A Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 172 pages of information about A Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America.
with that state, or to cancel thirteen distinct treaties entered into with the Indians, despoil them of their lands, and rob them of their independence.  Jackson’s message says, “It is too late to inquire whether it was just in the United States to include them and their territory within bounds of new states, whose limits they could control.  That step cannot be retracted.  A state cannot be dismembered by Congress, or restrained in the exercise of her constitutional powers.”  Here the executive government acknowledges that it made promises to Georgia, which it has been unable to perform—­that it guaranteed to that state the possession of lands over which it had no legitimate control, on the mere assumption of being able to make their purchase.

The Cherokees in their petition and memorials to Congress show, that Great Britain never exercised any sovereignty over them;—­that in peace and in war she always treated them as a free people, and never assumed to herself the right of interfering with their internal government:—­that in every treaty made with them by the United States, their sovereignty and total independence are clearly acknowledged, and that they have ever been considered as a distinct nation, exercising all the privileges and immunities enjoyed by any independent people.  They say, “In addition to that first of all rights, the right of inheritance and peaceable possession, we have the faith and pledge of the United States, over and over again, in treaties made at various times.  By these treaties our rights as a separate people are distinctly acknowledged, and guarantees given that they shall be secured and protected.  So we have also understood the treaties.  The conduct of the government towards us, from its organization until very lately—­the talks given to our beloved men by the Presidents of the United States—­and the speeches of the agents and commissioners—­all concur to show that we are not mistaken in our interpretation.  Some of our beloved men who signed the treaties are still living, and their testimony tends to the same conclusion.” * * * * “In what light shall we view the conduct of the United States and Georgia in their intercourse with us, in urging us to enter into treaties and cede lands?  If we were but tenants at will, why was it necessary that our consent must first be obtained before these governments could take lawful possession of our lands?  The answer is obvious.  These governments perfectly understand our rights—­our right to the country, and our right to self-government.  Our understanding of the treaties is further supported by the intercourse law of the United States, which prohibits all encroachment on our territory.”

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A Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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