Article VI:, § 2. This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.The attorneys for the missionaries sought to have this judgment enforced, but could not. General Jackson was President, and would do nothing of the sort. “Well: John Marshall has made his decision: now let him enforce it!” 1 was his commentary on the matter. So the missionaries languished years in prison, and the Cherokees were finally (1838) driven into exile, in defiance of the mandate of our highest judicial tribunal.2 Georgia was permitted to violate the faith of solemn treaties and defy the adjudications of our highest court. South Carolina was put down in a similar attempt: for the will of Andrew Jackson, not the Constitution, was in those years “the supreme law of the land.” 3
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A portion of the Southern tribes, having mingled much with the whites, and made some progress in the arts of civilized life, have lately attempted to erect an independent government within the limits of the States of Georgia and Alabama.
And Colonel Benton, in his “Thirty years view,” says (vol. i., p. 164), General Jackson “refused to sustain those Southern tribes in their attempt to set up an independent government within the State of Alabama and Georgia.”Both these gentlemen well knew--Colonel Benton could not but know — that the Cherokees only claimed or sought the rights which they had possessed and enjoyed from time immemorial, which were solemnly guaranteed to them by treaty after treaty, whereof the subsisting validity and pertinence were clearly affirmed by the tribunal of ultimate resort.
3 The late Jeremiah Evarts, long the efficient and honored Secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, who devoted the best of his life to the cause of the Cherokees, has summed up, in a letter to a sympathizing friend, his convictions as to the ultimate cause of the perfidy and oppression of which they were the victims:
Without that disregard of human rights which is to be found among slaveholders only, nothing could have been done against the Indians; and without the base surrender of all personal dignity and independence to the capricious mandate of party discipline, the slaveholders would not have received aid enough to carry their point. --Life of Jeremiah Evarts, Boston, 1845, p. 367.
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