Jun 05, 2008 - Sale 2148

Sale 2148 - Lot 15

Price Realized: $ 1,320
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
"THE INDIANS SHALL DESTROY ALL THE STOCK HE HAS THERE & PULL THE HOUSE DOWN" (AMERICAN INDIANS.) Moore, Henry, Sir. Autograph Letter Signed on Indian affairs. 3 pages on one leaf, 312 x 389 mm, silked, separations at folds, missing blank lower half of final page extended and restored. Fort George, NY, 29 January 1767

Additional Details

Sir Henry Moore (1713-1769) spent most of his life in Jamaica before becoming governor of New York in 1765. This letter was apparently written to Sir William Johnson, then the royal Superintendent of Indian Affairs. The bulk of this letter relates to the case of a white settler (probably Cobus Maybe) who had illegally settled on land belonging to the Canajoharie Mohawks, which threatened peaceful relations between the English and the Mohawks. Moore assures Johnson: "I am sorry that the Indians should still be made uneasy by any one, & must desire that warning may be given to the person who insists on trespassing upon them (in the presence of two magistrates & some of the principal Indians), that he shall within the time that the said magistrates shall think fit to allow him, remove from that place & give no further offence to them, & that he be acquainted . . . that in case of his refusal to obey His Majesty's proclamation, the Indians shall destroy all the stock he has there & pull the house down; for that I am determined to see the proclamation comply'd with in its fullest extent. If he shall still continue on the premises in defiance, he may depend on it that no favor will be shown to him, but that he will be treated with the greatest vigour . . . I desire that they [the Indians] not be alarm'd at the proceedings of some wrongheaded people for they may allways depend on being supported by the authority of Government." The bloody Pontiac's Rebellion had recently concluded with the 1766 Treaty of Oswego, which acknowledged Indian territorial claims. Moore and Johnson were undoubtedly anxious to maintain this peace, hence this unusually strong defense of Mohawk rights.

Several related letters appear in the 1909 "Calendar of the Sir William Johnson Manuscripts in the New York State Library," but this letter is unrecorded in the collection's inventories, according to library staff.