February 15, 1832: Message Regarding Indian Removal
To the Senate and House of Representatives:
Being more and more convinced that the destiny of the Indians within the settled portion of the United States depends upon their entire and speedy migration to the country west of the Mississippi set apart for their permanent residence, I am anxious that all the arrangements necessary to the complete execution of the plan of removal and to the ultimate security and improvement of the Indians should be made without further delay. Those who have already removed and are removing are sufficiently numerous to engage the serious attention of the Government,. and it is due not less to them than to the obligation which the nation has assumed that every reasonable step should be taken to fulfill the expectations that have been held out to them. Many of those who yet remain will no doubt within a short period become sensible that the course recommended is the only one which promises stability or improvement, and it is to be hoped that all of them will realize this truth and unite with their brethren beyond the Mississippi. Should they do so, there would then be no question of jurisdiction to prevent the Government from exercising such a general control over their affairs as may be essential to their interest and safety. Should any of them, however, repel the offer of removal, they are free to remain, but they must remain with such privileges and disabilities as the respective States within whose jurisdiction they live may prescribe.
I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of War, which presents a general outline of the progress that has already been made in this work and of all that remains to be done. It will be perceived that much information is yet necessary for the faithful performance of the duties of the Government, without which it will be impossible to provide for the execution of some of the existing stipulations, or make those prudential arrangements upon which the final success of the whole movement, so far as relates to the Indians themselves, must depend.
I recommend the subject to the attention of Congress in the hope that the suggestions in this report may be found useful and that provision may be made for the appointment of the commissioners therein referred to and for vesting them with such authority as may be necessary to the satisfactory performance of the important duties proposed to be intrusted to them.