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known by the same name. It is not probable that Brebeuf visited the cataract, as no mention is made of it in the narrative.

It is in this word, “ Onguiaahra," that we undoubtedly have the germ of Niagara, and it is interesting to notice the changes and modifications which it has undergone.

It next appears as “ Ongiara," on Sanson's Map of Canada, published in 1657, seventeen years after Brebeuf's visit, and is there applied to the Falls.

On Ducreux's latin map, attached to his Historia Canadensis, published in 1660, the Falls are called “Ongiara Cataractes," or the Cataract of Niagara.

In 1687, we find De Nonville using the present orthography, and since that time, all French writers have uniformly written the word “ Niagara.” The English, on the other hand, were not uniform in spelling it, until about the middle of the last century.

The following are some of the changes which occur among different English writers: 1687, Oneagerah-London Documents, Albany, vol. iii. p. 177. Onygarado.

do. 1747, Iagara-Colden's Five Nations, Appendix, p. 15. Oniagara- do. do.

do. 1757, Ochniagara-Smith's History of New York, vol. 1. p. 220.

1769, Ogniogorah-Knox's Historical Journal, vol. 2. p. 139. Onguiaahra and Ongiara, are evidently identical, and present the same elements as Niagara. They are undoubtedly compounds of words expressive of some meaning, as is usual with aboriginal terms, but which meaning is now lost. The "o" which occurs in both the French and English orthography, is probably a neuter prefix, similar to what is used by the Senecas and Mohawks.

One writer contends that Niagara is derived from Nyah'-gaah', or as he writes it “ Ne-ah'-gah,” said to be the name of a Seneca village

which formerly existed on the Niagara River below Lewiston, and now applied by the Senecas to Lako Ontario.

This derivation, however, cannot be correct, for Onguiaahra, and its counterpart Ongiara, were in use as names of the River and Falls, long before the Seneca village in question was in existence. The Neutral Nation, from whose language the words were taken, lived on both borders of the Niagara until they were exterminated by the Senecas in 1643.

It is far more probable that Nyah'-gaah', is a reappearance of Ongiara in the Seneca dialect, and this view is strengthened by the fact that the former, unlike most Iroquois names, is without meaning, and as the aborigines do not confer arbitrary names, it is an evidence that it has been borrowed or derived from a foreign language.

The conclusion then, is, that the French derived Niagara from Ongiara, and the Senecas, when they took possession of the territories of the Neutral Nation, adopted the name Ongiara, as near as the idiom of their language would allow, and hence their name Nyah'-gaah'.














[MSS. New York Historical Society: Colden Papers, Vol: IV.)


In Smith's History of New York, first edition, published in London, in 1757, (page 179,) is a statement, referring to the scheme of Governor Clarke for settling the lands in the vicinity of Lake George with a body of Protestant Highlanders, which involves a grave charge against the Governor and CADWALLADER COLDEN, then Surveyor-General of New York. The plan of Governor Clarke was to form a line of border settlements, that would oppose a barrier to the further encroachments of the French upon the frontiers of New York. Governor Cosby, in 1734, had made a public offer of grants of the vacant crown lands to European settlers : and, in 1737, Captain Laughlin Campbell, of Scotland, came over, to obtain a grant for the purposes of settlement. “Ample promises," says the historian, “were made to him. He went upon the land, viewed and approved it; and was entreated to settle there, even by the Indians, who were taken by his Highland dress. Mr. Clarke, the Lieutenant Governor, promised him in a printed advertisement, the grant of 30,000 acres of land, free from all but the charges of the survey and the King's quit-rent. Confiding in the faith of the Government, Captain Campbell went home to Isla, sold his estate, and shortly after transported, at his own expense, eightythree Protestant families, consisting of 423 adults, besides a great number of children. Private faith and public honor loudly demanded the fair execution of a project, so expensive to the under. taker, and beneficial to the colony. But it unfortunately dropped, through the sordid views of some persons in power, who aimed at a share in the intended grant : to which Campbell, who was a man of spirit, would not consent.

The charge here made, that the grant to Campbell failed through


* Smith's Hist. N. Y. ij. 62. (Historical Society's edition.)

the sordid views of some persons in power," is made explicit by Smith, in the continuation of his History, wherein he states, that “it was owing to a discovery that the Lieutenant Governor (CLARKE) and Mr. COLDEN, the Surveyor. General, insisted upon their fees, and a certain share of the lands."

To the imputation contained in the original publication of Smith, Lieutenant Governor COLDEN opposed an emphatic denial, as soon as it came to his notice. He addressed an earnest letter to the his. torian, pointing out his errors, referring to sources which he thought would convince him that he was in error, and asking him to make a suitable reparation. But the only explanation which Smith ever gave to the public, may be found in the following note, prepared for the last edition of his History:

“Mr. Colden, to vindicate Mr. Clarke, and to exculpate himself, though not named in the former representation of Campbell's disappointment, gave himself the trouble of two letters to the author, of the 15th January, and 17th February, 1759.*

The author's object being general, he declined entering into any partial controversy respecting the criminality of individuals. Let it suffice, that the account given was consistent with information procured from Mr. Alexander, whose intimacy with Mr. Colden gives it force.

It is but just to the memory of Governor Colden, as well as im. portant to a proper appreciation of the labors of the historian, that the correspondence between them on the subject should be pub. lished. A careful examination of the following papers, in con. nection with the passages referred to in the History of New York, will enable the reader to comprehend the merits of the controversy. They are copied from the originals in the archives of the New York Historical Society, and are now first published, with the exception of the letter from Colden to Smith, of the 15th January, which is inaccurately printed by Dunlap.t-Editor.


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* Smith's Hist. N. Y. Note B. vol. ii. p. 380. + History of New York, vol. ii. Appendix 54.

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