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and with other facts known to them, and thus to assist in detecting frauds, if any exist. In addition to this, a certificate of two respectable persons, acquainted with the party, is made necessary, stating his age, and the opinion, in the neighborhood where he resides, that he is a soldier of the revolution, and their concurrence therein ; and to this must be added the certificate and opinion of the proper court upon the whole matter.
Besides this course of proceeding, which is applicable more particularly to the militia claimants, very few muster rolls of which remain, the testimony of two persons actually acquainted with the services of the applicant is necessary, wherever he served in the regular army, and his name is not to be found on a muster roll, as, in that case, evidence is necessary to rebut the presumption against him.
This system was adopted upon great consicieration, and it is difficult to see how the law can be administered if farthur requisites are demanded. But experience has shown that the prescribed certificates are sometimes granted without due caution, and that persons desirous of converting the provisions of the law to their own benefit, have been enabled to procure official attestations, and even the seal of the court, under circumstances calculated to weaken, if not to destroy, the public confidence in these safeguards. Seals have likewise been taken from useless attestations, and affixed to others, and direct forgeries have been com. mitted in the preparation of the whole papers. And these proceedings have been resorted to, not ovly to establish the original claim, by placing the applicant upon the roll, but also to esta biish his right to each semiannual payment by proving his identity. It is obvious that a system, depending for its correctness upon the conduct of such a variety of persons and officers, not responsible to the general government, and where, frequently, a natural sympathy for the clains of the time and war-woru veterans would lead to much practical relaxation, must be liable to abuse; although, till very recenily, the extent to which such abuses may have gone, was not suspected. Some plan is now necessary, by which a re examination may be made-a plan which, while it ensures to the honest and gallant survivors of the revolution all that they expect, and all the country has provided, shall, at the same time, lay open the frauds which have been committer, and prevent their occurrence hereafter.
In the report of the Commissioner of Pensions, his views upon the subject are given, which appear to me practical and judicious; and, as such, I ask for them your favorable recoinmendation to Congress. An examination at the residence, or in the neighborhood of each person now drawing a pension, into the circumstances of his case, appears to me 10
present the only effectual means of accomplishing the desired nbject. Undertaken by proper persons, and conducted with proper discretion, it could scarcely sail to confirm the grants made to honest applicants, and to detect those which have been fraudulently obtained by dishonest ones
It appears to me that the expense of such a measure ought not to delay its immediate adoption. It is impossible even to conjecture the amount of surreptitious claims ; it may be far greater than the data now before the office enable us to estimate. And possibly conjecture and recent disclosures may have led to the suspicion that the ramifications of the system have been more extended, and the abuses greater, than a rigid inquiry may confirm. In the one case, the beneficial result would be the
relief of the Treasury from fraudulent payments, and the punishment of those concerned in them; and, in the other, it would be satisfactory to know that, while the bounty of the government has been justly appropriated, it has not been improperly applied.
The provision of law for the establishment of a Pension Office as a branch of this department, expires, by its own linitation, at the end of the present session of Congress. It is essential to a due execution of the duties connected with the system of pensions and gratuities for military services, that this arrangement should be renewed and continued. The applicants and grantees are so numerous; the aggregate amount disbursed so great, equaling at least three millious two hundred thousand dollars annually; and the doubtful questions, both of fact and principle, so fre quent and complicated, that, unless a branch of administration, carefully superiotended, is devoted exclusively to this service, the public interest must materially suffer.
The Commissioner of Indian Affairs has exhibited, in detail, the transactions in the important branch of the public service confided to his superintendence. It is only necessary that I should advert to the more prominert subjects which have received, or which require, the action of the government,
The commission for the adjustment of unsettled relations with the Indians west of the Mississippi, terminated by the provisions of the act instituting it, in July last. Important benefits have resulted from the labors of the commissioners in the adjustment of difficult questions connerted with the Indians of that region, and in the treaty arrangements which have been entered into by them. The country assigned for the permanent residence of the eastern Indians has been so apportioned among them, that little difficulty is anticipated from conficting claims, or from doubtful boundaries; and, both in quality and extent, there can be no doubt but that the region allotted to them will be amply sufficient for their comfortable subsistence during an indefinite period of time.
An important council has been held at Fort Gibson, by Colonel Dodge, and by Major Armstrong, the superintentent of Indian affairs, with the chiess of several of the tribes of that quarter, including some of the wandering banils, whose predatory operations have heretofore kept the frontier in alarm. At this council, the situation of the Indians was fully discussed, and amicable relations established. It is to be hoped that the feelings with which they separated will be permanent, and their intercourse hereafter winierrupted.
The united tribe of Potla watamies, Ottawas, and Chippewas, possessing the country in the vicinity of Chicago, have conditionally acceded to the alteration proposed in the boundaries of the tract assigned for them west of the Mississippi, by the treaty concluded in 1833. Should their proposition be accepted, an extensive and valuable region will be opened for settlement, and they will be removed to a district, whose climale is suitable to their habits, and whose other advantages cannot fail to offer them strong inducements for moral and physical improvement.
An arrangement has been made with the Miamies, for the cession of a part of their reservation in the State of Indiana. The tracts held by them are far more extensive than they require; and as they appear to be not yet prepared for removal, this relinquishment, without injuring
them, will relieve the State, in sone measure, from the embarrassment caused by such large reservations as they possess, embracing a most valuable part of the country, and interrupting the settlements and com. munication.
Instructions were given, immediately after the last session of Congress, for purchasing from the Wyandots in Ohio, if they were disposed to sell, the reservation secured to them in that Stale, and for their removal to the west. The commissioner, Governor Lucas, conducted the negotialiou with great fairness and propriety, fully explaining to the Indians their own position, the wishes of the government, and the course of circunstauces, urging their removal. The inatter is not yet terminated, the Indians having requested time for further consideration.
The necessary appropriations will be asked for the removal of the Seminoles, agreeably to the treaty formed with them; and arrangements have been made for the emigration of the Creeks, as fast as they are prepared for a change of residence. There has not yet been sufficient time to ascertain the result of these measures.
I am not able to submit to you any more favorable views of the condition of the Cherokees, than were embraced in my last apnnal report. While every dictate of prudence, and, in fact, of self preservation, urges their removal, unhappy councils and internal divisions prevent the adoption of that course. Where they are, they are declining, and must decline, while that portion of the tribe, which is established in the west, is realizing the benefits which were expected to result from a change of position. The system of removal, however, by enrolment, is going on, and during this season about one thousand persons have passed to the west.
The treaty concluded the 24th of May last, with the Chickasaws, has altered the relations in which they were placed with the United States. The proceeds derivable from a portion of their present possessions have been assigned to them, and reservations have also been provided for such as choose to become citizens of the United States. Their future condition now depends upon their own views and experience, as they have a right to remain or remove, in conformity with their own judg
The means placed at their disposal are fully adequate to their permanent comfortable establishment, aod it is to be sincerely hoped that they will apply them wisely.
The acts of the last session of Congress, on the subject uf Indian af fairs, have introduced important changes into those relations. Many of the provisions of former laws had become inappropriate, or inadequate, aud not suited to the changes which time and circumstances had made.
In the act regulating the intercourse with the various tribes, the principles of intercommunication with them are laid down, and the necessary details provided. In that for the re-organization of the department, the number of officers employed has been much reduced, and the current ex. penses diminished,
Any changes which experience may show to be necessary in these acts, cau from time to time be provided, until they shall become fully adapted to the situation and condition of the Indians, and to the intercourse, both commercial and political, which ought to exist between them and our government and citizens. The system of removal bas changed essentially the prospects of the emigrants, and has imposed new obligations upoo
the United States. A vast tract of country, containing much more than one hundred millions of acres, has been set apart for the permanent residence of these Indians, and already about thirty thousand have been removed to it. The government is under treaty stipulations to remove nearly bitty thousand others to the same region, including the Illinois and Lake Michigan Indians, with whom a conditional arrangement has been made. This extensive district, embracing a great variety of soil and climate, has been divided among the several tribes, and definite boundaries assigned to each. They will there be brought into juxtaposition with one another, and also into contact, and possibly into collision with the native tribes of that country ; and it seems highly desirable that some plan should be adopted for the regulation of the intercourse ainong these divided communities, and for the exercise of a general power of supervision over them, so far as these objects can be effected consistently with the power of Congress, and with the various treaty stipulations existing with them. It is difficult, indeed, to conceive how peace can be preserved, and the guaranty of protection held out to the eastern Indians, fulfilleri, without some legislative provision upon this subject.
It will be seen, by adverting to the estimates, that the ordinary expenditures of the Indian Department have been reduced to the sum of fiftybine thousand eight hundred dollars, a material diminution, which the provisions of the law of the last session, organizing that department, has rendered practicable, and which brings down its expenditures to a sum less by one hall than the average annual amount for some years past. The appropriations for a nuuities, being fixed and depending upon treaty stipulations, cannot be reduced by administration.
The resolution of the Senate, of December 23, 1833, requiring the correspondence of the Indian Department, together with a detailed statement of expenditures for some years past, has been complied with. These documents will enable Congress to judge of the operations of this branch of the public service, both in its administrative and fiscal concerns. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
CONDITION OF THE ARMY. Extract from the report of the Major General of the Army, Nov. 1834.
Since my last annual report, the five companies of the regiment of dragoons, which remained to be raised, have been recruited ; and, after having been organized at Jefferson barracks, they took up their march
to Fort Gibson, where the head-quarters of the regiment were established, preparatory to entering the Indian country, in conformity to your instructions.
In consequence of the lateness of the arrival of these companies at Fort Gibson, and a variety of unforeseen difficulties in obtaining the proper arms and equipments for the regiinent, the movement to the west was delayed until the 15th of June.
In the meantime, General Leavenworth, who had been appointed to the command of the troops on the western frontier, south of the northern boundary of the State of Missouri, detached one company of that regi. ment as an escort to the caravan of traders to Santa Fe, in Mexico.
He also employed detachments of the third and seventh regiments of infantry in opening roads between the posts on the Arkansas and Red rivers, and in establishing new posts beyond the settlements of the enigrated Indians, for the purpose of facilitating the movements of the expedition, and covering the country occupied by those Indians, in the event of a failure to secure a friendly intercourse with the wild tribes inhabiting the country beyond them.
These arrangements having been made, the expedition, consisting of nine companies, under Colonel Dodge, * was put in motion, accompanied by a deputation from the several tribes of friendly Indians, to act as guides and interpreters, and to aid in bringing about a general good understanding between the several nations; and in order that the friendly intercourse mighi be further promoted, two Indian girls, the one a Pawnee, and the other a Kiowa, who had been captured by the Osages, also accompanied the expedition for the purpose of being delivered to their friends.
Owing to the sickness which prevailed among the troops, the command, on reaching the river Washita, about one hundred and eighty miles west of Fort Gibson, was so much reduced, as to render a re-organization of the companies necessary. Colonel Dodge accordingly, out of the efe feclive force, formed six companies, each forty-two strong, and, under instructions from General Leavenworth, continued his march to the Pawnee village, situated on a branch of the Red river. Here Colonel
Dodge held a council with the Camanches, the Pawnees, (or Togaslas,) the Kiowas, and the deputation of Indians which accompanied him, amounting in all to about two thousand persons. He explained the object of the expedition, and was instrumental in bringing about a friendly intercourse between several hostile tribes. He also obtained the surrena der of the son of a Mr. Martin, an American citizen, who had been murdered by the Indians, and of a black boy captured by them
A more particular account of the interview between Colonel Dodge and the assembled tribes, will be found in the journal of the expedition, annexed to this report.
* The nine companies destined for the campaign, (Captain Wharton's, company “A” marched in May, to escort a body of traders to Santa Fe) began their movement from Camp Jackson on the 15th of June, and, under the direction of the field and company officers, encamped on the west bank of the Arkansas, three miles from Fort Gibson thence moved eighteen miles westwardly, to Camp Rendezvous. Strength of the regi ment about five hundred.
Arrangement of officers for the campaign.
Major-R. B. Mason.
Ordnance officer, &c.- 1st Lt. T. B. Wheelock.
Acting Assistant Commissary of Subsistence-20 Lt. John S. Van Deveer.
Company "B"-Capt. Sumner, 2d Lt. Burgwin, Bt. 20 Lt. McClure.