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Our nation empowered J. L. to let out a part of our lands; he told us that he was sent by Congress to do this for us, and we fear he has deceived us in the writing he obtained from us; for since the time of our giving that power, a man named P-, bas come and claimed our whole country northward of the line of Pennsylvania, under a purchase from that L. 10 whom he said he had paid twenty thousand dollars for it; he also said, that he had bought it from the council of the Thirteen Fires, and paid them twenty thousand more for the same; and he also said, that it did not belong to us, for that the great king had ceded the whole of it, when you made peace with him. Thus he claimed the whole country north of Pennsylvania, and west of the lands belonging to the Cayugas. He demanded it; he insisted on his demand, and declared to us that he would have it all. It was impossible for us to grant him this, and we immediately refused it. After some days he proposed to run a line a small distance eastward of our western boundary, which we also refused to agree to. He then threatened us with immediate war if we did not comply.
Upon this threat our chiefs held a conncil, and ihey agreed that no event of war could be worse than to be driven, with our wives and children, from the only country which we had any right to; and therefore, weak as our nation was, they determined to take the chance of war rather than submit to such unjust demands, which seemed to have no bounds. Mr. Street, the great trader at Niagara, was then with us, having come at the request of P-; and as he bad always professed to be our great friend, we consulted him on this subject. He also told us that our lands had been ceded by the king, and that we must give them up. Astonished at what we heard from every quarter, with hearts aching with compassion for our women and children, we were thus compelled to give up all our county north of the
line of Pennsylvania, and east of the Chenesee river up to the great forks, and east of a south-line drawn up from that fork to the line of Pennsylvania. For this land P. agreed to pay us ten thousand dollars in hand, and one thousand dollars a year for ever. He paid us two thousand five hundred dollars, and he sent for us to come last spring and receive our money ; but instead of paying us the residue (or remainder) of the ten thousand dollars, and the one thousand dollars due for the first year, be offered only five hundred dollars, and insisted that he had agreed with us for that sum to be paid yearly.
We debated with him for six days, during all which time he persisted in refusing to pay us our just demand ; and he insisted that we should receive the five hundred dollars ; and Street from Niagara also insisted on our receiving the money as it was offered us. The last reason which he assigned for continuing to refuse paying us was—that the king had ceded the land to the Thirteen Fires, and that he had bought them from you and paid you for them. - 1
Father,We could bear this confusion no longer and determined to press through every difficulty, and lift up our voice so that you might hear us, and to claim that security in the possession of our lands, which your commissioners so solemnly promised us ; and we now entreat you to inquire into our complaints, and to redress our wrongs.
Father, -Our writings were lodged in the hands of S. of Niagara, as we supposed him to be our friend ; but when we saw P. consulting S. on every occasion, we doubted of his honesty towards us ; and we have since heard that he was to receive for his endeavours to deceive us, a piece of land ten miles in width west of the Chenesee river ; and near forty miles in length extending to lake Ontario ; and the lines of this tract have been run accordingly, although no part of it is within the bounds which limit this purchase.
Father,---You have said that we were in your Hand, and that by closing it you could crush us to nothing. Are you then determined to crush us? If you are, tell us so, that those of our nation who have become your children, and have determined to die so, may know what to do. In this case one chief has said, he would ask you to put him out of his pain. Another, who will not think of dying by the hand of his father, or of his brother, has said he will retire to the Chataughque, eat of the fatal root, and sleep with his fathers in peace.
Before you determine a measure so unjust, look up to God, who made us as well as you; we hope lle will not permit you to destroy the whole of our mation.
Father, -Hear our case : Many nations inhabited this country, but they had no wisdom, therefore they warred together; the Six Nations were powerful and compelled them to peace. The land for a great extent was given up to them, but the nations which were not destroyed all continued on those lands : and claimed the protection of the Six Nations, as brothers of their fathers. They were men, and when at peace had a right to live upon the earth.
The French came among us, and built Niagara; they became our fathers, and took care of us. Sir William Johnson came, and took that fort from the French ; he became our father, and promised to take care of us, and he did so until you were too strong for bis king. To him we gave four miles round Niagara, as a place of trade. We have already said how we came to join against you ; we saw that we were wrong, we wished for peace, you demanded a great country to be given up to you, it was surrendered to you as the price of peace, and we ought to have peace and possession of the little land which you then left us.
Father, -When that great country was given up to you there were but few chiefs present, and they VOL. 1.
were compelled to give it up. And it is not the Six Nations only that reproach those chiefs with having given up that country. The Chipaways, and all the nations who lived on these lands westward, call to
us, “Brothers of our fathers, where is the place which you have reserved for us to lie down
us, and ask
Father, You have compelled us to do that which makes us ashamed. We have nothing to answer to the children of the brothers of our fathers. When last spring they called upon us to go to war to cure them a bed to lie down upon, the Senecas entreated them to be quiet until we had spoken to you ; but on our way down, we heard that your army had gone towards the country which those nations inhabited; and if they meet together, the best blood on both sides will stain the ground.
Father -We will not conceal from you that the great God, and not men, has preserved the Corn Plant from the hands of his own nation.
For they ask continually,
66 Where is the land on which our children, and their children after them, are to lie down upon? You told us,” say they, “ that the line drawn from Pennsylvania to Lake Ontario, would mark it forever on the east, and the line running from Beaver Creek to Pennsylvania, would mark it on the west, and we see that it is not so; for first one, and then another, come and take it away by order of that people which you tell us promised to secure it to us." He is silent, for he has nothing to answer. When the sun goes down he opens his heart before God; and earlier than the sun appears again upon the bills he gives thanks for bis protection during the night; for he feels that among men, become desperate by the injuries they sustain, it is God only that can preserve him. He loves peace, and all he had in store he has given to those who have been robbed by your people, lest they should plunder the innocent to repay themselves. The whole season, which
others have employed in providing for their families, he has spent in endeavours to preserve peace ; and this moment his wife and children are lying on the ground, and in want of food : his heart is in pain for them, but he perceives that the Great Spirit will try his firmness in doing what is right.
Father,—The game which the Great Spirit sent into our country for us to eat, is going from among
We thought he intended we should till the ground with the plough as the white people do, and we talked to one another about it. But before we speak to you concerning this, we must know from you whether you mean to leave us and our children any land to till. Speak plainly to us concerning this great business.
All the land we have been speaking of belonged to the Six Nations : no part of it ever belonged to the King of England, and he could not give it up to you. The land we live on our fathers received from God, and they transmitted it to us for our children, and we cannot part with it.
Father,–We told you that we would open our žiearts to you: hear us once more. At Fort Stanwix we agreed to deliver up those of our people who should do you any wrong, and that you might try them and punish them according to your law. We delivered up two men accordingly; but instead of trying them according to your law, the lowest of your people took them from your magistrate, and put them immediately to death. It is just to punish the murderer with death, but the Senecas will not deliver up their people to men who disregard the treaties of their own nation.
Father, -Innocent men of our nation are killed, one after another, and of our best families; but none of your people who have committed those murders lave been punished. We recollect that you
did promise to punish those who killed our people ; and we ask, was it intended that your people should kill