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Letter from Benjamin Harrison to Alexander Martin
Harrison, Benjamin, ca. 1726-1791
October 22, 1782
Volume 16, Pages 441-442

HON. B. HARRISON TO GOV. ALEX. MARTIN.
[From Executive Letter Book.]

Virginia, In Council, October 22d, 1782.

Sir:

The Chickasaw Nations of Indians have lately made application to this State by two of their Chiefs sent to Kentucky for a Peace, and have informed me that the Creek Nations have the same friendly disposition and would meet any Commissioners that I should appoint for that purpose at the French lick on Cumberland River.

The advantages that would derive to this State from cultivating

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a friendship with those Nations induced me readily to close to with the proposal, and to give orders to Mr. Donelson to inform them of it and to fix a time for the meeting, which I expect will be early in the Spring. As your State is as much interested in keeping the Indians in temper as this is, I thought it consistent with the friendship I entertain for it to advise you of the circumstance that your Excellency might have an opportunity of sending Commissioners to the Treaty if you should think it advisable, and I will take care to inform you of the time that shall be fixed on for the meeting.

I most earnestly wish that some regular plan was fixed on by the Southern States for the regulation of Indian Affairs, and that Commissioners should be appointed from this State and those South of it for that purpose. If such a measure was adopted I expect those people might hereafter be kept quiet, or be brought to reason by the joint efforts of the States for any depredations they might commit on either of them at a much less expence than we are now at in continually supporting Guards on our frontiers for the protection of each individual State. I am apprehensive much of the ill temper of those poor wretches arises from the continual encroachments made by our people on their Lands. Some bounds should certainly be fixed beyond which they should not be allowed to go.

Our honor and Justice call loudly on us for such a regulation, & I hope you will use your endeavours to accomplish it in your State—mine shall not be wanting here. I confess my feelings are hurt and my humanity shocked when I reflect on the unbounded thirst of our people after Lands that they cannot cultivate, and the means they use to possess themselves of those that belong to others. An Indian has his National rights as well as a white man, and the latter, having his mind cultivated and enlarged by civilization and Education, is called on by every Tie of Humanity and Justice to support them in those rights.

I must beg your pardon, Sir, for going so far into a subject that you are so fully competent to, and on which I might have been silent, well knowing your inflexible integrity and great humanity.

I am, with great respect, &c.,
B. HARRISON.