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PRESENTS MADE BY THE ONNONTAGUES TO ONONTIO, AT LA FAMINE, THE 5th 7ber 1684 *
[From the same.]
The Onnontagut's, whose mediation between the French and the Senecas the General accepted, having repaired to a place called La Famine about 25 leagues from their country, Sieur Hateouati, who is the Orator of that Nation, spoke by fifteen pre«ents, not only on behalf of the Senecas, but also for the other Iroquois Nations.
1st Word of the Iroquois. After having taken God to witness the sincerity of his heart, and having assured Onontio of the truth of his words, he spoke in this wise:
1 give you a Beverage devoid of bitterness, to purify whatever inconvenience you may have experienced during the voyage, and to dispel whatever bad air you may have breathed between Montreal and this place.
Answer of Onontio to the words of Hoteouatr :—As I have placed in your hands the mediation with the Senecas, I wish, truly, to do what you ask me. I, therefore, lay down my Hatchet and refer to you to obtain a reasonable satisfaction.
2t Word. I remove the hatchet with which you threaten to strike the Senecas. Remember he is your child, and that you are his father.
3d Word. Mr. Lemoine, your ordinary envoy, having come last year, and speaking to us in your name, cut a deep ditch into which he told us you and we should cast all the unkind things that might occur; I have not forgotten this word, and in obedience to it, I request you to throw into that ditch the Seneca robbery, and that it may disturb neither our country nor yours.
Answer. That ditch is well cut, but as your young men have no sense, and as they may make this a pretext for committing acts of hostility anew, after having cast the Seneca robbery into that ditch, as you desire ; arrest, then, your young men, as I shall restrain mine. I cover it up forever.
• Endorsed by the Minister. "These leMers mint be kept secret."
4th Word. I set up again the tree of peace, which we planted at Montreal, in the conference we had the honor to have with you last summer.
Jinswtr. It is not I who think of throwing it down : it is your nephews who have seriously shaken it. I strengthen it.
5th Word. I exhort you, Father, to sustain it strongly, in order that nothing may shake it.
6th Word. I again tie up (je rattache) the Sun which was altogether obscured : I dispel all the clouds and mists that concealed it from our view.
7 th Word. The robbery committed by the Senecas on your nephews, is not a sufficient motive to make war against them. Where has blood been shed? 1 promise you that satisfaction shall be afforded you for the loss the French have experienced by the pillage of their merchandize.
Answer of Onontio. It is good that you promise me satisfaction: deceive me not. The first thing that I expect of you is that you restore me the two prisoners of Etionnontat6 who art with the Seneca, and a third who remains at Cayuga.
8th Word. Onontio, my father, I feel uneasy and cannot pluck up courage, whatever kindnesses you have the goodness to show me. What disquiets me, is to behold Soldiers, hear drums, etc. I pray you return to Quebec, so that your children may sleep in peace.
Answer. I depart to-morrow and quit this country, to show you what deference I pay to your demands.
9th Word. The fires of peace and the halls of our Councils were at Frontenac or at Montreal. The former is a poor country where the Grasshoppers prevent me sleeping, and the second is far away for our old men. I kindle the fires of peace on this spot, which is the most agreable that we can select, where there is good fishing, hunting, &c.
Answer. I accept the selection you have made of this place for our conferences, without, however, extinguishing the fire which I keep burning at Montreal.
10th Word. Our warriors have, as well as our other chiefs, accepted the peace. I bear their words by this belt.
Answer. You need not doubt the obedience of my soldiers; endeavour to make yourselves obeyed by your own. To prove to you that I maintain uphold the tree of peace, I sent to Niagara to cause the army to return which was coming from that direction.
11th Ward. You told us, last summer, to strike the enemy no more. We heard your voice. We shall not go to war again in that quarter.
Answer. Remember that the Maskoutenek is brother to the Oumeami. Therefore strike neither the one nor the other.
12th Word. He has killed some, this spring, in divers rencounters, but as you bound my arms I allowed myself to be beaten, without defending myself.
Answer. That's good; you need not pursue the Oumeami who struck you; I shall send him word not to commit any more acts of hostility.
13th Word. Regarding the Illinois, I am at war with him; we shall, both of us, die fighting.
Answer. Take heed, in firing at the Illinois, not to strike the French whom you meet on your path and in the neighbourhood of Fort St. Louis.
14th Word. Restore to us the Missionaries whom you have withdrawn from our villages.
Answer. They shall not be taken from you who aie our mediators; and when the Senecas shall have commenced to give u.e satisfaction, they shall be testored to them as well as to the other nations.
15th and last Word. Prevent the Christians of the Sault and of the Mountain coming any more among us, to seduce our people to Montreal; let them cease to dismember our country as they do every year.
Answer. It is not my children ot the Sault nor of the Mountain who dismember your country; it is yourselves who dismember it by your drunkenness and superstitions. Besides, there is full liberty to come and reside among us; no person is retained by force.
The General added two presents to the above.
By the first he said: I'ou see the consideration which I have for the request you have n.ade me. I ask you in return, if the Seneca, Cayuga or any other commit a similar insult against me, that you first give him some sense, and if he will not hear you, that you abandon him as one disaffected.
By the last belt, he exhorted them to listen not to evil sayings, and told them to conduct Tegannehout back to Seneca and to inform these of the above conclusions.
M. DE MEULLES TO THE MINISTER.
[From the same.]
My Lord—I thought you would be impatient to learn the success and result of the war the General had undertaken against the Iroquois which rendered it necessary for him to call a part of the people of this country together and make all necessary pieparation, at his Majesty's expense, for this expedition. The troops have been as far as a place called La Famine, thirty leagues beyond Fort Frontenac. The army consisted of nine hundred French and three hundred Savages, and from the Niagara side there was another army of six hundred men, one third of whom were French and the remainder Ottawa's and Hurons, amounting in all to eighteen hundred men.
What Indians there were evinced the best disposition to fight the Iroquois to the death. Sieur de la Durantaye who brought the last six hundred men from Missilimakinak, has informed us that he learned from a Miami Chief that more than a thousand Illinois were coming to our aid on learning that we were about to fight the Iroquois, to such a degree are they their irreconcileable enemies. Certainly, never was there remarked a better disposition to fight and conquer them and purge the country of that nation which will be eternally our enemy. All the French breathed nothing but war, and though they saw themselves obliged to abandon their families, they consoled themselves with the hope of liberating them by one victory from a nation so odious as the Iroquois, at whose hands they constantly dreaded ambushes and destruction. But the General did not think proper to push matters any farther, and without any necessity sent Sieur Le Moyne to the said Iroquois to treat of peace at a time when every one was in good health, and when all necessary provision was made of food, &c. to dare every enterprize; and finally after various comings and goings on one side and the other, the General concluded peace such as you will see by the articles which I take the liberty to send you as written by the hand of his Secretary.
This peace, my Lord, has astonished all the Officers who had the command in that army and all those who composed it, who have testified so deep a displeasure and so sovereign a contempt for the General's person thai they could not prevent themselves evincing it to him. I assure you, my Lord, that had I strayed ever so little from my duty and not exhibited exteriorly, since his return, the respect I owe his character, the whole world would have risen against him and would have been guilty of some excess.
The said General excuses himself because of the sick and even says that the troops lacked food; to which I feel obliged to answer, being certain that he seeks every pretext and has recourse to every expedient to exculpate himself and perhaps to put the blame on me.
'Tis certain that there was a great number of sick among the Militia which he took with him to Fort Frontenac, who were in perfect good health on arriving there, but having encamped them for a fortnight in prairies between the woods and a pond, it is not surprizing that some fell sick. Again he made them camp at La Famine in places that were never inhabited, entirely surrounded by swamps, which contributed still considerably to the sickness in his army; and had he remained there longer he would not have saved a man. This has caused every one to say that he did not care, that he had not the least desire to make war; that he made no use of his long sojourns except employing them in his negociations. Had he seriously wished to make war on the said Iroquois he would not have remained ten to twelve days at Montreal, fourteen or fifteen at Fort Frontenac and as many at La Famine, but would have remained merely a day or two, and