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Highwassee Garrison 19th February 1815.Sir
I have received your letter of the 3rd. January last on the subject of the Negroes taken from Co,te,oy,hee by you on your return from the army active against the Creeks —
The [gap] you give as states in your letter
is a tragical one of the transaction of the Co,te,oy,hee at the time he took your fathers Boat & property is truly a tragical account & I have no [gap]oubt of the facts you mention and no man can wonder that you ar [are] so closely connected by blood & family affection should even at this distance of time feel the distress brought on your family by savage barbarity but peace being made with the Cherokees by the highest authority of the U. [United] States leg [legislature] (a treaty) we cannot on my account break that treaty — treaties are declared to be the supreme laws of the land. —
Coteoyetohee has sent a man to me to demand an inquiry into the affair of having the negroes forcebly [forcibly] taken from him —
And now it is agreed on by Coteoyetes friend who came that if you will give him one of the Children that he will not seek any further for the recovery of the negroes.
The Government having agreed by the 9th article of the treaty at Tellico in 1798 to an act of oblivion for all animosities, aggressions, thefts & plunderings, prior to the date of that treaty — would bar you from recovery of the negroes — and by law
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might subject you to damages for forceably [forcibly] taking the property — We are all to be bound by the laws of our own making & if certain laws by thire opporation [their operation] bear hard on some individuals we cannot kiep [keep] it.
whether the government has a right to make such [gap][unclear] in the treaty or not is not for us to determine at this late period. the law is made and is binding equally on all the parties.
I am Sir very respectfully your Obt. [Obedient] servant.
Return J Meigs . Colonel James Brown [added: P. S. As an Officer of the government I have no right to advise you to a compromise with Coteoyeotohee : but by the request of the friend of Cote,oye,to,hee I have written this letter.]
RJM [Return Jonathan Meigs]