Notwithstanding the gay round of entertainment in which he joined, Brant had been attending to the business matters that had brought him to England. He had sent a letter relative to the affairs of the Six Nations to Lord Sydney, the secretary of state for Colonial Affairs, and he delivered a speech upon the same topic in Sydney’s presence. He told him of the losses sustained by the Indians, and hoped that a speedy settlement would be made with them by the British government. ’On my mentioning these matters, since my arrival in England,’ wrote Brant, ’I am informed that orders are given that this shall be done; which will give great relief and satisfaction to those faithful Indians, who will have spirit to go on, and their hearts [will] be filled with gratitude for the King, their father’s, kindness.’
Just before leaving for America, Brant received a letter from Lord Sydney saying that King George desired that the red men should receive justice. ‘His Majesty,’ said Sydney, ’in consideration of the zealous and hearty exertions of his Indian allies in the support of his cause, and as a proof of his friendly disposition toward them, has been graciously pleased to consent that the losses already certified by the Superintendent-General shall be made good.’
STATESMAN OF THE TRIBES
When Brant appeared again in the open councils of his people, he found the red men still in a fretful mood. The Treaty of Fort Stanwix was a source of constant aggravation to them. The white settlers were pressing over their frontiers so boldly that the Indians felt that their lands must sooner or later slip from their grasp. England feared an outbreak of war, and the Indians believed that in such a case she would aid them. A proof of this was the manner in which she was keeping garrisons in the western posts which she had agreed to surrender. It is now conceded that this was done because the United States had failed to live up to its pledges. Be that as it may, Joseph Brant was expected in case of hostilities to organize the strong league of native races that he had planned to form.
In November 1786 a great council of Indian tribes was held at Huron Village, on the Detroit river. This was well attended, and its deliberations were very grave. An address, probably written by Brant, was sent by order of the assembled Indians to the Congress of the United States. Peace was desired, but it would be necessary for the Congressional representatives to treat with the redskins as a whole; difficulties had been engendered because the United States had entered into negotiations with separate tribes—’kindled council-fires wherever it saw fit’—without ever deigning to consult the Indians as a whole; this, affirmed the address, must happen no longer.