Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

A leghany and Monongahela Rivers; and that a detachment from that place was then on its march

towards

· This commander is a knight of the military order of St Lewis, and named Legardeur de St. Pierre. He is an elderly gentleman, and has much the air of a soldier. He was sent over to take the command immediately upon the death of the late general, and are rived here about seven days before me.

At two o'clock, the gentleman who was sent for arrived, when I offered the letter, &c. again, which they received, and adjourned into a private apartment for the captain to translate, who understood a little English. After he had done it, the commander desired I would walk in, and bring my interpreter to peruse and correct it; which I did. . , 13th. The chief officers retired to hold a council of war ; which gave me an opportunity of taking the dimensions of the fort, and making what observations I could.

It is situated on the south or west fork of French Creek, near the water, and is almost surrounded by the creek, and a small branch of it which forms a kind of island. Four houses compose the sides ; the bastions are made of piles driven into the ground, standing more than twelve feet above it, and sharp at top, with port-holes cut for cannon, and loop-holes for the small arms to fire through. There are eight six-pound pieces mounted in each bastion, and one piece of four-pound before the gate.' In the bastions are a guardhouse, chapel, doctor's lodging, and the commander's private store; round which are laid platforms for the cannon and men to stand on... There are several barracks without the fort, for the soldiers' dwelling, covered, some with bark, and some with boards, made chiefly with logs. There are also several other houses, such as stables, smiths' shop, &c.' ... . o's." I could get no certain account of the number of men here; but,

according

towards the Great Meadows. Open hostilities had not yet commenced, but the country was considered

as

according to the best judgment I could form, there are a hundred, exclusive of officers, of which there are many. I also gave orders to the people who were with me, to take an exact account of the canoes which were hauled up to convey their forces down in the spring. This they did, and told fifty of birch bark, and a hundred and seventy of pine, besides many others which were blocked out in readiness for being made. .

14th. As the snow increased very fast, and our horses daily beu came weaker, I sent them off unloaded, under the care of Barnaby Currin, and two others, to make all convenient dispatch to Venango, and there to wait our arrival, if there was a prospect of the river's freezing: if not, then to continue down to Shanapins Town, at the forks of the Ohio, and there to wait until we came to cross the Aleghany; intending myself to go down by water, as I had the offer of a canoe or two.

As I found many plots concerted to retard the Indian's business, and prevent their returning with me, I endeavoured all that lay in my power to frustrate their schemes, and hurried them on to execute their intended design. They accordingly pressed for admittance this evening; which at length was granted them, privately, to the commander and one or two other officers. The half king told me that he offered the wampum to the commander, who evaded taking it, and made many fair promises of love and friend. ship; said he wanted to live in peace, and trade anicably with them, -as a proof of which, he would send some goods immediately down to the Logos Town for them. But I rather think the design of that is, to bring away all our straggling traders they meet with, as I privately understood they intended to carry an officer, &c. with them. And what rather confirms this opinion, I was

inquiring

[ocr errors]

as invaded ; and several circumstances were related contributing to the opinion that this party was

ap

inquiring of the commander by what authority he had made prisoners of several English subjects. He told me that the country belonged to them; that no Englishman had a right to trade upon those waters; and that he had orders to make every person prisoner who attempted it on the Ohio or the waters of it.

I inquired of Captain Riparti about the boy that was carried by this place, as it was done while the command devolved on him, between the death of the late general and the arrival of the present. He acknowledged that a boy had been carried past, and that the Indians had two or three white men's scalps (I was told at Venango eight), but pretended to have forgotten the name of the place where the boy came from, and all the particular facts, though he had questioned him for some hours as they were carrying him past. I likewise inquired what they had done with John Trotter, and James Mac Clochlan, two Pennsylvania traders, whom they had taken, with all their goods. They told me that they had been sent to Canada, but were now returned home.

This evening I received an answer to his honour the govenor's letter, from the commandant.

15th. The commandant ordered a plentiful store of liquor, pro. visions, &c. to be put on board our canoe, and appeared to be, extremely complaisant, though he was exerting every artifice which he could invent to set our Indians at variance with us, to prevent their going till after our departure: presents, rewards, and every thing which could be suggested by him or his officers. I cannot say that ever in my life I suffered so much anxiety as I did in this affair. I saw that every stratagem which the most fruitful brain could invent was practised to win the half king to their interest; and that leaving him there was giving them the opportunity they aimed

[ocr errors]

proaching with hostile views. Among others it was stated that they had left the path some dis

tance,

W

at. I went to the half king, and pressed him in the strongest terms to go. He told me that the commandant would not discharge him till the morning. I then went to the commandant and desired him to do their business, and complained of ill-treatment ; for keeping theni, as they were part of my company, was detaining me. This he promised not to do, but to forward my journey as much as he could. He protested he did not keep them, but was ignorant of the cause of their stay; though I soon found it out. He had promised them a present of guns, &c. if they would wait till the morning. As I was very much pressed by the Indians to wait this day for them, I consented, on a promise that nothing should hinder them in the morning.

16th. The French were not slack in their inventions to keep the Indians this day also. But as they were obliged, according to promise, to give the present, they then endeavoured to try the power of liquor, which I doubt not would have prevailed at any other time than this : but I urged and insisted withị the king so closely upon his word, that he refrained, and set off with us as he had engaged.

We had a tedious and very fatiguing passage down the creek. Several times we had like to have been staved against rocks'; and many times were obliged all hands to get out and remain in the water half an hour or more, getting over the shoals. At one place the ice had lodged, and made it impassable by, water; we were therefore obliged to carry our canoe across the neck of land, a quarter of a mile over. We did not reach Venango till the 22d, where we met with our horses.

This creek is extremely crooked. I dare say the distance be.

tween

tance, and had iencamped for the niglit in a bottom, in a secret retired situation, as if to secure conceal

ment.

tween the fort and Venango cannot be less than one hundred and thirty miles, to follow the meanders.

23d. When I got things ready to set off, I sent for the half king, to know whether he intended to go with us or by water. He told me that White Thunder had hurt hinself much, and was sick and unable to walk ; therefore he was obliged to carry him down in a canoe, . As I found he intended to stay there a day or two, and knew that Monsieur Joncaire would employ every scheme to set him against the English, as he had before done, I told him I hoped he would guard against his flattery, and let no fine speeches influence him in their favour. He desired I might not be concerned, for he knew the French too well for any thing to engage him in their favour; and that though he could not go down with us, he yet would endeavour to meet at the forks with Joseph Campo bell, to deliver a speech for me to carry to his honour the governor, He told me he would order the young hunter to attend us, and get provisions, &c. if wanted. .!

Our horses were now so weak and feeble, and the baggage sa heavy, (as we were obliged to provide all the necessaries which the journey would require,) that we doubted much their performing it. Therefore, myself and others, except the drivers who where obliged to ride, gave up our horses for packs, to assist along with the baggage. I put myself in an Indian walking-dress, and cons tinued with them three days, till I found there was no probability of their getting home in any reasonable time. The horses became less able to travel every day; the cold increased very fast; and the roads were becoming much worse by a deep snow, contimually freezing: therefore as I was uncasy to get back, to make report of

.my

« ZurückWeiter »