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John Stuart to General Gage



St˙ Augustine, September 15, 1775.

SIR: I had the honour of writing your Excellency fully from hence the 20th July, since which I have not received any of your Excellency' s commands. I then fully submitted the motives which induced my coming here, with copies of my correspondence with the Committee of Intelligence at Charlestown, which went by the transport that carried the detachment of the Fourteenth Regiment from hence to Virginia, and I took the liberty of requesting my Lord Dunmore to forward mine with his own despatches, which gives me reason to hope that they may have reached your Excellency' s hands.

The seizure of the gunpowder, intended for supplying the Indian trade, at Savannah, by the malecontents of Georgia and South-Carolina, of which in my last I acquainted your Excellency, gave the greatest reason to apprehend a general dissatisfaction throughout the Indian tribes in this department, which occasioned my sending off expresses to my Deputies in the different Indian countries, with talks calculated to quiet the fears and jealousies that by such a step must have been excited in their minds; accordingly, on the 15th ultimate, I sent the talks, of which I have now the honour to submit copies, to the Creeks and Cherokees, with instructions to the Deputies in said nations to support their own consequence, and to frustrate any attempts of the emissaries sent by the Carolina Congress, or any other persons, to alienate the minds of the Indians from their duty to His Majesty, and their confidence in him and his officers, at the same time to prevent their committing any act of violence or hostility on the inhabitants of the Provinces, by all possible means; since which, I have received a letter from Mr˙ Taitt, in the Upper Creek Nation, dated 1st August, of which I also submit an extract. For the officers in the Indian department to keep the Indians quiet, and at the same time support their own influence with them, in opposition to the machinations of the emissaries sent to debauch their minds, will prove a difficult and delicate task; for when the Indians hear with certainty that their ammunition is seized, they may probably determine upon some such rash step as Mr˙ Taitt apprehends, which will by the candour of the disaffected be charged upon Government.

About the 25th of last month, an Indian of some note in the Lower Creek Nation arrived here; he came with an Indian trader named Carr; they brought me the above-mentioned letter from Mr˙ Taitt. The Indian' s principal business here was to get certain information concerning my safety, the seizure of their ammunition, and to learn the disposition of the Provinces in general respecting the Indians. He was highly pleased to see me, and said that his return would relieve the Indians from their fears. Carr, the trader, brought three pack-horses to carry home a supply of ammunition for his Town, with which I furnished him; but, by his indiscretion, the news of his arrival and business here was spread through the country, and a party from Georgia was sent to waylay him upon his return, which they effected, and seized his ammunition; my packet was taken from him, which contained duplicates of my talks to the Indians, and letter to my Deputies. I greatly apprehend the resentment of the Indians, upon receiving


an account of this affair from the chief, who was witness to it; however bad the consequence may prove, they can have none but themselves to blame. The disappointment to me is great, as I am informed that the person recommended by Governour Tonyn, and charged with my despatches, which were delivered to him the 15th ultimate, had not set out from his own house, some miles from hence, the 4th current. I have sent another person to take and proceed with my letters, and, lest any accident befal him also, I shall immediately send off a third.

Two Cherokee chiefs arrived in the Creek Nation in the beginning of June last; they had a meeting with the chiefs the 8th of same month, where they declared that their business was to renew ancient friendship. They produced fifteen belts and strings of beads, as credentials; this they thought proper on the death of the Mortar, who was their protector in that nation. The Creek chiefs admonished them to make up all differences, if they had any, with the whole people; to attach themselves to the King' s interest, and depend upon his protection; they returned thanks for the advice, which they declared to be exactly corresponding with their intentions.

I am sorry to be informed, by a late letter from Lord William Campbell, that about forty Catawbas are at Charlestown, and in the service of the new Governours. This ungrateful little tribe has for several years been greatly upon the decline. I have, however, never neglected them, but, on the contrary, upon all occasions, I have protected and obtained justice for them. Their annual presents and provisions amounted to a considerable sum; but as they are domiciliated and dispersed through the settlements of North and South-Carolina, it is no wonder that they should be practised upon and seduced by the inhabitants with whom they live, as by their ignorance they are fit tools to be worked upon and receive any impression; it will, however, have a good effect if Mr˙ Johnson can get a proper message sent to them by the Six Nations. I shall not fail to let them hear from the Creeks and Cherokees.

As the competition for the friendship of the Indian Nations in this district will be great, I must strengthen the hands of all my officers, that, in point of presents, they may be upon a footing with the emissaries of the malecontents; for which purpose I have purchased presents and provisions, and directed them to furnish themselves with several articles from Augusta and West-Florida. As I can have no access to the quantity purchased for the ordinary service of the department for the current year, now in store in Charlestown, which I was obliged to leave there, and as I have invited the principal Creek chiefs to come here, they must return well satisfied, which lays me under the necessity of drawing upon your Excellency for two thousand six hundred and twenty-five Pounds, York currency, equal to fifteen hundred Pounds sterling, payable to Mr˙ Richard Yates, of New-York, by way of impressed, to be accounted for. I am obliged to draw for this sum at once, as no money can be raised here, or in any of the southern Provinces, upon bills drawn by the servants of Government upon your Excellency. I must therefore order this sum to be remitted to London, and be at my disposal, to answer such bills as I may find necessary to draw upon it, for discharging the unavoidable extra expense which will necessarily be incurred this year.

I think it proper to acquaint your Excellency that hitherto I have not received one shilling of the money due by the new-ceded lands in Georgia, for expenses incurred in conducting the negotiation; and, as affairs are situated, I think it not probable that any part of it will be paid soon. I therefore hope your Excellency will be pleased to grant the impressed abovementioned.

I have the honour of being, with the utmost respect, Sir, your Excellency' s most obedient and humble servant,


To his Excellency the Honourable Thomas Gage, Commander-in-Chief.

P˙ S. This letter I intrust to the care of Mr˙ Cameron, who is desirous of joining the Army, as a volunteer. From what I know of him, I doubt not but he will do his duty faithfully.