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Special Message

January 09, 1834

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate, for their constitutional action, a treaty concluded between the commissioners on the part of the United States and the united nation of Chippewas, Ottawas, and Potawatamies, at Chicago, on the 26th of September, 1833, to the cession of certain lands in the State of Illinois and Territory of Michigan.

I transmit also sundry documents relating thereto that I think proper should be laid before the Senate.

I understand the country ceded by this treaty is considered a valuable one and its acquisition important to that section of the Union. Under these circumstances, as the objection to a ratification applies to those stipulations in the third article which provide that $100,000 and $150,000 shall be granted in satisfaction of claims to reservations and for debts due from the Indians to individuals, I recommend that the treaty be ratified with the condition that an agent be appointed to proceed to Chicago and investigate the justice of these claims. If they are all well founded and have been assented to by the Indians with a full knowledge of the circumstances, a proper investigation of them will do the claimants no injury, but will place the matter beyond suspicion. If, on the other hand, they are unjust and have not been fully understood by the Indians, the fraud will in that event vitiate them, and they ought not to be paid. To the United States, in a mere pecuniary point of view, it is of no importance to whom the money provided by this treaty is paid. They stipulate to pay a given amount, and that amount they must pay, but the consideration is yielded by the Indians, and they are entitled to its value. Whatever is granted in claims must be withheld from them, and if not so granted it becomes theirs. Considering the relations in which the Indians stand to the United States, it appears to me just to exercise their supervisory authority. It has been done in more than one instance, and as its object in this case is to ascertain whether any fraud exists, and if there does to correct it, I consider such a ratification within the proper scope of the treaty-making power.


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

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