This edition printed in two pages only.
NEW ECHOTA, FEB. 19. 1831.
This week we present to our readers but half a sheet- the reason is, one of our printers has left us; and we expect another (who is a white man) to quit us very soon, either to be dragged to the Georgia penitentiary for a term not less than four years, or for his personal safety, to leave the nation, and us to shift for ourselves as well as we can. And, our friends will please to remember, we cannot invite another white printer to our assistance without subjecting him to the same punishment; and to have in our employ one who has taken the oath to support the laws of Georgia which now oppress the Cherokees, is utterly out of the question. Thus is the liberty of the press guarantied by the Constitution of Georgia.
But we will not give up the ship while it is afloat. We have intelligent youths in the nation, and we hope before long to make up our loss. In the mean time our patrons will bear with us ' have patience- let them bear in mind that we are in the woods, and, as it is said by some, in a savage country, where printers are not plenty, and a substitute not easily obtained when one of our hands leaves us or become indisposed- our paper is therefore easily deranged. Our readers will please not expect to receive the Phoenix very regularly for a while. We shall do the best we can.
We have already noticed the late law of Georgia, making a high misdemeanor, punishable with four years imprisonment at hard labor in the penitentiary, for any white man to reside after the 1st of March, within the limits of the Cherokee Nation, (so the copy of the laws we received reads-let the people of Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina look out-the Georgia legislature is carrying its sovereignty too far,) unless he takes the oath of allegiance, and obtains from the Governor's agent a permit to continue his residence until further orders. We cannot help alluding again to that law as being extremely unjust, without saying anything of its oppressive tendency, both to the whites and Cherokees. It is certainly oppressive on the whites, even admitting that the state of Georgia has an undoubted jurisdiction over the Cherokee territory. Why is it that it is required of them to take the oath, when by the extension of that jurisdiction; they were admitted as citizens of the state? Is such requirement made of other citizens? Do the Constitution and the laws recognize such a distinction? But what becomes of the liberty of conscience in this case?- Here a white man cannot enjoy that liberty without going to the penitentiary.
What are the effects of this law on the Cherokees? Disastrous. Just such effects as were intended the law should produce. The design appears to be to bring them back to their old station-carry them back twenty years hence. Deprive them of all their means of improvement, and remove all the whites, and it is thought by some the great obstacle is taken out of the way, and there will be no difficulty to bring the Cherokees to terms. If this is not the design it may possible be the tendency of the law. Now let the reader just consider. If we introduce a minister of the Gospel to preach to us the way of life and salvation, here is a law of Georgia, a Christian law too it is said, ready to seize him and send him to the Penitentiary, in violation of the constitution of the state itself. ( See Constitution of Georgia, Art. 4- Sec. 10.) If we bring in a white man to teach our children, he is also arrested and suffers a similar punishment. If we wish a decent house built, and invite a carpenter into the nation to do the work, here is a law which forces him from our employ and soon numbers him with culprits. If we introduce a Blacksmith, or any other mechanic it is the same. Is it not natural to suppose that the tendency of such a law on the Cherokees would be disastrous! It forces from them the very means of their improvement in religion and morals, and in the arts of civilized life.
In our last we noticed the arrest of John Martin of Coosewaytee. We understand that the great military parade against him was got up merely on suspicion, and that after taking him to headquarters, keeping him over night under guard and propounding to him a few foolish question, he was released.
Sir- We received your ' Phoenix' of December 11th and as usual read it with aching hearts; but we would suppress the rising spirit of indignation; which conscience says is wrong, for would we speak ' evil of dignities' for thus it is written, I wish however to express my views and feelings, with regard to the affairs of y our nation, and in doing this I express the sentiments of a large majority of the northern states.
You doubtless receive many of our Religious Periodicals, and there learn the sentiments of our Christian public. A large Political party are also deeply interested in your favor; and deprecate the sophistry, and hypocrisy, which would
'Make the worse appear the better cause.'
and with these may be numbered, each enlightened individual of whatever party or denomination, whose principles, are not corrupt, and whose hearts can feel for the miseries of others.
These all sympathize with you, as with the suffering Greeks, and can find no more apology for your oppressions, than for those who would exterminate that brave, ancient, and unoffending people, merely because they have the power! We feel more in your case, because it is our own Nation which is doing this; because you have far more claim; and because we also must participate in the national judgment which must follow this national crime.
It is impossible for us to believe the sentiments of our President in his last Message sincerely expressed towards you.
I am wholly unskilled in Public affairs, excepting in what relates to the 'Indian Bill'-(and one more question which like yours hath spread a gloom over our nation) but the most simple and unlearned, whom Nature and common sense has taught the principles of right and wrong, cannot but see your affairs in the same point of view as our best and wisest and great men do.
If our President, as he says, 'indulges a friendly feeling towards the Aborigines of our country, and would reclaim them from their wandering habits, and make them a happy and prosperous people'- why not hear their prayers and relieve their miseries? It would avail me but little if one should say 'he indulged a friendly feeling' and wishes for the peace and prosperity of myself and mine, while he was driving us from our paternal inheritance, and our home, because a more enlightened and powerful family coveted it, and asked his interference, and could reward him with money, and votes, and applause. I question whether those Jezebel employed practised this hypocrisy towards Naboth, when they destroyed him for the sake of his vineyard.
If he wishes for your civilization, why not admit your rights, against the unjust demands of Georgia, and against her invasions, for no people were ever making more sure, if not more hasty advances in the arts of civilization. I speak from what I know and have seen.
Why talk of a 'dense population?' Did we not see much uninhabited land in those regions which did not belong to the Cherokees? or what if the Cherokees wish to retain more than they can now cultivate for their children, and their children's children? Our rich landholders are allowed the peaceable possession of a township, which yet does not include their home and their all. Population increases with civilization, and we dare to predict that if the Cherokees remain unmolested, their land before many years will be filled with a 'dense population'- if not as fair as respectable and as moral as their neighbors, 'a valuable relic of the Aborigines, which should be cherished as an ornament to our country' and with the will remain an untarnished name for their Protectors and the annals of our States will remain unstained with the recorded crimes, of perjury, cruelty, and oppression! O why should you then be expelled under these pretenses, merely to qualify the avarice and malice of your neighbors and if our President 'loves you,' why not save you, and if he loves his own nation why not hear the almost innumerable petitions of the most respectable, humane and intelligent, who have brought with must earnestness, not only for you, but that he would not involve his own people in infamy and crime.
It has been said that Mr. Jackson cannot act other wise; but do we not know that Mr. Monroe was urged to this measure, yet when a proper statement was made and it was proven that the civilization of your nation was practicable, he would not expel you from the land of your forefathers; and he persuaded both Houses of Congress; and he also generously aided in the expenses of their improvement; and witnessed with pleasure, and approbation, your advancement, and there is now much increased evidence in your favor.
If our President and our Congress cannot, according to former Treaties protect a confiding nation against the invasions of one of our own states why do we need, or why support a President and a Congress. I had thought that these constituted the beauty and safety of our government. But is it not so if your enemies speak truly. I asked one this question, he said 'it was for foreign affairs they were supported,' but I am still unconvinced for how can their influence extend to foreign affairs, if it cannot effect a neighboring nation and one of our states, and keep in good faith in fulfilling treaties? Surely our present administration is more powerless than in former years--in the days of Washington and Monroe and others who have filled the Presidential chair.
A gentleman of erudition a few evenings since said, 'that no one could justify the proceedings which are in operation against the Indians, but from ignorance; or want of principle, and humanity-that no President had gone so far in destroying the union of the States as Mr. Jackson.'
I do not write from prejudice, for I was taught to believe that 'the Hero of New Orleans'-the friend of the Bible Society, of whom the Rev. Mr. Mills wrote so interesting an account in the journal of his passage down the Mississippi; I was taught to believe him a Christian, and said he would prosper, and he has prospered far beyond my expectation; but I was not much misinformed, prosperity hath spoiled him. 'Alas it is not when we sleep soft and awake merrily ourselves that we think most of the sorrows of others.' No Christian sanctions injustice inhumanity and barbarism.
If I would save my children from the baneful influence of example I must teach them to abhor crime, however covered with sophistry, and splendid attire, and thus will every mother do who valued their happiness here and hereafter. Our children will tell it again to theirs and thus the name of Jackson will descend to posterity stained with the epithet of cruel, unjust, perjured, and hypocritical. It is not thus that the name of 'William Penn,' Frelinghuysen and Wirt will descend to future generations.
Mr. Jackson is spoken of by his friends, as our next President. Our fathers, our husbands, our brothers, our sons form a powerful Phalanx; and if female influence can avail ought with these our Next President shall be a friend to truth and humanity. Those who call him a man of 'Roman Integrity' must have vague notions of integrity.
Your enemies say 'that the nation as a body wish to emigrate.' We answer that your Phoenix, the affecting address of your Committee, and council to the people of the United States; and the Petition to our President, and Congress, signed by nineteen twentieth of the male adults of your nation, are enough to disprove this assertion.
We are also told that Mr. John Ross, and those who conduct the affairs of your nation, are white men who own the Press, and are speculators, who for the sum of $1000 paid to each by our government, have already stipulated to influence the Cherokees, as a body to remove; but perhaps these slanders are not worth repeating, as they only prove the ignorance, and malice of the inventors.
We rejoiced much in your 'appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States,' and judging from the past, were not surprised when we read of 'the late rash conduct of Georgia,' in defying its authority; but we wonder where these things will end, and do not know but a civil war will be the national judgment with which we shall be visited if these national sins are not prevented. O how much shall we venerate this power, if it save our nation, and yours!
We are filled with the deepest commiseration and grief, in view of your injuries, and there is no consolation, but in committing your cause with our own into his hands 'who doeth all things well,' and though 'clouds and darkness surround his throne, Justice and judgement are his habitation.'
Jan. 13, 1831.