Page images
PDF
EPUB

GEORGIA EXPELLING THE CHEROKEES.

105

1

or

more

ed in such enjoyment, by the United of whom each was to have a ticket.
States, as we had solemnly stipulated A reservation of one hundred and
by treaty that they should be, tak- sixty acres to each head of a Chero-
ing our pay for it in advance. But kee family was made; but this reser-
General Jackson, in urging them to vation conferred or recognized only a
migrate beyond the Mississippi, did right of possession during the good
not hesitate to speak of their rights pleasure of the State Legislature.
and their immunities as follows: The Indians, whose government was

" This emigration should be voluntary; for thus abolished, were allowed no
it would be as cruel as unjust to compel the voice in that to which they were arbi-
Aborigines to abandon the graves of their
fathers, and seek a home in a distant land. trarily subjected; they could not even
Bat they should be distinctly informed that, give testimony in a Georgia court,
if they remain within the limits of the States, though denied a resort to

any other.
they must be subject to their laws. In
return for their obedience, as individuals, The fortunate drawer of Cherokee
they will, without a doubt, be protected in lands in the Georgia State lottery was
the enjoyment of those possessions which
they have improved by their industry. But entitled to call upon the Governor to
it seems to me visionary to suppose that, in put him in summary possession, ex-
this state of things, claims can be allowed on
tracts of country on which they have neither pelling any adverse [Indian] claim-
dwelt nor made improvements
, merely because ant.

If there were two
they have seen them from the mountain, or antagonist white claimants, their re-
passed them in the chase. Submitting to
the laws of the States, and receiving, like spective claims were to be deliberately
other citizens, protection in their persons adjudicated by the courts, according
and property, they will ere long become to the dictates of ordinary jurispru-
merged in the mass of our population."

dence. If any one sought to legally
How “voluntary” their.emigration hold or recover lands against a claim-
was to be, and what sort of “protec- ant under this rule, he must make
tion in their persons and property” express affidavit that he
they were likely to receive in case

was not liable to be dispossessed of said
they refused to “abandon the graves land by or under any one of the provisions
of their fathers, and seek a home in a

of the said act of the General Assembly

of Georgia, passed December 20, 1833: distant land," let the laws which * * * in which issue the person to whom Georgia proceeded to enact bear wit- possession of said land was delivered shall ness. Grown weary of awaiting the join ; and which issue shall constitute the en

tire pleading8 between the parties ; nor shall
operation of the methods whereby the court allow any matter other than is con-
she had already secured, at no cost to tained in said issue to be placed upon the

regular files of said court; * * *
herself, the gradual acquisition of said court, at the instance of either party,
the greater part of the Indian lands pass any order, or grant any injunction, to
within her borders when she acceded stay said cause, nor permit to be ingrafted

on said cause any other proceedings what-
to the Union, that State passed acts ever.”
abolishing the government of the It can hardly be necessary to say
Cherokees, and reducing them at a that the sole, unconcealed object of
word to the condition of unprotected this legislation was to deprive the
vassals. Their lands were thereupon Cherokees of the protection of the
divided into counties, surveyed, and courts of the United States, or any
ordered to be distributed by lottery adjudication therein touching their
among the white citizens of the State, rights, by precluding any appeal to

[ocr errors]

nor shall

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

said courts for the sake of testing the of Georgia, holding that the treaties validity of these acts of the Legisla- between the United States and the ture of Georgia.

Cherokees were valid and binding on That State had already decisively all the States, and paramount to all indicated that, if unable to make or State laws, according to that proviscontrol such adjudication, she was ion of the Federal Constitution which abundantly ready to defy it.

prescribes : . A Cherokee named Tassells was arrested on a Georgia warrant for kill- the laws of the United States which shall be

“ Article VI., $ 2. This Constitution, and ing another Indian within the Cher- made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties okee territory. His counsel obtained made, or which shall be made, under the a writ of error from a United States supreme law of the land; and the judges in

authority of the United States, shall be the court, requiring Georgia to show cause every State shall be bound thereby, anything why he should not be discharged and in the constitution or laws of any State to

the contrary notwithstanding." his case remitted to the Cherokee authorities, according to existing treaties. The attorneys for the missionaries Georgia defied the writ and hung the sought to have this judgment enIndian. And this finished the case. forced, but could not. General Jack

Some time thereafter, two mission son was President, and would do aries of the American Board among nothing of the sort. “Well: John the Cherokees were arrested on a Geor- Marshall has made his decision: gia process, tried for, and convicted now let him enforce it !? was his of, inciting the Indians to resist the commentary on the matter. So the policy of the State of Georgia de missionaries languished years in prissigned to effect the expulsion of the on, and the Cherokees were finally Indians from her soil. They were of (1838) driven into exile, in defiance course sentenced to the State Prison. of the mandate of our highest judiThey appealed by writ of error to cial tribunal.” Georgia was permitthe courts of the United States, and ted to violate the faith of solemn the final adjudication thereon was treaties and defy the adjudications of had before the Supreme Court at our highest court. South Carolina Washington, the decision being pro- was put down in a similar attempt: nounced by Chief Justice Marshall. for the will of Andrew Jackson, not It was entirely in favor of the mis- the Constitution, was in those years sionaries and against the pretensions “the supreme law of the land." **

27 I am indebted for this fact to the late Gov "refused to sustain those Southern tribes in ernor George N. Briggs, of Massachusetts, who

their attempt to set up an independent govern. was in Washington as a member of Congress

ment within the States of Alabama and Georgia." when the decision was rendered.

Both these gentlemen well knew-Colonel 28 President Jackson, in his first Annual Mes Benton could not but know—that the Cherokees sage, already referred to, had said:

only claimed or sought the rights which they “A portion of the Southern tribes, having had possessed and enjoyed from time immemomingled much with the whites, and made some rial, which were solemnly guaranteed to them progress in the arts of civilized life, have lately by treaty after treaty, whereof the subsisting attempted to erect an independent government validity and pertinence were clearly afirmed within the limits of the States of Georgia and by the tribunal of ultimate resort. Alabama." And Colonel Benton, in his “Thirty Years'

29 The late Jeremiah Evarts, long the efficient View,” says (vol. i., p. 164), General Jackson and honored Secretary of the American Board

A BOLITION IN THE REVOLUTIONARY AGE.

107

IX.

THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF ABOLITION.

The General Congress which con- | Abolition Societies were largely comvened at Philadelphia in 1774, framed posed of the most eminent as well as articles of Association between the the worthiest citizens. Among them colonies, one of which was a solemn were, in Maryland, Samuel Chase, agreement "that we will neither im- a signer of the Declaration, and port nor purchase any slave imported | Luther Martin, one of the framers after the 1st of December next;" be- of the Constitution; in Delaware, ing moved thereto by State action of James A. Bayard,' afterward in like character, wherein Virginia and Congress, and Cæsar A. Rodney, North Carolina were honorably con- who became Attorney-General. The spicuous. Most of the States, accord- Pennsylvania Society had Benjaingly, prohibited the Slave-Trade min Franklin for its President, during or soon after the Revolution. and Benjamin Rush for Secretary Throughout the war for indepen-—both signers of the Declaration. dence, the Rights of Man were pro- This,' among other such societies, claimed as the great objects of our memorialized the first Federal Construggle. General Gates, the hero gress, then sitting at Philadelphia, of Saratoga, emancipated his slaves against Slavery, asking in 1780. The first recorded Aboli

“that you will be pleased to countenance tion Society—that of Pennsylvania the restoration to liberty of those unhappy -was formed in 1774. The New men who, alone in this land of freedom, are York Manumission Society was found amid the general joy of surrounding free

degraded into perpetual bondage, and who, ed in 1785: John Jay was its first men, are groaning in servile subjection ; President; Alexander Hamilton its that you will devise means for removing second. Rhode Island followed in American people; that you will promote

this inconsistency of character from the 1786; Maryland in 1789; Connecti- mercy and justice toward this distressed cut in 1790; Virginia in 1791; New race; and that you will step to the very

verge of the power vested in you for disJersey in 1792. The discovery that couraging every species of traffic in the persuch societies were at war with the

sons of our fellow-men." Federal Constitution, or with the Congress courteously received this reciprocal duties of citizens of the and similar memorials, calmly conseveral States, was not made till sidered them, and decided that it had nearly forty years afterward. These no power to abolish Slavery in the of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, who de sonal dignity and independence to the capricious voted the best of his life to the cause of the mandate of party discipline, the slaveholders Cherokees, has summed up, in a letter to a sym

would not have received aid enough to carry fathizing friend, his convictions as to the ulti

their point.”—Life of Jeremiah Evarts, Boston,

1845, p. 367. mate cause of the perfidy and oppression of which they were the victims :

1 Father of one of her present U. S. Senators. " Without that disregard of human rights which is to be found among slaveholders only,

? Franklin, then 84 years of age, signed this Dothing could have been done against the Indi memorial on the 3d of February, 1790, and died ans; and without the base surrender of all per on the 17th of April following.

States which saw fit to authorize and New York provided for Gradual cherish it. There was no excitement, Emancipation in 1799. In 1817, a no menace, no fury. South Carolina further act was passed, decreeing that and Georgia, of course, opposed the there should be no Slavery in the prayer, but in parliamentary lan. State after the 4th of July, 1827. guage. It is noteworthy, that among Ten thousand slaves were set free at those who leaned furthest toward the once by this act. petitioners were Messrs. Parker and New Jersey passed an act, in 1804, Page, of Virginia—the latter in due designed to put an end to Slavery. time her Governor. They urged, not It was so very gradual in its operathat the prayer should be granted, tion, that the census of 1840 reported but that the memorial be referred, six hundred and seventy-four slaves and respectfully considered.

as still held in that State.

The frequently reiterated Southern Vermont framed a State Constitu- assertion that the Northern States tion in 1777, and embodied in it a “sold their slaves to the South, and Bill of Rights, whereof the first arti- then abolished Slavery,” is abundantcle précluded Slavery.

ly refuted. Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts framed a constitu- and doubtless most other States, by tion in 1780, wherein was embodied their acts of emancipation, imposed a Declaration of Rights, affirming severe penalties on the exportation that

of slaves. Delaware, though a Slave “All men are born free and equal, and State, long since did. and still does, have certain natural, essential, and inaliena- the same. ble rights, among which are the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties, and that of acquiring, possessing, and The North emerged from the Misprotecting property."

souri struggle chafed and mortified. The Supreme Court of that State, It felt that, with Right and Power upon the first case arising which in- both on its side, it had been badly volved the question, decided that this beaten, through the treachery of cerprovision had abolished Slavery. tain of its own representatives, whom

New Hampshire was, in like man- it proceeded to deal with accordingly. ner, held to have abolished Slavery Few, indeed-hardly one of those by her Constitution, framed in 1783. Northern members who had sided

Pennsylvania passed a Gradual with the South in that struggle were Emancipation Act, March 1, 1780. reëlected. That lesson given, what All persons born in that State after more could be done? Missouri was that day, were to be free at the age in the Union, and could not be turned of twenty-eight.

out. Arkansas was organized as a Rhode Island provided by law that | Slave Territory, and would in due all persons born in that State after time become a Slave State. What March, 1784, should be free.

use in protracting an agitation which Connecticut, in 1784, passed an had no longer a definite object ? Mr. act providing for gradual Abolition. Monroe had just been reëlected PresiShe had still two thousand seven dent, and the harmony of the party hundred and fifty-nine slaves in 1790. would be disturbed by permitting

THE SOUTH REBUKES EDWARD EVERETT.

109

In 1826 say:

the feud to become chronic. Those ed by the South. Mr. Mitchell, of who perpetuated it would be most Tennessee, though himself a slaveunlikely to share bounteously in the holder, pointedly dissented from it. distribution of Federal offices and Mr. C.C. Cambreleng, of New York, honors. Then a new Presidential (a North Carolinian by birth and contest began to loom up in the dis- training), said: tance, and all manner of speculations

“The gentleman from Massachusetts has were current, and hopes were buoy- gone too far. He has expressed opinions ant, with regard to it. Yet more:

which ought not to escape animadversion.

I heard them with great surprise and regret. the Cotton culture was 'rapidly ex I was astonished to hear him declare that panding, and with it Southern trade, Slavery-domestic Slavery-say what you bringing the Northern seaports more

will, is a condition of life, as well as any

other, to be justified by morality, religion, and more under their

sway.

and international law,” etc., etc. There had been an effort, in 1817,

And John Randolph, of Virginia to secure the passage through Congress of a more effective Fugitive —himself a life-long slaveholder and Slave Law, which was defeated, after opponent of the North—saw fit to a most spirited discussion. (March 9th), the subject of Slavery heart of that man from the North, who rises was brought before the House by Mr. heart of that man from the North, who rises

here to defend Slavery upon principle.” Edward Everett-then a new and very young member from Massachu So that, so late as 1826, the docsetts—who incidentally expressed his trine of the essential righteousness and hostility to all projects of violent Abo beneficence of Slavery had not yet lition, his readiness to shoulder a mus- been accepted in any quarter.' ket to put down a slave insurrection, and his conviction, with regard to Virginia, in 1829, assembled a Slavery, that, while it subsists, Convention of her people to revise where it subsists, its duties are pre- their Constitution. Ex-President supposed and sanctioned by religion," James Monroe' was chosen to preside, etc., etc. But this strange outburst, and was conducted to the chair by instead of being gratefully hailed and ex-President James Madison and welcomed, was repelled and reprobat- Chief Justice Marshall. The first

* Roger Brooke Taney—now Chief Justice of may be attained. And, until it shall be accomthe l'nited States—in defending as a lawyer, in plished, until the time come when we can point 1818, before a Maryland court, Rev. Jacob Gru

without a blush to the language held in the ber, charged with anti-Slavery inculcations and humanity will seek to lighten the galling chain

Declaration of Independence, every friend of acts, thus happily set forth the old Revolution

of Slavery, and better, to the utmost of his
ary idea of Slavery, and the obligations it im- power, the wretched condition of the slave."
poses :
** A hard necessity, indeed, compels us to en-

4 At Richmond, October 5th.
dare the evils of Slavery for a time. It was
imposed upon us by another nation, while yet

Mr. Monroe, in a speech (November 2d), on we were in a state of colonial vassalage. It can

the Basis of Representation, said, incidentally of not be easily or suddenly removed. Yet, while Slavery: it continues, it is a blot on our national character, and every real lover of freedom confidently "No imputation can be cast on Virginia in hopes that it will be effectually, though it must

this matter. She did all that it was in her power be gradually, wiped away, and earnestly looks to do to prevent the extension of Slavery, and to for the means by which this necessary object | mitigate its evils so far as she could."

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »