COLONIAL OFFICE RECORDS
5 Vol. 69 Folio 119 etc.
REPRESENTATION OF THE LORDS OF TRADE TO THE PRINCIPAL SECRETARY OF STATE
7 March 1768.
To The King's Most Excellent Majesty.
May it please your Majesty —
In obedience to your Majesty's command, signified to us by a letter from the Earl of Shelburne, one of your Majesty's principal Secretaries of State dated 5th of October last, we have taken into our most serious consideration the several memorials, letters and other papers therewith referred to us containing objections to, and observations upon the present Plan for the management of our commerce and connexions with the Indians in North America ; stating the great expense attending as well that Branch of Service as the present disposition of the troops for Indian Purposes, and urging the expediency and propriety, in various lights, of establishing certain new governments upon the Mississippi, the Ohio and at the Detroit between the lakes Erie and Huron : We have also conferred, upon this occasion, with such of your Majesty's military servants as have been employed in North America and with such Merchants and others as are most intelligent in the North American and Indian Trade.
Whereupon we humbly beg leave to represent to your Majesty,
That the subject matter to which these papers refer, and the Questions arising thereupon, stated to us in the Earl of Shelburne's letter, appear to us to lead to a consideration of no less consequence and importance, than what System it may be now proper for your Majesty to pursue with respect to that vast and extensive country in North America which on account of the Indian War raging within it was made by the Proclamation of the 7th of October, 1763, the object of mere provisional arrangements.
The advantages resulting from the Treaty of Paris, are in no part of it more distinguished than in these stipulations, which, by obtaining from France and Spain cessions to your Majesty of those important Possessions in North America, which by their situation, gave most alarm and annoyance to the British Colonies, laid the foundation of lasting security to your Majesty's Empire in North America, and of relief to this country by a reduction of that heavy expense, with which it was necessarily burthened for the defence and protection of these colonies ; and, although the unfavourable impressions left upon the minds of the Indians by the Event of the War, and the Representations of the French that we meant to extirpate them, did for some time
involve us in a war with them, that rendered necessary the continuance of a large military Establishment, yet, that war being happily ended, and Treaties of Peace and Friendship, to which all the various Tribes have acceded, having been finally concluded, it is now become of immediate importance to examine, how far the alteration which has thus taken place in the State of your Majesty's Dominion in North America, may require or admit of any proportionable alteration in the System by which that part of your Majesty's Service is to be carried on for the future.
The parts of the Service to which we are more immediately called upon by the Earl of Shelburne's letter to give our attention, are, First, the present civil establishments regarding the Indians ; Secondly, the disposition of the Troops for Indian Purposes ; and lastly the establishment of certain new Colonies.
With respect to the first of these Points, we are directed to state our opinion, how far the present expense of the civil Establishment regarding the Indians may with safety and Propriety be reduced, by the entrusting the Indian Trade and all other Indian affairs to the management of the several Colonies.
In considering this question it may be proper to observe that the Institution of Superintendents for the Affairs of Indians appears to have been a measure originally adopted principally with a view to counteract the Designs of the French in 1754 who by sowing the seeds of jealousy amongst the Indians and exciting them to resent injuries for redress of which they had in vain solicited the colonies, had well nigh entirely weaned them from the British Interest ; And at the same time by uniting the force and conducting the enterprise of the savages, had rendered them an over match for your Majesty's colonies standing single and disunited.
In order therefore to balance the danger arising from this more immediate union and co-operation of the French with the Indians, it became necessary to provide a more systematical as well as more extensive plan of defence for the colonies than had before been requisite ; A plan which might bear some proportion to the extent of the efforts then made by their Enemies, and which having for its object the preservation of all your Majesty's Colonies from the common danger could not otherwise be administered with safety, or with effect, than under the immediate control of their common Sovereign and Protector and the utility of such a Plan, under those circumstances, was soon manifested by its consequences and by the share it had in contributing to that success which ever after attended the British Arms in America.
From this slight view of the original Causes of the institution of Superintendents and of the Consequence it produced, it cannot but appear evident, that every objection both to the expense and difficulty in execution was answered by the necessity of the case, and the importance of the object, but should it appear to your Majesty that the alteration in the State of America, since the Peace, has rendered the measure less necessary at least in its full extent, every consideration both of expense, and of difficulty in the execution, must now be carefully attended to, before a right judgment
can be formed, as to the expediency of continuing either the whole or any part of it.
To maintain a good correspondence with the Indians is undoubtedly an object of great importance ; and upon a careful examination into the state of Indian affairs after the conclusion of Peace, it appears that the two principal causes of the discontent that still rankled in the minds of the Indians and influenced their conduct, were the encroachments made upon lands which they claimed as their Property and the abuses committed by Indian Traders and their servants. The necessity, which appeared in the then state of our interests with the Indians of making some immediate provision against these two causes of their discontent induced the Proclamation of October 1763, which very prudently restrained all persons from trading with the Indians without Licence, and forbid, by the strongest prohibitions, all settlement beyond the limits therein described as the Boundary of the Indian hunting ground, putting both their commerce and property under the protection of officers acting under Your Majesty's immediate authority and making their intervention necessary in every transaction with those Indians.
These, however, being as we have before observed mere provisional arrangements adapted to the exigence of the time, it is become now necessary to consider, what may be more permanently requisite in both the cases to which they apply.
The giving all possible redress to the complaints of the Indians in respect to encroachments of their lands and a steady and uniform attention to a faithful execution of whatever shall be agreed upon for that salutary purpose is a consideration of very great importance. It is a service of a general nature in which your Majesty's interest as Lord of the soil of all ungranted lands which the Indians may be inclined to give up, is deeply and immediately concerned, and with which the general security of your Majesty's Possessions there is in some measure connected ; it is an object comprehensive of a variety of cases, to which the separate authority and jurisdiction of the respective colonies is not competent, and it depends upon negotiation which has always been carried on between Indians and officers acting under your Majesty's immediate Authority, and has reference to matters, which the Indians would not submit to the discussion of particular Colonies.
For these reasons we are of opinion, that the execution of all measures and services respecting the complaints of the Indians touching their lands should be continued to be entrusted to the Superintendent at present acting under commission from your Majesty, reserving to the Governor and Council of every particular Colony, which may be interested in any measure that has reference to this general service, a right to interpose their advice, and making their concurrence necessary to the Ratification of every compact that shall be provisionally made until your Majesty's pleasure shall be known upon it.
In a plan for the management of Indian affairs prepared by this Board in 1764 the fixing a boundary between the settlements of your Majesty's subjects and the Indian country was proposed to be established by compact
with the Indians as essentially necessary to the gaining their good will and affection, and to preserving the tranquility of the colonies.
This plan having been communicated to the superintendents, they have in consequence thereof, made the proposition of such a boundary line an object of their particular attention and of negotiation and discussion with the several tribes of Indians interested therein.
In the southern district a boundary line has not only been established by actual treaties with the Creeks, Cherokees and Chactaws, but has also as far as relates to the provinces of North and South Carolina, been marked out by actual surveys and has had the happy effect to restore peace and quiet to these colonies.
In the Northern district, the proposition appears to have been received by the Indians with the strongest marks of approbation and satisfaction ; and a line of separation was in 1765 suggested by them, in which Sir Wm. Johnson acquiesced, declaring at the same time that he would not finally ratifiy it without your Majesty's further directions.
The Paper (App. A) contains a description of the several lines as agreed upon in the negotiations to which we refer ; and to the end, your Majesty may have a more perfect view of them, we have annexed to such description a map (App. B) in which we have endeavoured to trace those lines out, with as much accuracy as the general maps of America will admit of.
Your Majesty will be pleased to observe that, although on the one hand the settlements in the new established Colonies to the South are con-fined to very narrow limits ; yet on the other hand the middle colonies (whose state of population requires a greater extent) have room to spread much beyond what they have hitherto been allowed, and that upon the whole one uniform and complete line will be formed between the Indians and those antient colonies, whose limits not being confined to the Westward have occasioned that extensive settlement, which, being made without the consent of the Indians, and before any line was settled, produced the evil complained of. In comparing the map with the description in writing as taken from the Treaties with the Indians, Your Majesty will observe that the boundary line with the six Nations and their allies is made upon the map to terminate at that part of the Ohio where it receives the Connahway River, instead of continuing it down the Ohio to the Cherokee River, and up that river to its source, as described in the Treaty ; the reason for which is, that although the six Nations may have pretensions to the dominion of the country on the South side of the Ohio lower down than the Connahway River ; yet in fact it is more occupied by the Cherokees and other independant tribes, as their hunting ground ; and therefore the making any settlements beyond the Connahway River, or at least beyond a line drawn from the mouth of it, to where the Cherokee line now terminates, as marked on the map, would be altogether inconsistent with what has been settled and agreed upon with that nation ; for which reason we think that the line settled with the Southern Indians, and that which remains to be settled with the six nations ought to be united in the manner we have described.
Upon the whole it does appear to us, that it will be greatly for your
Majesty's interest as well as for the peace, security and advantage of the colonies, that this boundary line should, as speedily as possible, be ratified by your Majesty's authority, and that the superintendents should be instructed and impowered to make treaties in your Majesty's name with the Indians for that purpose, and enabled to make such presents to the Indians as the nature and extent of the Concessions on their part shall appear to require ; care however should be taken in the settlement of this business that the agreement for a Boundary line be left open to such alterations, as, by their common consent, and for the mutual interests of both parties, may hereafter be found necessary and expedient.
If Your Majesty should be graciously pleased to approve what we have recommended, we humbly submit whether it may not be further necessary that the colonies should be required to give every sanction to the measure in their power, and to provide by proper Laws for the punishment of all persons who shall endanger the publick peace of the Community by extending settlements or occupying lands beyond such line.
What we have above stated in respect to the expediency of continuing the office of Superintendents is confined merely to negotiation with the Indians concerning a boundary line. But we humbly submit, that there are other branches of duty and service, which, though they be of less urgency, yet do, both from their nature and importance, require the intervention of officers acting under your Majesty's immediate authority ; and which, as they have reference to the general Interests of the Indians, independent of their connection with any particular colony, cannot be provided for by Provincial Laws ; such are the renewal of antient compacts or covenant—chains made between the Crown and the principal Tribes of Savages in that country ; the reconciling differences and disputes between one body of Indians and another ; the agreeing with them for the sale or surrender of lands for publick purposes not lying within the limits of any particular colony ; and the holding interviews with them for these and a variety of other general purposes, which are merely objects of negotiation between your Majesty and the Indians.
These, may it please Your Majesty, are in our judgment Services of great importance, and to which it is essentially necessary, for the preservation of the British Interest with those Indians, and for preventing all foreign influence and connection. that strict attention should be paid.
Antecedent to the establishment of the present plan of Superintendents, the management of these Interests was entrusted to the governors of those colonies which were principally connected with the Indians ; but when we consider the dependent state of such governors, that the other duties of their station must interfere with this very important one, how greatly the objects of this service are increased by alliances with those numerous nations hereto-fore under the Dominion of France ; and how necessary it is, that a constant watch should be kept upon their motions and designs ; and that your Majesty's servants should be constantly and regularly informed of the true state of affairs, and of all transactions in the Indian country ; we cannot but be of opinion that these are reasons, which, joined to what we have