Wednesday, July 8, 1829
We have occasionally informed our readers of the treatment of the Cherokees have experiences from some of their white brethren since the passage of the law in Georgia, declaring the incompetency of Indians as witnesses. In stating cases of ill-treatment, we did not intend to say it was a general thing on the whole line of the Georgia frontier, but on particular parts, especially in that section embraced by the line lately run by Col. Wales. There the ill-treatment has been a general thing, and though persons at a distance may doubt our assertions, on account of too much confidence in the justice and liberality of the State of Georgia, they are nevertheless true, ' it is equally true, that the authorities of the state have been indifferent spectators thus far, beholding in silence the progress of such flagrant injustice and oppression. We verily believe, the legislators who enacted the law above alluded to, designed that its effects should be as they have been, and as they promise to be.
TO CORRESPONDENTS.- One of the Hickses is deferred until next week.
FOR THE CHEROKEE PHOENIX
MR. EDITOR-- Forbearance is desirable with me, could it exist without doing violence to my feelings; but sir, so interwoven are my feelings with the welfare and general interest of my country, that I cannot remain silent, when such glaring injustice is approaching it. Without the least regard to principle or humanity, which should always characterize a magnanimous people, the Georgians, right or wrong, by the authority of their Governor, without the consent of the General Government, have commenced the survey of a line beginning at Suwanna Old Town on the Chattahoochy, along a supposed old trail to the Six's on the Hightower. The pretence is, that it was once the boundary between the Cherokees and Creeks, but it is without the least shadow of substantial evidence. Of the existence of such a trail we have no knowledge, nor of the proofs that have been adduced to establish it. The surveyors were five or six days in search of this much desired trail, and some of our oldest citizens were offered five dollars per day to travel with them, and show them the trail, at which they laughed and declared their ignorance of its existence. Finally the survey was commenced, and sir, the persons employed were not wanting for old trails; if one did not do, they tried another, and thus they went on a line they are determined to have, trail or no trail. This, sir, is the conduct which now characterizes Georgia, who prides herself so much upon her virtue, honesty, and justice; if this will not make her blush, what can?- The pretext to this frivolous claim was never in existence until the late discovery of Wooford, one of the would be wisest politicians of his country, whose sagacity is so much celebrated by his constituents for such important discoveries. But after all this, our claims are just, our evidences will be to the point-let us have justice and it is all we ask. Our friends at a distance in their sympathies for us, and defence of our rights, must not speak without being calumniated.- The Indian affairs, Georgia claims all the wisdom and all the skill. The following affords a fine specimen of her charity and liberality. 'The line has never been in dispute between the Creeks and the Cherokees, within the memory of the oldest inhabitants of the country white or red; nor has there ever been a compromise.'- She tells us, 'the line has always been known to run as Georgia now contends, from the Suwanna Old Town on the Chattahoochy by the Hightower old trail to Six's until the Creek chief M'Intosh, having married a Cherokee wife, influenced his tribe to permit the Cherokees to run a line further south; and that such is the notoriety of these facts that even the Cherokees do not pretend to deny them.' We do deny them, and we are unanimous in our voice on this subject. If they existed at all, it is no where but in Georgia.- We are told further that we are 'sensible of the rights of Georgia, so that we have not the faintest hope of holding the land in question, and are quietly leaving them.' This I know to be notoriously false. Within the limits of this disputed land I live. Never were citizens more attached to their country, and here we intend to remain at all hazards. True, a few have gone to the interior of the Nation, and why? Because they have been forced from their homes, and their stocks driven from them by such outlawed wretches as have taken refuge in some of the bordering counties from the justice of the law.- When we apply to the laws of Georgia for justice, we are gravely denied our oaths ' any right of suffrage by an act of the last Legislature of the State. Such is the treatment which we meet, and such, sir, is the policy of Georgia. I presume, to effect our speedy removal to the country of Arkansas- but sir, we are not Arkansas men. The chase we despise- the kettle, gun, and steel trap are no inducements for us- we delight in cultivating the soil, and we know it is finely adapted to our purpose. Of our rights and liberties we ask no further than they have been guarantied to us by our treaties, ' thus far we intend to maintain them. If destruction is inevitable, the sooner the better, for our present state is a painful one. But, sir, we are not to be alarmed from our lands, to them we are firmly attached, our dwellings are comfortable, our farms are fertile, the climate healthy, our laws pretty good, with the prospect of bettering them, and our condition cannot be bettered by a removal--resistance we never intend, but with our blood will we water our land, and deposit our ashes with those of our ancestors.
2d. July, 1829
SIR,- The last number of the Cherokee Phoenix contains the following news to its readers taken from the 'Georgia Journal.'- 'The Cherokees are making extensive arrangement to go west of the Mississippi. The whole of the Hicks family are going. Charles Hicks, it will be remembered, was, previous to his death, the Head Chief, or King of the Nation' 'c. As a brother of the Head Chief, mentioned, and being one of the 'whole of the Hicks family,' stated to be in readiness to depart from this Nation to the west, I pronounce the above paragraph in regard to me, my sons, George, Eli, Jay and William Hicks, to be a gross slander. My brother is mentioned in the Georgia papers as having filled his situation as Chief, 'with great dignity, and credit.' How was this passing compliment, which is given by Georgia Editors, after his death, earned and achieved, among his people? It was by his firm adherence in his country, and in the exercise of indefatigable perseverance to instruct his people in civil polity, and to open their hearts to receive Christian principles.
My Great Father above has entrusted to my charge a large family of children, who are the object of my prayers, and whom it is my wish to raise 'in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.' Hitherto I have had encouragement to hope, that my labor has not been in vain, and it would be now, the proof of folly to suppose me capable of deserting the cause of my Country, and its Christian and civil lights for those of savage and Pagan habits, to which my younger children would be liable-in the western wilds. It is true indeed I have seen with pain a new doctrine advanced by Maj. Eaton, now Secretary or War, that our right to Government, which we have always retained, is inadmissable and that the U. States never guarantied the same to us in our treaties. But I know this also, that the executive of the United States, at this time, have not spoken as arbiters of justice according to laws, but the language of Commissioners, in earnest negotiation for land. When treaties or compacts are concluded it is done by one sovereign with another. A Nation talks to a Nation. How inconsistent, to say we have for these 46 years treated with you in our treaty making capacity, as granted us by the United States Constitution, not as a nation, but as subjects of Georgia. Sir, you have not allowed Georgia in your constitution (I am addressing the U. S.) to declare war against the Cherokee Nation. How then do you support the doctrine she has a right to subject us to her laws? By power. Is that you answer while your obligations by oath are recorded on you statutes ' known in heaven? I am still here, I have not yet heard the sound of drums, and trumpets, and cannon, to demolish and lay waste my house or the lives of my kindred; when I discover the exercise of these powers, then it will be the time to hide my dear charge, from the effects of that force, they had been taught to respect as their protection.
I am, Sir, respectfully,
WILLIAM HICKS, Sen.