Cherokee Phoenix

From the Southern Recorder

Published March, 31, 1832

Page 2 Column 5c

From the Southern Recorder.

Our readers will find in our columns of today, the National Intelligencer's account of the determination of the Supreme Court, in the case of the missionaries, now confined in our penitentiary for the violation of the laws of the State.

It is needless for us to say how widely our views of this decision differ from those entertained by the Editors of that print. With their usual complaisance of the dicta of that tribunal, these gentlemen clearly discover the truth and justice of every position assumed by the Court. The law of Georgia is most satisfactorily shown to be unconstitutional; palpable in violation of the treaties and laws of the United States. To judge of the decision by their account of it, we would be led to suppose that doubt could not appertain to a matter so clear. Contrariety of opinion however, is not a novel thing in the world, and it will not be a matter of surprise to our readers, when we declare our belief, that the Supreme Court in thus declaring the law of Georgia unconstitutional, has itself stept(sic) beyond the pale of its constitutional authority, and interfered in a matter, with about as much right as they have to interfere in the municipal laws of Canada. We are equally clear in the belief, that each State has the constitutional right to create her own criminal code, ay,and to execute it too, upon any within her limits, hardly enough to violate its enactment. As to violated Treaties, granting for a moment that an Indian tribe is a suitable party to be treated with, we would but observe, when the United States contract treaties with the Indian tribes or any other power, the subject matter of such treaty must be such as is under its control, and subject to its authority.

Let it be remembered that the mere act of treaty making, however binding in conscience upon the contracting parties, confers of itself neither upon the one or the other, rights of which they were not possessed before. We have hitherto believed, that when Georgia entered in to the confederacy, she did so as an entire State, and we have never been enabled to find the grant conveying any portion of her territory to the United States. When therefore the United States by contract, gift, treaty, or in any other way, assumes the privilege to alter and circumscribe the limits of the State; when she binds herself to recognize and protect as an independent government, a people residing within our constitutional boundaries no wonder that Georgia should be somewhat urgent to be informed of the manner in which she has so heedlessly and unfortunately surrendered the most essential characteristic of her sovereignty as a state.- But it is not our purpose to enter at large upon a subject, which has been already so often and so thoroughly discussed. We would but remark (and in doing so we feel assured we speak the sentiment of our whole people), that the Sovereignty of Georgia is still within her own keeping; that she has never yielded her rights of jurisdiction within her limits to any power. A treaty made by the United States or Massachusetts, or Connecticut, conveying that authority to another is so far as Georgia is concerned void. A audem pactum, as the lawyers call it, for want of interest in the party conveying.

Is there not something extremely absurd in the idea of two separate ' distinct governments within the bounds of one State? Old Revolutionary Georgia governing one part, and the Indian Oligarchy the other. In what manner our boundaries were fixed by the State is not, (we confess) a question for the Supreme Court. The question before it is, what were the acknowledged boundaries of Georgia, when she entered the confederacy? And did she by this act surrender the disposition of that matter to the United States.- We say she did no such thing; of the powers she did surrender to the Union which were deemed essential to the existence of a national government, we are very certain that of circumscribing her territorial jurisdiction was not of the number.

But return to the decision.- What will Georgia do under the circumstances is a question we are informed by our Washington correspondents, now in everybody's mouth.- A question we think very easily answered-She will do as she has done before. Having taken her position, based upon her sovereign rights, she will calmly and tranquilly await the further action of the Federal Court, implicitly relying upon those officers whom that action must be first exercised, to perform their duty as became those to whom she has entrusted her interests and her honor. In temperate exhibitions of passion, upon a matter so grave, is as little to be feared in Georgia, as is in our opinion the effect of the decision itself. The course of the Supreme Court is to send its judgement to the Superior Court of Gwinnett, ordering a reversal of the judgement by which the missionaries were sentenced to the penitentiary. Here things will rest, until information is given that there has been a refusal to obey this order. We know the gentleman, now presiding in the Western Circuit, and to those of our citizens unacquainted with him, we would say that in his hands the honor of the State is safe. Whether the Supreme Court will carry the matter farther, is to be seen. We trust it will not. This is not the first time that Court has attempted to reverse the laws of a State; and found its authority declared, its mandate disregarded, and its judgement by its own sufferance become a nullity. Should an attempt however be made to carry this matter farther, we feel no hesitancy in declaring our belief that the means will not be afforded them to do so. This is a constitutional matter, upon which every man, particularly every branch of the Government must exercise their own best judgement and be governed by its decision. We do not then consider ourselves as unduly sanguine in the right of our cause, when we express our belief that the opinion of the court will conflict with that of the Legislative and Executive branches of the Government. It is our course however calmly to await the process of the matter. Time will demonstrate that Georgia will never be made the victim of prejudice and party spirit. We have nothing but this to do.- No force is directed against us. When it is (to use Gov. Troup's words to the Secretary of War) we have no fear but that with our limited means we shall be prepared to repel it.