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Letter from John Steele to Samuel Johnston
Steele, John, 1764-1815
April 09, 1789
Volume 21, Pages 544-545

-------------------- page 544 --------------------
JOHN STEELE TO GOVERNOR JOHNSTON.
[From Executive Letter Book.]

Halifax, 9th April, 1789.

Sir:

Your Letter by the return of my Express I had the honor to receive, the contents whereof I have communicated to the Gentlemen with whom I am to co-operate. Mr. Winn, Superintendent and Genl. Pickens, South Carolina Commissioner, have decided that they will join me in no Receipt given for Curency, Until 50 per cent. at least be added to make it equal to Gold and Silver, and unless they join, one other besides myself, the State cannot claim a Credit from the Union. In this Business unless the Executive interpose, I fear in the event it will be discovered that the State has outwitted herself.

The Commissioners have therefore directed me in the most earnest manner, again to urge your Excellency and the Council to a reconsideration of the Subject. We observe to your Excellency that Congress voted ten Thousand dollars for the purpose of giving peace to all the Indians Southward of the Ohio; that of these Tribes the Creeks, Cherokees and Chickamaugas are hostile and the two latter particularly to No. Carolina. The Chickasaws also complain that our Citizens under the Authority of Law have surveyed their Lands without their consent, and that they will never cede unless proper and adequate satisfaction be made. Your Excellency now sees, (though no doubt you knew before) the objects & the funds with which we are entrusted.

It is now necessary that you should have an Idea of the Expence of these Negotiations. We calculate upon 1,000 or 1,500 Indians who will attend the Cherokee Treaty, say nothing of the White people. They must be fed Thirty days; bring this expence only into contrast with this State’s Quota and that advanced in Paper Money too, the ballance must appear too contemptible to demand with hopes of Success the Cession of this Country.

In 1783 the Legislature voted £2,500 to be devoted to this purchase which I am now directed to make, as the presumption that this purchase would take place, the Law passed opening the Land Office: The Indians have not received this Sum. I will therefore take the liberty to submit to your Excellency, Whether it would not be proper

-------------------- page 545 --------------------
to appropriate that sum at this time in order to comply with the Views of the General Assembly with respect to boundary, an affair which might be conducted free from any connection with the Continental Treaty. If this can not be done we must at least insist that the currency be made equal to specie. By either of those Expedients, my embarrassment may be in some measure removed, and the true interest of the State promoted.

Extract from the Estimate of the Cherokee Treaty, to-wit.:

1,200 bus. Indian Corn
£200
00
00
100 head horned Cattle
500
00
00
50 Bush Salt
20
00
00
600 Gal. Rum
240
00
00
40 Soldiers Officered
150
00
00
Waggons, &c.
150
00
00
Linguist, &c.
73
6
8
£1,333
6
8

By the foregoing Expence as we have computed Your Excellency will see in what predicament we are placed, and that unless an addition be made the Treaty must stand still, or at least an extension of the boundary will be impracticable. Georgia hath no money, and nearly half of South Carolina’s quota is already expended. The Commissioners say some must be reserved for the Creeks. I will conclude this long Letter, which I trust contains nothing improper, by assuring your Excellency that in all our negotiations my views shall invariably be directed to the Interest of North Carolina.

I have the Honor, &c.,
JOHN STEELE.