Cherokee Phoenix

We publish today several articles in relation to the high-handed measures of the Georgians towards t

Published September, 3, 1831

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We publish today several articles in relation to the high-handed measures of the Georgians towards the Missionaries who were settled in the Cherokee Nation. Their conduct is a practical illustration of the doctrine of nullification, so strenuously maintained by a party in the South. We have always expressed our decided approbation of the policy of the administration in endeavoring to procure the removal of the native tribes from within the limits of the states, and their settlement west of the Mississippi, a measure upon which all parties would unite, but we are equally decided in our reprobation of the course pursued by our fellow citizens of Georgia, and the acquiescence of the executive in their oppressive and arbitrary measures. So long as the Cherokees occupy the territory which they now possess, which has been solemnly guarantied to them by successive treaties, they are entitled to, and should receive the protection of, the general government-its protecting arm should be extended over them to shield them from oppression, let it come from what quarter it may. It does not belong to the President to decide upon the constitutionality of a treaty which has been ratified by the Senate of the United States, or any law of Congress founded upon such treaty; it is his duty to see them executed-to another tribunal belongs the power of deciding upon constitutional questions. It would be a source of much gratification, if this unhappy controversy were amicably adjusted, and the Cherokees prevailed upon to emigrate to the lands proposed to be given them in exchange. If they consult their true interest they will embrace the conditions proposed by the administration, and west of the Mississippi they may lay the foundation of a prosperous state.-------Nashville Herald.

From the Western Weekly Review.



Mr. Editor:- Through the columns of your paper I wish to communicate to the public an unvarnished statement of facts, in relation to the late arrest and subsequent treatment of several missionaries in the Cherokee Nation, under the authority of the State of Georgia and by a military guard of that state.

It is perhaps pretty generally known by the readers of your paper, that the last session of the Georgia legislature passed an act enjoining an oath of allegiance on all the white citizens residing in the Cherokee Nation, within the chartered limits of that state, or a removal there from by the first of last March. The penalty annexed to the act, in a non-compliance with its requirements, is not less than four years hard labor in the penitentiary. There is but little doubt that the main design of this act was to remove the missionaries from the Nation, who were considered by the law makers of the State as exercising an influence prejudicial to their policy with regard to the removal of the Cherokees, and the acquirement of their country. To avoid serious difficulties (as taking the prescribed oath was entirely out of the question with them,) some of the missionaries removed out of the limits of Georgia, while others resolved to remain and contend for their right to preach the gospel in the Cherokee Nation as well as in any part of the United States. Those who remained were the Rev. J. J. Trott, Methodist itinerant missionary, and the Rev. S. A. Worcester, and Dr. E. Butler.

About the last of May past, the Rev. Mr. Trott was arrested by the Georgia Guard, marched on foot before the mounted horsemen, in a circuitous route, considerably more than a hundred miles, chained and locked every night but one, conducted into head quarters in martial order, forced into a miserable place called a prison, kept there four or five days, and then conducted under the Guard into Gwinnett County, tried before a magistrate, and found guilty of residing, as before named; whereupon Mr. Trott gave bail for his appearance at the next superior court. He then received orders to leave the limits of the state within ten days, and returned home to his family. On the 6th inst. the Rev. Mr. Trott was again arrested by a detachment of the Guard, for continuing his residence at the same place, and dragged from a weeping and almost heartbroken wife, to encounter worse hardships than before. On the 7th the Rev. Mr. Worcester was arrested at his own house and dragged off as a felon, from his wife, who has been long lying on a bed of sickness; and on the same day Doct. Butler was arrested, chained around his neck, and made to walk by the side of amounted horseman. When it became very dark, he was placed behind the soldier on the same horse; one end of the chain fastened around his neck with a padlock, and the other end locked to a rope around the neck of his horse. In this situation, it being very dark, the horse fell backwards into a gutter, upon both his riders, and remained on them until he was pulled off by others of the Guards. They were both badly hurt, and the soldier had two or three of his ribs broken by the fall. At this time I was in the Nation attending to some appointments previously made. I was frequently informed that the officers of the Guard were threatening to arrest me also, although in compliance with the Act of the Legislature, I had removed my residence from the limits of that State, about the 10th of February inst. On the 7th I reached Mr. Trott's residence and learned that he was arrested the preceding day, and that he had left special word for me to go and see him, provided I would not be afraid of an arrest also.-

Knowing that they could not lawfully arrest me, I determined on going, and was accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Wells, a Methodist missionary residing in the Alabama part of the Nation. About 10 o'clock on the 8th inst. we met the Guards with the prisoners, on a line of march towards head quarters. I rode up to Col. Nelson, the sub-commander of the Guards, and asked permission to converse with Mr. Trott. He told me I could do so as they advanced, provided I talked loud enough to be heard by the Guard. In our conversation I asked Mr. Trott if he had been chained the preceding night, to which he answered in the affirmative. Said I, 'Is it agreeable to the laws of Georgia to chain a prisoner when there is every reason to believe that he would not run away?' He said he supposed they had no law for so doing, but that their orders were such, adding the Guard were inclined to be more favorable to the prisoners than even their orders would allow them to be. I told him I had no doubt of that, and did not intend to censure the Guard for executing their orders. 'But' said I, 'they seem to act more from order than from law.' At this expression some of the Guards became insulted and threatened me with an arrest if I did not mind how I talked. I told them I had, as a free man, simply expressed what I believed, without intending an insult; but if what I had said was esteemed criminal, I was in their power-they could arrest me. About this time Col. Nelson and Maj. Brooks rode up from the rear and inquired what was the matter. On being informed what I had said, the Col. ordered me instantly off. I undertook to explain myself, but in a more angry tone, he told me to flank off quickly. I told him at his command I would go, and as I rode off, I observed to him that perhaps he would 'hear from me again:' meaning that I would give the public a statement of his conduct towards me. He and Brooks then followed me and ordered me to stop. The Col. asked me where I lived. I told him 'in West Tennessee.' I was then made to dismount, my horse taken from me, Mr. Wells ordered off and my horse given up to him, while a storm of human vengeance was beating upon me, in all the violence of abusive language, threats, and horrid imprecations. Brooks urged that I should receive a hundred lashes forthwith, and I was told if I replied to them in any way, a bayonet should be run through me. The Colonel swore he would 'make a case of me' and that I was 'the very fellow he had been wanting to get hold of for some time.' For some distance I was forced through mud holes and branches, but afterwards allowed the same privileges as the other prisoners. The Rev. Mr. Wells followed at some distance behind the Guards, leading my horse, in company with another gentleman, a Presbyterian missionary. On coming up with Col. Nelson, Mr. Wells was told by him not to come in sight. He slackened gate, and fell back 70 or 80 yards from the Guard, but still continued to move on slowly. Col. Nelson then got down, cut a large club, rode up to Mr. Wells and asked him why he did not obey him, and gave him a severe blow on the head with the club. Mr. Wells then told him he was a free man, travelling peaceably on a public road, and would go at the risk of his life, which he continued to do. The Col. was well armed with a sword, pistols, and club, while the preacher had no weapon of defence, not knowing that he ever would come in contact with such a brave man. The only provocation was his being a missionary, and following the Guard with a prisoner's horse.

At night I was chained to two others, the Rev. Mr. Worcester, and Doct. Butler, before named, who are, as I should have mentioned both Presbyterian ministers. And Mr. Trott was chained to the Indian prisoner. After a toilsome march of three days from where I was first arrested, we reached Camp Gilmer with blistered feet and wearied limbs. We were marched in as before described in the case of Mr. Trott's first arrest, and immediately forced into a filthy prison. As we went into the prison, Brooks still followed with his curses, of which he had by no means been sparing during our march. Said he, 'Into this place shall all the enemies of Georgia go and afterwards to hell!' But we had the consolation to know that although he had the power to put us in the former, he had not the power nor the right to send us to the latter place.

On Tuesday, the 12th inst. after having remained in prison nearly two days and nights, and been prisoner five days, I was called to appear before Col. Nelson (the same man who had me arrested) when he, in quite an austere manner, laid several things to my charge, none of which he could prove. The most prominent charge was 'that he had been informed that I had moved my residence but was still prowling through the Nation, trying to oppose the operation of the Georgia laws.' I told him my general course, which I was able to make appear, would prove his charge fallacious. Until my trial, I supposed that the ostensible cause of my arrest was what I had said to Mr. Trott, as before related, knowing that they only wanted some pretext to punish me; but on my trial, I learned otherwise. The Col. told me if he had known at first that he could not have 'made a case of me' (i.e. put me in the penitentiary) he would most certainly have made his men strip me, tie me to a tree, and give me fifty lashes! I was then discharged, ordered to quit the limits of the State as quick as possible and not suffered to return to tell my brother prisoners farewell. I left the missionaries, a white citizen of the nation and a Cherokee, in prison, awaiting their trial. The substance of the above statements is vouched for by my own name, and can be proven by respectable testimony. Without any comment, the reader is left to make his decision.

Yours respectfully,


Note: To those who may not be in possession of the fact, it may be necessary to mention, that the triter of the above statements is the Superintendent of the Methodist Mission in the Cherokee Nation and in connection with the Tennessee Annual Conference.




'poor Indian' - The Cherokee Phoenix complains bitterly-and as it seems not without reason-of the treatment which its editor and publisher have received. The editor was summoned, as he says to appear before the commander of the Georgia Guard, and to listen to a lecture on the liberty of the press In the course of the lecture, he was given to understand, that if he were too free in his remarks about the Guard, or in other words if he published any more slanders, he would be tied to a tree and receive a sound whipping.'

He publishes likewise some letters which he has received containing the most violent threats, and pouring out the most vulgar abuse. Such a state of things as is disclosed in these publications and the letter of the Rev. Mr. McLeod, reflects the highest disgrace on the government of Georgia, and calls for the reprobation of every lover of justice, magnanimity, and honor.--Nat. Banner.