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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter VII. — Prominent Treaty Stipulations With the Emigrant and Indigenous Tribes, to Promote Their Concentration West of the Mississippi.

THE year 1835 was distinguished by several treaties of an important character. Hitherto the inchoate confederacy of the Pottawattamies, Chippewas and Ottowas of northern Illinois, had retained its ancient position in the vicinity of Chicago, at the head of Lake Michigan. On the 26th of September, 1833, they ceded to the United States their lands on the western shores of that lake, in exchange for a tract comprising 5,000,000 acres in the West, in consideration of very large annuities, to be paid in coin and its equivalents. It was stipulated that $150,000 should be appropriated to the purchase of goods and provisions; $100,000 to satisfy the claims of sundry individuals to certain reservations; $150,000 to liquidate the claims of debtors against the tribes, agreeably to a schedule annexed; $280,000 to the payment of annuities of $14,000 per annum, for twenty years; $150,000 for the erection of mills, farm-houses, shops, and the supply of agricultural implements and stock, and for the support of such artisans, smiths, and other mechanics, as were necessary to the inauguration of their colonial existence in the West; and $70,000 for educational purposes. This treaty encountered numerous objections in the Senate, and was not ratified until the 21st of February, 1835, and then only with certain exceptions.

The principle of acknowledging the individual debts of the hunter tribes as national obligations, had been previously recognised in a treaty with the Quapaws, concluded May 13, 1833, but the amount appropriated for that object in the Chicago treaty, and the extensive personal schedules accompanying it, excited remark in the Senate, and induced that body to question the propriety of nationalizing the debts of the tribes. The experience of the Senate also made them averse to granting large reservations in lands to the tribes, as well as to their blood-relations, especial local friends and habitual benefactors, out of the tracts ceded; since it was found that such reservations, being, in a few years, surrounded by a civilized population, acquired such a value as to render their purchase again necessary for the purposes of agriculture. General Jackson, whose experience in Indian affairs had been acquired by personal

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observation, censured this policy decidedly, and deemed it preferable, for many reasons, to compensate both the tribes and their blood-relations with payments in money.

In order to accommodate the emigrating tribes, it was necessary to procure the cession of large tracts from the aboriginal nations in the West, who roved over immense plains, cultivating nothing, and living principally on the flesh of the buffalo. By the treaty of October 9, 1833, 616 the Pawnees ceded a large district lying south of the Platte, or Nebraska, which afforded locations to several of the eastern tribes. The Kanzas, by the treaty of August 16, 1825, 617 ceded all their lands lying within the boundaries of the State of Missouri, as also the wide tracts lying along the Missouri river, to the west of the western line of the State, comprising the valleys of the Kanzas, Nodowa, and Namahaw.

The tract ceded by the Kanzas tribe comprehended a large part of the present Territory of Kanzas. It is somewhat remarkable, that while a geographical exploration was being made of this territory, a respected and intelligent agent reported to the Secretary of War, May 12, 1834, 618 that not over one-half the quantity of land lying within this parallel of latitude, north of the Osage reservation, and extending to the Nebraska, was adapted to the purposes of agriculture. So far from this being the fact, it is precisely this part of Kanzas which is now being settled most rapidly, is most esteemed for its fertility, and admired for its sylvan beauty. Such, however, has always been the case in forming estimates of new and unexplored countries; the mind being continually apprehensive of "cimmerian darkness, or serbonian bog." Michigan, one of the best regions in the West for the growth of wheat and corn, was at first pronounced unfit to bestow upon the soldiers of the late war as bounty lands. In 1680, that stout old joker, and unfrocked monk, Baron La Hontan, called the area of the upper lakes, now an immense mart of commerce and agriculture, "the fag end of the world." Not only subsequent to the explorations of the several expeditions to the
sources of the Mississippi and Red rivers, in 1820 and 1823, but even as late as 1836, much of the country lying north of Green Bay, and nearly the entire area of Minnesota, at the period when the country of Superior was annexed to the State of Michigan, was considered to be unfavorable, if not wholly unsuitable for agricultural purposes. A large part of the Indian territory, located west of Arkansas, likewise, at the period of the inception of the colonization plan, was reported to be deficient, either in timber, water, or fertility.

The Chickasaw Indians evidently labored under this impression during some years; for, at the original sale of their lands at Pontitock, October 20, 1832, they expressed a determination to remain on their reservations, and there cultivate the soil. Two years' experience, however, caused them to change their views. In the preamble to a

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treaty negotiated at Washington, May 24, 1834, they express a regret that they "are about to abandon their homes, which they have long cherished and loved; and though hitherto unsuccessful, they still hope to find a country adequate to the wants and support of their people, somewhere west of the Mississippi, and within the territorial limits of the United States." 619 By this treaty they ceded their reservations east of the Mississippi, at the same time making some personal, beneficiary, and eleemosynary provisions. They also directed the proceeds to be added to their vested funds, and agreed to send a delegation to the West to seek a location. This delegation visited the West during the year 1835, and selected a location in connection with the Choctaws, a closely affiliated people, making their own terms, as tribe with tribe.

There now remained but one question of any importance to settle with the southern tribes; viz.: that with the Cherokees, who had been the first to suggest a western outlet for their hunter population. The nation had now become politically divided into two parties, the one being favorable to migration, and the other adverse to it. The latter numbered among its leaders the noted chief, John Ross, and comprised a majority of the nation. Their policy contemplated the retention of their lands, the continuance of the agricultural labors so successfully commenced, and the fostering of the ample educational facilities they then possessed, as well as of those arts and domestic industrial pursuits which had been developed by their location in a region eminently fruitful, healthful, beautiful to the eye, and hallowed by associations connected both with the living and the dead. The emigration party contended that these superlative advantages could not be permanently maintained; that the right of sovereignty to the country could not be wrested from the States who possessed it; that schools could be established and teachers obtained in the West; and that they were offered an ample and fertile country, beyond the limits of any State or Territory, under the solemn guaranty of Congress, over which they could extend their own laws and form of government, and where the arts, industry, and knowledge they had acquired, could not but hasten the development of their character, and make them a powerful as well as prosperous people.

A treaty ceding their lands was concluded at New Echota, December 29, 1835, with the party favorable to emigration. In consideration of the payment of $5,000,000, they ceded all their territory east of the Mississippi river, and agreed to remove to the West, and rejoin their brethren already there. Twenty chiefs of high character, and possessed of influence and intelligence, signed this treaty; Ridge, Rogers, Starr, Gunter, Belt, and Boudinot being of the number. A delegation of influential Cherokees, members of the opposing party, immediately proceeded to Washington, with the view of preventing its ratification by the Senate. The subject excited deep interest, but the validity of the treaty was finally sustained. Some supplementary articles were added

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to the original instrument, and the Senate, by a resolution, granted to the Cherokees an additional sum of $600,000, to liquidate claims held against them. In this form, the treaty was eventually ratified, May 23, 1836. 620

Other conventional agreements followed. A treaty was concluded with the Caddoes as early as July 1 of this year, 621 though not ratified until 1836. This tribe, in whom we recognise one of the bands descended from the indomitable Kapakas, of De Soto's era, ceded all their lands lying within the southern boundaries of the United States, and expressed their determination to remove within the boundaries of Texas.

The Comanches and Witchetaws, two important tribes residing in Texas, now first opened a political intercourse with the United States. A treaty with them was signed August 24, 1835, 622 and ratified on May 19, 1836. In order that it might effectually serve the ends sought, and be not only the evidence of peace and friendship with the United States, but also with the tribes by whom they were surrounded, and with whom they associated, it was assented to and signed by large delegations of the western Cherokees, Choctaws, Osages, Senecas of the Neosho, and Quappas. The Comanches stipulated to restrain their marauding parties from encroaching on the territory of the United States; to make restitution for injuries done; to receive friendly tribes and citizens of the United States on terms of amity; and to take the first steps toward progress in civilization.

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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