Hopewell Treaty Negotiations

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HOPEWELL ON KEOWEE, the 18th November, 1785.

The commissioners of the United States, in Congress assembled, to treat with the Cherokees, and all other Indians southward of them, within the limits of the United States, assembled.

Present: Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens, Joseph Martin, and Laughlin McIntosh; from the State of North Carolina; the honorable William Blount, Esq. who produced his commission, as agent for that State.

The commissioners ordered a return to be made of the Indians, and there were five hundred. The head-men and warriors having informed, that the present representation of their tribes was not complete, but would be so in a few days, it was agreed to postpone treating with them until the whole representation should arrive.

November 21.

The head-men and warriors of all the Cherokees assembled. Ordered, that the interpreters inform the Indians that commissioners will meet them tomorrow at 10 o'clock, under the bower erected for that purpose.

November 22.

The commissioners assembled. Present: Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens, Joseph Martin and Laughlin McIntosh. From the State of North Carolina William Blount, agent. From the State of Georgia, John King and Thomas Glasscock, commissioners. From all the tribes or towns of the Cherokees, the headmen and warriors. James Madison, Arthur Coody, interpreters.

The commissioners delivered the following address to the Indians:

HEAD-MEN AND WARRIORS OF ALL THE CHEROKEES: We are the men whom you were informed came from Congress to meet you, the headmen and warriors of all the Cherokees, to give you peace, and to receive you into the favor and protection of the United States; and to remove, as far as may be, all causes of future contention or quarrels. That you, your people, your wives and children, may be happy, and feel and know the blessings of the new change of sovereignty over this land. which you and we inhabit.

We sincerely wish you to live as happily as we do ourselves, and to promote that happiness as far as is in our power, regardless of any distinction of color, or of any difference in our customs, our manners, or particular situation.

This humane and generous act of the United States, will no doubt be received by you with gladness, and held in grateful remembrance, and the more so, as many of your young men, and the greatest number of your warriors, during the late war were our enemies, and assisted the King of Great Britain in his endeavors to conquer our country.

You, yourselves, know that you refused to listen to the good talks Congress sent you; that the cause you espoused was a bad one; that all the adherents of the King of Great Britain are compelled to leave this country, never more to return.

Congress is now the sovereign of all our country, which we now point out to you on the map.* They want none of your lands, or any thing else which belongs to you; and as an earnest of their regard for you, we propose to enter into articles of a treaty perfectly equal, and conformable to what we now tell you.

* We used McMurray's map, and explained with great pains, the limits of the United States, as well as the occurrences of the late war; and we believe they comprehend us. Some of the Indians had visited the Six Nations; some had been up the Wabash and down the Miami, to lake Erie; and others had been at fort Pitt, the Natchez, Pensacola, St. Augustine, Savannah, Charleston, and Williamsburg. B. H.

If you have any grievances to complain of, we will hear them, and take such measures, in consequence thereof, as may be proper. We expect you will speak your minds freely, and look upon us as the representatives of your father and friend, the Congress, who will see justice done you. You may now retire, and reflect on what we have told you, and let us hear from you tomorrow, or as soon as possible.

November 23.

Present as yesterday. After sitting some time in silence, the Tassel of Chota arose, and addressed the commissioners as follows:

I am going to let the commissioners hear what I have to say to them. I told you yesterday I would do this today. I was very much pleased at the talk you gave us yesterday; it is very different from what I expected when I left home; the headmen and warriors are also equally pleased with it.

Now, I shall give you my own talk. I am made of this earth, on which the great man above placed me, to possess it; and what I am about to tell you, I have had in my mind for many years.

This land we are now on, is the land we were fighting for, during the late contest,* and the great man made it for us to subsist upon. You must know the red people are the aborigines of this land, and that it is but a few years since the white people found it out. I am of the first stock, as the commissioners know, and a native of this land; and the white people are now living on it as our friends. From the beginning of the first friendship between the white and red people, beads were given as an emblem thereof: and these are the beads I give to the commissioners of the United States, as a confirmation of our friendship, and as a proof of my opinion of what you yesterday told us. [A string of white beads.]

* Hopewell is fifteen miles above the junction of the Keowee and Tugalo; it is a seat of General Pickens, in sight of Seneca, an Indian town at the commencement of the late war, inhabited by one hundred gunmen, but at present a waste. Dewit's corner is forty miles east of this, and that was the eastern Indian boundary, till the treaty of 1777. B. H.

The commissioners have heard how the white people have encroached on our lands, on every side of us that they could approach. I remember the talks I delivered at the Long Island of Holston, and I remember giving our lands to Colonel Christie and others, who treated with us, and in a manner compelled me thereto, in 1777. I remember the talks to Colonel Christie, when I gave the lands at the mouth of Cloud's creek, eighteen springs past. At that treaty, we agreed upon the line near the mouth of Lime Stone. The Virginia line, and part from the mouth of Cloud's creek to Cumberland mountain, near the gap, was paid for by Virginia.

From Cloud's creek a direct line to the Chimney top mountain, thence to the mouth of Big Lime Stone, on Nolichuky, thence, to the first mountain about six miles from the river, on a line across the sun, was never paid for by the Carolina which joins the Virginia line. I wish the commissioners to know every thing that concerns us, as I tell nothing but the truth. They, the people of North Carolina, have taken our lands for no consideration and are now making their fortunes out of them. I have informed the commissioners of the line I gave up, and the people of North Carolina and Virginia have gone over it and encroached on our lands expressly against our inclination. They have gone over the line near Little River, and they have gone over Nine mile Creek which is but nine miles from our towns. I am glad of this opportunity of getting redress from the commissioners. If Congress had not interposed, I and my people must have moved. They have even marked the lands on the bank of the river near the town where I live; and from thence, down in the fork of the Tenessee and Holston.

I have given in to you a detail of the abuse and encroachments of these two states. We shall be satisfied if we are paid for the lands we have given up, but we will not, nor Cannot, give up any more-- I mean the line I gave to Colonel Christie.

I have no more to say, but one of our beloved women has, who has born and raised up warriors. [A string of beads.]

The War-woman of Chota then addressed the commissioners:

I am fond of hearing that there is a peace, and I hope you have now taken us by the hand in real friendship. I have a pipe and a little tobacco to give the Commissioners to smoke in friendship . I look on you and the red people as my Children. Your having determined on peace is most pleasing to me, for I have seen much trouble during the late war. I am old, but I hope yet to bear children, who will grow up and people our nation, as we are now to be under the protection of Congress, and shall have no more disturbance. [A string, little old pipe, and some tobacco.]

The talk I have given, is from the young warriors I have raised in my town, as well as myself. They rejoice that we have peace, and we hope the chain of friendship will never more be broke. [A string of beads.]

THE COMMISSIONERS TO THE TASSEL.--We want the boundary of your country; you must recollect yourself and give it to us, particularly the line between you and the citizens, with any information you have on that subject. If necessary, you may consult your friends, and inform us tomorrow, or as soon as possible with conveniency.

TASSEL.--I will let you know the line tomorrow. I have done speaking for this day.

UNSUOKANAIL, of New Cusse, in the middle settlement. I speak on behalf of Kowe, New Cusse, and Watoge. I am much pleased with the talks between the commnissioners and the Tassel, who is the beloved man of Chota. I remember the talks given out by you yesterday. I shall always, I hope, remember, that if we were distressed in any manner, we should make our complaints to the Commissioners, that justice may be done. There are around us young men and warriors who hear our talks, and who are interested in the succes of this treaty, particularly as their lands are taken from them, on which they lived entirely by hunting. And I hope, and they all anxiously hope, it is in the power of the commissioners to do them justice. The line mentioned by the beloved man of Chota, is in truth as he expressed it; I remember it, and it was formerly our hunting grounds.

The encroachments on this side of the line have entirely deprived us of our hunting grounds;. and I hope the commissioners will remove the white people to their own side. This is the desire of the three owns I speak for; the settlements I mean are those on Pigeon river and Swananno. It was the desire of the commissioners, that the Indians should tell all their grievances, and I hope they will do justly therein. When any of my young men are hunting on their own grounds, and meet the white people, they, the white people, order them off and claim our deer. [A string of white beads.]

CHESCOENWHEE.--I am well satisfied with the talks of this day; I intended to speak, but as the day is far spent, I will decline it till tomorrow. I will go home and consider on it.

November 24.

Present as yesterday:

TUCKASEE.--I remember the talks when I made peace. I have appointed Chescoenwhee to speak for me today.

CHESCOENWHEE. --I rejoice that the commissioners have delivered their talks to the headmen of the different towns. I am in hopes that these our talks will always remain unbroken. What you hear from the representatives of the towns,the young warriors will invariably adhere to. I am in hopes it is now in the power of the commissioners, from their talks of yesterday and the day before, to see justice done to us; to see that we may yet have a little land to hunt upon; I was sent here to settle all matters respecting my country, and being under the protection of the United States, I shall return satisfied: we have been formerly under the protection of Great Britain, and then, when I saw a white man, I esteemed him a friend, and I hope that the commissioners of Congress will see that times may be as formerly. I wish what I say may be deemed strictly true, for so it is, and that I may be always looked on as a friend to the thirteen United States, and that they will see justice done me.

The talks of the commissioners are the most pleasing to us, as they do not want any lands. Formerly, when I had peace talks, the first thing the white peple expressed, was a desire for our lands. I am in hopes you will adjust and settle our limits, so that we may be secured in the possession of our own. I will abide by what hitherto has been said on this subject, but cannot cee any more lands.--{A string of beads.}

I am in hopes the commissioners will deliver to us our prisoners who are in their lands. Neither the commissioners, nor any of the citizens of the United States, can suppose that we can be at peace on their account; they are our own flesh and blood, and we desire them out of your country. I am in hopes of seeing them with the assistance of the commissioners, they have been long detained, and we often were promised by colonel Martin that we should see them. One of them was taken from Talksoa, three girls and one boy from Erejoy, and one boy from Tuckareechee; we do not know how old they are; we are a people who do not know how to count by years; they are in North Carolina, and were taken by an army from thence.

OONOOTEE.--I am to deliver the talks in answer to what I heard at Oostonawie. I was sent down from different towns to receive the talks of the commissioners, and to be governed by them. I do expect, by the time I return home from the commissioners, the young men of the towns of our nation will be there to hear me repeat what you have or shall say to me. I was told by all of them, when I set out, that they expected I would return with good talks. It was the desire of the commissioners, that we should tell all our grievances; the encroachment on our hunting-grounds is the source of all ours, and I hope they can and will take measures to see justice done in our land. I have attended to the talks of the commissioners and our beloved men, and I sincerely, wish they may always abie by them. I am in hopes it is in your power to see our distresses redressed, and that you will order off the people who are settled on our lands, and protect for us our hunting grounds. [A string of beads.]

I wish the commissioners to take in hand the case of the traders in our country, and settle what respects them during the late war, so that they may not be seized on and plundered by bodies of armed men as they pass to and from the nation. I am come down as one to make peace with the commissioners of the United States of America, and I hope the traders may pass through the country. I wish the commissioners would prevent such acts of injustice as robbing the traders; several of them have been plundered in Georgia and South Carolina, and their lives endangered if they should attempt to recover their property. As for my part; I mean to keep the path clear for the traders, as far as our line, and I hope the commissioners will do the same on their part. Here are the chiefs of all our nation, who hear me; the traders have been out for goods, and returned without any, having been robbed, and I hope it will not be the case again. I sincerely desire that our talks and complaints may go up to Congress, that they may know how we are distressed about our country. I have delivered the talks to the commissioners, and laid the beads on the beloved table, and as to my part of the country, I will keep the path clear.

TASSEL --We have said all we intend to day; if the commissioners have any thing to say, we will hear it, and answer them.

November 25.

Present as yesterday.

The headmen, after some conversation together, requested the commissioners to give them some paper and a pencil, and leave them to themselves, and they would draw the map of their country.

November 26.

Present as yesterday.

The head men produced their map, and the TASSEL addressed the commissioners as follows:

I will give the bounds of the land as far as I claim. Colonel Martin is present, and heard our talks at the long island of Holston, and he knows every thing I shall say to be true. The line which I have marked, begining on the Ohio above Kentucky, and running thence to where the Kentucky road crosses Cumberland River, thence to the Chimney-top mountain, and by the mouth of Big Limestone to the mountain, six miles south of Nolichucky, is justly our boundary with the white people. The Indians from the middle settlements will extend the line, and shew their claim.

I know that Richard Henderson says he purchased the lands at Kentucky and as far south as Cumberland, but he is a rogue and a liar, and if he was here I would tell him so. he requested us to let him have a little lands on Kentucky river, for his cattle and horses to feed on, and we consented, but told him at the same time, he would be much exposed to the depredations of the Northren Indians, which he appeard not to regard, provided we gave him our consent. If Attacullaculla signed his deed we were not informed of it; but we know that Oconestoto did not, and yet his name we hear is to it; Henderson put it there, and he is a rogue.

COMMISSIONERS.--You know Colonel Henderson, Attacullaculla, Oconestoto, are all dead; what you say may be true; but here is one of Henderson's deeds, which points out the line, as you have done, nearly till it strikes Cumberland, thence it runs down the waters of the same to the Ohio, thence up the said river as it meanders to the beginning. Your memory may fail you; this is on record, and will remain forever. The parties being dead, and so much time elapsed since the date of the deed, and the country being settled, on the faith of the deed, puts it out of our power to do any thing respecting it; you must therefore be content with it, as if you had actually sold it, and proceed to point out your claim exclusive of this land.

TASSEL.--I know they are dead, and I am sorry for it, and I suppose it is now too late to recover it. If Henderson were living, I should have the pleasure of telling him he was a liar; but you told us to give you our bounds, and therefore we marked the line; but we will begin at Cumberland, and say nothing more about Kentucky, althought it is justly ours.

COMMISSIONERS.--You must also make provisions, if practicable, for the people settled at Nashville, and for such other bodies of people, if numerous, as may be within what you have pointed out as your claim. Our object in treating with you is to fix a permanent boundary, and to keep our faith in whatever we promise you; and you must not expect from us any promise, which we know cannot be done but with great inconveniency to our citizens. The Chickasaws, we are informed by Colonel Martin and the agent of North Carolina, claim the lands at Nashville, and they are content that the people should live there, and you must mark a line for them.

TASSEL AND TUSKEGATAHEE.--We understand you perfectly; we wish to postpone this matter if the Chickasaws would come; it is a kind of common right in all the Indians,and they had no right of themselves to give it.

COMMISSIONERS.--We have no expecations that the Chicasasaws will meet us, and you know the necessity of having the treaty completed, that we may, as early as possible, put a stop to the encroachments you complain of, if they do exist.

TASSEL AND TUSKEGATAHEE.--We know the necessity of completing the treaty, and we will mark a line for the white people; we will begin at the ridge between the Tennessee and Cumberland, on the Ohio, and run along the same till we get around the white people, as you think proper. We will also mark a line from the mouth of Duck river to the said line, and leave the remainder of the lands to the south and west of the lines, to the Chickasaws; we will from the ridge, go to Cumberland,and up the same to where the Kentucky road crosses the same. Colonel Christie run the remainder of the line with us, as we have marked it, and he said we were at liberty to punish, or not, as we pleased, any person who should come on our side or violated the treaty; but this we have not done, and the white people have come over it a great way, as we have told you. In the fork of French Broad river and Holston, there are three thousand souls. This is a favorite spot of land, and we cannot consent to their having of it; and they must be removed. There are some few settled on other parts, whom the commissioners, we hope, will remove. We cannot mark a line round the people on French Broad; those lands are within twenty-five miles of our towns, and we prize them highly. The people have settled there several springs past, and they ought to be removed.

COMMISSIONERS. --We expect some sort of provision will be made for these people, and you had better think seriously of it; they are too numerous for us to engage to remove. You say they have been there for a long time, and ought to have been removed; while you were under the protection of the king of Great Britain, he ought to have removed them for you, but he neglected it, and we cannot stipulate positively to do any thing respecting them, unless you choose to mark around them; for the present they must remain as they are; all the others you mention shall be removed.

TASSEL.--I have shown you the bounds of my country on my map which I drew in your presence, and on the map of the United States. If the commissioners cannot do me justice in removing the people from the fork of French Broad and Holston, I am unable to get it of myself. Are Congress, who conquered the King of Great Britain, unable to remove those people? I am satisfied with the promises of the commissioners to remove all the people from within our lines, except those within the fork of Holston and French Broad; and I will agree to be content, that the particular situation of the people settled there, and our claims to the lands, should be referred to Congress, as the commissioners may think just, and I will abide by their decision.

UNSUCKANAIL.--I and my people are to extend their line, and, although our claims are well founded to a large portion of the mountains, which are of little advantage to any but hunters, and of great value to them,yet I am willing to extend the line to the southward until we come to the South Carolina Indian boundary; and we have a right, formed on the treaties at Dewit's corner, and at Augusta, to make that line, as far as the south fork of Oconee, our boundary against the white people.

November 28, 1785.

The commissioners assembled.

Present: Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens, Joseph Martin, and Laughlin McIntosh.

From the State of North Carolina, William Blount, agent.

From the State of Georgia, John King and Thomas Glasscock, commissioners.

The headmen and warriors of all the Cherokees.

James Madison and Arthur Cody, sworn interpreters. Major Samuel Taylor, Major William Hazzard, Captain-commandant John Cowen, John Owen, and George Ogg, merchants, with several other reputable characters.

The commissioners produced a draught of a treaty, on the plan they originally proposed to the Indians, which was read, and interpreted to them with great attention, so that they agreed that they perfectly understood every article, and would with pleasure unanimously sign the same; accordingly, two copies were signed by the commissioners and all the headmen, the one for the United States, and the other for the Cherokees.

Previous to signing, the agent from North Carolina, and the commissioners of Georgia, delivered their protests against the same.

After the treaty was signed, sealed,and witnessed, the commissioners told the head men that Congress, from motives of humanity, had directed some presents to be made to them for their use and comfort; and that, on the next day, they would direct the presents to be distributed accordingly.

November 29.

Present as yesterday.

The commisssioners ordered a return of the Indians, and there were nine hundred and eighteen, and goods to the amount of $1,311 were distributed among the headmen of every town.

The Indians having expressed a desire to say something further to the commissioners they attended acccordingly.

TASSEL.--I will now inform you of some further complaints against your people. I remember the treaty with Colonel Christie, and in all our treaties, that we reserved the Long island of Holston for ourselves, as beloved ground, to hold our treaties on. I remember the commissioners yesterday, in an article of the treaty, demanded all their property and prisoners. I am now going to make my demand: I desire that Colonel Martin may be empowered to find and get our prisoners; he is our friend, and he will get them for us. I am now done my talks, and I hope the commissioners will be as good as their promise yesterday in the treaty. The white people have taken so much of our lands, we cannot kill as many deer as formerly. The traders impose on us greatly, and we wish our trade could be regulated, and fixed rates on our goods. Our traders are frequently robbed when coming to, and going from, our nation. John Benge was, among others, robbed of about &150 sterling's worth of leather, in the State of Georgia.

TUSEGATAHEE.--I am not a chief, but will speak for my country; I shall always pay great regard to what I have heard respecting the treaty, as well as what may be sent us from Congress hereafter; and as I am within the limits of the United States, I shall always expect their protection and assistance. Our young men and warriours have heard what is passed. I expect, as our boundaries are ascertained, Congress may be informed of them; and that, as peace is now firmly established, and we are all friends, we may be allowed to hunt on each other's lands without molestation. On my part, being in peace and friendship with you, I shall feel myself safe whereever I go. Many of your people on Cumberland and Kentucky lose their horses in our lands, and, should we find, them, I wish Colonel Martin to reveive. them.

NOWOTA.--I am fond to hear the talks of the beloved men of Congress, and of ours. You commissioners remember the talks, and I shall always endeavor to support the peace and friendship now established. I remember your talks by Colonel Martin, and I promised to be attached to America; but, until the present, I was afraid to be in your country. I am now perfectly happy, as you are to protect us. Your prisoner at Chicamoga, I will deliver you. Formerly, Captain Commeron saw justice done to us in our land; he is gone, and I now depend on the commissioners. If any thing depends on me to strengthen our friendship, I will faithfully execute it. You are now our protectors. When I go and tell to those of our peple who could not come to hear your talks, what I have seen and heard, they will rejoice. I have heard your declarations of a desire to do us any service in your power; I believe you, and in confidence shall rest happy.

COMMISSIONERS.--We will give you provisions for the road, and wish you may be happy. We will send up to Congress all our talks.

Source: Lowrie, 1832, 40-43.