X hits on this document





32 / 367

  • -


the British Government and to all Civilized Nations; and to avoid the in- evitable consequences of the Savages Customs in former Wars (which by their Threats and Menaces I find is not changed) that of putting their Pris- oners to death to disincumber themselves in case of being attacked by their enemy; I therefore in compliance with the above disposition in Govern- ment, and the dictates of Humanity thought fit to enter into....Articles of Agreement with Mr. Arnold in the Name of the Power he is employed by. 12

For militant members of the Six Nations, to whom the war was more than a quarrel between the British and their colonists, Carleton's policy was deeply disappointing. In late 1776 an attack upon it was made by Joseph Brant, a Mo- hawk warrior who was to be one of the most effective Indian partisans of the Revolution. In a letter circulated through the villages of the Indians of Quebec, he urged them to break free from the restrictions imposed upon them and to join him in an expedition against American frontier settlements. "I do not think it right", he wrote, "to let my brothers go to war under the command of General Carleton, as General Carleton expects and trys to have the Indians under the same command as the regular Troops, but it will be the best method for us to make war our own way."13 In sending copies of this intercepted letter to com- mandants of the interior posts, Carleton ordered them to do all in their power to prevent the Indians from taking the war into their own hands, and in doing so summed up explicitly his own position:

However proper and justifiable it may be to make use of the Indians in a defensive War, or to chastize the real criminals -- yet true policy as well as humanity forbids indiscriminate attack, such as intended by the Savages, wherein Women and Children, aged and infirm, the innocent as well as the guilty, will be equally exposed to their fury. I desire therefore that all means may be used to prevent this, and to turn the force of the Indians to the use which will be most for the King's interest and their own good, by acting in concert with the troops. 14

Carleton's policy was repudiated in late 1776 by Lord George Germain, Dartmouth's successor as Secretary of State for the colonies, who remained the minister chiefly responsible for the conduct of the war until 1782. Germain, both from Carleton's correspondence and from letters reaching him from Indian De- partment officials opposed to the restricted use of Indians, was aware that little use had been made of them. As early as August 1776 he called for the embodi- ment of "large Parties" of Indians to work with regular forces. Then, in early 1777, he utterly reversed the course Carleton had followed by ordering the re- cruitment of substantial numbers to serve with the army General John Burgoyne was to lead from Canada into New York, and directed as well that attacks upon American settlements be launched by Indian parties accompanied by white offi- cers from Forts Niagara and Detroit. 15

Document info
Document views1542
Page views1542
Page last viewedTue Jan 24 16:17:13 UTC 2017