Note: This edition of the Phoenix is printed in four columns only.
NEW ECHOTA: DEC. 4, 1830
(note the difference in the day dates)
The Bill reported by the 'joint Committee on the State of the Republic,' in the legislature of Georgia, provides for the surveying of this country, so much we mean as lies within the charter of the State, into districts of nine miles square, and not into smaller lots until 'the Indian right of occupancy is extinguished.' It would seem then, in the opinion of the Committee, that the Cherokees are not tenants at will. But it is one step after another the State intends to take, just so far as President Jackson will give her license, and the very act of withdrawing the troops, when the question of surveying the land, and taking possession of it, is agitated in the legislature, shows that he is willing to go all lengths with her. The recent act of the President is virtually giving, not only the gold mines but the whole country, into the possession of Georgia. Can a free and enlightened people permit such an outrage upon the rights of a weak and dependent ally? We wait for time to give us answer.
The treaty lately entered into by the Secretary of War with the Mingoes, Chiefs, 'c. of the Choctaws, and which we published in our last, is a curious document in its provisions and in its composition. We copied it as we found it in a Mississippi paper. If it came out thus from the hands of the Honorable Commissioners, it will occupy a prominent place in the list of Cabinet Literature.
A certain editor lately observed that he had but a confused idea of the treaty, not having seen the document itself, but we fear, after all, he will be but little enlightened with he sees it. For our own part, our ideas are more confused since reading it than they were before.
The first article declares all other treaties null and void--yet the doctrine of the Sec. of War is, that treaties with Indians are not binding, of course null and void in themselves. What the first kills, the 17th article revives.--'The several annuities and sums secured under former treaties to the Choctaw Nation shall continue as though this treaty had never been made.'
In article third, it is said, 'In consideration of the provisions, contained in the several articles of this treaty, the Choctaw Nation of Indians consent and hereby cede.' 'c. To what do the Choctaws consent?
In the 19th article it is said, 'If a greater number shall be found to be entitled to reservations under the several classes of this article, than is prescribed, then in that case, the chiefs separately and together shall determine' 'c--- We cannot prescribe to ourselves the meaning of all this.
In the 20th article the following provision is made- 'To each warrior who emigrates, a rifle, moulds, wipers and ammunition; one thousand axes; ploughs; hoes, and cards--also four hundred looms.' After all the Hon. Secretary of War has been mindful of the poor Choctaws for although he has not fed them with individual annuities and rich reservations, yet he has well supplied them with axes and looms.
But we forbear noticing this document further--it is a bungling piece, throughout. If what has been published is a correct copy of the one which was signed at the Dancing Rabbit, the Senate would do well to reject it at once, until it is made a little more intelligible, and comes in clothed with better English. If an incorrect copy has been published, Mr. Eaton may well cry out, 'save me from my friends.'
A letter has been published in the United States Telegraph, from Greenwood Leflore to the Secretary of War, in which it is said that the Choctaws are very anxious to remove, and that they are ready to go in large bodies, without waiting for the ratification of the treaty. It is just such a letter as we should expect would be addressed by that Choctaw Chief to Mr. Eaton, it nevertheless does not prove that the treaty has been effected by honorable means. Many of the Choctaws may be now desirous to go, after they have been betrayed by a portion of their countrymen, and expecting no redress from the Government of the United States. Leflore, it will be recollected, was an efficient individual in bringing about the treaty, and is highly interested in its issue-it is therefore natural that he should have written just such a letter as has been published in the Telegraph--He is not a disinterested testimony.
In our last it was stated that a report had reached this place, that the U. States Troops, who have been stationed in this nation for the purpose of removing white intruders, were recalled. This report has since been fully confirmed, and the several detachments of these troops are now fairly on their march to their former stations. We are told they had hardly passed the boundary line, when gold hunters and gold diggers flocked in by hundreds. The motive for this sudden movement is best known to the powers that be. We recollect, however, distinctly, the former declaration of our Father, the President of the United States, that the intruders would be kept out, that he did not speak with a forked tongue, and that he would not deceive his red children. But perhaps we fail in common understanding, for we cannot discern the practical demonstration of those assertions.
The removal of the troops has been sudden and unexpected.- The following letter from the Principal Chief was addressed to Col. Hugh Montgomery, United States Agent, under the hope of deriving some information and explanation from that quarter.
Nov. 25th 1830
Col. H. Montgomery,
United States Agent.
SIR- In a former communication from the War Department you were instructed to say to the Cherokees, that the President was their friend and would not deceive them, and that it was his wish that there should be no misunderstanding between himself and them, nor between them and yourself, and that the intruders would be removed and kept off their lands, and that so far as he possessed the power to extend to them protection, it will be done, but he could not interpose his interference with Georgia in the exercise of jurisdiction within her chartered limits, 'c. After this a military force was sent, and arrived in this nation as has been said, for the purpose of removing the intruders agreeably to the President's orders; this force having become formidable and efficient by the reinforcement of an additional arrival of troops, it was confidently believed that the complaints against intruders would be effectually removed. In the removal of the white intruders from the gold mines, the Cherokees who were engaged in the mining business were also ordered to desist, and were in part treated as intruders, and upon being told that the prohibition was only intended a temporary suspension, for the more effectual removal of the whites, the Cherokees all quietly and peaceably agreed to comply with the orders of the President. It is now stated that the troops are about to be recalled from the nation, that the protection of the Cherokees is to be transferred to the Government of Georgia,- this extraordinary movement, if true, is astonishingly strange, especially when it is known that the intruders on the frontiers of the other adjoining States are unremoved ' that the Cherokee Nation is by treaty acknowledged to be under the protection of the United States exclusively.
I now call upon you for a full explanation of this report, and also of the views of the General Government in conjunction with that of Georgia, in regard to this nation, so far as you may possess information, either from the War Department or the Executive of Georgia, to the end that there should be no misunderstanding between the President and this nation nor between this nation and yourself, as the Cherokees do not recognize any other relations between them and the people of the United States than those established by treaty with the United States.
I will further add that the Cherokees greatly complain against the intruders who are in the occupancy of the places abandoned by the emigrants, as well as against those living upon Cherokee lands elsewhere-and likewise against you not taking any legal steps to bring the murderers of Chuwoyee to justice, who may be found on the frontier of Georgia or in Carrol County.- Your attention to these subjects and reply is respectfully requested.
I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant,
To the foregoing the Agent replied as follows:
25th Nov. 1830.
I have just read your communication of this date, and in answer to your enquiries in relation to the removal of the United States Troops from this nation, I am unable to give you the explanation which you require. It is so reported that they are to return, or perhaps by this time have set out for the Cantonments from whence they came, and candor requires me to say to you that I am inclined to believe it; not because that I have any official information on that subject from any quarter, (for I have none) but from the general tenor of communications from the War Department (with all of which you have been made acquainted) we have a right to expect that the time is fast approaching when the General Government will not interfere between you and the Governments of the States in which you reside, ' who have assumed the jurisdiction over you; but what arrangements have been made (if any) between the General Government and State Governments with regard to the protection of the Indians individually, and their property I know not. You have the promise of the President of the United States that intruders will be kept off your lands, and I am authorized to assure you that it will be punctually complied with, and I have no doubt but that other arrangements will be made for that purpose, but what those arrangements are or will be, I have not as yet been informed, but that the President's pledge will be redeemed I have no doubt.
As to the persons who are settled on those improvements abandoned by emigrants, you have no doubt noticed the provisions of the Indian Bill (so called) that no Indian of the same tribe are to occupy them afterwards, and I suppose the order to give them permits is founded on that law.
As to the persons who are charged with the murder of Chuwoyee, you know that I have sent the Sub-agent twice with orders to take warrants, and have them apprehended and brought to justice, and to prosecute them- But that he has returned both times without effecting it. His first report was forwarded to the War Department or I would enclose it. The last time he made no report upon that subject, but stated verbally, that the two men concerned in the murder had fled to Alabama, but no warrant was taken, nor has any deposition been furnished me, showing who they are, and where they are, so as to enable me to make the application to the proper authority to have them demanded and delivered to justice.
Respectfully your obedient servant.
We presume the reason which the executive would be disposed to give, for the withdrawal of the troops, is that hinted at by the agent, viz: to avoid interfering with the state governments. Supposing this was the reason, and there can be no other, we invite the attention of the reader to the following facts:
1. The President of the United States has given a solemn assurance to the Cherokee Nation that he will protect their right of occupancy to the land, and remove all intruders from it, and this assurance has been made, verbally, and under the hand of the Secretary of War, without any qualifications.
2. In accordance with that assurance and with the repeated petitions of the Cherokees, the troops were ordered into the nation, when it was known to the executive that Georgia had appointed the first day of June 1830 for the extension of the assumed jurisdiction over the Cherokee territory, and when the President had declared he would not interfere with the operation of the State laws. Notwithstanding this declaration of the President, the laws of the United States, regulating trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, was enforced by the troops as well after as before the first day of June 1830.
3. The Cherokee Nation does not lie altogether within the limits of Georgia, but nearly half is within the charters of Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina, which States have not yet assumed jurisdiction over this nation, and the military is as necessary to protect the rights of the Cherokees within these limits as within the limits of Georgia.
4. We may add that there is no other provision made in the intercourse law of the United States, for the effectual removal of intruders upon Indian lands, but by the military.
We have indeed 'the promise of the President that intruders will be kept off,' but we ask in the name of common sense, how is it to be 'punctually complied with,' when the only means by which this promise may have been fulfilled are withdrawn? Will it be said that it will be complied with through the medium of the State of Georgia, that Governor Gilmer will become our step-father, to take the place of our deceased parent, and that we will be effectually protected from that quarter? It will be a sufficient answer to observe, that Georgia is a sovereign State, will do as she pleases and will have no man to interfere with her rights and prerogatives. Who then has a right to speak for her in this matter, when the inhuman principle of taking the Cherokee lands by force has been admitted by her highest authority? But supposing the promise of the President, which the agent, is authorised to assure us shall be fulfilled, is to be redeemed, fully redeemed by the Governor of Georgia, within the limits of that State, who will redeem it within the chartered limits of Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina? There is a mist of inconsistencies in these proceedings of the executive of the United States, through which our limited understanding cannot penetrate. If our readers can comprehend them, they are more fortunate than we are.
We have room only for one more remark on our agent's letter. If he is correct in supposing the persons settled on the improvements abandoned by emigrants, are permitted under the provisions of the late act of Congress, commonly called, Indian Bill then that act is unconstitutional, for it is an expost facto law. The reader will bear in mind that these places were abandoned and settled before the passage of the act in question. But if the agent is mistaken, which, we presume is the case, than he can give no reason why these persons are permitted to reside on these places, and the Government, through its representative, is unable to satisfy the Cherokee people.