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Petition of Several Persons


Wednesday, June 14, 15 Geo˙ III, 1775.

Richard Bland, esq˙, one of the Delegates from this Colony to the General Congress at Philadelphia, acquainted the House that a petition of several persons in that part of the County of Augusta, which is on the west side of the Alleghany Mountain, addressed to the President and Gentlemen of the Continental Congress, having been presented to them, setting forth that the petitioners had grievously suffered by the devastations of the Indians in the late war; that, to avoid captivity by an enemy so insidious, cruel, and savage, many of the petitioners having been obliged to desert their habitation and retire to Forts, so that they could not till the ground, now wanted bread, and supported themselves chiefly by the spontaneous productions of the earth; that the promising appearance of a plentiful crop had encouraged them to bear these afflictions without repining, and to hope for better times; but that those fair prospects would probably be delusive, unless effectual measures were pursued to avert the calamities, with which they were threatened; that Lord Dunmore, after the expedition against the Indians, promised to meet them at Pittsburgh in the spring, and conclude a peace, and then restore the hostages delivered to him, and discharge the captives; that the Indians had been uneasy for some time because the treaty was deferred; that the Delawares particularly were very much dissatisfied, and repented that they had not joined the Shawanese in the war, since they found the white people were not to be depended on; that the commandant in that quarter for Government had instructions, as the petitioners were informed, to assemble the Indians at that place so soon as he could, when the hostages and prisoners would be delivered up; and that the petitioners,


unable to discover the design of Government, apprehended every evil from the threats of it to enfranchise the slaves, on condition they would rebel against their masters: and therefore praying the Congress, to which application was made because it was thought the Provincial Assemblies could not provide adequate remedies early enough, to take the case of the petitioners into consideration, and appoint Commissioners from this Colony and Pennsylvania, to attend the meeting of the Indians, and co-operate with Government for the publick good; or, if the latter should fail, to nominate persons for that purpose, and proceed without them in the treaty, which is absolutely necessary. The Congress referred the said Petition to the Delegates of this Colony and Pennsylvania, who having considered the same, and being of opinion that the matter ought to be communicated to this House, and submitted to their consideration, Mr˙ Bland was directed by his colleagues to lay the same before the House, which he thus did with all convenient expedition.

The said information being immediately taken into consideration,

Resolved, That Thomas Walker, James Wood, Andrew Lewis, John Walker, and Adam Stephen, Esquires, be appointed Commissioners to ratify the Treaty of Peace between this Colony and the Indians.

Ordered, That a Bill be brought in pursuant to the said Resolution, and that Mr˙ Treasurer and Mr˙ Dandridge do prepare and bring in the same.

Ordered, That it be an instruction to the gentlemen appointed to prepare and bring in the said Bill, that they have power to receive a clause or clauses, to empower the said Commissioners to join with such other Commissioners as may be appointed by the Assembly of Pennsylvania, in such manner as shall be judged most proper for conciliating the friendship of the Indians, and perpetuating the peace now subsisting between the said Indians and the Colonies.