NEW ECHOTA: JAN. 1, 1831.
The following communication did not reach us until the other day. We feel much indebted to the author for using his proper signature. It is not to be doubted that the visit of the troops has been oppressive to many of the citizens of this nation. The blame lies, where the writer places it, at the door of the executive. With some of the under officers we became acquainted while they were in the nation. For their Gentlemanly behavior we still enter a high regard.
Cherokee Nation, Chestatee Gold mines, Oct. 10, 1830
Sir__ I have for some time expected, that some person better qualified than myself would have communicated the result of the late visit of the United States Troops to this place on the 17th ult. But I have been disappointed. Permit me therefore, through the columns of the Phoenix, to exhibit to the world one instance of oppression, which is the legitimate offspring of the unfatherly policy of the General Government towards the Cherokee.---But pen and ink will almost fail to describe the shameful outrageous conduct of the troops. The Cherokees who were peaceably gleaning gold on their own soil, after the many thousands of white intruders from different States, who were daily filching the precious metal from the rightful owners, news reached us that the United States troops were on their march to that place. The natives rejoiced much, vainly hoping to realize the often promised, but long delayed protection. But soon, very soon, their hopes were all blasted, and their rejoicing turned to sorrow. When the troops made their appearance on the summits of the Pegion (sic) Roost (one of the principal mines in the region)commanded by Maj. Wager, who made a charge with considerable shouting and clashing of fire arms, as it determined to sweep the gold diggers with relentless destruction. Many of the white intruders fearful of suffering inspited (sic) punishment, 'ingloriously fled' to the mountains, gave leg bail for security. But the Cherokees, who once valiantly fought ' bled by the 'Hero's' side, being conscious of not having violated any laws of the United States, nor of the individual states, stood firm and with almost unexampled patience, suffered the depredations and lawless violence of the troops, believing that it was much more honorable to suffer oppression than to be the cruel oppressor. The Cherokees and the white intruders were all made prisoners, ordered into ranks, and marched off to the encampment about one mile distant, where they were kept closely confined in a house, without anything to eat or drink, for the space of 24 hours. Many of the natives were shamefully treated, some of them, who did not understand the command of the officers were beaten with the butts of their guns, and shoved into ranks by force. The soldiers without restraint were permitted to rob them of what gold they had, and would thrust their hands into their pockets, and take what they could find. Some few saved their gold by hiding it in their moccasins, and other unsuspected places. Much property belonging to the Indians was destroyed, all working utensils were forcibly taken from them, and their washing machines burned and mashed in pieces, one of which belonged to Mr. Daniel Davis (a native) supposed to be worth $300, one house belonging to a Cherokee was also burnt up. A store House belonging to a native had the lock broken by the soldiers, and was forcibly entered, ' a quantity of groceries, goods, gold and money, to the amount of about $300 destroyed. They came to Reuben Daniels, the evening before they committed this shameful robbery, peremptorily ordered him out of his House, (a large framed building) before he could arrange his business, so as to remove his effects, the soldiers were ordered to take his goods and chattels out into the yard, there to lie until he could take them away elsewhere. The troops then took possession of it and still occupy it. I am disposed to believe that if such flagrant outrages as these had been committed upon any other people but the Cherokees, or others similarly circumstanced, it would have been considered a palpable infringement on the Constitution of the United States, which very expressly says in the amendment, Art. 3, 'No soldiers shall in time of peace, be quartered in any House without the consent of the owner, nor in time or war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.' They also destroyed Mr. Samuel Mayes' groceries (a citizen of this nation) and stopped his wagon and team on the road, when he was on his way home from the mines. The soldiers were also suffered to plunder his wagon, and broke upon his trunks. A quantity of goods and wearing clothes were taken, and a pocket book with money in it. However, shame overcame the officers, who afterwards paid Mrs. Mayes $20 as compensation for damages committed on her property, although it was but a trifle compared with the amount taken.
The humblest remonstrances from those injured natives with Major Wager for this violent outrage were often unanswered. If replied to at all, it was to be gone from his presence. I have not here related all the Indian property destroyed and taken; I expect that a schedule of all the property taken and destroyed, accompanied with affidavits will be exhibited to the Congress of the United States, for payment as early as convenient. The white intruders were kept under guard about two days, then set across Chestatee River, the present Cherokee boundary line, the distance of eight miles from the encampment. This mild treatment towards the white intruders, who had so often daringly violated the United States law, made for the protection of friendly Indians, but too plainly showed those troops were sent here to favor the Georgia policy which was to harass the natives, and to remove them from the Gold mines. The white intruders who were cultivating large fields of corn within three miles of this place were not even interrupted. I fear that we but vainly hope for better days for such movements auger extermination of our government. 'It is at least but a Utopian thought' to expect a radical change in our situation, whilst the potent hand of the President hold a loose rein to Georgia tyranny. Of all the potentates on Earth, the United States ought to have been the last to exercise tyranny on a defenseless community of Indians. They themselves are the descendants of the Pilgrims who came to America fleeing from oppression and tyranny, in the European world. We had fairly hoped that the time had approached that the true principles of liberty would not only be acknowledged, but fully acted on, and the spirit of bigotry and tyranny known and remembered only to be avoided.
The Georgia Journal exulted greatly sometime since when a certain jury did justice to a Cherokee, and considered the circumstance as a complete refutation of what the Northern fanatics had said on the inhumanity of Georgia laws. It was well for the Journal to be sensitive on a solitary instance--let the editor have all the benefit which the case will afford him. But, Gentlemen, turn the leaf, and after reading one credit (if you may call it so where a jury does nothing more than its duty) see another item charged. Here it is.
HIGHTOWER Cher. Nation,
December 25, 1830
Mr. BOUDINOTT: Permit me thro' the medium of your paper to present to the public a short narrative respecting the manner in which the laws of Georgia are executed upon the Indians in this part of the nation.
On the 2d. of last month, an Indian boy came to my house to inform me that a number of white men armed with guns had come to the widow Lee's and had tied George and Johnson Lee, and taken them to Georgia. Upon learning the particulars, I found the cause assigned for this measure; to be the following occurrences.
It was said that a man by the name of Mahaffee of Georgia, had a demand of $20 against an Indian by the name of Scott. Mahaffee had obtained an Attachment, and placed it in the hands of a constable by the name of Cartright. Accompanied by him, Mahaffee came into the nation, for the purpose of levying upon the property of Scott. They found Scott at the house of the widow Lee. They also saw a horse tied at her door. Mahaffee enquired of Scott whether that was his horse, referring to the one that stood at the door. Scott replied, no: adding that it belonged to the widow Lee; but notwithstanding this, Mahaffee told Cartright to levy upon him, he did so; yet when attempting to take him away the widow lee caught the bridle and George Lee coming to her assistance, took the horse from Cartright, supposing him to be one of the Poney (sic) Club. Cartright returned to Georgia and obtained two State warrants, one for Georgia and one for Johnson Lee, the latter, however, I am told was not, and had not been at home for several days previous. Cartright being himself prosecutor, obtained a guard of seven men, proceeded with them armed into the nation to execute the warrants, and took George and Johnson Lee in the manner described above. After learning these facts, I proceeded toward Georgia, fifteen miles, when I met ten or twelve Indians returning with the prisoners. They informed me that a compromise had been made upon condition that the prisoners would pay $20 as cost, and to secure this cost, Cartright had taken a horse worth fifty or sixty dollars. Accompanied by Samuel Adair, I followed this armed force several miles further before I overtook them. Coming up to them, I inquired for the officer, who was pointed out to me. After a few words of conversation, he said he was unwilling to do anything further about the business before he had made returns to the Justice, in Georgia, which returns, said he, must be made in the sixth district of Carroll County. In order to get to the sixth district, he must pass through the second. It ought to be remembered here that according to an act of the legislature of Georgia all cases of this kind must be tried in the nearest to the line of this nation. This course would not probably have answered the gentleman's purpose so well as the one he pursued. We parted for the night to meet in the sixth district of Carroll County.
On the following day, we met as agreed upon, but the magistrate was not at home. We gave bond and security for the delivery of the property levied upon, on the day of trial which was the 4th inst. I inquired of the constable respecting the bill of cost, in the case of the two Indians who were tried, and taken prisoners. He said it was twenty dollars. After I had employed a Lawyer, he gave the items and they amounted to fourteen dollars. This cost we paid and brought away the horse which had been taken as security for it. At the time appointed, parties met for trial in the sixth district of Carrol County. The point at issue was, whether the horse levied upon as the property of Scott, to satisfy Mahaffee's debt, belonged to Scott or to the widow Lee.
The result was as follows:
1. I was called upon to give testimony. I had known the horse in dispute to have been in the possession of the widow Lee's family since the year 1822; had never known or heard of his being in possession of Scott, or sold to him, and had known that the horse was called the property of the widow Lee.
2. Cartright was called upon to give testimony who being duly sworn, testified substantially as follows: that an attachment had been put into his hands by Mahaffee, that both of them came into the nation, to the house, as he supposed, of Scott, and saw a horse tied at the door. (It must not be forgotten that they had no interpreter, that neither of them understood the Cherokee language, and that the Cherokees then present did not understand English.) Cartright stated further, that Mahaffee asked Scott if the horse at the door was his? Scott answered no: but said it was that woman's referring as he supposed to his wife.
Question, Does Scott speak English?
Answer. a word or two.
Q. Do you understand the Cherokee language?
Q. How did Scott make you understand that the woman referred to was his wife and that the horse belonged to her?
a. He made me understand it by signs and motions!!! Witness added that he saw Scott put a saddle upon the horse afterward, and that the woman rode him away.
q. Was it a man's or a woman's saddle which Scott put on the horse?
A. It was a saddle, that is all I can tell about it.
q. Do you believe the horse to be Scott's?
A. I do.
A lawyer was employed on each side. After they had each made their pleas, the case was committed to a jury. Their verdict was that the horse was subject to the attachment and must therefore be sold at public sale to satisfy Mahaffee's debt!!!
A true statement of such facts as I can prove.
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 excellency consists in its impartiality-there is nothing exaggerated from the beginning to the end. The information contained in these resolutions and statements is such as is 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 expediency of making their view known on this all important subject. What we there said will be applicable to the proceedings of the other Missionaries we now publish. We believe no one can now remain neutral-there is no half-way ground on this momentous question-each individual in America must either be for the Indians, or against them, nor will mere professions of friendship and sympathy answer-there must be feeling and this feeling must produce action commensurate with the subject.
At a meeting held at New Echota, Dec. 29th, 1830, the following persons were present:
Rev. Daniel S. Butrick } Missionaries of the A.B.C.F.M.
Rev. Wm. Chamberlin }
Rev. Wm. Potter }
Rev. S. A. Worcester, }
Rev. John Thompson }
Mr. Isaac Proctor } Assistant missionaries of the
Dr. Elizur Butler } A.B.C.F.M.
Mr. J. C. Elsworth }
Mr. Wm. Holland. }
Rev. Gottlieb Byhan } Miss. of the U.B.Church
Rev. H.G. Clauder }
Rev. E. Jones, Missionary of the 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 ordered to be presented for publication to the editor of the Cherokee Phoenix.
Resolved- That we view the Indian question, at present so much agitated in the United States, as being not merely of a political, but of a moral nature-inasmuch as it involves the maintenance or the violation of the faith of our country-and as demanding, therefore, the most serious consideration of all American citizens, not only as patriots, but as Christians.
Resolved- That we regard the present crisis of affairs, relating to the Cherokee nations, as calling, for the sympathies and prayers, and aid, of all benevolent people throughout the United States.
Resolved- That the frequent insinuations which have been publicly made, that missionaries have used an influence in directing the political affairs of this nation, demand from us an explicit and public disavowal of the charge; and that we therefore solemnly affirm, in regard to ourselves at least every such insinuation is entirely unfounded.
Resolved- That, while we distinctly aver that it is not any influence of ours which has brought the Cherokees to the resolution not to exchange their place of residence, yet it is impossible for us not to feel a lively interest in a subject of such vital importance to their welfare; and that we can perceive no consideration, either moral or political, which ought, in the present crisis, to restrain us from a free and public expression of our opinion.
Resolved- therefore, that we view the removal of this people to the West of the Mississippi as an event to be most earnestly deprecated; threatening greatly to retard, if not totally to arrest their progress in religion, civilization, learning and the useful arts, to involve them in great distress, and to bring upon them a complication of evils, for which the prospect before them would offer no compensation.
Resolved- that we deem ourselves absolutely certain that the feelings of the whole mass of the Cherokee people, including all ranks, and with scarcely a few individual exceptions, are totally averse, to a removal, so nothing but force or such oppression as they would esteem equivalent to force, would induce them to adopt such a measure.
Resolved- as our unanimous opinion, that the establishment of the jurisdiction of Georgia and other states over the Cherokee people, against their will, would be an immense and irreparable injury.
Whereas we have frequently seen, in the public prints, representations of the state of this people, which we know to be widely at variance with the truth, and which are highly injurious in their tendency,
Resolved- that we regard it as no more than an act of justice to the Cherokee Nation, that we publish the following statement, and subjoin our names in testimony of its correctness.
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. Byhan first arrived in the nation as a missionary in May 1801, left it in 1812, and returned in 1827. Mr. Butrick arrived in January ' Mr. Chamberlin in March 1818. Mr. Potter and Doct. Buder (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 advantage of the full Indians, was to be expected, ' is undoubtedly true; although some Indians of full blood are in the foremost rank, and same 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 white 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 Europeans in a purely savage state, naked almost in summer, and clothed with skins in winter, living in miserable huts, without floors or chimneys, and subsisting partly indeed by agriculture, but mainly by the chase. Without implements of iron, and without the art of manufacturing cloth, it could not be far otherwise. To this purely savage state the present certainly 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 apprehension, as near the latter as the former. As to the straggling beggars 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 descent 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, perhaps nearly half, retain not indeed the original Indian dress, but then, 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 other at the waist, which, twenty years ago was the general style of female dress. Except these 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, where the children are not habitually clothed, and especially a Cherokee girl, without decent clothing is an object very seldom seen. If the present course continues, when those who are now in the decline of life shall have passed away, the dress of the Cherokees will scarcely distinguish them from their neighbors.
The Cherokee woman generally manufactures more or less good substantial cloth. Many families raise their own cotton. A great part of their clothing is manufactured by themselves, though not a little is of 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 enumerated was 2,923. Among us all we scarcely know a field which is now cultivated without ploughing. Consequently the quantity of land under cultivation 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 fields 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 are floored, 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 general.
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 influenced than public opinion which makes the practice highly disreputable. A few are still living in a state of polygamy, but at present almost none enters the state.
Superstition still bears considerable sway, but its influence is rapidly declining. Customs which once it was infamous 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 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, too will be observed, are excluded, as are many men ' youths, who can hardly read ' write. Of these 200 persons, about 152 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 alone 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 the 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 off the several religious societies. To the Presbyterian churches belong 219 members of whom 167 are Cherokees. In the United Brethren's churches are 45 Cherokee members. In the Baptist churches probably about 90; we know not the exact number. The official 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 denominated 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 this 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 Cherokees acknowledge themselves greatly indebted.
It has been often represented that white men and half breeds 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 even 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 these 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 different kind from any which exists in the Cherokee nation which could, as these leading men have been represented to do, a 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, on previous influence he might possess, could possibly find his way into office at the present time, whose views were known to countervene (sic) those of the mass of the people on 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?'
lt may not be amiss to state what proportion the Indian blood actually bears to the white in principal departments of the Cherokee Government. The present principal chief, Mr. John Ross, is we believe, but one eight Cherokee. Maj. Lawrey, 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 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 26 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.
The effect of the new form of Government, adopted by the Cherokees, has been represented abroad, we know not on what grounds, to be prejudicial to the interests of the people. On this subject it does not belong to us to theorize. We can only say that the actual effects, as it passes under our own observation, is highly beneficial; nor is there any class on whom it operates injuriously.
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 the 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 national and conventional 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 accord 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. Anything 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 goad many of them on to ruinous excesses of vice, if not in some instances to blind revenge. Hard is the task of that philanthropist who would attempt to elevate, or even to sustain the character of a broken hearted people.- But we forbear to dwell 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 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 envision that He who rules the destinies of nations will deliver them out of all their affliction, 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.