For the Cherokee Phoenix.
Mr. Boudinot,-- When I offered for publication the communication signed (Cherokee spelling), I was aware that there were those who might not be 'pleased'; but armed with truth I was willing to meet, in fair discussion, any who might question my assertions. I am ever prepared when convinced of an error to acknowledge my conviction; nor am I disposed, under any circumstances, to prefer a false accusation in illustrating the oppression of the Cherokees, facts are sufficiently numerous. Neither am I to be intimidated in telling the history of our country's wrongs by the possibility of arousing a termagant. I was not, however, entirely aware of the true character of the antagonist who has presented himself, as will be seen by the following letter, until its reception disclosed him more fully to my mind. But little relates to the point at issue between us, and that little, how characteristic of the cause! If indeed incorrect statements have been made to the public, and the injured party 'suppose self defence calls' for their correction, why is the defence sent to me, when it is admitted that I am chargeable with only a part? I am not the Editor of the Phoenix; nor have I the control of public sentiment. My residence is some distance from Echota; and it ought to have been known that it is no duty of mine to publish contradictions to my assertions, or to endorse another's slander of the most respectable citizens of the Nation by giving publicity to the whole of this letter. But so far as it may be thought a defence, and not an attack upon individuals not concerned, I am willing to publish.
25TH August 1831
WILLIAM S. COODY,
Sir,- In looking over your little paper, which has from its birth been speaking lies and heaping up wrath against the people whom you profess to advocate, and which has contributed no little to their downfall; I find in your remarks that you have condescended to notice the son-in-law of the agent, or Mr. H. as you please to call him; and that you have reference to me is doubtless plain. As this is the second time in which I have been discovered to the public in this light, I therefore suppose self defense calls on me to notice a few of your remarks; and also, some having been previously made by your little editor on the same subject.
Now Sir, as to my living an intruder upon the ground in which one is recognized, is evidently false or anything but the truth.
It is well known by treaty stipulations that the agent should have a sufficiency of land for his accommodation, and that by the former agent Col. Meigs, one mile square was deemed requisite for that purpose.
In which bounds I now reside by the permission of the agent; without which no person can reside legally.
'You say Sir, 'The Indians are oppressed' to which I would reply if they are, this oppression has followed after the avaritions (sic), self interested, and dissimilating course of the half-breeds; and for which course, those half-breeds ought to suffer until they atone for their conduct. They should be taught that they are not to receive all the annuities themselves, or even as you expressed yourself, not long since in the agents office, that they should receive a greater proportion than the common Indians; You say Sir, where is the annuity and what is to be done with it, I say that it is at the Agency and will remain there until the Cherokees are willing to receive it not the half-breeds as you would have it, for I can assure you, that Gen. Jackson does not speak with a forked tongue.
Now as to the remarks of your little editor as respects my being engaged with a number of hands digging gold last summer: is a palpable lie and I believe that it was conceived and brought forth in his own office-for certainly I have never seen one of his papers without one.
You say you wish all the treaties carried into effect, and would know the reason why they are not, to this I can only say, that the treaty says that if a white man shall go into the Indian country and there intrude 'c., the Indians may punish him or not as they choose- should you think that I come under this clause of the treaty, and that you are an Indian, I invite you to the execution of its purport.
I might perhaps pass over this without serious notice, but considering the near affinity of Mr. H. to official station it becomes necessary to devote some attention. Unhappily for him tho, he has mistaken a banting spirit and trifling spithets(sic) for manly discretion and solid reasoning. I will not hurl back the same vulgar weapons he has chosen to use, but will leave them to the entire use of those who think that civilization has given to the whiteman a right to the exercise of every species of artifice to accomplish his designs against Indians.
But to the subject. I have been guilty it seems of charging the son-in-law of the United States' agent with intrusion upon Cherokee lands, and the agent with permitting this violation of law within a few yards of his office. On the other hand, I have been met by the former with a flat denial of the facts, but neither argument nor testimony have been offered.
By reference to the 10th article of the Treaty of Tellico, 1798, we find the following provision: 'The Cherokee Nation agree that the agent who shall be appointed to reside among them from time to time, shall have a sufficient piece of ground allotted for his temporary use.' The agent is to reside among the Cherokees, and they agree to allot a sufficient piece of ground for his temporary use; and this I maintain is all which they ever have conceded. It matters not what Col. Meigs 'deemed requisite' for 'the accommodation of the agent:' did the mere expression of his opinion, as to the quantity of land necessary bind the Cherokee Nation to the acknowledgment of his undisputed sway over a mile square, or if he chose two miles square? Has the Nation, at any time, and in any manner, agreed that an exclusive right to the cultivation of, and government over a mile square of their lands should be surrendered to the Agent? Never. And it will require something more than the naked assertion of Mr. H. to sustain his position. I believe the subject of granting the use and control over a mile square was solicited, but did not meet with the approbation of the Cherokees. Their refusal was founded upon just and correct principles. It would not only have been extreme folly to have allowed it, but would have been even dangerous in case the agency should devolve upon one, whose caprice and selfishness might oust the natives of their comfortable domestic enjoyments, and draw around him a retinue of connections who regarded the Indians merely as fit subjects to be cajoled for their 'accommodation.'
It is positively alleged that without a special 'permission' from the agent 'no person can reside legally' within a mile of the agency, not even an Indian; and the fact stated, that he can, at his pleasure, introduce citizens of the United States and quarter them upon lands, belonging to the Nation where he can exclude the residence of the natives! To me, this is both novel and extraordinary. It is a right, which, in my humble opinion, borders near upon usurpation, somewhere. The Treaty of Tellico alone contains the only provision ever made for the agent, and that, as we have seen, is nothing more than an agreement on the part of the Nation that he may have a 'piece of ground allotted for his temporary use,' but of sufficient extent for that purpose, and for that alone. The same treaty acknowledges the undisputable right of the Cherokees to their lands, and admits the binding force of the solemn guaranty of the United States in the 7th article respecting intrusions 'c. by citizens of the United States. Now, if it required the consent of the Cherokees to be had, by treaty, before the agent of the United States could obtain the temporary use of a piece of ground, will it not be a fair question to ask upon what principle he can assume entire control over a mile square, and to legalize the residence of citizens of the United States when no treaty admits the right? The Cherokees are satisfied that the agent may cultivate as much land as he pleases about the agency, and will not restrict him to anything like an insufficiency, and if his son-in-law can make it appear, satisfactorily, that he has been sent into the Nation by the United States, under the 14th article of the Treaty of Holston, to qualify himself to act as an interpreter, than, will his residence be legal, and will he 'have land assigned by the Cherokees for cultivation.' I maintain that he is an intruder, and that the agent does not possess the right to grant any such 'permission' as he claims.
The oppression of the Cherokees has followed after the 'avaritions, self-interested and dissimilating course of the half-breeds.' A most admirable justification for a nations sins! The philosophy of the immortal Paley is surpassed by this learned man is moral and political law! Has it followed from the course of the half-breeds, that President Jackson is justified in nullifying the most solemn treaties and numerous acts of the Congress of the United States, in reducing to practice even more than South Carolina contends for in theory, and which, he pretends to reward with so much horror! Has it followed from that course that Georgia with his aid should break down every barrier which the wisdom and genius of a Washington and a Jefferson has thrown around our Nation for its protection? Has it followed from that course that the chief Magistrate of the United States can look with indifference upon the tarnished fame and glory-the broken faith, of the American Government? Has it followed from that course that the Nation is permitted to be scourged with intruders glorying in all that is wicked and dishonorable? And has it followed from that too that the agents of the Government are absolved from the discharge of their duties? If so, then indeed ought 'those half-breeds to atone for their conduct.' But the proper authority should inflict the punishment. But will Mr. H. particularize 'those half-breeds,' and specify the acts of their guilt; his charge is too general and vague.
Mr. Hardwick wrongs me much by saying that I would have 'the half-breeds receive all the annuities themselves,' and by imputing to me the expression that 'they should receive a greater proportion than the common Indians.' I would have the money paid into the National Treasury, where it ought to be. I would have it applied to the benefit of the Nation, under the immediate direction of the Representatives of the people, selected by themselves, 'in General Council Convened,' as heretofore. I certainly would not have it squandered away by half dollars, when no possible good can arise; nor would I have even a fip left in the pocket of the agent, whether for an ear of corn or a gratuity, without the approbation of the
Cherokee Nation to whom it belongs.
When on my way to the agency, sometime past, I observed to a gentleman in company, that on our arrival I would ask of the agent how he could reconcile the payment of fifty cents to each individual when the order from the Secretary of War recognized three distinct classes, chiefs, warriors, and common Indians, to receive payment according to their rank and standing; and then, who were the chiefs, who were the warriors, and who were the common Indians. I asked the first question, as to his payment and the classification by the Secretary. He replied that he made no distinction, but paid to all alike; and the subject dropped, nor was it afterwards resumed. I can appeal, for the correctness of this statement, to the very respectable Treasurer of this Nation, and to the Agent himself, that I made no such expression, as it imputed to me, and were it necessary to others, who were present- the phrase common Indians is none of mine, it came from the great ones at Washington. Since Mr. H. has been so prolific in his charges and his revilings, I trust he will not complain at a simple question: was he not, himself foiled in a pretty scheme, considering the time, place, and manner, to 'grasp' at least a part of the annuity?
But why has this gentleman assailed the half breeds with so much vituperation? I alone was responsible for that, at which he is evidently so much stickled; and if he were to succeed in crowding all the half breeds into the Georgia penitentiary, 'to atone for their course,' it would not serve to clear up the true point at issue between us.
But is it a reproach to be called the son of a white man' If so, then let not the reproach be cast, by a white man, it has please an all wise providence to cast my lot among the Cherokees, and why should I murmur? I would not, if I could exchange it for another. If designing men will abuse, and count their abuse honorable, they are welcome to the full enjoyment of all that is necessary to the pleasures of such a taste!
'The annuity is to remain at the agency until the individuals of the Nation are willing to receive it.' This I take to be the last instruction sent from Washington on the subject, as the very solemn assurance is coupled to it that 'General Jackson does not speak with a forked tongue!' If this be the fact, may the annuity remain there forever, an eternal monument of his injustice to those who fought his battles, and aided in crowning him with laurels which have been his principal passport to his present exalted station! I never hear this assurance trumpeted but my ideas associated with it what was once a favorite maxim of his:- 'The tree is known by its fruit.'
The Editor of the Cher. Phoenix requires no aid of mine to keep him right. He is competent to the task of his own defense.'' As to the conclusion of the letter it will be enough to say that it has awakened no unpleasant forebodings of the future.
For the present, I have done with Mr. H., He is left to the exercise of his own discretion in determining his 'course.'
Head of Coosa, Septr. 8th, 1831