CHEROKEE PHOENIX, AND INDIANS' ADVOCATE
Saturday, May 22, 1930
Vol 3 No 5
Page 1 Col. 3b.
Page 1 Col. 4b-5a
Page 2 Col. 1a
The decision of this body, in relation to the Treaties existing between the United States and the Cherokee Indians, will not escape the deserved reprobation of the public. This nation will not submit in silence to a decision by which its faith and honor are to be wrecked-it will not fold its arms and slumber or smile over an act that must inevitably cover it with shame. The Senate have refused to recognize the binding force of our treaties with the Cherokees; they have denied the obligatory character of these solemn compacts; they have treated with levity and contempt those bonds which the probity and faith of this nation have been most sacredly pledged. There are not treaties between the United States and any foreign Powers upon earth couched in terms so explicit and so incapable of misinterpretation as those which have been entered into with the Cherokees. Those treaties have been ratified by every Chief Magistrate, Cabinet, and Senate, from the administration of General Washington to the present time. Those whom we most venerate among the dead, and honor among the living, have given their solemn sanction to those treaties; and if it be possible for a nation to be bound by all that is sacred in plighted faith and veracity, then we are responsible for the fulfulment (sic) of these treaties. And yet, notwithstanding these obligation, and in the face of all the remonstrances that have accumulated on their tables, from a thousand sources, the Senate have taken a step that will, unless arrested, annihilate the political existence of the Cherokees. This is an act of treachery that calls for the indignant denunciations of every honest and honorable heart. This nation, if true to itself, and the naked claims of justice, will pour its unmingled and unmeasured abhorrence upon this unprovoked destruction of our national faith.
It is not out of the power of the Senate to repair the deep injury which they have inflicted upon the honor of this country; it is beyond their reach to wipe off the stigma which they have cast upon our character for common honesty. But what have they done for the Cherokees in consideration of having violated their express engagements? They have threatened them with an immediate destruction of their just rights, if they remain where they are; but in case they see fit to remove beyond the inhabited parts of the United States, they will treat with them then. Treat with them then? Yes, in the very same breath in which they declare they will not preform the treaties which they have already made, they offer them, upon conditions degrading even to savages, more treaties! There is a presumption and impudence in this new proffer, quite as intolerable as the faithless conduct which preceded it. No person of common sense will listen to the declaration of that man who violates one promise, that he may have an opportunity of making another, more in accordance with his interests. And the Senate have it not in their power, after what has passed, to secure the confidence of the Cherokees. They may talk of new treaties forever; but unless they can expunge from the breast of the Cherokee his memory, they will never regain his confidence. But this loss of character for faith and honest, is the mildest feature in the retribution that awaits us. We may forfeit with unconcern the respect of a community, or nation, and smile over the ill-gotten gains of our perfidy; but there is a witness above, whose eye never slumbers, and from whose hand the guilty cannot escape. Soon or late, the oppressor will lie lower than the helpless being upon whom he trampled.
The Indian Bill Passed.- It will be seen from the letter of our Washington correspondent, that the bill in the Senate which contemplates the removal of the Indians residing in any of the States and Territories, to the western wilderness, has passed to be engrossed. This bill is most artfully contrived,-avoiding all appearance of compulsion, and expressing much regard for the welfare of the Indians,-while in reality it is only intended to aid the cruel persecutions which have been instituted against them in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.- This is sufficiently evident from the rejection of the amendment offered by Mr. Frelinghuysen, which provides that "until the said Indians shall choose to remove as by this act is contemplated, they shall be protected in their possessions, and in the enjoyment of all their rights of territory and Government as heretofore exercised and enjoyed, from all interruptions and encroachments." Here then is an explicit refusal on the part of the Senate, to protect the Indians in the privileges they have heretofore enjoyed! What is this but abandoning them to the tender mercies of Georgia? What but annulling the spirit, if not the exact words, of the Treaties to which our government has made itself a party? What but compelling them in fact, whatever may be the form, to seek a refuge from their tormentors in the wilderness of the West? The Senate well knows that they cannot live under the laws of Georgia,- the operation of which, so far as related to them, is oppressive in the extreme. The Act of January 23rd, 1830, abolishes, with one fell sweep, "all laws, ordinances, orders and regulations, of any kind whatever, made, passed, or enacted, by the Cherokee Indians;" and in return for this privilege, enacts, that no "Indian or descendant of any Indian, residing within the Creek or Cherokee nations of Indians, shall be a competent witness in any Court of the State to which a white person may be a party, except such white persons residing within the said nation."- The Senate knows that the Choctaws in Mississippi have already determined to remove, because they prefer a pilgrimage, they scarcely know where, to an abolition of all their internal "rights, privileges, immunities and franchises," as heretofore enjoyed, and subjection to the laws and supervision of the State.- This, however, we must be allowed to suppose, is precisely the end which the Senate seeks; and as that body has refused to protect the Indians in their sacred rights, we hold them, accessary to the crime of this cruel expatriation. --N. Y. Jour. Com.
From the New York Advertiser.
The Senate of the U. S. have passed the bill for the removal of the Indians, by a vote 27-20- We publish the ayes and nays below, wishing particularly to direct the attention of every reader to those ranged on the sides of this question. The mild terms in which the committee on Indian Affairs thought it prudent, indeed necessary, to couch their meaning, will not blind the eyes of the country, any more than did those of the Senators. The intention is but too well understood; there is the same appearance of determined injustice and oppression, with the same professions of humanity, which have marked the plan in its progress. No one can doubt that if this project be finally carried into effect, we shall acquire the character of hypocrites, as well as that of oppressors of the feeble and inoffensive. The few individuals who will be regarded as having held the vote in their own hands, and turned the scale on the wrong side, will not, we trust, soon be forgotten. If any evidence could be needed, to prove the true design of the bill, in placing the Indians out of the reach of protection, and without security, it would be abundantly furnished by the fact that the amendments were only designed to give that security which the framers of the bill appear to have thought it best only to pretend to promise.
We add an extract of a letter, dated Washington, April 26th.
"I enclose you the bill concerning the Indians, with Mr. Frelinghuysen's amendment, and the ayes and nays on the first proviso. You will perceive that of the votes north of the Mason and Dixon's line against these "poor devils" (as Mr. Forsyth repeatedly called them, in debating the question,) there were from New York two, New Jersey one, and New Hampshire one. I regret that one of the 14 New England Senators could be so lost to his duty as a Senator, and so regardless of the feelings and sympathies of the people of the East, as to violate our faith, and strike this fatal blow upon this defenseless and unfortunate race. I consider their fate as sealed. The are destined to become extinct. As long as they occupy a single section of land which tempts the cupidity of any white man, means will be devised to wrest it from them.
"We pledge ourselves to guaranty them a title beyond the Mississippi and what is our guaranty? The rights of the Cherokees. Now these treaties are all void, because they conflict with "state sovereignty". And when we shall want the country thus "guarantied," we shall find some other pretext, equally ridiculous, to take it. I reflect, with solemn awe, upon our treatment of these remnants of this noble race. These "savages" have had no one to tell their tale. In our numerous wonderous (sic) conflicts with them, from our first settlement of the country they have had no Tacitus, no historian to rehearse their wrongs; it has been all exparte-all a one-sided affair. The account is fairly and impartially registered in Heaven, and I fear the balance is sadly against us.
Mr. Sanford proposed an amendment embracing the Indians in New York, &c. the preemptive right to whose lands belonged to the state; that whenever the state could purchase them out, the United States should assign them lands in the West, these Indians to be removed at the expense of the states where they are located.
This amendment was advocated by the mover, and by several of the southern members, to propitiate New York: but it was readily perceived that this would be, in effect, a donation to a state, and constitutional scruples immediately rushed into the heads of the restrictionists, and New York lost the boon. Mr. Frelinghuysen, and Mr. Sprague, severally offered amendments, the object of which was to require an observance of treaty stipulations, but these were negatived; and the Senate of the United States, 27 to 20 has thus, in the face of their constituents, and the world, denied the faith of treaties! The House will, I fear concur, and this is an effect of the "great moral and political revolution" which was accomplished in the election of Jackson."