Cherokee Phoenix


Published October, 23, 1830

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The talk of President Jackson to the Chickasaw Indians is going the round of the papers. We have not room to insert this document entire; and indeed, it is peculiarly trying to our feelings, at a moment when so much of our columns is devoted to a record of the noble sentiments and magnanimous conduct of the French people, and especially of our illustrious Lafayette, to be obliged to refer at all to a history so opposite in its character, and so humiliating to all patriotic Americans. The story of the treatment of the aborigines of this country by the whites, will be read by posterity with as much interest as that of the revolution in France; and the names of the chief actors in the scenes which it describes, will live at least equally long in the memory of future times. It is a story which has its bright and its dark spots. Amid much that is to be deplored, the names of Elliot, Mayhew, Brainerd, Penn, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, throw their lustre over a period of two hundred years. But then begins a tale of meanness, duplicity and perfidy, which will confer upon this generation, and especially upon some of the distinguished men now on the stage, an ignominy as deep and as durable as the glory of Lafayette.

The first act which tarnished the reputation of our republic was the ratification of the treaty with the Creeks at the Indian Springs by the Senate of the United States, at a time when they had on their table clear evidence of the base fraud by which it was obtained. That treaty was signed b y Mr. Adams; and although he subsequently procured its annulment, there was no proper atonement for the sin. That treaty opened the door for all the tyranny and oppression which have followed. When General Jackson came into office, the hope was indulged that he would avail himself of his unbounded popularity to restore the character of our government. One word from his lips uttered in Washington last winter -- 'the Union must be preserved' -- destroyed the nullification party in Congress; and one word from his lips, when he entered the Presidential chair -- 'The faith of the nation must be

preserved' -- would have made the tyrannical laws of Georgia, and her sister states as inoperative as the ordinances of Charles the X. This one word uttered by General Jackson, with his characteristic decision, would have saved the Indians, -- saved the reputation of the country, -- saved his own reputation, and not only saved it but placed his name on the list of men illustrious for stern justice and integrity, as well as for heroic courage. This word, he did not utter. With an infatuation scarcely surpassed by that of the Ex-King of France, he chose rather to nullify the solemn treaties and legislation of forty years, and stultify all his predecessors in office. What could be expected from such rashness but trouble on every side, and difficulties inextricable. Nor is it surprising, that in attempting to reconcile what is irreconcilable, he should run into the wildest inconsistency is strikingly manifest in the following paragraphs, which follow each other in immediate succession in his talk to the Chickasaws.

'Brothers listen -- The laws to which you must be subjected, are not oppressive, for they

are those to which your white brothers conform and are happy. Under them, you will not be permitted to seek private revenge, but in all cases where wrong may be done, you are through them to seek redress. No taxes upon your property or yourselves, except such as may be imposed upon a white brother, will be assessed against you. The courts will be open for redress of wrongs; and bad men will be made answerable for whatever crimes or misdemeanors may be committed by any of your people, or our own.'

'Brothers, listen -- To these laws: where you are, you must submit; there is no prevention -- no other alternative. Your great father cannot, nor can Congress prevent it. The states only can. What then?

Do you believe that you can live under those laws? That you can surrender all your ancient habits and the forms by which you have been so long controlled? If so, your great father has noting to say or advise. He has only to express a hope, that you find happiness in the determination you shall make whatever it may be. His earnest desire is, that you may be perpetuated and preserved as a nation, and this he believes can only be done and secured by your consent to removed to a country beyond the Mississippi, which for the happiness of our red friends was laid out by the government a long time since, and to which it was expected ere this they would have gone. Where you are, it is not possible you can live contented and happy. Besides the laws of Mississippi which must operate upon you, and which your father cannot prevent, white men continually intruding are with difficulty kept off your lands, and difficulties continue to increase around you.'

The first of these paragraphs appears to have been intended for the ears of the whites, for those northern philanthropists who complain of the cruelty of subjecting the Indians to the laws of the states. To them he says, 'These laws are not oppressive,' -- and would apparently persuade us to require the Indians to obey them is not cruel. The second paragraph is for the Indians, and with a view to induce them to emigrate to the Arkansas, he says, 'Do you believe you can live under those laws? It is not possible you can live contented and happy.'

N.Y. Observer.