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iver, which limits the northern boundary of the Choctaws
bable that, by a conciliatory system, the expense of manag-
within the States, is to hold them under the laws of the States as citizens.” At the opening of the next session of Congress, Presi. dent Adams in his message expressed himself thus: “The attention of Congress is particularly invited to that part of the report of the Secretary of War which concerns the existing system of our relations with the Indian tribes. At the establishment of the Federal Government, under the present constitution of the United States, the principle was adopted of considering them as foreign and independent powers, and also as proprietors of lands. They were, more: over, considered as savages, whom it was our policy and our duty to use our influence in converting to christianity, and in bringing within the pale of the constitution. “As independent powers, we negotiated with them b treaties; as proprietors, we purchased of them all the lands which we could prevail upon them to sell; as brethren of the human race, rude and ignorant, we endeavored to bring them to the knowledge of religion and letters. The ultimate design was to incorporate in our own institutions that portion of them which could be converted to the state of civilization. “In the practice of European States, before our revolution, they had been considered as children to be governed: as tenants at discretion, to be dispossessed as occasion might require; as hunters, to be indemnified by trifling concessions for removal from the grounds from which their game was extirpated. In changing the system, it would seem as if a full contemplation of the consequences of the change 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 i. 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 unfortunate children of nature, may secure to the members of our confederation their rights of sovereignty and of soil. As the outline of a project to that effect, the views presented in the report of the Secretary of War are recommended to the consideration of Congress.” Now, sir, [said Mr. W.] if the “rights of sovereignty and soil” in the States were not, in the view of the President, invaded by this state of things, what remedy could be requisite to secure them 1 Next, sir, [said Mr. W.] let us refer to Mr. Secretary Porter's report. What does he say : “Nothing can be more clear to one who has marked the progress of population and improvement, and is conversant with the principles of human action, than that these Indians will not be permitted to hold the reservations on which they live with in the States, by their present tenure, for any considerable period. If, indeed, they were not disturbed in their possessions by us, it would be impossible for them long to subsist, as they have heretofore done, by the chase, as their game is already so much diminished as to render it frequently necessary to furnish them with provisions in order to save them from starvation. In their present destitute and deplorable condition, and which is constantly growing more helpless, it would seem to be not only the right, but the duty of the Government, to take them under its paternal care, and to exercise over their persons and property the salutary rights and duties of guardianship." With the purpose of showing how this matter of Indian title and sovereignty had been considered by our courts,
Mr. W. asked leave to refer the House to one or two jus: cial decisions: “The United States maintain, as all others have mo tained, that discovery gave an exclusive right to exte guish the Indian title of occupancy, either by purchases conquest, and gave also a right to such a degree of scre reignty as the circumstances of the people would allor them to exercise.” “It has never been doubted that either the Units States or the several States had a clear title to all to lands within the boundary lines described in the treat; ; peace of 1783, subject only to the Indian right of cert pancy, and that, the exclusive power to extinguish the right was vested in that Government which mighter stitutionally exercise it.” The case of Jackson and Goodel, in New York, had been referred to, and made the subject of much disco ston. He took that case to be thus: Land had been granted by the State to an individad Indian for military services. His Indian heir alienated? to a white man. The supreme court determined that the Indian must be considered a citizen, that his Indian be: took by descent, as the heir of a citizen, and that to statutes of the State in restraint of Indian alienations a they then existed, did not extend to the alienntion of a individual Indian conveying land granted to his Indians: cestor for military services. The court of errors held it was not necessary, to deter mine the question of citizenship, that the patent was a express legislative grant, enabling the Indian heir to boi That the laws in restraint of Indian alienation, then a force, extended to individual Indians as well as to tritos That, if it were necessary to decide the question of eit zenship, the Indian could not be deemed a citizen. There is much speculative rensoning, certainly, on the condition of the Indians: and what is the conclusion 1 That “they are placed under our protection, and subject to our coercion, so far as the public safety requires, and to further.” If they are admitted to be under the protection, and subject to the coercion of the States, so far as the puble safety requires, and the State must be the judge how for that is, which I take to be the meaning of the Chancellor, I do not perceive the wide difference on the point between him and the Chief Justice of the supreme court of New York, who, in delivering the opinion of that enurt, says: “Their condition has been gradually changing, until they have lost every attribute of sovereignty, and become et tirely dependent upon, and subject to our Government." The Chancellor himself, in his commentaries, declares “the peculiar character a d habits of the Indian nations rendered them incapable of sustaining any other relations With the whites, than that of dependence and pupils. There was no other way of dealing with them, than tist of keeping them separate, subordinate, and dependent with a guardian care thrown around them for their pro tection.” “It is the law of the land," says Chancellor Kent, speal. ing of the titles derived from conquest and discovery, “and no court of justice can permit the right to be do turbed by speculative reasonings on abstract rights." Mr. W. said he would offer a remark or two on the Indian intercourse acts. The first act, 22d July, list, makes no peculiar provision, with respect to Indians wit. in the jurisdiction of a State. The second act, 1st March, 1793, provides, section is: “That nothing in this act shall be construed to prever, any trade or intercourse with the Indians living on lan's surrounded by settlements of the citizens of the United States, and being within the jurisiction of the individual States." The third act, 27th May, 1796, is the same see tion. 19, except that it reads “ordinary jurisdiction,’ &c.
The fourth act, 3d March, 1799, is the same as the lasts
** also the act of the 30th March, 1802. These acts the ommittee of Congress, upon the memorial of Georgia, in *797, admitted required revision, but alleged it was too ate in the session to act upon them. Let us pause now, [said Mr. W.] and consider for a moment the policy we have pursued towards the Indians, and ts consequences. We gave to their cessions of land the ormality of bargains, and some of the empty solemnities of treaties. * We established houses of trade among them, at a heavy *xpense. o, We appointed agents and , sub-agents, and provided hem with missionaries, schoolmasters, and blacksmiths. What have been the consequences ! And first as to treaties. We incurred the expense of assembling and subsisting *he Indians, during several ineffectual attempts to treat. By allowing them this show of independence, we flattered he pride and encouraged the obstinacy of the savages, hereby obstructing our own views. We were often comPelled to buy the same land over two or three times, from lifferent tribes. The purchase money was immediately dissipated by he Indians, often before they left the treaty ground. ... We were compelled to offer inducements to the chiefs or their assent to cessions, in the shape of presents, or as hey have been termed, bribes. This produced dissatisfaction among our own citizens, whose consciences were offended by these practices, .hough inevitable in all treaties with barbarous nations; and hence no treaty could latterly be negotiated without loud complaints of bribery and fraud. ... Next followed the modification of the principle of treaties, contained in the Cherokee treaty of 1817, the Creek treaty of 1826, and the treaty of 1828 with the Cherokees of Arkansas, by which the enrolment of individuals, with their own consent, as emigrants beyond the Mississippi, was provided for, and inducements offered them, similar in character to those in the present bill. Then followed the laws of the pretended Cherokee Government, punishing, with cruel and sanguinary punishments, any who should presume to sell their improvements, emigrate. or treat for a sale of land, or meet United States' commisBiobers to treat for a cession, according to the ancient and established usages. To these succeeded the law of Georgia, intended merely to meet this state of things, and to punish those who should attempt to punish the native Cherokees, most of whom were willing to emigrate, for the exercise of their own free will. Next as to trading houses. They entailed on us a heavy expense—they were liable to great abuses—they lent us little or no aid in maintaining an influence over the Indian tribes. After a fair trial they were deliberately abolished by Congress. Then as to the payment of annuities. They have been found of little benefit to the mass of the common Indians. He would refer the House to the testimony of the revereud Mr. McCoy, agentleman worthy of all credit, and speaking after much experience from his own observation. “The first item alluded to, of sixty-five thousand two hundred dollars, is the aggregate of annuities paid to those * Indians within the district under consideration. There has been a lamentable waste of public treasure upon In dian treaties, and I as confidently assert that there is a lamentable waste of public moneys in Indian annuities. Qur Government is not in the habit of taking their lands * for nothing. But it is extremely doubtful whether the thousands of dollars, annually paid to the Indians, as mattors are, render them any service. My own opinion is, that, all things considered, their annuities render them no orvice at all, or worse than none. No person could have been more favorably situated for arriving at a just “onelusion on this point; being actually among them formine
years, I am well acquainted with their circumstances both before and after receiving annuities, and declare that I have found no reason for inclining to a different opinion from that just now expressed. I am inclined to believe that there are few, if any, Indian agents who are of a different opinion. Next as to agents. Their interest in preserving the present state of things and often in obstructing the policy of the Government, is apparent. They are frequently under temptations from this interest to neglect or violate their duty. The mischievous effects of this influence, extended over the Indians through the instrumentality of sub-agents, artificers, storekeepers, and other white men, permitted to reside in the nation, were well known. More than one agent had been strongly suspected of using this influence for sinister purposes: he need not particularize. He might appeal to the statement made before the New York Society for aiding the emigration of the Indians, and would ask the attention of the House to another passage in Mr. McCoy's valuable pamphlet. “It is proper, however, before we dismiss this part of our subject, to observe, that, notwithstanding the preceding remarks, we are well aware of some formidable obstacles to the proposed removal of the Indians. The obstacles to which we allude will not derive either their origin or their support from the Indians themselves, but both will be found in the avarice of white men, near to, or mingling with, the Indians, whose interest it is for the natives to remain where they are, and in their present condition.” “I deeply regret the necessity of mentioning this circumstance; but justice to my subject, to the Indians, and to my own conscience, demands it of me. We may pre[. to encounter a host of opposers, consisting of traders, th licensed and unlicensed; many of them speaking the Indian language fluently, and in habits of daily intercourse with them, often allied by marriage, and otherwise by blood: of many others, who profit more or less by a commission from our Government, for the performance of services in the Indian Department. Remove the Indians, and the fountain fails. Some estimate of the difficulties arising from this quarter, may be formed, on considering the influence which the number of those interested persons, under these favorable opportunities, may exert on the minds of these ignorant, uninformed people, whose prejudices against us are generally inveterate, and whose jealousies are ever on the alert; considering, also, that in the transacting of business with the Indians, Government has generally been under the necessity of availing itself of the services of these very persons. The story requires much delicacy in the telling, and, perhaps, has never been, nor will it now be plaiuly told, that scarce a treaty with the Indians occurs, in which the commissioners of the United States are not obliged to shape some part of it to suit the convenience of some of this class of persons." Again: As to schools and missionaries. In speaking of the missionaries, and their representations F. condition and wishes of the Indians, he intended to do justice to the labors and motives of these pious and often disinterested men. That they were often misled, and in their turn contributed mueh to mislead others, was indisputable. They were often tempted to suppress every unfavorable statement, lest the faithful and charitable should weary in the good work. On this subject he would quote the observations of Mr. McCoy, himself a missionary, and zealously and honestly devoted to the welfare of he Indians. “Societies and their missionaries should carefully guard against what we might term high coloring. We are naturally fond of telling the more favorable parts of the story, and rather desire the unfavorable parts to sink into oblivion. I could readily point to statements respecting missionary operations, which approximate this character too
nearly; but I deem it sufficient to mention only this ge. neral and undoubted fact, viz. a man in Europe, by reading the whole of our missionary journals, narratives, rerts, &c. would be apt to suppose the success of our abors was such, that the aborigines of our country were rapidly improving their condition, both in respect to christianity and civilization. How would such a one be disappointed on visiting these regions, to find, that, instead of imp." in general, they were rapidly decreasing in numrs, and perishing under their accumulated misfortunes.” The testimony of the late Secretary of war, [Gen. Port ER} on this subject, is well worth considering. In his report to President Adams, accompanying the message of December, 1828, he has the following remarks: “The annual appropriation of ten thousand dollars to the purpose of educating Indian children, and teaching them the mechanic arts, has had the effect to draw to almost every Indian reservation, in addition to the agents and interpreters, a considerable number of missionaries and teachers, with their families, who, having acquired, §: by the aid of this fund, very comfortable esta lishments, are unwilling to be deprived of them by the removal of the Indians: and thus we have found, that, while the agents specially employed by the Government for this purpose are engaged in persuading...by profuse distributions of money and presents, the Indians to emigrate, another set of Government agents are operating more secretly, to be sure, but not with less zeal and effect, to prevent such emigration.” “These remarks are not intended as a personal reflection on the missionaries and teachers; much less on the pious and respectable patrons of these benevolent institutions, who, no doubt, are disposed to lend a ready support to every humane measure which the Government may think proper to adopt in favor of these depressed people; but are rather intended to show the natural and unavoidable tendency of the system itself to counteract the leading policy of the Government.” With respect to schools, an extract from Dr. Morse's report would assist us to conjecture how that matter was managed. This is copied from the account of a missionawho visited the school at Elliot, and conversed with #. scholars. “He told them he was going to Jerusalem, to establish schools there. The boys took the hint, and brought him a donation of thirteen dollars for the Palestine mission. “They obtained the money in this way: When they were out in the field every morning in the week by such a minute, or had committed certain lessons in school, they were entitled to a certain premium, and when they fail they forfeit something. There is, of course, debit and credit. Some had fifty cents to their credit, some more, and some less.” Such were the inducements held out among the Indians to the study of polite literature; yet the savage little urchius, in spite of all their bribes, as he supposed the gentleman from New York [Mr. Sroens] would call them, seemed to have no violent affection for letters, since the Cherokee council had found it necessary to pass laws to prevent their leaving school, and to compel their parents, when they did so, to bring them back. * . Mr. W. said, he had extracted from official documents a statement of the whole number of Indians within the United States, which made the number as follows: Within the States of Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, Connecticut, and Virginia, - - 2,573 New York, - - - - , - 4,820 Pennsylvania, - - - - - 300 North Carolina, - - - - - 3,100 South Carolina, - - - , - ... - - 300 Georgia, - - - , a -o - - 5,000 * * * * * *** *All the old States, - - - - - - - - - 16,098
Tennessee, . - - - - - ... I to
Within the country east of the Mississippi, north of the State of Illinois, and west of the three upper lakes, y - - - Within the country west of the Mississippi, east of the Rocky Mountains, and not included in Louisiana, Mississippi, or Arkansas, In the country east of the o and south of the Ohio, excluding those in the original States, except North and South Carolina and Georgia, - - Within the Rocky Mountains, . - Within the country west of the Mississippi and east of the Rocky Mountains, - . 108,070 West of the Rocky Mountains, between lat. 44 and lat. 49, . - - • " Within the United States, - Their condition would best appear from some which he would lay before the House. “The situation of the Indians, and the operation of the settlement and improvement of the country upon them, are without a parallel in the progress of human society. They have adopted none of the manners and eustoms of the people who have succeeded them. In the long in. terval which has elapsed since their first knowledge of the whites, it would be difficult to find a single improvement which has taken place, in their principles, habits, or codition. They have generally retired before the advancing settlements; and, where they have become stationary on tracts secured to them, they have declined as rapidly in morals as in numbers.” “They are essentially hunters, fed and clothed from the products of the chase. The spirit of their institutions, as well as their personal feelings, is opposed to labor: it is a disgraceful employment.” “Judging of the future by the past, we eannot err is anticipating a progressive diminution of their numbers and their eventual extinction, unless our border should be come stationary, and they be removed beyond it; or unless some radical change takes place in the principles of ourin. tercourse with them, which it is easier to hope than expects “It is disgraceful for a war party to return witho success. But one scalp will redeem them from this reproach. If any enemy cannot be found, it is ofteu taken from a friend; and thus our citizens are always exposed when travelling in the vicinity of their war paths." The increase of their wants, arising from contaet with civilization, and the gradual destruction of the game, is strongly expressed in the speech of a Pawnee chief to the President. “There was a time when we did not know the whites. Our wants were then fewer than they are now. We had then seen nothing which we could not get. We could lie down to sleep, and, when we awoke, we found the buffalo
56 fish 20,000
80,000 313,135 extracts
feeding around our camp; but now we are killing them for their skins, and feeding the wolves with their flesh, to make our children cry over their bones.” Yet, in the same speech, the chief entreats that his tribe may be allowed to continue hunters, and resists the introduction of schools, missionaries, labor and civilization. “I am like you, my great father: I love my country, I love my people, I love the manner in which we live, and think myself and warriors brave. Spare me, then, my father, and let me Joo. the buffalo and the beaver in pur wilderness, and I will trade the skins with your people. I have grown up and lived without work. I hope you will let me die without it. * o * * * + * “It is too soon, my great father, to send those good men among us. We are not starving yet. Let us enjoy he chase until our game is exhausted. Let us destroy the wild animals, before you make us toil, and interrupt our happiness.” Mr. W. said, he came now to consider the condition of he Indians in the old States. The names only of Indian ribes, now extinct, would furnish a long catalogue. They had perished from the operation of natural causes known ..o every gentleman, and in part well explained by the rewiewer, whose Fo he had already quoted. Their mprovidence, their degraded condition, was notorious. They had in many States mingled with the free blacks, and sunk, in all respects, to their level. He referred to Mr. McCoy's remarks, in his pamphlet already mentioned. Speaking of the Indians in the old States, that respectable writer observes; “Those who are pent up by the whites on small reservations, in New England, o: York, and Dhio, decline more rapidly in proportion to their numbers, han the tribes farther west, on the frontiers of Michigan, [ndiana, and Illinois; and the decline of these latter is more rapid in proportion than those still more remote. Let it 2e borne in mind, that, wherever we discover a decrease of numbers, we see an increase of calamities.”—Page 12. Again, in page 14, he says: “I took the liberty, not long since, of suggesting that the condition of those small bands who are on little reservations in New England, New York, and Ohio, surrounded by white population, is worse than ...hat of those who have more latitude on our frontier. To *is remark, I suppose we ought to except something in ‘espect to eating and wearing. * “I presume those small bands live more plentifully for food and raiment, than do the others. But I have no hesitat.on in repeating that they are more debased in principle, and positively more worthless, than those with whom I am comparing them. “This sentiment is the result of my own personal observation, as well as of the concurrent testimony of the most authentic information.” If we look to the legislation of those States where they live, we find they are considered spendthrifts and paupers, and treated as such. Guardians are appointed for them, and they are governed as natural and perpetual minors. * , Mr. W. would give a sketch of the laws of a few of the ‘old States, taken from the collection made by the Commit. tee on Indian affairs. These might serve as a specimen. If gentlemen had a curiosity to look into the matter further, they had only to consult the files. Connecticut appoints an overseer for each tribe; he has the care aud management of their lands; they are renderred incapable of contracting. In 1672, pow-wows were o. and murders and sabbath-breaking punished. • In 1702, an act passed to punish Indians for drunkenness. * Rhode Island renders them, incapable of contracting. Suits for trespasses on their lands must be brought by the treasurer of the tribe. If residing in any town, and liable yto hecome chargeable, they may be removed as paupers. * They are allowed to take the poor debtor's oath. o Massachusetts enacts that, “what lands any of the Indi.
ans in this jurisdiction have possessed and improved by subduing the same, they have just right unto, according to that in Gen. i. 28, and chap. ix, 1, and Psal. cxv, 16.” They are not allowed to sell peltry except to persons appointed by the o None are to buy lands from them; no arms or ammunition, or liquor, to be sold to them. Foreigners not allowed to trade with them. In 1698, an act for their better government was passed; commissioners were appointed “to have the inspection, and more particular care and government of the Indians, and to exercise the power of a justice of the peace over them, in all matters civil and criminal, as well for hearing and determining pleas betwixt party and party, and to award execution therein, as for the examining, hearing, and punishing criminal offences, according to the acts and laws of this province, and to nominate constables." A penalty is denounced for selling liquors to them. The accusation of an Indian, with other concurring circumstances, amounting to a high presumption, in the discretion of the justices, to be accounted sufficient; unless the party accused will expurgate himself on oath. Pennsylvania punishes the sale of liquors to them, but provides that the Governor and council, or persons by them authorized to hold treaties with any nation of Indians, may, at such treaties, give any reasonable quantity of rum as by them shall be thought necessary” 1721. In 1744, the criminal law was extended to them. Is there any difference between the character of the northern and southern Indians? Look at the Catawbas, sir; between seventy and a hundred individuals, wretched and depraved beyond description, are all that remain of the most generous and formidable of the enemies of the Six Nations ! About ten years ago they were computed at four hundred, and they have had secured to them by the State of South Carolina one hundred and forty-four thousand acres of good land, which they were not allowed to alienate. Mr. W. said he would advert, he could not do more, to the excellent article in the January number of the North American Review, attributed to the pen of a gentleman who had had abundant opportunities for observation, and whose opinions were entitled to the greatest consideration. (Governor Cass.) The whole article was so judicious, that he would be at a loss what to select; and he was conscious he had already trespassed heavily on the patience of the House, but he referred gentlemen to it who really desired information; it would well repay them for the trouble of a perusal. Mr. W. proceeded to remark upon the actual condition of the Cherokees. These Indians joined the British in the revolutionary war. They were conquered, and peace dietated to them in 1777, when the treaty of Dewitt's corner was made, by which they admitted that they were a conquered people, and ceded all their country east of the Unakoi mountain. They again committed hostilities, and were again conquered in 1783, and terms of peace again dictated to them. It has been already shown that they continued to commit hostilities during the administration of General Washington, and after the treaty of Holston. They are now assumed to be a civilized people, and their constitution and their press are appealed to as evidence of the fact. Their constitution has barbarism distinctly stamped upon it. It is not destined to live. It has the Hippocratic countenance. The ancestral likeness evidently appears. The fundamental principle is, that the land is to remain common and inalienable. This, of itself, is barbarism. Separate property in land is the basis of civilized society. Have not all the efforts of all our Presidents to civilize the Indians assumed this principle This constitution was the work of white men and half breeds. Its object was to throw the o of the tribe, the lands, the offices, the annuities of the tribe, into their hands. Many of the old and full blooded Indians are dis