To the Massachusetts General Court
Cambridge Sept. 28. 1775
The Indian who accompanies Mr Kirtland is an Oneida Chief of considerable Rank in his own Country.1 He has come on a Visit to the Camp principally to satisfy his Curiosity: But as his Tribe has been very friendly to the Cause of the united Colonies, & his Report to his nation at his Return have important Consequences to the publick Interest, I have studiously endeavoured to make his Visit agreeable.
Having express’d an Inclination to pay his Respects to the General Court, I thought it proper to let them know who he was & upon what Errand he came: Not doubting but your Honbl. Board will join with me in shewing him all proper Civilities—I have directed a Present to be prepared for him at his Return. I am Gentlemen with great Respect & Regard Your most Obed. Hbble Servt
LS, in Joseph Reed’s writing, M-Ar: Revolution Letters; LB, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. Rev. Samuel Kirkland (1741–1808), a Congregational clergyman who had been a missionary to the Oneida Indians since 1766, persuaded the Oneida in May 1775 to declare neutrality between Britain and the colonies, and soon afterwards he obtained a similar declaration from the Six Nations. Although the neutrality of the Six Nations eventually collapsed, Kirkland kept the Oneida friendly to the Americans throughout the war and employed their scouts to obtain intelligence of British activities. Kirkland also served as a chaplain at Fort Stanwix (Schuyler) and with Sullivan’s expedition in 1779.