• Federalist Offers Aid to Oneida Native Americans in 1795 Land Rip-Off

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    THOMAS TILLOTSON (1750-1832) was commissioned First Lieutenant in the Maryland Militia in 1776 during the American Revolutionary War. He was later appointed by Congress as a physician and surgeon general of the Continental Army's Northern Department. After the war, he practiced medicine in New York. Tillotson married Margaret Livingston. He was a Federalist member from Dutchess County of the New York State Assembly from 1788 to 1790 and a member of the state senate from 1791 to 1799. He was later elected to the U.S. Congress but resigned to become Secretary of New York State.

     

    In 1795, New York, in violation of a Federal treaty with the Oneida Indians, transferred 100,000 acres within the Oneida reservation recognized by the Treaty of Fort Schuyler and guaranteed by the Treaty of Canandaigua. This was done to reduce the influence of the Oneidas and to ease the way for westward expansion.

     

    Offering a wonderful 2 pp, 7 x 12, ALS, Nov. 29th 1800, Rhinebeck, in which Tillotson is offering his help in the land rip-off involving Oneida Indians. "Your favor of this month from Utica is come to hand. I propose passing a week or two in Albany towards the first of March next; when I shall with pleasure give you any assistance in my power towards rectifying any advantage the State may have taken of you in adjusting you Oneida purchase. When I use the word assistance it can only mean by way of conversation with some of the members; for anything for them would be beyond my powers -- Whilst with the members of the Legislature as one of them some attention will be paid...opinions, but as soon as that connection is dissolved then influence ceases to exert itself; new members come in with new prejudices and new objects; and former services are forgotten. I mention this thing to show you that little estimate should be placed on the exertions of one circumstanced as I am however desirous I may be to serve you. I have waited to hear from you on the subject of Charlotte lands. Ere this, I suppose the sale for...had taken place; and that you would have sent a person (or come yourself) to have examined the Mills. I have sold a farm for the purpose of having some money ready to comply with such engagements as I might be induced to make. If the exchange should be made and I could get the one fourth together at one or other ends of the patent I might be able to make better payments than first contemplated. You will have some business, probably at New York this Fall of the coming winter call on me and I will accompany you to the Mills where you can form some opinion of their value; or of their capability of being rendered valuable -- Perhaps such a visit independent of your N. York business might not prove a disagreeable one -- you need not feel my apprehensions from Democratic inhospitality..." Folds, expected toning.

     

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