A failed treaty attempt between the United States and the Creek Indians at Rock Landing, Georgia, in 1789, was abruptly ended by Creek leader Alexander McGillivray. He described his grievances in a letter to the United States commissioners. Washington sent a special emissary, Colonel Marinus Willett, to McGillvray, persuading him to come to New York City, then the capitol of the United States, to conduct a treaty with Washington and Henry Knox directly.
In the summer of 1787, twenty-seven Creek leaders led by Alexander McGillivray traveled to New York and signed a treaty on behalf of the "Upper, Middle, and Lower Creek and Seminole composing the Creek nation of Indians". McGillivray was the only one who could sign his name.:196 Creek leaders ceded a significant portion of their hunting grounds, including land stretching to the Oconee River, to the United States and agreed to turn runaway slaves over to federal authorities, although the Creek leaders averred that convincing the Creek people to honor the new boundary lines or return African-American slaves would be difficult at best.
The United States granted the Creeks the right to punish non-Indian trespassers in their territory but refused to allow the Creeks to punish non-Indians who committed crimes on Creek lands. For their part, the Creeks agreed to turn over Creek people accused of crimes to the U.S. courts. In a secret side agreement to the treaty, McGillivray received a commission as a brigadier in the U.S. Army, with an annual salary of $1,500. The treaty also provided the tribes with agricultural supplies and tools.:80:256-257:207-208 McGillivray was granted permission to import goods through the Spanish port of Pensacola without paying American duties. He also received $100,000 in compensation for the seized lands of his father.
The Treaty of New York was the first treaty between the United States and Native Americans not held in Indian-controlled lands.[further explanation needed]