72. Resolutions of the Indian Peace Commission, October 9, 1868
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115 and the Senate could not give that consent to the alienation of this large body of land belonging to the public; that we could not carve out a tract of eight million acres of land, as large as the States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island all together, and put it under the control of a few speculators . They may be very good men, and we have no objection to their making a fortune legitimately, but we do object to putting this land beyond the control of the United States and closing it to the right of settlement. The question now is, will the House consent that the control over this vast domain shall, under a wrong interpretation of the treaty-making power, be confined to the hands of a few men, who have in the first place got the consent of the Indian department and of the President , then the consent of a committee of the Senate, and lastly, the consent of the Senate itself. Shall this land belong to the nation or to these men? Sir, for myself I intend never to give my consent to allowing the treaty-making power to add to or diminish the domain of this country. It has no power either to cede away the State of Maine to Great Britain or to acquire new territory on the Northwest, or to exercise exclusive control of the House of Representatives over the limits of this country either to contract or enlarge them. . . . Mr. CLARKE, of Kansas. . . . Now, sir, it seems to me that the action proposed by the Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom this subject has been referred, is just and proper. It seems to me that the House ought not to sit idly by and see eight million acres of the public domain of the United States transferred by treaty into the hands of a corporation or of one individual, this House, representing the people, exercising no control or supervision over the matter whatever. The time has come here and now for us to exercise the prerogatives which properly belong to us, to put a stop to this outrage, this wrong, which is being inflicted upon the people of this country by transactions of this character, which of late have been far too frequent. This treaty is not alone involved in a proper decision of this question. There are other treaties at this moment pending in the Senate proposing to transfer other Indian reserves—in fact other Indian reserves have been transferred into the hands of railway companies and private parties to the detriment of the interests of the people. And if this House shall, by refusing to exercise its power, by refusing to express its opinion, sanction this course of proceeding, how long will it be before the whole public domain of the United States will be absorbed by these unjustifiable means, and it will be beyond our reach to arrest this great wrong. The Committee on Indian Affairs have thought proper to report these resolutions and to ask for them the favorable consideration of this House to assert the power which we properly possess in this matter, expressing our opinion as one of the coördinate branches of Congress, presuming that the Senate will respect that opinion, and hesitate before they give their sanction to this flagrant injustice. . . . [Congressional Globe, 40th Cong., 2d sess., pp. 3261–64.] 72. Resolutions of the Indian Peace Commission October 9, 1868 After a renewal of hostilities on the plains in the summer of 1868, the Peace Commission met again in Chicago in October. It took a strong stand against the hostile Indians and, in a reversal of its earlier position, now recommended the transfer of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to the War Department. The President of the United States: At a meeting of the Indian peace commission held this day the following resolutions , embodying the views of the commission , were adopted, to wit: Resolved, That this commission recommend to the President of the United States and Congress that full provisions be at once made to feed, clothe, and protect all Indians of the Crow, Blackfeet, Piegan, Gros Ventres, Sioux, Ponca, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Apache, Kiowa, and Comanche nations of Indians, 116 who now have located or may hereafter locate permanently on their respective agricultural reservations. Resolved, That the treaties of said tribes with United States, whether ratified or not, should be considered to be and remain in full force...


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