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Our Indian Policy

The Boston Quarterly Review, April, 1839

Art. V.  The Indians, and our Relations with them.

Within the last few years, the subject of our Indian relations has assumed an importance wholly unfelt at any former period of our history. To a great extent, individual, as well as national feeling, has undergone a decided change. Instead of meditating, or attempting, as formerly, a speedy extinction of the entire aboriginal population of the country, the most laudable and philanthropic efforts are now put forth for its preservation and improvement. Individuals, acting in concert with various societies, appropriately organized under the sanction of the General Government, are laboring with great energy and zeal to advance the moral and intellectual condition of this most singular variety of the human race. What may be done, only the future can make known with absolute certainty. What has been done, is matter of history. That nearly all efforts, thus far, for the improvement and civilization of our Indian neighbors, have failed, is by no means surprising, when the condition and character of the race are considered.

The North American Indian has traits of character that greatly distinguish him from every other  class belonging to the human family.     Wherever met with, whether under the genial influences of a southern sun, or   among   the   snow-clad   hills of  the icy north, whether sporting upon the waters of the upper lakes, or chasing  the  buffalo over the vast prairies of the " far west," he is, with slight shades of difference, the same careless, improvident   being, living   on without an effort to improve his condition, or seemingly caring for the  fate  of those who shall succeed him.    The North American Indian lives for the present.    To him the past calls up little or nothing worth remembering. The future presents few bright or ennobling anticipations.    What has been, may be again ; but whether a worse or a better fate awaits him, does not  for a moment disturb his habitual   stoicism.     Regardless of consequences, he follows  the momentary impulses of his wayward soul, hating even unto death, or liking to the verge of his own destruction.    With him, revenge for an injury, either  real  or imaginary, is certain and terrible.     Years   may intervene,  kind  words   and kinder offices may pass between him and his intended victim, but nothing can obliterate the remembrance of a wrong received ; blood is the only balm ; he drinks, and  becomes  himself again.-   Hunger will not tame, cold   will   not   rouse  him.     He   endures   both  with scarcely an effort for relief, or dissipates, at a sitting, the fruits of a successful chase, against  the  clearest probability that his wants for the morrow will then be supplied.    Improvidence is his birthright, and  privation his companion.    He glories  in the one, and disregards the admonitions of the other.    He would not exchange his hut for a palace, nor his wild domain for a cultivated empire.    And yet, the North American
Indian is not without many of the higher and nobler attributes of the human soul. He is patient under the severest privation, hospitable to all who meet him on terms of friendship and equality ; mindful of favors received, and magnanimous according to his own interpretation of personal honor. The sufferings of death he holds in contempt, and redeems the faith of a promise, even at the expense of his own life. With the hungry he will divide his last morsel, and into the sanctity of his hut receive the wanderer and the outcast. If his hates arc terrible, his likes are not less strong and enduring. He is rarely the first aggressor, and as rarely deserts a personal benefactor. If the good of his clan seems to require the sacrifice, he will die without a murmur. He will take the life of another, without scruple, when the same necessity apparently demands it.

Such was the North American Indian, when the Anglo-Saxon first set foot upon his wilderness empire. Such he now is, where not debased by the vices of civilization. Two hundred years ago, he was lord and master of a mighty continent. Today, he is but a tenant at will, begging a patch of earth in which to lay his bones.

With the landing of the white man, commenced the declension of aboriginal supremacy in the new world. The greater numerical strength of the wandering tribes, was no match for the well-trained, highly cultivated intruders, who sought a home and a habitation at their side. They saw the disparity existing between themselves and the new comers, but felt no inferiority, till it wras too late to oppose a destiny which their apathy and ignorance had rendered inevitable. When physical force would have availed, they were quiescent; when they did resort to it, the hour for success had forever passed away. The emigrants had secured a footing. The small, scattered bands of Anglo-Saxon origin,  which, a few years before, had begged corn of their Indian neighbors, for immediate subsistence,  had become a powerful people, rich in everything but the luxuries of the old world. The splendid war talents of an Opechancanough and a Phillip, failed them in the hour of their greatest need; and they, Avho, a few years before, could have easily annihilated the intruders, perished in successive struggles, only inglorious because they were unsuccessful.

The right of discoverers  and   emigrants  to appropriate exclusively to their own use,  large   portions of the territory, occupied at  the time by the aboriginal race, has been often debated, and the decisions of the question    are    scarcely   less  numerous  than    the individuals who have  attempted its equitable adjudication.    At   present,  it is  rather a speculative, than a practical question.    The die is cast.    We are now in possession of the soil.    The original occupants have either melted, or are melting away, before the tide of civilization   and   improvement.     The   extinct   tribe  the primitive forest ;  the deer, the bear, and the wolf; the unbroken sod ; the wild glen, and the unobstructed waterfall, will not again  spring  into existence at our bidding.    These races and things are passing away. We may lament, but can we stay the destiny which threatens   them?     With   the   indigenous   race, unquestionably lies   the   abstract   right   of   ownership. This was generally acknowledged, in  theory at least, though by no means always heeded in practice.    Large portions of territory were often acquired by conquest, but much  larger by purchase  or  gift.    That the intruders  often drove  bargains more  advantageous to themselves, than beneficial to the original occupants, is indeed more than probable.     They were the superior race.    They saw more clearly, and farther into futurity, and understood better the vast resources of the earth, than the uncultivated tribes with whom they contracted.    It was then, as now ; the enlightened Caucasian was  more than   a match for  the  wandering   savage. The former is far-sighted, the latter content with the fulness of the present moment.    The one labors for himself, and for all coming time ; the other seeks only his own good  his own gratification. It is, also, in the order of God's providence that the earth shall be subdued, shall be peopled by a progressive race. The vast capacities of the human soul cannot be expanded and perfected among wandering tribes of naked, starving barbarians. Mind is to triumph over matter. The physical, must yield to the intellectual man.

" Shall," said John Quincy Adams, in an address in commemoration of the landing of the Pilgrims, at Plymouth, delivered in 1802, "shall the liberal bounties of Providence to the race of man be monopolized by one of a thousand for whom they were created ? Shall the exuberant bosom of the common mother, amply adequate to the nourishment of millions, be claimed exclusively by a few hundreds of her offspring ? Shall the lordly savage not only disdain the virtues and enjoyments of civilization himself, but shall he control the civilization of the world ? Shall he forbid the wilderness to blossom like the rose ? Shall he forbid the oaks of the forest to fall before the axe of industry, and rise again, transformed into the habitations of ease and elegance ? Shall he doom an immense region of the globe to perpetual desolation, and to hear the howling of the tiger and the wolf silence forever the voice of human gladness ? Shall the hills and valleys, which a beneficent God has formed to teem with the life of innumerable multitudes, be condemned to everlasting barrenness ? Shall the mighty rivers, poured out by the hands of nature, as channels of communication between numerous nations, roll their waters in sullen silence and eternal solitude to the deep ? Have hundreds of commodious harbors, a thousand leagues of coast, and a boundless ocean, been spread in front of this land, and shall every purpose of utility to which they could apply, be prohibited by the tenant of the woods ? No, generous philanthropists ! Heaven has not thus placed at irreconcilable strife, its moral laws with its physical creation ! "

We would not be understood as advocating the monstrous doctrine, that, because the American Indian will not, at once, cultivate and improve the soil, he ought, therefore, to be hunted down and swept from the face of the earth. God forbid that we should thus feel towards any of the children of men, however degraded, however lowly sunk in the scale of Humanity. We   have   better   thoughts,   and   higher hopes.    We would make him a new being.     We would mould him to a new destiny ; not under the lash, nor at the point of the bayonet, but by a course of treatment suited to his peculiar nature,  to his peculiar wants.     That he has been often cheated, oppressed, insulted, by individuals,   and   sometimes   by governments, none, acquainted with the history of his wretchedness for the last two hundred  years, will have the hardihood to deny.    Our offers  of mercy have often followed our infliction of outrage and wrong.    His  good  has been consulted too often, only after our robbery of his home, his country, his self-respect.    We  have too often  reduced him to dependence and beggary ; held him up as   an   object of scorn; treated   him   as  an outcast, driven him from the haunts of his childhood, and from the graves of his kindred.     Much of this  treatment, undoubtedly, resulted  from circumstances over which neither party had any control.    The  two races differ as widely as   two varieties   of the  same  species  can well  be imagined  to differ.    The one is cultivated, laborious, and highly progressive; the other ignorant, idle, and stationary.    They have few things  in common but their animal wants,  and  these being sought after in opposite modes, the existence of the two becomes  incompatible in the same community.     In   this state of things, mutual wrong begets mutual strife, and previous aggression was forgotten in subsequent outrage. 

Unconditional submission, or entire extermination, became the end and aim of the two  races, and while the contest was raging, humanity was dumb, or only spoke in inaudible whispers.

From the first moment of discovery, our connexion with the Indian race has been one of trial and perplexity. The assumption, on the part of discoverers, to right of soil, necessarily implied, in some sense, the right of jurisdiction over it; and with the exercise of this right, arose the first great difficulties between the two races. It was not, at first, within the scope of an Indian mind to conceive it possible that a few hundreds of poor men and women would ever become either troublesome or dangerous neighbors ; and more difficult was it for him to conceive it possible, that the illimitable forests, through which he was wont to range in pursuit of game, would ever disappear before the hand of industry.    He   had   nothing  with which   to compare such a result.    He felt, therefore, at first, no great   reluctance  at   parting  with   small portions of territory,   for   the   exclusive   use and benefit  of the soliciting emigrants.    But when  these hundreds  became   thousands,  when  the   demands   for   additional concessions of territory were, from time to time, repeated, the  Indian  could  not fail to  see that every successive   grant was circumscribing, more and more, his own accustomed range, and farther restricting his own   necessary  means  of  subsistence.      He  became alarmed, and  appealed  sometimes  to  the hatchet, at others,   to   the   humanity of the intruders, for  that justice  which   fate   or fortune  seemed to  deny him. Attempts, amicably to  adjust differences between the two races, early led to the practice  of treating with the Indians, as with other foreign, independent powers, modified by certain rights, asserted by the whites, and sanctioned by the practice of every nation under like or similar circumstances.   The most important of these rights was a right in the soil, arising from discovery. This right is recognised by all civilized nations, and enforced whenever and wherever settlements are made on lands, over which barbarians merely range in pursuit of game.    Judge Marshall says :

" All the nations of Europe, who have acquired territory on this continent, have asserted in themselves, and have recognised in others, the exclusive right of the discoverer to appropriate the lands occupied by the Indians."

And in 8th Wheaton, p. 573, it is observed :

" Discovery gave title to the government by whose subjects, or by whose authority, it was made, against all other European governments, which title might be consummated by possession."

Judge Story remarks :

"It may be asked, what was  the   efleet of this principle of discovery, in respect to the right of the natives themselves ? In the view of Europeans, it created a peculiar relation between themselves and the aboriginal inhabitants. The latter were admitted to possess a present right of occupancy, or use in the soil, which was subordinate to the ultimate dominion of the discoverer. ***** ?}u^ notwithstanding this occupancy, the European discoverers claimed and exercised the right to grant the soil, while yet in the possession of the natives, subject, however, to their right of occupancy ; and the title so granted was universally admitted to convey a sufficient title in the soil to the grantees in perfect dominion."

Judge McLean says :

" At no time has the sovereignty of the country been recognised as existing in the Indians, but they have always been admitted to possess many of the attributes of sovereignty. * * * Their right of occupancy has never been questioned, but the fee in the soil has been considered in the government."

Chancellor Kent says :

" This assumed but qualified dominion over the Indian tribes, regarding them as enjoying no higher title to the soil than that founded on simple occupancy, and to be incompetent to transfer their title to any other power than the government which claims the jurisdiction of their territory by right of discovery, arose, in a great degree, from the necessity of the case. * * * * It is established by numerous compacts, treaties, laws, and ordinances, and founded in immemorial usage. The country has been colonized and settled, and it is now held by that title. It is the law of the land, and no court of justice can permit the right to be disturbed by speculative reasonings or abstract rights."

At the treaty of Ghent, in 1815, between the United States and Great Britain, the British Government endeavored so to frame a portion of the treaty relating to the Indian tribes, as to recognise them as independent nations. This, the American Ministers objected to, and, among other things, say :

" The United States claim, of right, with respect to all European nations, and particularly with respect to Great Britain, the entire sovereignty over the whole territory, and all the persons embraced within the boundaries of their dominions.

With respect to her, and all other foreign nations, they arc parts of a whole, of which the United States are sole and absolute sovereigns."
These extracts are important. They show us the extent of jurisdiction claimed and exercised by the United States, over the Indian tribes, and the right of the aborigines, independent of the United States. The right claimed and exercised is one thing, its abstract justice another. But, as Chancellor Kent observes, the system " arose, in a great degree, from the necessity of the case," and cannot now be disturbed. It is the settled law of the land, and our dealings with the native tribes must conform to it. Whether a better system could have been adopted, it is now idle to inquire. Time and wisdom have given it their sanction, and nothing short of revolution can change it. But this assumed right of holding the Indians as dependents, and treating them as such, did not originate with the government of the United States. The colonial authorities exercised it long before any national form of government was conceived of in the new world. In fact, the practice is as old as the oldest of the Anglo-Saxon settlements on the continent. The colonial assembly of Massachusetts, in 1633, enacted that only the lands improved and inhabited by the Indians, should belong to them; and that all other " lands and plantations shall be accounted the just right of the English." Virginia, in 1G58, asserted and exercised the same power over the Indian territory, within her colonial limits. In 1663, the colony of Rhode Island extended her jurisdiction over the Indian tribes, as well as all the lands within the boundaries of her royal charter, by forbidding " any person or persons to purchase any lands or islands within the colony, of or from the native Indians, upon the penalty of forfeiting all such lands or islands, so purchased, to the colony." And in 1696, it was enacted by the same colonial assembly, that no Indians or Negroes, bond or free, should be out after nine o' clock, without a certificate from some white inhabitant, " responsible for their good conduct." In 1672, the colonial legislature of Connecticut enacted, " That no Indian or Indians shall, at any time, powow, or perform outward worship, to false gods, or to the Devil, within this colony, on pain of forfeiting the sum of Jive pounds to the public treasury, for every time any Indian or Indians shall be convicted of performing the same." The same act also provides, that if any Indian shall murder a white man, he shall suffer death, under the laws of the Colony. In addition to all this, one of the commands of the famous code, known as the " blue laws," is in the following words :

" The inhabitants of this colony are commanded to abstain from all cheating, and are enjoined to pursue the strictest integrity and honesty in all their dealings  except with the Indians.'1''

At this day we may smile, if we will, at the morality contained in this enactment, but in one sense it was rather honorable to the old law-makers in the land of " steady habits " than otherwise. They dared to express, by implication, what every other colony practised without the sanction of law !
In 1717, the Legislature of Connecticut enacted " that no title to any lands in this colony can accrue by any purchase made of Indians, on pretence of their being native proprietors thereof, without the allowance and approbation of this assembly." In 1700, the colony of Pennsylvania enacted, " That if any person presume to buy any lands of any natives within the limits of this Province and territories, without leave from the proprietors thereof, every such bargain of purchase shall be void and of no effect." And so early as 1710, Maryland extended her jurisdiction over the whole Indian territory within her colonial limits. North Carolina did the same in 1715 ; New Hampshire in 1716, and South Carolina in 1739. The enactments of these last enumerated Colonies were couched in nearly the same  language, lands were not to be purchased of the Indians, except by the king of Great Britain, or the colonial governments.

We have been thus particular, perhaps tedious, because the facts, which the above quotations disclose, are important to a just understanding of what we propose further to say on this subject. It is clearly seen that, anterior to the Revolution, all the colonies above enumerated assumed the right of subjecting, to their own independent legislation, the Indian tribes within their respective limits. The justice of this assumption we do not propose to discuss. The practice under it was universal, and if an error, it was an error common to all the independent communities then known to assemble under any form of government, within the limits of the present United States. It is not pretended that the aborigines were not jiermitted to regulate their own internal affairs, in their own way, when, by so doing, they did not interfere with the general sovereignty of the whites. They were so permitted, and the numerous treaties, bargains, and compacts made with them, show conclusively, that, to some extent, they were regarded as independent nations ; but it is plain they were only so considered, while pursuing a course not in conflict with the power, pride, or interest of their civilized neighbors. The true state of this question, setting aside the justice of the assumption, was very fairly stated by Mr. Stuart, British Superintendent of Indian Affairs, in a speech delivered at Mobile, in 1763. Addressing himself to the Indians then present, Mr. Stuart says :

" I inform you that it is the king^ order to all his governors and subjects, to treat the Indians with justice and humanity, and to forbear all encroachments on the territories allotted to them; accordingly, all individuals are prohibited from purchasing any of your lands ; but, as you know that as your white brethren cannot feed you when you visit them, unless you give them land to plant, it is expected that you will cede lands to the king for that purpose.'1''

This, it must be admitted, was a cheap mode of procuring  lands.    The people were prohibited from purchasing, but then it was expected the Indians would cede all that might be asked for, in order merely, that when on a visit to their generous neighbors, these "poor Indians" should not starve to death! It shows, however, what was the practice of the English nation with their red brethren, in relation to this subject. Like our colonial fathers, they were for securing any quantity of land needed, at the cheapest possible rate ; and if falsehood was found a better coin than a string of beads, there seems to have been no difficulty in procuring any amount of this irredeemable currency, even among a people proverbial for their reverence of holy things ! We would not, however, be too severe upon our venerable fathers. We would permit them, with Chancellor Kent, to take shelter under " the necessity of the case," and quietly to rest in their graves until the resurrection.

But it is time to turn our attention to the character and extent of our relations with the Indians within the limits of the United States, since the establishment of our National form of Government. If, during this period, the results of our efforts have not been so successful as were desired and. expected, we have, at least, the satisfaction of knowing that, as a nation, our intercourse with them has been marked by honest desires, noble aims, and generous feelings. ]STo former government ever attempted so much. From the moment of its organization to the present time, the whole policy of the United States, in relation to the aboriginal population of the country, bears the living impress of Christian philanthropy, and lofty devotion to the interests and welfare of this most unfortunate people. From a report made by Mr. Leake, Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs, in the Senate of the United States, April 5, 1820, we gather the following facts : From 1775 to 1786, our Indian relations were regulated by the agencies of Commissioners, who executed, under the direction of Congress, such arrangements as were, from time to time, deemed best by that body to be adopted, and pursued such a course of policy as was thought best calculated to promote the peace of the frontiers, and the welfare of the Indians. Originally, the Indians were divided into three departments : the northern, middle, and southern. Five Commissioners were appointed for the southern department, and two for the middle and northern. On the 20th of April, 1776, it was resolved by Congress, " that no traders ought to go into the Indian country without license from the agent in the department, and that care be taken by him to prevent exorbitant prices for goods being exacted from the Indians." Measures were adopted, also, in the same year, though on a limited scale, for the introduction, amongst some of the tribes, of civilization and Christianity; and the acts of those earlier times are characterized with kindness, and a solicitude for the welfare of the Indians.

In 1786, Congress passed an ordinance for the regulation of Indian affairs. Two departments only were authorized, the northern and southern ; and to each of these was attached a superintendent, with appropriate powers to attend to the execution of such regulations as Congress should, from time to time, adopt. Under this new system, none but citizens of the United States were permitted to reside among the Indian nations, within the territory of the United States, and none to trade with them, without first having obtained a license therefor. The details of this ordinance were numerous and rigid, and yet, it by no means answered the designs of the government. All manner of frauds were practised under it, notwithstanding its apparent salutary precautions ; and, in 1796, a new act of organization was passed, and an appropriation of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars made to carry it into effect. The system provided for supplying the Indians with all necessary and useful articles, at such rates as would preserve the capital from diminution. In 1806, a superintendent of Indian trade was authorized to be appointed, and the capital of the system   increased to two hundred  and  sixty thousand dollars. In IS 11, the capital was increased to three hundred thousand dollars, and upwards of nineteen thousand dollars annually appropriated to defray current expenses.

From the above facts, it will be seen how promptly the government of the United States undertook, after its organization, the improvement of the Indian tribes within its territorial limits. Whatever outrages individuals or small political communities may have been guilty of, previous to the establishment of our present constitutional form of government, not a solitary act of oppression towards the indigenous tribes can be traced to any enactments emanating from the Congress of the United States. At the very commencement of open hostilities between the mother country and the American colonies, the provisional government of the Republic promptly took measures to prevent the Indian tribes from embarking on either side in the then approaching contest. On the 30th of June, 1775, Congress resolved,
" That the Committee of Indian Affairs do prepare proper Talks to the several tribes of Indians, for engaging the continuance of their friendship to us, and neutrality in our present unhappy dispute with Great Britain."
On the 17 th of July following, it was farther resolved,

" That it should be recommended to the Commissioners of the northern department, to employ Mr. Kirkland among the Indians of the Six Nations, in order to secure their friendship, and to continue them in a state of neutrality with respect to the present controversy between Great Britain and the Colonies."

In 1776, other resolves on the subject of our Indian relations were passed, among which we find the following :

" Resolved, That a friendly commerce between the people of the United Colonies and the Indians, and the propagation of the Gospel, and the cultivation of the civil arts, among the latter, may produce many and inestimable advantages to both, and that the commissioners for Indian affairs be desired to consider of proper places, in their respective departments, for the residence of ministers and schoolmasters, and report the same to Congress."

We see here, even at this early period of our national existence, our patriot fathers devising means to send among the scattered tribes the arts of civiliza-tion and religious instruction. We challenge any Englishman, or any admirer of English philanthropy, to show that the British Parliament, during its whole intercourse with the Indian race, from the first peopling of the country to the commencement of the Revolutionary war, attempted so much for their welfare as was proposed in the three resolves above quoted ; and this was done, it must be recollected, in the midst of troubles threatening the very existence of those most conspicuous in this great work of Christian philanthropy. It is truly disgusting to read the taunts and strictures of British reviewers and English travellers on the subject of our treatment of the Indian race. A rebuke from those who, during nearly a century and a half, had it in their power, at least to attempt something for the improvement of this people, yet did nothing but cheat, rob, and employ them to fight the enemies of England, would be galling and insupportable, were it not for the unblushing falsehood and base hypocrisy, which, in every instance, accompany their ridiculous charges. If any people on earth have maltreated and degraded the Indian population of North America, it is the English. They have, at all times, and without scruple, used them as whips with which to scourge their own enemies ; and when the work of vengeance was over, when their own ends were attained, they cast them off, broken in spirit, naked and sick, with the same indifference that an old musket is discarded by the same people. We have no hesitation in saying, that the British government is justly chargeable with much of the misery endured by the Indian race, from 1775 to the present moment. It was  the British government  which opposed their neutrality in the war of the Revolution ;  it was the same government which led them into the field against the Americans, in 1812; and it was the British government, through her well-paid agents, which kindled up, and kept alive in their benighted souls, that feeling of deep hostility, against which we have been compelled to war, from time to time, during the last twenty years.

On the other hand, it has been the invariable practice of the American government, if possible, to persuade the Indian tribes to stand aloof, in all contests between ourselves and other independent powers. The Indian commissioners, at the commencement of the Revolution, were instructed to use their best exertions to dissuade the Indians from taking any part in the expected contest between the two countries. Previous to the rupture of 1812, the same instructions were given to the commissioners, and the same exertions used to induce them to observe a neutral attitude. Our want of success in the attempt is no reproach to us. Had our exertions been promptly seconded by the agents of the British government, the result, in all human probability, would have been most fortunate for thousands of the Indian race, who took part in the two contests referred to. They had nothing to gain, even had the English succeeded. As it was, they lost everything but the anxious wishes of the American government still to render them a happy and a prosperous people. For this purpose, the plan of intercourse, already noticed, was pursued with all the energy and care which the importance of the subject, and the hopes of the benevolent, seemed to demand. No expense, on the part of the government, was suffered to arrest or check the entire operation of the system. Some of the best talent of the country was engaged in carrying it forward; and, for a time, strong hopes were entertained that the philanthropic efforts of the government would be successful. Many, however, from the commencement, entertained strong doubts as to the feasibility of improving the aboriginal race, while they were surrounded by, and in immediate contact with, a people in everything their superiors. Besides, their political and civil condition was not well defined. The States, it is true, on the adoption of the constitution, relinquished their control over the Indian tribes within their respective limits, except inconsiderable remnants in the older states; still there were grounds for differences of opinion as to the extent of the control contemplated in this grant of power. The important question, whether they were to be regarded as foreign nations, and treated with as such, seems never to have been clearly settled. Unpleasant collisions between some of the States and the indigenous tribes within their territorial limits, were greatly feared, and, in fact, have since occurred; and above all, it was clearly seen, that whatever merits the then existing system of intercourse possessed, it lacked the essential one of elevating and improving the condition of the race. Under its operation, tribe after tribe gradually dwindled awray ; and it became apparent that some other course must be adopted, would we preserve a remnant of this once powerful people. Impressed with this idea, Mr. Crawford, Secretary of War, in 1816, in a report on our Indian affairs, observed :
" If the system already devised has not produced all the effects which were expected from it, new experiments ought to be made. When every effort to introduce among them (the Indians) ideas of separate property, as well in things real as personal, shall fail, let intermarriages between them and the whites be encouraged bv the government. This cannot fail to preserve the race, with the modifications necessary to the enjoyment of civil liberty and social happiness."

This idea was not original with Mr. Crawford. Patrick Henry, years before this, advocated the same plan, and more recently, Mr. Bouldin, of Virginia, referred to it, in the Congress of the United States, in terms of approbation. Whatever merits it possesses on the score of humanity, there are objections to it so serious as to prevent its adoption on a scale sufficiently extensive to effect the object proposed. We have, indeed, no objections to the amalgamation of individuals in this way, providing the thing be brought about in obedience to the high behests of the blind god ; but to grant a bounty for the ingress of a mixed posterity, at the moral and intellectual expense of a race able and willing to people the republic, without resort to foreign competition, is a proposition too revolting to be entertained for a single moment. Could it be effected, the result would be, to all intents and purposes, extermination. The Indian race, greatly inferior in numbers when compared with the Anglo-American, would, in a few centuries, be entirely swallowed up in the dominant party, and every distinctive mark of its original character nearly obliterated. The resulting compound from a union of races so unlike, would be a class, probably, not materially better than the present aboriginal population. We had better, therefore, grapple with the savage as he is, than encounter a race, of the exact character of which, in the mass, we have no precise conceptions.
The failure of the system of 1786, subsequently several times modified, but still remaining essentially the same, suggested the necessity of adopting some other plan for the preservation of the Indian race. That of collecting the remaining tribes upon a territory, secured to them and their posterity forever, seemed to promise the fairest hopes of success. The idea was first suggested by Mr. Jefferson, and subsequently entertained and developed to some extent by several succeeding administrations. The plan, however, was not fully laid before the people, till the commencement of General Jackson's administration, in 1829. The war of 1812, and the troubles with the Indian tribes for some years after, growing out of that contest, prevented the Federal Government from carrying into operation its humane intention of securing a home and a country to the scattered remnants of the Indian race. Something, however, was done during the  administrations  of Mr. Monroe  and  Mr. Adams. The plan of removal was much agitated, and very generally approved. In 1826, the "project of a bill for the preservation and civilization of the Indian tribes within the United States " was, at the request of the Committee of Indian Affairs, furnished by Mr. Barbour, then Secretary of War. The following are the main features of the bill, as stated in the Congressional journals of that day :

" First. The country west of tho Mississippi, and beyond the States and Territories, and so much on the east of the Mississippi as lies west of hikes Huron and Michigan, is to be set apart for their exclusive abode.

" Secondly. Their removal by individuals, in contradistinction to tribes.

" Thirdly. A Territorial government to be maintained by the United States.

"Fourthly- If circumstances shall eventually justify it, the extinction of tribes, and their amalgamation into one mass, and a distribution of property among the individuals.

" Fifthly. It leaves the condition of those that remain unaltered." "

Though there appears to have been no decisive action on this projected bill, it did something. It called public attention to a subject every moment growing more important, because becoming more difficult of adjudication. It was clearly seen that, within the limits of the United States, the Indian race would find, as an independent people, no permanent resting place. Removal or annihilation were the only alternatives. The former, probably, would have been at once agreed on, but for a violent civil collision, which, about this time, occurred between the State of Georgia and the Cherokee tribe of Indians, residing within the limits of that State. We feel bound to refer to the principal facts connected with this celebrated controversy, because they do not appear to be generally understood, and because it is due to the State of Georgia, as well as to the Federal Govern-ment,  that  no erroneous impressions  remain  in the public mind, injuriously affecting  the  good faith and honest intentions of either.

By reference to the ancient records of Georgia, it appears that, in 1763, her limits were defined to extend from the Savannah to the St. Mary's, and inland, from the 31st to the 35th degrees of north latitude, and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi." On the revision of her constitution, in 1798, a provision was inserted, authorizing the cession of a large portion of her territory to the United States, and the boundary ¦was indicated beyond which such cession might be made. Four years after this, viz. in 1802, a compact was entered into between the United States and the State of Georgia, and the lands, beyond the limits defined in the new constitution, agreeably to stipulations contained in this compact, were made over to the United States. The amount of territory conveyed somewhat exceeded one hundred thousand square miles, now embraced in the States of Alabama and Mississippi. In consideration of this cession, the general government stipulated to pay to the State of Georgia the sum of $1,250,000, and, what was of more importance to her, it was agreed,

" That the United States should, at their oicn expense, extinguish, for the use of Georgia, as early as the same can be ¦peaceably obtained, on reasonable terms, the Indian title to lands within the Stale of Georgia."
With the right of the parties to enter into such a compact we have nothing to do. It was in strict accordance with the practice of the times, and had the sanction of numerous precedents under all governments which had preceded that of the United States. It was no more an assumption than was the planting of the first European foot, without leave, upon the soil of the new world. When the compact was entered into, it became binding on the parties making it. And as the United States entered at once into all the enjoyments secured by its provisions, Georgia, in turn, had a right to expect  an  early compliance with its stipulations on  the part of the General Government. In whatever light, therefore, we may regard the question of abstract  right, it was one, in  the language of Chancellor Kent, not " to be disturbed by speculative reasonings."      Interruptions, however, in our friendly intercourse with foreign nations, occurred   soon  after the  stipulations  referred   to were  agreed   upon and signed   by the   contracting  parties, which  prevented the United States from fulfilling her part of the agreement with the State of Georgia.     In the mean time, the Cherokees were making   considerable advances in civilization, and becoming more and more attached to the land of their fathers.     A large  fragment of their tribe, it is true,  those most strongly attached to the hunter state,  had availed itself of the offers of the Government, and removed   to the west bank of the Mississippi ; but   the majority was   for   permanently establishing   itself within the limits of the  State  of Georgia.    Accordingly,   in   the   summer   of   1827,   a council of delegates, chosen by the  Cherokee nation, met and adopted a constitution, in which they declared themselves  to be a "permanent, independent sovereignty."   The amount of territory, over which the new constitution claimed jurisdiction, exceeded four and a half million acres.    Here was a government within a government,  imperium in imperio,  a condition or state of things  not   to  be  tolerated   for  a  single moment.     Georgia was   either  entitled   to her whole territory,   or   none at   all.     The  treaty of 1783 declared her, in common with the other twelve colonies, a free, sovereign, and  independent  State.    The compact of 1802, had  defined her territorial limits, and the constitution of the  United   States declares  that "no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other   State."     Previous   to   the adoption of the  Cherokee constitution, the  right  of temporary occupancy was never denied by Georgia to the   Indians within   her borders.    In  the  celebrated Cherokee case, Samuel A. Worcester vs. The State of Georgia, Judge McLean says :

" The exercise of the power of self-government, by the Indians within a State, is undoubtedly contemplated to be temporary. This is shown by the settled policy of the government, in the extinguishment of their title, and especially by the compact, with the Slate of Georgia. It is a question not of abstract right, but of public policy. I do not mean to say that the same moral rule, which should regulate the affairs of private life, should not be regarded by communities or nations. But, a sound national policy does require, that the Indian tribes within our states should exchange their territories, upon equitable principles, or eventually consent to become amalgamated in our political communities."

The State of Georgia, taking precisely this view of the question, felt herself bound, after the last great movement of the Cherokees, referred to above, to extend her jurisdiction over her whole territory, including that portion occupied by the Indians. This brought the two powers in direct collision, and produced a legislative and judicial warfare, which only ended with the treaty of 1835.

In the year 1831, the Cherokee nation appeared in the Supreme Court of the United States, and moved for a writ of injunction to restrain the State of Georgia from the execution of certain laws of that State, which, as alleged, went to annihilate the Cherokees as a political society. This application was made to the court on the assumption that the Cherokees were a foreign nation. After a careful examination of the question, Chief Justice Marshall delivered the opinion of the court as follows :

" The Court has bestowed its best attention on this question, and, after mature deliberation, the majority is of opinion that an Indian tribe or nation, within the United States, is not a foreign State, in the sense of the Constitution, and cannot maintain an action in the courts of the United States."

Again, says the Chief Justice :

" The bill requires us to control the legislation of Georgia, and to restrain the execution of its physical force. The propriety of such  an   interposition,  by  the  Court, may be well questioned.    It savors too much of exercise of political power, to be within the province of the .Judicial Department."

The motion for an injunction was denied. This decision legally settled one question; " an Indian tribe or nation, within the United States, is not a foreign nation, in the sense of the constitution." The Chief Justice elsewhere denominates them " Domestic dependent nations,"  a definition, to the correctness of which, we believe, all will readily subscribe. In deciding that an Indian tribe was not a foreign nation, the Chief Justice also decided that the Supreme Court had not jurisdiction of the case; yet, unaccountable as it may seem, one year after, this same Court, in the case of Samuel A. Worcester vs. The State of Georgia, claimed jurisdiction, and undertook " to control the legislation of Georgia." We are aware of the fine spun distinction attempted to be drawn between the two cases, and the immense amount of special pleading, resorted to by the Court, to sustain itself in the exercise of this new power ; but we frankly confess ourselves wholly unable to understand the validity of the distinction, or the justice of the decision. Worcester was imprisoned for residing, contrary to an express law of Georgia, within the limits of the Cherokee country. When the case, upon a writ of error, came before the United States Court, this Court claimed jurisdiction. In 1831, it totally refused to interfere with the legislation of Georgia, on the ground that the Indians were not a foreign nation, within the meaning of the constitution ; and further, that such interposition would " savor too much of exercise of political power." The Court decided against the State of Georgia, but the latter disregarded the mandate which followed, and Worcester remained in prison till liberated upon his compliance with certain terms offered him on the day of his incarceration. Thus ended the " celebrated Cherokee Case."

That the power exercised by Georgia was legitimate, can  hardly admit  of question.     She  did, as we  have shown, only what every other original State had done before her. General Jackson, in his first message to Congress, referring to the condition of things then existing in relation to this subject, says :

" Georgia   became a   member  of the   confederacy  which eventuated  in our federal union, as a sovereign State, always asserting her claim to certain limits ; which, having been originally denned in her colonial charter, and subsequently recognised in the treaty of peace, she has ever since continued to enjoy, except as they have  been circumscribed by her own voluntary transfer of a portion of her territory to the United States, in the articles of cession of 1802.    Alabama was admitted into  the union on the  same footing with the original States, with  boundaries which were prescribed by Congress. There is no constitutional, conventional, or legal provision, which   allows them less power over the Indians within their borders, than  is possessed  by Maine  or New York.    Would the people of Maine permit the  Penobscot tribe to erect an independent government within their State ?     *     *     Would the people of New York permit each remnant of the   Six Nations within  her borders  to declare   itself an  independent people under the protection of the United States ?    Could the Indians establish a separate republic on each of their reservations in Ohio ? and if they were so disposed, would it be the duty of the General Government to protect them in the attempt?"

Up to this time, our relations with the Indian tribes had not been made a party question.    A feeling of commiseration for the condition of the aboriginal race was  general; and all classes, without distinction of party, manifested the most honorable  solicitude  for their fate.    But when General Jackson, in the message from which we have already quoted, urged the justice and necessity of their removal to a territory west of the Mississippi, the question was at once seized on by his political opponents, and for a time every obstacle thrown in the way of its execution, that ingenuity or party malice could devise.    The treaty made with the Cherokees  in   1835, stipulating for their removal, was pronounced a fraud, and a powerful party in which was included  some of the most  gifted orators of the day,   manifested   a   zeal    in   their opposition  to the project, worthy of a better cause. But the energy and personal popularity of the President overcame all difficulties. The plan was finally agreed to, and the means for effecting it secured by legislative enactments, not less just to the Indian tribes than honorable to the General Government.

What, then, under the present system, are the prospects of the aboriginal race 1 Can it survive the changes which its new condition imposes, or will it continue to dwindle away, and finally vanish from the face of the earth 1 To the philanthropist this question is intensely interesting, but it is one in the present condition of things to which no perfectly satisfactory answer can be given. We confess our hopes are strong. We have seen something of the Indian,  know something of his capabilities, and have reflected much on his singular nature. In the midst of the Anglo-American race he cannot exist. All history shows that while living in the bosom of a civilized community, he will rather adopt its vices than imbibe its virtues. It seems to be a settled principle of our earthly being, that no two distinct varieties of the human family,  the one a superior and the other an inferior race,  can exist on terms of equality in the same community. The inferior caste will either pass into a state of menial servitude, or be exterminated by their more enlightened neighbors. This position, if true, we are aware, may affect more than one variety of the race of man, at present existing within the limits of the United States. It is not our purpose, however, to discuss the full extent of its bearing in this place. If it be applicable to the race under consideration, it is sufficient. WTe reject entirely the opinion of Don Juan Galindo, contained in the last published volume of the American Antiquarian Society, that " the American Indian has arrived at a decrepit old age," and " is now in the last centuries of his existence;" we regard the idea in the light rather of an ingenious conceit, than a sober truth. Since the discovery of the continent, the Indian race has  been denied every fair  facility of permanent improvement. In making this statement, we are not unmindful of the labors of Eliot, Williams, and other Christian philanthropists, who devoted their lives to the cause of holiness among the wandering tribes of the forest. But what could they do when the demon of avarice was stalking over the earth, incessantly demanding more land, and always selecting that patch pressed at the moment by the foot of a red skin 1 We gave them no resting place. How then could they become civilized ? Under existing circumstances, would we preserve our Indian neighbors, they must be schooled in the arts of civilization beyond the limits of the present United States. There, under a system of education such as their peculiar character may require, and a code of laws adapted to the new condition in which they are placed, it is more than probable they will emerge from their present state of ignorance and degradation, and take rank with their present enlightened benefactors. There is nothing Utopian in this supposition. Other portions of the human race, now among the most enlightened on the face of the earth, have undergone changes not less surprising than those we suppose may happen to the Indian race. Under like, or similar, circumstances, what has been, may be again.

In conclusion, let us glance at their new home, and their present condition, as exhibited in late reports from the commissioner of our Indian Affairs. The country selected for the future residence of this people lies west of the Mississippi, and beyond the limits of any State or Territory. It is about six hundred miles long from north to south, extending from the Missouri to Red Rivers, and running westwardly as far as the country is habitable, which is estimated to be something over two hundred miles. The soil is represented as being fertile, the country well watered, and the climate healthy. Upon this territory., there were, on the 1st of November, 1838, 81,082 emigrant Indians, and 26,482 more are under treaty stipulations to remove in due time.     In this statement is included the 18,000 Cherokees who were then on their way to join their kindred in their new country. Those, who have not watched the progress of this system, will be astonished at the advances already rmule by some of the tribes west of the Mississippi. To begin with the Creeks, who are settled in the immediate vicinity of .Fort Gibson. This tribe numbers between eighteen and twenty thousand, and, according to the statement of the acting superintendent of the Western Territory, made in December, 1837 :

" They dwell in good, comfortable farm houses, have fine gardens, orchards, and raise forty to fifty thousand bushels of corn more than what is sufficient for their own consumption. They furnish large quantities to the commissariat at Fort Gibson annually, and contributed greatly in supplying the late emigrants. They raise, also, more stock than is necessary for their own use, and carry on a considerable trade with the garrison in grain, stock, vegetables, poultry, eggs, fruit, &c. There are several traders located among them, to furnish their wants,  which are as many and various as those of the most comfortable livers of our own citizens. Two of these traders are natives, who do a considerable business, selling eighteen or twenty thousand dollars worth of goods annually."

This is cheering ; but let us look at the Cherokees. We will quote from the same agent :

" The number of farms in this nation is estimated at between ten and eleven hundred. There arc no Cherokees who follow the chase for a living ; the nation is divided into farmers, traders, stock-raisers, and laborers. The produce of the farms is corn, oats, potatoes of both kinds, beans, peas, pumpkins, and melons. The great profit of the Cherokee farmer is his corn, his horses, his cattle, and his hogs. Some of the Cherokees have taken and fulfilcd contracts for the garrison at Fort Gibson, and for subsisting emigrant Indians, to the amount of forty to sixty thousand dollars, without purchasing any articles except in the Indian country. At the grand saline on the river Neosho, forty miles above Fort Gibson, they are making eighty bushels of excellent salt per day, for five days in the week ; but the manufacture is carried on at considerable expense for labor, fuel, hauling, &c. There arc several native traders doing very good business in the nation ; one of them is doing an extensive business, and owns a fine steamboat, that plies between New Orleans and the Cherokee nation.''''

It is further added, " The greater portion of the Cherokees have good and comfortable houses, and live, many of them, as well and as genteel, and, in a pecuniary point of view, will compare with the better class of farmers in the States."

This is still more cheering ; but let us turn to the Choctaws. We quote from the report of William Armstrong, agent at the Choctaw station, made in December, 1838 :

" The Choctaws are governed by a written constitution and laws; they meet annually in their general council on the first Monday of October.    The nation is composed of three districts, each district electing ten counsellors, by the qualified voters of each district  they being every male  twenty-one years and upward of age.    They have but the representative body, the three chiefs sitting with the veto power upon all laws passed by the  council, which, however, when passed by two-thirds  becomes a law.    They have judges appointed, and officers  to enforce the laws, by a jury chosen in the ordinary way.    They have, to a great extent, modelled their laws after some of our States, and generally their laws are executed.    There is no enforcement for the collection of debts, and whatever trading is done upon credit rests upon the honor of the debtor to pay ; and, in  most instances, contracts entered  into are punctually paid.     The  Choctaws   have   passed   some   wholesome   laws against the introduction of spirituous liquor into their country. A large and commodious council house for the nation has just been completed, and occupied, for the first time this year, by the council.    The room in which  the council  meets is  large and spacious, sufficiently for the accommodation of all the members, and a railing round, with seats for spectators.    There is a separate room adjoining, for each of the three districts, in which their committees meet.    They usually remain in council from ten to twenty days, elect a President and Secretary ; the strictest order prevails ; everything is recorded ; and, in fact, it would hardly be credited, but in few deliberative bodies is more order and propriety observed."

Are these facts generally known? We doubt it very much. We doubt whether one in fifty of the American people are aware of the fact, that we have an Indian population rapidly improving in all the arts of civilization, and growing rich in the good things of this world. We might make many other selections from these reports, equally favorable to the advancement of the aboriginal race; but it is unnecessary. We must, however, say something of their advantages for school education. As all the schools, however, are not within the territory set apart for the residence of the Indians, but scattered over various parts of the country at present occupied by the tribes, we will throw into a tabular form the results of the highly interesting statements which accompanied the last report from the Indian Department :

State of the Schools.

Superintendency                                  No. of Teachers    No. of pupils.      No. of tribes instructed

Acting Superintendency of Michigan,    13                         149                     5                                   

Superintendency of Wisconsin,             20                         431                    13

Superintendency of St. Louis,               9                           74                      6

Acting do. of the Western Territory,     9                           227                     6

Missionary School, Choctaw Nation,     5                           123                    6

Missionary School, Cherokee Nation    3                           158                   6

Totals,                                                 59                         1,162

This is well, but it is not all.  The Choctaw Academy is in successful operation, and is a school of great importance to the Indian race.  It is under most excellent regulations, and has already turned out many useful men.  The following table presents its conditions in December, 1838,

                                                          CHOCTAW ACADEMY

           Tribes.                                                                               Pupils.

 Choctaws                                                                                    60

Pottawatamies,                                                                            21

Quapaws,                                                                                     2

Miamies,                                                                                       3

Seminoles,                                                                                   6

Creeks                                                                                         7

Winnebagoes,                                                                             9

Cherokees,                                                                                 14

Chickasaws                                                                                 18

Chippewas and Ottawas                                                            11

              Total,                                                                            151                                

All these schools are more or less under the control of different religious denominations, and most of them have some funds set apart for iheir support. They are all, unquestionably, doing substantial good, and ought to receive more efficient aid from the United States.

We would say no hard things against those who arc zealously laboring to spread the truths of Christianity among the Indian tribes west of the Mississippi. Their motives entirely forbid severity of remark. But we cannot help thinking that all direct efforts to teach them the peculiar doctrines of Christianity are misplaced, if not absolutely injurious. Can a people, whose thoughts rarely extend beyond the immediate gratification of the senses, be led to embrace doctrines so spiritual and ennobling, without much previous preparation in the arts of civilization, and the laws which regulate society 1 It seems to us, the agriculturist, the mechanic, and the schoolmaster, are the true pioneers in the great work of Indian civilization. The red man will hold to the religion of his fathers to the last moment. It is seated deep in the dark recesses of his soul, and will there remain, till forced away by the power of mental cultivation. Teach the Indian how to live honestly in this world, and he will soon teach himself how to be happy in that which is to come.

Again, we repeat, our hopes arc strong, that the North American Indian will yet emerge from his present state of ignorance and barbarism. But we would caution all against expecting too much, and that suddenly. The race has been stationary for centuries. Its peculiar habits and modes of thought are not, therefore, to be broken up and changed in a day. We must expect frequent disappointments, for we have a wayward being to instruct; but perseverance, kindness, and prompt assistance, free from all expectations of pecuniary reward, will, we cannot help thinking, enable us, at last, to triumph, and the Indian to rejoice in  a new career  of usefulness  and   glory.     Let   his felters of prejudice and superstition be broken ; lei Ihc bright, glowing rays of science once penetrate the mental gloom in which the intellect of the Indian is now buried, and a new fountain will be opened, whence will flow living, undying streams of thought, growinp- broader and deeper through, all coming time. There are several oilier interesting topics connected

with this subject, which it was originally our intention to discuss ; but the great, perhaps unreasonable, length to which we have already carried our inquiries, admonishes us that we cannot, at present, in justice, longer trespass on the patience of our readers.