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Colonel Guy Johnson to New-York Congress



Ontario, July 8, 1775.

SIR: Though I received your letter from the Provincial Congress several days ago, I had not a good opportunity to answer it till now. I suppose, however, this will reach you safe, notwithstanding all the rest of my correspondence is interrupted by ignorant impertinents.

As to the endeavour you speak of, to reconcile the unhappy differences between the Parent State and these Colonies, be assured I ardently wish to see them. As yet, I am sorry to say, I have not been able to discover any attempt of that kind, but that of the Assembly' s, the only true legal representatives of the people; and as to the individuals who you say officiously interrupt, in my quarter, the mode and measures you think necessary for these salutary purposes, I am really a stranger to them. If you mean my self, you must have been grossly imposed on. I once, indeed, went with reluctance, at the request of several of the principal inhabitants, to one of the people' s meetings, which I found had been called by an itinerant New-England leather-dresser, and conducted by others, if possible, more contemptible. I had, therefore, little inclination to revisit such men, or attend to their absurdities. And although I did not incline to think that your gentlemen had formed any designs against me, yet it is most certain that such designs were formed. Of this, I received a clear account by express from a friend near Albany, which was soon


corroborated by letters from other quarters, particularly one from a gentleman of the Committee at Philadelphia, a Captain in your service, who was pretty circumstantial; and since, I have had the like from many others. I have likewise found that mean instruments were officially employed to disturb the minds of the Indians; to interrupt the ordinary discharge of my duties; and prevent their receiving messages they had long since expected from me.

To enter into a minute detail of all the falsehoods propagated, and all the obstructions I met with, though it could not fail astonishing any gentleman disposed to discountenance them, would far exceed the limits of a letter, or the time I have to spare, as I am now finishing ray Congress entirely to my satisfaction, with 1,348 warriours, who came hither to the only place where they can transact business or receive favours without interruption, and who are much dissatisfied at finding that the goods, which I was necessitated to send for to Montreal, were obliged to be ordered back by the merchant, to prevent his being insulted or his property invaded by the mistaken populace; that their ammunition was stopped at Albany; the persons on this communication employed in purchasing provisions for the Congress insulted; and all my letters, as well as even some: trifling articles for the use of my own table, stopped. And this moment the Mayor of Albany assured me, that he was the other day aroused out of his bed at a certain Mr˙ Thompson' s, above the German Flats, by one Hirkema and fifteen others, who pursued him to search for any things he might have for me.

You may be assured, Sir, that this is far from being agreeable to the Indians; that it might have produced very disagreeable consequences long since, had not compassion for a deluded people taken place of every other consideration; and that the impotant endeavours of a Missionary (who has forfeited his honour pledged to me) with part of one of the tribes, is a circumstance that, however trifling, increased their resentment. I should be much obliged by your promised of discountenancing any attempts against myself, &c˙, did they not appear to be made on conditions of compliance with Continental or Provincial Congresses, or even Committees formed, or to be formed, many of whose resolves may neither consist with my conscience, duty, or loyalty.

I trust I shall always manifest more humanity than to promote the destruction of the innocent inhabitants of a Colony to which I have been always warmly attached, a declaration that must appear perfectly suitable to the character of a man of honour and principle, who can on no account neglect those duties that are consistent therewith, however they may differ from sentiments now adopted in so many parts of America.

I sincerely wish a speedy termination to the present troubles; and I am, Sir, your most obedient and humble servant,


P˙ S. I shall have occasion to meet the Indians of my Department in different quarters this season.