Cherokee Phoenix and Indians' Advocate
Wednesday, March 24, 1830
Vol. II, no. 49
Page 3, col. 3a-4c
Intruders- We have often complained of the remissness of the executive of the United States to remove the intruders who have settled upon Cherokee soil; in defiance of the treaties, and the intercourse law of the Union. Our complaints have been thus far of no avail. The President has refused, at least for a time, to employ force, because the intruders, or the settlers, as they are stiled [sic] are on disputed land.- Georgia claims it as having been purchased from the Creeks. The Cherokees have contended that if Georgia does claim it, that is not a sufficient reason that a lawless set of people should be encouraged to come and abuse the original inhabitants, for it is an established rule among civilized people, that a claim must first be substantiated before possession can be had. Why should the Indians be deprived of this rule? The Cherokees have been in peaceable possession of this disputed land- now Georgia comes in and claims it, and must they, upon that naked claim be deprived of their country and rights? must they with their families as a number of them have been, be turned out of doors? Is this justice? Is this protecting the Indians in their rights? Let the public judge. See also the effects of the tacit consent of the General Government to these intrusions. To the many injuries upon our persons, murder, in its most heinous, brutal, and cowardly form has been added. Who would not cry oppression under such treatment as this?
But what becomes of the reason given by the War Department for refusing to employ military force, indeed any measure, to remove intruders on the disputed land, when there are thousands on other parts of the nation? In one spot, within the circumference of a few miles, there are not less than three thousand employed in robbing the Cherokees of gold! But this is not all-they bring into the nation all their vices, drunkenness, profane swearing, &c. We are informed that there are tippling shops on every hill where those gold diggers are collected; and that intemperance, of course, may be here witnessed in its aggravated form. Of these men we do not speak indiscriminately-some no doubt are good men, for we are credibly informed that preachers of the Gospel may be found among them, led into error, probably, by prospects of immediate wealth. Some of these teachers of religion after performing a good day's labor in pocketing the Indians' gold without leave, have preached to their associates from the word of God, whose precepts, such as "Thou shall not steal." might well have deterred them from such a service.
Col. Montgomery, the U. S. Agent has lately been to the place where these miners are collected, and warned them off. Some have already obeyed and removed, but others have positively refused to go, and probably will not until they are forced away. That part of the country not being within the line claimed by Georgia, we should like to know what possible excuse the executive will make, if the intercourse law is not forthwith put in force, & these people ousted. If the President does withhold the authority entrusted to him, and countenance such aggressions, then indeed, oppression, systematic oppression, as plain as day light will be at our doors!
As every effort is now made by the enemies of the Indians to misrepresent them to the public, it is proper occasionally to bring forward disinterested witnesses, whose opinions are made by personal observations. The Pittsburgh Christian Herald contains a unanimous resolution of the Synod of Mississippi, relative to the Southern Indians to which the attention or our distant readers is particularly invited.
"Resolved, That this Synod conceive it to be their privilege to express their views and feelings in regard to the efforts which may be made to remove the Indians within our boundaries, from their present places of residence. And having witnessed the progress of improvement especially among the Choctaws, they would regret as men and as Christians to see any attempts to coerce their removal- And resolved that in the opinion of this Synod, the time is not far distant, when these Indians, if left to the power of the religion of Christ, which is now beginning to unfold its civilizing influence, will become honorable members of our Christian civil community."