and Indians' Advocate
Wednesday, January 6, 1830
Vol. II, no. 39
Page 3, col. 2b-5c
The following paragraphs are taken from a communication of Governor Gilmore to the Legislature of Georgia:
"I transmit to both branches of the Legislature a copy of the report received from Colonel S. A. Wales, and Charles Gates, Esq. Commissioners appointed to take the testimonies of Indians and others upon the subject of the disputed line between this State and the Cherokee Tribe of Indians, together with a copy of the testimony taken by them. It is very gratifying to find that the claim of the State which had previously been only supported by the evidence of our own citizens, derived from conversations with the Cherokees and other rather uncertain sources, is so strongly confirmed by the testimony of the Cherokees themselves.
"Permit me to suggest the propriety of preventing the immediate publication of the testimony. Col. Wales informs me that the witnesses were in great danger from deposing at all upon the subject of the disputed line, and would most probably have lost their lives if their testimony had been made public--that he promised that it should not be published until they left their country--all of them being of the emigrating party. He states, however, that they were to have left the agency before this time, and will most probably be removed from danger very shortly. As the testimony was taken by order of the Legislature, and commission at an end, I did not feel myself at liberty to withhold it."
The first thing that strikes the mind of the reader who is properly acquainted with all the circumstances of the case in dispute, when he peruses the above extracts, is the criminal efforts of the State of Georgia to accomplish her ends in regard to the Cherokees-even at the expense of truth and justice. It is very natural that a state, which has succeeded thus far in distressing us by means of falsehoods, should continue in the same line of policy. Before our readers give full credit to what Col. S. A. Wales says of the danger of the emigrant's losing their lives if their statements are published too soon, or what the nature of those statements are, we beg leave to state that he is the same man, who deliberately told an untruth by asserting before General Coffee and others, that he was not an agent for the state, to collect evidence in her behalf, when by the communication of the Governor, the public are informed that he was an agent. Is such a man worthy of belief? The true state of the case is very apt to be, that the said Wales has not been faithful in writing the statements of the emigrants; and that he wishes them out of the country before those statements are made public, lest they should be corrected. This is as likely to be the truth as the other. We say this, because we think the emigrating Cherokees could have stated nothing detrimental to the interests of this country. If they told facts, there was no reason that they should be afraid for their lives.- The Cherokees are not tyrants, they hold not their rights by deceiving the public, or by arbitrary power. any person who attempts to place them before the public in an unfavorable light in this respect, as Wales has evidently done, is a vile calumniator.
The following facts which we have from an undoubted source, will explain the nature of the statements of the emigrants obtained by Wales, unless he has greatly perverted them. Mr. Richard Rowe, the most aged Cherokee emigrant who would be likely to know something about the boundary line, was requested by General Coffee to state what he did know.- Mr. Rowe appeared reluctant to comply, observing that he did not wish to say anything on this subject, as his situation was a delicate one, and as he might be subjected to the ill will of the Cherokees.- This observation very naturally induced the General to urge the request and to suppose that he did know something in favor of Georgia. Mr. Rowe finally made a statement, which was not taken down, because it was neither in favor or against the claim of Georgia. Now what could Col. Wales have received from this man? Another fact worthy of remark is, that General Coffee in the first place came to the Agency where all the emigrants were collected, and remained there a number of days, endeavouring [sic] to procure what evidence he could. He left that place, we believe, without taking a single deposition. How could Col. Wales have been more successful? If he was, it must have been by means of intrigue, which he showed himself to possess, when he denied his authority.
We have fallen upon evil times indeed, if our rights and our existence are to depend upon the honesty and justice of such a man. If we are too free in our words, we ask pardon- we must speak, and duty requires us to speak very plain, when we know that the determination of the state, by appointing such men her agents, is, to cheat us out of our lands. This is saying much, but it is, nevertheless true.