Of the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, submitted before the National Committee and Council, in joint Committee of the whole, Wednesday, October 14th 1829.
To the Committee and Council, in General Council convened.
Friends and Fellow Citizens.- As Representatives of the Cherokee people, you have again convened under the Constitutional authority of the Nation. This sacred privilege, of assembling in General Council of the Nation, to promote the interest and happiness of our citizens, is one, among the greatest blessings which we have derived from the Great Ruler of the Universe. It is a right which we as a distinct people have ever exercised, and our prerogative so to act has been recognized by the Government of the United States, under whose fostering care we have merged from the darkness of ignorance and superstition, to our present degree of advancement in civilized improvement. It has therefore become your duty to guard and protect the rights and happiness of your constituents by adopting such laws for their common welfare, as will avert any abuse of the legitimate privileges guaranteed under the Constitution.
During the last session of the General Council, you determined on the expediency of sending a Delegation to represent the grievances of the Nation to the General Government, and at the same time earnestly requested that I should accompany them. I now submit for your information, documents containing the correspondence between the Delegation and the officers of the Government, on the various subjects appertaining to the mission. You will perceive from these documents that the late administration did not act upon any of the subjects submitted by the Delegation, but referred them all to the consideration of the present administration. At an early day, a protest was laid before the late President, through the Secretary of War, against the proceedings of Georgia, relative to the extension of her laws over the territory within our jurisdiction, believing at the same time that he would have deemed the matter of sufficient importance to have submitted a special message to Congress, respecting so unjust an assumption of power on the part of Georgia; but finding that our anticipation would not be realized, and being desirous that the true sentiments of the Nation on this subject should be made known to that honorable body, the Delegation, at a late hour, presented a memorial and protest.
When on the eve of leaving Washington and only awaiting the decision of the President on Reids' claim for ardent spirits, illegally introduced into the Nation, and confiscated under our laws, the Delegation, very unexpectedly, received from the Secretary of War, the much talked of letter of the 18th April last. The subject having been laid before Congress, and the sentiments of the Nation fully expressed, and the opinion of the Delegation not being in the slightest degree effected by the arguments advanced by the Hon. Secretary in favor of Georgia's extending her sovereign jurisdiction over a portion of our territory, and withal, being in readiness to depart, and anxious to return home, they did not deem it necessary to make any reply. The extraordinary latitude of construction given by the Secretary, on the sovereignty of Georgia, exhibits a glaring attempt of innovation in our political rights, and is calculated to effect seriously our relationship with the General Government,
Georgia, to add to our grievances in the many outrages committed by her intrusive and lawless citizens, has lately set forth an unheard of claim, before, to a large portion of our lands, under the very absurd pretension that they were purchased from the Creeks by the United States, under the Treaty concluded with McIntosh and his party at the Indian Springs; and a survey has been made by the authority of Georgia, which is called a new line: beginning at Suwanna Old Town on the Chattahoochie River, thence to the Six's on the Etowah River, thence imagining said river as a part of the boundary line, to its confluence with the Oostanalee, they resumed the survey from the north bank of my ferry landing at the mouth of the Oostanalee, through my lane and along the Waggen (sic) road leading to Alabama to a point 16 or 17 miles west of my residence, which road in the surveyors report, they have been pleased to style the Old Creek path. It is well known that many of the citizens of Georgia had previously intruded upon these lands and after committing many flagrant aggressions upon the persons and property of our frontier citizens, and anticipating a removal by order of the United States Government, this fraudulent and unfounded claim was set forth by some of the Georgia politicians, with a view of causing a delay in the removal of the intruders; and that by a system of fraud, violence, and oppression practiced upon the frontier Cherokees, they would abandon their improvements and remove farther into the interior of the Nation, and the National authority might thereby, eventually be compelled to cede these lands to the United States for their benefit. You will discover from Col. Montgomery's letter directed to me, and enclosing a copy of a letter from the Secretary of War, that the order for removing the intruders has been suspended until he shall have been put in possession of the facts relative to the lands thus intruded upon and unjustly attempted to be wrested from us.
In the archieves(sic) of the U. States are to be found public documents that afford abundant evidence to convince the world that this land is the soil of the Cherokees,- that the boundary line between this and the Creek Nation has been definitively and satisfactorily established, and this agreement recognized and sanctioned by the treaties with the United States, and also acquiesced in and observed on the part of Georgia. The course taken by the Secretary of War in this matter seems strange, as you will see, from the documents submitted, that this unfounded claim to a portion of our lands, was brought to his view by the Delegation, and the only attention then given to it by the Department, was, the positive assurance given by the President that the intruders should be removed. This unexpected delay in their removal is calculated to encourage them to multiply, and the consequences cannot fail to produce serious evils to our bordering citizens. The portion of country embraced by the claim has ever been in the peaceable and undisputed possession of the Cherokees.- The Creek treaty of the Indian Springs, under which the State claims, only ceded to the United States the lands claimed and occupied by the Creeks within the chartered limits of Georgia. They neither claimed nor occupied any land north of the boundary line previously established and marked out between the two nations from the Buzzard Roost on the Chatahoochie to the Coosa River opposite the north of Will's Creek, thence down to the lower end of the Ten Islands. The exposition of the United States' Commissioners who negotiated the treaty of the Indian Springs sheweth plainly that they understood the boundary line between the two nations to have been run and established as above stated, and that the Creeks occupied, and claimed and disposed of lands only on the south side of said line.- The new treaty entered into at Washington City, declares the treaty of the Indian Springs to be null and void, because it had been conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity.- The boundary established by this treaty recognized the Cherokee boundary, and the surveys made under the authority of the United States and Georgia respected it accordingly.
The course of proceeding adopted by the Agents of the Government in conducting the enrolment of emigrants for Arkansas, through the medium of secret Agents, by permitting the emigrants to claim improvements they never possessed or even before claimed, and have them assessed is calculated to disturb the peace and tranquility of our citizens. It had been confidently asserted that the immigrants are encouraged by those employed in the service of the Government and entrusted in this business, to make extra disposition of their improvements to citizens of the United States, thereby adding another class of intruder to annoy our peaceable citizens on their own soil. It is necessary that you adopt such measures as will cause and effect the removal of such intruders as may be found in possession of improvements abandoned by emigrants. By the 8th article of the Treaty of Holston, 1791, it is stipulated, 'If any citizen of the United States, or other person, not being an Indian, shall settle on any of the Cherokee land, such person shall forfeit the protection of the United States and the Cherokees may punish him or not, as they please.'
I submit, for your further information, a copy of a communication from his excellency Wm Carroll, Governor of Tennessee, under instructions from the Secretary of War, and also a copy of the reply given by the Executive Council.
A crisis seems to be fast approaching when the final destiny of our nation must be sealed. The preservation and happiness of the Cherokee people are at stake, and the United States must soon determine the issue-we can only look with confidence to the good faith and magnanimity of the General Government, whose precepts and profession inculcate principles of liberty and republicanism, and whose obligation are solemnly pledged to give us justice and protection. Our treaties of relationship are based upon the principles of the federal constitution, and so long as peace and good faith are maintained, no power, save that of the Cherokee Nation and the United States jointly, can legally change them. Much, therefore, depends on our unity of sentiment and firmness of action, in maintaining those sacred rights, which we have ever enjoyed; and in deliberating upon this subject, our minds should be matured with that solemnity, its great importance demand. But if, contrary to all expectation, the United States shall withdraw their solemn pledges of protection, utterly disregard their plighted faith, deprive us of the right of self Government, and wrest from us our land- then in the deep anguish of our misfortunes, we may justly say, there is no place of security for us, no confidence left that the United States will be more just and faithful toward us in the barren prairies of the West, than when we occupied the soil inherited from the Great Author of our existence.
By the Principal Chief
Assistant Principal Chief.