Charles D. Bernholz, Love Memorial Library, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588 [*]
In 1786, the Continental Congress instituted the two positions of Superintendent for the Northern and for the Southern District through the implementation of An ordinance for the regulation of Indian affairs. This mandate was a clear continuation of the superintendency model employed by the British during their reign to develop trade and a strong relationship with the tribes. The ordinance has been published over the ensuing years in various collations. In the process, text errors were introduced. Sixteen selected variants of this statement, from official as well as public sources, were compared with Levenshtein’s edit distance algorithm to assess similarity and provenance.
“No doubt we shall go on bungling Indian affairs for the simple reason that the problems presented are of no particular economic and social importance to the nation at large” (Wissler, 1938, p. 32)
The passage in 1925 of An act to authorize the collection and editing of official papers of the Territories of the United States now in the National Archives (43 Stat. 1104) was initiated by Indiana Senator Samuel Moffett Ralston (1857-1925), who had worked diligently to make such a collection come to fruition (Malone, 1943, p. 333). Half a decade later, the American Historical Association presented a report of their committee designated to this task that illuminated the vast array of national materials under consideration (Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1929, 1930, pp. 78-79). Clarence Edwin Carter (1881-1961), the Justin Winsor Prize winner in 1908 for new authors in the area of history, became the Editor for the Territorial papers project in June 1931, with actual preparation commencing that Fall. 
A critical aspect of the value of the Territorial papers pivots upon the understanding that twenty-eight territories existed between 1787 and 1912. Statehood followed, on average nearly two decades after the formation of each entity, so the Territorial papers – and the associated activities revealed by them – are pertinent examples of the building blocks of the early federal and state governments. Afterwards, these documents and policies were applied to newer members of the Union (Carter, 1934a, p. vii). The conflict between the federal government and the territories/states during this period became apparent as well.
The federal government and their early interactions with the tribes
Prucha (1984, pp. 35-60) addressed the harrowing exposure that the emerging nation faced during and after the Revolution, in terms of its relationship with the Indian tribes. Part of this dire concern was generated from within the individual colonies that suffered these difficulties on a regular basis. The Continental Congress had as early as 1775 considered actions that would assure a safer association with the tribes, especially given that the British continued to prod the indigenous groups to oppose any actions taken by the colonists to separate from Britain. After the War, the question of western expansion meant even more contact with the tribes. Prompted in part by Benjamin Franklin’s proposals in the 1754 Albany Plan of Union (Newbold, 1955, pp. 184-187), the new federal government took more responsibility for Indian affairs, rather than allowing each colony to chart its own course. Some colonies opposed such an arrangement in which federal intervention might affect local considerations. Further, King George III’s Royal Proclamation of 1763 (The Gentleman’s Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, 1763, pp. 477-479) had contributed a better although more rigid understanding of the concept and reality of “Indian country” between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi River, precisely the geographic arena in which federal control of land management and trade was especially needed following the Revolutionary conflict.
Carter’s first volume of Territorial documents began with a section devoted to “Papers relating to the foundations of the territory northwest of the river Ohio, 1781-1787” (1934b, pp. 1-35). Four critical items, concerning cessions of western land claimed by New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut (pp. 3-5, 6-9, 10-12, and 22-24, respectively; see Fig. 1), populated about a quarter of these pages.  Among these instruments may be found the Ordinance of 1785 that “ascertain[ed] the mode of disposing of lands in the western territory” and that was designed to provide an orderly approach to the handling of Indian lands contained in those cessions (pp. 12-18), and An ordinance for the regulation of Indian affairs (pp. 19-22; henceforth Ordinance; Fig. 2) that formalized the association of the federal government with the tribes.
Fig. 1. Abel Buell’s A New and Correct Map of the United States of North America: Layd Down From the Latest Observations and Best Authorities Agreeable to the Peace of 1783 (1784). On deposit to the Library of Congress from David M. Rubenstein (005.00.00).
Fig. 2. This is the broadside of Ordinance that was published in the Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 (1934, vol. 31, pp. 490-493). In this study, it is designated as the Continental variant. (Images taken from the Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789 collection at the Library of Congress.)
Continental Congress actions regarding Indian affairs
The Continental Congress endured between 1774 and 1789, with the identifiable Confederation Congress segment formed upon the passage of the Articles of Confederation in 1781 (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1912, vol. 19, pp. 214-223). The adopted mechanisms of the Continental Congress included so-called recommendations made to individual colonies or states, as well as resolves expressed to identify more national endeavors. Following the Articles pronouncement, legislative instruments called ordinances began to be employed (McCormick, 1997, p. 411). McCormick enumerated twenty-five such decrees completed between 1781 and 1789 (see pp. 438-439), including the better-known Land Ordinance of 1785 and Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1933, vol. 28, pp. 375-381, and 1936, vol. 32, pp. 334-343, respectively).  Article IX of the Articles of Confederation described Congressional responsibilities to include “regulating the trade and managing all affairs with the Indians, not members of any of the States, provided that the legislative right of any State within its own limits be not infringed or violated,” a depiction that was replicated and placed in the Preamble of Ordinance half a decade later.
Article III of the Northwest Ordinance assured the tribes that “[t]he utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them” (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1936, vol. 32, pp. 340-341). In part, this Northwest declaration was implemented to bring the tribes closer to the federal government, after their previous interactions with the British. Nevertheless, McCormick clearly summarized the difficulties of Indian affairs that confronted the Confederation Congress (p. 431; emphasis added):
Note the modification to the proposed number of Indian departments. Where the original intent called for “northern, middle, and southern departments,” Ordinance only provided for a northern and a southern one. The initial three sectors were discussed on 24 July 1786 (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1934, vol. 30, p. 426; emphasis original) and designated two days later:
“There were efforts in 1784 and 1785 to enact an Indian ordinance, but they came to naught. The major obstacle was the resistance of the southern states – particularly North Carolina and Georgia – to any federal interference with their management of Indian relations. By 1786, conditions on the frontiers of settlement were so critical that action could no longer be deferred. Treaties that had been made with several tribes were being violated, and hostilities threatened. In June, a new committee was charged with preparing an ordinance “for the complete arrangement and government of the Indian department.” It brought forth a strong measure. There would be superintendents in charge of northern, middle, and southern departments. They would “superintend the political conduct of the Nations” in their respective regions, license traders, and protect their charges against injustices. Most striking was a section that required all courts to recognize the ordinance as a “public Act” in any judicial proceeding. Further, it was pointedly “recommended” to the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia that they enact laws in conformity with the ordinance for the trial and punishment of transgressors.
Not surprisingly, this draft was drastically altered before the ordinance was adopted – with the support of all the southern states – on August 7, 1786. The preamble recited in full the relevant section of Article IX, but the whole thrust of the revisions made during the debates was toward limiting federal control over Indian affairs and enhancing state involvement. State authorities would now be involved in the licensing process and in responding to threatened hostilities. Where any “transactions” with the Indians that might interfere with the legislative rights of a state were contemplated, the district superintendent was required to act in conjunction with local authorities. Eliminated were references to the ordinance as a “public Act” and the “recommendation” to the three southern states. Political reality, and an ambiguous mandate, curtailed the ability of Congress to uphold federal authority.”
“Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, that from and after the passing of this ordinance, the Indian department be divided into three districts, viz.: The Eastern which shall comprehend all the tribes residing within the district of country lying south and east of the lakes Ontario and Erie, as far westerly as Presquisle, French Creek and Allegheny river, below the mouth of French Creek, and as far southerly as the Kittaning, and from thence northeasterly to the lakes George and Champlain, and northerly to 45° north latitude: The Western, or Middle Department, which shall comprehend the nations within the limits of the United States, north-west of the Ohio and west to the Mississippi; the Southern, which shall include all the nations south of the Ohio within the limits of the United States.” 
“not members of any state”
In part, the “not members of any state” provision in Ordinance was forced into the construction of Ordinance by the southern states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia because of their outrage over the loss of lands to the tribes during the negotiations of the Treaty with the Cherokee, 1785 (Kappler, 1904, pp. 8-11). The boundary concession found in Article IV of Cherokee was responsible for this conflict between the two levels of government. Other federal transactions with the Choctaw ( Treaty with the Choctaw , 1786; pp. 11-14) and the Chickasaw ( Treaty with the Chickasaw, 1786 ; pp. 14-16) were similarly distasteful to the states. Further, as shown in Figure 1, many other states held land claims far to the west of their final boundaries. Gates discussed these issues, which in many cases strained the rapport between the federal and state governments: “It was the Federal government which had to take jurisdiction of Indian relations within states, notwithstanding the very cautious saving clause in the Articles of Confederation and the very general statement in the Constitution of 1787. While the use of public lands was to be a vital nationalizing factor in American development, from the viewpoint of those advocates of preserving power in the hands of the state governments, this exercise of power was disastrous” (1968, p. 57; emphasis added). North Carolina and Georgia, for example, held ambitious claims (more than 26 and 56 million acres, respectively) that reached all the way to the Mississippi River. These areas were designated within the proposed southern district defined by Ordinance (see Gates’ “Cessions of western land claims” table on p. 57, and the map on p. 76). The “members of any state” provision survives today through the state-recognition of sixty-two tribes in sixteen states of Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia. Thus, none of these entities is federally acknowledged.  Five other states – i.e., Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Oklahoma – have a process in place to convey similar state-specific recognition (Koenig and Stein, 2008, pp. 84-85).
Nevertheless, the Ordinance text evolved, including proposed requests to limit federal interference with state regulation of local Indian affairs. For example, Representatives William Few and Timothy Bloodworth, from Georgia and North Carolina respectively (Garraty and Carnes, 1999, vol. 7, pp. 869-870 and vol. 3, pp. 43-44), wished to add to the document’s preamble the restriction that “[p]rovided that this ordinance shall not be construed to operate so as that the legislative right of any state within its own limits be infringed or violated” (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1934, vol. 30, p. 424). On 7 August 1786, this concern was refined and placed in the last section of the text (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1934, vol. 31, pp. 488-489); the completed Ordinance appeared on the same date (pp. 490-493). Eight days later, Congress installed Richard Butler in the “Office of Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Northern Department” and, on 9 October, James White was assigned to the “Office of Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southern District” (Smith, 1995, p. 473 and 586, respectively). Each was sent a copy of the Ordinance for reference, along with their appointment letter. 
The Ordinance is especially important because it is one of the very earliest documents to profess the position of the new country with regard to its aboriginal peoples. Paterson and Roseman offered a perspective on the weight of Ordinance and noted some policy intricacies (1979, pp. 128-129; emphasis original):
The early participation in Indian affairs of the Secretary at War, Henry Knox (1750-1806; Grossman, 2000, pp. 898-899) – who had negotiated in 1784 with the Penobscot as the Massachusetts state representative at a meeting with that tribe – initiated continuous interaction between the tribes and the War Department that would not diminish until the mid-nineteenth century when the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and then the Department of the Interior, would handle these matters. Ward (1962, p. 68) attributed this administrative decision to the general inactivity of Congress at a time when actions were needed, but in that process a more humane approach was taken with the tribes.
“The Ordinance of 1786 is highly significant. It established two separate districts within the Indian Department, northern and southern, and geographically described the limits of those districts. Clearly, New England fell within neither district. Regarding the southern district, New England, of course is not south of the Ohio River. Regarding the northern, New England is obviously not west of the Hudson River. Since the Ordinance was enacted to provide the administrative framework “for the complete arrangement and government” of Indian affairs, and since the preamble to the Ordinance specifically recited that the Congress, under Article IX, had the exclusive power to manage “all affairs” with Indians “not members of any of the states,” the definite exclusion of New England Indians from the coverage of the Ordinance constitutes a clear expression of congressional intent that the small, fragmentary bands of Indians in New England were considered “members” of the New England states and subject to their jurisdiction alone.”
The redevelopment of the superintendency system
The policy contained in Ordinance was a clear continuation of the superintendency mechanism that the British had developed and had shown to be effective during their colonial supervision. Beginning in 1755, Sir William Johnson had served in the north, and Edmund Atkin and John Stuart in the south, to align carefully the tribes with British interests. Atkin had conceived the operational idea in his Plan for a general direction & management of the Indian affairs throughout North America (Jacobs, 1954, pp. 77-95). Encompassing in a single paragraph many of these provisions that foreshadowed those replicated in the 1764 Plan for the future management of Indian affairs (1764), Atkin had proposed that “all the Indian nations or tribes be divided into two districts; the northern district from Nova Scotia to Virginia inclusive, comprehending the Six United Nations of N. York with their immediate dependents chiefly on the waters of the Ohio, & those commonly called the eastern Indians, or any others to the westward; And the southern district of North Carolina, South Carolina, & Georgia, comprehending the Cherokees, and all the other nations, particularly the Catawbas, Chicasaws, Creeks, & Chactaws, living independent of each other, to the south of the Hogohegee or great Cherokee River, (which is a kind of natural boundary from east to west between the two districts) and to the westward thereof so far back at least as the Missisippi” (p. 77; misspellings original).
King George III’s earlier Royal Proclamation of 1763 (By the King, a Proclamation, 1763) had gone so far as to define “Indian country” beyond the crest of the Allegheny Mountains.  That huge western expanse was declared off limits to any settlement by the coast-hugging colonists, and this position was reinforced through the 1764 Plan for the future management of Indian affairs that addressed trade, two superintendencies, and the issuance of licenses to bonded traders (see Bernholz and O’Grady, 2012a and b). Thus, the Continental Congress used a known and established British mechanism to answer their own Indian affairs issues, which included a plethora of general difficulties that had grown in number and in magnitude since the end of the Revolution. 
Over the next two and one-half centuries, the text of Ordinance was reproduced in compilations of federal policy statements, but these offerings included a number of errors that affected the original wording. The evolution of known variants thereby offers an opportunity to understand the flow of this document, from one published state to the next, and to fathom how these forms have degraded.
Levenshtein edit distance algorithm
There is an effective tool to aid in such determinations. In the mid-1960s, Vladimir Levenshtein proposed an algorithm to assess information transfer, where the three operations of deletion, insertion, and substitution may be engaged to correct errors contained in the reception of a transmitted string (Levenshtein, 1966). To display this procedure, Soukoreff and MacKenzie (2001) used the two string models quick brown fox and quixck brwn fox as exemplars of presented and transcribed texts under consideration. Overall, a half dozen individual errors may appear in this comparison – established by the failure of the xck br substring to accurately convey the initial ck bro material – but the two most likely faults consist of the insertion of the character x and the exclusion of the character o. With this algorithm, these data yielded a computed Levenshtein’s edit distance (LED) score of 2, or the sum of the number of corrective operations required to first remove the x from the xck constituent, and then to insert the o in the br fragment. Identical strings – say, quick brown fox and quick brown fox – would require no such correction and would thereby lead to a computed LED score of zero. Further, any observed LED score from these comparisons must be less than or equal to the maximum length of the two test strings, since replacing an entirely missing sequence with one of length n would require no more than n operations. Such a state exists when none of the transmitted material is received, as portrayed by the two strings quick brown fox and the blank phrase _____ _____ ___. The Levenshtein algorithm is very adaptable and has served in many diverse applications.  However, in text analyses as reported here, these LED scores are particularly intuitive, since any string comparison that supports an LED of zero means complete similarity between the elements in question, while any non-zero returned value immediately identifies the presence of disparities and the magnitude of such differences.
The application of these LED calculations may be made at two levels. First, they may be computed at the token or element level. One obvious example is the test involving the terms dog and dig with its LED score of 1. Another instance is the cumulative score of 14 that is generated in an evaluation of the first lines of Walt Whitman’s 1855 original and of his later 1891 revision of I Sing the Body Electric, i.e., the variability between “The bodies of men and women engirth me and I engirth them ” and “The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them .” In this scenario, the bolded words mark the four pairs of tokens that induce that LED score of 14 across these twelve elements.
Second, this tool also offers the opportunity to ascertain disparities between entire documents. In theory, this approach might facilitate an assessment of various edition collections, or of a collation of statutes, or of similar ensembles. Observed changes in the computed cumulative LED amount found in several variants may then stimulate pertinent hypotheses regarding their provenance. Direct quantification of any differences – and then from any endeavors applied to correct such dissimilarities – is therefore possible with Levenshtein’s metric.
A note on the creation of test pairs
As indicated in a study of the Mayflower Compact (Bernholz, O’Grady, and Pytlik Zillig, 2013), the employed choice of technology for text version comparisons reflected the desire that routines developed might later serve as a sharable non-proprietary tool. To that end, two standards promulgated by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) were used: the Extensible Markup Language (XML), and the Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT).  The former represents a data container for highly structured information; the latter is a functional programming language for XML and for other structured content. A third standard, Unicode, was employed to ensure an XML-compliant interoperable character set for input and output data. 
The comparison tool was constructed to take as input an Excel spreadsheet exported into a standard, non-proprietary, comma-separated-values (CSV) format that is easily readable by XSLT. This CSV file must employ the Unicode character set. Arrangement of the spreadsheet is critical, and assumes that the data consist of one column per text, with one row per word, and that these rows are aligned according to variances in the corpus texts. The columns are ordered chronologically from oldest to newest to aid in provenance discovery.
The tool read the CSV file and identified the columns, rows, and contents of individual cells. It then compared every unique pairing of texts. For a corpus of N discrete versions, there were N(N-1)/2 such paired text comparisons. Finally, a lower triangular matrix was constructed in XML containing the results of the Levenshtein differencing calculations. These data were used to populate summary Table II (Download Excel File) discussed below. 
Variants of the Ordinance
The titles of the sixteen variants selected for use in this study are listed below in two sections, and in chronological order within each portion. The document identifiers used in Table I (Download Excel File) and throughout the discussion appear at the end of each citation; the first standard text is labelled Papers I while the initial test text is from The Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser newspaper and is thus characterized as Packet. The names of the truncated variants in this study – Arbitration, Prucha, and Events – are underlined here and in the Tables.
Standard texts (N = 2)
- Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. Roll 194, Items no. 174-177: 1774-1788 (1959b, pp. 101-105) – [Papers I] – see this full text in the Appendix below; and
- Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. Roll 140, Items no. 112 and 123. Resolve Books: 1785-1789 (1959a, between pp. 62 and 63) – [Papers II]. 
Test texts (N = 14)
- By the United States in Congress assembled (The Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser, 1786, p. 3) – [Packet];
- Laws of the United States of America, From the 4th of March, 1789, to the 4th of March, 1815 (1815, pp. 614-616) – [Laws];
- Journals of the American Congress, From 1774 to 1788. Volume IV. 1786: From April 1, 1782 to November 1, 1788, inclusive (1823, pp. 677-678) – [American];
- Indian Treaties, and Laws and Regulations Relating to Indian Affairs to which is added an Appendix, Containing the Proceedings of the Old Congress, and Other Important State Papers, in Relation to Indian Affairs (1826, pp. 442-444) – [Indian];
- Laws of the Colonial and State Governments, Relating to Indian Affairs, from 1633 to 1831, Inclusive, with an Appendix Containing the Proceedings of the Congress of Confederation and the Laws of Congress, From 1800 to 1830, on the Same Subject (1832, pp. 23-26 of Appendix) – [Colonial];
- American State Papers. Documents, legislative and executive, of the Congress of the United States, from the first session of the First to the third session of the Thirteenth Congress, inclusive: commencing March 3, 1789, and ending March 3, 1815. Volume IV [i.e., I]: Indian Affairs (1832, p. 14) – [ASPIA];
- The State Records of North Carolina. Vol. XVIII – 1786. With supplement, 1779 (Clark, 1900, pp. 710-713) – [Carolina];
- American and British Claims Arbitration. Cayuga Indians. Appendix to the Answer of the United States. Vol. I, Parts I and II (1913, pp. 58-59) – [Arbitration];
- The Territorial Papers of the United States. Volume II: The territory northwest of the river Ohio, 1787-1803 (Carter, 1934b, pp. 19-22) – [Carter];
- Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 (1934, vol. 31, pp. 490-493) – [Continental];
- The American Indian and the United States: A Documentary History – Volume III (Washburn, 1973, pp. 2140-2143) – [Washburn];
- Legislative Histories: Funding Act [HR-63] through Militia Bill [HR-112], Volume V (Bickford and Veit, 1986, pp. 1007-1010) – [Legislative]; 
- Documents of American Indian Diplomacy (Third edition) (Prucha, 2000, pp. 8-9) – [Prucha]; and
- American Indian History Day By Day: A Reference Guide to Events (Carpenter, 2012, pp. 260-262) – [Events]. 
In general, three error types were observed in these analyses: exclusion, incursion, and replacement of text. In a previous study of the Treaty of Fort Laramie with Sioux, etc., 1851 (Bernholz and Pytlik Zillig, 2010), a single text exclusion involved material from the original transaction – describing a land boundary for the Gros Ventre, Mandan, and Arikara tribes – that failed to appear in four subsequently published versions. For this Ordinance analysis, a significant exclusion centered upon the absence of the testimonium from line number 1300-1332 of Table I (Download Excel File). Indeed, eight or half of the variants did not include this closing remark: none of Papers II, Packet, ASPIA, Carolina, Arbitration, Legislative, Prucha, and Events replicated this text. In the remaining cases, the absences subtended portions of this line number range. Thus, for renderings other than Papers I, various token sequences and spellings were provided. What is critical here, however, is that all but Papers I had an ampersand indicator – &c as shown at line number 1325 – signaling that there had been additional text in the original document. Papers I, with its supplemental concluding phrase and of our sovereignty and independence the eleventh at line number 1325-1332, may therefore be regarded with some confidence as the primary document for all of these materials, subsequently taken either directly or indirectly from it over the years. Confidence is enhanced by the Notes accompanying the National Archives’ microfilm product for the Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 that declared: “Item No. 175, labeled ‘Ordinances,’ is a volume containing copies of ordinances passed by the Continental Congress, 1781-1788, with each copy signed by the President of the Congress and attested to by Charles Thomson, the Secretary” (1959b, p. iii; emphasis added). Page 105 contains the signatures of Thomson (1729-1824), who served as Secretary of the Continental Congress for the years 1774 to 1789 (Garraty and Carnes, 1999, vol. 21, pp. 592-593), and of Nathaniel Gorham (1738-1796), who was President of this body during the period 6 June through 3 November 1786 (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1934, vol. 30, p. 330, and 1934, vol. 31, p. 923, respectively; Morton, 2006, pp. 117-121). Thomson alone signed the later printed Ordinance text (i.e., provided here as Papers II) from the Resolve Books of the same collection (1959a, between pp. 62-63). The absence of the testimonium – and the inclusion of the &c – implicates Papers I as the source. Further, Table II (Download Excel File) documents 47 token differences, totaling 236 bytes, between Papers I and Papers II; excluding the &c element, the testimonium missing from Papers II accounts for 32 or 68% of this token disparity. It may also be observed that the Journals of the Continental Congress – shown by variant Continental within this study – marks the occasion as “Done by the United States in Congress assembled, this 7 day of August, A. D. 1786, &c.” (1934, vol. 31, p. 493; emphasis added; line number 1300-1325 of Table I (Download Excel File)).
Incursions occurred when text was inserted during the preparation of other accounts, relative to the wording of the original Papers I and Papers II. The six green highlighted line numbers of the “Full text variants” column of Table II (Download Excel File) (i.e., at line number 29, 80, 107, 1009, 1061, and 1212) show examples of this process and, while few in number, the presence of the terms of and upon at line number 29 and 107 of Carolina and Events suggests a relationship between these two texts. Additional support for this specific pairing will be presented below.
Cases of simple replacement are prevalent, usually involving alternative spellings. In Ordinance, this is shown primarily in the deployment of superintendent vs. superintendant (e.g., see line number 194 of Table I (Download Excel File) of Papers I, Papers II, and Packet in comparison with the elements of Laws, American, and Indian), and of license vs. licence at line number 558 in Colonial and ASPIA, respectively. Absent the presence of the three usages of deputy-superintendent or deputy superintendent at line number 1000-1001, 1092-1093, and 1125-1126, there are within each complete Ordinance variant twenty-two other occurrences of the term superintendent or superintendant, and seven examples of license or licence (in singular or plural form). As Table III (Download Excel File) promptly reveals, these differences created many opportunities for these variants to differ from each other, and so to inflate the N errors scores for any comparison. Packet and ASPIA were the only two full texts that employed the token licence, thereby posing some evidence that the two versions are related, but these two instruments also made use of the forms of superintendant and superintendent, respectively.
Finally, an amendment process, such as that which impelled adaptations to the original text of the Treaty of Fort Laramie with Sioux, etc., 1851, was not found in Ordinance. The adjusted Laramie text was constructed to reflect the correct Senate annuity modification to Article 7 of that transaction. Lines 1026-1055 of the appropriate Laramie Table divulge how the joint text ensemble – and especially for the 2009 variant column – was formed to handle that necessary annuity alteration by substituting thirty words (the term of ten years, with the right to continue the same at the discretion of the President of the United States for a period not exceeding five years thereafter) for the first two original treaty tokens (fifty years). For Ordinance, the full text variants are quite consistent, other than for the varying degree of the testimonium representation. No Congressional adjustments, as for the annuity component in Laramie, were made to Ordinance.
General structural issues to consider
Modern collections of individual historical documents like Ordinance are frequently edited to remove portions of text that are deemed unnecessary. Examples within materials relating to Indian affairs would include the exclusion of testimonia from treaty texts. As noted, line number 1160-1200 of text columns named 1903 and 1904 within Table I of a study considering the Treaty of Fort Laramie with Sioux, etc., 1851 (Bernholz and Pytlik Zillig, 2010) show one such absence. Charles J. Kappler, in 1903, purposely excluded the entire testimonium from his replication of this instrument, but then re-applied it in his second edition the following year (Kappler, 1903, pp. 440-442, and 1904, pp. 594-596). Similarly, the Mayflower Compact from 1620 was published by Congress in a Senate Document (Status of Puerto Rico, 1966) without its closing text segment; see the Status column at line number 166-209 of that study’s Table IV (Bernholz, O’Grady, and Pytlik Zillig, 2013). In this investigation of Ordinance, the variants Prucha and Events were published after the removal of the service oath required of prospective Superintendents and Deputy Superintendents (see line number 825-1086 of Table I (Download Excel File)). Arbitration removed even more material, by eliminating the preceding one hundred eighty-five tokens from line number 640-824 that subtended almost all of Ordinance’s licensing provisions and its ban on superintendent or deputy superintendent participation in trade with the Indians.
Beyond just the loss of document completeness, this deletion behavior is unfortunate for two reasons. First, the Ordinance oath required that these men pledge that they would not undertake business activities with the tribes: “That I will not be concerned, either directly or indirectly in trade with the Indians, and that in all things belonging to my said office, during my continuance therein, I will faithfully, justly and truly, according to the best of my skill and judgment, do equal and impartial justice, without fraud, favour or affection” (see the Papers I text in Table I (Download Excel File) at line number 903-956). This restriction was an especially important issue and the new government wanted to eliminate the possibility of tribal dissention.  Second, the similar absence in both Prucha and Events (combined with their bibliographic declaration that they took the text from the same source, i.e., from variant Continental used in this study) might suggest that Events simply replicated the shortened Ordinance found in Prucha. In support of this direct transfer hypothesis, Table II (Download Excel File) shows that there were 52 token differences comprising 131 bytes between Events and Prucha, and at least 273 errors when Events was compared with the full-text exemplars. Since there is a total of 262 tokens  (and 1236 bytes of disparity) in the Continental version for the entire missing oath segment of Prucha and Events, it is clear from the N errors score of 327 in Table II that at least another five dozen differences were generated when Events was compared to Continental. The corresponding test between Prucha and Continental uncovered 280 observed errors minus these 262 oath tokens, or just 18 issues. Thus, it would not seem that Events was a mere reproduction of the Prucha version. Rather, Table II offers an alternative linkage for Events and – as will be seen – there is strong internal text confirmation of this path. The N errors score for a contrast between the complete Carolina example and Events is 273; the subtraction of the missing 262 oath tokens would propose that there were just 11 differences (and the observed 1295 bytes minus the oaths’ 1238 bytes = 57 bytes for these 11 errors).
Internally, there is an even stronger indication of a relationship between Carolina and Events. Instead of the phrase and westward of Hudson river to denote a boundary of the northern superintendency, both of the Carolina and Events variants have the wording and westward of Henderson river (emphasis added) at line number 178-182 of Table I (Download Excel File). Walter Clark, the North Carolina Supreme Court Justice and editor of The State Records of North Carolina, who included Ordinance in his collation, indicated that this Carolina text was taken “[From Executive Letter Book],” i.e., most likely from a North Carolina government item (1900, p. 710).  Indeed, Clark remarked in his Preface to volume 11 (1895, p. iv; emphasis added) that “[i]t may be imagined, therefore, that our early archives are conspicuous from their poverty. Little was to be found therein save such portions of the Executive correspondence as many years after its date had been copied into the Executive letter books and a part of the Journals of the Legislature, some of these last being lost and others mutilated.”  However, a request to the State Archives of North Carolina for a copy of the Ordinance text deposited in the appropriate Executive Letter Book yield a duplicate of Papers II, the broadside printing of Ordinance that was signed by Charles Thomson.  Thus, the expectation would be that Carolina – even with the mutilation of the and westward of Hudson river phrase – should thus be similar to Papers II, but the N errors scores in Table II (Download Excel File) instead support the contention that a much closer fit exists between Carolina and the ASPIA variant; there are just 35 token differences between Carolina and ASPIA instead of the 52 found in the Carolina-Papers II contrast. Regardless of its true source, the typesetting of Carolina was marred by this geographical error involving a boundary for the proposed northern superintendency.
Full text variants only
The easiest way to overcome all these distractions is to cull certain entire incomplete texts, or specific under- or misrepresented portions, from the available variants prior to applying the Levenshtein test. The removal of Arbitration, Prucha, and Events from these analyses leads to a prompt reduction in the N errors scores, since text in any complete variant is not then assessed against the broad blank areas in these three abbreviated renditions. The yellow entries in the line number column in Table I (Download Excel File) mark those tokens that are not similar across all variants, including the truncated or incomplete ones. Under these conditions, the total number of disparate elements is 684 out of 1332, or fully 51.4% of all tokens. After removing Arbitration, Prucha, and Events from the pool of available texts, the total number of disparate items drops to 127 out of 1332, or 9.5%; the green line numbers identify this set of data. Finally, the testimonium serves as a valuable indicator of provenance, primarily because it is clear that Papers I was the source of any later reproduction. By eliminating the testimonium wording (line number 1299-1332) from all of the full text examples, the cumulative number of dissimilar items drops to 94 out of 1298, or just 7.2%. The appropriate line numbers are highlighted in blue.
The text shown for line number 1 through 639 identifies the span of the shared wording of all variants. Arbitration terminates at this point, while Prucha and Events extend through line number 824 (see Table I (Download Excel File)). The “Full Text” tab of Table I provides the thirteen full versions and the “No testimonium” worksheet examines these thirteen while excluding the noise found in line number 1299 to 1332 due to the incomplete testimonia. Note that in all Table I error highlighting involving the first 639 elements, only the two at line number 117 and 427 of the “All variants” column are not shared with the “Full text” or the “No testimonium” indicators. These two incongruities were observed exclusively in Prucha, wherein a blank (instead of the Prucha token in) and the term states (rather than state) were included by other versions. This cumulative LED score reduction across increasingly restrictive text conditions is evident in Table II (Download Excel File). At the right-most gray highlighted LED score row for the variant Legislative, it may be observed that, relative to this rendering, the cumulative errors across “All variants” is 4605 bytes from 1112 errors. If Legislative is compared only with its full text cousins, the score on the “Full text” worksheet is reduced to just 1729 bytes, emanating from less than half (= 501 vs. 1112) the faults.
Removal of testimonium
A further reduction of Legislative to just 343 problem elements involving 1013 bytes is recorded on the “No testimonium” tab of Table II (Download Excel File) and shows the comparison results when the testimonia portions are eliminated from the comparison texts. These last two LED scores – indicating 1729 and 1013 bytes for tests against the “Full text” and the “No testimonium” conditions, respectively – are directly comparable since the assessments were performed upon the same underlying full text of Ordinance. Thus, across these dozen Legislative contrasts, removing from consideration the thirty-four token testimonium (line number 1299-1332 in Table I (Download Excel File)) reduces the amount of disparity measured in bytes to just 58.6% of the original amount.
While it is apparent that this culling process achieves a “cleaner” consideration of the array of texts, a primary assessment of all the available data provides a more complete insight into provenance. In part, this may be gathered directly from the initial text alignment procedure employed during preparation. The presence of different arrangements of testimonia in the concluding section of Ordinance supports the contention of a common shared source for Laws, Indian, Colonial, and Washburn. This perspective is reinforced by the resulting Levenshtein test data shown in the Laws column of Table II (Download Excel File) where N errors values of 0, 1, and 2 tokens were obtained from contrasts of Laws with Indian, Colonial, and Washburn, respectively. The testimonium text also dictates that the original source for these later examples was Papers I and not the printed Papers II, since only five variants (Papers I, Laws, Indian, Colonial, and Washburn) share the phrase one thousand seven hundred and eighty six, with an adjustment to eighty-six in Laws that was then reproduced in Indian, Colonial, and Washburn. Further, the modification to the date declaration – this seventh day of August A. D. – emerges in Laws, American, Indian, Colonial, Carter, Continental, and Washburn and it would appear that Carter and Continental are reproductions of American, based on the numeric (1786) rather than the alphabetic (one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six) year designator. The prompt loss of text in Papers II beyond line number 1299 serves as a later, although already damaged, model for Packet, ASPIA, and Carolina. These conclusions thus leave for provenance assessment the three truncated variants – Arbitration, Prucha, and Events – and Legislative:
- Arbitration is stated as taken from ASPIA (American and British Claims Arbitration, 1913, p. 58).
- Prucha (2000, p. 9) declared Continental as its source.
- Carpenter (2012, p. 262) specified that Continental was the foundation of Events, even if the latter’s and westward of Henderson River error made it clear that this specific text most likely came directly from Carolina. The latter’s source, in turn, was alleged to be Papers II, as evidenced by the document deposited in the relevant Executive Letter Book in the North Carolina State collection.
- The origin of Legislative was not specifically acknowledged, but examination suggests that its text is related to that of ASPIA. Separate documents, from George Washington and Henry Knox, in the first several pages of the entire suite of materials of the Wabash, Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Choctaws collation in the American State Papers (1832, pp. 12-54) were reproduced in the Indian Treaties Act [HR-20] chapter of Legislative Histories: Funding Act [HR-63] through Militia Bill [HR-112] (Bickford and Veit, 1986, pp. 998-1015). This study’s Legislative variant was taken from that Bickford and Veit publication. In it, the authors conscientiously replicated the following italicized words from the Ordinance text found in the American State Papers:
- Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, in the paragraph after the preamble;
- the terms southern and northern, in the superintendency district descriptions; and
- And be it further ordained, in the four other paragraphs.
- Even with the induced noise of comparing full with truncated texts, the Levenshtein N errors scores in Table II lend support to these proposed four variant pairings.
Previous diplomatic history with the tribes
The concern for alleviating discord between the tribes and the Superintendents had a broader base than just a desire for fair and non-turbulent intercourse. By the time of the creation of Ordinance in 1786, seven treaties had been consummated with the tribes: the Treaty with the Delawares, 1778 ; the Treaty with the Six Nations, 1784 ; the Treaty with the Wyandot, etc., 1785 ; the Treaty with the Cherokee, 1785 ; the Treaty with the Choctaw, 1786 ; the Treaty with the Chickasaw, 1786 ; and the Treaty with the Shawnee, 1786 (Kappler, 1904, pp. 3-5, 5-6, 6-8, 8-11, 11-14, 14-16, and 16-18, respectively). Trade was a major issue in several of these instruments. In a geographic area that would become part of the northern superintendency, Article V of the Delaware transaction announced that:
In addition, in the south, the 1786 Chickasaw transaction stated in Article VIII that:
“Whereas the confederation entered into by the Delaware nation and the United States, renders the first dependent on the latter for all the articles of clothing, utensils and implements of war, and it is judged not only reasonable, but indispensably necessary, that the aforesaid Nation be supplied with such articles from time to time, as far as the United States may have it in their power, by a well-regulated trade, under the conduct of an intelligent, candid agent, with an adequate salary, one more influenced by the love of his country, and a constant attention to the duties of his department by promoting the common interest, than the sinister purposes of converting and binding all the duties of his office to his private emolument: Convinced of the necessity of such measures, the Commissioners of the United States, at the earnest solicitation of the deputies aforesaid, have engaged in behalf of the United States, that such a trade shall be afforded said nation, conducted on such principles of mutual interest as the wisdom of the United States in Congress assembled shall think most conducive to adopt for their mutual convenience.”
Burnett (1941, p. 659) described the diplomatic processes developing within Congress at this very moment:
“For the benefit and comfort of the Indians, and for the prevention of injuries or oppressions on the part of the citizens or Indians, the United States in Congress assembled shall have the sole and exclusive right of regulating the trade with the Indians, and managing all their affairs in such manner as they think proper.”
“The summer of 1786 had not, however, been wholly taken up with the project of government for the western territory and the Spanish question. That other essential in the settlement of the problem of the west, namely, the negotiation of treaties with the Indians, had gone forward with results that, upon the whole, were satisfactory. Numerous treaties with the western and southern Indians had been negotiated in the spring, and during the summer Congress had worked out a general organization of its Indian affairs, laying down an ordinance for that purpose (August 7).”
The case of Papers I vs. Papers II – an argument for the true source of later renditions
The initial entry in Table II (Download Excel File) reveals forty-seven token differences between the hand-written Ordinance of Papers I and its printed text found in Papers II. By using the N errors values in the first two columns in Table II, it is apparent that Packet must be derived from Papers II (N errors = 18 vs. 55 with Papers I), and so must virtually any other comparison between a specific text and either of Papers I or Papers II. Papers I might then be nothing more than an historical relic that was infrequently accessed after Ordinance was published – and then more widely distributed – in the broadside format of Papers II. Thirty-three of the forty-seven observed errors between Papers I and Papers II were due to the absence in Papers II of the full testimonium found in Papers I.
The variants that simply terminated with the two tokens Done &c included Papers II, Packet, ASPIA, Carolina, Arbitration, and Legislative, arguing strongly for the prospect that Papers II was the source for the others, based wholly on the hypothesis that none of the latter may have had access to anything other than Papers II. The very presence of any testimonium tokens beyond Done &c in Laws, American, Indian, Colonial, Carter, Continental, and Washburn argues for the influence of variant Papers I in their creation.
Specific elements: Applications of the concept of in amity
The general circumstances of a tribe’s status with the United States as one in amity were discussed fully in a depredations case involving the Bannock and Paiute tribes in Oregon that was argued before the United States Court of Claims and entitled Marks v. United States (1893).  This complaint, founded upon an incident that had occurred in 1878, declared theft and destruction of cattle and horses and the ruin of dwellings amounting to a claim for a loss of $5,450. A decade after the skirmish, the Treaty with the Eastern Band Shoshoni and Bannock, 1888 spoke of friendship between the government and these tribes, but it did not employ the phrase in amity. This in amity condition was considered by the Court of Claims to denote harmonious participation in treaty relations, as implied by the term’s usage in the series of federal intercourse acts of 1796, 1799, 1802, and 1834.  These intercourse acts were supplemented by the development of the so-called factory system that commissioned an organized effort to supply the tribes with goods at cost, as a means to develop thereby friendly federal relationships with these entities. Two pieces of legislation from 1796 – An act making provision for the purposes of trade with the Indians (1 Stat. 443) and An act for establishing trading houses with the Indian tribes (1 Stat. 452) – implemented the formal structure for this endeavor, with the latter document enumerating the requirements of appropriate behavior of agents that were similar in form to those restrictions expressed in the 1786 Ordinance (see Peake, 1954).  Later, chapter 4 of the Revised Statutes discussed the topic of “Government of Indian Country” and used the phrase in Section 2156 applied to “injuries to property by Indians” (18 Stat. 371, 375). 
Specific elements: and it is further ordained vs. and be it further ordained
The next to last paragraph of Ordinance remarks upon the means to recover before the courts any fines or forfeitures incurred by contravening this ordinance (line number 1158-1162 of Table II (Download Excel File)). The segment begins in Papers I, Papers II, Packet, Laws, Indian, Colonial, ASPIA, Carter, Washburn, and Legislative with the declaration And it is further ordained. Alternatively, American, Carolina, Continental, Prucha, and Events expressed And be it further ordained (see line number 1145-1149; emphasis added). Finally, Arbitration did not print this portion of the text. This manner of speech was as familiar to members of the Continental Congress as the use of &c was to diminish attendant text. Indeed, the phrase And it is further ordained may be seen three times in An Ordinance to enable the Militia of London, to send out Forces under Major Generall Browne that was proposed by the British Parliament on 23 December 1643 (Firth and Rait, 1911, pp. 359-360; emphasis added):
The phrase And be it further ordained was similarly used in such official statements.
“And it is further Ordained, That the said Committee of the Militia shall have power, and is hereby authorized, to cause all or any of the said Forces to March with their colours to any places whatsoever, and not to depart from the same without licence of their Captaines, for the defence of the said City, and the publike safety;”
“And it is further Ordained by the said Lords and Commons, that the said Committee of the Militia shall have power, and is hereby authorized, to call backe all such Forces as they shall appoint to march forth by vertue of this Ordinance when they shall thinke fit;” and
“And it is further Ordained that such Forces as shall be sent forth by the said Committee for this Expedition shall be paid by the Parliament for the time they shall continue abroad, according to the establishment of the Kingdome: and the said Committee and all other persons acting in the premisses according to the intent of the said Ordinance, shall for so doing, be saved harmlesse by authority of Parliament.”
Specific elements: I, A. B., do swear, that I will well and faithfully serve the United States
The confirmation required of prospective superintendents, and deputy superintendents alike, announced the requisite conditions of service (line number 845-956 and 981-1086 in Table I (Download Excel File), respectively). This commitment was a fundamental aspect of Ordinance that focused on the precise need at that time for this document: the escalating distrust between federal officials and the tribes. Pledging that there would be no direct business between superintendents or their aides and tribal members, and that there would be no fraud derived from these opportunities to interact with these entities, acknowledged federal recognition of this very critical tribal concern.
The text of the undertaking, and in particular of the I, A. B., do swear opening, follows a model seen, for example, in the texts of the Tobacco Acts of 1723 and 1729 (1912, pp. 161 and 169) that were passed by the General Assembly of Virginia to control the production quantity and the overall quality of this product in that colony. The promise was also a component of other assertions or legislation, including the 1785 Ordinance for ascertaining the powers and duties of the secretary at war (footnote b at 1 Stat. 49-50), and in Article VI of The Constitution of the United States from 1787 (1 Stat. 10, 19; emphasis added) that declared that “[t]he Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Indeed, section 1 of the 1789 Act to regulate the time and manner of administering certain oaths (1 Stat. 23) defined the appropriate avowal as “I, A. B., do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States,” while §5 identified the assurance required of the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Other decisions involved similar requirements: for commissioners under the 1794 so-called Jay Treaty (Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, Between His Britannic Majesty and The United States of America, 18 Stat. 269, 272), and for census marshals in 1800 (An act to alter certain oaths and affirmations directed to be taken by the act instituted “An act providing for the second census or enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States” [2 Stat. 37]). Thus, the textual basis of this required undertaking was composed of an expression that was known to many participants of the Continental Congress, since it originated during the time of William and Mary in the seventeenth century (Mullet, 1948, p. 466).  Its general use has persevered, with the same phrase appearing in the Second Schedule of the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1946 (Tamaki, 1947, p. 97)  and even for proceedings involving widows in the United States through the 1965 Act to enact Part III of the District of Columbia Code, entitled “Decedents’ Estates and Fiduciary Relations”, codifying the general and permanent laws relating to decedents’ estates and fiduciary relations in the District of Columbia (79 Stat. 685, 696).
Specific elements: Secretary at War vs. Secretary of War
There are four instances of this occupational title at line number 360-362, 397-399, 900-902, and 1037-1039 in each complete variant (i.e., in all texts other than Arbitration, Prucha, and Events). Papers I, Papers II, Packet, American, Carolina, Carter, Continental, and Legislative employ Secretary at War, while Laws, Indian, Colonial, ASPIA, and Washburn used Secretary of War (emphasis added). It would be incorrect to consider this difference as a simple typographical error, since the title Secretary at War was a perpetuation of the one employed in England that arose in the seventeenth century (Ward, 1962, p. 7). The Continental Congress had created An ordinance for the ascertaining the powers and duties of the secretary at war in January 1785. Later, in August 1789, the Congress instituted An act to establish an executive department, to be denominated the department of war (see the act text, and the ordinance in footnote b at 1 Stat. 49; emphasis added). The official title for Henry Knox, employed in this role, thus overlapped the transition as Secretary at and then of War (Grossman, 2000, p. 895).
The critical issue for this text analysis is that this official date of name conversion signals not only the need to engage a new phrase, but also for an increased propensity to discard the old appellation. In part, this suggests that any published variants with the tokens Secretary at War should be either derived from early, or based upon early, publications of Ordinance. Papers I, Papers II, and Packet would all thus be expected to exhibit Secretary at War. The “Secretary of War” portion of the common errors deposited in Table III (Download Excel File) validates this idea. 
Further, Table II (Download Excel File) shows that the N errors and LED scores were always less in comparisons among the Laws, Indian, Colonial, ASPIA, and Washburn or the Secretary of War variants than the values obtained when testing occurred with the Papers I, Papers II, Packet, American, Carolina, Carter, Continental, and Legislative versions that presented the phrase Secretary at War. Table II provides evidence for a very good reproduction between Papers II and Legislative (N errors = 3): Legislative was originally an attachment to a letter dated 15 June 1789 between War Secretary Henry Knox and President George Washington (Bickford and Veit, 1986, pp. 1001-1003; Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1826, pp. 73-74) and the results offered by Table II would propose that the best path to reproduction would have flowed from Papers II to Legislative. 
These data also unveil the almost error-less reproductions between Laws and Indian (N errors = 0); Laws and Colonial (N errors = 1); Laws and Washburn (N errors = 3); Indian and Colonial (N errors = 1); Indian and Washburn (N errors = 2); and Colonial and Washburn (N errors = 2). Such precision would advocate that these four texts are very highly correlated. The scores for ASPIA in Table II show a general degradation of precision, across any of the Laws, Indian, or Colonial comparisons; individual N errors scores are many times greater.
Specific elements: &c examples from “obedient servant” declaration
In the same American State Papers: Indian Affairs document collection from which the ASPIA variant of Ordinance was taken (i.e., from the publication Wabash, Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Choctaws [American State Papers, 1832, pp. 12-54]), there are examples of this &c usage. For example, Major General Henry Knox, the Secretary of War, responded to President George Washington on 15 June 1789 and closed with the statement “I have the honor to be, &c.” while a day earlier, Arthur St. Clair, the Governor of the Northwest Territory, had written to Knox and used the complete closing: “I have the honor to be your most obedient servant” (pp. 12 and 15; emphasis added). The Oxford English Dictionary (Simpson and Weiner, vol. X, 1989, p. 635; emphasis original) collected examples of the use of this obedient servant phrase from as long ago as 1548, as well as the directive: “Conventionally used as an expression of respect or courtesy, esp. at leave-taking, or in the conclusion of a letter; in phr. your obedient servant.” Thus, the closing has appeared in a variety of government documents, including in hundreds of accounts published in Public Health Reports . One example from these will suffice. In a yellow fever report from Bahia, Brazil, to the Secretary of the Treasury, Vice-Consul Louis G. Mackay wrote a brief note asserting: “I have the honor of informing you that on this date 3 cases, 2 fatal, of yellow fever have been verified in this town. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant” (1898, p. 59; emphasis added). Mackay used precisely the same formula to inform his concluding respect for the Secretary of the Treasury – only in more words – than had Secretary of War Knox to President Washington ninety years earlier. Clearly, the &c token was a well known and well employed one, in letter writing as well as when invoked to reduce the length of, say, testimonia in documents.
The Levenshtein analysis conducted with these Ordinance texts revealed a stable publishing history that kept close to the original Papers I manuscript. Indeed, the seventy-eight tests (N tokens = 1298 and thus 101,244 pairs of individual Levenshtein contrasts), conducted on testimonium-free full variants (see the “No testimonium” tab in Table I (Download Excel File)), generated a total number of 2382 errors, yielding a 2.4% error rate. Of these, 990 faults, or 41.6% of the total number of errors, involved spelling differences arising from mismatches of superintendent and superindendant components, to which an additional 78 deputy-superintendent, 153 licence/license, and 36 misbehavior/misbehaviour complications may be considered.  Thus, over half of the observed slips emanating from these seventy-eight variant trials were caused by simple spelling discrepancies between versions. The most egregious fault was the and westward of Henderson river blunder, relative to the original and geographically correct text of and westward of Hudson river, but this occurrence was more entertaining than catastrophic.
Much more importantly than these common publishing errors, the concepts envisioned in Ordinance helped develop the prospects of Indian Affairs and commerce in this country. Immediately after the Revolution, the government of the new United States was in financial straits, much as the British had been after the Seven Years War.  The Bureau of the Public Debt of the Department of the Treasury remarked that “debts incurred during the American Revolutionary War amounted to $75,463,476.52 by January 1, 1791” (see also Public debt, 1808, p. 296), of which $12,812,821.92 were foreign obligations and $62,650,654.60 were domestic ones (State of the finances, 1815, p. 8). The government was also nervous about its remaining British and Indian neighbors, and this difficulty persisted until the conclusion of the War of 1812. During the intervening years, an attempt was made to placate the tribes through such mechanisms as the factory program (Peake, 1954) and administered commercial activities described in the series of intercourse acts between 1796 and 1834 that were secured by the trading license requirement presented in Ordinance. However, management at the very interface between the tribes and the government always occurred in the field. The legacy of Sir William Johnson during the British occupation was well known and acknowledged by the new federal government, in part because of his achievements attained in the face of British political demands, especially with regard to the French, until the end of the Seven Years War.
Jacobs (1988, p. 5), though, observed that “[i]mperial policy was, in many respects, based upon trial and error with the mother country’s or the individual colony’s self-interest in mind.” In 1755, Johnson, as the Superintendent of the Northern Department and along with his colleague Edmund Atkin in the Southern district, advocated for fair trade with, and due respect for, the tribes.  The wording of Ordinance in 1786 revisited and solidified these issues, by declaring clearly that the federal government was the mediator of Indian affairs beyond state boundaries. It further announced that it would be the supervisor of all matters relating to the regulation of fair commerce: “And whereas the United States in Congress assembled, under the ninth of the articles of confederation and perpetual union, have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the trade, and managing all affairs with the Indians not members of any states; provided that the legislative right of any state within its own limits be not infringed or violated” (Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, 1959b, p. 101). The management model of two superintendencies – and not of three (i.e., the Eastern, Western/Middle, and Southern) proposed earlier in 1786 (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1934, vol. 30, p. 426) – was revived because the preceding British exemplar postulated by Atkin in his Plan of 1755 had been efficacious. However, it is interesting that Atkin had included all of New England – “That all the Indian nations or tribes be divided into two districts; the northern district from Nova Scotia to Virginia inclusive... And the southern district of North Carolina, South Carolina, & Georgia” (Jacobs, 1954, p. 77; emphasis added) – whereas Ordinance did not.
Finally, the United States had a potential advantage after the 1783 Treaty of Paris (see the Definitive treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States, signed at Paris, 3 September 1783 [Parry, 1969, pp. 487-498]) with which to make headway with the tribes. The British had relinquished through the Treaty Indian lands without the awareness of these groups (see Taylor, 2002). Fresh appropriate communications with the disappointed and discarded native entities – perhaps though effective and fair administration of the Ordinance proposals – might have yielded the procurement of a better future for all. Washburn, though, in terms of the moment and the future, clearly fathomed British disdain for their old allies: “Opponents of the articles of peace in England… denounced England’s breaking of faith with the Indians in conceding their lands without their knowledge, but this was not the first or last peace in which the rights of peoples not present at the negotiations were sacrificed to the interests of more powerful participants” (1975, p. 157; emphasis added). He also acknowledged that General Frederick Haldimand, the British commander in Canada, had offered land to the Mohawk of Joseph Brant, if they wished to leave the United States.  During the British reign prior to the Revolution, Sir William Johnson had promoted an alliance with the Mohawk – in part through a marriage to Brant’s sister, Molly – to cultivate a joint vibrant, productive, and strong Northern superintendency, but that coordination had disappeared after the War. Through Ordinance, the United States attempted to use those earlier experiences to model a fresh beginning, but in the wake of Britain’s disregard for its responsibilities to its indigenous allies in America, the subsequent history of the new nation generated its own share of manifestations of contempt.
American and British Claims Arbitration. Cayuga Indians. Appendix to the Answer of the United States. Vol. I, Parts I and II. (1913). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
American State Papers. Documents, legislative and executive, of the Congress of the United States, from the first session of the First to the third session of the Thirteenth Congress, inclusive: commencing March 3, 1789, and ending March 3, 1815. Volume IV [i.e., I]: Indian Affairs. (1832). Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton.
Ancient Indian land claims: Hearing before the Select Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, Ninety-seventh Congress, second session, on S. 2084. (1982). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1929. (1930). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
Bergmann, W. H. (2012). The American National State and the Early West. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Bernholz, C. D. and O’Grady, B. T. (2012a). Insights from editions of The Annual Register regarding later variants of the Royal Proclamation of 1763: An application of Levenshtein’s edit distance metric. Available at http://annualregister1763.unl.edu/ .
Bernholz, C. D. and O’Grady, B. T. (2012b). The Indians of the northern and southern districts of North America: Levenshtein comparisons of the tribe lists from the 1764 “Plan for the future management of Indian affairs.” Available at http://treatiesportal.unl.edu/planof1764/ .
Bernholz, C. D. and Pytlik Zillig, B. L. (2010). The Treaty of Fort Laramie with Sioux, etc., 1851: Revisiting the document found in Kappler’s Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. Available at http://treatyoffortlaramie1851.unl.edu/ .
Bernholz, C. D.; O’Grady, B. T.; and Pytlik Zillig, B. L. (2013). The power of names: A Levenshtein analysis of the text of the 1620 Mayflower Compact and of its signatory list, in conjunction with the Conference and Agreement Between Plymouth Colony and Massasoit, Wampanoag Sachem, 1621. Available at http://treatiesportal.unl.edu/mayflower/ .
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Gannett, H. (1900). Boundaries of the United States, and of the Several States, and Territories with an Outline of the History of Important Changes of Territory (Second edition). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
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I thank Vann Evans, Unit Supervisor of the Correspondence Unit of the Collection Services Section at the State Archives of North Carolina, for his assistance in acquiring materials from that state’s Governors Papers collection. I also acknowledge Brian Pytlik Zillig at the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for providing software for the Levenshtein analyses; Laura Weakly and Karin Dalziel, also employed at the Center, for creating this Web site; and Tara Lavy and Brian O’Grady of Access Services at the Libraries of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for their assistance in obtaining variants used in this study. The availability of Abel Buell’s Map of the United States to the Library of Congress’s Mapping a New Nation Web site – and so to this study – was made possible by the generous support of David M. Rubenstein, to whom I extend my gratitude.
An ordinance for the regulation of Indian affairs [*]
Whereas the safety and tranquility of the frontiers of the United States, do in some measure, depend on the maintaining a good correspondence between their citizens and the several nations of Indians in amity with them: And whereas the United States in Congress assembled, under the 9th of the articles of confederation and perpetual union, have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the trade, and managing all affairs with the Indians not members of any of the states; provided that the legislative right of any state within its own limits be not infringed or violated.
Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, that from and after the passing of this ordinance, the Indian department be divided into two districts, viz. the southern, which shall comprehend within its limits, all the nations in the territory of the United States, who reside southward of the river Ohio; and the northern, which shall comprehend all the other Indian nations within the said territory, and westward of Hudson river: Provided that all councils, treaties, communications and official transactions, between the superintendant hereafter mentioned for the northern district, and the Indian nations, be held, transacted and done, at the out post occupied by the troops of the United States, in the said district. That a superintendant be appointed for each of the said districts, who shall continue in office for two years, unless sooner removed by Congress, and shall reside within or as near the district for which he shall be so appointed, as may be convenient for the management of its concerns. The said superintendants, shall attend to the execution of such regulations, as Congress shall from time to time establish respecting Indian affairs. The superintendant for the northern district, shall have authority to appoint two deputies, to reside in such places as shall best facilitate the regulations of the Indian trade, and to remove them for misbehaviour. There shall be communications of all matters relative to the business of the Indian department, kept up between the said superintendants, who shall regularly correspond with the secretary at war, through whom all communications respecting the Indian department, shall be made to Congress; and the superintendants are hereby directed to obey all instructions, which they shall from time to time receive from the said secretary at war. And whenever they shall have reason to suspect, any tribe or tribes of Indians, of hostile intentions, they shall communicate the same to the executive of the state or states, whose territories are subject to the effect of such hostilities. All stores, provisions or other property, which Congress may think necessary for presents to the Indians, shall be in the custody and under the care of the said superintendants, who shall render an annual account of the expenditures of the same, to the Board of Treasury.
And be it further ordained, that none but citizens of the United States, shall be suffered to reside among the Indian nations, or be allowed to trade with any nation of Indians, within the territory of the United States. That no person, citizen or other, under the penalty of five hundred dollars, shall reside among or trade with any Indian or Indian nation, within the territory of the United States, without a license for that purpose first obtained from the superintendant of the district, or one of the deputies, who are hereby directed to give such license to every person, who shall produce from the supreme executive of any state, a certificate under the seal of the states, that he is of good character and suitably qualified, and provided for that employment, for which license he shall pay the sum of fifty dollars to the said superintendant for the use of the United States. That no license to trade with the Indians shall be in force for a longer term than one year; nor shall permits or passports be granted to any other persons than a citizens of the United States to travel through the Indian nations, without their having previously made their business known to the superintendant of the district, and received his special approbation. That previous to any person or persons obtaining a license to trade as aforesaid, he or they shall give bond in three thousand dollars to the superintendant of the district, for the use of the United States, for his or their strict adherence to, and observance of such rules and regulations as Congress may from time to time establish for the government of the Indian trade. All sums to be received by the said superintendants, either for licenses or fines, shall be annually accounted for by them with the board of treasury.
And be it further ordained, That the said superintendants, and the deputies, shall not be engaged, either directly or indirectly in trade with the Indians, on pain of forfeiting their offices, and each of the superintendants shall take the following oath, previous to his entering on the duties of his appointment – “I, A.B. do swear, that I will well and faithfully serve the United States in the office of superintendant of Indian affairs, for the .......... district: That I will carefully attend to all such orders and instructions as I shall from time to time receive from the United States in Congress assembled, or the secretary at war: That I will not be concerned, either directly or indirectly in trade with the Indians, and that in all things belonging to my said office, during my continuance therein, I will faithfully, justly and truly, according to the best of my skill and judgment, do equal and impartial justice, without fraud, favour or affection.” And the superintendant for the northern district, shall administer to his deputies, the following oath, before they proceed on the duties of their office, “I, A.B. do swear, that I will well and faithfully serve the United States, in the office of deputy superintendant of Indian affairs in the northern district, that I will carefully attend to all such orders and instructions as I shall from time to time receive from the United States in Congress assembled, the secretary at war, or the superintendant of the district aforesaid, and that in all things belonging to my said office, during my continuance therein, I will faithfully, justly and truly, according to the best of my skill and judgment, do equal and impartial justice, without fraud, favour or affection.” And the said superintendants, and deputy superintendants, shall each of them give bond with surety to the board of treasury, in trust for the United States; the superintendants each in the sum of six thousand dollars, and the deputy superintendants each in the sum of three thousand dollars, for the faithful discharge of the duties of their office.
And it is further ordained, That all fines and forfeitures which may be incurred by contravening this ordinance, shall be sued for and recovered before any court of record within the United States, the one moiety thereof to the use of him or them who may prosecute therefor, and the other moiety to the use of the United States. And the said superintendants shall have power, and hereby are authorised, by force to restrain therefrom, all persons who shall attempt an intercourse with the said Indians without a license therefor obtained as aforesaid.
And be it further ordained, that in all cases where transactions with any nation or tribe of Indians shall become necessary to the purposes of this ordinance, which cannot be done without interfering with the legislative rights of a state, the superintendant in whose district the same shall happen, shall act in conjunction with the authority of such state.
Done by the United States in Congress assembled this seventh day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty six and of our sovereignty and independence the eleventh.
* Papers I from Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 (1959b, pp. 101-105). [back]
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org [back]
1 Carter also wrote upon the complexities of historical editing (1952). [back]
2 Gannett (1900, pp. 30-33) listed the dates of the land cessions made by the colonies to the federal government. The actual Northwest Territory existed from 1787 until 1803, when Ohio became the first state from this area (p. 116). Bergmann (2012, pp. 172-212) provided insight into the economic effects upon the tribes during this period of American expansion. [back]
3 Gates (1968, pp. 59-74) devoted a chapter to the Land Ordinance of 1785 and Donaldson (1884, pp. 146-161) remarked upon the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Of the original thirteen colonies, New York (in 1781; pp. 65-67), Virginia (in 1784 and 1788; pp. 67-70), Massachusetts (in 1785; pp. 70-72), Connecticut (in 1786 and 1800; pp. 72-75), South Carolina (in 1787; pp. 75-76), North Carolina (in 1790; pp. 76-78), and Georgia (in 1802; pp. 79-81) ceded a total of 259,171,787 acres to the United States (see the tables on p. 11). [back]
5 See Indian entities recognized and eligible to receive services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs (2014) for the names of the 566 Indian and Native Alaska groups currently acknowledged by the federal government. [back]
6 James White came from a remarkable family. Reeves (1999, p. vii) wrote on “the story of three generations of fascinating individuals: the physician, diplomat and land speculator James White; the member of Congress and Whig governor Edward D. White; and the New Orleans lawyer, sugar planter, justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Edward Douglass White.” [back]
7 See Jackson (1860) for an interesting perspective on this chain. [back]
8 A decade after Ordinance had been developed, the British resurrected the potential use of superintendencies within their remaining domain of North America. In June 1796, Col Alexander McKee, a British Indian agent who had served at Fort Pitt at the suggestion of Sir William Johnson, proposed to Lord Dorchester, the Governor General of British North America, a “Plan for the future government of the Indian Department” that involved three superintendents and three shopkeepers at the so-called “Upper Posts” of Niagara, Detroit, and Michilimackinac (Col. Alexander McKee to Lord Dorchester, 1892). [back]
9 The activities include vehicle travel time measurement scenarios (Takahashi and Izumi, 2006); the development of ontologies (Ginsca and Iftene, 2010); the foundation of spell checking routines (Kukich, 1992); and plagiarism software (Zini, Fabbri, Moneglia, and Panunzi, 2006). [back]
12 Tennison (2007) proposed the basic approach to an XSLT-based implementation of Levenshtein’s algorithm. [back]
13 Butler (1978, p. 2536) declared these two documents as a “copy signed by N. Gorham, attested by C. Thomson” and a “broadsheet signed by C. Thomson,” respectively, of the Ordinance. Both entries note that the instrument is “Printed in Journals, 1786, p. 490-493.” This latter version is included in the test texts array for this study and is identified as variant Continental. [back]
14 This volume is part of the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791 series created by the First Federal Congress Project . [back]
15 There are examples of portions of the Ordinance text used to highlight points of discussion – see the segment, among others, of “Whereas the safety and tranquillity of the frontiers of the United States, do in some measure, depend on the maintaining a good correspondence between their citizens and the several nations of Indians in amity with them” from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1892 (Report of the Secretary of the Interior; being part of the message and documents communicated to the two Houses of Congress at the beginning of the second session of the Fifty-second Congress, 1892, p. 13). Other federal documents, however, have been poorly produced and so the Ordinance text was thereby damaged. For example, Ancient Indian land claims: Hearing before the Select Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, Ninety-seventh Congress, second session, on S. 2084 (1982) truncated the specifications at the bottom of page 622 and thereby eliminated that variant from consideration in this analysis. [back]
16 Richter (2013, p. 250) offered a very complete discussion of the issues of trade and land acquisition at the end of the eighteenth century, concluding with the statement: “That even the defenders of Native American rights could not escape the overwhelming power of racial categories – could see Indians only as primitive hunters doomed to pitiable extinction – reveals just how bleak the future was for Indians in a White man’s republic.” The so-called Indian Problem did nothing but grow in complexity after Independence. [back]
17 This includes two text pads, of zero bytes each at line number 1009 and 1061, used to rectangularize Continental with the other variants. [back]
18 There is a Henderson Creek in eastern Henderson County in the western end of North Carolina (Powell, 1968, p. 221). Henderson County was named after Leonard Henderson (Gannett, 1905, p. 154), who served as the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court between 1829 and 1833. His life was described by Walter Clark, in his History of the Supreme Court of North Carolina (1919, p. 621), who was also the editor of The State Records of North Carolina that employed in Ordinance the phrase and westward of Henderson River. [back]
19 There certainly have been appropriate uses of brief citations from Ordinance and these may be found among court proceedings before federal courts: Worcester v. Georgia (1832); Marks v. United States (1893); Oneida Nation v. United States (1976); United States v. Oneida Nation of New York (1978); and Oneida Indian Nation v. New York (1982). [back]
20 I thank Vann Evans at the Archives for his assistance in acquiring this variant. [back]
21 Such claims were expedited by the passage of the 1891 Indian Depredation Act (26 Stat. 851). [back]
22 Each piece of legislation was entitled An act to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, and to preserve peace on the frontiers (1 Stat. 469, 472; 1 Stat. 743, 747; 2 Stat. 139, 143; and 4 Stat. 729, 731, respectively). [back]
23 The factory system was cancelled in 1822: “That the President of the United States shall be, and hereby is, authorized and required to cause the business of the United States’ trading houses among the Indian tribes to be closed” (An act to abolish the United States’ trading establishment with the Indian tribes, 3 Stat. 679). [back]
24 With specific regard to Marks v. United States, Article I of the Treaty with the Eastern Band Shoshoni and Bannock, 1888 stipulated a mechanism to reimburse depredations by announcing that “[i]f bad men among the Indians shall commit a wrong or depredation upon the person or property of any one, white, black, or Indian, subject to the authority of the United States, and at peace therewith, the Indians herein named solemnly agree that they will, on proof made to their agent and notice by him, deliver up the wrong-doer to the United States, to be tried and punished according to the laws; and in case they wilfully refuse so to do, the person injured shall be re-imbursed for his loss from the annuities or other moneys due or to become due to them under this or other treaties made with the United States” (Kappler, 1904, p. 1020; emphasis added). The Court determined that “[t]he depredation complained of in this proceeding was not the subject of investigation before the Indian agent, for the purpose of bringing the claim within that provision of the treaty making the tribe responsible by a diminution of annuities, because of a failure to deliver for punishment a wrongdoer. Upon the whole case, it is the conclusion of the court that the facts found do not bring the case within the jurisdiction of the court authorizing a judgment for the claimants for the amount which they have suffered in consequence of the wrongs inflicted on them by acts of the Indians, and the petition is, therefore, dismissed” (Marks v. United States, 1893, p. 173). [back]
25 See Pionke’s (2007) amusing discussion of oath taking among the professional classes of England. [back]
26 See the former oath of allegiance in the text, and in footnote number 106, on p. 84. [back]
27 The highlighting of the line numbers for the last two instances of the secretary at war comparisons in Table III is driven by the absence of any text for these segments in Arbitration, Prucha, and Events. Only line number 361, 398, 901, and 1038 are pertinent in this at/of discussion. [back]
28 It is interesting to observe that the day on which President Washington’s letter was presented before the House was the third anniversary of the pronouncement of Ordinance, and the day on which he approved the Northwest Ordinance (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1936, vol. 32, pp. 334-343). [back]
29 The Oxford English Dictionary (Simpson and Weiner, vol. viii, p. 890) explains the spelling applications of licence and license as examples of noun and verb forms that are mirrored in term pairs like practice and practise and advice and advise. [back]
30 Neal (1977, p. 31) showed a total war expenditure of over £82 million, 37% of which was financed through debt. [back]
31 See Bernholz and O’Grady (2012b) for a discussion of these two men and of the tribes of these areas. Ward (1971) has more on the northern (pp. 131-152) and the southern (pp. 153-167) Indians, up to 1763. [back]
32 See the text of Haldimand’s grant of October 1784 to “the said Mohawk Nation and such others of the Six Nation Indians as wish to settle” in Graymont (1972, p. 299). [back]