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February 10, 1802. Brothers of the Delaware and Shawanee nations :
I thank the Great Spirit that he has conducted you hither in health and safety, and that we have an opportunity of renewing our amity, and of holding friendly conference together. It is a circumstance of great satisfaction to us that we are in peace and good understanding with all our red brethren, and that we discover in them the same disposition to continue so which we feel ourselves. It is our earnest desire to merit, and possess their affections, by rendering them strict justice, prohibiting injury from others, aiding their endeavors to learn the culture of the earth, and to raise useful animals, and befriending them as good neighbors, and in every other way in our power. By mutual endeavors to do good to each other, the happiness of both will be better promoted than by efforts of mutual destruction. We are all created by the same Great Spirit ; children of the same family. Why shouuld we not live then as brothers ought to do?
I am peculiarly gratified by receiving the visit of some of your most ancient and greatest warriors, of whom I have heard much good. It is a long journey which they have taken at their age, and in this season, and I consider it as a proof that their affections for us are sincere and strong. I hope that the young men, who have come with them, to make acquaintance with us, judging our dispositions towards them by what they see themselves, and not what they may hear from others, will go hand in hand with us, through life, in the cultivation of mutual peace, friendship, and good offices.
The speech which the Blackhoof delivered us, in behalf of your nation, has been duly considered. The answer to all its particulars will now be delivered you by the Secretary of War. Whatever he shall say, you may consider as if said by myself, and that what he promises our nation'will perform.
WASHINGTON, November 3, 1802. To Brother Handsome Lake :
I have received the message in writing which you sent me through Captain Irvine, our confidential agent, placed near you for the purpose of communicating and transacting between us, whatever may be useful for both nations. I am happy to learn you have been so far favored by the Divine spirit as to be made sensible of those things which are for your good and that of your people, and of those which are hurtful to you; and particularly that you and they see the ruinous effects which the abuse of spirituous liquors have produced upon them. It has weakened their bodies, enervated their minds, exposed them to hunger, cold, nakedness, and poverty, kept them in perpetual broils, and reduced their population. I do not wonder then, brother, at your censures, not only on your own people, who have voluntarily gone into these fatal habits, but on all the nations of white people who have supplied their calls for this article. But these nations have done to you only what they do among themselves. They have sold what individuals wish to buy, leaving to every one to be the guardian of his own health and happiness. Spirituous liquors are not in themselves bad, they are often found to be an excellent medicine for the sick; it is the improper and intemperate use of them, by those in health, which makes them injurious. But as you find that your people cannot refrain from an ill use of them, I greatly applaud your resolution not to use them at all. We have too affectionate a concern for your happiness to place the paltry gain on the sale of these articles in competition with the injury they do you. And as it is the desire of your nation, that no spirits should be sent among them, I am authorized by the great council of the United States to prohibit them. I will sincerely cooperate with your wise men in any proper measures for this purpose, which shall be agreeable to them.
You remind me, brother, of what I said to you, when you visited me the last winter, that the lands you then held would
remain yours, and shall never go from
should be disposed to sell. This I now repeat, and will ever abide by. We, indeed, are always ready to buy land ; but we will never ask but when you wish to sell; and our laws, in order to protect you against imposition, have forbidden individuals to purchase lands from you; and have rendered it necessary, when you desire to sell, even to a State, that an agent from the United States should attend the sale, see that your consent is freely given, a satisfactory price paid, and report to us what has been done, for our approbation. This was done in the late case of which you complain. The deputies of your nation came forward, in all the forms which we have been used to consider as evidence of the will of your nation. They proposed to sell to the State of New York certain parcels of land, of small extent, and detached from the body of your other lands; the State of New York was desirous to buy. I sent an agent, in whom we could trust, to see that your consent was free, and the sale fair. All was reported to be free and fair. The lands were your property. The right to sell is one of the rights of property. To forbid you the exercise of that right would be a wrong to your nation. Nor do I think, brother, that the sale of lands is, under all circumstances, injurious to your people. While they depended on hunting, the more extensive the forest around them, the more game they would yield. But going into a state of agriculture, it may be as advantageous to a society, as it is to an individual, who has more land than he can improve, to sell a part, and lay out the money in stocks and implements of agriculture, for the better improvement of the residue. A little land well stocked and improved, will yield more than a great deal without stock or improvement. I hope, therefore, that on further reflection, you will see this transaction in a more favorable light, both as it concerns the interest of your nation, and the exercise of that superintending care which I am sincerely anxious to employ for their subsistence and happiness. Go on then, brother, in the great reformation you have undertaken. Persuade our red brethren then to be sober, and to cultivate their lands; and their women to spin and weave for their families. You will soon see your women and
children well fed and clothed, your men living happily in peace and plenty, and your numbers increasing from year to year. It will be a great glory to you to have been the instrument of so happy a change, and your children's children, from generation to generation, will repeat your name with love and gratitude forever. In all your enterprises for the good of your people, you may count with confidence on the aid and protection of the United States, and on the sincerity and zeal with which I am myself animated in the furthering of this humane work. You are our brethren of the same land; we wish your prosperity as brethren should do. Farewell.
January 8, 1803. Brothers Miamis and Delawares :
I am happy to see you here, to take you by the hand, and to renew the assurances of our friendship. The journey which you have taken is long ; but it leads to a right understanding of what either of us may have misunderstood ; it will be useful for all. For, living in the same land, it is best for us all that we should live together in peace, friendship, and good neighborhood.
I have taken into serious consideration the several subjects on which you spoke to me the other day, and will now proceed to answer them severally.
You know, brothers, that, in ancient times, your former fathers the French settled at Vincennes, and lived and traded with your ancestors, and that those ancestors ceded to the French a tract of country, on the Wabash river, seventy leagues broad, and extending in length from Point Coupee to the mouth of White river. The French, at the close of a war between them and the English, ceded this country to the English ; who, at the close of a war between them and us, ceded it to us. The remembrance of these transactions is well preserved among the white people ; they have been acknowledged in a deed signed by your fathers; and you also, we suppose, must have heard it from them. Sin
cerely desirous to live in peace and brotherhood with you, and that the hatchet of war may never again be listed, we thought it prudent to remove from between us whatever might at any time produce misunderstanding. The unmarked state of our boundaries, and mutual trespasses on each others' lands, for want of their being known to all our people, have at times threatened our peace. We therefore instructed Governor Harrison to call a meeting of the chiefs of all the Indian nations around Vincennes, and to propose that we should settle and mark the boundary between us.
The chiefs of these nations met. They appeared to think hard that we should claim the whole of what their ancestors had ceded and sold to the white men, and proposed to mark off for us from Point Coupee to the mouth of White river, a breadth of twenty-four leagues only, instead of seventy. His ofler was a little more than a third of our right. But the desire of being in peace and friendship with you, and of doing nothing which should distress you, prevailed in our minds, and we agreed to it.
This was the act of the several nations, original owners of the soil, and by men duly authorized by the body of those nations. You, brothers, seem not to have been satisfied with it. But it is a rule in all countries that what is done by the body of a nation must be submitted to by all its members. We have no right to alter, on a partial deputation, what we have settled by treaty with the body of the nations concerned. The lines too, which are agreed on, are to be run and marked in the presence of your chiefs, who will see that they are fairly run. Your nations were so sensible of the moderation of our conduct towards them, that they voluntarily offered to lend us forever the salt springs, and four miles square of land near the mouth of the Wabash, without price. But we wish nothing without price. And we propose to make a reasonable addition to the annuity we pay to the owners.
You complain that our people buy your lands individually, and settle and hunt on them without leave. To convince you of the care we have taken to guard you against the injuries and arts of interested individuals, I now will give you a copy of a law, of our great council the Congress, forbidding individuals to