TNGenWeb Project
Indian Land Cessions
In Tennessee

A Virginia Company of London Record.
This letter concerns the relationship between the English settlers at James Town in Virginia Colony and their neighbors, the Powhatan Indians. The attitudes and actions of the early settlers of the Virginia Colony established the pattern of white/Indian relations for centuries to come. This letter tells not of the start of the problems, though. Those problems had started some years back. Then as the years passed, settlers advanced from the Atlantic seaboard, over the Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountains, to future Tennessee, and as their companion they brought with them frontier warfare.
John Martin. The Manner Howe to Bringe the Indians into Subjection.
December 15, 1622


The manner howe to bringe in the Indians into subjection wthout makinge an utter exterpation of them together wth the reasons.

First By disablinge the mayne bodie of the Enemye from haveinge the Sinnewes of all expedicons. As namely by Corne and all manner of victualls of anye worth.

This is to be acted two manner of wayes. }
First by keepeinge them from settinge Corne at home and fishinge.
Secondly by keepeinge them from their accustomed tradinge for Corne.
This first course
I assure myselfe
if they take it
wthout the other,
will make a
tedious Warr.
For The first it is p:formed by haveinge some 200 Souldiers on foote, Contynuallie harrowinge and burneinge all their Townes in wynter, and spoileinge their weares. By this meanes or people seacurely may followe their worke. And yet not to be negligent in keepeinge watch.

For The seacond there must provided some 10 Shallopps, that in May, June, Julye and August may scoure the Baye and keepe the Rivers yt are belonginge to Opichankanoe.

By this ariseth two happie ende }
First the assured takeinge of great purchases in skynnes and Prisoners.
Seacondly in keepinge them from tradinge for Corne on the Easterne shore and from ye Southward from whence they have five tymes more then they sett them selves.
At the North
west end of his
domyniona the
Monecans are
their enymies,
On the Norther
most side the
Patomecks and
other nations are
their enemyes.

This Course being taken they have noe meanes, but must yield to obedience, or flye to borderinge Neighbors who neither will receive them Nor indeede are able, for they have but groune Cleared for their owne use.

The keepinge of them from tradeinge wth the Easterne shore p:duceth two worthie effecte to or exceedinge profitt
First or assurance of Corne att all, tymes. }
Seacondly the ventinge of much, Cloth. }
My Aunchiant &
servante have
seene in trade at
one tyme 40
greate Canowes
laden wth these

For the Certentye of Corne it is best knowne to my selfe for yt by sendinge, & discoueringe those places, First I have not onely reaped the benefitt, but all the whole Collonye since; whoe had perished had it not bene discouered before Sr George Yardley came in by my Aunchient Thomas Savage & servantt, besides necessitie hath made those Savages more industrious then any other Indians in or Baye, wch followeth to appeare in this seacond p:fitt.

For the assured ventinge of Cloth it followeth Consequently two wayes. }
First by Varringe them of trade for skinns they haveinge none them selves. Seacondly by the necessite of haveinge clothinge wch by us shall & may be tendered att all Convenyent tymes.
p. 459d
Reasons why it is not fittinge utterlye to make an exterpation of the Savages yett.

My reasons are grounded two foulde. }
First uppon holy writt and my owne experience.
Seacondly other necessarie uses and p:fitte that maye retorne by the same.
Holy writt sayeth That god would not yt the Children of Israell though they were of farr greater numbrs., then wee are yet in many ages like to be, and came into a Countrie where weare walled townes, not to utterly distroy the heathen, least the woode and wilde beaste should over runn them

My owne observacon hath bene such as assureth me yt if the Indians inhabitt not amongst us under obedience And as they have ever kept downe ye woode and slayne the wolves, beares, and other beaste, (wch are in greate numbr.) we shalbe more opressed in short tyme by their absence, then in their hveing by us both for or owne securitie as allso for or Cattle.

They by experi-
ence willing and
able are to worke
in the heate of ye
day wch or sexe
are not.

Seacondly when as by ye meanes before spoken of, they shalbe brought into subjection and shalbe made to deliver hostriges for theire obediance, there is no doubt by gods grace but of the saveinge of many of their soules And then beinge natives are apter for worke then yet or English are, knowinge howe to attayne greate quantitie of silke, hempe, and flax, and most exquisite in the dressinge thereof For or uses fitt for guides uppon discou'ye into other Countries adiacent to ours, fitt to rowe in Gallies & friggetts and many other pregnant uses too tedious to sett downe.

Nowe for avoydinge future daynger in or Collonye that may growe Two especiall er vocable lawes are to be made uppon seaveare penallties. }
First ye none of what ranke soeuer doe ever trinke or trade wth in the late prcinct of Opichankanoe nor any borderinge neighbors that ayded him in this last disaster.
Seacondly for or owne people to sett & sowe a sufficient proporcon of corne for their owne uses, and yearely to lay upp into a granary a p:porcon for wch if they have noe use for them selves the next yeare then to be sould and every man to have his dewe payd him.
The infinate trade
they have
had in this 4 years of
enabled Opichan-
kanoe to hyer
many auxiliaries
wch in former
tymes I knowe
for want hereof
Pohatan was
never able to act
the like.

My reason for the first is yt by this meanes the Savages shalbe frustrated of all meanes of buyinge any manner of victualls, and clothinge, but what they shall have from us for their labor and industrie As alsoe beinge disabled from hireinge anye Auxiliaries if at any tyme they would rebell.

For the seacond howe benifitiall the settinge and sowinge of Come and layinge upp thereof for store, will luculently appeare by their nowe endureinge want being disturbed by theis Savages at this tyme, And likewise other unexpected accedente may happen both by forrayne and domesticke enymies hereafter.

fo. 460.
Two Storehowses or Granaries to be erected and placed for this purpose fittest for salftie, and then for Convenience wch I Will leave to demonstrate to yor [honor] untill you Come to the Mapp of the Countrie As alsoe a neare passage to the Southward River and where the most necessarie places are for fortificadon against a forren Enemye.

Jho. Martin.

[Indorsed:] 15 Deceb. 1622. The manner howe to bringe the Indians into subjection.


Additional Manuscripts, 12496, fos. 459-460. (Caesar Papers.)
Document in British Museum, London.
List of Records, No. 384.


Source : Library of Congress, American Memory, The Thomas Jefferson Papers
Series 8: Virginia Records, 1606-1737
Records of the Virginia Company - Published Edition; Edited by Susan Myra Kingsburyt Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office 1933, Volume III, pp. 704-707


Search Words: (Powhatan, Potomac, Pawatah (Monacan), Jamestown, ancient planter.
Colonial Indian Cessions Page

Return to Main Indian Cessions Page

Page © Copyright 2001-present, TNGenNet Inc