The Second Session of the Twentieth Congress commenced on Monday, December 1st. On the following day, Tuesday, the President's Message was transmitted to both Houses. The extract below is all that we can find in the Message, which relates to the Indians.
At the establishment of the Federal Government, under the present Constitution of the United States, the principle was adopted of considering the Indian Tribes as foreign and independent powers; and also as proprietors of lands. They were moreover, considered as savages, whom it was our policy and our duty to use our influence in converting to Christianity, and in bringing them within the pale of civilization.
In changing the system, it would seem as if a full contemplation of the consequences had not been taken.- We have been far more successful in the acquisition of their lands than in imparting to them the principles, or inspiring them with the spirit of civilization. But in appropriating to ourselves their hunting grounds, we have brought upon ourselves the obligation of providing them with subsistence; and when we have had the rare good fortune of teaching them the arts of civilization, and the doctrines of Christianity, we have unexpectedly found them forming, in the midst of ourselves, communities claiming to be independent of ours, and rivals of sovereignty within the territories of the members of our Union. This state of things requires that a remedy should be provided. A remedy which, while it shall do justice to those children of nature, may secure to the members of our confederation their rights of sovereignty and of soil.