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make himself more perfectly acquainted with it, as well as with the situations and designs of the
This speech, he said, was delivered to them by one Capt. Joncaire, their interpreter in chief, living at Veuango, and a man of note in the army.
29th. The half king and Monakatoocha came very early, and begged me to stay one day more : for, notwithstanding they had used all the diligence in their power, the Shanoah chiess had not brought the wampum they ordered, but would certainly be in to-night; if not, they would delay me no longer, but would send it after us as soon as they arrived. When I found them so pres. sing in their request, and knew that returning of wampum was the abolishing of agreements; and giving this up was shaking off all dependence upon the French, I consented to stay, as I believed an offence offered at this crisis might be attended with greater ill consequence than another day's delay. They also informed me that Shingiss could not get in his men; and was presented from coming himself by his wife's sickness (I believe, by fear of the French); but that the wampum of that nation was lodged with Kastaloga, one of their chiefs at Venango.
In the evening, late, they came again, and acquainted me tiiat the Shanoahs were not yet arrived, but that it should not retard the prosecution of our journey. He delivered in my hearing the speech that was to be made to the French by Jeskakake, one of their old chiefs, which was giving up the belt the late commandant had asked for, and repeating nearly the same speech he himself had done before.
He also delivered a string of wampum to this chies, which was sent by King Shingiss, to be given to Kustaloga, with orders to repair to the French, and deliver up the wampum. He likewise gave a very large string of black and white wam
enemy; and to preserve the friendship of the savages. Immediately after his arrival at that place,
pum, which was to be sent up immediately to the Six Nations, if the French refused to quit the land at this warning, which was the third and last time, and was the right of Jeskakake to deliver.
30th. Last night the great men assembled at their Council House, to consult further about this journey, and who were to go. The result of which was, that only three of their chiefs, with one of their best hunters, should be our convoy. The reason they gave for not sending more, after what had been proposed at council the 26th, was, that a greater number might give the French suspicions of some bad design, and cause them to be treated rudely: but I rather think they could not get their hunters in.
We set out about nine o'clock with the half king Jeskakake, White Thunder, and the Hunter, and travelled on the road to Venango, where we arrived the 4th of December, without any thing remarkable happening but a continued series of bad weather.
This is an old. Indian town, situated at the mouth of French Creek, on the Ohio, and lies near N. about sixty miles from the Loggs-Town, but more than sevenly the way we were obliged to go. . . . . . .
We found the French colours hoisted at a house from which they had driven Mr. John Frazier, an English subject. I immediately - repaired to it, to know where the commander resided. There were three officers, one of whom, Captain Joncaire, informed me that he had the command of the Ohio; but that there was a general officer at the near fort, where he advised me to apply for an answer. He invited us to sup with them, and treated us with the greatest complaisance.
The wine, as they dosed themselves pretty plentifully with it, soon banished the restraint which at first appeared in their conver
he was visited by some friendly Indians, who in formed him that the French had dispossessed a
sation, and give a license to their tongues to reveal their sentiments more freely.
They told me, that it was 'their absolute design to take possession of the Ohio, and by G-d they would do it: for that, although they were sensible the English could raise two men for their one, yet they knew their motions'were too slow and dilatory to prevent any undertaking of theirs. They pretended to have an undoubted right to the river, from a discovery made by one La Solle sixty years ago ; and the rise of this expedition is to prevent our settling on the river or 'waters of it, as they heard of'sone families moving out in order thereto. From the best intelligence I could get, there have been fifteen hundred men on this side''Ontario Lake. But upon the death of the general, all were recalled to about six or seven hundred, who were left to garrison four forts, one hundred and fifty or thereabouts in each. The first of them is on French Creek, near a small lake,' about sixty miles from Venango, near N. N. W.: the rest lie on Lake Erie, where the greater part of their stores are kept, about fifteen miles from the other. "From this it is one hundred and twenty'miles 'to the carrying-place, at the falls of Lake Erie, where there is a small fort which they lodge their goods at in bringing them from Montreal, the place from whence all their stores are brought. The next' fort lies about twenty miles from this, on Ontario Lake: "Between this fort and Montreal there are three others, the first of which is nearly opposite to the English fort, Oswego. 'Froin the fort on Lake Erie, to Montreal, is about six hundred miles ; which they say, requires no more '(if good wealher) than four weeks voyage, if they go in barks or large vessels, so that they may cross the lake: but if they come in canoes, it will require five or six weeks, for they are obliged to keep under the shore. VOL. II.
party of workmen employed by the Ohio Company to erect a fort on the south-eastern branch of the
5th. Rained excessively all day, which prevented our travelling. Captain Joncaire sent for the half king, as he had but just heard that he came with me. He affected to be much concerned that I did not make free to bring them in before. I excused it in the best manner of which I was capable, and told him I did not think their company agreeable, as I heard him say a good deal in dispraise of Indians in general. But another motive prevented me from bringing them into his company. I knew that he was an interpreter, and a person of very great influence among the Indians, and had lately used all possible means to draw them over to his interest; therefore I was desirous of giving him no opportunity that could be avoided.
When they came in, there was great pleasure expressed at seeing them. He wondered how they could be so near, without coming to visit him ; made several trifling presents; and applied liquor so fast, that they were soon rendered incapable of the business they came about, notwithstanding the caution which was given.
6th. The half king came to my tent, quite sober, and insisted very much that I should stay and hear what he had to say to the French. I fain would have prevented him from speaking any thing till he came to the commandant, but could not prevail. He told me, that at this place a council-fire was kindled, where all their business with these people was to be transacted; and that the management of the Indian affairs was left solely to Monsieur Joncaire, As I was desirous of knowing the issue of this, I agreed to stay; but sent our horses a little way up French Creek to raft over and encamp, which I knew would make it near night..
About ten o'clock they met in council., The king spoke much the same as he had before done to the general; and offered the
Ohio, and were themselves then engaged in completing a fortification at the confluence of the
French speech-belt which had before been demanded, with the marks of four towns on it, which Monsieur Joncaire refused to receive, but desired him to carry it to the fort 10 the commander..
7th, Monsieur La Force, commissary of the French stores, and three other soldiers came over to accompany us up. We found it extremely difficult to get the Indians off to-day, as every stratagem had been used to prevent their going up with me. I had last night left John Davidson (the Indian interpreter) whom I brought with me from town, and strictly charged him not to be out of their company, as I could not get them over to my tent; for they had some business with Kustaloga, chiefly to know why he did not deliver up the French belt which he had in keeping. But I was obliged to send Mr. Gist over to-day to fetch them ; which he did with great persuasion.
At twelve o'clock we set out for the fort, and were prevented from arriving there until the 11th, by excessive rains, snows, and bad travelling through many mires and swamps. Those we were obliged to pass to avoid crossing the creek, which was impossible either by fording or rafting, the water was so high and rapid.
We went over much good land since we passed Venango, and through several extensive and very rich meadows, one of which I believe was nearly four miles in length, and considerably wide in some places.
12th. I prepared to wait upon the commander early, and was received and conducted to him by the second officer in command. I acquainted him with my business, and offered my commission and letter; both of which he desired me to keep, until the arrival of Monsieur Reparti, captain at the next fort, who was sent for, and expected every hour.