[Senate Doc. 512, vol. 247, page 74-75]
Creek Agency, February 10, 1833
I have frequently, of late, made communications to you respecting the affairs of the Creek Indians, with the hope that my suggestions might be of some service in the discharge of your many and important duties relative to that tribe.
The Indian nations you are well acquainted with generally; but yet there are particulars you must derive from some source or other.
The situation of this nation is at the present peculiar. They have no more land to sell as a nation, and the whole of their lands is now individual property; and of this they are well advised. And this fact is not an agreeable one to the chiefs.
They are also informed they cannot remain here, surrounded and interspersed with a dense white population. The breach between the two parts of the nation is reconciled, and the only obstacle to a speedy removal consists in the parts of some of the head chiefs being still opposed to that measure, and in making a disposition of their reservations.
I entertain the opinion that, at a moderate, but fair price, the reservations might now, or very soon may, be had by the Government.
How the Indians are to subsist the present year, I cannot imagine. Some of them are now sustaining themselves upon roots. They have, apparently, very little corn, and scarcely any stock. The game is gone, and what they are to do, God only knows. Nothing can preserve their property, or their existence; other than immediate removal in the country designed for them. By proper management they might become prosperous and happy.
I will add one thing more, and then turn aside from this gloomy future, to wit: several hundred barrels of flour were left here by the army, and I am informed thirty or forty barrels of it are partially spoiled, so as to be of no value to the Government; and if Col. S. C. Benton had the authority to give this spoiled flour to the most needy, it would, I have no doubt, save the lives of many, and ameliorate the sufferings of others. (The Euchee people near the town; the women and children in particular, are the most needy.)
We have, with all the means before us which we could command, investigated a great amount of claims, and in one or two days more will able to prepare our report. But the whole of our proceedings make a part of this report, and will require at least one month or more severe labor of Major T. J. Abbott, the secretary of the board, to transcribe and forward the report and proceeding; and as the report would be of little service without the accompanying documents, I write this letter to advise you of the cause of the delay.
Major Abbott has completed the taking of the census of the lower towns. Major Parsons is not yet done with the upper towns, but thinks he can be in two or three weeks. The Indians are hard to collect, or hunt up, which causes great delay. I think the work will be faithfully performed.
The papers and claims which we have passed upon are, many of them, for large amounts, and altogether of great value to the claimants, and their transmission, by mail, unsafe. I, therefore think if you were to order Major Abbot, who you can reach at this place, on to Washington with the whole of our proceedings; and his and Major Parson's census roll, the measure would be a good one. And with his explanations and assistance, our work could soon be disposed of by the department. And if you wished to send the money out to payt the amount stipulated by the treaty to be paid, Major Abbott would be as trustworthy as any man alive, and would be a faithful agent in any trust whatever. I will remark, too much care cannot be bestowed in the payment of money to Indians. The whites cheat them, I believe, all they can, and some of them cheat each other as much as possible.
As the commissioners, after they agree upon their report, would be of no further service here, as the secretary of the board only could work, they will, to save expense to the nation, adjourn; and I shall set out for Claiborne, my home.
The extent of country covered by the upper towns of Creeks, is, perhaps, more extensive than that covered by the lower towns. I know your time is one of labor, and I will not; perhaps, trouble you soon again.
I have; & c.,
Honorable Lewis Cass,
Secretary of War.