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Captain James Wood' s information to the Committee of Pittsburgh


Captain JAMES WOOD' S information to the Committee of PITTSBURGH, AUGUST 10, 1775.

Mr˙ Wood informs the Committee that at Cushocton, a Delaware Town, on the 22d of July, he delivered a speech to the Chiefs of that place, inviting them to a treaty to be held at Pittsburgh the 10th of September; likewise he informed them that he understood that the Wyandots and French had lately been in Council with them, that they made a speech, and delivered a belt to them, and that he expected from the friendship that has for a long time subsisted between them and their elder brothers, the Virginians, that they would inform him what had passed between them. On the 23d of July, Newcomer and some other


Delaware Chiefs, delivered him a speech or answer to his of yesterday, in substance as follows:

"Thanking him for his speech, and that they would cheerfully meet the Virginians at the treaty; and to convince their brothers that they desire to live in the strictest friendship with them, they delivered to him a belt and string that was sent to them by an Englishman and a Frenchman from Detroit, with a message informing them that the people of Virginia are determined to strike them, and that they would come on them two ways, the one by way of the Lakes, and the other by the Ohio, and that the Virginian' s are determined to drive them off and take their lands from them; and that they must constantly be on their guard, and not pay any regard to what the Virginians would say to them, as they were a people not to be depended upon; and that the Virginians would invite them to a treaty, that they must not go by any means, and to take particular notice of the advice which they gave."

That he arrived at a Seneca Town the 25th of July, and found Logan there with some of the Mingoes that were prisoners at Fort Pitt. They all appeared very desirous to know his business. He called them together, and made the same speech to them that he did to the Delawares; they made no other answer than that they would acquaint the rest of their Nation with what he had said. These Indians appeared very angry, and behaved with great insolence to him. That on the 27th he delivered a speech to the Indians at the Wyandots Town, which was as follows:

"Brothers, the WYANDOTS and TAWAS: Your brothers of Virginia, in their Great Council, are desirous of brightening the chain of friendship between you and them; they have appointed Commissioners to meet the chiefs of the different Nations of Indians on the Ohio and the lakes, at Fort Pitt in forty-six days from this time; and have ordered me to come to this place, to assure you that their hearts are good towards you, and that they hope to agree upon a peace with all the Indians, so that their children and ours may hereafter be in the greatest friendship; to give you a kind invitation to their Council Fire, and they will give you a hearty welcome. Brothers, it is with great concern I have lately heard that some people, whom I consider to be enemies as well to you as to us, have endeavoured to make you believe that the people of Virginia intend to strike your Nation; this you may depend upon is the greatest falsity, as I can, with truth, assure you, that they desire to live in strict friendship with all Indians, while they continue to live peaceably with us.

"Brothers, the TAWAS: It is with great pleasure I take this opportunity of speaking to you in the name of my countrymen, to return you thanks for the kind treatment given by your Nation to one of our young brothers, who was delivered into your hands last summer by the Shawanese, and to assure you that if any of your people should ever fall into our hands, they will meet with friendly treatment."

To which the War Post returned the following answer:

"Brothers, the BIG KNIFE: We have heard what you have said, and desire time till to-morrow afternoon to consider it, when we will meet you in the Council-House at the time mentioned."

The War Post, with six others, came to his camp. They told him they came to talk with him as friends; that they always understood the English had but one King, who lived over the great river, that they were much surprised lately to hear that we were at war with ourselves, and that we had several engagements at Boston, where a great many men were killed on both sides; and as they had heard many different stories, they would be glad to hear and know the truth. Captain Wood then explained to them the nature of the disputes, and acquainted them of the general union of all the Colonies, and undeceived them in an errour he found the Wyandots had been led into, viz; that the Virginians were a people distinct from the other Colonies,

At the appointed time the War Post delivered the following answer to Captain Wood' s speech of yesterday.

"Brother, the BIG KNIFE: You tell us you were sent to our Towns by the great men of Virginia, to let us know there is now a large Council Fire kindling at Fort-Pitt; that it would be ready in forty-six days, and that we should


hear then and there every thing that was good. Brothers, we have listened to every thing you have said with great attention, and consider it well. We think it is good, and will immediately send over the lakes to our chiefs, and will be ruled in our determination by them. Brothers, I have nothing farther to say, than that it has always been a custom with us that whatever news we hear we immediately send it to our head-men, as we shall on this occasion."

He arrived at the Shawanese Towns on the 31st. He desired the headman to call the headmen of the different Towns together as soon as possible, that he had something to say to them from the headmen of Virginia. The headmen then informed him that Chenusaw, or the Judge, had returned home the night before; that he brought alarming accounts from Virginia, that all the people, except the Governour, were determined on war with the Indians; that the Governour was for peace, but was obliged to fly on board a ship; that the hostages found that they were to be made slaves and sent to some other country; that the white people were all preparing for war, and that they showed him many Indian scalps, amongst which the Wolf knew his brother' s; upon which they determined, if possible, to make their escape, and accordingly set off all together in the night; that the next day, he, being behind the others at some distance, was seized by three men; that he heard them say they would kill him, and one of them began to load his gun, while the other two before the gun was loaded, held him by the arm, he found means to disengage himself and make his escape, leaving his gun and every thing else behind him: soon after, he heard several guns go off, and was sure that Cuttenwa and Newa were killed, as he had been sixty days travelling, and had heard nothing of them. Captain Wood told the headmen that the most of what Chenusaw, or the Judge, told him was false; and that he would be glad if he would send for him, which he did. As soon as he came Captain Wood explained the whole matter to him and many more Indian' s, and informed them Cuttenwa and Newa were both well, and on the road; and that they were bringing his clothes, and what other things he left behind him; and that it was very unlucky for him he did not turn back as the others did, and have a horse and a saddle to ride home as the others had.

On the first of August he inquired of sundry squaws concerning the speeches and bells sent to the Shawanese by the French at Detroit. They all gave the same accounts he had received before, with this addition, that the Picts and Twightwees had accepted the belts, but that the Shawanese had dug a hole in the ground, and buried them never to rise again.

The 2d of August he delivered a speech to the Shawanese, the same in substance to what he had delivered to other Nations. He explained the nature of the dispute with Lord Dunmore, and convinced them that Chenusaw had not told the truth, and likewise explained to them the nature of the dispute with Great Britain. The headman returned them the following answer:

"Brother, the BIG KNIFE: I am very thankful, as well as all my friends, who are now present, for your good speech this day delivered to us at our Council Fire. It gives us great pleasure to think that our brothers, the Big Knife, have not forgot us; and that we will have an opportunity of talking to them in friendship at the time you mention. We are much obliged to our brothers, the Big Knife, for their care in directing all their people to let our brother Chenusaw come to us. His coming away in the manner he did proceeded from a mistake. We are fully satisfied with what you have told us, and hope you will not think hard of us for his bad behaviour."