and Indian's Advocate
Wednesday, November 25, 1829
Vol. II, no. 33
Page 1, col. 5a
At the close of the report of the Cherokee Mission, the Prudential Committee of the American Board thus express themselves on the question of removal:
"At the present time, the eyes of America, and of not a few individuals in Europe, are discovering this tribe, on account of the measures, which are in contemplation for their removal. The Cherokees are in a state of great anxiety in regard to the questions whether they are to reside on their lands, which they have received from their fathers, or be constrained to migrate to a country for which they have no attachments, and which in their view, will be an inconvenient resting place for a few years, as they apprehend, they shall be driven away, dispersed and destroyed. This is undoubtedly the general, if not the universal state, of feeling among them, and it is certain, that such a state of feeling must, so long as it exists, be a great hindrance to those improvements which have been for some years in progress and which it is the special object of this board to promote.
It has been a subject of serious deliberation with the Committee how far it became them to express any opinion, with respect to the removal of the Indians which is now so much agitated. It has always been a maxim with them that it is not expedient for religious societies to take part in any question merely political; and the missionaries under their direction have been uniformly instructed not to interfere with the political, commercial, or municipal affairs of the natives for whose benefit they were sent forth. It has not been thought a violation of the principles, however, for the missionaries among the Cherokees to assure them, that they might rely upon the justice of the United States, and that all the treaty stipulations, with them would be honorable fulfilled. By giving such assurances, the missionaries supposed, that they were doing what was right and proper in itself, and what would meet with the decided approbation of the general government. The agents of the United States among the Indians have, it is believed, been in the constant habit of given similar assurances, in pursuance of their official instructions. As to any decisions of the Cherokees in regard to their secular interests, the missionaries have scrupulously refrained from giving advice.
The Committee feel bound, on this occasion, to declare: in their judgment, no Indians should be compelled to leave the lands which they derived from their ancestors, of which they are in peaceable possession and which have been guaranteed to them by solemn treaties. In all negotiations with them on the subject of removal, it must be obvious, that the terms should be just and reasonable in themselves; that the acceptance or rejection of them should be left to the free and unbiased determination of the Indians: and that any proceeding, in opposition to these principles, would be altogether unjustifiable; and such as should never be expected from a Christian people.
Deeply impressed with these views the Committee would affectionately recommend it to the members of this Board and to the Christian community, to offer up fervent and unceasing prayers to the God of Heaven, that all the measures, which may be adopted in relation to the Indians, may be dictated by justice and benevolence; and that the efforts which may be made for their temporal and spiritual welfare may be crowned with entire success.