Wednesday May 6, 1828
Volume 1 No. 11
Page 3 Col. 1a-2a
On motion of MR.BENTON,
The Senate proceeded to the consideration of a bill making appropriations to enable the President of the United States to defray the expenses of a delegation of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations of Indians to explore the country west of the Mississippi.
MR. BENTON explained the object, and supported the policy of the measure. The States of Mississippi, Alabama, and others had, he said a numerous Indian population who, in all wars, whether foreign, civil, or servile, were ready to rise against those States. It was desirable that these Indians should be sent away. The measure was for the benefit of the Indians no less than of the States in which they now dwelt.
Mr. Cobb, said, that although the remarks made applied to the Creeks and Cherokees, he did not see that they were included in the bill. He moved to amend the bill by inserting, after the word Chickasaws, "Creeks and Cherokees."
Mr. ELLIS opposed the motion. It did not appear that the Creeks and Cherokees were desirous of removing. They had not asked to be removed. He hoped the amendment would not be pressed. Mr. Johnson of Kentucky said, the proposition authorizes the President to send agents, with three or four chief men of the Indian tribes, to explore the country west of the Mississippi, with a view of removal hereafter. No coercion was proposed. If they liked the lands which they saw, they might remove to them. The change of residence would greatly contribute to the happiness and independence of the Indians. He hoped the amendment would be adopted.
Mr COBB said he could not consent to withdraw the amendment. The government was bound by the obligations of a solemn compact, to remove the Indians from the State of Georgia. They had frequent opportunities, of removing them if they choose, but they had refused to do it. He could show four different occasions on which the Indians might have been removed, but on each occasion, the government, from policy, interest or other motive, neglected to do it. Justice to Georgia required the United States an immense consideration for it, which made her poor. If the government does refuse to comply with the compact, it will show that the government is not very closely pinched by the obligations which it takes upon itself. He would place at the disposal of the President of the United States a large sum of money to enable him to hold treaties, send out exploring parties, and adopt all other proper means to induce the Indians to remove. If this could be done, he would include all the Indians. But he would not give a vote to remove a single Indian until the removal of those in Georgia had been provided for.-In Ohio, there were not more than 500 Indians. From Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, nearly all the Indians had been removed. These States came into the Union after the compact was entered into with Georgia; and still, the Georgia Indians were not removed. He knew not what impression these things made on the Senate, but he would assure gentlemen that they made deep impression on the people of Georgia. If he could get the consent of those who had the management of the bill, he would move it so as to authorize and enable the President to take measures to induce the Indians to remove.
Mr. BRANCH asked if an agent was not now employed in conducting an exploring party of the Creeks.
Mr. KING said he would not enter into an examination of the rights of Georgia as connected with the subject. He agreed that less had been done than might have been done towards the removal of the Georgia Indians. But this was not the proper time to discuss that matter. His object was to make a small appropriation to enable the chiefs to explore the country, and if they liked it, and determined to remove to it, it may be proper for the government to p repare for their removal.
In reply to the Senator from North Carolina he stated that an exploring party, under Col. Brearly, had gone out, and some of the Creeks had been removed. But they were of the M'Intosh party. The hostile party, who now wish to explore, will examine for themselves, rather than take the place chosen by their enemies. With respect to the Cherokees, he doubted whether they were willing to go. It was not his wish to coerce any of them. He was sorry they had not been before removed. They might now have been placed in a comfortable situation. At present, they were almost in a state of starvation. They were compelled to subsist on roots. It was said that, in the woods they might lose their civilization and become wild. Mr. K. said that they had only contracted the vices of civilization. The wild man of the woods, he thought, had much more character than the drunken and thievish half-civilized Indians.
The above remarks of Mr. King, discover notorious ignorance of the Cherokees.- We should like to know where this honorable Senator obtained his knowledge of our wretched condition. The advocates of the removal of the Indians seem to possess means of information inaccessible to others. We are the more opposed to this system when it is sustained by such palpable ignorance, we mean, of the condition of the Indians generally. Will it not be best for such men as Mr. King, to learn who these Indians are, & what is their real condition, before they begin to legislate on their removal?