Cherokee Phoenix

From the American Spectator and Washington City Chronicle

Published February, 10, 1830

Page 2 Column 3c-4b

From the American Spectator and Washington City Chronicle.


We do not wish to forestall public opinion, but if we are not greatly deceived, the sentiments of the nation are widely at variance with the proceedings of the Executive and the State of Georgia, in relation to the Southern Indians. No question of right, since the declaration of our independence, has awakened so deep and general an interest, or been so extensively discussed, as that which involves the fate of these unfortunate beings. This interest has not been stimulated by political animosity, for it has disregarded and overrun all party distinctions: the discussion has not been carried on by a few impertinent intermeddlers with the affairs of Government- it has engrossed the calm and labored attention of some of the ablest and best informed men in the country-men whose opinions will be quoted with deference and respect when the lips that uttered them shall be silent in death. The sentiments, therefore, which have obtained with the public, are not the excitements of an hour-they are not the transient impulses of blind sympathy-but they are the deep and abiding convictions of an enlightened understanding, and an unchanging conscience.

How far the measures of Congress ought to be affected by opinions so universally entertained, and so unequivocally expressed, is a question of serious interest. But if the will of the constituent may be allowed to influence the decision of his representative in a matter of mere local interest, much more should it do so when the subject is one of a national character, and when his own voice is sustained by the voice of millions. The public have but one opinion on this subject, and it sets in a deep unbroken current against any measures that may operate unfavorably to the Indians. The public have not forgotten the helplessness of their ancestors, and the hospitality of these red men. They have not forgotten who were the original undisputed proprietors of the soil, or the manner in which they have been forced from one resting place to another, till they begin to be regarded as aliens, even around their ancestral altars. They have not forgotten those solemn assurances of friendship and protection in which the faith of this nation has been pledged; and which are now to be sacrificed to the cupidity of a few restless spirits. They have not forgotten the right of sovereignty which has hitherto been recognized by our Government in all its intercourse with these men, who are now required to bend their necks to the foot of the oppressor. These remembrances are all vivid in the minds of the public, and they are justly calling forth a deep-toned remonstrance at the ruinous measure pursued towards these Indians. And if these relics of untutored strength are allowed to be crushed, the heart of this nation will be their sepulchre.

In no period of this country has more been said of the justice and power of public sentiment than at the present; it has been held up as the justifying motive for a system of measures that have changed the hopes and condition of thousands. Over these changes so far as the public weal required them, we utter no execrations. But let the voice of public opinion be heard now-let it be heard on a subject in which no party interests or hopes are to be answered-a subject which involves only feelings of national justice and honor, and which points to the sentiments of posterity. From this tribunal the Indian has nothing to fear; he may still walk erect in the pride and dignity of his nature, and at last go to his fathers unstained by a surrender of his rights.