BRODHEAD, Daniel (1736-1809, Indian name: Maghingwe Keeshuch), Colonel, Continental Army. Autograph manuscript of a formal address to "Doonyoutat, principal chief of the Wyandats [Huron]," Head Quarters, Pittsburgh, 18 September 1779. 4pp, folio, scattered minor spotting, light browning, otherwise in very good condition.
RECRUITING INDIAN ALLIES ON THE PENNSYLVANIA FRONTIER. An important record of a frontier parley at Pittsburgh with chiefs of the Huron tribe, whom Brodhead sought to enlist against the British: "Brother...The Chiefs of the Wyandot have lived too long with the English to see things as they ought to do. They must have expected...that the Chief they sent to this Council fire would find the Americans asleep. But the Sun which the great Spirit has set to light this Island discovers to me that they are much mistaken." Brodhead asks whether the Wyandots, believing "the English were getting weaker and the Americans stronger" had supposed that "a few flattering words" and a prisoner exchange would "secure to them their lives the lives of their Women & Children & their Lands." The Shawnees, he adds, "have so often embrued their Hands in the blood of the Americans," that he is thankful to the Wyandots for "wiping away the Blood and...casting off that bad father the King of Great Britain over the great lake. He explains that "I left the Fort at Tuscarowas because it gave uneasiness to several of the Indian Nations"; but insists they must "send some of their Great men" as hostages to guarantee compliance with the treaty, and ensure they will attack the English "as they have killed and taken from the Americans...and on every occasion join against our Enemies." Brodhead affirms that he is "a warrior as well as a Councillor" and that he has "spoken from my heart."
He reminds them that the Shawnees have "heard their grandfathers the Delawares & they have heard me. I sent them a good talk and they threw it into the fire," so, he warns, "I cannot now prevent the Shawnees being struck. Col. [William] Clark I hear is gone against them & will strike them...." The text of Brodhead's speech is punctuated at intervals with the carefully recorded presentation of strings of white and black wampum. In August, Brodhead and a force of about 600 men had launched an expedition 400 miles up the Allegheny from Pittsburgh, burning Indian villages and destroying food stocks. These drastic measures effectively separated the Huron from the Iroqiois alliance. Broadhead was voted the thanks of Congress a month after this speech.
Brodhead's letters are rare. The only other example listed at auction since 1975 was in the Siebert Collection (Sotheby's, 21 May 1999, lot 294, $5,000).