General Ephraim Douglass (ca 1749-1883) was given a commission by
the United States War Office to inform the Indians that the
Revolutionary War was over and the United States had won. He was to go
as far as Detroit if necessary with the news. He chose one companion,
Captain George McCully and one servant and proceeded to carry out his
Princeton, 18th August, 1783.
In obedience to the instructions you honored me with on the 5th
of May last, I have used every endeavour in my power to execute in the
fullest manner your orders, and give effect to your wishes; and though I
have not had all the success I at first hoped, I flatter myself the
following report will not only shew that I have attempted all in my
power, but that essential good consequences may justly be hoped from my
endeavours to obey your commands. On the 7th of June, I left Fort Pitt and travelling about two hundred miles by the old trading path, arrived on the 16th at the Delaware and Huron settlements on the Sandusky River. . . .
Finding that I had little hope from continuing at Sandusky,
and likely to effect as little by visiting the Miami if my Horses had
even been able to have performed the Journey, I determined to proceed to
Detroit by the nearest route, though I began to be doubtful I should
succeed in my wishes there; determined however to leave nothing
unattempted which promised even a probability of success, I concurred
with the Pipe in a message to the Miami Indians, desiring that rather
than wait to hear the dispatches of these Southern Indians, they should
advise them to continue their Journey to Detroit, where they would
certainly meet the Six Nations, to whom their business must be
ultimately delivered, as the Deputation in consequence of which they had
performed so long and difficult a journey, had originally proceeded
from them. We desired them to send us an answer in three days what
Resolution they would take and when we should meet them where the roads
unite, that we might go together to Detroit. . . .
I left Sandusky on the 30th, accompanied by the
Pipe and two other Indians in addition to my former Companions, and
travelled onwards to Detroit till the afternoon of the 1st of
July when we were met by Mr. Elliot and three other persons from that
place, whom the Commandant had dispatched for the purpose of conducting
us thither.. . . .
I was now nearly half way from Sandusky to Detroit, and
could neither take or alter a resolution in consequence of this Letter,
but continue my journey with my new companions - till the 4th
when I arrived at Detroit, where I was received with much politeness
and treated with great Civility by the Commandant, to whom I delivered
your Letter, shewed your instructions and pressed for an opportunity of
communicating them to the Indians as soon as might be. He professed the
strongest desire of bringing about a reconciliation between the United
States and the several Indian Nations, - declared that he would
willingly promote it all in his power; but that until he was authorized
by his Superiors in Command, he could not consent that any thing should
be said to the Indians relative to the boundary of the United States;
for though he knew from the King's Proclamation that the war with
America was at an end, he had had no official information to justify his
supposing the States extended to this place, and therefore could not
consent to the Indians' being told so; especially as he had uniformly
declared to them, that he did not know these Posts were to be evacuated
by the English. He had no objection, he said, to my communicating the
friendly offers of the United States, - and would chearfully make known
to them the substance of your Letter to him.
In the morning of the 5th, I received an
intimation from Colonel DePeyster, through Captain McKee, that it was
his wish I would go on to Niagara, as soon as I had recovered from the
fatigue of my journey.
In consequence of this I waited on him in the afternoon, and
pressed with greater warmth than yesterday, the necessity of my
speaking to the Indians and receiving an answer from them. I pressed him
to suffer me to proceed on my business without his interference, and
offered him my word that I would say nothing to them respecting the
limits of the States, but confine myself to the offer of Peace or choice
of War, and the Invitation to Treaty. He would not retract his
resolution without further orders from the Commander in Chief, and I was
obliged to submit however unwillingly. But must do him the justice to
acknowledge that he made every offer of civility and service, except
that which he considered inconsistent with his Duty.
On the 6th I attended the Council which Colonel
DePeyster held with the Indians, to which he had yesterday invited me.
After delivering his business of calling them together, he published to
them your Letter and pressed them to continue in the strictest amity
with the Subjects of the United States, - represented to them the folly
of continuing hostilities, and assured them that he could by no means
give them any future assistance against the people of America.
At this meeting were the Chiefs of the eleven Indian
Nations, comprehending all the Tribes as far South as the Wabash. They
were Chipewas, Otawas, Wyandots or Hurons, Shawneze, Delawares,
Kickaboos, Oweochtanoos, Miamis, Pootawotamies and Pienkishas with a
part of the Senecas; most of whom gave evident marks of their
Satisfaction at seeing a subject of the United States in that Country.
They carried their civilities so far that my lodging was all day
surrounded with crowds of them when at home, and the Streets lined with
them to attend my going abroad; that they might have an opportunity of
seeing and saluting me, which they did not fail to do in their best
manner, with every demonstration of joy.
On the morning of the 7th I took my leave of
Colonel DePeyster, after having received more civilities from him than
the limits of this report will suffer me to enumerate; but not 'till I
had the honor of writing to you by my Guide, whom I directed to return
to Fort Pitt as soon as the Pipe should be ready to return to Sandusky,
on whom I depended for his safe conduct thither, and to provide one to
accompany him to Fort Pitt.
I arrived at Niagara on the 11th . . .
From : EPHRAIM DOUGLAS AND HIS TIMES; A FRAGMENT OF HISTORY.
Edited by Clarence C. Burton. NY: William Abbatt, 1910. (Being Extra
No. 10 of the Magazine of History with Notes and Queries): 264-270.
Burton, Clarence M. Ephraim Douglas and His Times: 219-251.