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Letter from John Stuart to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Stuart, John, 1718-1779
July 10, 1766
Volume 07, Pages 232-240

[B. P. R. O. America and West Indies. Vol. 270.]
Letter from John Stuart, Superintendent &c, to the Board of Trade

Charles Town 10th July 1766.

I had the honour of laying a full state of Indian affairs within this Department before your Lordships in my letter to Mr Pownall dated 24th August last.

In September following I went to St Augustine, from which place I had the honor of writing your Lordships the 9th of December jointly with Governor Grant, giving an account of our negotiations with the Creek Indians and the Cessions of Land by them to that Province, and Georgia, at a Congress of their ruling men of Picolata, since which I have not been honored with any of your Lordships

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commands, I am now to communicate to your Lordships the late occurrences in the different Indian Nations within this Department.

The Cherokees who complained much of encroachments on the Lands by Grants from the two Carolinas, objected to the Boundary Line proposed by Lieutenant Governor Bull to divide this Province from their claims, and refused to settle that matter till they should hear from me.

I accordingly wrote and pressed to agree to Mr Bull's proposal which they acquiesced in, I herewith transmit a Copy of the Cession of Land obtained from them by Mr Cameron dated 19th October and a Certificate that the Line was run out in consequence dated 10th May last.

I communicated these transactions and their request of having the Line continued behind Virginia and North Carolina to Govrs Tryon and Pauquier, and send herewith Copies of my letters upon that Subject, with Govr Tryon's answers, but I have not been favored with any from Lieutenant Governor Fauquier.

I propose setting out next week for North Carolina to assist in getting matters so settled as to remove all cause of complaint in future on account of encroachments on the Land reserved by the Cherokees for Hunting Grounds.

The Government of Virginia has not been able to bring the murderers of the Cherokees in Augusta County to justice, nor did they endeavour to satisfy the relations of the deceased by presents, which piece of private justice is very necessary.

That Government has sent several Messengers into the Cherokee Country within these six months past to negotiate some matters relative to a trade to be carried on to that Nation by a Company erected by a provincial law with a fund of £30,000 that money; I have had no further information on that subject, than what is contained in the Letter from Messrs Cameron and Price, of which I have the honor to lay abstracts before your Lordships.

As such a Trade, established by a Law in any one Province must interfere with the Trade or Individuals from the other Provinces as well as the general management of Indians and as your Lordships signified to me His Majesty's Order that I do punctually report to you all occurrences and matters relative to the Indian Nations within this Department I humbly conceive it to be your Lordships Idea that no such material Steps as this should be taken

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without being communicated to the Superintendant for his Information and Government.

I likewise beg leave to observe that persons residing as Traders in the Indian Countries being employed by the respective Governors to call Meetings and transact Business for their Provinces without the participation or Interposition of the Superintendant or his Deputy residing in such Indian Country has a Tendency to lesson the Authority and Influence of the Superintendant and his Officers and to destroy that Subordination which is necessary to the Government of the Traders and the Introduction of Order amongst the Indians which I humbly submit.

If as it is said the Province of Virginia propose to sell Goods at such prices as will only pay the charges of carrying the Trade the consequences will be that all the other Indian Nations will expect the same Indulgence in which we must gratify them or be plagued with their complaints and Dissatisfaction and this can only be done to the Chocktaws Creeks and Chickasaws and small Nations on the Mississippi at the Publick Expence of Great Britain as the Infant Provinces cannot do it and Individuals will not go amongst Indians as Traders merely from Motives of public good without a prospect of compensation adequate to their Trouble and Risque and if the Province of Virginia propose by these new regulations to satisfy the Cherokees for the murder of their People they will not succeed for till the relations of the deceased are satisfied by having the murderers executed or by some valuable consideration for their loss we can never consider that affair as settled they will not look upon any favourable regulation of Trade of which they can only reap the advantage in common with their Countrymen in general as any satisfaction to them for their murdered Friends.

The Cherokees have never been called together since the general Congress at Augusta no medal-Chiefs have been appointed among them which cannot be done but at a general meeting of their leading men and this delay they construe into disrespect.

As Mr Boyd a Gentleman sent by the Government of Virginia to the upper Cherokee Nation was returning home in May last he was killed with his two attendants near the Cherokee Towns The Cherokees disowned this murder and pretended that it was perpetrated by the Northern and Western Tribes who are at War with them but there is great reason to believe that it was done by the Cherokees themselves by way of satisfaction for their People murdered in Virginia

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little can be said to them on this subject with propriety for if such a Province as Virginia cannot bring People to Justice for murdering nine Indians in cool Blood in the middle of a populous and well settled Country it is not to be imagined that Savages possessed of no coercive authority will bring their Countrymen to Justice for revenging the Death of their Relatives in their own way deemed by them most laudable and honourable.

Your Lordships will perceive by the several Letters and Talks of which I now send copies that the Cherokees are beyond measure harrassed by the Incursions of the Northern Tribes upon which subject the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia wrote to Sir William Johnson requesting his Mediation to obtain a Peace for the Cherokees of which the latter acquainted me in his Letter of the 17th September the Cherokees also have made repeated applications to me on the same subject.

As the Creek Indians have upon several late occasions manifested a disposition to give us Trouble and to form a confederacy of the great Nations of this department and as they have been particularly assiduous in fomenting the jealousy of the Cherokees on account of their Lands and stirring them up to revenge the murder of their People in Virginia it became a doubt with me if in a political point of view it would be proper for us to be active in mediating between them and their Enemies but this being a matter which immediately concerns the peace of the Provinces contiguous to the Cherokee Nation I wrote to the Governors of East Florida and Georgia South and North Carolina begging to know their Sentiments on this matter and I herewith lay before your Lordships Copy of what I wrote Lieut. Governor Bull to which I have not been favoured with an answer.

Since the last Congress at Picolata the Lower Creeks have behaved inoffensively they were punctual in sending Deputies to settle the Boundaries of Georgia and to confirm the Cession of Land to that Province

They have also been very friendly and usefull to the Garrison of Fort St Marks at Appalatohe who they supplied plentifully with fresh provisions when they were known to be in great want but they have not given satisfaction for the murder of three White Men from the back Settlements of Georgia who a party of Creeks met in their hunting Grounds in September last nor have they returned any

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answer to a joint message from Governor Wright and me upon that subject.

It is true the murderers do not live in Community with their Nation but wander amongst the Cherokees and other Tribes.

The Behaviour of the upper Creeks since the Congress at Pensacola has been insolent and suspicious their Messengers and Emissaries have been through all the Great Tribes sounding their inclinations to a general rupture.

They have been insolent to the New Settlers in West Florida and one John Kemp was murdered by them near Pensacola. The reasons they assign for their difference with us in a Talk sent by them to Governor Johnston in consequence of some conversation which that Gentleman had with a very leading Man and Great Medal Chief of the upper Creeks called Emististigno. Are

Our supplying the Indians in the New ceded Countries as also the Choctaws and small Nations on the Mississippi with Arms Ammunition and other necesaries.

That the English had sent arms and Ammunition to the Chickasaws to induce them to join the Choctaws against them.

That the Choctaws expecting a Party of Creek leading men in their Nation had laid an Ambush to cut them off which they escaped by not being punctual to their Time which they insinuate was at the Instigation of the English.

That the English act the part of Incendiaries by causing War amongst the Indian Tribes and setting them on to cut each others throats.

That they the Creeks never interfere in our Quarrels why should we interfere in theirs.

That they had received a message from Cornelius Doharty a Leader in the Cherokee Nation with a roll of Tobacco and a white wing by a Cherokee Head Warrior acquainting them that the intent of the English in taking possession of Pensacola and the new ceded Countries was first to lull the Indians into a state of supineness and security and afterwards to destroy them and take their Lands that as a Friend he gave them this timely notice and was ready to supply them with arms and ammunition.

That the prices were not lowered as was demanded by them at Pensacola on which last Article they greatly insist.

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In answer to all which I beg leave to observe that these Indians have no right to object to our supplying other Tribes as well as them with every sort of European Goods usually sold to Indians.

The quantity of Ammunition imported to their Villages is in the usual proportion to the other European commodities but they want to form a Magazine.

The Presents sent by me to the Chickasaws were in acknowledgment of their Fidelity and to induce them to facilitate the passage of the 34th Regiment to take possession of the Illinois which service they performed well according to their promise.

The Choctaws have been insulted by the Creeks for many years past without taking satisfaction their being so passive was owing to their being divided into English and French Factions who were at open War with each other which subsisted till I met them at Mobile in March 1765. They likewise had been constantly at War with the Chickasaws till that Congress But being united and at Peace with their Neighbors their resenting a continuation of Insults and Murders by the Creeks is not to be wondered at.

I beg leave further to observe to your Lordships that altho' a War between the Creeks and Choctaws be an Event rather advantageous to us than otherwise yet our appearing as Instruments of bringing it about would be very bad policy by which we must infallibly lose the confidence of all the Indian Nations whose Jealousies would be thereby confirmed and upon this principle I have always acted.

I beg leave to refer your Lordships to the several letters upon this subject which I have very lately received and by which Governor Johnston and Colo Taylor seem apprehensive of a rupture with the Creeks and a Coalition between them and the Choctaws.

The Behavior of Cornelius Doharty is extreamly criminal and from my knowledge of him I believe him capable of what is laid to his charge by the Mortar now called Otis Mico formerly Yahatostonake such information from a White Man will weigh greatly with jealous Indians Doharty now lies in the Cherokee Nation but as it is no condition in the Bonds of the Traders licensed from this Province to pay any obedience or attention to the Superintendant his Deputies or commissaries and as I am not vested with any Jurisdiction or Authority over them I am at a loss what measures to pursue with such a dangerous person, who should certainly be removed from the Indians.

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Their dissatisfaction because of the prices of the European Goods and Rum which were not lowered as they required at the Congress at Pensacola cannot easily be removed as the prices they proposed giving would not induce any White Man to go amongst them in the quality of a Trader this matter I then endeavored to set in a clear light to them of which your Lordships have a full account in the proceedings of said Congress which I had the honour of sending you but if the Traders were put under proper Regulations the prices of goods might admit of some abatement.

The prices of Goods sold in the Cherokee Nation having been much lowered by this Province to gratify the Cherokees gave the first Idea to the Creeks of requiring the same and the competition between the Traders from the different Provinces and by that means the very large supply of Goods render the Indians insolent and wanton while the disorders Abuses and intrigues of the Traders who under sell each other fill them with contempt and hatred for us.

The great danger attending such circumstances will occur to your Lordships whose wisdom will point out the measures to be pursued.

In the meantime I shall endeavour by all means in my power to retain the Cherokees Chocktaws and other Tribes firm in our Interest and to frustrate the Machinations of the Creeks while I shall endeavour as far as I can to palliate and keep matters easy with the last till the Commander in Chief and the different Governors be made acquainted with the situation of affairs and till his Majesty's Pleasure can be signified to me relative to the state of Indian Affairs in general.

I have the pleasure to inform your Lordships that the Chocktaws and Chickasaws punctually perform their engagements in sending considerable flanking Parties to attend the 34th Regiment in its passage up the Mississippi to take possession of the Illinois.

The Message sent by the Chocktaw Nation by their Deputies to the small Nations on the Mississippi had all the effect that could be wished in awing them from attempting to obstruct the Troops by threatening them with destruction if they made any such attempt and a number of that nation having marched to Fort Rossalie in the Natchez Country to join the Regiment left no room to doubt of their Intentions Lieut. Lord of the 34th Regiment who headed the Chocktaws behaved upon that occasion with great perseverance and prudence he describes the Country formally inhabited by the Natchez Indians as the finest in the World.

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The Chickasaws under Mr John McIntosh commissary in that Nation to the Number of one hundred and twenty five amongst whom their Great Leader Payamataha were also punctual to their Time and Place and met the Regiment when it had but Five days bad provisions left but they supplied it plentifully with Buffalloe Bear and Venison by which means it was enabled to proceed Twenty five of the best Chickasaw Hunters with the Commissary attended it to Fort de Chartres.

I had also ordered one Hundred Cherokees to Rendezvous at the Confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi which they performed but not meeting the Regiment at the stipulated Place went and lay round the Illinois Villages and gave such employment to the French and Indian Inhabitants as effectually prevented any attempt from them to obstruct the Regiment for which pieces of service I have General Gage's directions to return each Nation thanks.

The Regiment was five Calendar Months and five days upon its passage a detachment of the Royal Highlanders commanded by Captain Sterling was ordered from Pittsburg and had taken possession of Fort de Chartres before the arrival of the Regiment which also kept the French and Indians in Awe from whom every bad Office was to be expected.

The Choctaws have lately taken Revenge on the Creeks for repeated Insults and murders committed by them with impunity thro' a series of years.

As a War has broke out between these two Nations it is not our Business to be active in bringing about a Reconciliation.

The Choctaws complain of not being paid the annual consideration they used to receive from the French and as the French still possess New Orleans they are indefatigable in keeping up a Party amongst these Indians by their Emissaries who point out the disadvantage which they are exposed to by changing Masters such considerations weigh with the leading men of that Nation who were retained faithful to the French Interest by annual presents of which I had the honour of informing your Lordships fully in different letters.

In the Event of a rupture with the Creeks which is not improbable there will be a necessity for preserving and even the courting the Friendship of the other great Tribes and Presents will be necessary which will enable me with some prospect of success to treat with them and require such assistance as may be necessary of their Leading Men which I cannot attempt empty handed.

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I had the honor of submitting to your Lordships an Estimate of Presents which I judged to be annually sufficient for all occasions within this department the present circumstances seem to render them extreamly necessary and our retaining the Surrounding Nations firm in our Interest will be the certain means of bringing the Creeks to reason or of enabling us to chastize them if necessary, and if his Majesty will be pleased to intrust me with proper powers to treat with the Nations within my Department and to regulate the disorders of the Traders by making them in some measure responsible for their behavior to the Commissioners residing in each Nation.

I shall exert all my Application Attention and Abilities to bring the affairs of my Department into some order which cannot be done while every Governor acts as if no other person had a concern in Indian Affairs and every Province makes Laws for regulating Indian Trade and Affairs without knowing or attending to the inconveniences which may result therefrom to the Interests of the whole and the management of Indians in general.

The distractions at this time occasioned by the Traders will appear to your Lordships by the Abstracts of Letters from the different commissioners which I have the honor of laying before you.

I also have the honor of laying before your Lordships Copy of a Talk from the Old Wolf King in the upper creek Nation in Answer to a joint Talk from the Governor of Georgia and me demanding satisfaction for three Whitemen killed by the Creeks in August last by which your Lordships will form an Idea of the Temper of that Nation.

Notwithstanding which Governor Grant writes me of the 3rd current that the Creek Indians often visit him and behave in a very friendly Manner and are upon the best Footing with the New Settlers.

By a list herewith it appears that there are thirty white Men in the small Nation of Chickasaws which consists of about 350 Men bearing arms sufficient to maintain three Traders such a number must necessarily create competition and jealousy which as well as the inconveniencies resulting from General Licenses granted by the Governor of this Province I had the honor of representing to your Lordships in my letter of the 24th August last to Mr Pownal relative to all which I hope for Instructions from his Majesty.

I have the honor of being with the utmost respect

My Lords &c
JOHN STUART