« PreviousContinue »
I pray you to express to the committee my acknowledgments for this mark of their attention, with the assurance of my sincere respect toward the common council, and my ardent desire for the prosperity of the city over which they preside, and whose welfare is identified with that of the state and the Union.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
Thomas G. TALMAGE, Esq.,
Chairman Committee of the Common Council of New York.
STATE OF New York, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
Albany, October 27, 1839. GENTLEMEN : I hasten to acknowledge the receipt of Captain M'Ardle's letter of yesterday, written in your behalf, and informing me that on the 21st inst., you transmitted as a committee of the officers of the lines and members of the flank companies of the four divisions of infantry in the city of New York, an invitation to a public dinner, on any day prior to the first of November next, that might meet my convenience.
I regret to be obliged to say that the communication thus referred to, did not reach me, and that your letter of yesterday contains the first information I have received of the honor proposed by my fellow-citizens.
It is a further cause of regret, that public duties and engagements which can not be put aside, will not permit me to be absent from this place during the present week. I am obliged therefore to decline the invitation. But I can not do so without returning my grateful acknowledgments for this manifestation of the respect and kindness of so large and patriotic a part of the militia of New York. The occasions on which I recently reviewed the first division of artillery, and the four divisions of infantry, have already abundantly compensated me for the time and attention thus bestowed. They have enabled me to obtain a better knowledge of the actual condition of that military force upon which the authorities of the city must rely, when the civil police shall be found insufficient to maintain public tranquillity, and which must always constitute an important arm of public defence against invasion. The information thus obtained has increased in a very high degree the respect I have entertained for that intelligent, patriotic, and liberal body of my fellow-citizens, who have sustained the militia system throughout a period when public favor was withdrawn from it. I have, moreover, been made sensible that the military studies and pursuits of the officers of the militia of the city of New York, have had their legitimate effects upon the personal character and feelings both of the officers and men. The hospitalities extended to me already will be long remembered. This new evidence of respect and kindness which you have communicated to me, and which proceeding from those with whom my opportunities of acquaintance and intimacies have been necessarily more limited, lays me under obligations which I shall never forget. I
pray you to assure the gentlemen you represent, that it would afford me great pleasure to meet them in the manner they propose, and that I shall endeavor to make manifest my sense of the honor they have done me, by a cordial co-operation in the efforts which they are making to procure such modifications of the militia system, as will at once render it more efficient and less onerous to the public. An organized and well-disciplined militia is as necessary as any other institution founded by our forefathers. It is of vital importance to the existence of republican government, and the maintenance of democratic principles. Standing armies in the place of our militia, would soon introduce a monarchical system, in the place of republican institutions. Men can never safely maintain democratic principles if they are deprived of the means of self-protection enjoyed by our patriotic forefathers, who were the first to proclaim them. Entertaining these views, , I shall at all times endeavor to contribute to your success in the important department of public services in which you are engaged.
I am, gentlemen, with the highest respect, your obedient ser
TO THE COMMITTEE OF THE MILITARY OF NEW YORK.
RIGHTS OF THE INDIANS.
STATE OF NEW YORK, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
} I RECEIVED yesterday your address adopted in council on the 29th day of April last. In that communication you solicit my influence in breaking up the treaty, recently made by your chiefs with the government of the United States for the surrender of your possessions in this state and your removal from among us, and you ask my aid in resisting the execution of the treaty.
I have sometimes seen with regret the sale of lands by Indian tribes, who, having adopted the customs of civilized life, were beginning to experience its advantages and enjoy its comforts. I have moreover always lamented and condemned the frauds practised upon such tribes by agents of the government, and parties interested in procuring the relinquishment of their lands. So far from countenancing such frauds, and practising upon the ignorance of the Indian chiefs, I have deemed it the solemn duty of the government to protect the rights of the Indian nations, and secure them alike against the frauds and the violence of white
Such a course is due to them, as the survivors of the ancient proprietors of the country. It has been guarantied by treaties, and it is enforced in regard to the Indians of this state, by the recollection of their alliance, in the day of their strength and our comparative weakness, in wars carried on for our advantage, not theirs, and in the defence of our liberty and independence.
But the constitution has established a tribunal to determine when the public interest will be promoted by treaties, and to decide upon their equality or justice. The recent treaty with your people having been approved and ratified by that high tribunal, it has become the law of the land. It does not rest with the state authorities to question the fairness of the treaty, much less
to resist its execution. On the contrary, an obligation rests upon the executive authority of this state to sustain the treaty, and to co-operate with the general government in carrying it into effect.
If I am to understand from your address that it contemplates a new appeal to the justice or magnanimity of the federal government, for leave to rescind the treaty, or for a modifications of its provisions, I certainly shall not interpose any obstacles to such a measure, and I earnestly hope, that if your people have suffered any wrong in the negotiation, that wrong may be speedily and effectually redressed. If, on the contrary, it is proposed to resist the government, and forcibly to retain possession of the ceded lands, I can not too earnestly warn you against such dangerous proceedings. They can only result in the ruin of what remains of the Six Nations. No sympathy can sustain you against the power of the government, and no American citizen can espouse your cause. This is a government of laws. You have enjoyed
. its protection as well as white men, and can not with impunity rise up in hostility against it. If, therefore, no interposition by the general government is to be obtained, I recommend to you to impress upon your people the necessity of submission to the laws. I advise you in that event to accept with the least possible delay, the equivalent secured to you by the treaty for the lands you have relinquished, and to organize your society in your new home, in such a manner, and upon such principles, as shall conduce to a speedy improvement in agricultural pursuits, and the adoption of the laws, habits, and manners of the American people.
TO THE GREAT SACHEMS AND WARRIORS OF THE SENECAS, or Six Nations OF INDIANS.
LETTER OF CONDOLENCE TO MRS. HARRISON.
STATE OF New YORK, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
Albany, April 9, 1841. MADAM: In compliance with a request of the legislature of this state, I communicate to you resolutions which they adopted on receiving intelligence that it had pleased the Almighty Ruler of nations to remove from this life the president of the United States.
The legislature desired that in performing this solemn duty I would convey to you an expression of their sympathy with you in the affliction which that lamentable event brings home to you and to the other relations of the deceased. Reluctant as I am to protract my intrusion upon sorrows which I know full well must have higher consolations than even the condolence of a great nation, I shall nevertheless discharge my duty very unsatisfactorily if I leave it to be inferred that these expressions of sympathy of which I am the organ are merely conventional.
The legislature are not ignorant of the domestic virtues of the departed president, nor of his tender affection toward yourself and all others to whom he was intimately allied. Death has made final, so far as this world is concerned, a separation which you had reason to hope and expect would be brief and temporary, and the painfulness of the dispensation can not be supposed to be relieved even by the remembrance of the distinguished public honors of which he was the recipient In these circumstances the thoughts of all our countrymen turn toward you with affectionate tenderness and solicitude, so soon as their first emotions of surprise and grief subside.
Permit me, madam, most respectfully to add an assurance of my entire concurrence with the legislature, and to mingle my own sympathies with those it is my duty to express in their behalf. I have the honor to be, madam, with very high respect, your obedient servant. Mrs. HARRISON, RELICT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.