and Indians' Advocate
Wednesday, March 3, 1830
Vol. II, no. 46
Page 4, col. 4a-5b
From the New York Observer
The representatives of Georgia in Congress, with the hope of diverting public indignation from the authorities of their own state, have called for information respecting the moral and political condition of the Northern Indians.- and without waiting for an answer, they sneeringly exclaim "Physician, heal thyself; complaints against Georgia come with a poor grace from New York and the land of the Puritans."
It must be confessed that while the editor of the Philadelphian, and some other Northern editors, write as they do, the Georgians ought not to be severely censured for the ignorance which these taunts imply. But before they carry their note of triumph any higher, we advise them to read the history of the Puritans, and to examine the records of New York. If they find in that history, or those records, any parallel to the injustice and cruelties with which they threaten the Cherokees, they will find what has escaped the search of those who are most familiar with these documents.
With respect to the Puritans, we may safely challenge their enemies to show us any people, in any age, who ever treated, a savage and inferior race with more scrupulous justice and Christian kindness than they manifested towards the Indians. We do not say that they never erred--we speak of their general conduct. At the time they landed at Plymouth, every power in Europe, whether Popish or Protestant, asserted, and acted on the principle, that savages have no right to their country. In opposition to this principle, some of the first settlers of Massachusetts strenuously contended that the Indians had a perfect right to exclude white men forever from every foot of this continent, and they all resolved to take nothing from an Indian, without his consent freely and fairly given. Accordingly they bought the soil, and scrupulously avoided exercising any dominion over persons residing without the purchased limits, except such as was sought by the Indians themselves, or enjoined by the plainest precepts of Christianity. Learning by experience that they could safely confide in the justice of the colonists, the Indians sought their alliance, and voluntarily subjected themselves to their laws. The colonists assigned them townships of land, protected them from the impositions of mercenary whites, assisted them in erecting churches and school houses, and labored diligently to instruct them in learning and religion. Under this mild policy, hundreds and thousands of Indians lived happily & died in Christian hope. The State of Massachusetts at this day, forbids the intrusion of the whites upon these lands, and if we mistake not, still supports among the Indians who reside there Christian missionaries and teachers. That the Indians have dwindled in number, and degenerated in character, is owing to causes which imply no blame in the authorities of that state.
Such was the policy of the Puritans and their descendants. It is a policy which has procured for them the high encomions of Vattel, and other eminent writers on jurisprudence. It is the very policy, which forty years has been imitated by the United States government, and which enabled our Commissioners at Ghent, in the face of the world, to place the American character for justice and humanity, in proud contrast with that of Europeans.
With respect to the present condition of the Indians in New York and New England, we will only say, that the relations which they sustain to the whites, are chiefly the result of agreements into which the Indians have voluntarily entered, and if in any case they had been interfered with without their formal or implied consent, it has been only in accordance with the golden rule of Christianity. We will not suffer Indians to offer human sacrifices to devils while we have the power to prevent it. England and France will not suffer the Turkish Sultan to exterminate his own vassals; and the government of the United States has declared it to be right to punish the subjects of any power found engaged in the slave trade. These interferences are not to be regarded as infringements upon the sovereignty of nations-they are the mere dictates of humanity. And so also, if individuals or bodies of men from any cause, become so reduced, as to be in capable of governing themselves, it may be not only the right, but the duty of a Christian people to assume the control, taking care, however, that the incapacity of the unfortunate subject & not our avarice or lust of power, should measure the extent of the interference. We cannot say that some of the remnants of Indian tribes in the Northern states are not already in the situation here contemplated. We believe, however, there are no cases in which Indians have been subjected without their consent: but if there are, he who argues from such facts in favor of the right of Georgia to extend her laws over the Cherokees, deserves himself to be placed under the guardianship which he advocates.
We protest against the principle that because Gen. Jackson may have expressed
an opinion on the policy which ought to be pursued towards the Indians, it must
therefore be made a party question: and we do so, both for his own sake, and
because in this way the claims of justice and the honor of the country are in
danger of being sacrificed on the altar of political devotion. By acknowledging
their attachment to the present administration, men do not pledge their acquiescence
in every particular measure of that Administration, right or wrong, much less,
in every opinion which may be expressed by its head; and we are confident, that
those who carry the opposite doctrine into practice, do but injure the cause
which they seek to promote. In the northern states at least, there is
an unanimity of feeling on the Indian question, which exists not on questions
of public policy; and it is too evident to be denied, that vast multitudes,
and indeed an overwhelming majority of those who feel strongly on this subject,
are actuated by principles as distinct from the jarrings of party as light is
from darkness. Why compel such men to sever themselves from a party to
which they are honestly attached, when by permitting the question to rest on
its own merits, the interests of justice and the Administration will both be
Jour. of Com.
From the New York Observer.
The advocates for the removal of the Cherokees appear to be a little lacking in consistency. When Col. M'Kenney delivered his address in the city last spring, he commenced his oration by a glowing picture of the extermination of the Indian nations.- And many others are now seeking to produce the impression that the Cherokees must waste away if they remain in their own country, just as the tribes have wasted, among whom Elliot, and the Mayhews, and Brainerd, spent their strength.
On the other hand, the Georgians are raised almost to a state of frenzy because they see such indications of a preparation among the Cherokees to maintain a permanent possession of their country. I should like to know which of these grounds of action is the true one? If the Cherokees are doomed, as it is said all Indians are, to waste away before the march of civilization, and if all the efforts of piety and benevolence, backed by the liberal policy of the national government cannot prevent it, why so let it be. To repine about it is neither more nor less than to murmur at the decrees of heaven. And in that case, Georgia can get the lands, in a generation or two, without compromising the character of our nation, violating the faith of treaties, or committing needless outrages upon the feelings of these sons of the forest. If the Cherokees are not wasting away, but flourishing like their white neighbors, let us hear no more of the impossibility of saving Indians from extermination.