and Indians' Advocate
vol. 1, no. 51
Wednesday, March 4, 1829
pg. 2 Col. 5a-Pg.3
COOSA RIVER, IN TURKEY TOWN.
C.N. 9th February, 1829.
TO THE CHEROKEE PEOPLE.
The undersigned in behalf of a long meeting, composed of the Citizens
of Turkey Town, take the liberty of addressing you through the public journal
of our Nation, on the subject of emigration to the west, to which the United
States have their attention. The view we take of this measure, and the
sentiments will take occasion to express, will be simple and plain, founded
on truth as handed down to us by our ancestors. Limited in knowledge and
possessing but a small share of experience, our apology in this attempt is in
the interest we feel in everything that concerns the well being of our Nation.
Our ancestors settled in this place at a period not now in our recollection.
Here was sacred ground, and on this spot the Council-fire blazed with lustre,
and here were the dwellings and seats of Kings and our beloved Chief!-- We speak
of days when we lived in the hunter's state, and when our feet were swift in
the track of game.
General Washington, after having smoked the pipe of peace with our Chiefs,
sent us word to discontiued the pusuit of vagrant habits and adopt those more
susbstantial and become cultivators of the soil. His successors pursued,
in regard to us, the same policy, and sent to us the same Talk from time to
time -- that as game was precarious and liable to destruction, the bosom of
the earth afforded means of subsistence, both infinite and inexhaustible.
But time was not allowed us to experience the blessing of putting this recommendation
to practice by interested wicked white men, who lived near to us, and who esteemed
us a nuisance, because the Great Spirit had placed our habitations in a desirable
County, and because they themselves had crossed the Big Water (the Ocean) and
had become our neighbors. The bitter cup of adversity was filled to us
on every side, by our ememies. Our safety was often endangered by intrigue
and misreprensation of our character to the General Government; and it was not
mental or natural disability that opposed itself to our advancement in civilization,
but obstacles place in our way to reach it.
The Indians were represented as incapable of learning the arts of cilivized
life, and at the same time treated in in most uncivil manner. They were
savagely revegenful, because they had the spirit to resent the murder of their
friends & relations. They were rogues and thieves, because, not knowing
the mother of legal processes to to obtain justice, and if they did, their oath
decreed to non-availing, they retaliated in the same way. They were drunkards,
because intoxicating liquors were introduced among them. They were disinclined
to the study of books, because of some few superficially educated under bad
instruction had betrayed their countrymen and had set bad examples. They
were stubborn, because they loved the land that had been endeared to them as
an inheritance of their fathers. This flood of inconsistency raged with
violence over the heads of our Chiefs & swept with its waves, from under
their feet, the earth, for which they had struggled for ages past. In
this way our territory diminished, and our inheritance was circumbscribed to
its present bounds.
Our Chief displaced wonderful forbearance in this trials, and maintained
the faith of treaties, with the United States, whose chief magistrate also exercised
the spirit of paternal affection, and adhered to his engagements as pledged
to us by treaties. With caution have we passed the strong shoals of opposition,
and its mingled cruelties to the light of civiliztion. The sun has arise
in our moral horizon is fast advancing to its meridan. We hail it with
joy! Although a part of our nation have detached themselves from us, to
follow the chase, in the western wilds, and we are invited to retrograte to
savageism, with strong talks and inducements as bribes our appetite for our
present enjoyments if is too strong to relinquish them because we have tasted
their sweets and are contented.
We have noticed the ancient ground of complaint founded on the ignorance
of our ancestors and their fondness of the chase, and for the purposes of agriculture
as having in possession too much land for their numbers. What is the language
of objection at this time? The case is reversed, and we are now assaulted
with menaces of expulsuion because we have unexpectedly become civilized and
because we have formed and organized a constitutional government. It is
too much for us now to be honest and virtuous and industrious because then are
we capable of aspiring to the calls of Christians and Politicians which renders
our attachment to the soil more strong and therefore more difficult to defend
us of the possession. Disappointment inflicts on the mind of the avaricious
whiteman; the mortification of delay, or the probability of the intended victim's
excape from the snares laid for its destruction. It remains for us in
this situation of the question, to act as free agents in choosing for ourselves
to walk in the straight forward path of the impartial recommendations of Washington,
Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, as most congenial to our feelings and knowledge
of the means calcaluated to promote our happiness. We hereby individually
set our faces to the rising sun and turn our backs to its setting. As
our ancestors revered the sepulchral monuments of the noble dead, we cherish
the sacred of their repose as they lie under hillocks of clay, that cover them
from our sight.
If the country, to which we are directed to go is desirable and well watered,
why is it so long a wilderness and a wasteland and uninhabited by respectable
white people whose enterprise ere this, would have attended them to monopolize
it from the poor and unfortunate of their fellow citizens as they have hitherto
done? From correct information we have formed a bad opinion of the western
country beyond the Mississippi. But if report was favorable to the fertility
of the soil, if the running streams were as transparent as crystal, and silver
fish abounded in their element in profusion we should still adhere to the purposes
of spending the remnant of our lives on the soil that gave us birth and
rendered deer from the nourishment we receive from its bosom.
We take the liberty of acknowledging our obligations to Major Ridge for
his attendance at our meeting and for an eloquent speech suitable for the occasion
which he delivered at our request.
MONEY HUNTER, his x mark.
TAH-KA-HA-KEE, his x mark.
SCATTERED, his x mark.
KUNG-WAS-SOO-LAS-KEE, his x mk.
KILLER, his mark.
RICHD. RATLIFF, jr. his x mark.
CRYING SNAKE, his x mark.
RESURRECTION, his x mark.
FOLLOWER, his x mark.