David Avery, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1768 October 10


abstractAvery writes from the congress at Fort Stanwix. He reports that Sir William Johnson may not be as friendly to the design as he appears, that the Indians are in danger of selling their lands for trinkets and blankets, and that efforts are being made to get them to prize their lands more dearly.

handwritingHandwriting is slightly uneven, yet formal and clear. The trailer is in an unknown hand.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages, plus smaller single sheet, have been reinforced, which makes it difficult to gauge condition of the paper; it appears to be in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining, creasing and wear.

inkBrown-black ink is faded, heavily in spots.

signatureThe document is signed in full after the body of the letter, and initialed after the postscript.

noteworthyAn editor, likely 19th-century, has added the note "Ind. Miſ." to three verso. This note has not been included in the transcription.

  Rev,d & Hon,d Dr 
We came to this place laſt  friday — waited on His Excellency Sir  wm Johnson saturday — treated us  with a good deal of freedom and  pleasantry — but as to his real  friendſhip & regard for the cauſe,  doubtleſs, there is much reason to  suſpect — we understand the buſi ‐neſs of the preſent Congreſs is to  run a Line betwixt the King and  Indians — which Line is to extend  as far weſt as the Indians will  sell — they talk of bounding up‐ on Onoida Lake — and run down  to the weſtern part of Penſilvania   
— which, if obtain'd will take in the Indian  Land almoſt as far as to the Onondages  — again we have heard the Gentlemen de‐ ‐ſign to get within a Day's March of Oſ‐ wago — which will cut off the Onondages  from chief of their Inheritance —  Some of the Onoida's that heard of this ex‐ tenſive deſign were a good deal troubled —
If upon the whole they cannot obtain  so far — they deſign to get as far as they  can — Thomas fears and trembles!  has laboured very much to attach the  Indians to their own Intereſt and hold  their Lands as they would their Lives.  several seem to stand firm — but the  poor creatures are too eaſily deluded by  gaudy, trifling Gewgaws — they think  if they sell here, they have Lands eno'  farther North — which extend as far  Oſwagoche — what Steps we have ta‐ ‐ken   
taken Jo.s will be able ^to^ inform  the Doctor — it appears, eminently  to be a time of Danger — it seems  as if things are brought to a Crisis  they are semſible of the growing  state of the Dr's's School, and that  by and by the Indians will be too  knowing & induſterous to barter  and fool away their Lands for a  gill of rum or a blankit  But what their Views are — let the  D.r and his counſil Friends gueſs —  Here seems to be a Volume opened  in which may be learnt many  things — and the Solution of many  miſterious Philoſop[illegible]ima —  There is one ground of Comfort  God is stronger and wiſer than Man
N In converſation Sir W.m aſk'd  if we had heard what for an anſwer 
the Onondages gave to M.r Chamberlain when  he made application to them? told him the  sum of their anſwer which was favoura‐ ‐ble — Then His Excellency was pleaſed to  mention what the Onondages told him  soon after this application was made —
That the Mohawks have had the Goſpel  among them many years as well as the  Onoidas — and they obſerved no reformati ‐on — they would get drunk stab & kill as  before &c &c — and they were reſolved not  receive the Goſpel among them untill they  saw it had some good Effect upon their  Neighbour Brethren. the Mohawks & Onoidas  &c — Morover His Exy. said he has taken  a vaſt deal of Pains to perſwade the Inians  to receive the Goſpel & mind what the Mi‐ niſters said to them — as it would be for  their Temporal, and Spiritual Good —   But anſwer'd — If it would increaſe their Chil ‐dren and Hunting they would do it &c 
From what was obſervable were  ready to conclude there is little  or No proſpect of an anſwer from  the Onondag[illegible][guess: a]es — The Gentlemen  of theſe parts seem to be well turn'd  to build up Kingdoms  we deſign to wait upon the Congreſs  untill it shall be over — and do what  ever may appear beſt — —  This Morng. Thomas told me (when  I went to conſult with him about af‐ fairs) that the Indians all joined their  Deſires to see M.r Kirtland once more  if he is well enough this fall to  make them a ViſitJoſeph Brant  sends Love and Duty — Pleaſe [illegible]  to accept much Duty from,   
Rev.d D,r  Your very  obedient   David Avery.  The Revd Dr Wheelock 
P.S. If any should come upon this I[illegible][guess: r] Emer ‐gance — several lb.s of Money will be want[gap: worn_edge][guess: ed]
As conſcerng. the bearer — shall inform  the Doctor when I return — which account  will be very diſagreable — He knows no‐ one of the moſt special reaſons of his  Emiſsion — ! Perhaps the D.r Hope the  D.r may have Divine Support — —  D.A.
M.r David Avery's  Oct.r 10.th 1768.  The Revd D.r Wheelock.