Cherokee Phoenix


Published June, 18, 1828

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We are gratified to notice that the pernicious effects of intemperance are beginning to open the eyes of some of our citizens, as will be seen in the following letters which we translate from the original inserted above. We cannot but entertain the hope that the example of these men, in expressing, so decidedly, their disapprobation of the prevailing vice of the country, will be universally followed, by the aged, the influential, and the patriotic of this Nation, until the progress of this great evil shall be arrested.


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June 4, 1828

To the newly appointed chiefs, William Hicks and John Ross.

A few days since we held court at Etowa. The penalty of the law was executed upon some of our young men, who had transgressed it. But you have not been deaf respecting it, for you have heard of it. We know what the laws require, But they are not obeyed here: For whatever our young men are assembled together, whiskey is not wanting. The principal cause of this is, that the women, they by whom we are nurtured, treat us thus. Whenever the time of my* assembling in Council arrives, whiskey is uniformly assembled by the women, and there the young men drink. Then when they have consumed their little property, they begin to think by what means they shall replace it; and those means they find in stealing horses.- Accordingly they steal, and are convicted, and thus punished. also when they have been dancing all night, in the morning they commence fighting. Sometimes they nearly kill each other. I see them covered with blood. Whiskey is the cause of these doings of our young men towards each other. I cannot give them up. For I remember that you said last Summer, 'If any one thinks, `This is the source of my trouble,' laws can be enacted [respecting it.'] Now these are my tho'ts [sic]. As it respects dancing after the fiddle, let every person, in whose house the dancing is, be fined the sum of five dollars. I am however told, by the people of Cedar-creek, that this cannot be done. Nevertheless I ask your decision. Let the word come from you. But, let your answer be sent to be me in a letter. I wish to hear speedily. Whenever your letter arrives, I shall assemble all the young men.







___ LEE,




*My assembling. The singular for the plural. The same idiom will be observed in other sentences. Ed.


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The following is the answer of the principal Chiefs to the preceding letter.


June 10, 1828.

FRIENDS:- We have received your letter, and we are sorry to hear, that some of the young people of your Town were convicted before the late court in your district, for stealing, and been punished according to law; and that the commission of this abominable crime is attributed to intemperance brought upon them by certain women trafficking whisky to them on all public occasions. It is sincerely to be hoped that this practice will not be continued.- If those women who engage in this business would seriously reflect upon the evil and disgrace which they are instrumental in bringing upon the young men, and if they possess any of the natural affections which mothers feel towards their offspring, they cannot but drop a tear of sympathy, and abandon the practice of dealing in whiskey.

For your better information, we will tell you that there is a law in existence, passed nearly six years ago, which prohibits any person or persons from bringing ardent spirits within three miles of the General Council house, or to any of the court houses within the several districts, during the General Council or the sitting of the Courts, under the penalty of forfeiting the whisky, (which is to be destroyed) for disposing of the same so as to intoxicate any person whatsoever. And about four years ago there was an amendment made to the above law, which we will also tell you. It prohibits all persons whatsoever, from disposing of in any manner ardent spirits at ball plays, all night dances and other public gatherings, under the penalty of having all their spirits wasted; and it is made the special duty of the marshals, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, and constables to take cognizance of such offences [sic] and to execute this law; and any of these officers failing or neglecting to take cognizance of any violation of this law, after being put in full possession of the fact of such violation, any of the courts, are liable to pay a fine to be imposed at the discretion of the court, one half for the benefit of the informer and the other half for the benefit of the National Treasury, and the officer subjected to be removed from office by the National Council. From these laws you will see that if they are strictly observed and enforced, the evil complained of, would in a great degree be diminished. As we believe you have a copy of the public laws in your town, we do not think it necessary to quote any more passages from them, but we will earnestly recommend to you, on all proper occasions, to have the laws read in public, for the information of the people, and at the same time advise and admonish them to refrain from all evil practices. By this course you may succeed in reclaiming some of the evil disposed young People. As a good example set on the part of the aged, cannot fail to command respect, we hope that they will distinguish themselves by a circumspect deportment. Should it be thought necessary and expedient that some amendments, or new laws should be made for the better regulation of the Nation, on any particular subject, the new members who will be elected to the next General Council ought to be instructed on the subject; and if you were to submit a memorial before the General Council, it would claim the particular attention of your immediate representatives, and if the majority of the members of the General Council approves the recommendation, a law would be passed to embrace the object. You will discover from this that, the General Council alone possess the sole power of making public laws. Consequently we have no power to impose a fine of five dollars on those who indulge in dancing after the fiddle, agreeably to your suggestion. Before we close this letter, we will again entreat you earnestly to admonish the young people of your town from engaging in all evil associations, and especially to shun the company of white men who are known for their bad characters in the adjoining states, as such men may lead them in the path to trouble, shame and disgrace, through the craftiness of their wicked designs.

We are respectfully, your friends and fellow countrymen.




Etowa Town, Cherokee Nation.