Cherokee Phoenix

From the Knoxville Republican

Published March, 31, 1832

Page 2 Column 4b

From the Knoxville Republican.

We know that Georgia's course had been reckless--that she has laid the heavy hand of oppression upon the Cherokees in despite of public treaties of the United States; but is she prepared as Mr. Clayton says 'to blow the Union into ten thousand fragments?' Is she determined to precipitate herself, together with her sister states, into the abyss of civil war?-and to crash the world's 'last best hope' of freedom? No, it can not be! When she pictures herself in the field of battle where brothers would be arrayed against each other in bloody combat, the thought must move her to retrace her steps and to forgo her purpose, even though her determination were ten fold stronger than represented by Mr. Clayton.- Some say, if she wishes to secede let her go. But we would say, no not unnecessarily provoke her to rend the Union-but rather heartily invite and persuade her to stay-so that if it must come to the worst, all but herself may be blameless-each of the states say, 'of this foul deed, I wash my hands.'

But hence we must not be understood as favoring the doctrine, that one state has the right to resist a law of the 24 states. No, at the same time that we would conjure the state of Georgia to stay and enjoy the benefits of the Union, we should say to General Government, act impartially under the Constitution, but promptly and energetically Let no state deter you from the discharge of your duty to the Union, to the Indians, or to foreign nations. This is the way to preserve the Union, and this is the only way in which she can expect to compel acquiescence on the part of the states. But if a state once forces the general government to give ground it will become a spoiled child-satisfied with nothing short of absolute control over its parent. Other states seeing its weakness would assert a like claim to command, and in the struggle for supremacy, it would be tossed to and fro for a little while, like a ship upon the stormy ocean, and then sink to rise no more. Where is the American that can think of a dissolution of the Union without shuddering!

But what is the mighty grievance of which Georgia complains? Is she oppressed by the General Government? -- No--She wishes to drive the Indians from and possess herself of the lands to which they have a clear right, the occupation of which is guarantied to them by the United States, so long as they may choose to continue that occupation. She has extended her laws over that part of the Cherokee Nation, resident within her chartered limits, and not content with heaping misery upon the heads of the unoffending Indians, she dooms missionaries, who had gone to preach the gospel to them, to imprisonment in a penitentiary, with horse thieves and murderers-because they would not take an oath of allegiance to the state of Georgia. And because she cannot be permitted to act out the last act of this tragedy, she threatens 'to blow the Union into thousand fragments'!!!

The recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Worcester vs. the State of Georgia, declaring that the latter has no right to dispossess the Cherokee of their land, ' that the law under which the missionaries were imprisoned, is unconstitutional, will soon show whether or not the Union is to be blown up from 'the match' in that quarter. If the decree of the court be resisted, it will then be the duty of the President of the United States to enforce obedience to it.--Miserably as he has discharged the duties of his office heretofore, we may venture to hope that, in the event it becomes necessary to call out the military to aid in the execution of the laws, he will act with becoming firmness upon an occasion so momentous to the Union. But God forbid that Georgia's obstinance should ever make it necessary to resort to measures so harsh, on the part of the Gen. Government!

If the general government holds claim upon Georgia for millions of money, and nothing short of a relinquishment of that claim would be sufficient to prevent a dissolution of the Union, we should say, yield it up as dross. But that is not the case. The government has solemnly and repeatedly pledged itself to protect the Cherokees in their persons and property, and it is the abandonment of these helpless Indians and their possessions to the cruelty and avarice of Georgia which is demanded. Would the United States, even if they never had received a favor at the hand of this people, or were not pledged to extend protection to them, see them robbed of their liberty and lands, and not quickly fly to their relief? They surely would not. Then how can they suffer such gross injustice to be done to the Cherokees when, in addition to all that, they are bound by treaties the most solemn, to guard their rights and privileges from invasion.

Although it is impossible to tell what the final result of this affair may be, yet we shall not despair of the Union. We incline to the belief that if the general government will discharge its duty with firmness, Georgia will not attempt the resistance she has so rashly threatened. But it would be the height of folly to expect the Union can continue to exist if its individual members are permitted to refuse obedience to its laws. If Georgia has fairly 'calculated the value of the Union,' we doubt not she had found it of too much advantage to herself, to barter if for the poor pittance now left the Cherokees to subsist upon.