Western Lands and the American Revolution

By Thomas Perkins Abernethy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXV
SPANISH AND BRITISH INTRIGUE IN THE WEST, 1788-1789

DURING 1788 the efforts of Congress to deal with the Indian problem were as futile as ever. Richard Butler was now acting as sole agent for the Northern Department, and Richard Winn, a person with no special qualifications for the post, served for the Southern. Joseph Martin was appointed deputy agent to the Cherokee and Chickasaws. War between Georgia and the Creeks was threatening, but Congress provided for a treaty, to be negotiated by Winn. He was to have the assistance of agents appointed for that purpose by Georgia, North and South Carolina. North Carolina failed to make an appointment, but Georgia and South Carolina selected their ex-governors Matthews and Pickens. When Governor Handley of Georgia was notified of the Congressional arrangements he wrote on February 19 to Sevier, saying that preparations for hostilities would be suspended. It looked as though the Franklinites had lost their last chance of securing lands in the Bend of the Tennessee.1

But Sevier was not to be left without occupation. The anti-Franklinite party in Washington and Sullivan Counties had been growing apace and many of the early leaders of the new-State movement had fallen away from the cause. Under the leadership of John Tipton, some of Sevier's property was attached for payment of North Carolina taxes and an order was issued for the seizure of some county records supposed to be in Sevier's possession. A fight between the followers of the rival leaders occurred on or about February 3rd, and three men were killed in the fray.2

Tipton now appealed to Arthur Campbell to bring a force from Virginia to aid him in suppressing the rebel. Governor Randolph anticipated

____________________
1
A group of Virginians from Botetourt County had offered to assist Georgia in the War in consideration of land bounties. Governor George Handley to Preston, Smith, and Hawkins, Jan. or Feb., 1788, Executive Letter Book, G.D.A.; Handley to Sevier, Feb. 19, 1788, ibid.; same to Elijah Clarke, Nov. 20, 1788, ibid.; Andrew Pickens to Joseph Martin, Nov. 10, 1788, Draper MSS., 33J144; Williamson to Martin, June 23, 1788, ibid., 2XX17; appointment of Martin, ibid., 2XX23; Joseph Martin to William (?) Blount, July 25, 1788, J. G. Blount MSS., N.C.H.C.; C.V.S.P., IV, 401-402, 460; A.S.P., I.A., I, 26.
2
Samuel Johnston to J. G. Blount, April 12, 1788, J. G. Blount MSS., N.C.H.C.; Abernethy, Tennessee, p. 86.

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