We cheerfully insert the following letter from a distinguished correspondent
to Washington, designed to expose another of the base arts resorted to by the
opposers of Indian rights. We cannot believe, however that the people of the
United States will be deceived by the pretence, that the government does not
intend to compel the Indians to leave their country. The trick is so obvious
that our wonder is that any man of sense can expect that the people will not
instantly detect it. No one supposes that the government of the United States
are about to compel the Indians by any direct measures to abandon their country.
The complaint is, that they refuse to fulfil [sic] their solemn treaties with
these poor people--that they refuse to protect them from the oppression of Georgia
and her sister States. The complaint against Congress is, that while these treaties
are the supreme law of the land; while it is a matter of public notoriety that
Georgia has passed laws in direct violation of them, laws which deprive the
Indians of their national existence, and compel them to choose between expatriation
and slavery; and while the President of the United States has publicly declared
that he shall not interfere to enforce treaties--the complaint is, we say, that
under these circumstances,Congress manifest no care for the country; that while
they grant to the President and to Georgia all the facilities which are wanted
for the accomplishment of an iniquitous project, they refuse to utter one word
of disapprobation. Is it any justification of such conduct that Congress have
a legal right to grant these facilities, and that there is no harm in the grant
in itself considered. As well might a guardian justify himself for placing a
pistol in the hands of a murderer, after he has avowed his intention to shoot
his ward. Such a guardian, in the judgement of law and of common sense is himself
a murderer; and the Senate of the United States. by passing the bill providing
for the expense of removing the Indian, after the public avowals of Georgia,
has made itself a partner in her guilt.
N. Y. Obs.
Washington, April 29, 1830
I find in some of the papers a very uncandid statement of the Indian Question, lately before the Senate. These papers represent that the object of the government is to provide only for such tribes, as may choose to remove. This all looks very fair. But the fact is, that the government intends to permit the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, to legislate over the Indians; to abrogate their own government; and in this way, it is hoped that the poor Indians will prefer, as the lesser evil, to quit their homes and go away into the wilderness. This declared intention of the government, called upon the committee on Indian affairs, to sustain the unjust claims of these states; and hence the Report made by Mr. White, as the chairman of that committee, goes into an elaborate presentation of the various grounds, assumed by the state of Georgia, adverse to the Indians. His argument before the Senate also, put in issue directly the rights of this state, and the conflicting rights of the Indian tribes, and the whole debate turned upon this question; and yet now these newspapers most unfairly represent, that no designs against the Indians are meditated; when Georgia insist (and the General Government acquiesces in it,) that she may and has by her laws abolished all the Indian laws, rules, and customs, and spread over the Indian tribes, her sovereignty.
Let then the government met the case fairly-let the people look at it, let them understand what is really intended, and not be told that this bill merely for the removal of those "who may choose to go." This apparent fairness is one of the strongest objections to the bill, for it conceals the real object. This real object has been debated-the amendments to the bill disclosed it. They were voted down, by a course of arguments, insisting, that Indian treaties were not treaties, in the true meaning of that term; and that if they were so, the General Government, had no right to make them, as it respected Georgia.
The agents of the United States, who were lately sent among the southern tribes, in their report to the War Department, expressly say. If the government withhold their protection as desired by the Indians, and leave them to the legislation of the states, that the Indians will be willing to exchange their present territory and move off.
In the wish that justice may be done as well to these tribes, as to the confidence
of the public, I have submitted this abstract of the case.
THE INDIAN BILL
Some of the papers that profess to be friendly to the present Administration
have endeavored to mislead the public, on the subject of the bill for the removal
of the Indians, now before the House of Representatives.- They represent the
bill as very innocent-that it provides only for those tribes that may choose
to remove, and hence infer the unreasonableness of the opposition made to it
in the Senate. Now, one of the most objectionable features of this act, is that
the real object is by it, concealed. All who are conversant with the Indian
Question know that the matter has become a controverted one, by the unwarrantable
claims set up by several States to legislate over the Indians; and thus, by
rendering their condition uncomfortable, compel them to remove. Some of these
tribes, more than a year ago, applied to the General Government for protection
against such State encroachments, and they were told that the United States
could not interfere, and that they must either remove or submit to this harsh
legislation. The Indian Agents have expressly recommended this mode of leaving
the Indians to State legislation; and have stated that in their opinion this
would induce the tribes to exchange their country. When the bill just mentioned
was reported to the Senate, the very purpose of declaring to the Executive,
that the National Legislature felt bound in good faith to protect the Indians
against all these State pretensions-that the tribes were our allies, under our
patronage, and not subject to the laws or authority of any State. And the whole
discussion turned on this question of conflicting claims between the United
States on the one hand, and individual States on the other. All knew that the
particular bill before the Senate, in itself considered, seemed to be quite
harmless. But the question put to the Congress was, will you countenance the
oppressive manner in which you know this bill is to be carried into effect?
Will you permit State legislation, by harshness and injustice, to extort from
the Indians a consent to remove that will be a mere choice of evils-a reluctant
and painful submission to an alternative forced upon these people, in violation
of our plighted faith? It is wonderful that some of the public journals should
seek to disguise the answer given by a majority of the Senate to such inquiries.
But the people will understand the matter, and we fear not the answer which
they will yet give.
Washington City Chron.
It is with feelings not less of pungent sorrow, than of unmeasured indignation, that we have read the doings of the Senate of the United States on the 24th day of April last. And that sorrow is not rendered less pungent, nor that indignation less intense, by the reflection that a stigma as foul as that fixed upon the forehead of Cain, has been irrevocably stamped upon our country through the instrumentality of the Senators from our own state.
We are ever disposed to treat the constituted authorities of our land with
all that respect to which their stations entitle them and to nobody of men on
earth have we been disposed to defer with more respect and veneration that the
United States' Senate. But, when we read such proceedings as the following;
no respect or veneration, shall restrain us from the bold expression of our
national character, in which every individual, how ever humble, had a deep and
It is not our intention to investigate the wire-drawn arguments of otherwise just men, and distinguished jurists, to support the position, that civilized man possesses the natural right to rob the savage of the inheritance of his fathers; it is not our intention to scan the justice which in bye-gone days, led the Pioneers of our republic, to exercise superior arts which civilization gave them, to wrest the fairest portion of our world from the possession of its legitimate owners; it is not our province to probe the heart and pass judgment upon the motives which actuated a large portion of these from whom we have derived our being, in adding field to field that they might enlarge the inheritance which they should leave to their children; nor whether in all these doings they contemplated the command of Him who gave the whole, to its then proprietors, "do justly, love mercy."
We would not if we could excite the commisseration [sic] of our readers, at the waste of human life which has marked the progress of the Europeans & their descendants, nor tell how the thousands and the tens of thousands of once proud and independent men, who were guilty of a skin not colored like our own, have receded at the approach of their more artful invaders or how these tenants of the forest, gifted with the highest order of intellect, have over almost the whole face of a boundless empire, been swept into total annihilation. We would neither avenge their wrongs, nor write their epitaph.
But the proceedings of our Senate are of a character totally different both in principle and in operation; this character depends not upon any combination of accidental circumstances; but in their capacity of guardians of a nation's honor, have laid a ruthless hand upon the pillars which support the temple of universal justice. They have by a solemn act of legislation authorized the public violation of all the treaties, compacts, agreements, and stipulations, ever made by the government of the United States, with the Cherokee Indians.
In vain shall we search throughout the achievers of the civilized world for another act, of such unblushing atrocity. Even the petty princes of the barbary [sic] States, can plead custom in justification of their violation of treaties and disregard of plighted faith and those nation may lay the responsibility of such hardened iniquity upon a despotic Dey. But that a deliberative Assembly, representing the Christian people of the United America, should solemnly resolve that they will disregard and trample under foot, the plighted faith and solemn treaties of our government! Oh it is sickening to the heart of every one who loves his country. It is portentious [sic] of evil days.
Let it be remembered that among those who have sanctioned this detestable
principle, is one, and only one, among the twelve New England Senators-two and
the only two who represent the sovereignty of the Great state of New York,--and
from the state of New Jersey--and then let it be remembered that the whole responsibility
of this national disgrace must rest upon them; for had they voted with their
associates and in accordance with what we believe the unanimous sentiment of
their constituents, the foul blot would not have stained our national escutcheon.