Cherokee Phoenix

For the Cherokee Phoenix

Published October, 23, 1830

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For the Cherokee Phoenix.

It is already known to many persons in this Nation that a special Agent has been attending the General Council under appointment of the United States Government. Many conjectures have been set afloat as the object of his visit. The people who have assembled at Echota during the present session of the Council have been, for the last several days, as it were, kept in suspense as to the probable and true object of Mr. Lowrey's business with the Cherokees. The clouds, however, have been dispelled and the minds of expectants illuminated by a speech from the Govt. Agent. A communication was addressed to the Principal Chief submitting certain propositions, having for their object a removal of the Cherokees west of the Mississippi, (which I presume will be published at the proper time.) it was immediately laid before the 'Committee and Council, in full session, for their deliberation. Seats were prepared in front of the Council House, as the evening was pleasant, and the two branches formed a joint committee on the whole, to listen to the reading of the document. It was read and interpreted into Cherokee by the President of the Committee, to a grave and silent audience of Chiefs, citizens and strangers. At the conclusion scare a murmur escaped. There were no bursts of feeling either way. All was calmness and respect. Mr. Lowrey appeared and desired an opportunity of delivering an address in explanation of what had been submitted and the reasons why such a course had been taken, which was readily granted by the speaker of the Council. He addressed them through the interpretation of Mr. Jno. Ridge, who excellent talent for such business I thought gave, if possible, a somewhat a more plausible force to his arguments.

He commenced by stating the character of the states in 1778, and that Congress of that year had guarantied to the state of Georgia her sovereignty. Its boundary lines were defined and marked. From that period she claimed Sovereignty and jurisdiction over all the territory comprehended within its limits. This sovereignty and jurisdiction she now refuses to part with.

If the United States did at that early day guarantie to Georgia these powers they cannot now recede from it. In a short period afterwards, Georgia adopted her constitution. That constitution was ratified by the Senate in Congress and President of the United States. This then is the tenure by which Georgia now claims sovereignty and jurisdiction. It is true that in the year '91, by the treaty of Holston, the Cherokees were guarantied the right to the soil not then ceded. But how will that present itself before any court of justice? Suppose the President of the United States were to say to Georgia stay your hand, would not Georgia reply by looking at the guarantee made to her in '98? and if two guarantees are made, which shall prevail? must not the oldest prevail? In order then to avoid this collision, the United States are willing to enter into some agreement, by, which those things may be put at rest. The President and Secretary of War say how is the time for action. If you wait until Georgia surveys your lands and allots them out, what then will become of you? If she conveys them to the drawers, will they not hold them? You will then have to seek redress, if at all, in the courts of justice, and the oldest legal right must predominate. IN order to avoid these difficulties, what can be more fair than the propositions which are now offered to you? The invitation to you is as broad as the Cherokee nation. You are all invited without exception, rank or standing. every warrior and widow can have a reservation, and every individual can have one according to his rank and standing in the community. Or if some choose to go and some to stay be it so. Those who go are to be provided for. Those who stay may have a guarantie as citizens of, and taken into the arms of the Government. Those causes that give trouble will be wiped away; and a guarantee will be extended to you to place all who stay upon equal footing with their white brothers. For those who go an ample fund will be provided, the proceeds of which to be applied for the promotion of education. These liberal terms are not offered to you. I am told by the President to say to you that he cannot withhold the jurisdiction of Georgia. If you remain and she exercises this power it must be settled between you and the surrounding states. How is it with the different states? The United States possess no power to legislate for the State of Tennessee. She has sovereign power to legislate for herself. No authority is strong enough to oppose it. If the United States interfere with the state governments it would produce a dissolution of the Union. Therefore, it is, that the President cannot prevent the operation of the civil laws of Georgia. It is time, therefore, that every individual should think for himself. Consider the happiness of himself and his offspring. Think freely; and exercise your own judgment for your own welfare. For all who wish to take reservations an office will be opened -- all to receive a valuable tract of land for himself which cannot be disturbed by Georgia. They will be allowed the selecting of places to be reserved, 'c. These offers are proper to show that the United States design the use of no force, and she hopes she will not be charged with harsh treatment. This may be the last time such an opportunity will be afforded you. Think coolly and calmly and deliberate for yourselves.'

At the instance of Major Ridge, a letter addressed by the Honorable Secretary of War to Mr. L. dated Franklin 1st September 1830, was read by him, in which he was requested to come into the nation, and by fair argument, explain the views of the Government toward the Cherokees. The Secretary said that it had not been intended to trouble the Cherokees further on the subject of a removal, but, as a treaty had been made with the Chickasaws and a day fixed upon the meeting of the Choctaws for the same purpose, and a strong assurance that a treaty would be effected, it was thought best to endeavour once more to arouse the Cherokees, if possible, into a sense of their danger, 'by fair arguments.' Where they now are they can never be happy even if they are permitted to remain, and can only escape those difficulties and dangers that menace them by a removal west of the Mississippi.'

The propositions made by the special agent were merely, as he stated, to let them know what the United States would do for them; and if they met the approbation of the Cherokees would form the basis of a future treaty, as he was not clothed with powers to enter into any 'compact or treaty.'

A deliberate and respectful reply I presume will be returned by the nation; which, I will not however, anticipate, further than to say, if we are to judge of the future by the past, the effort to obtain the consent of the Cherokees to treat is not very likely to blind the Indians at this enlightened period of their national existence.


Echota, Oct. 22d.