Cherokee Phoenix

Great pains are taking in various places, to excite the feelings of the people throughout the countr

Published December, 10, 1831

Page 1 Column 2c

Great pains are taking in various places, to excite the feelings of the people throughout the country, on behalf of several individuals who belong to the state of Maine, who have been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment, by a court in the British Province of New Brunswick, for alleged offence against the laws of that province. The difficulty between that state and New Brunswick, arises from a dispute about jurisdiction, the late award of his Majesty the King of Holland, either not having been established, or being satisfactory to the parties. With the merits of the controversy we are not acquainted.- Probably, when Congress assemble, the matter will be laid before them, and thoroughly investigated. For that result the state authorities appear, very properly, to be disposed to wait.

The object we have in view in noticing this subject is to remark how differently the treatment which these inhabitants of the state of Maine have received, operate upon the public feelings, compared with that which has been experienced by two natives of the United States from the most savage persecution of the state of Georgia. Two clergymen, who went to reside among the Cherokee Indians, with the full knowledge, assent and approbation of the United States government, and whose conduct has been uniformly such as that government approved, countenanced and sanctioned, until since General Jackson's election, are now in a state prison, at hard labor, among the most abandoned villains and miscreants, for residing among the Cherokees, without a license from the authority of the state. Allowing the state of Georgia the right of jurisdiction, which, in our opinion, they do not possess, the act constituting such an offence a felony, and punishable in the same manner with horse-stealing, burglary and highway robbery, is a foul disgrace to the character of a community which claims to be not only civilized, but Christian.

Even the pretext for this Algerine barbarity is in the highest degree disreputable to the character of the state, for it is nothing more than an apprehension that the missionaries might dissuade the Indians from quitting their country, and removing into the wilderness. If there was any real cause for this apprehension, is it a criminal offence in this country for one inhabitant to give his advice or opinion to another, respecting his domestic interests? Are the common offices of friendship and good neighborhood to be aggravated into felonies, and made liable to most severe and infamous punishment? It is in vain for the people of Georgia to flatter themselves that they can find a refuge from public opinion, and general reproach, under the overshadowing wings of General Jackson's administration. Let it be remembered that he is by far the weakest and most ignorant man who has held the office of chief magistrate of this country, and of course his opinion is worth just as much less, on any important subject, than those of his predecessors, as he ranks in point of intelligence below them. But the civilized world will not be at the trouble to take into consideration the minutia of this subject. They will learn what the offence and the punishment are, and it is impossible that the case should not meet with the reprobation of all just, enlightened, and honorable individuals, as well as politicians and statesmen.

And yet, while these men are enduring not merely the toils and hardships, but the horrors of their situation, there is comparatively little feeling of the existence of such deep and indelible stigma upon our national character. How long it will last we do not conjecture, four years are allotted as the duration of their punishment. It is hardly to be expected that men unaccustomed to hardships of life, can endure such severities as they must experience, for such a length of time. We hope the public sense of injustice, of hardship and of disgrace, will produce before those four years expire. We had expected that a general effort would have been made in the country, to induce the national government to interfere in behalf of these injured men, and rescue them from the state of suffering and degradation to which they have been reduced.-

N. Y. Dai. Ad.