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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Henry Stuart to John Stuart
Stuart, Henry
August 25, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 763-785

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind. Vol. 280.]
The Deputy Superintendant Mr Henry Stuart's Account of his Proceedings with the Cherokee Indians about going against the whites.

Pensacola, 25th Augst, 1776.

As the Cherokees have gone against the back Settlers of Carolina and Virginia I think it incumbent upon me to give you a detail upon my Transactions and of Mr Cameron and of the Occurrences in their Nation while I was among them.

About two days after my arrival in West Florida with the Ammunition which I brought from St Augustine to supply the Cherokee and Creek Nations I was informed of the arrival of Chincanacina a Leader of the Cherokees at Mobille. I thought this a

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very fortunate circumstance as we had not heard from their Nation for many months and as we were at that time entirely ignorant of the situation of affairs among them. I immediately set out for Mobille that I might have some conversation with him and I found on my arrival that his only Business was to enquire into the cause of the present quarrel and disorders in the Colonies and the Reason why their supplies of Ammunition and goods (which were formerly brought from Georgia and Carolina) were stopt. He told me that their Nation was under very great apprehensions and uneasiness and complained much of the encroachments of the Virginians and Inhabitants of North Carolina; he said that they were almost surrounded by the White People, that they had but a small spot of ground left for them to stand upon and that it seemed to be the Intention of the White People to destroy them from being a people.

I endeavoured to explain to him as well as I could the situation of affairs in the Provinces and the nature of their Quarrel with Great Brittain. I told him you considered the distress that his Nation must have been reduced to by their Trade having been stopt'd, that you had sent me with a supply of Ammunition to enable them to hunt and to provide for their Families and to defend them from their Enemies. I told him that I was sorry for the Encroachments that were made on their Lands by the Virginians but that they were made contrary to the Kings Orders, that affairs were in such a situation at this time that they seemed to trample on his Authority and that we could not do anything with them but that we hoped things would not continue long so. I put him in mind that they themselves were to blame for making private Bargains for their Lands contrary to all the Talks that they had received from you and Mr Cameron, that they had frequently been told not to suffer any person to settle nor even to hunt beyond the Boundary Line which was run by Mr Cameron to divide them from the White People and to prevent any future Quarrels, that they had often been told that when they found any people hunting or settling beyond the Lines that they would never be found fault with if they took away their Effects and burnt their Houses. He made answer that he had no hand in making these Bargains but blamed some of their Old Men who he said were too old to hunt and who by their Poverty had been induced to sell their Land but that for his part he had a great many young fellows that would support him and that were determined to have their Land.

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I told him that I was to proceed with the Ammunition to their Nation and that I should then see how matters were, but I could say nothing more at present. My first Intention was to have proceeded with the Ammunition through the Creek Nation on to the Cherokees. I dispatched a Messenger to Mr Taitt in the Creeks and wrote him to order down Horses to carry the supplies for both Nations; my letters were returned to me about Twenty days after I sent them away; the Rivers were so high that the Messengers could not proceed. I understood that there were then Parties of Choctaws out against the Creeks and I thought that carrying ammunition at this time to the Creeks was attended with some danger; I therefore ordered round the ammunition for the Cherokees to Mobille in order to proceed through the Chickesaws. The Winds were contrary and the Sloop with the Ammunition was so long coming round that I thought best for fear of the bad consequences of too long delays to proceed with Thirty horse load of Ammunition which I borrowed at Mobille. I had a very tedious Journey to Tenassy River owing to the badness of the weather but I found Chincanacina with about Eighty Indians waiting for me with greater Patience than I could have expected. I met at the Tenassy some White People who had come down the River in order to settle on the Mississippi. I found that the Indians had been making some Enquiries at those People about the Settlers on Watoga beyond the Boundary Line and in other places in their Neighbourhood; they told them that they seemed to encrease fast and that they talked of building or had already built a Fort on the Cherokee Land at the mouth at Watoga River. We proceeded on our Voyage up the Tenassy, Capt. Quest [Guest] accompanied me, he was very well acquainted with the new Settlements and informed me that the Settlers were very numerous. I found that the Indians constantly discoursed about them and frequently took an opportunity of mentioning them to me and their firm resolution of driving them off. I asked them how long the White People had been settled there, they told me about seven years. I said they might easily have been prevented in the beginning, but now their attempting to drive them off might be attended with very bad consequences that altho' I wished to see those People off their Land I did not wish to see Blood spilt, that there were many poor people among them who thought that they lived on Lands fairly purchased and I should be very sorry if they were hurt, but when they came to know their mistake that they would remove; that I would write to them as soon as I arrived in

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the Nation and encourage them to go down the Mississippi and that I thought they would pay regard to my letter. I told him that we had but a bad Interpreter and that we could not understand one another, but that when I got to the Nation and could see Mr Cameron I should be able to talk to him. He told me he would wait untill I had wrote and if they did not then remove that he would acquaint the Old Warriors of his Intentions; if they approved of them it was well, if not he and the young Warriors would follow their own way. We met with several Boats on our Passage with People from Holston's River bound to the Natchez. The People in some of the Boats told in presence of the Indians that the new Settlers talked of settling quite down to the mouth of the Broad River and that if they met with any opposition from them that they would drive them from their Towns. We met with some Indians who acquainted us that they had received some insulting messages from the People of Watoga and that they had threatened to put Mr Cameron to death; That they had a Talk from some men at Fort Charlotte inviting them down; That they are desired in that message to be good Friends to the Inhabitants of Watoga and to leave a Road to pass and to repass to their Country from Virginia and desired that they would pay no regard to any Talks they should receive from the Superintendant or Mr Cameron. All these pieces of Intelligence seemed to Spurr on Chincanacina and his party who seemed already firmly bent on doing mischief. Messengers were dispatched by him at different times to the Nation with Talks to such people of his Nation as he thought would most readily concurr with him in his designs, so that by the time we arrived in the Nation nothing was talked of but War, to the no small uneasiness and discontent of the most thinking and sensible part of the Nation. We found that one Scalp had been already brought into the Great Island and that a small party was fitting out from the same Town which we found means to prevent.

A few days after my arrival in the Nation I assembled the Headmen from the different parts of the Nation. I acquainted them that I had brought them a small supply of Ammunition to relieve their present necessity and to enable them to hunt and to supply their families; that the King had ordered that while they continued firm to him and minded the Talks that you and Mr Cameron gave them that they should never be suffered to want; That altho' the Rebells had shut up the communication with Georgia and Carolina

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that there were other paths that would be open for their Trade as long as they behaved well; That since the King was so mindfull of them, that he expected if he should ask their help in bringing his obstinate Children to reason that they will be ready to give it. I likewise told them that we had information that there were persons hired to take away Mr Cameron's life and that the Rebells had threatened to send a party of Men into the Nation to take away the King's Friends and that I hoped they would keep a good look out and take care to prevent them. I told them that it gave me great pleasure to hear from Mr Cameron, that very few of their Nation had been prevailed on to go to Fort Charlotte and that I hoped they that went would pay little regard to what they should hear from those pretended Headmen sent from the Rebells. I told them that my stay among them would not be long, that I had only brought a small part of the Ammunition, which was intended for them and that it was too little to divide among the different parts of the Nation; that we had been unfortunate and lost some of what I brought from Mobille on the passage, but that Mr Colbert would be sent away in two days to bring some more and that I would soon set out myself. Mr Cameron who had lived so long among them (till he had almost become one of themselves) would be always with them to advise to whatever was for their good; I hoped they would always listen to him. If they had done so constantly there would not be that uneasiness in their Nation which I was very sorry to find among their young people and which I wished might not be productive of bad consequences to their Nation; that you had heard of their making Bargains for their Land and that it gave you great uneasiness. I told them that I understood that a Party was actually preparing to go out to War from the Great Island and that I hoped they would stop them from taking a step that would doubtlessly involve their Nation in Ruin; that there were many poor ignorant people on their Lands who were made to believe that the Lands were legally purchased and that they thought the Cherokees had no objection to their Settling them; That I had promised to write to them provided it was agreeable to the Chiefs and would make them such offers and State Matters in such a manner to them as I did not doubt would induce many if not all of them to remove; That if they should attack these people that they themselves had been the means of bringing on their Land they would draw on themselves the Resentment of every body. In answer the Indians
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congratulated me on my safe arrival in their Nation and on your Escape from your Enemies who they said had forced you from your House into the sea; That you had been for a while invisible to them but that now you have appeared again at Augustine as if you had risen from under the Waves. That you had considered the distress of your children and taken pity on them; that they were very thankfull and would never forget your Talks but would be firm to the King and would protect his people and look upon them as their own; That if any attempts were made by the Rebells to take Mr Cameron or any of the King's people out of the Nation they would defend them with their Lives and the Rebells must stand to the consequence of their making such an attempt. They said they did not like to spill the blood of the white people but if they attempted to carry away their people who lived among them they could not avoid it. They said some of the people from the Valley and a few from the Lower Towns had been prevailed on to go to the Congress at Fort Charlotte; that their wants and the hopes of receiving presents and not any regard to the talks they should receive had induced them to go and that they returned disappointed and were become the Jest of the Nation. They gave a string of Beads which they hoped they would deliver. They then gave another and told me that you had been misinformed with regard to their giving away the Lands for Watoga and Nonatluchky. (They took good care to avoid saying anything of Henderson's purchase). They said that when Mr Cameron ran the line of Virginia there were people who had set themselves down on this side the Boundary Line; they were ordered to remove off but they begged as their crops were then on the ground that they might be allowed to reap them and that they would certainly remove the Spring following; some of them went away but others and more people came in their room; they at last brought goods and prevailed on some of their people to give leases; that many of them were against their staying on the Land, But that the people who brought the goods told them that they would stay on the land whether they took the goods or not and now that the time has expired which they had to stay on the land, they pretend that they purchased it. They begged that Mr Cameron and I would write to them and send their talk and desire them to remove immediately and prevent further trouble. Some of the Traders who were present at these transactions affirm this to be a true state of the case and that they believe that under a pretence
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of taking Leases and Receipts for Rent they had got deeds signed. We immediately dispatched one Isaac Thomas with the inclosed letter and this talk to the Inhabitants of Watoga and Nonatluchky.

He returned to us in ten days and brought us the enclosed letter signed John Carter and one signed Aaron Pinson, in the name of the Inhabitants of Nonatluchky, expressing their gratitude to us for writing to them and acquainting them with the Intentions of the Indians; their letter is full of professions of Loyalty, and they tell us that they have no Intention of continuing on the lands but untill times alter that they may return to the Provinces from whence they fled to avoid the present troubles, and they intreat us to point out any place that they may retire to for a little time. Isaac Thomas informed us that our letter had been read before all the Inhabitants, but that he was told by one of them that one Jessy Benson was employed by Carter to transcribe our letter, which was very different from the original, and that it was sent to one of the Committees in Virginia. This he did, and on Oath Thomas informed us afterwards that Aaron Pinson did not sign the Letter, but that his name was affixed to it by the desire of one Patrick Brown and sent in a Talk to the Raven in the same hand writing, expressing his surprize that he should deny his claim to the Lands on which he was settled, the Boundaries of which he and the Carpenter had marked, and enumerated the different articles he had given in payment. There was a Man sent with Thomas who declared all the people who were settled there had paid Brown for the Lands they possessed; that he was fully paid for all the goods that he had paid the Indians, and that they claimed no Right to the lands, but only intreated that if they insisted on their removing from thence immediately that some place might be pointed out for them to retreat to untill things should take a turn in the settlements. He named the Head of Nonatluchky River, at the Bottom of the Iron Mountain, which the Indians readily agreed to. The Indians agreed to return an answer to Mr Brown's Talk and to John Carter's, accompanied with a string of White Beads. They said they remembered they had given them leave to sit down on their Lands for a certain time, but that the time was now elapsed, but they insisted that they never sold any Land. The goods they remembered very well to have received, but they were received as a payment for the Deer and Buffaloe they had destroyed, For the Houses they had built on their hunting Grounds and the Fields they had planted and for the Grass that their Horses

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and Cattle had eat; that they had drove away all their Deer and Buffaloe, and that now they were obliged to go a great way to look for victuals for their Families. They said they sent once more in a Friendly manner to the people settled on their Lands to desire them to remove and they hoped they would comply with their request, as they said they had no inclination to do them any injury, and as the time first fixed for their departure was rather short they gave them Twenty days longer.

The people of Watogo requested that Isaac Thomas might be sent back with the Indians Answer to them. We sent for Thomas and desired he would go to the new Settlements again with our Second Letter and the Talk from the Indians. He said if the Indians desired it he would go but that they must furnish him with a Guard for that he had been well informed that a Settico [Tellico] fellow named the Little Deer had lain in wait to take away his life when he last returned but that he had been surprised by some of the Toquah People who had been out a hunting and was disappointed in executing his design. The truth of this report was confirmed by some Indians who were present. The Great Warrior offered his service to escort Thomas with a Party to Broad River and he was fully determined if he found the Little Deer on any such design to put him to death. Sixteen days was the time affixed for Thomas' return. At this time things looked favourable and we had some hopes that the Indians might be prevented from falling on the new Settlements. I must now return to give an account of Occurrences and of our Transactions before Thomas' first return to the time fixed for his second return.

Mr Cameron and I were of opinion that it was necessary to have a full supply of Ammunition and some presents to keep the Indians in good temper and to dispose them to pay attention to what we might find necessary to recommend to them, for he was of opinion that notwithstanding the very great pains he had been at to attach them to his Majesty's Interest and all their professions of friendship that if they had been properly supplied with presents and ammunition by the Rebells they might have been brought away from us. Mr Wilkinson Commissary for the Rebells amongst the Cherokees we found was furnished with plenty of provisions and Rum to entertain the Indians and that he had purchased all the Goods he could to make presents and that by these means he had gained a good deal on the people of the lower Towns; some of the people of the valley were kept in

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the Interest of the Rebells by presents which the people of Augusta continued to send them. Therefore that we might have it in our own Power to counteract the design of the Enemies of Government we sent Mr Colbert to Pensacola with Letters for you and ordered a supply of Goods and Ammunition. We at this time were constantly informed of the intention of the Rebells to get all the friends of Government out of the Nation and that a reward was offered for Mr Cameron and that some villains about Broad River had undertaken to assassinate him. We were informed that one Preston Hampton a Trader who resided in the valley and who had been very active in prevailing on the Indians to go down to Fort Charlotte had just returned from the Settlements with his brother and some others; that they had threatened several Traders who were friends to Government and that they had told the Indians that there would soon be a sufficient body of Men from the Settlements to take all the King's Friends in the Nation; That they made Interest with the Indians to permit them to pass over the Hills to take Mr Cameron Prisoner; that they wore the Uniforms of the Rebells and Deer Tails in their Hats in defiance of Mr Cameron.

We thought proper to assemble all the White People in the Nation and to tender to them the Oath of Allegiance. The White People in the Overhills took it very readily, and fifteen of them with Willanawaw and three other Indians set out with Mr Cameron next day for the Valley to apprehend the Hamptons; they seized them after a little Resistance and brought them Prisoners to Toquah in spite of some Threats uttered by Doharty's half breed sons and a party which they had made who were inclinable to relieve them. The prisoners were put into the hands of a Constable with an Intention to have been sent to Pensacola. Preston Hampton, the principal offender who had been a deserter from the 17th Regiment, found means by the connivance of some White Man in the Nation to make his escape About twenty six days after he was taken. One of the Trader's Hirelings dropped an expression which caused some suspicion against him of having let Hampton escape, and fear of being called on and being exposed to the Resentment of the Indians made him run away.

One Capt York and some others of the Loyal Inhabitants of the back Settlements of Carolina paid us visits to know if there were hopes of assistance coming to them through the Cherokees from St Augustine or Pensacola. They complained much of the distressed

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situation to which the Friends of Government were already reduced and said that they were apprehensive that the Rebells would use means to prevent their doing anything in favour of Government hereafter if they were not soon supported; That the Friends of Government were very numerous, but wanted Arms and Ammunition; that the Rebells were building Forts and would they imagined deprive them of Provisions as well as Arms.

Some people who had been at Augusta informed us that one Speers, a Trader in the Valley and who from consciousness of bad behaviour in the Nation had run away when Mr Cameron went to apprehend Hampton and endeavoured to exasperate the People of Georgia against the King's Friends in the Cherokees; they brought us Intelligence that there was to be a Muster in a few days at Fort Dartmouth and Fort Charlotte and that a large Draught was to be made to come into the Nation and that the Hamptons' Friends in the Valley were to assist and Pilot them over the Mountains to apprehend Mr Cameron and every other Friend of Government. It was reported at Augusta that Mr Walker intended to come into the Overhills from Virginia with about 800 or 900 Men. He had told the Indians that he did not intend to trouble himself much about Cameron for he proposed paying him a visit. This made the other Report gain greater Credit. The Indians were all very inquisitive to know what Intelligence we received from the Settlements which we always took care to communicate with that degree of Caution that we thought it deserved. About the time that we were preparing to send Thomas a second time to Watoga four young fellows set out in a private manner from the Great Island and on the Road from Henderson's purchase, waylaid some passengers and brought in a Scalp; they brought in some letters which were found in the persons pockets who was killed; they brought them to us. They proved to be from some poor industrious people from North Carolina who had settled with a few cattle on Hendersons purchase, encouraging their Friends to come to settle in that new Country.

The principal Indians did not at all approve of the behaviour of the young fellows of the Island venturing out without the consent of the Nation. They met on purpose to testify to us their displeasure. The sixteen days appointed for Thomas's and the Indians return were now fully expired, but no accounts of either. The Indians now began to be uneasy; they allowed two days more at the end of which if they did not return they should conclude that

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some unlucky accident had befallen their people and they would set out to look for them. Before the two days were fully expired the Indians returned; they had waited at a place appointed on the other side of Broad River the full time they had promised, but saw no likelihood of Thomas's return. The young fellows began now to be impatient and to be apprehensive that an army was preparing to come against them; while they were in this turn of mind a Deputation of fourteen Indians with a Cherokee fellow as interpreter arrived from the Northern Nations. They consisted of some from the Confederate Nations and from the Mohawks, Ottowas, Nantucas, Shawnees and Delawares. We were sent for to Chote the day that they made their Entrance; they came in all black. They gave an account of their Journey and the news which served sufficiently to intimate their Errand. They said they had been seventy days on their Journey; that when they attempted to pass through that Country from Pittsburgh to their Nation, which but very lately used to be the Shawnees and Delawares hunting grounds (where they used to see nothing but Deer Bear and Buffaloe), they found the Country thickly inhabited and the people all in arms; That at Pittsburgh there were 2000 Men assembled; That at a fort on Cedar River which falls into the Ohio there were 1500 Men assembled; that at a Fort on Louisa River there were 1000; that on Green River beyond Cumberland Mountain there were 1000 men. They laid down several other Forts where they said there were Bodys of Men assembled. Their salt Springs and their Buffaloe grounds they said had numbers of Inhabitants and fortified places round them; That they were obliged to go down a great way on the other side of the Ohio and to take a round of near 300 Miles to avoid being discovered; that between Cumberland Mountain and the Cherokke Nation where the road goes from the Settlements on the Ohio to Holston's River they discovered fresh Tracks of a Great Body of People with Horses and Cattle. The Mohawks said that early in the Spring a Body of the White People inhabiting the Country near them had come into one of their Towns and surprised their people and killed many of them; that they took Sir William Johnson's son prisoner and put him to death in a cruel manner; that there were two attempts made afterwards and that the Indians gave them battle and defeated them with a very great Slaughter. They said that they had got all the Northern Tribes to assist them to take Satisfaction and that the French have supplied them with a great
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quantity of Ammunition and Arms and Provisions and have promised to support them; that they told them that the King's Troops would soon fall on their Enemies towards the Sea and if they united and fell on them on this side they would find them nothing; That now all Nations of Indians were at peace with one another; that they had sent messengers to the Oubacks to the Tribes there to secure their friendship, and that they would not trouble the Cherokees any more. This they said was all they had to say now, which they might depend was all Truth; they apprehended the 10th day from the day of their arrival for their grand Talk, when they hoped there would be people from the different parts of the Nation. After this day every young Fellow's face in the Overhills Towns appeared Blackened, and nothing was now talked of but War. The people of Tellico and the Island were busily employed in preparing Spears, Clubs and scalping Knives. We still continued to diswade them from their Intentions of attacking the Settlements by representing to them the dangerous consequences that were likely to follow to their Nation, the danger of making an indiscriminate attack and the impossibility of their being able without a Body of White People to join them to make any distinction; that it would be the means of drawing on them the King's displeasure and of uniting all parties against them. We told them that our express might have been detained by sickness or some accident, and that we did not yet despair of hearing that the people were removed off their Land. All the principal chiefs assented very readily to everything, but the young warriors became impatient; they said it had been better if they had attacked the people at once without our having wrote to them; that by this time they might have had the people removed from their Lands; That our Letters served only to put the Settlers on their Guard and to make them prepare to come against them; That we had told them to assist the King and that now when there was a probability of an Army coming against their Towns we endeavoured to keep them back; that we had made a sham of taking a prisoner and that we had suffered him to escape; that for their parts they did not believe the White People were at War, altho' they pretended so; that since Hampton's escape one of the people who lived among them had gone away, and that they were convinced it was with no other Intention but to give Intelligence to their Enemies of what passed in the Nation. They desired that
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there might be no more letters wrote nor any of the people suffered to leave the Nation.

We told them that when we wrote to the people at Watoga, &c., we did it with a with a view of getting them to remove without Trouble to their Nation and that it was done with their Approbation and consent; that we did not yet know but our Letters might have the desired Effect; that altho' we did not approve of their going rashly into measures that might involve them and others in the most disagreeable situation, yet we did not desire them to be careless but on the contrary to keep a good look out that if there was an army coming against them they might be discovered in time enough before they could come near their Towns and that all the World would approve of their conduct if they opposed them. I told them that I had taken a great deal of pains to come among them and to bring ammunition to relieve their Wants but that some of them had thought proper to put bad constructions on our Endeavours to serve them, that such behaviour was very disagreeable to us; that it was dangerous and troublesome to advise them any longer and that they would do best to desire us to go about our business. The principal Headman waited on us and told us that they hoped we would not pay any regard to what any of their Idle young fellows said; that they always did and always wished to advise with us on every occasion, and as we see things more clearly than they did, that they hoped we would freely give our advice. We then told them that we would give our Opinion on Matters when asked; that they had many wise men among them, that they should consult them whether it would be best to follow it or not. They told us that they were apprehensive that our Messenger had been stopped and that there was something bad intended against their Nation; that they wished to get the assistance of the Creeks in case of an army coming against them and wished us to write to Mr Taitt to prevail of them to come; that they did not want any of the White people among them to go to any of the Settlements at this time for fear of their giving Intelligence of the Northern Indians being among them. They told us that the French who had promised to assist the Northern Tribes had told them that the reason of the People of Great Brittain's quarreling with the People of America was because the Rebells were always making Encroachment on the Indians and oppressing them, But that the French and the King's People would assist each other against the Rebells. They

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told us that if Thomas did not arrive in a few days they would send out Scouts to look if there were any Preparations making at the new Settlements, which we approved of. Affairs were in this situation when we received Intelligence from the Lower Towns that the Rebells were forming a chain of Forts along the line and that the Indians began to be uneasy and appr hensive of some design against them from that quarter. Capt York who had been down to keep his People in the back Settlements of Carolina in Spirits returned to acquaint us that the Rebells intended as soon as the Forts should be finished to administer an Oath of Neutrality to the Friends of Government and that such as refused to take it was to be put into the Forts; That it was determined to take all White People out of the Nation that were obnoxious to them. Mr Wilkinson sent people to apprehend York who very narrowly escaped being taken—he was obliged to leave his Gun, Saddle and other things in the House at Sugar Town when four armed men were arrived in order to apprehend him; the Indians of Seneca got them back for him from Mr Wilkinson whom they treated with a great deal of contempt. Mr Wilkinson gave the Indians all the assurance he could that there was nothing intended against them & endeavoured to prevail on the Terrapin to go down to Mr Wilkinson's that he might be convinced of the truth of what he said. The Terrapin refused to go until he should have our leave. Mr Cameron had sent his servant with two men to bring up some cattle which he had purchased about twelve miles distance from Keowee. The servant returned in a few days, the two men that went with him were apprehended by a party of people sent after them from the settlements; he informed us that Mr Wilkinson was obliged to go away from Keowee for that the Indians grew very uneasy but that the Terrapin had gone down. Davis a Trader who came from the Lower Towns, said that it was currently reported that 900 men were to be sent into the Nation from Virginia. We were always obliged to communicate whatever intelligence we received, from time to time to the Indians; we were therefore invited to Chote that we might tell them the news and consult about sending out Scouts. We had just received your letter from Cape Fear and took this opportunity of telling them what you recommended to us.

The grand Talk from the Northern Indians was to have been in two days. The standard of war was erected, the Flag Staff and Posts of the Town House were painted black and red. Some Indians

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who had been out hunting near the Settlements had been surprised by some white men who were employed as Rangers. The Indians said they did not offer to do them any injury, but insisted on their going with them to Watoga to hear some Talks from their Headmen to carry to the Nation. The Indians were afraid to trust themselves and escaped from them, leaving their guns and everything they had at their Camp; they returned in the morning and found all their things in the same situation as they had left them. The Deputies being now assembled from the different parts of the Nation and the day being come for hearing the Grand Talk, we went to Chote where we could easily judge their different inclinations from their appearances; those from the Great Island except Otacite & two or three men were all black, also all the Chilhowie and Settico [Tellico] people and some from every Town were blacked. The Northern Deputies being seated they said they would now tell them what they came about and begged that they would listen with attention.

The principal Deputy for the Mohawks and six Nations began. He produced a belt of white and purple Whampum with strings of white beads and purple whampum fixed to it; He said he supposed there was not a man present that could not read his Talk; the back settlers of the Northern Provinces whom he termed the Long Knife had without any provocation come into one of their Towns and murdered their people and the son of their Great Beloved Man; that what was their case one day might be the case of another Nation another day; That his Nation was fighting at this time and that he was sent by them to secure the friendship of all Nations for he considered their interests as one, and that at this time they should forget all their quarrels among themselves and turn their eyes and their thoughts one way. The Belt was delivered to Chincanacina.

The principal Deputy of the Ottowas produced a white Belt with some purple figures; they expressed their desire of confirming a lasting bond of true friendship with all their red Brethren; that they were almost constantly at war one Nation against another, and reduced by degrees, while their common enemies were taking the advantage of their situation; that they were willing & they hoped every Nation would be the same to drop all their former quarrels and to join in one common cause, and that altho' the Trade to their Nation and all the other Northern Nations had been stopped, that their friends, the French in Canada, had found means to supply them and would assist them. Chincanacina received this Belt.

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The Talk of the Nations was much to the same effect, he produced a white Belt and it was received by the Raven.

There was only a boy of the Delaware Nation. The Talk was now to be finished by the Shawnees Deputy, formerly (as I am informed) a noted French partizan. He produced a War Belt about 9 feet long and six inches wide of purple Whampum strewed over with vermilion. He began with pathetically enumerating the distresses of his own and other Nations. He complained particularly of the Virginians who after having taken away all their Lands and cruelly and treacherously treated some of their people, had unjustly brought war upon their Nation and destroyed many of their people; that in a very few years their Nation from being a great people were now reduced to a handful; that their Nation possessed Lands almost to the Sea Shore and that the red people who were once Masters of the whole Country hardly possessed ground enough to stand on; that the Lands where but lately they hunted close to their Nations were thickly inhabited and covered with Forts & armed men; that wherever a Fort appeared in their neighbourhood, they might depend there would soon be Towns and Settlements; that it was plain, there was an intention to extirpate them, and that he thought it better to die like men than to diminish away by inches; That their Fathers the French who seemed long dead were now alive again; that they had supplied them plentifully with ammunition, arms and provisions and that they promised to assist them against the Virginians; that their cause was just and that they hoped the Great Being who governs everything would favour their cause; that now is the time to begin; that there is no time to be lost, and if they fought like men they might hope to enlarge their Bounds; that the Cherokees had a Hatchett which was brought in six years ago & desired that they would take it up and use it immediately; That they intended to carry their Talks through every Nation to the Southward and that that Nation which should refuse to be their Friends on this occasion should forever hereafter be considered as their common enemy and that they would all fall on them when affairs with the White People should be settled.

The Belt was received by Chincanacina. It was some minutes before any one got up to give his Assent which was to be done by laying hold of the Belt. At last a Head man of Chilhowie who had lived long in the Mohawk Nation and whose wife had constantly lived in Sir William Johnson's house was the first who rose

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up to take the Belt from Chincanacina. He sung the war song and all the Northern Indians joined in the chorus. Almost all the young warriors from the different parts of the Nation followed his example, though many of them expressed their uneasiness at being concerned in a war against the white people. But the principal Chiefs, who were averse to the measure and remembered the Calamities brought on their Nation by the last war, instead of opposing the rashness of the young people with spirit, sat down dejected and silent. The Deputies proposed that Mr Cameron and I with all the white People that were present should take up the Belt as the King's friends among them and all the French had done, which we refused. We told them that Indians did not understand our written Talks and we did not understand their Beads, nor what were their intentions; That for my part I was determined not to give any sanction to a war that was likely to bring destruction on their Nation, especially as I had not forgot the use that they made of my telling them that the King should expect their assistance if it should be asked to bring his disobedient and obstinate children to order; That the Virginians when they were not above half the number that they are at present had withstood the French and the combined Force of all the Indian Nations when they were twice as numerous as they are at present and that now they are in Arms ready to go against the King's forces; that if they went to war they had no white People to direct them against their proper Enemy as the Northern Tribes had, and if they should go over the Boundary Line or fall on indiscriminately to kill women and children and to attack the King's friends as well as his enemies, they would draw on themselves all the force that was intended against the King's Troops and the resentment of those that otherwise would have been their friends, and would have assisted them; that their Father was willing to support them and supply them with ammunition while they paid regard to our Talks, But that we did not yet think it time for them to go out unless they were certain that there was an Army coming against them and therefore could not give our consent, as it was your desire that they should remain quiet until they should hear from you.

Cahetoy delivered this very distinctly. The Raven of Chote told them that they would consider of their Talks before they gave them a full answer and a meeting was appointed next day at Settico [Tellico,] where we were told the young fellows expressed a great deal of dissatisfaction at our not laying hold of their Belt, and from

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what we were afterwards informed passed there, and from the insinuations of one James Branham a half breed who had been in the settlements and was sent in with a design to injure Mr Cameron, that our lives and the lives of all the white people of the Nation had been in great danger. Branham told the Indians that Mr Cameron had wrote letters to the Settlements to incense the People against them, and bring an Army to destroy them. Some of the Indians repeated what had been said at Fort Charlotte, that I had not forgot the affair at Cane Creek when you was taken prisoner and that altho' I brought ammunition I wanted to keep them from going to war till it should fall into the hands of the Virginians. From hints given the Traders by some of their friends they had got in readiness to make their escape and some of them slept in the Woods. We treated the information we had from the Traders with seeming indifference.

Next day we had a visit from Chincanacina painted black, he asked what was the reason that all the Traders were preparing to going away and that I was talking of going after I had been in a great measure the means of bringing trouble on them by writing to the People of Watoga. I told him that I did not know what the Traders intended to do, but that when their lives were in danger they could not be expected to stay; that for my part I had always said that I would not stay but until I should have an answer to the Express that was sent to Mobille and that as soon as I could procure Horses I was determined to go whether the Express arrived or not; That he must know himself to be the cause if any trouble was like to come on their Nation and that it did not look well to endeavour to throw the blame off himself. He told the Interpreter after parting with us that it was agreed among the people in his Island that if any of the white People attempted to go away to follow them but not to bring them back.

The next day the Northern Deputies waited on us and took great pains to make us sensible that they assisted the King's friends; they described their Country and the situation of the King's Forts of Niagara and Oswego. They said the King's forces and the French acted together and assisted them. They described the place thro' which their supplies were generally brought to the Lakes which the Rebells had taken possession of but that they had since dispossessed them. They said the Rebels had told them some time ago that they looked on the People at Oswego and

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Niagara as their Prisoners, and would not at that time trouble themselves about them.

The day following Chincanacina or the Dragging Canoe and all the Head Men came to Mr Cameron's House and all the Traders were ordered to attend. The Dragging Canoe gave promises for their safety if they staid in the Nation and hoped that they would not for the future pay any regard to idle dreams; that they considered their White People to be the same with themselves; that if any of them inclined to join them in going to war they would be glad but that they would not insist on their going but that such as did not go to war should bring supplies and ammunition. They gave a string of beads. They addressed Mr Cameron as he was to remain among them and told him that they would always pay attention to whatever he advised, and gave a string of beads. I took this opportunity of putting Chincanacina in mind of what he had said a few days before and made him acknowledge himself before all the Chiefs the sole cause of the war. They informed us that the Deputies were to return without going to the Creeks; that they had sent Messengers with Belts and that they desired the Lower Creeks to assist the Lower Cherokees & that they had not yet fixed a day for their going out; that they thought of sending out Scouts; that if we would write a letter to know what was become of Isaac they would send it by the Scouts to be fixed up at some public Place near the Settlement of Watoga. I objected to having anything more to do with writing as they had been suspicious of us upon former occasions, but at last consented to write in their name, if they would tell me what to write. They desired I would tell them that Isaac Thomas had been sent to them at their own request with a very civil Message from them, and that they had detained him contrary to what they understood had ever been done among the White People, and that among Indians such a thing never was done in time of War. They desired if he was alive he might be sent back immediately, and if he did not return they should know what they had reason to expect. This was read over to them & approved of. The Scouts were sent out next morning and a few miles from Toquah met with Thomas returning. He brought us the enclosed Talk from the Committee of Fincastle which so exasperated the Indians that we had little hopes after this of being able to restrain them.

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Isaac Thomas informed us that there were about six thousand men in Arms on the Frontiers of Virginia and North Carolina which were intended to have gone to oppose the King's Troops but they had determined to stay and oppose the Indians; that the inhabitants of Watoga had built Forts; that they had marched some Companies to Nonatluchky and obliged the inhabitants who were friends to Government to take an oath of neutrality and that they afterwards drum'd them out of the Settlement; that those people did not look upon themselves bound by the Oath that was forced on them and were resolved to be revenged for the affront put on them as soon as an opportunity offered. He informed us that the people on Henderson's purchase had received a message that the Corn Stalk, a principal Warrior in the Shawnese Nation known by the name of Logan, with about fourteen other Indians were gone to the Cherokees on some bad design, that they would do well to endeavor to waylay and kill them; that a Trader (whose name I do not recollect) from Virginia had gone into the Shawnese Nation with a view to prevail on two hundred of that Nation to come down who they intended to keep as security for the behaviour of the rest; he heard that they had already got some of the Delawares engaged; he declared on Oath that he was informed by several of the Inhabitants of Watoga that a letter was forged by one Jessy Benton in Mr Cameron's name and so like his hand writing that it would be impossible to know that it was a forgery; that they had given out that it was brought to the House of one Roberts in the night by a man wrapped up in a blanket who immediately rode off; that it was said to contain information that 500 Creeks, 500 Choctaws, 500 Chicasaws and a Body of Troops from Pensacola with all the Cherokee Nation were immediately to fall on the Frontiers of Virginia and North Carolina; that the letter was forwarded to North Carolina and Virginia in order to engage their assistance against the Cherokees; that Evan Shelby read our second letter notwithstanding that the committee of Fincastle take no notice of it, but we find that Shelby is a Party concerned in the Lands. The forged letter was forwarded to South Carolina, but they thought proper to affix my name instead of Mr Cameron's. We took an opportunity of representing to the Indians the probability that there was of their being deceived by the Shawnese; they seemed to entertain some doubts about them and resolved to wait the 20 days allowed in the Committee's Letter for giving an Answer.

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The Indians told us that the Great Warrior of the Nation had never yet given his opinion and they would be obliged to abide by whatever he should determine, whether Peace or War. This gave us hopes that a war might yet be prevented. About this time we received a letter from Mr Hamilton, wherein he acquainted us that the Terrapin had advised him to come over the Hills, for that a party would be sent from the Settlemts to take him out of the Nation. Mr Hamilton asked him if he would not protect him; his answer was that perhaps they might be too powerful and that their coming might be attended with bad consequences; most of the other Indians determined to stand by him. The people that were sent for the Cattle and taken prisoners returned; we imagined that they dreaded the consequence of offending us, as we were out of their reach, and therefore they had thought proper to discharge them with leave to bring up 8 beeves. Andrew Williamson and Wilkinson wrote to Mr Cameron and complained much of the Letter that I was said to have wrote to the people of Watoga, threatening the Frontiers of North Carolina and Virginia, and said that if there was an Indian war it would be occasioned by that letter and by lies brought into the Nation by Captain York. I wrote a letter to Mr Wilkinson, but I have reason to think it went no farther than Seneca.

The Indians had appointed a day to get the Great Warrior's Talk, when the time of their going to war was to be finally determined upon, and which we understood was to have been put off for a month or two, but on the night before they were to have met they received intelligence from the Lower Towns that they were certainly gone out against the Settlements of Carolina, and that they had determined on this rash step immediately on the return of the Deputies who were sent to hear the Talk of the Northern Indians; that it was occasioned by a private Talk sent to the Terrapin by a Warrior of Tellico and Ninituca, relations of his, who resented his being very active in getting Ninituca's Brother, who was his Kinsman, put to death, as satisfaction for the Murder of a white man in Virginia. Laskigitihi, of Tellico, arrived from the Lower Towns and brought a white prisoner with him from Little Chote; he told us that a Party of twenty-four men had come into the Nation under a pretence of taking away Steel and Pritchard, two Traders whom they understood were obnoxious to the Indians; the prisoner with another who was left in the Lower Towns was sent into Chote to obtain leave from the Indians to pass through the Nation; that they were detained

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and beat and a party was sent to attack the others; that they killed five of them and took all their horses and Arms and that the rest had made their escape. Among the killed was young Hampton, who we had set at liberty about 20 days before, after having administered to him at his own desire an oath of neutrality.

It was in vain to talk any more of Peace, all that could now be done was to give them strict charge not to pass the Boundary Line, not to injure any of the King's faithful subjects, not to kill any women and children, and to stop hostilities when you should desire it notwithstanding any promises to the contrary given to the Shawnese. All these instructions they promised strictly to adhere to, and they begged that I would acquaint you of this, and that altho' they had been rash and listened too readily to the Talks of the Northward Indians, that the usage you had received, the threats against Mr Cameron, and the cruelty used to Sir William Johnson's son were the causes that spurred them on and they therefore hoped that you would not be angry with them nor cast them off, but continue your assistance & support. They blamed Chincanacina the Warrior of Chilhowie as the cause of their beginning before they received your Orders.

The Indians seemed very inclinable that any of the King's loyal Subjects that were at Nonatluchky should be invited to come to them or desired to assemble themselves together and put up a white flag. [See page ante 606.—Editor.] Captain Guest offered to undertake to give them notice if he could get four white men that knew the woods and some Indians. The Tish of Settico [Tellico] a very sensible Indian offered himself with his Nephew who is Interpreter; they sent a message on this subject to the Warrior of Cowie. The very night before they were to have set out the four men that were chosen to go run away, they were all Virginians which was likely to prove fatal to the people who remained. All the white People in the Nation thought that the only security they now could have for their safety, was to go out with the Indians. Some went out with the Indians from the Overhills and Middle Settlements and all the rest offered to accompany Mr Cameron who was to set out in a few days for the Lower Towns. I left the Nation the 12th July, when the Toquah and Chote People which were the last Parties in the Nation set out very much dejected which I am informed was the case with the greatest part of the Nation.

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I proceeded to the Creeks and on my way met the People that were sent in with the Shawnese Belt. They had a letter for Mr Cameron which I found was from Emistisigno wherein he informs Mr Cameron that a Belt was brought into his Nation from the Cherokees without any Letter from him, that it seemed to be a stolen Talk, that he did not understand it; he expressed his surprise that I was not returned; he said if I did not make my appearance in 26 days he should conclude that some accident had befallen me, and would go with his people to look for me. He charged them strictly to take care of their white people and of the King's People that might fly there for protection, for if any of them should be hurt he would stop their supplies from every quarter. I told the Creeks that the Cherokees desired their assistance but that your Orders were that they should take no steps till they should hear from you and that I would not therefore desire them to go, but if they found any of their people going in consequence of Messages they might have from the Cherokees That he should instruct them to go directly to the Nation and receive directions from Mr Cameron. The Creeks said they chose to remain at home until they should have Orders from you. I missed meeting with Colbert. He went to the Cherokee Nation with 100 horse load of ammunition and presents by a different road. I met with some Cherokees returning home by whom I sent a message that I had performed my promise and wd be as punctual in what I now said; that I had heard of the murder of Davis and his man and could not forget it. That if I should hear of another being hurt, or if they neglected after this to hear Mr Cameron's advice and would listen to the Shawnese that this should be the last supply that would ever be permitted to go to their Nation from any quarter; that I had taken some pains to open a communication with Pensacola and Mobille thro' the different Nations; that if they misbehaved a word of my mouth would shut it forever.