SPEECH OF MR. SPRAGUE OF MAINE
In the Senate of the United States.
April 16, 1830
Mr. President: what have the Senate heard to obviate the force of the arguments which I have adduced? what answers have been given? I will advert to them all.
And first, as to the acts and acquiescence of Georgia, we have the reply in the report of the Committee, that as she protested against the Treaty of Hopewell, made in 1785, 'no inference can be drawn to her disadvantage, from her silence or from anything she may have said in relation to any subsequent treaty, because in each of them a change was made, by which a portion of her territory ' jurisdiction was restored to her, thus her condition rendered beter (sic) 'c. Who does not perceive that, under this form of words of restoring- that she never possessed; but which belonged to the Cherokees, before she had a being-the substantial, real cause of her assent is alleged to be the benefits which she received! Yes, Sir, she did receive the fruits of these solemn contracts; by the establing (sic) of peace and additions to her territories, in 1791; by the cessions of 1798, 1804, 1805, 1806, 1807, 1816, 1817, ' 1819. And shall we be told that because it was her interest to be silent, because she was receiving the considerations, of the compacts, therefore she now; after twenty years assent, is under no obligation to abide by them?
The Hon Chairman, in his opening speech, assigned several reasons why the United States could not constitutionally form such treaties. The first was that 'the creature could not have power to destroy its creator.' This expression is calculated to mislead the judgment, because it refers the mind at once to the relation, on which we frail and feeble mortals stand to our Omnipotent Maker; and it would seem to be just as true to say- the creature cannot diminish the power of its creator. The gentleman applies it to the General Government, as the work of the several States. Is it true that it cannot- that it does not take any power from its several members? The argument is, that if the Union can secure to the Indians, any portion of their territory by treaty, they may cede away a whole State. This would indeed, as the gentleman must admit, be a gross and palpable abuse of the authority. His reasoning then must be, that the United States cannot possess any power which, by perversion, may be exerted to the destruction of one its members. Can they then treat with any foreign nation? If so, there is the same danger of wrongfully transferring a State. Can they make war? It would be the readiest means of lopping off a member by leaving it defenceless (sic). Can they organize, discipline, and call forth the militia, ' control the whole physical strength? Sir, these are powers expressly inserted in the Constitution, and they are not to be argued out of it, by apprehensions of extravagant possible abuses.
The General Government was formed by the States-and the creature, says the gentleman, cannot have power to destroy any one of its creators. The State Governments, Sir, were formed by individuals. If any of these should be guilty of a capital offence, might he not say in the language of the Chairman, you cannot take my life-it is impossible in the nature of things that the creature can have power to destroy one of its creators.
It is argued that the existence of an Indian community, within the chartered limits of a State, is inconsistent with 'a Republican form of Government,' as guarantied, by the Constitution, to every State.
This argument has been much relied on. It was advanced by the Secretary of War, repeated by the Committee, and reiterated in the speech of the Chairman. If this be so, Mr. President, a most unexpected result follows; it is -that Georgia has never had a republican form of Government--for there has never been a moment, when such tribes did not exist within her borders. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, this same Cherokee Nation was much more numerous, and held sway over a much wider region than at the present time. Nay the Constitution itself confirms the pre-existing Treaty of Hopewell, which recognized and guarantied the separate existence of the tribe; and which is now contended to be incompatible with the fundamental compact. Is the existence of a body politic, which the Legislature cannot destroy, necessarily incompatible with a Republican form of Government? How it is with Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, or the chartered cities of other States?
Another proposition derived from the same elevated source, and urged with equal vehemence here, is that these treaties cannot be valid, because the Constitution declare that 'no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State, without the consent of the Legislature' thereof.
Sir, no one proposes to create a new State, but to continue an old tribe, or State, if you so please to denominate it. It is to keep faith with a political community more ancient than Georgia herself; it is to preserve not form anew. Here again, I would observe that this nation of Cherokees was as much a State at the time of the adoption of the Constitution as now, and had much greater power, and more extensive domain; and that the Treaty of Hopewell, which, this argument insists, formed a new State since the Constitution, and in violation thereof, was made two years before its adoption, and was confirmed and sanctioned by it.
We are next told that the Constitution recognizes the right of the respective State Legislatures to pass their laws over, and annihilate these communities, by that clause in the first article, which provides that an enumeration of inhabitants as a basis of representation shall be made, 'excluding Indians not taxed.'
This provision undoubtedly implies that there could be individual Indians subject to taxation, and therefore to be counted; it also expressly declares that there might be those within a State, 'not taxed.'
There may have been, nay there were, in some of the States, individual natives voluntarily residing within the white settlements, separate from any tribe, and freely subjecting themselves to the local laws. There were those too whose nation, as a body, had disappeared; and because these persons had, of their own accord, thus sought the State jurisdiction, does it follow that it could be extended over Indian nations, who had always resisted it, and with whom, at the moment this clause was written, and the Constitution formed, the United States had a treaty guarantying them against such taxation, and every other exercise of State authority over them? By what imaginable process could these words, 'Indians not taxed,' produce the magical effect of annulling the Treaty of Hopewell, then existing in full force?
Let us substitute the word, aliens, for Indians. The clause would then exclude, 'aliens not taxed.' Will it be contended that foreigners existing as a nation, with whom we had treaties, as such, would be subject to the laws of a State? Would it not apply exclusively to the aliens, who had separated themselves from their nation and mingled with our citizens?
As a last resort, and to me Mr. President, it seems a desperate one, it has been earnestly contended by the Gentleman from Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia, (Messrs. White, M'Kinley and Forsyth,) that we cannot constitutionally make ANY TREATY, with any Indian nation within the United States- that the express power to make 'treaties ' does not embrace compacts or agreements with such communities.
Wherever, Sir, the relation of peace and war can exist, the United States must of necessity, possess the right to make a treaty of peace. That this relation may exist with those native tribes has never been doubted, and will not at this day be questioned. No one will have the assurance, in the face of all history, in defiance of what is known by the whole world, to declare that our contests with the aboriginal nations are on their part insurrections, rebellions subjecting them to be tried and executed as traitors. The Secretary of War will not say so, for he told the Cherokees, in April last, 'Your people were at enmity with the United States, and waged a war upon our frontier settlements; a durable peace was not entered into with you until 1791' The Committee and its Chairman (Mr. White) will not tell us so, for their report, accompanying this bill, declares that the Cherokees waged 'a war against the citizens of these State (sic), prior to the treaty of Holsten (sic), in 1791,'-Rebellion!-by those who never owed allegiance, and with whom, ever since our national existence, we have either had open war or subsisting treaties!
But independent of this power of peace and war, why does not the general authority to make treaties embrace those with the Indians! Gentlemen content themselves with a positive and earnest denial.
The word treaties, say they, in the Constitution does not mean compacts or contracts with Indian tribes. Why not? Did not those who formed ' adopted the Constitution so understand it? To answer the question we must ascertain how that word was used, and what were the ideas attached to it, at the time and anterior to its insertion in that instrument. This rule of construction is the foundation of all science. When any term is used by an author it is understood to carry with it the ideas which he has previously affixed to it; that he denotes by it what he always has done. Hence, in the science of law, when the student has ascertained what a writer means by the words fee simple, or larceny, if he subsequently finds those words used by the same author he attaches to them the same meaning.
These contracts with aboriginal communities have been denominated treaties from the settlement of this country. It has been their peculiar and appropriate name; without even an alias dictus. Great Britain made treaties with the Indians; the several colonies formed many, and gave them the same appellation. The Continental Congress from the time it first assembled, until it was merged in the present national Government, uniformly called them treaties. They did so in 1775, 1776, 1778, 1783, 1784, 1785, 1786, 1787, 1788, and even to the day of the formation and adoption of the Constitution. We find them repeatedly and particularly mentioned in July, August and October, 1787; the Constitution being formed in September of the same year.
Nor is this all. In the Articles of Confederation, power was given to make treaties. It had been repeatedly exercised in establishing our relations with Indian tribes; particularly the Delawares, the Six Nations, the Cherokees, the Choctaws, the Chickasaws, and the Shawnees; and on the first of September, 1778, was issued the proclamation of Congress and of General Washington to enforce the Treaty of Hopewell.
The word treaties, thus invariably known and used, and which had received a practical construction under the Confederation was inserted by the same great men in the Constitution of the United States. Could any one doubt its meaning? Did Georgia misunderstand it? She had herself made treaties with all the forms of negotiation, through commissioners fully empowered, in 1773, 1783 and 1785, they were so denominated by her at the time and ever afterwards. On the 3d of August 1787, a motion was made by Mr. Few, delegate in Congress, from Georgia, seconded by Mr. Blount from North Carolina, to take measures to 'explain and confirm all former treaties' with the Creek Indians.
There is as much evidence that this word was intended to embrace conventions with such communities as the Creeks or Cherokees, as these with transatlantic nations, such as France and Spain.
Contemporary exposition has always been deemed of great force in settling even the most difficult questions of constitutional law. Practice and precedent too have often been considered as decisive authority. Mr. Madison, who has, with so much justice, been denominated the great constitutional lawyer of this country, declared in a message to Congress, that the question of the constitutionality of the Bank of the United States, had been so settled by the sanction of the different departments of the Government, that it was no longer to be agitated, and yet only one bank had then been chartered. If his argument had, in that instance, any force, it is here irresistable (sic).
From the organization of the Government, down to this very session of Congress, the practice has been unbroken and invariable. We find these treaties made in 1789,1790,1791,1792,1794, 1795,1796,1797,1798, and almost, if not quite, every year since. I have counted no less than one hundred and twenty four Indian treaties formed under the present Constitution, being more than three for each year. If authority and practice can settle any question, this is at an end.
In 1790, General Washington delivered a speech to the Seneka (sic) Indians, some extracts from which I will now read.
' I, the President of the United States by my own mouth, and by a written speech signed with my own hand and sealed with the seal of the United States, Speak to the Seneka (sic) Nation.
The general Government only has the power to treat with the Indian nations, any treaty formed and held without its authority, will not be binding.
Here then is the security for the remainder of your lands. No state nor person can purchase your lands, unless at some public treaty held under the authority of the United States. The General Government will never consent to your being defrauded; but it will protect you in all your just rights.
Hear well, and let it be heard by every person in your nation, that the President of the United States declares, that the General Government considers itself bound to protect you in all the lands secured to you by Treaty of Fort Stanwix, the 22d of October, 1784, excepting such parts you may since have fairly sold to persons properly authorized to purchase of you.'
But your great object seems to be the security of your remaining lands, and I have therefore upon this point meant to be sufficiently strong and clear.
That in future you cannot be defrauded of your lands. That you possess the right to sell and the right of refusing to sell your lands.
That therefore the sale of your lands in future will depend entirely upon yourselves.
'But that when you shall find it for your interest, to sell any parts of your lands, the United States must be present by their Agent, and will be your security, that you shall not be defrauded in the bargain you shall make.
You know that all the lands secured to you by the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, excepting such parts as you may since have fairly sold, are yours, and that only your own acts can convey them away. Speak therefore your wishes on the subject of tilling the ground. The United States will be happy to afford you every assistance in the only business which will add to your numbers and happiness.
The United States will be true and faithful to their engagements.
Given at Philadelphia, 29th December, 1790.
By the President:
By command of the President of the United States of America-
H. Knox- Secretary for the Department of War.'
'The United States will be true and faithful to their engagements' Such was the solemn declaration of the Father his Country in the infancy of this Republic. Heaven grant that his sacred promises may be kept and his confident prediction verified. The question is now before us. No sophistry can evade, no ingenuity can elude it. Will 'the United States be true and faithful to their engagements,' or false and treacherous?
The Cherokees present this solemn interrogatory, and we must return a deliberate response. It seems almost, as if their case had been formed for the purpose of determining whether it be possible to bind this nation by its plighted faith.
I have already referred to our repeated and reiterated engagements by the sages of the Revolution, in the Congress of 1785; by Washington and the constellation of brilliant names around him in 1791, 1792, and 1794; by the elder Adams and his Cabinet in 1798; by Mr. Jefferson, in four successive treaties, in 1804, 1805, 1806, 1807; by Mr. Madison, in several formed in 1816; by Mr. Monroe, in 1817, General Jackson himself subscribing it with his own hand as commissioner; and by another in 1819, to which Mr. Calhoun affixed his name, as negotiator. All these treaties were ratified by the Senate, and sanctioned by every department of the Government.
In 1794, that greatest and best of men, whose name we profess so much to venerate, ' which should be, of all others, the highest authority to this Senate and to the nation, delivered a speech to the Chiefs and Warriors of the CHEROKEE Nation in which speaking of the lands upon Cumberland, he says: 'These have been confirmed by two treaties of Hopewell, in 1785, and Holston in 1791.' Again- 'The treaties which have been made cannot be altered. The boundaries which have been mentioned must be marked and established, so that no marked and established, so that no dispute shall happen or any white people cross over it.'
In 1795, the Governor of Tennessee, upon which State it is now asserted these treaties are not obligatory, wrote a letter to President Washington, in order to 'prevent infractions of them,' by encroachments upon the lands of Indians. And as late as 1824, the gentleman from Tennessee, who reported this bill. (Mr. White) gave an able and elaborate opinion in writing, in which he strenuously asserts and maintains their validity and the rights of Indians. He says, 'the Cherokees are to be considered as a nation, a community having a country distinctly marked out, and set apart for their use; that their interest is a permanent and fixed in it, as the pledge and the faith of the United States can make it; in as much as they have solemnly guarantied it to them as a nation, without any limitation of time.' With reference to the Treaty of Holston, he says they are 'to be viewed as a nation possessing all the powers of other independent nations, which are not expressly or by necessary implication, surrendered up by that treaty.' And again, 'they have not surrendered the power of making municipal regulations for their own internal government.
But now that we, the United States, are called upon to 'be true and faithful to these engagements,' it is contended they are not obligatory; ' in order to sustain that position, it is insisted that the Constitution gives no power to make treaties with Indian nations, within the United States.--Although, every President of the U. S. and the members of his Cabinet, every Administration and all the great men by whom it was surrounded and sustained, have formed and established such Indian treaties.
Every Senate of the United States, and I believe, every member of every Senate have ratified and confirmed such Indian treaties. Every House of Representatives of the United States, and I believe, every member thereof, have affirmed und (sic) sanctioned them, by passing laws for their due execution, paying them from year to year the annuities secured by them, and making appropriations to enable the President to hold others. At this very session, the Senate has ratified new treaties; and during the present month, we have made an appropriation to enable the president to form another, with the tribes in Indiana. While that bill was under discussion, an amendment was proposed, prohibiting the use of any part of the money therein granted, in secret presents to the Chiefs; and it was insisted by the gentlemen from Tennessee, Louisiana, and Illinois (Messrs. Grundy, Livingston, and Kane) that such a proviso, merely restricting the use of money which Congress was granting, would trench upon the high, independent, constitutional power of the President in negotiating treaties. Nay, the second section of the bill now under consideration, provides for the removal of 'any tribe of nation of Indians, now residing within the limits of the States or territories, and with which the United States have existing treaties,' - and now we are told, by the Chairman, that such treaties cannot exist-that they (sic) are no treaties.
It is in effect asserted, that every President and every Senate have been guilty of usurpation in extending the treaty-making power beyond its legitimate objects. For if these contracts are not treaties, within the true meaning of the Constitution, they could be made only by the authority of Congress. But the President and Senate alone-the treaty-making power have always negotiated them, ratified them, and by proclamation announced them to the nation, as the supreme law of the land. Every State legislature, and the whole people, have heard these annunciations, and looked on, during all these proceedings, in silent acquiescence.
Even in 1798, when all the acts of the General Government, and particularly those of the executive, were scrutinized with the utmost rigour (sic), it was never suggested even in Virginia, where the discussion, were most animated, that there had, in this respect, been any irregularity. But now, upon the pressure of an exigency, it is discovered for the first time, that all has been wrong. The present occasion has brought with it new and peculiar lights, by which gentlemen now perceive what was in the minds and intention of the framers of the Constitution, better than they did themselves. They were ignorant of their own work.- The venerated fathers of the Republic, and all the high and honored names, who have presided over its destinies, have been involved in deep darkness, and wandered in gross error!
I have thus, Mr. President, endeavoured (sic) to present my views with respect to the claims of the State of Georgia. Whether we regard original principles of international law, as applicable to the right of discovery--or the express powers conferred by the Articles of Confederation--or the confirmation of pre-existing treaties by the adoption of the Constitution--or the authority vested by that instrument in the General Government; ' the renunciation of powers by respective States--the invariable practice and usage of the Union, and the acts, acquiescence, and assent of Georgia herself- it is manifest that we are bound to perform our engagements to the Indians, and are under no incompatible and paramount obligations to that State.
But let us now, for the sake of the argument, make the violent supposition, that the pretensions of Georgia are well founded, and that the United States cannot rightfully fulfil their stipulations as against her. In that case the States of Alabama and Mississippi, would stand on very different ground. Their claims have been mingled and blended with those of the elder sister, as if they were precisely the same, and hers have been put forward as the only subjects of discussion, when in truth there is a broad line of distinction, which ought to be marked and remembered. For the sake of distinctness and brevity, I shall speak of Alabama alone.
It is conceded on all hands, as a fundamental proposition, that the United States are bound to fulfil their engagements to the Cherokees specifically, except when prevented by incompatible obligations, prior in point of time.
Now, Sir, the State of Alabama did not exist until the year 1819; when she voluntarily came into the Union after the fifteen treaties with this nation, had been previously established and proclaimed as the supreme law of the land.
But it is said, that Alabama was formed from territory once belonging to Georgia, and succeeded to all her rights. Without stopping to examine the difficulties attending such a supposed transmission of a right to resist treaties; it is sufficient to say that by the compact of 1802, Georgia ceded to the United States all her 'right, title, and claim' 'to the jurisdiction and soil' of all the territory now constituting Alabama and Mississippi. The whole right of Georgia, whatever it was, thus became vested in the General Government, and so remained until 1819; during which time not less than eight of these treaties were made. Who could then contest their validity? Are our treaties valid with the nations in Florida, Arkansas and Michigan? Can we enter into engagements with any tribes within the boundaries of the United States-even beyond the Rocky Mountains, or anywhere upon this continent? Can we make the solemn guarantee proposed by this bill--if so, we are legally constrained by our promises to the Indians of Alabama made before the existence of that State.
But this is not all. Still another insurperable (sic) difficulty presents itself to her claims to legislate over and destroy the Indian nations.
The following Article is part of the fundamental law to which Alabama owes her being, and without which she cannot exist: 'The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent: and in their
property, rights, and liberty, they never shall be invaded or disturbed unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.' This was originally a part of the 4th Article of the Ordinance respecting the North Western Territory, and was by express reference incorporated into the 1st Article of The Compact of 1802, ' made a fundamental and perpetual condition in the Act of Congress which provided for the admission of Alabama.
What is the answer to all this? We have it from the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. M'Kinley). The Compact of 1802, says he, was unconstitutional; Georgia could not transfer to the United States either soil or jurisdiction.
If this be so, the first consequence is, that the dispute between that State and the General Government, respecting the ownership of the crown lands obtained by conquest, which that compact was supposed to have happily put to rest forever, by mutual and reciprocal cessions--could never be settled!
In the next place-that the combined powers of the State and of the Union, cannot do that, under the constitution, which the members individually might have done without the constitution. It is an attribute of complete sovereignty to be able to convey and receive territory! It is insisted that this attribute, as between the States, is annihilated-although all powers not granted are reserved to the members. I will not say that such an effect could not be produced by the Constitution, but it is at least so extremely improbable, that those who contend for it, in any particular instance, should be required to show it clearly, which has not been done.
It is insisted by the gentleman that no State can be subject to the restraining condition of the Ordinance referred to, because it is inconsistent with her constitutional equality with the other members of the Union.
That Ordinance was established in July, 1787. It declares that, 'The following articles shall be considered as articles of compact, between the original States, and the people and states of said territory, and forever remain unalterable, unless by common consent.' Then succeeds an article embracing the clause before read and which was incorporated into the Compact of 1802. The Ordinance subsequently declares that, 'The said Territory, and the States, which may be formed therein shall forever remain a part of this Confederacy.'
This Ordinance and all its provisions was affirmed and established by the adoption of the Constitution, and thus that instrument itself contemplated that all the States, to be thereafter formed northwest of the Ohio, should be forever subject to those conditions; by which it is now contended, no one could ever be constitutionally restrained!
It is insisted by the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. M'Kinley) that Georgia could not transfer soil and jurisdiction to the United States; that the Compact of 1802 attempting to do so was unconstitutional and void; and that the tract of country, which it was intended to convey, remained a part of that State until the year 1819.
If the Gentleman's doctrine is correct, it remains so still; she having never conveyed it.
Another consequence, Mr. President, would flow from this doctrine, which I should exceedingly deplore; it is, Sir, that Alabama is not a member of this Union! By the Constitution no new State can be formed or admitted into the Union within the limits of an old one, without the consent of the latter. Now, Sir, Georgia has never consented to the admission of Alabama, except by the transfer of soil and jurisdiction by virtue of the Compact of 1802. If that conveyance was inoperative no consent has been given. If that compact was absolutely void, as the gentleman contends, it is a legal nullity, and he can hold no rights under it.
Congress, too, have never given their consent, except upon the basis of the binding efficacy of that compact, and upon the express condition that its requisitions should be the fundamental law of the new State. But, says the gentleman, Congress had no power to pass such a law. If so, the Act respecting the admission of Alabama was unconstitutional and void, and neither created nor admitted any new State.
The ingenious gentleman has reasoned so profoundly upon constitutional law that he has argued himself and his colleague out of their seats in this Senate!- Now, Sir, against this, I most seriously protest-they cannot be spared--we need the aid of their talents and experience.
How will the gentleman escape from the consequences which I have deduced? Will he contend that the Compact and the law were valid and invalid at the same time? That they conferred rights but could not impose obligations upon his State? Even if such an extraordinary position were assumed- how would it affect the present question? If he can infuse any degree of vitality into that which was dead before its birth, if he can make that compact efficacious as the consent of Georgia to Alabama's becoming a State, would it not also be effectual as her consent that the United States should exercise jurisdiction over the territory so far as to make treaties with the Indian tribes? If then the gentleman will admit that Georgia assented to anything, by virtue of that compact, she consented to the formation of these treaties, and thus they were valid by her authority before Alabama was brought into being.
As a dernier resort, the gentleman insists that the true construction of the language of the Ordinance gives all the right over the Indians for which his State contends, because the latter clhuse (sic) requires that 'laws'--'shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them and for preserving peace and friendship with them.'
That is, laws restraining the whites, our own citizens, from encroaching upon the natives and thereby endangering the public tranquility. If Maine or New York scould (sic) pass laws for 'preventing wrongs being done to' the Canadians, 'and for preserving peace and friendship with them'--would that give jurisdiction over the British provinces? But let us read the whole clause, the true construction of which confers this unlimited power.
'The utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians;' - which means that we may violate all our engagements (sic) at pleasure!--'their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent,'- that is, both may be taken by violence against their utmost resistance!- 'in their property, rights, and liberty they shall never be invaded or disturbed unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress.' There shall be laws for 'preventing wrongs being done to them and for preserving peace and friendship with them;'- the true construction of all which is-that a State may make war upon them at pleasure-=deprive them of their lands-and annihilate their nation! To such arguments are gentlemen of great ability compelled to resort!
The rights of natives, both natural and conventional have been strenuously denied. What right it is asked have the Indians to the lands they occupy? I ask, in reply, what right have the English or the French, the Spaniard or the Russian to the countries they inhabit?
But it is insisted that the original claim of the natives has been divested by the superior right of DISCOVERY.
I have already shown that this gives no ground of claim as against the discovered, that it is a mutual understanding or conventional arrangement entered into by the nations of Europe, amongst themselves to define and regulate their respective claims as discoverers in order to prevent interference and contests with each other, all agreeing that the sovereign who should first find a new country should be left without interference from them to deal with it and its inhabitants, according to his ability and his conscience.
But we are told, that grants from the king are the highest title, and have always been relied upon as such. True-as against other grantees from the crown, or against the government itself; but not as to the natives. If such a title gives any just claims as against them, then they are bound to yield to it; for to every right appertains a corresponding obligation.
Were the aborigines bound to yield to such pretensions? Suppose that, more than two centuries ago, when in unbroken strength they held resistless sway over this whole western world, a royal patentee, with his handful of followers, just landed on these shores, should have found himself in the midst of a powerful Indian nation- the council fire is lighted up, and sachems and warriors are assembled around it-he presents himself and says to them--
'This country is no longer yours. You must leave the forest where you hunt, and the valleys where you live. All the land which you can see from the highest mountain is mine. It has been given me by the king of the white men across the waters. Here is his grant-how can you resist so fair a title?'
If they deigned any other reply than the war-whoop, their chief might say--
' The GREAT SPIRIT, who causeth the trees to rise from the ground toward the Heavens, and maketh the rivers to descend from the mountains to the valleys-who created the earth itself, and made both the red man and the white man to dwell thereon-gave this land to us and to our ancestors. You say you have a grant from your king beyond the waters-we have a grant from the King of kings, who reigns in Heaven- by this title our fathers have held it for uncounted generations, and by this title their sons will defend it.'