Ebenezer Cleveland, journal, 1768 October 18

ms-number768568.1

doi
10.1349/ddlp.924

abstractCleveland reports on the Indian Congress at Fort Stanwix.

handwritingThe document is written in Wheelock’s hand; it is informal, small and cramped. The signature appears to be in Cleveland's hand.

paperLarge single sheet is in poor condition, with heavy staining, creasing and wear that results in some loss of text. There is also damage from remnants of tape along both sides and the bottom. There is some tape remaining on the central horizontal crease.

inkBlack ink is faded in spots.

noteworthyThis document is possibly a copy or draft.

Lebanon Oct.r 18. 1768

In purſuance of a Commiſsn & orders rec.d from the Revd Doctr Wheelock I Sat out with M.r Allen Mather on a Tour to wait upon ^ye honble^ Sir William Johnſon Baronet Superintendant of Indian ^affairs^ in North America, and their Excellencies the Governers of the Several Provinces concernd in ^the Buſineſs of^ the Congreſs of the Several Tribes and ^[below]here^ [illegible]Convened by Sir Williams Order at Fort Stanwix, with a Memorial to the Sd Governors ^&c^ from Doct.r Wheelock in favour of thise Deſign of Introdu‐‐cing Miſsionaries & School^maſters^ among their Remote Tribes. &c.
We arrived at Fort Stanwix Octr 25. and found the Six Nations; Some Delawares, Shawaneſe, and Some from Cognawaga & others to the Number of more than three Thouſand ^3120^. Condolation of their Loſs of a Number of their Chief men, and mutual Speaches and Belts of Peace to Strengthen & brighten the chain of Friendſhip, which was the Buſineſs of two Days, being paſt. I Soon found the Attention of the Cheifs to the Buſineſs of the Congreſs, was Such, as forbid any treaty with them ^publickly on mattrs of Religion,^ till [illegible] that was finiſhed. I continued eleven days and converſed with Numbers and ma[illegible][guess: k]de Several obſervations on the great difficulties & Embarraſsments in the way to ^ye^ chriſtianizing them. 1. Such a long Cuſtom to ^in^ their Savages Practiſes — as has made them even a 2.d Nature and Such atachment to them as nothing but the Power of Divine Grace can altar. — 2. their Manner of living ^being^ Such as Naturally creates and promotes ^in ym^ an inſatiable thirſt for Strong Drink. So that the Nearer ^they live to^ their almoſt Heathen Uropean Neighbours come to them and the more of their Traders deal among them the Worſe and more Wretched they are made and unleſs this evil can be remidied they muſt continue to Waſt away as the Dew before the riſing Sun. 3. ^The Generality of^ Their Neareſt Uropean Neighbours appearing to be far from any deſire to promote true Religion and ^or So much as^ civilization among them, their Traders continually preying upon them, and ^some^ Gentlemen [illegible]of Character who treat with them upon important Secular affairs, and whoſe Examples are moſt likely to influence them, being Irreligious & debauchd, taking their females into their Laſciveous ^impure^ Embraces &c &c gives them a bad Idea of the people who profeſs the knowledge of the True God, and naturally Settles them in ^a^ better opinion of their Paganiſm which has not So much Debauchery in it — and ^in^ an abhorrance of the chriſtian Religion. 4. The Tribes who live Neareſt ^& moſt exposd^ to Europeans being moſt Exposd, and much the moſt corrupted thereby much ^greatly^ increaſes the Prejudices of remoter Nations ^Tribes^ who [illegible]have not able ^understg enough and Scarſely opportunity if they had.^ to diſtinguiſh between those who are truly religious & Such as may hardly ^deſerve^ [illegible][guess: bear] the chriſtian Name.— Sir William Johnſon told me that me that Some of the cheifs with Whom he converſed ^on y.e Head^ objected that [illegible][guess: Badneſs of] ^that^ the Mohocks ^who are Surrounded by Such white ppll^ who have had the Gospel preached to them more than Others were made worſe by it, and that they themſelves were waiting to See a better Effect before they would Embrace ^receive^ the Gospel.
But on the Other hand there were Some things that ^which^ appeared not a little Incouraging. 1. that the Onoidas to Whom the Gospel has been Succeſsfully preachd encamped by themſelves and looked behaved & talkd like Chriſtians, excepting a few of them their air, and Temper was modeſt, kind, humble &c inſomuch that Strangers took notice of it, a Number of them appeard much grieved & their ^Souls vexed^ Hearts depreſsd on accot of the wickedneſs y.t was committed round about them. I diſcourſed with a Number of them of the things of Religion, & they Seemd glad of the Opportunity, and Appeard to be truly & genuinely Affected with the Same. Which appeared to me ^I tho't^ abundantly to com‐penſated all Charge ^the Labr^ & Expence for them we therto beſtowed for them.— 2. [illegible]By private converſation with the Cheifs of Several Tribes they appeard willing to have Miſsionaries & School Maſters come among them. And choſe that they Should come ^upon their Ground^ in order to Settle the Affair of their Receiving them, as the Buſineſs of ye congreſs would not allow them then to conſult & deliberat[gap: tear][guess: e] [gap: tear] it at that Time. Towards the close of ye congreſs M.r Kir[gap: tear][guess: tland] [gap: tear][guess: Chr]iſtian Indians received him with all poſsible Expreſsions of Joy. his [gap: tear]
The Seneca General who had behaved himſelf well in the congreſs, Seemd much animated by ^his coming^ and Solicited him, as did others of the Senecas to viſit that Tribe again. —
I also Saw one from [illegible][guess: Cochnawaga] near Montreal, who deſired to know if he could get his Son into D.r Wheelocks School, and manifeſted a great deſire to Send him I told him there was talk of the School's going to cowas. he Said if it ſhod be fixd there he beleived that many of that Tribe wod Send y.r children to it. — while the Buſineſs of The Congreſs laſted Rum was withheld, and [illegible]modderation harmony & decency was maintaind through the whole. y.e whole was conducted with great Deliberation and great care taken to ^y.t all parties ſhod^ be mutually underſtood when the Buſineſs of the Congreſs was Ended before the Treat ^Rum^ was given out to them Sir William Johnſon ^&^ his Family and removed in the Night and adviſed that it was Safeſt for all ye Engliſh to remove as Soon as they could which they accordingly did. I tarried till about 10' oClock in ye morning ^it being Sabath Day^ when the Rum had been delivered out about ^not more than^ two hours, in conſequence of which I beheld a Scene too awfull & horrid to deſcribe. the Whole Streat & place of Parade was filld with Drunkeneſs nothing to be heard or Seen but hollaring Yelling and fighting as tho' hell itſelf had broke looſe, in which we heard that four were killd before we came away ^& in this the Mohocks were not behind any of their Brethren^ — here the Behaviour of the few Sober and godly perſons among them did in the Strangeſt Light exemplify those metaphors ^used for Such a purpoſe viz.^ as the Apple Tree among the Trees of the wood &c: as the lilly among Thorns — as Sheep Among Wolves. &c and they Separated ^themſelves^ from among them as faſt as they could. — this Scene as it was no more than was ^is^ common upon Such occaſions. led me to the pleaſing con‐‐ſideration
3. that they had in this Congreſs alienated Such a large Body of their Lands that they would not likely have the like Occaſion ^for a Congreſs^ for many Years to come, and the Mohocks who were the worſt of the Tribes, will likely never have another ^occasion^ as all the[illegible][guess: [se] Lands ^they can Spare^ are now [illegible][guess: abt] gone. The Lands they Sold (as I was informd) was abot 800 miles in Length & 100 in Bredth.
The Religious Indians of Kanawarohare Seemd much afraid that great miſcheif would be done ^to them^ by the Tribes who were to return thro' that Town.— and Upon the whole it fully ^as^ appeard that Whoever ingages in the Work of chriſt‐ianizing them have not only to encounter ^not only^ perils from y.e heathen but perils from falſe Brethren, and Such obſtinate prejudices, and mountanous Difficulties as that the Remnant that are Saved will commonly appear to be Brands pluckd out of the Burning.
ſir Wm Johnſon renewed the ^his^ Teſtimonials of his Friendſhip to the Deſign and his promiſe to countenance and Suitably encourage ^all^ Such Miſsionaries and School Maſters as ^D.r Wheelock^ Shall See fit to Send among them.
The foregoing is a faithfull Repreſentation of matters there^in^ Related, according to My underſtanding and Apprehenſions of the Same in Teſtimony Whereof I have here unto Set my Hand this 21 Day of Novemb.r 1768.
Rev.d M.r Cleveland's Journal at ye Congreſs Oct.r 18. 1768.
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