For the Cherokee Phoenix.
The following letter was written at the commencement of the year 1830, at the request of an Association of Ladies in Hartford, Connecticut, convened for 'supplicating justice and mercy to the Indians.' It was addressed to the Connecticut Delegation in Congress, but by a change of arrangements not sent to them, and is now offered for the columns of the Cherokee Phoenix, merely as an expression of the sympathy which prevails not only in this part, but in many other sections of our country.
LETTER TO THE DELEGATION OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
FROM AN ASSOCIATION OF LADIES
It may excite surprise, perhaps be accounted presumption, for females thus to address the constituted authorities of government. Yet when the subject that prompts, and the motives that actuate us, are candidly balanced, we trust to be acquitted of having unwarrantably transgressed the bounds of that subordinate sphere, where our duties and felicities centre. Anxiety for the fate of that portion of our aborigines who are in danger of dismission from their native territory, has painfully oppressed our minds; nor will it be deemed unnatural that the cause of the helpless should excite commiseration in a sex whom nature has taught both the need and value of protection, who, accustomed to associate every hope that cheers, every charity that sweetens life with the idea of home, involuntarily sympathize with those who may be exiled from its sanctuary.
You have doubtless contemplated with pleasure the rapid advance of some of our Indian tribes in civilization, promoted as it has been by the counsels of sages, and the efforts of Christians. Their exchange of savage habits for the plough-share and the pruning-hook, for the school, the press, the temple of the living God, must be far more profoundly weighed, more correctly appreciated by those, who as legislators are familiar both with the latent causes and ultimate ends of national prosperity. Yet we should sincerely lament to see them leaving their peaceful villages for a distant wilderness, mournfully forsaking, their household hearths, and their fathers' sepulchers, for an alien's wandering, and a stranger's grave. We tremble when we think how the fires of intemperance might rage among them, were the barriers of civilized life withdrawn, and the fountains of religious knowledge obliterated.
We dread the extinction of that ancient race, the strong and noble features of whose character gave prominence and romance to the earliest annals of our country. Should the nations of Europe hereafter inquire where is our red brother so long a dweller within our gates, we would not like Eden's patricide be compelled to reply 'we know not.' It will probably be alleged that we have viewed this subject solely through the medium of feeling. This was our intention. After having manifested that feeling which it would have been painful to suppress, we count it a privilege to submit its guidance to a wisdom which we do not possess, and a power to which we have neither the right, nor the ambition to aspire. We have also confidence to believe that a delegation from the State of Connecticut, will not disregard an appeal for justice and mercy, however humble its source. Disclaiming in truth, every political motive, every party prejudice, we simply ask your pity for our Indian brethren in the name of our common Redeemer.
If during this period of absence from your homes, their tender and varied scenery are still dear to your heart, still bright to your eye, if the voice of a mother, a sister, a companion steals over your hour of musing with cherished melody, if the sports of your joyous children, the smile of your cradled babe, ever mingle with your slumbers, remember the poor son of the forest, in whose heart are the same affections, and consecrate to his defence these awakened, these holy sympathies. We entreat you to exert your influence in his favor; as far as is consistent with adherence to the Constitution of your country; and may the blessing of 'him who is ready to perish' be as a shield to your souls in the day when earth ' her distinctions shall vanish, and the highest and the lowest stand equal, trembling suppliants of Almighty mercy.
Hartford, Con. Jan. 1830