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buy lands from you, or to settle or hunt on your lands; and making them liable to severe punishment. And if you will at any time seize such individuals, and deliver them to any officer of the United States, they will be punished according to law.
We have long been sensible, brothers, of the great injury you receive from an immoderate use of spirituous liquors ; and although it be profitable to us to make and sell these liquors, yet we value more the preservation of your health and happiness. Heretofore we apprehended you would be displeased, were we to withhold them from you. But leaving it to be your desire, we have taken measures to prevent their being carried into your country; and we sincerely rejoice at this proof of your wisdom. Instead of spending the produce of your hunting in purchasing this pernicious drink, which produces poverty, broils and murders, it will now be employed in procuring food and clothing for your families, and increasing instead of diminishing your numbers.
You have proposed, brothers, that we should deduct from your next year's annuity, the expenses of your journey here ; but this would be an exactness we do not practise with our red brethren. We will bear with satisfaction the expenses of your journey, and of whatever is necessary for your personal comfort ; and will not, by deducting them, lessen the amount of the necessaries which your women and children are to receive the next year.
From the same good will towards you, we shall be pleased to see you making progress in raising stock and grain, and making clothes for yourselves. A little labor in this way, performed at home and at ease, will go further towards feeding and clothing you, than a great deal of labor in hunting wild beasts.
In answer to your request of a smith to be stationed in some place convenient to you, I can inform you that Mr. Wells, our agent, is authorized to make such establishments, and also to fur
with implements of husbandry and manufacture, whenever you shall be determined to use them. The particulars on this subject, as well as of some others mentioned in your speech, and in the written speech you brought me from Buckangalah
and others, will be communicated and settled with you by the Secretary at War. And I shall pray you in your return, to be the bearers to your countrymen and friends of assurances of my sincere friendship, and that our nation wishes to befriend them in everything useful, and to protect them against all injuries committed by lawless persons from among our citizens, either on their lands, their lives or their property.
December 17, 1803. Brothers of the Choctaw nation :
We have long heard of your nation as a numerous, peaceable, and friendly people ; but this is the first visit we have had from its great men at the seat of our government. I welcome you here; am glad to take you by the hand, and to assure you, for your nation, that we are their friends. Born in the same land, we ought to live as brothers, doing to each other all the good we can, and not listening to wicked men, who may endeavor to make us enemies. By living in peace, we can help and prosper one another; by waging war, we can kill and destroy many on both sides; but those who survive will not be the happier for that. Then, brothers, let it forever be peace and good neighborhood between us. Our seventeen States compose a great and growing nation. Their children are as the leaves of the trees, which the winds are spreading over the forest. But we are just also. We take from no nation what belongs to it. Our growing numbers make us always willing to buy lands from our red brethren, when they are willing to sell. But be assured we never mean to disturb them in their possessions. On the contrary, the lines established between us by mutual consent, shall be sacredly preserved, and will protect your lands from all encroachments by our own people or any others. We will give you a copy of the law, made by our great Council, for punishing our people, who may encroach on your lands, or injure you otherwise. Carry it with you to your homes, and preserve it,
as the shield which we spread over you, to protect your land, your property and persons.
It is at the request which you sent me in September, signed by Puckshanublee and other chiefs, and which you now repeat, that I listen to your proposition to sell us lands. You say you owe a great debt to your merchants, that you have nothing to pay it with but lands, and you pray us to take lands, and pay your debt. The sum you have occasion for, brothers, is a very great one. We have never yet paid as much to any of our red brethren for the purchase of lands. You propose to us some on the Tombigbee, and some on the Mississippi. Those on the Mississippi suit is well. We wish to have establishments on that river, as resting places for our boats, to furnish them provisions, and to receive our people who fall sick on the way to or from New Orleans, which is now ours. In that quarter, therefore, we are willing to purchase as much as you will spare. But as to the manner in which the line shall be run, we are not judges of it here, nor qualified to make any bargain. But we will appoint persons hereafter to treat with you on the spot, who, knowing the country and quality of the lands, will be better able to agree with you on a line which will give us a just equivalent for the sum of money you want paid.
You have spoken, brothers, of the lands which your fathers formerly sold and marked off to the English, and which they ceded to us with the rest of the country they held here; and you say that, though you do not know whether your fathers were paid for them, you have marked the line over again for us, and do not ask repayment. It has always been the custom, brothers, when lands were bought of the red men, to pay for them immediately, and none of us have ever seen an example of such a debt remaining unpaid. It is to satisfy their immediate wants that the red men have usually sold lands; and in such a case, they would not let the debt be unpaid. The presumption from custom then is strong ; so it is also from the great length of time since your fathers sold these lands. But we have, moreover, been informed by persons now living, and who assisted the English in making the purchase, that the price was paid at the
time. Were it otherwise, as it was their contract, it would be their debt, not ours.
I rejoice, brothers, to hear you propose to become cultivators of the earth for the maintenance of your families. Be assured you will support them better and with less labor, by raising stock and bread, and by spinning and weaving clothes, than by hunting. A little land cultivated, and a little labor, will procure more provisions than the most successful hunt; and a woman will clothe more by spinning and weaving, than a man by hunting. Compared with you, we are but as of yesterday in this land. Yet see how much more we have multiplied by industry, and the exercise of that reason which you possess in common with us.
Follow then our example, brethren, and we will aid you with great pleasure.
The clothes and other necessaries which we sent you the last year, were, as you supposed, a present from us. We never meant to ask land or any other payment for them; and the store which we sent on, was at your request also; and to accommodate you with necessaries at a reasonable price, you wished of course to have it on your land; but the land would continue yours, not
As to the removal of the store, the interpreter, and the agent, and any other matters you may wish to speak about, the Secretary at War will enter into explanations with you, and whatever he says, you may consider as said by myself, and what he promises you will be faithfully performed.
I am glad, brothers, you are willing to go and visit some other parts of our country. Carriages shall be ready to convey you, and you shall be taken care of on your journey; and when you shall have returned here and rested yourselves to your own mind, you shall be sent home by land. We had provided for your coming by land, and were sorry for the mistake which carried you to Savannah instead of Augusta, and exposed you to the risks of a voyage ly sea. Had any accident happened to you, though we could not help it, it would have been a cause of great mourning to us. But we thank the Great Spirit who took care of you on the ocean, and brought you safe and in good health
to the seat of our great Council ; and we hope His care will accompany and protect you, on your journey and return home; and that He will preserve and prosper your nation in all its just pursuits.
VIII. My Children, White-hairs, Chiefs, and Warriors of the Osage
I repeat to you assurances of the satisfaction it gives me to receive you here. Besides the labor of such a journey, the confidence you have shown in the honor and friendship of my countrymen is peculiarly gratifying, and I hope you have seen that your confidence was justly placed, that you have found yourselves, since you crossed the Mississippi, among brothers and friends, with whom you were as safe as at home.
My Children,- I sincerely weep with you over the graves of your chiefs and friends, who fell by the hands of their enemies lately descending the Osage river. Had they been prisoners, and living, we would have recovered them. But no voice can awake the dead; no power undo what is done. On this side the Mississippi, where our government has been long established, and our authority organized, our friends visiting us are safe. We hope it will not be long before our voice will be heard and our arm respected, by those who meditate to injure our friends on the other side of that river. In the meantime, Governor Harrison will be directed to take proper measures to inquire into the circumstances of the transaction, to report them to us for consideration, and for the further measures they may require.
My Children,-By late arrangements with France and Spain, we now take their place as your neighbors, friends, and fathers ; and we hope you will have no cause to regret the change. It is so long since our forefathers came from beyond the great water, that we have lost the memory of it, and seem to have grown ont of this land, as you have done. Never more will you have occasion to change your fathers. We are all now of one family,