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ed to it, I think it must be manifest, that I have not misconceived or misstated his premises. And I repeat, that it is not for me to interfere between the honorable gentleman from Georgia, whose constituents have been thus implicated, and his honorable friend, who imputes to them such disgraceful conduct. But, sir, I cannot forbear to notice this “ artless tale of truth,” which is the sole evidence of the outrages complained of, and on which so high an eulogium has been pronounced. Whence came this manifesto? Sir, it emanated from the pen of that infamous foreigner, Arbuthnot; it is one of the multitude of crimes which he expiated on the gallows, and is second only in impudence and falsehood to the famous proclamation of his predecessor, colonel Nichols. Its style is artful and insinuating; its import pregnant with all the horrid deeds excited and consummated by the mischief-meditating hand of that monster whose fate is so deeply deplored within these walls. And is the testimony of this man, the avowed enemy of the United States; the instigator of Indian hostilities, by means of intrigue and seduction; whose occupation was misrepresentation and deception, to draw the unlettered savage into the vortex of impending ruin; whose mind was the dark abode of vice, in all its hideous deformity, worthy of the panegyric which it has received, and of the confidence reposed in it by the honorable Speaker? Shall we dishonor the American name upon his authority, masked by the nominal signatures of ten towns, the dupes of his insidious policy, who knew no more of this “ pathetic and feeling narrative—this simple tale of truth,” than he thought proper to communicate to them? No, sir, I trust we shall not. We must look to other and more respectable sources, for the concatenation of events which resulted in the Seminole war: to these I shall presently call the attention of the committee. But the treaty of Fort Jackson falls under the severe denunciation of the honorable Speaker, and the war is
said to have had its origin in the imperious, haughty and dictatorial spirit of that instrument. Let us advert, for a moment, to the history of this transaction, and bottom our reasoning on facts, and we shall be less liable to the errors inseparable from a superficial view of any subject. The Creek Indians, towards whom the United States had, for more than twenty years, observed the most pacific policy, stimulating them to industry and agricultural pursuits, and inculcating on their minds the benefits of civilization, seized on the first favorable opportunity which offered, when we were contending for our existence, as a sovereign and independent nation, against the undivided strength of Great Britain, to take up arms against us and make a common cause with the enemy; actuated to this measure, no doubt, by British and Spanish counsellors, and supplied, as we know, with the means of carrying on the war at Pensacola. While they were in our power, weak and unprotected, we cherished and fed them; we introduced among them implements of husbandry, taught them to cultivate the soil, and the use of the wheel and the loom. We respected their territory and prohibited all intrusions upon it. When they found us hard pressed, by the most powerful nation in Europe, we asked not their assistance, but advised them to stay at home and remain in peace; we told them not to fight on either side. But the demon of foreign seduction came among them; false hopes were infused into their minds; promises of British aid were made to them; the prophetic delusion of invincibility nerved the warrior's arm, and the tomahawk and scalping knife were raised against their benefactors; wielded with all the fury of savage barbarity, rendered still more ferocious by the influence of superstition and fanaticism. Such was their ingratitude, and such the return for our magnanimity! The bloody contest ensued. The massacre at Duck River, at Fort Mims, and the butchery of our frontier inhabitants, without regard to age, sex, or
condition, will long be remembered by the afflicted friends and relatives who survive the unfortunate victims, whose innocent blood stained the guilty hand of the inexorable savage. The melancholy story of their wrongs will be handed down to the latest generations. I hope they will not be forgotten by their country. At this momentous crisis, Jackson sprung from the retirement in which his vigorous mind had been permitted to slumber, and contemplate, not without emotions of painful regret, the disasters which marked the progress of our armies. He took the field, at the head of the hardy and intrepid sons of Tennessee-his faithful companions in arms. They penetrated the swamps and the forests, enduring, with manly fortitude, every hardship and privation which the most vivid imagination can conceive, or human language portray. The god of battles was on their side; victory attended their steps—they conquered. The vanquished enemy dispersed: a part of them fled into Florida, to throw themselves under British protection, and the residue surrendered to the mercy of the conquering general. And the articles of capitulation, signed on the 9th of August, 1814, has been called a treaty; a chef d'auvre in diplomacy, cruel and insulting in its terms, to a miserable, fallen foe; derogatory to the national character, and the main cause of the recent war with the Seminoles. I have yet to learn, that the subjugation of one tribe of Indians, and the terms of their submission, is justifiable cause of war on the part of another and a distinct tribe. But, independent of this objection to the ground assumed by the honorable Speaker, I contend, there is nothing in these articles of capitulation either unreasonable or incompatible with the sound morality which, it seems, so eminently distinguished the commissioners at Ghent. Let it be remembered, that a conquering general, in the field, asks nothing of the enemy as a matter of courtesy. His business is to demand justice, and enforce a compliance at the point of the bayonet. And what are the
conditions on which general Jackson agreed to receive the submission of an enemy who had made on the United States an unprovoked war, in aid of a contemplated blow to be struck by Great Britain, on the great emporium of our western commerce? He demands “an equivalent for all expenses incurred in prosecuting the war to its final termination; that the Creek nation abandon all intercourse with the British and Spanish posts, those infernal fiends who had excited them to war; that they acknowledge the right of the United States to establish military posts and trading houses, and open roads, within their territory, and to the free navigation of their waters: that they surrender the property taken from citizens of the United States and friendly Indians, in return for which, the property of those who submitted was to be restored; and that the instigators of the war, whether foreigners or prophets, if found within their territory, should be captured and surrendered. The United States voluntarily undertake to maintain those deluded, infatuated people, until they shall be enabled to support themselves by their own labor." Sir, I will thank any gentleman to designate which of these stipulations he would have omitted. Are they not all essential to a permanent peace and a just indemnification for the injuries we had sustained from these red allies of Great Britain ? Yes, sir; nor could general Jackson have done less, in the faithful performance of his duty; and less could not have been expected by a conquered tribe of Indians, under similar circumstances.
The frequent use of the word “ demand," which has given so much offence, corresponded precisely with the nature of the transaction, which was purely military, purporting on its face to be “ articles of agreement and capitulation,” bearing no resemblance to a formal treaty entered into by the mutual consent of two independent sovereignties. I can perceive nothing on the face of this capitulation, either in form or substance, which is inconsistent with a proper respect
for our own safety, or incompatible with national honor. The right to make roads and establish trading houses and military posts on the lands reserved to the Creeks, to which exception has been taken, as a highhanded, arbitrary measure, is universal among all the Indian tribes within our limits. I do not believe it was ever before questioned or complained of. But we are told that this compact was not entered into by a majority of the Creek nation; that it is not binding on them; and the territory acquired under it reverts, under the stipulation contained in the ninth article of the treaty of Ghent. So said Col. Nichols, and Arbuthnot; and so said lord Castlereagh, until our vigilant and enlightened minister, then resident in London, satisfied him that the treaty did not embrace the case. Eng. land, the only power in Europe interested in the question, has abandoned her objections to our title, but they are renewed on this floor, doubtless for the sole object of promoting the interests of the United States ! Sir, all that we gained during the late arduous struggle with Great Britain, except the glory of onr land and naval victories, was this little indemnity from a domestic enemy, who made war on us without the slightest apology. And I ask, if it accords with the 66 expanded views of an American statesman” to throw the weight of his reasoning and opinions against the fair claim of the United States to a tract of country so dearly purchased with the best blood of the nation, and thereby revive doubts of our title already answered to the entire satisfaction of the British cabinet, to wbom alone we are bound to answer questions arising under the treaty of peace? The memorable visit of Nichols, and his red companion, Hillis Hadjo, to Eng. land, was made for the express purpose of obtaining the aid of that government in the war, which was then contemplated, to dispossess the United States of the lands ceded by the Creek nation on the 9th of August, 1814. Had this debate taken place prior to their departure, they would have been furnished with an inter