Papers of the Continental Congress
Copy: Samuel Kirkland Letter to General Schuyler 1/3/1777
National Archives & Records Administration M247-173 pg. 31
Transcribed by Billy Markland
Transcriber's Note: This is a letter received by General Schuyler which he had copied and forwarded to the Continental Congress. The following transcript is of the copy.
3d Jany. 1777
I have lately returned from Oneida where I tarried for more than a week-Have the pleasure to acquaint your Honor, they appeared uncommonly kind and friendly-Many of them I have Reason to think will never desert us, rather share the Fate of war with us.
Yesterday came to this post a party of Tuscaroras from Kanaghsonaga one of their Head Men with the Grasshopper gave me the following Intelligence which they desired me to communicate privately to Col. Elmore Viz, that two Senecas with a Mohawk were sent down by Col. Butler to reconnoiter this Garrison, the Numbers of Cannon, Strength &c.-That one of the party a Seneca Chief called Manguadakeha had returned on meeting Joseph Brant. The other two were on their way down & seen at Kemaghserage the Night before last-The Chiefs above mentioned say 'tis reported that an attack is designed upon this River early in the Spring chiefly by the foreign Indians aided & conducted by the Senecas-That Joseph Brant has the Hatchet from Lord Howe to give them with great Incouragement-one of the spies arrived last [evening?]. He came into the Fort, tarried but a few Minutes as he observed, the Oneidas watched him narrowly-He is expected in again this Morning-I hope Col. Elmore will give him a good Account of Matters.
The Indians are extremely well pleased with the Goods your Honor has sent up to open a Trade once more with them-They pour in by Shoals.
As the Affairs of the Indian Department become more and more important and extensive at this post Col. Elmore thinks an Interpreter to be necessary. Permit me to propose to your Honor's Consideration the sending Mr. Dean for this Garrison-'Tis impracticable for me to officiate as Missionary to the Indians, Chaplain to the Garrison and at the same time to do the whole Duty of an Interpreter. I have served as occasional Interpreter here since September last but the Business of Interpreting has now become too extensive & in my view too important to be slightly attended to.
The Oneidas will by no means consent to release me from my Ministerial Connection with them altho' they do not advise to my constantly residing among them as Indians have been sent from Niagara several Times in quest of me.
Permit me Sir further to observe that my present Situation is attended with more Expense than I am able to defray-I am obliged to support a [keeper?] at Oneida to take the Care of my House and effects, chiefly out of Respect to the Indians, to convince them that I do not intend finally to quit them-The General cry among them is our Minister will leave us and we shall face the worse for having been friendly to the Americans.
My Residence here and frequently travelling to the Oneidas is attended with considerable expense beside incidental Charges-Add to this the Support of my Family at Stockbridge-I have acted in three different Characters Missionary, Chaplain and Interpreter at this post since the Beginning of September last, and received pay, but for one, that I am now involved more than one hundred Dollars-My Salary as Missionary has but barely supported me & Family for these two Years past.
You will pardon Sir my Freedom in thus particularly stating the Matter-I do not mean it by way of complaint-That would be an affront to the Generosity by which I have heretofore been supported-But I am necessitated to seek Redress or further Aid in order to being a useful Subject of the State-It has given me pleasure to serve the public and have been peculiarly happy in saving her needless Expense, when in my power. I would humbly propose to your Honor whether there would be any Injustice or Impropriety in receiving Chaplains pay for the Regiment at this Garrison-Col. Elmore dismissed the Chaplain allowed him on the sole Account of my being appointed by the Comm[ission?] to reside here-However I shall wait your Honor's advice and Direction for the present-My Situation on many accounts is so disagreeable and attended with so much Expense, could I think it would not be ungrateful to my County I should most humbly and earnestly request a Dismission [sic].
I shall lay this matter before your Honor, so soon as I may be favored with another Interview.
I beg to hear from your Honor in Regard to a Interpreter for this Garrison-I had like to have forgot that the Indians of their own Motion requested it and desired me to write you on the Kind-but for some Reasons I then declined.
I am in great Truth & Esteem your Honor's
Obedient & very hble Servant