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Title:[Letter] 1797 Jan. 12, Knoxville, [Tennessee to] Silas Dinsmore / John Sevier, Governor of the state of Tennessee: a machine-readable transcription of an image
Author:Sevier, John

This work is the property of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

Date: January 12, 1797
Extent: 4p
Summary:This document is a letter, dated January 12, 1797, written to Silas Dinsmore, agent to the Cherokee, from Governor John Sevier of Tennessee (1796-1801). The letter was written partly in response to inquiries made earlier by Dinsmore regarding Indian land boundaries in the Cumberland area. Sevier explained that Americans could begin settling in areas as low as the Tennessee River and that the settlements boundary line the government was experimenting with was going to be extended. Sevier devoted the second half of the letter to discussing problems between the white settlers and the Cherokee, by stating that several complaints had been made about robberies and plundering believed to have been committed by some Cherokees. Sevier expressed disdain toward this conduct and feared it would hinder peace. Sevier also enclosed a letter he had written to Cherokee chiefs.
Collection: Governor John Sevier Papers

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Knoxville 12th January 1797

Yours of the 8th of November I am duly honored with, and Should have done myself the pleasure of Answering the Same before this time had I been at this place. Some of my family in Washington being much indisposed Which required my presence is my opology [apology], together with The severity of the Weather [added: which] prevented my return so soon As I intended. I Discovered at the first Sight of the Act of Congress you advert to that tho it would have a tendency rather to encourage than discourage Settlements to be made as low down as the Tennessee River , tho [though] I make no doubt that Honorable body fully anticipated Very Salutary and interesting consequences would be derived : in The experimented line tried by [added: Messieurs] Campble McKee , & McClung is reported as I am informed, to Cross Hobeson near the confluance [confluent] of that and Tennessee River , The act of Congress embraces an Idea, that from that place, the line is to be extended a South to the N. [North] Carolina Indian boundary. now Sir if the exportmented line Above Alluded to is accurate, will not the [unclear: unk ] [added: Course] to be run South Immediately cross the Tennessee ! This [added: is an] Idea is generally entertained by all those who are Acquainted, and the opinion You know is readily indulged by all who wish to Settle on the Land —

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The line of conduct I am to preserve [added: observe] on this Occasion does not appear to me Sufficiently dilineated [delineated]: — were I to undertake it, I should be much a fraid [afraid] of erring through a misconception of the line yet to be run. In this dilemma I must be excused from taking [added: Exercising] any prompt and decisive Measures, on the subject, Especially as it is the part of candor in me to acknowledge that I do not see my way clear enough to direct such a plan give such instructions as would have efficacy sufficient to answer the disired [desired] intention. If Congress wish Anything to be done by [added: through] the executive of this State, it will be expedient in that Body to be more definitive and explicit, which can only be effected by having the line run and and properly asscertained [ascertained] , which might perhaps prevent the next Serious events.

I have Issued my proclamations on the subject, long Since, and shall proceed to take such measures, as Circumstances, and my powers will enable me to exert.

Innumerable complaints are daily lodged against the indians Supposed to be the Cherokees, that they have Robbed and plundered several families of many horses and other property from families on the road Me to Cumberland , and left [added: leaving] Numbers [added: Several families] in the most distressing and disagreeable Conditions Without a horse to assist enable them to travel with, or any Clothing covering to secure them against [added: from] the intensity of the Weather: — It is painful in the extreme to hear of such a Conduct, fearing it may be Attended with Serious and

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disagreeable events; — The people of this Country are far from being in a Condition [added: Temper disposed] to receive insults accompanied with agravated [aggravated] Injuries; neither [unclear: unk ] nor will it be prudence in the indians to conduct themselves in a manner that might invite a retaliation of numberless for the innumerable murders and other Crimes of the deepest vice, [added: that] they have but too recently exercised [added: committed] upon numbers [added: many] of [added: the] harmless and Innocent Citizens of this Country.

I beg you will use your interest & influence to have the goods and horses that has been taken, returned taken returned, as soon as possible, and let the indians be informed, the dangers of such a conduct, should they be so unwise as to Suffer it to be Carried on any longer — I wish Sincerely to support [added: cultivate] peace and Harmony between our frontier Citizens, and the indians, and shall take all the necessary measures in my power to promote the same

Inclosed [Enclosed] you will receive a letter directed to the Cheifs [Chiefs] Which you will please to have read and explained to them

I have the honor to be c c c [et cetera et cetera et cetera]
J [John] Sevier
Silas Dinsmore esqr. [esquire]

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Silas Dinsmore esqr. [esquire]
agent to the Cherokees
January 12th 1797
iss 2_2_1
(No. [Number] 13)
― Recorded ―

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