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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
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Chapter XI. — Close of the War by the Conquest of Canada.

IT was the policy of the British colonial government, in establishing a general and central superintendency at Fort Johnson, on the Mohawk river, not only to attach the Six Nations strongly to its interests, but to govern the entire Indian country through their extensive influence over the other groups of tribes. This general policy had been understood and carried out by the colonial governors of New York, from the beginning of the century, and, indeed, dates back to the Dutch, as it was pursued by them in 1664. Trade was principally conducted at the central point, Albany, but traders were allowed to visit remote places. The French traders, from Canada, obtained their best supplies from Albany, and the intercourse thus established upon, and cemented by, a triple interest — that of the tribes, the merchants, and the governing power — became a very firm bond of union, and one that gained strength by the lapse of time. The metals, woollens, and other articles of real value, which they received in exchange for their furs, were so much superior to the products of the rude arts Hudson found in their possession in 1609, that it is doubtful even, whether at this period, many remembered that the Iroquois had ever used stone knives, axes, and pipes; made fishhooks of bones, awls of deer's horns, or cooking pots out of clay. 281

But, although a trade so mutually beneficial established a firm friendship, and the growth of every decade of the colonies added to its strength, yet it was not, in fact, until the abolition of the power of the Indian Commissioners, at Albany, who were frequently traders themselves, 282 and the transfer of the superintendency of Indian affairs to the hands of Johnson, that an elevated and true national tone was given to the system. When Johnson was placed in the possession of power, he visited their remotest villages and castles, and built stockades in each of their towns, to serve as places of refuge if suddenly attacked. In his anxiety to control the Algonquins, and the Dionondades, or Quaghtagies, he had visited Detroit, and his agents had scoured the Illinois, the Miami, the Wabash and the Ohio, before the French built Fort

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Du Quesne. When he could send them messages by the power of the king, or speak to them in his council-room, with the voice of a king, he had, also, as we may readily perceive from the records, published at this late day, the judgment, firmness, and prudence of a king. 283 No one, it would seem, could be better adapted to give solid advice to the Indians of all the tribes.

Johnson did not limit his attentions to the Six Nations. After the defeat of Braddock, the entire frontier line of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, was left unprotected. Invasion, rapine, and murder, were the common inflictions, under which groaned the entire interior country, from the Ohio to the Susquehanna; and not a farm could be settled, or a team driven on the road, without incurring the risk of death, or captivity. These murders having been chiefly attributed to the Shawnees, and Delawares, who were still located on the sources of the Susquehanna, Johnson employed the Iroquois, who, from an early period, exacted allegiance from them as a conquered people, to summon their chiefs before him. A delegation of the principal men of these tribes attended in his council early in the spring of 1758, to whom he gave a detail of the acts complained of, placing them before them in their just light, and forewarning them of the inevitable consequences which would result from a repetition of such nefarious acts, and that, not only Pennsylvania and Maryland, but all the neighboring colonies would be aroused against them. At this council, a delegation of Nanticokes, Conoys, and Mohikanders attended, who informed him that they lived at Otsiningo, 284 on the Susquehanna, where his messengers would always find them. 285

Addressing these nomadic members of the disintegrated and fast-decaying Algonquin group, as he did the Iroquois in the full strength of their confederacy, Johnson adopted a line of argument and diplomacy founded on high principles of national polity, and guided by a true estimate of the Indian character. He frequently moved their sympathy by an Indian symbol, where an argument would have failed. All causes of disaffection, whether arising from questions of trade, the encroachments of settlers, inhuman murders, or from any other of the irregularities so common in the Indian country, were handled by him with calm judgment; and good counsels, and the most efficient practical remedies, through the means of agents, presents, and money, were judiciously dispensed.

The year 1759 was a brilliant period for the British arms. Braddock, Loudoun, Shirley, and Abercrombie, had, respectively, exercised their brief authority as commanders of the British forces in America, and passed from the stage of action, leaving a clear field for the induction of a new military policy. Amherst, if not surpassing his predecessors in talent and energy, was, at least, more fortunate in the disposition of his forces, more successful in the execution of his plans, and especially so in the

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election of his generals. The military spirit of the British nation was roused; its means were ample; and its commanders men of the highest capacity. France was about to be subjected to a combined attack on all her strongholds, which would surpass anything previously attempted. The colonial struggle, which had been protracted through a century and a half, was about to terminate. The first successful onset was made on Niagara, which was regularly besieged by General Prideaux, who was killed in one of the trenches, while encouraging his men to more active exertions. Through this casualty Sir William Johnson succeeded to the chief command, and vigorously prosecuted the plans of his predecessor. Learning that reinforcements, accompanied by a body of Indians from the lakes, had entered the Niagara valley, and were inarching to the relief of the fort, he sent against them a detachment of troops, together with a large force of Iroquois, who valiantly met and defeated the enemy. He then summoned the garrison to surrender, which opened the gates of the fort on the 20th of July. Within a week from this time, Louisburg, which had been invested by Admiral Boscawen, succumbed to the military prowess and heroism of General Wolfe, who, having been promoted for his gallantry in this siege, ascended the St. Lawrence, and by a series of masterly movements, conducted with great intrepidity, captured Quebec, losing his own life on the plains of Abraham, where, also, ebbed out that of his brave and able foe, Montcalm. The city surrendered on the 13th of September. De Levi, from the opposite point of the river, vainly attempted its recovery. In the spring of 1760, General Murray followed De Levi up the valley of the St. Lawrence to Montreal, and effected a landing at the lower part of the island, while General Arnherst and a large regular force, together with Sir William Johnson and his Iroquois, disembarked at La Chine. The troops on the island made no resistance, and, with its conquest that of Canada was completed. Its retention by the English was one of the chief results of the treaty of peace, soon after concluded between France and England. The terms of the capitulation included the smaller posts of Le Boeuf, Detroit, and
Michilimackinac, which were surrendered in the year 1761.

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document:
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