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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter III. — Treaties with the Wyandots, Delawares, Chippewas, and Ottowas.

THE organization of a territorial government north-west of the Ohio, exercised a favorable influence on Indian affairs. The majority of the tribes on that border were tired of war, having lost as many warriors by disease, as by casualties in battle. The marching of armies had frightened away the large game, and disorganized the Indian trade. They had been fighting, also, as they now began to see, for a phantom; for, granting that they imagined themselves to have been engaged in preventing the colonies from progressing beyond the Ohio (an early device of foreign traders, whose interests in the West would have suffered by the extension of the settlements), they could not fail to understand that it had never constituted an object with the British Government, as it received no consideration in the treaty concluded at Versailles. The Wyandots, Delawares, Chippewas, and Ottowas, were the first of the western tribes to express sentiments of peace. They united in a treaty concluded with the commissioners, George Rogers Clark, Richard Butler, and Arthur Lee, at Fort M'Intosh, on the Ohio, January 21, 1785. 430 This treaty was important, principally, as inaugurating a system of dealing with the tribes by written contracts; evincing the disposition of the Government to treat them with friendly consideration, and at the same time demonstrating that it possessed the means of enforcing its mandates. Boundaries were established between the Wyandots and Delawares, who designated the Cuyahoga and the Tuscarawas as the division line, thus giving them an idea of the necessity of establishing and respecting geographical locations and limitations.

None of the southern tribes had been so much involved in the hostile proceedings of the western Indians, as the Cherokees, who resided nearest the scene of conflict, and had participated in some of the forays and outrages committed on the Ohio. They, also, at an early period, expressed a desire for peace.

On the 25th of November, 1785, a treaty was concluded with them at Hopewell, on the Keowa fork of the Savannah. The commissioners were Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens, and Joseph Martin. By this treaty a firm friendship was established,

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the surrender of prisoners and negroes stipulated for, and a definite boundary line established, within which the fur trade should be conducted, exclusively under an American system of license, or authority. 431 A similar policy governed the Choctaws and Chickasaws. The former tribe entered into negotiations with the same commissioners, on the 3d of January, 1786, 432 and the latter on the 10th of the same month. 433 The southwestern frontiers were thus placed in a condition of security, by the proceedings of a commission composed of active and energetic men, well acquainted with the character of the Indians, by whom they were held in great respect.

There was still another tribe which had been the scourge of the frontiers; no one organization having evinced such unmitigated hatred, and unrelenting cruelty as the Shawnees. Bearing a name indicating a southern origin, they had, from the first, resisted with desperate fury all attempts of the frontiersmen of North Carolina and Virginia, to extend their settlements beyond the Ohio river. With the agility and subtlety of the panther, they crept stealthily through the forests, and sprang suddenly on their victims. They fought at the battle of Kenawha with an intrepidity previously unknown in Indian warfare; though Virginia had, in every decade of her existence as a colony, successfully repelled their incursions. After the lapse of twelve years from the conclusion of their treaty with Lord Dunrnore, on the Scioto, in 1774, their chiefs assembled at the mouth of the Great Miami, signified their submission, and, January 31, 1786, 434 signed a treaty of peace. By its terms they stipulated to surrender all the prisoners in their possession, and were assigned a territorial position south of the line fixed for the Wyandots and Delawares, by the treaty of Fort M'Intosh, of January 21, 1785.

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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