NEW ECHOTA. JAN. 21, 1832
THOMAS JEFFERSON AND THE CHEROKEES
On matters of politics Mr. Jefferson is considered good authority, especially by those most eager to encroach upon the rights of the Indians. If the opinion of Jefferson is good in one case, it is so in another. Why is it that those who consider him infallible on questions relating to the rights of the States ' the powers of the General Government utterly overlook his views on matters appertaining to the interest of the Indians? They seem not to recollect the champion of state rights acknowledged to the fullest extent the power of the Government to protect the Cherokees in their possessions and improvements. Documents bearing his signature have been frequently published showing his opinion on what is now known as the Indian question. It will also be seen from the following address of his to the Cherokee Delegation in 1806 ' which we believe has not been made public before that he followed the footsteps of Washington in encouraging civilization among the Indians. Is it not a matter of much regret that the admirers of Jefferson those who are honest in his praise do not follow his example in this particular!
of the President of the United States, delivered to the Chiefs of the Cherokee Indians on their leaving the seat of Government
My Friends and Children
Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation
Having now finished our business and finished it I hope to mutual satisfaction, I cannot take leave of you without expressing the satisfaction I have received from your visit. I see with my own eyes, that the endeavors we have been making to encourage and lead you on in the way of improving your situation have not been unsuccessful- it has been like grain sown in good ground producing abundantly. You are becoming farmers, learning to use the plough, the hoe, enclosing your grounds and employing that labor in their cultivation which you formerly employed in hunting and war; and I see handsome specimens of cotton cloth, raised, spun and wove by yourselves. You are also raising cattle and hogs for your food, and horses assist your labors; go on my children in the same way, and be assured the further you advance in it, the happier and more respectable you will be; our brethren whom you have happened to meet from the West and Northwest, have enabled you to compare your situation now with what it was formerly,-they also make the comparison,-they see how far you are ahead of them, and by seeing what you are they are encouraged to do as you have done.
You will see your next want to be mills to grind corn, which by relieving your women from the loss of time in beating it into meal; will enable you to spin and weave more. When a man has enclosed and improved his farm, built a good house on it, and raised plentiful stock of animals, he will wish when he dies, that these things would go to his wife and children whom he loved more than he does his other relations, and for whom he will work with pleasure during his life. You will therefore find it necessary to establish laws for this. When a man has property-earned by his own labors, he will not like to see another come and take it from him, because he happens to be stronger, or else to defend it by spilling blood. You will find it necessary then to appoint good judges, to decide contests between man and man according to reason, and to the rules you shall establish. If you wish to be aided by our counsel and experience in these things we shall always be ready to assist you with our advice.
My children,- It is unnecessary for me to advise you against spending your time and labor in warring with and destroying your fellow men, and wasting your own numbers, you already see the folly and iniquity of it.
Your young men however are not sufficiently sensible of it: some of them cross the Mississippi to destroy people who never did them any injury. My children this is wrong, and must not be.--If we permit them to cross the Mississippi to war with the Indians on the other side of that river, we must let those Indians cross the river to take revenge on you. I say again this must not be.
The Mississippi now belongs to us, it must not be a river of blood. It is now the water path along which all our people of Natchez, St. Louis,Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the western parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia are constantly passing with their property to and from New Orleans. Young men, going to war are now easily restrained. Finding our people on the river they will rob them perhaps kill them. This would bring on a war between us and you. It is better to stop this in time by forbidding your young people to go across the river to make war. If they go to visit, or to live with the Cherokees on the other side of the river we shall not object to that, the country is ours, we will permit them to live in it.
My children, This is what I wished to say to you; to go on in learning to cultivate the earth and to avoid war. If any of your neighbors injure you, our beloved men whom we have placed with you will endeavor to obtain justice for you, and we will support them in it. If any of your bad people injure your neighbors, be ready to acknowledge it, ' to do them justice. It is more honorable to repair a wrong than to persist in it. Tell all your chiefs young men, women, and children that I take them by the hand and hold it fast, that I am their father, wish their happiness and well being, and am always ready to promote their good.
My children, I thank you for your visit and pray to the Great Spirit who made us all, and planted us all on this earth to live together like brothers; that he will conduct you safely to your homes, and grant you to find your families and your friends in good health.
Jan. 10, 1806
To satisfy the repeated inquiries, which have been made respecting the particulars of the late attempt to assassinate the Principal Chief of this nation by a white ruffian- we have been induced to call upon Mr. Ross himself for the facts attending the perfidious transaction, and we have been favored with the following narrative.-
'On the 30th of November last my brother Andrew Ross, who being at that time at my house on a visit, accompanied me over to Major Ridge's for the purpose of transacting some business in the store kept at that place, and when the business was concluded, we paid Major Ridge a visit ' short time after we had seated ourselves before the fire, and entered into a conversation with the Major, I heard a loud voce, 'is John Ross here' looking around, I saw a tall gaunt person at the door in the passage, and replied to him that I was the person who bore that name; he requested me to walk out, and I walked out into the piazza; he enquired if I knew of any person crossing my ferry in the course of the past night; I answered in the negative. He then stated that a horse was stolen from him that night, which he had tracked within a few hundred of yards of my ferry landing and there lost the sign,-but he had just now employed a Cherokee, through Mr. Lavender at the store, to go with him for the purpose of tracking the horse up, and should the Cherokee be successful he had agreed to pay him ten dollars reward. He further remarked, he was a stranger in this country, that he had lately removed from North Carolina within a few days past had stopped in the neighborhood of Mr. Hemphill's that his name was Harris. After this I walked into the house and he returned to the store.-A few minutes thereafter, my brother and myself mounted our horses and rode off for home. Whilst waiting in the fork of the two rivers for the boat, the above mentioned Harris and a Cherokee man named Oonebutty rode up. H. here again asked if I was 'John Ross'. I replied that was my name, and after many other remarks by this man the boat landed.- I than directed Harris and Oonebutty to enter the boat and cross first, as they were going over on the south bank of the Cossa. Harris gave me his hand ' said 'I hope we shall be better acquainted after this.' When the boat was going over, the ferryman told Harris that one of my sons, on his return from Mr. Coodey's had seen a man in the woods beyond the knob of the hill adjacent to the ferry, who had a shot pouch on, and a horse tied to a tree near him, and that this man had enquired of him if he knew of any person crossing the river that day.- Upon this information Harris declared at once it must have been the man who stole his horse- and before the boat got over, Oonebutty espied a man upon the top of a pinnacle of the hill, and at the same time pointing at him remarked, there he is now.- The man immediately disappeared beyond the hill. As the boat landed my brother spoke to Oonebutty and directed him to aid Harris in apprehending the fellow. They mounted their horses and rode with speed around the hill on the south side.- My brother then proposed that we should also cross the river to give them assistance. I agreed on the spot, and directed the ferry man to hurry over with the boat. 'When we had crossed over and upon my suggestion we galloped around the hill on the north side and soon found ourselves on the top of the hill, when I discovered a short distance a group of three men with their horses. I observed to my brother that they had apprehended the fellow. As we were advancing upon them, they mounted their horses and rode off. In coming up with them we recognized Harris and Oonebutty, the other man proved to be the one who was discovered on the top of the hill,- he was a chubbed, grim looking fellow, with a pair of large reddish mustaches which curled at the corners of his mouth, and several of his foreteeth out, his eyes, mouth, and general features of his countenance, all uninteresting. He was riding an old saddle cloth, with a bark rope around the neck of the horse, and had shot pouch on which was covered by an old plaid cloak. The rifle gun which he carried, was by this time handed over to Oonebutty. I asked Harris if that was his horse, ' the rogue that was upon him. He replied, yes. My brother then suggested to have the rogue tied, Harris objected and said it was not necessary, that he could take care of him; I urged the propriety of securing him.- Harris replied that should he attempt to escape, that he would shoot him 'c.- I then enquired who the rogue was, Harris replied never do you care, I will secure him- I demanded of the fellow his name and place of residence, he said that his name was Looney, that he lived in Rhea County and state of Tennessee, about sixteen miles from the town of Washington. After this my brother and I, concluded to return home, but we did not proceed far when he remarked that he felt an inclination to go and pay Mr. Wm. S. Coodey a visit, as he would set out the next morning for Washington City, and himself for his place of residence.- I replied that I would accompany him to Mr. Coodey's as the distance did not exceed one mile, and we wheeled about and saw the party whom we had left, yet in sight.--We rode briskly and overtook them. Oonebutty was riding in advance with the rifle gun on his shoulder; Harris and Looney in the rear opposite to each other, ' apparently much engaged in secret conversation. I remarked to Harris that we had concluded to go over to Mr. Coodey's and that we would accompany them that far.--I then began to interrogate Looney more closely.-Harris stopped Oonebutty and fell in the rear-which circumstance I did not at the time notice, and at the moment we got into the road, about a half mile from my ferry landing,--And Looney remarked, 'Harris I am now going to tell the whole truth about this business,' Said I, the truth alone, was what I desired to know.-Said he, I have not stolen this horse. How came you to be riding the horse when Harris claims him? He is foolish, the horse is not his.-Whose horse is he? My own.--Do you know Harris? No- At this moment my brother then told me to take care, that Harris was going to shoot me.--I looked round and saw Harris dismounted at the same time heard him say, 'Ross, I have been for a long time wanting to kill you, and I'll be d_____d if I don't now do it.' As he presented the gun, I wheeled my horse and galloped off. Looking back I saw my brother setting on his horse at the same place. Harris then got behind a tree to shoot him. He then also rode off, and we returned home late in the evening. I now began to feel much concerned for Oonebutty, but still hoping from the scenes which had occurred before his eyes, that he would be enabled to suspect the perfidious plot and leave them also. On the next morning Mr. Coodey came over and informed us that a Cherokee woman came to his house very early that morning who stated that one of the Philpots and another white man had reported that two white men came to Philpot's house at dark of the last evening, and that one of them was very bloody, who stated that he had received a wound from a Cherokee man.--My anxiety for the fate of Oonebutty, who as well as my brother ' myself was altogether unarmed, became increased. Mr. Coodey being now on his journey to Washington City and myself in readiness to accompany the delegation as far as Gainsville, Ga., I determined on going by Major Ridges for the purpose of relating to the Major the transaction and giving some direction in regard to appertaining the fate of Oonebutty.- When upon arriving at the store, I recognized among a number of horses at the rack, the one which was rode by Oonebutty the evening before and on entering the store house, I had the gratification to find him seated on the counter, though not without a severe bruise on his cheek. I requested him to relate the particulars of what transpired after I had left them, which he did as follows.--'When you rode off, Harris got behind a tree to shoot your brother, I caught hold of the gun and when your brother rode off, Harris then professes to be friendly with me, mounted his pony and requested that we should proceed with the prisoner. -He kept the gun in his own hands, and we travelled about half a mile and on a small ridge nearly opposite to Mr. Coodey's residence, Harris suddenly dismounted, caught hold of the reins of my bridle and presented the gun at my breast, I as quickly took hold of the gun and leaped from my horse; and after wrestling for the gun, Harris took a large knife, such as are usually termed 'French dirk', out of his pocket. I instantly grasped his hand, opened his fist, and the knife fell to the ground.- I took it up and placed it in my pocket, not being disposed to hurt Harris, but to prevent him from injuring me.--Harris now seized a stone and struck me on the wrist, to force my hold of the gun lose, and the second blow he gave me was on the cheek which I felt very severely--believing now that my life was endangered and being irritated by the blow which I had thus received, I took the knife out of my pocket with one hand and opened it with my teeth and at that moment wrested the gun from the assassin, and as he turned from my to run, I stabbed him between the shoulders, he ran off a short distance and halted. I then presented the gun at him, but with no intention of shooting and he ran off.--Looney in the meantime was mounted on his horse a few yards distant.- I also presented the gun at him and he likewise galloped off--I then caught my own horse and rode off home, with the gun and knife with which Harris had attempted to take my life. It has since been ascertained that Harris had particularly enquired of my ferryman if I was at home-and when he was told that I was gone up to the store, he crossed the river and proceeded there, and upon his arrival, immediately enquired where I was.- Being informed that I was in Major Ridges house, when he came there as before stated,-also that Looney is the brother-in-law of James Philpot, and that he had accompanied Harris from Philpot's house to the place where he was stationed on the hill-that the pony on which Harris rode belonged to said Philpot. Upon Reuben Philpot representing the rifle gun for the property of Saul Ratley and that it had been left in his care, taken without his knowledge and in his absence from home, and that he would be held responsible for it Oonebutty surrendered it up to him, saying that he had no claim to it farther than wresting it from the hand of an assassin who had attempted to rob him and take his life with it.' From the circumstances connected with the facts attending the atrocious conduct of the two wretches who are the subject of this narrative, there can be no doubt that a premeditated plot of rapine and murder had been laid, and that the Principal Chief was selected as a victim- but the design of these mercenary executions having failed, the next scheme suggested by their rapacity was to decoy Oonebutty into their power for the purpose of robbing him of his horse. The readers will recollect we had heretofore stated that a band of white men, who are distinguished throughout the country by the appellation of 'the Pony Club' were located and permitted to reside upon Cherokee lands by the authorities of Georgia--and it is notorious that these men are visited from all quarters by others of their own class, and that many cases have occurred of their dismounting Cherokees off their horses in the face of day and escaping with them-also of driving off whole gangs of Cherokee cattle and hogs from the woods where they range--yet the Ex. Governor of Georgia has had the unblushing presumption to assert that at no time has the Cherokee Nation been more clear of intruders than now--' that such persons have been removed by severe penal laws-when at the same time it is an incontrovertible fact that the country is now more infested with this description of settlers than ever, and that the woods and public highways are almost alive with them. It has also been reported through Governor Gilmer, that upwards of three hundred white men, residents of the Nation, had taken the oath to support the Constitution and Laws of Georgia and been permitted to continue their residence. From this statement, it may be inferred by those who are not better informed that these men were all connected with the Nation by marriage 'c. It is not so.- We do not believe that one eighth of that number have any claim under the sanction of the national authorities to remain in it-but intruders have been multiplied upon Cherokee lands by permissions from Georgia officers. It is greatly to be desired that the General Government will do something definite towards putting an end to this disgraceful and grievous state of things--if the suffering Cherokees are apt to be protected by the existing treaties and intercourse act upon which their hopes hang, and these sacred obligations are to be permitted to be abrogated by the nullification proceedings of Georgia, then let it be distinctly so declared by the proper authorities of the United States before the world-or otherwise let justice be done and in good faith the confiding Cherokees protected as they have unequivocally declared their determination to meet their doom on the soil which moldered the bones of their ancestors.
We are informed from a source which can be relied on, that one of the enrolling agents appointed by Maj Curry (Jos. Philips) enrolled five men who were actually wearing heavy chains and locks around their necks at the time, and under a guard. It appears by this that every means are employed by the enrolling agents, however low they may be in the estimation of impartial men, to effect their object. However it may possibly be that Jos. Philips was acting without orders, in this point; but we have reasons to believe that a similar circumstance took place sometime since in the case of Te-sa-ta-sky; which was mentioned in our paper five or six weeks since; we believe Mr. Curry himself enrolled him, after he had been under custody five days, and at the station of the Georgia Guard. It is said by some, Te-sa-ta-sky was enrolled while he was a prisoner, other state not until he had been set at liberty; but one thing is certain Te-sa-ta-sky was made to consent to have his name registered as an Arkansaw emigrant, to avoid the punishment which was threatened him, with a confinement in the Georgia prison. And it is also an undeniable fact that an express was sent to Major Curry while in Pinelog in the neighborhood where Te-sa-ta-sky lived, to enroll this unfortunate man, and that Curry did go to the Station ' enrolled him. If he was at liberty at the time it could not have been long after he had been set at liberty, for it cannot be supposed that he would have continued a moment after his liberation at the place, and among the Guard by whom he had been torn from the bosom of his family, and dragged about as a felon. Has it now come to this? We see our fellow citizens torn from their homes, without the least shadow of evidence that they are guilty of their charges alleged against them. We see also an agent of the U.S. ready with his pen to write the name of any person confined in chains if he only can be frightened to make a promise to remove to the west of Mississippi.
26th Dec. 1831
MR. EDITOR OF THE CHER. PHOE.,
Since the arrival of the Delegation nothing has been transacted by them which is worthy of a place in your column. The memorial to Congress is not yet drawn-and a delay in this is rendered necessary to see what our neighbors, the Georgians, will do in regard to the Cherokee lands, during the present session of the legislature. The Indian question as it is now discussed so extensively in the United States, affords to anyone who reflects upon the subject a curious aspect. On one side are those who profess to love the aboriginal race, and in view of what has been done by former administrations of the General Government wish to preserve them in their present location by executing the laws and treaties made and provided for their protection. Under this policy, they have seen the Cherokees rise from heathenish darkness, to stand in the light of civilized mankind, and to establish for themselves a Republican form of Government, which is finished with the basis of a good and a plain constitution, 'c. On the other hand, is Gen. Andrew Jackson, Georgians 'c. who also profess friendship to the Indians, and their preservation in the wilderness of the west. They refuse to respect treaties, and null dead and void all the laws made to do justice to the Indians, and upon to carry them into execution. The modus operandi of this class of friends to effect Cherokee emigration, is to extend State laws of barbarous character compulsively over them, encourage intrusion upon their territory, drive away their white teachers from among them, or immure them in the walls of a penitentiary, and chain Cherokees by the neck and drive before them like so many beasts at the point of a bayonet. This is what they call free and voluntary emigration. But then do they design to afford those who please to afford them pleasure, by hearing them and thus running away an asylum, where they can breathe in rest upon a soil that will yield productions for their subsistence? Do they promise them, civil, judicial, and political advantages in their new homes, as a nation; and if they do, where is the sample of their Bill and have they seriously rendered it before the American Council for Approval? By no means. They have no lands there fit for civilized beings to inhabit, besides that upon which they have located the Choctaws and emigrant Cherokees and Creeks. This is advisedly expressed. An intelligent Cherokee merchant, Mr. John Drew has told me that there is no more good land west of the Arkansas Cherokees.- They already extend to the verge of habitable ground, beyond which lies the sad and dreary and barren wilderness of an extensive prairie. Within their present limits, their population already occupies all the tillable lands, and they heartily desire that no more emigrants should be sent over, unless the Cherokee Nation should agree to make a grand treaty, and exchange for the lands situated within the limits of the Arkansas territory, any Washington County. In this way they are willing to unite and become again one nation. As is usual perhaps this friendly party would give this an insolent contradiction by their ipse dixit. Out of their Mouths will I convict them.- Here is an extract of the last report of the Indian Bureau, signed Elbert Herring.- 'The Chickasaw Indians who are disposed to follow their friends and neighbors the Choctaws, and to reside near them, have not as yet been provided with suitable lands. For the purpose of procuring such for their accommodation, it became necessary to effect an arrangement with the Choctaws for a cession of a portion of their country in the west. Major Jno. H. Eaton and General Coffee have accordingly been constituted Commissioners to treat with the Choctaws for this object. In the event of a successful issue of their negotiation, the removal of the Chickasaws will probably take place before the termination of another year.' It will be recollected that the same Commissioners mentioned in this quotation, effected a treaty with the Chickasaws, sent a company of intelligent men to examine and find a country west of the Mississippi, but lo, like Noah's dove, they returned into the ark, having found no rest for the soles of their feet! To the graciousness of the Choctaws, must now be appealed, by those, who now have hired agents riding about the Cherokee Nation promising us great and rich lands, and high pay for improvements, and large rations of subsistence for one year, to those who will believe in their tidings! Upon this subject, I am also well informed that this is all a fleeting show for man's delusion given. This was not done to late emigrants, and the Vanns will make a bill against the Government at the rate of thirty dollars a head, for their families for this sad breach of faith. Since the discovery of America, to effect the extinguishment of Indian titles to land, has never been attempted to any European or Anglo American authority, by false and hypocritical professions of friendship. The Spaniards took away the Indians by force. Burnt Indians at the stake for refusing to adopt the Roman Catholic faith, and pursued such as fled with blood hounds trained for the purpose. Then tell us not of love of friendship, of rights and of faith! Has the crisis approached when the Cherokee lands must be taken by force?-- Do it, but call the act by the right name!- We understand your motives and your actions are indexes to your hearts.
These false pretensions have led many good men astray and they believed that perhaps it would in the end be to the advantage of the Indians to remove. But the day will come and shortly when they all will see the fraud. Sir, the great body of the American people wish us well, and are anxiously desirous to see us reinstated in our rights. Public sentiment has been for us and is with us, but their servants have sold us for a mess of pottage, the vote of Georgia. Ah! here is the rub.
The missionary case will soon be taken up, I hope, by the Supreme Court, and if Georgia keeps her penitentiary doors well locked, and does not back out, we shall see whether the United States will regard the sacred voice of their Judiciary.
I am yours with respect.
ONE OF THE DELEGATION.
For the Cherokee Phoenix
At this crisis of our national affairs, it becomes all true friends to their country's interest, to speak out and let their real sentiments be known. If truth, honesty, and fair dealing, were strictly observed or undeviatingly adhered to by those who are made the instruments of carrying into effect the policy of the Government towards the Cherokees, then it would not be necessary, but is this the case? Do these instruments or agents represent every man in his proper character? Far from it.- If report speaks truth--they are in the habit of using mens names in such a manner as in their opinion is best calculated to forward their own views and wishes--attributing to their intentions, which they never entertained.
I has not been long since a rumor reached the ears of the undersigned, that their names and that of their father were mentioned by certain individuals as being amongst those who favored emigration, and intended themselves to emigrate.- This statement is not only false, but meanly so nothing in word or action ever having escaped them that would warrant such conclusions. We would advise those who have tampered with our names, to beware; for they are making an unwarranted use of property not their own, and which they will find to be holden more sacred in the eyes of its proper owners than they imagine.
It is not because we suppose our names possess such charms as would cause any of our country men to embrace the side upon which they might be arrayed, that we make this public declaration--but because we are aware that if the common people of our country (whose interest 'King Andrew's' people effect to have most at heart, could be gulled into a belief of the report above alluded to) and which if (believed) owing to former declarations of ours would place us in such a peculiar position before them, they might concluded that all our honesty was in mere cheat, and every pretension to it, designed to pave the way to the accomplishment of some base and selfish purpose, and because, if this conclusion in relation to the undersigned could be once established in the minds of our people, it is easy to perceive that it might by the process be extended to others and by degree the confidence in the integrity of those whom they now most esteem might be destroyed. This accomplished, it is easy to see what would follow next, and that this is a favorite scheme on the part of some schemers, we think we hazard nothing in asserting. We would therefore say to all be upon your guard.