John and Edmund Cartlidge Kill an Indian

from Wilson Armistead, Memoirs of James Logan (London: Charles Gilpin, 1849), 78-85.

In the spring of 1722, an Indian of the Five Nations was barbarously killed within the limits of the province, somewhere above Conestogoe. This murder was supposed to be perpetrated by one or two persons of the name of Cartlidge. The Governor immediately commissioned James Logan and Colonel French to examine into the case, and, after due inquiry, the government made satisfaction to the Five Nations -- at whose request the suspected murderers were spared.

The favourable result of this is alluded to by Hannah Penn in the following letter to Governor Keith, dated 3d Month, 20th, 1724: --

'We have been very much pleased with the happy event of the treaty at Albany, after the unfortunate death of the Indian who lost his life in the province; and we cannot but approve the conduct of the Government in that affair, and acknowledge not only the care of the Governor himself, but also of those gentlemen who undertook so fatiguing a journey for the service of the public. We hope and desire the same care of those poor people, the Indians, may still be continued; that the same measures my husband first established with them may be constantly pursued, and that all treaties with them may be managed with their full concurrence and approbation.'

The history of this case is pretty fully set forth in the minutes of Council: and the intercourse with the Indians thereupon forms a very interesting and creditable chapter of Pennsylvania diplomacy, under the auspices of Quakerism, and a great contrast, indeed, to the policy which has usually been practised by civilized men, in their transactions with those whom they have been pleased to designate savages, and too often to treat as brutes.

It appears that information of this murder was brought to the Governor on the 6th of 3d Month, 1722, and forthwith announced by him to the Council, 'that he might consult with them on the most proper measures to be taken on so extraordinary an occasion.' It was at once determined that James Logan, as Secretary, and Colonel French, a member of the board, should proceed without delay, with the coroner, to 'Conestogoe,' near which place the Indian was killed, to confer with the natives there, and ascertain the facts of this unhappy occurrence. On the 7th they started, sending before them the high-sheriff of the county of Chester, 'with a proper warrant to apprehend the two brothers, John and Edward Cartlidge, the reputed murderers.' On the evening of the 9th they reached their destination, near where the city of Lancaster now stands, but then a wilderness. John Cartlidge was already in custody, and on the next day his brother was arrested. A council was immediately called, which met on the 14th; at which were present, Civility, Tannacharoe, Gunnehatatorooja, Toweena, and other old men of the Conestogoe Indians; Savannah, chief of the Shawnese; Winjack, chief of the Ganawese; Tekachroon, a Cayoogoe; Oweeyekanowa and Noshtarghkamen, Delawares; and divers English and Indians.

James Logan, the Secretary, laying down a belt of wampum on the board before them, spoke to the Indians as follows: --

'Friends and brethren, -- William Penn, our and your father, when he first settled this country with English subjects, made a firm league of friendship and brotherhood with all the Indians then in these parts, and agreed that both you and his people should be all as one flesh and blood. The same league has often been renewed by himself, and other Governors under him, with their councils, held as well in this place where we now are, at Philadelphia, and other places. Both his people and yours have hitherto inviolably observed these leagues, so that scarcely any one injury has been done, nor any one complaint made on either side, except one for the death of La Tour and his company, for nearly forty years past, and of this you are all fully sensible.

'Yet as all human affairs are liable to accidents, which sometimes fall out even between brethren of the same family, though issuing from the same parents, so now your good friend, our Governor, and his Council, having heard, by report only, that one of our brethren had lost his life by some act of violence alleged to be doe by some of our people; without receiving any notice or complaint of it from you, but moved with a great concern for the loss and unhappiness of the accident, like true friends and brothers, the very next day sent us two, Colonel French and me, first, to condole with you, which we now do very heartily, and next, by the full powers with which we are invested, to inquire how the matter came to pass, that justice may be done, and satisfaction made, according to the firm leagues that have from time to time been made between us and you. For we will suffer no injury to be done to any of you, without punishing the offenders according to our laws, nor must we receive any without just satisfaction made to us, for so the laws of friendship and the leagues between us require,' &c.

Logan's speech being ended, the witnesses, all Indians, were examined. From their testimony it appeared that Sawantaeny had pitched his wigwam, and set his traps, on the banks of the Mannakassy, a branch of the Potomac, and that the Cartlidges coming to trade with him for skins, John had first presented, and then sold him some rum, upon which he became intoxicated and then importuned for more, and persisted in his importunities till the trader, irritated, struck him with so much violence that he died.

Eight hours were spent in the investigation, when the council adjourned for the day; the commissioners distributing among the Indians a hundredweight of bread and meat, and two gallons of rum made into punch. Next day the Indians were requested to send a messenger with the belt of wampum to the Senecas, to whom the deceased belonged, with a joint message; but they informed the commissioners that they could not join any words of their own to the present of another, 'for no such thing was ever practised by the Indians, and they had no belt ready of their own, otherwise they would send it.' The Conestogoe Indian, 'Civility,' was then privately informed that there was another belt which they might take as their own. This pleased him, and the punctilios were adjusted, the messenger agreed upon, and the following charge given him, viz.: --

'Deliver this belt from the Governor and Government of Pennsylvania to the king or chief of the Senecas, and say that the words it brings are these: -- William Penn made a firm peace and league with the Indians in these parts near forty years ago, which league has often been renewed, and never broken. But an unhappy accident has lately befallen us. One of our brethren and your people has lost his life by some of our people. Rum was the first cause of it. He was warm, and brought his gun in anger against them. They were afraid of his gun, took it from him, wounded him, and he died. Our Governor, on the first news of it, sent us, two of his council, to inquire into it. We have done so, and we are now taking the offenders to Philadelphia to answer for their fault. We send these shrouds to cover our dead brother, and this belt to wipe away tears; and when we know your mind, you shall have all further reasonable satisfaction for the loss.'

The next morning a number of the old Indians visited the commissioners at their departure with Cartlidge, whose wife grieved almost to distraction, and endeavoured to force herself and her child with him, but was at length prevailed upon to stay. The woman's sorrows being loud, the Indians went in to comfort her.

The commissioners returned to Philadelphia, and in eighteen days the messenger to the Senecas (one of the Five Nations) was announced, in company of several Conestogoes, with their reply.

Satcheechoe delivered the answer of the Five Nations, viz., 'That James Logan came up to Conestogoe from the Governor, on the news of one of their cousins being killed, to acquaint them of our great sorrow for the unhappy accident, and had delivered a belt of wampum to wipe away their tears; they had received that belt, and now returned another also to wipe away ours.

'He delivers another belt of wampum, and says that they are thus far well pleased in what is done; that they hope the bones of the dead man will be taken care of and kept in memory, and that they desire a good understanding may be preserved between them and us. That they have received also from the Governor two shrouds, which they will keep as long as they live, but do not receive them as ay satisfaction for the loss of their brother.

'He presents another belt, and says, that when James Logan delivered the belt to be sent to them, he said it was desired that two of their kings or chief men might come down to us, to agree upon what satisfaction should be made to them for the loss of their relation; that all things being well understood between them and us, no heart burning should be left. They accepted that belt and message, and were willing that there should be no heart burning; and, as a token of it, they sent this belt now presented in return, but they would not come to us on this occasion.

'He presents another belt from the chief of the Five Nations, who says this Government sent up two members of council to Conestogoe upon this business; but two persons were not sufficient to make it up, and answer for a whole country. They expect a greater number of people, and now send this belt to require the Governor to go up to him. For as the offence was committed by the English, it is the Governor's duty to go up to them, and not theirs to come to us. That this belt is to show the Governor that he may come safely to them, and when he is there all things shall be fully accommodated. That they are now making war with the Cheekaragoes, but on the Governor's coming, they may make peace with those people, and so have peace with all.

'He presents four small strings of wampum, and says that these are sent as a string to draw away the Governor, as by the arm immediately, even this day, without any loss of time, that all may be friends together.'

The Governor and Council took a week to deliberate upon this requisition. The message from the Five Nations bespoke irritation allayed, but not subdued. More soothing measures were needful. To comply fully with the Indians' demand might not be consistent with dignity and self-respect, and a middle course was agreed upon. The Governor, in a long speech, abounding in friendly expressions, assured them that his grief still remained; that the message from Conestogoe was sent to express sorrow, and not in lieu of satisfaction; that the offenders should be dealt with according to English law, as if the deceased were English, but that he could not visit Saccuncheuta, their head chief, at his habitation. He reminded them of the grand council to be held that summer at Albany, by their sachems and the Governors of New York and Virginia, and hoped to meet him there. He added, 'I hear that our brother who is dead was a near kinsman to my great friend Saccuncheuta, I therefore send him a mourning ring off my own finger, to be put on his finger, to signify that I will always have the same regard for his kindred as if they were my own kindred.'

The message was also accompanied by a present for the head chief of the Five Nations.

In about eleven weeks Satcheechoe returned from his mission, with a highly gratifying reply: --

'The great king of the Five Nations is sorry for the death of the Indian that was killed, for he was his own flesh and blood; he believes the Governor is also sorry for it; but now it is done there is no help for it, nor that the Governor should be angry and and spare him for some time, and put him to death afterwards. One life is enough to be lost; there should not two die; the king's heart is good to the Governor and all the English. One struck a gentleman with a knife at Albany; they were sorry for it; but it was made up, and nobody was put to death for it. So they desire John Cartlidge may not die for this; they would not have him killed. John Cartlidge has been a long time bound, and they desire he may be bound no longer.

'When the Governor comes to Albany they will take him by the hand, and their hearts shall be joined as their hands together. The Five Nations will be glad to see the Governor; they have been busy getting victuals, as fish out of the rivers, and some venison from the woods; but now squashes and pompions are come they will be able to travel.

'Their king is an old man, and could not come hither; he cannot travel as a young man, but he will come to Albany to see the Governor there, who, he hopes, will come in ten days.'

The grand council assembled on the 7th of 9th Month. Sir William Keith addressed the sachems at length, and closed his discourse with these words: -- 'I have brought these goods with me to bind my words, viz., five pieces of shrouds for clothing, five casks of powder, and five hundred-weight of lead, to encourage your hunting, that you may grow rich and strong; and I desire you may receive them as a pledge of our firm resolution to live in perpetual peace, and under the strongest ties of friendship with the Five Nations; that you will ever remember us as your brethren, and not suffer your young men, when they travel, to hurt any of our inhabitants, no more than they would their own, or to kill their cattle and stock. And that this visit, and the covenant chain which is hereby brightened, may be recorded in everlasting remembrance, to be sent down to your and our children, and to our children's children; to last as long as the mountains and rivers, and the sun and moon shall endure.

'I also give you those two pieces of blankets, to wipe away and dry up the blood that has been spilt, and to cover it so as it may never be seen or heard of any more.'

Tanachaha replied, 'We have well considered all you have spoken, and like it well, because it is only the renewing of former leagues and treaties made between the Government of Pennsylvania and us of the Five Nations, which we always believed we were obliged to keep. And as to the accident of one of our friends being killed by some of your people, which has happened by misfortune, and against your will, we say that we are all in peace; we think it hard the persons who killed our friend and brother should suffer, and we do, in the name of all the Five Nations, forgive the offence, and desire you will likewise forgive it, and that the men who did it may be released from prison, and set at liberty, to go whither they please; and we shall esteem that as a mark of regard and friendship for the Five Nations, and as a farther confirmation of this treaty.

'We are glad you have wiped and covered the blood of our dear friend and brother, and we desire the same may be forgotten, so that it may never be more mentioned or remembered. We [present you with] a few beaver, bear, and dressed skins, and so conclude.'

The Indians then desired to know of the Governor, if the men who were in prison for killing their friend and brother were discharged. The Governor answered, that as soon as he returned to Philadelphia he would give such orders in that affair as should fully answer the request of the Five Nations, in order to confirm the friendship that was so happily renewed and established by this treaty.