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Reply of the Mohawks to the Answer of the Magistrates


Answer of the Mohawks to the Speech of the Magistrates, &c˙, of Albany and Schenectady.

Guy Park, May 25, 1775.

Present: Gysbert Marselis, Peter P˙ Schuyler, John Visher, John Roseboom, Chris˙ Yates, of the Committee, Colonel Johnson, Superintendent, Colonel Daniel Claus, William Allen, Esquire, of Philadelphia, with several other gentlemen.

Abraham, Chief of the Mohawks, Speaker.

BROTHERS: We are glad to meet you here at this our fire-place, where we meet to transact business. You are


our old friends, and we heard you came now to answer our speech. We have attended to your answer, and now acquaint you that the reports we had rendered it necessary to send you such a speech, to prevent the dangerous consequences that might ensue.

We are extremely glad to hear your speech, which is very peaceable, and it gives us pleasure, because we would not willingly quarrel with a people with whom we have been so long at peace; and this must have happened, if the news we heard had been true; for we have but one head, and that is Colonel Johnson, our Superintendent. We heard that there were designs against him, and we must protect him; we cannot do without him; so that if there are no designs against him, we shall be easy in our minds; for though we have long heard of disputes between the English and the people here, we do not think proper to interfere.

You all know that during Sir William Johnson' s life-time, and since, we have been peaceably disposed; but we were greatly alarmed at the report of a design against Colonel Johnson; for he is our property, and we shall not part with him. We desire you will hearken to us, and that you will believe we speak our minds. We likewise hope you are sincere. But one thing alarms us much, and we hope it is not true. There was a report that you have stopped some powder; you know we get this and other things from our Superintendent; and we are hunters, and must have powder. If we lived as you do, it would not have been so great a loss; but we must have ammunition, and if it is stopped, we shall have reason to doubt your sincerity, and to suspect that you do not regard us or our words. We have both given fair assurances, and hope no doubt remains between us, otherwise it might be bad. We are pleased to hear you say that you are willing to communicate freely with us; this we like, and this is the place where we do business; we will at all times listen to whoever you send here, in the presence of our Superintendent. This is the truth, brothers, and agreeable to the customs of our ancestors, which we shall follow.

The gentlemen of the Committee, after retiring for some little time, returned and gave the following Answer:

BROTHERS: We are very glad to hear you speak, and hear you confirm the old friendship of our forefathers, which we intend to abide by, and thank you for the same.

BROTHERS: The reports you have heard of in regard to the powder, we also hope to be false, and assure you that we shall acquaint, on our return, our old and wise men about the same, and do our endeavours to prevent any such things for the future; and you may depend upon it, that whenever we have any business with you, that we shall apply here at your council fire, where we hope to meet you in the presence of your Superintendent; and that we shall always keep the communication free and open as is usual.

To which the Mohawk answered:

BROTHERS: We are glad both our speeches are so agreeable, and hope that you are not surprised to hear us say we cannot spare Colonel Johnson; for besides his being our Superintendent, the love we have for the memory of Sir William Johnson, and the obligations the whole Six Nations are under to him, must make us regard and protect every branch of his family, whom we include in our speech.

We now find there have been several false reports on both sides; we hope that concerning the powder is one of them; we shall therefore explain the same truly to the rest of our Confederacy, and we expect that you will, on your part, explain the truth immediately to all the white people east and west, as we mean to do the same among the Indians.