NEW ECHOTA JUNE 11, 1831
This number closed the third volume of the Cherokee Phoenix. Our three years' labor are at an end. We have but few words to say on this occasion, and they are quickly said.- We intend to continue our publication as usual. And as long as we can find means to sustain it. During the three years of its existence we have passed through good and evil report. We have had our share of trouble and vexation, but we have also been cheered and encouraged by the approbation of our friends and most of our readers. For this we feel grateful, and we shall still endeavor to merit that approbation by following the plain oath we have pursued- by adhering strictly to truth, and by doing what we can to entertain and enlighten our suffering brethren.
It may be proper to mention to our patrons and those who take an interest in the welfare of the Cherokees that we are suffering for want of money. The 'new era' has not only wrested from us our rights and privileges as a people, but it has closed the channel through which we could formerly obtain our own funds.- By this means the resources of the Phoenix are cut off. We must now depend, if we continue our labors, upon our patrons at home and abroad. To them we make our appeal.
Thanks are due to those of our brethren of the press who have honored us with their papers, and willingly transferred into their columns, for the information of the public, original articles from the Phoenix. We have endeavored to gain their confidence in all our statements of facts.--If we have in any measure succeeded in obtaining that confidence, it shall not be abused. It is only through the medium of our exchange papers we can expect to be extensively heard, and our grievances made known to the people of the United States.
In our last we mentioned the arrest of Joseph Vann by the Georgia Guard. We are told he was released after a few hours captivity. If we have been correctly informed, the Guard took him because they had understood that he had said he would not be taken!
CEDAR CREEK, CHEROKEE NATION
6th JUNE 1831
MR. BOUDINOTT, Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix.
Sir.-- The Circuit Court of Chattooga district being in session during the last week of the month of May, I availed myself of an opportunity to attend it, and there enjoy the agreeable society and conversation of my friends from various portions of our country, whose business concentrated them there. The few days spent in this manner afforded me relishing alleviations of the troubles and heart affecting trials I often endure, from the effects of the Georgia laws which have so long disturbed the repose of our people. I returned the 27th to rest in the peaceable circle of my family, ' to resume the agreeable occupation of superintending my agricultural affairs. The 28th dawned upon my farm with usual sweetness-I walked over my plantation, saw my growing corn, and the green verdant portions of my place, covered with luxuriant crops of rye and oats. Delighted with the anticipations of an abundant harvest, I returned to my stables to see my horses and other domestic objects. Contemplating the improvements I had made with my hands, my houses, my fields, my orchards, and garden,- rejoicing to know I had accumulated the means of supporting my wife and child; for the time my domestic pleasures superseded the thoughts of gloom which fill my heart on account of our national afflictions.
My attention was drawn to the noise of the tramping of horses, ' I saw approach, with glittering muskets and bayonets, the Georgia Guard, riding to the gate of my enclosure before my house. I walked up into their midst, and was by them declared, a prisoner, and ordered to go to the officer commanding who had stopped at Mr. Hemphill's, five miles off, to whom I was accordingly conducted. There I saw one of my neighbors, a young gentleman, Mr. John West, an Indian like myself, chained by the leg. Of Col. Nelson, I asked for what charges they had arrested Mr. West. He said, it was a thing never told prisoners, until they arrived at Headquarters. Col. Nelson allowed me the benefit of returning to repose with my family the ensuing night, and granted me other privileges during a long and tedious journey to Head Quarters, which I was told, was owing to the kind treatment I had manifested to a detachment of the guard, on a former occasion, which had tarried over night at my house. As for Mr. West, when they started with us, in their line of march, they put a chain of iron around his neck and fastened him to another prisoner, a white man and citizen by marriage, who was arrested for living in the nation contrary to the Georgia law, which requires of such the oath of allegiance. I requested the officer to suffer Mr. West to ride his own horse, but he refused.
We were conducted to, and crossed Mr. Ross's Ferry, at Head of Coosa, and passed in sight of the residence of our respected Principal Chief. A detachment was ordered off at Running Waters, in which I was ordered to go to Mr. Thomas Woodards, a respectable Cherokee of that neighborhood, whom they also arrested at his house. He was subsequently released, as he told me, after two days, at New Echota, and was there for the first time told it was for acting as chairman to a meeting of Cherokees, which passed resolutions expressing their views of the policy of the nation, its sufferings from Georgia, and the mode of it, and calling upon the people of the United States to commiserate their condition and to respect treaties, which were published in the Cherokee Phoenix.
As the Guard charged up to Mr. Woodard's house they discovered a negro boy belonging to Mrs. Brown approaching in haste from the opposite direction. Him they threatened to whip and ordered forward. On the way two of the Guard halted and whipped him, as they themselves told me afterwards, for coming to notify Mr. Woodard that the Guard were in the neighborhood. On that day we, in the evening arrived at Oougillogee, where I was allowed to lodge with my friend Nicholson, but the Guard advanced and staid all night at Mr. Hick's, where they once in a while beat the drum and played on the fife. Next morning I came up with them and saw the Rev. Mr. Trott, a Methodist minister of the Gospel, ironed and fastened with locks about the leg. Mr. Trott was arrested for living in the nation without taking the oath of allegiance to the state of Georgia- the penalty is not less than four years hard labor in the penitentiary. At this place, Mr. West was suffered to return, and he afterwards told me that he was so treated because he had defended his father from aspersions cast upon his character by this armed band, which they termed, using insolent language to the Guard.
Col. Nelson pursued his march towards the capital of the nation, but suffered me, which was a great kindness, to be more expeditionly (sic) conducted to Head Quarters by two men armed with muskets and bayonets. On the 2d evening after leaving Oougillogee we reached it, which is in the nation, near Scudder's on the Federal Road, and first built by the United States troops, under the orders of John H. Eaton, late Secretary of War. Here Col. Sanford is quartered as the principal Chief commanding the state standing military, and to him I was escorted and introduced. He asked me for what I was arrested?
Answer, 'I suppose for sowing rye in a field abandoned by Arkansas emigrants.'
'You must,' said he, 'give possession to the man who has rented it from the state.'
'Said a company of guards and put the man in possession according to your laws,' was my reply. He said it was unnecessary, there was the law. 'Then give me a written order to yield possession.' He refused. I told him my design was to have recourse to the United States laws for redress, and to try titles to the rye field before the Federal Courts and avoid those of Georgia. But he did not, he said, chose to do either of what I had demanded, and said he had no further business with me.
When I mentioned to Sanford of redress from the United States Courts, he said they, the Georgians, would have disregarded the writ of Injunction if it had been granted to the Cherokee Nation by the Supreme Court, that the State had gone so far that it would not recede, and would at all hazards take the lands from the Cherokees. Col. Nelson also told me, if the injunction had been granted Georgia would have sent into this nation 10,000 men.
On my return homewards, at Mr. Moses Downings, I saw a Cherokee man, named Henry, who had been whipped by a detachment of the guard, because he was found digging Snake root near the gold mine at Six's. He was told not to dig for gold because it belonged to the Governor of Georgia. Henry said, 'these fellows were very troublesome.'
On the subject of the rye field, I was detained from my business about 8 days, conducted 80 or 90 miles from home, and detained at Head Quarters in regard to it about ten minutes.
In the year, 1828, an Arkansas Delegation entered into a treaty at Washington, in which the United States granted inducements to our citizens, who were disposed to run away from the Georgians, to emigrate to that country, with a promise that the property they may abandon should be paid for to them by the United States. The lands of the nation being held in common and belonging to the Cherokees in the aggregate character of a state or nation, the Legislature of our country granted to all those who came into possession, being citizens of the nation, of those improvements so abandoned to be their rightful property. By virtue of the law I became possessed of a field on which I sowed rye. Under a forced construction by general Jackson and the State of Georgia these places were declared to be for the use of Georgia, the titles of which were rightfully extinguished, according to the compact of 1802, from individuals under a treaty not made with our nation, but with a party altogether disconnected with it. In this arbitrary manner were many of our citizens ejected from these places by the state of Ga., by renting them to which people, contrary to the laws of the Cherokee nation and the United States. Because I refused to yield possession of the rye field to one of these renters, I have suffered in the manner above stated. If the state and its officers executed their laws, even according to their formalities of justice, a prosecution would have been the consequence. But the rye field is a subject which would be a good one to be discussed in the Supreme Court, and as it individually concerns me and my rights, the award of that august tribunal could not be doubted to result in my favor. But it is better for the policy of the state to wrest the rye field in as summary a manner as that of Neboths vineyard. I ask pardon in advance of the state of Georgia in particular, and its officers in general, for making these remarks, as I do not wish to be arrested for using 'insolent language.'
A word to you, citizens of the United States, on the trials my nation experiences. They must occasion to some of you, perhaps, sympathetic feelings. We do remember the peace and tranquility we enjoyed before the present Chief Magistrate came into power. Since that darkness and clouds have rested upon our country. 'The good neighborhood' promised in treaties by his predecessors have vanished with the withdrawal of his protection, and we now experience the chilling and cold rebukes of our neighbor, the State of Georgia. Yet our treaties are declared to be in force by the Supreme Court, and we know they have been obtained by valuable considerations surrendered on our part. We do not wish to treat on compulsion by General Jackson's policy, and if we have mental courage enough, we shall never treat away our lands so ignominiously exerted.
The deed must be done. The last drop of water and the last particle of our earth must be forced from our hands if they will have it in that manner. We are denounced as savages, and ignorance is ingrafted upon our name. May not our national and individual forbearance in these persecutions redeem us from these terms? But we would be less anxious for the consequences of these slanders if our women and children could once more enjoy peace and safety undisturbed--could we see our children going to school and preparing themselves for usefulness in the world. We are your friends, but we are not in the attitude of granting favors, but of asking for those rights which we once thought would be protected. Will you suffer the golden days of peace once enjoyed, to sink behind the mountains of State necessity?
'Oh Thou! by whose Almighty nod the scale
Of empire rises, or alternate falls,
Send forth they saving virtue round this land.'