THE INDIAN QUESTION
By the report of the Congressional proceedings, we perceive that this important subject was finally disposed of in the House of Representatives on Monday last, by a vote of 102 to 97, and that so far as the government of this country is concerned, the fate of the Indians are determined. The President and both houses of Congress have now united in setting at nought the treaties which have been made with the Indians, and in disregarding the faith of our republic, which had been so frequently and so solemnly pledged to protect them in the enjoyment of their possessions forever.- We leave for others to determine in what light this policy will place us, in the estimation of the world and on the page of history. If the violation of plighted faith on the part of the Carthagenians has subject that people to the reproach of the world, and exposed their memory, as a mark for the finger of scorn forever, what may not be said of the government of the United States, which has in a single session of its Congress, overturned the policy which it had pursued for half a century, and trampled under foot the most solemn obligations imposed by treaties repeated and renewed with all the formalities and sanctions of law. In submitting to the decision of Congress upon this subject, the citizens of the United States who have opposed this iniquitous proceeding, have the consolation of knowing that they have done their duty.--They have petitioned and remonstrated, against the infraction of our treaties, with all the earnestness which the occasion demanded, and with all the eloquence and force which the truth and justice of the cause afforded; and if they have remonstrated in vain, they have notwithstanding, washed their hands of the sin which has now been committed, and thrown the burthen [sic] with all the obloquy attached to it upon the friends of the administration. In the course of the debate upon this bill, it was boldly avowed by Mr. Lewis, that the bill was known to be the leading measure of the present President, and that therefore, those who avowed themselves the friends of the administration were bound to support it, and that if they did not, they would be faithless, and traitors to their party.--We have before said that this bill was to be considered as a party measure,- but we have seen no open avowal of the fact before. His declaration proves that in depriving the Indians of their right of property and security, in driving them from the lands which they have inherited from their ancestors, and from the homes which they have hitherto justly claimed as their own, justice has been sacrificed on the shrine of party, and principle and honesty have been permitted to share her fate. If the people of the United States are willing to sanction such a proceeding, adopted with such motives, the time is not remote when party will on all occasions triumph over principle, and when the institutions of our country will become the sport of artful and designing demagogues.--Ct. Mir.
THE INDIANS--The bill provided for the removal of the Indians, has at last passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 102-97. The interest felt on the subject by the members, as well as the community at large, appears to have been intense. If a single member was absent, who was in town, or indisposed and unable to be present, it was made the ground of a motion to postpone the consideration of the subject. The votes on all the questions were very close, there being a majority only of two of three votes. The friends of the bill, however, were determined to crowd it through, and as far as possible without argument. They seemed to fear, as well they might,an exposition of the subject. They did not vindicate their own course, nor did they seem willing that the opponents of the bill should have a full opportunity for its discussion. The previous question was moved and sustained in every stage of the business. All amendments were put down without discussion, by the weight of the majority. The object with the Government and its supporters seems to have been, without any regard to the rights of the Indians or our obligations to them, or contracts with them, to drive them out from among us. It has been in vain that the demands of strict right have been urged, in addition to those of magnanimity, generosity towards those who have been greatly injured by us, & unable to protection to those who are feeble & protect themselves. The course taken bears strong marks of meanness and unfair dealing, and there is no wonder that its vindicators should blush at the measures adopted. The silent & despotic course which has been adopted by the continued suppression of all discussion, is well worthy the arbitrary measures provided by the bill itself. It is in vain to say that the bill only provides for their voluntary removal. The real design and aim cannot be disguised. The whole tenure of the measure adopted, and the language of the President and of the supporters of the bill, shows that the design is that of forcible removal. We regret the inhumanity and deep disgrace attending this tranaction [sic]. The only alleviating circumstance is the strenuous opposition which it has received from so many of our Representatives. Our own Representatives, to a man, voted against the bill.--Norwich Courier.
From the Albany Christian Register.
Present State of the Indian Question.
--The law recently passed by Congress on this subject, is entitled, "An act to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the States or territories & for their final removal West of the river Mississippi." It provides for the removal at the expense the United States, of such Indians of any of the tribes as shall desire to remove, and for an appropriation of lands in exchange for those they shall give up. True, none are to be removed who shall not request it; but then the rejection of two amendments proposed by Mr. Frelinghuysen in the Senate, and of others of like import in the House of Representatives, leaves those who do not choose to remove, exposed to the tyrannical laws of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.
The rejection of these amendments amounts to this:THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WILL NOT PROTECT THE INDIANS FROM THE LAWS OF ANY STATE OR TERRITORY THAT SHALL SEE FIT TO EXTEND THEIR LAWS OVER THEM. And the United States Government WILL NO LONGER CARRY ON INTERCOURSE WITH THE INDIANS AS INDEPENDENT AND SOVEREIGN NATIONS.
Such is the actual state of things in relation to those much oppressed human beings. But it is to be remembered, that they cannot be removed without requesting the government to remove them. They have only to sit still and see whether these states will carry into execution the laws they have enacted against them. We cannot give up the hope, that, "light will spring up in the midst of the darkness" that overshadows them. We cannot give up the hope, that Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi will pause before they execute their most oppressive and tyrannical laws against the Indians, until one more opportunity shall offer of bringing the subject before Congress. But if not, if they should push on in their infatuated course, and tread those defenceless [sic], peaceable, neighbors and allies down to the earth--it will be nothing strange, should the war-whoop resound in the ears of the white man, the scalping knife do its own hand the executions of justice, and the vindications of his wrongs in his wonted, though almost forgotten savage mode. It will then remain to be seen, whether the government of the United States will allow a single state to carry on war by itself: and if not, whether they will sustain Georgia; or redeem their violated faith to the Indians, by protecting them.
Voluntary emigration of the Indians.
It is easy to foresee that it will be rung from one end of the United States to the other, that no compulsion is to be exercised towards the Indians for their removal; that none will be removed who shall not desire to remove. This is not so. For, notwithstanding the plausible form of the law for their removal, this act of the general government is to be taken in connexion [sic] with the laws which they knew Georgia and other states had passed in relation to them, and with their own violated faith in refusing to protect them. These form one whole. This voluntary emigration is like the voluntary emigration of the Puritans to America, when they were driven from their homes by the fires of persecution, and compelled to seek a refuge n the howling wilderness.--It reminds us of Bonaparte's "forced loans." The capitalists were told you shall lend me money or go to prison. But do not say you were compelled to go to prison: if you go, you go voluntarily.
This is in fact, the sum and substance of the whole Indian question: and it ought to be carefully laid up in the memory of every reader. Ibid.
The Indian Bill passed.--The bill providing for the removal of the Indians
to some territory beyond the Mississippi to be selected, surveyed and defined,
has at length passed both houses of Congress; and as it is said to be a favourite
[sic] executive measure, there is no doubt that it will promptly receive the
President's signature. From what is called party national policies and executive
questions we have desired and do wish carefully to abstain. But it ill becomes
the conductor of a free and independent press to keep silent when silence would
be criminal. It is only the servile and contemptible who ascribe infallibility
to party, or who transmute that which is a violation of all laws, social, political
and divine, into acts of merit, and justify them on the principle of policy
and power. Our busi- [sic] should be applaud what is meritorious, and reprobate
what is unjust. It is our duty to obey the laws; but it is no less so, when
we believe they are not made in conformity to the honour [sic] and interests
of our country to exhibit their moral iniquity, and the men who made them, to
the reprobation of the world. Never was an act recommended by any executive,
or passed by any Congress of these United States, fraught with darker and deeper
national disgrace, than the one we speak of. Our language is too feeble adequately
to express our opinion of its character for obliquity & injustice. Indeed
this alone seems to be the only object it can certainly secure. We naturally
ask what good can arise from it to the nation? What security is offered to the
Indians by such a transfer of location? Will the national faith, which had been
pledged to protect them where they are, be so renovated and changed, that future
safety and protection will be better secured? Will that nation which has sacrificed
its honour [sic] to mammon or party, be more scrupulous for the time to come?
Such a supposition, entertained by the men who have thus sported with the scared
honour [sic] of this nation, would only be fastening a stigma of infamy upon
their own characters, as if they entertained the idea that a worse than themselves
could not succeed them. They may hope for an approaching millenial [sic] of
happiness and justice; but they take especial care, as far as this precedent
is concerned, to throw obstacles in the way of its approach. Now the Indians
are to be removed. But nothing is said of the bounds of their territory, or
whether they are to have any more than a few acres each for the raising of corn,
turnips, and other vegetables. Nothing is said, while they are again thrown
into nature's wildness and incivilization [sic], as to whether they are to have
a like ample range for their hunting--no,no: their crime seems to be their aim
at civilization, and this must be arrested. They are to have a location adjoining
some of our states or Territories. Their neighbours [sic] will be the same as
formerly. They will, in a short time be surrounded by men who will trespass
upon there [sic] rights--envy them of their possessions--covet their improvements--and
seek, through some quirk or quibble, to involve them in trouble that they may
have them removed from their habitations. The guarantee of laws is no protection,
when men, having the power, make laws to violate justice. Soon the minions of
a popular executive will cut the knot they cannot unite--might will trample
on right--former precedents will be acted upon, and law, justice and human rights
will change their character as our elections change an administration. The intruders
upon Indian rights will be encouraged to proceed--they will throw their toils
over, create difficulties among, intrigue to circumvent, and then make laws
to overpower them. An executive promise is no charter of rights. New commentators
and exponders [sic] of laws will arise, as we have seen them arise, utterly
disregarding the most sacred treaties-men whose godhead is power, whose creed
is policy, whose greatest virtue success, and who, for a trifling consideration
of interest, which is neither needed or required, would shake the very pillars
of our constitutional fabric and threaten the nation with blood and ruin! On
this topic we dare not indulge our feelings. No predilections of party, or of
party leaders, can influence or draw us off from what we owe to the cause of
a righteous principle and of immutable justice. When the character of our nation
is wounded we should not be silent; nor will the hope that the supreme court
may yet restore our nation to its wonted dignity, remove the opinion we entertain
of those who have thus impaired it. --The Phil. Sun.