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Old News Stories
George Tassel Convicted, 1832

From Frederick Town Herald
Frederick, Md.
Jan. 8, 1832


We have this day published the citation of the chief justice of the supreme court of the U. States, to the state of Georgia, in the case of George Tassel, (who was tried and convicted by the authorities of Georgia, for a murder committed within the limits of the Cherokee nation), and the proceedings of the legislature thereon. The attitude in which Georgia has placed herself, by thus openly defying the laws of the land, is cause of most painful apprehensions; and "‘tis with more sorrow than anger" that we regard the reckless doings of desperate men, who thus sport with the sacredness of the ties which unite these states in a national compact. A madman may fire a city, and political incendiaries may destroy the most splendid fabric of human wisdom, on which the world has ever gazed; but their fame will survive like his of Ephesus, and the curse of posterity will herald it to eternity. Heaven forfend and unhappy issue–but the settled and established laws of the land should be enforced–"peaceably if they can, forcibly if they must."



We extract from the Georgia Journal the following interesting proceedings of the Legislature of that State: House of Representatives, Wednesday, Dec. 22.

The following communication was received from the Governor, which, after being read with the accompanying document, was referred, on motion of Mr. Haynes, to a select committee, composed of Messrs. Haynes, Beall of Twiggs, Howard of Baldwin, McDonald, and Schley.


December 29, 1830.

I submit to the Legislature, for its consideration, the copy of a communication received this day, purporting to be signed by the Chief Justice of the United States, and to be a citation of the State of Georgia to appear before the Supreme Court, on the second Monday in January next, to answer to that tribunal for having caused a person who had committed murder with the limits of the State, to be tried and convicted therefor.

The object of this mandate is to control the State in the exercise of its ordinary jurisdiction, which in criminal cases, has been vested by the constitution exclusively in its Superior Courts.

So far as concerns the exercise of the power which belongs to the Executive Department, orders received from the Supreme Court, for the purpose of staying, or in any manner interfering with the decision of the Courts of the State, in the exercise of their constitutional jurisdiction, will be disregarded; and any attempt to enforce such orders will be resisted with whatever force the laws have placed at my command.

If the judicial powers thus attempted to be exercised by the courts of the United States, is submitted to, or sustained, it must eventually (result?) in the utter annihilation of the State governments, or in other consequences not less fatal to the peace and prosperity of our present highly favored country.



Here follows the citation from Chief Justice Marshall to the State of Georgia, to appear before the Supreme Court of the U. States, to be held at Washington next Monday, to shew cause why judgment in the case of George Tassel (a Cherokee convicted of killing another of his own tribe) should not be corrected.

The Committee, to whom the above had been referred, made the following report, which was agreed to by the House, and concurred in by the Senate:

Whereas it appears, by a communication made by his excellency the Governor to the General Assembly, that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States has sanctioned a writ of error, and cited the State of Georgia, through her Chief Magistrate, to appear before the Supreme Court of the U.S. to defend said State against said writ of error, at the instance of one George Tassel, recently convicted in Hall Superior Court;

And whereas, the right to punish crimes against the peace and good order of this State, in accordance with the existing laws of this State, is an original and necessary part of sovereignty, which the State of Georgia has never parted with;

Be it therefore resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, That they view with feelings of deep regret, the interference by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, in the administration of the criminal laws of this State, and that such an interference is a flagrant violation of her right.

Resolved further. That his Excellency the Governor be, and he and every other office of this State, is hereby requested and enjoined to disregard any and every mandate and process that has been or shall be served upon him or them, purporting to proceed from the Chief Justice or any associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States for the purpose of arresting the execution of any of the criminal laws of this State.

And be it further resolved, That his Excellency the Governor be and he is hereby authorized and required, with all the force and means placed at his command, by the constitution and laws of this State, to resist and repel any and every invasion from whatever quarters, upon the administration of the criminal laws of this State.

Resolved, That the State of Georgia will never so far compromise her sovereignty, as an independent States, as to become a party to the case sought to be made before the Supreme Court of the United States by the writ in question.

Resolved, That his Excellency the Governor be, and he is hereby authorized, to communicate to the sheriff of Hall county, by express, so much of the foregoing resolutions, and such orders as are necessary to ensure the full execution of the laws, in the case of George Tassels, convicted of murder in Hall County.


Note: The foregoing took place in the Georgia State Legislature, NOT the Congress of the United States.

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