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DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
OFFICE INDIAN AFFAIRS, Nov. 26, 1830. Sır: In compliance, in part, with the order of the Department of the 7th August last, I had the honor, on the 22d ultimo, to submit an estimate, in detail, for the current expenses of the Indian Department in the year 1831, amounting to $160,690.
In further compliance with said order, I now have the honor to submit the statements herewith, marked A and B.
Statement A exhibits the amount remitted for disbursement under each head of appropriation, in the Indian Department, during the three first quarters of the year 1830; the amount for which accounts have been rendered under each head, for the same period; and the balances remaining to be accounted for, according to the books of this office. It will be seen that the whole amount remitted for disbursement within the period mentioned is $528,734 18; that the whole amount for which accounts have been rendered, is $401,342 09; and that the amount remaining to be accounted for, is $127,392 09. It will be seen, also, that, of the balances remaining to be accounted for, those alone, under the heads of pay of superintendents and agents, sub-agents, interpreters, and blacksmiths, and annuities, when added together, amount to the sum of $62,914 31; and which, if deducted from the aggregate balance, to wit: $127,392 09, will leave but $64,477 78 to be accounted for under all the other heads. A considerable portion of the disbursements for annuities, as well as for other objects, are made by agents stationed at remote posts, and often, owing to the Indians prolonging their absence from their villages on their hunting excursions, at so late a period of the
year, that sufficient time has not elapsed for their returns for the 3d quarter to reach the Department. When these are received, the balance, if not wholly accounted for, will be reduced to a very small sum, especially when compared with the whole amount remitted, or with that of the security held by the Government of the officers through whom the disbursements are made.
Statement B exhibits the number of schools in the Indian country, where established, by whom, the number of teachers, the number of scholars, and the amount now allowed a year to each school from the annual appropriation of $10,000 for the civilization of the Indians. This statement shows an increase in the number of scholars over that embraced in the report from this office for the last year, of 242.
The amount remitted in the three first quarters of the present year, from the appropriation for the civilization of the Indians, for school allowances, is $0,693, as will be seen by reference to statement A. The amount of these allowances to the several schools, as arranged to take effect from the 1st July last, and exhibited by statement B, is $6,650; which, deducted from the annual appropriation of $10,000 applicable to this year, will leave a balance, (without taking into view any balance that may remain of former years,) cn the 1st of January next, of $3,350, to be added to the annual appropriation
that will then be applicable to 1831, (making, together, $13,350,) and disposed of, during that year, as the Secretary of War may deem it expedient to direct.
It is believed that the disbursements in the Indian Department for the years 1829 and 1830 have been confined strictly within the appropriations appli. cable to them, and that no arrearages have or will accrue on account of disbursements made in either of those years. But the arrearages which it was ascertained (and 59 stated in the report from this office for the last year,) had accrued to a considerable amount in the Indian Department prior to the year 1829, are still pressing on the Department, and it yet remains without any means to meet them. Impressed with the importance of some adequate provision being made for these arrearages, I have made this reference to them here, under a hope that the attention of Congress might again be called, at the ensuing session, to the documents submitted to them on the subject at the last, and an act be passed making such appropriation as, from the circumstances of the case, may appear to be proper.
There are some other documents and estimates, which were submitted at the last session of Congress, for appropriations to carry into effect sundry treaty stipulations for annuities and other objects, for the year 1830; but which, as no appropriations were made, it will be necessary to submit again at the ensuing session, to obtain appropriations both for the year 1830 and 1831. They will, accordingly, be prepared and reported in time to be submitted at an early day in the session.
Our relations with the Indians continue on a friendly footing. Nothing has happened to interrupt them during the year, except it be the acts of hostility which have occasionally been committed against each other by certain tribes bordering on the Mississippi, and which, it was apprehended at one time, were about to assume a character that would seriously disturb the peace our citizens along that frontier: but, by the timely interference of the Government, peace has been made between the Indians, and our citizens thereby secured, for the present, at least, from the disturbances with which they were threatened by their wars.
The treaties concluded at the conferences ordered to be held by General Clark and Colonel Morgan, with the Indians, for this and other purposes, at Prairie du Chien, have lately been forwarded by General Clark, and are filed in this office. These treaties, with those recently concluded with the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations, under the directions of the President of the United States, towards the execution of the act passed at the last session of Congress, “ to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the States or Territories, and for their removal west of the Mississippi,” are all the treaties that have been made with the Indians since the last session of Congress. They are ready to be laid before the Department when required.
The Commissioners (Gen. E. Root, and James McCall and J. T. Mason; Esquires) appointed in pursuance of a provision contained in the 2d article of the treaty concluded at the Butte des Morts, the 11th of August, 1827, to adjust the difficulty between the Menomonee, and Winnebago, and New York Indians, in relation to the boundaries of their lands in the vicinity of Green bay, have been engaged on that duty, and recently made a report, submitting a proposition for the adjustment of the case, which is subject to the approval of the President of the United States.
By the resolution of the Senate, passed at last session of Congress, conditionally ratifying the supplementary article, concluded the 24th September, 1829, to the treaty with the Delaware Indians of the 3d of October, 1818, certain lines, specified in said resolution, were required to be run and marked. Mr. McCoy, who was employed to make the survey, has been engaged on it, but had not, at the date of the last reports from him, completed it.
The lines of the cessions made by the treaties concluded at Prairie du Chien, with the Chippewa, Ottowa, and Pottawatamie, and Winnebago Indians, on the 29th July and 1st August, 1829, and which were ratified during the last session of Congress, have been run by Mr. Lyon, the surveyor employed for that purpose; and his report, with the field notes and map of the survey, are filed in this office.
A report has also been received from Messrs. J. S. Simonson and Charles Noble, the agents appointed to value the buildings and other improvements belonging to the Carey missionary establishment on the St. Joseph, in Michigan Territory, under a provision made for this purpose by the treaty with the Pottawatamie Indians, of 20th September, 1828. It renains for the report of the agents to be submitted to Congress to obtain the necessary appropriation to pay for the improvements, as stipulated by the 5th article of the treaty just mentioned.
A few remarks in reference to the existing laws relating to Indian affairs, with a view to some change or modification of the provisions of the same, will close this report.
The first act providing for Indian annuities, and which is still in force, was passed in 1796. Other acts for the same object have been since passed, from time to time, as they were required by new treaties, which are limited or permanent, according to the treaty stipulations for which they are intend. ed to provide. A part of the provisions of some of them, though not directly repealed, has been superseded by treaties or acts of more recent date; hence it is difficult (except for persons who are familiar with these changes) to distinguish the provisions that are still in force from those that are not. There are now twenty-one acts under which Indian annuities are drawn, and they require as many accounts to be opened and kept on the books of the Treasury. If the same system be continued, every new treaty that stipu. lates for an annuity will necessarily increase the number of acts for that object, and, of course, the number of accounts. I, therefore, respectfully submit, whether it be not desirable to change the system, and adopt one which is more simple, and will require less time and labor to execute it. This, I humbly apprehend, may be attained by. repealing all the existing acts of appropriation for annuities, and embodying the whole in one act, to be passed annually, on a statement to be laid before Congress at the commencement of every session, showing the annuities due, and to be provided for, in the ensuing year. This would keep Congress annually informed of the state of the Indian annuities, and the actual amount required from year to year to pay them. The appropriation might be made in one sum, equal to the whole amount of annuities due for the year to be provided for, or for the specific sums due, for such year, to each nation or tribe. In either case, it would never require more than one account to be opened on the books of the Treasury. With these remarks, I respectfully submit the accompanying statement of all the annuities that will be due and payable in the year 1931, (marked C,) that, if the object (which is explained by the foregoing remarks)
be approved, the same may be submitted to Congress, to be acted upon as may be esteemed proper.
The act to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, and to preserve peace on the frontiers, passed in 1802, is the principal one that governs all our relations with the Indian tribes.
Since this act was passed, many treaties have been concluded, which, with other causes, growing out of the increase of our population, and the consequent extension of our settlements, have contributed to produce changes in our Indian relations, which, it would seem, required corresponding changes in the laws governing them. It is believed that the line defined by the act of 1802 as the Indian boundary, and to which its provisions were intended particularly to apply, has long since ceased to be so. It is, therefore, respectfully submitted whether the public interest does not, also, require such a modification of the act of 1802 as would better adapt its provisions to the present state of our Indian relations. A judicious modification of this act, and others connected with it, (embracing some specific provision for the adjustment of the claims for depredations, &c., which are provided for by the 4th and 14th sections) would, no doubt, greatly facilitate and open the way for other improvements in the administration of the affairs of the Indian Department, of which the claims for depredations just mentioned form no unimportant or inconsiderable part. "It may not be improper to add, that, should the foregoing propositions in regard to the laws 'relating to Indian affairs be deemed worthy of consideration, much useful and more detailed information may be obtained from the report which was made on this subject by Governor Cass and General Clark, and laid before Congress the session before last; for which, see State Papers, 2d session 20th Congress, vol. 3, Doc. No. 117. All which is respectfully submitted.
SAM'L S. HAMILTON. To the Hon. John H. EATON,
Secretary of War.