WASHINGTON AND THE CHEROKEES.
Communications between the Secretary of War and the aforesaid Cherokee Chiefs.
Brothers of the Cherokee Chiefs, Attend!- You have heard from the mouth of General Washington, the great chief of the United States, the kindness which is intended for you and all the red people, and how it is proposed that in future our interests should be the same.
But, Brothers, in order to perfect this good work, the wise people on both sides must endeavor to prevent the young men from committing any rash actions.
The great Chief General Washington has informed you how the bad Indians north of the Ohio have been murdering the men, women and children of the people of Kentucky; that those bad Indians not only refused to accept the peace offered by General Washington, but they renewed their murders with greater violence than ever.
That they have beaten some troops which were sent to protect the frontier people, and that the United States are determined to punish with great severity, those bad Indians, unless they will be quiet.
Now, Brothers, it is very probable, the bad Indians will send messages to the Cherokees and by lies endeavor to obtain your assistance.
General Washington who always speaks the words of truth has told you, that we do not want the land of those bad Indians, and therefore whatever they say upon that head do not believe them, and above all prevent your rash young men from joining them.
We know however that the glory of a young man is to be engaged in a war, and that it will be a difficult task for you to restrain them. Consider will upon this point, and if you should find it impossible, to prevent your young warriors from joining one side or the other, will it not be for your interest and the happiness of your whole nation, that your young men should join our warriors as we mean in future to be one people?
If a number of your young warriors join our army they shall be well fed, and shall be well rewarded with money or presents as shall be agreed upon.
You are to understand clearly that this proposal is made for your consideration and free decision-that if you approve you will accept it-that if you do not approve, you will decline it.
The proposal is made to you from a belief that you cannot keep your young men from joining one side or the other.
If they join the bad Indians, they then make themselves our enemies and much misery will be the consequence. If they join our army, the friendship between the United States and the Cherokees will be cemented as firm and as durable as the mountains and we shall always be one people.
Take this matter into your consideration until to-morrow and then let me know your mind thereon.
The sooner we finish our business the better, as I have heard the ice has broken up at New York, and you may if you please go to that place and embark for your own country.
February 9, 1792.
Bloody fellow to the Secretary of War.
Brother- It is now three days since we received your talk. You desired us to consider well upon the matter, which we have done and are now going to reply to you.
We were sent as Ambassadors from our country, in order to adjust every thing between the United States and the Cherokees and we now see plainly that we have accomplished all we could desire, and we now can return home with confidence and assure our people that full justice shall be administered to them.
We have had the happiness of seeing our father General Washington, and of hearing his talk from his own mouth, and will now assure ourselves under his protection of being a flourishing Nation evermore.
We are persuaded that all he has said to us is truth, and as we are ambassadors for our Nation we are desirous of explaining it to all our people, so that they may lay hold of it as we do.
We received the talk of General Washington and also yours three days ago, and we hold them fast to our hearts. But as ambassadors, we cannot answer for our Nation, until we first consult them-this we shall do immediately upon our arrival home and let you know.
We therefore here act not only as representatives of our own Nation, but of the Creeks, the Chickasaws and Choctaws. We wish also to consult them upon the war with the Northern Indians, and all of us join, arm in arm, as one people, with the whites, to crush the Northern Indians, who we consider as acting wrong and that they are unjustly waging war against the United States.
Were we at home, we should speak more plainly upon this subject. But, although our hearts are good and true to the United States, we wish not to pledge ourselves farther than our authority-although we shall use our endeavors to comply fully with your request.
Mr. Shaw, who you are going to send with us, whom we call the Long Sword, shall be present at our deliberations on this point, and as soon as we come to any conclusion thereon, he shall write to you through Governor Blount. All this comes from our Hearts, free of all deception.
King fisher- You are the man appointed to do our business by our Great Father the President of the United States-we have received both your talks, which give us the greatest satisfaction. We are perfectly happy in finding the business, about which we were sent, so well accomplished. We would only therefore suggest the propriety of running the Boundary line as speedily as possible, in order that those persons who have intruded on the Cherokee lands may be compelled to remove soon. We cannot help mentioning one person that has given us a great deal of trouble-his name is Davidson-he is a magistrate and lives on the banks of the Swannow river.
We must farther add, that we request a letter may be written by the Secretary of War for the perusal of the whole nation containing a positive promise that all persons intruding on our lands shall be turned off, in order that their minds may be fully satisfied.
Personally appeared before me John Barclay, Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, James Carey, Interpreter to the Cherokee Nation of Indians who being duly sworn deposeth and saith that he is well acquainted with English and Cherokee languages, and that the interpretations which he the deponent has given at the respective conferences held between the President of the United States, the Secretary for the department of War, and the Cherokee Indian Chiefs now in this City, were true and faithful translation from the English into the Cherokee, and from the Cherokee into the English languages to the best of his knowledge and abilities, and further this deponent swears, that as he has been appointed the Interpreter of the United States to the Cherokee Indians, that he ever will to the best of his abilities translate every thing which he may hereafter be required to translate between the said parties, and that he will exert himself upon all occasions to promote and keep up a friendly understanding and harmony between the said parties and further this deponent saith not.
(Signed) JAMES CAREY.
Sworn before me the 16th February, 1792.
(Signed) JOHN BARCLAY, mayor.
Personally appeared before me John Barclay, Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, George Miler or Suwegey, one of the Cherokee Indians, who being duly sworn deposeth and saith, that he is well acquainted with the English and Cherokee languages, and that he the deponent was present at the several conferences between the President of the United States, the Secretary for the department of War and the Cherokee Indian Chiefs now in this City, at which conferences James Carey served as Interpreter and that the several translations made by said James Carey at the respective conferences from the English into the Cherokee, and from the Cherokee into the English languages were made by him the said James Carey faithfully and agreeably to the spirit and significations of the respective languages to the best of the knowledge and understanding of him, the deponent and further saith not.
(Signed) JOHN BARCLAY, Mayor.
City of Philadelphia,ss.
I Leonard Shaw do solemnly swear, that I will support the Constitution of the United States and that I will well and truly serve the United States in the office of Deputy Agent to the Cherokee Indians and that I will not be concerned either directly or indirectly in the Indian trade.
(Signed) LEONARD D. SHAW.
Sworn before me the 16 February, 1792.
(Signed) JOHN BARCLAY, Mayor.
The foregoing are all genuine copies, excepting the speech of the President of the United States, which is the original and signed with his own hand.
H. KNOX, Sec'y of War.