Cherokee Phoenix

From the Charleston Observer

Published July, 2, 1831

Page 3 Column 1a

From the Charleston Observer.


A few weeks ago, the Rev. Samuel Worcester and the Rev. John Thompson, Missionaries of the American Board, resident in the Cherokee Nation were arrested by an Agent of the Government of Georgia and arraigned before one of her judicial tribunals, on the charge of violating the statute that required either their oath of allegiance to the State, or their removal from the limits of the nation in a specified time, on penalty of imprisonment in the Penitentiary of the State, and hard labor for a period not less than four years. By a writ of habeas corpus they were brought before his honor Judge Clayton, who released them. The 1st on the ground that he was Post Master, he was an agent of the Government; and the 2d that as he was a Missionary he was an agent of the Government, and therefore not subject to the operation of the statute. It may here be proper to remark that neither Mr. Worcester nor Mr. Thompson, not their Counsel offered the plea; but it originated on the bosom of his honor. The General Government has since replaced Mr. W. from his office as P. M.- and afforded sufficient evidence to the Court of the state of Georgia that the Missionaries employed among the Cherokees by the American Board of Foreign Missions are not its Agents and are therefore not exempted from the operations of the law forbidding white persons to reside among the Cherokees without license.

On the receipt of this evidence, Gov. Gilmer addressed an official letter to Mr. Worcester; and another to Mr. Thompson, dated Milledgeville, 16th May 1831- warning them not to persist in their opposition to humane policy which the General Government has adopted for the civilization of the Indians, and advising to quit the nation with as little delay as possible. Col. Sanford, the Governor's Agent, in a letter dated Scutter's the 28 of May allows them ten days after the receipt of his communication to remove out of the unsettled lands of the state - that is that part of the Cherokee Nation which Georgia claims- and further informs then that if found residing within it after the expiration of time, they will be subject to arrest and to such punishment as the law shall direct in case of illegal residents 'c.

The Cherokee Phoenix of June 4th which contains copies of the letters referred to states that Mrs. Worcester on account of ill health has been unable to leave the house for the last eight months, and at this time she is utterly unable to leave her bed. [We hope that a little of that humane policy of which the Governor speaks will be exercised in the present case] From the same source we learn that Dr. Butler is under arrest, and that arrangements are in progress to remove Mr. Byhan, a Moravian Missionary from the Post Office at Spring Place. This is a matter of some difficulty, as there is no other white man residing there; but no doubt it will be done. A Mr. Trott, a Methodist, Itinerant Missionary, under the direction of the Tennessee Conference, is also under arrest, and chained every night. A Mr. Clauder, a Moravian Missionary, was arrested and kept under guard about two hours, and then discharged as his claiming the privilege of ten days notice. These are given as specimens of what is going on in the Cherokee Nation. If policy like this is to be pursued- If Missionaries of the Cross are to be chained and imprisoned on such grounds as these, the liberty of which we boast is after all, a mere phantom, an empty name. Indians are arrested without knowing the cause; and others on the charge of using violent language to the guard. To what extent these measures will yet be carried cannot be predicted. Like other acts of which we read; they may yet prove mill stones upon the necks of their advocates and defenders.