Category Archives: Canada

Item of the Day: Appendix to the Canada Papers (c.1779)

Full Title: Appendix to the Canada Papers, Relating principally to the Convention Army after its Arrival in the Neighbourhood of Boston, in the Years 1777 and 1778. [Caption Title]

Philadelphia, 8th Nov. 1777.

Dear Sir,

By Lieutenant Vellancy, who arrived here on the 31st of October with your dispatches from Albany, I received with infinite concern the particular account of your misfortune.

The loss of your services with the services of General Phillips in this country, I exceedingly regret, and since the fortune of war has thrown you both out of that line, I shall request the Admiral to send a frigate for you, and necessary transports for the conveyance of the troops, as soon as they can be got ready and victualled: but as there is little prospect of light transports being able to get round to Boston at this late season of the year, it is thought most adviseable to send them with the frigate to Rhode Island, from whence you will be advised of their arrival, and I hope, on the above consideration, you will get permission to embark from Newport or some convenient port in the sound; otherwise it will be impossible for the troops to be embarked before the spring.

With the most perfect respect,

I have the honour to be,

Dear Sir,

Your most obedient

And most humble servant,

W. Howe.

Lieut. Gen. Burgoyne, at Boston.


Philadelphia, 14th November, 1777.


The season of the year not permitting the transports to proceed to Boston, they are dispatched to Rhode Island, at which place I flatter myself you will obtain permission to embark with your troops, as the spirit of the Convention will not be infringed in the smallest degree by their embarking at that port instead of Boston; and under these circumstances I am hopeful you will readily prevail in your application. But should it be refused, I can by no means object to your returning to Europe, leaving your troops under the direction of Major General Phillips, with orders for the foreign troops to prceed from thence to Plymouth, and the British to Portsmouth in Great Britain, with all convenient dispatch after the arrival of the transports. And if you should not obtain permission to go to Rhode Island, where you will find a frigate to receive you, by sending a letter to Sir Peter Parker, commanding his Majesty’s ships at that place, the frigate will be sent round to Boston.

With the most perfect respect,

I have the hnour to be,


Your most obedient servant,

W. Howe.

Lieut. Gen. Burgoyne, at Boston.


State of Massachuset’s Bay.

Head Quarters, Boston, Nov. 8th, 1777.

Major General Heath commanding the Eastern department being disposed to treat Lieutenant General Burgoyne and his officers with politeness and generosity, and the soldiery with humanity and care, expects the utmost attention of General Burgoyne and his officers to cultivate and observe strict order and discipline among the British and Foreign troops, especially in the following particulars, which are laid down as standing orders, viz.

1st, That if any officer shall exceed the limits of his parole, it being a forfeiture of his honour, he is to be immediately confined within the limits assigned for private men, or if the General shall think proper, on board the guardship.

2d, All officers under the rank of Field Officers are to repair to their quarters, and not to absent them after nine o’clock in the evening.

3rd, As the legislature of this State, in order to accommodate the Officers and to prevent imposition, have appointed commissaries to supply the officers and soldiers with various sorts of provisions brought to Boston market, which are to be sold to them at the same prices as were given for them, and care has been also taken that the officers should be supplied with liquors at the market price, until they can be procured by themselves from the town of Newport on the island of Rhode Island, or such other place as may be fixed upon for that purpose; no officer or soldier is to purchase any article whatever either by himself or others, except of the commissaries and grand sutler, who are appointed as aforesaid. But in case the Council or General Assembly shall think proper to discontinue the supplying the officers and soldiers in the manner above-mentioned, or shall think fit to make any alterations in the mode of supplying them, this article to be void as far as their order may extend.

4th, The officers will carefully avoid disputes with and every kind of insult or abuse to the inhabitants; should they receive any they are to enter regular complaints.

5th, The servants belonging to the officers who are on parole are not to stroll from their master’s quarters; they may be sent to the commissaries or to the grand sutler, or ride to wait on their masters when they shall think proper to ride out, if they shall be found otherwise, they will be taken up and confined.

J. Keith, D.A.G.


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Filed under 1770's, American Revolution, Canada, Continental Army, Massachusetts, Military, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Travels of an Indian Interpreter (1791)

Full Title:

Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, Describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians; with an Account of the Posts Situated on the River Saint Laurence, Lake Ontario, &c. To which is added, a Vocabulary of the Chippeway Language. Names of Furs and Skins, in English and French. A List of Words in the Iroquois, Mohegan, Shawanee, and Esquimeaux Tongues, and a Table, shewing the Analogy between the Algonkin and Chippeway Lanugages. By J. Long.

London: Printed for the author; and sold by Robson, Bond-street; Debrett, Piccadilly; T. and J. Egerton, Charing-cross; White and Son, Fleet-street; Sewell, Cornhill; Edwards, Pall-Mall; and Messrs. Taylors, Holborn, London; Fletcher, Oxford; and Bull, Bath, 1791.

Of the Indians of the Five and Six Nations.

I shall now give a particular account of the Indians of the Five and Six Nations, and the reasons why they are so called, in order to enable the reader to form an idea of their consequence in a political point of view, as well as their importance on account of the fur trade; because of the vicinity of the American territories from Georgia to New England, gives the United States a great command and influence from their situation, and renders them more to be dreaded than even the French were in the zenith of their power, when it was universally known they had such an interest among the savages, as induced them to call the French their fathers, and of which so much yet remains, as to prompt them to retain a predilection in favor of the traders of the Gallic race who are settled among them.  

In 1603, when the French settled in Canada, part of the Five Nations resided on the island of Montreal, and were at war with the Adirondacks (who lived on the Uttawa, or grand river leading to Michillimakinac); these, considered the Five Nations as very insignificant opponents, and incapable of serious revenge, and they were held in as much derision as the Delawares, who were usually called old women or the Shawanees (who lived on the Wabach River), who were obliged to wear petticoats for a considerable time, in contempt of their want of courage, and as a badge of their pusillanimity and degradation.  But as no people can bear the imputation of cowardice or effeminacy as a national character, the chiefs determined to rouse their young men, and stimulate them to retrieve, or establish, a reputation; and inspiring them with heroic notions, led them to war against the Satanas, or Shaounons, whom they subdued with great ease. This success revived their drooping spirits, and forgetting how often they had been defeated by the Adirondacks, commenced hostilities against them; and availing themselves of the mean opinion their enemies entertained of their valour, gained the victory in several actions: and at last carried on a successful war against them even in their own country, obliging their former conquerors to abandon their native land, and seek refuge on the spot where Quebec is now situated.

Soon after the French arrived and had settled at Quebec, they formed and alliance with the Adirondacks against the Five Nations. The first engagement proved decisive in favour of the Adirondacks against the Five Nations. The first engagement proved decisive in favour of the Adirondacks, owing entirely to the use of fire arms having been introduced among them by their new allies, which the Indians of the Five Nations had never before seen. This alliance, and the consequent defeat was far from subduing or disheartening the Five Nations, but rather seemed to inspire them with additional ardour, and what they were deficient in military skill and suitable weapons, they supplied by strategem and courage. Although the French gained several advantages over them in the course of more than fifteen years, they at length were glad to bring the contest to a conclusion, by making a peace with them.

This shews that the Savages of the Five Nations are not easily to be conquered, and proves the necessity of preserving them in our interest, as long as we shall deem it expedient, from policy, to keep possession of Canada. This being admitted, it is certain that no method will more effectually conduce to that end, than retaining such barriers in our hands as will enable us to afford them protection, and supply them with arms and ammunition, and other necessaries, in time of danger.   

The Indians who lie to the north of Philadelphia, between the provinces of Pennsylvania and the Lakes, consist of three distinct leagues, of which the Senekas, Mohawks, and Onondagoes, who are called the fathers, compose the first; the Oneidoes, Cayugas, Tuscororas, Conoys and Nanticokes, which are one tribe, compose the second, and these two leagues constitute what is called the Six Nations. The third league is formed of the Wanamis, Chihokockis, or Delawares, the Mawhiccons, Munseys, and Wapingers, to which may be added the Mingoes. The Cowetas, or Creek Indians, are also united in friendship with them.

Mr. Colden says, the nations who are joined together by a league or confederacy, like the United Provinces of Holland, are known by the names of Mohawks, Oneydoes, Onondagoes, Cayugas, and Senekas; that each of these nations is again divided into three tribes or families, who are distinguished by the names of Tortoise, Bear, and Wolf; and that the Tuscororas,  after the war they had with people of Carolina, fled to the Five Nations, and incorporated with them, so that in fact they now consist of six, although they still retain the name of the Five Nations. This union is of such long duration as to leave little or no traces of its origin.  

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Filed under 1790's, Canada, Colonial America, Indians, Posted by Matthew Williams, Travel

Item of the Day: An Accurate and Interesting Account of the Hardships and Sufferings of that Band of Heroes (1812)

Full Title: An Accurate and Interesting Account of the Hardships and Sufferings of that Band of Heroes, who Traversed the Wilderness in the Campaign against Quebec in 1775. By John Joseph Henry, Esq. Lancaster: Printed by William Greer, 1812.



THERE is a point, in the history of the American revolution, hitherto little attended to; as yet imperfectly related, and now at this late day almost forgotten; which would deserve and require the talents and genius of a Xenophon, to do it real justice. As your father in early life had a concern in that adventure, permit him to relate to you in the words of truth, a compendious detail of the sufferings of a small band of heroes; unused, to be sure, to military tactics and due subordination, but whose souls were fired by an enthusiastic love of country, and a spirit of such as has often inspired our ancestors, when determined to be free. In giving you this relation, knowing him as you do, you will scarcely call in question his veracity; particularly when he assures you upon the honor of a gentleman and an honest man, that every word here related, to the best of his recollection and belief, is literally true. He could not be so unjust to your morals, your veracity, or integrity, as to state any thing to you which he knew, or even uspected to be untrue. He has himself been too much the victim of base liars, not to endeavour to eradicate so vile a principle from your minds. His own education, though made by his truantisms, (in avoidance of the bounteous and liberal designs of his good father,) an incorrect one, yet the piety and real religious fervour of his parents, never would tolerate a lie. This mental vice, to them, was the greatest of all abominations, as it is with your father; it is also his most fervent hope and prayer, that every one of you, will not only contemn the lie, but hold in sovereign detestation the liar.

Persons of your age, and at this advanced stage of the improvement and melioration of our soil, in a climate so far south as ours, can scarcely form a correct conception, but from actual observation, of the sterility of the dreariness and the destitution of every comfort of life, which a wilderness in a high northern latitude exhibits. A confidence however in your good sense, encourages, and in fact animates, him, to put that upon paper, which has a thousand times, in detached parcels, been the subject of amusing prattle around the fireside. This is done rather at this time, as some very atrocious scoundrels who never looked an enemy in the eye, now assume the garlands and honors, which ought to adorn the brows of more worthy men.

In the autumn of 1775, our adorable WASHINGTON, thought it prudent to make a descent upon Canada. A detachment fom the American grand army, then in the vicinity of Boston (Massachusetts,) was organized, to fulfil this intention, by the route of the Kennebee and Chaudiere rivers. It was intended as a co-operation with the army of General Montgomery, who had entered the same province, by the way of Champlaine and Montreal. Colonel Benedict Arnold was appointed the commander in chief of the whole division. The detachment consisted of eleven hundred men. Enos was second in command. Of this I knew nothing, but from a report. Riflemen composed a part of the armament. These companies, from sixty-five  to seventy-five strong, were from the southward: that is, captain Daniel Morgan’s company from Virginia; that of captain William Hendricks’ from Cumberland county in Pennsylvania, and captain Matthew Smith’s company from the county of Lancaster in Pennsylvania, in the latter province. The residue, and bulk of this corps, consisted of troops from Massachusetts, Rhode-Island and Connecticut. It has flown from my memory, whether we had any from New-Hampshire; but there is an impression on my mind that we had, as general Dearborne, who was of the latter province, commanded a company in the expedition. All these men were of as rude and hardy a race as ourselves, and as fearless as we were. It fell to me to know many of them afterwards intimately; speaking generally, without any allusion to particulars, they were an excellent body of men, formed by nature as the stamina of an army, fitted for a tough and tight defence of the liberties of their country. The principal distinction between us, was in our dialects, our arms, and our dress. Each man of the three companies, bore a rifle-barreled gun, a tomehawk, or a small axe, and a long knife, usually called a “scalping-knife,” which served for all purposes, in the woods. His under-dress, by no means in a military style, was covered by a deep ash-colored hunting-shirt, leggins and mockasins, if the latter could be procured. It was the silly fashion of those times, for riflemen to ape the manners of savages.

Our commander Arnold, was of a remarkable character. He was brave, even to temerity, was beloved by the soldiery, perhaps for that quality only: –he possessed great powers of persuasion, was complaisant: but withal sordidly avaricious. Arnold was a short handsome man, of a florid complexion, stoutly made, and forty years old at least.

On the other hand Mrogan was a large strong bodied personage, whose appearance gave the idea history has left us of Belisarius. His manners were of the severer cast; but where he became attached he was kind and truly affectionate. This is said, from experience of the most sensitve and pleasing nature; activity, spirit and courage in a soldier, procured his good will and esteem.


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Filed under 1770's, American Revolution, Canada, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Quebec

Item of the Day: Sketches of the History of Dartmouth College (c. 1815)

Full Title: Sketches of the History of Dartmouth College and Moors’ Charity School, with a Particular Account of Some Late Remarkable Proceedings of the Board of Trusties, from the Year 1779 to the Year 1815. [n.i.]




Proper informations, and satisfactory evidences being given to the Hon. Society in Scotland, by their respectable Board of Commissioners established at Boston, its incumbrances were removed, and the school, at length, brought into more extensive operation.

In the year 1799, Dr. Wheelock employed the Rev. Lyman Potter on a mission to the Cherokees, 1100 miles to the south. He mingled with these wild natives–opened to them the book of life; and they appeared to receive the messages of divine grace with gladness. Soon after, communication was opened with the tribes of the Six Nations in Upper Canada. Joseph Brant, so memorable in the Indian annals for his improvements and exploits, sent two sons to be members of the same School, in which he had been educated, with letters of grateful remembrance of the founder, as, to whom, under God, he owed his elevation above the savage. One of them, more promising, died not long after his return and many hopes were buried with him. In 1802 Rev. Mr. Merrill, then preceptor of the School, visited the tribes in Lower Canada. The chiefs of St. Francis gratefully rejoiced to place their children in the path of instruction; and several of them were received. Three in general, and at times four, from the St. Francis, Caghnewaga and Algonquin tribes, have been maintained annually at the school till the last year. By obstruction of intercourse and interruptions by the war, there is only one at present; others are expected so soon as peaceful communications are opened.

All these have been supported at the school with every necessary, by the interest of its fund in the care of the society, through the medium of their commissioners, at the rate of about one hundred and thirty dollars per annum for each. Generally, they were regular and attentive, their improvements useful; and since their return, their conduct becoming so far as we have heard. . . .

A propension to improvement is natural to the human race, and to be discerned in nations and individuals. It is checked by  the incontroulable power of the elements, the occasional circumstances of living, and the oppression of despotism. The first cause operates on the Samoiede’s, the inhabitants of Lapland and Greenland: the second on uncultivated nations, in temperate climates, which may advance civilization, as the ancient Germans, Gauls and Britons; or on the lower order of people, in moderate goverments, confined to hard labor and want: the third on all who wear the servile yoke of despotic power, as in the empires of Turkey and Persia.

But some account of the American savages, as an anomaly. They consider the measures, and the zeal of two hundred years, to draw them to christianity and civilization–they note of the attempts, many abortive, and none answerable to expectation–and hence conclude, that they are either not susceptible of improvement, or consigned by the mystery of divine providence to ignorance and idolatry. The former opinion erases them from the list of our species, the latter is vitated by the pride of human exertions. The experiments, under unfavourable circumstances, have been imperfect, and the induction from them erroneous.

 1. The strongest attachment of man is to himself and his own opinions. His manners, deeply rooted in early life, and strengthened by age, are obstinate against the attacks of foreign influence; but yield to familiarized examples in the circle of his social intercourse. Conquerors never raised nations by the point of the sword, from ignorance to knowledge, from their cradle to manhood in improvements; but men, who sprang up in the bosom of their own societies, who were one with the people, and possessed talents and qualities which as the president de Goguet justly remarks, “gained the public esteem and confidence.” Such were the patriots, who, as Osiris and Phoroneus and Cecrops and Numa, by their examples, instructions and laws, accorded by their free countrymen, gradually improved their manners, and led them from barbarism towards refinement. Thus it was with the nations of Europe, whose early histories have been best preserved–and, turning to America, we may conclude it was so when they exchanged their wig-wams for cities in the empire of Mango-Capac; and the same in the advancememt of social order among the Mexicans. The Spaniards undertook by conquest and violence, and reduced the natives to servitude; but could never improve their manners.

In North-America, the English and French emigrators, actuated by milder motives, made use of forcible or accommodating measures, according to circumstances, in forming their settlements. Still, as the Spaniards, they have held the natives in the same contempt, that is natural for the civilized to hold the savage–they have treated them, as an alien and inferior race, never mingling in the interchanges of the social state, needful to inspire confidence, and familiarize, and draw the mind to descern, and taste the pleasures of cultivation. The colonial and state governments have beheld with a despotic eye the tribes within their limits: the laws have provided for them some protection, without affording the rights of citizens. If the friends of the Redeemer, actuated by the benign precepts of the gospel, have, at times, ardently engaged to promote instruction, and reform, among these western pagans, the work, for the most part, was attempted by solitary missionaries, occasional or transient residents, strangers to the manners of those, who were equally estranged to them and their cause. Far different were the undertakings of the apostolic age, which were sustained and prospered by miracles, and wonders, supernatural aids, not to be expected in after times. And far different in the fifth and following centuries, when to extend christianity the pious adventurers were more zealous and persevering, unappalled by perils and wo; when the political influences of the eastern and western Roman empires, and various orders of men. enlisted the clergy to promote the cause.

. . .

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Filed under American Indians, Canada, Early Republic, Education, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Travels Through the Interior Parts of North-America, in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768 (1778)

Full Title:  Travels through the Interior Parts of North-America, in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768. By J. Carver, Esq.  Captain of a company of Provincial Troops During the Late War with France.  London:  Printed for the Author; And Sold by J. Walter, at Charing-cross, and S. Crowder, in Pater-noster Row. MDCCLXXVIII.


No sooner was the late War with France concluded, and Peace established by the Treaty of Versailles in the Year 1763, than I began to consider (having rendered my country some services during the war) how I might continue still serviceable, and contribute, as much as lay in my power, to make that vast acquisition of territory, gained by Great Britain, in North America advantageous to it.  It appeared to me indispensably needful, that Government should be acquainted in the first place with the true state of the dominions they were now become possessed of.  To this purpose, I determined, as the next proof of my zeal, to explore the most unknown parts of them, and to spare no trouble or expence in acquiring a knowledge that promised to be so useful to my countrymen.  I knew that many obstructions would arise to my scheme from the want of good Maps and Charts; for the French, whilst they retained their power in North America, had taken every artful method to keep all other nations, particularly the English, in ignorance of the concerns of the interior parts of it:  and to accomplish this design with the greater certainty, they had published inaccurate maps and false accounts; calling the different nations of the Indians by nicknames they had given them, and not by those really appertaining to them.  Whether the intention of the French in doing this, was to prevent these nations from being discovered and traded with, or to conceal their discourse, when they talked to each other of the Indian concerns, in their presence, I will not determine; but whatsoever was the cause from which it arose, it tended to mislead.

As a proof that the English had been greatly deceived by these accounts, and that their knowledge relative to Canada had usually been very confined, before the conquest of Crown-Point in 1759, it had been esteemed an impregnable fortress:  but no sooner was it taken, than we were convinced that it had acquired its greatest security from false reports, given out by it possessors, and might have been battered down with a few four pounders.  Even its situation, which was represented to be so very advantageous, was found to woe its advantages to the same source.  It cannot be denied but that some maps of these countries have been published by the French with an appearance of accuracy; but these are so small a size and drawn on so minute a scale, that they are nearly inexplicable.  The sources of the Mississippi, I can assert from my own experience, are great misplaced; for when I had explored them, and compared their situation with the French Charts, I found them very erroneously represented, and am satisfied that these were only copied from the rude sketches of the Indians.

Even so lately as their evacuation of Canada they continued their schemes to deceive; leaving no traces by which any knowledge might accrue to their conquerors:  for though they were well acquainted with all the Lakes, particularly with Lake Superior, having constantly a vessel of considerable burthen thereon, yet their plans of them are very incorrect.  I discovered many errors in the descriptions given therein of its Islands and Bays, during a progress of eleven hundred miles that I coasted it in canoes.  They likewise, on giving up the possession of them, took care to leave the places they had occupied in the same uncultivated state they had found them; at the same time destroying all their naval force.  I observed myself part of the hulk of a very large vessel, burnt to the water’s edge, just at the opening from the Straits of St. Marie’s into the Lake.

These difficulties, however, were not sufficient to deter me from the undertaking, and I made preparations for setting out.  What I chiefly had in view, after gaining a knowledge of the Manners, Customs, Languages, Soil, and natural Productions of the different nations that inhabit the back of the Mississippi, was to ascertain the Breadth of that vast continent, which extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, in its broadest part between 43 and 46 Degrees Northern Latitude.   Had I been able to accomplish this, I intended to have proposed to Government to establish a Port in some of those parts about the Straits of Annian, which having been first discovered by Sir Francis Drake, of course belong to the English.  This I am convinced would greatly facilitate the discovery of a North-West Passage, or a communication between Hudson’s Bay and the Pacific Ocean.  An event so desirable, and which has been so often fought for, but without success.  Besides this important end, a settlement on that extremity of America would answer many good purposes, and repay every expence the establishment of it might occasion.  For it would not only disclose new sources of trade, and promote many useful discoveries, but would open a passage for conveying intelligence to China, and the English settlements in the East Indies, with greater expedition than a tedious voyage by the Cape of Good Hope, or the Straits of Magellan will allow of. . . .

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Filed under 1770's, American Indians, Canada, Explorations, Posted by Rebecca Dresser