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Pennsylvania Assembly Pledges to Fulfill Terms of Treaty of Fort Stanwix
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The Pennsylvania Assembly vows to enforce land-based provisions of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, negotiated in 1768 by Sir William Johnson with the Six Nations Iroquois. “Nothing, therefore, in our power shall be wanting, which shall appear necessary and effectual to prevent future Settlements on the lands unpurchased of the Indians…

JOSEPH GALLOWAY. Autograph Document Signed as Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, to Pennsylvania Governor John Penn, February 10, 1769, [Philadelphia, Pa.] 1 p., 9 x 14¼ in.

Inventory #21157.99       ON HOLD

Complete Transcript

A Message to the Governor from the Assembly

May it please your Honour,

We have taken into our Consideration your Message, acquainting us, that a General Boundary line was happily settled, by Sir William Johnson His Majesty’s Superintendant of Indian Affairs, between the Indians of the Six Nations, the Delawares and Shawanese, & his Majestys Middle Colonies. The Accomplishments of a measure so important to the British Interest in America could not fail to give us the utmost Satisfaction, as we reason to expect it will be Means of preserving that Harmony and Friendship between these Colonies and the Natives, which have heretofore, from various crises, been too frequently interrupted. It is also particularly agreeable to us, to learn that the Proprietaries of this Province [the Penn family] have purchased a large Tract of Country within that Boundary, from whence a Prospect is afforded of new and extensive Settlements, and a further Increase of Inhabitants within this Province.

And as we esteem it our incumbent Duty, it shall be our constant care to pay a strict regard and attention to whatever objects His Majesty shall, in his Wisdom, be graciously pleased to recommend to our consideration. Nothing, therefore, in our power shall be wanting, which shall appear necessary and effectual to prevent future Settlements on the lands unpurchased of the Indians, and every other Abuse or Act of Injustice that can reasonably create in them a Disaffection to the Colonies [inserted: in general] or in this Province in particular.

                                                            Signed by Order of the House.

                                                            Joseph Galloway

February 10th. 1769

[docket:] A Message to the Governor / from the Assembly. / February 10th, 1769. / (Entered in Council Minutes / the same day.)

Historical Background

The Pennsylvania Assembly pledges to deal justly with the Indian tribes and to prevent new settlements on “unpurchased” Indian lands. In September 1768, Sir William Johnson had convened a conference at Fort Stanwix – “accompanied by twenty boat-loads of presents, the Governor of New Jersey, and Commissioners for Virginia and Pennsylvania, he met with 2,200 Indians from the Six Nations, the Delawares and the Shawnees,” according to historian Fintan O’Toole. The resulting Treaty of Fort Stanwix established a definitive western boundary line between lands belonging to the Proprietors of Pennsylvania (the Penn heirs) and lands occupied by the Indians of the Six Nations (this line extended north into New York and south into Virginia. The territories to the west of the line, running from Fort Stanwix south to the Delaware, then along the Susquehanna’s west branch, overland to the Allegheny, and down the Ohio to the mouth of the Tennessee, remained Indian Country. This agreement effectively consigned the weaker Shawnee and Delaware tribes to abandon their homelands and to resettle permanently in the Ohio Country or further west.

The new Fort Stanwix line lay further west than the line previously established by the Proclamation of 1763, and settler incursions into the area between the two lines began almost before the ink was dry on the Treaty itself.

Joseph Galloway (1731-1803) was a major politician of the Quaker Party in late colonial Pennsylvania, and a friend and ally of Benjamin Franklin, who turned Loyalist early in the American Revolution. He was Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly from 1766-1774, and opposed the Stamp Act and Townshend Duties. Galloway then represented his colony at the First Continental Congress, where he proposed a compromise plan of imperial reform which called for a separate Parliament for the colonies. Defeated, he reluctantly signed the non-importation agreement, but was ideologically opposed to independence, and shifted towards Loyalism. Late in 1776, Galloway joined British Commander-in-Chief Sir William Howe, and in 1777, accompanied him in the conquest of Philadelphia. For nearly a year until Howe abandoned the city, Galloway was the chief civilian administrator of Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania Assembly convicted him of treason in absentia and confiscated his estates.


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