Графични страници
PDF файл
[ocr errors]

them effectually against the combined effects of intemperance, personal sloth, and of popular and vulgar contumely.

Mr. Calhoun, whose report on the subject was transmitted to Congress, with the message above named, communicates the details essential to the execution of the proposed plan. He states the whole number of Indians to be removed from the States and Territories, excluding those located west and north of Lake Michigan and the Straits of St. Mary's, at 97,000 souls, who occupy about 77 millions of acres of land. The country proposed for their location is that stretching immediately west, beyond the boundaries of the States of Missouri and ARKANSAS, having the River Arkansas running through its centre from west to east, the Missouri and Red rivers respectively as the northern boundary, and the vast grassy plains east of the Rocky Mountains, as its western limit.

The map which we publish of this territory, is drawn on the basis of one which was published by Congress in 1834, in illustration of the report of the committee on Indian affairs of May 30th of that session. It embraces all the locations of tribes to that period.

The plan proposed the gratuitous grant of the country to the respective tribes, and their removal to it at government expense. It embraces the transference to it, of their schools established by religious societies, and supported, in part, by the civilisation fund, and all their means of moral and religious culture. It is based on the pursuit of agriculture, the mechanic arts, and the raising of cattle and stock. It invests the tribes with full power of making and executing all their laws and regulations, civil and criminal. It stipulates military protection, to keep the surrounding tribes at peace. It leaves them their political sovereignty;

. being without the boundary of the States, under their own chiefs and local governors, with such aids as are necessary to enable the various tribes to associate and set up the frame of an associated government to be managed by themselves, and as subsequently proposed in Congress, to be represented in that body whenever the system shall be perfected so as to justify this measure. It proposed, as the basis of removal, a solemn act of Congress, guaranteeing the country to them, and excluding its future incorporation into the States. A second location, in the northern latitudes, was proposed for the Indians west of Michigan, where a further body of 32,266 souls were estimated to reside.

Such were the general principles of Mr. Monroe's plan, submitted in 1825, and subsequently adopted by Congress, in its essential features. It has now been in operation EIGHTEEN YEARS, and it is proposed, in bringing this paper to a close, briefly to examine the condition and prospects of the expatriated tribes, in the country to which they have been transferred.

By a report from the proper department, transmitted to Congress with

[ocr errors]


the President's message in 1836, the result of the first ten years' experiment is shown to have been the actual migration of 40,000 from their original seats, east, to the allotted Indian territory, west of the Mississippi. Of this number, 18,000 were Creeks, 15,000 Choctaws, 6,000 Cherokees, 2,000 Chippewas, Ottawas, and Pottowattomies, 1,300 Shawnees, 800 Delawares, 500 Quapaws, 400 Seminoles, 600 Kickapoos, 400 Senecas, and an average of, say 250 each, of Appalachicolas, Weas, Piankashaws, Peorias and Kaskaskias. In this statement, small fractions over or under, are omitted. A location and permanent home has been provided for seventeen tribes and parts of tribes; a number which, in the succeeding seven years, we speak from documents before us, has been largely augmented. The whole body of the Cherokees, of the Creeks, or Muscogees, of the Chickasaws and Choctaws, &c., and also, with the exception of one principal band, of the Seminoles, have been removed. Portions of other tribes, not then full, have joined their kindred; and some whole tribes, who had not before come into the arrangement, and ceded their lands east, as the Miamas of the Wabash, and the Wyandots of Sanduskey, have since accepted locations in the Indian territory. The Chickasaws are all located with their affiliated countrymen, the Choctaws; and numbers of the ancient Iroquois confederacy, the Six Nations of New York, as well as the ancient Mohegans and Munsees, have, within a few years, selected locations south of the Missouri. The entire number of red men now concentrated on those plains and valleys, where winter scarcely exerts any severity of power, may be set down at 77,000 souls, leaving, from the official report of 1841, but 21,774 of the original estimated number of 1825, to be removed; exclusive of those west of the straits of Michilimachinac and St. Mary's.

From the documents accompanying the annual report transmitted to Congress by the President, in December, 1840, the amount of funds invested by the government in stocks, for the Indians, was $2,580,000, on which the annual interest paid to them was $131,05. Twenty-four of the tribes had permanently appropriated, by treaty, $60,730 per annum, for the purpose of education. The number of schools maintained, and the number of pupils actually taught, are not furnished. It is gratifying to know, from this source, that civilisation, agriculture, and the mechanic arts, are making a rapid progress, and that education and Christianity are walking hand-in-hand. Planting and raising cattle are adopted generally. Portions of the most advanced tribes have devoted themselves to the mechanic arts, supplying themselves, to a limited extent, with smiths, wheelwrights, carpenters, and joiners, and some other pranches. Spinning and hand-loom weaving are practised to some extent. There are native merchants, among the three principal southern tribes, who ship theis own cotton and other products to market, and sup


ply their people, in return, with such products of the East and West Indies, and other parts of the world, as they require. A large part of the contracts, particularly for Indian corn, required to subsist the United States troops in that quarter of the Union, is furnished by native contractors. Their legislation is performed in representative councils, and is well adapted to the actual and advancing state of society. Many of their leading men are well educated; some of them classically; and the general moral and intellectual tone and habits of the tribes, are clearly and strikingly on the advance. It requires, it is believed, but time and perseverance in civil associations, to lead them to the same results arrived at by other barbarous nations, and to demonstrate to them the value and importance of a general political confederation, founded on the principles of equal rights and equal representation, supported by public virtue and intelligence.

Having sketched the cause of the decline of that portion of the North American Indians, who were seated along the Atlantic, and the plan proposed for checking it, we shall now, with the map and documentary evidence before us, devote a fe' moments to the present condition and prospects of the more prominent tribes.

1. The Choctaws, beginning at the extreme south of the territory, are the first in position. They occupy the country above the State of Arkansas, extending from the Arkansas to the Red river, following up the Canadian branch of the former, comprising an area of about 150 miles in breadth, by 200 in length. They are bounded by Texas south-west. The country is well adapted for grain and the raising of stock, in its middle and northern parts, and for cotton on the south. Many of the natives have large fields, where, but a few years since, the forest was untouched. Saw mills, grist mills, and cotton gins, are either erecting or erected throughout the country. Salt is manufactured by an intelligent Choctaw. Iron ore has been found, and specimens of gold have been picked up in various places.

This tribe is governed by a written constitution and laws. Their territory is divided into three districts, each of which elects, once in four years, a ruling chief, and ten representatives. The general council, thus constituted, and consisting of thirty councillors, meets annually, on the first Monday in October. Voters must be Choctaws, of age, and residents of the districts. The three chiefs have a joint veto power on all laws passed; but two-thirds of the council may re-pass them after such rejection.

The council of thirty appoint their own speaker and clerk, and keep a journal. They meet in a large and commodious council-house, fitted up with seats for members and spectators, and committee rooms. Their sessions are, usually, about ten days in duration. They are paid two dollars per diem for their services, out of public funds.

In addition to this evidence of capacity for self-government, there are judicial districts established, the right of trial by jury is secured, and there is an appeal to the highest tribunal. All the males, of a special age, are subject to do military duty: for this purpose the territory is subdivided into thirty two captaincies, the whole being placed under the orders of a general. The council has passed many good and wholesome laws; among them, one against intemperance and the sale of ardent spirits. The collection of debts is at present not compulsory, being regulated by questions of credit, punctuality, and honor, which are to be adjusted between the buyer and seller. The country is too sparsely settled, and the popular odium against incarceration too strong, to permit a resort to it. Thus, it will be seen, this tribe exhibit in their frame of government the elements of a representative republic, not a pure democracy, with perhaps sufficient conservative power to guard against sudden popular effervescence.

The Choctaws have twelve public schools, established by treaty stipulations with the United States. There are several missionaries amongst them, of the Presbyterian and Methodist denominations, whose labors are reported by the public agents to be beneficial, and calculated to advance their condition. There are four public blacksmith shops, two of which are exclusively worked by the natives. The strikers, or assistants, at all the shops, are natives. Shops have also been erected, in various parts of the nation, which are occupied only in the spring and summer, in planting and crop time. The mechanics in these are natives, who are paid, not by the individuals requiring aid, but out of public funds. The nation has an academy located in Scott county, Kentucky, at which 125 students were taught in 1839 and 1840. This institution is now in the process of being established in their own territory. This tribe we learn by the Secretary of War's report, appropriated $18,000 of their annuities, in 1843, to educational purposes.

2. Chickasaws. This tribe is of the same lineage as the Choctaws; and, by a compact with the latter, they occupy the same territory, and live intermixed with them. It constitutes a part of this compact, that the Chickasaws are to concentrate their population, and form a fourth election district, which shall be entitled to elect ten representatives, and three senatorial chiefs, to the national Council. The aggregate amount of the vested funds of this tribe, in 1840, was $515,230 44; of which $146,000 is devoted to orphans. The annual interest paid by the goyernment is $27,063 83. They participate equally in the advantages of the Choctaw academy, and have had many of their youth educated at that institution.

3. Next, in geographical position, to the united Choctaws and Chickasaws, are the Muskogees, who are more generally known under the name of Creeks. They occupy a territory one hundred and fifty miles in length, by ninety in breadth. They are bounded on the south by the Canadian fork of the Arkansas, and by the district of the Seminoles, which lies between the main branch of this stream and its north fork. Their territory reaches to a point opposite the junction of the Neosho, and is protracted thence north to the Cherokee boundary. It is a rich tract, well adapted to the growth of corn, vegetables, and esculents, and the raising of stock. It is not as abundantly watered by running streams as some of the tracts, or rather, it is a characteristic of its smaller streams that they run dry, or stand in pools, during the latter part of summer. In place of these, it has some good springs. The main and the north fork of the Canadian are exemptions from the effects of summer drouth. In point of salubrity, the country is not inferior to other portions of the Indian territory.

The government of the Creeks is still essentially the same which they exercised on the banks of the Chattahoochee and the plains of Georgia. They exist in chieftainships, each head of which has his own local jurisdiction, civil and criminal. Each ruling chief has his village and his adherents; and the condition of things partakes of what we shall be understood by designating feudal traits. They have no written constitution ; their laws are, however, now reduced in part to writing. General councils, or conventions, not exact in the period of their occurrence, consider and decide all general questions. At these, the chieftainships are all entitled to representation. Local questions, of right and police, come before the local chiefs, and are settled according to usage. They adhere to the original mode of working common or town fields, at which it is the duty of all to assist, both in the original clearing and in the annual labor of planting and reaping. There are also individuals, possessing slaves, who manage pretty extensive plantations. More corn is raised by this tribe than by any other now located West. Over and above their own wants, they have for several years had a large amount for sale and exportation. Less attention has been paid to the raising of stock, for which, indeed, the country has been deemed less propitious; but this branch of industry has of late years attracted more attention.

The Creeks had, for many years prior to their removal, been divided into upper and lower towns—a distinction which has been transferred to the West. Opothleyoholo is the chief of the Upper, and Roly McIntosh of the Lower Creeks. These two chieftainships embrace the lesser ones, and divide the nation into two parties. It was the Lower towns, headed by the father of the present chief (whose tragic death we have mentioned), that ceded the Georgian territory, and thus sided in the policy of that State. The condition in which this tribe existed, in portions of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, was, in other respects, peculiar. In emerging, as they were well in the process of doing, from the

« ПредишнаНапред »