Cherokee Phoenix


Published October, 1, 1828

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Intemperance is the curse of mankind. It spreads desolation in societies and families. It is the parent of strife, the cause of diseases, and almost every species of misery. To the Indians, intemperance occasioned by the use of ardent spirits has been pernicious. It has been our shame in the eyes of other people, and has planted the common opinion, that the love of whiskey is a necessary trait of the Indian's character. Though this opinion is erroneous, yet the fact that intemperance is sadly prevalent and its effects awfully great among the Indians, we cannot deny. Among us, t has been a wide spreading evil. It has cost us lives, and a train of troubles. It has been an enemy to our national prosperity, industry, and intellectual improvement.- Even at this day, when it is generally conceded that we are the most civilized of all the Aboriginal tribes, we see this enemy of all good stalking forth in triumph, carrying desolation and misery into families and neighborhoods. The murders committed in this Nation, with a very few exceptions, are occasioned by intoxication. The only two public executions by hanging originated from the same cause. And what but whiskey produces all our accidents, all our strifes, fightings and stabbings?

It is to be lamented that ardent spirits should have ever been introduced among the Indians by the white man, but more so that, at this enlightened age, our intelligent citizens and the, intelligent citizens of the neighboring states should encourage this worst of all poisons, by making it a subject of trafic [sic]. But it is not ten times more to be regreted [sic], that professors of religion should engage in this trade of death? How is such conduct to be reconciled with Christian principles, and with the doctrine of universal benevolence?-Some of those who send whiskey here from Ten. we are credibly informed are professors of religion. How can they pray, 'thy kingdom come,' and desire the universal spread of the Gospel in heathen countries, particularly among their neighbors, the Indians, when they are sending death and destruction in our ranks? If this paper should ever meet the eyes of such persons, we would solemnly warn them of the mischief they are doing. Are you not aware that you are making a nation of drunkards? Are you not aware that you are causing deaths, murders, and a host of evils? To our fellow citizens, particularly professors of religion, who make it a business of traficing [sic] in whiskey, we would say, what availeth [sic] all our professions of patriotism when we are encouraging an enemy of such notoriety? What availeth our feeble exertions to enlighten our more ignorant brethren, when we are feeding them with coals of fire, and strewing their path with deadly poison? To our Legislators and civil leaders who have not scrupled to deal in ardent spirits, we would say, what availeth all legislative acts to prevent intemperance, when some of our law givers are encouraging it by retailing whiskey.

Our Cherokee readers will bear with us when we speak so plain upon this important subject. It is a subject which ought to occupy the attention of every citizen who sincerely desire that we may become a happy and intelligent people. Intemperance forms the great obstacle, and it is the hope that the public sentiment of this Nation may be aroused to the removal of this obstacle, that we freely bring this subject before our readers. Something far more efficient must be done than has hitherto been attempted. The public mind must bear upon this evil. Legislative resolutions will effect but little, unless they are sustained by the united opinion of the intelligent and virtuous portion of the nation.

We would sincerely hope, while so much is doing abroad to arrest the progress of intemperance, the citizens of this nation will not be inattentive to the call of their country-the call is imperious-it cannot be misunderstood. The call is to the Christian, and to the patriot. If an enemy were to come among us in a warlike attitude, and commence, unprovoked, a work of destruction with our women and children, our property, and with our most sacred rights, what patriot is there who would countenance the enemy, and remain an idle spectator? But fellow citizens, we have an enemy among us, a far more dangerous enemy, because its progress is unobserved, and because it insinuates itself as a friend, but mark ye, deaths by violence, deaths by diseases and deaths by accidents, sickness and famine, profanity and indecencies, and a host of other evils, are its trophies and triumphs.

We look with fond anticipation to the approaching session of the General Council. We hope there will be sufficient patriotism, and desire for the good of the Cherokee Nation among the members, to create acts against the introduction of ardent spirits.- The subject is important. It will not be unworthy their notice. Generations yet unborn may bless them for the decided stand which they may now take against the progress of intemperance.