Wednesday, Jan. 28, 1829
It is frequently said that the Indians are given up to destruction, that it is the will of heaven, that they should become extinct and give way to the white man. Those who assist this doctrine seem to act toward these unfortunate people in a consistent manner, either in neglecting them entirely, or endeavoring to hasten the period of their extinction. For our part, we dare not scrutinize the designs of God's providence towards the Cherokees. It may suffice to say that, his dealings have been merciful and very kind. He inclined the heart of GEORGE WASHINGTON, when we were in a savage state, to place us under the protection of the United States, by entering into a treaty of peace and friendship with our forefathers on the second day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety one; in which treaty is the following provision:
'That the Cherokee Nation may be led to a greater degree of civilization, and to become herdsmen and cultivators, instead of remaining hunters, the United States will from time to time, furnish gratuitously the said nation with useful implements of husbandry.'
He furthermore inclined that industrious man, and his successors in office, and the Agents of the United States, to carry the foregoing provision into execution. By his overruling providence, a door was opened for the introduction of those implements of husbandry; and at this day were Washington living, he would find that his expectations and wishes were realized. He would rejoice, and those who compassionated [sic] the Indians with him would rejoice to see that the Cherokees have in a great measure become herdsmen and cultivators-they are no more hunters or warriors. Where they were accustomed to hunt the deer, the bear, and the beaver, are seen their farms and they labor peaceably, for the troubles of warfare do not now molest them.
But we cannot enumerate all the dealings of God towards us in a temporal point of view. They are gracious, and to our minds would convey the belief that he has mercy still in store for us. But what are his dealings in a spiritual point of view.- 'If the Lord were pleased to destroy us he would not have shewed [sic] us all these things, nor would, as at this time, have told us such things as these.' We have heard great things indeed; salvation by Jesus Christ. To what purpose has God opened the hearts of Christians of different denominations to commiserate, not only the Cherokees, but all the other tribes? To what purpose are contributions freely made to support missionaries and schools! To what purpose is it that these missionaries meet with such remarkable success, and that preachers are rising from among the Cherokees themselves? To what purpose is it that hundreds have made a public profession of religion, and that the number is rapidly increasing? To what purpose is it that, that the knowledge of letters has been disseminated, with a rapidity unknown heretofore, and that eight hundred copies of a Cherokee HYMN Book is now issuing from our press? What do all these indicate? Do they indicate the displeasure of God against us, and the certainty of our extinction? It is not for man to pry into the designs of God where he has not expressly revealed them, but from past blessings we may hope for future mercies.
The causes which have operated to exterminate the Indian tribes that are produced as instances of the certain doom of the whole Aboriginal family appear plain to us. These causes did not exist in the Indians themselves, nor in the will of heaven, not simply in the intercourse of Indians with civilized man, but they were precisely such causes as are now attempted by the state of Georgia by infringing upon their rights-by disorganizing them, and circumscribing their limits. While he possesses a national character, there is hope for the Indians. But take his rights away, divest him of the last spark of national pride, and introduce him to a new order of things, invest him with oppressive laws, grievous to be borne, he drops like the fading flower, before the noon day sun. Most of the Northern tribes have fallen a prey to such causes, ' the Catawbas of South Carolina are a striking instance of the truth of what we say. There is hope for the Cherokees as long as they continue in their present situation, but disorganize them, either by removing them beyond the Mississippi, or imposing on them 'heavy burdens,' you cut a vital string in their national existence.
Things will no doubt come to a final issue before long in regard to the Indian and for our part we care not how soon. The State of Georgia has taken a strong stand against us and the United States must either defend us in our rights, or leave us for our foe. In the former case, the General Government will redeem her pledge solemnly given in treaties. In the latter she will violate her promises of protection and we cannot, upon any guarantee made by her to us, either here or beyond the Mississippi.