47. Indian Commissioner Herring on the Indian Race: Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, November 22, 1832
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62 It is the opinion of this Court that the judgment of the Superior Court for the county of Gwinnett, in the state of Georgia, condemning Samuel A. Worcester to hard labour in the penitentiary of the state of Georgia, for four years, was pronounced by that Court under colour of a law which is void, as being repugnant to the Constitution , treaties, and laws of the United States, and ought, therefore, to be reversed and annulled . . . . [6 Peters, 534–36, 558–63.] 46. Authorization of a Commissioner of Indian Affairs July 9, 1832 In 1832 Congress at last provided for an official specifically charged with the direction and management of Indian affairs. The commissioner succeeded the head of the Indian Office that had been established by the secretary of war in 1824. The same act absolutely prohibited the introduction of ardent spirits into the Indian country. An Act to provide for the appointment of a commissioner of Indian Affairs, and for other purposes. Be it enacted . . . , That the President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a commissioner of Indian affairs, who shall, under the direction of the Secretary of War, and agreeably to such regulations as the President may, from time to time, prescribe, have the direction and management of all Indian affairs, and of all matters arising out of Indian relations, and shall receive a salary of three thousand dollars per annum. Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of War shall arrange or appoint to the said office the number of clerks necessary therefor, so as not to increase the number now employed; and such sum as is necessary to pay the salary of said commissioner for the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, shall be, and the same hereby is, appropriated out of any money in the treasury. Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That all accounts and vouchers for claims and disbursements connected with Indian affairs, shall be transmitted to the said commissioner for administrative examination, and by him passed to the proper accounting officer of the Treasury Department for settlement; and all letters and packages to and from the said commissioner, touching the business of his office, shall be free of postage. Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That no ardent spirits shall be hereafter introduced, under any pretence, into the Indian country. Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of War shall, under the direction of the President, cause to be discontinued the services of such agents, sub-agents, interpreters , and mechanics, as may, from time to time, become unnecessary, in consequence of the emigration of the Indians, or other causes. [U.S. Statutes at Large, 4:564.] 47. Indian Commissioner Herring on the Indian Race Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. November 22, 1832 The first man to hold the office of commissioner of Indian affairs authorized by Congress in 1832 was Elbert Herring. In his first report to the secretary of war he urged that the Indians be brought within the social system of the whites, especially in regard to private ownership of property. . . . Some of the Indian tribes have proceeded to hostile acts, in the course of the year past, against each other, and conflicts have ensued, in which blood has been spilt in defiance of the obligation imposed by the guarantee of the United States, for the 63 preservation of peace and tranquillity among them. The instigators of such unwarrantable proceedings, as well as the chief actors in every instance of ascertained outrage, are justly considered responsible to the Government for the transgression, and are invariably required to be given up to its authority to answer for the offences. It is difficult to restrain such aggressions, growing out of ancient feuds, prompted by an unchecked spirit of rapine, and a thirst for warlike distinction, and, particularly, when probable impunity furnishes an additional incentive. To prevent outrage is, however, far better than to punish the offenders; nor should the expense attendant on the remedy to be found in the employment of a sufficient body of mounted rangers preclude its exercise. A display of military force, and the certainty of speedy punishment, can alone prevent a ready resort to rapine and bloodshed on the part of those who recognize no restraint on plunder, no bounds to the grati- fication...