Page images


The Indians.

{APRIL 9, 1830. between the confederation, and the colonies, and the Con- Indian claims--thius regarded, if the contending parties gress of the States. Our ancestors found these people, were to exchange positions; place the white man where far removed from the commotions of Europe, exercising the Indian stands; load him with all these wrongs, and all the rights, and enjoying the privileges, of free and in- what path would his outraged feelings strike out for his dependent sovereigns of this new world. They were not carcer? Twenty shillings tax, I think it was, in posed a wild and lawless horde of banditti, but lived under the re. upon the immortal Hampden, roused into activity the straints of government, patriarchal in its character, and slumbering fires of liberty in the Old World, from which energetic in its influence. They had chiefs, head men, she dates a glorious epoch, whose healthful influence and councils. The white men, the authors of all their still cherishes the spirit of freedom. A few pence of du. wrongs, approached them as friends--they extended the ty on tea, that invaded no fires de, excited no fears, disolive branch; and, being then a feeble colony and at the turbedl no substantial interest whatever, awakened in the mercy of the native tenants of the soil, by presents and American colonies a sprit of firm resistance; and how was professions, propitiated their good will. The Indian yield- the tea tax met, sir? Just as it should be. There was lurk. ed a slow, but substantial confidence; granted to the colo- sing beneath this trifling imposition of duty, a covert nists an abiding place; and suffered them to grow up to assumption of authority, that led directly to oppressive man's estate beside him. He never raised the claim of el. exactions. “No taxation without representation,” be. der title: as the white man's wants increased, he opened came our motto. We would neither pay the tax nor the hand of his bounty wider and wider. By and by, con- drink the tea. Our fathers buckled on their armor, ditions are changed. His people melt away; his lands are and, from the water's edge, repelled the encroachments constantly coveted; millions after millions are ceded. The of a misguided cabinet. We successfully and triumphIndian bears it all meekly; he complains, indeed, as well antly contended for the very rights and privileges that he may; but suffers on: and now he finds that this neigh. our Indian neighbors now implore us to protect and prebor, whom his kindness had nourished, bas spread an ad serve to them. Sir, this thought invests the subject verse title over the last remains of his patrimony, barely under debate with most singular and momentous interest, adequate to his wants, and turns upon him, and says, We, whom God has exalted to the very siminit of pros“away! we cannot endure you so near us! These forests perity--whose brief career forms the brightest page in and rivers, these groves of your fathers, these firesides history; the wonder and praise of the world; freedom's and hunting grounds, are ours by the right of power, and hope, and her consolation; we, about to turn traitors to the force of numbers.” Sir, let every treaty be blotted our principles and our fame--about to become the op. from our records, and in the judgment of natural and un-pressors of the feeble, and to cast away our birthright! changeable truth and justice, 1 ask, who is the injured, and Sir, I hope for better things. who is the aggressor? Let conscience answer, and I fear It is a subject full of grateful satisfaction, that, in our not the result. Sir, let those who please, denounce the public intercourse with the Indians, ever since the first public feeling on this subject as the morbid excitement of colonies of white men found an abode on these Western a false human ty; but I return with the inquiry, whether 1 shores, we have distinctly recognized their title; treated have not presented the case truly, with no feature of it with them as owners, and in all our acquisitions of terovercharged or distorted? And, in view of it, who can ritory, applied ourselves to these ancient proprietors, by help feeling, sir? Do the obligations of justice change purchase and cession alone, to obtain the right of soil. with the color of the skin? Is it one of the prerogatives Sir, (said Mr. F.] I challenge the record of any other or of the white man, that he may disregard the dictates of different pretension. When, or where, did any assembly, moral principles, when an Indian shall be concerned? No, or convention meet which proclaimed, or even suggested sir. In that severe and impartial scrutiny which futurity to these tribes, that the right of discovery contained a will cast over this subject, the righteous award will be, superior efficacy over all prior titles? that those very auses which are now pleaded for the re And our recognition was not confined to the soil mere. laxed enforcement of the rules of equity, urged upon us !y. We regarded them as nations--far behind us indeed not only a rigid execution of the highest justice, to the vein civilization, but still we respected their forms of gery letter, but claimed at our hands a generous and mag-vernment--we conformed our conduct to their notions of nanimous policy.

civil policy. We were aware of the potency of any Standing here, then, on this unshaken basis, how is it edict that sprang from the deliberations of the council possible that even a shadow of claim to soil, or jurisdic- fire; and when we desired lands, or peace, or alliances, tion, can be derived, by formiog a collateral issue between to this source of power and energy, to this great lever the State of Georgia and the General Government? Her of Indian government we addressed our proposals to complaint is made against the United States, for encroach this alone did we look; and from this alone did we er. ments on her sovereignty. . Sir, the Cherokees are no pect aid or relief. parties to this issue; they have no part in this contro. I now proceed, very briefly, to trace our public history versy. They bold by better title than either Georgia or in these important connexions. As early as 1763, a prothe Union. They have nothing to do with State sovereign- clamation was issued by the King of Great Britain to his ty, or United States, sovereignty. They are above and be- American colonies and dependencies, which, in clear and yond both. True, sir, they have made treaties with both, but decided terms, and in the spirit of honorable regard for not to acquire title or juris:liction; these they had before, Indian privileges, declared the opinions of the Crown ages before the evil hour to them, when their white brothers and the duties of its subjects. 'l'he preamble to that fled to them for an asylum. They treated to secure pro- part of this document which concerns Indian affairs, is tection and guarantee for subsisting powers and privileges; couched in terms that cannot be misunderstood. I gire and so far as those conventions raise obligations, they are a little extract: “And whereas it is just and reasonable willing to meet, and always have met, and faithfully per- and essential to our interest and the security of our coloformed them; and now expect from a great people, the nies, that the several nations or tribes of Indians with like fidelity to plighted covenants.

whom we are connected, and who live under our proI have thus endeavored to bring this question up to the tection, should not be molested or disturbed in the pas control of first principles. I forget all that we live procession of such parts of our dominions and territories, as, promised, and all that Georgia has repeatedly conceded, not having been ceded to or purchased by us, are re and, by her conduct, confirmed. Sir, in this abstract served to them or any of them as their hunting grounds," presentation of the case, stripped of every collateral cir- therefore, the Governors of colonies are prohibited, upon cumstance--and these only the more firmly established the any pretence whatever, from granting any warrants of

APRIL 9, 1830.]
The Indians.

(SENATE. survey, or passing any patents for lands, “ upon any lands tion; not only this, but adopt measures to ascertain and whatever, which, not having been ceded or purchased, establish boundary lines of property between our citizens were reserved to the said Indians;” and, by another in- and their villages and hunting grounds. junction in the same proclamation, “all persons what. Under the confederation of the old Thirteen States, ever, who have either wilfully or inadvertently seated and shortly before the adoption of the Constitution, themselves upon any lands, which, not having been ceded on the 20th of November, 1785, a treaty was made with to, or purchased by the crown, were reserved to the In- the Cherokee nation, at Hopewell. This treaty accorddians as aforesaid, are strictly enjoined and required to re- ing to its title, was concluded between “Commissioners move themselves from such settlements."

Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, of the This royal ordinance is an unqualified admission of every one part, and the Headmen and Warriors of all the Cheroprinciple that is now urged in favor of the liberties and kees, of the other.” It gives "peace to all the Chero. rights of these tribes. It refers to them as nations that kees," and receives them into the favor and protection of had put themselves under the protection of the crown;" the United States. And, by the first article, the Cheroand adverting to the fact that their lands had not been kees agree to restore all the prisoners, citizens of the Unit. ceded or purchased, it freely and justly runs out the ine-ed States, or subjects of their allies, to their entire liberty. vitable conclusion, that they are reserved to these nations Here, again, we discover the same magnanimous policy of as their property; and forbids all surveys and patents, renouncing any pretended rights of a conqueror in our and warns off all intruders and trespassers. Sir, this con- negotiations with the allies of our enemy. We invite them tains the epitome of Indian history and title. No king, to peace; we engage to become their protectors, and in colony, State, or territory, ever made, or attempted to the stipulation for the liberation of prisoners, we trace make, a grant or title to the Indians, but universally and again the broad line of distinction between citizens of the perpetually derived their titles from them. This one fact, United States and the Cherokee people. that stands forth broadly on the page of Indian history, Who, after this, sir, can retain a single doubt as to the which neither kings nor colonies-neither lords, pro- unquestioned political sovereignty of these tribes? It is prietors, nor diplomatic agents, have, on any single oc- very true, that they were not absolutely independent. casion, disputed, is alone sufficient to demolish the whole As they had become comparatively feeble, and as they system of political pretensions, conjured up in modern were, 'in the mass, an uncivilized race, they chose to detimes, to drive the poor Indian from the last refuge of pend upon us for protection; but this did not destroy or his hopes.

affect their sovereignty. The rule of public law is clearly The next important era in the order of time relates stated by Vattel-is one community may be bound to an. to the dispute of the colonies with Great Britain. The other by a very unequal alliance, and still be a sovereign attention of the Congress on the eve of that conflict was State. Though a weak State, in order to provide for its called to the situation of these tribes, and their disposi- safety, should place itself under the protection of a more tions on that interesting subject. Then, sir, we ap- powerful one, yet, if it reserves to itself the right of govproached them as independent nations, with the acknow-Jerning its own body, it ought to be considered as an indeledged power to form alliances with or against us. For, pendent State.” if the right of self-government is retainin June, 1775, our Congress resolved, " That the Com-led, the State preserves its political existence; and, perInittee for Indian Affairs do prepare proper talks to the mit me to ask, when did the Southern Indians relinquish several tribes of Indians, for engaging the continuance of this right? Sir, they have always exercised it, and were their friendship to us, and neutrality in our present un- never disturbed in the enjoyment of it, until the late legishappy dispute with Great Britain.” Again, on the 12th lation of Georgia and the States of Alabama and Missis. July, 1775, a report of the committee was agreed to, sippi. with the following clause at its head: “That the secur The treaty next proceeds to establish territorial domains, ing and preserving the friendship of the Indian nations, and to forbid all intrusions upon the Cherokee country, by appears to be a subject of the utmost moment to these any of our citizens, on the pains of outlawry. It provides, colonies.” And, sir, the journals of that eventful period that, if any citizen of the United States shall remain on the of our history are full of resolutions, all of which indicate lands of the Indians for six months “after the ratification the same opinions of those illustrious statesmen, respect of the treaty, such person shall forfeit the protection of ing the unquestioned sovereignty of the Indians. i' for the United States, and the Indians may punish him, or not, bear further details. After the Revolution, and in the as they please.” What stronger attribute of sovereignty eighth year of our lindependence, in the month of Sep. could have been conceded to this tribe, than to have actember, A. D. 1783, the Congress again took up the sub-corded to them the power of punishing our citizens acject of Indian affairs, and resolved to hold a convention cording to their own laws and modes; and, sir, what more with the Indians residing in the Middle and Northern States, satisfactory proof can be furnished to the Senate, of the who bad taken up arms against us, for the purposes sincere and inflexible purpose of our Government to mainreceiving them into the favor and protection of the United tain the rights of the Indian nations, than the annexation States, and of establishing boundary lines of property, of such sanctions as the forfeiture of national protection, for separating and dividing the settlenents of the citizens, and the infliction of any punishment within the range of from the Indian villages and lunting grounds, and thereby savage discretion? It is to be recollected, that this treaty extinguishing, as far as possible, all occasion for future was made at a time when all admit the Cherokees to have animosities, disquiet, and contention.” If, at any point of been, with very rare exceptions, in the rudest state of Paour existence as a people, a disposition to encroach upon gan darkness. the Indians, and to break down their separate and sover. It is really a subject of wonder, (said Mr F.] that after eign character, could have been looked for, or at all ex- these repeated and solemn recognitions of right of soil, cused, this was the time; when we had just come out of a territory, and jurisdiction, in these aboriginal nations, it long, severe, and bloody confiet, often prosecuted by should be gravely asserted that they are mere occupants our foes with unnatural bárbarity, and to aggravate which, at our will;

and, what is absolutely marvellous, that they these very tribes had devoted their savage and ferocious are a part of the Georgia population—a district of her tercustoms. And yet, sir, what do we find? Instead of the ritory, and amenable to her laws, whenever she chooses to claims of conquest, the rights of war, now so convenient extend them. to set up, the American Congress, greatly just, accord to After the treaty of Hopewell was concluded and ratified, these very Indians the character of foreign nations, and and in the year '1787, the States of North Carolina and invite them to take shelter under our favor and protec-Georgia transmitted their protesta to Congress, in which

Vol. VI.--40


The Indians.

[Arnil 9, 1830.

they complained of the course of transactions adopted mind on the face of this clause. The plea that is now, for with respect to the Indians, and asserted a right in the the first time, urged against the Indians, rests upon the States to treat with these tribes, and to obtain grants of allegation, that the tribes are not distinct nations--that their lands. The Congress referred the whole matter to a they compose a portion of the people of the States; and committee of five, who made an elaborate report that yet, in the great national charter, this work of as much disclosed the principles upon which the intercourse of the collected wisdom, virtue, and patriotism, as erer adorned confederacy with these people was founded. It is mate- the annals, or shed light upon the gorerament of any age rial to a correct understanding of this branch of the sub- or country, the Indian tribes are associated with foreign ject, that we should advert to a limitation, subsisting at nations and the several States, as one of the three distinct that time, upon the powers of the old Congress. The lim- departments of the human family, with which the General itation is contained in the following clause of the articles Government was to regulate commerce. Strange compaof confederation: “Congress shall have the sole and ex- ny, truly, in which to find those it now seems convenient clusive right of regulating the trade and managing all af- to denominate a few poor iniserable savages, that were fairs with the Indians not members of any other States; always the peculiar subjects of State sovereignty, mere provided that the legislative right of any State within its tenants at will of the soil, and with whom it is idle” to own limits be not infringed or violated.”

speak of negotiating treaties. Upon this clause and its proviso, the committee proceed There was another subject, closely connected with this, to report: “In framing this clause, the parties to the feder- that engaged the anxious deliberations of the great statesal compact must have had some definite objects in view; men who composed the memorable convention--and this the objects that come into view principally in forming was the treaty power. To found this well, was a concern treaties, or managing affairs with the Indians, had been worthy of their first and best thoughts. The good faith long understood, and pretty well ascertained in this coun- of a nation was not to be pledged but on grave and great try. The committee conceive that it has been long the occasions; for, when plighted, it brought the nation itself opinion of the country, supported by justice and humani- into obligations, too sacred to be argued away by the sugty, that the Indians have just claims to all lands occupied gestions of policy or convenience, profit or loss. They, by, and not fairly purchased from them.” “The laws of therefore, subjected the exercise of this high function to the State can have no effect upon a tribe of Indians or two great departments of the Government--the President their lands within a State, so long as that tribe is indepen- and Senate of the United States. They required formalia dent and not a member of the State. It cannot be suppos- ties to attend the exercise of the power that were ined that the State has the powers mentioned,” (those of tended and calculated to guard the trust from rash and inmaking war and peace, purchasing lands from them and considerate administration. But these requisites complied fixing boundaries,) “ without absurdity in theory and prac. with, and a treaty made and concluded, no retreat from tice. For the Indian tribes are justly considered the com- its claims was provided or desired by the convention. No, mon friends or enemies of the United States, and no parti. sir. To shut up every avenue of escape--to compel us cular State can have an exclusive interest in the manage to be faithful---i treaties” are declared, by the charter of ment of affairs with any of the tribes, except in uncom- our Government, “to be the supreme law of the land,

The Senate perceive the estimate that was any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the formed of these State pretentions. The Committee ar-contrary notwithstanding. ? How could the inviolate chargue, with conclusive energy, that, to yield such powers to acter of a treaty be more effectually preserved? Let conparticular States, would not only be absurd in theory, but vulsions agitate the commonwealth--let the strifes of parwould in fact destroy the whole system of Indian rela- ty shake the pillars of the political exlifice--around the tions--that this divided, alternate, cognizance of the mat. nation's faith barriers are raised, that may smile at the ter, by the States and by the Congress, could never be en- storm. And, sir, if these guards fail, if these defences forced, and would result in discordant and fruitless regu- can be assailed and broken down, then may we indeed dlefations. The grounds assumed in this able report are un- spair. Truth and honor have no citadel on earth--their answerable. The Committee regarded the subject as na. sanctions are despised and forgotten, and the law of the tional, concerning the whole United States, of whom the strongest prevails. Indians were the common friends or foes.

I fear that I shall oppress the patience of the Senate by That such a concern was too general and public in all these tedious details; but the subject is deeply interesting, its bearings, to be subjected to the legislation and Nianage- and each successive year of our political history brings me ment of any particular State. The Congress therefore, fresh and strong proofs of the sacred estimation always acassume the entire jurisdiction and control of it. And after corded to Indian rights. Sir, in the very next year that this report, we hear no more of State protests. They yield. followed the formation of the constitution, on the 1st day ed their claims to a much safer depository of this interest of September, 1788, the encroachment of the whites 1ping trust. Sir, I take leave to say, that ihe sound, sensi- on the Indian territory, as guarantied to them by the treaty ble principles of this report have lost nothing of their au- of Hopewell, made with the Cherokees, as we have alı thority by time, and that every year of our history has con- ready stated, in 1785, caused a proclamation to be issued firmed their wisdom, and illustrated the justice and hu- by Congress, the date first mentioned, affirming in all manity of the Congress of '87.

things the treaty of Hopewell, and clistinctly announclik The Convention that formed and adopted the Constitu- (I give the literal clause) “the firm determination of Con tion, in their deliberations upon the security of Indian gress to protect the said Cherokecs in their rights, ac; rights, wisely determined to place our relations with the cording to the true intent and meaning of the said treaty.” tribes under the absolute superintendence of the General And they further resolve, “ that the Secretary of War be Government, which they were about to establish. The directed to have a sufficient number of the troops in the proviso under the old compact, that had, in ambiguous service of the United States in readiness, to march freni terms, reserved to particula' States an undefined manage the Olio to the protection of the Cherokces, whenever ment of Indian affairs, was altogether discarded, and the Congress shall direct the same." simple, unqualified control of this important branch of The next important event, in connexion with the Che. public policy, was delegated to Congress in the following rokees, is the treaty of Holston, made with them on the clause of the Constitution : "Congress shall have power 20 July, 1791. This was the first treaty negotiated with to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the se- the Cherokees after the constitution. And it is only neveral States, and with the Indian tribes." An incidental cessary to consider the import of iis preamble, to become argument, in favor of my views, cannot fail to strike the satisfied of the constancy of our policy, inachering to

inon cases.

April 9, 1830.]

The Indians.


the first principles of our Indian negotiations. Sir, let it Cherokee nation, concluded on the 8th July, 1817, exbe remembered that this was a crisis when the true spirit press reference is made to past negotiations between the of the constitution would be best understood; most of those parties, on the subject of removal to the west of the Mis. who framed it came into the councils of the country in sissippi; the same question that now agitates the courtry, 1788. Let it be well pondered, that this treaty of Hol- and engages our deliberations. And this convention is deston was the public compact in which General Washington, serving of particular notice, inasmuch as we shall learn as a preparative solemnity, asked the advice of the Sen. from it, not only what sentiments were then entertained ate, and concerning which, he inquired of that venerable by our Government towards the Cherokees, but, also, in body whether, in the treaty to be made, the United what light the different dispositions of the Indians to emi. States should solemnly guaranty the new boundary, to be grate to the West, and to remain on their adjacent patri. ascertained and fixed between them and the Cherokees. mony, were considered. This treaty recites that applicaThe preamble to this treaty I will now recite:

tion had been made to the United States, at a previous “The parties being desirous of establishing permanent period, by a deputation of the Cherokees, (on the 9th peace and friendship between the United States and the January, 1809) by which they apprized the Government said Cherokee nation, and the citizens and members there- of the wish of a part of their nation to remove west of of, and to remove the causes of war, by ascertaining their the Mississippi, and of the residue to abide in their old halimits, and making other necessary, just, and friendly ar- bitations. That the President of the United States, after rangements: the President of the United States, by Wil- maturely considering the subject, answered the petitions liam Blount, Governor of the territory of the United States as follows: "The United States, my children, are the of America, South of the river Ohio, and superintendent friends of both parties, and, as far as can be reasonably of Indian affairs for the Southern District, who is vested asked, they are willing to satisfy the wishes of both. with full powers for these purposes, by and with the ad. Those who remain may be assured of our patronage, our vice and consent of the Senate of the United States; and aid, and our good neighborhood.” “ To those who rethe Cherokee nation, by the unclersigned chiefs and war. move, every aid shall be administered, and when establishriors, representing the said nation, have agreed to the fol. ed at their new settlements, we shall consider them as our loring articles," &c.

children, and always hold them firmly by the hand.” The The first article stipulates that there shall be “perpe- convention then establishes neu boundaries and pledges tual peace and friendship” between the parties; a subse. our faith to respect and defend the Indian territories. quent article provides, that the boundary between the Some matters, by universal consent, are taken as granted, United States and Cherokees “shall be ascertained and without any explicit recognition. Under the influence of marked plainly, by three persons appointed by the Unit- this rule of common fairness, how can we ever dispute ed States, and three Cherokees on the part of their na- the sovereign right of the Cherokees to remain east of tion."

the Mississippi, when it was in relation to that very locaIn pursuance of the advice of the Senate, by the se. tion that we promised our patronage, aid, and good neighventh article of this treaty, “ The United States solemnly borhood? Sir, is this high-handed encroachment of Georguaranty to the Cherokee nation all their lanıls not here- gia to be the commentary upon the national pledge here hy ceded.”

given, and the obvious import of these terms? How were And after several material clauses, the concluding arti- these people to remain, if not as they then existed, and as cle suspends the effect and obligation of the treaty upon we then acknowledged them to be, a distinct and separate its ratification " by the President of the United States, community, governed by their own peculiar laws and cuswith the advice and consent of the Senate of the United stoms? We can never deny these principles, while fair States."

clealing retains any hold of our conduct. Further, sir, it Now, sir, it is a most striking part of this history, that appears from this treaty, that the Indians who preferred to every possible incident, of form, deliberation, advisement, remain east of the river, expressed "to the President an and power, attended this compact. The Senate was con- anxious desire to engage in the pursuits of agriculture sulted when our plenipotentiary was commissioned; full and civilized life in the country they then occupied,” and powers were then given to our commissioner; the articles we engaged to encourage those laudable purposes. Inwere agreed upon; the treaty referred to the Executive (ced, such pursuits had been recommended to the tribes, and Senate for their ratification, and, with all its provi- and patronized by the United States, for many years besions, by them solemnly confirmed.

fore this convention. Mr. Jefferson, in his message to It requires a fullness of self-respect and self-confidence, Congress as early as 1805, and when on the subject of our the lot of a rare few, after time has added its sanctions to Indian relations, with his usual enlarged views of public this high pledge of national honor, to attempt to convict policy, observes: “ The aboriginal inhabitants of these the illustrious men of that Senate of gross ignorance of countries, I have regarded with the commiseration their constitutional power; to charge against them that they history inspires. Endowed with the faculties and the strangely mistook the charter under which they acted; rights of men, breathing an ardent love of liberty and inand violated almost the proprieties of language, as some slependence, and occupying a country which left them no gentlemen contend, by dignifying with the naine and for- desire but to be undisturbed, the stream of overflowing po. malities of a treaty "inere bargains to get Indian lands." pulation from other regions directed itself on these shores. Sir, who so well understood the nature and extent of the Without power to divert, or habits to contend against it, powers granted in the constitution, as the statesmen who they have been overwhelmed by the current, or driven ailled by their personal counsels to establish it?

before it. Now, reduced within limits too narrow for the Every administration of this Government, from Presi- hunter state, humanity enjoins us to teach them agriculdent Washington's, liave, with like solemnities and stipu- ture and the domestic arts; to encourage them to that inlations, held treaties with the Cherokees; treaties, too, by dustry which alone can enable them to maintain their place almost all of which we obtained further acquisitions of in existence; and to prepare them in time for that society their territory. Yes, sir, whenever we approached them which, to bodily comforts, adds the improvement of the in the language of friendship and kindness, we touched mind and morals. We have, therefore, liberally furnishthe chord that won their confidence; and now, when they ed them with the implements of husbandry and househave nothing left with which to satisfy our cravings, we hold use; we have placed among them instructors in the propose to annul every treaty-to gainsay our word--and, arts of first necessity; and they are covered with the ægis by violence and perfidy, drive the ind an from his home. of the law against aggressors from among ourselves.” In a subsequent treaty between the United States and the These, sir, are sentiments worthy of an illustrious statesa

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

man. None can fail to perceive the spirit of justice and of legislation were passed expressly to effectuate our treahumanity which Mr. Jefferson cherished towards our In- ty stipulations. dian allies. He was, through his whole life, the firm un These statutes refer to the boundaries, as established shrinking advocate of their rights, a patron of all their by treaties, between the United States and the various plans for moral improvement and elevation.

Indian tribes;” they next direct such “lines to be clearly It will not be necessary [said Mr. F.] to pursue the de- ascertained, and distinctly marked," prohibit any citizen tails of our treaty negotiations further. I beg leave to of the United States from crossing these lines, to hunt or state, before I leave them, however, that with all the settle, and authorize the employment of the public and southwestern tribes of Indians we have similar treaties, military force of the Government, to prevent intrusion, not only the Cherokees, but the Creeks, Choctaws, and and to expel trespassers upon Indian lands.

The twelfth Chickasaws, in the neighborhood of Georgia, Tennessee, section of this important law most wisely guards the great Alabama, and Mississippi, hold our faith, repeatedlý object of Indian title from all public and private imposipledged to them, that we would respect their boundaries, tion, by enacting “that no purchase, grant, lease, or othrepel aggressions, and protect and nourish them as our er conveyance of lands, or of any title or claim thereto

, neighbors and friends; and to all these public and sacred from any Indian or nation, or tribe of Indians, within the compacts Georgia was a constant party. They were re- bounds of the United States, shall be of any validity in law quired, by an article never omitted, to be submitted to the or equity, unless the same be made by treaty or convenSenate of the United States for their advice and con- tion, entered into pursuant to the constitution. sent. They were so submitted; and Georgia, by her able I trust, sir, that this brief exposition of our policy, in Representatives in the Senate, united in the ratification relation to Indian affairs, establishes, beyond all controof these same treaties, without, in any single instance, versy, the obligation of the United States to protect these raising an exception, or interposing a constitutional diffi- tribes in the exercise and enjoyinent of their civil and culty or scruple.

political rights. Sir, the question has ceased to be-Other branches of our political history shed abundant What are our duties? An inquiry much more embarrasslight upon this momentous question. When the Congressing is forced upon us: How shall we most plausibly, and of the United States directed their cares to the future set- with the least possible violence, break our faith? Sir, we tlement and government of the vast and noble domains to repel the inquiry--we reject such an issue--and point the northwest of the river Ohio, ceded by the State of the guardians of public honor to the broad, plain faith of Virginia, among other matters which they deemed to be faithful performance, and to which they are equally urged vitally connected with the welfare of that region, was the by duty and by interest. condition and preservation of the Indian nations. The Here I might properly rest, as the United States are the third article of their celebrated ordinance, for the govern- only party that the Indians are bound to regard. But, if ment of the Northwestern Territory, is in the following farther proofs be wanting to convince us of the unwarwords: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being neces- rantable pretentions of Georgia, in her late violent legissary to good government and the happiness of mankind, lation, they are at hand, cogent, clear, and overwhelming. schools and the means of education shall forever be en- This State, sir, was not only a party to all these convencouraged. The utmost good faith shall always be observ. tions with the General Government; she made as solemo ed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall nev-treaties with the Creeks and Cherokees for herself, when er be taken from them without their consent; and, in their a colony, and after she became a State. These form a property, rights, and liberty, they never shall be invaded part of her title, and are bound up with her public laws. or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars, authorized by On the 1st of June, 1773, she negotiated a treaty with Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity shali, these Indian nations, by the joint agency of the Governor from time to time, be made, for preventing wrongs being of the colony and the superintendent of Indian affairs; in done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship which boundaries are established and cessions of land

! with them.” Sir, the more minutely we look into the agreed upon. Again, on the 31st May, 1783, after her proceedings of the Congress of 1787, the more deeply independence as a State, another treaty was concluded shall we venerate the wisdom and virtue, the largeness of between the Governor of Georgia and five of her most views, and the political forecast, that blessed and illustrated distinguished citizens duly appointed by the Legislature the councils of our country. This solitary article would of the State of the one part, and the Chiefs, Headmen, and forever stand out, and alone sustain their reputation. We Warriors of the bordes or tribes of the Cherokee Indians, shall presently learn what concern was manifested by the in behalf of the said nation, on the other part.” And State of Georgia, to spread the whole influence and con- in the first article of this convention, the distinct, indetrol of this article over the cession which she made to the pendent existence of the Cherokees is acknowledged: for Union, of the territory now composing the States of Ala- it provides, “that all differences between the said parties, bama and Mississippi.

heretofore subsisting, shall cease and be forgotten. Is it How can Georgia, after all this, desire or attempt, and not utterly fallacious to contend, in the face of this treaty how can we quietly permit her, “to invade and disturb that the Cherokees are under the jurisdiction of a State, the property, rights, and liberty of the Indians?" And that finds it necessary to negotiate for peace with them by this, not only not " in just and lawful wars authorized by all the forms of a regular treaty? But more than this; by Congress," but in the time of profound peace, while the the last article of this treaty, the Cherokees agree to Cherokee lives in tranquil prosperity by her side. 1 cede, grant, release, and quit claim to Georgia, all the press on the inquiry—How can we tamely suffer these lands up to a certain boundary line defined in the said States to make laws, not only not "founded in justice document: and until since the extraordinary usurpation and humanity," "for preventing wrongs being done to of this State, in extending her laws over this nation, these the Indians,” but for the avowed purpose of inflicting the treaty lines were respected, and never disputed. gross and wanton injustice of breaking up their Govern. In the year 1777, he States of Georgia and South Cament-of abrogating their long cherished customs, and rolina met the Creek and Cherokee nations at Dewitt's of annihilating their existence as a distinct people? corner, for the avowed purpose of making a treaty of

The Congress of the United States, in 1799, in an act peace with them. Sir, if the greatest potentate of Euto regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes; rope had been a party, the preliminaries could not have and again, by a similar act in 1802, still in force, distinctly been more formal or solemn. First, are produced what recognized every material stipulation contained in the nu- are denominated “the Georgia full powers” delegated to merous treaties with the Indians. In fact, sir, these acts her commissioners, to meet the Indian Congress" to be

« PreviousContinue »