Note: This edition of the Phoenix is printed in four columns only.
NEW ECHOTA: DEC. 11, 1830
We regret we cannot as yet present the Phoenix to our subscribers in its usual size. We cannot account for the delay of our supply of paper.
The present Secretary of War has distinguished himself above all his predecessors, in traducing the character of the Indians, and in representing them as utterly incapable of improvement in the arts of civilized life. We have only to refer the reader to the documents which have emanated from his hands for the truth of this assertion. It was but the other day we published a long letter, originally addressed to the Creek Agent, wherein he said, it was but a utopian thought to think of civilizing the Indians, and compared them in their intractableness to the wild turkey, leopard, and Ethiopian. After his having asserted such things, we were not a little surprised to notice his refutation of all he had formerly said, by inserting in his celebrated treaty, the representation of the Choctaws that they were rapidly improving. He must have believed them, or why insert it? We have reference to the last article, which reads as follows:
The Chiefs of the Choctaw Nation, having represented that their people are in a state of rapid advancement, in education and refinement, and have expressed a solicitude, that they may have the privilege of a delegate on the floor of the House of Repre-sentatives extended to them. The Commissioners do not feel, that they can under a treaty stipulation accede to the request but at their desire present it in the treaty that Congress may consider of and decide the application.
There appears to have been a great deal of feeling manifested in the legislation of Georgia, on the subject of surveying the Cherokee Territory, but we have not as yet learnt the result. The legislature is divided into two parties, the moderate,
and the violent. The former is for temperate measures, it is said-but the latter goes for the 'whole hog'--They (or the latter) are for taking possession of the country at once. We are rather inclined to think this part is strongest in the House, but the other in the Senate.
A discussion on the subject of the Cherokees took place on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Among the speakers was one, Mr. Turner, who went into the argument on the main question. Mr. Turner is of the moderate party. We insert the substance of some of his remarks.
The Indian right of occupancy had been questioned: he would prove the existence of that right. Mr. T. here read the opinion of Doctor Morse, an authorized agent of the general government as contained in his report published by authority, page 67, which constantly recognized the Indian right of occupancy.- Should it be said that Dr. Morse was more of divine than a lawyer, let it be remembered, that his opinion was founded on, and sustained by, the opinion of an eminent lawyer, published in his appendix, p. 279.
The right was also sustained by the decisions of the Supreme Court. In the case of Fletcher and Peck, the court declared that the 'right was to be respected by all courts will it was legitimately extinguished.' See also the case of Johnston vs. McIntosh- Wheaton's Reports.
The doctrines of the Supreme Court had also been recognized and enforced by our own courts. See the decision in the cases of certain reserves under the treaties with the Cherokees in 1817-19.
It might be supposed, that no act of the Legislature, as was now proposed would lawfully extinguish the Indian right. This would not be the fact; for, although a former act of the Legislature subjected the reserves aforesaid mentioned to disposition by lottery, yet this did not, even in the estimation of our own tribunals, extinguish the Indian title.
But the declaration made by the President, in his Message at the commencement of last session of Congress, had been relied on, as the strong ground to sustain the advocates of immediate survey. The President had said, that the Indian could not be supposed to have a valid title to all the land he had seen from the mountain or passed in the chase. Little as General Jackson was in the habit of indulging in flourished, it appeared to Mr. T. that this was a mere rhetorical flourish, and would be found unsusceptible or very difficult of practical application.
Besides, since the date of the President's Message, Congress have spoken authoritatively upon this point. To the 7th section of the Indian bill, passed near the close of their late session, is attached a 'provision, nothing in this act contained shall be construed as authorizing or directing the violation of any existing treaty between the United States and any of the Indian tribes.' The treaties, then, and not General Jackson's enunciations, are the measure of Indian right which Congress has assumed. These designate certain limits, and these, together with the laws, we are informed by Gen. Eaton's letter to the Governor, under date of 1st June last, the President 'will consider it a duty faithfully to execute.' The President to be sure, made this declaration in view of intrusions and irregular settlements upon Indian lands: yet he has given us a general rule applicable to all the rights of the Indians under treaty stipulations.
Adverting again to the concessions which Georgia has made in favor of the Indians, the General Assembly, in ratifying the articles of agreement and cession, entered into by those distinguished citizens, James Jackson, Abraham Baldwin, and John Milledge, engaged the United States to extinguish the Indian title to land within our limits; thus recognizing the right asserted. This right is also expressly admitted in Governor Gilmer's message. Mr. P. said there were other authorities before him, but it was unnecessary to read them. Thus then it appeared that the right of occupancy was recognised by all the departments of the general government, and by every department of the government of Georgia.
But not only had the constituted authorities recognized the Indian right of occupancy; but all our representatives, and all our friends in Congress, had disclaimed the idea of force. Mr. Wilde, said, 'the laws of Georgia neither contemplate driving the Cherokees from their lands, nor any other act of injustice or oppression against them.' Col. Foster, Mr. Forsyth, and others, gave similar pledges, and without such pledges, the Indian bill could not have passed.
Besides these pledges, it has been recently announced from one of our highest tribunals, in a charge which has met the sanction of the juries and the citizens, that the Indians 'have nothing to dread either from the character of our laws, or the mode of their administration.'
Mr. T. said, the President had given the most explicit and repeated guarantees. In a letter of October 14th, 1829, Gen. Eaton said to Gov. Forsyth, among other things which would sustain Mr. T's views, the President 'regards it as an obligation of the most sacred character to maintain a faithful guardianship towards the Indians, and to preserve his administration of their affairs from the slightest imputation of injustice.' In a letter under date 18th April, 1829, to the Cherokee Delegation, the Secretary of War says, 'an interference (mark an interference) to the extent of affording you protection and the occupancy of your soil, is what is demanded of the justice of this country, and will not be withheld.' It has already been seen, from Gen. Eaton's letter of 1st June last, that the President would consider it his duty faithfully to execute the treaties and laws.' The probability, then is, that the President would resist an attempt to dispose of Cherokee lands to which the Indian right has not been extinguished.
Mr. T. averted to the late arrangement with the Choctaws whose example would probably be followed by other Southern Indians, as affording ground to hope, that our rights might be realized in due time by treaty.
Mr. T. was 'well assured' that the President believed, from information collected in the course of the present year, that he could at an early period, induce the Cherokees to remove; and that the President greatly desired a little further time to operate in his own way.
Besides, there was great reason to fear, if Georgia should take her remedy into her own hands, the United States may feel absolved from their engagement under the compact of 1802, and may resist the measures of Georgia, or at least decline the expenditures necessary to remove the Indians, and may thus leave them, as 'permanent inhabitants' within our limits; and may also refuse to reimburse the State for the lands that may be permanently occupied by the Indians who may remain on our lands.
In regard to the Federal Court, too, before which, Mr. T. did not wish Georgia to become a party, it would be better, therefore to avoid collision, if possible with every department of the general government.
The Augusta (Geo.) Chronicle, speaking upon this subject, says:
There appears to be a strong disposition on the part of the Legislature, which is with difficulty restrained by the more temperate and prudent efforts of a few leading members, to take immediate possession of our Indian territory, and allot to the Indian occupants, a small portion of land to each family. We regret to see such a disposition exist, and trust that it will be entirely eradicated by the arguments of those opposed to it, believing as we do, that it is neither sanctioned by reason or justice, nor in accordance with the wishes of the people.
The editor is opposed to the Lottery System, and calls it a 'scandalous suicidal policy'- 'an insatiate vampire, continually sucking the very life-blood of the state, and at the same time flapping its wings over its wretched victim, and lulling it into dreams of 'more land,' 'more land'---'more land for nothing!' He advises the Georgians to let the Cherokee lands alone for the present.---It is for the interest of the State.
The following is sound logic, and very acceptable coming as it does from a Georgian.
'Suppose A agrees with B that, for a certain consideration, which is paid down, he will purchase C's House and let, as soon as it can reasonably be done, and put him in possession of it- that A neglects to do so, till at last C positively refuses to sell--and that he cannot, therefore, comply with his contract to B-will this give any right over C-the right for instance to take forcible possession of his House and lot? Or, is not his only claim one against A for damages, for non-compliance with his contract? If this be answered in the affirmative, as we presume it must be, the claim of Georgia is clearly of like nature, and in like manner, against the United States ' not against the Indians.'
We have received a letter from an intelligent Cherokee of the Arkansas, from which we make some extracts.
You will please to indulge me with a few remarks upon the state of your nation, and the situation of our people in it. There are but two choices as I understand left for you to reflect upon- to remove or remain- to remain is miserable, to remove is destruction. If you remove where will it be to? Will you light upon our little timbered spot here sixty miles square, and crush us to death, or will you make choice of the barren desert joining us, which the agents of Government represent to be a paradise? If you do, your case is desperate--there is a strip of timber varying from forty to sixty miles in width lying above the territorial and State lines beginning on Red River, and running north to Missouri River, 'c. On the strip of timbered land are strung the Choctaws, Cherokees, Osages, Delawares, Shawnees, Kickapoos, 'c.- now here is the ample and sufficient country, which you are told of to come to.--all else west of this strip of timbered land is one continued prairie, and barren desert.
The writer says they have made two treaties since the last treaty entered into by this nation with the United States, and that from them they have learned two essential points which he recommends to the people of this nation, if they consent to treat,(which by the way they have no notion of doing) to observe- to have the lines run and established before removal. He says,'we have been trying to get our lines run ever since the treaty of 1817- but nothing effected yet, and the best portion of the country promised to us by the late treaty is now contended for by the Creeks.'
Our correspondent further says,- 'The little country we have now got (meaning the timbered part only, for they have seven millions of acres) is variegated with skirts of prairies, and where large mountains break off into small ones, it is thereby rendered pleasant and delightful--the waters are handsome and generally plenty. Tillable land is reasonably plenty.'
Our national affairs are at present very conflicting.--The plan of speculation has been introduced into the different nations here by the former United States Indian agents, and in order to effect their plans, were obliged to employ natives of the nations as emissaries-thus the whole nation has become a continued scene of speculation--Justice is overruled, regulations forgotten, while the most daring impositions have been palmed upon the nation and people. General S. Houston is the first who has dared to expose such daring violation of trust--he seems to have pried into the most secret part of their plans, from the fact of his having been able to give so true a statement of their arrangements.
Speaking of the late emigrants the writer says,'Some of them are whimsical enough to wish themselves back again,' and then observes-
They were hardly welcome at first, and some coldness did exist against them for coming here without land or money. But the blame of this evil must rest upon the United States, and the delegation who made the late treaty; for the delegation were so insensible to the wishes of the nation and the nature of their instructions, that instead of settling a few claims of the nation, and getting its boundaries run off and made permanent, the first echo we got from them was they had treated us all away; and bore hard upon our Brothers
of the old nation.
He thinks there are strong indications of the existence of precious minerals in the country, and that silver mines can be discovered by competent persons, who would make diligent search. He thinks it very probable that individuals have made such discoveries, but they are waiting to know who will eventually hold the land.
We learn from the same source, that James Rogers has been displaced as United States Interpreter, and that John Brown ( a late emigrant) has been appointed in his place.
In another part of our paper, the reader will find a correspondence on the subject of the removal of the Troops. We do not feel disposed to add anything further to the remarks we made last week. We believe the strange course of the executive in this affair does not require any comments to make reflecting men see and understand.
Legislative- The Indian Land bill has been under warm debate for several days in the House. Mr. McDonold of Bibb has offered a new substitute to both the previous Bills. It contains a provision for reservations, the full fee simple value of which are to be paid to Georgia by the Government. We learn that this substitute is predicated upon information from Washington. The prospect for the removal of the common mass of the Indians appears to be brightening.-- Fed. Union.
This is a great mistake-the prospect for the removal of the common mass of the Cherokee is as dark as ever. We say again, nothing but force will remove them.