MATTERS AND THINGS AS THEY ARE.
But it is along the frontier of Georgia we are to look for a more successful operation of measures, and a greater perfection and skill in their management. Where once were to be seen agreeable Cherokee neighborhoods ' fine farms, stocks of horses , cattle ' hogs ranging the little valleys and rivulets, are now to be seen nothing of them. They have disappeared before the march of principles too odious to be repeated. A little farther in the interior we find hundreds of families almost surrounded, but determined to stand or fall in maintaining the little property which yet remains undevoured. But so notorious are the facts of the oppression in this quarter that it is useless again to detail them.
Who does not recollect the proclamation of Sergeant Brooks of the Georgia Guard to the Cherokees, that they were their friends, and had come to keep bad white men from among them. Let the following facts suffice. A short time since a detachment consisting of 28 men headed by Col. Nelson made a military tour through a part of the country and passed the very doors of some of these 'bad white men;' for instance several families of the Philpots about three miles south of the Head of Coosa. It is true two of them one of which was concerned in the murder of the unfortunate Choo-wo-wee, have a paper which they have exhibited as authority for their residence, with Col. Sanford's name to it, but shows nothing more than that they have rented two improvements in the Nation many miles distance from their present more convenient abode. The paper it seems possesses rare qualities in these days of modern constructions upon duties and obedience to both moral and civil laws. One mile and a half from the Head of Coosa this little army pitched their tents, with four prisoners, two of them natives one in chains for having spoken his sentiments in regard to their course of conduct! At night martial music resounded through the forest, whether as was usual at nightfall, or to warn a citizen a few hundred yards distant that the era of meatal slavery had commenced, is left to the candid reader's determination. In the morning they resumed the line of march, but the intruders were not such game as it was polite to take!
In the first treaty concluded with the Cherokees the United States declared any of its citizens who shall attempt to settle on any of the Indian lands, or have settled and will not remove within six months thereafter, to be outlawed and shall forfeit the protection of the United States, and the Indians may punish them or not as they please (Treaty of Hopewell, article 5th, 1785).
And such was the anxiety to preserve 'peace and friendship' with the Cherokees at that period, and to deal justly with them, that in the second treaty made 'on the banks of the Holston' in 1791 after solemnly guaranteeing to the Cherokee Nation all of the residue of their lands, it was again stipulated by the 8th article that 'If any Citizen of the United States or other person, not being an Indian shall settle on any of the Cherokee lands, such person shall forfeit the protection of the United States and the Cherokees may punish him or not as they please.'
It is useless to offer any comment upon language so pointed and explicit. By the Art. following 'No citizen of the United States shall attempt to hunt or destroy the game on the lands of the Cherokees!' and in conclusion it is mutually declared by the 15th article that the 'contracting parties will carry the foregoing treaty into full execution with all good faith and sincerity.' Who can say that the Cherokees have not honorably redeemed their pledge?
In 1802 an act was passed by Congress 'in the spirit of those treaties,' the second section of which prohibits under the penalty of a fine 'not exceeding one hundred dollars or be imprisoned not exceeding 6 months,' any citizen of the United States who shall cross the Indian boundary line 'to hunt or in any wish destroy the game; or shall drive or otherwise convey any stock of horses or cattle to range on any lands allotted or secured, by treaty, with the United States, to any Indian tribe. The fifth section prohibits under the forfeiture of a 'sum not exceeding one thousand dollars,' and 'imprisonment not exceeding twelve months,' any citizen of the United States, settling upon lands belonging to the Indians, or surveying, or attempting to survey such lands; and the President of the United States in order that he may have full power to carry the act into execution is authorized 'to employ such military force as he may judge necessary.'
Such was the good disposition and determination of the Government so late as the conclusion of the last treaty with the Cherokees in 1819, at Washington City and the anxiety to impress more strongly upon their minds the conviction that justice would be done them, it was again stipulated by the 5th Art. of that treaty that 'all white people who have intruded, or may hereafter intrude on the lands reserved for the Cherokees shall be removed by the United States, and proceeded against according to the provisions of the act passed thirtieth of March eighteen hundred and two, entitled 'an act to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes and to preserve peace on the frontier.' Thus doubly ratifying the act and strengthening the duty for its faithful execution.
General Andrew Jackson then on the Southern division of the United States army about to return from a tour along the frontiers of the Nation having been called upon by President Monroe to aid in carrying out the execution of the above provision, with all good faith and sincerity,' thus writes to the Principal Chiefs and others of the Nation:
HEAD QUARTERS, NASHVILLE 18 Jan. 1821
Friends and Brothers,
I have never told a red brother a lie or deceived him. The intruders, if they attempt to return will be sent off. But your Light Horse should not let them settle down on your lands. You ought to drive their stock away from your lands, and deliver the intruders to the agent , but if you cannot keep intruders from your lands, report it to the agent, and on his notice, I will drive them from your lands.
I am your friend and brother,
If it were necessary many more references could be made, but enough has been adduced to show the obligations of the Government to remove intruders. What has been the course of policy pursued by
President Andrew Jackson, on the very subject of the foregoing letter? In a letter addressed through his Secretary of War, dated 18th April 1829, to the Cherokee Delegation, he says: 'respecting the intrusions on your lands submitted also for consideration, it is sufficient to remark that of these the Department had already been advised and instructions have been forwarded to the agent of the Cherokees directing him to cause their removal, and it is earnestly hoped, that on this matter all cause for future complaints will cease, and the order prove effectual.' But before a sufficient length of time elapsed for its execution, it was countermanded by another. Not a great while afterwards another order was issued and again countermanded! Under these circumstances the Nation, under the sanction of two treaties and the advice of the proceeding letter removed a few families that has passed far beyond the 'frontier' but did not punish them as they might have done. A large party of these marauders and outlaws assembled with arms and marched for vengeance. They cruelly murdered one Cherokee, wounded others, and led them off captives to the prisons of Georgia. This was almost too much to be borne, and was well nigh kindling a flame that might perhaps have been extinguished with our annihilation. The facts were reported by the Agent to the Executive, and what did the author of the letter 'on his notice?' A mighty revolution in principles or policy had been wrought, and the Hon. Secretary of War, in terms not very mild, expressed the censure of the Executive on the presumption of the Nation in following such advice and pretending to act under a treaty 'made forty years ago.'
Soon afterwards several detachments of United States troops arrived in the Nation for the purpose of driving off the intruders, as was cunningly impressed upon the natives. They removed the gold diggers, and a small company was sent on the Alabama and Tennessee frontier, who did remove a few families that returned before the troops reached Head Quarters. But the Georgia frontier, where most their attention was required, was entirely neglected, although the station of the troops was in this vicinity, and they, the agent, and the Executive, 'on his notice' 'had already been advised of the outrages committed upon the Cherokees and their property. But this was not all. The Indians who were found engaged at their own gold mines, where General Andrew Jackson, in his treaty of 1817 with them had assured them of the patronage aid and good neighborhood of the United States were also removed under an order from his Secretary of War, and in some instances cruelly treated, and during the stay of the troops were not allowed to return. Very suddenly, last winter, these troops were withdrawn, but were soon succeeded at the Station they had erected by a company of well armed soldiers from Georgia, levied under the act of her last Legislature, and styled the Georgia Guard. It is now evident that between the Executive of Georgia ' the United States a perfect understanding in their various plans of operations against the Indians is kept up by correspondence, and that the United States troops were only employed to pave the way for the entrance of this Georgia Guard.
The Cherokees, sensible of their rights and their situation, and as firm in their determinations as the pyramids of Egypt upon their own broad and solid foundation, have been incessant with their complaints, and have argued time after time the removal of the intruders, but in vain.
But it seems to be useless to complain of our wrongs to accomplices in this unholy work of oppression, if the public wish a stronger example of the truth of this fact, I need not go beyond the limits of our own Highwassee, upon which river is situated the United States agency within the chartered limits of Tennessee. The United States Agent removed under an order from the War Department, issued upon the complaint of the Nation during the late administration, a white family who had settled at the Agency without permission, but suffered another white family to take possession of and occupy the same premises before the fire had gone out which had been left burning by the family removed, and where they still continue to intrude!! The fact speaks for itself, and the mere circumstances of the present intruder being a son-in-law to the Agent affords no apology for the violation of law and the indignity offered to the sanctity of treaties. This intrusion is permitted within twenty yards of the Agent's office! Mr. H. cultivates about seventy acres of Cherokee land.
If it be that President Jackson will not order the removal of intruders from within the chartered limits of Georgia, because he believes that state has a right to nullify treaties and acts of Congress and take the matter into her own hands, why does he still permit the borders of our Nation upon Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina to be infested? Does he look forward to the time when these states too will relieve the federal Government of its duties by nullifying the laws of the U. States, and a portion of the Constitution, by extending compulsively, their laws over the Cherokees? It is to discourage and dishearten the Cherokees that all this reckless injustice is allowed to pass unnoticed. The great object in view is too obvious not to be seen by the most ignorant Indian in the country. What has become of our annuity? Why has it not been offered in the new mode of payment adopted at Washington? Has not all this been but to further the schemes devised to force our removal? But as the sun may sometimes pass under a cloud for once in his life our great father may deceive even himself, if never 'a red brother.' The Cherokees know their right. They are not to be frightened out of their senses nor their lands. They have not chiefs to be influenced by a 'spirit of cupidity' and 'sections of land'-- No 'Dancing Rabbit Creek' transactions to be enacted by them. They have determined for themselves the star of justice lights their path, and should its mild and Heavenly influence not prevail they can but perish-
the lot or mortals. They reclaim nothing which they have ever surrendered, and are disposed to peace and friendship. They have suffered much, but with patience and forbearance. They never will become subject to the laws of Georgia, nor will they ever accept the liberal offer of the President to assist them in running away from all they value upon earth and seek in far distant wilds a retreat from the troubles which he and the Georgians have alone caused. They have spoken in the fullness of truth and sincerity and they will not deceive a white brother;- the work of their destruction may be as easily accomplished, as to force their removal or enslave them upon the lands of their fore-fathers!
(A Cherokee signature)