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CANANDAUQUA, July 17th, 1792. Sir: Agreeably to the directions I received for the purpose, I set out for Buffalo creek the 9th ultimo. It was out of my power to despatch Captain Hendricks as soon as I could have wished.
The chiefs of the Five Nations at first peremptorily insisted on his waiting to accompany them, and it was not without diffiulty that they were induced to relinquish the point. After a council, which was protracted for several days, they, however, gave their consent. He set out in a bark canoe on the eighteenth, with suitable attendants and provisions. It was the opinion of the Indians, he would reach the place of destination in eight days. As I had possessed myself with all the information I expected, I would have returned home after the departure of Captain Hendrick, but the chiefs would by no means consent to my leaving them, while the treaty continued. And, indeed, I have not since been sorry, as I have reason to believe that my continuance has been the means of more perfectly reconciling the Onondagas and Cayugas. The far greater part, of both nations, have resided at Buffalo creek, ever since the last war. On my first arrival, the principal chief of the Cayuga nation, commonly known by the name of the Fish Carrier, and, indeed, the whole of both nations, were extremely disaffected. For the grounds of their disaffection, I must refer you, sir, to the speeches delivered to me on the occasion, which I ordered to be taken down in writing on the spot, and transmit to you by this despatch. After several conferences with the Fish Carrier, in which I was greatly assisted by several chiefs who attended Congress, he gradually relaxed in his severity, and at last became perfectly friendly. A number of young warriors had gone off in the spring, to join the hostile Indians: the Fish Carrier promised me that he would not only recall the party, but would go in person to the Southern treaty, and use every exertion to bring about a general pacification between Congress and the Southern Indians. That, after he had been useful, he would go and see General Washington; and could then take him by the hand with confidence and pleasure. Few Indians chiefs have a more extensive influence than the Fish Carrier. The alteration, therefore,
American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, p. 241.
of his sentiments, could not but afford me the highest pleasure. I can only express it as my private wish, that all his reasonable requests might be gratified. You have no doubt heard, sir, that a number of the Senecas were concerned with our people in cutting off a scout of hostile Indians. This event has occasioned a good deal of uneasiness among the Five Nations. Their resentment is peculiarly excited against the commander of fort Jefferson. They say, that, contrary to the advice he has received from Congress, he has excited some of their thoughtless young men to strike the tomahawk into the heads of their brothers; that it has occasioned an uneasiness towards the whole of their nation, and thrown obstacles in the way of their influence in favor of their friends. The chiefs from Oneida did not arrive during the council: I should otherwise have been able to have despatched the chiefs of the Five Nations to the Southern treaty, previously to my leaving Buffalo creek. Two of the Massasoiga chiefs attended council with the Five Nations: their appearance was perfectly friendly. They expressed a wish to be made acquainted with our great men. The Mohawks were sent for from the Grand river; but, as Captain Brandt was absent, and their principal chief sick, they did not attend. Colonel Butler, the British superintendent of the Six Nations, was also requested to attend. He came as far as the garrison: the commanding officer would not permit him to proceed further. He, however, sent a speech to the Indians, in which he told them they were in the right path, and advised them to continue in it. I was visited by several British officers and gentlemen from the settlement of Niagara; they behaved with a politeness that seemed nearly to approach to real friendship. On the whole, every circumstance that respects the Six Nations, wears, at present, a most flattering appearance. The chiefs that went to Congress are our zealous friends: they particularly explained to the nations, who convened for the purpose, the speeches they had made and received while absent; the reception and treatment they received at Philadelphia: and I had the pleasure of observing, that they met with universal approbation.
From the best intelligence I could procure, the Southern nations rest in quiet, except the Delawares and Shawanese; neither can I learn that they at present have any thoughts of sending out war parties; but are very attentive lest an enemy should surprise their villages. The grand council of Indian nations are now convening at the falls of the Big Miami. It is thought it will be the largest ever known. The Indians from Canada are invited, and every day expected at Niagara. No offensive step will be probably taken until after the general deliberation; and, from the number of friends we shall have there, I am induced to expect a favorable issue. The Five Nations manifested gratitude to Congress for their intention of erecting schools among them, and providing them with blacksmiths. I would, however, inform you, sir, that it will be out of my power to do either, except greater encouragement is given; and, if I may be permitted to give my private judgment, if Congress would establish at present only one school to the west of Genesee river, and endow it with a stipend that would make it an object for a gentleman of character, it might prove of infinite service, both in conciliating the affections of the Indians, and in laying a foundation for their civilization. I would wish, sir, some direction, how far I am to distribute to the Indians. I am continually surrounded by a crowd of them, since my appointment. They all expect to be fed from my table, and made glad from my cellar. Some instances, , too, of clothing, I have not been able to deny. I would suggest the idea, whether a small store of provisions and goods, to be distributed on necessary occasions, might not be a saving to the public. I am, with respect, your most humble servant,
Extract of a Letter from General Chapin to the
Secretary of War.
CANANDAIGUA, August 14, 1792. Sir: Since I had the honor to write you, on the 17th instant, Captain Brandt, together with Doctor Allen and my son, have arrived at this place. The former appeared highly gratified with the attention paid him during his stay in Philadelphia, and appears to speak of it with pleasure; and I flatter myself his visit to that place will produce the desired effect He made but a short stay at this place, being very unwell. He was anxious to proceed on his journey with as much speed as possible, and was desirous to
American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, p. 242.
have Doctor Allen accompany him as far as Niagara; and I wishing to have a continuance of his friendly disposition readily complied, and they arrived at Niagara the 24th ultimo, as Captain Brandt has informed me by letter, a copy of which I do myself the honor to enclose.
Doctor Allen proceeded on to fort Erie, at which place he was taken with a violent bilious fever, and at present remains there very sick. I think it may be depended on, that the Canada Indians, to the number of fifty or sixty, have gone on to the Miamis to attend the general council; and by the latest information I have obtained, the chiefs of the Six Nations were at fort Erie, waiting for a vessel to carry them on to attend the council with their brethren, and I sincerely hope the result of their deliberations will be a general and lasting peace.
The Governor of Upper Canada, after perusing the papers the Indians brought from Philadelphia, encouraged them to pursue the good work they had begun, and he would grant them every assistance in his power.
General Chapin to the Secretary of War.'
CANANDAIGUA, 24th September, 1792. SIR: I wrote you on the 14th and 25th ultimo, to which letters I have not received any answer, neither have I received any despatches from you since the 27th of June. Nothing material has transpired in this quarter, except the intelligence received from the Farmer's Brother is so considered. He informs, that, on his arrival at Detroit, he despatched two of the Seneca Indians who had accompanied the Canada Indians to that place, to Buffalo creek, (where they arrived about the 16th instant, and on the 22d two others arrived at this place, with a string of wampum from him) and informed that the Canada Indians, after their arrival at Detroit, saw a large collection of the hostile Indians; they remained at that place some days, without having any conference with them; that two of the Canada Indians went to the camp of the hostile Indians, and related to them the business which had brought them into their country. The hostile Indians informed them that their requests would not be granted, and any overtures for peace they would not listen to.
1American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, p. 242.
On the return of the Canada Indians to Detroit, the conversation among them was as follows:
What shall we do? We expected we were sent for to attend a treaty of peace. Why did they not, when they sent for us, request us to bring our guns with us? We should then have known what they wanted of us.
The next morning the Canada Indians left Detroit, to repair to the place appointed to kindle the council fire at the rapids of the Miami. On their route they met an Indian on horseback, who informed them that he was sent to call all the Western nations to war, and was directed to call them timely, as they complained of being neglected, and that timely notice had never been given. At the rapids of the Miami, they were told, by Colonel Magee, the British agent, that it was unfortunate for them they had come so far from home to attend the council which was intended to have been held at that place; but that it was determined it should be removed to the mouth of the river Muskingum; that the Shawanese and Delaware tribes were the cause of a removal, and all his influence could not prevent it. Had it been held at that place he intended to have supplied all the Indians bountifully with provisions and clothing, but it would not now be in his power.
They also inform, that scouts were daily going out and returning with prisoners, scalps, &c.
That the hostile Indians reported, that the American army were within three days' march of the rapids of the Miami; that, on the return of the two Senecas to Detroit, they had met the Farmer's Brother, who had that day arrived with the other chiefs of the Five Nations, amounting to forty-two, at that place.
That Simon Girty addressed them thus: You suppose you have come to attend a treaty of peace; you are mistaken—the tomahawk will be presented to you. The Farmer's Brother then directed the two Senecas abovementioned to return to Buffalo creek, and give particular information to the tribes at that place; and likewise to give me information of their reception in that country, where he would remain, and should any thing of consequence take place, he would despatch another runner.