Cherokee Phoenix and Indians' Advocate
Wednesday, March 18, 1829
Vol. II, no. 1
p. 2, col. 4a
MR. EDITOR -- Last Sabbath we enjoyed a delightful season, at the table of our Lord. After a sermon by the Rev. Mr. Chamberlain, from these words, "And ye are Christ's, a goodly number of our Christian brethren in this vicinity sat down together to a feast prepared as wee for the red as the white man. It was pleasing to notice the good order and decorum of the congregation, notwithstanding it was large and the weather cold: but it was inexpressibly more pleasing to see our brethren and kindred according to the flesh, who not long since were strangers to the Gospel, now apparently, "fellow citizens with the Saints and of the household of God." Once they were "a dark bewildered race," now they are singing redeeming grace and dying love. A scene which Kings and Prophets desired to see, but saw it not. O! the inestimable value of the gospel. May it continue to spread, until every part of our country shall be illumined by itsdivine rays.
But here I pause, in melancholy suspense, in view of the storm that is gathering over our beloved country, the Ottoman-like policy, that threatens to entomb our laws, our most sacred rights and privileges in oblivion, and to put an end to our national existence. While Georgia is divesting us of rights so strongly interwoven with our nature, Agents of the United States are visiting us at our fire sides, to persuade and induce us to emigrate westward.
This posture of affairs is adverse to the progress of religion and other improvements, in the nation. The people, more or less, become restless and uneasy, and are diverted from their various useful pursuits and the confidence in the faith of the General Government is on the decline; and should this agitated state of things continue long, there is too much reason to believe that our days as a nation, are numbered. Some perhaps will hasten their steps with sorrow towards the setting sun, while others will seek in the shades of death, a refuge from the proud oppressor's hand.
We are told that we must go westward, that there we shall become a great people. But what nation or tribe have rendered themselves prosperous by removing the wilds of the west? To the Cherokees on the Arkansas, we are attached by ties of blood as well as affection. We feel the tenderest solicitude for their well being. But they are by no means prosperous. They are yet without salutary laws and regulations. As it was in this country about twenty years back, there is often much confusion and intestine broils among them; and the emigration of their people to the Spanish country is not unfrequent. Owing to their frontier situation too, they are often involved in sanguinary wars with the neighboring tribes. Under these then and other causes, improvement must go on but slowly. For their prosperity, however, we have a strong wish.
The Shawnees and Delawares, once powerful tribes, are now wandering somewhere in the west, in pursuit of the deer and buffalo, and their past history demonstrates, that they are fast approaching to extinction.
But in case we should emigrate as a nation, where are we to go? Where is the country in the west, that will be congenial to Cherokee habits? Alas! there is none. The United States, by the late Treaty with the Cherokees of Arkansas, have ceded the only country that was somewhat fit and suitable for us. West of that country is one vast prairie, suitable only for the hunter and the savage; and north of that, is too cold for us. I repeat it, as well from my geographical knowledge as my travels, there is none.
What will be our fate, God only knows. Georgia is extending her laws over us and at the same time stripping us of every right and privilege -- agents of the United States are assiduous to induce us to quite our native homes. If this is not oppression, I know not what it is. Should we finally fall a sacrifice to the avarice of this fair, free and happy republic, as it is called, the sad news, no doubt will reach London, Paris, and Madrid as a stigma on its boasted character. Nay the mournful story will be reiterated in St. Petersburg. Oppressed Greece, too, will sympathize with us and drop a tear over our funeral pile.
But help comes from God. That Almighty and Righteous Being, in whose hand our breath is, and who presides over the destinies of nations, we hope, will think upon us for good. In due time He sent the Gospel to the Cherokee Nation, and He is able to protect it. Let us with humility look up to Him for succour in this peculiar time of need.
I trust our Christian friends, of every denomination in the United States,
especially those in the State of Georgia, will pray for us.
A CHEROKEE FARMER
Willstown, Feb. 20th 1829.