COPY OF A CIRCULAR LETTER TO THE GOVERNORS OF VIRGINIA, N. CAROLINA, S. CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND MR. JOHN STUART, AGENT FOR INDIAN AFFAIRS IN YOUR DISTRICT FROM LORD EGREMONT.
March 16, 1763.
As the removal of the French and Spaniards from the countries which extend from the Colony of Georgia to the river Mississippi, and which are now ceded to His Majesty, will undoubtedly alarm and increase the jealousy of the neighbouring Indians, the King judges it to be indispensably necessary to take the earliest steps for preventing their receiving any impressions of this kind, and for gaining their confidence and good will, without which it will be impossible for this nation to reap the full benefit of its acquisitions in that part of the world.
The French and Spaniards in Florida, and Lousiana have long and too successfully inculcated an idea amongst the Indians, that the English entertain a settled design of extirpating the whole Indian race, with a view to possess and enjoy their lands and that the first step towards carrying this design into execution, would be to expel the French and Spaniards, the real friends and protectors of the Indians ; In order to prevent the ill effect of these suggestions, which our taking possession of those countries will seem to verify, it is His Majesty's pleasure that you should, in concert with the Governors of Virginia, the Two Carolinas, and Georgia, without loss of time, immediately invite the chiefs of the Creeks, the Chactaws, Cherokees, Chickasaws and Catabaws, to a meeting with them and the Indian Agent for that department, at Augusta in the Province of Georgia, or any other place equally convenient for the several parties ; at which these chiefs are to be apprized in the most prudent and delicate manner of the change which is going to take place. In doing this, the King judges it to be absolutely necessary not only to avoid every expression which might awaken the fears or point out the dependance of the Indians upon us, but to use every means to quiet their apprehensions and gain their good opinion.
For this purpose it would be proper to recur to the original causes of the war with the French, to mention and dwell upon the several cruelties they exercised during the course of it, the arts they employed, the groundless
stories they propagated among the Indians in order to excite their jealousies, to alienate their affections from this nation and to provoke them to commit such violences as His Majesty was at length compelled to resent, that by the same insidious arts they had so far wrought upon the credulity of the Spaniards, as to involve them in their quarrel, and its consequences, that thro' the special favour of providence, the wisdom of the King and the courage of His Troops, all these mischievous practices and designs have been discovered and defeated.
In order to prevent the revival of such disturbances and troubles by repetitions of the same dangerous proceedings, His Majesty found himself obliged to insist in the Treaty of Peace, that the French and Spaniards should be removed beyond the River Mississippi, to the end that the Indians and his White People may hereafter live in peace and brotherly friendship together ; That the English feel a particular satisfaction in the opportunity which their successes afford them of giving the Indians the most incontestable and substantial proofs of their good intentions and cordial desire to maintain a sincere and friendly correspondence with them ; That these proofs will consist, 1stly, in a total oblivion and forgiveness of all past offences, fully persuaded that they were entirely owing to the deceiving arts of the French, and no ways to be attributed to any ill will in them ; 2ndly, in opening and carrying on so large a traffick with them as will supply all their wants ; 3rdly in a continual attention to their interests and in a readiness upon all occasions to do them justice ; and lastly, in the most solemn assurances that those forts now ceded to us, by means of which the French really did intend to subvert their liberty, and accomplish those evil designs, which they artfully imputed to Us, shall never be employed but to protect and assist them, and to serve for the better convenience of commerce between the Indians and Us, and the cultivation of friendship and goodwill, between them and the subjects of His Majesty. And should the Indians retain any jealousy or suspicion that the forts situated in the heart of the Indian country, such as Albama, Tombegbi, and Fort Londoun, may be made use of for purposes not favourable to them and express a desire that they should be destroyed, I make no doubt but their representation on this head will be most graciously received by the King, and that His Majesty will readily comply with any reasonable request, in order to give the most satisfactory proofs of his intentions to fulfil the friendly declarations which you shall make in his name to the Indians, the sincerity of which it is highly important they should be convinced of, in order to prevent those evils which must necessarily happen, if a thorough confidence in His Majesty's government is not established upon a solid footing.
I am, etc,
P.S. — I am to inform you that in order to try every method which may contribute towards so desirable an object, as that of gaining the good-
will and the confidence of the Indians, His Majesty has thought proper to direct a certain quantity of goods to the amount of four or five thousand pounds to be purchased and sent to Charles Town in S. Carolina, to be distributed in such proportions and in such manner among the Indians as shall be judged proper, at the Meeting directed by this Letter to be held at Augusta, or elsewhere, a list of these goods (which are actually bought and will be soon embarked) will be sent with them to the Governor of S. Carolina.