SPEECH OF MR. SPRAGUE,
Of Maine. In the Senate of the United States.- April 16, 1830
The following amendment, to the bill for the removal of the Indians, being under consideration:
'Provided always, That until the said tribes or nations shall choose to remove, as by this act is contemplated, they shall be protected in their present possessions, and in the enjoyment of all their rights of territory and government, as heretofore enjoyed, from all interruption and encroachments.'
Mr.Sprague addressed the Senate, as follows:
Mr. President.-The gentleman, who has just resumed his seat (Mr. Forsyth) has indulged in a wide range of remarks in defence of his State against imputations which he supposed to have been elsewhere cast upon her. This course may have been very proper in him; I fully appreciate the motives which induced it. But I have no occasion to follow him; I have no wish to derogate in the least from the character of Georgia, but rather that it should be as elevated as her most devoted sons can desire. I shall speak of her so far only as is necessary to the free discussion of the subject before us.
This bill and amendment, and the discussion, which they have produced, involve the question of the rights and duties of the United States with respect to the Indian tribes generally, but more especially with the Cherokees. With that people we have not less than fifteen treaties. The first made in the year 1785, and the last in 1819.
By several of these treaties, we have unequivocally guarantied to them that they shall forever enjoy--
1st. Their separate existence as a political community;
2d. Undisturbed possession and full enjoyment of their lands, within certain boundaries, which are fully defined and fully described;
3. The protection of the United States, against all interference with, or encroachments upon their rights by any people, state, or nation.
For these promises, on our part, we received ample consideration.
By the restoration and establishing of peace;
By large cessions of territory;
By the promise on their part to treat with no other state or nation, and other important stipulations.
These treaties were made with all the forms and solemnities (sic) which could give them force and energy; by commissioners duly appointed with full power; ratified by the Senate; confirmed by the President; and announced to the world by his proclamation as the binding compact of the nation, and the supreme law of the land.
The Cherokees now come to us, and say that their rights are in danger of invasion, from the States of Georgia and Alabama; and they ask if we will extend to them the protection we have promised, and perform the engagements we have made. This is the question they distinctly propound, and which we must unequivocally answer; and we are now discussing what our response shall be.
There is a broad line of distinction between the claims of Georgia and those of Alabama and Mississippi, which seems heretofore to have been unobserved, but which I shall endeavor to keep in view.
Let us first inquire what our duties are with respect to Georgia; for if her pretensions are unfounded, those of Alabama and Mississippi fall of course.
It is not necessary to determine whether the Indians have just grounds for their apprehensions or not, because the question is, whether if the rights secured to them by our treaties should, at some future day, be invaded we will perform our engagements?
But have they not cause for their present alarm? In December, 1827, a Committee of the Legislature of Georgia, made a report accompanied by sundry resolutions, which were accepted by both branches; and the resolutions also received the approval of the Governor. In the report we find the following language respecting the territory of the Cherokees: 'The lands on question belong to Georgia-she must and she will have them.' And in the resolutions the following:
Resolved,- 'That all the lands appropriated and unappropriated, which lie within the conventional limits of Georgia, belong to her absolutely; that the title is in her; that the Indians are tenants at her will; that she may at amy time, she pleases, determine that tenancy by taking possession of the premises, and Georgia has the right to extend her own authority and laws over the whole territory.'
Resolved, 'That Georgia entertains for the General Government, so high a regard, and is so solicitous to do no act that can disturb the public tranquility, that she will not attempt to enforce her rights by violence--until all other means of redress fail.'
Resolve, 'That to avoid a catastrophe which none would more sincerely deplore than ourselves, we make this solemn appeal to the United States,' 'c.
It is thus asserted as the right and avowed as the determination of Georgia, to exercise absolute power over the Cherokees, ' to take their lands at all hazards-even by violence, if other means should fail.
The Gentleman from that State, (Mr. Forsyth,) observed, in the commencement of his speech, that he felt himself bound in conscience to relieve his friend from New Jersey, from all apprehensions of a violation of the faith of the nation; by demonstrating that the claims of Georgia were supported by treaties. And he proceeded to do so in language so strong, and tones so triumphant, as to make an evident impression upon members of the Senate. Let us deliberately examine this argument.
The first treaty referred to, was that of Galphinton, in 1785, by which certain concessions were made to Georgia. But that was by the Creeks, and by them only, and had no relation to the Cherokees,--[Mr. Forsyth explained, he had remarked upon that treaty in answer to the gentleman from New Jersey, (Mr. Frelinghuysen) and not as bearing upon the rights of the Cherokees.) Mr. Sprague resumed; he was glad to receive the gentleman's explanation: it precluded the necessity of any further remark upon that topic.
The treaty next cited was that of Dewitt's Corner, A.D. 1777, between South Carolina, Georgia, and the Cherokees, by which the latter acknowledge that a portion of their country extending as far as the Unacaye Mountain, had been conquered and they made a cession of the same by defined boundaries, to South Carolina, and to her only. The conquered and ceded territory lies wholly within that State; and it is not now, and has not been for at least one generation, either claimed or occupied by the Indians. What right can that confer on Georgia to lands now owned and possessed by the Cherokees?
The next position was that the right of his State was derived under the 9th article of the Treaty of Hopewell; made between the United States and the Cherokees, in November, 1783, by which they gave to the United States, the right of managing all their affairs. To this Georgia was no party. But the Gentleman contends that the United States transferred all their power and claims, under the treaty, to that State, by virtue of the compact of 1802; and that we now cannot interfere with her pretensions. The clause in the compact, which is relied upon, is this-the United States 'cede whatever claim right or title, they may have to the jurisdiction or soil of any lands lying' within the limits of Georgia.
Does this relinquishment of the right of the United States, to the soil and jurisdiction of the lands, purport to transfer a pre-existing treaty with the Indians? Was it intended?
And if it had been, is the power which the treaty confers to legislate for their benefit, in its nature transferable? The Article is in these words, 'For the benefit and comfort of the Indians, and for the prevention of injuries and oppressions (sic) on the part of the citizens or Indians, the United States in Congress assembled shall have the sole and exclusive right of regulating the trade with the Indians, and managing all their affairs in such manner as they think proper.' The power given is strictly personal and fiduciary; to be exercised according to our judgment upon future events, and for their benefit. Can even a guardian transfer his rights and duties at pleasure? By the Constitution-the fundamental compact--Georgia has given to the United States the right to legislate in certain cases over her citizens for their benefit, for example, to organize, arm, discipline and call forth her militia. Can the United States transfer this right to South Carolina, or any other Sovereign?
The express words of the article require this right to be exercised by the United States 'in Congress assembled.' Can we without the consent of the other party, strike out these and insert -the
Legislature of Georgia?
Again--in order to see that this power is properly exercised, the 13th article secures to the Cherokees, 'the right to send a deputy of their choice, whenever they think fit to Congress.' Shall he come here, to watch over the legislation at Milledgeville?
But, if this power was in its nature transferable, it must be so subject to the restrictions and limitations in the treaty contained. Among which are the following:-
1st That the Cherokees shall continue to exist as a distinct political community, under the protection of the United States.
2d. That they shall enjoy the undisturbed possession of their lands.
3d. That the power to manage 'their affairs' shall be exercised for the benefit and comfort of the Indians; and for the prevention of injuries and oppressions.'
Did this give to the United States the right to drive them from all their lands?--Or to destroy the Cherokee Nation, to strike it out of existence; and instead of managing for their 'benefit' to annihilate 'their affairs' as a body politic? Or could we convey a greater right than we ourselves possessed?
But this is not all. The Gentleman passed over in utter silence, a most important event which intervened between the Treaty of Hopewell and the compact of 1802. It is the Treaty of Holston made in 1791; by which the United States again promised the Cherokees to protect them in their rights as a nation; and the 7th article holds the following language: 'THE UNITED STATES SOLEMNLY GUARANTEE TO THE CHEROKEE NATION, ALL THEIR LANDS NOT HEREBY CEDED.' If any right was transferred to Georgia, it would be such only as existed at the time, and subject of course to the stipulations of that pre-existing treaty.
There is still another view of this subject. Are we not bound to see that our treaties are fulfilled? The Indians say that their very existence is threatened, and inquire of us whether we will perform our solemn promise of protection. What shall we answer? That we have conveyed that promise to another!-that we have transferred our obligation to Georgia!-have given her a license to violate our treaties! May they not reply, that the very purpose for which they purchased our guaranty, and the protection of the strong arm of our Government was to secure them against the encroachments of their white neighbors in that State?
The compact of 1802, which has been so much insisted upon, was made between the United States and Georgia. The Cherokees were not parties, nor even assented to it. Of course it could not impair their rights, or confer upon others any claim against them. If I, Mr. President, should promise the gentleman that I would obtain your farm and convey it to him--Would that divest your title, or authorize either of us to wrest it from you by force? The compact itself expressly recognized 'Indian title,' and the United States were to extinguish it only when it could be done 'peaceably' and 'reasonable terms.'
The gentleman having, as he supposed, fully sustained the treaty claim of Georgia, by the arguments upon which I have remarked, triumphantly exclaimed, 'I will have my bond, I will have my pound of flesh.'- A most unfortunate allusion, Sir; and which I should not have been unkind enough to make. He will have his pound of quivering flesh taken from nearest the heart of the living man! But he will take it without one drop of blood.-
----'Aye---there's the rub'
For, in cutting off that pound of flesh
What human blood shall flow--'must
give us pause.'
The fiend-like Shylock himself could not take the penalty of his bond, because 'no jot of blood' was given. And none is given here, but the express contrary-'peaceably'-'peaceably'--and 'upon reasonable terms' too, is the emphatic language. But against whom, does the gentleman make his claim--the Indians? Does he hold their bond? No-they hold ours-they now present it to us and demand its performance-and, ''till he can rail the seal from off that bond' he cannot absolve us from its obligations. He declares that he will have the terms of his compact fulfilled to 'the twentieth part of one poor scruple,' and to the division of a hair. So be it; and let the Indians too have their guarantied rights maintained with equal scrupulosity.
The Hon. Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs (Mr. White,) conceded that the United States had repeatedly pledged their faith to the Cherokees to interfere for their protection, but contended that we ought not to perform these stipulations of our treaties because of the conflicting claims of Georgia. He laid down his proposition, that if the United States had come into engagements 'inconsistent with each other, so that it was impossible to keep both, that that which was prior, in point of time should be specifically performed, and ample compensation be made for the breach of the other.
To this position I freely assent; and upon this basis will rest the argument.
It is incumbent upon the Hon. Chairman to show in the first place that our obligations to Georgia are incompatible with our treaties; and in the next place that they are of a prior date. This, he and two gentlemen who followed him in the debate (Messrs. M'Kinley and Forsyth) have attempted to do. Their argument is that before the Revolution, Great Britain had jurisdiction over the aborigines and the sole right of treating with them, and that this power was wrested from her by conquest during the war, and forever abandoned by the treaty of 1783.
I would first observe that, if it was obtained by conquest it belonged to the conquerers (sic). And who were the conquerers? The United States; who were also a party to the treaty of peace. Upon this ground it was, that New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and other States so strongly insisted that the Crown lands, which had been acquired by the common arm and at the common expense, belonged of right to the common fund. Their demand to a great extent succeeded. The several States yielded to their pretensions by successive cessions; Virginia magnanimously taking the lead.
But, Mr. President, I shall not dwell upon this; for I mean, as far as possible, to avoid all debateable ground.
Concede then, for the present, that when Georgia became independent, in 1776, she at once succeeded to all the preexisting rights of Great Britain over the unmeasured forests within her chartered limits. What was that right? Gentlemen say it was the right of discovery
Discovery, Sir, confers no claim or right against the natives-the persons discovered--but only as between discoverers. It is said that the rights derived from this source were established and defined in Europe, upon the discovery of this country. True; but it was by the mutual understanding and agreement of the nations of that continent only, in order to regulated their conduct among themselves. To prevent conflict and collision, it was tacitly agreed that the Sovereign who should find a country, before unknown, should have the exclusive right to the benefits of the discovery, and should be permitted without interference to conduct towards the aboriginal inhabitants according to his conscience, and his ability. He had therefore, as against the discovering nations who had assented to the arrangement, a conventional right to wage war upon and conquer the natives and subject them to his sway. It is this right to which it is contended that Georgia succeeded upon the Declaration of Independence. Let it be so considered; and that in the war which she should wage to subjugate the Indians, no other state or nation could rightfully interfere. But the people attacked had a right to resist. They surely were under no obligation to acquiesce in the proposed subjugation. Suppose than they should happen to be too strong for their assailants; that they should roll back the tide of war- the hunters should be hunted-that those who came to conquer, should be in danger of being conquered; and, in such emergency, the people of Georgia should call upon another State, Virginia for example, for protection, and defence. Georgia would thus have waived her conventional right to exclude all others from her limits, and Virginia, at her request, become a party to the war. Would not Virginia then have the right to make peace for the security of her own citizens, and must she not be bound by its terms? Was France bound by her treaty of alliance with us during the Revolution? Yet her interference was without the consent of Great Britain, the discoverer. Are the United States now bound by their treaties with the States of South America?
But further, what if Georgia, in order to induce her neighbors to come in for her defence, had expressly agreed beforehand that Virginia should have the sole power of conducting the war, and concluding the peace. Would not both States be bound by the treaty of peace thereupon made by Virginia? To proceed one step farther, suppose that this arrangement between the two States, instead of being occasional, should be established by a permanent compact; and that, in order to obtain the aid and protection of Virginia, at all times, against the attacks of the Indians, Georgia should agree that she never should herself provoke such attacks by making war upon them, and that if it should arise, her more powerful ally should have the entire management of the war, and the exclusive right of agreeing upon the terms of peace and making the treaty.- Would not such terms be obligatory?
Now, Sir, such a compact was actually made by Georgia with Virginia and eleven other States, by the Articles of Confederation.
By the third Article, the United States are bound to assist the several States, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them. And by the ninth Article, the United States have `the sole and exclusive right and power of determination on peace and war, except in the cases mentioned in the 6th article,' and also of `entering into treaties.'
Here is the express grant. What answer can be given to it? What reason can be assigned, why each State should not be bound by the stipulations of a treaty of peace? Will it be said we could not have the relations of war and peace with Indian tribes? Ask the relatives of Braddock and Butler, of Wayne, Harmer and St. Clair, if Indians can wage war? Consult the crimsoned pages of your history and they will answer you. Nay to banish such a suggestion forever, that same 9th Article of Confederation expressly declares, that by war it means to include contests with Indians; for, by reference it incorporates into it the 6th Article, which is in those words.
'Art. 6. No State shall engage in any war without the consent of the United States, in Congress assembled, unless such State be actually invaded by enemies, or shall have received certain advice of resolution formed by some nation of Indians to invade such State; and the danger is so imminent, as not to admit of a delay, till the United States, in Congress assembled, can be consulted.' Here is also an unequivocal relinquishment by each State, of the right to make war upon the natives.
During the Revolution, war actually existed between the United States and the Cherokees; it continued to rage after the acknowledgement of our independence by Great Britain.- Georgia needed our aid, and received it. The Indians were then powerful and terrific. The United States were desirous of peace: they sought it, and it was established in 1785, by the Treaty of Hopewell, which has been already referred to. It secured to the Cherokees their previous right to exist as a community upon the territory in their previous possession. Such a treaty would have been obligatory upon any State, if the Articles of Confederation had never existed; but by that compact a right was expressly given by Georgia herself to make it, and the United States were in duty bound to exercise that power.
And now I ask, what prior incompatible obligations to Georgia absolve us from its stipulations, or render it impossible to fulfil (sic ) them?
Such was the power, and such the practice of the Confederation up to the time of the formation of our present Constitution, in September, 1777. No longer previous than the preceding month we find a Committee of Congress, in an able and elaborate report, declaring that the United States cannot interfere in behalf of a State against a tribe of Indians, `but on the principle that Congress shall have the full direction of the war, and the settling of all the terms of peace with such Indian tribe.' And this language was addressed particularly to Georgia by name, and with respect to the Indians within her limits. This was in August.
The Constitution was formed in the following September. The 6th article declares, that 'treaties
made or which shall be made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land'--'anything in the constitution of laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.' This was an express confirmation of the Treaty of Hopewell; which had been made in November, 1785, less than two years before and was then in full force.
The State of Georgia with full knowledge that it had been so made, and that it was considered by the United States to be valid and obligatory, voluntarily adopted the Constitution, thereby herself most solemnly affirming and establishing that treaty: and what ever may have been said before, never since that time, until recently, when the present controversy arose, had she in any manner denied its validity, or objected to its being carried into effect.
Such is the argument in support of the Treaty of Hopewell. I shall leave it by adding but one other proof of its validity in the opinion of General Washington, and the Congress of 1778, and their determination to enforce it with scrupulous fidelity. It is the proclamation of Sept. 1, 1778, which declares it to be 'the firm determination of Congress to protect the said Cherokees in their rights, according to the true intent and meaning of the said treaty;' and a resolution was adopted to hold in readiness a sufficient number of troops to enforce that declaration.
Under our present Constitution many treaties have been regularly made with the Cherokees. The first was at Holsten (sic) in 1791. The reasons which have been adduced in support of the power to make the Treaty of Hopewell are applicable to this with increased force.
The Constitution was formed because the Confederation was too weak to answer the purpose of the Union. It substituted a government in place of a mere confederacy, conferring upon it additional powers, and further limiting those of the individual States. By the Articles of Confederation the power of Congress to regulated the trade and manage affairs with the Indians was subject to a proviso that 'the legislative right of any State within its own limits should not be infringed.' This restriction is the only ground upon which doubts could ever have been suggested of the power of the Confederation to enter in to treaty stipulations; it gave no countenance, however, to such suggestions, because it was a limitation upon another grant of power, distinct from that of establishing peace and making treaties.- But even this restriction is omitted in the Constitution, and Congress are empowered to regulate commerce with the Indian tribes in unqualified terms.
The Constitution vests in the United States the sole and exclusive power of making war and concluding peace. It expressly provides 'that no State shall engage in war' or 'enter into any treaty.' Here is an unequivocal relinquishment of the rights of Georgia to make war upon or treat with the Indians. And what is the right which, it is said, devolved upon her as successor to the sovereignty of Great Britain? The right of a discoverer; that is, a right, as against others, and without their interposition, to attack, and by force subdue the natives; to make war for the purpose of conquest. But Georgia covenants by our fundamental compact not to engage in war for that or any other purpose, to attack no nation or political community.
The United States have the sole power of making peace,this can be done only by treaty. At Hopewell in 1785, we made a treaty of peace. Open war had raged between the United States and the Cherokees, up to that time. They had been the allies of Great Britain, but never had been ours, or in any manner contracted with us. Was not that treaty rightfully made and obligatory?
At Holston, in 1791, we made a treaty of peace and friendship - It is so denominated on the face of it. It was the termination of an actually existing war, of this there is no doubt. - The Chairman of the Committee of Indian Affairs, in his written opinion of 1824, states the fact, that war was raging. The gentleman from Georgia says, that his State applied to the United States for aid and protection in that war. The report of the Committee of Indian Affairs now before us declares that the Cherokees waged war against the citizens of the United States. At Holston we then undeniably made a treaty of peace to terminate an existing war. The authority was express and exclusive. Are not the United States bound-will they abide by it?
The 1st article is-'There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between all the citizens of the United States of America, and all the the (sic) individuals composing the whole Cherokee Nation of Indians.'
'Article 7th--The United States solemnly guarantee to the Cherokee Nation all their lands not hereby ceded.'
'Article 15th- all animosities for past grievances shall henceforth cease, and the constructing parties will carry the foregoing treaty into full execution, with all good faith and sincerity.'
The question now is, shall we carry these articles into effect with any good faith or sincerity?
Will it be pretended that the United States might make peace, but had no authority to insert such stipulations as these I have quoted. Sir, the substance of these articles are of the essence of a treaty of peace. In every contract each party recognizes the separate existence of the other; and a treaty of peace, not a truce, not an armistice, not a temporary cession of hostilities-but a treaty of peace, in its nature, a permanent, enduring contract, must bind each party to respect the existence of the other, and never to assail or attempt its destruction- must obligate each also to permit the other to continue that existence upon its own territory without attack or violence. To attempt to expel them by force, or subjugate or destroy their separate being, is a violation of the compact of peace, and a renewal of the war. In terminating hostilities, therefore, by their undoubted constitutional power, the United States not only rightfully but of necessity, embraced such terms as these. Are they not obligatory? I am not contending, Mr. President, that the United States can cede away part of any State to a foreign nation, as France or Great Britain for example. That question I do not mean to touch, it is wholly unnecessary. I only say they may agree that the other party may continue to exist upon the lands which they have always occupied, may retain that which has ever been their own.
But this is not all. The Constitution proceeds still further, ' gives to the United States the general right to make treaties, not merely of peace but all others. This power is not only clearly and positively conferred on the Union, but expressly inhibited to its several members. It has been repeatedly and continually exercised in relation to the Indian tribes within the United States, and that by the acquiescence and assent of Georgia Herself.
I know it is said Georgia protested; and insisted upon in every variety of form, as applicable to both the treaties and all the questions which have been presented. Let us examine.
The first alleged protest was in February, 1786, prior to the Treaty of Holston. It is the report of a committee, accepted by the House of Representatives only. The objections urged therein apply exclusively to the Treaty of Hopewell, and must have rested only on the ground of the reservation, before mentioned, in one of the Articles of Confederation, and which was omitted in the Constitution.
The next protest was in February 1797. It makes no objection whatever to the Treaty of Holston, and thereby impliedly approves and essents (sic) to it. It protests against two treaties with the Creeks made at New York and Colerain, and the Intercourse Law of the United States. The grounds of objections insisted on are, that the Intercourse Law places the military above the civil authority, and prohibits pursuit and retaliation for Indian outrages. That the Creeks, by the Treaty of Galphinton in 1785, confirmed by a subsequent Treaty of Shoulderbone, had submitted themselves to Georgia and some members of the State, and ceded to her a tract of land which had been actually organized into a country, by the name of Tallahassee. And the State protests, 'because the treaty of New York, in 1790, after the said cession being acted on constitutionally erected and laid out a county and the lands appropriated, did sever out, and lop off the land so ceded before the power of the federal constitution existed, and EX POST FACTO declared they were vested in, and belong to, the Creek Nation of Indians; and because the said Intercourse Law and Treaty of Colerain have confirmed the same.'
Their complaint is, substantially, that the United States had taken from Georgia, lands which had 'been duly ceded, fairly paid for, and legally and constitutionally laid out out into a country.' In conclusion they 'most earnestly solicit a revision of the Intercourse Law and the New York and Colerain treaties, and requiring a confirmation of the country of Tallahassee to the State.' And 'they most earnestly solicit the assistance of the United States to attain the cession of land the Treaty of Coleraine they trust was intended to establish.' These protestations insist that the treaties of Galphinton and Shoulderbone were valid by reason of the before named reservation of Articles of Confederation, but no where deny, and by implication admit, the general right of the United States to make treaties with the Indian tribes, and guaranty to them the possession of their lands. They do not breathe a whisper of objection to the Treaty of Holston, of 1791, or to any of the powers involved in making it, but acquiesce therein.
In February, 1796, by an act of her Legislature, to which I shall hereafter recur, she expressly declared that the United States had the right to make treaties with the Indians; a right which they have continually exercised, and which she has never questioned, until this recent controversy arose.
No less than fourteen treaties have been entered into with this same Cherokee Nation since the adoption of the Constitution: in 1791, 1792, and 1794, by Gen. Washington; in 1798 by Mr. Adams; one in 1804, two in 1805, and one in 1806, and one in 1807, by Mr. Jefferson; three in 1816, by Mr. Madison; one in 1817 by Mr.Monroe, Gen. Jackson being the negotiator; ' one in 1819 by the same President, Mr. Calhoun being the negotiator.
By more than half these treaties, large sessions of land were obtained, boundaries defined, and the remaining territory, and the protection of the United States again and again guaranteed to the Indians.
Shall Georgia now be permitted to deny their validity? If a man, seeing another in the act of making a deed of his land, shall stand by in silence, until the conveyance is completed, and the grantee has parted with his money, paid the consideration, would any Chancellor, that ever sat in a Court of Equity, permit that man to reclaim his property, and thus consummate a fraud of the fair purchaser? But suppose that he shall not only thus witness the conveyance perfected and the money paid, but himself receive the consideration; can he with the fruits of the contract in his pocket, lay his hand upon the property and wrest it from the innocent grantee? Georgia not only acquiesced, but actually received all the lands ceded by the Indians, and for which they obtained our promise of protection. I have in my hand some of her laws disposing of the acquisitions.
The title of one is:--'An act to dispose of and distribute the cession of land obtained from the Creek and Cherokee nations of Indians by the United States, in the several treaties of 10 August, 1814, 8 July, 1817, and 22d January, 1818.
And of another, 'An Act to dispose of the territory lately acquired of the Cherokee Indians by a treaty held by the Honorable John C. Calhoun, at the City of Washington, on the 27th day of February, 1818.' There are others of similar tenor.
And now retaining their acquisitions, holding the proceeds of these treaties in her hands, she declares that they are invalid; thus at the same moment binding the Indians by their stipulations and denying them the benefit of ours.
She has not only thus declared the right of the United States to make treaties and assented to them when made, but has repeatedly urged that they should be entered into for the purpose of obtaining further acquisitions for her benefit; and even as late as the year 1825, contended that the Treaty of the Indian Springs with the Creeks was obligatory, and should be carried into effect.
And it was not until the Indians had firmly refused to assent to further cessions, and it was perceived that no more land could be acquired by negotiation, that the doctrine arose which denies to the United States their right to make these compacts.