New Echota. Cher. Na. Jan. 1, 1830
(extra edition, only 2 pages)
MEETING OF MISSIONARIES.
We invite the attention of our readers to the resolutions and statement of facts signed by the Missionaries. Such a document needs no recommendation from our pen- it will be read with interest by all who love truth and justice, because it is the language of truth. Perhaps its greatest excellence consists in its impartiality- there is nothing exaggerated from the beginning to the end. The information contained in these resolutions and statements is such areas greatly needed by the public, and well calculated to counteract many falsehoods and base misrepresentations which are circulated respecting the Cherokees.
In our remarks on the resolutions of the Methodist Missionaries, we expressed our opinion as to the propriety and expedience of making their views known on this all important subject. What we there and will be applicable to the processing of the other Missionaries which we now publish. We believe no one can remain neutral- there is no half-way __________ on this m_ _ g_t________- each individual in America must either be for the Indians, or against them, now will mere professions of friendship and sympathy answer- there and the feeling, and this feeling must prolong v_t_______ with the object.
At a meeting held at New Echota, Dec. 29th, 1830 (probably should read 1829) the following persons were present:
Rev. Daniel S. Butrick }
Rev. Wm Chamberlin } Missionaries of the American Rev. Wm. Potter } Board of ______________
Rev. S. A. Worcester } Foreign Missions.
Rev. Jno. Thompson }
Mr. Isaac Proctor } __________ of the A.B.C.F.M.
Doct. Elizur Butler }
Mr. Jno. C. Elsworth }
Mr. Wm. Holland }
Rev. Gottlieb Byman } Missionaries of the U. Brotheren
Rev. H. G. Clauder } (sic) Church
Rev. Evan Jones, Missionary of the American Baptist Board of Foreign Missions
Daniel S. Butrick was chosen Chairman of the meeting, and S. A. Worcester, Secretary.
The meeting was opened with prayer by the Chairman.
After deliberate consultation the following resolutions were unanimously adopted and resolutions passed for publication in an edition of the Cherokee Phoenix.
Resolved-( the next nine paragraphs are unreadable)
The Cherokee people have been advancing in civilization for a considerable number of years, and are still advancing as rapidly, we believe, as ever. Our various opportunities of acquaintance with them have been such that we suppose our united estimate of their progress cannot vary widely from the truth. Of this, however, the public must judge. Mr. Byman first arrived in the nation as a missionary in May 18-1, left it in 1812, and returned in 1817. Mr. Butrick arrived in January ' Mr. Chamberlin in March 1818. Mr. Potter and Doct. Butler arrived in January 1821, and Mr. Elsworth and Mr. Jones in November of the same year. Mr. Proctor in October, 1822, Mr. Holland in November 1823, Mr. Worcester in October 1825, Mr. Clauder in November 1828, and Mr. Thompson in January 1829. We occupy eleven stations, in different parts of the nation. One of these stations is in that part which is considered to have made the least progress in civilization.
When we say that the Cherokees are rapidly advancing in civilization, we speak of them as a body. There are very different degrees of improvement; some families having risen to a level with the white people of the United States, while the progress of others has but commenced. Between the extremes are all grades; but we do not believe there is a family in the nation which has not in a measure felt the change. That the Indians of mixed blood should upon an average, be in advance of the full Indians, was to be expected, ' is undoubtedly true; although some Indians of full blood are in the foremost rank, and some of mixed blood help to bring up the rear.
It has been represented, not only that improvement is confined almost exclusively to Indians of mixed blood, but that these constitute an insignificant portion of the nation. Neither representation is correct. We believe that not less than one fourth part of the people are in a greater or less degree mixed. The number of families of mixed blood has been stated at about 200 which is less than the number of families of which one parent is white. That these can bear but a small proportion to the number in which one or both parents are of mixed blood is manifest, since the process of amalgamation has been going on for many years, until the descendants of whites are to be found of at least the sixth generation.
But, as we have already said, it is far from being true that improvement is chiefly confined to this class. It is well known that the Cherokees were originally found by the aid in a purely savage state; naked almost in summer, and clothed with _____ in winter, living in miserable huts, without floors or chimneys, and subsisting, partly indeed by agriculture, but mainly by the chase. Without implements of war, and without the art of manufacturing cloth, it could not be for otherwise. To this purely savage state the present bears a far less resemblance than to that of the civilized people of the U. States. The very lowest class, with few exceptions are in our apprehensions, as near the latter as the former. As to the straggling legions who are seen abroad in the white settlements, they ought only to be compared with the drunken stragglers of other nations, to judge of comparative civilization.
It would swell our statement beyond a proper length to descend into many particulars, but it seems necessary to specify a few.
At present many of the Cherokees are dressed as well as the whites around them, and of most of them the manner of dress is substantially the same. A part of the old men, or perhaps nearly half retain, not indeed the original Indian dress, but that nearly which prevailed a dozen years since. Almost all the younger men have laid it aside. A very few aged women are seen with only a petticoat and short gown, meeting each either at the waist, which, twenty years ago, was the general style of female dress. Except that a very few, no woman appears without at least a decent gown, extending from the neck to the feet. Twenty years ago most of the Cherokee children of both sexes were entirely naked during most of the year. Now there are few, if any families here the children are not both actually clothed and especially a Cherokee girl, without decent clothing is an object very seldom seen. If the course continues, when those who are now at the decline of life shall have passed away, the dress of the Cherokees will scarcely distinguish them from their neighbors.
The Cherokee women generally manufacture more or less good substantial cloth. Many families raise their own cotton. A great part of thier clothing is manufactured by themselves, though not a little is New England and foreign manufacture.
Thirty years ago a plough was scarcely seen in the nation. Twenty years ago there were nearly 500. Still the ground was cultivated chiefly by the hoe only. Six years ago the number of ploughs, as calculated was 2923. Among us all we scarcely know a field which is now only cultivated without ploughing (sic). Consequently the quantity of land cultivated is increased several fold. Habits of industry are much increased, and still increasing; and though many fail in this respect, so that the more indolent sometimes trespass upon the hospitality of the more industrious, yet most families provide in the produce of their field for the supply of their own wants, and many raise considerable quantities of corn for sale. Suffering for want of food is as rare,we believe, as in any part of the civilized world.
The dwellings of the mass of the Cherokees are comfortable log cabins. The meanest are not meaner than those of some of the neighboring whites. Formerly their huts had neither floors nor chimneys. Twenty years since nearly all had chimneys, but few had floors. Now most of the cabins have floors, besides, being much improved in other respects. Many of the houses in the nation are decent, two story buildings and some are elegant.
In the furniture of their houses, perhaps; the mass of the people suffer more than in almost any other respect by comparison with their white neighbors. Yet in this particular we notice a very rapid change in the course of a few years past. The diffusion of property among the people is becoming more gradual.
In no respect, perhaps, is the approach to civilization more evident than in regard to the station assigned to women. Though in this respect there is still room for improvement, yet in general they are allowed to hold their proper place.
Polygamy, which has prevailed to some extent is becoming rare. It is forbidden by law, but the law being as yet without a penalty annexed, has probably much less influence than public opinion which makes the practice highly disreputable. A few are still living in a state of polygamy, but at present almost no one enters the state.
Superstition still bears considerable sway, but its influence is rapidly declining. Customs which once it was infamous to violate are fast disappearing. Most of the young men of the nation appear to be entirely ignorant of a large portion of the former superstitions. Ancient traditions are fading from memory and can scarcely be collected if any one would commit them to paper. Conjuring, however, is still, to a considerable extent, practised (sic) by the old, and believed in by the less enlightened even of the young.
In regard to intemperance there is much to deplore, but it is, we believe, an undisputed fact, that its prevalence has greatly diminished, and is still diminishing. Indeed we are confident that, at present, the Cherokees would not suffer in this respect by a comparison with the white population around. In regard to the scenes of intoxication exhibited at the sessions of courts, and on other public occasions, the Cherokees, in consequence of their wholesome laws on the subject, have greatly the advantage.
In education, we do not know that the progress of the Cherokees should be called rapid. Certainly it is far less so than is desirable. The following facts, however, will serve to correct some misstatements on this subject. We have before us the names of 200 Cherokee men ' youths who are believed to have obtained an English education sufficient for the transaction of ordinary business. Females, it will be observed are excluded, as are many men ' youths who can barely read ' write. Of these 200 persons about 132 were instructed wholly within the nation, about 24 received within the nation sufficient instruction to enable them to transact ordinary business independently of superadded advantages, and about forty four were instructed chiefly abroad. We doubt not that a more extended acquaintance would increase the list. An increasing anxiety among the people for the education of their children is very apparent.
Of this number who are able to read their own language in Guess's alphabet, we should vary somewhat in our individual estimates. None of us, however, supposes that less than a majority of those who are between childhood and middle age, can read with greater or less facility.
Nothing could be further from the truth than the representation that any class of the Cherokees are in any respect deteriorating. However slow may be the progress of a portion of the people, their course is manifestly not retrograde, but progressive.
In regard to the state of religion, we deem it sufficient to state, as nearly as we are able, the number of members of the several religious societies. To the Presbyterian churches belong 219 members, of whom 167 are Cherokees. In the United Brethryn's (sic) churches are 45 Cherokee members. In the Baptist churches probably about 90; we know not the exact number. The original statement of the Methodist missionaries made a little more than a year ago gave 736 as the number of members in their societies, including those who are demonstrated seekers. The number according to the report of the present year we have not been able to ascertain. We are assured not less than 850 of these the greater part are Cherokees.
While we represent the Cherokee people as having made great advances in civilization and knowledge, as well as in religion, we wish not to be understood to attribute all to the influence of missionary efforts. We trust, indeed that missionaries, besides introducing the religion of the Gospel, have had their share of influence in promoting education and the habits of civilized life. But this influence has not been alone, nor was it the first which began to be felt.
The intermixture of white people with the Indians has undoubtedly been a considerable cause of the civilization of the latter. The operation of this cause upon the descendants of white men we believe is not called in question; but some have seemed to suppose its influence on the full Indians to have been of an opposite character. To say nothing of the improbability of such a supposition considered as theory, it is manifestly contrary to fact in relation to this people. The less civilized Indians are led by degrees, and more and more rapidly as prejudices subside, to adopt the better customs of the more civilized, whose examples are constantly before them.
The proximity of the whites, also, is by no means injurious in every respect. The evil which they have brought upon the Indians by the introduction of ardent spirits and of vices before unknown among them is indeed great. On the other hand, however, the gradual assimilation of the tribe, thus surrounded by civilized people, to the customs and manners which constantly invite their imitation, and the facility thus afforded for procuring the comforts of life are benefits of no little value. To deprive them of these advantages, while in their present state, would be an incalculable evil.
In relation to the arts of civilized life, and especially those of spinning and weaving,most important results were produced by the system of means proposed by Washington, and carried into effect by some of the former agents of the Government; particularly Col. Dinsmoor, to whom the Cherokee acknowledge themselves greatly indebted.
It has been often represented that white men and halfbreeds control the political affairs of the nation. White men, can, by the Constitution, have no part in the government; and to us it is evident that the influence of the white citizens of the nation over its political concerns is of very little consideration. For ourselves we have already disclaimed such influence. Not only have we been disposed on our own part carefully to avoid all interference with such concerns, but we well know that the Cherokees would ever have repelled such interference with indignation. Since, however, all that has been said of our influence has been mere surmise, without the pretence of evidence, we cannot suppose that much more is necessary on our part than to deny the charge.
That the Indians of mixed blood possess, in a considerable degree, that superior influence which naturally attends superior knowledge, cannot be doubted. Of this description certainly are the greater portion of those through whose influence a happier form of Government has taken the place of that under which the Cherokees formerly lived. But it would be a power of a far different kind from any which exists in the Cherokee Nation, which could as those leading men have been represented to do, assume and maintain an important position in opposition to the will of the people. Particularly is there overwhelming evidence that no man, whatever degree of talent, or knowledge, or previous influence he might possess, could possibly find his way into office at the present time, whose views were known to contravene those of the mass of the people in the grand subject of national interest--a removal to the west. The disposal of office is in the hands of the people--the people require patriotism, and the very touchstone of patriotism is, 'Will he sell his country?'
It may not be amiss to state what proportion the Indian blood actually bears to the white in the principal departments of the Cherokee Government. The present principal Chief, Mr. John Ross, is we believe, but one eighth Cherokee. Maj Lowrey, the second principal chief is one half Cherokee. The legislature consists of two branches, styled the National Committee and Council, the former numbering 16 members and the latter 24. The presiding officers of both these branches are full Cherokees. Of the Committee two only, including the President, are full Indians, of the rest, seven are half Indian, two more and five less than half. Of the Council 16 are supposed to be full Indians, seven half, and one only one fourth. No measure can be adopted without the concurrence of both houses, and consequently every public measure has the sanction of a body of which two thirds of the members are of unmixed Indian blood. Each succeeding election may vary the proportion. This is, as nearly as we can ascertain, the proportion as it now stands.
One other representation we feel it our duty to notice, viz: that the people are deterred from the expression of opinion by the fear of the chiefs. Nothing, we are sure, could be more unfounded. Freedom of speech exists nowhere more unrestrained than here. Individuals may very possibly be restrained from expression of an opinion favorable to the removal of the nation, by the dread of incurring the odium of public sentiment; but this is the only restraint, and it is one which supposes, what in fact exists, an overwhelming torrent of national feeling in opposition to removal.
It is on this subject, most of all, that the views of the Cherokees have been ascribed to the influence of missionaries. In denying all interference with their political concerns we have repelled this insinuation. We would not be understood to affirm that we have always studiously avoided the expression of our opinions, but that we have not acted the part of advisers, nor would nor could have influenced the views of the people or of their rulers.
In reference to the subjecting of the Cherokees to the jurisdiction of the several states whose chartered limits embrace their country, it may not be improper to state what, from a constant residence among them, we cannot but perceive to be their feelings. One sentiment manifestly pervades the whole nation-that the extension of the laws of the states over them, without their consent, would be a most oppressive and flagrant violation of their natural and coaventional (sic) rights; and the sufferance of it by the United States as flagrant a violation of those treaties on which alone they have relied for security. It would be as idle, also, as it is distant from our wish, to conceal, that our views on this subject agree with theirs, and that on a topic of such universal excitement, it is impossible that our views should be unknown to them. If the free expression of such an opinion be a crime, to the charge of that crime we plead guilty. If we withheld our opinion when called for, we could not hold up our heads as preachers of righteousness among a people who would universally regard us as abettors of iniquity.
While such are the feelings of the Cherokees, it is impossible that the jurisdiction of the several states should be established over them without producing the most unhappy results. It is not easy to conjecture what course, in such an event, the majority would adopt. Any thing approaching to unanimity could not be expected. Some would undoubtedly join their brethren, in Arkansas, some, if we may judge from remarks which we frequently hear, would seek a refuge beyond the boundaries of the United States, while others still would make the experiment of remaining subject to authorities to which they must render an unwilling obedience. Either alternative would be adopted with such feelings as would in many, we fear in most instances, preclude the probability of their making further progress in improvement, or even retaining the ground they have gained. The news of the failure of their cause would drive them to despair, and despair there is every reason to fear would good many of them on to ruinous excesses of vice, if not in some instances to blind revenge. Hard is the task of that phenothropist (sic) who would attempt to elaborate or even to sustain the character of a broken hearted people. But we forebear to swell upon the anticipation of evils which we earnestly hope will never be realized.
In all the preceding statements we are conscious of having honestly endeavored to avoid every degree of exaggeration. To us it appears that the Cherokees are in a course of improvement, which promises, if uninterrupted, to place them at no distant period, nearly on a level with their white brethren. Laboring, as we are, to aid them in their progress, we cannot do otherwise than earnestly deprecate any measure which threatens to arrest it. In this light we view the attempt to remove them from their inheritance, or subject them against their will, to the dominion of others. Our sympathies are with them--our prayers have often ascended, and shall still ascend in their behalf-and we earnestly in___ the prayers of all our fellow Christians, that He who rules the destinies of nations will deliver them out of all their afflictions and establish them in the land which he has given them; and at the same time, that he will open all their hearts to receive the Gospel of his son, and thus to secure to themselves the possession of a better country, even a heavenly.
S. A. Worcester,
H. G. Clauder
J. C. Elsworth