Executive Department, Georgia, Milledgeville, November 8, 1825.
Fellow-citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
The political year just closed has not been without blessings or without trials. Abundant thankfulness is due for the former to the Giver of every good and perfect gift, not less for exemption from war, pestilence, and famine, than for the enjoyment of more than ordinary health, propitious seasons, and an ample harvest. For the latter, as they belong to mortals, it is our holy duty, in the spirit of Christian resignation, to bow with reverential submission, and to implore the Omnipotent, who orders all for the best, to convert them into blessings. The year has been rendered memorable, too, by the sojourn of the great and amiable Lafayette; the universal joy diffused by it; the display of all the charities and graces of life in the overflowings of grateful hearts, inseparable from his presence; and by the tears of millions, when, after giving to our country his last benediction, he re-embarked for his native land.
The recapitulation of the events of the last two years, the results of our intercourse and correspondence with the General Government, painful as it may be, is a duty too sacred to be omitted. In performing it, no apology is due for the prolix detail, so inconsistent with the analytical character of a state paper like this. The variety of topics, the multitude of facts, justify a departure from the ordinary usage. A tedious exposť may be more acceptable than a superficial survey, as the contemplation of the whole ground will enable you so to apply the resources of your wisdom and patriotism to the exigency, as, with the assistance of Divine Providence, to avert the mischiefs which threaten, make our own ways righteous in our own sight and in the sight of all others, and bring back to a sense of justice those who, in their aberrations from it, have done us wrong.
I had for the first time come into office when a subject of peculiar delicacy presented itself, and, being intimately connected with the independence of the elective franchise, (without which it would be vain for Georgia to claim for herself the attributes of a sovereign State,) it was made known to the President, that, on the occasion of the election just then terminated, an officer in his employ, bearing a high and dignified commission, and being .a citizen of another State, had abandoned his post to mingle in the strifes of that election; had espoused the cause of one of the parties to the prejudice of the other; and, by the weight and influence of his office, united with the most enthusiastic ardor, had rendered himself so signally conspicuous, that the Chief Magistrate could not conscientiously forbear, among his first acts, to complain to the Executive Government of the Union of this outrage upon the most sacred of all the rights of sovereignty. An occasion offered at the moment to give weight to the presentation, and it was embraced. The head of the missionary establishment in the Creek nation had been provoked by the ill usage and lawless conduct of the same officer to prefer certain charges against him, which, if supported by truth, could not fail, it was believed, to bring upon him the severest animadversion of his own Government; and it was hoped that the remonstrance of the Governor of Georgia thrown into the scale would accomplish what seemed to him an important object the removal from office of a man who, by his prejudices and passions, would present the most formidable obstacles to the satisfaction of the just claims of Georgia against the General Government, at least so long as a certain person filled the first office of that State. They failed of their intent, and, whatever sentence might have been passed on the memorial of the missionary, the remonstrance of the Governor of Georgia was unheeded. The inference was inevitable, that, in virtue either of positive instruction, or of implied consent, the agent of Indian affairs, being a citizen of another State, and resident in the nation, would at any time consult both duty and inclination in deserting his station to lend himself, with his insignia of office, to any party in the State, whose views it might be the interest of himself or of his Government to promote.
The State of Georgia had claims upon the General Government of great magnitude; her territorial ones had been so long neglected, that time seemed to be running against them. The Indians were acquiring a permanency of foothold under the direct encouragement of the United States, which would rivet them, like their fixtures, to the soil forever; and it was seen that a day or an hour was of precious import to her whom an act of limitations might bar, upon the arbitrary edict of a stronger power.
When, therefore, in a temper not discreditable, it is hoped, to the author, those claims were pressed upon the General Government, it was answered that every thing had been done which in good faith could be done to satisfy the claims of Georgia; and that now nothing could be done, because the Indians had said nothing should be done. An answer so unkind, ungenerous, and faithless, left no alternative but to abandon or strenuously assert them.
It was vain for the State of Georgia to prove to the United States that, regardless of her claims, they had acquired immense tracts of country, from lime to time, for other States and for themselves; and that, in the celebrated treaty of 1814, if the United States had been mindful of their engagements, they could as easily have acquired the whole country within our limits as a single acre.
By the treaty of 1814, the Creeks were treated as a conquered people, whom Georgia had assisted with her arms to conquer; their boundaries were marked by the sword; but charity, which begins at home, more potent than any stipulations of the articles of 1802, acquired for the United States a very large extent of rich country within the limits of Alabama, whilst twenty millions of acres within the limits of Georgia were reserved and guarantied to the Indians; and this guaranty was subsequently produced against us to defeat our claim to the same territory. Georgia could not see in all this that scrupulous fidelity in the fulfillment of engagements asserted for the United States.
When, at last, the way seemed opened to a further acquisition of territory, and commissioners were appointed to negotiate with the Creeks at Broken Arrow, Georgia found the agents of the United States arrayed against her to defeat a treaty; so that it was difficult to understand whether the whole movement was a mockery, to sport with Georgia, or a perfidious betrayal by the agents of the trust reposed in them. The treaty was defeated, and by their agency; the principal agent appeared to rise in the esteem and confidence of his Government; and thus terminated this most disgusting scene.
The rehearsal of what happened immediately after, at the Indian Springs, would only revive recollections of the same odious practices of the same agent, not the less disgraceful because they were more covert and less successful. From this period are to be dated all the mischiefs, disorders, and heart-burnings which followed, produced chiefly by the conduct of the same officer. But, in justice to him, it should be said, that, from this period, he is to be considered rather as an instrument than a principal; as his own Government, looking back upon the history of the past, had seemed to approve his actings and doings in the gross, and had given every token of undiminished confidence in him; so that, from that day thenceforth, whatever was said, done, or written by him, seemed good in its sight. No evil report of him would be listened to; the word of no man taken against him; all testimony in his favor was eagerly received, all against him promptly discredited; the expressed will of the constituted authorities of the State, which denounced him as an enemy to its interest, disregarded by his Government, and contemned by himself; in short, his single declaration in the face of truth, was made by that Government the basis of the most offensive measures against this, even to the extreme one of threatening us with the sword, and actually drawing out a regular force for its execution.
The history of the treaty of 1825, and the character of the events which followed, will be best learned by the documents and evidence heretofore published, and those now laid before you. The epitome is, that the treaty was as untainted with fraud as most other Indian treaties; was made with an authority long since recognized by the United States as competent to make it; was acquiesced in at first by the great body of the nation, and would have been cheerfully submitted to by the whole tribe, as the hostile chiefs in council indicated to Colonel Laniar, if the agent had not returned from his mission to Washington, and altered it. It was this ominous return from his defeat before the President and Senate in which McIntosh foresaw the ruin which an infuriated man would bring upon him and his generation-" We are not in any danger until he comes home and commences hostility, and urges it himself upon us," says McIntosh. " If ratified, (meaning the treaty,) it may produce a horrid state of things among those unfortunate Indians," says the agent. What the penetrating sagacity of the one foretold, soon came to pass. McIntosh was no more; and thus the evil genius of the other, which predicted the coming of the whirlwind, which rode in it, and directed the storm, saw, in one fell swoop, the triumph of his machinations and the fulfillment of his prophecy. McIntosh and his chiefs had given their assent to the survey of the country, and this assent was seized by the agent to divert the public odium from himself, and to fasten it on the Chief Magistrate of Georgia, who had sought and obtained that assent. The naked declaration of the agent to this effect, unsupported by a title of proof, was sufficient to command the absolute credence of his Government, and, contrary to all opposing testimony of the most conclusive character, to warrant it in charging the calamities of the nation upon the same magistrate as the author of them all; to forbid the survey, and to embody a corps of regulars to prevent it; and to continue both its offensive orders and its offensive armament, even after another of its agents, by false testimony, had proven to its satisfaction that no such assent was ever given, and had announced to it, moreover, what was not the fact, but what, on his authority, it implicitly believed to be the fact, that the pacification of the Indians had been concluded, and, of course, order and tranquility permanently restored; nevertheless, the offensive mandate is unrevoked, and the parade of bayonets maintained.
The Indian right of occupancy is the only one acknowledged by the European Powers, from the beginning; the only one acknowledged by all the public instruments through which Georgia derived her title; the only one conceded to the Indians by Georgia, in all her treaties with them, from the first settlement of the country; and the only one recognized by the United States themselves.
The Spaniards and the French, without respecting even this right, have forcibly appropriated to themselves entire countries, when and where it suited them. The English and Americans have so far respected it, as to make compensation for the relinquishment of claim or abandonment of use. It is true that, with regard to this right of use, the United States, in their own territory, might have given to it any latitude which pleased them, because the soil and jurisdiction belonged to them; but, with regard to the territory of Georgia, where the soil and jurisdiction are indisputably hers, this right of use can only be construed to mean what in all the treaties it did mean - the right of use for hunting. When, therefore, the United States, by changing the mode of life of the aboriginal upon the, soil of Georgia, changed essentially this right, and caused her lands to be separately appropriated for the purpose of tillage, and gave every encouragement to fixed habits of agriculture, they violated the treaties in their letter and spirit, and did wrong to Georgia. It is not less strange than true, that, of all the various tribes of aborigines dispersed over the vast country within the limits of the United States, two of them, within the limits of Georgia, have been specially selected as most fit subjects for the operation of (his great scheme of reclamation; and that the partial success of this scheme, (founded in wrong to Georgia, and continued in wrong,) should be held up to us now, as a mirror in which we are invited to see at once our own deformity and the moral beauty of its authors; and that this original and continued wrong should be set up in bar of our undoubted rights.
The State of Georgia contends that the jurisdiction over the country in question is absolute in herself; she proves, by all the titles through which she derived her claim from the beginning; by the charters and proclamations of the mother country; by the repeated acknowledgments of the United States themselves; and by their solemnly expressed recognition in the first and second articles of the agreement and cession of 1802. It was shown that, if Georgia had the jurisdiction, Georgia had never parted with it; and that, if she had it not, she can never have it in virtue of any authority, of any power, known to her. Yet Georgia has been denied the right of survey of her own soil, within her own jurisdiction; a right as inseparable from that jurisdiction, and as innocent as a right of way; and this, notwithstanding the consent to that survey, as is verily believed, freely given by every chief within the limits of the territory, who could, by any possibility, suffer harm or detriment from it; nay, more, it is confidently believed, that if the United States Government, or its agents, had not extorted from one portion of the Indians objections to the survey, there would not have been found a single individual who would have thought of entertaining any. And here it will not escape yon, that, at the council of Broken Arrow, where the commissioners of. Georgia were present, the military officer of the United States, under his instructions, made known to the chiefs that his Government had resolved not to permit the survey; so that if a spirit, at any time, from any cause, had animated the Indians to hostility against Georgia, the savage would have availed himself of the survey as a pretext to fall upon our people, and with the more ferocity, because assured that he would be sustained by the arms of the United States.
The last pretext of the President for resistance to the survey is the obligation to execute the eighth article of the treaty, which guaranties protection to the friendly Indians. Under that guaranty, the United States passively suffer McIntosh and his friends to be murdered; in the hour of peril, no arm is lifted to save or to protect; the danger past, the chiefs massacred, their property destroyed or dispersed, the survivors in Georgia asking bread and protection of their lives, after abandoning to their enemies every thing valuable at home, the United States step forth with their armed power, to defend, under the eighth article of the treaty, these same Indians against all their enemies, and more particularly the Georgians, their only friends and protectors.
McIntosh having fallen in the cause of the United States by the hand of treachery, the United States were bound, in honor, under the eighth article, to bring to punishment his murderers; to restore to his friends their rank, power, and property, lost in the same cause; and to have coerced the execution of the treaty: all which could easily have been accomplished. But the agents of the United States, indulging more of sympathy for the hostile than for the friendly Indians, prescribe to the latter the terms on which they shall make peace with their enemies; the blood of McIntosh unwashed from their hands, the plundered property unrestored, the agent unremoved, the hostile party are to be received into the bond of communion and fellowship, with a forgiveness of sins, as if these natives of the wilderness, at once the noble and fallen of their species, should, in the darkness of heathenism, do more than the philosophy of the heathen or the fortitude of the Christian ever did; the money stipulated to be paid to them exclusively, and by the commissioners of the United States ordered to be paid, in part, to their enemies, and by the hands of other agents than those appointed by the treaty. These wrongs done to the friends of McIntosh are adverted to merely because they cannot be overlooked in the catalogue of wrongs done to Georgia, and to show that the friendly Indians may have suffered for indulging friendly sentiments towards Georgia, and Georgia for indulging like sentiments towards the friendly Indians. The result of all which is, that, judging the motives and objects of human action by the results, the agents of the United States, whether commissioned for that purpose or not, must have been intent on vindicating the conduct of the agent for Indian affairs, and opening the way for the rupture of the treaty; for that conduct has been vindicated and approved by them, and all the materials, as it- is understood, collected for that rupture, whilst the Indians remain unreconciled either to one another or to the treaty, and a large portion of them more embittered and exasperated against the authors of it than ever.
The President having ultimately resolved to refer the treaty to Congress for re-consideration, because of alleged intrigue and treachery practised to obtain it, the resolution adopted by the Executive to prosecute the survey under the act of the Legislature of the 9th day of June last, was changed, and the change immediately communicated to the President.
It would be uncandid, fellow-citizens, to disguise that, but for the proposed reference to Congress, the survey would have been commenced and prosecuted. So long as the controversy was confined to the Executive of the Union and the Executive of Georgia, there could be no hesitation as to the measures which it became the latter to pursue. Between States equally independent, it is not required of the weaker to yield to the stronger; because this would be settling controversies by the rule of force, and not by the rule of right; and, between sovereigns, the weaker is equally qualified as the stronger to pass upon its rights. The immediate survey of the country, required certainly by the interest and convenience of Georgia, was not of that vital importance which would justify offensive measures to execute it. But the abandonment of a right, not considered! doubtful by the only power competent to pronounce upon it, was another and very different matter. The concession of a right without an equivalent by a weaker to a stronger Power is never made without exposing the former to injurious imputation, and will always be followed by concession after concession to unjust demands, until nothing remains to be demanded on the one side, or conceded on the other. When, therefore, the President of the United States commanded the Governor of Georgia to forbear the survey, and when that command was followed by a distinct annunciation of the penalty which awaited the disobedience to it, the Executive of Georgia would not merely have surrendered a right, already declared to be so by the supreme power of the State, but would have made a dishonorable surrender to a stronger Power, with the sword suspended over his head. Whilst, therefore, the Governor would in this respect have treated the mandate of the President as unlawful, he did not hesitate, as soon as the contemplated reference of the treaty to Congress for alleged intrigue and treachery was officially known to him, to postpone the survey until the meeting of the Legislature; not because that reference was lawful, but that its legality or illegality was not so appropriately a question for his decision as for that of the Legislature. So that, whilst the Government of Georgia denied the power of the Executive authority of the United Slates to pronounce upon her rights, it might not refuse to the assembled States of the Union the opportunity of investigating certain claims, or discussing certain questions in controversy, connected with the treaty, or with her own character and conduct in relation to it. So far as that character and conduct were in any manner involved in the negotiation or conclusion of the treaty, or in the events which preceded and followed, their purity, uprightness, and justice might freely be canvassed before the whole world. Thus much was conceded for our own sake, until the meeting of the Legislature; the rights of the State were saved by protestation; and the Legislature is yet free to act upon the subject, as if no measure had been taken by the Executive in relation to that reference. The legality of the survey was asserted, the power to invalidate the treaty denied, and the absolute title of Georgia to the soil and jurisdiction vindicated.
The very limited knowledge of the history of the Creek tribes possessed by the people of the United States, and the misconceptions and misrepresentations which could not fail to ensue, induced the Executive to direct the attention of J. V. Bevan, Esq. (already assiduously occupied, under your appointment, to collect the materials for a history of Georgia) to the illustration of that part of the Creek story which had more intermediate reference to the points involved in the discussion of the treaty. The result of his diligent research is submitted in the paper marked A. You will find there the ground assumed by the Executive of Georgia in maintenance of the treaty, viz: that the consent of Coweta was of itself sufficient, independently of all other considerations, to give force and efficacy to that instrument, is fully sustained, and by evidence derived from such authentic sources as to leave nothing to cavil or to subterfuge.
In obedience to the will of the Legislature, expressed in their resolutions of the 11th day of June last, I proceeded to the appointment of commissioners to carry the objects of them, into effect. In selecting the members of this commission, I endeavored to have regard to the qualifications of uprightness, integrity, and intelligence. It was believed that the selection would be approved by the moral and enlightened of our own community. Since, however, the censorship of the United States agents has passed them in review, the Executive is informed by those agents that he was mistaken and deceived; and accordingly you will see, in sundry documents accompanying this message, the character of those commissioners so portrayed that it would have been difficult to resist the belief that, by a strange fatality, they had been chosen from the least worthy and estimable of society, .if the characters of the persons filling the highest offices of state, both legislative and executive, had not previously been subjected to the same scrutiny and shared the same fate. The report will inform you of the treatment they received, and of the obstacles thrown in their way at every step, by which all investigation was rendered unavailing. The principal agent having been instructed by the President to advise with the Governor of Georgia upon the measures necessary to the successful prosecution of his mission, when the Governor of Georgia appointed commissioners to co-operate with him in the task of investigation, as well as to guard the interests of Georgia, the act of appointment is pronounced a usurpation; the commissioners treated as private persons; every obstruction opposed to the procurement of testimony; intercourse with the Indians denied them; the promises given of a separate examination of the Indians violated; the word of an Indian chief received as true against the testimony of the whole world; the agent of Indian affairs declared innocent, if condemned by twenty-three States of the twenty-four; and Cherokee chiefs, who had distinguished themselves in the councils of their own nation for hostility to the interests of Georgia, permitted to sit in the councils, to aid with their advice, and to dictate the talks of the Creeks; whilst the confrontation with their enemies, sought by the friendly chiefs, was refused.
In compliance with the requisitions of the same resolutions, I transmitted, without delay, a copy of the memorial addressed by the Legislature to the President, exposing the conduct of the agent of Indian a flairs, and requesting his removal from office. The President, in this, as in every other case in which the authorities of Georgia have complained of the conduct of his agents, has determined to refer the subject to the consideration of Congress; a decision as unexpected as unsatisfactory. It is the transfer of a matter by the President, who alone has the absolute control over it, to the Congress, which has no such control. The President has authority to dismiss, at pleasure, the offending officer, or, if a military one, to order a court for his trial; whilst the Congress of the United States has no such power. The utmost the Congress can do in an extreme case is, to impeach the officer, if impeachable; if not, repeal the law creating the office, and thus indirectly removing the incumbent, but without having any security that he would not immediately be appointed to another office, or restored to the same office if it should be re-established by law.
Having submitted, in detail, a narrative of the events to which our relations with the United States have given rise, and exposed the motives and principles which have governed the conduct of the Executive throughout, it is left to your wisdom to decide upon the measures necessary and proper to sustain the honor and defend the rights and independence of the State. It is confidently believed that the constitution, the public law, or the usages of nations, will justify an abrogation of the treaty; and it is recommended to you, therefore, in any and every event, to consider, as heretofore, the Indian claims to the territory as effectually extinguished by it; and that, whether the survey be suspended or not, to order the occupation of it on the day stipulated in that instrument, in the same manner as you would have done if its validity had not been questioned.
In the correspondence submitted to the Legislature at their late extraordinary session will be found the repeated and final resolution of the Cherokees never to abandon the territory they occupy within our limits. This resolution may be satisfactory to the Government of the United States; it cannot be so to you. Having taken theirs, it remains for you to take yours, and, in doing so, no time is to be lost. Your better judgment will suggest and approve the remedy. Whatever it may be, I recommend to you to adopt early and energetic measures for the removal of all white persons and others (not Indians) inhabiting that territory, with the exception only of such as are necessarily employed in the service of the United States, under the power granted to Congress to regulate commerce with the Indian tribes. By the second article of agreement and cession, you will find the following words inserted by our commissioners out of abundant caution: The United States " cede to the State of Georgia whatever claim, right, or title they may have to the jurisdiction or soil of those lands." Nothing remained to the Indians, therefore, but the right of temporary occupation for hunting. This right has been construed so liberally, that, in practice, a general usufructuary interest has been conceded to them. But this reservation of hunting grounds is confined to the Indians exclusively, and designed for their use and benefit only. The soil and jurisdiction being in Georgia, it was no more lawful for the United States to introduce other persons there, than it would have been for them to have introduced Within the settled limits of Georgia a colony of free persons of color, of Indians, or of white people. The utmost allowable to the United States, in this respect, was the settlement within the territory of such of their own officers as were necessary to carry into effect their acknowledged power to regulate commerce with the Indians. The United States have, nevertheless, by permission, toleration, or encouragement, introduced there, from time to time, white persons and others, who have made settlements, exercised ownership over the soil, and cultivated it in the same manner as if the United States, and not Georgia, possessed the right of soil and jurisdiction; and these very same persons, as it is confidently believed, have been chiefly instrumental in preventing the Indians from leaving the country. All such persons, therefore, are to be considered as trespassers and intruders upon the soil of Georgia, and treated accordingly. This is the theory and practice of the United States Government itself, with regard to its own lands. In every instance where the United States have claimed the soil and jurisdiction, whether the Indians be in the occupation or not, the Government has exercised the power to treat all such persons as trespassers and intruders, and an act of Congress authorizes the President to expel them at the point of the bayonet. It is equally competent to the Government of this State to adopt like measures for the removal of trespassers on her own soil; and for this purpose, having made the necessary statutory provisions, it is recommended to you to extend the laws of Georgia over the country.
You have seen our rights of sovereignty-those of the elective franchise, of territory, and jurisdiction-have been infringed; you will see the same rights violated in the independence, character, and dignity of the constituted authorities occupied in the management of our affairs.
A special officer was commissioned by the President to inquire into the conduct of the agent of Indian affairs, who, on presenting himself here, was received in the most friendly temper, and with the assurance that every assistance would be rendered to promote the object of his mission; not doubting that the object, as he repeatedly professed, was justice to all the parties concerned-to the public, to his own Government, to Georgia, to the Indians, and to the officer implicated. Any deportment which might be construed into a disposition to bias or mislead him was studiously avoided; all information required promptly furnished; and not a suspicion admitted that he could have been actuated by other than honorable motives, until, in a conversation which a gentleman in the confidence of the Governor was instructed to hold with him, he betrayed very strong prepossessions in favor of the agent; so much so, and at so early a period, that, with an intention to apprize his Government of the fact, a letter was addressed to him, (marked B,) which, and his answer, (marked C,) are submitted. In the latter, you will find repeated professions of impartiality and disinterestedness; but you will soon perceive, in his after conduct and writings, the hollowness and insincerity of them. They, and the report of the State commissioners, show that the special agent came here, not to inquire into the conduct of the agent of Indian affairs, but as counsel or attorney, to advise with him, ta lend him aid and countenance, to collect testimony for his vindication and acquittal, and, without giving ear to the testimony against him, to pronounce that acquittal as honorable for himself, and the prosecution as disgraceful to all the parties concerned in it; seeking, for this purpose, with great labor and assiduity, the evidence of the outcasts of society, wherever he could find it, and thus embodying for himself and his Government a volume of the impurest matter by which to justify that acquittal. His patience would not permit him to wait the closing of the testimony on either side, as you will see in his letter of the 21st June, addressed to the agent, and published by him. It was this letter, proving incontestably that the question had been prejudged at Washington, and that a farce had been playing only to amuse the authorities of Georgia, which decided the Executive to address to him the note of the 28th June, instructing him to hold no further correspondence with this Government. The letter of the 4th of July was subsequently addressed to this Department, in which, after justifying his offensive one of the 21st June, he insults the authorities of Georgia, by referring the prosecution of the agent to the most corrupt and reprehensible of motives; and, by the affected charity with which he excepted the Chief Magistrate from the charge, gave poignancy to his denunciation, and to his sentence a semblance of a legal character, as if pronounced by a competent magistrate from the judgment-seat. It was not until after the return of this officer to Washington that he caused to be published, under the eye of his Government, the declaration " that he was informed by the acting agent of Indian affairs that the commissioners of Georgia had carried with them into the nation a large amount of money, say from four to six thousand dollars;" strongly insinuating, at the same time, that this money was carried there for the purposes of bribery and corruption. A charge against this branch of the Government, connected with the administration of the finances, so serious, proceeding from such a person, and made in a form so specific, deserves your attention; and the more, because the truth or falsehood of it can be easily established.
Another special agent had been deputed to this Government, in a civil and military capacity, to investigate the causes of the disturbances in the Indian country, to remove the causes of discontent, and to reconcile the contending parties. He likewise was received with the most friendly disposition, and treated with all the respect due to his rank and character. He professed to be animated by the love of truth and justice, to be in the interest of no party, and, in the execution of his trust, to be governed by the dictates of duty only. " Not doubting the sincerity of these professions, the aid and co-operation of the Executive of Georgia, in promoting the objects of his mission, were cheerfully tendered, and would undoubtedly have been afforded to any extent within the powers of the Department. The first manifestation given by this officer of dislike or aversion to the authorities of Georgia, which has come to the knowledge of the Executive, will be found in the representation of the commissioners, and in the letter of the other special agent, in which, speaking of his obnoxious letter of the 21st of June, he says, " the letter is approbated by a man who for wisdom stands inferior to few, and in honor to none." If the inference was correct, that the person alluded to by the writer was the same agent whose conduct is the subject of this review, it is certain that even at that time he could not have entertained for the authorities of Georgia those respectful sentiments which he professed, and which in duty he was bound to entertain; for in that obnoxious letter those authorities were denounced for oppression, partiality, and injustice of the most flagrant kind, practised against the Indian agent. On the 10th day of July he wrote a letter to the Governor, enclosing a certificate of the Indian chief Marshall and a white man named Edwards, to disprove the fact of McIntosh and his council having given their assent to the survey. This officer could not have offered a greater insult to any independent Government. He had seen the public message, in which the assent of McIntosh and his chiefs had been announced to the Legislature, and the incontestable evidence on which the annunciation was founded. Disregarding the authority of both, and professing to rely on the testimony of such persons as Marshall and Edwards, known to him to be infamous, he informs the Governor that no such assent was ever given. In aggravation of this insult, before any notice was taken of it, he causes the same letter, with the certificate, to be published on his own authority; alleging, as his excuse, that falsehoods and calumnies (by whom or about what he did not inform us) were propagated; thus making his appeal to the public from the pretended rumor of the day, for the purpose of bringing the authorities of Georgia into disrepute with their own people, and separating the people from their Government. He was soon informed that he himself was the dupe of the certificate of Marshall, and that his own conduct was reprehensible, in relying on it to reproach the Government of Georgia with misrepresentation and falsehood; and of this, his Government and the public were soon after furnished with abundant proof. When this officer is rebuked for an indignity which could with no propriety pass without censure, he loses all self-command, and, forgetting his own station and that of the person to whom he addresses himself, writes letter after letter to the Chief Magistrate, couched in the most offensive language, and which, from their manner as well as matter, and the immediate publicity given to them through the gazettes, must have been intended as electioneering papers, to subserve the cause of one of the contending parties in the State, to the prejudice of the other; an inference deriving abundant confirmation from the fact that the same officer was in the practice, in the common intercourse of society, of applying to the Chief Magistrate, and others in authority, the most contumelious and abusive epithets.
As no further intercourse could be held with him, without compromising the dignity of the State, it was, in the first instance, forbidden; and when, afterwards, he had proceeded to the greatest extremity, his recall, arrest, trial and punishment were demanded of his Government. The Executive of the State would have been warranted by the public law and practice of nations, in a case so flagrant, to have ordered him to leave the territory of Georgia, and to have enforced that order. It was unwilling to resort to a measure of harshness or severity, however justifiable. The United States Government itself is not less tenacious of its own dignity than others. It has, at least on one occasion, interdicted intercourse with a foreign minister of the first grade, representing a European Power of first rank, for merely contradicting it abruptly; and the equally merited treatment of another minister, representing a first rate Power, for appeals to the people from their Government, is well known to you. More recently, the gallant Porter has been punished by his Government for insulting the petty authorities of Foxardo, and for making an appeal from that Government, through the public prints, much less exceptionable than that made by this officer in the publication of his letter of the 10th of July. Whether the constituted authorities of Georgia are of more or less importance than those of Foxardo in the view of the General Government, will be seen in the answer of the President. The answer of the President to the demand of the Governor of Georgia for his recall and arrest is as little creditable to the functionary from which it conies as satisfactory to the one to whom it is addressed.
The President is bound by every constitutional obligation to execute the laws. One of these laws declares that "any officer or soldier who shall use contemptuous or disrespectful words against the Chief Magistrate or Legislature of any of the States, if a commissioned officer, shall be cashiered." The President acknowledges this officer to have used contemptuous and disrespectful words, for which his conduct is simply disapproved; and he is informed that, if the Governor of this State had not previously used towards him offensive language, the demand would have been complied with. So that, according to this construction of the President, his military officers may conduct themselves as they please within the jurisdiction of the respective States, no matter how exceptionably, and the least reprehension or censure by the Chief Magistrate of a State is their sufficient warrant to retort in abusive and insulting language, and to gratify their resentments, even at the expense of the independence of the elective franchise: a construction which makes the law a nullity, because it privileges the military officer to do that which, but for the law, he might legally have done - insult a Chief Magistrate of a Stale as he would insult a private citizen, for any real or imaginary grievance; a privilege which the law was intended to prohibit to him. But the fact assumed by the President as true, is not true. Nothing offensive was written to this officer before he had three several times offended the dignity of this Government, viz: by his approbation of the offensive terms of the letter of the other special agent, by his disrespectful treatment of the commissioners, and by his procurement and publication of the false statement of Marshall and Edwards. This exposition of the law by the Executive of the United States will satisfy you of the expediency of depending on your own measures for defense against the repetition of such outrages.
The Governor of Georgia denies the right of the President to excuse or justify his officer in the violation of the law of the United States, which he is bound to execute, because of any act, or supposed act, of the Governor, which is in violation of no law. The President, by such excuse or justification, takes the place of the agent; and when in one of his authorized communications he says " there is no part of his duty which the President more anxiously pursues than that of maintaining the most scrupulous decorum in his official intercourse with the State authorities - a line of conduct from which no circumstances, however aggravated, have or will tempt him to depart," he only means that what he does not choose to do by himself, he will do by his agent.
The published addresses of the different agents are submitted with the rest, only to show the unity of feeling, sentiment, and action which has signalized the deportment of United States officers of every grade, in their intercourse with the Government of Georgia. It can be submitted to no longer. The sovereignty, independence, and dignity of the State must be maintained, and, to support them, you must depend on your own means. I advise you, therefore, to have recourse to those means: no matter whom you place in authority, all strangers must be compelled to respect, in their exterior demeanor at least, those authorities. The sacredness of the elective franchise can be protected by regarding every private person, not a citizen of Georgia, who interferes with that freedom, as an alien and stranger, violating a right of sovereignty, and exposing himself to punishment. If an officer of the United States, not being a citizen of Georgia, he renders himself the more obnoxious, from the double capacity in which he offends that sovereignty; and if an officer representing his Government in a diplomatic character before this Government, In; can be made amenable under the sanctions of your own laws, and the laws and usages of nations, for offences committed against either; and to this end you have only to define the character of the offence, and to prescribe the punishment.
In the expose of the state of our relations with the General Government, other grievances, minor and secondary in importance, are adverted to, not for the purpose of accumulating wrongs into a formidable mass, and making an appeal the louder and deeper to the justice of that Government, but to satisfy our fellow-citizens that, if we have complained in vain, we have not complained without cause, and that our cup of bitterness is almost full.
The militia claims, for services rendered thirty years ago, in defense of the State against Indian hostilities, by authority of the General Government, are yet unsatisfied, although constantly urged; whilst similar claims of other States, but of more doubtful justice, have been recognized.
The claims of our citizens against the Creek nation, admitted by the treaty of the Indian Springs of 1821 to the amount of $250,000, although rendered for a larger amount, have been curtailed, by arbitrary rules prescribed by the United States for the settlement of them, to 100,000 dollars; by which she places in her own treasury, in defiance of our repeated remonstrances, $150,000; thus depriving the claimants of a benefit to that amount, which, according to every rational construction of the instrument, was intended by all the parties to it to enure to them only, and which could not, by any construction, be carried to the credit of the United States. To our repeated remonstrances against this decision it has been answered, that the decision was made and could not be reconsidered.
The Government of Georgia had reason to expect that the United States would not refuse their concurrence and co-operation in the running of the line between this State and the State of Alabama, first, because they were proprietors of the soil on one side of it; and secondly, because Georgia was concerned that the presence and authority of the United States should be a security to the Indians that their rights should be respected-a security which would save to Georgia the expense of a military force in the prosecution of the work; as the Indians, in the absence of that security, might be excited by evil-disposed persons to interrupt its execution. The President, in the first instance, signified no objection to a co-operation, but the one (founded on a mistake in fact) that Alabama had not given her assent; subsequently, however, the co-operation was declined, it being, as was said, a matter in which Georgia and Alabama were alone concerned, and with which the United States had nothing to do; more recently, as you are informed, the State has been absolutely forbidden, at her peril, to enter her territory for the purpose of running a line, or making a survey of any description: the sum of all which is, that the United States claim for themselves the power to enter upon their territory wherever the soil and jurisdiction are in them; to settle there whom I they please, and to expel whom they please, even at the point of the bayonet; but deny the same power to Georgia, where the soil and jurisdiction are in her, and forbid her, under the pain of military chastisement, to run a line or make a survey there. The late correspondence with the Governor of Alabama will show that \we may soon expect the concurrence of that State in our resolution to run the line, and it is very desirable that no further obstacle should be suffered to prevent its execution.
A request made to the Executive of the United Stales, under authority of a resolution of the Legislature, to cooperate with this State in running the dividing line between it and the Territory of Florida, was also refused, on the allegation that Congress had made no provision for such co-operation.
A resolution of the Legislature, instructing the Governor to authorize the survey of the intermediate country, with a view of connecting by a canal or road, or both, the waters of the Gulf and Atlantic, (a work of not less importance to the Union than the connexion of the two seas by the isthmus of Panama, and of most easy execution,) has not been carried into effect. The opinion of the Executive on this subject has been made known to the Legislature. The authorities of Georgia cannot pass beyond their own limits into the territory of any other State, or of the United States; for any such objects, without committing trespass; and it is not understood that the most practicable line of communication between the two waters would fall wholly within the jurisdiction of Georgia. In truth, this is most appropriately a work for the United States, without any constitutional hindrance or impediment; a short cut through her own soil would accomplish it, and the whole Union would immediately partake the benefits. The attention of the President has been invited to this subject before, and, whilst he acknowledged the great importance of the work, it is not known that any measures have been taken in relation to it. His attention was called, at the same time, to the practicability of uniting the Eastern and Western waters by a canal, turning the base of the Appalachian mountains, at their southern extremity - an operation of more obvious utility, because of less doubtful practicability, than the contemplated one for connecting the Chesapeake and Ohio. A promise was given that this also should receive early consideration, but nothing more has been heard of it. Without bringing into question here the power of the General Government to make canals, at pleasure, within the jurisdiction of the States, it would, perhaps, be more advisable for the State Governments to depend for internal improvements on their own powers and resources; and I am happy to inform you that the Stale of Tennessee, having a common interest with ourselves, has given unequivocal indications of her willingness to co-operate with us in this undertaking. We have continued assurances that a civil engineer of competent qualifications may soon be commanded for the service of the State. To give you an outline of the views of the Executive on the general subject, I have caused the instructions which, in the absence of the Legislature, would have been given him, to be laid before you. And here permit me to suggest the policy of applying a portion of the fund set apart for internal improvement to the construction of roads, which shall so traverse the country as to make the communication between the different counties and the commercial towns more safe, easy, and expeditious. Considering climate and localities, it may be deemed expedient to invest the capital in a description of labor, which, under proper direction, would not only be efficient for the accomplishment of the work, but could be ultimately made to return to the treasury a large proportion of the amount invested.
The annual reports of the several banks have been received, and are submitted. They all continue to sustain the credit of their paper circulation, with the exception of the Bank of Darien, whose currency has depreciated and is depreciating; the causes of which, with the remedy, will claim your early and serious investigation. The public interest demands that the bank should immediately resume specie payments, and you can easily believe that the tender by the State of depreciated money to its citizens is not in conformity with right, and that to those of them who are so obliged to receive it a positive wrong is done.
It is sincerely hoped that a revision of our militia system will no longer be delayed. You hear constant testimony to its numerous defects. The single fact, that, on a late occasion, it became necessary to force an organization by coercing, under military penalty, private citizens to accept brevets, in cases where the companies had failed' to elect officers, and which, by the contagion of example, were so multiplying as to threaten a total disorganization, will be alone sufficient to command your serious attention to this revision.
It is again recommended to you to establish a court of errors or of appeals, and upon the principles suggested in my late communication to the Legislature. The people seem more and more disposed to give to this necessary change in our judicial system the sanction of their approbation; and, indeed, it is one which, sooner or later, must be adopted, with the hearty concurrence of the great body of them, as a remedy for evils no longer tolerable.
I transmit, as a matter of duty, two resolutions of the Legislatures of Connecticut and Illinois, received since the late extra session, recommending to the Congress and to the States the abolition of slavery.
Nothing hag transpired to change my sentiments on a subject to which, more than once, it has been made my duty to call your attention. It is my settled conviction, and the more confirmed than ever, that neither the other States nor the Congress have any right to bring that subject into question before them, in any form; and that every attempt to Jo so by either should be regarded in the same manner as an attempt to destroy your sovereignty, of which it is an essential part; and that you will have no security for this property, against the efforts which will be made, from time to time, to impair its value, and eventually destroy it, but in the equally settled conviction on the .part of the assailants that you will defend it as you would defend your lives. Independently of any precautionary measures which you may deem proper for the permanent safety of this property, every proposition which may be addressed to you on the subject, either by the State or the United States authorities, being unconstitutional on the face of it, as it cannot be received otherwise than offensively, and consequently ought not to be received at all, should be returned to the authorities from which it emanated.
The various resolutions of the Legislature to be carried into effect by the Executive power, are either already executed, or in a course of execution.
It is gratifying to observe the multiplication of institutions for the instruction of youth in every quarter of the State, founded either by public or private contribution, and cherished by an ardent feeling in the cause of mental improvement, with which every class of the community seems to be animated.
Franklin College, in an onward course of prosperity, with a well-organized but not numerous faculty, possessing the requisite capability, and giving to their usefulness the more extension by an harmonious concert of action, sees with pride her alumni already reflecting honor on her, from the various pursuits and occupations of life, from the learned professions, and the legislative hall, and can rest content that she will receive at all times, as she deserves, the patronage of the Legislature. The county academies increase in number and respectability, and, sustained every where by the public favor, they cannot fail, with liberal endowments from the Legislature, to flourish universally.
The poor school fund has been eagerly sought by all the counties; but whether beneficially applied in all, is doubtful. In reviewing this part of the system, you will do well to adopt such general regulations of a permanent character as can be accommodated under a good administration of them to the local circumstances of each county. The provision which requires the trustees who render service without compensation to give bond and security, will perhaps be found to tax public spirit too heavily, and may in some instances defeat the execution of the law.
In our lamented differences with the United States, the constituted authorities of Georgia have been ungenerously reviled; sentiments and feelings have been adopted for them to which their hearts and understandings are strangers. The charge of hostility to the Union is indignantly repelled. Georgia is not behind the foremost of her sisters in devotion to the Union; she is laboring at this moment to cement and perpetuate that Union, by bringing it back to the principles of the constitution: we mean a Union of definite signification - a constitutional Union for all constitutional objects - a Union for safety, for security of life, liberty, and property - a Union to enforce the powers of the General Government, as well as to protect and defend the rights and powers of the States - a Union which means something, and which we love and cherish as a blessing. But the Union which is construed to mean any thing or every thing - a Union for absorption and consolidation, which would prescribe no limits to the powers of one Government but the general welfare, and which would reduce the powers of all the rest to a shadow of sovereignty - which claims supremacy and exacts obedience - which construes the constitution for itself, and issues its mandates to the States, backed by the purse and sword - which threatens to decide for us what is property and what is not property, and whether we shall hold any property of a certain kind or not - which sends its officers and agents to insult and defy the public functionaries of the States, as if they were subaltern in rank and consequence to themselves - such a Union is not the Union adopted by the States, and it is believed is not such a one as the States will support. The Chief Magistrate especially disclaims any other motive as the governing one of his conduct than the sincerest attachment to the Union, without tincture of prejudice against the persons 1vho compose the councils of the United States, but, on the contrary with the strongest predispositions to give every aid and support to those councils, to promote the peace, interest, and happiness of the country.
It is asserted, without fear of contradiction, that, since Georgia was a party to the revolution, the confederacy, or the Union, she has fulfilled with sincerity and fidelity all her obligations and engagements; in peace and in war, under whatever administration, not merely answering with promptness to every requisition, but, according to her means, sustaining that Government with as much vigor and patriotism as any of her sisters; as little querulous as any of them; more complying than most of them; and never bringing into question the constitutionality of its ordinances or decrees, but when, from the honest impulses of her heart, and the strongest convictions of her judgment, she has believed them unconstitutional. If opposed to any particular administration, it has been an opposition of frankness and firmness; and if, with these characteristics, always honorable, she has at any time mixed a spice of indignation, it may well have been pardoned by the head and members of a family who cannot themselves claim exemption from the frailties of our nature, and who, when honor and principle were at stake, might have seen a color of virtue in a momentary departure from meekness, humility, and patience. But Georgia can still contend that, in respect to all questions of mere interest, to which her connexion with the Union may have given rise, she has discovered as little of selfishness, and as much of generosity and of forgiveness, as could be expected from a sovereign and independent State claiming rights of property of great value, demanded by the wants of her citizens, and indispensable to the complete organization of her social system. Georgia has not demanded justice of the Federal Government in her day of tribulation, of difficulty, and of embarrassment; in war, or in the midst of divided councils; but at a moment when, with an ample treasury, at peace with all nations, and prosperous beyond example, she had her option to do us justice, or, refusing it, to present a military chest and armed men. If the United States choose to rely on these, and Georgia, taking counsel of her fears, shall make an inglorious Surrender of her rights, what will remain of the fruit of her toil and blood and public virtue but a consolidated Government, in which the sovereignty and independence of the States being merged, nothing is left her but the power of a municipal corporation to settle the strifes and contentions of individuals within the freedom of it.
By encroachment on the one side, and acquiescence on the other, every day brings us nearer to this result; and if we cannot find safety in the first principles of the constitution, we can find it nowhere.
Your fellow citizen,
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