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Letter from Federal Commissioners for Sandusky conference to Captain Henry Ford, commanding the Dunmore on the late reply to speech of 31 July 1793 and decision to proceed to the Miami

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Source Name Image(s)
CollectionNational Archives and Records Administration: 3d Cong, House, Sec War Confidential Rep, RG233 view image
CollectionPrinted Version only (no image)
Document Information
Date August 12, 1793
Author Name Federal Commissioners Treaty at Sandusky (primary) Location: Mouth of Detroit River
Recipient Name Captain Henry Ford (primary)
Summary Federal Commissioners lament that they have been waiting twelve days for a reply to their 31 July 1793 letter. Have decided to proceed to the rapids of Miami in order to obtain answer. Therefore request that Captain Henry Ford be prepared to set sail the following morning to the Miami River. In a post script to the journal entry, Captain Ford acknowledged that he was to attend the commissioners, but said he received his orders from Captain Bunbury. Commissioners spoke with Bunbury who said he received his orders from Governor Simcoe, which were that the commissioners were not to go to Miami Bay until Colonel McKee gave notice that the Indians were ready to receive them. A discussion ensued regarding written orders and extracts of letters. An extract or orders is given to Charles Storer from Captain Bunbury, who refuses to sign it.
Document Format Copy of document
Document Notes Enclosed in [A Journal of the proceedings at Council with the Western Indians], 08/24/1793.This document is enclosed in instructions to the commissioners appointed to deal with the hostile Indians north of the Ohio, in the form of a journal of their proceedings, submitted to the House of Representatives on December 4, 1793. This document is an integral part of [Public Reports] and other communications of the Secretary of War, 12/99/1793.
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Captain Henry Ford; Benjamin Lincoln; Timothy Pickering; Beverley Randolph; Federal Commissioners Sandusky Conference; Governor Simcoe; Captain Bunbury; Colonel McKee; Charles Storer; ;
Related Places Mouth of Detroit River; rapids of Miami; Sandusky; Ohio; Lake Erie; ;
Keywords [not available]
Key Phrases [not available]

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Mouth of Detroit River 12th Aug' 1793
We have been waiting here twelve days for a reply to our last answer to the Indian Nations assembled as the Rapids of the Miami. We can think of no sufficient reason for this delay, and must therefore take measures to obtain that reply, or to ascertain whether we ought any longer to expect it. For the purpose we judge it proper to proceed ourselves to the Miami bay or river, that the necessary communications with the Indians may be easy and expeditious; for it is time that the business of our mission be brought to
to an issue. We therefore request you to be prepared to sail tomorrow morning, when we propose to embark.
We are Sir &c
B: Lincoln, B: Randolph, T: Pickering. } Commissioners

Captain Henry Ford....Commanding the Dunmore }
Captain Ford having read the letter came and informed the Commissioners, that he was instructed to attend the Commissioners, but to receive his orders from Captain Bunbury; and desired us to speak to him. We spoke to Captain Bunbury, told him that Governor Simcoe had assigned the Dunmore, Captain Ford to the use of the Commissioners, and that from what the Governor and his Secretary had repeatedly said we had a right to conclude she was under our direction to go when and where we thought proper for the purpose of the treaty, except to Detroit. He said he had his orders from Governor Simcoe, and that by those orders he could not consent that the Commissioners or any deputation from them, should go to the Miami bay, or river, until Colonel McKee should give notice that the Indians were ready to receive them. But says he if the Commissioners choose to go to Sandusky, I will order the Dunmore to proceed thither. He read some broken passages in Governor Simcoe's letter to him. The Commissioners asked if would give an extract of the letter containing his orders. He answered that Mr. Storer might take an extract. They retired together, Captain Bunbury read, and Mr. Storer wrote down from his mouth the following words, as an extract of a letter from
from Colonel Simcoe to Captain Bunbury dated at Navy Hall 28d June 1793 "the directing of the Kings Vessel to Carry them (the Commissioners) thither she will anchor therefore as conveniently as possible to the Northern shore of the river, on the bank of which they purpose to remain until they hear from Colonel McKee. The Indians do not wish they should visit the opposite shore."
Detroit River 12th August 1793. The above extract is this day verbally given me by Captain Bunbury, who tho' desired, refuses to sign it.
Chas. Storer.
Tuesday 13th August 1793. Being thus prevented from proceeding to the Miami bay, the Commissioners concluded to send a Message to the Indian Nations at the Rapids, and a letter to Colonel McKee.
The message and letter here follow.
To the Chiefs, and Warriors of the Indian Nations assembled at the foot of the Rapids of the Miami River.
Brothers.It is now fifteen days since we delivered our speech to your deputies at this place, in which we explicitly answered the written question presented by them from you, and gave our reasons why we could not make the Ohio the boundary between you and the United States. We also mentioned some of the heads of the engagements we were willing to make in behalf of the United States. The particulars together with our stipulations for your benefit, we judged it proper to reserve, to be explained to you in full Council, when we should meet face to face.
Brothers. The next morning your deputies spoke to us: said they would lay our speech before you: and desired us to wait here for an answer which we desired and expected might be speedily given.
Brothers. We have waited fourteen days, and as yet no answer has
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has arrived.
Brothers, It is time to bring the business to a conclusion. The Summer has almost passed away and we do not yet know even whether we are to have a treaty.
Brothers. You know that we came to treat with you of peace. We again tell you that we earnestly desire to make peace, and in the terms of peace we are disposed to do you ample justice: But if no treaty is to be held, if peace is not to be obtained we desire immediately to know it, that we may go home.
Done at Captain Elliots at the mouth of Detroit river the 14th day of August 1793. Signed by the Commissioners.
B: Lincoln, B: Randolph, T: Pickering.

Copy of a Letter to Colonel McKee,
Mouth of Detroit River 11th Augt 1793
to the speech we delivered here to the deputation of the Indian nations assembled at the rapids of the Miami, we expected an early answer. We have waited fourteen days and no answer has arrived. We have therefore dispatched runners, with a speech to the Chiefs and Warriors; manifested our wishes to begin the treaty, without more delay; and desiring to know immediately their decision on the subject. A Copy of our speech is enclosed. We presume it will be in your power to forward the business: your aid therein will be gratefully
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gratefully acknowledged. The mode in which the negociations have hitherto been conducted is new, and as improper as it is new. All the questions which have been stated might have been proposed to our faces and have received prompt answers. We must soon close the negociation, unless substantial reasons demand procrastination. In that case we may think ourselves justified in giving further proofs of our patience.
We again request your assistance to expedite the business which is the object of our mission and are Sir Yours &c.
B: Lincoln, B: Randolph, T: Pickering

The Message accompanied with seven strings of Black and White Wampum, much intermixed, and the letter to Colonel McKee, were committed to the two runners, one Onandago and an Oneida, who set off this evening and expected to reach the rapids tomorrow night.
N.B. The message and letter were by mistake dated the 11th
Instructions to the Runners.
When you arrive at the Miami Council fire, find Captain Brant, the Farmers Brother, the Cornplanter, the Fish Carrier, and Great Sky, and tell them you have a speech to the Indian Nations there assembled from the Commissioners of the United States, and request them to call the Chiefs together. When the Chiefs are met, then deliver the written speech and strings of Wampum. As soon as this is done find Colo McKee and deliver the letter to him. Find
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Find Captain Hendricks the Chief of the Mohicans and tell him you have brought a written speech to the Indians and that you have delivered, or are going to deliver it to the Chiefs. We shall be glad to have you return to us speedily, but speak to Captain Brant, and the other chiefs of the six nations, and take their directions when to return. Let Colonel McKee know when you propose to come back, that you may bring answers from him. Let Captain Hendrick know when you propose to return.
On your way to the Miami, and back to us, tell no body your business.
August 16th at the Mouth of Detroit River.
In the afternoon of this day the Commissioners received by the hands to two Wyandot Runners, from the Indian Council, at the Rapids of the Miami the following answer to their speech of 31st July.
To the Commissioners of the United States.
Brothers. We have received your speech dated the 31st of last month, and it has been interpreted to all the different nations; We have been long in sending you an answer, because of the great importance of the subject. But we now answer it fully, having given it all the consideration in our power.
Brothers. You tell us that after you had made peace with the King, our Father about ten years ago, "it remained to make peace between the United States, and the Indian nations who had taken part with the King." For this purpose Commissioners were appointed, who sent messages to all those Indians nation inviting them to
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to come and make peace. And after reciting the periods, at which you say Treaties were held, at Fort Stanwix, Fort McIntosh, and Miami, all which treaties according to your own acknowledgement, were for the sole purpose of making peace; You then say "Brothers The Commissioners who conducted these treaties, in behalf of the United States, sent the papers containing them to the General Council of the States who supposing these satisfactory to the nations treated with proceeded to dispose of the lands thereby ceded."
Brothers. This is telling us plainly what we always understood to be the case, and it agrees with the declarations of those few who attended those treaties. Viz: That they went to meet your Commissioners to make peace but thro' fear were obliged to sign any paper that was laid before them: and it has since appeared that deeds of session [cession] were signed by them instead of treaties of peace.
Brothers. You then say, "After some time it appeared that a number of people in your nations were dissatisfied with the treaties of Fort McIntosh and Miami: therefore the Council of the United States appointed Governor St. Clair their Commissioner with full powers, for the purpose of removing all causes of controversy, relating to trade, and settling boundaries, between the Indian Nations in the Northern department and the United States. He accordingly sent a message inviting all the nations concerned to meet him at a Council fire he kindled at the falls of Muskingum. While he was waiting for them, some mischief happened at that place and the fire was put out, so he kindled a Council fire at Fort Harmar, where near six hundred Indians of different nations attended. The six nations then renewed and confirmed the treaty of Fort Stanwix, and
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"and the Wyandots and Delawares received and confirmed the treaty of Fort McIntosh. Some Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawatamies, Sacs, were also parties to the treaty of Form Harmar." Now Brothers these are your words and it is necessary for us to make a short reply to them.
Brothers. A General Council of all the Indian confederacy was held as you well know, in the fall of the year 1788, at this place, and that General Council was invited by your Commissioner Governor St. Clair to meet him for the purpose of holding a treaty with regard to the lands mentioned by you, to have been ceded by the treaties of Fort Stanwix, and Fort McIntosh.
Brothers. We are in possession of the Speeches, and letters which passed on that occasion, between those deputed by us the the confederate Indians and Governor St. Clair, the Commissioner of the United States. These papers prove that your Commissioner in the beginning of the year 1789, after having been informed by the general Council of the preceeding fall that no bargain or sale of any part of these Indians lands, would be considered as valid or binding unless agreed to by a General Council: nevertheless persisted in collecting together a few Chiefs of two or three nations only, and with them held a treaty for the cession of an immence Country, in which they were no more interested than as a branch of the General confederacy and who were in no manner authorized to make any grant or cession whatever.
Brothers. How then was it possible for you to expect to enjoy peace, and quietly to hold these lands, where your Commissioner was informed long before he held the treaty of Fort Harman that the
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the consent of a General Council was absolutely necessary to convey any part of these lands to the United States.
The part of these lands which the United States, now wish us to relinquish, and which you say are settled have been sold by the United States since that time.
Brothers. You say, "The United States wish to have confirmed all the lands ceded to them by the treaty of Fort Harmar, and also a small tract at the rapids of the Ohio, claimed by General Clarke, for the use of himself and his Warriors. And in consideration thereof the United States would give such a large sum of money or goods as was never given at any one time, for any quantity of Indian Lands, since the white people first set their feet on this Island. And because those lands did every year furnish you with skins, and furrs, with which your bought clothing and other necessaries; The United States will now furnish the like constant supplies. And therefore besides the great sum to be delivered at once, they will every year deliver you a large quantity of such goods as are best filled to the wants of yourselves, your women, and Children."
Brothers. Money to us, is of no value, and to most of us unknown: And as no consideration whatever can induce us to sell the lands on which we get sustenance of our women and Children, we hope we may be allowed to point out a mode by which your settlers may be easily removed, and peace thereby obtained.
Brothers. We know that these settlers are poor, or they would never have ventured to live in a Country which has been in continual trouble, ever since they crossed the Ohio. Divide therefor this large sum of money which you have offered to us, among these people, Give to each also a proportion
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proportion of what you could give us annually over and above that very large sum of money: And we are persuaded they would most readily accept of it in lieu of the lands you sold them. If you add also the great sums you must expend in raising and paying Armies with a view to force us to yield you our Country, you will certainly have more than sufficient for the purposes of repaying these settlers, for all their labors and their improvements.
Brothers. You have talked to us about concessions: It appears strange that you should expect any from us who have only been defending our just rights against your invasions.
We want peace. Restore to us our Country, and we shall be enemies no longer.
Brothers. You make one concession to us by offering us your money, and another by having agreed to do us justice after having long and injuriously withheld it; We mean in the acknowledgement you have now made, that the King of England never did nor never had a right to give you our Country by the treaty of peace. And you want to make this Act of common justice, a great part of your concessions: And seem to expect that because you have at last acknowledged our independence, we should for such a favour surrender to you our Country.
Brothers. You have talked also a great deal about pre-exemption and your exclusive right to purchase Indian lands, as ceded to you by the King at the treaty of peace.
Brothers. We never made any agreement with the King nor with any other nation, that we would give to either the exclusive right of purchasing our lands: And we declare to you that we
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we consider ourselves free to make any bargain or cession of lands whenever, and to whomsoever we please. If the White people as you say made a treat that none of them but the King should purchase of us, and that he has given that right to the United States, it is an affair which concerns you and him and not us: we have never parted with such a power.
Brothers. At our General Council held at the Glaize last fall we agreed to meet Commissioners from the United States, for the purpose of restoring peace, provided they consented to acknowledge and confirm our boundary line to be the Ohio. And we determined not to meet you until you gave us satisfaction on that point: that is the reason we have never met.
We desire you to consider Brothers, that our only demand is the peaceable possession of a small part of our once great country. Look back and review the lands from whence we have been driven, to this spot. We can retreat no farther, because the Country behind hardly affords food for its present Inhabitants. And we have therefore resolved to leave our bones in this small space to which we are now confined.
Brothers. We shall be persuaded that you mean to do us justice if you agree that the Ohio shall remain the boundary line between us: If you will not consent thereto, our meeting will be altogether unnecessary. This is the great point which we hoped would have been explained before you left your homes: as our message last fall was principally directed to obtain that information.
Done in General Council at the foot of the Miami Rapid the 13th day of August 1793.
Nations. Wyandot Powtawatomies Seven
Nations Seven Nations of Canada Connoys. Delawares. Munsees. Shawanese. Nantikokes. Miamies. Mohikans. Ottawas. Messagues. Chippewas. Creeks. Senckas of the Glaize. Cherokees.

To the foregoing answer of the Indian Nations, the Commissioners immediately made the following reply and delivered it to the two Wyandot Runners, who brought the answer.
To the Chiefs and Warriors of the Indian Nations assembled at the foot of the Miami Rapids.
Brothers. We have just received your answer dated the 13th Inst. to our speech of the 31st of last month; which we delivered to your deputies at this place. You say it was interpreted to all your nations, and we presume if was fully understood. We therein explicitly declared to you that it was now impossible to make the River Ohio the boundary between your lands, and the lands of the United States; Your answer amounts to a declaration that you will agree to no other boundary than the Ohio. The negociation is therefore at an end. We sincerely regret that peace is not the result; but knowing the upright & liberal views of the United States which as far as you gave us an opportunity, we have explained to you, we trust that Impartial Judge will not attribute the continuances of the War to them. Done
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Done at Captain Elliotts at the mouth of Detroit River the 16th day of August 1793.
B: Lincoln, B: Randolph, T: Pickering. } Commissioners of the United States.

The next morning (Saturday August 17th) The Commissioners sent by their own runners (being one Onondaga and two Oneidas) the following letter and the paper therein mentioned to the Chiefs of the Six Nations
To the Chiefs of the Six Nations.
Brothers. Two runners were sent by us this Week with a message dated the 14th of this month to the Indian Nations assembled at the Rapids of the Miami. Our instructions to the Runners were to inform you that they had such a message from us, and to request you to assemble the Chiefs of the other nations, and then deliver it to you all together. From the report of the Runners, we are apprehensive that they mistook our orders, and that our message had not been communicated to you. We therefore, now send you a Copy of it No 1. We at the same time sent a letter to Colonel McKee of which also we inclose a Copy No 2.
Brothers. Our runners returned hither this evening; but a few hours before their arrival, two Wyandot Runners arrived with a written answer No. 3 to our speech of the 31st. of last month, insisting on the Ohio as the boundary between the Indian lands and those of the United States. As we had already explicitly declared that we could not make the Ohio the boundary, the business, of course, was at an end. However we delivered a short speech in writing to the same runners, who set off this evening to return to the Council