and Indians' Advocate
vol. 1, no. 51
Wednesday, March 4, 1829
p. 2 Col. 3b
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.
8th Feb. 1829.
I transmit you to this mail a Document printed for the use of Congress, containing a correspondence between Col. Thos. L. M. Kenney and Col. Montgomery on the subject of the late plan of emigration. It unveils some important points, to which we have hitherto been kept in darkness, and perhaps may not be uninteresting to your readers in the Nation.
You will perceive that Captain Rogers was a confidential agent of the Secretary of Wars, sent out to open our eyes, and to explain to us the kind of soil, climate, and the prospects that awaited you in the West. Col. M. Kenney in his letter to the agent, informing him of this confidential plenipotentiary appointment, &c. says, "much, if not all his success will depend upon the keeping of the object of his visit a SECRET, you will by no means make it known." A secret agent then with an empty Captain's commission by way of recommendation, whose success depended upon secret management and intrigue! He that hath business with us of either a private or public nature, let him be open, candid and upright in his actions: If he assumes a mysterious character, he becomes at once contemptible, even to the poorer class. Captain Rogers is a man well known in this country, and would I could say advantageously known as a man of integrity and reputation, since a confidential minister to our nation. Explanations, when manufactured by men to subserve private interest, are not likely to effect much with people who are better able to make their own calculations as to their probably happiness in a change of life; and who need not, at this time, great inducements, or zealous efforts of secret agents to win them over to the enjoyment of true comfort, when offered. Many of the Indian tribes in the North West, yet in a state of heathenish state of ignorance and degredation, are led implicitly by their agents: if this has been the case with the Cherokees, I am happy to say it is far from being so now. This means adopted in the affair of Rogers and Spears add nothing to the character of the Government, or I would rather say of those of his officers, who after selecting an agent of their choice, and sending him to the nation, enjoin secrecy, that he might not be known as an agent should, after he had introduced himself, by improper conduct, into a difficulty, say he a was an officer of the Government, and as such should be protected.
Col. M. Kenney says that it would be a great object for the emigrants
to ascend as high up the Arkansas as possible, and recommended that flat boats
should be built in place of keeled boats on that account. Now did you
ever hear of a man before that would prefer a flat to a keeled boat to navigate
up a stream, or that would prefer a tin to a brass kettle in which to boil a
buffaloe's head? He also says, that is with the chiefs of the Southern
Indians, a fixed purpose, by threats and otherwise, to keep their people from
emigrating. The remedy is the presence of an armed force!!" Can
the Cherokees be included in this paragraph? I presume they are, as they
are often blended with other Tribes to their injury in the public reports.
The writer is certainly very ignorant of our condition, or, like the great nabob
(M.) cares too little for rhetoric. At stated periods the Chiefs are created
by the people, and it they are displeased at them, and but will it they can
turn them out, and reduce them to the ranks of common citizens. For what
reasons, then, should the Chiefs be tyrannical, or the people be afraid of the
Chiefs. How much better would it have been, if the presence of this military
force had been recommended as a remedy for removing intruders from our lands.
You will also perceive that the Honorable Secretary entertains an opinion that a greater portion of the "poorer Indians are disposed to emigrate." This opinion I presume is founded upon Col. M'Kenney's report of the Cherokees (without ever seeing them,) after his visit to the Creeks. It is not to be proven by the fruits of his confidential agent's labors. I am informed that most of those who have enrolled are white men and half breeds, under the promise of getting large sums for their improvements. The poorer class of people are not so soon led into a speculation of this kind. Although the agent has been guarded against an unnecessary waste of a cent of the public money, I cannot but believe that every cent that has been, or may be expended under the treaty of the Arkansas Cherokees, to induce our removal is an unnecessary waste of the public money, that might been applied to much better uses. Suppose one half of the Indians residing within the limits of Georgia were to emigrate, and paid for their improvements; would this give to the United States a title to the land? No: If there were but 500 citizens left in the country, the title would yet be with them, and the United States must enter into a treaty before their title can be legally extinguished.
I had the honor of seeing the celebrated Indian Chief Red Jacket, who arrived in the City yesterday.
The object of his visit I have not learned. I am sorry to say that he was already intoxicated when I saw him. I believe he has been accompanied by two or three other Indians.