Cherokee Phoenix


Published March, 10, 1830

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Public attention has been directed lately in an especial manner in various parts of the United States, to the present condition and future prospects of these Indians residing upon and occupying lands within the chartered limits of the respective States. Public meetings have been held in Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, and perhaps other places, the objects of which are to induce Congress to preserve the good faith of the Union towards them, and to render to them that security in the guarantee of the small remnant of land still left in their possession, which the grasping disposition of their white brethren would seem to render necessary.

We apprehend that this subject will prove in the sequel, one of more than ordinary interest, and it already presents numerous and increasing difficulties. No reasonable man acquainted with the subject, can for the moment believe that the government of the United States will in this enlightened and humane age, remove them from the land of their fathers, and divesting them of their birthright given to them by the God of Nature. They have from our government the most solemn assurances the form of treaties, that their possessions are unalienable without their own voluntary consent. To take their lands by force would be an act of the most barbarous injustice:-such a course would entail disgrace upon the name of America. Our justice and our policy alike forbid such a course.

On the other hand, the advocates of removal at all hazards, say that to suffer them to remain-to guarantee to them the fee simple to their lands-to permit them to erect an independent (and perhaps hostile) government within the limits of the States, are fraught with evils which cannot and ought not to be tolerated. The States have if possible a right to have their limits occupied, their lands settled ' taxed, and their resources developed and rendered available; all of which are retarded and prevented by the Indian population, whose habits and dispositions render them averse to the yoke of civil government. This is true to a certain extent, but not so far to cause a violation of every principle of political justice.

The State of Alabama has extended the operation of her laws over that part of the Creek Nation within its limits, and an attempt was made at the last session of the legislature to do the same to the other Indian nations in its borders. The laws of Georgia have, we believe, been extended over the Cherokee and Creek nations. This strikes us as being unjust. The Indians are not enumerated as a part of our population-they have no representation in either our National or State legislatures-they pay no taxes, and we cannot see, the propriety or justice of subjecting them to the berthen (sic) of our laws, when it is well known that their feelings and habits alike forbid them to apply for their benefits.- Without doubt our criminal laws should have an operation in the Indian nation, so far as concerns crimes committed by white men upon each other, or by Indians towards the white people.- But that they should be subjected to the uncertainty and trouble incident to a code of laws, of the very nature of which they are necessarily ignorant, and the forms which are unknown to them, strikes us as a refinement of policy unusually impolitic and unjust.- They are in fact an independent people, admitted and recognized to be such by the government of the United States; and although inhabiting a territory claimed to be within the limits of sovereign States, their own title has never been divested. We know of no good argument which supports the justice of extending our laws over these people-especially when no provision is made to give them the privileges as well as the obligations of citizens.

Southern Advocate.