Cherokee Phoenix


Published October, 16, 1830

Page 3 Column 2a


NEW ECHOTA: OCT. 16, 1830

The Governor of Georgia has issued a proclamation appointing the 18th day this month for the meeting of the Legislature. The object which Gov. Gilmer argues, is the regulation of the gold mines -- this may be the real motive -- but we doubt it. The Milledgeville Record says --

The proceedings of the next Legislature will be interesting to the people. Measures may be adopted which may have great influence upon the future welfare of the State. Therefore, the members will have to exercise the utmost caution, and prudence in their proceedings and to give to every measure proposed much reflection and investigation before it is finally adopted.

The principal subject upon which the Legislature will have to debate, is the Cherokee controversy. The subject is a delicate one. In it is involved principle, the rights of the States, a correct construction of the Constitution, and the objects for which the States, confederated and formed that Constitution. The Cherokees pretend to absolute sovereignty over the territory they occupy: they will neither sell their lands nor remove to the other side of the Mississippi. These Indians cannot remain where they are; they cannot live under the laws of Georgia, at least a great majority of them. If they are allowed to remain, in a few years the race will be extinct. What will Georgia do? Humanity demands that something should be done to preserve the Cherokees from destruction. The interest of Georgia demands that the Cherokees should remove from the territory they occupy. Will delay bring about amicable settlement of differences? We believe not. The Federal Government have tried several times to negotiate with the Cherokees, and failed. General Jackson has failed. What can Georgia do, in the critical situation of her Indian affairs? The last law of Congress respecting the Indians, may yet have a salutary effect, though the first attempt made under the provision of the law has failed. We do not approve of coercive measures. Before resorting to them, which may be in the last extremity, it may be good policy to wait till the General Government has declared that it has exhausted all the means in its power, without the recourse to force, to induce the Cherokees to remove. Our readers must be aware of the prudence and caution the Legislature will have to exercise in the management of this business.

During the session of Congress, when the Indian Bill was under discussion, it was denied by those who advocated the policy of Georgia that force would in any way be employed either by the General or state Governments. To express an honest opinion that Geo. intended to drive the Cherokees off their lands, was considered a gross libel on the state and indignantly spurned as such by her champions. The public had a right to believe (although we did not) the declarations openly made on the floor of Congress. But how stands the case? It is said that the next legislature will survey the Cherokee territory and dispose of it to the people of Georgia by lottery. This is the common talk we hear, and we have it partly confirmed by the editor of the Recorder in the above remarks. That coercive measures are intended to be employed some time or other we believe is evident from the tenor of his language. We can tell those politicians who entertain so much regard for the Cherokees and would fain drive them at the point of the Bayonet in order to save them from extinction, that the last extremity will have to come. Take our word for it, that time willl come. The Cherokees are not going to run away, either at the bidding of Georgia or General Jackson, or from the operation of the Barbarous laws of the former, or by the insidious influence of the act of Congress. All these, the Recorder acknowledges, have already failed -- that they would fail, we predicted a long time ago. And we say now that open force alone will drive the Cherokees away, but we cannot say to where. If therefore the State of Georgia really intends to use force, she need not wait for the last extremity -- let her go to work now -- we can bear it as well now as at any other time. We are now well seasoned to her oppressions -- we have freely drunk of her bitter cup.

In making these remarks, we do by no means hold in contempt the power of the state -- she is powerful, and we are weak. She can soon destroy us if she takes us in hand. We are bound, however, to tell the truth -- our readers will not, therefore, consider us out of the way of propriety when we merely tell them that if Georgia intends to use force, when peaceable means fail, she will have to do it. We do not say what the Cherokees will do -- they have borne a great deal, and they may bear a great deal more.