Cherokee Phoenix


Published September, 29, 1832

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From the Journal of Humanity


In looking over the accounts respecting the Indian wars for a few months past, I have been deeply impressed with the thought that these difficulties have come upon us in consequence of bad policy on our part. How far the Indians have had provocation to warrant their present measures, I know not. It may be, perhaps, that some individuals have been wronged by the class of the whites residing near, whose motto is, 'get money--by all the means in your power.'

I believe our policy towards the Indians has been wrong in this respect, viz. in neglecting their education.--Having come into the country and to be in (?) possession of the soil, political economy, philanthropy and religion require that we as a Christian nation, should civilize and Christianize the aborigines.

It may be denied, and doubtless will be, that it would be expedient in a political point of view to instruct the Indians. But on what does that strength and importance of a nation depend, if not in the number, intelligence, and virtue of its inhabitants? The Indians are human beings endowed by nature with strong minds capable of most improvement. In a savage state, their minds, like a barren waste yield no valuable harvest. They are of little or no benefit to us. But they are not only useless, merely in a pecuniary point of view, but are restrained from injury at a great expense. Several thousand soldiers are deemed necessary for the present season, to protect the property and lives of our western brethren. The expense will not probably be less than four or five hundred thousand dollars, besides a great waste of property and many valuable lives.

Let us suppose that a dozen missionaries and school teachers had gone among them five years since, and instructed them in the principles of our holy religion, would they not in all probability have prevented this waste of human life? Allowing each of the twelve teachers 500 dollars a year, the expense for five years past, would be only 30,000 dollars.

If it is true that the effect of a mission would have been to prevent the present unhappy war, we see that more than nine tenths of the expense might have been saved. I need not spend time to prove that the gospel has a tendency to make mankind humane, peaceable and friendly, or that the tribes would certainly have become so, had the proper means been taken with them. It is sufficient to point any one who doubts what would have been the result, to those tribes of Indians where the gospel has been sent. There is scarcely room in the mind of a candid man for a doubt but ten men with the Bible in their hands, and the message of salvation on their tongues, would effect more in protecting us from the attacks of savages than a thousand with their instruments of death. But the missionary must be sent while the savage is in a state of quiet,when his mind is accessible to the language of kindness and friendship. What he does he must do by way of prevention and not of remedy. Why may we not as well pay our thousands and hundreds of thousands in saving the lives of the Indians and blessing them with peace and happiness, as to pay it for the work of devestation and death?

It is wise in a political point of view (to say nothing of religion) for us to instruct the Indians in the great principles of right and wrong. When ever the motives of the gospel can be brought to bear on the minds of savages, their barbarous customs cease. Why do we not hear that the Cherokees, the Choctaws, the Senecas, and others who enjoy religious instruction, are employed in rapine and murder? Because the gospel teaches them not to retaliate nor to avenge themselves, but to forgive. Let the same gospel be understood and felt through the land, and wars will come to a perpetual end. I am confident therefore that it will be altogether cheaper in the end to civilize the Indians, than to endure their vices and protect them from their fury while they remain in the savage state. And not only so, but could such a work of humanity and benevolence be done, it would be eminently honorable to our national character. It would be setting an example worthy of imitation to others, and bring the blessing of thousands on our heads.


West Choctaw Nation.-- The Rev. L. S. Williams, who accompanied the emigrating Choctaws west of the Mississippi, writes to the Editor of the Philadelphian, that they arrived at the borders of their new home, about the 12th of March-their journey was a long and fatiguing route of a thousand miles, 400 by land-about 5000 Choctaws have reached that new country-12 or 13 thousand more are to follow them. The emigrants appear favorable to civilization-the Christian part of them have settled on the Red River, but even in those distant wilds they are not removed from the influence of bad white men who flock about this poor people, getting either among them, or as near them as possible, in order to make a spoil of them and their little all. Such is the testimony of an eye-witness.

Mr. W. also speaks of great solemnity witnessed among some of the emigrants--increased attention to religious services, more fervency in prayer, and the return of backsliders. There is an open door for missionaries. He had been at a Camp-meeting appointed by the Methodist, and attended by 7 or 8 of their preachers, who not having been authorized to administer the Lord's supper, invited him to officiate in that ordinance. A pleasing commentary on sectarianism.


From the New York Advertiser.

The Evening Post notices in the next place-

'The Indians and the Missionaries.- The propriety of the removal of the Indians, (says the Post) was two years ago a disputed question. Gen. Jackson was in favor of the measure. Mr. Clay opposed it. The House of Representatives supported the President, and by appropriating funds for the purpose, reconciled justice to Georgia, with humanity to the Aborigines. If Mr. Clay were now in the chair there might be some difficulty in securing future appropriations for this object. Of late years he has shown no great skill or temper in adapting himself to the decision of the people.

But the missionaries! the imprudent and deluded men, who have brought not peace but a sword.'

The propriety of the removal of the Indians is still a disputed question, and since the acts of Georgia have been declared by the Supreme Court of the United States unconstitutional, and of course null and void, the propriety of suffering them to be enforced, for the purpose of driving off the Indians, receives ten fold force in the minds of all people who wish to uphold the judiciary branch of the government, support the execution of the laws, secure the administration of justice and preserve the constitution. 'General Jackson' says the Post, 'was in favor of the measure. Mr. Clay opposed it.' Here is a strong reason for opposing the election of the former, and for supporting that of the latter. By the election of General Jackson, the people of the United States will sanction a course of policy towards the Indians in itself unjust, inhuman, oppressive, and tyrannical, and by the determination of the Court, illegal and unconstitutional; General Jackson was, and still is, in favor of this policy; and the nation will soon be called upon to condemn or approve it. In deciding upon it, they must necessarily determine another question of the highest importance to the government and country, and that is--whether the Judiciary of the nation is to be protected in the enjoyment of its constitutional powers and prerogatives, or is to be prostrated at the will of another branch of the government merely because it stands in his way, and obstructs him in the assumption and exercise of arbitrary power. In what way justice to Georgia has been reconciled with humanity to the Aborigines, we are not able to see. Georgia had no just demand upon the Government; no injustice had been done to that state in relation to the Cherokees; and nothing but the most gross injustice, as well as inhumanity, has been practiced by Georgia towards that people;-and General Jackson has countenanced, connived at, and encouraged both.- We leave the tack of reconciling these things to the Evening Post.

'But,' says the Post, 'the Missionaries! the imprudent and deluded men, who have brought no peace but a sword.' It seems probable that they will be released by the legislature of Georgia but if not, and the worst come, shall we be safer in the hands of a rigid constructionist, one accustomed narrowly to define his own powers and those of the co-ordinate branches of the government, or shall we put ourselves under the guidance of one who, forgetful of the principles of his early education seems tempted to stretch to the widest the already vast embrace of the General Government? One thing, seems certain--'The President's course will probably occasion delay. Congress will then have time to legislate on the subject: and what matters it if six months or even another year expire before this question be settled. On the other hand, the temper manifested by Mr. Clay before the Convention of Young Men, would embroil the United States with Georgia within twenty four hours after the truncheon came into his hand.'

We should like to know on what evidence the Post pronounces that these 'impudent and deluded men will probably be released by the legislature of Georgia.' Not the slightest appearance of any such disposition, on the part of that dignified body, has ever fallen within our observation. On the contrary, everything that we have seen, whether in the form of reports, resolutions, or more formal legislative acts, has been unrelenting, vindictive, and tyrannical. But these men have been 'imprudent and deluded.' Were they impudent and deluded, in undertaking with the express sanction and approbation of the President of the United States by a residence among the Cherokees, to assist in carrying into effect the benevolent and charitable policy of the government, by introducing among them the arts of civilization, and the knowledge of the Christian Religion? So entirely was the residence of the Missionaries approved by the administration, that considerable expenses for their comfort and accommodation were incurred under the sanction of the government and one of them was actually appointed a postmaster under the authority of the United States--an office from which he has under General Jackson's administration been removed for the express purpose of exposing him to punishment, and under the unconstitutional acts of the legislature of Georgia. This, we presume, is a specimen of the reconciliation 'of justice to Georgia with humanity to the Aborigines.'

But with a cold blooded insensibility which is peculiarly characteristic of those who feel bound to vindicate the policy and the measures of the Jackson administration, the Post very coolly and calmly remarks--'One thing seems certain. The President's course will probably occasion delay. Congress will then have time to legislate on the subject; and what matters it if six months or even another year expire before this question be settled.'--Without stopping to notice this certain probability we will remark, that these Missionaries, without having violated any law, or committed any offence, have been most unjustly and wickedly confined in a state prison, among felons and villains, for about one year-the authority under which this injustice and iniquity has been perpetrated has been solemnly adjudged by the highest judicial tribunal under the government unconstitutional, null and void; --they are still confined to hard labor, in this cruel and ignominious manner; and yet we are gravely asked by the Evening Post, 'what matters it if six months or even another year expire before this question be settled?' The inquiry would well become a Turkish Pasha, or a Dey of Algiers. Had such an unjust and illegal imprisonment as this occurred in Great Britain, or France under a constitutional government, or any other well regulated European nation the feelings of the nation would have been aroused, and the government would have been forced by fear of public opinion and private feeling to open their prison doors, and discharge them from their unjust, vindictive, disgraceful confinement. Are the community gravely to be asked 'what matters it if six months or even an other year shall expire' before these excellent men are relieved from an endurance of injustice, and illegal punishment, that would have disgraced the Bastille of France, or the Inquisition of Spain? This stain upon the character of our government and country, if there were no other objection to General Jackson's re-election, ought to prevent him form ever having another opportunity to gratify his lawless disposition, or to manifest the contempt which he feels for the laws and Constitution, the authority of the Courts, and the rights and liberty of the citizens.


From the New York Spectator.

Cherokee Phoenix.-- Elias Boudinot has resigned his station as editor of the Cherokee Phoenix. In a letter to John Ross, Principal Chief of the Nation, he states as his reasons for adopting this measure, that he believes his connection with the paper has answered all the purposes that could be expected from it hereafter. The rights of the Indians have been sustained by the highest judicial tribunal. Their wrongs, at the hands of an impeachable and tyrannical Executive, have been exposed to the people. The Nation now wants all its funds. A different view of what the Nation should adapt in the last alternative,--and threatened as it is with annihilation by the President, at the head of the Georgia Nullifiers,- from that entertained by others, would also place Mr. B., he says, in a delicate ' disagreeable position, ' paralyze his usefulness. Having been for four years in the performance of a duty, which nothing but the holiness of the cause could render tolerable, he also deems himself at liberty to consult his personal inclinations, by endeavoring to do good in a pleasanter(sic) and more hopeful way. Should he continue, his salary, which was only $300 would be insufficient to support him. He will continue to conduct the paper; to the close of the present volume.

The principle Chief, in communicating this resignation to the Council, expresses his opinion that it is essential that the paper should still be kept up; that it has done much good in diffusion knowledge among the Cherokees, as well as in making their grievances known abroad; and that the pecuniary embarrassments of the Nation should in no wise lead to its discontinuance. He thinks that the money collected by the Editor on his tour, which was undertaken at the request of the Nation, should be appropriated to this and not to other purposes.

On this point, Mr. B. expresses in a comment on the message, a difference of opinion; as the money was not given exclusively for that object. He thinks also that the columns of the Phoenix should be open to free discussion among the Cherokees themselves, in order that the will of the people may be clearly understood, ' their hopes and fears made known. And he asks in a tone, which, while we are sorry to see it is of so desponding a character, is but too well justified by the crisis:

'What say our friends in Congress? Have they not fully apprised us that they cannot effect any substantial good for us? Have not a number of them, whose motives are above suspicion, communicated their views in writing, for our information? And has not an Hon. Judge of the Supreme Court made a similar communication, stating that the operation of the late decision of the Supreme Court cannot extend to our relief, unless the executive felt itself bound to enforce the treaties? And does President Jackson feel himself bound to obey the Supreme Court, and execute the treaties?'

Mr. Boudinot should remember, however, that in General Jackson, Natures's Copy is not eternal; and if it were, for the sins of mankind, and against the laws of nature there is no intention on the part of a majority of the people to let him play any more fantastic tricks before high heaven, after the 4th of March, 1832. This can now scarcely be deemed one of these 'contingencies,' to which he considers it not wise in the Nation, whose lands are already half overrun by the feculent dregs of the white population of Georgia, to look or hope. We hope soon to hail it as a moral certainty. Otherwise, as the epitaph of the Constitution is written, it may be hung upon some of the old mound that remain in the Indian lands, mysterious remembrances of a departed and forgotten nation; forgotten even as the dream of liberty which the brief success of our experiment had produced. To the words, 'The Constitution of the United States was.' --let it be added, WASHINGTON FECIT, JACKSON INTERFECIT.



There was nothing of great interest transacted at the General Council which commenced its session on the 23d inst. E. W. Chester, Esq. bearer of certain propositions from the Government, addressed to the Cherokees, inviting them to a negotiation and general arrangement of the difficulties existing between them; communicated the object of his mission. The propositions were read and interpreted, and by a vote of the two houses it was resolved that the Principal Chief be authorized to reply to them through the Agent, Col. Montgomery.

From the Columbus Enquirer.

The above article is extracted from the Cherokee Phoenix. From other matter, contained in the same paper, we are induced to believe that the Cherokee Nation is seriously disposed to treat. Mr. Boudinot, the Editor of the Phoenix, has tendered his resignation as Editor, to the Principal Chief, John Ross. We gather from this letter of resignation, that the Editor and the authorities of the Nation are at variance, the former adverse and the latter favorable, to cession, and removal. Mr. Boudinot says:

* * * * * * * * * Here we think are strong indications of the intention of the Cherokees to remove west.