(The following title is not included in the original)
(From the National Intelligencer.
PRESENT CRISIS IN THE CONDITION OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS.)
SIXTH COMPACT WITH THE CHEROKEES
This instrument was executed on the 20th of October, 1803, by Return J. Meigs, Agent of the United States among the Cherokees, and by fourteen Cherokee Chiefs, beginning with Black Fox the principal Chief, and ending with the famous James Vann. It was witnessed by five officers of the United States Army, and three other persons, one of whom was Charles Hicks than acting as interpreter. I have called it a compact not a treaty, because it was not sent to the Senate for ratification. But though it be not technically a treaty, it is morally binding upon the United States, for it has been carried into effect, and the United States, particularly the People of Tennessee ' Georgia have derived great benefit from it. I have an accurate copy before me.
Articles of Agreement between the United States and the Cherokee Nation, for opening a road from the State of Tennessee to the State of Georgia, through the Cherokee Nation.
The Cherokee Nation having taken into consideration the request of their Father the President of the United States, to grant that a road may be opened through the Nation, from the State of Tennessee to the State of Georgia, and being desirous to evince to their Father, the President, and the good People of the United States, their good will and friendly disposition, do hereby agree, that a road may be opened from the State to the State of Georgia, with the reservation and provisions as in the following articles are expressed; and further to evince to our Father, the President, that we are not influenced by pecuniary motives, we make a present of the road to the United States.'
Art. 1. A road granted, sixty feet in width, passing through about 150 miles of Cherokee territory, and opening a communication from Augusta, Georgia, to Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee. [This has usually been called the Federal Road.-It has been much travelled; and great quantities of merchandize (sic) and other valuable property have been transported over it.] It was to be made solely at the expense of the United States. The article also provides; that when the road is opened, the direction of it shall not be changed; and that no branch or branches (except one which had been described) 'shall ever be permitted to be opened without the consent of the Cherokee Nation.'
Art. 2. The Cherokees reserve to themselves the income of the ferries; and specify where the ferries shall be kept.
Art. 3. Various regulations respecting houses of entertainment, which the Cherokees were to establish: keeping the road in repair, ', 'c.
Art. 4. No meat cattle from the Southern States shall be driven through the Cherokee Nation; and when horses are taken through, the manner of them shall be inserted in the passport of the owner. The Cherokees are not to be answerable for estrays(sic) from among the animals of the whites.
Art. 5. Officers, civil and military, mail carriers, and other classes, exempted from toll and ferriage.
Art. 6. Commissioners to be appointed on each side to survey and mark the road.
Art. 7. One copy of this agreement to be sent to the Secretary of War, another to be left with the principal Cherokee Chief, and a third with the Agent of the United States among the Cherokees.
The road was opened the following year, and has now been travelled for a quarter of a century; and, during this whole time, has greatly facilitated intercourse between different parts of the Southern States.
No reader of the foregoing abstract can be so dull as not to perceive that the privilege was granted to the United States, at the special instance of the President; that the Cherokees were extremely cautious not to compromit their territorial rights; and that they made the grant from motives of friendship, and a willingness to afford the desired accommodation. They guard, in a suitable manner, against vexations and liabilities, to which this act of kindness might be thought to expose them; and they reserve the income of the ferries, some of which are over considerable rivers and have been quite profitable.
The word Father is repeatedly used in this document, to indicate the relation which the President of the United States held to the Cherokees as their protector from aggression and as bound to see that the treaties with them are carried into effect 'with all good faith'. We had obtruded the word upon them. We had put it into their mouths, and it was made the standing pledge, not merely of our justice, but of our kindness and generosity towards them.- Shall this sacred and venerable name be prostituted to purposes of injustice and oppression? For most assuredly it will be deemed oppression, rank oppression, if we disown our engagements; forswear our most solemn covenants, and then take possession of the lands of our poor neighbors, which had been secured to them by the highest guaranty which we could make. Nor will the oppression be less odious on account of its being accompanied by professions of great benevolence, and the promise of a new guaranty.