Cherokee Phoenix

From the Spirit of the Pilgrims

Published January, 29, 1831

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From the Spirit of the Pilgrims.

Did the spirit of our venerable ancestors pervade, as it ought, our national councils, it would not now be a question of legislative discussion whether the natives in our South and Western States shall be removed from the lands which they occupy to other territories arbitrarily assigned to them, without regard to their preference or free consent. We blush for our country that such a question has been permitted to claim even an hour's deliberation among us. The aborigines of this land are indeed 'minished and brought low.' They are comparatively ignorant, and poor, and weak. But they are men, we have one Father; one God hath created us; and their rights are as sacred as ours. Their claim to the land which they occupy, is the strongest which can be conceived. God gave it to them. Man has recognized and renewed the gift. It is secured to them by the nations faith: treaty upon treaty,- signature under signature, -seal after seal. Our deed of warranty is registered in Heaven;- the record of our solemn negotiations and promises is on high. How then dare we take it from them? No matter how much we desire it,-or how easy it would be to seize and possess it,-or how highly we may estimate what we offer as an equivalent for it. Still it is their prerogative to decide freely whether they will retain or relinquish it; and if we violate that prerogative, we do it at our peril. Not that the poor Indians can do us very extensive harm. No; - We have men enough almost literally to fulfil the proud threat of Benhadad, and carry away the soil of their territory by handfuls. We can bind them in bundles to be burned, ' consume them by hecatombs in the flames of their own defenseless villages: -we can drive them across the Rocky mountains;- we can bury them beneath the waves of the Pacific. But there is a God in Heaven, who hears the cry of the oppressed, and who, sooner or later, will bring forth judgment into truth. While the proud planter erects his splendid mansion on the heritage of the helpless Cherokee, or while beneath a loftier dome 'the throne of iniquity frameth mischief by a law,'- 'the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the bear out of the timber shall answer it; `Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his, and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay! Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bit thee, and awake, that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them? Because thou hast spoiled many nations; all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; because of man's blood, and for the violence of the land.' But we hope in God such guilt and such ruin will yet be averted from us. Surely this nation has felt and resisted oppression enough to knew that power is not right; and a Christian people should practically acknowledge, that no accession of wealth or of territory can compensate the loss of His favor, 'in whose hand it if to make great, and to give strength unto all.' We rejoice that the merits of this great question are now fairly before the public; and we earnestly call upon every friend of his country and of humanity, to inquire concerning it with candor and diligence, to speak with sincerity and freedom, and to act with promptitude and decision.


Disunion of Tennessee- It may not be generally known that the citizens of the Western District of the State have determined to secede from its government, and have sent on an agent to Washington City for the purpose of affecting a treaty with the United States Government, by which their territory will be ceded to the United States, and the citizens are to remove west of the Mississippi. The individual selected to negotiate this matter is Col. David Crocket, who is said to have declared that he had full powers from 'his people' to make a treaty on the grounds of the late Choctaw treaty. Such is the Col's mode of arguing the propriety of removing the Indians.-- Ten. paper

And why is not Mr. C. right? If as is asserted by the state of Mississippi by the National Executive, the Choctaws are citizens of Mississippi, subject to her laws, and consequently an integral part of her population, how can they have any more right to make a treaty with the United States, than the citizens of West Tennessee? And why is not Mr. C. as much authorized to treat for 'his people' as were the Choctaw Chiefs to treat for theirs? Mr. C's constituents have probably expressed no opinion on the subject, whereas, the great mass of the Choctaws had voted against the measure.

Journal of Humanity.


Indians in Alabama.- I submit to the wisdom of the General Assembly, whether a regard to self preservation on the one hand, and to justice and humanity of the other, does not recommend such a course of legislation towards the Indians included within the chartered limits of our State, as would subject them to the civil duties, with the rest of our citizens, and place them on the same level with regard to rights and privileges; in other words, as would extend to them the character and appellation of citizens, with all their train of immunities and obligations.-

Governor's Message.