NEW ECHOTA,Aug. 11, 1832
TO THE READERS OF THE CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The subscriber takes this opportunity to inform the readers of the Cherokee Phoenix that he has resigned his station as editor. Some of the reasons which have induced him to take this step are contained in the following letter addressed to the Principal Chief:
RED HILL, CHER. NATION
August 1st, 1832
To John Ross Esq Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation
Sir: According to the intimation I made some time since, I hereby tender to you my resignation as Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix. In taking this step it may not be necessary to give my reason in full; it is however due to you, to myself, and my countrymen, to avoid misrepresentations, to state the following:
1. I believe the continuation of the Phoenix, and my services as its Editor, have answered all the purposes that it can be expected to answer hereafter. Two of the great objects which the nation had in view in supporting the paper were, the defence of our rights and the proper representation of our grievances to the people of the United States.- In regard to the former, we can add nothing to the full thro'o investigation that has taken place, especially after the decision of the Supreme Court, which has forever closed the question of our conventional rights. In regard to the latter, we can say nothing which will have more effect upon the community than what we have already said. The public is as fully apprised, as we can ever expect it to be, of our grievances. It knows our troubles, and yet never was it more silent than at present.- It is engrossed in other, local and sectional interests.
2. Two great and important objects of the paper not now existing as heretofore, and the nation being in great want of funds, it is unnecessary to continue the expenses in supporting it.
3. Were I to continue as Editor, I should feel myself in a most peculiar and delicate situation. I do not know whether I could satisfy my own views and the views of the authorities of the nation at the same time. My situation would then be as embarrassing as it would be peculiar and delicate. I do conscientiously believe to be the duty of every citizen to reflect upon the dangers with which we are surrounded--to view the darkness which seems to lie before our beloved people-our prospects, and the evils with which we are threatened-to talk over all these matters, and, if possible, come to some definite and satisfactory conclusion, while there is time, as to what ought to be done in the last alternative. I could not consent to be the conductor of the paper without having the right and privilege of discussing these important matters-and from what I have seen and heard were I to assume that privilege, my usefulness would be paralyzed, by being considered, as I have unfortunately already been, an enemy to the interest of my beloved country and people. I love my country and I love my people, as my own heart bears me witness, and for that very reason I would think it my duty to tell them the whole truth, or what I believe to be truth. I cannot tell them that we will be reinstated in our rights when I have no such hope, and after our leading, active, and true friends in Congress, and elsewhere, have signified to us that they can do us no good.
4. I have been now more than four years in the service of the nation, and my personal inclination is to retire from the arduous duties in which I have been engaged, and which have been far from being beneficial to my health and happiness, except the happiness of doing good, and being useful to m country. When therefore, the chance of usefulness, in my present employment, is in a great measure lessened, the inclination to retire is increased.
5. If I thought that it was my duty to continue in my editorial labor my scanty salary of $300 would not be sufficient to support me in my situation.
I hope the foregoing reasons, stated in a few words, will be sufficient to guard me against misapprehension and misrepresentations which may be likely to arise from the step I have taken. Let me again assure you that I love my country and my people, and I pray God that the evils which we so much fear may be averted from us by his merciful interposition.
I will continue until the close of the present volume when I shall be ready to surrender the establishment to my successor, if the nation think it necessary to continue the paper.
I have the honor to be, sir,
Yours very respectfully,
In communicating the foregoing to the General Council the Principal Chief also submitted the following Message:
To the committee and Council, in General Council convened.
Agreeably to the request of Mr. Elias Boudinot, I lay before you his letter of resignation as Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, which in part, will show his reasons for the step he has taken-I cannot agree in opinion with Mr. Boudinot that, the continuation of the Phoenix has answered all the purposes that it can be expected to answer hereafter,' although the representation of our grievances in defence of our rights have been fully made, and thoroughly investigated, ' the Supreme Court has forever closed the question of our conventional rights ' the American public at this time, may be more silent on the subject of our grievances than heretofore; yet I deem it to be essentially important that,the paper should be kept up. It is an incontrovertible fact, that the circulation of the paper has been greatly instrumental in the diffusion of science and general knowledge among our own citizens-the pecuniary embarrassments of the nation by no means ought to influence you to discontinue the paper, if a suitable person can be found to conduct it.- At your last session, you authorized the Editor to take a journey through the United States with the view of collecting money for the support of the Phoenix, and the express purpose of meeting the expenses incidental to the printing and Editorial Departments of that paper; after such collections having been made, would it be politic, would it be wise or would it be right, to discontinue the paper and apply the money for other purposes, when the interest of the nation would seem to demand its continuance? The views of the public authorities should continue and ever be in accordance with the will of the people, and the views of the Editor of the National paper be the same. The toleration of diversified views to the columns of such a paper would not fail to create fermentation and confusion among our citizens, and in the end prove injurious to the welfare of the Nation. The love of our country and people, demands unity of sentiment and action for the good of all. The truth the whole truth has always been and must still continue to be told, our rights have been sustained and whether they will eventually be protected unto us or wantonly wrested from us forever, are subjects of speculation, in the minds of many, but when we reflect upon the honor, magnanimity and binding obligations of the General Government and the peculiar character of its constitutional system, we cannot but hope and believe that justice will yet be extended to our Nation. By doing so, there can be no cause for just complaint from any quarter, against the United States-much less for violence and disunion among the States. Under these views of the subject I deem it necessary that the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of the Editor be filled by some suitable person.
Red Clay August 4th, 1832.
A few further explanations may here be necessary.
When I say that the continuation of the Phoenix has answered all the purposes that it can be expected to answer hereafter, I mean the purposes intended to be affected out of the Nation. The political rights of the Cherokees cannot be restored or secured by a continued investigation, or a repetition of the numerous and aggravated grievances which they have already laid before the American people.
That the circulation of the paper has been 'greatly instrumental in the diffusion of General knowledge among the Cherokees,' there can be no doubt. During my absence last winter, I purchased a new fount of type, intending to improve the paper and render it more useful to Cherokee readers, by communicating general knowledge; and more interesting to patrons out of the Nation, by furnishing in its columns historical facts; the traditions, customs and manners of the Southern Indians, particularly the Cherokees-but on my return home I found that the arrangements which were necessary to be made towards such an undertaking could not well be effected.
It would be perfectly wise and proper, in my view, to apply the money collected by the editor to other purposes besides that of meeting the expenses of the paper, for it was not exclusively for that object the money was given. In asking assistance from the benevolent, the editor took occasion to lay before them the
whole pecuniary wants of the Nation, and those who gave, gave with the understanding that it would be applied either towards defraying the expenses of the suits, the support of the paper, the expenses of the Delegation at Washington 'c; and the editor was in hopes to have collected a sufficient sum to relieve the Nation in its great pecuniary embarrassments. Were it not for the change of circumstances that took place by the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of the Missionaries a handsome amount would have been collected.
I cannot altogether agree with the Principal Chief in regard to the admission of 'diversified views' in the columns of the paper. I am for making the situation of the Cherokees a question of momentous interest, subject to a free and friendly discussion among ourselves, as the only way to ascertain the will
of the people as to what ought to be done in the last alternative. What are our hopes and prospects? What are our dangers and difficulties?- What are the reasons of our hopes and prospects? What would be the consequences of such a step, and of such a one are questions of no ordinary interest, and ought, in my view, to be fully considered. That the time to consider these matters has arrived I verily believe, from events that have taken place, and are now taking place. Nor am I alone in the belief.- Our worthy delegation, three of our most intelligent citizens, in whose patriotism I have the utmost confidence, would, no doubt, sustain me, from a proper view of things while they were at the seat of Government. And what say our friends in Congress? Have they not fully apprised us that they cannot effect any substantial good for us? Have not a number of them, whose motives are above suspicion, communicated their views in writing, for our information? And has not an Hon. Judge of the Supreme Court made a similar communication, stating that the operation of the late decision of the Supreme Court cannot extend to our relief, unless the executive felt itself bound to enforce the treaties? And does President Jackson feel himself bound to obey the Supreme Court, and execute the treaties? On this point the reader is referred to another article under the editorial head. Such being the facts on one side, how is the case on the other? Has not our oppressor, feeling power and forgetting right, not only infringed upon our political rights, but has actually, and to all intents and purposes, taken possession of one half of our country, and is now on the point of consummating the iniquity, by conveying it to her citizens? Already have the commissioners, who are to superintend the drawing of the Land Lottery, been summoned to appear at Milledgeville. Now to trust merely upon contingencies, and to ease our minds with undefined hopes, when the danger is immediate and appalling, does not seem to me to be altogether satisfactory. And think for a moment, my countrymen, the danger to be apprehended from an overwhelming white population, a population overcharged with high notions of color dignity, and greatness-at once overbearing and impudent to those whom, in their
sovereign pleasure, they consider as their inferiors. Then should we, our sons and daughters be slaves indeed. Such a population, and the evils and vices it would bring with it, the chief of which would be the deluging the country with ardent spirits, would create an enemy, a hundred fold more to be dreaded than the unseen messenger of God's anger, now traversing the earth-'the pestilence that walketh in darkness ' the destruction that wasteth at noon day.'
It is the presenting these serious and momentous things to the people, what I mean by telling them the truth, and I am inclined to believe that it is the best, if not the only way to find out what the will of the people is.
Were it not that my motives have been misapprehended by some, and wilfully misrepresented by a few, I should not have published my letter of resignation, nor troubled the reader with the foregoing explanations. But is due to myself and my countrymen, for whom the above remarks are intended, that I should at least say what I have said.
In taking leave of my readers and patrons, I must express my gratitude for the great forbearance and allowances with which I have been treated by them. They have had frequent occasion to exercise that forbearance. In return I can only say I have done what I could, and as my limited abilities and means would allow. I have served my countrymen I hope, with fidelity, through evil and well as good report, and I know I have the witness in my own heart, that I have had and do still have their interest uppermost in my mind. In retiring I have made it a matter of conscience. In a different sphere of employment I trust to be more useful that I can be as Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix.