Six Nations Deed of 1768

Dateline: Ft. Stanwix, New York, 5 Nov 1768. Sir William Johnson, Baronet, appointed by George III, assures the native chiefs that borders would not be crossed. Did the deed hold? Primary source for all history students, teachers and professors and researchers too!

Transcription begins:

To all to whom these presents shall come or may concern.

We the Sachems and Chiefs of the Six Nations and of the SHAWANESE, DELAWARES, MINGOES, of OHIO and other dependent tribes on of ourselves and the rest of our several nations, the Chiefs and Warriors of whom are now here convened by SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BARONET, his Majesty’s Superintendent of our affairs,

Greetings:

Whereas, his Majesty was graciously pleased to propose to us in the year 1765 that a boundary line should be fixed between the English and us, to ascertain and establish our limits and prevent those intrusions and encroachments of which we had so long and loudly complained and to put a stop to the many fraudulent advantages which had been so often taken of us in land affairs, which boundary appearing to us as a wise and good measure, we did then agree to a part of a Line and promised to settle the whole finally, whensoever SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON should be fully empowered to treat with us for that purpose.

And whereas, his said Majesty has at length given SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON orders, SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON has convened the Chiefs and Warriors of our respective nations, who are the true and absolute proprietors of the lands in question and who are here now to a very considerable number;

And whereas, many uneasiness and doubts have arisen amongst us, which have given rise to an apprehension that the Line may not be strictly observed on the part of the English, in which case matters may be worse than before, which apprehension together with the dependant state of some of our tribes and other circumstances which retarded the settlement and became the subject of some debate, SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON has at length so far satisfied us upon, as to induce us to come to an agreement concerning the Line, which is now brought to a conclusion, the whole being fully explained to us in a large assembly of our people before SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON and in the presence of his EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR of NEW JERSEY, the COMMISSIONERS for the PROVINCES OF VIRGINIA AND PENNSYLVANIA and other sundry gentlemen, by which line so agreed upon, a considerable tract of country along several provinces is by us ceded to his said Majesty from the expectation and confidence we place in his royal goodness, that he will graciously comply with our humble requests as the same is expressed in a speech of the several nations addressed to his Majesty, through WILLIAM JOHNSON on Tuesday the first day of the present month of November, wherein we have declared our expectations of the continuance of his Majesty’s favor and our desire that our ancient engagements be observed and our affairs attended to, by the officer who has the management thereof, enabling him to discharge all these matters properly for our interest.

That the lands occupied by the MOHAWKS around their villages as well as by any other Nation effected by this our cession, may effectually remain to them and to their posterity and that any engagements regarding Property which they may be now under, may be prosecuted and by our present grants deemed valid on our parts with the several other humble requests contained in our said speech.

And whereas, at the settling of the said line it appeared that the Line described by his Majesty’s order was not extended to the Northward of OSWEGY or the Southward of GREAT KANHAWA RIVER, we have agreed to and continued the line to the Northward on a supposition that it was omitted by reason of our not having come to any determination concerning its course at the Congress held in 1765 and inasmuch as the line to the Northward became the most necessary of any for preventing encroachment at our very towns and residences; and we have given this line more favorably to PENNSYLVANIA for the reasons and considerations mentioned in the Treaty.

We have likewise continued it South to the CHEROKEE RIVER because the same is and we do declare it to be our true bounds with the SOUTHERN INDIANS and that we have an undoubted right to the country as far south as that River, which makes our cession to his Majesty much more advantageous than that proposed.

Now therefore know ye that we the Sachems and Chiefs aforementioned, Native Indians, and Proprietors of the lands hereinafter described for and behalf of ourselves and the whole of our confederacy for the consideration herein before mentioned and also for and in consideration of a valuable present of the several articles in use and among Indians, which together with a large sum of money amount in the whole to the sum of TEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY POUNDS, SEVEN SHILLINGS ASND THREE PENCE sterling to us now delivered and paid by SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, baronet, his Majesty’s sole agent and superintendent of Indian affairs for the Northern Department of AMERICA in the name and on behalf of our SOVEREIGN LORD GEORGE THE THIRD by the grace of God of GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, and IRELAND, King, Defender of the Faith, the receipts whereof we do hereby acknowledge,

We the said Indians have for us, our heirs, and successors granted, bargained,, sold, released, and confirmed and by these presents [this document] do grant, bargain, sell, release, and confirm into our said SOVEREIGN LORD KING GEORGE THE THIRDS at that tract of land situate in NORTH AMERICA at the back of the British settlements, bounded by a line which we have now agreed upon and do hereby establish as the boundary between us and the British colonies in AMERICA;

Beginning at the mouth of the CHEROKEE or HOGOHEE RIVER, where it empties into the RIVER OHIO and running from thence upward along the south side of the said River to KITTANNING which is above FORT PITT, from thence by a direct line to the nearest fork of the West Branch of SUSQUEHANNAH, thence through the ALLEGANY MOUNTAINS along the south side of that creek called TIADGTON, thence across the west branch and along the south side of that creek and along the north side of BURNETTS HILLS to a creek called AWANDRE, thence down the same to the east branch of SUSQUEHANNAH and across the same, and across the same and up to the eastside of that river to OSWEGY from thence east to DELAWARE RIVER, and up that river to opposite where TIANADHERA falls SUSQUEHANNAH, THENCE TO TIANADERHA and up the west side to the eastside thereof, and that west side of its West Branch to the head thereof and thence by a direct line to CANADA CREEK where it empties into a WOOD CREEK at the west end of the carrying place beyond FORT STANWIX and extended eastward from every part of the said line as far as the lands formally purchased so as to comprehend the whole of the lands between the said Line and the purchase lands or settlements, except what is within the PROVINCE OF PENNSYLVANIA, together with the hereditaments and appurtenance to the same belonging or appertaining, in the fullest and most ample manner and all the estate, right, title, interest, property, possession, benefit, claim and demand, either in Law or Equity of each and every of us, in or to the same in any part thereof, to have and to hold the whole lands and premises and hereby granted, bargained, sold, released, and confirmed as aforesaid with the hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging under the reservations made in the Treaty unto our said SOVEREIGN, LORD KING, GEORGE THE THIRD, his heirs and successors to and for his and their own proper use and behoof forever.

In witness whereof we the Chiefs of the Confederacy have hereunto set our Marks and Seals at FORT STANWIX the 5th day of November 1768, in the ninth year of his Majesty’s reign.

Transcription ends.

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SOURCE

Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia 1766-1769, edited by John Pendleton Kennedy (Richmond 1906).

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