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labor as we do, and would make one people with us. But in all these things you have been free to do as you please ; your lands are your own ; your right to them shall never be violated by us; they are yours to keep or to sell as you please. Whenever you find it your interest to dispose of a part to enable you to improve the rest, and to support your families in the meantime, we are willing to buy, because our people increase fast. When a want of land in a particular place induces us to ask you to sell, still you are always free to say “ No,” and it will never disturb our friendship for you. We will never be angry with others for exercising their own rights according to what they think their own interests, You say you were told at Swan's Creek, that if you would not let us have lands, we should be angry with you, , and would force you. Those, my children, who told you so, said what was false, and what never had been said or thought of by us. We never meant to control your free will; we never will do it. I will explain to you the ground of our late application to you for lands. You know that the posts of Detroit and Macinac have very little lauds belonging to them. It is for your interest as well as ours that these posts should be maintained for the purposes of our trade with one another.
We were desirous therefore to purchase as much land around them as would enable us to have suflicient settlements there to support the posts; and that this might be so laid off as to join with our possessions on Lake Erie.
But we expressly instructed our beloved man, Governor Hall, not to press you beyond your own convenience, nor to buy more than you would spare with good will. He accordingly left you to your own inclinations, using no threats whatever, as you tell me in your message.
You agreed to let us have a part of what we wished to buy. We are contented with it my children. We find no fault with you for what you did not do, but thank you for what you did.
You complain, my children, that yourannuities are not regularly paid, that the goods delivered you are often bad in kind, that they sometimes arrive damaged, and are dear, and that you would rather receive them in money.
You shall have them in money. We had no interest in laying out your money in goods for you.
It cost us considerable trouble in the purchase and transportation, and as we could not be everywhere with them to take care of them ourselves, we could not prevent their being injured sometimes by accident, sometimes by carelessness. To pay money therefore, is more convenient to us, and as it will please you better, it shall be done.
I am now, my children, to address you on a very serious subject, one which greatly concerns your happiness. Open your ears, therefore, let my words sink deeply into your bosoms, and never forget them. For be assured that I will not, and that I will fulfil them to their uttermost import.
We have for sometime had a misunderstanding with the English, and we do not yet know whether it will end in peace or in war. But in either case, my children, do you remain quiet at home, taking no part in these quarrels. We do not wish you to shed your blood in our battles. We are able to fight them ourselves. And if others press you to take part against us, it is because they are weak, not able to protect themselves nor you. Consider well then what you do. Since we have freed ourselves from the English government, and made our peace with our Indian neighbors, we have cultivated that peace with sincerity and affection. We have done them such favors as were in our power, and promoted their interest and peace wherever we could. We consider them now as a part of ourselves, and we look to their welfare as our
But if there be among you any nation whom no benefits can attach, no good offices on our part can convert into faithful friends, if relinquishing their permanent connection with us for the fugitive presents or promises of others, they shall prefer our enmity to our friendship, and engage in war against us, that nation must abandon forever the land of their fathers. No nation rejecting our friendship, and commencing wanton and unprovoked war against us, shall ever after remain within our reach ; it shall never be in their power to strike us a second time. These words, my children, may appear harsh ; but they are spoken in kindness; they are intended to warn you beforehand of the ruin into which those will rush, who shall once break the chain of friendship with us. You know they are not spoken from fear.
We fear no nation. We love yours. We wish you to live forever in peace with all men, and in brotherly affection with us; to be with us as one family ; to take care of your women and children, feed and clothe them well, multiply and be strong with your friends and your enemies.
My children, I salute you with fatherly concern for your welfare.
May 4, 1808. To the Chiefs of the Upper Cherokees :
My Children, Chiefs of the Upper Cherokees,—I am glad to see you at the seat of government, to take you by the hand, and to assure you in person of the friendship of the United States towards all their red children, and of their desire to extend, to them all, their protection of good offices. The journey you have come is a long one, and the object expressed in our conference of the other day is important. I have listened to it with attention, and given it the consideration it deserves. You complain that you do not receive your just proportion of the annuities we pay your nation; that the chiefs of the lower towns take for them more than their share. My children, this distribution is made by the authority of the Cherokee nation, and according to their own rules over which we have no control. We do our duty in delivering the annuities to the head men of the nation, and we pretend to no authority over them, to no right of directing how they are to be distributed. But we will instruct our agent, Colonel Meigs, to exhort the chiefs to do justice to all the parts of their nation in the distribution of these annuities, and to endeavor that every town shall have its due share. We would willingly pay these annuities in money, which could be more equally divided, if the nation would prefer that, and if we can be assured that the money will not be laid out in strong drink instead of necessaries for your wives and children. We wish to do whatever will best secure your people from suffering for want of clothes or food. It is these wants which bring
sickness and death into your families, and prevent you from multiplying as we do. In answer to your question relating to the lands we have purchased from your nation at different times, I inform you that the payments have for the most part been made in money, which has been left, as the annuities are, to the discharge of your debts, and to distribute according to the rules of the nation.
You propose, my children, that your nation shall be divided into two, and that your part, the upper Cherokees, shall be separated from the lower by a fixed boundary, shall be placed under the government of the United States, become citizens thereof, and be ruled by our laws; in fine, to be our brothers instead of our children. My children, I shall rejoice to see the day when the red men, our neighbors, become truly one people with us, enjoying all the rights and privileges we do, and living in peace and plenty as we do, without any one to make them afraid, to injure their persons, or to take their property without being punished for it according to fixed laws. But are you prepared for this? Have you the resolution to leave off hunting for your living, to lay off a farm for each family to itself, to live by industry, the men working that farm with their hands, raising stock, or learning trades as we do, and the women spinning and weaving clothes for their husbands and children? All this is necessary before our laws can suit you or be of any use to you.
However, let your people take this matter into consideration. If they think themselves prepared for becoming citizens of the United States, for living in subjection to laws and under their protection as we do, let them consult the lower towns, come with them to an agreement of separation by a fixed boundary, and send to this place a few of the chiefs they have most confidence in, with powers to arrange with us regulations concerning the protection of their persons, punishment of crimes, assigning to each family their separate farms, directing how these shall go to the family as they die one after another, in what manner they shall be governed, and all other particulars necessary for their happiness in their new condition. On our part I will ask the assistance of our great council, the Congress, whose authority is necessary to
give validity to these arrangements, and who wish nothing more sincerely than to render your condition secure and happy. Should the principal part of your people determine to adopt this alteration, and a smaller part still choose to continue the hunter's life, it may facilitate the settlement among yourselves to be told that we will give to those leave to go, if they choose it, and settle on our lands beyond the Mississippi, where some Cherokees are already settled, and where game is plenty, and we will take measures for establishing a store there among them, where they may obtain necessaries in exchange for their peltries, and we will still continue to be their friends there as much as here.
My children, carry these words to your people, advise with Colonel Meigs in your proceedings, ask him to inform me from time to time how you go on, and I will further advise you in what may be necessary. Tell your people I take them all by the hand ; that I leave them free to do as they choose, and that whatever choice they make, I will still be their friend and father.
May 5, 1808. To Colonel Louis Cook and Jacob Francis of the St. Regis In
My Children,- I take you by the hand, and all the people of St. Regis within the limits of the United States, and I desire to speak to them through you. A great misunderstanding has taken place between the English and the United States, and although we desire to live in peace with all the world and unmolested, yet it is not quite certain whether this difference will end in peace or war. Should war take place, do you, my children, remain at home in peace, taking care of your wives and children.
You have no concern in our quarrel, take therefore no part in it. We do not wish you to spill your blood in our battles. We can fight them ourselves. Say the same to your red brethren everywhere, let them remain neutral and quiet, and we will never disturb them. Should the English insist on their taking up the hatchet against