Red Jacket’s speech to President Peter Russell

From Canadian Archives

The following is a manuscript originally hand written but later typed and rechecked by government typists before being filed in the Canadian Archives in Ottawa.

In reading old documents there are a few hints to help understand the intent. For reasons we are still trying to understand, there is a government style of capitalizing the first two letters of some words. Below is verbatim including these double capitals and even spelling errors are as they appear. (Sic). To underscore each point being addressed, a wampum, or beaded string, was given the listener as a memorial of what was discussed.

Of the FIve Nations to His HOnor Peter Russell Esq. President in answer to His Speech delivered to them in Council on THursday the 27 July 1797.

Thagoyeghwatha, called Red Jacket

Of the Seneca Nation    Speaker

Brother – We have listened to what you said to us Yesterday and considered it seriously.

Brother – YOu was pleased to give us a full explanation concerning the new arrangements of the Indian Department in answer to our speech delivered by the Farmers Brother last month, that might remover our doubts and uneasiness on that subject.

Brother – YOu said that when the two Canadas formed but one Province the INdian concerns in this part were managed by the officer commanding His Majesty’s Warriors in it, and the SUperintendants.

Brother – YOu also stated the tedious delays business met with this in this arrangement on account of the great distance from Head Quarters, where all matters of importance were obliged to be carried and which might cause disappointments, and that our Father the King having taken into consideration this inconveniency which it had been long wished to remedy, has now made the new arrangement that you are commanded to take charge of the whole Indian concerns in this quarter; and you also said that he King our Great Father by so doing, as it even brought us nigher (nearer??) to his person, as ___ ___  __ in a manner fact to face, and that we could have an answer to any thing without sending to so great a distance as formerly, as in your person we saw the representative of the King.

Brother – For this cause, and that we might remover all uneasiness, and not listen to bad Birds, you said the King is too well satisfied with the conduct of our Friend SIr JOhn Johnson for to have him removed and the SUperintendents under him; and you said the council fire is still to be kept up in the old place, and also the … ____

Brother – YOur assurances that the King regard and Friendship for us will never cease.  That his friendship will be always clear and the COvenant Chain kept bright; and that the only difference we will experience in this change will be in the attention and pleasure you will have in listening to whatever we might propose.

Brother – We give you thanks for the candid information you have given us A large Bunch of Wampum.

Brother – We are happy to find by the whole tenor of your speech that the Covenant Chain will be brighter than ever ___ ___ ___ ___ Face to Face with the King our Father; any ___ we may have to do or any thing we may have to say will now be decided and settled in a moment.

Brother – As we ever have been well satisfied in every respect what __ with our Friend John JOhnson, as well as with his Father SIr WIlliam JOhnson, and this more particularly as His Father and himself ever fought the same Battles with us, and always shared the same fate as ourselves, we could not help but feel ourselves much hurt when we heard of a change and we supposed if this should be true, there would be an end to the pursuing our old Customs, as well as to our Friendship and regard.

Brother – We hope however that matters are not so settled that there will in future be no occasion to say, we must wait to sent or hear across the Great Waters, and we have good reason from your explanation to think that we will be happier as business will now be carried on immediately at our own fires, which must be more to our satisfaction.

Brother – We cannot help repeating that as all our business will be settled here (however satisfied we may have been heretofore) that every thing will be done now to much the more to our satisfaction _(and the)__ delays will be removed and we are now as it were immediately in the presence of the King our Great Father He therefore cannot but expect that any thing to be done for us now must exceed what has been done heretofore, when he was at so great a distance as across the Great Water.  Otherwise the change will not be considered by us in so favorable a light

Brother – We hope you would not supposed that we would interfere with the MOvements or Arrangements of his King our Great Father, but as they immediately relate to ourselves.

Brother – The dividing the INdian Department is a matter opposite  to our customs, and by that means our chain of correspondence may in the end be broken; it is therefore against our interest, as we are in a manner separated from our Brethren in Lower Canada.

Brother – You have expressed to us in the clearest manner that our Brother Sir John JOhnson is not removed from us, nor are the Deputy Superintendants in which case we shall pursue our Former Customs and Transactions ANd therefore we will now send Deputies?? down to Sir John JOhnson concerning the business of this new arrangement, and our wishes to have a COnference with the Lower Canada Indians.

Brother – We hope that you would listen to the many wicked Birds that may fly round your Ears, and we would have you to believe that our forefathers ever were and that we ourselves are capable of acting for ourselves, and that we are even true to our Engagements; –We therefore hope you will put confidence in our speeches, and we will always be as candid to you that when we have any thing to say we ourselves will make it known to you.

A Bunch of Wampum.

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