Cherokee Phoenix

From Poulsons American Daily Advertiser

Published November, 19, 1831

Page 1 Column 5a

From Poulsons American Daily Advertiser.


Mr. Poulson- I notice in your paper of yesterday morning, a copy of the proceedings of the distinguished Association- The American Board of Commissioners, at a meeting held at New Haven, on the 7th inst. I rejoice to see the notice, and the sort of notice which the board has taken of the incarceration of two of their missionaries. There is in this step of outlawry on the part of Georgia, a principle, which, if not destroyed, must end in the subversion of our Federal compact. The American Board appear to me to have moved, in regard to this subject, in the spirit of true wisdom. The basis of their operations is to give out light to the people; but it is indispensable to a clear illustration of the case that Congress be memorialized, and not memorialized only, but that Committees from all parts of the Union, in the persons of men loving our Union, respecting the laws and treaties of the land, and feeling for the honor of the country, and for the wrongs done to even the meanest of her sons, should attend in person, and show to Congress in an embodied form, how indignant the citizens of this republic are at such outrages upon the sovereignty of the Union, and the persons of its citizens.

Either Congress have the right, or have not the right to enact laws for the government of our 'intercourse with the Indian tribes.'- The general government have the power or have it not, to enter into compacts with these people. The assertion is ventured, that up to the reign of the present administration, no previous one ever expended a thought, involving a doubt as to its obligations to Indians, and to enforce the laws of Congress, enacted for the government of our relations with them. Even Georgia herself has acquiesced in this right, and in these legal obligations. Officers acting under orders of the Federal Executive, have, in forcing back intruders upon Cherokee lands, shot and killed citizens of Georgia. These officers have been arrested, indictments for murder have been found against them--they have been tried by Georgia Courts, and Georgia Juries, and acquitted! Where fore! Because of the proof that they were acting under the authority of the Federal Government, which Georgia herself admitted to be legal and paramount.

Whatever may have been the opinions of the Presidents who proceeded the present incumbent; as to the policy of removing the Indians, and the beneficial effects of that policy on the lives and happiness of the Indians, and the repose and harmony of the states, seeking their removal, and they did all believe in this--but without dreaming of force to compel it--no one of them ever ventured to unburden his conscience of the oath which he had taken to support the laws. This appalling task was reserved for General Jackson! He has decided that the laws and treaties are a nullity--surrendered the Indians up to the enactments of a State Legislature--and abandoned them to their fate!

The question is not, has Georgia the right to exercise her own sovereignty? Nobody doubts this; but has Georgia the right to nullify acts of Congress, abrogate the provisions of treaties, and set at defiance all that she had heretofore respected, and considered as limiting the range of that sovereignty. Has she the right to overreach the provisions of the compact of 1802, and after, as a state, consenting and agreeing to its provisions, (one of which provides for the expelling of intruders from Indian lands) determined that its provisions shall not be respected; and that the whole shall be treated as a canceled obligation? So it would seem.

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Thus has Georgia succeeded in obtaining the President's sanction to a nullification of the laws and treaties of the land-and by virtue of this degrading act, the Indians are trampled upon--their country overrun by surveyors, gold hunters, spies, and hosts of the very worst kind of people, their intellectual and spiritual teachers torn from them, and thrust into the penitentiaries of the State. One of these, Mr. Worcester, were the shield, as a government officers, (a postmaster) which protected him-- but this being discovered, General Jackson was bid to tear it off, when he did it, and thus was the excellent and pious man given up to be a victim of a State law, which by General Jackson's determination is made superior to laws of the land, made by the Congress and in pursuance of constitutional provisions.

We wait with some impatience to see what course Mr. Secretary Cass will take on this subject. He is enlightened, generous, just. We know him to be master of this great subject. We wait breathlessly to hear him speak. He has not a friend that does not wish to see him come out fully on this subject; while those who know him best, assure us he will brave the folly of the past, as he has the enemies of his country in battle and demand justice for these people--Others fear he will bend his neck to the yoke of the oppressor, nor dare to express himself but in accordance with what Mr. B_____ directed General Jackson to do. We shall see.