CHEROKEE PHOENIX AND INDIANS' ADVOCATE
Saturday, May 15, 1830
Vol 3 No 4
Page 3 Col. 1
Extract of letter to the Editor, dated,
Washington City, April 26, 1830
I have it now in my power to give you some news of a more definitive character relative to our affairs. The debate in the Senate on the amendments offered to the Bill reported by the Committee on Indian Affairs, by the Hon. Senator from New Jersey, has resulted in their rejection, by vote of 20-27. Although there was nothing more contemplated by them, then was solemnly stipulated in our treaties. They could not meet the approbation of the grave Senators sent there to mete out justice to all parties,-to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's. The Hon. Mr. Sprague then offered another, which in truth and substance was a simple question put to the Senate, Will you be governed towards the Indians by the various Treaties made with them? It was decided in the negative! The Senator from New Jersey then proposed to amend the Bill by a proviso, that until the Cherokees should chose to remove, they should be protected by the Government as was stipulated in their treaties, and according to the extent and meaning of those instruments when entered into- and pray sir, what do you think was the result? It was all which we asked from the government. It was all we expected, and we humbly prayed for that protection, which in justice and good faith we had a right to demand and expect. But men and things have materially changed. The "poor devils," as we are called by the "grave and reverend senator" from Georgia, were not worthy of protection, their welfare and existence were a matter of two (sic) small notice, for the amendment was rejected by a vote of 20 to 27.
A regular and systematical course of policy has been pursued to cast us, in defiance of all that is just and sacred upon the "tender mercies of Georgia," that she may in the exercise of her boasted friendship, without interference, legislate us into ruin and expulsion from the homes of our fathers and infancy. Although she protests the use of force, it requires by an ordinary mind to foresee the result of her unjust and oppressive legislation, backed by Executive influence and the treachery of the United States; for treachery it surely must be, if all the solemn pledges made and stipulated, were never intended to be fulfilled. The proceedings of the Senate, and the 24th of April will long be remembered by all just and good men. The Cherokees are a people who in the days of their strength, were treated as a Nation. Go to Britain and ask who they were? and you will receive for answer that, "they were a distinct and sovereign people and as such we treated with them." Turn to the colony of Georgia and ask the same question, and her history gives the same reply. Turn to the Great Washington and all his successors down to the latest Chief Magistrate, and their acts all prove the same thing. Ask of General Jackson when the thunders of his cannon were heard in the southern forests, and he will say they are a nation, competent to contract with the Government, though President Jackson may deny it and say they are the subjects of Georgia. Whatever the circumstances may have grown up around them since the year 1785, or 1817, the meaning and force of their treaty obligations cannot be impaired. Though power may declare they shall not be observed, justice will not respond. And although these unfortunate people, who left their homes and families, and flocked to the standard of the brave commander at Talledega, Horseshoe, &c., and nobly fought the battles of Georgia, are now repaid with ingratitude and oppression, they are not yet vanquished. Though the strength and force of a dominant party is arrayed in opposition to all that they wish to enjoy as a free people, they are not frightened, and until something more pointed than words and high sounding epithets and denunciations are presented, they will continue to cling to their homes of their pristine fathers.
We had hoped and calculated upon the wisdom and justice of Congress, but in one branch we see already the result and effect of the declaration made to us on the 8th of April 1829. In the other branch the Government may in some measure maintain its exalted character, by a course more congenial to the principles of their own Constitution and the examples of great rulers. The generous course of policy pursued by Jefferson towards these ill-fated beings will go down to the latest posterity with increasing lustre, and is now looked upon by many as the best trait in the character and life of this great Statesman.
I do not believe that the feelings of the American people will respond to the proceedings of the Senate. I do not believe that they will think our treaties should thus be thrown aside, and Georgia in defiance of so many pledges, and all that is just, should break down our humble Government and triumphantly mock our sufferings.
Our next and last chance is before the Supreme Court; and until we have its veto, let us be firm and unshaken in our stand. Let not the dark clouds which hover around our political sun, cause us to despond and if it sets, I hope to see it rise again, if not at Echota, not within the limits of the United States.