Letter, 1792 Aug. 28, Natches [i.e., Natchez District] to Edw[ar]d Telfair, Gov[ernor of Georgia] / Manuel Gayoso de Lemos

Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842
Letter, 1792 Aug. 28, Natches [i.e., Natchez District] to Edw[ar]d Telfair, Gov[ernor of Georgia] / Manuel Gayoso de Lemos
Gayoso de Lemos, Manuel, 1747-1799
Date of Original:
Five Civilized Tribes--Government relations
United States--Foreign relations--1789-1797
Florida--History--Spanish colony, 1784-1821
United States, Georgia, 32.75042, -83.50018
United States, Florida, 27.664827, -81.515754
letters (correspondence)
Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, Governor of the Natchez District, Governor of Louisiana and West Florida (1797-1799), writes to Georgia Governor Edward Telfair (1786-1787, 1790-1793) on August 28, 1792 in response to a communication from Telfair and to soothe tensions between the Spanish government and the United States. Assuring Telfair of Spain's good will toward the United States, Gayoso de Lemos claims that misunderstandings caused by self-interested renegades, not the actions of his government, have soured relations between the two powers. He promises Telfair that it is not the policy of Spain to induce United States subjects to emigrate, and the Spanish governorship never condoned the distribution of publications promoting emigration to Spanish territory. On the subject of neighboring Indian nations, Gayoso de Lemos expresses his concern over possible disputes. He says that it is in the best interests of both Spain and the U.S. to keep peace with the Indians with whom they have ties and not to interfere with Indians aligned with another nation. Explaining that the Creeks, Choctaws and Chickasaws have historically allied themselves with Floridian powers, receiving gifts and trade goods from Spain at present, Gayoso de Lemos asks that Georgia refrain from sending traders into these communities and spreading mistrust among the people.
Digital image and encoded transcription of an original manuscript, scanned, transcribed and encoded by the Digital Library of Georgia in 2001, as part of GALILEO, funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
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Bibliographic Citation (Cite As):
Cite as: [title of item], Telamon Cuyler, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries, presented in the Digital Library of Georgia
14 pages/leaves
Original Collection:
Manuscript held by the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries, Telamon Cuyler, box 03, folder 27, document 02.
Holding Institution:
Hargrett Library

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Mr. Isaac Perry delivered to me Your Excellency's Letter; as he expressed that it only contained an Official Recommendation of his business in this Government, I had no objection to open it, tho' [though] not directed to me; I was acquainted with his Brother who is a respectable Character and for whom I have a great regard; the addition of your recommendation has made me indeen [indeed] very axious [anxious] to oblige him and I believe that he returns fully persuaded of my good wishes.
This incident offers me an agreeable opportunity of assuring your Excellency of the true sense of my propensity to oblige any of the Subjects of the United States and much more

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when so highly recommended as Mr. Perry was. This assertion would be sufficient at any other time to express my sentiments, but now would be defficient [deficient], if I was not to add some reflections that will just suit my mind when directed to such a Person as You.
The United States long before their Independancy [Independency] received proofs from the Court of Spain. -- sufficient to assertain [ascertain] her good disposition, and after the Independancy [Independency], the two respective Courts have been sincere friends, and under the best understanding.
Sovereign States with regard to the world are are [are] the same, as in an Empire, Kingdom, State & even like in a private family where every [added text: one ] has its pretention [pretension], and they are never so well settled as when left to the heads of the familly [family], whom in general consult the true Interest of the rest; the heads of Family's in Sovereign States are their respective Governments, ! How happy all the World would be if differences were always left to the management of the heads of

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family's, States, Kingdoms, & Empires! If things were to take their natural course, I believe this would always be the case, but there is in every Country a number of Persons that to promote their private Interest will put in practice any sort of means should it be at the expence [expense] of the welfare of what ought to be most dear to them, which is their Country; I believe that I must add an other [another] cause, that without bad intention produces the same bad effect; this is the natural inclination that we all have to suspect for truth, even what we do not think probable, or rather to be allarmed [alarmed] at any suspition [suspicion] and provide against the danger without taking proper measures to inform ourselves of the real truth; and remaining in the doubt, we seperate [separate] ourselves from sincerity and fall into real mistrust. I am apprehensive that now this is the case between us. The United States are led to think, that it is the policy of our Government to

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to induce their Subjects to emigrate into this Government, employing for this purpose every persuation [persuasion] even that of circulating publications in the different States in the eyes of the public, the advantage they will enjoy with us. Our priciples [principles] are far from that and our Policy is the same of every Nation that wishes to settle part of its Dominions. We never ordered one single publication of those that have appeared, nor we would never attempt it, desireous [desirous] by principle to avoid every measure that might give umbrage to our freinds [friends], besides it would be a broach in that which we boast most of, that is honesty. His Catholic Majesty my Master has a great many very valuable Lands in this Province, and is desirous that every part of his Dominions may flourish and that happiness may be the lott [lot] of all his Subjects; has really granted very singular priviledges [privileges] to the Inhabitants of Louisi [added text: a ] na of any Nation whatsoever that voluntarily would come here, natives of old Spain and of its Dominions, French, Germans, Dutch

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Accadians, and from other different Nations, that were permitted by their respective Governments, came here, indeed some at the expence [expense] of his Majesty. Among this numerous Emigration there has been many Subjects of the United States and I dare say that if not through delicacy and to avoid giving jealousy to our Neighbours [Neighbors], we had encouraged Emigration from your Country by a small gift towards the expence [expense] of the Voyage, this province would be quite full of its poorer sort, but usefull [useful] Inhabitants; notwithstanding some have come, of all classes, not so many as it may be presumed in the United States; and like those of other Nations, we have received them with open Arms, leaving every body at full liberty to return to their respective Countries when ever they think proper.
The prejudice of old times, but that still is impressed in the minds of foreigners against us, untill [until] they are better acquainted, soon was removed from those that emigrated into this Province, perhaps

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they have wrote it to their freinds [friends] at home, whom not beleiving [believing] such report in our favor, some came to examine the truth with their own Eyes, and finding it really so, proposed to go back, settle their affairs, and return to become Inhabitants of this Country. -- among these were some persons that deserved particular consideration, and it was thought proper to grant them at their request a memorandum of the advantages granted here to Emigrants, but by no means with an intention that such conditions should circulate under the press, nor in any other manner contrary to the Laws of the Country; However some on their return, and of their own accord, thought they did a service to humanity to publish the said memorandum, adding what reflections they found convenient; it is certainly this, that is the cause of complaint of the United States, but that in reallity [reality] does not proceed from our, intention to debauch their Subjects; as this is the plain truth I leave to you every other reflection on the Subject
I dare say you find the first introduction

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of my correspondence, very tedious, but if I have an opportunity to continue it, I offer you that for the future it shall not be so, though not less important however as this must be by all means a long Letter I cannot help touching an other subject equally interesting.
The local position of the United States and that of his Majesty's Dominions in this part of the World in the neighbourhood [neighborhood] of different Indian Nations is an other [another] cause from which it may raise inadvertantly [inadvertently] motives of apparent disputes, only indeed for want of consulting one and other, for the Interest of the two Sovereign powers, are such, that well understood are not contradictory, but instead of that by the misrepresentation of persons that are not lovers of any of the two Countries, I am apprehensive that without a determined intention we are hurting each other, yet we will not Speak and in the mean while the danger is increassing [increasing] . I am too great a lover of truth to miss this opportunity to

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communicate to your Excellency my sincere oppinion [opinion] .
It is undoubtedly the Interest of Spain and of the United States to keep in peace these Indian Nations, that are attatched [attached] to each of us, and the means of obtaining this is to make them happy in the way that their situation requires; again, it should be the study of each power not to interfer [interfere] with the Indians, attatched [attached] to the other and always to give good advice to those that are our Freinds [Friends], not to injure neither Spain nor the United States. Of all times the Creeks in general, Chactas and Chicasaws have been attatched [attached] to that power that possessed the two Floridas; since these Provinces returned into our possession, we have constantly furnished these Nations every necessary and kept a constant trade there in the same terms that they had it in the time of the English; the vicinity of these Nations to our ports causes the said Trade to be the most

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natural. This being the case, it is not the true Interest of any other civilized Nation to send Traders to the formentioned [forementioned] Indians, nor ours to suffer it because it would be the ruin of our Commerce for reasons that I need not express to you, they being so well known, I really beleive [believe] that the United States does not interfer [interfere] in such Business, but there are people perhaps that have been Settled in this Country and have absented themselves to avoid punishment that they deserve for their bad conduct, that having no other recours [recourse], returned to the States, and represent falsities, such as that the Chicasaws and Chactaws, are displeased with us and that they wish to take the Americans by the hand, that they are ready to Join them in the American War, and such other allegations, with no other view than to be commissioned, deservingly or not; these people prevail on your first Officers to write to the Cheifs [Chiefs] of the Indian Nations, and charged

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with such credentials, they are intrusted with the Message to which they add imprudent discourses that put the Indians in defiance, some times, in favor and sometimes contra, and if they are insulted through their bad management, surely they will report to Congress that it is by our persuation [persuasion], and other discourses Capable of revolting, and though they may not always succeed in convincing, yet a certain doubt remains impressed, that if left unexamined degenerates into mistrust: Be assured, Sir, that this is realy [really] the present case, I am positive of it. People that have nothing to depend on, even honesty, have been employed and one Such is Smith one of the Commissioners that lately went to the Chactaw Nation and an other Thomas James of Cumberland that subscribed one of the Letters, both these persons are run away people from this Government and make it a practice as its convenient to them sometimes

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to be Americans and sometimes Spaniards, having Sworn fidelity to both Countries. such proceedings causes a suspition [suspicion] on the mind of the Chief Governor of the Province, and forces him to take those measures that he thinks himself bound to, in sight of which Congress does as much, and insencibly [insensibly] both powers are acting wrong for want of an explanation.
I have the trust of the Government of Natchez and its Dependencies, that comprehends from the Yazou to the Old Tonica, which is a great extent, in the vicinity of the Chactaws and Chicasaws, for which reason I have frequent opportunitys [opportunities] to talk to them, and have transacted business of importance, but there will not be one, that can say that I ever spoke a single word against the Interest of the United States and in my business never mentioned them, I expect

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you never have heared [heard] the contrary, but if by falsity you do, depend upon what I have the honor to assure you of.
My very long Letter must have an end and it will be with ratifying to Your Excellency, that nothing gratifies more my ambition than to contribute to the welfair [welfare] of Mankind & very particularly to keep a good understanding between My Sovereign & his Allies.
If in this Country I can serve Your Excellency in anything I shall do it with the greatest pleasure. I remain with the most distinguished consideration
Natchez the
28th Augt [August] 1792

Your Most humble Obedient Servt [Servant]
[Signed] Manuel Gayoso de Lemos
His Excellency Edward Telfaire Esqr.

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Spanish Govr. [Governor] dated Natches

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Spanish Governor
dated Natches


To Gov Edwd [Edward] Telfair