and Indians Advocate
Wednesday, March 17, 1830
Vol. II, No. 48
Page 2, col. 1c-4b
Mr. Bell. from the committee on Indians Affairs, to which was referred that part of the President's message which related to the Indian Affairs, and sundry resolutions and memorials upon the same subject, made a report thereon, accompanied by a bill, to provide for the removal of the Indian Tribes within any of the States and Territories, and for their permanent settlement West of the river Mississippi; which was read and committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union with the Report and Documents ordered to be printed. [The report is very long, occupying about sixty pages of manuscript.]
Mr. Buchanan said this was a subject of great importance; the more, as he had no doubt, from the nature of the numerous memorials presented to the House that great misapprehension prevailed in the country on the subject. It was commonly believed that the Indians were to be removed from the Southern States by force and nothing was further from the intention of Congress or of the State of Georgia, either, than this. It was right to correct the erroneous impression of the public on this subject and he therefore moved that ten thousand additional copies of the report be printed for the use of the House.
Mr. Burgess did not rise to controvert the printing of any number of copies of the report; but to controvert in some sort the idea suggested, namely misapprehension and error had gone abroad on this subject. The gentleman said nothing was farther from the intention of this Government and of Georgia, than to remove the Indians by force. Mr. B. presumed that nothing of the sort was intended by the Government of the United States, but when he saw Georgia making laws to extend over the Indians her jurisdiction, and excluding them from the exercise of their own rights, and calculated to drive them out, he could not agree to the remark of the gentlemen. He hoped the motion would be postponed for a week, by which time, the report would be printed, and the House could see what it was, and whether it was such as to deserve this great circulation among the people.
Mr. Wilde said he did not intend to be drawn into a premature discussion--premature, at least, in his judgment--of the highly important questions involved in the bill and report of the Committee on Indian affairs, which had not yet been read. He agreed with the gentleman from Pennsylvania, [Mr. B.] that great misapprehension had existed on this subject, and disagreed with the gentlemen from Rhode Island, who insisted that there was no misapprehension in relation to the policy and conduct of the state of Georgia. That State had indeed made provision prospectively for extending her laws over every person within her limits. In doing so she had done no more than had recently been done by some of the new States--nothing more than had long since been done by several of the old ones. He denied that the State of Georgia entertained the project of driving the Indians from her soil by force; and he believed he had at least as good an opportunity of being informed as to the views and policy of that State, as the honorable gentleman from Rhode Island.
Mr. Bates could not, until he knew what the report was, consent to order
this great extra number to be printed. He had great confidence in the
committee which made the report, and especially for the honorable chairman;
but he wished the report to lie on the table until tomorrow or next day, to
afford an opportunity for examining it, and he moved to postpone the motion
for this extra printing until tomorrow.
Mr. Thompson, of Georgia called for the reading of the report. This was opposed by Mr. Sutherland as an useless waste of time; and was insisted on by Mr. Thompson who said it was necessary, inasmuch as the not knowing what it contained was made a plea for objecting to the printing.
Mr. Reed deprecated this departure from the old usages of the House, which was growing up. It had been the practice to print the usual numbers of a document, and when read and understood, if found of great interest, to print an extra number. Now, it was becoming customary, when a report was made, for some gentleman, not a member of the committee, but knowing something of it he supposed, to get up and move an extraordinary number of copies. He hoped before this was agreed to in the present case, the House would be enabled to know the contents of the report.
Mr. Thompson said, in deference to the opinions of friends near him, he would withdraw the call for the reading.
Mr. Taylor said a few words in favor of the postponement, and if that were not carried, he should call for the reading himself, as he could not vote for this extra number without knowing something of the report.
Mr. Buchanan rose to insist on the opinion which he had expressed, that great misapprehension existed in the country respecting this Indian question. The memorials which loaded the tables of this House proved this fact. He was satisfied that the fears of the memorialists respecting the intentions of the Government, and of the State of Georgia, were totally groundless. The forcible removal of the Indians was thought, in many parts of the country to be resolved on--a great excitement prevailed on the subject--enthusiasts have been busy in scattering firebrands and arrows throughout the country relative to the subject, calculated to create discord, to sow the seeds of disunion, to sever brethren who ought ever be united. It was proper the People should have information to remove the error prevalent on this subject and who, he asked, would desire to keep such information from the people.
Mr. Wickliff would be willing to print the same number of this report as had been ordered of a report on the same subject made some years ago-he believed at the close of the 19th Congress---but no more. That report was made, and without being read, a large additional number of copies were ordered to be printed.
Mr. Everett, of Mass. said the gentleman was mistaken. He. (Mr. E.) made that report himself, and he well remembered that it was read through, to the House, before the printing was ordered. But as to the other question: The gentleman from Pennsylvania had said that great misapprehension existed in the country on this Indian subject; and gave that as a reason for moving the large additional number of copies of the report. Mr. E. said he would not contend about the correctness of this opinion, because that would be plunging into the discussion. But when the House is told that great error of opinion prevails on a subject, and that a certain document is calculated to contradict that opinion and correct the misapprehension, would the House favor the extensive distribution of that document without first hearing it? Was it not proper first to know what opinions it contradicts, and what it affirms? He had so much confidence in the Committee, that had the printing been moved without any reason but the interest of the subject, he would have voted for it without hesitation; but it was the reason assigned for, the motion which made him averse to consent to it.
Mr. Goodenow, of Ohio, was in favor of the extra number of copies. As the subject was one of great importance, and as he had perfect confidence in the Committee, he was willing on the faith of that confidence to vote for the motion. There was nothing, he thought, more important, there was nothing more dear to him, than giving information to the people.
Mr. Lamar of Georgia, said he would not now enter into any discussion of the subject; but, when the time came, he could show, that, in the conduct of Georgia respecting the Indians, there was nothing inconsistent with the Constitution or with propriety. That now was not the question: but it was true that great misapprehension existed in some parts of the country on the subject; the newspapers had teemed with statements and comments calculated to mislead the public mind, & he hoped that a large number of this report might be printed and distributed among the people, to counteract the great misrepresentations on the subject.
Mr. Sterigere of Pennsylvania, took it for granted that the report embraced all the laws of Georgia, respecting the Indians, and all the facts of the case, presented in a fair view; and as it would therefore enable the people to form a correct opinion on the subject, he was in favor of printing the additional copies. Mr. S. concurred in the opinion that the most erroneous impressions were entertained among the people on this subject. His own correspondence, as well as the numerous petitions received by this House, convinced him of the fact. He had received a letter lately from home, expressing surprise at a proposition now before Congress, as was honestly believed, for removing the Indians by force, and the people in his part of the country were actually holding meetings to petition Congress against the measure. Another letter was in favor of the extension of jurisdiction over the Indians, by the State of Georgia; but protested against the contemplated forcible removal; in favor of that which has been done, and against that which is not intended. He cited other cases to establish the fact of great misapprehension on the subject; and as this report would correct those erroneous impressions, he was in favor of the extra number.
Mr. Miller of Pa. preferred knowing himself what the report contained before he voted for printing this large additional number. The debate had consumed more time than the reading of the report could have done, and he wished it read. He had voted some days ago, for printing 6000 copies of a report, with its being read. [The report made by Mr. Cambreleng, from the committee of Commerce,)and he confessed, if he had known what that report contained, he should have voted differently. He was resolved not to commit the same error again.
Mr. Haynes, of Georgia, said, the objection to the printing, seemed to be the idea, that the report was a partial one; and argument on one side. This was mere presumption, and ought not to hinder the distribution of the information which it contained among the people. Supposing the character of the report such as was imputed to it, the House had printed a large extra number of a former report, of an opposite character, and it would be unfair to withhold this.
Mr. White of N. York, seeing no end to this debate, and perceiving its
tendency to a premature discussion of the whole subject if indulged, moved the
previous question--but withdrew his motion at the request of
Mr. Cambreleng, who regretted, to hear what the gentleman (Mr. Miller) had said about the report of the committee on commerce. He knew not whether to consider those remarks as implying a compliment or a censure, but he was bound to receive them as complimentary. Would that gentleman suppress information or withhold it from the people, because it might not correspond with his own views, or because he might dissent from the deductions from it? Mr. C. was surprised at the opposition to printing the extra number of the present report. There had been an Indian war raging out of doors, and he wished to have the question brought in here, where they might have a fair and honorable war with the other side, who had been carrying it on out of doors. He should like to see who were the members that were opposed to having this question placed fairly before the people: and he therefore demanded the yeas and nays on the motion for postponement.
Mr. Storrs of New York, said that he wished to vote understandingly on every matter connected with so delicate and important a subject as that before the House. He might or might not agree to the principles of the report, and could not say whether he did not, as it had not been read to the House, and he did not know exactly what the report was. He hoped that he should not be pressed to vote blindfolded on any question relating to it. He had during the debate looked very slightly at some of the sheets at the table, but had not time to read a passage of it carefully. In that part which he cast his eye upon, he saw that a paragraph from an opinion was quoted from a case in the Supreme Court of New York, that he had not time to look and see whether the report further stated that the case had been reversed in the Court of Errors there. He wanted information as to the nature of the report and its principles. At any rate he did not wish to act in darkness upon it. He moved that it should be read to the House, and asked the Yeas and Nays on that question.
The Yeas and Nays were ordered, and the question was taken on the reading of the report, and decided in the affirmative. Ayes 120, noes 56.
The Clerk accordingly commenced the reading and had proceeded about half and hour; when
Mr. Clay of Alab. moved to dispense with the further reading, which was agreed to 78 to 57.
A motion was then (about 3 o'clock) made to adjourn and lost.- Ayes 48, noes 90.
Mr. White now renewed his motion for the previous question, which was seconded by a majority of the House.
Mr. Storrs of N.Y. then moved to lay the motion for printing on the table, and called for the yeas and nays on the motion.
This yeas and nays were ordered, and being called: the motion to lay on the table was lost. Ayes 37, noes 143.
The previous question now recurring, Mr. Vance demanded the yeas and nays on it, and they were ordered. And the previous question being put? "Shall the main question be now put?" it was carried. Ayes 126, noes 58.
The main question was then accordingly put, viz. on the motion to print 10,000 additional copies of the report and decided in the affirmative. Yeas 116, noes, 56.