History, 1838–1856, volume F-1 [1 May 1844–8 August 1844]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 24
image
<​May 13​> to [HC 6:370] relinquish our rights in ; we have been forcibly driven from our homes, leaving our property and inheritances as spoil to the oppressor; and more or less in , we have been subject to the whims and chimeras of illiberal men, and to threats, to vexatious prosecutions and law suits.
“Our government profess to have no power to help us or to redress the wrongs which we have suffered, and we now ask the government to protect us while raising our volunteers; and when we get into we will protect ourselves, and all others who wish our protection. And after subduing a new country, encountering all its difficulties and hardships, and sustaining the just claims of our nation to its soil, we believe that the generosity of our government towards us will be equal to our enterprize and patriotism; and <​that​> they will allow us a grant or territory of land, which will be both honorable in them, and satisfactory to us. This, he says, is all very just and reasonable. But still, he thinks that Congress will take no step in relation to , from the fact that his resolution requesting the President of the to give notice to the British government for the abolition of the treaty of joint occupation, was voted down; and while that treaty is in force, our government dare do nothing in relation to that country. This resolution was introduced by to pave the way for the passage of those bills in relation to a territorial government in .
“All our members join in the acknowledgement that you now have an undoubted right to go to with all the emigrants you can raise. They say the existing laws protect you as much as law can protect you; and should Congress pass an additional law it would not prevent wicked men from shooting you down as they did in . All the men in Congress would be glad we would go to that country and settle it.
“I will now give you my opinion in relation to this matter; it is made up from the spirit of the times in a hasty manner; nevertheless I think time will prove it to be correct:— That Congress will pass no act in relation to or at present. She is afraid of , afraid of , and afraid the Presidential election will be twisted by it. The Members all appear like unskilful players at checkuers— afraid to move; for they see not which way to move advantageously. All are figuring and playing round the grand and important questions. In the days of our Lord the people neglected the weightier matters of the law, but tithed mint, rue, annis, and cummin; but I think here in they do little else than tithe the mint.
“A Member of Congress is in no enviable situation; if he will boldly advocate true principles, he loses his influence and becomes unpopular; [HC 6:371] and whoever is committed, and has lost his influence, has no power to benefit his constituents; so they all go to figuring and playing round the great points. said that Mr. Smith could not constitutionally be constituted a member of the army by law; and this, if nothing else, would prevent its passage. I observed that I would in that case strike out that clause. Perhaps I took an unwarrantable responsibility upon myself; but where I get into a strait place, I can do <​no​> better than act according to what appears most correct.
“I do not intend the opinion that I have hastily given shall abate my zeal to drive the matter through, but I have given the opinion for your benefit, that your indulgence of the hope that Congress will do something for us may not cause you to delay any important action. [p. 24]
May 13 to [HC 6:370] relinquish our rights in ; we have been forcibly driven from our homes, leaving our property and inheritances as spoil to the oppressor; and more or less in , we have been subject to the whims and chimeras of illiberal men, and to threats, to vexatious prosecutions and law suits.
“Our government profess to have no power to help us or to redress the wrongs which we have suffered, and we now ask the government to protect us while raising our volunteers; and when we get into we will protect ourselves, and all others who wish our protection. And after subduing a new country, encountering all its difficulties and hardships, and sustaining the just claims of our nation to its soil, we believe that the generosity of our government towards us will be equal to our enterprize and patriotism; and that they will allow us a grant or territory of land, which will be both honorable in them, and satisfactory to us. This, he says, is all very just and reasonable. But still, he thinks that Congress will take no step in relation to , from the fact that his resolution requesting the President of the to give notice to the British government for the abolition of the treaty of joint occupation, was voted down; and while that treaty is in force, our government dare do nothing in relation to that country. This resolution was introduced by to pave the way for the passage of those bills in relation to a territorial government in .
“All our members join in the acknowledgement that you now have an undoubted right to go to with all the emigrants you can raise. They say the existing laws protect you as much as law can protect you; and should Congress pass an additional law it would not prevent wicked men from shooting you down as they did in . All the men in Congress would be glad we would go to that country and settle it.
“I will now give you my opinion in relation to this matter; it is made up from the spirit of the times in a hasty manner; nevertheless I think time will prove it to be correct:— That Congress will pass no act in relation to or at present. She is afraid of , afraid of , and afraid the Presidential election will be twisted by it. The Members all appear like unskilful players at checkuers— afraid to move; for they see not which way to move advantageously. All are figuring and playing round the grand and important questions. In the days of our Lord the people neglected the weightier matters of the law, but tithed mint, rue, annis, and cummin; but I think here in they do little else than tithe the mint.
“A Member of Congress is in no enviable situation; if he will boldly advocate true principles, he loses his influence and becomes unpopular; [HC 6:371] and whoever is committed, and has lost his influence, has no power to benefit his constituents; so they all go to figuring and playing round the great points. said that Mr. Smith could not constitutionally be constituted a member of the army by law; and this, if nothing else, would prevent its passage. I observed that I would in that case strike out that clause. Perhaps I took an unwarrantable responsibility upon myself; but where I get into a strait place, I can do no better than act according to what appears most correct.
“I do not intend the opinion that I have hastily given shall abate my zeal to drive the matter through, but I have given the opinion for your benefit, that your indulgence of the hope that Congress will do something for us may not cause you to delay any important action. [p. 24]
Page 24