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



Instructions for Peter Randolph and William Byrd to treat with the Catawbas and Cherokees on behalf of the colony of Virginia.
The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 13(1906): 232-234.
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.

1. You shall hold yourselves in Readiness to set forward to the Place of Treaty pursuant to your Commission in order to arrive at the Catawba and Cherokee Nations of Indians with all due Speed, and being there arrived, you shall with all proper Dispatch convene the Chiefs of the said Nations, and having adjusted the necessary Forms and Ceremonies, you are at the first general and public Conference to acquaint the Indians, that you are come purposely to assure them of the kind and friendly Dispositions of the Inhabitants of this Colony towards them, as well as of the Care that has been taken on their Part, to preserve the most perfect Harmony, and good Understanding with their ancient Friends of those Nations in particular, and in general, with all others with whom they have ever made Friendship and Alliance. You are then to compliment them on their steady Adherence, and to desire of them to concur with you in establishing and Confirming for all future Time, our unmovable friendship with their Brethren whom you represent.

2. You are then to present my Speech to them, and proceed to acquaint them with the Present you are charged with for them, and to enlarge on the Kindness and Friendship towards them; and this will lead you to magnify the Grandeur and Munificence of the King, after which you are in the most affecting Manner to present the Present as directed.

3. Having thus and by whatever other Means the Time and Circumstances suggest, introduced yourselves to the Favor of the Indians, you are to animate them against the unjust Disturbances given to the Peace of Mankind by the restless and thirst of Dominion, which is ever actuating the French to covet and encroach upon the Possessions of not only the English, but all the Indian Nations in America. To this End you will acquaint them with their Breach of Faith, and the unprovoked Rapines and Murders committed by them on the Frontier Inhabitants of the Colonies in Time of Tranquility and Peace; and let them know that they have prevailed on the Delawares and Shawnese, to do Mischief when they pretended to be our Friends. After having duly represented these Perfidies and Violences, you are to acquaint them that the Six Nations have joined us against the French, and to desire their Assistance, and to agree on some Distinction or Signal whereby the Catawbas and Cherokees may be distinguished from other Indians, when they come into our Inhabitants, and to know what Number of Men they will furnish, and when.

4. You are to inform yourselves particularly, what Indian Nations they can bring into our Alliance, and what Settlements the French have made in their Neighborhood, their Extent, Strength, and at what Period of Time they were made. And you are to endeavor to make yourselves acquainted with the Arts made Use of by the French to alienate the affections of Indians from the English. You are to exhort them not to be drawn away by deceitful empty Speeches, the peculiar Talent of that cunning People, nor to suffer them on any Pretence whatsoever, to erect any Fort in their Country. But in every Attempt that shall be made to shake their Duty to our common Father, let them consider what real Acts of Friendship have been done them by the English, and what by the French; let them weigh these Things well in their Minds, and then determine who best deserves their Esteem and Regard, for it is not by vain unmeaning Words that true Friendship is to be discovered, but by its Effects.

5. Whatever Treaty you shall enter into with either of these Nations, you are to take special Care to have it signed by all the Sachems or Chiefs who shall be present at it.

6. If any Thing incidentally occur in the Negotiations, not particularly taken Notice of by these Instructions, you are to conduct yourselves in such Manner, as the Nature and Expediency of the Subject Matter, Time and Place may require, according to the best of your Discretion.

I wish you Success in your Negotiations, an agreeable Journey, and a safe Return. And I am Gentlemen, Your most humble Servant,