Cherokee Phoenix


Published January, 21, 1832

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Those who justify the State of Georgia for extending her laws over the Indians, and abrogating the laws of Congress, contend that Congress has no right to interfere with her criminal jurisdiction; and that whatever laws for the punishment of crimes are passed by a state must be enforced and cannot be controlled by the United States. If this doctrine were true, it would at once put an end to the Union Any state might declare whatever act she pleased criminal, and thus at once 'abrogate' the laws of Congress. The State of Ohio once contended that Congress had no power to establish a branch of the United States Bank in Ohio, and the State might have passed a law making it criminal for any person to exercise the office of Cashier or President of such Bank-within the State. This would have 'abrogated' or nullified' the Branch Bank. Again: several of the States have asserted that all the public lands within their boundaries belonged to the States individually: now suppose Missouri should pass a law prohibiting any person from selling public land or acting as register or receiver of any land office in that State unless authorized by a law of Missouri, and should make it a criminal offence to do so, would the United States have no right to interpose the authority of the Union to prevent the execution of such a law, or would the President decide that 'the laws of Congress being abrogated he had no power to interpose any obstacle to the assumption of such an authority?' These are not extreme cases. If the State of Ga. can 'abrogate' the laws of Congress and the solemn treaties of the United States in relation to the Indians, why may not South Carolina 'nullify' the Tariff?and Missouri punish her citizens for attempting to execute the land laws of the United States?

Hamilton Intelligencer.


The President in his message says that the Indians who remain on their lands 'at their present homes, will hereafter be governed by the laws of Georgia.' And the Secretary of War in his communication to the President says that 'the Executive of the United States has on full consideration decided that there is no power in that department to interpose any obstacle to the assumption of this authority.' And 'as upon this coordinate branch of the Government revolves the execution of the laws and particularly many of the most important provisions in the various act of regulating intercourse with the Indians, it is difficult to see how these provisions can be enforced, after the President has determined they have been abrogated, by a state of things inconsistent with their provisions.' Here we have the plain admission that Georgia has 'abrogated' or 'nullified' 'many of the most important provisions of the laws of the United States' and the President has decided that he has no power to enforce the laws of the Union! Where then are the pledges of the Government to protect the Indians in the peaceable possession of their Territory? They are abrogated! Good Heavens! And is this the boon for which our Independence was achieved? Was it to see our national faith and honor thus violated and trampled on that our Constitution was established? God forbid! There is yet virtue and intelligence enough in the land to rescue our Constitution out of the hands of those who would thus despoil it; and pluck up our national honor from the depths to which it would be sunk, if these principles gain the ascendancy.-Ib.