Envisaging the West: Thomas Jefferson and the Roots of Lewis and Clark


Document Type

Treaty of Lancaster Leaders of the Six Nations sign a treaty ceding territory in the colony of Virginia to King George II. Rather than including the entire body of the treaty, the text on this site has been limited to those decisions which affected Virginia's boundaries

Instructions for the Treaty of Logstown Instructions given Christopher Gist, Gentleman, by the Ohio company, April 28, 1752. Christopher Gist served as representative for the Ohio Company of Associates at the Logstown treaty meeting in the colony of Pennsylvania held in May 1752. Gist's instructions directed him to inform the several tribes of Indians expected at the meeting, including the Six Nations, the extensive grant of land on the Ohio to the Ohio Company for establishing colonial settlements and increase of trade in the region. The point of the meeting was to create a stable frontier environment for extension of commerce and settlement along the Ohio. For Gist's part, he was to emphasize the benefits to the Indians of expanded trade and increased white settlement.

The Treaty of Logstown Joshua Fry, Lunsford Lomax, and James Patton journeyed to Logstown on the Ohio River to treat with the Indians of the Six Nations. After a delay of nearly a week in which the commissioners waited for the arrival of a leading Sachem of the Six Nations, Thonariss -- called Half King by the English -- the assembly began its discussions. The wide-ranging dialogue covered the topics outlined in their instructions from Lt. Governor Dinwiddie. In the end, the Sachems of the Six Nations recognized the British land claims established by the 1744 Treaty of Lancaster. The exchanges included in this excerpt of the treaty negotiations provide insight into the complex relationship between British, Indian, and French interests in the Ohio Valley.

Instructions for Peter Randolph and William Byrd to treat with the Catawbas and Cherokees on behalf of the colony of Virginia. In the early stages of the war with France in North American Lt. Governor Robert Dinwiddie sent William Byrd and Peter Randolph to treat with the Cherokee and Catawba Indians to pursue an alliance with them against the French. Dinwiddie instructed the two representatives to expound the "Grandeur and Munificence" of George II and vilify France's "restless . . . thirst of Dominion" in America. He also directed his emissaries to warn the Cherokee and Catawbas against being deceived by French efforts to turn them against the English. Dinwiddie expressed a particular interest in determining if other Indian tribes might be brought into alliance with the English.

Proclamation of 1763. In the aftermath of the French and Indian War, the British crown issued this proclamation, which severely limited colonists' access to land west of an imaginary line running down the crest of the Appalachain Mountains. With this attempt to reorganize British control in North America and maintain orderly relations with Native peoples, George III further alienated colonists who saw western expansion as an inevitable process. Many provisions in the Proclamation remained intact until 1776, although incursions by colonists into land west of the Proclamation Line were common.

Treaty of Hard Labor Created subsequent to the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, clarifying the newly agreed to boundary line required additional treating with the Cherokee in the south. The meeting took place at Hard Labor, South Carolina where the participants recognized the cession of certain lands of the Cherokee to the colonies of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. According to the terms, the king's "white subjects" would be bound by the agreement not to move into the lands designated as belonging to the Cherokee, and the Cherokee were similarly constrained from settling on land acknowledged as belonging to the English colonies. This document described in detail the boundary and also recognized arrangements constructed in earlier agreements, specifically the Treaty of Augusta [Georgia] of 1763. Encroachments by settlers and retaliatory acts of violence conducted by Indians inflamed the frontier and necessitated further boundary negotiations.

Treaty of Fort Stanwix After expressing their "apprehension" regarding the failure of colonists to strictly observe the 1765 boundary line between Indian Territory and the British colonies, continued negotiations produced this treaty. It describes in detail the line between the Six Nations, tribes of the Ohio, various dependent tribes, and the thirteen seaboard colonies. The agreement effectively closed off legitimate settlement of the Ohio Valley. However, it was ignored by many colonists who migrated west and squatted illegally on Indian lands. The inability of colonial authorities to effectively prevent these illegal settlements west of the boundary aggravated the situation between the various tribes of the region and white settlers along the frontier.

Objections to the Treaty of Hard Labor Commissioners from Virginia object to the boundary line established with the Treaty of Hard Labor and vow to pursue the matter.

Treaty of Lochaber Continued consternation over the exact location of boundary between the Cherokee nation and Virginia led to this 1770 settlement of the line. At issue was a contested swath of land that had been ceded to the Indians at Hard Labor. The new agreement adjusted the border to give lands east of a line running from the Holston River to the convergence of the Great Canaway (Great Kanawha) and Ohio Rivers to the British province of Virginia.

Avery's Treaty/Treaty of Holston This treaty between North Carolina and the Cherokee is referred to frequently in Daniel Smith's Journal as the Virginia and Carolina Commissioners work with the Cherokee to establish boundary lines.

Treaty of Hopewell This treaty further codified the relationship between the Cherokees and the American government