Governor Troup to the Georgia Commissioners.
Executive Department, Milledgeville, June 11, 1825.
Under the authority of a resolution passed the 11th instant, of which an official copy is herewith furnished, you are appointed to receive and examine testimony in the case referred to. As the party concerned disclaims the authority of the State to interfere, it is not to be presumed that application will be made to you for leave to cross-examine: should, however, such application be made, you will not hesitate to grant it, giving timely notice of the person to be examined, and the time and place of such examination. You can hold your sessions at the place or places most convenient to you. Any three of you will be competent to proceed to business.
G. M. Troup.
To W. Jourdan, Wm. W. Williamson, S. Jones, and Wm. H. Torrance,
The Georgia Commissioners to Governor Troup.
Milledgeville, July 16, 1825.
On the 26th of June we had the honor to enclose to your excellency copies of the correspondence held at the Indian Springs with General Gaines. Your excellency will perceive that the commissioners of Georgia were inhibited by him from any participation in that council; and, in obedience to their instructions, they entered a protest, and without delay set forward for Fort Mitchell, near Broken Arrow. After our arrival at that place, we again addressed a note (No. 6) to General Gaines, renewing our request and explaining to him our motives and intentions in wishing to attend the council. This did not appear satisfactory to the general, and he adhered to his previous determination to exclude us from the council as commissioners, while we were left at liberty to attend as other individuals, (see No. 7.) We deemed it unnecessary to enter our protest against this refusal; and determined not to do so, from a sincere and anxious desire to give no cause of complaint to the general, and to attend the council as individuals, that we might avail ourselves of every means within our power of accomplishing the object of our appointment.
After we had prepared our letter to General Gaines, (No. 6,) and before it had been handed to him, we were invited by the general to attend a talk about to be held between him and the Little Prince; (a copy of this talk is marked No. 8.) From the anxiety of the special agent, Major Andrews, to satisfy the mind of the Little Prince as to the suspension of the agent, (Colonel Crowell,) we felt anxious forebodings that we need not expect to find in him a man who sought only to extend impartial justice to the accused. In the afternoon of the same day, (the 25tli of June,) we rode to the Asbury Mission, (the Methodist missionary establishment,) to see the Rev. Isaac Smith, (whom we proposed to examine as a witness,) to apprize him of that fact, and to ascertain what time would be most convenient to him.
When we arrived, we found Colonel Crowell, Major Rockwell, his counsel, and Major Andrews, the special agent, already there. Being introduced to Mr. Smith, after a short time we informed him of our wish and intention to swear and examine him as a witness, and wished to know what time would suit him. His answer was, that any time would be convenient to him. We then proposed to make the examination on the Monday morning thereafter, and inquired of Colonel Crowell (to whom we had written the letter marked No. 5) whether that time would suit him; to which he assented. At this time we were asked by Major Andrews whether we and Colonel Crowell had , made any arrangements as to the taking of testimony; to which it was replied, that we had informed each other that each should have the opportunity of crossexamining the witnesses examined by the other, and that no other arrangement had been made. While these conversations were passing, the gentleman came into the room whom we understood to be the Rev. Lee Compere, (the Baptist missionary, and author of the letter to the Southern Intelligencer;) he was informed that the commissioners would examine him also. Mr. Compere made some objections to being sworn, and he was distinctly informed that the law had provided that the affirmation would be equally obligatory with an oath, when any person had conscientious scruples about taking an oath. He would not say he had any conscientious scruples about taking an oath, generally, but that he had conscientious scruples about taking an unnecessary oath; that he conceived one unnecessary in this case; that he would give a statement, and that was all he presumed Mr. Smith would do; he at last declared he would not swear or affirm to his statement, as he presumed his statement would be sufficient with the President, without an oath or affirmation; but if Major Andrews said it was necessary to swear to it, lie would do so. Major Andrews was then informed by one of the commissioners that he knew tiie object of their taking the testimony, and if he would say, in writing, that the statement, without oath or affirmation, would be sufficient, the commissioners would be satisfied. To this he replied, that he did not know the object for which they were taking testimony; that it was a matter between the commissioners and Mr. Compere; and that he must decline saying any thing. He was referred to your letters to him as explanatory of our object. He said lie did not think those letters did explain it. He did not know whether we intended to lay the testimony before the President, the Legislature, or Executive of Georgia, or before a judicial tribunal. He was informed that he must know that it could not be intended for a judicial tribunal. Major Andrews persisting in his refusal to give an opinion, and believing the controversy worse than useless, we took our leave. Immediately on returning to Fort Mitchell, we wrote Major Andrews the letter No. 9, which remained unanswered till two of the commissioners (Jones and Torrance) left that place for Alabama. To persons not present, and particularly those unacquainted with all the circumstances, this letter may appear harsh, and the insinuations unwarranted; but we can assure your excellency that nothing but the most positive conviction could have induced ns to take this step. Should circumstances have transpired to satisfy us we were wrong, we should most cheerfully have retracted; but we are sorry, for the interest of Georgia and of truth, we were compelled to declare that subsequent events have only confirmed us in the correctness of that opinion. In the evening of that day, (the 25th,) two of the commissioners, walking along the public road, met and held a casual conversation with Josiah Gray, (a half-breed Indian, and one of the chiefs who had signed the treaty.) The next morning we received information that William Hambly, the national interpreter, had told Gray that General Gaines was displeased with him and us for holding conversations together, and that he must do so no more. From Gray's statement, (No. 24,) you will see what was said to him by the Indians.
On the morning of the 26th two of the commissioners walked out, and with them a white man by the name of Richards, (a man who had lived in the nation, and had been interpreter to the Seminole Indians,) who had a claim against the Creek Nation, and who attended at Broken Arrow to have it settled. After he returned from the walk, he went into the commissioners' room to show his papers relative to his claim to one of them. After dinner of that day, standing near one of the commissioners, he was asked by him what was the name of an Indian who passed by at the time. Upon replying that he did not know, he was requested to ask it. He asked an Indian who stood by, and informed the commissioners the Indian lived below. He was then told that the name of the Indian, and not his place of residence, was inquired after. Richards then stated that he was willing to give the commissioners any information and assistance in his power, and to oblige them in. any way he was able, but that he had received an order not to have any intercourse with the commissioners, or to interpret between them and the Indians for any purpose. He was then asked who gave the order! Was it given by General Gaines? To this he answered, the order was not given by General Gaines, but that he had received an order, and begged that no more questions might be asked him. About this time Colonel Williamson joined us, and upon consultation determined to ask an interview with General Gaines, from whom we had just received his letter of the 26th, (No. 7,) to assure him of the confidence of the Governor of Georgia and of the commissioners in his exertion and determination to quiet the disturbances in the nation and reconcile their differences; to state to him the difficulties attending us from the interdict which was placed on our communications with the Indian countrymen, (white men living in the nation,) and with the Indians themselves; to detail to him the above circumstances relative to Gray and Richards; and to assure him that we would have no intercourse whatever with the Indians until his business was closed, to prevent any misconstruction of our motives and conduct, if he (General Gaines) would promise, on his part, that he would keep the Indian chiefs there after he was done with them, and give us an opportunity of examining them separately and apart from each other, before him. He then stated that Major Andrews would wish to examine them in council, after he was done, and that he (Major Andrews) suggested the propriety of our drawing up our interrogatories, and submitting them to him for his examination, before they were put to the witnesses.
He was immediately told by one of our mission that we could not submit to such a requisition from Major Andrews; that if he identified himself with Colonel Crowell as his counsel, and proposed such an arrangement as reciprocal, we would consider of it; but that he, as acting impartially between us, and as a judge, had no right to ask or demand any such thing, and that we would not accede to it. We further told him that we were well satisfied, and we had no doubt, from his knowledge of the Indian character, that he must be satisfied of the inutility of examining them in council; that they would repeat the same story, whether true or false; indeed, that the talk would be delivered by one man, and that we could only hope to obtain the truth from them by a separate examination; that we wished it in his presence, and that we would put our questions in writing. The general then assured us that he would, with pleasure, give us all the facilities in his power; that he had the power to detain the chiefs as long as he pleased, and that he would do so; that he would let us know when he was done with them, and we should then have the opportunity of examining them as we wished. We then took our leave, resting with full confidence in the assurances of aid and assistance which we had received.
How well our expectations were fulfilled, and how justly our confidence was reposed, will be seen by your excellency in the report of Colonels Jourdan and Williamson.
On Monday the 27th, in the morning, we repaired to the Asbury missionhouse, to submit interrogatories to Mr. L. Compere. When we arrived, we again found Colonel Crowell, Major Rockwell, and Major Andrews already there; the two latter in a private room, the door of which was carefully closed and fastened on our entrance into the house. In a short time Mr. Smith came into the room where we sat, and handed us the letter No. 23, signed by himself, Mr. Compere, and Mr. Hill; the last of whom seems to have enlisted himself as a volunteer, as he had not been asked by us, nor had we intended to examine him.
By this letter, you will perceive they had come to a positive determination not to swear or affirm to any statement they might give. Without entering into any discussion as to the propriety of that determination, we submitted some interrogatories to Mr. Compere. To these we could not then receive any answers; we were informed they would be prepared in the course of the day, and handed to us in the evening, as the council was expected to meet that morning. The commissioners declined submitting any questions to Mr. Smith at that time, and departed, leaving the rest of the company together, no doubt to consult and determine on the answers proper to be given to the questions. When we called in the evening, the answers were already made out to the questions before propounded, and answers made to additional questions then submitted.
We are unable to give you a proper idea of this examination. Suffice it to say, we became well satisfied that any attempt on our part to obtain the truth from men living in the Indian nation, (whether white or red,) and under the influence and power of the agent, into whose conduct we were then examining, must be fruitless. For what could we expect from others, who pretended to have no regard for the sacred obligations of religion, when we found a minister of the gospel, an ambassador of Christ, covering himself with the sanctity of his mantle to protect himself from the consequences of perjury; when we found him prevaricating and equivocating in the statement which his conscience would not permit him to verify by an oath or affirmation? Under this conviction, and to prevent them Irom preparing the other witnesses as they had done those about Fort Mitchell, it was determined that two of our mission should immediately proceed to Alabama, to take testimony on the road, and at Line creek and Montgomery in that State.
Messrs. Jones and Torrance were selected for that business. They left Fort Mitchell, and proceeded as far as Crabtree's that evening, (a distance of four miles.) In pursuance of the instructions we had received from your excellency, Colonel Crowell was served with a notice on the 28th, early in the morning, that we would take the testimony of Kendal Lewis and James Moss, at the house of Kendal Lewis, about twentyfive or twentysix miles distant from Fort Mitchell, at 11 o'clock that day.
You will perceive from Colonel Crowell's letter of that date, (No. 10,) that he complains of the time as too short to afford him an opportunity of crossexamination. While we admit the time was short, we deny it was too limited for him to reach there. We intended to give only time enough to enable him or his counsel to get there, and to allow them no time to tamper with and prepare the witness either to answer as they wished, or not to answer at all. As proof of the sufficiency of the time, we would refer your excellency to the report of Messrs. Jones and Torrance, marked A. The report of Messrs. Jourdan and Williamson, marked B, will show their proceedings, and the difficulties they encountered during the absence of Messrs. Jones and Torrance.
You will have seen by a former part of this report, that two of the members of the mission (Messrs. Jones and Torrance) departed from Fort Mitchell on the evening of the 27th for Lewis's, Line creek, and Montgomery, for the purpose of procuring the testimony of certain witnesses at those places. They having accomplished that object, so far as they were enabled to do, returned and joined the commissioners at Crabtree's, on Sunday the 3d instant. Having been informed, on that morning, that Mr. Kendal Lewis, to whom we bad propounded certain interrogatories the day before, in writing, (and who had at his request been allowed a short time to draught his answers,) had refused to answer them at all, and had also left the neighborhood for his residence, we determined to inform General Gaines of the same, and request of him an order whereby Mr. Lewis might again be brought to Fort Mitchell to testify.
This was done on the 4th instant, (see No. 21.) In that communication you will observe that we cautiously avoided the use of any language the least calculated to interrupt the very friendly feeling manifested towards the Government of Georgia and her commissioners by General Gaines shortly after their arrival at Fort Mitchell. We sought only to correct what we considered a mistake made by the general through his aid — doubtless unintentional — to request the order for Lewis, and a copy or copies of the talks to and from the Indians.
How far that communication authorized the reply we received, forbidding further correspondence with the United States' mission then in the Creek Nation, touching the objects of the disturbances therein, your excellency will readily determine.
Whether the special agent was included in that mission we know not, but suppose that lie was, and that our correspondence may have been closed under a feeling produced by your excellency's note to one of its members, (Major Andrews,) bearing date the 28th ultimo.
On the morning of the 3d, we were notified that the counsel for Colonel Crowell would proceed on the next morning, at about the hour of 9 o'clock, to take the examination of William Hambly, the interpreter. In pursuance of the notice, we attended at the time and place designated. When we arrived, we were informed that they were not ready, but would be in a short time. After we had been there about an hour, we were informed that they were ready to close the examination of Mr. Hambly. To our surprise, we found that the whole of the testimony of the interpreter had been committed to paper by Colonel Crowell's counsel before we were called in. It was read to him by the counsellor of the agent, who stated to thet witness before he began, that he would read over his testimony again, slowly and distinctly. He did so, and then said: "Mr. Hambly, I have read over the testimony, slowly and distinctly; indeed, not once, but two or three times; and you can say if any thing is wrong." The witness said all was right, and then swore to the statements that he had heard read as true. Such a course we considered very unlike what is termed an examination. Having heard the testimony of Mr. Hambly, we determined at once not to crossinterrogate him; his evidence being mainly confined to points affecting the means whereby the late treaty was obtained, and attempting, by a selection of statements that we believed to be wholly false and unworthy of credit, to defame the fair character of the United Slates' commissioners, and every person connected with them in their duties as such.
Such testimony, if from respectable characters for truth, might be considered important, if the Government of the United States were prosecuting an inquiry, by her special agents, whether or not a fraud had been committed upon that Government by her commissioners. Such an opinion we could not for a moment entertain.
A perusal of the testimony of Mr. Hambly would convince you in a moment of the correctness of the opinion we had in relation to his veracity. He furnished abundant matter for the remark.
You will see from Colonel Crowell's letter of the 28th ultimo, (No. 10,) to two of the commissioners, that he complains of unfairness in our conduct, for having given him notice that we should proceed to take testimony at some distance from Broken Arrow, during the sitting of the Indian council, because, says he, "it was of much importance that I should be present at the council." The commissioners were not allowed to be present at that council; and wherefore it could have been of "much importance" for an officer of the General Government to be present, who was then suspended from the functions of his office, it is for him to explain. We had distinctly heard, in public, from General Gaines, that it was his wish that no white man should hold " any talk" with the Indians until he was done with them.
From the course pursued by the agent at that council, and his permission to do so, (for the omission to prohibit him was permission,) his suspension was purely nominal — it was a mere mockery. We have no doubt but that his free admission into the Indian councils, aided and assisted by his former subagent, Mr. Walker, gave him quite as much influence over the minds of the Indians as he ever exercised in the days of his utmost prosperity and authority. How well the Indians adhered to the instructions of General Gaines, in not receiving talks from white men, you can determine when you examine the written reply made by them to him as official. In that document you will observe that they speak of the "usages of the United States" — " of her constitution" — and " the principles by which she is governed." Truly, a savage production.
Upon the subject of a law which the hostile party allege that McIntosh violated, and which led to his death, you are referred to the report of Messrs. Jourdan and Williamson. We have no doubt, from the very many contradictory stories that we had heard in the nation, touching the origin and enactment of such a law, that no such law was ever known among the Creeks. We are confirmed in this opinion by the reply of General Gaines to the friendly chiefs, at the Indian Springs, on the 20th ultimo. If we are correctly informed upon that point, he there stated that he had read their laws, and was gratified to find none so sanguinary as that alleged by their enemies to exist, under color of which it had been stated that the murder of McIntosh was perpetrated.
The chiefs in council did not pretend that they had any such law reduced to record; a white man, who informed one of the commissioners that he had resided in the nation twenty or thirty years, stated that he knew of no such law.
The very manner in which these unfortunate men were put to death proves that the Indians did not execute him for having violated any law. We believe that, when it becomes necessary to enforce such sanguinary edicts upon any of that tribe, the culprit is arrested and conducted to some town or public square in the nation, and there undergoes a species of trial; sentence of death is then pronounced; the accused is thereupon publicly put to death by shooting.
How unlike such a procedure was the foul murder of McIntosh and his friends. His house was surrounded at the dead hour of night, and set fire to by a band of lawless assassins; and there, encircled by the scorching flames produced by the conflagration of his own mansion, was he inhumanly and most unlawfully put to death. When witnesses are called on in the nation, whom it is supposed knew something of Indian laws and Indian policy, they account for these murders by saying it was for violation of their law; which law, answers a church missionary, " was seen by nobody." When asked what law condemned to death a distinguished man among them, who was of the party slain, but who did not sign the treaty, the answer is gravely given by a reverend clergyman, " the law of nations!" (See Mr. Smith's testimony.)
It would have been well if this dignitary had informed us when the Indians adopted the principles of Vattel, Martens, and Brynkershoek!
The gross inconsistencies in the statements of the Indians and white men resident among them, to establish the existence of such a law, fix indelibly on the minds of the commissioners that no such law is, or ever was. The argument in support of such a law p'roves too much; the agent himself did not rely on it at the commencement of these Indian disturbances.
As an instance of the determination of those Gentlemen: resident in the nation, who have assumed the robes of sanctity to avoid any thing like plain truth, whenever it was to operate against the agent or hostile chiefs, we call the attention of your excellency to our tenth interrogatory to the reverend Isaac Smith.
You will observe that he has thought proper to take the liberty to alter that interrogatory to read in such manner as would, according to his notions, give him the opportunity of an answer. It is under the words that lie has interpolated into that interrogatory, and without our authority, that he has furnished us with his national answer.
We shall not here express an opinion on this conduct of Mr. Smith, nor shall we say what ought to be the consequences to him, if he had done this within the acknowledged jurisdictional limits of Georgia.
How far the whole of the testimony, taken in support of the charges against the Indian agent, sustains those charges, is not for us officially to determine; nor do we desire to express an opinion of an official character upon the subject.
There is a subject, not directly within the objects of our appointment, but is inseparably connected with the treaty and its consequences, upon which we beg leave to offer a remark. It is upon the subject of the contemplated survey of the territory lately ceded. During the stay of the commissioners at the Indian Springs, three of them were informed, by several of the leading chiefs of the friendly party, that they were willing, and even desirous, that the survey should be made during the ensuing fall, and assigned as a reason that the surveyors, and their people, being amongst them at that period, would afford them an opportunity of disposing of much of their products ihat they could not transport with them to the westward; that they intended removing beyond the Mississippi before another crop was made, if the General Government would pay them the money according to the terms of the treaty.
Connected with this, sir, we remark that it is somewhat strange that the chiefs who reside beyond the limits of the territory ceded to the United States for the benefit of Georgia, are the only chiefs, with a few exceptions, so far as we are informed, who are opposed to the survey. The fact is notorious, we believe, that the chiefs and their leaders, who oppose this measure, are resident near Tallapoosa river and Alabama. What injury, then, can they sustain by the survey?
Herewith we transmit to your excellency copies of our correspondence with General Gaines and Major Andrews, connected with the subject, numbered fromI to 23 inclusive; also, the testimony received in the execution of the duties assigned to us.
The testimony of several other witnesses will be received: an opportunity for their examination has not yet offered. We shall proceed to close the several examinations as early as practicable, and forthwith report to you the same.
With considerations of high respect, we have the honor to be, sir, your excellency's obedient servants,
W. W. Williamson,
Wm. H. Torrance.
To His Excellency G. M. Troup.
Messrs. Jones and Torrance to Messrs. Jourdan and Williamson.
Milledgeville, July 13, 1825.
We arrived at Kendal Lewis's about ten o'clock on the morning of the 28th of June. After waiting some time, we entered into conversation with Kendal Lewis, and were informed by him that he was present when the observations were made by Colonel John Crowell, the agent, which were proven by Jesse Cox, that he had seen Cox's statement in the newspaper, and that Cox had sworn to the truth, and had not told any more than was said. We informed Mr. Lewis we had come on to take his testimony: to which he objected, saying he did not know any thing but what he had heard. We told him we wished lo examine him as to what he heard Crowell say. This, he said, could be proved by others as well as himself; that Jesse Cox, Drury Spain, and others Vvere present, and that Cox had sworn to it, and that was sufficient. We told him that Cox had sworn, but that we understood the Crowells said Cox had stated a lie. He said Cox had sworn to the truth, but that he could not give his testimony. We then told him we would apply to General Gaines for an order to compel him to appear before him to give his testimony, which we had not a doubt he would give; but, if he refused, we would make a statement of the facts to the Governor of Georgia, and he would apply for an order to the Secretary of War or the President. He said he would not give his testimony; but if General Gaines issued an order, he would not disobey his order. We then wrote a letter to Colonels Jourdan and Williamson, informing them of these facts, and requesting them to apply to General Gaines for an order to require Lewis's attendance.
While urging Mr. Lewis to be sworn, we inquired into the cause of his refusal.
He declared he was afraid all his property would be taken away from him if he testified. He told us that it was generally understood among the Indian countrymen, (white men in the nation,) that if they all adhered to the agent, and he was not displaced, the treaty would be broken, and they would get their land back; but if they testified against him, and he was discharged, the treaty would be good, and they would have to give up their lands; and they were all afraid they should lose all their property if they swore any thing against the agent.
About two o'clock we took the testimony of James Moss; and about three o'clock left Lewis's, and reached Cornell's house, twenty miles off, that evening.
We proceeded to Montgomery, Alabama, and took the depositions of John A. Peck, Henry Finch, and John M. Bach: being unable to find Captain Anthony, we returned to Crabtree's on Sunday, the 3d of July, and joined the other commissioners.
W. H. Torrance
To the Georgia commissioners.
Messrs. Jourdan and Williamson to Messrs. Jones and Torrance.
Milledgeville, July 13, 1825.
On Thursday, the 28th ultimo, we proceeded to the duties assigned to us in relation to preparing and arranging interrogatories to be propounded to several of the head chiefs of the nation, and also to some of the white men resident there, which we proposed to have answered immediately after General Gaines had announced to us that he had concluded his business with the council.
In a conversation shortly afterwards with General Gaines on this subject, one of the commissioners frankly stated to him that we had no reliance on aid being afforded to us from any other quarter; he stated, in confirmation of his former assurance to us, that he had the power, through the agent for Indian affairs, to assemble the chiefs and Indian countrymen at any time and place he thought proper, and that our wishes in that particular should be attended to.
From this twofold assurance we felt confident no obstacle would be interposed. A list of witnesses we were desirous of examining was made out and handed to General Gaines. Interrogatories corresponding were made out, which consumed two or three days in the preparation and arrangement. From an examination of the correspondence herewith submitted to you, you will perceive that an objection was interposed, as coming from the chiefs, to the transaction of any business with the Georgia commissioners, unless in full council, and the insulting and indecorous language in which they were indulged in communicating that objection to us. You will also be informed that the objection was sustained. Our feelings will not permit us to comment on this transaction in a becoming manner, because it would necessarily involve the integrity of character which all should sustain, holding high offices under, and possessing the confidence of, the General Government.
When it suited General Gaines's purposes and convenience, we were denied a " participation" in the council, for reasons stated.
When it comported with the views of the chiefs to enable them to evade truth, we were invited to the council. When white men attended for examination, who it was believed had honesty enough to swear to the truth, and through fear for their safety evaded it, the exercise of power which could coerce their attendance was denied.
You will not need the spirit of inspiration to enable you to understand and properly appreciate (as we believe) the motives which influenced such conduct, when you are informed that General Gaines declared in our presence and hearing that the statements of Hopoithle Yoholo made in council were true, and that it was impossible to resist the conviction; that he (General Gaines) would believe his statements against the congregated world.
During this conversation, we stated to General Gaines that if Hopoithle Yoholo's statement was understood by us, it was generally untrue; and that if he (General Gaines) would permit us to examine the chiefs separately, under any and every restriction he might impose, we pledged ourselves to prove to his satisfaction that Hopoithle Yoholo had lied. General Gaines replied it was impossible, and said he never knew an Indian to tell a lie in council. The commissioners then asked him if he had not the same confidence in the friendly Indians; to which General Gaines assented. We assured him that if Hopoithle Yoholo's statement was submitted to them, they would give it the lie, and that their statements would be confirmed by the commissioners on the part of the United States, and every person attached to the mission. To which General Gaines replied, he would submit our proposition to the council the next day.
From such unqualified declarations, (to say the least of them,) very insulting to the character and dignity of the State, with the testimony of the United States commissioners, and the testimony of many other respectable witnesses confirming their statements in relation to one of the charges (his opposition to the treaty) staring him in the face, we are constrained to believe, and to declare to the world our opinion, that this case has been prejudged. And we are the more confirmed in this view of the subject, when we take in connexion the views of the special agent, couched in his letter to Colonel Crowell, lately published in the Patriot, and which letter, from a subsequent letter, seems to have been approved of by General Gaines before publication.
The suspension of the agent, with the accompanying explanation, so far from having the effect to "elicit unbiassed testimony," produced the opposite result.
It was a very general belief entertained by both white and red men, that his removal from office was certain. When, therefore, the fact was publicly announced at Broken Arrow that he was suspended temporarily, and that too from mere courtesy to the Governor of Georgia, the effect produced was obvious and extensive. The conviction could not be resisted — his reinstatement in office was no longer doubted. We shall still feel the influence of his authority and power. This was remarkably exemplified in many cases, a few of which will be cited.
The case of Kendal Lewis, of which you are informed, who eloped secretly without testifying. The case of a respectable gentleman resident in Florida, who, for having casually conversed with one of the commissioners, was ordered (as he stated) not to hold any conversation with, or interpret any conversation held between, the commissioners and the Indians; who was grossly insulted publicly by General Gaines, and his head threatened to be cut off. The case of Josiah Gray, (one of the chiefs who signed the late treaty,) who had a like conversation with two of the commissioners, was told by Hambly, as he (Gray) informed us, that General Gaines was much offended with him and us. The case of an Indian, whom we hired as a pilot, to facilitate an examination of the river, with a view to ascertain where the line of Georgia would leave the Chattahoochie: on his being spoken to by some persons unknown to us, he immediately returned the money given him for the trip, and said he could not accompany us, as he had been much abused for consenting to go. The case of Mr. Martin, a gentleman who had been selected by the friendly chiefs to write their talk: for this little manifestation of friendship, he was much insulted and abused, and threatened with decapitation. During the development of these untoward occurrences, an express was received from his excellency the Governor, notifying us of his wish that the Indians should be made acquainted with the intentions of our Government in relation to the contemplated survey, and the innocency of the measure. In obedience thereto, a short talk was prepared. We attended the council for the purpose of communicating it; General Gaines peremptorily forbade the communication, and added, that he was instructed to say the survey would be prevented.
The circumstances and incidents just detailed, trifling and unimportant as some of them may appear to distant observers, had a most powerful influence in directing every thing in a given channel.
We have detailed some of the causes which operated the nonfulfilment of the principal object of our instructions, and which came more immediately under our observation.
The following consideration suggests itself on this branch of the subject: that the declaration of General Gaines to the Indians, to hold no talks with white men, operated wholly to our exclusion; and that all conversation about matters then the subject of investigation and negotiation was wholly interdicted to us. The most free and unrestrained conversation and communication was kept up and permitted with the Indians by all other persons present, even with the notorious subagent Walker.
We feel it a duty we owe to the State and to humanity to offer a few brief remarks in relation to the sanguinary Jaw which has been offered as a full justification and extenuation of the cruel and unjustifiable murders lately committed in the Indian nation, and to enforce which the meek, charitable, and unbounded philanthropy of the followers of the Savior of the world has been called into requisition. If murders, rapine, plunder, and devastation are the doctrines best to inculcate in the system adopted by these missionaries, instead of peace and goodwill to men, and charity and love as extensive as creation itself, then all Christendom have to learn what a few missionaries have discovered by a short residence in a particularly appropriate situation for the exercise of the liner feelings ot our nature.
The inconsistent and contradictory statements of those whose interest it is to establish the law confirm the opinion that no such law existed until the Tuckaubatchee and Polecat proceedings. Some contend that it was passed at Fort Hawkins; there are others who refer to a time for its passage immediately alter the treaty at Fort Jackson; some others contend for Broken Arrow; while others contend that it was promulgated last year, at or near the missionary establishment, at a ballplay, and solemnly proclaimed from " a cart on the Lord's day." The latter is the declaration of the Rev. Isaac Smith.
The interpreter, Hambly, from his long residence in the nation, must have known the time and place of its enact ment, if such a law was in existence. In his testimony he swears (and from his character we should suspect him of a willingness to swear any thing) such a law was passed several years ago, and reenacted in all the towns. He conceals the truth, and evades detection by not adverting to the time or place of its passage. This is the celebrated law not to be found in the national code, and which has never been seen by any person; (so says the Rev. Isaac Smith in his examination;) which has been conjured up by white men, and put into the mouths of the Indians, to suit their own purposes, and the pretext for the murder of McIntosh and his friends. If such a law has ever existed, made and enacted in full council, as contended for, with such severe penalties annexed, is it reasonable to suppose that so much uncertainty would exist as to the time and place of ils enactment? Is it not irrational to suppose that, if such a law was passed with so much solemnity as is apparently urged, the nation would not have inflicted its penalties upon those who ceded away lands in " '18 or '19," and upon those who subsequently ceded away the hinds between the Ocmulgee and Flint rivers in 1821, when, by referring to the latter treaty, it will be found but two Alabama chiefs signed it? Why did their law sleep on these several occasions, so important, and calling so imperiously for its execution? Wherefore have not its terms and its penalties been heretofore proclaimed to deter delinquents from its repeated violation? So much for this imaginary law.
We shall proceed concisely to notice two other facts connected with these transactions, and close this report.
It seems to have passed unnoticed that the chiefs who gave the order for the death of McIntosh and his followers, as well as those who executed that order, were from those towns who were excluded in the late treaty, who ceded no land, and who sustained no injury; and that the same chiefs governed and directed in the late council at Broken Arrow; with what propriety or justice let those answer whose duty it is to make suitable atonement and repair the wrong.
It should also be recollected by those who have to weigh the merits and demerits of the injured party, and whose duty it is to judge of the extent of the double obligation imposed by important services rendered, and the most inviolable attachment and fidelity manifested on the most trying occasions, that, during the late war, the Creek Nation experienced a civil disunion: those resident principally beyond the geographical limits of Georgia identified themselves with the enemies of the United Stales, and fought in their service, (the present interpreter amongst the number;) those resident on the Georgia side united themselves with the forces of the United States, and fought bravely in our defence.
The latter, in the fortuitous and fortunate course of events, became the conquerors; they held the country, not by the slight and uncertain tenure of possession only, but by right of conquest; a principle recognised by civilized nations, and acknowledged by the Government of the United Slates, and confirmed by their subsequent acts.
It was in pursuance of this incontestable right and wellestablished principle, that the McIntosh party have held, and at their good pleasure have ceded away, at various times, their rightful domain. If in any instance they enacted such a law as before referred to, their subsequent acts must have abrogated it.
The Red Stick party were conquered; they forfeited their lands to the United States as the price of their defection, and to compensate the Government for the expenses of the war and losses sustained. By this act they were disseised of that common and general interest in the country which rightfully belonged to them previous to the war. They became tributary to the dominion of McIntosh and his followers.
The United States exercised the right and the power claimed in the treaty at Fort Jackson. They recognised the same power as belonging to those who fought and bled in her cause by a public act so long ago as 1817. The United States are bound, by the universal principles of justice, by humanity, and gratitude for important services rendered, for attachment and fidelity unequalled, by the solemn and imposing stipulations of a treaty, to do ample justice to the sufferers, when their sufferings, ruin, and distress have been the consequence of their devotion to the General Government.
In calling to our recollection the events alluded to, we find among those signing the late treaty the distinguished chiefs (living) who acted as officers in the late war.
It only remains to be seen whether or not the General Government will stand by as a disinterested spectator of such tragic scenes, with folded arms, and see her faithful ally and friend murdered, and his family and friends ingulphed in inextricable misery and ruin; whether the plunderers shall revel in their unholy gain with wanton impunity; whether the cries of innocence, the widow's weeping wail, shall be mocked at and pass unnoticed; in fine, whether the General Government will solemnly promise protection, and refuse it when, most needed.
W. W. Williamson,
To the commissioners of Georgia.
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