JULY 13, 1775: The Continental Congress sends a message to the Six Nations

BROTHERS, SACHEMS, AND WARRIORS, of the Mohawk, Oneida, Tuscarora, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca, We, the Delegates from the Twelve United Provinces …now sitting in general Congress at Philadelphia, send this talk to you our brothers…Brant1

When our fathers crossed the great water and came over to this land, the king of England gave them a talk: assuring them that they and their children should be his children, and that if they would leave their native country and make settlements, and live here, and buy, and sell, and trade with their brethren beyond the water, they should still keep hold of the same covenant chain and enjoy peace…

Trusting that this covenant should never be broken, our fathers came a great distance beyond the great water, laid out their money here, built houses, cleared fields, raised crops, and through their own labour and industry grew tall and strong…

We will now tell you of the quarrel betwixt the counsellors of King George and the inhabitants and colonies of America. Many of his counsellors are proud and wicked men.-They persuade the king to break the covenant chain, and not to send us any more good talks. A considerable number have prevailed upon him to enter into a new covenant against us, and have torn asunder and cast behind their backs the good old covenant which their ancestors and ours entered into, and took strong hold of…

Brothers, this is our present situation … If our people labor on the field, they will not know who shall enjoy the crop.-If they hunt in the woods, it will be uncertain who shall taste of the meat or have the skins.-If they build houses, they will not know whether they may sit round the fire, with their wives and children.

We upon this island have often spoke and entreated the king and his servants the counselors, that peace and harmony might still continue between us-that we cannot part with or lose our hold of the old covenant chain which united our fathers and theirs-that we want to brighten this chain-and keep the way open as our fathers did; that we want to live with them as brothers, labor, trade, travel abroad, eat and drink in peace. ..

Brothers, thus stands the matter betwixt old England and America. You Indians know how things are proportioned in a family-between the father and the son-the child carries a little pack-England we regard as the father-this island may be compared to the son. ..

BROTHERS AND FRIENDS! We desire you will hear and receive what we have now told you, and that you will open a good ear and listen to what we are now going to say. This is a family quarrel between us and Old England. You Indians are not concerned in it. We don’t wish you to take up the hatchet against the king’s troops. We desire you to remain at home, and not join on either side, but keep the hatchet buried deep…

Brothers! We live upon the same ground with you. The same island is our common birth-place. We desire to sit down under the same tree of peace with you: let us water its roots and cherish its growth, till the large leaves and flourishing branches shall extend to the setting sun, and reach the skies. ..

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