Sunday, March 2, 2008

John Harris to Owen Biddle, 1776

Paxton, July 29th, 1776. 


I was informed by two men that came here last week from Sunbury for some Gun Powder stored with me for No. Thumberland Coty, that Two Seneca Indians came to the Great Island on the West Branch of Susquehannah ab't Two Weeks agoe, & that the next day after sd Indians arrived, the Indians in that neighbourhood moved off with their Familys, Effects, &c., & cut down some if not the whole of their Indian Corn; it appears as if they designed to Join the Canada Indians, or such of the Six Nations or other Indian Nations that may chuse to take an active part in the present warr ag't us; the English Officers that made their escape from Lebanon in Lancaster Coty, no doubt did perswade the Indians on their tour up this River, to take up the Hatchet ag't us, You may depend on it that the Indians cannot be kept Neuter, no Treaty or Presents can Prevent their being concern'd in the warr, therefore if a number of their warriors were engaged in our service, it might perhaps, (if not now too late) prevent them Destroying ourselves, our late success in Carolina may encourage the Southern Indians to join us in that quarter, If timely apply'd to, they would be of the greatest service for to assist us to cut off the Northern or Western Ind's, If a general Indian warr shoud Happen, (may God forbid) that an Indian Warr shoud take place, but we ought to use all the means in our power to prevent it ag't ourselves, & if there is now no preventing it, Let the Warr be pushed on with the Greatest Vigour into their own Country, (they Begining first) Surely their Territory of the best lands in America is a fine prize for our Warriors to fight for; the Frontier Co'tys in this Province is in a Deplorable Situation for want of Powder & lead shoud the Indians Break out soon, w'ch I assure you 
is expected, the present Q'tys of ammunition in sd Co'tys is verry Trifling, proper magazines at Posts of Amunition & provisions ought to be laid up in time for the Publick use (If Wanted) before escorts & a Treble Expence in conveying sd necessary articles to proper places might be expedient. I know the Indians well from my infancy, warr is their delight, & they will be concern'd on some side & 
Likely both for & ag't us; the Greatest Spirit Imaginable Reigns among us, I hope it may continue to the end of the Present unjust & cruel warr undertaken by Great Brittain against us, it's Quite Right now, for the Hon'ble the Continental Congress to Get all the Foreign aid Judg'd necessary to assist us, a good Fleet especially, superior with our assistance to that of our Enemy's, with Engineers, &c., from my love for my bleeding country, my acquaintance with yr self, knowing yr situation & Influence, is the Reason I make free to write you this long Incorrect Epistle; there is two places in this county I have found by Enquiry that it's Likely Good flints may be made. If you'll please to write me a Letter Informing me any news, you'll please to communicate [through] Lancaster post or first safe conveyance shall take it as a favor. I am Sir,
with the 
Greatest Respect, your most obed't, 

& most Humble Servant,


To Owen Biddle, Esquire, in Philadelphia