Cherokee Phoenix

The following article is from the Washington Globe. We publish it as a specimen of the miserable, p

Published October, 27, 1832

Page 2 Column 2c

The following article is from the Washington Globe. We publish it as a specimen of the miserable, paltry prevarication to which the confidential paper of General Jackson and the administration can resort, for the purpose of extricating 'their illustrious' master from the odium so justly his due, for the agency and influence he has had in subjecting the Missionaries to imprisonment in the State Prison in Georgia, and for the continuance of their punishment under an illegal and unconstitutional sentence of a court of that state. We copy it from the Mercantile Advertiser of this city.

N. Y. Advertiser.

'GEORGIA MISSIONARIES,- One of the falsehoods which the bank agents and lawyers employ to operate upon the hearts of the religious and benevolent to turn them against the President, is that which they connect with the missionaries. They assert that the President has refused to enforce the decision of the Court. This is one of the most wilful and disgraceful falsehoods ever fabricated by the unprincipled party, who have been employing every species of chicanery to drag religion into the arena of politics. The President has never refused to enforce the decision of the Court. He has never been called upon to execute it. The question is still pending between the Federal and State tribunal the terms not having continued in session so as to receive notice of the course of the State Court, and to authorize any execution of its order by a federal officer, on the failure of the State Court to obey the mandate. The counsel for the missionaries, we learn from a gentleman connected with the Indian Bureau, 'admit that in the present position of the case, he (the President) has no right to interfere'

After thus violating the truth to induce the belief that the President has refused to do his duty, in regard to the Missionaries, the Machiavels of the opposition endeavor to enlist the sympathies of the people against him, by accounts of the most distressing kind, in relation to the treatment of the missionaries, pending the issue of their case between the two courts. It is pretended that the Missionaries are treated as felons. This also we understand is utterly untrue. So far from being driven to hard labor, they do nothing more than take as much exercise as will contribute to their health. And as to their confinement, every body knows it is perfectly voluntary; Governor Lumpkin, who is himself a member of the Church, having offered them a free pardon, on condition of a pledge on their part not again to violate the State Laws. This they refuse. In the meantime, however, they are permitted to receive the visits of their friends, and a free intercourse. We know that very recently their families spent some time with them; and as a decisive refutation of the wanton calumny that they are treated with cruelty, we state, upon unquestionable authority, that, while in Milledgeville, the families of the Missionaries resided in the family of Gov. Lumpkin.

It is a poor apology for the conduct of General Jackson in relation to these grossly injured and oppressed men, that he has not, in terms, refused to enforce the judgment of the Supreme Court, declaring the sentence of the Georgia tribunal illegal, because the legislative act of that State under which their (sic) were convicted was unconstitutional and void.- There is no doubt he waits with great patience for the slow and tedious process of technical measures for the relief of these persons, well knowing it must take at least a twelve month to bring the question formally before him, that he may take it into consideration, and act with all the deliberation and dignity that becomes the executive head of a powerful republic. Fortunately for himself, this moderation and philosophical calmness, is not at all disturbed by the reflection, that these mock, humble, unoffending, and exemplary ministers of Christianity, are suffering under the iniquitous decree of the Georgia court--a decree that would have done credit to Nero, and added a deeper tinge to the sanguinary record of Draco-among felons, the most degrading punishment that the penal codes of modern legislation have been able to devise and inflict.

But it is necessary to go back further on the track of this injustice and disgrace and ascertain who induced Georgia to set the laws, the courts, the judgments, and the Constitution of the United States at defiance? Who took care to let the people and government of Georgia, as well as the Cherokees understand that he should not interfere between the State and the Indians-that he should not mind courts nor judgments, but should construe the Constitution as he understands it, and it is understood by others; and that-for such was the necessary inference from his doctrines and declarations-Georgia might plunder the Indians as much as she pleased, as far as he was concerned, for that he should not lift a hand to prevent her. Having resolved on pursuing this course, what absurdity is it to pretend that he may enforce the decree of the court, when it shall come technically and formally before him? The Missionaries will have suffered the hardships, the cruelties, the oppressions, and the disgrace, if such men can be disgraced by the exercise of such tyrannical injustice, for nearly two years; and at the end of it must be told that General Jackson, suspends or executes the laws when, where and how he pleases--that he construes the Constitution as he understands it, and not as it is understood by the court-that he and the court are correlative posers, and he has as good a right to control them, as they have to control him; -and as a conclusion to the whole matter he will do nothing to execute the decree of the court notwithstanding it has come formally before him. The public, in this view of the subject, will be able to form a just estimate of the integrity of the editor of the Globe, in this attempt to deceive and hoodwink them in this paragraph.

But it is said, that the Missionaries are not treated as felons, that 'they do nothing more than take as much exercise as will contribute to their health.' We presume it was not the prime object of the legislature of Georgia, in forming this new and unheard of felony, nor of Judge Clayton when he sentenced the Mission aries to four years hard labor in the state prison, merely to consult their health, to give them more wholesome bodily exercise than they could find in their appropriate and pious labors among the Cherokees. But why is it that their case is singled out among their associates in the prison, and their labors lightened? Every man will give the answer. Oppressive ' tyrannical as the whole proceeding has been, and infamous as is the object, the authorities of Georgia, though deaf to justice and humanity, are not stout hearted enough to meet public opinion, and virtuous indignation, and therefore they fall into the implied acknowledgement that their acts, their judgments and their punishments are unjust, severe, and unconstitutional, endeavor to compound with their consciences by lightening the severity of those punishments and their sufferings of the Missionaries.

It is said that their confinement 'is voluntary, because Governor Lumpkin, who is himself a member of the church has offered them a free pardon, on condition of a pledge on their part not again to violate the state laws,' we would advise him to look over with close self-examination the confession he made, and the covenant he entered into, when he formed that connection, and see how far his conduct towards these ministers of religion squares with his own profession. The condition annexed to his proffered pardon was impracticable, and he must have known it. The Missionaries, as honest men, much more as Christian ministers, could never acknowledge as a law, an act which they believed,-that belief has been established by the court,-to be unconstitutional. They had rather suffer hardships and injustice in their master's service, than experience the remorse of wronging their own consciences.

If the families of the Missionaries resided in the family of Governor Lumpkin, when visiting these excellent victims of injustice at Milledgeville, we should think they must have been reduced to more than ordinary inconvenience in obtaining lodgings, before they could have consented to be under such obligations for such hospitality.