網頁圖片
PDF
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

SATURDAY, MAY 15, 1830. SALT.

Mr. TALIAFERRO moved that the House take up the resolution laid on the table by him yesterday, proposing a repeal of the duty on salt. Mr. EARLL, of New York, demanded the yeas and nays on the question of consideration, and they were ordered. Mr. BARRINGER rose to state that he had a substitute for the resolution, which he should offer when in order. Mr. CONNER called the attention of the Chair to a resolution on this same subject, which he had laid on the table at an early period of this session; which, he presumed, would preclude the present one, while that was unacted on; but The SPEAKER, on a reference to Mr. C.'s resolution, stated that it did not cover the ground of the present one sufficiently to preclude its previous consideration. The question, “Will the House now consider the resolution f” was then put, and decided in the affirmative by the following vote: yeas, 90—nays, 76. Mr. TALIAFERRO then rose, and said it was not his purpose to enter into any discussion of the resolution. His purpose [he said] would be fully answered in having put this proposition into the possession of the House. This course was dictated to him by several considerations, by the late period of the session, and by the late elaborate debate of the question by the House. It would, after that full and recent discussion, be a trespass on, if not an insult to the House, were he now to go into an argument of the question. Declining, therefore, to enter into a discussion of the subject, he rose to do what he had never before done in his life. He had for forty years been in some legislative body or other, and in all that time he had never moved an adjournment, had never called for the yeas and nays, or for the previous question. As, however, the proposition which he had submitted was simple and distinct, untrammelled with any other matter, and fully understood, he would call for the previous question. Mr. WINTON moved a call of the House. Mr. DAVIS, of Massachusetts, asked for the yeas and nays on this motion, and they were ordered. Mr. BARRINGER requested Mr. TALIAFERho to withdraw his motion for the previous question, to allow him to submit his substitute, understood to embrace a gradual reduction of the salt duty, a reduction of the duty on mo lasses, and some other modifications of the tariff, which would probably meet with general approbation. Mr. TALIAFERRO was proceeding to explain why he did not accede to the request of the gentleman from North Carolina, when the Chair reminded him that no debate was in order pending the questions which had been made. The call of the House was sustained by yeas and nays– 90 to 76; but It appearing by the vote that the House was pretty full, the call was dispened with, on motion of Mr. STRONG. Here the hour allotted for the consideration of resolutions having elapsed, Mr. MARTIN said, if anything was to be done on the subject of this resolution at all, during the session, it must be done at once. He therefore moved that the rule be suspended, and the discussion allowed to proceed. The SPEAKER. The gentleman is aware that it requires two-thirds of the House to suspend a rule. Mr. MARTIN. I am aware of that, sir. , Mr. VINTON demanded the yeas and nays on suspending the rule. . . o

|His in taking the yeas and nays, he would withdraw

Mr. MARTIN. Rather than consume the time of the

his motion: but Mr. DAVENPORT, of Virginia, renewed the motion; and The question was taken on suspending the rule, and do

cided in the negative by yeas and nays: yeas, 67–nays, 90.

REMOVAL OF THE INDIANS.

The House then resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, Mr. WICRLIFFE in the chair, and resumed the consideration of the bill “provid. ing for an exchange of lands with the Indian tribes within the several States and territories, and for their removal west of the Mississippi river.”

Mr. STORRS said, that, if he had believed that the real object and only effort of the bill were to further the policy of providing a country beyond the Mississippi for such of the Indian tribes as might be inclined, of their own free choice, to remove there, he should have eleerfully given his support to the measure. For [said Mr. S.] I heartily respond to the opinion expressed by the honorable mem. ber at the head of the Committee on Indian affairs, who spoke yesterday, [Mr. BELL] that no philanthropie man can look at the condition to which these unfortunate prople have become reduced, by a combination of circumstances which now press upon them in some quarters with intolerable severity, without fervently wishing that they were already removed far beyond the reach of the oppression—and, I was about to say, the example of the white man. I hope that I am too well aware of the responsibility of the country to the opinion of the world, and too sensible of the duties we owe to these people, to be found resisting any measure here, which may really improve their condition, or encouraging them to reject any propositions of the Government which may be offered to them for their free acceptance or refusal. But, sir, although the bill now before you presents nothing on its

face, which, on a superficial examination, appears to be objectionable, yet we cannot shut our eyes, if we would, to the circumstances which have brought this subject before us at the present session. The papers before the House have convinced me that it is chiefly intended and expected to come in aid of the measures recently taken by the States along the southern line of the Union, for removing the Indian nations within their limits from the country which they now occupy; and, finding a purpose so unjust to these people, and so mischievous to the repotation of the country, lurking under it, I cannot give it my countenance or support. I shall leave it entirely to others to examine that policy which affects to improve the moral condition of the Indians by removing them into the western forests, and dismiss that part of the subject with the single remark, that the President has furnished us, in his message at the opening of the session, with a fair commentary upon that scheme of Indian improvement. He says, that, “ professing a desire to civilize and settle them, we have, at the same time, lost no opportunity to purchase their lands, and thrust them further into the wilderness”—that, “by this means they have not only been kept in a wandering state, but been led to look upon us as unjust and indiffer. ent to their fate. Thus, though lavish in its expenditure upon the subject, Government has constantly defeated its own policy; and the Indians, in general, receding further and further to the West, have retained their savage habits.” He then recommends to us that we should set apart an ample portion of our western territory, beyond the limits of Missouri and Arkansas, for the reception of all the tribes of Indians now within the States—about sixty thousand—secure them the country, where he says they may enjoy Governments of their own choice, and where “the benevolent may endeavor to teach them the arts of civilization, and, by promoting union and harmous

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

among them, to raise up an interesting commonwealth, destined to Perpetuate the race, and to attest the humanity and justice of this Government.” We are fortunately able, sir, to ascertain clearly the state of things which has induced the Executive to recom. mend this [.. to us, so earnestly at the present time. There can no mistake in the history of our relations with certain Indian nations, which has brought this subjo before us at this session. It is fully spread upon the official documents of the House for some few years past; *nd I shall proceed to call your attention to such parts of thon as, I trust, will lead us to the only safe and honor. able conclusion to which we ought to come upon this whole unatter. By the fifth article of the treaty of New York, of the 7th of August, 1799, the United States solemnly guaran. tied to the Creek nation all their lands beyond the bound. *y then established. The treaty of Holston, of the 2d of July, 1791, with the Cherokee nation, was also entered into, under the administration of General Washington, for the purpose of quieting forever the collisions which had taken Plaee between that nation and the adjoining States. After fixing a new and definite boundary between their lands and these States, and obtaining from the nation its *Press acknowledgment that they were under the protec. tion of the United States, and of no other sovereign whatever; that they should hold no treaty with any foreign Power, individual States, or with individuals, and stipulatoff for the restoration of prisoners, the treaty contains the following article: “Anor. 7. The United States solemnly guaranty to the Cherokee nation all their lands not hereby ceded.” By the compact with Georgia, of the 24th of April,

1803, on the surrender of her claims to the country west

9f her present limits, the United States stipulated to ex. tinguish, at their own expense, for the use of Georgia, the Indian title to their lands within that State, as early as it ould be “peaceably obtained, on reasonable terms." This article of the compact also recited, that, for acquiring a part of these lands, the President (Mr. Jefferson) had oirected that a treaty should be immediately held with the Creeks. There seemed to be no doubt, therefore, originally, between the parties to this compact, as to the manner in which it was to be executed on the part of the General Government. This treaty was accordingly holden on the 16th of June, 1802, and the kings, chiefs, head men, and warriors of the Creek nation, assembled in council, ceded to the United States an extensive tract of ountry. The commissioners plenipotentiary, who held this treaty, were nominated to the Senate, and their appointments confirmed. By another treaty with the Creeks, (November 14th, 1805,) they ceded other lands to the United States, which also passed to Georgia. Other trea. ties have followed with this nation, not essential to be now considered, until the administrations of Mr. Monroe and Mr. Alams, when they persisted in refusing to sell any more of their lands. Georgia had, in the mean time, strenuously required of the General Government the fulfilment of its pledge under the compact of 1802. But all the efforts of the Government to induce the Creek nation to part with their lands had failed, until the execution of the ar. ticles at the Indian Springs, in 1825, by MacIntosh and some other chiefs, who assumed to represent the Creek nation on that occasion. We all know the melancholy catastrophe which immediately followed, and which all of must wish could be for ever forgotten. The calamities which befell the Creeks filled them with terror. They were in some . degree quieted, after great difficulty, and very painful measures, on the part of the General Government, towards Georgia; and found, at last, that their only hope of peace and future security was in listening to the benevolent councils of the administration. They finally surrendered the remnant of their lands to Georgia.

w

The last administration was then required by Georgia, in a tone at least decisive of her intention, to persevere in her own views of the obligation of the compact of 1802, to extinguish the Cherokee title to the lands held by them within that State, and which were covered by the treaty of Holston. The administration repeated its efforts in good faith, to induce the Cherokees to treat; but they resisted all the temptations held out to them, refused to enter into any negotiation, and claimed, on their own part, the protection of the plighted faith of the Government. It was time for the administration to pause, at least—and examine well the ground on which the Government stood. The scenes of 1825 were still fresh in the recollection of all. The blood of MacIntosh and his fellow-chief was yet scarcely dry upon the earth, and the smoke of their habitations had scarcely ceased to curl above the tops of the forest. But the Government continued its efforts in the true spirit of its obligations to Georgia, until it became evident that it was in vain to hope or look for success. The Cherokees remained inflexible, and the perseverance of Georgia placed the administration in a situation in which it was more probable that they might soon be called on to preserve the faith of the country plighted to the Cherokees, in the solemn pledge given to that nation, under the administration of General Washington, for the integrity of their country. In this condition of things, Georgia put forth her ultimatum, and passed her resolutions of the 27th December, 1827. In these she declared her right to extend her authority over the whole Indian country; to coerce obedience to it; and openly asserted that she could rightfully take possession of the Cherokee lands at her own will and pleasure. During the last year, she has followed up these claims, and annexed their country to the adjacent coun: ties; she has extended her laws over the Cherokess, and coupled with them a peculiar code, framed for that purpose, and applicable to the Indians only. Of the operation and character of these laws, I shall say somethipg before I sit down. There has been some complaint, on the part of Georgia, that, from the commencement of her collision on this subject with the former administration, she has been much misunderstood, and often greatly misrepresented. It is fair and candid, therefore, that, on this occasion, and in this House, the principles on which she has relied to support her measures, should be stated by herself; that, she should be heard in her own words; and that, if she fails to be convinced, the doctrines on which she has rested her pretensions may be no longer mistaken, or her principles misrepresented. I shall not trfist myself to state them from recollection, and must ask the committee to indulge me in reading some extracts from the proceedings of her Legislature in 1827. A joint committee of that body, to whom the Governor's message relating to “the acquisition of the Georgia lands, at present in the occupancy of the Cherokee Indians, and the absolute and jurisdictional right of the State to the same," had been referred, reported that they had given that subject the most mature and deliberate consideration, and accompanied the report with an elaborate exposition of the principles on which they founded certain resolutions submitted with it. The whole argument is finally recapitulated, with a comprehensiveness and clearness which relieves me from reading the whole report. “Before Georgia,” says this report, “became a to the articles of agreement and cession of 1802, she could rightfully have possessed herself of those lands, either by negotiation with the Indians; or by force; and she had determined to do so; but by this contract she made it the duty of the United States to sustain the expense of obtaining for her the possession, provided it could be done upon rea

sonable terms and by negotiation. But, in case it should become necessary to resort to force, this contract with the

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

United States makes no provision; the consequence is, that
Georgia is left untrammelled, at full liberty to prosecute
her rights in that point of view, according to her own dis.
cretion, and as though no contract had been made. Your
committee, therefore, arrive at this conclusion, that, ante-
rior to the revolutionary war, the lands in question belong
ed to Great Britain; that the right of sovereignty, both as
to dominion and empire, was complete and perfect in her;
that the possession of the Indians was permissive; that they
were mere tenants at will; and that such tenancy might
have been determined at any moment, either by negotia-
tion or force, at the pleasure of Great Britain; that upon
the termination of the revolutionary war, and by the treaty
of peace, Georgia assumed all the rights and powers in
relation to the lands and Indians in question, which there-
tofore belonged to Great Britain; that since that time she
has not divested herself of any right or power in relation
to the lands now in question, further than she has in rela-
tion to all the balance of her territory; and that she is now
at full liberty, and has the power and right to possess her.
self, by any means she may choose to employ, of the lands
in dispute, and to extend over them her authority and laws.
Although your committee believe that the absolute title to
the lands in controversy is in Georgia, and that she may
rightfully possess herself of them, when and by what means
she pleases, yet they would not recommend an exercise of
that right until all other means fail. We are aware that
the Cherokee Indians talk extravagantly of their devotion
to the land of their fathers, and of their attachment to their
homes; and that they have gone very far towards convinc-
ing the General Government that negotiation with them,
with the view of procuring their relinquishment of title to
the Georgia lands, will be hopeless; yet we do confidently
believe that they have been induced to assume this lofty
bearing, by the protection and encouragement which have
been afforded them by the United States; and that they
will speak a totally different language, if the General Go-
vernment will change its policy towards them, and apprise
them of the nature and extent of the Georgia title to their
lands, and what will be the probable consequence of their
remaining refractory.
“Your committee would recommend that one other,
and the last appeal be made to the General Government,
with a view to open a negotiation with the Cherokee In-
dians upon the subject; that the United States do instruct
their commissioners to submit this report to the said In-
dians; that if no such negotiation is opened, or if it is, and
proves to be unsuccessful, that then the next Legislature
is recommended to take into consideration the propriety
of using the most effectsal measures for taking possession
of and extending our authority and laws over the whole
of the lands in controversy. Your committee, in the true
spirit of liberality, and for the purpose alone of avoiding
any difficulty or misunderstanding with either the General
Government or the Cherokee Indians, would recommend
to the people of Georgia to accept any treaty that may be
made, between the United States and those Indians,
securing to this State so much of the lands in question as
may remain, after making, reserves for a term of years,
for life or forever, in fee simple, to the use of particular
Indians, not to exceed in the aggregate one-sixth part of
the whole territory. But if all this will not do; if the
United States will not redeem her pledged honor; and if
the Indians continue to turn a deaf ear to the voice of
reason and friendship; we now solemnly warn them of
the consequences. The lands in question belong to Geor-
gia—she must and she will have them. Influenced by the
foregoing considerations, your committee beg leave to offer
the following resolutions:
“Resolved, That the United States, in failing to procure
the lands in controversy as early as the same could be done
upon peaceable and reasonable terms, have palpably vio-
lated their contract with Georgia, and are now bound, at

all hazard, and without regard to terms, to procure said
lands for the use of Georgia.
“Resolved, That the policy which has been pursued by
the United States towards the Cherokee Indians, has not
been in good faith towards Georgia; and as all the diffieuk
ties which now exist to an extinguishment of the Indian
title, have resulted from the acts of policy of the United
States, it would be unjust and dishonorable in them to take
shelter behind these difficulties.
“Resolved. That all the lands appropriated and unap.
E.g. within the conventional É. of Georgia, be-
ong to her absolutely; that the title is in her; that the In
dians are tenants at her will; that she may at any time she
pleases determine that tenancy, by taking possession of
the premises; and that Georgia has the right to extend her
authority and laws over the whole territory, and to coerce
obedience to them from all descriptions of people, be they
white, red, or black, within her limits.”
This report and these resolutions were agreed to by both
branches of the Legislature, approved by the Governor,
transmitted to the President . the late administration.
and are among the papers of this House. They were sent
here by the President, in 1828, in answer to a resolution
offered by a gentleman from Georgia, [Mr. WildE.]
I have not been able to ascertain whether or not the
late administration complied with the suggestion eontained
in this report, that these proceedings of the State of Geor.
gia should be laid before the Cherokee nation; but the ps.
pers on your table will enable us to judge how far the Pre
sent administration has, in furtherance of the policy and
views of Georgia, changed the former policy of the Go
vernment, and apprised the Cherokees of the nature and
extent of the Georgia title to their lands. and what the
probable consequences would be of their “remaining re-
fractory.”
Against nll these pretensions of Georgia, the Cherokee
nation have protested to the present administration as well
as to the last. They have asserted the inviolability of their
treaties, and invoked the faith and demanded the protec-
tion of the Government. They have received the answer
of the present Secretary of the Department of War and
the President. They have finally appealed to this House,
and offered their memorials here as their last refuge from
the calamities which they believe await them after we shall
have turned them away. Speaking of their case, the Presi.
dent says in his message: “A portion, however, of the
southern tribes, having mingled much with the whites and
made some progress in the arts of civilized life, have late-
ly attempted to erect an independent government within
the limits of Georgia and Alabama. These States, claim-
ing to be the only sovereigns within their territories, ex-
tended their laws over the Indians, which induced the
latter to call on the United States for protection. Under
these circumstances, the question presented was, whether
the General Government had a right to sustain these peo
ple in their pretensions.”
It is to be deeply regretted that before the President
assumed the power to decide against the Cherokee nation,
the interesting questions, which were thus presented under
the constitution, laws, and public treaties of the country,
he had not submitted the whole matter to Congress as his
constitutional advisers, or at least to the Senate, with the
view of disposing of these difficulties by amicable negotia.
tion. It seems that it was expected at one time that this
would have been done. The Superintendent of Indian
Affairs, in the War Department, in a letter of the 11th of
April, to the Cherokee delegation says: “The Secretary of
ar is not now prepared to decide the question involved in
the act of the Legislature of Georgia, to which you refer in
which provision is made for extending the laws of Georgia

over your people after the first of June, 1880. It is a ques. tion which will doubtless be the subject of congressional inquiry, and what is proper in regard to it will no doubt

[blocks in formation]

be ordered by that body.” I regret that this disposition of the subject had been made. These questions might 1 doubtless have been safely trusted to Congress. But if this was ever the intention of the Government, it appears to have been soon abandoned. On the 18th of April, and within a week after Colonel McKenney's letter, the Secretary of the Department of War informed the Cherokee a delegation, that, since that communication to them, he had conversed freely and fully with the President, and had been directed by him to submit to them his views on the whole subject. He then explicitly tells them that their claims to the protection of the Government, under these treaties and the laws of the United States, against the operation of the laws of Georgia, could not be recognised. * I shall not now call the attention of the committee to the doctrines assumed by this department, further than to read one or two extracts from this letter to the Cherokee delegation. “To all this,” says the Secretary, “there is a plain and obvious answer, deducible from the known history of the country. During the war of the revolution, your nation was the friend and ally of Great Britain; a power which then claimed sovereignty within the limits of what constituted the Thirteen United States. By the declarntion of independence, and, subsequently, the treaty of 1788, all the rights of sovereignty pertaining to Great Britain , became vested respectively in the original States of this Union, including North Carolina and Georgia, within whose territorial limits, as defined and known, your nation was then situated. If, as is the case, you have been permitted to abide on your lands from that period to the present, enjoying the right of soil and privilege to hunt, it is not thence to be inferred that this was anything more than , a permission growing out of compacts with your nation, nor is it a circumstance whence now to deny to those States the exercise of their original sovereignty." After further explaining to the Cherokees, the views of the

President, the Secretary continues: “But suppose, and it

is suggested merely for the purpose of awakening your better judgment, that Georgia cannot and Qught not to claim the exercise of such a power, what, alternative is

presented " He then explicitly says that if any collision

should arise, even on this admission that Georgia was thus

in the wrong, the claims set up by them under their treaties for protection, cannot even then be recognised;

and as to the interference of the Executive under the laws of the Union or these treaties, he adds, “The President

cannot and will not beguile you with such an expectation;"

and finally tells, them, “No remedy can be perceived,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

except that which frequently heretofore has been submit. ted for your consideration—a removal beyond the Missis;

sippi, where alone can be assured to you protection and peace. It must be obvious to you, and the President has instructed me again to bring it to your candid and serious consideration, that to continue where you are, within the territorial limits of an independent State, can promise you nothing but interruption and disquietude.", About the same time, I find that in a talk delivered by the President to the Creek nation, through their agent, he told them that where they now reside, their “white brothers” o: claimed the land, and these lands in Alabama happen to be the lands of the United States. He further informed them that his “white children" in Alabama had extended their laws over their country, and that, if they remained there, they must submit to these laws. I believe, sir, that this ūlī owes its origin, at this time, to this state of things, and that its chief policy is to co-operate with these States in the acquisition of the benefits which they expect to attain to themselves by the removal of the Indians. -

By the course adopted by the Executive, and the principles on which he has thus assumed to act on his own responsibility; without cousulting Congress, these Indian natious have been substantially placed without the protec

[ocr errors]

tion of the United States. The treaties of this Govern" ment, made with them from its first organization and under every administration, to which they have solemnly appealed for their o these fatal encroachments on their rights, have been treated as subordinate to the laws of these States, and are thus virtually abrogated by the Executive Department. The President has assumed the power to dispose of the whole question, and the message proposes to us little more than to register this executive decree. This has seriously embarrassed the whole subject. It is to be feared that insuperable obstacles have been thus iuterposed to the fair and unbiassed action of the House, and the full and free expression of its opinion. We are called upon and constrained to act under a moral coercion, extremely unfavorable to an impartial examination of the *. before us... I well know the strength of the moral influence of any opinion of the Executive Department of this Government, and I feel the weight of it on this occasion. But I hope that this House feels too deeply its own responsibility to the country, to suffer this influence to be felt here against the solemn convictions of its judgment. But these questions must now be examined here. We must adopt the measure before us, and in that way sanction all that has been done, and all which shall follow, or reject it, and leave the responsibility to those who have assumed it. It is the more to be lamented that this decision of the Executive was made so hastily, since there was no necessity of acting definitively upon it be: fore Congress would have convened. The laws of Georgia were not to have gone into operation immediately. If the first determination which seems to have been taken had not been unfortunately abandoned, and the States concerned had been frankly advised that this subject was to be referred to Congress, we should have been left free to devise some prudent and just course, by negotiation or legislation, which might have quieted all parties, and preserved the public faith unblemished. It is unfortunately now too late to expect that any such course could be proposed with the slightest hope of success. There is no reason to be. lieve that the Executive Department is desirous to retrace its steps, and it is decisively avowed that these States have unalterably determined to proceed to the extremity of a strict execution of these laws in the face of the guaranties of our treaties. We must meet the case then here as we find it. The message has invited us to examine it freely; and, if I am not greatly mistaken, the decision of this House upon the measure now before it will involve momentous, consequences...for good or evil, to the reputation of the country. While we have been sitting in these seats, deliberating on this matter, or rather sleeping over it, the intercourse laws have become a dead letter in the statute book. While the Cherokee delegation have been at our door, anxiously waiting to know the fate of their nation, bands of profligate men have intruded themselves upon their people, and seated themselves down upon their lands. I know that this is not done under the authority of Georgia, or by the countenance of the authorities of that State, but our agent has informed us that these intruders have taken courage in their aggressions, from the laxity of opinion prevailing in regard to Indian rights. ... A state of violence, disreputable to the country, exists, there. Blood has already been shed. One of the Cherokees has been slain in open day. The forces of the Government have very lately been sent there to preserve the public peace, and there are some thousands of lawless adventurers prowling through their country, digging for Cherokee gold, and quarrelling among themselves for the division of the spoil. I am not at all surprised that outrages of this sort have been renewed there. They were to have been expected, and are nothing more than the obvious consequences which must have certainly followed the least relaxation of the former policy of the Govern. ment. The protection which these unfortunate people

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

have demanded of us, has failed to secure them against these evils. By surrendering the question of sovereignty, the Executive has, for all substantial purposes, virtually surrendered the treaties too. The intercourse laws of the United States are nullified with them. For until this was done, the right of these States to extend their laws over the Cherokee nation and their country was not sustainable. It has become necessary, therefore, for those who justify what has been done, to go one step further, and deny the validity of the intercourse laws and the trea: ties too. That ground has accordingly been taken, and ravely attempted to be sustained. If it be well founded in any principles of our political system, there is indeed no redress for those who have trusted to us. We shall have ensnared them in our toils. We have allured them on to their destruction. These unsuspecting victims of their generous confidence in our faith must be left to bear the calamities which threaten them as they can, or perish under them. They have grievously complained of us, and the country has deeply felt the reproaches of our good faith, which these complaints could not have failed to inspire in an enlightened and christian community. The obligations of our treaties have never been so understood or acted upon before. The events which have followed have shocked the public feeling, and agitated the country. It requires no skill in political science to interpret these treaties. The plainest man can read your solemn guaranties to these nations, and understand them for himself. I can tell the gentleman from Tennessee, [Mr. Bell] that he is greatly mistaken in supposing that the excitement which prevails is nothing more than a puling sensibility, or that it is to be attributed to religious fanatics or aspiring politicians. The memorials on your tables will show you the names of the warmest friends of this administration. Able civilians and sound statesmen believe you to be in the wrong. Pious men of all de; nominations have been afflicted by what has passed, and the consciences of the purest patriots in the country have been wounded. In my humble opinion, sir, Georgia has had no reason to complain of us, or to accuse the General Government of a disinclination to promote her interests as far as it could have been done in the true spirit of our engagements to her, and without violating our good faith to the Cherokees. To say nothing now of her original title to the country west of her present limits, (for we assumed that to be in her by the compact of 1802) we made her what was then considered and accepted as a fair compensation for its surrender. . We have since burdened the treasury with a heavy charge from the proceeds of what we acquired, for the extinguishment of private claims under titles derived from her Legislature. The amount paid to these claimants and to Georgia was seven millions and a quarter of dollars. . In the execution of this compact, I am informed that we have since extinguished the Indian title within her limits to more than twelve millions of acres, and at an enormous expense. I am ready now to vote any further amount that may be necessary to carry it into effect honorably, in the spirit in which it has always beeu executed. This is to be done by treaty. The very delay which has taken place in its complete execution, from the second year of Mr. Jefferson's administration to this time, (independently of its obvious meaning on the face of it) conclusively shows the sense in which it has been understood and acted upon under all administrations. There can be no administration, nor any one here, who does not feel and acknowledge our obligation to execute it faithfully. But Mississippi and Alabama stand in a different relation to us. As we extinguish the Indian title to the lands in these States, they become the domain of the General Government. We have entered into no engagements with them to do this faster than the

general interest of the country requires it to be done, but we have in that respect pursued a liberal policy towards them. We have purchased in these States about fort; millions of acres. There have been surveyed for sales. which have rapidly progressed, nearly nine millions in Mississippi, and more than twenty-two millions in Alabama before 1827. I have been inclined to think, sir, that, under all the circumstances, some of the new States were admitted into the Union before they had acquired a sufficient populatio and strength to support their State governments will advantage and convenience to themselves. I am not Dow disposed to complain of it. I have cheerfully voted fr the admission of them all since I have had the honores a seat in this House, and an enlightened policy required that we should have dealt generously with, those by whose enterprise our immense forests had been reclaimed from the waste in which they lay, and who had carried with. them, and are still extending to our remotest borders, our

free institutions, our laws, and I hope, our virtues too. There can be no more cheering sight to any patriotic man

and the friends of free government every where can have no surer confidence in the stability of our institutions, and the triumph of that consoling example which we hold to to mankind of the blessings of regulated liberty, than to view the success of that policy which has planted around us that flourishing circle of free States. But their early admission into the Union imposed upon them the burden of supporting independent governments when they were not yet well able to bear taxation, and while their resources were too much exhausted in payments for the public domain. These circumstances have given rise to pressing claims upon us. But it was our fault, if there was any, as well is theirs, and has imposed upon us the duty of Put suing a liberal policy towards them, which I think we have been disposed to fulfil honorably. The great extent of public lands within their limits has been made a source of uneasiness in some quarters. While we have been deal. ing generously with them here, insidious attempts have been made to mislead their feelings, and entice them into false views of their rights, and lax notions of political me.' rality. Restless men and artful demagogues have laid hold of this matter to serve their private ends, by teaching them to contemn their own good faith, and to look upon the General Government as a hard master. [Mr. LEWIS, of Alabama, requested Mr. Storms to yield the floor, that he might say a word in regard to that State. M. S. gave way, and Mr. Lewis said that if the gentleman from New York included the State of Alabama in his remarks, he would inform the House, that though a report was once made in her Legislature, to which Mr. S may have referred, yet it was promptly rejected in both branches by very large majorities. Mr. STORRS said that he had no reference to the State of Alabama. He was not aware that such a report had ever been made in her Legislature, and was glad to find that it was disposed of there in a manner so honorable to the character of the State. Mr. S. said that he owed st apology to the committee for introducing this topic at all on the present occasion. He had seen doctrines started in some quarters on that point, which were calculated to do mischief; but he believed that they might safely be left to there probationwhich they would be sure to mer: with from the good sense and integrity of the people of those States to whom they had been addressed.] Mr. S. resumed. In the message of the Executive in forming us what had been done, he has given us his reasons, too, for the course which has been taken on his part. We are thus enabled to examine the principles on which that department has acted, and to determine more satis factorily how far they sanction the doctrines which have been there assumed. While the President has very justly said that it would be as cruel as unjust to eompel the li

« 上一頁繼續 »