Header img
Beyond Penn's Treaty

Committee on Indian Concerns Scrapbook

Page out of 220

Letter from Philadelphia Committee,
with copy of a Letter from James Munroe to the Indians

Dear Friends

Your letter of the 8th instant, was received this morning,
and in reply to which we will observe, That at the present very interesting
Crisis of Indian Affairs, and particularly as relating to those Indians, who
yet retain reservations of land within the Massachusetts

claim, we apprehend
every step contemplated by their friends, ought to be maturely considered and
examined, before acting on, least what may appear of advantage to these poor
and much oppress'd part ot the human family, should in its ultimate result
prove to be quite the contrary. For instance, those Indians are now under
the care & protection of the United States, as will be seen in the Treaty, contained
in the pamphlet forwarded to Rich. Mott last week, should they be prematurely
placed under the intire direction & management of the State Legislature, is
there not danger to be apprehended that the influence of the Speculators
in the last remnant of their land, would be more likely to obtain their
object, than if the Indians remained as they are at present situated?
Again--Would not a division of the land of these Indians be more
likely to produce among them the obvious necessity of having a few laws
instituted for their regulation, and thus induce them to apply to the
competent authority, for such as should appear indispensable, and which
would of course be more congenial to their feelings and sense of propriety, than
if they should be presented with a code of regulations, and informed that they
must conform to the requisitions therein contained, without feeling the
necessity of such compliance?

Has not experience proved the danger there exists in oppointing
agents & Commissioners by law, to the care of Indian lands? see the
sentiments of the Indians on this subject 3rd paragraph 17th page in the
pamphlet already noted--and if we are correctly informed, the transactions
now in operation with either the Brothertown

, Stockbridge or Oneida
Indians and one of their care takers, is not void of admonition on
on this delicate subject.

There is, and it is gratefull to us in observing it, a general
sensation felt, on behalf of the Aborigines of our Country--but this may
subside--we wish to make use of the favourable opportunity, to effect
some permanent advantage to the natives, without requiring from

anything but what Justice demands. It does not appear
to us that those Indians who are the immediate subjects of this Communi-
cation, require much, if any pecuniary aid at this time from Government