Cherokee Phoenix


Published April, 19, 1834

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The residence of Mr. John Ross, PRINCIPAL CHIEF of the Cherokee Nation, was visited last week by a purchaser of that place from the drawer of the lots, with a number of persons, and made a forcible entry upon the premises. His valuable Ferry at the junction of Oostunahlee, and Etahwah rivers commonly called Head of Coosa and his extensive farm and houses were all taken possession of, excepting a room of the lower story of his large building, was still in the occupancy of Mrs. Ross in a feeble condition of health. Thus we see in the policy of the Government and the enactments of the States. We have become as aliens in our native land-trespassers upon our own soil, outlaws in the bosom of our Nation.



Delegations of the western Indians composed of the Cherokee, Creek, and Seneca tribes have proceeded on to Washington City, and if it be true as assumed by the President in his message to Congress that they were contented and happy in their new homes, it would appear that they are adding troubles to it by engaging in missions of fifteen hundred miles.


In our last, we anticipated a crisis at hand that something must be done for the relief of the Cherokee people, and that some change of some character would become necessary to effect this relief. But here we must be distinctly understood as not advocating a removal of the Cherokees west of the Mississippi. To this policy, the great body of the Cherokees continues to oppose, and so far as our influence can be exercised in opposition to it, our deep expression of the reprobation of that unjust policy and the diabolical means resorted to, to accomplish it shall never be withheld. It is a policy subversive of the sacred rights of the Cherokees, it is one that is incompatible to the principles of simple justice, and to the measures adopted for its enforcement, it is extremely revolting to the spirit of Christianity.

We have promised our readers in a former number a faithful detail of the measurers adopted by the President, and the States to expel the Cherokees from the lands of their Fathers, and guaranteed to them in solemn treaties by the Government. It is necessary for us to remark, that when we speak of the acts of the President towards us, however unjust they may be, we do it in feelings of kindness, we have been taught to know that this great fountain head of the Government had been ordained for the preservation of the Indians, by his mighty arm. In this point of view of his duties, although he may continue to depress us, our political relations compels us to entreat him for relief. This is our humiliating condition. The view which we shall take of the past course of the President towards the Cherokees in order to accomplish their removal by compulsion, may be somewhat different from that taken of it heretofore, but on the close review of the documents, and to which it is necessary to refer, to show the secret instruction of the President in order to subserve the objects of the Government, it can scarcely be believed, as is proved in the sequel, that one enlightened nation could so unjustly, and could be capable of so fraudulently treating an innocent and faithful alley. But the documents themselves emanating from the President himself is likewise incapable of presenting a different construction at this stage of the controversy, and their manifest intentions; at the times they were severally given. In the propositions of a Treaty of the President's Minister of War, published in our 26th number, 1833, the following passage occurs: 'But, your people must distinctly understand, that those who remain, will become citizens of the State in which they may reside, and that all the relations between them and the United States, founded upon their previous circumstances as Indians, must cease.' Now the Cherokees had been informed previous to these propositions, and especially in the message of the President, to Congress, in 1831, 'that the Cherokees remaining within the State of Georgia, would hereafter be governed by the laws of Georgia, as all her citizens are.' Here were presented two inconsistent passages by the President, one giving authority to Georgia to treat the Cherokees as her own citizens, and subsequently proposing to negotiate with the Cherokees, to become, in certain cases, permanent citizens of the States. The passage with we have alluded to in the propositions, had a decided effect on the minds of the Cherokees. If the President proposed in a treaty to make them citizens of Georgia, it followed as a matter of course that Georgia then had no legal right to the Cherokee country, It was presumed that the policy of the President was not a settled one, and was subject to be changed, if the Cherokees continued united. The Cherokees, from this, were induced to continue their peaceable mode of redress, to press on the Government, in a proper manner, the protection of their rights. This was the manifest intention of this passage, in the event that the propositions were rejected. It was in this common phrase of our day,a word to please the children. On the other hand, Georgia had commenced her crusade against the Cherokees, marched a military to keep possession of the Cherokee land, and to protect her civil officers; surveys were made, counties organized, and the laws forced over the Cherokees.

Again: The next instance of this extraordinary temporizing course of policy towards the Cherokees is contained in a letter of the War Ministers to the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, dated March 14th 1833, published in our 23rd No. In this letter the Secretary notified the Chief that a military force was sent to remove intruders from the ASSAILED parts of the Cherokee country. On the reception of this order the Cherokees were confirmed in their former impressions that their sacred rights would in the end be sustained. This order of the Secretary was calculated to keep buoyant the hopes of the Cherokees,-to proceed peaceably in asserting their rights. Otherwise the Indians might become dissatisfied of their treatment by the Government, and resort to violence to vindicate their rights. In the meantime while the Indians were flattered with the prospect of relief from the fostering care of the Government, it was giving Georgia only time to perfect her organization over FIVE MILLIONS of acres of Indian lands, Lottery drawing, locating officers, selling GOLD Lots, LAND Lots, and fractions 'c. 'C. 'C. What is done for the Cherokees by the glittering bayonets rushing to the Nation? The honorable Secretary of War informs all parties concerned that he did not intend to be understood according to the reading of the order, and that intruders could only be removed from the nation where the laws of the states had not been extended. This interpolation by the Secretary created a shock on the feelings of the Cherokees that can scarcely be described. According to our notions, the Government was incapable of speaking truth to the Indian. If one thing was promised them today, it was revoked the next. During this painful suspense the authorities of Georgia was (sic) still gaining time and rushing, and numerous agents were annoying us, until a delegation was appointed to proceed to Washington and memorialize Congress for our relief.

The next document of the same character which we have enumerated and as a deceptious one is contained in a letter from Washington, containing the substance of a conversation with General Jackson in which he boldly avowed his determination to sustain the rights of the Cherokees to their lands, when the federal court determined that question in their right. This letter will be found in our 42d No. Here there is a continuation of a policy to soften the feelings of the Indians, while he is equivocating to execute his treaties with us, like the empty barrel that sounds the loudest, he would enforce the decisions of the courts on constitutional principle. We have already shown that the fluctuating definition of these several orders were only intended to give Georgia time to consummate her robbery of our inheritance, building court house, rearing jails driving the Indians out of their houses, while hope was burning for relief, in this way, and at the penning of this article, until we are literally robbed of every right that is dear to mankind, and the loss of the Principal Chief of his valuable residence at COOSA, while himself at the City is the farce played by Georgia. In conclusion we have to state that the view which we have taken of the policy of the President in creating difficulties on us to a magnitude not to be disturbed, by which to place us in no other alternative but a resort to a treaty for relief, we believe is fully proved by the documents themselves, and the circumstances transpiring during the settlement by the Georgians of the Cherokee country. This is the manner that this government has managed the Cherokee case, by the greatest and best, by a Nation professing to be honest and enlightened, with which to pay Georgia for a SMILE and shake the stability of the American institutions