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EXHIBIT 131.

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The American to the British Plenipotentiaries.'

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GHENT, September 9th, 1814. The undersigned have had the honor to receive the note of His Britannic Majesty's plenipotentiaries dated the 4th inst.

It is with deep regret that the undersigned, if they have rightly understood the meaning of the last note of the British plenipotentiaries, perceive that they still insist on the exclusive military possession of the Lakes, and on a permanent boundary and independent territory for the Indians residing within the dominions of the United States.

The general position that it was consistent with the principles of public law, and with the practice of civilized nations, to include allies in a treaty of peace, and to provide for their security, never was called in question by the undersigned. But they have denied the right of Great Britian, according to those principles and to her own practice, to interfere in any manner with Indian tribes residing within the territories of the United States, as acknowledged by herself, to consider such tribes as her allies, or to treat for them with the United States. They will not repeat the facts and arguments already brought forward by them in support of this position, and which remain unanswered. The observations made by the British plenipotentiaries on the Treaty of Greenville, and their assertion that the United States now, for the first time, deny the absolute independence of the Indian tribes, and claim the exclusive right of purchasing their lands, require, however, some notice.

If the United States had now asserted that the Indians within their boundaries, who have acknowledged the United States as their only protectors, were their subjects, living only at sufferance on their lands, far from being the first in making that assertion' they would only have followed the example of the principles uniformly and invariably asserted, in substance, and frequently avowed, in express terms, by the British Government itself. What was the meaning of all the Colonial charters granted by the British monarchs, from that of Virginia by Elizabeth, to that of Georgia by the immediate predecessor of the present king, if the Indians were the sovereigns and proprietors of the lands bestowed by those charters? What was the meaning of that article in the Treaty of Utrecht, by which the five nations were described in terms as subject to the dominion of Great Britain? Or that of the Treaty with the Cherokees, by which it was declared that the King of Great Britain granted them the privilege to live where they pleased, if those subjects were independent sovereigns, and if these tenants, at the license of the British king, were the rightful lords of the land where he granted them permission to live? What was the meaning of that proclamation of His Britannic Majesty, issued in 1763, declaring all purchases of lands from the Indians null and void, unless made by treaties held under the sanction of His Majesty's Government, if the Indians had the right to sell their lands to whom they pleased? What was the meaning of boundary lines of American territories in all the treaties of Great Britain with other European powers having American possessions, particularly in the treaty of 1763, by which she acquired from France the sovereignty and possession of the Canadas; in her treaty of pearc with the United States of 1783; nay, what is the meaning of the northwestern boundary line now proposed by the British commissioners themselves, if it is the rightful possession and sovereignty of independent Indians of which these boundaries dispose? Is it, indeed, necessary to ask whether Great Britain ever has permitted, or would permit, any foreign nation, or, without her consent, any of her subjects, to acquire lands from the Indians, in the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company, or in Canada? In formally protesting against this system, it is not against a novel pretension of the American Government, it is against the most solemn acts of their own Sovereigns, against the royal proclamations, charters, and treaties of Great Britain for more than two centuries, from the first settlement of North America to the present day, that the British plenipotentiaries protest.

1American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III, p. 715.

From the rigor of this system, however, as practised by Great Britain and all the other European Powers in America, the humane and liberal policy of the United States has voluntarily relaxed. A celebrated writer on the Law of Nations, to whose authority British jurists have taken particular satisfaction in appealing, after stating, in the most explicit manner, the legitimacy of colonial settlements in America, to the exclusion of all rights of uncivilized Indian tribes, has taken occasion to praise the first settlers of New England, and of the founder of Pennsylvania, in having purchased of the Indians the lands they resolved to cultivate, notwithstanding their being furnished with a charter from their sovereign. It is this example which the United States, since they became by their independence the sovereigns of the territory, have adopted and organized into a political system. Under that system the Indians residing within the United States are so far independent that they live under their own customs and not under the laws of the United States; that their rights upon the lands where they inhabit or hunt are secured to them by boundaries defined in amicable treaties between the United States and themselves; and that whenever those boundaries are varied, it is also by amicable and voluntary treaties, by which they receive from the United States ample compensation for every right they have to the lands ceded by them. They are so far dependent as not to have the right to dispose of their lands to any private persons, nor to any Power other than the United States, and to be under their protection alone, and not under that of any other Power. Whether called subjects, or by whatever name designated, such is the relation between them and the United States. That relation is neither asserted now for the first time nor did it originate with the Treaty of Greenville. These principles have been uniformly recognized by the Indians themselves, not only by that treaty, but in all the other previous as well as subsequent treaties between them and the United States.

The Treaty of Greenville neither took from the Indians the right, which they had not, of selling lands within the jurisdiction of the United States to foreign governments or subjects, nor ceded to them the right of exercising exclusive jurisdiction within the boundary line assigned. It was merely declaratory of the public law, in relation to the parties, founded on principles previously and universally recognized. If left to the United States the rights of exercising sovereignty and of acquiring soil bears no analogy to the proposition of Great Britain, which requires the abandonment of both.

The British plenipotentiaries state, in their last note, that Great Britain is ready to enter into the same engagement, with respect to the Indians living within her line of demarcation, as that which is proposed to the United States. The undersigned

by those charters? What was the meaning of that article in the Treaty of Utrecht, by which the five nations were described in terms as subject to the dominion of Great Britain? Or that of the Treaty with the Cherokees, by which it was declared that the King of Great Britain granted them the privilege to live where they pleased, if those subjects were independent sovereigns, and if these tenants, at the license of the British king, were the rightful lords of the land where he granted them permission to live? What was the meaning of that proclamation of His Britannic Majesty, issued in 1763, declaring all purchases of lands from the Indians null and void, unless made by treaties held under the sanction of His Majesty's Government, if the Indians had the right to sell their lands to whom they pleased? What was the meaning of boundary lines of American territories in all the treaties of Great Britain with other European powers having American possessions, particularly in the treaty of 1763, by which she acquired from France the sovereignty and possession of the Canadas; in her treaty of pearc with the United States of 1783; nay, what is the meaning of the northwestern boundary line now proposed by the British commissioners themselves, if it is the rightful possession and sovereignty of independent Indians of which these boundaries dispose? Is it, indeed, necessary to ask whether Great Britain ever has permitted, or would permit, any foreign nation, or, without her consent, any of her subjects, to acquire lands from the Indians, in the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company, or in Canada? In formally protesting against this system, it is not against a novel pretension of the American Government, it is against the most solemn acts of their own Sovereigns, against the royal proclamations, charters, and treaties of Great Britain for more than two centuries, from the first settlement of North America to the present day, that the British plenipotentiaries protest.

From the rigor of this system, however, as practised by Great Britain and all the other European Powers in America, the humane and liberal policy of the United States has voluntarily relaxed. A celebrated writer on the Law of Nations, to whose authority British jurists have taken particular satisfaction in appealing, after stating, in the most explicit manner, the legitimacy of colonial settlements in America, to the exclusion of all rights of uncivilized Indian tribes, has taken occasion to praise the first settlers of New England, and of the founder of Pennsylvania, in having purchased of the Indians the lands they resolved to cultivate, notwithstanding their being furnished with a charter from their sovereign. It is this example which the United States, since they became by their independence the sovereigns of the territory, have adopted and organized into a political system. Under that system the Indians residing within the United States are so far independent that they live under their own customs and not under the laws of the United States; that their rights upon the lands where they inhabit or hunt are secured to them by boundaries defined in amicable treaties between the United States and themselves; and that whenever those boundaries are varied, it is also by amicable and voluntary treaties, by which they receive from the United States ample compensation for every right they have to the lands ceded by them. They are so far dependent as not to have the right to dispose of their lands to any private persons, nor to any Power other than the United States, and to be under their protection alone, and not under that of any other Power. Whether called subjects, or by whatever name designated, such is the relation between them and the United States. That relation is neither asserted now for the first time nor did it originate with the Treaty of Greenville. These principles have been uniformly recognized by the Indians themselves, not only by that treaty, but in all the other previous as well as subsequent treaties between them and the United States.

The Treaty of Greenville neither took from the Indians the right, which they had not, of selling lands within the jurisdiction of the United States to foreign governments or subjects, nor ceded to them the right of exercising exclusive jurisdiction within the boundary line assigned. It was merely declaratory of the public law, in relation to the parties, founded on principles previously and universally recognized. If left to the United States the rights of exercising sovereignty and of acquiring soil bears no analogy to the proposition of Great Britain, which requires the abandonment of both.

The British plenipotentiaries state, in their last note, that Great Britain is ready to enter into the same engagement, with respect to the Indians living within her line of demarcation, as that which is proposed to the United States. The undersigned

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