“with a countenance that would not have dishonored royalty” — Indian Head Cent Coin

Today, the Indian Head Cent Coin remembers the Indian chiefs and their audience with Queen Anne in England on April 19, 1710.

The Papers Read Before the Herkimer County Historical Society compiled by Arthur T. Smith, Secretary of the Society, included King Hendrick, An Address by W. Max Reid, of Amsterdam, delivered April 12, 1902.

His paper gave an account of the visit to the Queen in 1710. An excerpt:


The continual warfare between the Five Nations and the French and their Indian allies, and the frequent incursions of the French and Algonquins in the Mohawk Valley was a source of continual terror and alarm to the frontiersmen of New York and New England, and efforts were frequently made to induce the home government to adopt strenuous measures to drive the French out of Canada and thereby give peace to the whole border.

There was no man in the whole province who had more extended views of the importance of driving the French out of Canada than Colonel Peter Schuyler.

To preserve the friendship of the Five Nations, without which it would be impossible to prevent the frontier from becoming a field of blood, he studied all the arts of insinuating himself into their favor, he gave them all possible encouragement and assistance, and very much impaired his own fortune by his liberality to their chiefs.

They never came to Albany but what they resorted to his house, and even dined at his table; and by this means he obtained all ascendency over them which was attended with good consequences to the province.

Impressed with a strong sense of the necessity of some vigorous measures against the French, he resolved to make a voyage to England at his private expense, the better to make known to the ministry the absolute necessity of reducing Canada to the crown of Great Britain.

For that purpose he proposed to take with him to Queen Anne’s court five Indian chiefs representing the Five Nations.

Therefore in due time the journey was made and the embassy, consisting of Peter Schuyler, Colonel Nicholson, the Mohawk chiefs Hendrick and Brandt, and three other sachems, together with Abraham Schuyler as interpreter, arrived in London after a voyage of considerable discomfort to the Indians.

It is recorded that three Sachems and their interpreter, Abraham Schuyler, were presented to the Lords of the Board of Trade, April 25, 1710.

“The arrival of the Five Sachems in England made great bruit throughout the kingdom, the mob followed wherever they went and small cuts of them were sold to the people.”

We can imagine the appearance of those five stalwart Iroquois on their first arrival in the crowded Streets of London, led by Hendrick.

Tall and commanding, with his princely form clad in the barbaric costume of the Mohawk, with a countenance that would not have dishonored royalty, he was a very striking figure.

The garments of all the Sachems of the finest finished buckskin, profusely decorated with wampum, their raven hair adorned with bands of silver and eagle’s feathers, while each chief was enveloped with a bright colored and gaily decorated blanket, gracefully draped around their majestic forms.

Even the lines of Vermillion and black, with which their faces were seamed, did not detract the least from their noble countenances or the stoic, independent demeanor of those typical Amerinds.

At this time Queen Anne’s court was in mourning for Prince George of Denmark, a brother of the king of Denmark, and husband of Queen Anne.

Thinking it more seemly and at the same time having an eye to the picturesque, she resolved that the Sachems, as guests of the Queen, be also clothed in mourning; and they were, therefore, turned over to the “dressers of the playhouse,” who were advised by the Queen to make a show of them.

Whereupon they were dressed in black underclothes made after the British pattern, with scarlet ingrain cloth mantles edged with gold thrown over the black garments in place of a blanket.

Imagine Hendrick and his companions in short breeches and fine silk stockings, shoes with ornamental buckles, long coat and waistcoat, frilled shirt and cocked hat.

It is said that more than ordinary solemnity attended the audience they had with her majesty.

Sir James Cotterell conducted them in two coaches to St. James’, and the Lord Chamberlain introduced them into the royal presence.

Their speech on April 19, 1710, has been preserved:

“Great Queen: We have undertaken a long voyage, which none of our predecessors could be prevailed upon to undertake, to see our great Queen and relate to her those things which we thought absolutely necessary for the good of her, and us, her allies, on the other side the water.

“We doubt not but out great Queen has been acquainted with our long and tedious war in conjunction with her children against her enemies, the French; and that we have been as a strong wall for their security, even to the loss of our best men.

“We were mightily rejoiced when we heard our great Queen had resolved to send an army to reduce Canada, and immediately in token of friendship, we hung up the kettle and took up the hatchet, and with one consent assisted Colonel Nicholson in making preparations on this side the lake; but at length we were told our great Queen, by some important affairs was prevented in her design at present, which made us sorrowful, lest the French, who has hitherto dreaded us, should think us unable to make War against them.

“The reduction of Canada is of great weight to our free hunting, so that if our great Queen should be not mindful of us, we must with our families forsake our country and seek other habitations, or stand neuter, either of which would be much against our inclinations.

“In token of the sincerity of these nations, we do in their names, present our great Queen with belts of wampum, and in hopes of our great Queen’s favor, leave it to her most gracious consideration.”

In London they were called the Indian “kings”, which name, given by the English, clung to Hendrick all of his life, and is used today when we speak of him, “King Hendrick.”


The Indian Head Cent Coin shows with an image of Hendrick Tejonihokarawa by the artist John Verelst, circa early 1700s.

Indian Head Cent Coin