*Governor Burnet's Instructions to Captain Peter Schuyler, Jr.

You are with all Expedition to go with this Company of Young Men that are willing to Settle in the Sinnekes Country for a twelve month to [derive] a Trade with the far Indians that come from the upper Lakes, and Endeavour by all Suitable means to persuade them to come and Trade at Albany or with this New Settlement.

You are not to Trade with the four hithermost Nations but to carry your goods as farr as the Sinnekes Country to Trade with them or any other Indian Nations that come thither.

You are to make a Settlement or Trading House either at Irondequate or any other Convenient place on this Side of Cadarachqui Lake upon the Land belonging to the Sinnekes, and use all Lawfull means to draw the furr Trade thither by Sending Notice to the farr Indians that you are settled there for their ease and Incouragment by my order, and that they may be assured they shall have Goods Cheaper here than Ever the French can afford them at Canada for the French must have the principall Indian goods from England, not having them of their own.

You are also to acquaint all the far Indians that I have an absolute promise and Engagement from the five Nations that will not only suffer them to pass freely and peaceably through their Country, but will give them all due Encouragment and sweep and keep the Path open and Clean when ever theyintend to come and Trade with this Province.

Being informed that there are Sundry French Men called by the Dutch Bush Loopers and by the French Coureurs Dubois who have for several years abandon'd the French Colony of Canada and live wholly among the Indians if any such come to Trade with you, with their furrs you may supply them and give them all possible Incouragement to come hither where they shall be supplyed with Indian Goods much Cheaper than at Canada.

Altho the place where you Settle be Land belonging to the Crown of Great Britain both by the Surrender of the Natives and the Treaty of Peace with France, nevertheless you are to Send out Skouts and Spyes and be upon your Guard the French not being to be Trusted who will use all means to prevent the far Indians comeing to Trade with you or their comeing to Albany.

You are to keep an exact Dyary or Journall of all your proceedings of any consequence, and keep a constant Correspondance with the Commissioners of the Indian affairs at Albany, whom I will order to give me An Account thereof from time to time, and whenever you shall receive directions from me to Treat with the Sinnekes or any of the five Nations you are to be carefull to minute down your proceedings And their Answers, and to send them to me with the first opportunity incloseing them to the Commissioners of the Indian affairs who will forward them with all Expedition, and if any matters of great moment and fit to be kept very Secret do occur you are to Send an Account thereof to me in a Letter sealed which may be inclosed to the Commissioners in order to be forwarded, and you are not obliged to mention such matters in your Letter to the Commissioners.

When you come to the Sinnekes Country you are to give them a Belt of Wampum in token that they are to give Credit to you as my Agent to Treat with them of all matters relating to the Publick Service and the benefit of the Trade, and at your desire to furnish you with a Number of their People as you shall want for your assistance and safety on such Conditions as you and they can agree on.

When you have Pitch'd upon a convenient place for a Trading House you are to Endeavour to purchase a Tract of Land in the King's Name and to agree with the Sinnekes for it which shall be paid by the Publick in order that it may be granted by Patent to those that shall be the first setlefs there for their Incouragement

You are not to hinder or molest any other British Subjects who are willing to Trade there on their own hazard and Account for any Indian Goods Rum only Excepted. You are to Communicate to the Company such Articles of your Instructions as shall be proper for their regulation from time to time.

If you Judge it necessary you may send one or two of your Company either among the far Indians or to come to Albany as the necessary Service of the Company shall require but not above two of the said Company of which Yourself may be one be Permitted to be absent at one time.

When you are about to be absent yourself from the said settlement you are to leave a Copy of such part of of these Instructions with the Lieut as you Judge necessary for his regulation.

All the Goods and merchandize that you and said Company shall take along with you are to be upon one Joint Stock and Account and all your profitt and Losse to be the same,

Given under my hand at the Manor of Livingston the Eleventh Day of September' in the Eighth year of his Majestys Reign Annoq Dom. 1721.

[Additional instructions for Capt. Schuyler]

Whereas it is thought of great use to the British Interest to have a Settlement upon the nearest part of the lake Erie near the falls of Niagara you are to Endeavour to purchase in his Majestys name of the Sinnekes or other native propriators all such Lands above the falls of Niagara fifty miles to the southward of the said falls which they can dispose off.

You are to have a Copy of my Propositions to the five Nations and their Answer and to use your utmost Endeavour that they do perform all that they have promised therein and that none of these Instructions be shewn to any Person or Persons but what you shall think necessary to communicate to the Lieut and the rest of the Company.

The names of the persons forming this Company were: Peter Schuyler, Jr., Captain; Jacob Verplank, Lieutenant; Gilleyn Verplank, Johannis Visger, Jr., Harmanus Schuyler, Johannis Van den Bergh, Peter Groenendyck and David Van der Heyden

[sic] They returned to Albany in September 1722. [ New-York Papers, Co., 80. ]


Governor Burnet's instructions to Peter Schuyler, Jr. company of Albany traders regarding the establishment of a settlement on Lake Erie. Printed in NYCD, V, pp. 641-42.

Transformed from an online source by SB. Some spelling and punctuation adjustment added. Bracketed information denotes undefined information given on the document.

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first posted: 11/10/10