Commentary on Speech by Gachadow at Treaty of Lancaster, 1744
British colonists often fomented conflict among the various Indian tribes along the eastern seaboard in order to keep the Natives from uniting against them. During King William's War (1689-1697), one of the series of conflicts known as the French and Indian Wars (1689-1763), tribes allied with the French often turned to Pennsylvania traders who were increasingly crossing the Appalachian Mountains. This speech by Cayuga chief Gachadow illustrates intertribal rivalries. Though the Iroquois Confederacy (including the Cayuga) has sent letters requesting peace to the Cherokee and the Catawba, only the former have responded. Of the latter, Gachadow states, "They have been Treacherous, and know it, so that the War must continue till one of Us is destroyed." The chief delivered the oration at a conference that led to the Treaty of Lancaster in 1744.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was settled by English Quakers and Germans in 1717 and incorporated in 1742. Because of the Quakers' peaceful ways, it became a popular site for meetings with Native Americans. Treaties also were formalized there in 1748 and 1760.
Speech to the Virginia Commissioners at the Treaty of Lancaster, 1744 (Iroquois, 1744)
The World at the first was made on the other side of the Great water different from what it is on this side, as may be known from the different Colour of Our Skin and of Our Flesh, and that which you call Justice may not be so amongst us. You have your Laws and Customs and so have we. The Great King might send you over to Conquer the Indians, but looks to us that God did not approve of it, if he had, he would not have Placed the Sea where it is, as the Limits between us and you.
Tho' great things are well remembered among Us, Yet we don't remember that we were ever Conquered by the Great King, or that we have been employ'd by that Great King to conquer others; if it was so it is beyond our Memory. We do remember we were employed by Maryland to Conquer the Conestogo's, and that the Second time we were at War with them we carry'd them all off.
You Charge us with not acting agreeable to our Peace with the Catawbas; we will repeat truly to you what was done: The Governor of New York at Albany, in behalf of Assaraquoa, gave us several Belts from the Cherickees and Catawbas, and we agreed to a Peace if those Nations would send some of their Great men to Us to confirm it face to face, and that they would Trade with us, and desired that they would appoint a time to meet at Albany for this Purpose, but they never came.
We then desired a Letter might be sent to the Catawbas and Cherikees to desire them to come and confirm the Peace. It was long before an Answer came, but we met the Cherikees and Confirmed the Peace, and sent some of Our People to take care of them untill they returned to their own Country.
The Catawbas refused to come, and sent us word that we were but Women; that they were men and double men for they had two P——-s; that they could make Women of Us, and would be always at War with us. They are a deceitful People; Our Brother Assaraquoa is deceived by him; we don't blame him for it, but are sorry he is so deceived....
We have confirm'd the Peace with the Cherikees, but not with the Catawbas. They have been Treacherous, and know it, so that the War must continue till one of Us is destroyed. This we think Proper to tell you, that you may not be Troubled at what we do to the Catawbas.
We will now Speak to the Point between us. You say you will agree with us to the Road. We desire that may be the Road which was last made (the Waggon Road). It is always a custom among Brethren or Strangers to use each other kindly. You have some very ill-natured People living up there, so that we desire the Persons in Power may know that we are to have reasonable Victuals when we are in want.
You know very well when the White People came first here they were poor; but now they have got our Lands and are by them become Rich, and we are Now poor. What little we had for the Land goes soon away, but the Land lasts forever. You told us you had brought with you a Chest of Goods, and that you have the Key in your Pockets; But we have never seen the Chest nor the Goods that are said to be in it. It may be smal and the Goods few. We want to see them, and are desirous to come to some Conclusion. We have been sleeping here these Ten Days past, and have not done any thing to the Purpose.