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    Red Jacket Manuscript Signed "Red Jacket" (likely signed by the Indian agent Parrish), four pages, 8" x 9.75", Canandaigua, New York, January 18, 1821. A magnificent appeal by Red Jacket, in a desperate attempt to fend off the encroachments of white settlers and Christian missionaries, addressed to the Governor of New York through U.S. Indian Agent, Jasper Parrish. Red Jacket, unable to travel from his home in western New York to Albany to attend a conference, chooses to send a letter to express his views. He could not write in English, spoke through an interpreter, Henry Obeal, to Parrish, who recorded his words. Red Jacket's Indian name was Sagoyewatha, he was chief of the Senecas, and was known as a great orator. He pursued policy of friendship with whites, but opposed cession of Indian lands to the U.S. and efforts to train Indians in the white man's civilization. He was named "Red Jacket" because of the richly embroidered scarlet jacket that was presented to him by a British officer shortly after the American Revolution as a reward for his fleetness of foot. The address begins: "Brother Parrish I address myself to you, and through you to the governor. The Chiefs of Onondaga have accompanied you to Albany to do business with the Governor. - I also was to have been with you, but I am sorry to say bad health has put it out of my power. For this you must not think hard of me - I am not to blame - It is the will of the Great Spirit that it should be so." He then addressed the first order of business, the sale of land to a fellow member of the Six Nations, the Onondagas: "The object of the Onondagas is, to purchase our Lands at Tonowanta. This and all other business that have to do at Albany, must be transacted in the presence of the Governor. He will see that the bargain is fairly made, so that all parties may be satisfied with what shall be done, and when oursanction shall be wanted to the transaction, it will be freely given." He then apologizes for his absence: "I must regret, at this time, the state of my health should have prevented me from accompanying you to Albany, as it was the wish of the Nation, that I should state to the Governor some circumstances which shew that the chain of Friendship between us and the white people is wearing out and wants brightening."

    Despite his optimism, he had a list of grievances that he wished the governor to address: "...The first subject to which we would call the attention of the Governor is, the depredations that are daily committed by the white people upon the most valuable timer on our reservations. His has been a subject of complaint with us for many years, but now, and particularly at this season of the year, it has become an alarming evil, and calls for the immediate interposition of the Governor in our behalf. - Our next subject of complaint us the frequent thefts of our Horses and cattle, by the White people, and their habit of taking and using them whenever they please and without our leave. These are evils which seem increase upon us with the increase of our white neighbors, and they call loudly for redress." Many issues were discussed in this long and detailed treatise. Including the presence of white families living on the reservation as a threat as well: "Some of our Chiefs have got lazy, and instead of cultivating their Lands themselves, employ White people to do so. There are now Eleven white families living on our Reservation at Buffalo; This is wrong and ought not to be permitted. The great source of all our grievances is, that the white men are among us. Let them be removed and we will happy, and Contented among ourselves. We now cry to the Governor for help, and hope that he will attend to our complaint, and speedily give us Redress."

    The fourth page, which also bears the document, also notes that "This letter was dictated by Red Jacket and Interpreted by Henry Obeal, in the presence of the following Indians viz. Red Jacket's Son Corn Planter, John Fobb, Peter - Young King's Brother, Tow the Infant, Blue Sky, Jemmy Johnson, Marcus, Bigfire, Captain Jonny." Red Jacket's pleas to remove the missionaries did not fall on deaf ears. Governor DeWitt Clinton, too distrusted the missionaries, 1810 describing their efforts "of little use". March 31, 18222, the New York Assembly passed an "act Respecting Intrusions on Indian Lands" which forbade any non-Indian from "settling or residing on Indian land". The law was not immediately enforced until 1824 when Red Jacket obtained a court order to eject the missionaries, but the pro-Christian forces resisted this move. In 1825, the New York Assembly amended previous legislation to permit "any schoolmaster, teacher or family of teachers"...which effectively permitted missionaries back into Seneca lands. Red Jacket was fighting a losing battle. In 1826, the Christian Party approved a major land sale to the Ogden Land Company, despite his vehement opposition. Indeed Jasper Parrish, the Indian agent named in the document, was also in the employ of the Ogden Land Company that had been trying to purchase many of the remaining Seneca tracts. Following the sale, Red Jacket traveled to Washington to plead his case to President John Quincy Adams, who promised an inquiry. The inquiry ultimately upheld the sale, and Red Jacket, now very old and quite cognizant of the power of the Christians acquiesced and reconciled with them. Fine condition; minor fold separations; light toning at margins; very bright with dark ink.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
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