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title:“Instructions for Christopher Gist”
authors:George Mason
date written:1752-4-28

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:30 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Dec. 2, 2023, 12:07 a.m. UTC

Mason, George. "Instructions for Christopher Gist." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 1. Ed. Bernard Bailyn and James Morton Smith. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 15-18. Print.
Manuscript, Mercer Papers, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Instructions for Christopher Gist (April 28, 1752)

[28 April 1752]
Whereas the Governor has been pleased to grant you a commission empowering and requiring you to go as an Agent for the Ohio company to the Indian treaty to be held at Logstown on the sixteenth day of May next, you are therefore desired to acquaint the chiefs of the several nations of Indians there assembled that his Majesty has been graciously pleased to grant unto the Honble Robert Dinwiddie Esquire Governor of Virginia and to several other gentlemen in Great Britain and America by the name of the Ohio company a large quantity of land on the river Ohio and the branches thereof thereby to enable and encourage the said company and all his Majesties subjects to make settlements and carry on an extensive trade and commerce with their brethren the Indians and to supply them with goods at a more easie rate than they have hitherto bought them.1 And considering the necessities of his children the [six nations and the other Indians to the Westward of the English settlements and the hardships they labour under for] want of a due supply of goods and to remove the same as much as possible his Majesty has been pleased to have a clause inserted in the said companys grant obliging them to carry on a trade and commerce with their brethren the Indians and has granted them many priviledges and immunitys in consideration of their carrying on the said trade and supplying the Indians with goods. That the said company have accordingly begun the trade and imported large quantitys of goods, but have found the expence and risque of carrying out the goods such a distance from the inhabitants without having any place of safety by the way to lodge them at or opportunity of getting provisions for their people so great that they cannot afford to sell their goods at so easy a rate as they would willingly do nor are they at such a distance able to supply their brethren the Indians at all times when they are in want for which reason the company find it absolutely necessary immediately to settle and cultivate the land his Majesty has been pleased to grant them which to be sure they have an indisputable right to do as our brethren the six nations sold all the land to the westward of Virginia at the treaty of Lancaster to their father the King of Great Britain and he has been graciously pleased to grant a large quantity thereof to the said Ohio company yet being informed that the six nations have given their friends the Dellawars leave to hunt upon the said land and that they still hunt upon part thereof themselves and as the settlements made by the English upon the back land may make the game scarce or at least drive it further back the said company therefore to prevent any difference or misunderstanding which might possibly happen between them and their brethren the Indians touching the said lands are willing to make them some further satisfaction for the same and to purchase of them the land on the East side the river Ohio and Allagany as low as the great Conhaway providing the same can be done at a reasonable rate and our brethren the six nations and their allies will promise and engage their friendship and protection to all his Majesties subjects setling on the said lands, when this is done the company can safely venture to build factorys and storehouses upon the river Ohio and send out large cargoes of goods which they cannot otherwise do. And to convince our brethren the Indians how desirous we are of living in strict friendship and becoming one people with them you are hereby empowered and required to acquaint and promise our brethren in the name and on behalf of the said company that if any of them incline to take land and live among the English they [may purchase] the said companys lands upon the same terms and conditions as the white people have and enjoy the same priviledges which they do, as far as is in the companys power to grant. And that you may be the better able to acquaint our brethren the Indians with these our proposals, you are to apply to Andrew Montour the interpreter for his assistance therein and the company hereby undertake and promise to make him satisfaction for the trouble he shall be at. If our brethren the six nations approve our proposals the company will pay them whatever sum you agree with them for, and if they want any particular sort of goods you are to desire them to give you an account of such goods and the company will immediately send for them to England and when they arrive will carry them to whatever place you agree to deliver them at. If our brethren the Indians do not approve these proposals, and do refuse their protection and assistance to the subjects of their father the King of Great Britain, you are forthwith to make a return thereof to the said Ohio company that they may inform his Majesty thereof. You are to apply to Colo. Cresap for what wampum you have occasion of on the company's account for which you are to give him a receipt.
You are also to apply to him for one of the companys horses to ride out to the Logstown.
As soon as the treaty is over you are to make an exact return of all your proceedings to the company.
Additional Instructions given Christopher Gist Gent on a Seperate Paper.
Upon your Arrival at the Treaty if you find the Commissioners do not make a general Agreement with the Indians in behalf of Virginia for the Settlement of the Land upon the Waters of the Ohio and Mississippi or that in such Agreement there are any doubtful or ambiguous Expressions which may be prejudicial to the Ohio Company you are then to endeavour to make purchase of the Land to the Eastward of the River Ohio and Allagany and procure the Friendship and protection of the Indians in Setling the said Land upon the best Terms you can for a quantity of Goods.
You are to agree with them to deliver the said Goods at the most convenient place you can if Possible at the Forks of Mohongaly, if the Indians give you a list of Goods which they desire to be sent for in return for their Land you are to enquire and find out as near as you can the usual prices of such Goods among the Indians, that we may be as near the Sum you agree with them for as possible.
You are to Engage Andrew Montour the Interpreter in the Companys Interest and get him to assist you in making a purchase of the Indians, and as the Company have great Dependance and Confidence in the said Andrew Montour they hereby not only promise to make him satisfaction for his trouble, but if he can make an Advantageous Bargain for them with the Indians they will in return for his good Offices let him have a handsome Settlement upon their Land without paying any purchase money upon the same Terms which the said Company themselves hold the Land, and without another consideration than the Kings Quit rents. If you can obtain a Deed or other written Agreement from the Indians, it must be taken in the names of the Honble. Robert Dinwiddie Esqr. Govr. of Virginia, John Hanbury Esqr. of the City of London Mercht. Capel Hanbury of the said City of London Mercht. John Tayloe, Presly Thornton, Philip Ludwell Lee, Thomas Lee, Richard Lee, Gawin Corbin, John Mercer, George Mason, Lawrence Washington, Augustine Washington, Nathaniel Chapman Esquires and James Scott Clerk, all of the Colony of Virginia, James Wardrop, Jacob Giles & Thomas Cresap Esqrs. of the province of Maryland and their Associates Members of the Ohio Company, in the said Deed or Agreement you are to mention the Bounds of the Land as expresly as possible that no dispute may arise hereafter, and we would have the Indians clearly understand what Land they sell us, that they may have no Occasion to complain of any Fraud or underhand dealings, as is often the Custom with them.
The said Ohio Company do hereby agree and oblige themselves to make you satisfaction for the Trouble and Expence you shall be at in Transacting their Affairs at the said Treaty pursuant to the Instructions by them Given you. Given under my hand in behalf of the Ohio Company this 28th. day of April 1752.

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