« AnteriorContinuar »
H. OF R.)
Removal of the Indians.
[May 17, 1830.
There the benevolent may endeavor to teach them the arts merely because they bave seen them from the mountain, or of civilization, and, by proinoting union and harmony passed them in the chase. among them, to raise up an interesting commonwealtb, In all the acts, first by the colonies, and afterwards by destined to perpetuate the race, and to attest the humani. the State Governments, the fundamental principle, that ty and justice of this Government.
the Indians had no right either to the soil or sovereignty " This emigration should be voluntary; for it would be of the countries they occupied, bas never been abandossi cruel as upjust to compel the aborigives to abandon the ed either expressly or by implication. The rigor of the graves of their fathers, and seek a home in a distant land. rule for excluding savages from the soil, to make room for But they should be distinctly informed that if they remain agriculturists, has been mitigated, the earth being intended within the limits of the States, they must be subject to their for the benefit of all mankind. The Indians are secured in a laws. In return for their obedience, as individuals, they sufficient quantity of the lands they occupy, for every useful will, without doubt, be protected in the enjoyment of those agricultural purpose. Hence we find reservations made possessions which they have improved by their industry. to the Indians, in most of the old States, as well as the But it seems to me visionary to suppose that, ia this state Federal Government. It is believed that no respectable of things, claims can be allowed on tracts of country on jurist would risk his reputation by contending that a right which they have neither dwelt nor made improvements, to land could be maintained before any of our courts, i merely because they have seen them from the mountain, State or federal, where the title bas been derived from loor passed them in the chase. Submitting to the laws of dians, unless the lands had been granted or patented by the States, and receiving, like other citizens, protection in the Federal or State Governments. their persons and property, they will, ere long, becyme The practice of buying Indian lands is nothing more merged in the mass of our population."
than the substitute of humanity and benevolence, and has The extract from President Jackson's message, just read, been resorted to in preference to the sword, as the best is an upanswerable speech in favor of the entire measure means for agricultural and civilized communities entering on your table. Moreover, short as it is, it contains an irre. into the enjoyment of their natural and just right to the futable argument against every tbing which can be devised benefits of the earth, evidently designed by Him who by the ingenuity of our opponents upon this subject. They formed it for purposes more useful than Indian bunting may theorize upon the subject, as to what ought and wbat grounds. might have been done in relation to the Indians ; they may When the Indians in any colony or State were nume calmly look on, and advise those who are in pain to be easy roas, powerful, and warlike, it has been the practice of and quiet; they may give lectures upon morality, human- all to conciliate them by entering into condescending ity, and benevolence, by an imaginary state of things which compacts and treaties, and thus effect by prudence what does not exist ; but the President of the United States, with they were unable to perform by force. By all the old his ugual practical good sense, takes up the subject as it states, except Georgia, this kind of treaty legislation has actually exists, points out the course which should be pur- long since been abandoned, and direct legislation, for the Bued as best calculated to benefit the Indians as well as control and government of the Indians, substituted in lieu the States, and tells you plainly, no other alternative is thereof. The opinion of the Supreme Court, referred to left, that will not terminate in the destruction of the lo- by my friend (Mr. BELL) from Tennessee, I believe, is condians, as well as the rights and sovereignty of the States.sidered and received as orthodox by every State in the
Yes, sir, good and evil are placed before you. The only Union, in which the distinguished and learned Judge hope of the salvation of the Indians is in your hands. Their Spencer (now a member of the House of Representatives) destiny is suspended by a single thread. God forbid that declared that he knew of no half-way doctrice on this I should ever be so far infatuated by party prejudice, for subject." If a State has jurisdiction at all, it has complete or agaiost any man or set of men, as to be induced to use and entire jurisdiction. The principle upon which jurisdicmy influence to destroy the remnant of the sous of the fo- tion is assumed does not admit of division. rest, or jeopardize the best interests, the peace, harmony, Sir, much has been said and written, with a view of and prosperity of any of the States or territories of this maintaining the doctrine of Indian sovereignty; and I Uniun. Sir, I never sball enter the partisan list to such an admit many of the acts of the General and State Governextent. I love my friends, but I love my country more. ments may be selected, apart from their general policy,
It gives me pain to be under the necessity of making which would seem to afford eupport to this position. Yet, the allusions which I have done, to individuals, societies, when we take the whole policy and bistory of these Goand sectious of our country. I would gladly have avoided verpments, as exbibiting an entire system, it must be adit; and nothing but a sense of duty could have influenced mitted, they have never hesitated to extend their boveme to expose the opposition to this measure as I have done. reignty over the Indians in their respective spheres, when I hope, however, that the spirit and intention of my re- it was deemed expedient to bring them under their laws marks will not be misconstrued. I entertain no hostile or and jurisdiction ; unless, indeed, we find this besitancy in unfriendly feelings toward any human being. Every thing the absence of physical power. Here I will remark that that deserves approbation or admiration, in every section the only reason why any State in this Union bas permitted! of my whole country, is dear to my heart. I have not the interference, or sought the aid of the General Govern- ! travelled out of the path of my duty to commence attacks ment, to take any part of the management and control of on any individual or community, but, without intimidation, the Indian tribes residing within their respective boundaI bave acted on the defensive. This, sir, was due to my ries, has been on account of their physical weakness; and constituents, as well as myself.
they bave, therefore, looked to this Governinent for that Having said so much in regard to the President's mes- aid and succor, to afford which, it was established by the sage, I will return to the elementary writers upon natural several States of this Union. Yes, sir, this Government ! law, but sball give no quotations from, or comment on was formed to protect, and not to destroy the State Go what they have written. "I merely refer to them for the vernments. In all the States, we find, so soon as the Inpurpose of saying, I think, a fair, practical comment upon dians were reduced to a condition that po danger was to those laws, so far as they relate to the subject under con be apprehended from their power and hostility, the sideration, may be found in the bistory of the colonial, States have invariably taken their Indiuo affairs into their State, and General Governments of this country. If this own hands, and no longer looked to the federal arm for proposition be admitted, it is visionary to suppose that aid. Indian claims can be sustained to large tracts of country, Upon every branch of this subject, it is necessary conin which they have neither dwelt nor made improvements, stantly to keep in view the distinction between privileges
MAY 17, 1830.)
Removal of the Indians.
(H. of R.
and immunities. The States bave privileged the General | her compact with this Government in 1802 secured the Government to assume the management of very important pledge and faith of the Federal Goveryment to effect matters connected with their lodian relations. Yes, sir, these desirable objects for Georgia. Yes, sir, from the the aid of this Government bas often been bought in those signing of the compact of 1802, Georgia had a right to matters; Devertheless, while the States thus sougut and expect peace and quiet on the subject of the Yazoo speassented to this exercise of power on the part of the Ge- culation, as well as a speedy, reasonable, and peaceable neral Goveroment, it was from motives of prudent policy relief from all Indian claims to lands within ber borders, and interest. No State of this Union ever saw the time But, sir, we bave experienced a ten-fold portion of that that they would have yielded to this exercise of power, disappointment which the vicissitudes of fortune bring when claimed as a right, and attempted to be enforced to man. contrary to the wishes of the State. It is the same case What has been the history of the engagements formed in regard to the Indians residing in a State. They are by that compact ! Let facts answer this question. From privileged, in very many respects, far beyond their rights that day to this, Georgia has been the subject of upreor immunities. While the population of a State is small, mitted and unmerited abuse. While the claims of the and its territory extensive, large tracts of country are per- Yazoo speculators were pending before this Government, mitted to remain for the use and privilege of the Indians, it was seized upon as a fit occasion, by prejudice and ignoto bunt and roam from place to place. They are also left radce, to censure and revile Georgia, apparently forgetto regulate their own affairs according to their own cus- ting the fact that this Goverment had beeen a great gainer toms, without any interference on the part of the State. by the misfortunes of Georgia, and had actually received But when this state of things becomes changed, as it now a hundred-fold for all its troubles and expense in settling has in Georgia, the State is, of necessity, compelled to assert and quieting these claims. and maintain her rights of sovereiguty and jurisdiction. Again, sir, from that day to this, whenever the subject
If the question of the right of Georgia to unqualified of extinguishing Indian title to lands within the limits of jurisdiction withio ber own limits, is considered as form Georgia has offered the slightest opportunity for declaing any part of the subject under consideration, by impli- mation, we bave, with deep regret, discovered the same cation or otherwise, I think I may, with great confidence, spirit which the geotleman from New York (Mr. STORBS] look to this House for a just decision. But should I be has manifested upon the present occasion. disappointed in an American Congress, I will then appeal But, sir, I will not dwell upon the wrongs of Georgia. to the people and States of the Union. Congress have It is the province of weakness to complain. We have sometimes failed to obey the will of their constituents, sought from this Government our rights, in the fulfilment and they may do so upon the present occasion. If they of her engagements with us. They have long beep withdo, I look to the upofficial sovereign people, to apply the beld, upon frivolous excuses. We had lost confidence in proper remedy.
any appeals which we could make to this Government ; My physical strength admonishes me to draw to a close; that confidence has been restored to the executive branch and vut for the peculiar situation in which I stand related of the Government, by the course which has been marked to the subject, and the more forcible consideration that out and pursued by our present Chief Magistrate. He the character of Georgia should be vindicated and excul- has spread his opinions before the nation, in relation to pated from the many aspersions and calumnies cast on her, the claims and rights of Georgia, upon the Indian subject. here and elsewhere, my remarks would have been few. Georgia is now waiting to bear the response of this branch and strictly confined to the subject; but much as I have of the General Government. A disposition manifested on already said, and desultory as I know my remarks have your part to make reparation to Georgia for the multibeed, I must beg leave to ask, in the name and behalf of plied wrongs which she has endured, will be grateful to the people of Georgia, a comparison between her laws the feelings of every Georgian. and proceedings, with those of any one of her sisters of But, sir, arraigned as we are at your bar, we have no the old thirteen, who achieved the glory of our liberty supplications to make. Wo deny your right of jurisdicand indepeodence.
tion. Upon the subject of our sovereignty we fear nolo bumanity, forbearance, and liberality towards the thing from your sentence. Our right of sovereignty will Iodians, Georgia bas no superior, if she does not stand not be yielded. If you do not perform your duty, by pre-eminent. The prosperity and advancement of the witholding your opposition to long delayed justice, and Indians within her boundaries the theme of Indian bis. fulfil the condition of your contract of twenty-eight years' tory, and the glory of missionary efforts. Volumes have standing, I would then advise you to let us alone; and leave | already been written, and sent to every quarter of the us to manage our own affairs in our own way. While I globe, to carry the glad tidings of the advancement and would score to be beard in the tope of supplication, in reformation of the Georgia Iodians. And yet, sir, have you reference to the rights of my constituents, I would, neverpot, from day to day, throughout this long session, seen theless, as the sincere and candid friend of the Cherokee the provocations teeming upon President Jackson and the Indians, use the language of expostulation in their behalf. Georgians, and a spirit of asperity, rarely witnessed in this The Cherokees, as well as the Georgians, are tired of susor any other country. Martyrdom, the fagot, the flame, pense. A crisis has arrived, which calls for action. Things and stake seem to inspire the ardent hopes and ambition can no longer remain in their present state. of our opponents. Sir, Georgia would turn away from Some acknowledged competent authority must be sussuch sacrifices; she requires no such immolation to re- tained, in what is called the Cherokee country. In its strain the impetuosity of her citizens from acts of inhu- absence, we may daily expect to hear of aparcby and manity and violence towards the Indians, or any other in d. It is not only intruders from Georgia, but from people. If you want any evidence of the generous spiru pus other States, who have recently rushed into the and liberality of Georgia, turn your eye to the maps Cherokee country, to avail themselves of the advantages which adorn your walls: look upon the two flourishing which may be found. States of Alabama and Mississippi, (for these States may, Give your support to the bill under consideration. Hold to a considerable extent, be considered a donation, on the out no vain and delusive hopes to these sons of the forest. part of Georgia, to this confederation of States.) It is the history of the past gives them strong claims on our true, Georgia did, at the time she ceded that territory to sympatby, benevolence, and liberality. Join me in this the Union, expect to relieve
herself thereby of litigation great effort to save the remnant tribes of the originale. and embarrassments, with which she was harassed, and i'hey are a peculiar people. They look back
to the time which were of an unplensant and perplexing nature, and when they were the undisputed masters of this mighty
H. or R.]
Removal of the Indians.
[MAY 17, 1830
continent. They see in the future ro reward for ambition of our solemn engagements. Let others have such systems or exertion, unless you plant them in permanent homes, as they please, we have one established by the practice of wbere the extended views of their true friends and bebe every successive year, resting on the eternal principles of factors may systematically go forward with some prospect justice, and wrought into all our laws on this subject
. of success.
And, sir, even if we could not have taken the ground Mr. ELLSWORTH said, he would most cheerfully ac- which we did at first, and have since maintained, we casquiesce in the proposed appropriation to assist the Indians dot now deny it, and appropriate our funds, and lend w in their removal, could he believe that this object would pational arm to subvert it-we are committed. We have be effected in good faith, and according to the unbiassed invited the Indians to treat with us to trust us to put wishes of the Indians. But he did not believe such would themselves into our hands—and dow can we betray them! be the fact. Whatever gentlemen may say and feel in Can we advance money to carry into effect a system at war this House, [said Mr E.] in the honest expression of their with onr treaties and our solemn pledges ? This is the views, I have no doubt that mercenary motives
, in some ground, And though I shall investigate a little first prioof the southern and southwestern portions of the country, ciples, I do contend the friends of the Indians need not have bad, and still have, an important influence upon this go beyond the statutes and records of our own Goveremeasure. It is advocated upon principles at war with our ment to learn the line of duty. policy towards the Indians : upon principles which no State The advocates of removal tell us we cannot interfere in this Union can expect this Government to recognise or with the internal concerns of a sovereign State. The getsanetion. By the compact of 1802 with the State of Geor- tlemen from Georgia admodieb us that that State has taken gia, we agreed to extinguish the Indian title to her lands her course, and nothing will divert her--that she is sove as soon as it could be done "on reasonable terms, and reign, and will do as she pleases ; and they advise us to let peaceably." Io compliance, I should be glad to unite her alone. Sir, tbe difficulty is, she will not let us alone. in any proper measures, as being an amicable and honor. She says, give us your money; pledge the national treasury able mode of settling questions of grave consideration now to remove the Indians within our borders; and all this sbe urged upon us, and as meeting the wishes of several of demands of us, by tramplir.g under foot the charters of our the States who feel their rights, dignity, and welfare to be plighted faith, and changing completely the principles of involved in the issue. Certainly I shall strive to be faith. our relations with the lodians. She asks too much. She ful to every just expectation of a State. But we inust asks what honesty requires us to withhold. I will never not be faitbless to our engagements. Sir, I have do belief give ber a fartbing upon the principles she assumesbor that the bill wlil bring along with it the proposed and desir- can this Government, without exciting the just indignaable effect; and while I am ready to go as far as any geo- tion of this nation, and of mankind. tleman to assist in an honorable removal of the Indians, I I will now mention some of the circumstances wbich cannot do it under circumstances which admonish me that sbow the character and object of this bill. this bill is but a part of a united effort virtually to expel the First, then, the Executive, whose opinion and future Indians from their apcient possessions. Some of these cir- course of conduct on this subject, it seems, were well cumstances I will lay before the committee. No option is known before his election, applauds Georgia for her great left with the Indians as to their removal, if you pass this furbearance towards the Indians, and denies their right of bill, consistent with their beretofore acknowledged rights, self-government and of soil, except to such a portion as and such as the faith and honor of this country ought to they may happen to be in the actual occupation and enjoy. Becure to them.
ment of. Before I mention these circumstances, permit me to call Next, the Secretary of War, in his official communicathe attention of the committee to the true question in de tions, labors to prove that they have no rights at all
, not bate. This bill proposes a scheme for the removal of all even in any portion of the soil; for be asserts they have the Indian tribes on the east of the Mississippi to the west- lost all, and the States have acquired all, by conquest and erp wilderness. The sum now to be appropriated, it is discovery; and such has of late become the language of admitted, is for a beginning only. None suppose the Georgia. She openly declared, by her Senate, in 1827, whole expense will fall short of three millions, and many “ that the State might properly take possession of the think it will be more than quadruple that sum. What is Cherokee country by force, and that it was owing to ber the character of this grand scheme? Upon what 'princi- moderation and forbearance that she did not thus take posples is it urged upon us ! It becomes us to examine it par- session.” Previous to this declaration, a joint committee rowly. If it is to operate coercively upon the Indians ; if of the Legislature bad made a report, in which they say that bribery, corruption, and menace are about to make it ef. the European nations asserted successfully the right of oc fectual, as I verily believe will be the fact, we cannot give cupying such parts of America as each discovered, and the funds of this nation to assist in its accomplishment therehy they established their supreme command over it. The question is not so exactly what is the relation between Again-" It may be contended with much plausibility that the States and their Indian tribes, as what is the relation there is in these claims more of force than of justice; but of this Government to them. It is not so material what they are claims which have been recognized and admitted notions Georgia entertains about the original rights of her by the whole civilized world: and it is unquestionably true, Indians. She may deny them all, if she pleases, and her that, under such circumstances, force becomes right be advocates may contend that it is now too late to inquire fore Georgia became a party to the articles of agreement into their rights, as distinct and independent; but since we and cession, (the compact of 1802.) she could rightfully are called upon to accomplish their removal, it is our duty bave possessed herself of those lands, either by negotiation to see that the principles wbich bave bitherto regulated with the Indians, or by force; and she bad determined, in our relations with the Indians, are not denied or abandon- one of the two ways, to do so ; but by this contract she ed. This Government has settled the character of the In- made it the duty of the United States to sustain the exdian tribes—it is too late for her to speculate, if she would, pense of obtaining for her the possession, provided is on this subject. The whole bistory of our Indian Depart. could be done on reasonable terms, and by negotiation; ment--the scores of treaties we have made, and the inter- but in case it should be necessary to resort to force, tbis course law of 1791, and now existing as passed in 1802, contract with the United States makes no provision : the establish
great fact that this Government has held consequence is, that Georgia is left uptrammelled, and st these trive to be distinct from the States for all national full liberty to prosecute her rights in that point of vier, purposes ; nor can we now deny it, without the most mani: according to her discretion, and as though no sueh 09fest injustice to the Indians, and the most glaring disregard tract bad been made." Truly, this is logic with a red
#MAY 17, 1830.)
Removal of the Indians.
(H. OF R.
geance. And we are called upon to sunction these abomi-, chiefs alone"-" to move upon them in the line of their prenable doctrines. They lie, avowedly, at the basis of this judices, and to give them rewards." The letters of instrucfearful measure. May the national council pause upon the tion to these agents of Government we have on our tables. brink of this precipice, before every thing is lost in the They are a stain upon our national character. These fruit. chasm below.
less attempts to induce the Indians to remove, prove, beAnother circumstance of admouitiou is, that an honorable yond all question, that they never will remove, if left to committee of this House bave openly declared, in their act their own pleasure. report made to sustain this bill, that the lodians are mere I cannot belp believing that much is meant by this bill tenants at will, strictly having no rights to territory or of appropriations. The Indians will feel that they must self-government-and that the red men lie at the mercy go, or be abandoned to their fate; and the world will jusof the whites, by reason of discovery, conquest, civiliza- ufy that feeling. They must and they will go. tion, greater knowledge and power, or christianity, or the While the lodians are thus abandoned by the United
like. This is their language on the fifth page : " But iu States-pressed by the States in which they live, and deall the acts, first of the colonies, and afterwards of the nied all right of territory and self-government, let us not *States, the fundamental principle, that the Indians bad no delude ourselves with talking about their voluntary and
rights, by virtue of their ancieut possessiou, either of soil cheerful removal, but rather let us meet the matter fairly, Sop sovereignty, has never been abaudoped either expressly and make out the position, that this nation, or the indivi
or by implication." So again : "No respectable jurist has dual States of it, bave a right, before God and man, to ever gravely contended that the rigbt of the lodians to send the Indians even to the Pacific Ocean, if they be in sibold their reserved lands, could be supported in the courts the way of our growth and expansion. of the country upou any other ground than the graut or Let me now ask the attention of the committee to the - permission of the sovereignty or State in which such lands great questions—What are the rights of the lodians ? and
lie.” This report goes further than I bad supposed intel- what is our duty to them? eligent men could go. It really leaves nothing to the In It is not at all improbable that we shall answer these edian. The very soil on which he lives, and where his an. questions differently from what the Indians would. We
scestors lived before him, is none of his, but belongs to the may adopt a course of reasoning which they would deny, white man.
anu one which we might perhaps see differently if the In. Nor am I less alarmed to see it so seriously asserted by diaus were the stronger party: But I trust that we shall the committee, that all our lodian treaties are a mere le not forget that truth and justice are always the same, and igislative proceeding, and as such alterable at our pleasure that towards the Indians we ought to act upon the most
And I am by no means certain that the committee do not noble, generous, and humane principles. mean to say that our treaties and legislative enactments, as The Indians declare to us that they are to be sacrificed
far as they rest on any rights of the lodiays, are unconsti- to the mercenary views of the whites. They come in a tutional and void. Puge 8th, I read~" These treaties body of some thousands, imploring our interposition. They were but a mode of government, and a substitute for ordi- recite our treaties, in which they have given themselves
nary legislation, which were from time to time dispenseil into our arms for protection, and in which we have most with, in regard to those tribes which continued in any of solemnly received them, and pledged ourselves to protect
the colonies or States until they became enclosed by the them from every power whatever. Sir, it is becoming us, wbite population.” If these treaties are not binding to to look at this matter fairly and fully, and see where their full extent, then the great meu who established the Go- duty lies. vernment, and for years administered it-all the Presidents What, then, I ask, are the rights of the Indians! I of this Union, and their associates, including, tvo, our pre maintain that the complainants have the right of territory Bent Chief Magistrate, have been in error, and made treaties and self-government, and that these have ever been acand laws without right, and against right.
corded to them by this Government. I have a further reason for fearing the Indians are to be Suppose, sir, we were now, for the first time, to learn expelled. While such seutiments are entertained in the that there was a tribe of Indians in Georgia, the Cherokees cabinet, certain States, for the first time, and just at this we will suppose, and that, discovering them, we should crisis, put the finishing stroke to this grand scheme of re- learn they had lived upon their present territory, and their moval. They deliberately pass laws, anuihilating the inde. ancestors before them, from a period beyond all memory
pendent existence of the tribes; abrogating all their cus- or history. Suppose we should find them to be owners of toms, decrees,' rules, and obligations; exeluding the superio- a tract of land coutaining eight millious of acres, possessteudeuce of Congress ; opening the whole country of the ing a goveroment of laws, a public treasury, schools, and Twiuns to the whites; and, in short, taking from them their religious institutious, and made up, to a great extent, of own goverument, and excluding them from a participation farmers and mechanics, advancing in knowledge, wealth, in theirs; and all this upon a claim of right, while the sin virtue, and power. Suppose all this, (and I do not speak gle object is to coerce their removal.
of an imaginary people,) wbat should we say of their Now, sir, when I find such sentiments prevailing in cer- rights as a nation ? We could not possibly differ. Writers taid States, and in the cabinet, and that the like are urged on the law of nature and of nations, politicians and moraupon us by the committee to induce the House to pass this lists, of every school and every age, would agree that they bill, I am alarmed for the poor and helpless Indian—I feel had the most perfect and absolute right to territory and that power is arrayed against right; and that the voluntary, government. And let, me stop here to remark that the uubiassed expression of the Indians, as to their removal, is Indian right to territory is no better than his right to gonut likely to be had.
verument. Every consideration can be urged in favor of Besides, sir, we have the expression of the Indians reite-ope right, that can be urged in favor of the other. They rated upon us. They do not wish to remove. For years must stand or fall together. I do not deny that the right have we been laboring to make them remove-bave inade of soil and jurisdiction may be divided; but they are not
them liberal offers-induced them to go and see the pro so in this case. If the Indian tribes have a right to live muised land tendered to them; but it is all in vain; like others, upon their possessions, they have a right to live there as they prefer to live and die where their father's lives and they please, provided they do not aynoy us. died, and refuse, absolutely, to remove. And to make the Now, I ask gentlemen if the rights supposed are not last and final attempt, this great and mighty Government really the present rights of Indians. Here they are : has iosidiously sent in ite agents, Generals Coffee and Car- here they ever have been; and bere they are in the conoll, secretly, as their friends, to advise them " to try the titign ļo whigh I have supposed. Jo 1826, the Cherokees
H. OF R.]
Removal of the Indians.
(MAY 17, 1830.
were the owners of two thousand nine bundred and forty-f against 118. Sir, the Indians should be left to feel that we three ploughs, one hundred and seventy-two wagons, two are honest and faithful to our engagements, and that we thousand tive huodred sheep, seven thousand six bundred are not about to change our whole course of intercourse with horses, twenty-two thousand cattle, four hundred and forty. them. They know nothing about this European potion of six thousand swine. Have they done any thing to forfeit title by first discovery. They bave always occupied their their rights? If so, when ! how ! by what act! by what present possessions. The Indian finds that the Great Being event | True, we bave gathered round them, while they who made bim bas given him a place on the earth, and he have been receding to their present parrow limits, and ad- argues that some reasonable portion of it, on which be! vancing to their present condition of knowledge and im was born and has ever lived, must be his ; Add that that! provement; (and had they not a right so to advance !) portion of it cannot be wrested from him by another's When we bave taken their lands, we have purcbased them, casting his eye or placing bis foot upon it. and marked distinctly the boundaries of wbat we left. Now, Thus much for the right of discovery. I again ask gentlemen when the lodians lost their rights. As to the right of conquest, I imagine even less can be The whites may bave made maps and charts, and drawn said. Victory and activity subject the vanquished and his lides; but what' have the Indians done? They are the crea- property to the pleasure of the victor. But then the right tures of the same God with ourselves; he has made them, of claiming the country of another nation, and of exereisand placed them where they are; be it was, who gave them ing government over it, depend upon the fact of a victoritheir lands to dwell in. Sir, I declare there is no right in ous conflict-taking possession as conquerors, institoling us to take it or their Government from them. Power may a government as such, and driving out ibe enemy, or redo it, but the God of heaven will not sanction it. Self-ceiving bim as a dependent subject. But done of all this, defence does not require it; nor does discovery, conquest, surely, is true of these southern tribes. All the wars becivilization, or christianity give it.
tween them and us have tei mipated in formal treaties, Let us look, for a moment, at these several grounds of leaving them io possessiou of their territory, distinctly se title. What, sir, is the right of discovery! This right is knowledging their independent existence, and guaranty. often spoken of by those who are adverse to the claims of ing to them their possessions... Treaties to this effect are the Indians. Among the nations of Europe, it seems to oumerous, and, I trust, too familiar to this House to need to be a principle of the law of nations, that if the subjects of be read. Besides, so far as the lodians have lost their any king discover and enter upon new and unknowo ladds, country by conquest, the United States have acquired it, they become a part of the doininions of that king. There and not the States. The States have never conquered is much that is arbitrary and fanciful about this right. But, their country, or taken possession of it, or abolished their be it reasonable or unreasonable, it is a mere political ar laws, and instituted a government of their own. The war rangement among nations, established to regulate their bave been conducted by the United States, but she has de own conduct among themselves, and bas nothing to do with knowledged their independence in the numerous treaties the prior possessors of the land. I can hardly conceive of peace already mentioned. Nor bas she ever taken any how sailing along our coast for a few miles should, in the thing from them, not even a right of passage through their first instance, have given a right to North America. But territory, without their copsent and an equivalent. It is be it that it does; how are the Indians affected by ibat forever tow late to talk of conquest. Great Britain has consideration ? Suppose eveu the rights of the lodiaps not more fully acknowledged our independence than bave ought, upon general principles, to be limited and restricted we that of the Indians. With the Cherokees we have by the settlements of civilized and christian people, will made sixteen treaties. They all begin and end with this any contend that the Cherokees, for instance, ought to be septiinent. And even if these treaties were made without driven into narrower limits than their preseut possessions ? authority, (which I by no means admit,) they negate all If, because we are eolightened and civilized, by discover right or claim by conquest. Before the union of these ing this country we have couferred ,ou us a right to drive States, Georgia berself
, by more than one treaty, most fully off the Indians, or wrest from them their Government, acknowledged the rights of the Indians. It is enough that (which I consider the same thing) then we may, if it be- she never did take the attitude of a conqueror. (See the comes necessały, in order to secure our further advance treaty made at Dewitt's corner in 1777. ment iu knowledge and virtue, drive them into the Western if, then, Georgia and the other States have no rigbt, Ocean, or even put them to death. Certainly nothing of directly or indirectly, to expel these lodians-00 right to this kind is necessary. Indeed, I believe the Indians, by their Government or their territory, by discovery or cobbeing established on the west side of the Mississippi, will quest, or civilization, or christianity, wbeu, und where become a greater obstacle to our national growth and pros- bave they this right at all? True, they may not wish to perity, than if left as they now are. Not twenty-five years bave the Indians within their limits--but who put them will pass, before the Indian on those rich lands will be in there! God. How long have they been there i Always Boine white man's way.
Nor is it their fault that the white bave gathered around It may be true that the European nations, the English, them, or that it so happens that they fall within the charFrench, Spanish, aud Portuguese, have apparted this con- tered limits of a State. This is no act of theirs, whereby tioent upon the principle of title by the first discovery and they forfeit their rights, nor do they adipit, nor have tbey pi ssession. But, in doing this, they bad infinite difficulty at any time, that they are not independent and sovereigu. and wars; nor did they then do it with reference to the lo: They bave granted no charters and drawn no lives, except dians, but only to govern their own conduct, and to avoid as they have sold to the whites. further collision and war. Has it not been the established I have thus far considered what are the rights of these principle of this Government to recognise the Indian title Indians, independent of treaties and legislation, on our Has it ever taken their land upon this title by discovery part: but I will now call the attention of the committee to without their consent, and for an agreed consideration the political condition in which this Government has conSir, do we not every year acknowledge their title, by sidered them to stand, and I affirm we shall find every making treaties with them, and paying annuities? We thing to confirm the opinion already advanced. No pusi. pay, I think, more than two hundred thousand dollars an: tion is susceptible of better proof. pually to the Indians in annuities. How can we, the United From the first union among the States, our relations, States, deny a right which we have recognised, aye, gua- with the ludian tribes have been conducted by the National rantied, thousands of times ! We are estopped. We are Governmeut. As our defence in case of war with them convicted by our owu conduct from the very begiuding required the gencrul arm and common funds, the nation The history of our Government will rise up in judgment was interested to superinteud all intercourse with them