Cherokee Phoenix


Published October, 7, 1831

Page 3 Column 1b


NEW ECHOTA, OCT. 15, 1831

Owing to the indisposition of one of our hands we were unable to issue our paper last week. (Notice the difference in the date for this column and the date of the paper itself)


The Georgia Guard made their appearance in this place on last Sabbath evening, for the purpose, we presume, of arresting the members of the General Council, who they supposed would have convened together on Monday. But they were disappointed- The Council will hold its session this fall in Chattooga.


The Cherokee annuity goes off slowly. For want of customers it is now obliged to go about begging. We are informed the sub-agent has been travelling through the country with an interpreter for the purpose of paying off the money. From what we can learn he has had but poor success--We know this new scheme cannot succeed. The Government would do well, therefore, to pay the annuity at once, as it was want to do, or to let it rest at the agency or to send it back whence it came. It belongs to the Nation and individuals will not be compelled to receive it merely for the purpose of advancing the views and designs of the 'powers that be.'

We have every reason to believe that every possible effort will be made, this fall, by the General Government, in conjunction with the authorities of Georgia, to induce the Cherokees to emigrate to the west of the Mississippi. We have before us a correspondence between Gov. Gilmer and the Secretary of War on this subject, which we intend to publish as soon as we are able in order to let our citizens know what they are to contend with. Agents will be employed to visit them and to attack them with persuasion, arguments, and with promises of `great advantages at the west', so that, if possible, their removal may be effected. We hope the firmness of the Cherokees will be honorably tested, and that the Government will be convinced that false promises will not easily seduce them from the 'land of their fathers.'


We publish this week the address of Judge Clayton on pronouncing sentence on the missionaries and other white men, who were lately tried in Gwinnett. It is a curious document-entirely foreign to the question brought before his Honor for decision. What had the policy of removing the Indians out of the limits of states and territories to do with his duties as a Judge called upon to interpret a plain law making it a crime for any white man to reside within the Georgia charter without taking an oath of allegiance? If it is true that these white men, especially the missionaries, have opposed that policy, in a manner as unbecoming as he represents it, yet that had nothing to do with the case.- Nothing of that kind was proved, or ever alleged in the bill of indictment. Nor can we conceive what connection there should be between the trial of these men ' the behavior of the Cherokees towards Georgia and its officers, and towards the President and his officers, if indeed their resentment has been wrought to the highest pitch against these sacred personages. His Honor even alludes to this press as being engaged in insulting ' calumniating 'officers of every grade'- If this were true we cannot see what propriety, to say the least, there was in introducing this topic in his address. But were his charges which he alleges against the missionaries, the Cherokees and this press sustained by testimony? Unless they were, as a Judge placed upon the bench to decide according to law and evidence, he had no right to allude to them as facts. We repeat, were these charges sustained by testimony? No. They were not even preferred in the indictment; yet his Honor blazes them forth to the world in justification, as we suppose of his decision. But we presume, to make some show of justice in the treatment which individuals of unimpeachable character have received from the sovereign state, it was necessary to digress as widely as the Judge has done, and apply for aid to foreign matters and things.

We might extend our remarks on this strange address, but it is unnecessary--the public will understand it. We cannot, however, refrain from expressing our highest disapprobation of the manner in which the Judge introduces some passage of the Bible in condemning the missionaries. It is enough to say that they were not tried by the laws of God, but by the laws of man, and those of the most arbitrary kind. 'Judge not that ye be not judged.'


The opinion of Judge Clayton on the case of Georgia vs. Canatoo, a Cherokee, committed to jail in Gwinnett upon a charge of digging gold, is published in the Milledgeville papers. We are unable to republish any part of it this week. It is a long document, occupying eight columns of small type in the Recorder.

It appears Governor Gilmer has concluded to disregard this decision and is determined to enforce the law, as will be seen from the following letter to Col. Sanford. The Executive and Judicial departments of the Government of Georgia are often in collision.


Milledgeville 20th Sept. 1831

Sir: I have just learned that the Judge of the Western Circuit has decided that the law for the protection of the mines in the territory occupied by the Cherokees is void, and has discharged an Indian from confinement who had been arrested by the Guard for its violation. As the effect of this decision will be to create the opinion among the Indians, that they are now licensed to plunder the State of this valuable property, I have thought it proper to giver you express instructions to defend it, that you may be justified in pursuing that course.

I have no doubt but that the Legislature has the authority to take possession of the mines, and the constitution al right to pass laws to protect them from trespass. By the law which has been passed, the Governor is directed to take possession of the mines and to cause all persons to be arrested who may attempt to violate that possession. The special object of your appointment and the organization of the Guard under your command, was to enable the Governor to obey these requirements; you are not an officer connected with the Judiciary Department, but the agent whom the Legislature has authorized the Executive to employ to perform a public service, which was imposed by law upon that Department. You will therefore arrest every person who may be found attempting to take away any gold from the mines. You will give general information in the Cherokee country of the determination of the Executive Department to enforce the laws, so as to prevent, if possible, the necessity of making any arrests.

The peaceful acquisition of our Indian territory and the preservation of the rights of the State may depend essentially upon your prudence and firmness in executing the duty which has been assigned you.

Very respectfully yours, 'c.

(signed) GEO. R. GILMER.

Col. John W. Sanford.