Canadian Genealogy | Chronicles of Canada

 

Canadian Research

Alberta

British Columbia

Manitoba

New Brunswick

Newfoundland

Northern Territories

Nova Scotia

Nunavut

Ontario

Prince Edward Island

Quebec

Saskatchewan

Yukon

Canadian Indian Tribes

Chronicles of Canada

 

Free Genealogy Forms
Family Tree Chart
Research Calendar
Research Extract
Free Census Forms
Correspondence Record
Family Group Chart
Source Summary

 

New Genealogy Data
Family Tree Search
Biographies

Genealogy Books For Sale

Indian Mythology

US Genealogy

 

Other Websites
British Isles Genealogy
Australian Genealogy

 


FREE Web Site Hosting at
Canadian Genealogy

 

 

 

England Once More

Meanwhile, how was it faring with the tribesmen of the Six Nations who had remained in their former territories east of the Niagara? They were anxious to come to terms with the government of the United States, but not by themselves alone. In any treaty which might be made, they wished the concurrence of the western tribes. The officials of the new republic were, however, opposed to this and treated their desire with scant courtesy. In 1784 a conference was called at Fort Stanwix, but the western tribes were not invited to come. While this was taking place, Red Jacket, the Seneca orator, rose in the company of his fellows and uttered a speech burning with eloquence. His attitude towards the Americans had undergone a change since Brant had undone his treachery before the war had closed. The Six Nations should renew the contest, said Red Jacket. Never should they submit to the yoke of their oppressors. On the other hand, Chief Cornplanter, with sounder judgment, argued for peace. It would surely be an unwise thing for the Indians to enter upon a fresh war single-handed, and without the assistance of their former allies, the English.

At length Cornplanter had his way, and on October 22 a treaty was made with the representatives of the United States. By this treaty the Indians were to give up all the prisoners of war still in their hands. Until this was done, six hostages were to be furnished from among their number. At the same time, the boundaries of the country over which they held sway were defined.

Loud murmurs of complaint arose within the Six Nations on the completion of this pact, and no one was more angry than Joseph Brant himself. He was at Quebec, on the point of leaving for England, but he hurried back on learning the terms of the treaty. He was especially exasperated because Aaron Hill, one of the lesser chiefs of the Mohawks, was to be given up as a hostage. Arriving at Cataraqui, Brant, on November 27, sent a long and stirring letter to Colonel Munroe. In this he showed that his Indians were in no way to blame for the retention of prisoners of war. The fight was over, and the Six Nations wanted harmony restored. With considerable feeling, he referred to the 'customs and manners of the Mohawks.' 'They are always active and true,' he protested; 'no double faces at war or any other business.

The difficulty was quickly righted and the War Chief satisfied, but he saw that all the Indian races were in a precarious position and might, sooner or later, be drawn into hostilities. Meanwhile he was meditating a scheme which might be likened to the bold conception of Pontiac. In vision he saw all the Indian tribes united into one far-reaching confederacy for the assertion of their liberties. Brant was of a singularly ambitious disposition and had no humble idea of his own capacities. He pictured himself as the chosen head of such a vast league of the native races. It was with this in view that at this very time he paid a visit to the western tribes and sought to ascertain their ideas upon the subject.

At the close of 1785 Brant was ready to make his second journey across the Atlantic. It was indeed fitting, after his years of active service for the crown, that he should do homage once more at the English court. He desired, also, to plead the cause of his Mohawks, who had lost so much in the struggle. It is even likely that he was pondering over his design of uniting all the tribes and wished to disclose this scheme to the home authorities. A striking sketch of the War Chief's appearance during this period is given by the Baroness Riedesel. This talented lady, who had met the Mohawk chief at Quebec, was the wife of the noted general who led a troop of Hessians in the War of the Revolution.

'I saw at this time,' she writes, 'the famous Indian Chief, Captain Brant. His manners are polished: he expressed himself with fluency, and was much esteemed by General Haldimand.' The strenuous scenes through which Brant had lived, indeed, seem to have left but little impression on his face. 'I dined once with him at the General's,' continued the baroness. 'In his dress he showed off to advantage the half military and half savage costume. His countenance was manly and intelligent, and his disposition very mild.'

On his arrival in London for the second time, Brant received a welcome even exceeding that which was given him on his first visit. He was lauded as king of the red men and lord of the boundless forest. In the houses of the most illustrious people in the realm he was given a place of high honor. One of those who took delight in Brant's company was Lord Percy, heir to the dukedom of Northumberland. Lord Percy had served in America and had been adopted, according to Indian custom, into one of the tribes of the Six Nations, and was called in its language the Evergreen Brake. Charles James Fox, the statesman, was also among the admirers of the War Chief. Fox caused a beautiful silver snuff-box to be sent to Brant, engraved with his initials. The Prince of Wales was attracted by the chieftain and took Brant with him on many of his jaunts about the capital. Brant was amazed at some of the places to which his royal conductor resorted. At the royal palace he was warmly greeted by King George and Queen Charlotte and held in high esteem.

His official visit to their Majesties was marked by a somewhat uncommon incident. As a dutiful subject, it was in keeping with tradition that he should kiss the king's hand, but this he refused to do. The War Chief could not bend, even before the greatest of potentates. Turning to the queen, however, after the fashion of a cavalier, Brant said that he would be only too pleased to kiss her hand. George III did not seem in the least annoyed. He appeared rather to be delighted at this courtesy shown his queen, and so the affair passed happily.

One humorous episode which happened during Brant's stay in London caused quite a sensation. Through the good graces of Earl Moira, he was invited to attend a masquerade ball in Mayfair. It was to be a festive event, and people of distinguished rank were expected to be present. Brant did not go to any pains to deck himself out artfully for the occasion, but was attired only in the costume of his tribe. To change his appearance, he painted a portion of his face, and arrived in this guise at the place of entertainment. As he entered the gay ball-room, his lofty plumage swayed grandly and a glittering tomahawk shone from his girdle. The scene that met his eyes was resplendent with life and beauty. Masked figures were flitting by, clad in every imaginable garb. Here was a sleek-faced friar, rotund and merry; there, a gypsy maid, or mild-eyed shepherdess with her stave. Lonely hermits and whimsical jesters, cackling witches, and members of a pilgrim band--all thronged together with laugh or grimace, adding their own peculiar luster to the brilliant assembly. By and by a Turk came strolling down the floor; he was a diplomat of high degree, and two nymphs from the paradise of Islam hovered near at hand. Suddenly the Turk caught sight of the painted features of the sturdy redskin. He stopped, and fixed the Indian with his gaze. Here, he thought, was the chance for a bit of frolic. In a moment he had lost his stately demeanor and lurched jocularly towards the warrior. He reached for the Indian's face, thinking it was screened with parchment. The next instant he had tweaked the nose of the great chief of the Six Nations. Above the confusing medley of sounds burst the wild accents of the blood-freezing war-whoop. On the instant Brant's tomahawk was forth from his girdle, and was whirling about the head of the astonished offender. Never had such a cry been heard within the halls of fashion. Faces turned ashen pale and screams resounded through the spacious mansion. Helter-skelter, in every direction, fled the terrified masqueraders. The Moslem thought that his last hour on earth had come. Then Brant's arm fell; his tense features relaxed, and he had become once more the genial 'Captain of the Mohawks.' According to his own declaration, which may or may not have been exactly true, he only intended a playful contribution to the pleasures of the evening. The Turk was calmed, and the frightened company came slowly streaming back. Everything was explained and Brant became a greater hero than ever before. Yet it is hardly likely that the pompous follower of Islam ever forgot the lively scene which his rashness had produced.

Notwithstanding the gay round of entertainment in which he joined, Brant had been attending to the business matters that had brought him to England. He had sent a letter relative to the affairs of the Six Nations to Lord Sydney, the secretary of state for Colonial Affairs, and he delivered a speech upon the same topic in Sydney's presence. He told him of the losses sustained by the Indians, and hoped that a speedy settlement would be made with them by the British government. 'On my mentioning these matters, since my arrival in England,' wrote Brant, 'I am informed that orders are given that this shall be done; which will give great relief and satisfaction to those faithful Indians, who will have spirit to go on, and their hearts [will] be filled with gratitude for the King, their father's, kindness.'

Just before leaving for America, Brant received a letter from Lord Sydney saying that King George desired that the red men should receive justice. 'His Majesty,' said Sydney, 'in consideration of the zealous and hearty exertions of his Indian allies in the support of his cause, and as a proof of his friendly disposition toward them, has been graciously pleased to consent that the losses already certified by the Superintendent-General shall be made good.'


This site includes some historical materials that may imply negative stereotypes reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place. These items are presented as part of the historical record and should not be interpreted to mean that the WebMasters in any way endorse the stereotypes implied.

Chronicles of Canada, The War Chief of the Six Nations, A Chronicle of Joseph Brant, 1915

 

Chronicles of Canada


Add/Correct a Link

Comments/Submit Data


Copyright 2002-2017 by Canadian Genealogy
The WebPages may be linked to but shall not be reproduced on another site without written permission.