Imatges de pÓgina

by deprive the United States of its rights under this treaty, and Congress can hardly be expected to treat both the deed and the treaty as nullities.

In article sixth of the treaty of 1818 is the usual provision to guard the Indians against the superior knowledge and the cupidity of the whites.

"The several tracts of land which, by the third article of this treaty, the United States engaged to grant to the persons therein mentioned, shall never be transferred by the said persons or their heirs without the approbation of the President of the United States.'

The title of Sweetzer is not derived from the grantee or reservee, but rests on a judicial sale and sheriff's deed, and therefore it is claimed that the approval of the President is not necessary to the validity of the title. It is true the courts have gone very far, and, in the opinion of the committee, too far, in evading the above salutary provision of our Indian treaties.

In the case of Fielding Lowry vs. Peter Godfrey et al., 4th Mc. Lean's Reports, Judge McLean says: “Lands reserved to Indians under a treaty which vests in them the title, but which restricts them from conveying it except with the consent of the President of the United States, descend under the laws of the State, and may be made responsible for the payment of debts.”

Attorney General Mason, in his opinion given in the case relating to the estate of John B. Bourie, following the decision in Lowry vs. Weaver, says: “Where the reservees shall have died, and sales are made under an order of court granted pursuant to the laws of the State in which the lands are situated, the President's consent is not necessary to their validity.”

These are extreme cases, and arose in the settlement of the estates of deceased grantees. In the opinion of the committee, the provision in our Indian treaties requiring the approval of the President is a wholesome and necessary one; that it is superior to State laws or the decisions of State courts, and justice and humanity require that it shall not be evaded either in letter or spirit. In this view we are sustained by the late William L. Marcy. In his opinion on the Bourie case, given to President Polk, he says: “In regard to the within cases, it appears to me that on the death of Bourie the lands which he held under the treaties of October, 1826, became the property of the heirs, with the right to sell the same with the consent of the President of the United States. I do not conceive that the right of the heirs can be defeated by the State laws, under which an attempt has been made to sell the same to raise a fund to pay the creditors of Bourie. The land is, in my opinion, the property of the heirs, and neither directly nor indirectly can it be sold for the benefit of the creditors of Bourie; on his death it vested in them; and I respectfully suggest that the President should withhold his assent to the deeds given by Breckinridge, the commissioner of the court of proTo this opinion the President signified his approval, as follows:


“I approve the foregoing decision of the Secretary of War, 1st August, 1845.

"JAMES K. POLK." This opinion of Secretary Marcy is sound and just, and is applicable in every respect to this case. The opinion of the Attorney General on the Bourie case was given after this opinion of Secretary Marcy; but the President adhered to his original views, and refused his assent to the sales. The committee are of opinion that this claim of Sweetzer originated in fraud, and that the relief asked for by the petitioners ought not to be granted.

2d Session.

No. 99.


MAY 2, 1862.-Laid on the table, and ordered to be printed.

Mr. CUTLER, from the Committee on Invalid Pensions, made the



The Committee on Invalid Pensions, to whom was referred the petition of

Jeremiah Pendegrast, report:

Jeremiah Pendegrast, late a landsman on board the United States steamer Powhatan, on the coast of China, while in the discharge of his duty, in August, 1855, was disabled for life, for which his name was put on the pension list for the District of Columbia at the rate of $4 per month; that by a late act of Congress his pension was increased $4, so that it is now $8 per month. He now desires it may be increased to the sum of $16 per month. From a careful consideration of the facts, as presented in the accompanying papers, your committee are of opinion that he is not entitled to the relief asked for.



May 2, 1862.–Laid on the table, and ordered to be printed.

Mr. CUTLER, from the Committee on Invalid Pensions, made the f



The Committee on Invalid Pensions, to whom was referred the petition of

A. Pier, report : The petitioner, A. Pier, represents that he was a soldier in the war of 1812, in Captain Jewett's company, Vermont militia; that in September, 1814, while on his way to Plattsburg, he received an injury resulting in a rupture.

This representation, however, does not seem to be accompanied with such proof as, in the opinion of your committee, would justify the interposition of legislative action to grant relief, and therefore ask to be discharged from further consideration of the subject.

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