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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Stuart to John Pownall [Extract]
Stuart, John, 1718-1779
August 24, 1765
Volume 07, Pages 108-112

[P. R. O. Am: & W. Ind: Vol. 269.]
John Stewart (Indian Agent) to John Pownall

Charles Town 24 August 1765.


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To the Northward the Province of North Carolina granted Lands as far back as the Mountains and deprived the Indians of the Lower Cherokee Towns of the most valuable part of their hunting Grounds.

In May last some Cherokee Indians being among the Settlements of Virginia with friendly Intentions were set upon by a party of the Inhabitants and five of them were killed and some of those who escaped were wounded of which they died after their return to their Towns.

These Circumstances crowding upon the back of each other so enraged and alarmed the Indians that all the Address of Mr Cameron and Ensign Price commanding at Fort Prince George was hardly sufficient to hinder them from taking immediate Revenge on the White People who lived amongst them and Mr Cameron quotes it as a most lucky circumstance that at the time when they heard of the murder in Virginia there was no Rum in the Nation I must beg leave to refer you to Copies of Letters from Major Lewis Mr Cameron and Ensign Price for more particular accounts of this matter and the situation of affairs in that Nation.

Lieutenant Governor Bull saw the necessity of satisfying the Indians with respect to their Lands and sent them a Message proposing to run a line that would cover the new Settlements but the Indians would not agree to his Proposal and excused themselves from taking any Steps in that matter till my return. I send inclosed a copy of their answer to the Lieutenant Governor.

The fixing and ascertaining a distinct Boundary between the Indians and all the Provinces is essential to the Tranquility of this

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district; it is a Point which greatly concerns them and to which they are extremely attentive.

The Murder of their People by the back Settlers of Virginia has not so bad an Effect and the consequences are not so much to be apprehended as of Encroachments on their Lands. The Indians can comprehend that the wicked actions of a few Individuals ought not to be considered as a Proof of the Intentions of the whole Community and will be well satisfied to have the Perpetrators brought to Justice But Grants of Land claimed by them they know to be the Acts of Whole Provinces which alarms them and they consider as incontestible Proofs of our bad Intentions and want of Faith.

It is not the Cherokees alone who think themselves injured; the Jealousy of all the Nations is awakened and the bad impressions left on their minds by the French confirmed by these Encroachments.

The Mortar has sent me word that I talk with two Tongues for whilst I was making things straight in one part of the World our People were killing the Red Men and stealing their Lands in another and that he could put no confidence in People who act in such a manner.

The Little Carpenter went to Virginia to enquire about and ask satisfaction for the murder of his Friends I am as yet not acquainted with the result of his Embassy.

The Settlement of these differences with the Cherokees and the establishing a fixed Boundary as well as making such arrangements as may be judged convenient by their Lordships may render it necessary to have a meeting with the Chiefs relative to which I hope to be honoured with their Lordships commands.

The Trade to the Cherokee Country is in the same state and confusion or worse than in the other nations. The Governors of Georgia and this Province do not choose to bind the Traders to the Observation of the Regulations drawn up and agreed to in West Florida. It is true that those licenced in Georgia are laid under several good Regulations but they are not by them subjected to obey or pay the least attention to any Orders or Instructions from the Superintendent his Deputies or any other person under him.

The Traders from this Province are obliged by Bond to observe such Regulations as His Majesty shall at any time think fit by himself or his Commissaries to be appointed for that purpose to direct

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and appoint for the Benefit of said Trade agreeable to his Majesty's Proclamation of 7th October 1763. but they are in no other respect limited.

As the Disorders occasioned by the free and unrestrained Introduction of Rum from South Carolina are so much complained of by the Officer commanding at Fort Prince George and Mr Cameron I thought it my Duty to represent that matter to Mr Bull that he might lay his Traders under such restraint as would remedy that Evil which I did by letter Copy of which with Mr Bull's answer I now send. I also send a Report of People trading in that Nation.

I have made repeated applications to Mr Bull to put some stop to the importation of Rum to the Cherokee Nation to which however no attention has been paid and as the Traders are not obliged to obey any orders I cannot remedy the evil nor prevent the bad consequences that may be expected from it. The Traders from this Province and Georgia to the Creek Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations are upon the same Footing and will render abortive every measure pursued by Governor Johnstone and me to regulate matters in those Nations.

If their Lordships judge it for the good of His Majesty's service that any attention be paid to what I may propose to the respective Governors with regard to Indian affairs till such time as they are thoroughly settled at home may I hope that they will be pleased to signify the same and how far the Traders are in any respect to be subjected by their Licence to any orders and directions.

I cannot inform you particularly of Mr Bull's Negociations with the Cherokee Indians relative to a Boundary Line as they have all been carried on entirely independent of me, my having any concern in that matter being thought quite unnecessary by the Lieutenant Governor.

I humbly offer it as my opinion that it cannot be done properly but with the consent of all the nation any Grant from a Part will be productive of perpetual grumbling and disputes and I humbly submit to their Lordships if such matters should not be transacted with the Participation of their Superintendent or some person acting for him as he will be applyed to by the Indians in case of any dispute and therefore it seems proper that he should be acquainted with the circumstances of such Transactions.

I beg leave to observe that the far Extension of our Boundaries backwards by approaching too near the Indian Nations will expose

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us to perpetual Broils. The Inhabitants of those back Countries are in general the lowest and worst part of the People and as they and the Indians live in perpetual Jealousy and dread of each other so their rooted hatred for each other is reciprocal.

The Laws in the American Provinces are not strong enough to operate with necessary Vigor amongst people living so remote and who require to have the hand of Justice perpetually stretched over them and I submit to their Lordships how far such people so situated answer the Tenet of Colonists Their distance from commerce lays them under the necessity of making Cloths and other Stuffs for themselves and the Productions of the back Countries especially more Northerly are similar to those of the Mother Country.

This is what appears to me to be the present state of Indian Affairs to give their Lordships an Idea of which it became necessary for me to relate many circumstances which has greatly protracted this Letter I shall be extreamly happy if the Intelligence it contains can be of the least Utility

I must observe to their Lordships that though the Expences incurred in treating with the Indians in West Florida were high yet they were greatly augmented by the necessary Steps pursued to facilitate Major Farmer's Expedition as well as the Dearness of Provisions and of Goods necessary for Presents.

The Entertainment of Head Men and Principal Warriers fell very hard on Governor Johnstone and me we had never less than forty or fifty Indians dining in the Room and at Table with each of us who eat and drank as we did; this Respect the Medal Chiefs and Principal Indians claim as due to their Rank and which they were accustomed to by the French upon such Occasions which with other extraordinary tho' necessary Expences far surpassed what my Appointments could bear which I submit to their Lordships consideration.

If it should be judged advisable to distribute a certain proportion of Presents annually to the Nations in this Department I think the sum of Five Thousand Pounds Sterling laid out in such goods and the same Proportion as contained in the inclosed calculation to be bought in England of the best Hands will fully answer every purpose and then the particular presents sent to the respective Governors may be saved with whom the Superintendent would lodge a

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sufficient quantity for visiting Parties out of the above quantity the Best to be regularly distributed to each nation at annual Meetings.

Should the Governors of South and North Carolina and Virginia find it necessary to meet any of the Nations in this District upon Business merely Provincial their respective Provinces are well able to defray the Expences of such Meetings, the three Southern Provinces especially the two Floridas will require the help of the Mother Country for many years.

The Measures pursued by me in calling the Indians together were principally pointed out to me by General Gage's Orders as well as evident necessity.

Through the whole of my Transactions as far as circumstances would permit I had the strictest attention to Economy and in every step I was actuated by Zeal for his Majesty's service which will I hope intitle me to their Lordship's protection

On the 10th Currt I am to embark for St Augustine where I am to assist Governor Grant in setting a Boundary between the Province of East Florida and the Lands reserved by Creeks in Obedience to his Majesty's Commands.

I have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect
Your most obedient most humble servant

Fort Prince