Cherokee Phoenix


Published March, 10, 1830

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Those who strenuously advocate the removal of the Cherokees to the west of the Mississippi, Col. M'Kenney and other agents of the Government in particular, have often repeated the unfounded assertion, as our readers very well know, that the full Cherokees are desirous of emigrating, but are kept back by the influence of the Chiefs, half-breeds and white men, whose interest it is to keep them where they are. Col. M'Kenney in his last report told the public that the government had sent off upwards of 600 Cherokees-this is a fine come-off indeed. Six hundred Cherokees! We know this to be intended as a blind-we knew there were some whites, some blacks, and many half-breeds, and so informed the public. But as an Indian cannot be a competent witness, we have probably not been believed. We now bring in a white man to testify.

From the Arkansas Gazette of Feb. 2d

The Steamboat Industry, Capt. Johnson arrived at this place, about noon, on Wednesday last having on board about 100 cabin and deck passengers principally emigrants to the Territory, and about 200 emigrating Cherokee Indians from the old nation who are on their way to the Cherokee country up the Arkansas. A few of these Cherokees have a little of the appearance of the Indian, but the principal part of them show no signs of retaining in their veins any portion of the aboriginal blood.

The Steamboat Waverly, Capt. Pennywit arrived here on Thursday morning last, from New Orleans, and departs in the afternoon of the same day, for Cantonment Gibson. She had nearly 100 cabin and deck passengers, mostly emigrants to the Territory, besides near 200 emigrating Cherokee Indians who are removing to the Cherokee country up the Arkansas. These people are called Cherokees, in consequence of their residing among and being intermarried with that nation, but we say very few among them who bore any resemblance to the Indian.

The Rev. E. S. Ely, D. D. editor of the Philadelphian, after copying from the Arkansas Gazette on Dec. 30, an account of a commencement of hostility between the Choctaws and the Osages, residing west of the Mississippi, occupies a column and a half of his paper, in advocating the policy, expediency, justice, and humanity of removing, colonizing and concentrating the different tribes of Indians west of Missouri and the Territory of Arkansas.- Whether any argument favorable to the removal of the Indians can be drawn from the circumstances narrated in the Gazette, is at least, a doubtful question, for it is well known that we have not Indian wars east of the Mississippi, but west of it they have plenty. Be that as it may, we give below another text for the Dr. to preach Indian emigration.

From the Arkansas Gazette.

Murderous Battle.- A gentleman who arrived here yesterday, direct from the Western Creek Agency, informs us, that a war party of Osages returned, just before he left, from a successful expedition against the Pawnee Indians. He was informed by one of the Chiefs, that the party surprized (sic) a Pawnee village, high up on the Arkansas, and had it completely surrounded before the inmates were apprized of thier approach. At first, the Pawnees showed a disposition to resist, but finding themselves greatly out-numbered by their assailants, soon sallied forth from their village, and took refuge in the margin of a lake, where they again made a stand. Here they were again hemmed in by the Osages, who, throwing away their guns, fell upon them with their knives and tomahawks, and did not cease the work of butchery as long as any remained to resist them. Not one escaped! All were slain!! save a few who were taken prisoners, and who are perhaps, destined to suffer a more cruel death than those who were butchered on the spot. Our informant did not learn what number of the Pawnees were killed, but understood that the Osages brought in 60 or 70 scalps, besides several prisoners. The victorious party did not lose a man.

We also learn, that the Osages are so much elated with this victory, that another war party were preparing to go on an expedition against some Choctaws who reside on Red River, with whom they have been at variance for some time past.


The present miserable condition of the majority of the Indians resident on this side of the Mississippi calls loudly for such a measure; for altho the gospel has greatly benefitted all who have been brought under its benign influences, still the civilized Indians are generally of mixed blood, being one half or one quarter white; and the mass of the people, even among the Cherokees, are idle, uncultivated, and destitute of most of the comforts of life. At this moment they are more than half naked, and frequently half starved. I have it only second hand (and through one of the most honorable, and upright senators of the United States,) from a leading man of the nation of Cherokees, who is himself rich, and has reared a numerous family by a Cherokee wife, that the Indians frequently come fifty and sixty miles over the mountains to his grist mill to beg a peck of Indian meal ' that the larger number of the Cherokees were never more wretchedly destitute then at present.

There certainly exists erroneous apprehensions concerning the extent to which improvement has advanced among them. Religious people and missions however are not to be blamed because they have not rescued all from vagrancy and want. It is well that they have accomplished so much; and are striving to do more.

Those Indians, generally half Indians, who have built them houses and cultivated lands by their slaves, consider with propriety that their dwelling and corn fields, and tobacco plantations are not to be the common property of the wanderers of the nation. The seclusion of these cultivated spots, so far as they can be appropriated to the exclusive profit of those who have made improvements upon them, are at present, however, detrimental to those natives who choose still to depend on game and the chase; and in this way the civilization of a part of the people has rendered the condition of those who remain uncivilized more miserable.

In some instances those who would have cultivated a farm have been deterred by knowing, that every hungry Indian brother considers the whole Cherokee reservation a common, and will carry off the fruits of the labours (sic) of his neighbour (sic) whenever he can find, and thinks that he needs them.

So long as any industrious Indian possesses an ear of corn he must divide it with the hunter who comes to him, or he commits an unpardonable sin against Indian hospitality.

Now, let me ask, who among us would be industrious to feed the idle? What inducement could we have to amass personal property for the use of every vagabond who might claim to be our clan?

Give individual families estates, unalienable, until they are sufficiently enlightened to come out of a state of minority and to buy and sell; and then each man will realize that he labours (sic) for himself, and will reap the fruits of his own industry.

The granting of suitable sections by patents to individual tribes and families seems indispensable to the civilization of the whole mass.

Great inequalities have hitherto been produced by the manner in which annuities from the government of the United States have been paid. A few chiefs and wanderers have taken to themselves every article which has been nominally given to the whole tribe. The greedy and the most affluent have been helped to extravagance and dissipation, while the commonality received no benefit.

Frequently those Indians who obtain a share of the bounty of our government resort to some Agency, and those who cannot, at the appointed time, travel from one to seven hundred miles for their presents, receive none.


We find the above extract in the Rev. Dr. Ely's paper of Feb. 12. It is taken from an article, already alluded to, headed 'preservation and improvement of the Indians.' We had thought at first of merely presenting to our Cherokee readers the extract with a correct translation, and not trouble ourselves with any comments, so that they might see for themselves the means employed by the advocates of their removal to effect their object. We blame not Dr. Ely for being friendly to the emigration of the Cherokees- let him enjoy his own opinions on this subject, but we beg of him, the more so because he is a religious journalist, that he will not injure his red brethren, for whom he expresses so much compassion, by presenting them to the public in a light, which existing and incontrovertible facts do not warrant. We would respectfully inquire of our worthy friend whether he really believes that the Cherokees are indeed so wretched, that they have to come 60 miles to a white chief's grist mill to beg for a peck of meal-that they are half naked and frequently half starved, and that they are thieves of the most hardened kind, for they 'will carry off the fruits of the labours (sic) of their neighbors, whenever they can find, and think that they need them.' Well might the Doctor say he had it only second hand.

In regard to the testimony referred to in the foregoing statement, we will simply observe that there is no white man among the leading men of this nation. In 1819, we had some white men among us who were very officious and became very effective instruments in the hands of the governmen to induce by persuasion and indirect bribery many wretched Cherokee to emigrate to the Arkansas. These men had 'fattened upon the poverty of the Indians,' and such was the return they made them; and we believe if the Doctor will but reveal the names of 'the leading men' we can recognize as one of them probably now fishing for a reservation of land and a good income for bribery. We have been grieved to notice in many cases where we have been greatly misrepresented, reference has been made for evidence to persons nobody knows who said to be 'men of veracity': 'intelligent'; 'leading men' 'c. Why should the names be kept back, when facts of no ordinary importance are concerned? If we have been all along deceiving the public in regard to the true condition of the Cherokee- if intelligent missionaries among us, and many disinterested persons who have given their names and pledged their reputation for the truth of their statements, have been guilty of gross exaggeration, it is not desirable that he who takes upon himself to contradict, should come out and give his name to the public.- It may be proper to mention to the editor of the Philadelphian that we are prepared, whenever a responsible man is given on his part to sustain his assertions, to disprove them by fifty, not leading but honest and intelligent white men.

If indeed there 'exists much erroneous apprehension concerning the extent to which improvement has advanced among' the Cherokees, we would respectfully inquire whether it is not owing to a false criterion such a criterion as the Doctor we fear, has established for himself? Must you consider the Cherokees 'idle and uncultivated' because they have not the industry and refinement of some of the inhabitants of Philadelphia? Are they 'half naked' because they do not exhibit a gaudy show of city dress? Are they 'half starved' because their means of subsistence are simple, and because they have not yet learnt (sic) to taste many of the dainties of this life known only among the wealthy and the great? If such is your criterion to judge the extent of improvement and civilization, well may you consider us wretched, and with us too you may class thousands and thousands of your favoured (sic) race who surround us ' are scattered through the whole extent of your country not excepting the city of Philadelphia itself. Are there not many there who are idle, uncultivated, and destitute of the most of the (sic) comforts of life?' Are there not many 'at this moment who are more than half naked, and always half starved?' The following anecdote which occurred in one of the northern cities will, at least show that the Indians are not the only wretched people in the world.

In one corner of a room occupied by an Irish family, there was a little boy, whom the mother was covering with some rags, on the top of which she placed an old door. 'Mother,' said the boy, 'how do poor folks make out this cold weather who have no doors to lay on their bed?'

For our part we believe there is generally a correct impression existing in the public, we mean, among the liberal and candid, in regard to the extent of Cherokee improvement. We know very well there are those who see the injustice of comparing the Indians with civilized whites who have been enjoying the means of improvement upwards of one thousand years. These know that the criterion to ascertain whether the Cherokees have made any improvement is, to compare their present with their former condition; and under this rule and test we have no fear of a rigid examination, even from a most enthusiastic admirer of the government policy to colonize us in the western desert.- We earnestly protest against the use of any other rule.

What is said of the distribution of the annuities may possibly be true with some tribes, but is grossly false in regard to the Cherokees. Our annuities are not divided among the people by the General Government, but are paid into the Treasury of the nation, and appropriated by our legislature for the support of the government, and other public objects.

Our worthy friend, the editor of the Philadelphian must certainly be deceived and blinded by his too much devotion to the measures of the government to remove the Indians, for who should he reiterate those assertions of an unknown, and probably, and unprincipled and interested white man, and turn a deaf ear to the accounts laid before the public by Christian Missionaries. Does he not know that a large number of these Cherokees whom he calls 'idle, uncultivated,' 'c. are regular members of the Christian Church, and that some are of his own communion? Certainly he could not have intended to convey the idea that the Gospel may be embraced by an Indian and yet continue in his old habits. No, it cannot be-the doctrine of the day is Christianize

and you civilize.

Surprising as it may appear to the reader, Doctor Ely has contradicted himself. The same number of the Philadelphian from which the forgoing extract was taken, contains a long article from the Western Luminary, headed 'Moral Transformation of the Choctaw Indians,' in a letter to the editor from Messrs. George Potts, and Benj. Chase, two it must be admitted disinterested witnesses. We have no room but for the first and last paragraphs, which we insert below. We will merely observe, if it is so with the Choctaw what must be the fact with the Cherokee, who are certainly not inferior in improvement.

To the Editor of the Western Luminary

Natchez, December 22, 1829

Dear Sir:--- The object of this communication is to make known to the Christian public, through the medium of your paper, some very interesting facts, recently witnessed by the undersigned, which relate to the moral transformation, begun within a short period, among the the (sic) Choctaw Indians. With the glorious triumph of the gospel in this Nation you are already acquainted, through the reports and letters of those who are stated laborers there; and so far as their statements have come to our knowledge, we are ready to affirm that they are entirely worthy of confidence. It was thought, by many Christian friends, whom the providence of God called together, at a meeting of our Synod, which was held last month at Mayhew, that it might be well to give from another source, some information of the present state and future prospects of the Indians within our bounds. Such information, was supposed, would be considered of less questionable authenticity, when coming from a source which all must acknowledge to be entirely disinterested. Strangers visiting these people, for the sake of personal observation, and anxious to obtain a correct knowledge of the extent to which they had been effected by the gospel, it was thought could not be charged with a disposition to color too highly--a charge which has been made against Missionaries themselves, but without a foundation, as we can most fully testify.

* * * * * * * *

We shall conclude by remarking, very briefly upon the civilizing influence, which their reception of the gospel has already exerted. The stimulus was felt immediately. Those who have hitherto been the poorest and most degraded, now begin to feel that they have something for which to live. In the cultivation of their land, the erection of comfortable houses, the increase of domestic manufactures, and the encouragement of the mechanic arts, we have seen triumphant evidence of the truth, 'that the gospel of Christ, is the only effectual means of raising the savage to the elevation of civilized life.' They seem bound to each other by a new and endearing tie, assisting and sympathizing where before all was cold and selfish.

Appended to this, you will find a statistical account of the District under Col. Folsom. There are two other Districts in the nation, in both of which the Gospel, we hope has exerted a powerful influence. But as we wish to state nothing but what came directly under our own observation, we shall not attempt an account of these. We remain, dear sir, your servant in Christ.



Census of the N. E. District of the Chahta Nation,

taken in the year 1822 by order of the Chiefs.

1 Chief

30 Captains

1197 Men

2178 Women } 5637

1412 Children

3971 Horses

11,661 Neat Cattle

22,047 Swine

530 Spinning Wheels.

124 Looms

360 Ploughs

5 Schools

22 White men, with Chahta families

112 Oxen

7 Blacksmith shops

32 Wagons

2 Cooper's shops

197 Negro slaves

186 Sheep

2 Carpenter shops

1 Cotton gin

2 Chahtas with white families

It must be remarked that this is the smallest of the three districts into which the nation is divided.


The editors of the Savannah Georgian appear to be horror struck because we said, while noticing the late savage acts of the intruders, that self defence would undoubtedly be justifiable on the part of the Cherokee. This is sufficient to arraign as for treason against the State, and we presume, if these editors were as chivalrous as the Philpots, and others of Carroll 'poney (sic) club' we should run very near being scalped. We say again, if that savage murderous band of ruffians, (we are sorry we called them Georgians) had attempted to arrest Messrs. Ross and Ridge, or burn their dwellings, as they threatened, self defence would most undoubtedly have been justifiable. For hazarding this opinion the editors of the Georgian will probably petition Philpot and Co. for our arrest and punishment.


The grand jury of Muscogee County, Geo. in the following presentment copied from the Columbus Enquirer, recommend to the people of the state to memorialize Congress on the subject of the Indians, but in a more decent and respectful manner, than certain designing, ambitious, religious zealots and political fanatics of some of the middle and eastern states. We hope the memorialists will be more decent and respectful that the grand jury.

The Grand Jury conceive that they have the right derived either from the spirit of the Laws constituting their body or from common custom of noticing say, the least infraction of our own State laws, or invasion of what they conscientiously believe to be the interest of their fellow citizens. In exercising this inestimable privilege, the Grand Jury, would fain present adequate language, their alarm and astonishment at the proceedings of certain designing, ambitious, religious zealots and political fanatics in some of the middle and eastern states! And the more recent efforts of co-agetors (sic) and co-workers in this nefarious and unhallowed crusade against State Rights, and this devoted section of the Union, in the Halls of our National Legislature. We allude more particularly to the New York Memorial to Congress on the subject of our Indian relations, but especially to the Cherokees and Creeks. This subject has been so ably defended by our representation in Congress, and in the several newspapers of the State, this jury are compelled to admit their inability to present it in any new or more interesting light -- But residing in the section, and holding the opinions we do,we feel that it would be criminal in us to be silent. With these remarks, we would suggest the propriety of our fellow citizens peaceably assembling, and Memorializing Congress on the same subject--- But in a more decent and respectful manner, and at the same time, whilst they answer the argument (if they deserve to be called such) of the memorialists of the North, set forth our Rights, and assert our privileges as free men should do.




February 15.


Goodenow presented the memorial of the Ladies of Steubenville, Ohio, against the removal of the Southern Indians, and moved to refer it to the committee on Indian Affairs, and that it be printed.


Thompson hoped it would be laid on the table for one day.


Dorsey called for the reading.


Thompson said it was with extreme regret that he seemed to attach so much importance to memorials of this nature; but he wished to lay it upon the table for one day.


Chair said that it was competent for the member from Maryland to call for the reading of any paper.


Thompson said he objected to the reading.


Chief decided that the objection could not prevent the reading under the rules of the House.

The memorial was then read.


Thompson called for the reading of the names of the Ladies attached to the memorial which were read accordingly.

The printing was then ordered--Ayes 83 Noes 72.


Speaker presented the memorial of the Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation; which was laid on the table.