B[enjamin] Roberts ALS to William Johnson, December 24, 1766; Niagara

Expresses concerns about his interpreter being detained by Captain Brown. Frazier, Mr. Paynton, and DeCoagne. Roberts also writes that though Capt. Brown writes polite letters but fails to enact anything he promises. Smuggling: Fort Erie, Little Niagara, Detroit, Michilimackinac. Interpreter of bad character. Sally Montour's trading hut opposite of Fort Erie. Explanation of recent troubles with Captain Brown. IEGOR Lot 651.

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Niagara 24 Dec 1766


My concern is inexpressible by not hearing from you You'll see by my Journal which, I now send you, how necessary 'twould be, that I should have some Certain rule for my Conduct, If the Comanding officer has a right to Command me, & these under me. I should know it. this very instant I am in distress for my Interpreter that is detained at Capt. Brown's who is constantly ordering him thro & Fro. I think from Mr Collinds beheavior in Supporting. so Strong an Interest for Shrienar, I think he is not entitled to a pass for trade, which if not already on the way to him, hope you'll prevent the governor giving him one.

I find that If Frazier had gone up to Fort Erie, he would have been Severely handled. Mr. Carpenter told me he would not have answered if any such Bum Bailif Rascale had arrived. Tho Capt. Brown writes such polite leters offering assistance & yet I see every precaution taken to pre -vent its having effect. I believe the Traders are convinced I have done my utmost for them & have been indifattigable in the executions of my office, at the same time as polite & respectfull to the Comd. officer as possible

DeConagne who is just now left him says he seems to lay a great Stress upon Letters not coming to hand. & says he believes you think a great deal. I dont know what he means but he has told DeConagne he has or will give an order he shant go out of this Fort without acquainting him. So it seems he has look'd upon it, as nothing, my acquainting him he was going along with me If

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If I could advise the General that post at Fort Erie should be abandon'd & little Niagara establish'd it will every winter be a nest for Smugling. & in the Comd. offr. will put what goods he can on board the Vessell. as may be ascertain'd by the Small Cargoes, that have been Carried to Detroit. so should any accident happen to detain the Vessell till late next Season. Michilimackinac at least must be abandoned, the present Commandant says. let the Sentrys be ever so Alert. he with three men could take the Fort for with reason he should take the better Care I told him as by his own account some Indians had been roughly handled there There is one McCarty who Interpreted for you at this place. who lives among the Indians about 10 Leagues from that place, on the Lake side he has a very bad Character I shall try to get him down to you in the Spring. I hear he recd. large presents from Pollerd last year

Sally Mentour has built a Hut & Trades opposite to Fo Erie. I hear that Shrienar at arrival of Pollerds Express went over to her house & that the Sergt. of the Fort had Orders not to let any Stranger into it. Mr. Carpenter said, when I shew'd him Capt Brown's Order. he was much surprised he should give such a one, that his former business down to Niagara was to settle about Shrienars, staying at Fort Erie, wch he thought settled & wondered C. Brown. could act so contrary

The situation of my affairs at present forces me to be very explicit at present. (tho there are numberless little Slights & Insults thrown on the Department would be too tedious to enumerate) If you

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should think it necessary when the disputes are finish'd will continue. I have Acquainted Capt Brown, with every thing I yet said to the Indians & every thing I gave them all which he approved of. I think he cannot refuse signing my Accts. as he can have no other pretext than sometimes not seeing the presents deliverd. that was always his fault not mine. but as I have reported to him even the most minute Article of Expense &c. think he wont refuse. I am sure he's partly the cause of their being so large, the Indians being already Alarm'd at the precautions he's taking. Knowing what Indians comes in or where they are going where they sleep &c.

I hope Sir, you will be thouroughly satisfied with my beheavior & write to the General Accordingly. on whom, I think Col. Maitlands. Interest he depends to have the Sole Authority To avoid being too sanguine & offending the Commanding { some type of damage to the side of the page} I adress him by Letter besides I have found his memory {seal damage to the side of the page, but I think the missing word is probably "fails"} him so wont trust it again

I am almost weary of my Existance with Sickness. rheumatik pains & Swelld head. besides every underhand means taken to suppress any part of yr. Authority I may attempt to enforce These arguments I hope will plead an excuse for the tediousness and precision of the many Sheets. [I now trouble you with. & assure you that nothing would equal the pain of thinking you did not look upon me as one of the most faithfull & affectionate of the Numbers you have oblidge'd & who will remain

Your most obedient humble servent B B Roberts

{Written to the left of the signature} P.S. Sir I am more convinced every day. a Chief cause of Jealousy against me is, my having no recommendation from John son Hall. he has mentioned likewise to DeConagne his surprise. it did not happen

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His Majesty's Service

To Sir William Johnson Baronet

Johnson Hall

{Rotate 180 degrees}

Niagra 24th Decbr 1767 Lt. Roberts Letter

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