Address of Tarhe,
Grand Sachem of the Wyandot Tribe
to the Assemblage at the Treaty of Greenville
July 22, 1795; Isaac Zane, interpreter
Editor’s note: Tarhe was the first chief to sign the Treaty of Greenville as chief of the tribe that headed the Northwest Confederacy. As keepers of the Camulet, the Wyandots were entrusted with the Indian copy of the treaty.
“Elder brother! Now listen to us. The great Spirit above has appointed this day for us to meet together. I shall now deliver my sentiments to you, the fifteen fires. I view you, lying in a gore of blood. It is me, an Indian who caused it. Our tomahawk yet remains in your head- the English gave it to me to place there.
“Elder brother! I now take the tomahawk out of your head; but with so much care you shall not feel pain or injury. I will now tear a big tree up by the roots and throw the hatchet into the cavity which they occupy; where the waters will wash it away to where it can never be found. Now, I have buried the hatchet, and I expect that none of my color will ever again find it out. I now tell you that none in particular can justly claim this ground- it belongs in common to all. No earthly being has an exclusive right to it.” (Spoken on a blue belt.)
“Brothers, the fifteen fires, listen! You now see that we have buried the hatchet. We still see blood around, and in order to clear away all grief, we now wipe away the blood from around you, which together with the dirt that comes away from it, we bury with the hatchet in the hole we have made for them, and replace the great tree, as it stood before, so that neither our children, nor our children’s children can ever again discover it.” (Spoken on a blue string attached and both delivered.)
“Brothers, listen! I now wipe your body clean from all blood with this white, soft linen (a white wampum) and I do it with as much tenderness as I am capable of. You have appointed this house for the chiefs of the different tribes to sit in with you, and none but good words ought to be spoken in it. I have swept it clean- nothing impure remains in it.
“Brothers, listen! We are both placed on this ground. I now wipe the tears from your eyes and open your ears. I see your throat is so stopped that you are nearly suffocated- I now open your throat and make it quite clean, that whatever the Great Spirit may think proper for you to swallow may go down without any obstruction. I see also that your heart is not in its true situation- I now place it in its proper position, that anything you may hear from us, your brothers, may descend directly to it, and what you shall say may come with truth and ease from it.
“Brother! I clear away the hovering clouds that we may enjoy a clear, bright day; and easily see the sun which the Great Spirit has bestowed on us, to rise and set continually.” (A white string.)
“Brother! Listen to us Indians, who now speak to you. The bones which lie scattered of your ancient warriors who fell in defense of the present cause, we gather all together, and bury them now, and place this white board over the, that they may never again be seen by our posterity.” (A white belt and string.)
“Brother warrior! Listen to us. The great chiefs are about to speak to you. Your chiefs and warriors present, listen also.
“Brother! We speak not from our lips, but from our hearts, when we are resolved upon good works. I always told you that I never intended to deceive you, when we entered upon this business. It was never the intention of us Indians to do so. I speak from my heart what I now say to you. The Great Spirit is now viewing us, and did he discover any baseness or treachery, it would excite his just anger against us.
“Brother! Listen to me. We are all of one mind, who are here assembled. This is a business not to be trifled with- it is a matter of the utmost concern to us. We happily so far agree in handling our ancestors’ records, who always worked for peace.
“Brother! You have proposed to us to build our good work on the treaty of Muskingum. That treaty I have always considered as formed upon the fairest principles. You took pity on us Indians- you did not do as our fathers, the British, agreed you should. You might by that agreement, have taken all our lands; but you pitied us, and let us hold part. I always looked upon that treaty to be binding upon the United States and us Indians.
“Brother! Listen to us Indians- I told you just now that we were upon business of the greatest moment. I now conclude the great work we have been employed in, and with this, I cover the whole earth, that it may appear white, and shine all over the world. I hope the Great Spirit will have pity on us, and make this work lasting.” (Four large mixed belts presented.)
“Brother! I am going to relate to you the treaty made at Muskingum in a few words. I have not forgotten that treaty; neither have you. At that time we settled a peace between the Delawares, Six Nations, Ottawas, Chippeways, Potawattamies, and us Wyandots. It is very true there were not so many different nations then assembled as are now present. We now establish a general, permanent, and lasting peace, forever.
“Brother! We are all sensible that when you struck the boundary, at that time, it ran from Tuscarawas to a little way below Loramie, where the fort stood, which was destroyed in 1752. I understand the line has since been moved a little toward us. Be strong, brothers, and fulfill your engagements.
“Brothers, listen! I have told you that I speak from my heart- you see the speeches I have delivered. Peruse them and see whether or not I have spoken with sincerity. This is all your brothers of the different nations present have this day to say to you.”