Cherokee Phoenix


Published July, 21, 1828

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When a few nights more shall have closed the lights of our days, then the first Monday in August will have approached. This is the August day fixed by our new Constitution, on which the election of members to the General Council is to take place.- The forms of our old government, which existed in a dubious form, will in this interesting event be forever abrogated. A free government will have come into operation, placing the political rights of every Cherokee on an equality marking out the road leading to happiness and to our national emminence [sic]. We have great reason to exult in the success of our intellectual and moral improvements, embracing every other valuable attainment, since we have laid aside our primitive mantle, for a transition from that state, to the shining edifice of literature. The commencement of the Cherokee civilization may be dated about the year 1800 or twenty eight years ago, about the period of my recollection. The white man when was a stranger in our circles, with but few exceptions, and the Indian in the garb of the white man, was then subject to ridicule and scoff of the Indian. Such was the prejudice and independence of the Cherokees at so early a date that it is wonderful in the highest degree to see the changes that we have undergone since that period. But what pictures can be exhibited to convey a just idea of our change from the one state to the other?- When the mighty God commanded the dry land to appear out of the watery deep, the conscious earth sprang forth, into being and assumed a station for which it was ordained. When the United States of America called the sons of Path Killer [ in Cherokee] from the howling wilderness, the songsters of the grove, and the ravages of war, we have obeyed, converted our tomahawks to the woodmans [sic] axe and opened the sublime elysian vales, for the still sublimely ample fields. Our population is now a complete variety, one part Indian, another half Breeds, and a third whitemen [sic]; education is of far greater importance at this time, that the tuition of youth was to the hunter state, prior to the year 1800.

Friendship on the conquest of prejudice, intermarriages has followed, education flourished, and a republican form of government organised [sic] for benefit of our future posterity. But as the mind of man seldom rises above its circumstances, let us not halt for one moment in our present point if information in prosecuting similar strides of improvement, that has so distinguished our past success. It may be said, much has been done to enable the Cherokees, to become a civilized people, yet it is obvious that too much good cannot be done in the instruction of the Cherokees in every branch of useful information. In the period of our struggle between light and darkness, in order to reach the ever shining day of civilization, the U. States, under whose guardianship we are placed, has notwithstanding its fostering care, created many difficulties, at times impeding our literary progress. Look to the setting sun you see the untutored warrior traversing the western wilds on track of his enemy or in pursuit of game, and his forlorn wife and child, retained at some lonely cavern excluded from the reach of civilization . Thus is the fruits of the United States policy of colonizing the original inhabitants of America.

Again, the United States sets forth a claim to our territory by virtue of European charters for the same, and supreme jurisdiction to be paramount to our right. But as I cannot repress my admiration of the sentiments of an eminent politician of this nation, in support of our rights, the balance will be visible when it is contrasted with this regal claim and supercede [sic] the necessity of an investigation. 'The United States boasts of supreme jurisdiction and the rights of the states, but what is it when it is compared with original possession, and an inheritance from the King of Kings.' A mere quibble? such are only a few among the many difficulties, that have not a little retarded our intellectual growth. But notwithstanding these momentary interferences we have surmounted all obstacles and we yet stand strong on the soil of our forefathers. In the ensuing election of members to the General Council, under the provisions of the new constitution, I have to take this method of making known to the respectable citizens of Coosewatee District, my offer as a Candidate for that branch of the Council styled Nat. Committee. It is a duty which I owe myself and to those persons composing the district, that in case your suffrages should be confered [sic] on me, so as to result in my election to that portion of the Council stated, I propose faithfully, to devote the duties of my promotion to the interest of the nation, on the following subjects.

First, that portion of the constitution which authorizes the election of three persons to compose the Council of the two Principal Chiefs, I propose to expunge out of the Constitution. If the Cherokee Nation was sinking under its own weight, like that of Rome, then it would be necessary to have such an immense court attached to the deliberations of the two Chiefs, to enable them to direct affairs with more wisdom. Our government is small, which can be comprehended by the Principal Chiefs at any time, and performing all the duties, the interests of the country may require. This arrangement will curtail several hundred dollars, of the expences [sic] that will be incurred by the creation of these officers under the new government.

Second, I shall also propose an amendment to that article of the Constitution which fixes the salaries of the members of Council, fifty cents less than that of the Committee, so as to make it all equal.

Third, I shall propose to expunge from the Constitution, for electing a national marshall. I presume the creation of this great officer was intended to execute the orders of the Supreme Court which meets once a year. A sheriff in every district will be elected who are a species of officers not having sufficient employment, can be easily authorised [sic] to do all the duties of the contemplated marshal.

Fourth, among other important questions the missionary system of education will occupy a portion of my time. This system must be viewed with a generous spirit and not to suffer the least prejudice to have any influence in deciding their continuence [sic] in the Cherokee country. Let us recur to the year 1817 and we will find but one missionary station. Pass through the country at present we will find twelve stations of missions for the purpose of educating Cherokee youths gratuitously, at the expence [sic] of the respective societies from whom they were sent. This charity cannot altogether be the invention of finite man. It is argued that their labors are pursuant to the commands of the omnipotent God. Who is to oppose his Creators will, I presume none will dare? But the system is grown to such a magnitude that we behold permanent and may be considered splendid establishment located on the choicest lands. The proficiency of learning in these seminaries ( with but two or three exceptions) are all on the decline. A few small children are taken at some stations, but their advance in learning is calculated to excite but little interest. We have permitted them to settle on our lands without a special understanding of the duration of time for their continuance. A question here arises, are they to be considered as identified with the Cherokee family? or are they to be considered as other transient teachers are, removeable[sic] at the pleasure of the individuals by whom they are employed. Let us suppose the latter case and what will be the moral aspect- Suppose the council were to decide on examination of the Missions that the station at Oougillogee was no longer necessary, and its discontinuance was expedient? Judging from circumstances, and only those within the range of probability it will justify and assertion that a desire on the part of the Council to discontinue some Missions, would in every point of view meet the disapprobation of the Missionaries, their respectable members of the Church would rise to its protection; admiting [sic] there was not a single scholar to the station, they would advocate the utility of the Mission than permit a dissolution of the church.

In investigating this case, we disturb the tranquility of the connected parties, and involves insurmountable difficulties in effecting their removal. Let us then pass from one station to another, and see how the question will stand there. There is a missionary station at Willstown composed of members having all the advantages to enable them to labor in the sacred cause. Here again a school has not had the salutary effect that would be expected from such competent tutors. The scattered population of this part of the country is a principal cause operating against the success of these missionaries. If we then proceed to decide that the population surrounding this station is sufficiently enlightened to help themselves, and that the good resulting from their school was no more in addition, than a drop into the bucket, we will here again see the distinguished members of that Church rise to its protection. The result of this investigation will be applicable to all other missionary stations whenever their removal shall be contemplated by the Council. However much needed they may be, the plan of some missionary schools in my opinion cannot be viewed otherwise that nominal schools, when they are placed in comparison to those where instruction is regularly given. The system then resolves itself into a question, are they to be identified and merged into our population as Cherokee people? It is feared that we are preparing them approximating that event. But in the event we should conclude to arrest this missionary system, the tender voice of humanity must not be absent in treating them according to justice. I am therefore disposed to continue those only who are engaged at the stations of the largest schools, but if we continue all, we shall have to fling a new impulse into the system by legislation, before they can act with energy again.

Fifth, I shall support strennously [sic] the election of a Principal Chief who shall be a learned man in order that the affairs of the Nation may be transacted with more facility and advantage. Experience has demonstrated how fallacious it is to elect a person without letters to the executive office. The past custom of placing an unlearned person in that department has been the consequence of discharging his duties under a humiliating circumstance, than a consciousness of competency to perform all the business connected with the office. It has invariably been dependent on other officers next in dignity, for advice and the inditing of all communications and other instruments of writing devolving on the executive. If it is our object to place useful men in our offices, the precedent will be found unsafe if talents is continued unnoticed in making selections of public officers. I have no doubt all will agree, that our advanced situation, requires a learned man at the head of our government than a man of ordinary abilities. Let then our choice of merit consist in honesty, experience and talents. Should the subjects with which I have endeavored the address you, be deserving of your notice, as well as that of the Council, I respectfully submit them all to the inspection of your wisdom.