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To the Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix
HEAD OF COOSA, Dec. 26th, 1830.
I transmit to you a desultory sketch of my travels for one week on Wills Valley circuit with some promiscuous and miscellaneous reflections, which, if your columns are not filled with other matter on the all absorbing Question that agitates our common country, you will publish in the Phoenix.
Thursday 21 -- Left my residence for McLemore's, 30 miles -- this is the coldest day that has been this year. McLemore's is directly south of the northern extremity of Lookout -- the road runs parallel with the mountain upon whose lofty summit the blue firmament seems to rest its concave bosom. The soil is generally poor with some exceptions, ' watered by gentle rivulets flowing from the mountain slope, entirely uninhabited, except by a few families, who live some distance apart in neat cabins, with an average farm of about twenty acres, surrounded by the common blessings of life.
Wednesday, 22 -- Preached to a congregation of thirty Cherokees who were very orderly. I designed to instruct them particularly in the first rudiments of Christianity rather than to rouse their feelings, and concluded by enforcing the obligation of brotherly love. At this place there are 22 members of the M. E. Church, all of whom, as I was informed by the Classleader, (who is a devoted man) were irreproachable. There is a neatness of person and retiring modesty of manner among this people truly commendable.
Thursday 23, -- The weather continues cold; rode from McLemores to Fielding, 25 miles -- Six miles from McLemores there is a cove which is made by the intersection of the Blue Ridge and Lookout, the former running east and west, throwing its northern front into a semicircle, and at a considerable distance, projecting a side point, while the latter continues north and south. Here, if I wished to spend my life as a hermit, I would select my spot, and in gazing wonder, exiled from human society, spend the remnant of my days in contemplating the mighty works of nature, God. On the top of this elevated mountain crosses the main dividing ridge of the eastern and western waters, upon which the cold chilling winds were almost insupportable, and one quart of Conohana and two blankets would have supplied all my earthly wants. The eastern side of the mountain at the descending place is very abrupt -- the path passes down a rapid rivulet, running sometimes above then beneath the ground, lined on each side with green ivy that add to the gloom beneath. The gap is ledged in on either hand with walls of massy rock, rising in grandeur from three to five hundred feet. Arrived at Fieldings about sunset, and at night commented on the Lord's prayer to eight Cherokees, who listened with great attention and appeared to treasure up the word spoken. May God make it his power to their salvation. This vicinity has been visited during the year with a great drought, and provisions will be scarce.
Friday 25th (sic) -- This morning the weather is warmer and it is raining incessantly -- At twelve o'clock preached in Coon Town meeting house, which is neatly builded of hewed logs, and is about twenty two feet square -- the congregation was respectable notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather. Here I saw Cherokee women come for miles on foot, through the rain carrying their infants on their backs to attend the house of Jehovah. My bosom swelled with unutterable anxiety for their salvation. May the great head of the church feed their hungry souls with the bread of life. According to the return of the last preacher in charge there are fifty members of society, some of whom, I was informed had been guilty of immoralities, may their wanderings be reclaimed.
Saturday 25th -- Left Little Turtle's in the morning (whose hospitality I shall never forget) and rode nine miles to Dirt Town. The people are in more indigent circumstances here than in any place I have passed. Here my worthy and beloved interpreter, Edward Graves, held meeting in the Cherokee language, and we had a melting season. Often did the falling tear steal from the aged Indian bending under three score and five while the necessity of the new birth was urged with zeal and in purest strains of Cherokee eloquence. Left Dirt town at 3 o'clock for Mr. John Ross' fifteen miles -- on the way much fatigued and many humiliating reflections -- at night fall passed the mansion of Major Ridge's -- Here I paused on the opposite bank of the Eastanallee and thought if I were a poet I would extend my hand and lift my harp from the flowing willows and sing of the elegant edifice on the opposite shore, lifting its western front in Gothic grandeur, and overlooking the rolling waters beneath, and of him too its proprietor, who is want in mellow strains and purest charms of Indian oratory to harangue his countrymen around the council fire, and then too down the bosom of the rolling Coosa with darkened shadows commingled with the paler rays of the moon. I would send a note of praise and muse in expressive silence.
Sunday 26th -- Preached at Mr. John Ross' to a respectable congregation -- the utmost religious order was observed.
In conclusion of my week's labors I would say that I have travelled about ninety miles and not seen the face of a white man, and but one person who could talk the English language, and to the praise of those among who I have travelled, I have seen no instance of incivility -- not heard one profane oath -- not one person intoxicated -- not one single drop of spirituous liquors.
From the remote distance of the settlements the country through which I have passed must be missionary ground for a considerable time, as the people cannot act with united effort. There is one thing which I would not forget to say -- there is some want of furniture in the houses of those whom I have visited, but in every respect they are comfortably fixed generally, -- the ancient costume of dress is entirely laid aside, and the dress of the white man adopted. The women are clean and nice in their apparel -- their dress, made either out of common calico or the more commendable product of their own industry and workmanship of their own hands; and though this section of the nation is as far in the wane of civilization as any other, yet there are many enlivening prospects of final success.
Often during my tour have I used the following soliloquy -- 'Must these budding prospects, these fondest expectations, the fruits of toil and labor, and the labor and toil, too, of some who have gone to their final home -- all be nipped, blighted and scattered to the four winds of heaven and not a vestige remain? Must these neat cabins and handsomely arranged farms, by foulest and almost unheard of oppression pass into the hands of others? And shall the canvass of truth spread before the eyes of future generations stained with letters of eternal infamy, that in the nineteenth century, a voice of lamentation weeping and great mourning was hear, which should have rended the earth and pierced every heart, and brought deliverance, -- that Rachel refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not! for they were delivered into the hands of Herod.'
N. D. Scales.