New Echota: July 17, 1830
The agent of this nation has lately received two letters from the War Department, one informing him that orders have been forwarded to the Commander of the U. S. Troops for the removal of all persons from the Gold mines, the other directing him to pay the annuity, which has been for several years paid to the treasurer, to the individuals of the Cherokee Nation. These are extraordinary documents-we shall lay them before our readers next week. They will reveal a course of policy on the part of the government towards the Indians by no means anticipated by the public.
We had intended to give our readers some account of the conduct of the State of Georgia towards these Cherokees who are engaged in digging Gold in their own country- but we cannot at this time. The account lately given in this paper may be relied upon as perfectly correct. We will, however, state, in order that the public may be constantly apprized of the principal facts as they occur, that on the 9th inst. writs of Injunction were served by the Sheriff of Hall County, on eleven of our citizens for the crime of working their own mines. They are told, if this injunction is not obeyed, imprisonment without bail will be the consequence. So the next thing the reader will learn will, probably be, that some of the Cherokees are in the jail of Hall County. The editor of this paper was present when the writs were served.
Among the documents attached to the speech of Mr. Forsyth, in the Senate of the United States, on the Indian Bill, is a letter from Maj. F. W. Armstrong of Alabama, to the Hon. Hugh L. White. He describes the condition of the Cherokees in a bold manner indeed, and with very little regard to truth. A few extracts will suffice.
From 1809 to 1812, I was in the habit of being often in the country, having in the early part of 1812, kept a store at Highwassee Garrison, where a daily intercourse took place between us. It is, therefore, with feelings of deep regret, that, after twenty years have rolled away, I am forced, from my own observation to believe, that a large proportion of the natives are no better off that they were when I first knew them; nor are they more civilized.
Major Armstrong did come into this Nation in 1828 but what advantages did he enjoy to become correctly informed of the true situation of the Cherokees? Did he travel extensively in the nation? Did he visit the different parts of the Country and minutely examine the State of the inhabitants? No. He passed on one of the public roads as another traveller would, and of course could by no means tell, if he was disposed to do justly, what was the present condition of the people.
He says also,
I have witnessed, with some degree of mortification, a disposition evinced on the part of some who know better, a willingness to encourage the ignorant in their superstitious habits and customs.
Major Armstrong know whom he implicates? When he kept a store at Highwassee Garrison, who was foremost in encouraging the ignorant in their superstitious habits and customs? Was it not Francis W. Armstrong? Let him deny it if he will. Certainly he ought to be the last man to moralize on the superstition of the Cherokees.
In going from the agency to Newtown, he passed but two good farms.- Capt M'Nairs' and Joseph Vann's. What of that? In some parts of the United States, we have travelled one hundred miles without passing a single farm as respectable as either of the two which Major Armstrong has thought proper to notice. To be fair and honest he ought to have stated the distance between the Agency and Newtown, and told frankly the quality of the soil and the number of other farms. It ought to be recollected that the population of this nation is not very dense, ' that a Cherokee hardly ever settles except of good land.
But the climax of all misrepresentations and barefaced falsehoods is contained in the following paragraph!
The leading men of the nation have a great desire to get rich. The fondness for wealth is as great as any people I have met with---missionaries always excepted---who make it a business, as far as my knowledge extends, to select a cite for their establishments on the side of a road, where they can keep entertainment, ready at all times to shelter the weary and benighted traveller, with a determination to make him pay double as much as is customary--taking care, at the same time, to get their work (as is generally understood) done by the poor native for little or nothing. All this may perhaps, come under the head of civilization; if so, their object is attained.
Making remarks on such slanders would be only giving importance to them.
The object which he had in view in the above quotations is developed in the following sentence:
From any knowledge of the Indian character (and my visits have not been confined alone to the Cherokees) I am convinced that it would be an act of the greatest charity to induce these people to emigrate West of the Mississippi.
Did you not think also that it would be charity to you to induce these people to emigrate? For were you not one of the bidders, at the time when your letter was written, for removing these immoral and superstitious Indians beyond the great river? Did you not offer to drive them over at eight or nine dollars per head. Yes, at eight or nine dollars PER HEAD!!