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Beyond Penn's Treaty

Sketch of the Manners, Customs, Religion and Government of the Seneca Indians in 1800

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from God, and they transmitted it to us for our children, and we cannot
part with it.

Father, These are to us very great things - we know that you are
very strong - and we have heard that you are wise - and we shall now
wait to hear your answer to what we have said, that we may know
that you are just.

The foregoing speech was signed by Cornplanter

, Half-town, and
Great Tree, in the presence of Joseph Nicholson, interpreter, and Timo-
thy Matlack

President Washington

answered them in a style adapted to the
Indian mode of speech. In reply to their embarrassments respecting
the sale of their lands, he says,

I am not uninformed that the Six

have been led into some difficulty with respect to the sale of
their lands, since the peace - but I must inform you that these evils
arose before the present government of the United States was esta-
blished, when the separate states and individuals under their authority
undertook to treat with the Indian tribes respecting the sale of their
lands. But the case is now entirely altered - the general government,
only, has the power to treat with the Indian nations, and any treaty
formed and held without its authority, will not be binding.

Here, then, is the security for the remainder of your lands - no
state or person can purchase your lands, unless at some public treaty
held under the authority of the United States. The general govern-
ment will never consent to your being defrauded, but will protect
you in all your rights.

Hear well, and let it be heard by every person in your nation, that
the President of the United States declares that the general govern-
ment considers itself bound to protect you in all the land secured to
you by the treaty at Fort Stanwix

, the twenty-second of October,
1784, except such parts as you may since have fairly sold to persons
properly authorized to purchase of you.

Your great object seems to be the security of your remaining lands,
and I have, therefore, upon this point, meant to be sufficiently strong
and clear, that in future you cannot be defrauded of your lands - that
you possess the right to sell, and the right of refusing to sell your lands
- that, therefore, the sale of your lands in future, will depend entirely
upon yourselves.

In the conclusion of his speech, the President assures them the
United States will be true and faithful to their agreement.