AND INDIANS' ADVOCATE
Wednesday April 8, 1829
Vol. II, no. 4
Page 1, col. 5b-
Page 2, col. 2a
From the Christian Watchman.
REMOVAL OF THE INDIANS.
The subject is one of great importance, not only to the Indians, but to our own country and government. We hope nothing will be done by Congress, which will not bear the strictest scrutiny of the great rule of equity.- "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Feb. 18, Mr. McLean, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom the plan of removing the Indians westward had been referred, made a Report on the subject. In this it is remarked, that the United States Government cannot, in justice to this dependent race, cease to exercise over them a parental guardianship, and that no means should be left unemployed, which promise an elevation of their character, and an increase of their happiness and prosperity. Some assistance has been rendered them, by feeble efforts; to rescue them from vice; "but in doing this," the Report observes, "we have not fulfilled our obligations, which grow out of our relations to them."- The Report then continues-
"The condition of the four southern tribes, the Chickasaws, Choctaws, Cherokees, and Creeks, has become extremely critical. There does appear to have arrived a crisis in which the salvation or destruction of those tribes is involved. Some of the States within whose limits they are situated urge their removal, while many of the Indians cling to their soul. Repeated efforts have been made by the General Government to reconcile the parties, and to obtain the consent of the Indians to remove, but some of them still persevere in their refusal to go and call upon the Federal Government for protection. No force has been employed on either side, but the right of sovereignty in the States is proposed to be exercised over all the Indians within certain of the States, by making them amenable to their laws, and answerable for any violation of them before their courts of jurisprudence. This policy, it is feared, would prove destructive to the Indians.
The question then recurs, how are they to be preserved? The committee can perceive but one way, and that is, by adopting the policy proposed by the Government for their removal and relocation upon lands without the limits of the States and organized Territories. The policy of urging them to leave their country for another would be deplored if it were not believed to be the only effectual measure to secure the prosperity and happiness of themselves and their posterity."
The Rev. Isaac M'Coy, who for a number of years has officiated as a Missionary
to the Northwestern tribes of the stations of Carey and Thomas, and who with
others was appointed by the President to explore the country west of Missouri
and Arkansas, has attended the service, and made a full representation of the
country, and of its local advantages to the Indians.- His Report is favourable
[sic] to their removal, and his sketch of the country he visited appears to
be drawn with judgment. The following is a brief extract.-
"From actual observation, and information from others on which I can rely, I think I have formed a pretty correct opinion, so far as the data upon which it is predicated are correct, of the regions which nature & our western settlements have described for the purposes of permanent Indian habitation. In fixing the boundaries of States and smaller divisions of our country nature is usually consulted.
A slip of valuable country lies from Missouri river along the western line of the State of Missouri to its northwest corner, one hundred miles, bounded on the southwest by Missouri river. This tract is about fifty miles wide at its northern extremity, and comes to a point at its southern. A few Ioways and Sauks have recently been located there. But nature seems to have designed that the Missouri, which, from the line of the State, bears greatly to the north, as we ascend, should be the line between the whites and Indians. Farther northwest, the river, doubtless will form this division, and it would appear an injudicious arrangement which should require us hereafter, in the use of that portion of Missouri river, to pass through the Indian territory. However excellent might be the gore of land of which we are speaking, our first thoughts furnish many reasons for supposing that an Indian settlement, severed from its kindred by the navigation of Missouri, and lying alongside of the white population would not flourish.
From where the western line of the State of Missouri river, the general direction of the latter, as we ascend, is northwest, for the distance, on a direct line, of two hundred and sixty miles; it then turns to the west one hundred miles, when it again bears to northwest and north, leaving the smaller streams of Running water and Punach rivers, to mark the westwardly direction towards the Rocky mountains. I hope, sir, that a glance at some of the later maps will procure an apology for my supposing that Running water and Puncah rivers and the Missouri should form the northern boundary of the Indian territory; the latter river the northeastern; the State of Missouri and Territory of Arkansaw [sic] the eastern; Red river (which is here our southern boundary of the United States) the southern and uninhabitable regions, stretching nearly north and south, on this side of the Rocky mountains, should from the western limits of the territory.
This tract would be six hundred miles from south to north; in this distance,
we may suppose there is habitable country, of the average width, from east to
west, of two hundred miles, with some exceptions at the north, occasioned by
the inclination of Missouri river, to west, on the line of two hundred and sixty
miles mentioned above. West, beyond the distance of two hundred miles,
we may suppose the country to be uninhabitable, in consequence of the absence
of timber, and as report says, the poverty of the soil. This tract is
supposed to be fully adequate to the purposes which the case will require.-
It can hardly be thought too much when we consider that three hundred and forty
miles of the six hundred have already been assigned to different tribes notwithstanding
the work is scarcely begun."
Page 2 Col. 2b
Removal of the Indians.- The report made in the House of Representatives by, Mr. M'Lean, chairman of the committee on Indian Affairs, is an interesting document. Attached to it is one from the Rev. Isaac M'Coy, which from its length we cannot publish, giving an account of his excursions into what may now be called Indian country, accompanied by deputations from the Choctaws, the Cherokees, Creeks and Chickasaws, for the purpose of reconciling the remnants of those tribes now resident East of the Mississippi to the necessity which compels their removal.--Savannah Georgian.