Cherokee Phoenix

Extract from the Missionary Herald

Published July, 20, 1833

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Extract from the Missionary Herald.

'The grand motive, which induced Messrs. Worcester and Butler to expose themselves to the hardship and ignominious imprisonment which they have endured, was the good of the Cherokees. To the promotion of Christianity and civilization among them they had consecrated their lives. It was a sacred work, to which they felt commissioned as missionaries of the Lord Jesus, and they must not hastily retire from it, through fear of what they deemed oppression and violence, when there were laws, and tribunals, and magistrates, to whom they could appeal for protection. The apostles, it is believed, appealed in every similar case.- Their yielding would have discouraged the Cherokees, by virtually saying to them that the faith of the United States pledged to them, would be violated; ' that all the provisions made for their protection in the Constitution, treaties, and laws, of this Union would not be enforced; and that the missionaries did not to trust their own persons on these provisions.

Besides this great motive of doing good to the Cherokees, the missionaries in disregarding the law of the state of Georgia had some reference to the securing of their own rights as citizens of the United States and ministers of the gospel. These rights are invaluable to every man, as an individual. It may also be a duty, which a good man owes to his country and fellow citizens, to withstand what plainly appears to him to be oppression, and give opportunity for justice to be done by the execution of wholesome laws, even though detriment should come to himself.- The principle, that Christian duty requires every good man to retire before a threatened invasion of his rights would be dangerous in such a government as ours. Equitable regard to the authority of the United States, under whose patronage and sanction they had been sent forth, and had labored, required them not hastily to abandon the work entrusted to them.

They have yielded none of the principles involved in these motives for the course of conduct they have pursued. They have not yielded the point, that they had originally a right to prosecute, unmolested, their labors among the Cherokees; that their views of the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States, under which they acted, were correct; that they were right in appealing from the decision of the court of Georgia to the Supreme Court; that they had a just claim to immediate and unconditional release from imprisonment, in compliance with the decision and mandate of that Court, and that they might justly claim the further interposition of that court for their deliverance according to the due course of law.

Nor have they stopped short of accomplishing every object aimed at by them, which in their view, could possibly be accomplished by them, even if they should carry their suit to the utmost extremity. The law under which their labors had been interrupted and their persons imprisoned, had been repealed, so that, by their discharge they are able, without delay or fear of further molestation, to resume their missionary labors. The Supreme Court in giving an opinion in the case of the missionaries, have incidently, but fully and explicitly, given an opinion respecting the meaning of the treaties and laws which have been made for protecting the rights of the Cherokees sustaining them in all which they have claimed. Whether this unhappy people will be reinstated in these rights, in conformity with the opinion of the Court, will be matter for future history to record. The Court, also, by deciding unequivocally, in the face of the country, that the missionaries, in the controversy with the state of Georgia, had right and justice on their side, and that they had been arrested and imprisoned contrary to the Constitution and laws of the Union, have done all that the highest judicial tribunal in the nation could do to rescue their character from ignominy and reproach. In the present posture of our national affairs, it did not seem practicable to the missionaries, or to the Committee, to gain more. The ultimate result of this protracted and painful controversy, with prayerful and humble reliance on the wisdom of the divine administration, must be left with HIM, on whose hands the name of Zion is engraved, and who will cause all things to work together for good to those who love him.

In closing this article, it is due in justice, and it affords great pleasure that Col. Mills, the keeper of the penitentiary, continued his great and unvaried kindness to the imprisoned missionaries to the close of their confinement; and gave them every indulgence with respect to correspondence, visits from their friends, the arrangement for their labors, opportunities for instructing their fellow prisoners, and other things of similar nature, which could be expected by men in their circumstances from a Christian brother, and after their discharge he gratuitously furnished them the means of conveyance to their homes. From another gentleman of the state they have received numerous tokens of sympathy and kindness, which are duly appreciated by the missionaries and the Committee.

It is due to Messrs Worcester and Butler, also, to state that in resuming their labors among the Cherokees, they do it with the confidence of the Committee in their firmness, prudence, and devotedness to the missionary work entirely unimpaired.


From the Federal Union

His Excellency Wilson Lumpkin,

Governor of the State of Georgia.

The undersigned, citizens of the State of New York, having bestowed much attention on the proceedings in the case of Samuel A. Worcester and Elizur Butler, and viewing those proceedings as likely to affect the welfare of other States and the whole Union, feel it their duty to submit to your consideration, the result of their reflections on the subject. As the expressions of their opinions and wishes, springs from no feelings adverse to Georgia, on the contrary is prompted solely by a regard to what they sincerely believe to be the true interest of all parties, they flatter themselves you will not deem it either obtrusive or improper.

Permit us then to state, that, under all existing circumstances, we deem it a matter of great moment, that the prisoners referred to should be set at liberty, without delay, which as we suppose, can only be done by discharging them under a pardon emanating from the State authority-and such a pardon we earnestly recommend.

The result of the recent election must render it apparent, that the removal of the Cherokees is deemed expedient by the Nation; and under this impression, the undersigned are of opinion that very many persons, who have hitherto counteracted their removal, will now deem it their duty to cooperate in bringing it about; and they have reason to believe and confidently hope, that an influence will be applied to reconcile the tribe to such a result, by those very persons who have hitherto labored to prevent it.

Under such a change of circumstances, the under signed cannot see any possible advantage in the further confinement of the Missionaries. On the contrary they conceive that since it is apparent that the Indians must be removed, the release of the missionaries may be of use in reconciling the Indians to that measure. For we cannot believe, after what has taken place, that the missionaries, any more than ourselves, can doubt the expediency of acquiescing in the policy of the General Government, sustained, as it seems to have been, by the decision of the American people. In the present state of this question, and of our public affairs, every cause of irritation should be removed as speedily as possible; and as we sincerely believe that it is in your power by adopting the course suggested to render an immense service to the Nation, without injuring in the least the interests of your own State, we most respectfully solicit to the subject your early and favorable consideration .

We are, with sincere respect, your most obedient servants.


















Albany, December 17, 1833 (sic)