Ebenezer Cleveland, journal, 1768 October 18

Author Cleveland, Ebenezer

Date18 October, 1768

ms number768568.1

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.

Modernized Version Deletions removed; additions added in; modern spelling and capitalization added; unfamiliar abbreviations expanded.

Persistent Identifier

Lebanon October 18. 1768

In pursuance of a Commission and orders received from the Rev. Dr. Wheelock I set out with Mr. Allyn Mather on a Tour to wait upon the honorable Sir William Johnson Baronet Superintendent of Indian affairs in North America, and their Excellencies the governors of the Several Provinces concerned in the business of the congress of the Several Tribes here Convened by Sir Williams Order at Fort Stanwix, with a Memorial to the said Governors from Dr. Wheelock in favour of the design of Introdu‐‐cing missionaries and Schoolmasters among their Remote Tribes. etc.
We arrived at Fort Stanwix October 25. and found the Six Nations; Some Delawares, Shawnees, and Some from Kahnawake and others to the Number of 3120. Condolation of their loss of a Number of their Chief men, and mutual Speeches and Belts of Peace to Strengthen and brighten the chain of friendship, which was the business of two Days, being past. I Soon found the Attention of the chiefs to the business of the congress, was Such, as forbid any treaty with them publicly on matters of Religion, 'til that was finished. I continued eleven days and conversed with Numbers and made Several observations on the great difficulties and embarrassments in the way to the Christianizing them. 1. Such a long custom in their Savage practices — as has made them even a second Nature and Such attachment to them as nothing but the Power of Divine Grace can alter. — 2. their Manner of living being Such as Naturally creates and promotes in them an insatiable thirst for Strong Drink. So that the Nearer they live to their almost Heathen European neighbors and the more their Traders deal among them the worse and more Wretched they are made and unless this evil can be remedied they must continue to waste away as the Dew before the rising Sun. 3. The Generality of Their nearest European neighbors appearing to be far from any desire to promote true Religion or So much as civilization among them, their Traders continually preying upon them, and some Gentlemen of Character who treat with them upon important Secular affairs, and whose Examples are most likely to influence them, being Irreligious etc. etc. 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 abhorrence of the christian Religion. 4. The Tribes who live nearest and most exposed to Europeans being , much the most corrupted thereby greatly increases the Prejudices of remoter Tribes who have not understanding enough and scarcely opportunity if they had. to distinguish between those who are truly religious and Such as may hardly deserve the christian Name.— Sir William Johnson told me that Some of the chiefs with Whom he conversed on the Head objected that the Mohawks who are Surrounded by Such white people 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 receive the Gospel.
But on the Other hand there were Some things which appeared not a little encouraging. 1. that the Oneidas to Whom the Gospel has been successfully preached encamped by themselves and looked behaved and talked like Christians, excepting a few of them their air, and Temper was modest, kind, humble etc. insomuch that Strangers took notice of it, a Number of them appeared much grieved and their Souls vexed on account of the wickedness that was committed round about them. I discoursed with a Number of them of the things of Religion, and they seemed glad of the Opportunity, and appeared to be truly and genuinely Affected with the Same. Which I thought abundantly com‐pensated all the labor and expense we thereto bestowed for them.— 2. By private conversation with the chiefs of Several Tribes they appeared willing to have missionaries and schoolmasters 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 the congress would not allow them to consult and deliberat[gap: tear][guess: e] [gap: tear] it at that Time. Towards the close of the congress Mr. 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, seemed 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: Kahnawake] near Montreal, who desired to know if he could get his Son into Dr. Wheelocks School, and manifested a great desire to Send him I told him there was talk of the School's going to Coos. he Said if it should be fixed there he believed that many of that Tribe would Send their children to it. — while the business of The congress lasted Rum was withheld, and moderation harmony and decency was maintained through the whole. The whole was conducted with great Deliberation and great care taken that all parties should be mutually understood when the business of the congress was Ended before the Rum was given out to them Sir William Johnson and his Family removed in the Night and advised that it was safest for all the English to remove as Soon as they could which they accordingly did. I tarried 'til about 10' o'clock in the morning it being Sabbath Day when the Rum had been delivered out not more than two hours, in consequence of which I beheld a Scene too awful and horrid to describe. the Whole street and place of Parade was filled with drunkenness nothing to be heard or Seen but hollering Yelling and fighting as though hell itself had broke loose, in which we heard that four were killed before we came away and in this the Mohawks were not behind any of their Brethren — here the behavior 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 etc.: as the lily among Thorns — as Sheep Among Wolves. etc. and they Separated themselves from among them as fast as they could. — this Scene as it was no more than 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 Mohawks who were the worst of the Tribes, will likely never have another occasion as all the Lands they can Spare are now gone. The Lands they Sold (as I was informed) was about 800 miles in Length and 100 in breadth.
The Religious Indians of Kanawalohale seemed much afraid that great mischief would be done to them by the Tribes who were to return through that Town.— Upon the whole it fully appeared that Whoever engages in the Work of Christ‐ianizing them have to encounter not only perils from the heathen but perils from false Brethren, and Such obstinate prejudices, and mountainous Difficulties as that the Remnant that are Saved will commonly appear to be Brands plucked out of the Burning.
Sir William Johnson renewed his testimonials of friendship to the design and his promise to countenance and Suitably encourage all Such missionaries and schoolmasters as Dr. Wheelock Shall See fit to Send among them.
The foregoing is a faithful representation of matters there Related, according to My understanding and apprehension of the Same in testimony Whereof I have hereunto Set my Hand this 21 Day of November 1768.
Rev. Mr. Cleveland's Journal at the congress October 18. 1768.