Copy of a letter from Messrs. Lincoln, Griffin, and Humphries, to the Governor of Georgia, dated
Augusta, October 3, 1789.
As a variety of reports have been circulated throughout the United States relative to the circumstances under which the treaties of Augusta, in 1783, at Galphinton, in 1785, and at Shoulderbone, in 1786, were formed, and as it is highly important that facts should be ascertained, we take the liberty of requesting your honor to assist us in obtaining the information necessary for that purpose.
The principal points to which our attention has been attracted are-Whether the lands belonging to the Upper and Lower Creeks are the common property of the whole nation; or whether the lands stated to have been ceded to Georgia by the three treaties, or either of them, were acknowledged by the Upper Creeks to be the sole property of the Lower Creeks? Whether the acknowledged proprietors of the lands stated to have been ceded to Georgia were present, or fully represented at the said three treaties? Whether the Creeks present at the said treaties did act with a full understanding of the cessions they are stated to have made? And whether the said cessions and treaties were freely made on the part of the Creeks, uninfluenced by any threats or implication of force? It is also desirable that any other interesting circumstances connected with the objects of these inquiries should be made known to us: for example, whether the Indians did, for any considerable length of time, acquiesce quietly in the location and settlement of the lands in question; what value, in goods, has been given at the several treaties, as presents or compensations for these cessions; and, in effect, whatever other matters may serve to place the conduct of the State of Georgia, on this subject, in its true point of light. After being possessed of the written and official documents, we wish to receive oral information from private characters who were present at the several transactions before alluded to.
We have the honor to be, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servants,
[The Governor's reply I left with one of your secretaries at Milledgeville, and therefore I cannot now insert it in this communication; it would be but fair, however, to presume that it was satisfactory, if we are allowed to form an opinion according to the spirit of the following statement from these distinguished gentlemen.]
Extract from the report of the Commissioners for treating with the southern Indians.
The commissioners are decidedly of opinion that the failure of a treaty at this time with the Creek nation can be attributed only to their principal chief, Mr. A. McGillivray.
1st. From the repeated declarations and apparent good disposition of all the kings, headmen, and warriors to establish a permanent peace with the United States.
2d. From the proposed boundary being offered to the great council of the nation only as the basis of amicable negotiation.
3d. From the deception and precipitate retreat of Mr. McGillivray, without stating his objections to the draught of a treaty, either verbally or in writing.
4th. From many inquiries concerning this man, and from Mr. McGillivray's own declarations, " that, without obtaining a full equivalent for the sacrifice, he would not renounce the close connexion which he had formed with the Spanish Government in the hour of distress-a connexion honorable and lucrative to himself, and advantageous to the Creek nation."
5th. From his frequent intimations that no treaty could be formed with the commissioners, unless a free and exclusive port should be granted to him on the banks of the Alatamaha or the river St. Mary's.
And 6th. From the most positive refusal to acknowledge the Creek nation to be within the limits, or under the protection of the United States, although in express contradiction to a former letter written by him on the 5th of September, 1785, to General Pickens.
The commissioners beg leave further to report:
That, after the most accurate investigation in their power to make, after consulting the best documents, and having recourse to credible depositions, they are unable to discover but that the treaty of Augusta, in the year 1783, the treaty of Galphinton, in the year 1785, and the treaty of Shoulderbone, in the year 1786, were all of them conducted with as full and as authorized representation, with as much substantial form and apparent good faith and understanding of the business, as Indian treaties have usually been conducted, or perhaps can be, where one of the contracting parties is destitute of the benefits of enlightened society; that the lands in question did of right belong to the Lower Creeks as their hunting grounds, have been ceded by them to the State of Georgia for a valuable consideration, and were possessed and cultivated for some years without any claim or molestation by any part of the Creek nation.
As Mr. McGillivray, and all the other chiefs, headmen, and warriors, have given strong assurances in their talks, and by writing, that no further hostilities or depredations shall be committed on the part of their nation, and as the Governor of Georgia, by issuing proclamations and other effectual measures, will prevent the commission of hostilities and depredations upon the Creek nation on the part of Georgia, the commissioners, in the best of their judgment, report:
That all animosities with the Creek nation should henceforth cease; that some person should be despatched to the said nation with the ultimate draught of a treaty to establish perpetual peace and amity; that when such a draught for a treaty shall be properly executed by the leading men of the nation, all the presents intended for the Indians, and now in the State of Georgia, should be distributed among them; that if the Indians shall refuse to execute such draught for a treaty, the commissioners humbly submit that the arms of the Union should be called forth for the protection of the people of Georgia in the peaceable and just possession of their lands; and, in case the Creeks shall commit further hostilities and depredations upon the citizens of the United States, that the Creek nation ought to be deemed the enemies of the United States, and punished accordingly.
[One would naturally have supposed that, after such an exposition as that of the commissioners, every thing would have been reduced to order in the nation: but no such thing! On the contrary, General Knox (then Secretary of War) candidly admits that the relations of the Union with the northern Indians superinduced the necessity of a compromise with McGillivray. Thus, and at this early period in the history of the General Government, did the State of Georgia become a martyr to State rights!]
Protest of the Legislature of the State of Georgia against the treaty of New York.
In the House of Representatives, Friday, November 26, 1790.
The House took up the report of the committee to whom was referred the message of his excellency the Governor, relative to the treaty of peace entered into between the United States and the Creek Indians; and the same being read,
The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the same, Mr. Taliaferro in the chair. Mr. Speaker resumed the chair, and Mr. Taliaferro, from the Committee of the Whole House, reported that they had had the same under consideration, and made some amendments thereto.
And the said report being read, as amended, is as follows:
The committee to whom was referred that part of his excellency the Governor's communication respecting the late treaty of peace with the Creek Indians, report:
That, having maturely considered the said treaty, and the several articles thereof, and taken into view the various opinions entertained on the subject, they submit the following resolutions, as expedient for the House to enter into:
1st. Resolved, That the said treaty of peace, being concluded by the Department of the General Government, which, under the federal constitution, is fully and alone competent to the measure of making treaties, ought to be inviolate; and in consideration of the public faith being pledged, this House will support the Executive and Judiciary authority of the United States, and of this particular State, in rendering firm and permanent the said peace so concluded, and in improving the blessings thereof.
2d. Resolved, That, although any infraction or violation of the said treaty, while it shall remain the supreme law of the land, ought to be punished in an exemplary manner, yet, in the opinion of this House, the concessions made thereby to the adversaries of the Union are greater than they were entitled to, considering either the origin of the Union, the sufferings of the people of Georgia, (a member of the Union,) or the comparative strength of the said Indians with that of the United States.
3d. Resolved, That the third article of the said treaty, in particular, is liable to censure, in that it leaves the restitution of property taken and carried off by the said Indians during the war on a very precarious footing, allowing them full time to remove such property out of reach; but is still more liable to censure, in that it abandons American citizens, (chiefly women and children,) led away during the war, to a savage captivity of near ten months from the signing of the treaty, if the Indians shall think proper so to do; and even after the expiration of that term, there does not appear to be adequate provision made for the certain restoration of those unfortunate persons, of whom it is well known there are several in the nation.
4th. Resolved, That the fourth article of said treaty is also liable to censure, in that it relinquishes to the Indians the possession of a district of country, which, by two solemn treaties, conducted with as full and authorized representations, with as much substantial form and apparent good faith, as Indian treaties have usually been, or perhaps can be, where one of the contracting parties is destitute of the benefits of enlightened society, was absolutely, for a valuable consideration, ceded by the said Indians to the white inhabitants of Georgia, at a time when there was no federal compact against such cession by treaty.
5th. Resolved, That the fifth article of the said treaty is also liable to censure, in that, from the mode of expression therein used, (being new in such cases,) an inference may, by some, be drawn injurious to the rights of the State, amounting to an admission that the sovereignty over the lands at present allowed to the Indians for their hunting grounds, within the limits of Georgia, belongs to the United States in general, and not to the individual State of Georgia: whereas this House conceive, and assert, that the said sovereignty solely appertains to the Slate of Georgia; that the same has never been granted, or by any compact whatsoever conveyed away to or deposited with the Union; but, on the contrary, is, in all the instruments of the confederation, one of the rights understood to be reserved, and which the other States solemnly guaranty. They, therefore, although offering no pretensions to the immediate possession of those lands, claim the sovereignty and right of pre-emption exclusively over the same, according to the limits mentioned and described in the land acts of this State, passed in the year 1783, and the treaty of Beaufort, made between the commissioners of South Carolina and Georgia, in the year 1787, which was afterwards recognised by Congress.
6th. Resolved, That the seventh article of the said treaty is also liable to censure, in that the same is founded in a principle of inequality, and is moreover deficient in its provisions for preserving peace; for while it restrains the white people from hunting on the Creek lands, it does not prohibit the Indian parties from coming in upon the lands of the white people; a practice, this latter, which, during its continuance, will always be productive of loss of property to the citizens of Georgia, and, consequently, of quarrels between them and the Indians.
Letter from the Honorable William Few (then a Senator from Georgia, but now of Sing Sing, in the State of New York) to His Excellency Edward Telfair.
Philadelphia, January 15, 1791.
I wrote you a few days ago, and enclosed you some papers relative to the construction and operation of the Creek treaty, which will preclude the necessity of adding any thing on that subject now. The animadversions of the Assembly of Georgia on that treaty have been promulged here, and, I believe, are generally approved by disinterested reflecting people; many were apprehensive that the indignation of that State would have drawn them into measures more violent and less guarded. The Legislature has taken the only constitutional ground that was left to act on, and I think have discovered great moderation and coolness in their proceedings. Already we begin to perceive the collision of the Government of the United States with that of the individual States, and I am sorry to observe that there are to be found too many public characters that wish to augment and extend the powers of the former over the ruins of the latter. Some, indeed, have imbibed the idea that nothing but a consolidated Government will answer the purpose of general protection and safety, and they pursue with avidity all such measures as tend to that object, notwithstanding they may be an obvious violation of the principles and genius of the constitution; they cover themselves under what is termed the sweeping clause, which they contend gives the United States all powers that they may think necessary to exercise for the general interest and safety. Although this doctrine cannot be admitted without annihilating the State powers and State Governments, yet it cannot be fully refuted; otherwise, there would be a deficiency in the powers of the United Government, that it might be necessary to use for the general safety. The inference then is, that the Government of the United States is vested with very extensive powers, and that the administration of these powers must necessarily fall into the hands of those who will feel the most powerful incentives to strengthen and extend them. This cause will tend to hasten the progress of our Federal Government towards monarchy and despotism; and the only means that can be used to check that progress are to be found in the State Governments. I therefore think the success of the General Government depends, in a great measure, on the preservation of the rights of the State Governments in a certain degree. It is true there is no line can be drawn that will ascertain precisely the powers of the National Government. The great law of necessity will sometimes extend it-occasionally with propriety; but the lesser pretence of expediency is too often found operating in the same direction.
Colonel Few appears to have understood the character of his quondam fellow-citizens better than he seems to have apprehended the actual result. Elsewhere, feeling may be more firm, entire, and consistent; but it is no sooner under the influence of our southern sun, than it melts into fire; and equally so, whether it be lead, lava, or gold. Indeed, I do not know that forbearance and moderation were " acclimatized" here, even during the halcyon days of Oglethorpe, Wesley, and Whitfield. Certain it is, that no sooner did old General Clark (who was not only a patriot of the Revolution, but as honest, daring, and intrepid a spirit as ever breathed) learn that General Knox had made a compromise with McGillivray, that the treaty he had himself assisted to conclude was set aside, and that the rights of that State, for which he had so often risked his life, sacrificed his competence, and surrendered his comforts, were bartered away to a half-breed, than he raised his banner and crossed the Oconee in force. He entrenched himself upon the land bought by himself, already possessed by some of our citizens, and yet under such circumstances surrendered by the Secretary of War to Alexander McGillivray; and here he continued until those in whom he had most confidence advised that it would be indecorous (the State being now sufficiently organized) to assume the privilege of asserting its rights upon himself. He accordingly desisted; surrendered himself to the civil authority; demanded his trial; was tried; and was acquitted upon the ground that the treaty of New York was an infringement upon State rights, therefore unconstitutional, and de facto void. But the feeling did not even then subside. The General Government took part so far with the Indians, that it refused to pay our troops when ordered out to repel their aggressions, or to prevent a recurrence of them; and this is still refused to this day, although it must be known that our defensive attitude was entirely caused by the compromise which General Knox made with McGillivray - a compromise ridiculous enough, to be sure, when it is recollected that thereby the rights of a State were infringed, in the face of day, without producing any of those results calculated upon by a wretched ;and untoward policy; for, when McGillivray returned, he found the Creek country revolutionized, and his empire merged into the Muscogee republic, under the direction of William A. Bowles, formerly a portrait painter in this place, but who, although a white man, soon acquired such influence among the Indians, that he was enabled to banish his rival among his friends in Florida, where he shortly after died, and with him the treaty of New York; which last was, however, revived at Coleraine in the year 1796. A gentleman who was in the Legislature of 1795, and to whom nothing in the shape of a reproach has ever been attached, excepting for his vote in favor of the Yazoo law, told me that the violation of our State rights by that treaty, and the denial of justice to our citizens by refusing to settle their militia claims, hastened the salt/ of our western territory; the friends of the measure thinking that, through the means of companies and their ramifications in the other States, an interest would be created quite equal to the task of compassing the extinguishment of the whole Indian title: the correctness and sincerity of which remark are rendered probable by the vote which he gave for the highest proposal, are proven by the caption of the act itself, and are put beyond all manner of doubt by the developments which have taken place from time to time. Since that deplorable event, every matter affecting this State, every thing that transpires here, and every person connected with it, is now said to owe every adventitious consequence to corruption. CORRUPTION, forsooth! a reasonable man would be inclined to think, from the continual clamor on the subject, that this State ought to have rotted long ago; besides which, it is hardly susceptible of proof that any persons born or bred up in Georgia were any more than dupes in the fraud. Where then stood our own natural portion (so to speak) of talent and virtue? Where, in the eventful times of '89 and '95, stood Tattnall, Taliaferro, Milledge, Habersham, the three Jones, Gibbons, Stirk, Morrison, Irwin, and Mitchell? where, subsequently, Bryan, Jackson, and Early? and lastly, though not the least, where stood William H. Crawford, through whom our State has been so much insulted, vilified, and abused? He stood in the plain, modest, and unassuming character of a private citizen, speaking with a trumpet tongue, and holding up both his hands in protest against the whole Yazoo transaction. In fact, Georgia was invaded and overrun by a horde of speculators and other adventurers just after the close of the Revolution, and was as completely changed for a time, as to character, sentiment, or conduct, as ever was England after the Saxon or Norman invasion. Let, then, the enemies of our State seek for the principle of corruption elsewhere than in the germ of our institutions; there they will not find it, for we seared it with a red-hot iron long ago: if it still festers any where, (and some say that it does,) why, let them probe the system to its full extent; but, at all events. Georgia has no longer any concern with the subject, except as a matter of history. To return, however, from this digression.
VII. We are now arrived at a most important era, or the period when Georgia ceded her western empire to the United States. So much has already been said by the public prints in reference to the convention of 1802, that I shall content myself with quoting the fourth article.
"The United Slates shall, at their own expense, extinguish for the use of Georgia, as early as the same can be peaceably obtained on reasonable terms, the Indian title to the county of Talassee; to the lands left out by the line drawn by the Creeks in the year 1798, which had been previously granted by the State of Georgia, both of which tracts had formerly been yielded to the Indians; and to the lands within the forks of the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers: for which several objects the President of the United States has directed that a treaty shall be immediately held with the Creeks, and that the United States shall, in the same manner, extinguish the Indian title to all the other lands within the State of Georgia."
The treaty alluded to in this article was concluded at Fort Wilkinson, on the Oconee, (and near the present site of Milledgeville,) in less than two months after the signing of the convention; but the President, regarding the acquisition as too trifling, directed a new commission to issue for the purpose of extending the line to the Ocmulgee.
Copy of a letter from General Anderson, of South Carolina, one of the United States Commissioners, to General David Merriwether, of Georgia, dated
August 18, 1803.
We have not succeeded in our mission, which may be attributed to different causes. The warmth and irritation of the opposition chiefs, on account of the capture of their leader, Bowles, no doubt was one of the leading causes. The chiefs of the opposition anticipated and counteracted the object of our meeting by a kind of electioneering artifice. They held meetings before they met us at Ooseoochee, and agreed not only to refuse to part with land, but also to refuse to ratify the treaty made at Fort Wilkinson; to reject the payment to be made to them for the land; and to prevent the line from being marked agreeably to the treaty made at Fort Wilkinson, as aforesaid. They appointed a speaker for these purposes, and were joined by all the towns on this, Flint river, and the Seminoles: the headman and speaker are of the Upper Creeks. On the 12th instant the commissioners delivered their talk in the square, in the presence of a very general assemblage of the chiefs, particularly those in the opposition, who were there to a man. The speaker of the nation, chiefs, and warriors of the Upper Creeks had not been consulted, nor had they any knowledge of the measures which were to be pursued by the opposition. When our talk was delivered in the1 square, by the interpreter, the speaker of the opposition immediately began to reply. The speaker and chiefs of the Upper Creeks seemed as much surprised as we were at the novelty of their proceedings. The opposition kept the government for two days; but the speaker of the nation and chiefs of the Upper Creeks came forward with spirit and firmness; and, although they behaved with great decency towards us and to each other, yet, in their debates upon several points, there appeared a greater degree of warmth than I had ever seen in any council of Indians. The third day the opposition chiefs look us by the hand for the first line, and gave us the ceremony of the black drink. The opposition persisted in refusing to receive the payment for their land, which was given us in the square by the speaker of the nation, who, with his people, the Upper Creeks, were ready to receive their part pay for the land; and requested notice when the line would be marked, and assured us and the opposition chiefs that they would attend and see it done. In short, the Upper Creeks seemed to take the lead after the two first days, which I think they will keep until things have got right in the nation.
In 1805, however, (two years afterwards,) these sturdy fellows were ordered on to Washington city by General Dearborn, then Secretary of War, who found means that induced them to extend the line to the Ocmulgee.
In 1814 two treaties were concluded, and it is well known that at Fort Jackson presented to the General Government a favorable opportunity for a full compliance with all the stipulations of its agreement with Georgia; but the United States (although under bond to us) owed money to others, which consideration blending itself with other views of policy or expediency, (synonymous terms,) induced them to extinguish the Indian title to a very great quantity of rich land in Alabama, while Georgia was told that she must be content with a portion of pine - barren territory - a healthful retreat for her citizens, no doubt! who were also now allowed to rove among the pleasant woods and academic bowers of the Okefinocau swamp, and to dispossess the children of the sun of Bar-tram's Paradise, without even paying them the poor compliment of telling them, as General Jackson had already told the Creeks and Cherokees, that they must sign the treaty. Jesting aside, (if one could jest on such a subject,) the only valuable acquisition to us was the land acquired from the last; on which account, the Legislature of Georgia entered into solemn protests against the acts and proceedings of the Federal Government, as may be seen by reference to Prince's Digest from page 529 to 532, inclusive. I pass over, for the present, the treaty of 1821.
Having now concluded my abstract of the documentary evidence touching this Creek question, I will next call your attention to the particulars of a conference which I held with the friendly chiefs about five or six weeks since, in relation to the origin and subsequent causes of the party division which at present prevails between themselves and the Red Sticks; and this reminds me that I ought here to acknowledge the very great aid which I derived on that occasion from Captain William Bowen, who was assistant to the two agents immediately preceding the present incumbent.
I must premise, however, that some white men long adopted amongst them refer it to a mutual prejudice subsisting between McIntosh and Colonel Crowell, before their relations were well commenced; the chieftain having been as ardently attached to General Mitchell, as the present agent was, upon his succession, known to be politically opposed to him; if not while the latter was yet a citizen of Georgia, at all events after his removal to Alabama.
But the cause assigned by Rolly McIntosh and the other friendly chiefs is mainly this: the prosecution of George Stinson, an Indian countryman, or a white man naturalized as a Muscogee. He had married the general's sister, and kept, in connexion with Chilly, a store in the vicinity of the stand occupied by Thomas Crowell, a brother of the agent, and formerly his co-partner in trade at St. Stephen's, in the State of Alabama. During the course of the last winter, this man was arrested for an alleged violation of the United States' laws regulating trade with the Indians, and, as was natural, he fled to his brother-in-law for protection; on the other hand, the agent sent Hambly to the Little Prince with this message: " I call upon you, as the head of this nation, to have Stinson taken, and brought to me at all hazards. If six men are not enough, Send six hundred; and take him by force, if you have to destroy McIntosh and his whole establishment to effect it." Be pleased to refer to the agent's letter among the documents (page 160) transmitted by you to the Legislature, at the opening of the extra session in May last. Finally, however, Stinson was tried before the district court held in this city in December last, but was acquitted. Shortly afterwards, the agent ordered the chieftain himself before the national council, and preferred charges against him; but they did not break him, although he afforded them a pretence so to do, by abruptly quitting his seat, and leaving the assembly.
There was also another cause. Somewhat before this period, McIntosh proposed in a council of the Cherokees that they (the Creeks, the Chickasaws, and Choctaws) should emigrate westward of the Mississippi; and there, that these four nations of southern Indians should form one consolidated government. It is needless to say that these propositions were rejected. This was not all: McIntosh (who had been constituted a Cherokee chief, inconsequence of intermarriage with one of their women) was degraded, and denounced to his own countrymen as an enemy to the red people. These sentiments were speedily adopted by the Big Warrior, who assembled a few of the Upper Creek chiefs at the Polecat Springs, where, with the assistance of his son-in-law, (who was also sub-agent under Colonel Crowell,) those celebrated resolutions were passed which are now held to justify the murder of all those who signed the treaty. It was then that parties began really to be distinguished; the Upper Creeks, or Alabama Indians, inclining to the Cherokee talks; the Lower Creeks, or Georgia Indians, to those of McIntosh: and it was in this state of things that McIntosh came to the determination that he would conclude the treaty, (as he and the Little Prince had done but four years before,),without waiting for the consent of those towns situated on the waters of the Coosa and Tallapoosa. To this measure it appears that he was strongly influenced by three considerations:
1. That the Coweta towns, being the oldest in the nation, were at one time sole owners of the country, and, as such, by the custom of the nation, have absolute authority with regard to the disposition of land.
2. At all events, that each town, retaining its original rights with regard to territory inviolate, and having never surrendered them (such as they were) to the national council, had full authority to dispose of its own domain.
3. That the upper towns had forfeited their rights, if they ever had any, by their treason during the war; which had caused the cession or surrender of all the lands mentioned in the treaty at Fort Jackson.
There are also three important facts belonging to the history of this transaction, which it would be as well to take along with you: 1. That the few friendly Indians among the Upper Creeks during the late war were either in the power or possession of the hostiles, until relieved by McIntosh and his Cowetas. 2. That neither the Big Warrior, the celebrated Hopoithle Yoholo, nor any other chief of the Upper Creek nation, signed the treaty of 1821 - a treaty whose validity has never been questioned. 3. That at the treaty held by Messrs. Campbell and Merriwether, the Cussetas had already taken the talk of the commissioners, before their departure over night; which being the Indian mode of accepting a proposition, was held by McIntosh as sufficient to justify its formal conclusion according to the mode of the white people, without obliging all his heathens to affix the signature of the cross.
The relative numbers of the two parties it is now difficult to ascertain. McIntosh stated but a short time before his murder that ten thousand would emigrate; since that time, however, important changes have taken place. The common Indians have seen those chiefs murdered to whom they had before been accustomed to look up with deference, and their murderers sustained by officers of the General Government. They have seen the consideration money tendered equally to those who opposed the treaty and to those who favored it: not only so, but as well to him who relinquishes no improvements, as to him who leaves his wigwam to the white man. They are sagacious, and readily apprehend their interests; saying naturally to themselves, if one article of a treaty is violated, may not another be? and, under the circumstances, what additional security or recompense can be acquired for ourselves by adhering to it? The statement of General Gaines, that the parties are in the proportion of 50 to 1, is said to be incorrect; and it is still maintained by the friendly Indians that seven or eight thousand would yet emigrate, if all the articles of the treaty were fairly complied with, and no difficulties thrown in the way by agents of the General Government. ******
I cannot conclude this communication without offering for your consideration one or two suggestions that fell from a common friend-a gentleman whom everybody loves, honors, and respects, but (if I may with propriety say so) none more than your excellency.
The cardinal and (it must be believed) the unintentional error of the President consisted in sending Major Andrews here, who was totally unfit for so delicate a commission; and next, in authorizing General Gaines (though an officer possessing a full measure of honor and respectability) to act as a mediator with arms in his hands; for military consequence is always to be apprehended in negotiations for peace. The Chief Magistrate of the United States never could have authorized them to investigate, or to aid in the investigation of the merits of this treaty, the power to make it, or the means by which it was obtained: a step, measure, and exercise of power, as novel, impolitic, and unjust, as it would be, most assuredly, entirely unprecedented, illegal, and dangerous. He had no more authority to institute a commission to investigate the motives that induced the conclusion of a treaty already ratified, than those which led to the passing of the tariff bill, or (what Mr. Randolph might be disposed to consider as a more fit subject of comparison) the Yazoo compromise: all of which are equally laws of the land, which the President is bound by his oath of office to execute. Much less was he empowered to sustain a rebellious portion of the Creek nation, already painted with the blood of their treaty-making power, and uttering their wild veils of savage vengeance against all such as would dare to enforce its provisions. Indeed, Congress, as such, (including the House of Representatives,) have nothing to do with our own treaty-making power: though Congress may (as Congress did) repeal the French treaty of 1778, yet it is at last but an act of Congress, the policy of which the enemies of Georgia may live to rue and sorely to repent; for the discussion of this question must bring before the nation (and especially before the friends of State rights, at last the only real friends of the constitution,) that as to the power which the General Government is really authorized to exert over Indian nations within the chartered or allowed limits of the several States: and if this should once be taken up with spirit, other questions of equal importance will naturally follow. ******
Looking, then, towards the issue, with my thoughts as calm and collected as volition can make them, " hoping all things, yet fearing all things," I feel perfectly willing, for one, that the justice of our cause should be tried and determined " by God and our country;" though it would be certainly going by much too far to say that every Georgian would regard every citizen of every other State as altogether an unbiased or impartial juror. I have the honor to subscribe myself your excellency's friend and well wisher,
Joseph Vallence Bevan.
To His Excellency George McIntosh Troup,
Governor of the State of Georgia.
Governor Troup to T. R. Andrews.
Executive Department, Milledgeville, June 8, 1825.
I will thank you to inform me if, in a conversation held at my request with Colonel Lumpkin, you stated to him that the evidence submitted to you did not furnish even probable cause to suspect the Indian agent as guilty under the charges exhibited against him in my letter of the 31st ultimo.
As I intend to communicate immediately with your Government on this subject, I wish you to be very particular in the answer you may think proper to give, that the possibility of mistake or misapprehension may be avoided.
Very respectfully, sir,
To T. P. Andrews, Special Agent United States, Milledgeville.
T. P. Andrews to Governor Troup.
Milledgeville, Georgia, June 8, 1825.
I am honored by the receipt of your note of this evening. Colonel Lumpkin has misapprehended my remarks greatly, (for I feel satisfied he is incapable of misrepresenting them,) if he supposes I had formed any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the Indian agent, or would form one, until I was placed in possession, in an official manner, of all the evidence to be obtained from every quarter, and had thoroughly examined it. The conversation I had the honor of holding with the colonel, which it appears was at the request of your excellency, was long and desultory; I can only at this time recollect the result. On that, until I was furnished officially with the documents and evidence referred to in the latter part of your excellency's letter of the 31st ultimo, I did not consider myself at liberty to form any opinion, not even as to the propriety of the suspension of the agent.
I beg the attention of your excellency to my letter of the 31st of May, by which you will perceive I expected to be able to furnish the agent, in case his suspension was decided on, with a copy of the charges and specifications made against him, immediately on his being suspended, that " he might be enabled to defend himself before his Government with as little delay as possible;" and that his suspension would also depend on the present state of excitement among the Indians.
This course your excellency will do me the justice to believe is in strict accordance with the instructions of my Government.
I have delayed all proceedings, (even to a formal acknowledgment of the receipt of your letter of the 31st ultimo,) waiting to be furnished with the documents and evidence promised in it. So soon as I shall be honored by its receipt, (if General Gaines shall have arrived,) I will immediately proceed to execute the intentions of the President, as made known to your excellency.
I have the honor to be, with the highest respect and consideration,
Your excellency's most obedient servant,
T. P. Andrews, Special Agent.
To His Excellency George M. Troup, Governor of Georgia, Milledgeville.
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