Colonial and State Records of NC – Report by Peter Henley concerning his conference with King Hagler and the Catawba Nation – Henley, Peter, 1725-1758
May 26, 1756 – May 28, 1756
Volume 05, Pages 579-584
[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 12. C. 106.]
Copy of a Conference held with the King and Warriors of the Cataubas by Mr. Chief Justice Henley at Salisbury in North Carolina in May 1756.
Salisbury Thursday 26 May 1756.
At two o’Clock this afternoon King Hagler of the Catawba Nation of Indians with 15 of his principal Warriors and about 30 of his young
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Men painted and armed in the manner that they are when going to War and in great Order and regularity marched through this Town, and encamped a small distance from it, about an hour after he waited upon Peter Henley Esqre Chief Justice at the House of Edward Cusick, and by an Interpreter expressed himself as follows.
I and my people are Brothers and fast friends to the English and intend always to be so: Having heard of some Injuries lately done to my Brethren it has given me great concern, and being told that you and many more of them were to be here at this time I am come to talk with you about these Matters, and to endeavour to make all things streight.
To which the Chief Justice answered: King Hagler I have a sensible pleasure in seeing you and my other Brothers the Catawbas here. As I dont know the particular Articles upon which you desire this Conference when you please to communicate yourself upon that subject, I will hear you with the greatest attention.
To which the King replied. I thank you, but as it is now late I will defer doing it to 9 o’Clock to-morrow morning if that time be agreable to you, which being answered by the Chief Justice in the Affirmative on Friday May 27th the Chief Justice and principal Gentlemen in Town with King Hagler 15 of his Warriors and the rest of his people went to the House of Peter Arran and being seated round a Table, the King spoke as follows—
The Cherokees We and the White People have been Brothers, and I desired that the path between us might be kept clear but the Cherokees have been playing the Rogue at which I am extremely concerned.
All the White People from South to North as far as New York nay beyond the great Waters under the great King are our Brothers, should the French come we will stand by our Brethren the English or go down into the Grave with them.
The Cherokees have told me that they would enter into a Friendship with the French but be assured that the White People shall still be my Brothers and I will assist them, these men I have brought here (pointing to his Warriors) are all come freely and voluntarily to acquaint the English that they will stand by them as long as they live, Mine is a small Nation yet they are brave men, and will be fast friends to their Brothers the White people as long as the sun endures.
I always advise my Men to be kind and obliging to the White People, as they are their Brothers and I shall continue to do so and remain their Brother ’till a sharp thing pierces my Breast so that I die, when that happens they must do as they please.
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As I suppose there will soon be a War, I desire the Governour of North Carolina as this Land belongs to him to send us some Ammunition as soon as possible, and that he will build us a fort for securing our old men women and children when we turn out to fight the Enemy on their coming and as we love to wear silver plates on our Breasts and Arms I should be glad he would send us some of them with some Wampum.
Colo Alexander Colo Harris and Capt Berry told me they would make my Warriors a small present for assisting the White People in retaking their Goods Horses &c: from the Cherokees which they had plundered them of.
I go very much among the White people and have often my Belly filled by them and am very sorry they should at any time be distracted.
I return the Governour thanks for his care in purchasing Corn for my people which has saved the lives of many of our old men women and children.
As my people and the White people are Brethren I desire that when they go to their houses they may give them victuals to eat, some of the White People are very bad and quarrelsome and whip my people about the head, beat and abuse them but others are very good.
I desire a stop may be put to the selling strong Liquors by the White people to my people especially near the Indian Nation. If the White people make strong drink let them sell it to one another or drink it in their own Families. This will avoid a great deal of mischief which otherwise will happen from my people getting drunk and quarrelling with the White people. Should any of my people do any mischief to the White people I have no strong prisons like you to confine them for it, Our only way is to put them under ground and all these men (pointing to his Warriors again) will be ready to do that to those who shall deserve it.
I desire to know what is to be done with the White Woman I took from the Cherokees: I hope she will not be put to death, she is but a Woman and can do no great harm and I think she was compelled by the Cherokees to do what she did.
To which the Chief Justice answered, Nothing has hitherto appeared against her that will affect her life. I am informed she is an indented servant to a man in Virginia, if that be the case and she should not be charged with any offence I shall direct her to be conveyed to her proper owner.
To which King Hagler replied, I am glad of it. I am always sorry to lose a Woman. The loss of one Woman may be the loss of many lives because one Woman may be the mother of many children. At
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which the audience smiling, he added I believe I have spoke nothing but Truth.
I look upon the English and ourselves as many good things put into one pockett as Brothers that have issued from one Womb.
When the Gentlemen from Virginia were in this Nation they told me to get a house built for myself and they would repay me the expence when they saw me in Virginia but having lately acquainted Colo Alexander and Colo Harris with this they said No they would as I lived in Carolina get it done at their own Expence by workmen that resided near us.
After this the King informed the Chief Justice he had nothing more to say to him but had something to observe to his Warriors and thereupon addressed himself to them and then to his young men and desired them to declare whether in what he had said to his Brethern the English he had expressed their Sentiments as well as his own to which they unanimously answered that he had. Then he added, That should his Brethern of Carolina be engaged in a War as he feared they soon would he would have his Men all ready on the first notice to march to their assistance. He desired them to fight on such an occasion as became Catawbas and do nothing that might lessen the great Character they had obtained by their Military atchievements He added they were under the greatest Obligations to do this for two reasons. First because the English had cloathed them naked and fed them when hungry. Secondly because the White people were now seated all round them and by that means had them entirely in their power.
To which the Warriors and young men all answered they would remember what he had given them in charge.
On this the King presented the pipe of Peace to the Chief Justice who as well as the rest of the company accepted it in the usual manner. The King was then informed that the Chief Justice would Answer his Speech the next morning and they met accordingly, as before, when he spoke as follows.
King Hagler, Bretheren and Friends Sachems and Warriors of the brave Catawba Nation.
It can’t help giving me vast satisfaction to see here so many great Indian Warriors who are as remarkable for their conduct and Intrepidity in Battle as their brotherly affection for the English I look upon your coming here upon this occasion as a fresh instance of the inviolable friendship you have for our common Father and Benefactor the King of Great Britain as well as for us his children and your brothers.
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Your expressions of concern in regard to the Behaviour of the Cherokees your determined resolution to stand by and assist us against the French or go down into the Grave with us and the Willingness with which your Warriors have embraced the same resolution require the particular acknowledgement of us all.
Let the Cherokees behave as they will I hope We and our Bretheren the brave Catawbas shall stand firm together like a large mountain which cannot be moved.
The Station our Great King has been pleased to place me in will in many Instances enable me to be assisting in the Preservation of that Peace and Harmony which subsists between us and if any Injuries or offences should again be committed against you by the White People I will take care upon a proper Application to me that they shall not go unpunished.
You have our Thanks for the resolution you have taken of punishing such of your young people as shall commit any Injuries upon us your Bretheren, but we hope you will not have occasion to make any Examples of that kind.
Your Observation in respect to the White peoples selling Liquor to the Indians is very just as there is no Law at present to prevent it I will mention to the Governour the necessity of making one to restrain these pernicious practices for the future.
I will also take the first opportunity of representing to him in the strongest manner I can the singular services you have done us in compelling the Cherokees to deliver up the White Woman and in obtaining restitution of the Goods they had unjustly taken from us.
The application of the publick money, belongs to the Governor and Assembly with the advice of the Council, over that I have no power but I will use all the Interest I have to obtain a present from them as a small acknowledgement of the Obligations we think ourselves under to you upon that account.
I shall also faithfully represent the request you have made by me to your Brother the Governor to have a speedy supply of Ammunition to have a fort built as soon as possible for the protection of your old men your wives and children and some silver plates for your Breasts and arms with some Wampum.
In the mean time as a Testimony of the great regard we have for our brave friends and Bretheren the Catawbas we have procured at our own Expence such a supply of powder and lead as we could get to supply your present necessities which we now present you with.
Colo Alexander and Colo Harris assure me they will build the house they promised as soon as conveniently they can.
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To which the King answered. I look upon you as my elder Brother and what you told me to day I shall not forget tomorrow but remember as long as I live. If any of the English shall at any time be attacked by the Enemy let me know it as soon as possible by any hand and I and my people will immediately come to your assistance.
The Chief Justice observed to him that their Brethren the White people of Virginia and the Nottoway Indians were now fighting to the Northward against the French and their Indians and had long expected their joining them and were surprised they had not yet done it.
The King replied that when the Gentlemen of Virginia were in their parts, his Warriors were all willing and desirous to go with them, but when they were gone Governor Glenn sent an express to him and forbad him to let them go unless he should order it, and that he had sent the said Govr for answer that he would wait till he had further considered of the Matter but that he had taken up the Hatchet against the French and could not lay it down without useing it.
N. B. There were two Interpreters sworn Mr. Giles and Mr. Tool.