The question now depending as it is understood by multitudes of intelligent men, in nearly all parts of the United States is this "Shall the people of the United States faithfully observe the solemn treaties, which they have made with the Cherokees and other Indian nations-according to the true intent and meaning ;of those engagements, and the understanding of the parties?" Every person may be ready to ask, on hearing this question, "can there be any doubt how this question must be answered?" We would answer no, was our government disposed to abide by the eternal rules of right and justice. But recent occurrences have led us to fear that concerning the Indian subject, our nation will go wrong, for a very small temptation, and in the face of solemn obligations.( N.B.the page is torn and spliced at this point. The words are not evenly put together.) It is now gravely declared, that the Indian communities are not nations; that treaties made with them are not binding. That so far as Indians are concerned, expediency is the only rule of morality- and even the President, and Secretary of War, have repeatedly told the Cherokees and Choctaws, that they cannot be protected against the laws of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi,- and all these positions we find are reiterated by the recent report of Mr. White to the Senate. And now when we see all these things and remember that "self-interest" is an overmatch for benevolence," we feel greatly concerned lest the character of our country should be tarnished, and the Cherokees, and other tribes should experience great injustice. If ever there was a time when the people of the United States, were called upon to raise their voice in notes of earnest remonstrance, it is the present. This question concerns us all. Concerns us as patriots, as philanthropists, as Christians. Shall we then sit down inactive, when so much is depending, perhaps on our exertions.
In the consideration of this subject, two things should be kept steadily in view. The first relates to the removal of the Indians. The whites desire the removal of the Indians, in order to obtain their lands. Now should the Indians go beyond the Mississippi, and have a large territory of good land assigned them, how long would it be before the wave of white population would overtake them, and they be exposed to eacroachments [sic]; similar to those now experienced. Has there ever been a time when good land in possession of the Indians, has not been an object of desire to the whites? And is it not visionary to hope that such a time will ever come? But the country west of the Arkansas territory, on which it is proposed to locate the Indians, is described by Major Long, an authorized agent of the government, as uninhabitable. Other travellers describe it as a boundless prairie, destitute of running water a great part of the year and a small portion only of which is wooded. The Cherokees who have visited it, confirm these statements. Will a removal, therefore, under either of these circumstances, be likely to better the condition of the Indians?
The Second thing, relates to the extension of the laws of the states over the Indians. We have seen this measure extolled in very warm terms. But to us it appears, we must confess a measure of doubtful utility, even should the Indians be admitted to all the privileges of citizenship. The Indians have ever been governed by laws, usages and customs essentially different from ours. They are not therefore, prepared to adopt our institutions at once. Doing so would expose them to all the inconveniences of ignorance and consequently inability to contend with the cupidity and avarice of the whites. But we are not left to conjecture what would be the result in the case under consideration. Mississippi has extended her laws over the Indians within her bounds. These laws have taken effect; and we are told by a gentleman recently from the Choctaw Nation, that the consequences have already been most disastrous. All the salutary regulation of the chiefs, relating to intemperance have been annulled-the traders have come in; riot and drunkenness is again prevalent-and there is danger that all the schools will be broken up-and all the missionary operations suspended.
Now we put it to the consciences of the friends of justice and humanity, of liberty and religion, if something ought not speedily to be done, to arrest the evils impending over the devoted heads of the "sons of the forest." The remedy for these evils lies in the power of the general government. Let the people then make use of the only constitutional means in their power, and by petition, remonstrance, and argument, induce our rulers if possible to save our nation from a deep and deadly sin of becoming the "oppressor of the innocent."--Cincinnati Chr. Jour.
NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS.
The following remarks, from the London Missionary Register for February, will show how the Indian Question is regarded by the wise and good in Europe. The reader will notice the inaccuracy of calling these Indians "subjects" of the United States:-Vt. Chron.
The whole body of Indians within the United States appears to be, according to a late estimate of the War Department, 309,292. Efforts are making to remove the chief bodies further westward; but the measures in progress for this end, incur the severe reprobation of conscientious men. In truth, the United States, as it appears to us, are in a fearful crisis of their affairs. With respect to two large classes of their subjects--the Aborigines and the Slaves--they are on their trial before the Common Father and Lord of All; and their future condition will probably bear plain and undoubted testimony, either that their Injustice hath brought them under His avenging Hand, or their Equity hath conciliated His favor toward them as a Community.
THIS SAID INDIAN QUESTION, by the way, is going to produce quite a sufficient sensation without any unnecessary excitement of the temper of the controvertists [sic]. The Report which has been made upon the subject in the House of Representatives, we apprehend, is to be the theme of a wide debate in that body, if not in the co-ordinate branch of the Legislature. It is rumoured [sic], that there is a disposition to make the Indian Question a party question. This we should suppose to be a thing impossible. Great principles of natural and national law as well as public morals, lie at the foundation of it. It is a question not merely what is expedient, but what is right. We do not say that what the committee of each House of Congress proposes, in regard to this matter, is not right. But the question, whether it be or be not right is one which must and will be debated, and decided, upon other than party principles.-- Nat. Int.
From the Journal of Humanity.
MEMORIALS IN FAVOR OF THE INDIANS.
The period has arrived when there is the most urgent necessity for immediate and vigorous action in every part of our country, if we would save the Indians from destruction, and our own nation from perfidy. We have been slumbering on this great subject in an apathy which is deeply criminal in itself, and portentous to all our interests as a Christian people. Long since it was our duty to have thoroughly examined this subject;- "to have known the worst, and to have been prepared for it."
The probable consequence of our apathy now stares us in the face. The designs in regard to the oppression of the Indians and the violation of those solemn treaties, on the inviolability of which they have relied for protection, seems on the very eve of execution.
The Committee to which this subject has been referred in both Houses of Congress have reported unfavorably to the rights and welfare of these unfortunate tribes. The question, though involving the moral character of our whole nation, and the interests, temporal and eternal, of more than sixty thousand human beings in our power, has assumed a party aspect, and threatens to be treated solely as a party measure.
In this crisis every individual is called upon to act. An expression of of [sic] the public voice is demanded more general, immediate, and energetic, than has ever yet been made. There is no time for hesitation. At such periods as this we must act for our country, or we shall soon have none which is worth defending.
Every village and town, which has not yet memorialized on the subject, should do now. The business ought not to be deferred a moment. It may be even now, too late. Yet it never can be useless to declare our hatred to oppression, and our love of justice and benevolence.
"Here is our home," say the Choctaws, "our dwelling places, our fields, our schools, and all our friends; and under us are the dust and bones of our forefathers. Why talk to us about removing? We always hear such counsel with deep grief in our hearts."
Will the people of the United States endure to look in silence, and see these tribes expatriated?--driven out from lands, which are theirs by the gift of the God of the Universe, which were theirs before a white inhabitant had set foot on this whole mighty continent, and which, if any thing could strengthen their rights, had been secured to them on our part by the ratification of innumerable treaties?
Or can we patiently endure to behold them stripped of all their rights as communities, and enslaved upon their own soil? It matters not by what means they are driven off or exterminated. We may as well push them into the Pacific at the point of the bayonet, as crush them under the iron hand of oppression at home.
Who are we, that look so calmly on the attempt to tyrannize over a portion of our fellow beings? The descendents [sic] of the patriots of the Revolution, who resisted unto blood the unjust imposition of the paltriest tax! Shall we deny to others the justice we demand for ourselves?
Let us, by the multitude and the energy of our memorials, show that we are not indifferent in this CRISIS. Let us, instantly interpose, and sternly forbid the execution of unjust and oppressive designs upon the tribes so unfortunately in our power. Then, even should our benevolent endeavors be fruitless, it will be a consoling remembrance that we did what we could to avert the threatened evil.
From the New York Observer
MEETINGS AT WHITESTOWN IN BEHALF OF THE INDIANS
Agreeably to previous notice, a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of
Whitestown was held at the Brick School House, in the village of Whitesborough,
on Monday evening March 15, 1830 for the purpose of taking into consideration
the propriety of memorializing Congress in regard to the condition and treatment
of the Indians within the several states and territories of the United States,
and particularly of those within the State of Georgia. S. Newton Dexter, was
appointed Chairman, and Harvey Blodget, Secretary. After several addresses to
the meeting, S. N. Dexter, Gen. Theodore Still, Rev. Elon Galusha, Dr. Elizar
Moseley; and Dr. Seth S. Peck, were appointed a Committee to prepare a memorial.-The
meeting was then adjourned until Friday evening, March 19th.
On Friday evening the inhabitants met pursuant to adjournment. Gen. Still, from the Committee to whom was referred the subject of drawing up a memorial to Congress, presented a memorial, which was unanimously accepted by the meeting.- The Secretary then offerred [sic] the following resolution, which was seconded by the Rev. F. Galusha, and unanimously adopted:
Resolved, that in the opinion of this meeting, the government of the United States in its numerous treaties with the Cherokee Indians, has distinctly and uniformly acknowledged their independent national existence; and has plainly admitted and solemnly guarantied their supreme right and sole title to the lands which they possess; and that an extension of state jurisdiction over these lands before the Indian title is quietly and peaceably extinguished, would be a direct violation of solemn treaties, dishonoring us among the nations of the earth.
Voted. That the proceedings of the meeting be authenticated by the Chairman
and Secretary, and with the memorial be transmitted to Congress.
S. NEWTON DEXTERS,
HARVEY BLODGET, Secretary.
INDIAN RIGHTS AND OUR DUTIES.
This is the title of an address delivered at Amherst, Hartford, &c. by the Rev. Herman Humprey, D.D. It is a spirit-stirring appeal to the understanding and conscience and heart, on the subject of the measures proposed to be taken in reference to the southern Indians. We make a single extract.
Shall "I be told that all this is idle preaching."--that I have
entirely mistaken the policy of Georgia in reference to the Cherokees--that
she has no thoughts of compelling them to emigrate? I am astonished that such
an expedient should be resorted to, to quiet the friends of the Indians and
to ward off public remonstrance. It is an insult offered to the common sense
of the nation. What? Tell the Indians "We want your country and you had
better leave it,-You can never be quiet and happy here?" and then, because
they do not take your advice, cut it up into counties, declare all their laws
and usages, after a certain day , to be null and void, and substitute law, which
it is known they cannot live under; and then turn round and coolly tell the
world, "O we mean no compulsion!" The farthest in the world from it!
If these people choose to stay, why by all means let them remain where they
are." These are the tender mercies of which we shall undoubtedly learn
more in due time. And it all amounts to this. "You have got a fine farm
and I want it. It make a notch in a corner of mine,--I will help you to move
five hundred miles into the wilderness and there give you more and better land,
which you may cultivate and enjoy without molestation, "as long as grass
growns and water runs." * You must go:- however, do just as you please.
I shall never resort to any other compulsion, than just to lay you under certain
necessary restictions[sic] Perhaps, for instance, as I am the strongest, and
you have more land than you want, I may take two thirds, or three fourths of
it from you; but then there shall be no compulsion! Stay upon what is left if
you choose. I may also find it necessary to ask you for your house and if you
should not give it up, I may be driven to the disagreeable necessity of chaining
you to a ring belt and giving you a few salutary stripes--not to compel you
to flee from your habitation, the moment you can get loose, (for compulsion;
of all things, I abhor) but just to induce you to emigrate willingly" This
my friends, is the kind of free agency taught in the new school of metaphysics,
which the Indians must learn and exercise whether they will or not--but as no
such school is yet established in this part of the land, we must be excused
in adhering, for the present, to our old fashioned notions about free agency,
public faith, and common honesty.
* Query- How long does water run in the region destined for the future residence of the Indians?