4/15/1765 Thomas Gage to Sir William Johnson
Thomas Gage by John Singleton Copley
Letter to Johnson
(New York, April 15, 1765)
Gage, Thomas in: The Papers of
Sir William Johnson, vol. 4,
pp. 717, 718, 719.
FROM THOMAS GAGE
A. L. S.1
New York April 15 th1765.
I received your Favor of the 3d. Inst: by Mr: Wharton, who might, if he had chose it, have given you a very clear Information respecting Mr. Croghan’s Goods and others which were destroyed by the Country-People and this is owing to Mr. Croghan troubling his Head more about Trade than the Business he was employed in. Had he thought proper to have followed his Instructions, and made use of Colonel Bouquet’s Permit to get up his Presents, which would if necessary have procured him Escort at every Post, no Accident could have happened. Instead of this, He takes upon himself to enter into Leagues with Traders to carry up Goods in a Clandestine Manner under Cover of the Business he was employed in of going to the Ilinois; contrary to orders, and contrary to the Laws of the Province. And this under Pretence of having Goods ready when the Trade should be opened. I don’t know any Business he had with the Trade which would have been Plenty enough when under any Pretence whatever. By all the Intelligence I have yet had concerning this Business, it seems to have been wholy a Schem the Govr. should publish his Proclamation to that Effect, without his taking upon himself to order up Goods e of Trade. Capt. Callendar says all the Goods destroyed were Croghan’s and all now in Fort Loudoun is his, to the Amount of 15000. Mr. Wharton told me Mr. Croghan had no concern in the Goods, but only promised Him if he got up to Fort Pitt, that he would purchase such Goods as he should want for the Ilinois, of him, preferable to others. Croghan tells you he bought those Goods at Philadelphia, and sent you a Bill for Goods bought of Smallman and Field. Since this Confusion (page 718) happened, I sent the Bill to Philadelphia to make Enquirys, and am told in Answer, that there is no such Person as Smallman a Trader at Philadelphia. That this Person was released last year by Colonel Bouquet a Relation of Croghan and that he went with him to Fort Pitt. Mr. Baynton a Partner of Mr. Wharton’s says, that Croghan had goods of them to the amount of 1900 and upwards. This is rare Confusion and all that can at present be seen is, that Mr. Croghan thought to take advantage of his Employment, to be first at the market and to make his Business an Affair of Trade, instead of Carrying on the Service. He has sent for very considerable Numbers of Indians to meet him at Fort-Pitt, instead of a Number of Chiefs sufficient for the Purpose of the Ilinois. That must have been for the sake of Trade only, and he has been loosing his Time there, instead of setting off, under Pretence of waiting for these Indians whose Numbers will distress the Garrison when they arrive, and all this of his own Head, for any orders or Instructions, he does not seem to pay much Regard to. He has staid so long for the Indians, and on Acct. he says, of the Presents destroyed, which if there had been no other Impediment, might have been replaced at Fort Pitt, that Lieut. Fraser who accompanied him has set out by Himself. Thus it is, that the Affair of the Ilinois has been managed. The Governor has been up towards the Frontiers, and the Attorney General of the Province is now there taking Depositions concerning the Destruction and Plundering of the Goods; and on his Return I shall get further Information. But till the Confusion Affairs are now in, comes to be cleared up, I can not pay Mr. Croghan’s Draught for the 2000. And if he acts in this strange manner already, what may we expect when he gets to the Ilinois.
I informed you long ago that some of the Governors by Advice of Council, did not think proper to open the Trade, till they should know how you had terminated Affairs with the Delawares; and what Consequences would ensue from the Flight of the Shawnese Hostages. By the last advices from Fort-Pitt, (page 719) we have Reason to hope no bad Consequence will happen from the last Circumstance, and I wait with Impatience to know, how you shall have concluded Matters at your Conference, that I may inform Govr. Penn thereof; for till these Matters are Settled the Trade from Pensylvania will remain shut.
The Pouteatamies have killed some Men at Detroit, and their Chiefs have since been brought in by other Indians to ask Forgiveness. The Affair is rather odd, and I wish it may be well managed, or we shall have more work of that sort. They say it was done in Revenge for some of their People killed the last year. Every Thing else was quiet, but Lieut. Colo. Campbell says nothing of Pondiac. I am with great Regard-
Your most obedient
SR: WM: JOHNSON Bart.
New York April 15th, 1765
Genrl. Gages letter
Source: Indiana University website online