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On the Panama Mission-(in conclave.)
sir, that we have nothing in the world to do with " tions belonging EXCLUSIVELY to the belligerents.' then, not suit the action to the word? Why not wait a lit- send these Ministers to the Congress at Panama. I admit ques-surely enough until some part of it is refuted-to justify tle while for the question to be disposed of? Why rush that Congress to be a wise measure for the Spanish AmeWhy, the Senate in withholding its advice to the President to forward to commit our neutral character upon a discussion rican States, as our Congress was a wise one for us in 1778; of belligerent questions in a council of war? And here I but it is impossible for us to advise this mission in any of will bring out the suggestion which I have hinted at be- the various forms, or under any of the names and colors, in fore. Iintimated that the Confederates did not wish our which it has been presented to us. Ministers to be present at the forepart of this Congress. nisters into the Congress: for that would make us a party to In making this suggestion, I went upon the obvious prin- it; we cannot send them to it: for they are not sovereign ciple, that they did not want counsellors to dissuade them to receive them. We cannot send Mifrom doing what they were determined to do, and what for that is an organized body, and our Ministers will be inany skilful and capable belligerents will do-carry the war dividual. We cannot send them to hang about it, and We cannot send them to act with it: into the enemy's country-invade Cuba, Porto Rico, the talk, and remit home accounts of consultations: for they Canaries, the Philippines, and Old Spain herself, upon her are accredited to nations, and cannot sink to the condition own coasts, and within the Pillars of Hercules! And for of unofficial Agents and Lobby Ministers. the truth of this suggestion, I now hold the proof. Mr. Obregon's letter furnishes it. He tells us that the belligerent questions are now under discussion; that they concern the Confederates "exclusively," and what stronger intimation could a gentleman give, that the time has not arrived for us to go to the Congress, and that we should be excluded if now there?
Then comes Com
exhibited under forms to catch the public favor. Religion, Liberty, and Commerce! Such are the banners unBut the mission is said to be popular. Certainly it is der which it goes forth! Banners well calculated to draw after them a crowd of followers from every walk and station in life. The prospect of a political crusade against But, gentlemen say that we shall be anticipated, and Church, must warm the hearts and command the benediccounteracted, if we do not send immediately; that a Power tions of every religious sect in the Union. the "bigotry and oppression" of the Roman Catholic which never sleeps when her interest is at stake, will be tarians, who are not Christians, must be struck with joy, before us with her operations upon the Isthmus. ed, sir; because that Nation will do what we ought to have of a Sacred Alliance of Republics, to counterpoise the Even the Unidone-send an Agent, without diplomatic character or Holy Alliance of Kings, must fire the souls of all the votaGrant- and filled with delight, at beholding it. The institution privilege. "La Senora de las Naciones" will, doubtless, ries of Liberty. The generous Republicans of the West be there; not in the questionable and clumsy shape of a must be particularly inflamed by it. formal Embassy, but in the active, subtle, penetrating, merce, with her golden train, to excite the cupidity and and pervading form of unofficial Agents, speaking the to fire the avarice of the trading districts. New Orleans, language of the country, and establishing themselves on Charleston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Bosthe basis of social intercourse in every Minister's family; ton, must see their riches suspended upon the issue of this and this is precisely what we should have done. should have sent an Agent, as President Washington sent country, mountain, valley, and sea-coast; every class of ciGouverneur Morris to London, in 1790, or a Commission- tizens, and all denominations of religious sects, must find We mission to the Isthmus. In a word, every section of the er, as President Monroe sent Messrs. Rodney, Prevost, something in it to suit their particular taste, and to accomand Brackenridge, to South America, in 1817. This Pa- modate their individual wishes. It will be to no purpose nama mission is a case for Agents, and not for Ministers. that Prudence, in the form of a Senatorial minority, shall Every object to be accomplished by Ministers might have come limping on behind, and endeavoring to prove that been accomplished by Agents or Commissioners, the all these expectations are vain and illusory. greater part of the expense saved, and the breach of the lation will avail nothing against the fascinations of Religion, Constitution, and of the Law of Nations, avoided. Agents Liberty, and Commerce. Two of these objects alone, se or Commissioners could have expressed our good wishes, far back as three hundred years ago, precipitated the Old Cold calcumade explanations, held consultations, given advice, if re- upon the New World; fired the souls of Cortes, Pizarro, quested, and sent home reports of all they saw and did. and their followers; overturned the thrones of Montezuma This is all that either of the Senators propose the Ministers and the Incas, and lighted up a flame in which the 'Childto do for they agree, with us, that they cannot negotiate ren of the Sun' were consumed like stubble. What, then, treaties. The name of Agent, or Commissioner, would may not be expected, when, to the inspirations and the not have prevented the first citizens of the Republic from glitter of these two objects, are added the noble impulgoing out on this service. not inferior to Messrs. Anderson or Sergeant in point of as are all these causes of popular excitement, the success Mr. Gouverneur Morris was sions and the brilliant attractions of Liberty? But great talents, yet, upon the letter of President Washington, and popularity of the mission is not allowed to rest excluwithout diplomatic character or privilege, or ambassado- sively upon them. The terrors of denunciation are superrial outfit, he held consultations with the Duke of Leeds added to the charms of seduction. Those who cannot be and Mr. Pitt, transmitted the result to his own Govern- won by caresses, must be subdued by menace. ment, and paved the way for the commercial treaty which co-ordinate, and bodies not co-ordinate, have been set in followed. And this did not degrade Mr. Morris, who had motion against the Senate. Loud clamors beset our walls. been a Member of the old Congress, Deputy in the Con- The cry of "faction!" "opposition!" "unprincipled!" vention which framed this Constitution, and Member of resound through the streets. A body this Senate under the Constitution; nor prevent him from hesitates! Wo to him that refuses his advice! Wo to being appointed, soon after, Minister Plenipotentiary and him that asks for information before he gives it! To withEnvoy Extraordinary to Louis the 16th. So, of Mr. Rod- hold advice is to deny confidence-to deny confidence, is Wo to the Senator that ney, and of his rank of Commissioner to South America, to oppose the Administration-to oppose the Administrawhich did not prevent him from becoming, afterwards, Se- tion is to commit a crime of the greatest enormity; for the nator and Minister. and filled with avenging spirits. instant punishment of which, the air itself seems to be alive
I think, Mr. President, that enough has now been said,
This was spoken in the Senate on the 13th. Two weeks afterwards, we received information that Mr. DAWKINS British Commissioner, was on his way to Panama. Commissioner, not Minister.-Note by Mr. B.
On the Panama Mission-(in conclave.)
but that day being spent in Executive business, I had not time to look into these documents before this morning, previous to the sitting of the Senate. Thus unprepared with information from authentic documents, I was left to derive it from the very learned and eloquent arguments which I have heard delivered on this floor, by several members of the Senate. But, unfortunately for me, all the arguments I have heard have been on one side, and against the constitutionality as well as the expediency of the mission. They threw a strong and glaring light upon the question; but then the facts from which they reasoned were almost entirely unknown to me; and, hence, I was unable properly to appreciate their reasoning, or to see with precision the precise points in contest between the opposing parties. Before I took my seat in the Senate, it is obvious my information, in reference to this mission, must have been extremely vague and indistinct. I had seen it mentioned in the papers, and heard it spoken of in conversation; but then I had no means, as the constitutional adviser of the President, to form any definite opinion upon the subject.
I have now finished, Mr. President, what I had to say. I do not mean to recapitulate. I am no enemy to the new Republies to the South. On the contrary, I have watched their progress with all the solicitude of a partizan and all the enthusiasm of a devotee, from the first impulsion at Buenos Ayres, in 1806, and at Dolores, in 1808, down to the "crowning mercy" at Ayachucho, in 1824. I saw with pride and joy the old Castilian character emerging from the cloud under which it had been hid for three hundred years. When first on this floor, in 1821-2, I voted for the recognition of the new Republics-I gave my vote with a heart swelling with joy for the greatness of the event, and with gratitude to God that he had made me a witness to see, and an instrument to aid it. Whether these Republics shall be able to maintain their independence, and the free form of their Governments, is not for me to say, nor is the decision of that question material to my decision of this. I wish them to be free and Republican, and I shall act upon the presumption that they are to be so. I wish for their friendship and commerce, and, to obtain these advantages, I have advised the sending of Ministers to all the States, no matter how young and unimportant, and would now advise an Agent or Commissioner to be sent to Panama. I will not despair of these young Republics. Under all their disadvantages, they have done wonders. The bursting of the chains which bound them to Old Spain, and the adoption of our form of Government, is a stupendous effort for a People sunk for ages in civil and religious despotism. BOLIVAR, VICTORIA, BRAVO, and a host of others, have deserved well of the human race. They have fixed the regards and the hopes of the civilized world. I trust that these hopes will not be disappointed; but in this age of miracles, when events suc-and urged with great eloquence, that we are now happy cced each other with so much rapidity; when the diadem has been seen to sparkle on the brow of the Republican General, it is not for me to hail any man as WASHINGTON until he shall have been canonized by the seal of death. [Mr. RANDOLPH concluded the debate in a very long speech, not reported for the reason before stated: after which, late in the night of the 14th, the final questions were taken on this subject, as stated in the preceding record of Executive Proceedings.
Previously, however, to the question's being taken, the following reasons were assigned by Mr. REED, of Mississippi, for asking to be excused from voting upon the nomination.]
Mr. REED, when the vote was about to be taken in the Senate, upon the nomination of Ministers to attend the Congress of Nations at Panama, rose and observed as follows:
It seems to be considered, on all hands, to be a measure as important as any propounded to the Senate since the first organization of the Government, and those opposed to it think it is a measure calculated to work an entire change in our foreign policy and exterior relations. They have said that our policy, hitherto, had been to abstain from entangling alliances, and that this policy was consecrated by the parting advice of the Father of his Country; but that the institution of this mission would tend to countervail this policy, and establish a new system of diplomatic intercourse abroad. It has been said in debate, at home, and as prosperous as a wise People could wish to be, and that the experiment of bettering our condition by a crusade in favor of the Spanish American Nations in the Southern part of our hemisphere, would be more rothe Sepulchre of Christ from the pollution of the Moslems. mantic than the crusades of the Middle Ages, to redeem Considerations, too, have been urged with great force, applicable peculiarly to the Southern and slave-holding
same time that my judgment has not been convinced. I confess that my imagination has been alarmed at the If it be true, as has been stated, that the condition of Hayti, in the great family of nations, is to be fixed at the Congress of Panama, and that Assembly is to have the power of giving Hayt! equal rank with communities of men composed of the descendants of the Saxons, the Franks, and ancient Germans, why then I shall be prepared to deprecate a mission charged with such deleterious powers. Mr. President: I take leave to observe to the Senate, But if, as has been said in conversation, one of the objects that I arrived in this city on the evening of the 10th inst. of the mission is to prevent this disastrous recognition, then after a very fatiguing journey, by water and land, com- I am prepared to see in it objects greatly salutary to the mencing on the 5th of February, and laboring under the interests of the Southern People bordering upon the Gulf effects of influenza, with which I have been severely af of Mexico. It has also been urged in argument, that the flicted on my way hither. It is known to the Senate that Congress of Panama may so dispose of the destinies of I took my seat in this honorable body, for the first time, Cuba and Porto Rico, as to have the most pernicious influon Saturday, the 11th instant. Immediately upon being ence upon the feelings and passions of a separate caste of qualified, I applied to the Secretary of the Senate for a People, which Providence has permitted to exist among copy of the confidential communications made by the Pre- us. If the torch of revolution and of servile war is to be sident to the Senate, relative to the contemplated mission lighted up in those Islands, in order to rescue them from to the Congress of American Nations at Panama, with a the imbecile hands of Ferdinand, and to place them under view to inform myself of the basis on which the mission the banners, besmeared with the blood of the white man, was sought to be instituted, and the reasons offered in fa- of equal liberty and "universal emancipation," then the vor of it. The Secretary informed me that all the copies Southern States should take no part or lot in such an unprinted for the use of the Senate had been disposed of, holy mission. But, it is said on the other side, in conver and he had not one in his possession to give me. On the sation, that one of the principal objects of the mission is to next day I applied to an honorable friend of mine, (a Se-prevent such a state of things in those Islands as may imnator from Kentucky,) for the use of his copy, which was part itself to our adjacent shores. In fine, sir, it has been obligingly furnished, but material parts of which were out said that the wrongs of Africa were to be avenged in this of place, and which I did not then obtain. On Monday Congress of infant nations, and the crimes of many centumorning, shortly before the meeting of the Senate, Iries were to be obliterated, by one great effort made in obtained a complete copy from my friend and colleague; the cause of humanity. That the black man was to be
[MARCH 15, 17, 1826.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15.
This day, the decease of the Hon. CHRISTOPHER RANKIN, a member of the House of Representatives, was announced by message: and the Senate adjourned to Friday, after determining to attend the funeral to-morrow.
FRIDAY, MARCH 17.
MILITARY APPROPRIATION BILL.
On motion of Mr. SMITH, the Senate proceeded to the consideration of the Military Appropriation bill. The bill having been read through
restored to his long lost rights, and the principle of "universal emancipation" was to be engraved upon the altar around which the Congress of Panama was to assemble. But, on the other hand, it has been said, that each nation represented at Panama, was to retain its sovereignty and its independence, and its right to regulate its own interior concerns, without the impulse of any foreign action, and that the Congress might be useful in restraining the Southern nations in this regard, and protecting ourselves from the contagion of their opinions. Amidst this conflict of opinions, how can I be prepared at present to decide? I represent here, in part, a sovereign State, which has placed its highest interests in my hands. I am unfortunately Mr. COBB said, he had no desire to vote against the placed, by circumstances, in a crisis where I am unable to passage of this bill, so far as the appropriations were diact with becoming dignity and circumspection upon this rectly confined to the military service of the year; but it momentous question. The Senate have been debating it did seem to him that, by some kind of process, things had for two months, and upwards, and their most enlightened got into the bill which did not belong to it. What had statesmen yet widely differ in opinion upon it. How can the Cumberland Road, for instance, to do with the miliI, then, be prepared to speak the voice of my constitu- tary service-either the continuation of the road, or for ents, or the results of an enlightened judgment, under the repairs made on it; or the appropriation for deepening circumstances I have detailed? I was not sent here to en- the channel of the entrance into the harbor of Presque list under the banners of any party; but to represent a com- Isle? These were certainly not matters which belonged munity of enlightened freemen, upon the principles of to the military service of the year. His object, he said, the Constitution, under which I hope to preserve their li- was to strike out all these objects; they were separate berties and their rights unimpaired. In such a state of and distinct things; and if matters of internal improvethings, inaction is safest, while a vote at hazard might af- ment were to be adopted, a separate bill ought to be infect the best interests of the Republic. If I should ask to troduced for them. With the view, therefore, that genbe excused for voting, where I had opportunities equal tlemen who thought with him on the subject, might not with my colleagues of forming an opinion, such a request have to vote against the whole bill, instead of these few would be at once the evidence of imbecility, and a cow-paragraphs, he moved to strike out from the 67th line to ardly desertion of my post. My constituents would not the 72d line, inclusive, (comprising $110,000 for the consustain me in it, and my own conscience would never tinuation of the Cumberland Road, $749 for repairs in cease to reproach me. But I am about to ask the indul- 1825, $7,000 for the works at Presque Isle, and $50,000 gence of the Senate to be excused from voting, where, to for defraying the expenses incidental to making examinaact, might happen to be right, but, also, might happen to tions, surveys, &c. preparatory to, and in aid of, the formbe wrong. I am called upon to adre the President to ation of Roads and Canals.] Without going into the geinstitute this Mission to Panama, and yet I am not suffi- neral question of the power of Congress on the subject of ciently advised of and upon the premises, myself. The internal improvements, these were appropriations, Mr. C. President is a Constitutional organ in the initiatory steps said, not belonging to the military service of the year, and of this Mission, and in making the nomination of Envoys. ought to be separated by a distinct bill, where gentlemen He has been practised in matters of diplomacy, and the would have it in their power to record their votes on the affairs of States from his youth. This consideration, principle, and not be obliged to vote against the approthough it cannot bind me, without reflection, to follow in priation bill on account of these items. his wake; yet it ought to lead me to reflect profoundly before I undertake to condemn his measures. I do not, therefore, feel that I have the requisite information upon this great question. I shall take occasion to make up my opinion before the Mission is consummated, by the act making an appropriation to carry it into effect; and that shall be formed upon a full survey of every consideration in its favor and against it, which can suggest itself to my feeble, but I hope, impartial judgment. I should be grieved to find the gentleman from Virginia opposed to granting me an indulgence under circumstances which cannot impeach my firmness and independence. I heard that gentleman deliver his finest speeches upon the floor of the other House twenty years ago, which afford, in my opinion, specimens of the purest idiom of the English tongue, and of the best style of eloquence since the days of Chatham and Burke. He then seized upon my youthful imagination, and I have never ceased to regard him as a man of the most delicate honor, and distinguished powers in debate. I believe he will see reasons, compatible with the nicest honor and firmest independence, to give his vote for excusing me upon this occasion.
I therefore move, Mr. President, that the Senate excuse me from the vote now to be taken upon the resolution reported by the Committee of Foreign Affairs, declaring that it is not expedient to send Ministers to the Congress of Nations to be assembled at Panama.
[Mr. REED was excused accordingly, as stated in the preceding record.]
Mr. SMITH said, the appropriation for the continuation of the Cumberland Road was last year adopted; and the Committee to whom the bill was referred, finding these articles contained in it, presumed it was the inten tion of Congress to continue the road as far as the Mississippi.
Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, said he did not intend to occupy the time of the Senate by entering into the discussion of a principle which had been acted on for twenty years. The nature of this country and of our Government is such, Mr. J. said, that while the Hon. gentleman from Georgia wanted an appropriation of $100,000, to remove some obstructions in the river Savannah, the People in the interior of the Western country want an appropriation of the same amount to continue this same national road, by which they might enjoy some facilities of intercourse, not only as regarded the Post Office Department, but some little comfort, also, in coming to the seat of Government. Mr. J. said he had looked with pleasure on the report of the Committee on Commerce on this appropriation of $100,000 for the special benefit of a part of Georgia, because he believed it was for the benefit of the whole United States; because the interest of one part is connected with the interest of all. He did not notice this in an invidious manner; far from it. The Western People had no sea-port. No Philadelphia, no Baltimore, where to erect an arsenal; they could not call on Congress for a part of the four or five hundred thousand dollars appropriated for the erection of offices; they came into the
* Mr. RANDOLPH had Intimated an inclination that Mr. REED should not be excused from voting.
MARCH 17-20, 1826.]
Executive Proceedings—Indian Relations, &c.
tive and the Senate, ought, for the public interest, to be
On motion, by Mr. RANDOLPH,
Union too soon to get any part of the ten millions appropriated annually as a sinking fund for the payment of the debts of this Union; they lived too far in the interior to ask for fortifications; the stout hearts and the strong arms of the militia were, he said, the barrier to the interior settlements; they did not call for fortifications. But when the subject was introduced, the Western People did not shrink from the appropriations for erecting fortifications on the sea-board, and on the rivers running up from the sea-board to the heart of the different States of the Union. It was entitled to some consideration, that the interior States could only, in this way, present their legitimate claims to the consideration and patronage of the General Government, unless the Constitution should be placed in the way to prevent it. When that should be the case, Mr. J. said he would ask no individual to vote for the appropriation. But this for the Cumberland Road had been admitted and repeated for a period of twenty years: yet at every session some honorable members think it their Resolved, That the States of South Carolina and Alabaduty to oppose it. He regretted this, because his honor-ma, being unrepresented, in consequence of the death of able friend from Georgia could not vote for that which would give interest and advantage, though not equal advantage, to every part of the Union, from the conviction on his mind that the Constitution interposed a barrier. Their object was, Mr. J. said, to have this road go on to the Mississippi; and he hoped, when it got there, it would not stop short of the Rocky Mountains, if indeed our population is to proceed so far. They asked for it now, and while they bore the burthen and heat of the day with any portion of the country, they were entitled to equal privileges and equal advantages; and where the Constitution did not oppose a barrier, he was well aware his honorable friend would not refuse.
Mr. BENTON was in expectation that the bill would have passed without producing discussion; but as that was not the case, he felt compelled to move to lay the bill on the table, with a view of moving afterwards to go into the consideration of Executive business.
The motion prevailed, and the Senate then proceeded to the consideration of Executive business.
EXECUTIVE PROCEEDINGS THIS DAY.
Ordered, That the following motion made by Mr. RANDOLPU, on the 14th March, and afterwards withdrawn, be entered on the Journal.
JoHN GAILLARD, and of HENRY CHAMBERS; and the State of Virginia being also unrepresented, by the unavoidable absence of LITTLETON WALLER TAZEWELL; and the State of Mississippi, by the vote that THOMAS B. REED, one of the Senators, be excused from voting, he not having had time to make up his opinion, so as to be prepared to vote understandingly on the question: The Senate cannot, on a question involving the dignity and neutrality of the United States, and the fundamental principles of their union, and the peace and security of a great subdivision of the Confederacy, proceed to consider the nominations, until the States shall be more fully represented.
On motion, by Mr. HAYNE,
Ordered, That the injunction of secrecy be removed from the foregoing proceedings, and that the Secretary cause the same to be published. Extracts from the Journal. Attest,
WALTER LOWRIE, Secretary.
MONDAY, MARCH 20, 1826.
Mr. HOLMES rose to offer a resolution, to call, as he said, for light. He understood there had been an invention effected by the Legislative Council of Florida, calMr.culated to throw considerable light on this world. It is, said he, an invention in arithmetic, much more celebrated than that which was effected in another part of the United States not long since. Mr. H. said he was not able to give a precise account of it, but he was told that, by means of this invention, a member of the Legislative Council, who travels two or three hundred miles, can contrive to make out twelve or thirteen hundred miles. This he thought a very important discovery, and particularly interesting to He therethe Members of Congress, about to go home. fore offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Senate having, on the 15th day of February, passed the following resolutions:
"Resolved, That, upon the question whether the United States shall be represented in the Congress of Panama, the Senate ought to act with open doors; unless it shall appear that the publication of documents necessary to be referred to in debate, will be prejudicial to existing nego
"Resolved, That the President be respectfully requested to inform the Senate whether such objection exists to the publication of the documents communicated by the Executive, or any portion of them; and, if so, to specify the parts, the publication of which would, for that reason, be objectionable."
To which the President returned the following Message in answer, viz.
"WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 1826.
"To the Senate of the United States:
"In answer to the two resolutions of the Senate, of the 15th instant, marked (Executive,) and which I have received, I state, respectfully, that all the communications from me to the Senate, relating to the Congress at Panama, have been made, like all other communications on Executive business, in confidence, and most of them in compliance with a resolution of the Senate requesting them confidentially. Believing that the established usage of free confidential communications, between the Execu
“Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be directed to communicate to the Senate the amount of compensation charged and allowed to each Member of the Legislative Council of Florida, for the last year, for travelling to and from, and attendance on, the session of said Council; together with the certificates and vouchers on which the accounts have been allowed and paid."
Mr. REED rose to offer a resolution, which, as it embraced some principles on which he believed the Senate had not hitherto been called upon to act, he begged leave to submit a few remarks by way of explanation.
Mr. R. said it struck him that this resolution which he was about to offer to the Senate, involved some principles in which several of the States of this Union had a joint, and something like an equal, concern. It related to the In dians, and to the light in which they were to be viewed by this Government. It was well known, Mr. R. said, to every member of this honorable body, that there were se
[MARCH 20, 1826.
veral States of the Union, a great portion of whose Terri- and criminals from every part of the Union. This state of tory is in the occupancy of the aborignal inhabitants; and things ought not to be endured, and he intended to offer a he presumed it was already known to the Senate that more resolution, which had in view the taking the sense of this than half of the State of Mississippi, which he had the ho- body, whether it was competent for them to extend to our nor, in part, to represent, is still in the occupation of the own citizens, who happen to be within the Indian territory, Indian tribes the Choctaw and the Chickasaw nations. the process of the Courts of the United States, in order In regard to the action of the State laws on these People, that justice might be done. At present, as far as he had there never had been any difficulty, nor was it ever sought been able to investigate the subject, it was the opinion of on the part of the State of Mississippi, to extend its juris- some able jurists on this point, that process does not exdiction over them; but there were evils growing out of their tend to persons residing in the Indian territory-and he situation in this territory, which required the consideration would wish to bring to the consideration of the Legislaof this Government. Mr. R. said he did not mean to call tive authority of the Union, the question, whether it is the attention of the Senate to the actual condition of these competent for us to extend our civil and criminal process; People who inhabit the territory within the limits of the or whether it is one of the appendages-one of these PeoState; his object was to call the serious consideration of ple's rights, as sovereigns, to afford a sanctuary to vagathe Senate to the condition of our own citizens, who, after bonds from every part of the Union, and who are of no having committed crimes, or contracted debts, locate them-service, but detrimental to the Indians themselves. selves amongst these Indians, and consider themselves as There was, Mr. R. said, another question involved in beyond the jurisdiction of our laws. He would recount this matter, which he was very anxious to bring before the to the Senate some singular facts, which, he believed, to consideration of the proper authority of the Union. How the same extent, existed in no other State of the Union, | far it is within the competency of the State to extend the and which he thought would go far to show that some-action of its own laws, without the aid of the United thing, if within the competency of this Government, ought to be done on this subject.
States, to persons thus circumstanced, is a question somewhat novel, and has never been decided. Being forcibly There is, said Mr. R. in the territorial limits of the State struck with the importance of this question to the States of Mississippi, and near to the white settlements, one of within whose territorial limits the Indian territory is situatthe most beautiful regions in the wor'd, called Lake ed, at the last session of the Legislature of Mississippi, a Washington. The territory surrounding it is most beau- proposition was made to extend the civil power of their tiful, the soil is rich, and this lake and territory are both Courts to their own citizens who had contracted debts situated within the Indian territory. A man, notorious for within the State, and had fled to this savage sanctuary: the the commission of various crimes in the State of Tennes- matter was debated for many days, and it was at last desec, has fled for refuge within the jurisdiction of these In- cided that there existed no power in the State to extend dians, and has subject to his jurisdiction, by a kind of feu- the action of its laws in the manner which was sought by dal sovereignty, fifty or a hundred persons, living on this the proposition before the Legislature. Mr. R. said his lake, who know no other authority but his own. These own opinion on this point was, that it is in the power of the persons are exempted from the jurisdiction of the laws of State to act within its own territorial limits, so far as to the Union, and cannot be reached by the laws of the State serve its own civil process, and the action of its laws, on of Mississippi. This was a state of things, Mr. R. said, citizens who may have contracted obligations. The State the Senate would easily perceive, was not to be endured, decided otherwise, and said it was a matter for the Geneand if there was any thing within the competency of the ral Government; therefore, if there was any remedy on Senate to remedy the evil, it was time it should be done. this subject to be obtained, it was to be at the hands of the There was another fact which had fallen within his obser- General Government, and not by force of any competent vation. A man emigrated from Georgia twenty years ago, authority in the State Government. The resolution he and settled amongst the Choctaw Indians. He acquired was about to submit, Mr. R. said, would go to investigate property to a large amount, and he recently died without this point, in which he considered rights of high imporleaving any legitimate heirs in the place where he lived tance to be involved-his proposition would go to inquire and died. His brother came on to claim the property; he how far it is competent for the State alone, by its own auapplied to counsel for an opinion; it was given, and de- thority and power, without the aid of the General Governcided that the State laws did not extend to the case, and ment, to act within their own territory, on their own citithat no remedy whatever could be provided, to put him zens, who had contracted obligations amongst the whites, in possession of the property. Even some of the Offi-and then had fled to the Indian territories. On the subcers of Government, now resident in the Choctaw nation,ject of this resolution, Mr. R. begged the particular attenare considered as entirely beyond the reach of the laws of tion of the gentlemen from Georgia and Alabama. One the United States, or the State laws. It had occurred to question which was involved, would be, to see how far it him, therefore, that it was a duty incumbent on him to call is in the competence of any State situated as his or theirs this matter to the consideration of the competent authori- were, to act on this subject, without invoking the aid of ty of the United States. He repeated, it was not sought the General Government. If, upon investigation, it was on the part of the State of Mississippi, or by her Senators | found that the States have no such competency by their in this House, to enforce the action of the laws on the In- individual efforts, to attain the aid he had in view, then dians themselves; they did not claim to consider them as the resolution contemplates the matter in another point of subject to their operation. The Indian tribes have laws view, how far it is competent for this Government to conand traditionary usages of their own, and are entitled to cede its assent to such States, that they exercise the right the patronage and protection of the General Government; of sovereignty for such purposes of justice. Mr. R. said and, Mr. R. observed, the Indian rights are sufficiently se- he did not intend to enter into a full discussion of this matcured, and they themselves are protected in the enjoy-ter, which he regarded as highly important to those States ment of the lands in which they are located-but they whose territories were similarly situated with those of Mishave no right to constitute their country into an asylum sissippi.
for debtors and criminals, from every State of the Union, In regard to these Indians, Mr. R. said it was unnecessaand to afford them protection. He remarked to the Se-ry now to discuss their actual posture in our social and ponate, and particularly to those gentlemen who were not litical order: it had been a matter of debate from the first acquainted with this subject, having no Indian territory establishment of this Government up to the present time. within their limits, that the Indian territory in Mississippi Their actual condition in our political order has not yet affords a complete sanctuary for debtors and vagabonds been settled-whether they are considered as an in