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23,000 acres of land bought for 28 cows??

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  • 23,000 acres of land bought for 28 cows??

    This is a old Letter pertaining to a grievence agianst Virginia Governor Spotswood and the Saponi indian tribe's reservation land. Them must have been some really good cows lol This letter was from about 1717 ( I'd have to look and see that exact date but 1717 is close to the date).
    I just rechecked and the date of this letter may be Virginia, Feb'ry 7th, 1715 or 1716.

    ::Whether the Goven'r forcing ye Indians from their Lands, w'ch contain 23,000 Acres, under pretence of purchasing it for four cows and calves, and taking English-men's Patented Lands by Survey of the said Land wrongfully begun, and selling the same for fifty shillings (pence symbol?) 100, Clear of Charges, and then granting them Patents for the same, is not Arbitrary and Illegal?::

    ::Herein the Querest displays more his own Spleen than any man's reall Grievance, and manifests his eagerness to catch at the lightest appearances to heap up Accusations whilst others must have the trouble of searching out the Faith of them. I have already, in my Reply to the foregoing Query, taken Notice of Treatys made with Sapony, Nottoway and Tuscaruro Indians, which were partly calculated to answer a Design of this Government, of placing those Indians in three Settlements upon our Frontiers, to serve against the Incursions of forreign Indians, as a securer and cheaper Barrier than eleven Troops of Rangers, (which were then kept in pay,) proved to be. When this Treaty came to be executed, the Saponys willingly comply'd and removed to the Fort w'ch I had built for their protection, 25 Miles without all our Inhabitants, and w'ch I guarrisoned with Twelve white Men and an Officer, who were designed to be employed to Range, two or three of them at a time, with ten or twelve Indians, and in times of danger frequently to beat the Woods between Settlement and Settlement. Here also was a Tract of Land of Six Miles Square, (containing 23,040 acres,) Surveyed and set apart for the Indians and the Guarrison; And this was what the Government intended at every one of the three proposed Settlements. But ye Tuscaruros and Nottoways, not standing to the Treaty, ye former returned to Carolina and the others continued, (as they do to this day,) upon their old Land. So the Saponys, being the only Indians who, under my Administration, have changed their Seat of habitation, must be the Nation meant in this Query. But this is the first time I ever heard it alledged that Force was used to remove them, or that I had made a Purchase of their Lands, and I am certain the Querist would be hooted out of Town, did he show his face there to these Assertations, when every Indian would plainly confute him, as my appear by the annexed Affidavit, (No. A.). The taking away of English Men's Patented Lands is another imaginary Grievance that I never heard of before, and whoever is acquainted of Virginia and the just Protection of the Law, which the meanest Subject there enjoys, will not believe that any man in the Colony will remain silent and patiently suffer a Govern'r to wrong and disposses him of his Property. The only matter advanced in this Query that bears any Relation to truth, is the selling the Lands which the Saponys had quitted. 'Tis true they were sett up to Sale at a higher Rate than the common Price of the King's Lands, and near Three thousand Acres have been disposed of for Cattle and Provisions delivered at Christ-anna. The grounds of this proceeding was the Fifth Article of those Indian's Treaty, whereby it is expressly agreed, that whenever ye Government should think fitt to remove them, a Compensation should be made them for the Improvements they were to leave behind, and accordingly Fourteen Cows and fourteen Calves, with all the Corn I could procure from the Purchasers, were distributed among the Indians, and nothing was received but what was by me faithfully expended in carrying on their new Settlement, And as the Governor and Council of Virginia are entrusted with the disposal of all the King's Lands within this Colony, I humbly am of Opinion His Majesty will deem it a just and frugall Disposition that those Persons to whom the Indians' old improved Lands were granted should pay the Expences of the new Improvements, rather than to charge the Revenue therewith.::
    Last edited by ECSN; 05-22-2008, 04:00 AM.

  • #2
    source of the above,

    Spotswood, Alexander. The Official Letters of Alexander Spotswood, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1710 - 1722; Volumes 1 & 2. Ed. R.A. Brock. Richmond: Virginia Historical Society. 1882. 368pgs.

    The above was on pages 190 - 218


    • #3
      The letter starts out with this. It appears the Saponi was the ones complaining in the above complaint, there was about 15 complaints on various subjects...the above one was the one about the Saponi's reservation.

      To ye L'ds Comm'rs of Trade and Plantations:

      My L'DS:

      The enclosed, some Querys by way Complaint against Alex'r Spotswood, Esq'r, his Majesty's Lieut.-Governor of Virginia, all which will be proved by a Cloud of Evidences when your Lordships will be pleased to give your Protection to the Complainants from the Arbitrary and high flying principle, (which is so violent that Sac-II,(56) Wotton,(57) & c., are not greater nor more mischievous than he would be,) till then the Complainants are obliged to conceal their names, and only can subscribe themselves,

      Your Lordships'
      most humble and obed't Serv'ts.

      To begin with the letter [of] A.N. that users in fifteen Queries which the Anonymous Author says will be proved by a Cloud of Evidences. I cannot entertain that diffidence of my Judges as to apprehend such Assertions delivered in this unfair and clandestine manner these are, will have any Weight towards laying me under the imputations of guilt or losing my character at your Lord'ps Board, untill the Author will appear with his Evidence, from behind those Clouds, to prove the matters of Fact alledged in his Charge, to explain the Sence and Meaning of some of his queries, and to make out how they touch me, and also I hope that ere faith be given to the many severe suggestions of my evil intentions, it will be expected this concealed enemy of mine will stand forth and show that he is neither a Person who has already been under the lash of just Government for his misdeeds, nor one who finds himself under a charge lately exhibited by me for the mismanagement of the King's Revenue.

      I expected, from the said Introductory Letter, that on Party Principle would have been laid the main stress of my accusations; but since my Accuser has not, throughout all his 15 Articles, touch'd upon that head, I hope it will be observed that he manifestly gives up that point and plainly confesses he finds no matter of that sort to work up a Charge against me.

      I need not, therefore, dwell long upon the Slander and Reflections in the Letter, but proceeds to the Queries.


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