This issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is published in 4 columns only
For the Cherokee Phoenix
GEORGIA AND THE CHEROKEES.
When the time approached for the operations of Georgia laws over the Cherokees, we had good reasons to presume that these assumed powers were intended to accomplish the downfall of the Cherokees and their expulsion from their indefeasible inheritance. The character of the laws thus to be forced over a separate community of people, without being represented in the legislative department from whence such acts emanated without ever having contributed to the support of the same, but ever remained distinct and in the enjoyment of such rights as they always possessed, and such laws and usages as the genius of the people could relish, could not otherwise but inevitably create apprehensions of the ill treatment of the Cherokees. The anticipation of these events has been fully verified in numerous instances, by the operation of those measures, which cannot now be enumerated in the short communication. But I considered it due to myself, and justice to the public to lay before them in as brief a manner as the nature of the case will admit, a bill of costs assessed on us by Judge Clayton when B. F. Thompson, Johnson Rogers, and myself were arrested by a writ of attachment for disobeying a Bill of injunction to stay waste for digging gold in that country, which the treaties of the United States say belongs to the Indians.
We were arrested on the Monday morning Aug. 7 by the Sheriff of Hall County with a guard of men, carried to Wadkinsville seventy miles before Judge Clayton, who had at the commencement of the court at that place, submitted a charge to the Jury, proposing a policy which it was advisable to observe to enable the state to establish its jurisdiction over the Cherokees, and thereby prevent any succor that might be afforded to the Cherokees, by the federal tribunals of the Government. This charge could be considered by us in no other light, but a supercilious declamation which denounced the sympathies of the Philanthropist and the Christian, excited in behalf of the suffering Indians; and as intimating that Georgia alone was in the bright path of rectitude in forcing over the Cherokees the soul-grinding edicts of that State. But however severe the sentiments of his honor were in this unprecedented charge, it contained one passage of the principle, 'the Indians had nothing to fear from the character of their laws; where the same justice which is meted out to their citizens will also he meted to the Indians.'
We were then brought before his honor, for the offence of digging gold, when there were at the same time and place where we were arrested about two thousand Georgians employed in the mining operations without any restrictions. It was on the following Thursday, August 11th, when the bill of costs here annexed was the substance of justice meted for the first time to the Indians. This bill of costs was paid on Friday August 12th, on which day we were released.
After this we were bound in a bond to appear and answer to the bill of injunction on the 3d Monday in September, which Case involved the question of sovereignty. We accordingly appeared at court. When the case was called, one of the counsels for this nation delivered a speech of some length, founded principally on the laws of the United States in bar of the jurisdiction of that court over this case. But the case was laid over to the next day, and when returned, Judge Clayton dismissed it, or in other words threw it out of court, and without a restoration of the costs imposed upon us.
My object now is to show the public the high handed acts of injustice that are practiced on the Cherokees by the courts of Georgia since the operation of their laws. On the fifth day of our arrest, Judge Martin treasurer of the Cherokee Nation, who had accompanied us to see the fate of our prosecution, paid up the costs, and it will be perceived by the bill awarded by Judge Clayton, which you will please publish, he has allowed seven days pay for each of the guard. This item as it stands Judge Martin refused to admit, as it was known by all parties that they served only five days. The Sheriff traced the error to his honor the author of the bill. The guard were willing to deduct one day's services and no more, which of course had to be done, and discounted out of the amount as the bill shows below; and yet made us pay them each one day more than they had actually served. But the Sheriff, as the bill stands, compelled us to pay him for seven days services, two days more than he had positively served. Is Judge Clayton here meting to the Indians his promised justice? This is not all. In the item of expenses at Wadkinsville of $14.00 the Sheriff had included Judge Martin's expenses who was not one of the party under arrest, and which Martin had paid himself, and still his bill was included with ours and rendered to the Judge by the Sheriff, which of course could not be rejected at a Judiciary bench, which was blended with political expediency. This act of the court to compel the prisoners to pay the expenses of a person not involved in the case sustained the fact that oppression was the original design of the laws.
The last item of 12.50 allowed for the returning expenses, will prove to every friend of justice that the Cherokees are exposed to an authority that is prepared to crush their rights forever. Out of this sum, only $3.75 was the amount of expenses incurred by our return, which Judge Martin was willing to admit; but the whole amount of this item was claimed by the Sheriff as a right and admitted by the Judge, but after a long altercation a deduction was reluctantly made as the bill shows, at $3.75.
The State vs. Benj. F. Thompson, Elijah Hicks, John Rogers- Attachment under Injunction.
Arresting defendants under order of Judge $3.77
Bringing defendants before Judge 70 miles $3.50
4 guards 7 days at $1.25 each per. day $5.00
Do. Do. Sheriff $8.75
Expenses at Gainsville $4.25
Do. at Hayes $5.00
Do. at Athens $4.25
Do. at Farrs $8.75
Do. at Wadkinsville $14.00
Do. returning home $12.50
By errors in charge of guard 5.00
Received of John Martin Eighty Dollars the amount of the cost in the above case.
August 12th 1830.