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son can be with more profound respect and greater devotedness than I, my Lord,
Your very humble and very ob: sen1. This, my Lord, is only incidenlally. I defer informing you of what has occurred in this country during this year, until the departure of the vessels.
Quebec, the 10"< 8bcr 1684.
FATHER LAMBERVILLE, MISSIONARY AT ONONDAGA, TO M. DE LA BARRE.
[Onondaga,] July 10, 1684.
Sir,—A general Assembly of all the Iroquois will be held here at which it is intended to unite against you, and to inform the Senecas that you wish to persuade the four Iroquois Nations not to aid them in case of war. I am surprised that M. Le Moyne or some other persons have not told you that all the villages were confederated, and that one could not be attacked without becoming embroiled with the others.
Did affairs permit, I should have much wished to tell you my thoughts on many things. My brother will inform you of all when he will have the honor to see you The On[non]tagues who have been spoken to, would like much to settle matters; this is the reason my brother goes to you, whilst I still keep them disposed to give you satisfaction, in order to avoid if possible an infinitude of evils which will overtake Canada, and as I know not whether you desire war without listening to proposals for peace, I wish to understand whether it is not fitter that I withdraw, if possible, rather than give occasion to the Iroquois to say that I deceived them, by propositions for peace. The Onontagu£s and other nations say, that it grieves them to take up arms against you who are their neighbour, and who form almost one country with them.
They acknowledge that the Senecas are proud and insolent on account of their great number of warriors, but if you are desirous to maintain peace by some satisfaction which they will induce the Senecas to make you, it will be very acceptable, so as not to be obliged to come to extremities which will be very disastrous. II' war occurs, Sir, all those who have houses apart from fortified places must at once abandon their dwellings, for the grain and the houses will be burned, and many will otherwise be brought away prisoners to be cruelly tormented and insulted. I always think that peace ought to be most precious to you, and that all the advantages that can be held out ought to cause you to shrink from war. A delay in order to arrange every thing more at leisure and after having received assistance from France, would extricate you from much embarrassment which will follow from all sides. Pardon me if I give free expression to my thoughts; you will not at least disapprove of the zeal with wch I am with much respect and submission
Your very humble and
Very Obedient Servant
FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.
11 July 1684.
Sir,—A troop ot Senecas on their way to buy their supplies and munitions of powder, lead, and arms are two days [distance] from here. They are expected in order to talk fully of affairs and to endeavour for the preservation peace to induce them to give you satisfaction. I believe if you are really desirous to come to an arrangement in which an effort will be made to satisfy you, and wherein will be prescribed the boundaries of war and trade, you would have leisure to provide with less trouble and embarrassment for e security of Canada, either by erecting forts at La Famine or towards the Senecas under the pretext of establishing a blacksmith, or at La Galette according as you think proper.
I do not believe that you will derive any advantage this year from war, if you wage it; for not only will almost the whole of the Iroquois prosecute the war in Canada, but you will not find the Senecas in their villages, in which they give out they will not shut themselves up, but conceal themselves in the grass and prepare ambuscades every where for you. Regarding your declaration to the Iroquois that you had no ill will except against the Senecas, they convoked a general Diet here where they will conclude to league themselves against you, if you will not accept the propositions of peace for which the Onnontagu6 wishes to obtain the consent of the Seneca who has already placed in security the old grain, and made a retreat in the woods for the children, women and old men, of which you will be ignorant.
The Warriors are to prowl every where, killing without if possible being killed. If their Indian corn be cut, it will cost much blood and men—You must also resolve to lose the harvest of the French grain to which the Iroquois will set fire. As for the French eettlements, the Iroquois suppose that they are all abandoned and that the people have retired within the forts; otherwise, they would be a prey to the enemy. It is the opinion that if you begin the war, it will be of long duration, and that to feed those in Canada you will have to bring provisions from France. The Iroquois believes that he will destroy the Colony in case of war, for he will never fight by rule against us and will not shut himself up in any fort in which he might be stormed. Thus they are under the impression that, no person daring to come into unknown forests to pursue them, they can neither be destroyed nor captured, having a vast hunting ground in their rear, towards Merilande and Virginia, as well as places adjoining their villages, wholly unknown to the French. If winter were not so cold in this country, that would be the time to wage war, for one can then see all around, and the trail cannot be concealed; but every thing must be carried—provisions, arms, powder, and lead. You can not believe, Sir, with what joy the Senecas learned that you would, possibly, determine on war; and from the report the savages make them of the preparations apparent at Kataroskouy, they say, that the French have a great desire to be stript, roasted and eaten; and that they will see if their flesh, which they say is salt on account of the salt they make use of be as good as that of their other enemies whom they devour.
The envoy of the Governor of New York who is here promises the Iroquois goods at a considerable reduction ; 7 a 8 lbs. of powder for a Beaver ; as much lead as a man can carry for a Beaver, and so with the rest.
Every thing considered, Sir, if you will be content with a satisfaction which we will endeavor to obtain for you from the Senecas, you will prevent great evils which must fall on Canada in case of war; you will divert from it famine and many misfortunes, especially will you avoid much confusion and great suffering to the French who will fall into the hands of the Iroquois, who, as you are aware, exercise the most cruel and shameful cruelties towards their captives. Independent of there being no profit in fighting with this sort of banditti whom you, assuredly, will not catch and who will catch many of your people who will be surprised in every quarter.
The man called Hannatakta and some others of influence told me they pitied you. These are their words—they besought you not to force them to wage war against you ; that the five Nations would be obliged to unite against you ; that the French and the Iroquois being so near the one to the other, the war would be too disastrous to you, because, say they, our mode of fighting, of harassing, of living, of surprizing and flying to the woods will be the ruin of the French who are accustomed to fight against towns capable of defence or against armies who appear in the plains ; if there be misunderstanding it ought to be settled. All the Iroquois are persuaded that before going to war you will try the ways of mildness and tell the Senecas to appease your anger for what they have plundered; that if you begin by a desire to wage war and will not act as a father towards your children, they have already declared beforehand that they will all unite against you. FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.
July 13. 1684,
My Lord—I have the honor to write to you by Father Millet who passes here in retiring from among the Iroquois who cannot be persuaded that you have determined on waging war against them, not having demanded any satisfaction of them for the merchandize of the Frenchmen whom the Senecas plundered. Toturn away the scourge of war and the miseries which must follow it, especially among the French who will find themselves attacked by all the Iroquois if any hostile act is committed against the Senecas, I have strongly urged the Onnontagues to give you satisfaction according to the instructions which the Christian Iroquois,, your deputies here, had. To-morrow a great number of Senecasare expected with several Cayugas and the Ambassadors from the two Lower Nations to talk about business.
The Senecas consequent on the declaration you made to them that you would proceed to their country, have concealed their old grain, prepared a distant retreat in the wooden fort for the security of their old men, women and children, and conveyed whatever they have of value out of their villages. The Warriors in great number have heard this news with much joy; they are determined to fight, not in their forts for they have none, and will not shut themselves up any where, but under cover, behind trees, and in the grass where they will try to do you considerable injury, if you want war. The Onnontagues—men of business—wish to arrange matters, especially having lost nothing of theirs, except only some goods. Must the father and children, they ask, cut each others throats for clothes 1 The childrenmust satisfy the father to whom they owe honor and respect.
Further, I, last year, guarantied by two Wampum belts—one to the Senecas and the other here—that if the Iroquois army met the French who were towards Illinois, and any acts of hostility should follow on one side or the other, they would mutually arrange the difficulty without it leading to any consequences, and this is what we are endeavoring to persuade the Senecas to