NEW ECHOTA, APRIL 14, 1830
As the Committee of Indian Affairs in Congress have confidently stated the degradation and ignorance of the full Cherokees, it may be worth while to make one fact known. the 'Memorial of the Cherokee Legislature,' inserted in our first page, was written by one who claims, and is considered in this nation, to be a full Cherokee. Another fact may be of use. The 'Memorial of the Cherokees' which we sometime since published, and which has been copied into many other papers, was not written by one of the 'half breeds,' or what the committee would call, 'new government party.' These two Cherokees learnt the first English word in one of the missionary schools.
The present number of the Phoenix closes our second years' labor-we must therefore present our thanks to our kind patrons for their past indulgence, and beg their aid for another year. We feel grateful in noticing that our feeble efforts have been acceptable to our readers-we have done what we could to interest them, and as much as our limited capacity would permit us. Our future exertions and ambition will still be, to deserve their indulgence and approbation.
We understand the eastern mail which used to arrive at Springplace on Thursday is altered to Sunday, for which reason we are unable this week to lay before our readers any intelligence, particularly from the seat of Government. As the discussion on the Indian question has probably, ere this commenced, we feel greatly disappointed in being deprived of our regular files of Washington papers.- By the present arrangement of the mails,papers and letters for this place, will, in future lie at Springplace from Saturday to Thursday.
The 'third class Cherokees' our readers will recollect are represented in a truly miserable condition in the report of the Committee on Indian affairs in the House of Representatives. We present this week two unimpeachable witnesses to show that the assertions of the Committee are utterly groundless. G. C. informs the reader how long he has resided in the nation-the writer of the following extract has been a resident nearly as long,m and it so happens that he lives in the 'recesses of the mountains' [Valley Towns] where the Hon. Committee have discovered these miserable Cherokees. Though their names are not given, yet the public may rely upon it, no two men of more veracity can be found in the country, and better qualified to judge.
I have the pleasure to say that the attention to the Gospel here is quite encouraging, our congregations are enlarging and the number of those who are earnestly enquiring the way to heaven are increasing. I think you would be much gratified to see the rapid improvements in this darkest part of the Nation. The opening spring presents a most delightful prospect. Industry is everywhere showing itself in clearing land, repairing the old and making new fences. The wilderness is vanishing away and its place is becoming occupied by cultivated fields. Corn is plentiful, and with the blessing of providence will be much more so next year, as there are several hundred additional acres preparing for the plough. May the Lord smile upon this people, enlighten their minds by his Holy spirit, and protect them by his powerful arm.
25th March 1830
To the Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix.
Dear Sir- Below I give you an extract from a letter lately received from a correspondent in Pennsylvania, you are liberty to make what use of it you please.
'And now, my dear sir, I wish to unburden my mind of the heavy feelings which I have respecting the removal of the Cherokees, beyond the Mississippi. This is a subject on which there is very much excitement at the North, and many are stirred to a spirit of great indignation towards the oppressive, selfish, cruel-hearted Georgians, who 'Neither fear God, nor regard man.' We think if the United States allow the Cherokees to be deprived of their possessions by this tyrannical state, that we must never again light up our voices against the Turks for massacring the defenseless Greeks: for this is no less cruel, or barbarous. This affair is discussed wherever Politics are spoken of; and in but one solitary instance have I heard the conduct of the Georgians justified, and every word thus spoken, was against the speaker, and I think he will not soon, thus expose himself again, to the charge of advocating cruelty and barbarism, to the suspicion of infidelity and inhumanity.
The writings of William Penn are widely circulated, and read with much interest, and it is supposed will effect much in favor of the Indians.
I heard of a letter written by the Rev. Mr. Gildersleeve, advocating the cause of the Georgians; and I say some remarks respecting it in the last Phoenix which arrived. It seems that Mr. Gildersleeve had been informed by some missionary, who had resided in the Nation, several years, that 'the Cherokees, excepting a very few instances, were poorer, and in a worse condition than before the missionaries went to teach them.' It must have been a Judas of a missionary (if any) who said this. I have never seen such a traitor. All with whom I have ever conversed, let them differ ever so much in other respects, agree in this, that the progress of the Cherokees, very greatly exceeds their most sanguine hopes: and even a Georgian confessed that after three years, he went through the nation a second time, and the improvements were so great, that he should hardly have known them for the same people.
Had I never been at the south I should have more hope for the Cherokees. The hostile spirit which prevails towards the Indians in the minds of many is astonishing. I never trembled more for my own safety then when I heard a Tennessean say, that if he could do it without discovery, he would murder every Indian who passed his house. This he said before his family, and it was acceded to be his son. I felt horridly; expecting we should be robbed, and murdered ourselves, and actually went to see if there were any neighbors in sight.- As it was late in the evening and we could not proceed on our journey, I could only trust in God for safety: there was no inhabitant near; but there was not a Cherokee in the nation in whose abode I should not have rested more quietly. Two days journey after this I reported this horrid speech to a woman, to my utter astonishment she said, 'she felt very much so herself towards Indians: I thought, all this, and much more, indicated more barbarism and a state of heathenism, beyond anything which I saw amongst the Cherokees.
Some months ago, I saw a request in the Cherokee Phoenix, that Christians would remember them in their prayers. They are thus remembered with much sympathy and affection. That the powerful arm of oppression may not prevail against the defenseless, is a part of our public, and secret prayers. And I do feel almost an assurance that God will appear for his own cause. It will be a most mysterious providence, if all the labors of Christians and missionaries, are thus blighted. It will be a severe trial of our faith. But after all, it may be even thus, and in his hands we submit the cause.
As to their inferiority of mind, with which some of their enemies tax the Cherokees, there is no such idea existing amongst us. Their superiority of intellect is strongly evinced in every case where they have had the advantages of education. The children make much more rapid progress than ours; and I saw as much wit beauty ' genius, in the Cherokee Nation, as I ever saw anywhere, making due allowance for the want of early advantages.
Setting aside the novelty of your paper, which increases its interest very much, we think the Cherokee Phoenix as good a periodical, as we have from any quarter, both as it respects original, or extracted matter. A very great multitude feel much sympathy for the Indians, and highly disapprove of the course taken by the Georgians, and we are willing they should know it.'
Dear Sir, if you should think best to publish the above, I would remark in justice to the southern people, that the number in Tennessee that harbor such feelings against the Indians, as are related by my correspondent, is very small; and they of the very lowest class. There are many warm friends to the Indians in Tennessee; and I believe the good people even in Georgia, would be as indignant at the course pursued by their politicians as the northern people are, if they had the same means of informing themselves on the subject.
It is a fact, that the people in the adjoining settlements are far more ignorant of the true state of the Cherokees than those who reside a thousand miles off. Any person would be convinced of this who would travel thro' the Northern and Middle states, and through the adjoining settlements, hear their different remarks, and then come into the Nation and learn the truth from his own observation. This will account for the falsity of the far fetched statements published by Dr. Ely of Philadelphia. I have resided in this Nation for more than twelve years, and have had as good an opportunity to know the true condition of this people as any white man living; and I know of no Cherokee that is suffering for food or clothing. And I do know, that, not a few half-breeds only, but the whole nation are in a state of rapid improvement. The Christian public may be assured that my statement to the contrary is got up by interested and designing men to promote an unrighteous cause, and can be proved to be false, even though the statement should come through one of the most honorable and upright Senators of the United States.
It appears to be a common thing with some editors of newspapers, where facts are concerned to favor the side where their interest lies. It is therefore natural that our first statements respecting the late murder, should have been somewhat mistrusted. We have, however, a rule which our sense of moral obligation enjoins on us as strictly to observe in our editorial as individual capacity-always to tell the truth. Thus far in our connection with the public, we have not been guilty of violating our rule. In regard therefore to what we have said respecting the murder alluded to above, we have no other story to tell, but to affirm our former statements. They are facts which cannot be disproved-no responsible person will give his name to the public and endeavor to prove them false.
To what we have published theretofore we add the following:
Extract of a report made by JAS G. WILLIAMS to COL. HUGH MONTGOMERY relative to the murder of Rattling Gourd in the jail of Carrol County.
CALHOUN, 4th March, 1830
To Col. HUGH MONTGOMERY,
Agent for the Cherokees
East of the Mississippi.
SIR: In obedience to your order of the 8th ult. informing me that you had 'Received information from Mr. John Ross that a difference of a serious and alarming nature has taken place between the Cherokees and whites in that quarter,' and requesting me to proceed with as little delay as practicable to that neighborhood and endeavor by every means in my power to put a stop to them, 'c.
I have the honor to report that immediately on the receipt or your order I set out for Mr. Ross' and reached there on the Wednesday following. On my arrival at Mr. Ross', I learned from him that, in consequence of his having had some intruders of notorious characters removed who had taken possession of the improvements abandoned by the Emigrating Cherokees- that the Intruders had assembled together to the number of twenty five or thirty, and on the 5th February commenced pursuit of Major Ridge who commanded the party ordered out by Mr. Ross. The Ridge having fulfilled his orders on this day discharged his men at Cedar Town, and they had all returned to their respective homes, with the exception of Daniel Mills, Waggon, Rattling Goard (sic), and Chuwoyee, who remained. On the night of the same day the company of intruders came to the house where these four Cherokees were and finding them all in a state of intoxication, they seized upon and tied them. Chuwooyee, the last mentioned one, not understanding the cause of this confinement, and almost unable to stand from the effects of whiskey, refused to go, altho he was tied, upon this one of the whites struck him with his gun on the back part of the head, ' three or four others commenced on him with Clubs 'c. 'c.
After this barbarous treatment and finding that he was unable to walk, they threw him across a horse before one of their company and Marched off about a mile where they encamped for the night. After reaching the camp ground the man who had charge of him threw him from the horse upon the ground; and he was suffered to lie there exposed to the inclemency of a cold wet sleeting night without the least vestige of anything to protect him from the severity of the weather, but the few clothes he had on when taken prisoner. Early on the next morning he expired. The company started immediately afterwards with the other three for Carrolton in Carrol County, Georgia-on their way to Carrolton the two first mentioned, Mills and Waggon, effected their escape, though The Waggon in getting off received a severe wound in the breast with a butcher knife from the hands of Old Richard Philpot.
The Rattling Goard(sic) they succeeded in putting in Jail.
After getting all the information that was in my power to obtain relative to the murder of Chuwoyee, which is above stated- I repaired to Carrolton for the purpose of trying to release the Rattling Goard (sic), from his confinement- On my arrival at the Court House, I was informed that he had employed four counsellors- I waited on three of them- They informed me that if it could be made to appear to the satisfaction of the Judges of the inferior Court that the prisoner was not an officer of the company ordered out by Mr. Ross, but was only acting under the orders of the commanding officers, there would be no difficulty in having him discharged. To obtain the proof required agreeably to the opinion of his Lawyers, I had to return to the Nation, a distance of fifty miles from the Court House. While in the Nation for the purpose of getting the necessary proof I procured from Mr. John Ross, the volume of the Laws of the United States containing the law of 1802, commonly called the 'Intercourse Law'- On my return the second time to Carrolton, I called upon John Roberson Esq. formally of Tennessee, and requested him to inform me of some Attorney that stood high at the Bar.- Mr. Roberson recommended Mr. John Ray. I employed Mr. Ray, and I have no doubt that it was owing to his argument and the laws of 1802 that the Court released the Rattling Goard(sic).
I herewith enclose you Mr. Ray's direction relative to the course to be pursued against those concerned with the murder of Chuwoyee, together with a list of the names of a part of the company charged with it,- also his account against the Government for his fee in the case of the Rattling Goard (sic).
After the Rattling Goard (sic) was discharged by the Hon. Court, I had an interview with Col. Fambough, the Attorney for the prosecution who agreed to suspend all further proceedings against the Ridge and his company for the present-of this I informed Mr. Ross and Ridge.
For the want of funds I was unable to make any attempt towards arresting the party charged with the murder of Chuwoyee-Having been furnished with only fifteen dollars when I set out from the office.
All the information that I was able to get relative to this unfortunate affair was derived from Mr. John Ross, and others, citizens of the Nation.- And I have no doubt, Sir, that it is a plain unvarnished statement of facts.
While engaged in the above business, I hired Mr. William Jones to accompany me, for which I agreed to pay him one dollar per day for himself and horse, and to bear his expenses. Mr. Jones was with me fourteen days,-all of which is respectfully submitted.
I have the honor to be
Your Ob't Ser't
JAS. G. WILLIAMS