The following letter describes outrageous ways in which the Wyandots were tricked. It is a letter written by John McIntire Armstrong to his fiancee, Lucy Biglow, in 1837, during the years the Wyandots were resisting the efforts of the government to move them out.
Upper Sandusky (Ohio) August the 29th 1837
I thought I should not address you again before I returned to Mansfield, but (as you are a believer in special Providence) you will allow me to say fate has decreed otherwise. Circumstances will not permit me to return yet. You must have been little vexed at the hurried manner in which my other letter was executed: forgive it, and although stars are peeping through the window, I will endeavour to make an atonement and give you a full letter. When I give you all I have to write, you will easily discover why I am detained here still. I gave you only a hint in my last letter. The truth is we are all in an uproar about our lands.
Col. Bresh & McCutchen two men as destitute of honourable principle as ever were permitted breathe, are commissioned to effect a treaty with the Wyandotts. They came on. Every respect was paid them due to gentlemen. They made their propositions to the chiefs and principal men of the nation, and although every one was fully determined in his own mind, yet it was thought best not to give an immediate answer so as to give no ground whatever for them to impute to us a want of deliberation and respect for their proposals. The sentiments of the whole nation was obtained publicly and was found as was well known before that a very small proportion were in favour of going to the west.
This was communicated to the commissioners and told that it was impossible for them to do any thing, that they always acted upon the principle that the majority should rule in all matters affecting the whole nation that they should now consider their attempts to negotiate at an end.
This did not satisfy them. They had represented the department that a large portion of the Wyandots were in favor of emigrating. A gross misrepresentation in order to obtain their commission. They have now drawn up articles of a treaty, and are obtaining individual signers. And it is an absolute shame to the civilized community to witness the manner in which they obtain them. They have for these two months been tampering with offscourings of the nation. If nothing else will do they get them drunk and then obtain their names. Such has been the fact and after they have become sober again all their attempts are in vain to release themselves. When once there, it must stay, interference of the Chief of the nation are fruitless.
Some worthless vagabonds sign their names for the sake of a little provision, and yet these enlightened men are not ashamed of having to do with such individuals. In order to obtain numbers all are put down, women and children and individuals who have been dead these ten years. One of the selling party will come and sign for several individuals who have been dead these ten years. One of the selling party will come and sign for several individuals beside himself whether he knows their sentiments or not and yet all are received. If they would stop here and let us alone we could well spare these classes of
our nation, but such is not the intention. The avowed object of the selling party is to get as many names as possible and go on to Washington and sell the whole or half the reservation.
They have not got the names of one third of the nation nor anything near it fairly gotten. Yet from the current state of the present administration we have no doubt that a treaty could be effected for the whole reservation even with this small number. Yes the government did its utmost to effect a treaty for the whole reservation last winter with three individuals.
And now our only chance is defeat their foul scheme when it is presented to congress. Accordingly a delegation will be sent on to the city for that purpose. Congress sits on the first Monday in September and the object is to have their business done at this session. The delegation is not chosen yet. It is more than probable that I will have to go with them. John Barnet our executive chief and one of his counsellors spoke to me particularly not to return to Mansfield yet…my sheet is nearly full. I have given you a succinct account of the leading occurrences that effect my interest or the people with whom I am connected with has been the object and desire to do everything of the kind… I write no more. As always I wish to be remembered to your Mother in sentiments of regard and kind feeling to the family.
Emphatically your friend,
J. M. Armstrong