10. Report of Henry Knox on White Outrages, July 18, 1788
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11 boundaries between them and our people, and preventing the latter settling on lands left in possession of the former. The powers necessary to these objects appear to the committee to be indivisible, and that the parties to the confederation must have intended to give them entire to the Union, or to have given them entire to the State; these powers before the revolution were possessed by the King, and exercised by him nor did they interfere with the legislative right of the colony within its limits; this distinction which was then and may be now taken, may perhaps serve to explain the proviso, part of the recited clause. The laws of the State can have no effect upon a tribe of Indians or their lands within the limits of the state so long as that tribe is independent, and not a member of the state, yet the laws of the state may be executed upon debtors, criminals, and other proper objects of those laws in all parts of it, and therefore the union may make stipulations with any such tribe, secure it in the enjoyment of all or part of its lands, without infringing upon the legislative right in question. It cannot be supposed, the state has the powers mentioned without making the recited clause useless, and without absurdity in theory as well as in practice; for the Indian tribes are justly considered the common friends or enemies of the United States, and no particular state can have an exclusive interest in the management of Affairs with any of the tribes, except in some uncommon cases. . . . [ Journals of the Continental Congress, 33:456–59.] 10. Report of Henry Knox on White Outrages July 18, 1788 Peace with the Indians could not be maintained so long as aggressive action by the frontier whites gave the Indians grounds for retaliatory incursions. The outrages perpetrated by the frontiersmen among the southern Indians caused an early crisis in Indian relations. The report of Secretary of War Henry Knox to the Continental Congress in July 1788 shows the nature of the problem and the suggestions made for overcoming it. The proclamation Knox called for was issued by Congress on September 1, 1788. [The secretary of war reports] That it appears . . . that the white inhabitants on the frontiers of North Carolina in the vicinity of Chota on the Tennessee river, have frequently committed the most unprovoked and direct outrages against the Cherokee indians. That this unworthy conduct is an open violation of the treaty of peace made by the United States with the said indians at Hopewell on the Keowee the 30th of November 1785. That the said enormities have arisen at length to such an height as to amount to an actual although informal war of the said white inhabitants against the said Cherokees. That the unjustifiable conduct of the said inhabitants has most probably been dictated by the avaricious desire of obtaining the fertile lands possessed by the said indians of which and particularly of their ancient town of Chota they are exceedingly tenacious. . . . That . . . by an upright and honorable construction of the treaty of Hopewell the United States have pledged themselves for the protection of the said indians within the boundaries described by the said treaty and that the principles of good Faith sound policy and every respect which a nation, owes to its own reputation and dignity require if the union possess sufficient power that it be exerted to enforce a due observance of the said treaty. That in order to vindicate the sovereignty of the Union from reproach, your secretary is of opinion, that, the sentiments, and decision , of Congress should be fully expressed to the said white inhabitants, who have so flagitiously stained the American name. That the agent of indian affairs should disperse among the said people a proclamation to be issued by Congress on the subject. That the said proclamation should recite such parts of said treaty as are obligatory on the Union and a declaration of the firm determination of Congress to enforce the same. That all persons who have settled on any of the said 12 lands unless the same shall have been fairly purchased of the said indians shall be warned at their peril to depart previously to a day to be affixed. That in order to carry efficiently into effect the determinations of Congress the commanding officer of the troops on the Ohio should be directed to make...


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