WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1829
The 'documents' to which Col. M'Kenney referred in his communication published in our last, it appears were forwarded to the Rev. Eli Baldwin of New York, by him to be made public, to prove that the great body of the Cherokees and Creeks are anxious to remove. These documents we have not seen, and are therefore not prepared to confront them. But at the same time, being eye witnesses of what is passing around us, we venture to say, they are of the same nature with the documents that were lodged in the War Department, not a year ago, charging a certain missionary in this nation with interfering with this establishment, and writing scurrilous communications against the officers of the Government. Those charges originated with some malicious person, who,we apprehend, is still busy in the inglorious work of injuring the Cherokee people.
We wish our readers to bear in mind, that, so far as we have contradicted the statement of Col. M'Kenney, it has been no further than the Cherokees are concerned-thus far we are responsible, and are willing to be corrected if we are mistaken. In regard to the Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, we have not the same means to ascertain the truth, yet we fully believe that Col. M'Kenney has, in his address before the Indian Board, done them equal injustice.
If it should be thought that we are too sensitive on this subject, we would remark, that in our view, and in the view of the Cherokee people, it is of the utmost importance that the truth should be known, and all misrepresentations should be corrected; because it is evident that the Government, either through mistake or designedly, urges the removal of the Indians upon premises which cannot be sustained by facts, viz: the impossibility of civilizing them where they are, and the willingness of a majority to remove. In regard to the later we have placed before our readers, so far as the Cherokees are concerned, the true state of the case, on which the public may rely with safety. As to the former, it is premature to urge it. Notwithstanding what Mr.Eaton says, in the Communication we publish today, it is well known to those who are better qualified to judge, that the Cherokees have been in state of a progressive improvement these 30 years, and that the question, 'whether they are capable of self-government, by any of those rules of right which civilization teaches,' has long since been settled. We are frequently referred to past history, to enable us to ascertain the truth of the assertion, 'that the near association of the white and red man is destructive to the latter'-But does not the situation of the Cherokees refute it? What would be thought of a man who would reason that, because the republican governments of the old world failed, therefore it amounts to a certainty that this great republic will fail also, and that it is necessary to change it into a monarchical Government. Such reasoning would be premature-it is well known that the United States are prosperous and happy.
We never contended that in our present situation we were free from difficulties.- But the question is, will these difficulties cease by a removal? We answer, No.- Besides, who is the author of the difficulties and troubles with which we are surrounded? Have they been brought upon us by our folly and indiscretion? Have we intruded upon our white brothers, so that we must step back to avoid the consequences? Are we in this instance forewarned of destruction and utter annihilation, by those whose sacred rights we have invaded? If so, let us retire-let us go to the west of the Mississippi, there to indulge ourselves in habits more congenial to us-we will pursue the game-we will follow a savage warfare,and resume what we have already yielded, 'the barbarous practice of burning prisoners at the stake' - we will, what we have not done these forty years, make 'women and children fit subject for the Tomahawk ' scalping knife.' But is it so-are we suffering for our folly? On this soil, our forefathers lived and died, long before the face of the white man was seen. This land is ours by right of inheritance, ' peaceable possession. If our white brothers have seen fit to surround us on all sides, and make difficulties for us-if they have intruded upon our rights, property ' persons, ' then required us to retire before them, lest they annihilate us, we see no reason that we should obey them. We stand upon our own soil-we enjoy our own rights derived from our fathers,and guarantied by the American people-if they think proper to wrest these from us, they can do it-we are innocent of all consequences.
The more we think of the question of removal as urged by the Government, we are the more convinced that we are not doing wrong in opposing it. It will never facilitate the improvement of the Cherokees, but in all probability arrest it. And as to the promises so profusely made,if we would only emigrate, we would say, there are other promises existing, which we should be glad to see fulfilled first- when that is done it will be time enough to look to others. We do hope the Cherokees will be so united and determined of which we have no doubt as to put the United States to the test-let us see whether she will regard her stipulations.
The people of this Nation we believe are aware of the following facts: 1. The Government of the United States have made solemn pledges to them. 2. These pledges, if observed are sufficient to secure their rights. 3. If the Government violate her promises, they will have nothing to hope, if they should remove to the western wilds. 'Think before you leap,' is an old proverb we think quite applicable in this case. It would certainly be leaping in the dark to rely upon the bare promises of the Government, when it is uncertain whether she will fulfil her treaty engagements. We say therefore, let her be put to the test.
As much as we rejoice to hear that an order has been forwarded to the Agent for the removal of the intruders, we do not consider this act of the Executive as indicating great justice worthy of being applauded. President Jackson has done what he was bound to do six months ago.
Mr. Eaton says, speaking of the Indians; 'If they have yielded the barbarous practice of burning prisoners at the stake, they have not even after the lapse of many years, and frequent associations of the whites, surrendered the no less savage habit of considering women and children fit subjects for the Tomahawk, and scalping knife.' We invite the attention of our readers to the words in italics. If in the above remark, Mr. Eaton includes the Cherokees, (and that he does is evident) we should like to know how he has ascertained the fact, since it is about sixteen years ago then they were last engaged in war, and then, as a nation, no one will say they were guilty of the savage habit. At the time they fought under the eye of General Jackson. Perhaps the discovery has been made during the late Indian hostilities which was a matter of so much talk, first in the Columbus Enquirer, and then in most of the papers of the land.
The officers of the Government are certainly ignorant of the condition of the Cherokees, or else they are determined to misrepresent them to the public, so that they may the more easily succeed in their attempts to remove them. It appears to be their design to place them in the most unfavorable attitude-this is wrong. When truth is not their governing principle,we should be induced to doubt their professions of benevolence. The reader will see in the first part of Mr.Eaton's letter a good illustration of these remarks.
Who is there that will not feel the Indians are distressed after reading the pathetic speech of Col. Folsom, the Choctaw Chief? We are distressed, yes, we are distressed, in our father's house in the heart of your flourishing ' happy Country, we inhabitants of the U. States.- We are distressed, ye Christians of America. Are we aliens and outcasts?
Monday Nov. 9
A resolution from the Committee, authorizing the delegation to employ a counsel, was read and passed.
A resolution from the Committee providing for an appropriation, to meet the contingent expenses, was received and passed.
The Principal Chief returned the petition of Jos. Vann, with his objections. It was passed with an amendment.
The Principal Chief returned other bills, which were passed with amendments.
A bill reducing the compensation of persons employing, arresting and guarding criminals was passed.
The General Council closed its session on Tuesday evening of last week, to meet again the second Monday in October next. During the last days of the session the committee were principally engaged in examining claims.