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Treating with the Six Nations

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionPeabody Essex Museum: Timothy Pickering Papers view image
Document Information
Date May 11, 1791
Author Name Henry Knox (primary) Location: War Department
Recipient Name George Clinton (primary)
Summary Knox discusses treating with the Six Nations and State government and laws respecting Indian affairs. He alludes to the planned embassy to the Western Indians.
Document Format Contemporary Copy of Letter
Document Notes Enclosed in Knox to Pickering, 05/18/1791. Document slightly illegible due to copy quality.
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Governor George Clinton; Henry Knox; Secretary of War Colonel Timothy Pickering; Cornplanter; Captain Joseph Brant; Western Indians; Senecas; other tribes eastward of the Senecas; young warriors; troops of the United States; Six Nations; President; Department of War; ;
Related Places War Department; Painted Post; United States; ;
Keywords convention; meeting; Indian affairs; design of peace; reasonable sum of money; confederation; good policy; appointed; his visit; meeting with the Indians; pecuniary engagements you shall judge proper; general government; Cornplanter's abilities, fidelity and his active exertions; public interest; power of a reasonable sum of money to attach him to the United States; business under the Cornplanter's management; designs of Brant relative to a general confederation of Indians; objects of the department during his absence; design of the peace; repeated personal communications; persuasion of your cordiality to precise measures with the indians; your letter to the President; measure appeared highly expedient in order not only to prevent their joining the western Indians; security to the continuance of their friendship; your excellency's favor; answer to my letter; ;
Key Phrases He is greatly attached to the United States upon the solid convictions of the measure being the only one by which he and the other indians shall be secured from utter destruction. My authority on the occasion was founded with the circumstances that the business of Indian affairs had been established by law as a branch of the Department of War. Senecas were the principal object of the meeting, that tribe constituting the main body of the Six Nations resident within the general limits of the United States. I am sorry you do not approve the convention of the Six Nations at this particular crisis.
Transcription

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The Secretary at War to Governor Clinton

[from] War Department

11: May 1791

Sir

I had the honor on the 5th instant,

to/

25

to receive your Excellency's favor dated the 27th†ultimo, being an answer to my Letter, of the 12th†of the same month--

I am sorry that you do not approve the Convention of the Six Nations at this particular [undecipherable]-- The measure appeared highly expeditious in order not only to prevent their joining the Western Indians, but if possible to induce them as a security to the continuance of their friendship, to join some of their young Warriors to the troops of the United States--

Although the Senekas were the principal object of the meeting, that tribe constituting the main body of the Six Nations resident within the general limits of the United States, yet it was conceived that it would have been impolite to omit inviting the other tribes eastward of the Senekas, to the meeting--

My having seen your Letter to the President of the United States, relative to Capt†Joseph Brant, and knowing also from repeated personal communications with your Excellency the confidence Brant reposed in your character, together with a persuasion of your

cordiality/

cordiality to pacific measures with the Indians, were my inducement to address you on the 12th†ultimo-

My authority on the [undecipherable] founded [undecipherable] circumstances, that the business of Indian affairs had been established by law as a branch of the Department of War and that the President of the United States had instructed me upon the objects of the Department during his absence--

I am not enough acquainted with the character or views of Capt Brant, to be able to conclude whether he would work cordially in the design of peace, upon such principles as may not hereafter create greater embarrassments-- This was a point which I submitted to your Excellency's decision--

I am fully possessed with the information of his enmity to the Cornplanter, who I an of opinion is greatly attached to the United States, upon the convictions of the measure being the only one by which he and the other Indians shall be secured from utter destruction--

The/

[page largely illegible due to image quality] The Cornplanter has been actively [undecipherable line] deputation under his direction [undecipherable] to the United States [undecipherable]

This information has been [undecipherable line] in the Senekas [undecipherable lines]

Your excellency may remember Capt Brants exertions in the year 1789 to [undecipherable] & great competence [undecipherable] of all the Indians [undecipherable] of the Ohio, the [undecipherable] included

By a late letter which he has written to Mr. [undecipherable], and which I received yesterday it appears that he still should [undecipherable] if he would find it possible - But seeds are [undecipherable] be for the Ö interest of the United States [undecipherable lines due to image quality]

Therefore, although it would be wise to conciliate Capt Brant, and if within the power of a reasonable sum of money to attach him warmly to the United States, yet considering the trail of the business under the Cornplanterís management, and the designs of Brant relative to a general loan federation of Indians, it would not probably be good policy to employ him actively at present, with the Western Indians.

It appears to me, judging from experience, that the United States may entirely depend on the Corplanters abilities, fidelity, and his active exertions - Brantís attachment may be doubted and his views may be dangerous.

But as it may be concluded that Brantís visit to your Excellency, ought to be encouraged by all means, and that the result of the impressions you may make upon him, would be highly favorable to the public interest, I shall instruct Col Pickering not to obstruct but to facilitate his visit.

Colo Pickering has appointed the painted post as the place, and the 17th of June next as the time of his meeting with the Indians.

I am persuaded that the President of the United States, upon his arrival in this City [undecipherable] the beginning of July, would be much gratified to receive a visit from Captain Brant.

It may be proper also to intimate to your Excellency, that any pecuniary engagements you shall judge proper to enter into with Capt Brant, to secure his attachment to the United States, will be paid without delay by the General government.

I have the honor &c &c