The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 26, July 1922 - April, 1923 Page: 55
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Life and Service of John Birdsall 55
N. B. It will of course be necessary to procure the requisite
proofs of payment having been made to Capt.
To His Ex The President of the Republic of Texas.
Sir, I have looked into the treaty with the Cherokee Indians
and their associate Bands togather with the documents accom-
paning the same, and have endevoured to bestow upon them the
consideration and reflection which their importance demands.
As far as it was possible for the General Consultation to con-
cede and establish the right of the tribes in question to the terri-
tory designated, the Indian title was guaranteed by that Body
in their solumn Declaration and Pledge made on the 13th of
Nov '35 and severally signed by all the members of that body.
The language of that instrument partakes largely of the strong
and deep feeling that marked the crisis at which it was put forth.
It would be difficult to combine language in any form better cal-
culated to produce with those to whom it was addressed, implicit
and unqualified confidence as to its truth and sincerity.
A departure at this time from its stipulations and professions,
without good cause, cannot fail to be regarded by the Indians
and the world, as an act of the grossest perfidy and injustice.
If it were admitted that the Consultation transcended its legit-
imate powers in executing the Declaration and Pledge referred
to, still as the Indians could not be presumed to know, and did
not in fact know the limitations, if any, that were imposed upon
the authority of that body, the principles of common justice and
good faith would seem to require its fulfillment by the people
A little attention, however, to the character of that Body and
the subsequent course of the Government, will, I think, satisfy
all, that its powers were fully equal to the authority it assumed.
This Body consisting of about sixty members was a radical and
primary representation of the people of all Texas in their polit-
They assembled independently of Coahuila and the political
organization which had formerly existed, and by this act became
virtually severed and separate from the Mexican empire. They
were the only political authority known to the country for the
time being, and were therefore necessarily charged with the duties
and attributes of Government.
ment of State, Book 49, page 111, on file in the archives of the Texas State
Library. For an account of this case see THE QUARTERLY, XII, 276-295.
'Copy of Opinion of John Birdsall in re Cherokee treaty, from papers
in possession of Col. Andrew J. Houston, who says, "In a message to
Congress the president quoted this opinion in full." See House Journal,
Third Texas Congress, 1st Session, 87-93. Houston's message is dated
November 19. For the history of this treaty see above, this issue of
THE QUARTERLY, 16-18.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 26, July 1922 - April, 1923, periodical, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101084/m1/61/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.