and Indians' Advocate
Wednesday, April 14, 1830
Vol. II, no. 52
Page 3, col. 1b-5b
25th March 1830
To the Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix.
Dear Sir- Below I give you an extract from a letter lately received from a correspondent in Pennsylvania, you are liberty to make what use of it you please.
"And now, my dear sir, I wish to unburden my mind of the heavy feelings which I have respecting the removal of the Cherokees, beyond the Mississippi. This is a subject on which there is very much excitement at the North, and many are stirred to a spirit of great indignation towards the oppressive, selfish, cruel-hearted Georgians, who "Neither fear God, nor regard man." We think if the United States allow the Cherokees to be deprived of their possessions by this tyrannical state, that we must never again light up our voices against the Turks for massacring the defenseless Greeks: for this is no less cruel, or barbarous. This affair is discussed wherever Politics are spoken of; and in but one solitary instance have I heard the conduct of the Georgians justified, and every word thus spoken, was against the speaker, and I think he will not soon, thus expose himself again, to the charge of advocating cruelty and barbarism, to the suspicion of infidelity and inhumanity.
The writings of William Penn are widely circulated, and read with much interest, and it is supposed will effect much in favor of the Indians.
I heard of a letter written by the Rev. Mr. Gildersleeve, advocating the cause of the Georgians; and I say some remarks respecting it in the last Phoenix which arrived. It seems that Mr. Gildersleeve had been informed by some missionary, who had resided in the Nation, several years, that "the Cherokees, excepting a very few instances, were poorer, and in a worse condition than before the missionaries went to teach them." It must have been a Judas of a missionary (if any) who said this. I have never seen such a traitor. All with whom I have ever conversed, let them differ ever so much in other respects, agree in this, that the progress of the Cherokees, very greatly exceeds their most sanguine hopes: and even a Georgian confessed that after three years, he went through the nation a second time, and the improvements were so great, that he should hardly have known them for the same people.
Had I never been at the south I should have more hope for the Cherokees. The hostile spirit which prevails towards the Indians in the minds of many is astonishing. I never trembled more for my own safety then when I heard a Tennessean say, that if he could do it without discovery, he would murder every Indian who passed his house. This he said before his family, and it was acceded to be his son. I felt horridly; expecting we should be robbed, and murdered ourselves, and actually went to see if there were any neighbors in sight.- As it was late in the evening and we could not proceed on our journey, I could only trust in God for safety: there was no inhabitant near; but there was not a Cherokee in the nation in whose abode I should not have rested more quietly. Two days journey after this I reported this horrid speech to a woman, to my utter astonishment she said, "she felt very much so herself towards Indians: I thought, all this, and much more, indicated more barbarism and a state of heathenism, beyond anything which I saw amongst the Cherokees.
Some months ago, I saw a request in the Cherokee Phoenix, that Christians would remember them in their prayers. They are thus remembered with much sympathy and affection. That the powerful arm of oppression may not prevail against the defenseless, is a part of our public, and secret prayers. And I do feel almost an assurance that God will appear for his own cause. It will be a most mysterious providence, if all the labors of Christians and missionaries, are thus blighted. It will be a severe trial of our faith. But after all, it may be even thus, and in his hands we submit the cause.
As to their inferiority of mind, with which some of their enemies tax the Cherokees, there is no such idea existing amongst us. Their superiority of intellect is strongly evinced in every case where they have had the advantages of education. The children make much more rapid progress than ours; and I saw as much wit beauty & genius, in the Cherokee Nation, as I ever saw anywhere, making due allowance for the want of early advantages.
Setting aside the novelty of your paper, which increases its interest very much, we think the Cherokee Phoenix as good a periodical, as we have from any quarter, both as it respects original, or extracted matter. A very great multitude feel much sympathy for the Indians, and highly disapprove of the course taken by the Georgians, and we are willing they should know it."
Dear Sir, if you should think best to publish the above, I would remark in justice to the southern people, that the number in Tennessee that harbor such feelings against the Indians, as are related by my correspondent, is very small; and they of the very lowest class. There are many warm friends to the Indians in Tennessee; and I believe the good people even in Georgia, would be as indignant at the course pursued by their politicians as the northern people are, if they had the same means of informing themselves on the subject.
It is a fact, that the people in the adjoining settlements are far more
ignorant of the true state of the Cherokees than those who reside a thousand
miles off. Any person would be convinced of this who would travel thro'
the Northern and Middle states, and through the adjoining settlements, hear
their different remarks, and then come into the Nation and learn the truth from
his own observation. This will account for the falsity of the far fetched
statements published by Dr. Ely of Philadelphia. I have resided in this Nation
for more than twelve years, and have had as good an opportunity to know the
true condition of this people as any white man living; and I know of no Cherokee
that is suffering for food or clothing. And I do know, that, not a few
half-breeds only, but the whole nation are in a state of rapid improvement.
The Christian public may be assured that my statement to the contrary is got
up by interested and designing men to promote an unrighteous cause, and can
be proved to be false, even though the statement should come through one of
the most honorable and upright Senators of the United States.