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In Their Own Words

November 20, 1734

Indian Trade Concerns Expressed to Trustees

Concerned about South Carolina’s policies in regulating the Indian trade, Patrick Mackay, Georgia’s agent with the Creeks, wrote the Georgia Trustees from Uchee Town:

“… Carolina, now finding that by all appearance they will lose the trade to the Creek Nation, are become indifferent how it’s regulated in the Nation, and by that means they grant licenses to every person that demands it, which may be attended with a dangerous consequence, if not timely adverted to. for if too many traders are thrown into the nation, of necessity the one will undersell the other, and then they will begin to cheat and play tricks with the Indians and by this means ruin the trade and maybe incense the Indians to a rupture. What will much conduce to a discord is the large quantities of rum now imported among the Indians and winked at by Carolina, since they find they are to lose the benefit of their trade. I advised as many as I saw of the traders to carry no rum into the nation, but they plainly told me without the whole they neither could nor would. For say they, if we have no rum, and our neighbouring trades have, the Indians of our towns will lay out none of our skins but will travel if it was an hundred miles to the trader’s store that keeps the rum. Yet all agree that rum is a pernicious thing to be carried into the Nation, for they sway they never have discords with the Indians but when the Indians and traders get drunk and that it is scarcely impossible to disoblige any Indian if sober.”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe’s Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990).