Cherokee Phoenix


Published February, 10, 1830

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Mr. King submitted the following resolution.

Resolved, That the Committee on Indian Affairs be instructed to inquire into the expediency of making an appropriation to enable the President of the United States to cause to be surveyed and parcelled out among the Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw tribes of Indians, so much of the Territory of the United States west of the territory of Arkansas, as may be necessary for the permanent residence of each of these tribes; and should such division deprive either of those tribes of any portion of land, heretofore secured to them by treaty, to authorize the purchase of such part.

The Bill to authorize and enable the President of the United States to extinguish the Indian titles in the State of Indiana, was read a second time. The bill appropriates forty thousand dollars for holding a treaty with the Indians.

Mr. White said the bill was reported in consequence of the Memorial of the State of Indiana, which stated that a Canal would soon be carried through the Indian country, and that more than usual disorders were apprehended from the great number of laborers which would be collected.

Mr. Sprague suggested, that a sum for holding a treaty should be appropriated, the treaty submitted to the Senate, and, when ratified, then the money could be appropriated for the purchase. Under the present bill the purchase must be made, and there would be nothing left for the Senate to act upon.

Mr. White agreed with the gentleman from Maine, as to the proper course to be pursued. That was all that was proposed by the present bill. No one could suppose, that the sum of $40,000 would be sufficient to purchase the country. This was to enable them to subsist the Indians, make the customary presents, 'c. 'c. The committee did not suppose that the whole of this sum would be required, but they intended to report a sum sufficient to cover all the expenses of the treaty.

Mr. Sprague replied that he did not suppose $40,000 could be necessary for holding any treaty. He was willing to vote for a sum sufficient to pay our own Commissioners and our own agents for their own services, and not to make them presents; and if the Indians could not be induced to hold a treaty upon these terms, he did not wish to make any treaty with them.

Mr. Hendricks said, he regretted to see any objection to the bill. It was not expected, by anybody, that this sum would be needed; but it is impossible to treat with Indians without making them presents. We must expect to treat with Indians [said Mr. H.] as they were, and not as the gentleman from Maine, and every other person would wish.

Mr. White said the gentleman from Maine seemed to suppose the presents were given secretly to the chiefs, that they produced a sum of which another portion of the tribe had no knowledge. Hardly any treaty was made without such presents. There was nothing secret about it. The Indians would not come together without expecting such presents-as they choose to call them. The sum expended is, in fact, a part of the consideration for the land purchased. They divide it amongst themselves. The presents are not for a few chiefs. With regard to the sum, no man could tell what sum would be required. Unless they could be subsisted at the expense of the United States, they would not come to treat.

Mr. King concurred with the gentleman from Maine, as to the sum appropriated. It was entirely too large for the object intended. He did not object to it because it was for presents. They must be paid. The presents were not in the shape of bribes; and Indians, whether they concluded a treaty or not, expected presents. There had been a practice growing up to which he was opposed--it was the payment of large sums in goods at the time of holding the treaty. The Indians should not be paid until after the treaty had been ratified by the Senate. The sum proposed was too large. When the treaty was held with the Creeks and the Cherokees, tribes of twenty or forty thousand souls, when at least fifteen thousand people were on the treaty ground, only $15,000 was appropriated. He should vote to reduce the sum, but he hoped the Indian treaty would be held, and that Indiana would obtain possession of her territory.

Mr. Sprague replied that if he had misunderstood the term 'presents' it was known that there had been secret and conventional agreements made with individuals of tribes. We had given individuals sums of money, and large sums of which the tribe received no portion; which they did not, and which they dared not, proclaim to the tribes; and because they could not, without showing that they had betrayed their trust. If such agreements or presents are made, they should appear in the face of the treaty. His principal objection to this large sum was, that it would enable the commissioners to make presents. He wished to give them a sum sufficient to hold a treaty, and he wished to know whether the money is to go to the tribe in general, or to individuals for betraying the trust reposed in them by the tribe. If $40,000 were appropriated, they would have not only money sufficient for effecting a treaty, but for purchasing the interest, and buying the consent and influence of chiefs. He would not give such means.

Mr. Livingston said it seemed to be supposed that a treaty could be made with the Indians on the same terms as with the most civilized nations of Europe. If you go upon the proposed principle, you abandon the whole practice of the nation from the commencement of the Government.

Mr. Frelinghuysen addressed the Senate upon the impropriety of allowing a sufficient sum for bribes to the Chiefs, and upon the impolicy and inhumanity of dealing in that manner.- after which,

Mr. King moved to reduce the sum to $20,000, which was agreed to.

After a few remarks from Mr. Noble.

Mr. King moved an additional section to the bill, providing that no present should be given to any Chief or Chiefs of any tribe or tribes with whom the act authorized a treaty; which amendment was carried in Committee of the Whole, ayes 24.

After some debate the bill and the amendments were laid on the table.