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Speculators in Empire: Iroquoia and the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix.

Speculators in Empire: Iroquoia and the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix by William J. Campbell. University of Oklahoma Press, 2012. 211 pages; paperback ISBN 978-0-8061-4665-2

This paperback with about 211 pages of text and narrative is detailed, rambling and obscure. The premise of the narrative is about the Long House confederacy as actual or perceived overlords of all Woodland tribes of the Americas from the St. Lawrence River in Canada, west to the Great Lakes and the Mississippi river south to the popular towns of the Cherokees in Tennessee and the Carolinas.

The rambling text references events from the French and Indian war up to Pontiac's revolt and Crown Royal proclamation of 1763 banning white colonial settlement on tribal lands west of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains.

With the convoluted dealing of the adopted Mohawk William Johnson and the double-dealings of his deputy Indian Agent, Irishman George Croghan, whose pandering and over-extension in colonial land speculation tied him in with such luminaries as Ben Franklin and the Penn family, Croghan's affairs defied logic.

However, Croghan was paramount to Johnson, the Six Nations and British interests because he was fluent in Algonkin; that was a necessity while dealing with Shawnees, Delawares and Miamis on the western margin of the Six Nations territories and influences.

While widely read on these topics, I was surprised to learn that in wake of the French and Indian war, Crown/English colonial interests had hardships supplying trade goods to both Native Americans and frontier whites. Sir William Johnson also had to deal with greatly reduced Crown expenditures to his Indian Department while trying to govern and manipulate the Mohawks and the greater Six Nations Grand Council.

This culminated in the Fort Stanwix treaty of 1768 wherein the Six Nations sold millions of acres of northern border lands in exchange for ten thousand dollars in Spanish silver and several thousand dollars-worth of trade goods.

The argument can be made that the Stanwix agreement came at the expense of the Delawares, Shawnees and Miamis of the Ohio Valley Algonkin populations. Campbell discusses Mohawk chiefs Abraham, Hendrick and twenty something year old English-educated and English speaking warrior Joseph Brant, pressing Sir William about Dutch and English settlers such as trader George Kolck, holding a fraudulent deed to several thousand acres including ancestral Mohawk settlements of Canajoharie and Fort Hunter.

Johnson's sudden demise at age 59 in July of 1774 set the stage for what is known as Lord Dunmore's war. Ohio Valley Shawnees, Delawares and Mingos (expatriate western Iroquois) clashed with 100 English Virginia militia at Point Pleasant, West Virginia on October 10, 1774.

The defeat of the allied tribes could be considered a green light for patriot colonials to finally openly break with England.

The last chapter also references the American Revolution and the breaking-up of the two centuries old Long House Confederacy with Mohawks, Cayugas and Senecas under Joseph Brant; Seneca, Corn Planter and the Montours brothers siding with England. Oneidas and Tuscarora under the Spencer brothers and Hanyarrie Doxstader sided with the patriots.

This 211 page narrative is complicated but worth the effort to read.

Reviewed by Ken Dunn Spring Valley, CA.
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Author:Dunn, Ken
Publication:Whispering Wind
Article Type:Book review
Date:Nov 1, 2015
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