  dissappointment 
at  finding  so  few  of  the  Six  Nations  at  the  lake.  Hendrik  attributes  it  to 
Shirley,  508 — Johnson's  plan  of  operations,  510 — Movements  of  Dieskau. 
A  courier  sent  out  by  Johnson  killed  by  the  enemy,  611 — A  council  of 
war  called.  Hendrik's  advice,  512 — Dieskau  arranges  an  ambuscade. 
Deaths  of  Hendrik  and  Williams,  513 — The  French  fail  to  take  advant- 
age of  their  first  success.  The  attack  on  Johnson's  camp  begun  by  the 
French  regulars,  514 — Dieskau  attempts  to  turn  Johnson's  right.  He  fails. 
Desperate  fighting  by  the  Provincials,  515 — Utter  route  of  the  French. 
Dieskau,  seriously  wounded,  is  taken  prisoner.  Last  words  of  Gardeur  St. 
Pierre,  616 — General  Johnson  receives  a  severe  wound  and  is  forced  to  re- 
tire to  his  tent.  Captain  Maginnis  defeats  the  remnants  of  the  French  army 
at  Rocky  Brook,  517 — Losses  of  the  English  and  French.  Singular  histori- 
cal fact,  not  generally  known,  517 — Johnson  sends  circular  letters  to 
the  colonial  governors.  His  treatment  of  Shirley  vindicated.  The 
Indians  return  home,  518 — Building  of  Fort  William  Henry.  Want  of 
alacrity  shown  by  the  New  England  troops,  519 — Efforts  of  Johnson  to 
allay  all  jealousy,  520 — Favorable  opinion  of  Johnson  by  a  New  England 
officer.  Scouting  parties,  under  Rogers,  annoy  the  enemy  in  the 
vicinity  of  Crown  Point.  Johnson  disbands  his  army  and  returns  to 
Mount  Johnson,  521 — He  is  severely  censured.  Review  of  his  conduct, 
521 — Manuscript  letters  now  first  brought  to  light,  afford  a  complete 
vindication  of  his  conduct,  523 — He  is  created  a  Baronet  of  Great  Brit- 
ain, and  receives  the  thanks  of  parliament.  Is  greeted  with  an  illumi- 
nation and  a  triumphal  procession  by  the  citizens  of  New  York,  525 — 
Summing  up  of  the  results  of  the  battle  of  Lake  George,  526. 

CHAPTER  XVII. 
1755-1756. 
Sir  Charles  Hardy  arrives  in  New  York  as  the  successor  of  Sir  Danvers 
Osborne.  His  first  message  to  the  assembly,  530 — Good  feeling  between 
the  new  governor  and  his  legislature,  581 — Hardy  appoints  a  day 
of  thanksgiving,  and  sets  out  for  Albany  to  hasten  the  departure  of  the 
levies  582 — Accomplishes  little  by  the  visit.  Announces  to  the  assembly 
Johnson's  victory  over  Dieskau.  Demands  the  settlement  of  a  perma- 
nent revenue  on  a  solid  foundation.  The  assembly  allude  especially  to 
the  advantage  gained  by  Johnson,  533 — Governor  Hardy's  demand  for  a 
permanent   support   met   with   quiet   indifference,  534— The  St.  Francis 


CONTENTS.  XV 

Indians  resume  their  incursions  in  the  New  Hampshire  border,  535 — 
Shirley,  now  commander-in-chief  of  the  forces  in  America,  arrives  in 
New  York  and  summons  a  grand  congress  of  colonial  governors,  536 — 
Lays  before  it  his  plan  for  the  next  year's  campaign,  which  meets  with 
the  general  approval  of  the  congress,  537 — The  assembly  of  New  York 
look  coldly  upon  the  proposed  expedition  against  Ticonderoga,  and 
Shirley,  in  disgust,  returns  to  Boston,  538 — Tart  correspondence  between 
Johnson  and  Shirley,  538 — The  latter  yields  the  point,  539 — Johnson  is 
appointed  by  the  crown,  "sole  superintendent  of  the  affairs  of  the 

SIX  NATIONS  AND  OTHER  NORTHERN  INDIANS, "540. 


APPENDIX. 

I.  Letter  from  Colonel  William  L.  Stone  to  the  chiefs  and  warriors  of  the 

Senecas,  acknowledging  his  adoption  as  a  chief  of  that  nation,  541. 

II.  "A  memorandum  for  trifles  sent  to  London  for  through  Captain  Knox," 

by  Sir  William  Johnson,  546. 

III.  Sketch  of  Colonel  Ephraim  Williams,  547. 

IV.  Sketch  of  King  Hendrick,  549. 

V.  Sketch  of  Fort  William  Henry  (engraving)  553. 

VI.  Manuscript  letter ;  Sir  William  Baker  to  Sir  William  Johnson,  554. 


THE  LIFE  AND  TIMES 


SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,  BART. 


CHAPTER  I. 
1534  —  1741. 


The  annalist  is  the  narrator  of  events  in  exact  order  of  chap. 
time :  the  biographer  is  a  relator,  not  of  the  history  of  ^— v— * 
nations,  but  of  the  actions  of  particular  persons :  the 
office  of  the  historian  is  to  digest  and  record  facts  and 
events  in  a  narrative  style,  but  of  yet  greater  security  and 
dignity.  Such,  at  least,  should  be  the  office  of  the  writer 
who  aspires  to  the  more  elevated  walks  of  history.  It  is 
not  intended  that  the  present  work  shall  be  confined  within 
the  limits  of  either  of  the  preceding  definitions ;  but  rather 
that  it  shall  to  an  humble  extent,  combine  the  characteristics 
of  all.  Were  it  strictly  biographical,  it  would  be  in  order 
to  introduce  the  principal  personage  concerning  whom  it 
is  written,  upon  the  stage  of  action  in  his  own  proper  per- 
son, at  the  outset.  But,  as  the  life  of  Sir  William  John- 
son was,  for  a  long  series  of  years,  identified  with  the 
Indian  history  of  the  colony  of  New  York,  it  seems  to  be 
necessary,  in  order  to  a  proper  understanding  of  the  rela- 
tions subsisting  between  the  English  and  the  Six  Nations, 
at  the  time  when  he  was  appointed  to  the  head  of  the 
Indian  Department, —  and  in  order,  also,  that  the  difficul- 
ties he  was  required  to  surmount  may  be  adequately  ap- 
preciated,—  to  give  a  summary  review  of  the  intricate 


10  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  and  curiously  interblended  history  of  the  Iroquois  Con- 

*— v— '  federacy,  as  connected  with  the  English  and  French  colo- 

'  nies,  from  the  time  of  the  Dutch  conquest,  and  the  cession 

of  the  colony  to  the  Duke  of  York,  down  to  the  year  in 

which  Johnson,  in  his  youth,  established  his  residence  in 

the  valley  of  the  Mohawk. 

It  is  not  to  be  denied  that  the  French,  from  the  day  of 
their  arrival  in  the  St.  Lawrence  to  the  fall  of  their  power 
in  America,  were  generally  more  successful  in  winning 
the  confidence  and  affections  of  the  Indians  with  whom 
they  came  into  immediate  contact,  than  any  other  Euro- 
pean people,  not  even  excepting  the  Dutch.  Their  traders 
threaded  the  forests,  and  navigated  the  lakes  and  rivers, 
from  the  Gulf  of  the  St.  Lawrence  to  the  Delta  of  the  Mis- 
sissippi,—  planting  posts  among  them  at  pleasure,  adopt- 
ing their  habits,  and  intermarrying  with  their  women. 
Their  missionaries  went  forth  unarmed  and  alone,  every- 
where exhibiting  the  most  beautiful  examples  of  patience, 
meekness,  and  self-denial ;  and,  with  rare  exceptions,  gain- 
ing the  confidence  of  even  the  most  savage  hordes  whom 
they  encountered.  Still  there  was  one  exception  to  this 
general  success ;  and  the  time  was  long  after  their  estab- 
lishment in  Canada,  before  they  succeeded  in  making 
any  favorable  impressions  upon  the  Iroquois.  This  delay 
was  probably  owing  to  the  circumstance  that  when  the 
French  first  ascended  the  St.  Lawrence,  they  found  the 
Confederates,  upon  whom  they  bestowed  that  name,1  at 
war  with  the  Hurons  and  Adirondacks,  or  Algonguins, — 
with  which  latter  nations  their  first  amicable  relations  were 
established,  and  as  the  allies  of  whom,  under  Champlain, 

1  "  Iroquois,"  I  need  scarcely  remark,  was  not  an  Indian,  but  a  French 
name.  The  Five  Nations  called  themselves  "Aquanu  Schioni,"  or  "  The 
United  People."  Iroquois  is  a  generic  term,  bestowed  by  the  French  on 
that  type  of  languages  of  which  the  Five  Nations  —  the  Tuscaroras,  and, 
originally,  the  Wyandots,  spoke  dialects.  The  term,  however,  was  early 
restricted  to  the  two  former ;  and  the  latter,  for  distinction's  sake,  and 
owing  to  striking  events  in  their  history,  were  called  Hurons. 


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LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  11 

they  engaged  in  the  contest.     The  consequence  of  that  chap. 
alliance  was  a  bitter  hostility  on  the  part  of  the  Iroquois  wv_ , 
toward  the  French,  which  continued  until  after  the  con- 1634# 
quest  of  New  York  from  the  Dutch,  in  1664.1     During  1664. 
that  long  period  even  the  artful  Jesuits  failed  to  make 
any  considerable  impression  upon  them, —  especially  upon 
the  Mohawks,  at  whose  hands  three  of  their  number  suf- 
fered martyrdom  with  the  spirit  of  a  primitive  apostle.2 
More  than  once,  likewise,  before  and  after  that  date,  the 
Iroquois  swept  over  the  French  settlements  with  the  torch 
and  tomahawk,  tracking  their  paths  in  blood,  and  carry- 
ing consternation  even  to  the  gates  of  Quebec.     But  the 
French  and  Adirondacks  having  successively  invaded  the 
country  of  the  Mohawks  with  a  strong  force,  in  the  spring 
of  1666,  a  peace  was  concluded  in  the  following  year, 
through  the  influence,  in  chief,  of  the  English  colonial 
government,  acting  in  obedience  to  instructions  from  the 
Duke  of  York, —  afterward  King  James  II., —  to  whom 
the  colony  had  been  granted  by  his  brother,  the  second 
Charles,  of  profligate  memory. 

The  first  three  English  governors  of  the  colony,  or 
rather  lieutenants  of  the  Duke  of  York,  viz :  Colonels 
Mcholls,  Lovelace,  and  Major,  afterward  Sir  Edmund 
Andross,  bestowed  but  inconsiderable  attention  upon  the 
Five  Nations,3  not  seeming  to  appreciate  either  the  impor- 

1  Dr.  Colden's  Memoir  on  the  Fur  Trade. 

2  Father  Joques,  Brebceuf,  and  Lallemand.  Vide  Bancroft's  United 
States,  vol.  iii,  pp.  135-142. 

3  Nicholls,  the  first  English  governor,  was  the  commander  of  the  expedi- 
tion to  whom  Governor  Stuyvesant  capitulated,  August  twenty-seventh, 
1664.  Francis  Lovelace,  a  colonel,  succeeded  Nicholls  in  1667.  He  was  a 
man  of  moderation,  under  whom  the  people  lived  very  happily  until  the  re- 
surrender  of  the  colony  to  the  Dutch,  which  ended  his  administration  in  1673. 
But  on  the  peace  between  the  English  and  the  states  general,  in  February, 
1674,  the  colony  reverted  back  to  England;  and  Major  Andross  (afterward 
Sir  Edmund),  was  appointed  to  the  government ;  the  province  being  resigned 


12  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  tance  of  their  trade,  or  of  their  friendship.1  Still,  the 
«— v— '  mortal  hatred  they  had  borne  the  French,  inclined  them 
166  rather  to  prefer  the  friendship  of  the  English.  But  the 
Duke  of  York,  in  his  affection  for  the  Church  of  Rome, 
shutting  his  eyes  to  what  unquestionably  should  have  been 
the  true  policy  of  the  English  toward  the  Indians,  had 
conceived  the  idea  of  handing  the  Confederates  over  to 
the  Holy  See,  as  converts  to  its  forms,  if  not  to  its  faith. 
1667.  Hence  the  efforts  to  mediate  the  peace  between  the  Iro- 
quois and  the  French,  of  1667  ;  which  were  followed  by 
invitations  to  the  Jesuit  missionaries,  from  the  English, 
to  settle  among  the  Confederates,  and  by  persuasions  to 
the  latter  to  receive  them.  The  Mohawks  were  either  too 
wise,  or  too  bitter  in  spirit  toward  the  French,  to  listen  to 
the  proposal.  But  not  so  with  the  other  nations  of  the 
alliance ;  and  the  Oneidas,  Onondagas,  Cayugas  and  Sene- 
cas  opened  their  arms  to  the  insidious  strangers  in  holy 
garb,  causing  infinite  mischief  in  after  years,  as  will  appear 
in  the  sequel; 

This  peace  of  1667  continued  several  years,  during 
which  time  both  the  English  and  French  prosecuted  their 
trade  with  the  Indians  to  a  great  and  profitable  extent. 
The  French,  especially,  evinced  a  degree  of  energy,  and  a 
spirit  of  enterprise,  almost  unexampled  in  the  history  of 
colonization  —  planting  their  trading  posts,  under  the  lead 
of  the  adventurous  La  Salle,  at  all  the  commanding  points 
of  the  great  lakes,  and  across  the  country  of  the  Illinois 
to  the  Mississippi ;  and  stealing  the  hearts  of  the  Indians 
through  the  arts  of  the  crafty  ministers  of  the  order  of 
Jesus,  whom  they  sprinkled  among  the  principal  nations 

to  him  in  October  following.  Andross  continued  in  the  government  of  New 
York  until  1682.  In  1686  he  was  appointed  by  King  James  to  the  govern- 
ment of  New  England,  where  he  displayed  a  tyrannical  disposition.  In 
1688  New  York  was  annexed  to  the  jurisdiction  of  New  England. 

1  Smith's  History  of  New  York. 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  13 

over  the  whole  country  of  the  exploration.  By  these  bold  chap. 
advances  deep  into  the  interior,  and  the  insidious  wiles  *— y — - 
which  everywhere  characterized  their  movements,  the 
French  acquired  a  decided  advantage  over  the  English 
colonists  in  the  fur  trade,  which  it  was  evidently  their 
design  exclusively  to  engross ;  while  the  direct  tendency 
of  the  Duke  of  York's  policy,  originating  in  blindness 
and  bigotry,  was  to  produce  exactly  the  same  result. 

The  error  was  soon  perceived  by  Colonel  Dongan,  who  1683. 
arrived  in  the  colony  as  the  successor  of  Major  An  dross, 
in  1683.  Though  his  religious  faith  was  in  harmony  with 
that  of  his  royal  master,  he  nevertheless  possessed  an  en- 
larged understanding,  with  a  disposition,  as  a  civil  governor, 
to  look  more  closely  after  the  interests  of  the  crown  than 
those  of  the  crosier.  He  had  not  been  long  at  the  head  of 
the  colony,  before  he  perceived  the  mistakes  of  his  prede- 
cessors in  the  conduct  of  its  Indian  relations.  In  fighting 
men,  the  Five  Nations  at  that  time  numbered  ten  times 
more  than  they  did  half  a  century  afterward  ;l  and  the 
governor  saw  at  once  their  importance  as  a  wall  of  sepa- 
ration between  the  English  Colonies  and  the  French.  He 
saw,  also,  the  importance  of  their  trade,  which  the  Jesuit 
priests  were  largely  influential  in  diverting  to  Canada. 
He  saw  that  M.  de  Courcelles  had  erected  a  fort  at  Cada- 
raqui,  within  the  territory  of  the  Iroquois,  on  the  north 
side  of  Lake  Ontario,2  and  that  La  Salle  had  built  a  bark 
of  ten  tons  upon  that  lake,  and  another  of  fifty  upon  Lake 
Erie ;  planting,  also,  a  stockade  at  Niagara.  He  saw  that 
the  French  were  intercepting  the  trade  of  the  English 
upon  the  lakes,  and  that  the   priests  had  succeeded  in 


1  Memoir  of  Dr.  Colden,  concerning  the  fur  trade,  presented  to  Gov.  Bur- 
nett, in  1724. 

2  The  site  of  Kingston,  Canada  West. 


14  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  seducing  numbers  of  the  Mohawks  and  river  Indians1  away 
»«■. v— '  from  their  own  country,  and  planting  their  colonies  upon 
"  the  banks  of  the  St.  Lawrence,  in  the  neighborhood  of 
Montreal,  through  whose  agency  an  illicit  trade  had  been 
established  with  the  city  of  Albany,  by  reason  of  which 
Montreal,  instead  of  Albany,  was  becoming  the  principal 
depot  of  the  Indian  trade.2  He  saw,  in  a  word,  that  the  sub- 
tle followers  of  Ignatius  Loyola  were  rapidly  alienating 
the  affections  of  the  Confederates  from  the  English  and 
transferring  them  to  the  French,3  and  that  unless  the 
policy  respecting  them  was  changed,  the  influence  of  the 
English  would,  at  no  distant  day,  be  at  an  end  with  them. 
Nor  had  the  priests  confined  their  efforts  simply  to  moral 
suasion ;  but  as  though  aiming  to  separate  the  Confede- 
rates from  the  English  at  a  blow,  and  by  a  gulf  so  wide 
and  deep  as  to  be  impassable,  they  had  instigated  them  to 
commit  positive  hostilities  upon  the  frontier  settlements 
of  Maryland  and  Virginia. 

Having  made  himself  thouroughly  acquainted  with  these 
matters,  Colonel  Dongan  lost  no  time  in  seeking  to  coun- 
tervail the  influence  of  the  French,  and  to  bring  back  the 
Indians  to  a  cordial  understanding  with  his  own  people. 
His  instructions  from  home  were  to  encourage  the  Jesuit 
missionaries.  These  he  not  only  disregarded,  but  he 
ordered  the  missionaries  away,  and  forbade  the  Five 
Nations  to  entertain  them.4  It  is  true  this  order  was 
never  enforced  to  the  letter,  —  the   priests,  —  some   of 

1  The  Mahickanders,  or  Stockbridge  Indians.  This  tribe  was  composed 
of  Mohegans,  Narragansetts,  the  Farmington  Indians,  and  refugees  from 
what  were  called  the  Seven  Nations  of  Connecticut  Indians,  who,  fleeing 
before  the  march  of  civilization  in  New  England,  united  with  the  Schaghti- 
koke  Indians,  and  afterward  settled  together,  as  one  people,  at  Stock  - 
bridge,  and  subsequently  were  generally  known  as  the  "  River  Indians." 

2  Dr.  Colden's  memorial. 

3  Idem. 

*  Smith's  History  of  New  York. 


LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  15 

them  at  least, — maintaining  a  foothold  at  several  points  chap. 
of  the  Confederacy, — dubious,  at  times,  certainly, — but*— ^— > 
yet  maintaining  it  for  three-quarters  of  a  century  after- 
ward.    Still,  the  measures  of  conciliation  adopted  by  Col- 
onel Dongan,  made  a  strong  and  favorable  impression  upon 
the  Indians. 

Availing  himself  of  the  difficulty  between  the  Confed- 1684. 
erates  and  Virginia,  consequent  upon  the  outrages  just 
adverted  to  as  having  been  instigated  by  the  priests,  Col- 
onel Dongan  was  instrumental  in  procuring  a  convention 
of  the  Five  Nations,  at  Albany,  in  1684,  to  meet  Lord 
Howard  of  Effingham,  Governor  of  Virginia,  at  which  he 
(Dongan),  was  likewise  present.  This  meeting,  or  council, 
was  attended  by  the  happiest  results.  The  difficulties 
with  Virginia  were  adjusted  and  a  covenant  made  with 
Lord  Howard  for  preventing  further  depredations. 1  But 
what  was  of  yet  greater  importance,  Colonel  Dongan 
succeeded  in  completely  gaining  the  affections  of  the 
Indians,  who  conceived  for  him  the  warmest  esteem. 
They  even  asked  that  the  arms  of  the  Duke  of  York 
might  be  put  upon  their  castles ; — a  request  which  it  need 
not  be  said  was  most  readily  complied  with,  since  should 
it  afterwards  become  necessary,  the  governor  might  find 
it  convenient  to  construe  it  into  an  act  of  at  least  partial 
submission  to  English  authority,  although  it  has  been 
asserted  that  the  Indians  themselves  looked  upon  the 
ducal  insignia  as  a  sort  of  charm,  that  might  protect 
them  against  the  French.2 

There  was  likewise  another  fortunate  concurrence  of 
events  just  at  that  time  which  revived  all  the  ancient  ani- 
mosity between  the  Iroquois  and  the  French.  "While  the 
conferences  between  Lord  Howard  and  the  Indians  were 
yet  in  progress,  a  message  was   received   from  M.  De  la 

1  Smith's  History  of  New  York. 

2  Colden's  History  of  the  Five  Nations. 


16  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap.  Barre,  the  Governor  of  Canada,  complaining  of  the  con- 
^-v— '  duct  of  the  Senecas  in  prosecuting  hostilities  against  the 
'  Miamies  and  other  western  nations  in  alliance  with  the 
French,  and  thus  interrupting  their  trade.  Colonel  Don- 
gan  communicated  the  message  to  the  Iroquois  chiefs,  who 
retorted  by  charging  the  French  with  supplying  their 
enemies  with  all  their  munitions  of  war.  "  Onontio1 
calls  us  children,"  said  they,  "and  at  the  same  time  sends 
powder  to  our  enemies  to  kill  us !"  This  collision  resulted 
in  open  war  between  the  Iroquois  and  the  French, — the 
latter  sending  to  France  for  powerful  reinforcements, 
with  the  design  of  an  entire  subjugation  of  the  former 
in  the  ensuing  year.  Meantime  the  French  Catholics 
continued  to  procure  letters  from  the  Duke  of  York  to 
his  lieutenant,  commanding  him  to  lay  no  obstacles  in  the 
way  of  the  invaders.  But  these  commands  were  again 
disregarded.  Dongan  apprised  the  Iroquois  of  the  designs 
of  the  French,  not  only  to  march  against  them  with  a 
strong  army,  but  simultaneously  to  bring  down  upon  them 
the  western  Indians  in  their  interest.  The  English  gov- 
ernor also  promised  to  assist  them  if  necessary. 
1G85.  Thus  by  the  wisdom,  and  the  strong  sense  of  justice,  of 
Colonel  Dongan,  was  the  chain  of  friendship  between 
the  English  and  the  Five  Nations,  brightened,  and  the 
most  amicable  relations  re-established.  Yet  for  the  course 
he  had  taken,  he  fell  under  the  displeasure  of  his  bigoted 
master  on  his  accession  to  the  throne,  in  1685.2 

It  is  not,  of  course,  within  the  purpose  of  this  retrospect, 
to  trace  the  progress  of  the  long  and  cruel  wars  that  suc- 
ceeded  the   negotiations   between   Colonel  Dongan   and 

1  The  name  by  which  the  Iroquois  were  wont  to  speak  of  the  French 
governors  of  Canada. 

2  Colonel  Dongan  continued  in  the  government  of  the  colony  from  1683 
to  1688.  He  was  highly  respected  as  governor,  being  upright,  discreet  and 
of  accomplished  manners.  He  gave  the  colony  its  first  legislative  assem- 
bly, and  after  his  return  home  became  Earl  of  Limerick. 


LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  17 

the  Confederates.     Briefly  it  may  be  said,  in  respect  to  chap. 
the  expedition  of  M.  de  la  Barrc,  that  it  failed  by  reason  wv_ 
of  sickness  in  his  army  at  Cadaraqui,  before  crossing  the  1G    ■ 
lake.      He  was  succeeded  in  the  government  of  Canada 
by   the    Marquis  Denonville,    who    invaded    the    Seneca 
country  in  1687  with  a  powerful  force ;  gaining,  however,  1687. 
such  a  victory  over  the  Indians,  in  the  Genesee  Valley,  as 
led  to  an  inglorious  retreat.     This  invasion  was  speedily 
recompensed  by  the  Confederates,  who  descended  upon  the 
French  settlements  of  the  St.  Lawrence  like  a  tempest  and 
struck  a  blow  of  terrible  vengeance  upon  Montreal  itself. 

New  York,  was  at  this  time,  torn  by  the  intestine  commo- 
tions incident  to  the  revolution  which  drove  the  Stuarts 
from  the  English  throne,  and  ended  the  power  of  the 
Catholics  in  the  colony.  It  was  a  consequence  of  these 
divisions,  that  the  English  could  afford  the  Indians  no 
assistance  in  their  invasion  of  Canada,  at  that  time,  else 
that  country  would  then  doubtless  have  been  wrested  from 
the  crown  of  France.  But  the  achievements  of  the 
Indians  were,  nevertheless,  most  important  for  the  colony 
of  New  York,  the  subjugation  of  which  was  at  that  pre- 
cise conjuncture  meditated  by  France,  and  a  combined 
expedition  by  land  and  sea,  was  undertaken  for  that  pur- 
pose,—  Admiral  Cafthiere  commanding  the  ships  which 
sailed  from  Rochefort  for  New  York,  and  the  Count  de 
Frontenac,  who  had  succeeded  Denonville,  being  the 
general  of  the  land  forces.  On  his  arrival  at  Quebec, 
however,  the  count  beheld  his  province  reduced  to  a  field 
of  devastation,  and  he  was  therefore  constrained  to  aban- 
don the  enterprise. 

During  the  civil  feuds  of  the  revolution,  and  those  that 
followed  under  the  contested  Leislerian  administration, 
the  Indian  affairs  of  New  York  were  neglected.  Mean- 
time the  New  England  colonies  becoming  involved  in  a 
war  with  the  Eastern  Indians,  sent  a  deputation  to  Albany 


18  LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM    JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  to  invite  the  Five  Nations  to  take  up  the  hatchet  in  their 

wv — i  cause ;  but  the  invitation  was  declined. 

1687.  rpjie  revoiution  which  brought  William  and  Mary  upon 
the  throne  having  been  followed  by  war  between  England 
and  France,  the  colonies  were  of  course  involved  in  the 
conflict ;  whereupon  Count  Frontenac  revived  the  policy 
of  attempting  to  detach  the  Confederates  from  the  English 
interest.  To  this  end,  through  the  efforts  of  a  Jesuit 
residing  among  the  Oneidas,  all  the  Confederates  save  tho 
Mohawks  were  induced  to  meet  the  emissaries  of  the 
French  in  council  at  Onondaga.  At  the  same  time,  with 
a  view  of  making  an  unfavorable  impression  upon  the 
Mohawks,  as  to  the  power  of  the  English  to  defend  their 
own  settlements  against  the  arms  of  the  French  king, 
a  secret  expedition  was  set  on  foot  against  Schenectady, 
which  resulted  in  a  frightful  massacre  of  the  slumbering 
inhabitants  of  that  devoted  town,  on  the  night  of  the  eighth 

1690.  of  February,  1690.  But  the  Five  Nations  were  neither 
won  to  the  interests  of  the  French  by  the  persuasions  of 
the  agents  at  Onondaga,  nor  by  the  terrors  of  the  scene 
at  Schenectady.  The  veteran  chief,  Sadekanaghtie,  an 
Onondaga  orator  of  great  eminence  acted  the  skillful 
diplomatist  at  the  council,  while  the  Mohawks  deeply  sym- 
pathized with  their  suffering  neighbors  of  Schenectady, 
and  harrassed  the  invaders  to  good  purpose  on  their 
retreat, —  sending  their  war  parties  again  into  Canada, 
even  to  the  attack  once  more  of  the  island  of  Montreal. 

It  required,  however,  as  will  often  appear  in  the  present 
work,  the  most  unremitted  attention  of  the  government  to 
maintain  those  close  relations  of  amity  with  the  Five  Na- 
tions which  were  essential  to  the  true  interests  and  safety 
of  the  province.  Their  jealousies  were  far  more  easily 
awakened  than  allayed ;  and  unless  continually  caressed 
and  propitiated  by  frequent  largesses,  they  became  rest- 
less and  frowning.     Hence,  notwithstanding  the  alacrity 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  19 

with  which  the  Mohawks  had  sought  to  avenge  the  mur-  chap. 
ders  of  Schenectady,  in  February,  1690,  the  neglect  they  ^^^ 
experienced  during  the  agitations  attending  and  following 
the  foul  judicial  murder  of  Leisler  and  his  son-in-law,  not 
only  disaffected  them  towTard  the  English,  but  they  even 
went  so  far  as  to  send  an  embassy  of  peace  to  Count  Fron- 
tenac.     Meantime,  in  order  to  defeat  this  purpose,  Colo- 
nel Sloughter,  who  had  superseded  Leisler  in  the  govern- 
ment,1  succeeded   in    holding   a   council   with  the   four  1691. 
nations  of  the  Confederates,   exclusive  of  the  Mohawks, 
which  was  attended  by  happy  results, —  the  designs  of 
the  Mohawks,   moved,    probably,    by  a   sudden  impulse, 
being  frustrated,  and  they  themselves  renewing  their  cove- 
nant chain. 

In  order  to  maintain  the  advantages  secured  by  these 
negotiations,  and  keep  in  action  the  hostile  feelings  of  the 
Confederates  against  the  French,  Major  Peter  Schuyler, 
the  white  man  of  all  others  in  whom  the  Five  Nations 
reposed  the  greatest  confidence,  planned  and  executed  his 
bold  irruption  through  Lake  Champlain  into  Canada 
during  the  same  season, —  defeating,  with  his  Indians,  De 
Callieres,  governor  of  Montreal,   and  keeping  the  whole 

1  Colonel  Sloughter  was  commissioned  to  the  government  of  New  York 
in  January,  1689,  but  did  not  arrive  until  the  nineteenth  of  March,  1691. 
The  selection  of  Sloughter  was  not  fortunate.  According  to  Smith,  lie  was 
utterly  destitute  of  every  qualification  for  government;  licentious  in  his 
morals,  avaricious,  and  base.  Leisler,  who  had  administered  (he  govern- 
ment after  a  fashion,  since  the  departure  of  Dongan,  intoxicated  with 
power,  refused  to  surrender  the  government  to  Sloughter,  and  attempted 
to  defend  the  fort  in  which  he  had  taken  refuge  against  him.  Finding  it 
expedient,  however,  very  soon  to  abandon  the  fort,  he  was  arrested,  and, 
with  his  son-in-law  Milburne,  tried  and  executed  for  treason.  Still,  on 
the  whole,  the  conduct  of  Leisler  during  the  revolution  had  been  consi- 
dered patriotic,  and  his  sentence  was  deemed  very  unjust  and  cruel.  In- 
deed, his  enemies  could  not  prevail  upon  Sloughter  to  sign  the  warrant  for 
his  execution,  until,  for  that  purpose,  they  got  him  intoxicated.  It  was  a 
murdei-ous  affair.  Sloughter's  administration  was  short  and  turbulent. 
He  died  July  twenty-third,  1691. 


20  LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap.  Canadian  country  in  constant  alarm  by  frequent  incur- 
*— v— '  sions  of  war-parties  against  the  French  settlements.  Ae- 
'  tive  hostilities  were  likewise  prosecuted  by  the  Confede- 
rates against  the  French  traders,  and  their  posts,  upon 
Lake  Ontario.  The  celebrated  Onondaga  chief,  Black- 
Kettle,  one  of  the  bravest  and  most  remarkable  warriors 
of  his  race,  was  the  leader  in  that  quarter.  Being  taken 
in  the  same  year,  he  was  put  to  death  by  the  most  fright- 
ful torments. 

On  the  death  of  Sloughter,  Richard  Ingoldsby,  the  cap- 
tain of  an  independent  company,  was  made  president  of 
the  council,  to  the  exclusion  of  Joseph  Dudley,  who,  but 
for  his  absence  in  Boston,  would  have  had  the  right  to 
preside,  and  upon  whom  the  government  would  have , 
devolved.  But  although  Dudley  very  soon  returned  to 
New  York,  he  did  not  contest  the  authority  of  Ingoldsby, 
who  administered  the  government  until  the  arrival  of 
Colonel  Fletcher,  with  a  commission  as  governor,  in  Au- 
1692.  gust,  1692.  In  the  preceding  month  of  June,  Ingoldsby 
met  the  Five  Nations  in  council  at  Albany,  on  which  occa- 
sion they  declared  their  enmity  to  the  French  in  the 
strongest  possible  terms.  Their  expressions  of  friendship 
for  the  English  were  also  renewed.  "Brother  Corlaer," 
said  the  sachem,  "we  are  all  the  subjects  of  one  great 
king  and  queen ;  we  have  one  head,  one  heart,  one  inte- 
rest, and  are  all  engaged  in  the  same  war."  They  never- 
theless condemned  the  English  for  their  inactivity,  "  tell- 
ing them  that  the  destruction  of  Canada  would  not  make 
one  summer's  work,  against  their  united  strength,  if 
ingeniously  exerted . ' '  * 

In  conducting  the  Indian  aflairs  of  the  colony,  Colonel 
Fletcher  took  Major  Schuyler  into  his  councils,  and  was 
guided  by  his  opinions.2    Kb  man  understood  those  affairs 

1  Smith's  History  of  New  York. 

2  Fletcher  was  by  profession  a  soldier,  a  man  of  strong  passions,  and 
inconsiderable  talents  ;  very  active,  and  equally  avaricious.     His  adminis- 


%W%i    WWt$)$MTo 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  21 

better  than  lie  ;  and  his  influence  over  the  Indians  was  so  chap. 
'  _  i. 

grout,  that  whatever  Quider,1  as  they  called  him,  either-— y— » 
recommended  or  disapproved,  had  the  force  of  a  law.  This 
power  over  them  was  supported,  as  it  had  been  obtained, 
by  repeated  offices  of  kindness,  and  his  single  bravery  and 
activity  in  the  defence  of  his  country."  Through  the 
influence  of  Quider,  therefore,  Colonel  Fletcher  was 
placed  upon  the  best  footing  with  the  Indians,  by  whom 
was  conferred  upon  him  the  name  of  Cayenguinago,  or 
"  The  Great  Swift  Arrow,"  as  a  compliment  for  a  remark- 
ably rapid  journey  made  by  him  from  New  York  to 
Schenectady  on  a  sudden  emergency.3 

Despairing,  at  length,  of  accomplishing  a  peace  with  l693- 
the  Five  Nations,  Count  Frontenac  determined  to  strike 
a  blow  upon  the  Mohawks  in  their  own  country, —  which 
purpose  was  securely  executed  in  the  month  of  February, 
1693.  For  once  this  vigilant  race  of  warriors  were  taken 
by  surprise,  two  of  their  castles  being  entered  and  cap- 
tured without  much  resistance  —  the  warriors  of  both  hav- 
ing been  mostly  absent  at  Schenectady.  On  assailing 
the  third,  or  upper  castle,  however,  the  invaders  met  with 
a  different  reception.  The  warriors  within,  to  the  number 
of  forty,  were  engaged  in  a  war-dance,  preparatory  to 
some  military  expedition  upon  which  they  were  about 

tration  was  so  energetic  and  successful,  the  first  year,  that  he  received 
large  supplies,  and  a  vote  of  special  thanks  from  the  assembly.  He  was  a 
bigot,  however,  to  the  Episcopal  form  of  church  government,  and  labored 
hard  to  encourage  English  churches  and  schools,  and  was  shortly  involved 
in  a  violent  controversy  with  the  assembly,  who  inclined  rather  to  favor 
the  Dutch  churches.  He  was  also  unpopular  because  of  his  extravagant 
demands  for  money.  He  continued  in  the  administration  of  the  government 
until  the  year  1G95,  inclusive. 

1  Quider,   the  Iroquois  pronunciation  of   Peter.     Having  no  labials  in 
their  language,  they  could  not  say  Peter, 

2  Smith's  History  of  New   York. 

3  Colden's  Six  Nations. 


22  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  entering ;  and  though  inferior  in  force,  yet  they  yielded 
v-^— .  not  without  a  struggle,  nor  until  thirty  of  the  assailants 

1693.  ka(j  been  slain.  About  three  hundred  of  the  Mohawks 
were  taken  prisoners  in  this  invason,  in  respect  io  which 
the  people  of  Schenectady  have  been  charged  with  bad 
conduct.  They  neither  aided  their  neighbors,  nor  even 
apprised  them  of  the  approach  of  danger,  although  in- 
formed of  the  fact  in  due  season  themselves.  But  Quider, 
the  fast  friend  of  the  Indians,  took  the  field  at  the  head 
of  the  militia  of  Albany,  immediately  on  hearing  of  the 
invasion,  and  harassed  the  enemy  sharply  during  their 
retreat.  Indeed,  but  for  the  protection  of  a  snow-storm, 
and  the  accidental  resting  of  a  cake  of  ice  upon  the  river, 
forming  a  bridge  for  their  escape,  the  invaders  would  have 
been  cut  off. 

The  loss  of  the  Mohawks  by  this  incursion,  added  to 
dissatisfaction  arising  from  the  many  unfulfilled  promises 
made  to  them  by  the  English,  disheartened  them  so  much 
that,  in  the  spring  of  1693,  the  Oneidas  sued  the  French 
for  peace, — ;  a  purpose  which  was  frustrated  only  by  the 
promptness  of  Fletcher's  movements.  A  timely  supply 
of  presents  for  the  Indians,  received  from  England,  enabled 
him  to  convene  a  council  of  the  whole  Confederacy  at 
Albany,  in  July,  and  by  a  liberal  distribution  of  arms  and 
ammunition,  knives,  hatchets,  and  clothing,  they  were 
pacified,  and,  to  use  their  own  figure  of  speech,  made  "to 
roll  and  wallow  in  joy,  by  reason  of  the  great  favor  the 
king  and  queen  had  done  them."  Yet,  a  Jesuit  priest, 
resident  with  the  Oneidas,  named  Milet,  soon  afterward 
succeeded  in  persuading  all  the  nations,  excepting  the 
Mohawks,  to  open  their  ears  to  the  propositions  of  certain 
emissaries  dispatched  upon  the  insidious  errand  to 
Onondaga.  But  the  demands  of  the  French,  particularly 
for  permission  to  rebuild  the  fort  at  Cadaraqui,  were 
greater  than  the  Indians  were  willing  to  concede,   and 

1694.  the  war  was  renewed  in  1694,  during  which  year  Count 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  23 

Frontenac  sent  an  expedition  of  three  hundred  men  chap. 
against  such  of  the  Five  Nations  as  might  be  found  in^v — > 
the  region  of  the  Niagara  peninsula.  Only  a  small  num- 
ber of  Indians  were  met  with,  some  of  whom  were  killed, 
and  others  made  prisoners.  These  latter  were  taken  to 
Montreal  and  tortured  to  death  by  tire.  The  Five  Nations 
likewise,  renewed  their  incursions  into  Canada,  and  the 
fate  of  their  brethren  was  avenged  by  a  holocaust,  in 
which  ten  of  their  Indian  captives  were  burnt. 

In  the  year  1696,  the  Count  de  Frontenac  made  a  yet  1696. 
more  formidable  effort  for  the  subjugation  of  the  Five 
Nations.  To  this  end,  an  army,  consisting  of  two  battal- 
ions of  regular  troops,  four  battalions  of  militia,  together 
with  the  warriors  of  all  the  Indian  tribes,  under  his  in- 
fluence, was  assembled,  with  which  the  count  ascended 
the  St.  Lawrence  to  Cadaraqui,  and  crossing  thence  to 
Oswego,  made  a  descent  upon  the  Onondagas.  But  it 
was  a  bootless  expedition.  The  Indians,  apprised  that  the 
French  were  bringing  several  small  pieces  of  artillery 
against  them,  before  which  they  knew  they  could  not 
stand,  set  fire  to  their  principal  towns,  and  retired  with 
their  women  and  children,  and  their  old  men,  to  their 
wilderness  labyrinths.  One  only  of  their  nation  remained 
to  receive  the  invaders, —  an  old  man,  whose  head  was 
whitened  with  the  snows  of  a  hundred  winters.  He  re- 
fused to  leave  his  lodge,  and  was  put  to  death  by  torture, — 
dying  as  bravely  as  he  had  lived,  and  laughing  to  scorn 
the  efforts  by  his  tormentors  to  wring  a  groan  or  a  murmur 
of  complaint  from  his  bosom.  It  is  difficult  to  conceive 
how  the  officers  of  a  civilized  and  gallant  people,  like  the 
French,  could  have  xjermitted  such  a  murder.  One  would 
have  thought  that  in  admiration  of  his  fortitude,  his  pa- 
triotism, and  his  courage,  a  hundred  swords  would  have 
leaped  from  their  scabbards  for  the  defence  of  a  venerable 
brave  like  him.  But  it  was  not  thus ;  and  the  death  of 
the  old  sachem  was  the  only  exploit  which  crowned  the 


24  LIFE    OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  last  campaign  of  the  Count  de  Frontenac  against  the  in- 
* — v— '  domitable  Iroquois.  Not  a  single  Onondaga  captive  was 
•  °  '  made,  and  their  conquest  was  a  field  of  smouldering  ashes. 
Subsequently,  by  treachery,  thirty-five  Oneidas  were  taken 
prisoners  and  carried  into  Canada ;  but  on  the  retreat  of 
the  army,  the  Onondagas  fell  upon  its  rear  and  cut  off 
several  bateaux.  Nor  was  this  all,  the  warriors  of  the  Five 
Nations  renewed  their  incursions,  even  to  the  gates  of 
Montreal,  and  by  tomahawk  and  fire  caused  another  fam- 
ine in  Canada.  On  the  other  hand,  the  scalping  parties 
of  the  French  and  the  Indians  in  their  alliance,  hung  upon 
the  skirts  of  the  English  colonies,  infesting  even  the  pre- 
cincts of  Albany. 
1697.  The  peace  of  Ryswick,  in  1697,  put  an  end  to  these  bar- 
barities. The  Earl  of  Bellamont  had  by  that  time  suc- 
ceeded Colonel  Fletcher  in  the  government  of  New  York1 
and  some  difficulties  arose  between  his  lordship  and  the 
French  governor,  in  the  negotiations  that  ensued  for  a 
mutual  release  of  prisoners.  In  these  negotiations  the 
earl  claimed  the  Iroquois  as  the  subjects  of,  or  depend- 
ents upon,  the  crown  of  Great  Britain, —  a  claim  in  which 
Count  Frontenac  was  by  no  means  inclined  to  acquiesce. 
Pending  these  diplomatic  proceedings,  the  count  died, 
and  the  exchange  of  prisoners  was  effected  by  the  Indians 

1  Richard,  Earl  of  Bellamont,  was  appointed  governor  of  New  York, 
Massachusetts,  and  New  Hampshire,  in  May,  1795,  but  did  not  arrive  in 
New  York  until  May,  1G98.  He  was  appointed  by  King  William  with  a 
special  view  to  the  suppression  of  piracy  in  the  American  seas  —  New  York, 
at  that  time,  having  been  a  commercial  depot  of  the  pirates,  with  whom 
Fletcher,  and  other  officers  in  the  colony,  had  a  good  understanding.  Kidd 
was  fitted  out  with  a  ship  by  Bellamont,  Robert  Livingstone  and  others,  in- 
cluding several  English  noblemen.  Turning  pirate  himself,  Kidd  was  after- 
ward arrested  in  Boston  by  the  Earl,  and  sent  home  for  trial.  The  Earl 
was  a  nobleman  of  polite  manners,  a  great  favorite  of  King  William,  and 
very  popular  among  the  people  both  of  New  York  and  Boston.  He  had 
been  dissipated  in  his  youth,  but  afterward  became  penitent  and  devout. 
He  died  in  New  York,  in  March,  1701. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  25 

themselves,  without  the  earl's  consent,   leaving  the  (lis- chap. 
puted  point  unsettled.     Still,  the  Five  Nations  declared  ^ — - 
their   continued   attachment   to    Corlaer,    and   refused   a 
residence  at  Onondaga  to  the  Jesuit  missionary  Bruyas, 
who  had  acted  as  an  ambassador  in  the  negotiation. 

Nevertheless  the  French  were  far  from  relinquishing  1700 
their  designs  of  supplanting  the  English  in  the  affections 
of  the  Iroquois ;  to  which  end  so  many  Jesuit  priests  were 
introduced  among  them  that  in  the  year  1700  an  act  was 
passed  by  the  provincial  assembly  for  putting  to  death  by 
hanging,  every  Popish,  priest  coming  voluntarily  within 
the  bounds  of  the  colony. 

In  the  spring  of  1702,  hostilities  were  again  proclaimed  1702. 
by  England  against  France  and  Spain.  Happily,  however, 
the  Five  Nations  had  just  previously  concluded  a  treaty  of 
neutrality  with  the  Canadian  French,  and  the  murderous 
border-forays  incident  to  Indian  hostilities,  were  not 
renewed. 

But  even  the  terrors  of  the  halter  were  insufficient  to 
deter  the  Jesuits  from  communicating  with  the  Five  Na- 
tions, nor  were  their  artful  dealings  with  them  persisted 
in  without  partial  effect.  The  indications  wTere  indeed 
such  in  the  year  1708,  as  in  the  opinion  of  Lord  Cornbury,1  1708. 

1  Edward  Hyde,  Lord  Cornbury,  was  the  son  of  the  Eai'l  of  Clarendon. 
On  the  death  of  Earl  Bcllamont,  the  government  devolved  upon  Mr.  Nan- 
fan,  the  lieutenant-governor,  until  the  appointment  of  Lord  Cornbury,  in 
1702.  He  was  a  very  tyrannical,  base,  and  profligate  man,  and  was  ap- 
pointed to  the  government  of  New  York  by  King  William,  as  a  reward  for 
his  desertion  of  King  James,  in  whose  army  he  was  an  officer.  He  was  a 
savage  bigot  and  an  ungentlemanly  tyrant.  He  imprisoned  several  cler- 
gymen who  were  dissenters,  and  robbed  the  Rev.  M.  Hubbard,  of  Jamaica, 
of  his  house  and  glebe.  He  was  wont  to  dress  himself  in  women's  clothes, 
and  thus  patrol  the  fort.  His  avarice  was  insatiable,  and  his  disposition 
that  of  a  savage.  Becoming  at  length  an  object  of  universal  abhorrence 
and  detestation,  he  was  superseded  by  the  queen  (Anne),  who,  in  the  au- 
tumn of  1708,  appointed  Lord  Lovelace  in  his  place.  He  was  then  thrown 
into  prison  by  his  creditors,  where  he  remained  until  the  death  of  his 
father,  when  he  became  Earl  of  Clarendon.  He  died  in  1723. 
4 


26  LIFE   OF   SLR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  then  at  the  head  of  the  colony,  to  require  such  an  appro- 
Wv— >  priation  as  would  enable  him  to  meet  them  in  council, 
'  "  and  conciliate  them  with  the  needful  presents.  This 
timely  measure  was  successful.  The  rusty  spots  upon  the 
chain  were  again  rubbed  off;  and  in  the  succeeding  year, 
through  the  indefatigable  exertions  of  Colonel  Schuy- 
ler,—  Quider, —  the  Five  Nations  were  engaged  heart- 
ily  in  Colonel  Nicholson's  remarkable   though   entirely 

1709.  abortive  expedition  for  the  subjugation  of  Canada, —  an 
expedition  the  organization  of  which  cost  the  colonies,  — 
that  of  New  York  in  particular, —  a  vast  amount  of  money, 
and  the  failure  of  which  caused  deep  and  wide-spread 
mortification. 

1710.  Colonel  Schuyler  was  greatly  beloved  by  the  Five  Na- 
tions, and  having  excited  their  expectations  to  a  high 
pitch  of  enthusiasm  in  regard  to  the  projected  conquest 
of  Canada,  he  felt  keenly  the  miserable  failure  of  Nichol- 
son's expedition.  Still,  distinctly  perceiving  the  import- 
ance of  effecting  that  conquest,  and  with  a  view,  proba- 
bly, of  diverting  the  attention  of  the  Indians  from  their 
disappointment,  he  determined  upon  a  voyage  to  England 
to  represent  the  actual  state  of  the  country,  in  person,  to 
the  parent  government.  His  views  were  seconded  by  the 
colonial  assembly,  and  he  took  with  him  the  five  Iroquois 
chiefs  whose  appearance  in  the  British  capital  created  so 
great  a  sensation,  according  to  the  chroniclers  of  those 
days.1  This  visit  was  made  in  1710.  Schuyler  returned 
with  his  chiefs  in  the  autumn  of  the  same  year, —  the  lat- 
ter being  highly  gratified  with  their  voyage,  and  their 
reception  by  the  great  queen,  before  whom  they  had 
strongly  seconded  the  arguments  of  Quider  for  the 
speedy  reduction  of  Canada,  as  the  only  effectual  measure 
of  peace  and  security  to  the  northern  English  colonies. 

1711.  In  accordance  with  this  advice,  another  expedition  for 

1  Vide,  one  of  the  numbers  of  Addison's  Spectator. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  27 

that  object  was  undertaken  in  the  next  year  — 1711 ;  great  chap 
preparations  beihg  made  therefor,  both  by  the  parent  gov-  ^—s 

1  71 1 

ernment  and  the  colonies.  The  French,  aware  of  the 
design,  were  equally  active  in  concerting  measures  of  de- 
fence. The  Indians  in  their  immediate  alliance  were 
induced  to  take  up  the  hatchet,  and  renewed  attempts 
were  made  upon  the  fidelity  of  the  Iroquois.  No  percept- 
ible impression  was  made  upon  their  virtue,  however;  but 
the  expedition  resulted  in  another  sad  miscarriage,  alike 
upon  the  land  and  the  wave, —  whereat  the  Confederates 
were  greatly  disheartened,  and  at  length,  under  their  re- 
peated disappointments,  they  again  began  to  "  open  their 
ears  "  to  the  insidious  counsels  and  persuasions  of  the 
French.  Indeed,  but  for  the  peace  of  Utrecht,  concluded 
in  the  spring  of  1713,  it  was  believed  that  the  Senecas,  1713. 
and  perhaps  others  of  their  Confederacy,  would  then  have 
turned  their  arms  upon  the  English.  Yet  one  important 
point  connected  with  the  Indian  relations  of  the  English, 
was  secured  by  this  treaty,  if  no  more.  By  its  provisions 
the  long  contested  question  of  English  supremacy  over 
the  Five  Nations  and  their  territory,  which  in  his  negotia- 
tions with  the  Earl  of  Bellamont,  Count  Frontenac  had 
refused  to  recognize,  was  conceded  by  the  French.  The  In- 
dians of  this  Confederacy  had  previously,  under  the  admin- 
istration of  Colonel  Fletcher,  thrown  themselves  upon  the 
English  for  protection, —  as  they  likewise  did  again  at  a 
susbequent  period,  for  the  same  object, —  making  a  formal 
surrender  of  their  country  to  the  English ;  not  as  an  un- 
qualified cession,  however,  but  to  be  held  and  protected 
by  the  crown  for  their  use.  In  other  words,  the  Indians 
seem  to  have  supposed  that  they  were  investing  the  Eng- 
lish with  a  sort  of  superior  jurisdiction  over  their  territory, 
reserving  to  themselves  their  own  distinct  sovereignty  in 
every  other  respect. 

Brigadier-General  Hunter,   who  was  appointed  to  the 
government  of  New  York,  as  the  successor  of  Lord  Love- 


28  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  lace,  was  required  to  take  no  very  active  part  in  the  In- 
— v— '  dian  affairs  of  the  colony.1  The  peace  of  Utrecht  being 
'  followed  by  several  years  of  repose,  the  colonies  were  re- 
lieved from  the  terrible  inflictions  of  Indian  hostilities, —  a 
species  of  warfare  the  most  frightful  that  can  be  imagined, 
as  well  from  its  certain  as  from  its  uncertain  character, — 
uncertain,  always,  when,  or  where,  the  dreaded  enemy 
might  strike,  and  equally  certain  that  his  path  would  be 
illumined  by  fire,  and  made  red  with  blood.  Meantime 
the  Confederates,  being  likewise  relieved  from  hostilities 
with  the  French,  and  the  Indians  in  their  interest,  again 
directed  their  arms  against  their  ancient  enemies  in  the 
south, — ■-in  the  countries  of  the  Carolinas  and  Georgia,— - 
among  the  Catawbas  and  the  Cherokees,  even  to  the  head 
waters  of  the  Mobile.  The  most  powerful  nation  in  the 
midlands  of  Carolina,  were  the  Tuscaroras,  kindred,  as 
their  speech  testified,  either  of  the  Wyandots,  or  the  Five 
Nations,  or  both.  In  either  case,  their  language,  having 
no  labials,  bore  so  strong  an  affinity  to  that  of  the  Five 
Nations,  that  they  were  claimed  by  the  latter  as  relations  ; 
and  with  their  own  consent  were  transplanted  to  the  north, 
within  the  bosom  of  the  Iroquois  Confederacy.  It  has 
been  asserted  by  a  high  authority,  that  at  a  date  so  recent 
as  the  year  1708,  the  Tuscaroras  possessed  fifteen  towns, 
and  could  count  twelve  hundred  warriors  as  brave  as  the 
Mohawks.2  This  enumeration  must  have  been  erroneous, 
or  else  their  numbers  were  rapidly  diminished  by  pesti- 

1  John,  Lord  Lovelace,  Baron  of  Hurley,  appointed  to  supersede  Lord 
Cornbury,  entered  upon  the  government  of  the  colony  on  the  18th  of  De- 
cember, 1708.  He  died  on  the  oth  of  May  in  the  next  year,  of  a  disorder 
contracted  in  crossing  the  ferry  at  his  first  arrival  in  New  York.  His  lady 
remained  in  New  York  many  years  after  his  death.  On  the  death  of  his 
lordship,  the  government  once  more  devolved  upon  Richard  Ingoldsby,  the 
lieutenant-governor  of  the  colony,  until  the  arrival  of  Governor  Hunter,  in 
the  summer  of  1710. 

2  Bancroft's  History  of  the  United  States,  Vol.  iii. 


LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  29 

lence  or  war,  or  by  some  other  calamity,  since  at  the  time  chap. 
of  their  transplantation,  five  years  afterward,  they  were  but' — ^— * 

1713 

a  comparatively  feeble  clan.  Yet  they  were  counted  as  a 
nation ;  and  the  Iroquois  Confederacy  was  thenceforward 
called  The  Six  Nations.1 

General  Hunter  continued  at  the  head  of  the  colonial  1719. 
administration  until  the  summer  of  1719,  when  he  went 
back  to  England  on  leave  of  absence,  as  well  on  account 
of  his  health,  as  to  look  after  his  private  affairs.  He  inti- 
mated that  he  might  return  to  the  government  again,  but 
did  not.2  The  chief  command  on  his  departure,  devolved 
on  the  Hon.  Peter  Schuyler,  as  the  oldest  member  of  the 
council,  but  only  for  a  brief  period.  He  however  held  a 
treaty  with  the  Six  Nations  at  Albany,  which  was  consi- 
dered satisfactory ;  yet  it  would  have  been  more  so,  had 
his  efforts  to  induce  the  Confederates  to  drive  Joncaire, 

1  The  history  of  the  Tuscaroras,  and  the  manner  or  cause  of  their  re- 
moval to  the  north,  and  their  incorporation  with  the  Iroquois  Confederacy, 
are  involved  in  doubt.  According  to  some  accounts,  they  are  said  to  have 
been  first  conquered  by  the  Five  Nations,  and  then  adopted  among  them 
because  of  discovered  relationship.  Dr.  Colden  says  they  fled  to  the  Five 
Nations,  before  the  arms  of  the  people  of  Carolina.  Smith  gives  a  still 
different  account  of  their  southern  locality,  thus:  "  The  Tuscaroras  pos- 
sessed a  tract  of  land  near  the  sources  of  James  river,  in  Virginia,  whence 
the  encroachments  of  the  English  induced  them  to  remove,  and  settle  near 
the  southeast  end  of  the  Oneida  lake." — Smith. 

2  Hunter  was  a  Scotchman,  and  when  a  boy,  an  apprentice  to  an  apothe- 
cary. Leaving  his  master,  he  entered  the  army,  and  being  a  man  of  wit 
and  beauty,  gained  promotion,  and  also  the  hand  of  Lady  Hay.  In  1707 
he  was  appointed  lieutenant-governor  of  Virginia,  but  being  captured  by 
the  French  on  his  voyage  out,  on  his  return  to  England  he  was  appointed  to 
the  government  of  New  York  and  New  Jersey,  then  united  in  the  same 
jurisdiction.  Governor  Hunter  was  the  man  who  brought  over  the  three 
thousand  Palatines  from  Germany,  who  founded  the  German  settlements  in 
the  interior  of  New  York  and  Pennsylvania.  Ho  administered  the  govern- 
ment of  the  colony  "  well  and  wisely,"  as  was  said  to  him  in  an  affection- 
ate parting  address  by  the  general  assembly,  until  the  summer  of  1719, 
when  he  returned  to  England  on  leave,  to  look  after  his  private  affairs. 


30  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  the  artful  a^ent  of  the  French,  out  of  their  country,  been 

i.  &  . 

v_v_'  successful.     This  Jesuit  emissary  had  resided  among  the 

1719-  Senecas  from  the  beginning  of  Queen  Anne's  reign.  He 
had  been  adopted  by  them,  and  was  greatly  beloved  by 
the  Onondagas.  He  was  incessant  in  his  intrigues  in  be- 
half of  the  French,  facilitating  the  missionaries  in  their 
progress  through  the  country,  and  contributing  greatly  to 
the  vacillating  course  of  the  Indians  toward  the  English. 
Schuyler  was  aware  of  all  this ;  but  notwithstanding  his 
own  great  influence  over  the  Six  Nations,  he  could  not 
prevail  upon  them  to  discard  their  favorite.  In  other  re- 
spects the  government  of  Schuyler  was  marked  by  mode- 
ration, wisdom,  and  integrity.1 

1720.  William  Burnet,  son  of  the  celebrated  prelate  of  that 
name  who  nourished  in  the  reign  of  "William  and  Mary, 
succeeded  to  the  government  of  the  colony,  in  the  year 
1720 ;  and  of  all  the  colonial  governors  of  New  York, 
with  the  exception  of  Colonel  Dongan,  his  Indian  policy 
was  marked  by  the  most  prudent  forecast  and  the  greatest 
wisdom.  Immediately  after  the  peace  of  Utrecht,  a  brisk 
trade  in  goods  for  the  Indian  market,  was  revived  between 
Albany  and  Montreal, —  the  Caughnawaga  clan  of  the 
Mohawks  residing  near  Montreal  serving  as  carriers.  The 
chiefs  of  the  Six  Nations  foresaw  the  evil  and  inevitable  con- 
sequences to  result  from  allowing  that  trade  to  pass  round  in 
that  direction,  inasmuch  as  the  Indians  would  of  course  be 
drawn  exclusively  to  Montreal  for  their  supplies,  to  be 
received  immediately  at  the  hands  of  the  French,  —  and 
they  cautioned  the  English  authorities  against  it.  Mr. 
Hunter  had  indeed  called  the  attention  of  the  general  as- 
sembly to  the  subject  at  an  antecedent  period;  but  no 
action  was  had  thereon  until  after  Mr.  Burnet  had  as- 
sumed the  direction  of  the  colonial  administration.  The 
policy  of  the  latter  was  at  once  to  cut  off  an  intercourse, 
so  unwise  and  so  dangerous,  with  Montreal,  and  bring  the 


1  Smith's  History  of  New  York. 


WICSMM   JBTinOlE'ff, 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  31 

entire  Indian  trade  within  the  limits  and  control  of  New  chap. 
York.     To  this  end  an  act  was  passed  at  his  suggestion,  w^_ 
subjecting  the  traders  with  Montreal  to  a  forfeiture  of 
their  goods,  and  a  penalty  of  one  hundred  pounds  for  each 
infraction  of  the  law.     It  likewise  entered  into  the  policy 
of  Mr.  Burnet  to  win  the  confidence  of  the  Caughnawa- 
gas,  and  reunite  them  with  their  kindred  in  their  native 
valle}'.     But  the  ties  by  which  the  Roman  priesthood  had 
bound  them  to  the  interests  of  the  French,  were  too  strong, 
and  the  efforts  of  the  governor  were  unsuccessful. 

In  furtherance  of  the  design  to  grasp  the  Indian  trade,  1722. 
not  only  of  the  Six  Nations,  but  likewise  that  of  the 
remoter  nations  of  the  upper  lakes,  a  trading  post  was 
established  at  Oswego  in  1722.  A  trusty  agent  was  also 
appointed  to  reside  at  the  great  council-fire  of  the  Onon- 
dagas, —  the  central  nation  of  the  Confederates.  A  con- 
gress of  several  of  the  colonies  was  held  at  Albany,  to 
meet  the  Six  Nations,  during  the  same  year,  which,  among 
other  distinguished  men,  was  attended  by  Governor  Spotts- 
wood,  of  Virginia,  Sir  William  Keith,  of  Pennsylva- 
nia, and  by  Governor  Burnet.  At  this  council  the  chiefs 
stipulated  that  in  their  future  southern  war-expeditions 
they  would  not  cross  the  Potomac,  and  in  their  marches 
against  their  southern  enemies,  their  path  was  to  lie  west- 
ward of  the  great  mountains  —  the  Alleghanies  meaning. 
Mr.  Burnet  again  brightened  the  chain  of  friendship  with 
them,  on  the  part  of  New  York,  notwithstanding  the  ad- 
verse influences  exerted  by  the  Chevalier  Joncaire,  the 
Jesuit  agent  residing  alternately  among  the  Senecas  and 
Onondagas. 

The  beneficial  effects  of  Mr.  Burnet's  policy  were  soon 
apparent.  In  the  course  of  a  single  year  more  than  forty 
young  men  plunged  boldly  into  the  Indian  country  as  tra- 
ders, acquired  their  languages,  and  strengthened  the  pre- 
carious friendship  existing  between  the  English  and  the 
more  distant  nations ;  while  tribes  of  the  latter  previously 


32  LIFE    OF   SIR,   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    EART. 

chap,  unknown  to  the  colonists,  even  from  beyond  Michilimack- 
•— v— '  inac,  visited  Albany  for  purposes  of  traffic. 

The  establishment  of  an  English  post  at  Oswego  was  a 
cause  of  high  displeasure  to  the  French,  who,  in  order  to 
intercept  the  trade  from  the  upper  lakes  that  would  na- 
turally be  drawn  thither,  and  thus  be  diverted  from  Mont- 
real, determined  to  repossess  themselves  of  Niagara,  re- 
build the  trading-house  at  that  point,  and  repair  their  dila- 
pidated fort.  The  consent  of  the  Onondagas  to  this 
measure  was  obtained  by  the  Baron  de  Longueil,  wrho 
visited  their  country  for  that  purpose,  through  the  influ- 
ence of  Joncaire  and  his  Jesuit  associates.  But  the  other 
members  of  the  Confederacy,  disapproving  of  the  move- 
ment, declared  the  permission  given  to  be  void,  and  dis- 
patched messengers  to  Niagara  to  arrest  the  procedure. 
With  a  just  appreciation  of  the  importance  of  such  an 
encroachment  upon  their  territory,  the  Confederates  met 
Mr.  Burnet  in  council  upon  the  subject,  at  Albany,  in 
1727.  1727.  "  We  come  to  you  howling,"  said  the  chiefs ;  "  and 
this  is  the  reason  why  we  howl,  that  the  governor  of  Can- 
ada encroaches  on  our  land  and  builds  thereon."  Gover- 
nor Burnet  made  them  a  speech  on  the  occasion,  beauti- 
fully expressed  in  their  own  figurative  language,  which 
gave  them  great  satisfaction.1  The  chiefs,  declaring  them- 
selves unable  to  resist  this  invasion  of  the  French,  en- 
treated the  English  for  succor,  and  formally  surrendered 
their  country  to  the  great  king,  "to  be  protected  by  him 
for  their  use,"  as  heretofore  stated.  But  Governor  Burnet 
being  at  that  period  involved  in  political  difficulties  with 
an  assembly,  too  short-sighted,  or  too  factious,  to  appreciate 
the  importance  of  preserving  so  able  a  head  to  the  colonial 
government,  was  enabled  to  do  nothing  more  for  the  pro- 
tection of  the  Indians  than  to  erect  a  small  military  de- 
fence at  Oswego ;  and  even  this  work  of  necessity  he  was 
obliged  to  perform  at  his  own  private  expense.    Meantime 

1  Smith's  History  of  New  York. 


LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BAHT.  33 

the  French  completed  and  secured  their  works  at  Niagara  chap. 
without  molestation.  v— v— ' 

In  the  course  of  the  same  year,  having  been  thwarted  1<27- 
in  his  enlarged  and  patriotic  views  by  several  successive 
assemblies,  Mr.  Burnet,  the  ablest  and  wisest  of  the  colo- 
nial administrators,  retired  from  the  government  of  New 
York,  and  accepted  that  of  Massachusetts  and  New  Hamp- 
shire.1 Mr.  Montgomery  succeeded  him  in  New  York,  in 
1728.  He  was  an  indolent  man,  and  had  not  character  1728. 
enough  to  inspire  opposition.  The  French,  enraged  at 
the  erection  of  a  fort  at  Oswego,  were  now  menacing  that 
post.  The  new  governor  thereupon  met  the  Six  Nations 
in  council  at  Albany,  to  renew  the  covenant  chain,  and 
engage  them  in  the  defence  of  that  important  station. 
Large  presents  were  distributed  among  them,  and  they 
declared  their  willingness  to  join  the  reinforcements  de- 
tached from  the  independent  companies  for  that  service. 
Being  apprised  of  these  preparations,  the  French  desisted 
from  their  threatened  invasion.2 

Much  of  the  opposition  to  the  administration  of  Gover- 
nor Burnet,  had  been  fomented  and  kept  alive  by  the  Al- 
banians who,  by  the  shrewdness  of  his  Indian  policy,  and 

1  Governor  Burnet  was  not  only  a  man  of  letters,  but  of  wit  —  a  believer 
in  the  Christian  religion,  yet  not  a  serious  professor.  A  variety  of  amusing 
anecdotes  has  been  related  of  him.  AVhen  on  his  way  from  New  York  to 
assume  the  government  at  Boston,  one  of  the  committee  who  went  from 
that  town  to  meet  him  on  the  borders  of  Rhode  Island,  was  the  facetious 
Colonel  Tailer.  Burnet  complained  of  the  long  graces  that  were  said  be- 
fore meals  by  clergymen  on  the  road,  and  asked  when  they  would  shorten. 
Tailer  answered:  'The  graces  will  increase  in  length  till  you  come  to  Bos- 
ton ;  after  that  they  will  shorten  till  you  come  to  your  government  of  New 
Hampshire,  where  your  excellency  will  find  no  grace  at  all." 

2  Colonel  John  Montgomery  succeeded  Mr.  Burnet  in  the  government  of 
the  colonies  of  New  York  and  New  Jersey,  in  the  month  of  April,  1728. 
He  was  a  Scotchman,  and  bred  a  soldier.  But  quitting  the  profession  of 
arms,  he  went  into  parliament, —  serving  also,  for  a  time,  as  groom  of  the 
bed-chamber  to  his  majesty  George  II,  before  his  accession  to  the  throne. 
He  was  a  man  of  moderate  abilities  and  slender  literary  attainments.  He 
was  too  good-natured  a  man  to  excite  enmities  ;  and  his  administration, 
cut  short  by  death  in  1731,  was  one  of  tranquil  inaction. 

5 


34  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  the  vigorous  measures  by  which,  he  had  enforced  it,  had 
•w^ — •  been  interrupted  in  their  illicit  trade  in  Indian  goods  with 

1728.  Montreal, —  and  also  by  the  importers  of  those  goods  re- 
siding in  the  city  of  New  York.  Sustained,  however,  by 
his  council-board,  and  by  the  very  able  memoir  of  Doctor 
Colden  upon  that  subject,  Mr.  Burnet,  as  the  reader  has 
already  been  apprised,  had  succeeded  in  giving  a  new  and 
more  advantageous  character  to  the  inland  trade,  while 
the  Indian  relations  of  the  colony  had  been  placed  upon 
a  better  footing,  in  so  far  at  least  as  the  opportunities  of 
the  French  to  tamper  with  them  had  been  measurably  cut 

1729.  off.  But  in  December  of  the  succeeding  year,  owing  to 
some  intrigues  that  were  never  clearly  understood,  all 
these  advantages  were  suddenly  relinquished  by  an  act  of 
the  crown  repealing  the  measures  of  Mr.  Burnet ;  reviv- 
ing, in  eifect,  the  execrable  trade  of  the  Albanians,  and 
thus  at  once  re-opening  the  door  of  intrigue  between  the 
French  and  the  Six  Nations,  which  had  been  so  wisely 
closed. 

1731.  On  the  decease  of  Colonel  Montgomery,  the  duties  of 
the  colonial  executive  were  for  a  brief  period  exercised  by 
Mr.  Hip  Van  Dam,  as  president  of  the  council.1  His  ad- 
ministration was  signalized  by  the  memorable  infraction 
of  the  treaty  of  Utrecht,  by  the  French,  who  then  invaded 
the  clearly  denned  territory  of  New  York,  and  built  the 
fortress  of  St.  Frederick,  at  Crown  Point,  a  work  which 
gave  them  the  command  of  Lake  Champlain, —  the  high- 
way between  the  English  and  French  colonies.  The 
pusillanimity  evinced  by  the  government  of  New  York  on 
the  occasion  of  that  flagrant  encroachment  upon  its 
domains,  excites  the  amazement  of  the  retrospective 
reviewer.  Massachusetts,  alarmed  at  this  advance  of  the 
rivals,  if  not  natural  enemies,  of  the  English  upon  the  set- 
tlements of  the  latter,  first  called  the  attention  of  the  au- 

1  Mr.  Van  Dam  was  an  eminent  merchant  in  the  city  of  New  York,  "  of 
a  fair  estate,"  says  Smith,  the  historian,  "  though  distinguished  more  for 
the  integrity  of  his  heart,  than  his  capacity  to  hold  the  reins  of  govern- 
ment." 


LIFE   OP    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  35 

thorities  of  JSTew  York  to  the  subject;  but  the  information  chap. 
was  received  with  the  most  provoking  indifference.  There  w^--> 
was  a  regular  military  force  in  the  colony  abundantly  suf-  1731- 
ficient,  by  a  prompt  movement,   to  repel  the  aggression ; 
yet  not  even  a  remonstrance  was  uttered  against  it. 

During  the  stormy  administration  of  Colonel  Cosby,  1732. 
from  1732  to  1736  inclusive,  no  attention  whatever  appears 
to  have  been  directed  to  Indian  affairs.  The  incessant 
quarrels  of  this  weak  and  avaricious  man  with  the  people 
and  their  representatives,  left  him  apparently  no  time  to 
bestow  upon  the  external  relations  of  the  colony ;  and  the 
Six  Nations,  in  the  absence  of  other  employment,  again 
resumed  hostilities  against  their  enemies  at  the  South. 
One  of  their  expeditions,  directed  against  the  Chickasaws, 
was  fearfully  disastrous.  They  fell  into  an  ambuscade, 
and  fought  until  all  but  two  of  a  strong  body  of  warriors 
were  slain.  One  only  of  those  two  returned  to  rehearse 
the  tale.  He  struck  off'  deep  into  the  forest,  and  support- 
ing himself  by  game  on  the  way,  succeeded  in  traversing 
the  whole  distance  back  to  his  owri  country  without  meet- 
ing a  single  human  being  during  the  journey.1  Another 
expedition,  yet  stronger,  was  sent  against  the  Catawbas 
and  Cherokees.  They  met  upon  the  banks  of  the  Cum- 
berland river,  now  in  Kentucky,  at  a  place  called  "  the 
bloody  lands."  Ascertaining  that  their  enemies  were  ad- 
vancing to  meet  them,  the  Six  Nations  in  turn  drew  them 
into  an  ambuscade,  and  a  terrible  battle  followed,  in  which 
the  southrons,  after  a  contest  of  two  days,  were  defeated, 
with  a  loss  of  twelve  hundred  braves  killed  on  the  field.2 

These  retrospective  glances  have  now  been  brought  down  1735 
to  the  year  1735  —  the  date  of  the  arrival  in  America  of 

1  Relation  of  General  Schuyler  to  Chancellor  Kent.  Vide  note  in  Kent's 
Commentaries,  vol.   iii. 

*  Life  of  Afary  Jinnix'P,  the  Seneca  white  woman.  Hiockatoo,  her  hus- 
band, was  in  the  battle.  Still,  the  numbers  feaid  to  have  been  killed  may 
be  an  exaggeration. 


36  LIFE   OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  the  extraordinary  youth  whose  life  will  form  a  prominent 
^ — -subject  of  these  memoirs.     And  although  that  individual 

1735.  (joeg  not  jei  appear  Up0n  the  theatre  of  public  action,  still, 
in  order  to  the  completeness  of  his  "  life  and  times,"  it 

n  will  be  necessary  henceforward  to  set  forth  both  the  Indian 
and  the  civil  history  of  the  colony  With  more  fullness  of 
detail  than  in  the  preceding  pages. 

1736.  On  the  demise  of  Colonel  Cosby,1  Mr.  George  Clarke, 
long  a  member  of  the  council,  after  a  brief  struggle  with 
Mr.  Yan  Dam  for  the  precedency,  succeeded  to  the  direc- 
tion of  the  government ;  and  being  shortly  afterward  com- 
missioned as  lieutenant-governor,  he  continued  at  the  head 
of  the  colonial  administration  from  the  autumn  of  1736 
to  that  of  1743, —  seven  years.  Mr.  Clarke  was  remotely 
connected,  by  marriage,  with  the  family  of  Lord  Claren- 
don,—  having  been  sent  over  as  secretary  of  the  colony 
in  the  reign  of  Queen  Anne.  Being,  moreover,  a  man  of 
strong  common  sense  and  of  uncommon  tact ;  and  by  reason 
of  his  long  residence  in  the  colony,  and  the  several  offi- 
cial stations  he  had  held,  well  acquainted  with  its  affairs ; 
his  administration, —  certainly  until  toward  its  close, —  was 
comparatively  popular,  and,  all  circumstances  considered, 
eminently  successful.  In  the  brief  struggle  for  power 
between  himself  and  Mr.  Van  Dam,  the  latter  had  been 
sustained  by  the  popular  party,  while  the  officers  of  the 
crown,  and  the  partisans  of  Cosby,  with  few  if  any  excep- 
tions, adhered  to  Mr.  Clarke.2  This  difficulty  had  been 
speedily  ended  by  a  royal  confirmation  of  the  somewhat 

1  Colonel  William  Cosby,  appointed  to  the  government  of  New  York  in 
1732,  had  formerly  been  governor  of  Minorca,  where  he  acquired  no  very 
enviable  name  by  the  scandalous  and  corrupt  practices  to  which  he  was 
prompted  by  his  avarice.  His  administration  was  turbulent  and  exceedingly 
unpopular,  and  deservedly  so,  for  his  conduct  was  atrocious.  He  died  uni- 
versally detested,  on  the  tenth  of  March,  1736. 

2  Mr.  Van  Dam  had  been  privately,  and,  as  he  and  his  partisans  contend- 
ed, illegally  removed  from  the  council-board  by  Cosby,  in  a  fit  of  passion, 
almost  upon  his  death-bed.  Hence  the  struggle  to  which  I  have  referred 
in  the  test. 


LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  37 

doubtful  authority  assumed  by  Mr.  Clarke.  His  own  chap. 
course,  moreover,  on  taking  the  seals  of  office,  was  con-^/-' 
ciliatory.  In  his  first  speech  to  the  general  assembly  he  re- 1736> 
ferred  in  temperate  language  to  the  unhappy  divisions  which 
had  of  late  disturbed  the  colony,  and  which  he  thought 
it  was  then  a  favorable  moment  to  heal.  The  English 
flour-market  being  overstocked  by  large  supplies  furnished 
from  the  other  colonies,  the  attention  of  the  assembly  was 
directed  to  the  expediency  of  encouraging  domestic  manu- 
factures in  various  departments  of  industry.  To  the  In- 
dian affairs  of  the  colony,  Mr.  Clarke  invited  the  special 
attention  of  the  assembly.  The  military  works  of  Fort 
Hunter  being  in  a  dilapidated  condition,  and  the  object  of 
affording  protection  to  the  Christian  settlements  through 
the  Mohawk  valley  having  been  accomplished,  the  lieu- 
tenant-governor suggested  the  erection  of  a  new  fort  at 
the  carrying-place  between  the  Mohawk  river  and  Wood 
creek,1  leading  into  Oneida  lake,  and  thence  through  the 
Oswego  river  into  Lake  Ontario ;  and  the  transfer  of  the 
garrison  from  Fort  Hunter  to  this  new  and  commanding 
position.  He  likewise  recommended  the  repairing  of  the 
block-house  at  Oswego,  and  the  sending  of  smiths  and 
other  artificers  into  the  Indian  country,  especially  among 
the  Senecas.2 

These  recommendations  were  repeated  in  the  executive  1737. 

1  The  site,  afterward,  of  Fort  Stanwix, —  now  the  opulent  town  of  Rome. 

2  In  the  course  of  this  session  of  the  general  assembly,  Chief  Justice  De 
Lancey,  speaker  of  the  legislative  council,  announced  that  his  duties  in 
the  Supreme  Court  would  render  it  impossible  for  him  to  act  as  speaker 
through  the  session.  It  was  therefore  ordered  that  the  oldest  counselor 
present  should  thenceforward  act  as  speaker.  Under  this  order,  Doctor 
Cadwallader  Colden  first  came  to  the  chair. 

On  the  twenty-sixth  of  October,  the  council  resolved  that  they  should 
hold  their  sittings  in  the  common  council  chamber  of  the  City-Hall.  The 
House  immediately  returned  a  message  that  they  were  holding  their  ses- 
sions, and  should  continue  to  hold  them  in  that  chamber ;  and  that  it  was 
conformable  to  the  constitution  that  the  council,  in  its  legislative  capacity, 
should  sit  as  a  distinct  and  separate  body. 


OO  LIFE    OF   SIR   "WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  speech  to  the  assembly  in  the  spring  of  1737,  and  also 
- — v — >  again  to  a  new  assembly  which  had  been  called  in  the 
1/37.  summer  of  the  same  year.  The  lieutenant-governor  far- 
ther informed  the  new  assembly  that  it  had  become  neces- 
sary for  him  to  meet  the  chiefs  of  the  Six  Nations  in 
council  at  Albany  in  consequence  of  certain  negotiations 
pending  between  the  Senecas  and  the  French,  by  virtue  of 
which  the  latter  were  on  the  point  of  obtaining  permission 
to  erect  a  trading-post  at  Tierondequot,  which  would  ena- 
ble them  to  intercept  the  fur-trade  of  the  upper  lakes  on 
its  way  to  Oswego.1 

For  the  purpose  of  defeating  this  sagacious  movement 
of  the  French,  and  if  possible  yet  further  to  circumvent 
them  by  obtaining  the  like  permission  for  the  English  to 
establish  a  trading-post  at  the  same  point,  the  meeting  with 
the  Confederate  chiefs  took  place  in  Albany,  as  suggested 
in  the  speech.  The  objects  of  the  interview,  however, 
were  only  obtained  in  part.  The  Senecas  agreed  not  to 
allow  the  French  agent,  John  Coeur,  to  build  at  Tieronde- 
quot ;  but  neither  would  they  permit  the  English  to  plant 
themselves  there.  Still  they  gladly  acceeded  to  the  propo- 
sition of  the  lieutenant-governor  to  send  a  gun-smith  to 
reside  among  them, —  with  whom  were  also  dispatched  an 
interpreter,  and  three  other  agents,  to  assist  in  circum- 
venting the  intrigues  of  the  French.  At  the  succeeding 
autumnal  session  of  the  assembly,  these  measures  were 
sanctioned  by  that  body,  and  provisions  made  for  strength- 
ening Oswego,  and  for  the  farther  promotion  of  commerce 
with  the  Indians.2 


1  Irondequot,  now  well  known  as  an  inlet,  or  bay,  a  few  miles  east  of 
the  mouth  of  the  Genesee  river, —  the  place  where  Denonville  landed  in  his 
memorable  expedition  against  the  Senecas,  half  a  century  before. 

2  Vide  Legislative  Journals,  Also  Smith's  History  of  New  York.  At  the 
session  of  the  Assembly,  October  thirteenth,  of  this  year,  the  council  hav- 
ing sent  a  message  to  the  house  by  the  hand  of  a  deputy  clerk,  a  message 
was  transmitted  back,  signifying  that  the  house  considered  such  a  course 
disrespectful.  Until  that  time,  messages  had  been  conveyed  between  the 
houses,  with  bills,  resolutions,  &c,  by  the  hands  of  their  members  respect- 


LIFE   OF  SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BAKE.  3'3 

During  the  greater  part  of  the  year  1738  but  little  at-  chap. 
tention  was  paid  to  Indian  affairs,-—  the  principal  historical  > — ^ 
incident  of  that  year  being  the  memorable  contested  elec-  1/38- 
tion  between  Adolphe  Philipse  and  Gerret  Van  Home,  in 
connection  with  which,  owing  to  the  extraordinary  skill 
and  eloquence  of  Mr.  Smith,  father  of  the  historian,  and  of 
counsel  for  Van  Home,  the  Hebrew  freeholders  of  the  city 
of  JSTew  York,  from  which  place  both  parties  claimed  to 
have  been  returned  to  the  assembly,  were  most  unjustly 
disfranchised,  on  the  ground  of  their  religious  creed,  and 
their  votes  rejected.1  The  colony  was  greatly  excited  by 
this  question,  and  the  persuasive  powers  exerted  by  Mr. 
Smith,  are  represented  to  have  been  wonderful, —  equal- 
ling, probably,  if  not  surpassing,  those  of  Andrew  Ham- 
ilton, four  years  previously,  in  the  great  libel  case  of  the 
Zengers,— r  and  possibly  not  excelled  even  by  Patrick  Hen- 
ry, a  few  years  afterward,  when  he  dethroned  the  reason 
of  the  court,  and  led  captive  the  jury,  in  the  great  tobacco 
case  in  Virginia.2 

Yet  the  movements  of  the  Indians,  and  the  designs  of 
the  French  in  Canada  were  not  entirely  overlooked.  On 
the  thirteenth  of  October,  the  general  assembly  being  in 
session,  the  lieutenant-governor  summoned  the  house  be- 
fore him,  and  announced  the  receipt  of  intelligence  of  a 
design  by  the  French,  to  establish  themselves  at  the  carry- 
ing-place upon  Wood  creek,  between  the  head,  or  south- 


ively.  The  house  considered  the  sending  of  a  clerk  an  innovation  upon 
their  privileges  ;  and  Col.  Phillipse,  Mr.  Verplank,  and  Mr.  Johnson,  were 
appointed  a  committee  to  wait  upon  the  council  and  demand  satisfaction. 
The  council  healed  the  matter  by  a  conciliatory  resolution,  declaring  that 
no  disrespect  had  been  intended. 

1  For  an  animated  account  of  this  celebrated   case,  drawn,  however,  by 
the  partial  hand  of  a  son  writing  of  his  father,  see  Smith's  History,  vol.  ii. 

2  See  Wirt's  Life  of  Patrick  Henry. 


40  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  ern  end  of  Lake  Champlain,  and  the  Hudson  river,1  and 
v_^ — .  calling  for  means  to  enable  him  to  build  a  fort  and  plant 
1738-  a  colony  of  settlers  there  for  the  defence  of  the  northern 
frontier,  to  be  composed  of  emigrants  from  North  Bri- 
tain.2 The  lieutenant-governor  also  announced,  in  the 
same  speech,  that  a  delegation  of  the  Senecas  had  de- 
parted for  Quebec,  to  treat,  as  it  was  understood,  with  M. 
Beauharnois,  then  the  governor  of  Canada,  with  a  view, 
after  all,  of  allowing  the  French  to  plant  themselves  in  the 
beautiful  valley  of  the  Tierondequot, —  a  measure  which, 
said  the  speech,  "would  put  an  end  to  the  Oswego  trade." 
In  conclusion  the  lieutenant-governor  asked  for  an  appro- 
priation of  money  to  enable  him  to  frustrate  their  designs, 
and  to  make  another  effort  for  the  purchase  of  the  Tieron- 
dequot. The  assembly  having  been  suddenly  dissolved  a 
few  days  subsequent  to  the  delivery  of  this  speech,  no 
steps  were  taken  in  reference  to  either  of  its  recommenda- 
tions, and  they  were  each  pressed  urgently  upon  the  new 
assembly  summoned  in  the  spring  of  the  next  year,  1739. 

1  The  Wood  creek  here  mentioned  is  altogether  a  different  stream  from 
that  spoken  of  a  few  pages  back,  at  the  Mohawk  carrying-place,  which 
leads  into  the  Oneida  lake.  These  duplicated  names  are  apt  to  create 
confusion.  The  present  town  of  Whitehall  stands  upon  the  Wood  creek 
spoken  of  here  in  the  text,  which  pours  into  Lake  Champlain. 

2  The  North  Britons  here  spoken  of,  whom  Mr.  Clarke  proposed  coloniz- 
ing at  the  head  of  Lake  Champlain,  were  a  company  of  between  four  and 
five  hundred  adult  Highlanders,  with  their  children,  who  had  been  brought 
to  the  colony  by  Captain  Laughlin  Campbell,  in  the  expectation  of  settling 
them  upon  a  manor  of  thirty  thousand  acres  of  land,  which  he,  Campbell, 
alledged  had  been  promised  him  by  the  lieutenant-governor, —  Campbell, 
who  was  a  Highland  chief,  calculating  to  become,  as  it  were,  "lord  of  the 
manor."  Smith  roundly  asserts  that  Clarke  had  stipulated  to  make  the 
grant  to  Campbell ;  but  the  statement  was  contradicted  by  Dr.  Colden,  who 
was  at  the  time  in  question  a  member  of  the  executive  council.  Certain  it 
is,  however,  that  Campbell  had  the  emigrants  with  him  in  New  York ;  yet 
Colden  says  that  many  of  them  came  out  at  their  own  expense,  and  that  no 
more  land  had  been  promised  to  Campbell  than  he  could  bring  into  culti- 
vation. Be  this  as  it  may,  the  disappointment  of  the  emigrants  was  great, 
and  they  suffered  much  keen  distress  before  they  could  take  care  of  them- 
selves. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  41 

The  years  1738  and  1739,  were  marked  by  increasing  chap- 
political  excitement,  and  the  dividing  line  of  parties,  in-v^^.^ 
volving  the  great  principles  of  civil  liberty  on  the  one  l738- 
side,  and  the  prerogatives  of  the  crown  on  the  other, 
were  more  distinctly  drawn,  perhaps,  than  at  any  antece- 
dent period.  The  administrations  of  the  earlier  English 
governors,  Nicholls  and  Lovelace,  were  benevolent,  and 
almost  parental.  Andross,  it  is  true,  was  a  tyrant ;  and 
during  his  administration  parties  were  formed,  as  in  Eng- 
land, upon  the  mixed  questions  of  politics  and  religion, 
which  dethroned  the  last  and  most  bigoted  of  the  Stuarts, 
and  brought  William  and  Mary  upon  the  throne.  Don- 
gan,  however,  the  last  of  the  Stuart  governers  in  New 
York,  although  a  Roman  Catholic,  was  nevertheless  mild 
in  the  administration  of  the  government,  and  a  gentleman 
in  his  feelings  and  manners.  It  was  upon  his  arrival  in 
the  autumn  of  1683,  that  the  freeholders  of  the  colony 
were  invested  with  the  right  of  choosing  representatives 
to  meet  the  governor  in  general  assembly.1  For  nearly 
twenty  years  subsequent  to  the  revolution  of  1689,  the 
colony  was  torn  by  personal,  rather  than  political  factions, 
having  their  origin  in  the  controversy  which  compassed 
the  judicial  murder  of  the  unhappy  Leisler  and  his  son- 
in-law  Milbome.  These  factions  dying  out  in  the  lapse 
of  years,  other  questions  arose,  the  principal  of  which 
was  that  important  one  which  always,  sooner  or  later, 
springs  up  in  every  English  colony, —  involving,   on  the 

1  Two  years  previous  to  the  arrival  of  Dongan,  the  aldermen  of  New 
York,  and  the  justices  of  the  peace  of  the  court  of  assize,  in  consequence 
of  the  tyranny  of  Andross,  had  petitioned  the  duke  that  the  people  might 
be  allowed  to  participate  in  the  affairs  of  the  government  by  the  construc- 
tion of  a  general  assembly,  in  which  they  might  be  represented.  Through 
the  interposition  of  William  Penn,  who  enjoyed  the  favor  both  of  the  king 
and  the  duke,  the  point  was  yielded,  and  Colonel  Dongan  was  instructed  to 
allow  the  people  a  voice  in  the  government.  Greatly  to  the  joy  of  the  in- 
habitants, therefore,  who  had  become  turbulent,  if  not  disaffected,  under  the 
despotic  rule  of  Andross,  writs  were  issued  to  the  sheriffs  summoning  the 
freeholders  to  choose  representatives  to  meet  the  new  governor  in  assembly 
on  the  seventeenth  of  October,  1683. 
6 


42  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM    JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  one  hand,  as  I  have  already  remarked,  the  rights  of  the 
«— v — ■  people,  and  on  the  other  the  claims  of  the  crown.  Inva- 
1738.  riably,  almost,  if  not  quite,  the  struggle  is  originated  upon 
some  question  of  revenue, —  either  in  the  levying  thereof, 
or  in  its  disposition,  or  both.  Thus  in  the  origin  .of  those 
political  parties  in  ]N~ew  York,  which  continued  with 
greater  or  less  acrimony  until  the  separation  from  the 
parent  country,  Sloughter  and  Fletcher  had  both  en- 
deavored to  obtain  grants  of  revenue  to  the  crown  for 
life,  but  had  failed.  Subsequently  grants  had  been  occa- 
sionally made  to  the  officers  of  the  crown  for  a  term  of 
years ;  but  latterly,  especially  during  the  administration 
of  Governor  Cosby,  the  general  assembly  had  grown  more 
refractory  upon  the  subject, —  pertinaciously  insisting  that 
they  would  vote  the  salaries  for  the  officers  of  the  crown 
only  with  the  annual  supplies.  This  was  a  principle  which 
the  governors,  as  the  representatives  of  the  crown,  felt 
bound  to  resist,  as  being  an  infringement  of  the  royal  pre- 
rogative. Henceforward,  therefore,  until  the  colony  cast 
off  its  allegiance,  the  struggle  in  regard  to  the  revenue, 
and  its  disposition,  was  almost  perpetually  before  the  peo- 
ple, in  one  form  or  another ;  and  in  some  years,  owing  to 
the  obstinacy  of  the  representatives  of  the  crown  on  one 
side,  and  the  inflexibility  of  the  representatives  of  the 
people  on  the  other,  supplies  were  not  granted  at  all.  Mr. 
Clarke,  although  he  had  the  address  to  throw  off,  or  to 
evade,  the  difficulty,  for  the  space  of  two  years,  was  never- 
theless doomed  soon  to  encounter  it.  Accordingly,  in  his 
speech  to  the  assembly  at  the  autumnal  session  of  1738, 
he  complained  that  another  year  had  elapsed  without  any 
provision  being  made  for  the  support  of  his  majesty's  go- 
vernment in  the  province, —  the  neglect  having  occured 
by  reason  of  "  a  practice  not  warranted  by  the  usage  of 
any  former  general  assemblies."  He  therefore  insisted 
strongly  upon  the  adoption  of  measures  for  the  payment 
of  salaries ;  for  the  payment  of  the  public  creditors ;  and 
for  the  general  security  of  the  public  credit  by  the  crea- 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  43 

tion  of  a  sinking  fund  for  the  redemption  of  the  bills  of  chap. 
the  colony.  ^— v— ' 

The  assembly  was  refractory.  Instead  of  complying  1738- 
with  the  demands  of  the  lieutenant-governor,  the  house 
resolved  unanimously  that  they  would  grant  no  supplies 
upon  that  principle ;  and  in  regard  to  a  sinking  fund 
for  the  redemption  of  the  bills  of  credit  afloat,  they  re- 
fused any  other  measure  than  a  continuance  of  the  exist- 
ing excise.  These  spirited  and  peremptory  resolutions 
gave  high  offence  to  the  representative  of  the  crown  ; 
and  on  the  day  following  their  adoption,  the  assembly 
was  summoned  to  the  fort,  and  dissolved  by  a  speech,  de- 
claring the  said  resolutions  "to  be  such  presumptuous, 
daring,  and  unprecedented  steps  that  he  could  not  look 
upon  them  but  with  astonishment,  nor  could  he  with 
honor  suffer  their  authors  to  sit  any  longer." 

The  temper  of  the  new  assembly,  summoned  in  the  1739- 
spring  of  the  succeeding  year,  1739,  was  no  more  in  unison 
with  the  desires  of  the  lieutenant-governor,  than  that  of 
the  former.  The  demand  for  a  permanent  supply  bill 
was  urged  at  several  successive  sessions,  only  to  be  met 
with  obstinate  refusals.  The  second  session,  held  in  the 
autumn,  was  interrupted  in  October,  by  a  prorogation  of 
several  days,  for  the  express  purpose  of  affording  the 
members  leisure  "to  reflect  seriously"  upon  the  line  of 
duty  required  of  them  by  the  exigencies  of  the  country ; 
for,  not  only  was  the  assembly  resolutely  persisting  in  the 
determination  to  make  only  annual  grants  of  supplies,  but 
they  were  preparing  to  trench  yet  farther  upon  the  royal 
prerogative,  by  insisting  upon  specific  applications  of  the 
revenue,  to  be  inserted  in  the  bill  itself.  Meantime,  on  the 
thirteenth  of  October,  the  lieutenant-governor  brought  the 
subject  of  his  differences  with  the  assembly  formally  be- 
fore his  privy  council.  In  regard  to  the  new  popular 
movement  of  this  assembly,  insisting  upon  a  particular 
application  of  the  revenues  to  be  granted  in  the  .body  of 
the  act  for  the  support  of  the  government,  the  lieutenant- 
governor  said  they  had  been  moved  to  that  determination 


44  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  by  the  example  of  New  Jersey,  where  an  act  of  that  nature 
w^  had  lately  been  passed.  He  was  unwilling  to  allow  any 
1739.  encroachment  upon  the  rights  of  the  crown.  Yet,  in  con- 
sideration of  the  defenceless  situation  of  the  colony,  he 
felt  uneasy  at  such  a  turn  of  affairs ;  and  not  being  dis- 
posed to  revive  old  animosities,  or  to  create  new  ones  by 
another  summary  dissolution,  he.  asked  the  advice  of  the 
council.  The  subject  was  referred  to  a  committee,  of 
which  the  Hon.  Daniel  Horsmanden,  an  old  member  of 
the  council,  was  chairman.  This  gentleman  was  one  of 
the  most  sturdy  supporters  of  the  royal  prerogative ;  but, 
in  consequence  of  the  existing  posture  of  affairs,  and  the 
necessity  of  a  speedy  provision  for  the  public  safety,  the 
committee  reported  unanimously  against  a  dissolution. 
They  believed,  also,  that  the  assembly,  and  the  peo- 
ple whom  they  represented,  had  the  disputed  point  so 
much  at  heart  that  it  would  be  impossible  to  do  busi- 
ness with  them  unless  it  was  conceded;  and,  besides,  it 
was  argued,  should  a  dissolution  take  place,  there  was  no 
reason  for  supposing  that  the  next  assembly  would  be  less 
tenacious  in  asserting  the  offensive  principle.  Since,  more- 
over, the  governor  of  New  Jersey  had  yielded  the  point, 
the  committee  advised  to  the  same  course  in  New  York.1 
The  point  ioas  conceded ;  and  the  effect,  for  the  moment, 
was  to  produce  a  better  state  of  feeling  in  the  assembly. 
Supplies  were  granted,  but  only  for  the  year ;  and  various 


1  See  the  old  minutes  of  the  executive  or  privy  council,  in  manuscript,  in 
the  secretary  of  state's  office  in  Albany.  To  avoid  confusion  hereafter,  it 
may  be  well  to  state  in  this  connection,  that  the  council  acted  in  a  two-fold 
capacity:  first,  as  advisary ;  second,  as  legislative.  "In  the  first,"  says 
Smith,  in  his  chapter,  entitled  Political  State,  they  are  a  privy  council  to 
the  governor."  When  thus  acting  they  are  often  called  the  executive  or  his 
majesty's  council.  Hence,  privy  council  and  executive  council  are  synoni- 
mous.  During  the  session  of  the  legislature,  however,  the  same  council  sat 
(without  the  presence  of  the  governor)  as  a  legislative  council;  and  in 
such  capacity  exercised  the  same  functions  as  the  senate  of  the  present 
day  —  so  far  as  regards  the  passing  of  laws.  The  journals  of  this  last  or 
legislative  council  have  recently  been  published  by  the  state  of  New  York 
under  the  supervision  of  Dr.  E.  B.  O'Callaghan. 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  45 

appropriations  were  made  for  placing  the  colony  in  a  pos-  chap. 
ture  of  defence.     The  Mohawks,  among  other  things,  re-  ^~^~' 
quired  either  that  the  dilapidated  defences  of  Dyiondaroga  1739- 
(Fort  Hunter)  should  be  repaired  or  rebuilt,  and  that  a 
garrison  should  be  continued  there,  under  a  threat  of 
leaving  their  own  country  and  removing  into  Canada ; 
and  they  were  considered  of  too  much  importance  as  a 
line  of  defence  against  the  French,  to  allow  their  demand 
in  this  respect  to  be  disregarded. 

But  it  is  seldom  that  the  wheels  of  revolution  roll  back- 
ward, and  the  concession  which  allowed  the  general  as- 
sembly to  prescribe  the  application  or  disposition  of  the 
supplies  they  voted,  ever  before  claimed  as  the  legal 
and  known  prerogative  of  the  crown,  appeased  the  popu- 
lar party  only  for  a  very  short  time.  Indeed,  nothing  is 
more  certain,  whether  in  monarchies  or  republics,  than  that 
the  governed  are  never  satisfied  with  concessions,  while 
each  successful  demand  only  increases  the  popular  clamor 
for  more.  Thus  was  it  in  the  experience  of  Mr.  Clarke.  It 
is  true,  indeed,  that  the  year  1740  passed  without  any  direct  1740. 
collision  upon  the  question  of  prerogative ;  although  at 
the  second  short  session  of  that  year,  the  speech  alleged 
the  entire  exhaustion  of  the  revenue,  and  again  demanded 
an  ample  appropriation  for  a  term  of  years.  But  the  con- 
troversy was  re-opened  at  the  spring  session  of  the  follow- 
ing year, — 1741,^-on  which  occasion  the  lieutenant-gov- 1741. 
ernor  delivered  a  speech,  long,  beyond  precedent,  and 
enumerating  the  grievances  of  the  crown  by  reason  of  the 
continued  encroachments  of  the  general  assembly.  The 
speech  began  by  an  elaborate  review  of  the  origin  and 
progress  of  the  difficulties  that  had  existed  between  the 
representatives  of  the  crown  and  the  assembly,  in  respect 
to  the  granting  of  supplies, —  evincing  —  such,  indeed,  is 
the  inference, —  a  want  of  gratitude  on  the  part  of  the 
latter,  in  view  of  the  blessings  which  the  colony  had  en- 
joyed under  the  paternal  care  of  the  government  since 
the  revolution  of  1688.  But  it  was  not  in  connection  with 
the  supplies,  only,  that  the   assembly  had  invaded  the 


£6  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  rights  of  the  crown.  It  was  the  undoubted  prerogative  of 
v_^_^  the  crown  to  appoint  the  treasurer.  Yet,  the  assembly  had 
1741-  demanded  the  election  of  that  officer.  Wot  satisfied  with 
that  concession,  they  had  next  claimed  the  right  of  choos- 
ing the  auditor-general.  Failing  in  that  demand,  they  had 
sought  to  accomplish  their  object  by  withholding  the  sala- 
ry from  that  officer.  These  encroachments,  he  said,  had 
been  gradually  increasing  from  year  to  year,  until  appre- 
hensions had  been  seriously  awakened  in  England  "  that 
the  plantations  are  not  without  thoughts  of  throwing  off 
their  dependence  on  the  crown."  He,  therefore,  admon- 
ished the  assembly  to  do  away  such  an  impression  "  by 
giving  to  his  majesty  such  a  revenue,  and  in  such  a  man- 
ner, as  will  enable  him  to  pay  his  own  officers  and  serv- 
ants," as  had  been  done  from  the  revolution,  down  to  the 
year  1709  —  during  which  period  the  colony  was  far  less 
able  to  bear  such  a  burden  than  now.1 

Thus  early  and  deeply  were  those  principles  striking 
root  in  America,  which  John  Hampden  had  asserted,  and 
poured  out  his  blood  to  defend,  in  the  great  ship-money 
contest  with  Charles  I., —  which  brought  that  unhappy 
monarch  to  the  block, —  and  which, —  fulfilling  the  ap- 
prehensions of  Mr.  Clarke, —  thirty-five  years  afterward, 
separated  the  colonies  from  the  British  crown ; —  although 
in  the  answer  of  the  house  to  the  "insinuation  of  a  sus- 
picion" of  a  desire  for  independence,  with  real  or  affected 
gravity,  they  "  vouched  that  not  a  single  person  in  the 
colony  had  any  such  thoughts;  adding — "  for  under  what 
government  can  we  be  better  protected,  or  our  liberties  or 
properties  so  well  secured?"  2 

The  Indian  relations  of  the  colony  were  not  forgotten 

1  Vide  Journals  of  the  Colonial  Assembly,  vol.  i,  Hugh  Gaine's  edition. 
This  (1741),  was  the  year  in  which  the  chapel,  barracks,  secretary's  office. 
&c,  of  Fort  George  (the  Battery),  were  burnt,  and  the  speech  referred  to 
in  the  text,  asked  an  appropriation  for  their  rebuilding  —  but  without  sue 
cess. 

2  Smith,  vol.  ii. 


MM£t 

OBIIT  JUNK  24.  1643 


Published  by  Arch?  Kuilai-i.m  .v  c,,  GUam 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  47 

at  any  time  by  Mr.  Clarke.  The  Mohawks  having  re- chap. 
quested  an  appropriation  for  the  rebuilding  of  their  chapel,  ^ — 
the  attention  of  the  assembly  was  invited  to  the  subject,  1741# 
and  the  occasion  was  improved  to  bestow  a  well-deserved 
compliment  to  the  English  missionary  among  that  people 
—  the  Rev.  Mr.  Barclay,  who,  it  was  said,  ahad  opened  a 
glorious  prospect  of  spreading  the  Christian  faith  and 
worship  throughout  the  Six  Nations."  1  The  assembly 
declined  making  the  grant — alleging  that  if  the  Christian 
converts  in  that  nation  were  increasing,  the  funds  required 
for  a  new  chapel  should  be  raised  by  private  contributions. 
But  there  were  other  considerations  connected  with  the 
Indian  policy,  which  it  would  not  answer  to  neglect.  War 
had  been  declared  by  the  parent  government  against 
Spain ;  and  lively  apprehensions  were  entertained  of  an 
approaching  rupture  with  France.  In  anticipation  of  such 
an  event,  fortifications  were  required  for  the  security  of 
the  harbor  of  New  York,  and  also  for  the  defence  of  the 
frontiers — particularly  of  Oswego, —  to  the  importance  of 
strengthening  which  the  lieutenant-governor  repeatedly 
called  the  attention  of  the  assembly.  In  the  event  of  a 
war  with  France,  he  was  greatly  apprehensive  that  this 
post  would  be  taken,  in  which  case  there  was  reason  to 
fear  from  the  temper  of  late  manifested  by  the  Six  Na- 
tions, that  they  would  all  fall  away  to  the  enemy.  In  this 
emergency,  appropriations  were  asked  to  enable  the  lieu- 
tenant-governor to  convoke  a  grand  council  of  the  Con- 
federates at  Albany,  which  was  accordingly  held  in  the 

1  The  missionary  thus  mentioned  in  the  text,  was  the  Rev.  Henry  Barclay, 
afterward  a  doctor  of  divinity,  and  rector  of  Trinity  Church  in  the  city  of 
New  York.  He  was  a  native  of  Albany,  and  a  graduate  of  Yale  College  of  the 
year  1734.  He  received  orders  in  England ;  and  after  several  years'  service 
in  the  Mohawk  country,  as  a  missionary,  was  called  to  New  York.  The 
translation  of  the  litugy  into  the  Mohawk  language,  was  made  under  his 
direction,  and  that  of  Rev.  W.  Andrews  and  the  Rev.  J.  Ogilvie.  Mr. 
Ogilvie  succeeded  him  both  in  the  mission,  and  also,  on  his  decease,  in 
Trinity  Church.     Mr.  Barclay  died  in  1765. 


48  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  month,  of  August.  The  lieutenant-governor's  opening 
v— v — ;  speech  to  the  assemblage  of  sachems  and  warriors  was 
both  happily  conceived  and  expressed  —  creditable  alike 
to  his  head  and  his  heart.  After  an  apology  for  not  hav- 
ing met  them  at  an  earlier  day,  in  consequence  of  the 
prevalence  of  the  small-pox  in  New  York,  the  infection 
of  which  he  was  apprehensive  might  be  conveyed  among 
their  people,  he  admonished  them  against  the  dangers 
arising  from  the  propensity  of  their  young  warriors  to 
join  the  Indians  in  the  interest  of  the  French,  in  their 
hostile  expeditions  against  the  more  distant  tribes  of  their 
own  kindred.  The  enticing  of  their  young  men  in  those 
expeditions,  he  argued,  was  an  artful  device  of  the  French 
to  divide  and  weaken  them.  ""When  united,"  said  he, 
"  you  are  like  a  strong  rope,  made  of  many  strings  and 
threads  twisted  together,  but  when  separated,  weak  and 
easily  broken.  Thus  they  attempt  to  divide  and  weaken 
you,  by  leading  your  rash  young  men  upon  their  distant 
wars.  They  nope  so  to  weaken  you  by  degrees,  as  by  and 
by  to  be  able  to  conquer  you.  If  they  were  lovers  of 
liberty  themselves,  they  ought  not  to  try  to  enslave  other 
nations." 

It  was  doubtless  owing  in  a  great  measure  to  this  spe- 
cies of  intercourse  between  the  Iroquois  and  the  Indians 
on  the  Canadian  side  of  the  line,  that  the  former  were  so 
frequently  disposed  to  join  the  French  —  a  disposition  re- 
quiring so  many  largesses,  and  so  much  tact  and  activity 
to  counteract.  The  lieutenant-governor  likewise  drew  a 
contrast  between  the  tyrannical  and  overbearing  conduct 
of  the  French  toward  the  Indians,  as  compared  with  the 
liberal  and  humane  treatment  which  the  red-men  had  al- 
ways received  at  the  hands  of  the  English.  Whether  that 
contrast  was  in  all  respects  a  just  one,  it  were  bootless 
now  to  inquire. 

In  the  course  of  the  speech,  the  lieutenant-governor 
attempted  to  impart  to  the  sachems  and  warriors  some 


LIFE   OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  49 

wholesome  lessons  of  filial  piety,  and  to  infuse  into  their  chap. 
hearts  some  juster  and  loftier  notions  of  true  courage  ■^~Y—' 
than  were  prevalent  among  that  rude  people.  He  endea-  '  ' 
vored  to  impress  it  upon  their  minds  that  wars  upon  wo- 
men and  children  were  the  opposite  of  brave,  and  that  the 
scalps  of  such  when  brought  in  from  the  war-path,  were 
the  trophies  of  cowards.  He  also  exhorted  them  to  aban- 
don the  cruelties  practiced  by  their  people  in  war  —  re- 
minding them  that  the  cruelties  they  inflicted  upon  others, 
were  sure  in  the  end  to  be  visited  upon  themselves  in 
return ;  and  in  again  admonishing  them  against  their 
associations  with  the  French,  he  reminded  them  of  the 
fact,  that  in  some  of  their  distant  expeditions  in  company 
with  the  Indians  in  that  interest,  they  had  been  compelled 
to  strike  the  heads'of  their  own  remote  allies,  and  some- 
times it  had  been  proved  that  they  had  struck  down  their 
own  people  —  probably  unawares. 

In  connection  with  this  intimacy  with  the  French,  Mr. 
Clarke  complained  that  some  of  the  Onondaga  chiefs  had 
even  been  to  converse  with  the  governor  of  Canada,  after 
the  council  they  were  then  holding  had  been  summoned. 
Still,  he  thanked  them  for  the  disposition  they  had  shown 
to  keep  the  path  open  to  the  trading-post  at  Oswego,  and 
complimented  them  for  their  wisdom  in  keeping  the 
French  from  Tierondequot.  In  conclusion  he  informed 
them  that  he  had  it  in  charge  from  the  great  king  their 
father,  to  negotiate  a  general  peace  among  all  the  Indians, 
so  that  they,  with  all  the  red-men  south  and  west  to  the 
great  Mississippi,  should  form  a  mighty  chain,  strong  and 
bright.     This  work,  he  said,  he  was  determined  to  do. 

The  sachems  were  shrewd  in  their  replies.  In  regard 
to  Oswego,  they  wished  "  their  brother  Corlaer,1  would 

1  The  name  or  title  by  which  the  Six  Nations  always  designated  the  Eng- 
lish governors  of  New  York.     The  original  Colaer  was  a  German  trader 
greatly  beloved  by  the  Six  Nations.     He  was  drowned  in  Lake  Champlain 
while  on  one  of  his  trading  trips. 
7 


50  LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  make  powder  and  lead  cheaper  there,  and  pay  the  Indians 
v-^_/ better  for  helping  to  build  their  houses."  Of  the  Tieron- 
174L  dequot  matter  they  replied:  "You  said  that  we  had  acted 
very  wisely  in  not  suffering  the  French  to  settle  at  Tie- 
rondequot,  and  that  if  they  only  had  liberty  to  build  a 
fishing-hut  there,  they  would  soon  build  a  fort.  We  per- 
ceive that  both  you  and  the  French  intend  to  settle  that  place,  but 
ice  are  fully  resolved  that  neither  you  nor  they  shall  do  it.  There 
is  a  jealousy  between  you  and  the  governor  of  Canada.  If 
either  should  settle  there  it  would  breed  mischief.  Such  near 
neighbors  can  never  agree.  We  think  that  the  trading- 
houses  at  Oswego  and  Niagara  are  near  enough  to  each 
other."  Touching  the  simile  of  the  rope,  they  said  it  was 
their  desire  to  make  it  strong  by  preserving  friendship 
with  as  many  nations  as  they  could.  "As  our  great  father 
the  great  king  has  commanded  us  that  we  should  be  as 
one  flesh  and  blood  with  the  Indians  to  the  southward  and 
westward  as  far  as  the  Mississippi,  so  we  accept  of  them  as 
brethren,  that  we  may  be  united  as  one  heart  and  one 
flesh,  according  to  the  king's  commandment.  But  we 
desire  that  some  of  the  sachems  of  those  southern  In- 
dians do  come  here,  which  will  strengthen  and  confirm 
this  treaty.  We  will  give  them  two  years  time  to  come 
in,  and  in  the  mean  time  keep  at  home  all  our  fighting 
men." 

In  his  rejoinder,  the  lieutenant-governor  told  them  he 
could  perceive  no  necessity  for  any  meeting  between  them 
and  the  chiefs  of  the  south  and  west.  He  was  already 
clothed  with  power  to  conclude  for  them  a  general  peace. 
He  farther  informed  them  that  he  had  some  presents  from 
the  governor  of  Virginia,  but  was  instructed  not  to  de- 
liver the  articles  unless  they  first  received  all  the  Indians 
under  his  majesty's  protection  into  the  covenant  chain. 

The  result  of  the  conference,  after  the  chiefs  were  made 
to  understand  that  Corlaer  was  empowered  fully  to  treat 
in  behalf  of  the  southern  Indians,  was,  that  they  agreed  to 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  51 

receive  them  all  into  the  covenant  chain, —  adding :  "  and  chap. 
we  shall  ever  look  upon  them  as  our  own  brethren,  and  s- v— ' 
as   our  own  flesh,  as  if  they  had  been  born    and   bred 
amongst  us.     And  as  we  have  never  yet  been  guilty  of 
violating  treaties,  so  you  may  depend  that  we  will  keep 
this  inviolable  to  the  end  of  the  wotfld."1 

The  council  broke  up  amicably,  and  the  Indians,  well 
laden  with  presents,  returned  to  their  homes,  professing  a 
friendship  for  Corlaer  which  was  to  endure  so  long  as  the 
Great  Spirit  should  cause  the  grass  to-  grow  and  the  water 
to  run.  But  however  firm  the  grasp  by  which  they  pur- 
posed to  hold  on  to  their  end  of  the  covenant  chain,  their 
good  resolutions  were  liable  to  be  shaken  by  every  trifling 
circumstance  that  awakened  their  unsl umbering  jealousy, 
while  the  hold  upon  the  affections  of  the  Onondagas,  Ca- 
yugas,  and  Senecas,  which  the  Jesuits  retained  till  the 
last,  in  all  times  of  peril,  rendered  their  constancy  an  ob- 
ject of  doubtful  solicitude  in  the  minds  of  the  English. 
Still,  the  pacification  effected  by  Mr.  Clarke  contributed 
largely  to  the  repose  of  the  Six  Nations  for  the  two  ensu- 
ing years, — 1741  and  1742.2     The  lieutenant-governor,  it 


1  Unpublished  minutes  of  the  executive  council,  secretary  of  state's  office, 
in  Albany. 

2  In  the  manuscript  journals  of  the  privy  council  which  have  never  been 
published,  and  which  are  only  to  be  found  in  the  office  of  the  secretary  of 
state  in  Albany,  it  is  stated,  under  the  date  of  May  thirty-first,  1742,  that 
the  lieutenant-governor  announced  to  the  council-board  that  he  had  sum- 
moned the  Six  Nations  to  meet  him  in  Albany,  on  the  seventh  of  June;  but 
that  he  had  not  been  able  to  obtain  the  necessary  funds  from  the  treasurer  to 
purchase  presents  for  the  Indians.  The  treasurer  alledged  that  he  had  not 
the  money  nor  could  he  obtain  it.  He  Had,  however,  some  other  funds,  to  the 
amount  of  £600,  which  he  offered  to  furnish  toward  the  necessary  supply. 
But  the  lieutenant-governor  said  he  could  not  go  unless  an  amount  suffi- 
cient to  answer  the  object  could  be  procured.  Whereupon  Mr.  Livingston 
offered  to  make  the  nocessary  advance.  It  is  not  however  certain  that  the 
council  win  held,  since  I  have  not  been  able  to  find  :tny  account  of  it  either 
in  the  council  minutes  or  elsewhere. 


52  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  is  true,  adverted  to  the  defenceless  condition  of  the  Indian 
v_^_;  frontiers  occasionally  in  his  speeches  to  the  general  assem- 
1741.  kty?  especially  to  the  important  post  of  Oswego.  But  the 
popularity  of  Mr.  Clarke  was  rapidly  on  the  wane.  Chief 
Justice  De  Lancy,  the  master  spirit  of  the  council,  having 
rather  abandoned  him,  and  attached  himself  to  the  popu- 
lar party,  managed  to  preserve  a  considerate  coolness  on 
the  part  of  that  body  toward  their  executive  head,  while 
the  house  heeded  but  little  his  recommendations. 

The  only  subject  of  local  excitement,  however,  during 
the  year  1741,  was  the  celebrated  plot  supposed  to  have 
been  discovered  on  the  part  of  the  negroes,  to  murder  the 
inhabitants  of  New  York,  and  ravage  and  burn  the  city, — 
an  affair  which  reflects  little  credit  either  upon  the  dis- 
cernment, or  the  humanity,  of  that  generation. 

The  burning  of  the  public  buildings,  comprising  the 
governor's  residence,  the  secretary's  office,  the  chapel  and 
barracks,  in  March,  1741, —  an  occurrence  which  has  al- 
ready been  anticipated  in  a  note  to  a  preceding  page,  was 
first  announced  to  the  general  assembly  by  the  lieutenant- 
governor  as  the  result  of  an  accident, —  a  plumber,  who 
had  been  engaged  upon  some  repairs,  having  left  fire  in 
a  gutter  between  the  house  and  chapel.  But  several  other 
fires  occurring  shortly  afterward,  in  different  parts  of  the 
city, —  some  of  them,  perhaps,  under  circumstances  that 
could  not  readily  be  explained,  suspicions  were  awakened 
that  the  whole  were  acts  of  incendiaries.  Not  a  chimney 
caught  fire, — and  they  were  not  at  that  day  very  well 
swept, — but  the  incident  was  attributed  to  design.  Such 
was  the  case  in  respect  to  the  chimney  of  Captain  "War- 
ren's house,  situated  near  the  ruins  of  the  public  buildings, 
by  the  taking  fire  of  which  the  roof  was  partially  destroyed, 
and  other  instances  might  be  enumerated.  Suspicion,  to 
borrow  the  language  of  Shakespeare,  "hath  a  ready 
tongue,"  and  is  "all  stuck  full  of  eyes,"  which  are  not 
easily  put  to  sleep.     Incidents  and  circumstances,  ordinary 


LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  53 

and  extraordinary,  were  seized  upon  and  brought  together  chap. 
by  comparison,  until  it  became  obvious  to  all  that  there  wv_ • 
was  actually  a  conspiracy  for  compassing  such  a  stupen-  '  ' 
dous  act  of  arson  as  the  burning  of  the  entire  town  and 
murder  of  the  people.  Nor  was  it  long  before  the  plot 
was  fastened  upon  the  negro  slaves  —  then  forming  no  in- 
considerable portion  of  the  population.  A  negro,  with 
violent  gesticulation,  had  been  heard  to  utter  some  terms 
of  unintelligible  jargon,  in  which  the  words  "fire,  fire, 
scorch,  scorch,"  were  heard  articulated,  or  supposed  to  be 
heard.  The  crew  of  a  Spanish  ship,  brought  into  the 
port  as  a  prize,  were  sold  into  slavery.  They  were  sus- 
pected of  disaffection,  as  well  they  might  be,  and  yet 
be  innocent;  seized,  and  thrown  into  prison.  Coals 
were  found  disposed,  as  was  supposed,  for  burning  a  hay- 
stack; a  negro  had  been  seen  jumping  over  a  fence,  and 
flying  from  a  house  that  had  taken  fire,  in  another  place ; 
and  in  a  word  a  vast  variety  of  incidents,  trifling  and  un- 
important, were  collated,  and  talked  over,  until  universal 
consternation  seized  upon  the  inhabitants,  from  the  high- 
est to  the  lowest.  As  Hume  remarks  of  the  Popish  plot 
in  the  reign  of  Charles  II,  "  each  breath  of  rumor  made 
the  people  start  with  anxiety ;  their  enemies,  they  thought, 
were  in  their  bosoms.  They  were  awakened  from  their 
slumbers  by  the  cry  of  Plot,  and  like  men  affrighted,  and 
in  the  dark,  took  every  figure  for  a  spectre.  The  terror 
of  each  man  became  a  source  of  terror  to  another.  And, 
an  universal  panic  being  diffused,  reason,  and  argument, 
and  common  sense,  and  common  humanity,  lost  all  influ- 
ence over  them."1  A  Titus  Oates  wTas  found  in  the  per- 
son of  a  poor  weak  servant-girl  in  a  sailor's  boarding- 
house,  named  Mary  Burton,  who,  after  much  importunity 

1  Quoted  by  Dunlap,  who  has  given  a  good  collection  of  facts  respecting 
this  remarkable  plot,  though  not  rendered  into  a  well-digested  narrative. 
See  chapt.  xxi,  of  his  History. 


54  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  confessed  that  she  had  heard  certain  negroes,  in  the  pre- 
■ — , — '  ceding  February,  conferring  in  private,  for  the  purpose 
'  of  setting  the  town  on  fire.  She  at  first  confined  the  con- 
spirators to  blacks ;  but  afterward  several  white  persons 
were  included,  among  whom  were  her  landlord,  whose 
name  was  Hughson,  his  wife,  another  maid-servant,  and  a 
Roman  Catholic  named  Ury.  Some  other  information 
was  obtained  from  other  informers,  and  numerous  arrests 
were  made ;  and  the  several  strong  apartments  in  the  City 
Hall,  called  "the  jails,"  were  crowded  with  prisoners, 
amounting  in  numbers  to  twenty-six  whites  and  above 
one  hundred  and  sixty  slaves.1  Numerous  executions 
took  place,  upon  the  most  frivolous  and  unsatisfactory  tes- 
timony; but  jurors  and  magistrates  were  alike  panic- 
stricken  and  wild  with  terror.  Among  the  sufferers  were 
Hughson,  his  wife,  and  the  maid-servant,  as  also  the  Ro- 
manist Ury,  who  was  capitally  accused,  not  only  as  a  con- 
spirator, but  for  officiating  as  a  priest,  upon  an  old  law  of 
the  colony,  heretofore  mentioned  as  having  been  passed 
at  the  instance  of  Governor  Bellamont,  to  drive  the  French 
missionaries  from  among  the  Indians.  "  The  whole  sum- 
mer was  spent  in  the  prosecutions ;  every  new  trial  led  to 
further  accusations :  a  coincidence  of  slight  circumstances 
was  magnified  by  the  general  terror  into  violent  presump- 
tions ;  tales  collected  without  doors,  mingling  with  the 
proofs  given  at  the  bar,  poisoned  the  minds  of  the  jurors  ; 
and  this  sanguinary  spirit  of  the  day  suffered  no  check  until 
Mary,  the  capital  informer,  bewildered  by  frequent  exami- 
nations and  suggestions,  began  to  touch  characters  which 
malice  itself  dared  not  suspect."  Then,  as  in  the  case  of 
the  Popish  plot,  and  the  prosecutions  for  witchcraft  in 
Salem,  the  magistrates  and  jurors  began  to  pause.  But 
not  until  many  had  been  sent  to  their  final  account  by  the 
spirit  of  fanaticism  which  had  bereft  men  of  their  reason, 

1  Smith's  History  of  New  York,  vol.  ii,  pp.  70,  75. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  55 

as  innocent  of  the  charges  laid  against  them  as  the  con-  chap. 
victing  courts  and  jurors  themselves.  Thirteen  negroes- — „ — - 
were  burnt  at  the  stake,  eighteen  were  hanged,  and  sev-  L 
enty  transported.1 

1  Smith.  Daniel  Horsmanden,  the  third  justice  of  the  supreme  court, 
published  the  history  of  this  strange  affair  in  a  ponderous  quarto.  He  was 
concerned  in  the  administration  of  the  judicial  proceedings,  however,  and 
wrote  his  history  before  the  delusion  had  passed  away.  Chief  Justice  De 
Lancey  presided  at  least  at  some  of  the  trials  ;  and  he,  too,  though  an  able 
and  clear-minded  man,  was  carried  away  by  the  delusion. 


CHAPTER    II, 

1742— 1744. 

chap.  Yew  names  in  the  colonial  history  of  the  United  States, 
v— v — '  have  descended  to  the  present  day  with  greater  renown, 
1/42  than  that  of  Sir  William  Johnson,  Bart.  Yet,  notwith- 
standing its  frequent  occurrence  in  the  annals  of  his  times, 
and  its  intimate  association  with  the  public  affairs  of  the 
country  during  the  period  of  nearly  forty  years  immedi- 
ately preceding  the  American  revolution,  it  may  well  be 
questioned  whether  the  life  and  character  of  any  other 
public  man,  equally  distinguished,  have  been  so  inade- 
quately appreciated,  or  so  imperfectly  understood.  Com- 
ing to  America  at  the  instance  of  a  relative,  when,  if  not 
a  mere  youth  of  fifteen,  he  was  certainly  a  very  young 
man,  he  threw  himself  boldly  into  the  wilderness,  and 
with  but  little  assistance,  became  the  architect  of  his  own 
fortune  and  fame.  From  the  subordinate  station  of  an 
agent  in  charge  of  the  landed  property  of  his  relative,  he 
became  successively  a  farmer,  a  dealer  in  peltries,  a  mer- 
chant, a  government  contractor,  a  general  in  the  armies 
of  his  adopted  country,  and  a  baronet  of  the  British 
realm, —  possessed  of  an  estate  of  great  value,  and  tran- 
scending* in  extent  the  broadest  domains  of  the  nobles  of 
his  parent-land.  The  hero  alike  of  veritable  history  and 
of  romance,  his  actual  career  being  withal  more  romantic 
by  far  than  any  of  the  tales  which  the  writers  of  fiction 
have  succeeded  in  inventing  for  him,  his  character, —  from 
the  wild  border-life  which  he  led,  and  from  his  associa- 
tions, both  in  civilized  life  and  as  connected  with  the  In- 
dians, and  the  wonderful  influence  he  acquired  over  the 


LIFE   OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  57 

latter, —  has  been  invested,  both  in  books  and  by  tradition,  chap. 
with  qualities  strange  and  undefinable, — such  indeed  as> — ^— • 
are  believed  to  have  appertained  to  no  other  man  of  his  1742- 
own,  or  of  any  other  age.1 

William  Johnson, — afterward  Sir  "William  Johnson, 
Bart.,  was  the  eldest  son  of  Christopher  Johnson,  Esquire, 
of  Warren  town,  county  of  Dowm,  Ireland,—  of  a  family 
ancient  in  its  descent,  and  honorable  in  its  alliances.  His 
mother  was  Anne  Warren,  sister  of  the  brothers  Oliver 
and  Peter, —  afterward  Sir  Peter  Warren,  K.  B. —  whose 
names  are  identified  with  the  naval  glory  of  England. 
The  Warrens  were  of  an  old  and  honorable  family,  pos- 
sessing an  estate  in  the  county  of  Down  from  the  first 
arrival  of  the  English  in  Ireland.  Oliver  Warren,  the 
eldest  son  of  his  father,  was  a  captain  in  the  royal  navy, 
and  served  with  reputation  during  the  reigns  of  Queen 
Anne  and  George  the  First.2  Peter,  the  youngest  son, 
having  been  trained  to  the  nautical  profession  under  the 
immediate  eye  of  his  brother,  was  appointed  in  the  sum- 
mer of  1727,  to  the  command  of  the  Grafton,  one  of  the 
four  ships  of  the  line  sent  out  under  Sir  George  Walton, 
to  join  Sir  Charles  Wager,  then  in  the  Mediterranean 
command.  Captain  Warren  did  not  long  continue  in  the 
Grafton,  having  been  soon  after  his  arrival  at  Gibraltar, 
transferred  to  the  Solebay  frigate,  for  the  purpose  of  car- 
rying to  the  West  Indies  the  orders  of  the  king  of  Spain 


1  See  the  admirable  satire  by  Charles  Johnson,  entitled  Chrysal,  or  the 
Adventures  of  a  Guinea;  vol.  iii,  book  ii,  chapters  1,  2,  and  3.  The 
Dutchman's  Fireside,  by  Paulding ;  and  also  The  Gipsey,  by  G.  P.  R.  James ; 
to  say  nothing  of  minor  tales  and  romances.  ^Neither  of  the  writers  of  the 
first  mentioned  three  works  appears  to  have  understood  the  true  character 
of  Sir  William  Johnson.  The  satire  in  Chrysal  is  a  gross  exaggeration  of 
the  errors  in  the  baronet's  life.  Paulding's  exaggerations  are  equally  great 
in  another  respect ;  while  the  delineation  attempted  by  James  is  an  utter 
failure. 

2  MSS.  of  Sir  William  Johnson. 

8 


58  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  for  executing  the  preliminaries  of  peace  agreed  upon  be- 
^— v— -  tween  that  monarch  and  Great  Britain.  He  sailed  upon 
1742,  this  service  in  May,  1728 ;  and  having  executed  the  com- 
mission with  which  he  was  charged,  in  pursuance  to  his 
instructions,  he  sailed  from  the  West  Indies  to  South  Caro- 
lina,—  returning  to  England  in  the  following  year.  Im- 
mediately on  his  arrival  he  was  appointed  to  the  Leopard, 
of  fifty  guns,  one  of  the  fleet  which  during  the  years  1729 
and  1730,  rendezvoused  at  Spithead,  under  the  command 
of  Sir  Charles  "Wager.  Captain  Warren  commanded  the 
Leopard  until  after  1735,  in  which  year  he  accompanied 
Sir  J.  IsTorris  to  Lisbon. 

This  account  of  the  earlier  service  of  Sir  Peter  Warren, 
after  his  promotion  to  the  command  of  a  ship,  has  been 
drawn  from  Charnock's  Biographia  JNavalis,  and  is  con- 
ceived to  be  at  least  not  irrelevant,  from  the  relations 
which  subsisted  between  him  and  the  immediate  subject 
of  these  memoirs.  During  the  period  under  considera- 
tion, and  long  afterward,  the  domicil  of  Captain  Warren 
was  in  the  city  and  colony  of  New  York1     He  married  the 

*The  dwelling-house  No.  1,  Broadway,  formerly  the  residence  of  Na- 
thaniel Prime,  and  now  (1864),  the  Washington  Hotel,  was  built  by  Cap- 
tain Warren.  Neither  pains  nor  expense  were  spared  to  make  it  one  of 
the  finest  mansions  in  this  country.  The  plans  were  all  sent  out  from  Lis- 
bon. The  exterior  and  interior  being  similar  in  every  respect  to  that  of 
the  British  ambassador  residing  at  the  Portuguese  capital.  The  house 
was  fifty-six  feet  on  Broadway,  and  when  erected,  the  rear  of  the  lot  was 
bounded  by  the  North  river.  Greenwich  street  was  not  then  opened  or 
built  —  the  North  river  washed  the  shore.  One  room  of  this  edifice  de- 
serves particular  notice,  being  the  banqueting  room,  twenty-six  by  forty, 
and  was  used  on  all  great  occasions.  After  the  British  forces  captured  New 
York,  in  the  war  of  the  American  revolution,  being  the  most  prominent 
house,  it  was  the  head-quarters  of  the  distinguished  British  commanders. 
Sir  William  Howe,  Sir  Henry  Clinton,  and  Sir  Guy  Carlton,  afterward 
Lord  Dorchester,  all  in  succession  occupied  this  house,  and  it  is  a  memo- 
rable fact  that  the  celebrated  Major  Andre,  then  adjutant-general  of  the 
British  forces,  and  aid  to  Sir  Henry  Clinton,  resided  in  this  house,  being 
in  the  family  of  Sir  Henry,  and  departed  from  its  portals  never  to  return, 


I, .  1 1,1-  I   -'"■■■ 


//v-  ' 


/ 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  59 

sister  of  James  De  Lancey,  long  the  chief  justice  of  the  chap. 
colony,  and  for  several  years  lieutenant-governor.1  I  have  • — , — • 
not  been  able  to  ascertain  the  time  when  Captain  Warren 
came  to  America  to  reside.  Equally  difficult,  among  con- 
flicting authorities,  is  the  task  of  fixing  upon  the  date  of 
his  nephew's  arrival  in  this  country.  No  farther  mention 
is  made  of  Captain  Warren  in  the  naval  history  of  Eng- 
land from  the  time  of  his  sailing  to  Lisbon,  in  1735,  until 
after  the  rupture  with  Spain,  when,  in  the  year  1741,  he 
was  in  command  of  the  Squirrel,  a  twenty-gun  ship,  on 
the  American  station. 

It  seems  hardly  probable,  from  the  age  of  Warren,  and 
from  the  active  service  in  which  he  was  engaged,  that  he 
could  have  settled  in  America  at  an  earlier  period  than 
the  year  1735.  He  was  born  in  1704,  and  was  conse- 
quently but  twenty-three  years  of  age  when  appointed  to 
the  command  of  the  Grafton. 

William  Johnson,  his  nephew,  was  born  in  the  year 
1715.  According  to  Doctor  Dwight,  as  written  in  his 
travels,  and  according  to  the  biographical  dictionaries  also, 
Mr.  Johnson  was  called  to  America  by  his  uncle,  Sir 
Peter  Warren,  in  the  year  1735,  to  superintend  a  large 
estate  which  the  latter,  shortly  after  his  marriage,  had 
purchased  in  the  Mohawk  valley.  I  have  besides  an 
old    manuscript,    furnished   by   the    Sammons  family  of 

when  he  went  up  the  Noiih  river,   and  arranged  his  treasonable  project 
with  the  traitor  Arnold  at  West  Point. 

1  The  name  of  James  De  Lancey  will  be  of  frequent  recurrence  in  the 
progress  of  this  work.  He  was  the  son  of  Stephen  De  Lancey,  a  French 
Huguenot  gentleman  from  Caen,  in  Normandy,  who  fled  from  persecution 
in  France.  Settling  in  New  York  in  1686,  he  married  a  daughter  of  M. 
Van  Courtlandt,  and  was  thus  connected  with  one  of  the  most  opulent  fami- 
lies in  the  province.  He  was  also  an  active  member  of  the  house  of  assem- 
bly during  the  administration  of  Governor  Hunter.  His  son  James  was 
sent  to  Cambridge  Uuiversity  (England),  for  his  education  ;  and  bred  to 
the  profession  of  the  law.  On  being  elevated  to  the  bench,  such  was  his 
talents  and  application,  he  became  a  very  profound  lawyer. 


60  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap.  Johnstown,  which  states  that  the  young  adventurer  came 
*_v_ /to  America  with  Captain  Warren  at  the  age  of  fifteen. 
1742.  Neither  of  these  dates,  however,  is  correct,  as  Johnson 
himself  distinctly  states  in  a  letter  written  to  the  lords  of 
trade  under  date  of  October  thirteenth,  1764,  that  he  came 
to  America  in  the  year  1738.  Johnson  was  then  twenty- 
three  years  of  age ;  and  his  arrival  must  have  been  shortly 
after  the  weak  and  turbulent  administration  of  Governor 
Cosby.  Although  in  the  letter  to  the  lords  of  trade  just 
cited,  the  writer  does  not  state  the  season  of  the  year  in 
which  he  came  to  America,  yet  it  was  probably  in  the 
spring,  since  in  the  fall  of  1738,  he  was  already  settled  in 
the  Mohawk  country  and  had  begun  the  cultivation  of  his 
land.  The  document  of  the  earliest  date  whichlhave  found 
among  the  Johnson  manuscripts,  is  a  letter  from  Captain 
"Warren  to  his  nephew,  whom  he  familiarly  addresses 
as  "  Dear  Billy. ,"  It  was  dated  at  Boston,  November 
twentieth,  1738,  at  which  place  the  captain  probably 
passed  several  months,  since  he  suggested  a  shipment  of 
wheat,  corn,  and  other  farming  produce,  to  be  made  by 
his  nephew  from  Albany  to  his  order  in  Boston,  early  in 
the  following  spring. 

The  estate  purchased  by  Captain  Warren  in  the  Mo- 
hawk country,  heretofore  alluded  to,  consisted  of  a  tract 
of  land  lying  on  the  south  side  of  the  river,  near  the  junc- 
tion of  the  Mohawk  and  Schoharie  kill,  called  Warrens- 
bush.  From  the  letter  just  cited,  it  appears  that  young 
Johnson  was  engaged  in  the  double  capacity  of  forming  a 
settlement  upon  the  lands  of  his  uncle,  and  bringing  lands 
into  cultivation  for  himself —  keeping,  also,  though  upon 
a  small  scale,  a  country  store,  in  which  his  uncle  was  a 
partner.  But  the  means  of  neither  of  the  parties  could 
have  been  great  at  that  time ;  such  at  least  is  the  inference 
from  the  letter,  which  is  long,  and  abounds  in  many  details 
and  directions,  in  what  was  evidently  at  that  time  a  com- 
paratively limited  business.     The  captain  writes :  "I  have 


LIFE    OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  61 

received  yours  of  the  twenty-sixth  and  thirtieth  of  October,  chap. 
and  am  glad  to  hear  that  you  are  in  health,  and  go  on  wy-. 
briskly  with  your  settlements."  Respecting  the  means  1'42, 
for  prosecuting  the  enterprise,  the  letter  says:  "I  am 
sorry  you  have  been  obliged  to  draw  for  more  on  New 
York  than  I  directed ;  but  as  it  is,  I  presume,  for  goods 
that  will  bring  part  of  the  amount  in  again,  I  am  not  dis- 
pleased with  it ;  yet  I  will  not  go  beyond  two  hundred 
pounds  per  annum  in  making  the  settlement,  and  that  to 
be  complete  in  three  years  from  your  first  beginning, 
which  will  make  the  whole  six  hundred  pounds.  I  desire 
in  your  next  you  will  let  me  know  how  much  you  have 
had  from  New  York  in  money  and  goods."  Sailor  that 
he  was,  the  captain  understood  the  policy  of  cutting  his 
patent  into  small  farms.  "The  smaller  the  farms,"  he 
remarks,  "  the  more  the  land  that  will  be  sold,  and  the 
better  the  improvements  will  be."  The  captain  had  also 
some  taste  for  horticulture:  "I  hope  you  will  plant  a 
large  orchard  in  the  spring.  It  won't  hinder  your  Indian 
corn,  nor  grass,  as  you  will  plant  your  trees  at  a  great  dis- 
tance." He  had  likewise  taste  and  forecast  on  the  sub- 
ject of  clearing  lands:  "As  you  have  great  help  now, 
you  will  girdle  many  acres  ;*  in  doing  which  I  would  be 
regular,  and  do  it  in  square  fields,  leaving  hedge-rows  at 
each  side,  which  will  keep  the  land  warm,  be  very  beauti- 
ful, and  subject  you  to  no  more  expense  than  doing  it  in  a 
slovenly,  irregular  manner."     This  prudential  suggestion 

1  "  Girdling  trees,"  is  a  preliminary  process  often  adopted  in  the  clearing 
of  wild  land,  which  facilitates  the  labor  by  relieving  the  ax-man  of  a  part 
of  his  labor.  The  operation  consists  in  making  a  deep  circular  cut  around 
the  trunks  of  the  trees  of  any  magnitude,  which  draws  off  the  sap,  and 
causes  the  tree  to  die  in  the  course  of  a  couple  of  years.  The  trunks  and 
limbs  of  the  trees,  becoming  dry,  are  then  readily  subject  to  the  action  of 
fire,  and  the  foresters  are  thereby  often  relieved  of  much  heavy  labor ;  while 
by  the  absence  of  the  foliage,  the  earth  has  already  been  partially  warmed 
by  the  sun,  and  is  in  respect  of  decaying  roots  rendered  much  easier  of 
cultivation. 


62  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  in  favor  of  leaving  hedge-rows  of  trees  and  shrubs  for  or-' 
^— v — ( nament,  proves  that  Captain  Warren  had  not  yet  imbibed 
*  that  vandal  taste  so  characteristic  of  the  early  Anglo- 
American  proprietors,  inducing  them  to  think  that  the 
finest  country,  and  most  beautiful,  from  which  the  timber 
and  every  verdant  object  has  been  most  carefully  removed. 
The  following  passage  from  the  letter,  shows  that  the  pa- 
tron and  his  nephew  were  in  a  kind  of  partnership,  in  the 
mercantile  line.  After  enumerating  various  articles  of 
goods,  of  small  amounts,  which  the  captain  had  ordered 
from  England  and  Ireland,  the  letter  proceeds :  "  You  see 
you  will  have  a  pretty  good  cargo.  The  whole  proceeds 
of  it  must  be  remitted  as  soon  as  possible,  to  be  laid  out 
again,  till  you  with  your  increase  will  have  a  very  large 
store  of  goods  of  all  kinds  proper  for  the  country.  Pray 
let  me  know  what  rum,  and  all  things  sell  for  there,  such 
as  axes,  and  other  wrought  iron.  These  I  would  send 
from  hence ;  if  I  found  the  profit  great,  I  would  soon  have 
a  thousand  pounds  worth  of  goods  there."  The  following 
sentence  indicates  that  the  nephew  had  already  com- 
menced the  fur-trade,  which  he  afterward  prosecuted  to 
a  great  extent,  and  doubtless  to  great  profit:  "As  for 
what  skins  you  can  procure,  I  will  send  them  to  London, 
and  the  produce  of  them  shall  be  sent  you  in  proper 
goods."  Captain  Warren,  as  already  stated,  was  brother- 
in-law  to  James  De  Lancey,  afterward  chief  justice  of  the 
province  and  subsequently  lieutenant-governor.  But  the 
date  of  his  marriage  I  have  not  been  able  to  ascertain.  It 
must,  however,  have  been  some  years  before  that  of  the 
letter  under  consideration ;  for  in  this  the  captain  re- 
marks :  "  My  wife  and  two  daughters  are  very  well."  The 
letter  concludes  thus ,  "I  will  send  for  books  for  you  to 
keep  your  accounts,  which  you  must  do  very  regularly.  I 
have  no  more  to  add  at  this  time  but  my  service  to  all 
friends  and  to  wish  you  well.     Captain  Nelson,  who,  I 


LIFE    OF   SIR    WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  63 

hear,  is  going  to  Fort  Hunter,1  lias  been  so  kind  as  to  chap. 
promise  to  spare  you  some  muskets  for  your  house.     If  wv — - 
he  be  there,  my  service  to  him.     Keep  well  with  all  man- 1742' 
kind.     Act  with  honor  and  honesty.     Don't  be  notional, 
as   some    of    our   countrymen   are  often  foolishly;    and 
don't  say  anything  of  the  badness  of  the  patroon's  horses, 
for  it  may  be  taken  amiss.     He  is  a  near  relation  of  my 
wife,  and  may  have  it  in  his  power  very  much  to  serve 
you.2     Get  the  best  kind  of  fruit-trees  for  the  orchard,  if 
they  cost  something  more,  and  a  good  nursery  would  not 
be  amiss.     My  love  to  Mick.     Live  like  brothers,  and  I 
will  be  an  affectionate  uncle  to  you  both. 

P.  WAKREK" 

Who  was  "Mick,"  I  do  not  know,  but  his  name  occurs 
twice.  The  letter  itself  forms  a  singular  medley,  in  which 
matters  of  every  description  are  set  down  without  arrange- 
ment, just  as  they  came  into  the  mind  of  the  writer.  I 
have  made  the  greater  use  of  it  not  only  because  it  is  the 
only  manuscript  I  have  been  able  to  obtain  from  a  man 
who  afterward  became  illustrious  in  the  service  of  his 
country,  but  also  because  that  while  it  sheds  a  few  glimpses 
of  light  upon  a  portion  of  his  own  private  life,  it  affords 
authentic  information  as  to  the  comparatively  humble  be- 
ginnings of  one,  whose  career  in  after-life  filled  so  wide  a 
space  in  the  public  eye,  and  whose  name  is  of  such  fre- 
quent and  honorable  record  in  the  history  of  his  adopted 
country. 

Other  testimony  to  the  same  point  might  be  adduced, 
were  it  necessary.     I  have  a  manuscript,  giving  some  ac- 

1  Fort  Hunter  was  at  the  mouth  of  the  Schoharie  kill, —  the  site  of  the 
lower  castle  of  the  Mohawks.  The  Indian  name  of  the  place  was  Dyionda- 
rogon. 

2  Mr.  De  Lancey  through  the  Van  Courtlandt  family  was  connected  with 
that  of  the  patroon  of  Albany.  Hence  the  relationship  referred  to  in  the 
text. 


64  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  count  of  Sir  "William's  life,  furnished  by  the  late  Thomas 
v-^-/  Sammons,  who  in  his  boyhood  knew  the  baronet.  It 
17i'2-  speaks  of  his  humble  beginning  at  Warrensbush,  but  dates 
his  settlement  there  in  1734,  at  the  age  of  nineteen ;  which, 
for  reasons  already  stated,  must  have  been  at  least  four 
years  too  early.  According  to  this  authority,  young  John- 
son was  wont  to  ride  to  mill,  on  horse-back,  with  very  in- 
different equipments,  to  Caughnawaga,  on  the  opposite  or 
north  side  of  the  river,  distant  from  Warrensbush  fifteen 
miles.  He  showed  himself  a  man  of  enterprise  from  the 
first,  clearing  a  large  farm  for  himself,  erecting  a  store- 
house, and  immediately  opening  a  trade  with  the  white 
inhabitants  and  also  with  the  Indians.  His  style  of  living 
was  plain,  and  his  industry  great.  His  figure  was  robust, 
and  his  deportment  manly  and  commanding.  Yet  he 
made  himself  very  friendly  and  familiar  among  the  peo- 
ple, with  whom  he  mingled  in  their  rustic  sports,  and 
speedily  became  popular.  Of  this  fact  he  was  not  uncon- 
scious himself.  In  a  letter  to  his  uncle,  dated  May  tenth, 
1739,  he  says :  "As  to  my  keeping  in  with  all  people,  you 
may  assure  yourself  of  it,  dear  uncle,  for  I  dare  say  I  have 
the  good  will  of  all  people  whatsoever,  and  am  much  re- 
spected,—  very  much  on  your  account, —  and  on  account 
of  my  own  behaviour,  which  I  trust  in  God  shall  always 
continue." 

Young  Johnson  likewise  succeeded,  beyond  all  other 
men,  in  winning  the  confidence  and  affection  of  the  Mo- 
hawk Indians,  whose  most  considerable  town,  Dyiondaro- 
gon,  was  but  a  few  miles  distant.  His  trade  with  them 
had  already  become  considerable,  and  the  spirit  of  enter- 
prise which  was  rapidly  to  raise  him  to  fortune,  was  mani- 
fested in  the  letter  to  his  uncle  just  cited,  wherein  he  thus 
early  spoke  of  opening  a  trading-house  at  Oghkwaga,1 —  a 

1  It  is  a  perplexing  matter  to  fix  the  orthography  of  Indian  names,  either 
of  men,  or  places,   or  things.     For  example,   this  place  is  now  usually 


LIFE    OF    SLR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  65 

settlement  of  the  Six  Nations  on  the  Susquehanna  river,  ghap. 
some  two  hundred  miles  south  of  the  Mohawk.  The  ad-  -^-v— > 
vantages  of  a  trading  expedition  to  Oghkwaga  he  thought  ■  ' 
better  than  were  offered  at  Oswego,  where  there  were 
already  a  parcel  of  mere  sharpers  in  the  trade.  It  appears 
farther  by  this  letter,  that  Mr.  Johnson  had  given  offence 
to  his  uncle  by  the  purchase  of  a  lot  of  land,  on  the  oppo- 
site side  of  the  river,  to  which  his  patron  was  apprehen- 
sive he  might  remove.  From  the  description,  or  rather 
the  tenor  of  the  nephew's  letter  in  reply,  the  purchase  was 
of  the  lot  upon  which  he  subsequently  settled,  known  to 
this  day  as  Mount  Johnson,  and  where  the  old  massive 
stone  mansion  erected  by  him  yet  stands.  But  Mr.  John- 
son protested  to  his  uncle  that  he  had  no  design  of  remov- 
ing to  his  new  purchase,  having  made  it,  he  said,  for  the 
purpose  of  securing  a  valuable  water-power,  on  which  he 
proposed  to  erect  a  saw-mill,  that  would  be  certain  to  yield 
a  profit  of  full  forty  pounds  per  annum. 

In  regard  to  the  early  education  of  Mr.  Johnson,  I  have 
succeeded  in  obtaining  no  satisfactory  information.  It  is 
presumed  that  he  did  not  receive  the  advantages  of  a  uni- 
versity course  of  instruction ;  while  the  presumption  is 
equally  strong  that  he  had  enjoyed  the  benefit  of  some 
classical  school  where  other  languages  than  the  English 
were  taught.  I  have  found  among  his  private  correspond- 
ence, letters  addressed  to  him  both  in  French  and  Latin, 
which  were  filed  away  with  endorsements  in  his  own  hand- 
written Oquago.  The  Rev.  Mr.  Hawley,  however,  a  missionary  to  the  In- 
dians, and  a  cotemporary  of  Sir  William  Johnson,  in  his  journal  to  this 
place,  spells  it  Onohoghgwage.  I  have  adopted,  in  the  Life  of  Brant,  from 
his  own  manuscript,  the  orthography  given  above  in  the  text.  The  place 
and  river  now  known  as  Unadilla,  are  spelt  by  Mr.  Hawley,  Teyondel- 
hough.  By  Brant  it  was  contracted  to  Tunadilla.  The  large  creek  flow- 
ing into  the  Susquehanna  some  teu  or  fifteen  miles  south  of  Cooperstown, 
called  Otego,  was  written  by  Mr.  Hawley,  Wauteghe ;  which  is  the  better 
Indian. 

9 


66  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM    JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  writing,  always  in  the  language  in  which  the  letters  them- 
- — , — ■  selves  were  respectively  written.  And  it  will  subsequently 
17  appear  from  the  invoices  of  books  ordered  for  his  private 
library  from  his  correspondents  in  London,  in  the  days  of 
his  prosperity,  that  his  selections  indicated  not  only  a 
mind  of  considerable  cultivation,  but  also  of  a  scientific 
turn.  There  is  yet  greater  difficulty  in  fixing  the  date  of 
his  marriage,  or  giving  any  satisfactory  account  of  the 
family  with  which  he  became  thus  connected.  It  is  be- 
lieved that  he  married  young,  probably  about  1740, —  cer- 
tainly in  the  earlier  years  of  his  residence  in  the  Mohawk 
country, —  and  the  object  of  his  choice  is  supposed  to  have 
been  a  young  German  woman  by  the  name  of  Catherine 
Wisenberg,  a  plain  country  girl  of  no  social  position,  but 
gifted  with  good  sound  sense,  and  a  mild  and  gentle  dis- 
position. 

Having  thus  introduced  to  the  reader  the  principal  bio- 
graphical subject  of  these  memoirs,  with  some  of  his  fam- 
ily connections,  it  is  necessary  for  the  preservation,  as  far 
as  may  be,  of  chronological  order,  to  resume  again  the 
thread  of  Indian  history,  at  the  point  of  its  termination  in 
the  preceding  chapter. 

In  the  summer  of  1742,  the  Six  Nations,  by  a  large  del- 
egation of  counselors,  chiefs,  and  warriors,  numbering  in 
all  upward  of  seventy  persons,  visited  Philadelphia  to  hold 
a  treaty  with  their  brother  Onas,  governor  of  Pennsylva- 
nia.1 It  appears  that  by  an  antecedent  treaty,  the  Six  Na- 
tions, claiming  the  country  of  the  Delawares  by  right  of 
conquest,  had  released  to  Onas  their  claim  to  all  the  lands 
on  both  sides  of  the  Susquehanna,  from  the  Endless  moun 
tains,  or  Kittochtinny  hills,  to  the  southern  boundary  of 
Pennsylvania.     At   the  time  of  making  that  relinquish 

1Onas,  in  the  Iroquois  language,  signifies  a  Pen,  and  was  the  title  by 
which  William  Penn  was  addressed  by  the  Indians,  and  the  governors  who 
succeeded  him. 


--V 


Sfc.j 


mff 


/. 


/' 


.1  ,\  .'•!    E§      l,D   l  i.;\7 


LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  67 

merit,  they  had  received  payment  in  goods,  for  the  terri-  chap. 
tory  ceded  on  the  east  side  of  the  river;  but  preferred < — „ — - 
waiting  for  the  balance  due  for  the  lands  on  the  other  side  '  ' 
until  a  more  convenient  season.  It  was  for  the  purpose 
of  closing  that  negotiation,  therefore,  that  the  council  of 
1742  was  convened.  The  deputation  was  headed  by  the 
celebrated  Onondaga  counselor,  Canassateego, —  one  of 
the  ablest  orators  and  wisest  sachems  of  his  race, —  and 
by  the  Cayuga  chief  Shicolamy,  or  Shikellimus,  father  of 
the  famous  Logan,  who  was  afterward  immortalized  by 
Mr.  Jefferson,  in  his  Notes  on  Virginia.  Shicolamy  was  at 
that  period  residing  with  a  clan  of  his  people  at  Shamo- 
kin.  It  was  the  policy  of  the  Iroquois  Confederacy,  in  ac- 
cidental conformity  with  that  of  the  Romans,  to  plant 
military  colonies  in  the  countries  they  conquered,  and  that 
at  Shamokin  was  one  of  them.  Deputations  were  also 
present  from  the  Shawanese,  then  residing  at  Wajomick, 
or  Wyoming;  from  the  JSTantikokes,  who  had  removed 
from  the  eastern  shore  of  Maryland  to  the  southern  ex- 
tremity of  the  "Wyoming  valley  ;  from  the  Delawares ;  and 
from  the  Canestogoes, —  a  clan  of  the  Oneidas,  planted  in 
Central  Pennsylvania.  The  interpreter  was  Conrad  Wei- 
ser,  a  faithful  man,  enjoying  the  fullest  confidence  of  the 
Indians,  and  long  in  the  service  of  Pennsylvania  in  her  1737. 
intercourse  with  the  Six  Nations.1 

The  governor,  or  rather  the  lieutenant-governor  of 
Pennsylvania,  under  the  proprietaries  at  that  time,  was 
Mr.  George  Thomas,  a  man  of  talent  and  resolution,  who 
managed  the  Indian  affairs  of  the  colony  for  several  years 
with  excellent  tact  and  address.  The  Indians  were  re- 
ceived by  Mr.  Thomas  and  his  council  at  the  house  of  the 
then  venerable  James  Logan,  the  learned  and  philosophic 
friend  and  cotemporary  of  William  Penn.    Mr.  Logan  had 

1  Weiser  was  of  German  blood,  a  native  of  Schoharie,  in  the  colony  of 
New  York. 


68  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  preceded  Mr.  Thomas  in  the  colonial  administration,  as 
<~r^-<  president  of  the  council.     He  had  long  been  a  man  of 
1742,  distinction  in  the  colony,  and  enjoyed  the  unbounded  re- 
spect and  confidence  of  the  Indians.     This  reception  took 
place  on  the  second  of  July,  and  the  council  was  continued 
from  day  to  day  until  the  twelfth. 

The  proceedings  of  the  first  day  were  rather  informal, — 
being  confined  to  an  exchange  of  salutations,  and  to  cer- 
tain explanations  which  the  sachems  desired  to  make.  In 
the  first  place,  they  disclaimed  a  certain  sale  of  land  which 
some  of  their  "  foolish  young  men,"  when  out  upon  a 
hunting  expedition,  had  made,  or  pretended  to  make,  to 
a  few  individuals,  for  a  very  small  number  of  strouds, — 
the  sale  conflicting  with  a  previous  contract  of  the  Con- 
federacy with  their  brother  Onas.  The  sachems  had 
wrested  the  strouds  from  the  young  men,  and  now  pro- 
duced them  that  they  might  be  returned  to  those  who  had 
made  the  invalid  purchase.  Another  explanation  which 
they  desired  to  make,  or  rather  which  had  been  required 
of  them  by  Mr.  Thomas,  related  to  the  murder  of  two  or 
three  white  people  sOme  time  before,  by  a  returning  war- 
party  of  Twightwees,  or  Miamies,  which  murders  had 
been  accidentally  detected  by  the  Shawanese,  through 
whose  town  they  were  passing,  when  scrutinizing  the 
scalps  they  had  taken.  The  Twightwees,  said  Mr.  Thomas, 
had  sent  a  message  that  "  their  hearts  were  full  of  grief" 
when  they  heard  that  "the  road  had  been  made  bloody" 
by  some  of  their  young  men,  "with  the  blood  of  white 
people;"  and  the  Shawanese  had  sent  a  message  "that 
they  would  sweep  the  road  clean  and  wipe  all  the  blood 
away;"  desiring  that  their  white  brethren  "would  be  sat- 
isfied  with  this,  and  not  weep  too  much  for  a  misfortune 
that  might  not  happen  again  as  long  as  the  sun  and  moon 
shone."  The  governor  expressed  a  wish  that  the  Six  Na- 
tions might  take  up  the  matter,  ascertain  the  facts  of  the 
case,  and  obtain  satisfaction  for  the  outrage.     The  chiefs 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  69 

promised  to  consider  the  subject  on  their  return  home,  chap. 
and  send  an  answer.  > — r— * 

The  times  being  critical,  and  another  French  war  sup- 1<4~" 
posed  to  be  unavoidable,  it  was  deemed  advisable  by  Gov- 
ernor Thomas  and  his  counselors,  to  endeavor  to  sound 
the  Indians,  and  ascertain  if  possible  what  would  be  their 
probable  temper  and  disposition  in  such  an  event.  A 
grand  entertainment  was  therefore  provided  for  them, 
with  the  design  of  extracting  their  sentiments  in  the  flow 
of  the  wine-cup, —  upon  the  well  known  principle,  "in 
vino  Veritas."  It  happened  that  although  the  deputation 
was  numerous,  there  were  no  representatives  from  the 
Mohawks,  and  but  three  from  the  Senecas, —  the  most 
powerful  nation  by  far,  of  the  Confederates.  Mr.  Thomas 
approached  the  object  at  which  he  was  aiming  warily,  by 
inquiring  why  so  few  Senecas  were  present,  since  they 
were  equally  interested  with  the  others  in  the  business 
that  had  called  them  together.  The  answer  of  Canassa- 
teego  was  prompt  and  painfully  satisfactory.  "  The  Sene- 
cas," he  said,  "were  in  great  distress  on  account  of  a 
famine  that  had  raged  in  their  country,  which  had  reduced 
them  to  such  want  that  a  father  had  been  obliged  to  kill 
two  of  his  children  to  preserve  his  own  and  the  rest  of  his 
family's  lives."  Their  situation,  therefore,  was  such  that 
they  could  not  attend  the  council,  but  the  necessaiy  in- 
structions had  been  given  in  regard  to  their  share  of  the 
goods.  The  lieutenant-governor  next,  with  seeming  care- 
lessness, inquired  whether  any  of  the  Seneca  chiefs  were 
in  Canada,  and  whether  the  governor  of  Canada  was  mak- 
ing any  warlike  preparations.  Both  questions  were  ans- 
wered in  the  affirmative ;  whereupon  Mr.  Thomas  play- 
fully remarked :  "  "Well,  if  the  French  should  go  to  war 
with  us,  I  suppose  you  would  join  them?"  Canassateego 
was  evidently  not  put  off  his  guard  by  the  apparent  indif- 
ference of  the  querist,  and  therefore  did  not  reply  until 
after  a  brief  consultation  with  his  people.     He  then  said, 


70  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  frankly,  that  the  French  governor  was  paying  great  court 
v— v — -  to  the  Indians,  and  had  informed  them  that  he  was  unco- 
vering  the  hatchet  and  sharpening  it ;  but  at  the  same 
time  he  had  told  them  that  if  he  was  obliged  to  lift  it  up 
against  the  English,  he  hoped  they  would  not  espouse  the 
cause  of  either  side,  but  remain  neutral.  The  orator,  how- 
ever, assured  his  brother  Onas,  that  in  the  event  of  a  war, 
they  should  be  faithful  and  true  to  their  old  allies,  and 
lift  the  hatchet  in  their  cause,  adding :  "  The  governor  of 
Canada  talks  a  great  deal,  but  ten  of  his  words  do  not  go 
so  far  as  one  of  yours ;  we  do  not  look  toward  them  ;  we 
look  toward  you,  and  you  may  depend  on  our  assistance." 
Yet  it  will  be  seen  hereafter  that  when  the  crisis  came, 
great  reluctance  was  manifested  by  the  Confederates  to 
engage  in  the  contest. 

At  the  next  subsequent  meeting  in  council,  after  having 
delivered  the  goods  which  the  Indians  had  come  to  re- 
ceive, Mr.  Thomas  opened  the  subject  of  the  probable  rup- 
ture with  France,  with  more  directness.  It  was  his  de- 
sire, he  said,  in  the  event  of  a  war,  that  the  road  between 
the  English  and  the  Indians,  should  be  kept  clear  and 
open.  More  fuel  should  then  be  added  to  the  fire  between 
them,  that  it  might  burn  brighter  and  clearer,  and  give  a 
stronger  light,  and  more  lasting  warmth.  "  "We  must  hear 
with  our  ears  for  you,  and  you  must  hear  with  your  ears 
for  us," — terms  all  significant,  and  well  understood  by 
these  metaphor-loving  sons  of  the  forest.  Nor  were  they 
employed  without  effect.  Having  taken  a  day  for  consid- 
eration, Canassateego  replied  to  the  speech  of  the  lieuten- 
ant-governor at  length,  and  in  regard  to  the  threatening 
storm,  to  the  entire  satisfaction  of  the  English,  and  with 
the  seemingly  cordial  assent  of  his  dusky  associates. 

In  discussing  the  business  matters  which  they  had  as- 
sembled specially  to  consider,  the  Onondaga  orator,  though 
prepared  fully  to  confirm  the  prior  contract  for  the  sale  of 
the  lands  on  the  western  side  of  the  Susquehanna, —  but 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  71 

how  far  west  does  not  appear,  the  terms  in  the  records  of  chap. 
the  council  being  quite  indefinite, —  had  nevertheless  com-  - — , — < 
plaints  to  make,  as  has  ever  been  the  case  on  such  occa- 
sions,  of  the  encroachments  of  the  white  people  upon  their 
lands.  "  The  pale-faces  think  we  do  not  know  the  value 
of  our  lands,"  said  the  veteran  counselor;  but  we  are  sen- 
sible that  the  land  is  everlasting,  and  the  few  goods  that 
we  receive  for  it  are  soon  worn  out  and  gone.  The  speci- 
fic complaint  adduced  by  Canassateego,  was,  that  the 
white  people  were  settling  all  along  the  banks  of  the  Ju- 
niata river, —  one  of  the  large  western  tributaries  to  the 
Susquehanna, —  "  to  the  great  damage  of  our  cousins,  the 
Delawares."  This  encroachment  had  been  the  ground  of 
a  complaint  before ;  and  Mr.  Thomas  now  replied  that 
magistrates  were  then  sent  expressly  to  remove  the  tres- 
passers. "  Those  persons  who  were  sent  did  not  do  their 
duty,"  interposed  Canassateego.  "So  far  from  removing 
the  people,  they  made  surveys  for  themselves,  and  they 
are  in  league  with  the  trespassers!"  A  common  occur- 
rence, I  believe,  in  the  great  catalogue  of  Indian  wrongs. 

But  the  most  interesting  historical  incident  during  the 
sittings  of  this  council,  affording  proof  at  once  of  a  dis- 
puted fact,  and  an  illustration  of  Indian  character,  occur- 
red toward  its  close.  Mr.  Thomas  had  complained  at  one 
of  their  meetings  that  a  clan  of  the  Delawares,  residing  at 
the  forks  of  the  Delaware  river,  had  not  only  refused  to 
yield  the  occupancy  of  a  tract  of  land  which  had  been  sold 
to  William  Penn  fifty-five  years  before,  but  had  presumed 
to  make  sales  of  some  portions  of  the  same  lands, —  not- 
withstanding that  their  fathers  had  made  the  treaty  with 
Penn,  and  received  the  value  of  the  sale ;  and  notwith- 
standing also  that  they  themselves  had  subsequently  rati- 
fied the  treaty  anew.  It  was  in  reply  to  this  statement  of 
Mr.  Thomas,  that  Canassateego  uttered  a  speech  of  bitter 
and  biting  reproof  of  the  Delawares,  in  which  he  reminded 
them  in  terms  of  severity  of  their  subjugated  condition. 


72  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap.  "You,"  said  he,  "you  take  it  upon  yourselves  to  sell 
v_^_,  land !"  "  You  don't  know  what  ground  you  stand  upon !" 
1742.  u  You  ought  to  be  taken  by  the  hair  of  your  head  and 
shaken  till  you  recover  your  senses,  and  become  sober!" 
"  We  conquered  you,  We  made  women  of  you.  You 
know  you  are  women,  and  can  no  more  sell  land  than 
women  !"  This  speech,  which  was  full  of  indignant  irony 
and  invective,  was  closed  by  a  peremptory  order  for  the 
Delawares  to  remove  forthwith  from  the  disputed  terri- 
tory, either  to  Shamokin,  or  Wyoming,  as  they  might  pre- 
fer. The  following  was  the  closing  injunction  of  the  man- 
date: "After  our  just  reproof  and  absolute  order  to 
depart  from  the  land,  you  are  now  to  take  notice  of  what 
we  have  further  to  say  to  you.  This  string  of  wampum 
serves  to  forbid  you,  your  children  and  grand-children,  to 
the  latest  posterity  forever,  from  meddling  with  land 
affairs ;  neither  you,  nor  any  who  shall  descend  from  you, 
are  ever  hereafter  to  presume  to  sell  any  land.  For  which 
purpose  you  are  to  preserve  this  string,  in  memory  of 
what  your  uncles  have  this  day  given  you  in  charge.  We 
have  some  other  business  to  transact  with  our  brethren, 
and  therefore  depart  the  council,  and  consider  what  has 
been  said  to  you." 

The  obedience  of  the  Delawares  to  the  order  was  as  prompt 
as  the  mandate  itself  was  summary, —  some  of  them  going 
to  Shamokin,  but  the  greater  number  settling  at  Wyo- 
ming, on  the  eastern  side  of  the  Susquehanna, —  a  large 
clan  of  the  Shawanese  residing  at  that  time  on  the  west- 
ern side  opposite.  This  transaction  sufficiently  proves  the 
state  of  abject  subjection  to  which  the  Delawares  had  been 
reduced,  and  in  which  at  that  time  they  were  held  by  the 
Iroquois,  notwithstanding  the  efforts  of  the  benevolent 
Heckewelder  to  sustain  a  loftier  position  for  his  favorites 
among  the  aborigines. 

In  the  course  of  the  proceedings  at  this  treaty,  while 
complaining  of  the  trespasses  of  the  white  men  upon  the 


LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  73 

lands  along  the  Juniata,  Canassateego  uttered  a  further  chap. 
complaint  "that  some  parts  of  their  country  had  been>— v — • 
taken  up  by  persons  whose  place  of  residence  is  south  of 
this  province  (Pennsylvania),  and  from  whom  we  have 
never  received  any  consideration."  It  was  their  desire 
that  Mr.  Thomas  should  "inform  '  the  person  '  whose  peo- 
ple were  thus  seated  on  those  lands,  that  that  country  be- 
longs to  us,  in  right  of  conquest,  we  having  bought  it 
with  our  bloodr  and  taken  it  from  our  enemies  in  fair 
war;"  and,  in  their  behalf,  require  compensation  for  it. 
It  was  understood  by  Mr.  Thomas  and  his  board  of  coun- 
selors, that  this  complaint  was  directed  against  the  gover- 
nor and  people  of  Maryland ;  and  a  letter  was  addressed 
to  the  former  upon  the  subject.  But  from  the  vague  and 
indefinite  terms  in  which  the  Indian  counselor  had  spo- 
ken,—  referring  to  the  aggressors  only  as  "persons  living 
south  of  Pennsylvania," — the  government  and  people  of 
Virginia  by  some  means  became  impressed  with  the  idea 
that  the  illusion  was  pointed  at  them. 

An  unlucky  occurrence  in  December  following  strength- 
ened this  impression.  It  appeared  from  a  communication 
addressed  to  Lieutenant-Governor  Clarke,  by  Mr.  Gooch, 
lieutenant-governor  of  Virginia,  that  in  the  month  of  De- 
cember, a  body  of  Indians  had  made  an  incursion  into  the 
frontier  county  of  Augusta  in  that  colony,  and  committed 
some  very  serious  outrages, —  killing  several  people,  and 
carrying  away  numbers  of  cattle  and  horses.  The  invaders 
were  pursued  by'  a  small  body  of  Virginia  militia,  com- 
manded by  Captains  M'Dowell  and  Buchanan,  and  over- 
taken on  the  eighteenth  of  December,  when  a  smart  en- 
gagement ensued, —  the  Indians  having  commenced  the 
fight  by  shooting  down  a  messenger  of  peace  who  was  ap- 
proaching them  with  a  flag.  The  action  lasted  about 
forty-five  minutes,  during  which  eleven  of  the  Virginians 
were  killed,  among  whom  was  Captain  M'Dowell.     The 

Indians  fled,  leaving  eight  or  ten  of  their  warriors  dead 
10 


74  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  upon  the  field.  Such  was  the  magnitude  of  the  affair,  and 
»— v — -  such  its  result,  as  stated  to  Lieutenant-Governor  Clarke  by 
Mr.  Gooch.  The  Virginians  alleged  that  there  were 
several  white  men  with  the  Indians,  believed  to  be  French. 
Mr.  Gooch  stated  that  the  affair  had  occurred  at  an  unfor- 
tunate moment,  since  at  that  very  time  he  was  preparing 
to  send  a  friendly  deputation  to  meet  the  Six  Nations ; 
and  being  uncertain  whether  these  hostile  Indians  might 
not  belong  to  that  Confederacy,  he  was  in  doubt  what 
course  to  pursue.  Under  these  circumstances  he  requested 
the  assistance  of  the  authorities  of  New  York,  in  enabling 
him  to  ascertain  whether  the  aggressors  belonged  to  the 
Six  Nations.  He  also  desired  Mr.  Clarke  to  ask  the  chiefs 
of  the  Six  Nations  where  the  land  in  Virginia  was,  to 
which  they  had  referred  in  the  Philadelphia  council  as 
belonging  to  them. 
1743.  The  communication  from  Mr.  Gooch  was  forwarded  to 
the  Indian  commissioners  at  Albany,  on  the  fifth  of  April, 
with  instructions  to  adopt  the  necessary  measures  for  ascer- 
taining the  facts.1  Should  it  prove  true  that  the  outrages 
had  really  been  committed  by  the  Six  Nations,  in  conse- 
quence of  any  dispute  with  Virginia  about  their  lands,  the 
Indians  were  to  be  rebuked  for  the  adoption  of  such  a 
barbarous  course.  They  ought  rather  to  have  sought  an 
adjustment  by  treaty,  as  they  had  done  with  Pennsylvania 
and  Maryland.  Had  they  adopted  such  a  course,  the  gov- 
ernor of  New  York  would  cheerfully  have  aided  them  in 
the  negotiation.  The  commissioners  hacl  previously  heard 
of  the  Virginia  affair,  from  the  Mohawks,  who  stated  that 
the  Indians  were  feeling  very  uneasy  upon  the  subject. 
On  the  receipt  of  the  dispatches,  therefore,  Mr.  Jacobus 

1  The  board  of  Indian  commissioners  at  that  time  consisted  of  the  follow- 
ing persons,  viz :  Captain  Rutherford,  Cornelius  Cuyler,  Myndert  Schuy- 
ler, Hendrick  Ten  Eyck,  Peter  Winne,  Rutger  Bleecker,  Nicholas  Bleecker, 
John  De  Peyster,  Ryer  Garretson,  Dirck  Ten  Broeck  and  John  Lansingh. 


LIFE   OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  75 

Bleecker,  a  competent  interpreter,  was  sent  to  Onondaga,  chap. 
where  a  council  had  already  been  convened  to  receive  a^v-_/ 
deputation  from  Philadelphia.     The  errand  of  these  mes- 1<43- 
sengers,  however,  was  merely  to  invite  the  chiefs  to  make 
another  visit  to  Pennsylvania.     But  the  invitation  was  de- 
clined by  the  chiefs  expressly  upon  the  ground  of  what  had 
happened  at  the  south.     They  sent  word  that  "  they  could 
not  come  this  year,  but  would  do  so  the  next." 

The  contents  of  Mr.  Gooch's  letter  having  been  com- 
municated to  the  chiefs  and  sachems,  they  gave  quite  a 
different  version  to  the  story.  They  denied  that  they  were 
preferring  any  claims  against  Virginia  for  lands.  Their 
warriors,  they  said,  had  been  first  fired  upon  by  the  Vir- 
ginians, and  four  of  their  number  killed.  In  return  for 
which  they  had  killed  eight  of  the  Virginians,  and  se- 
verely wounded  two  more.  There  were  no  white  men  in 
the  party,  which  consisted  of  thirty  warriors,  twenty-six 
of  whom  had  returned.  They  thanked  the  commissioners 
for  the  efforts  they  were  making  to  have  the  difficulty  ad- 
justed, as  they  hoped  it  would  be.  Still,  apprehending 
the  possibility  of  a  war  as  the  consequence  of  the  affray, 
they  had  sent  messages  to  the  Ottawas,  and  their  friends 
at  the  west,  to  remain  at  home,  and  be  prepared  to  aid 
them  in  the  event  of  hostilities. 

Mr.  Clarke's  council,  to  whom  the  papers  connected 
with  these  transactions  were  communicated,  on  the  seven- 
teenth of  April,  were  by  no  means  satisfied  with  the  ex- 
planations of  the  Indians,  nor  with  the  proceedings  of  the 
commissioners,  against  whom  they  more  than  insinuated 
a  lack  of  energy.  They  wrote  back  that  the  interpreter 
should  have  been  instructed  to  demand  why  the  war  party 
went  to  Virginia?  Why  they  had  killed  some  of  the  peo- 
ple, and  carried  away  horses  .and  cattle  before  the  battle  ? 
Why  they  had  killed  the  man  who  was  approaching  them 
with  a  signal  of  friendship?  The  council  thought  the 
Indians  were  dealing  with  subtilty  in  this  matter,  and 


76  LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM    JOHNSON,    BART. 


chap,  insisted  that  they  ought  to  be  told  explicitly  that  they 
»— v — '  were  breaking  the  covenant  chain  whenever  they  killed 
'  any  of  his  majesty's  subjects,  no  matter  in  which  of  the 
colonies.  Yet  if  the  Indians  disclaimed  all  knowledge  of 
the  murders,  and  their  abhorrence  of  the  act,  and  would 
restrain  their  young  men  from  such  unwarrantable  expe- 
ditions hereafter,  the  council  hoped  that  the  governor  of 
Virginia  would  come  to  such  a  temper  as  would  enable 
them  to  heal  the  breach.  In  regard  to  the  land-claim  to 
which  Mr.  Gooch  had  referred,  the  council  thought  the 
inference  was  warranted  from  the  undeterminate  phrase- 
ology of  Canassateego's  speech  at  Philadelphia,  although 
some  had  supposed  that  Maryland,  not  Virginia,  was  in- 
tended. However,  it  was  necessary  that  the  commission- 
ers should  inform  the  Six  ^Nations  that  such  outrageous 
acts  against  any  of  his  majesty's  colonial  settlements,  must 
be  put  an  end  to.  The  Indians  themselves  had  com- 
plained to  Mr.  Bleecker,  the  interpreter,  of  the  intrigues 
of  the  French ;  and  it  was  evident  to  the  mind  of  the 
council,  that  in  order  to  put  a  termination  to  those  out- 
rages, the  emissaries  of  the  French  must  be  prevented 
from  coming  among  them. 

The  consequence  of  this  letter  to  the  commissioners, 
was  another  embassy  in  May  to  the  Six  Nations,  in  coun- 
cil at  Onondaga,  with  a  more  peremptory  message.  In 
reply  to  which  the  Indians  again  explicitly  disclaimed  any 
claim  to  land  in  Virginia.  In  regard  to  the  unhappy  oc- 
currence in  Virginia,  they  denied  with  solemnity  that  any 
people  had  been  killed  before  their  braves  were  fired  upon 
thrice  by  the  soldiers  of  M'Dowell  and  Buchanan.  Their 
young  men  were  going  on  a  fighting  expedition  to  the 
south  when  the  affair  happened, —  but  not  to  fight  against 
the  Virginians.  They  had  only  taken  a  few  cattle  on  their 
way,  and  they  thought  the  Virginians  had  treated  them 
too  severely  by  following  and  firing  upon  them  for  so 
small  an  offence.     They  regretted  the  occurrence ;  but  it 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  77 

was  out  of  the  power  of  the  chiefs  to  prevent  their  young  chap. 
warriors  from  occasionally  going  off'  upon  such  expedi-' — , — • 
tions.  In  transmitting  this  reply,  the  commissioners  wrote 
to  the  council  that  the  Indians  were  really  anxious  for  a 
reconciliation.  They  thought  great  good  would  ensue, 
were  Mr.  Gooch  to  come  and  meet  them  himself;  and  it 
would  he  yet  better  if  some  of  the  chiefs  of  those  remote 
southern  Indians,  against  whom  the  Six  Nations  had  been 
so  long  at  war,  could  he  persuaded  to  come  also  and  meet 
them  in  council.  A  general  peace  might  then  be  effected, 
whereas  it  was  now  almost  impossible  for  the  chiefs  to  re- 
strain the  formation  of  war  parties  among  the  scattered 
Indians  residing  at  a  distance  from  their  castles,  notwith- 
standing the  stipulations  of  peace  negotiated  by  Mr. 
Clarke  at  the  council  of  1740. 

A  pacific  letter,  giving  the  results  of  these  conferences 
with  the  Indians  was  written  to  Mr.  Gooch  by  Mr.  Clarke ; 
and  at  the  earnest  solicitation  of  the  latter,  the  matter 
seems  to  have  been  pressed  no  farther. 

The  administration  of  Lieutenant-Governor  Clarke  was 
ended  in  the  autumn  of  1743,  by  the  arrival  of  Admiral 
George  Clinton,  uncle  of  the  earl  of  Lincoln,  and  a 
younger  son  of  the  late  earl,  who  had  been  appointed  to 
the  government  of  New  York  through  the  interest  of  his 
friends,  to  afford  him  an  opportunity  of  mending  his  for- 
tunes. Mr.  Clarke,  who  in  the  commencement  of  his  ad- 
ministration had  succeeded  in  conciliating  the  leaders  of 
both  political  parties,  had  contrived  before  the  close  of 
his  career  to  lose  the  confidence  of  both, —  so  that  his  re- 
tirement from  the  government  was  regarded  with  univer- 
sal satisfaction.1     Especially  had  he  incurred  the  resent- 

1  George  Clarke,  Esq.,  who,  in  various  official  stations  was  for  almost 
half  a  century  connected  with  the  colonial  government  of  New  York,  was 
an  Englishman  by  birth.  ';  His  uncle,  Mr.  Blaithwait,  procured  the  secre- 
taryship of  the  colony  for  him  early  in  the  reign   of  Queen  Anne.     He  had 


1743. 


78  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  ment  of  the  chief  justice,  De  Lancey;  who,  strangely 
'  enough,  though  usually  a  staunch  supporter  of  the  pre- 
rogatives of  the  crown,  had  now  become  to  some  extent  a 
favorite  of  the  general  assembly.  The  new  governor  had 
spent  the  most  of  his  life  in  the  navy ;  and,  according  to 
the  earliest  English  historian  of  New  York,  "  preferring 
ease  and  good  cheer  to  the  restless  activity  of  ambition, 
there  wanted  nothing  to  engage  the  interest  of  his  power- 
ful patrons  in  his  favor,  more  than  to  humor  a  simple- 
hearted  man,  who  had  no  ill  nature,  nor  sought  anything 
more  than  a  genteel  frugality  and  common  civility,  while 
he  was  mending  those  fortunes,  until  his  friends  at  court 

genius,  but  no  other  than  a  common  writing-school  education;  nor  did  ha 
add  to  his  stock  by  reading,  for  he  was  more  intent  upon  improving  his 
fortune  than  his  mind.  He  was  sensible,  artful,  active,  cautious  ;  had  a 
perfect  command  of  his  temper,  and  was  in  his  address  specious  and  civil. 
Nor  was  any  man  better  acquainted  with  the  colony  and  its  affairs."  He 
successively  held  the  offices  of  secretary,  clerk  of  the  council,  counselor, 
and  lieutenant-governor ;  and  from  his  official  position  he  had  every  op- 
portunity of  enriching  himself  by  obtaining  grants  and  patents  of  land  — 
which,  from  his  knowledge  of  the  colony  he  was  enabled  to  choose  in  the 
most  advantageous  locations.  He  was  a  courtier,  and  was  careful  never 
to  differ  with  the  governors  of  the  colony  ;  although  during  Cosby's  stormy 
career,  he  usually  kept  himself  quiet  at  his  country  villa  upon  the  edge  of 
Hempstead  plains.  "  His  lady  was  a  Hyde,  a  woman  of  tine  accomplish- 
ments, and  a  distant  relation  of  that  branch  of  the  Clarendon  family.  She 
died  in  New  York.  Mr.  Clarke  returned  to  England  in  1745,  with  acquisi- 
tions estimated  at  one  hundred  thousand  pounds.  He  purchased  an  estitio 
in  Cheshire,  where  he  died  about  the  year  1761.  George  Clarke,  his  grand- 
son, and  the  heir  to  his  estates,  after  a  residence  in  America  of  about  thirty- 
five  years,  died  at  Otsego,  about  the  year  1835.  His  eldest  son,  Geoii  <• 
Hyde  Clarke,  with  his  young  wife,  was  lost  in  the  ship  Albion,  wrecked  on 
the  coast  of  Ireland,  in  the  summer  of  1820,  on  his  passage  from  New  York 
to  England.  His  second  son  then  returned  to  England,  and  entered  into 
possession  of  the  fortune  of  his  father's  estates  situated  in  that  country. 
By  the  vast  increase  in  price  of  his  American  lands,  Mr.  Clarke's  estates  in 
this  country  became  of  princely  value  before  his  death.  They  are  in- 
herited by  his  youngest  son,  George  Clarke,  Esq.,  who  now  (1843),  resides 
in  the  noble  mansion  erected  by  his  father  a  few  years  before  his  decease, 
upon  the  margin  of  Otsego  lake. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  79 

could  recall  him  to  some  indolent  and  more  lucrative  sta-  chap. 

ii. 

tion."1  ■ — v — ■ 

Mr.  Clinton  arrived  in  New  York  on  the  twenty-second 
of  September,  and  was  received  with  demonstrations  of 
universal  satisfaction  by  the  people.  Finding  that  the 
general  assembly  stood  adjourned  to  meet  in  a  few  days, 
and  ascertaining  that  the  people  would  be  pleased  with  an 
opportunity  of  holding  a  new  election,  the  assembly  was 
dissolved  on  the. twenty-seventh  and  writs  for  the  return 
of  another  assembly  issued  the  same  day.2  The  elections 
were  conducted  without  political  acrimony,  and  all  the  old 
members,  with  but  seven  exceptions,  were  returned.  The 
session  opened  on  the  eighth  of  November.  Meantime 
the  governor  had  fallen  into  the  hands  of  De  Lancey,  who 
doubtless  had  the  moulding  of  his  excellency's  speech. 
Its  tone  was  conciliatory,  although  the  sore  subject  of  a 
permanent  revenue  was  opened  afresh.  But  this  was  done 
in  gentle  terms,  the  governor  asking  for  a  grant  "  in  as 
ample  a  manner,  and  for  a  time  as  long,  as  had  been  given 
under  any  of  his  predecessors."  The  assembly  was  in- 
formed that  owing  to  the  critical  state  of  affairs  in  Europe, 
and  the  doubtful  attitude  in  which  Great  Britain  and 
France  stood  toward  each  other,  a  large  supply  of  military 
stores  for  the  defence  of  the  colony  had  been  received 
from  the  parent  government ;  and  the  governor  hoped  the 
assembly  would  show  their  thankfulness  by  making  an 
adequate  provision  for  the  purchase  of  others.  The  usual 
recommendations  in  regard  to  the  Indian  intercourse  of 
the  colony  were  renewed,  and  an  appropriation  was  asked 
for  rebuilding  the  barracks,  and  public  offices,  together 
with  the  house  of  the  governor,  which  had  been  destroyed 
by  fire.     The   latter    recommendation    was   insisted    on 

1  Smith's  History  of  New  York,  vol.  ii,  page  85. 

2  Idem. 


80  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  as  being  necessary   for   the  comfort    of  the   governor's 

>— v — i  family. 

"An  humble  address"  was  voted  by  the  council  in  re- 
ply, drawn  up  by  De  Lancey.  The  appointment  of  the 
new  governor  was  received  "  as  an  additional  evidence  of 
his  majesty's  affection  for  his  people,  and  his  zeal  for  the 
liberty  of  mankind,  lately  most  evidently  demonstrated  in 
his  exposing  his  sacred  person  to  the  greatest  dangers  in 
defence  of  the  liberty  of  Europe."1  In  all  other  respects 
the  answer  was  an  echo  of  the  speech.  The  address  of 
the  house  was  more  than  an  echo, —  it  was  couched  in  lan- 
guage of  excessive  flattery  to  the  new  governor,  and  of  fawn- 
ing adulation  toward  the  sovereign,  who  was  designated 
"the  darling  of  his  own  people,  and  the  glorious  preserver 
of  the  liberties  of  Europe."  There  was,  however,  a  dis- 
position on  all  sides  to  be  pleased.  The  assembly  re- 
sponded to  the  demanded  appropriations, —  voting  the 
governor  fifteen  hundred  pounds  for  his  salary,  one  hund- 
red pounds  for  house  rent,  four  hundred  pounds  for  fuel 
and  candles,  one  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  to  enable  him 
to  visit  the  Indians,  and  eight  hundred  pounds  for  the 
purchase  of  presents  to  be  distributed  amongst  them^ 
Other  appropriations  were  made  upon  a  scale  of  corres- 


1  The  battle  of  Dettingen,  in  Germany,  in  which  the  British  troops  and 
their  allies  obtained  a  brilliant  victory  over  a  powerful  division  of  the  army 
of  the  Mareschal  de  Noailles,  commanded  by  the  Duke  de  Grammont.  The 
English  troops,  commanded  by  the  Earl  of  Stair,  were  joined  by  the  Duke 
of  Cumberland,  to  make  his  first  campaign,  and  by  his  majesty  (George  II), 
on  the  ninth  of  June.  The  English  with  their  allies,  were  moving,  on  the 
twenty-sixth  of  June,  toward  Hanau,  to  obtain  supplies,  and  to  join  the 
Hanovarians  and  Hessians,  when  they  were  met  in  a  difficult  position  by 
the  French,  thirty  thousand  strong.  The  king  behaved  very  gallantly  in 
the  engagement,  exposing  his  person  to  a  severe  fire  of  cannon  as  well  as 
musketry.  He  rode  between  the  first  and  second  lines  with  his  sword 
drawn,  and  encouraged  the  troops  to  fight  for  the  honor  of  England.  The 
French  were  defeated  with  the  loss  of  five  thousand  men.  They  might  have 
been  destroyed  had  the  advantage  been  promptly  followed  up. 


LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM    JOHNSON,    BART.  81 

ponding  liberality ;  and  the  governor  was  so  well  pleased  chap. 
with  the  good  temper  of  the  assembly,  that  he  signed' — „ — • 
every  bill  presented  for  his  approbation,  without  a  mur-    '    ' 
mur   of  disapprobation,  not  even  excepting  the  supply- 
bill,  which,  notwithstanding  his  demand  to  the  contrary, 
in  the  opening  speech,  was  limited  to  the  year. 

But  notwithstanding  these  reciprocal  manifestations  of 
good  feeling ;  and  notwithstanding  also  the  amiable  traits 
of  the  governor's  natural  disposition,  it  will  be  seen  in  the 
progress  of  events  that  the  bluff  characteristics  of  the 
sailor  were  :uot  always  to  be  concealed ;  and  his  adminis- 
tration, in  process  of  time,  became  as  tempestuous  as  the 
element  upon  which  he  was  certainly  more  at  home  than 
upon  the  land. 

Until  after  the  arrival  of  Governor  Clinton  Mr.  Johnson 
seems  to  have  taken  no  part  in  the  public  affairs  of  the 
colony.  His  name  appears  in  none  of  the  public  records 
of  that  day ;  and  such  of  his  private  papers  as  have  es- 
caped the  ravages  of  time  and  revolution,  exhibit  him 
only  in  the  character  of  a  country  merchant,  enlarging  his 
business  from  year  to  year,  increasing  rapidly  in  wealth, 
and  assiduously  cultivating  the  friendship  and  language 
of  the  Indians.  Before  the  year  1743,  he  had  removed 
from  the  south  to  the  north  side  of  the  river,  and  settled 
at  the  place  heretofore  described  as  Mount  Johnson. 
He  had  also  in  the  last  mentioned  year  become  connected 
with  the  fur-trade  at  the  important  trading  post  of  Oswe- 
go. Nor  was  it  long  before  he  opened  a  correspondence 
on  his  own  account  with  the  opulent  house  of  Sir  "William 
Baker  &  Co.,  in  London.  As  his  fortunes  improved  rapidly, 
he  grew  with  equal  pace  in  the  public  estimation,  not 
only  among  the  people  of  his  own  region,  but  likewise  in 
Albany  and  New  York.  His  correspondence  during  this 
period  was  considerable,  indicating  an  extensive  business 
in  all  the  multifarious  departments  of  a  country  trading 

establishment,  independently  of  the  fur-trade,  in  which  he 
11 


82  LIFE   OF   SIR    WILLIAM    J0HNS0X,    BART. 

chap,  was  now  engaged,  and  his  commerce  with  the  Indians.  In 
v.^L/  his  business  transactions  "  he  by  no  means  lost  sight  of 
1743.  hig  own  interests,  but  on  the  contrary  raised  himself  to 
wealth  in  an  open  and  active  manner,  not  disdaining  any 
honorable  means  of  benefiting  himself ;  but  at  the  same 
time  the  bad  policy,  as  well  as  meanness  of  sacrificing  re- 
spectability to  snatching  present  advantages,  were  so 
obvious  to  him,  that  he  laid  the  foundation  of  his  future 
prosperity  on  the  broad  and  deep  basis  of  honorable  deal- 
ing, accompanied  by  the  most  vigilant  attention  to  the 
objects  he  had  in  view ;  acting  so  as  without  the  least  de- 
parture from  integrity  on  the  one  hand,  or  inattention  to 
his  affairs  on  the  other,  to  conduct  himself  in  such  a  man- 
ner as  gave  an  air  of  magnanimity  to  his  character,  that 
made  him  the  object  of  universal  confidence."1 

Meantime  the  relations  between  Great  Britain  and 
Spain  had  undergone  a  change  demanding  the  services  of 
Mr.  Johnson's  uncle  and  patron,  Captain  Warren,  upon 
his  own  element.  After  a  long  series  of  aggressions  upon 
the  commerce  of  England  in  the  West  India  seas,  com- 
mitted by  the  Spaniards,  attended  often  by  the  utmost  in- 
solence, cruelty,  and  rapine,2  the  former  power,  appealing 
in  vain  to  the  court  of  Madrid  for  indemnification,  granted 
letters  of  marque  and  reprisal  against  the  Spaniards  in 
the  year  1739.  It  was  on  the  seventeenth  of  August 
of  that  year,  that  Mr.  Clarke,  the  lieutenant-governor, 
laid  before  his  council  his  majesty's  warrant,  authorizing 
the  government  of  New  York  to  issue  letters  of  marque 
and  reprisal  against  the  commerce  of  Spain.     Measures  to 

1  Memoirs  of  an  American  Lady,  by  Mrs.  Grant. 

2  Smollett's  continuation  of  Hume.  Bancroft,  I  am  aware,  gives  another 
aspect  to  the  case,  vide  History  of  the  United  States,  vol.  iii,  pp.  435  and 
onward.  He  contends  that  England  was  the  aggressor,  and  the  cause  of 
war  was  with  Spain.  So  seems  to  have  thought  Walpole,  but  so  thought 
not  Pulteney,  Pitt,  afterward  Earl  of  Chatham,  and  their  followers  in  and 
out  of  parliament.  Nor  has  the  brilliancy  of  Bancroft's  style  and  argu- 
ment won  me  to  his  side  of  the  question. 


Life  of  sir  William  johnson,  bart.  83 

that  end  were  immediately  adopted  by  the  council,  in- chap. 
eluding  the  specification  of  the  bonds  to  be  taken,  and  thew^— > 
forms  of  commissions  to  be  granted.1  1743, 

This  measure  was  soon  followed  by  an  open  rupture. 
The  British  squadron  in  the  Mediterranean  having  taken 
two  richly  laden  Spanish  merchantmen  from  Caraccas,  his 
Catholic  majesty  ordered  all  the  English  ships  in  his  har- 
bors to  be  seized  and  detained.  A  declaration  of  war 
could  no  longer  be  avoided  by  Sir  Robert  Walpole,  al- 
though that  able  and  crafty  minister  had  labored  long  and 
earnestly  to  avoid  such  an  issue.2  The  declaration  by  the 
king  of  England,  was  proclaimed  in  October,  1739,  and 
Admiral  Vernon  was  forthwith  dispatched  in  the  com- 
mand of  a  fleet  against  the  Spanish  West  India  posses- 
sions ;  but  it  was  not  until  the  thirtieth  of  June  in  the 
following  year  that  the  fact  that  such  a  declaration  had 
been  issued,  was  officially  communicated  to  the  general 
assembly  by  Lieutenant-Governor  Clarke.  He  then  called 
upon  the  assembly  to  encourage,  by  bounty,  enlistments 
of  volunteers  to  join  his  majesty's  troops  engaged  in  the 
"West  India  expedition ;  and  a  bill  was  shortly  afterward 
passed  making  provision  for  the  victualing  and  transport- 
ation of  five  hundred  volunteers  in  that  service.3     From 

1  MS.  records  of  the  executive  council  of  New  York.  It  appears  by 
these  records,  however,  that  the  privateering  business  had  been  carried  on 
briskly  from  the  port  of  New  York  for  the  two  or  three  preceding  years. 

1  Smollett.  It  was  upon  this  subject  of  their  Spanish  relations,  that  Sir 
Robert  Walpole  was  compelled  to  encounter  the  fierce  opposition  which 
marked  and  embittered  his  closing  career.  Before  the  issuing  of  the  let- 
ters of  marque,  a  convention  had  been  concluded  between  England  and 
Spain  (though  never  regarded  by  the  latter),  which  was  the  subject  of  the 
severest  condemnation  by  the  opposition,  and  was  denounced  with  the 
strongest  invective  by  Sir  William  Wyndham  and  Mr.  Pulteney,  in  the  com- 
mons ;  to  whom  Walpole,  losing  nis  temper,  repnea  in  a  manner  that  in- 
duced the  famous  secession  of  the  minority  from  the  house,  in  1738.  Those 
debates  have  been  greatly  Extolled  for  their  eloquence  and  power.  In  the 
following  year,  howeverf  the  seceding  members  resumed  their  seats,  with 
Mr.  Pulteney  at  their  head. 

s  Journals  of  the  Provincial  Assembly. 


84  LIFE    OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART; 

chap,  the  West  Indies,   Vernon   directed  his  course  to  Porto 
w^Bello,  which  became  an  easy  conquest.     The  fortress  of 
1743.  Chagre  was  also  taken  and  demolished  by  Vernon,  and 
Europe  was  made  to  resound  with  his  praises  for  these  ex- 
ploits.    Lord  Cathcart,  to  whom  the  command  of  the  land 
forces  of  the  expedition  was  entrusted,  having  died  at  Do- 
minica, a  victim  to  the  climate,  the  command  devolved 
upon    "  the   inexperienced   and  irresolute   Wentworth."1 
Expectation  was  high  in  regard  to  anticipated  triumphs ; 
and  in  May,  1741,  more  levies  were  required  from  the 
northern  colonies,  and  the  assembly  of  New  York  was  re- 
quired by  Mr.  Clarke  to  make  farther  appropriations  for 
this  service.     It  was  hoped,  said  the  speech,  that  "the 
glorious  beginning  would  excite  the  assembly  to  speedy 
and  generous   resolutions."     But  this    "glorious  begin- 
ning" was  shortly  followed  by  the  miserable  ending  of 
the  expedition  against  Carthagena,  where,  weakened  by 
sickness  in  its  most  frightful  forms,  and  discouraged  by 
the  ill-judged  movements  of  their  commanders,  the  British 
troops  were  repulsed  in  an  attempt  to  storm  the  citadel, 
or   castle   commanding  the   town.     In   escaping  thence, 
Vernon   and  "Wentworth  attempted  to  retrieve  their  sad 
reverses  at  Carthagena  by  a  descent  upon  Cuba.     A  land- 
ing was  effected  in  a  bay,  on  the  south-eastern  part  of  that 
island,  in  July,  1741,  and  the  troops  ascending  a  river, 
encamped  about  twenty  miles  from  the  bay.     This  event 
was  announced  by  Mr.  Clarke,  in  a  speech  to  the  assem- 
bly, in  September.     General  Wentworth,  it  was  said,  had 
obtained  a  secure  footing  on  the  island,  and  recruits  and 
supplies  were  called  for  to  secure  the  conquest.2   But  they 
were  not  needed.     After  remaining  inactive  in  their  posi- 
tion till  the  month  of  November,  enfeebled  by  the  cli- 

1  Bancroft. 

2  See  Journals  of  the  Provincial  Assembly.  In  this  speech  the  lieutenant- 
governor  recommended  the  enactment  of  laws  regulating  the  manufacture 
and  sale  of  flour  and  bread — denouncing  the  bolters  and  bakers  for  their 
frauds,  &c. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  85 

mate,  and  their  numbers  wasted  by  sickness,  the  troops  chap. 
were   re-embarked,    and  sailed  to  Jamaica.1     The  whole  ^-^—^ 
expedition  was  a  deplorable  failure.     The  levies,  from  the  1<43- 
colonies  nearly  all  perished  from  the  pestilence,  and  the 
entire  loss  of  lives  was  estimated  at  twenty  thousand.  Eng- 
land had  made  no  acquisitions,  and  had  inflicted  on  the 
Spanish  West  Indies  far  less  evil   than  she  herself  had 
suffered."2 

Simultaneously  with  these  operations  in  the  West  In- 
dies, the  invasion  of  Florida  from  the  colonies,  had  been 
determined  on,  the  command  being  entrusted  to  General 
Oglethorpe, —  the  benevolent  founder  of  Georgia, —  who 
was  ordered  to  raise  levies  of  provincials  for  that  purpose 
from  South  Carolina  and  his  own  infant  plantations.  This 
expedition,  though  successfully  commenced  by  the  cap- 
ture of  Fort  Diego,  distant  twenty-five  miles  from  St.  Au- 
gustine, owing  to  a  combination  of  untoward  circum- 
stances, ended  in  disaster  —  the  general  having  been  com- 
pelled to  raise  the  siege  of  the  last  mentioned  fortress, 
under  circumstances  that  caused  great  and  mutual  dissat- 
isfaction between  the  troops  and  their  commander.3 

These  hostilities,  as  I  have  already  remarked,  required 
the  services  of  Captain  Warren  at  sea,  to  which  he  seems 
to  have  been  ordered  very  soon  after  writing  the  letter  to 
his  nephew  cited  in  the  early  part  of  the  present  chapter ; 
inasmuch  as  he  was  engaged  in  the  squadron  of  Commo- 
dore Price,  co-operating  with  General  Oglethorpe  against 
St.  Augustine.  The  vessel  commanded  by  Captain  War- 
ren at  this  time  is  not  mentioned ;  but  he  was  certainly 
there  at  the  time  in  question,  for  when  it  was  found  that 
the  town  could  not  be  effectively  cannonaded  from  the 
batteries  erected  by  Oglethorpe  on  an  island  in  the  river 
opposite,  because  of  the  distance,  a  plan  was  proposed  for  a 
night  attack  upon  the  Spanish  galleys  which  prevented  the 

i  Smollett. 

2  Bancroft. 

3  Marshall's  Colonial  History. 


86  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  passage  of  the  river  for  a  direct  assault,  and  Captain  War- 
v— v — -ren  volunteered  to  conduct  the  enterprise.  "But,  on 
1743-  sounding  the  bar,  the  water  was  found  too  shallow  to 
admit  the  passage  of  one  of  the  large  ships  to  the  attack, 
and  the  project  was  necessarily  abandoned."1  Probably, 
however,  Captain  Warren  was  then  in  command  of  the 
Squirrel,  a  twenty-gun  ship,  in  which  he  was  certainly 
cruising  upon  the  American  station  eighteen  months  af- 
terward. In  1742  he  commanded  the  Launceton,  of  forty 
guns,  in  which  he  captured  the  Peregrina  privateer, 
mounting  fourteen  carriage,  and  four  swivel  guns,  in  com- 
pany with  Captain  Edward  Aylmer,  of  the  Port  Mahon. 
"Warren  was  subsequently  promoted  to  the  Superbe,  of 
sixty  guns,  in  which  he  was  ordered  to  the  West  Indies, 
where  he  was  left  by  Admiral  Sir  Chaloner  Ogle  in  com- 
mand as  commodore  of  a  small  squadron  on  the  Antigua 
station.2  The  activity  of  his  after-life  probably  left  him 
but  little  time  to  reside  on  shore  in  New  York,  before  his 
return  to  and  settlement  in  England.  But  of  this  here- 
after. 

France  was  at  that  time  an  ally  of  Spain,  in  the  wars 
of  the  continent;  and  had  well  nigh  been  drawn  into  the 
contest  with  England  in  1741.  The  queen  of  Spain  hav- 
ing formed  a  plan  for  erecting  a  kingdom  for  her  second 
son,  Don  Philip,  from  some  of  the  Italian  dominions,  an 
army  of  fifteen  thousand  men  was  embarked  for  that  ob- 
ject at  Barcelona,  for  Orbitello,  which  was  convoyed  thither 
by  the  united  squadrons  of  France  and  Spain  —  passing 
the  straits  of  Gibraltar  in  the  night,  while  Admiral  Had- 
dock, with  a  fleet  of  twelve  sail  of  the  line  was  lying  i; 
the  bay.  The  British  admiral  sailing  from  Gibraltar,  reil 
in  with  them  in  a  few  days,  and  discovered  both  squad- 
rons drawn  up  in  order  of  battle,  having  been  joined  by  me 
French  squadron  from  Toulon.     When  bearing  down  to 

1  Marshall's  Colonial  History. 

2  Charnock. 


LIFE    OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  8  I 

give  the  Spaniards  battle,  the  French  admiral  sent  a  flag  chap. 
to  the  English,  informing  him  that  inasmuch  as  the  French  ■ — ¥ — - 
and  Spanish  fleets  were  engaged  in  a  joint  expedition,  he 1743- 
should  he  obliged  to  act  in  concert  with  his  master's  allies. 
The  combined  fleets  amounted  to  double  the  number  of 
the  English  ships  ;  and  the  interposition  of  the  French 
admiral  prevented  an  engagement.1     Still  the  time  was 
not  far  distant  when  France  became  involved  in  the  con- 
test with  England,  by  reason  of  espousing  the  cause  of 
the  Chevalier  de  St.  Greorge,  usually  called  "  the  pretend- 
er."    And  an  expedition  in  behalf  of  this  prince,  with  a 
view  of  placing  him  upon  the  throne  of  his  ancestors,  the 
Stuarts,  under  a  belief  that  he  would  be  received  in  Scot- 
land with  acclamation,  wTas  set  on  foot  by  France  during 
the  present  year. 

Advices  of  the  intended  invasion  of  his  majesty's  do- 1744 
minions,  in  behalf  of  "a  Popish  pretender,"  were  com- 
municated to  the  general  assembly  of  New  York  by  Gov- 
ernor Clinton,  in  April,  1744.  In  connection  with  this 
anticipated  act  of  hostility,  which  would  of  course  extend 
to  the  contiguous  colonies  of  the  two  countries,  efficient 
measures  were  urged  for  placing  the  country  in  a  posture 
of  defence.  The  temper  of  the  colony,  in  regard  to  this 
movement  of  France,  may  be  inferred  from  the  immediate 
action  of  the  assembly.  In  the  council,  Chief  Justice  De 
Lancey,  in  moving  an  address  of  thanks  for  the  speech, 
offered  also  a  resolution  expressive  of  the  abhorrence  of 
that  body  of  the  designs  of  France  in  favor  of  the  pre- 
tender, and  declaring  that  the  civil  and  religious  rights  of 
his  majesty's  subjects  depended  on  the  Protestant  succes- 
sion. The  house  was  invited  to  join  in  the  address,  which 
request,  though  a  very  unusual  procedure,  was  readily 
acquiesced  in,  and  the  address  was  prepared  by  a  joint 
committee  of  the  two  houses.1     From  all  this  it  was  evi- 

i  Smollett. 

2  Journals  of  the  Colonial  Assembly. 


88  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  dent  that  a  war  was  very  near  at  hand,  and  that  the  fron- 
v_v_/  tiers  of  the  colony  might  again,  very  soon,  be  subjected  to 
1744-  the  ravages  of  a  foe  than  whose  tender  mercies  nothing 
could  be  more  cruel. 

An  appropriation  had  been  made  in  the  preceding  De- 
cember, to  enable  Governor  Clinton  to  meet  the  Six  !N  ations 
in  general  council.  But  no  such  conference  had  yet  taken 
place.  Happening  to  be  in  Albany,  however,  in  June  of 
the  present  year,  and  a  considerable  party  of  the  chiefs 
and  sachems  happening  to  be  there  also  at  the  same  time, 
an  interview  took  place  at  which  the  formalities  almost 
of  a  general  council  were  interchanged.  The  governor 
commenced  his  speech  by  informing  them  that  he  had  it 
in  command  from  the  great  king  their  father,  to  tell  them 
of  his  desire  that  the  covenant  chain  between  them  should 
be  kept  bright  and  strong.  He  then  informed  them  how 
his  majesty  had  sent  an  army  into  Germany  the  preceding 
year,  which  had  been  treacherously  attacked  by  the 
French,  contrary  to  the  faith  of  treaties.  But  by  the 
courage  of  the  English  they  were  beaten,  and  obliged  to 
fly  across  the  Rhine.1  Not  only  so,  but  the  governor  told 
them  that  at  a  subsequent  day,  the  French  fleet  had  joined 
itself  to  the  fleet  of  his  majesty's  enemies,  the  Spaniards, 
and  having  attacked  the  British  fleet,  the  French  had 
again  been  beaten.2    After  this,  the  French  king  had  de- 

1  Preferring  to  the  battle  of  Dettingen,  of  which  a  brief  account  has  been 
given  in  a  preceding  note. 

2  Referring  to  the  irregular  and  unfortunate  engagement  between  the 
English  and  the  combined  French  and  Spanish  fleets,  off  Toulon,  on  the 
eleventh  and  twelfth  of  February,  1744.  The  English  commander  was  Ad- 
miral Matthews,  under  whom  was  Vice  Admiral  Lestock.  The  French 
commander  was  M.  de  Court ;  the  Spanish  Don  Navarro.  The  combined 
fleets  had  been  blockaded  in  Toulon.  But  on  attempting  to  get  to  sea, 
they  were  attacked  by  Matthews,  whq  himself,  behaved  with  great  intre- 
pidity ;  but  failed  in  his  tactics.  Between  Matthews  and  Lestock,  a  bitter 
antagonistical  feeling  existed ;  and  perceiving  the  erroneous  manoeuvers 
of  his  commander,  Lestock  furnished  a  precedent  for  Captain  Elliott,  in  the 
American  service,  on  Lake  Erie,  seventy  years  afterward,  by  manceuver- 
ing  on  both  days,  so  as  to  keep  entirely  out  of  the  action.     For  this  con- 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  89 

clared  war  against  their  great   father,  who   in  turn  had  chap. 
declared  war  against  him.1    For  the  present,  the  governor  >— ^ 
would   not  urge  them   upon   the  war-path.     He  wished  1744« 
them  to  remain  at  home, —  to  be  on  their  guard  against 
the  arts  of  the  French, —  and  to  communicate  whatever 
information  they  could  obtain  to  the  Indian  commission- 
ers at  Albany.    In  recompense  for  their  fidelity,  they  were 
promised  protection  by  the  English ;  but  they  were  also 
told  by  the  governor  that  he  should  expect  them  to  assist 
in  the  prosecution  of  the  war  whenever  called  upon  for 
that  purpose.     The  governor  farther  spoke  of  the  import- 
ance, to  them,  of  maintaining  the  post  of  Oswego,  where 
they  could  always  purchase  goods  cheaper  than  they  could 
of  the  French.     The  French  had  their  eye  upon  this  post, 
to  defend  which  six  pieces  of  ordnance  had  recently  been 
forwarded  thither ;  and  should  it  be  attacked,  the  govern- 
or expected  the  Six  Nations  to  assist  in  its  defence.     In 
conclusion,  the  governor  reminded  them  of  the  promise 
formerly  made  by  the  Cayugas  and   Senecas,  that  they 
would  concentrate  their  people  and  unite  their  castles.    If 
this  measure  had  not  been  executed,  he  hoped  they  would 
attend  to  it  as  soon  as  possible ;  since,  in  this  time  of  war, 
a  union  of  their  nations  would  greatly  add  to  their  strength 
and  reputation.     They  had   likewise  promised   that   no 
Frenchmen  should  be  suffered  to  live  among  them ;  which 
promise  the  governor  hoped  they  had  kept. 

This  speech  was  delivered  on  the  eighteenth  of  June. 
Two  days  afterward  the  chiefs  replied ;  but  not  in  a  man- 
ner altogether  satisfactory  to  the  governor  upon  the  main 
subject  of  his  speech  —  the  war  with  France.  True,  they 
reciprocated  his  excellency's  professions  of  friendship  with 

duct,  Lestock  was  brought  to  a  court  marshal,  but  instead  of  being  pun- 
ished, as  he  deserved,  Matthews,  who  had  really  fought  with  gallant  dar- 
ing, was  dismissed  the  service  for  allowing  the  fleets  to  escape  him  !  Such 
is  the  caprice  of  fortune. 

1  The  French  declaration  of  the  war  of  1744,  was  dated  on  the  twentieth 
day  of  March.     On  the  thirty-first  day  of  March,  the  English  declaration 
published  amidst  the  acclamations  of  the  people. 
12 


90  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  as  much  apparent  cordiality  as  ever.  It  was  their  deter- 
^— v— -  urination  to  strengthen  the  covenant  chain,  and  keep  it 
1744-  strong  and  bright  as  long  as  the  sun  endures.  Indeed, 
"we  will  preserve  it  so  strong  and  keep  it  so  bright,  that 
it  shall  not  be  in  the  power  of  the  devil  himself,  with  any 
of  his  wiles  and  arts,  to  break  or  rust  it."  Yet  they  were 
not  remarkably  anxious  to  prove  their  friendship  by  going 
upon  the  war-path.  They  said  they  understood  all  that 
had  been  said  in  regard  to  the  conduct  of  the  French  and 
the  war.  But,  as  to  engaging  in  it,  that  seemed  to  be 
another  affair.  They  were  indeed  a  warlike  people,  and 
they  had  never  yet  been  engaged  in  a  war  in  which  they  had 
not  sooner  or  later  prevailed.  But  they  did  not  now  like 
to  begin  the  war  with  Canada.  It  would  be  time  enough 
when  the  enemy  himself  had  taken  up  the  hatchet.  When 
the  enemy  should  have  attacked  any  of  the  subjects  of  the 
great  king,  their  father,  they  would  be  ready  to  join  in 
defending  themselves  against  them.  In  reference  to  the 
post  of  Oswego,  they  were  glad  it  was  to  be  preserved ; 
but,  as  to  its  immediate  advantages  to  them,  in  their  trade, 
these  were  not  so  great  as  when  first  established ;  they 
sold  goods  cheaper  to  the  Indians  then,  than  they  do  now. 
They  liked  the  officer  in  command  there,  and  wished 
goods  might  become  as  cheap  as  before.  Yet,  should  it 
be  attacked,  they  would  aid  in  its  defence.  In  regard  to 
the  proposed  concentration  of  their  two  western  nations, 
the  Cayugas  and  Senecas,  they  were  too  busy  to  do  it  now. 
Nor  would  they  send  from  among  them  any  of  the  French 
that  might  be  residing  with  their  people.  "  We  have  just 
told  you  we  are  for  peace,  and  must  await  the  attacks  of 
the  enemy.  Should  we  take  hold  of  any  French  that 
came  among  us,  we  should  be  the  first  aggressors." 1 

The  apprehensions  expressed  by  the  governor,  respect- 
ing Oswego,  were  by  no  means  groundless.  On  the 
twenty-fourth  of  June  he  laid  before  the  council  letters 

1  The  proceedings  of  this  incidental  council  may  be  found  at  large  in 
the  Council  Minutes. 


LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  91 

from  the  commandant  of  Oswego,  advising  that  Monsieur  chap. 
Micol  Ilaydcn  had  ascended  Lake  Ontario  past  that  post,  v-^—/ 
with  a  small  force  (probably  of  observation);  and  some  1<44- 
Indian  scouts  had  returned  from  Cadaracqui,  with  intelli- 
gence that  the  French  were  collecting  a  force  of  eight 
hundred  men  for  the  purpose  of  attacking  Oswego,  and 
were  only  waiting  for  the  arrival  of  their  fleet  in  the  St. 
Lawrence  to  complete  their  arrangements  and  make  the 
descent.1 

But  the  largest  and  most  important  Indian  council  of  the 
year  1744,  and  upon  which  the  principal  sachems  and  chiefs 
of  the  Six  Nations  were  in  attendance  nearly  at  the  same 
time  that  Mr.  Clinton  was  holding  his  conference  with 
others  of  their  chiefs  at  Albany,  took  place  at  Lancaster, 
in  the  colony  of  Pennsylvania,  commencing  on  the  twenty- 
second  day  of  June,  and  ending  on  the  fourth  of  July. 
This  council  was  convened  at  the  solicitation  of  Lieutenant- 
Governor  Thomas,  of  that  colony,  who  had  assumed  the 
office  of  mediator  between  the  Six  Nations  and  the  colonies 
of  Maryland  and  Virginia,  in  regard  to  the  ownerships  of 
certain  districts  of  country  within  the  extending  borders 
of  those  colonies,  claimed  by  the  Six  Nations.  It  will  be 
remembered  that  complaints  of  trespasses  upon  those 
lands,  especially  by  the  people  of  Maryland,  were  uttered 
by  the  Six  Nations  in  Philadelphia  two  years  before,  and 
also  that  the  governor  of  Maryland  was  written  to  upon 
the  subject  by  the  council  of  Pennsylvania  at  that  time, — 
the  Indians  having  intimated  a  threat  that,  if  their  com- 
plaints were  not  attended  to,  they  were  able  to  do  justice 
to  themselves.  Mr.  Thomas  had  also  acted  as  a  media- 
tor between  the  Virginians  and  the  Six  Nations,  touch- 
ing the  skirmish  between  a  party  of  Iroquois  warriors  and 
a  small  body  of  Virginia  militia-men,  under  Captains 
M'Dowell  and  Buchanan,  which  occurred  in  the  back  part 
of  the  colony,  in  December,  1742,  the  particulars  of  which 
have  already  been  related.     By  means  of  this  interposi- 

1  Council  Minutes. 


92  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  tion,  the  difficulty  had  been  adjusted; — both  parties  agree- 
>—>r->  ing  to  lay  down  their  arms  and  bury  the  transaction  in 
1744-  oblivion ;  Virginia  cementing  the  reconciliation  by  a  pre- 
sent of  goods  to  the  amount  of  one  hundred  pounds.  Yet 
the  land-controversy  remained  for  adjustment;  although 
it  was  not  apparent  at  the  council  of  1742,  that  the  claim 
of  the  Indians  extended  to  any  lands  upon  which  the  pale 
faces  had  trespassed  in  Virginia.  They  were  indeed  re- 
ported by  the  Indian  commissioners  at  Albany,  in  their 
dispatches  to  Lieutenant-Governor  Clarke,  to  have  disa- 
vowed making  any  such  claim.  But  that  was  a  wide  mis- 
understanding between  the  parties,  since  the  claim  was 
advanced  upon  Virginia  as  well  as  Maryland;  and  this 
council  was  invited  by  Mr.  Thomas,  for  the  purpose,  if 
possible,  of  effecting  such  an  adjustment  of  the  contro- 
versy between  the  parties  respectively,  as  should  be  satis- 
factory to  them  all. 

No  doubt  the  anxiety  of  Mr.  Thomas  to  bring  about  a 
reconciliation,  was  quickened  by  the  impending  conflict 
with  France.  He  saw  the  importance  of  the  Six  Nations 
as  a  barrier  between  the  English  and  French  colonies.  If 
friends,  to  quote  nearly  his  own  language,  they  were  capa- 
ble of  defending  the  English  settlements ;  if  enemies,  of 
making  cruel  ravages  upon  them ;  if  neutral,  they  could 
deny  the  French  a  passage  through  their  country  to  strike 
the  English  settlements,  and  moreover  give  timely  inform- 
ation of  their  designs.  The  advantages  of  cultivating  a 
good  understanding  with  them  were  therefore  obvious, 
while  equally  evident  were  the  disadvantages  of  a  rupture. 
Hence  the  exertions  of  Mr.  Thomas  to  gather  the  present 
council,  to  which  Virginia  had  commissioned  as  delegates 
the  Honorable  Thomas  Lee,  and  Colonel  "William  Beverley, 
and  Maryland  the  Honorable  Edmund  Jennings,  Philip 
Thomas,  Esquire,  and  Colonels  Robert  King  and  Thomas 
Calvil.  Mr.  Witham  Marshe  was  appointed  secretary  to 
the  commission,  and  the  Rev.   Mr.   Craddock  chaplain.1 

xWitham  Marshe  —  afterward  Sir  William    Johnson's    secretary  —  has 
left  a  very  particular  and  edifying  journal  of  his  journey  to  and  from  this 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  93 

The  number  of  Indian  deputies  present  —  chiefs  and  sa-  chap. 
chems, —  is   not   stated ;    hut  they  came  like  a  caravan,  w ^- , 
accompanied  by  warriors  who  were  not  chiefs,  and  by  wo- 1744- 
men  and  children  and  old  men,  to  the  number  of  more 
than  two  hundred  and  fifty  persons.  Several  of  their  women 
and  children  were  mounted  on  horseback,   "  a  thing  very 
unusual  with  them  ;"  and  their  warriors  were  armed  with 
muskets,  bows  and  arrows,   and  tomahawks.1     On  enter- 
ing the  village  of  Lancaster,  "  a  great  multitude  of  people 
followed  them.     They  inarched  in  very  good  order,  with 
Canassateego,  one  of  the  Onondaga  chiefs  at  their  head ; 
who,  when  he  came  near  to  the  quarters  of  the  commis- 
sioners, sung,  in  the  Indian  language,  a  song,  inviting  to 
a  renewal  of  all  treaties  heretofore  made,  and  to  the  nego- 
tiation of  a  new  one."2 

The  Oneidas,  Onondagas,  Cayugas,  Senecas  and  Tusca- 
roras  were  each  represented.  The  Mohawks  were  not. 
Canassateego  and  Tachanoontia,  Onondagas,  and  Gach- 
radodow,  a  Cayuga,  were  the  speakers,  and  Conrad  "Wei- 
ser,  whose  Indian  name  was  Tarachawagon,  as  usual,  the 
interpreter. 

The  chiefs  with  their  retinue,  formed  an  encampment  in 
the  precincts  of  the  town,  which,  from  the  descriptions  of 
honest  Witham  Marshe,  must  have  presented  a  rare  ex- 
ample of  the  picturesque  in  human  life.  While  the  sages 
were  in  council,  the  women  occupied  themselves  with 
their  usual  domestic  concerns,  and  the  children  frolicked 
about  at  their  option  —  the  boys  making  strong  their  arms 
by  stringing  the  bow,  and  improving  their  skill  by  speed- 
ing the  arrow,  or  hurling  their  little  hatchets  —  acquiring 
the  art,  in  anticipation  of  going  upon  the  war-path,  of 
planting  the  hatchet  in  the  trunk  of  a  tree  within  the 

council,  and  of  its  proceedings  from  day  to  day,  to  which  I  shall  have  oc- 
casion more  than  once  to  refer.  This  curious  itinerary  may  be  found  in 
vol.  vii,  Mass.  His.  Coll. 

1  Marshe's  Journal. 

2  Idem. 


94  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  diameter  of  a  hair  of  the  mark.    In  the  evenings,  when 
s_^_,  the  graver  affairs  of  the  day  were  ended,  and  the  fires  were 
1744.  lighted,  the  young  men  indulged  in  their  favorite  sports 
and  games,  wild  and  grotesque,  before  the  groups  of  pale 
faces  that  gathered  around  their  encampment ;  now  illus- 
trating the  pow-wow  dance,   and  now  seizing  a  spear  in 
one  hand  and  a  hatchet  in  the  other,  making  the  woods 
ring  with   the  shrill  war  whoop,  as  around  the  blazing 
lire  they  performed  the  threatening  war-dance.     Among 
the  friends  to  the  mission  was  the  celebrated  Catherine 
Montour,—  a  princess  of  the  Senecas  residing  at  the  head 
of  Seneca  lake  in  the  midst  of  a  clan  whom  she  ruled. 
Mrs.  Montour  was  a  half-breed,  her  father  according  to 
tradition  and  her   own  story,  having  been  governor  of 
Canada,  and  her  mother  a  Huron.     Until  about  ten  years 
of  age,  she  had  been  carefully  reared  and  educated,  and 
her  manners,  even  then,  in  her  old  age,  were  affable,  and 
comparatively  polite.     During  the  war  between  the  Six 
Nations  and  the  French  and  Hurons,  she  was  captured  and 
carried  into  the  country  of  the  Senecas,  by  whom  she  was 
adopted.     On  arriving  at  years  of  maturity  she  was  mar- 
ried to  a  famous  war-captain,  who  was  in  great  esteem  for 
the  glory  he  achieved  for  his  people  in  their  wars  against 
the  Catawbas,  by  whom  she  had  several  children.     About 
fifteen  years  before  the  date  Of  this  council,  her  chief  was 
slain  by  the  Catawbas.     She  had  two   daughters,   both 
married  to  war-captains,  who  were  then  upon  the  war- 
path at  the  south.     She  had  also  a  son,  John,  a  man  of 
great  prowess,  then  absent  against  the  Catawbas.     He  was 
a  brave  partisan  warrior  at  a  later  period,  and  a  great 
favorite  of  Sir  "William  Johnson  —  being  often  in  his  ser- 
vice.    Although  so  young  when  made  a  prisoner,  she  had 
nevertheless  preserved  her  language ;  and  being  in  youth 
and  middle  age  very  handsome,  and  of  good  address,  she 
had  been  greatly  caressed  by  the  gentlewomen  of  Phila- 
delphia during  her  occasional  visits  to  that  city  with  her 
people  on  business.     Indeed  she  was  always  held  in  great 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  95 

esteem  by  the  white  people,  invited  to  their  houses,  and  chap. 
entertained  with  marked  civility.1  ■ — ^ 

The  business  of  the  council  was  opened  by  Mr.  Thomas,  1744- 
in  a  speech  addressed  chiefly  to  the  commissioners  of 
Maryland  and  Virginia,  who  at  its  close  were  formally  in- 
troduced to  the  dusky  ambassadors  "  as  brethren  who  had 
come  to  enlarge  the  fire  which  had  almost  gone  out,  and 
to  brighten  the  chain  which  had  contracted  some  rust." 
To  the  chiefs  he  said :  "  receive  these  your  brethren  with 
open  arms,  and  unite  yourselves  to  them  in  the  covenant 
chain  as  one  body  and  one  soul."  The  speech  was  closed 
with  exhortations  to  the  Indians  of  fidelity  toward  the 
English,  and  by  the  oft-repeated  cautions  against  the  arts 
and  designs  of  the  French.  Canassateego  replied  that  the 
Indians  had  always  considered  Assaragoa,2  and  the  gov- 
ernor of  Maryland  as  their  friends  ;  but  inasmuch  as  they 
had  met  to  adjust  disputes  about  land,  he  preferred  having 
that  business  settled  first,  after  which  they  could  proceed 
"to  confirm  the  friendship  subsisting  between  them." 

The  Maryland  commissioners  opened  their  case  first. 
They  were  surprised  when  they  heard  of  the  claim  of  the 
Six  Nations  two  years  ago,  to  any  of  their  lands,  and  were 
displeased  at  the  threat  with  which  they  had  accompanied 
their  complaint, —  as  though  they  had  designed  to  terrify 
the  people  of  Maryland  into  a  compliance  with  their  de- 
mands. The  people  of  Maryland  had  been  in  possession 
of  the  lands  in  question  more  than  a  hundred  years,  with- 
out having  heard  of  this  claim.  Ninety  years  ago  the 
Susquehanna  Indians  had  by  treaty  relinquished  those 
lands.  Sixty  years  ago  the  Six  Nations  had  acknow- 
ledged, at  Albany,  that  they  had  given  up  their  lands  and 
submitted  themselves  to  the  king  of  England.  In  a  word, 
they  believed  the  Six  Nations  had  no  rightful  claim  what- 
ever to  the  territory  in  dispute.     "  They  had  now  laid 

1  Witham  Marshe's  Journal. 

2  The  name  which  the  Indians  had  conferred  upon  the  governor  of  Vir- 
ginia, and  by  which  they  always  addressed  him  or  his  representatives. 


96  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  their  bosoms  bare ;"  and  yet  they  were  willing,  in  order 
v_^_/to  remove  every  cause  of  contention,  to  make  the  Six  Na- 
1744,  tions  a  valuable  present  of  goods,  which  they  had  brought 
along  "  in  a  chest,  with  the  key  in  their  pocket." 

Canassateego  replied.1  It  was  true  that  the  Indians,  in 
making  their  complaint  against  the  trespasses  upon  their 
lands  by  the  people  of  Maryland,  had  used  language  "  that 
looked  like  a  design  to  terrify  you."  He  admitted  that 
they  had  done  so.  They  had  complained  in  regard  to 
trespasses  upon  their  lands  about  seven  years  ago.  But  no 
notice  was  taken  of  their  complaint.  "  Two  years  ago, 
therefore,  they  resolved  to  use  such  language  as  would 
make  the  greatest  impression  on  your  minds,  and  we  find 
it  has  had  its  effect.  You  will  soon  have  understood  our 
expressions  in  their  true  sense.  We  had  no  evil  design, — 
no  desire  to  terrify  you,  but  to  put  you  on  doing  the  jus- 
tice you  have  so  long  delayed."  Having  thus  explained 
the  intention  of  their  menace,  and  added  the  strong- 
est assurances  of  their  good  disposition  toward  the  com- 
missioners, the  chief  proceeded  to  discuss  the  nature  of 
their  claim,  and  its  history, —  commencing  in  true  Indian 
style,  with  the  first  planting  of  the  European  colonies  in 
America.  "  When  you  mentioned  the  aftair  of  the  land 
yesterday,  you  went  back  to  old  times.  You  told  us  you 
had  been  in  possession  of  the  province  of  Maryland  above 
one  hundred  years ;  but  what  is  one  hundred  years,  in 
comparison  of  the  length  of  time  since  our  claim  began  ? 
since  we  came  out  of  this  ground?  Long  before  one 
hundred  years  our  ancestors  came  out  of  this  very  ground, 
and  their  children  have  remained  here  ever  since.  You 
came  out  of  the  ground  in  a  country  that  lies  beyond  the 

1  For  some  account  of  this  Indian  counselor,  and  an  interesting  anecdote 
concerning  him,  see  Froud's  Pennsylvania,  and  also  the  author's  history 
of  Wyoming.  Witham  Marshe  says  of  him :  "  He  was  a  tall,  well  made 
man  ;  had  a  very  full  chest,  and  brawny  limbs.  He  had  a  manly  counte- 
nance, mixed  with  a  good  natured  smile.  He  was  about  sixty  years  of 
age ;  very  active,  strong,  and  had  a  surprising  liveliness  in  his  speech, 
which  I  observed  betwixthim,  Mr.  Weiser,  and  some  of  the  sachems." 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOIINSON,    BART.  97 

seas.  There  you  may  have  a  just  claim,  but  here  you  chap. 
must  allow  us  to  be  your  elder  brethren.  It  is  true  that  *_^_ > 
above  one  hundred  years  ago  the  Dutch  came  here  in  a  1'44- 
ship,  and  brought  us  goods  —  such  as  awls,  hatchets, 
knives,  guns,  and  other  things.  And  when  they  had 
taught  us  how  to  use  them,  and  saw  what  sort  of  people 
they  were,  we  liked  them  so  well  that  we  tied  their  ship 
to  the  bushes  on  the  shore.  Afterward,  liking  them  still 
better  the  longer  they  staid  with  us,  and  thinking  the 
bushes  too  slender,  we  removed  the  rope  and  tied  it  to  the 
trees  ;  and  as  the  trees  were  likely  to  be  blown  ciown  by 
the  high  winds,  or  to  decay  of  themselves,  we,  from  the 
affection  we  bore  them,  again  removed  the  rope,  and  tied 
it  to  a  strong  and  big  rock.1  Not  content  with  this,  for 
its  further  security,  we  removed  the  rope  to  the  Big  Moun- 
tain, and  there  we  tied  it  very  fast,  and  rolled  wampum 
about  it  ;2  and,  to  make  it  still  more  secure,  we  stood 
upon  the  wampum  and  sat  down  upon  it.  To  prevent 
any  hurt  coming  to  it,  we  did  our  best  endeavors  that  it 
might  remain  uninjured  forever."  During  all  this  time, 
he  maintained,  the  Dutch  never  disputed  their  title  to  the 
land,  but  purchased  by  league  and  covenant,  as  they 
needed.  Then  came  the  English,  who,  the  Indians  were 
told,  became  one  people  with  the  Dutch.     The  English 

1  Here  the  interpreter  said  they  meant  the  Oneida  country.  They  were 
called  the  People  of  the  Rock,  from  a  large  and  peculiar  stone  in  their 
country,  which,  according  to  their  tradition  was  moving  westward,  and  the 
nation  moved  with  that  stone,  or  rock.  Indeed  the  name,  Oneida,  signifies 
an  upright  stone.  By  some  of  the  Oneidas,  this  Oneida  stone  was  regarded 
as  a  proper  emblem,  or  representation  of  the  divinity  whom  they  worshiped. 
"  This  stone,"  says  the  late  Rev.  Jeddediah  Morse,  D.  D.,  in  one  of  his 
missionary  tours,  "  we  saw.  It  is  of  a  rude,  unwrought  shape,  rather  in- 
clined to  cylindrical,  and  of  more  than  a  hundred  pounds  weight.  It  bears 
no  resemblance  to  any  of  the  stones  found  in  that  country.  From  whence 
it  was  brought,  no  one  can  tell.  The  tradition  is  that  it  follows  the  nation 
in  their  removals.  When  set  up  in  the  crotch  of  a  tree,  the  people  were 
supposed  invincible.'" 

2  This  was  an  allusion  to  the  Onondaga  country  —  the  People  of  the  Big 
Mountain. 

13 


98  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  governor  came  to  Albany,  and  approving  mightily  of  the 
v— ^ — -  friendship  between  the  Dutch  and  Indians,  wished  like- 
!744.  wjge  .j-0  form  a  league  with  the  Six  Nations.  "  Looking 
into  what  had  passed  between  us,  he  found  that  the  rope 
which  tied  the  ship  to  the  great  mountain,  was  only  fast- 
ened with  wampum,  which  was  liable  to  break  and  rot. 
He  therefore  told  us  he  would  give  us  a  silver  chain, 
which  would  be  much  stronger,  and  would  last  forever. 
This  we  accepted,  and  fastened  the  ship  with  it,  and  it  has 
lasted  ever  since."  Glancing  rapidly  over  the  history  of 
their  intercourse  with  the  English,  and  arguing  that  on 
the  whole  that  intercourse  had  been  of  no  advantage  to 
them,  the  arrival  of  William  Penn  was  thus  referred  to : 
"  Our  brother  Onas,  a  great  while  ago,  came  to  Albany, 
to  buy  the  Susquehanna  lands  of  us ;  but  our  brother  the 
governor  of  New  York,  who,  as  we  supposed,  had  not  a 
good  understanding  with  our  brother  Onas,  advised  us  not 
to  sell  him  any  land,  for  he  would  make  an  ill  use  of  it ; 
and,  pretending  to  be  our  good  friend,  he  advised  us,  in 
order  to  prevent  Onas,  or  any  other  person's  imposing 
upon  us,  and  that  we  might  always  have  our  land  when 
we  should  want  it,  to  put  it  into  his  hands ;  and  told  us 
he  would  keep  it  for  our  use,  and  never  open  his  hands, 
but  keep  them  close  shut,  and  not  part  with  any  of  it,  but 
at  our  own  request.  Accordingly  we  trusted  him,  and 
charged  him  to  keep  the  land  safe  for  our  use.  But  some 
time  after,  he  went  to  England,  and  carried  our  land  with 
him,  and  there  sold  it  to  our  brother  Onas  for  a  large  sum 
of  money ;  and  when  afterward,  we  were  minded  to  sell 
our  brother  Onas  some  of  our  lands,  he  told  us  that  we 
had  sold  them  to  the  governor  of  New  York,  already,  and 
that  he  had  bought  them  of  him  in  England !  But  when 
he  came  to  understand  how  the  governor  of  New  York 
had  deceived  us,  he  very  generously  paid  us  for  the  Sus- 
quehanna lands  over  again." 

Notwithstanding  the  dishonesty  thus  practiced  upon 
them  by  New  York,  however,  the  orator  admitted  that  in 
their  wars  with  the  French,  they  had  received  such  assist- 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  99 

ance  from  New  York  as  had  enabled  them  "  to  keep  up  chap. 
their  heads  against  their  attacks."  In  regard  to  the  im-v.^ 
mediate  question  as  to  the  lands  now  in  controversy,  the  1744- 
orator  said  they  had  examined  the  titles  adduced  by  the 
commissioners,  to  the  Susquehanna  lands,  and  admitted 
their  validity.  The  Conestoga  or  Susquehanna  Indians  had 
sold  them  to  the  governor  of  .Maryland  before  their  subju- 
gation by  the  Six  Nations,  and  therefore  they  had  a  right 
to  sell  them.  But  those  were  not  the  lands  in  dispute. 
The  Six  Nations  demanded  satisfaction  for  no  part  of 
those  lands,  but  their  claim  was  from  the  Cohongoron- 
tas  lands.1  Those,  they  were  sure,  had  not  been  in  the 
possession  of  the  people  of  Maryland  one  hundred  years, 
no,  nor  even  ten  years;1  and  the  Six  Nations  had  de- 
manded satisfaction  so  soon  as  they  were  apprised  that  the 
people  of  Maryland  had  settled  down  upon  them.  They 
had  never  been  sold ;  but  understanding  that  the  commis- 
sioners were  provided  with  goods  to  pay  for  them,  they 
were  willing  to  treat  for  their  sale.  Canassateego  added, 
that  inasmuch  as  the  then  governors  of  Virginia,  Mary- 
land and  Pennsylvania  had  divided  the  lands  among  them, 
the  Indians  could  not  tell  how  much  had  been  taken  by 
each,  nor  were  they  concerned  on  that  account,  provided 
they  were  paid  by  the  parties  upon  the  principles  of  honor 
and  justice.2 

Next  in  order  the  discussion  was  resumed  by  Mr. 
Lee,  of  the  Virginia  commission,  who  acknowledged 
that  seven  years  before,  Onas  had  written  to  Assaragoa 
in  behalf  of  the  Six  Nations,  requesting  compensation 
for  certain  lands  claimed  by  them,  upon  which  they 
alleged  some  of  the  Virginians  had  taken  their  seats  ; 
but  as  they  had  heard  that  the  Six  Nations  had  given  up 
their  lands  to  the  great  king  long  ago,  and  as  Virginia  had 
been  in  possession  one  hundred  and  sixty  years,  Assara- 

1  Cohongorontas,  the  name  by  which  the  Potomac  was  called  by  the  Six 
Nations. 

2  Dr.  Colden's  account  of  the  treaty. 


100  LIFE    OF   SIR  WILLIAM    JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  goa  thought  there  must  be  some  mistake  in  the  matter. 
w^ — r  He  had  therefore  requested  the  governor  of  New  York, 
1744.  neariy  two  years  ago,  to  make  some  inquiry  upon  the 
subject.  That  governor  sent  a  message  to  the  great  coun- 
cil-fire at  Onondaga  more  than  a  year  ago,  to  which  the 
chiefs  answered,  "that  if  they  had  had  any  demands  or  pre- 
tensions upon  the  governor  of  Virginia,  they  would  have 
made  it  known  to  the  governor  of  New  York."  It  was 
clear,  therefore,  that  the  Six  Nations  had  no  claim  upon 
Virginia  for  the  Cohongorohtas  lands,  nor  for  any  other. 
Yet,  continued  the  commissioners,  "  tell  us  what  nations 
of  Indians  you  conquered  lands  from  in  Virginia,  how  many 
since,  and  what  possessions  you  have  had ;  and  if  it  ap- 
pears that  there  are  any  lands  oh  the  borders  of  Virginia 
to  which  you  have  a  right,  we  are  willing  to  make  you 
satisfaction. 

This  speech  was  pronounced  by  Canassateego  to  be 
very  good  and  agreeable ;  and  after  the  usual  time  for 
consideration  with  the  Indians  had  elapsed,  Tachanoontia 
replied.1  He  said  they  claimed  the  lands  on  the  Susque- 
hanna and  on  the  Cohongorontas,  and  back  of  the  great 
mountains  by  the  right  of  conquest  —  "a  right  too  dearly 
purchased,  and  which  cost  too  much  blood,  to  be  given  up 
without  any  reason  at  all,  as  you  say  we  did  at  Albany." 
He  denied,  explicitly,  the  answer  said  to  have  been  re- 
turned to  Governor  Clarke's  message  from  Albany  the 
year  before.  No  such  answer  had  been  given  either  by 
the  chiefs,  or  by  anybody  else.     If  they  held  the  fact  to 

be  otherwise,  he  demanded  the  letter.    He  next  proceeded 

» 

1  Tachanoontia  was  an  Onondaga  sachem  and  warrior.  "  He  was  a  tall, 
thin  man ;  old,  and  not  so  well  featured  as  Canassateego,  but  about  the 
same  age.  He  is  one  of  the  greatest  warriors  that  ever  the  Six  Nations 
produced,  and  has  been  a  great  war-captain  for  many  years  past.  This 
chief  was  also  called  The  Black  Prince,  because,  as  I  was  informed,  he 
was  either  the  son  of  an  Indian  woman  by  a  negro,  or  of  an  Indian  chief 
by  a  negress ;  but  by  which  of  the  two  I  could  not  be  well  assured.  The 
governor  of  Canada  will  not  treat  with  any  of  the  Six  Nation,  unless 
Tachanoontia  is  personally  present,  he  having  a  great  sway  in  all  the 
Indian  councils." — Witham  Marshe. 


LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  101 

to  enumerate  five  several  nations  of  Indians  in  Virginia  chap. 

ir. 

whom  the  Six  Nations  had  conquered,  "  and  who  feel  the  w^-^ 
effects  of  our  conquests,  being  now  a  part  of  our  nations  1744- 
and  their  lands  at  our  disposal.  However,  the  chief  was 
not  disposed  to  prolong  the  discussion  concerning  the 
lands,  as,  understanding  that  commissioners  were  provided 
with  goods,  he  thought  that  question  could  be  easily 
adjusted. 

Before  closing  his  speech,  however,  Tachanoontia  re- 
ferred, for  the  purpose  apparently  of  making  an  expla- 
nation, to  the  skirmish  that  had  taken  place  in  the  back 
part  of  Virginia,  in  December,  1742,  between  a  party  of 
the  Six  Nations'  warriors  and  a  detachment  of  Virginia 
militia,  under  Captains  M'Dowell  and  Buchanan,  the  par- 
ticulars of  which  have  been  already  stated.  This  affair,  he 
asserted,  had  been  occasioned  solely  by  the  aggressions 
of  Virginia.  Twenty  years  ago,  at  the  treaty  held  by 
Governor  Spotteswood  in  Albany,  the  Six  Nations  had 
agreed  to  remove  their  road  to  the  middle  of  the  ridge  of 
the  great  mountains.  But  the  Virginians,  contrary  to 
the  stipulations  of  that  treaty,  had  settled  on  that  road ; 
and  this  was  the  cause  of  the  affray.  The  Six  Nations 
then  removed  their  road  again  to  the  foot  of  the  moun- 
tains ;  "  but  it  was  not  long  before  your  people  came  like 
a  flock  of  birds,  and  sat  down  on  both  sides  of  it."  They 
could  not  remove  their  road  any  farther  back,  and  this 
matter,  said  the  chief,  must  be  settled  before  we  can 
make  any  grant  of  land.  "  The  Virginia  people  must  be 
obliged  to  remove  farther  easterly,  or,  if  they  stay,  our 
warriors  must  share  what  they  plant." 

The  proceedings  were  interlocutory,  the  Maryland  com- 
missioners interposing  at  this  stage  of  them,  and  after  a 
speech  denying,  peremptorily,  the  claim  of  the  Six  Na- 
tions, yet,  for  the  purpose  of  harmony, — that  they  might 
all  be  of  one  heart, —  offering  to  pay  for  a  title  to  the 
lands  in  dispute  the  sum  of  three  hundred  pounds  in 
goods. 

The  Virginia  commissioners  thereupon   renewed  the 


102  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  discussion, —  insisting  that  "the  king  held  the  entire  ter- 
w^-^  ritoiy  of  Virginia  by  right  of  conquest,  to  the  westward 
1744-  as  far  as  the  great  sea."  Even  if  the  Six  Nations  had 
conquered  any  Indians  beyond  the  great  mountains,  they 
yet  had  never  possessed  any  lands  there.  When  the  Eng- 
lish came  those  lands  were  deserted.  But  aside  from  this 
fact,  the  Indians  were  reminded  once  more  of  their  re- 
linquishment of  their  lands  to  the  great  king  fifty-eight 
years  before,  in  a  treaty  with  the  governor  of  New  York,  at 
Albany.  Lord  Howard,  the  governor  of  Virginia,  being 
also  there.  They  had  then  not  only  given  up  their  lands 
to  the  king  for  his  protection,  but  declared  themselves 
his  subjects.1  In  respect  to  the  affair  between  Captain 
M'Dowell  and  a  party  of  their  warriors,  the  commission- 
ers maintained  that  the  Indians  had  not  kept  their  agree- 
ment with  Governor  Spotteswood,  not  to  pass  or  repass 
within  certain  boundaries  without  written  passports,  either 
from  the  governor  of  ISTew  York  or  of  Virginia.  "  What 
right  can  you  have  to  lands  that  you  have  no  right  to  walk 
upon,  but  upon  certain  conditions  ?  Nor  would  there  have 
been  any  collision,  had  the  Six  Nations  kept  the  peace 
with  the  southern  Indians,  which  had  been  confirmed  at 
Albany  with  Governor  Clarke.  It  was  owing  to  the 
war  they  were  continuing  against  the  Catawbas,  that  the 
skirmish  had  taken  place.  Yet,  after  all,  they,  the  com- 
missioners, were  willing  to  adjust  the  difficulty  upon  the 
basis  of  Governor  Spotteswood's  treaty,  and  furthermore 
to  pay  any  reasonable  demand  which  the  Six  Nations  sup- 

1  This  was  in  the  year  1687.  The  following  passage  from  the  speech  of 
the  Six  Nations  on  that  occasion,  was  cited  by  the  Virginia  commissioners  : 
"Brethren,  you  tell  us  the  king  of  England  is  a  very  great  king,  and  why 
should  you  not  join  with  us  in  any  just  cause,  where  the  French  join  with 
our  enemies  in  a  very  unjust  cause?  0  brethren,  we  see  the  reason  of  this  ; 
for  the  Frenoh  would  fain  kill  us  all,  and  when  that  is  done,  they  would 
carry  all  the  beaver  trade  to  Canada,  and  the  great  king  of  England  would 
lose  the  land  likewise ;  and  therefore,  0  great  sachem,  beyond  the  great 
lakes,  awake,  and  suifer  not  those  poor  Indians,  that  have  given  themselves 
and  their  lands  under  your  protection,  to  be  destroyed  by  the  French 
without  a  cause." 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  103 

posed  themselves  to  have  for  the  territory  they  claimed,  chap. 
although,  as  they  had  been  informed,  the  southern  Indians  >—v—> 
were  claiming  the  same  lands.  1744- 

It  is  quite  probable  that  in  all  these  discussions,  there 
was  duplicity  on  both  sides.  The  Indians  saw  that  their 
own  importance  was  magnified  by  the  condition  of  the 
country;  while  the  commissioners,  for  the  same  cause, 
were  prepared  to  accede,  to  a  considerable  extent,  even 
to  groundless  claims,  rather  than  give  such  umbrage  to 
the  Indians  as  might  by  any  possibility  drive  them  over  to 
the  French. 

The  Virginians  were  answered  by  a  Cayuga  chief  named 
Gachradodow —  a  name  which  appears  in  this  negotiation 
only,  so  far  as  I  am  acquainted  with  Indian  history.  Ad- 
dressing "Brother  Assaragoa" — "The  world,"  said  he, 
at  the  first,  was  made  on  the  other  side  of  the  great  water, 
very  different  from  what  it  was  on  this  side,  as  may  be 
known  from  the  different  colors  of  our  skin  and  our  flesh ; 
and  that  which  you  call  justice,  may  not  be  so  among  us. 
The  great  king  might  send  you  over  to  conquer  the  In- 
dians, but  it  looks  to  us  that  God  did  not  approve  of  it. 
If  He  had,  He  would  not  have  placed  the  great  sea  be- 
tween us  where  it  is.  Though  great  things  are  remem- 
bered among  us,  yet  we  don't  remember  that  we  were 
ever  conquered  by  the  great  king,  or  that  we  have  been 
employed  by  that  king  to  conquer  others.  If  it  was  so, 
it  is  beyond  our  memories.  We  do  remember  we  were 
employed  by  Maryland  to  conquer  the  Conestogas,  and  the 
second  time  we  were  at  war  with  them,  he  carried  them  all 
off."  Gachradodow  next  proceeded  to  explain  their  conduct 
respecting  the  Catawbas.  They  had,  it  was  true,  at  Al- 
bany, when  their  brother  Assaragoa  sent  them  some  belts 
of  wampum  from  the  Cherokees  and  Catawbas,  agreed  to  a 
peace  with  those  nations,  on  the  condition  that  they 
should  send  some  of  their  great  men  "  to  confirm  it  face 
to  face."  The  Cherokees  came,  and  after  the  peace  was 
confirmed,  the  Six  Nations  escorted  them  back  to  their 
own  country  in  safety.      But  the   Catawbas   refused  to 


104  LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  come,  and  sent  a  taunting  message.  "  They  sent  word 
wY_ /  that  we  were  but  women  ;  that  they  were  men, —  double 
1 1 44.  meil) —  an(j  that  they  would  be  always  at  war  with  us.  They 
have  been  treacherous,  and  know  it ;  so  that  the  war  must 
be  continued  till  one  of  us  is  destroyed.  Be  not  troubled 
at  what  we  do  to  the  Catawbas."  The  orator  proceeded 
to  touch  upon  other  points  in  the  speech  of  the  Virginia 
commissioners, — but  intimated  that  if  the  goods  they  had 
brought  were  sufficient  in  quantity  and  value,  their  diffi- 
culties might  be  adjusted.  "  You  told  us  that  you  had  a 
chest  of  goods,  and  the  key  in  your  pocket.  But  we 
have  never  seen  the  chest,  or  the  goods.  It  may  be  small, 
and  the  goods  few.  We  want  to  see  them,  and  come  to 
some  conclusion.  We  have  been  sleeping  here  these  ten 
days,  and  have  done  nothing  to  the  purpose." 

The  public  discussions  of  the  land  questions,  of  which 
I  have  barely  attempted  to  sketch  the  leading  features, 
ceased  at  this  point.  It  had  been  all  along  evident  that 
the  Indians  were  willing  to  grant  whatever  Maryland  and 
Virginia  desired ;  while,  as  has  been  seen,  both  of  those 
colonies,  while  in  terms  denying  the  Indians  any  rights  in 
the  premises,  were  from  policy  disposed  to  buy  them  off 
at  reasonable  sums.  The  commissioners  having  prepared 
maps  of  the  districts,  the  Indian  title  to  which  they  were 
now  finally  to  extinguish,  and  the  Indians  having  assented 
thereto,  the  goods  to  be  given  in  consideration  were 
brought  for  the  examination  of  the  purchasers.  By  a 
previous  stipulation  with  Mr.  Thomas,  Virginia  was  to  pay 
one  hundred  pounds  value  in  goods,  to  heal  the  border 
skirmish  in  which  Captain  M'Dowell  fell.  To  this  amount 
was  now  added  two  hundred  pounds  in  goods,  and  one 
hundred  in  gold.  The  commissioners  of  Maryland,  also, 
as  an  equivalent  for  the  disputed  land  already  in  their 
possession,  proposed  a  payment  of  goods  to  the  amount  of 
two  hundred  pounds,  and  a  like  addition  of  one  hundred 
pounds  in  gold.  The  negotiation  was  thus  closed,  and 
the  deeds  executed.  The  lands  in  Maryland  were  "  con- 
firmed to  Lord  Baltimore  with  definite  limits.     The  deed 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOUNSON,    BART.  105 

to  Virginia  extended  the  claim  of  that  colony  indefinitely  chap. 
to  the  west  and  northwest."1     But  in  executing  this  lastw^ 
conveyance,  the  Indians  stipulated  that  their  case  should  1744> 
be  commended  to  the  consideration  of  the  great  king, 
should  their  brother  Assaragoa  push  his  settlements  yet 
farther  back  beyond  the  line  of  their  "  great  road" — the 
right  to  which  road  was  again  confirmed.     But  vaki  were 
all  these  stipulations  to  save  the  red  man  from  his  doom  ! 
These  matters  having  thus  been  adjusted  to  the  satisfac- 
tion of  the  parties,  it  was  determined  by  the  Maryland 
commissioners  to  give  the  chiefs  by  special  invitation,  a 
grand  entertainment, —  at  which,  of  course  all   the  dis- 
tinguished gentlemen  in  attendance  upon  the  council  were 
guests.    Twenty-four  Indian  dignitaries  attended  the  feast, 
which  was  served  with  uncommon  preparation  and  cere- 
mony, in  the  court-house,   Governor  Thomas  presiding. 
Five  tables   were  spread,   the  sachems  being  seated  by 
themselves,  with  Canassateego  at  their  Jhead.    "  The  chiefs 
seemed  prodigiously  pleased  with  their  feast,  for  they  fed 
lustily  and  drank  heartily,"  says  honest  Witham  Marshe. 
After  dinner,  being  warmed  into  a  glow  of  good  feeling,  the 
Indians,  through  the  interpreter,  informed  Governor  Tho- 
mas, that  as  Lord  Baltimore,  the  proprietary  and  governor 
of  Maryland  was  not  known  to  the  Indians  by  any  particular 
name,  they  had  agreed  in  council  to  take  the  first  conve- 
nient opportunity  when  a  large  company  should  be  present, 
to  confer  one  upon  him.     Such  a  transaction  being  with 
them  a  matter  of  great  form  and  ceremony,  the  deputies 
of  the  several  nations  had  drawn  lots  for  the  honor  of  per- 
forming it,  and  the  lot  had  fallen  upon  the  Cayugas,  who 
had  designated  their  chief  Gachradodow  for  that  purpose. 
The  name  with  .which  the  lord  baron  of  Baltimore  was 
then  honored  was  Tocarry-hogon,  "denoting  precedency, 
excellency,  or  living  in  the  middle,  or  honorable  place  be- 
tween Assaragoa  and  our  brother  Onas,  by  whom  our 
treaties  may  be  the   better  carried  on."     The  ceremony 


1  Bancroft's  United  States. 
14 


106  LIFE    OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap. was  performed  "with  all  the  dignity  of  a  warrior,  the 
<-^ — ;  gesture  of  an  orator,  and  in  a  very  graceful  posture."  1 
1744.  All  the  differences  between  the  Indians  and  their  broth- 
ers Tocarry-hogon  and  Assaragoa  having  thus  been  adjust- 
ed, and  some  explanations  having  been  interchanged  be- 
tween Onas  and  the  chiefs,  respecting  the  murder  by  a 
party  of  Delawares,  of  an  Indian  trader,  named  John 
Armstrong,  and  two  of  his  men,  and  also  in  regard  to  the 
alleged  murder  of  several  Indians  on  the  Ohio,  by  white 
men  ;  and  the  lieutenant-governor  having  congratulated 
the  council  upon  the  happy  issue  of  their  deliberations, 
the  next  business  in  hand  was  to  sound  the  chiefs  on  the 
yet  more  important  subject  of  the  French  war.  Rehears- 
ing, as  Governor  Clinton  had  done  at  Albany,  the  story  of 
the  battle  of  Dettingen,  for  the  purpose  of  magnifying  the 
personal  prowess  of  the  king,  and  the  sea-fight  of  Toulon, 
and  announcing  the  declarations  of  war  that  had  followed 
those  transactions,  Mr.  Thomas  reminded  them  of  their 
obligations  by  treaty  to  assist  their  brethren  of  Pennsylva- 
nia against  the  French,  and  especially  to  prevent  them 
from  passing  through  their  country  to  make  war  upon  the 
English. 

A  conciliatory  speech  was  then  delivered  by  the  Vir- 
ginia commissioners,  in  which  they  were  urged  by  all 
means  to  make  peace  with  the  Catawbas,  in  order  that 
they  might  be  the  better  prepared  to  meet  their  common 
enemies,  the  French  and  Spaniards.  They  closed  by  in- 
viting them  to  send  some  of  their  promising  youths  to 

1  Witham  Marske, —  who  adds  —  "  This  Gachradodow  is  a  very  celebrated 
warrior,  and  one  of  the  Cayuga  chiefs,  about  forty  years  of  age,  tall, 
straight-limbed,  and  a  graceful  person,  but  not  so  fat  as  Canassateego. 
His  action,  when  he  spoke,  was  certainly  the  niost  graceful,  as  well  as 
bold,  that  any  person  ever  saw ;  without  the  buffoonery  of  the  French,  or 
the  over-solemn  deportment  of  the  haughty  Spaniards.  When  he  made  the 
complimentary  speech  on  the  occasion  of  giving  the  new  name  to  Lord  Balti- 
more, he  was  complimented  by  the  governor  (Thomas),  who  said,  '  that  he 
would  have  made  a  good  figure  in  the  forum  of  old  Rome.'  And  Mr.  Com- 
missioner Jennings  declared,  '  that  he  had  never  seen  so  just  an  action  in 
any  of  the  most  celebrated  orators  he  had  heard  speak.'  " — Witham  Marshe. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  107 

Virginia,  to  be  instructed  in  the  religion,  language  and  chap. 
customs  of  the  white  people.  >— y— j 

The  chiefs  required  a  day  for  special  reflection,  before  17 
replying  to  these  addresses.  Meantime,  said  Canassatee- 
go,  archly,  "  You  tell  us  you  beat  the  French.  If  so,  you 
must  have  taken  a  great  deal  of  rum  from  them,  and  can 
the  better  spare  us  some  of  that  liquor  to  make  us  rejoice 
with  you  in  the  victory !" 

On  the  next  day  Canassateego  delivered  a  formal  reply 
to  each  of  their  addresses  in  order.  He  admitted  that 
their  people  were  bound  by  the  faith  of  treaties  to  take 
part  in  the  French  war.  "  We  have  all  the  particulars  of 
these  treaties  in  our  hearts.  They  are  fresh  in  our  mem- 
ory. We  shall  never  forget  that  we  have  but  one  heart, 
one  head,  one  eye,  one  ear,  and  one  hand.  We  shall  have 
all  your  country  under  our  eye,  and  take  all  the  care  we 
can  to  prevent  any  enemy  coming  into  it."  As  an  evi- 
dence at  once  of  their  fidelity  and  precaution,  he  said  they 
had  sent  a  message  to  Younondio,  informing  him  that 
"  there  was  room  enough  at  sea  to  fight,  where  he  might 
do  what  he  pleased ;  but  he  should  not  come  through  our 
country  to  fight  the  English."  The  Six  Nations,  he  added, 
had  great  authority  over  sundry  tribes  of  Indians  in  alli- 
ance with  the  French,  especially  over  "the  praying  In- 
dians, formerly  part  with  ourselves,  who  stand  in  the  very 
gates  of  the  French ;  and  to  show  our  care,  we  have  en- 
gaged these  very  Indians  for  you.  They  will  not  join  the 
French  against  you."1  • 

In  reply,  specially,  to  his  "Brother  Assaragoa,"  Canas- 
sateego said,  referring  to  their  war  against  the  Catawbas, 
" they  are  spiteful  and  offensive."  Yet,  although  "they 
have  treated  us  contemptuously,"  the  Six  Nations  were 
willing  to  make  peace  with  them,  if  they  would  come  to 


real. 


1  These  "praying  Indians,"  were  the  Caughnawagas,  residing  near  Mont- 

ol 


1744. 


108  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  the  north  and  treat  for  it.  In  reply  to  the  invitation  to 
v— y— <  send  some  of  their  children  to  Virginia  to  he  educated,  he 
replied :  "Brother  Assaragoa,  we  must  let  you  know  that 
we  love  our  children  too  well  to  send  them  so  great  a  way. 
The  Indians  are  not  inclined  to  give  their  children  educa- 
tion. We  allow  it  to  be  good.  "We  thank  you  for  the 
invitation;  but  our  customs  being  different  from  yours, 
you  must  excuse  us." 1  When  acknowledging  the  gifts 
they  had  received  from  the  proprietaries,  the  veteran  ora- 
tor was  evidently  affected  in  the  contemplation  of  their  own 
poverty,  and  the  gloomy  anticipations  as  to  the  fate  of  his 
race  which  he  was  too  sagacious  a  man  not  to  foresee : 
"We  have  provided  a  small  present  for  you;  but,  alas! 
we  are  poor,  and  shall  ever  remain  so,  as  long  as  there  are 
so  many  Indian  traders  amongst  us.  Their' s  and  the  white 
people's  cattle  eat  up  all  the  grass,  and  make  deer  scarce. 
However,  we  have  provided  a  small  present  for  you." 
Saying  which  he  presented  three  bundles  of  skins,  one  for 
each  of  the  colonies  represented  in  council. 

Toward  the  conclusion  of  the  council,  while  the  several 
parties  to  it  were  engaged  drinking  healths,  and  exchang- 

1  Doctor  Franklin,  in  his  miscellaneous  works,  has  given  a  more  extended 
report  of  Canassateego's  reply  to  the  invitation.  In  addition  to  this  re- 
mark which  I  have  quoted  from  Colden's  official  account  of  the  treaty, 
Franklin  reports  Canassateego  to  have  continued  his  speech  thus:  "We 
have  had  some  experience  in  this  sending  of  our  children  to  your  schools. 
Several  of  our  young  people  were  formerly  brought  up  at  the  colleges  of 
the  northern  provinces ;  they  were  instructed  in  all  your  sciences ;  but 
when  they  came  back  to  us,  they  were  bad  runners ;  ignorant  of  every 
means  of  living  in  the  woods ;  unable  to  bear  either  cold  or  hunger ;  knew 
neither  how  to  build  a  cabin,  take  a  deer,  or  kill  an  enemy ;  spoke  our 
language  imperfectly ;  were  therefore  neither  fit  for  hunters,  warriors,  or 
counselors ;  they  were  totally  good  for  nothing.  We  are  however,  not  the 
less  obliged  by  your  kind  offer  though  we  decline  accepting  it,  and  to  show 
our  grateful  sense  of  it,  if  the  gentlemen  of  Virginia  will  send  us  a  dozen 
of  their  sons,  we  will  take  care  of  their  education,  instruct  them  in  all  we 
know  and  make  men  of  them."  This  addition  to  the  sachem's  real  speech, 
was  doubtless  one  of  Franklin's  pleasantries. 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  109 

ing  parting  compliments,  Canassateego  playfully  remarked  chap. 
to  Mr.  Thomas,  that  they  had  given  them  Drench  glasses  >— v— » 
to  drink  their  liquor  in.     "  We  desire  you  to  give  us  some    '    ' 
in  English  glasses."     The  governor  saw  the  point  at  which 
the  shrewd  savage  was  arriving, —  the  English  glasses  be- 
ing the  largest, —  and  improved  the  occasion  by  the  ready 
reply :  "  Yes.     "We  are  glad  to  hear  you  have  such  a  dis- 
like to  what  is  French.     They  cheat  you  in  your  glasses 
as  well  as  in  everything  else." 


CHAPTER    III. 

1744  _  1745. 

criAp.  The  repose  which,  the  colonies  had  so  long  enjoyed 
w^  under  the  administration  of  Sir  Robert  "Walpole, —  owing, 
1744.  probably,  not  more  to  the  policy  of  that  minister  than  to 
the  pacific  temper  of  the  duke  of  Orleans, —  the  regent  of 
France  during  the  minority  of  Louis  XV,1 —  was  of  course 
ended  by  the  receipt  of  the  declaration  of  war  against 
France,  as  stated  in  the  preceding  chapter.  Indeed  the 
news  of  this  declaration  had  not  reached  New  England, 
before  Duquesnel,  the  French  governor  of  Cape  Breton, 
resolving  upon  the  destruction  of  the  English  fishery  on 
the  north-eastern  coast  of  Nova  Scotia,  or  Acadia,  as  it 
was  called  by  the  French,  invaded  the  island  Canseau, 
burnt  the  houses,  and  made  prisoners  both  of  the  garrison 
and  the  inhabitants.2  Attempts  were  likewise  made  by 
the  French  upon  Placentia,  in  Newfoundland,  and  upon 
Annapolis  in  Nova  Scotia,  in  both  of  which  enterprises 
they  were  unsuccessful, —  owing  to  a  miscarriage  of  the 
plan  in  one  instance,  and  to  the  timely  arrival  of  several 
companies  of  militia  and  rangers  from  Massachusetts,  in 
the  other.3 

The  flames  of  war  having  thus  been  lighted  in  the 
north,  it  required  no  special  gift  of  prophecy  to  perceive 
that  they  would  soon  blaze  along  the  whole  lines  of  the 
English  and  French  colonies,   from  Cape  Breton  to  the 

1  Marshall's  Introduction. 

2  Belknap. 

3  Idem.     See  also  Marshall. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  Ill 

trading  posts  of  Detroit  and  Michilimackinac,  or  Macki-  chap. 
naw,  according  to  the  orthography  of  later  times.  "What  ^— v— ' 
rendered  the  pending  war  yet  more  frightful  to  the  inhab-  ' 
itants  of  both  of  these  extended  chains  of  rival  colonies, 
was  the  fact  that  a  broad  belt  of  territory  between  them, 
was  peopled  exclusively  by  the  Indians, —  ever  ready  to 
snuff  blood  in  the  breeze, —  and  generally  disposed  to  rush 
forth  upon  the  war-path  at  every  opportunity.  In  fact  the 
Micmacs,  the  Abenakies  and  Etchmims,  or  the  canoe-men 
of  St.  John's  river,  with  perhaps  the  remains  of  other  and 
lesser  tribes  of  the  eastern  Indians,  whose  partialities  in- 
clined ever  toward  the  French,  had  already  taken  part 
with  them  in  their  expedition  against  Annapolis.  These 
Indians,  twenty  years  before,  had  been  declared  by  resolu- 
tion of  the  Massachusetts  government,  to  be  traitors  and 
robbers  ;x  and  a  formal  declaration  of  war  was  now  pro- 
claimed against  them,  by  that  colony,  with  a  bounty  for 
scalps  and  prisoners.2 

The  declaration  of  hostilities  was  announced  to  the 
general  assembly  of  New  York,  by  Governor  Clinton,  at 
an  adjourned  session  opening  on  the  eighteenth  of  July, 
as  a  measure  that  had  become  indispensable  to  the  honor 
and  dignity  of  the  crown,  not  only  because  of  the  attack 
upon  the  Mediterranean  fleet,  but  above  all  because  of  the 
movements  of  France  in  behalf  of  the  pretender.  Immedi- 
ate and  strong  measures  were  urged  for  the  security  of  the 
city  of  Newr  York,  and  for  the  general  defence  of  the  colony, 
especially  of  the  frontiers.  Measures,  it  was  intimated,  had 
already  been  taken  for  strengthening  the  posts  of  Oswego 
and  Saratoga.  In  speaking  of  his  interview  with  the  In- 
dians at  Albany,  it  was  stated  that  commissioners  from 
Massachusetts  and  Connecticut  were  also  present,  the  ob- 
ject of  whose  visit  was  to  aid  in  cultivating  a  more  firm 

1  Bancroft. 

2  Belknap. 


112  LIFE   OP   8IR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  and  extensive  alliance  with  that  people.  Their  mission 
> — » — •  was  a  source  of  gratification  to  all  parties.  They  were 
moreover  clothed  with  full  powers  to  enter  into  a  strict 
union  with  New  York  and  the  other  English  colonies,  for 
the  purpose  of  devising  and  executing  proper  measures 
for  the  prosecution  of  the  war  offensively  and  defensively. 
Power  was  asked  to  enable  the  governor  to  appoint  like 
commissioners  to  confer  with  them.  The  fitting  out  of 
privateers  for  the  protection  of  the  coast  was  also  recom- 
mended,—  not  forgetting  the  supplies  and  the  adoption  of 
all  such  measures  as  would  enable  his  excellency  to  sup- 
port the  power  and  dignity  of  the  government,  and  pursue 
every  method  for  its  safety. 

The  speech  was  followed,  on  the  twenty-fourth  of  July, 
with  a  special  message  setting  forth  the  measures  that  had 
been  taken  by  the  executive  for  the  security  both  of  the 
city  and  the  frontiers;  and  making  requisitions  for  all 
such  farther  measures  as  were  judged  essential  to  the  pub- 
lic defence.  For  the  protection  of  Albany  and  the  scat- 
tered settlements  north  of  it,  the  governor  strongly  urged 
the  erection  of  a  strong  fort  in  the  neighborhood  of  Crown 
Point.  As  such  a  work  would  be  calculated  as  well  to 
guard  the  frontiers  of  the  New  England  colonies  as  those 
of  New  York,  it  was  suggested  that  it  should  be  con- 
structed at  the  joint  expense  of  all.  Some  farther  mea- 
sures of  defence  had  been  adopted  at  Oswego ;  and  it  was 
recommended  with  great  propriety  that  a  strong  fort 
should  be  built  at  Tierondequot,  or  at  some  other  suitable 
point  in  the  Seneca  country, —  as  well  for  the  defence  of 
that  country  against  invasion,  as  by  means  of  a  strong 
garrison,  to  check  the  wavering  propensities  of  the  Sene- 
cas, —  the  strongest  of  the  Confederates,  and  the  most 
easily  tampered  with  by  the  French.  Yet  another  mes- 
sage of  a  similar  character,  was  sent  down  to  the  assembly 
on  the  thirty-first  of  July,  recommending  the  erection  of 


LIFE   OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  113 

various  works  of  defence  for  the  harbor  of  New  York ;  chap. 
announcing  the  organization  of  a  corps  of  rangers  from « — v — - 
the  militia  of  Albany,  to  include  a  number  of  Indians,  1     ' 
whose  business  it  should  be  to  traverse  the  country  north 
to  Canada,  as  perpetual  scouts.     The  sending  of  troops  to 
be  stationed  at  Albany,  was  also  recommended. 

The  precipitate  and  cowardly  retreat  of  the  English 
traders  from  Oswego,  immediately  on  hearing  of  the  de- 
claration of  war,  elicited  still  another  executive  communi- 
cation on  the  twentieth  of  August.  This  desertion  of  the 
trading  houses  had  created  a  very  unfavorable  impression 
upon  the  minds  of  the  Indians,  particularly  the  remote 
nations,  who,  on  coming  thither  to  trade,  had  found  the 
place  really  deserted,  and  the  goods  mostly  brought  away. 
The  assembly  were  therefore  earnestly  urged  to  adopt  the 
necessary  measures  for  maintaining  that  important  post, 
as  a  commanding  mart  for  trade  with  the  Indians,  upon  a 
more  ample  and  efficient  basis  than  had  existed  before. 
Disadvantages,  other  than  such  as  might  arise  from  a  loss 
of  trade,  were  apprehended  by  the  governor.  The  Indians, 
inspired  with  contempt  for  the  courage  of  men  frightened, 
as  it  were,  by  a  shadow,  with  the  fall  of  Oswego,  would 
be  very  likely  to  desert  the  English  interests  for  the 
French.  , 

The  spirit  of  the  general  assembly  was  good.  Resolu- 
tions were  promptly  passed  by  the  house,  nemine  contradi- 
cente,  pledging  the  ways  and  means  for  putting  the  colony 
in  a  suitable  posture  of  defence  by  sea  and  land.  In  con- 
sequence of  the  demonstration  made  in  Scotland  "in  favor 
of  a  Popish  pretender,"  a  resolution  was  adopted  requir- 
ing all  persons  in  the  colony  to  take  the  oaths  prescribed 
by  act  of  parliament  for  the  security  of  the  government 
and  the  Protestant  religion.  Bills  making  liberal  appro- 
priations,—  liberal  considering  the  means  of  the  colony, — 
for  the  public  exigencies  were  initiated  and  in  progress, 
when  on  the  fourth  of  September,  another  message  was 

15 


114  LIFE    OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  received  from  the  governor,  calculated  yet  more  rapidly 
*— v — 'to  accelerate  their  action.  It  covered  a  communication 
'  from  the  commissioners  of  Indian  affairs  of  an  alarming 
character.  Information  had  been  received  by  a  secret 
messenger  from  Canada,  that,  contrary  to  the  declarations 
of  Canassateego,  at  Lancaster,  as  to  the  temper  and  de- 
signs of  the  Cauglmawagas,  they,  with  the  other  Canadian 
Indians,  had  taken  up  the  hatchet  against  the  English,  and 
the  fall  of  Oswego  was  considered  inevitable,  unless  its 
feeble  garrison  could  be  reinforced.1  Information  respect- 
ing the  designs  of  the  French  upon  that  post,  had  also 
been  received  by  the  Six  Nations. 

This  communication  was  considered  so  important  that 
at  the  instance  of  Doctor  Colden  and  Mr.  Murray,  of  the 
council,  a  conference  was  held  between  the  two  houses  in 
order  to  insure  prompt  and  efficient  action  for  the  public 
welfare.  Chief  Justice  De  Lancey  opened  the  delibera- 
tions of  the  conference,  and  after  an  interchange  of  opin- 
ions it  was  determined  to  apply  to  the  governor  for  the 
addition  of  fifty  men  to  the  garrison  of  Oswego,  and  also 
for  orders  to  the  militia  of  Albany  to  hold  themselves  in 
instant  readiness  to  march  to  the  defence  of  that  post  in 
the  event  of  an  invasion.  A  joint  address  in  accordance 
with  these  recommendations  was  made  to  the  governor, 
in  which  the  assembly  pledged  itself  "  cheerfully  to  con- 
tribute everything  in  its  power  for  the  defence  and  safety 

1  The  commissioners  at  that  time,  signing  this  communication,  were 
Messrs.  Myndert  Schuyler,  Abraham  Cuyler,  Cornelius  Cuyler,  Dirck  Ten 
Broeck,  Nicholas  Bleecker,  Johannis  Lansing,  and  John  Depeyster.  Among 
other  matters  detailed  in  the  letter,  was  an  account  of  their  proceedings 
under  an  order  from  the  governor  to  send  Captain  Walter  Butler,  with  his 
son  as  an  interpreter,  upon  a  confidential  errand  to  Oswego.  The  governor 
had  enjoined  perfect  secrecy  as  to  this  mission ;  but  the  commissioners 
state  that  the  fact  was  known  in  Albany  before  they  had  opened  his  excel- 
lency's dispatches.  An  admirable  commentary  this,  upon  the  manner  in 
which  secrets  are  usually  kept,  in  all  times,  in  peace  as  in  war. 


LIFE    OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  115 

of  the   colony,    and    for    repelling  any   attempt   of  the  chap. 
enemy."  » — v — ; 

Difficulties  were  experienced  in  regard  to  the  ways  and  ' 
means,  arising  chiefly  from  the  reluctance  of  the  popular 
branch,  no  uncommon  thing  in  representative  govern- 
ments, to  meet  the  question  of  direct  taxation.  Yet  the 
liberality  of  their  appropriations  attested  the  general  pa- 
triotism of  the  members.  Special  allowances  were  voted 
for  the  defences  of  Albany  and  Schenectady,  and  the 
round  sum  of  three  thousand  two  hundred  pounds  was 
granted  in  addition  for  the  defence  of  the  colony  at  large. 
Provision  was  likewise  made  for  the  support  of  the  pris- 
oners who  had  been  brought  into  ISTew  York,  pursuant  to 
a  suggestion  of  the  governor, —  who  was  commended  in 
an  address  for  his  clemency,  and  requested  to  relieve  the 
colony  from  the  presence  of  those  prisoners,  and  others 
that  might  be  brought  in,  with  all  convenient  dispatch. 

Thus  far  in  the  session,  no  action  had  taken  place  in  the 
house  in  regard  to  the  propositions  from  the  New  England 
colonies  for  effecting  a  general  alliance  among  the  Indians 
friendly  to  the  English,  and  also  for  a  closer  bond  of  union 
between  the  colonies,  in  order  to  the  more  efficient  con- 
duct of  the  war.  Upon  these  points  Governor  Shirley  was 
particularly  anxious ;  and  on  the  eighteenth  of  September 
Mr.  Clinton  sent  a  message  to  the  assembly,  covering 
an  urgent  letter  from  Shirley,  and  expressing  surprise 
that  the  assembly  had  done  nothing  hitherto  to  enable 
him  to  appoint  commissioners  to  meet  those  in  attend- 
ance from  Massachusetts  and  Connecticut,  and  confer 
together  in  a  matter  that  must  redound  so  much  to  the 
benefit  of  the  colony.  Instead,  however,  of  complying 
with  this  request,  the  house  sent  up  to  the  governor  an 
address,  reminding  his  excellency  of  the  liberality  of  their 
appropriations, —  ample,  as  they  conceived,  for  the  public 
exigencies, —  but  expressing  a  strong  reluctance  to  any 
action  upon  the  subject  of  the  proposed  plan  of  union. 


116  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap.  They  thought  they  ought  not  to  enter  upon  any  scheme 
> — , — -  the  details  of  which  had  not  been  imparted  to  them  that 
they  might  have  an  opportunity  of  exercising  their  own 
judgments  upon  it.  This  address  was  communicated  by 
the  governor  to  his  council  on  the  twenty-first  of  Septem- 
ber, and  a  protracted  conference  between  the  two  branches 
ensued ;  including  also,  another  point  of  difference,  viz : 
a  refusal  by  the  house,  of  an  appropriation  to  erect  a  fort 
at  the  carrying-place  between  the  Hudson  river  and  Crown 
Point.  The  managers  on  the  part  of  the  council,  De  Lan- 
cey  and  Murray,  presented  urgent  reasons  in  favor  of  ap- 
pointing commissioners  to  meet  those  from  the  other  colo- 
nies, for  the  organization  of  a  league,  or  an  alliance, 
against  the  French ;  as,  for  instance,  the  advantages  of 
united  action, —  the  increase  of  strength, —  the  confidence 
with  which  it  would  inspire  the  friendly  Indians, —  the 
discouragements  which  such  a  union  would  throw  in  the 
way  of  the  French.  The  importance,  likewise,  of  erecting 
the  proposed  military  work  at  the  carrying-place,  was  ably 
urged.1  But  without  success.  No  appropriation  was 
made  either  for  the  Indian  alliance,  or  for  the  commis- 
sioners, or  for  the  erection  of  the  fortress ;  and  the  assem- 
bly adjourned,  not  meeting  again  until  March,  1745. 

The  autumn  and  winter  were  passed  with  uncertainty 
as  to  the  temper  and  intentions  of  the  Six  Nations,  and 
with  considerable  anxiety.  At  the  close  of  September, 
dispatches  were  received  from  the  Indian  commissioners, 
expressing  lively  anxiety  for  the  fate  of  Oswego.  The 
efforts  of  the  commissioners  to  persuade  the  chiefs  of  the 
Six  Nations  to  keep  a  number  of  their  warriors  from  each 
of  their  tribes  at  Oswego  for  its  defence,  had  been  ineffect- 
ual. The  French  were  active  in  their  appliances  to  steal 
the  hearts  of  that  fickle  people  from  the  English,  and  had 
at  that  time  no  fewer  than  twelve  emissaries  among  the 

1  Journals  of  the  Legislative  Council. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  117 

Senecas.  Upon  the  receipt  of  these  alarming  reports,  Mr.  chap. 
Bleecker,  the  interpreter,  was  dispatched  into  the  Seneca' — , — < 
country,  with  a  message  that  to  allow  those  emissaries  to 
remain  among  them  was  breaking  their  covenant  chain. 
The  interpreter,  however,  returned  in  December  with 
more  favorable  news.  He  had  found  but  two  Frenchmen, 
smiths,  among  the  Senecas,  and  there  were  English  smiths 
among  them  without  molestation.  It  was  not  known  to 
the  Senecas  that  the  French  Indians  had  actually  taken 
up  the  hatchet ;  yet  they  were  told  that  the  French  had 
entertained  them  at  a  war-feast,  and  joined  with  them  in 
their  dances, —  carrying  aloft  the  heads  of  the  beasts  they 
had  slain,  and  declaring  that  thus  would  they  dance  with 
.the  heads  of  the  English.1  Other  reports,  received  by  the 
governor  and  council  from  time  to  time  during  the  winter, 
by  correspondence  and  otherwise,  tended  to  keep  the  eye 
of  suspicion  from  slumber,  and  occasionally  to  quicken 
the  public  pulse.  A  deserter  from  the  French  post  at 
Niagara,  arrived  in  New  York  and  was  examined  before 
the  council  on  the  twelfth  of  February,  who  gave  a  particu- 1745. 
lar  description  of  the  strength  and  armament  of  that  fort- 
ress. He  had  traversed  Canada,  from  Quebec,  stopping 
at  Three  Rivers,  and  Cadaracqui,  before  his  desertion. 
There  were  one  hundred  men  at  Niagara,  with  four  pieces 
of  cannon.  Cadaracqui  was  a  stone  fortress,  the  walls 
twelve  feet  high,  with  four  bastions,  and  garrisoned  by 
two  hundred  men.  Lieutenant  Butler,  at  Oswego,  wrote 
that  a  scout  returned  from  Canada,  reported  the  organiza- 
tion of  a  force  of  fifteen  hundred  men,  with  a  body  of  In- 
dians, destined  against  that  post  in  the  spring.  The 
French,  moreover,  were  expecting  large  supplies  from 
France.2 

From  the  fickle  disposition  of  the  Indians,  great  caution 

1  Council  Minutes. 

2  Idem. 


118  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  was  observed  in  regard  to  their  intercourse  with  white 
^—v — ■  people,  whose  nation,  character,  and  designs,  were  known 
•  and  understood.  The  laws  of  the  colony  forbade  the  resi- 
dence of  white  men  among  the  Indians,  unless  by  ex- 
press permission.  Under  these  laws,  and  the  watchful 
policy  observed,  two  men,  David  Seisberger,  and  Christian 
Frederick  Post,  having  been  found  residing  at  the  Canajo- 
harie  castle,1  without  a  license,  were  arrested  in  mid-win- 
ter and  dragged  to  New  York.  On  their  examination 
before  the  council,  however,  they  were  found  to  be  two 
worthy  Germans,  members  of  the  Moravian  congregation 
at  the  forks  of  the  Delaware,  who  had  been  sent  thither 
to  learn  the  Mohawk  language  for  missionary  purposes. 
They  were  discharged  as  a  matter  of  course.2  Post  had 
an  Indian  wife  and  family ;  and  it  will  be  seen  farther  on 
that  he  afterward  performed  valuable  services  among  the 
Indians  on  the  Ohio. 

But,  notwithstanding  the  alarms  to  which  such  a  fron- 
tier as  that  of  New  York  and  New  England,  in  such  a 
contest,  was  liable,  the  winter  passed  away  without  active 
hostilities  between  the  French  and  the  English, —  the  pale 
faces,  or  the  red.  Yet  this  inactivity  of  matter  did  not 
extend  to  mind ;  and  it  was  during  this  season  of  com- 
parative repose,  that  William  Shirley,  governor  of  Massa- 
chusetts, suggested  the  plan  for  striking  a  blow  at  the 
power  of  France  in  America,  which  was  as  bold  in  its  con- 
ception, as  in  its  execution  it  was  brilliant. 

1Canajoharie,  or,  according  to  the  orthography  of  the  Rev.  Samuel  Kirk  - 
land,  who  passed  his  life  as  a  missionary  among  the  Six  Nations,  Ca-na-jo- 
ha-roo,  the  name  of  a  small  river  flowing  into  the  Mohawk,  near  the  mouth 
of  which  stood  one  of  the  Mohawk  castles.  The  meaning  of  the  word,  lit- 
erally, is,  "  The-pot-tJiat-washes-itsdf"  applied  to  a  large  and  beautiful  ba- 
sin, worn  in  the  rock  which  forms  the  bed  of  the  stream  two  miles  back 
from  the  Mohawk,  by  the  whirling  action  of  the  water  falling  from  one  of 
the  cascades  abounding  upon  this  stream.  This  basin  is  perhaps  twenty 
feet  in  diameter ;  but  the  water  has  been  directed  to  a  mill-wheel. 

2  Council  Minutes. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  119 

The  harbor  of  Louisburg,  on  the  south-eastern  side  of  chap. 

°'  in. 

the  island  of  Cape  Breton,  was  considered  the  key  to  the  >_Y_, 

American  possessions  of  the  French.  By  the  treaty  of  1745- 
Utrecht,  Newfoundland  and  Novia  Scotia,  including  the 
island  of  Canseau,  had  fallen  to  the  crown  of  Great  Bri- 
tain, while  by  the  same  instrument  Cape  Breton,  situated 
between  them  in  the  entrance  to  the  Gulf  of  St.  Lawrence, 
had  been  ceded  to  the  French.  Affording  convenient  har- 
bors for  the  reception  and  security  of  ships  of  every  bur- 
den —  either  for  men  of  war,  or  ships  engaged  in  com- 
merce between  the  parent  country  and  her  Canadian  pos- 
sessions, or  those  of  the  West  Indies, —  this  island  had 
become  of  vast  importance  to  France,  as  a  security  to  her 
own  navigation  and  fisheries,  and  also  as  affording  in  time 
of  war,  great  facilities  for  interrupting  the  fisheries  and 
navigation  of  England  and  her  colonies.1  It  was  there- 
fore determined  to  build  a  fortified  town  upon  this  island, 
for  the  site  of  which  the  most  commodious  bay  upon  the 
south-eastern  side  was  chosen.  It  had  formerly  been  called 
"English  harbor,"  but  the  name  was  changed  to  Louis- 
burg.  Twenty-five  years  of  labor,  and  thirty  millions  of 
livres,  had  been  expended  upon  the  fortifications,  which 
were  now  deemed  almost  impregnable.  Indeed  it  was 
called  the  Dunkirk  of  America.2  "  Upon  a  neck  of  land 
on  the  south  side  of  the  harbor  was  built  the  town,  two 
miles  and  a  quarter  in  circumference ;  fortified  in  every 
accessible  part  with  a  rampart  of  stone,  from  thirty  to 
thirty-six  feet  high,  and  a  ditch  eight  feet  wide.  A  space 
about  two  hundred  yards  was  left  without  a  rampart,  on 
the  side  next  to  the  sea,  inclosed  by  a  simple  dyke  and  a 
line  of  pickets.  There  were  six  bastions  and  three  bat- 
teries, containing  embrasures  for  one  hundred  and  forty- 
eight  cannon,  of  which  sixty-five  only  were  mounted,  and 

1  Belknap. 

2  Marshall's  Colonial  History. 


120 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 


Cii£P'  sixteen  mortars.  On  an  island  at  the  entrance  of  the  har- 
v— v — '  bor,  was  planted  a  battery  of  thirty  cannon,  being  twTenty- 
'  eight  pounders ;  and  at  the  bottom  of  the  harbor,  directly 
opposite  to  the  entrance,  was  the  grand  or  royal  battery 
of  twenty-eight  cannon, —  forty-two  pounders, —  and  two 
eighteen  pounders.  On  a  high  cliff  opposite  to  the  island 
battery,  stood  a  lighthouse  ;  and  within  the  harbor,  at  the 
north-east  part,  was  a  magazine  of  naval  stores.  The 
town  was  regularly  laid  out  in  squares,  with  broad  streets, 
built  up  with  houses,  mostly  of  wood,  but  some  of  stone. 
On  the  west  side,  near  the  rampart,  was  a  spacious  citadel, 
and  a  large  parade ;  on  one  side  of  which  were  the  gover- 
nor's apartments.  Under  the  ramparts  were  casemates  to 
receive  the  women  and  children  during  a  siege.  The  en- 
trance to  the  town,  on  the  land  side,  was  over  a  draw- 
bridge, near  to  which  was  a  circular  battery,  mounting  six- 
teen twenty-four  pounders ;  and  from  its  position,  its  re- 
duction was  an  object  as  desirable  to  the  English  as  that 
of  Carthage  was  to  the  Romans."1 

From  the  prisoners  taken  at  Canseau  by  the  French, 
and  sent  into  Boston  the  preceding  year,  and  from  other 
sources,  Governor  Shirley  had  obtained  such  information 
respecting  the  situation  and  condition  of  these  formidable 
works,  as  induced  him  to  form  the  project  of  a  sudden 
invasion,  with  a  view  of  carrying  them  either  by  surprise 
or  by  storm.  Shirley  had  indeed  conceived  this  bold  and 
adventurous  enterprise  in  the  autumn  of  1744,  and  written 
to  the  British  ministry  upon  the  subject, —  dispatching  his 
letter  by  the  hand  of  an  intelligent  officer,  who  had  been 
captured  at  Canseau,  and  whose  knowledge  of  the  locali- 
ties and  strength  of  Louisburg,  he  doubted  not  would  be 
available  to  the  government.  The  enterprise  was  approved 
by  the  ministry,  and  orders  were  transmitted  to  Commo- 
dore "Warren,  then  commanding  a  squadron  in  the  West 

1  Belknap. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  121 

Indies,  in  January,  to  proceed  northward  in  the  spring  chap. 
and  co-operate  with  the  movements  of  Shirley.  Of  these « — , — < 
instructions  the  latter  was  apprised ;  but  impatient  of  ' 
delay  he  proceeded  in  his  preparations  for  the  expedition 
in  anticipation  both  of  the  decision  of  the  government, 
and  the  movements  of  Warren.  These  preparations  were 
in  truth  accelerated  by  the  ardent  temperament  of  Colonel 
William  Vaughan,  of  New  Hampshire,  a  son  of  the  lieu- 
tenant-governor of  that  state,  and  a  man  of  a  high  and 
daring  spirit,  who,  from  the  fishermen  in  his  employ,  had 
become  well  acquainted  with  the  harbor  and  defences  of 
the  place  it  was  intended  to  storm.  Being  in  confidential 
correspondence  with  Governor  Wentworth  upon  the  sub- 
ject, Shirley's  project  was  communicated  to  Vaughan, 
who  embraced  it  with  all  the  ardor  which  so  noble  an  ex- 
ploit would  be  likely  to  inspire  a  man  of  his  bravery  and 
enthusiasm.  Nothing,  with  him,  was  impracticable  wThich 
he  had  a  mind  to  accomplish ;  and  so  strong  were  his  con- 
victions of  the  practicability  of  the  conquest,  that  he 
would  fain  have  undertaken  it  in  mid-winter,  believing 
that  the  walls  might  be  scaled  by  the  aid  of  the  drifts  of 
snow.1 

Thus  far  the  project  had  been  kept  a  profound  secret  by 
Shirley  himself,  and  the  very  few  trust-worthy  men  to 
whom  it  had  been  confided.  But  early  in  January  it  be- 
came necessary  for  the  governor  to  communicate  his 
design  to  the  general  court,  at  whose  hands  he  must  ask 
for  the  means  of  its  execution.  Secrecy  was  yet  desirable, 
to  which  end  an  oath  of  confidence  was  administered  to 
the  members  before  the  plan  was  laid  before  them.  Start- 
led at  the  magnitude  of  the  project,  as  well  as  at  its  bold- 
ness,  the  proposition   was   at  first  rejected;    but  subse- 

1  It  has  been  suggested,   says  Belknap,   that  the  plan  of  this  enterprise 
-was  first  suggested  by  Vaughan.     Several  other  persons  have  claimed  the 
like  credit.     I  have  discovered  no  good  reason,   however,   for  depriving 
Shirley  of  the  honor  of  its  conception. 
1G 


122  LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  quently,  advantage  being  taken  of  the  absence  of  several 
^— v — '  members,  the  question  was  reconsidered,  and  the  under- 
'  '  taking  was  sanctioned  by  a  majority  of  a  single  voice. 
Yet,  nothing  daunted,  the  governor  proceeded  to  arrange 
his  measures  with  characteristic  energy.  Circular  letters 
were  addressed  to  the  governors  of  all  the  colonies  south 
to  Pennsylvania  inclusive,  invoking  their  assistance  in  the 
enterprise,  and  asking  for  the  imposition  of  an  embargo 
upon  their  ports.  Armed  with  one  of  these  missives, 
Vaughan,  who  had  been  awaiting  the  authorization  of  the 
expedition  in  Boston,  rode  back  express  to  New  Hamp- 
shire, the  legislature  of  which  was  then  in  session.  Went- 
worth,  the  governor,  was  already  enlisted  in  the  scheme ; 
and  the  legislature,  catching  fire  from  the  enthusiasm  of 
Vaughan,  entered  heartily  into  the  project,  and  made  the 
necessary  grants  for  the  quota  of  men  and  supplies  ex- 
pected from  that  colony.  Equal  readiness  to  forward  the 
enterprise  was  now  manifested  by  the  general  court  of 
Massachusetts ;  and  Shirley  assumed  the  responsibility,  in 
the  face  of  his  instructions  from  the  crown,  of  sanctioning 
an  extraordinary  emission  of  bills  of  credit  to  meet  the 
heavy  expenditures  to  be  incurred, —  advising  Wentworth 
to  the  same  course.1  Until  the  issuing  of  the  circulars, 
moreover,  the  secret  had  been  well  kept ;  nor,  probably, 
would  the  disclosure  then  have  been  made, —  at  least  not 
so  soon, —  had  it  not  been  for  the  unguarded  fervor  of  one 
of  the  praying  members  of  the  general  court,  who,  at  the 
family  altar,  while  earnestly  invoking  the  favor  of  Heaven 
upon  the  enterprise,  forgot  that  he  was  also  speaking  to 
human  auditors. 

The  colonies  of  Connecticut  and  Rhode  Island  entered 
into  the  design  in  the  finest  spirit.  New  York  would  have 
done  likewise,  had  the  wishes  of  Governor  Clinton  been 

1  In  Massachusetts  fifty  thousand  pounds  of  bills  were  emitted  for  this  ex- 
igency, and  in  New  Hampshire  thirteen  thousand. 


LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  123 

seconded  by  the  general  assembly.  That  body  met  by  chap 
adjournment  on  the  twelfth  of  March,  and  the  session  was>_^-> 
opened  by  a  speech  of  a  length  and  earnestness  propor- 174°* 
tionccl  to  the  importance  of  the  crisis.  It  commenced  by 
announcing  to  the  assembty  the  projected  enterprise  of 
Massachusetts  and  her  sister  colonies  of  New  England 
against  Louisburg,  in  retaliation,  as  it  was  alleged,  for 
the  attacks  of  the  Freuch  during  the  preceding  year  upon 
Annapolis-Royal.  Governor  Shirley  had  written  him  a 
pressing  appeal  for  co-operation  in  this  enterprise ;  and 
concurring  entirely  in  his  views  as  to  its  importance,  the 
governor  informed  the  assembly  that  without  awaiting 
their  meeting,  he  had  already  acted  in  relation  thereto,  to 
the  extent  of  his  power  and  means.  He  had  sent  ten 
pieces  of  ordnance  to  Boston,  with  their  necessary  warlike 
implements ;  and  he  called  upon  the  assembly  to  respond 
to  the  invitation  of  Mr.  Shirley,  by  contributing  its  full 
proportion  to  the  expedition,  the  success  of  which  would  be 
of  infinite  advantage  to  the  province.  Aside  from  this 
great  undertaking,  farther  measures  for  the  defence  of  the 
colony  of  New  York  itself  were  strenuously  urged.  There 
was  an  absolute  necessity  for  the  erection  of  two  addi- 
tional forts  in  the  Indian  country,  not  only  for  the  protec- 
tion of  the  frontiers,  but  to  give  the  Indians  confidence, 
and  afford  them  places  of  refuge  in  hours  of  disaster. 
Already,  for  want  of  these,  they  were  evidently  becoming 
cool  and  indifferent  toward  the  English.  He  renewed  the 
recommendation  for  an  appropriation  that  would  enable 
him  to  appoint  commissioners  to  meet  those  of  the  other 
colonies  which  were  disposed  to  form  a  bond  of  union  for 
the  common  defence.  The  advantages  to  flow  from  such 
a  league,  were  forcibly  set  forth,  to  which  was  added  an 
expression  of  regret  at  the  course  the  assembly  had  adopt- 
ed in  relation  to  the  proposition  at  the  preceding  session. 
It  was  indeed  the  expressed  desire  of  his  majesty,  that  in 
all  important  exigencies,  the  colonies  should  unite  their 


124  LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  councils,  and  their  forces,  for  the  common  security.     The 
wv — -  speech,  which  was  the  longest  thus  far  to  be  found  in  the 
"  colonial  journals,  closed  with  an  exhortation  to  unanimity 
and  dispatch. 

The  council  promptly  responded  to  the  speech  by  an 
address,  moved  by  Chief  Justice  De  Lancey.  It  was  an 
echo  throughout,  but  especially  in  regard  to  the  Louis- 
burg  expedition.  High  praise  was  awarded  to  Massa- 
chusetts for  the  energy  she  was  exerting  in  this  matter, 
and  the  council  closed  by  pledging  the  co-operation  of 
New  York.1  But  this  pledge  was  not  sustained  by  the 
house.  There  were  several  points  of  the  speech  which 
that  body  received  unkindly  —  among  which  were  the  re- 
bukes which  the  governor  had  administered  to  it  for  neg- 
lecting his  former  recommendations, —  particularly  in 
regard  to  the  proposed  commissioners  of  union,  and  the 
appointment  of  a  solicitor  for  the  colony  to  attend  to  their 
interests  in  the  parent  country.  Consciousness  of  their 
neglect  of  the  public  interests  in  those  respects  then, 
neither  improved  the  temper  of  the  members,  nor  prompt- 
ed them  to  a  performance  of  the  obligations  of  patriotism 
now.  Toward  the  governor  they  were  not  only  guilty  of 
the  discourtesy  of  returning  him  no  address  in  answer  to 
his  speech,  but  they  manifested  no  disposition  to  comply 
with  either  of  his  present  recommendations.  A  special 
message,  on  the  fourteenth  of  April,  announcing  the  arrival 
of  a  large  French  force  in  Martinique,  the  destination  of 
which  it  was  apprehended  might  be  against  ~New  York, 
did  indeed  arouse  the  assembly  for  a  moment  to  the  im- 
portance of  providing  some  farther  defences  for  the  har- 
bor, and  a  conference  with  the  council  upon  the  subject 
was  asked  and  granted.  Still,  although  a  show  of  liber- 
ality was  exhibited  in  the  appropriations  proposed  for  this 
branch  of  the  public  service,  the  house  sought  to  interfere 

1  Journals  of  the  Legislative  Council. 


LITE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  125 

with,  what  was  claimed  as  a  prerogative  of  the  executive,  chap. 
by  specifications  as  to  the  manner  in  which  the  money  < — ^— > 
should  be  expended,  and  designations  of  the  points  to  be    '    ' 
fortified — an  interference,  certainly,  with  the  appropriate 
duties  of  the  commander-in-chief. 

There  was  yet  another  cause  of  irritation  on  the  part  of 
the  house,  so  early  as  the  year  1709,  the  general  assembly 
had  found  it  necessary,  in  providing  ways  and  means  for 
the  public  service, —  especially  in  the  prosecution  of  the 
several  wars  in  which  the  colony  had  been  involved  by 
the  parent  government, — 'to  issue  a  paper  currency  called 
bills  of  credit.  The  operation  had  been  repeated  from 
time  to  time,  in  emergent  cases, — sometimes  with  the 
approbation  of  the  crown,  and  sometimes  not, —  until 
these  paper  issues  had  become  a  part  of  the  policy  of  the 
colony.  Others  of  the  colonies,  laboring  under  the  same 
necessities,  had  resorted  to  the  same  measures  of  finance ; 
but  to  which  the  crown,  jealous  of  its  prerogative  in  all 
matters  of  currency,  had  uniformly  been  opposed.  For 
many  years,  therefore,  antecedent  to  this  period,  the  royal 
governors  had  arrived  in  the  colony  clothed  with  instruc- 
tions against  allowing  farther  emissions  of  bills  of  credit ; — 
instructions,  however,  which  the  stern  law  of  necessity 
had  seldom  allowed  them  to  enforce.  Still  the  crown, 
keenly  alive  to  every  step  of  independent  action  on  the 
part  of  the  colonies,  was  persisting  in  its  war  against  a 
colonial  currency  even  of  paper;  and  a  bill  was  now  before 
parliament  upon  the  subject,  which  gave  great  alarm  to  the 
people.  Professedly,  its  design  was  merely  for  preventing 
these  bills  of  credit  from  being  made  a  legal  tender  ;  but 
it  was  discovered  that  the  bill  was  to  have  a  far  more 
extensive  operation, — "obliging  and  enjoining  the  legisla- 
tures of  every  colony  to  pay  strict  obedience  to  all  such 
orders  and  instructions  as  might  from  time  to  time  be 
transmitted  to  them,  or  any  of  them,  by  his  majesty  or 
Ms  successors,  or  by  or  under  his  or  their  authority." 


126  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap.  Such  an  act,  it  was  justly  held,  "  would  establish  an  abso- 
v-^—/  lute  power  in  the  crown,  in  all  the  British  plantations, 
1745,  that  would  he  inconsistent  with  the  liberties  and  privi- 
leges inherent  in  an  English  man,  while  he  is  in  a  British 
dominion."  l 

Vexed  with  themselves,  and  with  the  governor,  for  rea- 
sons already  mentioned,  and  still  more  for  their  own  re- 
missness in  not  having  made  seasonable  provision  for  a 
resident  agent  in  London  to  watch  over  the  interests  of 
the  colony,  and  who  might  perhaps  successfully  oppose 
this  bill, — the  house  evinced  a  disposition,  without  any 
sufficient  reason,  as  it  seems  to  me,  to  thwart  the  governor 
upon  every  point.  In  addition  to  the  discourtesies  here- 
tofore mentioned,  in  regard  to  the  erection  of  fortifica- 
tions, "it  ordered  the  city  members  to  inquire  for  and 
consult  some  engineer ;  intimated  a  design  to  lessen  the 
garrison  at  Oswego ;  declined  the  project  of  a  guard-ship ; 
rejected  the  renewed  recommendation  for  appointing  joint 
commissioners  to  treat  with  the  Indians  for  mutual  de- 
fence ;  voted  but  three  thousand  pounds  toward  the  Louis- 
burg  expedition;  and  declined  the  provision  of  presents 
for  the  Indians."2 

It  was  very  evident  that  no  good  could  result  from  the 
action  of  an  assembly  between  which,  and  the  governor 
such  an  unpleasant  state  of  feelmg  existed.  The  session 
had  been  extended  already  to  more  than  two  months,  and 
nothing  had  been  done  for  the  public  defence*.  Even  the 
bill  making  the  paltry  appropriation  of  three  thousand 
pounds  toward  the  New  England  expedition,  had  not 
passed  the  council.  Indeed  only  four  bills,  and  those  of 
no  great  importance,  were  awaiting  the  approval  of  the 

1  Bee  report  of  a  committee  of  the  house  of  assembly,  colonial  journals, 
March  15,  1745. 

2  Smith's  History  of  New  York,  vol.  ii,  pp.  90,  91. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  127 

governor.1  In  this  situation  of  affairs,  the  governor,  in  no  chap. 
very  pleasant  humor,  on  the  fourteenth  of  May  required  >— v— ' 
the  assembly  to  meet  him  in  the  council  chamber,  in  order  ' 
to  its  dissolution.  In  his  speech  on  the  occasion,  the  gov- 
ernor said  he  was  prompted  to  that  measure  by  many 
reasons.  From  an  inspection  of  their  journals  he  observed 
they  were  bringing  their  proceedings  to  a  close,  without 
having  heeded  most  of  the  recommendations  he  had  made 
to  them  in  his  former  speeches  and  messages,  although  the 
greater  part  of  those  recommendations  had  been  confined 
exclusively  to  the  public  service.  It  was,  indeed,  true  that 
he  had  expected  but  little  from  them  after  the  disrespect 
they  had  manifested  toward  him  by  omitting  to  present 
an  answer  to  his  speech.  But,  notwithstanding  this  mark 
of  disrespect,  such  had  been  his  anxiety  for  the  welfare  of 
the  province  that  he  had  paid  no  attention  to  it, — having 
made  to  them  from  time  to  time  all  necessary  communi- 
cations, and  given  them  all  the  information  relating  to 
the  state  of  the  colony,  within  his  power.  Nothing 
that  could  enlighten  them  had  been  withholden.  He 
spoke  of  difficulties  threatening  commotions  among  the 
Indians.  He  had  signified  to  the  assembly  the  necessity 
of  frequent  interviews  with  these  people,  and  of  making 
them  presents,  in  order  to  retain  their  confidence,  allay 
their  disquietudes,  and  renew  their  treaties.  No  respect 
had  been  paid  to  his  recommendations  upon  this  subject, — 
nor  for  the  erection  of  the  forts  wanted  in  the  interior, — 
nor  even  for  the  payment  of  scouts,  and  the  adoption  of 
such  other  prudential  measures  as  were  necessary  for  the 
security  of  the  frontier  settlers.     He  spoke  of  the  con- 

1  One  of  these  four  bills  was  for  the  encouragement  of  privateering. 
Another  was  a  bill,  originating  in  the  house,  which  was  passed  by  the 
council,  on  the  tenth  of  May,  to  prevent  the  slaves  in  the  city  of  Albany 
from  running  away  to  Canada.  By  this  act  the  crime  was  declared  a  capi- 
tal offence,  and  the  council  so  amended  the  bill  that  the  offender  was  to  be 
put  to  death  "  without  benefit  of  clergy." 


128  LIFE    OP   SIR   WILLIAM    JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  tempt  with  which  they  had  treated  the  petition  of  the 
*-— , — s  people  north  of  Albany,  who  were  alarmed  at  the  conduct 
'  of  the  Indians;  and  of  the  indecency  of  their  conduct 
toward  him  in  connection  with  that  petition.  Yet,  so 
far  as  his  own  individual  feelings  were  concerned,  he  said 
he  could  almost  overlook  all  their  ill  treatment  of  himself, 
could  he  entertain  the  least  hope  of  awakening  them  to  a 
proper  sense  of  their  duty  toward  his  majesty,  and  the 
people  they  represented ;  but  they  had  treated  his  majesty's 
orders,  conveyed  in  a  letter  from  the  duke  of  Newcastle, 
with  equal  indifference, — having  even  misrepresented  its 
contents,  particularly  in  regard  to  certain  orders  to  Commo- 
dore "Warren,  and  the  service  in  which  he  was  engaged. 
They  had  neglected  to  make  provision  for  the  maintenance 
and  transportation  home,  of  the  French  prisoners  then 
in  the  city  of  ISTew  York.  Nor  had  they  even  made  an 
appropriation  for  the  money  he  had  advanced,  by  the  ad- 
vice of  his  majesty's  council,  for  the  defence  of  Oswego 
on  the  breaking  out  of  the  war.  They  had,  moreover, 
undertaken  to  exercise  the  power  of  designating  the  points 
in  the  harbor  to  be  fortified,  and  the  number  of  guns  tc 
be  mounted  at  particular  ports,  and  even  directed  the 
issues  of  gun-powder  and  other  articles  of  war,  without 
consulting  the  commander-in-chief, — thus  in  effect  assum- 
ing the  entire  administration  of  the  government,  and 
arresting  his  majesty's  authority  from  the  hands  of  the 
governor.  "  Thus  from  an  invincible  untowardness  on 
the  one  hand,  or  an  immediate  thirst  for  power  on  the 
other,  they  had  become  a  dead-weight  on  the  other  branches 
of  the  government."  They  had  "  protracted  the  assembly 
to  a  most  unreasonable  length,  without  doing  anything 
effective  for  the  honor  of  his  majesty  or  the  service,  credit, 
or  security  of  the  province  or  the  people."  He  was  there- 
fore constrained  to  put  an  end  to  the  session;  and  the 
assembly  was  dissolved.1 

1  See  Journals  of  the  Colonial  Assembly. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  129 

Meantime  the  preparations  of  Governor  Shirley,  for  the  chap. 
invasion  of  Cape  Breton,  had  "been  pushed  forward  writh  ^— v— * 
a  degree  of  vigor  characteristic  of  the  sons  of  the  Pilgrims 
when  roused  to  action,  and  bent  upon  some  achievement 
requiring  energy  and  courage  like  their  own.     Indeed  the 
expedition  had  embarked,  and  was 

"In  brave  pursuit  of  chivalrous  emprise," 

weeks  before  the  dissolution  of  Governor  Clinton's  re- 
fractory assembly,  which,  with  a  parsimony  not  usual  to 
!N"ew  York,  had  refused  to  contribute  a  single  pound  ster- 
ling toward  the  undertaking.1 

The  design  of  Shirley  was  to  dispatch  an  army  of  at 
least  four  thousand  men  well  appointed,  and  if  possible 
to  take  Louisburg  by  surprise  —  calculating, — correctly 
as  the  event  proved, — that  the  floes  of  ice  prevailing  in  the 
waters  of  Cape  Breton  in  the  early  weeks  of  spring,  and  the 
dense  fogs,  would  prevent  any  communication  by  means  of 
wrhich  the  enemy  could  be  apprised  of  the  intended  inva- 
sion. The  people  caught  the  enthusiasm  of  their  leaders ; 
and  although  not  a  recruit  was  mustered  from  beyond  the 
confines  of  ]STew  England,  yet  the  full  complement  was 
promptly  supplied.  Massachusetts  raised  three  thousand 
two  hundred  and  fifty  men ;  Connecticut  five  hundred  and 
sixteen ;  and  ISTew  Hampshire  three  hundred  and  four,2 — 

1('The  government  of  New  York,"  says  Dunlop's  imperfect  and  ill- 
digested  history  of  the  state,  "  was  wise  enough  to  join  in  this  plan  of  con- 
quest, and  sent  field-pieces  and  other  military  equipments  to  Governor 
Shirley."  Again,  on  the  same  page,  Dunlop  says  :  "New  York  contributed 
in  money  to  this  expedition,  but  had  none  of  the  honor  of  reducing  Cape 
Breton."  Neither  of  these  statements  conveys  the  exact  truth.  The 
cannon,  as  has  been  stated  in  the  text,  were  sent  by  the  governor  of  the 
colony,  on  his  own  responsibility  —  not  by  the  government.  Nor  was  any 
money  contributed  until  after  the  great  object  of  the  expedition  had 
been  gained.     Even  then,  the  appropriation  was  beggarly. 

2  Belknap  claims  that,  including  the  crew  of  an  armed  vessel  furnished 
by  New  Hampshire,  there  were  four  hundred  and  fifty  men  commanded  by 
Colonel  Moore;  and  one  hundred  and  fifty  men  more  raised  in  that  colony, 
and  aggregated  to  a  regiment  of  Massachusetts. 
17 


130  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

Cnf P'  *n  a^'  f°ur  thousand  and  seventy.  Three  hundred  men 
v—v-'  were  likewise  raised  in  Rhode  Island ;  but  they  did  not 
'  reach  the  point  of  destination  until  the  great  object  of  the 
enterprise  had  been  accomplished.  These  forces  consisted, 
not  of  disciplined  soldiers,  but  in  the  main  of  husband-, 
men  and  mechanics — unused  to  service,  save  as  militia- 
men occasionally  engaged  in  the  border  forays  with  the 
Indians, —  or  to  the  stern  code  of  discipline  under  the  law 
martial.  Yet  they  went  forth  with  a  resolution,  and  per- 
formed their  duties  with  a  steadiness,  that  would  have 
done  credit  to  the  veterans  of  the  duke  of  Marlborough, 
or  Turenne.  The  Connecticut  division  was  commanded 
by  Roger  Wolcott,  lieutenant-governor  of  that  colony, 
bearing  the  commission  of  major-general.  The  command 
of  the  New  Hampshire  levies  was  entrusted  to  Colonel 
Samuel  Moore.  Vaughan,  the  bold  adventurer  from  that 
colony,  refused  to  accept  any  regular  command ;  but  being 
appointed  a  member  of  the  council  of  war,  held  himself  in 
readiness  for  any  special  service  or  situation  which  might 
offer.  The  command  in  chief  of  the  expedition  was  de- 
volved upon  Colonel  William  Pepperell,  a  merchant  of 
Kitberg,  in  what  was  then  called  the  province  of  Maine, 
though  subject  to  the  colonial  government  of  Massachu- 
setts, who  was  thereupon  raised  to  the  rank  of  lieutenant- 
general.  His  second  in  command,  from  Massachusetts, 
was  Brigadier-General  Waldo.  The  selection  of  a  com- 
mander for  an  army  of  undisciplined  volunteers,  going 
upon  a  fatiguing  and  hazardous  service,  required  the 
exercise  of  profound  judgment,  and  a  shrewd  knowledge 
of  character — qualities  which  were  happily  illustrated  in 
the  choice  of  William  Pepperell.  His  profession  had  not 
been  that  of  arms  ;  but  he  had  probably  had  some  expe- 
rience in  the  border  service,  not  unfrequently  in  those 
days.  He  was,  however,  a  man  widely  known,  and  ex- 
ceedingly popular, — of  engaging  manners,  and  a  vigorous 


$n  au 


•  v// 


ut-~« 


LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  131 

frame.     His  mind  was  of  the  firmest  texture  ;  his  courage  chap. 
doubted  by  none;  and  his  reputation  unblemished.    These  ^— y— / 
qualities,  united  with  the  most  admirable  coolness  in  sea- 1745- 
sons  of  danger,  amply  supplied  in  the  public  mind  the 
lack  of  any  very  extensive  military  experience.1 

Each  of  the  colonies  engaged  in  the  enterprise,  supplied 
all  the  vessels  for  transports,  provision  ships,  and  cruisers, 
in  their  power;  and  all  things  being  in  readiness,  the 
Boston  forces  embarked  from  Nantasket,2  on  the  twenty- 
fourth  of  March.  Judging  from  the  long  and  minute  in- 
structions from  Shirley  to  Pepperell,  and  also  from  a  pri- 
vate letter  from  the  former  to  Governor  Wentworth,  of 
New  Hampshire,  which  has  been  preserved  by  Belknap, 
the  governor  of  Massachusetts,  though  the  author  of  the 
project,  must  have  been  wholly  unskilled  in  both  the  arts 
of  navigation  and  war.  It  had  been  his  intention  that  the 
several  divisions  of  the  expedition  should  meet  at  a  com- 
mon rendezvous,  and  the  entire  fleet  sail  in  company. 
According  to  the  letter  to  "Wentworth,  it  was  his  design, 
without  making  the  least  allowance  in  their  sailing  of 
different  vessels,  or  for  variations  of  wind,  or  for  any 
other  of  the  hundred  casualties  that  might  occur,  that  the 

1  The  following  curious  passage  occurs  in  Belknap's  interesting  account 
of  this  memorable  expedition :  "  Before  Pepperell  accepted  the  command, 
he  asked  the  opinion  of  the  famous  George  Whitefield,  who  was  then  itinerat- 
ing and  preaching  in  New  England.  Whitefield  told  him  that  he  did  not 
think  the  scheme  very  promising;  that  the  eyes  of  all  the  world  would  be 
upon  him ;  that  if  he  should  not  succeed,  the  widows  and  orphans  of  the 
slain  would  reproach  him  ;  and  if  it  should  succeed,  many  would  regard 
hhn  with  envy,  and  endeavor  to  eclipse  his  glory;  that  he  ought,  therefore, 
to  go  with  "a  single  eye,"  and  then  he  would  find  his  strength  proportioned 
to  his  necessities.  Henry  Sherburne,  the  commissary  of  New  Hampshire, 
another  of  Whitefield's  friend,  pressed  him  to  favor  the  expedition,  and  give 
a  motto  for  the  flag;  to  which,  after  some  hesitation,  Whitefield  censented. 
The  motto  was,  "  Nil  desperandum  Christo  duce."  This  gave  the  expedition 
the  air  of  a  crusade,  and  many  of  the  missionary's  followers  enlisted.  One 
of  them,  a  chaplain,  carried  on  his  shoulder  a  hatchet,  with  which  he  in- 
tended to  destroy  the  images  in  the  French  churches." 

'  Nantasket  road  —  the  entrance  into  the  harbor  of  Boston 


134  LIFE    OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

Ch£p'  ky  ^an(i  and  water,  but  for  a  seasonable  postscript  appended 
wv_^  to  the  last-mentioned  order,  in  these  words  :  "  Upon  the 
•  whole,  notwithstanding  the  instructions  you  have  received 
from  me,  I  must  leave  you  to  act  upon  unforeseen  emer- 
gencies according  to  your  best  discretion."  It  was  indeed 
fortunate  that  this  most  important  clause  of  the  many  folios 
of  directions  was  given,  since  the  expedition  was  detained 
at  Canseau  three  whole  weeks,  waiting  for  the  dissolution 
or  removal  of  the  ice  which  environed  the  islands,  and,  by 
coasting  the  bay  of  Chapeaurouge,  or  Gabarus,  as  it  was 
called  by  the  English,  during  all  that  period  protected 
Cape  Breton  from  invasion.1  Indeed  the  absurdity  of 
Shirley's  original  idea  of  keeping  the  squadron  compactly 
together  during  the  voyage,  and  of  a  simultaneous  land- 
ing, regardless  of  ice,  or  storm,  or  fogs,  or  surf,  was  sig- 
nally illustrated  by  the  event ;  for  what  with  tempestuous 
weather,  and  unequal  sailing,  the  first  point  of  destination, 
Canseau,  was  attained  in  the  most  desultory  manner. 
Only  twenty  of  the  main  squadron  arrived  with  Pepperell; 
and  more  than  a  week  elapsed  before  the  vessels  all  came 
up.2  But  this  time  was  not  lost  by  the  commanding  gene- 
ral, whose  vigilance  in  obtaining  information  was  sleep- 
less, and  whose  activity  in  imparting  discipline  to  his 
troops  was  untiring.  A  strong  squadron  of  armed  colonial 
vessels,  under  Captain  Edward  Tyng,  commander  of  the 
Massachusetts  frigate,  was  kept  cruising  off  Louisburg, 
to  cut  oft'  such  of  the  enemy's  vessels  as  might  attempt 
either  to  enter  or  depart,  and  the  prizes  taken  by  them 
afforded  valuable  additions  to  the  provisions  of  the  army.3 

1  Even  the  Rev.  Dr.  Belknap,  whose  trade  was  not  of  war,  criticises 
these  instructions,  drawn,  as  he  says,  by  a  lawyer,  to  be  executed  by  a 
merchant,  at  the  head  of  a  body  of  husbandmen  and  mechanics. 

2  Letter  from  General  Pepperell  to  Governor  Shirley. 

3  Letter  of  Pepperell  to  Shirley.  Governor  Shirley  having  directed  Tyng 
to  procure  the  largest  ship  in  his  power,  he  had  purchased  this  ship  when 
on  the  stocks,  and  nearly  ready  for  launching.  It  was  a  ship  of  about  four 
hundred  tons,  and  was  soon  afterward  launched  at  Boston.  Tyng  com- 
manded her  and  was  appointed  commander  of  the  fleet. — Note  in  Holmes. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  135 

Although,  as  I  have  already  said,  the  design  of  this  chap. 
expedition  had  been  communicated  to  the  ministers  of  the  - — ^-/ 
crown,  in  the  expectation  of  receiving  assistance  thence,  1'15- 
yet  it  had  been  conducted  thus  far  altogether  upon  the 
resources  of  the  colonies  themselves ;  confident,  to  a  con- 
siderable extent,  in  their  own  strength,  yet  anticipating 
such  assistance.  In  the  hope,  moreover,  of  securing  the 
co-operation  of  Commodore  Warren,  then  in  the  West 
India  seas,  even  before  he  could  receive  direct  instructions 
from  home,  an  express  boat  had  been  dispatched  to  him, 
communicating  the  project  on  foot,  and  requesting  the  aid 
at  least  of  a  detachment  from  his  squadron.  But  on  a 
consultation  with  his  officers  he  was  dissuaded  from  en- 
gaging in  the  enterprise;  and  the  boat,  conveying  the 
news  of  this  determination,  returned  to  Boston  two  clays 
before  the  departure  of  the  forces.1  The  intelligence, 
however,  though  unexpected,  operated  only  as  a  partial 
discouragement, —  strong  confidence  being  entertained  that 
Pepperell  would  be  supported  from  England  with  ships 
and  reinforcements  of  troops.2 

The  promotion  of  Captain  Warren  to  the  Superbe,  of 
sixty  guns,  and  his  being  left  on  the  Antigua  station  by 
Sir  Chaloner  Ogle,  as  commodore  of  a  small  squadron, 
are  circumstances  in  the  career  of  this  truly  brave  and 
illustrious  man,  that  have  already  been  noted.  His  suc- 
cess in  making  captures  in  the  West  India  seas  had 
been  great;  and  perhaps  his  officers  were  reluctant  to 
relinquish  a  genial  winter  climate,  yielding  such  golden 
returns  of  prize-money,  in  exchange  for  the  icebergs  and 
bleak  regions  of  the  north.  He  had  captured  two  French 
prizes  on  his  way  to  Barbadoes  a  few  months  before ; 3  and 
while  occupying  a  station  off  Martinique,  his  extraordinary 
activity  was  rewarded  by  more  than  twenty  valuable  prizes, 
one  of  which  was  estimated  at  two  hundred  and  fifty  thousand 

1  Marshall. 

2  Letter  frem  Shirley  to  Pepperell. 

3  MS.  letter,  Edward  Holland  to  Johnson. 


136  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  pounds  sterling.1  But  notwithstanding  his  refusal  of  aid 
v—y—/  to  the  expedition  on  the  application  of  Governor  Shirley, 
1745-  his  orders  from  the  admiralty,  upon  the  subject,  brought 
him  upon  the  New  England  coast  with  the  Launceton  and 
Eltham,  of  forty  guns  each,  in  addition  to  his  own  ship, 
and  in  addition,  also,  to  the  Mermaid  of  the  same  force, 
by  which  he  was  joined  shortly  after  his  arrival.2  With- 
out entering  the  harbor  of  Nantasket,  the  commodore 
placed  himself  in  communication  with  Shirley,  and  having 
ascertained  that  the  expedition  had  previously  sailed,  he 
proceeded  directly  to  Canseau,  where  he  arrived  on  the 
twenty-third  of  April ;  and  after  a  conference  with  Pep- 
perell,  assumed  the  command  of  the  naval  forces  by  ex- 
press orders  from  the  admiralty.  Previous  to  his  arrival, 
the  colonial  squadron,  under  Captain  Tyng,  had  taken 
several  prizes, — vessels  laden  chiefly  with  provisions, — 
which  were  received  in  good  time  by  General  Pepperell. 
The  New  Hampshire  armed  sloop  had  been  remarkably 
successful, —  she  having  captured  a  ship  from  Martinique, 
and  with  her,  recaptured  one  of  the  transports  which  had 
fallen  into  the  hands  of  the  French  on  the  day  before 
"Warren's  arrival. 

The  two  commanders  having  concerted  their  plans, 
Warren  sailed  to  cruise  off  the  harbor  of  Louisburg, 
where  he  was  soon  afterward  joined  by  the  Canterbury 
and  Sunderland,  of  sixty  guns  each,  and  the  Chester  of 
fifty,  all  from  England,  which  enabled  him  to  institute  a 
vigorous  blockade.  Meantime,  the  ice  no  longer  effectually 
impeding  the  navigation,  the  general,  after  having  sent 
out  a  detachment  which  destroyed  the  village  of  St.  Peters, 
and  scattered  the  inhabitants,  embarked  with  his  forces 
on  the  twenty-ninth  of  April,  for  the  point  of  the  grand 
attack.  Shirley,  even  in  his  final  instructions,  had  not 
altogether  abandoned  his  original  idea  of  a  landing  by 
night,  and  an  assault  by  surprise ;  so  that  Pepperell  was 

1  Cbarnock. 

2  Idem. 


LIFE    OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  137 

still  enjoined  "to  sail  with  the  whole  fleet  from  Cansean chap. 
so  as  to  arrive  in  Chapeaurouge  bay  at  nine,  o'clock  v-^— ' 
in  the  evening.  The  troops  were  to  land  in  four  1745- 
divisions,  and  proceed  to  the  assault  before  morning. 
In  the  event  of  a  failure  of  surprisal,  particular  direc- 
tions were  given  how  to  land,  march,  encamp,  attack, 
and  defend ;  to  hold  councils  and  keep  records ;  and  to 
send  intelligence,  and  by  what  particular  vessels  ; x  and  a 
hundred  other  minute  instructions  were  given,  to  be  nullified 
daily  by  a  hundred  unforeseen  contingencies.  Obedience 
to  the  letter  was  out  of  the  question.  Instead  of  making 
the  point  designated  in  the  evening,  the  falling  of  the 
wind  brought  them  off  the  mouth  of  the  bay  only  at 
eight  o'clock  the  next  morning  — 2  "the  intended  surprisal 
being  thus  happily  frustrated,"  as  Belknap  naively  observes. 
But  notwithstanding  the  long  delay  at  Canseau,  the  block- 
ade of  the  cape  by  the  ice  and  the  fleet  had  been  so  ef- 
fectual, that  no  knowledge  of  the  approach  of  an  enemy 
had  been  received  in  Louisburg,  and  the  appearance  of 
the  fleet  of  a  hundred  transports  in  the  bay,  was  the  first 
intimation  they  had  of  his  proximity.3  It  was  a  moment 
of  intense  interest  to  the  army  when  they  came  actually 
in  sight  of  Louisburg.  ,"  Its  walls,  raised  on  a  neck  of 
land  on  the  south  side  of  the  harbor,  forty  feet  thick  at 
the  base,  and  from  twenty  to  thirty  feet  high,  all  swept 
from  the  bastions,  surrounded  by  a  ditch  eighty  feet  wide, 
furnished  with  one  hundred  and  one  cannon,  seventy-six 
swivels,  and  six  mortars  ;  its  garrison  composed  of  more 
than  sixteen  hundred  men  ;  and  the  harbor  defended  by 
an  island  battery  of  thirty  twenty-two-pounders,  and  by 
the  royal  battery  on  the  shore,  having  thirty  large  cannon^ 
a  moat,  and  bastions,  all  so  perfect  that  it  was  thought 
two  hundred  men   could   have   defended  it  against  five 

1  Belknap.     See,  also,  the  instructions  at  large,  in  the  first  volume  Massa- 
chusetts Transactions. 

2  Letter  of  Pepperell  to  Shirley. 

3  Belknap. 

18 


138  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  thousand.1  Yet,  as  though  forgetful  of  these  advantages 
w^—*  of  strength  and  position,  nothing  could  exceed  the  con- 
1745-  sternation  into  which  the  inhahitants  and  garrison  were 
thrown  by  this  very  unexpected  visit.  The  governor  made 
a  feeble  attempt  to  prevent  the  landing  by  sending  out  a 
detachment  of  one  hundred  and  fifty  men  for  that  purpose  ; 
but  they  were  attacked  with  spirit  and  compelled  to  retire 
with  the  loss  of  several  killed  and  a  number  who  were 
made  prisoners, —  among  whom  were  some  persons  of  dis- 
tinction. These  enemies  having  been  thus  summarily  dis- 
posed of,  the  debarkation  was  effected  without  the  loss  of 
a  man.  In  their  flight  the  French  burnt  several  houses 
situated  between  the  grand  battery  and  the  town.  Several 
vessels  were  also  sunk  in  the  harbor,  but  for  what  particu- 
lar design  is  not  known. 

The  enthusiasm  with  which  the  expedition  had  been 
undertaken  by  the  citizen-soldiers,  was  unabated,  and  pre- 
parations were  made  for  investing  the  city  without  delay. 
The  point  of  debarkation  was  about  a  league  from  the 
town.  The  first  column  that  advanced  was  led  through 
the  woods  in  sight  of  the  town,  by  Colonel  Yaughan,  the 
daring  spirit  who  had  been  so  earnest  from  the  first  in 
urging  forward  the  enterprise,  find  by  whom  the  enemy 
showing  himself  upon  the  ramparts,  was  saluted  with 
three  cheers.  On  the  night  following,  the  second  of  May, 
Vaughan  marched  at  the  head  of  a  detachment,  composed 
chiefly  of  New  Hampshire  troops,  to  the  northeast  part  of 
the  harbor,  where  he  burned  the  enemy's  ware-houses, 
containing  their  naval  stores,  and  staved  in  a  large  quantity 
of  wine  and  brandy.  The  smoke  of  this  conflagration, 
driven  by  the  wind  into  the  grand  battery,  so  terrified  the 
French  that  they  precipitately  abandoned  it,  spiking  their 
guns,  and  retiring  into  the  city.  The  next  morning  while 
reconnoitering  the  works  with  a  small  party  of  only  thirteen 
men,  observing  that  no  smoke  issued  from  the  chimneys 
of  the  battery,  Vaughan  prevailed  upon  an  Indian  to  enter 

1  Bancroft. 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  139 

through  an  embrasure  and  open  the  gate.  Immediate  chap. 
possession  was  taken  of  the  fortress,  and  one  of  the  brave  >— v— * 
fellows  of  the  band  climbed  the  flag-staff,  carrying  aloft  a  1745, 
red  coat  in  his  teeth,  which  he  hoisted  in  triumph  as  a 
banner.  The  French  immediately  sent  out  one  hundred 
men  to  retake  the  battery ;  but  Vaughan  held  them  at  bay 
until  a  regiment  arrived  to  his  relief  and  the  conquest  was 
secured.  The  guns  that  had  been  spiked  were  mostly  forty- 
two-pounders.1  The  trunnions  had  not  been  knocked  off; 
and  by  active  drilling,  under  the  direction  of  Major  Pom- 
roy,  of  Northampton, —  a  gun-smith  when  at  home,2 — 
about  twenty  of  them  were  soon  rendered  fit  for  service. 
The  greater  number  of  these  guns  were  intended  for  the 
defence  of  the  harbor ;  but  four  of  them  were  brought  to 
bear  upon  the  town  with  great  effect, — almost  every  shot 
being  made  to  tell,  and  some  of  the  balls  falling  upon  the 
roof  of  the  citadel.3  The  general  was  at  a  loss  to  con- 
jecture why  the  enemy  abandoned  so  fine  a  battery,  but 
concluded  that  it  must  have  been  occasioned  by  a  deficiency 
of  men.  The  French  turned  some  of  their  guns  against 
this  battery,  not  without '  making  some  considerable  im- 
pression upon  its  walls.  Twice,  also,  in  the  course  of  ten 
days,  they  rallied  out  for  its  recovery,  but  in  both  in- 
stances were  repulsed  with  loss.  The  loss  of  the  Ameri- 
cans in  this  affair  was  very  slight. 

The  siege  was  pressed  with  vigor,  but  its  prosecution 
was  attended  with  almost  incredible  labor  and  difficulty. 
For  fourteen  successive  nights  the  troops  were  employed 
in  dragging  their  cannon  from  the  landing  place  to  the 
camp  through  a  morass,  so  miry  that  neither  cattle  nor 
horses  could  be  used  for  that  purpose.  The  men  sunk 
to  their  knees  in  the  slough,  and  the  cannon  could  only 
be  drawn  even  upon  sledges  constructed  for  that  purpose  by 
Colonel  Misseroe,  who,  fortunately  was  a  carpenter  before 

1  Letters  of  Pepperell  to  Shirley. 

2  Bancroft. 

3  Pepperell  to  Sim-ley. 


140  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  lie  took  to  the  profession  of  arms.  What  added  essentially 
v^L,  to  the  severity  of  this  labor,  was  the  circumstance  that  it 
!745.  could  only  be  performed  in  the  night,  or  when  curtained 
by  the  heavy  fogs  resting  upon  the  island  ;  since  the  dis- 
tance was  not  only  within  view  of  the  town,  but  within 
reaching  distance  of  their  cannon.1  The  approaches  of 
the  besiegers  were  not  made  with  strategic  regularity. 
Indeed  the  ears  of  a  martinet  would  doubtless  have  been 
shocked  at  the  barbarisms  of  the  provincials  in  using,  or 
attempting  to  use  the  technicalities  of  military  science  — 
or  rather  at  the  jesting  and  mockery  which  they  made  of 
them.2  Still,  the  approaches  were  made,  generally  under 
cover  of  night ;  and  in  ten  days  after  the  debarkation, 
they  were  within  four  hundred  yards  of  the  town,  with 
cannon  planted  upon  several  commanding  heights,  while 
a  fascine  battery   had  been   erected  on  the  west  side  of 

1  The  men  who  performed  this  severe  service  were  much  disappointed 
and  chagrined  when  they  found  that  it  was  not  more  distinctly  acknowledged 
in  the  accounts  which  were  sent  to  England,  and  afterward  published.  The 
siege  was  signalized  by  many  meritorious  exploits  which  were  not  men- 
tioned by  General  Pepperell  in  his  dispatches,  as,  for  instance,  Vaughan's 
expedition  on  the  night  after  the  landing,  and  his  seizure  of  the  great  bat- 
tery, with  only  thirteen  men,  on  the  next  morning. 

2  Bancroft.  There  was  doubtless  much  less  of  military  seniority  among 
the  besiegers  during  this  campaign,  than  would  have  been  the  fact  in  an 
army  of  regular  soldiers ;  and  much  less  of  strict  military  discipline  than 
their  commanding  officers  could  have  desired.  "It  has  been  said,  "re- 
marks Mr.  Belknap,  "  that  this  siege  was  carried  on  in  a  random,  tumult- 
uary manner,  resembling  a  Cambridge  commencement.  The  remark  is  in 
a  great  measure  true.  Though  the  business  of  the  council  of  war  was  con- 
ducted with  all  the  formality  of  a  legislative  assembly  ;  though  orders 
were  issued  by  the  general,  and  returns  made  by  the  officers  of  the  several 
posts  ;  yet  the  want  of  discipline  was  too  visible  in  the  camp.  Those  who 
were  on  the  spot  have  frequently,  in  my  hearing,  laughed  at  the  recital  of 
their  own  irregularities,  and  expressed  their  admiration  when  they  reflected 
on  the  almost  miraculous  preservation  of  the  army  from  destruction.  They 
indeed  presented  a  formidable  front  to  the  enemy  ;  but  the  rear  was  a  scene 
of  confusion  and  frolic.  While  some  were  on  duty  in  the  trenches,  others 
were  racing,  wrestling,  pitching  quoits,  firing  at  marks,  or  at  birds,  or 
running  after  shot  from  the  enemy's  guns,  for  which  they  received  a  bounty } 
and  the  shot  was  sent  back  to  the  city." 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  141 

the   city    upon  which    eight    twenty-two-pounders  were  chap. 
mounted.  • — y — < 

On  the  seventh^  of  May,  after  a  conference  hetween  the  1745- 
naval  and  military  commanders,  it  was  agreed  to  summon 
Duchamboau,  the  French  governor,  to  surrender.  This 
summons  having  been  refused,  it  was  then  determined  to 
prosecute  the  siege  in  a  yet  more  vigorous  manner,  and 
to  attack  the  island  battery,  in  boats,  the  first  favorable 
opportunity.1  It  was  a  formidable  undertaking.  This 
"island  battery"  stood  upon  a  small  rock,  almost  inac- 
cessible, about  two  hundred  yards  long  by  twenty  in 
breadth,  with  a  circular  battery  of  forty-two  pounders 
commanding  the  entrance  of  the  harbor,  and  a  guard 
house  and  barracks  behind.2  On  the  eighteenth  of  May, 
the  besiegers  had  thrown  up  a  battery  within  two  hundred 
yards  of  the  western  gate,  whereon  were  mounted  two 
forty-two,  and  two  eighteen  pounders,  which  annoyed  the 
town  considerably  ;  but  several  of  the  siege  pieces  of  ord- 
nance were  defective,  and  by  bursting,  or  otherwise,  were 
soon  rendered  useless.3  Indeed  there  was  great  defective- 
ness in  the  equipments  of  the  rank  and  file ;  but  the  siege 
was,  nevertheless,  persisted  in  with  the  most  indomitable 
perseverance.  Between  the  eighteenth  and  twenty-eighth 
of  the  month  five  unsuccessful  attempts  were  made  by 
Pepperell  to  carry  that  battery,  in  the  last  of  wThich  he  lost 
nearly  two  hundred  men,  killed,  and  many  more  drowned, 
before  they  could  land,  besides  several  boats  which  w^ere 
shot  to  pieces.  Although  repulsed,  the  attack  was  bravely 
conducted.  The  troops  who  succeeded  in  landing  made  a 
noble  stand,  and  an  officer  named  Brookes  nearly  succeed- 
ed in  striking  the  flag  of  the  fortress.  It  was  already  half 
cloven  when  a  French-Swiss,  a  dragoon,  clove  his  skull 
with  his  cutlass.4    The  expediency  of  making  yet  another 

1  Letter  from  General  Pepperell  to  Governor  Shirley. 

2  Letter  of  "an  old  English  merchant"  to  the  earl  of  Sandwich. 

3  Pepperell's  letters. 

4  Letter  from  "an  old  English  merchant"  to  the  earl  of  Sandwich. 


142  LIFE   OF   SIK   WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  attempt  upon  this  fortress  was  discussed  in  council,  but 
>— ^ — -  such   was    its    strength,    and    the    commanding    advan- 
1745-  tage  of  its  position,  and  so  difficult  was  the  landing  ren- 
dered by  the  surf,   that  the   project  was  abandoned   as 
impracticable.1 

During  these  operations  upon  land,  Commodore  Warren 
had  been  cruising  off  the  harbor  with  splendid  success. 
So  closely  wtis  the  entrance  guarded  that  with  the  excep- 
tion of  a  single  sloop  laden  chiefly  with  zinc,  everything 
that  attempted  to  get  in  was  captured ;  the  consequence 
was  that  both  town  and  garrison  were  soon  reduced  to 
great  distress  for  provisions.  A  large  ship,  the  Vigilante, 
commanded  by  the  Marquis  de  la  Maison  Forte,  from 
Brest,  deeply  laden  with  military  and  other  supplies, 
having  on  board  reinforcements  to  the  number  of  five 
hundred  and  sixty  men,  and  bringing  also  two  or  three 
years'  pay  for  the  troops2  was  known  by  Duchambeau  to 
be  on  her  passage,  and  great  dependance  was  placed  upon 
this  arrival  for  relief  But  this,  the  governor's  last  hope, 
was  cut  off  by  Warren,  —  the  ship  having  been  decoyed 
by  one  of  the  frigates  into  the  centre  of  his  squadron  and 
captured  on  the  ninteenth  of  May  —  "  almost  without 
resistance.'3 

1  Letter  of  Pepperell  to  Commodore  Warren,  in  which  he  states  the  exact 
loss  in  killed,  in  the  last  abortive  attack  upon  the  island,  at  one  hundred 
and  eighty-nine. 

2  Letter  from  Madame  Warren  to  her  brother,  Chief  Justice  De  Lancey, 
written  after  the  capture  of  the  Vigilante. 

3  So  says  Charnock,  in  the  Biographia  Navalis.  But  Bancroft  says  the 
Vigilante  "  was  decoyed  by  Douglass,  of  the  Mermaid,  and  taken  after  an 
engagement  of  several  hours."  I  have  seen  another  authority  in  which 
Douglass  is  named  as  the  captain  of  this  ship.  Yet  there  is  doubt,  upon 
the  subject.  Holmes,  in  a  note,  cites  from  Alden,  the  biographer  of  Captain 
Tyng,  a  statement  that  the  Vigilante  was  taken  by  this  officer,  commanding, 
as  we  have  seen,  the  Massachusetts  provincial  frigate.  Other  books  and 
several  private  letters  among  the  Johnson  manuscripts  attribute  the  cap- 
ture to  Warren.  As  the  commander  of  the  squadron,  it  is  settled  in  gene- 
ral history,  that  the  credit  in  chief  should  be  awarded  to  him.  Alden's 
authority  for  awarding  the  particular  credit  to  Tyng  I  do  not  know. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  143 

Although  the  island  fortress  had  not  yet  been  taken,  chap. 
still  a  battery  erected  upon  a  high  cliff  at  the  light-house,  - — , — - 
greatly  annoyed  it.  Nevertheless,  in  the  eye  of  Warren,  1<4°- 
the  operations  of  the  siege  advanced  so  slowly,  that,  impa- 
tient of  delay,  even  after  the  capture  of  the  Vigilante, 
having  taken  the  opinion  of  a  council  of  his  officers,  he 
wrote  to  Pepperell,  proposing  that  a  decisive  blow  should 
be  struck  by  a  combined  attack  by  land  and  sea.  The  fogs 
were  a  great  annoyance  to  the  commodore,  being  often  so 
dense,  that  it  was  impossible  for  him  to  communicate  with 
his  consorts  for  two  or  three  days  at  a  time.  On  more 
than  one  occasion,  interviews  between  the  land  and  naval 
commanders  had  been  prevented  by  the  same  cause.  Fur- 
thermore the  commodore  had  been  more  than  three  months 
at  sea,  and  was  wearied  of  the  service  of  cruising  upon 
such  a  limited  station.  But  the  plans  submitted  by  the 
commodore  for  the  proposed  assault,  were  not  agreeable  to 
Pepperell  and  his  board  of  officers,  and  a  correspondence 
was  maintained  upon  the  subject  for  several  days, — War- 
ren occasionally  showing  a  degree  of  earnestness,  bordering  1745. 
perhaps,  upon  asperity.  Yet  he  protested  that  his  only 
desire  was  for  the  success  of  the  expedition,  and  the  honor 
and  interests  of  the  crown ;  and  he  distinctly  disclaimed 
the  disposition  to  give  the  least  offence.1 

At  length,  however,  the  batteries  of  Pepperell  continu- 
ing to  make  considerable  progress  against  the  walls  of  the 
town,  on  the  first  of  June  it  was  determined  between  the 
two  commanders  that  a  combined  assault  should  be  made 
as  soon  as  the  necessary  arrangements  could  be  completed. 
For  this  purpose  a  large  body  of  the  land  forces  were  to 
be  embarked  on  board  the  fleet,  which  was  to  force  the 
harbor  and  land  them  in  front  of  the  town,  covered  by  the 
guns  of  the  ships.  A  bombardment  of  the  town  was  to 
ensue,  while  Pepperell  was  to  make  a  simultaneous  attack 
through  the  breaches  at  the  west  gate.     Before  this  could 

1  Correspondence  between  Warren  and  Pepperell. 


144  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  be  done,  however,  there  was  a  formidable  obstacle  to  be 

IIL  r- 

v— v— '  surmounted  —  the  "  island  battery,"  heretofore  mentioned, 
1745-  and  upon  which  several  ill-starred  attacks  had  already  been 
made.  It  was  deemed  too  hazardous  an  undertaking  thus 
to  enter  the  harbor  before  that  battery  should  be  silenced; 
it  being  generally  doubted  whether,  having  entered  the 
harbor,  in  the  event  of  a  repulse  from  the  town,  the  fleet 
would  be  able  to  get  to  sea  again.  Such  was  the  opinion 
of  the  officers  of  "Warren,  at  a  council  holden  on  the 
seventh  of  June ;  and  plans  were  then  considered  for 
another  attack  upon  the  island,  to  be  made  by  the  ships, — 
former  experience  having  proven  that  boats  were  entirely 
inadequate  to  such  a  severe  and  perilous  service.  An  at- 
tempt of  this  kind  the  commodore  was  yet  better  enabled 
to  make  after  the  tenth  of  June,  on  which  day  his  squad- 
ron was  farther  strengthened  by  the  arrival  of  the  Princess 
Mary,  the  Hector,  and  the  Lark.1 

Happily,  however,  a  further  effusion  of  blood  was  ren- 
dered unnecessary  by  a  successful  ruse  de  guerre,  sug- 
gested by  Warren,  and  executed  jointly  by  Pepperell  and 
himself.  The  French  garrison,  mutinous  when  the  siege 
commenced,  reduced  in  numbers  during  its  progress, 
and  to  great  distress  by  the  blockade,  was  supposed  to  be . 
not  in  the  best  possible  humor  for  continuing  the  defence ; 
and  as  advices  had  been  received  that  a  large  fleet  with 
provisions  and  reinforcements  for  the  succor  of  the  fortress, 
might  shortly  be  expected  on  the  coast,  it  was  considered 
wise,  to  hasten  matters  to  a  decision.  It  was  moreover 
believed  that  Duchambon  was  yet  ignorant  of  the  fate  of 
the  Vigilante,  and  also  of  the  capture  of  a  large  rice  ship 
and  several  other  vessels  laden  with  supplies ;  and  it  was 
suggested  by  Warren  that  should  a  flag  be  sent  into  the 
town  with  this  information,  by  the  hand  of  a  discreet 
officer  able  to  act  his  part  well,  the  French  commander 
might  be  induced  to  capitulate  from  sheer  discouragement 
or  despondency.     Another  part  of  the  scheme  was  to  play 

1  Correspondence  of  Pepperell  and  Warren. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  145 

upon  his  fears.  To  this  end  it  was  proposed  that  the  Mar-  chap. 
quis  de  la  Maison  Forte  should  be  taken  through  the  sev-v-^— > 
eral  ships  of  the  squadron,  that  he  might  see  how  kindly  1745- 
the  French  prisoners  were  treated  by  the  English.  The 
Marquis  was  next  to  be  informed  that  the  English  had  been 
advised  of  the  fact  that  several  of  their  people  who  had 
fallen  into  the  hands  of  the  French  and  Indians,  had  been 
treated  with  horrible  barbarity  ;  and  he  was  to  be  requested 
to  ask  for  as  good  treatment  of  the  English  prisoners  in 
the  town,  as  they,  (the  French,)  were  receiving  on  board  the 
fleet.  The  expedient  was  successful,  and  the  captive  com- 
mander of  the  Vigilante  readily  consented  to  address  the  de- 
sired letter  to  Duchambon,  announcing  the  loss  of  his  ship, 
and  speaking  of  the  other  matters  that  had  been  concerted. 
In  regard  to  the  treatment  experienced  by  himself  and  fel- 
low captives,  since  their  misfortune,  the  captive  marquis 
said  they  were  dealt  with  not  as  enemies,  but  as  "very  good 
friends  ;"  and  in  conclusion,  he  cautioned  the  governor 
against  allowing  the  cruelties  complained  of  to  be  prac- 
ticed upon  the  English  prisoners  in  his  power.  Captain 
Macdonald,  the  officer  to  wThom  the  flag  was  confided,  dis- 
charged his  duty  well ;  and  the  threat  which  he  bore  of  re- 
taliation for  the  cruelties  complained  of,  unless  they  should 
be  ended,  had  its  effect.  The  bearing  of  the  captain,  was 
that  of  a  soldier  sure  of  victory  in  a  few  days,  and  appa- 
rently indifferent  whether  the  besieged  continued  their 
defence  or  not.  Pepperell  in  his  message  by  the  flag, 
made  no  demand  of  a  surrender ;  while  on  the  other  hand, 
the  whole  affair  was  conducted  as  though  the  commander 
of  the  besiegers,  certain  of  a  speedy  conquest,  scarcely 
thought  it  necessary  again  to  speak  of  a  capitulation. 
Meantime  the  flag-officer,  Macdonald,  affecting  entire 
ignorance  of  the  French  language  though  understanding 
it  well,  heard  all  that  passed  between  the  French  officers 
themselves,  who,  speaking  without  suspicion  or  reserve, 
unconsciously  confirmed  the  suspicions  of  Pepperell  and 

19 


146  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap.  "Warren,  that  the  besieged  were  in  truth  ignorant  of  the 

1D-  -TIT 

w^_/  loss  of  the  Vigilante,  until  that  hour. 

1745.      rpke  newg  Qf  t^-s  jog8  san]i  ^ggp  jnto  ^q  hearts  of  the 

French.  They  saw,  moreover,  that  preparations  were  on 
foot  for  an  assault,  which,  from  the  scattered  positions  of 
the  beseigers,  and  the  inequalities  of  the  ground  around 
the  town,  they  could  form  no  intelligent  estimate  of  their 
numbers  —  such  prisoners  as  had  fallen  into  their  hands 
having  with  singular  uniformity  reported  the  invading 
forces  much  more  numerous  than  they  actually  were. 
Under  all  these  adverse  events  and  circumstances,  and 
discouraged,  moreover,  by  the  menacing  appearances 
without,  Duchambon  determined  to  surrender,  and  on  the 
sixteenth  of  June  articles  of  capitulation  were  signed. 
The  terms  of  this  capitulation  were  honorable  to  the  van- 
quished, who  were  allowed  to  march  out  with  drums  beat- 
ing and  colors  flying  —  their  arms  and  colors  then  to  be 
delivered  into  the  custody  of  Pepperell  and  "Warren,  until 
the  return  of  the  prisoners  to  their  own  country,  when 
they  were  to  be  returned  to  them. 

At  four  o'olock  in  the  afternoon  of  the  same  day  Colonel 
Bradstreet,  with  a  detachment  of  troops  took  possession  of 
the  town  and  its  defences,  the  strength  and  magnitude  of 
which,  and  the  resources  yet  remaining  to  the  French,  had 
they  persisted  in  the  defence,  astonished  the  victors,  who 
saw  at  once  that  policy  had  stepped  in  very  opportunely  to 
aid  their  own  bravery  in  the  reduction  of  works  so  formid- 
able, yet  the  siege  had  been  powerfully  directed,  as  the 
reader  must  have  seen  by  the  preceding  details,  to  which 
many  facts  and  circumstances  might  be  added.1 

1  On  entering  the  town  Pepperell  wrote  to  Shieley —  "Such  ruins  were 
never  seen  before,  which  however,  is  not  to  be  wondered  at,  as  we  gave  the 
town  about  nine  thousand  cannon  balls  and  six  hundred  bombs  before  they 
surrendered,  which  sorely  distressed  them,  particularly  the  day  before  they 
sent  out  their  flag  of  truce,  when  we  kept  up  such  a  constant  fire  on  the 
town  from  our  batteries,  that  the  enemy  could  not  show  their  heads,  nor 
stir  from  their  covered  ways.     Our  battery  near  the  light-house  played  on 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  147 

The  time  of  the  capitulation  was  exceedingly  opportune  chap. 
for  the  besiegers  in  various  respects  yet  unmentioned.  >— v — - 
Two  days  after  it  took  place,  information  was  received  by  1745, 
General  Peppercll  that  a  body  of  two  thousand  five  hun- 
dred Indians  were  hovering  within  a  few  miles  of  his 
camp.  The  capitulation  of  the'  fortress  was  doubtless  a 
signal  for  their  instant  dispersion  among  their  own  deep 
forests.  The  weather,  moreover,  which  had  been  remark- 
ably favorable  to  the  objects  of  the  besiegers,  for  that 
climate,  now  suddenly  changed,  and  a  cold  and  driving 
storm  of  rain  set  in,  which  continued  ten  days,  and  which, 
but  for  the  shelter  afforded  the  enemy  in  the  town,  would 
have  thinned  its  ranks  to  a  frightful  degree  by  sickness  — 
the  disorders  usual  among  those  not  accustomed  to  camp 
duty,  or  to  sleeping  upon  the  earth,  having  already  made 
their  appearance  among  the  soldiers. 

Reinforcements  from  Boston,  for  which  Pepperell  had 
been  urgently  writing  to  Governor  Shirley,  arrived  soon 
after  the  capitulation, —  as  also  did  the  Rhode  Island  levies, 
after  a  protracted  voyage, — together  with  supplies  of  pro- 
visions. These  and  other  stores,  were  augmented  by  fur- 
ther captures  from  the  enemy, — several  rich  prizes  having 
been  decoyed  into  the  harbor  after  the  fall  of  the  town,  by 
the  artifice  of  keeping  the  French  flag  flying  upon  the 
ramparts.  Among  these  were  two  Indiamen,  and  one 
South-sea  ship,  estimated,  in  all,  at  six  hundred  thousand 
pounds.1      A  dispute  arose  between  the  land  forces  and  the 

the  island  battery  with  our  cannon  and  large  mortars  so  that  they  were 
ready  to  run  into  the  sea  for  shelter,  as  some  of  them  actually  did." 

Still  in  the  same  dispatch  notwithstanding  these  severe  operations,  Pep- 
perell says :  we  have  not  lost  above  one  hundred  men  by  the  enemy  in  this 
vast  enterprise,  including  the  disaster  at  the  Island  battery."  This  is  in 
contradiction  of  his  dispatch  giving  an  account  of  that  island  disaster,  in 
which  he  stated  the  loss  by  the  enemy  at  one  hundred  and  eighty-nine, 
exclusive  of  those  who  were  drowned  in  attempting  to  land  from  the  boats. 

1  On  the  eighteenth  of  July,  a  large  schooner  from  Quebec,  laden  with  flour 
and  other  provisions  was  brought  into  Louisburg  by  one  of  the  colonial  cruis- 
ers. On  the  twent y-  second,  the  Clmrmante,  a  French  East  India  ship  of  about 
five  or  six  hundred  tons,  twenty-eight  guns  and  ninety-nine  men,  surrendered 


148  LIFE  OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  naval,  as  to  the  distribution  of  the  prize  "money  arising 

v— . v—t  from  these  captures,  the  former  under  the  circumstances 

1745.  0f  thg  case,  claiming  an  equal  proportion  with  the  latter. 

But  the  booty  went  to  the  seamen, —  to  the  strong  and 

general  dissatisfaction  by  the  soldiers. 

The  Mermaid,  Captain  Montague,  was  dispatched  to 
England  with  the  tidings,  bearing  official  advices  from 
both  commanders,  enclosing  the  articles  of  capitulation. 
These  dispatches  were  received  by  the  ministry  on  the 
twentieth  of  July,  and  gazetted,  but  in  substance  only, 
on  the  twenty-third.  It  has  been  justly  said,  that  the 
news  of  this  important  victory  filled  America  with  joy,  and 
Europe  with  astonishment.  The  colonists,  for  the  first 
time,  began  to  feel  the  might  that  slumbered  in  their  own 
strong  arms,  while  the  parent  country  gave  no  uuequive- 
cal  evidence  of  jealousy  at  the  development  of  so  much  en- 
ergy and  power.  The  letter  of  Pepperell,  giving  an  ac- 
count of  the  operations  under  his  own  command,  was  not 
allowed  to  transpire  ;  but  the  publication  of  the  general 
facts  caused  great  rejoicing  among  the  people.  A  court 
of  evidence  was  immediately  convened,  and  an  address  of 
congratulation  for  the  success  of  his  Majesty's  arms  was 
voted,  though  in  rather  subdued  and  formal  terms.  But 
as  the  news  of  the  capitulation  spread  through  the  colo- 
nies, the  feelings  of  the  people  broke  forth  in  the  most 
lively  rejoicings.  Boston  was  illuminated  even  to  the 
most  obscure  bye-lane  and  alley ;  and  the  night  was  sig- 
nalized by  fire-works,  bon-fires  and  all  the  external  tokens 

to  the  Princess  Mary  and  Canterbury,  without  opposition.  The  Charmante 
had  been  descried  in  the  offing,  and  the  ships  which  took  her,  were  sent  out 
from  here.  This  was  as  valuable  a  prize  as  had  been  taken  during  the  war. 
On  the  first  of  August,  the  Chester  and  Mermaid  brought  in  the  Heron,  a 
French  East  Indiaman,  from  Bengal, — "pretty  rich," — as  Sir  Peter  wrote 
to  the  admiralty.  On  the  second  of  August,  the  Sunderland  and  Chester 
brought  in  a  French  ship  called  the  Notre  Dame  de  la  Deliverance,  of  thirty- 
two  guns  and  about  sixty  men,  from  Lima, — having  on  board,  in  gold  and 
silver,  upward  of  three  hundred  thousand  pounds  sterling,  with  a  cargo  of 
cocoa,  Peruvian  wool,  and  Jesuit's  bark. — Dispatches  of  Sir  Peter  Warren  to 
the  Admiralty. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  149 

of  joy.  A  day  of  solemn  thanksgiving  to  Almighty  God,  chap. 
was  likewise  set  apart  by  the  civil  authorities,  which  was  ^^_, 
observed  throughout  the  colony.  Nor  was  a  thanksgiving  1746. 
festival  ever  more  religiously  kept  in  Massachusetts.1 

But  notwithstanding  the  studied  design,  so  rarely  man- 
ifested in  England,  to  attribute  the  success  of  the  enter- 
prise, and  the  glory  of  the  achievement,  mainly  to  War- 
ren, there  was  no  reluctance  evinced  in  bestowing  de- 
served honors  upon  the  provincials.  Pepperell  was  cre- 
ated a  baronet,  and  commissioned  a  colonel  in  his  majes- 
ty's forces,  with  permission  to  raise  a  regiment  in  the 
colonies,  to  be  placed  upon  the  regular  establishment,  in 
the  pay  of  the  crown.  Govenor  Shirley  was  also  appoint- 
ed to  a  colonelcy,  and  confirmed  in  his  government  of 
Massachusetts,  as  also  was  Benning  Wentworth,  in  that  of 
New  Hampshire.  Commodore  "Warren  was  likewise  pro- 
moted to  the  rank  of  rear  admiral  of  the  blue.2 

1  Letters  to  Pepperell  from  the  Rev.  Dr.  Chauncey.  After  tlie  surrender 
of  the  fortress,  a  grand  entertainment  was  given  on  shore  by  Gen.  Pepperell, 
as  well  to  celebrate  the  event,  as  to  honor  Commodore  Warren  and  the  vari- 
ous officers  of  the  navy  who  had  cooperated  in  the  capture.  There  was  a 
circumstance  attending  this  dinner,  connected  with  the  Rev.  Mr.  Moody, 
Pepperell's  worthy  chaplain,  which  has  been  preserved  as  being*at  once 
grave  and  amusing.  Mr.  Moody  was  somewhat  remarkable  for  his  prolixity 
in  saying  grace,  before  meat,  and  his  friends  were  particularly  anxious  on 
this  occasion  that  he  should  not  fatigue  their  guests,  and  perhaps  disquiet 
them  by  the  length  of  this  preliminary  exercise.  Yet  his  temper  was  so 
irritable  that  none  of  them  ventured  the  hint,  "  be  short."  The  chaplain, 
however,  catching  the  spirit  of  the  occasion,  very  agreeably  disappointed 
those  who  knew  him  by  preparing  the  service  in  the  following  words: 
"Good  Lord,  we  have  so  much  to  thank  thee  for,  that  time  would  be  infi- 
nitely too  short  to  do  it  in.  We  must  therefore  leave  it  for  the  work  of 
Eternity.  Bless  our  board  and  fellowship  on  this  joyful  occasion,  for  the 
sake  of  Christ  our  Lord.     Amen." 

2  Pepperell  was  gazetted  as  a  baronet  on  the  tenth  of  August, — less  than 
a  month  after  the  news  of  the  capitulation.  Commodore  Warren  was  ga- 
zetted as  a  rear-admiral  of  the  blue  on  the  same  day.  It  it  stated  by  Bel- 
knap, that  Warren  was  also  created  a  baronet  as  a  reward  for  the  same 
achievement,  and  the  statement  is  repeated  by  Dunlop,  and  perhaps  by  other 
American  writers.  But  the  fact  is  not  so.  Warren  was  never  a  baronet. 
It  is  true  that  the  knighthood  of  the  Bath  was  conferred   upon  him  ;  but 


150  LIFE  OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap.  Yet  notwithstanding  these  honorable  rewards  to  the 
Wy—/  master  spirits  of  the  expedition,  there  was  unquestionably 
1745-  a  most  discreditable  reluctance  on  the  part  of  the  parent 
government  to  reimburse  the  colonies  for  the  heavy  expen- 
ses, which,  without  counting  the  cost  to  themselves,  they 
had  so  nobly  and  so  generously  incurred ;  and  by  reason 
of  which,  conquest  was  achieved,  so  important,  according 
to  the  testimony  of  their  own  historians,  "  as  to  prove  an 
equivalent,  at  the  peace  of  Aix-la-Chapelle,  for  all  the  suc- 
cess of  the  French  upon  the  continent  of  Europe."  The 
claim  was  prosecuted  several  years  before  parliament  could 
be  brought  to  sanction  an  appropriation  to  cover  it.  The 
grant  was  however  obtained  in  the  year  1749,  amounting 
to  the  sum  of  one  hundred  and  eighty-three  thousand  six 
hundred  and  forty-nine  pounds  sterling.  It  was  received 
at  Boston  the  same  year,  and  equitably  divided  among  the 
colonies  which  had  incurred  the  expenditure.1 

this  was  not  done  until  in  the  year  1747  ;  the  order  being  then  conferred  as 
a  reward  for  his  conduct  under  Vice  Admiral  Anson,  in  the  great  naval  en- 
gagement with  the  French  fleet  off  Cape  Finisterre,  which  was  fought  May 
third,  of  that  year.  Warren  commanded  on  that  occasion  the  Devonshire 
of  sixty-six  guns,  and  (with  the  Yarmouth)  was  first  in  the  engagement.  In 
July  of  the  same  year,  Warren  was  gazetted  admiral  of  the  white,  as  also, 
on  the  same  day,  Mr.  Clinton,  then  governor  of  the  colony  of  New  York, 
Sir  Peter  Warren  and  the  unfortunate  admiral  Byng  appear  to  have  been 
fellow  officers,  considered  at  that  time  of  high  and  equal  merit.  On  the  same 
day  that  Warren  was  promoted  to  the  rank  of  rear  admiral  of  the  blue, 
Byng  was  promoted  to  the  same  rank,  and  Warren  and  Byng  were  on  the 
same  day  farther  promoted  to  the  white.  Yet  how  widely  different  the  end 
of  their  career  !  Ten  years  afterward,  poor  Byng,  as  brave,  doubtless,  as 
Wax-ren,  but  in  a  single  instance  unfortunate,  was  sacrificed  by  ministers  a 
victim  to  popular  clamor,  and  to  screen  their  own  imbecility.  The  judicial 
murder  of  Byng  is  one  of  the  foulest  blots  upon  England's  escutcheon  ! 

1  The  exact  sum  was  £188,649  25s.  7hd.  The  agent  who  prosecuted  the 
claim,  encountering  difficulties  at  every  step,  was  William  Bollan,  whose 
account  of  the  negotiation  is  presented  in  the  first  volume  of  the  Mass. 
His.  Coll.  The  money  was  told  in  specie.  On  its  arrival  in  Boston  it  was 
immediately  conveyed  to  the  treasury -house.  It  consisted,  according  to  a 
note  in  Holmes,  of  two  hundred  and  fifteen  chests  (three  thousand  pieces  of 
eight,  on  an  average,  in  each  chest)  of  milled  peices  of  eight,  and  one  hun- 
dred casks  of  coined  copper.  There  were  seventeen  cart  and  truck  loads  of 
the  silver,  and  about  ten  truck  loads  of  copper. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  151 

Jealousy  of  the  rapidly  increasing  strength  of  the  colo-  c"-^p- 
nies.  as  I  have  already  intimated,  was  beyond  all  doubt  the.v— v— ^ 
moving  cause  of  the  unworthy  attempts  made  in  England,  1/45- 
to  appropriate  all  the  glory  of  the  conquest  to  Commo- 
dore Warren.  Mr.  Bollan,  the  agent  for  prosecuting  the 
claims  of  Massachusetts,  found  on  his  arrival  in  London, 
that  in  the  first  address  of  congratulation  to  his  majesty 
on  the  event  which  he  saw,  it  was  spoken  of  as  "a  naval 
success" — not  the  least  mention  being  made  of  the  land 
forces  employed  on  the  occasion.  But  although  these  at- 
tempts to  present  it  in  the  light  of  "a  naval  acquisition," 
were  not  without  their  influence,  the  colonists  were  not 
friendless,  and  the  claims  of  the  provincial  troops  were 
ably  asserted.  All  credit  was  denied  to  the  ministry  in 
regard  to  the  achievement,  by  some  of  the  most  influen- 
tial journals.  "  Our  ministers,"  said  one  of  these,  "have 
no  more  merit  in  it  than  causing  the  park  and  tower  guns 
to  fire."1  Again  says  the  same  standard  periodical,  on 
the  appointment  of  Charles  Knowles  as  governor  of  Cape 
Breton,  and  commander  of  the  fleet  on  that  station : 
"it  is  hoped  that  General  Pepperell,  the  gallant  commander 
of  those  brave  forces  who  took  it,  will  be  provided  for  in 
some  other  way." 

In  the  spring  of  1775, — thirty  years  afterward, — these 
attempts  to  detract  from  the  just  fame  of  the  provincials, 
were  revived  by  the  earl  of  Sandwich,  then  first  lord  of 
the  admiralty,  in  a  speech  before  the  house  of  lords.  His 
lordship  professed  to  speak  upon  no  less  authority  than 
that  of  Admiral  Warren,  who,  as  the  minister  asserted, 
had  pronounced  the  Americans  engaged  in  the  siege  of 
Louisburg,  as  the  greatest  cowards  and  poltroons  whom  he 
had  ever  seen.  His  lordship  also  made  Warren  to  say, 
that  the  fighting  at  Louisburg  had  been  done  by  the  ma- 
rines of  the  ship's  crews,  landed  by  the  commodore  for 
that  purpose ;  while  at  the  same  time  he  was  compelled  to 

1  The  Gentleman's  Magazine — the  best  historical  record  antecedent  to 
Dodsley's  Annual  Register,  the  publication  of  which  was  begun  in  1758. 


152  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap.  prai3e  the  Americans  for  their  endeavors  to  keep  them 
^ — ,  from  running  away.  It  should  be  remembered,  however 
1745-  hat  this  speech  was  delivered  at  the  breaking  out  of  the, 
war  of  the  American  revolution,  when  it  was  the  policy 
of  the  parent  country  to  decry  the  character  of  the  colo- 
nies. The  minister,  moreover  spoke  at  random  of  con- 
versations merely  held  with  one,  who  had  been  dead  more 
than  thirty  years.  He  was  however,  immediately  and 
sharply  answered  through  the  London  press,  by  a  man  who 
had  been  engaged  intheseige, — who  had  known  Sir  Peter 
Warren,  and  conversed  with  him  upon  the  subject.1  This 
writer  proved  that  Sir  Peter  could  never  have  made  any 
such  statements  to  his  lordship,  nor  to  any  one  else — in 
the  hrst  place,  from  the  perfect  harmony  that  existed  be- 
tween the  land  and  the  sea  officers ;  secondly,  because  of 
the  very  impossibility  that  the  story  could  be  true, — since 
the  commodore  had  no  power  to  command  upon  land,  and 
could  not  have  interfered  with  the  authority  of  General 
Pepperell ; — and  for  the  yet  more  conclusive  reason,  that 

THE  COMMODORE  NEVER  LANDED  A  PARTY,   EITHER  OF  MARINES 
OR  SEAMEN,  DURINO  THE  SEIGE. 

How  far  Admiral  Warren  himself  participated  in  these 
efforts  at  detraction,  or  whether  in  reality  he  engaged 
in  them  at  all,  is  now  a  point  of  difficult  determination. 
It  is  affirmed  by  one  highly  respectable  American  authori- 
ty,3 that  "  Warren  deposed  on  oath,  in  the  high  court  of 
admirality,  seventeen  months  after  the  event,  that  with 
the  assistance  of  his  majesty's  ships,  &c,  he,  this  deponent 
did  subdue  the  whole  island  of  Cape  Breton."  This 
declaration  unexplained,  presents  indeed  a  most  arrogant 
claim ;  but  it  ill  accords  with  the  declarations  of  the   com- 

1  Letter  to  the  earl  of  Sandwich  by  "an  old  English  merchant." — Mass. 
Hist.  Coll.,  Vol.  I. 

2  Walsh's  Appeal  from  the  Judgments  of  Great  Britain,  respecting  the  Unit- 
ed States  of  America,  in  which  the  author  cites  the  Registry  of  the  High 
Court  of  Admiralty  of  England,  Sept.  twenty-ninth,  1747.  I  have  not  seen 
this  authority  to  judge  of  the  extent  of  the  circumstances  under  which  the 
deposition  was  made. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  153 

modore's  letters  written  during  the  seige.  In  one  of  these  chap. 
addresses  to  Governor  Clinton  in  New  York,  and  dated  off  v_v— » 
Louisburg,  May  twelve,  1745,  the  commodore  says :  1745, 

"  Sir,  I  take  the  liberty  to  acquaint  you  that  the  New 
England  troops  have  taken  possession  of  one  of  the  ene- 
my's most  considerable  batteries  at  Louisburg,  which  gives 
them  the  command  of  the  harbor ;  and  they  have  now 
carried  their  approaches  so  near  by  land,  that  the  city  is 
blockaded,  and  its  communication  by  land  and  sea  entirely 
cut  off,  and  that  before  the  arrival  of  any  ship  to  their  relief 
from  any  part  of  the  world,  except  one  smaU  one  laden  with  wine 
and  brandy."  ' 

Indignation  at  British  arrogance  upon  the  subject  of  this 
expedition,  however,  and  a  pretty  general  conviction  that 
Warren  was  less  magnanimous  than  he  should  have  been, 
have  on  the  other  hand  conspired  to  induce  certain  Ameri- 
can historians  to  derogate  from  the  substantial  merits  of 
this  distinguished  naval  commander,  in  regard  to  that  great 
achievement,  whose  conduct,  within  his  own  proper  sphere 
of  action,  and  beyond  which  he  evinced  no  desire  to  go, 
was  without  fear,  and  without  reproach.  Owing  to  the  fogs, 
the  ice,  and  the  storms,  the  difficulties  of  maintaining  a 
rigid  blockade  were  exceedingly  difficult  and  hazardous. 
Yet  never  was  a  blockade  more  effectively  maintained,  and 
never  did  a  naval  commander  evince  a  stronger  desire  to 
encounter  yet  greater  hazards  for  the  honor  of  the  service, 
and  of  his  royal  master.  It  is  indeed  possible,  that  feel- 
ings of  jealousy  may  have  been  growing  like  hidden  fires 
in  the  bosoms  of  both  commanders,  even  in  the  hour  of 
triumph.  And  if  such  were  the  fact,  there  were  doubtless, 
ill-disposed  people  at  hand  to  fan  the  sparks  into  a  flame. 
Yet  there  is  nothing  in  the  conduct  or  correspondence  of 
the  two  commanders,  during  the  seige,  going  to  warrant 
any  such  conclusion.  On  the  contrary,  there  was  at  all 
times,  a  generous  cooperation  between  them.     Once,  in- 

1  This  letter  is  preserved  in  the  journals  of  the  general  assembly  of  Neiy 
fork. 

20 


154  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  deed, — but  not  until  the  day  after  the  capitulation, — there 
« — , — .was  an  imputation  of  jealousy  thrown  out  ;  hut  it  is  no 
1745.  more  than  justice  to  admit  that  it  came  from  "Warren  him- 
self, who  thought  he  had  reason  for  the  impeachment 
against  Pepperell.  "I  am  sorry,"  said  he,  "to  find  by  your 
letter  a  kind  of  jealousy  which  I  thought  you  would  never 
conceive  of  me."  The  residue  of  this  letter  is  earnest, 
but  relates  to  some  unspecified  complaint  of  Duchambon, 
who  seemed  to  apprehend  a  disposition  on  the  part  of  Pep- 
perell not  to  observe  with  sufficient  exactness,  the  terms 
of  the  capitulation.  But  the  real  or  affected  cause  of  the 
French  governor's  complaint  is  not  given,  nor  does  the  letter 
seem  to  have  been  preserved  in  which  Warren  thought  he 
discovered  the  shadow  of  the  green-eyed  monster. 

There  were,  however,  sharp  jealousies  entertained  in  an- 
other quarter.  The  people  of  Boston  were  alive  to  the  honor 
of  their  merchant-general ;  and  having  heard  that  the 
keys  of  Louisburg  had  been  delivered,  not  to  him,  but  to 
the  commodore,  were  not  a  little  incensed  thereat.1  Still 
greater  was  their  displeasure  on  hearing  that  Warren  had 
assumed  the  government  of  the  conquered  province — it 
being  feared  "  that  New  England,  from  a  sea-officer,  would 
not  have  its  full  share  of  the  glory  of  the  conquest." 2 
Hence  it  was  requested  by  the  legislature  of  Massachusetts 
that  Governor  Shirley  should  repair  in  person  to  Louisburg, 
which  port  it  had  been  determined  to  repair  and  retain,  t» 
look  after  the  interests  and  the  glory  of  those  who  had  ef- 
fected the  conquest.  Yet  the  highest  praise  was  at  the 
same  time,  and  on  all  hands  awarded  to  Warren.  Dr. 
Chauncey  himself,  in  the  letter  to  his  friend  Pepperell,  im- 
mediately prior  to  the  one  just  cited,  says: — "I  have  no 
personal  acquaintance  with  the  brave  Mr.  Warren,  but  I 

JIf  I  understand  Hutchinson  correctly,  this  statement  was  inaccurate 
"It  was  made  a  question,  "  says  their  candid  historian,  "  whether  the  keys 
of  the  town  should  be  delivered  to  the  commodore  or  to  the  general,  and 
whether  the  sea  or  land  forces  should  first  enter.  The  officers  of  the  army 
they  say  prevailed.  " 

2  Letter  from  the  Rev.  Doctor  Chauncey  to  Sir  William  Pepperell. 


LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  155 

sincerely  love  and  honor  him.  Had  his  majesty  given  us  chap. 
the  choice  of  a  sea-commander  on  this  occasion,  we  should  «-v— / 
have  selected  that  gentleman  from  all  the  rest,  and  desired  1745- 
that  he  might  he  sent."  But  other  jealousies  also  existed, 
as  in  the  case  of  Colonel  Bradstreet,  and  even  of  Shirley 
himself,  against  whom  Pepperell  was  admonished  before 
he  sailed  upon  the  expedition,  "  as  a  snake  in  the  grass." 
These  things  only  prove  that  human  frailty  exists  among 
the  best  of  men  in  every  age.  A  careful  study  of  the  his- 
tory of  this  memorable  expedition  will  show  any  candid 
enquirer  for  the  truth  that  Warren  behaved  throughout  like 
a  brave  and  skillful  officer,  and  a  patriotic  and  honorable 
man.  Admitting,  nevertheless,  for  the  sake  of  argument, 
that  in  the  course  of  events  immediately  after  the  first  flush 
of  victory  had  passed  away,  unpleasant  feelings  had  arisen 
between  the  two  distinguished  commanders,  they  must  have 
been  very  short-lived,  since  the  two  heroes  afterward  lived 
in  bonds  of  friendship  that  were  dissolved  only  by  death. 
Sir  Peter  Warren  passed  the  summer  at  Louisburg,  during 
which  time  many  valuable  captures  were  made  by  his 
ships,1  and  Sir  William  Pepperell  remained  there  a  whole 
year  after  the  conquest.  He  afterward  visited  England  at 
the  express  invitation  of  Warren,  by  whom  he  was  received 
with  honor,  and  treated  with  marked  distinction.  He  was 
received  with  great  kindness  by  the  royal  family,  and  the 
city  of  London  presented  him  with  a  silver  table.  In  re- 
gard to  the  joint  conquest,  there  certainly  was  little  room 
for  jealousy,  for  there  was  glory  enough  for  all. 

It  was  believed,  that  the  capture  of  Louisburg,  prevented 
the  conquest  of  Nova  Scotia  by  the  French.  Duvivier, 
who  had  embarked  for  France  in  1744  to  solicit  an  arma- 
ment for  the  invasion  of  that  province,  sailed  with  seven 
ships   of  war  and  a  large  body  of  troops,   in  July,  1745. 

XA  Ms.  letter  from  John  Oatherwood,  then  an  officer  in  the  household  of 
Governor  Clinton,  to  "Mr.  William  Johnson,  dated  Sept.  5th,  1845,  says: 
* '  This  commodore  has  had  great  success  in  captures  at  Louisburg.  His  share, 
at  least,  will  be  above  £20,000. 


156  LIFE  OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap.  His  orders  were  to  touch  at  Louisburg,  and  proceed  thence 
«— y— '  in  the  execution  of  his  plan.     Hearing  at  sea  of  the  fall  of 
1745,  that  place,  and  of  the  strength  of  the  British  squadron  sta- 
tioned there,  he  relinquished  the  enterprise  against  Nova 
Scotia,  and  returned  to  Europe. 

The  daring  and  enthusiastic  Vaughan,  however,  appears 
to  have  been  forgotten  in  the  hour  of  triumph.  He  re- 
paired to  London  shortly  afterward,  to  prefer  his  claims  to 
the  crown,  but  was  seized  with  the  small-pox  in  that  capi- 
tal, of  which  disease  he  died. 


CHAPTER   IV. 
1745—1746. 

Recurring  again  to  the  progress  of  affairs  in  New  York:  chap. 
Mr.  Clinton,  the  governor,  it  will  be  remembered,  had  dis-  vj^— > 
solved  the  second  assembly  of  his  administration,  on  the  1745- 
fourteenth  of  May,  in  high  displeasure,  because,  as  he 
alleged  in  part,  of  the  personal  disrespect  with  which  he  had 
been  treated  by  that  body ;  but  chiefly  because  of  its  inatten- 
tion to  the  defenses  of  the  colony,  and  its  neglect  of  his 
recommendations  of  a  cooperation  with  the  New  England 
colonies  in  the  expedition  against  Cape  Breton.  Orders  for 
such  cooperation  having  been  received  from  his  majesty's 
ministers,  the  governor  held  that  obedience  was  an  impera- 
tive duty.  But  the  people  seem  not  to  have  sympathized 
with  the  feelings  of  the  governor ;  and  the  uncomply- 
ing members,  with  few  exceptions,  and  with  singular 
unanimity,  were  returned  to  the  new  assembly,  which  met 
on  the  twenty-fifth  of  June,  and  elected  Mr.  David  Jones, 
of  Queens  county,  a  gentleman  distinguished  for  his  rigid 
views  of  economy  in  public  affairs,  as  their  speaker.  The 
news  of  the  fall  of  Louisburg  had  not  reached  New  York 
at  the  time  of  the  meeting.  Much  of  the  governor's  speech, 
therefore,  after  pressing  again  upon  the  attention  of  the  as- 
sembly the  importance  of  placing  the  colony  in  such  a  pos- 
ture of  defence,  as  the  crisis  demanded,  was  devoted  to  the 
Louisburg  expedition.  The  governor  had  indeed  him- 
self only  heard  of  the  earlier  operations  of  the  siege  ;  the 
capture  of  the  first  great  battery  upon  land,  and  of  the 
Vigilante  by  sea,  and  the  latest  dispatches  thence  con- 
sisted of  urgent  appeals  from  Governor  Shirley  and  Com- 
modore "Warren,  for  troops,  seamen,  and  provisions.  These 
solicitations  were  in  turn  urged  upon  the  assembly  with  all 


1745. 


158  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  the  force  at  the  command  of  the  executive  mind.  But 
although  few  changes  had  taken  place  in  the  representative 
body  of  the  general  assembly,  yet  the  dissolution  had 
wrought  a  wonderful  improvement  in  its  temper.  The 
answer  of  the  council,  drawn  by  Chief  Justice  DeLancey, 
was  an  echo  to  the  speech,  and  that  of  the  house,  report- 
ed by  Mr.  Henry  Cruger,  was  equally  cordial.  The  mem- 
bers declared  their  full  persuasion  that  the  governor  had 
the  service  of  the  crown  and  the  welfare  of  the  colony  sin- 
cerely at  heart,  and  they  were  equally  explicit  in  avowing 
their  own  readiness  to  consider  with  the  greatest  attention, 
the  several  particulars  recommended  for  their  action.  Nor 
was  their  conduct  inconsistent  with  their  professions.  A 
bill  was  passed  with  the  utmost  promptitude,  appropriating 
five  thousand  pounds  toward  the  Louisburg  expedition  ; 
another  for  the  necessary  fortifications  both  upon  the  wild 
inland  frontier  and  the  defence  of  the  seaboard ;  and  yet 
another  for  completing  the  governor's  house.  These  acts 
having  been  passed  with  great  harmony,  the  assembly  ad- 
journed from  the  sixth  of  July  to  the  thirteenth  of  August, — 
during  which  interval  of  time  the  glorious  news  of  the  fall 
of  Louisburg  was  received, — an  achievement  the  most  im- 
portant by  far  of  the  war,  and  ff  which  proved  an  equiva- 
lent at  the  treaty  of  Aix-la-Chapelle,  for  all  the  successes 
of  the  French  upon  the  continent  of  Europe." 

The  Indian  relations  of  the  colony  were  yet  again  becom- 
ing critical.  Notwithstanding  the  efforts  of  the  preceeding 
year,  both  at  Albany  and  in  the  grand  council  at  Lancas- 
ter, to  keep  this  jealous  and  fickle  people  true  to  their 
covenants  with  the  English ;  and  notwithstanding  their 
repeated  pledges  of  fidelity,  the  Six  Nations  were  again 
wavering ;  and  the  misgivings  of  the  govenor  as  to  their 
designs,  were  communicated  by  a  message  to  the  house, 
on  the  twentieth  of  August,  in  which  an  appropriation  was 
asked  to  enable  his  excellency  to  meet  them  in  council, 
and  if  possible,  ascertain  the  grounds  of  their  discontents. 


(I  I,  .^  U  V    ('  U  r  ('  i;  u    |  ;  s  ()- 


London  FuhUsh'd  tfanhn*  ij$3,by  UWilkiiwon  .ln',>,?  (bmhili. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  159 

The  governor  also  announced  that  some  of  the  Canadian  chap. 


5 


IV. 


Indians  had  broken  the  treaty  of  neutrality  existing  be- 
tween them  and  the  Six  Nations,  by  committing  hostilities  1745- 
against  some  of  the  frontier  settlements  of  New  England, 
where  several  of  the  inhabitants  had  been  barbarously 
murdered.  In  the  apprehension  that  those  Indians  might 
be  meditating  an  infliction  of  the  like  cruelties  upon  the 
frontiers  of  New  York,  it  was  necessary  that  due  measures 
of  precaution  should  be  adopted. 

There  had  been  indications  of  dissatisfaction  among  the 
Six  Nations  for  several  months  prior  to  this  message.  In- 
deed the  governor  had  referred  to  their  "  disquietudes  "  and 
"commotions"  in  his  speech  dissolving  the  assembly  in 
May ;  and  it  was  well  ascertained  that  during  the  preced- 
ing winter,  emissaries  from  the  French  had  been  among 
them,  while  they  in  turn  had  sent  several  messengers  with 
belts  into  Canada.  Information  to  this  effect  was  elicited 
on  the  examination  of  John  Henry  Lydius,  of  Albany, 
before  the  executive  council  in  New  York,  on  the  sixth  of 
April.  Lydius  was  a  man  of  extensive  acquaintance  with 
the  Indians,  having  resided  much  among  them, — in  Canada 
several  years, — and  again  at  Lake  George.  He  stated  that 
he  had  recently  seen  a  French  Indian,  from  whom  he  had 
received  information  touching  the  designs  of  the  enemy 
against  Oswego,  and  also  in  regard  to  the  feelings  of  the 
Six  Nations.  The  Mohawks  were  very  uneasy,  and  had 
sent  several  chiefs  to  confer  with  the  Indians  in  Canada. 
The  cause  of  this  uneasiness  was  a  suspicion  awakened  in 
their  bosoms  by  evil  disposed  persons,  that  the  English 
were  preparing  at  no  distant  day  entirely  to  destroy  them. 
This  apprehension,  notwithstanding  its  absurdity,  was 
seriously  entertained  by  many  of  the  people,  and  even  by 
some  of  the  chiefs ;  though  the  orators  Abraham,  and 
Brant,  gave  no  credence  to  the  tale.1 

1  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council,  secretary  of  state's  office, 
Albany.  The  Brant  here  spoken  of,  was  probably  the  father  or  the  reputed 
father  of  Joseph  Brant  of  the  revolution. 


160  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap.  It  was  unfortunately  but  too  true,  at  the  time  under  con- 
v_v~<  sideration,  that  no  good  feelings  existed  between  the  Mo- 
1745-  hawks  and  the  people  of  Albany.  At  least  the  Mohawks 
looked  upon  the  latter  with  great  bitterness, — having  been 
overreached  in  some  land  purchases,  in  which  the  Al- 
banians were  concerned.  So  they  alleged ;  and  by  availing 
themselves  of  these  prejudices,  some  evil-minded  persons 
had  to  some  extent  persuaded  the  Mohawks  that  the  Al- 
banians were  plotting  the  destruction  of  their  nation,  in  or- 
der to  possess  themselves  of  their  domain.  Rumors  were 
accordingly  circulated  among  them  from  time  to  time  to  the 
end  that  measures  for  killing  them  were  in  actual  prepara- 
tion. They  were  thus  kept  in  a  state  of  feverish  excitement 
and  suspicion  for  several  weeks.  At  length  a  runner  arrived 
in  the  Mohawk  country,  in  the  night,  with  information  that 
the  Albanians  were  then  actually  upon  the  march  against 
them,  to  the  number  of  several  hundreds,  armed  with  mus- 
kets, and  treading  to  the  sound  of  arms  and  trumpets. 
The  poor  Indians  of  the  lower  castle,  Dyiondarogon,  fled 
in  wild  affright  to  their  upper  towns.  All  was  confusion, — 
the  women  seizing  their  infants,  and  the  children  who  were 
able  to  run,  flying  in  the  utmost  consternation,  and  utter- 
ing the  dead  cry — "que  !"  que  !"  que  I"1 

The  dissatisfaction  having  become  extensive  among  the 
confederates,  it  was  judged  expedient  to  depute  Conrad 
"Weiser,  the  Pennsylvania  interpreter  for  the  Six  Nations, 
to  make  a  tour  of  friendly  observation  among  them. 
"Weiser  was  a  native  of  Schoharie,  partaking  largely  of  the 
confidence  of  the  Indians;  and  it  was  rightly  judged  that 
a  mission  by  him  to  their  several  towns  and  castles  would 
be  attended  with  happy  results.  Those  results  were 
realized.  On  the  twenty-ninth  of  July  the  missionary  re- 
turned, and  his  journal  was  laid  by  Mr.  Clinton  before  his 
council.  After  traversing  the  cantons  beyond  Onondaga, 
and  soothing  their  feelings,  he  was  accompanied  from  the 

1  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  161 

Great  council  fire  by  a  party  of  the  chiefs  to  Oswego,  where  chap. 
free  conferences  were  held.     The  Indians  complained  that  w^ — > 
the  English  kept  them  in  the  dark  about  the  progress  of  the  1745- 
war,  dealing  out  their  news  in  generals  only,  whereas  they 
wanted  the  particulars.     They  were  aware  that  the  gov- 
ernor of  New  York  was  displeased  with  their  visits  to  Cana- 
da, but  they  insisted  that  they  went   thither  only  upon 
business, — the  governor  of  Canada  knowing  very  well  that 
he  could  do  nothing  with   them  to  the   detriment  of  the 
English. 

Returning  from  Oswego  through  the  Mohawk  country, 
Weiser  was  received  gladly  at  their  castles  and  treated  kind- 
ly. The  Indians  there  said  they  inclined  to  the  English, 
having  always  been  used  well  by  the  governors  of  New 
York,  Massachusetts,  and  Pennsylvania.  But  the  people 
of  Albany  had  not  treated  them  well.  They  had  cheated 
them,  and  were  yet  trying  to  get  their  lands  and  destroy 
them.  They  likewise  accused  the  Albanians  of  being  en- 
gaged in  unlawful  commerce  with  the  enemy,  to  whom 
they  had  sold  large  quantities  of  powder.  In  regard  to  the 
visits  of  the  Mohawk  chiefs  to  the  French  in  the  winter, 
they  admitted  that  they  had  gone  thither  because  they  were 
displeased  with  the  Albanians,  and  in  order  to  let  them 
know  that  they  would  act  as  they  pleased. 

At  Dyiondarogon,  the  Indians  convened  a  council  to 
hear  Mr.  Weiser  on  the  subject  of  their  late  alarm  in  con- 
sequence of  the  rumored  invasion  from  Albany.  He  as- 
sured them  that  the  whole  story  which  had  caused  their 
panic  was  false,  and  told  them  of  the  great  surprise  of  the 
governor  on  hearing  of  such  an  occurrence,  at  a  time,  too, 
when  he  thought  the  parties  were  all  so  friendly  to  each 
other.  The  Indians,  in  reply,  admitted  that  their  alarm 
had  been  very  great ;  but,  they  said,  the  matter  had  all  been 
settled,  "  and  thrown  into  the  bottomless  pit."  The  ex- 
planations made  to  them  had  been  perfectly  satisfactory  ; 
and  they  now  requested  even  that  no  inquiries  might  be 
21 


162  LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  instituted  as   to  the  authors  of  the  alarm.1    But   it  will 

IV. 

v.^./  presently  appear  that  they  did  not  exactly  hold  to  this  reso- 

i"45-  lution  themselves. 

At  the  same  meeting  of  the  council,  letters  were  received 
from  the  commissioners  of  Indian  affairs  at  Albany,  an- 
nouncing the  approach  of  scalping  parties  of  the  Canadian 
Indians  toward  the  frontier  settlements  at  the  north.  They 
also  stated  that  two  men  had  been  murdered  on  the  border 
of  New  England, — the  Indians  having  plucked  out  their 
eyes,  torn  off  their  scalps,  and  cut  out  their  hearts.  This 
last  statement  was  confirmed  hj  a  letter  from  Governor 
Shirley,  who  spoke  of  it  as  a  violation  of  the  treaty  of  neu- 
trality between  the  Canadian  Indians  and  the  Six  Nations, 
and  urging  as  a  proper  measure  that  the  latter  should  now 
forthwith  take  up  the  hatchet.  Upon  these  representations, 
the  council  advised  that  an  interpreter  be  immediately  dis- 
patched to  the  Six  Nations,  with  a  request  that  they  should 
ascertain  to  what  tribe  or  nation  the  offending  Indians  be- 
longed ;  and  also  whether  the  murders  were  approved  by 
their  tribe.  If  so,  then  the  Six  Nations  were  requested  to 
consider  what  was  to  be  their  own  line  of  duty.  If  not, — 
if  the  murders  were  disapproved, — then  it  was  left  to  the 
Six  Nations  to  say  whether  they  ought  not  to  demand  the 
surrender  of  the  murderers, — the  outrage  having  been  al- 
together unprovoked.2 

The  cruelties  just  set  forth,  were  committed  upon  the 
frontier  of  New  Hampshire  ;  but  others  equally  atrocious 
were  committed  shortly  afterward  in  the  border  settle- 
ments even  of  Connecticut,  of  which  information  was 
given  to  Mr.  Clinton  by  Governor  Low  of  that  colony. 
Nor  were  these  all.  It  was  discovered  in  August,  that 
while  the  Canadian  Indians  had  thus  been  let  loose  upon 
the  New  England  frontiers, — crossing  even  the  province  of 
Massachusetts  in  order  to  strike  Connecticut, — the  French 

1  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 

2  Manuscript  proceedings  of  the  executive  council. 


1  I         ■.,...         lelj 


W&MB  HOmOC'lCDX 


/ 


rf &&'***% 


«• 


LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART*  163 

had  become  yet  more  earnest  in  their  solicitations  for  the  chap. 

•>  IV. 

Iroquois  to  join  them  against  the  English.  Certain  of  the^.—/ 
Mohawk  and  Tuscarora  chiefs,  moreover,  had  made  still 1745, 
another  visit  to  the  governor  of  Canada,  in  connection, 
as  there  was  but  too  much  reason,  to  believe,  with  these 
solicitations.  At  all  events,  the  return  of  those  chiefs  was 
preceded  by  a  state  of  feeling  among  the  people,  that 
deterred  the  Indian  commissioners  at  Albany  from  send- 
ing a  messenger  among  them,  with  the  overture  from 
the  governor  and  council  as  directed  on  the  twenty- 
ninth  of  July.  Meantime  a  letter  was  received  from  Mr. 
Phipps,  acting  governor  of  Massachusetts  during  the  ab- 
sence of  Governor  Shirley  at  Louisburg,  announcing  that 
by  the  advice  of  his  majesty's  council  of  that  province, 
war  had  been  formally  proclaimed  against  the  Eastern 
and  Canadian  Indians.1  The  alarm  had  therefore  become 
very  general  before  the  special  attention  of  the  assembly 
was  called  to  the  subject  by  the  message  from  the  governor 
of  the  twentieth  of  August.  That  body  saw  the  necessi- 
ty of  immediate  and  efficient  action,  and  an  appropriation 
of  six  hundred  pounds,  in  addition  to  an  unexpended 
balance  of  four  hundred  pounds  yet  in  the  hands  of 
the  executive,  was  made  to  defray  the  expenses  of  a 
treaty  with  the  Indians  at  Albany.  The  assembly  there- 
upon adjourned  over  by  permission,  from  the  twenty- 
ninth  of  August  to  the  fifteenth  of  October ;  and  the 
necessary  measures  were  concerted  for  holding  a  general 
council  with  the  Indians  without  unnecessary  delay. 

The  negotiations  were  opened  on  the  fifth  day  of  Octo- 
ber, Governor  Clinton  being  attended  by  Messrs.  Philip 
Livingston,  Daniel  Horsmanden,  Joseph  Murray  and  John 
liutherford,  members  of  the  executive  council.  Delegates 
were  also  in  attendance  from  the  provinces  of  Massachu- 
setts, Connecticut,   and  Pennsylvania.2    About  four  hun- 

1  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 

2  Tbe  commissioners  from  Massachusetts,  were,  Colonel  John  Stoddard, 
Jacob  Wendell,  Thomas  Berry,  John  Choate  and  Thomas  Hutchinson.     From 


164  LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  dred  and  sixty  Indians  were  present,  representing  all  the 
■ — y— *  confederates  excepting  the  Scnecas,  who  had  been  detained 
by  a  distressing  malady,  which  was  sweeping  off  many  of 
their  members.  The  first  interview  between  the  parties 
was  brief, — the  Indians  retiring  immediately  after  they  had 
been  presented  to  the  governor  and  drunk  the  king's 
health.  A  consultation  was  then  held  among  the  com- 
missioners as  to  the  arrangement  of  their  subsequent  pro- 
ceedings, at  which  it  was  determined  that  in  order  to  im- 
press the  Indians  with  an  idea  of  the  harmonious  action 
and  consequent  strength  of  the  English,  Governor  Clinton 
should  speak  the  united  voice  of  the  whole, — that  is,  of 
New  York  and  New  England.  The  Pennsylvania  com- 
missioners, being  members  of  the  Friends'  society,  pre- 
ferred to  make  an  address  by  themselves,  in  their  own  pe- 
culiar way.  It  was  likewise  determined  that  Mr.  Clinton 
should  present  the  chiefs  with  the  hatchet  to  strike  the 
French,  and  the  Indians  in  their  alliance,  for  the  infraction 
of  their  treaty  of  neutrality  with  the  Six  Nations,  uncon- 
ditionally,— leaving  it  with  the  Indians  themselves  to  sug- 
gest, should  they  elect  to  do  so,  some  other  measure  for 
obtaining  satisfaction  for  the  barbarities  that  had  been  com- 
mitted.1 

Before  proceeding  to  the  main  business  for  which  the 
council  had  been  convened,  however,  the  governor  having 
heard  that  notwithstanding  their  message  by  Conrad 
Weiser,  the  Indians  had  never  been  altogether  satisfied  in 
regard  to  the  affair  of  the  panic,  heretofore  described, 
determined  upon  having  a  full  explanation  of  that  myste- 
rious affair ; — and  two  days  or  more  were  occupied  upon 
that  subject.  Hendrik,  chief  sachem  of  the  Mohawks, 
made  a  long  speech.  He  said  their  distrust  of  the  designs 
of  the  English,  but  especially  of  the  people  of  Albany,  had 

Connecticut,   Rogei'  Wolcott,   lieutenant-governor,   and   Colonel   Stanley. 
From  Pennsylvania,   Messrs.  Thomas  Lawrence,  John  Kinsley,   and  Isaac 
Norris. 
1  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BAltT. 


165 


been  originally  awakened  by  Jean  Cceur,  a  French  inter-  chap. 
preter,  residing  principally  among  the  Senecas.  This  man  - — ,— ' 
had  long  been  regarded  by  the  English  as  a  dangerous  ***■ 
neighbor,  and  they  had  endeavored  to  persuade  the  Sene- 
cas to  send  him  away, — but  in  vain.  Hendrik  now  in- 
formed Mr.  Clinton  that  Cceur,  on  returning  from  a  visit 
to  Canada,  had  told  the  Indians  that  the  governor  of  New 
York  had  been  proposing  to  the  governor  of  Canada  to 
unite  for  the  entire  destruction  of  their  people.  The  tale 
sank  deep  into  their  minds.  They  knew  that  the  Albany 
people  had  treated  them  badly,  and  when  they  came  to  re- 
flect upon  the  project,  and  thought  of  the  condition  to 
which  the  River  Indians  had  been  reduced,  and  of  the  fact 
that  the  people  of  Connecticut  and  Massachusetts  had  taken 
all  their  land  away,  they  began  to  ponder  whether  such 
might  not  be  the  design  of  the  English  against  themselves 
— the  Six  Nations.  "You,"  said  Hendrik,  pointing  to 
Colonel  Stoddard,  "have  got  our  land,  and  driven  us  away 
from  Westfield,  where  my  father  lived  formerly."1  When 
they  thought  of  these  things,  he  repeated,  we  feared  that 
"  the  Mohawks  would  be  brought  to  the  same  pass,"  and 
rendered  "  as  poor  "  as  the  River  Indians  were.  "  This," 
he  said,  "  had  remained  in  their  hearts  some  years,  and 
now,  as  the  governor  would  have  them  open  their  minds, 
they  had  done  it,  and  they  hoped  it  would  have  a  good 
effect."2 

A  long  discussion  followed  the  harangue  of  Hendrik, 
in  regard  to  the  authors  of  the  claim,  and  several  persons 
were  to  a  greater  or  less  extent  implicated.  Next  to  Jean 
Cceur,  a  man  named  Philip  Van  Patten,  was  charged  as 
the  chief  agent  in  getting  up  the  mischievous  alarm,  and  a 

1  This  remark  will  be  the  better  understood  on  the  statement  of  the  fact 
that  the  family  of  Hendrik  was  Mohegan,  and  only  Mohawk  by  adoption. 
Yet  Hendrik  and  his  brothers  were  chiefs  of  the  first  influence — Hendrik 
himself  being  the  principal  chief  of  the  tribe,  and  was  known  as  King 
Hendrik. 

2  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 


166  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART, 

chap,  negro  wench  of  Schenectady  was  likewise  compromised. 

v-^w  But  the  statements  of  the  Indians   were   contradictory ; 

1745.  yan  Patten  purged  himself  on  oath,  and  the  Indians  were 
evidently  opposed  to  any  very  rigid  investigation  being 
made.1  Indeed  before  the  close  of  this  branch  of  the  pro- 
ceedings, it  came  to  be  justly  doubted  whether  the  whole 
affair  had  not  been  a  contrivance  of  a  few  of  the  Indians 
to  excite  sympathy,  and  perhaps  extort  from  the  govern- 
ment an  increased  amount  of  presents,— a  lame  and  impo- 
tent conclusion  of  the  touching  and  dramatic  scene  brought 
to  the  contemplation  of  Conrad  Weiser. 

The  council  was  opened  for  the  transaction  of  the  proper 
business  upon  which  it  had  been  summoned,  on  the  tenth 
of  October.  After  the  usual  preliminary  salutations,  in 
which  the  Indians  were  told  as  a  matter  of  course,  that  the 
council  had  been  invited  for  the  purpose  of  "rendering, 
strengthening,  and  brightening  the  covenant  chain,"  and 
after  condoling  with  them  for  the  absence  of  the  Senecas, 
because  of  the  grievous  sickness  their  people  were  suffer- 
ing, the  governor  spoke  to  them  directly,  and  in  a  tone  01 
disapprobation  of  the  late  visit  of  some  of  their  chiefs  to 
Montreal,  where  they  had  met  the  French  governor.  It 
had  been  asserted  in  justification  of  that  visit,  that  they 
had  gone  thither  to  protest  against  any  invasion  of  Oswe- 
go by  the  French — the  Six  Nations  desiring  that  that  post 
might  be  suffered  to  remain  as  "  a  place  of  trade  and  peace," 
and  pretending  that  they  were  determined  to  defend  it  if 
attacked.  But  at  the  very  time  when  their  chiefs  were  in 
Montreal,  the  Canada  Indians  had  been  breaking  their 
treaty,  and  murdering  the  English.  Not  only  so,  but  the 
governor  assured  them  he  had  been  informed  that  while 
pretending  that  their  mission  was  thus  pacific,  they  had  so 
far  accepted  the  hatchet  from  the  French,  as  to  agree  to 
bring  it  home,  and  consider  whether  they  would  strike 
their  English  friends  with  it  or  not.     This  story,  however, 


1  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  167 

the  English  could  hardly  believe  to  be  true,  unless  they  chap. 
should  hear  it  from  their  own  lips.  A  full  and  plain  answer  > — ^_- 
was  expected,  "  that  all  stains  might  be  wiped  from  the  1745- 
covenant  chain." 

Mr.  Clinton  next  proceeded  to  relate  to  the  chiefs  the 
progress  of  the  war — informing  them  of  the  action  of  the 
French  the  preceding  year  upon  Annapolis  Royal,  and 
giving  them  an  account  of  the  fall  of  Louisburg,  and  the 
conquest  of  Cape  Breton.  In  this  part  of  the  country,  the 
English  had  lain  still ;  but  they  had  last  year  informed  the 
governor  of  Canada,  that  unless  the  war  should  be  conduct- 
ed in  a  Christian-like  manner, — unless  the  Canada  Indians 
were  restrained  from  murdering  the  English, — the  Six  Na- 
tions would  immediately  join  the  latter  and  strike  upon 
the  settlements  of  Canada.  Yet  the  French  seemed  deter- 
mined not  to  be  at  peace  with  us,  and  their  Indians  had  not 
only  killed  some  of  the  English,  but  had  left  a  hatchet  by 
the  side  of  one  of  the  dead, — thus  defying  the  English  and 
the  Six  Nations  to  take  it  up.  The  most  solemn  and  sacred 
engagements  were  broken  by  them,  and  they  had  shown 
that  even  belts  of  wampum  would  not  bind  them  to  their 
promises.  The  English  had  been  slighted,  and  the  Six 
Nations  treated  as  though  they  were  not  worthy  to  be  re- 
garded. They  think  you  will  not  perform  what  you  have 
threatened,  and  they  fear  not  your  displeasure.  Thus  they 
reflect  dishonor  upon  you. 

The  chiefs  were  next  told  that  it  was  high  time  both  the 
English  and  the  Six  Nations  should  exert  themselves  to 
vindicate  their  honor.  The  English  desired  not  the  de- 
struction of  their  fellow  creatures,  yet  they  felt  that  they 
ought  not  any  longer  to  bear  these  insults  and  this  evil 
treatment  from  the  French.  "  Therefore,  since  neither  our 
peaceable  disposition  nor  examples,  nor  any  methods  we 
have  been  able  to  use,  have  sufficed  to  prevail  upon  them 
to  forbear  their  barbarous  treatment  of  us,  but  on  the  con- 
trary, they  seem  determined  to  provoke  our  resentment, — 


168  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  in  the  name  of  God  we  are  resolved  not  only  to  defend  our- 

iv.  J  m 

"— v — ;  selves,  but  by  all  possible  methods  to  put  it  out  of  their 
'  >  power  to  misuse  and  evil-entreat  us  as  tbey  have  heretofore 
done.  And  we  doubt  not  of  your  ready  and  cheerful  con- 
currence with  us,  agreeable  to  the  solemn  promise  you 
made  us  in  this  place  last  summer,  in  joining  with  us 
against  the  French,  and  such  Indians  as  are  or  may  be  in- 
stigated by  them  to  commit  hostilities  against  us."  This 
passage  of  the  governor's  speech  wTas  followed  by  the  pre- 
sentation of  a  large  belt  of  wampum,  with  a  hatchet  hung 
to  it.1 

Having  taken  two  days  for  consideration,  the  Indians  re- 
plied, renewing  the  covenant  chain,  which  they  said  they 
were  determined  should  never  rust  again,  "  because  they 
would  daily  wipe  off  the  dust,  and  keep  it  clean."  In  re- 
gard to  the  visit  of  their  chiefs  to  Montreal,  they  denied 
peremptorily,  the  truth  of  the  report  of  their  having  consent- 
ed to  receive  the  hatchet  from  the  French  governor,  even 
for  the  purpose  of  consideration.  Upon  this  and  some 
other  points  of  less  importance,  the  chiefs  answered  with- 
out embarrasment.  But  on  the  subject  of  consenting  to 
go  upon  the  war-path  against  the  French,  they  spoke  wari- 
ly. They  thanked  the  governor  for  the  information  he 
had  given  of  the  progress  of  the  war ;  but  touching  the 
direct  appeal  to  them  to  engage  in  the  contest,  they  cau- 
tiously said  : — "you  desire,  as  we  are  of  one  flesh  with  you, 
that  we  would  also  take  up  the  hatchet  against  the  French, 
and  the  Indians  under  their  influence,  with  you.  We  the 
Six  Nations,  accept  of  the  hatchet, — and  will  put  it  in  our 
bosoms  !  We  are  in  alliance  with  a  great  many  of  the  far 
Indians,  and  if  we  should  so  suddenly  lift  up  the  hatchet 
without  acquainting  our  allies  with  it,  they  would  perhaps 
take  oifence  at  it.  We  will  therefore  before  we  make  use 
of  the  hatchet  against  the  French  or  their  Indians,  send 
four  of  our  people,  who  are  now  ready  to  go,  to  Canada, 
to  demand  satisfaction  for  the  wrongs  they  have  done  our 

1  Manuscript  journals  of  executive  council. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  169 

brethren,  and  if  they  refuse  to  make  satisfaction,  then  we  chap. 
will  he  ready  to  use  the  hatchet  against  them,  whenever  ^—v— ' 
our  brother  the  governor  of  New  York  orders  us  to  do  it."    '    ' 
Two  months,  they  said,  in  reply  to  a  question  from  the 
governor,  would  be  time  enough  for  them  to  ascertain 
whether  the  aggressors  would  make  the  requisite  satis- 
faction ;  and  in  the  event  of  their  not  doing  so,  they  re- 
peated their  declaration  to  use  the  hatchet  at  the  command 
of  his  excellency.1 

In  subsequent  sections  of  their  speeeh,  the  Indians  took 
occasion  to  remind  the  governor  that  the  original  design 
of  their  alliance  with  the  English  was  the  advantages  they 
hoped  to  derive  from  a  reciprocal  trade  ;  but  goods  had 
been  sold  very  high  to  them  of  late.  They  were  now  desti- 
tute of  clothes,  powder,  and  lead ;  "  and  people  who  are  to 
go  to  war  ought  to  be  well  provided  with  ammunition. 
This,  however,  should  their  request  be  now  denied,  was 
the  last  time  they  should  speak  upon  the  subject."  In 
his  rejoinder,  the  governor  explained  to  them  the  causes 
of  the  high  prices  of  goods  at  that  time.  They  were 
occasioned  by  the  war ;  but  he  would  see  that  goods 
should  be  sold  to  them  at  as  reasonable  rates  as  possible. 
The  presents  to  be  distributed  among  them  were  then  an- 
nounced,— the  governor  enjoining  it  upon  the  chiefs  to 
reserve  for  the  absent  Senecas  their  due  proportion.2  The 
discussions  were  concluded  by  a  few  words  of  wholesome 
advice  addressed  to  the  red  chieftains  now  about  return- 
ing again  to  their  own  beloved  wilds. 

Thus  far  the  proceedings  of  the  conference  had  been 
marked  by  apparant  harmony.  But  Mr.  Clinton  had  no 
sooner  ended  his  closing  address,  than  the  Massachusetts 

1  Here  the  Indians  requested  his  excellency,  that,  as  they  had  given  the 
war-shout  upon  his  delivering  the  hatchet  to  them,  that  their  brethren  would 
now  signify  their  approbation  of  this  article  (or  avowa,l)  in  their  usual 
method.  Whereupon  his  excellency  and  most  of  the  company  joined  in 
shouts  with  three  hurrahs.  " — Ms.  records  of  the  council  recorded  in  the  ex~ 
ecutive  journals. 

2  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 

9.9. 


170  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  commissioners  rose  to  express  their  disapprobation  of  that 
s—y— /part  of  the  speech  of  the  sachems  in  which  they  had 
1745-  declared  that  for  the  present  instead  of  using  the  hatchet 
they  should  "  put  it  in  their  bosoms."  The  commissioners 
stated  that  when  the  Indians  first  arrived  in  Albany,  they 
came  with  a  good  heart  to  enter  into  the  war  at  once ;  and 
they  attributed  their  change  of  purpose  and  desire  of  de- 
lay, to  the  intrigues  of  the  people  of  Albany.  The  Albani- 
ans, the  commissioners  said  they  well  knew,  were  opposed 
to  having  the  Six  Nations  engaged  in  the  contest,  and 
they  doubted  not  that  the  hesitancy  which  the  chiefs  had 
manifested,  was  altogether  owing  to  their  influence.  On 
the  subject  of  the  proposed  mission  to  obtain  satisfaction 
from  the  red  men  in  Canada,  the  Massachusetts  gentlemen 
regarded  the  proposition  as  a  mere  pretext  for  delay.  If 
satisfaction  were  given  at  all,  as  pretended  to  be  given,  it 
would  probably  consist  of  a  small  bundle  of  skins,  of  no 
substantial  value,  and  would  be  no  atonement  at  all. 
They  were  therefore  greatly  dissappointed  with  the  turn 
the  negotiation  had  taken.1 

It  would  not  be  safe  to  affirm  that  this  suspicion  of  the 
Massachusetts  gentlemen  was  indulged  without  cause. 
The  Albanians,  at  that  time,  regardless  of  the  higher  ob- 
ligations of  patriotism,  were  engaged  in  a  lucrative  con- 
traband trade  with  Montreal,  through  the  agency,  proba- 
bly, of  the  Caughnawagas,  as  in  former  years.  Of  this 
trade  the  Six  Nations  themselves  had  complained,  because 
of  the  supplies  of  ammunition  thus  furnished  to  the 
French  ;  and  the  governor,  in  his  last  preceding  message 
to  the  assembly,  had  recommended  strong  measures  for  its 
suppression.  Nevertheless,  from  a  motive  of  policy, — for  it 
could  have  been  prompted  by  nothing  else, — Mr.  Clinton 
affected  surprise  at  the  suggestions  of  the  Massachusetts 
gentlemen,  inasmuch,  he  urged,  as  it  had  been  the  de- 
clared opinion  of  Governor  Shirley  himself,  that  it  would 

1  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  171 

be  in  every  view  sufficient  were  the  entire  neutrality  of  the  chap. 
Indians  to  be  preserved.  That  neutrality  it  was  the  strong  *-v_> 
desire  of  the  Six  Nations  to  maintain  unbroken;  and  it  ' 
was  to  this  end,  as  Mr.  Clinton  now  insisted  to  the  Massa- 
chusetts gentlemen,  that  some  of  their  chiefs  were  in  Ca- 
nada at  the  very  time  when  the  directions  for  holding  the 
present  council  were  issued.  And  yet  before  it  was  pos- 
sible for  them  to  ascertain  the  disposition  of  the  Canada 
Indians,  or  to  reap  the  fruits  of  their  pacific  endeavors, 
greatly  to  his  surprise,  Massachusetts  had  actually  declared 
war  against  the  Indians  living  under  the  jurisdiction  of 
the  French.  It  was  moreover  urged  as  an  additional  rea- 
son why  the  Six  Nations  sought  the  delay,  that  many  of 
their  own  people  were  in  Canada  and  their  safety  would 
be  compromised  should  their  friends  at  home  take  up  the 
hatchet  at  once.1  Thus  closed  the  council ;  but  the  vail 
which  Mr.  Clinton  had  attempted  thus  adroitly  to  throw 
over  the  subject-matter  of  the  complaints  of  the  Massa- 
chusetts gentlemen,  was  quite  too  transparent  to  be  satis- 
factory. 

A  new  aspect  was  imparted  to  the  case  in  the  course  of 
the  ensuing  night,  by  the  arrival  of  an  express  from  Mas- 
sachusetts with  intelligence  that  a  body  of  French  and  In- 
dians had  fallen  upon  one  of  the  block-houses  on  the  New 
England  frontier,  —  situated  at  Great  meadow,  on  the 
Connecticut  river.  On  the  next  morning,  therefore,  the 
Massachusetts  gentlemen  applied  to  Governor  Clinton  upon 
the  subject,  urging  that  by  this  attack  of  the  French  and 
their  Indians  upon  one  of  the  king's  forts,  the  case  had 
substantially  arisen,  in  which  he  might,  under  the  express 
agreement  of  the  Six  Nations  two  days  before,  order  them 
forthwith  upon  the  war-path,  and  that  they  would  be  bound 
to  go.  They  had  said,  that  if  before  the  expiration  of  the 
two  months  delay  for  which  they  asked,  further  acts  ot 
hostility  should  be  committed  by  the  enemy,  at  the  orders 

1  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 


172  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART." 

chap,  of  the  governor  they  would  "  strike  with  the  hatchet."1 
< — ^  The  exigency  had  already  occurred,  and  the  commissioners 
7  now  requested  that  the  order  might  be  given, — stipulating* 
at  the  same  time,  that  they  would  supply  the  Indians  with 
the  necessary  munitions  of  war  for  the  campaign,  at  their 
own  expense,  provided  they  could  be  led  forth  against  the 
enemy  at  once.  But  this  request,  after  full  advisement  in 
council,  was  not  acceded  to  by  Mr.  Clinton.  The  Indians 
were  not  inclined  to  immediate  war ;  nor  had  the  case  pro- 
vided for  actually  arisen,  inasmuch  as  the  attack  upon  the 
block-house  must  have  been  made  before  the  Six  Nations 
had  entered  into  the  engagement  referred  to.  Those  na- 
tions, moreover,  were  the  only  existing  barrier  between  the 
frontiers  of  New  York  and  the  enemy ;  and  the  withdrawal 
of  that  barrier,  while  the  frontier  of  New  York  was  thus 
naked  and  exposed,  would  be  subjecting  the  settlements  to 
infinite  peril.  The  governor,  therefore,  could  not  consent 
to  the  proposition,  until  he  had  consulted  the  assembly, 
and  given  that  body  time  to  place  the  frontier  of  New  York 
in  a  posture  of  defence.  While,  however,  for  these  and 
other  reasons  that  were  stated,  Mr.  Clinton  declined  allow- 
ing the  commissioners  the  immediate  aid  of  the  Six  Na- 
tions, he  nevertheless  offered  a  detachment  of  militia  for 
their  assistance  at  the  expense  of  this  province.2  This 
proffer  was  declined,  and  the  Commissioners  departed — 
not,  it  is  to  be  presumed,  in  the  best  possible  humor. 

Returning  to  the  city  of  New  York,  where  the  general 
assembly,  after  a  short  recess,  had  resumed  its  sittings,  the 
governor,  on  the  second  of  November,  communicated  the 
results  of  his  mission  to  Albany,  by  a  special  message,  in 
which  he  took  occasion  to  speak  of  the  aggressions  of  the 
French  and  their  Indian  allies  upon  the  border  settlements 

1  So  the  Massachusetts  commissioners  insisted,  but  the  fact  does  not  ap- 
pear exactly  thus  in  the  formal  speech  preserved  in  the  records  of  the 
council. 

2  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOIINSON,    BART.  173 

of  New  England,  and  urged  the  importance  of  making  im-  chap. 
mediate  and  adequate  provision  for  the  defence  of  the^— v— * 
northern  frontier  of  New  York.  It  was  not  known  how  1'45, 
strong  was  the  combined  French  and  Indian  force  that  had 
attacked  the  fort  at  Great  meadow,  nor  how  soon  it  might 
fall  upon  some  of  the  exposed  settlements  of  this  province. 
Such  an  attack  was  certainly  to  be  apprehended ;  and  the 
governor  pressed  home  with  earnestness  upon  the  assem- 
bly the  absolute  necessity  of  erecting  fortifications  at  the 
exposed  points,  not  only  for  the  security  of  the  out-settle- 
ments, but  for  the  purpose  of  giving  encouragement  and 
confidence  to  the  Indians,  that  they  might  be  induced,  with 
the  greater  cheerfulness,  to  join  in  the  war.  For  the  Mo- 
hawks, always  brave  themselves,  "  felt  a  very  allowable  re- 
pugnance to  expose  the  lives  of  their  warriors  in  defence 
of  those  who  made  no  effort  to  defend  themselves  ;  who 
were  neither  protected  by  the  arms  of  their  sovereign,  nor 
by  their  own  courage."1 

These  admonitions  received  not  that  immediate  attention 
which  the  exigency  of  the  case  demanded ;  and  but  two 
short  weeks  intervened  before  the  war-whoop,  and  the 
reddened  sky  at  the  north,  startled  the  assembly  from  its 
inaction,  and  taught  it  that  earlier  and  more  earnest  heed 
ought  to  have  been  given  to  his  excellency's  repeated  re- 
commendations. Fort  St.  Frederick,  at  Crown  Point,  was 
at  that  period  garrisoned  with  sufficient  strength  to  enable 
its  commander,  Mr.  Vaudreuil,  to  send  out  strong  detach- 
ments to  annoy  the  English  settlements  at  his  pleasure. 
One  of  these  had  fallen,  as  already  stated,  upon  the  Great 
meadow  settlement  in  Massachusetts ;  and  at  break  of  day,  on 
the  morning  of  November  seventeenth,  a  combined  force  of 
four  hundred  French  and  two  hundred  and  twenty  Indians, 
invaded  the  flourishing  settlement  of  Saratoga,  overcame 
the  garrison,  killed  and  took  nearly  the  entire  population 
prisoners,  and  laid  every  building  in  ashes,  excepting  a  new 
mill  standing  out  of  their  course.     The  affair  is  represent- 

1  Mrs.  Grant's  Memoirs  of  Madame  Schuyler. 


174  LIFE   OF   SIH  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART, 

chap,  eel  as  having  been  "  barbarous,"  in  the  only  contempora- 
v-^_>  neous  written  account  of  it  which  I  have  been  able  to  find  j 
1745-  the  number  of  persons  killed,  however,  is  not  stated.1  But 
the  slaughter  must  have  been  considerable,  since  Governor 
Clinton,  in  a  speech  to  the  assembly  several  weeks  after- 
ward, says,  "many  of  our  people  were  murdered."  Among 
the  slain  was  the  brave  Captain  Schuyler,  a  brother  of  Co- 
lonel Phillip  Schuyler.  More  than  one  hundred  prisoners 
were  taken  away,  a  majority  of  whom  were  blacks, — slaves, 
it  is  presumed.  Thirty  families  were  sacrificed  in  the  mas- 
sacre ;  a  description  of  the  horrors  of  which  would  be  but 
a  repetition  of  the  story  of  Schenectady,  fifty-five  years  be- 
fore.2 So  adroitly  had  the  enemy  concerted  their  plans, 
that  every  house  must  have  been  attacked  at  nearly  the 
same  instant  of  time.  One  family  only  escaped,  the  foot- 
steps of  whose  flight  were  lighted  by  the  conflagration. 

From  Saratoga  the  invaders  crossed  the  Hudson,  and 
swept  with  equal  desolation  the  village  of  Hoosic.  A  small 
fort  at  this  place,  commanded  by  Col.  Hawks,  made  a 
spirited  defence,  but  was  compelled  to  surrender.  These 
events  laid  the  settlements  naked  and  open  to  the  ravages 
of  the  enemy  down  to  the  very  gates  of  Albany,  spreading 
general  consternation  through  the  interior  of  the  province. 
The  inhabitants  in  the  settlements  most  exposed  rushed 
into  Albany  for  security;  and  the  males  of  that  city  capable 
of  bearing  arms,  were  obliged  to  go  upon  the  watch  in  the 
environs,  each  in  his  turn  every  other  night.3 

Immediately  on  the  receipt  of  these  unwelcome  tidings  in 
New  York, the  governor  transmitted  a  message  announcing 
the  facts   to    the  general   assembly,    written    under    the 

xMs.  letter  from  Robert  Sanders,  of  Albany,  to  "  Mr.  William  Johnson, 
merchant  at  Mount  Johnson,  "  in  which  the  writer  says  :  In  obedience  to 
your  request  I  shall  bear  in  mind  that  this  is  not  the  Saratoga  watering 
place  of  modern  days,  but  the  old  town  of  Saratoga  lying  upon  the  margin 
of  the  Hudson  river,  rendered  yet  more  famous  in  history  by  the  surrender 
of  General  Burgoyne  upon  its  plains  in  1777- 

2  Dunlop's  History  of  New  York. 

3  Sanders's  letter. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  175 

strong  excitement  of  the  moment,  and  upbraiding  that  chap. 
body  for  its  disregard  of  those  measures  of  defence  which  *-v— ' 
had  so  frequently  been  urged  upon  its  consideration.  174'5- 
"The  like  was  never  known,"  he  said,  "  that  one  part  of  a 
government  should  be  left  to  be  butchered  by  the  enemy, 
without  assistance  from  the  other."  The  high  road  from 
Crown  Point  to  Albany,  was  now  open  to  the  enemy,  and 
he  again  called  upon  the  assembly  for  means  to  enable  him 
to  erect  a  proper  fort  at  the  carrying-place,  and  such  other 
defences  as  might  be  necessary  for  the  protection  of  the  set- 
tlements in  the  neighborhood  of  the  places  that  had  been 
destroyed.  Further  provision  was  also  demanded  for  the 
Indian  service,  the  exigence  having  now  occurred  which 
would  authorize  the  governor  to  call  the  Six  Nations  forth- 
with into  the  service.  Supplies  were  moreover  indispens- 
able for  subsisting  the  troops  and  militia  from  the  city, 
and  the  lower  counties  which  must  be  detailed  to  the  north 
for  its  protection.  The  sharp  tone  of  the  message  gave 
offence.  And  yet  it  was  very  natural  that  the  governor, 
who  certainly  was  chargeable  with  no  neglect  of  duty  him- 
self, should  speak  to  those  who  were,  in  terms  of  earnest- 
ness, if  not  of  reproof.1 

Suppressing  their  resentment  at  the  governor's  tartness, 
for  the  moment,  however,  the  assembly  declared  its  readi- 
ness at  all  times,  "  to  concur,  cheerfully,  in  every  reasonable 
measure  for  the  honor  of  his  majesty,  and  for  the  welfare 
and  security  of  this  colony ;  for  the  assistance,  also,  of  our 
neighbors,  and  for  any  well-concerted  plan,  consistent  with 
the  circumstances  of  the  colony,  for  distressing  and  har- 
rassing  the  enemy."  As  an  earnest  of  their  sincerity  in 
this  declaration,  bills  were  passed  making  liberal  appropri- 
ations for  the  service,  accompanied  by  a  resolution  for 
building  the  oft-recommended  fortress  at  the  carrying-place, 

1  It  is  asserted  by  Smith,  that  the  governor's  irritation  with  the  assembly 
had  been  excited  a  few  days  before  the  receipt  of  the  news  from  Saratoga, 
by  its  proceedings  in  the  case  of  the  contested  election  of  Edward  Holland, 
to  which  transaction  I  shall  have  occasion  again  to  advert. 


176  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  and  for  rebuilding  the  fort  at  Saratoga.  A  resolution  was 
wv — '  also  adopted  authorizing  bounties  to  be  given  for  scalps, 
1745-  taken  either  by  white  men  or  Indians,  provided  that  that 
barbarous  mode  of  warfare  should  be  resorted  to  in  the 
first  instance  by  the  enemy.  Having  done  thus  much  for 
the  military  service,  and  passed  the  annual  salary  and  sup- 
ply bills,  the  assembly  adjourned  over  from  the  twenty- 
eighth  of  November  to  the  seventeenth  of  December, 
"  then  to  meet  at  the  house  of  Rear  Admiral  "Warren,  in 
Greenwich."1 

Early  in  December  an  important  letter  was  laid  before 
the  privy  council  from  Colonel  Philip  Schuyler,  requesting 
the  governor  to  send  up  three  hundred  men  from  the 
militia  of  the  lower  counties  for  the  defence  of  Albany 
and  Schenectady,  and  also  asking  for  the  immediate  re- 
building of  the  fort  at  Saratoga  where  his  brother  had 
been  slain.  These  requests  had  been  in  part  anticipated 
by  the  governor,  the  two  companies  of  independent  fu- 
sileers  stationed  in  New  York  having  been  ordered  upon 
that  service,  who  were  then  on  their  way.  Tet,  notwith- 
standing the  pressing  nature  of  the  emergency,  the  re- 
moval of  these  troops  from  the  metropolis  caused  dissatis- 
faction, and  the  local  militia  refused  to  perform  duty  as 
sentinels  at  the  governor's  residence,  or  at  any  other 
place  save  within  the  walls  of  the  fort.  Conceiving  this 
conduct  a  high  personal  indignity,  the  attention  of  the 
executive  council  was  called  to  the  subject,  by  whom  an 
order  was  passed  directing  that  the  refractory  conscripts 
should  be  compelled  to  perform  the  duty  required.2  In 
addition  to  the  fusileers,  a  competent  number  of  the  mili- 
tia were  drafted  for  the  frontier  service,  which  was  not 
very  desirable  to  the  yeomanry  of  the  counties,  espe- 
cially  in  winter ;  and  a  spirit  of  insubordination  among 

1  See  journals  of  the  colonial  assembly.  The  prevalence  of  the  small- 
pox in  the  city, — the  simple  antidote  to  that  terrible  disease  of  Dr.  Jenner 
not  having  been  discovered  until  nearly  half  a  century  afterward — rendering 
the  change  expedient. 

2  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 


.M.\.M>M     KE^EHAIL    IMIIUP    §  r  I  [  VY  i  EB 


/7       /.;. 


t/ 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  177 

them,  manifested  in  several  respects,  but  particularly  in  c"yP' 
their  refusal  to  aid  in  building  the  fort  at  Saratoga,  gave  v— n — ' 
Colonel  Schuyler  no  small  amount  of  trouble.1  There 
was  probably  cause  for  dissatisfaction  among  these  levies, 
to  some  extent,  arising  not  only  from  an  ill-supplied  com- 
missariat, and  the  consequent  absence  of  many  things 
necessary  for  their  comfort  in  a  rigorous  winter  climate,  but 
also  from  the  want  of  a  hospital  for  the  sick,  there  being 
none  at  Albany.  Nevertheless  the  work  at  Saratoga 
went  slowly  forward,  by  such  assistance  as  could  be  ob- 
tained from  the  people  in  that  part  of  the  country,  covered 
by  patrols  of  a  few  militia  and  about  forty  Indians  upon 
whom  Schuyler  had  prevailed  to  engage  in  that  service. 

On  the  whole,  therefore,  the  winter  set  in  gloomily.  The 
entire  frontier  of  New  England  and  New  York  was  ex- 
posed to  the  incursions  of  an  agile  and  subtle  enemy, 
certain  to  strike  if  opportunity  presented,  and  yet  equally 
certain  to  conceal  the  point  of  attack  until  the  fall  of  the 
blow.  On  the  eleventh  of  December,  Mr.  Low,  governor  of 
Connecticut,  wrote  to  Mr.  Clinton  that  a  force  of  six  hund- 
red Frenchmen  and  Indians  was  investing  Stockbridge, 
against  whom  he  had  ordered  a  force  to  march  with  all 
possible  alacrity.  Several  months  previously,  the  gover- 
nor of  Georgia  had  written  that  he  had  been  advised 
through  the  Chickasaws  of  a  general  movement  against 
the  northern  colonies,  by  the  Indians  as  remote  even  as  the 
Mississippi  valley,  acting  in  alliance  with  those  upon  the 
great  lakes, — all  of  whom  had  been  instigated  against  the 
English  by  the  French  governor  at  New  Orleans.  This 
rumor  was  now  received  through  a  different  channel,  with 
the  additional  statement  that  these  distant  Indians  were  to 
join  the  French  from  Canada,  and  strike  from  the  west- 
ward upon  the  settlements  of  Orange,  Ulster,  and  Albany 
counties, — especially  upon  the  towns  of  Esopus  and  Mini- 

1  Manuscript  journals  of  executlue  council,  correspondence  of  Colonel 
Schuyler. 

2  Letter  from  a  surgeon  to  the  executive  council. 

23 


178  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

ohap.  sink, — and  also  upon  the  frontiers  of  New  Jersey  and 
—v—-  Pennsylvania  ;  while  certain  suspicious  movements  among 
1745-  the  clans  of  Indians  yet  remaining  in  Orange  and  Ulster, 
who  had  withdrawn  themselves  suddenly  from  their  hunt- 
ing-grounds, served  to  strengthen  the  apprehension.  But 
in  regard  to  these  latter  clans,  the  alarm  was  allayed  in  a 
short  time  by  a  communication  from  Colonel  DeKay,  of 
Orange,  who  had  induced  them  to  come  back  and  renew 
the  chain  of  their  covenant.  The  colonel  was  actually 
bound  to  some  of  their  chiefs  by  a  chain,  for  an  hour  or 
more,  at  their  request,  as  an  evidence  that  the  two  peo- 
ples were  fast  bound  to  each  other.1 

Meantime  the  general  assembly  met  again  on  the  seven- 
teenth of  December,  the  session  being  opened  by  a  speech, 
short  and  to  the  purpose.  After  a  brief  statement  of  the 
measures  he  had  adopted  for  the  public  defence  during  the 
recess,  and  asking  for  such  an  appropriation  as  would  enable 
him  to  build  a  fort  of  stone,  "large  and  strong,"  at  the 
locality  so  often  designated  north  of  Albany,  to  guard  the 
carrying-place  between  the  Hudson  river  and  Lake 
Champlain,  the  governor  again  urged  the  adoption  of 
such  measures  as  would  enable  him  to  form  a  union  for 
the  more  efficient  prosecution  of  the  war  with  the  other 
colonies,  a  proposition  which  had  again  been  pressed  upon 
his  consideration  by  the  government  of  Massachusetts. 
Some  action  of  this  kind  had  become  the  more  necessary, 
inasmuch  as  there  was  reason  to  believe  that  the  French 
were  organizing  a  powerful  force  in  Canada,  with  the  de- 
sign of  penetrating  into  the  heart  of  New  York.  Among 
the  documents  communicated  with  the  speech,  was  a  let- 
ter from  Doctor  Colden,  dated  at  Coldenham,  in  the 
county  of  Orange,  stating  that  the  French  had  now  a 
considerable  party  among  the  Six  Nations,  industriously 
engaged  in  sowing  the  seeds  of  disaffection,  and  in 
promoting    their   own    interests.      Certain   \t  was,    that 

1  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  179 

by   means   of  some   adverse   influence,  the  Confederates  chap. 

.  .  iv. 

were   again  occupying  a  doubtful  position.     This  appears  v— ^ 

from  the  fact,  that  immediately  after  the  disaster  at  Sara- 1745- 
toga,  the  governor  had  directed  the  Indian  commission- 
ers at  Albany,  to  send  an  interpreter  into  the  Iroquois 
country,  requiring  of  them  a  compliance  with  their  en- 
gagements in  such  a  contingency,  made  at  the  treaty.  The 
order  for  them  to  "draw  the  hatchet  from  their  bosoms," 
and  proceed  immediately  against  the  enemy,  was  peremp- 
tory. But  the  chiefs  refused  a  compliance  with  the  man- 
date ;  and  the  commissioners,  in  announcing  the  result  of 
the  mission,  suggested  the  calling  of  another  council 
larger  than  the  former,  at  which  they  thought  it  would  be 
necessary  to  send  the  Indians  oiF  upon  some  expedition 
before  they  should  return  to  their  castles.1  This  unex- 
pected information  was  announced  to  the  general  assem- 
bly by  a  special  message  ;  and  the  dispatch  from  the 
commissioners  was  referred  to  a  committee  of  the  execu- 
tive council  for  consideration. 

But  notwithstanding  the  irritation  which  the  faithless- 
ness of  the  Indians  was  so  well  calculated  to  produce,  Mr. 
Horsmanden,  chairman  of  the  committee  of  reference, 
made  an  able  and  humane  report,  going  so  far  in  extenu- 
ation of  their  conduct  as  almost  to  justify  their  sullen  re- 
fusal to  enter  into  the  war.  It  was  considered  that  they 
were  a  scattered  people,  and  their  cantons  remote 
from  each  other ;  and  whatever  other  plausible  pretexts 
they  might  themselves  assign  for  their  conduct,  it  could 
not  be  doubted  that  they  were  under  terrible  apprehen- 
sions for  the  safety  of  their  own  wives  and  children, 
should  they  engage  in  the  contest,  since  in  the  absence  of 
their  warriors,  who  were  to  protect  their  own  country  from 
the  French  and  their  Indians?  The  committee  there- 
fore recommended  that  forts  and  garrisons  should  be  es- 
tablished in  the  country  of  the  Confederates,  as  places  of 
security  for  the  women  and  children,  and  the  old  men,  in 

1  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 


180  LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  case  of  invasion.     This  measure  would  give  confidence  to 
v-^—*  the  chiefs  ;  and  the  committee  therefore  recommended  a 

1745.  correspondence  with  the  other  colonies  upon  the  subject, 
with  a  view  of  obtaining  assistance  in  the  erection  of  the 
works  proposed.1 

1746.  The  importance  of  an  alliance  with  the  New  England 
colonies,  both  for  mutual  security,  and  for  offensive  and 
defensive  operations,  was  by  this  time  becoming  more  ob- 
vious, and  the  recommendations  of  the  governor  began 
now  to  be  received  with  greater  favor  by  the  assembly 
than  previous  to  this  threatened  Indian  defection.  Accord- 
ingly, on  the  twenty-fourth  of  January  the  house  asked  of 
the  council  its  concurrence  in  a  resolution  for  the  appoint- 
ment of  a  joint  committee  upon  the  state  of  the  colony. 
The  proposition  was  acceeded  to  ;  and  the  result  of  their 
deliberations,  after  their  action  had  been  again  quickened 
by  an  Indian  alarm,  was  the  sanction,  in  the  spring,  of  the 
project  which  had  been  so  long  and  so  much  desired  by 
the  executive,  and  so  blindly  resisted  by  the  representa- 
tives of  the  people.2  The  commissioners  appointed  to 
confer  with  those  from  New  England,  were  Philip  Living- 
ston, Daniel  Horsmanden,  and  Joseph  Murray,  of  the 
council ;  Philip  Verplanck  and  "William  Nicholl,  of  the 
assembly. 

An  improved  spirit  of  liberality  was  likewise  evinced  as 
to  appropriations  for  the  public  defence,  and  for  other 
branches  of  the  service.  Yet  the  proceedings  of  the  As- 
sembly, upon  some  of  these  measures  at  least,  were  not 
characterized  by  the  greatest  harmony.  There  was  an  in- 
creasing hostility  in  the  lower  house  against  the  governor ; 
the  assembly  and  council  were  at  odds  upon  a  question  of 
parliamentary  law,  involving,  indirectly,  the  royal  preroga- 

1  Manuscript  journals  of  the  executive  council. 

2  The  committee  on  the  part  of  the  council,  recommending  this  course,  con- 
sisted of  Chief  Justice  DeLancey,  Joseph  Murray,  Daniel  Horsmanden,  and 
John  Moore.  On  the  part  of  the  house,  the  committee  consisted  of  Mr. 
Clarkson,  Captain  Richards,  Major  Van  Home,  Mr.  Cruger,  Mr.  Verplanck, 
Colonel  Beekman,  Captain  Livingston,  and  Colonel  Chambers. 


LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  181 

tive,  and  finally,  the  members  of  the  assembly  fell  into  chap. 
discreditable  fends  among  themselves  touching  the  distri-  w v_* 
bution  of  the  public  burdens  among  their  respective  coun- 1746, 
ties,1  The  mixed  question  of  parliamentary  law  and  pre- 
rogative, arose  on  a  disagreement  between  the  legislative 
council  and  the  assembly,  upon  the  details  of  a  bill  au- 
thorizing an  emission  of  bills  of  credit  to  the  amount  of 
ten  thousand  pounds.  Before  the  introduction  of  the  bill, 
the  assembly  had  inquired  of  the  governor  whether  he 
had  any  objection  to  an  emission  of  paper  money  to  meet 
the  exigencies  of  the  country ;  to  which  question  the  proper 
answer  was  given  by  Mr.  Clinton,  that  "  when  the  bill  came 
to  him  he  would  declare  his  opinion."2  The  bill  was  there- 
fore introduced  and  passed  by  the  assembly  ;  but  the  coun- 
cil, disapproving  of  certain  of  its  provisions,  requested  a 
conference.  The  assembly,  however,  declared  that  inas- 
much as  it  was  a  money  bill,  they  would  consent  to  no  such 
course  upon  the  subject.  The  council  thereupon  summa- 
rily rejected  the  bill,  and  sent  up  an  address  to  the  govern- 
or, written  by  the  chief  justice,  DeLancey,  setting  forth 
their  reasons,  by  which  their  course  had  been  governed. 
One  of  the  objections  to  the  bill,  according  to  this  repre- 
sentation, was  found  in  the  fact,  "  that  the  money  proposed 
to  be  raised  by  the  bill  was  not  granted  to  his  majesty,  or 
to  be  issued  by  warrants  in  council,  as  it  ought  to  have 
been,  and  as  has  usually  been  done."  This  objection  in- 
volved the  old  question  of  the  royal  prerogative — nothing 
more.  On  the  subject  of  the  right  claimed  by  the  assem- 
bly of  exclusive  power  over  the  details  of  money  bills,  the 
address  asserted  "the  equal  right  of  the  council  to  exercise 
their  judgments  upon  these  bills."  Various  other  ob- 
jections of  detail  were  suggested;  but  the  two  points  spe- 
cified above,  were  the  only  grounds  of  principle  upon  which 
the  council  relied  in  justification  of  its  course.  Yet  the 
unreasonableness  of  the  assumption  of  the  house,  that  the 

1  Smith's  History  of  New  York,yo\.  ii,  p.  94. 

2  Ibid,  p.  96. 


182  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  council  should  not  be  allowed  even  to  point  out  and  rectify 
v-^—/  the  defects  of  anything  which  they  chose  to  call  a  money 
1746>  bill,  was  argued  at  considerable  length.1 

Just  at  this  point  of  collision,  the  small  pox,  which  had 
driven  the  assembly  from  the  city,  appeared  in  Greenwich, 
producing  a  panic  that  for  several  days  entirely  arrested 
the  course  of  business.  The  assembly  prayed  for  a  recess 
from  the  ninth  of  March  to  the  twelfth  of  April,  and  also 
for  leave  to  adjourn  their  sittings  to  some  other  place.  Ja- 
maica and  Brooklyn  were  suggested  ;  but  in  the  opinion 
of  the  governor  the  demands  of  the  public  service  forbade 
so  long  an  interregnum,  and  he  therefore  directed  their  ad- 
journment for  a  week,  then  to  meet  in  the  borough  of 
Westchester.  They  convened  there  accordingly ;  but  the 
inconvenience  of  the  locality  was  such  that  the  members 
begged  permission  to  adjourn,  even  back  to  the  infected 
city  again,  rather  than  remain  where  they  were.  In  the 
end  the  governor  directed  them  to  adjourn  to  Brooklyn,  at 
which  place  the  transaction  of  business  was  resumed  on 
the  twentieth  of  March,  on  which  day  an  address  to  the 
governor  was  ordered  to  be  prepared,  in  answer  to  that  of 
the  council  respecting  the  rejection  of  the  before  mentioned 
revenue  bill. 

Whether  such  an  address  was  prepared  or  not,  the  jour- 
nals of  the  assembly  afford  no  information ;  but  the  bill 
appears  to  have  died  between  the  two  houses.  Still,  the 
dangers  and  necessities  of  the  country  were  such  as  to  for- 
bid inaction,  whatever  might  become  of  questions  of  pre- 
rogative, or  of  legislative  etiquette.  Letters  from  the  in- 
terior were  pouring  in  upon  the  governor  and  council 
full  of  alarming  reports,  and  asking  for  assistance  at  va- 
rious points.  The  inhabitants  of  Kinderhook  and  Clave- 
rack,  now  that  the  fort  at  Hoosic  had  been  destroyed,  and 
the  settlement  deserted,  petitioned  for  the  erection  of  a 
couple  of  block-houses  for  their  security ;  large  parties  of 


i  Journals  of  the  legislative  council,  from  the  proceedings  at  length. 


LIFE    OF   Sill   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  183 

the  enemy  were  traversing  the  country  about  Saratoga,  chap. 
the  garrison  of  which,  weak  and  uneasy,  threatened  de->-v-' 
sertion;  parties  both  of  French  and  Indians  were  infesting1746- 
the  environs  of  Albany  and  Schenectady,  destroying  pro- 
perty, and  killing  and  scalping,  or  snatching  into  captivity 
such  of  the  inhabitants  as  ventured  beyond  the  walls ;  the 
emissaries  of  the  French,  of  whom  the  Jesuit  priest,  Jean 
Coeur,  was  the  leader,  were  holding  the  Six  Nations  in 
check,  and  preventing  them  from  going  upon  the  war-path, 
while  advices  were  received  from  the  Canajoharie  castle 
that  the  governor  of  Canada  had  invited  the  Confederates 
to  a  meeting  with  him  at  Onondaga,  which  invitation  had 
been  accepted.1  The  settlements  in  the  interior,  not  ex- 
cepting the  considerable  towns  of  Albany  and  Schenecta- 
dy, were,  therefore,  in  a  state  of  general  panic.  A  stronger 
principle  than  that  of  prerogative,  if  not  than  that  of  po- 
litical liberty,  demanded,  with  irresistible  emphasis,  some 
efficient  action  from  the  legislature.  Before  the  close  of 
the  session,  therefore,  another  revenue  bill,  originating  in 
a  spirit  of  compromise,  and  yet  making  no  essential  con- 
cession on  the  part  of  the  representatives  of  the  people, 
was  passed  by  both  houses,  and  received  the  signature  of 
the  governor. 

This  bill  provided  for  raising  a  supply  of  thirteen  thou- 
sand pounds,  by  a  tax  on  estates,  real  and  personal,  and  for 
emitting  bills  of  credit  to  the  same  amount  for  the  public 

1  Ms.  journals  and  correspondence  of  the  executive  council.  Among  the 
letters  written  about  this  time  was  one  from  the  Indian  commissioners  stating 
that  certain  persons  for  a  suitable  compensation  were  willing  to  undertake 
to  bring  Jean  Coeur  from  the  Seneca  country  to  Albany.  The  commission- 
ers thought  it  an  important  object,  but  it  seems  not  to  have  been  acted  upon. 
A  letter  was  also  received  from  Arent  Stevens,  a  landholder  residing  at  the 
Canajoharie  castle,  announcing  that  the  Caughnawaga  Indians  had  sent  a 
belt  from  Canada,  desiring  to  come  back  to  reside  in  their  native  valley. 
On  the  same  day  a  communication  was  received  from  John  Henry  Lydius, 
who  had  an  intimate  knowledge  of  the  Caughnawagas,  proposing  a  scheme 
for  persuading  them  to  the  same  course.  But  these  suggestions  came  to 
nothing. 


184  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  service,  and  creating  a  sinking  fund  for  their  redemption.1 
J^w  But  though  the  bill  was  passed  by   the  council  without 
1746-  amendment,  it  did  not  get  through  wholly  without  oppo- 
sition.    Chief  Justice  DeLancey,  usually  among  the  most 
strenuous  supporters  of  the  prerogatives  of  the  crown,  it 
is  true,  yielded  his  hostility  to  the  popular  demand ;  but 
Mr.  Rutherford  recorded  his  protest  upon  the  journals  of 
the  council  at  length.     His  objections  were  manifold  as  to 
the  details  of  the  bill,  but  the  objection  in  chief  was  one 
of  principle.     The  bill,  he  contended,  proposed  a  method 
of  raising  a  revenue  which  should  be  resorted  to  only  in 
case  of  extreme   necessity ;  the   amount  proposed  to   be 
raised,  was  to  be  applied  wholly  to  the  object  set  forth   in 
the  bill ; — the  points  of  defence  designated  would  be  en- 
tirely insufficient  for  the  protection  of  Albany  county ; — 
but  above,  and  more  than  all,  the  Assembly  had  in  the  bill 
encroached  upon  the  royal  prerogative  by  nominating  offi- 
cers to  receive  and  apply  the  money  to  be  raised,  and  by 
designating  the  sites  of  the  defences  to  be  constructed, — 
duties  properly  belonging  to  the  commander-in-chief. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  majority  of  the  council  caused 
to  be  entered  upon  the  journals,  the  reasons  which  impelled 
them  to  vote  for  the  bill.  These  were,  in  chief,  the  exi- 
gencies of  the  country  at  large,  and  especially  the  perilous 
condition  of  the  frontier, — the  enemy  having  appeared  in 
the  environs  both  of  Albany  and  Schenectady,  where  seve- 
ral bloody  outrages  had  been  committed.  In  answer  to 
Mr.  Rutherford's  objections  touching  the  prerogative,  the 
majority  of  the  council  said  that  the  provisions  objected  to 
had  been  inserted,  and  the  officers  designated  in  the  bill 

i  The  annual  tax  by  which,  it  was  proposed  that  the  bills  should  be  re- 
deemed in  three  years,  amounted  to  the  sum  of  £4,331.  10s.  8d  The  ap- 
portionment was  as  follows:— New  York  £1,444  8s.  lid.  ;— Albany,  £622. 
3s.  9 j  ;_Kings,  £254. 18s.  OJrf;— Queens,  £487.  9s.  5^;— Suffolk,  £433.  6s. 
gd. ;— Richmond,  £131.  6s.  2>\d.  ;— Westchester,  £240.  14s.  8Jrf. ;— Ulster, 
£393.  18s.  9^;— Orange,  £144.  8s.  10^ ;— Dutchess,  £180.  lis.  l%d;— To- 
tal, £4,331.  10s.  8d. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOIINSON,    BART.  185 

named,  with  the  consent  of  the  governor.     It  will  be  at  chap. 

IV. 

once  perceived  that  this  arrangement  with  the  executive  <~~Y—' 
was  a  mere  subterfuge.     The  victory  was  with  the  repre-  1746- 
sentatives  of  the  people.     And  it  was  signal ;  deserving  of 
special  note  as  marking  the  progress  of  the  great  princi- 
ples of  popular  liberty.1 

The  general  assembly  had  now  been  in  session,  with  a 
very  few  brief  intermissions,  for  nearly  a  twelvemonth,  and 
although  it  had  done  much,  yet  the  fruits  of  its  labors  were 
not  altogether  satisfactory.  In  addition  to  the  passage  of 
the  revenue  bill  as  already  rehearsed,  a  resolution  had  been 
adopted  directing  the  construction  of  six  strong  block- 
houses, three  of  the  number  to  be  planted  between  the 
south-west  frontier  garrison  of  Massachusetts,  and  the  post 
at  Saratoga ;  and  the  other  three  between  Saratoga  and 
Fort  William  in  the  upper  Mohawk  country.  The  appro- 
priation for  these  objects,  however,  had  been  diverted  from 
the  greater  and  more  essential  projects  of  a  substantial 
fortress  at  the  earrying-place, — orders  for  the  construction 
of  which  had  been  given  by  the  governor  early  in  the 
preceding  winter,  and  without  which  there  could  be  no  se- 
curity against  invasions  from  Crown  Point  at  the  pleasure 
of  its  commander.  One  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  were 
voted  for  repairing  the  works  at  Oswego  ;  three  thousand 
three  hundred  and  seventy-five  pounds  w^ere  directed  to  be 
raised  by  lottery,  to  be  applied  to  the  defences  of  the  city 
and  harbor  of  New  York ; — the  fort  at  Schenectady  was 
directed  to  be  repaired ; — a  corps  of  rangers  were  to  be  or- 
ganized for  the  protection  of  the  western  lines  of  Ulster 
and  Orange  counties ; — the  militia  laws  were  amended  with 
a  view  to  their  greater  vigor,  in  conformity  with  the  wishes 
of  the  governor; — and  the  resolution  of  the  preceding 
session,  offering  a  bounty  upon  scalps,  was  enacted  into  a 
law.  But  although  the  fortress  of  Louisburg  was  threat- 
ened with  a  formidable  attack  from  France,  and  although 
Governor  Shirley,    Sir  William  Pepperell,   and  Admiral 

1  See  the  proceedings  at  large  in  the  journals  of  the  legislative  counoil. 
24 


186  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap.  Warren  had  been  pressing  Mr.  Clinton  for  months  to  send 
Wy—/  forward  the  quota  of  reinforcements  which  New  York  had 
1746-  been  required  to  supply,  yet  the  assembly  peremptorily 
refused  a  compliance  with  trie  demand.  They  would  not 
even  provide  a  convoy  to  guard  a  transport  ship  then  in 
the  harbor  of  New  York,  destined  to  the  assistance  of  that 
garrison,  which  had  been  greatly  weakened  by  fever  and 
other  causes.  There  had  indeed  been  from  the  first  a  re- 
luctance in  the  assembly  to  cooperate  with  the  New  Eng- 
land colonies  in  regard  to  the  conquest  of  Cape  Breton, 
not  wholly  susceptible  of  explanation ;  but  for  their  present 
course  at  least  a  plausible  excuse  was  found  in  the  weak 
and  exposed  condition  of  their  own  colony. 


CHAPTER  V. 
1746. 

The  period  is  now  approached  at  which  the  long,  ardu-  chap 
Ous,  and  in  many  respects  brilliant  public  career  of  Sir^,*, 
William  Johnson  commenced.  During  the  stirring  scenes  1746. 
rehearsed  in  the  two  preceding  chapters,  Mr.  Johnson 
had  been  pushing  his  fortunes  as  a  private  citizen,  with  a 
degree  of  discernment  and  energy  that  marked  him  as  no 
common  man.  His  removal  from  the  south  to  the  north 
side  of  the  Mohawk  river,  has  already  been  noted.  In 
the  year  1744  he  erected  a  valuable  flouring  mill  upon  the 
brisk  stream  falling  into  the  Mohawk  about  two  miles 
west  of  the  Chucktanunda  creek,  in  the  town  of  Amster- 
dam,— where  he  also  built  an  elegant  stone  mansion  for 
his  own  residence ;  conferring  upon  the  estate  the  name  of 
Mount  Johnson.  Not  only  thus  early  had  he  become 
known  to  Governor  Clinton,  but  a  correspondence  was 
shortly  afterward  commenced  between  them  which  soon 
became  close  and  confidential ;  and  their  acquaintance 
ultimately  ripened  into  the  relations  of  cordial  intimacy. 
It  is  very  probable  that  Johnson's  introduction  to  the  new 
governor  at  so  early  a  period  of  his  administration,  was 
effected  by  Mr.  DeLancey,  the  chief  justice,  whose  daugh- 
ter it  will  be  remembered  was  the  wife  of  Sir  Peter  "War- 
ren, and  consequently  the  aunt,  by  marriage,  of  the  young 
adventurer.  Mr.  Clinton,  almost  immediately  on  coming 
to  the  government,  had  resigned  himself  passively  in- 
to the  hands  of  the  chief  justice ; l  and  that  sagacious 
jurisconsult,  would  scarce  be  slow  to  advance  the  fortunes 
of  a  family  connexion,  whose  talents,  sagacity,  and  enter- 

1  Vide  Mass.  Hist.  Collections,  vol.  xiii,  p.  79. 


188  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  prise  pointed  him  out  as  a  man  who  might  one  day  be  of 

v-v— '  importance   in   sustaining  his   own   interests.      Political 

1746.  friendships,    however,    are  seldom  constant  or  enduring ; 

and  it  will  be  seen  hereafter  that  the  subsequent  relations 

—  at  least  for  a  time —between  DeLancey  and  Johnson, 

form  no  exception  to  the  remark. 

During  the  years  1744  and  1745,  Mr.  Johnson's  atten- 
tion must  have  been  closely  applied  to  his  own  commer- 
cial affairs,  already  widely  extended.  From  his  corre- 
spondence it  appears  that  he  was  in  both  those  years  often 
shipping  furs  to  London,  and  was  likewise  engaged  in  the 
flour  trade  with  the  West  India  islands, — making  ship- 
ments also  to  Curracoa  and  Halifax.1  Still  his  time  was 
not  thus  exclusively  occupied,  since  it  appears  that  in  the 
month  of  April,  1745,  he  was  commissioned  one  of  his 
majesty's  justices  of  the  peace  for  the  county  of  Albany — 
being  the  first  official  appointment  conferred  upon  him.2 
He  was  moreover  beginning  to  participate  actively  in  the 
political  concerns  of  the  colony,  his  influence  being  put  in 
requisition  in  the  autumn  of  the  last  mentioned  year,  to  aid 
in  the  return  of  his  friend  Mr.  Holland  to  the  general  as- 
sembly for  the  township  of  Schenectady.  The  election 
of  this  gentleman  was  strongly  desired  by  the  governor, — 
a  reason  of  itself  sufficient  to  enlist  the  exertions  of 
Johnson.  Holland  was  returned ;  but  in  order  to  annoy 
the  governor,  the  assembly,  upon  a  flimsy  pretext,  insuffi- 
cient in  law,  and  in  every  other  respect  entirely  indefensi- 
ble, excluded  him  from  his  seat,  as  has  been  mentioned  in 
a  note  upon  a  preceding  page.  Justly  indignant  at  this 
unjustifiable  procedure  toward  his  favorite,  Mr.  Clinton 
manifested  his  feelings  by  the  acrimony  of  his  message 
terminating  the  session.  The  rejection  of  Mr.  Holland 
was  nevertheless  the  making  of  his  political  fortunes,  in- 
asmuch as  it  procured  for  him  the  mayoralty  of  the  city 
of  New  York  and  a  seat  at  the  council  board. 

1  Private  correspondence  in  manuscript. 

2  Manuscript  letter  of  Edward  Holland  enclosing  the  commission. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  189 

As  I  have  not  been  able  to  ascertain  the  date  of  Mr.  chap. 
Johnson's  marriage,  so  likewise  have  I  found  it  impossible  ^ — ■ 
to  ascertain  the  time  of  his  wife's  decease.  It  has  always  1746- 
been  understood  that  she  died  young ;  but  a  few  years  af- 
ter their  union ;  and  before  her  husband  had  acquired 
either  civil  or  military  renown ;  yet  not  until  after  she  had 
given  birth  to  a  son, — afterward  Sir  John  Johnson, — and 
to  two  daughters, — Mary  and  Nancy.  But  although  the 
exact  time  of  her  death  cannot  be  determined,  there  is 
reason  to  believe  that  it  took  place  at  least  as  early  as  the 
summer  of  1745.  It  has  already  been  noted,  more  than 
once,  that  it  was  Mr.  Johnson's  policy  to  cultivate  an  in- 
timate acquaintance  with  the  Indians.  Being  largely  en- 
gaged in  commerce  with  them,  his  facilities  to  that  end 
were  great ;  and  no  white  man  perhaps,  ever  succeded  in 
more  entirely  winning  their  confidence.  He  mingled 
with  them  freely;  joined  in  their  sports;  and  at  pleasure 
assumed  both  their  costumes  and  their  manners,  and  cast 
them  aside,  as  circumstances  might  require.  He  was  con- 
sequently fast  gaining  an  ascendency  over  them  upon 
which  the  French  looked  with  exceeding  jealousy.  It  be- 
came therefore  an  object  with  the  latter  either  to  cut,  or  to 
take  him  off — an  object  which  it  will  presently  appear  was 
seriously  meditated  in  the  autumn  of  1745.  Among  the 
private  letters  of  Mr.  Johnson  escaping  the  ravages  of 
time  and  chance,  is  one  from  Mr.  James  "Wilson,  of 
Albany,  addressed  to  ""William  Johnson  Esquire,"  and 
dated  "November  26th,  1745,"  from  which  the  following 
passage  is  extracted  : — "  Mother  desires  you  to  come  down 
and  live  here  this  winter,  until  these  troublesome  times 
are  a  little  over.  They  have  kept  a  room  on  purpose  for 
you,  and  they  beg  that  you  will  send  down  the  best  of 
your  things  directly.  There  is  room  enough  for  your 
servants,  if  you  will  bring  them  down.  I  would  not  have 
you  stay  at  your  own  house,  for  the  French  have  told  our 
Indians  that  they  will  have  you  dead  or  alive,  because  you 
are  a  relation  of  Captain  Warren,  their  great  adversary. 


190  LIFE   OF   SIK  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,-   BART. 

chap.  Therefore  I  beg  you  will  not  be  too  resolute  and  stay,  If 
v—y—/  you  will  not  come  yourself,  I  beg  you  will  send  your 
1746.  books  and  papers,  and  the  best  of  your  things."  The  en- 
tire silence  of  this  letter  in  regard  to  Mrs.  Johnson,  and 
the  appropriation  of  only  a  single  room  for  his  occupancy, 
induces  the  supposition  that  she  must  have  died  previous 
to  the  time  when  it  was  written.  Still  this  conclusion  is 
merely  conjectural ;  and  to  say  the  truth,  but  little  can  be 
ascertained  respecting  Mr.  Johnson's  domestic  relations 
for  several  years  of  this  portion  of  his  life. 

Resuming  then,  the  course  of  public  events :  The  views 
of  Governor  Shirley  were  comprehensive,  and  in  planning 
the  expedition  against  Cape  Breton,  they  had  by  no  means 
been  confined  to  the  reduction  of  that  island.  His  design 
comprehended  nothing  short  of  another  eifort  for  the  entire 
subjugation  of  Canada, — an  object  that  had  several  times 
been  attempted,  but  always  without  success.  The  conquest 
of  Louisburg  by  the  provincials,  aided  by  the  fleet,  af- 
forded strong  encouragement  for  attempting  the  larger 
enterprise.  With  this  great  design  uppermost  in  his  mind, 
Shirley  made  a  visit  to  Louisburg  after  its  fall,  to  confer 
upon  the  project  with  Pepperell  and  Warren.  In  the  flush 
of  their  late  brilliant  success,  his  views  were  warmly  second- 
ed by  those  officers  ;  and  such  representations  were  made 
to  the  ministers  at  home  as  prevailed  upon  them  to  approve 
the  undertaking.  A  circular  was  accordingly  issued  by  the 
duke  of  Newcastle,  on  the  ninth  of  April,  1746,  directed 
to  the  governors  of  all  the  British  American  colonies, 
south  to  Virginia  inclusive,  requiring  them  to  raise  as  many 
men  as  they  could  spare,  and  form  them  into  companies  of 
one  hundred  each,  to  be  in  readiness  for  taking  the  field. 
The  design  was  to  attack  the  enemy's  territory  simultane- 
ously from  two  directions.  The  New  England  troops,  to 
be  first  in  motion,  were  to  proceed  to  Louisburg,  there  to 
be  joined  by  a  squadron  of  ships  of  war  with  a  large  body 
of  land  forces  from  England.  These  combined  forces  were 
then  to  proceed  south  and  ascend  the  St.  Lawrence  against 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM  JOHNSON,    BART.  191 

Quebec ;  while  the  provincial  troops  of  New  York  and  the  chap. 
other  colonies  upon  which  the  requisition  had  been  made,  - — „ — ■ 
together  with  the  Iroquois  Indians,  provided  they  could  be 1746- 
brought  heartily  into  the  service,  after  being  concentrated 
at  Albany,  were  to  make  a  descent  upon  Crown  Point  and 
Montreal.  The  expedition  from  Louisburg  was  to  be  com- 
manded by  General  Sir  John  St.  Clair,  acting  in  conjunction 
with  Sir  Peter  Warren  and  Governor  Shirley.  The  com- 
mand of  the  other  division  was  committed  to  Brigadier 
General  Gooch,  the  lieutenant-governor  of  Virginia,  who, 
six  years  before,  had  signalized  himself  in  the  unsuccess- 
ful expedition  against  Carthagena.  Sir  William  Pepperell 
and  Sir  Peter  Warren  both  visited  Boston  early  in  the 
spring,  to  confer  jointly  with  Shirley  upon  the  business  of 
the  enterprise  ;l  but  Warren  wag  shortly  ordered  home, 
where,  on  the  fourteenth  day  of  July  he  was  advanced  to 
the  rank  of  rear  admiral  of  the  white.2  His  successor  in 
the  command  of  the  American  squadron,  was  Commodore 
Knowles.  But  this  officer  proposed  remaining  at  Louis- 
burg, so  that  all  the  preparatory  arrangements  devolved 
upon  Shirley.3 

The  project  of  this  formidable  enterprise  had  been  com- 
municated to  the  government  of  New  York  by  Mr.  Shirley, 
as  early  as  the  second  week  in  January,  and  was  received 
with  high  favor.4  The  general  assembly  met  again  on  the 
third  day  of  June,  in  Brooklyn,  being  deterred  from  sitting 
in  the  city  by  the  small-pox.  A  message  from  the  governor 
informed  them  that  during  the  recess  such  had  been  the 
alarming  state  of  affairs  at  the  north,  that  an  additional 
force  of  three  hundred  men  had  been  drafted  from  the  sev- 
eral counties,  and  ordered  to  Albany  for  the  protection  of 

1  Belknap 

*  Charnock. 
3  Belknap. 

*  Smith's  History  says  it  was  approved  by  the  general  assembly  on  the 
twenty-fifth  of  February,  for  which  statement  the  author  had  the  authority 
of  a  message  from  Governor  Clinton  of  June  six ;  but  the  legislative  jour- 
nals do  not  sustain  the  assertion. 


192  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  the  frontier.  The  exigency  had  fully  warranted  such  an 
« — r — i  exercise  of  discretionary  power  on  the  part  of  the  govern- 
1/46  or.  for  the  records  of  the  privy  council  disclose  the  fact 
that  the  most  urgent  letters  for  assistance  had  been  received 
from  the  Indian  commissioners  at  Albany,  in  consequence 
of  the  murders  and  scalpings  perpetrated  in  that  neighbor- 
hood ;  and  on  the  very  day  when  the  legislature  reassem- 
bled, an  account  was  transmitted  from  the  commissioners 
of  a  skirmish  between  some  of  the  northern  settlers  and  a 
party  of  French  and  Indians,  in  which  one  of  the  latter  was 
killed.  The  assembly  readily  voted  the  necessary  supplies 
for  the  exigency,  increasing  the  amount  for  the  support  of 
two  hundred  levies  more  than  had  previously  been  called 
into  service,  thirty  of  whom  were  to  be  stationed  in  Kin- 
derhook,  and  the  residue  between  Albany  and  Schenec- 
tady. Fifty  Indians  were  likewise  to  be  employed  if  they 
could  be  raised  for  the  better  security  of  the  last  mentioned 
town.  But  the  assistance  of  the  Indians  was  doubtful, — 
the  commissioners  having  ascertained  at  an  interview  with 
several  of  their  chiefs  that  they  were  reluctant  to  any  bel- 
ligerent action  until  after  a  grand  council  of  their  warriors 
could  be  held  at  Onondaga.1 

On  the  sixth  day  of  June,  a  message  by  the  hand  of  Mr. 
Goldsborow  Banyar,  who,  four  days  previously,  had  been 
appointed  deputy  secretary  to  the  colony,  required  the 
presence  of  the  assembly  in  the  council-chamber,  where 
the  governor  announced  in  a  speech  the  receipt  of  the  be- 
fore-mentioned circular  from  the  duke  of  Newcastle,  and 
requested  the  cooperation  of  the  legislature  in  all  measures 
necessary  for  a  prompt  and  efficient  prosecution  of  the  in- 
tended campaign.  An  outline  of  the  plan  of  the  intended 
double  invasion  of  the  French  possessions,  has  already  been 
given.  All  needful  information  was  imparted  to  the  as- 
sembly upon  the  subject,  and  a  long  letter  from  the  duke 
of  Newcastle  was  also  laid  before  the  council,  stating  that 
General  St.  Clair  would  sail  from  England  with  five   bat- 

1  Manuscript  records  of  the  council  board. 


LIFE   OJ   Sill   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  193 

tallions  of  regulars,  who  were  to  be  joined   at   LouisburgCtfAp. 
by  two  regiments  more  from  Gibraltar,  and  urging  it  upon  ^^-^ 
the  colony  of  New  York  not  only  to  put  forth  its  utmost 1746' 
strength  upon  the  occasion,  but  if  possible  to  obtain   the 
active  cooperation  of  the  Indians.1 

These  communications  were  received  in  the  best  possible 
spirit,  both  by  the  legislature  and  the  people.  There  was 
indeed  universal  rejoicing  at  the  prospect  of  speedily  crush- 
ing the  power  of  France  in  America, — it  being  evident  to 
all  that  there  could  be  no  permanent  repose  until  that  work 
should  be  accomplished.  In  the  council,  Mr.  Justice  Hors- 
manden  moved  the  address,  and  Mr.  Clarkson  in  the  as- 
sembly, both  of  which  breathed  a  dutiful  degree  of  loyalty, 
and  a  lofty  spirit  of  patriotism.  Especially  did  the  assem- 
bly pledge  itself  that  hearts  and  hands  should  be  employed 
in  the  great  work  proposed,  and  that  its  proceedings  should 
be  conducted  with  such  unanimity  and  despatch  as  should 
attest  their  duty,  loyalty,  and  gratitude  to  his  majesty.  A 
kindred  feeling  prevailed  in  every  direction,  both  with  the 
local  government,  and  the  people.  True  indeed,  the  legis- 
lature of  Massachusetts  had  in  the  outset  manifested  some 
disinclination  to  participate  in  the  enterprise,  burdened  as 
she  was  with  the  debt  incurred  by  the  Louisburg  expedition, 
not  yet  reimbursed  by  the  parent  government  f  but  the  ar- 
guments of  Shirley,  strengthened  by  the  out-breaks  of  the 
Canadian  Indians  upon  their  frontiers,  overcame  their  re- 
luctance, and  all  was  now  enthusiasm  among  the  people, — 
the  New  England  colonies  directing  their  energies  toward 
the  eastern  division  of  the  expedition.  Governor  Hamil- 
ton, of  New  Jersey,  wrote  on  the  second  of  July,  that  that 
little  colony  had  voted  to  raise  five  hundred  men  for  the 
enterprise,  and  a  contribution  of  two  thousand  pounds  for 
the  military  chest.  General  Gooch  wrote  from  Virginia, 
enclosing  a  bill  of  exchange  of  three  hundred  pounds,  with 

1  Graham's  History  of  North  America. 
a  Manuscript  records  of  the  council  board. 
25 


194  LIFE   OF   SIE   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  directions  that  it  be  applied  to  the  purchase  of  presents  for 

—^  the  Indians.1 

1746.  Mr.  Horsmanden,  from  a  committee  of  the  privy  coun- 
cil, appointed  to  consider  and  report  as  to  the  best  measures 
to  be  adopted  in  furtherance  of  the  great  enterprise,  made 
an  elaborate  report  on  the  thirteenth  of  June.  The  active 
cooperation  of  the  Six  Nations  was  regarded  by  the  commit- 
tee as  an  object  of  high  moment ;  to  secure  which  the  com- 
missioners at  Albany  were  advised  to  dispatch  an  interpret- 
er, with  two  assistants,  into  the  Indian  country,  to  dance  the 
war  dance  among  them  by  way  of  rekindling  a  military 
spirit,  especially  with  the  young  warriors ;  and  also  to  in- 
vite the  chiefs  and  prominent  warriors  of  the  entire  confede- 
racy to  meet  the  governor  in  a  grand  council,  to  be  holden 
at  an  early  day  in  Albany.  Presents  were  likewise  recom- 
mended upon  a  liberal  scale,  to  be  given,  not  as  compen- 
sation, but  as  incentives  to  action, — the  Indians  always  fight- 
ing for  honor,  and  scouting  the  idea  of  going  upon  the 
war-path  for  pay.2 

Four  days  afterward,  the  house  of  assembly  asked  of  the 
council  a  committee  of  conference  for  the  purpose  of  joint 
deliberation  upon  the  condition  of  the  colony.  The  request 
was  acceded  to ;  and  every  branch  of  the  government  unit- 
ed heart  and  hand  in  every  possible  measure  for  advancing 
the  grand  design.3  An  act  was  promptly  passed  the  more 
effectually  to  prevent  the  exportation  of  provisions  and  war- 
like stores.  In  order  to  the  descent  upon  Crown  Point  and 
Montreal,  a  fleet  of  bateaux  was  essential  for  the  naviga- 
tion of  Lakes  George  and  Champlain.  Stephen  Bayard  and 
Edward  Holland,  members  of  the  council,  were  deputed 
to  superintend  the  building  of  the  bateaux.  They  report- 
ed on  the  sixth  of  July  that  the  ship-builders  had  all  refused 

1  Manuscript  council  minutes. 

a  Ibid. 

3  The  committee  on  the  part  of  the  council  consisted  of  Chief  Justice  De 
Lancey,  and  Messrs.  Van  Courtlandt,  Horsmanden,  Murray,  and  More.  The 
chief  justice,  however,  seems  to  have  acted  no  very  efficient  part  during  the 
■whole  year, —  for  reasons  which  will  appear  hereafter. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  195 

to  perform  the  work,  under  the  pretext  that  they  were  em- chap. 
ployed  in  the  execution  of  prior  engagements.  This  con-  v-^ 
duct  of  the  naval  architects  formed  an  exception  to  the  1746- 
general  disposition  of  the  people ;  and  a  bill  was  forthwith 
introduced,  and  expeditiously  passed  into  a  law,  authorizing 
the  impressment  into  the  public  service,  of  all  ship  and 
house-carpenters,  joiners,  sawyers,  and  their  several  ser- 
vants, and  all  other  artificers  and  laborers  whose  assistance 
might  be  required  for  the  state,  together  with  horses, 
wagons,  and  whatsoever  else  might  be  required  to  forward 
the  expedition.1  Resolutions  were  adopted  allowing  a 
bounty  of  six  pounds  for  the  enlistment  of  each  able-bodied 
man  into  the  king's  service,  over  and  above  his  pay ;  six 
thousand  pounds  were  appropriated  for  the  purchase  of  pro- 
visions for  the  colony's  levies  ;  three  hundred  men  were  by 
law  directed  to  be  detached  for  the  army  from  the  city  of 
Albany ;  and  to  cover  the  expense  of  these  and  other 
appropriations  demanded  by  the  exigence,  a  tax  of  forty 
thousand  pounds  was  imposed  upon  the  real  and  personal 
estate  of  the  colony,  and  an  emission  of  bills  of  credit  au- 
thorized to  enable  the  government  to  anticipate  the  avails 
of  the  tax.  Indeed  the  general  assembly  hesitated  at  no 
appropriation  that  was  required,  save  for  the  Indian  service, 
and  for  the  transportation  of  troops  and  military  stores.  In 
respect  to  the  latter,  they  refused  to  advance  money  to  the 
crown,  even  upon  loan,  preferring  to  raise  it  by  bills  of  ex- 
change,— "  a  hint  which  Mr.  Clinton  improved  greatly  to 
his  own  emolument."2  With  respect  to  the  Indian  service, 
they  conceived  that  inasmuch  as  the  grand  council  which 
the  governor  had  already  summoned  at  Albany,  pursuant 
to  the  recommendation  of  his  privy  council,  was  to  be  con- 
vened for  the  common  benefit  of  all  the  exposed  colonies, 
they  ought  all  to  contribute  toward  the  heavy  expenses  to 
be  incurred,  not  in  presents  only,  but  for  their  clothing, 
arms  and  subsistence.     Toward  these  objects  Virginia  had 

1  Journals  of  the  legislative  council. 
*  Smith,  vol.  ii,  p.  99. 


196  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  already  made  a  handsome  remittance ;  but  Connecticut  and 

» — ; — -  Pennsylvania  had  declined  making  any  contribution  ;  and  by 

1746.  a  message  0f  the  ninth  of  July,  Governor  Clinton  informed 

the  assembly  that  no  answers  had  been  received  from  the 

other  colonies  to  the  applications  addressed  to  them  upon 

the  subject. 

Nevertheless  the  means  for  holding  the  council  were  not 
wanting  ;  and  having  in  these  matters  discharged  its  duties 
to  the  public  service,  the  assembly  closed  its  session  on  the 
fifteenth  of  July.  Not,  however,  until  after  a  joint  address 
of  the  two  houses  had  been  votedtothe  king,  congratulating 
his  majesty  upon  the  defeat  of  the  rebels  engaged  in  the 
cause  of  the  Pretender,  by  the  army  under  the  duke  of 
Cumberland.1  The  mover  of  the  resolution  for  this  address 
was  the  chief  justice ;  but  the  journals  disclose  the  unusual 
circumstance,  that  he  was  not  placed  at  the  head  of  the 
committee,  which  was  organized  thus — Philip  Livingston, 
Chief  Justice  DeLancey,  and  Mr.  Justice  Horsmanden. 
The  active  labor  seems  to  have  been  performed  by  the  latter. 
Meantime  great  apprehension  prevailed  in  New  England 
at  the  inaction  of  the  parent  government,  from  which  much 
had  been  promised,  and  more  was  expected,  and  without 
whose  powerful  cooperation  an  enterprise  so  vast  as  that 

1  The  battle  of  Culloden.  The  young  Prince,  Charles  Edward,  called  the 
Pretender,  having  defeated  the  royal  forces  under  Sir  John  Cope  at  Preston- 
pans,  had  penetrated  a  short  distance  into  England  ;  but  finding  the  people 
unanimous  against  him,  he  was  compelled  to  fall  back  rapidly  into  Scotland. 
On  his  return  he  routed  General  Hawley  at  Falkirk,  but  the  approach  of  the 
duke  of  Cumberland  put  an  end  to  his  triumph.  He  retreated  before  the 
royal  army,  and  at  last  the  hostile  forces  met  in  the  field  of  Culloden  to  de- 
cide the  fate  of  the  kingdom.  The  Scotch  fought  with  accustomed  bravery ^ 
but  the  English  prevailed,  and  the  unfortunate  youth  escaped  with  difficulty 
from  the  battle  where  he  left  three  thousand  of  his  misguided  adherents 
dead.  Though  a  large  reward  was  offered  for  the  head  of  the  illustrious 
fugitive,  who  had  thus  to  combat  against  want  and  temptation,  yet  the 
peasants  of  Scotland  pitied  his  misfortunes,  and  even  those  of  his  enemies 
who  were  acquainted  with  his  retreat^kept  inviolate  the  fatal  secret,  and 
while  they  condemned  his  ambition,  commiserated  his  distresses.  He  at  last 
escaped  to  St.  Maloes,  and  never  again  revisited  the  British  dominions, — 
dying  at  Florence  in  178& 


'  *-*»,,.  »m  «.  t»¥"L 


e^*** 


CHARLES   EDWARD    STITAJRT. 


T1IK     YOl'NO     PRKTENDJSR. 


LIFE  OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  197 

which  had  been  projected,  could  not  within  themselves  be  chap. 
carried  forward  by  the  colonies.  It  has  been  already  stated  wv_. 
that  eight  battalions  of  regular  troops  had  been  promised  1746- 
by  the  parent  government,  to  rendezvous  at  Louisburg. 
The  ministers  had  not  specified  the  contingent  of  troops 
required  from  the  respective  colonies,  contenting  themselves 
by  announcing  the  wish  of  the  king  that  the  total  levies 
should  not  fall  short  of  five  thousand  men  ;l  but,  fired  with 
ambition  to  preserve  the  laurels  they  had  won  at  Cape  Bre- 
ton, the  provinces  vied  with  each  other  in  putting  forth 
their  strength  for  the  achievement  of  a  yet  greater  exploit, 
and  the  forces  embodied  with  alacrity  exceeded  by  far  the 
expectations  entertained  at  home.  New  Hampshire  voted 
to  raise  one  thousand  men,  and  more  if  they  could  be  en- 
listed— with  a  bounty  of  thirty  pounds  currency  and  a 
blanket  to  each  recruit.2  Of  this  number  eight  hundred 
were  ready  for  embarkation  by  the  first  of  July.  Mas- 
sachusetts voted  three  thousand  five  hundred  men ;  Con. 
necticut  one  thousand ;  and  Rhode  Island  three  hundred. 
But  such  was  the  spirit  of  the  people  that  a  yet  larger  num- 
ber were  actually  enlisted.  These  all  were  destined  for 
Louisburg,  and  thence  for  the  assault  of  Quebec.  For  the 
forces  to  be  directed  upon  Crown  Point  and  Montreal,  New 
York  raised  sixteen  hundred  men ;  New  Jersey  five  hun- 
dred ;  Pennsylvania  four  hundred,  though  not  by  the  act 
of  its  Quaker  government,  but  by  a  popular  act  unsanctioned 
by  its  executive ;  Maryland  three  hundred ;  and  Virginia 
one  hundred  ; — making  the  grand  total  of  provincials  eight 
thousand  two  hundred.  But  of  the  promised  assistance 
from  England,  two  regiments,  only  were  sent ;  and  these 
from  Gibraltar,  to  relieve  the  New  England  men  who  had 
garrisoned  Louisburg  from  the  clay  of  the  conquest.  Of 
other  reinforcements  none  came ;  neither  the  general  who 
was  to  command ;  nor  fleet ;  nor  orders.     The  New  Eng- 

1  Grahame. 

?  Belknap  states  the  number  thus  ;  but  Hutchinson,  in  a  note,  affirms  that 
New  Hampshire   voted  to  raise  only  five  hundred. 


198  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  land  levies  were  mustered  and  prepared  for  embarkation,—- 
v-^ — ,  the  transport  vessels,  moreover,  being  in  readiness  to  receive 
1746-  them.  But  their  ardor,  after  weeks  of  cruel  suspense,  was 
doomed  to  a  sad  disappointment  by  the  inaction  of  minis- 
ters. Admiral  "Warren,  after  his  visit  with  Pepperell  to 
Boston  for  consultation  with  Mr.  Shirley,  had  sailed  for 
England.  It  was  now  mid-summer,  and  neither  troops  nor 
tidings  arriving  from  home,  it  was  evident  that  the  season 
was  already  too  far  advanced  to  allow  the  farther  prosecu- 
tion of  that  branch  of  the  expedition  destined  against  Que- 
bec ;  since  it  was  impossible  that  a  fleet  could  now  reach 
Louisburg  from  England  in  season  to  justify  an  attempt  to 
ascend  the  St.  Lawrence.  Under  these  circumstances,  al- 
though not  without  deep  chagrin,  that  important  feature 
of  the  enterprise  was  abandoned.  The  strange  inaction  of 
the  parent  government  on  that  occasion,  has  been  variously, 
though  never  satisfactorily  accounted  for.  That  a  feeling 
of  jealousy  at  the  growing  strength  of  the  colonies,  was 
awakened  in  England  by  the  conquest  of  Louisburg,  had 
been  apparent  almost  from  the  moment  of  its  fall ;  and  co- 
temporary  politicians  were  not  wanting,  who  attributed  the 
inaction  of  1746  to  a  feeling  on  the  part  of  ministers,  that 
it  might  after  all  be  as  well  to  allow  Canada  unconquered 
to  remain  as  a  check  upon  its  young  and  vigorous  Anglo- 
Saxon  neighbor.  The  excuse  offered,  has  been,  that  min- 
isters had  reason  to  suspect  that  the  armament  which  the 
French  were  ostensibly  preparing  for  the  reconquest  of 
Cape  Breton,  and  possibly  for  the  invasion  of  some  of  the 
English  colonies,  was  in  reality  intended  for  the  invasion 
of  Great  Britain  itself.1  Be.  all  this  as  it  may,  it  was  still 
believed  that  by  uniting  the  Eastern  levies  with  the  forces 
collecting  in  New  York  for  a  descent  upon  Crown  Point,  a 
combined  movement  might  be  made  in  that  direction  which 
could  not  well  fail  of  success.  The  ISTew  England  forces 
were  accordingly  directed  to  hold  themselves  in  readiness 
to  concentrate  upon  Albany. 

1  Grahame. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  199 

But  this  scheme  in  its  turn,   was  disconcerted,  and  the  chap. 

'  v. 

anticipated   march  for  Albany  was   arrested  by  serious  *-^—/ 

alarms  from  the  opposite  direction.  It  was  known  that 1746- 
France  had  been  making  great  preparations, — not,  as  some 
have  affected  to  believe,  for  the  invasion  of  England,  but 
for  the  recovery  of  Louisburg,  and  the  conquest  of  Nova 
Scotia, — with  the  ulterior  design,  as  was  apprehended,  of 
ravaging  the  sea  coasts  of  the  English  colonies,  from  An- 
napolis-Royal to'  Georgia.1  The  vigilance  with  which 
Rochelle,  where  the  preparations  were  making,  had  been 
watched  by  the  English,  had  not  prevented  the  enemy's 
fleet  from  getting  to  sea,  which  it  succeeded  in  accomplish- 
ing on  the  twenty-second  of  June.  And  although  the 
English  fleet,  destined  for  the  interception  of  the  French, 
and  also  for  Louisburg,  had  put  to  sea  several  times,  it  had 
been  driven  back  as  many,  being  utterly  unable  to  get  to 
the  westward.  It  was  commanded  by  Lestock,  an  admiral 
in  whom,  certainly,  no  great  confidence  ought  to  have  been 
reposed.  The  fleet  of  the  French  was  commanded  by  the 
Count  D'Anville,  numbering,  as  it  was  affirmed,  seventy 
sail,  fourteen  of  which  were  ships  of  the  line ;  thirty  were 
men  of  war  of  a  smaller  size ;  the  remainder  of  the  force, 
consisting  of  fire-ships,  bombs,  tenders,  and  transports  for 
eight  thousand  troops,2  "  and  a  formidable  apparatus  of 
artillery  and  military  stores."3  In  anticipation  of  D'An- 
ville's  arrival,  accounts  were  received  in  Boston  that  a 
French  officer  named  Ramsay,  had  collected  a  force  of 
seventeen  hundred  Canadian  troops  and  Indians,  to  coope- 
rate with  the  French  admiral,  which  force  was  even  then 
threatening  Annapolis-Royal,  while  the  Acadians  were 
also  known  to  be  rife  for  a  revolt.  In  order,  therefore,  to 
prevent  the  loss  of  Nova  Scotia,  the  orders  for  marching 
to  Albany  were  countermanded,  and  the  troops  directed 

1  Hutchinson. 
» Ibid. 

s  Grahame.  This  author  greatly  reduces  the  number  of  disciplined 
troops  on  board  D'Anville's  fleet,  from  the  statement  of  Hutchinson  and 
other  provincial  historians — making  it  no  more  than  three  thousand. 


200  LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  to  embark  for  Annapolis.  Before,  however,  the  embarka- 
v_v — !  tion  had  actually  taken  place,  news  of  D' Anville's  arrival 
174^  at  Chebucto  Bay  in  Nova  Scotia  was  received,  and  the 
whole  country  was  thereby  thrown  into  a  state  of  conster- 
nation. "  England  was  not  more  alarmed  by  the  Spanish 
Armada  in  1588,  than  Boston  and  the  other  North  Ameri- 
can sea  ports  were  by  the  arrival  of  this  fleet  in  their  neigh- 
borhood."1 It  was  not  supposed  that  so  formidable  an  arma- 
ment as  that  of  D'Anville,  to  equip  which  the  whole  power 
of  France  had  been  exerted  for  many  months,  could  be 
destined  alone  against  Louisburg.  A  recapture  of  that 
important  post  would  only  be  the  prelude  to  a  sweeping- 
attack  upon  the  entire  sea-board ;  and  feeling  themselves 
neglected,  if  not  deserted  by  the  parent  government,  as 
though  willing  to  see  the  colonies  sacrificed,  all  thoughts 
of  sending  away  any  of  their  forces  were  at  once  aban- 
doned. Shirley  was  a  man  of  energy,  enjoying  in  a  high 
degree  the  confidence  of  the  people ;  and  he  bore  himself 
in  the  crisis  in  a  manner  worthy  of  his  position  and  his 
character.  The  first  intelligence  of  D'Anville's  arrival 
upon  the  coast,  had  filled  the  public  mind,  wearied  and 
discouraged  by  the  disappointments  of  the  season,  with 
dismay.  But  the  elasticity  of  the  New  England  character 
was  soon  manifested  by  the  return  of  all  the  courage 
and  resolution  necessary  to  enable  its  possessors  to  look 
danger  in  the  face  and  to  meet  it.  Under  the  lead  of 
Shirley,  therefore,  inspired  by  his  example,  the  whole  en- 
ergies of  New  England  were  immediately  directed  to  the 
<.  now  paramount  object  of  self-defence, — to  which  end  all 
hands  were  at  once  engaged  in  putting  the  country  in  the 
most  commanding  attitude.  The  troops  which  had  been 
destined,  first  for  a  descent  upon  Canada  and  next  for  the 
defence  of  Nova  Scotia,  found  sufficient  employment  at 
home,  as  a  matter  of  course,  in  strengthening  the  defences 
of  the  coast,  by  repairing  dilapidated  forts  and  building 
new  ones.     Nor  were  they  left  to  labor  with  unaugmented 

1  Hutchinson. 


LIFE   OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  201 

numbers.     The  militia   spontaneously    left   their  homes,  chap. 
and  their  ripening  harvests,  seized  their  arms,  and  within  wv_/ 
a   few   days,   to  the  number  of  more  than  six  thousand, 1746- 
marched   into   Boston,   while   an  additional  six  thousand 
more  were  promised  from  Connecticut  in  the  event  of  an 
actual  invasion.1 

Governor  Clinton  had  appointed  the  twentieth  of  July 
as  the  day  for  meeting  the  Six  Nations  in  council  at  Alba- 
ny. He  arrived  there  himself  on  the  twenty-first ;  but  as 
the  city  was  afflicted  with  small-pox,  and  also  at  the  same 
time  with  a  malignant  bilious  fever,  his  excellency,  not 
having  had  the  former  disease,  deferred  his  landing  until 
the  following  day, — not  making  it  then  in  the  town  but 
at  the  fort.  Whether  the  governor's  quarrel  with  De- 
Lancey,  had  or  had  not  served  to  alienate  from  him  any 
other  members  of  the  council,  does  not  appear ;  and  the 
fact  that  the  latter  could  prevail  upon  none  of  its  members 
to  accompany  him  to  Albany,  excepting  Doctor  Colden 
and  Mr.  Livingston,  is  left  unexplained.  Major  Ruther- 
ford of  the  council  being  already  at  Albany  in  the  dis- 
charge of  his  military  duties,  enabled  the  governor,  though 
with  the  smallest  number  allowed  by  his  majesty's  com- 
mission, to  form  a  council  board  for  the  transaction  of 
business. 

The  cause  of  DeLancey's  quarrel  with  the  governor, 
has  been  attributed  to  his  own  native  arrogance ;  to  an 
overweening  family  pride,  engendered  by  the  elevation  of 
his  brother-in-law,  Sir  Peter  Warren ;  and  also  to  his  reli- 
ance upon  the  patronage  of  his  former  tutor,  Doctor  Har- 
ris, bishop  of  York,  who  was  soon  afterward  elevated  to 
the  archbishopric  of  Canterbury.1  On  his  arrival  in  the 
colony,  Mr.  Clinton  had  found  the  chief  justice  omnipo- 
tent with  the  assembly,  and  being  himself  fond  of  his 
ease,  and  caring  more  for  the  emoluments  than  for  the 
glory  of    official    station,  the  governor    had   to   a  great 

2  Smith, — who  makes  Doctor  Harris  at  this  time  archbishop  of  Canterbury, 
which  is  not  correct.  Dr.  H.  was  not  advanced  to  the  primacy  until  the 
following  year,  1747. 

26 


202  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  extent  yeilded  the  direction  of  the  government  to  this 
•«_Y_>  ambitious  minister.  Every  thing  went  smoothly  enough 
1746.  "between  them,  until  after  the  governor  in  a  moment  of  in- 
caution,  had  renewed  DeLancy's  commission  as  chief  jus- 
tice, during  good  behavior, — or,  in  other  words,  for  life. 
"  He  now  began  to  dictate  rather  than  to  advise.  Dining 
one  day  with  Mr.  Clinton,  and  insisting  upon  some  favor- 
ite point  with  great  imperiousness,  the  governor,  who 
had  so  long  suffered  himself  to  be  led,  refused  on  this  oc- 
casion to  be  driven.  The  chief  justice  then  arose  and  left 
him  ;  declaring,  with  an  oath,  that  he  would  make  his  ad- 
ministration uneasy  for  the  future.  His  excellency  replied 
he  might  do  his  worst.  Thus  they  parted,  nor  were  they 
ever  afterward  reconciled."1  The  governor's  confidence 
was  immediately  transferred  to  Doctor  Colden,  in  whom 
it  was  reposed  to  the  end  of  his  administration. 

But  notwithstanding  the  preparations  made  in  anticipa- 
tion of  his  arrival,  the  governor  found  no  Indians  at  Alba- 
ny to  meet  him,  save  two  straggling  Onondagas,  and  one 
Oneida  warrior;  all  three  of  whom  had  arrived  on  the 
same  day  with  his  excellency,  from  the  north,  bringing 
with  them  two  French  scalps  which  they  had  boldly  taken 
at  the  very  gate  of  Fort  St.  Frederick — Crown  Point.  On 
presenting  these  trophies  to  the  governor,  the  leader  of 
the  party  made  a  formal  speech,  as  belligerent  as  could  be 
desired,  declaring  that  the  murders  committed  by  the 
French  had  been  suffered  to  remain  unavenged  until  his 

*See  Letter  to  a  Nobleman,  being  a  review  of  the  military  operations 
in  North  America  from  1753  to  1756,  the  authorship  of  which  was  attributed 
to  Governor  Livingston,  of  New  Jersey,  and  his  friends  Messrs.  Smith  and 
Scott,  lawyers,  of  New  York.  Smith  has  since  been  known  as  the  historian 
of  New  York  ;  and  the  coincidences  between  portions  of  this  letter  and  pas- 
sages of  his  history,  are  so  numerous  and  striking,  as  to  warrant  the  con- 
clusion that  he  must  have  shared  in  writing  the  former.  The  letter,  which 
is  long,  may  be  found  in  the  fourth  volume  of  Mass.  Hist,  Collections. 

Still  in  forming  an  estimate  of  the  character  of  Mr.  DeLancey,  as  well  as 
of  other  individuals  mentioned  in  this  letter,  great  allowance  should  be 
made  for  the  intense  political  rancor  which  its  authors  cherished  against  the 
personages  therein  assailed. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  208 

heart  could  bear  it  no  longer ;  and  lie  had  therefore  him-  chap. 
self  determined  to  open  for  his  brethren  the  path  of  re-  ^—y— 
venge.  The  scalps  had  been  taken  at  noon-day,  within  two  1/46- 
hundred  steps  of  the  fort.  The  report  of  their  guns 
startled  the  garrison,  and  a  party  of  soldiers  sallied  forth 
in  pursuit ;  but  having  forgotten  their  arms  in  their  haste, 
and  being  consequently  obliged  to  run  back  after  them, 
the  Indians  were  enabled  to  make  good  their  retreat. 
They  were  each  rewarded  with  strouds  and  a  laced  hat, — 
the  leader  receiving  in  addition  a  line  laced  coat  and  a 
silver  breast-plate.  The  governor  at  the  chief  warrior's 
suggestion  favored  him  with  a  new  name,  signifying  The- 
opener-of-the-jpath.  Proud  of  his  distinction,  the  warrior 
then  informed  his  excellency  that  his  two  associates,  to- 
gether with  a  River  Indian,  were  going  upon  the  war-path 
again ;  and  were  it  not  that  he  supposed  he  could  render 
better  service  in  the  council,  he  should  go  against  the 
enemy  with  them.1  No  other  Indians  having  arrived  to 
meet  the  governor,  and  the  reports  from  the  interpreters 
who  had  been  sent  to  the  cantons  of  the  Six  Nations 
being  exceedingly  discouraging,  the  Path-opener,  who 
proved  to  be  a  very  faithful  fellow,  volunteered  upon  an 
embassy  to  bring  the  Indians  to  the  council  himself,  not 
doubting  that  he  should  to  a  considerable  extent  be  suc- 
cessful. 

For  nearly  a  month  the  prospect  of  procuring  a  general 
attendance  of  the  Indians,  was  discouraging.  Within  a 
day  or  two  of  the  incident  just  recorded,  another  party  of 
six  or  seven  Indians,  previously  sent  by  the  commissioners 
of  Indian  affairs  to  lurk  about  in  the  vicinity  of  Crown 
Point,  returned  without  having  met  with  any  success,  and 
with  the  loss  of  two  of  their  number,  made  prisoners  by 
the  enemy.  One  of  these,  however,  had  been  released 
through  the  interposition  of  the  Caughnawagas  in  the  ser- 
vice of  the  French.  It  was  the  impression  of  these  spies 
that  the  enemy  was  strong  at  Fort  St.  Frederick,  both  in 

1  Minutes  of  the  council  board. 


204  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  regular  troops  and  Indians.  This  unpleasant  intelligence 
« — » — '  was  confirmed  very  soon  afterward  by  the  return  froin  the 
7  6*  same  region,  of  a  party  of  sixteen  Mohawks,  who  had 
been  sent  thither  to  reconnoitre  the  enemy's  works  by  Mr. 
Johnson, — whose  active  agency  in  the  Indian  department 
was  now  about  first  to  be  brought  into  requisition.  These 
Indians  added  the  expression  of  their  belief,  from  the  ex- 
tent of  the  enemy's  preparations  at  Crown  Point,  that  an 
expedition  was  on  foot  against  Schenectady  and  the  white 
settlements  farther  up  the  Mohawk  valley,  and  possibly 
against  Albany  itself.  These  reports  were  strengthened 
by  letters  from  Mr.  Johnson  to  the  governor,  and  also  by 
advices  frOm  the  officer  commanding  the  small  English 
garrison  kept  in  the  Mohawk  country.  Mr.  Clinton,  how- 
ever, attached  less  importance  to  these  reports  than  those 
did  who  communicated  them  ;  believing  them  to  have  been 
sent  abroad  by  the  French  to  deter  the  Indians  from  gather- 
ing in  the  council  at  Albany.  He  thus  wrote  to  Johnson  ; 
endeavoring  at  the  same  time,  by  the  offer  of  liberal  re- 
wards, to  persuade  the  last  mentioned  Indian  party  to  re- 
turn to  the  neighborhood  of  Crown  Point,  but  without  suc- 
cess,— the  Indians  insisting  that  they  must  return  to  their 
homes,  to  inform  their  relatives  and  friends  of  what  they 
had  heard  and  seen.  Mr.  Johnson  likewise  thought  there 
were  serious  grounds  for  alarm  ;  writing  to  the  governor 
that  the  white  settlers  for  twenty  miles  above  him,  and  be- 
low to  Schenectady,  had  deserted  the  country.  Of  his  own 
property  in  jeopardy,  he  had  eleven  thousand  bushels  of 
wheat  and  other  grain  ;  and  he  asked  the  favor  of  a  small 
detachment  of  troops  for  his  protection.  A  lieutenant  and 
thirty  men  were  immediately  sent  to  him  ;  and  a  company 
of  militia  was  likewise  added  to  the  upper  Mohawk  castle 
to  assist  the  Indians  in  adding  to  the  strength  of  that  de- 
fence.1 It  will  appear  in  the  course  of  the  present  chapter 
that  the  apprehensions  of  an  invasion  from  Fort  St.  Frede- 

1  Manuscript  correspondence  of  Clinton  and  Johnson. 


LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSOV,    BART.  205 

rick,  were  not  altogether  idle,  although  it  did  not  take  ex-  chap. 
actly  the  anticipated  direction.  ««, ^. . 

But  the  Six  Nations  came  not  to  the  council,  and  the 1746- 
summer  was  wearing  rapidly  away  ;  while,  to  increase  the 
embarrassment  of  Mr.  Clinton,  the  proposition  from  Gov- 
ernor Shirley  for  an  immediate  expedition  against  Crown 
Point  had  been  acceded  to  on  the  fourth  of  August,  and  the 
information  of  a  change  in  Shirley's  purpose,  rendered  im- 
perative by  the  threatened  invasion  of  the  seaboard  by  the 
French,  had  not  been  received  at  Albany.  The  prospect 
was  indeed  far  from  cheering  in  many  respects.  The  storm 
of  war  lowered  darkly  in  the  northern  horizon.  A  com- 
pany of  rangers,  belonging  to  Albany,  enrolled  for  the  ex- 
press purpose  of  traversing  the  frontier  to  watch  the  move- 
ments of  the  enemy,  notwithstanding  the  danger  that 
threatened  their  own  fire-sides,  refused  to  go  again  upon 
duty  unless  the  governor  would  become  personally  responsi- 
ble for  their  pay,  at  the  rate  of  three  shillings  each  per 
diem,  and  also  for  their  subsistence.  Indignant  at  their 
conduct,  and  believing  that  men  thus  mercenary,  when  even 
their  own  family  altars  were  in  jeopardy,  could  not  be  safe- 
ly trusted,  Mr.  Clinton  accepted  the  services,  voluntarily 
tendered,  of  Captains  Langdon  and  Tiebout,  with  their  re- 
spective companies  of  new  levies.  A  few  of  the  reluctant 
Albanians  were  taken  as  guides  for  these  generous  volun- 
teers ;  but  whenever  any  signs  of  hostile  Indians  were  dis- 
covered, the  heroic  guides  were  sure,  either  by  discharging 
their  guns,  or  by  making  other  noises,  to  give  the  alarm 
and  enable  the  foe  to  escape  ; — thus  avoiding  the  danger 
themselves,  but  at  the  same  time  defeating  the  purpose  in 
view.  The  temper  of  the  Six  Nations,  with  a  few  individ- 
ual exceptions,  was  bad,  and  apparently  growing  worse.1 
Notwithstanding  the  unwearied  efforts  of  the  English  to 

1  Dunlop  in  quoting  Colden,  in  regard  to  the  discontents  among  the  Six 
Nations  at  this  time,  says  :  "  It  was  owing  to  the  misconduct,  of  those  who 
were  entrusted  by  the  government  with  the  management  of  Indian  affairs  ;  " 
adding:  "  The  Indian  agent  was  Mr.  Johnson.  "  It  was  not  so.  Johnson's 
appointment  to  that  agency  took  place  afterward. 


206  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  counteract  the  influence  of  the  Jesuit  missionaries  among 
w v — s  them,  yet  those  crafty  ecclesiastics  had  obtained  a  hold  upon 
1746.  their  affections,  which  it  seemed  all  but  impossible  to  break ; 
and  fresh  evidences  were  received  by  the  governor,  almost 
daily,  disclosing  the  unwelcome  fact  that  the  Iroquois,  if 
not  again  balancing  which  side  of  the  contest  to  espouse, 
were  more  strongly  than  ever  resolved  upon  maintaining 
an  attitude  of  neutrality.  The  messengers  dispatched  to 
the  Indian  country,  to  persuade  them  to .  attend  the  coun- 
cil, had  met  with  very  indifferent  success.  One  of  them 
had  fallen  sick  by  the  way.  Several  of  the  influential  chiefs 
had  again  been  visiting  Canada,  and  were  in  full  commu- 
nication with  the  Caughnawagas  of  the  St.  Lawrence. 
These  were  active  in  preventing  the  convocation.  The 
messengers  had  passed  thirteen  days  among  the  Oneidas 
without  making  any  perceptible  impression  ;  and  the  Cay- 
ugas  met  the  governor's  invitation  at  first  with  a  flat  re- 
fusal. The  Mohawks,  living  in  the  closest  proximity  to 
the  English,  were  for  a  considerable  time  equally  reluctant 
to  join  in  the  council,  and  several  of  the  chiefs  at  the  upper 
castle  peremptorily  refused ;  nor  in  all  candor  can  it  be  de- 
nied that  their  reasons  at  once  attested  their  political  sa- 
gacity and  the  soundness  of  their  judgment.  "  It  was,  " 
they  said,  "  a  war  between  the  Englsh  and  the  French,  in 
which  the  Indians  had  no  interest.  Those  nations  could 
at  any  time  make  peace ;  but  it  was  not  so  with  the  Indians. 
Once  involved  in  the  war,  they  could  not  make  up  the  quar- 
rel among  themselves,  but  must  continue  the  contest  until 
one  or  the  other  party  was  destroyed."  These  views  were 
encouraged  by  the  emissaries  of  the  French,  who,  entertain- 
ing little  expectation  of  being  able  to  engage  the  Iroquois 
upon  their  own  side,  were  content  to  urge  them  strongly  to 
neutrality.  "  It  is  your  interest,  "  artfully  said  the  Jesuits, 
"  not  to  suffer  either  the  French  or  the  English  to  be  abso- 
lute masters,  for  in  that  case,  your  slavery  to  one  or  the 
other,  will  be  inevitable.  "  Yet  it  was  not  doubted  that 
some  of  the  chiefs  had  been  gained  entirely  to  the  French, 


LIFE   OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  207 

and  were  even  then  ready  to  strike  the  heads  of  the  Eng-  chap. 
lish.  -3^ 

It  was  in  this  critical  exigency  that  Mr.  Clinton  determined  1746- 
to  avail  himself,  in  the  Indian  department,  of  the  services  of 
Mr.  Johnson, — services,  for  the  discharge,  of  which  he  was 
already  exceedingly  well  qualified  from  the  intimate  know- 
ledge he  had  acquired  of  their  language,  their  character  and 
customs,  and  also  from  the  confidence  they  reposed  in  him, 
and  his  consequent  extensive  popularity  among  them. 
These  qualifications  of  Mr.  Johnson  for  that  delicate 
branch  of  the  public  service  were  well  known  to  Mr.  Clin- 
ton ;  and  inasmuch  as  Colonel  Schuyler,  son  of  the  cele- 
brated Quider,  and  head  of  the  board  of  Indian  com- 
missioners at  Albany,  had  espoused  the  side  of  DeLancey 
in  his  opposition  to  the  governor,  while  Johnson  had 
manifested  a  disposition  to  sustain  the  latter,  the  road  to 
preferment  was  already  open.1  Indeed  there  seems  to  have 
been  a  serious  misunderstanding  between  the  governor  and 
the  Indian  commissioners  several  months  before,  the  latter 
having  written  to  his  excellency  on  the  seventeenth  of 
the  previous  April,  that "  as  their  proceedings  give  so  little 
satisfaction  to  him,  they  beg  to  be  excused  from  any  farther 
trouble."2  Mr.  Johnson,  therefore,  already  a  correspond- 
ent and  a  favorite  of  the  governor,  now  succeeded  Colo- 
nel Schuyler  in  the  management  of  the  Indians  ;  although 
the  sincere  affection  of  the  latter  for  the  family  of  their 
old  friend  Quider,  continued  long  afterward.  It  is  from 
this  point,  that  the  long  official  career  of  the  young  Irish 
adventurer,  William  Johnson, — a  career  equally  brilliant 
and  honorable, — takes  its  date. 

The  commissioners  having  neglected  to  send  messages 
to  the  ^Esopus  and  Minisink  Indians — tribes  inconsidera- 
ble and  not  very  reliable, — and  also  to  the  clans  dispersed 
along  the  upper  Susquehanna  and  its  tributaries, — on  the 

>  Smith. 

2  Manuscript  letter  preserved  in  the  minutes  of  the  council. 


208  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  fourth  of  August  interpreters  with  suitable  belts  were  dis- 
«^v_-  patched  to  those  scatterred  peoples.  Meantime  a  change 
174G-  favorable  to  the  wishes  of  the  English  had  been  produced 
among  the  Senecas  from  an  unexpected  quarter.  It  hap- 
pened that  while  the  messengers  of  the  governor  were 
among  the  Senecas,  a  party  of  twenty  Chickasaws  arrived 
at  their  castle,  with  a  request  "  that  the  Senecas  would 
show  them  the  way  into  Canada."  The  Chickasaws  had 
always  been  enemies  to  the  French  ;  and  an  expedition  of 
five  hundred  men  sent  against  them  from  Canada,  four 
years  before,  had  been  defeated  in  the  Chickasaw  country, 
almost  to  annihilation.  These  young  envoys  referred  to 
the  subject  in  a  manner  characteristic  of  the  race.  Ad- 
dressing the  Senecas,  they  said: — "Four  years  ago  the 
French  had  been  so  kind  as  to  visit  their  country,  and 
leave  among  them  four  hundred  muskets.  Those  muskets 
however,  by  constant  use,  had  been  worn  out ;  and  as  their 
friends  the  French  had  not  thought  proper  to  bring  them 
any  more,  the  Chickasaws  had  determined  to  goto  Canada 
and  bring  away  some  new  ones."  It  was  their  desire 
that  the  Senecas  would  show  them  the  way,  and  if  they 
would  promise  to  do  so,  the  young  men  said  they  would 
return  home  and  bring  back  about  four  hundred  of  their 
stout-hearted  fellows  to  find  the  new  guns  and  bring  them 
away.  Encouraged  by  this  unlooked  for  alliance  from 
the  south,  and  also  by  assurances  that  other  remote  na- 
tions of  the  forest  were  in  no  good  humor  with  the  French, 
the  Senecas,  in  considerable  numbers,  changed  their 
minds,  and  determined  to  meet  the  governor  in  Albany. 
Mr.  Johnson  was  at  the  same  time  exerting  himself  with 
the  utmost  activity  to  dispel  the  clouds  resting  upon  the 
moody  brows  of  the  Mohawks,  and  to  revive  their  obvious- 
ly waning  friendship  for  the  English.  Familiar  with  their 
language  and  manners,  he  assumed  their  garb,  and  mingled 
among  them  as  one  of  their  own  people.  He  entered 
readily  into  their  athletic  exercises,  their  games,  and  all 
the  varieties  of  their  pastimes, — prompted,  it  is  likely,  in 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  209 

part,  by  his  love  of  the  picturesque  and  of  wild  adventure,  chap. 
and  in  part,  it  is  but  just  to  believe,  by  the  sincere  affec-  -y-/ 
tion  he  had  imbibed  for  the  race.  Flattered  by  his  asso-  1746, 
ciation  with  them  upon  terms  of  such  generous  equality, — 
not  for  an  instant  dreaming  that  there  could  be  ought  of 
simulation  in  his  conduct  toward  them,  as  perhaps  there 
was  not, — the  Mohawks  adopted  him  as  a  member  of  their 
nation,  and  invested  him  with  the  rank  of  a  war-chief.1  In 
this  capacity  he  assembled  them  at  festivals,  and  appointed 
frequent  war-dances,  by  way  of  exciting  them  to  engage 
actively  in  the  war.  His  success,  considering  the  sourness 
of  their  temper,  and  the  spirit  of  uneasiness  that  had  pre- 
vailed among  them  for  so  many  months,  was  far  greater 
than  had  been  anticipated  by  the  commissioners ;  for  he 
not  only  persuaded  numbers  of  the  war-chiefs  and  sachems 
to  repair  to  Albany  and  hear  what  the  governor  had  to  say, 
but  he  likewise  engaged  many  of  their  young  warriors  un- 
reservedly to  join  the  army  in  the  proposed  campaign. 

Thus  stood  matters  at  the  Mohawk  castles  when  the  in- 
terpreters from  the  more  distant  members  of  the  Confede- 
racy arrived  with  such  of  the  sachems  and  warriors  of  those 
nations  as  they  had  succeeded  in  bringing  to  attend  the 
council.  But  here  a  new  difficulty  arose.  A  political  feud 
had  existed  among  the  Confederates  for  a  length  of  time, 
causing  a  division  into  two  distinct  parties, — the  Mohawks, 
Onondagas  and  Senecas  forming  one  division,  and  the 
Oneidas,  Cayugas  and  Tuscaroras  the  other, — the  last  men- 
tioned being  numerically  the  weaker.  On  the  arrival  of 
the  warriors  and  counsellors  of  the  latter,  it  appeared  that 
they  had  by  no  means  determined  to  espouse  the  cause  of 
the  English,  and  they  censured  the  Mohawks  for  having 
committed  themselves  so  far  without  the  previous  consent 
of  the  other  Confederates.  The  Mohawks  replied  with 
warmth.  They  were  less  numerous  than  the  other  nations, 
it  was  true;  but  they  declared  that  theip  warriors  were  all 

1  In  connection  with  this  custom  of  adoption,  see  Appendix,  No.  1,  to  this 
volume. 

27 


1746. 


210  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  men  ;  :  and  in  the  event  of  a  trial  of  strength,  the  Mohawks 
.-  might  not  be  found  in  reality  the  weakest.  Chafed  at  the 
rebuke  of  their  fellows,  they  moreover  now  boldly  avowed 
that  their  hearts  were  truly  English  ;  and  the  contention  at 
length  became  so  sharp,  that  the  opposing  factions  would 
not  consent  to  move  in  company  to  Albany, — the  Mohawks 
marching  by  themselves  on  one  side  of  the  river,  while 
their  opponents  took  the  other.  Both  divisions  entered 
Albany  on  the  eighth  of  August, — the  Mohawks  in  full 
panoply,  at  the  head  of  whom  marched  their  new  war- 
captain,  Johnson,  upon  whom  they  had  conferred  the  name 
of  War-ragh-i-ya-gey,  signifying,  it  is  believed,  Superin- 
tendent of  affairs2 -r—  dressed,  painted  and  plumed  as  re- 
quired by  the  dignity  of  his  rank.  In  passing  Fort  Frede- 
rick at  Albany,  salutes  were  exchanged,  the  Indians  firing 
their  muskets,  and  the  fort  its  artillery.  The  chiefs  and 
sachems  were  then  received  in  the  hall  of  the  fortress,  and 
served  with  refreshments.  { 

All  the  Mohawk  sachems  but  three,  had  been  persuaded 
by  Mr.  Johnson  heartily  to  engage  in  the  cause.  One  of 
these  dissentients  was  Aaron,  of  the  Lower  castle,  who,  with 
others,  had  made  a  visit  in  the  preceding  spring  to  the 
French  governor  in  Canada.  The  two  others  were  of  the 
Canajoharie,  or  Upper  castle.  Both  were  sachems  of  influ- 
ence, one  belonging  to  the  Bear  tribe,  and  the  other  to  the 
Tortoise, — the  latter  being  first  in  dignity.  Great  pains 
were  taken  at  private  interviews  with  these  sachems,  to 
bring  them  into  the  cause  of  the  English.  The  task,  though 
difficult,  was  ultimately  accomplished  through  the  instru- 
mentality of  the  Rev.  Mr.  Barclay,  an  English  missionary 
residing  among  the  Mohawks,  and  the  exertions  of  Doctor 

i  The  Six  Nations  reckoned  all  other  Indian  nations  women  in  compari- 
son with  themselves. 

2  The  signification  of  Johnson's  Indian  name  is  not  known  with  certainty. 
Some  authorities  have  given  as  its  meaning — "  one  who  unites  two  peoples 
together.  "  The  interpretation  however  given  in  the  text,  reasoning  from 
the  analysis  or  the  supposed  analysis  of  thg  word,  appears  to  be  nearer 
the  truth. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  211 

Colden,  who,  during  former  visits  to  the  Canajoharie  castle,  chap. 
had  contracted  an  acquaintance  with  those  reluctant  sa-  < — , — < 
chems.     The  doctor  had  indeed  some  twenty  years  before, 1746 
been  adopted  into  their  clan,  and  invested  with  a  new  name. 
Still,  there  were  other  difficulties  to  be  adjusted,  and  it  was 
not  until  the  nineteenth  day  of  August  that  a  public  coun- 
cil could  be  safely  opened.     Meantime  Governor  Clinton 
had  been  attacked  by  fever,  and  the  duty  of  conducting  the 
council  devolved  upon  Dr.  Colden.     The  commissioners  in 
attendance  from  Massachusetts,  were  Colonel  Wendell  and 
Mr.  Welles.     Connecticut  was  not  represented. 

The  opening  speech  delivered  by  Mr.  Colden,  had  been 
prepared  to  be  spoken  by  the  governor.  After  announcing, 
in  the  usual  form,  that  the  council  had  been  called  to  con- 
firm the  covenant  chain,  and  all  former  treaties  and  engage- 
ments, it  recapitulated  the  history  of  the  war,  referring  to 
the  cruelties  of  the  enemy,  and  reminding  the  Indians  of 
their  stipulation  the  year  before,  that  if  satisfaction  for  those 
cruelties  should  not  be  promptly  rendered,  they  would  take 
up  the  hatchet  and  make  immediate  use  of  it.  But  the 
enemy,  so  far  from  having  made  the  least  reparation  for 
their  wrongs,  had  repeated  their  cruelties  on  the  frontiers 
of  New  England,  by  the  destruction  and  massacre  of  Sara- 
toga, and  by  barbarous  murders  in  the  very  precincts  of 
Albany.  Yet,  knowing  these  facts,  the  Six  Nations  had 
not  fulfilled  their  promises,  an  immediate  compliance  with 
which  was  now  necessary,  if  they  would  show  that  those 
promises  came  when  made  from  the  bottom  of  their  hearts. 

The  speech  next  announced  the  determination  of  "  the 
king  their  father,  "  to  effect  the  subjugation  of  Canada, 
and  informed  the  Indians  of  the  preparations  making  for 
that  object.  They  were  assured  in  the  most  confident 
terms,  that  forces  sufficient  for  effecting  the  conquest  at  a 
blow,  had  been  levied  and  were  already  in  motion.  Those 
from  Virginia,  Maryland,  Pennsylvania,  New  Jersey  and 
New  York,  destined  to  proceed  to  Montreal,  they  would 
soon  see  in  Albany ;  while  the  governor  was  in  the  hourly 


212  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  expectation  of  hearing  of  the  arrival  of  the  promised  ships 
w^and  troops  from  England ; — "  a  great  army  of  experienced 
1746.  goldiers, — who,  with  the  New  England  levies,  were  to  as- 
semble at  Cape  Breton  ; — after  which  the  attack  upon  Ca- 
nada would  be  made  on  all  sides,  both  by  sea  and  land."1 

Yet,  in  order  to  complete  the  preparations  for  so  great 
an  enterprise,  the  Six  Nations  were  required  to  join  all  their 
forces  with  the  English,  in  doing  which  they  would  have  a 
glorious  opportunity  of  increasing  their  renown  by  aiding 
in  the  conquest  of  the  Erench, — a  perfidious  people,  who 
were  even  caressing  the  enemies  of  the  Six  Nations,  de- 
siring nothing  so  much  as  to  see  their  name  obliterated. 

They  were  next  reminded  of  the  many  injuries  they 
themselves  had  received  at  the  hands  of  the  Erench,  es- 
pecially by  their  repeated  invasions  of  their  territory,  as 
at  Onondaga,  and  the  Seneca  country.  The  mischiefs 
inflicted  by  them  upon  the  Mohawks  in  their  successive 
invasions  were  recounted ;  the  story  of  the  massacre  of 
their  warriors  at  Cadaracqui,  was  rehearsed ;  while  the 
cruel  burnings  of  some  of  their  braves  at  Montreal,  was 
not  forgotten.  Having  thus  kindled  a  spirit  of  vengeance  in 
their  bosoms,  as  could  be  read  in  the  flashing  eye,  and  the 
distended  nostril,  the  ambition  of  the  warriors  was  next  art- 
fully excited  by  a  recital  of  their  own  brave  exploits  when 
carrying  their  arms  into  Canada : — "  If  your  fathers,"  said 
the  speech,  "  could  now  rise  out  of  their  graves,  how 
would  their  hearts  leap  for  joy  fo  see  this  day,  when  so 
glorious  an  opportunity  is  put  into  your  hands  to  revenge 
all  the  injuries  your  country  has  received  from  the  French, 
and  be  never  more  exposed  to  their  treachery  and  deceit." 
As  the  true  sons  of  such  renowned  and  brave  ancestors, 
animated  by  the  same  spirit  for  their  country's  glory,  and 
the  same  desire  of  revenge,  they  were  invited  to  share  in 

xSo  ignorant  was  the  governor  of  the  true  state  of  things  at  the  moment 
in  New  England,  where  all  expectation  of  the  grand  combined  attack  had 
been  relinquished ;  Boston  not  more  than  two  hundred  miles  distant,  and  yet 
the  governor  of  New  York  was  left  in  ignorance  to  make  these  fallacious 
promises  to  the  Indians. 


LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  213 

the  honor  of   vanquishing  the   enemies   alike   of  them-  chap. 
selves  and  the  English ;  provisions,  arms,  clothing,  being  wv!_/ 
promised  in  abundance,   and'  ample  protection  for  their  1746* 
wives  and  children  during  their  absence.     They  were  far- 
ther reminded  of  several  murders  of  their  white  brethren 
by  the  enemy's  Indians,  committed  even  since  their  arrival 
at  the  council-lire.     These   additional   insults  they  were 
called  upon  to  avenge ;  and  in  conclusion  a  belt  was  given 
as  an  assurance  of  the  intention  of  the  English  to  live  and 
die  with  their  red  brethren. 

The  speech  was  well  received.  At  the  end  of  each  sen- 
tence one  of  the  chiefs  called  out — "yo-hay;" — "do  you 
hear?"  and  the  response  of  approbation  was  general. 
When,  moreover,  after  its  close,  the  war-belt  was  thrown 
down,  the  significant  act  was  followed  by  a  war-shout, 
unanimous  and  hearty.  The  council-fire  was  then  raked 
up  to  give  the  forest  counsellors  time  for  deliberation. 
Three  days  afterward  they  announced  that  their  answer 
was  ready ;  and  on  the  following  day,  August  twenty- 
fourth,  the  governor  himself  was  able  to  meet  them  in 
council  for  its  reception. 

The  fire  having  been  rekindled  at  the  appointed  time, 
an  Onondaga  sachem  spoke  to  the  following  effect — the 
speech  of  course  abounding  in  the  figurative  expressions 
inseparable  from  Indian  eloquence  and  diplomacy.  It 
opened  by  informing  the  council  that  the  Missesagues 
had  united  with  them  for  the  purposes  immediately  in 
hand,  as  a  seventh  nation.  The  Six  Nations  were  rejoiced 
that  the  English  were  wiping  away  their  sorrowful  tears, 
opening  their  throats,  and  washing  clean  the  bloody  bed. 
They  also  spoke  of  the  silver  covenant  chain  formed  of 
old,  which  both  were  holding  fast.  They  acknowledged 
having  received  the  hatchet  the  year  before,  and  their 
pledge  to  use  it  in  the  event  of  farther  provocations  and 
murders  by  the  French  ; — admitted  that  the  bloody  affair 
of  Saratoga,  and  other  acts  of  hostility,  demanded  the  ful- 
filment of  the  pledge ;  and  they  farther    declared    their 


214  LIFE   OF    SIR   WILLIAM    JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap. readiness  "from  the  bottom  of  their  hearts,"  to  use  their 

v. 
w^—,  hatchets  against  the  French  and  their  children, — the    Ca- 

1746-  nada  Indians  meaning, — from  that  day  forward.  As  an 
earnest  of  their  sincerity  in  this  declaration,  the  war-belt 
was  thrown  down  with  great  emphasis  both  of  attitude 
and  expression.  They  assured  the  governor  of  the  entire 
union  of  their  clans  in  this  declaration,  and  hoped  the 
governors  of  the  different  English  colonies  would  be  as 
closely  united  in  the  prosecution  of  the  war  as  themselves. 
In  regard  to  the  wiles  of  the  French  priests  against  which 
they  had  been  admonished,  they  averred  that  their  blood 
boiled  at  the  manner  in  which  they  had  formely  been 
treated  by  them,  and  being  now  at  war  with  their  nation, 
those  priests  would  no  more  dare  to  come.  The  Six  Na- 
tions would  have  no  further  use  for  them  than  to  roast 
them.  As  to  the  Missesagues,  whom  they  now  commended 
to  the  English  as  their  allies,  they  numbered  eight  hundred 
warriors,  all  being  determined  to  join  in  the  common 
cause.1  In  conclusion  the  chiefs  said  they  would  leave 
some  of  their  warriors  with  the  troops  of  the  governor, 
while  they  themselves  returned  to  their  castles  to  send 
down  a  greater  number. 

With  this  speech  closed  the  proceedings  of  that  day,  and 
the  next  was  appointed  for  the  delivery  of  the  presents 
sent  to  them  from  the  king,  and  also  by  the  governors  of 
Virginia  and  Massachusetts.  "When  on  the  twenty-fifth  the 
presents  were  brought  forth  for  delivery,  the  Albanians  re- 
marked that  they  were  much  more  valuable  than  any  that 
had  been  previously  given  to  the  Indians.  So,  also,  thought 
the  recipients,  a  Mohawk  chieftain,  of  his  own  volition, 
addressing  his  brethren  thus  : — "  You  see  how  you  are  here 
treated, — really  like  brethren.  The  governor  of  Canada 
treats  not  his  Indians  so,  but  sets  them  on  like  dogs,  and 
they  run  without  thought  or  consideration.  You  see  what 
a  noble  present  is  made  to  you.  If  the  governor  of  Ca- 
nada should  sieze  all  the  goods  in  that  country,  he  could  not 

iThe  Missesagues  then  lived  at  Detroit,  between  Lakes  Erie  and  Huron. 


LIFE   OF   SLR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    EART.  215 

make  such  a  present."1  In  the  division  of  the  presents  chap. 
among  the  nations  represented,  two-eighths  thereof  were  ^^~^ 
voluntarily  assigned  to  the  Missesagues.  On  the  day  fol-  174G- 
lowing,  being  the  twenty-sixth,  the  war-kettle  was  put  over 
the  fire,  and  in  the  evening  the  solemn  war-dance  was  per- 
formed, in  presence  of  the  governor  and  many  other  gen- 
tlemen. The  warriors  were  all  painted  for  the  occasion, 
and  the  appropriate  songs  were  sung  with  affecting  pathos. 
Before  the  Indians  dispersed,  the  governor  had  private 
conferences  with  the  leading  chiefs,  and  rendered  the  cov- 
enant chain  yet  brighter  by  making  further  presents.  The 
two  Missesagues  present  were  particularly  friendly.  One 
of  them  assured  his  excellency  that  among  the  Indians  yet 
farther  than  themselves  in  the  interior,  there  was  a  grow- 
ing dislike  to  the  French,  reporting  a  transaction  strongly 
corroborating  his  assertion.  It  was  to  the  effect  that  a  party 
of  sixty  Frenchmen  had  lately  been  sent  to  one  of  those 
distant  nations  to  persuade  them  to  take  up  the  hatchet 
against  the  English.  They  accepted  the  hatchet, — and  im- 
mediately put  the  whole  part}'  presenting  it  to  death.  In 
conclusion,  the  Missesagues  promised  on  returning  home 
to  bring  as  many  of  those  distant  nations  as  they  could 
upon  the  war-path.  Unfortunately,  however,  both  sickened 
of  the  small-pox  and  died, — one  of  them  not  being  able  to 
depart  for  the  fair  hunting  grounds  with  resignation  until 
the  governor  had  promised  to  send  his  mother  the  first 
French  scalp  that  should  be  taken.  His  companion  at  the 
council  died  on  his  way  home, — the  Six  Nations  at  once 
providing  for  their  wives  and  children,  who  had  accom- 
panied them  to  Albany. 

xThis  account  of  the  Indian  negotiations  of  1746,  I  have  drawn  from  the 
copious  details  of  Doctor  Colden.  Smith,  the  historian,  intimates  that  the 
presents  actually  given  by  the  governor,  were  small  and  unsatisfactory: 
and  charges  that  Colden  wrote  a  partial  account  for  his  patron's  vindica- 
tion— his  excellency  having  been  accused  of  embezzling  large  portions  of 
the  presents.  This  imputation  is  unwarrantable.  Colden's  account  was 
published  in  the  course  of  a  few  weeks  after  the  council  closed,  and,  had 
it  been  untrue,  and  the  Indian's  speech  a  fiction,  the  dishonesty  would  have 
been  exposed  at  the  time. 


216  LIFE   OF    SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 


chap.  The  alliance,  offensive  and  defensive  with  the  Iroquois, 
Wy— <  having  thus  been  satisfactorily  renewed,  Mr.  Clinton  next 
1/46.  turned  his  attention  to  the  Muh-he-ka-neok,  or  River  In- 
dians,— a  small  nation  residing  at  Stockbridge,  in  the  colo- 
ny of  Massachusetts, — composed  of  remnants  of  the  Mo- 
hegans,  Narragansetts  and  Schaghticokes,  together  with 
various  other  smaller  clans  and  tribes  from  Connecticut, 
who  had  been  formed  into  a  community  some  ten  years  be- 
fore by  a  philanthropic  clergyman, — the  Rev.  Mr.  Sergeant. 
With  these  remnants  of  various  peoples  who  had  been 
peeled  and  scattered  in  New  England,  a  council  was  also 
holden,  the  result  of  which  was  satisfactory  to  all.  They 
readily  consented  to  engage  in  the  war,  concluding  their 
speech,  however,  in  words  equivalent  to  a  condition  that 
they  were  not  to  be  forgotten  on  the  conclusion  of  a  peace : 
"  When  you  Christians,  "  said  they,  "  are  at  war,  you  make 
peace  with  one  another ;  but  it  is  not  so  with  us.  There- 
fore we  depend  upon  you  to  take  care  of  us ;  in  confidence 
of  which  we  now  take  up  the  hatchet,  and  will  make  use 
of  it.  "  *     They  were  dismissed  with  presents. 

Lingering  in  Albany  yet  a  full  month  longer,  Mr.  Clin- 
ton was  enabled  to  receive  in  person  the  Indians  from  the 
Susquehanna  country,  whose  principal  town  was  at  Oghqua- 
go.  These  Indians  to  the  number  of  sixty  warriors,  ex- 
clusive of  the  usual  train  of  old  men,  women  and  children, 
— never-failing  attendants  upon  important  councils, — ar- 
rived in  charge  of  Captains  Vrooman  and  Staats,  about  the 
tenth  of  September,  and  sent  the  governor  on  the  next  day. 
They  had  responded  to  the  summons  with  alacrity, — com- 
plaining nevertheless  at  the  lateness  of  their  invitation,  and 
regretting  that  the  negotiations  with  the  Six  Nations  should 
have  been  concluded  before  their  arrival.     Toward  the  Six 

1  Smith  very  improperly  classes  the  River  Indians — called  by  him  after  the 
Dutch  orthography  Mohickanders, — with  the  Esopus  and  Susquehanna  In- 
dians, and  denounces  them  as  "dastardly  tribes,"  to  whom  Governor  Clin- 
ton "  gave  presents  for  promises  which  they  never  meant  to  perform.  " 
Toward  the  Muk-kuk-kan-cok,  their  denunciation  is  most  unjust.  They 
were  always  true  to  the  English,  and  poured  out  their  blood  freely  for  them. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  217 

Nations  they  appeared  to  entertain  feelings  bordering  upon  chap. 
jealousy.  It  was  a  shame,  they  said,  that  these  Indians  ^^—^ 
had  not  sooner  used  the  hatchet  placed  in  their  hands  a  1746- 
year  before.  They  had  themselves  sometimes  been  de- 
ceived as  to  the  progress  of  the  war,  but  they  were  now 
ready  to  join  in  the  contest, — adding  "  We  know  several 
roads  to  Canada,  and  we  want  to  see  the  hatchet  that  we 
may  grasp  it."  "Whereupon  the  governor  threw  down  a 
cutlass,  which  was  eagerly  seized  by  one  of  the  chiefs,  and 
they  all  commenced  the  war-dance, — declaring  that  "  they 
should  keep  firmly  hold  of  the  hatchet,  and  were  resolved 
to  use  it."  A  sudden  alarm,  caused  by  an  incursion  of  the 
enemy's  Indians,  and  the  murder  of  a  non-commissioned 
officer  in  the  very  suburbs  of  Albany,  served  to  test  both 
the  fidelity  and  the  courage  of  these  Indians,  by  the  alert- 
ness with  which  they  spontaneously  went  in  pursuit  of  the 
hostile  party.  Several  of  their  number  remained  in  Al- 
bany to  act  as  scouts  or  guides,  as  occasion  might  require ; 
the  residue  being  dismissed  with  presents — having  promised 
the  services  of  six  hundred  braves  to  the  governor  when- 
ever he  should  summon  them  to  the  field.  The  governor 
did  not  question  the  sincerity  of  their  professions ;  but 
wrote  to  Mr.  Johnson  the  sixteenth  of  September,  that 
"  they  looked  as  though  they  were  determined  to  be  hearty 
in  our  cause,"  and  "he  expected  their  warriors  to  join  him 
in  about  ten  days.  "  It  is  astonishing,  nay,  inexplicable, 
how  completely  Mr.  Clinton  and  his  counsellors  were  left 
in  the  dark,  down  even  to  the  date  of  the  letter  just  cited, 
as  to  the  situation  of  affairs  in  New  England.  In  this  let- 
ter he  tells  Johnson  that  he  talked  to  the  Indians  "in  no 
other  light  than  that  of  going  immediately  to  fighting," 
and  adds  :  "  Five  hundred  troops  from  the  Jersies,  and  four 
hundred  from  Philadelphia,  have  arrived  here,  besides  seve- 
ral more  companies  from  New  York,  which  amount  to  over 
two  thousand  men.  More  are  expected ;  and  as  I  hear 
that  the  fleet  was  seen  orT  the  banks  of  Newfoundland,  I 
conclude  they  are  before  now  at  Louisburg, — having  sent, 


218  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  some  time  since,  an  express  to  Boston  not  yet  returned, 
•— ^ — -and  I  think  lie  must  be  detained  on  that  account."  l  The 
1746.  governor  also  in  the  same  letter  informs  Johnson  that  he 
has  sent  the  fourteen  Susquehanna  warriors  who  had  re- 
mained behind,  against  the  enemy,  attached  to  a  company 
of  sixty  men  under  the  command  of  Captain  Staats,  and 
from  whom  he  hoped  to  hear  a  good  account. 

The  Canadian  governor  had  not  been  an  inattentive  ob- 
server of  Mr.  Clinton's  preparations  for  meeting  the  In 
dians.  He  had  indeed  adroitly  attempted  to  prevent  the 
gathering,  by  sending  a  number  of  Caughnawaga  emissa- 
ries among  them,  with  pacific  overtures.2  The  Onondaga 
captain,  taken,  as  already  related,  at  Crown  Point,  in  July? 
was  to  accompany  them,  charged  with  a  message  from  the 
governor  to  the  effect,  that  although  the  warriors  of  the 
Six  Nations  had  killed  some  of  his  people,  yet  he  was  wil- 
ling to  overlook  the  past,  and  "  as  an  evidence  of  his  love 
for  them,  he  had  sent  back  one  of  their  people  instead  of 
eating  his  flesh."  At  the  same  time  the  Caughnawagas 
were  charged  "not  to  spill  any  more  blood  from  Albany 
upward,  but  to  turn  their  arms  toward  their  inveterate 
enemies  in  New  England.  "There,"  said  the  French  go- 
vernor, "  There  is  the  place  for  you  to  gain  honor  now." 
But  much  to  the  surprise  of  the  governor,  the  Caughnawa- 
gas declined  the  honor  of  the  proposed  mission,  either  as 
the  bearers  of  intelligence,  or  menaces.  "  Such  a  course," 
they  replied,  "  would  only  stir  up  the  Six  Nations,  and 
bring  them  and  all  their  allies  to  destroy  you  at  once. 
They  are  not  to  be  bullied  by  your  words  or  arms ;  where, 
fore,  father,  we  must  leave  you  to  go  through  this  work 
by  yourself."  These  sudden  scruples  of  his  allies,  but  that 
the  French  governor  was  doubtless  well  acquainted  with 
the  unstable  and  impulsive  character  of  the  Indians,  must 
well  nigh  have  confounded  him.  But  the  Caughnawagas 
nevertheless  dispatched  one  of  their  number  in  company 

1  Manuscript  letter,  Clinton  to  Johnson. 

2  Idem  in  reply  to  a  letter  from  Johnson. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  219 

with  the  returning  captain,  as  the  bearer  of  a  message,  not  chap. 
from  the  governor,  but  from  themselves,  to  their  former  -w^_/ 
brethren,  conjuring  them  by  all  their  ancient  ties  of  friend-  1746- 
ship,  not  to  embark  in  a  war  against  them,  and  begging 
them  to  give  information  of  any  plottings  of  Governor 
Clinton  against  them.  They  invited  the  Six  Nations  to 
visit  them  in  council  again  at  their  seat  on  the  St.  Lawrence 
in  the  spring ;  and  requested  them  to  inform  Governor  Clin- 
ton that  the  French  had  eighteen  hundred  soldiers  at  Crown 
Point,  ready  for  battle,  but  in  which  number  were  included 
eight  castles  of  Ottawa  Indians.  It  was  on  the  return  of 
the  Mohawks  from  the  council  at  Albany,  that  they  were 
met  by  six  of  their  own  people  as  the  bearers  of  this  mes- 
sage, which  they  had  received  from  the  returning  Onon- 
daga prisoners,-^-the  Cauglmawaga  messenger  having  ven- 
tured no  farther  than  the  confines  of  the  Mohawk  territory. 
But  neither  the  message  from  their  former  brethren,  nor 
the  desires  of  the  French  governor,  made  the  slightest  im- 
pression upon  the  Six  Nations,  since  they  communicated 
both  to  their  new  war-captain,  Johnson,  without  reserve  or 
delay, — giving  every  desirable  evidence  of  the  good  faith 
in  which  they  had  revived  their  English  alliance. 

It  was  suggested  by  some  contemporary  writers,  that  in- 
asmuch as  the  governor  of  Canada  asked  only  for  the  neu- 
trality of  the  Six  Nations,  the  dictates  of  humanity  required 
an  acquiescence  on  the  part  of  the  English.  But  whoever 
has  studied  the  character  of  this  remarkable  variety  of  the 
human  family, — especially  of  the  L-oquois, — must  be  aware 
how  difficult,  if  not  how  utterly  impossible,  it  would  have 
been  to  keep  them  neutral.  The  Iroquois  were  the  aborigin- 
als of  all  others,  whose  friendship  and  alliance  was  most 
strongly  desired  by  both  the  principal  belligerents,  and  whose 
possible  hostility  was  anticipated  with  the  greatest  appre- 
hension by  both.  Their  position,  stretching  from  the  west- 
ern shore  of  Lake  Champlain  to  Lake  Erie,  placed  them 
like  a  barrier  between  the  French  and  English  colonies, 
and  enabled  them  to  strike  with  sudden  fury  upon  the  bor- 


220  LIFE   OF   SIR   "WILLIAM   JOHNSON^    BART. 

chap,  ders  of  either,  as  they  might  elect.  The  most  formidable 
i-Y^in  numbers,  the  most  compactly  disposed  in  their  cantons, 
1746-  and  the  best  governed  of  the  savage  race, — inured  to  war, 
and  accustomed  to  conquest, — their  name  was  a  terror  to 
the  Indians  from  the  country  of  the  Natchez  to  the  gulf  of 
St.  Lawrence.  Their  trade  was  war  ;  and  although  they 
had  for  a  season  evinced  a  strong  reluctance  to  engage  in 
the  contest  then  raging,  yet  the  French  were  continually 
tampering  with  them,  and  their  clergy  had  for  a  long  pe- 
riod exercised  great  influence  over  them.  They  were  them- 
selves by  no  means  ignorant  of  the  importance  of  their  po- 
sition, nor  of  the  important  fact,  that,  as  between  the 
French  and  English  colonies,  they  held  the  balance  of 
power.  How  desirous  they  might  be  of  making  the  most 
of  their  position,  the  English  could  not  tell ;  nor  had  they 
any  warrant,  in  the  event  of  neglecting  to  secure  their  ser- 
vices beyond  a  peradventure  themselves,  that  when  the  con- 
test should  become  fierce,  and  the  Indians  should  scent 
blood  upon  the  breeze,  they  might  not,  in  a  moment  of 
impulse,  throw  off  their  neutrality  and  strike  suddenly  in 
behalf  of  the  French.  Hence  it  is  maintained  that  the 
English  were  by  no  means  bound  passively  to  allow  the 
French  to  secure  the  advantage  of  a  neutrality  on  the  part 
of  the  Iroquois,  the  maintenance  of  which  would  be  so  ex- 
tremely uncertain,  and  the  benefits  of  which  would  enure 
solely  to  the  party  proposing  and  so  strenuously  urging  it. 


CHAPTER   VI. 
1T46. 

The  governor  of  Canada  was  prompt  in  executing  the  chap. 
purpose  suggested  to  the  Caughnawagas,  of  striking  upon  •— v— ' 
the  borders  of  New  England,  the  people  of  which  he  had  '    ' 
designated  as  their  most  inveterate  foes.     Indeed  the  In- 
dians in  the   French  service  had  not  waited  for  that  sug- 
gestion,  since  from  the  opening  of  the  spring,  the  whole 
New  England  frontier  from  the  eastern  border  of  New 
York,  had  been  kept  in  a  continuous  state  of  alarm ;  their 
hamlets  were  often  in  flames ;  and  their  fields  reddened 
with  blood. 

The  New  Hampshire  border  being  the  most  exposed, 
was  full  of  danger  at  every  point.  On  the  thirteenth  of 
April,  the  Indians  appeared  at  a  township  called  Number- 
Eour,1  and  took  three  men  prisoners,  and  killed  their  cat- 
tle. Four  days  afterward  a  larger  party  of  fifty  attempted 
to  surprise  the  fort  at  Upper  Ashuelot,2  hiding  themselves 
in  a  swamp  near  by  with  the  design  of  marching  into  the 
fort  on  the  departure  of  the  men  to  their  field  labors  in  the 
morning.  But  their  ambuscade  was  discovered  by  a  man 
who  went  forth  very  early  in  the  morning,  and  their  pur- 
pose frustrated.  A  skirmish  took  place  in  which  a  man 
and  a  woman  were  killed,  and  another  man  taken  prisoner. 
On  retreating,  the  Indians  burned  several  houses  and 
barns.  Three  days  afterward  a  party  of  savages  came  to 
New  Hopkinton,  where  was  a  block  house  guarded  by 
several  men.  One  of  these  going  out  very  early  to  hunt, 
leaving  his  companions  asleep,    also  left  the  door  open, — a 

1  Since  named  Charlestown. 
»Keene. 


222  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  very  convenient  instance  of  carelessness, — for  the  lurking 
^— v — '  savages,  who  thereupon  rushed  in  and  made  eight  pri- 
1/46,  soners — four  men,  one  woman  and  three  children.  On  the 
second  of  May,  Number-Four  was  revisited,  and  a  party 
of  women  milking  some  cows,  guarded  by  several  soldiers, 
were  fired  upon.  One  man  was  killed,  and  two  of  the 
Indians  mortally  wounded  by  the  return  fire.  Two  days 
afterward,  Contoocook1  was  visited  by  the  enemy,  by 
whom  two  men  were  killed,  and  a  third  taken  prisoner. 
The  same  hostile  party  made  two  prisoners  two  days  after- 
ward at  Lower  Ashuelot,2  but  lost  one  of  their  number  in 
another  attempt  upon  the  little  fort  at  Upper  Ashuelot. 
About  the  same  time,  a  party  of  savages  made  an  incur- 
sion into  Bemardstown,  in  Massachusetts.  They  attacked 
a  house  garrisoned  by  only  three  men,  but  the  duty  of 
these  was  performed  so  effectively,  that  the  enemy 
retreated  with  two  of  their  warriors  mortally  wounded. 
On  their  way  through  Coleraine  they  ambuscaded  a  road 
near  one  of  the  forts,  and  fired  upon  a  party  consisting 
of  a  man,  his  wife  and  daughter,  and  two  soldiers.  The 
first  was  killed ;  and  the  woman  and  her  daughter  wound- 
ed. But  on  losing  one  of  their  number  by  the  fire  of  the 
soldiers,  the  enemy  made  off?  On  the  twenty-fourth  of 
May,  a  company  of  troops  sent  for  the  defence  of  the  in- 
habitants, was  drawn  into  an  ambuscade  in  Number-Four, 
and  in  a  smart  skirmish  which  ensued  five  men  were 
killed  on  each  side — the  Indians  gaining  the  advantage  of 
making  a  prisoner.  A  month  afterward  another  spirited 
affair  occurred  at  the  same  place.  In  this  instance  the 
dogs  were  the  most  vigilant  sentinels,  but  for  whom,  Cap- 
tains Stevens  and  Baker  would  probably  have  been  drawn 
into  a  fatal  ambuscade.  The  Indians  having  been  disco- 
vered, the  provincial  detachment  had  the  advantage  of  the 
first  fire.     After  a  brisk  encounter,  the  Indians  were  driven 

1Boscawen. 

2  Swansey. 

3  Hoyt's  Antiquities. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  223 

away — leaving  evidences  of  considerable  loss.  Only  one  chap. 
of  the  provincials  was  killed,  but  there  were  five  wound-  ^_ v^_, 
ed.  The  bodies  of  several  Indians  were  afterwards  dis-  *  re- 
covered, concealed  in  a  swamp.  Guns,  hatchets,  spears, 
and  other  warlike  articles,  were  left  b}^  the  Indians,  the 
sale  of  wThich  produced  to  the  victors  between  seventy  and 
eighty  pounds.1  On  the  twenty-fourth  of  June,  two  men 
were  killed,  and  two  taken  prisoners  at  Fort  Dummer. 
One  of  the  prisoners  killed  an  Indian  before  he  was  taken. 
Three  days  afterward  a  party  of  laborers  were  attacked 
in  a  field  in  Rochester,  only  twenty  miles  from  Ports, 
mouth.  The  men  were  unarmed.  Four  of  them  were 
killed,  and  the  fifth,  wounded,  was  made  prisoner.  He 
was  taken  into  Canada,  as  the  other  prisoners  had  been, 
being  carefully  attended  to  on  the  way  until  his  wounds 
were  healed.  A  lad  was  likewise  made  prisoner  in  anoth- 
er part  of  the  town — the  men  with  whom  he  was  at  work, 
making  their  escape.  Yet  another  man  was  killed  in 
Rochester  soon  afterward.  On  the  third  of  July,  an  am- 
buscade was  discovered  in  Hinsdale,  but  the  Indians  were 
put  to  flight.  One  month  afterward,  they  again  revisited 
Number-Four,  and  killed  two  men  and  several  cattle. 
Two  men  were  surprised  and  taken  on  the  sixth  of  Au- 
gust, at  Contoocook ;  and  a  large  party  visited  Penacook,2 
and  formed  an  ambuscade  for  the  purpose  of  attacking  a 
congregation  while  at  worship  in  their  church.  But  ob- 
serving that  the  men  were  well  armed  with  carnal  weap- 
ons, they  delayed  an  attack  until  the  next  morning,  when 
five  men  were  killed,  and  two  taken  prisoners.3  Murders 
were  also  committed  again  in  the  neighborhood  of  Fort 
Dummer ;  at  Hinsdale  ;  in  Winchester,  Poquaig,4  Green- 
field ;  at  Penacook,  and  in  several  other  places.     At  Pen- 

1  Manuscript  journal  of  Deacon  Noah  Webster. 
'Concord. 

3  Belknap    is  the   authority    for  several  of  these   accounts  of  the  border 
skirmishes  of  1746.     See  also  Hoyt's  Antiquities. 

4  Afterward  called  Athol. 


224  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  acook  five  persons  were  killed.1      These    hostile   parties 

w^  chiefly  came  from  the  St.  Francis  country,  through  Lake 

1/4G.  Memphremagog.      The    prisoners     taken     were   carried 

into  Canada,  where  some  of  them  died,   but  the  greater 

number  were  subsequently  redeemed  or  exchanged. 

But  in  addition  to  these  partizan  operations,  painful  to 
neighborhoods,  yet  more  irritating  than  important  in  their 
influence  upon  the  war,  there  was  one  of  a  more  formida- 
ble character.  It  has  already  been  seen  that  the  French 
were  concentrating  a  strong  force  at  Crown  Point ;  and  it 
happened  that  at  the  very  time  when  Governor  Clinton 
was  opening  his  conferences  with  the  Six  Nations, — a 
combined  force  of  French  and  Indians  was  within  so  short 
a  distance  of  Albany,  that  had  the  officers  and  citizens 
there  assembled  been  aware  of  the  fact,  they  would  most 
likely  have  felt  rather  uneasy  in  their  seats.  On  the 
breaking  out  of  the  war,  the  New  England  colonies  had 
erected  a  chain  of  small  works — stockades  and  block 
houses — along  the  frontiers  of  Maine  and  New  Hamp- 
shire, from  Saco  to  Charlestown, — thence  down  the  Con- 
necticut river  to  Greenfield.  The  old  defences  at  the 
place  last  mentioned,  and  at  Northfield,  were  repaired ; 
and  another  cordon  of  similar  works  was  extended  from 
the  Connecticut  across  the  Hoosic  mountain,  to  the  terri- 
tory now  forming  the  towns  of  Adams  and  Williamstown  ; 
thence  south  through  Pittsfield,  Stockbridge  and  Sheffield, 
at  each  of  which  points  stockades  were  erected,  and  also 
at  Blanford,  for  the  purpose  of  guarding  the  principal  road 
from  the  east  to  Kinderhook  and  Albany.  The  general 
command  of  this  territory,  belonged  to  Colonel  John 
Stoddart,  of  the  Hampshire  militia  regiment ;  but  the 
immediate  command  of  the  posts  west  of  Hoosic  mountain, 
was  confided  to  Captain  Ephraim  Williams,  whose  head- 
quarters were  in  a  work  of  considerable  strength,  called 
Fort  Massachusetts,  upon  the  Hoosic  river,  within  the 
bounds  of  what  is   now  the  town  of  Adams.     Small  but 

1  Hoyt's  Antiquities. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  225 

active  scouting  parties  were   kept  ranging  from  post  to  chap. 
post ;   and  such  was  their  vigilance  that  the  Massachusetts  - — , — > 
border  suffered  but  little  during  the  years  1744  and  1745, 1746- 
save  by  the   two  successive  incursions  of  the  enemy  upon 
the  Great  Meadow   settlement   above   Fort  Bummer ;    in 
both  of  which  a  few  persons  were  killed,  and  a  few  others 
carried  into  captivity.     Irritated,  however,   by  the  loss  of 
Louisburg,  the  French,  with  tjieir  dusky  allies,   became 
more  active,  as  well  as  more  savage,  along  the  whole  bor- 
der, as  the  reader  has  seen  in  the  rapid  account  just  given 
of  their  incursions. 

But  the  largest  demonstration  of  the  enemy  that  season, 
was  the  descent  of  Rigaud  de  Vaudreuil  from  Crown 
Point,  upon  the  post  already  described  as  Fort  Massachu- 
setts, which  was  invested  by  that  officer  about  the  middle 
of  August,  with  a  force  of  regular  troops  and  Indians 
numbering  nine  hundred  and  sixty-five  men.  This  was 
the  extreme  northwestern  post  belonging  to  the  colony, 
whose  name  it  bore,  and  was  commanded,  as  heretofore 
stated,  by  Captain  Ephraim  Williams.  This  excellent  offi- 
cer, however,  with  the  greater  part  of  the  force  under  his 
immediate  command,  was  at  Albany  at  the  time  of  the 
invasion,  having  been  ordered  to  join  the  proposed  expe- 
dition so  long  in  preparation  for  the  conquest  of  Canada. 
Meantime  the  fort  was  left  in  charge  of  John  Hawks,  a 
soldier  of  approved  courage  and  discretion,  but  whose 
rank  was  no  higher  than  a  sergeant.  But  higher  honors 
were  in  reserve  for  him  as  the  progress  of  history  will  dis- 
close. The  number  of  men  in  the  garrison,  was  no  more 
than  thirty-five,  eleven  of  whom  were  sick.  This  small  force 
moreover  was  yet  farther  weakened  before  it  was  known  that 
an  enemy  had  arrived  to  besiege  it,  by  detaching  Boctor 
Thomas  Williams,  the  surgeon,  and  thirteen  men,  with 
directions  to  make  the  best  of  their  way  through  the  wil- 
derness to  Beerfield  on  the  Connecticut  river,  for  ammuni- 
tion and  other  supplies.  By  this  reduction,  the  sergeant- 
commander  was  left  with  but  eleven  effective  men ;    and 

29 


226  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  when  the  great  disparity  of  the  respective  forces  is  consi. 
v— v — -  dered,  to  say  nothing  of  other  untoward  circumstances,  the 
1746.  defence  he  made  of  the  post  may  be  regarded  as  one  of 
the  most  gallant  affairs,  of  no  greater  magnitude,  upon 
record.  The  enemy  showed  himself  before  the  slender 
works  on  the  nineteenth  of  August, — the  very  day  on 
which  Mr.  Clinton  opened  his  conferences  with  the  Indi- 
ans at  Albany.  The  fort  was  most  unfavorably  situated 
for  defence,  its  site  having  been  designated  by  some  one 
who  must  have  been  lamentably  deficient  in  the  science 
of  war,  since  it  stood  in  a  low  long  meadow,  commanded 
by  heights  in  every  direction.  But  although  short  of 
ammunition  himself,  Hawks  was  aware  that  the  enemy 
had  no  artillery,  and  he  determined  to  defend  the  post  as 
long  as  he  possibly  could,  in  the  expectation  that  the 
advance  of  so  large  a  body  of  the  enemy  must  be  known 
very  soon  at  Albany,  and  the  possible  hope  that  a  compe- 
tent force  might  be  detailed  from  the  main  army  to  his 
relief.  But  the  movement  of  M.  de.  Vaudreuil  had  been 
executed  with  such  profound  secrecy,  that  nothing  of  it 
was  known  at  Albany. 

The  enemy  commenced  his  attack  at  about  nine  o'clock 
in  the  morning,  and  continued  it  briskly  until  the  same 
hour  in  the  evening — approaching  at  times,  within  the  range 
of  small  shot.  The  lire  was  returned  with  vigor  and  effect 
from  the  fort,  until  about  one  o'clock  past  meridian,  when 
the  sergeant  discovered  that  his  ammunition  was  so  near 
exhaustion  as  to  require  an  order  that  no  man  should  fire 
save  when  a  fair  opportunity  was  presented  of  doing  exe- 
cution. Such  an  order  was  disheartening ;  but  it  was 
obeyed  with  advantage  as  was  soon  perceptible  from  the 
deliberation  of  every  subsequent  shot,  and  the  obvious  fre- 
quency with  which  they  told.  The  men  were  sharp-shoot- 
ers, and  by  singling  out  their  objects  among  their  assailants, 
many  were  brought  down  even  at  long  shots, — some  of 
them  falling  while  standing,  as  they  supposed,  in  perfect 
security.     Two  soldiers  of  the  garrison  only  were  wounded 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  227 


on  that  day.  The  fort  was  entirely  surrounded  during  the  chap. 
night  following, — the  night  itself  being  rendered  hideous  ^-^ 
by  the  dismal  howlings,  and  the  warlike  songs  and  revel-1746- 
ries  of  the  Indians.  With  the  return  of  lis-ht  the  attack 
was  renewed,  and  in  the  course  of  the  forenoon,  one  of  the 
brave  fellows  in  the  fort  was  killed.  At  twelve  o'clock  me- 
ridian, the  assailants  ceased  firing,  and  an  Indian  Was  sent 
forward  with  a  flag  to  request  a  parley.  The  invitation 
was  acceded  to,  and  the  sergeant,  accompanied  by  two  or 
three  of  his  comrades,  repaired  to  the  head  quarters  of  the 
French  commander,  who  offered  honorable  terms  of  capitu- 
lation. Hawks  returned  with  the  proposal  to  the  fort,  and 
convoked  his  little  army  as  a  council  of  war.  Prayer  for 
wisdom  and  direction  from  above  was  offered  by  Mr.  Nor- 
ton, their  chaplain,  whereupon  in  view  of  their  exhausted 
magazine,  and  the  fact  that  their  number  was  reduced  to 
eight  effective  men,  it  was  resolved  to  accept  the  proffered 
terms  and  surrender.  By  those  terms  they  were  to  be  re- 
ceived as  prisoners  of  wTar,  and  to  be  treated  with  humani- 
ty until  ransomed  or  exchanged, — terms,  moreover,  which 
the  French  commander  would  not  probably  have  granted, 
had  he  known  either  the  weakness  of  the  fort,  or  of  the 
force  defending  it.  There  was  also  a  farther  stipulation 
that  the  prisoners  should  not  be  delivered  into  the  hands  of 
the  Indians.  The  enemy  took  immediate  possession  of  the 
fort  and  ran  up  their  colors  ;  but  they  nevertheless  seemed 
in  equal  haste  to  depart,  and  actually  set  the  works  on  fire 
before  they  had  plundered  the  cellar  of  its  stores. 

The  articles  of  capitulation  were  not  strictly  observed  by 
M.  Vaudreuil,  and  several  of  the  prisoners  were  allotted 
to  the  savages,  by  whom  one  of  them  was  killed.  The 
others  were  all  kindly  treated,  both  by  the  French  and  their 
uncivilized  allies.  There  were  in  the  fort  two  women  and 
several  children, — to  the  number  of  the  latter  one  being 
added  on  the  second  day  of  the  march.  But  mother  and 
child  were  kindly  borne  along  by  the  Indians,  and  the  little 
stranger  brought  thus  rudely  into  the  world,  was  baptized 


228  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON^    BART. 

chap,  by  thd  chaplain.  The  prisoners  were  taken  to  Crown 
wy— . i  Point,  and  thence  to  Canada, — the  gallant  sergeant  being 
1746.  every  where  treated  by  the  French  officers  as  brave  men 
should  ever  treat  the  brave.  Arriving  successively  at  Cham- 
blee,  Montreal  and  Quebec,  they  met  with  numbers  of  their 
countrymen  in  captivity ;  but  they  were  themselves,  for 
the  most  part,  ultimately  redeemed  or  exchanged,  and  en- 
abled to  return  to  their  own  homes.  Sergeant  Hawks  with 
several  of  his  companions,  was  shipped  from  Quebec  to 
Boston.  The  number  of  the  enemy  killed  or  badly  wound- 
ed during  the  siege,  was  forty-seven.  After  the  capitula- 
tion, it  was  ascertained  that  the  besiegers  were  lying  in  am- 
buscade in  the  neighborhood  of  the  fort,  watching  for  an 
opportunity  to  take  it  by  surprise,  at  the  time  of  Doctor 
"Williams's  departure  in  quest  of  supplies  on  the  Connecti- 
cut river.  They  had  probably  no  idea  that  the  doctor's 
small  party  of  thirteen  had  constituted  more  than  one-third 
of  the  garrison  ;  and  they  allowed  the  little  platoon  to  pass 
without  molestation,  in  order  to  prevent  an  alarm  that 
Would  have  discovered  their  presence  and  object. 1 

Remarkable  was  the  conduct  of  the  Indians  in  this  affair 
toward  the  prisoners.  It  is  a  single  bright  spot  of  relief  in 
the  generally  dark  and  bloody  picture  of  savage  warfare. 
But  there  was  an  episode  to  the  siege  and  capture  of  the 
fort,  of  a  deeply  tragic  character.  Vaudreuil's  Indians, 
numbering  about  fifty,  crossed  the  Hoosic  mountain,  with 
the  design  of  falling  upon  Deerfield.  Having  reconnoitred 
the  village,  however,  an  open  attack  was  judged  to  be  im- 
prudent. They  accordingly  withdrew  two  miles  south,  and 
formed  an  ambuscade  upon  the  margin  of  a  meadow  of 
newly-moWn  hay,  for  the  purpose  of  rushing  upon  the  hay- 
makers when  they  should  come  out  to  their  work.  Their 
object  was  rather  to  make  captives  than  to  kill ;  and  but 

1  My  authority  for  the  facts  given  in  the  present  account  of  the  chivalrous 
defence  of  Fort  Massachusetts,  is  the  unassuming  manuscript  journal  of 
Sergeant  Hawks  himself,  for  which  I  am  indebted  to  Dr.  S.  W.  Williams,  of 
Deerfield,  grandson  of  Surgeon  Williams  mentioned  in  the  test. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  229 

for  an  accident,  that  object  would  probably  have  been  ac-  chap. 
complished  by  the  seizure  of  the  laborers  of  two  families,  >-^__/ 
with  several  children,  numbering  in  all  ten  persons,  who  1746- 
came  to  the  meadow  in  the  morning  as  the  savages  had  an- 
ticipated. Alarmed  by  the  discharge  of  a  gun  aimed  at  a 
partridge  by  a  fowler  who  happened  to  be  shooting  at  no 
great  distance  from  the  place  of  their  concealment,  the  In- 
dians started  up,  and  first  killing  the  fowler,  rushed  down 
upon  the  laborers  in  the  meadow.  Those  of  the  latter  who 
were  men,  being  armed,  made  a  resolute  stand  for  their 
own  lives,  and  the  defence  of  the  children.  A  struggle, 
vigorous  and  fierce,  ensued ;  but  the  disparity  of  force 
was  great,  and  three  of  the  men  were  killed  and  scalped. 
A  daughter  of  one  of  the  slain  was  likewise  severely 
wounded  by  a  blow  from  a  tomahawk,  and  left  upon  the 
field  as  dead ; — but  she  recovered,  and  lived  to  an  advanced 
age.  One  of  the  lads  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Indians  and 
was  carried  away, — the  residue  of  the  party  making  good 
their  escape. l 

Meantime  the  summer  had  passed  away,  and  with  it  the 
best  season  for  active  operations  against  Crown  Point  and 
the  French.  General  Gooch,  who  had  been  commissioned 
by  the  crown  for  the  special  service  of  conducting  the  ex- 
pedition, had  declined  the  appointment;  and  the  chief 
command  of  the  forces  at  Albany,  had  thus  far  devolved 
upon  Governor  Clinton. 2  With  great  pains  and  labor,  the 
Iroquois  Confederacy  had  finally  been  prevailed  upon  to 
take  an  efficient  part  in  the  contest,  but  there  was  not  yet 
an  immediate  demand  for  their  services  in  a  body ;  although 
at  this  late  day  it  seems  strange  that  large  numbers  of  them 
were  not  employed  in  connection  with  the  rangers  who  had 

1  Hoyt's  Antiquities. 

'Major  General  Sir  William  Gooch  was  lieutenant-governor  and  governor 
of  Virginia  from  1727  to  1749.  "  He  sustained  an  excellent  character,  and 
was  popular  in  his  administration."  He  had  superior  military  talents,  and 
commanded  a  division  of  the  forces  in  the  unsuccessful  attack  on  Cartha- 
gena  in  1740. 


230  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  been  sent  out  from  Albany  to  scour  the  forests,  and  watch 
^— v — >  the  motions  of  the  enemy  at  the  north.  It  certainly  argues 
1746  grea£  negligence,  somewhere,  that  so  large  a  force  as  that 
led  against  Fort  Massachusetts  by  M.  Vaudreuil,  could 
have  made  such  a  movement,  approaching  as  it  did  within 
forty  miles  of  Albany,  without  the  fact  being  known  at 
headquarters  until  after  the  invaders  had  retired.  Yet  it 
appears  to  have  been  so.  Equally  in  the  dark,  moreover, 
was  Mr.  Clinton  in  regard  to  the  state  of  affairs  in  New 
England ;  and  on  the  sixteenth  of  September,  timely  ad- 
vices not  having  been  received  from  Shirley  and  Warren, 
the  governor,  with  his  council,  came  to  the  reluctant  de- 
cision that  the  season  for  active  military  operations  was  so 
far  advanced  as  to  render  an  expedition,  even  against  Crown 
Point,  impracticable,  and  that  nothing  more  could  then  be 
done  than  to  make  the  necessary  dispositions  for  the  se- 
curity of  the  frontiers. 1  Four  days  afterward  letters  were 
received  both  from  Governor  Shirley  and  the  admiral,  the 
former  announcing  that  he  had  appointed  General  Waldo, 
of  Massachusetts,  to  the  command  of  the  northern  expe- 
dition, in  the  place  of  General  Gooch. 2  But  it  was  now 
too  late ;  and  the  high  hopes  of  the  people  were  dashed 
with  bitter  disappointment.  The  parent  government  had 
entirely  failed  in  every  engagement.  Neither  a  fleet  of 
adequate  force,  nor  the  promised  troops  under  Sir  John 
Sinclair,  had  appeared  ;  while  the  threatened  invasion  of 
the  New  England  coast  by  France,  had  placed  those  colonies 
entirely  on  the  defensive,  and  it  now  only  remained  for 
New  York,  instead  of  attempting  a  descent  upon  Crown 
Point,  to  prepare  winter  quarters  for  her  own  levies,  and 
to  adopt  such  measures  as  would  afford  the  best  security  to 
her  frontiers. 

To  this  end  Mr.  Johnson  was  directed,  on  his  return  to 
the  Mohawk  castle,  to  organize  war  parties  of  the  Indians, 
and  send  them  to  harrass  the  French  settlements  in  Canada. 

1  Manuscript  proceedings  of  the  counoil  board. 

2  Manuscript  journals  of  the  council  board. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  231 

But  his  first  efforts  were  discouraging.     Many  of  the  In-  chap. 
dians  had  contracted  the  small-pox  at  Albany,  and  a  con-^-/ 
siderable  number  of  their  finest  young  men  had  died  of  174G- 
the  pestilence,  either  while  journeying  homeward,  or  after 
reaching  their  castles.     It  was  during  their  affliction  from 
this  at  that  period  appalling  disease,  that  Mr.  J  ohnson  was 
pressing  them  to  go  against  the  enemy ;  and  his  urgency,  on 
one  occasion,  drew  a  rebuke  from  a  sachem  of  the  Canajo- 
harie  clan,  that  was  full  of  feeling  : — "  You  seem  to  think 
that  we  are  brutes,"  said  the  first  chief;  "  and  that  we  have 
no  sense  of  the  loss  of  our  dearest  relations,  and  some  of 
the  bravest  men  we  had  in  our  nation.     You  must  allow  ut> 
time  to  bewail  our  misfortune." 

Nevertheless,  early  in  October,  a  party  of  seventy  war- 
riors, composed  of  some  from  each  of  the  cantons,  was 
made  up  for  the  purpose  of  harrassing  the  Canadian  border. 
Several  Englishmen  accompanied  this  party,  as  well  to  as- 
sist, as  to  be  witnesses  of  their  conduct,  under  the  lead  of 
a  son  of  Captain  Butler,  of  the  royal  forces.  But  they  had 
not  been  out  many  days  before  Mr.  Butler  fell  sick  of  the 
small-pox,  and  five  of  the  Indians  were  obliged  to  return 
to  carry  him  back.  The  residue  continued  their  course, 
being  instructed  to  avoid  the  paths  and  water-courses 
usually  traveled  between  the  English  and  French  colonies, 
and  to  thread  the  woods  and  cross  the  mountains  in  such 
manner  as,  if  possible,  to  escape  observation.  Another  small 
party  was  sent  forth  to  hover  about  the  precincts  of  Crown 
Point  for  the  purpose  of  gaining  intelligence,  and  render- 
ing such  other  service  as  chance  and  opportunity  might  re- 
quire. After  the  return  of  Mr.  Butler  the  first  party  found 
it  expedient  to  divide, — thirty  of  the  Indians,  with  ten  white 
men,  taking  one  direction,  and  the  residue  striking  off  in 
another.  The  first  division  fell  upon  a  French  settlement 
on  the  north  side  of  the  St.  Lawrence,  ten  leagues  above 
Montreal;  killed  and  scalped  four  people,  and  brought 
away  ten  prisoners,  one  of  whom  was  a  captain  of  militia. 


232  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap.  Another  party  of  nine  Indians  entered  Canada  still  nearer 
v— Y— <  to  Montreal,  and  mingled  with  the  Caughnawagas,  under 
1746,  the  guise  of  friendship.  Their  dissimulation  was  carried 
still  farther,  for  they  allowed  themselves  to  be  taken  to 
Montreal,  where  they  had  an  interview  with  the  governor, 
and  by  whom  they  were  dismissed  with  presents.  So  well 
did  they  play  their  part  that  they  were  entrusted  with  of- 
ficial dispatches  to  the  commanding  officer  at  Crown  Point, 
and  were  also  charged  with  letters  from  officers  to  their 
friends  at  that  post.  These  communications  were  all  de- 
livered to  the  commanding  officer  at  Albany  on  their  re- 
turn. They  moreover  had  the  good  fortune  on  their  way 
back  to  surprise  a  small  French  defence,  in  which  they 
killed  five  men,  bringing  away  one  prisoner  and  one  scalp. l 
But  notwithstanding  the  mortifying  failure  of  all  the 
plans  of  the  year  for  such  a  vigorous  prosecution  of  the 
wTar  as  it  was  supposed  must  result  in  the  subjugation  of 
Canada,  the  immense  preparations  of  the  French  for  the 
reconquest  of  Cape  Breton,  and  possibly  the  invasion  of 
New  England,  were  equally  abortive,  and  her  high  hopes 
were  likewise  overthrown.  The  grand  armament  destined 
upon  this  service  has  been  described  in  a  former  part  of 
the  present  chapter.  Its  misfortunes  were  truly  remarka- 
ble. Indeed  before  the  summer  was  entirely  gone,  such 
accounts  were  received  in  Boston  of  its  distresses,  as  very 
materially  to  lessen  their  apprehensions  of  an  invasion,  even 
if  the  promised  augmentation  of  Admiral  Townsend's  na- 
val force  at  Cape  Breton  should  not  be  realized.  The  num- 
ber of  vessels  in  the  French  armament  has  already  been 
stated.  Comprised  in  that  number  were  eleven  ships  of 
the  line,  thirty  smaller  vessels  carrying  from  ten  to  thirty 
guns  each,  with  transport  ships  conveying  land  forces  to 
the  number  of  three  thousand  one  hundred  and  thirty  men. 
To  this  force  a  squadron  of  four  ships,  under  Admiral 
Conflours  from  the  West  Indies,  was  to  be  added, — 
D'Anville,  the  commander  of  the  whole,  being  a  nobleman 

1  Colden's  account  of  the  treaty  at  Albany. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  233 

of  high  qualities  and  courage,  in  whose  conduct  the  ut-  chap. 
most  confidence  was  placed.  On  arriving  in  Nova  Scotia,  > — , — - 
the  land  forces  were  to  have  been  joined  by  seventeen  hun- 
dred Canadians  and  Indians,  who  were  already  in  arms, 
awaiting  their  debarkation.  The  main  squadron  of  the 
French,  fitted  at  Rochelle,  was  ready  for  sea  in  the  begin- 
ning of  May,  but  was  prevented  by  contrary  winds  from 
getting  out,  until  the  twenty-second  of  June.  This  delay 
seems  to  have  been  ominous  of  the  train  of  adverse  cir- 
cumstances which  followed.  A  series  of  disasters  retarded 
the  progress  of  the  fleet,  and  weakened  its  power.  The 
Count  did  not  pass  the  Western  Islands  until  the  fourth  of 
August.  On  the  twenty-fourth,  yet  distant  three  hundred 
leagues  from  Nova  Scotia,  one  of  the  ships  proving  un- 
seaworthy,  was  burnt.  In  a  storm  on  the  first  of  Septem- 
ber, two  ships,  one  of  seventy-four,  and  the  other  of  sixty- 
four  guns,  were  so  much  damaged  in  their  masts,  that  they 
were  obliged  to  bear  away  for  the  "West  Indies ;  and  on  the 
fifteenth,  the  Ardent,  also  of  sixty-four  guns,  found  it  neces- 
sary to  put  back  to  Brest,  in  consequence  of  a  pestilential 
fever,  which  broke  out  among  the  crew.  D'Anville  arrived 
at  Chebucto  on  the  twelfth  of  September,  wTith  but  two 
ships  of  the  line,  and  only  three  or  four  of  the  transports. 
One  ship  only  had  arrived  before  him  ;  and  after  waiting 
three  days,  finding  himself  joined  by  only  three  more  of 
the  transports, — and  having  heard  by  an  intercepted  dis- 
patch from  Shirley,  that  the  English  fleet  had  arrived  on 
the  coast  in  pursuit  of  him,  although  Shirley's  information 
was  incorrect, — the  admiral  died  suddenly, — by  apoplexy, 
according  to  the  French  accounts,  and  by  poison,  self- 
administered,  according  to  the  English.  Monsieur  de  la 
Jonquiere,  Governor  General  of  Canada,  an  officer  of  age 
and  experience,  was  on  board  of  D'Anville's  ship,  the 
Northumberland  ;  and  having  been  created  a  chef  d'escadre 
previous  to  the  sailing  of  the  fleet,  by  the  death  of  the 
admiral,  he  succeeded  to  the  command.     Two  days  after- 

30 


234  LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  ward  the  vice  admiral  D'Estournelle,  came  up  with  three 

vi.  . 

w^-/  or  four  more  of  the  missing  ships,  and  a  council  of  war 

1746.  was  thereupon  called  to  determine  what  next  should  be 
done.  Considering  the  extent  to  which  their  forces  had 
been  weakened  by  such  a  succession  of  calamities,  equally 
unlooked  for  and  severe,  the  absence  of  many  of  the  regu- 
lar troops  who  were  on  board  the  missing  and  disabled  ves- 
sels, and  the  sickness  of  many  more  among  whom  the  fever 
was  raging  with  violence,  the  vice-admiral  proposed  return- 
ing to  France.  Being  strenuously  opposed,  however,  in 
this  suggestion  by  Jonquiere,  and  overruled  by  the  council, 
D'Estournelle  fell  upon  his  own  sword  and  died.  Jonquiere 
thought  himself  yet  in  a  condition  to  conquer  Annapolis- 
Royal  and  recover  Nova  Scotia,  and  made  his  dispositions 
for  that  object.  Most  of  the  sick  having  died  at  Chebucto, 
the  fleet  sailed  thence  with  the  residue  on  the  thirteenth  of 
October ;  but  a  violent  storm  was  encountered  two  days 
afterward,  when  off  Cape  Sable,  which  continued  several 
days  and  separated  the  fleet, — two  ships  only,  one  of  fifty, 
and  the  other  of  thirty-six  guns,  remaining  in  company. 
These,  on  approaching  Annapolis-Royal,  discovered  the 
Chester  man  of  war,  the  Shirley  frigate,  and  a  smaller 
British  vessel,  under  sail, — whereupon  they  retired  under 
a  press  of  canvass,  to  return  no  more. 

Such  was  the  disastrous  termination  of  that  memorable 
expedition  from  which  so  much  had  been  expected  by 
prance. x  "Never  had  so  great  an  armament  been  dispatched 
from  Europe  to  North  America ;  and  never  had  any  proved 
more  inefficient." 2  The  people  of  New  England  accustomed 
to  see  the  hand  of  Providence  in  every  event  of  human 
life,  viewed  their  deliverance  as  a  signal  and  direct  inter- 
position of  the  deity  in  their  behalf, — by  pestilence  and 
storm.  "Never  was  a  disappointment  more  severe  on  the 
part  of  the  enemy ;  nor  a  deliverance  more  complete,  with- 

1  Hutchinson. 

2  Grahame. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  235 

out  human  help,  in  favor  of  this  country."  l    Not  a  single  chap. 
honest  effort  had  been  put  forth  by  the  ministers  for  their  v— v — - 
defence  beyond  the  sending  of  Admiral  Town  send  with  1<<46' 
reinforcements  for  the  squadron  of  Commodore  Knowles 
at  Louisburg ;  "  and  these  two  commanders,"  says  Grahame, 
"  doubtless  in  conformity  with  orders  which  they  had  re- 
ceived, contented  themselves  with  guarding  that  harbor 
from  attack,  without  making  the  slightest  demonstration 
in  support  of  New  England." 

Governor  Clinton  returned  to  New  York  early  in  Octo- 
ber, meeting  his  council  in  that  city  on  the  fourteenth  of 
the  same  month.  Before  leaving  Albany  he  had  made 
arrangements  for  a  winter  camp  at  that  place,  and  adopted 
measures  which  it  was  supposed  would  be  adequate  to  the 
protection  of  the  frontiers.  His  detention  at  the  north  for 
nearly  three  months  had  been  unexpected,  and  his  exertions 
had  been  arduous  and  patriotic.  The  critical  state  in  which 
he  found  the  Indian  affairs,  required  the  exercise  of  all  the 
prudence  and  attention  in  his  power  to  bestow  ;  and  in  their 
management  he  had  derived  but  little  assistance  from  the 
Board  of  Indian  commissioners.  Great  dissatisfaction  had 
prevailed  respecting  the  conduct  of  this  board ;  and  know- 
ing that  the  governor's  confidence  had  been  withdrawn 
from  them,  several  members  of  the  commission  refused  to 
attend  the  council,  frankly  confessing  that  they  had  lost  all 
influence  over  the  Indians.2 

It  was  in  this  posture  of  that  important  branch  of  the 
public  affairs,  that  the  influence  and  services  of  Mr.  John- 
son were  invoked ;  and  the  management  of  that  depart- 
ment thenceforward  devolved  chiefly  upon  him. 

In  addition  to  all  his  other  duties,  the  governor  had  been 
likewise  compelled  by  the  refusal  of  Gen.  Gooch  to  serve 
in  the  campaign,  to  assume  all  the  cares  and  responsibili- 
ties of  military  commander-in-chief;  and  the   cares   and 

1  Belknap. 

*  Manuscript  journals  of  the  council  board. 


236  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  responsibilities,  after  the  arrival  of  the  colonial  troops 
v-v_/  from  !New  Jersey,  Pennsylvania  and  Maryland,  irrespective 
1746.  0f  -j-^Q  inc]ian  administration,  were  by  no  means  light. 
Environed  by  difficulties,  and  limited  in  his  means,  contem- 
porary historians  have  not  awarded  him  that  meed  of  jus- 
tice to  which  he  was  unquestionably  entitled  for  the  zeal 
with  which  he  labored  to  discharge  his  public  duties. 

The  general  assembly  met  on  the  seventeenth  of  October ; 
and  the  governor,  being  indisposed,  instead  of  opening  the 
session  in  person,  sent  for  the  speaker,  and  through  him 
transmitted  a  copy  of  the  speech  he  had  intended  to  deliver 
to  the  house, — a  procedure  which  that  body,  acting  under 
the  influence  of  De  Lancey,  and  not  coming  together  in 
the  best  possible  humor,  voted  to  be  not  only  unprece- 
dented, but  irregular.  De  Lancey,  it  will  be  remembered, 
on  his  rupture  with  the  governor,  had  sworn  that  he  would 
thenceforward  render  his  excellency's  administration  un- 
comfortable ;  and  he  made  good  his  oath.  "  His  uncommon 
vivacity  and  ease,  his  adroitness  at  a  jest,  and  his  conde- 
scension to  his  inferiors,  wonderfully  facilitated  his  pur- 
poses ;"  and  it  took  him  not  long  to  infuse  such  a  spirit  of 
factious  opposition  to  the  governor  that  the  assembly 
paused  not  at  measures  to  embarrass  him  of  the  most  inde- 
fensible character.  Still  the  assembly  proceeded  to  the 
consideration  of  the  public  business.  The  speech  opened 
by  rehearsing  the  history  of  the  governor's  mission  to  Al- 
bany,— the  difficulties  that  had  attended,  and  the  measure 
of  success  which  had  crowned  it.  Owing  to  misconduct 
on  the  part  of  the  commissioners,  the  Indians,  who  had 
been  tampered  with  by  the  French,  had  well  nigh  gone  over 
to  them  ;  but  the  governor  said  he  had  fortunately  secured 
their  alliance,  and  it  remained  only  by  judicious  measures 
to  retain  their  friendship.  The  events  of  the  summer,  as 
connected  with  the  prosecution  of  the  war, — feeble  enough 
in  every  respect, — were  spoken  of;  and  a  call  was  made 
for  increased  appropriations  for  the  Indian  service,  for  the 
construction  of  additional   defences  on  the  frontiers,  and 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOIINSOX,    BART.  237 

especially  for  the  maintenance  of  a  winter  encampment  in  chap. 
the  neighborhood  of  Albany,  for  the  shelter  of  the  troops  w¥J_/ 
destined  against  Canada,  whenever  the  time  for  a  decisive  1746> 
movement  should  arrive.     In  conclusion  the  speech    ex- 
horted the  assembly  to  union  and  harmony,  interposing  a 
caution  against  the  dangers   consequent  upon  encroach- 
ments by  either  branch  of  the  government  upon  the  consti- 
tutional privileges  of  the  others. 

The  speech  was  a  very  fair  one,  and  nothing  appears 
upon  its  face  dictated  otherwise  than  by  a  very  proper  spirit. 
Yet  such  was  the  temper  of  the  assembly  that  the  speech 
was  like  the  dropping  of  a  spark  into  a  magazine.  The 
house  was  instantly  inflamed.  His  excellency's  "  persua- 
sions to  harmony  excited  only  to  discord ;"  and  in  the  con- 
cluding admonitions  against  encroachments  upon  the  pre- 
rogatives of  other  branches  of  the  government, — the  pre- 
rogatives of  the  crown  meaning, — the  assembly  discovered, 
or  affected  to  discover,  a  degree  of  distrust  which  incensed 
them  exceedingly.  They  voted,  however,  the  sum  of  six 
thousand  five  hundred  pounds  for  the  subsistence  of  the 
winter  encampment  at  Albany ;  but  provided  for  the  trans- 
portation of  supplies  to  that  city,  and  no  farther, — refusing, 
in  effect,  the  means  for  conveying  those  supplies  to  the 
several  posts  at  which  they  were  needed.  Farther  provision 
for*the  subsistence  of  certain  detachments  of  militia  which 
had  been  ordered  to  Albany  in  May  and  June,  was  likewise 
refused.  The  governor  promptly  sent  in  a  message  rebuk- 
ing the  legislature  for  its  parsimony,  and  insisting  that 
when  at  the  preceding  session  they  had  voted  to  provision 
the  forces  of  the  province  destined  against  Canada,  they 
had  as  a  consequence  pledged  themselves  to  bear  all  the 
charges  incident  thereto.  He  told  them  with  military  truth 
"  that  the  provisions  for  an  army  are  so  necessary  a  part  of 
all  warlike  enterprises,  that  any  defeat  or  obstruction  in 
the  daily  supply  of  them,  might  defeat  the  best  concerted 
measures ;  and  that  if  the  provisions  of  an  army  are  not 
subject  to  the  orders  of  the  commanding  officer,  it  would 


238  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  be  in  the  power  of  those  charged  with  furnishing  the  sup- 
x— y-—  plies,  to  frustrate  any  enterprise."  His  excellency  there- 
1746.  fore  required  a  grant  for  transporting  supplies  along  with 
the  forces,  to  whatever  parts  they  might  be  ordered.  The 
assembly  was  also  informed  that  there  were  thirteen  hun- 
dred and  sixty  men  at  Albany,  to  whom  but  a  portion  of 
their  promised  enlistment  bounty  had  been  paid  ;  and  the 
necessity  of  making  up  the  deficiency  was  urged  in  suitable 
terms,  for  the  prevention  of  irregularities  and  desertions. 

This  message  was  referred,  nemine  contradicente,  to  a  com- 
mitte  consisting  of  Colonels  Phillipse,  Morris  and  Schuy- 
ler, with  instructions  to  prepare  an  humble  representation 
in  reply, — the  house  meantime  voting,  in  addition  to  the 
ordinary  civil  list,  only  the  deficient  bounty  money.  But 
before  the  committee  had  prepared  its  report,  information 
was  received  from  the  commissioners  having  in  charge  the 
purchasing  of  provisions  for  the  forces,  that  Henry  Hol- 
land, late  high  sheriff'  of  Albany,  by  order  of  Colonel 
Roberts,1  had  broken  open  the  store-houses  in  that  city, 
and  taken  thence  a  large  quantity  of  provisions  in  their 
custody  for  the  public  service. 

The  address  reported  by  the  committee,  was  an  answer 
both  to  the  special  message,  and  to  the  opening  speech  of 
the  session.  The  temper  of  this  document  was  such  as 
might  well  try  that  of  the  governor.  In  regard  to  the 
Indian  service,  the  committee  affected  ignorance  either  of 
a  bad  disposition  on  the  part  of  the  Indians,  or  the  causes 
of  such  disposition  if  it  existed.  They  said  they  had 
voted  liberal  supplies  for  this  department,  and  for  the  cus- 
tomary presents  to  that  people,  adding  significantly,  "in 
what  manner  that  service  has  been  performed,  your  excel- 
lency, and  those  whom  you  have  thought  proper  to  employ, 

xAn  officer  of  one  of  the  independent  companies,  now  raised  by  Mr- 
Clinton  to  the  rank  of  colonel  in  the  intended  expedition.  He  had  been  a 
cornet  of  horse  at  the  accession  of  George  I.,  and  was  connected,  by  his 
first  marriage,  with  the  earl  of  Halifax.  His  second  wife  was  the  daugh- 
ter of  that  Mr.  Harrison  who  had  so  deep  a  share  in  the  fueds  of  Cosby 
and  Van  Dam. — Smith. 


LIFE    OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  239 

can  certainly  best  determine."  In  respect  to  the  alleged  chap. 
mismanagement  of  the  Indian  department,  the  address « — „ — - 
avowed  the  readiness  of  the  assembly  to  enter  upon  a  full 1746 
investigation,  whenever  the  governor  should  communicate 
to  them  all  the  papers  and  documents  connected  with  that 
branch  of  the  public  service  since  the  commencement  of 
his  excellency's  administration, — until  which  time  no 
larger  sum  than  usual  would  be  voted  for  that  department, 
lest  there  should  be  farther  misconduct.  The  winter  encamp- 
ment was  disapproved  of,  as  being  calculated  to  retard 
rather  than  facilitate  the  meditated  invasion  of  Canada. 
The  soldiers  could  not  be  made  comfortable  in  the  climate 
of  Albany,  and  sickness  and  desertion  would  be  the  conse- 
quences of  attempting  to  keep  them  there.  The  address 
declared  that  larger  appropriations  had  been  voted  than 
even  the  king  had  expected.  The  imputation  of  parsi- 
mony was  therefore  repelled  ;  as  also  was  the  intimation 
that  the  most  perfect  harmony  did  not  exist  between  the 
different  branches  of  the  legislature.  It  was  farther 
declared  that  the  assembly  was  to  guard  against  the  private 
views  of  any  artful  or  designing  men  ;  and  they  should  be 
sorry  to  find  that  any  such  men  could  prevail  upon  his 
excellency  to  break  that  harmony  so  necessary  for  the 
public  welfare ; — adding,  that  if  any  such  persons  had 
been  infusing  such  distrust  into  his  excellency's  mind,  they 
must  have  had  sinister  ends  in  view,  and  could  be  no 
friends  to  their  country.  Disclaiming  any  designs  to 
encroach  upon  the  prerogatives  of  others,  it  was  said  that 
although  collisions  had  happened  in  former  times,  yet  they 
had  arisen  from  the  bad  advice  given  by  designing  men 
to  the  governors,  rather  than  from  any  wanton  stretch  of 
power  by  the  people.  In  regard  to  the  transportation  of 
the  army  supplies,  the  address  vindicated  the  action  of  the 
assembly,  declaring  "  the  circumstances  of  the  colony 
would  not  suffer  them  to  take  one  step  farther;"  but  the 
committee  nevertheless  concluded  their  report  with  an  as- 
surance that  as  far  as  was  consistent  with  the  duty  they 


240  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  owed  his  majesty,  they  would  always  endeavor  to  make 
<— ^_,  his  excellency's  administration  easy.  This  last  declaration 
1746.  wag  a  mere  flourish  of  rhetoric,  hollow  and  insincere. 

The  address  was  presented  to  the  governor  on  the  fifth 
of  November.  Three  days  afterward  the  committee  to 
which  had  been  referred  the  complaints  of  the  commis- 
sioners of  supplies  touching  the  conduct  of  Roberts  and 
Holland,  in  breaking  open  the  stores  of  the  commissariat 
at  Albany,  brought  in  their  report.  The  documentary 
history  of  the  controversy  upon  this  subject  is  long.  In 
brief,  however,  it  appeared  that  in  order  to  supply  the 
deficiency  in  the  number  of  state  levies  caused  by  sickness, 
desertion,  and  death,  the  governor  had  annexed  to  these 
forces  four  companies  of  independent  fusileers,  the  supplies 
for  whom  did  not  fall  within  the  precise  letter  of  the  act 
of  appropriation.  The  commissioners  of  purchases  had 
consequently  refused  to  issue  provisions  for  these  four 
companies,  in  the  face  of  an  express  order  of  the  governor. 
When,  moreover,  the  forces  at  Albany  were  ordered  to 
march  for  the  carrying  place  en  route  to  Crown  Point,  the 
commissioners  refused  to  convey  the  provisions  to  the 
place  designated,  and  to  other  frontier  points  also,  for 
their  subsistence.  Under  these  circumstances,  having  an 
order  from  the  governor  to  meet  the  contingency,  issued 
under  a  special  impressment  act  of  the  general  assembly, 
Roberts  and  Holland  took  the  responsibility  of  taking  the 
necessary  supplies  from  the  store  houses  themselves, — 
Doctor  Colden,  one  of  the  governor's  council,  having 
sanctioned  the  procedure,  after  in  vain  threatening  the 
commissioners  with  removal  from  office  as  a  punishment 
for  their  contumacy.  But  it  has  been  seen  that  under  the 
influence  of  Mr.  DeLancey,  the  assembly  was  rife  for  a 
quarrel  with  the  governor ;  and  a  resolution  was  passed 
censuring  him  in  the  first  instance  for  the  warrant  that 
had  been  issued  for  the  subsistence  of  the  fusileers.  A 
second  resolution  was  adopted  approving  of  the  conduct 
of  the  commissioners ;  a  third,  declaring  the  warrant  of 


LIFE    OF    SIR    WILLIAM    JOHNSON,    BART.  241 

Colonel  Roberts  to  Holland,  directing  lrim  to  open  the  chap. 
stores  for  supplies  to  be  arbitrary  and  illegal ;  a  fourth,  w^-^ 
declaring  both  Roberts  and  Holland  guilty  of  a  high  mis- 1/46' 
demeanor;  a  fifth,  declaring  the  breaking  of  the  store- 
houses, and  the  seizure  of  the  provisions,  to  be  a  manifest 
violation  of  the  rights  and  liberties  of  the  subject;  a 
sixth,  declaring  that  Holland  was  guilty  of  a  high  crime 
and  misdemeanor  for  breaking  the  store-house  ;  a  seventh, 
declaring  it  a  high  misdemeanor  for  any  person  in  authority 
to  attempt  by  threats  to  influence  any  officers  appointed 
by  law  to  violate  their  duty  ;  an  eighth,  applying  the  last 
mentioned  resolution  expressly  to  Cadwallader  Golden,  and 
declaring  him  guilty  of  the  crime  charged;  a  ninth,  de- 
claring that  it  would  be  in  vain  for  the  assembly  to  vote 
farther  supplies  until  an  effectual  stop  should  be  put  to 
such  proceedings  ;  and  a  tenth,  calling  upon  the  governor 
to  direct  the  attorney-general  to  prosecute  the  delinquents. 
Mr.  Clinton  replied  to  the  address  of  the  house  of  the 
fifth  of  November,  on  the  tenth,  with  firmness  and 
energy, — exhibiting  more  of  dignity,  and  less  of  insta- 
bility than  might  have  been  expected  under  the  circum- 
stances of  the  case  from  his  choleric  temperament.  He 
had  supposed  the  bad  feeling  of  the  Six  Nations,  and  the 
misconduct  of  the  Indian  commissioners,  matters  of  too 
great  notoriety  to  require  special  averments  or  commen- 
taries in  his  opening  speech.  But  in  order  to  the  better 
understanding  of  the  case  by  the  assembly,  he  had  ordered 
copies  of  the  documents  which  they  had  intimated  a 
desire  to  examine,  to  be  laid  before  them,  whenever  it 
might  suit  them  to  make  the  call.  Had  they  asked  for 
information  respecting  the  military  transactions  at  Albany, 
before  expressing  their  dissatisfaction  with  those  transac- 
tions, the  governor  suggested  that  they  might  possibly 
have  formed  different  opinions,  or  arrived  at  different 
conclusions  in  regard  to  them.  His  excellency  censured 
the  house  for  having  given  publicity  to  their  address ; 
expressed  his  regret  that  his  recommendations  for  a  good 
31 


242  LIFE    OF    SIR    WILLIAM    JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  agreement  among  the  different  branches  of  the  govern- 
v— v-/  ment  in  times  of  danger  should  have  given  offence  ;  and 
7  6  renewed  his  protestations  of  a  sincere  desire  to  cultivate  a 
spirit  of  harmony  in  his  administration.  "And  now 
gentlemen,"  he  added,  "I  think  this  is  an  occasion  on 
which  I  may  be  allowed  to  tell  you,  that  within  the  six 
months  last  past,  I  have  gone  through  with  more  diffi- 
culties, I  have  had  less  assistance,  and  I  have  done  more 
for  this  province,  than  I  believe  any  governor  of  New 
York  has  done  before  me  ;  I  feel  in  my  own  heart  my  zeal 
for  my  king  and  my  country's  service ;  and  therefore  I  can 
with  pleasure  lay  the  account  of  my  administration  at  his 
majesty's  feet.  Meantime  I  shall  to  the  utmost  of  my 
power,  be  careful  of  the  rights  and  liberties  of  every  man 
under  my  government.  J  shall  be  more  especially  careful 
of  the  preservation  of  your  privileges ;  and  at  the  same 
time  to  preserve  that  part  of  his  majesty's  authority 
entrusted  to  me." 

This  message,  however,  having  been  prepared  in  answer 
to  the  proceedings  of  the  assembly  of  the  fifth  of  Novem- 
ber, formed  of  course  no  answer  to  the  resolutions  of  the 
eighth,  respecting  the  seizure  of  the  provisions  at  Albany 
by  Roberts  and  Holland,  and  demanding  the  arrest  and 
trial  of  those  officers.  Indeed  it  is  most  likely  that  those 
resolutions  had  not  been  communicated  to  the  governor  in 
form  when  this  message  was  delivered,  the  tone  of  which 
was  not  calculated  to  allay  the  already  excited  feelings  of 
the  legislature.  A  recess  of  ten  days,  from  the  fourteenth 
to  the  twenty-fourth  of  November,  was  allowed ;  and  on 
reassembling  of  that  body,  a  message  was  in  readiness  to 
meet  them,  extended  and  elaborate,  answering  the  resolu- 
tions of  the  eighth  seriatim,  and  justifying  the  proceedings 
at  Albany,  which,  his  excellency  declared,  had  been  direct- 
ed by  himself  and  his  council  under  the  pressure  of  the 
utmost  necessity. 

Viewing  the  transactions  in  question  at  this  length  of 
time,  although  the  commissioners  entrusted  by  the  assem- 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  243 

bly  with  the  supplies,  whose  duty  it  was  to  deliver  them  chap. 
out,  and  the  assembly  which  sustained  their  course,  had^l/ 
the  advantage  of  the  popular  side  of  the  controversy,  yet 1746- 
it  seems  equally  certain  that  those  commissioners  acted  in 
a  manner  greatly  embarrassing  to  the  public  service  ; — for 
what  substantial  reason  does  not  appear.  Mr.  Clinton,  in 
obedience  to  the  orders  of  the  crown,  and  in  concert  with 
Governor  Shirley  and  Admiral  Warren,  had  planned  what 
was  intended  to  be  a  final  and  decisive  descent  upon  Canada, 
— the  conquest  of  which  was  indispensable  to  the  security 
and  repose  of  the  English  colonies, — for  which  purpose  the 
forces  had  been  collected  at  Albany.  In  October  they  were 
ordered  to  advance  to  the  carrying-place  between  the  Hud- 
son river  and  Lake  Champlain, — to  which  point  the  com- 
missioners of  subsistence  were  requested  to  forward  the 
necessary  supplies  from  the  store  houses  in  Albany.  The 
request  was  refused  under  the  flimsy  pretext  that  they  were 
not  in  funds  that  could  be  applied  to  that  purpose.  Those 
commissioners  were  John  Cuyler  and  Dirck  Ten  Broeck. 
On  being  demanded  by  Colonel  Roberts  whether  they 
would  deliver  the  provisions,  should  the  means  of  trans- 
portation be  provided,  they  refused  because  they  had  no 
power,  as  they  alleged,  to  comply.  The  colonel  then 
demanded  whether  they  would  deliver  the  provisions  to  a 
commissary,  or  to  the  quartermasters,  under  the  warrant  of 
the  governor,  to  be  receipted  for.  This  request,  right  in 
itself,  and  reasonable  withal,  was  also  refused,  upon  the 
mere  technical  pretext  that  by  the  act  of  the  assembly  they 
were  allowed  to  deliver  supplies  "  only  to  the  captains." 
All  these  excuses  were  obviously  evasions.  The  Schuylers, 
whose  interest  was  powerful,  were  offended  because  Mr. 
Johnson  was  rising  into  favor  in  the  Indian  department. 
De  Lancey,  who  had  been  succeeded  in  the  governor's 
affections,  by  Golden,  was  implacable  ;  and  he  was  omnipo- 
tent with  the  assembly,  of  which  body  the  commissioners 
were  the  agents.  Hence  it  was  the  policy  of  each  of  these 
interests  to  embarrass,  rather  than  to  strengthen,  the  com- 


244  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  mander-in-chief.     Yet  the  frontiers  must  be  protected ;  and 

vi.  * 

Wy—*  the  orders  to  Colonel  Roberts  were  peremptory  to  move 

1746.  ;yg  forces  northward  to  the  carrying-plaee.  A  council  of 
war  was  held  after  the  refusal  of  the  commissioners  to 
move  the  provisions,  consisting  of  Lieutenant-Colonels 
Roberts  and  Marshall,  and  Majors  Clarke  and  Ruther- 
ford,— the  latter  officer  being  also  one  of  the  executive 
council, — at  which  it  was  determined,  as  the  only  alterna- 
tive in  the  emergency,  to  make  use  of  a  warrant  granted 
in  anticipation  of  some  such  act  of  contumacy,  authorizing 
the  impressment  of  the  necessary  supplies  from  the  colonial 
stores,  giving  a  receipt  for  the  same,  and  taking  all  proper 
measures  to  guard  against  waste  or  extravagance.  The 
case  was  stated  with  all  frankness  and  candor  in  the  mes- 
sage, yet  without  asperity.  But,  although  under  the  cir- 
cumstances then  existing,  it  is  difficult  to  perceive  what 
other  course  could  have  been  adopted  on  the  instant  of  the 
emergency,  the  governor's  explanations  nevertheless  gave 
no  satisfaction  to  the  assembly,  as  was  made  fully  to  appear 
by  the  resolves  passed  two  days  afterward.  In  addition  to 
the  declaration  of  dissatisfaction,  it  was  resolved  that  no 
further  supplies  should  be  voted  while  the  abuses  of  which 
they  complained  were  openly  avowed  and  encouraged.  A 
thrust  was  likewise  aimed  at  Doctor  Colden,  who  had  con- 
curred in  the  proceedings  of  Colonel  Roberts,  and  who  had 
doubtless  advised,  if  he  had  not  prepared,  the  vindictory 
message,  by  a  resolution  declaring  "  that  whoever  had 
advised  the  said  message,  had  endeavored  to  create  jealous- 
ies and  dissensions  among  the  several  branches  of  the  legis- 
lature ;  had  encouraged  a  manifest  breach  of  the  laws  of 
the  colony;  and  were  enemies  to  the  constitution  thereof." 
But  notwithstanding  the  attitude  thus  assumed,  the  assem- 
bly still  avowed  its  readiness,  as  soon  as  proper  assurances 
were  given  that  the  alleged  abuses  should  be  effectually 
prevented,  to  vote  an  ample  allowance  for  the  subsistence 
of  the  forces. 

Mr.  Clinton  was  either  alarmed  at  the  resolutions,  or  else 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  245 

he  judged  it  no  suitable  time  for  a  controversy.  His  mes-  chap. 
sage  in  reply  was  conciliatory  if  not  yielding.  He  only  w v^_/ 
required  that  for  the  future,  the  provisions  for  the  army  1746< 
should  be  delivered  out  agreeably  to  the  existing  engage- 
ments of  the  assembly,  in  which  case  nothing  that  had 
happened  could  or  should  happen  again.  He  also  pledged 
himself  that  all  possible  care  should  be  taken  of  the  pro- 
visions, and  exact  accounts  rendered.  This  advance  had 
the  effect  of  allaying  the  storm,  and  the  assembly  applied 
itself  to  its  duties  in  a  spirit  that  encouraged  the  governor 
to  call  for  additional  supplies  for  the  maintenance  of  arti- 
zans  among  the  Senecas,  and  also  for  bounty  money  for 
female  scalps — bounties  being  allowed  only  upon  the  scalps 
of  males  by  the  existing  laws.  The  immediate  cause  for 
preferring  this  request, — so  abhorent  to  the  feelings  of  the 
present  day, — was  the  fact  that  a  party  of  the  Six  Nations 
had  recently  brought  in  three  female  prisoners  from  Canada, 
and  one  female  scalp.  Evidence  was  thus  afforded  that  the 
Confederates  had  at  length  engaged  heartily  in  the  war ; 
and  the  governor  thought  they  should  be  encouraged  in 
the  manner  proposed.  The  same  message  also  demanded 
supplies  for  Oswego,  and  announced  that  Mr.  Johnson  had 
become  the  contractor  for  that  post, — with  a  stipulation 
that  no  higher  charges  should  be  made  in  time  of  war,  than 
it  had  been  usual  to  pay  in  time  of  peace.  Heed  was  taken 
of  these  requisitions,  and  the  necessary  supply  bills  both 
for  the  civil  and  military  service,  were  passed. *  An  act 
was  also  passed  authorizing  a  lottery  to  raise  two  thousand 
two  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  for  founding  a  college  in  the 
city  of  New  York.  This  was  the  first  step  taken  toward 
the  establishment  of  Kings,  now  Columbia  College, — so 
far  behind  the  colonists  of  New  England  were  those  of 
New  York,  on  the  great  subject  of  education. 2 

1  Manuscript  letter  from  Johnson  to  Capt.  John  Catherwood,  acknow- 
ledging receipt  of  advices  that  the  assembly  had  by  resolution  approved  of 
the  governor's  recommendation  that  he  (Johnson)  should  supply  the  troops 
at  Oswego.     Thanks  the  governor,  and  promises  to  act  with  energy,  &c. 

2  This  was  at  the  distance  of  more  than  one  hundred  and  twenty  years 
after  the  discovery  and  settlement  of  New  York,  whereas  the  colonies  of 


246  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap.  It  was  now  the  fourth  of  December,  and  the  general  assem- 
•*-v—  blj  was  drawing  its  session  to  a  close.  Mr.  DeLancey,  how- 
1746.  ever,  conld  not  allow  the  session  to  terminate  without  mak- 
ing another  demonstration  against  his  rival,  Doctor  Colclen. 
On  the  day  last  mentioned,  the  chief  justice  called  the 
attention  of  the  legislative  council  to  a  pamphlet  giving  an 
account  of  the  Indian  negotiations  at  Albany,  of  which  so 
much  has  already  been  said  in  the  present  chapter,  wherein 
it  was  set  forth  that  although  the  governor  had  requested 
the  members  of  his  council  to  attend  and  assist  in  those 
negotiations,  three  only  had  complied  with  the  request,  viz : 
Messrs.  Colden,  Livingston,  and  Rutherford.  According 
to  that  narrative,  therefore,  his  excellency  had  been  left  to 
act  with  the  smallest  number  of  counsellors  that  could  con- 
stitutionally form  a  board.  Mr.  DeLancey  considered  this 
statement  a  reflection  upon  the  non-attending  councilors, 
and  moved  that  the  printer  of  the  pamphlet  be  summoned 
to  the  bar,  to  answer  as  to  its  authorship,  An  animated 
debate  ensued  upon  the  motion,  in  the  course  of  which  Dr. 
Colden  averred  the  authorship,  and  assumed  the  responsi- 
bility of  its  publication.  Messrs.  DeLancey,  Horsmanden 
and  Murray  successively  uttered  some  animadversions  upon 
the  pamphlet ;  and  on  the  motion  of  the  former,  a  vote  of 
censure  was  adopted,  denouncing  the  offensive  passage  as  a 
misrepresentation  of  the  facts,  and  an  invidious  reflection 
upon  those  members  of  the  council  who  did  not  accompany 
the  governor  to  Albany. 

Massachusetts  and  Connecticut  had  commenced  their  institutions  of  classi- 
cal learning  very  soon  after  planting  their  colonies.  Smith,  the  historian, 
states  that  for  many  years  within  his  recollection  the  only  academics  in  the 
colony  of  New  York,  except  such  as  were  in  holy  orders,  were  Mr.  DeLancey 
a  graduate  of  Cambridge,  England,  and  Mr.  Smith,  (the  historian's  father,) 
who  was  at  the  bar.  At  the  time  even,  now  under  examination,  there  were 
not  above  thirteen  graduates  in  the  colony,  excluding  the  clergy.  Except 
Mr.  DeLancey,  there  was  then  no  graduate  of  a  college  upon  the  bench,  or 
in  either  of  the  branches  of  the  legislature.  The  practice  then,  even  of  the 
most  opulent  of  the  citizens,  whose  attention  was  generally  engrossed  with 
commerce,  was  to  send  their  sons  directly  from  the  writing  school  to  the 
counting  room,  and  thence  to  the  West  Indies. 


LIFE    OF    SIR   WILLIAM    JOHNSON,    BART.  247 

The  session  closed  on  the  following  day.     No  events  of  chap. 
public  or  political  importance  occurred  within  the  province  > — v — - 
of  New  York  during  the  residue  of  December ;  nor  did  the  1746- 
enemy  after  the  capture  of  Fort  Massachusetts,  harrass  the 
northern  border  any  more  during  this  year. 

Meantime,  Mr.  Johnson  was  growing  rapidly  in  the  favor 
of  the  governor,  to  whom  he  paid  a  visit  in  New  York 
toward  the  close  of  the  autumn.  I  have  not  been  able  to 
discover  the  date  of  Johnson's  elevation  to  the  military 
rank  of  colonel ;  but  it  must  have  been  at  about  the  period 
of  time  now  under  review.  He  had  a  brother,  Warren 
Johnson,  a  captain  in  the  royal  service,  who  had  recruited 
a  company  in  Boston  that  year.  The  captain  wrote  to  his 
brother  William,  on  the  ninth  of  October,  that  his  uncle 
Warren,  (the  admiral,)  was  on  the  eve  of  sailing  for  Louis- 
burg,  and  that  his  lady  was  preparing  to  return  to  New 
York  to  pass  the  winter.  On  the  tenth  of  December,  the 
captain  was  in  New  York  on  his  way  to  the  Mohawk 
country  to  visit  his  brother.  By  his  hand,  under  the  last- 
mentioned  date,  governor  Clinton  addressed  a  letter  "To 
Colonel  William  Johnson,  at  Albany."  This  is  the  earliest 
document  I  have  found  among  the  Johnson  manuscripts? 
superscribed  with  a  military  title.  The  letter,  the  main 
purpose  of  writing  which  was  to  request  the  colonel  to  pur- 
chase for  his  excellency  a  pair  of  black  stallions,  contained 
the  following  passage  : — "  This  comes  by  your  brother.  I 
hope  he  will  find  you  well.  I  hear  nothing  of  news  but 
what  he  will  tell  you.  I  have  recommended  you  to  his 
majesty's  favor  through  the  duke  of  Newcastle.  I  must 
desire  you  will  keep  up  the  Indians  to  their  promises  of 
keeping  out  scouts  to  watch  the  motions  of  the  French." 
From  this  letter,  therefore,  it  is  probable  that  Clinton  had 
just  then  commissioned  Mr.  Johnson  as  a  colonel,  subject 
to  the  approbation  of  the  crown. 

The  operations  of  the  New  Englanders  in  Nova  Scotia, 
ended  disastrously.  The  French  and  Indian  forces,  whose 
purpose  it  was  to  cooperate  with  the  fleet  of  the  Count 


248  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap.  D'Anville,  did  not  retire  from  that  peninsula  on  the  dis- 
v— vl_,persion  of  the  fleet,  and  General  Shirley  judged  it  neces- 
1746-  sary  to  send  a  body  of  provincials,  to  dislodge  them.  The 
levies  from  Massachusetts,  with  the  exception  of  those  on 
hoard  of  one  of  the  transports  which  was  wrecked,  arrived 
at  Annapolis  in  safety,  as  also  did  two  hundred  of  the  New 
Hampshire  troops.  One  of  the  New  Hampshire  transports, 
after  a  blundering  cruise  in  the  Bay  of  Funcly,  was  decoyed 
to  a  French  sloop,  and  the  crew  captured.  The  Rhode  Island 
levies  did  not  reach  their  place  of  destination,  their  vessels 
being1  wrecked.  In  the  course  of  the  winter,  the  Massachu- 
setts  forces  at  Annapolis  being  inferior  in  numbers  to  the 
enemy,  yet  deceived  as  to  the  extent  of  the  disparity,  were 
drawn  into  the  field  by  false  representations,  and  defeated, 
after  a  severe  engagement,  in  the  midst  of  a  driving  snow 
storm  at  Minas.  Col.  Arthur  Noble,  with  about  sixty  men, 
was  killed,  and  there  were  fifty  wounded.  Noble's  army  did 
not  exceed  six  hundred  men  ;  and  the  survivors  of  the  bat- 
tle, unable  to  escape,  were  compelled  to  capitulate.  Cheva- 
lier Ramsay  commanded  the  French ;  but  notwithstanding 
his  victory,  he  did  not  venture  to  attack  Annapolis,  nor  did 
the  French  inhabitants  yet  move  in  their  meditated  revolt. x 
The  posts  on  the  western  border  of  New  Hampshire,  had 
been  guarded  by  troops  from  Massachusetts;  but  inas- 
much as  those  posts  were  without  the  jurisdiction  of  the 
colony,  the  garrisons  were  withdrawn  late  in  the  autumn. 
The  settlers  along  that  border,  being  left  thus  exposed,  fell 
back  upon  the  larger  towns — taking  away  such  of  their 
goods  as  they  could  remove,  burning  such  as  could  not 
be  concealed  in  the  earth  without  damage,  and  leaving 
the  residue  exposed  to  the  ravages  of  the  enemy.  But  the 
enemy  was  not  active  during  this  winter,  and  its  deep  repose 
in  the  forests  of  the  north  was  only  broken  once,  by  an 
attack  of  the  Indians  upon  Fort  Hinsdale,  occupied  only 
by  six  families,  by  the  stalwart  hands  of  which  the  post  was 
successfully  defended. 

i  Belknap,  Grahame,  Hutchinson,  Hoyt. 


CHAPTER  VII. 

1747. 

Impatient  of  delay,  and  anxious  that  the  blow  so  long  chap. 
meditated   against   Canada  might  be  struck  before  the^,^ 
French  should  have  power  to  repel  it,  the  active  mind  of  1747. 
Shirley   conceived  the  project  of  a  descent  upon  Crown 
Point  at  mid-winter.     The   legislature   of  Massachusetts 
was  readily  persuaded  to  second  the  enterprise ;  and  on 
the  sixteenth  of  January,  Governor  Clinton  communicated 
to  his  council  a  very  long  letter  from  Mr.  Shirley,  setting 
forth  his  plans,  and  urging  the  cooperation  of  New  York, 
and  the  adoption  of   immediate  and  vigorous  measures  to 
that   end.     It  was   Shirley's   intention,   while  the  troops 
destined  directly  against  Crown  Point  were  concentrating 
in   the  neighborhood  of  Albany,  to  create  a  diversion  in 
the  enemy's  country,  by  detaching  a  force  of  five  hundred 
men,  to  march  through  the  valley  of  the  Connecticut,  and 
fall  upon  the  villages   of  the   St.  Francis  Indians,  two 
hundred  miles  north  of  the  English  settlements.     A  simi- 
lar movement,  for  the  like  object,  was  urged  upon  Gov- 
ernor Clinton,  to  be  made  against  Fort  Frontenac  by  the 
way   of   Oswego.     Could    the  French    be   thus    doubly 
distracted  by  simultaneous  attacks  at  those  distant  points, 
it  was  presumed  that  in  respect  to  the  grand  enterprise 
against  Crown  Point  and  Montreal,  there  could  remain  no 
well-founded  doubt  of   success.     Mr.  Shirley,   therefore, 
seeming  to   take  it  for  granted  that  New  York  would 
second  the  enterprise  without  hesitation,  much  less  with 
reluctance,  asked  for  the   services  of  its  levies,  then  in 
garrison  at  Albany,1  and  requested  that  accommodations 

xThe  New  York  forces  during  the  winter  of  1746 — '47,  were  distributed 
32 


250  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  for  the  New  England  troops  might  be  provided  at  Sara- 
v_v_<toga.  He  desired  farther  that  the  Six  Nations  might  be 
1747-  brought  into  the  field,  and  that  forts  might  be  erected  by- 
New  York,  at  the  heads  of  Lakes  George  and  Champlain.1 
The  letter  was  referred  to  a  committee  by  the  council, 
the  report  of  which  was  indecisive  and  unsatisfactory. 
The  committee  affected  to  be  in  favor  of  the  enterprise, 
yet  doubted  the  practicability  of  carrying  it  into  execu- 
tion before  the  breaking  up  of  winter.  It  was  alleged 
that  there  were  sufficient  accommodations  for  the  New 
England  levies  at  Saratoga ;  the  forts  could  not  be  built 
in  time  to  guard  the  portages  at  the  heads  of  the  two 
lakes ;  and  as  to  the  proposed  design  against  Fort  Fronte- 
nac,  New  York  was  then  in  no  condition  to  undertake  it. 
On  the  whole,  therefore,  the  committee  thought  "  a  winter 
campaign  against  Crown  Point  was  liable  to  many  diffi- 
culties, and  would  be  a  hazardous  undertaking."2  Governor 
Clinton  was  nevertheless  inclined  to  favor  the  scheme, 
wild  and  impracticable  as  it  seemed  to  many;  and  on  the 
second  of  February  he  requested  a  more  definite  expression 
of  opinion  by  his  council.  Two  days  afterward  that 
opinion  wras  given,  in  the  form  of  a  very  decisive  report 
against  the  whole  project.  It  was  urged,  not  without  rea- 
son, that  the  winters  in  that  high  northern  latitude  were 
at  best  exceedingly  unfavorable  for  military  operations, 
and  it  was  moreover  then  too  late.  The  warriors  of  the 
Six  Nations  could  not  by  any  possibility  be  collected  in  sea- 
son for  the  contemplated  movement ;  and  besides,  more 
than  a  fortnight  had  intervened  since  a  syllable  had  been 
heard  from  the  projector  of  the  expedition — Mr.  Shirley. 
It  was  therefore  held,  as  presented,  to  be  utterly  impracti- 

at  various  points.  Some  were  posted  at  Saratoga  ;  others  in  the  Mohawk 
country ;  and  others  again  at  Schenectady.  Three  companies  were  at 
Schaghticoke ;  four  at  Half  Moon ;  two  at  Niskayuna,  and  others  still  at 
Albany. 

1  Shirley's  letter — Minutes  of  the  council  board. 

2  Idem. 


LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  251 

cable.1    Belknap  adds,  as  another  reason  prompting  to  this  chap. 
conclusion,  that  the  small-pox  was  prevailing  in  the  settle-  w^ — • 
ments  north  of  Albany,  through   which  the  forces  must1'47- 
necessarily  pass, — a  disease,  the  violence  of  which,  at  that 
day,  had  not  been  disarmed  of  its  terrors  by  vaccination, 
or  even   mitigated  by  the  process  of  inoculation.     The 
agency  of  Clinton's  council  in  defeating  this  darling  enter- 
prise of  Shirley's,  seems  not  to  have   been  generally  or 
publicly  known,  and  the  merit, — if  such  it  may  be  called, — 
of  defeating  it,  has  been  accorded  alone  to  "  the  more  sober 
discretion   of  Connecticut,"  the   government    of   which 
"  deemed  the  winter  an  improper  season  for  so  important 
an  undertaking,"  refusing  to  furnish  its  quota  of  troops 
until   spring.2    Equally    effectual    was   the    unfavorable 
interposition  of  the  New  York  council  board. 

An  active  correspondence  was  maintained  between 
Governor  Clinton  and  Colonel  Johnson,  during  the  winter 
and  spring,  having  relation  to  the  protection  of  the  fron- 
tiers in  general,  but  more  especially  to  the  Indian  service ; 
and  the  letters  of  the  governor  bear  evidence  that  the 
colonel  was  already  in  the  enjoyment  of  his  strongest  confi- 
dence. The  notorious  Jean  Cceur,  one  of  the  most  perse- 
vering and  mischievous  of  the  Jesuit  emissaries  in  the 
Indian  Confederacy,  was  yet  among  the  Senecas,  and  it 
was  deemed  by  Johnson  an  object  of  high  importance  to 
obtain  possession  of  his  person.  He  communicated  his 
views  upon  the  subject  to  the  governor  in  February,  by 
whom  the  project  was  warmly  approved,  and  the  colonel 
was  urged  to  use  his  utmost  endeavors  to  effect  the  object, 
either  by  stratagem  or  force,  as  circumstances  might 
require.  Early  in  March,  moreover,  Mr.  Clinton  wrote  to 
Johnson  directing  him  to  send  out  as  many  war-parties 

1  Council  minutes  in  manuscript 

8  Belknap   and  Marshall.     Smith  does  not  even   allude  to  these  winter 
deliberations. 


252  LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap.  "  of  Indians  and  Christians,1  to  harass  the  enemy  in  their 
«— v— 'own  settlements,"  as  he  could  bring  into  the  service.  To 
1747,  carry  the  war  into  the  enemy's  own  country,  and  in  his 
own  way,  was  rightly  judged  "  one  of  the  most  effectual 
means  to  prevent  their  daring  mischief  to  us."2  The 
Colonel  was  yet  farther  directed  to  send  a  party  of  Indians 
to  the  garrison  at  Saratoga,  to  act  as  scouts, — the  com- 
manding officer  of  which  post  being  enjoined  to  treat  the 
Indians  thus  coming  to  his  assistance  with  the  utmost 
kindness.3  In  reply  to  the  letter  thus  abridged,  Colonel 
Johnson  wrote  as  follows : 

Colonel  Johnson  to  Governor  Clinton, 

"  Mount  Johnson,  March  18,  1747. 
"  May  it  please  your  Excellency  : 

"  This  instant  I  am  honored  with  your's  by  the  express, 
and  by  whom  I  send  this  in  return.  In  answer  to  what 
your  excellency  says  about  sending  a  party  as  out-scouts  to 
Saratoga,  I  can  only  say  that  I  find  already  that  it  is  not 
at  all  agreeable  to  the  Indians,  they  being  now  inclined  and 
ready  to  go  against  Canada,  where  they  say  they  can  do 
more  execution.  Moreover  they  never  like  to  keep  in  a 
garrison  among  so  many  Christians.  Yesterday  a  party  of 
twenty-two  Christians  and  Indians  returned  from  Saratoga, 
where  I  sent  them  in  hopes  to  have  met  and  intercepted 
some  of  the  enemy's  out-scouts.     But  they  met  none.     No 

1  The  whites  at  that  day  were  called  Christians  in  distinction  from  the 
Indians. 

zGrahame,  in  his  usually  acurate,  and  very  excellent  history  of  the 
United  States,  falls  into  an  important  error  respecting  these  predatory 
excursions  of  the  Indians,  which  he  maintains,  were  not  encouraged  by  the 
English.  Such  was  by  no  means  the  fact.  The  English  employed  all  the 
Indians  they  could  upon  this  service.  Grahame,  however,  was  probably 
led  into  the  error  by  Belknap,  who  wrote  particularly  of  New  England 
and  evidently  in  great  ignorance  of  the  operations  in  New  York.  See 
Grahame,  book  x,  chap.  ii. 

3 Manuscript  letter;  Clinton  to  Johnson.  At  its  close,  the  governor 
said — <<  Pray  let  me  know  how  poor  old  Hendrick  dies,  who,  I  am  sorry  to 
hear,  is  so  bad."  Hendrick,  it  will  be  remembered,  was  the  king  of  the 
Mohawks. 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  253 

one  will  more  readily  comply  with  your  excellency's  orders  chap. 
than  I  shall ;  but  at  this  time  I  would  beg  leave  to  assure  ^—^ 
your  excellency  that  the  consequence  of  it  may  be  disas- 1747- 
trous  by  keeping  the  Indians  from  fighting — they  being 
now  inclining  that  way  more  and  more.  I  have  this  week 
sent  out  a  parcel  of  Canajoharies,  mixed  with  a  few  of  the 
Five  Nations1  against  the  French  and  their  settlements,  and 
am  every  day  busy  with  fitting  out  more.  I  am  going  to 
send  up  Captain  Stephens  and  two  of  the  lieutenants,  with 
a  small  party  of  men,  and  Indian  chiefs  of  the  two  castles 
with  them,  to  bring  down  some  of  the  Five  Nations  to  go 
a-scalping.  I  am  of  opinion  we  shall  make  the  French 
smart  this  spring,  by  taking,  scalping,  and  burning  them 
and  their  settlements.  But  I  shall  be  ruined  for  want  of 
blankets,  linen,  paints,  guns,  cutlasses,  &c,  for  I  am  almost 
out  of  all  these,  and  cannot  get  them  in  Albany.  I 
believe  your  excellency  has  seen  how  difficult  it  was  last  fall 
for  you  to  get  those  things.  But  how  much  more  so  for 
me,  being  so  envied  by  them.  Wherefore  if  I  cannot  have 
them  from  New  York  by  the  first  opportunity,  I  do  not 
know  what  I  shall  do.  So  I  hope  your  excellency  will 
endeavor  to  have  them  procured  and  sent  up, — as  also  the 
pay  for  those  belonging  to  me,  about  four  hundred  and 
thirty  pounds.  The  party  now  going  out  were  so  uneasy 
that  I  paid  the  most  of  them  to  encourage  them.  Old 
Hendrick  is  in  a  pretty  fair  way  of  recovering  again,  which 
will  be  of  great  service  to  our  cause.  I  hope  that  your 
excellency  will  order  it  so  that  my  people  may  be  supplied 
as  the  rest,  with  every  thing  on  a  march  which  is  requisite. 
As  to  the  party  which  you  intend  to  send  to  Oswego,  I  shall 
be  ready  to  transport  them  a  little  after  the  lake  opens, 
which  I  judge  to  be  in  about  a  fortnight.  But  be  that  as 
it  will,  I  shall  always  let  you  know  time  enough  beforehand. 
"We  kept  St.  Patrick's  day  yesterday  and  this  day,  and  drank 

1Sointhe  original  draught  of  the  letter.     Yet   the   Canajoharies   were 
only  a  clan  of  the  Mohawks — the  head  of  the  original  Five  Nations. 


254  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

CvnP*  y°ur  health,  and  that  of  all  friends  in  Albany,  with  so  many 
v-v — -  other  healths  that  I  can  scarce  write. 

"I  am,  with  great  regard,  dear  sir,  your  most  obedient 
humble  servant, 

"Wm.  Johnson," 

As  a  farther  encouragement  to  the  Indians,  the  legisla- 
ture of  Massachusetts  voted  an  additional  bounty  for  scalps ; 
but  Johnson  opposed  the  allowance,  and  suggested  that  a 
different  direction  be  given  to  the  appropriation.  Inasmuch, 
he  said,  as  the  bounty  for  scalps  allowed  by  the  assembly 
of  New  York,  was  entirely  satisfactory  to  the  Indians,  and 
inasmuch  also  as  he  had  already  sent  off  several  war-parties 
under  the  promise  of  that  bounty  and  no  more,  he  proposed 
applying  the  Massachusetts  funds  to  the  purchase  of 
clothing  and  subsistence  for  the  Indians  and  their  families, 
now  become  very  poor  from  the  long  time  they  had  been 
kept  from  their  hunting. l  The  Indians  were  at  this  time 
wretchedly  armed,  and  scantily  supplied ;  but  Clinton  was 
doing  all  in  his  power,  as  he  wrote  to  Johnson  on  the 
twentieth  of  March,  to  remedy  these  deficiencies.  The 
letters  of  the  latter  show  that  the  need  was  pressing. 

It  was  now  the  fourth  year  of  the  war.  Yet,  with  the 
exception  of  the  conquest  of  Louisburg,  scarcely  anything 
had  been  accomplished  against  the  enemy,  even  in  retalia- 
tion for  the  remorseless  cruelties  visited  upon  the  border 
settlements  of  the  English  along  the  whole  northern  fron- 
tier. The  energies  of  the  colonies  had  been  exerted,  seem- 
ingly almost  to  exhaustion,  in  large  preparations  ending  only 
in  mortifying  abortions.  Such  being  the  situation  of  affairs, 
Colonel  Johnson,  now  at  the  head  of  the  Indian  depart- 
ment, determined  to  exert  himself  to  the  utmost  in  making 
the  enemy  realize  the  true  character  of  the  species  of  war- 
fare he  had  adopted,  by  pouring  into  the  Canadian  settle- 
ments as  many  scalping  parties  as  he  could  command.  The 
contest  became,  therefore,  so  far  as  the  colonies  were  con- 

1  Manuscript  letter ;  Colonel  Johnson  to  Colonel  Jolin  Stoddard,  of  North- 
ampton. 


LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  255 

cerned,  ignoble  upon  both  sides ;  "  resembling  more  the  chap. 
practices  of  banditti  than  the  operations  of  civilized  war-  w y-1/ 
fare,  and  tending  to  no  other  results  than  obscure  individ-  1747, 
ual  suffering,  and  partial    havoc   and    devastation."     In 
order  to  a  better  understanding  of  the  manner  in  which  the 
war  was  thus  waged,    and  of  the   activity  and  energy  of 
Colonel  Johnson,  even  at  this  early  period  of  his  military 
career,  the  following  letter  is  inserted  at  large  : 

Colonel  Johnson  to  Governor  Clinton. 

"  Mount  Johnson,  May  30, 1747. 
"  May  it  please  your  Excellency : 

"  You  cannot  conceive  the  uneasiness  your  long  silence 
gives  me, — not  having  had  the  honor  of  a  line  from  you 
since  the  thirtieth  of  April.  It  is  now  the  first  time  that 
I  have  wanted  money  for  scalps  and  prisoners,  and  instruc- 
tions most  of  all.  The  numbers  about  me  every  day  going 
to  war,  takes  abundance  of  arms,  ammunition  and  clothing, 
and  I  am  quite  bare  of  most  of  those  things.  Your  excel- 
lency will  conceive  that  what  I  have  received  is  but  a  mere 
trifle  with  so  many  as  I  have  to  distribute  it  among,  although 
so  sparingly  done  ;  and  were  it  not  for  my  own  store,  and 
what  goods  I  have  been  obliged  to  buy,  I  should  have  been 
obliged  to  drop  the  affair  some  time  ago,  which  would  have 
been  very  hard  after  all  my  trouble  to  bring  them  so  heartily 
into  our  interest.  I  am  quite  pestered  every  day,  with  par- 
ties returning  with  prisoners  and  scalps,  and  without  a 
penny  to  pay  them  with,  ;t  comes  very  hard  upon  me,  and 
is  displeasing  to  them,  I  can  assure  you,  for  they  expect 
their  pay,  and  demand  it  of  me  as  soon  as  they  return,  as 
I  mentioned  to  your  excellency  in  my  last  of  the  twenty-fifth 
instant.  Now  that  they  find  the  money  is  not  ready,  they 
tell  me  this  was  but  a  draw  to  encourage  them.  Therefore 
I  wish  your  excellency  would  only  consider  of  it  shortly. 
I  thank  God  there  is  nothing  wanting  or  backward  in  my 
affairs,  wherefore  hope  your  excellency  will  not  let  me 
suffer,  or  the  cause  drag  for  want  of  things  requisite  to 


256  LIFE   OF  SIR   WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  carry  it  on.  If  your  excellency  intends  soon  to  come  up 
v-^l/to  Albany,  I  should  be  glad  to  receive  your  orders  concern- 
1747.  ing  the  Indians  coming  down,  for  they  certainly  expect  to 
be  called,  or  invited,  down  this  summer  by  you,  or  else  by 
me.  I  am  positive  I  could  do  more  with  them  here,  by  far, 
than  if  they  went  to  Albany,  without  going  to  above  a 
quarter  the  expense  ;  because  there  they  are  corrupted  by 
evil  people,  and  drink  all  the  goods  they  get,  whereas  here 
they  have  not  that  opportunity,  but  can  carry  them  home 
and  show  their  families  what  they  have  had  of  you, — which 
would  encourage  them  much.  Moreover  here  I  have  all 
my  counsellors,  the  Mohawks  and  Canajoharies,  with  whose 
assistance  I  could  bring  them  to  do  anything.  There  is 
nothing  more  requisite  at  present  than  some  blue  camlet, 
red  shalloon,  good  lace  and  white  metal  buttons,  to  make 
up  a  parcel  of  coats  for  some  chief  warriors  from  the  Sene- 
cas,  and  for  others  who  are  daily  expected.  "Wherefore  I 
wish  your  excellency  would  send  me  up  these  things  by 
the  first  opportunity,  and  also  about  thirty  good  castor  hats, 
with  scallop  lace  for  them  all ;  white  lace,  if  to  be  had,  if 
not  some  yellow  with  it.  This  I  assure  your  excellency 
goes  a  great  way  with  them.  They  have  been  gained  so 
mostly  by  the  French  always,  and  of  consequence  they 
expect  it  from  us,  and  we  have  promised  it.  There  is  three 
mouths  pay  due  to  my  officers  and  people  the  first  of  June, 
and  as  they  are  all  upon  hard  service  with  the  Indians  daily, 
they  require  their  pay,  which  I  hope  your  excellency  will 
please  pay  unto  Mr.  Anthony  Duane,  merchant  of  New 
York,  who  will  give  your  excellency  a  receipt  for  it.  I  also 
should  be  glad  your  excellency  would  advise  me  how  I 
shall  get  the  money  for  the  enclosed  account,  being  now  a 
year  due  almost,  and  by  your  orders.  Just  as  I  was  finish- 
ing my  letter,  arrived  another  party  of  mine,  consisting  of 
only  six  Mohawks,  who  brought  with  them  seven  prisoners 
and  three  scalps,  which  is  very  great  for  so  small  a  party. 
I  have  my  house,  &c,  now  all  full  of  the  Five  Nations, — 
some  going  out  to-morrow  against  the  French.     Others  go 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

for  news,  which,  when  furnished,  I  shall  let  your  excellency  chap. 
know.     My  people's  success  is  now  the  talk  of  the  whole > — ^— ' 
country.     I  expect  in  a  short  time  several  more   parties 1747* 
home  from  Canada.     I  believe  Hendrick  will  he  the  first, 
who,  I  dare  say,  will  bring  a  great  many  with  him,  dead  or 
alive— so  that  we  shall  need  a  great  deal  of  money  among 
them  all.     They  have  brought  in  this  spring  as  follows : 
First,  by  Lieut.  Walter  Butler  and  his  party,  from  Crown 

Point,  the  scalps  of  men, 6 

By  Lieut.  Thomas  Butler  and  party,  prisoners, 8 

By  a  Canajoharie  party,  prisoners, 3 

Scalps, , 2 

By  Gingegoe  and  party,  prisoners, 7 

Scalps, 3 

Total  this  spring, 29 

"  If  the  money  is  sent  up  to  me  for  this  use,  I  shall  give 
certificates  of  age,  and  render  a  clear  account  thereof,  and 
the  Indians  shall  receive  it  all  in  dollars,  and  not  be  cheat- 
ed, as  they  would  be  by  others,  who  would  only  give  them 
some  trifles  of  goods,  rum,  &c,  for  their  bounty, — which 
usage  has  ruined  our  Indians  mostly. 

I  am,  with  the  greatest  respect,  your  excellency's  much 

obliged  humble  servant,  &c. 

"¥m.  Johnson." 

Petty  details  of  a  petty  warfare  ;  but  the  record  is  essen- 
tial to  a  just  understanding  of  the  border  history  of  those 
times,  for  it  was  in  this  manner  only  that  active  hostilities 
were  prosecuted  during  the  entire  open  season.  Neither 
the  inhabitants  of  the  English  nor  of  the  French  borders 
were  left  to  the  enjoyment  of  a  moment's  security  or  repose. 
Exposed  every  hour  to  these  hostile  and  often  bloody  incur- 
sions, they  were  compelled  to  fortify  their  houses  by  night, 
and  go  armed  while  performing  the  labors  of  the  field  by 
day. 

One  of  the  most  considerable  of  these  hostile  incursions 
during  the  spring  of  this  year,  was  an  attack  upon  a  small 
33 


258  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  fort  in  Charlestown,  New  Hampshire,  by  a  large  body  of 
Wy^/ French  and  Indians,  under  the  command  of  M.  Debeline. 
1747.  This  post  had  been  unoccupied  during  the  winter ;  but 
toward  the  close  of  March,  captain  Phineas  Stevens,  an 
officer  who  had  been  in  command  of  it  the  year  before, 
returned  to  the  station,  at  the  head  of  a  body  of  thirty 
Massachusetts  rangers,  and  no  more.  The  enemy  came 
stealthily  into  the  immediate  neighborhood  of  the  fort,  as 
it  was  called, — being,  however,  nothing  but  a  small  pick- 
etted  stockade, — and  lay  in  concealment,  watching,  doubt- 
less, for  an  opportunity  when  the  gate  should  be  opened, 
to  rush  in  and  carry  the  work  by  a  sudden  assault  unawares. 
Uneasiness,  however,  on  the  part  of  the  dogs  in  the  fort, 
created  a  suspicion  that  all  was  not  right  without.  The 
little  garrison  being  thus  upon  the  qui  vive,  one  of  the  men, 
desirous  of  ascertaining  the  cause  of  this  canine  inquietude, 
left  the  fort,  and  creeping  cautiously  to  the  distance  of  thirty 
rods,  discharged  his  gun.  Supposing  themselves  to  have 
been  discovered,  a  party  of  the  enemy  sprang  up  and  fired 
at  the  adventurous  ranger,  slightly  wounding  him.  Not 
with  sufficient  severity,  however,  to  prevent  his  regaining 
the  fort,  though  hotly  pursued  by  the  enemy,  who,  no 
longer  affecting  concealment,  rushed  forward  with  savage 
yells  as  though  determined  at  once  to  carry  the  defence. 
But  their  courage  was  unequal  to  the  attempt ;  and  for  a 
considerable  time  nothing  more  was  done  than  to  keep  up 
a  general  fire,  brisk,  but  ineffectual.  The  rangers  were 
well  covered,  and  small  arms  could  of  course  make  no  sensi- 
ble impression  upon  the  stockade ;  but  the  fire  was  never- 
theless returned  with  spirit.  Finding  the  garrison  bent 
upon  a  resolute  defence,  and  perceiving  that  the  work  was 
constructed  of  combustible  materials,  the  enemy  next 
attempted  to  set  on  fire,  and  thus  summarily  to  compel  a 
surrender.  To  this  end  the  torch  was  applied  to  the  neigh- 
boring fences,  and  also  to  a  log-house  standing  about  forty 
rods  to  windward.  A  brisk  wind  favored  the  design,  and 
the  flames  approached,  enveloping  the  fort  in  a  dense  body 


LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.        .  259 

of  smoke,  and  eclipsing  the  view  of  the  enemy, — but  of  chap. 
whose  continued  presence,  the  hideous  yells  of  the  savages,  < — » — : 
and  the  incessant  rattle  of  musketry,  gave  ample  evidence.  1747, 
There  was  indeed  immediate  danger  from  the  approach  of 
the  devouring  element,  and  it  is  quite  probable  that  through 
its  agency  the  enemy  would  have  been  successful  but  for  a 
lucky  expedient  devised  by  captain  Stevens^  and  bravely 
executed  by  his  men.  The  soil  being  favorable  for  rapid 
excavation,  several  subterranean  passages  or  galleries  were 
carried  under  the  parapet,  deep  enough  to  allow  the  men 
to  stand  in  them  at  the  foot  of  the  stockades  on  the  outside, 
yet  completely  covered  from  the  enemy.  Buckets  of  water 
from  the  well  within  were  then  passed  rapidly  to  the  men 
standing  in  the  trenches  without,  which  being  dashed 
upward  upon  the  timbers,  they  were  moistened  sufficiently 
to  prevent  ignition.  Failing  in  this  first  effort  to  produce 
a  conflagration,  M.  Debeline  next  prepared  a  sort  of  man- 
lalet,  loaded  with  faggots,  which  were  fired  and  forced  down 
upon  the  fort.  Showers  of  burning  arrows  were  also  shot 
into  the  defence, — a  device  which  was  alike  abortive.  The 
exertions  of  one-half  the  thirty  preserved  the  work  from 
the  fire,  while  the  other  half  lost  no  opportunity  of  firing 
upon  the  enemy,  as  often  as  he  could  be  discovered  through 
the  intervening  clouds  of  smoke.  On  the  second  day  of 
the  seige  the  French  commander  proposed  a  cessation  of 
hostilities,  until  sunrise  of  the  following  morning, — a  propo- 
sition readily  acceded  to  by  Captain  Stevens,  but  the  object 
of  which  does  not  appear.  But  no  matter :  just  before  the 
expiration  of  the  armistice,  Debeline,  himself,  bearing  a 
flag,  with  fifty  of  his  men,  approached  within  fifty  rods  of 
the  stockade,  and  a  parley  ensued, — Stevens  receiving  a 
lieutenant  and  two  of  the  enemy  into  the  fort  as  hostages, 
while  the  same  number  proceeded  to  a  conference  with 
the  French  commander.  His  demand  was  a  surrender  of 
the  fort,  the  garrison  to  be  conducted  to  Montreal  as 
prisoners  of  war,  with  a  request  that  Captain  Stevens  should 
meet  him  and  reply  to  the  summons  in  person.     Ascertain- 


260  LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  ing  that  his  men  would  stand  by  him  in  defending  their 
v—y—- little  work  to  the  last,  Stevens  proceeded  to  meet  the 
1747.  Frenchman  as  requested,  but  was  received  roughly.  With- 
out pausing  for  an  interchange  even  of  the  ordinary  cour- 
tesies required  by  good  breeding,  Debeline  threatened  that 
if  his  terms  were  rejected,  he  would  take  the  fort  by  storm ; 
— adding,  that  in  the  event  of  the  death  of  any  of  his  men 
in  the  assault,  he  would  put  every  man  of  the  garrison  to 
the  sword.  Under  a  menace  like  that,  Stevens  at  once 
declined  further  negotiations, — declaring  his  purpose  to 
listen  to  no  overtures  of  surrender  whatever,  until  his 
means  of  defence  should  be  exhausted.  "  Do  as  you  please," 
replied  Debeline ; — "  I  am  resolved  to  have  the  fort  or  die. 
Go  and  see  if  your  men  dare  fight  any  longer,  and  give  me 
a  speedy  answer."  Returning  to  the  stockade,  the  hostages 
were  interchanged,  and  at  about  twelve  o'clock  meridian, 
hostilities  were  recommenced,  the  firing  being  continued  all 
that  day,  and  the  night  following.  Just  at  the  peep  of  dawn 
on  the  third  day,  Stevens  was  addressed  from  the  ranks  of 
the  enemy  with  the  friendly  salutation  "  Good  morning," 
to  which  was  added  a  proposition  for  a  second  armistice  of 
two  hours.  It  was  granted ;  and  shortly  before  its  expira- 
tion, two  Indians  approached  with  a  flag,  proclaiming  that 
if  the  English  would  sell  them  some  provisions,  they  would 
withdraw  without  offering  further  molestation.  The  nego- 
tiation was  declined  upon  the  basis  proposed ; — Stevens, 
however,  offering  to  supply  them  with  provisions  at  the 
rate  of  five  bushels  of  corn  for  every  prisoner  the  enemy 
Would  stipulate  to  release  at  Montreal,  hostages  to  be  left 
to  secure  a  faithful  performance  of  the  agreement.  This 
proposition  was  in  turn  rejected;  but  the  fire  of  the  enemy 
gradually  fell  away,  and  before  nightfall  the  seige  was 
raised  and  the  foe  departed,  deeply  chagrined,  beyond  all 
t  doubt,  at  the  failure  of  his  enterprise,  especially  of  the 
boastful  confidence  with  which  it  had  been  commenced. 
The  attack  continued  three  days,  during  which  thousands 
of  balls  were  discharged  into  the  fort,  yet  not  a  man  of  the 


LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  261 

garrison  was  killed,  and  but  two  of  them  wounded,  and  chap. 
those  slightly.     Commodore    Sir  Charles   Knowles,  then^.^, 
with  his  squadron  lying  at  Boston,  was  so  highly  gratified  1(47- 
with  the  conduct  of  Captain  Stevens,  that  he  sent  him  an 
elegant  sword,  hearing  a  suitable  inscription.     The  bravery 
of  Stevens,  and  the  mental  resources  which  he  discovered, 
were  subjects  of  high  praise  in  other  quarters  ;  yet  he  has 
been  criticised  for  his  imprudence  in  admitting  the  hosta- 
ges retained  by  him  during  the  negotiations,  into  the  fort, — 
thus  necessarily  disclosing  his  weakness, — while  it  has  also 
been  suggested  that  he  ought  not  to  have  risked  his  own 
person  by  placing  himself  within  the  power  of  a  perfidious 
enemy,  when  he  might  rather  have  sent  a  subaltern  to 
meet  the  French  commander. 

Debeline  did  not  retire  from  the  country  at  once,  but  on 
raising  the  siege  of  the  stockade  he  divided  his  motley 
forces  into  several  small  parties,  by  which  the  border  set- 
tlements of  New  Hampshire  were  infested  for  weeks  there- 
after. Skirmishes  were  frequent,  houses  were  burnt,  and 
individuals  were  killed  from  day  to  day.  All  the  dwell- 
ings in  the  two  settlements  of  Winchester  and  Upper 
Ashuelot  were  destroyed  by  fire.  Yet  nearer  to  Albany 
the  enemy  was  hovering  about  in  considerable  numbers. 

In  May,  the  government  of  Massachusetts  commenced 
rebuilding  the  fort  of  that  name  which  had  been  destroyed 
the  year  before  by  M.  Vaudreuil.  A  party  of  one 
hundred  men  having  been  detached  to  Albany  for  provi- 
sions, on  its  return  discovered  the  enemy  in  ambuscade 
in  the  very  environs  of  the  works.  The  discovery  was 
timely.  An  engagement  ensued,  and  the  enemy,  attacked 
upon  both  sides, — both  by  the  returning  party  and  the 
garrison, — was  soon  obliged  to  flee  to  the  woods,  whence 
he  did  not  again  emerge.  The  loss  to  the  English  was 
trifling,  two  men  only  being  wounded,  and  one  killed, — 
the  latter  an  Indian  ally  of  the  Stockbridge  tribe. 

While  the  border-men  were  engaged  in  these  predatory 
aifairs, — prolific  of  individual  suffering,  but,  though  illus- 


262  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  trated  by  many  acts  of  personal  conduct  worthy  of  all 
*— v — ■  praise,  productive  of  no  important  results, — Governor 
1747-  Clinton  was  again  involved  in  hostilities  with  his  legisla- 
ture. In  the  reasonable  expectation  of  receiving  instruc- 
tions from  ministers  touching  the  prosecution  of  the  war, 
the  governor  had  delayed  summoning  the  general  assembly 
until  the  twenty-fifth  of  March.  But  no  instructions 
came ;  and  the  season  was  already  so  far  advanced  as  to 
require  very  active  dispositions  of  the  forces  already  in 
service  for  guarding  the  exposed  points  of  the  frontiers, 
even  were  offensive  operations  not  in  contemplation.  The 
assembly  was  told  in  the  speech  that  Colonel  Roberts  had 
been  sent  to  Boston  to  confer  with  Governor  Shirley,  and 
that  the  Mohawks  had  been  detained  from  their  hunting 
expeditions  that  they  might  be  in  readiness  to  act  in  the  war 
as  circumstances  might  require.  For  the  purpose  of  yet 
farther  cultivating  the  friendship  of  the  Six  Nations,  the 
governor  proposed  another  voyage  to  counsel  with  them  at 
Albany,  for  which  obj  ect  he  required  an  appropriation.  The 
long  proposed  expedition  against  Crown  Point  was  again 
presented  for  legislative  consideration;  and,  in  the  absence 
both  of  the  advices  and  supplies  expected  from  England, 
appropriations  were  required  for  the  construction  of  the 
forts  so  long  talked  of  at  the  carrying-places  between  the 
Hudson  river  and  Lake  Champlain.  The  forces  likewise 
for  the  expedition,  were  to  be  levied  and  paid  by  the  colo- 
nies embarking  therein,  upon  all  which  points  a  full  and 
cordial  understanding  existed  between  Governors  Clinton 
and  Shirley.  Provision  having  only  been  made  for  victualing 
the  levies  then  in  the  service  until  the  first  of  May,  farther 
supplies  were  required  for  that  object.  A  week  afterward 
a  special  message  was  sent  down  asking  an  appropriation 
for  maintaining  scouts,  and  a  corps  of  rangers  upon 
the  frontiers.  These  requests  were  judged  the  more  rea- 
sonable, inasmuch  as  all  the  expenses  of  the  Indian  service, 
and  for  the  rangers,  had  been  defrayed  during  the  preced- 
ing year  by  the  crown.     No  other  business  was  presented 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  263 

to  the   consideration  of  the  assembly,  whose  session,  the  chap. 
governor  suggested,  must  be  short.  v— v — ' 

Justice  Horsmanden  reported  the  address  of  the  council 
in  answer  to  the  speech.  It  contained  the  following  pas- 
sage embodying  a  reflection  upon  the  integrity  of  the 
Indians,  which,  judging  from  the  correspondence  of  Colo- 
nel Johnson,  seems  not  at  that  time  at  least  to  have  been 
deserved. 

"It  cannot  but  occasion  great  uneasiness  in  us  to  observe, 
that  our  Indians  employed  in  the  barbarous  method  of 
scalping,  (only  justifiable  by  the  precedent  practices  of  our 
enemies,)  industriously  avoid  attacking,  or  meeting  the 
French  Indians  ;  or  when  they  meet,  treat  each  other  as 
friends ;  whereby  they  are  encouraged  in  their  cruel  practice 
of  butchering  those  who  are  not  in  arms,  and  even  those 
who  are  unable  to  bear  arms — women  and  children." 

The  assembly,  determined  to  continue  its  quarrel  with 
the  governor,  neglected  the  customary  civility  of  voting  an 
address.  But  the  situation  of  the  country  forbade  entire 
inaction,  and  a  petition  from  the  inhabitants  of  Kinderhook, 
accompanying  the  special  message,  contained  a  pathetic 
appeal  to  the  assembly  for  a  garrison  of  fifty  men  for  their 
defence,  and  a  like  number  of  rangers  to  traverse  the  woods 
to  the  northward  and  eastward.  Moved  by  this  appeal, 
resolutions  were  passed  directing  the  employment  of  one 
hundred  rangers,  one-half  of  whom  were  to  be  stationed 
upon  the  east,  and  the  other  upon  the  west  side  of  the 
river  in  the  county  of  Albany.  Supplies  were  also  voted 
for  victualling  the  levies  for  the  term  of  three  months 
beyond  the  twenty-fourth  of  May.  But  the  house  at  the 
same  time  reaffirmed  its  declaration  of  the  preceding 
November,  that  it  would  make  no  provision  for  the  trans- 
portation of  any  supplies  beyond  Albany.  In  regard  to 
his  excellency's  proposed  conference  with  the  Indians,  it 
farther  manifested  its  temper  by  voting  the  beggarly  allow- 
ance of  one  hundred  and  fifty  pounds.  Nor  was  this  all. 
After  passing  the  bill  in  form,  pursuant  to  the  resolutions, 


264  LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BAET. 

chap,  and  before  it  had  received  the  assent  of  the  representative 
*— v— '  of  the  crown,  the  assembly  adopted  yet  another  resolution 
1/4/-  setting  forth  that  the  levies  then  in  service,  so  long  main- 
tained at  very  great  expense,  had  thus  far  been  unemployed, 
and  praying  that  the  hundred  men  authorized  in  compli- 
ance with  the  Kinderhook  memorial,  should  be  detached 
from  those  levies — from  the  little  army  destined  against 
Canada !  The  pay  proposed  in  the  bill  was  one  shilling  per 
diem,  over  and  above  the  wages  allowed  and  paid  by  the 
crown.  Eight  days  afterward,  the  governor  not  yet  having 
approved  the  bill,  the  assembly,  availing  itself  of  a  memo- 
rial from  Albany  giving  a  melancholy  representation  of 
the  suffering  and  defenceless  situation  of  that  country,  as 
if  purposely  to  chafe  his  excellency  by  farther  insult,  sent 
up  an  address  of  affected  tenderness  and  solicitude  for  the 
condition  of  the  frontier  settlers,  and  praying  him  no  longer 
to  withhold  his  assent  from  the  measure  they  had  been  so 
prompt  to  enact. 

In  his  reply  to  this  address,  the  governor  went  into  a  full 
and  elaborate  vindication  of  his  conduct  during  the  last 
eventful  year  of  his  administration, — rehearsing  his  labors 
and  exertions  in  the  public  service,  for  which  he  had  been 
so  unworthily  requited.  In  regard  to  the  bill  presented  for 
his  approbation,  his  excellency  said  he  looked  upon  the 
allowance  of  the  extra  shilling  per  diem,  as  altogether 
inadequate,  considering  the  character  and  severity  of  the 
service,  the  extra  expenses  to  which  the  rangers  were  sub- 
ject by  the  wear  and  tear  of  their  clothes  when  plunging 
into  morasses,  climbing  mountains,  or  threading  the  deep- 
tangled  woods.  He  denied  that  the  levies  had  been  inac- 
tive,  and  gave  an  account  of  the  dispositions  that  had  been 
made  of  them.  The  invasion  of  Canada  having  been 
necessarily  deferred,  the  next  object  of  the  executive  had 
been  to  make  an  advanced  movement  in  that  direction,  for 
the  purpose  of  forming  a  winter  encampment  at  the  carry- 
ing-place, and  for  the  construction  of  fortifications  at  the 
heads  of  the  two  lakes,  Champlain  and  St.  Sacrament, — 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  265 

measures  of  the  first  importance,  and  of  the  greatest  effi-  chap. 
eiency  in  affording  protection  to  the  frontiers  against  the  *—Js 
predatory  bands  so  frequently  issuing  from  Crown  Point.  1747- 
But  his  purposes  had  been  frustrated  by  the  conduct  of  the 
assembly  respecting  the  provisions  at  Albany;  and  also  by 
reason  of  a  waste  of  time,  the  consequence  of  which  was, 
that  the  levies,  instead   of  advancing  to  the  designated 
point,  had  been  compelled  to  halt  and  winter  at  Saratoga, 
— an  ill-chosen  and  unsafe  locality  for  a  military  position. 
In  all  these  proceedings  his  excellency  said  he  had  had  the 
concurrence  of  Governor  Shirley,  as  well  as  of  the  other 
colonies  uniting  in  the  prosecution  of  the  war.     They  had 
all  evinced  a  willingness  to  share  the  expense,  but  in  the 
expectation,  of  course,  that  as  New  York  was  the  most 
immediately  interested  in  the   result  of  the  contest,  she 
would  set  a  cheerful  example  in  meeting  the   exigency. 
After  reciting  various  measures  that  had  been  adopted  for 
the  common  security,  his  excellency  intimated  that  points 
other  than  those  enumerated,  would  have  been  occupied 
and  fortified,  but  for  the  obstinate  refusal  of  the  assembly 
to  appropriate  even  the  sums  necessary  for  their  own  safety. 
He  upbraided  them  for  the  disrespect  with  which  they  had 
treated  his  speech  at  the  opening  of  the  session,  although 
in  the  preparation  of  that  speech  he  had  carefully  avoided 
everything  which  he  supposed  could  have  a  tendency  to 
revive  the  unpleasant  difficulties  of  the  former  session. 
Referring  to  the  many  difficulties  he  had  been  obliged  to 
encounter,  especially  at  Albany,  he  did   not  conceal  his 
belief  that  they  had  been  fomented  by  the  opulent  traders 
of  that  city,  who  had  grown  rich  by  their  trade  with  Cana- 
da, and  who  were  desirous  of  preserving  the  neutrality  of 
the  Six  Nations.     He  likewise  intimated  a  suspicion  that 
there  were  Roman  Catholic  emissaries  in  the  colony, — art- 
ful and  cunning  men, — engaged  in  treasonable  practices, — 
"  dangerous  instruments  for  the  destruction  of  the  religion 
and  liberty  of  the  land."     In  conclusion  he  said,  that  not- 
withstanding the  opposition  they  had  made  to  his  mea- 

34 


266  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  sures,  there  was  nothing  in  his  power  which  he  would  not 
w^  cheerfully  do  "  for  the  security  of  the  frontiers,  and  topre- 
l?4?'  serve  the  inhabitants  from  the  incursions  of  a  cruel  and 
barbarous  enemy." 

On  the  subject  of  the  suspected  disloyalty  of  some  of 
the  people  of  Albany,  to  which  reference  had  been  made 
in  the  message, — charging  them  in  effect  with  leaguing  with 
the  enemy  to  obstruct  the  operations  against  Canada,  the 
governor  wrote  to  Colonel  Johnson  as  follows : 

Governor  Clinton  to  Colonel  Johnson. 

"New  York,  April  25th,  1747. 
"Sir: 

"You  will  find  by  a  paragraph  of  a  message  I  sent  to 
the  assembly  yesterday,  that  I  have  taken  notice  of  the 
endeavors  which  I  suspect  some  people  of  Albany  have 
used  for  to  obtain  a  kind  of  neutrality  between  them  and 
Canada. 

"  You  told  me  of  some  private  messages  you  heard  had 
been  sent  by  Indians  for  the  purpose.  Send  me  a  particu- 
lar account  of  what  you  know  and  have  heard  on  that  sub- 
ject, and  of  what  you  can  now,  or  at  any  time  after  this, 
learn  by  farther  inquiry.  I  expect  you  will  use  all  the 
diligence  possible  to  discover  every  part  of  this  scheme, 
and  in  what  manner  it  has  been  carried  on.  I  long  much 
to  hear  from  you,  for  we  have  most  villainous  reports 
spread.  I  hope  the  Indians  all  remain  steadfast  and  in 
good  health. 

"In  the  bill  I  am  going  to  pass,  the  council  did  not  think 
it  proper  to  put  rewards  for  scalping  or  taking  poor  women 
or  children  prisoners  in  it ;  but  the  assembly  has  assured 
me  the  money  shall  be  paid  when  it  so  happens,  if  the 
Indians  insist  upon  it. 

"  I  am,  Sir, 

"Your  very  humble  serv't, 

"  G.  Clinton." 
"  To  Colonel  Johnson." 


GOVERNOR    GEORGE     CLINTON. 


LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  267 

Those  portions  of  the  message  alledging  that  the  house  chap. 
had  treated  his  excellency  with  disrespect,  and  charging  it  ^^ 
with  neglecting  to  provide  for  the  safety  of  the  colony,  as  1747. 
also  the  paragraph  containing  the   imputation   upon  the 
Albany  traders,  were  received  with  high  displeasure, — real 
or  affected, — and  a  committee  was  appointed  by  resolution 
with  instructions  to  prepare  an  answer. 1     The  appointment 
of  this  committee  was  made  on  the  twenty-fourth  of  April ; 
and  for  several  days  immediately  subsequent,  the  assembly 
met  but  only  to  adjourn,  without  proceeding  to  business. 
At  length,  in  order  to  give  the  members  time  to  abate  their 
choler,  the  house  was  adjourned  from  the  second  of  May 
to  the  twelfth,  and  again  to  the  nineteenth.of  May. 

While  these  disputes  between  the  executive  and  his 
assembly  were  in  progress  in  the  city  of  New  York,  affairs 
at  the  north  were  in  a  sad  condition.  The  levies  who  had 
been  kept  in  service  during  the  winter,  clamorous  for  their 
pay,  were  almost  in  a  state  of  mutiny.  The  officers  wrote 
from  Saratoga  that  they  were  fearful  the  garrison  would 
desert  in  a  body.  Colonel  Roberts  wrote  to  colonel  John- 
son, announcing  the  desertion  of  thirty-four  men  from  a 
single  company ;  the  garrison  at  Saratoga  had  become  so 
much  weakened,  as  to  create  apprehensions  that  the  post 
would  be  lost ;  while  the  officers  wrote  to  the  governor 
from  Albany,  that  they  could  not  persuade  the  designated 
quotas  of  the  northern  militia  companies  to  march  for  the 
defence  of  that  jeoparded  position.  During  the  months  of 
April  and  May,  the  communications  spread  before  the 
executive  council  upon  the  subject,  were  of  the  most  urgent 

1  The  gentlemen  forming  this  committee  were,  David  Clarkson,  Cornelius 
Van  Home,  Paul  Richard,  Henry  Cruger,  Frederick  Phillipse,  John  Thomas, 
Lewis  Morris,  David  Pierson,  and  William  Nicholl  Smith,  in  a  note,  suggests 
that  the  reflection  upon  the  Albany  traders,  was  intended  by  the  governor 
as  a  cut  at  DeLancey,  whose  father,  many  years  before,  during  the  admin- 
istration of  Governor  Burnett,  had  been  largely  benefitted  by  the  Indian 
trade  with  Canada  through  Lake  Champlain.  But  Clinton's  private  letter 
to  Johnson,  now  first  brought  to  light,  shows  that  he  was  acting  in  perfect 
good  faith — having  reason  to  believe  the  imputation  just. 


268  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

°vn.P'  character.  Funds  for  the  payment  of  the  troops  in  part, 
' — * — '  were  remitted  ;  but  partial  payments  by  no  means  sufficed ; 
the  discontents  became  more  impatient ;  and  on  the  thirty- 
first  of  May,  a  dispatch  was  received  from  Colonel  Roberts, 
announcing  that  the  levies  upon  all  the  frontier  stations 
had  united  in  a  solemn  resolution  that  unless  their  whole 
pay  should  be  immediately  forthcoming,  they  would  desert 
en  masse,  and  pay  themselves  by  the  plunder  of  the  city  and 
county  of  Albany.  Additional  remittances  were  made  with 
all  possible  alacrity ;  but  Mr.  Clinton  nevertheless  cautioned 
the  officers  against  paying  at  once  all  that  was  due,  lest  from 
the  prevailing  spirit  of  insubordination  they  might  still 
desert  the  moment  their  pockets  should  be  filled.  Not  long 
before  this,  two  Mohawk  Indians  had  been  discovered  in 
an  attempt  to  kill  and  scalp  some  of  Captain  Tiebout's 
company,  stationed  at  Schenectady.  They  were  lying  in 
wait  for  that  object,  and  had  wounded  one  man.  Roberts 
wrote  to  Johnson  upon  the  matter,  and  as  the  offenders 
had  been  secured,  the  latter  advised  that  they  should  be 
surrendered  to  their  own  people  for  punishment. * 

The  committee  charged  with  the  preparation  of  an 
address  to  the  governor,  made  their  report  on  the  nineteenth 
of  May.  It  was  very  long,  extending  to  nearly  eight  large 
folio  printed  pages ;  and  as  it  was  read  to  the  house^ 
approved,  engrossed,  and  presented  to  his  excellency  all 
on  the  same  afternoon,  it  must  have  been  evident  that  its 
terms,  even  to  a  letter,  had  been  previously  settled  by  what 
is  in  modern  times  designated  a  caucus,  and  the  labor  of 
engrossing  performed  in  anticipation.  The  spirit  of  the 
address  was  very  bitter,  though  sweetened  by  terms  of  ill- 
dissembled  courtesy.  They  protested  with  the  utmost 
gravity  that  it  had  been  far  from  the  intention  of  the  house 
to  give  his  excellency  the  least  occasion  of  offence  by  their 
former  resolutions.  The  suggestion  for  the  employment  of 
one  hundred  men  to  be  taken  from  the  levies  as  rangers, 
had  been  made,  they  averred,  in  compliance  with  applica- 

1  Journals  of  the  council  board. 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BAHT.  269 

tions  to  that  effect  from  the  people  of  Albany ;  and  a  pre-  Cy„p" 

cedent  for  the  adoption  of  that  course  had  been  found  in '— v— ' 

1747 
the  course  of  his  excellency's  own  proceedings  at  Albany 

the  year  before.  By  the  remark  that  "  the  levies  had  hith- 
erto been  unemployed,"  they  meant  no  more  than  to  say 
what  was  known  to  all,  that  they  had  not  been  employed 
in  the  Canada  expedition.  They  were  "much  concerned 
that  this  misconstruction  of  their  innocent  intentions," 
should  have  induced  his  excellency  to  give  so  full  a  history 
as  he  had  done,  of  his  conduct  in  defence  of  the  country 
during  the  preceding  year,  since  in  doing  so  he  "had  taken 
the  trouble  of  relating  many  particulars  well  known  before." 
They  acknowledged  the  importance  of  preserving  the 
friendship  of  the  Six  Nations,  and  rehearsed  their  own 
proceedings  to  that  end  during  the  entire  period  of  his 
administration.  It  was  admitted  that  the  crown  had 
defrayed  the  charges  of  the  great  council  at  Albany  of  the 
preceding  year ;  but  for  the  expenses  of  the  council  of  the 
year  before  that,  they  had  voted  one  thousand  pounds, 
besides  appropriations  for  his  excellency's  own  personal 
expenses  ;  and  they  intimated  an  opinion  that  while  they 
had  not  been  informed  what  sums  had  been  actually  dis- 
bursed for  presents  to  the  Indians,  there  were  not  wanting 
individuals  who  had  profited  largely  in  that  branch  of 
the  service.  Yet,  notwithstanding  all  the  expenditures 
upon  the  Indians,  and  the  pains  that  had  been  taken  to 
secure  their  friendship,  they  had  not  joined  in  the  war  to 
any  considerable  extent.  In  regard  to  the  governor  him- 
self, they  had  received  him  with  distinguished  considera- 
tion on  his  arrival ;  and  in  consequence  of  the  efforts  he 
was  understood  to  have  made  in  behalf  of  the  colony  before 
his  embarkation  for  his  government,  they  had  voted  him  a 
gratuity  of  a  thousand  pounds,  and  had  moreover,  ill  as 
the  colony  could  bear  the  expense,  caused  a  new  and  ele- 
gant house  to  be  built  for  his  residence,  in  conformity  to 
his  own  plans,  besides  raising  as  much  for  his  support  as 
had  been  allowed  to  any  of  his  predecessors.     In  reviewing 


270  LIFE   OF  SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

c vnf'  ^ne  eyents  of  the  war  and  their  own  acts  for  sustaining  the 
"— v— '  public  service,  they  recurred  to  the  destruction  of  Saratoga, 

1747 

two  years  before,  as  an  event  that  might  not  have  happened 
but  for  the  withdrawing  of  the  independent  companies 
from  that  post.  Afterward,  at  the  governor's  request,  they 
had  appropriated  money  for  rebuilding  that  fort,  which  was 
done,  and  the  works  garrisoned  by  the  militia,  at  the  expense 
of  the  colony.  In  addition  to  this  they  had  also  at  the 
governor's  request,  made  appropriations  for  building  other 
forts  to  guard  the  frontier  passes.  Yet  again,  the  plan  of 
defence  having  been  changed,  they  had  voted  money  for 
building  a  chain  of  block-houses  from  the  New  England 
border  to  the  castles  of  the  Mohawks  ;  but  this  plan  being 
in  turn  abandoned,  the  money  was  diverted  to  the  payment 
and  subsistence  of  detachments  of  the  militia  posted  upon 
the  frontiers  by  the  governor  during  the  recess  of  the 
assembly.  They  admitted  the  importance  of  guarding  the 
passes  of  the  great  carrying-place  by  suitable  fortifications, 
but  shrunk  from  the  expense,  both  for  the  building,  and  for 
the  maintenance  of  garrisons.  The  other  exposed  colonies 
had  an  equal  interest  with  New  York  in  building  and  sus- 
taining those  defences,  and  they  thought  the  expense  should 
be  shared  among  them, — intimating  a  doubt,  however,  not- 
withstanding the  assurances  of  his  excellency  upon  that 
point,  whether  the  colonies  referred  to  would  in  fact  be 
willing  to  bear  a  portion  of  the  burden.  Touching  his 
excellency's  complaint  that  his  projected  northern  encamp- 
ment had  been  frustrated,  and  the  division  of  levies  des- 
tined upon  that  service  compelled  by  the  climate  to  fall  back 
upon  Saratoga  for  winter  quarters,  knowing  the  severity 
of  that  climate  as  they  did,  they  had  anticipated  as  much ; 
and  as  to  the  unsuitableness  of  the  locality,  as  now  averred 
by  his  excellency,  it  had  at  least  been  rebuilt  there  by  his 
own  directions.  His  excellency's  reference  to  the  difficulties 
at  Albany,  the  previous  autumn,  in  regard  to  the  delivery 
and  transportation  of  provisions,  whereby  as  wa3  alleged, 
his  plans  had  been  defeated,  was  tartly  answered.     "If," 


LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  271 

they  said,  "your  excellency  means  thereby  the  refusal  of  chap. 
"  the  commissioners  to  deliver  the  provisions  contrary  to  ^-v— - 
"  the  law  you  were  pleased  to  pass  but  a  little  before,  the  1747# 
"  house  had  occasion  to  give  your  excellency  their  thoughts 
"  upon  it  in  their  resolves  of  the  seventeenth  of  November 
"last,  which  were  by  order  of  the  house  laid  before  your 
"  excellency,  to  which  we  beg  leave  to  refer."  Rehearsing, 
next,  in  reply  to  the  charge  of  the  governor  that  they  had 
not  shown  a  disposition  even  "to  take  care  of  themselves," 
they  pointed  to  the  previous  measures  they  had  adopted  for 
the  public  defence,  and  the  appropriations,  among  which 
was  one  of  forty  thousand  pounds  for  the  northern  expe- 
dition, as  irrefragable  proofs  of  the  reality  and  sincerity  of 
their  intentions, — suggesting  that  if  his  excellency,  on  cool 
reflection  did  not  think  them  so,  "  they  must  be  so  unhappy 
"  as  to  despair  of  giving  him  satisfaction  on  that  head." 
They  said  the  appropriations  they  had  made  of  nine  pounds 
per  man  for  the  enlistment  of  sixteen  companies  of  one 
hundred  men  each,  and  the  provisioning  of  those  compa- 
nies, were  nearly  exhausted;  and  they  intimated  a  belief 
that  in  the  erection  of  fortifications,  great  waste  had  been 
indulged,  and  much  needless  expense  incurred  for  the  want 
of  competent  engineers.  Whenever  they  should  have  rea- 
son to  believe  that  their  money  would  not  be  advanced  in 
vain  for  this  department  of  the  public  service,  and  when- 
ever they  should  have  an  earnest  that  the  other  colonies 
were  prepared  to  cooperate  in  the  work  of  mutual  protec- 
tion, they  would  be  found  ready  to  vote  for  such  additional 
fortifications  as  might  be  judged  necessary.  In  regard  to 
the  statement  in  the  governor's  opening  speech,  that  an 
agreement  had  been  made  with  the  commissioners  of  Mas- 
sachusetts for  building  the  two  forts  so  often  recommended, 
at  the  passes  of  the  carrying-place,  and  also  in  respect  to 
the  forces  to  be  raised  by  the  several  colonies  expected  to 
cooperate  in  the  Canadian  invasion,  and  the  rates  of  expense 
for  each,  the  assembly  was  surprised,  inasmuch  as  the 
governor  had  but  three  members  of  his  council  with  him, 


272  LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  while  Massachusetts  alone  of  the  other  colonies  was  repre- 
^s—<  sented  at  the  conference,  that  his  excellency  should  have 
1747-  entered  upon  any  such  agreement.  Moreover  as  they  were 
in  the  daily  expectation  of  advices  from  England,  hoping 
withal  for  the  speedy  arrival  of  experienced  officers,  they 
trusted  his  excellency  would  excuse  the  house  for  its  opinion, 
"  that  they  could  not  in  conscience  provide  for  schemes  the 
"  execution  of  which  would  be  very  hazardous,  and  put 
"the  colony  to  great  expense."  They  told  the  governor 
plainly,  that  "  ever  since  he  had  thought  fit  to  place  his 
confidence  in  a  person  obnoxious  to,  and  censured  by  the 
house,  the  public  affairs  had  been  much  perplexed,  and  had 
not  been  attended  with  the  steadiness  and  good  conduct 
which  their  importance  required.  They  attributed  several 
of  his  excellency's  late  speeches  to  that  person,  declaring 
that  until  the  day  when  he  was  taken  into  favor  the  utmost 
harmony  had  existed  between  all  the  branches  of  the  gov- 
ernment. These  thrusts  were  aimed  at  Doctor  Colden,  the 
lance  having  been  barbed  by  DeLancey,  the  master-spirit 
in  fomenting  these  dissensions.  Respecting  the  charges 
against  the  people  of  Albany,  entire  disbelief  in  the  justice 
of  the  imputation  was  expressed, — the  mind  of  his  excel- 
lency having  probably  been  poisoned  upon  that  subject  by 
the  individual  to  whom  reference  had  already  been  made 
as  an  abuser  of  his  confidence.  If  the  people  of  Albany 
were  indeed  engaged  in  treasonable  practices,  they  mar- 
velled that  none  of  them  had  been  arrested  and  brought 
to  trial.  In  answer  to  his  excellency's  apprehension  that 
Popish  emissaries  had  been  engaged  in  sowing  dissensions 
and  kindling  every  spark  of  discontent,  the  house  seized 
upon  the  suggestion  and  applied  it  to  a  person  then  in  great 
favor  with  Mr.  Clinton  in  the  Indian  service — Mr.  John 
Henry  Lydius,  son  of  a  former  Dutch  minister  in  Albany, 
and  of  course  bred  a  Protestant ;  who  had  resided  several 
years  in  Canada;  married  a  wife  there  of  the  Romish 
church,  after  having  abjured  his  own  religion  ;  and  whom 
they  declared  to  be  a  person  of  desperate  fortunes.     They 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM    JOHNSON,    BART.  273 

admitted  tlie  great  skill  of  this  man  "  in  all  the  weaknesses  chap. 
&  vu. 

of  human  nature,  but  wondered  how  he  could  have  secured  <—Y—' 
his  excellency's  favor.  To  him,  and  h  is  intrigues  in  Albany,  1747- 
and  among  the  Indians,  the  assembly  attributed  many  of 
the  difficulties  that  had  arisen.  He  had  been  the  means  of 
undermining  the  influence  of  the  Indian  commissioners, 
and  distracting  the  affairs  of  that  department.  They  never- 
theless admitted  that  there  might  possibly  be  some  Popish 
emissaries  in  the  province  ;  but  at  the  same  time  there  was 
equal  reason  to  believe  that  there  were  other  men  screen- 
ing themselves  behind  the  curtain,  and  answering  all  the 
ends  of  such  emissaries, — men  of  wrong  heads  and  worse 
hearts,  who  were  doing  infinite  evil  by  infusing  groundless 
jealousies  into  his  excellency's  mind.  They  next  told  the 
governor  that  although  they  were  not  disposed  to  listen  to 
every  idle  tale,  yet  they  had  hoped  that  before  that  period 
the  report  might  have  reached  his  ears  that  there  had  been 
a  large  embezzlement  of  the  funds  appropriated  for  Indian 
presents  in  1745, — one  thousand  pounds  having  been  voted, 
while  not  more  than  three  hundred  pounds  worth  of  goods 
had  reached  the  hands  of  those  for  whom  they  were  de- 
signed. So  at  least  it  was  said  by  persons  who  saw  the 
goods  delivered.  They  also  informed  the  governor, — for 
the  benovolent  purpose  of  enabling  him  to  bring  the 
authors  of  the  scandal  to  justice, — that  a  report  was  cur- 
rent to  the  effect  that  French  and  Spanish  prisoners  had 
been  sold  under  the  authority  of  his  name,  for  a  pistole 
a  head,  to  owners  and  captains  of  flags  of  truce.  The  con- 
cluding paragraph  contained  another  pungent  reference  to 
Doctor  Colden,  whose  designing  artifices  and  private  yiews, 
"  although  they  had  hitherto  been  providentially  blasted, 
"  it  was  still  feared  might  at  length  spring  up  again,  and 
"bear  a  greater  increase,  which  God  forbid." 

Mr.  Clinton's  reply  to  the  address,  which  was  presented 
on  the  twenty-sixth  of  May,  was  brief  and  emphatic.  He 
remarked  upon  the  rapidity  with  which  the  address  had 
been  hurried  through  the  house,— two  hours  only  having 

35 


274  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  elapsed  from  the  time  when  it  was  reported  by  the  commit- 
v-^ — -  tee  until  its  presentation  all  engrossed  !  "  You  shall  have," 
1747.  a  saj^  the  governor,  "  the  best  answer  to  this  representation 
"  you  can  expect.  I  shall  take  all  possible  care  that  it  be 
"laid  before  his  majesty  and  his  ministers,  who  are  the 
"  proper  judges  of  my  conduct.  I  doubt  not  that  the  min- 
istry will  discern  with  what  spirit  it  is  made,  and  for  what 
"purposes."  Commanding  an  adjournment  for  a  week, 
the  indomitable  sailor-governor  then  dismissed  his  refrac- 
tory little  parliament. 

Reassembling  on  the  second  of  June,  they  were  met  by 
an  executive  message  calling  their  attention  to  the  distrac- 
tions prevailing  among  the  levies  at  the  north,  for  want  of 
their  pay.  The  governor  informed  them  that  thus  far  these 
levies  had  been  paid  by  the  crown,  he  himself  having  pro- 
vided the  means  by  drawing  bills  of  exchange.  The 
amount  thus  drawn  was  then  nine  thousand  pounds,  the 
whole  of  which  he  declared  should  be  applied  to  the  pay- 
ment of  the  new  levies.  Although  these  bills  had  all  been 
drawn  by  the  advice  of  his  council,  yet  his  excellency  began 
to  fear,  or  pretended  to  fear,  that  they  might  not  all  be 
honored,  in  which  event  his  private  fortune  might  be 
involved.  Though  willing  to  draw  yet  farther  for  that 
object,  yet  he  was  not  willing  to  jeopard  his  own  estate, — 
believing,  as  he  did,  that  every  man  in  the  province  was  as 
much  bound  as  himself  to  contribute  from  his  private 
means  for  the  safety  of  the  people.  Indemnification  against 
the  consequences  of  a  protest  of  his  bills,  should  he  be 
requiredto  draw  anymore  of  them,  was  therefore  demanded 
in  justice  to  his  own  family. 

The  house,  in  answer,  referred  to  a  letter  from  the  duke 
of  Newcastle  of  April,  1746,  authorizing  the  necessary  pre- 
parations for  the  long-projected  expedition,  with  an  asr 
surance  that  the  forces  to  be  raised,  officers  as  well  as  rank 
and  file,  should  be  taken  into  his  majesty's  pay.  It  was 
therefore  clearly  not  intended  by  the  crown  that  the  pay- 
ment of  these  forces  should  in  any  event  be  devolved  upon 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  275 

the  people  of  the  colony  ;  and  the  refusal  of  the  governor  Cyn.p' 
to  continue  his  drafts  would  imply  a  distrust  of  the  king, •*= v~ t 
and  render  himself  personally  answerable  for  the  lives  and 
estates  of  his  subjects.  Entertaining  these  views,  the 
assembly  peremptorily  refused  the  act  of  guaranty, — 
declaring  at  the  same  time  that  as  his  excellency  had  the 
means  of  paying  the  forces  in  his  own  hands,  should  he 
refuse  to  use  them,  and  should  the  lives  and  estates  of  the 
people  be  endangered  by  the  threatened  desertion  of  the 
levies,  "his  excellency  alone  would  be  to  blame." 

From  the  fourth  of  June  to  the  same  day  of  August,  the 
assembly  only  met  to  adjourn.  Meantime  the  governor 
replenished  his  exchequer  by  the  usual  resort  to  bills  of 
exchange,  and  on  the  nineteenth  of  June  embarked  for 
Albany,  in  order,  if  possible,  to  put  an  end  to  the  troubles 
with  the  levies. 

I  must  not  lose  sight  of  Sir  Peter  Warren,  whose  name, 
as  an  adopted  citizen  of  New  York,  belongs  to  its  history. 
Prance,  smarting  under  the  loss  of  Cape  Breton,  and  mor- 
tified at  the  disastrous  failure  of  D'Anville's  armada, 
determined  again  to  put  forth  her  energies  for  the  recovery 
of  Louisburg,  and  the  resuscitation  of  her  naval  character 
— of  late  so  deeply  compromised.  To  these  ends,  there- 
fore, another  fleet  was  equipped,  at  Brest,  destined  against 
Louisburg  early  in  the  spring,  under  the  command  of  M. 
de  la  Jonquiere.  The  duty  of  watching  the  motions,  and, 
if  possible,  of  intercepting  this  fleet,  was  assigned  to  Vice 
Admiral  Anson, — a  widely  different  man  from  Admiral 
Lestock,  whose  equivocal  conduct,  on  the  French  coast, 
when  engaged  in  the  like  service,  has  already  been  recorded. 
It  has  already  been  said  that  Sir  Peter  Warren  returned  to 
England  in  the  autumn  of  1746.  In  the  beginning  of  the 
year  following  he  was  appointed  second  in  command  under 
Mr.  Anson,  hoisting  his  pennant  on  board  the  Devonshire, 
of  sixty-six  guns.  The  Brest  fleet,  uniting  a  large  convoy 
of  Indiamen,  and  numbering,  in  all,  thirty-eight  ships,  pro- 


276  LIFE    OP   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

°vuf  •  ceeded  to  sea  about  the  last  of  April.  It  was  fallen  in  with 
'— y— '  by  Admiral  Anson,  on  the  third  of  May,  off  Cape  Finis- 
terre.  When  descried,  nine  of  the  ships, — men  of  war> 
mounting  from  eighteen  to  seventy-four  guns, — were  short- 
ening sail  and  drawing  into  a  line  of  battle,  while  the 
remainder  of  the  fleet,  consisting  of  the  vessels  under  con- 
voy, stretched  to  the  west  with  all  the  sails  they  could  set. 
Anson  immediately  formed  his  fleet  into  a  line ;  but  ob- 
serving by  the  manoeuvres  of  the  enemy  that  his  object  was 
to  gain  time,  for  the  purpose,  probably,  of  escaping  under 
favor  of  the  night,  then  approaching,  he  made  signal  for 
the  whole  fleet  to  close  and  engage  the  enemy,  without  any 
regard  to  the  line  of  battle.1  In  the  course  of  the  action 
that  ensued^  Warren  had  an  opportunity  which  he  failed 
not  to  improve,  of  signalizing  and  covering  himself  with 
glory.  He  ran  his  ship,  the  Devonshire,  up  with  Le  Serieuxy 
the  flag-ship  of  M.  de  la  Jonquiere,  and  after  receiving  his 
fire,  which  was  well-directed,  closed  within  pistol-shot,  and 
continued  to  engage  in  the  most  daring  and  brilliant  style, 
until  the  enemy  struck.  Having  silenced  his  antagonist, 
Warren  proceeded  next  to  encounter  the  Invincible,  sev- 
enty-four, commanded  by  M.  de  St.  George,  the  second 
officer  of  the  enemy's  squadron.  Being  seconded  by  the 
Bristol,  Captain  Montague,  the  Invincible  was  in  a  short 
time  dismasted  and  taken  by  Warren.  The  general  action 
was  short  and  brilliant,  resulting  in  the  capture  of  the 
whole  French  squadron,  consisting  of  six  ships  of  two 
decks,  including  the  Grloire,  of  forty-four  guns,  and  four 
frigates. 2  It  is  true  that  Anson's  fleet  was  greatly  superior 
in  the  appointment  of  ships  and  guns.  Three  of  his  ships, 
however,  participated  in  the  action  but  a  very  few  moments, 
— having  been  detached  as  soon  as  the  Frenchmen  were  so 
far  crippled  as  probably  to  render  them  unable  to  get  away, 
with  all  the  sail  they  could  press,  after  the  enemy's  flying 
Indiamen. 3     The  loss  of  the  English  was  not  severe, — Cap- 

1  Admiralty  official  report,  May  16,  1747. 

2  Charnock. 

3  Admiralty  report. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM  JOHNSON,    LAHT. 

tain  Grenville  beino;  the  only  officer  of  note  who  was  killed,  chap. 
The  French  were  greater  sufferers, — M.  de  la  Jonquiere  w y— . 
himself  was  shot  under  the  blade  bones  of  both  his 17i7- 
shoulders,  but  the  wounds  were  not  mortal.  In  the  month 
of  July  following  this  memorable  engagement,  being 
stationed  with  a  squadron  off  Cape  Finisterre,  Sir  Peter 
fell  in  with  four  valuable  merchant  ships  of  the  enemy 
convoyed  by  two  men  of  war,  which  ran  into  a  bay  on  the 
island  of  Sisarga,  and  being  closely  pursued  they  all  ran 
on  shore.  One  of  the  men  of  war,  mounting  forty-four 
guns,  was  fired  by  the  crew  and  blown  up  before  Warren's 
boats  could  board  her ;  but  the  merchantmen  were  all  got 
off  and  brought  into  Plymouth  the  next  day,  being  the 
twenty-second  of  July.  Warren  was  now  floating  in  the 
tide  of  fortune,  for  very  shortly  after  taking  these  noble 
prizes  at  Sisarga,  he  fell  in  with  and  captured  a  considera- 
ble fleet  of  French  West  Indiamen.  According  to  one 
account,  this  fleet  consisted  of  a  very  large  number  of  ships,' 
though  Charnock,  in  his  biography  of  Warren,  makes  no 
mention  of  this  affair.1  Sir  Peter's  gallantry  on  these 
occasions,  was  rewarded  by  his  farther  promotion  to  the 
rank  of  admiral  of  the  white.  He  sailed  again  from  Spit- 
head  on  a  cruise,  on  the  second  of  September,  but  falling 
sick  was  compelled  to  relinquish  his  command  and  go  on 
shore.  But  glory  had  not  been  the  only  reward  of  his 
splendid  career.  The  number  of  his  captures  had  produced 
an  ample  fortune,  which  he  invested  in  part,  by  purchasing 
a  country-seat  in  Westbury,  Hampshire  county,  to  which 
he  now  retired.  His  circumstances  must  indeed  have  been 
affluent.  At  least  so  thought  some  of  his  relatives,  as 
appears  from  the  following  extract  from  a  letter  from  his 
nephew,  Captain  Warren  Johnson,  to  his  brother  the  colonel. 
This  letter  also  corroborates  the  preceding  account  of  the 
last  great  capture  of  West  India  merchantmen,  not  men- 
tioned by  Charnock : 

1  Gentleman's  Magazine. 


278  LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap.  Captain  Warren  Johnson  to  his  Brother. 


1747. 


"  New  York,  September  13,  1747. 
"Dear  Brother: 

"  Last  evening  I  arrived  here  from  Louisburg,  in  order  to 
go  to  England  in  the  Scarborough  man  of  war. 

"  I  make  no  doubt  you  have  heard  of  my  uncle  Warren's 
great  success  in  his  two  cruises,  the  first  with  Admiral 
Anson,  and  the  second  with  a  squadron  of  which  he  was 
commander-in-chief — part  of  which  fell  in  with  the  St. 
Domingo  fleet,  and  took  sixty-two  sail  of  them.  He  had 
taken  several  rich  ships  before.  He  must  now  be  one  of 
the  richest  men  in  England,  and  not  one  has  done  his 
country  so  much  service.  He  must  be  worth  three  or  four 
hundred  thousand  pounds  sterling.  He  is  now  vice  admiral 
of  the  white,  and  a  member  of  parliament  from  "Westmin- 
ster, and  I  have  no  doubt  in  a  very  short  time  he  will  be  a 
peer  of  England,  there  being  no  person  better  able  to  main- 
tain that  dignity. 

"  Your  most  affectionate  Brother, 

"Warren  Johnson." 
"  Colonel  Johnson." 

In  the  autumn  of  this  year,  Sir  Peter  was  returned  to 
parliament.  He  was  likewise  at  about  the  same  time  pre- 
sented with  a  large  silver  monteth,  of  curious  workmanship, 
by  the  inhabitants  of  Barbadoes,  in  acknowledgment  of 
his  services  in  the  cruise  of  that  season. 1  The  exultation 
of  Sir  Peter's  relatives  at  his  good  fortune,  was  justifiable, 
for  they  had  been  bravely  won. 


1  Gentleman's  Magazine. 


CHAPTER   VIII. 

1747. 

Governor  Clinton,  who,  as  already  observed  in  the  last  c$£f ' 
chapter,  had  departed  for  Albany  on  the  nineteenth  of  "—v— ' 
June,  did  not  leave  an  hour  too  early,  for  the  military  affairs 
in  that  quarter  were  in  a  deplorable  condition.  Instead  of 
increasing  them,  for  the  purpose  of  offensive  operations, 
the  forces  were  diminished  by  sickness  and  desertion,  and 
the  thousand  mischances  incident  to  an  army  of  irregulars 
kept  in  the  field  contrary  to  their  own  inclinations.  In 
such  numbers  did  they  desert,  that  a  party  of  thirty-eight 
in  a  body  were  fired  upon  by  the  officers  at  ^Esopus,  and 
retaken, — two  of  them  being  wounded.  They  were 
marched  back  to  Albany. x  The  road  from  Mount  Johnson 
to  Oswego,  was  infested  by  the  enemy  ;  murders  were  com- 
mitted at  Burnetsfield ; 2  so  that  Colonel  Johnson  could 
not  forward  supplies  without  a  strong  guard,  thus  materially 
enhancing  the  expense  of  executing  his  contract  for  that 
post  ;3  while  in  addition  to  all,  as  if  grown  weary  of  await- 
ing an  invasion  at  Crown  Point,  the  French,  with  their 
Indians,  were  again  showing  themselves  in  formidable  num- 
bers in  the  vicinity  of  Saratoga.  Colonel  Johnson  was 
advised,  on  the  sixteenth  of  June,  by  the  return  of  an 
unsuccessful  war-party  of  the  Schoharies,4  of  the  approach 
upon  Lake  Champlain,  of  a  fleet  of  three  hundred  canoes, 
and  admonished  to  be  on  his  guard  against  a  surprise. 5    Im- 

1  Manuscript  letter:  John  H.  Lydius  to  Colonel  Johnson. 

2  The  present  village  of  Herkimer. 

3  Manuscript  Letter :  Johnson  to  Clinton. 
*A  clan  of  the  Mohawks. 

6  Manuscript  Letter  :  Lydius  to  Johnson. 


280  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  mediately  on  the  arrival  of  this  intelligence  at  Saratoga, 
«— v — >  Captain  Chew  was  ordered  forth  with  a  detachment  of  one 
1747-  hundred  men  to  reconnoitre  the  country  between  that  post 
and  the  head  of  Lake  Champlain.  Falling  in  with  the 
enemy  on  the  nineteenth  of  June,  an  action  ensued  in  which 
fifteen  of  his  men  were  killed,  and  forty-seven  more,  with 
himself,  taken  prisoners.  The  detachment  encountered 
by  Chew  was  commanded  by  M.  Lacose,  who  immediately 
fell  back  upon  a  much  larger  force,  occupying  the  path  of 
communication  between  the  Hudson  and  the  lake.  But 
Lacose  did  not  fall  back  without  leaving  a  detachment  of 
three  hundred  men,  under  M.  Laquel,  to  lurk  about  Sara- 
toga, and  cut  off  approaching  supplies.  According  to  the 
representation  of  one  of  the  enemy's  Indians,  who  deserted 
and  came  into  Saratoga,  the  main  force  of  the  French  at 
the  carrying-place  consisted  of  twelve  companies.  The 
Indian  informed  farther,  that  Lacose  was  to  advance  again 
immediately  with  artillery  and  mining  tools,  to  lay  seige  to 
the  fort.  Meantime  the  three  hundred  who  had  been  left 
in  the  environs  of  the  fort,  under  M.  Laquel,  performed 
bold  service  by  appearing  openly  and  attempting  to  fire  a 
block-house,  used,  as  they  supposed,  as  a  magazine,  by 
shooting  burning  arrows  against  its  walls.  "  The  person 
"appointed  to  perform  this  duty,"  said  the  commander  of 
the  fort  in  a  letter  written  to  Colonel  Johnson,  "had  a 
"  blanket  carried  before  him  that  he  might  not  discover  the 
"  fire  upon  the  points  of  the  arrows. 1"  The  main  body  of 
the  enemy  soon  moved  down  to  Fish  Creek,  a  few  miles 
north  of  Saratoga,  and  a  detachment  of  his  troops  was  thrown 
between  that  post  and  Albany.  Colonel  Schuyler  imme- 
diately marched  with  his  regiment,  and  such  other  forces 
as  he  could  raise  on  the  instant,  to  meet  the  invader ;  who, 
however,  though  greatly  superior  in  numbers,  retired  at 
his  approach  and  fell  back  to  Crown  Point. 

The  Indian  allies  of  the  English  were  again  becoming 

1  Letter  to  Colonel  Johnson,  copied  in  his  own  hand,  but  the  signature  of 
which  is  omitted. 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  281 

much  dissatisfied  with  the  languor  pervadine;  the  service,  chap. 

&  l  6  VIII. 

After  having,  though  with  great  reluctance,  been  incited  to  s— v— - 
engage  in  the  war,  they  were  desirous  of  seeing  it  prose-  1747- 
cuted  with  vigor.  A  number  of  their  chiefs  now  met 
Colonel  Schuyler  and  complained  bitterly  of  the  continued 
and  most  discouraging  delays.  They  had  been  chiefly 
induced  to  take  the  war-path  against  the  French  by  the 
extraordinary  preparations  they  had  marked  as  in  progress 
for  the  invasion,  and  they  had  not  themselves  been  back- 
ward in  annoying  the  enemy  ;  but  as  they  were  convinced 
from  the  present  inactivity  of  the  English,  that  the  design 
of  an  invasion  must  have  been  laid  aside, — a  conviction 
strengthened  by  the  daily  and  rapid  decrease  of  the  new 
levies, — they  said  they  should  be  necessitated  to  make  peace 
with  the  French  for  themselves,  on  the  best  terms  they 
could.  Still,  if  the  English  would  immediately  march 
against  Crown  Point,  they  would  cheerfully  assist  them 
with  one  thousand  of  their  best  warriors. * 

I  have  found  no  record  of  Mr.  Clinton's  doings  at  Albany 
during  this  visit,  save  a  single  sentence  in  a  letter  written 
by  him  to  the  duke  of  Newcastle  upon  his  return  to  the 
city,  to  the  effect  that  while  at  Albany,  he  had  prevailed 
upon  two  powerful  Indian  natives — formerly  in  the  French 
interest — to  join  the  English.  The  visit,  however,  was 
probably  a  short  one,  since  he  was  at  the  council  board 
again  in  July.  But  from  the  letters  of  Colonel  Johnson  it 
appears  that  he  met  the  governor  and  concerted  arrange- 
ments for  relieving  Oswego, — Lieutenant  Visscher  having 
been  dispatched  thither  with  a  cargo  of  goods,  provisions, 
and  ammunition. 

Meantime  notwithstanding  the  loss  of  so  great  a  portion 
of  the  open  season,  and  the  utter  neglect  of  the  contest  by 
the  ministers,  so  far  at  least  as  the  colonies  were  concerned, 
Governor  Shirley  was  pushing  his  design  of  an  attack  upon 
Crown  Point,  with  all  the  zeal  and  energy  of  his  character, 
and  all  the  means  at  his  command.     There  could  be  no 

1  Gentleman's  Magazine,  September,  1747. 
36 


282  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

CviilP'  security  for  the  frontiers  either  of  New  York  or  New  Eng- 

v— v — '  land  from  the  devastations  of  the  enemy,  until  Crown  Point, 

1747 

'  the  grand  rendezvous  of  the  numerous  war-parties  con- 
tinually harrassing  the  border,  should  be  wrested  from  him ; 
and  in  order  to  unity  of  action,  and  the  organization  and 
concentration  of  a  force  adequate  to  the  undertaking,  Shir- 
ley wrote  to  Clinton  in  July,  proposing  a  congress  of  the 
colonies  from  New  Hampshire  to  Virginia,  both  inclusive, 
to  consult  for  the  common  defence,  and  render  their  efforts 
for  the  prosecution  of  the  war  more  effective.  He  informed 
Mr.  Clinton  that  he  had  summoned  a  meeting  of  the  Mas- 
sachusetts legislature  to  consider  the  subject,  and  he  urged 
a  similar  course  upon  New  York.  He  said  he  had  made 
like  communications  to  the  colonies  included  in  the  pro- 
ject, urging  them  all  to  cooperate, — Massachusetts,  at  all 
events,  being  determined  to  exert  her  utmost  power  in  the 
enterprise.  He  was  very  anxious  that  the  Six  Nations 
should  be  persuaded  to  greater  exertions  than  they  had 
hitherto  made ;  and  for  the  better  security  of  the  north- 
western settlements  of  Massachusetts,  he  asked  that  one 
hundred  rangers  might  be  employed  by  New  York  between 
Saratoga  and  the  New  England  border. 1 

The  general  assembly  of  New  York  came  together  again 
for  the  transaction  of  business  on  the  fourth  of  August, 
when  Shirley's  letter  was  laid  before  them  by  the  governor, 
accompanied  by  a  message  informing  them  that  by  the 
advice  of  his  council  he  had  acceded  to  the  proposal  con- 
tained in  that  letter,  and  that  the  forces  of  the  province 
were  to  be  put  into  action  in  conjunction  with  those  of 
Massachusetts  and  Connecticut.  The  season  for  offensive 
operations,  however,  was  already  too  far  advanced  to  allow 
of  a  meeting  of  commissioners  to  make  estimates  of  the 
expense,  and  to  adjust  the  proportions  which  each  colony 
respectively  should  bear.  But  on  a  rough  calculation  it 
was  thought  that  fourteen  thousand  pounds  would  cover 
the  charges  of  the  intended  movement,  and  his  excellency 

}  See  Shirley's  letter  in  the  minutes  of  the  council  board. 


LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  283 

trusted  that  neither  of  the  colonies  would  be  backward  in  c"uf * 
meeting  its  just  share  of  the  amount.     Indeed,  he  thought v— v— ' 
New  York  might  venture  to  assume  more  than  its  quota,        ' 
both  Massachusetts  and  Connecticut  having  advanced  con- 
siderable sums  to  stimulate  the  Six  Nations  in  continuing 
their  incursions  against  the  enemy.     The  governor  said  he 
had  received  the  renewed  assurances  of  the  good  feelings 
of  the  Six  Nations,  with  pledges  of  their  most  vigorous 
assistance ;  and  he  had  likewise  reason  to  expect  the  aid 
of  several  more  distant  tribes,  heretofore  in  the  interests 
of  the  French.     He  would  bring  no  other  subject  to  the 
attention  of  the  assembly  then,  wishing  their  immediate 
action  upon  this  important  matter,  that  he  might  communi- 
cate their  determination  to  the  other  governments  forth- 
with, and  thus  prevent  further  loss  of  time. 

The  message  was  not  met  in  a  corresponding  spirit  by 
the  assembly,  but  on  the  contrary,  the  first  action  was  the 
adoption  of  a  series  of  resolutions  insulting  the  governor, 
and  evasive  as  to  the  object  specially  pressed  upon  their 
consideration.  They  cautiously  declared  their  willingness 
to  come  into  any  "well-concerted"  scheme  for  annoying 
the  common  enemy,  but  they  would  not  consent  to  raise 
moneys  upon  the  "pretence"  contained  in  the  message, 
without  a  better  knowledge  of  the  "grounds"  and  "rea- 
sons." They  doubted  whether  Massachusetts  and  Con- 
necticut had  ever  contributed  any  "  considerable  sums"  for 
the  Indian  service,  and  even  if  they  had  done  so,  New  York 
had  paid  more  than  both  of  them  put  together, — adding  to 
the  sentence  the  significant  insinuation — "  and  his  excel- 
lency knows  how  these  sums  have  been  applied."  Still, 
for  the  promotion  of  any  "well  concerted  scheme"  against 
the  enemy  by  the  three  colonies  named  in  the  message, 
they  would  consent  to  bear  one-third  of  the  expense ; 
believing,  however,  that  the  other  colonies,  not  mentioned, 
ought  to  contribute  to  the  cause.  These  negative  resolves 
were  adopted  on  the  sixth  of  August.  From  that  da}*  until 
the  thirty-first,  not  the  least  attention  was  paid  by  the 


284  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

CvraP'  assem  Dty  to  the  state  of  the  colony, — its  time  being  occu- 
v-v-^  pied  upon  bills  of  comparatively  trifling  moment,  such  as 
for  farming  out  the  excise,— for  raising  a  farther  sum  by 
lottery  toward  founding  a  college, — and  for  the  examina- 
tion of  the  public  accounts  for  the  year  1713 ;  for  prevent- 
ing desertions  from  the  forces,  &c,  &c. 

But  if  the  assembly  was  idle,  the  enemy  was  not,  and  the 
people  of  the  northern  settlements,  even  of  Albany  itself, 
were  in  a  high  state  of  alarm,  and  that  not  without  reason. 
Parties  of  the  enemy  had  penetrated  south  of  the  Mohawk? 
into  the  valley  of  the  Schohariekil,  where  a  number  of 
men  had  been  killed  and  scalped.  Saratoga  was  also  once 
more  nearly  if  not  quite  surrounded  by  the  foeman,  and 
several  persons  had  likewise  been  killed  in  that  vicinity. 
How  Colonel  Johnson  was  engaged  at  this  time,  will  appear 
by  the  following  extracts  from  a  letter  addressed  by  him  to 
the  governor': 

Colonel  Johnson  to  Governor  Clinton. 

"  Mount  Johnson,  August  13,  1747. 
"  May  it  please  your  excellency : 

"  I  enclose  the  message  sent  by  the  ISTew  England  Indians 
to  their  uncles,  the  Mohawks,  and  their  answer  to  it,  by 
which  all  people  may  see  that  the  Indians  are  in  earnest, 
and  resolved  to  proceed  in  the  war.  I  this  day  had  an 
account  by  an  Indian  express  from  Oswego,  that  there  were 
a  great  number  of  Senecas,  and  some  of  the  foreign  Indians 
with  them,  (called  the  Flat  Heads,)  coming  down  to  me 
with  several  belts  of  wampum, — one  whereof  is  a  vast  large 
one, — almost  like  the  one  your  excellency  gave  the  Six 
Nations  last  summer, — which  belt  must  purport  a  great  deal 
of  news.  I  expect  them  here  in  two  days,  and  am  making 
everything  ready  for  their  reception.  As  soon  as  I  have 
heard  the  news,  and  have  done  with  them,  I  shall  let  your 
excellency  know  the  purport. 

********** 

"  I  spoke  to  your  excellency  when  in  Albany,  about  neces- 
saries for  the  men  destined  for  the  Indian  service,  but  find 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  285 

nothing  done  about  it.     I  have  not  one  pair  of  Indian  shoes  chap. 
&  r  via. 

for  them,  without  which  they  cannot  go  through  the  woods.  ■ — , — > 
I  proposed  doing  great  service  with  these  men,  and  the  1747- 
Indians  together,  but  it  seems  I  may  not  have  the  oppor- 
tunity ;  for  there  is  not  even  one  of  the  companies  which 
were  ordered  for  that  service  moved  up  here  yet,  which 
makes  the  Indians  think  worse  and  worse  of  us,  after 
assuring  them  they  should  be  up  very  shortly.  I  lead  a 
most  miserable  life  among  them  at  present,  occasioned  by 
so  many  disappointments. 

"  There  is  one  thing  which  I  wish  your  excellency  to 
consider  of,  which  is  my  extraordinary  expense  in  keeping 
several  hands  employed  to  attend  the  numbers  of  Indians 
I  have  daily  had  at  my  house  these  twelve  months  past ;  as 
also  of  a  clerk,  who,  with  myself,  has  more  work  than  men 
can  well  bear.  This  the  country  is  very  sensible  of.  So  I 
shall  leave  it  to  your  excellency's  consideration  what  to  do 
in  it."1 

On  the  twenty-fourth  of  August,  information  was  received 
by  the  governor  from  Albany,  that  the  forces  stationed  there 
had  been  withdrawn  from  the  city,  and  posted  on  the  east 
side  of  the  Hudson,  a  mile  below,  by  which  movement  the 
city  was  left  defenceless,  greatly  exposed,  and  the  people 
much  alarmed.  Several  gentlemen  from  Albany  were 
examined  upon  the  subject  before  the  legislative  council, 
who  confirmed  the  statement.  It  farther  appeared  that 
depredations  had  been  committed  by  the  enemy  in  the  very 
precincts  of  Albany ;  that  there  were  not  more  than  three 
hundred  of  its  citizens,  old  and  young,  capable  of  bearing 
arms  ;  and  that  all  were  compelled,  from  the  aged  judge  of 
the  court  to  the  stripling,  to  mount  guard  in  turn  each  one 
every  fourth  night, — whereupon  an  address  was  presented 
to  the  governor  praying  that  the  levies  at  the  north  be 
ordered  to  move  into  the  city  and  remain  there  for  its  pro- 

1  Manuscript  Letter. 


1747, 


286  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  tection  until  otherwise  directed.     The  cause  of  this  move- 
.inent  of  the   troops  from   Albany   nowhere  appears.     It 
seems,  however,  to  have  been  of  a  piece  with  the  bustling, 
yet  strangely  inefficient  conduct  of  the  war  in  this  quarter 
from  the  beginning. 

Impatient,  and  not  without  reason,  at  the  inaction  of  the 
assemb]y,  the  governor  sent  them  a  message  on  the  thirty- 
first  of  August,  informing  them  explicitly  that  he  would 
no  longer  furnish  provisions  for  the  four  independent  com- 
panies stationed  at  Albany,  at  the  expense  of  the  crown, 
nor  for  the  levies  from  the  southern  counties,  destined  for 
the  Canadian  expedition.  Neither  would  he  draw  any 
longer  upon  the  crown  for  the  support  of  the  Indian  depart- 
ment, although  he  could  not  disguise  the  fact  that  a  failure 
of  supplies  for  the  Indian  war-parties,  might  be  followed 
by  frightful  consequences.  He  therefore  requested  a  vote 
of  supplies  for  those  objects  of  the  public  service  for  two 
months, — by  the  end  of  which  time  he  hoped  to  receive 
definite  information  as  to  his  majesty's  pleasure  respecting 
the  forces  at  Albany,  and  also  to  learn  whether  the  neigh- 
boring colonies  would  contribute  toward  the  defence  of  the 
country.  He  informed  them  that  since  the  invasion  of  the 
enemy  at  Burnetsfield,  Colonel  Johnson  could  no  longer 
supply  the  post  at  Oswego,  save  at  double  the  former 
expense,  nor  even  then  unless  furnished  with  a  guard  to 
escort  the  stores.  A  vote  of  supplies  for  this  object,  and 
also  to  defray  the  cost  of  transporting  provisions  to  Sara- 
toga, was  necessary,  since  these  expenses  could  no  longer 
be  borne  by  the  crown.  Accompanying  the  message  was 
an  extract  from  a  letter  from  Colonel  Johnson,  informing 
the  governor  that  he  was  about  to  set  out  at  the  head  of  a 
considerable  party  of  Christians  and  Indians  in  quest  of  a 
large  body  of  the  enemy  and  his  allies  who  had  been  dis- 
covered between  Saratoga  and  Crown  Point.  This  letter 
was  dated  on  the  nin  eteenth  of  August.  Two  days  afterward 
another  dispatch  from  the  colonel,  dated  the  twenty-eighth, 
was  communicated  to  the  assembly  upon  the  same  subject. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 


287 


The  assembly  replied  by  resolutions  declaring  that  neither  chap. 
the  crown  nor  the  colony  need  be  at  the  expense  of  sup-  w^y 
porting  the  four  companies  of  independent  fusileers  sta-1'4'- 
tioned  at  Albany,  they  having  always  subsisted  themselves, 
out  of  their  own  pay,  save  when  detached  to  distant  posts, 
as  at  Oswego,  for  example,  in  which  cases  the  colony  had 
always  furnished  the  supplies,  as  of  course  they  ought. 
The  colony,  it  was  said,  had  from  time  to  time,  and  some- 
times even  without  his  excellency's  recommendation,  pro- 
visioned the  sixteen  companies  of  one  hundred  levies  each  • 
and  it  appeared  to  the  assembly  unreasonable  that  they 
should  be  burdened  with  the  farther  expense  of  supporting 
the  forces  from  the  more  southern  colonies,  which  ought 
each  to  provide  for  their  own.  In  regard  to  the  Indian 
service,  inasmuch  as  the  crown  had  authorized  the  making 
of  such  presents  to  them  in  1746,  as  would  secure  their 
hearty  cooperation  in  the  war,  they  urged  that  his  excel- 
lency ought  to  continue  drawing  upon  that  source,  for  that 
object,  at  least  until  his  majesty's  pleasure  should  be  sig- 
nified to  the  contrary, — hoping  at  the  same  time — for  the 
house  lost  no  opportunity  of  renewing,  at  least  by  impli- 
cation, the  charge  of  a  former  embezzlement  of  Indian 
presents, — that  his  excellency  had  made  such  use  of  the 
means  placed  in  his  hands  by  the  crown  for  that  object, 
as  had  been  for  the  advantage  of  his  majesty's  service. 
So  of  supplying  Saratoga,  as  his  excellency's  bills  for  sup- 
plying that  post  had  thus  far  been  borne  by  the  crown,  he 
should  continue  to  draw  until  instructed  to  the  contrary. 
Respecting  the  hardship  of  Colonel  Johnson's  case,  it  was 
held  that  according  to  his  excellency's  own  message  of 
December  second,  1746,  that  gentleman  had  contracted  to 
supply  the  garrison  at  Oswego  upon  the  same  terms  in  war 
as  in  peace.  No  additional  allowance  ought  therefore  to 
be  made  to  him  for  that  service,  even  for  defraying  the 
expenses  of  guards,  The  pressure  of  the  enemy  upon  the 
northern  settlements,  however,  awakened  the  assembly  to 
a  partial  sense  of  duty  in  the  emergency  ;  and  having  thus 


288  LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  cavalierly  discussed  those  subjects  of  the  message,  it  had 
v_^ — *  the  grace  to  resolve  that  provision  ought  to  be  made  for 
1/47-  the  pay  and  subsistence  of  three  companies  of  rangers,  of 
fifty  men  each,  for  the  protection  of  the  inhabitants  against 
the  skulking  parties  of  the  enemy, — one  for  the  defence  ot 
Albany,  one  for  Schenectady,  and  one  for  Kinderhook. 
The  feelings  of  Mr.  Clinton  in  regard  to  these  resolutions, 
may  be  inferred  from  the  subjoined  letter  communicating 
a  copy  thereof  to  Colonel  Johnson :  It  also  shows  the  high 
estimate  which  Clinton  placed  upon  the  services  which 
Johnson  was  then  rendering  to  the  country  : 

Governor  Clinton  to  Colonel  Johnson. 

New  York:,  September  7,  1747. 
"Sir: 

My  last  letter  to  you  was  dated  the  twentieth  of  August. 
Soon  after  I  received  yours  of  the  fourteenth,  seventeenth, 
and  nineteenth,  acquainting  me  of  your  intention  of  going 
out  with  a  party  of  Indians  and  Christians ;  and  very  uneasy 
I  have  been  ever  since,  afraid  lest  that  letter  should  be  the 
means  of  your  laying  aside  such  a  glorious  design,  which 
must  always  redound  to  your  honored  reputation.  You 
ought  to  receive  the  thanks  of  the  whole  province  for  what 
you  have  already  done  for  it,  but  am  sorry  to  say,  instead 
of  public  thanks,  you  have  the  frowns  of  an  inveterate 
assembly,  as  you  will  see  by  the  inclosed  resolves.  But  I 
hope  you  will  receive  thanks  from  their  superiors. 

"  I  must  now  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  yours  of  the 
twenty-eighth  of  August,  which  I  immediately  communi- 
cated to  the  council  and  assembly,  in  hopes  it  would  have 
touched  their  souls. l  But  notwithstanding  it  was  delivered 
to  them  before    their  resolve   about  the  provisions   for 


1  Johnson  was  very  careful  in  preserving  the  original  draughts  of  his  let- 
ters. But  the  letter  we  have  spoken  of,  with  many  hundreds  of  others,  has 
not  survived  the  ravages  of  time  and  chance.  According  to  the  entry  of 
its  substance  in  the  minutes  o,f  the  council  board,  however,  the  force  the 
colonel  was  now  preparing  to  lead  against  the  enemy,  consisted  of  "four 
hundred  Christians  and  about  the  same  number  of  Iudians." 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  289 

Oswego,  it  had  no  effect  on  them.     But  I  will  venture  to  chap. 
say,  that  though  these  stubborn  Dutchmen  won't  do  you  wv— < 
the  justice  they  ought,  yet  when  I  represent  to  his  majesty 1747- 
the  vast  progress  you  have  made,  (beyond  any  reasonable 
expectation,)  by  your  good  management,  and  most  extraor- 
dinary influence  with  the  Indians,  which  you  surprisingly 
cultivate  continually,  your  conduct  and  behavior  will  be 
greatly  approved  by  his  majesty,  and  in  such  a  manner  as 
may  show  these  wretches  you  have  merited  your  royal 
master's  favor,  in  a  great  measure  preserving  not  only  this 
but  all  the  northern  colonies  from  ruin. 

"I  acquainted  governor  Shirley  what  you  desired  in 
relation  to  Lydius,  who  desired  I  would  acquaint  you  he 
was  sorry  you  had  taken  umbrage  at  Lydius's  being  con- 
cerned with  you  in  what  has  been  done  by  his  government 
towards  securing  the  Indians  of  the  Six  Nations  in  our 
interest.  He  would  not  have  you  imagine  that  himself,  or 
any  part  of  his  government,  puts  Lydius's  services  in  the 
least  computation  with  your  own,  or  that  the  Indians  have 
been  engaged  in  acts  of  hostility  against  the  French,  by 
any  person's  influence  but  your  own,  under  my  directions  ; 
and  your  uncle  Sir  Peter,  to  whom  his  letters  on  that  head, 
and  the  duke  of  Newcastle,  have  been  shown,  can  inform 
you  that  he  has  done  your  merit  all  the  justice  in  his  power. 

"  For  my  part  I  think  this  expedition  you  have  now 
undertaken,  to  be  of  such  infinite  service  to  this  and  the 
neighboring  colonies,  that  though  I  was  determined  to  be 
at  no  more  charges  for  the  Indians  at  the  expense  of  the 
crown,  yet  I  can't  avoid  doing  it  again  in  justice  to  you 
and  the  brave  Indians  who  are  on  this  party  with  you ;  for 
which  reason,  whatever  goods  and  expense  you  are  at,  for 
satisfying  the  Indians,  on  your  return  I  will  give  you  my 
bills  on  the  treasury  therefor.  But  then  I  must  desire  you 
to  give  it  out,  (and  to  let  nobody  know  to  the  contrary) 
that  you  take  this  expense  upon  yourself  from  the  faith  you 
have  in  the  assembly,  which  can't  refuse  to  pay  you  for 
37 


290  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

°viuP'  seryice  that  is  so  absolutely  necessary  for  the  safety  of  the 

^— v — '  people  of  this  province. 

1747.  it  j  wouic[  send  you  up  money,  but  as  I  writ  you  word  in 
my  letter  of  the  twentieth,  I  could  not  get  a  farthing,  on 
account  of  a  man-of-war  going  to  England.  I  should  there- 
fore be  glad  if  you  would  take  bills  for  the  account  you 
sent  me,  and  add  this  to  it,  your  uncle  can  solicit  it,  and  I 
promise  to  do  all  in  my  power,  both  with  the  duke  of  New- 
castle and  Mr.  Pelham,  to  get  them  immediately  paid ;  and 
I  can  assure  you  you  may  depend  on  Mr.  Shirley's  interest 
in  it  entirely.  I  think  you  had  best  come  down,  and  we 
can  together  settle  things  to  the  satisfaction  of  both  of  us. 
"  Commissioners  are  come  from  Boston  to  negotiate  a 
scheme  for  securing  the  Indians  and  frontiers,  and  I  expect 
others. l  It  will  not  be  amiss  to  acquaint  the  Indians  of 
it.  I  hope  Mr.  Shirley  and  I  shall  soon  agree  upon  some- 
thing to  keep  the  Indians  steadfast  in  our  interest. 

"  You  have  several  friends  on  the  spot  who  heartily  wish 
you  well,  and  a  great  deal  of  success ;  and  I  do  assure  you 
nobody  does  it  more  heartily  than,  dear  sir, 

"Your  faithful  friend  and  serv't, 

G.  Clinton. 

"P.  S.  I  must  caution  you  to  be  on  your  guard,  for  some 
people  who  ought  to  bear  a  greater  regard  for  you  than 
they  ever  showed,  considering  the  alliance  between  them 
and  Sir  Peter,  have  some  designs  not  to  save  you,  take  my 
word,  but  themselves.  I  wait  with  great  impatience  to 
hear  from  you. 2 
"  Colonel  Johnson." 

1  These  commissioners  were  Samuel  Wells,  Robert.  Hale,  and  Oliver  Part- 
ridge. Shirley's  letter  announcing  their  appointment,  was  received  and 
laid  before  Governor  Clinton's  council  on  the  fourth  of  September.  On  the 
eleventh,  Roger  Wolcott,  Thomas  Fitch,  and  Benjamin  Hall,  were  announced 
as  the  commissioners  from  Connecticut.  On  the  twenty-second,  Philip  Liv- 
ingston, and  Joseph  Murray,  of  the  executive  council,  and  William  Nicholl, 
Philip  Verplanck,  and  Harry  Cruger,  of  the  assembly,  were  appointed  com- 
missioners to  the  congress  on  the  part  of  New  York. 

2  Manuscript  letter. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  291 

1* he  sailor-governor,  who  certainly  wrote  his  own  letters,  chap. 
although  Colden  had  the  credit  of  preparing  his  state-  v_^l/ 
papers,  was  not  the  best  rhetorician  of  his  day.  Still,  he 1747- 
could  write  well  enough  to  make  himself  understood. 
Colonel  Johnson  was  now  evidently  in  high  favor  with  his 
excellency,  while  the  members  of  the  assembly  were 
denounced  with  emphasis,  though  in  a  private  letter,  as 
"wretches."  The  character  of  Lydius  was  questionable, 
and  there  was  probable  cause  for  the  jealousy  of  Johnson 
toward  him.  Lydius  had  visited  Boston  during  the  pre- 
ceding month  of  May,  and  from  the  tenor  of  a  letter 
addressed  to  him  soon  after  his  return  to  Albany,  by  Colonel 
Stoddard,  of  Northampton,  which  I  find  among  the  John- 
son papers,  he  must  have  succeeded  in  imposing  himself 
upon  Governor  Shirley  and  his  counsellors  as  a  man  of  no 
mean  consideration.  The  postscript  to  the  foregoing  letter 
of  Mr.  Clinton,  referred,  of  course,  to  DeLancey,  now 
become  the  master-spirit  of  the  assembly,  and  who  had 
probably  moved  the  house  to  the  hostile  resolution  against 
Johnson.  But  the  chief  justice  was  too  wary  to  commit 
himself  upon  paper, —using  Mr.  Horsmanden,  his  associate 
upon  the  bench,  as  his  amanuensis.  The  resolutions  and 
addresses  of  the  assembly  during  this  stormy  period  were 
understood  to  have  been  written  by  him,  and  the  day  on 
which  he  was  to  be  punished  for  these  labors,  was  now  ra- 
pidly drawing  nigh.  Having  invested  the  chief  j  ustice  with 
a  commission  irrevocable  during  good  behavior,  and  there- 
fore being  unable  to  visit  him  with  his  resentment,  the 
governor  determined  to  bestow  the  full  measure  of  his 
vengeance  upon  his  instrument.  Accordingly,  on  the 
twelfth  day  of  September,  Mr.  Horsmanden  was  suspended 
from  his  majesty's  service  as  a  member  of  the  council,  and 
a  note  of  his  suspension  was  directed  to  be  entered  upon 
the  journals.  The  reasons  for  this  procedure  the  governor 
said  he  would  cause  to  be  laid  before  his  majesty.  Having 
also  been  previously  named  as  one  of  the  commissioners  to 
meet  the  representatives  from  the  other  colonies  in  con- 


292  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  gress,  Mr.  Horsmanden's  name  was  ordered  to  be  stricken 
^-v— /  from  that  commission. x  Nor  was  his  degradation  cora- 
1747.  pleted  until  his  removal  from  the  bench,  and  from  the 
recordership  of  the  city, — measures  that  followed  in  quick 
succession.  Yet  he  continued  to  hold  the  pen  for  the 
assembly  for  a  considerable  time  afterward.  Being  poor, 
however,  he  was  compelled  to  rely  upon  the  private  bounty 
of  his  friends  and  partisans  ;  and  those  who  know  the 
selfishness  and  ingratitude  of  politicians,  in  all  ages,  and 
almost  without  an  exception,  may  well  judge  how  he  fared. 
In  the  emphatic  language  of  Smith)  he  was  "  employed, 
applauded, — and  ruined.2" 

The  return  of  Colonel  Johnson  from  his  expedition 
toward  Crown  Point  in  search  of  the  enemy,  whom  he  was 
not  able  to  find,  was  announced  to  the  governor  by  express 
on  the  thirteenth  of  September.  Very  unpleasant  intelli- 
gence, however,  had  been  received  from  that  direction  a 
few  days  before,  filling  the  assembly  and  the  people  with 
alarm.  The  fort  at  Saratoga  was  garrisoned  by  the  New 
Jersey  levies,  commanded  by  Colonel  Peter  Schuyler  ;  but 
as  Mr.  Clinton  was  inflexible  in  his  purpose  of  drawing  no 
more  upon  the  crown,  there  was  danger  of  a  speedy  evacu* 
ation  of  the  post  for  want  of  provisions.  Indeed,  inform 
mation  to  that  effect  from  Colonel  Schuyler  himself,  caused 
the  assembly,  without  waiting  for  his  excellency's  answer 
to  their  resolutions  of  the  second  of  September,  to  address 
him  on  the  ninth,  praying  earnestly  for  the  adoption  of  such 

1  Minutes  of  thecouneil  board. 

2  "  Such  was  his  condition,  until  he  raised  himself  by  an  advantageous 
match,  and,  by  forsaking  bis  associates,  reconciled  himself  to  Mr.  Clinton) 
when  that  governor  broke  with  the  man  whose  indiscretion  and  vehemence 
the  chief  justice  had  improved,  to  expose  both  to  the  general  odium  of  the 
colony.  Until  his  marriage  with  Mrs.  Vesey,  Mr.  Horsmanden  was  an  object 
of  pity  ;  toasted  indeed  as  the  man  who  dared  to  be  honest  in  the  worst  of 
times,  but  at  a  loss  for  his  meals,  and,  by  the  importunity  of  his  creditors, 
hourly  exposed  to  the  horrors  of  a  jail ;  and  hence  his  irreconcilable  enmity 
to  Doctor  Colden,  by  whose  advice  he  fell,  and  to  Mr.  DeLancey,  whose 
ambitious  politics  exposed  him  to  the  vengeance  of  that  minister." — Sr/ti!/i, 
vol.  ii.  page  139. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  293 

measures  as  would  prevent  the  destruction  of  thelbrces,  chap. 
and  preserve  the  fortress  from  falling  into  the  hands  of  thewv_ ' 
enemy,  with  its  heavy  cannon  and  stores.  In  the  event  of  1747- 
the  desertion  of  the  Jerseymen,  the  house  suggested  that 
the  post  might  be  regarrisoned  by  a  detachment  from  the 
new  levies  destined  against  Canada.  Or,  if  these  levies 
were  not  still  within  his  excellency's  command,  they  prayed 
that  a  portion  of  the  independent  fusileers  might  be  sent 
thither,  the  assembly  pledging  the  necessary  supplies  for 
that  service.  But  before  this  address  had  been  presented, 
the  governor  had  rendered  any  answer  thereto  unnecessary 
by  a  message  of  a  very  decided  character  in  reply  to  the 
resolutions  of  the  house  of  the  preceding  week,  in  which 
all  the  demands  for  supplies  contained  in  his  last  preceding 
message,  were  reiterated,  with  a  threat  that  unless  the 
house  should  revoke  its  determination  not  to  provide  for 
the  transportation  of  supplies  to  the  outposts,  together  with 
its  refusal  to  allow  Colonel  Johnson  a  guard  to  convey  the 
supplies  for  Oswego,  he  should  be  under  the  necessity  of 
withdrawing  the  garrisons  both  from  the  last  mentioned 
post,  and  from  Saratoga, — points  which  would  of  course 
be  immediately  occupied  by  the  enemy.  Recapitulating 
again  the  history  of  his  own  successful  negotiations  with 
the  Indians,  and  extolling  the  services  of  Colonel  Johnson, 
his  excellency  reminded  the  assembly  of  the  great  expense 
to  which  the  crown  had  been  put  in  bringing  the  Indians 
into  their  present  amicable  state  of  feeling  toward  the 
English,  and  insisted  that  the  colony  ought  in  justice  to 
defray  the  future  charge  of  maintaining  those  relations. 
In  any  event,  he  demanded  appropriations  to  cover  the 
demands  of  the  service  for  at  least  two  months,  admonish- 
ing the  assembly  that  if  this  demand  should  again  be 
refused,  the  responsibility  for  eveiy  calamity  that  might 
consequently  ensue,  Would  rest  upon  them.  "  If,"  said  his 
excellency  in  closing,  "  you  deny  me  the  necessary  supplies, 
all  my  endeavors  must  become  ineffectual  and  fruitless; 
I  must  wash  my  hands,  and  leave  at  your  doors  the  blood 


294  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  of  the  innocent  people  that  may  be  shed  by  a  cruel  and 
*—y~' merciless  enemy."  This  message  was  received  by  the 
1747-  house  on  the  tenth,  and  referred  to  a  committee.  One  day 
after,  the  committee  deputed  to  wait  upon  his  excellency 
with  the  resolutions  of  the  ninth,  reported  that  they  had 
discharged  their  duty,  but  that  the  governor  had  declined 
answering  them.  Whereupon  it  was  forthwith  resolved 
that  his  excellency  be  again  addressed  to  the  same  effect 
as  before  in  regard  to  the  perilous  condition  of  Saratoga  ; 
and  on  the  sixteenth  another  series  of  resolutions  was 
adopted,  embodying  the  exact  substance  of  those  of  the 
ninth,  save  that  the  assembly  now  avowed  a  willingness, 
should  Colonel  Johnson,  by  any  unforseen  accident,  be  a 
sufferer  in  the  execution  of  his  contract  for  supplying 
the  garrison  at  Oswego,  to  take  his  case  into  consideration, 
and  do  for  him  whatever  might  appear  to  be  reasonable. 
But  upon  every  other  point  the  house  insisted  upon  its 
former  positions. 

This  vexatious  game  of  cross  purposes  was  interrupted 
by  successive  adjournments,  by  command  of  the  governor, 
until  the  fifth  of  October, — not,  however,  without  a  remon- 
strance by  the  assembly  against  these  interruptions,  and  a 
vote  of  censure  for  the  inconvenience  to  which  his  excel* 
lency  was  subjecting  the  members.  Yet  Mr.  Clinton 
deserved  not  the  censure,  being  engaged  during  the  recess 
in  active  negotiations  with  the  commissioners  from  the 
several  colonies  then  in  session,  and  not  desiring  the 
presence  of  the  assembly  until  the  results  of  those  nego- 
tiations could  be  communicated.  Meantime,  as  volunteers 
could  not  be  obtained  for  recruiting  the  garrison  at  Oswego, 
Colonel  Philip  Schuyler  was  ordered  to  draft  the  requisite 
number  of  men  for  that  service  from  his  own  regiment ; 
and  Colonel  Eoberts  was  directed  to  send  three  companies 
of  levies  to  Saratoga,  with  instructions  that  should  it  be 
found  impossible  to  maintain  that  post,  the  fort  and  block- 
houses must  be  destroyed,  and  the  cannon  and  military 
stores  removed  to  Albany. 1    Very  shortly  afterward  advices 

1  Journals  of  the  council  board. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  295 

were  received  that  the  latter  clause  of  the  instructions  had  chap. 

VIII. 

been  obeyed  to  the  letter.     The  fort  had  been  burnt  and  ^~^— < 
the  stores   removed  as   directed, — by  which   measure  of  1747* 
questionable    necessity   the   northern    frontiers    was   left 
entirely  uncovered. 2 

At  the  earnest  solicitation  of  the  governor,  Colonel 
Johnson  had  now  arrived  in  New  York  for  consultation 
respecting  the  condition  of  the  colony  at  large ;  and  on 
the  third  of  October,  a  committee  of  the  executive  council 
was  directed  to  summon  the  colonel  before  them  for  exam- 
ination, with  special  relation  to  Indian  affairs  and  the 
measures  proper  to  be  pursued  in  their  immediate  admin- 
istration. The  examination  was  held  on  the  ninth.  The 
colonel's  advice  was,  that  an  agent  should  be  dispatched  to 
Oswego  without  delay,  with  suitable  presents  for  distribu- 
tion among  the  Indians,  in  order  to  preserve  their  existing 
good  disposition.  He  stated  that  when  he  first  engaged  in 
the  management  of  the  affairs  of  that  department  their 
sachems  were  chiefly  in  the  French  interest,  and  had  actually 
received  belts  from  them  which  they  had  since  given  up, 
receiving  belts  from  him  in  their  stead,  in  behalf  of  the 
English.  He  believed  that  unless  proper  measures  were 
taken  to  secure  them  in  their  present  favorable  mood,  there 
would  be  great  dissatisfaction  and  danger  resulting  from 
repeated  disappointments.  He  stated  that  the  Indians  had 
been  detained  from  hunting  during  the  whole  year,  by  the 
directions  of  the  governor,  and  were  consequently  in  a  state 
of  destitution, — actually  suffering  for  man}^  necessaries  for 
themselves  and  their  families.  Should  not  the  necessary 
measures  be  taken  for  their  relief,  he  felt  that  he  himself 
would  be  obliged  to  leave  his  Mohawk  settlement,  and  his 
removal  would  of  course  be  the  signal  for  a  general  flight 
of  the  people  from  that  valley  also.  He  furthermore 
thought  it  of  importance  that  the  English  should  build  a 
fort  in  the  Oneida  country,  and  another  among  the  Sene- 
cas.     The  Indians  would  be  gratified  at  the  adoption  of 

Journal8  of  the  council  board. 


296  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  measures  like  these,  which  iu  themselves  would  go  far  to 
vm.  .  '  ... 

v— y—/  secure  their  confidence.     At  the  close  of  his  examination 

1747-  the  colonel  made  a  complaint  on  oath  against  several  per- 
sons for  selling  rum  to  the  Indians,  and  the  attorney-general 
was  instructed  to  institute  prosecutions  for  the  offence. } 

The  commissioners  of  Massachusetts,  Connecticut  and 
New  York  having  closed  their  deliberations,  Mr.  Clinton 
communicated  the  result  of  their  conferences  to  the  general 
assembly  on  the  sixth  of  October.  Long  and  tedious  as 
had  been  the  procrastination,  the  expedition  against  Crown 
Point  and  the  invasion  of  Canada,  was  still  uppermost  in 
the  minds  of  Shirley  and  Governor  Clinton  ;  and  the  mes- 
sage announced  a  compact  agreed  upon  by  the  commission- 
ers, for  the  immediate  prosecution  of  the  long-deferred 
enterprise.  By  the  terms  of  that  compact,  New  York  was 
bound  to  have  a  certain  number  of  men  in  readiness  to 
march  on  a  certain  day  ;  and  supplies  were  demanded  for 
raising  and  paying  the  levies,  and  for  covering  all  other 
expenses  connected  with  that  service,  save  for  arms,  ammu- 
nition, and  camp  equipage,  which  were  to  be  provided  by 
the  crown.  But  the  season  for  warlike  operations  in  the 
north  had  again  so  nearly  passed  away,  that  it  was  yet  again 
found  necessary  to  defer  the  expedition  until  the  ensuing 
spring.  Nevertheless,  contrary  to  Mr.  Clinton's  wishes, 
and  indeed  against  his  earnest  entreaties,  the  commissioners 
had  concerted  nothing  for  the  security  of  the  frontiers  of 
New  York,  nor  for  the  equally  important  object  of  pre- 
serving the  friendship  of  the  fitful  Indians.  For  both  these 
objects,  therefore,  supplies  were  needed.  Mr.  Clinton 
again  reviewed  the  history  of  his  own  labors  in  the  Indian 
department ; — taking  care  to  mention  that  since  the  treaty 
of  the  preceding  year,  Massachusetts  had  given  presents  to 
the  Six  Nations  to  the  amount  of  one  thousand  pounds, 
and  Connecticut  to  the  amount  of  three  hundred ;  while 
neither  at  the  treaty  referred  to,  nor  since,  had  New  York 
been  put  to  any  expense  for  that  service, — the  whole  having 

1  Minutes  of  the  council  board. 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  297 

been  borne  by  the  crown.  "But,"  said  bis  excellency,  "I chap. 
can  no  longer,  and  will  no  longer,  continue  this  charge  on  ^— v — ; 
the  crown."  The  views  of  ColonelJohnson  were  enforced,  1747, 
especially  his  suggestions  that  forts  should  be  erected  in  the 
several  cantons  of  the  Six  Nations.  The  Indians  were  yet 
friendly  ;  but  they  had  been  so  frequently  disappointed  in 
their  expectation  that  Canada  would  before  now  have  been 
strongly  invaded  by  sea  and  land,  that  the  most  wise  and 
efficient  measures  would  be  necessary  for  preserving  their 
confidence.  Although  the  entire  charge  of  the  Indian 
service,  and  the  defence  of  the  frontiers,  would  hence- 
forward devolve  upon  the  colony,  yet  his  excellency  said  he 
intended  to  make  an  appeal  to  the  governments  of  the 
colonies  south,  as  far  as,  and  including  Virginia,  to  con- 
tribute to  the  expense — the  public  defence  being  an  object 
common  to  all.  In  conclusion,  after  a  variety  of  sugges- 
tions as  to  the  best  method  of  raising  and  sustaining  the 
quota  of  levies  falling  upon  New  York,  the  message  stated 
that  the  sachems  of  the  Six  Nations  were  then  in  the  city, 
awaiting  the  determination  of  the  house,  concerning  them- 
selves and  what  was  to  be  done  for  them.  They  had  been 
accompanied  by  Colonel  Johnson,  "  whose  name,"  said  the 
governor,  "I  cannot  mention  without  grateful  remem- 
brances of  the  services  he  has  done  his  country."  These 
sachems  were  impatient  to  be  gone ;  and  the  message 
strongly  urged  upon  the  assembly  the  immediate  adoption 
of  such  measures  as  would  soothe  their  feelings,  and  send 
them  away  with  presents  so  liberal  as  to  be  satisfactory. 

According  to  the  articles  of  the  compact  founded  by  the 
commissioners,  Crown  Point  was  first  to  be  reduced.  The 
number  of  troops  to  be  raised  for  the  expedition,  was  four 
thousand,  exclusive  of  all  the  Indians  who  could  be  brought 
into  the  service.  Of  these  four  thousand  levies,  New 
York  was  to  furnish  twelve  hundred  from  its  own  territory, 
and  four  hundred  more,  to  be  drawn  from  Massachusetts, 
and  paid  for  by  New  York, — bounties,  wages  and  supplies. 
For  the  Indian  service  of  the  campaign,  Massachusetts 

38 


298  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  stipulated  to  pay  nine-twentieths  of  the  expense,  New  York 
s-^  eight-twentieths,  and  Connecticut  three.  Every  Indian 
1747.  warrior  was  to  be  equipped  to  the  value  of  five  pounds, 
and  at  the  close  of  the  expedition,  a  present  to  the  same 
amount.  The  three  colonies  were  to  appoint  and  com- 
mission the  three  general  officers  who  were  to  conduct  the 
expedition.  Applications  are  to  be  made  to  the  other  colo- 
nies, from  New  Hampshire  to  Virginia  inclusive,  to  exert 
themselves  to  the  extent  of  their  ability  in  the  prosecution 
of  the  war,  and  generally  for  the  common  defence.  They 
were  also  to  be  invited  to  send  delegates  to  meet  in  a  grand 
committee  of  conference  at  Middletown,  in  Connecticut, 
in  December.  Meantime  an  application  was  to  be  made 
to  the  crown  to  create  a  diversion  in  Canada  by  sending  a 
large  fleet  into  the  St.  Lawrence,  to  attack  the  citadel  of 
Quebec  in  accordance  with  the  plan  concerted  two  years 
before.  In  the  event  of  a  refusal  on  the  part  of  ministers  thus 
to  cooperate  in  the  grand  design,  the  colonies  were  to  create 
the  diversion  themselves,  by  fitting  out  such  a  fleet  as  they 
might,  to  act  in  concert  wdth  such  ships  of  war  as  might 
chance  to  be  cruising  upon  the  American  station.  In  case 
of  a  failure  of  both  branches  of  the  enterprise,  the  first 
three  parties  to  the  agreement,  were  each  to  employ  a 
corps  of  rangers  to  harrass  the  border  settlements  of  the 
enemy,  and  make  war  upon  their  allies,  as  best  they  could 
— the  other  colonies  being  invited  to  aid  in  this  description 
of  service  likewise.  In  the  event  of  an  invasion  of  either 
of  the  colonies,  parties  to  the  agreement,  the  others  were 
to  march  to  their  assistance.  The  forces  to  be  directed 
against  Crown  Point,  were  to  rendezvous  at  Albany  as  early 
as  the  fifteenth  of  April  then  ensuing, — 1748.  The  con- 
cluding article  of  the  compact  set  forth  as  a  reason  for  this 
alliance  the  utter  inability  of  the  colonies,  singly,  to  main- 
tain a  sufficient  force  to  guard  so  extensive  a  frontier, — it 
being  five  hundred  miles  in  length.  Already  they  had 
suffered  severely  from  the  repeated  and  frequent  incursions 
of  the  enemy,  the  loss  of  life,  and  the  destruction  of  their 


LIFE   OP  SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  299 

towns   and  hamlets.     To  put  an  end  to  such  a  harrassing  chap. 
species  of  warfare,  the  reduction  of  Crown  Point  was  indis- «— v— ; 
pensable  ;  and  the  commissioners  strongly  appealed  to  the 1747- 
other  colonies,  less  exposed  only  because  guarded  and  pro- 
tected by  them,  and  who  were  in  fact  better  able  to  defray 
the  charges  of  this  war  than  themselves,  to  come  to  their 
assistance.     Nothing  could  have  been  more  reasonable  than 
such  an  appeal,   but  its   reception   was  more  cold  than 
redounded  to  the  credit  of  the  parties  directly  appealed  to, 
either  for  their  patriotism  or  liberality. 

Mr.  Clinton  had  requested  a  speedy  answer  to  his  mes- 
sage communicating  these  important  arrangements,  and  it 
was  given  two  days  afterward  in  a  series  of  resolutions,  in 
part,  at  least,  very  little  to  his  liking.  Although  the  assem- 
bly voted  with  alacrity  for  everything  essential  to  the 
Canadian  invasion,  for  the  defence  of  the  frontier  during 
the  intervening  winter,  and  supplies  for  making  suitable 
presents  to  the  Indians  chiefs  brought  to  the  city  by  Colonel 
Johnson,  yet  among  the  resolutions  were  some  breathing 
a  spirit  of  rank  and  bitter  hostility.  Of  this  description 
was  one  setting  forth  that  although  his  excellency  had  made 
large  drafts  upon  the  crown  for  the  Indian  service  during 
the  preceding  summer,  no  disposition  of  the  avails  had 
been  heard  of.  But  the  importance  of  preserving  the 
alliance  of  the  Six  Nations  was  so  great  that  they  would 
nevertheless  vote  for  the  sum  of  eight  hundred  pounds  for 
that  object,  to  be  'placed  in  the  harids  of  proper  persons  for  dis- 
bursement. This  proviso  was  but  a  thinly  disguised  impeach- 
ment of  the  executive  integrity.  In  reference  to  the  build- 
ing of  forts  in  the  Indian  country,  for  the  security  of  the 
women  and  children  and  old  men  while  the  warriors  were 
absent  in  the  service,  the  vote  was  conditional  that  the  other 
colonies  must  share  the  expense.  The  forces  at  Albany 
destined  for  the  defence  of  that  section  of  the  frontier 
during  the  approaching  winter,  the  house  was  not  inclined 
to  take  into  pay  unless  their  discharge  should  be  directed 
by  his  majesty.     News  of  the   destruction  of  the  fort  at 


300  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap.  Saratoga  not  having  yet  reached  the  ears  of  the  assembly, 
v— v— /  it  was  voted  that  that  post  should  be  preserved  at  all  events ; 
1747#  and  a  resolution  of  censure  was  added  because  the  governor 
had  not  responded  to  the  proceedings  of  the  house  in  respect 
to  that  fortress,  on  the  ninth  and  eleventh  of  September. 
The  wrath  of  the  governor  was  kindled  by  these  resolu- 
tions to  vehemence  as  will  sufficiently  appear  by  the  follow- 
ing laconic  reply : 

"  Gentlemen : 

By  your  votes  I  understand  you  are  going  upon  things 
very  foreign  to  what  I  recommended  to  you :  I  will  receive 
nothing  from  you  at  this  critical  juncture,  but  what  relates 
to  the  message  I  last  sent  you,  viz :  By  all  means  imme- 
mediately  to  take  the  preservation  of  your  frontiers,  and 
the  fidelity  of  the  Indians  into  consideration.  The  loss  of 
a  day  may  have  fatal  consequences ;  when  that  is  over,  you 
Imay  have  time  enough  to  go  upon  other  matters. 

G.  Clinton." 

The  effect  of  this  message  was  like  the  casting  of  a  live 
coal  into  a  magazine  of  gun-powder.  In  its  consideration 
the  doors  of  the  assembly  were  shut,  locked,  and  the  key 
laid  upon  the  table  in  the  due  and  ancient  form  in  cases  of 
alleged  breaches  of  privilege ;  and  a  series  of  resolutions 
was  passed,  nemine  contradicente,  wherein  it  was  declared  to 
be  the  undoubted  right  and  privilege  of  the  house  to  pro- 
ceed upon  all  proper  subjects  for  their  consideration,  in 
such  order,  method  and  manner  as  to  themselves  should 
seem  most  convenient ; — that  any  attempt  to  direct  or  pre- 
scribe to  the  house  the  manner  in  which  they  must  proceed 
in  their  discussions  of  public  affairs,  was  a  manifest  breach 
of  the  rights  of  the  house  and  the  people  ; — that  the  declara- 
tion of  the  governor  that  he  would  receive  nothing  from  the 
house  at  that  time  but  what  had  been  recommended  in  his 
message,  was  irregular  and  unprecedented — tending  to  the 
subversion  of  the  rights,  liberties  and  privileges  of  the 
house  and  the  people ; — and  that  whoever  had  advised  that 
message  had  attempted  to  undermine  those  rights   and 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  301 

privileges,  and  to  subvert  the  constitution  of  the  colony,  Cv^P* 
and  was  moreover  an  enemy  to  its  inhabitants.  The  re- ' — v — ' 
solutions  were  followed  up  immediately  by  an  address,  or  ' 
remonstrance  to  his  excellency,  extending  to  the  great 
length  of  eight  printed  folio  pages,  conceived  in  the  same 
acrimonious  spirit  which  had  indeed  characterized  the  pro- 
ceedings of  both  parties  for  many  months.  It  professed 
to  review  the  whole  controversy  between  the  governor  and 
themselves  from  its  inception,  being  his  excellency's  mes- 
sage of  June  sixth,  1746.  Down  to  that  period,  the  remon- 
strance declared  that  the  utmost  harmony  had  existed 
between  them,  and  their  distractions  had  only  arisen  since 
his  excellency  "  had  thought  lit  to  place  his  sole  confidence 
in  that  person  who  styles  himself  the  next  in  administra- 
tion, and  been  pleased  to  submit  himself  to  his  direction 
and  influence."  This  individual,  Dr.  Colden,  was  bitterly 
denounced.  In  reviewing  the  late  proceedings  both  of  the 
governor  and  themselves,  in  connexion  specially,  with  the 
Indian  affairs,  the  executive  was  severely  censured  for 
taking  the  management  of  those  affairs  from  the  hands  of 
the  Indian  commissioners  at  Albany,  and  confiding  them 
to  other  individuals,  the  chief  of  whom,  of  course,  was 
Colonel  Johnson.  Much  of  the  ill-feeling  of  the  Indians, 
prior  to  the  treaty  of  1746,  was  attributed  to  the  intrigues 
of  designing  men,  seeking  to  supplant  the  commissioners 
for  interested  and  mercenary  purposes.  Instead  of  the 
course  the  governor  had  pursued  by  the  summary  employ- 
ment of  individuals,  if  dissatisfied  with  the  conduct  of  old 
commissioners,  he  should  have  caused  them  to  be  suspended 
by  new  appointments  issued  in  a  regular  manner. 

This  attack  upon  Colonel  Johnson  showed  very  con- 
clusively that  he  was  at  that  time  in  no  favor  with  his 
relative,  Mr.  DeLancey.  His  excellency  had  repeatedly 
advocated,  in  his  late  messages,  not,  indeed  without  an  air 
of  self-complacency,  to  his  successful  diplomacy  with  the 
Indians,  whereby  he  had  changed  their  policy,  and  defeat- 
ed the  designs  of  the  people  of  Albany,  whose  aim  it  was 


302  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

p-  to  keep  the  Indians  from  the  war-path,  and  allow  them  to 
maintain  the  position  of  neutrals.     Upon  this  point  the 


vm. 
1747. 


address  avowed  the  opinion,  distinctly,  that  it  would  have 
been  far  better  had  the  Indians  been  left  in  that  position. 
His  excellency  had  indeed  told  them  that  the  Six  Nations 
had  engaged  heartily  in  the  war ;  but  the  house  was  yet  in 
ignorance  touching  any  engagement  in  which  they  had  par- 
ticipated. All  the  evidence  of  their  prowess,  which  they 
had  seen,  consisted  in  the  exhibition  in  the  city,  by  a  small 
party  of  Indians,  of  three  scalps,  and  a  few  French  prisoners. 
Again,  on  the  subject  of  Indian  expenditures,  they  hinted 
at  the  misapplication  of  funds  said  to  have  been  laid  out 
for  presents ;  and  considering  the  heavy  drafts  upon  the 
crown  for  this  service  during  the  late  summer,  they  intimat- 
ed a  belief  that  notwithstanding  his  excellency's  call  for 
appropriations,  he  must  have  already  a  considerable  sum  in 
bank.  They  treated  his  excellency's  frequent  expressions 
of  concern  for  the  welfare  of  the  people  with  ridicule, 
charging  upon  him  and  his  adviser  the  guilt  of  the  mas- 
sacre of  Saratoga  in  the  autumn  of  1745,  which  event,  they 
alleged,  could  not  have  taken  place  but  for  the  rash  with- 
drawal of  the  garrison  from  that  place.  Many  other 
charges  of  faults  and  official  delinquencies,  civil  and  mili- 
tary, were  set  forth  and  commented  upon  with  biting  irony. 
They  declared  that  from  a  very  early  time  of  his  adminis- 
tration, he  had  treated  with  contempt  the  people  of  the 
colony  in  general,  and  the  members  of  the  house  in  par- 
ticular ;  and  that  he  had  applied  to  them  in  terms  so 
opprobrious  as  to  render  them  unfit  for  publication.  They 
complained  of  the  many  short  and  inconvenient  adjourn- 
ments to  which  they  had  been  subjected,  and  were  par- 
ticularly displeased  that  they  had  not  been  kept  in  session 
during  the  recent  negotiations  with  the  Massachusetts  and 
Connecticut  commissioners,  "  that  they  might  have  been 
daily  advised  with,  and  their  opinions  consulted  from  time 
to  time  as  to  the  matters  under  consideration," — forgetting, 
probably,  in  the  ardor  of  their  patriotism,  that  the  house  of 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  303 

assembly  was  not  exactly  the  executive  council,  and  that  chap. 
by  the  English  constitution  the  treaty-making  power  resides  >_v_, 
not  in  the  house  of  commons.     They  thought  it  very  likely  1747- 
his  excellency  had  been  advised  that  the  best  way  to  manage 
an  assembly  was  to  harrass  them  by  frequent  and  short 
adjournments  ;  but  they  assured  him  that  with  them,  such 
a  course  would  be  vain  and  fruitless.     "  No  treatment  your 
excellency  can  use  toward  us,  no  inconveniences  how  great 
soever  that  we  may  suffer  in  our  own  persons,  shall  ever 
prevail  on  us  to  abandon  or  deter  us  from  steadily  pre- 
serving the  interest  of  our  country." 

This  address  was  reported  by  Mr.  Clarkson,  from  a  com- 
mittee previously  appointed  upon  the  subject,  on  the  ninth 
of  October.  Immediately  upon  its  reading,  the  speaker, 
David  Jones,  was  directed  to  sign,  and  a  committee  con- 
sisting of  Messrs.  Clarkson,  Phillipse,  Thomas,  Cruger, 
Beekman,  Lott  and  Chambers,  were  designated  as  a  com- 
mittee to  present  it  to  his  excellency.  This  duty  was 
promptly  discharged;  but  the  irascible  governor  would 
neither  allow  the  chairman  to  read  it  to  him,  nor  leave  it 
in  his  chamber. 

Three  days  afterward,  before  the  assembly  had  taken  any 
farther  action  in  the  controversy, — unless  a  request  for 
information  as  to  the  state  and  condition  of  the  forts  and 
garrisons  of  Saratoga  and  Oswego  might  be  considered  of 
that  character, — the  governor  sent  down  a  message  in 
answer  to  the  assembly's  resolutions  of  the  eighth,  almost 
as  long,  and  if  possible,  even  more  vituperative  than  the 
address  of  the  house.  In  the  first  place,  however,  the 
governor  expressed  the  pleasure  he  felt  at  the  ready  appro- 
bation which  the  house  had  given  to  the  compact  of  the 
commissioners  for  the  invasion  of  Canada.  The  scheme 
contemplated  by  that  compact  closely  resembled  the  project 
between  himself,  Mr.  Shirley  and  Sir  Peter  "Warren,  the 
year  before  ;  and  had  it  then  been  executed  it  would  have 
been  at  the  expense  of  the  crown.  Now,  however,  it  must 
be  done  entirely  at  the  charge  of  the  colonies.     His  excel- 


304  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

p-  lency  was  also  pleased  at  being  able  to  announce  that  one 
or  more  forts,  by  the  arrangement  of  the  commissioners, 


VIII. 

1747 


sanctioned  by  the  unanimous  vote  of  his  council,  were  to 
be  erected  at  the  carrying-place.  This  expense  also,  would 
fall  exclusively  upon  the  colonies ; — whereas  but  for  the 
conduct  of  the  commissioners  appointed  by  the  house,  in 
regard  to  the  transportation  of  provisions  and  general  sup- 
plies for  the  forces,  those  defences  would  likewise  have 
been  constructed  xat  the  cost  of  the  crown. 

His  excellency  next  proceeded  to  vindicate  his  own  con- 
duct from  the  aspersions  so  frequently  cast  upon  it  in  con- 
nection with  his  management  of  the  Indian  department, 
and  the  oft-repeated  insinuation  of  a  misapplication  of  the 
money  drawn  from  the  crown  for  that  branch  of  the  service. 
The  house  had  asserted,  in  one  of  its  resolutions  respecting 
this  money,  "  that  no  disposition  thereof  for  the  purpose 
intended  had  yet  been  heard  of."  In  this  resolution,  Mr. 
Clinton  now  charged  the  house  with  uttering  "  as  bold  a 
falsehood  as  ever  came  from  a  body  of  men."  In  vindica- 
tion of  himself,  and  in  refutation  of  the  assertion,  the  mes- 
sage pointed  to  a  long  chain  of  operations  in  the  Indian 
department,  known  to  them  all,  and  sufficient  to  absorb  a 
very  large  sum,  but  for  which  not  a  shilling  had  been  paid 
by  the  colony.  The  Indians  had  all  been  armed,  clothed, 
and  provisioned  by  him  ;  numerous  war-parties  had  been 
kept  in  constant  motion,  and  at  one  time  as  many  as  six 
hundred  warriors  were  marching  together. 

The  services  of  Colonel  Johnson  in  that  department, 
were  adverted  to  in  terms  of  high  praise.  Before  the  go- 
vernor's interview  with  the  Indians  at  Albany  the  previous 
year,  it  was  a  difficult  matter  to  prevail  upon  a  dozen  or 
twenty  of  them  even  to  go  forth  upon  a  scout.  Now,  how- 
ever, Colonel  Johnson  engages  to  bring  a  thousand  war- 
riors into  the  field  upon  any  reasonable  notice.  Through 
his  influence  the  chiefs  had  been  weaned  from  their  intimacy 
with  the  French,  and  many  distant  Indian  nations  were 
now  courting  the  friendship  of  the  English.     As  to  the 


LIFE   QF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  305 

money  lie  had  received  from  the  crown  for  this  service,  the  chap. 
governor  said  he  was  in  no  way  accountable  to  the  house  v—^ 
for  its  application.     Not  having  supplied  a  penny  of  it, 1747- 
they  had  nothing  to  do  with  it.     In  this   connection  he 
inveighed  against  the  proviso  of  the  resolution  appropriat- 
ing eight  hundred  pounds   for  the  Indian  service,  to  be 
placed  for  disbursement  in  other  hands  than  those  of  the 
executive.     This  condition  displosed  the  motive   for  the 
slander  against  him,  it  being  nothing  less  than  a  determina- 
tion to  violate  an  undisputed  prerogative  of  the  crown,  and 
to  wrest  his  majesty's  authority  from  the  executive  hands. 

The  conditional  resolve  concerning  the  supplies  for  the 
forces  at  Albany,  was  likewise  denounced  as  an  interference 
with  the  military  prerogative  of  his  majesty  ;  in  connection 
with  which  his  excellency  tauntingly  inquired  whether  the 
house  had  received  any  advices  or  orders  from  his  majesty, 
or  his  ministers,  upon  the  subject  of  the  army  regulations. 
"  The  forces  at  Albany  are  under  my  command  only,"  said 
he ;  "  and  you  will  never  know  anything  of  his  majesty's 
pleasure  about  these  forces,  but  from  me,  or  from  my  suc- 
cessor." *  *  *  "His  majesty  will  not  part  with  the 
least  branch  of  bis  military  prerogative ;  nor  dare  I,  nor 
will  I,  give  up  the  least  branch  of  it  on  any  consideration, 
however  desirous  you  may  be  to  share  it,  or  to  bear  the 
whole  command."  In  this  spirit  the  crown  had  sent  him 
orders  relating  to  Saratoga;  and  while  they  knew  that  he 
was  heartily  inclined  to  do  what  they  desired  of  him  in  that 
matter,  they,  also,  some  of  them,  knew  it  was  impracticable. 

He  had  formerly  told  them  that  the  fort  at  Saratoga  was 
inadequate  for  the  security  of  that  section  of  the  frontier ; 
and  of  what  has  happened  to  it  they  had  been  forewarned, 
unless  proper  assistance  should  be  afforded  for  its  preserva- 
tion. The  position  of  that  fort  was  unfavorable ;  it  bad 
been  maintained  at  great  expense,  and  more  lives  had  been 
lost  by  reason  of  its  disadvantageous  situation,  than  by  any 
other  cause  since  the  war.  It  had  been  placed  there  by 
commissioners  recommended  by  his  council ;  but  it  ha<l 

39 


306  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  since  been  discovered  that  their  object  in  selecting  that  site 
v-v — -  was  not  the  protection  of  the  country,  but  of  quantities  of 
1747.  -wheat  growing  in  its  neighborhood.  The  work  itself  being 
of  no  substantial  use  as  a  military  position,  and  finding  it 
impossible  longer  to  maintain  it  without  hazarding  the  total 
dissolution  of  the  forces  at  Albany,  the  cannon  and  stores 
had  been  withdrawn  and  the  fortification  destroyed.  In 
addition  to  all  which,  the  conduct  of  the  assembly  itself  had 
compelled  him  to  abandon  the  place  by  their  opposition  to 
every  measure  proposed  by  him  for  its  preservation. 

On  the  subject  of  his  endeavors  to  confine  the  action  of 
the  house  exclusively  to  his  recommendations  for  the  wel- 
fare and  protection  of  the  colony,  especially  in  regard  to 
his  brief  message  of  the  eighth,  his  excellency  attempted 
a  justification.  His  design  was  simply  to  secure  in  the  first 
instance,  such  action  as  would  guaranty  the  safety  of  the 
province.  There  would  afterward  be  time  enough  for  the 
consideration  of  as  many  other  subjects  as  they  could  desire. 
He  taunted  them  sharply  for  what  he  called  the  farce  of 
locking  the  door  and  laying  the  key  with  solemn  form  upon 
the  table, — asking  them  whether  there  were  any  suspicious 
people  without  the  doors  of  whom  they  were  afraid,  and 
whether  they  apprehended  that  any  of  their  own  members 
were  intent  upon  running  away.  If  not, — it  was  really 
an  attempt  to  shut  him  out  so  that  he  could  not  communi- 
cate by  message, — then  the  act  was  a  high  insult  to  the 
royalauthority,  and  for  the  time  being  a  withdrawal  of 
their  allegiance.  He  declared  that  by  their  resolutions  of 
the  ninth,  they  had  assumed  all  the  rights  and  privileges 
of  the  house  of  commons  of  Great  Britain.  Such  an 
assumption  was  nothing  less  than  claiming  to  be  a  branch 
of  the  legislature  of  the  kingdom,  or  in  other  words  a 
denial  of  subjection  to  the  crown  and  parliament.  He 
reasoned  the  point  to  show  that  it  could  not  be  so ;  the 
supreme  power  had  a  right  to  put  limitations  upon  their 
proceedings ;  and  he  told  them  not  only  that  these  and 
some  subjects  which  they  had  no  right  to  discuss,  but  that 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  307 

"  he  had  his  majesty's  express  command  not  to  suffer  them  chap. 
to  bring  some  matters  into  the  house,  nor  to  debate  upon  v-^L 
them."     It  was  for  that  reason  that  the  clerk  of  the  house 1747- 
was  required  every  day  to  lay  before  the   governor  the 
minutes  of  their  proceedings,  that  the  governor  may  put  a 
stop  to  them  when  they  become  disorderly  or  undutiful. 

He  reproved  them  for  having  recently  adopted  the  dis- 
respectful and  unmannerly  practice  of  ordering  resolutions 
to  be  served  upon  him  from  time  to  time  ;  and  censured 
them  severely  for  their  rudeness  on  a  late  occasion,  when, 
within  a  quarter  of  an  hour  after  they  had  served  him  with 
a  copy  of  their  resolutions  of  the  ninth,  several  of  the 
members  of  their  body  thrust  themselves  upon  him  in  an 
apartment  of  his  own  house,  without  previous  notice  of, 
to  read  "a  large  bundle  of  papers,"  which  they  called  a 
remonstrance  from  the  house.  Every  private  man  in  the 
country  considered  his  own  house  his  castle,  and  his  excel- 
lency demanded  whether  their  governor  was  not  entitled 
to  the  same  privilege  ?  Whether  he  must  be  thus  intruded 
upon,  and  bear  it  with  patience  ?  Under  the  circumstances 
of  the  case,  he  had  but  too  much  reason  to  refuse  to  receive 
the  remonstrance  ; — and  he  then  gave  them  warning  that 
he  would  never  again  receive  from  them  a  document  in 
public,  which  had  not  first  been  communicated  to  him  in 
private. 

He  reminded  them  of  another  act  of  incivility.  At  the 
opening  of  the  session,  they  had  not,  as  usual,  acquainted 
him  with  their  organization, — an  omission  without  prece- 
dent, and  evidently  by  design.  They  had  resolved  forth- 
with to  enter  upon  the  consideration  of  the  state  of  the 
province,  without  having  received  any  information  as  to 
what  its  condition  was.  They  also  resolved  to  make  a 
remonstrance  upon  the  condition  of  the  colony,  without 
resolving  what  should  be  the  subject  matter  of  the  docu- 
ment,— ordering  their  committee  to  draw  it  up  without 
instructions.  That  committee  presented  the  report  so 
soon,  and  the  house  adopted  it  so  hastily,  as  to  preclude 


308  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM    JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  the  exercise  of  any  rational  judgment  upon  the  subject. 
w^I^o  precedents  could  be  found  for  their  conduct,  save  in  the 
1™**  course  taken  by  the  house  of  commons  when  they  had 
determined  to  take  away  the  king's  life,  and  overthrow  the 
established  government.  This  allusion  was  certainly  not 
malapro2JOs.  The  same  leaven  was  doubtless  at  work  in 
Clinton's  little  parliament,  which,  in  the  greater,  had  sent 
the  unhappy  Stuart  to  the  block. 

Various  other  points  of  the  controversy  were  passed  in 
review.  The  house  had  been  insolent  toward  him,  and 
forgotten  all  kind  of  decency  and  regard  for  the  authority 
vested  in  him  by  his  majesty.  They  had  endeavored  to 
deprive  him  of  the  esteem  of  the  people.  They  had 
witholden  supplies  for  the  public  service ;  and  for  the  pur- 
pose of  justifying  themselves  to  their  constituents,  had 
endeavored  to  induce  a  belief  that  he  had  applied  the  pub- 
lic money  to  his  own  use.  To  refute  this  idea  he  now  stated 
that  during  the  few  years  of  his  administration  no  more 
than  one  thousand  eight  hundred  pounds  currency  of  the 
colony  had  passed  into  his  hands  for  the  Indian  service ; 
and  the  account  he  then  gave  of  the  uses  to  which  the 
money  had  been  applied,  and  the  benefits  secured  by  its 
expenditure,  when  viewed  at  this  distance  of  time,  proves 
very  clearly  that  the  expenditure  was  made  with  wisdom, 
prudence  and  economy.  Upon  this  point  his  excellency 
insisted  that  if  they  had  really  entertained  any  suspicions 
of  his  integrity,  they  should  have  instituted  an  investiga- 
tion. But  they  had  not  done  so,  although  they  had  seemed 
to  act  as  though  he  was  the  only  man  in  the  province 
who  could  misapply  the  public  revenues ;  for  more  than 
sixty  thousand  pounds  had  passed  through  the  hands  of 
their  own  commissioners,  while  no  reports  as  to  the  manner 
of  its  disbursement  had  been  exacted,  nor  any  inquiry  made. 
In  a  word  all  the  charges  and  insinuations  of  the  house 
against  the  governor,  were  pronounced  to  be  false,  and  their 
conduct  toward  those  who  had  endeavored  to  support  his 
administration  against  their  opposition,  was  declared  to  be 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BAR*;  809 

malicious.  Their  long-continued  unbecoming  conduct,  in  C™AV' 
the  view  of  his  excellency,  could  arise  but  from  one  of  the  w^— . 
following  causes :  mi. 

I.  A  firm  principle  of  disloyalty,  with  a  desire  to  deliver 
the  country  up  to  the  king's  enemies : 

II.  The  desire  of  some  individuals  for  such  a  shameful 
neutrality  as  was  established  in  the  war  of  Queen  Anne's 
time. 

III.  A  design  to  overturn  the  constitution,  and  throw 
everything  into  confusion  : 

IV.  The  gratification  of  the  pride  and  private  malice  and 
rancor  of  a  few  men,  at  the  hazard  of  the  lives  and  estates 
of  their  constituents.  It  was  added — "That  there  are 
such  men  in  this  country,  is  no  secret,  nor  what  share  they 
have  in  your  private  consultations." 

The  governor  then  drew  a  contrast  showing  how  widely 
different  had  been  his  conduct  fromtheir's.  When  he  dis- 
covered that  they  had  fallen  into  a  state  of  unreasonable 
heat  and  passion,  he  had  adjourned  or  prorogued  them, 
that  they  might  have  time  to  cool  down.  And  on  their 
reassembling,  although  he  had  endeavored  to  forget  past 
differences,  they  would  strive  by  every  means  to  revive 
them.  Even  now,  although  they  had  every  just  reason  to 
expect  the  manifestation  of  strong  resentment  from  him, 
yet  he  was  resolved  to  disappoint  them.  He  therefore  in 
conclusion  again  exhorted  them  to  make  the  proper  pro- 
visions for  the  care  and  safety  of  the  province, — admon- 
ishing them,  however,  to  beware  of  attempting  any  mea- 
sures that  might  clash  with  his  instructions  from  the  crown, 
or  infringe  upon  the  royal  prerogative.  "  The  ill  effects  of 
the  condescensions  of  former  governors  of  the  province," 
were  now  too  sensibly  felt  to  justify  any  further  conces- 
sions. 

It  appears  by  the  assembly's  journal,  that  after  referring 
the  message  to  a  committee,  the  house  entered  upon  the 
consideration  of  public  affairs  with  a  commendable  degree 
of  diligence.      On    the    fifteenth    day   of    October  they 


310  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART, 

chap,  requested  the  governor  to  execute  one  of  the  projects  agreed 
v-^— /  upon  by  the  commissioners,  by  sending  gun-smiths  and 
174~-  assistant  artizans  into  the  country  of  the  Six  Nations  among 
all  the  tribes  beyond  the  Mohawks,  pledging  the  ways  and 
means,  in  the  full  confidence,  however,  that  Massachusetts 
and  Connecticut  would  defray  their  respective  proportions 
of  the  expense.  On  the  next  day  the  governor  commu- 
nicated a  table  of  estimates  requiring  appropriations  for 
the  winter  service, — stating  that  it  was  his  intention  to 
invite  the  cooperation  of  the  colonies  south  to  the  Caro- 
linas,  for  the  common  defence.  Having  ordered  the  proper 
arrangements  for  the  security  of  the  colony  during  the 
repose  of  winter,  it  was  thought  the  assembly  might  be 
safely  adjourned — to  be  aroused  into  action  again  in  the 
spring,  when  the  bugle  should  sound  to  arms  for  the  actual 
invasion  of  Canada. 

But  the  hopes  and  the  high  expectations  of  the  colonies, 
especially  those  of  New  York  and  New  England,  were 
again  dashed  by  disappointment  alike  mortifying  and 
severe.  On  the  nineteenth  of  October,  orders  were 
received  from  the  duke  of  Newcastle,  signifying  the  royal 
approbation  of  the  preparations  made  jointly  by  Shirley 
and  Clinton,  for  the  intended  expedition,  but  nevertheless 
directing  them  to  desist  from  that  expedition,  and  to  dis- 
band all  the  levies  engaged  for  that  service,  retaining  such 
a  number  of  the  New  England  forces  as  might  be  judged 
necessary  for  the  protection  of  Nova  Scotia.  The  colonies 
were  directed  to  pay  off  the  levies,  and  transmit  the 
accounts  to  be  reimbursed  by  parliament.  Mr.  Clinton 
immediately  transmitted  these  disheartening  orders  by 
message  to  the  assembly,  with  a  recommendation  that  so 
many  of  the  levies  at  Albany  as  might  be  deemed  neces- 
sary for  the  defence  of  the  north  might  still  be  retained  in 
the  service,  and  provision  be  made  for  their  subsistence. 
This  suggestion  was  followed  by  a  vote  of  the  assembly  to 
retain  eight  full  companies  at  Albany  until  the  ensuing 
month  of  August,  if  their  service  should  so  long  be  neces- 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  oil 

sary ;  but  in  view  of  the  heavy  expenses  to  which  the  colony  chap. 
had  already  been  subjected  by  the  war,  and  the  almost  *— v— ' 
ruined  condition  of  the  colony,  the  house  felt  itself  obliged  747, 
to  decline  advancing  either  money  or  credit  for  the  pay- 
ment of  the  forces  in  arrears.  With  this  exception,  the 
assembly  proceeded  with  apparent  calmness  to  make  just 
and  proper  appropriations  for  various  objects,  such  as  the 
employment  of  a  corps  of  rangers  to  traverse  the  northern 
border,  and  for  repairing  sundry  forts.  Appropriations 
were  also  voted  for  divers  other  matters,  among  which  was 
one  for  the  completion  of  the  governor's  house.  But  the 
calm  was  short,  if  not  delusive,  and  the  storm  directed 
against  the  executive  broke  out  on  the  twenty-sixth  of 
October  with  unabated  violence.  It  appears  that  two  days 
before  that  date,  it  being  on  Saturday,  the  governor,  by  a 
written  order  under  his  own  hand,  had  forbidden  Mr.  James 
Parker,  printer  to  the  assembly,  to  publish  in  the  journals 
of  that  body  the  celebrated  remonstrance  of  the  ninth,  of 
which  a  copious  analysis  has  already  been  given.  Parker 
had  refused  to  recognize  the  validity  of  a  verbal  order  to 
the  same  eifect,  communicated  by  his  excellency's  secretary, 
Mr.  Catherwood ;  and  this  written  mandate  he  was  required 
to  publish  in  his  newspaper,  which  he  accordingly  did  on 
Monday  morning, — together  with  the  paragraph  contained 
in  the  governor's  message  of  the  thirteenth,  wherein  his 
excellency  had  charged  the  committee  of  the  house,  bearing 
the  said  remonstrance,  with  obtruding  themselves  rudely 
into  a  private  apartment  of  his  domicil.  Chafed  at  this 
arbitrary  mandate  to  Parker,  and  smarting  yet  from  the 
imputation  cast  by  the  governor  upon  the  committee,  Mr. 
Clarkson  rose  in  his  place  on  Monday,  and  called  the  atten- 
tion of  the  house  to  the  contents  of  the  newspaper.  The 
publication  having  been  read,  Mr.  C.  proceeded  to  relate, 
and  his  colleagues  of  the  committee  to  confirm,  the  history 
of  the  transaction  in  question.  The  committee  "  knocked 
at  the  outward  door,  and  told  the  servant  who  attended, 
that  they  had  a  message.     Retiring  into  an  inner  room,  the 


312  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  servant  soon  returned,  accompanied  by  a  gentleman,  who 
v—^—,  showed  them  into  the  presence  of  the  governor,  by  whom 
1747-  they  were  received  without  any  manifestation  of  displeasure. 
They  informed  his  excellency  that  they  came  as  a  commit- 
tee of  the  house  with  a  remonstrance,  which  they  offered 
to  read ;  but  his  excellency   refused  either  to  hear  it,  or 
even  to  allow  them  to  read  it,  upon  the  ground  that  such 
a  procedure,  without  the  presence  of  the  speaker,  was  not 
parliamentary.     The  next  step  was  to  order  the  attendance 
of  Parker  at  the  bar  of  the  house,  to  produce  the  original 
order  from  the   governor,   a    copy   of  which  had  been 
published  in  his  newspaper.     This  being  done,  resolutions 
were  passed  declaring  that  the  attempt  to  prevent  the  pub- 
lication of  their  proceedings,  was  a  violation  of  the  rights 
and  liberties  of  the  people,  and  an  infringement  of  their 
privileges ;  that  the  remonstrance  was  a  regular  proceeding ; 
that  the  governor's  order  was  unwarrantable,  arbitrary  and 
illegal,  a  violation  of  their  privileges,  and  of  the  liberty  of 
the  press,  and  tending  to  the  utter   subversion  of  all  the 
rights  and  liberties  of  the  colony  ;  and  that  the  speaker's 
order  for  printing  the  remonstrance,  was  regular  and  con- 
sistent with  his  duty."  l    Parker  preferred  to  identify  his 
,  fortunes  with  those  of  the  popular  party,    rather  than  to 
obey  the  behest  of  the  crown,  as  expressed  by  its  repre- 
,        sentative.     The   governor's    order    was    therefore    disre- 
garded, and  the  remonstrance  printed  as  directed  by  the 
house.     The  controversy  was  maintained  with  increasing 
intensity,  for  many  days  ;  in  the  course  of  which  the  house, 
in  order,  doubtless,  as  much  to  reassert  its  own  power  as 
to  annoy  the  governor,  directed  Parker  to  reprint  the  offen- 
sive document,  and  furnish  each  member  with  two  copies 
thereof, — "that  their  constituents  might  know  it  was  their 
firm  resolution  to  preserve  the  liberty  of  the  press." 

But  while  these  proceedings  were  yet  in  progress,  the 
governor  startled  the  assembly  by  a  message  announcing 
that  he  might  find  it  necessary  to  detach  large  bodies  of 

1  Smith,  vol.  ii.  pp.  132,  133.     Vide  also  journals  of  the  colonial  assembly. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  313 

the  militia  for  the  defence  of  the  frontiers,  and  requiring  chap. 
a  contingent  appropriation  to  meet  the  expense.  This  • — , — - 
species  of  service  was  not  only  burdensome,  but  particu-  1747, 
larly  irksome  to  the  people,  and  the  house  was  thrown 
into  fermentation  by  the  requisition.  The  message  was 
referred  to  a  committee  which  a  week  afterward  reported 
in  substance,  that  they  were  amazed  that  his  excellency 
should  have  sent  them  such  a  message,  since  he  had  so 
recently  given  them  to  understand  that  he  should  rely 
upon  the  levies  already  at  Albany  for  the  public  defence  ; 
for  the  pay  and  subsistence  of  whom  the  house  was  even 
then  taking  the  necessary  measures.  In  conclusion  the 
committee  avowed  the  belief  that  while  his  excellency  was 
governed  by  such  unsteady  and  ever-varying  counsels, 
and  while  he  continued  to  send  them  messages  conceived 
in  such  doubtful  and  ambiguous  terms  as  had  of  late 
marked  his  communications  to  them,  it  would  be  difficult 
to  make  such  provision  for  the  defence  of  the  frontiers  as 
seemed  necessary.  Nevertheless  it  was  acknowledged  to 
be  their  duty  to  adopt  such  measures  as  the  exigency  of 
the  case  appeared  to  require. 

This  report  had  no  sooner  caught  the  eye  of  the 
governor  while  examining  the  copy  of  the  assembly's 
journal  as  presented  for  his  inspection  by  the  clerk,  than 
he  turned  the  tables  upon  his  opponents,  and  demonstrated 
beyond  doubt  the  factiousness  of  their  cause.  He  first 
reminded  them  of  their  vote  upon  his  message  of  the 
nineteenth  of  October,  refusing  to  pay  the  arrears  of  the 
levies.  They  had  indeed  voted  to  retain  eight  companies 
of  the  levies  at  the  north,  but  not  upon  the  terms  sug- 
gested in  his  message,  viz :  the  continuance  of  full  pay ; 
instead  of  which  they  had  cut  the  officers  and  subalterns 
down  to  less  than  one  half  of  the  compensation  allowed 
upon  the  regular  military  establishment.  Upon  these 
terms  it  was  not  to  be  expected  that  the  levies  would 
remain  in  the  service.  Indeed  men  fit  to  serve  ought  not 
to   remain.     And   he   begged  the   assembly  to  consider 

40 


314  LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap.  what  would  be  the  condition  of  things,  were  the  levies  to 
*— y— '  disband  themselves  and  return  to  their  homes,  unpaid  and 
1747,  without  clothes, — leaving  the  nothern  frontier  entirely 
uncovered.  As  to  the  charge  of  vascillation  in  his  coun- 
cils, the  governor  said  they  must  necessarily  vary  with 
changes  of  circumstances ;  but  in  the  present  instance  it 
was  the  conduct  of  the  assembly  alone  that  had  caused  the 
variation.  Still  duty  required  him  to  do  all  in  his  power 
to  avert  the  mischiefs  arising  from  their  conduct,  and  also 
to  take  care  of  the  people. 

The  assembly  rejoined  in  a  bad  spirit,  reiterating  the 
charge  of  inconsistency  against  thegovernor,  and  accusing 
him  of  pursuing  measures  purposely  intended  to  cause  the 
disaffection  and  desertion  of  the  levies,  that  a  plausible  pre- 
text might  thereby  be  afforded  for  wantonly  harrassing  the 
poor  people  of  the  colony  by  dragging  them  into  the 
military  service.  Under  all  the  circumstances  of  the  case, 
therefore,  they  had  arrived  at  the  conclusion  that  to  retain 
the  levies  would  now  be  impossible,  and  that  as  a  conse- 
quence immediate  provision  must  be  made  for  raising  a 
sufficient  number  of  volunteers  for  the  public  defence. 
The  committee's  report  was  concurred  in  nemine  contra- 
dicente;  and  on  the  fifth  of  November  resolutions  were 
passed  directing  the  employment  of  eight  hundred  volun- 
teers, for  two  hundred  and  seventy  days  service,  and  appro- 
priating the  sum  of  eighteen  thousand  pounds  for  their 
subsistence.  Contemporaneously  with  this  procedure,  the 
house  was  notified  by  the  legislative  council  that  they  had 
passed  its  bill  for  the  supply  of  the  eight  full  companies 
of  levies  already  at  Albany,  as  heretofore  mentioned. 
This  scheme  however,  having  been  virtually  abandoned 
by  the  house,  a  resolution  was  adopted,  declaring  the 
impracticability  of  retaining  those  eight  full  companies  of 
levies  in  the  service,  and  praying  the  governor  to  issue 
warrants  for  raising  thirteen  companies  of  volunteers  of 
sixty  men  each,  with  the  promise  of  commissions  to  those 
who  should  actually  recruit  them,  at  the  reduced  rates  of 


LIFE   OP  SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

compensation  to  which  his  excellency,  in  respect  to  the  chap. 
retention  of  the  levies,  had  objected,  as  being  altogether ^—v— - 
inadequate  to  the  employment  of  respectable  men.  A  1747- 
committee  of  which  Colonel  Schuyler  was  chairman, 
waited  upon  his  excellency  with  this  resolution,  but  he 
declined  answering  it.  Three  days  afterward,  to  wit  on 
the  tenth  of  November,  the  assembly  deputed  another 
committee  to  wait  upon  his  excellency,  and  inform  him 
of  their  apprehensions  that  the  river  navigation  to  Albany 
would  close  before  the  necessary  winter  supplies  for  the 
forces  at  the  north  could  now  be  sent  up,  and  praying  his 
assent  to  the  subsistence  bill,  which,  having  passed  both 
houses,  now  awaited  only  his  signature  to  become  a  law. 
But  his  excellency,  like  Richard,  was  "busy," — preparing 
despatches  as  he  alleged,  for  Boston, — and  would  receive 
no  message  from  the  house  otherwise  than  at  the  hand  of 
their  speaker.  On  the  thirteenth,  the  request  was 
renewed  by  a  formal  address  presented  by  the  house  in  a 
body — the  speaker  of  course  being  at  their  head.  From 
the  reply  of  his  excellency,  it  appeared  that  his  reluctance 
to  sign  the  bill  in  question,  had  arisen  from  an  objectiona- 
ble principle  involved  therein.  He  had  on  two  previous 
occasions  given  his  assent  to  bills  involving  the  same 
principle,  and  had  been  censured  at  home  for  so  doing. 
His  excuse  to  the  crown  had  been  the  pressing  necessity 
of  the  public  service,  and  he  hoped  the  same  excuse 
would  avail  again,  as  he  had  made  up  his  mind  to  sign 
the  bill.  He  took  occasion,  moreover,  to  admonish  the 
house  in  regard  to  the  bill  for  the  pay  of  the  forces  to  be 
raised,  then  pending,  not  to  incorporate  in  its  provisions 
any  thing  that  might  in  anywise  interfere  with  the  preroga- 
tives of  the  crown.  The  bill  thus  specially  referred  to, 
authorized  the  raising  of  the  sum  of  twenty-eight  thou- 
sand pounds,  by  a  direct  tax,  for  the  military  service, 
and  the  like  sum  by  an  issue  of  bills  of  credit,  with  pro- 
visions for  sinking  and  cancelling  the  same.  In  closing 
his  reply,  the  governor  farther  informed  the  house  that 


316  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 


1747. 


°vin!>'  tne  officers  of  the  four  companies  of  fusileers  stationed  at 
Albany  had  notified  him  that  for  the  want  of  supplies 
they  were  on  the  point  of  dissolution. 

On  the  twenty-fifth  of  November  his  excellency  com- 
manded the  attendance  of  the  house  in  the  council 
chamber,  when  he  approved  the  bill  for  victualling  the 
forces  and  also  the  important  revenue  bill  just  spoken  of. 
Two  other  bills  of  minor  importance,  likewise  received 
his  excellency's  signature ;  whereupon,  finding  that  the 
controversy  in  which  he  had  so  long  been  engaged  with 
the  assembly  had  evidently  become  past  healing, — indeed 
that  on  the  contrary  the  breach  was  daily  becoming  wider 
and  yet  wider, — the  general  assembly  was  dissolved.  His 
excellency  commenced  his  speech  announcing  the  disso- 
lution, by  referring  to  the  votes  of  the  house  in  the  case 
of  Parker.  He  maintained  that  their  remonstrance,  of 
which  he  had  forbidden  the  republication  from  the  jour- 
nals in  Parker's  newspaper,  was  a  false,  scandalous,  and 
malicious  libel  upon  him  throughout;  and  he  therefore 
had  a  right,  for  the  protection  of  his  own  character,  to 
inhibit  the  publication  of  a  document  surcharged  with 
falsehood,  as  they  very  well  knew  it  to  be.  As  to  the 
popular  out-cry  which  they  had  attempted  to  raise  about 
the  liberty  of  the  press,  he  said  it  was  a  liberty  very  liable 
to  be  abused,  and  against  which  there  ought  to  be  a 
remedy.  ISTor  could  the  application  of  a  proper  remedy 
be  considered  a  restraint  upon  a  just  degree  of  liberty. 
He  charged  them  with  a  design,  as  was  obvious  from  their 
whole  course,  to  usurp  the  supreme  authority  of  the 
government,  and  in  support  of  the  charge  the  governor 
again  entered  upon  a  summary  review  of  the  conduct  of 
the  assembly,  rehearsing  its  sins  both  of  omission  and 
commission.  Among  the  former,  he  observed  that 
notwithstanding  the  frequency  and  earnestness  of  his 
appeals  to  them  for  the  Indian  service,  and  the  importance 
of  preserving  the  existing  amicable  relations  with  the 
Confederates,  the  assembly  had  not  made  the  slightest  pro- 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  317 

vision  for  that  object.     The  house  had  complained  that  he  chap 
J  r  .  vm. 

had  kept  secret  from  them  the  orders  he  had  received  for  <~^—< 

discharging  the  forces  intended  for  the  Canada  expedition  1747- 
until  the  hour  had  arrived  for  their  execution.  His  reply 
to  this  charge  was  an  ample  justification  of  his  course. 
It  was  necessary  to  keep  those  orders  from  the  knowledge 
of  the  enemy  lest  advantage  should  be  taken  of  them,  and 
the  frontiers  invaded,  before  the  necessary  preperations 
could  be  made  for  their  defence.  He  had,  however,  given 
them  timely  notice  of  what  was  to  happen ;  and  had  the 
suggestions  he  had  made  to  them  been  seasonably  acted 
upon,  the  object  of  security  could  have  been  attained  at 
an  expense  forty  thousand  pounds  less  than  what  would 
now  be  the  cost  to  the  colony.  In  reviewing  his  own 
exertions  for  the  public  defence,  and  his  endeavors  to  pre- 
serve a  force  at  Albany  so  large  as  to  render  drafts  upon 
the  militia  unnecessary,  his  excellency  charged  upon  the 
assembly  the  design  of  usurping  the  command  of  the 
militia,  and  with  having  passed  resolutions  calculated  to 
produce  disobedience  to  orders,  and  which,  in  fact,  had 
produced  such  disobedience.  Their  refusal  to  pay  the 
arrears  of  the  forces  on  the  credit  of  the  king,  showed 
what  little  regard  they  had  either  for  his  majesty's  pleasure, 
or  for  the  interests  of  those  who  had  willingly  exposed 
their  lives  for  the  defence  of  the  country.  It  was  now 
well  known,  that  had  his  advice  been  followed  in  the  first 
instance,  a  sufficient  number  of  the  levies  might  have  been 
retained  at  Albany.  Equally  well  was  it  now  known  that 
the  necessary  force  could  not  now  be  readily  obtained. 
The  consequence  was  that  by  the  advice  of  his  council  he 
should  now  be  obliged  to  apply  to  some  of  the  other  colo- 
nies for  assistance.  Other  points  were  raised  in  the  speech 
which  have  become  familiar  in  the  history  of  this  protract- 
ed controversy.  Even  now,  in  one  of  the  bills  to  which 
he  had  just  placed  his  signature,  they  had  inserted  a  clause 
that  would  very  likely  defeat  its  object.  He  referred  to  a 
section   placing  the  provisions  and   ammunition  for  the 


318  LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

CvmP'  Public  service  under  the  exclusive  control  of  persons  of 
1 — «-— '  their  own  nomination,  without  consulting  the  governor  in 
'  '  the  appointment  of  those  persons, — they,  too,  having  it  in 
their  power  to  control  any  order  which  the  governor 
might  give  !  He  had  been  compelled  by  the  public  danger, 
to  sign  that  bill,  though  contrary  to  the  express  instruc- 
tions of  the  crown.  In  a  word,  they  had  done  all  they 
could  to  traduce  his  character;  to  encourage  disobedi- 
ence ;  to  inflame  the  passions  of  the  people ;  and  to  para- 
lyze his  exertions  for  the  safety  of  the  province.  Near  the 
close  of  the  speech  the  following  passage  occurs,  which 
was  true  beyond  a  doubt  : 

"  Your  continued  grasping  for  power,  with  an  evident 
tendency  to  the  weakening  of  the  dependency  of  the 
province  on  Great  Britain,  accompanied  with  such  notori- 
ous and  public  disrespect  to  the  character  of  your 
governor,  and  contempt  of  the  king's  authority  intrusted 
with  him,  cannot  be  hid  longer  from  your  superiors,  but 
must  come  under  their  observation,  and  is  of  most  dan- 
gerous example  to  your  neighbors." 

Knowing,  therefore,  that  great-numbers  of  the  inhabit- 
ants disapproved  of  their  proceedings,  and  for  the  pur- 
pose of  giving  them  an  opportunity  of  vindicating  their 
loyalty  to  their  prince,  as  well  as  their  love  of  country, 
his  excellency  declared  the  general  assembly  to  be  dis- 
solved. 

This  act  appears  to  have  come  somewhat  suddenly  upon 
the  assembly,  a  committee  having  at  the  time  been 
engaged  in  the  preparation  of  another  address  to  his 
excellency,  similar  in  tone  and  character  to  the  late  remon- 
strance, but  much  larger,  and  more  elaborate.  The  disso- 
lution Y  aving  prevented  the  house  from  giving  an  oflicial 
impress  to  the  document,  it  was  shortly  afterward  publish- 
ed in  the  form  of  "  A  letter  from  some  of  the  represent- 
atives in  the  late  general  assembly  to  his  excellency  the 
governor,  in  answer  to  his  message  of  October  thirteenth, 
and  to  his  dissolution  speech."     This  document  comprised 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  319 

a  very  extended  review  of  the  whole  controversy  between  c"*p. 
the  parties,  dwelling  upon  each  and  every  particular  point  ^-^- > 
with  exceeding  minuteness,  and  evidencing  considerable 
powers  of  reasoning  and  analysis.  There  was  no  abate- 
ment in  the  bitterness  of  its  tone,  either  toward  the 
governor,  or  his  chief  confidential  adviser,  Doctor  Colden. 
But  from  the  historical  sketch  already  given  of  the  con- 
troversy, no  necessity  exists  for  a  synopsis  of  this  formid- 
able paper — sufficient,  of  itself,  to  fill  one  hundred  pages 
of  an  ordinary  octavo.  Smith  attributes  the  authorship 
to  Judge  Horsmanden, — Doctor  Colden  being  also 
charged  with  the  composition  of  his  excellency's  state 
papers.  These  suppositions  were  probably  correct.  In- 
deed Mr.  Horsmanden  had  been  summarily  degraded 
from  his  station  for  his  officiousness  in  this  respect ;  and 
Doctor  Colden  had  entered  several  protests  upon  the 
journals  of  the  legislative  council,  bearing  strong  family 
resemblances  to  the  papers  bearing  the  signature  of  Mr. 
Clinton.  Among  these  was  a  protest  against  a  bill  from 
the  assembly,  which  passed  the  council  on  the  third  of 
November,  instituting  a  committee  to  examine  the  public 
accounts  of  the  colony  from  the  year  1713.  The  doctor 
protested  against  this  bill,  first,  as  being  an  infringement 
upon  the  royal  prerogative.  The  moneys,  he  asserted,  had 
been  raised  for  the  service  of  the  king,  and  his  majesty,  or 
his  representative,  had  therefore  an  undoubted  right  to 
appoint  the  persons  charged  with  the  proposed  exami- 
nation, especially  in  regard  to  their  expenditure,  whereas 
the  governor  had  not  even  been  consulted  as  to  the  per- 
sons constituting  the  commission.  Secondly,  the  commis- 
sioners named  were  merchants.  As  the  revenues  were 
in  a  great  measure  raised  from  duties  and  imposts,  he  held 
that  a  mercantile  commission  was  improper.  The  reve- 
nues from  those  sources  were  not  half  as  much  as  they 
would  be  if  honestly  collected.  These  commissioners,  if 
merchants ,  could  connive  with  their  friends  for  the  conceal- 
ment of  frauds.     Other  exceptions  were  taken  to  the  details 


320  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  of  the  bill ;  but  those  just  mentioned  are  the  most  important. 
>— > — -  The  doctor  also  protested  against  a  bill  from  the  assembly 
1747-  cancelling  certain  bills  of  credit,  together  with  the  special 
revenue  bill  for  the  prosecution  of  the  war,  upon  the  old 
ground  of  collision  with  the  kingly  prerogative.  The  last 
mentioned  bill  it  was  averred  was  specially  objectionable 
because  it  usurped  the  executive  power  for  the  appoint- 
ment of  troops  and  officers,  and  provided  for  the  disburse- 
ment of  money  from  the  treasury  without  the  governor's 
warrant. 

Although  from  a  very  early  date  in  the  history  of  this 
protracted  controversy,  it  became  inexcusably  personal,  yet 
it  is  not  difficult  to  perceive  that  it  was  in  reality  one  of 
principle.  On  the  one  hand,  the  infant  Hercules,  though 
still  in  his  cradle,  was  becoming  impatient  of  restraint. 
The  yoke  of  colonial  servitude  chafed  the  necks,  if  not  of 
the  people,  at  least  of  their  representatives.  The  royal 
governor  was  not  slow  to  perceive  what  kind  of  leaven  was 
fermenting  the  body  politic ;  and  hence  he  became  perhaps 
over-jealous  in  asserting  and  defending  the  prerogatives  of 
his  master.  Doubtless  in  the  progress  of  the  quarrel  there 
were  faults  on  both  sides.  Of  an  irascible  and  overbearing 
temperament,  and  accustomed  in  his  profession  to  com- 
mand rather  than  to  persuade,  he  was  ill  qualified  to  exer- 
cise a  limited  or  concurrent  power  with  a  popular  assembly 
equally  jealous  of  its  own  privileges  and  of  the  liberties  of 
the  people;  watching  with  sleepless  vigilance  for  every 
opportunity  to  circumscribe  the  influence  of  the  crown ; 
and  ready  at  every  moment  to  resist  the  encroachments  of 
arbitrary  power.  Still,  however  patriotic  the  motives, 
under  the  promptings  of  DeLancey,  their  opposition  to 
Mr.  Clinton  became  factious ;  and  it  is  not  difficult  even 
for  a  republican  to  believe  that  he  was  treated  not  only 
with  harshness,  but  with  great  injustice,  especially  in  regard 
to  his  measures,  and  his  personal  exertions  for  the  public 
defence  and  the  prosecution  of  the  war. 
But  the  principles  for  which  Hambden  bled,  and  Sidney 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  321 

died  on  the  scaffold,  were  striking  deeper  root  in  British  chap. 
America  every  day, — an  additional  proof  of  which  fact, v— v— ' 
not  easily  to  he  misunderstood,  was  manifested  about  this 
time  by  a  transaction  at  Boston.  Time  immemorial  the 
crown  had  claimed  the  right  in  periods  of  war,  of  raising 
and  equipping  its  fleets  by  impressing  the  ships  of  mer- 
chants, and  seamen  to  man  them.  In  the  feudal  ages, 
indeed,  the  claim  had  been  asserted  much  farther,  and  the 
right  of  impressment  exerted  in  respect  to  every  descrip- 
tion of  force,  as  the  public  service  required,  including  even 
the  members  of  the  medical  profession. \  But  with  the 
growth  of  a  permanent  national  marine,  the  impressment 
of  merchant  ships  could  only  be  necessary  as  transports, 
and  the  practice  had  been  narrowed  down  to  the  employ- 
ment of  press-gangs  for  the  procurement  of  common 
sailors.  Fortified  by  the  opinions  of  the  law-officers  of 
the  crown,  the  ministers  had  repeatedly  asserted  ,the  right 
of  extending  the  right  of  this  odious  practice  to  the  colo- 
nies. The  claim,  however,  had  been  uniformly  resisted 
by  the  people;,  and  nowhere  more  strenuously  than  in  Vir- 
ginia,— held  at  the  time  to  be  the  most  loyal  .of  ,tb.e  pro- 
vinces. Indeed  it  was  in  Virginia,  that  the  first  act 
of  resistance  to  the  practice  was  made,  and  in  every 
instance  in  which  the  right  was  attempted  to  be  put  in 
exercise,  the  officers  of  the  crown  were  defeated  by  popular 
interposition. 2  No  experiment  of  the  kind,  however,  Jiad 
as  yet  been  made  in  New  England;  and  the  honor  of  the 
first  attempt,    and   of    experiencing  a  .signal  defeat,  was 

1  It  appears  from  Rymer's  Fcedera,  that  king  Henry  V,  in  1417,  authorized 
John  Morstede,  to  press  as  many  surgeons  as  he  thought  necessary  for  the 
French  expedition,  together  with  persons  to  make  their  instruments.  It  is 
also  true,  and  appears  in  the  same  book  of  records,  that  with  the  army  which 
won  the  day  at  Agincourt,  there  had  landed  only  one  surgeon,  the  same  John 
Morstede,  who  indeed  did  engage  to  send  fifteen  more  for  the  arm y,  three  of 
which,  however,  were  to  act  as  archers  !  With  such  a  professional  scarcity, 
what  must  have  been  the  state  of  the  wounded  on  the  day  of  battle? — 
Andrews's  Great  Britain. 

2  Grahame, — who  says  that  Franklin  was  the  first  writer  by  whom  its.  inde- 
fensible injustice  was  demonstrated. 

41 


322  LIFE   OF  SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  reserved  for  Commodore  Knowles,  then  governor  of  Cape 
vm.  , 

w^  Breton,  and  the  successor  of  Sir  Peter  Warren  in  the  naval 

1747>  command  of  the  American  station.  Visiting  the  waters  of 
Massachusetts  with  his  squadron,  and  lying  at  Nantasket 
about  the  middle  of  November,  the  commodore  lost  a  num- 
ber of  his  sailors  by  desertion,  the  places  of  whom  he 
determined  to  supply  by  a  vigorous  act  of  impressment  in 
Boston.  Detaching  a  number  of  boats  to  the  town  at  an 
early  hour  in  the  morning,  a  sweep  was  made  of  all  the 
seamen  found  on  board  the  vessels  lying  at  the  wharves, 
and  also  of  a  number  of  ship  carpenters,  with  their  appren- 
tices, together  with  several  landsmen.  The  act  was  execut- 
ed with  such  suddenness  that  the  men  were  far  down  the 
bay  on  their  way  to  the  fleet,  when  the  transaction  had 
become  generally  known  to  the  people.  But  when  known, 
such  a  popular  fermentation  ensued  as  had  never  before 
taken  place  in  Boston.  All  classes  of  the  people  were 
greatly  excited ;  but  the  rage  of  the  lower  classes  knew  no 
bounds.  Siezing  whatever  arms  they  could  find,  spears, 
clubs,  pitchforks  and  guns,  the  mob  rushed  together,  deter- 
mined upon  vengeance,  or  a  rescue,  or  both.  A  lieutenant 
of  the  fleet  falling  first  within  their  power,  was  siezed,  and 
would  have  been  treated  with  violence  but  for  the  inter- 
position of  the  speaker  of  the  provincial  legislature,  then 
in  session,  who  assured  the  multitude  that  this  officer  had 
not  been  concerned  in  the  transaction.  The  next  move- 
ment of  the  mob  was  directed  against  the  house  of  the 
governor,  Shirley,  who  was  at  the  very  time  entertaining 
several  captains  of  the  fleet.  Of  these  officers  the  rioters 
resolved  to  demand  satisfaction,  and  the  house  was  speedily 
surrounded  by  the  infuriated  legion.  The  officers  within 
doors  being  supplied  with  fire-arms,  determined  to  defend 
themselves,  and  there  would  doubtless  have  been  a  serious 
effusion  of  blood,  had  not  a  number  of  the  more  consider- 
ate citizens  insinuated  themselves  among  the  rioters,  and 
dissuaded  them  from  the  commission  of  actual  violence. 
Among  the  peace-officers  on   duty  was  a  deputy  sheriff, 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  323 

who  was  irreverently  siezed  and  borne  off  to  the  stocks,  chap. 
with  the  practical  use  of  which  invention  he  was  made  ^-v— ' 
acquainted,  both  his  legs  being  made  fast  therein.  There 174L 
was  a  dash  of  the  ludicrous  in  this  exploit,  of  the  "  sove- 
reigns," creating  merriment,  and  serving  for  a  while  to 
moderate,  though  it  did  not  appease  their  anger.  The 
deepening  of  the  twilight  into  night,  however,  was  a  signal 
for  renewed  outrages,  and  the  deliberations  of  the  legisla- 
ture, or  general  court,  as  it  was  called,  were  disturbed  by 
the  breaking  of  their  windows,  and  other  riotous  proceed- 
ings. The  governor,  with  several  distinguished  gentlemen 
and  counsellors,  ascended  to  the  balcony,  whence  they 
addressed  the  people  in  the  most  soothing  and  considerate 
manner, — rebuking  their  turbulence,  it  is  true,  but  at  the 
same  time  expressing  strong  disapprobation  of  the  outrage 
of  which  they  complained,  and  promising  their  utmost 
exertions  to  obtain  the  discharge  of  every  man  who  had 
been  kidnapped  and  carried  away.  But  the  tempest  was 
not  to  be  thus  easily  hushed,  and  the  arrest  and  detention 
of  every  officer  of  the  squadron  in  town,  was  demanded  as 
the  only  measure  that  would  answer  the  purpose.  Such 
being  the  temper  of  the  populace,  it  was  judged  advisable 
that  the  governor  should  withdraw  from  the  scene  of 
tumult  to  his  own  house, — to  which  he  was  accompanied 
by  several  officers,  civil  and  military,  and  also  by  a  small 
party  of  personal  friends.  Meantime  it  was  bruited  that  a 
barge  had  come  up  to  the  town  from  the  fleet,  whereupon 
the  rioters  rushed  headlong  to  the  wharf  to  sieze  it.  The 
report  was  not  true,  for  no  such  barge  had  arrived.  Yet 
the  populace  thought  otherwise,  and  a  huge  boat,  lying  at 
the  dock,  belonging  to  a  Scotch  merchantman,  was  taken 
by  mistake,  and  drawn  through  the  street,  as  though  no 
heavier  than  a  birchen  canoe.  It  was  at  first  resolved  to 
kindle  a  bonfire  with  this  unlucky  craft  in  front  of  the 
governor's  house ;  but  a  suggestion  that  lighting  a  fire  there 
would  jeopard  the  town,  the  mob  drew  away,  and  indulged 
their  heated  design  in  a  place  of  greater  security.     Thus 


324  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  ended  the  proceedings  of  the  first  day.  On  the  next,  the 
>— ^  governor  Ordered  the  militia  under  arms  for  the  preservation 
1747.  0f  the  peace ;  but  the  drummers  were  interrupted  in  heat- 
ing to  arms,  and  the  militia,  with  a  surprising  degree  of 
unanimity,  refused  to  parade.  Several  of  the  British  offi- 
cers on  shore  had  been  siezed  by  the  populace,  by  whom 
they  were  retained  as  hostages.  Of  this  number  was  Cap- 
tain Erskine,  of  the  Canterbury.  He  was  taken  in  Roxbiiry, 
but  was  speedily  liberated  on  giving  his  parole  not  to  go  on 
board  until  the  difficulty  should  be  adjusted.  Such  being  the 
temper  of  the  people, — the  entire  militia  refusing  obedience 
to  their  ofiicers, — -it  was  thought  expedient,  as  well  for  the 
personal  security,  as  for  the  power,  of  the  governor,  whose 
authority  was  thus  virtually  suspended,  that  he  should 
retire  to  the  castle — Fort  William.  From  this  place  Mr. 
Shirley  wrote  to  Commodore  Knowles,  informing  him  of 
the  high  exasperation  into  which  the  people  had  been 
thrown  by  his  proceedings,  and  urging  an  immediate 
release  of  the  persons  impressed,  as  the  only  means  of 
restoring  the  public  tranquility.  But  the  commodore 
declined  even  to  entertain  the  proposition  Until  those  of 
his  ofiicers  who  had  been  caught  on  shore  should  be  liberat- 
ed. The  first  suggestion  of  Knowles  was  to  land  a  body 
of  marines  to  aid  the  governor  in  quelling  the  disturbances ; 
but  Shirley  was  too  wise  a  man,  and  understood  too  well 
the  character  of  the  New  England  people  to  second  such  a 
proposition.  The  commodore  thereupon  became  enraged, 
and  threatened  to  burn  the  town, — directing  at  the  same 
time  certain  movements  of  his  ships  which  for  a  few  hours 
caused  much  uneasiness.  During  the  eighteenth  and  nine- 
teenth days  of  the  month  the  town  was  under  the  entire 
control  of  the  mob, — the  general  court  feeling  reluctant  to 
interpose,  even  for  the  preservation  of  order,  lest  their 
action  should  be  construed  as  favoring  the  conduct  of 
Knowles.  The  provocation  had  been  great ;  and  although 
the  prevailing  spirit  of  insubordination  was  indefensiblej 
yet  it  was  regarded  by  every  American  with  greatly  miti- 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  325 

gated  displeasure.  Still,  the  danger  of  allowing  the  town  chap. 
longer  to  remain  under  the  sway  of  an  infuriated  populace,  ^-v— ' 
and  the  impropriety  of  leaving  the  governor,  whose  con-  1747, 
duct  had  not  only  been  wise  and  patriotic,  but  blameless, 
thus  unsupported,  was  perceived  before  the  close  of  the 
day  last  mentioned,  and  a  series  of  resolutions  was  adopted 
by  the  house  of  representatives,  strongly  condemning  the 
tumultuous  proceedings  of  the  people ;  pledging  themselves, 
their  lives  and  estates,  to  sustain  the  executive  authority ; 
but  at  the  same  time  declaring  that  they  should  put  forth 
their  utmost  exertions  to  redress  the  grievances  which  had 
provoked  the  riots.  Simultaneously  with  this  procedure 
the  council  passed  an  order  for  restoring  Captain  Erskine 
and  the  other  officers  in  actual  custody,  to  their  liberty, 
and  declaring  them  to  be  under  the  protection  of  the  gov- 
ernment,—^which  order  was  concurred  in  by  the  house  of 
representatives.  These  measures  had  the  effect  of  allaying 
the  excitement,  and  the  rioters  soon  began  to  disperse.  A 
town  meeting  was  holden  in  the  afternoon  ;  and  although 
it  was  urged  by  the  less  discreet  portion  of  the  assemblage 
that  a  suppression  of  the  tumults  would  have  the  effect  of 
encouraging  his 'majesty's  naval  commanders  in  the  com- 
mission of  similar  outrages  in  future,  yet  the  counsels  of 
the  more  prudent  prevailed,  and  the  town,  by  solemn  vote, 
condemned  alike  the  riotous  proceedings  of  the  people, 
and  the  injury  and  insult  by  which  those  proceedings  had 
been  provoked.  Not  anticipating  so  favorable  a  turn  of 
affairs,  so  soon,  the  governor  had  made  preparations  for 
calling  to  his  assistance  the  provincial  troops  of  the  circum- 
jacent towns,  horse  and  foot ;  but  on  the  following  morning 
the  militia  of  Boston  paraded  spontaneously,  and  many 
citizens  were  in  arms  who  had  seldom  been  seen  in  arms 
before.  In  the  course  of  the  day  the  governor  was  escorted 
from  the  castle  back  to  his  house  with  great  parade,  and 
law  and  order  resumed  their  wonted  sway.  Commodore 
Knowles  dismissed  all,  or  nearly  all,  the  subjects  of  the 
impress,  and  sailed  for  Louisburg,  to  the  great  and  irre- 


326  LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap-  pressible  joy  of  the  people.1    But  his  sovereign  had  little 
v-v— <  cause  to  thank  him  for  an  act  which  awoke  a  spirit  that 
1747#  slumbered  not  until  the  richest  jewel  was  torn  from  his 
diadem. 

There  remains  little  more  to  be  written  of  the  border 
troubles  of  New  York  during  the  year  1747.  Small  parties 
of  the  enemy  continued  to  hover  about  the  new  settlements 
until  the  depth  of  winter,  and  several  additional  murders 
were  committed.  One  of  their  autumnal  forays  was  me- 
lancholy and  bloody.  A  party  of  woodmen,  engaged  in 
cutting  timber,  about  four  miles  west  of  Schenectady,  was 
fallen  upon,  and  thirty-nine  of  their  number  killed.  Along 
the  confines  of  Massachusetts  and  New  Hampshire  these 
murders  or  assassinations  were  yet  more  frequent  during 
the  autumn  than  in  New  York.  Skirmishes  between  the 
enemy  and  the  borderers,  wrere  common,  and  in  one  of 
these  a  French  officer  of  some  consideration,  named  Pierre 
Ramboert,  was  wounded  and  taken.1 

Late  in  November,  Governor  Clinton  pressed  the  com- 
mand of  the  northern  frontier  upon  Colonel  Johnson. 
The  people  were  strongly  in  favor  of  that  appointment 2  and 
it  was  ultimately  accepted.  But  aside  from  this  command, 
the  colonel  had  full  employment  upon  his  hands  for  the 
winter,  independently  of  his  Indian  charge.  The  militia 
of  Albany  county,  then  embracing  all  the  northern  and 
western  settlements  beyond  Ulster  and  Dutchess,  had  fallen 
into  a  state  of  sad  demoralization ;  and  to  Colonel  John- 
son Mr.  Clinton  entrusted  the  duty  of  effecting  a  complete 
reorganization.  All  confidence  was  reposed  in  him ; 
and  in  the  removal  of  incompetent  officers,  and  the  appoint- 
ment of  new  ones,  his  word  was  law.  "  Send  down  a  list 
immediately,  of  those  you  think  proper,  and  look  upon  it 
as  done."  * 

1  Hutchinson.     Grahame. 

2  Hoyt's  Antiquities.  -^ 
8  Manuscript  letter  of  Jacob  Glen. 

4  Manuscript  letter ;  Major  Rutherford,  of  the  executive  council,  to  Colonel 
Johnson. 


CHAPTER   IX. 
1748. 
Colonel  Johnson  had  now  become,  through  his  own  tact 

0  .  CHAP- 

and  the  influence  of  Governor  Clinton,  a  prominent  man  ix. 
in  the  affairs  of  the  colony.  In  February,  he  accepted  the  ^^ 
command  of  the  New  York  colonial  troops  for  the  defence 
of  the  frontiers — a  circumstance  which  affords  another 
proof  of  the  high  favor  in  which  he  was  held  by  the  gov- 
ernor. Though  still  continuing  the  traffic  in  furs,  and  by 
no  means  neglecting  his  mercantile  pursuits,  he  devoted 
himself  more  assiduously,  not  only  to  political  matters,  but 
also  to  the  management  of  the  Indian  department  over 
which  he  had  for  the  last  two  years  had  the  control. 
Becoming  favorably  known  both  to  the  colony  and  the 
British  government,  he  now  assumed,  as  better  suited  to 
his  improved  standing,  more  dignity  in  his  appointments, 
his  manner  of  living,  and  his  intercourse  with  the  Indians. 
It  was  about  this  period,  although  I  have  not  been  able 
to  learn  the  exact  date,  that  Colonel  Johnson  employed  as 
his  housekeeper,  Mary  Brant,  or  Miss  Molly,  as  she  was 
called,  a  sister  of  the  celebrated  Indian  chief  Thayendane- 
gea,  with  whom  he  lived  until  his  decease,  and  by  whom  he 
had  several  children.1     This  circumstance  is  thus  mentioned 

1  That  Molly  Brant  was  not  the  wife  of  the  Baronet,  is  fully  proved  by  his 
last  will,  (published  in  appendix  to  vol.  ii.)  in  which,  after  desiring  to  have 
the  "remains  of  his  beloved  wife  Catherine,"  interred  beside  him,  he  speaks 
of  the  "children  of  my  present  housekeeper,  Mary  Brant,"  as  his  "natural 
children."  It  is,  however,  but  justice  to  Molly  Brant,  to  state  that  she 
always  regarded  herself  as  married  to  the  Baronet  after  the  Indian  fashion. 

The  traditions  of  the  Mohawk  valley  state  that  the  acquaintance  of 
Colonel  Johns  on  with  Molly,  had  a  rather  wild  and  romantic  commencement. 
The  story  was,  that  she  was  a  very  sprightly  and  a  very  beautiful  Indian 
girl  of  about  sixteen,  when  he  first  saw  her.     It  was  at  a  regimental  militia 


328  LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

c^p. by  Mrs.  Grant  in  her  entertaining  book.  "Becoming  a 
n—v — '  widower  in  the  prime  of  life,  he  connected  himself  with  an 
1748.  inciiail  maiden,  daughter  to  a  sachem,  who  possessed  an  un- 
commonly agreeable  person  and  good  understanding ;  and 
whether  ever  formally  married  to  him  according  to  our  usage 
or  not,  continued  to  live  with  him  in  great  union  and  affec- 
tion all  his  life."  Colonel  Johnson  himself  repeatedly 
speaks  of  this  Indian  lady  in  his  private  journal.  During 
his  expedition  to  Detroit  entries  occur  in  which  he  speaks 
of  having  received  news  from  home,  and  of  having  written 
to  Molly.  He  always  mentioned  her  kindly.  Thus  under 
date  of  Wednesday,  October  2,1st,  1759,  he  Writes  : 

"  Met  Sir  Robert  Davis  and  Captain  Etherington,  who 
gave  me  a  packet  of  letters  from  General  Amherst.  Cap- 
tain Etherington  told  me  Molly  was  delivered  of  a  girl  and 
all  were  well  at  my  house,  where  they  stayed  ten  days." 

Molly,  as  has  already  been  stated,  was  the  sister  of 
Thayendanegea,  and  both,  according  to  the  account  in  the 
London  Magazine  of  1776,  the  earliest  printed  testimony 
upon  the  subject,  were  the  grand-children  of  one  of  the 
Mohawk  chiefs,  who  visited  England  half  a  century  before. 
That  her  father  was  a  chief,  several  authorities  have  like- 
wise been  cited  to  show;  to  which  may  be  added  Allen's 
Biographical  Dictionary,  where  the  fact  is  positively  as- 
serted. l 

By  thus  forming  an  alliance  with  the  family  of  an  influ- 

muster,  where  Molly  was  one  pf  a  multitude  of  spectators.  One  of  the  field 
ofiieers  coming  near  her  upon  a  prancing  steed,  by  way  of  banter  she  asked 
permission  to  mount  behind  him.  Not  supposing  she  could  perform  the 
exploit,  he  said  she  might.  At.  the  word  she  leaped  upon  the  crupper  with 
the  agility  of  a  gazelle.  The  horse  sprang  off  at  full  speed,  and,  clinging 
to  the  officer,  her  blanket  flying,  and  her  dark  tresses  streaming  in  the  wind, 
she  flew  about  the  parade  ground  swift  as  an  arrow,  to  the  infinite  merriment 
of  the  collected  multitude.  The  colonel,  who  was  a  witness  of  the  spectacle, 
admiring  the  spirit  of  the  young  squaw,  and  becoming  enamored  of  her  per- 
son, brought  her  to  his  house. 

1  President  Allen  was  connected  by  marriage  with  the  family  of  the  late 
President  Wheelock,  and  has  had  excellent  opportunities  for  arriving  at  the 
probable  truth. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  329 

ential  and  powerful  chieftain,  Colonel  Johnson  evidently  ch^p 
aimed  at  a  more  extended  influence  over  the  Indians.     Nor  >— v— ' 
did  the  result  disappoint  him ;  for  in  this  alliance  and  in  1748- 
his  custom  of  mingling  among  them  in  his  familiar  way, 
is  doubtless  to  be  found  the  secret  of  his  extraordinary 
ascendency  over  the  fickle  red  men  of  the  forest. 

Meantime  a  new  assembly  had  been  chosen,  which  the 
governor  met  upon  the  twelfth  of  February.  The  election, 
however,  had  made  but  few  changes  in  the  composition  of 
that  body ;  all  the  former  leaders  being  returned,  and  Mr. 
Jones  consequently  again  presented  for  his  excellency's 
approbation  as  speaker.  The  opening  speech  of  the 
governor  was  conciliatory.  He  announced  that  the  conven- 
tion agreed  upon  between  the  commissioners  of  New  York, 
Massachusetts  and  Connecticut,  had  been  ratified  by  the 
first  and  last  mentioned  of  those  colonies,  and  by  the  legis- 
lature of  Massachusetts,  with  the  exception  of  a  single 
article,  which  his  excellency  did  not  conceive  to  be  very 
material.  The  place  of  the  cordon  of  rangers  provided 
for  by  that  article,  the  governor  thought,  could  be  supplied 
by  strong  parties  of  Indians.  Notwithstanding  the  abortive 
effects  of  the  two  preceding  years  to  achieve  the  invasion 
of  Canada,  and  the  strangely  vascillating  conduct  of  the 
ministry  upon  this  important  subject,  measures  to  that  end 
were  again  proposed,  and  the  necessary  means  suggested, 
with  as  much  confidence  as  though  there  had  been  no  dis- 
appointment. The  disbanding  of  the  forces  at  Albany  had 
necessarily  discouraged  the  Indians,  who  had  regarded  the 
measure  as  a  want  either  of  courage  or  strength,  and  the 
French  had  not  been  slow  to  avail  themselves  of  the  oppor- 
tunity again  to  sow  the  seeds  of  disaffection  among  them — 
particularly  the  Senecas  and  Onondagas.  Measures  were 
therefore  advised  for  regaining  the  hearty  cooperation  of 
their  people.  The  death  of  Mr.  Bleecker,  long  the  govern- 
ment interpreter  in  its  intercourse  with  the  Indians,  and  the 
appointment  of  Arent  Stevens  in  his  place  was  announced. 
The  government  was  indebted   to   Colonel  Johnson  for 

42 


330  LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  various  advances  of  money,  and  he  had  given  notice  that 
*-v— '  such  was  the  increased  cost  of  provisioning  the  garrison  of 
1748.  Oswego,  that  he  could  no  longer  perform  that  service  with- 
out an  advance  upon  the  terms  of  his  contract  of  two  hun- 
dred pounds  per  annum.     The  fortifications  of  Albany  need- 
ed repairs,  and  several  of  the  forts  were  short  of  ammunition. 
The  attention  of  the  assembly  was  also  called  to  the  fact 
that  no  provision  had  been  made  at  the  last  session  for 
paying  the  salaries  of  the   officers   of  the   government. 
Other  suggestions  connected  with  the  public  service  were 
made  in  the  speech,  one  of  which  was  the  employment  of 
a  smith  for  the  benefit  of  the  Indians  at  Oswego.     Finally 
he  recommended  that  they  should  make  immediate  pro- 
vision for  rewarding  those  Indians  who  had  acted  as  scouts 
for  transporting  the  new  levies  to  Albany,  victualing  them 
in  the  Mohawk's  country,  removing  cannon  from  Saratoga 
to  Albany,  and  also  for  the  salary  of  a  commanding  officer 
to  the  troops  raised  by  the  province. 

It  would  appear  that  the  dissolution  of  the  assembly  had, 
for  a  time,  at  least,  produced  a  better  state  of  feeling  in 
the  new  assembly  than  in  the  previous  one.  The  answer 
of  the  council  was  moved  by  Chief  Justice  DeLancey  ;  that 
of  the  assembly  was  reported  by  Mr.  Clarkson ;  and  both 
were  conceived  in  a  better  spirit,  and  couched  in  much 
more  respectful  language  than  had  been  usual  for  some 
time  past.  In  the  address  of.  the  house  to  the  governor 
upon  the  eighteenth,  the  assembly  assured  his  excellency 
of  their  readiness  to  enter  immediately  upon  the  consider- 
ation of  the  different  matters  which  he  had  submitted  to 
them,  and  to  make  provision  for  such  supplies  as  were 
essential  to  the  well  being  and  security  of  the  colony.  Two 
days  afterward,  however,  as  if  they  feared  that  they  had 
conceded  too  much,  and  wished  therefore  to  counteract  it 
by  thwarting  the  favorite  scheme  of  the  governor,  the 
committee  of  the  whole  on  his  speech,  reported  it  as  their 
opinion,  that  to  follow  out  the  plan  proposed  by  Massachu- 
setts, would  be  contrary  to  the  purposes  of  the  agreement, 


LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  331 

and  therefore  that  the  house  ought  not  to  accede  to  the  chap. 
alteration.  <  s_^_/ 

The  temper  of  the  assembly,  however,  as  before  remarked,  1748- 
was  much  more  tractable  ;  and  at  this  sitting,  several 
resolutions  were  passed  in  favor  of  repairing  the  dif- 
ferent fortifications  along  the  frontiers,  stationing  a  larger 
garrison  at  Oswego,  defraying  the  expenses  of  the  gun- 
smiths stationed  among  the  Indians,  paying  the  rangers 
employed  as  scouts,  building  block  houses,  and  other  plans 
of  a  like  character.  Two  hundred  pounds  were  also  voted 
to  Colonel  Johnson,  for  the  extraordinary  charges  to  which 
he  had  been  subjected  in  supplying  the  garrison  of  Oswego 
with  provisions,  and  an  appropriation  made  for  the  payment 
of  the  salaries  of  the  officers  of  the  government,  but  to 
which  was  attached  "  a  reward  of  one  hundred  and  fifty 
pounds  to  Mr.  Horsmanden,  for  his  late  controversial  labors, 
under  the  pretext  of  drafting  their  bills,  and  other  public 
service."1 

The  most  important  act  of  the  session,  however,  was  an 
appropriation  of  two  hundred  pounds  per  annum  for  the 
compensation  of  an  agent,  to  reside  in  the  parent  capital, 
to  solicit  in  the  concerns  of  the  colony.  The  appointment 
of  such  an  agent  had  been  previously  recommended ;  and 
though  successful  at  last  by  a  unanimous  vote,  it  might  not 
have  been,  but  from  the  design  of  the  house  to  employ  an 
agent  who  should  be  under  its  own  direction,  and  whose 
office,  at  least  in  part,  should  be  to  thwart  the  views  of  the 
governor  at  home.  The  enactment  was  so  shaped  as  cau- 
tiously to  deprive  the  governor  even  of  a  concurrent  power 
in  making  the  appointment ;  and  indeed  the  agent,  Robert 
Charles,  was  named  and  his  first  instructions  actually 
given,  a  few  hours  before  the  house  was  summoned  into 
the  presence  of  the  governor  to  witness,  previous  to  the 
adjournment,  his  assent  to  the  bills  that  had  been  passed. 
These  instructions  are  in  part  inscribed  upon  the  journals 
of  the  assembly ;  while  another  portion  may  be  found  in 

1  Journals  of  the  colonial  assembly,  Smith  Hist.  New  York. 


332  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  the  appendix  to  the  second  volume  of  Smith,  being  a  letter 

v-^w  to  Charles  from  the  speaker,  Jones.     They  will  be  found 

!748.  to  sustain  the  opinion  already  advanced,  viz :  that  the  agent 

was  to  be  the   instrument   of   the  assembly  against  the 

governor. 

This  course  of  action  has  been  attributed  to  a  desire  on 
the  part  of  the  DeLancey  family  to  supplant  Mr.  Clinton 
with  the  view  of  bringing  Sir  Peter  Warren  into  the  execu- 
tive chair ;  and  color  is  given  to  the  suggestion  by  the  fact 
that  Mr.  Charles  was  enjoined  "  in  the  execution  of  his 
instructions,  always  to  take  the  advice  of  Sir  Peter  Warren 
if  in  England." }  DeLancey,  the  chief  justice,  was  like- 
wise ambitious ;  and  it  is  not  unlikely  that  he  might  have 
cherished  such  a  design  in  favor  of  his  brother-in-law*? 
but  I  have  found  no  evidence  that  Sir  Peter  Warren  him- 
self was  a  party  to  any  such  intrigue.  Why  should  he 
have  been  ?  The  measure  of  his  naval  glory  was  full.  He 
was  now  a  member  of  the  imperial  parliament,  in  the 
enjoyment  of  a  princely  estate,  and  withal  in  a  bad  state 
of  health*  The  governorship  of  the  colony  of  New  York, 
therefore,  could  have  been  no  object  with  him,  even  should 
he  be  able  to  compete  with  success  against  the  Newcastle 
interest  by  which  Mr.  Clinton  was  sustained. 

Meanwhile  the  Indians  of  the  Six  Nations,  true  to  their 
wavering  character,  upon  hearing  that  the  expedition 
against  Canada  had  been  given  up,  had  become  exceedingly 
discontented.  Added  to  this,  an  express  arrived  at  New 
York  on  the  seventeenth  of  Pebrurary,  bearing  advices  to 
the  governor  from  Colonel  Johnson  of  an  alarming  nature. 
Intelligence  had  been  recently  brought  in  by  scouts,  so 
Johnson  wrote,  that  an  expedition  was  fitting  out  in  Cana- 
da against  the  settlements,  but  whether  the  blow  was  to 
fall  upon  Albany,  Schenectady,  or  the  Mohawks,  could  not 
be  ascertained.  Advices  were  also  received  on  the  twenty- 
second,  from  Lieutenant  Lindesay,  the  commanding  officer 

1  Letter  of  Speaker  Jones  to  Mr.  Charles,  April  9th,  1748. 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  333 

at  Oswego,  stating  that  his  scouts  reported  that  a  French  chap. 
army  was  marching  to  attack  that  post.  The  whole  *_ v_, 
country,  but  especially  the  border,  was  kept  in  a  state  1748- 
of  great  terror  for  several  days.  Nor  was  the  panic  con- 
fined to  the  sparsely  peopled  settlements.  It  extended 
to  Albany,  and  so  great  was  the  fear  of  the  inhabit- 
ants, that  Colonel  Schuyler  ordered  into  the  city  for 
its  defence,  several  companies  of  the  militia,  who  were 
quartered  in  the  neighboring  districts.1  While  affairs  were 
in  this  harrassing  state,  Colonel  Johnson  wrote  to  Governor 
Clinton  that  the  governor  of  Canada,  through  the  instru- 
mentality of  the  Jesuit  missionaries,  was  pressing  upon  the 
Six  Nations  warm  invitations  to  visit  him  in  Montreal,  and 
by  every  means  in  his  power  was  endeavoring  to  seduce 
those  Indians  from  their  alliance  with  the  English.  Nor 
had  these  artifices  been  entirely  without  effect,  for  the 
Indians,  especially  the  Onondagas,  were  already  wavering, 
and  were  even  now  manifesting  alarming  symptoms  of 
defection. 

In  this  exigency,  the  governor,  at  the  suggestion  of  Shir- 
ley, immediately  wrote  to  Colonel  Johnson,  directing  him 
to  proceed  forthwith  into  the  Indian  country  attended  by  a 
strong  guard.  The  note  of  preparation  for  this  visit  is 
given  in  the  following  letter : 

Colonel  Johnson  to  Captain  Catherwood — (Extract.) 

"Albany,  April  9,  1748. 
u  *****  j  am  g0  jnuc^  hurried  with  settlinsr 
my  affairs  before  I  go,  that  I  declare  I  have  not  time  to 
write  a  line.  I  intend  to  set  off"  next  Thursday  from  my 
house,  with  a  guard  of  fifty  men,  Captain  Thomas  Butler, 
and  Lieutenant  Laurie,  officers.  We  shall  have  a  fatiguing 
journey  of  it,  and  I  reckon  pretty  dangerous;  fori  am 
informed  by  Hendrik's  son,  that  the  French  at  Cadaracqui, 
having  heard  of  my  intention  by  Jean  Cceur,  were  quite 
uneasy  at  the  news,  and  said  they  would  prevent  it — an 

2  Manuscript  letter  Colonel  Schuyler  to  Governor  Clinton. 


334  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  attempt  wliicli  I  think  very  likely,  as  it  would  be  of  great 
wy—/  consequence  to  them.  The  worst  of  it  is,  we  must  march 
1748.  for  above  one  hundred  miles  on  foot  to  go  through  all  their 
castles  by  the  way,  in  order  to  talk  to  some  of  the  most 
obstinate  of  them  privately  before  the  meeting,  which  is 
the  only  way  I  could  ever  find  to  gain  a  point  with  this 
sort  of  people.  I  reckon  I  shall  have  a  great  deal  of  trouble 
to  overset  all  that  the  French  have  been  doing  since  last 
fall.  However,  I  shall  leave  no  stone  unturned  to  accom- 
plish what  I  go  at,  either  by  fair  or  foul  means,  for  if  they 
are  obstinate, — I  mean  the  Onondagas, — I  shall  certainly 
talk  very  harsh  to  them,  and  try  what  that  will  do.  I  hope 
to  return  in  about  three  weeks,  (if  nothing  extraordinary 
happens,)  when  I  trust  I  shall  be  able  to  give  his  excellency 
an  agreeable  account  of  my  progress.  I  also  hope  his 
excellency  will  not  omit  writing  to  me  if  anything  of  con- 
sequence occurs.  It  will  be  the  time  to  hear  good  news 
when  among  them  all, — especially  of  an  expedition  going 
on,  which  would  cheer  up  all  their  drooping  spirits.  If 
the  governor  and  Governor  Shirley  intend  to  come  soon,  it 
would  be  very  proper  to  give  me  timely  notice,  in  order  to 
prepare  the  Indians  for  a  meeting.  I  hope  the  assembly 
will  not  be  so  unconscionable  as  to  expect  I  should  take  the 
command  of  these  companies  without  a  salary.  But  I  leave 
that,  and  the  affair  of  the  regiment  entirely  to  his  excel- 
lency and  you,  to  do  as  you  think  proper  against  I  come 
back.  As  to  the  latter,  I  assure  you  it  is  in  a  bad  way,  as 
also  is  the  watch  of  Albany." 

The  orders  given  to  Colonel  Johnson  were,  to  erect 
forts  for  the  protection  of  the  Indian  women  and  children ; 
and  by  the  judicious  distribution  of  presents,  to  arrest 
this  defection,  and  thus  counteract  the  insidious  influ- 
ence of  the  Jesuit  priests.  The  governor  farther  direct- 
ed him  "  to  keep  the  Indians  with  some  Christians  contin- 
ually engaged  in  skirmishing  and  in  hostile  acts  against 
the   enemy;"    hoping  that  in  this  manner  the   Indians 


LIFE    OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  335 

might  be  led  to  forget  their  dissappointment.1    But  these  chap. 
were  not  the  only  objects  aimed  at  in  this  journey.     Oolo-v-^— j 
nel  Johnson  was  moreover  particularly  instructed  to  ascer- 1'48- 
tain  the  temper  of  the  Six  Nations  towards  the  English; 
and  if  possible  persuade  their  sachems  to  attend  a  grand 
council  to  be  held  shortly  at  Albany  at  a  time  not  as  yet 
designated. 

Upon  the  reception  of  these  orders,  a  council  of  all  the 
chiefs  and  warriors  of  the  Six  Nations  was  summoned  by 
Colonel  Johnson  to  meet  him  around  the  central  council 
fire  at  Onondaga ;  and  it  appears  to  have  been  pretty  well 
attended.  Whatever  of  doubt  or  distrust,  moreover,  the 
colonel  might  have  previously  entertained  as  to  his  proba- 
ble reception,  he  certainly  had  no  cause  of  complaint 
upon  that  head.  Being  the  bearer  of  presents  to  a  consi- 
derable amount,  in  goods  and  provisions,  which  were  neces- 
sarily transported  by  bateaux,  his  advance  was  slow.  In- 
deed the  assemblage  at  Onondaga,  had  been  well  nigh 
dissolved  the  day  before  his  arrival,  from  sheer  hunger. 
But  the  colonel  was  well  received  at  all  the  castles  on  the 
route,  and  his  arrival  at  Onondaga,  on  the  twenty-fourth 
of  April,  was  greeted  by  the  display  of  English  colors  and 
a  salute  of  fire-arms,  which  was  returned  by  his  guards. 
He  was  attended  by  the  principal  chiefs  to  a  large  house 
prepared  for  his  reception,  spread  with  new  mats,  and 
three  others  of  their  bark  houses,  were  appropriated  to 
his  attendants.  In  about  an  hour  afterwards  all  the 
sachems  of  the  Confederacy  waited  upon  the  colonel  in  a 
body,  and  welcomed  him  in  a  general  speech,  delivered 
by  an  Onondaga  sachem  named  Gan-ugh-sa-dea-gah, — 
"  thanking  the  Great  Spirit  that  he  had  been  spared  to 
come  among  them  at  this  bloody  time."  They  apologized 
for  the  "miserable  poor  condition"  in  which  he  had  found 
them,  owing  to  the  fact  that  by  the  directions  of  the 
English  they  had  now  been  kept  two  years  from  their 
hunting,  in  the  expectation  of  being  employed   upon  the 

1  Manuscript  letter  from  Governor  Clinton  to  Colonel  Johnson. 


336  LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

ch^vp.  war-path, — "  and  that"  said  the  sachem,  "  all  for  nothing, 
v— , — <  as  we  see  no  sign  of  your  doing  anything  with  your  army 
1/48-  as  we  expected."  They  had  now  assembled,  pursuant  to 
a  belt  which  he  had  sent  them,  "  in  their  present  hungry 
condition  having  nothing  to  eat,"  to  hear  what  he  had  to 
say,  and  to  thank  him  for  the  supplies  they  had  brought, 
"  although  the  day  before,"  being  quite  out  of  patience 
and  hungered,"  they  had  resolved  to  break  up  and  go 
home."  Colonel  Johnson  thanked  them  for  the  kind 
welcome  they  had  given  him,  but  being  too  much  fatigued 
to  enter  upon  business  then,  he  deferred  them  until  the 
next  day,  adding — "  So  I  hope  you  will  be  easy  in  your 
minds,  and  content  yourselves  so  long,  and  I  will  this 
night  provide  a  feast  for  your  sachems,  and  another  for 
the  warriors  and  dancers,  who  I  hope  will  be  merry,  as  it 
will  be  my  greatest  pleasure  to  see  them  and  make  them 
so." 

On  the  following  day  the  colonel  met  them  in  grand 
council,  and  imparted  the  business  which  had  called  him 
thither  in  a  general  speech,  prepared  after  the  usual  pattern 
of  Indian  diplomacy.  He  told  them  that  he  had  found  in 
some  of  the  old  writings  of  our  forefathers  which  were 
thought  to  have  been  lost,  an  old  and  valuable  record, 
containing  an  account  of  the  manner  in  which  the  first 
friendship  between  their  respective  ancestors  had  com- 
menced on  the  arrival  of  "the  first  great  canoe"  at  Albany. 
As  that  canoe  contained  many  things  that  pleased  the 
Indians,  they  resolved  to  tie  it  fast  to  the  strongest  tree 
on  the  bank  of  the  river,  by  a  great  rope,  that  the  great- 
est care  might  be  taken  of  it.  But  on  farther  considera- 
tion, fearing  that  the  tree  might  be  blown  down,  it  was 
thought  safest  to  make  a  long  rope  and  tie  it  fast  at  Onon- 
daga, and  the  rope  put  under  their  feet,  that  in  case  of  any 
danger  to  the  canoe,  by  the  shaking  of  the  rope,  they 
might  all  rise  as  one  man,  and  see  what  the  matter  was. 
Afterward,  that  their  covenant  of  friendship  might  be  the 
stronger,  the  governor  had  provided   a  long  silver  chain 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  337 

instead  of  the  rope,  that  it  might  never  break,  or  slip,  or  chap. 
rust.  This  chain  was  to  hind  both  peoples  together,  as  of  v_v_, 
one  head,  one  heart,  one  blood ;  and  whenever  it  became  1748- 
rusty,  it  was  to  be  immediately  brightened  up  again,  that 
the  covenant  might  be  perpetual.  Having  thus  figura- 
tively rehearsed  the  history  of  the  ancient  alliance,  Colonel 
Johnson  proceeded  with  directness  to  the  object  of  his 
visit.  He  told  them  that  the  French  had  emissaries  among 
them,  who  were  endeavoring  to  blindfold  them,  and  per- 
suade them  to  slip  their  hands  out  of  that  chain,  which, 
as  their  wise  forefathers  had  told  them  would  certainly  be 
the  destruction  of  them  all.  He  conjured  them  therefore 
to  listen  no  longer  to  their  deceitful  enemies,  whose  object 
in  the  end,  would  be  to  destroy  them  all.  In  answer  to 
their  complaint  that  for  two  days  all  their  roads  had  been 
stopped  by  the  orders  of  the  English — in  other  words  that 
they  had  been  kept  from  hunting, — the  colonel  told  them 
they  had  misunderstood  the  belt  he  had  sent  them.  He 
had  only  meant  to  stop  the  road  leading  to  Canada.  He 
informed  them  that  the  governors  of  New  York  and  Mas- 
sachusetts, to  their  great  concern,  had  heard  of  their 
determination  soon  to  go  that  way  again,  contrary  to  their 
engagements,  and  he  told  them  explicitly,  that  he  had 
been  sent  by  those  governors  to  stop  their  going.  It  was 
the  wish,  both  of  the  governors  and  himself,  that  they 
should  act  for  their  own  interests,  and  go  in  whatever 
direction  they  pleased  excepting  to  Canada.  On  no  consi- 
deration whatever  should  they  offer  to  go  there. 

The  plea  of  the  Indians  for  their  present  desire  to  send 
a  mission  to  Canada  was,  that  several  of  their  "  flesh  and 
blood"  were  in  Montreal,  chained  and  imprisoned,  and 
they  wished  to  go  thither  "  and  get  them  back;"  but  the 
colonel  told  them  they  had  better  leave  that  matter  to  their 
brethren  the  English,  who  would  be  most  likely  to  succeed. 
He  then  rebuked  them  sharply  for  a  transaction  of  the 
preceding  year.  They  had  then  expressed  a  strong 
desire  to  send  an  embassy  to  Canada,  to  persuade  their 

43 


338  LIFE   OP  SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

ch^p.  "  flesh  and  blood,"  the  Caughnawagas,  to  leave  the  French, 
^ — -  and  return  to  their  own  country  and  kindred ;  and  at  their 
1747-  solicitation,  hostilities  were  to  be  suspended  during  their 
absence — they  promising  to  return  within  a  month.  But 
instead  of  that,  tney  staid  in  Canada  the  whole  summer, 
and  brought  back  none  of  their  "  flesh  and  blood"  when 
they  finally  returned.  True  to  his  engagement  the  colo- 
nel had  kept  all  the  warriors  of  the  Six  Nations  at  home 
during  their  absence,  and  the  consequence  was  that  the 
lives  of  several  of  his  people  had  been  lost  by  the  incur- 
sions of  the  Canada  Indians,  and  he  told  the  Onondagas 
plainly  that  he  had  no  doubt  they  had  seen  their  scalps. 
Indeed  he  charged  them  with  having  feigned  the  errand  to 
the  Caughnawagas,  for  the  purpose  of  giving  them  an 
opportunity  to  talk  with  the  French  governor ;  but  he 
warned  them  not  to  set  their  faces  that  way  again. 

Thus  far  Colonel  Johnson  told  them,  the  Six  Nations 
had  not  hurt  the  Caughnawagas  during  the  war ;  and  yet 
some  of  their  principal  men  had  lately  been  murdered  in 
the  open  fields  by  the  Caughnawagas  and  the  French. 
"  The  Frenchman's  axe  is  therefore  sticking  fast  in  our 
heads  day  after  day."  By  this  barbarous  act,  it  was  ren- 
dered very  plain  that  the  French  aimed  at  nothing  short 
of  their  destruction,  which,  he  insisted,  had  ever  been 
their  design,  "  as  you  all,"  said  he,  "by  sorrowful  experi- 
ence have  formerly  seen  and  felt,  when  they  used  to  destroy 
your  castles,  and  sacrifice  such  numbers  of  your  predeces- 
sors, that  large  heaps  of  their  bones  yet  lie  scattered  over 
your  whole  country.  This  consideration  alone  ought  to 
be  sufficient  to  stir  up  everlasting  resentment  in  your 
bosoms  against  such  a  barbarous  people ;  and  it  would,  if 
there  was  the  least  spark  of  that  Great  Spirit  in  you,  for 
which  your  brave  ancestors  were  noted  through  the  world. 
If  you  are  worthy  of  those  ancestors  you  will  now  use  the 
axe  against  them  which  you  have  had  so  long  in  your 
hands. 

Before  closing  his  speech,  the  colonel  repeated  his  suspi- 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  339 

cions  of  their  friendly  intentions  toward  the  French,  and  c^p" 
warned  them  against  any  farther  duplicity.  They  must  Wy— - 
either  drop  the  French  entirely  and  stand  by  their  own 1748* 
brothers,  or  declare  themselves  at  once  and  explicitly,  if 
the  contrary  was  their  determination.  In  conclusion, 
however,  he  informed  them  of  the  liberal  disposition 
entertained  toward  them  by  the  governor,  and  by  their 
great  father  the  king.  He  had  now  orders  to  build  forts 
in  their  country  for  the  defence  of  their  towns  and  castles 
while  their  braves  were  absent  in  the  war ;  and  he  had  the 
pleasure  farther  to  inform  them  that  the  king  had 
sent  a  quantity  of  goods  as  presents  for  those  of  them  who 
were  hearty  in  his  cause.  These  presents  were  expected 
shortly  to  arrive,  and  it  was  his  desire  that  their  nations 
should  meet  the  governor  at  Albany,  there  to  receive  them. 
The  council-fire  was  then  raked  up  until  the  next  day, 
when  the  sachems  delivered  their  answer ;  and  even  if 
they  had  been  meditating  treachery,  either  the  decided 
tone  in  which  Colonel  Johnson  had  spoken,  or  the  promis- 
ed presents,  or  perhaps  the  influence  of  both,  had  wrought 
sa  favorable  change  in  their  temper  as  could  have  been 
desired.  They  admitted  that  they  had  been  tampered 
with  by  the  French,  "  who  had  used  a  great  deal  of  art," 
but  promised  that  their  friendship  for  the  English,  should 
never  be  dropped.  They  nevertheless  thought  it  hard  and 
cruel  that  they  should  not  be  allowed  to  go  to  Canada  for 
their  "flesh  and  blood,"  rotting  and  dying  in  irons,  when 
their  release  had  been  offered  if  they  would  go  for  them. 
"Had  you,"  they  said,  "got  them  from  thence  as  you  did 
your  own  people,  we  should  not  have  thought  of  going  to 
Canada  as  friends,  but  in  another  manner."  However,  as 
the  colonel  promised  that  efforts  should  be  made  to  pro- 
cure the  release  of  the  Indian  captives  in  exchange  for 
French  prisoners,  they  would  not  look  that  way  any 
longer.  Yet  they  begged  earnestly  that  their  brother 
would  make  haste  in  this  matter.  They  explained  the 
reason   of  their  long  detention   when   on   a  mission  to 


340  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap.  Canada,  the  summer  before.  While  they  were  in  Montreal, 
%— v— '  news  came  that  the  Six  Nations  had  killed  and  taken  seve- 
1748.  raj  French  people,  upon  which  they  were  ordered  to  Que- 
bec to  be  imprisoned.  They  were  detained  ninety-two 
days,  at  the  end  of  which  they  were  permitted  to  return, 
but  with  only  two  of  their  warriors  who  were  prisoners. 
The  governor  would  release  no  more,  but  told  them  he 
would  give  them  all  up  if  they  would  come  again  this 
spring,  unless  in  the  meantime  the  Six  Nations  should 
make  war,  in  which  event  he  would  put  them  all  to  death. 
"Now,"  said  the  governor  "  as  we  have  told  you  all  about 
this  affair,  we  hope  you  will  not  blame  us  as  you  have 
done,  but  be  assured  our  resolution  is  to  live  and  die  by 
you.  We  listen  to  you  with  open  ears  and  mind  what 
you  say,  you  may  depend  upon  it.  And  we  hope  you  will 
not  make  a  doubt  of  it  that  our  firm  resolution  is,  to  keep 
up  in  every  step,  to  the  rules  laid  down  by  our  forefathers. 
And  as  we  have  your  axe  so  long  in  hand,  we  assure  you 
that  we  have  been,  ever  since  we  last  took  it  up,  always 
ready  to  make  use  of  it  in  conjunction  with  you  and  will 
ever  continue  so."  Recurring  in  the  course  of  their 
speech  to  the  same  idea  of  having  had  the  axe  so  long  in 
their  heads  again,  the  sachem  proceeded  as  follows  : 
"  Brother,  we  were  in  hopes  to  have  used  the  axe  before 
now  to  some  purpose,  as  you  told  us  two  years  ago  that 
you  were  then  ready  to  march  with  your  army  against 
Canada.  But  instead  of  an  army  you  only  sent  out  small 
parties,  several  of  whom  were  by  that  means  cut  to  pieces. 
Had  you  gone  on-iwith  your  army  and  ships,  as  you  told 
us  you  would,  and  assisted  us  properly  to  get  over  the 
foreign  Indians  to  our  interest,  who  offered  their  service, 
then  We  should  have  been  able  with  the  loss  of  a  few  men 
to  have  driven  the  French  and  his  allies  into  the  great 
lakes  and  drowned  them.  But  as  you  have  not  done  that, 
which  we  are  sorry  for,  we  tell  you  now,  brother,  according 
to  your  desire,  we  used  what  interest  we  could  that  way, 
and  have  gained  a  considerable   number  of  the   foreign 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  341 

Indians  who  were  ready  to  join  you,  and  us.     But  there  isc^p- 
no  sign  of  an  army  now,  nor  the  encouragement  given  to  - — » — ' 
them  which  they  expected.     "We  cannot  pretend  to  say 
now  what  they  will  do." 

This  rebuke  of  the  English  for  the  feeble  manner  in  which 
the  war  had  been  conducted,  notwithstanding  all  the  bust- 
ling preparations  of  the  two  preceding  years,  was  not 
undeserved. 

The  sachems  closed  their  address  by  warm  expressions 
of  thanks  to  Colonel  Johnson  for  his  care  over  them,  and 
for  the  presents  he  had  brought.  They  also  promised  to 
meet  the  governor  at  his  call ;  and  in  conclusion,  the  colonel 
assured  them  that  he  should  inform  the  governor  of  wThat 
had  taken  place  "with  a  cheerful  heart."  1 

Yet  in  transmitting  the  proceedings  to  the  governor,  the 
colonel  avowed  his  decided  belief  that  no  restraint  that 
should  be  at  once  wholesome  and  permanent,  could  be 
imposed  upon  the  Indians,  unless  by  strong  legislation, 
unprincipled  white  men  could  be  prevented  from  hastening 
their  destruction  by  the  "accursed  traffic  of  rum." 

The  idea  of  a  grand  council,  to  be  held  at  Albany  the 
ensuing  summer,  had  been  long  in  contemplation  both  by 
Governor  Clinton  and  Governor  Shirley. 2  Strangely 
enough,  moreover,  considering  the  course  of  the  ministers 
in  terminating  the  military  demonstrations  of  the  preceding 
autumn,  and  ordering  the  disbanding  of  the  troops,  a  letter 
was  received  from  the  Duke  of  Newcastle,  in  February, 
addressed  to  Governors  Shirley  and  Clinton,  urging  in  the 
strongest  terms,  the  importance  of  destroying  the  French 
settlement  at  Crown  Point— ^an  object,  it  need  not  be  here 
repeated,  long  entertained  by  the  colonies,  and  the  achieve- 
ment of  which,  had  only  been  prevented  by  the  indecision, 
if  not  the  weakness  of  ministers.  They  were  also  directed 
in  the  same  despatch,  to  do  everything  in  their  power  to 

JFor  a  full  account  of  the  proceedings  of  this  council,  see  journals  of  the 
council  board. 

2  Letter  from  Governor  Shirley  to  Governor  Clinton — London  documents 

XXX. 


342  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

ch£p.  secure  the  steady  attachment  of  the  Six  Nations  to  the 
s_^— >  king's  interests — to  which  end  the  necessary  presents  were 
1748.  fa  j^  provided  at  the  expense  of  the  crown.  This  com- 
munication from  the  ministers  only  hastened  the  carrying 
out  of  the  proposed  council ;  and  on  the  twenty-eighth  of 
March,  Governor  Clinton  being  indisposed.  Chief  Justice 
De  Lancey,  by  his  order,  laid  before  the  council  the 
duke  of  Newcastle's  letter.  The  letter  having  been 
referred  to  a  committee,  the  suggestions  contained  in  it 
were  fully  approved,  and  an  expedition  against  Crown  Point 
recommended  as  best  calculated  to  secure  the  Six  Nations 
in  the  interests  of  the  crown.  The  committee  farther 
seconded,  without  a  dissenting  voice,  the  project  of  holding 
a  council  with  the  Indians  during  the  ensuing  summer, 
and  suggested  that  the  governor  should  send  down  a  mes- 
sage to  the  house  asking  for  its  cheerful  acquiescence  in 
these  plans.  In  accordance,  therefore,  with  this  advice, 
the  governor  sent  a  me  ssage  to  the  assembly,  urging  upon 
its  consideration  these  suggestions  of  the  council,  and 
asking  for  immediate  action.  On  the  next  day  a  committee 
of  the  whole  house  reported  favorably  upon  the  message. 
They  acknowledged  the  kindness  of  his  majesty  in  directing 
that  the  Indians  should  be  protected  at  the  expense  of  the 
crown ;  they  proposed  that  the  provinces  should  unite  with 
each  other  in  every  well  concerted  scheme  for  defence  ; 
and  suggested  that  provision  should  be  made  to  enable  the 
commissioners  of  the  different  provinces  to  meet  together 
and  determine  upon  suitable  measures.  This  report  met 
the  entire  approval  of  the  assembly,  and  on  the  same  day 
it  further  brought  in  a  bill  for  reimbursing  the  governor 
for  the  money  which  he  had  advanced  out  of  his  own  funds 
to  Colonel  Johnson  as  pay  for  the  scalps  which  had  been 
brought  in  by  the  Indians. 

But  notwithstanding  this  seeming  disposition  on  the  part 
of  the  assembly  to  acquiese  in  the  wishes  of  the  governor, 
all  his  efforts  to  second  governor  Shirley's  favorite  plan 
for  an   expedition   against   Crown   Point  were  fruitless. 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART.  343 

Although  the  new  assembly  had  not  openly  opposed  the  chap. 
governor  thus  far,  yet  its  apathy  showed  plainly  how  little  ^— y— ' 
it  was  its  purpose  to  second  vigorously  his  efforts.  In  a 1747, 
letter  from  Governor  Clinton  to  the  lords  of  trade,  under 
date  of  April  of  this  year,  the  writer  complains  bitterly  of 
this  indisposition  to  second  him  in  his  endeavors  to  pro- 
mote the  welfare  of  the  colony ;  and  alludes  in  no  gentle 
spirit  to  the  continued  encroachments  of  the  house  on  the 
crown,  particularly  as  shown  in  the  appointment  of  Robert 
Charles  as  agent  for  the  province  without  his  privity  or 
consent.  This  appointment  by  the  assembly  without  refer- 
ence to  the  wishes  of  the  governor,  was  well  calculated  to 
exasperate  a  far  less  choleric  temperament  than  his ;  and 
accustomed  as  he  had  been  all  his  life  to  command,  he 
could  ill  brook  the  growing  spirit  of  insubordination  in 
his  legislature.  Indeed,  this  is  but  another  evidence  of  the 
tendency  which  was  everywhere  manifesting  itself  in  the 
colonies,  to  assert  their  entire  independence  of  the  crown 
in  the  government  of  their  home  affairs. 

The  general  assembly  again  met  on  the  sixth  of  June, 
but  was  adjourned  until  the  twenty-first.  The  session 
was  opened  by  a  message  from  the  governor,  transmitting, 
among  other  papers,  Colonel  Johnson's  report  of  the  pro- 
ceedings at  the  Onondaga  council.  Favorable,  however, 
as  these  proceedings  appeared,  his  excellency  said  he  had 
little  hope  of  preventing  their  ultimate  defection  to  the 
French,  unless  some  enterprise  against  the  enemy  should 
be  speedily  and  resolutely  undertaken.  He  therefore  again 
urged  an  expedition  against  Crown  Point,  conjointly  with 
the  colonies  of  Massachusetts  and  Connecticut,  who  were 
ready  to  unite  immediately  in  an  attempt  for  the  reduction 
of  that  post.  On  the  subject  of  intercourse  between  the 
traders  and  the  Indians,  a  strong  enactment  to  prevent  the 
sale  to  the  latter  of  spirituous  liquors,  and  the  purchase 
from  them  of  arms,  ammunition  and  clothing,  was  recom- 
mended. The  message  farther  announced  that  his  excel- 
lency was  preparing  to  meet  the  Indians  at  Albany  in  the 


344  LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  course  of  the  ensuing  month ;  but  particularly  it  called 

^^L  the  attention  of  the  assembly  to   the  disaffection   of  the 

1748.  Indians  on  account  of  the  detention  of  their  braves   in 

Canada ;  urging  in  view  of  this,  that  immediate  provision 

be  made  for  the  exchange  of  these  prisoners. 

Upon  the  last  mentioned  suggestion  the  assembly  acted 
with  promptitude ;  and  a  resolution  was  passed,  requesting 
the  governor  to  send  a  flag  of  truce  to  Canada  with  twenty- 
five  French  prisoners  then  confined  in  New  York,  together 
with  all  the  prisoners  detained  at  Albany,  to  be  exchanged 
for  such  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  colony,  and  Indians  of 
the  Six  Nations,  as  were  held  in  captivity  by  the  French, — 
the  house  pledging  itself  to  defray  the  expense.  But  as 
to  the  other  recommendations  of  the  message,  a  decided 
spirit  of  reluctance  was  manifested.  The  house  refused  to 
engage  with  Massachusetts  and  Connecticut  in  the  pro- 
posed united  expedition  against  Crown  Point  ;-^instead  of 
which  they  recommended  merely  that  the  governor  should 
unite  with  Governor  Shirley,  and  the  other  governors  on 
the  continent,  in  humbly  representing  to  his  majesty  the 
distressed  state  of  the  colonies  by  reason  of  the  French  in 
Canada,  and  imploring  his  assistance. 

There  had  as  yet  been  no  collision  between  Mr.  Clinton 
and  his  new  assembly — rendered  new  only  by  the  process 
of  an  election, — but  however  smooth  the  surface,  the 
elements  of  an  outbreak  were  smouldering  beneath.  And 
these  had  well  nigh  been  called  info  action  by  a  very  small 
affair,  during  the  present  short  session.  On  the  twenty- 
fourth  of  June,  Colonel  Beekman,  one  of  the  representa- 
tives from  the  county  of  Dutchess,  brought  forward  with 
all  possible  solemnity,  a  charge  against  the  governor,  "  of 
such  a  violation  of  the  laws,  and  such  a  grievance  upon  the 
people, — such  an  attempt  upon  their  rights  and  properties, 

as  called  loudly  for  redress."     The   facts   adduced   by 

Colonel  Beekman  to  sustain  this  very  grievous  charge,  were 
these  :  Some  of  the  late  levies  from  Dutchess  county,  who 
had  served  on  the  northern  frontier,  had  sued,  and  others 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOIINSON,   BART. 

were  preparing  to  sue,  their  captain  for  their  pay ;  npon  chap* 
which  the  governor  had  written  to  the  judge,  and  Mi-.v^ 
Catherwood,  his  secretary,  to  the  clerk  of  the  court,  and 1748- 
also  to  the  sheriff,  desiring  them  to  put  a  stop  to  the  pro- 
ceedings. Upon  this  representation,  a  committee  of  inquiry 
was  raised,  with  power  to  send  for  persons  and  papers. 
No  sooner,  however,  had  the  governor  seen  the  entry  of 
these  proceedings  upon  the  journals,  than  he  transmitted 
a  message  of  explanation  to  the  house,  from  which  it 
appeared  that  the  suits  in  question  had  been  instituted  by 
sundry  deserters  who  had  gone  off  with  his  majesty's  arms 
and  clothing,  by  reason  of  which  they  hac).  fortified  all  pay 
due  them  from  the  crown ;  and  the  letters  written  to  the 
officers  of  the  court,  merely  recommended  that  a  stop 
should  be  put  to  the  claims  of  those  deserters.  "If,"  said 
the  governor,  "  such  a  step  taken,  can,  in  the  most  exten- 
sive light,  be  construed  any  violation  of  the  laws,  or  a 
grievance  upon  the  people,  it  was  done  through  inadver- 
tency ;  as  I  never  had  an  intention  to  infringe  upon  any 
man's  right  or  property;  and  if  the  people  have  received 
any  damage  thereby,  I  am  ready  to  redress  it."  No  farther 
action  was  had  in  the  case,  and  the  assembly  adjourned  on 
the  first  of  July,— not,  however,  without  complying  with 
the  suggestion  of  Colonel  Johnson,  by  passing  an  act  more 
effectually  to  cut  off  the  pernicious  traffic  in  rum  with  the 
Indians. 

Mr.  Clinton's  attention  was  next  occupied  in  prepara- 
tions for  his  approaching  interview  with  the  Indians,  at 
which  Governor  Shirley  proposed  to  be  present.  Just  as 
he  was  on  the  point  of  starting  for  Albany,  however,  tidings 
though  unofficial,  were  received  from  Europe,  the  nature 
of  which  would  be  at  once  to  change  the  character  of  the 
negotiations  with  the  Indians,  and  of  which  the  governor 
wrote  thus  to  Colonel  Johnson : 
44 


346  LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap.  Governor  Clinton  to  Colonel  Johnson. 


1748. 


3  New  York,  July  5,  1748. 

Sir: 

I  have  just  this  moment  received  yours  of  the  first 
instant,  which  I  have  but  time  to  acknowledge  by  Lieuten- 
ant Cleavland,  and  send  you  the  enclosed  piece  of  news, 
which  I  believe  will  startle  you,  as  it  does  everybody  else ; 
though  I  think  if  the  Parliament  had  agreed  to  the  prelimi- 
naries, we  must  have  had  orders  before  this.  Upon  this 
news  I  received  a  letter  from  Governor  Shirley  last  Satur- 
day, to  desire  I  would  postpone  my  meeting  the  Indians 
for  eight  or  ten  days.  Upon  that  I  have  sent  an  express 
to  know  the  difficulty  I  shall  meet  in  complying,  besides 
the  danger  of  making  them  angry  if  I  don't  meet  them 
at  or  about  the  time  appointed.  Therefore  I  was  obliged 
to  set  out,  but  would  defer  speaking  to  them  till  the 
twentieth  instant,  in  the  hope  of  his  being  there  by  that 
time.  I  set  out  on  Thursday,  and  expect  an  answer  to  my 
express  at  the  manor  of  Livingston  this  day  sennight, — 
having  given  him  positive  orders  to  be  there  in  the  morn- 
ing, and  written  to  Mr.  Shirley  to  despatch  him  for  that 
end.  One  reason  Governor  Shirley  gives  for  postponing 
the  conference,  is,  that  we  may  expect  some  directions  from 
home  in  regard  to  the  Indians,  and  what  it  would  be  proper 
to  say  to  them  on  this  occasion.  Adieu  in  great  haste. 
"  Yours  most  sincerely, 

"Geo.  Clinton." 
"To  ColonelJohnson."1 

The  report  proved  to  be  true — the  preliminaries  of  a 
general  peace  having  been  signed  by  the  ministers  of  the 
great  powers,  at  Aix-la-Chapelle  in  May,  as  announced  by 
the  king  in  closing  the  session  of  parliament  on  the 
thirteenth  of  that  month.  The  truth  was,  that  all  parties 
had  become  tired  of  the  war, — England,  because  of  the 
prodigious  expense  she  was  compelled  to  incur,  not  only  in 
keeping  up  her  own  fleets  and  armies,  but  in  subsidizing 

1  Manuscript  Letter. 


LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,    BART.  347 

the  northern  powers  of  Europe, — an  expense  so  great  as  chap. 
not  to  be  countermanded  by  the  splendid  series  of  victories  v_ ^— > 
which  her  arms  had  achieved  at  sea,  and  by  the  glory  which 1748- 
the  Duke  of  Cumberland  had  won  upon  the  continent. 
The  king  of  France,  too,  had  in  the  preceding  autumn, 
expressed  his  desire  of  a  pacification  in  a  personal  conver- 
sation with  Sir  John  Ligonier,  made  prisoner  by  the  French 
in  the  battle  of  LafFeldt ;  and  his  minister  at  the  Hague 
had  subsequently  presented  a  declaration  to  the  same  effect 
to  the  deputies  of  the  States  General. \  Nor  is  it  strange 
that  the  French  monarch  should  have  been  desirous  of 
peace.  For  notwithstanding  the  successes  of  his  arms  in 
the  Netherlands,  the  victory  of  Marshall  Saxe  over  the 
confederates  at  Laffeldt,  was  accidental,  and  withal  had 
been  dearly  purchased,  while  the  Marshal  de  Belleisle, 
though  at  first  successful  in  Italy,  had  been  checked,  and 
his  brother,  the  chevalier,  slain  in  Piedmont,  and  his  large 
army  defeated.  Everywhere  upon  the  seas  the  English  had 
been  victorious.  In  addition  to  the  loss  of  the  expensive 
armament  under  the  Duke  D'Auville,  occasioned  by  sick- 
ness, tempest,  and  the  death  of  the  commander,  and  the 
victories  of  Anson  and  "Warren,  of  which  an  account  has 
already  been  given  in  a  former  chapter,  Commodore  Fox 
had,  in  the  month  of  June  of  the  preceding  year,  taken 
above  forty  ships  richly  laden  from  St.  Domingo,  and  in 
October  following,  Admiral  Hawkehad  achieved  his  splen- 
did victory  over  the  French  fleet  commanded  by  Monsieur 
Letendeur,  in  the  latitude  of  Belleisle.  Letendeur's  fleet 
consisted  of  nine  ships  of  the  line,  besides  frigates,  in  con- 
voy of  a  numerous  fleet  of  merchant  ships  bound  from  the 
West  Indies.  A  large  number  of  the  merchantmen  were 
intercepted  before  their  arrival  at  Martinique,  and  taken. 
The  number  of  prizes  captured  by  the  British  cruisers  that 
year  from  the  French  and  Spaniards,  was  six  hundred  and 
forty-four — the  loss  of  the  English  during  the  same  period 
not  exceeding  four  hundred  and  fifty.2 

i  Smollett. 
2  Smollett. 


348  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BAET. 

chap.  These  results  had  been  sufficiently  discouraging  to  the 
^-v— 'French  monarch,  who  now  knew  in  addition,  that  G-reat 
1/48.  Britain  had  at  length  succeeded  in  subsidizing  the  Czarina 
of  Russia,  who  had  a  large  army  then  on  the  march  to  join 
the  Duke  of  Cumberland  and  the  Confederates  in  the 
Lowlands.  Every  day  France  was  becoming  more  and 
more  impoverished  by  the  expenses,  and  the  losses  of  the 
war,  while  her  statesmen  were  amazed  at  the  resources  of 
England,  enabling  her  not  only  to  maintain  invincible 
armies  and  navies,  but  to  subsidize  all  Europe.1  Hence 
the  desire  of  the  French  monarch  for  peace,  the  prelimina- 
ries of  which  were  signed  in  May  of  the  present  year,  as 
already  stated,  although  there  was  no  cessation  of  hostilities 
until  the  conclusion  of  the  treaty  in  October. 

The  time  for  holding  the  grand  council — so  earnestly 
desired  uy  the  royal  governors,  and  so  long  looked  for  by 
the  Indians — had  now  arrived.  Preparations  for  this  event 
had  been  made  upon  a  large  scale,  and  everything  which 
would  Tender  it  attractive  to  the  Indians  had  been  thought 
of  and  prepared.  Accordingly,  on  the  twentieth  of  July, 
Governor  Clinton,  accompanied  by  Doctor  Colden  and 
other  members  of  his  council,  arrived  in  Albany.  Here 
they  found  waiting  them,  Governor  Shirley  and  the  com- 
missioners of  Massachusetts  Bay,  who  had  arrived  a  day 
or  two  previously.  JNor  had  the  Indians  been  less  prompt 
in  their  attendance.  The  representations  from  the  Six 
Nations,  the  River  Indians,  and  some  of  the  far  ofi"  tribes, 
was  unprecedented  in  the  history  of  any  former  council. 
So  large,  indeed,  was  the  number  of  Indians  assembled 
upon  this  occasion,  that  the  oldest  of  the  inhabitants 
declared  that  Albany  had  never  before  witnessed  such  a 
large  concourse  within  her  precincts.  The  exertions  of 
Colonel  Johnson,  which  had  been  unremitting  to  secure  a 
full  delegation  from  each  of  the  different  tribes,  undoubt- 
edly contributed  much  to  this  result.     Indeed,  such  had 

i  Smollett. 


PMUjMP  alias  METACG3IET  of  Poianoket. 

IltiifiiiiYif  /rem  ///e  original  as  TittHsked.  iu  Chiaxh. 


LIFE   OP   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 


349 


been  his   influence,  that  numbers  of  those  Indians,  who  chap. 
had   hitherto  leaned  toward  the   French   interest,    camev 
flocking  in  from  the  surrounding  country,  anxious  to  show 1748- 
their  allegiance  to  the  British  crown. 

The  old  Dutch  city  had  in  fact  seldom  witnessed  such  a 
sight.  Here  were  gathered  Indians  from  the  far  West, 
many  of  whom  at  a  later  period  were  destined  to  redden 
their  tomahawks  in  the  blood  of  so  many  brave  garrisons, 
under  the  great  Pontiac.  Here  were  many  of  the  River 
Indians, — remnants  of  once  powerful  tribes, — whose  grand- 
sires  had  followed  the  brave  Uncas  and  Miantonomo  to 
battle,  and  had  taken  their  last  stand  with  the  noble 
but  ill-fated  King  Philip.  In  one  spot,  a  painted  and 
tattooed  warrior  might  have  been  seen  smoking  his  pipe, 
as  he  recounted  to  his  wondering  companions  the  sights  seen 
in  his  morning's  stroll ;  while  everywhere  groups  of  pic- 
turesquely attired  Indians,  with  nodding  plumes  and 
variegated  blankets,  wandered  through  the  streets,  gazing 
with  curious  eye  upon  the  novelties  of  civilization. 

The  proceedings  of  the  council,  however,  contrary  to 
expectation,  were  not  important.  The  governor's  speech 
was  but  another  rehearsal,  in  substance,  and  in  metaphor, 
of  former  ones.  The  old  "  covenant  chain"  was  again 
"brightened,"  and  the  Indians  w^ere  again  admonished 
against  the  wiles  of  the  French.  They  were  requested  to 
keep  "the  axe  in  their  hands,"  and  to  restrain  their  young 
men  still  longer  from  their  hunting.  They  were  cautioned 
against  allowing  theirpeople,  under  any  pretext  whatesover, 
to  be  seduced  by  the  invitations  of  the  French  into  Canada, 
and  they  were  peremptorily  directed  to  arrest  the  celebrat- 
ed Jean  Cceur,  so  long  the  arch  enemy  of  the  English 
residing  among  the  Senecas  at  the  Niagara  carrying-place, 
and  deliver  him  to  the  colonial  authorities,  and  likewise 
to  banish  every  French  emissary  from  their  territory. 
They  were  furthermore  requested  to  desist  from  a  war-ex- 
pedition which  they  were  about  to  undertake  against  the 
Flathead  Indians,  residing  far  in  the  northwest,  who  were 


350  LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  claimed  by  the  governor  as  his  majesty's  allies.     The  fol- 
v-v— '  lowing  is  the  concluding  paragraph  of  the  speech,   which 
1748.  j8  quoted  in  hcec  verba,  for  the  reason  that  it  refers  to  a  mas- 
sacre of  which  the  particulars  are  not  known. 

"  Brethren :  You  have  since  you  came  to  this  place, 
given  a  new  and  strong  proof  of  your  love  to  your  brethren 
and  fidelity  to  the  king  your  father,  by  so  cheerfully  and 
speedily  sending  out  a  number  of  your  warriors  with  our 
troops  in  quest  of  the  enemy,  who  a  few  days  since  sur- 
prised and  killed  many  of  our  brethren  at  Schenectady, 
and  although  those  who  earnestly  pursued  the  enemy,  had 
not  the  good  fortune  to  meet  with  them,  you  may  assure 
yourselves  that  this  instance  of  your  affection  and  readi- 
ness to  join  in  our  cause,  shall  always  be  remembered  by 
me,  and  made  known  to  the  king  your  father." 

ISo  printed  or  official  record  of  the  affair  here  referred 
to  is  believed  to  exist.  Among  the  Johnson  manuscripts, 
however,  I  have  discovered  a  very  confused  and  unsatis- 
factory account  of  it,  contained  in  a  letter  to  ColonelJohnson 
from  Albert  Van  Slyck,  dated  Schenectady,  July  twenty- 
first,  1748.  From  the  details  preserved  in  this  letter,  it  ap- 
pears that  a  party  of  men  from  Schenectady,  the  leader  of 
whom  was  Daniel  Toll,  had  been  dispatched  to  some  place 
in  the  vicinity  to  bring  in  a  number  of  horses,  which  was 
surprised  by  a  party  of  the  enemy,  whose  presence  in  the 
neighborhood  was  neither  known  nor  suspected.  The 
firing  being  heard  by  Adrian  Van  Slyck,  a  brother  of  the 
writer  of  the  account,  who  seems  to  have  resided  at  a  dis- 
tance from  the  town  ;  he  sent  a  negro  man  to  the  latter 
place  to  give  the  alarm,  and  obtain  reinforcements.  Four 
parties  of  armed  men  successivly  repaired  to  the  scene  of 
action,  the  first  of  which  was  composed  of  "  the  New 
England  lieutenant  with  some  of  his  men,  and  five 
or  six  young  lads,"  accompanied  by  Daniel  Van  Slyck, — 
another  brother.  The  second  party  was  led  by  Angus  Van 
Slyck,  "  and  some  men" — how  many  of  either  party 
is  not  stated.    Adrian  Van  Slyck  followed  next,  at  the 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  351 

head  of  a  party  of  New  York  levies ;  but  on  reaching  the  chap. 
scene  of  action,  where  Angus,  with  inferior  numbers,  was  v-^—^ 
holding  the  enemy  at  bay,  the  levies  all  fled,  in  the  most 1748- 
cowardly  maimer.     The  fourth  party,  was  composed  of 
Albert  Van  Slyck,  (the  writer  of  the  letter,)  Jacob  Glen, 
"  and  several  others,"  on  the  approach  of  whom  the  enemy 
drew  off,  leaving  Adrian  Van  Slyck    among    the  dead. 
The  letter  adds — "  It  grieves  me,  I  not  being  commander, 
that  when  we  went,    Garret  Van  Antwerp  would  suffer  no 
more  to  accompany  the  party." 

Having  taken  three  days  for  consideration,  the  Indians 
replied  on  the  twenty-sixth,  Onnasdego,  an  Onondaga 
sachem,  and  orator  of  renown  being  the  speaker.  But 
the  occasion  was  not  such  as  to  kindle  the  fire  of  his  genius, 
or  to  elicit  a  single  glowing  period.  His  oration  was 
therefore  a  commonplace  answer,  in  their  exact  order,  to 
the  various  topics  of  the  speech  addressed  to  them  by  the 
governor.  In  the  outset  all  their  ancient  covenants  with 
the  English  were  renewed ;  and  while  they  "  freely 
acknowledged  that  the  French  were  continually  using 
artifices  to  induce  them  to  break  the  covenant  chain," 
they  nevertheless  were  resolved  to  hold  it  fast.  They 
promised  that  none  of  their  people  should  be  allowed  to 
visit  the  French;  declared  that  no  French  interpreter 
should  be  longer  allowed  to  reside  among  them ;  and 
announced  that  Jean  Cceur  had  already  been  delivered  up 
by  the  Senecas — but  of  this  fact  there  seems  to  be  no 
good  evidence.  Their  war-kettle,  they  said,  was  yet  over 
the  fire,  and  the  hatchet  in  their  hands.  They  would 
grasp  it  still,  and  be  ready  to  use  it  when  summoned  to 
the  path.  They  promised  to  desist  from  the  prosecution 
of  hostilities  against  the  Flatheads ;  thanked  the  governor 
for  his  efforts  to  procure  an  exchange  of  prisoners ;  express- 
ed their  grief  for  the  people  who  had  been  slain  at  Sche- 
nectady, and  their  regret  that  their  wariors  had  not  been 
able  to  overtake  the  enemy,  "who  had  gone  a  different 
road  from  what  they  used  to  go."    But  they  would  "  wipe 


352  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  up  the  blood  of  the  slain,"  and  "  dry  up  the  tears  of  their 

v— ¥ — ^friends." 

1748.      "ji^g  councii  fire  was  then  raked  up,  and  the  conferences 

were  closed  by  a  dance  of  the  young  warriors  in  the  even- 
ing, the  governor  giving  them  five  barrels  of  beer  where- 
with to  drink  his  majesty's  health. 

On  the  following  day  the  River  Indians  presented 
themselves,  and  were  thus  welcomed  by  the  governor  : — 

"Brethren :  I  am  glad  to  see  you  here  and  do  give  you 
thanks  for  the  fidelity  you  have  always  shown  to  this 
government,  and  I  do  assure  you,  you  shall  never  want  my 
protection  as  long  as  you  behave  yourselves  with  duty  and 
obedience  to  his  majesty.  And  as  a  token  of  the  king 
your  father's  affection,  he  has  directed  me  to  make  you  a 
present  which  I  have  ordered  to  be  given  you." 

To  which  the  chief  addressing  himself  to  the  governors 
both  of  New  York  and  Massachusetts,  replied : — 

"  Fathers  :  We  wipe  off  your  tears  you  had  for  the  loss 
of  your  people  who  have  been  murdered  since  the  com- 
mencement of  this  war. 

"  Fathers  :  We  are  very  much  rejoiced  for  the  regard  our 
father  the  king  of  Great  Britain  has  for  us  by  ordering  a 
present  which  you  assure  shall  be  given  us. 

"  Fathers:  Our  forefathers  told  us  that  before  any  white 
people  came  among  them,  they  saw  a  vessel  in  the  river. 
For  some  time  they  were  afraid  to  go  to  it.  But  at  last 
they  ventured  on  board  and  found  them  to  be  white 
men  who  treated  them  civilly  and  exchanged  mutually 
presents  to  each  other,  with  promise  that  they  would 
return  the  next  year,  which  accordingly  happened.  When 
they  came  again  the  white  people  and  they  entered  into  a 
covenant  together  that  they  should  live  on  their  lands, 
which  they  did.  And  they  also  promised  to  take  us  under 
their  arms  and  protect  us  which  they  have  done  to  this  day. 

"  Fathers :  When  you  came  first  to  this  country  you  were 
but  a  small  people  and  we  very  numerous.  We  then 
assisted  and  protected  you,  and  now  we  are  few  in  num- 


LIFE    OP   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  353 

ber,  you  become  multitudes  like  a  large  tree,  whose  roots  chap. 
and  branches  are  very  extensive,  under  whose  branches  Wy— > 
we  take  our  shelter  as  we  have  heretofore  done.  1748- 

"  Fathers :  It  is  now  almost  three  years  since  the  war 
first  began.  You  have  had  a  very  numerous  army 
together.  We  were  re-ady  to  join  you  in  hopes  that 
Canada  would  have  been  in  possession  of  the  English 
b  efore  now.  We  have  been  always  ready  and  have  still 
our  hands  on  the  cocks  of  our  guns  to  go  against  our' 
common  enemy  whenever  we  shall  be  commanded. 

"  Fathers :  We  thank  you  for  your  kind  expressions 
toward  us,  and  are  very  sorry  we  were  not  here  the  other 
day,  when  the  enemy  murdered  a  number  of  our  brethren 
at  Schenectady,  which  if  we  had  we  would  have  readily 
and  cheerfully  joined  in  the  pursuit  of  them,  even  to  the 
gates  of  Crown  Point." 

While  this  council  was  sitting,  the  rumor  that  the  pre- 
liminaries for  a  general  pacification  had  actually  been 
agreed  upon  by  the  great  powers  of  Europe,  became  gen- 
eral, and  was  soon  the  topic  of  conversation  among 
Indians,  as  well  as  among  whites.  To  the  Indians  of 
the  Six  Nations,  who  had  hoped  by  a  continuance  of  the 
war  to  have  avenged  their  slaughtered  relatives,  the 
rumor  of  a  peace  was  a  severe  blow.  All  the  clans  of 
the  Confederacy  had  lost  some  of  their  braves,  but  the 
Mohawks  upon  whom  the  loss  naturally  fell  with  greater 
force,  now  that  they  had  at  last  gone  upon  the  war-path, 
were  loth  to  relinquish  it.  They  recalled,  too,  with  bitter- 
ness the  justice  of  the  remark  made  by  them  to  Colonel 
Johnson,  when  urged  by  him  to  take  up  the  hatchet. 
"You  and  the  French  can  make  peace  whenever  you 
choose,  but  with  us  when  the  hatchet  is  once  dug  up,  it 
cannot  be  so  easily  buried,  but  the  war  must  be  one  of 
extermination." 

Still  the  result  of  this  council,  so  far  as  the  colonies 
were  concerned,  was  all  that  the  most  sanguine  could 
desire.     The  Six  Nations  promised,  either  to  drive  all  the 

45 


354  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap.  French  emissaries  who  had  privately  resided  among  them, 
»— y— >  out  of  their  country,  or  to  deliver  them  up  to  Governor 
1748.  Clinton.  They  agreed  farther  to  send  no  deputations 
to  the  Canadian  governor,  and  to  keep  their  warriors 
in  constant  readiness  to  obey  the  commands  of  Mr. 
Clinton.  Indeed  so  strong  had  been  the  desire  of  the 
Confederates  to  send  a  deputation  into  Canada — Galisso- 
niere  having  represented  that  this  was  the  condition 
alone  upon  which  their  braves  detained  by  him  would  be 
given  up — that  Governor  Shirley  thought  it  best  to  bring 
with  him  fourteen  French  prisoners  to  be  immediately  sent 
into  Canada  as  an  exchange  for  an  equal  number  of  In- 
dians detained  there  in  captivity. 

The  tragedy  at  Schenectady,  was  not  the  only  one  enact- 
ed upon  the  northern  border  of  the  colony  during  the  sum- 
mer of  1748.  Another,  of  a  most  heart  rending  description, 
was  perpetrated  at  about  the  same  time,  in  the  town  of 
Hoosic,  twenty-five  miles  north  of  Albany,  by  a  party  of 
Indians  from  St.  Francis,  which,  from  its  peculiar  barbari- 
ty, and  the  character  of  the  victims,  deserves  a  more 
extended  record  than  is  usually  awarded  to  these  incidents 
of  the  border.  Indeed  among  all  the  scenes  of  blood, 
written  or  traditionary,  in  the  early  history  of  this  country, 
none  surpass  in  cruelty  the  one  now  about  to  be  related. 

Maria  Keith,  whose  name  is  identified  with  this  savage 
transaction,  was  born  in  1721,  of  highly  respectable 
parents,  on  the  banks  of  the  Hudson,  about  eighteen  miles 
above  Albany.  Of  her  infancy  and  early  life,  it  is  suffi- 
cient to  say,  that  she  gave  decided  promise  of  no  ordi- 
nary qualities  of  mind,  evincing  an  unusual  attachment 
for  books,  and  devoting  to  reading  the  greater  part  of  that, 
which  her  contemporaries  in  childhood  spent  in  play. 
By  seizing  thus  upon  every  opportunity  of  improving  her 
mind,  she  acquired  much  information,  and  laid  up  a  consi- 
derable amount  of  knowledge,  though  the  expression  of 
her  biographer,  from  whom  the  leading  facts  of  the  nar- 


LIFE   OP   SIR   WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  355 

rative  are  drawn,  that  "she  had  informed  her  opening  chap* 
mind  with  the  principles  of  every  useful  science,"  is  proba-  >— ^ 
bly  somewhat  exaggerated.1  But  be  this  as  it  may,  it  is 1748, 
evident  that  her  mind  was  well  cultivated.  To  this  excel- 
lence may  he  added  another,  which  though  of  less  import- 
ance, yet  deserves  notice,  that  her  manners  were  elegant, 
an  d  her  person  uncommonly  attractive.  Her  beauty  became 
so  celebrated  that  her  fame  reached  Albany,  and  drew 
thence  several  admirers  who  visited  Miss  Keith,  and 
solicited  her  hand.  This  she  refused  to  all  her  Albanian 
suitors,  reserving  her  affections  for  a  relative  of  the  same 
name.  The  latter,  though  not  handsome,  yet  having  an 
engaging  address,  and  being  mutually  and  morally  such 
as  suited  her  tastes,  won  her  heart,  in  preference  to  other 
lovers,  who  might  have  been  considered  in  a  worldly  point 
of  view,  more  eligible.  She  was  married  at  the  youthful 
age  of  fifteen,  her  nuptials  being  celebrated  under  the 
most  favorable  auspices. 

Immediately  after  her  marriage,  Mr.  Keith  erected  a 
beautiful  mansion  on  the  banks  of  the  Touharna,  a  tribu- 
tary of  the  Hoosic  river,  whither  they  removed,  and  where 
they  were  surrounded  by  everything  necessary  to  happiness 
and  tranquil  enjoyment.  Among  the  neighbors  they  were 
both  very  popular,  winning  golden  opinions  by  their  kind- 
ness to  the  sick,  their  generosity  to  the  poor  and  needy,  and 
their  hospitality  to  all  of  every  grade  in  life  who  entered 
within  their  peaceful  doors.  In  this  way  they  passed  twelve 
years  of  uninterrupted  happiness,  during  which  time  Mrs. 
Keith  gave  birth  to  a  daughter  and  a  son,  between  whose 
ages  there  was  a  difference  of  nearly  eleven  years, — this  lat- 
ter having  been  born  in  the  spring  of  the  year  now  under 
review.  In  every  hour  of  alarm,  therefore,  Mrs.  Keith  felt 
increased  anxiety  on  account  of  the  helpless  infant  which 
she  held  in  her  arms.  Indulging  the  feelings  of  a  devoted 
and  an  attached  mother,  she  listened  with  breathless  solici- 
tude, to  all  the  rumors  which  were  spread  concerning  the 

1  Works  of  Ann  Maria  Bleecke'r. 


356  LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  marauding  bands  of  Indians,  sent  out  from  Canada  by  the 
v— v — i  French,  for  the  purpose  of  ruthless  devastation  upon  the 
1748.  property,  and  merciless  cruelty  upon  the  persons  of  the  bor- 
derers. Rumor  with  her  thousand  tongues,  many  of  which 
spake  but  too  truly  in  this  case,  soon  repeated  the  nearer  and 
nearer  approach  of  another  band  of  the  dreaded  ministers 
of  French  and  savage  vengeance.  When  it  was  ascer- 
tained that  the  Indians  had  arrived  within  the  vicinity  of 
Fort  Edward,  and  were  seen  prowling  about  that  place, 
Mr.  Keith  dispatched  a  messenger  to  bring  his  brothers 
who  resided  there,  to  his  house  on  the  Touharna, — deeming 
his  residence  a  safer  sanctuary,  on  account  of  its  being 
more  interior.  One  of  his  brothers  had  been  married 
several  months  before,  and  his  wife  at  the  time  of  their 
flight  from  Fort  Edward,  was  in  a  peculiarly  delicate  situa- 
tion. 

Not  long  after  Mr.  Keith  had  thus  collected  his  relations 
around  him,  and  under  his  roof,  his  family  were  visited  by 
some  Indians  of  the  St.  Francis  tribe,  who  had  pitched 
their  wigwams  a  small  distance  from  the  village  of  Schagh- 
ticoke.  These  were  hospitably  entertained,  and  were  per- 
mitted to  pass  several  hours  in  eating  and  drinking  ;  during 
which  time  much  conversation  passed  between  Mrs.  Keith 
and  her  savage  visitors.  To  soothe  her  apprehensions,  an 
old  Indian  who  was  spokesman,  assured  her  that  the  family 
might  dismiss  their  fear,  and  solemnly  promised  that  in 
case  of  any  danger  she  should  be  seasonably  informed,  and 
the  means  afforded  her  for  escape.  To  enforce  his  "  glozing 
lies,"  he  presented  her  with  a  belt  of  wampum,  saying, 
•"  There,  receive  my  token  of  friendship.  "We  go  to  dig  up 
the  hatchet,  to  sink  it  in  the  heads  of  your  enemies.  We 
shall  guard  this  word  with  a  rail  of  fire.  You  shall  be 
safe."  Still  farther  to  quiet  her  fears,  he  added  in  apparent 
anger  that  she  should  suspect  his  fidelity,  "  No  Maria,  I 
am  a  true  man.  I  shoot  the  arrow  up  to  the  Great  Captain 
every  new  moon  ;  depend  upon  it,  I  will  trample  down  the 
briars  round  your  dwelling  that  you  do  not  hurt  your  feet." 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  357 

TheRe  bland  words  seem  to   have   satisfied  Mrs.   Keith,  chap. 

'     IX. 

though  her  husband,  with  greater  sagacity,  suspected  and  w^_> 
feared  that  beneath  was  concealed  a  plan  for  their  destruc-  1748# 
tion. 

The  next  morning  after  the  ominous  visit  of  the  savages, 
perhaps  for  the  purpose  of  dispelling  the  anxiety  of  his 
mind,  Mr.  Keith  proposed  a  hunting  excursion  to  his  brother 
Peter,  which  was  accepted,  and  they  sallied  forth  with  their 
guns  in  quest  of  game.  Musing  upon  the  perils  that  sur- 
rounded their  families,  they  had  gone  several  miles  from 
home,  before  they  became  aware  of  the  distance  they  had 
traveled.  At  that  moment  their  eye  caught  sight  of  a  fine 
doe,  at  which  Peter  leveled  his  piece,  and  brought  her  to 
the  ground.  But  scarcely  had  the  echo  of  the  explosion 
died  away  among  the  the  hills,  when  they  heard  a  rustling, 
followed  by  the  crack  of  a  rifle,  and  Peter  fell  forward 
pierced  by  two  balls  in  his  heart.  This  was  rapidly  fol- 
lowed by  the  rushing  of  two  savages  upon  them,  one  of 
whom  prepared  to  scalp  his  victim,  while  the  other  aimed 
his  gun  at  Mr.  Keith.  Quick  as  thought  Mr.  Keith  shot 
his  antagonist  dead  on  the  spot,  and  assailing  the  other 
Indian  with  the  butt  of  his  rifle,  prostrated  him  on  the 
ground.  Leaving  his  foes  for  dead,  he  placed  the  bleeding 
corpse  of  his  brother  upon  his  horse,  and  hastened  home 
with  the  dire  intelligence. 

It  is  not  necessary  to  describe  the  scene  of  woe  that  fol- 
lowed his  arrival,  bearing  with  him  the  dead  body  of 
a  brother,  who  a  few  hours  before,  had  been  in  the 
enjoyment  of  life  and  health.  Suffice  it  to  say,  that  after 
having  washed  the  body  from  its  gore,  and  prepared  it  for 
the  grave,  they  laid  it  in  an  upper  room,  designing  to  have 
the  obsequies  performed  the  following  day.  Under  cir- 
cumstances calculated  to  excite  no  great  alarm,  Mr.  Keith 
resolved  to  set  out  that  night  for  Schaghticoke,  to  procure 
a  couple  of  wagons,  and  convey  his  family  to  Albany. 
Though  dissuaded  by  his  wife  from  going,  yet  he  persisted 
in  his  design,  and  accordingly  went,  leaving  an  affectionate 


358  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    EART. 

chap,  circle  behind  him,  which  he  fondly  hoped  to  see  again  in 
•— v — !  the  course  of  a  few  hours,  and  greet  them  with  tidings  of 
1748.  j^  guccesSj  an(j  the  certainty  of  being  soon  placed  beyond 
the  reach  of  danger.  But  he  had  not  been  gone  long, 
when  at  the  hour  of  midnight,  the  inmates  of  Mr.  Keith's 
mansion  were  startled  by  voices  and  yells  of  savages  sur- 
rounding the  house,  and  clamoring  for  admission.  Blow 
after  blow  was  made  upon  the  doors.  Every  moment 
increased  the  violence  of  the  assailants,  who  were  bent 
upon  deeds  of  blood.  Mrs.  Keith  pressed  her  children 
more  closely  to  her  heaving  bosom,  and  all  stood  petrified 
with  terror.  At  length  the  brother  of  Mr.  Keith,  who,  as 
I  have  already  mentioned,  had  been  lately  married, 
advanced  as  if  in  frantic  despair,  and  unbarred  the  door. 
Instantly  it  flew  open,  and  he  fell  pierced  with  balls,  and 
weltering  in  his  blood.  In  rushed  the  savages,  and  imme- 
diately began  the  work  of  death.  They  seized  the  prostrate 
husband  of  Cornelia,  and  tore  off  his  scalp  before  her  eyes. 
While  this  deed  was  perpetrating,  an  Indian,  hideously 
painted,  strode  up  to  Cornelia,  and  buried  his  tomahawk 
in  her  forehead.  Her  eyes  just  opened  as  the  blow 
descended,  and  then  closed  forever.  Perceiving  her  near 
approach  to  being  a  mother,  they  ripped  her  body  open,  and 
tearing  the  unborn  child  from  her  womb,  dashed  it  against 
the  wall. 

While  this  horrid  carnage  was  going  on,  another  Indian, 
— the  same  one  who  had  with  Punic  faith  presented  the 
belt  of  wampum  as  a  token  of  peace, — approached  Mrs. 
Keith,  who  sat  circling  her  children  in  her  arms,  and  utter- 
ing the  most  piteous  entreaties  for  mercy.  She  drew  forth 
and  showed  to  her  treacherous  foe,  the  belt,  and  appealed 
to  his  promise  made  when  he  gave  it  to  her.  But  she 
might  as  well  have  remonstrated  with  the  ferocious  tiger, 
when  hungry  for  prey.  He  only  replied  that  she  should  be 
spared,  and  "  dance  with  him  around  the  council  fire  in 
Canada" — and  then  with  a  sardonic  smile,  expressing  the 
fear  that  her  infant  son  would  only  incumber  her  on  the 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  359 

journey,  he  seized  the  child  by  the  wrists,  and  tore  it  from  chap. 
her  embrace.     Enraged  apparently  at  her  resistance,  he . — , — - 
dashed  its  forehead  against  the  wall,  and  hurled  its  reeking  1748- 
body  some  distance    from  the  house.     Frenzied  by  the 
sight  she  rushed  to  the   mangled  remains  of  her  loved 
infant,  redoubling  her  cries  of  anguish,   casting   herself 
upon  its  body,  wiping  the  blood  from  its  ghastly  counte- 
nance, and  pressing  it  to  her  bosom. 

The  savages  having  plundered  the  house  of  everything 
that  was  portable,  forced  those  who  had  escaped  their  ven- 
geance, to  quit  the  house,  consisting  of  Mrs.  Keith,  her 
daughter  Anna,  a  lovely  girl  in  her  twelfth  year,  and  a 
brother  of  Mr.  Keith.  They  then  completed  the  work  of 
destruction  by  firing  the  building,  which  was  soon  enveloped 
in  flames.  But  Mrs.  Keith's  cup  of  sorrow  was  not  yet 
full.  Anna,  acting  as  if  she  thought  that  death  in  any  shape 
was  to  be  preferred  to  being  in  the  hands  of  ruthless  bar- 
barians, to  whom  pity  was  a  stranger,  fled  precipitately 
back  to  the  house,  though  the  flames  were  bursting  forth 
in  every  direction,  and  entering  in,  secreted  herself  in  a 
closet,  where  she  remained  until  her  escape  became  impos- 
sible, and  perished  in  the  devouring  fire.  The  excruciating 
feelings  of  Mrs.  Keith,  on  being  compelled  to  behold  this 
funeral  pile  of  her  only  daughter,  can  readily  be  imagined. 
"Words  fail  to  express  the  horror  which  must  have  filled 
her  bosom,  when  seeing  at  her  feet  the  mangled  remains 
of  one  child,  and  witnessing  the  raging  flames  that  were 
consuming  the  other,  by  a  most  agonizing  death.  She 
continued  calling  the  name  of  her  daughter  with  loud 
cries,  till  the  Indians,  impatient  at  her  delay,  compelled 
her  and  her  brother,  the  only  survivors  in  this  fearful  trage- 
dy, to  set  out  with  them  in  their  journey  to  Canada. 

The  remainder  of  the  story  is  soon  told.  On  her 
wearisome  journey  with  the  savages,  nothing  remarkable 
occurred  that  deserves  a  particular  mention.  As  might  be 
supposed,  she  suffered  various  privations,  and  was  exposed 
to  great  fatigue.     Unaccustomed  to  their  mode  of  living, 


360  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  she  would  have  been  starved,  had  not  her  brother  prepared 
< — „ — ■  her  food,  and  ministered  to  her  necessities.  After  enduring 
1748.  numerous  perils  and  hardships,  she  at  last  reached  Canada. 
"When  in  the  Indian  village,  to  which  her  captors  hastened, 
she  narrowly  escaped  having  her  brains  dashed  out  by  an 
old  hag,  who  seemed  determined  to  glut  her  vengeance 
upon  the  prisoners.  But  on  reaching  Montreal,  bating 
some  painful  circumstances  which,  to  the  disgrace  of  civ- 
ilization were  allowed,  she  was  kindly  provided  for  by 
some  charitable  ladies,  one  of  whom  received  her  into  her 
house,  and  treated  her  with  the  kindness  of  a  sister. 

Thus  she  remained  in  the  house  of  this  charitable 
Samaritan,  till  she  was  at  last  found  by  her  husband.  The 
morning  after  the  deed  of  cruelty  which  has  been  described, 
was  perpetrated,  he  returned  with  two  wagons  to  carry  his 
family  to  Albany.  But  what  was  his  horror,  on  beholding 
his  house  burned  to  the  ground,  and  the  scene  of  ruin 
which  on  every  side  met  his  eye  !  By  exploring  the  ruins, 
however,  he  found  the  bones  of  those  who  had  been  mur- 
dered, and  also,  which  touched  his  heart  to  the  quick,  the 
half  consumed  remains  of  his  infant,  bearing  yet  the  marks 
of  savage  violence.  Collecting  these  charred  bones,  and 
depositing  them  in  a  box,  he  returned  with  them  to  Schagh- 
ticoke,  where  they  were  decently  buried.  Resigning  him- 
self to  despair,  and  supposing  that  Indian  vengeance  had 
spared  not  a  single  object  of  his  affections,  he  joined  the 
colonial  army,  resolving  to  seek  death  by  placing  himself 
in  the  front  of  the  battle,  and  courting  places  of  the  great- 
est exposure.  But  the  bullets  passed  harmlessly  by  him, 
nor  could  he  find  the  death  he  sought.  At  length  the 
thought  occurred  to  him  that  he  might  yet  find  his  brother, 
who  possibly  had  not  fallen  a  victim.  Cherishing  the  idea, 
he  set  off  for  Canada,  availing  himself  of  the  opportunity 
of  accompanying  some  prisoners,  who  were  returning  to 
Quebec.  In  Canada  he  pursued  the  object  of  his  journey 
with  indefatigable  ardor,  inquiring  of  eveiy  officer  the 
names  of  prisoners  who  had  been  captured  during  the  war. 


LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  361 

On  arriving  at  Montreal,  he  was  immediately  introduced  chap. 
to  the  general  officer,  who  patiently  heard  his  story,  and  u-^L/ 
treated  him  with  great  clemency.     Having  obtained  per-  1748- 
mission  to  remain  in  town  a  few  days,  he  respectfully  with- 
drew, and  turning  down  a  street  inquired  of  a  man  where 
lodgings  were  to  be  let.     The  stranger  turned  about  and 
civilly  took  off  his  hat,  when  whom  should   Mr.   Keith 
recognize  in  the  stranger,  but  his  brother  Henry  ?     By  him 
Mr.  Keith  received  the  delightful  intelligence  of  his  wife's 
preservation,  and  of  her  being  then   in   Montreal.     He 
speedily  flew  to  her  embrace.     The  rapture  of  the  reunion 
was  greater  than  she   could   endure.     She  fainted  in   his 
arms,  but  soon  recovered,  and  felt  that  the  joy  of  meeting 
compensated  her  for  the  wearisome  months  of  sadness, 
grief  and  distraction  which  she  had  endured. 

Nor  were  the  borders  of  Massachusetts  and  New  Hamp- 
shire unmolested  during  the  spring  and  summer  of  this 
year.  Unable  to  obtain  assistance  from  their  own  govern- 
ment, the  inhabitants  of  the  exposed  settlements  of  New 
Hampshire  upon  the  Connecticut  river,  applied  to  Massa- 
chusetts, by  the  legislature  of  which  a  garrison  of  one 
hundred  men  was  placed  in  the  fort  at  Charlestown,  called 
Number  Four,  under  the  command  of  the  gallant  Cap- 
tain Stevens,  who  had  signalized  himself  by  his  bravery 
in  that  position  before.  His  second  in  command  was  Cap- 
tain Humphrey  Hobbs.  Fort  Massachusetts  having  been 
rebuilt,  was  also  garrisoned  by  one  hundred  men,  and 
entrusted  again  to  its  former  commander,  Captain  Ephraim 
"Williams — ColonelJohn  Stoddard  of  Northampton,  having 
the  general  command  of  the  northern  and  wrestern  frontiers 
of  that  colony.  Dying,  however,  \n  the  month  of  June, 
that  eminent  man  was  succeeded  by  Colonel  Israel  Wil- 
liams, of  Hartford. 

But  it  was  not  garrison  duty  alone  which  the  officers  and 
soldiers  of  Number  Four  were  required  to  perform.  They 
had  a  wide  extent  of  territory  to  guard  against  the  irrup- 
tions of  the  enemy,  extending  from  the  upper  Merrimac 

4G 


362  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  country  to  Lake  Champlain,  and  a  suitable  number  of  men, 
' — „ —  from  both  forts,  were  required  to  be  constantly  employed 
1748.  jn  ranging  the  forests  to  intercept  the  enemy  in  their  sallies 
from  Crown  Point,  and  the  great  Indian  rendezvous  of 
St.  Francis.  The  enemy  first  appeared  at  Charlestown 
about  the  middle  of  March,  when  a  party  of  thirty  Indians 
attacked  eight  of  Stevens's  men,  at  a  short  distance  from 
the  fort.  Captain  Stevens  sallied  forth  for  their  rescue, 
and  brought  them  in  after  a  sharp  skirmish,  with  the  loss 
of  two  men,  one  of  whom  was  killed,  and  the  other  taken 
prisoner.  A  third  was  wounded.  A  yet  larger  party,  con- 
sisting of  eighteen  men  under  Captain  Melvin,  from  the 
same  garrison,  had  a  narrower  escape  in  the  month  of  May. 
Melvin  having  crossed  the  woods  to  the  shore  of  Lake  Cham- 
plain  opposite  Crown  Point,  imprudently  disclosed  himself 
to  the  enemy  in  that  fortress  by  firing  upon  two  canoes  of 
Indians.  A  party  was  immediately  sent  out  from  the  fort 
to  intercept  him  on  his  return,  which  by  a  rapid  march 
gained  his  front.  Having  crossed  the  enemy's  trail,  and 
thereby  discovered  his  design,  Melvin  endeavored  to  cir- 
cumvent him  by  changing  his  course  from  Charlestown, 
and  striking  down  in  the  direction  of  Fort  Dummer. *  But 
the  enemy  was  soon  upon  his  path,  and  in  close  pursuit, 
though  without  his  knowledge.  Arriving  at  West  river, 
Melvin  incautiously  allowed  his  men  to  halt  and  amuse 
themselves  by  shooting  the  salmon  which  were  passing  up 
a  shoal  of  that  stream.  The  consequence  had  well  nigh 
been  fatal  to  the  whole  party,  since  the  enemy,  thus 
apprized  of  their  halt,  and  by  stealthy  observation  of  their 
amusement,  rushed  upon  them  unawares,  and  killed  six  of 
the  most  valuable  men, — the  residue,  after  vainly  attempt- 
ing to  make  a  stand  against  superior  numbers,  making  their 
escape  to  Fort  Dummer.  A  month  afterward  a  party  of 
thirteen  men  on  the  route  from  Hinsdale  to  Fort  Dummer, 

1  Fort  Dummer,  frequently  spoken  of  in  the  early  border  wars,  was  first 
built  in  1723.  It  was  situated  on  the  Connecticut  river,  forty  miles  below 
Charlestown,  or  Number  Four. 


LIFE  OP   SIR   WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART.  363 

fell  into  an  Indian  ambuscade,  and  were  all  but  three  either  chap. 

IX.  g 

killed  or  taken  prisoners. *  >— v— ' 

The  history  of  this  feebly  conducted  contest  shows  that 1748> 
in  a  large  majority  of  these  border  affairs,  the  enemy  was 
successful — a  fact,  perhaps,  that  should  create  no  wonder, 
when  it  is  considered  that  his  movements  were  always  by 
stealth,  and  his  attacks  by  surprise, — he  having  the  selec- 
tion of  time  and  place,  and  the  option  of  fighting  or  not, 
according  to  circumstances.  But  fortune  was  not  always 
turning  in  their  favor.  It  happened  that  on  the  twenty-sixth 
of  .June,  while  Captain  Hobbs,  at  the  head  of  forty  men 
from  the  garrison  of  Number  Four,  was  ranging  the 
woods  west  of  the  Connecticut  river,  when  about  twelve 
miles  from  Fort  Dummer,  he  was  attacked  by  a  strong 
body  of  Indians,  under  a  resolute  half-breed  chief  named 
Sackett.  Hobbs  and  his  men  were  regaling  themselves  at 
their  knapsacks  at  the  moment  of  the  attack,  in  an  opening 
upon  a  rivulet  hedged  writh  alders,  and  covered  with  large 
and  towering  trees.  The  precaution  of  posting  sentinels, 
however,  had  not  been  omitted,  so  that  the  surprise  was 
less  complete  than  otherwise  it  would  have  been.  At  the 
instant  of  alarm,  each  man  selected  a  tree  for  his  cover, 
and  the  Indians  rushing  upon  the  heels  of  the  sentinels, 
were  in  the  onset  so  warmly  received  as  to  check  their 
advance.  The  Indians,  in  like  manner,  selected  trees  for 
their  protection  ;  and  an  irregular  battle  succeeded  which 
lasted  four  hours.  The  two  captains  were  both  men  of 
coolness  and  courage.  They  were  personal  acquaintances, 
and  had  been  friends  before  the  war,  and  frequently  called 
out  to  each  other  in  the  course  of  the  fight>-^-Sackett  claim- 
ing— as  he  had — a  large  superiority  of  force,  and  demanding 
a  surrender,  on  pain  of  the  indiscriminate  use  of  the  tom- 
ahawk in  case  of  refusal.  Hobbs,  with  stentorian  voice, 
refused  and  bade  defiance.  Less  cautious  than  the  English, 
the  Indians  several  times  exposed  themselves  by  attempting 
to  advance  to  a  hand  to  hand  contest,  but  were   as  often 

1  Hoyt. 


364  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  repulsed,  with  severe  loss.  Discouraged,  at  length,  by  the 
v— y— -  unyielding  courage  of  Hobbs  and  his  men,  and  probably 
1748.  forming  an  erroneous  estimate  of  their  strength,  the 
Indians  at  length  drew  off— dragging  off,  also,  their  dead, 
by  reason  of  which  their  loss  was  not  known.1  Many 
Indians,  however,  were  seen  to  fall,  and  the  battle  ground 
was  deeply  sanguine.  But  notwithstanding  the  duration 
of  the  fight,  only  three  of  the  English  were  killed,  and 
the  same  number  wounded. 2  The  strength  of  the  Indians 
was  estimated  at  one  hundred  and  sixty.  Still,  the  expe- 
dition of  Sackett  was  not  altogether  bootless,  since,  a  fort- 
night afterward  he  surprised  a  party  of  seventeen  men 
between  Hinsdale  and  Fort  Dummer,  killed  two  and 
wounded  the  same  number,  and  made  nine  of  the  residue 
prisoners.  Four  escaped.  In  these  enterprises  it  seems 
to  have  been  the  desire  of  the  enemy  to  take  captives  rather 
than  to  kill.  There  was  sound  policy  in  this ;  the  large 
amounts  received  from  the  friends  of  the  captives  for  their 
ransom,  going  far  toward  defraying  the  expenses  of  the 
war. 

Fort  Massachusetts  was  not  molested  until  past  midsum- 
mer. But  on  the  second  of  August,  a  party  of  four  men 
being  engaged  at  some  distance  from  the  fort,  were  tired 
upon  by  an  enemy  whose  presence  had  not  been  suspected. 
Captain  Williams  immediately  sallied  forth  for  their  res- 
cue with  Lieutenant  Hawley  and  thirty  men.  The  attack- 
ing party,  apparently  small,  were  soon  driven  back  ;  but 
in  the  moment  of  fancied  safety,  an  ambuscade  of  thirty 
Indians  rose  and  poured  in  a  fire  upon  "Williams's  right, 
moving  wuth  the  design  of  intercepting  his  return  to  the 


1  "In  all  battles  the  Indians  endeavor  to  conceal  their  loss,  and  in  effect- 
ing this,  they  sometimes  expose  themselves  more  than  in  combat  with  the 
enemy.  When  one  falls,  his  nearest  comrade  crawls  up,  under  cover  of  the 
trees  and  brush,  and  fixing  a  tump  line  to  the  dead  body,  cautiously  drags 
it  to  the  rear.  Hobbs's  men  related  that  in  this  action  they  often  saw  the 
dead  bodies  of  the  Indians  sliding  along  the  ground,  as  if  by  enchantment." 
— Eoyt. 

2  Hoyt's  Antiquities. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  365 

fort.  The  celerity  of  Williams's  movements,  however,  c"^p- 
frustrated  this  manoeuvre,  and  the  fort  was  reached  with  >~>r-' 
the  loss  of  only  one  man  killed  and  two  wounded — one  of  1>i7' 
whom  was  the  lieutenant.  It  soon  appeared  that  the 
escape  of  Williams  was  most  fortunate.  Indeed  it  must 
be  confessed  that  he  had  exhibited  singular  absence  of 
military  precaution  in  hazarding  a  sortie  with  so  small  a 
party,  while  ignorant  of  the  strength  of  his  enemy ;  three 
hundred  of  whom,  including  thirty  Frenchmen,  followed 
close  upon  his  heels  as  he  regained  the  fort,  and  commenced  a 
general  attack.  The  fire  was  sustained  on  both  sides 
about  two  hours  ;  but  having  no  artillery,  the  enemy  was 
unable  to  make  any  impression  upon  the  works,  and  drew 
off  with  a  loss,  the  amount  of  which  was  not  ascertained. 
The  enemy  was  shortly  afterward  more  successful  in  the 
neighborhood  of  Fort  Dumrner,  where  a  party  of  seven 
under  Lieutenant  John  Sargeants,  was  defeated,  the  com- 
mander being  among  the  killed,  and  the  survivors  made 
prisoners.1 

Meanwhile  serious  trouble  began  to  manifest  itself 
among  the  troops  stationed  at  Albany  and  along  the  front- 
iers, in  consequence  of  the  scarcity  of  supplies.  Many  of 
the  men  deserted,  and  some  of  the  officers  resigned  their 
commissions,  flatly  refusing  to  serve  longer.2  The  assem- 
bly was  not  to  meet  until  October,  and  the  commissioners 
refused  to  execute  the  orders  which  the  governor,  by  the 
advice  of  his  council,  had  given  them  for  supplying  the 
troops, — urging  as  an  excuse  that  they  had  not  been  so 
authorized  by  the  assembly.  The  governor  was  exceed- 
ingly chafed  by  this  refusal  of  the  commissioners  to  act. 
This  appears  in  all  of  his  correspondence  at  this  time,  but 
especially  in  his  correspondence  with  Colonel  Johnson, 
with  whom  he  was  now  on  terms  of  intimacy.     In  a  letter 

1  Hoyt's  Antiquities. 

2  Manuscript  letter,  Johnson  to  Clinton  ;  also  manuscript  letter  to  John- 
son from  Captain  Stoddard,  then  in  command  at  Schenectady. 


366  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  under  date  of  October  fifth,  the  following  passage  occurs : 
v— ^  "  By  a  letter  I  have  from  Captain  Stoddard  that  no  pro- 
1748.  visions  are  gone  up,  I  conclude  it  was  designedly  neglect- 
ed by  the  commissioners  in  order  to  distress  the  service 
and  disband  the  troops  sooner  than  I  thought  it  necessary  ; 
and  with  a  great  deal  of  assurance,  declared  that  even  if 
they  were  served  with  an  order  from  the  council  they 
would  not  obey  it !  What  a  low  ebb  is  the  governor  and 
council  of  New  York  driven  to,  that  their  orders  are 
refused  for  three  weeks  provisions  for  a  few  men.  *  * 
*  *  Formerly  the  governor  and  council  had  the  disposal 
of  every  shilling,  and  did  it  all  in  council  by  warrant, 
without  consulting  the  assembly  or  anybody."1 

Those  persons  have  read  little,  and  have  thought  still 
less,  who  suppose  that  the  revolt  of  the  colonies  was  the 
result  of  a  moment.  The  controversies  between  the 
assembly  and  the  executive ;  the  seeming  apathy  of  the 
house  to  provide  for  the  safety  of  the  frontiers,  and  its 
general  indiiference  in  providing  the  needed  supplies  of 
which  Mr.  Clinton  so  bitterly  complains,  had  in  fact  their  use 
not  so  much  in  an  unconcern  for  the  welfare  of  the  colonies 
as  in  a  fixed  determination  to  resist  the  encroachments  of  the 
crown.  Still  it  must  be  frankly  admitted,  that  the  assem- 
bly were  often  in  the  wrong,  and  that  much  of  this  treat- 
ment of  the  governor  was  harsh  and  ill-judged. 

In  the  assembly,  which  met  upon  the  twelfth  of  Octo- 
ber, the  governor  determined  to  reassert  the  prerogative 
in  the  strongest  terms  by  bringing  the  subject  of  a  perma- 
nent supply  to  direct  issue ;  choosing  as  an  able  writer  has 
remarked,  New  York  "  as  the  opening  scene  in  the  final 
contest  that  led  to  independence."2  Accordingly  on  the 
fourteenth  Mr.  Clinton  sent  down  his  message  to  the 
house,  in  which,  after  congratulating  them  upon  the  near 
prospect  of  a  general  peace,  he  demanded  a  permanent 
support  for  five  years.     The  message  stated  that  on  coming 

1  Manuscript  letter. 

2  Bancroft. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  367 

to  the   administration   of  the    government,  he  had  been  chap. 

°  '  IX. 

disposed  to  do  all  he  could,  consistently  with  his  duty  to ' — „ — ; 
the  king,  for  the  care  and  satisfaction  of  the  people. 
Hence,  reposing  confidence  in  the  advice  then  given  him, 
ho  had  given  his  assent  to  various  acts  of  the  assembly, 
the  tendency  of  which,  as  experience  had  taught  him,  was 
to  weaken  the  authority  of  his  majesty's  government.  Still, 
as  the  country  was  very  soon  afterward  involved  in  war, 
he  had  forborne  to  take  that  attitude  in  the  premises  which 
duty  to  his  sovereign  seemed  to  require.  But  with  the  return 
of  peace,  he  deemed  it  to  be  his  indispensable  duty  to  put 
a  stop  to  such  innovations.  Prominent  among  these  was 
the  practice  which  had  been  growing  up,  of  making  only 
an  annual  provision  for  the  payment  of  the  officers  of  the 
government.  He  also  alluded  to  the  modern  practice  of 
naming  the  officers,  for  whose  benefit  the  appropriations 
were  made,  in  the  act — thus  interfering  with  the  preroga- 
tive in  the  appointing  honor.  He  admonished  the  assem- 
bly that  he  should  give  his  assent  to  no  acts  of  that 
character  for  the  future  ;  and  demanded  an  appropriation 
for  the  payment  of  the  governor's,  secretaries,  judges  and 
other  salaried  officers,  for  the  term  of  five  years,  accord- 
ing to  the  practice  that  had  prevailed  during  the  adminis- 
tration of  his  four  immediate  predecessors,  namely, 
Governors  Hunter,  Burnett,  Montgomery,  and  Cosby. 
The  inconveniences  of  these  annual  grants  of  salaries  and 
allowances,  was  adverted  to,  and  objections  farther  urged 
against  the  recent  method  of  intermixing  matters  of  an 
entirely  different  nature  with  the  provisions  of  the  salary 
bills,  and  tacking  new  grants  for  other  purposes  to  the 
governor's  own  support.  The  governor  desired  them 
farther  to  make  immediate  provision  for  the  payment  of 
the  troops  at  Albany,  and  on  the  frontier ;  recommended 
that  the  troops  should  be  continued  at  Albany  ;  and  con- 
cluded by  calling  the  attention  of  the  assembly  to  a  debt 
of  two  thousand  one  hundred  and  thirty-eight  pounds,  due 
to  Colonel  Johnson  for  disbursements  made  by  that  gentle- 


368  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  man  in  the  public  service,  and  which  had  been  allowed 
^ — -  and  ordered  to  be  paid  by  an  act  of  the  preceeding  session. 
1748.  Owing  to  a  deficiency  in  the  funds,  upon  which  it  was 
directed  to  be  charged,  the  money  had  not  been  paid; 
and  the  inconvenience  of  being  kept  so  long  out  of  so 
large  a  sum  of  money,  was  so  great,  that  it  was  only  with 
much  difficulty  that  he  had  been  enabled  to  persuade 
the  colonel  to  undertake  again  the  supplying  of  the  import- 
ant garrison  at  Oswego. 

The  assembly,  in  its  reply,  justly  regarding  the  request 
for  a  permanent  supply  as  a  direct  attempt  to  render  the 
crown  independent  of  the  people,  with  great  indignation, 
refused  to  grant  it.  As  to  the  more  recent  practice  of 
naming  the  officers  provided  for  in  the  salary  bills,  it  not 
only  justified  it,  but  intimated  that  if  this  course  had 
been  adopted  at  an  earlier  day,  his  excellency  would  not 
have  been  able  to  remove  the  third  justice  of  the  supreme 
court  "without  any  color  of  misconduct"  on  his  part — 
who  was  "  a  gentleman  of  learning  and  experience  in  the 
law."1  Respecting  the  other  matters  in  the  message,  it 
replied,  that  it  saw  no  reason  for  burdening  the  colony 
with  the  troops  in  Albany,  declaring  that  the  troops  at 
Oswego  were  quite  sufficient  in  time  of  peace  for  the 
protection  of  the  province.  It  passed  however,  a  bill 
granting  three  thousand  six  hundred  pounds  for  the 
pay  of  the  troops  on  the  frontier,  but  ignored  entirely  the 
claim  of  Colonel  Johnson.  The  result  can  readily  be  seen. 
After  continual  bickerings  for  several  weeks,  Mr.  Clinton, 
in  great  wrath,  prorogued  the  assembly. 

Thus  the  parties  separated,  and  thus  again  commenced 
that  great  struggle  between  the  republican  and  the  mon- 
archal principle,  wh  ich  in  the  onward  progress  of  the 
former  was  destined  at  a  day  not  even  then  far  distant,  to 
work  such  mighty  results  in  the  western  hemisphere. 

1  Alluding  to  the  removal,  the  year  before,  of  Justice  Horsmanden.  This 
act  was  again  imputed  to  the  influence  of  "  a  person  of  a  mean  and  despi- 
cable character" — meaning,  as  it  was  well  understood,  Doctor  Colden. 


LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

Although  hostilities  were  suspended  between  the  chap- 
belligerents,  whose  armies  were  contending  in  the  Nether-  >— y— ' 
lands,  immediately  after  the  preliminaries  were  signed  at 1748* 
Aix  La  Chapelle,  yet  it  was  long  before  the  forces  at  sea 
were  apprized  of  the  fact.  Meantime  Admiral  Boscawen, 
in  the  East  Indies,  having  invested  Pondicherry  by  land 
and  water,  was  compelled  to  retire  with  signal  discomfit- 
ure. Rear  Admiral  Knowles,  too, — the  same  who  had 
rendered  himself  so  deservedly  unpopular  at  Boston  the 
year  before, — continued  to  prosecute  the  contest  in  the 
West  Indies  with  various  success.  With  a  squadron  of 
eight  ships  he  attacked  fort  St.  Louis,  on  the  south  side 
of  St.  Domingo,  which  after  a  warm  action  of  three  hours 
was  surrendered  on  capitulation  and  dismantled.  But  he 
afterward  made  an  abortive  attempt  upon  St.  Iago  de  Cuba, 
at  the  result  of  which  he  was  greatly  chagrined.1  Early 
in  October  Admiral  Knowles,  while  cruising  in  the  neigh- 
borhood of  Havana,  with  eight  ships  of  the  line,  fell  in 
with  a  Spanish  squadron  of  nearly  equal  force,  command- 
ed by  Admiral  Reggio,  and  a  severe  engagement  ensued, 
which  lasted  six  hours,  commencing  at  two  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon,  and  ending  at  eight.  Knowles  himself  began 
the  action  in  gallant  style,  but  being  seriously  disabled, 
his  ship  was  compelled  to  drop  astern  of  the  squadron, 
and  was  not  afterward  engaged  in  the  line;  but  being 
borne  down  upon  by  the  enemy,  and  another  ship  coming 
to  his  assistance,  a  struggle  sharp  and  bloody  ensued.  The 
Spanish  commander,  notwithstanding  the  inferiority  of 
his  force,  was  at  one  time  confident  of  victory;2  but  the 
fortunes  of  the  day  were  against  him,  and  he  was  com- 
pelled to  put  into  the  Havana  with  the  loss  of  two  ships  ; 
and  a  third  was  destroyed  the  next  day  to  prevent  her  from 
falling  into  the  hands  of  the  English.  Admiral  Knowles 
taxed  some  of  his  men  with  misbehavior  in  this  affair, 
and  he  was  accused  in  turn.     Several  of  the  officers  were 


i  Smollett. 

2Spanisk  official  account  in  the  Gentleman's  Magazine  for  April  1749. 

47 


I 

370  LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART. 

chap,  tried  by  a  court  martial,  and  reprimanded,  and  Knowles 
v_^^  himself  was  tried  in  December,  1749.  The  court  acquitted 
1748.  ]1jm  0f  ^e  charge  0f  cowardice  ;  awarding  him  on  the 
contrary,  the  merit  of  great  personal  bravery.  But  he 
was  nevertheless  found  guilty  of  negligence  in  his  arrange- 
ments, in  several  particulars,  and  ordered  to  be  repri- 
manded.1 High  feelings  of  animosity  arose  among  the 
officers,  who  either  took  sides  with  or  against  the  admiral, 
and  several  duels  were  the  consequence,  in  one  of  which 
a  Captain  Jarvis  was  mortally  wounded  by  his  antagonist 
Captain  Clark.2  But  according  to  both  English  and  Span- 
ish accounts  the  action  was  bravely  fought  on  both  sides. 
As  it  proved   it  was  a  needless  waste  of  life. 

The  definite  treaty  of  peace  was  concluded  and  signed 
on  the  seventh  day  of  October  at  Aix  La  Chapelle  ;  and 
considering  the  circumstances  under  which  it  was  con- 
cluded, and  the  relative  strength  of  the  parties  and  the 
condition  of  the  alliance  at  the  head  of  which  was  Eng- 
land, for  a  farther  prosecution  of  the  contest,  it  was  a  most 
inglorious  peace.3  Thus  ended  the  "  old  French  war," 
produced  by  the  wickedness  of  Frederick,  "  the  evils  of 
which  were  felt  in  lands  where  the  name  of  Prussia  was 
unknown  ;  and,  in  order  that  he  might  rob  a  neighbor 
whom  he  had  promised  to  defend,  black  men  fought  on 
the  coast  of  Coromandel,  and  red  men  scalped  by  the 
great  lakes  of  North  America. 


'4 


1  Proceedings  of  the  court  martial,  vide  Gentleman's  Magazine, 

»  Smollett. 

3 This  contest  was  called  "the  old  French  war."  It  was  in  fact  begun 
by  Frederick  the  Great,  by  an  unjust  and  rapacious  attack  upon  the  Em- 
press-Queen Maria  Theresa,  for  the  purpose  of  wresting  Siberia  from  her. 
It  involved  the  world  in  arms.  The  respective  alliances  on  the  one  side, 
were  the  king  of  Great  Britain,  the  empress-queen,  the  states-governors 
of  the  United  Provinces,  and  the  king  of  Sardinia,  with  several  smaller 
princes  as  auxiliaries  On  the  other  side,  was  the  alliance  of  France,  Spain, 
(claiming  the  Austriain  succession,)  the  infant  Don  Philip,  brother  of  the 
king  of  Spain  and  son-in-law  of  the  king  of  France,  with  the  republic  of 
Genoa  and  the  duke  of  Madrid. 

4Macauley's  life  of  Frederick  the  Great. 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  o71 

Meanwhile  the  Confederates  were  again  becoming  chap. 
solicitous  for  those  of  their  warriors  who  were  still  languish-  ^~v—/ 
ing  in  chains  in  Canada.1  The  promises  made  to  them,  at 1748' 
the  council  at  Albany,  by  Clinton  and  Johnson,  of  the 
speedy  release  of  their  brethren,  had  quieted  them  for  a 
time.  But  now,  as  month  after  month  passed  away  and 
nothing  was  acomplished,  they  doubted  the  power  of  the 
English  to  bring  this  about,  and  thought  seriously  of 
taking  the  matter  into  their  own  hands.  Johnson  feared 
this  himself,  for  in  a  letter  written  at  this  time  to  Governor 
Clinton  upon  the  subject,  he  says : — "There  is  not  one  of 
our  Indians  suffered  to  come,  nor  any  of  the  Christians 
who  were  taken  with  them,  which  is  very  hard,  and  will 
be  the  means,  I  reckon,  of  all  the  Five  Nations  going 
down  now  to  Canada  to  get  them."  There  was  indeed 
cause  for  alarm ;  and  it  required  the  most  strenuous  exer- 
tions of  Colonel  Johnson  to  keep  the  Mohawks  quietly  at 
their  castles,  until  the  terms  of  the  exchange  of  prisoners 
could  be  settled.  This  was  no  easy  matter  ;  and  through- 
out the  remainder  of  the  year  the  attention  of  Mr.  Clin- 
ton was  chiefly  occupied  in  successive  negotiations  with 
Galissoniere,  for  an  exchange  of  prisoners.  But  notwith- 
standing the  evident  approach  of  peace,  and  an  arrange- 
ment for  a  cessation  of  arms  in  Europe,  the  French 
governor  opposed  various  obstacles  in  the  way  of  an  equita- 
ble and  prompt  exchange.  Mr.  Clinton  had  sent  two  flags 
of  truce  without  success,  particularly  in  reference  to  the 
captive  warriors  of  the  Six  Nations,  who,  as  before  hinted, 
were  becoming  exceedingly  restive  under  the  delay, — so 
much  so,  indeed,  as  to  lead  them  to  send  a  special  deputa- 
tion of  their  chiefs  to  New  York  at  the  close  of  Septem- 
ber, to  plead  with  the  governor  upon  the  subject.2  There 
were  likewise  many  prisoners  in  Canada,  males  and 
females,  inhabitants  of  the  frontiers,  who  had  been  carried 
away,  and  who  were  of  course,  with  their  friends,  anxious 

1  Manuscript  letter  ;  J.  Williams  to  Major  Lydius. 

2  See  journals  of  the  council. 


372  LIFE   OF  SIR  WILLIAM   JOHNSON,   BART. 

chap,  for  their  return.1  But  the  difficulty  was  not  so  much  in 
^-v— /  relation  to  the  exchange  of  the  English  for  the  French 
1748.  prisoners,  as  it  was  in  reference  to  the  exchange  of  the 
Mohawks  for  an  equal  number  of  the  French  held  as 
prisoners  in  New  York.  La  Galissoniere,  claimed  that 
the  Mohawks  were  an  independent  nation,  and  as  such, 
qualified  to  treat  alone  with  him  upon  the  subject;  while 
Clinton  justly  maintained  that  by  the  treaty  of  Utrecht, 
the  Mohawks  were  the  dependants  and  subjects  of  the 
British  crown. 

Instead  therefore,  of  meeting  the  views  of  Mr.  Clinton 
and  proceeding  at  once  to  a  general  exchange,  Galisso- 
niere released  only  a  few,  sending  a  return  flag,  with 
seven  officers,  eighteen  privates,  and  four  Canadian 
Indians,  accompanied  by  some  propositions  to  which  the 
governor  of  New  York  refused  to  accede.  On  the  arrival 
of  this  formidable  company  at  Albany,  Colonel  Johnson's 
suspicions  were  aroused  that  all  was  not  right ;  and  he 
would  not  allow  them  to  proceed  to  New  York,  until  per- 
mission to  that  effect  had  been  received.2  That  permis- 
sion having  been  given,  the  French  party,  the  leader  of  whom 
was  M.  Francis  Marie,  proceeded  at  once  to  New  York. 
The  embassy  was,  however,  bootless  as  appears  by  the  fol- 
lowing passage  taken  from  a  long  manuscript  letter  upon 
this  and  other  subjects,  addressed  by  Mr.  Clinton  to  Colonel 
Johnson  on  the  fifth  of  October : — "  As  the  commandant 
of  this  party  is  a  very  pretty  gentleman,  it  grieves  me  much 
that  I  can't  send  any  of  his  people  back  with  him,  as  it 
might  be  of  great  service  in  recommending  him  to  the 
governor.  But  his  letter  is  so  haughty,  and  indeed  rather 
insolent,  that  I  am  obliged  to  stick  on  punctilios.  His 
detaining  our  Christian  prisoners  from  us  in  time  of  peace, 
is  not  right.    Yet  if  he  had  sent  one  or  two  of  the  Indians 


1  Manuscript  letter  from  Peter  Van  Schaick  to  Colonel  Johnson, — written 
at  this  time,  while  a  prisoner  in  Canada, — begging  that  the  latter  would  use 
his  earnest  efforts  to  obtain  his  speedy  release. 

2  Manuscript  letter;  Colonel  Johnson  to  Governor  Clinton.  , 


LIFE   OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  373 

back  in  room  of  the  five  of  his  I  sent,  something  might  chap. 
have  been  done.  But  the  poor  gentleman  must  go  back  w^ — • 
as  he  came,  and  thank  his  own  governor's  indiscretion  for  1748- 
putting  things  on  a  wrong  footing." 

Thus  matters  stood  until  the  end  of  the  year.  Nothing 
definite  was  arrived  at  in  relation  to  the  exchange  ;  and 
although  there  were  no  active  hostilities,  yet  the  year 
closed,  leaving  all  parties  mutually  dissatisfied,  and  equally 
suspicious   of  the  designs  of  each  other. 


CHAPTER  X. 

1749—1750. 

The  exchange  of  prisoners  still  continued  to  be  the  sub- 

chap*  Jec*  °f    a  lengthy    coiTespondence    between  the    royal 

,x'    governors.     The  Six  Nations  yet  retained  in  their  posses- 

1749.  sion   several  of  the  French,    uncertain — as  in  turn  they 

were  influenced  by  the  French  emissaries,  or  by  Colonel 

Johnson — to  which  of  the  governors   to  yield  them  up. 

To  the  Confederates  at  least,  the  final  disposition  of  their 

prisoners   was  a  subject  of  grave  consideration.     Should 

they  treat  directly  with  La  Galissoniere,  they  were  fearful 

of  incurring  the  displeasure  of  Governor  Clinton ;    while 

on  the  other  hand,  should  they  yield  up  their  prisoners  to 

Colonel   Johnson,   they    feared  that  by  so   doing,   they 

would  lose  the  power  to  redeem  their  braves  from  their 

captivity. 

To  Colonel  Johnson  this  delicate  matter  of  effecting  a 
transfer  of  the  prisoners  into  his  hands,  was  entrusted  ;  and 
after  considerable  negotiation,  rendered  necessary  by  their 
vascillating  course,  the  Mohawks  were  induced  to  yield 
up  twelve  of  their  prisoners.  This  transfer,  however,  was 
accompanied  by  a  request,  on  the  part  of  the  Mohawks, 
that  the  colonel  would  not  allow  the  Frenchmen  to  return 
home,  until  those  of  their  warriors,  who  yet  languished  in 
the  jail  at  Quebec,  should  be  brought  down  to  Crown 
Point,  and  delivered  into  his  hands.  The  success  of  his 
negotiations,  the  colonel  immediately  communicated  to 
Mr.  Clinton  in  a  letter,  which  the  latter  at  once  laid  before 
his  council  for  its  action.  Several  months  elapsed 
before  farther  orders  touching  the  final  disposition  of  the 
prisoners  were  received  from  the  governor  ;  during  which 
interval,  the  colonel  received  them  into  his  own  house, 
treating  them  with  much  kindness  and  consideration. 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  375 

Meanwhile  the  Mohawks,  always  suspicious,  and  not  chap. 
understanding  the  delays  and  forms  of  diplomatic  inter-  ^^-, 
course,  began  to  he  apprehensive  lest  the  object  they  had1749- 
in  delivering  up  their  prisoners  might  not  be  attained. 
These  apprehensions  were  likewise  increased  by  messages 
which  the  wily  La  Galissoniere,  with  artful  tact,  continued 
to  send  to  the  Mohawks,  inviting  them  to  come  to  Quebec, 
and  treat  in  person  for  their  braves.  This,  as  it  was 
designed,  only  increased  their  ill  temper, — conscious  that 
they  had  lost  the  power  to  do  this,  when  they  allowed  the 
Frenchmen  to  go  out  of  their  hands.  Their  discontent  at 
first  manifested  itself  in  angry  looks  and  dark  hints,  until 
finally,  unequivocal  symptoms  showed  that  they  designed 
taking  the  matter  into  their  own  hands,  by  wresting  back 
by  force  that  which  they  had  so  unwillingly  granted.  So 
deeply  rooted  had  their  disaffection  become,  and  so  widely 
had  it  spread,  that  the  colonel  himself  feared  that  even 
his  influence  would  not  much  longer  avail  for  the  protec- 
tion of  the  prisoners.  In  this  strait,  he  at  once  wrote  to 
Mr.  Clinton,  stating  the  situation  of  affairs  and  his  own 
fears.     The  governor  immediately  replied  as  follows : 

"KewYork  June  7,  1749. 
"  Sir. 

"I  have  the  favor  ot  yours  of  twenty-sixth  of  last 
month,  and  am  well  pleased  with  the  accounts  you  give  me 
of  your  conduct  with  the  Indians.  You  may  assure  the 
Mohawks  that  the  reason  of  my  not  sending  back  the 
French  prisoners  which  you  have  in  your  hands,  is  in 
order  to  secure  the  return  of  their  people  who  are  prison- 
ers in  Canada,  and  that  their  people  shall  not  have  their 
liberty  on  any  conditions  but  that  of  the  liberty  of  the 
Indians  who  are  prisoners  in  Canada  ;  that  all  these  mes- 
sages from  the  governor  of  Canada  are  only  an  artifice  to 
draw  them  to  Canada  in  order  to  make  mean  and  shameful 
submissions  to  him  there.  And  in  order  to  prevent  any  of 
their  people  making  such  a  shameful  step,  so  disgraceful  to 
their  nation,  you  must  endeavor  to  persuade  them  to  deliver 


376  LIFE   OF   SIR  WILLIAM  JOHNSON,   BART. 


CHAP. 
X. 

1749. 


the  remaining  prisoners  into  your  hands  that  they  may  he 
kept  safe  till  the  liberty  of  the  Indians  be  secured.  And 
for  this  purpose,  if  you  have  any  apprehensions  that  the 
French  now  at  your  house  cannot  be  safely  kept  there, 
you  are  to  send  them  to  Albany  to  the  sheriff,  there  to  be 
kept  in  jail  till  such  time  as  he  shall  receive  my  orders 
for  their  liberty.  If  you  think  it  may  be  attended  with 
any  inconvenience  to  keep  the  French  in  prison  at  Albany, 
then  you  may  send  them  down  to  'New  York  where  I  shall 
take  care  to  have  them  secured. 

Inclosed  is  an  order  to  the  sheriff  to  receive  the  prisoners 
from  you,  and  to  keep  them  in  safe  custody. 

"  But  as  the  Indians  are  frequently  very  humorsome, 
and  there  must  be  some  regard  had  to  it,  you  are  allowed 
to  take  some  latitude  in  the  execution  of  these  orders,  by 
delaying  the  full  execution  of  them,  till  you  inform  me  of 
any  inconvenience  which  you  may  apprehend  may  attend 
the  strict  observance  of  them.  I  have  received  no  orders 
from  court  relating  to  the  liberty  of  prisoners,  and  I  delay 
sending  to  Canada  for  their  liberty  in  expectation  of 
receiving  such,  and  am, 

"  Sir,  Your  very  humble  servant, 

"G.  Clinton." 

On  the  reception  of  this  letter  Colonel  Johnson  sum- 
moned both  of  the  Mohawk  castles  together,  and  used 
all  his  influence  to  divest  them  of  their  suspicions,  and  per- 
suade them  to  leave  the  exchange  of  the  prisoners  entirely 
with  Mr.  Clinton.  In  this  he  succeeded ;  but  only  after 
great  effort,  and  by  the  payment  to  the  Indians  of  large 
sums  of  money  out  of  his  own  purse.  The  Mohawks 
were  also  induced  at  the  same  time  to  deliver  up  to  him 
the  remainder  of  their  captives,  thus  increasing  the  num- 
ber under  his  protection  to  nineteen. 

Scarcely  had  this  affair  been  amicably  arranged,  when 
another  difficulty  arose,  which  for  a  little  while  threat- 
ened to  mar  the  harmony  between  the   Indians  and  the 


LIFE    OF   SIR   WILLIAM   JOHNSON,    BART.  377 

English.     This  time,  however,  the  trouble  had  its  origin  chap. 

.     .  .  x. 

in  the  indiscreet  conduct  of  a  few  whites.     It  seems  that  • — , — - 

some  traders  from  Albany  and  the  adjacent  settlements,  1749- 
in  going  their  yearly  rounds  among  the  different  cantons 
of  the  Confederacy,  had  taken  several  Indian  children  as 
pawns  or  pledges  for  the  payment  of  the  goods  sold  to  the 
parents.  Notwithstanding  the  latter  came  at  the  appoint- 
ed time  to  redeem  their  children,  the  traders  refused  to 
deliver  them  up, — designing  to  keep  them  as  security  for 
future  purchases.  The  chiefs  of  the  several  tribes,  justly 
indignant  at  this  breach  of  faith,  came  in  a  body  to  Mount 
Johnson,  and  laid  their  grievances  before  the  colonel,  who 
thereupon  informed  Mr.  Clinton  of  these  facts.  The  result 
was  a  proclamation  from  the  governor  directing  that  the 
children  should  at  once  be  restored  to  their  homes.  Most 
of  the  traders  forthwith  obeyed,  but  a  few  wrere  obstinate 
and  refused  compliance.  The  French,  ever  ready  to  seize 
upon  anything  which  might  be  turned  to