GENERAL THOMAS GAGE - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 01/16/1768 - HFSID 284907
Sale Price $9,350.00
GENERAL THOMAS GAGE
Important, 3-page ALS (1768) from Britain's military commander in North America to his Indian Commissioner: Strike a deal at the expense of the settlers!
Autograph Letter signed: "Thos. Gage", 3 pages, 7¾x12½, front and verso. New York, 1768 January 16. To Sir William Johnson, Baronet. In full: "I have received your letters of the 24th, 26th Dec. and 9th Jan. The opinion you give of the general causes of the discontent of the savages, which originate from our growing power and their jealousy of our designs against them, I know no remedy against, but by doing them all the justice we can. If we can remove the settlers from their encroachments it will be a manifestation of our earnest desire to do them justice. And they have seen a person executed in New Jersey for the murther of an Indian, which must in some measure shew them we do what we can to give them satisfaction for the murter of their peoples, which tho only one example, is more than they have given us for the many white people they have killed at different times. If the Indians and patentees of Kagadorosseras come to a serious agreement to mutual satisfaction, I should think it no difficult matter to get an act of assembly to validate the releases and make them sufficient to bar all future pretentions. Mr. [George] Croghan will acquaint you of his proceedings in the Detroit and Fort Pitt &c and of the circumstances of the murther of the people upon the Ohio by the Indians of Saguinam. It's to be hoped that Lieut. Governor Fauquiere will grant the meeting desired by the Shawnese and Delawares and give them all the satisfaction in his power. I shall grant a temporary warrant immediately on Mr. Mortier for the Â£500 which you desire to receive, which will be accounted for hereafter. The sooner Mr. Roberts returns it will be certainly best there are affidavits and a multiplicity of papers on both sides. The Cherokees are with you at an unlucky season of the year but if we can't make peace for ourselves, I don't see how we are to succeed for them. It seems determined by the last packet to erect governments in the interior country I suppose at the Detroit and the Illinois, where else I can't guess unless Fort Pitt. In which shape this is to be done or what attempts of this nature are made. There are fifteen barrels of pork, and 24 of flower [sic] lying at Albany for your use and ordered to be delivered whenever you should sent for it. I am with great regards, Dear Sir, your most obedient, humble Servant." General Thomas Gage (1720-1787), an aristocratic Englishman, served in the War of the Austrian Succession and against the second Jacobite Rebellion before coming to North America. During the French and Indian War (1756-1763), Gage proved a less than brilliant military leader but a competent administrator as Governor of Montreal after its capture. From 1766 to 1775, he was commander in chief of British forces in North America. In 1774 he was appointed concurrently as military governor of Massachusetts, where he was accused by some other British officials of showing too much leniency to the rebellious colonists. His dispatch of troops to seize military stores, however, triggered the battles of Lexington and Concord, and following the Battle of Bunker Hill he was recalled to England. Gage's assessment in this letter was quite accurate. Following the end of the French and Indian War, the Iroquois and other tribes in the trans-Appalachian West were no longer able to play the French against the British in order to preserve their territorial integrity. That realization helped prompt Pontiac's Rebellion in 1763. The Royal Proclamation Line of 1763 set the boundary between British colonial settlements and Indian territory, much to the chagrin of land-hungry colonists who were already penetrating the trans-Appalachian West. Gage addressed this letter to Sir William Johnson(1715-1774), an Anglo-Irish landowner in New York, who spoke the Mohawk language and enjoyed especially good relations with the Iroquois, whose customs he knew well. Johnson commanded Iroquois and colonial troops during the French and Indian War, and served as Superintendent of Indian Affairs from 1756 until his death. Johnson's efforts, supported by Gage, contributed to the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768), between Britain and the Six Nations, whereby the latter sold land in western Pennsylvania and modern Kentucky and West Virginia, including southern lands occupied by other Indian nations. A revised Proclamation Line limiting colonial westward settlement did little to ease the pressure of white settlers continuing to encroach on Indian lands and became a principal complaint by those rebelled against British rule in 1775. Horizontal fold creases. Lightly toned at edges. Very minor foxing on page 1. Soiled at folds on verso. Overall, fine condition.
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