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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 II. — Indian Hostilities in the South.

WHILE this favorable adjustment of the national policy took place in the North, difficulties arose with the southern tribes, which assumed a most threatening aspect. The causes of these troubles may be briefly referred to.

Two obstacles to the successful execution of the plan of removal had existed for several years; one of which was, the difficulties between Georgia and the Creeks. The treaty concluded with the Creeks at Indian Springs, February 12, 1825, had been the source of much discord, having been negotiated without the full consent of all the chiefs, who should have participated in it, and ratified only a few days prior to the close of the presidential term, before the objections to it were made known, or fully understood. Mr. Adams, in his first message, expresses his intention to communicate to Congress a special message on the subject; 628 and also respecting the general feeling of the Cherokees. Causes of dissension had been created with two of the principal tribes, such as had not before occurred in our Indian history. After the lapse of seven years, the Creek question was virtually adjusted by the treaty signed at Washington, March 24, 1832; but the difficulties were not terminated. By this treaty, they ceded all their lands east of the Mississippi, making personal reservations for a limited number of years.

Among the Cherokees, the treaty of New Echota, concluded December 29, 1835, together with the policy of emigration, had created two distinct and violently antagonistic parties, one of which favored, and the other opposed, the removal. The leader of the former was John Ross, the ruling chief, who was supported by many other chiefs, and by the majority of the tribe. Being attached to their residence by historical associations, dating back to the era of the discovery of the country, possessing a fertile soil, and enjoying a mild climate, amid a district of hill and dale whose scenic beauty is hardly surpassed, this party, having in their own hands the means of civilization,

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were averse to exchanging it for territories beyond the Mississippi, with whose character they were imperfectly acquainted, and regarding the climate of which they were in doubt. Congress had, by a resolution passed in March, 1835, offered $5,000,000 to the Cherokees for their lands. December 29, 1835, a treaty assenting to the Government policy, was formed at New Echota, 629 with the party favoring exchange and migration, at the head of which was Major Ridge. This treaty threw the nation into a tumultuous excitement, and a numerous delegation visited Washington to oppose its ratification by the Senate. While the terms of the treaty were under discussion at Washington, Congress granted $600,000 for the purpose of covering the incidental expenses of their removal, and to meet sundry contingent claims which it was apprehended might arise therefrom. The western Cherokees also appended their approval of the measure, without claiming any interest in the fiscal provisions of the compact. In this form, the treaty was ratified by the Senate, May 23, 1836.

The malcontent party of the Cherokees denied the validity of the treaty, averring that the majority of the nation should not be bound by the terms of a treaty to which they had not given their consent, and which they alleged had been surreptitiously negotiated. The minds of the people were intensely excited; one party contending that the removal policy would be their destruction, and the other that it would prove their salvation. The public press of the United States took part in the discussion, being governed in the expression of their opinions by their adhesion to existing parties, and by the different views they entertained of the true policy to be pursued with respect to the future disposition of the Indian tribes.

There was another element of disturbance. The Creeks, who, by the treaty of April 4, 1832, had compromised the disagreements, and settled the raging discord created by the M'Intosh treaty, negotiated at Indian Springs, February 12, 1825, were not disposed to comply with the terms of this treaty of general pacification. Whether, owing to the fact that the Indian mind has many concealments and mental reservations, or does not readily comprehend the true scope and bearing of legal constructions, many and long continued delays were interposed, and much difficulty was experienced in obtaining a prompt and general compliance with the strict terms of this treaty, and in adjusting questions of reservations and assumed rights, which had not been conceded by that instrument.

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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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