Cherokee Phoenix

The following excellent article is extracted from the Christian Advocate of the present month

Published October, 27, 1832

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The following excellent article is extracted from the Christian Advocate of the present month--

The month past has furnished us with nothing of much importance to chronicle from Asia, Africa, and South America. But we feel ourselves constrained to notice; before we conclude our view of public affairs, the answer returned by President Jackson to a Memorial, addressed to him by the American Board of Commissioners for Missions, in behalf of the missionaries of that Board, imprisoned in the State of Georgia. It is our fixed purpose, as it has been our uniform practice hitherto not to meddle with any subject merely of a political character, which may be discussed in our country. But we have never hesitated, and we never intend to hesitate, if a subject directly involving the interests of morality and religions is treated by our public functionaries--no matter how elevated their station--in such a manner as to injure or disserve those interests, to remark upon what they say or do, with all the freedom which a freeman enjoys-always guided and controlled by the principles and spirit of the gospel. The Board of Commissioners, it appears, prayed the President to execute the judgement of the Supreme Court, and rescue the missionaries from the Georgia Penitentiary. This is the statement we have seen, extracted from the paper bearing the title of the Protestant; and we are unable to say whether it is correct or not. If correct, we remark, that we are aware it is denied by the friends of President Jackson, that he has any right to interfere in that concern, till a return should be made to the Supreme Court, of the inexecution of their decree and that this has not yet taken place. Now, if this opinion is well founded, as we doubt not the President believes it is, it would surely have been easy, and we think dignified as well as courteous, so to have replied to the memorialists; and with such a reply, we say for ourselves, that if not satisfied, we should have been silent. But it seems to us that the whole answer of the President is a gratuitous reflection on the Board; and that the conclusion is a severe and undeserved censure of missionaries and missionary operations in general. He says,'I do not wish to comment upon the causes of the imprisonment of the missionaries alluded to in the memorial; but I cannot refrain from observing, that here, as in most other countries, they are, by their injudicious seal (to give it no harsher name) too apt to make themselves obnoxious to those among whom they are located.' We think it undeniable that the clear meaning of this sentence is, that in this country, and in most other countries, the injudicious zeal of Christian missionaries has rendered them justly obnoxious, either to popular resentment, or to governmental restraint, or to both; and that even more than this might be said with truth. We ask, is this a correct statement? If it is, all the missionary operations of the present day, in ever part of the world, with few exceptions, have been and still are, conducted in a very exceptionable and improper manner, and is this the sentence pronounced on the missionary cause as now managed by the Chief Magistrate of the United States! We confess it has filled us with astonishment and regret. Still, however, the question returns, and it is a most solemn question-is the sentence just and true? We fearlessly declare it is our opinion, that it is not-that it is an unmerited denunciation. We have been familiar with this subject for more than thirty years; and although we pretend not to say, that there have not been individual acts of indiscretion in missionaries--they must indeed have more than mortal, if among so many in a series of years; there have been no indiscretion-yet we affirm, and think we can incontestably prove that in general missionary operations have been conducted, and missionaries themselves have acted; with an exemplary prudence and discretion. It always has happened, from the time of Christ, and his apostles, and it always will happen until the millennial age, that the preaching of the gospel with fidelity, whatever be the discretion with which it is accompanied, will be offensive to vicious men, and if they be armed with power, it will produce persecution. But in regard to the missions of the day in which we live, although they have been opposed and decried for a time in the East Indians, in the Sandwich Islands, in Africa, in Demerara, and in the West Indies, yet on a fair investigation, the missionaries have been justified, not only by public sentiment, but (with the exception of autocratic Russia) by civil authority. By the constitutional and constituted organ of our own beloved country--the Supreme Court of the United States- the Georgia missionaries have been justified; and it is with both grief and surprise that we read their condemnation by President Jackson, in the reply of which we have felt it our sacred duty, as a Christian advocate, thus freely to remark.

(Extract from an article in the Mississippi Gazette.

President Jackson has in two cases acted towards this State, in a manner calculated to insult our feelings, degraded our character, and destroy our independence. He has directly and indirectly interposed in the legislation of this state. At the session of 1830, when the Indians were made, by enactment, citizens of the state of Mississippi, it was done according to the suggestions and evident desire of Gen. Jackson. A letter in his own hand writing was shown amongst his partisans for that purpose, and one of them, Mr. Marsh, avowed the fact in the House. Mr. Haley who was an active and efficient agent of the President's and who had just arrived from Washington City, and who was known to be entrusted personally and confidentially with his designs, and had the letter before mentioned in his possession, was untiring in his exertions and the Bill passed.

Again, he admitted the propriety and constitutionality of the law, destroying the tribal character of the Indians. But the Constitution of the United States only authorized treaties to be made with 'Indian tribes,' and there is no such thing as treaties between governments and individuals.

Again he admitted that it was right and proper to destroy all the appearance of nationality, which then was amongst the Indians, by making it penal for anyone to hold the office of 'head man, warrior, mingo, or chief.' But unfortunately 'Indian treaties' cannot be made without these worthies.- Boston Centinel