« PreviousContinue »
languages of the earth, without losing what may be called its personal identity, the great minds of antiquity continue to hold their ascendency over the opinions, manners, characters, institutions and events of all ages and nations, through which their posthumous compositions have found way, and been made the earliest subjects of study, the highest standards of morals, and the most perfect examples of taste to the master minds in every state of civilized society. In this respect, the words of inspired prophets and apostles among the Jews, and those of gifted writers among the ancient Gentiles, may truly be " said to last for ever.”
Extract from a Speech on the Indian Bill, in the Congress
of the United States.—Isaac C. Bates.
Sır, you cannot take a step in the argument towards the result contended for by the friends of this bill, without blotting out a treaty, or tearing a seal from your bond. I give to the bill the connection which it has in fact, whatever may be said to the contrary, with the laws of the states to which it is subsidiary, and with the decision of the president, that the Indians must submit or remove. Now, sir, I say you are bound to protect them where they are, if they claim it at your hands; that you violate no right of the states in doing it, and will violate the rights of the Indian nations by not doing it; that when the United States, in consideration of the cession of land made by the Chero kees to this government, guarantied to them the "remainder of their country for ever," you meant something by it. Sir, it is in vain to talk upon this question ; impossible patiently to discuss it. If you have honor, it is pledged; if you have truth, it is pledged; if you have faith, it is pledged ;-a nation's faith, and truth, and honor! And to whom pledged ? To the weak, the defenceless, the dependent. We chose to covenant with the Americans, they say to you. Selecting your faith, and no other,---you would not have it otherwise,—we reposed our trust and confidence in you, and
you alone. And for what pledged? Wherever you open your eyes, you see it, and wherever you plant your foot upon the earth, you stand upon it. And by whom pledged! By a nation in its youth-a republic, boastful of its liberty; may it never be added, unmindful of its honor. Sir, your decision upon this subject is not to be rolled up in the scroll of your journal, and forgotten. The transaction of this day, with the events it will give rise to, will stand out upon the canvass in all future delineations of this quarter of the globe, putting your deeds of glory in the shade. You will see it every where-on the page
of his tory, in the essay of the moralist, in the tract of the jurist. You will see it in the vision of the poet; you will feel it in the sting of the satirist; you will encounter it in the indignant frown of the friend of liberty and the rights of man, wherever despotism has not subdued to its dominion the very look. You will meet it
upon the stage; you will read it in the novel; and the eyes of your children's children, throughout all generations, will gush with tears as they run over the story, unless the oblivion of another age of darkness should come over the world, and blot out the record and the memory of it. And, sir, you will meet it at the bar above. The Cherokees, if they are men, cannot submit to such laws and such degradation. They must go. Urged by such persuasion, they must consent to go. If you will not interfere in their behalf, the result is inevitable—the object will be accomplished. When the Cherokee takes his last look of the cabin he has reared-of the field he has cultivated of the mound that covers the ashes of his fathers for unknown generations, and of his family and friends, and leaves all to be desecrated by the greedy and obtrusive borderer-sir, I will not venture upon a description of this scene of a nation's exit and exile. I will only say I would not encounter the secret, silent
prayer that should be breathed from the heart of one of these sufferers, armed with the energy that faith and hope would give it, if there be a God that avenges the wrongs of the in-. jured, for all the land the sun has looked upon. These children of nature will go to the stake, and bid you strike without the motion of a muscle; but if they can bear this; if they have reduced whatever there is of earth about them to such a subjection to the spirit within, as to bear this, we are the men to go into the wilderness, and leave them here as our betters.
There are many collateral arguments, bearing upon the main point of this discussion, that I intended to have urged, and many directly in my way, that I have passed over, and most of them I have but touched. But, full of interest as this question is, I dare not venture longer upon the patience of the House. At this age of the world, and in view of what the original possessors of this continent have been, and what we were, and of what they have become, and we are; any thing but the deep and lasting infamy—to say nothing of the appalling guilt-of a breach of faith with the Indian tribes. If the great men who have gone before us were so improvident as to involve the United States in contradictory and incompatible obligations, a breach of faith with all the world besides, rather than with these our confiding neighbors. If we must be made to blush, let it be before our equals. Let there be at least dignity in our humiliation, and something besides unmixed selfishness and domineering cowardice in the act that produces it.
Sabbath Days.-BERNARD BARTON.
Types of eternal rest, fair buds of bliss,
In heavenly flowers unfolding week by week, The next world's gladness imaged forth in this,
Days of whose worth the Christian heart can speak.
Eternity in time, the steps by which
We climb to future ages, lamps that light
Yielding redemption for the week's dull flight.
Wakeners of prayer in man, his resting bowers,
As on he journeys in the narrow way, Where, Eden-like, Jehovah's walking hours
Are waited for as in the cool of day.
Days fixed by God for intercourse with dust,
To raise our thoughts and purify our powers, Periods appointed to renew our trust,
A gleam of glory after six days' showers.
A milky way, marked out, through skie's else drear,
By radiant suns that warm as well as shine; A clue, which he who follows knows no fear,
Though briers and thorns around his pathway twine.
Foretastes of heaven on earth, pledges of joy
Surpassing fancy's flight and fiction's story, The preludes of a feast that cannot cloy,
And the bright out-courts of immortal glory.
Prospects of the Cherokees.—PELEG SPRAGUE.
Whither are the Cherokees to go? What are the benefits of the change? What system has been matured for their security ? what laws for their government? These questions are answered only by gilded promises in general terms; they are to become enlightened and civilized husbandmen.
They now live by the cultivation of the soil and the mechanic arts. It is proposed to send them from their cotton fields, their farms and their gardens, to a distant and an unsubdued wilderness—to make them tillers of the earth!—to remove them from their looms, their work-shops, their printing-press, their schools and churches, near the white settlements, to frowning forests, surrounded with naked savages—that they may become enlightened and civilized! We have pledged to them our protection; and, instead of shielding them where they now are, within our reach, under our own arm, we send these natives of a southern clime to northern regions, amongst fierce and warlike barbarians. And what security do we propose to them ?-A new guaranty! Who can look an Indian in the face, and say to him, We and our fathers, for more than forty years, have made to you the most solemn promises : we now violate and trample upon them all; but offer you in their stead-another guaranty !
Will they be in no danger of attack from the primitive inhabitants of the regions to which they emigrate? How can it be otherwise ? The official documents show us the fact, that some of the few who have already gone, were involved in conflicts with the native tribes, and compelled to a second removal.
How are they to subsist? Has not that country now as great an Indian population as it can sustain? What has become of the original occupants? Have we not already caused accessions to their numbers, and been compressing them more and more? Is not the consequence inevitable, that some must be stinted in the means of subsistence?. Here, too, we have the light of experience. By an official communication from governor Clark, the superintendent of Indian affairs, we learn that the most powerful tribes, west of the Mississippi, are, every year, so distressed by famine, that many
die for want of food. The scenes of their suffering are hardly exceeded by the sieges of Jerusalem and Samaria. There might be seen the miserable mother, in