Scope and Contents
This collection includes typewritten copies of transcriptions of two speeches given by George Washington and presented to the Indian tribes of the Northwest Territory during their visits to see Washington while he resided in Philadelphia during his presidency. The first is dated May 7, 1793 and was given to the “Chiefs and Warriors of the Tribes of Indians residing on the Wabash and Illinois Rivers” and discusses the cultivation of “peace and friendship with the United States.” The second speech is from November 29, 1796 (transcription mistakenly dates the speech as November 9) and was addressed to the “Chiefs and Warriors” of several tribes from the Northwest Territory, including the Eel River, regarding the Treaty of Greenville. On October 15, 1891, Dr. Perry G. Moore of Wabash, Indiana transcribed the speeches from original parchments in the possession of John Aveline, the great grandson of Chief She-moc-e-nish of the Eel River tribe.
Conditions Governing Use
Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.
Biographical / Historical
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 established a government for the Northwest Territory and outlined the process for admitting a new state to the Union. Native Americans living in the Territory resisted the encroachment of settlers on their land and armed conflicts occurred, including the Battle of Fallen Timbers, and many treaties were negotiated between the Indian tribes and the United States. During his presidency, George Washington met several times with the chiefs of Native American tribes living in the Territory. She-moc-e-nish was the chief of the Eel River tribe, a small group associated with the Miami and living on land in what is now Indiana. He was known by several names: Chief Charley, Charlow Constant, Kitunga, Sha-mes-kun-nee-sa and Captain Charley. He represented his people during trips to see President Washington and during several treaties between the Native Americans and United States government, including the 1795 Treaty of Greenville in which he is signed as "Shamakunnesa, or Soldier, his x mark," the August 7, 1803 treaty at Vincennes and signed as "Ke Tunga or Charley" and the 1818 Treaty of St. Mary's with his signature as "Ketauga or Charley, his mark.”
Esarey, Logan, ed. Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Commission, 1922.
Kappler, Charles Joseph, comp. Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, Vol. 2. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1904. https://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers.
Library of Congress. "Northwest Ordinance." Primary documents in American History. Accessed February 26, 2019. https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/northwest.html.
Wimberly, W. William. Hanna's Town: A Little World We Have Lost. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 2010. https://books.google.com.
Yale Law School. "The Avalon Project: The Treaty of Greenville 1795." Accessed February 26, 2019. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/greenvil.asp.