Abbildungen der Seite

estions, and presice they cry; * can we say to

strongly than the whites. Above all other things, they are attached to their native soil. To that they cling with all that tenacity, so peculiar to the Indian character. Their love of life sinks into insignificance, when compared with the overpowering influence of this principle; and with their ancient recollections, and present feelings, thronging upon their minds, almost with one voice they cry: “Let us peaceably possess our · country, or give us death. How can we say to the bones of our fathers, rise and go with us into a foreign land ?"

Let congress answer this strong and irresistible appeal, as the nation would answer it, by annulling the treaty, and putting the Creeks in the same situation they held before it was made. No other course is compatible with fair dealing, or national honour. Instead of driving them from their lands, let the government continue its efforts to civilize and attach them to the soil, and they will love and cherish the white men as their benefactors. Their posterity will rise up and call us blessed ; and a community of civilized aboriginals will exist in the bosom of this country, as the proudest evidence of the beneficence of this government, of an unstained national character, and of the power of civilization.

Before we close this article, it is, perhaps, necessary to examine two topics, which are incidentally connected with this subject. The treaty has been formally ratified on our part; and it may be objected, by those who are determined on its execution, that it cannot be rescinded without the consent of those Creeks who signed it, and that the sole tribunal to judge of its validity, is the senate. Those who raised this latter objection, do not advert to the fact, that the treaties with the Indians, though formally sanctioned by the senate, are rather internal regulations, than treaties, properly so called, which are between powers entirely independent. It is the right of the house, if it should deem it necessary, to extend its guardian shield for the protection of the Indians within our limits, from all hardship and injustice. The representatives of the people are as much interested in the preservation of our national character, as the representatives of the states; and if they should find, as they will in this case, that the treaty ought to be rescinded, they may refuse to carry it into effect. The cession of a large tract of public lands, and the stipulation to pay a sum of money, give a peculiar strength to the co-equal right of the house to examine the subject.

This objection, however, is put at rest, together with that foạnded upon the rights vested in the Creeks, who made the

treaty, by the fraud at the bottom of the transaction. If the instrument be tainted with fraud, it is void, and either branch of congress may declare it to be so. If there should be any difference of opinion on the subject between the two houses, it will then remain with the executive to say, whether, under existing circumstances, he will carry the treaty into effect. :

Such a power must' necessarily exist, or the United States would be subject to imposition, the republic liable to disgrace, and the Indians would be defrauded and exterminated, without the right of interference on the part of the government to prevent any of these catastrophes. Precedents for a similar exercise of power, may be fouud in the short history of our present government.

Under the administration of Mr. Monroe, a treaty of this sort, concluded with a portion of the Menominees, for the purchase of a large portion of their land, was declared void by the president on this very ground. Nearly all the real acknowledged chiefs of the tribe were opposed to the cession. Quarrels between those who signed, and those who opposed the treaty, immediately followed the sale ; and, as in the case of MʻIntosh, one of those signing the treaty, was put to death by the other party.

This treaty, however, was not carried into effect. The Indians were not declared in a state of hostility with the United States, and tranquillity was restored to the tribe, to the honor of our government, by annulling the agreement.*

We also feel compelled to make some remarks upon another topic, not necessarily connected with the controversy between Georgia and the Creeks, although Gov. Troup has endeavoured to join them together, or at least to create a belief, of their necessary connexion. We allude to those parts of his messages, accusing the general government of an intention to emancipate the slaves in the southern states, and to strip the inhabitants of their property without compensation. .

It is unnecessary to refute this idle accusation. It could not have been seriously made by any man in the exercise of his sober faculties, and we do not think so meanly of Gov. Troup's capacity, as to suppose, that he himself believed the administration to have adopted a policy on that subject, equally at variance with prudence and the constitution. He had no evidence upon which he could ground a charge so grave and im. portant, if true.

.* Vide p. 15 of Morse's report to the Secretary of War, 1822.

When, however, we reflect upon the extreme anxiety evinced by him to obtain these lands, and the unjustifiable means adopted for that purpose ; is it unfair to conclude, that he appealed to the prejudices of the inhabitants of the southern states, in order to induce them to make common cause with Georgia in any question, which might arise as to the validity of this treaty? He knew how sensitive they were to any interference with that species of property by the national government, and that with excited fears and inflamed passions, they might be induced to assent to conclusions, which, in their more deliberate moments, they would condemn ; and we fear that this topic was introduced to gain supporters to this system of oppression against the red men, from all, who might deem one code of morals applicable to questions between the whites, and another to those between men of different complexions. It is impossible that this appeal should produce such an effect. On the subject of slavery, it is true, our views are different from those of our southern brethren. We have declared the emancipation or freedom of the negro, so far as our state laws could reach. They have adhered to an opposite system. They have no desire to force their system upon us. We do not imagine that the national government is authorized to interfere with that subject in the several states, except in case of actual or impending rebellion. Other opinions are indeed imputed to the citizens of this quarter, whenever it is necessary to rally the southern states under one political banner; but the mass of the people of the north, while they condemn slavery, and ardently desire its extinction, still feel the difficulty under which those states, possessing that species of property, labor; and know, that it would be neither prudent, nor philanthropic, to apply a sudden remedy to an evil requiring years to cure. They wish to participate, neither in the moral responsibility, nor legislative care of this delicate business. They prefer that the evil should be left to the discretion of the state legislatures. Still, as citizens of one country, feeling the servile system to be a common weakness, they are willing that the expense of its extinction should be a common sacrifice; and while it continues to exist, it cannot be doubted, that whenever the subject shall be constitutionally before the national legislature, their votes and voices will be always consonant with the principles of that declaration, which first gave birth to the republic.

This difference of opinion, however, ought not, and, it is to be trusted, will not, operate to the injury of the Creeks in a question of an entirely different nature. Strange, indeed, must be the infatuation, and invincible the prejudice, which could bind men together in a party, whose pretext is to perpetuate and strengthen the system of slavery, and whose object is the extermination of an Indian nation, under colour of a treaty procured by deception and fraud, sanctioned with premature haste, and which must be executed by force, in violation of the plighted faith of the national government.

ART. XVIII.—The Foresters. By the Author of Lights and

Shadows of Scottish Life, and the Trials of Margaret Lyndsay. New-York. Wilder & Campbell. 1825. '

Fictitious writers, who deal largely in the sentimental and pathetic, are almost always sure to find as many mockers as admirers. We know not why it should be so, but certain it is, that the mirth of the worldling is often strangely moved at the sight of uncouth melancholy; and a profane laugh is sometimes the only tribute which is paid to a tale of “ very excellent and pitiful distress.” This is, doubtless, as frequently the fault of the unskilful story-teller, or of the blundering playwright, as it is of the unfeeling reader; nor is it wonderful, that he who has stolen the “golden keys," should sometimes, from haste or ignorance, mistake the “ gates of joy” for the 6 source of sacred tears.” But there certainly exists a propensity, increasing and extending, we fear, with the progress of civilized society, to check the display, and even to discourage the indulgence of the generous affections ; to despise the extravagance of zeal, and to doubt the sincerity of sympathy; to speak irreverently of the kindlier feelings and the tenderer humanities of our nature; to deride the sacrifices of the friend and the philanthropist, and to mock the sorrows of the mourner and the penitent. He, then, who undertakes to touch the heart, and to sway the affections of his reader, either by the frequent repetition of persuasive impulses, or by a sudden and direct excitement of his deeper and sadder associations, has engaged in an honorable but a perilous undertaking. With by far the greater proportion of civilized mankind, the milder emotions, and the more melancholy sympathies of human nature, lie deeply buried in the heart's furthest recesses, where the curiosity of their possessors seldom follows or disturbs them. Around these penetralia cordis there collects, in the progress of life, a stormy atmosphere of unfriendly fancies and angry feelings, of scornful thoughts, and selfish influences, and heartless calculations. Through this rampart of ungentle passions, jealous of the very waking of the virtuous emotions they hold in vigilant imprisonment, be who searches for the springs of the heart's action, must learn to “ force the bold, or win the secret way." He must study well the curious passes and approaches to the depths of human feeling ; he must wait his time and watch his opportunity; for if he loses the hour, or misses the path, he betrays his purpose, and, like a blundering intruder, he will be thrust out amid the shouts and the scorn of the guard, which a wordly caution has set around the movements of the heart.

We know of few modern authors, who have adventured so far in this perilous sort of writing, as the unknown author of the “ Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life,” and the “ Trials of Margaret Lyndsay," and the volume at the head of the present article. The first of these three works has met with the reception, which we have considered as peculiar to tales sentimental or pathetic. Young hearts, unskilled in the realities of life, and unsuspicious of the illusions of poetry and romance, have found in it a fertile source of those sweet and gentle agitations, in which the fancy of the youthful reader delights, above all other pleasures, to indulge. Their quick perceptions, and prompt imaginations, obey with eagerness the impulses, of which their nature has made them so peculiarly susceptible. Sighs and tears are easily commanded, when the “ electric chain with which we are darkly bound," is as pure and as bright as it always is, when this strange frame of ours is new and fresh and fit for all its functions. But this writer has not found, with older and more practised judges, so favorable a reception. Men who have mingled with the events of common life, until reason has usurped the place of feeling, and imagination has lost its very life, look coldly and contemptuously upon all endeavors to betray them into tenderness, or force them into generous enthusiasm. To such men, and all who have lived in the great world are such, the appeals to the affections, which this author is perpetually making, are either utterly disregarded or scornfully repelled, and the obstinacy of his solicitations but confirms their aversion, or excites their disgust. It is, perhaps, in vain to seek a remedy for this. The source of the evil lies deep in the constitution of our nature; and man, as he grows old, must see with older eyes. The sublime has been said to be but a step removed from the ridiculous; if so, we are inclined to assign a place to the pathetic,

« ZurückWeiter »