Wednesday, March 24, 1830
Vol. II, no. 49
Page 1, col. 4a-Page 3, col.2c
From the National Journal.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
March 1, 1830
Mr. Burges presented a memorial from the yearly meeting of the Society of friends in New England. Mr. B. moved to have it referred to the same Committee of the Whole to which was referred the report of the Committee on Indian Affairs, and to have it printed. The question was divided, and on motion to print a very animated debate arose.
Of the commencement of the debate, including a few remarks from Messrs. Burges, Thompson, Hubbard, Chilten, and Whittlesey, it is not in our power to give a report. In reply to Mr. Whittlesey, who had referred to the course pursued during the session of 1828, with regard to memorials from South Carolina and Georgia on the subject of the Tariff, which memorials were offered and printed without waiting for the report of a Committee-
Mr. Thompson of Georgia, asked if there was not some difference between the claims of the present Administration and those of the last.- The President was elected by a large majority; he was looked up to for renovation, and such an one as should secure to the people their legitimate rights. The gentleman from Ohio, (Mr. Whittlesey,) had said that the Tariff memorials of South Carolina and Georgia were printed at the expense of the government, and the Southern gentleman made no objection to the expense. Had the gentleman forgotten that memorials from the manufacturing districts were printed also? The gentleman should remember that the system there forced upon us, took money from the pockets of the Southern people without their consent, and put it into the pockets of the people of the Northeast, without returning to the Southern people an equivalent. He remembered the mammoth petition upon that subject, which was rolled into the House from Boston. He had been told by a respectable gentleman from New England, that one, or that some of the signers of that memorial had just imported 1,700,000 pounds sterling worth of foreign goods. With respect to the printing of the present memorial, he repeated now what he said before, that it was unnecessary to print it, for the vanity of the authors, if nothing else, would induce them to publish it. He thought the printing would be a useless expense of the public treasure. If there was more information upon this subject before the people, it would appear that in some of these intermeddling memorials Georgia has been wantonly aspersed, and that the claims of Georgia are founded in justice, and nothing but sheer justice.
Mr. Bates made a few remarks in reply, in which he said the time spent in the discussion of this motion was worth twenty times told more than the printing. How did the gentleman from Georgia know that the vanity of the Quakers would induce them to publish this document? He apprehended the meeting and the memorialists were influenced by very different motives. Mr.B. referred to the course which had been pursued during the session by the gentleman from Georgia. Hardly a memorial had been presented upon this subject, but it must lie one day upon the table-one day for those gentlemen to inspect it before it was referred to the Committee. But when the Committee made their report no delay was allowed. They called for the printing and there must be no delay-not a moment. The reading of it also was denied; and the printing of ten thousand copies was ordered without our knowing anything about the contents. But now, when a memorial came from the other side, and we asked for the printing of it, also the gentlemen object to it. Oh, its very expensive! its altogether useless! He hoped the memorial would be printed.
Mr. Burges said he was refreshed and invigorated when he found no arguments offered against the printing, but such as were offered. It would cost too much to print one and a half octavo pages for two hundred and sixteen members to read, because if the House did not print it, the vanity of the N. E. Quakers would induce them to publish it themselves. He did not wonder, after this declaration, that the gentleman from Georgia had supposed the New York memorial emanated "from an accidental assemblage in the grog shop." The gentleman seemed to suppose that no one would be induced to write such a thing unless he wished it printed. He could inform the gentleman that it was not an extraordinary thing for a man in New England to know how to write. It would not be wonderful if a laboring man, after his week's work was done should write as good English on Saturday afternoon as a committee of the House. When the gentleman objects to the printing on account of the expense, I believe that to be his real motive; not because I am bound by courtesy to believe it, but because I know the gentleman. But the people will believe no such thing. The people will say that the gentleman must be mistaken as to his motive. We have the charity to believe that he is mistaken.
The other objection which as been urged against the printing of this document, is more extraordinary still. It is not extraordinary that the House should shudder at incurring an expense of five dollars in printing, but it was a little wonderful that a New England gentleman (Mr. Hubbard) should get up in his place and say the memorial should not be printed lest it should reflect on the report of the committee on Indian Affairs; lest it should reflect on a report which he had not read, and with the contents of which he was not acquainted! Who ever said it reflected upon that report? In the name of all that is merciful, pure or intelligent, who suggested it? No one. It has not been mentioned. Our object is to obtain, contrary to views, opinions, and arguments, to read, collate and compare them. Who ever before deemed that receiving a memorial was reflecting upon the report of a Committee? But perhaps, the gentleman from New Hampshire (Mr. Hubbard) meant a sort of logical reflection; as if because the committee has published a report: if we subsequently receive a paper containing different views, it indicated that the House thinks the committee has not gone exactly right.
We are told by the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Thompson) as if to sanctify the opposition to this motion, that the things done under the last administration are not to be looked to as precedents for what we should do under this. He seems to say that because Gen. Jackson was elected by such an overwhelming majority, the people are not to expect to have their memorials printed! I am willing to admit that the President was elected not only by a plurality, but by a majority, and that he had every vote, if the gentleman pleases, but even than I do not see through the reasoning of the gentleman. I do not know what he should say, unless he means to be understood that in these days of reform and retrenchment, the President will propose, and this House will save all the money that was lost under the last prodigal Administration.
Mr. Hubbard said, he wished to explain. He was from New England. He rejoiced that he was from New Hampshire; and though he was a member of the committee on Indian Affairs, he would not make a report without reading it. He asked before if the House would have had these memorials printed before the committee reported. He had intimated that the printing now might indicate that the House was dissatisfied with the report of the committee. In saying this, I said not a word that reflected upon the Society of Friends. The gentleman from Rhode Island, (Mr. Burges) shall not impugn my motives, old as he is. He shall not reflect upon me.
Mr. Reed observed, that the gentleman (Mr. Hubbard) of New Hampshire,) was altogether mistaken in point of fact, in relation to the mode of doing business in the House, & this error had probably led him to an erroneous result. He asks "would the House have ordered these memorials printed before the committee had reported?" certainly: it has been the common course of business in this House, when a petition is presented, if requested and deemed of sufficient importance, to order it printed; and at the same time referred to a committee, the very subject now under consideration, two memorials or petitions have been printed.
This memorial comes from a class of men whom I know to be highly respectable, called Friends or Quakers. They are unobtrusive, and interfere very little with the government of their country. We see few of their petitions or remonstrances, at the same time they may justly be ranked among our most valuable and useful citizens. If on the present occasion they have thought proper to present a memorial on this House stating their views in relation to the Georgia Indians, why not publish it.- Why not treat if with the respect and consideration due to the subject and those who present it? Why not treat it like other memorials of the same character? On what occasion has this House refused to publish a memorial presented by so large and respectable a class of men as the yearly meeting of Quakers in New England. Let it be printed. Let it be read and examined! The committee on Indian Affairs have no just ground of apprehension on account of their report upon the subject. If their report be correct, it will stand the test of argument. The memorial can do it no harm. On the other hand, if the report be erroneous, it should be the desire of all to know it. It should be our aim to seek light and truth wherever to be found, and finally judge with impartiality.
Mr. Daniel made a few remarks, the purport of which was that there was an excitement in the country owing to the want of proper knowledge upon the subject, and that the extra number of the report was necessary to enlighten the people.
Mr. Thompson of Georgia, said he did not doubt but that the memorials were signed by many honest gentlemen, who erred for want of knowledge upon the subject. He did not object when up before, to the expense of printing, but to the uselessness of the expense. Mr. T. made some remarks in reply to Mr. Burges, and concluded by saying he was not surprised at the course of the gentleman when he advocated remarks so indecorous, and ungenerous to Georgia as were contained in the memorial from the City of New York.
Mr. Sterigere then moved to lay the motion to print upon the table.
Upon this motion Mr. Bates called for the Yeas and Noes, which were ordered, and the motion was rejected Ayes 64, and Noes 110.
The question then recurred upon the motion to print the Memorial.
Mr. Bell said it was due to the House, that he should say a few words. He did not think the opposition to the printing arose from the supposition that it would throw light upon the general subject. He had stated before that he thought it ought not to be printed unless all were printed. He understood the gentleman from New Hampshire, (Mr. Hubbard) to place it upon the ground, that if all were printed, he did not object to the printing of this one. When the gentlemen examined the memorials they would see that they were most of them before the public, some of them were in the papers before they reached the House. If any light was to be gained from them, the public was in possession. He alluded to the production of "William Penn," upon which almost all the memorials were founded, the facts were the same, and the general reasoning was the same. He stated this to repel the insinuations that the printing was opposed in order to withhold light. He thought the attention of the House should be drawn to this fact. His voice would not have been raised against this one, if he had known that a precedent has already been printed: and if such a motion had not been made he now moved to print all memorials at the same time this was printed.
Mr. Bates said he agreed, if the House would print one and refuse to print the others, it would be invidious. There was not a single application to print a memorial which was refused. The printing had not been refused, because it had not been asked for.
Mr. Buchanan hoped the gentleman from Tennessee would withdraw his motion. There seemed to be a disposition to get into an excitement whenever this subject was mentioned. For his own part he was determined to keep perfectly cool.--The attempt to prevent the printing would excite more attention than the printing of the document itself. In regard to printing any other memorial, he should take the same course; and, if any gentleman should rise in his place and call for the printing of a memorial, he would vote for it. He hoped this would be printed.
Mr. Goodenow said, he rose principally for information. There were in the House upwards of fifty memorials.
He understood that no part of these memorials would constitute a part of that report. If a memorial was presented containing views different from any before advanced, only the day before the final question was taken, and it was printed, he thought it was making an invidious distinction between that one and those which were filed away. If this motion did not prevail, he should move to print a memorial which he had himself presented.
Mr. Hayne said he was opposed to the printing because it would have a
tendency to keep up the delusion which existed in some parts of the country.
A moments consideration of the President's Message would convince the people
that it was not intended to do nothing more than to induce them voluntarily
to emigrate. He had examined with some attention the legislation of Georgia
on this subject. There was nothing in the acts of Georgia which assumed
the right to coerce the Indian to remove. It was only because he thought
it would keep up a delusion that now existed.
Mr. Craig of Va. said it was one of the things between the doing of which and the not doing of which was of so little consequence that it was not worth speaking about. He had voted for laying it on the table in the hope to get rid of it. He hoped it would be disposed of as courtesy should dictate, that the amendment would not prevail, and that the wishes of the gentleman who presented it should be acquiesced in.
Mr. Bell replied that he submitted his amendments merely on the ground that it was said the opposition to the printing was to withhold information. If they were printed the House would find them to contain very much the same matter.
Mr. Burges regretted extremely that he should have been misunderstood. He made a very ordinary motion to print a memorial from a respectable source. Gentlemen had accused him of making an insinuation. He did not know how to make an insinuation.- He had all his life said in as plain a manner as he could the thing that he thought with regard to previous remarks of the gentleman from Georgia, (Mr.Thompson) he believe he had not used precisely the gentleman's words, but he thought he had not misrepresented them. The gentleman did not object to it on the ground of the expense, but because it was useless expense. Now the uselessness of the printing was according to the judgement of the gentleman who made the objection.
As to his reverend appearance, it was not a matter of his own choice; whether he should have a gray hair or not, was not a matter in which he had a volition. He would say to that gentleman, that he took no shelter behind his gray hairs from any fair argument. He allowed the servant boy to consider himself as reverend as he pleases. Though that gentleman's hair was now black, it might happen that a time would come when allusions to his age would sound ungracious in his ears.
He did think the motion to print them, en mass, was very much like an attempt to overthrow the whole. The gentleman from N. Hampshire, (Mr. Hubbard) did say that the printing of the memorial would impugn the report. This the gentleman could not know, because he had not read this memorial. If it impugned the report, he would not ask for the printing of it. But if it impugned the principles of the report, he should ask to have it printed, for every one in the community had a right to impugn its premises and its conclusions. When he was up before, he was not aware that the gentleman from New Hampshire was a member of the Committee on Indian Affairs, or of course he should not have said the gentleman had not read the report. He was not bound to know that the gentleman belonged to the committee. As to this memorial from the Friends of New England, the men of peace, he thought it ought to be printed and if it were not disrespectful to the House, he would say that he would himself pay the expense which would not exceed one dollar and a half- of informing the House and thus save the Treasury from the onerous burden. The step about to be taken would change our whole policy in relation to the Indians and decide whether we should purchase land of the Indians or expel them by force from the land of their forefathers.
Mr. Goodenow made a few remarks in reply to Mr. Burges, and said he hoped the motion would prevail to amend and it if should not, he should vote for the motion of the gentleman from Rhode Island.
Mr. Buchanan said he merely rose to deny that the question about to be settled by the House would change the policy of the government in relation to the Indians. The question was whether the strongest inducements should be held out to the Indians to have those East of the Mississippi rejoin their brethren on the West, in a country which would be peculiarly their own, and where they could pursue their own habits.
Mr. Burges said he intended to say may change the policy of the Government. The question referred to the committee on Indian Affairs, was whether the Cherokees had a right to establish a government within the boundary of Georgia. We have by solemn treaty guarantied to the Indians their possession of the country, and the right to govern themselves in it. If the conclusion of that committee goes to show that the Indians have not the right to govern themselves then our policy toward them is to be changed.
Mr. DeWitt here moved the previous question, which was ordered.
The main question was then put on printing the memorial which was ordered. Ayes 106.
The House then adjourned.
The resolution offered last week by Mr. Vinton was then taken up-relating to printing Georgia Laws.
Mr. Foster offered a modification providing for the publishing of the laws of all the States extending their jurisdiction over the Indians.
Mr. Bell said it must be apparent that all the laws, if published, would constitute a pretty large body. He could not be opposed to the printing of any documents giving light to the House or the people. He understood it was assigned as a reason for the resolution that the report of the Committee might mislead the public. If the House chose to act upon such a suggestion, he would not object. But he would suggest that other papers might be printed with equal propriety. Gentlemen would find when they examined the report, that the Committee had taken a ground which excluded altogether any reference to the laws in question. He should suggest, if the laws were appended, that the Treaties made with the Southern Indians, should be appended. The Treaties were alluded to, but it was not in the power of the Committee to insert all the treaties. He would venture to avow that more information would be derived from the Treaties, but it would be to [sic] voluminous, expensive and a great part of it useless, unless they were to be used for the purpose of illustration. He would suggest that the laws of Massachusetts, and New York, and of Virginia, or some other of the southern States, but he would inform the House that the laws of either of the States would make as large a volume as the Report itself. He should not object to the publication of any laws, but he thought it proper to state to the House that the ground taken by the Committee had no reference to the laws of any State, and that there was quite as much propriety in printing the treaties.
Mr. Test moved to amend the resolution by saying the "original laws subjecting the Indian to the State Jurisdiction."
Mr. Foster said it was evident that it could made no difference what the laws were; the question to be discussed was whether Georgia had the right to extend her jurisdiction or not.- The laws would afford no light upon this point. If the people wish to know what were the laws of Georgia, it was easy to ascertain: the laws were published, and people knew where to resort for them. He objected to selecting one or two states for trial, and rejecting the others. He was aware the laws would make a large volume, & if his own amendment should be adopted, he should then vote against the whole proposition.
Mr. Sterigere said, if the amendment prevailed, it would take the clerk all summer to make the selection. He moved to refer the resolution to the Committee on Indian Affairs.
Mr. Everett hoped it would not be committed; for he wished to see the laws, although he was not very anxious to append them to the report.- He wished to see them, for he could not make up his mind to act upon the bill until he had seen the laws. Not with reference to the abstract question of right, but he could not vote upon the bill until he saw the laws, and the laws must have an operation upon the bill. It could not be said that the Indians were persuaded to go beyond the Mississippi, if they were coerced by severe laws. A sight of the laws was necessary to enable them to act upon a very important question. He hoped that the motion to commit would not be obtained, because it was evident that it must be productive of delay. The laws of the only States affected by the bill; when other States were interested, let the House have the laws of those States.
Mr. Ellsworth said there were memorials from the Indians, stating that the laws of the States were a violation of the treaties with the United States. He would not express any opinion upon the justice of the complaints, but he asked how the House would ever be able to ascertain whether there was any foundation for the complaints. He would say in his place that there was something more than the abstract question of right- the question what was to be done with the Indians. He was extremely desirous to see these laws of Congress, he would aid gentlemen in obtaining a view of them; but he hoped that the laws of the States from which complaints come should be printed.
Mr. Hoffman hoped that the motion to commit would prevail. He well remembered that two or three years ago a report was made upon the subject of Georgia Indians, in which the subject was literally buried up in its own contents. He wished to know that a budget the House were about to print might be of a reasonable size and contain such matter as a relation to the subject-whether laws or decisions.
Mr. Wilde moved to amend the motion to commit, by adding instructions to the committee to report abstracts of the laws and decisions.
Mr. Wilde said, he was in favor of the commitment with these instructions. He apprehended that the labor of selecting would not be very great, nor require so much time as to prevent gentleman from seeing them in season to make up their opinions upon the bill. It was true, that the complaints had reference to a particular portion of the Union; but it must be remembered that the complaints came from a section of the country not intimately acquainted with the situation of the Southern Indians
Mr. Sterigere adopted the amendment of Mr. Wilde.
Mr. Vinton asked for the ayes and noes upon the commitment, which were ordered, but further proceedings were suspended by the expiration of the honor [sic].
The House then took up the bill making compensation to Susan Decatur and others; the question being taken upon Mr. Tucker's motion to strike out the enacting clause; and before any question was taken.
The House adjourned.
The resolution offered by Mr. Vinton relating to the printing of Georgia laws, was taken up, the question being upon deferring the motion to the committee on Indian affairs, with instructions.
Mr. Lumpkin said, as a member of the Committee on Indian Affairs, he would say the committee had endeavored to perform their duty. They had presented a detailed report. From the course pursued by some gentlemen he thought there was a belief that the committee had acted with partisan views. He thought if the House wanted information, they were as able to call for it, and procure it in their places, as the committee on Indian Affairs. But for the extraordinary motion to append to the Report of the Committee, he had not respect. He respected the intelligence of that gentleman, (Mr. Vinton) but he thought the House ought not to sustain it. The duty given to the committee was a delicate and important one, and whatever they might do, they would be censured by some gentleman, in the House. With these views, he hoped the Committee would not again be troubled with this question.
Mr. Storrs of New York, said it had been stated, and was undeniable, that the laws called for would make a very considerable volume. It must be evident, therefore, that if the amendment prevails, the object proposed in the original resolution is lost. The task required of the committee is almost impracticable during the remainder of the Session. Many of the laws of the States could not be obtained here at all; and should the resolution pass, every one must be satisfied that the volume cannot be obtained until after the bill has been passed or rejected. Gentlemen could get the laws and read them in the debate if they pleased. He thought the original object would be defeated if this resolution should be committed.
Mr. Burges said he was extremely anxious to get all the information possible before the bill was acted upon. If he understood the law correctly, the State of Georgia intended to exercise her jurisdiction over the Indians on the 1st of June next. If the House intended to act with any reference to that fact, he thought it was necessary to act immediately. If this resolution was adopted the collection would be delayed, not only until after the action of the House, but until after the point in dispute has been settled by one of the parties. If the House should delay the resolution for the purpose of obtaining information which could not be obtained in season for their action, the House decide not to obtain it at all. What relation have the laws of any other States to this question? Not at all. If he understood it right, the Report went the whole length of justifying the laws. How could the House adopt the Report, when they did not even know what the laws were? Would not every gentlemen see by this very act, that the effect was, what no gentlemen intended, to keep the information from the people. No gentleman in the House intended to produce such an effect, but everybody out of the House would say that was the intention. Why not print the laws? Why keep the people in the dark? Why the strenuous effort to prevent the people from knowing what was going on? Why was objection made to the printing of every memorial. People out of the House would say that it was the intention of gentlemen to keep the people in ignorance. The course was perfectly proper in the House as legislators, but the people would not be satisfied.
Mr. Polk thought if the laws were to be published for the information of the House, the resolution ought to be committed. The Committee could collect and report with very little trouble. Did gentlemen object to seeing the laws of other States? or was Georgia the only State to be tried? He thought if any gentleman wished to see the laws of Massachusetts, New York, or any other State, it was a matter of courtesy to have them printed. It appeared to him that whenever the question was introduced, the House was on the eve of plunging into the main subject.
Mr. Everett asked of the chairman of the committee on Indian Affairs, how long, in his opinion, it would require to make a report according to the instructions proposed?
Mr. Bell said that unless there was some limit to the inquiry, he did not know where the selection would stop. For one he did not desire to make this selection. He did not believe there was any desire to keep from the public any document upon the subject. He presumed many gentlemen had never seen the laws of Georgia; and probably many of the people of the country had seen only the obnoxious portions of those laws. If there was a propriety, which he did not deny, in having the laws of Georgia and Alabama printed for the use of the House, he wished those who advocated the resolution would restrict the inquiry to the laws of some two or three States. He did not think those laws were referred to the committee on Indian Affairs, and as they did not recognize the right of the United States, to interfere with the operation of the laws of Georgia within her own limits, they did not examine into those laws, nor did they think it necessary to append those laws to the report as a part of it. The question referred to the committee was whether the State of Georgia had a right to extend her laws, and they inquired into that without reference to what the laws were. He thought the laws of Massachusetts and New York might be useful, and he hoped the resolution would be amended.
Mr. Ingersoll observed: after what has just fallen from the Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs, he should certainly vote, if he would not have done it before, for printing the laws of Georgia and other States immediately interested, extending their jurisdiction over the Indian country. The honorable member at the head of the Committee informs us, that they have not considered the laws of Georgia as referred to them, and he ( Mr. I.) presumed the report laid on our tables this morning, and which he had time to open, took no notice whatever of the acts of that State. But do not these laws enter into the very heart of the Indian question? What, sir--shall we, blindfold, turn these people over to the States, without knowing what is to be done with them? Again--we have made treaties with the Indians, as they claim, guarantying to them their lands; and the President has informed us that they have called on the United States for protection -how can we determine on their right to make the call, unless we know what Georgia has done, or means to do, with these lands? The President has certainly considered it not improper to inquire into what would be the probable condition of these people if left to the legislation of the States. He has told us that they would be suffered to retain only those parcels of land which they have subdued by cultivation; but that those tracts, endeared to them by their earliest recollections which they view from their mountains, or pass in the chase, will be taken from them. We ought to know how that is, before we move further in this business. He supposed all along that the Committee to whom this part of the Executive message was referred, would have pursued this interesting inquiry.
But since they have not felt it to be their duty, there can be no impropriety
in our doing it for ourselves. We have heard it reiterated again and again,
on this floor, the declaration has gone forth to the nation, that you do not
intend to drive the Indians to the regions West of the Mississippi. Sir,
no man here ever supposed that they were to be forced off at the point of the
bayonet. But if their hunting grounds are to be taken from them, if they
are to be permitted to stay only on the little spot which they have cultivated,
while those tracts through which they pass in the chase, and in which they find
their game, are to be parcelled out among white men, it is all idle to tell
them they are not to be forced away. If you deprive them of their hunting
grounds, you take from them the means whereby they live, and you might as well
put the bayonet to their throats at once. It was to ascertain these several
matters, to which he thought inseparable from the question presented by the
committee, that he should vote for bringing here the laws of those States immediately
concerned. He hoped on seeing them that his apprehensions would be dispelled;
but at any rate let us know what they are.
As to publishing the acts of other States, he had no other objection to their being attached to this resolution, than that it would be next to impossible to make a compilation of them during the present session. So far as the laws of Connecticut are concerned, he should be glad to see them before the House, nor should he shrink to compare them with the legislation of any other State. But let us have what we now most want and what we can conveniently obtain, the acts of Georgia, Alabama & Mississippi. If, as we progress further, it shall be found necessary to publish those of any other States, he would cheerfully unite in any measure necessary to bring them before us.
Mr. Goodenow said, it was apparent, if the resolution was committed, the House would get neither law, treaty, nor decisions, until their return home. They would derive no benefit from them in the action upon the bill before the House, unless the question was suspended to some future day. He moved to lay the resolution upon the table.
Mr. Huntington called for the yeas and nays upon this motion, but before they were ordered, further proceedings were suspended by the expiration of the hour.
The following message was received from the President of the U. S. by Mr. Donaldson, his Secretary.
To the Senate of the United States.
March 1st, 1830
Gentlemen: In compliance with your resolution of the 4th ultimo, relating
to the boundary line between the United States and the Cherokee Nation of Indians,
I have duly examined the same, and find that the Executive has no power to alter
or correct it. I therefore return the papers, with a report from the Secretary
of War on the subject, for the future deliberation of Congress.
March 1st, 1830
Sir: the resolution of Alabama referred to you from the Senate and by you to this Department has been considered, in reference to the information which is in the possession of the Department.
It appears that this line, which by the provisions of the treaty, was to begin at Camp Coffee, and run due South, was run and marked by Gen. Coffee, Commissioner on the part of the United States, in January, 1817. The State of Alabama now alleges that the line is not as it should be, due South; but inclines too much to the right-West- by which a portion of her territory is embraced within the Indian country.
The Executive cannot correct this error. The line which is alleged to be incorrectly run was under the authority of the United States, declared to be the line before the State of Alabama became a member of the Union. She was admitted in reference to the boundary which had been made and agreed on, during her territorial administration. How far policy or propriety may sanction the change of a line recognized as correct for thirteen years, is a matter which refers itself entirely to the discretion of Congress.
I return to you the papers received, with the report of General Coffee, in 1817, the field notes, and a plot of the survey as made.
J. H. EATON