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In Their Own Words

September 25, 1792

Indian Trading Concerns Expressed

Savannah merchant Joseph Clay wrote to Gov. Edward Telfair expressing his concern over the US. treatment of the Creek Indians, though his concern was more commercial than humanitarian:

“… By Mr. Hull’s Account it appears the Citizens of the United States are almost outlawed in the Creek Nation, and that were it not for the influence of some individuals among & with the Indians, ‘twou’d hardly be safe to go among them in the way of trade - the Spaniards who we suppose & say are far behind the Neighbouring nations in policy & commerce act much wiser than we do, at least in Indian affairs - they fix a superintendent of the Commissary among the Indians in their nation, where he ought to be - he talks of his Catholic majestys subjects, and that he must protect them & this I believe within our own territory, & if Mr. Hull’s information is good, & he speaks very positively, he is not backward in doing us as a Nation, and this State in particular, every ill office - and he says further that its said this very Man has been not long past stirring up the Northern tribes against us - I shou’d suppose the necessity of our having a proper representative in the Nation, must soon impress every part of our government… .”

Source: Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. VIII, Letters of Joseph Clay, Merchant of Savannah, 1776-1793 (Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1913), p. 253.