Wednesday July 9, 1828
Volume I, No. 20
Page 2, col. 1b-2a
FOR THE CHEROKEE PHOENIX
_________The wasting arm of war destroys
The well-told tale of great events, while
And Kingdoms fall, and prouder empires
How uncertain are the events of tomorrow. When thoughts turn on the scenes of other years, a sigh bursts in secret. Time was when the aborigines were the exclusive lords of this vast continent. O'er its fertile meadows they wandered at pleasure, or basked upon its flowing rivers without any to molest or make afraid. In conscious pride of independence did the warrior stride through the primeval fields of nature in pursuit of the bison. There, and in the limped streams were his treasures, for his wants were few. Peace and plenty smiled around whilst unconscious of the commotions and changes which time was hurrying onward. Great sires and chiefs would be surrounded by their youths, relate the traditions of their fathers, recount their own exploits, and lead off the dance. Harmonious and joyful were the days of our ancestors, smooth as the gently flowing waters of the proud Savannah winding its course towards the Atlantic, along whose shores was seen the blue curling smoke ascending towards the heavens from the habitations of peace. The thought that ere a few more moons should pass away than the destroyer would have begun his ravages, entered not their peaceful minds. Columbus dreamed not of the awful fate which hover'd o'er the Nations he discovered. Little did he think that time so soon would have swept some away, without a remaining vestige, like a cloud driven before the wind. But so, even so, has it been. The barks of Albion with expanded sails rose on the waves and rushed through the foam of the deep. But the clouds gathered in the west, the skies lowered, the storm arose, the thunders bellowed, the lightnings played in awful grandeur. Thus was the ocean convulsed, for on her bosom rolled the death of thousands, and yet it was but a prelude to the furies of a distant day. At length the shores of America burst upon the crew, like a flood of light that rises in the East to the view of a traveller when he is sad in a dismal night, & in a land unknown. Then was the civilized man a stranger here. But a full tide of emigration succeeded, and has since flowed from a foreign source, until, not only wigwams, villages, and towns, have been demolished, but many powerful Tribes have been driven back and diminished to a handful, while others have become extinct. Such has been the result of their acquaintance with the civilized man. With him came the glittering steel, the thunders of the cannon, and horrid devastations of warfare. There were seen the children of America retiring into the deep forest, while grief saddened around for fallen son's [sic] and brothers. With a sigh did they leave their loved shores where they were wont to behold in peace and rapture, surge after surge break against the rocks and receded into the fathomless deep. How truly unfortunate has your fate been, Oh! children of nature. America threw open her loving bosom and welcomed you to her flowery meads and fragrant groves, from the persecution and tyranny of the East, but your retreat has been discovered, at an hour when you were regaling on the sweets of liberty, and as the gale of quiet repose gently fanned you, the work of destruction was commenced! Oh! how much to be regretted that the hand of avarice, injustice, and oppression, has been employed. If it had been otherwise, over this extensive region the flash of a carabine [sic] would have never been seen, and the blood of innocence would never have moistened the earth. Confidence has been forfeited, and embittered prejudices planted. Years succeeded years, while conflicting circumstances only added fuel to the flame. Centuries have since rolled into the bosom of eternity. Powerful states, and splendid cities, have grown up where our primitive fathers once kindled their council fires, yet how often our thoughts travel through ages past and awaken the sympathies of our souls. I fancy that I see a venerable chief, his locks silvered o'er with the frosts of many winters, with a calumet of peace in his hand, seated on some river, wrapped in deep and pensive thought upon the misfortunes of his once powerful tribe, but now on the threshold of extinction. Depressed with sorrow, he throws back his thoughts to what he once was with the curses of his gods upon those who deprived him of the rights which he inherited from the God of nature.- With wild despair he is ready to plunge into the mighty waters and at once be no more, when lo! a voice in the melting accents of friendship sounds behind him, "come hither! unfortunate brother, your afflictions are but momentary, although forlorn and forsaken, yet despair not, you have a friend who descended from the Heaven of Heavens to interpose in your behalf." He looks, but behold it is the figure of a white man! with whom he has ever been taught to associate sentiments the most unfriendly. But hail! thou blessed messenger of light; after years of untiring zeal & labour[sic] confidence is returning, and the genial influence of friendship has again swelled the breeze. An intellectual and moral sun-beam has pierced the wilderness with its resplendent rays and continues to shine with increasing effulgence. Ignorance has fallen prostrate at the shrine of instruction. Warriors have been humbled and christianized, while hunters have learned to delight in agriculture. The philanthropist cannot but smile when he looks around and sees the laudable efforts and success of the Cherokees in improvement, and contrasts their present condition with that of the dark and superstitious ages of our ancestors. With what accelerating strides are we approximating our neighbours [sic] both in a social and civil point of view. How pleasing it is to see aboriginal sons and daughters climbing together the hill of science. And thus may we proceed, step by step, in the path pointed to our view, by the illustrious Washington and Jefferson, until we arrive to a high summit of respectability and refinement, and prove the folly and weakness of those who cherish prejudices inimical to our situation, and make known to the world that the mind of a native child is highly susceptible of culture and improvement.
Sages and patriots have not thought it beneath their dignity to extend
a hand of friendship, and raise the languid head of despair, while the fervent
petitions of the good people of every denomination have been perpetually ascending
to the courts above for our prosperity and welfare. And although our political
sun has arisen in obscurity, may it go down with the blazing lustre of noon
day; and may our Phoenix plume its feathers on the majestic Oostenahlee until
the wilderness shall blossom as the rose, and the sons of the forest shall pluck
their harps from the willows.