[House Report 101, 18th Congress, 1st Session.]
Of the Committee of Ways and Means, to whom was referred a resolution of the House of Representatives, of 27th February last, instructing said committee to inquire into the expediency of making an appropriation, to compensate the friendly Creek Indians for property lost and destroyed during the late Creek war.
APRIL 5, 1824.
Read: Ordered that it lie upon the table.
The Committee of Ways and Means, to whom was referred a resolution of the House of Representatives, of the 27th February last, instructiug them "to inquire into the expediency of making an appropriation to compensate the friendly Creek Indians, for property lost and destroyed during the late Creek war,"
That the claim, on the part of the friendly Creek Indians, is to an indemnity for certain losses which they sustained, from hostile Indians of their own tribe, during the Creek war, and is founded upon an instrument, delivered by them to General Jackson, on the 9th of August 1814, by which they complain, that, in running the line to retain lands conquered from the hostile Indians, lie run it in such a manner as to take a quantity of the lands of the friendly Indians, for which no equivalent was afforded, and expressed their reliance on the justice of the United States to do them justice. The subject was brought before Congress, in the year 1817, and a report was, at that time, made by the Committee of Ways and Means, to which the committee beg leave now to refer, for a more satisfactory illustratiou of the foundation of the claim.
That report recommended the appropriation of a definite sum, to be applied under the direction of the Secretary of War, as an indemnity to the friendly Creeks, in fair proportion to their Losses; and, accordingly, the sum of eighty-five thousand dollars was appropriated.
These claims for losses were liquidated by the chiefs, in council, at Fort Hawkins, in July, 1817, and amounted to the sum of $110,417.90. Of this sum, $81,085.60, was paid to the individuals, in proportion to their respective claims, and the balance, of $3,914.40, was placed in the hands of the two principal chiefs, by general consent, to be applied to some cases of peculiar hardship, otherwise unprovided for.
It is now, represented to the committee, that there are many claims; not liquidated at the time aforesaid, on account of which no payment has been made, and to meet these, as well as the balance of all the other claims, an appropriation is now solicited.
It is the opinion of the committee, that the sum of eighty-five thousand dollars, appropriated by the law of 1817, was intended to be full indemnity for all the losses of the friendly Indians, and was equal to any reasonable expectation.
This appears to be manifest from the estimate, by Colonel Hawkins, that the chiefs would have been satisfied, at the date of the treaty, with the sum of $60,000; and, in the letter of the acting Secretary of War, to D. B. Mitchell, the Indian agent, directing the application of the money, he is informed that, as the law is general in its terms, and predicated on Colonel Hawkins' estimate, "it will be proper to pay the claimants mentioned in the estimate, only a portion of their claim, at present, as it is probable that there maybe other claimants entitled to the benefit of tile law, who are not mentioned in the list of claims furnished by Colonel Hawkins; therefore, a final distribution of the money should not take place, until the whole amount of the claims are ascertained."
The just and reasonable expectations of the Indians, at the date of the treaty, is the foundation of the claim of the friendly Creeks to indemnity, and there does not appear to be any obligation on the part of the United States to exceed those expectations further than they have already done.
The committee beg leave to submit to the House all the documents their possession, touching the subject, and recommend tile adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, That it is inexpedient to make any further appropriation, to compensate the friendly Creek Indians for property lost and destroyed during the late Creek war.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
10th March, 1824
SIR: I have received your letter of the fifth instant, requesting such information as it may be in my power to afford, touching the manner in which the sum of $85,000, appropriated by an act of Congress, in 1817, for the relief of the friendly Creek Indians, has been paid and applied; whether that sum was intended, at the time, as a full indemnity for the losses of the friendly Creeks, or as a mere estimate of the amount of those losses, and whether, from any information in this Department, it is now expedient to make a further appropriation.
In reply, I have the honor to transmit the enclosed papers, which contain all the information in the possession of the Department, on the sublect.
Since the payment of the $86,000, above mentioned, repeated applications have been made by the Creek Indians for further indemnity; but the Department declined acting upon them, as there was no appropriation at its disposal that could he so applied. The Department has no information to enable it to say whether it would be expedient now to make an appropriation for that object, or not.
I request that the original paper sent may be returned to the Department when the committee is done with it.
I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,
J. C. CALHOUN.
Hon. Lewis M'Lane,
Chairman Committee of Ways and Means,
House of Representatives, U. S.
Copies of letters from the Secretary of War to Maj. Gen. Th. Pinckney.
17th March, 1814.
SIR: The policy, dictated as well by the unprovoked and ungrateful conduct of the hostile Creeks, as by a due regard to the future safety of the Southwestern frontier, may be brought under the following heads, viz.
1st. An indemnification (for the expenses incurred by the United States in prosecuting the war) by such cession or cessions of land as may be deemed an equivalent for said expenses.
2nd. A stipulation, on their part, that they will cease all intercourse with any Spanish post, garrison, or town, and that they will not admit among them any agent or trader who does not derive his authority or licence from the United States.
3rd. An acknowledgment of a right in the United States to open roads through their country; to navigate all waters and streams within the same; and also to establish therein such military posts and trading houses as may he deemed necessary or proper.
And 4th. A surrender of the prophets, or other instigators of the war, who will be held subject to the orders of the President.
With these outlines as your guide, you are authorized, in conjunction with Col. Hawkins, to open and conclude a treaty of peace with the hostile Creeks, so soon as they shall express a desire to put an end to the war.
I have, & c.
March 20, 1814.
SIR: Since the date of my last letter, it has occurred to me that the proposed treaty with the Creeks should take a form altogether military, and be in the nature of a capitulation; in which case the whole authority of making and concluding the terms will rest in you exclusively as commanding general. In this transaction, should it take place, Col. Hawkins, as agent, may be usefully employed
I have, & c.
Extract of a letter from the Secretary of War to Major Gen. A. Jackson dated May 24, 1814.
"In the event of your acceptance of the appointment announced in my letter of the 22nd instant, I have to suggest the wish of the President that you should proceed, without delay, to Fort Jackson, and consummate the arrangements committed to Major General Piuckney, in relation to the hostile Creeks. A copy of the instructions given to Gen. Pinckney is enclosed."
Extract of a letter from George Graham, chief clerk, Department of War, to Colonel Hawkins, agent to the Creek nation, dated July 12, 1815.
"I am directed by the President to request that you will report to this Department, as soon as practicable, your opinions on the following points:
1st. As to the nature and extent of the indemnity which the friendly chiefs claim, in consequence of the letter addressed by Gen. Pinckney, on the 23rd April, 1814.
2nd. How far the Government ought, from motives of justice or policy, to yield to their claims.
3rd. Whether indemnity ought to he made to them, by restoring a part of the ceded land, or by an additional annuity; or by giving them a certain fixed sum, in money and goods.
4th. Whether those compensations, of whatever nature they may be, should be confined entirely to the friendly chiefs."
Extract of a letter from Col. Hawkins to G. Graham, Esq. Chief Clerk of the War Department, dated
CREEK AGENCY, 1st August, 1815.
"I have received your letters of the 12th and 15th July, with a copy of the agreement and capitulation between General Jackson and the Creek Nation, as ratified, and sundry documents accompanying.
"I regret the necessity of reporting on the points suggested for the elucidation of the terms of peace offered by General Pinckney, and the understanding between General Jackson and the Chiefs, as I expected from what passed in the conference between the parties, the General would have sent on such a statement as would have placed the subject, aided by his Secretary, sent on partly for the purpose, in a just point of view before the Government; however, I am to suppose it has, from some cause, been omitted; and, as I am required, it is my duty to do it. That the first interrogatory may be clearly explained I must go into detail as to the manner of negotiating with the Chiefs on it.
1st. "As to the nature and extent of the indemnity which the friendly Chiefs claim in consequence of the letter addressed by General Pinckney to yours of the 23d April."
As soon as the terms of peace were offered, as expressed in the letter referred to, I took measures to explain them literally to the friendly Indians, and through them, and the prisoners in our possession, to the hostiles who had fled, or were flying to Pensacola.
When General Jackson arrived as sole Commissioner, he addressed a speech to the Chiefs among whom there was but a single hostile one; marked his line, which he said should not be altered. He altered it, notwithstanding, to accommodate Tookaubatche. The Chiefs replied to him, which the General's Secretary and the Agent took in writing for him. They, in conference, repeatedly urged the justness of their claims for losses, as promised in the terms of peace offered, and the General as often denied having powers to act on it. Upon being asked, among other things, as his powers extended only to retaining as much land conquered from the hostiles as would indemnify the United States for the expenses of the war, upon what principles he took the lands eastwardly to Georgia, belonging obviously to the friendly Indians? The General answered he did it from political motives, to prevent an intercourse between the Indians and Spainiards, and English in the Floridas; to have a border to know and separate his enemies from his friends; which was as beneficial to the friendly Indians as to the United States. And also gave the friendly Indians the lands in the fork of Tallapoosa and Coosau. The Speaker asked where the hostiles were to be placed, if he took all their land? His answer was, you have room enough to take them among you. The Speaker said the war was not yet settled, and they were called on for lands to pay the expense of it; and, before it was settled, he supposed there would be another call. The General replied he would take upon himself to settle it, if it lasted twenty years, without calling on them for any more land.
It struck me forcibly at the time, that the General, who was authorized only to retain lands conquered from the hostiles, to indemnify the United States for the expenses of the war, should take nearly eight millions of acres from the friendly Indians, over and above all the hunting grounds of the upper friendly Creeks, giving, without consulting them, what he called an equivalent, which they did not deem such; and did not feel himself authorized to adjust this equitable claim of theirs. I suggested to the General, upon extending the line eastwardly, for the motives assigned by him, if he could, for a reasonable equivalent, where that line touched Flint river, go up the same, it would be a great accommodation to Georgia. Upon which, after some reflection on the subject, and making inquiries as to how far up the line should go, and at what creek it should leave the river, he said his powers did not justify it, and would adhere to his first.
The Speaker, after conferring with the Chiefs about him, told the General there were no hostile Chiefs there, but the heads of the nation, masters of the land, were; they were friends, met to settle matters, and not to quarrel; they were talking for information; he would be ready in a day or two to do what was demanded of them; but before he signed any papers with him, as he would not admit their claims in the treaty, he should make and sign a paper expressive of them and who were the masters of the land.
On the 8th of August, they sent for the Agent and General Jackson, and expressed a determination, before they yielded up and signed away their lands, to grant, as a mark of national gratitude, a donation for his distinguished services, to the General, and to Colonel Hawkins and his family, to whom they owed much, and whose children were natives of their land; to the two Interpreters, one of whom had all his property destroyed, (Mr. Cornells); and in the instrument which they would sign, express their claims under the terms of peace offered. The General was very feelingly impressed with this unexpected mark of national gratitude, which he accepted, with the reserve, if approved of by the President; and that the President might, if he would, have it disposed of to clothe their poor naked woman and children. Their motive for doing this being as expressed, they rejected this modification.
On the 9th, the instrument of conveyance having been drawn under the interpretation of Mr. Cornells and Major M'Intosh, and read, the Speaker said, their claims being mentioned, the letters should go on as a part of it, as they contained what they demanded; whereupon, the instrument was signed, in the usual form, in the square of the Council. After being signed, the Speaker urged it should be sent on with the treaty which they were about to sign; to which he answered, the letters of the 23d and 25th April, between General Pinckney and Colonel Hawkins, and that some good man should take them up to the Government; and after this they would sign with the General.
Having signed, the General said he would send up his Secretary with the treaty and documents mentioned; and such of the Indians there present who had claims might make them, and lodge them with him, and his Secretary should take them with him; which was done accordingly. The document of the 9th, is what the Chiefs in fact call their part of the treaty. [The original paper which accompanies this, contains the document here referred to.]
As to the extent of the Claims, I have no data to calculate from. Part of the vouchers were taken on by Mr. Cassedy, the General's Secretary, and the remainder given in since to the assistant agent at Cowetau, which I have ordered on here; whatever they may be, I will forward them as received. I believe, at the time of drawing the lines for the treaty, $60,000 would have been received as an equivalent. The Indians of Tookaubatche were the most faithful, and the greatest sufferers, their town was besieged for eight days, and when they had to retreat, it was destroyed, with all their property, but what they could carry off; when they retreated to Cowetau. Some of Coosaude Tuskegee, Cowetau and Tallanhassee, had some houses burnt, their stock and provisions destroyed. Some few, to a considerable amount, but mostly to a trivial one. The losses sustained were by no means general, as many of the friendly Iowns did not lose any thing, but what was taken by disorderly individuals of Floyd's army.
Question 2nd. How far the Government ought, from motives of justice or policy, to yield to their claims?
From the statement on the first question, it is apparent justice is on the side of the claimants, and policy requires a strict fulfilment of the expectations of the chiefs. From the unceasing efforts made to poison the minds of the Indians, by British agents, who abound in the means of corruption, and the chiefs having already expressed, with much warmth, that their half of the treaty is lopped off, they may refuse their ratification, which they are advised to do, by the British agents, and from the singular manner the capitulation is worded, the parties "agree to ratify and confirm," &c. it appears they have a right to do so.
Question 3d. Whether indemnity ought to be made to them, by restoring a part of the ceded land, or by an additional annuity, or by giving a certain fixed sum, in money or goods?
I believe the correct way would be to liquidate the claims of individuals, some of which, I am told, are too high, reduce them to a just value, and pay them. If it was a national claim, a cession of land might be desirable, but to individuals it is otherwise.
Question 4th. Whether these compensations, of whatever nature they may be, should be confined entirely to friendly chiefs?
This question is, in fact, already answered. It should be confined to the individual claimants, for none other are in contemplation of the terms of peace offered, nor have I ever heard any such mentioned by any chief. The national question put to me on compensation is, "When is the annuity to arrive? Or is it withdrawn from us, without assigning a reason?"
Extract of a letter from Gen. David B. Michell, Creek Agent, to the Secretary of War, dated 18th March, 1818.
"I have now the honor to enclose a concise statement of the accounts presented by the friendly Indians, for losses during the late war; and of the application of the sum appropriated by Congress for their payment; by which it appears, that a little upwards of $100,000 is still due.
The gross amount of the claims presented, including the abstract made by Colonel Hawkins, is very little over or under $300,000; but they were reduced by the chiefs to $195,417.90. A general abstract of the whole, will be forwarded as soon as completed."
STATEMENT of claims for losses by the friendly Creek Indians, during the late war, as liquidated and settled by the chiefs, in council, at Fort Hawkins, in July, 1817, and at the agency, in January, 1818 - also, shewing the sums paid, and balance due.
|1. Amount liquidated for Upper Towns,|
at Fort Hawkins, in July 1817,
Deduct this amount paid at same time
|2. Amount liquidated for Lower Towns,|
at Fort Hawkins, in July, 1817,
Deduct this amount paid at same time
|3. Miscellaneous claims liquidated at|
Fort Hawkins, in July, 1817,
Deduct this sum paid to these claims
|4. Amount liquidated at the agency, in|
Deduct this amount paid to these claims
Whole balance due
Recapitulation, shewing the application of the sum appropriated.
|Paid to Upper Creeks, in July, 1817|
Paid to Lower Creeks, in July, 1817
Paid to miscellaneous claims
Paid at agency, in January, 1818
|Paid Major Hughes, by special order of the chiefs||$3,400|
|Paid two and a half per cent. discount on sale|
of bills for $83,000
Received by McIntosh at Washington,
|This balance placed in the hands of the two|
principal chiefs, by general consent to
be applied to some cases of peculiar hard-
ship, otherwise unprovided for,
* 83,000 Dollars of the money having been remitted, in drafts upon the United States Bank in Philadelphia, and the Branch of that Bank, in Savannah, refusing to pay them, this charge arose from the difference of exchange between Savannah and Augusta, and Philadelphia, at that time, and has been allowed by the chiefs, rather than be delayed, or run the risk of conveyance by an agent.
When the first payments were made, it was necessary, as the claims were not all received at that time, and the amount was much greater than the sum appropriated, to adopt some rule of proportion in making the payment. Two fifths was finally determined upon, and this sum is the balance, after paying two fifths of the whole claims liquidated. And as some cases have occurred which merit attention, but were excluded in consequence of the limitation, this amount has been set apart to relieve them, by general consent.
D. B. MITCHELL,
Agent for Indian Affairs.
CREEK AGENCY, March 18, 1818.
Extract of a letter from George Graham, acting Secretary of War, to David B. Mitchell, Indian Agent Creek nation, dated 20th March, 1817.
I enclose you a copy of the law making an appropriation of eighty-five thousand dollars, to indemnify individuals of the Creek nation for losses sustained during the late war, together with a copy of the correspondence with Col. Hawkins, and his estimate of the damages sustained by them respectively. These papers were laid before the Committee of Claims, and the law was predicated on them; but, as it is general in its terms, it will be proper to pay the claimants mentioned in the estimate, only a portion of their claim at present, as it is probable that there may be other claimants entitled to the benefits of the law, who are not mentioned in the list of claims furnished by Col. Hawkins; therefore, a final distribution of tbe money should not take place until the whole amount of the claims are ascertained. Two thousand dollars of the amount appropriated have been paid to Major McIntosh in part of his claim for losses, and the balance ($83,000) will be remitted to you by the Treasurer."