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H. of R.]
Distribution of Public Lands.
[Jan. 7, 1830.
Mr. L. said, he was, he believed, the only member these sacrifices were demanded of her as conditions pre. from the new States, who had declared actually in favor cedent to her admission into the Union. The compact of the amendment; and he did so, from a conviction that, has been discreditable to this Government, and injurious so far as Alabama was concerned, she had nothing to fear to Alabama, crippling her energies, destroying her fiscal from the investigation. Other gentlemen had asserted resources, and, at the same time, operating in every re. the same, in relation to other new States. Then why op- spect advantageously to the United States. Sir, from the pose the amendment? Mr. L. thought that, when the situation of the parties at the time of this contract, I am debits and credits were fairly stated between the Gene- induced to believe that it would be cleclared a nullity be. ral Government and Alabama, a considerable balance fore any equitable tribunal. It was a compact entered inwill be found in her favor. He believed he could get a to by Alabama, not only in her minority, but under verdict for that balance, before any impartial committee duress and fear of not being otherwise admitted into the of this House; and hence he had every reason to invite Union. the inquiry:
Mr. L. said, allusions have frequently been made in this Previous to any sales of her lands, it was known that debate to the splendid donation of four hundred thouthere were to be certain reservations for the purposes of sand acres of land for the improvement of the Tennessee education and internal improvement. These are what river. That matter was much misunderstood. It was a gentlemen call donations; but, sir, I think I can prove that donation nominally to Alabama, but really to another secshe has trebly paid for them in the enhanced price of her tion of the country. Sir, if Alabama had pursued a mere Jand, and in her relinquishment of certain portions of her selfish policy, she never would have accepted that dona. sovereignty. I mean the right of taxing these lands. Cantion. Mr. L. said he was a member of the Legislature any gentleman believe that these stipulations in favor of which did receive the land in trust for the specified obthe purchasers of public lands did not enhance their price?ject. He doubted very much whether that Legislature That they did not enter into the considerations of the pur- (and he among the rest) had not done injustice to the State chase, as much as fertility of soil, health of situation, or in not promptly rejecting the pretended boon. Sir, Alaany other local cause? Yes, sir, these stipulations were bania has assumed the immense expense of legislation on as well known at the land sales as they are in this House that subject, and the responsibility of a faithful applica. They entered into the price of every acre of land, and tion of the funds; and yet not more than two counties in into the calculations of every individual purchaser, from the State are, or can be, benefited by the proposed imthe keen and cautious speculator to the humblest individu- provement. Other portions of the country, East Tennesal who sought to purchase an eighty acre tract on which see, for example, will be benefited; but he was certain to place his little family. Gentlemen who argue different that no benefit would accrue to Alabama, as a State, from ly, must suppose that the people of Alabama are the most the completion of the canal. Sir, it opens a way to no uncalculating beings on earth. They are not, perhaps, market in that State; on the contrary, it proposes the esas calculating as the population of some other sections of tablishment of a complete thoroughfare through her norththe Union; but to impute to them a disregard of such ob- ern limits, for the produce of other States, to that great vious advantages in the settlement of a new country, would mart of western wealth, the city of Orleans. amount to a charge of idiocy. As well might it be urged Mr. L. said there was one way in which Alabama may that an acre lot of land, twenty miles from this in the coun- receive a collateral benefit from this donation; and in that try, would sell for as much as one advantageously situated point of view the Legislature were perhaps justifiable in on Pennsylvania avenue. The conclusion is inevitable, accepting it. He alluded to the control it would give the that, whatever advantages were offered by the Govern- State over the sale of the lands upon which a respectable ment to purchasers before the sales, were well understood portion of her population resided. He believed that it at the sales, entered fully into the price of the public would be found from that experiment, what has here been lands, and were fairly paid for in an enhanced price. In considered a paradox, that it was possible, without sacriaddition to this, an injudicious promise had been extorted ficing the public lands, to dispose of them on liberal terms from the State not to lax the public lands, nor the lands to the purchaser. He had understood that the conmisof individuals, until five years after their purchase. sioners had not pursued the directions of the law in valuHere was another of those favors to the citizens paid ing the land, but he believed that, whenever the provi
: for at the land sales. But, [Mr. L. asked] what has been sions of that act were carried into effect, (though he did the effect of this concession on the part of Alabama? it not believe it equal to some other plans proposed,) it will has impoverished her finances, and created the necessity be found that the mode of entering public lands at fixed of the most oppressive taxes on other kinds of property. Iprices would be far better than the sale of them by aucMr. L. said that he was somewhat acquainted with the tion. Mr. L. said he hoped at least the lesson would be of finances and taxes of Alabama, and he believed that if the some service here. If this effect was not answered by the lands within her limits had been subjected to as heavy a donation, he was certain the State could derive no benefit tax as other property, it would not have fallen as low equal to her expense and responsibility in making an apas the annual amount of fifty thousand dollars since her plication of the grant to the specified object. And yet; admission as a State. llow long this sacrifice would con- sir, this is the great donation which Alabama has received tinue under the present slow, tedious, and objectionable from the Government, and which has been so often cast inode of disposing of the public lands by auction, it was into our teeth during this discussion. impossible for him to calculate. Perhaps at the end of Mr. L. said, he had spoken of Alabama particularly, in fifty years all the land will not be sold. In one-third, how the above remarks, because he was unacquainted with the ever, of that time, the sacrifice will doubly exceed the legislation of Congress in relation to other new States. value of the land secured to the State by compact. These if they had been more successful applicants for the favors [Mr. L. observed) were the advantages which Alabama of the Government, and had received more substantial had received from the General Government, and which benefits, it was for other gentlemen to point them out. have been alluded to in this debate. Sir, Alabama has Mr. L. asked wbat had the Government cone for the experienced a rigid policy from the Government. At the new States, in the disposition of the public lands. He betime that this compact was formed between her and the lieved no other nation had pursued so rigid a course in the United States, she was a territory. The General Govern- disposal of her public domain. But, sir, the evil could be ment stood to her “ in loco parentis,” in the situation of better tolerated'if there was a corresponding advantage a guardian to his ward. Alabama as to the exercise of her resulting to the Government from this course. Sir
, it is a political rights, was in her minority--in her childhood; and singular fatality attending the sales by auction, that they
Jax. 7, 1830.)
Distribution of Public Lands.
(H., of R.
are alike injurious to the Government and the people; that Committee on Education. And why? Because such matwhile the Government scarcely ever receives more than ters were not under the cognizance of the House.
Genthe minimum price, the settler is universally forced to pay tlemen may draw the distinction that the proposition ina price ranging from two to ten dollars an acre for his volves nothing more than a donation to the several States land. This, sir, is the premium which the law gives to for the purposes of education and internal improvement. speculation out of the hard earnings of honest industry. He thought it a distinction without a difference. If Con
Encouraged by the system, individuals come from even gress furnishes the means for the erection of college buildthe adjoining States, and form combinations of capital so ings, or internal improvement, it contributes more effistrong as to put down all competition. Hence they bid offciently to the ends than if each member were to take a the land at a dollar and a quarter, and exact from the ac- spade or trowel in his hand, and proceed to the manual tual settler a premium of from fifty to a thousand per cent. execution of the work. Besides, what difference was
Mr. L. said, he had attended the land sales, and witness- there between the appropriation of national lands and naed these results. They are the inevitable consequences tional money to local objects? They are one and the same of the system, and it is impossible for human laws to put thing. If we withdraw the proceeds of the public lands, them down so long as the system continues. At every land the vacuum will have to be supplied by taxation. Then sale, the whole cominunity are placed competitors in the what is the difference between the proceeds of the public power of speculators, and are forced to pay them tribute lands and other money, or between public land and hard for the improvements which they themselves have placed dollars? They are means convertible to the same end. As a on the public lands—even for the shelters which cover Southern man he felt bound to oppose any application of their families. And still the Government receives only the national funds, by taking them from an object so nathe minimum price. The people and the Legislature have tional as the payment of the public debt, and appropriatremonstrated, year after year, against this system, and ing them to any local or sectional purposes. This has yet their prayers have not been heard. Lest the lands been the ground of complaint with the South. The might not bring all that they could, under any circumstan-Southern people never murmured at any contributions ces, this policy has been continued. Nevertheless, the which have been levied on them for the general good, but new States have been considered, and, I fear, have some have objected to every dollar applied to less national obtimes considered themselves as dependant on the Govern-jects. ment for its favors. In fact, sir, these impressions have a Mr. L. said, that, as a citizen of a new State, he should tendency to reduce them to a state of vassalage to this oppose the proposition, as unjust and unequal to the new Government. It is high time the delusion should be re- States. What was the value of these lands before they moved. Mr. L. said he wished to see every State inde- were reclaimed and subdued by the enterprise of the first pendent of this Government, and to feel and recognise settlers? To quote the language of the mover of these that independence. He was certain that Alabama was not resolutions, (the honorable gentleman from Vermont,) they in arrears to the Government for favors, and he desired, were “waste and uncultivated deserts." Sir, their value by a report of a committee, that others should know it, has been imparted to them by the industry, enterprise, and that the public mind should be disabused on this sub- and sufferings of that hardy population who precede thé ject. For these reasons, he had determined to vote for comforts and conveniences of a more advanced condition the amendment.
of every newly set:ling country. Who levelled the forests, Mr. L. said, he did not wish Alabama to lie under the who opened the roads, who established the towns, who imputation of being indebted to the bounty of the Gene- gave, in fact, a determinate value to all the lands in the ral Government for any exclusive favors; for favors create country, by converting a wilderness into a country posa servile dependance. The only benefits which any State sessing all the comforts of cultivated life? The people of should receive are such as appertain to all, and result Alabama. The labor and hardship was with them; and from a constitutional exercise of the powers entrusted to shall they be placed on no better footing than the old Congress.
States? Shall they receive but three shares out of two As to the original amendment, he was opposed to it in hundred and thirteen, in all the lands within their limits? toto, even though the amendment should prevail. He was Shall their improvements and industry be sold and distriopposed to it because the public lands were pledged for buted, for the purpose of establishing roads and canals, the redemption of the public debt. They were now dis- schools and colleges, in other States, whose citizens have charging that debt, and there was an impropriety and in- shared with them none of the hardships, the labor, and delicacy in applying them to any other object. The
the sufferings, of settling the country? Sir, the proposi. ceeds of those lands are now lessening the amount of the tion is unjust, and the system would render the new States public debt; and to what object more national can they be tributary to the old. Besides, what would be the share of applied? What other disposition can be made of them so Alabama under this system? Three shares would probajust and equal? And will gentlemen divert the funds of Lly be worth fifteen thousand dollars, and yet her citizens this Government from an object so purely national to ob- pay perhaps four or five hundred thousand dollars a year jects of a local and sectional character, unauthorized, as it for land. A constant drain upon the resources of the is believed, by the constitution? I have yet to learn that State to this vast amount, a continued current of circula. the constitution authorizes the action of this Government tion setting from them in its onward course, with the paltry in relation to either of these subjects, education or im- return of fifteen thousand dollars. This is too much the provement.
case at present; but the citizens of Alabama will not comSir, I have been admonished that little respect is paid to plain so long as this money goes in payment of a debt inany reference which may be made to the constitution in curred in defence of national rights and honor. If applied this House; but, sir, I am a junior member, and must to any local purpose, they will and ought to complain. abide by it as the rule of my conduct, until I am absolved From whence [asked Mr. L.] does this proposition from the obligations of the oath taken at your table. come? From Virginia, whose contributions of land to the
Mr. L. observed, much was said about the extravagant General Government have been more than all the other recommendations in Mr. Adams's first message, of national States? No, sir; that great and patriotic State, whose geuniversities, observatories, &c.; and yet he feared that gen- nerosity is so often complimented on this floor, and whose tlemen who then derided these opinions as the vagaries of name is identified with every sacrifice of blood or treasure a visionary statesman, are about to adopt the same princi- in defence of this Government--she, I say, sir, does not ples, by voting an application of the national funds to the ask, and would be the last to ask, this distribution at our same objects. This House has once decided against a hands. North Carolina has also made an important cession
H. of R.]
(Jax. 8, 11, 1830.
of lands to the Government. I hope a majority of that sir, nothing short of a proposition to place them in the wine State do not demand the distribution. South Carolina and press, and to squeeze from them every possible drop of Georgia have also made large cessions of lands, and I am vitality which could minister to the prosperity of the older persuaded neither of them will favor this project. From States. what quarter, then, does the proposition present itself? Mr. BURGES next rose to address tlie House; but the From Vermont-a State which has made no cession what- hour having elapsed, the debate was closed for this day. ever to the Government; and that, sir, in the absence of Virginia, whose liberality has created the largest portion
FRIDAY, JANUARY 8, 1830. of the fund which it is proposed to divide. He hoped the question would not be taken until Virginia was fully repre
The House resumed the consideration of the resolution sented on this foor. He should make such a motion if no moved by Mr. Hurt on the 17th ultimo, concerning a disone else did.
tribution of the public lands among the several States. Mr. L. said, he was opposed to the proposition for ano- The question being on the motion made by Mr. Martin ther reason. It would be a means of continuing the pre
to amend the same. sent oppressive rates of impost duties. The withdrawal
Mr. BURGES rose, and addressed the House at considera. of every dollar from the present purpose of paying the ble length in support of the original resolution, and in opnational debt, produces that result The Southern States position to the amendment. The hour allotted for the had hoped for some alleviations of their burdens after the discussion of resolutions elapsed before Mr. B. had conpayment of that debt.
They had thought, that, after cluded his remarks. the necessities of the revenue had ceased, these duties
The House adjourned to Monday. would be taken off. But, sir, the race of politicians who believe that a national debt is a national blessing, is not yet
MONDAY, JANCARY 11, 1830. extinct. They exist in full force in this House. He had
SOUTHERN INDIANS. but little experience in the legislation of Congress, but he thought it required very moderate foresight to perceive Mr. CAMBRELENG moved that the memorial here. that the friends of the tariff would go en masse for this tofore presented by him, and then laid on the table, from proposition. It will serve as a pretext for keeping up the a meeting of citizens of New York, praying the interhigh rate of duties, and of continuing their exactions on position of the General Government to protect the Souththe South. How, then, can southern gentlemen who are ern Indians from injustice and oppression, be now reopposed to the tariff vote for this proposition? There is, ferred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. sir, a tax-paying and a tax-receiving portion in this Union. Mr. THOMPSON, of Georgia, rose, and said, that, disThe interest of the one is to create, and of the other to claiming all intention of opposing the reference proposed, avoid, a public debt. The legislation of this House proves he would, however, question the propriety of entertain. it: the one portion voting in favor, and the other portion ing every petition or memorial which may be addressed to voting against the appropriations of public revenue for Congress, whether it be the result of an accidental ineetsectional and local objects. Sir, a stranger in the lobby ing at a grog shop or not. It appeared to him to be a per. would soon discover this fact. Thd able report of the fectly useless waste of the time of the House, to order a Committee of Ways and Means, in 1828, establishes the reference of the memorial in question to the Committee proposition conclusively. The reasoning of that commit-on Indian Affairs, in as much as the subject matter of the tee in proof of the unequal operation of our revenue sys- memorial was generally and fully presented to Congress tem, has not, and, in my opinion, cannot be shaken. Sir, by the President's message, and was by an order of this if the duties on imports were paid equally by all parts of House referred to the Conimittee on Indian Affairs. Mr. the country, why do we see so many propositions from T. said, he did not wish to provoke discussion upon the certain quarters to distribute the national revenue among subject alluded to, because that was not the proper stage the several States. If no State is to receive more than she for its discussion. He was, however, prepared to meet has paid, why this anxiety on the subject? Why not suf- the question then and at all times. fer the money to remain with the people, and be drawn Mr. SPENCER, of New York, said he had waited to for these local purposes by the local Legislature. This see whether the mover of the memorial, or some other disposition to create a common fund, and to distribute it gentleman, would rise and repel the allusions of the genl. according to numbers, proves the inequality of the con- tleman who had just sat down. Since this had not been tributions to the public revenue. It proves that a minority done, he felt himself called upon to speak as a represen. pay the money, and that the majority are determined to tative of the State from which the memorial emanated, go into joint stock with them, and to wring from them the This was not the result of “a meeting in a grog shop," last possible farthing.
as had been so unjustly insinuated, but one of the utmost Mr. L. said, as a representative of a new State, he respectability, and held in an enlightened and moral comwould present another reason for opposing the resolution. munity. The chairman of that meeting was a Rerolu. So soon, sir, as the new States begin to yield the old States tionary officer, known, respected, and beloved. Mr. S. an annual revenue for the opening of roads and canals, said he knew many of the individuals whose names were and the establishment of schools, they will be viewed as attached to the memorial, and he knew their standing to so many plantations, furnishing a regular income to their be of the most respectable character; and the cioctrine
The sympathies of the old States would be lost which had been here advanced, that they ought not to be in the stronger feeling of cupidity; exactions upon exac. heard—that their respectful memorial ought not to be retions would follow in the sale and disposition of the public ceived by this House, was one which he had not expectlands; and a system, which is now very oppressive, woulded to hear advanced, and against which he must enter be rendered more so by the combined efforts of the old his solemn protest. The language of the memorial was States. Every demagogue would minister to the public decorous and respectful. It was true it was upon a de appetite by some new scheme to draw from the new States licate as well as an important subject; but, however un a higher price for their lands. This condition of things, fashionable the doctrines which it advocated were upon besides its absolute degradation, would check in an instant this floor, or however much they might clash with his the prosperity and growth of the new States. Sir, as soon own sentiments, or those of others, it was not to be suibas the new siates put their seal to this proposition, they mitted to, that the respectable memorialists should be readd to the number of their taskmasters in the proportion fused to be heard. He hoped, therefore, that the memo ci sixteen to one. Their destinies are then fixed. It is, rial would have its appropriate reference to the Committee
Jax. 11, 1830.]
[H. of R.
on Indian Affairs, and meet with that consideration and If the Executive should refuse to receive an embassy respectful treatment to which it was entitled.
from the king of the gypsies, were we to entertain an Mr. WILDE, of Georgia, said, in as much as the memo- appeal from his decision? And yet Meg Merillies might rial had been laid upon the table, at his request, a few be almost as interesting a personage on canvas as Pocadays since, for the purpose of giving time to examine its hontas. contents, it might be expected of him to say a word or If the British Parliament will persist in legislating for two on the subject. Without professing any particular that amiable and oppressed race of vagrants, or the Le. skill in the signs of the times, it seemed to him, from move- gislature of New York will pass laws to regulate the Broments in that House and elsewhere, that the question of thertown or other Indians, have we any cognizance of the our Indian policy was destined to create much feeling matter? If the faith of treaties is about to be violated, and discussion. He did not mean to say that party feel it is the duty of the President to see that it be preserved; ing would mingle with their deliberations, though he and, if he fail, it is our duty to impeach him. Is any such feared they would not be entirely free from it.
measure prayed for or intended? If the laws of the He rose, not to express, in advance, opinions upon mat- United States should be broken, the courts of the United ters of high moment, worthy of grave deliberation; nor States, he presumed, would be ready to afford redress. should he oppose the reference of this memorial, how- Is there any danger that they would decline jurisdiction? ever objectionable he considered its language. It did not If, on the other hand, these Indians are alien infidel subbecome bim, as one of the representatives of a State in-jects, the remnants of a conquered people, under the terested in this question, to manifest any undue degree of protection of the States within whose jurisdiction they sensitiveness to the terms in which the memorialists had reside, does it not belong to the States to regulate them as been pleased to express their sentiments. But it might the public good may require? Have we a veto upon their not be improper for him to offer a few words by way of legislation? comment.
Have gentlemen considered what legislative act they The memorial appeared to have two objects. One was can ground upon this memorial, taking it, fact and arguto remonstrate against the opinions of the present Chief ment together, as far as any one who professes to under. Magistrate, in regard to the Indian tribes. The other to stand the subject can or will receive it? What is the restigmatize the legislation of particular States. He did not lief sought, and how are they to administer it? What is understand, from reading the memorial, that the me- the prescription? Sir, (said Mr. W.) I am not apprised morialists complained of any injury or injustice to them that our interference is at all called for by any exigency. selves. The suggestion was, that other persons, not I do not perceive that the memorialists have made out citizens of the United States, have reason to apprehend their case either as patrons or clients. This kind offievil from the course pursued towards them by the Presi- ciousness in the affairs of our neighbors, [continued Mr. dent and some of the States. Now, sir, (said Mr. W.] W.] by which we exhibit our benevolence at their exwhen any one is injureil, it is time enough to complain; pense, is a great and growing evil. Gentlemen from all and it is well enough, usually, to let those who are in- quarters of the country have taken so much care of us, jured complain for themselves. For though it has been that they have scarcely left us any thing at all to care for. said by a great moralist that the fate of complaint is to ex These everlasting political homilies--this mawkish mixcite contempt rather than pity, no one has been persuaded ture of sentiment and selfishness--this rage for instructby the adage to suffer and be silent.
ing all the world in their appropriate duties, was to him Whence, then, the necessity of the petitioners' inter- at once ridiculous and disgusting. Let the painter stick ference? Might they not be told that every one was ready to his pallet, and the sculptor to his chisel. Sir, I mean enough to detail his own grievances? Was it less true no disrespect to the chairman of the meeting. I voted for now than formerly, that, if every body would take care his pictures, sir, but I cannot vote for his petition. We of themselves, and of their own business, every body and want no more artists to encumber our capitol with Indian every body's business would be well taken care of? Give caricatures. Our walls already bear witness to their works. me leave, sir, (said Mr. W.) to ask why, according tot heir Sir, [continued Mr. W.] I had not intended to say so own statement, these petitioners came before this House? much. The sum of the matter seemed to him to be this: They set forth no grievance of their own or of their it had pleased these momorialists, in their wisdom, to cenfellow-citizens. They suggest no remedy resting in the sure the President, to reproach certain legislative bodies, action of this House for the real or imaginary grievances and to show forth their own logic, rhetoric, and philanof others. Why may we not as well entertain supplica- thropy. Having effected these important objects, he tions in behalf of the suffering people of Ireland or Hin- presumed this specimen of their learning and cloquence dostan? In what character, he inquired, did the memorial- might be consigned to oblivion without injury to the reists present themselves? Was it as self-constituted guard- public. ians of the public faith? Were they voluntary superin Mr. BELL, of Tennessee, said he did not rise to en. tendents of the treaty making power? Curators by as- ter into the discussion of any matter connected with the sumption of the persons and property of the Southern question of the policy which this Government should Indians? or censors—he knew not by what right--of the pursue towards the Indians. He wished, however, to exLegislatures of sovereign States of the Union?
press his regret that, upon a mere question of reference, Taking their own showing, they applied to us, because any thing should be said by gentlemen from any quarter, the President refused to recognise the sovereignty and tending to call forth a discussion, which was premature, independence of some savage tribes; and because certain which could result in no good, and for which the House States, within whose territory they were at present found, could not then be prepared. Mr. B. said, he had not contemplated extending their laws over all persons includ- availed himself of the privilege of examining the laned in their constitutional and chartered limits.
guage of the memorial for himself, but he had learned And what then, sir, [continued Mr. W.] If these bar- from others, who had done so, that it was not of such barous hordes are indeed sovereign powers, it belongs a character as to exclude it from the House; he could, exclusively to the President to regulate the diplomatic in- therefore, see no good objection to its reference to the tercourse with them. If an ambassador acceptable to the proposed committee, and he hoped it would be so referred Cherokees should be required, the deep learning of the without further argument. He concurred with the genmemorialists in the law of nations, he trusted, would not be tleman from New York, (Mr. SPENCER] that the subject overlooked. But at present it was the pleasure of the Pre- referred to by the memorial was one of great delicacy and sident only to maintain an agent near the new Government. importance. It was necessary that this House should come
H. of R.)
[Jan. 11, 1830.
to a decision upon some of the questions, presented by speak. I have noticed it merely to show the application the present condition of the Indians, at this session of Con- to the State of Georgia of the following passages: gress. The whole subject would shortly be presented “Your memorialists cannot avoid the conclusion that to the House by the committee which had it in charge; and the bringing of State laws to bear upon the Cherokees when, in this way, some distinct proposition was present- without their consent, or the division of their lands among ed, gentlemen would have ample opportunity of express the citizens of any State, would bring great and lasting ing their views upon whatever side of the question they disgrace upon our country, and would expose us as a peomight feel it their duty to array themselves. As an indi- ple to the judgment of Heaven.” Congress is then imvidual member of the House, and looking to the necessity plored to interpose, in order that our national character of forming some opinion upon the subject to which the may be preserved - from so indelible a stigma, and is somemorial related, he was pleased that all the information, lemnly invoked, by that abhorrence which every upright in the power either of individuals or public meetings to legislator will feel at the suggestion of measures that will give, should, in some shape, be brought to the notice of the rest upon the brute force, by the apprehension of DiHouse. He would not object to memorials, that they con- vine displeasure, &c., by all these considerations to intertained nothing more than expression of feeling in relation pose and save the Cherokees from such injustice and opto this subject; but he was particularly gratified with the pression as can hardly fail of accomplishing our ruin, and presentation of memorials coming from a source so re- of bringing opprobrium and perpetual shame upon our spectable and enlightened, as the gentleman from New country. Sir, no one can doubt, for a single moment, York (Mr. SperCER) had assured us this one had come. that the passages which I have extracted from this memoHe trusted it contained some original matter, some new rial, directly and unequivocally charge one of our sister views upon a question of so much importance. As a States with trampling upon all laws, human and divine, member of the committee which had this subject under under the instigation of the most foul and criminal motives consideration, he would feel obliged by the reference of as --with the perpetration of deeds which ought to excite many such memorials as might be presented from any the abhorrence and execration of civilized man, and call quarter.
down the malediction and vengeance of an offended Deity. Mr. B. again expressed a hope that any argument upon Can petitions for the redress of grievances not be preferthe subject of our Indian affairs might be withheld until red, without abuse and crimination? I do not attempt to it should be fairly before the House.
take away, or in the slightest degree to impair, the right of Mr. DRAYTON, of South Carolina, said, the sole petitioning Congress. All I require is, that this right ground upon which he opposed the commitment of this should be so exercised as not to be diverted from its true memorial was the language in which it was couched. The intention by grossness and abuse; with this limitation, the memorialists, in common with other citizens, (said Mr. D.] right will be preserved, without being degraded. We have the constitutional right to petition Congress for the ought surely to pay as much respect to a sovereign conredress of grievances. As they possess the right, it is for federated State, as to an individual; and would any memthem to decide what are the proper occasions for its exer- ber of this body feel himself authorized to present the mecise. The only limitation which has been, and which, in my morial of an individual, containing such language as I have judgment, ought to be imposed upon those who address quoted? The questions involved in this memorial are of the Legislature, is, that their language should not be inde. momentous interest. I have reflected upon them sufficent or disrespectful. But this memorial so plainly of- ciently to convince me of their complexity and their delifends against decorum, that we should, it appears to me, cacy. However embarrassing they may be, we shall be be wanting in what is due to ourselves and to those whom compelled to examine into, and to decide upon, them. I we represe:lt, were we to permit it to be referred to any do not desire to postpone their consideration. All I decommittee of the House. Having taken it up within a few sire is, that a constitutional right should not be converted minutes, I have not been able to peruse it entirely. I into a vehicle for opprobrious epithets, and that the Lehave glanced over it, so as to collect its object-the tem- gislature should not lend its aid to the circulation of what per of its framers—the general scope of their reasoning, grossly violates common propriety and common decency; and the conclusions at which they have arrived. Although With this view, Mr. D. moved that the memorial be laid the proposed object of the paper is to demonstrate that upon the table. He, however, withdrew the motion at to the Indians, rightfully, belong the territories which they the request of occupy, yet it is evident that the real intent of those who Mr. LUMPKIN, of Georgia, who acknowledged (for it subscribed it is to show that the State of Georgia, in her was known to all his acquaintance) that he was sufficiently conduct towards the Cherokees, has committed an infrac- sensitive upon subjects relating to himself; and it was tion of the constitution, and departed from the obligations known to this House that he was equally so upon all subimposed upon her by treaties and by the principles of jus-jects relating to the rights, honor, and character of the tice and humanity. The memorialists “call the attention people and State which he had the honor in part to reof Congress to the relations which have always existed be present. Moreover, he believed he had not one constitutween Georgia and the Creek and the Cherokee nation of ent who would suspect him of being deficient in zeal and Indians. Treaties (they state) were repeatedly made be- fidelity upon all subjects relating to their interest. Nevertween the colony of Georgia and Indian nations residing, theless he must express his deep regret that this memo&c. &c., and always upon the ground of the distinct nation- rial, emanating from a few enthusiastic citizens of New al character of the Indians,” and of their right of soil and York, was not permitted to go to the Committee on Indian “ of sovereignty within their national limits." Reference is Affairs without opposition, and thereby have prevented then made to treaties between Georgia and the Cherokees, this premature discussion. He regretted the motion of his upon the same basis, since she became an independent colleague (at the time it was made) to lay this paper on state, “which are binding upon her, in honor, law, and the table, because, if it had been permitted to go to the conscience.” It is a fact of which none of us are ignorant, committee, we should have avoided this untimely consump. that the Legislature of Georgia passed a law before the tion of time, and premature excitement of feeling, upon date of this memorial, directing, at a future period, a di- subject of deep and grave importance, not only to Georvision of some of the lands of the Cherokees, (considered gia, but to the whole Union. to have been ceded to the State by treaty,) and declaring Mr. L. said, that, for two years past, by day and by that the laws of Georgia, after a certain time, should be night, in sickness and in health, he had used his best ef binding upon the Cherokees within her limits. Of the forts to get the Indian subject in a general and digested propriety or impropriety of this legislation, I shall not now form before this House. T'he records and proceedings in