Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Indian Nations, 16 January 1809

16 Jan 1809

Father of the Seventeen Fires

We salute you we thank the great Spirit above for preserving us on our way here to your Seat of Government. now father we hope that you will open your ears & listen to your Children we hope that these words may Sink down deep into your hart Your Children the Ottowas Chippiwas, Potowatamies Shawanoes & Wyandots are now come to represent their sentiments to you from their Brethren & Nations from where they risen & we Salute you in behalf of them & likewise father we hope that you will listen to your Children to these whom are now before you with Patiance as they have came a great wayse & wish to settle their bussiness with you now Entirely while they are here. Father your Children the Ottowas Chippiwas Potowatamies Wyandots and Shawanoes as herd your Speach we now make you an answer In return of it one man Shall Speak for the whole of us Father you Know the first white persons that came among us was the French whom which put the Hatchet in our hands to fight the English. they conquered the french & threw them to the ground—after that the English put the Hatchet again in our hands to fight again our Brethren the Americans & they told us that if we did not do so that we would certantly loose all our lands it is the Englishes dowings if we spilt our blood upon our own lands and likewise it was our former fathers the old Cheifs dowings which never reapt any benefit by it—Father then when you found that your Children was laid a Stray to convince us you Kindled afire at Kaskasque where you Colected all your Children of the different Nations of Indians were we received your Speach your Children father then their wish was to listen & agree with you & we did but when we returned home again the English destroyed & broke throught all that we had done & after that father Buttler had cald a Treaty at the forks of the Miames & their at that Treaty told us all that was for the well fair of our young men Women & Children but it was the doings of our old Cheifs foolish enough again to listen to what the English said to them—and you then again father calld a Treaty at Miss Kingdom you renewed your Council at that place in presence of all your Children where there we ware detarmined to take your advice finding that you were doing every thing for their well fair & after that they returned home very well Satisfied & the English called them again & aput the Hatchets in their hands & told them you must fight for your lands if you do not you are lost people & after the Treaty at Miss Kingdom father you found then again that your Children was laid astray you was then father detarmined to let them Know that they were acting wrong in the maner that they did you then sent a Comissioner out to us which came & remained at the mouth of Detroit River & from their he Sent his Speach to us were we were Colected—we was then detarmined to make a Treaty with you but then we ware laid astray & prevented by the English as our old Cheifs were fools enought again to listen to them. after that father what was the consequince of not making a Treaty at that time was that Genrl. Wayne came out again us & retreated us to the English Fort at the Rapids of Miami & their then our old Cheifs found how they were deseived by the English & their they opened their eys & began to see Clear & then their we found how they ware deseiving people and how they treated us they Treated us like dogs that we set on any Kind of game father if we had at first of taken our Brethren the Americans advice we would now of been happy people but now we are in distress & who is the occation of it it is the English but now father we are detarmined not to follow the Examples of our fore fathers conduct we young people that are now growing up we shall never offend the great Spirit above in Staining our lands with our Brethrens blood—father it is now five years Since we have came to a determenation not to meddle with any of the white peoples quarrels father if you Should have war with either french Spaniard English or any other nation we are detarmined us & the whole of our nation not to listen to any one what so ever nor you father if in case you Should want to offer us the Hatchet—Father you the Seventeen fires I am now come here to stand up before you & you was wishing to Know what the English as beeing Saying to us I now let you know father in the Month of april in our Sugar time we herd that the English was agowing to send for us from which we under stood was bad—we went over to their Side and preevented them to talk in the way they did—we told them dont you ever attempt to offer us the Hatchet again because it will be all in Vain you have deseived us & therefore we do not wish to be deseived by you any more. this is our Sentements & likewise of our Cheifs—father their answer was to us you Surprise us you warm our harts—father this was their answer to us But father at the Same time you Know it is our Interest to listen to the English as long as they are Sivil because our young men woman & Children benefits by it & not only that you Know that the English has purchassed Land from us which yet we have not been paid for the whole & therefore father I hope that you will have no objections in our gowin over to receive our payments for it & likewise father you Know that their is a number of our people yet on the English Shoar to take care of the lands which yet belongs to us but if in case war should take place between you & the English than your Children upon that Side will come over & Join us, or remain their neutral which ihope father you will not Sencure them for So doing—It appears father that it is the wish of the great Spirit above that we should become united to gether & not only that but likewise our Children which I hope that the great Spirit above shall preserve them as inow represent to you as he is the maker of all us father your Children looks up to you all their dependance is in you & therefore they mean to Stick to you because your advice to us about the Cultivation of the land is very pleasing to us and we expect that it will be as pleasing to our Brethren it Seems to be the wish of the great Spirit above that we Should do so & impresses in our minds every day to follow that—father your Speach that you have deliverd us here was very much pleasing to us & we hope that it will be as pleasing to our Brethren from where we risin to come here it seems that the words that you say is Sinceir from your hart but has not only pleased us but has pleased the great Spirit above we find father that you want to take pity upon our Children & young men we se that your wish is that your Children Should do well—now father you hear my words I speak in presence of the great Spirit above & from my hart we now take pity upon our Children & young men we wish now to fix for our Children for here after a good foundation upon our land which may be purchased [. . . .] for them we find now it is time that we should do Some thing for them & we hope that what we will do now Shall never be undone here after—father our Brethren told us to Inquire after that the Treaty of GreenVill was classed you had sent for your Children the Little Turtle & after that the Chippiwas Potowatamies Shawanoes & Ottowas then Isaac Williams the Crane a Wyandot Cheif & the Shawanoes and Delawayse then the Little Turtle your Children wish to Know what they said to you as they never related to us what they done we would wish to Know father what they done when they came to Your Seat & likewise father we would wish to Know what you Said to them because we Could never here from them what you Said to them or what they Said to you—Father when we delivered our Speach to Genrl. Wayne how did you understand it father was it by your request that the Treaty of Swan Creek was made—we Informed the people whom was their that after that Treaty father that you would not of demanded us for any more Land—likewise Father the Treaty the fall before last was it made by your request was it your wish that it should of been made & likewise was the Treaty of last fall made by your request was it your wish to purchase that quantity of Land that was demanded of us—father it was not the wish of your Children to sell that quantity of Land that they were demanded for—It is the wish of your Children to make you this question that is all father we would wish you to let us Know & beg of you to give us an Answer on the Deleviry of this

[Note in TJ’s hand:] I must ask for motion from Genl. Dearborn how to answer the perscribed part of this.

PHi: Daniel Parker Papers.

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