Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to the Senate, 31 October 1803

To the Senate

To the Senate of the US. of America.

I now lay before you the treaty mentioned in my general message at the opening of the session, as having been concluded with the Kaskaskia Indians, for the transfer of their country to us, under certain reservations & conditions.

Progress having been made in the demarcation of Indian boundaries, I am now able to communicate to you a Treaty with the Delawares, Shawanese, Poutewatamies, Miamis, Eel-rivers, Weeaws, Kickapoos, Piankashaws, & Kaskaskias, establishing the boundaries of the territory around St. Vincennes:

Also a supplementary treaty with the Eel rivers, Wyandots, Piankeshaws, Kaskaskias & Kickapoos, in confirmation of the 4th. article of the preceeding treaty:

Also a treaty with the Choctaws, describing & establishing our demarcation of boundaries with them.

Which several treaties are accompanied by the papers relating to them, and are now submitted to the Senate for consideration whether they will advise & consent to their ratification.

Th: Jefferson

October 31. 1803.

RC (DNA: RG 46, EPIR, 8th Cong., 1st sess.); endorsed by Senate clerks. PrC (DLC). Recorded in SJL with notation “treaties Kaskaskias &c. & Choctaws.” Enclosures: (1) Treaty between the United States and the Kaskaskia tribe, “so called, but which Tribe is the remains, and rightfully represent, all the Tribes of the Illinois Indians”; signed at Vincennes on 13 Aug. by William Henry Harrison for the United States and by Jean Baptiste Ducoigne and five others for the Kaskaskias; the Kaskaskias cede all their lands in the Illinois country except for a tract of about 350 acres near the town of Kaskaskia that was secured to them by treaty in 1791 and another tract of 1,280 acres; the United States will take the Kaskaskias “under their immediate care and patronage” and “afford them a protection, as effectual, against the other Indian tribes, and against all other persons whatever, as is enjoyed by their own Citizens”; the annuity for the tribe will be increased to $1,000 payable in money, merchandise, provisions, or domestic animals at the Kaskaskias’ option; the U.S. will have a house built for the chief of the tribe and enclose a field; the U.S. will also give $100 annually for seven years for the support of a Catholic priest who in addition to performing “the Duties of his Office” will “Instruct as many of their Children as possible, in the Rudiments of Literature”; the U.S. will grant $300 for the construction of a church and $580 to allow the tribe to clear debts and buy necessary articles (Tr in DNA: RG 46, EPIR, certified as a true copy by Joshua Wingate, Jr., 15 Oct.; printed copy in same). (2) Treaty between the United States, represented by Harrison; the Delawares, Shawnees, Potawatomis, Miamis, and Kickapoos, represented by chiefs and head warriors; and the Eel River Indians, Weas, Piankashaws, and Kaskaskias, represented by the Miamis and Potawatomis; signed at Fort Wayne, 7 June, by 15 members of the tribes, including Little Turtle of the Miamis and Buckongahelas of the Delawares; Hendrick Aupaumut of the Stockbridge Mohicans also present as one of the witnesses (see John Sergeant of New Stockbridge to TJ, 25 June 1803); the treaty specifies the bounds of the tract around Vincennes that is reserved to the U.S. and provides for the cession of the Wabash saline and a plot around it four miles square, in return for which the U.S. will provide 150 bushels of salt each year for distribution among the tribes; the U.S. will have the right to set aside four locations on roads for accommodations for travelers (printed copy in DNA: RG 46, EPIR). (3) Treaty signed at Vincennes on 7 Aug. by Harrison and ten leaders of the Eel River, Wyandot, Piankashaw, and Kaskaskia nations, with Eel River chiefs also representing the Kickapoos; confirming the right of the United States to locate the four tracts for travelers’ accommodations and specifying that each of the tracts will be one mile square (printed copy in same). (4) Treaty signed 31 Aug. between James Wilkinson as commissioner for the United States and Mingo Pouscouche and Alatala Houma as commissioners for the Choctaws; specifying the course of the boundary of the land ceded by the Choctaws between the Tombigbee, Mobile, and Pascagoula Rivers; in return for their confirmation of the cession, the Choctaw commissioners and six chiefs residing on the Tombigbee receive personal articles and quantities of blankets, powder, and lead (printed copy in same). Other enclosures not identified. 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, 1:687-9.

now lay before you: after Lewis Harvie delivered the message and papers on 31 Oct., the Senate ordered that the treaties be printed for use by its members. The body took up consideration of the treaties on 15 Nov. and approved the four of them unanimously on the 16th (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 , 1:451-2, 454-6). TJ signed proclamations announcing the treaty with the Kaskaskias and the treaty with the Eel River and affiliated nations on 23 Dec. On 26 Dec., he issued proclamations for the treaty with the Delawares, Shawnees, and associated groups and the treaty with the Choctaws (National Intelligencer, 28, 30 Dec. 1803, 2 Jan. 1804).

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