Cherokee Phoenix

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Published December, 26, 1830

Page 2 Column 4d

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It appears, from the following letter addressed to the editor of the August Chronicle, from a correspondent in Milledgeville, that many of the people of Georgia are not prepared to go at all lengths in regard to the Cherokees. Although the bill which the writer deprecates so much finally passed the House, not by a very great majority, and in the shape in which it was first introduced by Mr. Haynes. We will not say much until we hear what the Senate has done on the subject. We believe the Cherokees are indifferent so to speak, what course the legislature takes. If those for coercive measures prevail, be it so. If the moral sense of a Christian State, and the moral sense of the people of the U. States, will permit them to see the Cherokees expelled from their fire sides, and if they resist, to see them slaughtered, we say, be it so.


I avail myself of a few leisure moments, to give you a sketch of the business prevailing here. The Indian question is the all-absorbing subject of the time; and since it was taken up, scarcely any thing else has been talked of or thought of, in the House or out of it. It has been discussed in the House, almost without interruption, for several days past, and the consideration of it was postponed there this afternoon, a short time before adjournment, till Monday next, when it will no doubt be under debate, in some shape or other, for the whole of the week. The particular question now, and for several days past, before the House, is the adoption of MR. HAYNE'S substitute to the bill reported by Judge SCHLEY, from the committee on the state of the Republic. This contemplates, as you are aware, the taking immediate possession of the Indian lands, and forcibly driving the Indians therefrom. How such a bill can be the subject of a moment's consideration in a christian land, is to me a subject of the deepest astonishment -- and yet many intelligent men believe and fear that it may be successful! For my own part, I will not believe it possible -- and, indeed, should scarcely credit the evidence of my own senses if such were the fact. God forbid such a fatal consequence, and I will confidently rely on his over-ruling goodness and protection, to avert it -- to save the Indians -- nay, tenfold more, to save our own State from the serious evils which must inevitably follow it. I must not trust my feelings farther on this point they are perhaps too deeply and unnecessarily wounded. We will at least hope so. One thing is certain, that no effort is or will be spared to prevent the adoption of the measure; and I am proud to see among its opponents many, very many, of the first and ablest men of the Assembly, of both parties. Indeed, it is by no means a party matter; none of the old land marks of party are to be discovered in any of its considerations; and one would almost suppose, from the pertinacity with which member os each party indiscriminately oppose one another, that those land marks were entirely rooted up and thrown away.

Numerous as are the advocates of this measure, the array of talent against it is very powerful, and the arguments exerted by it opponents are sound and incontrovertible. To say nothing of humanity, the want of necessity or expediency, the ingratitude of opposing the President and the administration, which have long been and still are making every possible effort in our behalf; the follow of now necessarily arraying them against us, contrary to their will, and of indirectly giving their and our enemy, Mr. Clay still further and greater power against them; and the eminent danger of a direct and violent controversy with the General Government -- all of which are directly opposed to this measure -- the faith and honor of the State stands openly and irrevocably pledged against it! But for this pledge, given by our Representatives, Mr. Wilde ' others, on the floor of Congress, last session, against the exercise of any force against the Indians -- any effort to drive them forcibly from their lands -- the bill to encourage their emigration to the west of the Mississippi would not and could not have been passed. This then, I must believe, though it were the only argument against it, will be all sufficient to save us from the measure, when it comes to its last test; for surely few, I would fain say none will violate this sacred pledge of the State. However, the subject is a serious one, and demands the opposing efforts of every citizen of the State, who is sensible of the dangerous consequences of the success of this measure. As I have already observed, many intelligent men, who look upon it as one of the most important and dangerous questions that has ever agitated the State, are deeply fearful of the result; and therefore, every citizen, however small his influence, should instantly exert that influence of writing to the Representatives of his country and urging them to forbear. There is certainly no danger in forbearance -- no possible injury, but infinite good, may very shortly result from it.

I think the great danger lies in this -- that a large portion of the people, not fully aware of the exact nature of the Indian question in all its various important intricate considerations, have decisively instructed their representatives to make every possible effort to effect the survey and occupancy of the land, and ultimate settlement of this long troublesome and perplexing question, as speedily as possible; and that the Representatives so instructed, who might otherwise, possibly have pursued a different course, do not feel themselves at liberty to vote against a measure which they consider in accordance with the expressed will of their constituents. The people, then, should arouse themselves, and examine the subject carefully, and if any of them find that they have given such instructions on too hasty and erroneous opinions, they should instantly hasten to correct the error before it be too late.

The members of the House, from Richmond, Judge SCHLLEY and Mr. JENKINS, have acquitted themselves on this subject most ably, and to the highest admiration of their friends and coadjutors. Of the former, it is almost supererogatory to speak. His ability, prudence, moderation and excellent judgement, have long been well known to his constituents and to the State; and it is therefore needless to say, that they have acquired for him, in the Legislature, the utmost respect and confidence, and given far more than ordinary weight to his opinions and arguments. And of the latter, I can say with pleasure -- and, perhaps, as one of his constituents, not the less pleasure, impartially, and justice, because I did not vote for him -- that he has more than realized the high anticipations of those who did. He has supported the interests of his county, in all questions of a general or local nature in which they are involved, with an ability, faithfulness, discretion, industry and unassuming modesty, which have gained him many admirers and warm friends, even among those who differ from him in state politics -- and though I too differ from him in that respect, as a citizen of his county, I could not but be proud to hear its representative so often and so highly spoken of. His speech on the Indian question, and against the right of Georgia to take possession of the land, and the expediency of doing so now, even if she had such right, has often been mentioned to me, since my arrival here, which was since its delivery, and uniformly as one of the best, if not the best, that has yet been delivered on the subject.

On Thursday, the 25th, Judge McDonald offered, as a substitute for Mr. HAYNES' bill, a memorial to the President, and a bill founded on the memorial, suggested, it is said by information received from Washington City, that the Indians will probably remove on condition that they shall be permitted to retain a some extensive reserves -- but he withdrew them today, reserving to himself the privilege of bringing them forward at a future time, should he desire to so.

I have not seen the bill, but understand that it provides for the survey of the land, immediately after notice from the President, of the location of the reserves, and the consent of those Indians who will not occupy them, to remove -- that the reserves, in common with the other part of the territory, shall be laid off into lots and drawn for by lottery, in like manner; but that each lot in the reserves shall be marked R. and the value of it, when drawn, shall be paid to the drawer in money, instead of the lot -- the whole amount of such payments to be paid by the General Government to Georgia, and by Georgia to the drawers of such lots, individually -- the Indians to hold the reserves as long as they or their children may choose but restricted from selling them to any one but the State of Georgia, or to the General Government for its use. I do not know whether nor not it provides what rights shall be given to those Indians who remain on the Reserves.

In the Senate, on Thursday, Gen. ANDERSON, of Franklin, introduced into that body, a bill on the Indian question, exactly similar to that of Mr. HAYNES in the House, and it has since been read twice and committed. I am gratified to find, that many think it certain if this measure should succeed in the House, that it will be defeated in the Senate. Our Senator, Mr. RHODES, with his well known excellence of judgement and discretion, and much past experience in legislation, holds a high rank among the members of this body, for his zeal and industry in behalf of the interests of his country and the State. I hope much from his influence, moderation, and foresight, on the subject of the Indian question. He feels as a true Georgian, deeply interested in the future honor and welfare of the State.