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OF HOPEWELL AND SENECA
||Great Britain and the United States made peace in 1783 without
providing for the Indian nations who had been allies of the king. At first
each State made some attempts at an understanding with the Indians on its
frontiers. Thus Georgia treated with the Creeks at Augusta, in 1783,
providing for peace and a cession of land. But it did not seem effective.
In 1785 Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens, Joseph Martin and Lachlan
McIntosh were appointed commissioners plenipotentiary of the United States
to make peace with all the Indians of the south, to settle the
international status of the red man and arrange satisfactory limits.
Georgia and the Carolinas were very jealous of this, and it was made
difficult for the commissioners to do business. McGillivray, of the
Creeks, after much delay, received the invitation to treat, and replied
September 5, in a diplomatic note that apparently meant that he had
already made a treaty with Spain, and the United States were too late.
Only two towns of the Creeks were represented at Galphinton, where they
were invited. After the American commissioners refused to do business with
so few, the Georgia agents, present to protest against the United States
commissioners treating on limits made with them a treaty purporting to
open the Tallassee country to settlement. The commissioners went to the
Keowee river to treat with the other nations, who were invited by Col.
"The agents of Georgia and North Carolina attended the
treaty, as will appear by their protests herewith enclosed." (Report to R.
H. Lee) A treaty with about a thousand Cherokees was concluded November
28, at Seneca, defining limits and recognizing the supremacy of the United
States. December 26 the Choctaw chiefs arrived at Hopewell, "a seat of
General Pickens," after a journey of seventy-seven days, "the whole of
them almost naked." The Creeks had stolen their horses and done all they
could to hinder the journey, but the Choctaws "have apparently a rooted
aversion to the Spanish and Creeks, and are determined to put themselves
under the protection of the United States." "They are the greatest
beggars, and the most indolent creatures we ever saw," said the
commissioners after a more protracted acquaintance. "Their passion for
gambling and drinking is very great;" when given blankets they would trade
them for a pine of rum, or lose them at play, when they knew they had five
hundred miles to travel home, with only a shirt on their backs. But they
were in earnest about about seeking alliance with the United States. The
chiefs brought their British medals and commissions, to exchange for
American, of which, unfortunately there were none, and asked for three
stand of colors. John Pitchlyn, "a very honest, sober young man," who had
lived twelve years in the nation, was appointed interpreter to the board.
The treaty made with the Choctaws, January 3, 1786, was of friendship and
alliance and confirmation of the bounds they had in 1782.
Chickasaws arrived a little later, and made a treaty at Hopewell, January
10, 1785. Piomingo and Mingotusha exhibited the medal left by the great
man of their nation, then dead, and Piomingo announced that he was the
head warrior. They promised land for a trading post on the Tennessee
river, and agreed to a frontier line for settlements. The commissioners
reported "that if the adjoining States were disposed to carry the treaties
into effect, the INdians would be happy in the new change of sovereignty
and in constant amity with us."
But Georgia and North Carolina
repudiated them as invasions of the sovereignty of the States, and
Governor Miro, in behalf of the Spanish, declared the treaties were
"chimeras." They were confirmed as part of the supreme law of the land by
the Treaty of Coleraine, 1796, and submitted to all parties concerned,
after a struggle that occupied the whole administration of President
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