The Removal of the Cherokee Nation: Manifest Destiny or National Dishonor?

By Louis Filler; Allen Guttmann | Go to book overview

Wilson Lumpkin:


MESSAGE TO GEORGIA LEGISLATURE

Returning from Washington to become governor ( 1831-1835), Wilson Lumpkin continued to work for the removal of the Cherokees. In his message to the Georgia legislature ( November 6, 1832), he was able to report substantial progress and an undiminished determination.

WHEN we take a survey of the events of the closing year, it produces mingled emotions of pleasure and pain. Our actual condition and enjoyments as a people, arising from climate, soil, and good government, when compared with other portions of the world, admonish us to admire and adore the divine author of our multiplied blessings.

Nothing has transpired to lessen attachment, or diminish our confidence in the good systems of government under which we live; we should, therefore, cherish an increased zeal, and an abiding hope for the perpetuation of our free and happy institutions. The truths of history do not authorize the belief, that we are to enjoy the inestimable blessings of liberty and free government, founded on principles of equal rights, without vigilance, and constant exertion on the part of the people, who are the only legitimate source of governmental power.

Our conflicts with Federal usurpation are not yet at an end; the events of the past year have afforded us new cause for distrust and dissatisfaction. Contrary to the enlightened opinions, and just expectations of this, and every other State in the Union, a majority of the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States have not only assumed jurisdiction, in the case of Worcester and Butler, but have, by their decision, attempted to overthrow that essential jurisdiction of the State, in criminal cases, which has been vested by our constitution in the superior courts of our own state. In conformity with their decision, a mandate was issued, directed to our court, ordering a reversal of the decree under which those persons are imprisoned; thereby attempting, and intending to prostrate the sovereignty of this state in the exercise of its constitutional criminal jurisdiction. These extraordinary proceedings of the supreme court, have not been submitted to me officially, nor have they been brought before me in any manner which called for my official action. I have, however, been prepared to meet this usurpation of federal power, with the most prompt and determined resistance, in whatever

____________________
From Niles's Register, XLIII ( November 24, 1832), 206.

-80-

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