The Lancaster treaty took place between June 28 and July 4, 1744 in the old courthouse. it was concluded by Iroquois( the Six Nations) and Maryland and Virginia colonies. The treaty focused on a land dispute between Virginia, Maryland and Iroquois. The dispute was centered on the Shenandoah Valley in Western Virginia where the interests of the populations and the three colonies tended to converge. Pennsylvania took part as an inter mediator with an attempt to play the part of a honest broker. Maryland and Virginia attended because Iroquois had threatened to extract payment forcibly form the frontier settlements which were claimed to have encroached their lands.
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The discussion between the Iroquois and the Colonial delegates was about the invasion by the Appalachian’s squatters of the eastern slopes. The Maryland and Virginia delegates did attend because the colonies were claiming the land in dispute. The Maryland and Virginia governors had for a period of two years been requested by the Iroquois to meet concerning the back part lands which they claimed to have aright over them.( James 2008, 45). The Iroquois complained that inhabitants from Maryland and Virginia had settled in their land without their permission. They also claimed that Maryland and Virginia had no right of settling in those land since they had no consent and also had not purchased the land neither. The Iroquois were possible of denying the French people passage through their territory due to this reason of land dispute.
According to his 2008 edition James noted in page 50 that, the Maryland representatives said that neither the Great King of England nor his subjects had ever received a claim for a period of over one hundred years from the Iroquois or the Six Nations. “Our Great King of England and his subjects have always possesssed the Province of Maryland free and undisturbed from any claims of the Six Nations for above hundred years past, and you are not saying anything before us, convinces us you though you had any lands in Maryland”. They went ahead to tell the Iroquois that they were telling them nothing based on those grounds and that they had no pretense to any Maryland land. The Maryland also added that the Iroquois had no right to find out or make claims of any land under whatever title. The colonists were not pleased by the words of Canassatego saying that they were their elder brother or their claim to the American soil. (James 2008, 4).
The Maryland said that the Iroquois had a small reason to keep complaining about land which they had first communicated about seven years ago and re communicated again two years ago to Pennsylvania (James 2008, 9). They said that the Six Nations had for a long time never complained about the land and it meant that they had no issue with the possession. The Maryland argued that there was no need to conflict bearing in mind that they were sons of one great king and are as one man and therefore no need to stir up quarrel. They convinced them with sweet words saying that past treaties have always emphasized that they stay like brothers. Through this they further told them that every misunderstanding between them should be done away with in every way through brotherly kindness and misunderstanding.
“when you spoke about the affair of land yesterday, you went back to old times and told us you had been in pocession of the province of Maryland above one hundred year: but what is one hundred years in comparison to when our claim began?”(James 2008, 53). They insisted that the Maryland came out of the ground in a country that lies beyond the seas. They further argued that over hundred years the dutch had come in a ship to their land. They had brought with them goods such as knives, awls and guns and taught the Iroquois how to use them. This made the Iroquois think they were good people and went ahead and welcomed them telling them to tie their ship to the shore bushes.They further liked them and tied their ship to the trees and seeing that this was not secure enough, they allowed them to tie the ship to the rocks and even to the mountains. It was with time that they started allowing them use their land and resulted being the same people with the Iroquois. It was later that the dutch started proving how they though they had actually helped us by bringing the tool; knives, awls and even guns and kept on saying that if it were not fro them the Iroquois could have perished lone time ago. They claimed this as false claiming that they lived even before that and may be in a better way. The speaker Conassatego added that the Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania had divided land amongst themselves and that was the reason they could not even tell how much each owned.
The Virginia people claimed that they actually had right to the land since it had costed them a lot including blood. They demanded to be informed of the transactions which had been made and insisted that they even wanted to know the interpreter. They claimed that they conquered several nations including those back of the mountains in Virginia. They told them that what they were experiencing was merely from the fact that they were conquest. They denied the idea that the Great King of England and the people of that colony conquered the Indians who lived there arguing that it was not true. They claimed that what specifically lied beyond the mountains had been conquered by them and that the Virginians have a right to it. The Virginians further said that the mountains are the boundaries between them. They also reminded them of a treaty they held at Albany where they made a fence with the belt of Wampum and said that if any visitors came to the hill they would kill them. They argued that that was the same situation they were applying and asked the treaty to be confirmed on that (James 2008, 54-55).
They also complained that the Iroquois came and lived to the wrong side of the hill contrary of the agreement and the Virginians never bothered after all they were not in a position to know what the people in the other side were doing. They also said that the Six Nations came and settled along the sides of the road of which they never complained of. They also demanded that the issue of settling along the roads be settled along the grant of the land.” That the great river of potowmack and the high ridges which extend all along the frontiers on Virginia to the Westward of the present setlements of that colony, shall be for ever the established between the Indians subject to the Dominions of Virginia and the Indians belkonging and depending on the Five Nations” (James 2008, 68).
According to page 65 to 66 of the 2008 James edition, the Iroquois said that the Virginians had never possessed land there before. They also said that the treaty of Albany which they know was one made seventy years ago which was made for friendship and treated them as brethren which was by Colonel Henry Coursey.they also said that the other treaty was the Albany of fifty eight years ago in which the people of Virginia gave out their land to their Great King for his protection which was made by Lord Howard. The last treaty they talked about was the one made by Governor Spots wood which they claimed to have failed to recite. This treaty actually prohibited the Virginia to settle to westward of the mountains. They said that as the treaty said before, the Great River of Potomack and the high ridge mountains extending along the frontiers of Virginia shall be the boundaries between Indians and Virginia and the Indians of the Five nations. They said this treaty gave them no authority to walk on those lands. They said that this is the treaty that they were referring and that it had been sent to their King had no action taken and to add it all some people had copies of the same treaty and still put their claims on the same land.
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The Virginia said that the Southern Indians also demanded the same land as the Iroquois. The Virginia however told them that they were ready by all means to live as brothers just as before and settle any disputes in a fair and honest way. They told the Six Nations that their complain should be made to the Great King who had the right to remove the people who had intruded. (James 2008, 67). ” the dispute between Virginia and you is setting up your right aginst the great King under whose grants the people you compalin are settled. Nothing but a command from the Great King can remove them”.
The three colonies had supporting evidence of how the land in question was theirs. At the end they came in to terms saying that the Connastoge and Sasquahannah indians had a right to sell the lands to the Virginia and Maryland. This is because the lands were theirs at those times but they had been conquered and they belonged to them. They argued that it was by no means that the Iroquois owned them since they have never sold or purchased any land (James 2008, 56). They actually demanded to be told how and when they conquered the Indians.
At the end of the treaty, the Iroquois left with presents from both Maryland and Virginia. They were also able to reaffirm the importance of the centrality of the Iroquois confederacy and covenant chain. The Iroquois also at the end of the discussion put marks on two official deeds for the Virginia and the Maryland colonies to signify the extinguishing ownership of the land in dispute. The treaty ended in such a way that both sides were contended and happy of the outcomes (James 2008, 86-87).
In conclusion, the treaty of Lancaster 1744 was about settling land disputes between the Virginia, Maryland and the Iroquois. The Pennsylvania was used to take part of an inter mediator and a honest broker. The Virginia claimed the land was theirs majorly because of the treaty of the roads. The Iroquois denied the argument saying that their was a treaty of Albany which gave them no right to settle in their lands. The Virginia further said that it was only the Great King who had authority to displace the people and no other force. The Maryland had settled in the land for over hundred years without any claim. The Iroquois demanded that the Maryland tell them how relevant hundred years was to the dispute in question. Despite all this arguments, the three came to agreement with Iroquois receiving lots of presents from both sides. Iroquois also gave them official deeds signifying the extinguishing land ownership.
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