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    [George Washington]. Abstract of Payments by War Department Agent David Henley for Goods to be Used by Chickasaw Indians on their Visit to the President of the United States. One page, 18.5" x 14.5", Knoxville, July 25, 1795. Henley, as agent for the Southwest Territory (present-day Tennessee), has purchased four horses and supplies, including saddles, bridles, saddle bags, spurs, hats, combs, silk handkerchiefs, vests, and shirts from various traders, one of which was Revolutionary War officer George Farragut, the father of Union Admiral David Farragut. All goods were purchased outright or by contract. A sworn testimony at the bottom states: "We certify that we saw David Henley agent to the Deptmet [sic] War deliver the above four Horses and other articles to Capt. Colbert and three Chickasaws conducted by Robert Hays on a visit to the President of the United States at Philadelphia." Signed by Robert Hays and William Brent.

    Beginning in 1794, the uneasy relationship between the Chickasaw and the Creeks erupted in violence. In retaliation for months of Creek raids, a band of Chickasaw warriors led by Captain William Colbert (Cooshemataha), a mixed blood Chickasaw chief who had received his commission from Washington in 1786, attacked a group of Creek on the Duck River in January of 1795, taking five Creek scalps. In July of that year, Colbert travelled to Nashville to complain to the governor about Creek aggression and ask for more guns, but his request was declined. He decided to take his complaints to Philadelphia, then the capital of the U. S. government, and was outfitted for the trip by Chickasaw agent General James Robertson. He took with him fellow chiefs William McGillivray (Coahomah), John Brown, Piomingo, and the interpreter, Malcolm McGee. When the delegation reached Knoxville, they were met by Colonel Robert Hays, the brother-in-law of future President Andrew Jackson, who agreed to accompany them. Hays was reluctant, but agreed "because no other person could be found to escort the Chickasaws from Knoxville to Philadelphia." (The Andrew Jackson Papers, Vol. 7, p. 64)

    The group arrived in Philadelphia and, on August 22, was granted an audience with President Washington and Secretary of War Timothy Pickering. Washington addressed the Indians, in part: "My children: I sincerely regret the difficulties in which you are involved by the mistaken opinions which have been entertained of the intentions and obligations of the United States towards their friends the Chickasaws. It was never the design of the United States to interfere in the disputes of the Indian Nations among one another unless as friends to both parties, to reconcile them. In this way I shall do everything in my power to serve the Chickasaw Nation . . If I were to grant you the aid of my warriors, which you request, the consequence would be a general war between the United States and the whole Creek Nation. But the power of making such a war belongs to Congress (the Great Council of the United States) exclusively. I have no authority to begin such a war without their consent." (Crabb, George Washington and the Choctaw Nation, 1795. Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Dec. 1932, p. 407) Of his meeting with Colbert, Pickering said: "I found Major Colbert singularly difficult to please, perhaps because the President would not satisfy his wishes in making war against the Creeks. I have given Major Colbert four hundred dollars to buy an elegant stallion, but he seemed to consider this sum as hardly sufficient. As I said before, it was not easy to please him."

    Although he is referred to as "Major" by Pickering, Colbert did not receive this commission until 1814 with his participation in the War of 1812 and the Creek War. William Colbert lived the remainder of his life in relative peace until his death on May 30, 1824.

    Weakened folds have begun to separate, but have been archivally repaired on the verso. Very small hole at the intersection of the main vertical and horizontal folds, not affecting the text. Slightly toned, especially along the folds. Small chip on the right edge obscuring the top portion of the number "2." Very few small spots of foxing. Ink bleed-through from the docketing on the verso; ink is smudged slightly at right. Text is very bold and bright. In near fine condition.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
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