Daniel Claus to Frederick Haldimand
19 November 1778

In a New York court case in 1979, and in the Mike Mitchell border crossing case of 1997, traditional Mohawks have been told by outside governments that the community of Akwesasne was historically a member of the Seven Nations of Canada and not the Iroquois Confederacy.   Traditional Mohawks have also cited oral traditions that counter the notion that Kahnawake Mohawks were the first to arrive at Akwesasne.  [See St. Regis Mission Established 250 Years Ago This Year for more on this subject.] I have never been able to find documentation to substantiate this claim, but the following document is evidence that an influx of people from the "6 Nations" came to Akwesasne after the French and Indian War and maintained political ties to that alliance:  "These St. Regis Indians to the Number of 25 or 30 who received a Message from the 6 Nats. last Spring to join them in their operations against the Rebels; could not well reject said Invitation, having mostly settled there since the Conquest of Canada & the Beginning of these Troubles, but are still considered as Members of the 6 Nations;"  The entire document is found below.

Hpb) P.A.C., B114, p. 13 & 14


Montreal 19th Nov.  1778


    In my last of the 5th Inst. I reported to your Excellency the arrival of Mrs. McKennis [McGinnis] from Niagara, with what Intelligence she brought, since which I saw myself obliged (as she may be of Service hereafter) to find her Lodging and firewood of my own she being 4 in Family.  And her Daughters Mrs. Thomson’s being so scantily lodged that she could not remain with them any longer, and now are refused Firewood which they all along enjoyed, being told by Colo. Carleton, that without an order from Your Excellency he could not continue that Allowance, which they think very hard, having no Money or Income, but what they earn by the Needle, and which after an easy Way of Life touches very sore.  If they even had the allowance of firewood in Money they would endeavor to purchase it, tho’ at present very scarce & dear.
    Mr. Cartwright of Albany says likewise that your Excellency mentioned to him you would give me Directions about him & family upon the same subject. 
    By the last Boats from Carleton Island, I had a Letter from Mr. Adams the Indn. Officer there, whom I employed on Fort Stanwix Expedn.  For the Missasageys and Swegachy Indns. as he writes me that your Excellency ordered him to continue there; he has been upon Scouts towards Fort Stanwix two or three times last Summer of which I suppose Your Excellcy. was informed he having not given me any particulars, farther than that the last Scout he narrowly escaped being taken not far from the Fort by the Onida rebel Indians;  He says it will be impossible for him to get the Indns. there to go upon service, without some Allowance as usual upon such Occasions, wch. I am well convinced to be the Case; And he was oblidged to incur a little Expence on that Accot. as Capt. Montpeaseaux he says has promised them things, and put them off from time to time, which soon disgusts Indians.  I have enclosed Your Excellency. a copy of Commissary Genl. M'Lean's Letter to Adamson of Subject; sent me a small Accot. of Indn. Expences wch. if your Excellcy. approve of I shall insert in my next Decembers Accot.  And as there was an Opportunity immediately returning to Carleton Island & probably the last time this Season; I answered his Leter by a Soldier of the 31st, as far as I could, by telling him I would report to your Excellcy. what he requested, and let him know your Directions by the first of Opportunity in the Winter.  At the same time I gave him full Instructions about keeping up a friendly communication and as frequent as possible with the 6 Nations, and gave them the Substance what to acquaint them with and which will come very apropos, as I find the rebel Caghnawgey & St. Regis Indians that left their Villages this Summer, have taken Refuge among the rebel Oneidas, and are influencing them & the 6 Nations with a parcel of Falsehoods from this Country: vizt. that all the Canadians and Indians were in the Rebels Interest on Accot. of their Alliance with the French, that the River St. Lawrence was blocked up by a french fleet and that Canada must fall this Winter or next Summer.  They at the same time encourage the rebel Oneidas not to be uneasy or alarmed at the prest. success & threats of the 6 Natns. in case they did not quit the rebel Interest, that all 7 Nations in Canada would support & stand up for them, should the 6 Natns. attempt anything agst. them.  It happened luckily that on Onondaga Chief from St. Regis on his Return from the Susquehanna was at Onondago when the above News was brought there by an Oneida Friend Indian, which the St. Regis Indn. afterwards contradicted in every particular telling them he had later Accots. from Canada, and there were Descendants of the New Englanders among the 7 Natns. in the rebels Interest, the rest were all for the King, and that there were a great many Ships arrived & daily arriving at Quebec with english Merchandize which could not be if the Navigation was stopd. &c.
    These St. Regis Indians to the Number of 25 or 30 who received a Message from the 6 Nats. last Spring to join them in their operations against the Rebels; could not well reject said Invitation, having mostly settled there since the Conquest of Canada & the Beginning of these Troubles, but are still considered as Members of the 6 Nations; Altho Colo. Campbell disapproved of their Going considered them as Indns. under his Direction.  They say had there been a probability of their soon going on Service before they went they would have staid, but as long as they serve the King they think they cant go wrong, not being capable of Distinguishing differt.  Departments lately arranged by Governmt.  when not long before the 7 Nats. of Canada & the 6 united Nats. of New York were united into a confederacy by the late Sr. Wm. Johnson.  These St. Regis Indians joining the 6 Nats. was very pleasing to them & of good Effect, as it confirmed them, that the Report the rebel Caghnwas. spread was not to be depended on, of the Onondagas who were leaning towards the rebel Interest to change Sides, And a general Unanimity of the Indians to oppose the Rebels, wch. in a great Measure is at present the case on the whole Continent must be dreadful Reflection on them, and I can already perceive by Genl. Schuylers Language that they begin to draw in their horns.  He sent word lately to the Oneidas in order to go farther that he had been with the English General at N. York this Summer, eating and drinking wth. him like Brothers & that he hoped all would soon be quiet in the Country; That an Oneida Indian was with Schuyler at N. York, and came among the 6 Nats., telling of his Kind Reception & the plenty of everything at N. York, at the same time describing the poverty of the rebels, and the good & numerous Condition of our Army, all which are circumstances very encouraging to Indns.  Capt. Tice who has been appointed by Colo. Johnson in 1775 & was wounded that Campaign at St. Johns, on his return from England Accompanyd Joseph [Brant] from N. York to Niagara thro' the woods; has conducted the St. Regis Indns. here, as usual to replace Losses & keep their martial spirit; I am sorry to find that the Indns. take no Rebels in Arms alive, for Fear as they say they should come agst. them again when released.  Colo. Butler having nothing to give these Indns. & Colo. Campbell being at Quebec, they made their Quarters good at my Lodging, and I found it necessary to Clothe them as customary.  And when the Indns. of Majr. Carletons party came to Town, I had them all about me to hear the News.  I endeavour all in my power to disengage myself from the Domicilians, it being vastly troublesome to have them so often abt. oneself, but all to no purpose, and should one disoblige them, they would say all the past Friendship & Regard towards them was but Hypocrisy & Self Interest, and throw the same Reflection upon their prest. Managers.  There is not the least Accot. of Sr. Johns party & the Mohawks as yet wch. is suprizing & unaccountable.

I have the Honor to be with great
Your Excellencys

Most Obedient and
obliged hble Servant

Danl. Claus

To His Excellency
General Haldimand
Commander. in Chief &c. &c. &c.

[Source: Maryly B. Penrose, Indian Affairs Papers: American Revolution.  Liberty Bell, Franklin Park, NJ. 1981: 174-177.]

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