The two excerpts below from the "Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia , Aug. 3, 1699- April 27,1705- Vol. II ,p.2 & p.41 ( Library of Virginia 1928) illustrate the central role the Nottoway had in diplomatic relations with large and powerful Northern Tribes which were accustomed to trading and hunting in comparative peace and mutual respect prior to the introduction of the powder musket by European invaders.
In this instance, Nottoways had apparently ventured alone North to negotiate a Treaty of Peace with Northern Indian Tribes on behalf of several of the Virginia Tribes including the Nottoway, Meheren, Nansemond, Pamunkey, Chickahomini, Rappahanock, and Nantiatico.
Having no prior knowledge or involvement with these Treaty of Peace efforts amongst the Indian nations themselves and fearing that peace amongst the Tribes might lead to joint efforts amongst Indians to expel the Colonials from Virginia, The Colonial Government of Virginia acted to reassert their assumed central role in directing history.
To understand this period of history fully requires more than reading brief excerpts. We provide these vignettes to stimulate your interest and to demonstrate that Virginia Indians were not mere pawns of Europeans…They recognized that the musket had changed the course of history, and that they needed stronger alliances to resist the Colonial invaders.
At James City, November, the second 1699
Present, His Excellency
Edward Hill, Matthew Page, Benjamin Harrison, Esq.
Ordered, that Mr. Thomas Blunt Interpreter to the Indians on the south side of the James River do cause such of the Nottoway, Nansemund and Meheren Indians as he shall be directed by Benjamin Harrison Esq. to appear before His Excellency and the Council at James City, on Friday the tenth day of this Instant November, and also that the said interpreter himself do give his attendance at the same time and place.
Ordered, that Mr. Robert Peasley Interpreter to the Indians in the northern partes of this colony do cause to appear before His Excellency and the Council at James City on Friday the tenth day of this Instant November, the following Indians, to wit, the Pamunkey, Indian called Mr. Marshall of the Pamunkey’s, Chickahominyes, Rappahanocks, and Nantiaticoes two Great Men of each Nation, at the least, or as many more as they thinke fit, And also that the said Interpreter do make inquiry, after two Nottaway Indians that went lately into those northern partes and are not yet returned, and if he can find them, that he also cause them to appear before His Excellency and the Council at the time and place above-mentioned, where the said Interpreter is also to appear himself, and if he be incapacitated by sickness; that also he procure some other honest and capable Person in his stead to perform that service"Further:
" At a Council held at James City, February the 22nd1699
Present, His Excellency
Edward Hill, Edmund Jenings, Matthew Page, Benjamin Harrison,Esq.
William Byrd Esq. being lame of the Gout, by Letter to His Excellency Excuses his absence on that occasion…
"Whereas in Obedience to an Order of ye second of November last, the Great Men of ye Nottoway, Meheren, Nansemund, Pamunkey, Chickahomini, Rappahanock, and Nantiatico Indians appeared before His Excellency and The Council and being examined concerning a Peace they intended to make with some Foreign Indians without ye knowledge or consent of His Majesty’s Government of this Dominion they Confessed that they had Designed a Treaty of Peace with ye Tawittawayes and other Foreign Indians and according [ly] every respective nation of them had prepared a Peake Belt (being a token that usually passed between them when they desired a Treaty of Peace ) and put them into the hands of ye Nantiaticoes to be sent to ye said Foreign Indians but since His Excellency and ye Council were not pleased to allow of such a Treaty they would not proceed any further therein and also they promised that ye Peace Belts should be brought to James City and delivered to His Excellency which being accordingly done and this day laid before ye said Council it is thought necessary they be restored to ye severall Nations to whom they belong respectively therefore, His Excellency by and with ye advice of His Majesties Honorable Council is pleased to direct that ye interpreters to ye severall Nations of Indians aforementioned to whom ye said belts belong do cause them to send two Great Men of every Nation to James City the next time they pay their Tribute to receive their belts back again.