CORRESPONDENCE OF N.Y. DAILY ADVERTISER.
Extract of a letter, dated.
Washington, February 4th 1832
Mr. Clay spoke on Thursday and Friday to more crowded audiences then have ever before assembled in the Senate Chamber. So great was the anxiety to hear him on Friday, that the Ladies began to assemble at ten to secure seats, when it was known the Senate would not be called to order until 12 and that one hour was devoted to ordinary business.- They were however willing to undergo the fatigue of sitting those hours rather than to be deprived of the gratification of hearing this accomplished orator. It was feared by many that he would not keep up the interest of his audience, in the argumentative parts of his speech, nor in that part which must necessarily enter much into the details of his subject, to make his speech of much utility to the country. But in this it is said, he has risen above himself. Those best acquainted with him who have served with him the longest in Congress, say he possesses powers of oratory they were strangers to before. He gained great celebrity by his speech on the Missouri question.- That speech, however, when contrasted with his speech which is now only partially finished, is said to be a second or third rate performance. Mr. Clay rendered to his country on that occasion a most important service, and he accomplished what no other man could-a reconciliation between the opponents on that great question. He will speak again on Monday, It was supposed he would close the debate, but from the appearances several are preparing to prolong the discussion. The Senate adjourned from Friday to Monday. Mr. Everett's resolution respecting the Chickasaw Treaty remains undecided. Mr. Evens os Maine, yesterday answered Mr. Clay of Alabama, in a very handsome and able manner.
In my letter of the first I mentioned that Mr. Lewis was to give by the terms of the first lease, 750 dollars. I find I was mistaken. It should have been 750 bushels of salt. It seemed to have been supposed by the parties, that salt at that time was worth more than one dollar per bushel, for a provision of the treaty is that after two years, salt shall not be sold on the reservation to the Indians at a higher price than one dollar per bushel. It had been the object of Mr. Polk and Mr. Bell to make an impression that the land was worth but little, and that Mr. Lewis had no interest in the last lease. Mr. Cave Johnston, within whose district a part of the land lies, addressed the house this morning and sustained Mr. Everett and Mr. Huntington on every material statement made by them. He does not think the President approves of the second lease; and for that opinion he only has the President's declaration. He estimates the land,at a low calculation to be five times more valuable than the consideration agreed to be paid. The consideration expressed in the second lease; is three thousand dollars and upwards expounded in digging for salt, two thousand dollars to be paid in money and four bushels of salt annually. It was evident from the manner in which Mr. Johnston spoke, that he thought five times the amount of the consideration mentioned in the lease, fell far short of the real value of the land. He said there were something like forty well cultivated farms on the tract, to the occupants of which the lessees had given notice to quite. As to Lewis' interest, he said his opinion had been different from that of his colleagues; and he procured a copy of the second lease, which was read by the clerk. This lease was executed by Carvin for himself, and as an agent for Lewis; but by a stipulation in it, Lewis is alone holden to pay the money.
So far from Lewis not having an interest in the lease, the presumption is, he alone of the lease mentioned interest. The President may hereafter, in as much as the scheme is now exposed, submit the treaty to the Senate. Mr. Johnston reprobated the conduct of Eaton and Lewis in the severest terms. Mr. Carvin is a partner of another relative of Mr. Eaton. Mr. Clayton, from Georgia, made his first appearance on the floor as a speaker. He was entirely free from embarrassment and I think will prove to be an able man in debate. He fell into this gross inconsistency; he opposed the resolution, because the House had no right to interfere with the treaty making power, and referred to the refusal of President Washington, to answer the call of the House in relation to the treaty made by Mr. Jay. He was inclined to be a little sarcastic and disposed to attribute the call to other motives than the public weal.- He would not say, however that any improper motives would influence a member of that house, but he would say, another branch of the Government had, on a recent occasion, been under the influence of such motives. After having established, as he supposed, most satisfactorily the position, that the house had no right to interfere in this matter, as it was vested by the Constitution in the President and Senate, he then most manfully contended that no treaty could be made with an Indian tribe, that the true principles of the Constitution had not been known until lately-that the Indians were not sovereign-and concluded by offering an amendment, that no treaty could be made with an Indian tribe. I have a presentiment that Mr. Burgess will change in the debate before it closes.
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Correspondence of the N. Y. Daily Advertiser.
Extract of a letter dated
Washington, Feb. 1st, 1832
There is nothing like driving a bargain on a large scale. The life must be insipid, that is doomed to drag out an existence in computing the profits of bargains by cents. This administration understands things better than this; although the Senate some years ago refused to ratify a treaty made by Gen. Jackson, in which was a large grant of land reserved to himself, still friends may be provided for in a way to elude the vigilance of the Senate, and the public. The President must be a warm hearted man, to recompense his friends and supporters with land, as well as with offices. These remarks are made prefatory to a disclosure that is almost too disgraceful shame. The 4th article of the treaty made by Gov. Shelby and Gen. Jackson, on the part of the United States, with the head men and warriors of the Chickasaw Nation of Indians, the 29th of October 1815, provided as follows- 'The Commissioners agree on the further and particular application of the chiefs, and for the benefit of the poor, and warriors of the said nation, that a tract of land containing four miles square, to include a salt lick or spring on or near the river Sandy, a branch of the Tennessee River, and within the land hereby ceded, be reserved, and to be laid off in a square or oblong, so as to include the best timber, at the option of their beloved Chief, Levi Colbert, and Major Jas. Brown, or either of them; who are hereby made agents and trustees for the nation, to lease the said salt licks or springs, on the following express conditions, viz; for the benefit of this reservation, as before recited, the trustees or agents are bound to leave the said reservation to some citizen or citizens of the United States for a reasonable quantity of salt, to be paid annually to the said nation, for the use thereof; ' that from and after the two years after the ratification of this treaty, no salt made at the works, to be ejected on the reservation shall be sold within the limits of the same for a higher price than one dollar per bushel of 50 pounds weight;-on failure of which the lease shall be forfeited and the reservation revert to the United States.' William B. Lewis, now 2d Auditor, was a witness to the execution of the treaty. Whether the object was to defraud the Indians, or to work the United States out of this land, at that time, can only be inferred by the facts disclosed by subsequent events. Weaker evidence that this case furnishes, has subjected many a man to the penalties of the law.
This treaty was ratified in the Senate on the 7th of Jan. 1819. On the day the treaty was executed, viz: on the 19th of October, 1818, Wm. B. Lewis took a lease from the trustees to himself, and another person, for this four square miles, for one hundred and ninety-nine years, and agreed to pay the trustees for the benefit of the poor and the warriors of the nation, the yearly rent of 750 dollars, provided salt water was found. The treaty stipulated, that the land should be leased for a reasonable quantity of salt, to be paid annually; but the lease provided for the payment, if salt water should be found. It is to be borne in mind, that the lease was made on the same day the treaty bears date, and that the treaty did not become operative until the 7th of January 1819. It should be recollected, also, that Gen. Jackson and Mr. Lewis had been for years on the most intimate terms, and had been with each other in the profits of various sports to which they were addicted. They went, it is believed, to the treaty together, were together when there and returned in company. When the Senate ratified the treaty, on the 7th of January, 1819, this lease was unknown to the members who composed that body.
No salt was found on the reservation, by the express terms of the treaty ordered to the United States. The President and Mr. Eaton went to the West in the summer of 1830, and Mr. Eaton, under the act for reserving the Indians, passed at the preceding Sitting of Congress, formed another treaty with the same Chickasaw tribe.
The President, at the opening of the second Session of the 21st Congress, thus announces the fact in his message,-after stating the policy of the government towards the Indians, and after saying the General Government had no more right to legislate for them, or over them, than over foreign nations; and after expressing his great friendship for the Indians; to wit--'With a full understanding of the subject, the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes have with great unanimity determined to avail themselves of the liberal offers presented by the Congress, and have agreed to a removal beyond the Mississippi river. Treaties have been made with them, which in due season, will be submitted for consideration.' Mr. Eaton is the brother-in-law of this aforementioned Wm. B. Lewis, and the bosom friend of the President. The treaty with the Chickasaw Nation was to extinguish their title in Alabama and Mississippi. The four mile square of land had reverted to the United States, and of course was not the subject of negotiation. This land by some means, must be vested in Wm. B. Lewis, and his cousin or friend, for what particular purpose, every person will form his own opinion. How was this to be done? The question was a grave, and no doubt a perplexing one. If the United States should recognize the right, as existing in Mr. Lewis and his friend, and they should sell or not, there would be set up what I believe lawyers call and estoppel, which would prevent any recovery on the part of the United States.
The Indians had no claim, and the consequence would be, a perfect title to more than ten thousand acres of land, would be vested in W. B. Lewis and Carvin. A supplemental treaty was negotiated with the Chickasaw tribe, on the 1st of September, 1830,--the 5th article of which recognized the validity of the lease aforementioned to Lewis and Carvin, on the 19th of October, 1818; and another lease was executed by the pretended trustees to Lewis ' Co. which states under a 'Whereas' that they had expended more than three thousand dollars in digging for salt, in consideration of which, and two thousand dollars; and four bushels of salt, and the like quantity of four bushels to be paid annually,- these pretended trustees vest said land in Lewis ' Carvin for the term mentioned in the first lease. And to this last lease, the consent of the commissioners was given by the 4th article referred to. This tract of land is said to be highly valuable among the fattest and best in all that fair region of country. Thus the matter was worked with admirable skill to accomplish the object. The Indians had sold for a term of years lands that belonged to the United States, by and with the consent of the President and Secretary of War.- The leases had before obligated themselves to pay 750 dollars a year, for the same land they were now enabled to purchase for two thousands dollars and four bushels of salt-whether it was domestic or alum salt is not declared.
Let every one who has the leisure, and the curiosity, sit down and calculate the annual rent of 750 dollars, per annum, with the interest for one hundred and ninety nine years, and then see what the 2000 dollars, the price of four bushels of salt, (the salt to be paid annually) with the interest on these two sums for the like period, will be and thereby ascertain how much Lewis and Carvin have gained by the last negotiation. The difference between the calculations is a clear gain to the concern.
Mr. Everett well remarked, that this 'was driving a bargain.' It was worth a journey for the President, Eaton, ' Co. across the mountains, if for no other purpose than to oblige a friend. The President found to his astonishment during the last Session that the Senate was not the mere register of his will. His treaty with the Chickasaws must be withheld, or the plan would not succeed. The Choctaw treaty was presented to the Senate, and the Chickasaw treaty was put into the President's pocket, or snugly locked up in the War Department. Now I submit the subject to the lawyers in the cities and country; whether, if the like attempt should be made to defraud an individual, that there has been to defraud the United States or the Indians, take the case either way, the persons concerned in the transaction would be likely to escape the punishment they merit. Mr. Lewis has taken possession of the land with his partner, and required 'scot and lot' to be paid by the occupants. Mr. Everett offered a resolution a few days since, to bring these hidden mysteries to light. It was opposed by Mr. Polk, Mr. Bell, Mr. Isaac, and by Mr. Mitchell principally on the ground, that the House was interfering with the treaty making power.
Now it so happens, that all these gentlemen hold, that no treaty, in the diplomatic sense of the term, can be made with the Indians, and it amounts to nothing more than an agreement, or contract, which need not be submitted to the Senate for its ratification. The last lease bears date on the same day with the last treaty, so that the treaty was promulgated to Mr. Lewis at least; and Mr. Lewis, in order to secure his title, has put his leases on record in Tennessee. Mr. Everett yesterday supported his resolution with his usual ability; and before he took his seat, modified it calling for the 5th article of the treaty of 1st Sept. 1830, the lease made under it, and the lease of Oct. 19th 1818.
He was replied to by Mr. Bell. Mr. Huntington spoke nearly an hour in support of the resolution this morning, and exposed more of the transaction than Mr. Everett attempted. It is hoped every word said for and against the resolution may be noted. This is only the commencement of the exposures that will be made.
N.B. In the first letter the name is spelled Carvin. In the second it is spelled Curvin. It appears Carvin is more correct?