Cherokee Phoenix


Published March, 12, 1831

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We invite the reader's attention to the documents on our fourth page, referred to in our last.

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The advocates of the policy of the Government toward the Cherokees urge as proof positive, of the correctness of that policy and the justice of the claim of Georgia, that the Indians have no right to erect an independent government within the sovereign limits of the State and without its consent. Such reasoning discovers great ignorance of the subject, or a fixed determination to misrepresent facts and mislead the public mind. It is only begging the question and assuming that which is the ground of dispute. No body affirms that the Cherokees can erect an independent government within the sovereign limits of Georgia; but the question is, how far do the sovereign limits of the state extend? Does the sovereignty of the State terminate at the boundary line established by treaty between the Cherokees and the United States, of which Georgia forms a part, as the former contend supported by the first jurists of the country, or does it extend to the chartered limits, as General Jackson and many of his supporters affirm? This is the point, and to us it appears utterly ridiculous to assume the case itself, and spread it before the world as an unanswerable argument. It is indeed a summary way of getting over a difficulty. We are tired of such a mode of arguing; at the same time we know many well meaning persons, for want of proper reflection, are led astray it, and consider it conclusive. It is no more conclusive than the common argument, It is so, because it is so.

When our opponents say that the Cherokees have no right to erect an independent government within the sovereign limits of Georgia without its consent, we reply, true, as we understand what those limits are. If it is meant that the Cherokees cannot establish a government where they are, within their territorial possessions, the language is still unfortunate, for they are making no such attempt. But if it is meant that they cannot continue their government without the consent of Georgia, then here is the same assumption of the case itself. Thus do the advocates of State rights, as they call themselves, profoundly reason, to convince the world of the justice of their acts in violating the treaties and faith of the Union, and in robbing the Indians and expelling them from their patrimonial possessions. And it is by no means to the credit of the enlightened people of North America that such arguments are received by many as conclusive.

Those who talk of the consent of Georgia being necessary before the Cherokees can erect a Government must be very ignorant of the history of their own country, and the intercourse of their rulers with Indian nations. When the Cherokee Government was erected, where was Georgia, before whose authority the representative and minister plenipotentiary of the seven clans of the Cherokees might have appeared, made obeisance, and craved the privilege of erecting a government within its sovereign limits? And let the wise men of the nineteenth century tell us the time when this Cherokee Government was not in existence? Nothing more is necessary than to propose such questions, in order to show the folly of the language and arguments of many persons who undertake to reason upon this subject.

Many of that portion of the people of the United States to whom we have alluded in the foregoing remarks also believe that the President has acted honorably towards the Cherokees. So doubtless they believe, and are as sincere as the individual, who, prompted by the rules of honor, meets a fellow being in a deadly combat. Such an act is accounted by many honorable, will now become a murderous act! Let the President be tried by these laws and we venture to say, he will be found wanting! He has not acted honorably towards the Cherokees, unless it is honorable to violate the pledges of protection promised to the Indian at various times from the origin of the Government to the present time; to refuse to enforce the provisions of the treaties; to amend the laws of the United States regulating intercourse with the Indians; to violate his own promise made through the Secretary of War, that the intruders should be kept out of the Cherokee Territory; if all these, and many other of which our readers are too well apprized to render it necessary for us to repeat them, are indeed honorable acts, then has he pursued an honorable course toward the Cherokees.