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Message from the Governour


The Governour, by Mr˙ Secretary, sent down the said Writ accordingly, also a written Message to the House, with sundry Letters and Petitions from different parts of the frontiers, concerning the present Indian disturbances, which were in part read by order, and the said Message follows in these words, viz:

"GENTLEMEN: The importance of the matter I have to lay before you, will, I am persuaded, make it unnecessary to apologize to you for calling you together at a season of the year of all others the most inconvenient for you to attend to publick business.

"I am to inform you, that in the latter end of April last, about eleven Delaware and Shawanese Indians were barbarously murdered on the river Ohio, about ninety miles below Pittsburgh, by two parties of white men, said to be Virginians. As we were at that time in a state of perfect amity with the Western Indians, and it does not appear that those who were killed by the above parties had given them the least provocation, I am at a loss to conjecture what could be the inducement to act so cruel and inhuman.

"As soon as the unfortunate affair was known on the frontiers of this Province, messengers were despatched to assure the Indians that these outrages had been committed by wicked people, without the knowledge or countenance of any of the English Governments, and requesting they might not be the means of disturbing the friendship which subsisted between us. This step had so far a good effect as to quiet them for the present, and prevent them coming to a resolution to enter into a general war with us. It did not, however, restrain the particular friends and relations of the deceased, who, it seems, contrary to the advice of their Chiefs, in a short time afterwards took their revenge, by murdering a number of Virginians settled to the Westward of the river Monongahela. Alarmed at this proceeding, the out-settlers left their habitations and fled with their families into the interiour parts; and the panick soon became so universal that a great part of the Western frontier of this Province was totally deserted; and it is impossible to say when the mischief would have stopped had not a number of rangers been raised by the Magistrates and others, in the County of Westmoreland, who were stationed in proper places to protect the inhabitants, and act defensively in case of an attack. This measure I esteemed a very salutary one, supplied the men with arms and ammunition, and ordered them to be kept up till the meeting of the Assembly, under a full persuasion that you would cheerfully defray the necessary expenses attending it.

"It would be too tedious to relate. The several occurrences


which have happened, from time to time, since the first act of hostility committed, but I refer you for more particular information therein to the Letters and Papers I have ordered the Secretary to lay before you. You will thereby perceive that the Delawares and Shawanese have repeatedly made the strongest professions of a pacifick disposition, and their desire that matters should be accommodated; and as an earnest desire of their sincerity, they not only protected the persons and goods of our traders among them from the violence of some of their young warriors, but actually escorted many of them back to their friends near Pittsburgh, at the risk of their own lives. Hence, we had great reason to believe, that by a just and discreet conduct a rupture with them might have been avoided. But I am sorry to inform you that I have received intelligence, that the very Indians, who thus generously escorted our traders home, were, contrary to all faith, pursued on their return, attacked, and one of them wounded by a party of Virginians, sent out for the purpose by one Conolly, a Militia Captain, appointed by the Government of Virginia, at Pittsburgh, who has lately taken possession of that place under the pretence of its being out of the bounds of the Province of Pennsylvania, and within the Colony of Virginia. By this unhappy step there is great reason to apprehend that it will be difficult to persuade the Indians further to confide in any overtures that can be made, or assurances given them, and that we shall be involved in the calamities of an Indian war. Nothing in my power has been neglected which I thought might have a tendency to avert so great an evil. I have wrote to Sir William Johnson, requesting him he would interest himself on the occasion, and use his influence with the Six Nations, to assist in healing the breach with their Western brethren; and have despatched a letter to Lord Dunmore, representing the misconduct of Conolly, and the dangerous consequences of his unjust and violent proceedings. What will be the event time only can discover; but in this dark and uncertain state of things, I think it my duty most earnestly to recommend it to you, to make timely and effectual provision for the security of our frontier settlements, that, in case of a war with the savages, they may have that immediate protection and assistance which they look for, and have a right to expect, from the Government under which they live; and that you will also provide for the discharging such expenses as have hitherto arisen by my orders for their defence, in which I shall readily concur with you.

"Could you devise any other probable method, by which this unhappy difference with the Indians could be accommodated, it would give me infinite satisfaction; and nothing could afford me more pleasure than the being instrumental in accomplishing so desirable an end.


July 18, 1774.

Ordered, That the foregoing Message, and the Papers attending it, be referred to further consideration to-morrow morning.

The House adjourned to ten o' clock to-morrow morning.