This visit occurred in the midst of the French and Indian War. The Cherokee sided with the British until suspicions and differences between the two spawned the Anglo-Cherokee War, also known as the Cherokee Uprising, in 1758 in which the Cherokee fought directly against the British.
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Report by Andrew Lewis concerning his visit to the Cherokee Nation, including a letter to William Henry Lyttelton, Baron Lyttelton
Lewis, Andrew, 1720-1781
September 30, 1756
Volume 05, Pages 612-614
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[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 12. C. 116.]
Letter from Major Lewis to Mr. Lytleton, Govr of South Carolina.
Rowan, No Carolina, Septr 30th 1756.
By Order of His Honr the Governor of Virginia, I was sent last summer with a number of Workmen to construct a Fort amongst the Cherokees Indians, thō unacquainted with your Excellency I thought it might not be amiss to inform your Excellency of the Disposition of the Cherokees as far as I was capable of observing which your Excellency has enclosed a Copy of which I have sent to His Excellency Governor Littleton, I am now on my return to Virginia.
I expect some of the Cherokee Indians to overtake me in a day or two, when I left their Towns they were not quite ready to march, I left an Officer and two men with them, and at their desire I marched here, in order to provide Provisions for them against their arrival how many of them may come is uncertain until the Indians have a more Friendly Disposition they will be of no service to the English Interest, I expect by this time Captain Demerce, who commands the South Carolina Troops is arrived at Chota. I am your Excellencys most, &c.,
On my arrival at Chota, I met with the most kindest Usage from old hop the Little Carpenter, and all the Indians in general, and expressed themselves to be very willing to comply with the late Treaty held by them with Col. Byrd and Col. Randolph, they continued in this friendly Disposition till I had almost finished the Fort, but when I demanded them to fulfill their promise of sending their Warriors with me to the assistance of Virginia, they then made use of all possible Equivocating Arguments to avoid sending any, the French as well as the Savanahs have a constant correspondence with them more especially the great Town of Tellies and I am convinced that there is some scheme on foot between them and the French to distress us, and that they are greater Friends to the French than to the English, during the time of my stay at Chota there was a Message sent from the Nuntewes to the Little Carpenter, and also another from the Savannahs, and also from the French at Alaboma Fort, ever since these Messages have arrived, there has been the greatest change imaginable, and the Contents of their Messages have been kept a secret from me notwithstanding their many
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promises to acquaint me with everything they heard or knew, a frenchman commonly known by the name of french John, who has lived some considerable time amongst the Cherokees together with a Cherokee wench that speaks the Shawance tongue, were sent eight days past from Chota to the Allobama Fort and to the Savannahs residing thereabouts, with a Message from the little Carpenter, and all the principal men of the upper Towns to the French Shawances there, the Indians at great Tellies expect a French Fort in their Towns and the head men in General approves of the same and are well satisfied therewith and I have the greatest reason to believe from many circumstances that French John and the Indian Wench aforesaid are gone on that Errand, the Indians say it would be good to have a French Fort at Great Tellico, the Little Carpenter is the head man in all these schemes, a Nuntewa fellow called the great Elk who has resided amongst the Cherokees a long time is sent off to his Nation with some of the Cherokees, some Northern Indians who have resided in this Nation some time are soon to be sent to the Northward, I believe to Canada, in short Messages sent and are to be sent, to all Nations of Indians in Alliance with the French themselves, on the 2d Instant the head men of all the Upper Towns were assembled in Council at Chota and by accident I happened there they had agreed to write a letter to Captain Demerce to order him to return immediately with all the Troops under his Command, and the little Carpenter said, that as to the few soldiers of Captain Demarce that was there, he would take their Guns, and give them to his young men to hunt with, and as to their clothes they would soon be worn out and then their skins would be tanned, and be of the same colour as theirs, and that they should live among them as Slaves; Upon being informed of their designs I spoke to them and made use of all the prevailing Arguments to persuade them to the contrary, upon which they agreed to have a meeting in Council the next day, Accordingly they met and sent for me, upon which they agreed to write to Captain Demerce to come as soon as he possibly could, that they longed to shake hands with him etc. Accordingly they wrote a kind letter to him to that Effect, the day I left Chota the heads of the Indians on taking leave of me desired me that I might tell the Governor of Virginia that they had taken up the Hatchet against all Nations that were Enemies to the English, but to speak my own sentiments I am convinced that the compliment from them was only to blind me as much as possible from their Designs, and that the letter wrote to Captain Demerce was to no other purpose, for they were much disconcerted when they found that I had some intelligence of their intent, and the letter wrote to Captain Demerce was only
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to put a gloss on their knavery as was also the Compliment passed on the Aforesaid.
I have reason to believe from the Behaviour of the Indians and from the many Reports of the Indians and Linguestors that [they] had a design to kill me and my men or to endeavour to make Prisoners of us, and I must believe that this scheme would be put in Execution had the first Letter been sent off to Captain Demerce undiscovered, to march his men away, and I have the promise of some of their Warriors to go to Virginia but what number will go with me is uncertain, what goes with me are mostly from the lower Towns there not being more than seven or eight from the Upper Towns.
The Indians Report that there is a number of white people coming up amongst them and they don’t want too many of them about them; my Opinion is they want only a few men to live in the Forts, that they may Command them and keep them in subjection, if not well used by the English, that is supplied with amunition and other things at no cost.
It is therefore my Opinion that there ought to be several hundred men up to strike terror to them and force a Compliance & Submission.