A Question of Loyalties
Home Radio Television Curio.ca
CAPH banner left CAPH banner centre CAPH banner right
A Question of Loyalties
Joseph Brant
Header 3 Header 4 Header 5
History Home
Introduction
The winter of 1775 had begun turning the river to ice when the ship Adamant cleared the St.
Joseph Brant, a Mohawk chief, was Britain's key Indian ally during the American Revolution. (As portrayed by Eric Schweig in Canada: A People's History)
Joseph Brant, a Mohawk chief, was Britain's key Indian ally during the American Revolution. (As portrayed by Eric Schweig in Canada: A People's History)
Lawrence and set sail for England. On board was a passenger carrying a bold proposition for King George III.

Joseph Brant, an articulate, dramatic-looking man, was a Mohawk chief who had been educated in English and straddled two cultures without effort. His Mohawk name was Thayendanegea: He Who Places Two Bets.

On this voyage Brant was the emissary of the Six Nations Confederacy: the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora. The waves of white settlers had already begun to squeeze the tribes from their lands in northern New York. Brant believed an independent United States would swallow up what remained.

"The Mohawks have been very badly treated in that country," he told Lord George Germain, secretary of state for the American Colonies.
Quebec Governor Guy Carleton had few resources to defend Canada against the United States during the American Revolution. (As portrayed by Nigel Bennett in Canada: A People's History)
Quebec Governor Guy Carleton had few resources to defend Canada against the United States during the American Revolution. (As portrayed by Nigel Bennett in Canada: A People's History)
"It is very hard when we have let the King's subjects have so much of our lands for so little value, they should want to cheat us... of the small spots we have left for our women and children to live on. We are tired out in making complaints and getting no redress."

Quebec Governor Guy Carleton had refused Brant's offer to fight the Americans, and used the Indians only as scouts. In 1775, Brant sailed to London to offer his services directly to King George III.

In London, Brant was celebrated as an exotic. Fleet Street journalists clamored for interviews about his impressions of London. He told them what he chiefly admired in London were the ladies and the horses.

After a performance of Romeo and Juliet he remarked on the couple's protracted courtship. "If my people were to make love in that way," he observed, "our race would be extinct in two generations."

Brant warned London of a more pressing extinction. "We think the rebels will ruin us at last if we go on as we do, one year after another, doing nothing... we are in between two hells."

Brant told reporters that his real business in London was to make a deal. And by the time he sat for fashionable artist George Romney, he had it. Britain agreed to give back Indian lands in America and in return Brant would raise the tomahawk against the King's enemies.


top of page

Back
Butler's Rangers

Current Topic:
A Question of Loyalties
Next
Exodus and Roots
Joseph Brant
Introduction
Refugees on Their Own Land
Betrayal and Compensation
NEXT CHAPTER:
Freedom and a Farm

history home | explore the episodes | biographies | teacher resources | bibliography | games and puzzles | sitemap | contact us
cbc home | tv episode summaries | merchandise | press releases | behind the scenes | audio/video

copyright � 2001 CBC