Cherokee Phoenix

We would invite attention to the following preamble and resolutions adopted by the Synod of North Ca

Published November, 26, 1831

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We would invite attention to the following preamble and resolutions adopted by the Synod of North Carolina at their late meeting. All, we presume, who are acquainted with the circumstances which led to the arrest and imprisonment of the missionaries, and who can view the facts of the case unbiased by the party politics with which they have been connected, are convinced that it is now time for citizens to speak out on this subject;-for those who can estimate the blessings of civil or religious liberty, and who deprecate the curse of a government whose tyrannical edicts are to be enforced by a band of soldiers to raise a remonstrance that shall be heard. Public opinion in this country constitutes a tribunal whose decisions cannot be disregarded with impunity. Let other Synods and other public meetings, in which the great majority of the citizens of the Southern States are represented, express their sentiments on this subject, and it shall not be in vain. Some of the first men in Georgia, and as we are informed, the great majority of the Christian community in that State, are decidedly and strongly opposed to the high handed measures of the dominant party. These men wish to save their State, as far as possible from the odium incurred by the late prosecutions. Let them be encouraged and sustained by the public.

The assertions of Gov. Gilmer, enticed in the third resolution, is of not extraordinary character. It is more strange that there were men in Georgia, who to answer their own purposes, reported that 'the missionaries found their situations too lucrative to give them up willingly'- but it is surprising that the Governor of the State should believe the unfounded slander and give its circulation the sanction of his name. This is, indeed, surprising for it has not the shadow of truth for its support. And since this statement went abroad under his name, Mr. Gilmer has no doubt had opportunities of ascertaining the truth in this matter-and why has he not contradicted the false report? Why suffer an untrue and utterly unfounded charge to be reported under the seal of the State, to prejudice the people of Georgia against those faithful ministers of the Gospel, who have been convicted of no crime but that of refusing to desert their congregations in the day of calamity and affliction, when they most need the instructions and support of their religious teachers? It is a fact well known that the missionaries of the American Board cannot hold 'lucrative situations'-that they have barely their maintenance and that of their families,--and whatever they receive from the people among whom they labor, is reported and used as property of the Board. It is known that their expenses are all conducted on an economical scale--and that they have no opportunity of acquiring or laying up the things of this world for themselves or families. And still it is proclaimed from the high places of Georgia that they hold 'situations too lucrative to give them up willingly.'

From the Southern Religious Telegraph.


Mr. Editor,- I take the liberty of enclosing for publication the proceedings of the Synod of North Carolina in relation to certain missionaries in the State of Georgia.

I agree in opinion with those who think that this subject in all its details and bearings, ought to be kept constantly before the public for when it is fully understood and believed, the result must be, one general burst of honest indignation through the whole length and breadth of the land.

The stab which has been given to our national reputation is, I apprehend, too serious, afflictive, and humiliating to be regarded with indifference.

If such oppression and outrages are to be met by the great body of the American people with silence and tame submission, then I confess that I have been mistaken either in my views of the affair alluded to, or in the character of the country which has given me birth. CIVIS.

Oct. 25th, 1831

The synod of North Carolina in the exercise of a right which they possess in common with their fellow citizens, of freely and fearlessly expressing their views in relation to public measures and events which affect the honor, the dignity, and christian character of their beloved country, feel it to be a duty which they owe to themselves and to that part of the community which they represent, to notice with expressions of deep regret and unqualified remonstrance, the treatment to which certain Christian missionaries of different religious denominations have, under form of legal process recently been subjected in the State of Georgia.

Having examined the subject as presented to them through the medium of the press and presuming that the details which have been given to the public are substantially correct, they are constrained to say that in the case alluded to there has been a spectacle exhibited more shameful and shocking than any within their recollection which has hitherto disgraced the annuls of our free institutions.

To the honorable and high-minded authorities of their sister state, they would say, respectfully in the words of the eloquent DESEZE, one of the learned council who defended Lewis the Sixteenth on his last trial- 'Recollect, that history will judge your judgement.'-

And when the political agitations of the day shall have subsided and when reason and humanity shall have resumed their ascendancy over the baser passions of the human mind, the Synod cannot but believe that the transactions of the summer of 1831 will be remembered only to be associated with the fell deeds of dark ages, when tyranny and oppression were deemed no crimes, and when the principles of toleration and the rights of conscience were but imperfectly understood and scarcely recognized: Therefore.

Resolved 1. That the unrestrained insults-wanton indignities, and brutal cruelties to which some of the missionaries were subjected after their arrest, by individuals of the Georgia escort, savor more of the lawless barbarities of an Algerine Banditti, than of the customary decencies and civilities of an American Guard.

II That the severity of the sentence which according to the laws of the State, has consigned to imprisonment and hard labor for the term of four years, some of the missionaries in question, can find no apology either in the moral turpitude of their general character or in the heinousness of the offenses which they have committed, but must be ascribed to the violence of party politics and embittered feelings displaying themselves in the arbitrary enactments of a high-handed domination.

III. That the following assertion found in a letter bearing the signature of the Executive of the State: namely,

'The missionaries of the different religious societies stationed among the Indians, had found their situations too lucrative to give them up willingly'---contains an insinuation altogether gratuitous, and unworthy the high station whence it proceeds: and until the contrary is made to appear, must be regarded as ungenerous and unfounded.

IV. That the Synod recommend to their churches and to Christians generally to unite (especially at the Monthly Concert) in fervent prayer to God that he would direct and sustain by his Almighty power and grace the Missionaries of the cross of Christ in the State of Georgia, who have been traduced and persecuted for righteousness sake--That He would pardon the guilt of all concerned in the transactions alluded to, and that He would not lay their sins to the charge of our beloved country 'give them up willingly' because they will not abandon their afflicted people in the time of their distress!


From the New York Observer


Judge Clayton quotes the Bible in support of the doctrine of passive obedience,-in support of the duty of Christians to submit to human governments in all cases whatsoever! We can find no other meaning in that part of his remarks in which he replies to the plea of the missionaries. The state of Georgia had passed a law requiring all white men residing in the Cherokee territory to take the oath of allegiance. The missionaries refused to take this oath on the ground of conscientious scruples. They believed that Georgia had no right of jurisdiction in the Cherokee territory; and that an oath of allegiance would be an oath to support her in her usurpation. How does Judge Clayton reply to this plea? He contends that the missionaries, notwithstanding their conscientious conviction that the power claimed by Georgia is an usurpation, (for if he does not mean this, he means nothing to the purpose) are still bound on Christian principles to take the oath. He says that Holy Writ requires us 'to submit ourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake;' that it enjoins upon the citizens 'to keep the king's [State's] commandment;' that it directs 'to render under Caesar the things that are Caesar's,' that it declares 'whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordnance of God,' and finally he comes out with his doctrine fully and explicitly in the following sentence:

To my mind, and I would feign believe to every dispassionate man, there is no good reason for running upon the severe penalty of the law and foolishly defying its consequences. It cannot be excused upon any principle of sound religion or a rational and discreet desire to serve the cause of piety, for surely that religion which requires us to 'render tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor,' never could demand such resistance to laws of the land, as would incur in the delinquent a forfeiture of all the enjoyments of liberty, and impose in their stead all the hardships of an ignominious slavery.

We are surprised that any man to this country, calling himself a christian, and especially any man holding the station of a judge, should manifest such ignorance of the genius of Christianity and of the whole tenor of the Bible, as Judge Clayton discovers in his application of the texts quoted above. We presume that they (sic) are few Sunday scholars in Georgia, certainly there are few children of ten years of age, in this part of the country, who cannot show Judge Clayton that he has totally mistaken the meaning of these passages; and that the Bible abounds with examples of holy men, who not only made 'such resistance to laws of the land' as incurred 'the forfeiture of all the enjoyments of freedom, and imposed all the hardships of an ignominious slavery,' but who resisteth even in the face of death in its most horrid forms. Why were Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego thrown into the burning fiery furnace? Because they refused to only (sic) a law of Nebuchadnezar their king. Why was Daniel thrown into the den of lions? Because he chose to pay more respect to the dictates of his own conscience than to the decree of King Darius. Why were Peter and other Apostles beaten and imprisoned at Jerusalem? Because they refused to obey the law requiring them not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. Why did Paul endure bonds and imprisonment and every suffering which the malice of Jew or Gentile could inflict? Because he would obey God rather than man-because he carried (sic) more for the souls and the rights of the people than for the laws of kings. But we need not multiply cases. Every man who has read his Bible knows that it has nothing but commendation for men who, like Worcester and Butler, for conscience sake, throw themselves between the tyrant and his victim.

True religion has always been the unyielding friend of liberty and justice, and if Judge Clayton was ignorant of the examples which we have quoted from holy writ, he ought at least to have been sufficiently acquainted with modern history to know, that all which is most valued in British and American freedom, was won from tyrants by men who imbibed their principles of action from the holy volume. Even the infidel Hume admits that England is indebted for her liberty, in a great degree to the sufferings of Puritans in the dungeon and at the stake, and every American school-boy knows that the liberty of this western world originated in the refusal of a Christian people to obey the mandates of usurped power. We are acquainted with no sect of Christians who do not admit the right of men to resist tyranny and usurpation, when it can be done peaceably; and if the people of Georgia are disposed to incorporate into their religion the slavish doctrine of Judge Clayton, we rejoice to know that in the missionaries now in their penitentiary, they have met with men who better understand their duty to God and their country.