페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Michigan, fearine and Dablon found west to the Mississinni

from Lake Michigan to the Ohio, and west to the Mississippi. In 1673, Allouez and Dablon found the Miamis upon Lake Michigan, fearing a visit from the Iroquois ; * and from this time forward we hear of them in that far land from all writers, genuine and spurious. † We cannot doubt, therefore, that they did overrun the lands claimed by them, and even planted colonies in what is now Ohio ; but that they had any claim, which a Christian nation should have recognised, to most of the territory in question, we cannot for a moment think, as for half a century at least it had been under the rule of other tribes, and, when the differences between France and England began, was, with the exception of the lands just above the head of the Ohio, the place of residence and the huntingground of other tribes. I

But some of the western lands were also claimed by the British, as having been actually purchased. This purchase was said to have been made at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1744, when a treaty was held between the colonists and the Six Nations relative to some alleged settlements that had been made upon the Indian lands in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland ; and to this treaty we now turn, — thankful that we have a very good and graphic account of it, written by Witham Marshe, who went as secretary with the commissioners for Maryland, and from whom we draw largely in illustration of the times, and the mode of treating with the Indians.

After many days' journey, diversified with villanous bacon and eggs, and fine tongues and hams, “sorry rum and water, called bumbo,” and generous wine, the Maryland commissioners reached Lancaster upon the 21st of June, before either the governor of Pennsylvania, the Virginia commissioners, or the Indians, had arrived ; though all but the natives came that evening. Having got a good dinner, " to their great comfort,” and engaged beds, they went out to look at the town, which had then been settled about sixteen years. They found it well laid out, but very dirty, and inhabited by a mixture of Dutch, Scotch, Irish, English, and Israelites. Most of the houses were of wood, two stories high, and much as they are now, but dirtier. The water was bad, and in dry

* Charlevoix, Vol. II, Paris ed. 1744. p. 252.
1 See Charlevoix, La Hontan, Hennepin, Tonti, &c.

1 " In 1744, when the Lancaster treaty was held with the Six Nations, some of their number were making war upon the Catawbas." -- Marshe's Journal, Mass. Hist. Coll., Vol. VII., pp. 190, 191. VOL. XLIX, NO. 104.

10

weather the air was hot and dusty ; and before the houses were heaps of dirt filled with vermin. The market was good, and provisions “ prodigiously cheap.” It being summer, the commissioners suffered much from the “ Dutch feas," and their auxiliaries ; so much, indeed, that many preferred the court-house floor.

The next forenoon wore wearily away, and all were glad to sit down, at one o'clock, to a dinner in the court-house, which the Virginians gave their friends, and from which not many were drawn, even by the coming of the Indians, who came, to the number of two hundred and fifty-two, with squaws and little children on horseback, and with their firearms, and bows, and arrows, and tomahawks, and, as they passed the court-house, invited the white men with a song to renew their former treaties. On the outskirts of the town, vacant lots had been chosen for the savages to build their wigwams upon, and thither they marched on with Conrad Weiser, their friend and interpreter,* while the Virginians “ drank the loyal healths,” and finished their entertainment. After dinner they went out to look at their dark allies, who had few shirts among them, and those black from wear, and who were very ragged and shabby ; at all which the well-clad and highfed colonists bit their lips, but feared to laugh. That afternoon the chiefs and commissioners met at the court-house, " shaked hands,” smoked a pipe, and drank “a good quantity of wine and punch.” The next day, being Saturday, the English went to the Dunkers' nunnery," and the Indians drank, and danced, and shrieked. Monday, the speaking began, to the satisfaction of all parties, and ended merrily with dancing, and music, and a great supper. On Tuesday and Wednesday, also, speeches were made, varied by dances, in which appeared some very disagreeable women, who “ danced wilder time than any Indians.” On Thursday the goods were opened, wherewith the Maryland people wished to buy the Indian claim to the lands on which settlements had been made. These goods were narrowly scanned by the red men, but at last taken for £ 220 Pennsylvania money, after which they drank punch. Friday, the Six Nations agreed to the grant desired by the Marylanders, and punch was drunk again ; and, on Saturday, a dinner was given to the chiefs,

* For some idea of Weiser, see Proud's History of Pennsylvania, Vol. II., p. 316, where a long letter by him is given.

" at which," says Marshe, “ they fed lustily, drank heartily, and were very greasy before they finished.” At this dinner, the Indians bestowed on the governor of Maryland the name of Tocaryhogon, meaning " Living in the honorable place.” After this came much drinking, and when that had gone forward some time, the Indians were called on to sign the deed which had been drawn up, and the English again “put about the glass, pretty briskly.” Next, the commissioners from Virginia, supported by a due quantity of wine and bumbo, held their conference with the Indians, and received from them “a deed releasing their claim to a large quantity of land lying in that colony ;” and upon this it was that a claim to the western lands was founded, as we learn from the pamphlet called “ Plain Facts,” for Marshe gives us no particulars. From this pamphlet * it would seem, that the Indians were persuaded to give a deed “recognising the King's right to all lands that are, or by his Majesty's appointment shall be, within the colony of Virginia.” For this they received £ 200 in gold, and a like sum in goods, with a promise that, as settlements increased, more should be paid, which promise was signed and sealed. We need make no comment upon this deed, nor speculate upon the probable amount of bumbo which produced it. The commissioners from Virginia, at this treaty of Lancaster, were Colonel Thomas Lee and Colonel William Beverley. t

On the 5th of July, every thing having been settled satisfactorily, the commissioners left the filthy town” of Lancaster, and took their homeward way, having suffered much from the vermin and the water, though when they used the latter would be a curious inquiry.

Such was the treaty of Lancaster, upon which, as a corner-stone, the claim of the colonists to the West, by purchase, rested ; and upon this, and the grant from the Six Nations, Great Britain relied in all subsequent steps.

As settlements extended, and the Indians murmured, the promise of further pay was called to mind, and Weiser was sent across the Alleghanies to Logstown, in 1748, * with presents, to keep the Indians in good humor; and also to sound them, probably, as to their feeling with regard to large settlements in the West, which some Virginians, with Colonel Thomas Lee, the Lancaster commissioner, at their head, were then contemplating. † The object of these proposed settlements was not the cultivation of the soil, but the monopoly of the Indian trade, which, with all its profits, had till that time been in the hands of unprincipled men, half civilized, half savage, who penetrated to the lakes of Canada and competed everywhere with the French for skins and furs; three such “ impudent Indian traders” as once took possession of our Secretary Marshe's bed at Lancaster, and were with difficulty driven out. It was now proposed in Virginia to turn these fellows out of their good berth beyond the mountains, by means of a great company, which should bold lands and build trading-houses, import European goods regularly and export the furs of the West in return to London. Accordingly, after Weiser's conference with the Indians at Logstown, which was favorable to their views, Thomas Lee, with twelve other Virginians, among whom were Lawrence and Augustine, brothers of George Washington, and also Mr. Hanbury of London, formed an association which they called the “ Ohio Company,” and in 1748, petitioned the King for a grant beyond the mountains. This petition was approved by the monarch, and the government of Virginia was ordered to grant to the petitioners half a million of acres within the bounds of that colony, beyond the Alleghanies, two hundred thousand of which were to be located at once. This portion was to be held for ten years free of quitrent, provided the company would put there one hundred families within seven years, and build a fort sufficient to protect the settlement ; all which the company proposed, and prepared to do at once, and sent to London for a cargo suited to the Indian trade, which was to come out so as to arrive in November, 1749.

* Plain Facts, being an Examination, &-c., and a Vindication of the Grant from the Sir United Nations of Indians to the Proprietors of Indiana vs. the Decision of the Legislature of Virginia. pp. 29 - 39. Philadelphia : R. Aitken. 1781. See also Sparks's Washington, Vol. II. p. 480. - As a general rule we have little faith in party pamphlets; but the one just quoted, so far as we can judge, is accurate as to its main facts.

| Marshe's Journal.

* Plain Facts, pp. 40, 119, 120.

† Sparks's Washington, Vol. II. p. 478. Scarce any thing was known of the old Ohio Company, until Mr. Sparks's inquiries led to the note referred to; and even now so little is known, that we cannot but hope some Historical Society will prevail on Mr. Mercer of Virginia, who holds the papers of that Company, to allow their publication. No full history of the West can be written, until the facts relative to the great land companies are better known.

But the French were not blind all this while. They saw, that, if the British once obtained a strong-hold upon the Ohio, they might not only prevent their settlements upon it, but must at last come upon their lower posts, and so the battle be fought sooner or later. To the danger of the English possessions in the West, Vaudreuil, the French governor, had been long alive. Upon the 10th of May, 1744, he wrote home representing the consequences that must come from allowing the British to build a trading-house among the Creeks ; * and, in November, 1748, he anticipated their seizure of Fort Prudhomme, which was upon the Mississippi below the Ohio. f Nor was it for mere sickly missionary stations that the governor feared ; for, in the year last-named, the Illinois settlements, few as they were, sent flour and corn, the hams of hogs and bears, pickled pork and beef, myrtle wax, cotton, tallow, leather, tobacco, lead, iron, copper, some little buffalo wool, venison, poultry, bear's grease, oil, skins, and coarse furs, to the New Orleans market. Even in 1746, from five to six hundred barrels of four went thither from Illinois, convoys annually going down in December with the produce. I Having these fears, and seeing the danger of the late movements of the British, Gallisonière, then governor of Canada, determined to place, along the Ohio, evidences of the French claim to, and possession of, the country ; and for that purpose, in the summer of 1749, sent Louis Celeron, with a party of soldiers, to place plates of lead, on which were written out the claims of France, in the mounds, and at the mouths of the rivers. S Of this act, William Trent, who was sent out in 1752 by Virginia, to conciliate the Indians, heard while upon the Ohio, and mentioned it in his Journal ; and within a few years, one of the plates, with the inscription partially defaced, has been found near the mouth of the Muskingum. Of this plate, the date upon which is August 16th,

* Pownall's Memorial on Service in America, as before quoted. Vaudreuil came out as Governor of Canada in 1755. — Massachusetts Historical Collections, Vol. VII., p. 105. See also Holmes's Annals, Vol. II. p. 23.

Pownall's Memorial.
Ibid.

Sparks's Washington, Vol. II., p. 430. - Atwater's History of Ohio, 1st edition, p. 109. — Transactions of the American Antiquarian Society, Vol. II. pp. 535-541. De Witt Clinton received the plate mentioned in the text from Mr. Alwater, who says it was found at the mouth of the Muskingum, though marked as having been placed at the mouth of Venango (Tenangue) river (French Creek, we presume).

« 이전계속 »