and Indians' Advocate
Wednesday, December 23, 1829
Vol. II, no. 37
Page 3, col. 1b
The Joint Committee on the state of the Republic in the legislature of Georgia, to whom was referred the talk of the President of the United States to the Creek Indians, and the letter of the Secretary of War to the Cherokee Delegation, together with other documents, developing the policy of the General Government towards the Aborigines, made report, of which the following is the closing part. We would only say, we were not aware before that the President could withdraw a guaranty contained in treaties solemnly made, and approved by the highest authorities of the country.
Such being the usages concerning Indians, the policy adopted by the General Government is clearly proper, at least so far as it is intended to induce them to remove beyond the limits of the States, or to withdraw from those limits; and to extend to them, in some favorable position, the aid and protection of the government. The advantages resulting from a location beyond the limits of the states, depend on an exemption from the mischievous intercourse of bad white men, and from the collisions of rival sovereignty, and upon the unobstructed exertions of the government, and various benevolent associations for their benefit. In this view of the subject, it is not wonderful that the religious public are beginning to use their exertions to promote emigration to the delightful region beyond the Mississippi; for, however the son of the forest may be entitled to the rights of humanity, and however the states may be disposed to avoid collision with the General Government, in relation to Indian affairs, a dependent situation within the states, is attended with evil too obvious and too serious to be overlooked. These evils to the Indians might be greatly enhanced by the manner of exercising the power, entering into the composition of sovereignty, of buying off, or otherwise removing, the permissive occupancy of the territory claimed by them; for, although the President of the United States has given a guarantee of this occupancy, it is not perceived that this guarantee rests on any valid foundation; and it may, therefore be presumed, that it will ultimately be withdrawn, when the President shall have reviewed the whole ground, including the exposition of Indian titles, made by an authorized agent with the apparent sanction, of a late administration of the General Government.
In view of the premises, the committee recommend the adoption of the following resolution, viz:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Georgia, That they approve the policy of the General Government towards the Indians, so far as it is calculated to induce them to remove beyond the operation of those causes which evidently tend to retard their improvement; and to extend to them,in a favorable position, the fostering protection and assistance of the country.
The same Committee also reported a bill entitled:
"An act to add the territory lying within the chartered limits of Georgia, and now in the occupancy of the Cherokee Indians, to the counties of Carroll , Dekalb, Gwinnett, Hall and Habersham, and to extend the laws of this state over the same, and to repeal all laws and ordinances made by the Cherokee Nation of Indians; and provide for the compensation of officers serving legal process in said territory, and to regulated the testimony of Indians."
The five first sections apportion the territory among the counties named.
The 6th section extends civil and criminal laws over it.
The 7th section declares null and void all Cherokee laws, orders, regulations, &c. &c. nor are defendants allowed to justify, or courts of law to receive the same in evidence.
The 8th section imposes a tax of ___ cents, as a full tax on every full blooded made Indian of 21 and upwards:
The 9th section points out the manner of suing out legal process, and its compensation. Officers serving the same, in case of resistance to call the aid of the citizens of the above named counties.
The 10th section provides that no Indian or descendant shall be a competent witness in any court, until the Judge is satisfied that the witness has a due sense of the obligation of an oath.
As the policy of the State of Georgia, concerning the Cherokees, is well
known to the public, we refrain from making any comments- our readers will judge
At no time before has there been such a public excitement on the subject of Indian affairs, as at the present. That the excitement is still increasing we have every reason to believe from newspapers which come to us from different parts of the country, and from private letters. All this is encouraging. The good people of the United States need only to understand the claims and rights of the Indians in order to protect them from oppression. We are happy to perceive that some who are advocates of Indian emigration, are ready, openly to discountenance the arbitrary movements of Georgia. Such persons, though they may differ from us in opinion, deserve our respect- we respect them, because they are willing to give us our privileges as a people, & to protect us in them, and not to consider us a mere tenants at will, or as children; having no right to choose for ourselves. We are led to these observations from the following extract of the remarks of the editor of the Freehold (N.J) Enquirer. The editor is favorable to a removal of the Indians.
What shall we do with them? [Indians] - Shall they be permitted to remain and be protected as independent tribes, governed as heretofore by their own laws?-Shall they be compelled to amalgamate with the whites? or should they emigrate west of the Arkansas and there become an independent people under "every kind of guarantee" from the General Government? The first question has been answered by the Executive of the General Government in the negative, that they cannot be protected. Let us for a moment suppose the General Government had nothing to do with this matter-that it was simply a question between Georgia and the Indians-then could Georgia expel these Indians, destroy their Government, and compel them to become their subjects and their slaves? Frequently when the Indians were strong and the State weak, the former had been treated with as free and independent nations-- their sovereignty had been acknowledged- it was freely granted they had a right to be governed by their own separate laws and customs, and that too in the very places where they now dwell-they were treated with as all other nations-upon the principle of the laws of nations-could then Georgia now say to the Indians, when the balance of power has been reversed, you are within the state boundaries, your land is ours, we have a right to sell or tax it, and you have no right to enjoy a separate and distinct Government within the limits of Georgia? suppose they had said so two hundred years ago, what would have been the consequence? and have they greater rights now than then? Is then this conduct of Georgia just and honorable? Have they a right to do what they say? We answer they have the same right that the Lion has to crush and devour the Lamb. But in addition to this the Indians claim a guarantee from the United States Government--but this we are told by Col. M'Kenney is only a guarantee of possession of the land and not of sovereignty--this may be a correct through rather a new doctrine,--the treaty with the Cherokees we believe says no white man is to enter the Indian Country without permission of the tribe--if this be so, it is certainly coming pretty near sovereignty--however we are not disposed to dispute this point one way or the other.
We have been asked whether the Cherokees and the other Southern Indian
tribes have increased or decreased, since their betaking themselves to civil
and agricultural life, and if the former in what ratio? The question we
have no means of answering, and we would refer it to the intelligence and politeness
of the Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix.
The Cherokees have been increasing within the last twenty or thirty years, and of late, in a common ratio of increase among the whites. Among the Choctaws and Chickasaws, the increase is probably nearly as rapid. We have no means of ascertaining the truth in regard to the Creeks. A number have emigrated of late to the west of the Mississippi.
From the Augusta (Geo.) Chronicle.
Cherokee Relations.- The following letter from Gen Coffee of Alabama, to the Executive of Georgia, just received, will show that the General Government are disposed to enquire into the justice of our claims without delay, and to put us in the enjoyment of them as soon as the extent of those rights is properly ascertained. We think any impatient interference on our part, while this aspect of things continues, would have no good effect, as it would so far evince a distrust in the intentions, as well as cast a censure upon the conduct of the National Government, which would be equally at variance with reason and policy.
NASHVILLE, Ten. 3d Nov. 1829
Sir--I came to this place a few days since on business, where I have received instructions from the Secretary of War, directing me to proceed to the Cherokee Nation, and collect such testimony as I may be able to obtain, relative to the true boundary line between the lands of the Creek Nation, and those of the Cherokees, and to forward the same to the Government, to enable them to determine with more certainty on the true line between those nations, wherein the State of Georgia has of late become interested; and between whom and the Cherokees there exists a difference of opinion and a clashing of interest. I have undertaken to perform that duty, and for that purpose I expect to leave my residence near Florence, Alabama, on the 16th inst. and proceed direct to the Cherokee Agency in that Nation, and may reasonably expect to reach that place about the 22d inst. And as I presume you feel interested in this subject on the part of the State of Georgia, and may have obtained much information relative thereto, may I ask the favor of you to furnish me with whatever may be in your possession which may throw light on the subject; and to forward the same so as to meet me at the Cherokee Agency as soon after my arrival there as may be perfectly convenient to you, as it is desirable that I shall collect the information sought for, and report the same as soon as possible.
I have the honor to be sir, with great respect, your obedient servant.
His Excellency JOHN FORSYTH.