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Letter from John Stuart to Francis Fauquier
Stuart, John, 1718-1779
November 24, 1766
Volume 07, Pages 267-271

[B. P. R. O. America & West Indies. Vol. 270.]
Letter from John Stuart to Governor Fauquier of Virginia

Charleston 24th November 1766.

Sir

I did myself the honor to write you the 10th February last favor of Peter Randolph Esquire of which I now send a duplicate,

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altho' I cannot doubt of the Original having reached your hands, notwithstanding you have not been pleased to favour me with an answer.

The Cherokees expected to have heard from me relative to the continuance of the Line proposed for dividing the Lands, reserved for Hunting Grounds, from the settlements of your Province, as well as the woman supposed to have been carried away by the Nottaways, and I could have wished to have been enabled to have said something to them on those subjects, as I have business of importance to His Majesty's service, and the general management of Indian affairs within this Department to transact with them, which might have been facilitated by my being enabled to satisfy them in such an interesting matter, as ascertaining their Boundary Line.

The Line behind this Province was compleated last Spring to the satisfaction of the Indians as well as the Government, and Governor Tryon of North Carolina agreed to the culmination of it behind his Province in a north course from Reddy River, where the Line behind South Carolina terminates. to the mountains; and the Cherokees propose to have it extended a straight direction across the Mountains to Colonel Chiswell's Mines on the great Kannawah or New River, which was to have been carried into execution, so far as relates to North Carolina, in October last, but the sickness and mortality prevailing among the Indians, occasioned the postponing of that service to the Spring; before which time I hope to be made acquainted with your determination on this matter so far as relates to your Province, for the sense of the Indians please be referred to the inclosed talk.

I lately received from Mr Cameron, Commissary in the Cherokee Nation, abstracts of the letters weh you wrote to Mr Hammerer of 28th April and 6th of August last upon Indian Affairs My letter of 10th February contained a paragraph relative to the Woman supposed to be made Prisoner by the Nottaways, which was partly the subject of your letters to that gentleman.

The establishment of Commissaries in the different Indian Nations, according to the Idea of the Board of Trade in their plan for the future management of Indians, which no doubt was communicated to you as well as the other Governors, appeared to be essentially necessary for the preservation of Peace, checking the enormities and abuses of the Traders, and transacting business with greater success

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and certainty with Indian Nations, that I thought it my duty to appoint such Officers, they are paid by His majesty, who has been graciously pleased not to disapprove of the measures I have pursued, I beg leave to represent to you Sir, that transacting business with Indians through any other channel than His Majesty's Officers employed in the Indian Department must prove prejudicial to the service, as having a tendency to lessen the influence and weight of the Commissary with the Indians, and to weaken his authority over the Traders, by destroying that subordination essential to good Order and the due discharge of his duty for which reason I must conclude the carrying on business in the respective Nations within this Department through any other channel to be contrary to the intention of Government in constituting Indian Departments; and as the Commissaries have instructions to pay the greatest attention to any matters which the Governors may have to transact regarding their respective Provinces; there cannot be any apparent necessity for subjecting the service to such inconveniencies.

Your application to Sir William Johnson for procuring, under his mediation, a Peace for the Cherokees from their Northern enemies he of course communicated to me, as a matter immediately belonging to my Department, as superintendant, my attention to Sir William Johnson in such affairs always has been and shall be reciprocal. I doubt not, Sir, but you was actuated with principles of compassion and humanity in taking this step, the same principles would have directed me in contributing to the relief of the Cherokees, but the situation of Indian Affairs at that time required that my attention should be extended to other objects as well as to their safety and conveniency. The Creeks had been for some time dissatisfied and insolent; their emissaries had been sounding the inclinations of all the neighbouring Tribes to a general rupture; the Cherokees, sore from their late chastisement by us, and harrassed by their enemies, durst not openly avow their discontent on account of the late murders in Augusta County, and the encroachments of the different Provinces; but they kept on a secret correspondence with the disaffected Creeks, and a general rupture was planned and greatly to be apprehended: in such circumstances I considered it as my duty to consult the different Governors of Provinces immediately contiguous and connected with the Creeks and equally interested in the Affairs of the Cherokees with your Government. It was likewise indispensably incumbent on me to submit this matter to the Commander

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in Chief of His Majesty's Forces. Inclosed you have an abstract of General Gage's letter on that subject, as well as the present state of Indian Affairs.

The discontent of the Creeks is principally owing to the Prices at which they are furnished with goods by the Traders. This Province lowered the Prices of Goods in the Cherokee Nation during the Government of Mr Glen, since which time all the Traders to that Country have been bankrupts, and the Creeks expect the same indulgence, which is impracticable.

Altho' the opulent Provinces of Virginia and South Carolina can undertake to supply the Indians contiguous to them with Goods at such rates as will barely defray the expences of carrying on the Trade, yet I should disapprove of such a measure.

The Creeks, Chocktaws, Chickasaws and small Nations on the Mississippi, which are remote from both, will be dissatisfied, if they have not Trade upon the same Terms, in wch they can only be gratified by the Parliament of Great Britain, the infant Provinces of the Floridas and Georgia being incapable of such an undertaking. I therefore beg leave to recommend, that the Traders to the Cherokees from your Province be instructed not to sell Goods for less than the usual Prices settled by this Province in that Nation, and that it be made a condition in the Traders Bonds, when licensed by you, to conform to such regulations, as they may from time to time receive from the Superintendant by his Deputys or the Commissaries residing in the respective Nations.

By last opportunity from West Florida I received dispatches from Charles Stuart Esqre Deputy Superintendant in that District. The inclosed abstract of his letter will communicate to you the murder of two English Traders by the Creeks; and Governor Johnstone writes me by the same Vessel, that a rupture with them is not only necessary but unavoidable.

Upon receiving some former alarming accounts of the insolence of that Nation, I had the Honor of writing fully to the Board of Trade, and to the Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Forces. Mr Gage's opinion of the steps to be pursued, in order to bring those Indians to reason, are contained in the abstract of his letter already mentioned.

I have communicated the intelligence which I have already received, as well as the General's sentiments, to the different Governors. I have sent off instructions to the Commissaries residing in

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the different nations to regulate their conduct at this juncture, and I am sending a person properly authorized by me to demand satisfaction of the Creeks, and, in case of a refusal, I shall apply to have the Trade to their Nation stopped from the different Provinces; the effect of my demand I shall communicate to you as soon as I can, relative to which as well as the other matters contained in this letter, I hope to be honored with your answer, as benefit may therefrom result to His Majesty's service by my being informed of what may be depended upon from your Province, which will help to direct me in the measure I am to pursue

I am respectfully, &ca
JOHN STUART.