Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to the Senate, 10 March 1802

To the Senate

Gentlemen of the Senate

I now submit for the ratification of the Senate a treaty entered into by the Commissioners of the US. with the Choctaw nation of Indians: and I transmit therewith so much of the instructions to the Commissioners as related to the Choctaws; with the minutes of their proceedings, and the letter accompanying them.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DNA: RG 46, EPIR, 7th Cong., 1st sess.); endorsed by Senate clerks. PrC (DLC). Enclosures: (1) Treaty of “Friendship, Limits, and Accommodation” between the United States and the Choctaw nation, signed at Fort Adams on the Mississippi River, 17 Dec. 1801, by James Wilkinson, Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens, commissioners, and “a number of Indians”; the Choctaws agreeing to the construction of a wagon road through their lands, to connect the northernmost settlements of Mississippi Territory and the lands of the Chickasaws; both parties confirming that “the old line of demarcation” agreed to by the Choctaws and officers of the British government, running parallel to the Mississippi River with the Yazoo River as the limit on the north and the 31st degree of north latitude the limit on the south, should be the boundary between the Choctaw nation and Mississippi Territory, with the United States agreeing to remove any of its settlements that might fall on the Choctaws’ side of the line; the commissioners agreeing also to “give and deliver to the Mingos, chiefs and warriors” of the Choctaws, in consideration of their consent to the treaty, $2,000 in goods plus three sets of blacksmith’s tools (printed copy in DNA: RG 46, EPIR; printed by order of the Senate; endorsed by a Senate clerk). (2) Extract of Henry Dearborn’s instructions to the commissioners, 24 June 1801, concerning negotiations with the Choctaws (Tr in same; in hand of, and attested by, Joshua Wingate, Jr.; endorsed by Senate clerks). (3) Minutes of a conference between the commissioners and the “Principal Chiefs of the Choctaw Nation of Indians,” Fort Adams, 12–18 Dec. 1801 (MS in same; attested by Alexander Macomb, Jr., as secretary to the commissioners; endorsed by Senate clerks). (4) Wilkinson, Hawkins, and Pickens to Dearborn, 18 Dec. 1801, reporting on their talks with the Choctaws, a “humble, friendly, tranquil, pacific people” who “opposed but few obstacles to our views”; noting that they chose not to press the Choctaws for permission to have houses of entertainment along the wagon road; the commissioners also calling attention to the problem of settlements on the Mobile, Tombigbee, and Alabama rivers and noting that the Choctaws, recognizing the necessity of changing their way of life, have asked for farm implements, other tools, and instruction in their use (MS in same; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Wilkinson, Hawkins, and Pickens; endorsed by a Senate clerk). Message and enclosures printed in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Indian Affairs, 1:658–63.

Sixteen Choctaws signed the TREATY. The Senate received the message and documents from Meriwether Lewis, and heard the treaty read, on 10 Mch. The accompanying papers were read on the 15th, at which time the Senate also had the treaty read a second time “as in committee.” After postponing consideration of the matter two days later, the Senate unanimously agreed to the ratification on 29 Apr. In a proclamation dated 4 May, TJ issued the text of the treaty and declared: “Now, therefore, to the end that the said treaty may be observed and performed with good faith on the part of the United States, I have caused the premises to be made public, and I do hereby enjoin and require all persons bearing office, civil or military, within the United States, and all others, citizens or inhabitants thereof, or being within the same, faithfully to observe and fulfil the said treaty, and every clause and article thereof” (National Intelligencer, 10 May 1802; Gazette of the United States, 13 May; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:408, 409, 410, 424).

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