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Indian Treaties.1

Communicated to the Senate September 18, 1789.

Mr. Carroll, to whom was referred a message from the President of the United States of the 17th of September, 1789, made the following report:

That the signature of treaties with the Indian nations has ever been considered as a full completion thereof; and that such treaties have never been solemnly ratified by either of the contracting parties, as hath been commonly practised among the civilized nations of Europe: wherefore, the committee are of opinion that the formal ratification of the treaty concluded at fort Harmar, on the oth day of January, 1789, between Arthur St. Clair, Governor of the Western territory, on the part of the United States, and the sachems and warriors of the Wyandot, Delaware, Ottawa, Chippewa, Pattiwatima, and Sac Nations, is not expedient or necessary; and that the resolve of the Senate, of the 8th September, 1789, respecting the said treaty, authorizes the President to enjoin a due observance thereof.

That, as to the treaty made at fort Harmar, on the 9th of January, 1789, between the said Arthur St. Clair, and the sachems and warriors of the Six Nations, (except the Mohawks) from particular circumstances affecting a part of the ceded lands, the Senate did not judge it expedient to pass any act concerning the same.

1American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, p. 59.


Statement prepared by the Secretary of War and communicated by the

President to Congress, January 11, 1792.


A summary statement of facts relatively to the measures taken, in

behalf of the United States to induce the hostile Indians, northwest of the Ohio, to peace, previously to the exercise of coercion against them; and also a statement of the arrangements for the campaign of 1791.1

That the measures of the Executive of the United States, relatively to Indian affairs since the operation of the General Government, have been calculated to produce a peace with all the Indian tribes upon the terms of justice and humanity, may be evinced by having recourse to the records of the Indian department.

That, as the former proceedings have generally been laid before the Legislature, the present statement commences with the close of the campaign of the year 1790.

That the Cornplanter, a war-captain of the Senecas, and other Indians of the same tribe, being in Philadelphia, December, 1790, measures were taken to impress them with the moderation of the United States, as it respected the war with the Western Indians; that the coercive measures against them had been the consequence of their refusal to listen to the invitations of peace, and a continuance of their depredations on the frontiers.

That, at the same time, the Senecas were warned to restrain their young men from taking part with the hostile Indians; upon which point, assurances were made by the Cornplanter that he and the Indians under his influence, would not only be friends to the United States, but that they would endeavor to prevent the further hostilities of the Western Indians. Arrangements were accordingly made, that the Cornplanter, with other friendly Indians, should proceed to the Western tribes, and endeavor to influence them to peace.

"American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, p. 139.


That, in addition to this measure, Colonel Thomas Proctor, on the roth of March, was sent to the Cornplanter to hasten his departure, to accompany him to the Miami villages; and messages were sent to the Indians, declaratory of the sentiments of the United States towards them.

That both the Cornplanter and Colonel Proctor met with difficulties in the due execution of their orders which were insurmountable.

That further measures were taken, in the month of April, to draw the Six Nations to a conference, at a distance from the theatre of war, in order not only to prevent their joining therein, but, also, if necessary, to obtain some of their young men to join our army, in case of hostilities being inevitable.

That the said conference was accordingly held at the Painted Post, in the month of June, by Colonel Pickering.




(Enclosure 1.)

Speech of the Cornplanter, Half-Town, and the Great-Tree, Chiefs

and Councillors of the Seneca nation, to the Great Councillor of the Thirteen Fires.!

FATHER: The voice of the Seneca nation speaks to you, the great councillor, in whose heart the wise men of all the Thirteen Fires have placed their wisdom. It may be very small in your ears, and we therefore entreat you to hearken with attention: for we are about to speak of things which are to us very great. When your army entered the country of the Six Nations, we called you the town destroyer; and to this day, when that name is heard, our women look behind them and turn pale, and our children cling close to the necks of their mothers. Our councillors and warriors are men, and cannot be afraid; but their hearts are grieved with the fears of our women and children, and desire it may be buried so deep as to be heard no more.

When you gave us peace, we called you father, because you promised to secure us in the possession of our lands. Do this, and so long as the lands shall remain, that beloved name will live in the heart of every Seneca.

American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, p. 140.

FATHER: We mean to open our hearts before you, and we earnestly desire that you will let us clearly understand what you resolve to do. When our chiefs returned from the treaty at fort Stanwix, and laid before our council what had been done there, our nation was surprised to hear how great a country you had compelled them to give up to you, without your paying to us any thing for it. Every one said that your hearts were yet swelled with resentment against us for what had happened during the war, but that one day you would reconsider it with more kindness. We asked each other, What have we done to deserve such severe chastisement?

FATHER: When you kindled your thirteen fires separately, the wise men that assembled at them told us that you were all brothers, the children of one great father, who regarded, also, the red people as his children. They called us brothers, and invited us to his protection; they told us that he resided beyond the great water, where the sun first rises; that he was a king whose power no people could resist, and that his goodness was bright as that sun.

What they said went to our hearts; we accepted the invitation, and promised to obey him. What the Seneca nation

, promise, they faithfully perform; and when you resused obedience to that king, he commanded us to assist his beloved men in making you sober. In obeying him we did no more than yourselves had led us to promise. The men who claimed this promise told us that you were children, and had no guns; that when they had shaken you, you would submit. We hearkened to them, and were deceived, until your army approached our towns.

We were deceived; but your people, in teaching us to confide in that king, had helped to deceive, and we now appeal to your heart-Is the blame all ours?

FATHER: When we saw that we were deceived, and heard the invitation which you gave us to draw near to the fire which you kindled, and talk with you concerning peace, we made haste towards it. You then told us that we were in your hand, and that, by closing it, you could crush us to nothing, and you demanded from us a great country as the price of that peace which you had offered us; as if our want of strength had destroyed our rights; our chiefs had felt your power, and were unable to contend against you, and they therefore gave up that country. What they agreed to, has bound our nation; but your anger against us must, by this time, be cooled; and, although our strength has not increased, nor your power become less, we ask you to consider calmly, Were the terms dictated to us by your commissioners reasonable and just?

FATHER: Your commissioners, when they drew the line which separated the land then given up to you from that which you agreed should remain to be ours, did most solemnly promise, that we should be secured in the peaceable possession of the lands which we inhabited east and north of that line. Does this promise bind you?

Hear now, we beseech you, what has since happened concerning that land. On the day in which we finished the treaty at fort Stanwix, commissioners from Pennsylvania told our chiefs that they had come there to purchase from us all the lands belonging to us, within the lines of their State, and they told us that their line would strike the river Susquehanna below Tioga branch. They then left us to consider of the bargain till the next day; on the next day we let them know that we were unwilling to sell all the lands within their State, and proposed to let them have a part of it, which we pointed out to them in their map. They told us that they must have the whole; that it was already ceded to them by the great king, at the time of making peace with you, and was their own; but they said that they would not take advantage of that, and were willing to pay us for it, after the manner of their ancestors. Our chiefs were unable to contend, at that time, and therefore they sold the lands up to the line, which was then shown to them as the line of that State. What the commissioners had said about the land having been ceded to them at the peace, our chiefs considered as intended only to lessen the price, and they passed it by with very little notice; but, since that time, we have heard so much from others about the right to our lands, which the king gave when you made peace with them, that it is our earnest desire that you will tell us what it means.

FATHER: Our nation empowered John Livingston to let out part of our lands on rent, to be paid to us. He told us that he was sent by Congress to do this for us, and we fear he has deceived us in the writing he obtained from us.

For, since the time of our giving that power, a man of the name of Phelps has come among us, and claimed our whole country

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