Cherokee Phoenix

MR. EDITOR.--In your sixth number has appeared a new defendant against the position which I have mai

Published April, 10, 1828

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MR. EDITOR.--In your sixth number has appeared a new defendant against the position which I have maintained, that popular principles have been prostrated by the Council and their Treasurer. I proceed to reinforce my position, the correctness of which he has denied, and answer some of his annihilating sarcasms, to the performance of which he appears strictly to have adhered. It is said that when two persons throw dirt against each other, both cannot be clean; and let it be observed that in the conclusion of his exposition, 'Marshall' has applied to be the epithet of a calumniator, when at the same time the course he has taken is big with the same consequence. Not having ever witnessed a similar spirit of high resentment in support of a question in collision with another, the conclusion is irresistible, that he has not a little strained the faculties of his mind. In this hasty effort of establishing some of his questions, have originated some of his preposterous allegations. In the support due my position I hold it to be an immutable principle, which it will test all the scrutiny of Philosophy to overthrow, that when a set of men imbibe certain special principles, formally, which it is agreed should be governing principles twelve months afterwards, they are bound from the time such principles are decided to de [sic] fit for the happiness of a people, so far as virtue and ability are hand in hand, and accompanied by a strict regard to consistency, from every consideration to have adhered to them as near as the nature of the case would admit without awaiting the given time. The appointment of the different officers by the Council,(excepting the Treasurer,) was conforming as near as could be done, to the principles in the new Constitution; but the appointment of a treasurer, who was then holding three offices under the nation, is as much as to say, that altho' we have proclaimed some important principles to govern us tomorrow, in preference to our old ones, let us with all our industry gratify, ourselves in the enjoyment of our old unfit principles to-day. If the comparison which I have drawn be a correct one, then if there has been no abandonment of principle, yet a great indisposition is manifested to approach near to the Constitution. The Council of 1827, as quoted by 'Marshall', sitting under the then existing authorities, does not at all imply, that it was perfectly right, not to imitate as near as possible the principles in the new Constitution; but on the other hand it does appear obvious, in as much as they were so fond of principles prohibiting persons from holding more than one office, that they should have drawn closed to them, than to confer almost the whole powers of government on one person.

But 'Marshall' appears to have been forced on the public, by ny implication, that he was an intentional trespasser on popular principles. I must here assure him that he has placed an unwarrantable stress on my former remark,'that the Marshal of Chattooga district held two offices.' 'A Friend', in his first piece against me, gave rise to that remark, but if was done so cautiously, that it is unequivocally acknowledged to be an unintentional trespass. If prudence had not been blended with political vengeance, he could have enabled himself to find, that he was freed from my unmerited attack. Yet this is one of the prominent offences [sic], and alledged [sic] criminations [sic], from which he has taken such umbrage, that all my sentiments cease to harmonize with his chords.

In the 5th number of the Phoenix, I have rather disclaimed having maintained, that the New Constitution with all its articles should be immediately carried into effect, after the Council of 1827. The point to which I had objected was, that the same men, that had framed the Constitution, and then adopted it again in Council, continued to confer a plurality of offices on one man, which circumstance still controls conclusion, that they were waging war in favor of old principles, against newly imbibed ones. 'Marshall' has intervolved [sic] some of his quotation to prove that the council of 1827 had no right to adopt the new Constitution that it was read only for the information of the people, and that no law existed authorizing such a course.--This reasoning will be found on further examination, to be fallacious. The National council in their resolution provides, 'the principles to be adopted by the convention in the Constitution, shall not go to destroy the rights and liberties of the Cherokee people.' The enquiry arises from this pointed expression of the law, who was the supreme authority to decide upon the legality of the principles to be then adopted in the new constitution? This plain expression of the resolution, denying the force of the principles should they go to destroy the people's rights, shew [sic], on an impartial view that the sovereignty of the nation was not vested in the Convention solely to adopt permanent principles for the government of the Cherokees; but that even a person uninformed of the political condition of the Cherokees, must consequently come to the conviction, that that power was reserved somewhere else. That was necessarily in the National Council who did take it into consideration, and finally adopted it for the future government of the Cherokees. The preamble in a constitution, 'do ordain and establish' is so invariably linked with the condition of the acceptance of the body politic, over who it is to operate, that it cannot be practically a constitution, until it is accepted by such body; It is reasoning with facts to say, that a constitution cannot be binding on a people before they consent; and it was upon this contingency that the new Constitution has received its validity. In the event that the Council had disapproved of the principles in the new Constitution, it would no more have been binding on the nation, that it would be binding on the United States. If there was no law, as stated by 'Marshall,' to authorize the council to act on the new Constitution, so much the better; the National Council, being the democracy of the nation, had the supreme right to act, and do what they pleased. If they had power to create the Convention, they still retain power to review their proceedings. The Council being the highest summit of power in the old system, was at full liberty to investigate the proceedings of the Convention, which had no power to come forward and prohibit the Council from acting on any case. And while this power of the Council visibly existed, to be exercised in the adoption of the new Constitution, they did adopt it for the people, in as much as they were their representatives; for it was not sent elsewhere to get the people's approbation of it. No republican in the nation would have submitted to the constitution if its articles had been contrary to the people's rights, and only adopted by the Convention. The gentleman who was Clerk, when the Council was in committee of the whole on the subject, has admitted with me that the Council did adopt the new Constitution. His testimony, I presume, will preponderate in favor of my position, and be a sufficient arbiter to the candid.

In a liberal government every person has a right to his sentiments, to the expression of which perhaps a person without presumption feels some aversion. It was this tolerated right that induced me to a narration of his Excellency's visit to the National Treasury. I have myself cooned [sic] a log, and yet never have exposed my fancied life in others' breast. I never intended it a categorical fire to explode in other breasts. It was disclosed for the express purpose of shewing[sic] the many inconveniences which our distinguished men were subject to; hoping that it would be the means at some future day, to concentrate the National Treasury, with other offices at New Echota. But this is viewed as a heated calumny. If the integrity of the Chief had been disputed, his talents underrated, and the case managed with all malevolent design to the greatest advantage, it would yet have failed to accomplish his downfall. It may be necessary to illustrate the innocency of the case. I presume the story is familiar among the enlightened Cherokees, of the race which was run by President Madison with his servant, from the battle of Blandensburgh; General Jackson in all his glory is called old Hickory; John Randolph with his expanded talents is known often in the feminine gender. These oddities bear some analogy to my case; yet these idled terms have never been viewed, by those who are a witness to passing events, in the light of calumny.