George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Philip Schuyler, 7 July 1779

From Philip Schuyler

Albany [N.Y.] July 7th 1779

Dear Sir

Two days ago Colonel Louis the Indian returned from Canada by the way of Oneida, he left the neighborhood of Caghnawaga In the beginning of June, as a reward was offered In Canada for apprehending him he did not dare to venture Amongst the Inhabitants. his Caghnawaga friends assured him that no troops had been sent up the river St Laurence this Spring that no preparations were making for any force to come thro lake Champlain; that Brant had not been able to prevail on any of the Caghnawagas to go to the westward, that he understood a few of the Cannossedago Indians would Accompany him. That a thousand Otawas & Chippeways from Lake Huron were to Join the Senecas as Brandt give out and to desolate the frontiers.

Yesterday Colonel V. Schaick gave me a letter from Butler and Copy of a Speech from Governor Haldimand to the Oneidas which I have the honor to Inclose.1 I am Dr Sir with the most perfect Esteem and Affection Your Excellencys Most Obedient Humble Servant

Ph: Schuyler

ALS, DLC:GW; copy (extract), enclosed in GW to John Jay, 15 Aug. 1779, DNA: PCC, item 166; copy (extract), DNA:PCC, item 169.

1The enclosed letter from Loyalist leader John Butler has not been identified, but it is remarked on in GW’s letter to Schuyler of 23 July. The enclosed undated speech from Frederick Haldimand, British governor for Canada, to the Oneidas, titled “A Translation of His Excellency General Haldimands Speech to the Oneida Indians in the Rebel Interest, as delivered to them in the Iroquois Language,” reads: “Be very attentive, to what I Asharegowa the Great King of England’s Representative in Canada, am going to say.

“By this String of Wampum I shake you by the Head to rouse you, that you may seriously reflect upon my words.

“A String of Wampum.


“It is now about four years ago, since the Bostonians began to rise and rebel against their Father the King of England, since which Time you have taken a different part from the rest of the Five Nations your Confederates, and have likewise deserted the King’s Cause, thro’ the deceitful Machinations and Snares of the Rebels, who intimidated you with their numerous Armies, by which Means you became bewildered, and forgot all your Engagemements, and former Care and Favors from the Great King of England your Father.

“You also soon forgot, the frequent bad Usage and continual Encroachments of the Americans upon the Indians Lands throughout the Continent. I say therefore that at the breaking out of these Troubles, you firmly declared to observe a strict Neutrality in the Dispute, and made your Declaration known to Sir Guy Carleton my Predecessor, who much approved of it provided you were in Earnest.

“I have hitherto strictly observed and examined your Conduct, and find that you did not adhere to your Assertion, Altho’ I could trace no Reason on the Side of Government as well as the Indians why you should act so treacherous and double a part, by which Means we not mistrusting your Fidelity, have had many Losses among the King’s Subjects and the five Nations your Friends and Connections; and finding you besides proud and haughty on the Occasion, as if you gloried in your perfidy, doubtless in sure Confidence as if your Friends the Rebels were getting the better at last, and captivated with that pleasing Opinion of yours, you have presumed twice during the Course of last Winter, to send impertinent and daring Messages to the five Nations, as if you meant to pick a Quarrel with them.

“In Consequence of this your daring and insolent Behavior, I must insist upon, by this Belt of Wampum, that you declare yourselves immediately upon the Receipt of this my Speech and Message, whether you mean to persist in this your daring and insulting Course, and still intend to act as you have hitherto done treacherously under the Cloak of Neutrality, or whether you will accept of this my last Offer of reuniting and reconciling yourselves with your own Tribes the five Nations. Do not imagine, that the King has hitherto treated the Rebels and their Adherents with so much Mildness and Indulgence, out of any Apprehensions of their Strength or getting the better! No, by no Means! For you will find, that in case you slight or disregard this my last Offer of Peace; I shall soon convince you that I have such a Number of Indian Allies to let loose upon you, as will instantly convince you of your Folly when too late, as I have hardly been able to restrain them from falling upon you for some Time past.

“I must therefore once more repeat to you that this is my last and final Message to you; and that you do not hesitate or put off giving me your direct and decisive Declaration of Peace or War, that in Case of the Latter (knowing there are still some of your Nation who are Friends to the King and the five Nations) I may give them timely Warning to separate themselves from you.


“Let me lastly convince you of the Deceit and Dissimulation of your rebel Bretheren General Schuyler, Parson Kirtland, and others; have they not told you in the Beginning of the Rebellion, that they wanted not your Assistance and have your Blood spilt, and you likewise declared that you would not join them, but remain neuter. Have either of you stuck to your Words? No! You basely broke it and seemed from the Beginning to be of mutual hostile Sentiments against the King and his Allies; And soon after manifested it by your Actions. What confirms me in this Opinion, and proves your deceitful and treacherous Disposition, is your Behavior during the Course of last War, when you likewise acted a double part, in clandestinely joining and carrying Intelligence to the French in this Country; which I myself am a Witness to, and also was told of it by your Friend the late Sir William Johnson, who notwithstanding your base Behavior, upon promising that you would be true and faithful for the future forgave you, and received you into favor again, advising you to be more prudent and honest in time to come, and frequently after that loaded you with the King’s Bounty and Favors.

“But he was no sooner dead, than you ungratefully forgot his good Advice and Benefactions, and in Opposition to his Family and Indian Friends, and every thing that is sacred, adopted the Cause of Rebels and Enemies to your King, your late Patron Sir William Johnson and your own Confederacy and Connections.

“These are Facts, Brothers, that unless you are lost to every Sense of Feeling cannot but create in You a most hearty Repentance, and deep Remorse, for your past vile Actions.

“The Belt” (DLC:GW).

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