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[193] of prisoners, Bellamont sought to obtain an acknowl-
Chap. XXI.}
edgment that the Iroquois were subject to England; hut the count de Frontenac referred the matter to the commissioners to be appointed under the treaty of Ryswick. ‘That the Five Nations were always con-
Smith, 157
sidered subjects of England,’ said Bellamont, ‘can be manifested to all the world;’ but De Callieres, send-
1697
ing ambassadors directly to Onondaga to regulate the exchange of prisoners, avoided an immediate decision. The Iroquois were proud of their independence; France asserted its right to dominion; England claimed to be in possession. Religious sympathies inclined the nations to the French, but commercial advantages brought them always into connection with the English. As the influence of the Jesuits gave to France its only power over the Five Nations, the legislature of New York, in 1700, made a law for hanging every Popish priest that should come voluntarily into the province. ‘The law ought forever to continue in force,’ is the commentary of an historian wholly un-
Smith 160.
conscious of the true nature of his remark.

After many collisions and acts of hostility between

1700
the Iroquois and the allies of the French, especially the Ottawas; after many ineffectual attempts, on the part of Lord Bellamont, to constitute himself the arbiter of peace, and thus to obtain an acknowledged ascendency; the four upper nations, in the summer of 1700,
July 18.
sent envoys to Montreal ‘to weep for the French who had died in the war.’ After rapid negotiations, peace was ratified between the Iroquois, on the one side, and France and her Indian allies, on the other. The Rat, chief of the Hurons from Mackinaw, said, ‘I lay down the axe at my father's feet;’ and the deputies of the four tribes of Ottawas echoed his words. The

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