Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/177

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Provisional Congress.


Executive Department,
December 12, 1861.

To the Congress of the Confederate States.

I submit for your constitutional action treaties recently made with the Chickasaw and Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, and Cherokee tribes of Indians. In pursuance of a resolution passed by Congress the 5th day of March, 1861, I appointed Albert Pike, a citizen of Arkansas, commissioner of this Government to all the Indian tribes west of Arkansas and south of Kansas. His powers and duties were not defined in that resolution, but on the 21st of May, 1861, Congress passed "An Act for the protection of certain Indian tribes," by which the general policy of Congress in reference to those tribes was more fully declared. Considering this act as a declaration by Congress of our future policy in relation to those Indians, a copy of that act was transmitted to the commissioner and he was directed to consider it as his instructions in the contemplated negotiation.

The general policy of that act is the basis of the treaties herewith submitted; but in relation to pecuniary obligations there is a material departure, which will be more fully referred to in its appropriate connection. The general provisions of all the treaties are similar, and in each the Confederate States assume the guardianship over the tribe and become responsible for all the obligations to the Indians imposed by former treaties on the Government of the United States. Important modifications are proposed in favor of the respective local governments of these Indians, to which your special attention is invited. That their advancement in civilization justified an enlargement of their power in that regard will scarcely admit of a doubt; but whether the proposed concessions in favor of their local governments are within the bounds of a wise policy may well claim your serious consideration. In this connection your attention is specially invited to the clauses giving to certain tribes the unqualified right of admission as a State into the compact of the Confederacy, and in the meantime allowing each of these tribes to have a delegate in Congress. These provisions are regarded not only as impolitic but unconstitutional, it not being within the limits of the treatymaking power to admit a State or to control the House of Representatives in the matter of admission to its privileges. I rec-