AND INDIANS' ADVOCATE
Wednesday, July 15, 1829
Vol. II, no. 15
Page 1, col. 4a.-
Page 2, col. 1a
From some official documents recently published, it appears to be the determination of the President to sustain the States of Georgia and Alabama in the policy they have adopted towards the Indians within their limits. One of these documents consists of a "Talk" from the President to the Creek Indians, through the Indian Agent, Col. Crowell. The primary object is to obtain the surrender of certain Indians who had been concerned in the murder of a white person.- The President, however, takes occasion to point out the difficulties and dangers to which they are exposed from their proximity to the whites, and strongly recommends to them a removal beyond the Mississippi where they may enjoy their game in peace, and be protected from all molestation and encroachment from the whites. He informs them that Alabama has extended its laws over their country to which they must submit, or remove beyond the Mississippi.
The other document is a letter from the Secretary of War to a delegation of the Cherokee Nation. It is addressed to them in reply to an appeal made to our Government against what they consider a wanton usurpation of power on the part of Georgia, in extending the jurisdiction of the State over the Cherokee Nation. The object of the letter is to defend the policy of Georgia, and to justify the Government in their refusal to interfere in behalf of the Cherokees. The claims of the Cherokees to the right of sovereignty over their country are met with a very summary answer from the Secretary. During the war of the revolution, it is said, the Cherokee Nation was the friend and ally of Great Britain, a power which then claimed entire sovereignty, within the limits of what constituted the Thirteen United States. By the Declaration of Independence, and subsequently, the Treaty of 1783, all the rights of sovereignty pertaining to Great Britain became vested respectively in the original States of the Union, including North Carolina and Georgia, within whose territorial limits the nation was then situated. From the fact of their having remained on their land from that period to the present, enjoying the right of soil and privilege to hunt, nothing more could be inferred than a permission growing out of compacts with the nation.- Nor could it be considered as a circumstance whence to deny these States their original sovereignty.
The Secretary notices the various treaties which have at different times been made with the Cherokees, all of which are explained as securing to that nation protection in the possession and occupancy of the soil, but as conferring no right to the exercise of sovereignty. On these grounds the right of Georgia to extend her laws over the Cherokees is sustained by the Secretary. The Cherokees are explicitly told that our Government will not interfere to prevent the exercise of that right, and that the only alternative left them, is either to submit to the laws of Georgia, or remove beyond the Mississippi.
The Cherokees have made too great advances in civilization to be insensible to its blessings. Having relinquished the chase for the cultivation of the soil, and made valuable improvements on their lands; and having adopted a constitution of civil government, established courts of justice, organized schools, in short, laid the foundation for the improvements, the arts, and comforts of civilized life, they are reluctant to abandon the whole; and return to their former habits in the wilds of the west. But this they must do, or submit to the degrading and oppressive laws, which their white neighbors may choose to impose on them.
Some of the Georgia papers exult very much at the course adopted by the President. They consider it as securing the great object for which they have so long contended, viz. "the entire control of the land within the limits of the State." The Indians, they say, will now find, "they have to deal with a man who will not temporize" "that they go they must, and the sooner the better." Such is the language now held towards this remnant of a brave but unfortunate race, and so little are the great principles of justice and the claims of humanity regarded, when they interfere with the interests of selfish men.--Con. Cour.