Society for Promoting the General Welfare of the Indian Tribes
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I would suggest the expediency of forming a Society, with the above or a similar title to be composed of members from each of the States and Territories, and of all denominations of Christians within the U. States. This Society to be placed under the patronage of the principal officers of the national Government.
The object of this Society is summarily stated in its title. It should embrace everything which such a Society could do, that has a bearing on the improvement of the whole Indian population of our country, in all branches of useful knowledge. For these purposes it should be made their business to investigate the history, and to examine into the ancient memorials, government, religion, customs and manners of the former, but more especially of the existing tribes; to ascertain their capacity for literary, moral, and intellectual improvements – to enquire into the efforts which have hitherto been made for imparting to them the blessings of civilization and Christianity, and to bring into view the results of these efforts, whether successful or otherwise; and where they
have failed, to state the probable causes of failure, and to suggest the proper remedies; to ascertain the places of residence, the numbers, dispositions, and, generally, the present actual state of these tribes, and of the improvements which have been introduced among them, and to suggest, from time to time, to the Government, and to the religious Associations, who possess the authority, the means, and the disposition to act directly upon the Indians, such plans and measures, as may assist them in conducting this wide spread, complex, and difficult service.
This society should also be scientific in its character, and embrace in its attentions, everything in the Indian Territories, which might improve the geography, geology, mineralogy, natural history, and agriculture of our country. Such a society, in its operations and results, would require public rooms for a cabinet, which might be made a very rich and useful one, and a library for depositing suitable books and documents, and the correspondence of the Secretaries. For these rooms the Society, considering its nature and object, would naturally look to the Congress, and also for the funds, necessary to carry on its extensive operations.
I would further suggest, that the Society hold their annual meetings at the seat of the Government, at the periods for opening the sessions of Congress, and at these meetings make their annual Report, and transact their annual business.
The advantages, and I might add, the necessity of such a Society for the purposes suggested, are obvious and great. The Government requires just the aid that such a society would be able to give. It would be as an eye to the Government, and act the part of pioneers and surveyors to them in pursuing an important object in an unexplored wilderness.
Since the above article was written, a Society of the above kind recommended, has been formed and organized at the City of Washington. See its Constitution, App. K.