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Cherokee phoenix, and Indians' advocate. [volume] (New Echota [Ga.]) 1829-1834, September 23, 1829, Image 1

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VOL. 11.
At $2 50 if paid in advance, $3 in six
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Agents for the Cherokee
The following persons are authorized to
Receive subscriptions and payments for the
Cherokee Phoenix.
Messrs. Peirce &. Williams, No. 20
Market St. Boston, Mass.
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.C. F. M. New York.
Rev. A. D. Eddy, Canandaipia, N. Y.
Thomas Hastings, Utica, N. Y.
Pollard & Converse, Richmond, Va.
Rev. James Campbell, Beaufort, S. C.
William Moultrie Reid, Charleston,
Col. George Smith, Statesville, W. T.
William M. Combs, Nashville, Ten.
Rev. Bennet Roberts, Povral, Me.
Mr. Thos. R. Gold, (an itinerant Gen
Austil, Mobile, Ala.
Rev. Cyrus Kingsbury, Mayhew,Choc
taw Natipn.
Capt. William Robertson, Augusta,
Col. James Turk, Bcllefonte, Ala.
From the National Intelligences
In my first number I prepared the
way to inquire what right have the
CncroJcces to the lands which they occu
py? This is a plain question, and ea
sily answered.
The Cherokees are human beings,
endowed by their Creator with the
same natural rights as other men.—
They are in peaceable possession of a
territory which they have always re
garded as their own. This territory
was in possession of their ancestors,
*h rough an unknown series of genera
tions, and has come down to them with
a title absolutely unincumbered in every
Hspect. It is not pretended', that the
Cherokees hate ever alienated their
Country, or that the whites have ever
been in possession of it. If the Cher
okees are interrogated as to their ti
tle, they can truly say, u God gave
this country to our ancestors. We
have never been in bonduge to any
man. Though we have sold much
land to our white neighbors, we have
never bought any from them. We
own the land which we now occupy,
by the right of the original possessors;
a right which is allowed in all coun
tries to be of incontestible validity.
Wo claim therefore, that no human
power can properly compel us to leave
our lands."
If the Cherokees are correct in their
statement of facts, who can resist
their conclusion? We might as well
ask the Chinese, what right they have
to the territory which they occupy.—
To such a question they would answer,
"God gave this land to our ancestors.
Our nation has always been itt posses
sion of it, so far as history and tradi
tioij go back. The nations of Europe
are comparatively of recent origin;
the commencement of ours is lost in
remote antiquity."
What can be said to such a state
ment as this? Who can argue so plain
a case?
It has been said, indeed, that the
savage of the wilderness can acquire
no title to the forests through which
he pursues bis game. Without ad
mitting this doctrine, it is sufficient to
reply here, that it has no application
to the claims of the Cherokees. They
are at present neither savages nor
hunters. It does uot appear that they
ever were mere wanderers, without
a stationary residence. At the earli
est period at which the whites be
came acquainted with their condition,
they had fixed habitations, and were
in undisputed p ssession, of a widely
extended country. They were then
in the habit of cultivating some land
near their houses, where they plant
ed Indian corn, and other vegetables
From about the commencement of
the present century, they have ap
plied themselves more and more to
agriculture, till they now derive (heir
support from the soil, as truly and en
tirely as do the inhabitants of Pennsyl
vania or Virginia. For many years
they have had their herds, and their
large cultivated fields They now
have, in addition, their schools, a regu
lar civil government, and places of
regular Christian They
earn their bread by the labor of their
own hands, applied to the tillage of
their own farms; and they clothe
themselves with fabrics made at their
own looms, from cotton grown in their
own fields.
The Cherokees did not show them
selves unwilling to sell their lands, so
long as an adequate motive was pre
sented to their minds. During every
administration of our national Govern
ment, applications were made to
them for the purpose of obtaining ad
ditional portions of their territory.—
These applications were urged, not
only, nor principally, by the conside
ration of the money or presents which
they were to receive in exchange, but
often, and strongly, by the considera
tion that they would become an agri
cultural people, like the whites—-that
it was for their interest to have their
limits circumscribed, so that their
young men could not have a great ex
tent of country to hunt in; and that,
when they became attached to the
soil, and- engaged in its cultivation,
the United States would not ask them
to sell any more land. Yielding to
these arguments, and to the importu
nities of the whites, the Cherokees
sold, at different times, between the
close of the revolutionary war and the
year 1820. more than three-quarters
of their original inheritance. That
the reader may have some definite
idea of the territory in question, he
should pursue the following delinea
tion by the aid of a good map:
It would seem that the Cherokees
possessed land within the following
limits, if not beyond them, viz: From
the mouth of Duck River, in Tennes
see, on the West, to the waters of
French Broad, in North Carolina, on
the East; and from the head waters
of the Holston, in Virginia, on the
North, to some distance down the 0-
conee, in Georgia, on the South; com
prising what is now more than half of
the State of Tennessee, the Southern
part of Kentucky, the Southwest cor
ner of Virginia, a considerable portion
of both the Carolinas, a large portion
of Georgia, and the Northern part of
Alabama. This tract probably con
tained more than 35,000,000 acres,
of which a large proportion is ex
tremely fertile, and some of it not in
ferior to any land in North America,
or perhaps in the world. The coun
try is also eenerally heallhv, and the
climate delightful. Of all this vast
and beautiful tract, watered by nu
merous rivers, which find their way
,to tlie ocean, some of them circuit-
>nsly by the Mississippi, and othert
inore directly to the Gulf of Mexico
and the Atlantic, the Cherokees nov
retain less than 8,000,000 acres, of a
quality far below the average quality
of what they have sold. Georgia
claims 5,000,000 acres of this reni
imnf, as falling within the map of thai
State. Alabama claims nearly 1,000,-
)00 of the residue. The portion
ivhich, in the general division, will
fall to Tennessee and North Carolina,
seem hardly worth inquiring about:
Tor, if the other portions are given up.
or taken by force, there will be no
motive for retaining these.
To evi ry application made for their
lands within the last tefi years, the
Cherokees have said, "We are not
disposed to sell any more. / We have
betaken ourselves to an agricultural
life. We are making progress in
civilization. We are attached to our
schools and our Christian teachers, lo
our farms, to our native rivers and
mountains. We Have not too much
land for our own comfort, and for af
fording us a fair chance in the experi
ment we are makiiig." This language
has been repeated in many forms, and
with every indication of sincerity and
The assertion of the Cherokees,
lhat their present country is not too
large for a fair experiment in the
work of civilization, ij undoubtedly
correct. The wisest men, who have
thought and written on this subject,
agree in the opinion, that no tiibe of
Indians can rise to real civilization,
and to the full enjoyment of Christian
society, unless they can have a com
munity of their own; and ran be so
much separated from the whites, as
lo form and cherish something of a
.National (haracter. If the limits of
the Cherokee conntiy were much
smaller than they are, this would be
Thus stands the case; and it is now
my intention to inquire how the Go
vernment of the United States has le
garded the Indian title, and how it
has been regarded by the several
States in the vicinity of the Chero
Before this inquiry is crmfnenced,
however, it is proper to say, that the
title of one party cannoi he salily de
cided by the mere claims of another
party. If those claims are founded
injustice, they ought to prtvail; il
not, they should he set aside. Now
whatever doctrines the Government
of the United States may have held
and promulgated en this subject, they
cannot be binding upon the Indians,
unless acknowledged by tinm to be
binding,or unless founded in the immu-,
table principles of justice.
Let us suppose the Kings of Great
Britain had issued an annual proclama
tion, from the time of the discovery
of America between 30 & SOdeg. north
latitude, and declaring that all the
nations, tribes, and communities, then
residing on said lands, were subject
to the laws of Grt.at Britain, and that
the title to all these lands was vested
in, and of right belonged to, the crown
of that realm; and let us further sup
pose, that the Government of the Unit
ed States had issued an annual procla
mation, from the date of the declara
tion of independence to thfe present
day, applying the same doctrine to
oui advantage, and declaring, that all
the Indian nations within the limits
prescribed by the peace of 1783, were
subject to the laws of the United
States, and that the lands, of which
they were in possession, belonged of
right to the United States. So long
as the Indian* did not acknowledge the
binding nature of these claims, the
mere claims would have amounted to
nothing. It was the practice of the
King of England, during several cen
turies, to declare himself, (as often
as he issued a proclamation on any sub
whatever,) King of Great Britain,
France and Ireland. Was he there
fore King of France? What if he
were now to declare himself King of ,
Great Britain and China? It would
a cheap way, indeed, of acquiring
a title, if merely setting up a claim
•.vould answer the purpose.
By what right do the People of the
United Slates bold the lands which
bey occupy? The People of Ohio,
>r instance, or of Connecticut? By
. ie right of occupancy only, commenc
ed by purchase from the aboriginal
possessors. It would be folly to plead
he charters of Kings, or the mere
drawing ol lines of latitude and longi
tude. The Powers of Europe have
indeed acknowledged our right to our
country. But what if they had not?
Our right is not at all affected by their
claims, or acknowledgments. The
same doctrine is applicable to the
condition of the Cherokees. They
have a perfect right to their country,
—the right of peaceable, continued,
immemorial occupancy;—and although
their country may be claimed by oth
ers, it may lawfully be held by the
possessors agaifist all the world.
The Cherokees need not fear, how
ever, that their rights are in danger,
as a consequence of any principles
sanctioned i>v the National Legisla
ture of the United States. The co
ordinate branches of our Government
have not yet declared, that Indians
are tenants at will. On the Other
hand, the whole history of our negotia
tions with them, from the peace of
1783 to the last treaty to which they
are a party, and of all our legislation
concerning them, shows, that they are
regarded as a separate community
from ours, having a national existence,
and possessing a territory, which they
are to hold in full possession, till they
voluntarily surrender it.
I now proceed to the examination
of treaties between the United States
and the Cherokee nation. And here
I would apprize the reader, that the
case can never be fairly and fully un
derstood, without a reference to eve
ry Jnaterial article in every treaty
which has been made between these
parties. Unless such a reference is
had, no reader can be sure that he has
a view of the whole ground; and a
caviller might object, that there had
been omissions, in order to conceal a
part of the case. This is a subject,
too, which the People of the United
States must have patience to investi
gate. When measures' are in progress,
which have a bearing on the perma
nent rights and interests of all the In
dians, it must not be thought tedious
to read an abstract of the solemn e'n
gagem-nls, by which vVe have become
bound to one of these aboriginal na*
In the revolutionary contest, the
Cherokees took part with the Iving of
Great Britain, under whose protec
tion they then considered themselves,
just as they now consider themselves
under the protection of the United
States Aftei the peace of 1783, it
does not appear that any definite ar
rangement was made with this tribe
till the year 1785. In the com-Se of
that year, the old Congress appointed
four Commissioners Plenipotentiary,
men of distinction at the south, to
meet the head men and warriors of the
Cherokees, and negotiate a treaty of
The parties met at Hopewell, now
in York District, S. C.; and, on the
29th of November, executed an in
strument, which is usually cited as
the treaty of Hopewell. The ab
stract of this instrument, with some
remarks upon it, will be given in my
next nu after.
Prom the Christian Mirror,
The conduct of Georgia towards
the Cherokees ought to call forth the
language of keen indignation and
strong remonstrance from every part
of the United States. Silence in this
case should be reckoned infamy, for
it would be acquiescence in the most
flagrant injustice and enormous op
pression. It is not a solitary instance
of private wrong; but it is, in sober
fact, the robbery of a nation, be
cause they happen to be Red Men,—w
and the avowed purpose of driving a
whole People from their lands and
their homes, and from the blessings of
civilization arid Christianity, into a
wilderness, because the State of
Georgia wishes to possess their Ter
ritory. Can this be done by a Chris*
tian republic, without drawing dovvij
the curse of heaven upon the oppress
or? Can American patriots see this
done without hiding their faces in
shame and ignominy? Can Christian
men witness the execution of this un
equalled crime and riot lift up their
voices in one tone of indignant rc*
The following short history will env
able the reader to discern the infa*
mous injustice and opp.ession here
referred to. In 1732, James Ogle*
thorpe commenced the settlement of
Georgia with the king's charter, au»
thorizing him to occupy the uninhabit%
td lands. The ground for the city of
Savannah was obtained of the Indiahjj
by treaty; he c?ime "to settle amoij/
them for their benefit and instruction
In 1773 the Cherokee Indians cpdfcd u
portion of their country to tn£ Gebrgi'
ans; they ceded another portion by a
treaty of peace in 1783. By another
treaty in 1785, —the treaty of Hope?
well between the United States and
the Cherokees, — the boundaries pf t]i{3
Indian Territory were defined; the*
Cherokees acknowledged
to be under the protection of the Unit*
ed States, and expressed their full
confidence in the justice of the United
States respecting their .interests.—
Under the Constitution of the United
States the treaty of Ilolstein was made
with the Cherokees July 2d, 1791, of
which the following is Article 7lb,
"The United States solemnly
"Art. 14. That the Cherokee na
tion may be led to a greater degree
of civilization, and to become herds
men and cultivators, instead of remain
ing in a state of hunters, the U. S.
will from time to lime furnish gratu
itously the said nation with useful im
plements of husbandry, &c."
Thus it appears, that the United
Stales are most solemnly pledged to
maintain the Cherokees in possession
of all their lands not ceded. No sub
sequent agreement, therefore, be
tween the U. S. and Georgia cnn af
fect the rights of the Cherokees or
absolve the U. S. from their own
treaty of Holstein in 1791. Let us
see what agreement was made in A
prii 24, 1802. Georgia having ced
ed (he sovereignty and their rights as
to the lands in question to the CTiited
States for £.1.25Q.000 the United
States agreed, "at their own expense,
to extinguish for the use of Georgia,
as early as the same ran be peaceably
obtained on reasonable terms, the In
dian title to all the lnr.ds within the
state of Georgia. 1 '
Thus all the rights of Georgia were
transferred to the United States, la
accordance with the benevolent spir
it of our governmet an Act was pass
ed by the United States, March 1,
1703, authorizing the President to
fiirnish the Indians "with useful do
mestic animals and implements of hus
But soon this prospect of civilizing
the Cherokees alarmed the Georgians,
lest they should be fixed to their own
soil, which no power on earth had any
right to compel them to sell, although
the United States bad bound itself to
Georgia conditionally, to buy, i. e. ag
early, as it could be obtained on rea
sonable terms. The Cherokees re<
fusing to sell on am/ terms, of course!
the United States are bound to do no
thing; or if Georgia has any claim, it
can be only a claim to compensation!
or damages from the United States.
The Cherokees are guarantied in the
possession of their lands by the faith!
of our Government.
In this state of things .
ftTO. 25.
the Georgian!

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