IN SENATE, FEB. 27, 1849
Of the Committee on Indian Affairs on the petition of the Chiefs, &c., of the First Christian Party of Oneida Indians.
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred the petition of the Chiefs and Headmen of the First Christian Party of Oneida. Indians residing at Duck Creek in the State of Wisconsin,
That the petitioners ask relief in respect to two particulars, to wit:
1. The interest on the sum of $1,504 paid to the State by I. B. Terry on the 1st of April 1832, for the north part of lot No 15, and north part of lot No. 16, Oneida purchase of 8 Oct. 1829, from said time of receipt by the State to 22 May 1843, when the principal was paid to the Indians.
2. The principal sum of $1,300 paid to the State by the Rev. Solomon Davis on 25 May 1835, for lot No 31 of Oneida purchase of 1824, and the interest thereon.
These claims rest on different grounds-that of the interest on the $1,504 on the following:
1. This party of Oneida Indians proposed to remove to Green Bay, and by act of 11 May, 1829, (ch. 29, p. 95,) the Governor was authorized to purchase from them from time to time all their lands, “and in such purchase to allow a fair price for such lands, deducting expenses of surveys” and other sums in the act provided for.
2. By treaty of 8 Oct. 1829, the State bought two tracts of land of them, to wit: one of six hundred and the other of fifteen hundred and ninety; 70/100 acres, in all 2,190.70/100 acres of land. They were subsequently divided by the Surveyor General into thirty-one lots, numbered from 1 to 31 inclusive. Of the land thus sold to the State by the treaty of 1829, possession of the tract of six hundred acres was given immediately, but that of the residue was retained by the Indians under the treaty until 1833, when possession was given to the State, and the land was sold by the Surveyor General in December of that
These lands were appraised under the treaty at the value of $18,207.15, and were sold as above, for $37,608.80, leaving a profit to the State of $19,401.65, subject to expenses and charges. For particulars see Exhibit A. which accompanies this report.
3. On the 5th February 1835, a petition was presented to the Legislature on behalf of the First Christian Party of the Oneida Indians, complaining in substance, that they had not received the ” fair price” for their land, under the treaty of Oct. 8, 1829, as contemplated by the act of 11 Feb. 1829, which authorized the making of the treaty. And as evidence of it, referred to the difference between the appraised value of the land, which alone had been paid to them, and the amount of sales as above stated, and stating that those of them then still remaining in this State, had decided on removing to Green Bay, but had not the means of getting there, and praying for payment of the net balance of the sales of the lands relinquished to the State under said treaty of 1829, to be applied to the expenses of this removal, &c. This petition has been taken from the files of the Assembly, and accompanies this report. Assembly Document, No. 260 of 1835 is the report upon this petition, and was the foundation of the act of the 11 May 1835, (ch. 285, p. 324,) hereafter referred to.
4. This act of May 11, 1835, appropriates $7,600 to be applied under the orders of the Governor in the removal of said Indians to Green Bay, and the further sum of $1,400 to be paid to Daniel Bread, an Oneida Chief, for his services and expenses on account of his nation. In the whole $9,000. The petition under consideration states that this sum was paid to them on account of the balance of proceeds of sales over purchase money of the lands acquired under the Oneida treaty of the 26th August 1824. But whether it was so or not, is not easily ascertained, or very material to the present question.
5. By the act entitled “An act relating to the Oneida tribe of Indians,” passed March 8, 1839, (Ch. 58, p. 50,) the Commissioners of the Land Office were empowered,
1. To direct payment to the Oneida Indians, or any party of them recognized by the laws, of the amount for which all lands purchased of them by the State since the 11th of February 1829, were sold by the State, less expenses, payments, &c.
2. The principal of all their annuities payable by the State.
3. To purchase their remaining lands from time to time, and make treaties with them: and,
4. To hear and determine all questions which may arise, in relation to their monies, under the control of the State.
The immediate moving cause of the making of this last mentioned law does not appear in the journals, or documents or files, (so far as this committee has been able to ascertain,) of the Legislature of 1839. It is, however, fairly inferable, that the matters of the treaties of 1829, being brought to the consideration of the committee by the petition of some of the Oneidas, praying for an equitable distribution of their funds, presented to the Assembly on the first of February, 1839, recurrence was had to previous proceedings in the Legislature, and resulted in the recommendation of the passage of this act, which was evidently intended to effect an adjustment upon the most liberal terms, of all difficulties pending with the Oneidas under the treaties made after the 11th of February, 1829. (See Treaties of 13th February, and 8th October 1829, Indian Treaty Book, p. 65, 92; Ass. Doc. 339 of 1831; Ass. Doc. 315 of 1833; Sen. Doc. 37, 51 and 74, of 1834; petition of 1st Christian Party of Oneida Indians, presented to the Assembly 5th February, 1835, -now accompanying this report; report thereon; Ass. Doc. 360 of 1835; Sen. Doc. 29 of 1835; Ass. Doc. 4 of 1839, p. 14,) &c.
The proceedings of the Commissioners of the Land Office under the act of 1839, appear in Senate document No. 14 of 1841, and more fully in the Land Office Minutes, No. 9, page 509 to 514
The Commissioners made a most elaborate investigation and statement of all the transactions of the State with the Oneidas as a nation, as well as divided into parties, and directed payment to be made to them of the balances of all the gains made by the State on the purchase and sale of their lands; and also payment to them of the principals of all the annuities payable to them by this State. In stating the accounts of sales, the Commissioners credited the Indians not only with all principal sums for which the lands were sold, but also with all interest thereon which had been paid to the State on the contracts of sale. This was supposed to close the concern. But it was afterwards discovered by the Indians, that in the record of the purchases of 1829, and sales of the same land, the north part of lot 15, and north part of 16 were omitted, and on that record the Commissioners of the Land Office had founded their estimates. These tracts adjoin each other, and form a farm of one hundred acres. By the treaty of 8th October, 1829, it was provided that a grant of one hundred acres of the land then ceded, should be made to Solomon Davis, (who then was and still is a Missionary to the Oneidas,) on his paying the appraised value; and this land was reserved for that purpose, and therefore not included in the Surveyor General’s schedule of the purchase. It was subsequently sold to J. B. Terry, on the first of April 1832, for the sum of $1,504. Application for this money was made to the Comptroller by the Indians, and he paid it to them on the 22d day of May, 1843, without any interest. The petition under consideration now asks for that interest, and it appears by the Comptroller’s books that the interest has been received by the State; and on the principle of the law of 1839, and the action of the Commissioners of the Land Office thereon, it is, in the opinion of the committee, now payable to the Indians, and they recommend an appropriation accordingly. That is to say, for interest on the sum of $1,504, from the 1st of April, 1832, (the date of the contract of sale to Terry,) to the 13th of May, 1843, (the date of the payment of the principal to the Indians,) amounting to the sum of $1,003.41; that is to say, one thousand and three dollars and forty-one cents.
The second claim of the petition is for the sum of $1,300 and interest, as proceeds of sale of lot No. 31 of the Oneida purchase of 1824, and rests on the following facts:
1. By the treaty of 26 August 1824, the State bought of these Indians two tracts of land, containing together, (exclusive of lots reserved, located, &c.,) 1,912 acres, which were subdivided into thirty-one lots, numbered from one to thirty-one.
2. By act of April 13, 1825, (chap. 147, p. 238,) lot No. 31, known also as the Butternut Orchard lot, was reserved from sale, for the use of the missionary to the said Indians.
3. By act of 2d May, 1835, (chap. 194, p. 221,) the Surveyor General was authorized to sell this lot to Solomon Davis, at the price it should be appraised at, and such sale was made to him on the 25th of that same month of May, for the sum of $1,300.
4. By the act of 11th May 1839, (chap. 285, p. 324,) before cited, the sum of ($9,000) nine thousand dollars was appropriated for account of the petitioners. The petition refers to this act in saying, ” the Leisure passed an act allowing us the amount for which the tract of land obtained by the treaty of 1821 was sold by the State, and it was paid to us,” and claims that said lot No. 31 was not included, ” for it had not at that time been sold,” and that the amount for which it was sold to Mr. Davis, with the interest, is still due to them under the act for their relief.
This committee have come to a different conclusion.
The treaty of 1824 contains no reservations for missionary lots. The State paid for this purchase of land, including this lot No. 31, in cash and annuities, based on the value of $16,143.92. The land, including this lot No. 31, was sold for $25,367.30, being an advance of $9,223 .38. As a matter of mere gratuity, this lot was appropriated to the use of the missionary by the act of 13th April 1825. Now if the sum of $9,000, appropriated for these Indians by the act of 11th May 1835, was on account of the proceeds of sale over costs and expenses, it was a full payment of such balance, the sale of lot 31 being included in the account.
The act of 8th March, 1839, was not intended to reach the surplus over cost, &c., of the proceeds of sale of any purchase prior to the 11th of February, 1829, and by the adjustment made by the Commissioners of the Land Office under the act of 8th March, 1839, the principals of the annuities raised by the treaty of 1824, were fully ascertained and paid. The accompanying schedule, marked (B.) is a copy of the Land Office record of the purchase and sale of the lands acquired under this treaty of 1824.
In respect to this claim for the principal and interest of the proceeds of sale of lot No. 31 of the Oneida purchase of 1824, this committee are of opinion that the prayer of the petition should be denied.
In a report from this committee, made simultaneously herewith, on the petition of John Metoxen and others, headmen and Sachems of the Stockbridge Indians, the committee argue against the policy of paying any money to the Indians, and advise that all moneys appropriated for their benefit be applied to certain limited objects by or under the direction of the Commissioners of the Land Office, with the approbation of the Governor, and they report a bill in accordance with the principles on which that advice is founded. The payment of the interest on the sum of $1,504, for which an appropriation is herein before recommended, will be a voluntary payment, and may with propriety be funded or retained, and the interest thereon applied as recommended in that report. But this is a small sum, and its payment will, it is believed, close all transactions of the State with the First Christian Party of Oneida Indians, and settle all their claims upon the State. It seems advisable therefore to see only that it be applied to some proper purpose for the general good of the party of Oneidas to whose use it be appropriated. And therefore, that it be applied under the direction of the Commissioners of the Land Office, to some national object. In respect to that sum, the committee ask leave to introduce the bill which accompanies this report, and expresses their views as to the disposal of the money.