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CHAP III. An Account of a general Council of the Five Nations
at Onondaga, to consider the Count De Frontenac's Message. N the 27th of December 1689, two Indians
came to Albany, being sent by the Onondaga and Oneydo Sachems, with seven Hands of Wampum from each Nation, to tell their Brethren in NewYork and New-England, that three of their old Friends, who had been carried Prisoners to France, were come with Proposals from Canada; that there was a Council of the Sachems appointed to meet at Onondaga, and that they therefore defired the Mayor of Albany, Peter Scheyler, and some others of their Brethren, to come thither, to be present and to advise on an Affair of so great Consequence ; for they were resolved to do nothing without the Knowledge and Consent of all those that were included in the Chain with them.
The same Messenger told them, that some Letters were sent to the Jesuit at Oneydo; and that they would neither burn, nor suffer those Letters to be opened, till the Brethren should first see them.
All that the Magistrates of Albany did on this important Occasion, was to send three Indians with Instructions in their Name, to diffuade the Five Nations from entertaining any Thoughts of Peace, or yielding to a Cessation of Arms.
On the 4th of January one of the chief Mohawk Sachems came to Albany, to tell the Magistrates, that he was to go to Onondaga, and desired the Brethren's Advice how to behave there; on which the Magistrates thought it necessary to fend likewise the publick Interpreter, and another Person to affift at the general Meeting, with written Instructions ;
but no Person of Note, that had any Influence on the Indians, went.
When the Messengers arrived at Oneydo, they discoursed privately with one of the Prisoners that had returned from France, and found that he had no Love for the French ; but it is impossible but that Indians, who had seen the French Court, and many of their Troops, must be surprised at their Grandeur: he complained however of the ill Usage he had met with. The French chofe, on this Occasion, to send first to Oneydo, because of the Arsistance they expected the Jesuit, that resided there, would give to their Negotiation.
I believe it will not be tedious to the Reader, that desires to know the Indian Gerius, if I give a circumstantial Account of this general Council or Parliament of the Five Nations, that he may see in what Manner a People that we call Savages behave on such important Occasions.
On the 22d of January the general Council was opened at Onondaga, consisting of eighty Sachems ; in the first Place, Sadekanaghtie, an Onondaga Sachem, rising up, addressed himself to the Messenger of Albany, saying,
Four Messengers are come from the Governor of Canada, viz. three who had been carried Prisoners: to France, and a Sachem of the praying Indians that live at Montreal.
The Governor of Canada notifies his Arrival to us, that he is the Count de Frontenac, who had been formerly Governor there ; that he had brought back with him Tawerabet a Cayuga Sachem, and twelve Prisoners, that had been carried to France 3 then taking the Belt of Wampum in his Hand, and holding it by the Middle, he added, what I have faid relates only to one half of the Belt, the other half is to let us know, that he intends to kindle again his Fire at Cadarackui next Spring, and therefore in
vites his Children, and Dekanafora an Onondaga Captain in particular, to treat there with him about the old Chain. Then Adarahta the chief Sachem of the praying Indians ftood up, and said, with three Belts in his Hand, I advise you to meet the Governor of Canada as he desiress agree to this, if you would live, and gives one Belt of Wampum.
Tawerahet fends you this other Belt, to inform you of the Miseries, that he and the rest of your Countrymen have suffered in their Captivity; and to advise you to hearken to Yonondio, if you defire to live.
This third Belt is from *Thurenfera, +Ohguese, and 1 Ertel, who say by it, to their Brethren: We have interceded for you with Yonondio, and therefore advise you to meet him at Cadarac kai in the Spring, becaufe it will be for your Advantage.
When this Sachem had done speaking, the Mobawk Messenger fent from Albany delivered his Meffage Word for Word, as he had received its without omitting the least Article. The Interpreter, while the Indian was fpeaking, read over a Paper, on which the Message was fet down, lest any Thing should have been forgot.
After this Cannehoot a Seneka Sachem stood up, and gave the general Council a particular Account of a Treaty made laft Summer, between the Senekas and the Wagunha Messengers, (one of the Uta
Thurensera fignifies the Dawning of the Day, and was the Name given by the Indians to the Jefuit Lam. berville, who had formerly resided at Onondaga.
+ Monfr. le Morne, the Word fignifies a Partridge. | Erfel signifies a Rose, the Name of fome other French Gentleman, for whom the Indians had an Efteem.
wawa Nations) who had concluded a Peace for themselves, and seven other Nations, to which the other four Nations were desired to agree, and their Brethren of New York to be included in it. He faid the Proposals made in several Propofitions were as follow.
1. We are come to join two Bodies into one Delivering up at the fame Time two Prisoners. 2. We are come to learn Wisdom of
you Senekas, and of the other Five Nations, and of your Brethren, of New York. Giving a Belt.
3. We by this Belt wipe away the Tears from the Eyes of your Friends, whose Relations have been killed in the War, and likewise the * Paint from your Soldiers Faces. Giving another Belt.
4. 'We now throw aside the Ax, which Yonondia put into our Hands, by this third Belt.
5. Let the Sun, as long as he shall endure, al ways shine upon us in Friendship. Here he gave a red Marble Sun-as large as a Plate.
6. Let the Rain of Heaven wash away all Hatred, that we may again smoke together in Peace, giving a large Pipe of red Marble.
7. Yonondio is drunk, but we wash our Hands clean from all his Actions. Giving a fourth Belt.
8. Now we are clean washed by the Water of Heaven, neither of us must defile ourselves by hearkening to Yonondio.
9. We have twelve of your Nation Prisoners, who shall be brought Home in the Spring; there he gave a Belt, to confirm the Promise.
* The Indlans always paint their faces when they go to War, to make themselves look more terrible: to the Enemy. A Soldier in the Indian Language is expressed by a Word, which fignifies a Fair.fighter.
10. We will bring your Prisoners when the Strawberries shall be in blossom *, at which Time we intend to visit Corlear, and fee the place where the Wampum is made. (New-York.)
The Speaker added, we will also tell our Friends the other Utawawa Nations, and the Dionondadies, who have eleven of your People Prisoners, what we have now done, and invite them to make
Peace with you.
He said further, we have fent three Messengers: back with the Wagunhas, in order to confirm this Peace with their Nation.
After the Seneka Speaker had done, the Wagunha Presents were hung up in the House, in the Sight of the whole Assembly, and afterwards distributed among the several Nations, and their Acceptance was a Ratification of the Treaty. A large Belt was given also to the Albany Messengers as their Share.
The Belt of Wampum sent from Albany was in like Manner banged up, and afterwards divided.
New-England, which the Indians call Kinson (that is, a Fish) fent likewise the Model of a Fish, as a Token of their adhering to the general Covenant. This Filh: was handed round among the Sachems, and then laid aside to be put up.
After there Ceremonies were over, Sadekanahtie, an Onondaga Speaker, stood up, and faid, Brethren, we must stick to our Brother Quider, and look on Yonondio as our Enemy, for he is a Cheat; By Quider they meant Peter Scheyler the Mayor of Albany, who had gained a considerable Efteem among them; as they have no Labeals in their Language, they pronounce Peter by the Sound Quider.
The Indians in this Manner diftinguish the Seasons of the Year, as the Time of planting Corn, or when it is ripe, when the Chesnuts blossom, &c.