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there are no priests among us we think that all is not well. When I was small we had priests, now that I am old we have none; am I to forget, then, how to pray? Have pity on me and grant what I ask. I have spoken on your behalf to all the nations. I am a friend to all, and hurt none. For what are we on this earth? But as a small and tender plant of corn; even as nothing. God has made this earth for you as well as for us; we are then but as one family, and if any one strikes you, it is as if he had struck us. If any nation strikes you, father, we will let you know what nation it is.
Father, We fear the Kentuckians. They are headstrong, and do us great wrong. They are not content to come on our lands, to hunt on them, to steal and destroy our stocks, as the Shawanese and Delawares do, but they go further, and abuse our persons. Forbid them to do so. Sinclair, you know that the Shawanese and Delawares came from the Spanish side of the river, destroyed our corn, and killed our cattle. We cannot live. if things go so.
Father, You are rich, you have all things at command, you want for nothing, you promised to wipe away our tears. I commend our women and children to your care.
[He gave strands of white beads.]
The President then assured them that he would take in consideration what they had said, and would give them an answer on another day; whereupon the conference ended for the present.
January 7, 1802. Brothers and friends of the Miamis, Powtewatamies, and Wee
I receive with great satisfaction the visit you have been so kind as to make us at this place, and I thank the Great Spirit who has conducted you to us in health and safety. It is well that friends should sometimes meet, open their minds mutually, and renew the chain of affection. Made by the same Great Spirit,
and living in the same land with our brothers, the red men, we consider ourselves as of the same family; we wish to live with them as one people, and to cherish their interests as our own. The evils which of necessity encompass the life of man are sufficiently numerous. Why should we add to them by voluntarily distressing and destroying one another? Peace, brothers, is better than war. In a long and bloodly war, we lose many friends, and gain nothing. Let us then live in peace and friendship together, doing to each other all the good we can. The wise and good on both sides desire this, and we must take care that the foolish and wicked among us shall not prevent it. On our part, we shall endeavor in all things to be just and generous towards you, and to aid you in meeting those difficulties which a change of circumstances is bringing on. We shall, with great pleasure, see your people become disposed to cultivate the earth, to raise herds of the useful animals, and to spin and weave, for their food and clothing. These resources are certain; they will never disappoint you: while those of hunting may fail, and expose your women and children to the miseries of hunger and cold. We will with pleasure furnish you with implements for the most necessary arts, and with persons who may instruct you how to make and use them.
I consider it as fortunate that you have made your visit at this time, when our wise men from the sixteen States are collected together in council, who being equally disposed to befriend you, can strengthen our hands in the good we all wish to render you.
The several matters you opened to us in your speech the other day, and those on which you have since conversed with the Secretary of War, have been duly considered by us. He will now deliver answers, and you are to consider what he says, as if said by myself, and that what we promise we shall faithfully perform.
February 10, 1802.
Brothers of the Delaware and Shawanee nations : I thank the Great Spirit that he has conducted you hither in health and safety, and that we have an opportunity of renewing our amity, and of holding friendly conference together. It is a circumstance of great satisfaction to us that we are in peace and good understanding with all our red brethren, and that we discover in them the same disposition to continue so which we feel ourselves. It is our earnest desire to merit, and possess their affections, by rendering them strict justice, prohibiting injury from others, aiding their endeavors to learn the culture of the earth, and to raise useful animals, and befriending them as good neighbors, and in every other way in our power. By mutual endeavors to do good to each other, the happiness of both will be better promoted than by efforts of mutual destruction. We are all created by the same Great Spirit; children of the same family. Why should we not live then as brothers ought to do?
I am peculiarly gratified by receiving the visit of some of your most ancient and greatest warriors, of whom I have heard much good. It is a long journey which they have taken at their age, and in this season, and I consider it as a proof that their affections for us are sincere and strong. I hope that the young men, who have come with them, to make acquaintance with us, judging our dispositions towards them by what they see themselves, and not what they may hear from others, will go hand in hand with us, through life, in the cultivation of mutual peace, friendship, and good offices.
The speech which the Blackhoof delivered us, in behalf of your nation, has been duly considered. The answer to all its particulars will now be delivered you by the Secretary of War. Whatever he shall say, you may consider as if said by myself, and that what he promises our nation will perform.
WASHINGTON, November 3, 1802.
To Brother Handsome Lake:—
I have received the message in writing which you sent me through Captain Irvine, our confidential agent, placed near you for the purpose of communicating and transacting between us, whatever may be useful for both nations. I am happy to learn you have been so far favored by the Divine spirit as to be made sensible of those things which are for your good and that of your people, and of those which are hurtful to you; and particularly that you and they see the ruinous effects which the abuse of spirituous liquors have produced upon them. It has weakened their bodies, enervated their minds, exposed them to hunger, cold, nakedness, and poverty, kept them in perpetual broils, and reduced their population. I do not wonder then, brother, at your censures, not only on your own people, who have voluntarily gone into these fatal habits, but on all the nations of white people who have supplied their calls for this article. But these nations have done to you only what they do among themselves. They have sold what individuals wish to buy, leaving to every one to be the guardian of his own health and happiness. Spirituous liquors are not in themselves bad, they are often found to be an excellent medicine for the sick; it is the improper and intemperate use of them, by those in health, which makes them. injurious. But as you find that your people cannot refrain from an ill use of them, I greatly applaud your resolution not to use them at all. We have too affectionate a concern for your happiness to place the paltry gain on the sale of these articles in competition with the injury they do you. And as it is the desire of your nation, that no spirits should be sent among them, I am authorized by the great council of the United States to prohibit them. I will sincerely cöoperate with your wise men in any proper measures for this purpose, which shall be agreeable to them.
You remind me, brother, of what I said to you, when you visited me the last winter, that the lands you then held would
remain yours, and shall never go from you but when you should be disposed to sell. This I now repeat, and will ever abide by. We, indeed, are always ready to buy land; but we will never ask but when you wish to sell; and our laws, in order to protect you against imposition, have forbidden individuals to purchase lands from you; and have rendered it necessary, when you desire to sell, even to a State, that an agent from the United States should attend the sale, see that your consent is freely given, a satisfactory price paid, and report to us what has been done, for our approbation. This was done in the late case of which you complain. The deputies of your nation came forward, in all the forms which we have been used to consider as evidence of the will of your nation. They proposed to sell to the State of New York certain parcels of land, of small extent, and detached from the body of your other lands; the State of New York was desirous to buy. I sent an agent, in whom we could trust, to see that your consent was free, and the sale fair. All was reported to be free and fair. The lands were your property. The right to sell is one of the rights of property. To forbid you the exercise of that right would be a wrong to your nation. Nor do I think, brother, that the sale of lands is, under all circumstances, injurious to your people. While they depended on hunting, the more extensive the forest around them, the more game they would yield. But going into a state of agriculture, it may be as advantageous to a society, as it is to an individual, who has more land than he can improve, to sell a part, and lay out the money in stocks and implements of agriculture, for the better improvement of the residue. A little land well stocked and improved, will yield more than a great deal without stock or improvement. I hope, therefore, that on further reflection, you will see this transaction in a more favorable light, both as it concerns the interest of your nation, and the exercise of that superintending care which I am sincerely anxious to employ for their subsistence and happiness. Go on then, brother, in the great reformation you have undertaken. Persuade our red brethren then to be sober, and to cultivate their lands; and their women to spin and weave for their families. You will soon see your women and