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Special Message

March 10, 1808

To the Senate of the United States:

A purchase having lately been made from the Cherokee Indians of a tract of land 6 miles square at the mouth of the Chickamogga, on the Tennessee, I now lay the treaty. and papers relating to it before the Senate, with an explanation of the views which have led to it.

It was represented that there was within that tract a great abundance of iron ore of excellent quality, with a stream and fall of water suitable for iron works; that the Cherokees were anxious to have works established there, in the hope of having a better supply of those implements of household and agriculture of which they have learned the use and necessity, but on the condition that they should be under the authority and control of the United States.

As such an establishment would occasion a considerable and certain demand for corn and other provisions and necessaries, it seemed probable that it would immediately draw around it a close settlement of the Cherokees, would encourage them to enter on a regular life of agriculture, familiarize them with the practice and value of the arts, attach them to property, lead them of necessity and without delay to the establishment of laws and government, and thus make a great and important advance toward assimilating their condition to ours. At the same time it offers considerable accommodation to the Government by enabling it to obtain more conveniently than it now can the necessary supplies of cast and wrought iron for all the Indians south of the Tennessee, and for those also to whom St. Louis is a convenient deposit, and will benefit such of our own citizens likewise as shall be within its reach. Under these views the purchase has been made, with the consent and desire of the great body of the nation, although not without some dissenting members, as must be the case will all collections of men. But it is represented that the dissentients are few, and under the influence of one or two interested individuals. It is by no means proposed that these works should be conducted on account of the United States. It is understood that there are private individuals ready to erect them, subject to such reasonable rent as may secure a reimbursement to the United States, and to such other conditions as shall secure to the Indians their rights and tranquillity.

The instrument is now submitted to the Senate, with a request of their advice and consent as to its ratification.


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

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