and Indians' Advocate
Wednesday, December 10, 1829
Vol. II, No. 35
Page 2, col. 1a-2a
Indian General Council.- The Cherokee Nation furnish a remarkable instance of the power of Christianity to civilize a rude and untutored nation. The introduction of the gospel among them has been attended with the happiest effects. It remains to be seen, whether our General Government will allow a tyrannical rule to be exercised over them, and them to be compelled to forsake their own territory, the land of their fathers' sepulchers. The Cherokee Phoenix, of October 21, a weekly news-paper edited by a Cherokee, contains a well-written State Paper, "the Message of the Principal Chief [Governor] of the Cherokee Nation, submitted before the National Committee and Council, in joint Committee of the whole, October 14, 1829" The style of this document would not be unworthy the pen of a Governor of one of our States. It claims the "right as a distinct people," which the Cherokees possess "of assembling, in General Council of the Nation, to promote their own interest and happiness;" and they say that this their "prerogative so to act has been recognized by the Government of the United States, "under whose fostering care," say they, "we have merged from the darkness of ignorance and superstition, to our present degree of advancement in civilized improvement." ---This Message denies the claim of the authorities of Georgia to certain specified lands, believed to belong to the Creeks; and a course of argument is adopted in this Indian document, which states well known facts of the legal right of the Creeks, acknowledged by our public documents, to the lands claimed by Georgia. Whilst we would give full credit to the talent and good sense displayed in this paper, we are not less pleased with the moderation and firmness- of this people, in their determination to appeal to the justice of our General Government.
These are the Indians, who acknowledge the blessing which the United States have been the medium of conveying to them and shall it be ever said, after having done them such incalculable good, that we have despoiled them of their lands, driven them from their home, and forced them into a howling wilderness, deplorably "destitute of wood and water?" We will not believe that our General Government will adopt such a course, till undisputed testimony shall say it is so. The following paragraph is from the Journal of Commerce.
The present form of Cherokee Government was adopted about two years since. It is purely republican,--elective--and guarded by a free Constitution. Having lived under it happily for two years, the people are not disposed to renounce it, notwithstanding the Legislature of Georgia has enacted that after the 1st of June 1830, all the laws and usages of the Nation shall be null and void. "As long as they are conscious," says the Cherokee Phoenix, "of the justice of their cause, and the unjust proceedings of the State, they cannot tamely agree to have their rights wrested from them, rights which they have always possessed and exercised, and which have been from time to time secured and guarantied by the faith of the U. States."
We know not in what terms to express our detestation of the principles of an Editor, who can treat the questions of pure justice and humanity, now agitated respecting the Indians, as mere party matters. An honest and honorable man would sooner lose his right hand than do it. Yet not only is the subject thus treated in many newspapers, but there is great danger that the whole business will assume a party aspect in Congress!
Journal of Humanity.