For the Cherokee Phoenix
NB. The right side of the column is caught in the binding and cannot be read. That is the reason for the _____ (blanks) instead of complete or completed words.
The Choctaws are _______ obligations they are under _____ ___der brethren, the Ch______ their nobel stand in the present crisis of the fragments of the ___ people. A deep interest must _____ all red people who are approaching danger of extermination _____ they are threatened; and the ______ honorable part of the civilization _____ would deeply feel for us _____ know our situation and the ____ which are in operation to ____ and as an individual. I f____ some of these men to the public.
The Choctaws discovered ___ United States and the state of Mississippi had determined to _____ country, and they must __ remove in a body, or else suffer harassing consequences of ___ plenty of money travelling ____ and trying to divide them: ____ off the ignorant and uninformed leaders who would sacrifice ___ claims of the nation, that th__ obtain individual wealth and ___ the station of Chiefs in ____ country, under the protection of the United States government knew that the price of some of ___ was well known to the President that if they were bought ____ carry a number of people w____ and that if they were established in our country west of Mississippi would re-establish their ____ and customs, and thereby re_____ future emigration of the bo___ nation impossible, as they could consent to give up their improvements. The Choctaws believed that ___ would propose to sell their ___ and remove in a body, the government of the United States would ____ an opportunity of sending them ___ new home in peace among them and enabling them to carry ___ improvements in civilization ___ture and christianity with them.
In making propositions to __ government they were governed ---has been generally understood___ been the propositions made to ___ President Adams- It is generally known that he offered them ___ of dollars for their Country and all their present improvements ___ their new homes, even to a ___ or fowl, to pay them for them or replace it over there; ___ them one hundred and eighty ___ of land as reserve together --- other important advantage ___ some of these particulars were objections. It would be difficult ___ government to please the people __tvements- It was scarcely possible to have the improvements made so as to enable each family to make a crop the first year, which if they failed to do, they would have nothing upon which to subsist the second year. An additional motive was, that our people, by making their own improvements would be forming habits of labor. In addition to the replacing the improvements on their future homes, it was believed that each family who in any degree clothed themselves or gained any other advantage from agriculture should be indemnified for their loss of crops from the time they emigrated until they could be in a situation equally advantageous in their new country. Further, there would be many articles left and lost in removing for which a demand could not be made.
To meet all these and other just wishes and expectations, it was proposed that the government should give each family six hundred and forty acres of land in their present residence, and hereby enable them to make their own improvements, and meet the losses to which they might be subjected, and as an indemnity for this change in favor of the "Choctaws, they proposed to surrender all their present annuity, amounting to twenty four thousand dollars; twelve thousand of which is an interest on two hundred thousand dollars in the hands of the government. Then the million of dollars was asked for as a capital which should remain in the hands of the government at least twenty years; on interest of five percent. These were the two principal items in a treaty in which twenty thousand persons proposed to leave the land of their Fathers, a country containing ten or twelve million of acres of land, and get out of the way of the state of Mississippi.
In this outline of the treaty sent by the Choctaws, I say nothing about an exchange of land, because the Choctaws have already purchased a sufficient country there by an exchange and hold the government bound by treaty, to furnish every emigrant certain outfit and one year's provisions on reaching his western home.
With a full assurance that President Jackson would be more liberal to the Choctaws than President Adams most of the "Choctaws hailed his elevation to the Presidential chair as the most fortunate occurrence which could have taken place in the affairs of the Choctaw nation. Many of them were personally acquainted with him. They had suffered with him- They had fought under him; and their brethren had bled and died in his sight- They were assured that when he was informed that the council of the north west District had determined that they would not emigrate, unless he said to them they must, or submit to Mississippi laws, he burst into tears and exclaimed, "how can I say to the people who have fought with me, that they must & shall remove?"
Under these views of our situation we proposed a treaty which we believed to be just and equitable, with an honest and honorable design of sacrificing our attachments to the land and graves of our fathers, that in peace among ourselves, and in peace with all the world we might seek a home in the western wilderness. But our mortification can scarcely be imagined, on discovering that the messenger bearing our proposition had scarcely left us, when the United States Interpreters were found actively engaged in raising a party to oppose and prevent the ratification of the treaty. Councils were appointed; everything like civilization and christianity was to be excluded from the new party. Loud boastings were heard of arms and deadly weapons at their Councils. Reports of the gathering of forces, from the Creeks and whites, to destroy the Christian Choctaws, were circulated--Rumors were hastening through the settlements of the Christian Choctaws, waking up families at midnight hour, and informing them that the slaughtering army was approaching and that unless they immediately left their religion, and joined them, they would all be destroyed. The whole population of an extensive tract of country was thrown into confusion. Some fled to the opposite party--Many sought safety in swamps and some fled to the white settlements in Mississippi. Every falsehood which could be invented to produce confusion was resorted to.- Families were seized by armed parties and carried to their councils, and one side of their faces blacked and the other painted, and they were then ordered to get up and dance away their religion: and if they hesitated, guns were fired under them to hasten them.
During this season of confusion the body of the nation continued to look with inexpressible anxiety for the return of the messenger by whom they had sent their proposition to the city of Washington, hoping that the treaty would be ratified, by which means peace would be restored. But the enemies of peace became bold in proportion to the forbearance of the friends of peace.
The life of the principal chief was threatened. It was understood that strong measures would be resorted to, to draw off a part of the north west District, and if successful, that na attack would be made upon all the christian settlements, and if possible have them exterminated. About the time that this plan was believed to be in serious contemplation, both the Districts in which these evils had principally prevailed were called to the Factory on Tombigbee river, to receive their annuity, and Col. Leflore, the Chief of the third District, was invited by the agent to be present.- Col. Leflore immediately determined to march a sufficient armed force to that place, to secure peace on some terms.- He accordingly communicated his intention to the other two districts, that they might be apprised of his object. He met the other two districts, and secured peace and friendship by having Mushulatubbee broke as chief of the eastern district, and arranging with his captains that neither of the two districts should interfere, that they should not elect a chief under two months. In the council that was held by all the captains of the three districts and two Chiefs, the Chief and Captains who had been associated with Mushulatubbee joined at Middleton Mackey and stated, that he had told them lies which had produced all the disturbance in the nation. That it was the lies of Mackey the United States interpreter, which had lead them all in a wrong way.- It is now easy to see the connection between our confusion and the measures of the United States government- a small party headed by the United States interpreter had appointed two Chiefs, in opposition to Col. Leflore, who had been elected by the national Council the sole Chief of the nation. This party with their two Chiefs used every possible means to gain the ascendancy, and to secure their popularity, no doubt reported themselves as having the body of the nation with them. Though they were still in the minority they had two chiefs, which gave them a majority of Chiefs. In this situation or immediately after Mushulatubbee was forced to resign, a communication is received from President Jackson, requiring that the Three Chiefs, each with six Captains, should meet him in Tennessee to hold a treaty with him. It was strongly intimated that they must not come unless they intended to treat. To comment on this circumstance is unnecessary- I give the facts and leave the people of the United States and the world to make their own comments. Although the Mississippi law is illy suited to the present state of the Choctaws, it is becoming doubtful whether even the ignorant part of the nation can be prevailed upon to remove to a country where the United States interpreters will have every facility of producing a general crusade of the wild savages of the desert to destroy them, whenever the American government may wish their land. The Government is not seen in these movements, but thinking men will know that men would not be retained in office unless they acted in accordance with the views of the government.
Mississippi has extended her laws over us, she allows us all the privileges
of citizens, and when she sees that we have made a strong and liberal effort
to get out of her way, the same spirit of liberality will lead her to give us
eight or ten years to prepare to become acceptable citizens, and with this indulgence
in pressing on in our improvements we shall never need a home in the west. If
mississippi wishes the Choctaws removed, she also wishes that they should be
treated with justice and humanity.
N.B. Suppose the government should succeed in dividing us and removing the
ignorant and uninformed to the west, will not a moment's reflection teach any
reasonable man that extermination must be the consequence? It is said to be
a game Country--It is well known, however, that the only important species of
game there is the Buffaloe, and that they are followed by large bodies of wild
and warlike savages who would feel it to be a dangerous intrusion upon their
rights for other Indians to hunt them. If the Choctaws get many of them they
must fight for them, and if they go in sufficient numbers to defend themselves,
they will consume the game as fast as they can procure it; and when the game
is done, which must soon be the case, is it not certain that they will starve,
if the laboring part of the nation is left in Mississippi? The half Bloods and
laboring part can live in any country. It is their ignorant Brethren whose situation
demands the sympathies of all reflecting minds.
From the Christian Herald.
A LETTER CONCERNING THE CHOCTAW INDIANS.
We have been kindly favored with the privilege of making the extraction given below, from a letter addresses bo the Rev. John Andrews, of this city, by the Rev. Loring S. Williams, missionary among the Indians. The letter is of a later date than any we have seen published from the missionaries. As it contains an interesting narrative of the Mayhew Church, of the difficulties it has encountered, and of the prospects of the Indians of the Choctaw tribe; feelings of sympathy and anxiety will be awakened by its perusal, in behalf of these poor people. The territory inhabited by the Choctaws is in the central part of the state of Mississippi. Amongst them missionary labors were commenced in the year 1813, and there are now eight regular stations, where schools are taught, and the gospel preached within the last year or two, it will be recollected that the efforts of the missionaries have been remarkably successful. Towards the close of the last year, it was believed there were two thousand persons who habitually prayed in the name of the Savior.
AIKHUNNA, Choctaw Nation
June 30, 1830
Rev. and Dear Sir:
A few particulars respecting the Choctaw Mission may be acceptable.
When I wrote to you in October last, I thing I stated that we had received about 50 Choctaws into our church. Since that date we have been permitted to receive 134 more besides two black persons; and it is expected that a number more will be admitted on the next Sabbath. I am now speaking of the Mayhew church which is scattered over a large extent of country, and is now under the care of Brethren Kingsbury, Byington, and myself, residing at three different stations. Of the church members 52 belong to my congregation.
There are nine ruling elders in this church, seven of whom are natives, who appear extremely well as church officers. It is true they are comparatively ignorant; but they are very teachable, and thus far, faithful and exemplary.
There are several places for public worship within the bounds of the church, where there is generally a good attendance on the Sabbath; and once in two months, the whole church according to their ability , meet at a central spot, where a large house has been erected for the purpose. They commonly collect on Friday, and stay until Monday. On such occasions we have considerable preaching, examination of candidates, and the administration of the ordinances. The Lord's supper is also occasionally administered at some of the stations, as otherwise some of the infirm members, who live at a great distance from the center meeting house, could never enjoy it.
The number received into the churches in other parts of the nation is, I thin,, not far from 50.- There are also a number of hopeful candidates in different places. We hope that the special influences of the Holy Spirit are not wholly withdrawn. But there is less excitement among the people in general; or, I should say, less deep concern for the salvation of the soul is manifested. It will be seen in the sequel, that there is an excitement of another kind. There are some cases of lamentable backsliding among those who had professed to be anxious to obtain an interest in Christ. Some few church members have also gone astray. This may be said of this part of the nation; but it is particularly applicable to the southern part, where many of the inquirers, having been overcome by powerful temptations, have returned to their evil course. Never was the great Adversary more busy in opposing the gospel in this land, than at the present time. I will briefly state some facts in illustration of this remark.
Soon after the legislature of Mississippi extended her laws over the poor Indians, abolishing their laws, customs, &c. making it a heavy penalty, and imprisonment, for any chief to associate as such--- two of the principal chiefs resigned their commissions. Their influence, in favor of the gospel, had hitherto been most salutary. But there were some portions remote from missionary stations, still held in complete bondage by the prince of darkness:--and besides, they were so much under the influence of certain corrupt white men, that though they had repeated offers of preaching, they would not hear. It seems that they only waited on opportunity of manifesting more openly their opposition to all invocations on their ancient customs., Taking advantage of the great change in the political affairs and government of the nation, they formed a conspiracy, which has at length become very strong. They make every exertion to oppose the gospel or anything that pertains to it; such as our mission schools, scripture, translation,& the like. They have not yet and we think they will not presume to do so. But it would seem that every other means that the wicked on could invent, has been, or is now tried, to induce the Christian party to renounce their religion. Flattery, bribes, threats, slanders, various allurement &c. have been successfully employed. The descent upon the south part of the nation was so sudden and so skillfully managed as to produce the effect before mentioned. The church in the northern section had timely notice of their approach, and desirous so to prepare their minds by prayer and ____ of consultation. More private attempts were first made, after which a public council was called when the two parties met. It was good to see one of the band conduct with so much christian ______ meekness as they did on this occasion. All matters were discussed _____ _____ but there cold be no fellowship _____ with darkness.--- The heathen party had much to say about political affairs, but it was sufficiently obvious that their intent was to undermine the foundation of religion and to shut out the light of the gospel from the nation. And it was painful to see some white men them encouraging and advising them in their attempts. The christian party spent the most of the two nights they were on the council ground in worship of God: while the other party thirty ___ distant spent them in heathen games and dances. O what a contrast! I know not that any advantage was gained by the enemy. He has not however, relaxed his exertions to draw off these poor _____ from the fold. The intelligent part of the people ar on this side, but there are some cunning and powerful speakers on the other. And as they address themselves to the corrupt propensities of human nature, and plead to earnestly for the ancient customs of their fathers for " liberty of conscience", and insist so strenuously, that"the religion of white men is not for the red man, and that even multitudes of white men no not believe, and obey the Bible,"----that it cannot be expected but that they should succeed with many or those who are not rooted and grounded in the faith. They insist upon it for instance, that religion disqualifies a man for any civil office--being told by these officious white men, that the President of the U.S. is not a Christian; and that there are few or none in Congress.
It is indeed a sifting time in the church. But we are comforted in the assurance
that the Lord knoweth them that are his, and is able to keep them in the evil
day. I have no doubt that perilous times are at hand.--The legislative proceedings
of their white brothers have shocked and thrown them into confusion. They now
expect to leave their little farms and comfortable dwellings- the sepulchers
of their fathers, their schools and meeting houses, to their white neighbors,
while they retreat to the western wilds for a home, which, even there, they
fear may yet be evicted and perhaps claimed by white men. O will not Christians
at least pray for these lambs, and for those who are called to feed them.
Your in gospel bonds.
L. S. WILLIAMS
*All Indians we presume.