HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Tuesday Feb. 21.
Mr. Wilde offered the following resolution which was red and laid on the table:
Resolved, That the President of the United States, be requested to inform this House, if it will not, in his opinion, be injurious to the public interest, whether any and what measures have been taken to preserve inviolate that part of the Constitution of the United States, which declares, that no new States shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State, nor any State be formed by this junction of any two or more States, or parts of States, without the consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned, as well as of Congress.
Friday, Feb. 22
The resolution offered yesterday by Mr. Wilde was taken up for consideration.
Mr. Wilde said, that having moved this resolution it might be incumbent on him to say a word or two in explanation. It would be recollected that the Constitution as it is called, formed by the Cherokee Nation, or rather by some white man, is now before us. He reminded the House that the relations between the U. States and the Indian tribes are unsettled and anomalous. He wished information from the President on this subject, on obtaining which it would be matter for consideration what other measures should be adopted. Whatever power may belong to the Indians themselves it was not to be disputed that any interference by white citizens, to erect a new state within the limits of an old one, is punishable.
Mr. Storrs said, it seemed from the explanation, that this resolution referred to the formation of some kind of government among the Indians.- He did not see that this could encroach on the provision of the Constitution. It appeared to him to relate entirely to the internal government of the Indians to which the Constitution made no reference. Still he had no objection to the information; but to obtain all that should be necessary, he would move to amend the resolution by striking out all after the word 'for,' to the word 'interest,' and inserting the following:
'Communicate to this House any information in the possession of the Executive Department, in relation to the formation or erection of any new State of government within the jurisdiction of any other State, if the communication of the same will not, in his opinion, be injurious to the public interest, and'-
Mr. Wilde accepted the amendment as a modification of the resolution.
Mr. Lumpkin liked the resolution better as it came from his colleague. He stated that information had been obtained by the Committee on Indian Affairs, which had been examined, and on which a report had been made, accompanied by an opinion of the committee.
Mr. Wickliffe said, if this had been an ordinary call for information, he should not have risen. But there was a peculiarity in the phrase of this resolution, which entitled it to notice. It called for that species of information which can be furnished by the representatives of the people. On that ground, he would vote for the resolution as modified. He reminded gentlemen that the Indians had always a government of some kind. We had no right to interfere in this more than in the formation of any society in a State. The Freemasons are as much an encroachment on the Constitution, as this government of the Indians. He moved to lay the resolution on the table, which was agreed to.
Mr. Wilde, on the 21st ult. introduced a resolution calling on the President for information as to what measures had been adopted by the General Government in relation to the new constitution formed by the Cherokee Indians. As the information had been previously obtained by the committee on Indian Affairs and acted on, we are at a loss to discover his drift, unless his practice in the Supreme Court had so much occupied his attention, that he was actually unacquainted with what had transpired on the subject or was of opinion that it would be for the benefit of Georgia to drop the whole business where it then was, and begin de novo. We fear, that unless he be a little more attentive to his official duty, he will find what was once poetry with him discouraging reality- that 'none will shed a tear for him.' We say so with regret; for he once had talents.- Geo. States.