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Letter from Aeneas Mackay, Joseph Spear, and Devereux Smith to Joseph Shippen



Pittsburgh, July 8th, 1774.

SIR: Since our memorial to his Honour, the Governour, of the 25th of June, accompanied by some notes, there has several occurrences of so extraordinary a nature happened, that we hope no apology is necessary for giving you this trouble. The traders who were coming by land are all come in safe. Captain White Eyes is returned, with the strongest assurances of friendship from the Shawanese, Delawares, Wyandots and Cherokees, with whom he had been treating on our behalf. Upon his return he found his house broken open by the Virginians, and about thirty pounds worth of his property taken, which was divided and sold by the robbers at one Froman' s Fort, on Chartin' s Creek.

Doctor Conolly continues to exercise his authority as usual. Our persons are daily insulted, our property forcibly taken, and even our lives threatened. We had a remarkable instance of this on the first instant. A horse, the property of Messrs˙ Richard and William Butler, having been taken by a vagrant fellow at this place, was secreted by him in the town, which, when Messrs˙ Butlers were informed of, they went and took their horse, but not without obstinate resistance on the side of the thief, who, in their own defence, they were obliged to strike; upon which the fellow applied to Doctor Conolly, who sent a sergeant to Richard Butler, commanding him to appear immediately in the garrison; but Mr˙ Butler refused to go, and denied Doctor Conolly' s authority; whereupon a certain Captain Aston was sent for them, with a party from


the fort, and orders to break their house and take them at all events. Messrs˙ Butlers, after much debate, and repeated threats from Captain Aston, at the entreaty of their friends, consented to go down to the garrison; and when they demanded the cause of such treatment were answered that they must go immediately to jail, but they were afterwards allowed to give bail for their appearance at August Court. The same day Mr˙ Conolly informed them, and the other traders, they must pay him a duty of four pence per skin before they could remove one from this place, and immediately ordered the roads to be stopped, which was accordingly done, and a number of horses belonging to Mr˙ Blaine and others, were seized and brought back. A few days ago, one of the traders who went to meet his people, and some Indians that were bringing his peltry from Newcomer' s Town, was, upon his return, waylaid by about forty Virginians, who took him, three of his men, and five Delaware men, prisoners, telling him they would for the future treat as savages and enemies every trader that they should find in the woods. About this time two Delaware men, who had come from the towns up to assist some of the traders with their horses, were pursued by a party of Virginians to Mr˙ Smith' s house, where they flew for protection. The party followed them to the door, demanded entrance, and swore they would burn the house if they were refused. The Indians, notwithstanding, were kept in the house till night, and then dismissed in safety.

Mr˙ Wm˙ Butler, being insulted by a worthless drunken fellow, was under the necessity of chastising his insolence. Whereupon Mr˙ Conolly issued a King' s warrant for him, and his Sheriff came to Mr˙ Smith' s, where Mr˙ Butler then was, between eight and nine o' clock at night, and after an unsuccessful attempt to take Mr˙ Butler, ran out and called a guard that was waiting for that purpose, who immediately surrounded the house, remained there till after nine o' clock, and then dispersed. The Virginians, from their conduct, appear determined on a war. Colonel Lewis is supposed to be at the Kenhawas with fifteen hundred men, and several parties have gone from this place to join him. Major McDonald, Mr˙ Cresap, and others, are expected here shortly, who, it is said, are going down the river to build forts and station men at different places.

We have no room to doubt that Doctor Conolly has, by order of Lord Dunmore, sent a Speech to the Shawanese, importing that Logan and his party be immediately delivered up, with the three prisoners that he has taken, and some other Shawanese that are supposed to have committed a murder last winter. That on a refusal they (the Virginians) are determined to proceed against them with vigour, and will show them no mercy. Doctor Conolly has expresses constantly on the road between this and Williamsburg, whereby he has been able to impose on his Lordship the flagrant misrepresentations of Indian affairs that appear in the Williamsburg paper of the 9th of June, which has been publickly confuted at this place by several persons well acquainted with the present state and sentiments of the different Nations.

We hope that it is not necessary to say any more to convince you how unhappily we are at present circumstanced, not only from the prospect of an Indian war, which the Virginians appear determined to bring upon us, but from the apprehension of further insults from Doctor Conolly' s extraordinary conduct, of which we have given several specimens, and which, without the interposition of Government, we shall not be long able to support.

We are, sir, with profound respect, your humble servants,

To Joseph Shippen, Jun˙, Esq˙, Secretary to his Honour the Governour.