[Extract of an Address lately delivered before the Kentucky Colonization Society, by the Hon. Henry Clay.]
'The United States stand charged with the fate of those poor children of the woods, in the face of their common Maker, and in presence of the world. And as certain as the guardian is answerable for the education of his infant ward and the management of his estate, will they be responsible here and hereafter, for the manner in which they shall perform the duties of the high trust which is committed to their hands, by the force of circumstances. Hitherto, since the United States became an independent Power among the nations of the earth, they have generally treated the Indians with justice, and performed towards them all the offices of humanity. Their policy, in this respect, was vindicated during the negotiations at Ghent, and the principles which guided them in their relations with the Indians were then promulgated to all Christendom. On that occasion, their representatives, holding up their conduct in advantageous contrast with that of Great Britain, and the other Powers of Europe, said:-- From the rigor of this system however, as practiced by G. Britain and all the European Powers in America, the human and liberal policy of the United States voluntarily relaxed. A celebrated writer on the laws of nations, to whose authority British jurists have particular satisfaction in appealing, after stating, in the most explicit manner, the legitimacy of colonial settlements in America, to the exclusion of all rights of uncivilized Indian tribes, has taken occasion to praise the first settlers of New England, and the founder of Pennsylvania, in having purchased of the Indians the lands they resolved to cultivate, notwithstanding their being provided with charters from their sovereign. It is this example which the United States since they became, by their independence, the sovereigns of the territory, have adopted and organized into a political system. Under that system, the Indians residing within the United States are so far independent that they live under their own customs, and not under the laws of the United States; that their rights upon the lands where they inhabit or hunt are secured to them by boundaries defined in
amicable treaties between the United States and themselves, and that whenever those boundaries are varied, it is also by amicable and voluntary treaties, by which they receive from the United States ample compensation for every right they have to the land ceded by them. They are so far dependent as not to have the right to dispose of their lands to any private person, nor to any Power other than the United States, and to be under their protection alone, and not under that of any other Power. Whether called subjects, or by whatever name designated, such is the relation between them and the United States. That relation is neither asserted now for the first time, nor did it originate with the Treaty of Greenville. These principles have been uniformly recognized by the Indians themselves, not only by that treaty, but in all other previous as well as the subsequent treaties between them and the United States.' Such was the solemn annunciation to the whole world, of the principles ' of the system regulating our relations with the Indians, as admitted by us and recognized by them. There can be no violation of either, to the disadvantage of the weaker party, which will not subject us as a nation to the just reproaches of all good men, and which may not bring down upon us the maledictions of a more exalted and powerful tribunal.'