January 12, 1830
On motion by Mr. Sanford, the memorial presented by him on the 4th of Jan. from citizens of New York, praying protection for the Indians, was referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs.
Mr Sanford presented a petition from the religious society of Friends in the State of New York, asking the protection of the government for the Indians from injustice and oppression.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Mr. Chambreleng, moved that the memorial heretofore presented by him, and then laid on the table, from a meeting of citizens of New York, praying the interposition of the Genl. Government to protect the Southern Injustice and oppression, be now referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs.
Mr. Thompson, of Georgia, disclaimed all intentions of opposing the reference proposed, but questioned the propriety of entertaining every petition or memorial which may be addressed to Congress, whether it be the result of an accidental meeting at a grog shop or not. Mr. T. said he did not wish to provoke discussion upon the subject of the memorial, because that was not the proper stage for its discussion. He was, however, prepared to meet the question then and at all times.
Mr. Spencer, of New York, rose and repelled the allusions of the gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. Thompson) and vindicated the character of the memorialists. The memorial was not the result of 'a meeting at a grog shop,' as had been so unjustly insinuated, but one of the utmost respectability, and held in an enlightened and moral community. The chairman of that meeting was a revolutionary officer, known, respected, and beloved. Mr. S. said he knew many of the individuals whose manes were attached to the memorial and he knew their standing to be of the most respectable character. The language of the memorial was decorous and respectful. It was true, it was upon a delicate as well as important subject. He hoped that the memorial would have its appropriate reference, and meet with that consideration and respectful treatment to which it was entitled.
Mr. Wilds of Georgia, considered the language of the memorial objectionable. This kind officiousness in the affairs of our neighbors, said Mr. W. by which we exhibit our benevolence at their expense, is a growing evil. These everlasting political homilies-this mawkish mixture of sentiment and selfishness-this rage for instructing all the world in their appropriate duties, was to him at once ridiculous and disgusting. He presumed the memorial might be consigned to oblivion without injury to the Republic.
Mr. Bell, of Tennessee, invited the reference of the memorial to the Committee on Indian affairs. As a member of the Committee, he would feel obliged by the reference of as many such memorials as might be presented from any quarter. Mr. B. expressed a hope, that any arguments upon the subject of Indian affairs, might be withheld, until it should be fairly before the House.
Mr. Drayton, of South Carolina, opposed the commitment of the memorial solely on account of the language in which it was couched. He thought it was disrespectful to the State of Georgia, and quoted some sentences and expressions to show that it was. He moved to lay the memorial on the table.
Mr. Lumpkin, of Georgia, expressed a regret that the memorial, emanating from a few enthusiastic citizens of New York, was not permitted to go to the Committee without opposition. In regard to the paper, his views coincided with the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. Drayton) and that of his colleagues. But he would most gladly hear all that can be said, by every individual in the Union, including all the Wm. Penns. of the whole land.
Mr. Spencer explained some of his former remarks, and insisted on the right of the petitioners to be heard.
Mr. Wayne was in favor of the proposition of the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. Drayton). He hoped the memorial would be read-he therefore moved its reading.
[The reading of the memorial at length, by the Clerk of the House, here took place,]
After the Memorial had been read, Mr. Mallary addressed the House in favor of the reference contending, that the subject was one over which Congress had cognizance; that the people of any portion of the Union had a right to present their views upon any subject which they supposed would be matter for legislative action; and that, as the language of the Memorial was not derogatory to the dignity of the House, the House had no right to enquire any further.
Mr. Thompson said he had supposed the ungenerous, illiberal, and indecorous language of the Memorial would have been sufficient reason for rejecting it. If gentlemen would examine it more correctly; if they would compare it with much trash circulated during the summer in the Intelligencer, under the signature of `Penn' they would find that, to save themselves labor, the memorialists had adopted the reasonings of that writer. He thought the Memorial came with a bad grace from the Land of the Pequods, the Mohawks, the Narragansetts, and concluded by expressing his confidence in the Committee on Indian Affairs, and his acquiescence in the reference.
Mr. Storrs of N. Y. said, as the subject was brought before Congress by the Message of the President, there was nothing to object to on the subject matter of the petition. The question then was, whether the petition was couched in such respectful terms that they were bound to respect it. He thought it was, ' read several passages to support his opinion. The House had done nothing yet; the Memorials complained of nothing; they represented their views upon a subject which they supposed would come before Congress. It was not to be rejected because it contained language disrespectful to a State in the Union. Mr. S. asked whether they would repudiate a petition as disrespectful which should accuse a President of tyranny or usurpation, or a Justice of the United States Court of malconduct. They would not, because, if it was respectful to the House, that was all they had a right to enquire.
Mr. Foster of Georgia, corrected the impression that this was a memorial. It is no memorial or petition, but an argument against the policy of the United States. He thought that it was unnecessary to send the subject to the Committee on Indian Affairs, as every gentleman could as well make up his opinion now that the question was under consideration. He adverted to the various pens which had flourished against the rights of Georgia. She had determined on her policy, and it was a policy which, to use the language of a distinguished individual, would withstand the test of scrutiny, of talents and of time. He asked if this House sat here to resist the laws of Georgia. He warned the House on the responsibility they would incur by that course. He said, that if a few years ago an argument had come from Georgia against the right of New York to legislate over her Indians, it would have been considered monstrous; but how the paper comes from the great emporium of New York against Georgia, it is quite a different affair.
Mr. Cambreleng expressed a hope that this discussion would not be prolonged, as it merely relates to a question of reference. He depreciated the continuance of this discussion in the temper in which it had been carried on, as it was very evident that we are approaching an Indian war.
Mr. Archer expressed his anxiety that the discussion should be terminated. He stated that he did not consider that the petition ought to be rejected on the ground that it contained language of imputation against one of the States of the Union. He did not think that the petition deserved that character.
Mr. McDuffie referred to the rules of the House by which the presentation of petitions were confined to Mondays. He moved the previous question, which was seconded.
The question being on the main question, Mr. Reed asked this question to be taken by ayes ' noes, but a sufficient number did not rise to support the call.
The main question being that this memorial be referred to the committee on Indian Affairs, was then put and carried in the Affirmative
So the petition was referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs.