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General Schuyler to President of Congress



Albany, January 23, 1776.

SIR: On the evening of the 21st I returned from Tryon County. The following is a narrative of that little excursion:

As I had no troops here, to carry into execution the resolutions of Congress, I was under the necessity of communicating to the sub-Committee of this County, which I did, having previously administered an oath of secrecy. Whilst the Committee were devising the means to collect a body of men for this service, and much puzzled what reasons to give for doing it, the letter and affidavit from Tryon County (copies of which I had the honour to transmit you by my last express) came to hand, and the accounts contained in them were made the ostensible reasons for raising the Militia.

Although I thought two or three hundred men, with the Tryon County Whigs, sufficient to complete my business, yet I readily consented that seven hundred should be called upon, at once, to discourage the Tories in other parts of


the country, and to give confidence to the Whigs, in all parts; but, such was the zeal and alacrity of the people, that, although the weather was cold in the extreme, it was impossible to prevent their coming up, which they did in such numbers, that, by the time I reached Caughnawaga, I had very near, if not quite, three thousand men, including nine hundred of the Tryon County Militia.

On Tuesday, the 16th, I marched to Schenectady, and, on the evening of that day, a deputation from the Mohawk Indians met us, and delivered me the following speech, in a very haughty tone:

"We intended to have gone down to Albany, in order to speak to you, but, thank God, that He has given us an opportunity to meet you here, as we have some matters to communicate to you."

To which I gave the following Answer:

"I am very glad to see you here, and I shall be glad to hear what the brothers have to say, as my ears are always open to them."

Whereupon, Abraham proceeded as follows:

"Brothers: You lately sent to our place four men, who arrived to us last Sunday morning. They told us they were sent up to us by you, to inform us of those military preparations which were making down in this quarter. By them, you let us know that you thought it not prudent to send armed men amongst us, without previously notifying us. Likewise, brothers, your messengers informed us of the reasons of your coming in this manner.

"You informed us, that you had heard that there were a number of men embodied at Sir John' s, about Johnstown. You told us, likewise, that as soon as they had completed their body, they intended to destroy the settlements, up and down the river. You informed us, that you were coming up to inquire into the truth of the report, and who it was that gave out commissions, and what were their designs.

"At the same time, you assured us that no harm was intended against us, the Six Nations, as we had, last Summer, publickly engaged that we would take no part against you in your dispute with the great King over the great water.

"Brothers, you told us that you would come to search into the truth of the report, and you assured us, also, that you would not be the first aggressor, and that it should be their own fault if any blood was spilt.

"You told us that you would acquaint the Lower Castle first, of the design; that they should send up to the Upper Castle; and they to the Oneida; and they to the Onondaga; and, so, through the whole Six Nations.

"Brothers, we thanked your messengers for the speech delivered to us, and we would consider of it for some time, to return them an answer. Accordingly, brothers, a small number of us, who take care of the news, met in council on this occasion.

"We thanked your messengers for informing us first, of your designs. We said, we know the agreement which was entered into with the whole Twelve United Colonies. At that meeting, you remember, it was agreed to remove all obstacles out of the way of the path of peace, to keep it open, that we might pass and repass, without being annoyed.

"Brothers, you told us that you came to inquire into the truth of the report, which might be done by four, or six, without any danger in making the inquiry.

"We proposed your sending up six persons, to inquire into the truth of this matter, as it would be a shame to interrupt them, as no person would be so mean to give them any obstruction.

"As for sending your belt forward, we thought to retain it until we had heard whether our proposal had been accepted or no. And we desire that you would consider this matter, and keep your troops at home, and let us know your mind; and if, after considering of our proposals, you do not agree to them, that you will then let us know what you intend to do.

"They, likewise, sent word to you, that when they had heard from you whether you accepted of our proposals, that we would then do as you desire, in sending up the news.

"Brothers, we expected an answer to our proposals, but none arrived, until we were informed, by a woman, who


returned from Albany, that those preparations were actually making, and that troops were actually marching in the country. We then, brothers, took the matter into consideration, and determined it was best for a party to meet you, and you see us this day, brothers, arrived.

"We come, brothers, to beg of you, that you take good care and prudence of what you are going about. We beg of you, brothers, to remember the engagement which was made with the Twelve United Colonies, at our interview last Summer, as we then engaged to open the path of peace, and to keep it undefiled from blood; at the same time, something of a different nature made its appearance. You assured us, brothers, that if any were found in our neighbourhood inimical to us, that you would consider them as enemies. The Six Nations then supposed that the son of Sir William was pointed at, by that expression. We then desired, particularly, that he might not be injured, as it was not in his power to injure the cause, and that, therefore, he might not be molested. The Six Nations then said they would not concern themselves with your operation, in other parts, but particularly desired that this path might be free from blood.

"And now, brothers, we repeat it again, we beg of you to take good care, and not to spill any blood in this path; and the more especially, brothers, as it is as but of this day that the Six Nations had so agreeable an interview with the Colonies; and our Chiefs are now hunting in the woods, and not dreaming that there is any prospect that this path is, or will be, defiled with blood.

"We informed you, brothers, that we had heard, of a woman, that you was advancing, and that you had cannon; we then took it into consideration; we thought it strange, that cannon should be brought into the country, as the Twelve United Colonies had so lately opened the path of peace; as, you will remember that this path was opened last Spring, and the Six Nations agreed to keep it open. We then thought, what could influence the Twelve United Colonies to open this path? And, from the present appearance, it is as if with a design that the cannon should pass free from all obstruction.

"Brothers, attend ! It was your request, and a matter agreed upon by the Twelve United Colonies, that we should mind nothing but peace; therefore, brothers, as we mean to observe that agreement, we have expressed ourselves as above, and, as brothers, we mind nothing but peace; we look upon ourselves as mediators between the two parties.

"Therefore, brothers, as your messengers declared that you would not be the aggressors, we informed Sir John of this, and earnestly begged of him not to be the aggressor, or the means of shedding blood, and, at the same time, assured him, that if we found he should be the aggressor, we would not pay any further attention to him; and, likewise, told them, that if our brothers of the United Colonies were the aggressors, we should treat them in the same manner.

"This is what we told Sir John, as we look upon ourselves to be mediators between both parties, and, as we have said before, desired him not to be the aggressor. To which Sir John replied, that we knew his disposition very well, and that he had no mind to be the aggressor. He assured us that he would not be the aggressor, but, if the people came up to take away his life, he would do as well as he could, as the law of Nature justified every person to stand in his own defence.

"According to the news we have heard, it is as though Sir John would shut up the path of peace in that quarter; but that is impossible he should do it, as he has but a mere handful of friends. But, brothers, if this company, who are now passing by, should go up, and any thing bad should happen, we shall look on you as shutting up the path.

"It has been represented to you, brothers, that it seems that Sir John is making military preparations, and that he is making a fort round his house; but, brothers, as we live so near him, we should certainly know it, if any thing of that nature should be done, especially, as we go there so frequently, on account of our father, the Minister, who, sometimes, performs divine service at that place. We have never seen any hostile preparations made there; there is no cannon, nor any thing of that kind, and that all things remained in the same situation it was in the lifetime of Sir William.


"Brothers, we would not conceal any thing from you; it would not be right to use deceit, neither do we mean to do it; the minds of our counsellors are very much grieved, and aggrieved, at that part of the disposition of those whom we may call our warriors, as there are some among us of different minds, as there are among you.

Brothers, our counsellors remembering the covenant we, last Summer, made with our brethren, the Twelve Colonies, have, all along, strongly urged our warriors to peace, and have checked them when a contrary disposition appeared. Our minds are very much grieved to find any of our warriors of a different sentiment. We have, hitherto, been able to restrain them, and hope still to be able to do it, for matters are not now carried to extremity; but, if they are, our warriors will not be restrained, because they will think themselves deceived if this military force comes into the country.

"We have declared to you, brothers, that we would not deceive, and that we mean to declare our minds to you openly and freely. We, the Sachems, have all along inculcated to the warriors sentiments of peace, and they have hitherto been obedient to us, though there have been frequent rumours that they should be disturbed, yet we have, hitherto, been able to calm their minds. But now, brothers, so large a party coming alarms the minds of our warriors.

"They are determined, brothers, to go and be present at your interview with St. John, and determined to see and hear every thing that should be there transacted; and if it shall then appear, that this party shall push matters to extremes, we then cannot be accountable for any thing that may happen. But, as for us, brothers, the counsellors are fully determined ever to persevere in the path of peace.

"Brothers, attend! Though I have finished what I had purposed so say, yet I will add one thing more. When the news of your approach arrived at our town, it caused great confusion; some were ready to take to their arms, observing, that those reports respecting the unfriendly disposition of the Colonies were now verified. I begged of them, brothers, to possess their minds in peace for a few days. I told them, that I, myself, would go to Abany and inquire into the truth of the matter. I was so conscious of my own innocency, that no hostile appearance could deter me however formidable. I therefore desired them to sit still, until my return home, which might be in two days if I went to Albany. This, brothers, is the present situation of our people; they are waiting to see what news I bring.

"Brothers, when I made this request to the warriors, that they should sit still till my return, they told me that they would, which they are now in expectation of, and will do nothing until I get back. But, brothers, after my return, I will repeat to them the speech you will now make to me, and if any of our people should still persist to be present at your interview with Sir John, we hope, brethren, you will not think hard of us as counsellors, as it is not in our power to rule them as we please. If they should go, and if any thing evil should happen, we beg to know, brothers, what treatment we may expect who remain at home in peace.

"Brothers, this is all we have to say; this is the business which has brought us down, and we now expect an answer, to carry home to our people."

To which I delivered the following Answer, which it was easy to be perceived, had the desired effect:

"Brothers of the Mohawk Nation: We the Commissioners, appointed by the Congress, and by your brothers of Albany and Schenectady, have paid great attention to the speech you have delivered to us; we now desire you to open your ears, and attentively listen to what we have to say in answer.

"Brothers, it pleased us to hear you declare, that you would speak your minds freely; we assure you that we shall do the same, and hide nothing from you of what is in our thoughts.

"Brothers, we were in hopes that the message which we sent you by Mr˙ Bleecker would have eased your minds, and have convinced you, that we had no hostile intentions against you or any other Indians, for if we had, we would not have sent you that message, neither would we have supplied you with powder, as we did last Summer, and again the other day.


"Brothers, we are extremely sorry that you have not complied with our request, to send the speech which we sent you by Mr˙ Bleecker to the Six Nations, in the manner which we required.

"Brothers, you told us that five or six men would have been sufficient to have gone to Johnstown, and to have inquired what was transacting there, and that these people would have been in no danger, as it would have been a shame to have interrupted them. We acknowledge, brothers, that it would have been a shame if we had sent them, and they had been interrupted; but we have full proofs that many people in Johnstown, and the neighbourhood thereof, have, for a considerable time past, made preparations to carry into execution the wicked designs of the King' s evil counsellors.

"Brothers, it is very true, that last Summer the United Colonies promised that the path to the Indian country should be kept open. They again repeat that promise; and although it is by the special order of the Congress, that this body of troops are now marching up, yet it is not to shut the path, but to keep it open, and to prevent the people in and about Johnstown from cutting off the communication between us and our brethren of the Six Nations, and our other brethren living upon the river.

"Brothers, although we have before observed, that the people living in and about Johnstown are making hostile preparations against us, yet we will not shed a drop of their blood, unless they refuse to come to an agreement, by which we may be safe, or unless they oppose us with arms. We do not mean that any of our warriors should set their foot on any of the lands you possess, or that of the Six Nations, unless our enemies should take shelter there, for those we are resolved to follow wherever they go. We again repeat, that we have no quarrel with you, and we do expect that you will not interfere in this family contest, but stand by as indifferent spectators, agreeable to the engagement of the Six Nations made to us last Summer at their own request.

"Brothers, we assured you last Summer, that, as we had no quarrel with any Indians, we would not touch a hair of their heads; yet when our warriors were at St. John' s they were attacked by Indians; two of your tribe, and some others, were killed. You have never blamed us for it, because you well know that as our lives are dear to us, we had a right to kill any man who attempts to kill us; you ought, therefore, not to be surprised, if we take every precaution to prevent being destroyed by the friends of the King' s evil counsellors.

"Brothers, in a little time we may be called upon to go and fight against our enemies to the Eastward, who are employed by the King' s evil counsellors, and can you think it prudent that we should leave a set of people who are our enemies, in any part of the country, in such a situation as to be able to destroy our wives and children, and burn our houses in our absence? Would you leave your wives and children in such a situation? The wisdom by which you have conducted your affairs, convinces us that you would not; and yet so cautious are we that no blood may be shed, that we shall send a letter to Sir John, inviting him to meet us on the road, between this place and his house, which if he does, we make no doubt but every thing will be settled in an amicable manner. And, that he may be under no apprehensions, we do now assure you, that if we do not come to an agreement, he will be permitted safely to return to his own house.

"Brothers, we thank you that you have concealed nothing from us; and we assure you that we scorn deceit as much as you do, and, therefore, we shall now speak our minds freely on what you have said respecting the conduct which your warriors mean to hold. We have no objection, nay, we wish that you and they should be present to hear what we shall propose to Sir John, and the people in and about Johnstown, who are our enemies. But we beg of you to tell your warriors, that although we have no "quarrel with them, yet, if we should be under the disagreeable necessity of fighting with our enemies, and your warriors should join them and fight against us, that we will do as we did at St. John' s, and repel force by force.

"Brothers, you have asked us if your warriors should go, and if any thing evil should happen, what treatment you may expect who remain at home in peace.


"Brothers, in the treaty held at Albany last Summer, you and your warriors were present, and you and they jointly promised to remain neuter, and not to interfere in this quarrel; should your warriors, therefore, now take up arms against us, we must consider it as a breach of the treaty, so far as it respects the Lower Mohawk Castle, of which breach we shall complain to our brethren of the other Nations; and, at the same time lay the matter before our Great Council, at Philadelphia, whose determination thereupon will be our future guide.

"Brothers, we are surprised that the least doubt should remain on your minds with respect to our friendly intentions towards you, after the many instances we have given you of our love and friendship. But we must impute it to the wicked insinuations of our mutual enemies; who wish for nothing so much as to see the ancient covenant which has so long subsisted between us broke.

"Brothers, you have observed that you would pay no regard to that party that should be the first aggressor. We cannot be the aggressors, for if our enemies in and about Johnstown had had no evil intentions against us, we should never have come thus far with an army. Whoever takes up arms against another, although he has not yet struck, must be considered as the aggressor, and not he who tries to prevent the blow.

"Brothers, we have now freely and fully disclosed to you our minds. We hope you will remember what we have said, and repeat it to your brother counsellors and warriors; and lest you should not be able to recollect every part of this speech, you may have your brothers Karaghquadirhon and Tezederonderon to attend you if it be agreeable to you.

"Brothers, your women have sent us a belt. We beg you to assure them of our regard, and to entreat them to prevent your warriors from doing any thing that would have the least tendency to incur our resentment, or interrupt dial harmony which we wish may subsist to the end of time."

To this they made the following short Reply:

"Brother SCHUYLER, the Great Man, attend!

"We have this evening heard what you have to say, and we are glad of it, and thank you for it.

"Every thing that has been said to us, brother, has been perfectly agreeable to us.

"I shall not attempt, brother, to make a particular reply to every thing that has been said to us; indeed it would not be proper at this time.

"We are very glad, brother, that you have determined to write to Sir John, requesting an interview with him, in hopes of an amicable agreement.

"Brother, you mention, that it would be agreeable to you that the warriors and counsellors, or Sachems, should attend.

"Brother, we, the Sachems, will attend, even though we should do it at the risk of our lives.

"Brother, we should be glad if you would inform us of the time and place of your interview with Sir John. You likewise told us, that if it was agreeable to us that your interpreters should attend, to recapitulate the speech you have made, which, likewise, is agreeable to us; and we desire that they may go with us, for by that means all mistakes may be prevented.

"Brother, you may depend on it that we will use our utmost influence with our warriors, to calm their minds.

"You may depend on it likewise, that our sisters will use their utmost influence for the same purpose."

I then assured them again, that as we had no hostile intentions, they might rest assured that nothing disagreeable would happen to them, and that, if they attended at Johnstown as friends, they would receive the protection due to them as mediators, after which they returned.

Early on Wednesday, the 17th, I marched, having previously sent a letter to Sir John Johnson, of which the following is a copy:

"Schenectady, January 16, 1776.

"SIR: Information having been received that designs of the most dangerous tendency to the rights, liberties, properties, and even lives of those of His Majesty' s faithful subjects in America, who are opposed to the


unconstitutional measures of his Ministry, have been formed in part of the County of Tryon, I am, therefore, ordered to march a body of men into that County, to carry into execution certain resolutions of my superiors, and to contravene these dangerous designs.

"Influenced, sir, by motives of humanity, I wish to comply with my orders, in a manner the most peaceable, that no blood may be shed; I, therefore, request that you will please to meet me to-morrow at any place on my way to Johnstown, to which I propose then 10 march. For which purpose I do hereby give you my word and honour, that you, and such persons as you may choose should attend you, shall pass safe and unmolested to the place where you may meet me, and from thence back to the place of your abode.

"Rutgers Bleeker and Henry Glen, Esquires, are the bearers hereof, gentlemen who are entitled to your best attention, which I dare say they will experience, and by whom I expect you will favour me with an answer to this letter.

"You will please to assure Lady Johnson, that whatever may be the result of what is now in agitation, she may rest perfectly satisfied that no indignity will be offered her.

"I am, sir, your humble servant,


"To Sir John Johnson, Baronet."

He accordingly met me about sixteen miles beyond Schenectady, accompanied by some of the leading Scotchmen, and two or three others, when I delivered him the following terms:

"Terms offered by the Honourable PHILIP SCHUYLER, Esq˙, Major-General in the Army of the Thirteen UNITED COLONIES, and commanding in the NEW-YORK Department, to Sir JOHN JOHNSON, Baronet, and all such other persons in the County of TRYON, as have evinced their intentions of supporting His Majesty' s Ministry to carry into execution the unconstitutional measures of which the AMERICANS so justly complain, and to prevent which they have been drawn to the dreadful necessity of having recourse to arms.

"First. That Sir John Johnson shall, upon his word and honour, immediately deliver up all cannon, arms, and other military stores, of what kind soever, which may be in his own possession, or which he has caused to be delivered into the possession of any persons whatsoever, either directly or indirectly, or that, to his knowledge, may be concealed in any part of the said County; that he shall distinguish all such military stores, of what kind soever, as belong to the Crown, or were furnished with the design of arming the Indians, or the inhabitants of Tryon County, from those which may be private properly, in order that a proper inventory may be taken of the last articles, that the same may be restored, or the value of them refunded when this unhappy contest shall be over.

"Secondly. General Schuyler, out of personal respect to Sir John, and from a regard to his rank, consents that Sir John shall retain, for his own use, a complete set of armour, and as much powder as may be sufficient for his domestick purposes.

"Thirdly. That Sir John Johnson shall remain upon his parole of honour in any part of Tryon County, which he may choose to the eastward of the District of ..... unless it should appear necessary to the honourable Continental Congress to remove him to some other part of this, or any other Colony; in which case, he is immediately to comply with such orders as they may think proper to give for that purpose.

"Fourthly. That the Scotch inhabitants of the said County shall, without any kind of exception, immediately deliver up all arms in their possession, of what kind soever they may be, and that they shall each solemnly promise, that they will not any time hereafter, during the continuance of this unhappy contest, take up arms without the permission of the Continental Congress, or of their general officers; and for the more faithful performance of this article, the General insists that they shall immediately deliver up to him six hostages of his own nomination.

"Fifthly. That such of the other inhabitants of Tryon County, as have avowed themselves averse to the measures


of the United Colonies, shall, also, deliver up their arms, of what kind soever they may be, and enter into the like engagement as is stipulated in the preceding article, both with respect to their future conduct, and the number of hostages.

"Sixthly. That all blankets, strouds, and other Indian articles, belonging to the Crown, and intended as presents to the Indians, shall be delivered up to a Commissary appointed by General Schuyler, in the presence of three or more of the Mohawk Chiefs, in order that the same may be dispersed amongst the Indians, for the purpose of cementing the ancient friendship between them and their brethren of the United Colonies, for which sole purpose they ought to have been furnished.

"Seventhly. If Sir John Johnson, and the people referred to in the aforegoing articles, shall justly abide by, and perform what is thereby required of them, the General, in behalf of the Continental Congress, doth promise and engage, that neither Sir John Johnson, nor any of those people, shall be molested by any of the other inhabitants of the said County, or by any of the inhabitants of the Thirteen United Colonies; but that, on the contrary, they will be protected in the quiet and peaceable enjoyment of their property, the sole intent of this treaty being to prevent the horrid effects of a civil and intestine war betwixt those who ought to be brethren. That all the arms, which shall be delivered up in consequence of the preceding articles, shall be valued by sworn appraisers. That if the Continental Congress should have occasion for them they may be taken. If not, they will be delivered to the respective proprietors when this unhappy contest shall be at an end."

He assured me that the Indians would support him, and that some were already at Johnson-Hall, for that purpose, and others on their way down.

In return, I told him that, although averse to shedding any blood, yet, if he resisted, that force would be opposed to force, without distinction, and that the consequences would be of the most serious nature, unless he complied with my requisitions. He begged time to answer, until next evening, to which I consented.

About an hour after he had left me, Abraham and another of the Mohawks called upon me; I acquainted him of the information I had received from Sir John, which he denied to be true, giving me assurances that the Mohawks would not interfere otherwise than as mediators; I answered, that I hoped they would not, but that, if they did, I should surely not hesitate one moment to destroy all that should appear in arms against us.

On Thursday the 18th, I approached to within four miles of Johnstown, and about six o' clock, received the following answer to my terms:

"Terms proposed by Sir JOHN JOHNSON, Baronet, and the people of KINGSBOROUGH and the adjacent neighbourhood, to the Honourable PHILIP SCHUYLER, Esq˙, Major-General in the Army of the Thirteen UNITED COLONIES, and commanding in the NEW-YORK Department.

"First. That Sir John Johnson, and the rest of the gentlemen expect, that all such arms of every kind as are their own property, may remain in their possession; all the other arms shall be delivered up to such person, or persons, as may be appointed for that purpose. As to military stores belonging to the Crown, Sir John has not any.

"Secondly. Answered in the first.

"Thirdly. Sir John expects that he will not be confined to any certain County, but be at liberty to go where he pleases.

"Fourthly. The Scotch inhabitants will deliver up their arms, of what kind soever they may be; and they will each solemnly promise, that they will not at any time hereafter, during the continuance of this unhappy contest, take up arms without the permission of the Continental Congress, or of their general officers. Hostages they are not in a capacity to give, no one man having command over another, or power sufficient to deliver such; therefore, this part of the article to be passed from, or the whole included. Women and children to be required, a requisition so inhuman, as we hope the General will dispense with.

"Fifthly. Answered in the fourth.


"Sixthly. Sir John has not any blankets, strouds, or other presents, intended for the Indians.

"Seventhly. If the above proposals are agreed to, and signed by the General, Sir John and the people referred to will rely on the assurances of protection given by the General.


"To the Hon˙ Philip Schuyler, Esq˙, Major-General.

"Johnson-Hall, January 18, 1776."

To which I returned the following Answer:

"Cagnuage, January 18, eight o' clock P. M., 1776.

"GENTLEMEN: Messrs˙ Adams and McDonell have delivered me your answer to my proposals of yesterday' s date. The least attention to the articles I offered, when compared with yours, must convince you that you omitted replies to several of them, consequently, what you have sent me is very imperfect, and, also, unsatisfactory. I waive pointing out some inconsistencies in your proposals, as the whole are exceptionable excepting the last.

"I must, therefore, obey my orders, and again repeat, that, in the execution of them I shall strictly abide by the laws of humanity; at the same time assuring you, that, if the least resistance is made I will not answer for the consequences, which may he of a nature the most dreadful.

"If Lady Johnson is at Johnson-Hall, I wish she would retire, and, therefore, enclose a passport, as I shall march my troops to that place without delay.

"You may, however, have time to reconsider the matter; and, for that purpose, I give you until twelve o' clock this night, after which, I shall receive no proposals, and I have sent you Mr˙ Robert Yates, Mr˙ Glenn, and Mr˙ Duer, to receive the ultimate proposals you have to make. This condescension I make from no other motive than to prevent the effusion of blood, so far as it may be effected without risking the safety of the country, or being guilty of a breach of the positive orders I have received from the honourable Continental Congress.

"I am, gentlemen, with due respect, your humble servant,


"To Sir John Johnson and Mr˙ Allan McDonell".

Immediately after I had sent this away, the Sachems, and all the Warriors of the Lower Mohawk Town, and some from the Upper, called upon me, and informed me that Sir John Johnson had related to them the contents of the terms I had offered to him and his associates; that Sir John declared he only meant to guard himself from any insult that might be offered by riotous people; that he had no unfriendly intentions against the country, and begged that I would accept of the terms he had offered. In reply, I explained my proposals, and Sir John' s answer; pointed out the impropriety of closing with him on the conditions he wanted, and told them that I had given him until twelve o' clock to comply, after which, I should take such measures as would force him, and whoever assisted him, to a compliance. They were contented with the reasons I gave, but begged, that if his answer was not satisfactory, that I would give him until four o' clock in the morning, that they might have time to go and shake his head, (as they expressed it,) and bring him to his senses; and they begged it as a favour, to be charged to them, that I would not remove him out of the County; they apologized for the threats of their warriors, said that they were not all present at the treaty of Albany, but that now they were all here, and declared that they would never take arms against us.

I paid them a compliment on their peaceable intentions, and informed them, that, although Sir John' s conduct was extremely obnoxious, and that we should be justified in making him a close prisoner, yet, I would grant their request, for two reasons; first, to show our love and affection to them, and to convince them that they could obtain that by asking it as a favour, which they could not by threatening; secondly, that by leaving him they might, by their advice and example, teach him to alter his conduct.

At twelve, the following answer from Sir John came to hand:

"Answers to the Terms proposed by the Honourable PHILIP SCHUYLER, Esq˙, Major-General in the Army of the Thirteen UNITED COLONIES, and commanding in


the NEW-YORK Department, to Sir JOHN JOHNSON, Baronet, the Inhabitants of KINGSBOROUGH, and the neighbourhood adjacent.

"First and Second Articles agreed to, except a few favourite family arms.

"Third. Sir John Johnson having given his parole of honour not to take up arms against America, and conceiving the design of this military operation to be with no other view than that of removing the jealousies of which his countrymen are unhappily and unjustly inspired with against him, can, by no means, think of submitting to this article in its full latitude, though, for the sake of preserving peace and removing any suspicions of undue influence, he consents not to go to the westward of the German-Flats and Kingsland Districts; to every other part of the Continent to the southward of this County, he expects the privilege of going.

"Fourth. Agreed to, except to that part of the Article which respects the giving hostages. After the Scotch inhabitants have surrendered their arms, the General may take any six prisoners from amongst them, as he chooses, without resistance. They expect, however, that the prisoners taken will be maintained, agreeable to then respective rank, and that they may have the privilege of going to any part of the Provinces of New-Jersey or Pennsylvania, which the General, or the Continental Congress, may appoint. They likewise expect, from the General' s humanity, that provision will be made for the maintenance of the prisoners' wives and children, agreeable to their respective situations in life. Yet, for the sake of promoting the harmony of the country, they will not break off this treaty merely on that account, provided the General thinks he cannot exert a discretionary power in this matter, in which case they rely upon the General' s influence with the Continental Congress, who, they cannot persuade themselves, will be inattentive to the voice of humanity, or to the feelings of parents who may be torn from their families. Those to whose lot it may fall to be taken prisoners, it is expected they will be allowed a few days to settle their business, and the gentlemen to wear their side arms.

"Fifth. Neither Sir John Johnson, nor the Scotch gentlemen, can make any engagement for any other persons than those over whom they may have influence. Neither can they possibly know the names of all such persons who have shown themselves averse to the measures of the United Colonies. They give their word and honour, that so far as depends on them, the inhabitants shall give up their arms and enter into the like engagement with the Scotch inhabitants. The General has it more in his power to discover those who are obnoxious, and to make as many as he pleases prisoners; neither shall they adopt the quarrel of any such persons as their own.

"Sixth, Sir John gives his word and honour that he has no blankets, strouds, or other presents, belonging to the Crown, intended for the Indians, and, therefore, this requisition cannot be complied with.

"Seventh. If the above proposals are agreed to, and signed by the General, Sir John, and the people referred to, will rely on the assurances of protection given by the General. But as it will be impossible for the arms to be collected till Saturday next, at twelve o' clock, all the men referred to in the above articles, will be then paraded in Johnstown, and ground their arms in the presence of such troops as the General may appoint.


"Johnson-Hall, January 18, 1776."

Upon which I told the Indians that I believed the matter would be settled in a peaceable manner. They then retired, with repeated expressions of their approbation of my conduct, and of esteem for Congress.

I then sent the following to Sir John, viz:

"Cagnuage, January 19, 1776.

"General Schuyler' s feelings as a gentleman induce him to consent that Sir John Johnson may retain the few favourite family arms, he making a list of them.

"The General will, also, consent that Sir John Johnson may go as far to the westward as the German-Flats and Kingsland Districts, in this County, and to every other part of this Colony to the southward and eastward of said Districts,


provided he does not go into any seaport town; the General, however, believes that if Sir John' s private business should require his going to any of the other ancient English Colonies, that he will be permitted it, by applying to Congress for leave.

"The General will take six of the Scotch inhabitants prisoners, since they prefer it to going hostages. It has been the invariable rule of Congress, and that of all its officers, to treat prisoners with the greatest humanity, and to pay all due deference to rank. He cannot ascertain the places to which Congress may please to send them; for the present they will go to Reading or Lancaster, in Pennsylvania. Nor can he make any promises with respect to the maintenance of the women and children. His humanity will certainly induce him to recommend to Congress an attention to what has been requested on that head.

"General Schuyler expects that all the Scotch inhabitants, of whatever rank, that are not confined to their beds by illness, shall attend with their arms, and deliver them on Saturday, at twelve o' clock, which, if not faithfully performed, he will consider himself as disengaged from any engagements entered into with them.

"General Schuyler never refused a gentleman his sidearms.

"The prisoners, that may be taken, must be removed to Albany immediately, where the General will permit them to remain a reasonable time, to settle their family affairs.

"If the terms General Schuyler has offered, on the 17th instant, are accepted, with the above qualifications, fair copies will be made out and signed by the parties, one of which will be delivered to Sir John and Mr˙ McDonell, signed by the General. To prevent a waste of time, the General wishes Sir John and Mr˙ McDonell immediately to send an answer.

"He remains with due respect, Sir John' s and Mr˙ McDonell' s humble servant,


Which was agreed to, and, on Friday, the 19th, I marched to Johnstown, having first detached parties to different parts of the County to bring in the other Tories, not comprehended in the agreement with Sir John. In the afternoon, the arms and military stores in possession of Sir John were delivered up; a much smaller quantity than I expected.

On Saturday, the 20th, at twelve o' clock, I drew my men in the street, and the Highlanders, between two and three hundred, marched to the front, where they grounded their arms; these secured, I dismissed them with an exhortation, pointing out the only conduct which could insure them protection. I then sent for two of the persons mentioned in Conner' s affidavit, the rest not being in the County, and tried, by every means in my power, to make them confess what Conner charged them with; they strenuously denied the charge, and when I produced Conner, they called him a perjured wretch, and declared their willingness to be hanged, if, upon further examination, I should have just grounds to conclude that his charge was supported. I then sent several field-officers and a party, with Conner, to the spot where the arms were supposed to be hid. He pointed out a small artificial oval island, in a duck pond, the greatest diameter of which was about twenty-eight feet, and the shorter about twenty, and raised about three feet above the surface of the water in its highest part, and sloping down to the pond. On its being observed that it was too small to hide so many arms, he said they were put up in four piles. The ground was then cleared of the snow and broke up; it was immediately perceived that the ground had not lately been broken up; they, however, dug down until they got as low as the surface of the water, and then tried with sticks, swords, and other instruments, but found nothing. The gentlemen present unanimously reported that they were convinced that Conner was an impostor. As such I shall keep him confined, until I receive further directions from Congress.

On Saturday evening I returned to Cagnuoge. Some of the parties I had sent on the preceding day were returned with about fifty Tories; sixty more were brought in on Sunday, the 21st. I left Colonel Herkimer, and the Committee of Tryon County, to receive the arms of the remainder, and to fix on six of the principal leaders, and send them to me. I expect the whole disarmed, or to be


disarmed, will amount to above six hundred. Not being satisfied with the ammunition, &c˙, delivered me by Sir John, I wrote him the following Letter:

"Cagnuage, January 21, 1776.

"SIr: Although it is a well-known fact that all the Scotch people that yesterday surrendered arms, had not broad-swords when they came to the country, yet many of them had, and most of them were possessed of dirks; and as none have been given up of either, I will charitably believe that it was rather inattention than a wilful omission. Whether it was the former or the latter must be ascertained by their immediate compliance or non-compliance with that part of the treaty which requires that all arms, of what kind soever, should be delivered up.

"After having been informed by you, at our first interview, that the Scotch people meant to defend themselves, I was not a little surprised that no ammunition was delivered up, and that you had none to furnish them with. These observations were immediately made by others as well as me. I was too apprehensive of the consequences which might have been fatal to those people, to take notice of it on the spot. I shall, however, expect an eclaircissement on this subject, and beg that you and Mr˙ McDonell will give it me as soon as may be.

"I am, gentlemen, with due respect, your humble servant,


"To Sir John Johnson, Baronet."

And then marched back to this place. I have bad much anxiety, and an incredible deal of trouble to prevent so large a body of men, collected on a sudden, with little discipline, from running into excesses. I am, however, happy that nothing material has happened that can reflect disgrace on our cause.

I forgot to observe, that previous to my leaving this place, I had sent a message to the Mohawks, advising them of my intended march into the County of Tryon, and assuring them that no violence was intended them, copy of which, with copy of their answer, I enclose.

After I had finished in Tryon County, I despatched Mr˙ Deane, the Interpreter, with a speech and belt to the Six Nations.

Congress will perceive that my speeches are very crude and inaccurate; but, although at best incompetent, yet, at this time, I have another excuse from the hurry and confusion which the command of such a multitude must necessarily create. Indeed, I never had, during the whole time, less than thirty people about me, nor was it possible to retire to any place where the same inconveniency would not have attended.

I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient, humble servant,


To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq˙, &c˙, &c˙, &c.



* Deane and Bleecker, interpreters.