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Beyond Penn's Treaty

Committee on Indian Concerns Scrapbook

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With respect to the particular Tract of Country in which the
Reservations in question are situate, the title as you may recollect
was disputed between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

the State of New York, each claiming under Grants or Charters from
the Crown of England. In the year 1786 a Convention was held for
a settlement of these differeces, which resulted in a cession by
New York to Massachusetts of the right of Soil and all other
right, except that of Sovereignty and Jurisdiction, in the whole
Tract now called the Genesee Country, the right of holding
Treaties with the native Indians for the extinguishment of
their claims and of granting that right to Purchasers under
them, being expressly reserved to Massachusetts.

Under this Convention and before any negotiation with
the Indians, Massachusetts

sold the fee simple of all the
Lands in this Tract of Country, part to Gorham and Phelps
and part, including these Reservations, to Robert Morris,
who again sold to the Holland Company and others. In
the year 1797 and subsequent to this last sale, the Indians
released to the different proprietors the great bulk of
Morris's purchase. The present Reservations are not in-
cluded in that release, but remain, as to the Indian claim,
in the same situation as they were, when sold by the State
of Massachusetts
; and as such, were sold, after the Treaty of
1797, by the Holland Company to David A. Ogden, who has
since sold, in like manner, to various purchasers under him.

It results from what has been said that the Indians have
a mere right of possession in these Reservations, which they
are incapable of conveying, except to the proprietor of the fee:
and that, without his consent, no arrangement can be
accomplished, by which to change or modify their present

In making these remarks, I do not wish to be
understood as intimating a disinclination on the part
of the proprietors, to concur in any reasonable plan calcu-
lated to ameliorate the condition of the Indians:on the contrary
I am persuaded that such a plan would receive their ready
co-operation. For, whatever prejudices may be entertained
on this subject, I can conidently assure you, that they
are disposed not to oppress or injure this unfortunate
race of People, but to act towards them with Equity and
Kindness. At the same time, I do not hesitate to declare
my entire conviction, that no material progress can be
made in the great and benevolent purpose of changing
their habits and pursuits, until they shall be removed
to a greater distance from Settlements. Experience has
shewn conclusively, that wherever Indians have easy
opportunities of Intercourse with White People, their Men
become Drunkards, and their Women Prostituted; that
all the virtues belonging to savage life are extinguished
and the low vices of our worst states of Society adopted.
The condition of the Indians in the neighbourhood of

affords a strikin illustration of this Truth.
Their depravity is offensive to common decency, and those
especially among the Females who profess to become Con-
verts to the Christian Faith, are said to be the most aban-
doned and shameless in their intercourse with the White Men.

Under the circumstances in which they are now
placed, it seems to me, that the true Interests of the Indians
will be best promoted, either by removing them to a remote
situation, prossessing the requisite advantages of soil and
climate, where they shall be protected by the Government
and secured from the near approach of White Settlement
or by concentrating them on one of the reservations they
now occupy. In the latter situation they would be under the
more immediate care and inspectionof those who may be
disposed to take the charge of their instruction; but whether
this advantage would not be counterbalanced by the
continual approaches of Settlers, deserves consideration.