Page images



Treaty of Logstown. and a half below Pittsburgh, upon the north side of the Ohio.* It had long been a trading-point, but had been abandoned by the Indians in 1750. Here the Lancaster treaty was produced, and the sale of the western lands insisted upon; but the chiefs said, “No; they had not heard of any sale west of the warrior's road, which ran at the foot of the Alleghany ridge.” The commissioners then offered goods for a ratification of the Lancaster treaty; spoke of the proposed settlement by the Ohio Company; and used all their persuasions to secure the land wanted. Upon the 11th of June, the Indians replied. They recognised the treaty of Lancaster, and the authority of the Six Nations to make it, but denied that they had any knowledge of the western lands being conveyed to the English by said deed; and declined, upon the whole, having any thing to do with the treaty of 1744.” “However,” said the savages, “as the French have already struck the Twigtwees, we shall be pleased to have your assistance and protection, and wish you would build a fort at once at the Fork of the Ohio."|| But this permission was not what the Virginians wanted; so they took aside Montour, the interpreter, who was a son of the famous Catherine Montour,ộ and a chief among the Six Nations, being three-fourths of Indian blood, and persuaded him, by valid arguments, (of the kind which an Indian most appreciates doubtless,) to use his influence with his fellows. This he did; and, upon the 13th of June, they all united in signing a deed, confirming the Lancaster treaty in its full extent, consenting to a settlement southeast of the Ohio, and guarantying that it should not be disturbed by them.

Croghan, in his Journal says, that Logstown was south of the Ohio. ( Butler's Kentucky, App.) The river is itself nearly north and south at the spot in question ; but we always call the Canada side the north side, having reference to the general direction of the stream.

4 Bouquets Expedition. London, 1766. p. 10--Logstown is given on the map accompanying the volume.

# Washington (Sparks’ ii. 526,) speaks of a warrior's path coming out upon the Ohio about thirty miles above the Great Kenhawa ;-Filson and Hutchins (see map) make the one referred to by them terminate below the Scioto.-One may have been a branch used by the Muskingum and Hocking tribes, the other by those of the Scioto Valley.

| Plain Facts, p. 42.

& For a sketch of this woman, see Massachusetts Historical Collections, First Series, vol. vii. p. 189, or Stone's Life of Brant, vol. i. p. 339. She had two sons, Andrew and Henry. The latter was a captain among the Iroquois, the former a common interpreter, apparently. Andrew was taken by the French in 1749. Which of them was at Logstown we are not told; but, from his influence with the Indians, it was probably Henry.

4 Plain Facts, pp. 38–44. The Virginia commissioners were men of high character, but treated with the Indians according to the ideas of their day.


Settlers cross the Mountains.


As an

By such means was obtained the first treaty with the Indians in the Ohio valley.

All this time the two powers beyond the Atlantic were in a professed state “ of profound peace;” and commissioners were at Paris trying to out-manæuvre one another with regard to the disputed lands in America,* though in the West all looked like war. We have seen how the English outwitted the Indians, and secured themselves, as they thought, by their politic conduct. But the French, in this as in all cases, proved that they knew best how to manage the natives; and, though they had to contend with the old hatred felt toward them by the Six Nations, and though they by no means refrained from strong acts, marching through the midst of the Iroquois country, attacking the Twigtwees, and seizing the English traders, nevertheless they did succeed, as the British never did, in attaching the Indians to their cause. old chief of the Six Nations said at Easton, in 1758; “ The Indi. ans on the Ohio left

you because of your own fault. When we heard the French were coming, we asked you for help and arms, but we did not get them. The French came, they treated us kindly, and gained our affections. The Governor of Virginia settled on our lands for his own benefit, and, when we wanted help, forsook us.”

So stood matters at the close of 1752. The English had secured (as they thought) a title to the Indian lands south-east of the Ohio, and Gist was at work laying out a town and fort there on Shurtees (Chartier's) Creek, about two miles below the Fork. Eleven families also were crossing the mountains to settle at the point where Gist had fixed his own residence, west of Laurel Hill, and not far from the Youghiogany. Goods too had come from England for the Ohio Company, which, however, they could not well, and dared not, carry beyond Will's Creek, the point where Cumberland now stands, whence they were taken by the traders and Indians; and there was even some prospect of a road across the mountains to the Monongahela.

On the other hand, the French were gathering cannon and stores upon Lake Erie, and, without treaties or deeds for land, were gaining the good will of even inimical tribes, and preparing, when all was ready, to strike the blow. Some of the savages, it

See Smollett; George II., chapters viii. and ix. + Plain Facts, p. 55.—Pownall's Memoir on Service in North America. # Sparks' Washington, vol. ii. pp. 433, 482, and map, p. 38.

Treaties of Winchester and Carlisle.

57 is true, remonstrated. They said they did not understand this dispute between the Europeans, as to which of them the western lands belonged to, for they did not belong to either. But the French bullied when it served their turn, and flattered when it served their turn, and all the while went on with their preparations, which were in an advanced state early in 1753.*

In May of that year, the governor of Pennsylvania informed the Assembly of the French movements, a knowledge of which was derived, in part at least, from Montour, who had been present at a conference between the French and Indians relative to the invasion of the West.f The assembly thereupon voted six hundred pounds for distribution among the tribes, besides two hundred for the present of condolence to the Twigtwees, already mentioned. This money was not sent, but Conrad Weiser was despatched in August to learn how things stood among the Ohio savages. Virginia was moving also. In June, or earlier, a commissioner was sent westward to meet the French, and ask how they dared invade his Majesty's province. The messenger went to Logstown, but was afraid to go up the Alleghany, as instructed.|| Trent was also sent off with guns, powder, shot and clothing for the friendly Indians; and then it was, that he learned the fact already stated, as to the claim of the French, and their burial of medals in proof of it. While these measures were taken, another treaty with the wild men of the debatable land was also in contemplation; and in September, 1753, William Fairfax met their deputies at Winchester, Virginia, where he concluded a treaty, with the particulars of which we are unacquainted, but on which, we are told, was an indorsement, stating that such was their feeling, that he had not dared to mention to them either the Lancaster or the Logstown treaty ;a most sad comment upon the modes taken to obtain those grants. In the month following, however, a more satisfactory interview took place at Carlisle, between the representatives of the Iroquois, Delawares, Shawanese, Twigtwees and Owendeats, and the commissioners of Pennsylvania, Richard Peters, Isaac Norris, and Benjamin Franklin. At this meeting the attack on the

* See in Washington's Journal, the Speech of Half-king to the French commander and his answer.--Sparks's Washington, vol. ii. p. 484.

† Sparks' Franklin, vol. iii. p. 219.
| Sparks' Washington, vol. ii. p. 230.

Sparks' Washington, vol. ii. p. 430.
Plain Facts, p. 44.

58 Washington sent West.

1753. Twigtwees was talked over, the plans of the French discussed, and a treaty concluded. The Indians had sent three messages to the French, warning them away; the reply was, that they were coming to build forts at “Wenengo,” (Venango,) Mohongialo forks, (Pittsburgh,). Logtown, and Beaver Creek. The red men complained of the traders as too scattered, and as killing them with rum; they wished only three trading stations, viz. mouth of Mohongely,” (Pittsburgh,) Logtown, and mouth of “Canawa."*

Soon after this, no satisfaction being obtained from the Ohio, either as to the force, position, or purposes of the French, Robert Dinwiddie, then Governor of Virginia, determined to send to them another messenger, and selected a young surveyor, who, at the age of nineteen, had received the rank of major, and whose previous life had inured him to hardship and woodland ways, while his courage, cool judgment, and firm will, all fitted him for such a mission. This young man, as all know, was George Washington, who was twenty-one years and eight months old, at the time of the appointment. With Gist as his guide, Washington left Will's Creek, where Cumberland now is, on the 15th of November, and, on the 22d, reached the Monongahela about ten miles above the Fork. Thence he went to Logstown, where he had long conferences with the chiefs of the Six Nations living in that neighbourhood.[ Here he learned the position of the French upon the

Minutes of Treaty at Carlisle in Oct. 1753, pp. 5 to 8. + Sparks' Washington, vol. ii. pp. 328-447.

# A passage of Washington's Diary is worth extracting as showing the condition of the French, in the Far West at that time.

6. 25th.-Came to town four of ten Frenchmen, who had deserted from a company at the Kuskuskus, which lies at the mouth of this river. I got the following account from them :- They were sent from New Orleans with a hundred men and eight canoe-loads of provisions to this place, where they expected to have met the same number of men, from the forts on this side of Lake Erie, to convoy them and the stores up, who were not arrived when they ran off.

" I inquired into the situation of the French on the Mississippi, their numbers and what forts they had built. They informed me, that there were four small forts between New Orleans and the Black Islands, garrisoned with about thirty or forty men, and a few small pieces in each. That at New Orleans, which is near the mouth of the Mississippi, there are thirty-five companies of forty men each, with a pretty strong fort mounting eight carriage-guns; and at the Black Islands there are several companies and a fort with six guns. The Black Islands are about a hundred and thirty leagues above the mouth of the Ohio, which is about three hundred and fifty above New Orleans. They also acquainted me, that there was a small palisadoed fort on the Ohio, at the mouth of the Obaish, about sixty leagues from the Mississippi. The Obaish heads near the west end of Lake Erie, and affords the communication between the French on the Mississippi and those on the lakes. These deserters came up from the lower Shannoahtown with one Brown, an Indian trader, and were going to Philadelphia."

Washington on French Creek.

59 Riviere aux Bæufs, and the condition of their forts. He heard also that they had determined not to come down the river till the following spring, but had warned all the Indians, that, if they did not keep still, the whole French force would be turned upon them; and that, if they and the English were equally strong, they would divide the land between them, and cut off all the natives. These threats, and the mingled kindness and severity of the French, had produced the desired effect. Shingiss, king of the Delawares, feared to meet Washington, and the Shannoah (Shawanee) chiefs would not come either. *

The truth was, these Indians were in a very awkward position. They could not resist the Europeans, and knew not which to side with; so that a non-committal policy was much the safest, and they were wise not to return by Washington (as he desired they should) the wampum received from the French, as that would have been equivalent to breaking with them.

Finding that nothing could be done with these people, Washington left Logstown on the 30th of November, and, travelling amid cold and rain, reached Venango,f an old Indian town at the mouth of French Creek, on the 4th of the next month. Here he found the French; and here, through the rum, and the flattery, and the persuasions of his enemies, he very nearly lost all his Indians, even his old friend, the Half-king. Patience and good faith conquered, however, and, after another pull through mires and creeks, snow, rain, and cold, upon the 11th he reached the fort at the head of French Creek. Here he delivered Governor Dinwiddie's letter, took his observations, received his answer, aud upon the 16th set out upon his return journey, having had to combat every art and trick, “which the most fruitful brain could suggest,” in order to get his Indians away with him. Flattery, and liquor, and guns, and provision were showered upon the Halfking and his comrades, while Washington himself received bows, and smirks, and compliments, and a plentiful store of creaturecomforts also.

From Venango, Washington and Gist went on foot, leaving their Indian friends to the tender mercies of the French. Of their hardships and dangers on this journey out and back we need only

* Shingiss, or Shingask, was the great Delaware warrior of that day, and did the British much mischief.–See Heckewelder's Narrative, p. 64.

+ A corruption of Innungah; (Day's Hist. Collections of Pa. 636, note.) The French fort there was called Fort Machault. (Memoires sur la Derniere Guerre, iii. 181.)

« PreviousContinue »