Mr. Adee to Sir Julian Pauncefote.
Washington, August 2, 1894.
Dear Sir Julian: In your personal note of the 23d ultimo, inclosing a communication from certain parties claiming to be British subjects, who are supposed to be among those whose removal has been requested by the Choctaw authorities, you say:
The case seems a hard one if their allegations he correct and they have committed no offense in relation to the strike. It would be satisfactory to know on what ground they are ejected after so long a residence, the absence of a permit having apparently been condoned by long sufferance. Their ejection may be a mode of unjust coercion by interested parties, and entails absolute ruin on them. I hope, therefore, that you will kindly institute some further inquiry which will elicit, not the law under which it is proposed to eject them, but the reasons for putting the law in force after a residence of years in the Territory.
Having handed both your note and its inclosure to the Secretary of the Interior, I have now the honor to acquaint you with the substance of his reply.
On the 7th ultimo Secretary Smith transmitted to me a report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs giving the reasons for the removal of parties shown to be within the Choctaw territory without proper authority and the treaties and laws under which this action was to be taken. Copy of this report I sent you July 10.
What motive prompted the Choctaw authorities to demand the removal of the persons designated by them as intruders the Secretary of the Interior is unable to say. On May 12 last the Indian agent of his Department whose field of duties includes the Choctaw country reported that 2,000 miners who had struck were boisterous and threatening; that the police force was inadequate to meet the crisis, and that he regarded the presence of a military force as absolutely essential. About the same time various other telegrams were received showing the situation there to be most critical and the danger of loss of life and property imminent.
On May 19, 1894, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs submitted to the Interior Department a letter from the governor of the Choctaw Nation, inclosing the names of 200 people, who, it was said, entered the nation under permit of the authorites thereof, to work for the Choctaw Coal Railway Company, but who had quit their work, and were therefore no longer protected by the permits issued to them, and asking for their removal as intruders.
The Commissioner recommended that such persons as had no authority to remain in the Choctaw country be removed, and this recommendation was approved by the Interior Department. The Secretary of the Interior has not yet received a full report of the investigation made and action taken by the agent under the authority thus granted to remove intruders.
The Choctaws are not citizens of the United States, but constitute a separate nation, with its own form of government and laws existing within the borders of the United States under and in accordance with treaty stipulations. Those people who go into that country must be held to have done so with full knowledge of those treaties and of the Choctaw laws, and must accept the consequences if they are found to be there without proper authority. The statement made by these parties that they have their homes there, which represent to them years of [Page 250]labor, can not be fully accepted. The fact is, non-citizens are not permitted to acquire real estate in the Choctaw country.
However, the Secretary of the Interior is investigating the matter of these removals, and such action as may be proper will be taken to secure to all persons such protection as they may be entitled to under treaty stipulations and provisions of law.
The Secretary concludes with the statement that from information recently received he is led to believe that the trouble between the miners and their employers will soon be adjusted satisfactorily to all parties.
I return herewith the inclosure to your note, as therein requested.
Believe me, etc.,