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Now the Six Nations give great thanks to General Washington, that his mind is so strong for peace, and the Six Nations look to him for peace. Therefore, the sachems and head-men of our nations have come to you this evening, to tell you that you shall not go with them into the towns of the enemy Indians.
Speech of the Young King of the Six Nations, on my leaving of
Buffalo Creek, May 21, 1791. BROTHERS: We are called together this day by the appointment of yesterday, to hear what answer has been sent to your letter, from the commanding officer of Niagara. And the same having been made known to us, we find that you are disappointed in your expectations of getting a vessel, in which we were to go with you toward the unfriendly Indians; and that, therefore, you would return by the way of Fort Pitt.
You have also said that you do not blame us, but that you blame the British; and that, therefore, we should be easy in our minds and be at peace with the United States.
You have also mentioned a letter, which came from General St. Clair to us, and what answer we should give to the same, so that Colonel Butler, at Pittsburg, might be informed by you.
The answer of our fighting, as requested by General St. Clair: On seeing how your troops should act against the enemy Indians, , you must listen, and hear what is the full determination of all the sachems and warriors of the Six Nations; what they have determined upon, and that in a few words, for Col. Butler to be sent to General St. Clair.
Now, the answer is, that we are desirous of complying with the instructions of his first letter, sent to Cuyasatta, our great chief for the Six Nations; namely, that we must sit still, and not to mind any other business but peace; and those were the words of his letter. Moreover, last fall it was told to us by Col. Pickering, that the Six Nations must take no notice of any thing, but what tended to be peaceable; for that would be an advantage to our nations, and nothing else. So that, ever since, we have conformed to these instructions, in not interfering in any matter that has another tendency: for with the British we are at peace, according to their request of us; and we are the same with the Americans. And should the unfriendly Indians come forward to seek peace by us, we will help to do so; and we are desirous ourselves of remaining peaceable.
The reason why we now tell you these things, is, that we are neither on the one side, or on the other; whether of the British, or of the Americans; for we desire to be still, and to be at peace with both.
Here, brother, we speak to you on another matter, that has respect to the Six Nations. General Washington, the great chief, has kindled a fire at the Painted Post; and this, we expect, is done for the sake of peace: for he has called all the nations, from the Grand river to the Oneidas. And it is our desire to attend the same, at the time proposed.
Therefore, tell Colonel Butler, at Pittsburg, that we cannot attend, according to the request of General St. Clair: for we shall attend the treaty at the Painted Post, where the fire is lighted by General Washington, and at that place all matters we here related shall then be talked over again. In this, brother, you have heard the sense of the Six Nations, and our sentiments are firm and strong: for, amongst us, there is not one deficient. This is, therefore, the close of this speech, as we want to talk over other matters which concern the errand that you have come to us upon, and which we can't go through with, because we can't speak to the Indians, that reside towards the setting sun. But we have told you, that we have sent Captain Brandt, to know their opinion; and we have always wanted you to stay with us until his return, to know what is the minds of those people towards the Thirteen Fires.
We have also told you, that we shall take the same into consideration, as we want to speak to them once more, on terms of peace: for our mind is the same as when you first came amongst us, and we are desirous of seeing Captain Brandt return; and when we hear that those people will incline to peace, we will help it, and try to bring the same to effect. And should Captain Brandt be here before we go for the Painted Post, whatever their intentions are, we shall make the same known; and if for peace, the one half of our chiefs shall go to the unfriendly Indians, and the other half, with our women and children, shall attend the treaty before named; and the same information shall be sent to fort Pitt, for the information of Col. Butler, as you have requested of us.
This, therefore, is all that we have to say to you at this time, and are desirous that you may go whither you intended.
SIR: Thus far I have attempted to delineate the several events and progress of my tour among the Six Nations of Indians, &c. And although the commissions you were pleased to honor me with were not so completely accomplished as wished for, I nevertheless enjoy a conscious evidence, that, in no instance, have I omitted to put in practice such means as I conceived to be the most conducive to that end. I have the honor to be your Excellency's most humble servant,
THOMAS PROCTER. Major GENERAL H. Knox,
Secretary of War.
Instructions to Colonel Timothy Pickering.'
SIR: The Vice President of the United States, and the Heads of the Departments of State, who are empowered thereto by the President of the United States, having determined it to be expedient, at this time, that the Six Nations of Indians, so termed, should be assembled together, for the purpose of cementing the existing friendships, and that this business should be performed by you, I have the honor of giving you the instructions herein contained, which are to serve as the general rules of your conduct.
In order that you may comprehend clearly the present relative situation of the United States with the Six Nations, I herewith deliver you copies of certain written speeches which were delivered by the Cornplanter, a chief of the Senecas, and his companions, who were lately on a visit to this city, to the President of the United States, and the answers thereto. Two of these answers were signed with due form by the President of the United States, and the first engrossed on parchment, and also the instructions to Colonel Thomas Procter and a letter to Governor Clinton.
1 American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, p. 165.
It would be proper that you should repeat to the said Six Nations, all that has been stated by the President of the United States, as the foundation of their future expectations.
It being the sincere desire of the General Government that the Indians, on all occasions, should be treated with entire justice and humanity, you may give the strongest assurances on this point.
The great object of the proposed meeting will be, to impress on the minds of the Indians, that their interest and happiness depend upon the protection and friendship of the United States and to conciliate their affections, for which purpose you will use your highest exertion.
That the war in which we are involved with the Western Indians is highly disagreeable to the United States, and would be speedily terminated, were the Indians to manifest pacific dispositions; but, if they persist in hostilities, their destruction must be the consequence, as may be easily proved to them by a comparative view of the respective force.
That, if the Six Nations shall be convinced that the United States are desirous of peace, on terms of moderation and justice, and that any further opposition of the Western Indians, after receiving information of the humane dispositions of the United States, will be entirely unjustifiable; in this case, it is the expectation of the President of the United States that the Six Nations do not only abstain from joining the enemy, but that they manifest their friendship by sending their young warriors to join our army, for which they shall be well paid.
It will be important to dwell much upon this point. It will be difficult, if not impracticable, for the chiefs to restrain the young men from indulging their passion for war. They will, therefore, probably join the Western Indians, unless they join us. If this should be the case, the United States will consider the Six Nations as responsible for the conduct of their young men. To avoid, therefore, so dangerous a situation, they had better join our forces than remain liable to join the enemy. In case of their compliance with your request, it would be proper that you make a decisive arrangement on this point, so that a number of their warriors, not exceeding fifty or sixty, join the troops at fort Harmar, or fort Washington, by the fifteenth or twentieth of July. If the Cornplanter should head this party, it would be most acceptable, as his attachment and fidelity could be relied upon.
You will observe the contents of the letter to Governor Clinton. If, therefore, you should see Captain Brandt at the meeting, you will endeavor, by all reasonable methods, to attach him to the United States; and, if you should think proper, you may invite him to repair to this place, when the President of the United States shall be present, together with such other important characters as you may judge proper; but none but such characters ought to be invited, on account of the expense. In case of their accepting the invitation, the proper time of their visit would be during the next session of Congress.
That the General Government are not insensible to the improper conduct of some lawless whites on the frontiers, to the friendly Indians. That every measure shall be taken to make atonement to the Indians aggrieved, by making liberal compensation for the loss of property, upon which subject General St. Clair is fully instructed, and that, also, the States have been applied to for the punishment of the aggressors.
You will, also, inform the Indians how desirous the President of the United States is, that the Indians should have imparted to them the blessings of husbandry and the arts, and of his willingness to receive the young sons of some of their principal chiefs, for the two-fold purpose of teaching them to read and write, and to instruct them fully in the arts of husbandry.
If they should readily accede to this proposition, you may receive the children to be educated, either at the time of the treaty, or at such other time and place as you may agree upon.
You have delivered to you certain goods, agreeably to the invoices hereunto annexed, in order to be presented at the treaty, according to your judgment; and, if it should be your opinion, that pensions, not exceeding one hundred dollars each, bestowed, annually, on four or five of the principal chiefs, would greatly tend to create or increase an attachment to the United States, you will please to intimate the same to them, on condition of being hereafter confirmed by the President of the United States.
You will conduct your business journal-wise, in the manner you observed at Tioga, keeping written copies of all speeches delivered to, or received from, the Indians; and you will report every part of your proceedings, in order to be submitted to the President of the United States.