Extract of a letter, dated
WASHINGTON CITY, Jan 9.
The late extraordinary conduct of Georgia, is often the topic of conversation here in private circles. That nation, as the nullifiers affect to call their respective States, has not only nullified all treaties with the Cherokees, but is now under the sanction of a legislative act, about entering upon and plundering the Cherokee lands. The story of these poor Cherokees is mournful.- To hear them relate their sufferings--to see them now begging for aid in this Capitol--these the relics of a powerful people whose word but yesterday was law, and whose movements were watched as if Europe was being put to war,-to see them now hanging about the Departments ineffectually imploring protection - and then to know the dreadful mandate that has gone forth for their destruction--a mandate as frightful as the Carthage delenda est of antiquity thundered from imperial Rome in the haughtiness of power. I say such a picture is mournful. I fear lest all just heaven may hurl a nation thus in its springtime so recklessly trampling over Treaties, over plighted Faith, yea honor itself-and all for a few paltry acres of land, when the West has yet boundless wilderness stretching to the distant Pacific. These copper colored sons of the forest come here as the Numidians and Britons of old came to haughty Rome. The Caesars on the throne receive them with more than ancient hauteur. They will not recognize them as the delegates of the Cherokees. They receive them only as conquered subjects.
The Cherokees thus cut off by their 'great Father', and injured, and fined, and imprisoned by Georgia, are dispirited. They know not what to do. Indeed, their story is affecting. Think of them as wrecked in their hopes, or as shattered bark tossed hither and thither by every political current, far from the soil that gave them birth. Where are their associates, accustomed scenery, and the sod that covers their fathers and their wives and their children. This is almost the language of a Cherokee with whom I have just been talking. The tear started from his eye as he narrated his fate. It reminded one of the pious Aeneas when lamenting in a foreign land the loss of his father Anchises. I am rejoiced to say there are men in Congress who with feeling and eloquence, and talent, will tear off the cruel veil of sophistry that conceals deeds of awful blackness.
Boudinot, the editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, despairing of all aid from the government, has started for the North. He will visit our principal cities and tell his story. If you see him, I know you will enter into his feelings with all the sympathy I have felt. He carries only the simple eloquence of truth. Think of him as the representative of a people who but a few years ago might have swallowed up the whole state of Georgia--now banishing the tomahawk, and surrendering the civilized life, having about them villages and cornfields- schools and manufactories-and a newspaper press conducted by a native Cherokee! Have the American people lost their pride, their sensibility, their boasted love of liberty, that they do not sacrifice personal considerations to all the paramount invocations of justice? With what face can we curse Russia for bathing Warsaw in blood, when we let loose and spur on remorseless speculators with their scourges and scorpion whips? Oh, how can we cry 'shame to England' for wringing from the East Indian his blood and his gold together, when we cut the leashes of ruthless power, and like Clytemnestra in the Tragedy of Aeschylus, cry to the haggard furies--
with fiery breath
That snuffs the scent of gore, pursue this son,
Follow him, blast him in the prosperous chase.'
This is strong language, I know, but it is needed. Honeyed and buttered words don't convey thoughts provoked by seeing a whole nation cut up by the roots and dispersed to the four winds.