Cherokee Phoenix


Published July, 31, 1830

Page 2 Column 2a-3a


We believe there is no subject connected with the policy of our country which has, for the last six months, more strongly invoked the public attention, than the act providing for the removal of the Cherokees. It is a subject, upon the discussion of which we cannot enter with any degree of moderation, believing as we do, the provisions of that act, not only cruel, unjust, and oppressive, but likewise calculated to cast on immovable, and palpable shade, over the hitherto brilliant, and untarnished fame of our free republic. If that act should be carried into effect, it will be an indelible stain on the national character of happy America, and like pefidious (sic) Carthage, her name will become a bye word among the nations. What! in defiance of treaties most solemnly entered into between the United States government and the Indians --in contempt of the clearest maxims of truth, justice, and humanity-and in the dishonor of those principles upon which our republican institutions are professed to be framed-will the Government compel the Cherokees to emigrate beyond the Mississippi or submit to Georgia legislation.

We maintain that to compel the Cherokees to remove West of the Mississippi-or submit to the laws of Georgia; to submit to the laws framed by their most inveterate enemies, in the making of which, they had not the slightest participation, and which are to be the offspring of the most untiring spirit of extermination, is substantially, and in practical effect the same, as an unconditional and unqualified expulsion of the Cherokees, from their homes, their native scenery in which every association of their earliest recollections is entwined- their improvements- the tombs of their ancestry- and in a word their native soil. This is substantially the purport of the act. By that act the Cherokees are compelled to leave their lands in Georgia. They are to be driven from their native haunts. It is true there is an alternative. An alternative, which we think is offering insult to injury-an alternative to which Indian pride will never submit-an alternative, which is tampering with, and turning it to scoff and ridicule the principles, upon which the war of our independence was justified-- an alternative fabricated as a cloak to hide the insidious, inhuman and faithless purposes of a government which looks alone to the end, to justify the means from the honest scrutiny of indignant freemen.

The title of the Cherokees to the lands which they now occupy, and which by this act, they are called upon to surrender; those lands where sleep the ashes of their ancestors, more dear to an Indian than his very existence, has been acknowledged by this government, and the archives of the National Legislature, exhibit no fewer than sixteen distinct and solemn treaties, between the government of the United States and the Cherokee Indians, who are now asserting their rights, against the claims of Georgia. Some of these treaties were entered into by the Cherokees, at a time when they were sufficiently formidable to support their rights by the sword; if such a resort had been necessary; others of them were entered into at a time, when our nation had increased in power, ' the Cherokees were weak, ' without the means of defence. All, however, acknowledge to their fullest extent, the rights of the Cherokees, and concede to them, exclusive sovereignty over the territory they occupy. Georgia has herself recognized their independent national character by entering into treaties with them, before the treaty making power was exclusively vested in the General Government, by the Constitution. It is true, that the National Government stand pledged to Georgia, to put that State in possession of the Indian country, within its prescribed limits, and 'to extinguish the Cherokee title as soon as it can be done peaceable, and on reasonable terms.' Georgia claims five millions of acres of lands lying in the Cherokee Nation, and now calls upon the National Government to fulfil this conditionall (sic) agreement. But is has been recently asserted that the United States transcended their powers in this negotiation with Georgia. Be that as it may, in accordance with the immutable principles of justice, the title of the Cherokees to the soil they claim and possess, which has descended to them from their fathers by immemorial inheritance- the very best of all titles-cannot be denied.-- Under such circumstances, what right had our government to compel them to emigrate. It has indeed been advocated as a measure of expediency but no state of affairs could exist that would render it expedient to be unjust. Let it not, however, be supposed that the Cherokees are going to submit tamely to such despotism which is so much at variance with the laws of nature, nations, justice, and humanity. They are not the same race of savage beings which they were a century age (sic)--they have advanced to a degree of civilization, unknown in many parts of this country-they have men amongst them well fitted by education and intelligence to represent their wrongs, and defend their rights; and they are determined to submit the justice of their claims to the consideration of the Supreme Court of the United States.--Va. Pat.