Page images
PDF
EPUB

the depths of despondency and ruin. And can any one who knows all this, sit still and be quiet.

What if only ten poor families in a remote corner of Maine or Missouri were threatened with similar outrage ? Every man in the nation would rise up and blow the trumpet. What if some lordly oppressor, having already ten times as much land as he could cultivate, should go to these families and say, "You must move off. I want your little farms, and will not take a denial.'--Ten millions of voices would answer in thunder, 'You shan't have them! No, never! These families have rights as well as you, and they shall be protected at all hazards.' And where, I ask, is the difference? In the case supposed there are ten families, and in that of the Indians now under consideration, there are ten or fifteen thousand ! Where is the difference? Ah, the ten are white men, and the ten thousand are red men! Where is the difference ? The former are protected in their rights by the constitution, and the latter by the solemn faith of treaties ! There is the mighty difference !!

A second motive, then, for stirring up all the moral power of this nation at this time, is found in the danger which threatens our own liberties. This suggestion I ain aware, will be ridiculed by many, and regarded by most as the offspring of a terrified imagination. Let those who choose, cry, 'Peace, and safety,' and fold their arms and wait for the march of events. But if the people sit still, and look calmly on, while the Indians are abandoned to their fate, in violation of the most solemn national compacts, what security have we that the same government which deliberately breaks its treaties in the face of heaven and earth, will not ten, or twenty years hence, find some plausible pretext for turning its power and pat

ronage against the constitution itself? And if it should, how long, think you, will these paper and parchment bulwarks of ours stand? How long will it be a blessing to be born and live in America, rather than in Turkey, or under the Autocrat of all the Russias ?

Do you tell me that there is no possible danger-that no man, or number of men, will ever dare to assail our free and glorious institutions. Let the history of pastrepublics, or rather let their tombstones decide this point between us.-So it would have been said, when Washington and Jefferson were at the head of affairs, that nobody would ever dare to disinherit, or enslave the Indians, protected as they are by almost a hundred and fifty treaties. And yet it is about to be done. And how much better is our parchment than theirs ? If such encroachments, acquiesced in, do not prepare the way for putting shakles upon our children, they 'must be protected by higher munitions than constitutional bulwarks.

This I am willing to leave upon record, and run the risk of its being laughed at; fifty years hence.

A third motive for earnest remonstrance at the present crisis, is found in the grand experiment wbich we as a nation are now making, before the whole world, of the superior excellence and stability of republican in stitutions. How many thousand times has the parallel been proudly drawn by our statesmen and orators, between this country and every other nation under heaven. How triumphantly has it been proclaimed in the ears of all mankind, that here, at least, all the rights of the weak as well as the strong have found a sure protection. But let the stroke which is now impending; fall upon the heads of the poor defenceless Indians, and who will not be heartily and forever ashamed of all this boasting? Who

[ocr errors]

will ever dare to say another word about the partition of Poland ? Who, in a foreign land, will ever hereafter be willing to own that he is an American? How will all the enlightened friends of free institutions in other countries mourn over this indelible stigma upon our national character; and how will the enemies of equal rights triumph in our disgrace. Verily, we are made a spectacle to the world and to angels and to men.'

The last motive which I have time to mention, and can but just allude to, is, that there is a just God in heaven, and that sooner or later his wrath will wax hot against the nation that tramples upon the rights of its defenceless and imploring neighbors. Tell me not of your twelve millions of people—of the exploits of your armies and navy—of the unparalleled growth and inexhaustible resources of the country. What will all these avail when God shall come out of his place to make inquisition for blood ?' Prouder and mightier nations than this bave fallen, and how can we expect to escape, if we 'use oppression and exercise robbery, and sex the poor and needy?'

The-Cherokees and Choctaws cannot, indeed, resist our arms. They lie at the mercy of their white neighbors. They are like little trembling flocks of kids, surrounded by lions. But though they are too weak to meet us in the field, they are not too weak to lift up their cries to heaven against us. Though they are too few to defend their country against our rapacity, there are enough of them to appear as swift witnesses against us' in the Court above; and they will assuredly have the right of testifying secured to them there, however they may be restricted and oppressed in courts below. Their numbers are more than sufficient to bring down the judgments of

God upon their cruel oppressors. Who then will make up the hedge and stand in the gap before Him for the land, that He should not destroy it?' The crisis is awful, and the responsibilities of our rulers and of the whole nation are tremendous ! The Lord is a holy God, and he is jealous !

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

TEMPERANCE IN 1812.

' At an annual meeting of the Consociation of the West

ern District of Fairfield County, October 13, 1812:

The Commitee of Association made a report respecting Ardent Spirits, which was accepted, and is as follows:

VOTED:—That we cordially approve of the doings of the General Association of Connecticut, on this subject, at their Session in June last, and will, as far as practicable, comply with their recommendations : Particularly,

1. That the customary use of Ardent Spirits, shall be wholly discontinued, at all future meetings of this body.

2. That we agree, by our conversation and example, to discourage the use of spiritous Liquors, (except for medicine) particularly in pious and respectable families, and especially, at their social visits.

3. That we will use our influence to discourage and utterly prevent the buying and selling of Ardent Spirits by small measure, contrary to Law.

4 That we will endeavor to influence the members of our respeclive churches, and other well disposed persons in our congregations to contribute for the purchase and gratuitous distribution of well written Tracts on the subject; particularly one by Dr. Rush of Philadelphia, and report our progress in this undertaking, to the next annual meeting of this body.

5. That special pains be taken, to impress on the minds of the young, a sense of the dangerous consequences connected with the habituating themselves to the use of spiritous liquors.

6. That a Committee be appointed to draft a serious address on this subject to the churches and congregations within our limits, and cause the same to be printed and distributed.

« PreviousContinue »