Cherokee Phoenix


Published May, 7, 1831

Page 3 Column 2b-4a



In noticing sometime since the discharge of the Missionaries by Judge Clayton, we expressed some surprise that they should be considered as agents of the Government, and attributed the step taken by the judge more to motives of policy than to a strict adherence to the letter of the law. We spoke as we felt and as we believed then. We have since been favored with a letter signed by two missionaries, who, by the way, however, were not arraigned before Judge Clayton, reproving us, and giving as their opinion that the decision was correct. They think that the missionaries may in some sense be considered in the light of agents--1. they came into the nation under the sanction and protection of the General Government--2. they had the disposal of a portion of the funds appropriated annually by Congress for the support of Schools among the Indians. Considering the subject over, we are now also inclined to that opinion; but we are as fully persuaded that the law was intended by its framers to embrace the missionaries.


In our paper of this morning we present our readers with the opinion of Chief Justice Marshall, on the Indian question-and we see nothing in it more than a recognition of the doctrines for which Georgia has ever contended-that is to say that the Cherokee Nation residing within her jurisdictional limits, are subject to her municipal laws. It must be a triumphant feeling among the advocates of State rights, that principles so vehemently denied by the philanthropists of the United States, have been so firmly established by the decision of the Supreme Court--this must be the severest act of all. It is somewhat extraordinary that this decision should have first appeared in the Indian nation--We attribute it, however, to the attention of their advocate Mr. WIRT.--Sav. Georgian.

The best comment we can offer upon the above is to give an extract of the opinion itself.

'So much of the argument as was intended to prove the character of the Cherokees, as a state, as a distinct political society, separated from others incapable of managing its own affairs and governing itself, has, in the opinion of a majority of the judges, been completely successful. They have been uniformly treated as a state, from the settlement of our country. The numerous treaties made with them by United States recognize them as a people capable of maintaining the relations of peace and war, of being responsible in their political character for any violation of their engagements, or for any aggression committed on the citizens of the United States by any individuals of their community. Laws have been enacted in the spirit of these treaties. The acts of our Government plainly recognize the Cherokee Nation as a state, and the courts are bound by those acts.'

Now if the editor of the Georgian can perceive in the above extract a recognition of the doctrines for which Georgia has ever contended, his perceptions must be sharper than has fallen to the lot of common minds to possess. As to the publication of the opinion in our paper we see nothing extraordinary. The Georgian may be mistaken in supposing that we received it through the attention of Mr. Wirt. We supposed that we were indebted to the attention of the Cherokee Delegation.


There is a report, to which we are inclined to give credit, that the President of the United States and his Secretary of War intend to visit this nation sometime in the course of the ensuing summer.


For the Cherokee Phoenix.

Mr. EDITOR- As I am not versed in writing I should, perhaps, do myself justice to apologize here. But it is unnecessary as my intention is to state facts in a plain and simple manner.

I say in your last paper a statement of a need of soldiers from the Georgia army making Mr. John A. Bell prisoner 'c. We, have since that seen another movement of them. On last Sabbath our meeting house was surrounded by a band of them- nine in number. They came in full charge in martial array, as if hostilities were actually declared. It was enough to chill the feelings of the bravest soldier to behold such a scene in time of peace. But what must have been the feelings produced on a company of timid females and children? They were collected in a house of worship, every moment expecting to see their spiritual teachers dragged away as prisoners. But as we have not heard of hostilities being declared we wish to know from whence these movements proceed? We hear of their making great threats, how they will treat us; and it is not an uncommon thing to have our houses surrounded by them in dark, and our kitchen as particularly searched, but we have not heard of their having search warrant. Sir, we are at a loss to know whether their intentions are to annoy and terrify or to take our property, for we hear them say that it is bad white men they want to take out of the nation. If this be the fact we think they should visit some other part of the nation, as our neighborhood does not at this time consist of such characters.- But there are the noted PHILPOTS and HITSON, who are permitted as good honest men to reside in the country by his Excellency's Agent, to set good example before us; and it is very well known that this same Hitson * has been caught in a dark rainy night shelling corn in the crib of Mr. John Martin of Coosewaytee, and after being caught he obtained permission to stay all night. In the morning Mr. Martin, not being willing to have stolen property about his house, insisted that he should take his corn with him, which he accordingly did. The character of the Philpots is too well known to need any description.

Why sir, if any of us are guilty of a criminal act deserving punishment, and if they would just send an officer with a written precept, they can make us prisoners without any display of arms. But what are we to think of the present proceedings, for instead of a written precept our eyes are dazzled with their glittering bayonets, which seem only to frighten and drive us from our homes. We know not whether their intentions are to murder us or not, therefore we do not like to risk ourselves in their custody. We have not forgotten the case of Major Taylor of Tennessee. I think I said a band of men armed, for I doubt very much their being soldiers. Now Mr. Editor, I would like to know whether this band were among the brave soldiers who fought for America when she was invaded by a powerful foe? I fear not. But it appears that those who have suffered the hardships and privations of a laborious campaign must now be harassed and hunted like outlaws by them, because their consciences will not allow them to foreswear themselves. As regards myself, I cannot consent to take the oath required by Georgia, I love my country,- (I mean the United States of America) I have fought for her liberty-I have borne the fatigues of a campaign in her service, but to submit to the requirement of an unconstitutional law I cannot.


April 24, 1831.


*This Hitson was a miller and came into the nation in that capacity a number of years ago. He resided in the nation under a permit, until lately, when taking advantage by the laws of Georgia he took the oath of allegiance and obtained a permit from the Governor's agent to continue his residence. Thinking probably that there were no more restraints on him, and that he was now fully, to all intents and purposes, under the protection of Georgia, he commenced to steal from his former benefactors. He was however, detected in his first attempt upon Mr. Martin, and by means of the very lenient and peculiar treatment he received, he became so ashamed of his conduct, that immediately on his return and delivering his stolen corn to his family, he left the nation. In a few days after he returned and removed his family and effects. A good way to get rid of a thief.- Ed. Cher. Phoe.


For the Cherokee Phoenix.


MR. BOUDINOTT:- I wish to say to the world that on the 16th of this inst. I was arrested by a detachment of the Georgia Guard as one of those unfortunate white men that happened to be here when the spirit of Georgia rose to such a height that her legislature was pleased to pronounce that myself and all of my creed should quit the country forthwith, or make ourselves liable to be shut up in the strong house for a term not less than four years. And accordingly I was taken to headquarters, rather as a trophy of war than a prisoner to be delivered over to the civil authority then and there to be tried according to the laws of the land. My reason for saying trophy of war is this when I was taken to headquarters I was introduced to the commanding officer who immediately pronounced me as belonging to a certain Mr. Pope of Wilks County who is one of said guard. He, savage like, shouldered his musket and used as much authority over me as if he had captured me in Africa and brought me to Georgia for his use. The said Mr. Pope occasionally talked very freely to me, but allowed me to give no answer without a severe threat that the bayonet would be shoved through me.

In this awkward and unpleasant situation I remained from the 16th to the 25th. On the 25th I was handed over to the civil authority, and brought before a justice of the peace for examination. My kind mother hearing of my situation came to court and made oath that I was not 21 years of age until January next, and the court at once discharged me. In justice to the officers, and privates generally, I am bound to say that I was friendly and politely treated by all, accept the above named Mr. Pope.


May 2d. 1831.