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true, but that the Onondagas too much favoured their wicked designs, otherwise they would, before now, have banished those evil-minded persons from their Council-Fire, and have desired us to proceed.
No news arriving from Onondaga, my friends sent another message to the Onondagas, desiring an immediate answer to their first message, and Abraham the Mohawk, engaged to talk with his deluded countrymen, and if possible dissuade them from their cruel purpose.
The 25th instant, a messenger arrived from the Onondagas, desiring us to proceed forward directly, assuring me that I need not be under any apprehension of danger, for that these evil-minded persons had laid aside their wicked design. This message arrived towards evening; whereupon a Council was immediately called, consisting of the Oneidas, Caughnawagas, and Tuscaroras, in which it was concluded best that I should proceed with them to Onondaga, after they had engaged to defend me to the utmost of their power should any violence be offered me, though they finally submitted the matter to my own determination. A sense of duty induced me to proceed.
The female Governesses of the town, and those who were present from Oneida, hearing of my purpose, took the matter into their consideration, and about eight in the evening presented the following speech:
BROTHER: We, the female Governesses, take this opportunity to speak a word, and let you know our minds. In truth, our hearts have trembled and our eyes have not known sleep since you have been here, while we consider the danger that appears to us to threaten you at Onondaga, and the dreadful consequences that must ensue, should some fatal blow be given you. We desire you to consider well of those things, and to return back from this place.
To which the following answer was made:
SISTERS, FEMALE GOVERNESSES: I sincerely thank you for what you have said and the concern you appear to have for my safety; but, Sisters, possess your minds in peace, and let it not offend you if I do not comply with your request. I am sent by the great men upon important business, and must proceed as far as directed.
Early the next morning a messenger was despatched to the Onondagas, to inform them of our numbers, and desire them to provide us lodgings upon our arrival.
We were met on our way a few miles from the town, and informed that we could not all be accommodated together, but must be disposed of by two and three in a place. This I perceived was very disagreeable to my companions, nor did they fail to express their suspicions of some unfriendly design. A consultation upon the affair was immediately held, in which it was determined to encamp all together abroad. We marched from this place in an Indian file, as usual, only with this difference, that the warriors were directed to march together, and take me under their particular care. In this form we travelled till we came within about half a mile of the Council-House, where, about sunset, we encamped in a grove, the hemlocks furnishing us with beds. The next day passed in constant, though fruitless expectation, of being called to the Council; but none of the Sachems were to be seen or heard of, for father Bacchus, it seems, had called them to a party of pleasure, in order, beforehand, to make some compensation for the tedious abstinence they had to observe during the business of the meeting.
On the 28th we were called to the Council. This day was employed in their usual introductory speeches, viz: to wipe the tears from each others eyes mutually, to cleanse each others seats from blood; and, lastly, quite to remove that load of grief which obstructed their utterance, that they might freely disclose their minds to each other. After these ceremonies were over, I made a short speech to the assembly informing them of my business into their country, by whom sent, &c. They appeared well pleased, and the Speaker thanked me that I had come, and desired me to be under no apprehension of danger, but possess my mind in peace; adding, that he hoped I would send for something to wash the taste of the tobacco out of their mouths. To which it was answered, that no provision had been made for that purpose, as it was taken for granted that those who kindled the Council-fire always provided wherewith to wash the mouths of those whom they had called to sit around it.
The 29th: returned again to the Council. The business of the day was introduced with speeches of condolence addressed to the Caughnawagas and Tuscaroras. After they were ended, Teyawanronde, the Onondaga speaker, answered the speeches of condolence made by Mr. Butler and the Senecas upon the death of Otgwendagoghte and several others, who were killed in Canada last summer by the arms of the United Colonies. Several new trees, as they expressed it, were then raised in the room of those who were fallen, and their names published to the Six Nations; after which Sakayongwaraghton, the Seneca Sachem, in a speech he made to the Oneidas, informed them that he had heard they had been to General Schuyler to ask leave to go to Niagara, take Mr. Butler prisoner, and bring him down to Albany; and also, that the General was well pleased with their proposal, and thanked them for their friendship and zeal, and promised them a reward of two hundred and fifty dollars if they would present him with either Mr. Butlers person or scalp. He then advised the Oneidas, in case the report he had heard was true, carefully to think what they were about, and not to prosecute their designs any further. The Oneidas, in vindication of their conduct, repeated the whole affair from first to last, and showed that the report was false and malicious. They acknowledged they had heretofore interposed in favour of some of their old friends and neighbours who had involved themselves in trouble on account of their practices against the Colonies, but now declared to the whole Confederacy that they never would do it again in any instance, but let the white people conduct their own affairs as they pleased. Then ended the business of the day.
30th.Five speeches of Colonel Butler were repeated in publick. The first was to put them in mind of the Council-fire kindled last summer at Oswego, that they might recollect the speeches then made them. In the second, he desired them to consider and weigh, as it were in a balance, the speeches that should be made to them both by himself and the Bostonians, that they might see (agreeable to the Indian expression) who spoke most of peace. In the third, he told them that he was much grieved and almost ready to weep to see the division of sentiment that subsisted among the Six Nations, and begged of them to heal the breach, and become of one mind. The fourth informed them the King would cross the sea two months hence, to talk of peace with the Bostonians, and that if they would not listen to him, he would then chastise them. He also advised his brethren, the Six Nations, to observe a perfect neutrality in the present quarrel, and to mind nothing but peace. Lastly, he informed them, in his fifth speech, that he was about to kindle a Council-fire at Niagara, both for the Six Nations and the Western Tribes, one month and a half hence, when he would speak to them of nothing but peace.
The above is the substance of Colonel Butlers speeches to the Indians at the late meeting held at Niagara, as they were repeated by Sorighhowane, a Seneca Sachem, who closed with declaring that he had now unburdened his mind, and laid the whole of Mr. Butlers speeches before the assembly. But two of the Mohawks, who were present at Niagara when the aforesaid speeches were delivered, declared soon after at different times and to different persons, that the Senecas had concealed one of Colonel Butlers speeches. And one of them told another Mohawk, a friend of mine, that the reason of their concealing it was because I was present, and that he would publish it himself before the meeting was dissolved, if the Senecas did not. This the Senecas were informed of, which soon proved productive of another speech, addressed in the name of the Senecas, Onondagas, and Mohawks, to the other three tribes of the Confederacy, and proposed to their consideration.
The 31st was taken up in uniting the minds of the Confederated tribes, and in mutual assurances of their fixed determination to observe a strict neutrality in the present quarrel; and that they would invariably pursue the paths of peace, and also in framing replies to Colonel Butlers speeches.
April 1st.A speech was addressed in the name of the Senecas, Onondagas, and Mohawks, to the other tribes in the Confederacy, in which was proposed to their consideration the propriety of addressing the Commissioners directly, representing the distressed situation the Six Nations were reduced to, for want of clothing, powder, &c., and to request a trade as usual, particularly that the door might be opened at Quebeck,