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Wampum Belt Archive


DeNonville's Attack on Ganondagan 1687


Hypothetical Construction

R. D Hamell June 12 2017


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Journey to the French Commandant: Narrative

51. Gist’s diary entry for this day reads:

“Wednesday 5.—Rain all day. Our Indians were in council with the Delawares, who lived under the French colors, and ordered them to deliver up to the French the belt, with the marks of the four towns, according to the desire of King Shingiss. But the chief of these Delawares said, ‘It was true King Shingiss was a great man, but he had sent no speech, and,’ said he, ‘I cannot pretend to make a speech for a King.’ So our Indians could not prevail with them to deliver their belt; but the Half-King did deliver his belt, as he had determined. Joncaire did every thing he could to prevail on our Indians to stay behind us, and I took all care to have them along with us” (GIST, 82).

He inform’d me that they had built two Forts, one on Lake Erie, & another on French Creek,42 near a small Lake about 15 Miles asunder, & a large Waggon Road between; they are both built after the same Model, but different in the Size; that on the Lake the largest; he gave me a Plan of them of his own drawing. The Indians enquir’d very particularly after their Brothers in Carolina Goal.43 They also ask’d what sort of a Boy it was that was taken from the South Branch; for they had, by some Indians heard, that a Party of French Indians had carried a White Boy by the Cuscusa Town, towards the Lakes.44

26th: We met in council at the Long House, about 9 o’Clock, where I spoke to them as follows,


brothers I have call’d you together in Council, by Order of your Brother the Governor of Virginia, to acquaint you that I am sent with all possible Dispatch to visit & deliver a Letter to the French Commandant of very great Importance to your Brothers the English: & I dare say to your their Friends & Allies. I was desir’d Brothers, by your Brother the Governor, to call upon you, the Sachems of the Six Nations, to inform you of it, & to ask your Advice & Assistance to proceed the nearest & best Road to the French. You see Brothers I have got thus far on my Journey. His Honour likewise desir’d me to apply to you for some of your young Men to conduct and provide Provisions for us on our Way: & to be a Safeguard against those French Indians, that have taken up the Hatchet against us. I have spoke this particularly to you Brothers, because His Hon. our Governor, treats you as good Friends & allies, & holds you in great Esteem. To confirm what I have said I give you this String of Wampum.

After they had considered some Time on the above, the Half King got up & spoke.


now my brothers. In Regard to what my Brother the Governor has desir’d of me, I return you this Answer. I rely upon you as a Brother ought to do, as you say we are Brothers, & one People. We shall put Heart in Hand, & speak to our Fathers the French, concerning the Speech they made to me, & you may depend that we will endeavour to be your Guard.

brother, as you have ask’d my Advice, I hope you will be ruled by it, & stay ’til I can provide a Company to go with you. The French Speech Belt is not here, I have it to go for to my hunting Cabbin likewise the People I have order’d are not yet come, nor can ’til the third Night from this, ’till which Time Brother I must beg you to stay. I intend to send a Guard of Mingoes, Shawnesse, & Delawar’s, that our Brothers may see the Love and Loyalty We bear them.

As I had Orders to make all possible Dispatch, & waiting here very contrary to my Inclinations; I thank’d him in the most suitable Manner I cou’d, & told that my Business requir’d the greatest Expedition, & wou’d not admit of that Delay: He was not well pleas’d that I shou’d offer to go before the Time he had appointed, & told me that he cou’d not consent to our going without a Guard, for fear some Accident shou’d befall us, & draw a reflection upon him—besides says he, this is a Matter of no small Moment, & must not be enter’d into without due Consideration, for I now intend to deliver up the French Speech Belt, & make the Shawnesse & Delawars do the same, & accordingly gave Orders to King Singess, who was present, to attend on Wednesday Night with the Wampum, & two Men to their Nation to be in readiness to set off with us next Morning. As I found it impossible to get off without affronting them in the most egregious Manner, I consented to stay.

About 10 o'clock they met in Council, the King spoke much the same as he had done to the General, & offer’d the French Speech Belt which had before been demanded, with the Marks of four Towns in it, which Monsieur Joncaire refused to receive; but desired him to carry it to the Fort to the Commander.

See the web site for complete transcript.