47 | To Jeffery Amherst

    Boston May 4. 1761


    A few days ago I made a discovery of a Vessel trading to the Missisippi: She had sent her cargo up to Town & lay 2 miles below the Castle amongst the Islands. I sent the Sheriff244 with a party from the Castle, who seized her with two Men on board, whom I have kept in Custody at the Castle.245 I have examined them sevral times, & have made full discovery of the iniquitous trade, which is carried on from Jamaica to New Orleans, whereby the Cherokees are enabled to maintain their War against Carolina. As I have not yet finished the examination or pursuit of these offenders, I cant acquaint you with particulars now: but such as relate to the state of the Enemy I would by no means postpone.

    The most intelligent of these prisoners informs me that he was taken at Fort Loudon246 together with the other of these two Men & carried by the Indians to New Orleans & there delivered to the French & by them kept prisoners, till they were put on board this sloop which sailed the same day. From Fort Loudon He went to Fort Cherokee247 500 miles by water in about 4 weeks: This is a log Fort pretty well gunned & garrisoned. For thence by water in 5 days to Mississippi Town: here he saw a large Log fort but could not see any guns in it or in the Town. This stage would take 30 days by land being round about.248 From thence to Illinois 18 miles where is a stone fort mounted with 16 or 20 guns, among which are some 9 pounders & garrisoned by about 200 regulars.249 From thence they passed by a little fort called Natchee’ fort with about 150 men but no great guns that he saw,250 & from thence to New Orleans. From fort Cherokee to New Orleans is called 500 leagues, & yet they went it in 20 days proceeding by water day & night.

    New Orleans has no fort & is only defended by palisades about 6 inches thick: there are many guns, but they all lie upon the ground unmounted, not one being Mounted that he could see. They have no regular forces but the whole Country is armed & do duty by turns. Altho’ they are furnished by the English, yet they want Ammunition, the Indians carrying it off as fast as it comes in. A Flag of truce from Jamaica251 brought in a 1000 weight of powder at a time; & yet soon after they were obliged to mount guard without one round. He sayes He sees nothing to hinder a frigate of War from coming close to the Town: A french frigate of 50 guns, which was designed for Canada, was lying there, when he came away. They say that they expect the English & named Sr William Johnson:252 that they shall fire a few guns for their credit, & then surrender; for they know the English will leave them in possession of their habitations.

    This Account I had from him this Morning: I had before set people to talk with him on this Subject; & I had one of them by, when I examined him & he was quite consistent. The other spoke to the same purpose to some of my people but not so fully: I did not examine him myself. As soon as I have done with this Man I will send him to you: he sayes he’ll go Any where you that he shall be orderd & should be glad to settle there when it is subdued.

    I am with great regard Sr Your most obedient humble Servant

    Fra. Bernard

    His Exlency Genl Amherst

    ALS, RC WO 34/26, ff 96-97.