Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to the Senate, 21 February 1803

To the Senate

Gentlemen of the Senate

The Tuscarora Indians, having an interest in some lands within the state of North Carolina, asked the superintendence of the Government of the US. over a treaty to be held between them & the state of North Carolina respecting these lands. William Richardson Davie was appointed a Commissioner for this purpose, and a treaty was concluded under his superintendance. this, with his letter on the subject, is now laid before the Senate for their advice & consent whether it shall be ratified.

Th: Jefferson
Feb. 21. 1803.

RC (DNA: RG 46, EPIR, 7th Cong., 2d sess.); endorsed by clerks. PrC (DLC). Enclosures: (1) Treaty between the United States and the Tuscarora Indians, concluded at Raleigh, North Carolina, on 4 Dec. 1802, agreeing that the Tuscaroras, with the cooperation of the legislature, will lease out their lands in Bertie County until July 1816 and then give up all claim to the land (printed copy in DNA: RG 46, EPIR; endorsed by a clerk). (2) William R. Davie to Henry Dearborn, 3 Feb. 1803, enclosing the treaty and the act of the state legislature for carrying it into effect; he explains that the reason for the leasing arrangement rather than for an outright cession of the land is that the Tuscaroras do not have title, but only rights of use (RC in same). (3) Act of the General Assembly of the state of North Carolina, 16 Dec. 1802, authorizing the Tuscaroras to continue existing lease agreements until their expiration, including an agreement made in 1766; the act authorizes changes in the leases to facilitate the Tuscaroras’ collection of rents, and the governor is to appoint commissioners to protect the Indians’ interests; in 1816, the lands allotted in 1748 for the use of the Tuscaroras will revert to the state (Tr in same). 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, 1:685–6.

For the desire of the tuscarora indians to dispose of lands in North Carolina and use the proceeds to augment their reservation in New York State, see Vol. 36:635n. TJ appointed William R. davie to act as commissioner for the United States in the negotiations (Vol. 33:677; Vol. 36:332; Vol. 38: Appendix I).

advice & consent: the Senate received the message and papers from Meriwether Lewis on 21 Feb. and unanimously approved the treaty on 1 Mch. (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 , 1:443–4, 445–6).

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