‘We Had Lived as Brothers’: Indians and Quakers Discuss Common Interests

Dateline: Philadelphia, 1694. Various clans of Indians meet in Philadelphia to discuss their friendship and their fears. The English say they want peace so they can turn their attention against their real enemy—who?

The problem is the war-like Seneca Indians, who want the peaceful Delaware Indians to form an alliance to fight the French. Would the English protect the small and weak Delawares, if they refused to join the alliance?

6 July 1694

Council:

Col. Wm. Markham, Esq., Lt. Governor

Andrew Robeson, Robert Turner, Lawrence Cock, Patrick Robinson, all esquires.

Lawrence Cock was a Swede who acted as the interpreter between the Natives and English.

Modernized transcription begins:

The Lt. Governor acquainted the Council that they occasion of his calling them together was that yesterday Lacy Cock, Esq., informed him that Delaware Indians were come down to discourse with him.

Hithquoqueen, Kyanharro, Shakhuppo, Oriteo, Menzanzes, Mohacksey, Tamanee, Alemeon, with several others of the Delaware Indians were admitted.

Hithquoqueen in the name of the rest of the Delaware Indians took out and laid down a belt of wampum, which he said was sent to them by Onondagoes and Senecas, who say,

“You Delaware Indians do nothing but stay at home and boil your pots and are like women, while we Onondagoes and Senecas go abroad and fight against the enemy. The Senecas would have us Delaware Indians to be partners with them to fight against the French. But we having always been a peaceable people and resolving to live so and being but weak and very few in number cannot assist them. And having resolved among ourselves not to go do intend to send back their belt of wampum.”

Mohocksey said:

“The former belt sent by the Onondagoes and Senecas is sent to us all, and we have acquainted one another with it, and though we live on the other side of the river, yet we reckon ourselves all one, because we drink one water. We have had a continued friendship with all the Christians and old inhabitants of this river, since I was a young man and are desirous to continue the same so long as we live.”

And he gives a belt of wampum.

Tamanee said:

We and the Christians of this river have always had a free roadway to one another and though sometimes a tree has fallen across the road, yet we have still removed it again and kept the path clean; and we design to continue the old friendship that has been between us and you.”

And he gives a belt of wampum.

Transcription ends.

So far the Indians recount and reaffirm that they are friends between themselves and the English (Christians).

A short paragraph says that the Lt. Governor adjourned the meeting until the afternoon.

Now it is 3:00 P.M. and only Andrew Robeson is absent.

Modern transcription begins again:

Lawrence Cock, Esq. acquainted the Lt. Governor that Kyanharro and Oriteo, two Susquehanna Indians present, had something to say and in respect they could not be understood, desired Menanzes to speak for them.

Menanzes says that

A certain Indian king (being Kyanharro’s old acquaintance) having come from Cayogues to Kyanharro’s house to see him and on his way the said king and his Kyanisse Indians had some mischance befall them, for the Titwas, the naked Indians, fell upon them. But the said king and his Kyanisse Indians fought their way through them and got to Kyanharro’s house, where they desired to remain and be entertained in a peaceable county.

Menanzes in their name gives six deer skins.

To whom Kyanharro replied:

“You are of my blood, I cannot deny you, but must receive you.”

And the said Kyanisse Indians desired that Kyanharro would speak with the Christians that they would receive them with the same kindness as he did and that as they are protected by the Christians, the said Kyanisse Indians hope to meet with the same protection.

He gives six doe skins.

Transcription ends.

In the next long paragraph, not included here, a certain John Budd told the Lt. Governor that Indians from W. Jersey came to New Castle to meet with some English officials, but they were delayed. The Indians said Budd’s report was false. The Lt. Governor scolded Budd and told him if he gave a false report again, he would not go unpunished.

Now the Lt. Governor answered the Indians that the English did not has any design to make war with the Indians, but to prepare themselves against the French.

Another modernized transcription begins:

Then the Lt. Governor (by Lawrence Cock, Esq., interpreter) answered the Indians:

“You did [acted] very prudently to consider well how you entered in a war without advice and consent of their Majesties of Great Britain’s Chief Governor here, who is Governor of New York. I hear there are sober and wise men among you and there’s an old man who cannot come down, who can give you good counsel, and you must be considerate [circumspect] in what you do, for we have enemies to defend ourselves and you from our and your common enemy, the French, if they should happen to assault us or you.”

“His excellency the Governor of New York is also chief Governor and came hither [ here] to see what mean and money he could raise for his defense of Albany [New York] [and] the frontiers from the French and Indians; he carried some money with him, but suffered [allowed] our men to stay at home to defend yourselves and their country against the French.”

“While here he inquired how our Indians and we Christians agreed. We answered that for many years we had lived as brothers. He desired we might continue our friendship, for he said the enemy of one is the enemy of both [English and peaceful Indians].”

The Lt. Governor also said:

“If the Senecas send again to you, do [be sure] you send to me; and he send an express to New York, and his Excellency will take care that the Senecas shall do you no injury.”

So they all departed very well satisfied with the Lt. Governor’s answer.

Transcription ends.

It looks like the English told the peaceful Indians that the English are prepared to protect them against the Senecas. More importantly, the English’s war preparation was not against the neighboring Indians, but the French Canadians.

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SOURCE

Minutes of the Provincial Council, vol. 1, 1683-1700, (Jo. Severns and Co. 1852), p. 447-49.

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