The Exploration of Ohio
.—Pelham's administration continued.
The world had never witnessed colonies with in-
stitutions so free as those of America
; but this result did not spring from the intention of England
On the twelfth of July, 1749, all the ministers of state assembled at the Board of Trade, and deliberated, from seven in the evening till one the next morning,1
on the political aspect of the plantations.
The opinions of Sir Dudley Rider
and William Murray
were before them.
They agreed, that ‘all accounts concurred in representing New Jersey
as in a state of disobedience to law and government, attended with circumstances which manifested a disposition to revolt from dependence on the crown. . . . . . While the governor was so absolutely dependent on the Assembly, order could not possibly be restored.’
And they avowed it as their ‘fundamental’ rule of American government, that the colonial officers of the king should have ‘some appointment from home.’
Such was ‘their
fixed maxim and principle.’2
The English ministry
viewed it as a narrow question, relating to a subordinate branch of executive administration; America knew that it involved for the world all hope of establishing the power of the people.
The agents of the American
royalists continued indefatigable in their solicitations.
They had the confidential advice of Murray
who instructed them how best to increase their influence with the ministry.
To this end they also fomented a jealous fear of ‘the levelling principles which had crept into New York and New Jersey
,’ and which were believed to prevail in New England
. ‘Drink Lord Halifax in a bumper,’ were the words of Clinton
, as he read his letters from England
; ‘though I durst say,’ he added, ‘the rest are as hearty.’
Especially the Duke
, on the first day of November, gave assurances to Clinton
that the affairs of the colonies would be taken into consideration, and that he might rely on receiving all proper assistance and vigorous support in maintaining the king's delegated authority.
The secretary was in earnest, and for the rest of his life remained true to his promise, not knowing that he was the dupe of the profligate cupidity of worthless officers.
In a document designed for the eye of Halifax, Colden
hastened to confirm the purpose.
Of popular power ‘the increase in the northern colonies was immeasurable.’
Royalty would have in-New York but
‘the outward appearance’ of authority, till a governor and ‘proper judges’ should receive ‘independent salaries.’
‘I do not imagine,’ he wrote in November, 1749, ‘that any assembly will be induced to give up the power, of which they are all so fond, by granting duties for any number of years.
The authority of parliament must be made use of, and the duties on wine and West India
commodities be made general for all North America
‘The ministry,’ he added, ‘are not aware of the number of men in North America
able to bear arms, and daily in the use of them.
It becomes necessary that the colonies be early looked into, in time of peace, and regulated.’5
As a source of revenue, William Douglas
, a Scottish physician, publicly proposed ‘a stamp duty upon all instruments used in law affairs.’6
But the suggestion had nothing of novelty.
In 1728, Sir William Keith
had advised extending, ‘by act of parliament, the duties upon parchment and stamps, to America,’7
and eleven years later the advice had been repeated by merchants in London
, with solicitations8
that won for the proposition the consideration of the ministry.
Thus had the future colonial policy of England
been shadowed forth to statesmen, who were very willing to adopt it. Morris
, the chief justice
of New Jersey
interested in lands in that province, and trained by his father to a hatred of popular power, was much listened to; and the indefatigable Shirley
not quite successful with the more reasonable Pelham
became the eulogist and principal adviser of Cumberland
, of Bedford
, and of Halifax
reduce his emoluments, he openly threatened to appeal to ‘an episcopal interest, and make himself independent of the Assembly for any future support.’10
The menace to Massachusetts
The public mind in that province, and most of all in Boston
, was earnestly inquiring into the active powers of man, to deduce from them the right to uncontrolled inquiry, as the only security against religious and civil bondage.
Of that cause the champion was Jonathan Mayhew
, offspring of purest ancestors, nurtured by the ocean's-side, ‘sanctified’ from childhood, a pupil of New England
‘Instructed in youth,’ thus he spoke of himself, ‘in the doctrines of civil liberty, as they were taught by such men as Plato
, and others among the ancients, and such as Sidney and Milton
, among the moderns, I liked them; and having learned from the Holy Scriptures
, that wise, brave, and virtuous men were always friends to liberty, that God gave the Israelites a king in his anger, because they had not sense and virtue enough to like a free common wealth, and that where the Spirit of the Lord
is, there is liberty, this made me conclude that freedom is a great blessing.’11
From early life, Mayhew
took to his heart the right of private judgment, clinging to it as to his religion.
Truth and justice he revered as realities which every human being had capacity to discern.
The duty of each individual to inquire and
judge he deduced from the constitution of man, and
held to be as universal as reason itself.
At once becoming revolutionary, he scoffed at receiving opinions because our forefathers had embraced them; and pushing the principle of Protestantism to its universal expression, he sent forth the American
mind to do its work, disburdened of prejudices.
The ocean which it had crossed had broken the trail of tradition, and it was now to find its own paths and make for itself a new existence, with not even its footsteps behind it, and nothing before it but its own futurity.
In January, 1750, the still youthful Mayhew
self a declared ‘volunteer’ in the service, instinctively alarmed at the menaced encroachments of power, summoned every lover of truth and of mankind to bear a part in the defensive war against ‘tyranny and priestcraft.’12
He reproved the impious bargain ‘between the sceptre and the surplice.’
He preached resistance to ‘the first small beginnings of civil tyranny, lest it should swell to a torrent and deluge empires.’
‘The doctrines,’ he cried, ‘of the divine right of kings and non-resistance are as fabulous and chimerical as the most absurd reveries of ancient or modern visionaries.’
‘If those who bear the title of civil rulers do not perform the duty of civil rulers,— if they injure and oppress,—they have not the least pretence to be honored or obeyed.
If the common safety and utility would not be promoted by submission to the government, there is no motive for submission;’ disobedience becomes ‘lawful and glorious,’ —‘not a crime, but a duty.’
Such were the ‘litanies of nations’13
from the boldest and most fervid heart in New Eng-
] and, and were addressed to the multitude from the pulpit and through the press.
received the doctrine, and its ablest citizens delighted in the friendship of the eloquent teacher.
The words of Mayhew
were uttered at a time when ‘the plautations engaged the whole thoughts of the men in power,’ who were persuaded that all America
was struggling to achieve a perfect legislative independence, and that New Jersey
at least was in a slate of rebellion.
At a great council in February, 1750, the Board of Trade14
was commanded to propose such measures as would restore and establish the prerogative in its utmost extent throughout the colonies.
of Trade, the Privy Council,’—all, had American affairs ‘much at heart:’ and resolved to give ease to colonial governors and ‘their successors for ever.’
The plea for the interposition of the supreme legislature was found in the apprehension that a separate empire was forming.
‘Fools,’ said the elder proprietary, Penn
, ‘are always telling their fears that the colonies will set up for themselves;’16
and their alarm was increased by Franklin
's plan of an Academy at Philadelphia
Fresh importunities succeeded each other from America
; and when Bedford
sent assurances of his purpose to support the royal authority, he was referred by the crown officers of New York to the papers in the office of the Board of Trade, relating to Hunter
from 1710 to 1714, had struggled in that province for
Under the sanction of that precedent, Clinton17
urged, in March, that ‘it was absolutely necessary to check the insolence of faction by a powerful interposition;’ and he advised imposts on wine and West India
‘These, if granted by parliament, would be sufficient for supporting the civil list.
If made general over all the colonies, they could be in no shape prejudicial to trade.’18
He insisted, that the proposition contained its own evidence of being for the service of the king.
‘This province,’ he repeated, in April,19
‘by its example, greatly affects all the other colonies.
Parliament, on a true representation of the state of the plantations, must think it their duty to make the royal officers less dependent on the assemblies, which may be easily done by granting to the king the same duties and imposts, that, in the plantations, are usually granted from year to year.’
But neither the blunt decision of Bedford
, nor the arrogant self-reliance of Halifax
, nor the restless activity of Charles Townshend
, could, of a sudden, sway the system of England
in a new direction, or overcome the usages and policy of more than a half century.
But new developments were easily given to the commercial and restrictive system.
That the colonies might be filled with slaves, who should neither trouble Great Britain
with fears of encouraging political independence, nor compete in their industry with British workshops, nor leave their employers the entire security that might prepare a revolt, liberty to
—saddest concession of freedom—to and from
any part of Africa
, between Sallee
, in South Barbary, and the Cape of Good Hope
, was, in 1750, extended to all the subjects of the king of England
But for the labor of free men new shackles were devised.
America abounded in iron ore; its unwrought iron was excluded by a duty from the English
market; and its people were rapidly gaining skill at the furnace and the forge.
1750, the subject engaged the attention of the House of Commons.
To check the danger of American rivalry, Charles Townshend
was placed at the head of a committee, on which Horatio Walpole, senior
, and Robert Nugent
, afterwards Lord Clare,—a man of talents, yet not free from ‘bombast and absurdities,’22
—were among the associates.
After a few days' deliberation, he brought in a bill which permitted American iron, in its rudest forms, to be imported duty free; but now that the nailers in the colonies could afford spikes and large nails cheaper than the English
, it forbade the smiths of America
to erect any mill for slitting or rolling iron, or any plating forge to work with a tilt-hammer, or any furnace for making steel.
‘The restriction,’ said Penn
, ‘is of most dangerous consequence to prevent our making what we want for our own use. . . . . .It is an attack on the rights of the king's subjects in America
.’23 William Bollan
, the agent of Massachusetts
, pleaded its inconsistency with the natural rights of the colonists.24
But while England
applauded the restriction, its owners of iron
mines grudged to America
a share of the market for
the rough material; the tanners, from the threatened inaction of the English
furnaces, feared a diminished supply of bark; the clergy and gentry foreboded injury to the price of woodlands.25
The importation of bar iron
from the colonies was therefore limited to the port of London
, which already had its supply from abroad.
The ironmongers and smiths of Birmingham
thought well of importing bars of iron free, but, from.
‘compassion’ to the ‘many thousand families in the kingdom’ who otherwise ‘must be ruined,’ they prayed that ‘the American
people’ might be subject not to the proposed restrictions only, but to such others ‘as may secure for ever the trade to this country.’
Some would have admitted the raw material from no colony where its minute manufacture was carried on. The House
even divided on the proposal, that every slitting-mill in America
should be demolished; and the clause failed only by a majority of twenty-two.
But an immediate return was required of every mill already existing, and the number was never to be increased26
There was no hope that this prohibition would ever be repealed.27
did not know the indignation thus awakened in the villages of America
Yet the royalist, Kennedy
, a member of the Council of New York, and an advocate for parliamentary taxation, publicly urged on the ministry,28
that ‘liberty and encouragement
are the basis of colonies.’
‘To supply ourselves,’
he urged, ‘with manufactures is practicable; and where people in such circumstances are numerous and free, they will push what they think is for their interest, and all restraining laws will be thought oppression, especially such laws as, according to the conceptions we have of English liberty, they have no hand in controverting or making. . . They cannot be kept dependent by keeping them poor;’ and he quoted to the ministry the counsel of Trenchard
that the way to keep them from weaning themselves was to keep it out of their will.
But the mother country was more and more inclined to rely on measures of restraint and power.
It began to be considered, that the guard-ships were stationed in the colonies not so much for their defence, as to preserve them in their dependence and prevent their illicit trade.30
In the same year Turgot
, then but threeand-twenty years of age, one day to be a minister of France
, and a friend to the United States
, then prior of Sorbonne
, mingled with zeal for Christianity the enthusiasm of youthful hope, as he contemplated the destiny of the western world.
‘Vast regions of America
he exclaimed, in the presence of the assembled clergy of France
, just twenty-six years to a day before the Declaration of Independence
, ‘Equality keeps from them both luxury and want; and preserves to them purity and simplicity with freedom.
herself will find there the perfection of her political societies, and the surest support of her wellbeing.’31
‘Colonies,’ added the young philosopher,32
‘are like fruits, which cling to the tree only till they ripen; as soon as America
can take care of itself, it will do what Carthage
For a season, America must have patience; England
's colonial policy was destroying itself.
The same motive which prevailed to restrain colonial commerce and pursuits urged England
to encroach on the possessions of France
, that the future inhabitants of still larger regions might fall under English rule and become subservient to English industry.
In the mercantile system lay the seeds of a war with France
for territory, and, ultimately, of the union and independence of America
But the attempt to establish that system of government, which must have provoked immediate resistance, was delayed by jealousies and divisions in the cabinet.
used to say to Newcastle
, ‘I must beg of you not to fret yourself so much upon every occasion.’33
But the Duke
grew more and more petulant, and more impatient of rivalry.
‘It goes to my heart,’ said he, ‘that a new, unknown, factious young party is set up to rival me and nose me every where;’34
and he resolved to drive out of the administration the colleague whom he disliked, envied and feared.
For it always holds true, that Heaven plants division in the councils of the enemies of freedom.
Selfishness breeds as many factions as there are clashing interests; nothing unites
indissolubly, but that love of man which truth and
justice and the love of all good can alone inspire
The affairs of Nova Scotia
, of which Newcastle
was ignorant, served at least his purposes of intrigue.35
saw with extreme anxiety the settlement at Halifax
To counteract its influence, a large force under the command of the recklessly sanguinary partisan, La Corne
, had through the winter held possession of the isthmus of the peninsula; and found shelter among the Acadians south of the Messagouche, in the town of Chiegnecto, or Beaubassin, now Fort Lawrence.
The inhabitants of that village, although it lay beyond the limits which La Corne
was instructed to defend, were compelled to take the oaths of allegiance to the French
and in the name of three chiefs of the Micmac Indians
orders had been sent to the Acadians of the remoter settlements, to renounce subjection to England
, and take refuge with the French
, who had received the first ñotice of the movement from La Jonquiere himself,38
desired immediately to recover the town.
He sought aid from the Massachusetts
but only received for answer, that, by the constitution of that province, the assembly must first be convinced of the necessity of raising supplies;40
that to insure cooperation, compulsory measures
must be adopted by the British
wards all the colonies.
He was therefore able to send from Halifax
no more than a party of four hundred men, who, just at sunset on the twentieth of April, arrived not far from the town at the entrance of what is now called Cumberland Basin.
The next day the transports sailed near the harbor; the flag of the Bourbons was raised on the dikes to the north of the Messagouche;41
while, to the south of it, the priest La Loutre
himself set fire to the church in Chiegnecto, and its reluctant, despairing inhabitants, torn by conflicting passions, attached to their homes which stood on some of the most fertile land42
in the world, yet bound to France
by their religion and their oaths, consumed their houses to ashes, and escaped across the river which marks the limit of the peninsula.43
On Sunday, the twenty-second, Lawrence
, the English
commander, having landed north of the Messagouche, had an interview with La Corne
, who avowed his purpose, under instructions from La Jonquiere, to defend44
at all hazards, and keep possession of every post as far as the river Messagouche
, till the boundaries between the two countries should be settled by commissaries.
La Come held a strong position, and had under his command Indians
, Canadians, regular troops, and Acadian refugees, to the number, it was thought, of twenty-five hundred.
The English officer was, therefore, compelled for his safety to embark, on the very
day on which he landed,45
leaving the French
disturbed possession of the isthmus.
A swift vessel was dispatched expressly from Halifax
to inform the government, that La Corne
and La Loutre held possession of the isthmus, that a town which was within the acknowledged British limits, had been set on fire; that its inhabitants had crossed over to the French
side; that the refugees, able to bear arms, were organized as a military force; that the French Acadians
, remaining within the peninsula, were rebels at heart, and unanimously wished to abandon it rather than take the oath of allegiance to the English
king; that the savages were incited to inroads and threats of a general massacre; that the war was continued on the part of the French
by all open and secret means of violence and treason.46
At the same time the governments of New Hampshire
and the Massachusetts Bay
were informed of ‘the audacious proceedings’ of the French
, and invited to join in punishing La Corne
as ‘a public incendiary.’47
The New England
colonies received the news without any disposition to undertake dislodging the French
effectually that prompt support should be sent to the colony, of which the settlement was due to his zeal.
Authority had already49
been given to disarm the Acadians; new settlers were now collected to be transported at the public expense,50
and an Irish regiment
was sent over with orders, that Chiegnecto
should be taken, fortified, and if possible, colonized by protestants.51
Yet a marked difference of opinion existed between the Lords
of Trade and their superior.
was honorably inclined to a pacific adjustment with France
; but Halifax
was led by his pride and his ambition to disregard all risks of war; and becoming impatient at his subordinate position, he already ‘heartily hated’52
his patron, and coveted a seat in the cabinet with exclusive authority in the department, with all the impetuous ardor of inexperienced ambition.
was sure to seize the occasion to side with Halifax
‘Act with vigor,’ said he to his brother, ‘and support our right to the extended boundary of Nova Scotia
If you do, you may run a risk of a war with France
; that risk is to be run.’53
But ‘the great object’ that filled his thoughts and disturbed his rest, was the dismissal of Bedford
Even the more cautious Pelham
began to complain of the secretary's ‘boyishness’ and inattention to business;54
the king's mistress, who had thought Bedford
too important a person to be trifled with, was soothed into a willingness to have him discarded.
‘His office is a sinecure,’ said the king, who missed the pedantry of forms; ‘he receives his pay easily;’ and to Newcastle
he added, ‘you, your brother and Hardwicke
are the only ministers.’55
It seemed as if Halifax
would at once obtain the seals of the Southern Department with
the entire charge of the colonies.
,’ wrote Pelham
, who favored his advancement, ‘amongst the young ones, has the most efficient talents.’56
‘He would be more approved by the public,’ thought Hardwicke
, ‘than either Holdernesse or Waldegrave
‘He is the last man, except Sandwich
, I should think of for secretary of state,’ exclaimed Newcastle
‘He is so conceited of his parts, he would not be in the cabinet one month without thinking he knew as much or more of business than any one man. He is impracticable;. . . . . .the most odious man in the kingdom. . . . . . A man of his life, spirit, and temper, will think he knows better than any body.’
would have none of ‘that young fry.’
But above all, he would be rid of Bedford
‘I am, I must be an errant cipher of the worst sort,’ said he in his distress, ‘if the Duke
remains coupled with me as secretary of state.’
To get rid of Bedford
was still to him ‘the great point,’ ‘the great point of all,’57
more than the designation of the next emperor of Germany
, and more than a war with the Bourbons.
The two dukes remained at variance, leaving Cornwallis
to ‘get the better in Nova Scotia
without previous concert with France
In August a second expedition left Halifax
to take possession of Chiegnecto.
It succeeded, but not without loss of life.
Indians and Acadian refugees, aided, perhaps, by French in disguise, altogether very few in number, had intrenched themselves strongly behind the dikes, and opposed their landing.
Nor were they dislodged
without an intrepid assault, in which the English
six killed and twelve wounded.59
Thus was blood fist shed after the peace of Aix la Chapelle
Fort Lawrence was now built on the south of the Messagouche, but the French
had already fortified their position on the opposite bank at Fort Beau Sejour as well as at Bay Verte.
Having posts also at the mouth of the St. John's River
and the alliance of the neighboring Indians
, they held the continent from Bay Verte to the borders of the Penobscot
Such was the state of occupancy, when, in September, at Paris
, who had been placed at the head of the British Commission, presented a memorial, claiming for the English
all the land east of the Penobscot
and south of the St. Lawrence
, as constituting the ancient Acadia
The claim, in its full latitude, by the law of nations, was preposterous; by a candid interpretation of treaties, was untenable.
never had designed to cede, and had never ceded, to England
, the southern bank of the St. Lawrence
, nor any country north of the forty-sixth parallel of latitude.
In their reply to the British
claim, the French
commissaries, in like manner disregarding the obvious construction of treaties, narrowed Acadia
to the strip of land on the Atlantic
, between Cape St. Mary
and Cape Canseau.61
There existed in France
statesmen who thought Canada
itself an incumbrance, difficult to be defended, entailing expenses more than benefits.
But La Galissoniere62
pleaded to the ministry, that honor, glory,
and religion forbade the abandonment of faithful and
affectionate colonists, and the renunciation of the great work of converting the infidels of the wilderness; that Detroit
was the natural centre of a boundless inland commerce; that the country of Illinois
was in a delightful climate, an open prairie, waiting for the plough; that, considering the want of maritime strength, Canada
were the bulwarks of France
against English ambition.
De Puysieux, the French
minister for foreign affairs, like the English Secretary
, was earnestly desirous of avoiding war; but a fresh collision in America
touched the sense of honor of the French
nation, and made negotiation .hopeless.
A French brigantine with a schooner, laden with provisions and warlike stores, and bound from Quebec
to the river St. John
's, was met by Rous
in the British ship of war Albany
off Cape Sable
He fired a gun to bring her to; she kept on her course: he fired another and a third; and the brigantine prepared for action.
instantly poured into her a broadside and a volley of small arms; and after a short action compelled her to strike.
had a midshipman and two mariners killed; the French
lost five men. The brigantine was taken to Halifax
, and condemned in the Admiralty Court.63
On the side of France
, indignation knew no bounds; it seemed that its flag had been insulted; its maritime rights disregarded; its men wantonly slain in time of peace; its property piratically seized and confiscated.
There was less willingness to yield an extended boundary.
The territory which is now Vermont
New York carried its limits to the Connecticut River
, as a part of its jurisdiction; France
, which alone had command of Lake Champlain
, extended her pretensions to the crest of the Green Mountains
; while Wentworth
, the only royal governor in New England
, began to convey the soil between the Connecticut
and Lake Champlain
by grants under the seal of New Hampshire
A deeper interest hung over the valley of the Ohio
What language shall be the mother tongue of its future millions?
What race, the Romanic or the Teutonic
, shall form the seed of its people?
The Six Nations expressed alarm for their friends and allies on the Ohio
, against whom the French
were making preparations, and asked what reliance they might place on the protection of New York.
After concert with the governor of Pennsylvania
, in September, 1750, appealed to the Assembly for means to confirm their Indian alliances, and to assist Pennsylvania
‘in securing the fidelity of the Indians on Ohio River
The Assembly refused; and the Onondagas, whose chief was a professed Roman Catholic
, whose castles contained a hundred neophytes, whose warriors glittered in brave apparel from France
, scoffed with one another at the parsimonious colonists.65
The tendency of the Americans
themselves towards union, and the desire on the part of England
to concentrate its power over the colonies by the aid of
the authority of the British parliament, were alike
developed in connection with the necessity of resisting encroachments on the side of Canada
The unity of the French
system of administration promised success by ensuring obedience to ‘one council and one voice.’66
To counteract their designs effectually along the whole frontier, the best minds in New York, and in other provinces, were busy in devising methods for, ‘uniting the colonies on the main;’ for, unless this were done, Ohio
would be lost.
Of all the Southern
provinces, South Carolina
was most ready to join with the rest of the continent.67
Doubting whether union could be effected ‘without an immediate application to his Majesty for that purpose,’ the Council of New York, after mature and repeated deliberation on Indian affairs, still determined, that the governor ‘should write to all the governors upon the continent,68
that have Indian nations in their alliance, to invite commissioners from their respective governments’ to meet the savage chiefs at Albany
But, from what Clinton
called ‘the penurious69
temper of American assemblies,’ this invitation was not generally accepted,70
though it forms one important step in the progress of America
, in strife with its proprietaries, neglected its western frontier, the Ohio Company of Virginia
, profiting by the intelligence of Indian hunters,71
who had followed every stream to its headspring
and crossed every gap in the mountain ranges,
discovered the path by Will's Creek
to the Ohio
Their stores of goods, in 1750, were carried no further than that creek.
There they were sold to traders, who, with rivals from Pennsylvania
, penetrated the West
as far as the Miamis.
To search out and discover the lands westward of ‘the Great Mountains
,’ the Ohio Company72
summoned the adventurous Christopher Gist
from his frontier home on the Yadkin
He was instructed to examine the Western
country as far as the Falls
of the Ohio
, to look for a large tract of good level land, to mark the passes in the mountains, to trace the courses of the rivers, to count the falls, to observe the strength and numbers of the Indian
On the last day of October,73
the bold messenger of civilization parted from the Potomac
He passed through snows over ‘the stony and broken land’ of the Alleghanies
; he halted among the twenty Delaware
families that composed Shanoppin's town on the southeast side of the Ohio
; swimming his horses across the river, he descended through the rich but narrow valley to Logstown.
‘You are come,’ said the jealous people, ‘to settle the Indians' lands: you never shall go home safe.’
Yet they respected him as a messenger from the English
From the Great Beaver Creek
he crossed to the Muskingum
, killing deer and wild turkeys.
On Elk's Eye Creek
he found a village of the Ottawas, friends to the French
The hundred families of Wyandots
or Little Mingoes at Muskingum
one half adhering to the English
, the emissary from Pennsylvania
, was already there;74
and traders came with the news, that two of his people were taken by a party of French and Indians, and carried, to the new fort at Sandusky
‘Come and live with us,’ said the Wyandots to Gist
; ‘bring great guns and make a fort.
If the French
claim the branches of the Lakes
, those of the Ohio
belong to us and our brothers, the English
When they heard that still another English trader had been taken, they would have killed three French deserters for revenge.
In January, 1751, after a
delay of more than a month, the Wyandots held a council at Muskingum
; but while they welcomed the English
agents, and accepted their strings of wampum, they deferred their decision to a general council of their several nations.
Leaving the Wyandots, and crossing at White Woman's Creek, where had long stood the home of a weary New England
captive, the agent of Virginia
reached the last town of the Delawares, five miles above the mouth of the Scioto
These, like the others of their tribe, who counted in all five hundred warriors, promised goodwill and love to the English
Just below the mouth of the Scioto
lay the houses of the Shawnees, on each side of the Ohio
Their room of state was on the north side, in length ninety feet, roofed with bark.
They gratefully adhered to the English
, who had averted from them the wrath of the Six Nations.
From the Shawnee town
the envoys of the English
world crossed the Little Miami, and journeyed
in February towards the Miami River
; first of white men on record, they saw that the land beyond the Scioto
, except the first twenty miles, is rich and level, bearing walnut trees of huge size, the maple, the wild cherry, and the ash; full of little streams and rivulets; variegated by beautiful natural prairies, covered with wild rye, blue grass and white clover.
Turkeys abounded, and deer and elks, and most sorts of game; of buffaloes, thirty or forty were frequently seen feeding in one meadow.
‘Nothing,’ they cried, ‘is wanting but cultivation to make this a most delightful country.’75
Their horses swam over the swollen current of the Great Miami
; on a raft of logs they transported their goods and saddles; outside of the town of the Picqualennees, the warriors came forth with the peace-pipe, to smoke with them the sacred welcome.
They entered the village with the English
colors, were received as guests into the king's house, and planted the red cross upon its roof.
were the most powerful confederacy of the West
, excelling the Six Nations, with whom they were in amity.
Each tribe had its own chief; of whom one, at that time the chief of the Piankeshaws, was chosen indifferently to rule the whole nation.
They formerly dwelt on the Wabash
, but, for the sake of trading with the English
, drew nearer the East
Their influence reached to the Mississippi
, and they received frequent visits from tribes beyond that river.
The town of Picqua contained about four hundred families, and was one of the strongest in that part of the continent.
On the night of the arrival of the envoys from Virginia
two strings of wampum, given at the Long House
of the villages, removed trouble from their hearts and cleared their eyes; and four other belts confirmed the message from the Wyandots and Delawares, commending the English
to their care.
In the days that followed, the traders' men helped the men of Picqua repair their fort; and distributed clothes and paint, that they might array themselves for the council.
When it was told that deputies from the Wawiachtas, or, as we call them, Weas
, and from the Piankeshaws, were coming, deputies from the Picquas went forth to meet them.
were summoned to the Long House
, to sit for a quarter of an hour in the silence of expectation, when two from each tribe, commissioned by their nations to bring the Long Pipe
, entered with their message and their calumet.
On the twenty-first day of February, after a distribution of presents, articles of peace and alliance were drawn up between the English
on the one side, and the Weas and Piankeshaws on the other; were signed and sealed in duplicate, and delivered on both sides.
All the friendly tribes of the West
were also to meet the next summer at Logstown, for a general treaty with Virginia
The indentures had just been exchanged,78
when four Ottawas drew near with a present from the governor of Canada
, were admitted at once to the
council, and desired a renewal of friendship with their
fathers, the French
The king of the Piankeshaws, setting up the English
colors in the council, as well as the French
, rose and replied: ‘The path to the French
is bloody, and was made so by them.
We have cleared a road for our brothers, the English
, and your fathers have made it foul, and have taken some of our brothers prisoners.’
They had taken three at the Huron
village, near Detroit
, and one on the Wabash
‘This,’ added the king, ‘we look upon as done to us;’ and turning suddenly from them, he strode out of the council.
At this, the representative of the French
, an Ottawa, wept and howled, predicting sorrow for the Miamis.
To the English
the Weas and Piankeshaws, after deliberation, sent a speech by the great orator of the Weas.
‘You have taken us by the hand,’ were his words, ‘into the great chain of friendship.
Therefore we present you with these two bundles of skins, to make shoes for your people, and this pipe to smoke in, to assure you our hearts are good towards you, our brothers.’
In the presence of the Ottawa
ambassadors, the great war-chief of Picqua stood up, and summoning in imagination the French
to be present, he spoke:
Fathers! you have desired we should go home to you, but I tell you it is not our home; for we have made a path to the sun-rising, and have been taken by the hand by our brothers, the English, the Six Nations, the Delawares, the Shawnees, and the Wyandots; and we assure you, in that road we will go. 80
And as you threaten us with war in the spring, we tell you, if you are angry, we are ready to receive you, and resolve to die here, before we will go to you. That you may know this is our mind, we send you this string of black wampum.
Brothers, the Ottawas, you hear what I say; tell that to your fathers, the French; for that is our mind, and we speak it from our hearts.
The French colors are taken down; the Ottawas are dismissed to the French
fort at Sandusky
The Long House
, late the senate-chamber of the United Miamis, rings with the music and the riotous motions of the feather-dance.
Now a war-chief strikes a post: the music and the dancers, on the instant, are hushed to silent listeners; the brave recounts his deeds in war, and proves the greatness of his mind by throwing presents lavishly to the musicians and the dancers.
Then once more the turmoil of joy is renewed, till another warrior rises to boast his prowess, and scatter gifts in his turn.
Thus February came to an end. On the first day of March, Gist
took his leave.
, resolving never to give heed to the words of the French
, sent beyond the Alleghanies
this message: ‘Our friendship shall stand like the loftiest mountain.’
The agent of the Ohio Company gazed with rapture on the valley of the Great Miami
, ‘the finest meadows that can be.’
He was told, that the land was not less fertile to the very head-springs of the river, and west to the Wabash
He descended to the Ohio
by way of the Little Miami, still finding many ‘clear fields,’ where herds of forty or fifty buffaloes were feeding together on the wonderfully tall grasses.
He checked his perilous course, when within fifteen
miles of the falls at Louisville
; and taking with him, as a trophy, the tooth of a mammoth, then a novel wonder, he passed up the valley of the Kentucky River
, and through a continuous ledge of almost inaccessible hills and rocks and laurel thickets, found a path to the Bluestone.
He paused on his way, to climb what is now called ‘The Hawk's Nest
,’ whence he could ‘see the Kenhawa burst through the next high mountain;’ and having proposed the union, and appointed at Logstown a meeting of the Mingoes, the Delawares, the Wyandots, the Shawnees, and the Miami
nations, with the English
, he returned to his employers by way of the Yadkin
and the Roanoke
In April, 1751, Croghan
again repaired to the Ohio Indians
The half-king, as the chief of the mixed tribe on the branches of the Ohio
was called in token of his subordination to the Iroquois
confederacy, reported, that the news of the expedition under Celoron had swayed the Onondaga
council to allow the English
to establish a trading-house; and a belt of wampum, prepared with due solemnity, invited Hamilton
, of Pennsylvania
, to build a fort at the forks of Monongahela