From the National Intelligencer.
PRESENT CRISIS IN THE CONDITION OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS.- NO. VIII
On the 17th February, 1792, an additional article was signed at Philadelphia by Henry Knox, Secretary of war, for the United States, and seven chiefs and warriors in behalf of the Cherokees. As this article was the result of a distinct negotiation, held seven months after the execution of the Treaty of Holston, it may with propriety be called the THIRD TREATY between the United States ' Cherokees. It provided that the annuity, given by the fourth article of the next previous treaty, should be raised from $1,000 to $1,500; and it declared that this annual sum was given 'in consideration of the relinquishment of lands,' which had been made in that treaty. Of course, the United States admitted, that the Cherokees had possessed lands, on the outside of the limits established by the treaty, which lands they had relinquished to the United States. This additional article was a confirmation of the treaty of Holston, after ample time had elapsed for consideration:
FOURTH TREATY WITH THE CHEROKEES.
This document was executed at Philadelphia, on the 26th of June, 1794, by Henry Knox, for the United States, and thirteen chiefs, for the Cherokees.
After a preamble, which states that the Treaty of Holston had 'not been fully carried into execution by reason of some misunderstandings,' and that the parties were 'desirous of re-estaablishing peace and friendship,'
ART. 1st. declares, that the said Treaty of Holston is to all intents and purposes, in full force, and binding upon the said parties as well in respect to the boundaries therein mentioned, as in all other respects whatever.'
ART. 2d. stipulates that the boundaries shall be as ascertained and marked, whenever the Cherokees shall have ninety days notice.
ART.3 The United States, to evince their justice by amply compensating the said Cherokee Nation of Indians for relinquishments of land 'made by the Treaty of Hopewell and the Treaty of Holston' agree to give the Cherokees, in lieu of former annual payments, $5,000 a year, in goods.
ART. 4 The Cherokees agree that $50 shall be deducted from their annuity for every horse stolen by any of their people from the nieghbouring (sic) whites.
ART. 3 These articles to be permanent additions to the Treaty of Holston, as soon as ratified. They were soon after ratified.
It has appeared in the course of this discussion, that the treaty with the Creeks, in 1790 was the basis of the Treaty of Holston in 1791. This was confirmed in 1792, and again expressly and solemnly, in 1794. Thus we have four distinct documents, which received the approbation of General Washington, and his cabinet, all agreeing in the same principles, and all ratified by the Senate of the United States. Several other treaties, in which the same principles were involved, were formed with other tribes of Indians, during the same administration. In one of these, the United States engage, that they will never claim lands reserved to the Indians, but that the Indians `shall have the full use and enjoyment thereof, until they choose to sell the same to the people of the United States.'
FIFTH TREATY, OR TREATY OF TELLICO.
This treaty was signed 'near Tellico, on Cherokee ground, October 2,1798, by Thomas Butler and George Walton, Commissioners of the United States, and thirty-nine Cherokee Chiefs and warriors, in the presence of Silas Dinsmoor, Agent of the United States among the Cherokees, and thirteen other witnesses among whom was the late Mr. Charles Hicks, who acted as interpreter on the occasion.
The treaty begins with a long preamble, stating the reasons why it was necessary to make another treaty; and among the reasons are these two clauses, viz. 'for the purpose of doing justice to the Cherokee Nation of Indians.' and 'in order to promote the interest and safety of the said states.'
ART. 1 Peace renewed and declared perpetual.
ART. 2 The treaties subsisting between the parties in full force; 'together with the construction and usage under the respective articles: and so to continue.'
ART. 3 Limits to remain the same, 'where not altered by the present treaty.'
ART. 4 The Cherokee Nation 'do hereby relinquish and cede to the United States all the lands within the following points and lines;' [Here follows a boundary, by which a considerable district of land in East Tennessee, was ceded to the United States.]
ART. 5 The line described in the treaty to be marked immediately, 'which said line shall form a part of the boundary between the United States and the Cherokee Nation.'
ART. 6 In consideration of the preceding cession, the United States agree to pay $5,000 on signing, and $1,000 annually in addition to previous stipulations of this kind; 'and will continue the GUARANTY OF THE REMAINDER OF THEIR COUNTRY FOREVER, as made and contained in former treaties.'
ART. 7. A road granted by 'the Cherokee Nation, across a small corner of their country, to the citizens of the United States, and in consideration of this grant, the Cherokees are to be permitted 'to hunt and take game upon the lands relinquished
and ceded by this treaty, until settlements shall make such hunting improper.
ART. 8. Due notice to be given of the payment of the annual stipends, and the United States to furnish provisions for a reasonable number of Cherokees, who shall assemble on these occasions.
ART. 9. Horses stolen from Cherokees by whites to be paid for by the United States, and horses stolen from whites by Cherokees to be paid for by a deduction from the annuity.
ART. 10. The Agent of the United States residing among the Cherokees to have a sufficient piece of ground allotted for his temporary use.
Lastly, this treaty to 'be carried into effect on both sides with all good faith.
The treaty was ratified soon after by President Adams, and the Senate of the United States.
A few remarks on this treaty may not be improper.
The words cede, nation, and guarantee, are used in the same sense here as in the Treaty of Holston, seven years before. During the interval, the government of the United States had been frequently employed in making treaties with numerous tribes of Indians; and it is safe to say, that in no period of our national story, was the meaning of public documents more thoroughly weighed or the tendency, and ultimate effect of public measures more seriously considered; and the world may be challenged to produce an example of the administration of a government over an extensive territory, and over a people in few, various, and complicated relations, in which fewer mistakes, either theoretical or practical, were made, than during the administration of General Washington.
The parties were so careful of the inviolability and integrity of the Cherokee territory, that the use of a short road, in the northern extremity of that territory, (now in the State of Kentucky, and a great distance from the actual residence of the Cherokees generally, was made the ground of a solemn treaty stipulation, and an equivalent was given for it. Nay more, the Agent of the United States residing among the Cherokees, to distribute the annual payments, to encourage the natives in agriculture and manufactures, and to execute the treaties in other respects, could not claim even the temporary use of land for a garden, or a cow pasture, but this small convenience was allowed him by treaty.
The United States not only acknowledge former treaties and declared them to be in full force, but the construction and usage under then respective articles are acknowledged, ratified, and declared to be the rule of future usage and construction. This is a very remarkable provision; and was doubtless adopted to quiet the Cherokees in regard to encroachments feared from the United States. The construction and usage, under the previous treaties, can be proved at this day, by living witnesses, and by public archives, to have tended invariable to this one point- that the Cherokees were to retain the unimpaired sovereignty of their country; and that to enable them to do this permanently, and in the most effectual manner, they were to be taught all the common arts of civilized life. To this course they were urged, in the most affectionate manner, by letters written with General Washington's own hand. This was pressed upon them at every council, and habitually in private, by the Agent of the United States, in pursuance of written and verbal instructions from the head of the War Department. No historical facts can be proved with more absolute certainty than these, ' there is not, it is believed, even the pretence of any evidence to the contrary.
It appears, moreover, in the preamble of this treaty of Tellico, that the 'misunderstandings' had arisen because white settlers had transgressed the Cherokee boundary contrary to the intention of previous treaties;' and that these intruders had been removed by the authority of the United States.
Again: this treaty was negotiated by George Walton, a citizen of Georgia, in whom that State reposed great confidence and by Thomas Butler, commanding the troops of the United States in the State of Tennessee; and it was executed to use its own language, 'on Cherokee ground.'
Thus, the country of the Cherokees is called, as I have already shown, 'their lands,' their 'territory;' 'their nation,' and their 'ground'. These epithets are used, not by careless letter writers nor in loose debate; but in the most solemn instruments by which nations bind themselves to each other. And what is there on the other side? Is it said; or implied, that the Cherokees had a qualified title? a lease for a term of years? a right to hunt, till Georgia should want the land for growing corn or cotton? the privilege of administrating their own laws, till Georgia should exercise her rightful jurisdiction, as a sovereign and independent State? Is there anything that looks this way? Not a word; not a syllable; not the most distant hint. While it is asserted in various forms, and implied more than a hundred times ever, that the Cherokees were a nation, capable of treating with other nations; that they had a country, which was acknowledged to be indisputably their own; that they had a government to punish criminals and to deliver up renegadoes (sic); and that they were to become a civilized people, permanently attached to the soil; there is not, in all these instruments, a single intimation, or ground of plausible argument to the contrary.
Lastly, this treaty not only adopts the word 'guaranty' from the Treaty of Holston, but interprets it,(as every civilian in Europe and America would have done,) to be applicable to 'the remainder of their country FOREVER; that is (for the meaning can be no less) the Cherokees were to retain the clear title and unincumbered possessions of the remainder of their country, which they previously had on the whole, and such title and possession were guaranteed to them forever, by the power and good faith of the United States.