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Submitted by: Mollie Stehno


Because It Urges Locating a Federal Court in the Territory and
Compliance with Treaties and U. S. Constitution
The Cherokee Advocate
July 11, 1888

July 11, 1888-The Cherokee Advocate-The following dispatches were received at the United States Marshal's office Monday, dated at Eufaula:
John Phillips and posse killed. Will Bury. Make provisions for expenses. What shall be done with prisoners?

Crowder Nix

Phillips and McLaughlin were both killed last night. I just got here tonight. What shall I do, if anything, with his outfit? It is close here.

A. J. Mattox, Deputy Marshal

This is the seventeenth officer attached to this court killed since November 1885, and the second one during the past week. Phillips had been on the force about two years, and made the reputation of a brave man and a skillful officer. On this same spot in January 1887, his posse, guard, and cook were all murdered in cold blood by an Indian named Seahorn Green, who was subsequently hanged in this city. Phillips leaves a wife and family living in this city. Deputy Marshall Cabell and Barlin left last night of Eufaula to bring in the remains.
The rapidly increasing number of deaths in this department during the past few years can be attributed to but one fact-the failure of Congress to provide appropriations to run this Court. In former administrations, when from one year's end to another, court held uninterrupted session; no such alarming death rate was reported. When news is circulated throughout Nation that court is closed desperate characters grow bold; they think the court is abandoned; the fear of imprisonment within its walls is supplanted by a fear of nothing and they resist arrest in every instance. Part of the fault is attributed to the Indian newspapers, whose hatred for this court is a well-recognized fact. They speak of its deliberations in a most disrespectful way, and when the government fails to provide funds to run the court these papers rejoice in a way that naturally encourages desperate characters to grow boulder in their lawlessness. The advance of immigration and civilization in the Territory would otherwise tend to the suppression of lawlessness within its borders, but so long as this great Government refuses to provide funds to run its courts, the natural order of things will be over toppled by a most uncommon violation of the laws, resulting as has been shown in the murder of its brave officers at the alarming rate of seventeen in two and a half years. Ft. Smith Journal--
The assertions about the Indian papers are either made without proper examination into facts or the disposition of the writer to misrepresent is unconquerable. Seldom have we seen as much falsehood crowded into the same space.
As for the Indian papers rejoicing when the Federal Court adjourns for want of funds, anyone, a degree above an idiot, ought to know that the thousands of witnesses who are dragged out of this country and kept waiting at Fort Smith and turned loose without being paid would not encourage or sustain such papers. This and other Indian papers expressed regret when it happened. Further in these Editorial columns we expressed the belief that Judge Parker had the right to decide what officers were necessary to carry on his Court and at what places they should be stationed. We called attention to the absurdity of the ruling of U.S. Auditor Durham that forces Judge Parker to close out all criminal business before U. S. Commissioners in this Territory. Because that portion covered by his jurisdiction did not belong to the Western District of Arkansas. The same logic will apply to the Federal Courts of Texas and Kansas that have jurisdiction over portions of this Territory.
Thus the Treasury Department declares that in a space of country about three hundred and sixty miles long by a little more than two hundred broad, no preliminary examination can be held. The Courts rule they possess power to punish offenders. The great United States Government, while refusing to carry out its Treaty stipulations has put the paradoxical rulings on record, that these people shall have all the ills attending Federal Courts and none of their protection until trail, unless some State line is first crossed. We have urged Congress to create a Federal Court in this Territory in strict compliance with treaties that will extend its jurisdiction over this Territory. Judge Parker has decided that his jurisdiction extends over all the lands of the Cherokees and Judge Brewer has decided that the country West of 96 degrees is covered by the Wichita Court. That Court has hung one man for murder committed in the country that Judge Parker declares is in his jurisdiction. If Judge Parker is correct, and we believe the Supreme Court of the United States will yet so declare, then the illegal honing of the criminal was a judicial murder under guise of law, and almost as much to be reprehended as the crime for which the man died.
We believe from the reports about the killing of these Marshals that it was horrible. And while we wish whoever is guilty of crime in this Territory punished, we desire them punished in strict compliance with the laws and provisions of the U. S. Constitution, and Treaty stipulations. We believe Judge Parker is a lot man and level headed. We are on record to that effect both by writing and public speech. Further we have found his officers regardless of their political bias accommodating gentlemen, who temper the injustice that the laws place these civilized people under with as much kindness as possible. In the white politics the acting editor of this paper thoroughly coincides with Judge Parker and General Wheeler. Still he as highly esteems U. S. District Attorney Sandles and Marshal Carrot as he does Judge and Clerk. All are just men and try to do their duty. But because we respect the Court it is no reason that the injustice of hauling our civilized people away from home to be tried, ought to be encouraged. Such actions unnecessarily crowd the docket of that Court.
And while we may shock the Editor of the Journal, we now record our deliberate opinion that the murders of Phillips and McLaughlin will not be punished if the Bill allowing Writ of error from Fort Smith Court passes Congress. Or they take proper steps to get the Habeas Corpus before U. S. Supreme Court.
The provision of the Arkansas Constitution which declares no Indian can exercise citizenship in that State, will compel the United States Supreme Court to decide that juries drawn under it, are not the peers of those they try. The word jury had a clearly defined meaning when the United States Constitution was adopted. It meant a jury from the vicinage. Even a criminal ought to have all benefit of law and Constitution.
Notwithstanding the fact that there some five thousand Indian men in this Territory, who speak, read and write English, and some twenty give hundred white men who have married Indian women, some seventeen or twenty thousand citizens of the United States, who are lawfully residents of this Territory, from whom competent jurymen could be selected, some of the Fort Smith papers oppose the location of the Federal Court in this Territory. We hope some Congressman will move to investigate the condition of the Federal Courts of Texas, Kansas and Arkansas, and authorize the committee to propose a remedy, so that grave judges will not be disputing about jurisdiction. To us, the sensible remedy seems to be to provide a Court whose jurisdiction cannot be successfully questioned, and for a speedy trial as provided by Treaties and United States Constitution. In the Territory, the people who attend Court would not be exposed to the temptations of licensed liquor shops like they are in Fort Smith. While we repel the fool slander against the Indian papers, we declare ourselves on the side of laws, Treaties, U. S. constitution and justice. We don't believe they ought longer to be overborne in the interests of Fort Smith hash houses and liquor dens. We say to the Journal, look at the law-learn that respect for courts increase when they are kept at work. No one rejoices when his neighbors are unjustly dealt with. A few howls from an interested press cannot much longer delay justice to a downtrodden people. We are the only civilized people on earth who are so unjustly treated, if any English administration dared to treat Ireland as the United States does the Five Civilized Tribes it would be driven from power. The idea of dragging people away from home to be tried before juries belonging to another government or another division of the same government is repugnant to the English-speaking people. In the same issue of the Journal appears an account of the murder of Deputy Marshal Trammell. With as much propriety it could charge the Press of Arkansas as causing his murder. We hope his and Philips murders will be properly punished.
In conclusion, we regret to say that our opinion is, that every man tried at Fort Smith for crime committed in the Indian Territory is placed in jeopardy in a manner not contemplated by either the laws, Treaties or United States Constitution, and our high opinion of the officers of that Court does not restrain us from beseeching the great government to redeem its honor and pledges, and give our people the same trial it gives all other who are accused of violating its laws-a trial by jury of their peers.
Let justice be done though a few Fort Smith boarding houses and saloon have to close. That town can spare several and prosper. It will make things quieter here and there.

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