OSL JOHN JOHNSTON TO MEIGS
Piqua Feby 16. 1813
I have the honor to acknowledge the Receipt of your Excellencys letter of the 6th. Instant. Finding that some uneasiness did prevail in the minds of the people on the Subject of the arrival of the Delaware Indians in this neighborhood, I lately addressed the public thro' the medium of the news papers stating the reasons why those Indians were brought in your Excellency will no doubt see that publication I will just now observe that in all my doings with the Indians I am acting under the Express orders of Genl. Harrison the removal of the Delawares in here, was by his positive written orders. you and the Honourable the members of the Assembly will allow that General Harrison must be a better judge of the proper course to pursue than any of us can be. certain noisy unprincipled men in this quarter some of whom are fattening on the public distress, have endeavored to impose on persons at a distance a beleif that a portion of the Indians brought in here are Miamies this is not correct. there is only one Miami among the whole and that one was shot thro& the hand by the Putawatimies at Chicago when accompanying Wells. I can assure your Excellency that a very disagreeable task is imposed on me, and nothing but a Sense of duty alone would induce me to remain in a situation so unplea- sant. there is no satisfying the people in these times, one or two artful demagogues can soon set a whole neighborhood in an uproar. As one acquaint- ed with Indian affairs must know that while the Delawares remain here with their women & children, they cannot make war upon us, they must first re- move them out of our reach. they have not an ounce of powder or Lead unless they receive it from us. if an attempt was made to disarm them or to remove them into the interiour, they would fly to the enemy. any thing like coercive measures would produce this effect.
I have not been able to perceive that the Indians have been more insolent than usual I Know that the report of the distruction of the left wing of our army has produced no such effect the imprudence of the whites has been such as to let the Indians know their views, they are con- sequently uneasy and if our people will persevere in their foolishness, the consequence will be that these Indians must from necessity disclaim our protection and join the enemy. your Excellency I believe Knows that I have as great inducements as any individual can have to preserve the peace of this frontier, I have my property here and all my relatives. I have [illeg.] confidence in Indians father than circumstances would uphold it, but from a long apprenticeship of 13 years working with & managing them I must be allowed to have some judgment in such matters. I could keep them at peace if the people w ould not embarrass me. let it be remembered if these Indians are added to the list of our enemies I am not chargeable with it. I thank your Excellency for your friendly letter and take the present opportunity to say that it will afford me pleasure at all times to give you any information in my power. I have the honor to remain &c
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