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the Indian tribes in the United States, and especially to those within the limits of a particular State. He was in favor of the plan of their removal, similar to that proposed by the Secretary of War, in the administration of President Adams. He felt the difficulty of deciding as to the proper and just treatment of them by the general government. He professed a desire for their welfare, for the support of their rights, and for their improvement in the arts of civilized life: and in these respects, did not differ in opinion from the former federal executives. But his views were different from theirs, as to the authority of the State governments over them, within whose limits they resided. His opinion of State rights was such as to lead him to the conclusion, that the Indians must submit to the jurisdiction and laws of the State where they lived ; whereas the doctrine of most other statesmen was that they were to enjoy their own customs and regulations, subject only to the government of the United States; thus excluding all authority in an individual State to control or interfere with them. The States of Georgia and Alabama, had previously set up a claim to govern the Indian tribes, within their respective limits, in all cases: and they also demanded of Congress the removal of the tribes to some distant territory.
Former administrations had also been desirous of their removal, if they could be persuaded to do so; but had not admitted a right in a State to interfere with their municipal concerns, nor to compel their submission to its laws. And hence the previous dispute between the State of Georgia and the United States. President Jackson seems not at that time to have been in favor of any compulsion for their removal; but was inclined to admit the right of a State, where they were situated, to extend its jurisdiction over them. But the measures adopted afterwards, during his administration, to induce their removal, were by many deemed unjustifiable, and was a matter of great complaint against him.
By an act of Congress of May, 1830, provision was made for reviving and opening the direct trade with the British ports in the West India islands; which had long been prevented by the measures of the British government. The terms proposed in this act of Congress were accepted by the British administration, after having put their own construction on them ; which the English minister said were somewhat obscure, and which he interpreted in a manner most favorable to his nation : and the American minister and administration, were desirous perhaps of having the
honor of negotiating successfully on the subject, which for many years could not be favorably adjusted by the preceding administrations. But the British ministry availed themselves of the obscurity in the act of Congress, and thus derived great commercial advantages from it, while the navigation of the United States received very little benefit under its operation.
The ports in the West Indies were, indeed, opened to vessels of the United States, with their products, on terms of reciprocity; but the same privilege was not secured for the trade with the British colonies in the north and northeast parts of the United States. And the consequence was, that the British enjoyed almost the entire carrying trade between those colonies and the ports of the American States. The trade with the islands was not so profitable as formerly, and gave much less employment to American navigation. The vessels from the British northern provinces and ports had free access to the United States on favorable terms, which the vessels of this country did not enjoy in visiting those colonies.* On the approbation of the act of Congress, by the British ministry being declared, and their consent to its proposals, when construed as they chose, officially made known to the federal administration, the President issued a proclamation, in October, 1830, declaring the terms of the act of Congress to have been accepted by the British government as to the West India ports, and therefore that the ports of the United States were opened to British vessels from those islands: and declaring further, the admission of British vessels from the northern provinces, but without stating the terms on which they were to be admitted. This course of the administration was not approved by the mercantile portion of the community; and was generally considered to be unfavorable to the commercial prosperity of the United States, as yielding too much to the interests of Great Britain.
By the statement of the President, respecting the Post Office department, at this time, it appeared to have been conducted with great intelligence and fidelity.
" The report of the Post Master General,” he said, "was highly satisfactory. Abuses had been reformed, its revenue improved ; and the
The act of Congress referred to the British ports in the West Indies, and stated the terms on which the ports in the United States were to be opened to British vessels from those places. But did not extend these conditions to the north and northeast provinces of Great Britain. The trade to and with the latter remained as formerly regulated.
mail transported with increased expedition.”* The administration of this department was attended with many difficulties. There were constant requests for new routes for conveying the public mail. Every village in the Union, however small, and every new settlement, petitioned for the privilege of a Post Office: and many of them did not afford business sufficient to compensate the carriers. But it was deemed important, that every facility should be afforded for the circulation of newspapers and other publications, for the information of all classes of the people. The affairs of this useful department were not so skilfully nor so fortunately managed afterwards; whether from want of competency or attention does not appear: but it soon fell into a state of embarrassment; and the expenses of the department, in 1833, far exceeded its income.
As had been done by his predecessor, the President at this time recommended a revision of the judiciary system, for the purpose of extending equal privileges, resulting from that department of the government, to the citizens in the new, with those in the original States. Several States had then been formed in the Union, within twelve years; but the federal courts were held less frequently and in fewer places, in these new States, compared to the extent of territory, than in the old States. The subject had been under consideration in Congress at several previous sessions; but from a diversity of opinion, as to the number of additional justices, and the places of holding the courts, nothing had been decided.
The President referred in this message to the Bank of the United States, although its charter would not expire for more than six years. He said, " that both the constitutionality and the expediency of the bank were questioned by a large portion of the people :” and also expressed his own opinion," that it had failed in the great end of establishing a uniform and sound currency.” He probably had reference to the people in the interior, and not in the States where they were concerned in commerce and navigation ; for the merchants and others, in the Atlantic States, were generally in favor of that bank; and they also fully believed that it did much to sustain a sound and uniform currency through the Union; which could not be supported without it.
If a similar monied institution were necessary, the President was of opinion, that one wholly of a national charac
* John McLean of Ohio, was then at the head of the Post Office department; but was soon after appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
ter, under the sole and exclusive direction of the federal government, and founded on the credit of the government, would be most proper. This was, in fact, the germ of the sub-treasury system of a later period; which proposes to keep the public monies in the hands or under the control of the executive; and to exclude the citizens from all the benefits they enjoyed by means of the bank of the United States, and would, in a great measure, remove the public funds from the power of Congress. In this institution, as originally designed in 1791, and then still maintained, the merchants often found relief; and if there were ever any defects in the management of the bank, they were not to be named as objections to its continuance, when compared to the benefits resulting to the citizens engaged in trade and commerce; and through them to the whole nation, and to the prosperous state of the finances of the government itself.
This session of the federal legislature continued for six months; and the following laws were the most important which were passed during that period—for the re-appropriation of thirty thousand dollars, for the suppression of the slave trade, which had been appropriated two years before, but was not expended, and which was founded on an act of Congress of 1819—for repealing an act imposing tonnage duties on vessels, of which the officers and two thirds of the seamen were citizens of the United States—for the more effectual collection of impost duties, appointing eight additional appraisers to examine goods imported; but no new regulations to prevent defaults in the oflicers of the customs--for the appointment of an additional officer to be attached to the treasury department, called the solicitor of the treasury--for reducing the rate of duties on tea and coffee, as recommended by the President in his annual message; also on salt and molasses, and allowing a drawback on spirits exported, distilled from that article, which the existing laws did not permit—for allowing a portion of the claims of Massachusetts for services and expenses of the militia in 1912–1814, in time of war, and for which that State had not been reimbursed ; the amount allowed being four hundred and thirty thousand dollars, about half the sum claimed—for the removal of the Indians from lands occupied by them within any State of the Union, to a territory west of the river Mississippi, and without the limits of any State, or organized territory, and belonging to the United States, by purchase or relinquishment of the Indians, by treaty; to divide such western territory into districts, for the reception and permanent settlement of those who should
consent to emigrate from their residence on the east of that river, they relinquishing all claims to lands they then occupied; the tribes to have the solemn assurance of government, that it will forever secure and guaranty to them and their posterity, the tract of country so exchanged with them for the lands they should quit in Georgia, Alabama, and any other States; and should they abandon the territory at a future time, the same to revert to the United States : the Indians to have the amount of their improvements made on the lands they may leave; to be aided in their removal, and supported for one year by the federal government; to be protected against assaults from other tribes in the vicinity of their new residence; and five hundred thousand dollars were granted for these purposes.
The receipts in the public treasury for the year 1829, from customs, sale of lands, &c., amounted to the sum of twenty-four millions eight hundred twenty-seven thousand six hundred twenty-eight dollars, being a little over those for the year 1828; which were twenty-four millions seven hundred sixty-three thousand six hundred thirty dollars; and in 1830, it was about twenty thousand dollars greater than in 1829, and one hundred twenty thousand above the amount in 1828. The public expenditures for the same years amounted, in 1828, to twenty-five millions four hundred and fifty-nine thousand dollars ; in 1829, to twentyfive millions and forty-five hundred dollars ; in 1830, to twenty-four millions six hundred thousand dollars ; in 1831, to thirty millions and thirty-eight thousand dollars; and in 1832, to thirty-four millions three hundred and fifty-seven thousand dollars.*
During this session of Congress, a highly interesting debate took place in the Senate, on a resolution offered by one of the members, relating to the public lands, which were very extensive, and estimated of great value to the nation. The sales were so -loosely managed as that little, comparatively, was received in the public treasury: some was sold to speculators; much was nominally purchased, but payment not enforced; and large tracts, belonging to the Union, within the new States, were constantly granted to those States respectively, for internal improvements, and means of education therein. The consequence was, that the original States received little advantage from these lands, though they were originally ceded or acquired for
* And the expenses of the government were gradually increased for several years, even after the public debt was paid.