Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

as protector of the savage nations that inhabit them, that connexion and duty also devolve upon us, since they evidently claimed that protection from him as king of the Colonies, and through the governors of those Colonies, and not as sovereign of a country three thousand miles from them. This country having chosen a new sovereign, they may rightfully claim its protection.:

There is some reason to believe that Great Britain considered their rights in many instances as extending no further than their rights of pre-emption and protection, as may be inferred from passages in the negotiacions for a peace with France in the year 1761, referred to in the margin. This suggests a new idea, which, however, I am not warranted by any act of Congress in mentioning, and therefore you will only consider it as the sentiment of an individual. If the mediators should not incline to admit our claim, but determine on restricting our limits, either by the extent of our grants, the course of the mountains, the sources of the rivers, or any other of those arbitrary rules that must be sought for when solid principles are relinquished, perhaps it would not be difficult to bring them to agree that the country beyond those limits belongs to the nations which inhabit it; that it should enjoy its independence under the guarantee of France, Spain, Great Britain, and America, and be open to the trade of those whose lands border upon them.

This, though restrictive of our rights, would free us from the well-grounded apprehensions that the vicinity of Great Britain and her command of the savages would give us. They already possess Canada and Nova Scotia; should that immense territory, which lies upon the rear of the States from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico, be acknowledged to be vested in Great Britain, it will render our situation truly hazardous. The lands, as you know, are infinitely better than those on the coast; they have an open communication with the sea by the rivers St. Lawrence and the Mississippi, and with each other by those extensive inland seas with which America abounds. They will be settled with the utmost rapidity from Europe, but more particularly from these States. Attachment to the government, freedom from taxes, a prospect of bettering their fortunes, and the fertility of the soil will invite numbers to leave us. This, co-operating with the leaven of dissatisfaction, which will continue to work here for many years, may produce the most dangerous effects, especially upon the Southern States, which will, from the nature of their soil and husbandry, be thinly settled for many years, while the lands which lie near them, beyond the mountains, will soon be filled with a hardy race of people inimical to them, who to their own strength will be enabled to join that of the savages subject to their command.

'In the margin of the MS. record reference is made to the answer of the king to the ultimatum of France, received Sept., 1761, second section of eleventh article. (Appearing in original text.]

If it is an object with the maritime powers to lessen the powers, and by that means diminish the dangerous dominion that Great Britain has in some measure usurped over the ocean, they must prevent her possessing herself of the country in question, since, besides the whole fur and peltry trade that she will thereby engross, the demands of this great country will give a new spring to her manufactures, which, though the Floridas should be ceded to Spain, will find their way into it by the river St. Lawrence and through the numerous lakes and rivers which communicate with it. Add to this that settlements are already formed beyond the Appalachian Mountains by people who acknowledge the United States, which not only give force to our claims, but renders a relinquishment of their interest highly impolitic and unjust. These, and a variety of other reasons, which will suggest themselves to you and the gentlemen joined in the commission with you, will doubtless be urged in such terms as to convince the court of France that our mutual interests conspire to keep Great Britain from any territory on this continent beyond the bounds of Canada. Should the Floridas be ceded to Spain, she will certainly unite with you on this point, as the security of that cession will depend upon its success.

**

[ocr errors]

EXHIBIT 10.

The Secretary of War to the President of the United States.

The Secretary of War, having examined the negotiations of the

Governor of the Western territory, with certain Northern and Northwestern Indians, and the treaties made in consequence thereof, at fort Harmar, on the 9th of January, 1789, begs leave to report:

"American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, p. 7.

That the several Treaties of Peace which have been made with the Northern tribes of Indians, and those northwest of the Ohio, since the conclusion of the late war with Great Britain, are as follows, to wit:

ist. The treaty at fort Stanwix, on the 22d day of October, 1784, between Oliver Wolcott, Richard Butler, and Arthur Lee, commissioners plenipotentiary from the United States, on the one part, and the sachems and warriors of the Six Nations, on the other.

2d. The treaty entered into by the said commissioners plenipotentiary, and the sachems and warriors of the Wyandot, Delaware, Chippewa, and Ottawa nations of Indians, at fort McIntosh, the 21st day of January, 1785.

3d. The treaty at the mouth of the great Miami, the 31st of January, 1786, between commissioners from the United States, and the Chiefs and Warriors of the Shawanee nation.

That the treaties of fort Stanwix and fort McIntosh were entered on the journals of the United States, in Congress assembled, June the 3d, 1785, and the treaty of the Miami on the 17th day of April, 1786.

That it may be proper to observe, that the Indians are greatly tenacious of their lands, and generally do not relinquish their right, excepting on the principle of a specific consideration, expressly given for the purchase of the same.

That the practice of the late English colonies and government, in purchasing the Indian claims, has firmly established the habit in this respect, so that it cannot be violated but with difficulty, and an expense greatly exceeding the value of the object.

That the treaties of fort Stanwix and of fort McIntosh do not state that the limits therein defined are by virtue of a purchase from the Indians.

That the said treaties have been opposed, and complained of, will appear by the representation to Congress, accompanying this report, marked No. 1.

That in consequence of the said representation, Congress, on the 21st day of July, 1787, passed the following resolve:

"Resolved, That the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Northern department, inform the five nations, the Hurons, and other Indian nations, who joined in the representation made to Congress, dated the 18th day of December, 1786, that Congress, on the 18th of the present month, July, 1787, received their said representation, and have taken it into their serious consideration, and, in due time, will send them an answer.'

That on the 5th of October following, Congress resolved:

“That the general treaty be held with the tribes of Indians within the limits of the United States inhabiting the country northwest of the Ohio, and about Lake Erie, as soon after the first of April next as conveniently may be, and at such place, and at such particular time as the Governor of the Western Territory shall appoint, for the purpose of knowing the causes of uneasiness among the said tribes, and hearing their complaints, of regulating trade, and amicably settling all affairs concerning lands and boundaries, between them and the United States.

“That the Governor of the Western Territory hold the said treaty agreeably to such instructions as shall be given him for that purpose.

That, on the 12th of October, 1787, Congress resolved:

“That twenty thousand dollars be, and hereby are, appropriated for the purpose of Indian treaties, whenever the same shall hereafter be judged necessary by a majority of the United States, in Congress assembled, and that the resolutions for holding a general treaty with the Indians, passed the fifth day of the present month, be, and they are hereby, repealed.”

That on the 22d of October, 1787, Congress resolved:

“That the Governor of the Western Territory be, and he is hereby empowered to hold a general treaty with the Indian tribes in the ensuing spring, if, in his judgment, the public good requires it; and that he be authorized to draw for such sums of money, appropriated by the resolve of Congress of the 12th instant as may be necessary to effect this object, not exceeding the sum of fourteen thousand dollars."

That, on the 2d of July, 1788, Congress resolved:

“That the sum of twenty thousand dollars, in addition to the fourteen thousand dollars already appropriated, be appropriated for defraying the expenses of the treaties which have been ordered, or which may be ordered to be held on the present year, with the several Indian tribes in the Northern department, and for extinguishing the Indian claims; the whole of the said twenty thousand dollars, together with six thousand dollars of the said fourteen thousand dollars, to be applied solely to the purpose of extinguishing Indian claims to the lands they have already ceded to the United States, by obtaining regular conveyance for the same, and for extending a purchase beyond the limits hitherto fixed by treaty; but that no part of the said sums be applied for any purpose other than those above mentioned."

That the instructions to the Governor of the Western Territory, marked No. 2, will further show the sense of Congress on this subject.

That the treaties of fort Harmar, on the 9th of January, 1789, with the sachems and warriors of the Six Nations, the Mohawks excepted, and with the Sachems and Warriors of the Wyandot, Delaware, Ottawa, Chippewa, Pattiwatima, and Sac nations, inhabiting parts of the country northwest of the Ohio, appear to have been negotiated by the Governor of the Western Territory, so as to unite the interests of the United States with the justice due the said Indian nations.

That the reservation in the treaty with the Six Nations, of six miles square, round the fort at Oswego, is within the territory of the State of New York, and ought to be so explained as to render it comformable to the constitution of the United States.

That if this explanation should be made, and the Senate of the United States should concur in their approbation of the said treaties, it might be proper that the same should be ratified, and published, with a proclamation enjoining an observance thereof.

All which is humbly submitted to the President of the United States.

H. Knox. WAR OFFICE, May 23d, 1789.

[Enclosure 1.]

Speech of the United Indian Nations, at their Confederate Council,

held near the mouth of the Detroit river, the 28th November and 18th December, 1786.'

Present: The Five Nations, the Hurons, Delawares, Shawanese, Ottawas, Chippewas, Powtewattimies, Twichtwees, Cherokees, and the Wabash confederates.

'American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, p. 8.

« AnteriorContinuar »