Cherokee Phoenix

From the Savannah Georgian

Published January, 6, 1830

Page 1 Column 5c-Page 2 Column 2b

From the Savannah Georgian.


The Head Chiefs of the twenty-four Council-fires, President Jackson, has delivered his annual talk. In it he paints in true colors our treatment by the white-men-but all his talk results in this, that we must either abandon our country, or be subject to the tyranny of the State of Georgia--slavery or exile is the only alternative which he presents. Listen to his words:

'Our conduct to these people (the Aborigines) is deeply interesting to our national character. Their present condition contrasted with what they once were makes a most powerful appeal to our sympathies. Our ancestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast regions. By persuasion and force, they have been made to retire, from river to river, and from mountain to mountain, until some of the tribes have become extinct, and others have left but remnants to preserve for a while, their once terrible names.' This is so much like the expression of humane sentiments and generous feelings, that we are naturally prepared to expect, that at every hazard the faith of treaties in our favor will be upheld, that our rights will be protected and our beloved country, never ceded, never conquered, in our possession time immemorial, that it will be secured to us. But mark the end-'It is too late to inquire,' continues the talk, 'whether it was just in the United States to include them and their territory within the bounds of new States whose limits they could control. That step cannot be retraced-a State cannot be dismembered by Congress or restricted in the exercise of its Constitutional power.' Therefore as a State cannot be dismembered, she has a right to take our lands and tyranize over us that never justly formed any part of her members. On! generous conclusion,- reasoning as humane as it is accurate,-logic worthy of the white man! What is the meaning of the following words, the 7th article of our treaty in 1791 with Washington, still in force. 'The United States solemnly guarantee TO THE CHEROKEE NATION all their lands not hereby ceded.'

Has it come to this, that a President of the United States shall declare that it is too late to abide by the pledge solemnly given by Washington, for the integrity of our country? Do we live to see the day that his plighted faith, plighted, in the most binding and imposing form--pledged too in conjuction with that of those men who gave existence to this great Republic-- Do we indeed live to see the day, when his and their pledges are to be disowned ' trampled upon, and others, as worthless as they are delusive, offered in their stead? But the most odius and revolting feature in this business is yet to be mentioned. By another part of his talk, President Jackson would make it appear that at the very time that thie plain, important and solemn guarantee, was entered into, there was a lurking article in the Constitution of the United States, something about the admission of new States, that annulled it-- Good Heaven! Has not the blood of every American suffused his face and indignation fill his heart at such a suggestion?

President Jackson having, by a constitutional objection, shown his desire thus to put aside the guarantee of Washington, and bring us under the legislation of Georgia, which towards a free people like us, is perhaps as cruel as any in existence,* proposes that Congress shall cede us a territory west of the Mississippi, 'to be guaranteed to the Indian Tribes as long as they shall occupy it'-'where they may be secure in the enjoyment of government of their own choice, 'c, 'c.'

Leaving out of view the confidence that could prompt to an offer of the pledge of General Jackson and the present Congress, in exchange for that of the Father of his Country and the Congress of Revolutionary Heroes-let us, as he has directed our attention to the Constitution, examine what authority he derives from it to offer to cede us a territory where we shall be independent. Well, I have examined this instrument-I can find there no such power--I say it cannot be found, or pointed out-it has no specific existence-Will it be asserted that it is a derivative power?- for the sake of consistency I would suppose not. For how can it be alleged that the tremendous power of ceding away the domain of the United States is implied. When it is denied that without specific power, the lands within the several States cannot be even improved by roads and canals with the money of the United States- and yet, with great Constitutional scruples on other points, the President calmly proposes to Congress to cede away the soil and sovereignty of the United States. I say of the United States for until it is theirs, they cannot give it to us.

Let those, who either through real or pretended humanity, would seek to have us removed to the western desserts, examine this matter--Let those religious association in New York; who propose to second the views of State policy examine well the bearings of this matter. We are utterly lost,- there is not a shadow of hope for us if we part with our present lands.

But in addition to suggesting a lurking article in the Constitution as annulling the engagement of General Washington, President Jackson is pleased to sneer at our title to our country, in the following terms---'But it seems to me visionary to suppose that in this state of things, claims can be allowed on tracts of country, on which they have never dwelt nor made improvements, merely because they have seen them from the mountain, or passed them in the chase.' If this however, were our only title, it is superior to the less than nothingness of that title under which Georgia claims our country. She claims under what is called a Charter from a British King, who was never within three thousand miles of it--who never once saw our health invigorating mountains--who never quaffed our pure and crystal streams--who never experienced the luxury of our shady forests--or ever contemplated with mingled admiration and awe, as we have done, the wild majesty of Tallulla--or been sprinkled by the cooling spray of Tocon-whose ignorance of this situation of our country is apparent on the very face of that Charter.

And who is it that thus sneers at our title, and under that sneer would do away the guarantee of Washington? It is that General Jackson by whose side our warriors poured forth their blood in the battle field--whose brows we assisted to bind with the only wreath that graces them, that of the warrior--whom a reference to the country and history of his forefathers, might have taught pity for us,from the wrongs of a people, who like ourselves, were calumniated that they might, without sympathy, be oppressed and despoiled. See by the following complaint, how closely their unhappy situation corresponded with our own. They state 'that in 1170, Adrian had, at the unjust and iniquitous suggestion of Henry, King of England, by a certain verbal form, and without any legal and just process, deprived them of their domain, their people and country. The English sought under the external appearance of sanctity and religion, to extirpate the Irish nation. they drove them from their spacious habitations and paternal property, to dwell in woods, lakes, marshes ' caverns, and sought to expel them even from these wretched places of refuge.'

Leaving out of view our friendly reception of the first Georgians-our extensive grants of land to both their fathers and themselves-our relinquishing the friendly interference of other nations and putting ourselves under the protection of the United States-our having fought their battles-our treaty guarantees with them-who could have imagined, that at this day, when the monarchy of England has just enfranchised a long oppressed people-when the monarchy of France has just acknowledged the freedom of a revolted colony-at this day, when those who have been held as natural enemies are found leaguing together, to give freedom to an ancient nation-who could have imagined that at such a period, the head of this great Republic, would present the spectacle of offering to the most free and public spirited (but now weak) people on earth, the humiliating alternative of evil or slavery.


*See the Georgian of December 15, 1829, for Mr. Shorter's proposal to punish,(for exercising sovereignty over our own people, in our own country,) by Penitentiary confinement.

+ O'Niel's letter to Pope John.