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Title:[Letter] 1797 Mar. 5, Knoxville, [Tennessee, to] John Watts and other chiefs of the Cherokee Nation / John Sevier
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: March 5, 1797
Extent: 4p
Summary:This document is a letter, dated March 5, 1797, written by Governor John Sevier (1796-1801, 1803-1809) and addressed to John Watts and other chiefs of the Cherokee Nation. The letter was written in response to a letter by the Cherokee chiefs regarding earlier communications sent by Sevier. In this letter, Sevier negated the claims of Watts and others that the Cherokees have not caused damage to the persons or properties of white settlers. Sevier cited instances in which white settlers were killed in retaliation for the murders of Chief Red Bird and his attendant. Sevier also criticized the Cherokee Nation for not making an official complaint regarding those murders. Furthermore, he denied Watts' claim that his preceding communications were threatening in nature, as he stated that he was merely hoping to convince the Cherokees of the dangers of going to war. Sevier contended that he wished to establish and promote a peace between the United States and the Cherokee Nation.
Collection:Governor John Sevier Papers

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Knoxville 5 March 1797


[added: No. [Number]4 1797
Recorded]Your letter of the 4th came to hand to day [today], in which You Say that your people have done no damage on either the property person or property of any [added: the] whites. Man I wish this was the case, and I make no doubt but you think so, but you may be sure, several is killed one in powels [Powell] Valley by a fellow called Dick , [added: can talk some english [English],] who has hunted there and was, and is well known [added: by the people]; can talk some english [English], [added: Letter to the
Indian chiefs
1797] I mention this that You may know the person, — there has also been a great Many horses taken from cumberland [Cumberland] and one Man killed And Another Wounded, there And yesterday another Was killed and scaulped [scalped] on little pigion [Little Pigeon] about thirty miles from this place, this

This conduct my brother has a bad appearance and as I told you before will be attended with disagreable [disagreeable] events Should your people be so foolish And unwise Not to decline Such practices.

You mention that I wrote you in a threatning [threatening] Manner, but my brother if you listen to the Words of my letter, there is no threats [added: in it.], I have only spoken to you the [added: language of] truth, and the fatal consequences, that Must attend your Nation , should you be so imprudent As to again go to War — I dont [don't] nor never did

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[added: 2d] Speak to you with a false toungue [tongue], nor do I wish your people to be treated ill, but on the contrary that they may live in peace and safety and raise their children in Quietude

I know very well, that some of our [added: the white] people are bad men and have been guilty of a horrid Crime in killing the red bird [Red Bird] and Will , and I expect that when ever [whenever] they can be taken they will [added: shall] suffer for it, one of them has run away and the other as yet is not taken; as I told you in my last I tell you in this, that the innocent ought not to suffer for the guilty, neither ought your people to take Any Satisfaction until you had first made your complaint And stated your sufferings. It is impossible for me to know when damage is done to your people without you inform me; and your own good sense will point out to you that A Murderor [Murderer] seldom ever discovers upon himself, which I Suppose is the reason why your people denies they have done any Mischeife [Mischief]

You say you have been a long Journey and While at philadelphia [Philadelphia] received very different talks from that of mine; and say that I say you are but a handful of people and in consequence of our superior[added: ity] in Numbers [added: Suppose] we have aright [a right] to do as we please — I deny saying we had aright [a right] to do as we please [added: &] on any such a supposition, neither is there any such a word in any letter

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[added: 3] it is true I said you were only a handful of people, which is the truth and I also advised you of the danger of going to war ; If the people at philadelphia [Philadelphia] have told you that you were [added: are] a Numerous and strong people, and that you ought to go to War and kill your white brothers, they have not told you that which is true, nor that which would be for your good and the interest of your nation [added: was you to take such advice]. I spok what I said in my letter was to convince your nation of their danger and the Great evils that always attend a war, and the distressing condition your people would be in, Should Such a thing take place — You say that you Wish I would talk to My people and tell them not to cross the River Tennessee [Tennessee River] or to survey your land — I have often told them that, neither do I wish or intend any such thing should be done. But you know I am agreat [a great] Way from that place, and cant [can't] See what every foolish Man is doing, I expected that the gaurds [guards] at Tellico , and your own would stop such people from Crossing Over, and I Suppose, [added: they] Would was they to see them, but neither them nor myself can see the transaction of every bad man, no More, then [than] you can your people, who come over on our side And kill our people and steal our horses.

Now brother I hope I have Said enough to convince You, that I dont [don't] Wish our people and yours to go enter into War against each other, and I hearby [hereby] declare that

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[added: 4] I wish to have peace and friendship subsisting between the two Nations, and shall with all my heart and strength do every thing [everything] in my power to promote the same — I hope You will do the same and [added: also] endeavor to keep your people Within the bounds of reason; and let us try to prevent Any further effusion of blood. I wish us to live friendly and bury all Anemosities [Animosities] deep in the earth, If you have complaints, the government will redress them, and you know they are taking measures to effect the same, but if your people will undertake contrary to the treaty Articles of the treaty to redress themselves, you cant [can't] expect the government will do it — I request that you will make enquiry into the murder lately done on pigion [Pigeon] ; and if You can [added: possible] have them [added: the murderors [murderers]] punished agreably [agreeably] to the Articles of Treaty. — your people could have no color of excuse for committing Any depredations on that Quarter for they are not on lands claimed by your Nation, Neither have they interupted [interrupted] Any of your people —

I hope to have an answer from you as soon as possible

Your friend
J. [John] Sevier
John Watts and other
Cheifs [Chiefs] of the Cherokee Nation

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