This issue of the Phoenix is published in four columns only.
We devote a large portion of our paper to that part of the message of the Governor of Georgia which relates to Indian affairs. We do so because among our home readers, there appears to be a general anxiety to see this document and to learn what recommendations have been presented before the legislature. Not that they expected to be more favored by Governor Gilmer, than they have been by his predecessors, but it was supposed that there was a perfect understanding between the executives of the United States and the state of Georgia, in the contemplated proceedings of the latter, and that this understanding would be fully developed in the Message. So it turns out to be the case. Who that has read the remarks of the Government agent, made, not long since, in this place, and addressed to the Cherokees, will doubt such an understanding? Let the reader compare these remarks with the message of the Governor -- he will be satisfied. The executive of the United States knows very well that Georgia intends to survey the Cherokee territory, and it appears to us that it acquiesces in this intention, or we must be induced to disbelieve what the Government agent explicitly told us. The state does not only intend to survey the country, but to take possession of the gold mines. Although as yet these measures are only recommended by the Governor, yet we have not the least doubt that the legislature will do more that what is recommended.
We really did believe that the President would afford us protection when measures were carried to such extremity by the state of Georgia, more especially, when we had his declaration frequently made to us, that 'he would protect our territorial possession.' In what way would these possessions be protected if surveyors are permitted to come and cut up our country, and if our gold mines are to be wrested from us by force? Perhaps we do the President wrong in supposing that we are about to be thrown altogether from his hands into the hands of our neighbors, who are seeking our lands and are determined to have them in defiance of all law and justice. We would still hope, but, according to present appearances, and the course of measures now in progress, it seems to be hoping against hope. The time will, however, soon arrive, when everything on this subject will be put to the test -- we will then know what sort of protection it is which the President has promised to give, and what are the territorial possessions which he has declared shall be secured to the Cherokees.
Gov. Gilmer seems not to have reflected, when he intimates that the Cherokee Government would have been incompetent to remove the intruders, that is by treaty stipulation the bounden duty of the United States to do this, and that this duty has heretofore been faithfully performed by her. He seems not to have known that the Cherokees have paid the United States well for this portion of their engagements. Was he altogether unaware that every intruder was driven from the gold mines, just the other day, in fulfilment of this same treaty engagement? There is now no intruder for His Excellency to drive away.
In removing intruders, the Governor recommends that all white persons should be included, whether they be connected with the Cherokees by marriage, or residing among them as mechanics, or who live in the nation in any capacity. He would therefore drive away our school teachers, our religious teachers, our mechanics, and many of our worthy white citizens with their Cherokee families, or else he must separate them from their wives and children. This will be very magnanimous indeed! But why this harsh treatment? 'Much of the opposition of the Cherokees, to the extension of the laws of the state over them, and to the offers made by the United States to induce their reunion with that part of the tribe who have removed to the west of the Mississippi, has proceeded from the influence of these persons.' So says the Governor. Has the law of Georgia then, which makes it a penitentiary offence to prevent or endeavor to prevent any Cherokee from emigrating to the west of the Mississippi, become so impotent that it cannot be enforced against even one of these white transgressors? But the Governor is widely mistaken if he supposes the white people are the cause of the opposition of the Cherokees to the laws of Georgia. It is well known here that those who have turned their heels against the interest of this nation, and united themselves with Georgia, are white men. To have them out of the country, we believe, no one would object.
The Governor makes an assertion utterly false when he says the Cherokees have refused to meet the President even for the purpose of consultation. Every body knows this is not so. The invitation of the President to the Cherokees to meet him at Nashville was accompanied with this qualification: They need not come unless they can come with full powers to treat. If the invitation had been without such qualification, it would have been acceded to very cheerfully, but as it was, they could not do otherwise than refuse. They could not go with full powers to treat.
The reason given in the message why the Cherokees have not been prevented from meeting in Council, and carrying on their government is, no provision was made for that purpose in the law extending the jurisdiction of the state over them. This certainly comes with very ill grace from a Governor, who not long since issued a flaming proclamation, calling upon the military and civil authorities of the state, to bring to condign punishment any Cherokee chief or chiefs who may pretend to exercise authority under the pretended laws or usages of the nation. The Governor either was ignorant of the provisions of that law himself, or knowing them, he bought a proclamation, unsupported by law, would do just as well to frighten the Cherokees.
There are other parts of the message on which we should like to extend our remarks, but we cannot for want of room. The reader can make his own comments. We presume all the measures recommended will be adopted by the legislature -- perhaps they are not already adopted.