Correspondence between Col. Thos. L. McKenney and the U.S. agent, Col. Hugh Montgomery, on the subject of the present Cherokee emigration.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
Office Indian Affairs, May 27, 1829.
SIR: A treaty has been recently concluded between the United States and the Cherokees of Arkansas, a copy of which I enclose herewith. You will see one of its principle objects is (having secured under the most solemn guaranties a spacious and fine country, which is to belong forever to the Cherokees) to induce the Indians in Georgia: especially, to remove. The inducements held out are ample, and the prospect which opens to them in the west under such a treaty better than any that Indians ever were presented with before. Their welfare, and the obligation of the United States in the compact with Georgia, created obligations which led to such a treaty.
Much is expected of you in the manner of making known these views to the Cherokees within the chartered limits of Georgia, and in the judicious and economical preparation embraced in the promise of the means of their transportation, and support of the way. It is presumed that most of them may prefer to embark in boats on the Highwassee. Such as prefer it must be aided in going by land. You will submit your view of the best means to carry into effect the provisions in the treaty for transporting the Indians, and as early as possible.
I have ordered five hundred rifles made and forwarded to you from Philadelphia. You will contact by public notice, for kettles, and blankets, 'c., as these may be wanted from time to time; or if you think it can be cheaper, and better done in New York, orders can be given to the transportation Agent there for the Department here, who has been in this business for fifteen years, to procure and forward (except provisions) the articles required. In the event of you esteeming this course to be best, as I certainly think it will be the cheapest, you will send on an estimate of the number of blankets, kettles, 'c., which you may think it reasonable to expect will be required for this year; and afterwards, annually or semi-annually, the quantity for each article, rifles included, for the future.
I am directed by the Secretary of War, in addition to the above, to say that Capt. Rogers is confidentially employed to go to the Cherokees, and explain to them the kind of soil, climate, and the prospects that await them in the west; and to use, in his discretion, the best methods to induce the Indians residing within the chartered limits of Georgia to emigrate. As much, if not all his success will depend upon the keeping of the object of his visit a secret, you will by no means make it known. But it is expected that you will receive and act on his information upon the various occurrences that may arise, and aid him co-operatively, all you can. Upon his reports of the number who may desire to go, you can base in part your estimates for means to provide the transportation, 'c.
Your bills on the Department, from time to time, as you may require means to carry into effect the plan of removal, (as this may be afterwards decided upon.) and to buy provision 'e. will be paid; you taking care always to accompany them with letters of advice, and embodying in the bill also the object for which it is drawn. It will be necessary when the routes and depots are agreed upon, and the Indians get in motion, to provide the supplies on contract, to be made by you after due public notice. You will take bond and security for the faithful fulfilment of the contracts you may make.
Every Indian who may consent to remove will be registered by you; and before he can be entitled to the payment by the agent in Arkansas as provided in the treaty, he must produce to him your certificate, setting forth his name, and that he is an emigrant, and from within the chartered limits of Georgia, and also the day of his registry on your books. This is essential to be observed, and in all cases. You will take care not to be deceived as to the fact of the part of the country whence the emigrant may go, as the money provision is intended wholly for those who remove from within the chartered limits of Georgia.
You will keep the Department informed, from time to time, upon the subject, and state the prospects of removal, as they may from time to time, be disclosed.
I am, 'c.
THOS. L. McKENNEY
To. Col HUGH MONTGOMERY.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
Office Indian Affairs, July 22, 1828.
SIR: The Executive being anxious, by the use of all proper means, to carry into full and complete effect the provisions of the compact with Georgia, ' this subject being now before it by a special appropriation of Congress looking to its accomplishment, I am directed by the Secretary of War to enclose you a copy of memorial, and certain resolution of the Georgia Legislature, which passed at its last session, with the view to your using them, not as threats, or to intimate the Indians, but as inducements rather for them to accede to the wishes of the General Government which looks to the fulfilment of the compact with Georgia on the one hand, and the prosperity and happiness of the Cherokees on the other. It is thought to be important, however, that, in any interview you may have with the Indians, you have an eye more to the ascertainment of their feelings on the subject of ceding their land, or any portion of it, with the limits of Georgia, than to entering into any compact with them on the subject. This step is intended to be preliminary, and for the purpose of obtaining information upon which measures may be predicated, after your report shall have been received.
As, however, you are now acting under instructions with the view to this object, in the execution of the recent treaty made with the Cherokees of Arkansas, the Secretary of War, apprehending that a second movement, if made now, might embarrass the first, directs me to call your attention, in the first place to this view of the subject; and as it is my own belief that Mr. Cobb, especially, preferred the operations under the late treaty to any other, or to the usual mode, and as my own belief, also, that they promise results far more successful than would a movement, such as is generally made through commissioners, the Secretary directs that you ascertain, if you can conveniently, whether I am correct; ' if so, you will consider yourself as continued to the instructions issued to you in reference to the carrying into effect the recent treaty. But if it shall turn out that those who are so immediately interested, I mean the citizens of Georgia, for the accomplishment of whose views Congress has made the appropriation referred to, are of the opinion and Mr. Cobb can no doubt in form you) that a treaty might be held, in addition to the present movements, you will report the same to the Department.
Very respectfully 'c.
THOS. L. MCKENNEY.
To Col. HUGH MONTGOMERY.
Agent the Cherokee Indians.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR
Office Indian Affairs July, 28, 1828.
SIR: Your letter to the Secretary of War of the 3rd inst. was received ten days ago. Before I convey the orders of the Secretary in relation to the subjects contained in it, and on such other points as it is deemed important to give you instructions as to the mode of executing those provisions of the late treaty with the Cherokees which are to be acted on within your agency. I have to state that a copy of that treaty, together with the letter which accompanied it, was forwarded to you in the very day on it was received from the Department of State; and which was, it is believed, the day after was printed. Sooner than this it was not practical to forward it.
The Secretary of War declines appointing a second agency. The business of executing the provision of the treaty is entrusted to you; and your most diligent and persevering attentions are put in requisition to fulfill the duties now about to be assigned to you. Your assistants in explaining and enforcing those provision upon the Cherokees, will be Rogers and Maw, and your first and great effort will be made among those who reside within the chartered limits of Georgia. Since those Indians appear to be at an inconvenient distance from the agency, you will leave the agency in charge of the subagent, Mr. Williams, for the time being, and proceed immediately into that part of the nation which is embraced by the Georgia lines, and make tour of their villages. Or if, in you opinion, it will be more conducive to the great end to be accomplished, you will make temporary locations at some two or three or more points, and send Rogers and Maw with messages to such persons as may be most likely, after won over to accept the provisions of the treaty, to operate on the mass of those who surround them. Having done this, you will return to your agency, and send the subagent either to travel with Rogers and Maw through all the villages, or to go to such points as you may have previously designated for the purpose of enrolling such names of indians as may agree to emigrate. There should be some general and central place at which the Indians should collect, preparatory to a movement to the place of embarkation: and at that point you will be careful to have supplies,to support them the few days they may be there, and to provision them on their march to the landing on the Highwassee where, also, you will establish a depot of provisions. In all the business, you will be careful to guard against the unnecessary waste of a cent of the public money. The mode of procuring rations will be hereafter stated.
You will, meanwhile, instruct the subagent to be diligent in making such impressions as he may be able, by enlisting as many influential Indians as he can, upon those Indians who reside within the limits of the other States.
After you shall have diligently and perseveringly executed the trust thus far reposed in you, aided by Rogers and Maw, and returned to your agency, and Mr. Williams shall have gone within the Georgia limits to enroll the emigrants, you will diligently impress upon the Indians (as has been required of Mr. Williams to do, at the agency) of t he other States the advantages held out to them in the west, as explained in the treaty, and use your utmost diligence in securing the assent of as many as you can to go west.
It is made the further duty of Mr. Williams, after enrolling the Indians to accompany them to the depot on the Highwassee, and that this business may go on regularly, it will be advisable for you to fix upon stated periods, as well for their assembling at the point or points within the limits of Georgia, as for their movement therefrom to the Highwassee; and periods also should be fixed, depending on those just named, for embarking.
In regard to their property which they may abandon. You will give the most unqualified assurance that justice shall be done in all respects, ' you will be particular impressing them with full confidence in this particular; and that no lose or fraud may be apprehended, tell them the money will be placed in the hands of the agent west of the Mississippi to pay each claimant the moment he may arrive; with which he can build his house, and in other respects employ it to advantage.
You will require an issuing agent at the depot on the Highwassee. This part of the business will require great care. Regular rolls will be kept ' a complete set of books: ' rations will be issued on order in favor of individuals or parties of Indians, on the issuing agent -- drawn by, or counter-signed by you or Mr. Williams ' these will be the vouchers of the issuing agent, with whom you will settle accounts weekly. This agency is conferred on T.W. Ross to whom you will pay the salary of a subagent to witt at the rate of five hundred dollars per annum.
An issuing agent may be required at the depot in Georgia. You will select some trusty competent person, who shall be a good accountant, and keep in his possession such supplies only as may be wanted and as indicated by the returns which may be made to you by Mr. Williams. Col. Mitchell, who has taken a deep interest in this matter, may, perhaps aid you in a selection. To this issuing agent, the same rates of allowance will be made as to Mr. Ross. Or if you can provision them upon another system by the way, and upon as good forms, it is left in your discretion to do so.
This then is the plan of your operations; and the Secretary of War expects much at your hands. He is convinced, as well from the great advantages which are held out to the Indians in the west, as from the disposition of a great portion of the poorer Indians of the nation to emigrate, that no other is needed to accomplish much but zealous and faithful services; and he will not permit himself to doubt your readiness to render these. The United States, and Georgia particularly, are deeply interested in the complete execution of this plan.
As to the boats, you will be best able to judge of the kind and the sizes most proper. It is presumed flat, and not keeled boats, would answer best; especially, as will be a great object for the emigrants to ascend the Arkansas as high as possible, and as near their homes as they can.
The Indians having been collected as stated, and the provisions and transportation thus accured, nothing will remain but for you to arrange for the voyage. Upon this head I am directed to instruct you to fix, as far as possible, given periods for embarkation, the company will be larger thereby, ' mutual assistance can be afforded in case of accident, 'c. On counting your numbers, you will estimate the time it may require for them to reach the point on the Arkansas, (which will be named to you in another letter,) and allowing a reasonable number of days over, for accidents, issue the rations, not to the Indians, but to some special agent who may be selected to conduct the parties, who issue to the Indians at suitable periods, say three days at a time. Indians being improvident, this course is necessary. And whenever the numbers are so great as to authorize it, let a separate provision-boat accompany the party.
In regard to Rogers and Maw. In the first instance, Rogers only was spoken of; but since Mr. Maw is active and useful, you will, as before indicated, retain him in services, ' in aid of your efforts. As to salary, that will be judged of when the extent and value of their services may be known. You will meanwhile subsist them,; and justice will be done upon the basis of their merits, good conduct, and usefulness, when the Department is informed of their works and success. Blankets and kettles are ordered from New York, and rifles from Philadelphia; five hundred of each in the first order, to be forwarded directly to Augusta, in Georgia, directed to you. You will write to someone known to you there, to receive and forward them on their arrival.
It will be important for the Indians to go by water. This you will impress upon them. But should any desire to go by land, give them (on receiving satisfactory assurances of their acting in good faith) money in commutation of their rations, and kettle, and rifle. But discourage this mode, and especially as we have no ferry at Memphis; and more especially still, as it will be doubtful whether many of them, after getting their outfit in a horse, 'c. will not remain in some other and distant part of the nation.
Your bills will be drawn, in the usual form on the Secretary of War, stating in the bill, and also in a letter of advice, on what account it is drawn.
I am respectfully, your obedient servant. TH. H. McKENNEY.
To. Col HUGH MONTGOMERY,
DEPARTMENT OF WAR.
Office of Indian affairs, Nov. 26, 1828.
SIR: In the instructions of July 28th. from the Department to you, you were told to send the emigrants as high up the Arkansas as possible, 'e.
The Secretary of War is of opinion that this work might be more expeditiously and economically performed if instead of your agency extending to the highest navigable point on the Arkansas River, it were to change its direction to a landing at the mouth of White River. The emigrants, being then in Arkansas, will be in charge of the agent west of the Mississippi, who it is fair to presume, from his local and other information, will be able to facilitate the transportation through the Territory, and upon terms more economical than those which you may be able to command.
This arrangement, therefore, the Secretary of War directs will be regarded in all cases, except where arrangements may be already made and that there may be no difficulty in regard to the change you will notify Major Duval, the agent for the Cherokees west of the Mississippi, from time to time, and time enough for him to make his arrangements, of the number and periods when the emigrants will be at White River.
I am, 'c.
TH. L. McKENNY,
To Col. HUGH MONTGOMERY,
[TO BE CONTINUED.]