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Indian affairs, is under the impression of these principles, and will second my views with sincerity. And, in the present case, besides the official directions which will go to Colonel Hawkins, immediately to spare no efforts from which any success can be hoped to obtain the residue of the Oconee and Oakmulgee fork, I shall myself write to Colonel Hawkins, and possess him fully of my views and expectations; and this with such explanations as I trust will bring him cordially into them, as they are unquestionably equally for the interest of the Indians and ourselves.
I have availed myself of the occasion furnished by your letter of explaining to you my views on this subject with candor, and of assuring you they shall be pursued unremittingly. When speaking of the Oakmulgee fork, I ought to have added, that we shall do whatever can be done properly in behalf of Wafford's settlement; and that as to the South-Eastern road, it will be effected, as we consider ourselves entitled, on principles acknowledged by all men, to an innocent passage through the lands of a neighbor, and to admit no refusal of it. Accept assurances of w.y great esteem and high consideration.
TO COLONEL HAWKINS.
WASHINGTON, February 18, 1803. DEAR SIR,—Mr. Hill's return to you offers so safe a conveyance for a letter, that I feel irresistibly disposed to write one, though there is but little to write about. You have been so long absent from this part of the world, and the state of society so changed in that time, that details respecting those who compose it are no longer interesting or intelligible to you. One source of great change in social intercourse arose while you were with us, though its effects were as yet scarcely sensible on society or government. I mean the British treaty, which produced a schism that went on widening and rankling till the years '98, '99, when a final dissolution of all bonds, civil and social, appeared imminent. In that
awful crisis, the people awaked from the phrenzy into which they had been thrown, began to return to their sober and ancient principles, and have now become five-sixths of one sentiment, to wit, for peace, economy, and a government bottomed on popular election in its legislative and executive branches. In the public counsels the federal party hold still one-third. This, however, will lessen, but not exactly to the standard of the people; because it will be forever seen that of bodies of men even elected by the people, there will always be a greater proportion aristocratic than among their constituents. The present administration had a task imposed on it which was unavoidable, and could not fail to exert the bitterest hostility in those opposed to it. The preceding administration left ninety-nine out of every hundred in public offices of the federal sect. Republicanism had been the mark on Cain which had rendered those who bore it exiles from all portion in the trusts and authorities of their country. This description of citizens called imperiously and justly for a restoration of right. It was intended, however, to have yielded to this in so moderate a degree as might conciliate those who had obtained exclusive possession; but as soon as they were touched, they endeavored to set fire to the four corners of the public fabric, and obliged us to deprive of the influence of office several who were using it with activity and vigilance to destroy the confidence of the people in their government, and thus to proceed in the drudgery of removal farther than would have been, had not their own hostile enterprises rendered it necessary in self-defence. But I think it will not be long before the whole nation will be consolidated in their ancient principles, excepting a few who have committed themselves beyond recall, and who will retire to obscurity and settled disaffection.
Although you will receive, through the official channel of the War Office, every communication necessary to develop to you our views respecting the Indians, and to direct your conduct, yet, supposing it will be satisfactory to you, and to those with whom you are placed, to understand my personal dispositions and opinions in this particular, I shall avail myself of this private
letter to state them generally. I consider the business of hunting as already become insufficient to furnish clothing and subsistence to the Indians. The promotion of agriculture, therefore, and household manufacture, are essential in their preservation, and I am disposed to aid and encourage it liberally. This will enable them to live on much smaller portions of land, and indeed will render their vast forests useless but for the range of cattle ; for which purpose, also, as they become better farmers, they will be found useless, and even disadvantageous. While they are learning to do better on less land, our increasing numbers will be calling for more land, and thus a coincidence of interests will be produced between those who have lands to spare, and want other necessaries, and those who have such necessaries to spare, and want lands. This commerce, then, will be for the good of both, and those who are friends to both ought to encourage it. You are in the station peculiarly charged with this interchange, and who have it peculiarly in your power to promote among the Indians a sense of the superior value of a little land, well cultivated, over a great deal, unimproved, and to encourage them to make this estimate truly. The wisdom of the animal which amputates and abandons to the hunter the parts for which he is pursued should be theirs, with this difference, that the former sa rifices what is useful, the latter what is not. In truth, the
: ultimate point of rest and happiness for them is to let our settlements and theirs meet and blend together, to intermix, and become one people. Incorporating themselves with us as citizens of the United States, this is what the natural progress of things will of course bring on, and it will be better to promote than to retard it. Surely it will be better for them to be identified with us, and preserved in the occupation of their lands, than be exposed to the many casualties which may endanger them while a separate people. I have little doubt but that your reflections must have led you to view the various ways in which their history may terminate, and to see that this is the one most for their happiness. And we have already had an application from a settlement of Indians to become citizens of the United States. It is possible, perhaps probable, that this idea may be so novel as that it might shock the Indians, were it even hinted to them. Of course, you will keep it for your own reflection; but, convinced of its soundness, I feel it consistent with pure morality to lead them towards it, to familiarize them to the idea that it is for their interest to cede lands at times to the United States, and for us thus to procure gratifications to our citizens, from time to time, by new acquisitions of land. From no quarter is there at present so strong a pressure on this subject as from Georgia for the residue of the fork of Oconee and Oakmulgee; and indeed I believe it will be difficult to resist it. As it has been mentioned that the Creeks had at one time made up their minds to sell this, and were only checked in it by some indiscretion of an individual, I am in hopes you will be able to bring them to it again. I beseech you to use your most earnest endeavors; for it will relieve us here from a great pressure, and yourself from the unreasonable suspicions of the Georgians which you notice, that you are more attached to the interests of the Indians than of the United States, and throw cold water on their willingness to part with lands. It is so easy to excite suspicion, that none are to be wondered at; but I am in hopes it will be in your power to quash them by effecting the object.
Mr. Madison enjoys better health since his removal to this place than he had done in Orange. Mr. Giles is in a state of health feared to be irrecoverable, although he may hold on for some time, and perhaps be re-established. Browze Trist is now in the Mississippi territory, forming an establishment for his family, which is still in Albemarle, and will remove to the Mississippi in the spring. Mrs. Trist, his mother, begins to yield a little to time. I retain myself very perfect health, having not had twenty hours of fever in forty-two years past. I have sometimes had a troublesome headache, and some slight rheumatic pains; but now sixty years old nearly, I have had as little to complain of in point of health as most people. I learn you have the gout. I did not expect that Indian cookery or Indian fare would produce that; but it is considered as a security for good
health otherwise. That it
That it may be so with you, I sincerely pray, and tender you my friendly and respectful salutations.
WASHington, February 25, 1803. SIR,—In compliance with a request of the House of Representatives of the United States, as well as with a sense of what is necessary, I take the liberty of urging on you the importance and indispensable necessity of vigorous exertions, on the part of the State governments, to carry into effect the militia system adopted by the national Legislature, agreeable to the powers reserved to the States respectively, by the Constitution of the United States, and in a manner the best calculated to ensure such a degree of military discipline, and knowledge of tactics, as will under the auspices of a benign providence, render the militia a sure and permanent bulwark of national defence.
None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army; to keep ours armed and disciplined, is therefore at all times important, but especially so at a moment when rights the most essential to our welfare have been violated, and an infraction of treaty committed without color or pretext; and although we are willing to believe that this has been the act of a subordinate agent only, yet is it wise to prepare for the possibility that it may have been the leading measure of a system. While, therefore, we are endeavoring, and with a considerable degree of confidence, to obtain by friendly negotiation a peaceable redress of the injury, and effectual provision against its repetition, let us array the strength of the nation, and be ready to do with promptitude and effect whatever a regard to justice and our future security may require.
In order that I may have a full and correct view of the resources of our country in all its different parts, I must desire you, with as little delay as possible, to have me furnished with a re