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Wild hunters surrounded by husbandmen must either turn husbandmen themselves or perish. While the former are striving to be independent and regard themselves as such, they are the most dependent beings in existence, and without protection even against hunger and cold. Labor alone makes independent. But this the Indians regard as vile and slavish; and one of their commonest curses or denunciations is, May you be forced by hunger to till the ground!
Spaniards, Frenchmen, Englishmen and Americans, Catholics and Protestants, Jesuits* and Methodists, have labored in the most praiseworthy and devoted manner to introduce Christianity among the Indians ;t but for the most part without any real and lasting effect. They usually accepted all that the missionaries related to them, but required equal credence for their own traditions and precepts. It certainly was injudicious to wish to initiate the Indians into the niceties of conflicting dogmas, and even to place before their eyes the unchristian brawls of the different sects. The Indians needed an entirely different preparation for introducing them to genuine Christianity; and we will willingly hope that new and more judicious attempts may meet with greater success than heretofore. This applies also to the instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic; which is of but little use to the Indians, and along with which quite other employments should be introduced and required. The endeavor to educate young Indians in schools and gymnasia has failed; even those who made good progress at first, either could not or would not change their untameable dispositions, and fled back to their native forests.
When the very considerable sums which the Indian tribes receive from the United States according to former treaties shall have been exhausted, their wretchedness must redouble, unless they relinquish their present indolence. The whole number now living beyond the Mississippi is reckoned at from 300,000 to 332,000; these can no longer disturb the internal quiet of the states, but may threaten them with a border war.||
Respecting the above mentioned facts and observations the Americans are mostly of accord; but a difference of views and convictions was produced (as in the dispute on negro slavery) when the Cherokees quarrelled with the state of Georgia, within whose boundaries they resided. The Cherokees distinguished themselves essentially from the rest of the Indian tribes, and had unexpectedly made great and surprising advances in civilization. They cultivated the ground, made cotton stuffs, had stone houses, laws, magistrates, printing-presses, newspapers, schools, and churches.* They demanded to be recognized for the future, as they had been long before, as an independent people living on the soil which had descended to them from their forefathers; and to be protected by the government of the United States. Georgia, on the other hand, maintained, that to her alone belonged the right to regulate her internal affairs; she could not endure the formation within her boundaries of an independent, every where obstructing, inimical state ; the Cherokees must adopt the institutions of Georgia and submit themselves to her laws, or emigrate.
* Mühlenpfordt says (i. 226) of the Indians of Mexico: “ Until now the introduction of the boasted civilization of Europe, with the Catholic form of the Christian religion, has been to them of but little use; and even now there is hardly here and there to be discerned a trace of progress towards bettering their condition.” † M'Gregor's America, ii. 331, 97. | Long's Second Expedition, ii. 246. Ś State of the Finances, 1842, p. 12. li Finance Report for 1838, p. 18.
The Cherokees now sought assistance from the Supreme Court of the United States. Georgia, they said, has arbitrarily and of her own power abolished all our laws, institutions, customs, &c.; she declares our possessions, which were guarantied o us by the treaty of Holston, in the year 1791, to be her property ; she neither displays to us the justice due to a foreign state nor to fellow-citizens; she rejects all former provisions, according to which any changes that might be requisite were to be introduced in a kind and peaceable manner; she does not allow an Indian to testify against a white man; she prohibits our holding lawful assemblies, under penalty of four years hard labor; and the same threat is held out to prevent us from working on our gold mines.
Georgia, according to some statements, repealed a few of her harshest decrees, or postponed their strict execution f she adhered, however, on the whole to the above demands, and denied the right of the Supreme Court to decide the dispute in question. The court annulled some of Georgia's decisions, but could not agree on the main question. Investigations and discussions were gone into, to determine whether the Cherokees formed a separate, foreign state, or whether they should be regarded as a state of the Union; whether similar circumstances had ever occurred in history before; how they ought to be treated, &c. At length it was declared, by a majority of the members of the court, that, according to form, they were not entitled to pronounce a decision, and must dismiss the appeal of the Cherokees; although they did not intend hereby to express any opinion on the merits of the case. The minority (among whom were Chancellor Kent and Judges Thomson and Story)maintained on the contrary, that it was necessary to go beyond the doubtful letter, to explain it in the right spirit, and not to sacrifice material right to unimportant forms. Georgia by her decrees broke all the treaties between the Cherokees and the United States; and the constitution and legislation of the Union must be miserably defective, if they afforded no relief against open despotism. When General Jackson asserted that the federal government could not assist the injured party, he was in error; and the Supreme Court was by no means under the necessity of referring to his opinion, but was itself the proper place of first and last resort
* It is asserted, however, that all power was in the hands of a few educated chiefs, and that the masses were worse off than before. Register, 1830, p. 1120.
† North Amer. Review, xxx. 62; xxxi. 139, 423. The Case of the Cherokee Nation, p. 282.
North American Review, xxxvii. 284. Ś Kent's Commentaries, iii. 383.
. Suppose the Cherokees are not a foreign state, suppose they are a corpora. tion, or whatever else you will; in no case are they destitute of rights, or subject to mere arbitrary power.
To the remark of Judge Johnson, that he had nothing to do with the morality of the matter, as the discussion was only concerning a question of law, it may be replied, that the question of law cannot be separated from considerations of morality, and that the immoral acts which had been committed (the violation of treaties and invasion of the rights of property) were likewise unlawful. Or if the formal reply of the court be approved of as such, the task of ascertaining what was right and just fell to the legislative power, to Congress ; for in the courts of Georgia, and against the will and superior power of that state, the Cherokees could obtain no redress whatever.
President Jackson, in his message of 1831, expressed a noble sympathy on behalf of the condition and fate of the Indians : but their condition was not to be changed with words; a legal decision or an open feud would perhaps have interrupted many an arbitrary proceeding, but could never have transformed the general state of things. All parties, from Jefferson to Van Buren, have been unanimously of opinion, that a complete amalgamation of the Indians and whites, owing to the countless differences between them, is wholly impossible ;* and a mere outward commingling, or living together, would only prolong and aggravate the evil, to which a decided separation or transplanting of them would put an end. “They have,” said President Jackson,“ neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement, which are essential to any favorable change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and a superior race, without appreciating the causes of their inferiority, or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances, and ere long disappear.”+
As the European settlers had relinquished their original seats, * Amer. Quarterly Review, viii. 109. † Message of 1833. Annual Register, p. 424.
so could the Indians do likewise, and all the more easily, inasmuch as they left no monuments, works of art, historical recollections, &c. behind. Beyond the Mississippi were immeasurable tracts of land; there the requisite possessions should be secured to them, the expenses attending their removal provided, advances granted to them, their support for the first year attended to, schoolmasters and ministers procured, &c.— The Cherokees, for 9,492,000 acres of land, received 13,554,000 beyond the Mississippi; and in addition thereto a compensation of $5,600,000 and $1,160,000 for provisions and other necessaries. From 1829 to 1838 the United States have fairly acquired from the Indians 116,349,000 acres of land,* and have paid or laid out therefor in many different ways $72,560,000-a sum that fully equals, nay, exceeds the value of the land, but which has often benefited only the Indian chiefs and their white associates.
Whether the Cherokees, like many other Indian tribes now settled beyond the Mississippi, will fall back into utter barbarism or become extinct, or will gain for themselves a separate independent existence by virtue of the advantages above described, it is difficult to determine beforehand. However the latest official accounts speak more favorably than before. According to them, the Creeks, Choctaws, and Cherokees may now be regard. ed as husbandmen; and in consequence of this important change in their way of life, there are gradually introduced among them laws, courts, juries, schools, and even political forms imitated from the American. The temperance societies already count many members; and since the time when doctrinal subtleties have not been exclusively pressed upon their attention, but have been brought into connection with other means of culture, they exhibit a regular progress in various directions. Bigoted clergymen, however, are still here and there to be found, who complain that the bulwarks of religion are utterly overthrown, because the Indians-play at ball of a Sunday!
But there are other and weightier defects, which cannot remain concealed from the impartial observer. Many tribes adhere to their repulsive rudeness and beastly intemperance. The high annuities which the American government pays for surrendered lands (as for instance $92,000 per annum to 2183 Foxes) seduce them into laziness and extravagance, and lead to frauds on the part of the chiefs against their tribes. Many improvident or dissolute whites marry Indian girls in order to share their income, the amount of which to their joy increases, as intemperance diminishes the number of the Indians.
* The conduct of the Americans has certainly been milder and more peaceable than that of the French in Africa.
† Calhoun's Speeches, p. 441. # Van Buren's Message of 1838. Casswall, p. 360. American Review, xi. 4. Buckingham's Slave States, ii. 101.
While some, in view of the constant savageness and unsociability of the Indians, prophesy their gradual extinction; others conclude, from advances they have already begun to make, that they will yet attain to perfect civilization. The most unbiassed observers distinguish between the different tribes; they regard the destruction of the more savage tribes as inevitable, and deny that-praiseworthy as the progress of the better tribes may be they will ever be able to raise themselves to an equality with the whites.
Nationality of the Americans—Immigrants, their Origin and Character-Germans
and Irish-Native American Party-European Governments—Whither Emi. grate ?—Advantages of the United States—Number of Immigrants.
It is an established fact for the present and perhaps for all future times, that the negroes and men of color can never amalgamate or coalesce with the Americans into one people. Sometimes however the nationality even of the white Americans is disputed; because they have no long magnificent past, no antiquity to look back to; and because a conflux of many nations, a colluvies gentium, excludes the possibility of a finished,
independent, peculiar character. To this it may be replied: The European past belongs also to those who have transferred themselves to America'; it is the foundation, the pervading thread of their civilization, and they take with them to the new world whatever is worth the taking. But in truth that weak and idle predilection in favor of a dead antiquity, which is so widely spread only because it is indifferent to the present and no longer trusts to the future, is wholly foreign to their ways of thinking.
Again, it may be asked, Does not the mixture of several nations enlighten partial patriotism, prepare the way to higher forms of human development, and smoothe down rugged contradictions, by its salutary and instructive influence? Servility, arrogance, and hatred (e. g. among the Christian sects) are doubtless then repressed; and the highest wisdom is no longer sought in greatly prizing these feelings, but instead thereof union and