Abbildungen der Seite

but to have been considered as personally confidential, and, therefore, retained among his private papers. A communication from the governor of Virginia to General Washington, is found in the office of the president's secretary, which, although not strictly within the terms of the request of the House of Representatives, is communicated, inasmuch as it may throw some light on the subjects of the correspondence of that time, between certain foreign agents and citizens of the United States.

In the first or second year of the administration of President Adams, Andrew Ellicott, then employed in designating, in conjunction with the Spanish authorities, the boundaries between the territories of the United States and Spain, under the treaty with that nation, communicated to the executive of the United States papers and information respecting the subjects of the present inquiry, which were deposited in the oflice of State. Copies of these are now transmitted to the House of Representatives, except of a single letter and a reference from the said Andrew Ellicott, which being expressly desired to be kept secret, is therefore not communicated, but its contents can be obtained from himself in a more legal form, and directions have been given to summon him to appear as a witness before the court of inquiry.

A paper on the commerce of Louisiana,” bearing date of the 18th of April, 1798, is found in the office of State, supposed to have been communicated by Mr. Daniel Clark, of New Orleans, then a subject of Spain, and now of the House of Representatives of the United States, stating certain commercial transactions of General Wilkinson, in New Orleans; an extract from this is now communicated, because it contains facts which may have some bearing on the questions relating to him.

The destruction of the war office, by fire, in the close of 1800, involved all information it contained at that date.

The papers already described, therefore, constitute the whole information on the subjects, deposited in the public offices, during the preceding administrations, as far as has yet been found ; but it cannot be affirmed that there may be no others, because, the papers of the office being filed, for the most part, alphabetically,

unless aided by the suggestion of any particular name which may have given such information, nothing short of a careful examination of the papers in the offices generally, could authorize such aflirmation.

About a twelvemonth after I came to the administration of the government, Mr. Clark gave some verbal information to myself, as well as to the Secretary of State, relating to the same combinations for the dismemberment of the Union. He was listened to freely, and he then delivered the letter of Governor Gagoso, addressed to himself, of which a copy is now communicated. After his return to New Orleans, he forwarded to the Secretary of State other papers, with a request that, after perusal, they should be burned. This, however, was not done, and he was so informed by the Secretary of State, and that they would be held subject to his order. These papers have not yet been found in. the oflice. A letter, therefore, has been addressed to the former chief clerk, who may, perhaps, give information respecting them. As far as our memories enables us to say, they related only to the combinations before spoken of, and not at all to the corrupt receipt of money by any officer of the United States; consequently, they respected what was considered as a dead matter, known to the preceding administrations, and offering nothing new to call for investigations, which those nearest the dates of the transactions had not thought proper to institute.

In the course of the communications made to me on the subject of the conspiracy of Aaron Burr, I sometimes received letters, some of them anonymous, some under names true or false, expressing suspicions and insinuations against General Wilkinson. But one only of them, and that anonymous, specified any particular fact, and that fact was one of those which had already been communicated to a former administration.

No other information within the purview of the request of the house is known to have been received by any department of the government from the establishment of the present federal government. That which has recently been communicated to the House of Representatives, and by them to me, is the first direct

testimony ever made known to me, charging General Wilkinson with the corrupt receipt of money; and the House of Representatives may be assured that the duties which this information devolves on me shall be exercised with rigorous impartiality. Should any want of power in the court to compel the rendering of testimony, obstruct that full and impartial inquiry, which alone can establish guilt or innocence, and satisfy justice, the legislative authority only will be competent to the remedy.


To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States :

The Choctaws being indebted to their merchants beyond what could be discharged by the ordinary proceeds of their huntings, and pressed for payment, proposed to the United States to cede lands to the amount of their debts, and designated them in two different portions of their country. These designations not at all suiting us, were declined. Still, urged by their creditors, as well as their own desire to be liberated from debt, they at length proposed to make a cession which should be to our convenience. By a treaty signed at Poosha pakonuk, on the 16th November, 1805, they accordingly ceded all their lands south of a line to be run from their and our boundary at the Omochita, eastwardly to their boundary with the Creeks on the ridge between the Tombigbee and Alabama, as is more particularly described in the treaty, containing about five millions of acres, as is supposed, and uniting our possessions there from Adams to Washington county.

The location contemplated in the instructions to the commissioners was on the Mississippi. That in the treaty being entirely different, I was, at that time, disinclined to its ratification, and have suffered it to be unacted on. But progressive difficulties in our foreign relations have brought into view considerations others

than those which then prevailed. It is perhaps now as interesting to obtain footing for a strong settlement of militia along our southern frontier, eastward of the Mississippi, as on the west of that river, and more so than higher up the river itself. The consolidation of the Mississippi territory, and the establishment of a barrier of separation between the Indians and our southern neighbors, are also important objects; and the Choctaws and their creditors being still anxious that the sale should be made, I submitted the treaty to the Senate, who have advised and consented to its ratification. I, therefore, now lay it before both houses of Congress for the exercise of their constitutional powers as to the means of fulfilling it.


To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United

States :

The posts of Detroit and Mackinac, having been originally intended by the governments which established and held them, as mere depôts for the commerce with the Indians, very small cessions of land around were obtained or asked from the native proprietors, and these posts depended for protection on the strength of their garrisons. The principle of our government leading us to the employment of such moderate garrisons in time of peace, as may merely take care of the post, and to a reliance on the neighboring militia for its support in the first moments of war, I have thought it would be important to obtain from the Indians such a cession of the neighborhood of these posts as might maintain a militia proportioned to this object; and I have particularly contemplated, with this view, the acquisition of the easteru moiety of the peninsula between the lakes Huron, Michigan, and Erie, extending it to the Connecticut reserve, so soon as it could be effected with the perfect good will of the natives.

By a treaty concluded at Detroit, on the 17th of November last, with the Ottawas, Chippewas, Wyandots, and Pottawatomies, so much of this country has been obtained as extends from about Saguina bay southwardly to the Miami of the lakes, supposed to contain upward of five millions of acres, with a prospect of obtaining, for the present, a breadth of two miles for a communication from the Miami to the Connecticut reserve.

The Senate having advised and consented to the ratification of this treaty, I now lay it before both houses of Congress for the exercise of their constitutional powers as to the means of fulfilling it.


To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United

States :

Having received an official communication of certain orders of the British government against the maritime rights of neutrals, bearing date of the 11th of November, 1807, I transmitted to Congress, as a further proof of the increasing dangers to our navigation and commerce which led to the provident measures of the present session, laying an embargo on our own vessels.


To the House of Representatives of the United States :

In my message, January 20th, I stated that some papers forwarded by Mr. Daniel Clark, of New Orleans, to the Secretary of State, in 1803, had not then been found in the office of State ; and that a letter had been addressed to the former chief clerk, in the hope that he might advise where they should be sought for. By indications received from him they are now found. Among them are two letters from the Baron de Carondelet to an officer

« ZurückWeiter »