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Minutes of the Virginia Governor's Council [Extracts], including correspondence between Edmund Jenings and William Glover
Virginia. Council
September 02, 1707
Volume 01, Pages 667-671

[B. P. R. O. B. T. Virginia. Vol. 58.—Extracts.]

At a Council held at the Capitol 2nd September 1707.

Whereas this Board have received information that one Coll Pollock of North Carolina with several armed men of that Province did lately in an hostile manner sett upon the Maherine Indian Settlement and having taken 36 of the said Indians prisoners kept them two days in a fort till with the excessive heat and for want of water they were almost destroyed after having broke down their cabins and committed several other outrages threatening to cut off their corn and to turn them off their land This Board taking into consideration the ill consequences of such unwarrantable proceedings not only as they respect the frightening the said Indians

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from their obedience to this her Maj Governt of Virginia but irritating the said Indians to revenge themselves as well upon her Maj. subjects of this Governt as upon those of Carolina It is therefore Ordered that a letter be writt to the Deputy Govr or President and council of North Carolina asserting her Maj. right to the land upon which the Maherine Indians now live and to acquaint the said Deputy Govr or Presidt & Council of North Carolina the said Indians have their dependance upon and are under the protection of this Government according to the Treatys of peace, made with them & to desire yr sd President & Council not to molest the sd Indians until the matter of Right concerning the Lands whereon they live be determined.

Ordered, that Coll: Harrison send to the Great men of the Maherine Indians and caution them not to leave their Town upon any threatening that may be made them by the Inhabitants of Carolina and to assure them that if any disturbance be offered them by any person within that Province the Council will take care to protect them and in the mean time to Caution the said Indians that they offer no provocation to the Inhabitants of Carolina.

September the 15th 1707.


I am to own the receipt of yours of the 17th of June in answer to a Letter from myself and her Majtys Council of Virginia of the 30th of April proceedings in relation to the Maherine Indians. Soon after your Letter came to my hand there was a meeting of Council to whom I communicated it and the Depositions therewith sent and am now to acquaint you with our observations on both. The main design of all your Depositions is to make out that the Nottoway River and Weyanoake Creek are one and the same and on this supposition we perceive you lay the foundation of your pretended Title to the Lands in Dispute to prove that this is an Error we send you here enclosed Copys of the Depositions of Two of our ancient Inhabitants who Knew Weyanoake Creek before the Proprietary Government of Carolina had a being the persons themselves are of such honest reputations their Knowledge so ancient their Testimonys so positive that we think we have no need to Examine any other though we could have a multitude whose Knowledge of these parts are of equal Date with your witnesses and some of the best Gentlemen in the County who have known Nottoway River as long or longer and never heard it called by any other name not to mention the little credit which ought to be given to such persons whose understanding and character were Known here to be none of the best before they took shelter in Carolina.

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As to the Right which you say was derived from the Yawpine Indians by Grant to the Chowanoakes and from them acquired by the Lords Proprietors by Conquest We can't apprehend it so easie a matter to ascertain what Right an Indian Nation had to such a particular Tract of Land before the memory of man their Title being as precarious as their meanes of Transmitting the same to posterity are Defective but supposeing the whole to be True which we must take Leave to doubt of till we are better satisfyed of the Validity of those imaginary Indian rritings and Records yet it will not follow that any such acquisition Could give the Proprietors a Right to Land to the Northward of Weyanoake Creek which is the bounds of the Charter and whoever maintains such a position must at the same time forget by what means the Proprietors came to have a Right to any Lands in America and that their Title to the same can be extended no further than their Grant from the Crown gives them Leave.

We admire to hear it offered that a Clandestine Treaty between the Government of Carolina and the Maherine Indians should Create a Title to their Lands or or be a pretence of exacting Tribute from them who were long before Tributary to her Majesty Dominion of Virginia by Virtue of a treaty which has the Royall Approbation And it is as Strange that the Government of Carolina should go about to prescribe bounds to those Indians in Lands which their Charter gives them no Right to at least which hath been alwayes Claimed by the Government of Virginia If the Indians had encroached upon their Neighbours who were really within the bounds of the Carolina Charter the Government of Virginia would alwayes have been ready to have redressed any such injurys and Restrained the Indians from the like practices but but no such complaints have ever been made here On the Contrary it will be found that the Government of Carolina have been the Agressors and by granting Lands to any one that would purchase it without considering whether they had Right or not so to do have endeavoured so to streighton the said Indians that they might be no longer able to subsist where they live in hopes afterwards to possess themselves of their Lands by the same Title they hold the other Lands thereabouts.

We believe it her Majestys Right to assigne Land for the Tributary Indians in any part of her Dominion of Virginia without being accountable to the Government of Carolina, and till her Majesty has Determined the Extent of the Carolina Charter. We shall not think fitt to alter their present Settlement especially since we know the Indians have possest their Lands long before Lewis Williams had any pretence of Right to his and

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we cannot perceive how the Supporting the possession of those Indians can be called a disseising her Majestys subjects of Carolina of their freehold if their settling there be (as we doubt not it will appear) without any Title: for several of those hundred familys you mention would never have sought for Grants from Carolina if the patenting of the same Lands had not been Restrained here. And since we have now by the inclosed Depositions acquainted you how far we claimed on her Majty behalf We expect the performance of your promise that no further Settlements be made there till her Majestys Determination of the bounds.

You conclude your letter with assuring us of your ready Assent that every one in the Respective Governments as they are now deemed should enjoy their Propertys till the matter be Determined. But we soon found that those were only Words of Course for it was not long after the receipt of the same Letter that Information was brought hither that one Collo Pollock of Carolina with about sixty armed men in an hostile manner sett upon the Maherine Indian towne makeing all the Indians that were therein prisoners and so keeping them pent up for two days in a small fort till with the straitness of the place the excessive heat of the weather and their want of Water they were almost famished, threatening further to burn their Cabbins and destroy their Corne if they did not remove from that place and to show that he meant to be as good as his word he pulled down some of their Cabbins and broke and destroyed such poor furniture as the Indians had therein, and to make that Action the more unaccountable (to give it no more name) the said Pollock had the assurance to affirm he had the Queens order for what he did.

Gentlemen your own Letter plainly intimates that you are not unsensible of the Maherine Indians being under his Majesty Subjection as of her Dominion of Virginia by Virtue of a Treaty Concluded with them and that they are thereby entitled to her Majestys protection It is then as plain that those Indians are not to be considered as a Nation of Savages on whom the Government of Carolina have power to Revenge injurys by force of Armes but as her Majestys Subjects who are as much under her protection as any of her Subjects of Virginia and if they have committed any Trespasses on the bodys of Lands of any who pretend themselves Inhabitants of Carolina It would have showed a greater Duty to her Majesty and tended more to the preserving of friendship and good Neighborhood between Virginia and Carolina to have made application for Redress here (where you might have been assured of speedy Juctice) than to have proceeded by way of hostility which is a method proper only for Sovereigne powers but can never be justifiable in

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persons under the same allegiance. We might with as much justice treat those who possess the adjoining Lands (and pretend to belong to Carolina) with the same severity as you have used those poor Indians since we have at least as much Reason to believe them within the bounds of Virginia as you have to imagine the Maherine Indians to be within yours and have as little doubt of your Ability to effect our Resentment had not our Duty to our Majesty a greater influence on us than our Vanity to show our Power. We have always thought the matter of Right Could not be Determined but by her Majestys Royal Authority and were willing to proceed no further than we could justify to her Majesty to whom we are accountable but it seems our Lenity has been misinterpreted either for a Distrust of the Right we are prosecuting or of our ability to prevent the Rougher measures of those who have no better warrant for their intrusions than the sole consideration of their own private interest Joined with a good assurance We leave it with you to consider whether this late Action of Collo Pollock be agreeable to that profession of friendship which you make in your Letter And if this late attempt be not the ready way to irritate those Indians to shake off their obedience to her Majesty and by bringing forreigne Indians to Revenge their Wrongs involve both us and yourselves in war and all this for no other Account but to satisfy the selfish interest of Collo Pollock and some few insatiable people who aim at the Indians land We think ourselves obliged in her Majestys name and on Behalf of this her Majestys Colony to demand Reparation for so unwarrantable an attempt and that you'l punish Collo Pollock and those concerned with him as such an insolence Deserves But if no such satisfaction be given us we shall then conclude he acted by your authority who have now the Administration of the Government in that province and shall so represent it to her Majesty in justification of what we shall hereafter be obliged to do in asserting . . . . and maintaining her Majestys just Title to those Lands and protecting the Indians according to the articles of peace concluded with them and we doubt not her Majestys gracious approbation of our proceedings

Signed in name of the Council by

North Carolina, September 23d

Honble Sir

By your messenger I received yours of the 15th instant with the Depositions inclosed which I shall lay before the Governor and Council the first opportunity by this I acknowledge your favour and am

Sir your very humble Servant