Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Seneca Indians "Propositions made by four Sinnekes to the Commander & Justices of Peace"

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03107.01938 Author/Creator: Seneca Indians Place Written: Albany, New York Type: Manuscript document Date: 1685/06/29 Pagination: 1p. + docket 33 x 20.8 cm

Summary of Content: The Senecas explain that they have heard rumors of Canada's plans to attack them, and ask the English for their protection. The English respond and ask the Senecas to ignore the rumors, and also to resist fighting with their Indian enemies.

Background Information: In rejecting the exaggerated and distorted view that casts Native Americans in the role of passive victims, it is also important to recognize the realities that limited Indians' freedom of ...action. Even in the late seventeenth century Indian peoples such as the Five Nations who lived in what is now New York felt intense pressure to forge alliances with Europeans, in order to obtain arms, manufactured goods, and protection from enemy peoples, especially the French and their Huron allies. The need for European allies would remain a crucial theme in Native American history from the late sixteenth century until the War of 1812, which removed the native peoples' last reliable outside source of support.See More

Full Transcript: 1. There is news Brought us in our Country by 4 Indians...& they tell us that the Governor of Canada is Intended to Destroy us.... 2. The government of Canada's design is kept ...very Secret, & as it were Smothered in a Pot that is covered, but nevertheless tis broke out as far as our Country & wee are acquainted with it.... We Desire that you would be Pleased to order that our Young Soldiers do not go out a fighting; but Stay at home to Defend there Country; if it should happen that the French should Come & fall upon our Country, for wee are Informed that he Design to be there about 3 months hence.... Answer to the aforesaid Propositions-- We have heard your Propositions and Perceive that you are fearful of the French, which you ought not to be, nor give any Credit to Such Stories, for you having Submitted your Selves under this government and obeying the governor. Last year in not making a Peace with the French without his Consent...you need not doubt but the governor will take all fitting care to Preserve you and your Country. In the mean Time you must Tell your young men from the governor, That they are not to goe out a fighting against their Indian Enemies but stay at home till the time of the Beaver hunting approaches, which will be in the fall, and then you are to Pursue & follow your hunting as formerly, & Bring your Beaver hither where you will fine you are Civilly Treated, and have all Sorts of goods very cheap.See More


Historical Era: Colonization and Settlement, 1585-1763

Subjects: American Indian HistoryCanadaFranceMilitary HistoryGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyDiplomacyTreatyPeace

Sub Era:

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources