NEW ECHOTA: MARCH 26,1831
The Georgia Guard who arrested Mr. Worcester and others went by way of Hightower and arrested the Rev. John Thompson. They also took Mr. William Thompson. The latter had resided for the last few years at that place as a blacksmith, but had removed on the first of March, and was at the time of his arrest a citizen of Carroll County. The prisoners, six in number, were not conducted to the place of encampment, five miles further. Next morning the Guard, instead of going directly into Georgia, turned their course towards their headquarters, where they arrived the day following, in true military style, under the sound of fife and drums. Here Col. Nelson delivered the prisoners into the hands of the Governor's agent, Col. Sanford, who took them under his special charge. Perceiving that Mr. William Thompson was one of the number, he immediately ordered to have him put in jail. However, by means of the intercession of his companions and the officers who arrested him, Mr. Thompson was discharged and permitted to return home, after lying in jail but a short time. Four of the others, viz: Messrs. Worcestor, Thompson, Wheeler and Gann were, on Thursday morning, marched towards Laurenceville with a sufficient Guard under the command of Sanford himself. They arrived there on the same evening, the court being in session. On the next day they were brought before his honor Judge Clayton by a writ of Habeas Corpus for examination. The case was continued to Saturday, on which day his honor discharged Messrs. Worcester and Thompson, because the first was a Post master and the and the other a
missionary, considering both in the light of Agents of the Government. It is proper to observe that the counsel for the prisoners did not make a plea to that effect, but studiously refrained from it. The other two, Gann ' Wheeler, together with Messrs. J. A. Thompson ' B.F. Thompson, who were arrested on the same charge in Laurenceville on Thursday evening, were bound, in the sum of $250 each, to appear at Court in September. It is thought there is very little hope of their escaping the penitentiary, for the Judge decided that the law is constitutional, and there is no clause in it which can except them from its operation, as in the case of the missionaries. We are yet unwilling to believe that such an unrighteous law can be executed in a Christian land.
The foregoing is the history, told in a few words, of this affair, as far as it has proceeded. We were very much surprised to hear that the missionaries were discharged on the ground of their being agents of the government. Who ever thought of such a thing before? It shows that a Judge may twist a law into what shape he pleases, if policy makes it necessary, for we are confident the greatest hostility was directed against the missionaries, and that the law was intended particularly to embrace them. We know it was so understood in Milledgeville and elsewhere. If the missionaries are agents of the Government, as Judge Clayton has decided, then the public may rest assured Gen. Jackson will reform them out. It could be he would like to do it very well, but it is a matter of thankfulness that they are not his agents, and are still out of his lands.