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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 V. — The Muscogees, or Creeks, Negotiate a Treaty of Peace.

Two disturbing elements exercised an influence on the powerful Creek nation during the entire Revolutionary contest; and, after pursuing a fluctuating policy, requiring perpetual vigilance on the part of the authorities of Georgia and South Carolina, their hostility was finally evinced by the formidable night attack, made, under Guristersigo, on the camp of General Wayne, near Savannah, in 1782. The disturbing causes alluded to, were, the influence of the Spanish in Florida, and of the French in Louisiana. But, when the issue of the Revolutionary contest became a fixed fact, they expressed a wish to enter into friendly relations with the Union. For this purpose, in the year 1790, a delegation, comprising twenty-four of their most distinguished chiefs, visited the seat of government, then located at the city of New York. This delegation represented all the principal towns and septs, from the Coosahatchee and Chattahooche to the sources of the Altamaha; it also embraced a delegation of the Seminoles, and was headed by Alexander M'Gillevray, who had, during many years, exercised a controlling influence over this nation. The distinctions of Upper, Middle, and Lower Creeks, were insisted on, they being regarded as so many septs. General Washington received the delegates with comity, and deputed General Knox, Secretary of War, to treat with them. After a full discussion of all the questions involved, the terms were agreed on, and the treaty signed, August 7, 1790. 440 The most important of its provisions was the establishment of boundaries. It contained the usual professions of amity, and stipulated for the surrender of prisoners taken during the war, whites and negroes, many of the latter being refugees. 441 To induce them to make greater advances toward civilization, a clause was inserted, providing that they should be furnished, from time to time, with cattle and agricultural implements. In that genial climate, where cattle, horses, and sheep require neither feeding nor housing, this wise

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provision has rendered the nation wealthy in animals and stock; thus enabling them to make further progress in the social scale.

After all the negotiations were concluded, the Government appointed a special agent to accompany the delegates to their homes, and report on their condition. This agent performed his task skilfully, being a cautious and shrewd observer; and, after his return, he communicated to General Knox a valuable report, accompanied by a map 442 of the country, a detailed account of their principal places of residence, and a carefully prepared and comprehensive view of their manners and customs. 443 He gave the names and designated the locations of fifty-two towns, 444 which were estimated to contain from 25,000 to 30,000 souls. Of these, between 5000 and 6000 were reported to be gunmen, or warriors. It may be remarked, en passant, that the confederacy of the Creeks is well deserving of study, as an element of Indian history.

By some of the older writers, they are called Muscogulges, 445 a term which has, apparently, been shortened to Muscogees; the English appellation of Creeks having been derived from a geographical feature of the country, which is remarkable for its numerous streams. 446 The appellations of Alabama and Okechoyatte, have been borne by them 447 at an early period. Their language 448 is one of the most musical of the Indian tongues, but agrees with the other languages in its principles of synthesis, its coalescence of the pronoun with the noun, and its power of combination.

Politically speaking, they possess a standing and influence second to none of the other tribes, being one of the most strongly characterized families of the aboriginal race, and one from whom we may expect great development.

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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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