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Documents on the subject of the murder of General McIntosh and other friendly chiefs of the Creek Nation; of the cause which produced it, &c.; accompanying the Governor's message at the opening of the extra session.

Index ... Part 1 ... Part 2 ... Part 3


Milledgeville, February 17, 1825.

Governor:

 We met with you yesterday, and dined with you as our father. We meet you to-day in your office, to express our opinions as principal chiefs of Coweta; which expression we have considered best to give you in writing, that you may know when we act contrary to our talk. In 1813 was the beginning of the hostile party, and General McIntosh was the first red man who joined the United States, and spilt his blood in her defense; at that time, we were warriors under General McIntosh, and fought for our country; and, after peace was made, we were appointed chiefs by General McIntosh, not by Little Prince or the Big Warrior; therefore, we love said McIntosh until death, and will hold fast to his talks, because we know he acts agreeably to our father's talks, and by him we gain our protection from our father the President. Looking back to 1813, we believe that, but for the relations which McIntosh sustained to the United States, we should have lost our lands without getting a penny for them.

 Father: At the late treaty of the Indian Springs a good many hostiles, as usual, objected to it. If that party should attempt to breed a disturbance with the friendly Indians, we shall inform you, for protection; and we hope you will protect us in case the hostiles should intrude on us, as we look for protection from you, as we have been trying to gratify the wishes of our father the President. We hope he loves us as his red children; and we hope you love us as friends of justice, as friends of good order, and friends of harmony.

We remain your affectionate children,

Etome Tustunnugge, his X mark.
Hoethe Marta Tustunnugge, his X mark.
Siah Gray, his X mark.
Tustunnugge Oche, his X mark.
Chilly McIntosh, Clerk of the National Council.

P. S. We wish to know from you, in writing, whether you could protect us, should protection be necessary.


February 20, 1825.

Our Father:

  It gives us great satisfaction that you take us by the hand as your red children, and determine to protect us if any part of our hair should be injured by the hostile Indians. Yesterday evening we were informed by Chilly McIntosh that you wished to see General McIntosh before his return, to state to him a further subject upon the which we now stand at this present time, for fear they might do injury to us in secret by bad advisers, and, if we think it necessary, that you would send runners on to let the party know that you are ready to protect us, if they should attempt to carry their threats into execution. We have considered the subject, and determine it to be the best plan to afford safety to our headman and us. If you send the runners on to the party, we want a few lines from you to let our friendly people know that you, as commander-in-chief of the Slate of Georgia, will protect us in case the hostiles should do injury to us, or any of the friendly party.

  Our father: At the treaty of Broken Arrow, the chiefs got jealous of McIntosh, and threatened to kill him; the charge against him was, that he wanted to sell land to the commissioners of the United States. In 1824, a few chiefs met at a place called the Polecat Springs, and passed a law that, if any persons should sell land or offer it for sale, guns and rope should be their end: this law was intended to prevent General McIntosh from selling land. But it was not agreeably to the laws of the nation; if it was intended to be the national law, it ought to have been read before the national chiefs, and let them determine it - not collect a few chiefs to make a law. Could an individual State pass a law to extend all over the United States, or one county make and enforce a law for the government of the whole State? The guns and rope are taken from the pattern of the Cherokees; therefore, we do not consider it a law of the nation to be enforced; it is merely law among themselves; but those who signed their names to the pattern of the Cherokees determine to execute the law. This is the report from some of our friends. If they determine, we are ready to defend ourselves, and, with your assistance, they will find a great difference in numbers. Our characteristic disposition is, to treat all mankind as friends, brothers, and relations: we determine never to impose on any man, but treat all as friends. Nothing more at present, but remain your affectionate children,

Etome Tustunnugge, his X mark.
Hoethe Marta Tustunnugge, his X mark.
Tustunnugge Oche, his X mark.
Siah Gray, his X mark.
Chilly McIntosh, Clerk of the National Council.


Extract from the Executive Journal.

Saturday, February 19, 1825.

 Several Indian chiefs of the Creek nation, among whom were General McIntosh and Etome Tustunnugge, chief of Coweta, came to the executive chamber to hold a talk with the Governor; they had much to say, and the meeting lasted some time. The substance of what the Indians said was: that they had, in compliance with the wishes of their father the President, and their brethren and friends the Georgians, consented to give up their lands, and move across the Mississippi; that, before their departure, they should have a great many difficulties and troubles to encounter; that their women and children must suffer many privations in passing from their homes, where they had some comforts, to a new and distant country; that they must suffer great loss in their stocks and other property, &c.; but, notwithstanding all this, they were willing to listen to the advice of their great father, and give up their lands: but, in doing which, offence had been given to some of their people; and as there were bad white men among them, who were endeavoring to stir up their own people to do them harm, and more especially as the agent was among their worst enemies, and they could expect no protection or support from him, they wanted to know whether they could be certain of protection from the Government of the United States and from that of Georgia, &c.

  The Governor answered that he was happy to hear that, in compliance with the wishes of their great father, they had finally resolved to give up their lands; that their father intended nothing but for their good; that he talked the language of truth and sincerity; and that, when he advised them to move across the Mississippi, all the good and wise men of the United States knew that it was the best advice he could give them; they were exchanging lands which belonged to the Georgians for lands which were better, and would belong to themselves and their children forever. That the President was wise enough to know all the difficulties they would have to encounter, but he still thought it would be for their good; that, with regard to their women and children, and their property, the Governor thought ample provision had been made by the treaty, not only to enable them to remove their women and children in comfort, but to cover any losses they might sustain by the removal, &c.; and that, with regard to protection either against their own people who were hostile, or against the whites, he had no doubt their father the President would afford them all the protection their situation might require. That, as to the State of Georgia, they should, so far as depended on him, find protection at all times; and that, so long as they conducted themselves well, the people of Georgia would be ready to support him in it with all their hearts, for they had for a long time been the friends of Georgia in peace and war; and that they themselves had fought and bled for Georgia in the last war, and that the Georgians could not forget them, &c.

  Here General McIntosh adverted to certain events of the last war; spoke of the Big Warrior as having been inimical in heart to the United States, but joined the friendly party through fear; his late opposition to the treaty, &c.; of a certain chief, (Gun Boy,) the principal leader of the hostile party since the death of the Big Warrior, having threatened his life, and his endeavors to prejudice the Indians against him and his followers; his having defeated the same chief and taken him prisoner near Fort Gaines, during the late war; of the rights of the friendly party to dispose of their land, when, in their opinion, and in that of their father the President, it was the interest of the nation and that of the United States for them to do so, with or without the consent of the hostile party.

  To the latter part of which the Governor replied: That it was impossible for the United States Government, in all their transactions with the Creeks, not to feel a difference, if they did not make any, between the friendly and hostile part of the nation; that, in the business of the treaty, the President could not but consider it as the act of the nation, provided the whole country was ceded. But what ought to be considered the act of the nation, would still be a question. The Government might be quite well-disposed to consider the act of McIntosh and his friends as such a one. It would not be expected that all would unite in the sale of the lands; it would have to be left finally to the President and Senate to decide who had the right; and, in making this decision, there was little doubt that, all other things being equal, they would give a preference to the friendly Indians. This was natural; for, although a treaty of peace forgives what has passed, the parties to it cannot forget; and the people of the United States (but more particularly the people of Georgia) cannot forget the distinction they were obliged to make when, in the late war, they found McIntosh and his friends fighting on their side, and the hostiles fighting on the side of their enemies, &c.

  Etome Tustunnugge, at the close, begged leave to hand the Governor a paper, which, he said, he wished him to keep, for that he had been deceived by white men, and was opposed at first to a sale of the lands; but since then his eyes had been opened, and he had listened to the voice of his great father; and that now he approved, in all things, of the talk which had been just delivered, &c.


Executive Department, GA., Milledgeville, February 26, 1825.

  In consequence of the apprehensions expressed in a talk delivered by the friendly chiefs of the Creek nation, on the 19th inst., the written communication delivered at the same time, and another on the 21st, by Etome Tustenuggee, of the hostile intentions of the unfriendly party in said nation towards McIntosh and his friends, in consequence of the late treaty; and, in compliance with the promises given them, that every aid should be afforded them within the power of this Government, it is thought proper to send a friendly talk to the chiefs of Tuckaubatchee and Cussetah, at the same time forewarning them of the danger to which they will expose themselves by any outrage committed on McIntosh, or any of the friendly Indians, in consequence of said treaty. Accordingly, Colonel Henry G. Lamar is dispatched with a talk to said hostile chiefs, in the following words, to wit:

To the Chiefs and Headmen of Tuckaubatchee and Cussetah:

  I hear bad things of you. You threaten McIntosh and his people, because they listened to their father the President, and ceded the lands to the Georgians. They acted like good and dutiful children. You opposed yourselves to the wishes of your great father, who was doing the best for the interest of his red people, and would not sign the treaty: but this you did, as I believe, under the influence of bad men, who pretended to be your friends, but who cared nothing about you. Now I tell you, take care and walk straight. McIntosh and his people are under my protection, as well as under the protection of the United States. If any harm is done by you, or any of your people, to McIntosh or his people, I will treat you in the same way as if you were to come into our white settlements and do the like. I will pursue you until I have,full satisfaction. Do not let bad men persuade you that because you live in and near to Alabama you will be safe. If you commit one act of hostility on this side the line, I will follow and punish you. But I hope there will be no occasion for this, and that you will take counsel of wise and good men, and so conduct yourselves for the future as to receive the approbation and protection of your father the President, and that I also may look upon you as friends, and treat you accordingly. This message will be delivered to you by my aid-de-camp, Col. Lamar.

G. M. Troup, Governor of Georgia.


Executive Department, GA., Milledgeville, February 26, 1825.

Sir:

  The Tuckaubatchee and Cussetah towns, adverse to the late measure of treaty concluded at the Indian Springs, having menaced the friendly Indians who signed that treaty with insult and injury, in consequence of their willingness to make cession of their lands to the Georgians, it is resolved to despatch you with a message to those towns, to represent to them the danger which will ensue if they attempt to carry into effect their hostile designs. They are the weaker party, and no attempts of this character are to be dreaded but such as are made covertly and in secrecy. But whether of the one or other character, they are forewarned they will be punished with the utmost severity.

  From the moment of the ratification, the territory will be considered as belonging to Georgia, in all respects, excepting merely the temporary occupancy of the Indians; and any act of disorder or violence committed there will be treated as committed within the actual jurisdiction of the State, and, of course, the Indians committing it pursued and punished wheresoever they may go.

  You will meet them with friendly dispositions: say to them, in accordance with the spirit of the message which you carry, that it is the settled opinion of all the wise and good men of the United States that the Indians, looking to nothing but their own interest, present and future, ought to move without delay beyond the Mississippi. They already know this to be the advice of their great father. They will soon know it to be the advice of his great council, the Congress. None but bad men, hostile to their true interests, will ever advise them to the contrary.

  You will take with you the published documents, showing the views of the President in relation to the conduct of both the agent and Cherokees at Broken Arrow; the indignation with which he viewed their conduct, and, of course, the indignation with which he will regard the conduct of the Indians hostile to the treaty, if they do not in future deport themselves as men deserving his love and friendship; and another paper, less authentic, but not altogether unofficial, taken from the National Journal, in which they will see that the Indians west of the Mississippi, without foreknowledge of the views or plans of the President, have adopted the same views, and are concerting the same measures for bringing all the Indians together on the west of the Mississippi; and that soon, very soon, they will all go; so that a red man will not be seen between the Mississippi and the lakes.

  Having delivered the message, together with the talks, as directed, to the two towns, and receiving their answer, either verbally or in writing, you will return and make report to me with as little delay as possible.

Respectfully,

G. M. Troup.

Col. Henry G. Lamar, Aid-de-camp.


Newnan, March 3, 1825.

Governor:

  I take the authority to inform you that since we left you we have not got home, in consequence of the hostiles. I met my friends at Flint river, William Miller and A. Tustenuggee, and they tell me that they ran them off, threaten to kill them, cut their throats, and set up their heads by the road for a show; they are determined to die on their own country, and they have appointed men to kill seven chiefs. General McIntosh, myself, Joseph Marshall, Samuel Hawkins, James Island, Etome Tustenuggee, and Colonel Miller. Since the treaty, the hostile party have been in council a second time at Broken Arrow, and are now at Tuckaubatchee holding a council; they have not broken up yet. We understand they have sent a memorial on to the President not to interfere with them or assist us; to let them settle it among themselves. No doubt they are determined to destroy us, if they can. Myself and father parted at the Indian Springs, on our way home. Since I heard the news, I have dispatched a runner to him, not to stay one moment at home, but to meet me at this place. Excuse my handwriting. This is not half I know, but the bearer of this is in a hurry.

I remain your son,
Chilly McIntosh

His Excellency G. M. Troup.


Executive Department, Milledgeville, March 5, 1825.

Dear Friend:

  Your letter of the 3d came safe to me this moment. I am sorry to hear that the hostiles continue to be such fools and madmen. They will soon be taught better. If they do not listen to my talks sent by Col. Lamar, I will send a military force to the line, to keep them in order and punish offenders. Col. Lamar left this for Cus-setah and Tuckaubatchee last Sunday, the 27th February. He must have arrived at the council before this. It is as I told you it would be, the hostiles have been set on by bad white men. I hope your father will keep out of their way, until they are brought to their senses.

Yours, sincerely,
G. M. Troup.

Chilly McIntosh, Creek Nation.


Milledgeville, March 10, 1825.

Sir:

  In obedience to your instructions of the 26th of February last, I proceeded to the towns of Cussetah and Tuckaubatchee, for the fulfillment of the duties required. On my arrival at the former place, on the 2d instant, I judged it impracticable to wait the length of time which would unavoidably be consumed in calling the chiefs; I therefore appointed a time for their assemblage by my return, and continued without delay to Tuckaubatchee, where I arrived on the 4th. Fortunately, the chiefs and headmen had met in council for the purpose of regulating the internal government of the town. They were immediately informed of my arrival and my object, and that I desired to see them in council so soon as they were prepared for my reception. Their reply was, that they were ready at any time to hear what I had to communicate. Our salutation was friendly, and they gave every testimony of the indulgence of the most amicable feelings. Ho-po-eithlea Yoholough seems to have succeeded the Big Warrior in authority for the present, and will so continue until another individual is designated by appointment. I will not pretend in this report to give, in full, the talk I there delivered in council, as I had not reduced the same to writing. I hope it will fully subserve all your purposes to know the most prominent points on which my remarks at that place were predicated. I informed them of the reasons why you had sent the communication. I stated that information had been received, from a source in which you placed reliance, that, in consequence of their being adverse to the treaty, they had become angry with McIntosh, as well as all others who had been dutiful in obeying the wishes of the President, and designed pursuing them with vengeance. That, if this report were untrue, it would be to the mutual interest of all parties to so understand it; that if it be true, and the attempt should be made to gratify so depraved a feeling, they had exposed to their view the penalties which would be incurred by so rash a determination. That it behooved them to look to the lessons of experience which the divisions and hostilities of the late war in their nation would furnish; that they should turn a deaf ear to the evil counsel of bad men, and listen to the advice of their father the President; that he united wisdom with goodness, and would point out the only way of promoting their ultimate happiness. This he had done to his council, (the Congress,) as well as in his instructions to his commissioners, as I would show from documents. That not only had the President suggested the plan, but that a deputation from the tribes beyond the Mississippi was now on the way to Washington city, desiring the consummation of the same object, and that all the tribes between the Mississippi and the lakes were invited by their red brothers to come and settle on their land; that they would be received by the right hand of friendship, and could there indulge a perfect security from the annoyance of the white man; that then there would be no conflicting interests, and all strife would cease to exist. I then read the document expressive of the President's desire of a successful termination of the treaty, the extract from the National Journal, containing an account of the proceedings of Indians west of the Mississippi, and concluded with your communication. They heard me with attention and respect; and when informed that I had closed, Ho-po-eithlea Yoholough made the following reply, in substance. However, as near as memory will serve me, I will give you his words, as communicated to me by the interpreter. He said he was glad to see me, and gratified that you had placed it in his power to contradict the reports which had reached Georgia. That he loved his white brothers, and loved their peace; he also loved McIntosh. That on hearing the false tales about his wishing to spill blood, he was sick at heart, and his blood was chilled. That in the war he fought with McIntosh and his white brothers to subdue the hostiles, and succeeded. That his enemies in war were now under his authority, and to employ them against his best friends was what had never entered his mind. He loved his father, and would never offend him. That not one murmur had by him been placed on the winds, to be carried to Georgia, against his white or red brothers. That McIntosh having made the treaty would not make him his enemy; he still loved him; he spoke with one tongue; he never deceived; he should be sorry that his father should hear such bad things. He wished his ear to be stopped, and pay no attention to them. That his father had told him, while Hawkins was agent, to throw away his gun, quit the chase, and cultivate the land. He followed his advice, and knew it to be good. His gun was now rusty; he could not see to shoot; instead of his gun, he used the plough and the hoe. That if his people desired war, they had not the means of carrying it on; more than half were without guns, but that they never thought of spilling blood. He wished me, on my return home, to inform the Governor of these things, so that his white brothers might not be disturbed. To which he subjoined, that he had met me as a brother; he hoped I was satisfied, and that we would part as we had met. He then, on request, appointed Charles Cornells to accompany me to Cussetah, saying, if I had not requested it, it would have been done, as he had previously determined to adopt that course. I have been thus particular, in order to place it in your power to form an opinion independent of my own. Previously to my arrival at Tuckaubatchee, from gross misrepresentations, I had reason to suppose they indulged the most malevolent feelings towards those favorable to the treaty. Indeed, had I given credence to reports, my conclusion would have been that they were on the point of commencing immediate hostilities. Such was the prevailing feeling, from exaggerated accounts, that on application to two half-breeds, near Fort Mitchell, to accompany me to Tuckaubatchee as interpreters, they declined, through fear, stating that they had understood the Tuckaubatchees were determined to enforce the Jaw passed at the Polecat Spring, and it being known that they were friendly to the treat, and relations of Colonel Miller, although fear might restrain them from open violence to their persons, they would secretly murder them. From all the discoveries I was capable of making, I can arrive at no other conclusion than that the feelings of this town have been totally misconceived. However, what has been done will have the good effect of restoring the minds of those disturbed to their accustomed ease.

  On the 7th instant, in conformity to previous arrangements, the Cussetahs assembled in council. Finding it difficult to progress in business by verbal communications, I determined to obviate, the difficulty by writing and reading to them the following address, only changing the language occasionally, that it might be the better adapted to their understanding:

  My friends and brothers: I am sent here by the Governor of Georgia to reconcile difficulties which he has understood exist among you, and, in doing this, I shall talk plain and tell you the truth; after this is done, if you are deceived, it will be your own fault, and you cannot say that the Governor of Georgia, through me, did not warn you of the only way to avoid error and do right. We love you, and wish to live in peace. We wish you to love one another, and live in peace also. We have understood that, in consequence of McIntosh and others having signed the late treaty, you are angry, and wish to stain your hands in their blood; we hope, for the honor of your nation, for your own peace, happiness, and safety, that these reports are untrue. If they be true, check the mad career of your feelings. If you do not, it will involve you in calamities tenfold greater than those from which you have narrowly escaped in the late war. McIntosh and his party have acted as dutiful children in obeying the advice of our wise and good father the President: this I shall show you by documents from his own hand. Then, having acted in obedience to the will of our father, if you should murder him, or any of his men, or suffer the same to be done, your white brothers will revenge their death, if in the burning of your houses, or at the expense of the life of every red man in your town. But in all this, the innocent would not be punished with the guilty. Let me ask you a question: You have a rifle that has long procured you food, and subdued your enemies; it never fails to kill when properly directed. Suppose you level it at a deer; it snaps, or fires and fails to kill; do you on that account break or throw away a weapon so necessary to your existence and security? And why should you wish to treat McIntosh less kindly than your gun? Has he not been your friend in peace and in war? Has he not always been faithful to your interests, and dutiful to your father the President? The treaty was made in accordance with the advice and wishes of your father, as I have before stated, and will ultimately work the independence, and, in the end, the happiness of the red people. And shall this be requited with the gun and the rope? We have heard so: we have heard that you have listened to the counsel of bad men, that they have wrought among you an angry excitement, and that McIntosh and his chiefs are to be the victims to appease your exasperated feelings. You are warned to turn from such wicked counsel; and be assured, no friend, true to the interest of the red man, would recommend the gratification of such feelings. If you should attempt it, your nation would be divided. Take a number of reeds, bind them close, you cannot break them; separate them, or divide the bunch, and the weakest of you can break them in pieces. This would be the condition with your people; divided, you would fall without the power to make one manly struggle. You would be surrounded by white men, who, by reason of your had conduct, you would make your common enemies. They outnumber the trees in your forest. I have said that McIntosh and those who signed the treaty acted in strict obedience to the request of your father. Listen and learn his will, and in future let it guide your determinations. [I here read the documents showing the views of the President as to their removal, and his wish for the successful termination of the treaty, and the paper showing the wishes of the Indians beyond the Mississippi, and made a few remarks on those subjects, and proceeded.]

  Now you see what bad men have told you is untrue. It was the wish of your father that the treaty should be held, the land ceded, and that all of you should move beyond the Mississippi, where you in future could not be disturbed in the titles to your land; where the buffalo, the bear, and the deer could be chased by your young men; or, what would be more desirable, they could settle down permanently, and, before long, enjoy all the comforts of civilized life. These are the wishes of your father. He is wise and good. He studies to promote your happiness. Then why do you not say, Father, "thy will be done." By so doing, you can select your country, and make a choice before the Cherokees, or any other nation; the President will give you the title to the land you acquire in the exchange. No nation, not even your father, could then take it from you. No disputes would then exist about land. I say, then, listen to what your father tells you is right, and you will do well. I wish you now to inform me what I must say to the Governor of Georgia, and what he must say to the President. Must I tell him the news he has heard of your wishing to kill McIntosh and his men is false? Must I say you love them, and love their peace, and that you are reconciled to what they have done? Must I say you will punish your bad men who attempt to do harm to those who signed the treaty? I hope you will place it in my power to tell him good news, so that in future there will be no disturbance between our red brothers, or between the white and the red man.

  I then read your communication, and Little Prince replied, in a few words, by unequivocally denying any contemplated hostilities to those who signed the treaty. He further stated, that the circumstances attending the flight of Colonel Miller and Arbicker originated from causes so trifling in their nature that the headmen did not judge them worthy of notice, and that they ought not to be considered as indicating the indulgence of unfriendly feelings; that none such were indulged. He appealed to his chiefs to confirm these statements.

  I have, as concisely as was consistent with a minute detail of facts, communicated all that passed in council.

  My own opinion, which is partly conjectural, and in part formed from observation and conversations had with some of the Indians, is this: Leave them to themselves; if they clearly understand what are the wishes of the President, they will conform to them. I speak of them collectively as a people. They have no correct notions of our Government and their relative connection with it. Their conclusion is, that the powers of the President are absolute, and that he has an unquestionable right to coerce obedience. But, independent of this notion of fear, the unlimited confidence reposed in the wisdom and virtue of the President is a sure guaranty of the successful accomplishment of his wishes. In order to destroy the effects of this influence, I discover that the belief has been imposed upon them, (at least to some extent,) that the commissioners, being Georgians, were only sub serving the interest and wishes of Georgia. There are a number of white men settled among them, who heretofore looked with pleasure on their prospects of enjoying the benefits of a permanent location, who have acquired their confidence by the connections they have formed, and I have no doubt that their influence is secretly exerted to excite discontent, and inculcate opinions adverse to the interest of Georgia and the policy of the General Government. There is another prevailing feeling among them. They indulge the belief that, should they move beyond the Mississippi, a perpetual warfare with the tribes inhabiting that country would be the inevitable consequence. You will discover in my talk to them, with the view to produce a complete reconciliation, I endeavored to refute that opinion. If the treaty is ratified, I have no doubt that all clamor will cease; for, in proportion as they understand the wishes of the President, and the course of conduct our Government adopts towards them, in the same degree will all other influence be diminished. Added to this, what has been done was done, no doubt, with the view to prevent its ratification. The cause, therefore, which produced the excitement will cease to exist after that desirable object is accomplished. If any additional information should be desired on points not embraced in this report, on intimation they will receive a prompt consideration.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Henry G. Lamar.

His Excellency George M. Troup.


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