WASHINGTON AND THE CHEROKEES
Wednesday, January 9th 1792
The Secretary of War, addressed the Chiefs and Warriors of the Cherokee Nation, as follows:
Brothers- I am heartily glad that you have disburthened [sic] your hearts in your own way; because I am sure, when the red people see the hearts of the Great Chief, General Washington, and the Congress, that we shall become as one people, each living in peace and safety with our families.
You have mentioned some uneasiness about the treaty with Governor Blount, but the President, and the Senate of the United States, who are his Council, on this business, believing that this treaty was a good and satisfactory treaty, as well for the red and white people, have confirmed it- printed it as you here see, and it has become the law of the land; and if any bad white people should encroach upon your ground, or do any thing contrary to that treaty, they would be immediately punished.
It is therefore for your good that the treaty should be punctually complied with in all its parts, as well by you, as by us. Perhaps you may not clearly understand some part of the treaty; if so, speak, for we wish to remove all possible causes of difference and obstacles to our becoming one people.
Bloody fellow, in reply.- What you have said, is true and just; and you shall now hear all I have to say, so that nothing may hereafter lie heavy upon the hearts either of the red or white people.
I have heard you talk with satisfaction, but I am afraid every thing has not been fully explained from the treaty ground. I have considered well on our business and shall unfold all to you.
We are now together upon important business to us- I wish therefore to see the line Governor Blount has mentioned to you.
(a Map was accordingly produced, with the lines mentioned thereon, to which no material objection was made, as it was stated that the lines were to be run by Commissioners from each side.)
Bloody fellow. At the time of the treaty we objected to giving up so much land; but for the sake of peace and quietness we did it. But we object to the little money given for so much land. We request therefore that something further may be done in the matter, so that all our people may be quiet in their minds.
Instead of one thousand dollars a year for our lands, give us as much more, that is, fifteen hundred dollars a year, and we shall be perfectly satisfied.
If this could be obtained for us- we do not require it in money, but in goods bought in Philadelphia where they are cheapest; and to be sent to General Pickens, by the way of Charleston.
We should be happy that our business could be soon finished, that we might take one years goods with us- that you might sent a man with us, so that you may learn the satisfaction which we shall spread on our return.
The treaty mentions, ploughs, hoes, cattle and other things for a farm, this is what we want; game is going fast away from among us. We must plant corn and raise cattle, and we desire you to assist us. If these things could be sent us the next season, it would be of great service to us.
We wish you to attend to this point. In former times, we bought of the traders goods cheap, we could then clothe our women and children, but now game is scarce and good dear, we cannot live comfortable. We desire the United States to regulate this matter.
I shall now speak upon a point of great importance; the ridge which divides the waters of Little River from the Tennessee, is the boundary fixed by the treaty. But the white people are already over it, and their numbers have increased since the treaty. Remove these back, or our people will not be quiet. We speak strongly on this point.
We came to Philadelphia with our eyes full of tears; but since we have seen General Washington, and heard him speak, through you, our tears are wiped away., and we rejoice in the prospect of our future welfare, under the protection of Congress.
Governor Blount spoke very much to us, that a trading house should be established at Bear Creek below the Muscle Shoals on the Tennessee.- We could not consent to this- after we return home, we talked among ourselves on this matter, and it would be very disagreeable to our Nation.- But we have heard that this matter is still going on. We desire that the man you send with us should prevent this settlement at the Muscle Shoals.
I have now explained all I had to say, and hid nothing from you.
I now speak of the private affairs of our party, who are now here, you see that being upon the business of our Nation, we could not go a hunting and therefore our families will be unclad, unless you will do it, and we hope you will.