Cherokee Phoenix


Published October, 19, 1833

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We omitted to notice in due time the reception of the 'Encyclopedia Americana' in twelve volumes, published in Philadelphia, by Carey, Lea ' Carey, and Edited by Francis Lieber. From the hasty glance we have had of this extensive work, and by us some articles copied, the Editor has furnished to the American readers certainly, one of the most useful Dictionaries of the Arts, Sciences, History, Politics, 'c., which could only be devised by a person competent to the task, and of a highly cultivated author.

This work was presented to the Cherokee Nation by Mr. James H. Handy of Scotland. We shall endeavor to make numerous extracts from this work for the miscellaneous part of our paper, such as in our opinion, will be interesting to our readers, and will be credited to that work.


We may safely congratulate our readers on the favorable termination to the Nation, of our struggles for sovereignty, with the State of Alabama, in consequence of that state having extended its jurisdiction over that part of the Cherokee territory lying within its limits. It is, we believe, generally known that the Cherokee Government within these limits had been superseded by that of Alabama, and the vacant lands settled upon by the whites. At a Circuit Court of September term, for the county of St. Clair, his Honor Judge Adair, presiding, came up for trial, a Cherokee Indian, indicted for the murder of an Indian in the Cherokee territory, in Alabama. The Counsel for the Nation filed a plea to the jurisdiction of Alabama, as repugnant to the treaties, 'c., of the United States. Judge Adair remarked, that he was sworn to support the Constitution and Treaties of the United States, and would be strictly governed by them. In an elaborate opinion, as we are informed, Judge Adair has declared the laws of Alabama over the Cherokees, null and void, and repugnant to the treaties and laws of the United States. We shall publish the opinion so soon as we can obtain a copy.


Our readers will find in another part of our paper, the movements of the Tennessee Legislature, towards the extension of its jurisdiction over the Cherokee Nation, assumed to be within the limits of that State. To the views of Gov. Carroll, in submitting the subject before the Legislature, we shall make no serious objections. His Excellency, we are glad, find the authority of the State questionable, to punish crimes committed within the Nation. If none exist now, and the act of Congress of 1802, regulating trade 'c. with the Indian tribes is virtually in force and fully implied by his Excellency, and the position of the Cherokees remain unchanged, we are sure that he has fixed such principles in this case as ought to debar him forever of sanctioning a law, to force the jurisdiction of the State over the Cherokees; for by this act, no white person can enter the Cherokee territory without a passport from the agent.

The report of the Select Committee favorable to the jurisdiction of the State, we are sorry to find is based upon the most insulting misrepresentations and considerations to justify a measure, in our opinion, intended solely for the cooperation of the intricate measures of the President, to force a treaty on the Cherokees, that have ever emanated from an enlightened Legislature, not excepting the letter of Mr. Robb, acting Secretary of War, to the Principal Chief.

The Legislature at its last session failed to pass an act for the extension of its laws over the Cherokees, but chose, as we presume, and the words of a Lawyer, 'to hold and see Georgia skinning the flanks of the Cherokees.' Now that Georgia has finished, Tennessee draws the sharp dagger of usurpation to civilize the starved and naked savages which the lynx sighted legislators have lately discovered in the Cherokee Nation, and like the finishing stroke of the painters brush, will strip the remaining life of the side of the other. The report is written in a style of language soft; it is the brazen serpent charity; but it is the fiery flying serpent slander. The principal motives impelling the committee to introduce civil reforms among the Cherokees are the existence of nakedness, starvation, and the sanguinary punishments inflicted on persons removing west of the Mississippi. Of these allegations, of the desperate circumstances of the Cherokees, we can only say, they are perfectly untrue.- They are extremely ungenerous, uttered as they are towards an unoffending people. It is only a pretext and a hobby, by which to effect the passage of its jurisdiction over the Cherokees. We cannot see as the Committee do, the justification of the state in her course, on the broad ground of the customs of the other states. France conquered Algiers on the ground of the latter abetting the pirates of the seas, and becoming a nuisance to her neighbors. Would France then be justified to turn robber? We presume every member of the select committee would condemn France in such a capacity. Georgia has legislated over the Cherokees, and in the face of the world robbed them of their immense territory. If the great State of Tennessee, then could hold France culpable for becoming a robber, there appears to be the most wilful inconsistency in the committee to take shelter in the cruelties of other states towards our race. But we fear they caught the electric of Major Jack Downing, 'We don't care for the Injins.'


We copy into this paper an article from the Cherokee Intelligencer, on the subject, as the Editor states, of some 2,000 Cherokees who it would seem, have been discovered to have enrolled 16 or 18 years ago, and the editor, Mr. Cobb, having established his paper in the Cherokee Nation, with the title of `Cherokee' for the benefit of No. 1, by advertisements, 'c. for the Yazoo Speculators, (in our acceptation, robbers) have been gotten up ostensibly for a curse to the Cherokees-holds up his great integrity to law makers in Georgia, and that grants should be made to issue for those lots occupied by said Indians, on the ground of the relinquishment of their rights by enrollment. We had concluded that of Mr. Cobb's legal talents to furnish such an article, not sufficiently civilized for our readers, would have risen from it with hands as unclean, as if he had stooped to the puddle to wash his face. It is not true as it is stated in the Intelligencer, that 2,000 had enrolled in 1817. Admitting the statement to be correct, for the benefit of Georgia, what would that State gain by it? We challenge the writer to prove that five families of emigrants are living in Georgia, by such living testimony as will establish the fact. He cannot prove four families of that class who actually subscribed their names for emigration. Again, admit the assertions to be true, for argument sake, and that every individual were living in Georgia; the treaty of 1819 1st article, by a large cession of territory to the Government, satisfied all the demands of Government on the Nation, for the emigrants and all that might hereafter go. After this treaty, the right of the Cherokees to admit whom they please, has never been questioned. The emigrants were under no penalty for remaining at their homes. Now Georgia is a party to this treaty, although she holds them nugatory, and anxious for more, no rational man will hesitate to admit, that Georgia has already received these very lands now claimed for the drawers, about sixteen years ago. We advise the editor to retract and tell the truth, evil communications will corrupt good manners. If however, truth is not mighty with him, and justice by a shadow, we must expect the Frog Town Surveyor to issue grants to those lots in question, in the same way of Joseph Vann's.

If the rights of persons to things has become an object of research with Mr. Cobb, it would be well for him to learn whether Gen. Coffee can be considered a legal member elect to the Congress of the United States. This gentleman was resident of the Cherokee Country so announced by the public journals of Georgia. The laws of the United States pronounce as outlawry against all white persons entering on the Cherokee lands without permission from the agent. He was elected, we presume, on the merits of his master General ship, in chaining Cherokee boys for digging their own gold; and lodging them in jails. The Cherokees can have no right to send a representative to Congress, under the laws of the United States. Therefore, the fortunate drawers of Bogan's lottery would do well to pull the mote out of their own eyes.