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land than you want, I may take two thirds, or three fourths of it from you; but then there shall be no compulsion ! Stay upon what is left, if you choose. I may also find it necessary to ask you for your house, and if you should not give it up, I may be driven to the disagreeable necessity of chaining you to a ring bolt and giving you a few salutary stripes--not to compel you to flee from your country, (for compulsion, of all things, I abhor,) but just to induce you to emigrate willingly.' This my friends, is the kind of free agency taught in the new school of metaphysics, which the Indians must learn and exercise whether they will or not-but as no such school is yet established in this part of the land, we must be excused in adhering, for the present, to our old fashioned notions of free agency, public faith, and common honesty.
I maintain, then, that it is the bounden duty of the General Government, to protect the Indians, not only in the enjoyment of their country, but of their laws. If it is possible for treaties to bind a nation in any case, then are we bound. If there is any such thing as public faith, then is ours solemnly pledged nearly twenty times over, to one single tribe. If that great pile of Indian Treaties, now in the office of State, is any thing more than a pile of frauds and insults, then the Government must interpose its strong arm to prevent aggression. Take the following as specimens of these compacts. Treaty of Holston, Art. 7. The United States solemnly guaranty to the Cherokee nation all their lands not hitherto ceded.' Treaty of Tellico. Art. 6. "The United States will continue the guaranty of theirs, country, FOREVER, as made and contained in former treaties.' And who, let me ask, will stop to inquire,
that is, the Cherokee
when the first jubilee of our independence is hardly past, whether our most solemn national pledges shall be redeemed? I feel confident that all the changes which can be rung upon state rights and that terrific imperium in imperio, will never satisfy the American people. The very summary process of disinheriting 70,000 persons by a novel construction of the Constitution, which begs the whole question—will never be sanctioned in the council of twelve million. I repeat it-our government must defend the Indians against all encroachments and usurpations whatsoever, or stand convicted before the world, of a disregard to public faith which it makes one shudder to think of.
Under these circumstances, who can doubt, that if the voice of the whole American people could be heard in the Capitol tomorrow, a majority of them would implore and conjure both houses of Congress to interpose and save the character of the nation? It is indeed the eleventh hour; but the Indians can be saved. The sovereignty of this great nation resides in the people; and what should hinder them from speaking in the ears of our rulers, like the voice of many waters?' Let them speak and the thing is done. The Indians can be saved with infinitely less expense of time and trouble, than it costs every four years, to decide whether A or B or C shall be our next President.
But perhaps some will despairingly ask, we do here, in one corner of the land?' do? We shall never know till we TRY.
What can we
cruelty have carried the day a thousand times through the mere apathy and discouragements of those who might have triumphed like Sampson. I will mention some
things which we can do. We can feel for the persecuted remnant of that noble race of men, upon whose soil we are building up a great empire. We can commune together respecting their wrongs, and the dangers which surround them, till 'our hearts burn within us.' We can contribute in various ways, to lay the facts on which the justice of their cause rests, before such of our fellow-citizens as may not have had access to these facts. We can send in our petitions to Congress, and we can induce others to do the same. In the mean time it cannot be doubted, that the friends of justice and humanity will be active in every section of the country. Thus we may hope, that there will be a general and simultaneous movement of the people towards Washington.
And in this view of the case, will any one still demand 'Who are we, and what are our numbers that we should hope to gain a hearing in the high places of power'? I answer, we are, what our public servants delight to call us, the sovereign people—we are all the people, and that is enough. Every man in the nation, however poor, can go to Washington upon this business for nothing, as fast as the wheels of government can carry him. You understand perfectly what I mean. We can all be heard in the Senate house by our petitions, if we please. We can block up the avenues which lead to it with the multitude of our signatures; and whatever measures the voice of the nation shall demand, will ultimately be taken.
Above all, we can send up our united petitions to the Court of Heaven, where the cause of the poor and the oppressed is never disregarded. And if the sublime experiment which the southern tribes of Indians are making, of civilization and self government, should fail, through the cruel interference of white men, it is my sol
emn conviction, that it will be owing to the criminal supineness of those, who in heart and conscience are opposed to such interference. For I will not believe, I cannot believe, that the coveters of other men's vineyards, and their abetters in this land, are more than a lean minority of the whole people. If our government was despotic the case would be different. We should not be answerable for measures over which we could exercise no control. But living as we do, under rulers of our own choice, we are answerable if we neglect to exert our influence to the utmost in favor of righteousness, humanity, and public faith.
But suppose the worst-suppose the government should turn a deaf ear to all our remonstrances. Let us not forget, that duties are ours, while events belong to God. If we do what we can, to save the Indians in this hour of their anguish and jeopardy, their blood will not be found in our skirts, though they should be trodden into the graves of their fathers, or be driven away to perish in deserts so remote that the ill savor' of their carcasses may not come up into the nostrils of their destroyers.
Do we then want motives for action, at this critical, this awful juncture? Such a crisis does not happen once in a century. Nothing like it is to be found in the history of our country hitherto, and I pray God that no such crisis may ever occur again. War has ravaged the land more than once, or twice, with its tempests of fire and blood; but the question was never agitated till now, whether the public faith is to be held sacred, or not. Who would have dared in the days of Washington, or Jefferson, to have broached such doctrines as have recently been promulgated by the highest authority in the nation? How long ago, think you, could any man have
gained a hearing to arguments which, if admitted, go to annihilate the faith of all our treaties?
I repeat the assertion, that we have come to such a crisis, as neither we nor our fathers ever saw before. The great question is to be finally settled within a few months, perhaps weeks, whether whole, peaceable nations shall be dispossessed, or virtually enslaved, under the eye and with the approbation of a government, which is solemnly pledged to protect them. And do we want motives to remonstrate against this crying injustice? Really the motives are so many and so urgent,-they throng so importunately about my path, that I know not what to do with them. Thrusting the greater part of them aside, I can only bestow a moment upon some of the most prominent.
And the first motive is drawn from the immutable and eternal principles of humanity and justice. ¡umanity pleads for the Indians with all her inexhaustible sympathies and with all her eloquent tongues. They are distressed. They are vexed. They are persecuted. The bosoms of tens of thousands of unoffending people are heaving with a mighty and common agony-occasioned by the encroachments and menaces of those who ought to be their protectors. And where, if we do not speak and act, is our humanity.
Justice too, with all its irrefragable arguments, urges us to remonstrate and to act. The most sacred rights of four nations, living under our protection and confiding in our republican faith are invaded. And they cry to us for help. The heritage which God gave them is to be wrested from them; or, if permitted to retain the small portion of it which is now under cultivation, they are to be thrust down from their moral and political elevation, into