Indian Lands.- We are sorry that we cannot assent so cheerfully to the sentiments in the Report of the Secretary of War regarding the Indians, as to those on the two preceding topics. But if the Indians are to be removed from their native home they will not probably remove under better auspices than those of the Secretary of War. The feelings expresses in his Report are kind and sympathetic towards that unfortunate race. We only regret that they do not lead to a different system of measures in relation to the location of the Indians. He speaks of 'their present unsuitable residences'- and of their future 'establishment in a region, where we may hope to see them prosperous, contented, and improving.' But the way, if our memory serves us, the writer of a long article on the subject of the Indians, in the North American Review, two or three years ago, took the ground that the Indians are so fixed in their habits that they never will improve-they will be Indians still, whatever their circumstances may be,and whatever is done for them. As to 'their residences,' we presume many think they are specially 'unsuitable' since the discovery that gold exists there,and the cupidity of Georgia is burning to possess it.
We learn from the Report that a new principle has been introduced into the treaty with the Chickasaws-
'The whole value of the country ceded is assigned to the Chickasaws, and the United States become in fact trustees to make the necessary arrangements for their benefit.
It is stipulated, that the ceded territory shall be surveyed and sold, and the whole proceeds, deducting only the actual expenses applied to the various objects enumerated, connected with the temporary subsistence, removal, and permanent establishment, of these Indians. A residuary fund is to be vested in some productive stock, and the income to be annually appropriated for the public and private objects stipulated in the treaty. A country for the residence of the tribe is to be procured by themselves, and it is probable they will be able to make a satisfactory arrangement for that purpose with the Choctaws, a kindred people, who are in possession of a much larger district, than is required by their numbers.'
It is proposed to adopt this principle in all future treaties with the Indians for lands. And why, if injustice has been done by our Government heretofore in this matter, is it too late to repair the wrong even now? Will it do to say that we have oppressed and cheated the Indians out of so large a part of their possessions, that we can afford to deal honestly and justly, and even kindly with them in future, while we retain the avails of our possession? It seems to be desired by some that the lands owned by the General Government should before long be given up to the States within which there are located. But if the United States are about to divest themselves of the national domain, why not relinquish a part of it to the former owners, from whom, as now conceded, it appears to have been obtained without a fair equivalent?
The manner in which the efforts of those who have contended for the right of the Cherokees to live in the land of their fathers, and to establish a government of their own choice, are spoken of in the Report, is far different from that sometimes employed. It is candid, liberal and elevated--such as might be expected from that source.-
Our great objection to a removal, which has been urged by the more discreet Indians, and many by our own citizens, who are honestly seeking their improvement, is the prospect, judging by the past that their location west of Mississippi would be temporary, as they would be soon pressed for new cessions, and would yield, as they heretofore yielded, successive applications for this purpose. Although the nature and objects of their removal, and the spirit of the act of Congress, which introduced the system, are opposed to such attempts, still the apprehensions entertained, and proved injurious.- Probably no course would better satisfy them upon this subject, than the introduction of a principle, which would secure to them the full value of the property, under all circumstances; thus lessening the probability, in their view, of any wish on our part to acquire it, and insuring on theirs, if not the power and disposition to retain it, at least the means of converting it to the greatest advantage?