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Martin van Buren and "Indian Affairs"

by Martin Van Buren

FROM THE MESSAGES AND PAPERS OF MARTIN VAN BUREN

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas by an act of Congress of the 7th of June, 1836, it was enacted that when the Indian title to all the lands lying between the State of Missouri and the Missouri River should be extinguished the jurisdiction over said land should be ceded by the said act to the State of Missouri and the western boundary of said State should be then extended to the Missouri River, reserving to the United States the original right of soil in said lands and of disposing of the same; and

Whereas it was in and by the said act provided that the same should not take effect until the President should by proclamation declare that the Indian title to said lands had been extinguished, nor until the State of Missouri should have assented to the provisions of the said act; and

Whereas an act was passed by the general assembly of the State of Missouri on the 16th of December, 1836, expressing the assent of the said State to the provisions of the said act of Congress, a copy of which act of the general assembly, duly authenticated, has been officially communicated to this Government and is now on file in the Department of State:

Now, therefore, I, Martin Van Buren, President of the United States of America, do by this my proclamation declare and make known that the Indian title to all the said lands lying between the State of Missouri and the Missouri River has been extinguished and that the said act of Congress of the 7th of June, 1836, takes effect from the date hereof.

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, this 28th day of March, A.D. 1837, and of the Independence of the United States of America the sixty-first.

MARTIN VAN BUREN.


By the President:
JOHN FORSYTH,
Secretary of State
WASHINGTON CITY, October 2, 1837.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of the Senate, a treaty concluded with the Miami tribe of Indians by General Marshall in 1834, with, explanatory documents from the Department of War, and ask its advice in regard to the ratification of the original treaty with the amendments proposed by the Secretary of War; the treaty, with the amendments, in the event of its ratification by the United States, to be again submitted to the chiefs and warriors of the Miami tribes for their sanction or rejection.

M. VAN BUREN
FIRST ANNUAL MESSAGE

The system of removing the Indians west of the Mississippi, commenced by Mr. Jefferson in 1804, has been steadily persevered in by every succeeding President, and may be considered the settled policy of the country. Unconnected at first with any well-defined system for their improvement, the inducements held out to the Indians were confined to the greater abundance of game to be found in the West; but when the beneficial effects of their removal were made apparent a more philanthropic and enlightened policy was adopted in purchasing their lands east of the Mississippi. Liberal prices were given and provisions inserted in all the treaties with them for the application of the funds they received in exchange to such purposes as were best calculated to promote their present welfare and advance their future civilization. These measures have been attended thus far with the happiest results.

It will be seen by referring to the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that the most sanguine expectations of the friends and promoters of this system have been realized. The Choctaws, Cherokees, and other tribes that first emigrated beyond the Mississippi have for the most part abandoned the hunter state and become cultivators of the soil. The improvement in their condition has been rapid, and it is believed that they are now fitted to enjoy the advantages of a simple form of government, which has been submitted to them and received their sanction; and I can not too strongly urge this subject upon the attention of Congress.

Stipulations have been made with all the Indian tribes to remove them beyond the Mississippi, except with the bands of the Wyandots, the Six Nations in New York, the Menomonees, Munsees, and Stockbridges in Wisconsin, and Miamies in Indiana. With all but the Menomonees it is expected that arrangements for their emigration will be completed the present year. The resistance which has been opposed to their removal by some of the tribes even after treaties had been made with them to that effect has arisen from various causes, operating differently on each of them. In most instances they have been instigated to resistance by persons to whom the trade with them and the acquisition of their annuities were important, and in some by the personal influence of interested chiefs. These obstacles must be overcome, for the Government can not relinquish the execution of this policy without sacrificing important interests and abandoning the tribes remaining east of the Mississippi to certain destruction.

The decrease in numbers of the tribes within the limits of the States and Territories has been most rapid. If they be removed, they can be protected from those associations and evil practices which exert so pernicious and destructive an influence over their destinies. They can be induced to labor and to acquire property, and its acquisition will inspire them with a feeling of independence. Their minds can be cultivated, and they can be taught the value of salutary and uniform laws and be made sensible of the blessings of free government and capable of enjoying its advantages. In the possession of property, knowledge, and a good government, free to give what direction they please to their labor, and sharers in the legislation by which their persons and the profits of their industry are to be protected and secured, they will have an ever-present conviction of the importance of union and peace among themselves and of the preservation of amicable relations with us. The interests of the United States would also be greatly promoted by freeing the relations between the General and State Governments from what has proved a most embarrassing incumbrance by a satisfactory adjustment of conflicting titles to lands caused by the occupation of the Indians, and by causing the resources of the whole country to be developed by the power of the State and General Governments and improved by the enterprise of a white population.

Intimately connected with this subject is the obligation of the Government to fulfill its treaty stipulations and to protect the Indians thus assembled "at their new residences from all interruptions and disturbances from any other tribes or nations of Indians or from any other person or persons whatsoever," and the equally solemn obligation to guard from Indian hostility its own border settlements, stretching along a line of more than 1,000 miles. To enable the Government to redeem this pledge to the Indians and to afford adequate protection to its own citizens will require the continual presence of a considerable regular force on the frontiers and the establishment of a chain of permanent posts. Examinations of the country are now making, with a view to decide on the most suitable points for the erection of fortresses and other works of defense, the results of which will be presented to you by the Secretary of War at an early day, together with a plan for the effectual protection of the friendly Indians and the permanent defense of the frontier States
WASHINGTON, December, 1837.

To the Senate:

I transmit, for the action of the Senate, treaties negotiated with the following Indian tribes, viz:

(1) The Chippewas of the Mississippi; (2) the Kioways, Ka-ta-kas, and Ta-wa-ka-ros; (3) the Sioux of the Mississippi; (4) the Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi; (5) the Sioux of the Missouri; (6) the Sacs and Foxes of the Missouri; (7) the Winnebagoes; (8) the Ioways.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, December 18, 1837.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith a report and accompanying documents* from the Secretary of War, which contain the information called for by a resolution of the 13th of October last.

M. VAN BUREN.

* Relating to adjustment of claims to reservations of land under the fourteenth article of the treaty of 1830 with the Choctaw Indians.
WASHINGTON, January 12, 1838.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 2d instant, I transmit herewith a report* of the Secretary of War, explanatory of the causes which have prevented a compliance with a resolution of that branch of Congress of February 24, 1837.

M. VAN BUREN.

*Relating to alleged frauds upon the Creek Indians in the sale and purchase of their lands, etc
WASHINGTON, January 13, 1838.

To the Senate:

I transmit to the Senate, for its constitutional action, a treaty made with the Chippewa Indians of Saganaw on the 20th of December, 1837.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, January 27, 1838.

Hon. R.M. JOHNSON,
President of the Senate.

SIR: I transmit herewith, in compliance with the requirements of the second section of the act of March 3, 1837, making appropriations for the Indian Department, a communication from the War Department, accompanied by a copy of the report of the agents appointed to inquire what depredations had been committed by the Seminole and Creek Indians on the property of citizens of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.

M. VAN BUREN.

[The same message was addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.]
WASHINGTON, February 17, 1838.

To the Senate:

I transmit for your constitutional action articles of a treaty concluded on the 23d ultimo with the Chippewas of Saganaw, accompanied by a communication from the Secretary of War.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, February 17, 1838.

To the Senate:

I transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of War, respecting a treaty now before you with the Stockbridge and Munsee Indians.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, March, 1838.

Hon. J.K. POLK,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.

SIR: The inclosed report and accompanying papers from the Secretary of War contain all the information required by the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 5th instant, respecting the present state of the campaign in Florida and the disposition of the Indians to treat for peace.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, April, 1838.

To the Senate:

I transmit a communication from the Department of War, on the subject of the treaty with the Stockbridge and Munsee Indians of September, 1836, which is now before the Senate.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, April 18, 1838.

To the Senate of the United States:

I return the petition and papers of Econchatta Nico,* referred to me by a resolution of the Senate of February 7, 1837, and transmit a communication and accompanying papers from the Acting Secretary of War, showing the failure of the attempt made, in conformity with the resolution, to obtain indemnity for the petitioner by prosecuting the depredators on his property, and also the causes of the failure. The papers are returned and the report and documents of the Acting Secretary of War submitted in order that Congress may devise such other mode of relief as may seem proper.

M. VAN BUREN.

*A chief of the Apalachicola Indians, for indemnification for losses sustained by depredations on his property by white persons.
WASHINGTON, April 23, 1838.

To the Senate:

I transmit, for the consideration and action of the Senate, communications from the Department of War, accompanying treaties with the Indians in the State of New York, with the St. Regis band, and with the Oneidas residing at Green Bay.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, May 21, 1838.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

The accompanying copy of a communication addressed by the Secretary of War to the Cherokee delegation is submitted to Congress in order that such measures may be adopted as are required to carry into effect the benevolent intentions of the Government toward the Cherokee Nation, and which it is hoped will induce them to remove peaceably and contentedly to their new homes in the West.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, June 1, 1838.

To the Senate of the United States:

Negotiations have been opened with the Osage and Delaware Indians, in compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 19th of January last, for the relinquishment of certain school lands secured to them by treaty. These relinquishments have been obtained on the terms authorized by the resolution, and copies of them are herewith transmitted for the information of the Senate.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, June 6, 1838.

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

In compliance with the resolution of the 4th instant, calling for any communication received from the governors of the States of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama in reference to the proposed modification of the Cherokee treaty of 1835, I herewith inclose a report of the Secretary of War, accompanied by a copy of a letter addressed by him to the governor of Georgia and of his reply thereto. As stated by the Secretary, no communication on that subject has been received from either of the other executives mentioned.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON CITY, June 11, 1838.

To the Senate of the United States:

I submit herewith, for consideration and action, a communication from the Secretary of War and the treaty with the Otoe, Missouria, and Omaha Indians therein referred to.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, July 3, 1838.

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

I transmit a report from the War Department, in relation to the investigations of the allegations of fraud committed on the Creek Indians in the sales of their reservations authorized by the resolution of that body of the 1st of July, 1836.

M. VAN BUREN
SECOND ANNUAL MESSAGE

The plan proposed by the Secretary of War for the distribution of the forces of the United States in time of peace is well calculated to promote regularity and economy in the fiscal administration of the service, to preserve the discipline of the troops, and to render them available for the maintenance of the peace and tranquillity of the country. With this view, likewise, I recommend the adoption of the plan presented by that officer for the defense of the western frontier. The preservation of the lives and property of our fellow-citizens who are settled upon that border country, as well as the existence of the Indian population, which might be tempted by our want of preparation to rush on their own destruction and attack the white settlements, all seem to require that this subject should be acted upon without delay, and the War Department authorized to place that country in a state of complete defense against any assault from the numerous and warlike tribes which are congregated on that border.

It affords me sincere pleasure to be able to apprise you of the entire removal of the Cherokee Nation of Indians to their new homes west of the Mississippi. The measures authorized by Congress at its last session, with a view to the long-standing controversy with them, have had the happiest effects. By an agreement concluded with them by the commanding general in that country, who has performed the duties assigned to him on the occasion with commendable energy and humanity, their removal has been principally under the conduct of their own chiefs, and they have emigrated without any apparent reluctance.

The successful accomplishment of this important object, the removal also of the entire Creek Nation with the exception of a small number of fugitives amongst the Seminoles in Florida, the progress already made toward a speedy completion of the removal of the Chickasaws, the Choctaws, the Pottawatamies, the Ottawas, and the Chippewas, with the extensive purchases of Indian lands during the present year, have rendered the speedy and successful result of the long-established policy of the Government upon the subject of Indian affairs entirely certain. The occasion is therefore deemed a proper one to place this policy in such a point of view as will exonerate the Government of the United States from the undeserved reproach which has been cast upon it through several successive Administrations. That a mixed occupancy of the same territory by the white and red man is incompatible with the safety or happiness of either is a position in respect to which there has long since ceased to be room for a difference of opinion. Reason and experience have alike demonstrated its impracticability. The bitter fruits of every attempt heretofore to overcome the barriers interposed by nature have only been destruction, both physical and moral, to the Indian, dangerous conflicts of authority between the Federal and State Governments, and detriment to the individual prosperity of the citizen as well as to the general improvement of the country. The remedial policy, the principles of which were settled more than thirty years ago under the Administration of Mr. Jefferson, consists in an extinction, for a fair consideration, of the title to all the lands still occupied by the Indians within the States and Territories of the United States; their removal to a country west of the Mississippi much more extensive and better adapted to their condition than that on which they then resided; the guarantee to them by the United States of their exclusive possession of that country forever, exempt from all intrusions by white men, with ample provisions for their security against external violence and internal dissensions, and the extension to them of suitable facilities for their advancement in civilization. This has not been the policy of particular Administrations only, but of each in succession since the first attempt to carry it out under that of Mr. Monroe. All have labored for its accomplishment, only with different degrees of success. The manner of its execution has, it is true, from time to time given rise to conflicts of opinion and unjust imputations; but in respect to the wisdom and necessity of the policy itself there has not from the beginning existed a doubt in the mind of any calm, judicious, disinterested friend of the Indian race accustomed to reflection and enlightened by experience.

Occupying the double character of contractor on its own account and guardian for the parties contracted with, it was hardly to be expected that the dealings of the Federal Government with the Indian tribes would escape misrepresentation. That there occurred in the early settlement of this country, as in all others where the civilized race has succeeded to the possessions of the savage, instances of oppression and fraud on the part of the former there is too much reason to believe. No such offenses can, however, be justly charged upon this Government since it became free to pursue its own course. Its dealings with the Indian tribes have been just and friendly throughout; its efforts for their civilization constant, and directed by the best feelings of humanity; its watchfulness in protecting them from individual frauds unremitting; its forbearance under the keenest provocations, the deepest injuries, and the most flagrant outrages may challenge at least a comparison with any nation, ancient or modern, in similar circumstances; and if in future times a powerful, civilized, and happy nation of Indians shall be found to exist within the limits of this northern continent it will be owing to the consummation of that policy which has been so unjustly assailed. Only a very brief reference to facts in confirmation of this assertion can in this form be given, and you are therefore necessarily referred to the report of the Secretary of War for further details. To the Cherokees, whose case has perhaps excited the greatest share of attention and sympathy, the United States have granted in fee, with a perpetual guaranty of exclusive and peaceable possession, 13,554,135 acres of land on the west side of the Mississippi, eligibly situated, in a healthy climate, and in all respects better suited to their condition than the country they have left, in exchange for only 9,492,160 acres on the east side of the same river. The United States have in addition stipulated to pay them $5,600,000 for their interest in and improvements on the lands thus relinquished, and $1,160,000 for subsistence and other beneficial purposes, thereby putting it in their power to become one of the most wealthy and independent separate communities of the same extent in the world.

By the treaties made and ratified with the Miamies, the Chippewas, the Sioux, the Sacs and Foxes, and the Winnebagoes during the last year the Indian title to 18,458,000 acres has been extinguished. These purchases have been much more extensive than those of any previous year, and have, with other Indian expenses, borne very heavily upon the Treasury. They leave, however, but a small quantity of unbought Indian lands within the States and Territories, and the Legislature and Executive were equally sensible of the propriety of a final and more speedy extinction of Indian titles within those limits. The treaties, which were with a single exception made in pursuance of previous appropriations for defraying the expenses, have subsequently been ratified by the Senate, and received the sanction of Congress by the appropriations necessary to carry them into effect. Of the terms upon which these important negotiations were concluded I can speak from direct knowledge, and I feel no difficulty in affirming that the interest of the Indians in the extensive territory embraced by them is to be paid for at its fair value, and that no more favorable terms have been granted to the United States than would have been reasonably expected in a negotiation with civilized men fully capable of appreciating and protecting their own rights. For the Indian title to 116,349,897 acres acquired since the 4th of March, 1829, the United States have paid $72,560,056 in permanent annuities, lands, reservations for Indians, expenses of removal and subsistence, merchandise, mechanical and agricultural establishments and implements. When the heavy expenses incurred by the United States and the circumstance that so large a portion of the entire territory will be forever unsalable are considered, and this price is compared with that for which the United States sell their own lands, no one can doubt that justice has been done to the Indians in these purchases also. Certain it is that the transactions of the Federal Government with the Indians have been uniformly characterized by a sincere and paramount desire to promote their welfare; and it must be a source of the highest gratification to every friend to justice and humanity to learn that notwithstanding the obstructions from time to time thrown in its way and the difficulties which have arisen from the peculiar and impracticable nature of the Indian character, the wise, humane, and undeviating policy of the Government in this the most difficult of all our relations, foreign or domestic, has at length been justified to the world in its near approach to a happy and certain consummation.

The condition of the tribes which occupy the country set apart for them in the West is highly prosperous, and encourages the hope of their early civilization. They have for the most part abandoned the hunter state and turned their attention to agricultural pursuits. All those who have been established for any length of time in that fertile region maintain themselves by their own industry. There are among them traders of no inconsiderable capital, and planters exporting cotton to some extent, but the greater number are small agriculturists, living in comfort upon the produce of their farms. The recent emigrants, although they have in some instances removed reluctantly, have readily acquiesced in their unavoidable destiny. They have found at once a recompense for past sufferings and an incentive to industrious habits in the abundance and comforts around them. There is reason to believe that all these tribes are friendly in their feelings toward the United States; and it is to be hoped that the acquisition of individual wealth, the pursuits of agriculture, and habits of industry will gradually subdue their warlike propensities and incline them to maintain peace among themselves. To effect this desirable object the attention of Congress is solicited to the measures recommended by the Secretary of War for their future government and protection, as well from each other as from the hostility of the warlike tribes around them and the intrusions of the whites. The policy of the Government has given them a permanent home and guaranteed to them its peaceful and undisturbed possession. It only remains to give them a government and laws which will encourage industry and secure to them the rewards of their exertions. The importance of some form of government can not be too much insisted upon. The earliest effects will be to diminish the causes and occasions for hostilities among the tribes, to inspire an interest in the observance of laws to which they will have themselves assented, and to multiply the securities of property and the motives for self-improvement. Intimately connected with this subject is the establishment of the military defenses recommended by the Secretary of War, which have been already referred to. Without them the Government will be powerless to redeem its pledge of protection to the emigrating Indians against the numerous warlike tribes that surround them and to provide for the safety of the frontier settlers of the bordering States.

The case of the Seminoles constitutes at present the only exception to the successful efforts of the Government to remove the Indians to the homes assigned them west of the Mississippi. Four hundred of this tribe emigrated in 1836 and 1,500 in 1837 and 1838, leaving in the country, it is supposed, about 2,000 Indians. The continued treacherous conduct of these people; the savage and unprovoked murders they have lately committed, butchering whole families of the settlers of the Territory without distinction of age or sex, and making their way into the very center and heart of the country, so that no part of it is free from their ravages; their frequent attacks on the light-houses along that dangerous coast, and the barbarity with which they have murdered the passengers and crews of such vessels as have been wrecked upon the reefs and keys which border the Gulf, leave the Government no alternative but to continue the military operations against them until they are totally expelled from Florida. There are other motives which would urge the Government to pursue this course toward the Seminoles. The United States have fulfilled in good faith all their treaty stipulations with the Indian tribes, and have in every other instance insisted upon a like performance of their obligations. To relax from this salutary rule because the Seminoles have maintained themselves so long in the territory they had relinquished, and in defiance of their frequent and solemn engagements still continue to wage a ruthless war against the United States, would not only evince a want of constancy on our part, but be of evil example in our intercourse with other tribes. Experience has shown that but little is to be gained by the march of armies through a country so intersected with inaccessible swamps and marshes, and which, from the fatal character of the climate, must be abandoned at the end of the winter. I recommend, therefore, to your attention the plan submitted by the Secretary of War in the accompanying report, for the permanent occupation of the portion of the Territory freed from the Indians and the more efficient protection of the people of Florida from their inhuman warfare.
WASHINGTON, December 14, 1838.

To the Senate of the United States:

With the accompanying communication of the Secretary of War I transmit, for the consideration and constitutional action of the Senate, a treaty concluded with the Miami tribe of Indians on the 6th ultimo. Your attention is invited to that section which reserves a tract of land for the use of certain Indians, and to other reservations contained in the treaty. All such reservations are objectionable, but for the reasons given by the Secretary of War I submit to your consideration whether the circumstances attending this negotiation, and the great importance of removing the Miamies from the State of Indiana, will warrant a departure in this instance from the salutary rule of excluding all reservations from Indian treaties.

M. VAN BUREN
WAR DEPARTMENT, December 14, 1838.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I have the honor to lay before you, for submission to the Senate for its action if approved by you, a treaty with the Miami tribe of Indians concluded on the 6th ultimo. In doing so I beg to call your attention to that section which reserves from the cession made by the Miamies a tract of land supposed to contain 10 square miles, and to other reservations according to a schedule appended to the treaty. The commissioner who negotiated this treaty is of opinion that it could not have been concluded if he had not so far departed from his instructions as to admit these reservations. And it is to be feared that if the rules adopted by the Department in this particular be insisted upon on this occasion it will very much increase the difficulty, if it does not render it impracticable to acquire this land and remove these Indians—objects of so much importance to the United States and especially to the State of Indiana.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT
WASHINGTON, December, 1838.

To the Senate:

I transmit a letter from the Secretary of War, accompanied by a communication from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, on the subject of granting to the Chickasaw Indians subsistence for the further term of seven months. Should it be the pleasure of the Senate to give its sanction to the measure suggested by the Commissioner for this purpose, my own will not be withheld.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, January 16, 1839.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

I lay before you a communication from the Secretary of War, which is accompanied by one from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, suggesting the propriety of setting apart a tract of country west of the Mississippi for the Seminole Indians, so that they may be separate from the Creeks, and representing the necessity of a small appropriation for supplying the immediate wants of those who have been removed; and I respectfully recommend these subjects for the early consideration and favorable action of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, January 18, 1839.

To the House of Representatives:

In addition to the information contained in a report from the Secretary of State communicated with my message of the 30th April, 1838, I transmit to the House of Representatives a report* from the Secretary of War, dated the 16th instant, in answer to a resolution of the House of the 19th March last, and containing so much of the information called for by said resolution as could be furnished by his Department.

M. VAN BUREN.

*Relating to the intermeddling of any foreign government, or subjects or officers thereof, with the Indian tribes in Michigan, Wisconsin, the territory beyond the Rocky Mountains, or elsewhere within the limits of the United States, etc.
WASHINGTON, January 21, 1839.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit a treaty negotiated with the New York Indians, which was submitted to your body in June last and amended. The amendments have, in pursuance of the requirement of the Senate, been submitted to each of the tribes, assembled in council, for their free and voluntary assent or dissent thereto. In respect to all the tribes except the Senecas the result of this application has been entirely satisfactory. It will be seen by the accompanying papers that of this tribe, the most important of those concerned, the assent of only 42 out of 81 chiefs has been obtained. I deem it advisable under these circumstances to submit the treaty in its modified form to the Senate, for its advice in regard of the sufficiency of the assent of the Senecas to the amendments proposed.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, January 26, 1839.

To the Senate of the United States:

I lay before you, for your consideration, a treaty concluded with the Omaha, Ioway, and Otoe tribes of Indians, and sanctioned by the Yancton and Santie bands of Sioux, by which a tract of land situated on the south side of the Missouri between the Great and Little Nemahaw rivers has been ceded to the United States.

It appears that the consent of the half-breeds of the above-mentioned tribes and bands is wanting to perfect the treaty. This tract of land was ceded by the treaty of 15th July, 1830, to them by the above-mentioned tribes and bands of Indians, and can not be taken from them, even for such a valuable consideration as will relieve their wants, without their assent. In order to avoid unnecessary delay, I submit it to your consideration in order to receive an expression of your opinion as to the manner of obtaining the assent of the minors, whereby all unnecessary delay in the final action upon the treaty will be avoided.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, February 16, 1839.

To the Senate:

I transmit for the constitutional action of the Senate treaties recently concluded with the Creek, Osage, and Iowa tribes of Indians, with communications from the Department of War.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, February 19, 1839.

To the House of Representatives:

I transmit a report from the War Department in relation to the investigations had by the commissioners under the resolution of 1st July, 1836, on the sales of reservations of deceased Creek Indians.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, February 21, 1839.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit for the constitutional action of the Senate articles supplementary to the treaty with the Chippewas, for the purchase of 40 acres of land at the mouth of the Saginaw River, which are esteemed necessary in the erection and use of a light-house at that point.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, February 25, 1839.

To the Senate:

I transmit for the constitutional action of the Senate a supplemental article to the treaty with the Chippewas of Saganaw, which accompanied my communication of the 21st instant, and explanatory papers from the War Department.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, March 2, 1839.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES.

I transmit herewith reports of the Secretaries of the State, Treasury, War, and Navy Departments, in reply to a resolution of the 28th ultimo, calling for information respecting the amounts paid to persons concerned in negotiating treaties with the Indians since the year 1829, and in regard to the disbursement of public money by clerks in the above Departments and the bureaus and offices thereof.

M. VAN BUREN
THIRD ANNUAL MESSAGE.

In conformity with the expressed wishes of Congress, an attempt was made in the spring to terminate the Florida war by negotiation. It is to be regretted that these humane intentions should have been frustrated and that the effort to bring these unhappy difficulties to a satisfactory conclusion should have failed; but after entering into solemn engagements with the commanding general, the Indians, without any provocation, recommenced their acts of treachery and murder. The renewal of hostilities in that Territory renders it necessary that I should recommend to your favorable consideration the plan which will be submitted to you by the Secretary of War, in order to enable that Department to conduct them to a successful issue.


WASHINGTON, December 11, 1839.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit for the consideration and advice of the Senate a treaty concluded on the 3d day of September last with the Stockbridge and Munsee tribes of Indians, with a report from the Secretary of War and other documents in relation to it.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, January 13, 1840.

To the Senate of the United States:

I again submit to you the amended treaty of June 11, 1838, with the New York Indians. It is accompanied by minutes of the proceedings of a council held with them at Cattaraugus on the 13th and 14th days of August, 1839, at which were present on the part of the United States the Secretary of War and on the part of the State of Massachusetts General H.A.S. Dearborn, its commissioner; by various documentary testimony, and by a memorial presented in behalf of the several committees on Indian concerns appointed by the four yearly meetings of Friends of Genesee, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. In the latter document the memorialists not only insist upon the irregularity and illegality of the negotiation, but urge a variety of considerations which appear to them to be very conclusive against the policy of the removal itself. The motives by which they have been induced to take so deep an interest in the subject are frankly set forth, and are doubtless of the most beneficent character. They have, however, failed to remove my decided conviction that the proposed removal, if it can be accomplished by proper means, will be alike beneficial to the Indians, to the State in which the land is situated, and to the more general interest of the United States upon the subject of Indian affairs.

The removal of the New York Indians is not only important to the tribes themselves, but to an interesting portion of western New York, and especially to the growing city of Buffalo, which is surrounded by lands occupied by the Senecas. To the Indians themselves it presents the only prospect of preservation. Surrounded as they are by all the influences which work their destruction, by temptation they can not resist and artifices they can not counteract, they are rapidly declining, and, notwithstanding the philanthropic efforts of the Society of Friends, it is believed that where they are they must soon become extinct; and to this portion of our country the extraordinary spectacle is presented of densely populated and highly improved settlements inhabited by industrious, moral, and respectable citizens, divided by a wilderness on one side of which is a city of more than 20,000 souls, whose advantageous position in every other respect and great commercial prospects would insure its rapid increase in population and wealth if not retarded by the circumstance of a naturally fertile district remaining a barren waste in its immediate vicinity. Neither does it appear just to those who are entitled to the fee simple of the land, and who have paid a part of the purchase money, that they should suffer from the waste which is constantly committed upon their reversionary rights and the great deterioration of the land consequent upon such depredations without any corresponding advantage to the Indian occupants.

The treaty, too, is recommended by the liberality of its provisions. The cession contained in the first article embraces the right, title, and interest secured to "the Six Nations of the New York Indians and St. Regis tribe" in lands at Green Bay by the Menomonee treaty of 8th February, 1831, the supplement thereto of 17th of same month, and the conditions upon which they were ratified by the Senate, except a tract on which a part of the New York Indians now reside. The Menomonee treaty assigned them 500,000 acres, coupled with the original condition that they should remove to them within three years after the date of the treaty, modified by the supplement so as to empower the President to prescribe the term within which they should remove to the Green Bay lands, and that if they neglected to do so within the period limited so much of the land as should be unoccupied by them at the termination thereof should revert to the United States. To these lands the New York Indians claimed title, which was resisted, and, for quieting the controversy, by the treaty of 1831 the United States paid a large consideration; and it will be seen that by using the power given in the treaty the Executive might put an end to the Indian claim. Instead of this harsher measure, for a grant of all their interest in Wisconsin, which, deducting the land in the actual occupancy of New York Indians, amounts to about 435,000 acres, the treaty as amended by the Senate gives 1,824,000 acres of lands in the West and the sum of $400,000 for their removal and subsistence, for education and agricultural purposes, the erection of mills and the necessary houses, and the promotion of the mechanic arts. Besides, there are special money provisions for the Cayugas, the Onondagas, the Oneidas of New York, the Tuscaroras, and St. Regis Indians, and an engagement to receive from Ogden and Fellows for the Senecas $202,000; to invest $100,000 of this sum in safe stocks and to distribute $102,000 among the owners of improvements in New York according to an appraisement; to sell for the Tuscaroras 5,000 acres of land they hold in Niagara County, N.Y., and to invest the proceeds, exclusive of what may be received for improvements, "the income from which shall be paid to the nation at their new homes annually, and the money which shall be received for improvements on said lands shall be paid to the owners of the improvements when the lands are sold." These are the substantial parts of the treaty, and are so careful of Indian advantage that one might suppose they would be satisfactory to those most anxious for their welfare. The right they cede could be extinguished by a course that treaty provisions justify and authorize. So long as they persevere in their determination to remain in New York it is of no service to them, and for this naked right it is seen what the United States propose to give them besides the sum of $202,000, which will be due from the purchasers of their occupant right to the Senecas, and $9,600 to the Tuscaroras for their title to 1,920 acres of land in Ontario County, N.Y., exclusive of the 5,000 acres above mentioned.

But whilst such are my views in respect to the measure itself, and while I shall feel it to be my duty to labor for its accomplishment by the proper use of all the means that are or shall be placed at my disposal by Congress, I am at the same time equally desirous to avoid the use of any which are inconsistent with those principles of benevolence and justice which I on a former occasion endeavored to show have in the main characterized the dealings of the Federal Government with the Indian tribes from the Administration of President Washington to the present time. The obstacles to the execution of the treaty grow out of the following considerations: The amended treaty was returned to me by your body at the close of its last session, accompanied by a resolution setting forth that "whenever the President of the United States shall be satisfied that the assent of the Seneca tribe of Indians has been given to the amended treaty of June 11, 1838, with the New York Indians, according to the true intent and meaning of the resolution of the 11th of June, 1838, the Senate recommend that the President make proclamation of said treaty and carry the same into effect." The resolution of the 11th of June, 1838, provided that "the said treaty shall have no force or effect whatever as relates to any of the said tribes, nations, or bands of New York Indians, nor shall it be understood that the Senate have assented to any of the contracts connected with it until the same, with the amendments herein proposed, is submitted and fully explained by the commissioner of the United States to each of the said tribes or bands separately assembled in council, and they have given their free and voluntary consent thereto." The amended treaty was submitted to the chiefs of the several tribes and its provisions explained to them in council. A majority of the chiefs of each of the tribes of New York Indians signed the treaty in council, except the Senecas. Of them only 16 signed in council, 13 signed at the commissioner's office, and 2, who were confined by indisposition, at home. This was reported to the War Department in October, 1838, and in January, 1839, a final return of the proceedings of the commissioner was made, by which it appeared that 41 signatures of chiefs, including 6 out of the 8 sachems of the nation, had been affixed to the treaty. The number of chiefs of the Seneca Nation entitled to act for the people is variously estimated from 74 to 80, and by some at a still higher number. Thus it appears that, estimating the number of chiefs at 80—and it is believed there are at least that number—there was only a bare majority of them who signed the treaty, and only 16 gave their assent to it in council. The Secretary of War was under these circumstances directed to meet the chiefs of the New York Indians in council, in order to ascertain, if possible, the views of the several tribes, and especially of the Senecas, in relation to the amended treaty. He did so in the month of August last, and the minutes of the proceedings of that council are herewith submitted. Much opposition was manifested by a party of the Senecas, and from some cause or other some of the chiefs of the other tribes who had in former councils consented to the treaty appeared to be now opposed to it. Documents were presented showing that some of the Seneca chiefs had received assurances of remuneration from the proprietors of the land, provided they assented to the treaty and used their influence to obtain that of the nation, while testimony was offered on the other side to prove that many had been deterred from signing and taking part in favor of the treaty by threats of violence, which, from the late intelligence of the cruel murders committed upon the signers of the Cherokee treaty, produced a panic among the partisans of that now under consideration. Whatever may have been the means used by those interested in the fee simple of these lands to obtain the assent of Indians, it appears from the disinterested and important testimony of the commissioner appointed by the State of Massachusetts that the agent of the Government acted throughout with the utmost fairness, and General Dearborn declares himself to be perfectly satisfied that were it not for the unremitted and disingenuous exertions of a certain number of white men who are actuated by their private interests, to induce the chiefs not to assent to the treaty, it would immediately have been approved by an immense majority—an opinion which he reiterated at Cattaraugus. Statements were presented to the Secretary of War at Cattaraugus to show that a vast majority of the New York Indians were adverse to the treaty, but no reasonable doubt exists that the same influence which obtained this expression of opinion would, if exerted with equal zeal on the other side, have produced a directly opposite effect and shown a large majority in favor of emigration. But no advance toward obtaining the assent of the Seneca tribe to the amended treaty in council was made, nor can the assent of a majority of them in council be now obtained. In the report of the committee of the Senate, upon the subject of this treaty, of the 28th of February last it is stated as follows:

But it is in vain to contend that the signatures of the last ten, which were obtained on the second mission, or of the three who have sent on their assent lately, is such a signing as was contemplated by the resolution of the Senate. It is competent, however, for the Senate to waive the usual and customary forms in this instance and consider the signatures of these last thirteen as good as though they had been obtained in open council. But the committee can not recommend the adoption of such a practice in making treaties, for divers good reasons, which must be obvious to the Senate; and among those reasons against these secret individual negotiations is the distrust created that the chiefs so acting are doing what a majority of their people do not approve of, or else that they are improperly acted upon by bribery or threats or unfair influences. In this case we have most ample illustrations. Those opposed to the treaty accuse several of those who signed their assent to the amended treaty with having been bribed, and in at least one instance they make out the charge very clearly.

Although the committee, being four in number, were unable to agree upon any recommendation to the Senate, it does not appear that there was any diversity of opinion amongst them in regard to this part of the report. The provision of the resolution of the Senate of the 11th of June, 1838, requiring the assent of each of the said tribes of Indians to the amended treaty to be given in council, and which was also made a condition precedent to the recommendation to me of the Senate of the 2d of March, 1839, to carry the same into effect, has not, therefore, been complied with as it respects the Seneca tribe.

It is, however, insisted by the advocates for the execution of the treaty that it was the intention of the Senate by their resolution of the 2d of March, 1839, to waive so much of the requirement of that of the 11th of June, 1838, as made it necessary that the assent of the different tribes should be given in council. This assumption is understood to be founded upon the circumstances that the fact that only sixteen of the chiefs had given their assent in that form had been distinctly communicated to the Senate before the passage of the resolution of the 2d of March, and that instead of being a majority that number constituted scarcely one-fifth of the whole number of chiefs, and it is hence insisted that unless the Senate had so intended there would have been no use in sending the amended treaty to the President with the advice contained in that resolution. This has not appeared to me to be a necessary deduction from the foregoing facts, as the Senate may have contemplated that the assent of the tribe in the form first required should be thereafter obtained, and before the treaty was executed, and the phraseology of the resolution, viz, "that whenever the President shall be satisfied," etc., goes far to sustain this construction. The interpretation of the acts of the Senate set up by the advocates for the treaty is, moreover, in direct opposition to the disclaimer contained in the report of the committee which has been adverted to. It is at best an inference only, in respect to the truth of which the Senate can alone speak with certainty, and which could not with propriety be regarded as justifying the desired action in relation to the execution of the treaty.

This measure is further objected to on the ground of improper inducements held out to the assenting chiefs by the agents of the proprietors of the lands, which, it is insisted, ought to invalidate the treaty if even the requirement that the assent of the chiefs should be given in council was dispensed with. Documentary evidence upon this subject was laid before you at the last session, and is again communicated, with additional evidence upon the same point. The charge appears by the proceedings of the Senate to have been investigated by your committee, but no conclusion upon the subject formed other than that which is contained in the extract from the report of the committee I have referred to, and which asserts that at least in one instance the charge of bribery has been clearly made out. That improper means have been employed to obtain the assent of the Seneca chiefs there is every reason to believe, and I have not been able to satisfy myself that I can, consistently with the resolution of the Senate of the 2d of March, 1839, cause the treaty to be carried into effect in respect to the Seneca tribe.

You will perceive that this treaty embraces the Six Nations of New York Indians, occupying different reservations, but bound together by common ties, and it will be expedient to decide whether in the event of that part of it which concerns the Senecas being rejected it shall be considered valid in relation to the other tribes, or whether the whole confederacy shall share one fate. In the event of the Senate not advising the ratification of the amended treaty, I invite your attention to the proposal submitted by the dissentients to authorize a division of the lands, so that those who prefer it may go West and enjoy the advantages of a permanent home there, and of their proportion of the annuities now payable, as well as of the several pecuniary and other beneficiary provisions of the amended treaty.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, January 21, 1840.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate, in compliance with the request of the governor of Massachusetts, a copy of a letter addressed to him by one of the chiefs of the Seneca tribe of Indians in the State of New York, written on behalf of that portion of the tribe opposed to the treaty of Buffalo.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, March 11, 1840.

To the Senate:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate dated the 4th of February, 1840, I have the honor to transmit herewith copies of the correspondence between the Department of War and Governor Call concerning the war in Florida.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON CITY, March 19, 1840.

To the Senate of the United States:

I submit herewith for your consideration and constitutional action the treaty accompanying the inclosed communication of the Secretary of War, made with the Shawnee Indians west of the Mississippi River, for the purchase of a portion of their lands, with the view of procuring for the Wyandot Indians of Ohio a satisfactory residence west.

M. VAN BUREN
WAR DEPARTMENT, March, 1840.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I have the honor to submit for your consideration, and, if it meets your approbation, for transmission to the Senate, a treaty concluded on the 18th December last with the Shawnee Indians by their chiefs, headmen, and counselors, and an explanatory communication of the 17th instant from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT
WAR DEPARTMENT, OFFICE INDIAN AFFAIRS,
March 17, 1840.

Hon. J.R. POINSETT,
Secretary of War.

SIR: Negotiations with the Wyandots for a cession of their lands in Ohio and removal to the country west of the Mississippi have been pending for some years. During the past season two exploring parties from that tribe have visited the West and were tolerably well pleased with the district to which it was proposed to remove them, but expressed a strong preference for a tract which the Shawnees and Delawares offered to sell to the United States for them. The commissioner charged with the business of treating with the Wyandots was of opinion that if this tract could be procured there would be little difficulty in concluding a treaty. He was therefore under these circumstances instructed to make the purchase, subject to the ratification of the President and Senate and dependent on the condition that the Wyandots will accept it, and on the 18th of December last effected a treaty with the Shawnees by which they ceded a tract of about 58,000 acres on those conditions at the price of $1.50 per acre. No purchase has been made from the Delawares, as they refuse to sell at a less price than $5 per acre, and it is thought that the land ceded by the Shawnees will be amply sufficient for the present.

I have the honor herewith to submit the treaty with the Shawnees, to be laid, if you think proper, before the President and Senate for ratification.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. HARTLEY CRAWFORD
WASHINGTON, April, 1840.

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

I transmit herewith communications from the Secretary of War and Commissioner of Indian Affairs, giving the information "in possession of the Government respecting the assemblage of Indians on the northwestern frontier, and especially as to the interference of the officers or agents of any foreign power with the Indians of the United States in the vicinity of the Great Lakes," which I was requested to communicate by the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 9th ultimo.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON CITY, April 18, 1840.

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of War, accompanied by a letter from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, indicating the importance of an extension of the authority given by the sixteenth clause of the first section of the act entitled "An act providing for the salaries of certain officers therein named, and for other purposes," approved 9th May, 1836.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, May 16, 1840.

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

I transmit the report of the Secretary of War furnishing a statement of the amounts paid to persons concerned in negotiating Indian treaties since 1829, etc., which completes the information called for by the resolution of the House of Representatives dated the 28th January, 1839, upon that subject and the disbursing officers in the War Department.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, June 6, 1840.

To the House of Representatives:

I herewith submit a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, in relation to certain lands falling within the Chickasaw cession which have been sold at Chocchuma and Columbus, in Mississippi, and invite the attention of Congress to the subject of further legislation in relation to them.

M. VAN BUREN
WASHINGTON, July 20, 1840.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith, in reply to the resolution of the Senate of the 11th March last, a report* from the Secretary of War, accompanied by a communication and other documents from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

M. VAN BUREN.

*Relating to purchases of Indian lands since the establishment of the Federal Government.
FOURTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.

The desultory duties connected with the removal of the Indians, in which the Army has been constantly engaged on the northern and western frontiers and in Florida, have rendered it impracticable to carry into full effect the plan recommended by the Secretary for improving its discipline. In every instance where the regiments have been concentrated they have made great progress, and the best results may be anticipated from a continuance of this system. During the last season a part of the troops have been employed in removing Indians from the interior to the territory assigned them in the West—a duty which they have performed efficiently and with praiseworthy humanity—and that portion of them which has been stationed in Florida continued active operations there throughout the heats of summer.

The policy of the United States in regard to the Indians, of which a succinct account is given in my message of 1838, and of the wisdom and expediency of which I am fully satisfied, has been continued in active operation throughout the whole period of my Administration. Since the spring of 1837 more than 40,000 Indians have been removed to their new homes west of the Mississippi, and I am happy to add that all accounts concur in representing the result of this measure as eminently beneficial to that people.

The emigration of the Seminoles alone has been attended with serious difficulty and occasioned bloodshed, hostilities having been commenced by the Indians in Florida under the apprehension that they would be compelled by force to comply with their treaty stipulations. The execution of the treaty of Paynes Landing, signed in 1832, but not ratified until 1834, was postponed at the solicitation of the Indians until 1836, when they again renewed their agreement to remove peaceably to their new homes in the West. In the face of this solemn and renewed compact they broke their faith and commenced hostilities by the massacre of Major Dade's command, the murder of their agent, General Thompson, and other acts of cruel treachery. When this alarming and unexpected intelligence reached the seat of Government, every effort appears to have been made to reenforce General Clinch, who commanded the troops then in Florida. General Eustis was dispatched with reenforcements from Charleston, troops were called out from Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia, and General Scott was sent to take the command, with ample powers and ample means. At the first alarm General Gaines organized a force at New Orleans, and without waiting for orders landed in Florida, where he delivered over the troops he had brought with him to General Scott.

Governor Call was subsequently appointed to conduct a summer campaign, and at the close of it was replaced by General Jesup. These events and changes took place under the Administration of my predecessor. Notwithstanding the exertions of the experienced officers who had command there for eighteen months, on entering upon the administration of the Government I found the Territory of Florida a prey to Indian atrocities. A strenuous effort was immediately made to bring those hostilities to a close, and the army under General Jesup was reenforced until it amounted to 10,000 men, and furnished with abundant supplies of every description. In this campaign a great number of the enemy were captured and destroyed, but the character of the contest only was changed. The Indians, having been defeated in every engagement, dispersed in small bands throughout the country and became an enterprising, formidable, and ruthless banditti. General Taylor, who succeeded General Jesup, used his best exertions to subdue them, and was seconded in his efforts by the officers under his command; but he too failed to protect the Territory from their depredations. By an act of signal and cruel treachery they broke the truce made with them by General Macomb, who was sent from Washington for the purpose of carrying into effect the expressed wishes of Congress, and have continued their devastations ever since. General Armistead, who was in Florida when General Taylor left the army by permission, assumed the command, and after active summer operations was met by propositions for peace, and from the fortunate coincidence of the arrival in Florida at the same period of a delegation from the Seminoles who are happily settled west of the Mississippi and are now anxious to persuade their countrymen to join them there hopes were for some time entertained that the Indians might be induced to leave the Territory without further difficulty. These hopes have proved fallacious and hostilities have been renewed throughout the whole of the Territory. That this contest has endured so long is to be attributed to causes beyond the control of the Government. Experienced generals have had the command of the troops, officers and soldiers have alike distinguished themselves for their activity, patience, and enduring courage, the army has been constantly furnished with supplies of every description, and we must look for the causes which have so long procrastinated the issue of the contest in the vast extent of the theater of hostilities, the almost insurmountable obstacles presented by the nature of the country, the climate, and the wily character of the savages.
WASHINGTON, December 10, 1840.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit, for the action of the Senate, a communication from the Secretary of War, on the subject of the transfer of Chickasaw stock to the Choctaw tribe, which the accompanying papers explain.

M. VAN BUREN
WAR DEPARTMENT, December 10, 1840.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I have the honor to lay before you a communication from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, relative to the transfer of $500,000 Chickasaw stock to the Choctaws in execution of the compact of 17th January, 1837, between those tribes, that if you think it advisable you may assent to the proposed transfer and lay the matter before the Senate for the sanction of that body.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT
WAR DEPARTMENT, OFFICE INDIAN AFFAIRS,
December, 1840.

Hon. J.R. POINSETT,
Secretary of War.

SIR: A compact was made on the 17th January, 1837, "subject to the approval of the President and Senate of the United States," which it received from the former on the 24th March, 1837, in conformity with the resolution of the Senate of 25th February, between the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes of Indians, of which I have the honor to inclose a copy.

By this instrument the right to occupy a portion of the Choctaw country west of the Mississippi was, with certain privileges, secured to the Chickasaws, who agreed to pay therefor $530,000, of which $30,000 were paid in 1837, and the remaining $500,000 it was agreed should be invested under the direction of the Government of the United States and that the interest should be paid annually to the Choctaws.

There being no money to place in the hands of the United States, but a very large amount of Chickasaw stock under the direction of the Treasury, the reasonable desire of the Choctaws that this large fund belonging to them should be put in their own names on the books of the Government can be gratified by a transfer of so much of the stock to the Secretary of War for their use, upon which the interest will be received and paid over to them. This will be an execution of the agreement of the parties. A sale of stocks to raise the money and then a reinvestment of it according to the letter of the compact ought not to be resorted to on account of their present low price in the market.

In considering this subject in the course of the autumn the thirteenth article of the treaty of 24th May, 1834, with the Chickasaws was adverted to, by which it is provided: "If the Chickasaws shall be so fortunate as to procure a home within the limits of the United States, it is agreed that, with the consent of the President and Senate, so much of their invested stock as may be necessary to the purchase of a country for them to settle in shall be permitted to them to be sold, or the United States will advance the necessary amount upon a guaranty and pledge of an equal amount of their stocks." The compact before referred to having been ratified by the President and Senate, it was doubted whether that was not a virtual consent to the application of so much of the stock as would be required to pay for the land and privileges contracted for by the said compact, and an authority for the transfer of it. The question was referred to the Attorney-General, who was of opinion that the transfer could not be legally made without the assent of the President and Senate to the particular act.

I have therefore respectfully to request that you will lay the matter before the President, that if he concurs in the propriety of so doing he may give his own and ask the consent of the Senate to the proposed proceeding.

Very respectfully, your most obedient,

T. HARTLEY CRAWFORD
WASHINGTON, January 4, 1841.

To the Senate of the United States:

I submit herewith a treaty concluded with the Miami Indians for the cession of their lands in the State of Indiana. The circumstances attending this negotiation are fully set forth in the accompanying communication from the Secretary of War. Although the treaty was concluded without positive instructions and the usual official preliminaries, its terms appear to be so advantageous and the acquisition of these lands are deemed so desirable by reason of their importance to the State of Indiana and the Government, as well as on account of the Indians themselves, who will be greatly benefited by their removal west, that I have thought it advisable to submit it to the action of the Senate.

M. VAN BUREN
WAR DEPARTMENT, January 4, 1841.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a treaty concluded with the Miami Indians of the State of Indiana, to be laid before the Senate for their ratification if upon due consideration of the circumstances under which this treaty was negotiated you should think proper to do so. These circumstances are fully and correctly set forth in the accompanying communication from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to which I beg leave respectfully to refer you.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT
WAR DEPARTMENT, OFFICE INDIAN AFFAIRS,
December 29, 1840.

Hon. J.R. POINSETT,
Secretary of War.

SIR: A treaty made with the Miami tribe of Indians in the State of Indiana on the 28th day of November last for the residue of their lands in that State has been unexpectedly received.

Great anxiety has been manifested by the citizens of Indiana and made known by their representatives in both Houses of Congress that a cession of the Miami land should be procured, and it seems to have been met by a correspondent disposition on the part of the leading men among the Indians. On the 25th May last a communication was received from General Samuel Milroy, subagent, etc., expressing the belief that the Miamies would treat and that their principal chief was desirous before the close of his life, now drawing near, to effect a negotiation, as in his opinion the emigration or extinction of the tribe were the alternatives before them, and suggesting that the most judicious course would be to conduct the business informally at the annuity payment. In reply he was informed on the 2d July that the Department did not open negotiations for the purchase of Indian lands unless thereto previously authorized by Congress, and that at the request of a portion of the representation of Indiana an estimate had been furnished of the sum that would be required to hold a treaty, and that if the presumed intention of obtaining the estimate should be realized an effort would be made to execute the purpose for which the appropriation would be obtained. (Extracts from these letters, so far as they relate to the subject, are herewith sent, marked A.86) On the 31st July he renewed the subject, accompanied by an extract of a letter of 22d July to himself from Allen Hamilton, esq., the confidential friend of Chief Richardville, urging the propriety of a negotiation. (B.)

On the 12th August, no appropriation having been made by Congress, a letter was addressed to you by the Hon. O.H. Smith, of the Senate of the United States from Indiana, inclosing a letter from Mr. Hamilton, dated on the 11th, urging the vast importance of treating with the Miamies, as well to them as to the State, and giving the reasons which in the judgment of both led to the conclusion that their particular case should form an exception to the general rule that obtains in regard of Indian treaties, and recommending strongly the appointment of General Milroy as a suitable person to conduct the negotiation. A communication of similar character (except the last feature), dated 20th August, was received from Mr. Milroy. The letter of the Hon. Mr. Smith was referred by you to this office, and on the 27th August, after a conference with you on the subject, I replied that exceptions to the rule stated might under very peculiar circumstances exist, but that as the Senate certainly, and it was believed the House too, had rejected an application for an appropriation, the opening of a negotiation might be considered to be opposed to an expression of legislative opinion. In answer to the suggestion that little or perhaps no expense need be incurred, as the treaty could be made at the payment of the annuities, it was remarked that the consideration money must necessarily be large, as the Miami lands were very valuable, and an appropriation of it required, which Congress might be disinclined to grant after what had happened; that it was therefore deemed advisable to decline treating, and that perhaps a future application for legislative sanction might be more successful. Of this letter a copy was sent to General Milroy as a reply on the subject in hand to his communication of 31st July, and his letter of 20th August was further answered on 2d September. (C.)

In consequence of the representations referred to, and probably others which did not reach me, you addressed me an unofficial note on 14th September, suggesting that Allen Hamilton, esq., might at the payment of the annuities make an arrangement with the Miamies that would be "gratifying to the people as well as beneficial to the service." With this expressed wish of the head of the Department, and after consultation with you, I wrote unofficial letters to General Samuel Milroy and to Allen Hamilton, esq., on the 18th September, setting forth the views of the Department as hereinbefore expressed in regard of precedent legislative sanction and the importance to Indiana of treating with the Miamies, whose disposition to cede their remaining lands on just and equitable terms might not continue. It was thought, however, to be in keeping with the rule adopted to ascertain informally from the Miamies what they would be willing to take for their lands when it was their pleasure to emigrate, etc. It was doubted whether it would be judicious to reduce the terms to writing, however informally, on account of the difficulty there might be in convincing the Indians that it was not a treaty, although it was desirable, if it could be safely done, that it should be so; and they were informed that a report from them would answer "all my purposes, as my object is to be able to say to each branch of Congress upon what terms the Miami lands can be had by the United States, so that if the terms are approved the necessary law may be passed." It was suggested that the annuity payment would afford a good opportunity for procuring the information desired, which it was expected could be had without any expense, for which there were no funds, and that if there were it would not be proper to expend them in the way proposed. (D.)

I desire to state the facts as they exist so fully as to exhibit precisely what has been the action of the Department, without going into more detail than may be necessary, and therefore annex extracts and copies of the papers referred to instead of embodying them in this communication.

On the 28th day of November last a treaty was concluded by Messrs. Samuel Milroy and Allen Hamilton with "the chiefs, warriors, and headmen of the Miami tribe of Indians," which was received here on the 19th instant, accompanied by a letter explanatory of the treaty and stating it to have been made by "the undersigned, acting under instructions contained in your unofficial letter dated September 18, 1840;" that it was made at the annuity payment, when "the views and instructions of the Department" were "communicated to the Miami Indians in full council," and that "after full consideration of the subject they decided to reduce to treaty form a proposition or the terms upon which they would consent to cede their remaining lands in Indiana to the United States, subject, as they understand it, to the approval of the Department and the approval and ratification of the President and Senate of the United States before being of any binding force or efficiency as a treaty." With the original treaty I send a copy of the explanatory letter and of a communication from General Milroy giving the reasons for the money provisions made for the chief Richardville and the family of Chief Godfrey. (E.)

It will be thus seen that the negotiation of a treaty was not authorized; but if in the opinion of the President and Senate it shall be advisable to adopt and confirm it, I do not see any legal objection to such a course. The quantity of land ceded is estimated at about 500,000 acres, for which the consideration is fixed at $550,000, or $1.10 per acre, of which $250,000 are payable presently and the balance in annual payments of $15,000, which will be discharged in twenty years. In addition, we will be bound to remove them west of the Mississippi within five years, the period stipulated for their emigration, and to subsist them for one year after their arrival. These are the chief provisions in which the United States are interested. By the second (it is called in the treaty now submitted the "22," which, if the President should decide to lay it before the Senate, can be corrected by that body) article of the treaty of 6th November, 1838, there is reserved from the cession contained in that instrument 10 miles square for the band of Ma-to-sin-ia, in regard of which the seventh article says:

"It is further stipulated that the United States convey by patent to Me-shing-go-me-zia, son of Ma-to-sin-ia, the tract of land reserved by the twenty-second article of the treaty of 6th of November, 1838, to the band of Ma-to-sin-ia."

This is a change as to the title of a reservation heretofore sanctioned and not now ceded, and so far as the United States are concerned does not vary the aspect of the present compact. There are reserved to the chief Richardville seven sections of land, and to him and the family of the deceased chief Godfrey are to be paid, respectively, considerable sums of money, which it seems from the statement of General Milroy were debts due to them and acknowledged by the tribe.

The treaty of November, 1838, which was ratified on the 8th February, 1839, extinguished the Indian title to about 177,000 acres of land and cost the United States $335,680, or nearly $2 per acre. Measured by this price the present arrangement would seem to be very advantageous. It is stated by Messrs. Milroy and Hamilton that more favorable terms will not be assented to by the Miamies under any circumstances, and considering the great importance of the adoption of this compact, however irregularly made, to the State of Indiana, as well as the belief that any postponement will probably swallow up what remains to these Indians in debts which they most improvidently contract and the conviction that nothing can save them from moral ruin but their removal west, I think it would be judicious in all views of the matter to adopt and ratify this treaty, and respectfully recommend that it, with the accompanying papers, be laid before the President, and, if he and you concur in my views, that the sanction of it by the Senate be asked.

Respectfully submitted,

T. HARTLEY CRAWFORD
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