Page images
PDF
EPUB

To the Commissioners of the United States. Brothers : The deputies we sent to you did not fully explain our meaning; we have therefore sent others, to meet you once more, that you may fully understand the great question we have to ask of you, and to which we expect an explicit answer in writing. Brothers: You are sent here by the United States, in order to make peace with us, the confederate Indians. Brothers: You know very well that the boundary line, which was run between the white people and us, at the treaty of Fort Stanwix, was the river Ohio. Brothers: If you seriously design to make a irm and lasting peace, you will immediately remove all your people from our side of that river. Brothers : We therefore ask you, are you fully authorized by the United States to continue, and firmly fix on the Ohio river, as the boundary line between your people and ours? Done in general council at the foot of thə Maumee Rapids, 27th July, 1793, in behalf of ourselves, and the whole confederacy, and agreed to in a full council.

WYANDOTS-Bear. POTTAWATTAMIES-Fish.
DELAWARES--Turtle. OTTAWAS.
SHAWANEES-Snake. CONNOYS—Turkey.
MIAMIES.

CHIPPEWAS.
MINGOES-Snipe.

MUNSEES." In the afternoon of the succeeding day, the commissioners of the United States delivered to the deputation of Indians, the following answer, in writing:

Speech of the Commissioners of the United States to the Deputies of the Confederated Indian nations, assembled at the Rapids of the Maumee river :

“ Brothers: You yesterday addressed us, mentioning a former deputation who met us at Niagara. At that meeting, you said, we did not come to a right understanding; that your deputies did not fully explain your meaning to us, nor we ours to them: that you desired we might rightly understand each other, and therefore thought it best that what you had to say should be put into writing. Then, handing us a paper, you

said, here is the meaning of our hearts.' Brothers: That paper is directed to the commissioners of the United States, and speaks to them these words, viz: [Here is repeated the written address of the Indians.]

“ Brothers, the deputies present: We have now repeated the words contained in the paper which you delivered to us; and those words are interpreted to you. We presume the interpretation agrees with your idea of the contents of the paper. It is expressed to be signed by the Wyandots, Delawares, Miamies, Shawanees, Mingoes, Pottawattamies, Ottawas, Connoys, Chippewas, and Munsees, in behalf of themselves and the whole confederacy, and agreed to in full council.

“ Brothers : We are a little surprised at the suggestion, that, in the conference at Niagara, we did not come to a right understanding, and that your deputies did not fully explain your meaning. Those deputies appeared to be men of good understanding, and when we saw them they were perfectly sober: in short, we never saw men in public council more attentive, or behave with more propriety. We could not, therefore, suppose they could mistake your meaning or ours. Certainly we were sufficiently explicit, for, in plain terms we declared, that in order to establish a just and permanent peace, some concessions would be necessary, on your part as well as on ours.' These words, brothers, are a part of our speech to your deputies; and that speech, they assured us they fully understood. What those concessions should be, on both sides, and where the boundary line should be fixed, were proper subjects of discussion, at the treaty, when we should speak face to face. This, we are certain would be the best way to remove all difficulties. But your nations have adopted another mode, which, by keeping us at a distance, prevents our knowing each other, and keeps alive those jealousies which are the greatest obstacles to a peace. We are, therefore, desirous of meeting your nations in full council, without more delay. We have already waited in this province sixty days beyond the time appointed for opening the treaty.

“ Brothers: We have now expressed our opinion of the proper mode of settling the differences between you and the United States; but, as your nations have desired answers to certain questions, previous to our meeting, and we are disposed to act with frankness and sincerity, we will give you an explicit answer to the great question you have now proposed to us. But, before we do this, we think it necessary to look back to some former transactions, and we desire you patiently to hear us.

“ Brothers: We do know very well, that, at the treaty of Fort Stanwix, twenty-five years ago, the river Ohio was agreed on, as the boundary line between you and the white people of the British colonies; and, we all know, that, about seven years after that boundary was fixed, a quarrel broke out between your father, the King of Great Britain, and the people of those colonies, which are now the United States. This quarrel was ended by the treaty of peace, made with the King, about ten years ago, by which the Great Lakes, and the waters which unite them, were, by him, declared to be the boundaries of the United States.

“ Brothers: Peace having been thus made, between the King of Great Britain and the United States, it remained to make peace between them and the Indian nations who had taken part with the King: for this purpose, commissioners were appointed, who sent messages to all those Indian nations, inviting them to come and make peace. The first treaty was held about nine years ago, at Fort Stanwix, with the Six Nations, which has stood firm and unviolated to this day. The next treaty was made about ninety days after, at Fort McIntosh, with the half king of the Wyandots, Captain Pipe, and other chiefs, in behalf of the Wyandot, Delaware, Ottawa, and Chippewa nations. Afterwards treaties were made with divers Indian nations south of the Ohio river; and the next treaty was made with Ka-kia-pilathy, here present, and other Shawanee chiefs, in behalf of the Shawanee nation, at the mouth of the Great Miami, which runs into the Ohio.

“Brothers: The commissioners who conducted the treaties in behalf of the United States, sent the papers containing them to the Great Council of the States, who, supposing them satisfactory to the nations treated with, proceeded to dispose of large tracts of land thereby ceded, and a great number of people removed from other parts of the United States, and settled upon them: also many families of your ancient fathers, the French, came over the great waters, and settled upon a part of the same lands.*

“Brothers: After some time, it appeared that a number of people in your nations were dissatisfied with the treaties of Fort McIntosh and Miami: therefore, the Great Council of the United States appointed Governor St. Clair their commissioner, with full powers, for the purpose of removing all causes of controversy, regulating trade, and settling boundaries, between the Indian nations in the northern department and the United States. He accordingly sent messages, inviting all the nations concerned to meet him at a council fire which he kindled at the falls of the Muskingum. While he was waiting for them, some mischief happened at that place, and the fire was put out: so he kindled a council fire at Fort Harmar, where near six hundred Indians of different nations attended. The Six Nations then renewed and confirmed the treaty of Fort Stanwix; and the Wyandots and Delawares renewed and confirmed the treaty of Fort McIntosh: some Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawattamies, and Sacs, were also parties to the treaty of Fort Harmar.

“ Brothers: All these treaties we have here with us. We have also the speeches of many chiefs who attended them, and who voluntarily declared their satisfaction with the terms of the treaties.

“Brothers: After making all these treaties, and after hearing the chiefs express freely their satisfaction with them, the United States expected to enjoy peace, and quietly to hold the lands ceded by them. Accordingly large tracts have been sold and settled, as before mentioned. And, now, brothers, we answer explicitly, that, for the reasons here stated to you, it is impossible to make the river Ohio the boundary between your people and the people of the United States.

* The French settlement at Gallipolis.

“ Brothers: You are men of understanding, and if you consider the customs of white people, the great expenses which attend their settling in a new country, the nature of their improvements, in building houses and barns, and clearing and fencing their lands, how valuable the lands are thus rendered, and thence how dear they are to them, you will see that it is now impracticable to remove our people from the northern side of the Ohio. Your brothers, the English, know the nature of white people, and they know, that, under the circumstances which we have mentioned, the United States cannot make the Ohio the boundary between you and us.

“Brothers: You seem to consider all the lands in dispute on your side of the Ohio, as claimed by the United States; but suffer us to remind you that a large tract was sold by the Wyandot and Delaware nations to the state of Pennsylvania. This tract lies east of a line drawn from the mouth of Beaver creek, at the Ohio, due north to Lake Erie. This line is the western boundary of Pennsylvania, as claimed under the charter given by the King of England to your ancient friend William Penn: of this sale made by the Wyandot and Delaware nations, to the state of Pennsylvania, we have never heard any complaint.

“ Brothers: We are, on this occasion, obliged to make a long speech. We again desire you to hear us patiently. The business is of the highest importance, and a great many words are necessary fully to explain it: for we desire you may perfectly understand us; and there is no danger of your forgetting what we say, because we will give you our speech in writing.

“Brothers: We have explicitly declared to you, that we cannot now make the Ohio river the boundary between us. This agrees with our speech to your deputies at Niagara, 'that in order to establish a just and permanent peace, some concessions would be necessary on your part, as well as on ours.'

“ Brothers: The concessions which we think necessary on

« PreviousContinue »