Cherokee Phoenix

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Published January, 15, 1831

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From the New York Observor.

The following eloquent address, we have reason to believe, is from the pen of a lady who ranks among the finest writers in this country. We hope it will be extensively copied into the public prints, that it may produce an effect in every part of the land. Information on the subject of the Indian question has been widely diffused in the numbers of William Penn, the messages of the President, and the letters and reports of the Secretary of War. The public are nor prepared to act, and the friends of the Indians, ever where, should forward their petitions to Congress without delay.

To Benevolent Ladies of the U. States.

The time has arrived when the cause of the Indians is again to be brought before the Congress of the United States, and when this Christian nation are to decide, through their rulers, what shall be the destiny of this oppressed and helpless race.

To woman's sympathies an appeal has once been made, which was answered from the hearts of thousands; and through the influence which virtuous females ever must exert in society, much has been done to circulate information and awaken interest in behalf of our Indian brethren. True, this interest, and these efforts have been stigmatised as improper intrusion into subjects of a political nature, where women have no interest or concern, and where they are altogether incompetent judges. But those who have interested themselves understand their duties and their rights on this subject, as well as those who would thus instruct them. They know that subjects of a merely political or financial nature are indeed no concern of theirs, that in regard to mere party questions, tariffs, internal improvements, and subjects of political economy they have nothing to do, nor any means of forming correct opinions.

But when the question is urged, Shall this nation commit robbery? not upon a few travellers, but upon 70,000 men, women, and children, who have no power to defend themselves, and no earthly protection but the justice and sympathy of this nation. Shall murder be perpetrated? not on a few individuals in the silence of midnight, but upon great multitudes, in the light of day, before God and the nations of the earth -- Shall perjury be practised? not by obscure and uneducated men, and on matters of comparatively small importance, but by the senators, statesmen, counsellors, and chief magistrates of our nation, and towards thousands of helpless beings, whose all for this, and probably for a future life, is depending on the fulfilment of plighted obligations. When such questions as these are proposed to this nation, every woman in the land who has knowledge enough to read her Bible, is a full and competent judge, and has a right to declare her opinion in every mode which does not so violate the laws of propriety, as to prevent any benefit from the expression.

And how much do the laws of propriety require in such a case as this? If a woman hears the piercing cry of distress in a neighboring dwelling, must she wait for all the minutiae of etiquette before she goes to relieve? If she sees a fellow-being drowning, must she wait for the formalities of an introduction before she stretches out her hand to save, or calls to the passing traveller, for aid? Woman has been admired and applauded for throwing off all timid and retiring graces of her sex, and girding herself with sword and buckler to save her country and her home. In such emergencies, restraints which in other cases are so graceful and indispensable, are both a weakness and a crime.

Here then, if ever, is such an emergency. Seventy thousand helpless beings ready to perish, are stretching forth their supplicating hands, for rescue and protection; are raising their imploring cries to all who have hearts to pity and relieve.

This nation is to decide their fate -- this nation is to say whether they shall be protected and saved, or given over to ruin and despair. And woman dwells in the land -- woman, who has a heart to feel and a hand to relieve -- woman, who like the throbbing organ of life, is protected from outward collisions, and the violence of party strife, that through the body politic she may send the warm and pure life blood of virtue -- woman, who though she may not command, can entreat; though she cannot coerce may implore.

It is in the power of the females of this nation to accomplish much that the most fastidious cannot regard as obtrusive. It is believed that nothing is wanting to bring this nation to act on this subject like a generous and Christian people, but knowledge -- knowledge as to the merits of the question, and as to the modes by which the threatened violence and injustice can be averted. And to females, may with propriety be committed the duty of seeking and disseminating such information.

And they can do more. The mode of saving the Indians as now pointed out by their most judicious friends is by the petitions to Congress of the honorable, upright, and humane in all parts of the country. The distinguished writer, who signs himself William Penn, knows the state of the Indians from personal observation -- and spend the last winter at Washington. It is his belief that a few more petitions expressive of public sentiment would then have turned the scale in the favor, and that a general petition this season, will save them. If this is the case, our National Halls should be filled with rolls of names that might reach from Maine to Georgia. Will not the ladies of this nation once more grant their sympathies and aid? Let correct information on the subject of the Indians be industriously circulated, and let every woman who has a father, brother or friend that can speak to the rulers of his people, ask his attention to the merits of the question, and entreat that his name may be enrolled as a suppliant for the Indians. Let woman do this and the blood of our brother will not be found on her now spotless robe.