To the Senate and the House of Representatives
Gentlemen of the Senate and of the
House of Representatives
In pursuance of the act entitled ‘an act supplemental to the act intituled an act for an amicable settlement of limits with the state of Georgia, and authorizing the establishment of a government in the Missisipi territory’ James Madison Secretary of State, Albert Gallatin Secretary of the treasury, and Levi Lincoln Attorney General of the US. were appointed Commissioners to settle by compromise with the Commissioners appointed by the state of Georgia the claims and cession to which the said act has relation.
Articles of agreement and cession have accordingly been entered into and signed by the said Commissioners of the US. and of Georgia, which, as they leave a right to Congress to act upon them legislatively at any time within six months after their date, I have thought it my duty immediately to communicate to the legislature.
RC (DNA: RG 233, PM, 7th Cong., 1st sess.); endorsed by a House clerk. RC (DNA: RG 46, LPPM, 7th Cong., 1st sess.); endorsed by a Senate clerk and attested by Samuel A. Otis. PrC (DLC). Recorded in SJL with notation “Convention with Georgia.” Enclosures: (1) James Madison, Albert Gallatin, and Levi Lincoln to TJ, 26 Apr. 1802, enclosing a copy of the agreement with the commissioners appointed by the state of Georgia in pursuance of the acts relating to the settlement of the Georgia boundary; they note that “The nature and importance of the transaction have induced the insertion of a clause, which renders it necessary that the subject should be communicated to Congress during their present session” (RC in ViW, in Gallatin’s hand, signed by Madison, Gallatin, and Lincoln, at foot of text: “The President of the United States,” endorsed by TJ as received 26 Apr. and so recorded in SJL; Tr in DNA: RG 233, PM, endorsed by a House clerk as “No. 2”; Tr in DNA: RG 46, LPPM, endorsed by a Senate clerk). (2) “Articles of Agreement and Cession” entered into on 24 Apr. 1802 between the commissioners of the United States and those of the state of Georgia, in which the state of Georgia cedes all claim to lands south of the state of Tennessee and west of the Chattahoochee River from the boundary between the United States and Spain, thence up said river to the mouth of the Uchee Creek, thence in a direct line to Nickajack on the Tennessee River, thence up said river to the south boundary of the state of Tennessee; in return, the United States is to pay $1,250,000 to the state of Georgia from the sale of the ceded lands, to open a land office within one year, and to confirm title to lands granted by Great Britain and Spain in the ceded territory to settlers residing within the same before 27 Oct. 1795; all of the ceded territory is to be considered “a common Fund, for the use and Benefit of the United States, Georgia included,” and to be disposed of for no other purpose; the United States is also to extinguish Indian title to Tallassee County, the forks of the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers, and all other lands in the state of Georgia; the ceded territory is to be admitted to the Union once it contains 60,000 free inhabitants, on the same terms as states admitted under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, except for the article forbidding slavery; the cession and agreement is to be in full force once assented to by the Georgia legislature, provided that said assent is given within six months and that Congress shall not during the same period repeal any part of the acts authorizing the agreement and making the same binding on the United States (Tr in RG 233, PM, in a clerk’s hand, including signatures of six commissioners and witnesses, Jesse Franklin, Samuel A. Otis, and John Beckley, endorsed by a House clerk as “No. 3”; Tr in DNA: RG 46, LPPM, in a clerk’s hand, including signatures of six commissioners and three witnesses, endorsed by Senate clerk).
Congress passed AN ACT SUPPLEMENTAL TO THE ACT for the settlement of the limits of Georgia on 10 May 1800, Section 10 of which authorized the commissioners appointed by the United States under an act of 7 Apr. 1798 to negotiate a final settlement with the commissioners from Georgia and to receive on behalf of the United States any western lands ceded “on such terms as to them shall appear reasonable.” The commissioners for the United States were also to investigate settlers’ claims to the ceded lands and to lay their findings before Congress. The settlement was to be completed before 4 Mch. 1803 and any money paid to the state of Georgia was to be taken from the proceeds of the sale of the ceded lands (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 1:549–50; 2:69–70). For the background on the cession of Georgia’s western land claims, as well as the state’s efforts to secure land cessions from the Creek Indians, see Vol. 31:549n; Vol. 33:175–8; Vol. 34:129–30, 558–60; Vol. 35:71–3.
COMMISSIONERS APPOINTED BY THE STATE OF GEORGIA: Abraham Baldwin, James Jackson, and John Milledge.
TJ’s message was read in the Senate and House of Representatives on 26 Apr. Three days later, on 29 Apr., the Senate referred it to a committee consisting of Uriah Tracy, Stevens Thomson Mason, and John Breckinridge. Reporting on 1 May, Tracy stated that due to the “very late hour of the session” and a “total want of all information and facts” on the subject, the committee could not “recommend any measure as necessary to be adopted on the subject.” On 3 May, the last day of the session, the House defeated a resolution calling for the repeal of that portion of the act of Congress that authorized the commissioners of the United States to “conclusively settle by compromise” the western land claims of the state of Georgia (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:222, 227, 231; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:222, 237).