PROPERTY FROM THE CHARLES E. SIGETY COLLECTION
[FRENCH AND INDIAN WARS.] STEVENS, Arendt. Autograph letter signed (“Arendt Stevens”), to Gov. George Clinton, n.d. Evidently a retained copy, with draft autograph letter, unsigned, to the same, 15 February 1745/6 (Old Style-New Style) on verso. 2 pages folio (Pro Patria watermark), chip along edge catching portion of one word
IROQUOIS DIPLOMACY DURING KING GEORGE'S WAR IN NORTH AMERICA
Stevens, an Anglo-Mohawk translator, proposes sending an emissary, “Aron,” who “should go up to the Indians & endeavor to bring them heartily into our Interest & to join us in the war. It is both our & Henrik’s opinion that nothing will have greater weight with them than to have their Houses all joined in one place…” Henrik refers to Hendrick Theyanoguin (c. 1691 – 1755), the Speaker of the Mohawk Council. The Iroquois confederacy held an important balance of power between the French and English during this third of the four French and Indian Wars in North America (known as King George’s War in America; and the War of the Austrian Succession in Europe), which lasted from 1744-1748. “I have payed Aron & shall furnish him with what is necessary for this trip if the Assembly agree to this.” Aron, Stevens points out, “hath more power with the [the Indians]” and has a good chance of prevailing upon them. “It would be of utmost consequence in my opinion if it were possible that your Excellency should meet with a few of the most principle Indians in the Spring.” The demarche with the tribes was evidently successful, as the verso contains a second letter reporting that “I have with Mr Barkley’s help…made a full reconciliation betwixt ye Moquus & Conajorie Indians & they are much pleased to know your Excellency’s mind from me. I told them that I intended to go amongst the various nations with a Message from your Excellency with which they seemed much pleased…” A fascinating look at the delicate diplomacy between the European powers and the equally powerful tribes that populated the New York, Massachusetts and Nova Scotia regions in the mid-18th century.