Cherokee Phoenix

From the Georgian

Published October, 29, 1831

Page 4 Column 1a-3b

From the Georgian.


We published certain documents last week, relating to this subject.- We now lay before our readers other documents, necessary to a correct understanding of the matter. We copy Mr. Howard's letter from the Macon Advertiser. A similar one was addressed to the Governor, the reply to which is below.

The reader is particularly directed to the letter from the Governor to Col. Sanford. It shows that prompt measures have been taken to have the facts enquired into, and that if the severities alleged to have been practised towards the Missionaries, have been correctly reported, no authority emanated from the Governor to that effect.

The public will have, in a short time, the result of the enquiry directed to be instituted.

From the Macon Advertiser.

Mr. Slade- In your paper of the 30th instant, I noticed a paragraph extracted from a letter addressed by Colonel Sanford, Commander of the Georgia Guard in the Cherokee Territory, to Governor Gilmer.

In which the Col. States- 'Two white men have been arrested for illegal residence within the territory, one of them is a Methodist preacher by the name of Trot, who had been discountenanced by his own Conference for his officious and over zealous interference in Indian politics, and whose denunciations against Georgia, were such during one of his political sermons as created sensations of unspeakable horror in one (Dr. Butler) himself not in the least remarkable for his charity and brotherly love towards us.'

In your strictures upon the above extract you have justly condemned such conduct as is attributed to the Rev. Mr. Trot, whilst you have kindly awarded to his church, its fullest share of merit.

Col. Sanford in reporting Mr. Trot as a 'discountenanced minister of his own Conference' has doubtless acted upon such information as he deemed entitled to the fullest credit.

But I assure you Sir, as one who claims to know something of the usages of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he could not have been legally employed by the Bishop or by the Presiding Elder whilst he sustained such a relation to his conference as is ascribed to him by Col. Sanford.

By reference to the Rev. D. C. M'Leod's letter dated the 16th of July, and published in the Christian Advocate and Journal of the 12th ult. you will find that Mr. M'Leod as his Presiding Elder recognizes him as a preacher in good standing on the Conasauga Circuit, from which I am bound to believe that Col. Sanford for want of correct information has virtually fixed upon the Tennessee Conference the charge of placing upon one of her stations a degraded church officer. Having thus far performed a duty which I felt consciously bound to discharge in behalf of my church- I would now Mr. Editor- for a few moments direct your attention to the contents of the Rev. Messrs. M'Leod and Worcester's letters published on the 12th and 20th days of last month, in the Christian Advocate and the Charleston Obs., if the statement of those rev. gentlemen are worthy of credit, then surely the constituted authorities of Georgia, will promptly institute such inquiries as will throw the proper amount of censure upon officers who could so far transcend the bounds of military decorum and trample under foot the sacred rights of freemen.--As a citizen of Georgia, I feel for her dignity at home and her respectability abroad--and verily if such accusations as are laid at the door of her officers by the 'Cherokee Missionaries' should pass without the proper investigation, then would I blush to own that I had ever exercised by elective franchise in behalf of men, so inattentive to the imperious claims of human justice.

If those missionaries have slandered the officers of our State Government, because they have executed with fidelity the orders of the Executive whom we all believe to be a wise and humane benefactor--then Sir, the sooner they are exposed to their merited contempt, the better for all who have any interest in the happiness and prosperity of our common country.

With sentiments of regard,

I am Dear Sir,

Your obedient serv't




Milledgeville, 1st Sept. 1831

Rev. Sir.- I have just received your letter of the 29th ult. in which you call my attention to the publication in the Advocate and Journal, of the 12th ult. upon the subject of the conduct of the Georgia Guard. I thank you for the direct course which you have pursued in the matter and the freedom with which you have expressed your feelings and opinions. I have no desire to avoid any scrutiny whatever into my official conduct.

Mr. McLeod's statements, concerning the orders which I have given to the Guard, are wholly destitute of truth.

Immediately after the passage of the law which made it criminal for white men to reside among the Cherokees; without license, after the first of March, I caused one hundred copies to be published and distributed among those upon whom it was to operate. By this means every white man who resided among the Indians, was informed of the provisions of the law in time to make up a deliberate resolve whether he would obey it or not. Between two and three hundred persons have continued their residence by taking the oath to support the laws and obtaining license. A few have left the State. The Missionaries alone have publicly denied the power of the State to extend its jurisdiction over them, and expressed their design to disregard the law, and abide its penalties. One of them was arrested and discharged by the Superior Court, upon the ground that Missionaries were agents of the United States government and therefore not liable to arrest. This person was Mr. Thompson, who knew at the time that he was not an agent of the Government, as he has since acknowledged in a letter to me. The decision, however, furnished an excuse for the missionaries to continue their illegal residence. I procured from the United States government proof that the Missionaries, as such, were not agents of the government. Instead of ordering Col. Sanford to arrest them immediately, as would have been lawful, and as I think, justified by their conduct, I wrote to every Missionary, notifying them that they would be arrested, if they did not remove from the State. Orders were given to Col. Sanford, that if they showed no disposition to oppose the policy of the government to treat them with kindness and liberality and permit them to remove as might be most convenient and agreeable to themselves. I received an answer from Worcester and Butler, denying the authority of the State, and refusing to obey them. Copies of their answers were sent to Col. Sanford, with direction to spare no exertions to arrest them, that they might feel the full weight of the law since death was their choice.

There has been no expression or intimation whatever in any order or letter, or otherwise from me to treat those who might be arrested in any other manner than as the law directed. You cannot regret so much as I do, that any member of the Guard should have been too much excited by the improper conduct of these men, as to put them into chains. That they were in the constant habit of speaking in the most opprobrious terms of our government, laws, and public authorities, I have positive proof. And the account of Mr. McLeod himself shows how far he was disposed thus to act. Although I cannot excuse the severity with which he was treated, it is certain that the Guard acted under excited feelings created by the above of those under whose orders they were acting.

But you, my dear sir, and many others, are entirely mistaken, both as to my power over the Guard, and the kind of authority which has been conferred upon the manner of its organization. It is composed of citizens of the State (forty in number) who have been employed upon wages to perform a particular duty.--They are but assistants to the civil officers, and are substituted for Sheriffs and Constables, only because they can act more efficiently. They are neither soldiers nor subject to military law. If they violate the rights of any persons whether missionaries or Indians, they are liable to be sued or indicted like other citizens. I have no authority to them whatever may be their conduct. My power extends only to the appointment of the Agent or Commissioner (as the Commander is called in the law) and to organize the guard. The Agent himself cannot punish a member of the guard for disorderly conduct or other offence not even by dismissing him without pay. However, improperly the Guard may have acted, Col. Sanford is not answerable for it. Worcester, Trott, and others are arrested whilst he was in Milledgeville in the discharge of his duty making his quarterly report. He did not return until after the persons arrested had been contained for several days, at his stations, waiting for the evidence which he had in his possession; to prove that the Missionaries were not agents of the Government.

I must refer you to the publications in the Georgia Journal of this day, for further evidence of what has been my official conduct.

In conclusion, I would observe that the Missionaries have not been compelled to desert their religious labor by any conduct of the authorities of the Government, but by their improper connection with political parties and refusal to obey the laws. Had they submitted to the jurisdiction which rightly belongs to the State, they would have received its protection, and had my best wishes for their success in enlightening the Indians.

The law does not punish Missionaries for residing among the Cherokees, but every white man who so resides contrary to its provisions, and the Missionaries will act illegally they must suffer the consequences.

Very Respectfully,

Yours, 'c.


Rev. John Howard.




Sir.- A few days ago I read in the Cherokee Phoenix, statements from Worcester and Trott, charging Col. Nelson and some of the Guard with the use of irons in confining them and other illegal and unnecessarily severe treatment. The flagrantly criminal conduct of those two men induced me to discredit them. I have since however received through a friend the New York Advocate and Journal, containing a letter from a Mr. M'Leod, corroborating the account given by Worcester and Trott. The character of the government and the good of that portion of the public service, committed to your particular charge, requires that the facts should be enquired into and if found to be true efficient means used to prevent their recurrence. That you may know how to direct your enquiries I have enclose to you the papers which contain the publication to which I have referred.

You are requested to enquire particularly into the fact, whether irons were used to confine the prisoners arrested by the guard--the necessity which existed for the use of such means--the causes which led to the arrest of McLeod, and the severe treatment of himself and others. I am aware that these things occurred if they occurred at all, during your presence in Milledgeville, in the discharge of your duties.

The highly efficient and honorable manner in which you have executed the service which has been assigned you, and your own character, and sufficient security, that you have not sanctioned and unauthorized oppression of prisoners.

You are requested to report both the conduct of the guard and of the prisoners arrested.

It will be proper for you to instruct the guard, that in the arrest of those who may have violated the law, their duty is confined to the certain delivery of their prisoners to the civil officers and no other means are authorized by the law, but what may be necessary by the law, but what may be necessary to effect that object.

Very Respectfully,

Yours, 'c.


Col. John W. A. Sanford.