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Cherokee phoenix. [volume] (New Echota [Ga.]) 1828-1829, May 28, 1828, Image 4

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Speech of Mr. Woods.
I must claim the indulgence of gen
tleman tor a moinent, while I refer to
the documents now in my hand, for
the purpose of holding up to their rep
robation, and the reprobation, the
practice of our government in its in
tercourse with the Indians. It is
time, sir, to arrest this policy, if ever
it is done. Procastination in our de
cision will put it out of our power to
remedy the eviL Look, sir, through
this diplomacy. Look at the practice
Wiiieh is here avowed, or but too
slightly concealed, and ask yourself—
ask the American People—whether
they will, for one moment longer, tol
erate this vile t eaohery? We have
arrived at a point from which we can
not go forward in this coarse, without
the most glaring light to the nation,
and to the world. Sir, need I turn to
the irresistible evidence whLh these
oppressed People have given of their
unwillingness to leave the country in
which they live—the homes of their
ancestors; and the masterly arguments
by which they have defended their
rights, and covered our agents and
commissioners with disgrace, by ex
posing our insincerity and injustice?
Read, Sir, the Choctaws and Chicka
saws to our Commissioners, in 1826,
who had in their hands "the large a
mount of means as an auxiliary aid,"
and answer whether there is nothing
Li these negotiations deserving the
reprobation of the American People.
If one set of Commissioners have not
money enough, they are followed by
others with more. Agents are em
ployed, and sent to prepare the minds
of the Indians for the operations of the
Commissioners. They are sent from
house to house, to buy off the allegi
ance of these sons of the forest, who
are induced, by your arts and money,
to sell their countrymen and brethren.
Sir,, we have been told by the gen
tleman at the head of the Tndian bu
reau, who has lately visited several
of the tribes, that he was "aware of
"the settled dislike of these People
"to any thing in the shape of a direct
''proposition for their country r and
"that re -ent negotiations, though con
"ducted by three distinguished citi
zens, chosen no less on account of in
"telligence, than for their admitted
"knowledge of the Indian character,
"had totally failed, and that the large
"amount of means placed at their dis
posal as an auxiliary aid, had been
"equally inoperative." Yet, Sir, this
gentleman is sent as a special agent
to these very nations, to effect, in
some way, the tery same object
which the Commissiouers, with all
iheir intelligence and great knowledge
of the Indian character, and the aux
iliary aid in their hands, had totally
failed to accomplish. Sir, what does
this mean? Is this the open, frank,
and manly policy of a great and mag
nanimous nation, towards these weak,
scattered, and dependent tribes? Oh
no, sir; I repeat it, our policy towards
the Indians has been marked by fraud,
and insincerity, and treachery, and
The Commissioners who were sent
to treat with the Chickasaws and
Choctaws, and proposed directly to
purchase their country, and to give
them, West of the Mississippi, acre
for acre, were met by a prompt, deci
ded, and manly negative to all their
propositions, not only from the Chiefs,
but by the Indian People, to whom
they appealed. But if, by the man
agement of our,, Agents, the Chiefs and
leading men can be prevailed on, by
any means, to sell their Country and
Nation, retaining to themselves, with
in the States, reservations, our ob
ject and wishes would be effected.
Such a conditional agreement, it ap
pears, has been made with one of the
Nations. But with all the diplomatic
skill and ingenuity of this gentleman,
no way, not even a solitary avenue
could be found, by which he could
approach the Choctaws, with any
proposition, for the sale of their coun
try. Yet, from motives of pure and
disinterested friendship, he proposed
to enable six of their Chiefs to take a
toui of pleasure, and at the expense
of the United States, with a suite of
our Agents at their heels, to travel by
the way of the Missouri, and the
Northwestern Territory, to see their
friends and brothers in the Arkansas,
Territory! "The Chiefs" and repre
sentatives of the Nation "were bound
"to reject openly any proposition to
"sell their Country, or bring upon
"themselves the rebuke, if not the
"chastisement of the Nation." Yet,
sir, "under cover of this pretext,
"ground is to be broken!!" We are
by this appropriation unblushingly to
sanction, the secret agreement or un
derstanding, by which the Chiefs,
"under cover of this pretext, ' are
to take measures for selling to us their
country. Look, sir, at the report of
the Commissioners, sent during last
year, to the Cherokees and Choctaws,
one of whom was formerly a member
of this House, and at the head of the
Committee on Indian affairs, [Mr.
Cocke.] The proposition was openly
made these Nations to sell only a
small part of their country, and every
possible argument used to induce them
to do soj but our Commissioners met
a prompt and decided refusal from the
Indians. These Nations are not "gov
erned by a few white men and half
breeds," of whose intelligence and in
fluence we have heard great com
plaint, by the friends of this project,
but by the Indian People themselves,
who exercise the elective franchise,
and have tuj-ned out and disgraced the
Chiefs whom we had corrupted by
our Agents and base instruments.—
Yes, sir, we have been told by the
proper representatives of the Indian
People, that they will not sell their
country —their homes—the graves of
their fathers. Yet, in spite of all
this, gentlemen urge us to adopt this
system, and appropriate one hundred
thousand dollars (the sum asked by
the amendment now offered by the
gentleman from South Carolina) to
purchase the country of these very
Nations. To me the bold and daring
course of violence, which openly a
vows its object, is preferable far pref
erable, to the false, deceitful, insid
ious polijy, by which we degrade the
Indians and disgrace ourselves. We
have even heard loud complaints be
cause one of these Nations has formed
a Government & written Constitution
for themselves upon free and liberal
principles. This Constitution is itself
a full triumphant refutation of the
assertion that these Indians are in a
wretched and degraded situation, and
can be saved by removing them. It
proves that, if we do justice, and
cease to oppress them, they will be
a free and happy People.
While the Indians in the most posi
tive manner, refused to sell their coun
try. and spurned all the kind, humane,
and disinterested propositions which
have been made to them, and have,
"strange as it appeared" to our
Commissioners, refused even to look
at the proffered "last home," though
we propose to pay them well for their
trouble, there is one plan which they
have not refused to sanction and a
dopt, and which experience has pro
ved to be the only one which wili save
them from extin tion. The Indians
have not refused to permit you to es
tablish schools in their country, to ed
ucate their children. They have not
refused to permit you to send farmers
and mechanics among them, to teach
them husbandry and the mechanical
arts. They have sanctioned and ap
proved of the system commenced by
the annual appropriation of SIO,OOO
for these objects. This is, in my opin
ion the only correct system which we
can pursue. The sums expended un
der the act of 1819, for the civiliza
tion of the Indians, have been produc
tive of more beneficial effects than
the whole sum of $250,000 paid to
them in annuities. The expenditure
of this small sum is more honorable to
the nation than five times the amount
paid for the support of your Military
Academy, and many other objects of
appropriations. Sir, by this expen
diture more than one thousand two
hundred Indian children are taught
whatever is valuable, or necessary
to be learned by the common classes
in society. They are taught to read
and write, to plow and reap, and all
the branches of business necessary for
the prosperity of a new country. —
The females are taught all the domes
' tic duties which belong to their station.
The advantages derived from this
small appropriation have been much
enhanced by the "auxiliary aid" of
the Missionary Establishments exist
ing in the Indian country. By a prop
er increase of this fund, and "with
"proper and vigorous efforts, under
"the system, of education which has
"been adopted, and which ought to be
"put into extensive and active opera
tion, the Indians may receive an ed
ucation equal to that of the laboring
"portion of our own commnnity."
(Docs, of 1821—2, vol. 4, Doc. 59.)
This, Sir, is the sytem adopted,
and put into active operation, (so far
as the limited appropriation would ad
mit,) by the gentleman then at the head
of the War Department [Mr. Cal
houn.] It is the system in which I
most cordially concur. lam willing
to appropriate whatever sum may be
necessary to give complete success
to the benevolent and libeial views
and wishes of the American People, in
behalf of the original lords of this
Continent. Two or threeyears ago,
the Committee on Indian Affairs were
directed to inquire into the expedien
cy of repealing the law making the an
nual appropriation to w r hich I have
alluded. And what, sir, was the re
port on the subject presented, I be
lieve, by my friend and colleague
[Mr. M'Lean] who is now at the
head of that committee? In that re
port, we are told that "it requires but
"little research to convince every
"candid mind, that the prospect of ci
vilizing the Indians was never so
"promising as at this time; never
"were means for the accomplishment
"of this object so judiciously devised,
"and faithfully applied, as provided in
"the above act, and the aids which it
"has encouraged." The committee
are assured "that the continuation of
the appropriation, seconded by the
"liberal and increasing aids which
"are afforded by volutary con
"tribHtion, will, gradually and
"most effectually, extend the be
"nefit of the law to the remotest
"tribes who inhabit our extensive do
"main." The progress of this work
"may be more rapid than any person
"can now venture to anticipate. No
"one will be bold enough to denounce
"him as a visionary enthusiast who,
"under such auspices, will look with
"great confidence to the entire accom
"plishment of the object." This, Sir,
is the deliberate opinion of the com
mittee, expressed with great force and
propriety, after a full examination of
the subject. If is to me an irresisti
ble argument against the scheme now
• proposed.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to turn the
attention of the Committee to the ex
expense wfiich will attend this mea
sure. Ifadopted, whether successful
or not, the expense must be incurred.
This experiment is to be made at the
hazard of human life. The happi
ness, n*y, Sir, the existence of one
hundred thousand People, depends up
on the doubtful success of this untried
project. But, if all the arguments
and reasons opposed to the scheme and
its practicability can be successfully
answered, still it may be proper to ex
amine the subject in relation to its de
mands upon the Treasury, and our dis
position to meet these demands- I
will present to the Committee the es
timates which are made by the menus
and advocates of this scheme, & will
then ask gentlemen whether they are
prepared to go forward. I will not
take into consideration the expendi
ture necessary to purchase the Indian
title to the lands which they still hold
in Georgia. This matter has been
pressed upon the Committee, but I
will not stop to examine it. lam rea
dy and willing to fulfil all our obliga
tions to Georgia, so far as we can do
in justice to others, and without the
violation of other rights. If, sir, I a
gree with my neighbor to convey to
him a clear title, in fee, for your farm,
and you should obstinately reluse to
sell your land to me, what am I to do?
Have I a right to turn you oft' your
land, and out of your house, and to
seize upon your property? No, Sir;
I become responsible to my neighbor
for the damage he may have sustained.
I will forfeit the penalty of my obli
gation; but your title remains good.—
I am ready to pay Georgia the penalty
of our obligation, if we have violated
it. But I will not do flagrant injustice
to the Indians, even to gratify a sove
reign State.
The estimate now presented to us of
the expense of removing the Chicka
saw Nation of 4000 persons, amounts
to nearly half a million. This embra
ces the sum proposed to be paid tor
their houses, farms, shops, horses,
and other articles of personal property;
and if we calculate that the farms,
houses, & property, of other tribes, is
as valuable, in proportion to their
numbers, as that of the Chickasaw s,
it will require more than six millions
of dollars for this part of the expense.
The estimate made for the subsis
tence of the emigrating Creeks, is
twenty cents per day, or $73 per an
num for each individual. The a
mount of this item of the expense
would be about four millions of dol
lars. Thus we have the sum of more
than ten millions of dollars as a com
mencement; without including "con
tingencies;" and the whole expense of
supporting the Government to be crea
ted in this new territory; and the ar
my to be sustained for its defence; —
without adding the sum necessary for
the establishment of schools and other
means of education.- This is not my
calculation. It is furnished to us by
the Indian Bureau: by the friends of
this scheme—as Hie foundation or da
ta upon which we are to make this ap
propriation. I refer gentlemen, who
wish to examine this subject in detail,
to the report of the Commissioners
sent to treat with the Chickasaws and
Choctaws in 1826, printed by the
Senate, pages 13 and 14; and to the
documents accompanying the Presi
dent's message, page 177; also, to do
cument 44, page 6. I ask in behalf
of the Indians only for a pittance of
these enormous sums, to be expended
m establishing schools among the In
dians, in teaching them the pursuits of
agriculture and the mechanical arts-,
and in establishing proper regulations
for their government, and for the dis
tribution and security of their proper
ty. Sir, in the language of the late
Secretary of War, let "the system
"which has been adopted, be put
"into extensive and active operation,"
and the result will be infinitely more
honorable to us; the prosperity and
happiness of the Indians will be more
effectually promoted and secured,
than by any new invention for their
Before we carry the eighty thou
sand Indians, now on this side of the
Mississippi, over that river, I conjure
gentlemen to look at the situation of
the two hundred thousand which are
already there. I ask the friends of
this measure to prove the correctness
of their theory, by organizing these
tribes under their new system of Gov
ernment, by teaching them to reSpect
your laws, and by learning them to
pursue the occupations, and adopt the
laws and habits of civilized man. Let
gentlemen do this, and come with the
evidence of their success, and I will
then believe in their theory; I will then
vote for this measure. But, Sir,
while I know and have the evidence
before me, to prove that the most pow
erfu! of the Indian nations, now West
of the Mississippi, living upon the ve
ry territory to which these are to be
removed, are still more miserable
and destitute than the most degraded
of those for whose benefit gentlemen
are urging us to adopt this measure, I
will not consent to drive the eighty
thousand now among us, enjoying the
comforts of their homes and native
land, into the country, where they
can meet nothing but death, either by
the hand of their enemies or by the
lingering sufferings of famine. Our ut
most efforts cohld not preserve them
in this wilderness; which is already
filled with all the horrors of Indian
wretchedness. The Indians already
in that region are enjoying the fruits
of our benevolence and humanity, by
an accumulation of misery and suffer
ing beyond a parallel. Sir, I draw no
imaginary picture. I cannot portray,
in language sufficiently strong, the
wretchedness of these People, now
West of the Missisippi, where we
promise their brethren "a last home,"
where they may flourish in peace and
happiness! I will read to the Com
mittee an extract of a letter from \
Gov. Clark, superintendent of the In- |
dians West of the Mississippi. He
says, f, the situation of the Indians
"West of the Mississippi is the most
"pitiable that can be imagined. Du
ring several seasons in every year
"they are distressed by famine, of
"which many die for want of food, and
"during which the living child is often
"buried with the dead mother, be
"cause none can spare it as much
"food as would sustain it thro' its
"helpless infancy. This description
"applies to the Sioux, Osages, and
"many others; but I mention these,
"because they are powerful tribes,
"and live near our borders; and my
"official station enables me to know
"the exact truth. It is in vain to
"talk to people in this situation about t
"learning and religion. They want a
"regular supply; and, until this is ob- J
"tained, the operations of the mind
"must take the instinct of mere ani
"mals, and be confined to warding off
"hunger and cold."
I have now, Mr. Chairman, in a
disconnected and imperfect manner,
urged the reasons which induce me to
oppose this measure. I have endeav
ored to prove that the evils to which
the Indians are now exposed would be
increased by their removal; and that
we may, by justice on our part, and
the establishment of a liberal policy
towards them, secure their prosper
ity. I have not failed, Sir, to ex
press, in decided terms, my opinion of
the conduct which our Government
and its Agents has pursued towards
these people. I have shewn, that the
execution of this scheme, if at all
practicable, would involve us in a ,*
rh'vnt prodigal expenditure of millions
of t'le p'Jlhc' <v't i SsK?g';'"i. <f"'i "kBPS**"
proved the wretchedness and want of
the Indians already inhabiting the
country West of the Mississippi.—
Firmly convinced of the correctness
of the views and arguments which I
have presented to the Committee, I
cannot vote for this measure; I cannot
agree to send the remnant of our In
dians to share the fate of those beyond
the Mississippi. Sir, let us rather do
them justice; let us allow them a part,
not of what we have already taken
from them—no, Sir, but of the little
they have yet left. Our interests, the
appeals of the States, the "settled po
licy," of the Government, may be urg
ed in favor of the measure here, but
not at the bar of justice, or before the
world. If we sanction this measure,
the blood of these People, reduced
by us to the condition of wretchedness
and horror, in which "the living child
"is buried with the dead mother,"
will be upon our heads.
More Troup-ism.—Governor For
syth, the successor of Governor
Troup, has isued a proclamation call
ing upon the constituted powers of the
state of Georgia to resist the opera
tions of the Cherokee Indians, who
have made themselves a constitution
of government, and have thence as
sumed an attitude of independence.—
Extraordinary Calamity.—The fam
ily of Mr. Nathaniel Underhilf, in the
interior of this county, consisting of
eight persons, all arose one day last
week, in a state of mental derange
ment, and, from the last accounts,
still continue so. ■ The case is wor
thy of the most scrutinizing investiga
tion of the medical faculty.—Dutchess
True American,
Slander.—A case of slander, Cap
tain A. Pullen vs. John Donaldson,
was lately tried in Georgia. The
jury gave verdict of #IO,OOO damages.
The defendant having announced his
inability to pay so large a sum, the
plaintiff" struck off s9oooleaving Mr.
Donaldson #IOOO to pay for slandering
his neighbor.
Neatly printed and for sale at this Office
gwv at<sx«u di» szjc,

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