and Indians' Advocate
Wednesday, February 3, 1830
Vol. II, no. 42
Page 4, col. 1a-4b
The following remarks taken from the N. Y. Christian Advocate and Journal are worthy of the serious attention of every person who professes the Christian religion. There is a time coming when justice will be most assuredly meted out to all. We do hope the good people of Georgia will bear in mind the injunction of their divine master, "Whatsoever ye would that man should do to you, do ye even so to them."
On Monday evening, the 28th ultimo. a meeting was held in this city, agreeably to notice, to consider the present crisis in the condition of the American Indians. We have seldom seen a more numerous or more respectable collection of our citizens assembled for any similar object. The occasion was deeply interesting, and the exercises throughout were highly appropriate. Col. J. Trumbull, one of the worthies of the revolution, was called to the chair, and the Hon. Peter Sharpe and Dr. John Torrey were appointed secretaries. The meeting was then addressed by Hugh Maxwell, esq. the late district attorney, in a very impressive speech, after which a memorial to congress was read by Joseph Blunt, Esq. which we insert on our first page.
The principles of the memorial were advocated by M. C. Patterson, Esq. who was followed by Hiram Ketchum, Esq. in a very able and animated address. After the Addresses, it was resolved unanimously that the memorial just read, be signed by the chairman and secretaries, and transmitted to both houses of congress.
So far as this question may be mingled with party politics, or may be used for the purpose of subserving the views of either of the great political parties in our republican family, we have nothing to do with it. Though, in common with our fellow citizens, we may have our preference in respect to public men and public measures, our political creed is summed up in a few words-it is to "render to God the things that are God's and to Caesar the things that are Caesar's."
But so far as the question before us may have a bearing upon the great and immutable principles of moral justice--of justice between man and man, or between one community and another, an indifference to its final determination would be, in our estimation, not merely a cold, but a criminal indifference. Who that has the slightest acquaintance with the general history of nations, to say nothing of that particular history which purports to be a development of God's providential dealings with mankind, but must have seen a confirmation of the sacred maxim of our Divine Savior. "Whatsoever measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again?" Nations which establish themselves by acts of injustice towards others, which extend over them a cruel dominion merely because a stronger arm enables them to do so, need expect nothing less than the reaction of a retributive providence as a punishment for all such deeds of injustice. The "might gives right" is a maxim of such an odious character, so abhorrent to every feeling of justice and humanity, that few have the hardihood openly to avow it as the rule of their action; while, such is the inconsistency of erring man, there are thousands who daily exemplify it in their practice. Hence the tyranny of despots, the oppressions of men in power, the extortions of the rich, the cupidity and perfidiousness of the cunning dealer, and the high-handed measures of the strong, and the exorbitant prices set upon his wares by the monopolist.--The maxim of our Savior above quoted, we believe, will apply with equal force to every instance and to every species of injustice, whether it be perpetrated by nations, by communities, by secret combinations, by monopolists in company, or by individuals.
Neither is it a less infringement of the paramount authority of inflexible justice, because the motive is plausible. Will an honest man steal his neighbour's [sic] property that he may be charitable to the poor? Will the capitalist extort from his customers that he may accumulate wealth with which he may dry up the tears of the widow and fatherless? Will the religious man sport with justice, and speculate in the cause of God, under the pretence that he is subserving the cause of suffering humanity? In short, will he oppress the hireling in his wages, take an advantage of his neighbour's [sic] necessities, and defraud his brother merely because he is dependent upon him, under the flimsy pretext that he is laying up money to help forward the cause of God?
To all these questions the pious man, who has intelligence enough to distinguish the claims of eternal justice, and to perceive the perniciousness of the maxim, "Let us do evil that good may come," will answer "No! No! God forbid!"
We most ardently hope, therefore that our rulers will never suffer the fair escutcheon of their national honour [sic] to be defiled by so foul a blot as an act of injustice towards the almost exterminated Indians within our state boundaries would indelibly fix upon it.
These Indians are our brethren, made of the same blood, possessed of the same inherent rights, as keenly alive as ourselves to their infringement; and because we have acquired some rights which they have not, shall we madly assume the additional right of depriving them of those they do possess, to gratify either our pride, ambition, or avarice? Mercy, Christianity, the principles of reciprocal justice, all equally forbid it.
Now that they have just begun to taste the sweets of civilization, and many of them of the "honey from the Rock" of our "common salvation" who can avoid weeping at the prospect of seeing the "cup dashed from their lips," and they driven to feed again among the wild herds of the forest?
We cannot, however, but anticipate better things, even tho' we thus speak, and hope that the fair, inheritance with which God has blessed us may never be wrested from us by the hand of violence, as a punishment for our violence towards the original proprietors of our soil.
Our most ardent prayer is, that neither the President of these United States, the Congress, nor any state government, will assume the awful responsibility of forcibly ejecting any one, Indian or white man, or Indian tribes from his or their rightful possessions.