The French and Indian War took place from 1754 to 1763. During this time, a significant amount of land was disputed, and fighting took place primarily in these regions and in borderlands. The Native American tribes were key players, often because they already lived in these regions, understood the lay of the land, and had been recruited through promises of their lands being returned if the French won. Ironically, that’s the same promise the British made to recruit the Native people as warriors during the Revolutionary War.
We often don’t think of George Washington as a player in the French and Indian War, more often in conjunction with the Revolutionary War, but he was clearly involved. In the letter below, he wrote to the Tuscarora Indians of North Carolina asking for their support. I transcribed this letter, below the document itself. An underscored word means I couldn’t read it clearly, or at all in some cases.
George Washington Papers, 1741-1799
To King Blount, Capt Jack and the rest of the Tuscarora Chiefs.
Brothers and Friends. This will be delivered you by our brother Tom, a warrior of the Nottoways who with others of that nation have distinguished themselves in our service this summer against our great and perfidious enemies.
The intent of this is to assure you of our real friendship and love and to confirm and strengthen that chain of friendship which has subsisted between us for so many years past….a chain like ours founded on sincere love and friendship must be strong and lasting and will I hope endure while the sun and stars give light.
Brothers you can be no strangers to the many murders and cruelties committed on our countrymen and friends by that false and faithless people the French who are constantly endeavoring to corrupt the minds of our friendly Indians and Lord have stirred up the Shawnee and Delaware with several other nations to take up the hatchet against us and at the head of many of their Indians have invaded our country, laid waste our lands, plundered our plantations, murdered defenseless women and children, burnt and destroyed wherever they came….which has enraged friends the Six Nations, Cherokees, Nottoways, Cattawbas, and all our Indian allies and prompted them to take up the hatchet in our defense against these disturbances of the common peace.
I hope Brothers you will likewise take up the hatchet against the French and their Indians as our other friends have done and send us some of your young men to protect our frontiers and go to war with us against our notiss and ambitious Frenchmen and to encourage your warriors, I promise to furnish them with arms, ammunition, clothes, provision and ever necessary for war…and the sooner you send them to our assistance the greater ___ will give us of your friendship and the better shall we be enabled to take just revenge on the cruelties.
May you live a happy prosperous people and may we act with sincere love and friendship and while rivers run and trees grow is the sincere wish of your friend and Brother.
Signed with George Washington’s signature
In confirmation of the above and in hopes of your compliance with my request…I give you this string of wampum.
Hat tip to Chris for this document.