Saturday, June 7, 2014

Journal of the proceedings of the commissioners appointed to treat with the southern Indians [with accompanying] letter[s], 1785 [to] 1786

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Document: TCC794

Journal of the proceedings of the commissioners appointed to treat with the southern Indians [with accompanying] letter[s], 1785 [to] 1786

date: 1785 -- 1786
extent: 22p
summary: This is a copy of a journal of the proceedings between the United States commissioners appointed to treat with the southern Indians, Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens, Joseph Martin, and Lachlan McIntosh, and those Indian groups themselves, the Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws. The journal entries run from January 7, 1786 to January 15, 1786 and document negotiation talks between the commissioners and Chickasaw leaders such as Piomingo. Included are copies of correspondence between Colonel William Blount, agent for the state of North Carolina, and the commissioners, dated November 1785. Blount expresses his opposition to the federal commissioners' treaty with the Cherokees (ostensibly the Treaty of Hopewell, November 28, 1785), arguing that it violates the North Carolina constitution. A copy of a letter from the commissioners to Governor William Moultrie of South Carolina, dated February 6, 1786, is also included in this document. The commissioners inform Moultrie that they have entered into treaties with the Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws and encourage him to adhere to the terms of these treaties and previous ones, specifically requesting that Indian children that are being held in slavery by a man named Andrew Williamson be returned to their families. Treaties relative to this document include the one mentioned above, the Treaty of Hopewell with the Choctaw, January 3, 1786, and the Treaty of Hopewell with the Chickasaw, January 10, 1786.
repository: Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries
collection: Telamon Cuyler
box: 61
folder: 06
document: 01
subject headings:
  • Legal documents
  • Chickasaw Indians--Treaties
  • Choctaw Indians--Treaties
  • Choctaw Indians--Government relations
  • Chickasaw Indians--Government relations
  • Cherokee Indians--Government relations
  • United States. War Dept.
  • Cherokee Indians--Treaties
  • Child slaves
  • Indian agents
  • Southern States

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    Hopewell the 7th. of Jany [January] -- 1786
    The Commissioners plenepetentiary [plenipotentiary] of the United Statesin Congress assembled appointed to treat with the Cherokeesand all other Indians southward of them within the limits of the United States, Assembled
    Present -- Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickinsand Joseph Martin --
    from the State of North CarolinaWilliam BlountEsqr. [Esquire] Agent --
    James ColeInterpreter -- .
    The Commissioners were informed that the leading Chiefs of the Chickasawswith their followers had arrived, and were desirous of seeing the Commissioners, and entering [deleted: in the] [added: upon their] business as early as practicable -- that they had been long on the path, and detained by the villainy of the Cherokees, some of whom had stolen several of their horses -- They were introduced and expressed a most friendly [deleted: regard] disposition towards the United States, and an earnest desire of entering into a treaty of peace and protection with them -- The Commissioners after explaining the object of their commission informed the Chiefs that they would on Monday or as early as would be convenient for them enter upon business --
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    January 9th -- Present as on the 7th --
    The leading Chiefs attended at 10 oClock, & after some friendly conversation, The commissioners addressed the leading Chiefs as follows -- viz --
    "Leading Chiefs who represent the Chickasaws --
    We are the Commissioners plenipotentiary from the United Statesin Congress assembled, who sent an invitation to you the Leading Chiefs, who represent the Chickasawsto meet us at this place -- To give you peace, and to receive you into the favour [favor] and protection of the United States -- and to remove as far as may be all causes of future quarrels [deleted: and] [added: or] contentions. That you, your wives, and [added: your] children may be happy, and feel and know the blessings of the new change of sovereignty over this land which you & us inhabit -- "
    "This humane and generous act of the United Stateswill no doubt be received by all the Chickasawswith joy and gladness, and held in grateful remembrance, particularly as it flows unsolicited from their Justice, their humanity and their attention to the rights of human nature -- "
    "on our [added: own] parts, we sincerely wish you to live as happily
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    as we do ourselves, and to promote that happiness as far as in our power, regardless of any distinction of who we, or of any differences in our customs, or manners, or particular situation, and as a proof of the sincerity of our declarations, we propose to enter into articles of a treaty as equal as may be and conformable to what we now tell you"
    After this address the Chiefs were told that at some future period the occurrences of the late war & the extent of territory within the United Stateswould be fully explained to them -- to which Piomingoreplied he wished to hear every thing intended to be communicated to him, prior to his talks -- the whole was accordingly explained, and apparently to their satisfaction and comprehension -- The draught [draft] of the treaty was also explained, with which they seemed to acquiesce most heartily --
    The leading Chiefs then in turn, addressed the Commissioners --
    Piomingo -- The period has arrived that I have visited you, to see you, and to regulate every thing that respects us -- These beads are our credentials of peace & friendship and two of us have come to bring the talks of the nation -- These white beads are of little value but in our nation, where they are kept even by our children with veneration
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    as tokens of peace and friendship -- When I take you by the hands, the day will never come, that [illegible] will brake [break] my hold. Although I may not be eloquent, yet I wish my talks to be as much esteemed as if I was, it being my sincere desire that what I say may be construed most friendly - my talks are not long, and I hope when you see these beads, you will remember my friendship
    Eight strands of beads
    [unclear: Mingatushka]
    The day is come when I have met you to talk with you, and I am well pleased, and now you shall hear what I have to say --
    I have come to see you, and you are not strangers to us -- you are a white people, I claim as our oldest and first brothers -- these beads in my hand are a token of friendship, and I hope friendly Ideas will arise in your minds whenever you see them -- My predecessor loved you white people in his time and I mean to do the same. Our two old leading Men are dead and we two come as their successors in business -- with the same friendly talks as they had, which were always friendly -- Although our old king and leading man is dead, we wish their friendly talks may live and be remembered with you as with us, and for that principle we come to renew them --
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    I hope when your children and our children grow up, they will remember the old peace & friendship of this day, and strictly adhere to it -- This is the day I have come to see you, and I have been informed of the peace of the United States of Americawith all nations, and I am glad of it, and with sincerity it may long continue -- The substance of my talks is done and when we red people talk we give beads as a proof of friendship, and I give these -- my talks are short and true -- where people are prolix they sometimes are false -- a string of beads --
    I now represent [unclear: Letopoia] -- he is a particular man, when he gives his word or acquiescence he never lets go, and this is his belt -- he and I are related, our sentiments are the same -- our talks are short, but his token of friendship is great --
    a broad belt of wampum --
    our talks are done our predecessors are dead, and we come and give in our talks, and now we will hear further from you --
    [unclear: Mingastushka]
    This great man of our nation who wore this medal I show you is dead -- and I am his nephew, and
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    a leader -- on the death of this great man, he left a daughter who took care of this medal, and she judged it was proper when I came that I should bring it that you might see it and know such a thing belonged to our family, & accordingly she and her mother sent it --
    Piomingo --
    You see this, now / pointing to the medal / it was worn by our great man, he is dead, and his daughter sent it for you to see it: I take place as head leading warrior of the nation to treat with all nations --
    Commissioners --
    We are glad you remember with pleasure the virtues of your old and worthy predecessors, & we are pleased that the daughter of one of them has sent us this medal, with the reasons for so doing -- in return we will give you some present for her --
    As you are well pleased with the draught [draft] of our treaty, we shall prepare two copies thereof to be signed tomorrow -- the one for you -- the other for the Congress --
    When the first article was read, the Chief Piomingosaid he had no prisoners of ours in his nation, or property of any kind -- to the [illegible] in the third article he at first seemed much exposed, but on being assured by the Commissioners that they were not
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    desirous of getting his land, and that all that would be necessary for the United Statesas a trading post, would be five or six miles square, he readily acquiesced, & marked the circle on the map, describing its diameter to be five miles, and remarked at the same time that the lands on the north of the river was fine for cultivation and grazing and he would have no objection to our using what we might think proper for the conveniency of the traders --
    Jany [January] 10th. 1786 --
    The Commissioners produced two copies of the draught [draft] agreed on and a map of the lands in question, partly drawn by themselves and partly by the Indians- and instead of agreeing to the line between the respective tribes, they dotted only with black ink, which the Chief observed, and said he wished Congress would point out his lands to him, he wanted to know his own -- the line was then extended as in the third article, and the Commrs [Commissioners] told the Chiefs that they must agree with the neighbouring [neighboring] tribes respecting their boundary, and that then Congress would send a white man to be present with the Indians & see them mark it --
    The treaty was then read over again and every article explained with great attention, and the Indians acquiesced with them, and at the [unclear: close] the
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    Commissioners asked if they comprehended the whole and were willing to sign, they answered yes, and that it was all straight, meaning it was proper & satisfactory to them. It was then signed, but previous thereto, the Agent of North Carolinadelivered a letter to the Commissioners, referring them to his former letters to them respecting the conflictional [conflictual] claims of North Carolinato all the lands within the bounds described in their bill of rights -- He also gave in his protest against the treaty --
    The Commissioners informed the Chief, that on tomorrow, in pursuance of the humane and liberal views of Congress, they would make them some presents for their use and comfort --
    Jany [January] 12th --
    Present as yesterday --
    It being very wet and rainy the Chiefs postponed receiving the presents till tomorrow -- In the evening the principal Warrior Piomingovisited the Commissioners, and addressed them as follows -- viz --
    I am now going to inform you of the situation of the white people in our land -- There are a great many of them who have numerous stocks of cattle and horses, and they are not traders or of any advantage to us -- And where a white man comes
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    they, without our permission, or even asking of it, build a house for him, and settle him among us. I do not wish to be cross to them, or do them an injury, and I desire they may go in peace with their stocks to their own lands. [illegible] people as they are should go to their own lands -- they are of no use to us but on the contrary very injurious. If they were traders, I should be pleased [deleted: with] [added: at] their being with us. They are not those in our towns only, who have stocks, but some are settled out thirty & forty miles, who keep cattle and horses; and if an Indian horse or colt should get among their stocks, they brand him and claim him to the injury of the owner -- [added: some pedlars [peddlers] come also to us, who are a pest, as they steal more than they purchase of our horses.] If we had merchant traders, who would set down with us, and trade properly, I should be pleased with it. Such men would be a valuable acquisition to us, as they would supply us our necessary wants, in exchange for our property -- You, the Commissioners have told me, that we shall be properly supplied with goods, and I depend on their promise -- Such men as come properly to trade with us, will be very welcome, & every thing we have is at their service -- but the class of settlers we now have, are a pest, and I wish they would go with their property, to their own lands, and enjoy it --
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    Your remarks are very proper. You have in an article of the treaty provided against a repetition of the abuse -- and you will have the right to punish these if you think proper -- We shall send the treaty and all our talks with you to Congress, and they will issue a proclamation, warning the white people of their danger, and this will be communicated by some person to the chiefs of all the southern tribes -- When you return, you may by our Interpreter communicate the article of the treaty respecting these people, that they may see their situation --
    Jany [January] 12th --
    Present as yesterday --
    Piomingo, addressed the Commissioners as follows --
    The people I complained of last night, I imagine will not pay attention to what I say respecting their removal -- [deleted: my talk is a short one, I am only desirous that Col [Colonel] Martin] and I wish that Col [Colonel] Martinwould come and see them removed -- my talk is a short one -- I am only desirous that Col [Colonel] Martinmay come and adjust every thing between the red people and white people --
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    The ChickasawChiefs had informed the Commissioners, that on the way hither they saw two companies of Creeksgoing to Cumberlandto plunder the citizens, and very probably to get some scalps -- that Piomingorepresented to them the injustice of the act, as well as their folly. & expressly told them that the white people on Cumberland& their property was equally dear to him with his own -- and that although the Creekswere numerous compared with the Chickasaws, yet if they continued to rob and plunder on his lands, his own or the hunters and traders of the white people, he would take such steps as would be proper --
    The Commissioners then distributed presents among the Chiefs and Indians amounting including the goods to purchase provisions to [blank on page] dollars, they were perfectly satisfied with the presents, and the treatment they met, and expressed their gratitude for it -- and prepared to set out to their own nation -- In the evening the Cherokeesgave the Chief a proof of their Ingenuity in robbing of packs, as well as stealing horses -- two of them robbed the Chief of all his presents, and the goods given to purchase
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    provisions, and within sight of the Chickasaws. The Commissioners issued a proclamation offering a reward for the goods and the robbers, and sent runners to the neighbouring [neighboring] towns to proclaim the same, as well as to call on the chiefs to interpose immediately & apprehend the robbers, and send them to Hopewellto be punished --
    Jany [January] 15th --
    The Chief of [unclear: Chatugeh] with three young men bought the goods, and informed the Commissioners that they had pursued the robbers, and endeavoured [endeavored] to apprehend them, but could not -- that they came up with them, and fired at them & wounded one --
    The Commissioners paid the reward and told the Chief that they had done very properly and that in future he should be noticed for his attention to their order, and prompt execution of it --
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    Copy --
    The first letter from Col. [Colonel] Blountwith an extract from the Constitution of N. [North] Carolina --
    Hopewellon KeoweeNovr [November] 22d 1785 --
    Having yesterday had the honor to lay before you my Commission as agent on the part of North Carolina, I now consider it my duty to call your attention to the following extract from the Constitution of that State, which was agreed to and published to the world on the 18th day of December in the year 1776 --
    "The property of the soil in a free Government being one of the essential rights of the collective body of the people it is necessary in order to avoid future disputes that the limits of the State should be ascertained with precision, and as the former temporary line between North& South Carolinawas confirmed and extended by Commissioners appointed by the Legislature of the two states, agreeable to the order of the late King George the Second, in Council: That line & that only should
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    be esteemed the southern boundary of this State, that is to say -- beginning on the sea side at a cedar stake at or near the mouth of the little river(being southern boundary of Brunswick County) and running from thence a north west course through the boundary house which stands in thirty three degrees fifty six minutes, to thirty five degrees North Latitude -- and from thence a west course so far as is mentioned in the charter of King Charles the Secondto the late proprietors of Carolina -- therefore all the territory, seas, waters, and harbours [harbors] with their appurtenances lying between the line above described, & the south line of the State of Virginia, which begins on the sea shore in thirty six degrees thirty minutes North Latitude, and from thence runs west agreeable to the said Charter of King Charles, are the right and property of the people of this State to be held in sovereignty -- " And to remark to you that years after, the State of North Carolinawas received into & signed the articles of Confederation -- --

    I have the honor to be your most Obedt. humb Sert [Obedient humble Servant]signed --
    [Signed] Wm [William] Blount -- agent for the state of No [North] Carolina
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    to -- Benjn. [Benjamin] Hawkins -- Andrew Pickens -- Joseph Martinand Lachlan McIntoshEsqrs [Esquires] -- Commissioners for negotiating with the southern Indians --
    Copy --
    Second letter and protest of Col: [Colonel] Blountand Agent for North Carolinato the Commrs. [Commissioners] and their answer to his correspondence --

    Hopewellon Keowee Novr [November] 28th 1785 --
    Gentlemen --
    The State of North Carolinahave at this time a law in force and use, allotting the lands contained in the following bounds to the Cherokee Indians -- beginning on the Tennessee riverwhere the southern boundary of the State of North Carolinaintersects the same nearest the ChickamawgaTowns, thence up the middle of the Ten[added: n]esseeand Holston rivers to the middle of French broad river, thence up the middle of the said French broad river(which lines are not to include any Island)
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    "to the mouth of big pigeon river, thence up the same to the head thereof, thence along the dividing ridge between the waters of pigeon riverand Tuckasega riverto the said southern boundary, thence west with the said boundary to the beginning" --
    Should you by treaty fix any other other boundaries than the before mentioned within the limits of the said State of North Carolina, between the said Cherokee Indiansand her citizens, that State will consider such treaty a violation and infringement upon her legislative rights -- The lands contained within the limits of Davidson Countywhich begins on Cumberland riverwhere the northern boundary of the said State of North Carolinafirst intersects the same, thence south fifty five miles, thence west to the Tenessee river -- thence down the Tenesseeto the said northern boundary, thence west with the said boundary to the beginning, have been appropriated by the State of North Carolinato the payment of the bounties of land, promised the officers and soldiers of the Continental line of that State, and it is said that the militia in that county are in number about seven hundred. And the State of North Carolinahave sold to [unclear: her] Citizens for a valuable consideration
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    Several millions of acres of the land, Situate, lying and being between the Mississippiand the line as fixed by Col [Colonel] Christieand others in the year 1777 and without the limits of Davidson County, on which lands several thousand people are settled --

    I have the honor to be your most obedient humble servant signed --
    [Signed] Wm [William] Blount -- agent for North Carolina --
    Benjamin Hawkins --
    Andrew Pickens
    Joseph Martin& Lachlan McIntosh -- Esqrs. [Esquires] Commissioners for treating with the Southern Indians --
    A copy of Col. [Colonel] Blounts protest --
    The underwritten Agent on the part of the State of North Carolina, protests against the treaty at this instant about to be signed and entered into between Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens, Joseph Martinand Lachlan McIntoshCommissioners on the part of the United Statesand the Cherokee Indianson the other part, as containing several stipulations which
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    infringe and violate the legislative rights of the State --

    Hopewellon Keowee Novr. [November] 28th. 1785
    [Signed] Wm [William] Blount --
    Copy of the Commissioners answer to Col [Colonel] Blounts letters and protest --

    Hopewellon Keowee the 28th of Novr [November] -- 1785

    We received your letters of the 22d of Novr. [November] with an extract from the constitution of your State declarative of the limits thereof -- of the 28th inclosing [enclosing] an abstract of an act allotting certain lands to the Indians of the Cherokee Nation, and your protest of the same date against the treaty entered into between the Commissioners of the United States of Americaand all the Cherokees, which we shall transmit to Congress --
    We enclose two articles of the treaty to you which we hope as Agent of the State of North Carolinayou will take measures to see executed -- so far as the same may respect the citizens of that State; or the faith of the Commissioners pledged for the [unclear: restoration] of the prisoners now held there -- We are informed
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    that the late Governor Martinmade an unsuccessful effort to restore them, and that there are five, three Girls and two boys in the possession of General [unclear: McDowell] and Colonel Miller -- We are certain that a Steady adherence to the treaty alone can improve confidence in the Justice of Congress and remove all causes of future contention or quarrels -- the [unclear: local] policy of Some States is certainly much opposed to federal measures which can only in our opinion make us respectable abroad and happy at home --

    We are [added: with] due respect Sir Your most obedient and humble Servants -- [Signed] B: [Benjamin] Hawkins
    [Signed] A: [Andrew] Pickens
    [Signed] J: [Joseph] Martin
    [Signed] L: [Lachlan] McIntosh --

    The Honble. [Honorable] Col [Colonel] BlountEsqr [Esquire] --
    Agent for North Carolina --
    The two Articles enclosed are the Second & fourth --
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    Charlestown the 6th Feby. [February] 1786
    The commissioners for Indian affairs have entered into treaties with the Cherokees, Choctawsand Chickasaws, which we Shall Send forward to the United Statesin Congress assembled for their approbation -- As the Second & third Articles with the Cherokeesmay in Some measure immediately affect the citizens of this State, we have it in command to communicate them to your Excellency --
    The Indians complain of a violation of your treaty with them at [illegible] corner, and charge the citizens of this state with Surveying their lands to the westward of your boundary with them -- and on enquiry we find the charge to be true --
    They also inform us that two of their children are now in the possession of Andrew Williamson, late Brigadier General of Ninety Six district, and probably held by him in Slavery --
    We are of opinion that a Steady adherence to the treaties will insure [ensure] confidence in
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    the Justice of Congress, and that a disposition in the adjoining states to carry the treaties into effect will make the Indians happy in the new change of Sovereignty and in constant amity with us --

    We have the honor to be Sir Your Excellency's most obedient Servant [Signed] Benjamin Hawkins
    [Signed] Andrew Pickens --

    His Excellency
    Wm [William] MoultrieEsqr [Esquire] --
    Governor of
    South Carolina --

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    Copy --
    Journal of the proceedings of the Commissioners appointed to treat with the Southern Indians --
    Jany. [January] 7th -- 1786 --
    The first letter from Col Blountto the Commrs. [Commissioners] with an extract from the Constitution of N. [North] Carolina
    The Second letter from Col: [Colonel] Blountand his protest -- The Commrs. [Commissioners] answer --
    Letter from the Commrs. [Commissioners] to Govr. [Governor] of South Carolina --

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