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operations necessary to the full accomplishment of the liberal and benevolent views and projects of the Government.
3. The Government would have the easy inspection and control of this trade, now conducted away from the notice of their eye, and so perplexing and difficult in its management; and this too without embarrassing interference with the concerns of the company
4. From all the information and facts I have received, I believe the plan now recommended would be the most acceptable to the Indians, would best secure their interests, promote their civilization, excite their respect for the Government; and most effectually cure two prominent evils, the intercourse of corrupt, and corrupting white people with the Indians, and the introduction of whiskey among them, and thus prevent wars, and promote peace among themselves, and with us.
5. This plan would place the now uphappy and irritating competition between the British and American Indian Trade and Traders, on its proper and equal ground. Each company would know, and in the manner common in all cases of rivalry in trade, would maintain their respective rights; and where the interference of the Governments concerned should become necessary, it would devolve on the Companies to make application for redress of any wrongs, or for making any necessary arrangements in conducting this trade.
But to this plan it may be objected, that it tends to an unjust and injurious monopoly. If this be admitted, and the plan in consequence be rejected, I would respectfully suggest the following substitute. Let the trade be open to all men of fair character integrity and intelligence, and of friendly feelings to the plans pursuing by the government for the improvement of the Indians. Let Traders of this character, and of this character only, receive licenses, from men qualified and authorized to give them, and be required to plant themselves in some central spot within the sphere of their trade, in companies of four or five, or more, say within a quarter of a mile of each other, or nearer, in a little village of separate stores, like so many merchants. At this village, let it be required that all trade with the Indians be done; that they may enjoy all the advantages of commendable rivalry, pur
chasing where they can have the best goods, and on the beat terms. Let there be a reasonable and liberal sum required for the licenses of these traders, to be added to the sum now conserated to the education of Indians. At each of these trading vil. lages, let an Education Family be established, to be useful and agreeable companions to the Traders, and to do all other things for the Indians, which like families do at other stations. An ar. rangement of the Indian trade in this manner, though more complex, and difficult to manage, would secure the advantages of the other, without the danger of monopoly, and in the opinion of very competent judges, would be preferable to any which can be adopted.
In case either of these plans shall be embraced by Government, there will be necessary an officer to be stationed at the seat of Government, who should have a general superintendance of all the Education establishments, so far as relates to the procuring and transmitting to the respective Education and Military stations, all the husbandry and mechanic tools and implements, provisions to be given to Indians on their visits, and in seasons of scarcity; funds, for erecting buildings for the accommodation of the Educa. tion Families, &c. which the Government will provide with the funds placed in its hands. This officer, whose title should correspond with the nature of his office, would have full employment, should the Education Families be multiplied, as they have been for the last twelve months, and as there is reason to believe they will be, in time to come.
Such are the plans for conducting the Indian trade, which I would respectfully submit to the consideration of the Government, and such the advantages which, I conceive, would result from the adoption of either. All which is respectfully submitted by
JEDIDIAH MORSE. New-Haven, Nov. 1821.
The fourth and last article in my Instructions, is in these words
IV. “After you have collected your Materials, you will digest the whole into one body, and present it in such form, and accompany it with such reflections and suggestions, as you may deem necessary to accomplish the interesting objects, which it is intended to promote by your tour.”
The readers, whoever they may be, who shall submit to the labor of examining the facts collected and embodied in this volume, will doubtless make their own “ reflections,” and form their own opinions. Still, as it is required in my commission, and may be of use to those who have not the time fully to examine for themselves, I submit, with much diffidence and respect, to the consideration of the Government, and of the public, the following
GENERAL REMARKS AND SUGGESTIONS.
Increase of Indians within the extended limits of the United States,
and their peculiar condition,
By the treaty with Spain, of 1819, the Territory of the United States is extended from the Atlantic, to the Pacific Ocean ; and a host of Indian tribes, in consequence, has been brought within our national limits. Many of these tribes, in point of numbers, rank among the largest in our country. These tribes are shut up within their present continually narrowing limits. They can migrate neither to the north, nor to the south ; neither to the. east, nor to the west. The cold and barren region, spreading from our northern boundary, in lat. 49 north, to the Frozen Ocean, has already a population, as large as its scanty productions can support. Other tribes possess the narrow strip of territory, between our southern borders, west of the Mississippi, and the Spanish settlements. The rapid advance of the white population presses them on the east ; and the great Pacific Ocean hems them in on the west.
“Where the white man puts down his foot, he never takes it up again,” is a shrewd and correct remark of an Indian Chief. The hunting grounds of the Indians on our frontiers are explored
in all directions, by enterprizing white people. Their best lands are selected, settled, and at length, by treaty purchased. Their game is either wholly destroyed, or so diminished, as not to yield an adequate support. The poor Indians, thus deprived of their accustomed means of subsistence, and of what, in their own view, can alone render them respectable, as well as comfortable, are constrained to leave their homes, their goodly lands, and the sepulchres of their fathers, and either to go back into new and less valuable wildernesses, and to mingle with other tribes, dependant on their hospitality for a meagre support; or, without the common aids of education, to change at once all their habits and modes of life; to remain on a pittance of the lands they once owned, which they know not how to cultivate, and to which they have not a complete title : In these circumstances they become insulated among those who despise them as an inferior race, fit companions of those only, who have the capacity and the disposition to corrupt them. In this degraded, most disconsolate, and heart sinking of all situations in which man can be placed, they are left miserably to waste away for a few generations, and then to become extinct forever! This is no fancied picture. In a few years it will be sad reality, unless we change our policy towards them; unless effectual measures be taken to bring them over this awful gulf, to the solid and safe ground of civilization. How many tribes, once numerous and respectable, have in succession perished, in the manner described, from the fair and productive territories, now possessed by, and giving support to TEN MILLIONS OF PEOPLE !*
* This view of the state of the Indians, reminds me of a pertinent and eloquent passage in a discourse I have lately read, which I am sure will interest, and I will hope benefit, those who may read it.
“I hear too the voice of the savage, sounding from the bosom of the trackless forest. And there is in that cry a wild and native eloquence, “ You have stripped us of our hunting ground, all in life that we held dear; you have corrupted our morals; our tribes, already incalculably dininished, have nothing before them but the dreary idea of being swallowed up, unless it be the more feartul apprehension of perishing forever in our sins. Once we were the heirs of your soil; we now only ask to die the heirs of that salvation, wbich is revealed to you in your bibles.” A cry like this has been uttered and is heard. Already the heralds of salvation have gone to look up the remnants of their depopulated tribes, and point them to a Savior. Their sun is setting in the west, and we should give evidence that we had their unpitying nature, as well
The nature of the Indian Titles to their lands.
The relation which the Indians sustain to the government of the United States, is peculiar in its nature. Their independence, their rights, their title to the soil which they occupy, are all imperfect in their kind. Each tribe possesses many of the attributes of independence and sovereignty. They have their own forms of government, appoint their own rulers, in their own way, make their own laws, have their own customs and religion, and, without control, declare war and make peace, and regulate all other of their civil, religious and social affairs. The disposal of their lands is always done by formal Treaties between the government of the United States, and the tribe, or tribes, of whom the lands are purchased. They have no voice, no representation in our government; none of the rights of freemen, and participate with us in none of the privileges and blessings of civilized society. In all these respects Indians are strictly independ ot of the government and people of the United States. Yet the jurisdiction of the whole country which they inhabit, according to the established law of nations, appertains to the government of the United States; and the right of disposing of the soil, attaches to the power that holds the jurisdiction. Indians, therefore, have no other property in the soil of their respective territories, than that of mere occupancy. This is a common, undivided, property in each tribe. When a tribe, by Treaty, sell their territory, they sell only what they possess, which is, the right to occupy their territory, from which they agree to remove. The complete title to their lands, rests in the government of the United States. The Indians, of course, cannot sell to one another, more than what they possess, that is the occupancy of their lands. Nor can they sell any thing more than occupancy to individual white people. Indian conveyances
as their soil, were we willing to see it go down in total darkness. If the few that remain may live forever, it alleviates the retrospect of their wrongs, and creates one luminous spot in the Egyptian cloud that hangs over the place of their fathers' sepulchres. I would give any price for their forgiveness and their blessing; and it cheers my heart, that my country is beginning to pay the long arrears which are due to that injured people.”'*
Sermon of Rev. Daniel Clark, Amherst, Massachusetts.