B[enjamin] Roberts ALS to William Johnson, December 3, 1766; Niagara

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Benjamin Roberts reporting on the burning of the ship "Victory Schooner," suspected to have been accomplished by Indians. Copies the text of a report he submitted to Capt. Brown. Offers his personal opinion on the incident. Additional note on cover: "I hear from some Squaws that a party of Seneca's are returned from have brought in three Scalps & a prisoner & have lost one principal warrior..." IEGOR Lot 650.

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Niagara 3 Dec 1766

Sir

On the evening of the first Instant I heard that the Victory Schooner was burnt. it was insinuated that t'was done by Indians. Immediately I sent for my Horses, & by break oday next morning sat out for Little Niagara with Mr. Stevenson & DeConagne we immedeately visited the vesell on our arrival & this day on my return made the following report in writing to the Comnmanding officer. I was too much tired & frozen to wait on him in person besides I think a written report will be surer in these Cases where a report may arrise that would alarm the Country below

Niagara 3rd of December 1766

Sir

Yesterday on my arrival at Little Niagara got a boat mannd I went to see the Remains of the Schooner Victory. She is burnt down to the Water's Edge. I have examined on both sides the River to see if any marks (such as Indians Usualy leave when they do any premeditated injury) remain. but found none, the Boston Schooner is on ground at the Wharf of Navy Island, but no marks of Violence on her. the water is fallen much from her on the Outside. Imagine the Victory accidentally took fire, by somebody kindling a fire on board her (which was usual) to warm themselves. & not thoroughly extinguishing it

Two Mississagues came from fort Erie to little Niagara last Night & are now here with some peltry. there are no Senecas on this Communications have any canoes nor Could I find there were any Indian Cabins in the Neighborhood of Little Niagara I hear

Last edit 11 months ago by christiank
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I hear that before day the 30th past a Batteau sat out for Fort Erie & that the Same Morning a Canoe with two Indians was seen Crossing towards the great Island. This is the best Information I could procure. I am Confident by now Seeing the Seneca & Mississague Indians bringing in peltry to pay their Debts. that they are not bent on any mischief nor have I any reason to Suspect any other Nation. therefore must think the vesell burnt bty accident I am. & To Capt Comt. (coppy)

My Private opinion is that these soldiers that set off before day with a very cold Wind & Snow in their face Stopd on board the vessell after crossing to the Island which takes them generally an Hour. These Chaps went off Early to Celebrate St. Andrew at a Dinner provided at Fort Erie which made me the more Circumspect in giving my Opinion. I let it to themselves to Judge as they are all of the Nation.

I am much distress'd in not receiving a Line from you since 4 from the Congress. Capt Brown Orders DeConagne about preemtarily orders that every Indian of what Nation I know shall be brought before him. I am afraid it will be of no Service to his Majesty that these people should be forced to appear before the Commandant who gives them nothing. & whose discourse only Tends to make himself the great man. & your responses contradict (?) nobody. I shall do my utmost not to come to an open rupture yet can not allow the Service or your Authority to be entirely laid aside

We agree very well as Mr. Roberts & Mr Brown but when the Commissary has any request, theres such difficulties as Amount to a denyal

Last edit 11 months ago by christiank
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I long much for a Certainty of being removed from this Caledonia. If I had any Certain plan to go on. the Traders this Winter would have had Materials for a New Town Outside the Fort

I hope you'll excuse the lenght of my Letter, as I know the people here not to be so Open as I could wish I give you the Earliest Account of any transaction particulary such as this which may alarm the Country below I remain with the most Sincere good Wishes for you and family Welfare Sir Your most oblidged humb Servant B Roberts

{to left of signature}

I hear you took a very great liking to little Bitch M Willam has. I am rearing her brother for you no two can be more alike

Last edit 11 months ago by christiank
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{Addressed}

His Majestys Service To Sir William Johnson Baronet Johnson Hall

{Docket by William Johnson}

Lt. Roberts Letter concerning ye Vessels being burnt

{Probable PS from Roberts}

I hear from some Squawr that a party of Seneca's out returned from have brought in three Scalps & a prisoner & have but one principal warrior of the Canasotigon castle

Last edit 11 months ago by christiank
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