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the Indians, in order to obtain their co-operation against the Colonists, but no evidence has been adduced of the perfecting of such a grant. The declaration of the Consultation, therefore, in the absence of a Mexican title, was deemed inoperative by most of the Texans, who also held that the Consultation, in framing the declaration, had exceeded their powers, which were not plenary.
General Houston, who had been mainly instrumental in obtaining the pledge from the Consultation, accompanied by Mr. Forbes of Nacogdoches, met Bowles, Big Mush, and some other chiefs, delegated by the Indians, on the 23rd of February, 1836, at the Cherokee village, and concluded a treaty. By this treaty, the Cherokees and their associate bands were to receive a fee-simple title to all the land lying “ west of the San Antonio road, and beginning on the west at the point where the said road crosses the river Angelina, and running up said river until it reaches the mouth of the first large creek below the great Shawnee village, emptying into said river from the north-east. Thence running with said creek to its main source, and from thence a due north line to the Sabine, and with said river west; then, starting where the said San Antonio road crosses the Angelina, and with said road to where it crosses the Neches, and thence running up the east side of the river, in a northwesterly direction.” The Convention at Washington, which declared the independence of Texas and framed the Constitution, refused to accept this treaty, of which nothing more was heard until the elevation of General Houston to the Presidency, when he pressed its adoption with all the weight of executive influence. It was, however, formally rejected by the Senate, in secret session, on the 16th of December, 1837.
In the mean time, the Cherokees had opened negotiations covertly with the Mexican Government, and had, according to official documents filed in the State department of Texas, concluded an agreement by which they were to have, not only the territory comprised in the stipulations of 23rd February, 1836, but concessions much more extensive, provided they succeeded in ejecting the Anglo-Mexicans from the country. Still, President Houston contended that these Indians were entitled to an absolute fee-simple of their lands, and used every exertion to obtain a ratification of their claims. Whether or not the grant of the lands would have secured the fidelity of the Cherokees and their associates, as the President believed, I am unable to say; but it was ere long discovered, that they had formed a league with the Mexican population about Nacogdoches to attack simultaneously the AngloAmerican inhabitants. For the accomplishment of this design, a considerable quantity of arms and ammunition had been procured, and numbers of Cherokees, Creeks, and Seminoles invited from the United States into Texas. An accident defeated the plot. Some horses having been stolen by the Indians, their owners followed in pursuit, and traced the spoilers of their property to the general rendezvous in a swamp on the Angelina. The citizens of eastern Texas flew to arms, and a force under General Rusk dispersed the Indians and drove the revolted Mexicans out of the country.
In the hope of quieting the Indians, President Houston, in opposition to general opinion, ordered Colonel Horton to run the Indian boundary line, according to the terms of the unconfirmed treaty of February, 1836. Thus affairs stood' between the people of Texas and the north-eastern Indians at the close of General Houston's Presidency.
In a Message to Congress, dated November 19th, 1838, the President stated that he had received no official notice of the running of the Indian line, which was in progress, having been completed, and then proceeded to specify the claims of the northeastern tribes, and to urge the concession of the lands on the joint grounds of equity and prudence. He observed that the right of the Indians to land had been recognised by the Convention at San Felipe in 1832-3, and that the Convention of March 1836, invested with plenary powers, had generally sanctioned and confirmed all the acts of the Consultation, as well as those of the General Council of Texas. Under these circumstances, he deemed himself warranted to direct the running of the line, and upon this impression he had acted, and not, as had been alleged, because he was “ willing to sacrifice principle to expediency.”
“ Since the ratification of the acts of the Consultation and General Council by the Convention at Washington, and since all locations, surveys, and grants not made previous to the location of the Cherokees within the territory designated, were declared null and void, and directed to be cancelled, the executive has been assured that upwards of 300 leagues of land have been located in said territory.
“ Notwithstanding these facts, the Indians, relying upon the faith of the government and the pledges of the executive that justice should be done them, have remained peaceable, .
and now the line having been run, and the measures of the executive are sustained by Congress, the friendship of the Indians will be confirmed. If they should not be sustained, the President will feel himself perfectly vindicated in the assurance that he has pursued and recommended that policy which alone can saye eastern Texas from ruin, and the country generally from imminent danger.”
Several individuals had been killed by the Indians on the waters of the Brazos, and many disasters of a similar character had occurred during the year.
“The great anxiety of our citizens to acquire land induced them to adventure into the Indian hunting grounds in numbers not sufficient for self-protection, and inasmuch as they met with no serious opposition in the commencement of their surveying, they were thrown off their guard, which afforded the Indians an opportunity of taking them by surprise, and hence they became victims to their own indiscretion and temerity. The executive anticipating the consequences that would result from penetrating into the Indian huntinggrounds to a distance where they could not possibly be aided from the settlements, used every endeavour within his power to prevent such a course. His personal remonstrances were insufficient to control the determination of those whose opinions set at naught admonitions that could not be legally enforced. The Indians, by gaining partial advantages, were induced to form more numerous associations, that have rendere:l them formidable; and occasionally acquiring spoil, have since then been induced to advance upon the settlements in marauding parties, whilst the circumstance of continuing to survey within their huntinggrounds so much exasperated their feelings, that their invasions have become formidable on our frontier. It is not confined to any particular section, but is carried on more or less from the Rio Frio to the Red River.
“With regard to protecting the surveyors by an armed force, the President did not consider the government justified in employing public funds in aid of private speculation. The system of surveying and locating lands had, he said, involved the country in all the calamities which had visited the frontier; and he therefore suggested that for some time 10 come, restrictions should be laid upon all surveying beyond the limits of the settlement, and that the enterprise which had heretofore been employed for individual benefit, should be directed in some channel that would enable the executive to repel the aggression of the Indians, and chastise them for all wanton outrages.'
The remainder of the Message is devoted to an exposition of an alleged encroachment
the Presidential authority by Major-General Rusk—the censure of that officer for not sustaining the civil institutions of the country, which were violated by acts of illegality towards the property and persons of Mexicans at Nacogdoches, subsequent to the rebellion—" the honest Mexican being as much entitled to the protection of law as the AngloSaxon”—and to the inculcation of a peaceful policy towards “ all those Indian tribes who were faithful to their friendship.'
An approach was made during this year to the establishment of commercial relations between Great Britain and Texas—General J. P. Henderson, the diplomatic agent of the Republic, having succeeded in effecting a commercial arrangement with the British Government, by which “Texan vessels and goods, under the national flag and with Texan papers,” were to be admitted into British ports, “ in the same manner as the vessels and goods of Mexico, under the scope and stipulations of the treaty with that government, and the vessels and goods of Great Britain to be admitted into the ports of Texas upon the basis of the same treaty.”