Cherokee Phoenix


Published February, 18, 1832

Page 1 Column 3b


New York, January 26.

The select meeting of which we spoke last evening, to take into consideration the present situation and pecuniary wants of the Cherokees took place in Clinton Hall, and making allowances for the sudden change and peculiar severity of the weather, was much more fully attended than we had any reason to expect. Theodore Dwight, Esq. was called to the Chair, and -----Ferris, Esq. appointed Secretary. The objects of the meeting having been explained from the Chair, Mr. Boudinot, in compliance with a call, made a brief explanation of the objects of the present visit of his associate Mr Ringe (sic), and himself, corresponding with the letter published in this paper last evening. Mr. Ridge being next invited to give some information as to the situation of their people, and the aggressions of the Georgia government, and its officers, not only upon their own people, but upon the unoffending missionaries, rose ' addressed the meeting for three quarters of an hour. He gave a brief history of the relations which have subsisted between the Cherokees and the United States since the commencement of the war of the Revolution-enumerated the treaties made; the good understanding that existed; the anxiety of their people to live on the most friendly terms; the sacrifices they had made for this object; the ten millions of territory they have from time to time ceded under the most solemn pledges that is the possession of the residue they were to be left unmolested. 'c. 'You may ask us,' said he, 'to throw off the hunter and warrior state: We did so.--You asked us to form a republican government: we did so-adopting your own as a model. You asked us to cultivate the earth, and learn the mechanic arts: we did so. You asked us to learn to read: we did so. You asked us to cast away our idols and worship your God: we did so,' 'c. When he came to speak of their recent wrong, of the treaties violated, of the promises disregarded; of the laws of Congress unexecuted: of the national faith trodden under foot; of the cold refusal of the President to protect them; of the cruelties, mockeries, the shocking barbarities of the Georgia officers and soldiers, not only towards their own people, but towards the unoffending missionaries of religion residing among them,--the simple story of their wrongs, related to the unsophisticated language of nature...went home to the heart with irresistible power. We only wish that we could adequately report that the feeling narrative ' convey to the reader the unaffected manner of the speaker. His narrative of the brutalities of the Georgia Guard towards the missionaries, though related in the most artless manner, was sufficient to fire the blood, and rouse the indignation of every American, deserving the name of man. These unoffending and guileless men our own fellow citizens of this boasted republic--were ignominiously seized like felon--they were chained with horses' traces hung around their necks and fastened one to the neck of another horse, and the other to the tail of a cart, and thus dragged, with bleeding feet, through rough and tangled forest over brake and bush, and bog, and fence at the point of the bayonet, and even in sickness, and with wounded feet, refused the privilege of riding their own horses. From the Cherokee country, they were taken through the Georgia towns and villages, as if for spectacles for the public gaze, and the cruel taunts of a people bribed by the land lottery system, to sustain their rapacious government.- This last sentence is not the language of Ridge. His story was full of pathos and feeling, but not intended for excitement. He is a plain man, who speaks right on, not knowing that he has words, nor utterance nor 'the power of speech to stir men's blood;' and yet there was not an unmoved heart, not an eye in the room, that (did) not glitter with the tears of pity. We only wish that every man, woman and child in the United States could hear his unadorned tale of truth from his own lips. The President would then execute the laws, and the prison walls of Georgia would tumble like those of the Bastille, for it is sufficient 'to move the stones of Rome to rise in mutiny.' And yet John Ridge speaks only with the olive branch. There was another part of this Cherokee's address which was peculiarly affecting. It was when he spoke of the social relations of the Cherokees. Although their complexions were not the same; yet their feelings, and the kindlier sympathies of their natures were.--Their social relations were the same; their soil was prized by them as much as the white man's; they had equal reverence for the graves of their fathers; their fire sides and their altars were as sacred; they loved their wives and their children as much as the white man could love! And must all these relations be sundered and uprooted! Must they be torn from their father's graves! Must the ties of kindred and relationship be cut! And how could they remove their mothers with their infants and their old men and women across the great river, who are trembling on the brink of the grave. And what security will they have even should they go? What faith can they repose in a new treaty, made with men who declare that the most sacred of treaties are not binding!

After he had concluded the meeting was successfully addressed with unusual force and eloquence by Mr. E. Lord, Mr. R. Sedgwick, Mr. Fessenden, Mr. Emerson, Mr. Lewis Taopan; Mr. Kitchburn, Mr. S. A. Foot and others. A subscription of near eight hundred dollars was taken up on the spot, and it was resolved to call a public meeting for the arrangements of which a committee was appointed. ---Com. Adv.