Lot 236: Signer of the US Constitution from Maryland, secretary of war under Washington and Adams, and the namesake of Fort McHenry (1753–1816). Manuscript speech signed "James McHenry, Secy. of War," three pages on two adjoining sheets, 8 x 13, February 7, 1799. Manuscript headed "Speech of the Secretary of War to George Colbert a Chickasaw Chief," in part: "I have to inform you, that when any Indian Chief or great Warrior comes on business from his nation to the seat of Government, at the desire of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs or person having power to authorize the Journey, it has always been the practice to bear the expences of the said Chief or Warrior to and from the seat of Government…The fifty dollars, which you mention, was given to you to be disposed of at your pleasure, and might have been applied to meet or satisfy any demands against you of a private nature…Colonel Mentges has been directed to procure certain articles of dress for your wife and a piece of Callico for her to take home, I hope what she will receive will remove all cause of Jealousy from her mind. You may assure her that the President has been well pleased to see her at the seat of Government…It is out of my power…to allow any thing whatever to your Brother for his Negro, which he represents to have been killed by the Creeks. The Congress have made no provision to meet such cases, or to compensate the people of the respective red nations for losses, they may sustain by depredations from each other…It is by no means the intention of the President to countenance any intrusions on the land belonging to your nation." Repaired separations to horizontal folds, a small area of repaired paper loss to the edge of the last page, and show-through from writing to opposing sides, otherwise fine condition.George Colbert was a leader of the Chickasaw who proved an important ally to the United States. He was said to serve with American troops in the Northwest Indian Wars during the early 1790s and later recruited and commanded a Chickasaw militia regiment under Andrew Jackson during the Creek War of 1813–1814. Most interesting is McHenry's assurance that the president does not plan to intrude on the land of the Chickasaw people; later on, Colbert found it necessary to cede lands to the US to preserve peace and found himself subject to the Indian removal policies of the 1830s. A fascinating piece concerning the early American government's relationship with Native Americans.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 467
Wednesday, 13th January 2016
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