NEW ECHOTA,Aug. 25, 1832
22d August, 1832
MR. ELIAS BOUDINOT,- Having understood that your successor in the editorial department is not yet appointed, and that consequently you have yet a claim to publish any communication upon the affairs of our common country that a citizen may write, I hope you will excuse the liberty I take in addressing this to you. Having no claim to wisdom or learning; and no pretension to wealth, this comes from an humble individual who resides in a little log hut daubed with mud, covered with clapboards, and having no other flooring, where I write than the solid earth, for which our ancestors have fought and bled in days past, and for which our chiefs have recently maintained a long and expensive controversy with the Georgians in their own courts and the S. Court of the United States, where their labors have been crowned with the greatest intellectual victory ever recorded in the annals of the aborigines of America!
Poor as I am in the world, the attachment I feel for my natal spot, for the forest shades under which I played in boyhood, and the springs of water where I have quenched my thirst, and the crystal streams in which I have bathed my limbs, for my patch of corn and little orchard I have planted,- and above all the right of having my own chiefs, and my own color to pass laws for me in my own language (the Cherokee) is very great. It is therefore with feelings of great distress that I have read your letter of resignation, in which you state there is now no hope of relief, and that the people of America are now silent about us poor Indians. My children often, in their innocence and ignorance, ask me, who the Georgians are and whether they would kill us for our lands, and what I wept for? O gracious Father in heaven, has it come to this? Are we left to the mercy of a haughty people who rob us every day? Has the broad shield of the United States been withdrawn, and will not Gen. Jackson pity us and execute the laws not declared to be constitutional by the S. Court? Will not Congress make him do it? Where is the eloquence of our friends and have they also despaired? Have a number of them addressed a letter directed to Maj. Ross, on this subject, and has one of the associate judges of the Supreme Court done the same?
I believe that you are the friend of the poor and ignorant, and that you have told us the truth--harshly as that sounds in my ears I respect you for it. You are indeed our friend-your acts have shown it and we know it. I am one of those who love the chiefs and believe that they are good men and true, and that sooner than submit the freedom of our people into the hands of whites, they would walk and carry us through a fiery furnace to a place where our people may be free. It is for that we live and are wiling yet to live in this cruel world.
I have not yet seen in print Mr. Ross' message to the council at Red Clay, and I do not know what are his views and hopes of the re-adjustment of our rights, if he has any, and the reasons of his hopes, and upon what they are founded? Why do you not publish this message, if it is conciliatory-the people ought to have it. But if I may judge from his proclamation of the 3d July on the subject of a fast, humiliation and prayer upon the crisis of our affairs, I should presume he too had no comfort. He says in that message, 'Where as, the crisis in the affairs of this nation exhibits the day of tribulation and sorrow, and the time appears to be fast hastening when the destiny of this people must be healed,' 'c. Then indeed if it would do good I could weep tears of fire, because my heart is in a flame!
The deep foundations of this U. States have been laid upon the anti-human policy of Europe, which issued charters to cover our lands in usurpation.--The Anglo-Americans have carried out this usurpation and have cherished their Republicanism and Christianity upon the blood ' smoking ruins of the Indians! To satisfy the avidity of these pale faces what have we not done? We have relinquished province after province in vain. Has the tomahawk saved us? No. Has the pipe of peace smoked with them in council saved us? No. Have civilized and Christianity (for we have tried them) saved us? Let the slaughtered Indians at Muskingum rise from their ashes and answer. Let our own dear Missionaries in the walls of the Penitentiary, Yes, let the whole Cherokee Nation answer, NO!
It has been said by some that the chiefs care not for us, and that when the Nation falls to pieces they will save themselves upon choice reservations and become citizens of the U. S. and let us common Indians shift for ourselves, to die like the wounded deer in the wilderness of the West. I do not believe it. For patriotism they may well stand by the ancient sages of Greece and Rome, because they have all along resisted temptation, ably thrown in the path at various times and ways.
When we have tested the U. S. all we can when we are ready, I trust and believe we will take our women and children and go to the verge of the globe, on the shores of the Pacific, and there raised up our own standard, kindle up our own council fire ' leap out of this accursed state of pupilage under such guardians, and make of ourselves a foreign Nation, or gloriously die in the attempt.
* We have not yet been favored with a copy of the Message to which our correspondent alludes.-- We shall publish it whenever it comes our way, although we believe, it contains no assurances or statements which will carry gladness into the hearts of our afflicted people.--Ed.
For the Cherokee Phoenix
RIGHTS OF THE CHEROKEES
Liberty in its most general signification is said to be a power to do as one thinks fit unless restrained by the laws of the land: and that the right in this liberty, being so invariably advocated by human nature it must be assumed, to be the grandest gift of God to all mankind at their creation. The liberty emanating as it does from the first cause of all things is to be termed the great law of nature. Man considered as aa free agent, the right is absolute; it is inherent; it being the gift of God at his creation. The common conceived opinions that mankind throughout the world in similar circumstances are alike, is true; but it consists chiefly in the pursuit of happiness, the progress of the mind; and the cultivation of science. But that it is also alike, in the decreped and in all the intermediate to the transcendent circumstances of mankind is likewise conspicuously true. The love of country and liberty in the mind of the savage is as strong as it is in that of Henry Clay or John Randolph. I must not philosophize in this debatable question but advert to the circumstances of the Cherokees as an instance to show where the love of country and liberty continue as sacred now, although not enjoyed, situated as they are under the wretched thraldom of Georgia, as it was before Columbus saw his first day, and appreciated not less than King George to his throne, or the British to his crown. The natural rights of mankind when they form themselves into a community, for the mutual benefit, consists first, in a liberty to ordain such rules for the conduct of its members, as will conduce to their happiness. Secondly, a right to a country on which to exercise this liberty. They are reciprocal rights, one cannot exist without the other.- This I conceive to be the primary rights of man, and to which all mankind are justly and naturally entitled to. These rights the Cherokees have from time immemorial enjoyed, and when the arm of the United States in its rapid growth, reached and came in contact with these natural rights of the Cherokees, it wisely stayed its hand, and the bravest and the wisest recognized these rights and guarantied them by compacts. But in the year 1828 a new government of the United States found itself in the hands of President Jackson, whose former compacts were considered as mist in the wind, and its plighted faith as putrid air. The Intercourse Law too, enacted to sustain these very rights was discovered by the President to mean nothing so long as he thought proper, and that the states had all the rights and the Indians had none. The Cherokees have been denationalized in Georgia, not by the supreme law of the land, but by the new casuistry which has induced Georgia to proceed into measures prepared for the destruction of our rights, and to consummate a Spanish act, if not rescinded, will be recorded by the future historian with a trembling hand. The rights of the Cherokees have been recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States, it is the supreme law of the land, and when the President finds himself again possessed of sufficient power to destroy this law he will on the other hand be preparing a gulf of anarchy into which his own government will fall.
Let us then continue to rely on the virtue of the American institutions, and as we have in all our calamities sustained our national virtues, let us anticipate that the virtues of the Americans as a nation, and at which we have looked to for our welfare, will finally prevail and relieve the Cherokees from their protracted and suffering condition.