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1765 Croghan

Croghan is again in Detroit in 1765 working with the western tribes to restore the peace after Pontiac's rebellion.

August 17th - I arrived at Detroit, where I found several small Tribes of Ottawas, Putteewatamies & Chipwas waiting in Consequence of Col Bradstreets Invitation to see him. Here I met Mr. DeCouagne and Wabecomicat with a Deputation of Indians from Niagara, with Messages from Sir William Johnson to Pondiac & those Western Nations.

23d - Colo Campbell & I had a Meeting with the Twightwees, Wawiotonans, Kickapoos and Musquattamies, when they produced the several Belts sent them by Col Bradstreet, in consequence of which invitation they had came here.

Then they spoake to the Six Nations, Delawares and Shawanees, on several Belts and Pipes, begging in the most abject manner, that they would forgive them for the ill conduct of their Young Men; to take Pity on their Women and Children, and grant ym peace.

Then they spoake to the Colo & me on several Pipes and Belts Expressing their great satisfaction at a firm and lasting Peace being settled between their Bretheren the English, & the several Indian Nations in this Country, that they saw the heavy Clouds that hung over their heads for some time past were now dispersed, and that the Sun shone clear & bright, & that as their Father, the King of England had conquered the French in [this] country, & taken into his Friendship all the Indian Nations, they hoped for the future they would be a happy people, & that they should always have reason to call the English their Fathers, & beged we would take pity on their Women and Children, & make up the difference subsisting between them and the Shawa nese, Delawares & Six Nations, and said as they were come here in consequence of Colo Bradstreet's Invitation, & that he had not met them they hoped their fathers would pity their necessity & give them a little clothing, and a little rum to drink on the road, as they had come a great way to see their Fathers. Then the Wyondats spoake to the Shawanese, & all the Western Nations, on several Belts and strings, by which they exhorted the several Nations to behave themselves well to their Fathers the English, who had now taken them under their Protection, that if they did, they would be a happy People, that if they did not listen to the Councils of their Fathers, they must take the Consequences, having assured them that all Nations to the Sun rising had taken fast hold of their Fathers the English by the hand, & would follow their Advice, & do every thing they desired them, & never would let slip the Chain of Friendship now so happily renewed.

August 24th. - We had another Meeting with the Several Nations, when the Wawiotonans, Twightwees, Pyankeshas, Kickapoos, & Musquatamies, made several speeches to Colo Campbell & me, in presence of all the other Nations, when they promised themselves to be the Children of the King of Great Britain & farther acknowledged that they had at Ouiatonon before they came there given up the Sovereignty of their Country to me for His Majesty, & promised to support his subjects in taking possession of all the Posts given up by the French their former Fathers, to the English, now their present Fathers, all which they confirmed with a Belt.

25th. We had another meeting with the same Indians, when Colo Campbell & I made them several speeches in answer to theirs of the 23 and 24th then delivered them a Road Belt in the name of Sir William Johnson Baronet, to open a Road from the rising to the setting of the Sun which we charged them to keep open through their Country & cautioned them to stop their Ears against Storys or idle reports of evil minded People & continue to promote the good Works of Peace, all which they promised to do in a most sincere manner.

26th. - Colo Campbell & I made those Nations some presents, when after taking leave of us, they sett off for their own Country well satisfied.

27th. - We had a Meeting with Pondiac & all the Ottawa Tribes, Chipwaes & Puttewatamies, with the Hurons of this Place & the chiefs of those settled at Sandusky & the Miamis River, when we made them the following Speeches.

CHILDREN PONDIAC & ALL OUR CHILDREN THE OTTAWAS, PUTTEWAAMIES, CHIPWAYS & WYONDATTS: We are very glad to see so many of our Children here present at your Antient Council Fire, which has been neglected for some time past, since those high winds has arose & raised some heavy clouds over your Country, I now by this Belt dress up your Antient Fire & throw some dry wood upon it, that the blaze may ascend to the Clouds so that all Nations may see it, & know that you live in Peace & Tranquility with your Fathers the English. - A belt.

By this Belt I disperse all the black clouds from over your heads, that the Sun may shine clear on your Women and Children, that those unborn may enjoy the blessings of this General Peace, now so happily settled between your Fathers the English & you & all your younger Bretheren to the Sun setting. - A belt.

Children: By this Belt I gather up all the Bones of your deceased friends, & bury them deep in the ground, that the herbs & sweet flowers of the earth may grow over them, that we may not see them any more. - A belt.

Children: with this Belt I take the Hatchet out of your Hands & I pluck up a large tree & bury it deep, so that it may never be found any more, & I plant the tree of Peace, where all our children may sit under & smoake in Peace with their Fathers. - A belt.

Children: We have made a Road from the Sun rising to the Sun setting, I desire that you will preserve that Road good and pleasant to Travel upon, that we may all share the blessings of this happy Union. I am sorry to see our Children dispersed thro' the Woods, I therefore desire you will return to your Antient Settlements & take care of your Council Fire which I have now dressed up, & promote the good work of Peace. - A belt.

After which Wapicomica delivered his Messages from Sir William Johnson to Pondiac & the rst of the several Chiefs.

Aug. 28th - We had a Meeting with Pondiac & the several Nations when Pondiac made the following Speeches.

FATHER: We have all smoaked out of the Pipe of Peace its your Children's Pipe & as the War is all over, & the Great Spirit and Giver of Light who has made the Earth & every thing therein, has brought us all together this day for our mutual good to promote the good Works of Peace, I declare to all Nations that I have settled my Peace with you before I came here, & now deliver my Pipe to be sent to Sir William Johnson that he may know I have made Peace, & taken the King of England for my Father, in presence of all the Nations now assembled, & whenever any of those Nations go to visit him, they may smoake out of it with him in Peace. Fathers we are oblidged to you for lighting up our old Council Fire for us, & desiring us to return to it, but we are now settled on the Miamis River, not far from hence, whenever you want us you will find us there ready to wait on you, the reason why I choose to stay where we are now settled, is, that we love liquor, and did we live here as formerly, our People would be always drunk, which might occasion some quarrels between the Soldiers & them, this Father is all the reason I have for our not returning to our old Settlements, & that we live is so nigh this place, that when we want to drink, we can easily come for it. - Gave a large Pipe with a Belt of wampum tied to it.

FATHER: Be strong and take pity on us your Children as our former Father did, 'tis just the Hunting Season of our children, our Fathers the French formerly used to credit his Children for powder & lead to hunt with, I request in behalf of all the Nations present that you will speak to the Traders now here to do the same, my Father, once more I request you will take pity on us & tell your Traders to give your Children credit for a little powder & lead, as the support of our Family's depends upon it, we have told you where we live, that whenever you want us & let us know it, we will come directly to you.- A belt.

FATHER: You have stopped up the Rum Barrel when we came here, 'til the Business of this Meeting was over, as it is now finished, we request you may open the barrel that your Children may drink & be merry.

August 29th - A Deputation of several Nations sett out from Detroit for the Ilinois Country with several Messages from me & the Wyondatts, Six Nations, Delawares, Shawanese, and other Nations, in answer to theirs delivered me at Ouiatonon.

30th - The Chiefs of the several Nations who are settled on the Ouabache returned to Detroit from the River Roche, where they had been encamped, & informed Col Campbell & me, they were now going off for their own Country, & that nothing gave them greater pleasure, than to see that all the Western Nations & Tribes had agreed to a general Peace, & that they should be glad [to know] how soon their Fathers the English, would take possession of the Posts of their Country, formerly possessed by their late Fathers the French, to open a trade for them, & if this could be done this Fall, they desired that some Traders might be sent to their Villages to supply them for the Winter, or else they would be obliged to go to the Illinois and apply to their old Fathers the French for such necessaries as they might want.

Then they spoke on a Belt & said Fathers, every thing is now settled, & we have agreed to your taking possession in our Country. we have been informed, that the English where ever they settle, make the Country their own, & you tell us that when you conquered the French they gave you this Country. - That no difference may happen hereafter, we tell you now the French never conquered us neither did they purchase a foot of our Country, nor have they a right to give it to you, we gave them liberty to settle for which they always rewarded us, & treated us with great Civility while they had it in their power, but as they are become now your people, if you expect to keep these Posts, we will expect to have proper returns from you. - A Belt.

September 2d - The chiefs of the Wyondats or Huron came to me & said they had spoke last Summer to Sir William Johnson at Niagara about the lands, on which the French had settled near Detroit belonging to them, & desired I would mention it again to him. they never had sold it to the French, & expected their new Fathers the English would do them justice, as the French was become one people with us. - A Belt.

4th. - Pondiac with several chiefs of the Ottawas, Chippawaes & Pottewatemies likewise complained that the French had settled part of their country, which they never had sold to them, & hoped their Fathers the English would take it into Consideration, & see that a proper satisfaction was made to them. That their Country was very large, & they were willing to give up such part of it, as was necessary for their Fathers the English, to carry on Trade at, provided they were paid for it, & a sufficient part of the Country left them to hunt on. - A Belt.

6th. The Sagina Indians came here, & made a speech on a Belt of Wampum expressing their satisfaction on hearing that a general Peace was made with all the Western Nations & with Pondiac, they desired a little Powder, Lead & a few knives to enable them to hunt on their way home, & a little rum to drink their new Fathers health. - A belt.

9th - Altewaky and Chamindiway Chiefs of a Band of Ottawas from Sandusky with 20 Men came here and informed me that their late conduct had been peaceable, that on hearing there was a great Meeting of all Nations at this place, they came to her what would be done, & on their way here they had been informed that a General Peace was settled with all Nations to the Sun setting, & they now came to assure us of their attachment to the English Interest, & beged for some Powder, Lead, some Blankets and a little rum to help them to return to their town. A String.

Septbr 11th - Col Campbell & I gave the above parties some presents & a little rum & sent them away well satisfied.

12th - The Grand Sautois came with band and spoke as follows.

FATHER: You sent me a Belt from the Miamis, & as soon as I received it, I set off to meet you here, on my way I heard what had passed between you & the several Tribes that met you here, you have had pity on them, & I beg in behalf of myself & the people of Chicago that you will have pity on us also. 'tis true we have been Fools, & have listened to evil reports, & the whistling of bad birds, we red people, are a very jealous and foolish people, & Father amongst you White People, there are bad people also, that tell us lyes & deceive us, which has been the occasion of what has past, I need not say much on this head, I am now convinced, that I have been wrong for some years past, but there are people who have behaved worse than I & my people, they were pardoned last year at this place, I hope we may meet with the same, that our Women & Children may enjoy the blessings of peace as the rest of our Brethren the red people, & you shall be convinced by our future conduct that we will behave as well as any Tribe of Inds in this country. - A belt.

He then said that the St. Joseph Indians would have come along with him, but the English Prisoner which their Fathers want from them, was some distance off a hunting, and as soon as they could get him in, they would deliver him up and desire forgiveness.

14th - I had a private meeting with the grand Sautois when he told me he was well disposed for Peace last Fall, but was then sent for to the Ilinois, where he met with Pondiac, & that then their Fathers, the French told them, if they would be strong to keep the English out of possession of that Country but this Summer, That the King of France would send over an Army next Spring, to assist his Children the Indians, and that the King of Spain would likewise send troops to help them keep the English out of their Country, that the English were a bad people, & had a design to cut off all the Indian Nations in this Country, and to bring the Southern Indians to live & settle there, this account made all the Indians very uneasy in their minds, & after holding a Council amongst themselves, they all determined to oppose the English, & not to suffer them to take possession of the Ilinois, that for his part he behaved as ill as the rest to the English Officers that came there the Spring, but since he had been better informed of the goodness of the English, & convinced the French had told lyes for the love of their Beaver, he was now determined with all his people to become faithfull to their new Fathers the English, & pay no regard to any stories the French should tell him in the future.

Sept 15th. Colo Campbell & I had a meeting with the Grand Sautois, at which we informed him of every thing that had past with the several Nations & Tribes & told him that we accepted him and his people in Friendship, & would forgive them as we had the rest of the Tribes, & forget what was past provided their future conduct should convince us of their sincerity, after which we gave them some presents, for which he returned thanks & departed very well satisfied.

19th - I received a letter by express from Colo Reed acquainting me of Capt Sterlings setting out from Fort Pitt, with 100 men of the 42d Regt to take possession of Fort Chartres in the Ilinois Country

20th - I sent of Huron Andrew Express to Capt Sterling at the Ilinois, & with messages to the several Nations in that Country & those on the Ouabache, to acquaint them of Capt Starling's departure from Fort Pitt for the Ilinois country.

25th - The chiefs of the St. Joseph Indians arrived and addressed themselves to Colo Campbell and me as follows,

FATHERS: We are come here to see you, altho' we are not acquainted with you, we had a Father formerly, with whom we were well acquainted, & never differed with him, you have conquered him some time ago, & when you came here first, notwithstanding your hands were all bloody, you took hold of us by the hands, & used us well, & we thought we should be happy with our Fathers, but soon an unlucky difference happened, which threw us all into confusion, where this arose we don't know but we assure you, we were the last that entered into this Quarrel, the Inds from this place solicited us often to join them, but we would not listen to them, at last they got the better of our foolish young Warriors, but we never agreed to it, we knew it would answer no end, & often told them they were fools, if they succeeded in killing the few English in this Country, they could not kill them all because we knew you to be a great People.

FATHERS: You have after all that has happened, received all the several Tribes in this Country for your Children, we from St. Joseph's seem to be the last of your Children that come to you, we are no more than Wild Creatures to you Fathers in understanding therefore we request you'l forgive the past follies of our young people & receive us for your Children since you have thrown down our former Father on his back, we have been wandering in the dark like blind people, now you have dispersed all this darkness which hung over the heads of the several Tribes, & have accepted them for your Children, we hope you will let us partake with them of the light, that our Women and Children may enjoy Peace, & we beg you'l forget all that is past, by this belt we remove all evil thoughts from your hearts. - A belt.

Fathers, When we formerly came to visit our late Fathers the French they always sent us home joyfull, & we hope you will have pity on our Women and Young Men who are in great Want of necessarys, & not let us go home to our Villages ashamed.

Colo Campbell and I made them the following answer.

CHILDREN: I have heard with attention what you have said, & am glad to hear that you have delivered up the Prisoners at Michillimackinac, agreeable to my desire, as the other Prisoner who I always thought belonged to your Nation does not, but the man who has him resides now in your Country, I must desire you'l do every thing in your Power to get him brought to me, nothing will give me greater pleasure than to promote the good Works of Peace, & make my Children the Indians happy as long as their Conduct shall deserve it. I did not know what to think of your conduct for some time past, but to convince you of my desire to promote Peace, I receive you as Children as I have done all the other Nations, & hope your future Conduct may be such, as will convince me of your sincerity. - A Belt.

Children: Sometimes bad people take the liberty of stragling into your Country, I desire if you meet such people to bring them immediately here, likewise I desire that none of your Young Men may steal any Horses out of this settlement as they have done formerly, we shall see always strict justice done to you, & expect the same from you, on that your own happiness depends, & as long as you continue to merit our friendship by good actions in promoting Peace & Tranquility between your Young People & His Majesties Subjects, you may expect to be received here with open arms, & to convince you further of my sincerity, I give you some cloaths, powder, lead, vermillion, & 2 cags of rum for your Young People, that you may return home without shame as you desired.

Children, I take this opportunity to tell you that your Fathers the English are gone down the Ohio from Fort Pitt to take possession the Ilinois, & desire you may acquaint all your people of it on your return home, & likewise desire you will stop your Ears against the Whistling of bad birds, & mind nothing else but your Hunting to support your Familys, that your Women & Children may enjoy the Blessing of Peace. - A Belt.

26th. I left Detroit and arrived, October 3d, at Niagara.

From: A SELECTION OF GEORGE CROGHAN'S LETTERS AND JOURNALS RELATING TO TOURS INTO THE WESTERN COUNTRY - NOVEMBER 16, 1750-NOVEMBER, 1765. In Thwaites, Reuben Gold. Early Western Travels. Cleveland, OH: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1904. 1: 151-166.