Cherokee Phoenix


Published October, 16, 1830

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Monday 11th.

This day the two houses of the General Council of the Cherokee Nation were organized. Mr. J. Ridge was elected President of the National Committee, and Mr. Williams Rogers, clerk. Going Snake was elected Speaker of the Council, and A. McCoy clerk. On Tuesday the two houses met in joint committee, to whom was read and interpreted the following:


To the Committee and Council,

in General Council convened.

Friends and Fellow Citizens:

We are permitted, once more, to witness the dawn of that day, which, by the provision of the Constitution, is designated for the annual convention of the General Council. For this inestimable privilege, our thanks are due to Him who holds the destiny of man and governs the Universe. In the tempestuous scenes of revolving time, we have had our day of trial and afliction; yet through His merciful interposition, we have experienced seasons of joyful hope -- and should tremble and difficulties still rise up as vivid clouds, o'er our aching breast, and threatening destruction chime its doleful note in our ears, hope and faith in Him can removed them.

In pursuance of duty, I will suggest, for your consideration, such topics as in my opinion, the public good seem to require, and holding your seats, as you do, by the free choice of the majority of the people it devolves upon you to adopt such measures as will promote the public welfare.

To meet the exigency of the times, a law was passed at the late extra session, authorizing the Principal Chief to take measures for defending the rights of this nation before all courts of law and equity in the United States, against the acts of any individual state attempting to exercise jurisdiction within our limits, to the end that the question, touching the right of sovereignty, may be taken up before the Supreme Court of the United States for adjudication. In the decision of this important question, this nation has everything that is sacred at stake, and Georgia nothing. Yet the constituted authorities of the latter feign to be very sensitive on all occasions, when the subject is only touched -- at the same time, by their laws, the lives, liberty, ' property of the Cherokees are left exposed to the mercy of the assassin, the tyrant, and the robber, provided the foul deed can but escape the eye of an honest white man, and the most common privilege of freemen is denied to them.

Mr. Wm. Rogers has been appointed as agent in behalf of the nation to attend to all cases that may occur in the courts of Dekalb, Gwinnett, Hall and Habersham counties, and the professional services of Thomas W. Harries and Wm. B. Underwood Esquires, have been engaged. The character and talents of these gentlemen stand high -- they will attend to all cases that have or may occur in the five contiguous counties of Georgia that claim the right of exercising jurisdiction within our limits.

The arrest of one of our citizens at New Echota, by the deputy Sheriff of Gwinnett County, under a writ of ne exeat, issued by Judge Clayton, and his imprisonment in the jail of that county is a stamp of grinding oppression; and when he was brought before the court for trial, the same judge who had granted the writ, discharged him on the ground that the affidavit made by the prosecutor was insufficient to have warranted the issuing of such a writ -- also the arrest of three other citizens of this nation by the sheriff of Hall County, under a writ of attachment issued by Judge Clayton against them, for disobeying a Bill of Injunction which he had previously granted against them for digging gold within our territorial limits; and after conducting them into Georgia before the court then in session at Watkinsville, Judge Clayton ordered them to stand committed until all costs were discharged, thereby compelling them to pay a heavy cost, to avoid going to jail, and at the same time binding them in a large bond to appear before the court at Gainsville (sic) to stand their trial; and when appearing before that court, they were dismissed by the judge without a trial, on the ground that the Governor could not be a prosecutor in such a case. This is another instance of great injustice and oppression.

The case of Judge Sanders for punishing a white man under the laws of the nation, for the crime of horse stealing, and that of Corn Tassel, who is charged with committing murder upon another Cherokee within the limits of the nation, have been postponed by the Judge for the purpose of referring the pleas to the jurisdiction of the court, to a Convention of Judges at Milledgeville on the first of the week in November next, although he had himself once decided against them. Thus you will see the manner in which the rights of our citizens have been tantalized by the officers of Georgia, under their laws. There is another circumstance worthy of being noticed. The deputy sheriff of Gwinnett County, on a case of debt, penetrated into the nation and arrested a respectable Cherokee woman, and took her off captive from the arms of her husband and the cries of her children, for the jail of a distant land of about one hundred miles; but after travelling fifteen miles, she was released by giving bail. There are many other acts of equally grievous character perpetrated against our citizens under the laws of Georgia, and these are but a specimen of the effects of the exercise of jurisdiction over the Cherokees by Georgia; in which grievous evils the President of the United States has told us he cannot interpose his authority in our behalf.

The privilege directed under the sanction of the President to the agent for citizens of the United States to occupy the improvements which have been left by the emigrants, seem to have been extended by the agent without limitation, or without a just regard for the character of such occupants, and the instruction of the Secretary of War directing him to grant payments subject to their conduct until the order has been either countermanded or dispensed with at the discretion of the agent. A list of places, which are said to have been abandoned was furnished to the officer commanding the detachment of troops ordered on the Ala. ' Tennessee lines to remove intruders, accompanied with a note made by the agent, saying, that there were, no doubt, many white families on these places who had not applied for nor obtained permits, and that such were not to be interrupted. This strange procedure has placed upon our soil some of the most vicious and base characters that the adjoining states can produce, who are very active in annoying our citizens by stealing from them horses and other property; to enable them to perform their nefarious purposes with more effect, they have sought to form a link with such of our bad citizens as they can associate into their club. This state of things is truly grievous, and much to be lamented. But if the authorities of the General Government will not order the necessary antidote, how can the evil be effectually remedied without resorting to such measures as would bring down upon us the censure and disapprobation of the officers, of the General Government? Acts of the most innocent character, however necessary and expedient, when performed under the authorities of this nation, in these days, are too apt to be misrepresented ' magnified into an offence.

The confused situation of the Gold Mines, the line which the President under the report of Gen. Coffee has assumed to establish, and the lands reserved under the treaty of 1819, for a school fund, which was to have been disposed of by the President and applied under his discretion, for the benefit of this nation require your deliberation. Other subjects of importance will be submitted for your consideration in a subsequent communication.


October 11th, 1830.