« ZurückWeiter »
PRESENT CRISIS IN THE CONDITION
THE AM ERICAN INDIANS;
FIRST PUBLISHED IN
THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCER,
UNDER THE SIGNATURE OF
In the letter, which contained the two first papers of the following series, addressed to the Editors of the National Intelligencer, an introductory statement was given, for the purpose of disclosing the general design of the writer, and describing the manner in which he intended to pursue the investigation. It is deemed proper to copy that statement, asa preface to the formal discussion.
GENTLEMEN : I send for your paper two numbers of a series of Essays on the pending and ripening controversy between the United States and the Indians. I hope you will insert them. Permit me, as an inducement, to make the following suggestions :
1. This is a subject which must be abundantly discussed in our country.
2. It will be among the most important, and probably the most contested, business of the 21st Congress. Some able members of Congress, to my certain knowledge, wish to have the matter discussed.
3. I expect to make it appear, by a particular examination of treaties, that the United States are bound to secure to the Cherokees the integrity and inviolability of their territory, till they voluntarily surrender it.
4. In the course of this investigation, I shall not agree with the present Executive of the United States, in the construction which he gives to treaties; but shall be sustained by the uniform tenor of our negociations with the Indians, and legislation for them, from the origin of our government to the present day.
5. My discussions will not assume a party character at all; and whenever I speak of the President, or the Secretary of War, it shall always be by their official designation, and in a respectful manner. Though I think that the President has greatly mistaken his powers and his duty, in regard to the Indians, I have no wish concerning him, but that he may be a wise and judicious ruler of our growing republic.
I have always approved of the decorum which you have observed, in speaking of public characters.
6. I propose to furnish two numbers a week, that they may be copied into semi-weekly papers, if their editors see fit.
7. The two numbers now sent have been read to an eminent civilian, and approved by him; and I shall endeavor to be careful in my principles, and accurate in my conclusions. · At any rate, should I fall into error, I am perfectly willing that my error should be exposed.
8. Should you insert these papers, as I hope you may, I would request that there may be as little delay as possible; for there are many symptoms that the country will be awake to the discussion, and is impatient for it.
In the mean time, permit me to use the signature of that upright legislator and distinguished philanthropist,
WILLIAM PENN. Daily Nat. Intell. Aug. 1, 1829.]
Contents of this Number.-Information needed-Great interests at stake-The character of
our country involved–The world will judge in the case-Value of national character Apprehensions of the divine displeasure-Statement of the controversy.
Every careful observer of public affairs must have seen, that a crisis has been rapidly approaching, for several years past, in reference to the condition, relations, and prospects, of the Indian tribes, in the southwestern parts of the United States. The attention of many of our most intelligent citizens has been fixed upon the subject with great interest. Many others are beginning to inquire. Several public documents, which have recently appeared in the newspapers, serve to awaken curiosity, and to provoke investigation.
Still, however, the mass of the community possess but very little information on the subject; and, even among the best informed, scarcely a man can be found, who is thoroughly acquainted with the questions at issue. Vague and inconsistent opinions are abroad; and however desirous the people may be of coming at the truth, the sources of knowledge are not generally accessible. Some persons think, that the Indians have a perfect right to the lands which they occupy, except so far as their original right has been modified by treaties fairly made, and fully understood at the time of signing. But how far such a modification may have taken place, or whether it has taken place at all, these persons admit themselves to be ignorant. Others pretend, that Indians have no other right to their lands, than that of a tenant at will; that is, the right of remaining where they are, till the owners of the land shall require them to remove. It is needless to say, that, in the estimation of such persons, the white neighbors of the Indians are the real owners of the land. Some people are puzzled by what is. supposed to be a collision between the powers of the general government and the claims of particular States. Others do not see that