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Christianizing indians in 1714

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  • Christianizing indians in 1714

    This is a old document from Virginia, Feb'ry 7th, 1715 or 1716.
    found in:
    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.

    pages 190 - 218


    Grievence to Governor of Virginia Spotswood an dhis answer to the grivence brought before him.

    Whether ye Gov'r, under pretence of guarding the Frontiers, by building two Forts, one at the head of James River, the other of Rappahonock River, at the great charge and expence of the Country, and only to support two private Interests, in both which he is principally concerned, is not Guilty of a high Misdemeanour and breach of his Oath and of his Majesty's Royal Instructions ag't his being concerned in Trade?

    The Querist, who has hitherto pickeer'd [sic.] at large and charged me only with Generals, seems here more fairly to approach and assault me with Particulars, but the very first matter of Fact he offers to mention happens to betray his Ignorance, for 'tis certain there is no fort within sixty miles of any part of James River, and had he been witness of the many painfull Marches I have taken through the uninhabited Woods to contrive for the Security of the Frontiers, he might have known that the ffort he would speak of stands above an hundred Miles from where he places it. I own there is a Fortress, with five Bastions, built on the Maherin River, and a settlement fortifyed with a Block house and Pallisade on ye Rapidanne, both of them designed as Places of Rendevous, without the Inhabitants; the one to oppose the incursions of the Northern Indians, and the other of the Southern; but I cannot admit that the Country has been put to great Charge and Expence on acc't thereof, for I do averr that not one farthing or one pound of Tobacco has been Levy'd upon the People for the Works more than what was provided by Act of Assembly for the ordinary Charge of ye Rangers for the year 1714, and what was given for the security of the Country long before the design of fixing those Forts. And not only ye Expences of Building and maintaining these fortifyed Places, but also that the Guarding the whole Frontiers for the three Years past has, by my frugall Contrivance, been defray'd by little more than the sum which the Assembly had usually given for one year's defence of the Country.

    My undertaking cannot be term'd a mere pretence of Guarding the Frontiers, seeing that while the Colony was Guarded by its old Method of Rangers it was continually alarmed in all quarters, and frequent Murders and Hostilitys were committed, so that in the year 1713 above twenty persons were killed and carryed off by the Indians. But ever since I was empowered by an Act of Assembly to take such measures as I should judge most effectual for securing the Frontiers, our outward Inhabitants have not been disturbed with so much as one single alarm. 'Tis well known here that to procure this Tranquility to the Country I did forego my own Ease and safety more than ever any Governor of Virginia did before me, and that in order to attain a perfect knowledge of the Frontiers, I took a Range from South to North, without all the Inhabitants, and underwent the difficultys of lying out 40 days together in the Woods, and such an high opinion of the measures I then took, and such a gratefull sence of my Labours and Hazards had the whole Representative Body of the Colony, that the House of Burgesses, in the year 1714, (as may appear by their Journal of the 24th of Novem'r,) did unanimously agree to an address, wherein they greatly applauded my new Plan for the defence of the Frontiers, and very thankfully acknowledged the Pains I had taken to form and perfect the same; nay, and they particularly approved of, commended and encouraged those two settlements, which the Querist now accounts an high Misdemeanour to be concerned with. Besides, those Forts were not erected upon by own single Notions; the project thereof was communicated by me to the Assembly in the year 1713, and the Burgess' Journal of the 9th of Decem'r testifys that they not only declared themselves entirely satisfyed therewith, but that they also made provision to enable me to carry on the design. Afterwards, in the Treatys w'th the Sapony, Nottoway and Tuscaruro Indians, w'ch were under several days' deliberation of the Council here, every Member of the Board concurr'd with me in making it an Article that those Forts should be built at the Indian Settlements; And lastly, the said Treatys being transmitted home to the late Queen, I received a Letter notifying Her Maj'ty's Approbation thereof 'ere I set out on my Expedition to build those Forts.

    But here the Querist gives an invidious touch upon two private Interests that I have at those places, and obliges me to set forth what they truly are; 'tis, indeed, none of my Principle to publish my own Acts of Charity, But when the Malice of Satan shall, under false Colours, impute them to me as Crimes, it certainly behooves me to unveil my Deeds, and nakedly to expose them for your Lordship's Judgement. I own that for some years past I have had at heart an undertaking which, I think, has hitherto been too much neglected in these parts of the World; that is, the making a beginning towards Christianizing the Indians, and for this purpose I have not only engaged our Tributary Indians to send some of their Children, (in lieu of the Tribute they ought to pay me,) to be bred up at the Colledge in Williamsburgh, but have also prevailed upon severall Nations to enter into Treatys whereby they agree that all their Children shall be taught English and educated in the Principles of the Chistian Religion, Whenever we shall establish Ministers and Schoolmasters at their Towns. In pursuance of this design, I began two years agoe to fix a Master at Christanna, w'ch is one of the places pointed at in the Query,) paying him out of my own pocket a Salary of fifty pounds, Ann., and, perceiving that my presence as Govern'r greatly influences the Indians towards bringing their Children to School, I frequently resort thither. This is, in short, the Grand Interest I have at Christanna, and hoping I have said enough to satisfy your Lordships that my designs are not Criminal, I shall avoid adding such particulars as might create a suspicion of my seeking the Reward or Praise of mankind for the Work I am carrying on.

    As to the other settlement, named Germanna, there are about forty Germans, Men, Women, and Children, who, having quitted their native Country upon the invitation of the Herr Graffenreidt, and being greivously disappointed by his failure to perform his Engagements to them, and they arriving also here just a time when the Tuscaruro Indians departed from the Treaty they had made with this Goverment to settle upon poor Strangers, and in regard to the safety of the Country, place them together upon a piece of Land, several Miles without the Inhabitants, where I built them Habitations and subsisted them untill they were able, by their own Labour, to provide for themselves, and I presume I may, without a Crime or Misdemeanour, endeavour to put them in an honest way of paying their Just Debts. The Conclusion of this Query will show both the Malice and Ignorance of the Author, for as that of my Trading is a very false suggestion, so that of my being restrain'd there-from, either by oath or Instruction, is an erroneous Allegation.

  • #2
    Williamsburg is where the Chief's kids went and Christiana is where the regular tribe kids went.

    These natives was to helped to protect aka Body guard the settlers....in return they was given reservation land.

    However in another post I made in this same category....you will see how this Governor took back that Reservation land, The Saponi/Sapony claimed Spotswood forced them off the land.


    The Saponi was ran down to NC due to waring with various tribes in VA on the Dan and Staunton rivers....so Spotswood figured he would bring the Saponi (tutelo, Monacan, and Occaneechi being their allianced tribes) back to VA to protect the Settlers from the "Hostile" tribes (which was the tribes that was enemies of the Saponi) which is what he was talking about in the letter above.
    The Saponi and nottoway having been enemies did fight each other during this time, Nottoways got killed by the Saponi so the Saponi Chief was hung. New peace treaty was made between the Nottoway and Saponi, Saponi are then found on Spotswood's land in Orange county VA. The Saponi are brought up on charges there for firing the woods (Natives would burn the woods to clear the woods out to make room for farming)...they also was brough tup on charges of stealing pigs. These Saponi was to be sold as slaves unless they left Orange county VA.....The Saponi then show up in Graville county NC. Hopefully that helps give a idea of the tribes in the above letter.

    A more indepth idea of who the Saponi, Tutelo, Monacan, Occaneechi was is they are the cousin to the Dakota....These five tribes share some of the same words....at one time these 5 tribes was all one tribe.
    Last edited by ECSN; 05-22-2008, 04:39 AM.

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    • #3
      a suggestion..instead of posting multiple threads on the same topic,why dont you combined them into one? then your issue is all in one place if someone is interested
      sigpic
      TRUDELL FOR PRESIDENT

      (and no,this isnt zeek)

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      • #4
        Wait.................My bad. I thought I was in Pow Wows.com

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        • #5
          lol....I just added it so people could learn alittle about the history of natives losing their traditonal ways. Not really part of the other thread.

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