Cherokee Phoenix


Published April, 30, 1831

Page 2 Column 1a


From the New York Journal of Commerce.

I have reason to believe in the correctness of the information in relation to the non concurrence of Justices Story ' Thompson in the opinion of the Supreme Court delivered by Chief Justice Marshall dismissing the bill of the Cherokees. When it was delivered, I supposed the opinion of the Court to have been in point of fact, unanimous; Justices Johnson and Baldwin having arrived at the same conclusion by a different train of reasoning. I suppose I was mistaken. I have alluded once more to this subject, chiefly to correct a statement which appeared originally in one of your city Journals, and since in several others in the country, actuated by a similar motive. The opinion of the Supreme Court could not in any respect be considered in favor of Georgia. The argument at the bar, was altogether ex-parte - that State having in no way participated in the case. But if the most powerful and overwhelming statements from the lips of the venerable Chief Justice in pronouncing the opinion furnished any adequate interpretation of the actual judgement of their Honors, as to the conduct of Georgia and that of the Executive of the United States, the decision was altogether in favor of the right of the Cherokees to be protected in their possessions. The Treaties with them confer upon the President and the Government at large all the power to enforce their stipulations and to these have been added specific laws, in aid of the protection which the Indians may claim. One of the Acts of Congress for this purpose defines the boundaries between the white people and Indians of every tribe and enacts-

'That if any citizen of or other person resident in the United States or either of the territorial districts of the United States shall cross over onto or within the boundary lines, to hunt or in any other way to destroy game, or shall drive or otherwise convey any stock of horse or cattle or range on any lands allotted or secured by treaty with the United States to any Indian tribes, he shall forfeit a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars, or be imprisoned not exceeding six months, 'c.'

'That if any such citizen shall go into any town, settlement, or territory belonging or secured by treaty to any nation or tribe of Indians, and shall there commit robbery, larceny, trespass, or other crime upon the person or property or any friendly Indian, which would be punishable if committed within the jurisdiction of any State against a citizen of the United States ' he shall forfeit a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars and be imprisoned not exceeding twelve months, and when property is taken or destroyed, forfeit and pay to whomsoever the same belonged twice the just value thereof 'c.'

'That if any such citizen shall make settlements on any lands belonging or so used by Treaty to any Indian tribe or shall survey or attempt to survey such lands, or designate boundaries by marking trees or other wise he shall forfeit a sum not exceeding one thousand dollars and suffer imprisonment not exceeding twelve months. And it shall moreover be lawful for the President of the United States to take such measures and employ such military force as he may judge necessary to remove from lands belonging or secured by treaty as aforesaid to any Indian tribe any such citizen 'c.'

'That if any such citizen shall go into any town settlement or territory, belonging to any nation or tribe of Indians and there commit murder by killing any Indian in amity with the U. States, he shall suffer death 'c.'

Such are some of the many provisions which Congress has made to protect the Indians and pursuance of the Treaties made with them; notwithstanding which the President contends that he cannot protect the Indians while the Legislature of Geo., taking advantage of his dereliction or obliquity, asserts the right of the State to survey and designate boundaries upon the lands of the Cherokees. I would ask if the Supreme Court has affirmed or approved either the conduct of the President or that of Georgia. Whenever the judgement shall be make public, the people will see, that it has not so decided; and also; that all representations to that effect are sheer fabric. It was due to the Court, and to the justice of the country, to free both from the effects of the gross calumny of certain presses, which have propagated a report that the former had pronounced judgment in favor of Georgia.