1770 Treaty with Cherokee Indians

Dateline: Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, 18 October 1770. Land is ceded to the Cherokee Nation by this treaty. What is so interesting about it, in addition to the history, is the Indian marks or signatures reproduced here. Primary source!

The thrust of the treaty is that the Cherokees can have land in the Appalachian Mountains and eastward and northward up to the Ohio River. King George III’s white subjects cannot go westward beyond Virginia.

Modern transcription begins:

SOUTH CAROLINA

At a Congress of the principal chiefs of the CHEROKEE NATION held at Lochaber in the PROVINCE OF SOUTH CAROLINA on the eighteenth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy, by JOHN STUART, Esq., agent for and superintendent of the affairs of the Indian Nation in the SOUTHERN DISTRICT of NORTH AMERICA.

A Treaty for a cession to His MOST SACRED MAJESTY, GEORGE THE THIRD, by the grace of GOD, of GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, and IRELAND, KING, Defender of the Faith, etc. By the said nation of CHEROKEE INDIANS of certain lands lying within the limits of the DOMINION OF VIRGINIA.

Whereas, by a treaty entered into and concluded at HARD LABOUR [in South Carolina] the fourteenth day of October in the year one thousand seven hundred and sixty-eight by JOHN STUART, Esq., His Majesty’s agent for and superintendent of the affairs of the INDIAN NATIONS inhabiting the SOUTHERN DISTRICT of NORTH AMERICA, with the PRINCIPAL and RULING CHIEFS of the CHEROKEE NATION, all the lands formerly claimed by and belonging to said Nation of Indians, lying in the PROVINCE OF VIRGINIA to the eastward of a ling beginning at the boundary of the PROVINCE OF NORTH CAROLINA and VIRGINIA, running in a N. B. E. course to COL. CHISWELL’S mine and the eastern bank of the GREAT CONHOWAY RIVER and from thence in a straight line to the mouth of said GREAT CONHOWAY RIVER where it discharged itself into the OHIO RIVER were ceded to His MOST SACRED MAJESTY, His heirs, successors;

And whereas by the above recited treaty all the lands lying between HOLSTON’S RIVER and the line above specified were determined to belong to the CHEROKEE NATION to the great loss and inconveniency of many of His MAJESTY’S subjects inhabiting the said lands, and representation of the same having been made to His MAJESTY by his Excellency the Right Honorable NORBONNE, BARON DE BOTETORT, His MAJESTY’S Lieutenant and Governor General of the DOMINION OF VIRGINIA, in consequence whereof His MAJESTY has been graciously pleased to signify His royal pleasure to JOHN STUART, Esq.,, His agent for and superintendent of Indian affairs in the SOUTHERN DISTRICT of NORTH AMERICA, by an injunction contained in a letter from the Right Honorable the EARL OF HILLSBOROUGH, one of the principal Secretaries of State, dated 13 MAY 1769 to enter into a negotiation with the CHEROKEES for establishing a new boundary line, beginning at the point where the NORTH CAROLINA line terminates and to run thence in a west course to HOLSTON’S RIVER, where it is intersected by a continuation of the line dividing the PROVINCES OF NORTH CAROLINA AND VIRGINIA and thence a straight course to the confluence of the GREAT CONHOWAY and OHIO RIVERS.

Article I: Pursuant therefore to His MAJESTY’S orders to and power and authority vested in JOHN STUART, Esq., agent for and superintendent of the affairs of the Indian tribes in the SOUTHERN DISTRICT, it is agreed upon by the said JOHN STUART, Esquire, on behalf of HIS MOST SACRED MAJESTY GEORGE THE THIRD, by the grace of GOD of GREAT, BRITAIN, FRANCE, and IRELAND, KING, Defender of the Faith etc. and by the subscribing CHEROKEE CHIEFS and WARRIORS on behalf of their said nation, in consideration of His MAJESTY’S  paternal goodness so often demonstrated to them the said CHEROKEE INDIANS and from the affection and friendship for their brethren, the inhabitants of VIRGINIA, as well as their earnest desire of removing as far as possible all cause of dispute between them and the said inhabitants, on account of encroachment or lands reserved by the said Indians for themselves and also for a valuable consideration in various sorts of good paid to them by the said JOHN STUART, Esq. on behalf of the DOMINION OF VIRGINIA.

That the hereafter recited line be ratified and confirmed, and it is hereby ratified and confirmed accordingly and it is by these presents firmly stipulated and agreed upon by the parties aforesaid, that a line beginning where the boundary line between the PROVINCE OF NORTH CAROLINA and the CHEROKEE hunting grounds terminated and running thence in a west course to a point six miles east of LONG ISLAND in HOLSTON’S RIVER and thence to said river six miles above the said LONG ISLAND and thence in a direct course to the confluence of the GREAT CONHOWAY and OHIO RIVERS shall remain and be deemed by all His MAJESTY’S white subjects as well and all the Indians of the CHEROKEE NATION the true and just limits and boundaries of the lands reserved by the said nation of Indians for their own proper use and dividing the same from the lands ceded by them to His MAJESTY, within the limits of the PROVINCE OF VIRGINIA and that His MAJESTY’S white subjects inhabiting the PROVINCE OF VIRGINIA shall not, upon any pretence whatsoever, settle beyond the said line, nor shall the said Indians make any settlements or encroachments on the lands which by this treaty they cede and confirm to His MAJESTY;

And it is further agreed that as soon as His MAJESTY’S royal approbation of this treaty shall be carried into execution.

Article II: And it is further agreed upon and stipulated by the contracting parties that no alteration whatsoever shall hence forward be made in the boundary line above recited and now solemnly agreed upon, except such as may hereafter be found expedient and necessary for the material interest of both parties and which alteration shall be made with the consent of the superintendent or such other person or persons as shall be authorized by His MAJESTY as well as with the consent and approbation of the CHEROKEE NATION OF INDIANS, at a Congress or General Meeting of said Indians to be held for said purpose and not in any other manner.

In testimony whereof the said superintendent on behalf of His MAJESTY and the underwritten CHEROKEE CHIEFS on behalf of their nation, have signed and sealed this present treaty at the time and place aforesaid.

Transcription ends.

The treaty won’t hold. It is a pity Pres. Jackson forcibly removed them in the 1830s. Wrong and unjust.

In the big picture, however, European Americans were going to move westward, particularly when they broke free of Great Britain from 1775 to 1783. Population growth and the need for land pushed them to cross the boundary lines. Looking back from our point of view today, it appears obvious that all of America was destined to be settled, beyond the 4 million of Natives–at most–in North America (including Canada). The land was very sparely populated, so why not go out there and farm it, so a hundred+ years later North America could become the bread basket of the world!

RELATED

Six Nations Deed of 1768

How to Deal with Indians Who Steal in Virginia Colony

Queen of the Pamunkey Natives Ask for Restoration

The Grand Assembly Decide How to Fight Indians and Levy Taxes

The March against the Rappahannock Indians

SOURCE

Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia 1770-1772, edited by John Pendleton Kennedy (Richmond, 1906).

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