Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Stuart to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Stuart, John, 1718-1779
December 02, 1766
Volume 07, Pages 279-283

[B. P. R. O. America and West Indies. Vol. 270.]
Letter from John Stuart Superintendant to the Board of Trade

Charlestown 2d December 1766.

I had the honor of writing your Lordships fully the 10th July and the 16th ult.

I am now to lay before your Lordships an Account of such matters as have occurred in the different Nations since I wrote the above mentioned Letters.

Governor Tryon of North Carolina agreed to have the Line dividing his Province from the Lands reserved by the Cherokees, run & marked as proposed by themselves, and was prepared to meet them for that purpose in September according to their appointment, but the great sickness and mortality which prevailed amongst those Indians, and the near approach of the hunting season induced them to postpone that service till the month of April next.

Lieutenant Governor Fauquier of Virginia has not enabled me to give them any answer to their request of continuing the Line behind his Province, which I communicated to him the 10th February last, and they express uneasiness at his silence, in their last letter to me, of which I send a Copy as well as abstracts of letters from Mr Cameron Commissary in the Nation, and Mr Price Commanding Officer

-------------------- page 280 --------------------
at Fort Prince George, which will give your Lordships an idea of affairs in that Country.

The Catawbas are reduced to an inconsiderable handfull, not exceeding sixty Gun men, a great many of whom with their chief were lately in this Town to visit our Governor, with whom they conferred in the Council Chamber; As I was not present at their Conference, I must beg leave to referr your Lordships to Lord Charles Montagu's account of what passed, his Lordship was also visited by a small party of Chickasaws, who many years ago deserted their Country and settled on Savannah River in this Province, and have no connection with their Countrymen.

The Nation of Chickasaws have for some time past been exceedingly distracted by the competition amongst the Traders; some of whom from their hatred of Order, so spirited up and worked upon their Indian Friends, that several attempts were made upon the life of Mr Mackintosh the Commissary, of which disorders the abstracts of letters herewith will give your Lordships some Idea; notwithstanding which they in general continue faithfull and constant in their attachment to us, and may be depended upon, should their Assistance at any time be wanted.

The Chocktaws are generally well inclined and reconciled to our interest, altho' the French Inhabitants of New Orleans continue their intrigues and endeavour to keep up a Party among them, they also continue to trade with them and supply them with Rum and Brandy in considerable quantities, in order to put a stop to this Traffick, I have proposed that a Post be established with a Subaltern's Command on Pascagaula River, which by stopping their boats will effectually put an end to it, and prevent much disorder in the Nation. General Gage approves of the proposal and has referred me to the Brigadier General of that Department.

The Talks of the principal Choctaw Chiefs to my Deputy, of which I now send Copies, will point out to your Lordships the temper of that Nation, as well as the situation of affairs among them: they begin to be very pressing for presents, which were annually distributed among them by the French, which expence may be gradually saved, and will be rendered less necessary by their having good Traders established in their Towns under proper and wholesome regulations, but would at this time be of great use, especially should we be forced into a war with the Creek Nation, with whom they are already warmly engaged.

-------------------- page 281 --------------------

In my letter of 24th August 1765, I had the honor of submitting to your Lordships an estimate of the Presents that would be necessary for a Meeting of the Chocktaws, Chickasaws and small Nations on the Mississippi, and it will be incumbent upon me to endeavour by the best economy to moderate the other contingent expenses attending such a measure.

The small Tribes round Lake Pontchartrain and Maurepas and living on the eastern banks of the Mississippi are open to the French Traders and their machinations, yet of late their behaviour has been inoffensive, and while we retain the friendship of the Choctaws, they can always be awed into good order, a commissary, Armourer & Interpreter for them, to reside at Fort Bute, will be extremely necessary; for they will have it in their power to render the navigation of the Mississippi very difficult, if not impracticable.

This consideration suggested to me the Advantage, which might arise to his Majesty's service from collecting the scattered remains of the Natchez, and giving them a settlement in their own Country again. There may be from 150 to 200 Gun men of them remaining in the Cherokee, Creek and Chickasaw Nations; they still retain their language and customs, as well as the strongest resentment for the expulsion, and in a great measure the destruction of their nation by the French. I likewise encouraged the Pascagarda Indians to return to their old settlement on the River of that name, the French, upon the evacuation of that part of Louisiana, enticed them away, but failed in performing the promises which they made them; they attended at the congress in West Florida and desired permission to return again, which Mr Johnstone had no objection to; these consist of about 130 men bearing arms.

A Party of Alibamon Indians who for many years were incorporated with the Creeks, left that Nation upon our taking possession of West Florida; they were permitted to settle upon Tombeckby River, but upon the war between the Creeks and Choctaws breaking out, they were insulted by both Parties, and are extremely desirous of a settlement remote from both. They applied to us for protection, and expressed to my Deputy an inclination to go and settle on the Banks of the Mississippi.

The Nation of Arkansas living on the western side of the Mississippi have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction at their treatment by the French, and an inclination for moving to our side, no Nation of Indians bear a better character for gallantry and generosity than

-------------------- page 282 --------------------
this little Tribe, consisting of about 220 Gun men. The French have a Fort and settlement in their Country, notwithstanding which all the authority and influence of the French Commandant could not prevent their shewing every mark of friendship to our Troops and Officers in their passage to the Illinois.

The Arkansas, Natchez and Alibamons so settled would amount to about 570 Gun men. They would sit down free from any attachment to the French, or Spaniards and under obligations to us; they would not consider themselves as Proprietors of the Lands; but settled upon them by His Majesty's permission and consequently be free from that jealousy which distracts the other Nations; joined with the faithfull Chickasaws and Pascagoulas they would form a Body capable of aiding not only the other small Tribes, but even the Choctaws and larger Nations; they would secure to us the navigation of the Mississippi with safety and be a strong barrier against the incursions of the western Tribes in the interest of the French and Spaniards and by drawing off the Alibamons and Natchez still remaining in the Creek Nation, would weaken and render these less insolent, concerning which I hope to be honored with your commands, and if my ideas meet with your Lordships approbation I shall as soon as possible take steps for carrying it into execution.

In the letter which I had the honor of writing your Lordships the 16th ultimate I communicated what intelligence concerning the Creeks I received from West Florida, and the steps I proposed to take in consequence; since which I learn that upon application from Governor Johnstone and my Deputy in his Province, to those Indians to obtain satisfaction for the murder of Goodwin and Davis (two English Traders to the Chickasaw Nation) they had put the Ringleader of the murderers to death, and were in pursuit of the rest; I have also received from the Lower Creeks an answer to the demand which jointly with Governor Wright, I made for satisfaction for the murder of some back-settlers of Georgia 14 months ago.

Governor Grant has lately received a fresh supply of Presents, and proposed that he and I should invite the Lower Creeks to meet us early in the Spring at Picolata in his Province; I have given it as my opinion, that the proposed meeting be postponed till the results of our demands for satisfaction be certainly known, and our differences with them settled, the hunting season will necessarily cause a delay of all transactions and negotiations with the Indians till the Spring, as they are all in the Woods at this time and will not

-------------------- page 283 --------------------
return to their villages before the end of March, or beginning of April, before which time we shall be able to judge of the Propriety of the Meeting proposed with more precision. It is reported that the Chickasaws and Chocktaws jointly have destroyed some Creek Towns, which agree with the intelligence contained in the abstract of Mr Price's letter.

I have the honor to be &ca