Cherokee Phoenix


Published December, 10, 1831

Page 2 Column 1b



Sir,- In perusing the Ex-Governor Gilmer's message to the Georgia Legislature, I discover gross and palpable misrepresentation in respect to the Cherokees, should they pass uncontradicted the public may consider them as matter of fact. I shall make a few brief remarks on his message. In denying his assertions, I am not actuated by any unfriendly feelings to Mr. Gilmer, they have been and still are the reverse. His informers have grossly imposed upon a mind already too much prejudicial against the Cherokees and their rights.

'And what wrong has Georgia done to its Indian people, to call for this extraordinary sympathy of the court.'

This is a strange enquiry, when it was known to the court, ' almost the whole of the United States, that the state of Georgia have for years (under every futile pretext) endeavored to wrest the Cherokee lands from them.

'They are in the full possession of their occupant rights. Intruders have been removed from among them by severe penal laws.'

This is a wishful misrepresentation, the Cherokees are not in 'The peaceable possession of their (as Mr. Gilmer pleases to call them) occupant rights.' They are trespassed upon by the most lawless and vilest of intruders. So far from their being 'removed' from the Cherokee territory or 'severe penal laws' enacted for their removal the contrary is woefully experienced. Hundreds of licensed and unlicensed intruders are crowded in upon the poor helpless Indians of the most abandoned character, and this well known to the authorities of Georgia, by such a course they are hopeful of tiring out the poor Cherokees, and make them willing to remove to the west, it will have the direct contrary effect.

'They are indeed becoming more and more destitute, not however, from want of land, but because their situation is unsuitable for the improvement of the Indian people.'

Mr. Gilmer has again been imposed upon and misinformed, I do not hesitate to say, the improvement in agricultural pursuits of the Indians are daily advancing instead of (as has been advanced by Mr. Gilmer, and others) retrograding. I challenge an examination to test the proof of my assertion. Agreeable to numbers, their moral and intellectual and religious advance is equal, if not superior to the border whites.

'Upon no subject has there been more misrepresentation than in relation to the Government, and civilization of the people of that tribe.'

Mr. Gilmer is correct in the assertion that the Government of the Cherokees has been misrepresented. It has been called by its enemies an oligarchy, although it is well known its constitution was bottomed upon the free institutions of the General, and state governments, and have been administered (as far as lay in their power) as such, to suit their infant knowledge in jurisprudence, their constitution and enactments, have been drafted as plain as possible. If the Cherokees establish their jurisdiction upon a firm basis, no doubt the constitution, and laws will undergo a revision, the people are becoming more enlightened, of course more civilized. The constitution of the state of Georgia requires revision, her laws, for an enlightened and civilized are endless and complex. Her legislatures continue in session (at the enormous expense to the state) six, eight, or ten weeks, and enact laws that one half of her civilized citizens do not understand. I may almost say one half of the framers.

'That none of them in this state with the exception of one family, have acquired property, or been at all benefited by the improvements which have been made by others among them.'

Another gross misrepresentation by Mr. Gilmer, if he had stated upwards of one hundred families have 'acquired property' he would have been more correct. The latter part of this sentence I must confess I do not distinctly understand, if he wishes to convey that only 'one family' has been improved by education, and civilization he is altogether mistaken in his assertion, for instead 'of one family' he will find hundreds.

'That the chief, the President of the council, the Judges, Marshals, and Sheriffs and most other persons concerned in the administration of the Government, are descendants of Europeans, and many of them citizens of this, and adjoining states.'

I admit that a large proportion of the persons described by Mr. Gilmer are descendants of Europeans, are they to be proscribed for being so, if so, nearly the whole of the population of the United States are in the same predicament including the Ex Governor 'many of them citizens of this state, and the adjoining states.'- Thank God, we are living in a free and not despotic Government, the persons alluded to, are as firm friends to the Union, and its institutions as any citizens of the states, and as willing to risque as much, but they will fearlessly (God willing) use all their talents in defending the rights and welfare of the poor oppressed Cherokees.

I could comment on other parts of Mr. Gilmer's message, but trusting that a more able hand will make further strictures, I will not occupy more of your independent and valuable paper. You are in the breach, God grant your health may hold out to the end of the siege.