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Indian Chiefs View "Penn's Treaty" By Carroll Frey* THERE was recently uncovered what appeared to be a new trail in the elusive search for information about the legendary treaty of William Penn with the Indians. In the Penn Mutual Collection was found a manuscript letter addressed to "Samuel Coats Esq Corner of Front & Walnut Streets" "From Governor Mifflin March 25. 1792."1 The letter reads as follows: Governor Mifflin is to have an Interview with the Chiefs of the Five Nations in the Secretarys Room at the State House at Twelve o'Clock To day, and will be pleased to see his Friend Coats there— The Governor has been informd that the Indians are anxious to see the Treaty of William Penn by Whitman & is the Possession of S. Coats—If it could be conveyd to the State House the Governor will answer for its being returned without Injury Monday 26 March 1792. This trail looked like a likely one. If "Coats," in 1792, had in his possession the actual treaty of Penn with the Indians, something might be traced of a document long searched for and never found. There had been an Indian legend that they once had such a document but that it was lost in the burning of an Indian village However, here was the puzzle of the phrase "Treaty of William Penn by Whitman." Found in the history of the Pennsylvania Hospital was a note stating that the Hospital had obtained a copy by "Witman" of the famed Benjamin West picture of the treaty. Whitman, it seems, was a patient who took up painting and made several pictures still preserved by the Hospital. Since Benjamin West's painting had not yet arrived in Philadelphia from England, Whitman must have made a copy from the popular Boydell engraving. Scharf and Westcott record that one of the events of the year 1792 was a visit of Indian Chiefs, who came to pay their respects to the Federal Government. The Indian deputation * Carroll Frey is Editor for the Penn Mutual Insurance Company. 1 Samuel Coates (1748-1830), was a Friend, a prominent citizen of Philadelphia, and one of the Managers of the Pennsylvania Hospital. Thomas Mifflin (1744-1800), a birthright Friend, lost his membership because of his military activity in the Revolution. He was Governor of Pennsylvania from 1790 to 1799. 103 104Bulletin of Friends Historical Association consisted of forty-seven members, including Sachems of the Sénecas, Buffaloes, Cayoges, Onondagoes, Oneidas, Tuscarores and Stockbridges. They were received at the State House by Governor Mifflin in the presence of a number of ladies and other spectators. A few days afterwards they gave an exhibition of war dances, and about a week after the formal reception, Red Jacket made a speech expressing their gratification at the civilities shown them. Among these civilities must have been a glimpse of the Whitman copy of the Boydell engraving of the West painting. A Note on Whittier and Italian Freedom By Francis B. Dedmond* The biographers of John Greenleaf Whittier have, by and large, neglected to record his efforts and to reveal his concern for the freedom of Rome and the unity of Italy—a concern which, with Whittier, was vital and deep. Among the Horace Greeley Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress is a hitherto unpublished letter in which Whittier expressed something of the intensity of his feeling on the Italian question. Amesbury Essex Co. Mass H. Greeley21st of 8th Mo. 1849 Dear Friend. I enclose a copy of a few lines of mine,1 a feeble expression of my feelings—with the wish that they may appear in the Tribune & that thou wouldst take pains to send copies of them to the Editor of the New Italian paper,2 to Gen Avessena3 [sic] & Mr. Foresti.4 I am not without hopes that they may be translated into Italian and that the noble-hearted Romans may hear on the banks of the Tiber the voice lifted in their behalf on the banks of the Merrimack. Heartily approving thy course in regard to the Roman invasion5 I am very truly thy friend John G. Whittier More than two decades later, Whittier wrote...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 103-104
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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