Cherokee Phoenix

From the New York Advertiser

Published October, 6, 1832

Page 3 Column 3c

From the New York Advertiser.


The political aspect of our country is at the present time unprecedented, and certainly not a little threatening to the peace and harmony, if not the very existence of the Union. One state promulgates doctrines utterly inconsistent with the constitutional powers of the national government-another denies the legitimate authority of one of the great branches of the government,and declares a fixed determination to oppose, by force, if necessary, the decree of the highest judicial tribunal known to the zconstitution. Powers usurped by the President of the United States, in the exercise of which the execution of the laws of the United States if suspended, and their force and obligation are made to depend upon the caprice or perverseness of man of no fixed political principles, one whose conduct is governed by his passions who is grossly ignorant of the Constitution under which he holds his office, and who is totally regardless of the solemn obligations which devolved upon him when entering upon the duties of chief magistrate of the Union. When Gen. Jackson was elected President, and took the oath of office, the United States were enjoying peace and prosperity-the Constitution was revered, the laws were obeyed, and the Union was sincerely cherished. Not a single act of oppression was seriously alleged to exist not an unconstitutional measure complained of, not a threat of dissolving the confederation was heard from any of its members. In the course of three years and a half a wonderful change in the circumstances of the country has taken place;and already are we threatened with insubordination, discord, a dissolution of the Union, and a destruction of the government. That this revolution in the state of things exists, cannot be denied, and its possible, and perhaps probable consequences must be deeply explored and deprecated. The causes which have produced such effects should be carefully sought after, and ascertained, in order that the calamities under which the country already labors may be removed, the evils with which it is threatened may be averted, the progress which is making towards disunion be stayed, and the national government be preserved from total destruction.

It then becomes an object of seri-(sic) importance to review this course and conduct of the administration, since Gen. Jackson came into power, in order to ascertain how far the evils under which the country is suffering are chargeable directly to his account. If they are justly so, they can be but one opinion in regard to him, and his qualifications, among all the real disinterested friends of their country and that must be, and that he is not only unfit for the office which he holds, but a dangerous man to hold and exercise the executive powers of the government.

It is a remarkable fact, that more has been accomplished in the course of three years and a half in which Gen. Jackson has been at the head of the government, to shake the confederacy, and threaten the dissolution of the union, than during all the preceding administrations. When he took the reins of power, he had a decided majority of his friends in both houses of Congress, who were devoted to his interests, as well as his politics. He, and his partisans, had succeeded, by what means it is not necessary to say, in rendering the administration of his immediate predecessor extremely unpopular; and he had no serious obstruction in his way, to prevent him from bringing to pass all the benefits which his devoted friends had promised as the certain fruits of his election. It is not necessary at this time of day, to say, that none of these promises to have been realized. So far from it, according to his recollections, not a single important measure recommended by him in three successive official communications to Congress, with the exception of that relating to the removal of the Indian tribes, has been carried to effect by Congress. No reasonable person could require stronger evidence of incapacity in a chief magistrate, than that just stated. Even upon the strong majorities to which we have alluded his recommendations produced no effect-they were disregarded, and the measures proposed were unattended to, or not deemed worthy of adoption. The bill for the removal of the Indians, and the practices under it, he may without hesitation lay claim as great a proportion of the merit as he may choose. No honest, uninterested man of intelligence, will attempt to deprive him of any share of it.

In estimating the amount of credit to which Gen. Jackson is entitled for his sentiments on the Indian question, it will be necessary to examine the subject somewhat minutely. In doing this, it will be part of our intention to consider the question of justice and oppression toward the Indians. This is altogether foreign from our present purpose. Our object is, to show the consequences that have proceeded, and must be expected to proceed from the interference of General Jackson with the legitimate powers and duties of another branch of government, and with his usurping powers with which the Constitution has not clothed him. The usurpation was manifested immediately after he took the Presidency, by his assuming to decide that certain treaties and laws of the Union were unconstitutional, and therefore not binding upon our government. Whatever the character of those treaties and laws might have been, it was no part of Gen. Jackson's official duty, nor had he the least particle of power by the Constitution to decide questions of this description. But, in his first message to Congress, he took upon himself that authority; and thus gave the government of Georgia to understand, that the Indians were at their mercy; and let the state do what they pleased, he would not interfere. Up to the time of his accession, the validity of the treaties and laws alluded to was not questioned. So late as 1825 only four years before Gen.Jackson's message, to which we have referred was delivered, the Governor of that State, who,if we are not mistaken, was the same Mr. Troup who is now a Senator in Congress, and who some months ago published a letter respecting the decision of the Supreme Court of the most ultra and extravagant tenor, issued a proclamation in which among other things he says-

'Whereas it is provided in said treaty, that the United States shall protect the Indians against the encroachments, 'c. of the whites so they shall suffer no encroachment 'c in their persons, goods 'c. until their removal shall have been accomplished according to the terms of the treaty;'

'I have therefore thought proper to issue this my proclamation, warning all persons citizens of Georgia or others against trespassing or intruding upon lands occupied by the Indians within the limits of Georgia, either for the purpose of settlement or otherwise, as every such act will be in direct violation of the provision of the treaty aforesaid, and will expose the aggressors to the most certain and summary punishment, by the authorities of the State, and the United States. All good citizens, therefore pursuing the dictates of good faith will unite in enforcing the obligations of the treaty, as the supreme law,' 'c.

We quote this passage from the opinion of Mr. Justice M'Lean, in the case of Worcester decided the last term of the Supreme Court. This proclamation alone is sufficient to show that as late as 1825 at least the Indian treaties were considered, even by the State of Georgia, as the supreme law of the land. But when General Jackson's opinions on the subject were promulgated, then the politicians of that State, finding a chief magistrate of the nation holding and avowing directly opposite doctrines, availed themselves of the advantages which the fact afforded them and immediately claimed the right of absolute jurisdiction over the Indians and their territory. And now, when the highest tribunal of the Union had solemnly decided, that the Indian nations are, what Gov. Troup declared them to be, in his proclamation just quoted-viz;-'the supreme law of the land.' and the acts of Georgia are tending jurisdiction over them to be unconstitutional and void, aware that the sentence of the court cannot be enforced without the eventual aid of the Executive of the Union, they threaten forcible resistance, if any attempt shall be made to carry into effect- a course that if ___ to the final result, will overthrow one of the main pillars of the government and in the end destroy the Constitution itself.