Cherokee Phoenix


Published February, 3, 1830

Page 4 Column 2b


The Editor of the Philadelphian, says, 'The President tells us substantially, that the United States cannot disannul their compact with any state and cast it out of the union; nor can they prescribe any limits to the states already recognized as possessing state sovereignty within their chartered bounds. In all this he does not intimate that Georgia can, at pleasure, free herself from the covenants which she formed with the Indians before or after her compact with the United States. On the contrary, if the United States are bound to preserve good faith with Georgia, so is Georgia with the Creeks and Cherokees. By all the laws of honor and equity, Georgia is bound not to intrude upon the lands of her Indian neighbors with whom she has entered into solemn treaties.'

'But should Georgia abuse her sovereignty so as to violate her treaties with the Indians what shall be done? Does it appertain to the United States to govern the different states, as a father would his sons; and to correct them if they misbehave? If the states quarrel among themselves, they have agreed that the United States shall be umpire between them; but their covenanted relations with any people, formed prior to the federal union, are not submitted to the supervision and arbitration of the government of the Union.'

Aye, truly! What shall be done? The Dr. proceeds to tell us. 'Let Georgia legislate, if she will, about the Cherokees and Creeks; but let it be distinctly understood, that by her own consent to the arrangements of the United States, she cannot execute her laws upon the Indian settlements, unless it be by the Indians themselves.'

Cannot execute her laws! Why not? Who shall prevent her! And How? Listen, and you shall hear, 'In virtue of the laws and constitution of the United States, our general government has power to remove all white intruders from the Indian territories, and is disposed to exercise it.' So then Georgia may make laws to bind the Indians 'in all cases whatsoever.' It is a part of her sovereignty. But the moment she send any officer, who is not an Indian, to execute these laws in the Indian country, the General Government will remove him, as an intruder! She must appoint Indian Judges, Justices, Sheriffs, 'c. and if they rebelliously prefer their own laws, and refuse to execute those of Georgia, and the Governor of that state should send an officer to compel them that officer, also, will be removed as an intruder! If these Indians magistrates should be willing to execute the laws of Georgia, and should be resisted, he can call none but Indian militia to his support; for other militia would be removed as intruders! Georgia has a most perfect right to legislate for the Creek and Cherokee country, without check or restraint, but the power of the General Government to remove intruders will effectually prevent the execution of her laws on 'any one foot' of the Indian country, without the consent and assistance of the Indians themselves!

This we call splitting hairs to some purpose. It secures to the Indians all that 'WILLIAM PENN' himself would contend for. If the President and the Georgians will only admit the soundness of this logic, all will be at peace.

Vt. Chron.