THE INDIAN QUESTION
By the report of the Congressional proceedings, we perceive that this important subject was finally disposed of in the House of Representatives on Monday last, by a vote of 102 to 97, and that so far as the government of this country is concerned, the fate of the Indians are determined. The President and both houses of Congress have now united in setting at nought the treaties which have been made with the Indians, and in disregarding the faith of our republic, which had been so frequently and so solemnly pledged to protect them in the enjoyment of their possessions forever.- We leave for others to determine in what light this policy will place us, in the estimation of the world and on the page of history. If the violation of plighted faith on the part of the Carthagenians has subject that people to the reproach of the world, and exposed their memory, as a mark for the finger of scorn forever, what may not be said of the government of the United States, which has in a single session of its Congress, overturned the policy which it had pursued for half a century, and trampled under foot the most solemn obligations imposed by treaties repeated and renewed with all the formalities and sanctions of law. In submitting to the decision of Congress upon this subject, the citizens of the United States who have opposed this iniquitous proceeding, have the consolation of knowing that they have done their duty.--They have petitioned and remonstrated, against the infraction of our treaties, with all the earnestness which the occasion demanded, and with all the eloquence and force which the truth and justice of the cause afforded; and if they have remonstrated in vain, they have notwithstanding, washed their hands of the sin which has now been committed, and thrown the burthen (sic) with all the obloquy attached to it upon the friends of the administration. In the course of the debate upon this bill, it was boldly avowed by Mr. Lewis, that the bill was known to be the leading measure of the present President, and that therefore, those who avowed themselves the friends of the administration were bound to support it, and that if they did not, they would be faithless, and traitors to their party.--We have before said that this bill was to be considered as a party measure,- but we have seen no open avowal of the fact before. His declaration proves that in depriving the Indians of their right of property and security, in driving them from the lands which they have inherited from their ancestors, and from the homes which they have hitherto justly claimed as their own, justice has been sacrificed on the shrine of party, and principle and honesty have been permitted to share her fate. If the people of the United States are willing to sanction such a proceeding, adopted with such motives, the time is not remote when party will on all occasions triumph over principle, and when the institutions of our country will become the sport of artful and designing demagogues.--Ct. Mir.
CHEROKEE PHOENIX AND INDIANS' ADVOCATE
Saturday, June 26, 1830
Volume 3 No. 10
Page 2 Col. 1b.-2a
THE INDIANS--The bill provided for the removal of the Indians, has at last passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 102-97. The interest felt on the subject by the members, as well as the community at large, appears to have been intense. If a single member was absent, who was in town, or indisposed and unable to be present, it was made the ground of a motion to postpone the consideration of the subject. The votes on all the questions were very close, there being a majority only of two of three votes. The friends of the bill, however, were determined to crowd it through, and as far as possible without argument. They seemed to fear, as well they might,an exposition of the subject. They did not vindicate their own course, nor did they seem willing that the opponents of the bill should have a full opportunity for its discussion. The previous question was moved and sustained in every stage of the business. All amendments were put down without discussion, by the weight of the majority. The object with the Government and its supporters seems to have been, without any regard to the rights of the Indians or our obligations to them, or contracts with them, to drive them out from among us. It has been in vain that the demands of strict right have been urged, in addition to those of magnanimity, generosity towards those who have been greatly injured by us, ' unable to protection to those who are feeble ' protect themselves. The course taken bears strong marks of meanness and unfair dealing, and there is no wonder that its vindicators should blush at the measures adopted. The silent ' despotic course which has been adopted by the continued suppression of all discussion, is well worthy the arbitrary measures provided by the bill itself. It is in vain to say that the bill only provides for their voluntary removal. The real design and aim cannot be disguised. The whole tenure of the measure adopted, and the language of the President and of the supporters of the bill, shows that the design is that of forcible removal. We regret the inhumanity and deep disgrace attending this tranaction (sic). The only alleviating circumstance is the strenuous opposition which it has received from so many of our Representatives. Our own Representatives, to a man, voted against the bill.--Norwich Courier.
Page 2 Col. 2b.
From the Albany Christian Register.
Present State of the Indian Question.
--The law recently passed by Congress on this subject, is entitled, 'An act to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the States or territories ' for their final removal West of the river Mississippi.' It provides for the removal at the expense the United States, of such Indians of any of the tribes as shall desire to remove, and for an appropriation of lands in exchange for those they shall give up. True, none are to be removed who shall not request it; but then the rejection of two amendments proposed by Mr. Frelinghuysen in the Senate, and of others of like import in the House of Representatives, leaves those who do not choose to remove, exposed to the tyrannical laws of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.
The rejection of these amendments amounts to this:THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WILL NOT PROTECT THE INDIANS FROM THE LAWS OF ANY STATE OR TERRITORY THAT SHALL SEE FIT TO EXTEND THEIR LAWS OVER THEM. And the United States Government WILL NO LONGER CARRY ON INTERCOURSE WITH THE INDIANS AS INDEPENDENT AND SOVEREIGN NATIONS.
Such is the actual state of things in relation to those much oppressed human beings. But it is to be remembered, that they cannot be removed without requesting the government to remove them. They have only to sit still and see whether these states will carry into execution the laws they have enacted against them. We cannot give up the hope, that, 'light will spring up in the midst of the darkness' that overshadows them. We cannot give up the hope, that Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi will pause before they execute their most oppressive and tyrannical laws against the Indians, until one more opportunity shall offer of bringing the subject before Congress. But if not, if they should push on in their infatuated course, and tread those defenceless (sic), peaceable, neighbors and allies down to the earth--it will be nothing strange, should the war-whoop resound in the ears of the white man, the scalping knife do its own hand the executions of justice, and the vindications of his wrongs in his wonted, though almost forgotten savage mode. It will then remain to be seen, whether the government of the United States will allow a single state to carry on war by itself: and if not, whether they will sustain Georgia; or redeem their violated faith to the Indians, by protecting them.
Page 2 Col 2b-3a
Voluntary emigration of the Indians.
It is easy to foresee that it will be rung from one end of the United States to the other, that no compulsion is to be exercised towards the Indians for their removal; that none will be removed who shall not desire to remove. This is not so. For, notwithstanding the plausible form of the law for their removal, this act of the general government is to be taken in connexion (sic) with the laws which they knew Georgia and other states had passed in relation to them, and with their own violated faith in refusing to protect them. These form one whole. This voluntary emigration is like the voluntary emigration of the Puritans to America, when they were driven from their homes by the fires of persecution, and compelled to seek a refuge n the howling wilderness.--It reminds us of Bonaparte's 'forced loans.' The capitalists were told you shall lend me money or go to prison. But do not say you were compelled to go to prison: if you go, you go voluntarily.
This is in fact, the sum and substance of the whole Indian question: and it ought to be carefully laid up in the memory of every reader. Ibid.
Page 2. Col. 3a-4a
The Indian Bill passed.--The bill providing for the removal of the Indians to some territory beyond the Mississippi to be selected, surveyed and defined, has at length passed both houses of Congress; and as it is said to be a favourite (sic) executive measure, there is no doubt that it will promptly receive the President's signature. From what is called party national policies and executive questions we have desired and do wish carefully to abstain. But it ill becomes the conductor of a free and independent press to keep silent when silence would be criminal. It is only the servile and contemptible who ascribe infallibility to party, or who transmute that which is a violation of all laws, social, political and divine, into acts of merit, and justify them on the principle of policy and power. Our busi- (sic) should be applaud what is meritorious, and reprobate what is unjust. It is our duty to obey the laws; but it is no less so, when we believe they are not made in conformity to the honour (sic) and interests of our country to exhibit their moral iniquity, and the men who made them, to the reprobation of the world. Never was an act recommended by any executive, or passed by any Congress of these United States, fraught with darker and deeper national disgrace, than the one we speak of. Our language is too feeble adequately to express our opinion of its character for obliquity ' injustice. Indeed this alone seems to be the only object it can certainly secure. We naturally ask what good can arise from it to the nation? What security is offered to the Indians by such a transfer of location? Will the national faith, which had been pledged to protect them where they are, be so renovated and changed, that future safety and protection will be better secured? Will that nation which has sacrificed its honour (sic) to mammon
or party, be more scrupulous for the time to come? Such a supposition, entertained by the men who have thus sported with the scared honour (sic) of this nation, would only be fastening a stigma of infamy upon their own characters, as if they entertained the idea that a worse than themselves could not succeed them. They may hope for an approaching millenial (sic) of happiness and justice; but they take especial care, as far as this precedent is concerned, to throw obstacles in the way of its approach. Now the Indians are to be removed. But nothing is said of the bounds of their territory, or whether they are to have any more than a few acres each for the raising of corn, turnips, and other vegetables. Nothing is said, while they are again thrown into nature's wildness and incivilization (sic), as to whether they are to have a like ample range for their hunting--no,no: their crime seems to be their aim at civilization, and this must be arrested. They are to have a location adjoining some of our states or Territories. Their neighbours (sic) will be the same as formerly. They will, in a short time be surrounded by men who will trespass upon there (sic) rights--envy them of their possessions--covet their improvements--and seek, through some quirk or quibble, to involve them in trouble that they may have them removed from their habitations. The guarantee of laws is no protection, when men, having the power, make laws to violate justice. Soon the minions of a popular executive will cut the knot they cannot unite--might will trample on right--former precedents will be acted upon, and law, justice and human rights will change their character as our elections change an administration. The intruders upon Indian rights will be encouraged to proceed--they will throw their toils over, create difficulties among, intrigue to circumvent, and then make laws to overpower them. An executive promise is no charter of rights. New commentators and exponders (sic) of laws will arise, as we have seen them arise, utterly disregarding the most sacred treaties-men whose godhead is power, whose creed is policy, whose greatest virtue success, and who, for a trifling consideration of interest, which is neither needed or required, would shake the very pillars of our constitutional fabric and threaten the nation with blood and ruin! On this topic we dare not indulge our feelings. No predilections of party, or of party leaders, can influence or draw us off from what we owe to the cause of a righteous principle and of immutable justice. When the character of our nation is wounded we should not be silent; nor will the hope that the supreme court may yet restore our nation to its wonted dignity, remove the opinion we entertain of those who have thus impaired it. --The Phil. Sun.
CHEROKEE PHOENIX AND INDIANS' ADVOCATE
Saturday, June 26, 1830
Volume 3 No. 10
Page 4 Col. 4a-4b
The Indian Bill.-- This bill has passed the House of Representatives, substantially as it came from the Senate, by a majority of five votes! We did hope that the representatives of the people would pause before they affixed the national seal to an instrument so obviously unjust and oppressive. It is, we believe, the first time that Congress has declared by an open act, that policy is paramount to justice; and we think the murmurs of the people will evince their disapprobation of the principle; and their indignation at its operation in this case. While the Indians were willing to acknowledge their right of possession to prior occupancy; and Gen. Washington made it an express stipulation that in treaties with them, they should be informed that the possession and jurisdiction of their territory could not be acquired by others without their own will and consent. Yet notwithstanding this, and the unanswerable arguments of the opponents of this bill, it has been coldly passed; and we are left to the conviction, that although justice, humanity, and liberal feeling be thrown into the constitutional scale, five votes may be suffered to outweigh all and become the means of oppression to a people, whose uncivilized kindness to our fathers should have averted this civilized ingratitude.
By the passage of this outrageous bill A HALF MILLION of dollars is at once put at the control of the executive, and that according to varying estimates, a further sum of from FIFTEEN to TWENTY MILLIONS of dollars will be necessary to carry the provisions of the act into effect. Sixteen of the members from this State voted in favor of the bill.-Will the people endure all this? If they will we are greatly mistaken.
The bill which has lately passed both Houses of Congress, to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians, appropriates the sum of five hundred thousand dollars for the purpose of carrying its provisions into effect. This, however, is but a drop in the bucket, of what will be required from the Treasury. Instead of half a million of dollars, millions and millions will be required, before this unjust and barbarous act can be honorably and honestly carried into execution. Mr. Everett, in his remarks on the bill, while undergoing a discussion in the House of Representatives, estimated the expense of this project to be not less that (sic) twenty-four millions of dollars. Were gentlemen, (said he) willing to tax their constituents to this amount, for the benefit of three States--to keep Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi in a good humor, or bind them to their allegiance! This was a home question, and gentlemen would find enough of the science of mathematics among their constituents to calculate to them the value of this sum of money!--N. Ark. Sen.
Pg. 4 col. 4b-5a
PARTY RESPONSIBILITY.-Strenuous efforts were made in Congress to give the Indian Bill a party aspect.- Its very existence was almost identified with that of the reigning party. Numbers appeared ready, as partisans, to imprecate the blood of the Cherokees upon themselves and upon their children. Many of that party voted against the bill, and thus evinced that they were men of conscience and of moral principle. Still there cannot be a doubt that the bill was ultimately carried on party grounds and that on any other it would have been signally defeated. Heaven grant that the consequences of that bill may fall upon the party and not upon the country; and that the great constitutional bulwark wisely designed to stem the torrent of part violence may even yet avert the ruin of one nation, and the punishment and dishonor of another.--Amer. Spectator.
FROM WASHINGTON--It is stated to us by intelligent gentlemen of both Houses of Congress, with whom we have conversed during their stay in this city, that the signs of the times at Washington portend anything but peace and tranquility to our present ruling powers. We are credibly informed that the dissatisfaction with the Administration among the Western members was loud and violent, and that of the ten Jackson members who came to the federal city from Ohio, eight have returned with a determination never to be again found fighting in such ranks.
In relation to the Indian Bill, we have the best authority for saying that the bill would have been rejected by a considerable majority, if the members had received any premenition as to the stand the President would take upon the Maysville Road Bill. The decision was carefully concealed, lest it should endanger the passage of the Indian Bill; and in the meantime, all the machinery of party was put in motion to induce the friends of the administration to subserve the views of the Executive.- It was boldly avowed by some of the party that they would never have yielded their private judgments to the solicitations of their party friends could theyhave dreamed that the Presidenet would succumb to the South, and abandon his former established principles for the purpose of vainly endeavoring to pacify South Carolina and Virginia.