The Worlds Famous Orations. America: I. (17611837). 1906.
Brant to Lord George Germaine
Joseph Brant (17421807)
Born in 1742, died in 1807; educated at Lebanon, Connecticut; Interpreter and Secretary to Sir William Johnson; visited London in 1776 and 1784; commanded the Indians at the battles of Oriskany and Newtown; translated parts of the New Testament into the Mohawk tongue; his life has been written in a notable book by William L. Stone.
BROTHER1 GORAH:We have crossed the great lake and come to this kingdom with our superintendent, Colonel Johnson,2 from our Confederacy of the Six Nations and their allies, that we might see our father, the great king, and join in informing him, his counselors, and wise men, of the good intentions of the Indians, our brothers, and of their attachment to his majesty and his government.
Brother, the disturbances in America give great trouble to all our nations, and many strange stories have been told to us by the people of that country. The Six Nations, who always loved the king, sent a number of their chiefs and warriors with their superintendent to Canada last summer, where they engaged their allies to join with them in the defense of that country, and when it was invaded by the New England people they alone defeated them.3
Brother, in that engagement we had several of our best warriors killed and wounded, and the Indians think it very hard they should have been so deceived by the white people in that country; many returning in great numbers, and no white people supporting the Indians, they were obliged to return to their villages and sit still. We now, brother, hope to see these bad children chastised, and that we may be enabled to tell the Indians who have always been faithful and ready to assist the king what his majesty intends.
Brother, the Mohawks, our particular nation, have on all occasions shown their zeal and loyalty to the great king; yet they have been very badly treated by the people in that country, the city of Albany laying an unjust claim to the lands on which our lower castle4 is built, as one Klock,5 and others do to those of Canajoharie, our upper village. We have often been assured by our late great friend, Sir William Johnson, who never deceived us, and we know he was told so, that the king and wise men here would do us justice. But this, notwithstanding all our applications, has never been done, and it makes us very uneasy. We also feel for the distress in which our brothers on the Susquehanna are likely to be involved by a mistake made in the boundary we settled in 1768.6 This also our superintendent has laid before the king. We have only, therefore, to request that his majesty will attend to this matter: it troubles our nation and they can not sleep easy in their beds. Indeed, it is very hard, when we have let the kings subjects have so much land for so little value, they should want to cheat us in this manner of the small spots we have left for our women and children to live on. We are tired out in making complaints and getting no redress. We therefore hope that the assurances now given us by the superintendent may take place and that he may have it in his power to procure us justice.
We shall truly report all that we hear from you to the Six Nations on our return. We are well informed there have been many Indians in this country who came without any authority from their own and gave us much trouble. We desire to tell you, brother, that this is not our case. We are warriors known to all the Nations, and are now here by approbation of many of them, whose sentiments we speak.
Brother, we hope that these things will be considered and that the king or his great men will give us such answer as will make our hearts light and glad before we go, and strengthen our hands, so that we may join our superintendent, Colonel Johnson, in giving satisfaction to all our Nations when we report to them on our return; for which purpose we hope soon to be accommodated with the passage.
Note 1. Delivered in London before Lord George Germaine, secretary of state, on March 14, 1776. The originals of this and another speech by Brant are now in London. They have been printed in the Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York. Brant had gone to London to secure for the Mohawk Indians redress for lands which they had lost on the Mohawk and Upper Susquehanna Rivers. Redress was promised, but it was understood that the Indians meanwhile, in the war already begun with the Colonies, would give their support to the king. Out of this understanding proceeded the activity of Brant on the New York frontier in aid of the royal cause. [back]
Note 2. Colonel Guy Johnson, who two years before (in 1774) had succeeded Sir William Johnson as superintendent of Indian affairs. He was not Sir Williams son, but his son-in-law. [back]
Note 3. A reference to General Montgomerys expedition to Quebec in summer of 1775, and particularly to the Battle of the Cedars, fought near Montreal on September 25, where Ethan Allen, with a small force, was defeated, taken prisoner, and sent to England in the same ship in which Brant sailed. [back]
Note 4. The lower castle of the Mohawks was at Fort Hunter. [back]
Note 5. George Klock, of Canajoharie, was the father-in-law of Colonel Cox, who was killed at Oriskany. Cox was largely responsible at Oriskany for the injudicious forward movement of the American troops, which led them into an ambush laid by the Indians under Brant. [back]