George Washington Papers
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Tobias Lear to Timothy Pickering, 3 May 1792

Tobias Lear to Timothy Pickering

[Philadelphia] May 3d 1792

Dear sir,

I enclose the translation of the letter which was transmitted to the Secretary of War by the Governor of New York—The translation was made yesterday in great haste, and if it should not be sufficiently clear, referrence had better be had to the original, in the possession of the Secy of War.1

The President wishes, in your conversation with Colo. Louis, that you would learn the precise time of holding the proposed Council at Buffaloe—and also that it may be impressed on Colo. Louis, if the deputation should go from Buffaloe to the Western Indians, that they would endeavour in the first instance to prevail upon the hostile indians to keep their warriors from committing depradations on our frontiers—as we shall restrain ours from making incursions into their Country. for unless this step is taken in the first instance all attempts at conciliation will probably be fruitless. With true respect & sincere regard I have the honor to be dear Sir Your most Obent St

T. Lear

ALS, MHi: Pickering Papers.

1The enclosed translation of “the Message from the 7 nations of Canada” written at St. Louis on 24 Feb. 1792 reads: “We the Chiefs of the 7 Villages of lower Canada salute all our Brothers who compose the State of New York, and pray the Master of Breath (de la Vie) that he will preserve peace with all nations, and that the great Supreme Being will always render judgement unto all persons (Judicieux Vis-a-Vis touts personnes):

“Brothers We have received a letter from Governor George Clinton in answer to one which we addressed to you, by which we propose to you a treaty together, but the present circumstances will deprive us of that satisfaction, seeing that we are called to hold a Council with our Brothers the Chaivenons [Shawnee] and other savage Nations; it is our duty to attend punctually to endeavour to appease the troubles in this Country. We remember with pleasure that you recommended to us not to harken to the evil birds and not to lose the disposition Spirit (et de ne point perdre L’Esprit)—We will carefully guard ourselves on this head, and we beg you to do the like on your part, and to appease your Warriors as much as possible; for we desire nothing more than peace & harmony among all the nations, and we will not cease to implore the Great Master to assist us in æestablishing it—And we hope that you will take all care to render justice to whom Justice is due.

“Brothers After this arrangement, we will treat together at leisure, we only pray you not to let your people make any advances of settlements upon the lands which we claim, at least until we shall have treated together on this subject—And in full confidence that all these matters will be well arranged we wish you a good day, & that the Master of Breath may keep you in peace.” Following twelve signatures, the message concludes: “You will receive this letter by Brothe[r] Louis Couque Lt Colonel, whom we have sent express to be the bearer of it—and pray he may meet with no delay” (MHi: Pickering Papers). Louis Cook (Atoyataghroughta; Atyatoghhanongwea; c.1740–1814), a Caughnawaga chief who had received a lieutenant colonel’s commission in June 1779 for his support of the American cause, moved to Saint Régis, Canada, after the Revolutionary War. In October 1814 Cook died from injuries he received in a skirmish on the Niagara frontier near Buffalo, New York.

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