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Collection Reference Number GLC02437.03254
From Archive Folder The Henry Knox Papers [0077] January-August 1786 
Title Extract of a letter from David Duncan to Thomas Hutchins Esqr.
Date 28 March 1786
Author Duncan, David (fl. 1786)  
Recipient Hutchins, Thomas  
Document Type Correspondence
Content Description In this letter, David Duncan, a former Indian trader appointed to work at Fort McIntosh, writes to Thomas Hutchins, the Geographer of the United States. After a four-month tour of Detroit and the surrounding areas, Duncan reports to Hutchins about the Indians he encountered. First, he says that evidence indicates the British will not be giving up their post at Detroit any time soon, as they seem to be settling in there. He describes the dispositions of the Indians he encountered, providing detail about the nations he came upon, including the Shawnee, Ottawa, and Delaware. Is highly critical of the way Congress has handled negotiations with the Indians: "I am of opinion that we ought not to have treaties with the indians until we had full possession of the western posts." Adds, "Had Congress sent out a few men as messengers with a few horse loads of goods and those men to have convened the indians in the most central towns and then have told them that they were sent by Congress to take them by the hand, and that it was now peace and for them to mind their hunting there wou'd not have been one white man killed to this day." Believes that Congress has gotten very little benefit from the treaties, and also fears that the British are making friendly overtures to the Indians. A copy, written in the hand of war department secretary Robert Pemberton.
Subjects American Indian History  Frontiers and Exploration  Global History and Civics  Fortification  Government and Civics  Continental Congress  Congress  Treaty  Diplomacy  Death  Military History  
People Duncan, David (fl. 1786)  Hutchins, Thomas (1730-1789)  
Place written Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Theme Foreign Affairs; Government & Politics; Native Americans; Westward Expansion
Sub-collection The Henry Knox Papers
Copyright The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Module Settlement, Commerce, Revolution and Reform: 1493-1859