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Special Message

December 13, 1804

To the Senate of the United States:

I present for your advice a treaty entered into on behalf of the United States with the Creek Indians for the extinguishment of their right in certain lands in the forks of Oconee and Okmulgee rivers, within the State of Georgia. For the purpose of enabling you to form a satisfactory judgment on the subject, it is accompanied with the instructions of 1802, April 12, to James Wilkinson, Benjamin Hawkins, and Andrew Pickens, commissioners; those of 1803, May 5, to James Wilkinson, Benjamin Hawkins, and Robert Anderson, commissioners, and those of 1804, April 2, to Benjamin Hawkins, sole commissioner. The negotiations for obtaining the whole of the lands between the Oconee and Okmulgee have now been continued through three successive seasons under the original instructions and others supplementary to them given from time to time, as circumstances required, and the unity of the negotiation has been preserved not only by the subject, but by continuing Colonel Hawkins always one of the commissioners, and latterly the sole one. The extent of the cession to be obtained being uncertain, the limitation of price was what should be thought reasonable according to the usual rate of compensation. The commissioner has been induced to go beyond this limit probably by the just attentions due to the strong interest which the State of Georgia feels in making this particular acquisition, and by a despair of procuring it on more reasonable terms from a tribe which is one of those most fixed in the policy of holding fast their lands. To this may be added that if, by an alteration in the first article, instead of giving them stock which may be passed into other hands and render them the prey of speculators, an annuity shall be paid them in this case, as has hitherto been practiced in all similar cases, the price of these lands will become a pledge and guaranty for our future peace with this important tribe, and eventually an indemnity for the breach of it.

On the whole, I rest with entire satisfaction on the wisdom and counsel of those whose sanctions the Constitution has rendered necessary to the final validity of this act.


Thomas Jefferson, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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