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Letter from Governour Penn to Sir William Johnson


Memorandum, Tuesday, June 28, 1774.

The Committee appointed to draw up the Letters, agreed on yesterday, laid their draughts before the Governour, which being approved by him, were fairly transcribed, and ordered to be despatched without delay. The said Letters follow in these words, viz:

Philadelphia, June 28, 1774.

SIR: By the repeated accounts which I am daily receiving from Pittsburgh, and other parts of our western frontier, there seems little room to doubt but the mutual hostilities which have unhappily taken place between some of the inhabitants of Virginia, and the Western Indians, particularly the Shawanese, will end in a general war, unless some prudent measures are speedily taken to prevent it.

The occasion of this unfortunate breach, as well as the particulars of the murders which have been committed on both sides, have no doubt been communicated to you by the deputy agent for Indian affairs at Pittsburgh. It will, therefore, be only necessary for me to inform you in general, that a great part of the settlers in our back country have fled from their habitations, and that the panic is daily increasing to such a degree that there is just reason to apprehend a total desertion of that country.

I have been induced, from a representation of the distresses of these people, to issue writs to call our Assembly, to meet at Philadelphia, on the 18th of next month, to enable me to afford them the necessary relief.

As it is of the utmost consequence that this affair should be properly represented to the Six Nations, and that they should, if possible, be induced to become mediators between us and the Shawanese and the Delawares, I must request you will take such measures as you shall think most proper to satisfy them that any injuries which the Shawanese may have received, and may consider as a provocation for the hostilities committed on their part, were by no means done by the orders or consent of this Government, but that on the contrary, we have been ever sincerely disposed to preserve peace and friendship with them, and are now very willing, notwithstanding what has happened, to listen to terms of accommodation, and to renew our friendship, and forget every think that is past. Your interposition and influence in this matter may very possibly have the most salutary effects.

If a rupture can be prevented it appears to me it must be through the Six Nations; however; I submit the matter entirely to your consideration. And am, sir, with great regard, your most obedient and humble servant,


Sir William Johnson, Baronet.