Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: April 10, 1776

April 10, 1776

Congress is concerned with Indian affairs in general and Captain White Eyes in particular. Oliver Walcott thinks that “The general Complexion of Affairs gives little ground to expect an Accommodation with Great Britain on former Terms.”

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Two letters from General Washington, of the 1st of April, and a letter from Doctor John Connolly, of the 8, were presented to Congress and read.

Resolved, That the letter from General Washington be sent to the committee of the whole.

The committee to whom the report on Indian Affairs in the middle department, and the petition of Captain White Eyes, were referred, delivered their report.

Resolved, That the commissioners for Indian Affairs in the middle department, employ a minister of the gospel, to reside among the Delaware Indians, and instruct them in the Christian religion; a school master to teach their youth reading, writing, and arithmetic; and also, a blacksmith to do the work of the Indians in the middle department.

Resolved, That the commissioners for Indian affairs in the middle department, at the expense of the United Colonies, provide for the entertainment of the sachems and warriors of the Indians, and their attendants and messengers, with the accustomed hospitality, when they come to Pittsburg, to treat, or give intelligence, to visit.

That the commissioners for Indian affairs acquaint the Indians in their respective departments, that Congress have formed a plan for importing goods to supply their necessities:

That the commissioners for Indian affairs inquire into, and report the cause, of the discontent of the Indians in the middle department, what measures may be pursued to restore quiet and harmony, and to use their utmost endeavors to prevent hostilities.

The prosperity of Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, is a desirable object, but it is neither seasonable nor prudent to contribute towards its relief or support, out of the public treasury.

That as soon as conveniently possible, a treaty be held between the commissioners for Indian affairs in the middle department, and the nations of Indians to the westward; and that the commissioners appoint the time and place of meeting for that purpose.

That it be referred to Captain George Morgan, Æneas Mackay, and Captain John Neville, to adjust and determine all matters in difference between Coquataginta, or Captain White Eyes, and Messrs. Bernard Gratz and Michael Gratz; and that the arbitrators, in case either of the parties to whom it is recommended to submit to their award, shall refuse to abide thereby, report the reasons of such refusal, with a state of the case, and any other matters they shall think fit, to Congress.

That disputes which shall arise between any of the white people and the Indians in their dealings, if the latter will consent, be determined by arbitrators, chosen, one by each of the parties, and another by the commissioners for Indian affairs, or when they are absent, by the agent in the department where the Indian party resides.

Resolved, That that part of the report relative to Fort Detroit be postponed.

The Congress then considered the draft of a speech to be delivered to Captain White Eyes, previous to determining on this the Congress proceeded to the choice of an agent for Indian affairs in the middle department.

Resolved, That the sum of three hundred dollars be presented to Captain White Eyes.

Resolved, That George Morgan, the agent for Indian affairs in the middle department, be empowered to purchase for Captain White Eyes, two horses with two saddles and bridles, and that the treasurers be directed to pay to said Mr. Morgan, a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars for defraying the expense thereof.

Resolved, That the following speech be delivered to Captain White Eyes tomorrow morning.

Text of Speech to Brother Captain White Eyes

We have not been unmindful of our promises made to you and your nation, the 16 of December. We now thank you for your speech to us of the 2d of last month.

Brothers, the Delawares,

At the council fire, at Pittsburg, last fall, and since by our brother Captain White Eyes, who hath been all the winter with us, you requested our assistance to promote peace and useful knowledge among you, particularly the knowledge of the Christian religion. We rejoice, brothers, to find you thus disposed, and will, as early as we can, provide a suitable minister, and schoolmaster, and a sober man to instruct you in agriculture. These things we agree to do, brothers, at your request, and to convince you that we wish to advance your happiness, and that there may be a lasting union between us, and that, as you express it, we may become one people. The introduction of useful arts among you will be affected, we apprehend, by encouraging handicraft men to settle and reside in your country. The method of doing this, must be left to your own discretion.


We desire that you will make it known among all the Indian nations to the westward, that we are determined to cultivate peace and friendship with them, and that we will endeavor, by making the best regulations in our power, to prevent any of our people wronging them in any manner, or taking their lands; and that we will strive to put the trade between us on such a footing, as will secure the peace, and promote the interest of all parties; and we expect, that all the wise men of every Indian nation, will use their influence for the same purpose.


We have named George Morgan as agent under our commissioners for Indian affairs in the middle department, and we desire you will confer with him on whatever business you may have with us. We hope you will inform him of all public matters. We recommend him to your friendship.


You tell us, that your uncles, our brothers, the Wiandots, have given your nation a large tract of country, comprehended between the river Ohio on the south, the west branch of the river Muskingham and Sandusky on the west, Lake Erie on the north, and Presque Isle on the west [east]:


Hearken to our advice. As we are informed that your uncles, our brothers, the Six Nations, claim most of those lands, we recommend it to you to obtain their approbation of this grant to you from the Wiandots in public council, and have it put on record. Such a step will prevent uneasiness and jealousy on their part, and continue the confidence and friendship which subsists between you and them. We wish to promote the lasting peace and happiness of all our brothers, the Indian nations, who live with us on this great island. As far as your settlement and security may depend upon us, you may be assured of our protection. We shall take all the care in our power, that no interruption or disturbance be given you by our people, nor shall any of them be suffered, by force or fraud, to deprive you of any of your lands, or to settle them without a fair purchase from you, and your free consent. If contrary to our intention, any injury should be offered to you by any of our people, inform us of it, and we shall always be ready to procure you satisfaction and redress.

Brother Captain White Eyes,

We desire you will inform your nation, your uncles the Six Nations, and Wiandots, your grand children the Shawanese, and all the other nations, what you have seen and heard among us, and exhort them to keep fast hold of the covenant chain of friendship, which we have so lately repaired and strengthened. As you are now about to depart, we present you with some money to buy cloths and necessaries, and pay your expences, and we wish you a good journey, and bid you farewell.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock to Morrow.

Oliver Wolcott to Laura Wolcott

As to News [I] enclose you a Paper in which the latest most material Resolves of Congress are inserted.  The Tea now in the Country will undoubtedly in a Very few days (by Resolve of Congress) be permitted to be consumed.  The general Complexion of Affairs gives little ground to expect an Accommodation with Great Britain on former Terms.  Nothing as I hear of has happened of Consequence since my last in the Southern Colonies. There is a great Ardor amongst the People this Way in support of American Rights. The low Tories under the Mark of Patriotism are converting every Measure to perplex the Whig Interest.  They are sensible that Things must soon make an absolute Crisis and they are now making their last Struggles, but they will be ineffectual.  It is most evident that this Land is under the Protection of the Almighty, and that We shall be Saved, not by our Wisdom nor by our might, but by the Lord of Hosts who is wonderful in Council and Almighty in all his Operations.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.