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Oneida Declaration of Neutrality

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Kirkland 57b

Declaration of Neutrality, 1775 (The first declaration of neutrality issued
on the American continent. This is the original document, written by an
Oneida Indian, one of Samuel Kirkland's pupils, and signed by 12 sachems of
the nation. It was addressed to the people of New England, and a copy of it
was taken by a delegation of the Indians to Hartford, Providence, and other
towns in the Eastern part of the country. Other papers in our possession
show why the Oneidas were unable to carry the rest of the Six Nations with
them in the matter of neutrality.) Kanonharoghare, June, 1775. These may
Certify all whom it may concern. That we the Chiefs, head men, councilors
warriors, and young men of the Oneida nation, this day assembled together
considering of affairs of importance, we say that these may certify all
whom it may concern that we are altogether for Peace, and not only we of
the Oneida nation. But other nations with whom we are connected. our desire
is to be neutral in these critical times--in these times of great
confusion: we desire not to meddle with any disputers that are now in
agitation. Let our English Brethren be assured of this truth that if we
were called to assist them against any other Power that would not find us
Backward in the Least. But we would Evidence to the world our regards fro
the English nation by fighting for their defense as in time past although
at the expense of our own lives, and Let all our New England Brethren be
fully assured by these lines and the token of friendship we send with
lines, that no one shall prevail with us, or persuade to take up arms
against you our English Brethren. we will not give you the least

and we will exert our utmost Endeavors to keep our Brethren the Six Nations
and others further Back from disturbing you in the Present difficult times.
So Let all be easy in their minds we are for Peace; ye are Brethren that
are at variance and this is the reason we desire to be neutrals. we are in
sincerity your very dear and true-friends Indian of the Oneida nation and
we hope that peace may be restored soon between Great Britain and her
Colony Wrote by Jacob Reed , an Oneida Indian, the Interpreter.

(The Indian "signatures" follow, written by Reed rather illegibly. Among
them are the names of Thomas, Skenandoa, and Hendrick, whom we know as
particular friends of Kirkland , often mentioned in his correspondence.)