Primary tabs

Address concluded

Address of the Continental Congress

v3:482

Albany, Monday, August 28, 1775.

The treaty was again renewed. Present: Colonel Francis, Colonel Wolcott, Mr˙ Douw, Commissioners; Mr˙ Lynch, of South-Carolina, Mr˙ Duane and Mr˙ Robert Livingston, of New-York, Members of the Continental Congress; the Chairman and Committee of the City of Albany.

The Commissioners proceeded with the Speech of the Congress:

"Brothers and friends, attend:

" We upon this island have often spoke and entreated the King, and his servants the counsellors, that peace and harmony might still continue between us; that we cannot part with or loose our hold of the old covenant chain which united our fathers and theirs; that we want to brighten this chain, and keep the way open as our fathers did; that we want to live with them as brothers; labour, trade, travel abroad, eat and drink in peace. We have often asked them to love and live in such friendship with us as their fathers did with ours. We told them again, that we judged we were exceedingly injured; that they might as well kill us as take away our property and the necessaries of life. We have asked why they treat us thus? What has become of our repeated addresses and supplications to them? Who hath shut the ears of the King to the cries of his children in America? No soft answer, no pleasant voice from beyond the water, has yet sounded in our ears.

"Brothers: Thus stands the matter betwixt old England and America: You Indians know how things are proportioned in a family between the father and the son. The child carries a little pack. England we regard as the father. This island may be compared to the son.

"The father hath a numerous family, both at home and upon this island. He appoints a great number of servants to assist him in the government of his family. In process of time, some of his servants grew proud and ill-natured: they were displeased to see the boy so alert, and walk on so nimbly with his pack. They tell the father, and advise him to enlarge the child' s pack. They prevail; the pack is increased; the child takes it up again, as he thought it might be the father' s pleasure; speaks but few words — those very small, for he was loth to offend the father. Those proud and wicked servants, finding they had prevailed, laughed to see the boy sweat and stagger under his increased load. By and bye they apply to the father to double the child' s pack, because they heard him complain, and without any reason, said they; he is a cross child; correct him if he complains any more.

"The boy entreats the father, addresses the great servants in a decent manner, that the pack may be lightened. He could not go any further; he humbly asks if the old fathers, in any of their records, had described such a pack for the child. After all the tears and entreaties of the child, the pack is redoubled; the child stands a little while, staggering under the weight, ready to fall every moment. However, he entreats the father once more, though so faint he could

v3:483

only lisp his last humble supplication. Waits awhile: no voice returns. The child concludes the father could not hear. Those proud servants had intercepted his supplications, or stopped the ears of the father. He therefore gives one struggle, and throws off the pack, and says he cannot take it up again; such a weight will crush him down, and kill him — and he can but die if he refuses.

"Upon this, those servants are very wroth, and tell the father many false stories respecting the child. They bring a great cudgel to the father, asking him to take it in his hand and strike the child.

"This may serve to illustrate the present condition of the King' s American subjects or children.

"Amidst these oppressions, we now and then heard a mollifying and reviving voice from some of the King' s wise counsellors, who are our friends, and feel for our distresses. When they heard our complaints and our cries, they applied to the King; also, told those wicked servants that this child in America was not a cross boy; it had sufficient reason for crying; and if the cause of its complaint was neglected, it would soon assume the voice of a man, plead for justice like a man, and defend its rights and support the old covenant chain of the fathers.

"Brothers, listen: Notwithstanding all our entreaties, we have but little hope the King will send us any more good talks, by reason of his evil counsellors. They have persuaded him to send an army of soldiers, and many ships of war, to rob and destroy us. They have shut up many of our harbours, seized and taken into possession many of our vessels. The soldiers have struck the blow, killed some of our people. The blood now runs of the King' s American children; they have also burned our houses and towns, and taken much of our goods. — (A black belt.)

"Brothers: We are now necessitated to rise, and forced to fight or give up our civil constitution, run away, and leave our farms and houses behind us. This must not be; since the King' s wicked counsellors will not open their ears and consider our just complaints, and the cause of our weeping, and have given the blow, we are determined to drive away the King' s soldiers, and to kill and destroy all those wicked men we find in arms against the peace of the Twelve United Colonies upon this island. We think our cause is just; therefore, hope God will be on our side. We do not take up the hatchet and struggle for honour or conquest, but to maintain our civil constitution and religious privileges, the very same for which our forefathers left their native land and came to this Country. — (A black belt.)

"Brothers and friends: We desire that you will hear and receive what we have now told you, and that you will open a good ear and listen to what we are going to say. This is a family quarrel between us and old England; you Indians are not concerned in it. We don' t wish you to take up the hatchet against the King' s Troops. We desire you to remain at home, and not join either side, but keep the hatchet buried deep. In the name and behalf of all our people, we ask and desire you to love peace and maintain it, and to love and sympathize with us in our troubles, that the path may be kept open with all our people and yours, to pass and repass without molestation.

"Brothers: We live upon the same ground with you; the same island is our common birth-place; we desire to sit down under the same tree of peace with you; let us water its roots and cherish its growth, till the large leaves and flourishing branches shall extend to the setting sun and reach the skies.

"Brothers, observe well: What is it we have asked of you? Nothing but peace, notwithstanding our present disturbed situation; and if application should be made to you, by any of the King' s unwise and wicked ministers, to join on their side, we only advise you to deliberate with great caution, and in your wisdom look forward to the consequences of a compliance. For if the King' s Troops take away our property and destroy us, who are of the same blood with themselves, what can you, who are Indians, expect from them afterwards? — (A white belt.)

"Brothers of the SIX NATIONS:

"When we perceived this island began to shake and tremble along the eastern shore, and the sun darkened by a black cloud which arose from beyond the great water, we kindled up a great council fire at Philadelphia, and we sat around it until it burnt so high and so clear that it

v3:484

illuminated this whole island. We renewed our hold of the old covenant chain which united and strengthened our ancestors, and which was near slipping out of our hands before we had kindled this great council fire at Philadelphia. We have now taken fast hold, nor will we let it go without a mighty struggle, even unto death. Brothers, we are now Twelve Colonies, united as one man. We have but one heart and one hand. Brothers, this is our union belt. By this belt we, the Twelve United Colonies, renew the old covenant chain with which our forefathers, in their great wisdom, thought proper to bind us and you, our brothers of the Six Nations, together, when they first landed at this place. And if any of the links of this great chain should have received any rust, we now brighten it, and make it shine like silver. As God has put it into our hearts to love the Six Nations and their allies, we now make the chain of friendship so strong that nothing but an evil spirit can or will attempt to break it. But we hope, through the favour and mercy of the Good Spirit, that it will remain strong and bright while the sun shines and the water runs. — (Delivered the union belt.)

"Brothers: It is necessary, in order for the preservation of friendship between us and our brothers of the Six Nations and their allies, that a free and mutual intercourse be kept up betwixt us; therefore we, the Twelve United Colonies, by this belt, remove every difficulty that may lie in the great road that runs through the middle of our country, and we will also clear up and open all the small roads that lead into the great one. We will take out every thorn, brier, and stone, so that when any of our brothers of the Six Nations or their allies have an inclination to see and talk with any of their brethren of the Twelve United Colonies, they may pass safely, without being scratched or bruised.

"Brothers: The road is now open for our brethren of the Six Nations and their allies, and they may now pass and repass as safely and freely as the people of the Twelve United Colonies themselves. And we are further determined, by the assistance of God, to keep our roads open and free for the Six Nations and their allies, as long as the earth remains. — (Path belt.)

"Brothers: We have said we wish you Indians may continue in peace with one another, and with us the white people. Let us both be cautious in our behaviour towards each other, at this critical state of affairs. This island now trembles; the wind whistles from almost every quarter. Let us fortify our minds, and shut our ears against false rumours. Let us be cautious what we receive for truth, unless spoken by wise and good men. If any thing disagreeable should fall out betwixt us, the Twelve United Colonies, and you, the Six Nations, to wound our peace, let us immediately seek measures for healing the breach. From the present situation of affairs, we judge it wise and expedient to kindle up a council fire at Albany, where we may hear each others' voice and disclose our minds more fully to one another. — (The pipe of peace and six small strings.)

"Brothers: You now hear our disposition towards you, the Six Nations and your allies. Therefore we say: Brothers, take care, hold fast to your covenant chain. We depend on you to send and acquaint your allies to the northward, the seven Tribes on the River St˙ Lawrence, that you have had this talk with us at our council fire at Albany.

"Brothers: Let this our good talk remain at Onondoga, your central council house, that you may hand down to the latest posterity these testimonials of the brotherly sentiments of the Twelve United Colonies towards their brethren of the Six Nations and their allies."

Reply of Kanaghquaesa

To which Kanaghquiesa replied:

"Brothers: We have sat around and smoked our pipes at this our ancient place of kindling up our council fires. We have heard all you have said, and have heard nothing but what is pleasant and good. As you have communicated matters of great importance to us, we will sit down to-morrow and deliberate coolly upon them, and the day following will give you answers to every thing that you have laid before us."

Share