Col. Thomas L. McKenney, late special Agent to the Southern Indians, in a letter to the Secretary of War, dated Choctaw Country, Oct. 10th 1828 [sic], makes an estimate of the probable expense of removing the Chickasaw Indians. The utmost extent of cost is estimated at 494,750 dollars, including the cost of a visit to examine the country, the cost of their houses, mills, work shops, orchards, fences, and their stock of all kinds, all which are to be replaced by the United States. According to the foundation which Col. McKenney has laid down, we make the following estimate of the probable cost of the removal of the Cherokees, (if that were to be the case.)
The population of the Cherokee Nation, we will put down at 13,000, (which is below the actual number.) We will suppose (following Col. McKenney's suppositions) the families to average five souls, which will five 2,600 houses. These houses, we do not suppose can be built for less than an average cost of 200 dollars, which in our opinion is quite moderate. Most of these houses it is true, are poor, and may be built for a small amount, yet there are many which will require the double and triple of what we put down as an average cost.- Few of the best horses [sic] cannot be built for less sums than two, three, or four thousand dollars, including barns, cribs, 'c.- This part of the expense will then be $520,000.
The number of mills, grist, and saw, is fifty, which may be replaced for the sum of $25,000, supposing each mill to cost $500.
Their shops are sixty-two in number, and these estimated at $50 each will cost $3,000.
Their orchards perhaps may be replaced for $3,000.
The fences of the Chickasaws are estimated by Col. McKenney at $50,000, $200,000 will then be but a moderate estimate for this item of the expense attending the removal of the Cherokees.
There are in this Nation 7.683 horses, these at $40 per head, will cost $307,320.
22,531 black cattle at $10 per head will coast $224,310.
46,700 hogs owned by the Cherokees, at $3 per head, will cost $140,100.
The probable cost of a visit to examine the country, may be the same as estimated by Col. McKenney, $10,000, and of their removal to it, $350,000. This is by no means an extravagant estimate, for Col. McKenney puts down the cost of the removal of the Chickasaws, who are but four thousand in number, at $100,000.
The total amount of cost, then, for the foregoing items, will be $1,783,730. And supposing we add a fourth for the expense of the Government, the Schools, the military, and other items not enumerated, the whole amount of expense in removing the Cherokees beyond the limits of any State or Territory will be $2,229,662.
If this project is intended, as we are told by its advocates, for the good and civilization of the Cherokees and other Indians, cannot this sum be put to better use?- Supposing with this money, the United States begin to establish schools in every part of this Nation? With this money let their be a college founded, where every advantage of instruction may be enjoyed. Let books, tracts, 'c. be published in Cherokee and English, and distributed throughout the Nation and every possible effort be made to civilize us, let us at the same time be protected in our rights. What would be the consequence? If we fail to improve under such efforts, we will then agree to remove.