Cherokee Phoenix


Published February, 18, 1832

Page 1 Column 5a


Ninety large wagons, with teams of 4 and 6 horses or oxen, engaged in the transportation of the Choctaw Emigrants, left this place and vicinity, on Thursday last, 29th ult., in opposite directions and in about equal numbers.

One portion of them, with about 550 emigrants, under their Chief, Col. D. Folsom, have gone to the West, and are bound for the Red River section of the New Choctaw Country. This party is in charge of Lieut. Ryan, U.S. Agent for Superintending the removal of Indians, and is expected to reach the end of its journey by the 25th ult. These people will settle within 30 miles of the western boundary of this Territory, on the waters of Mountain and Glover's Forks.

The other portion of the teams have gone to the Post of Arkansas to convey another party of emigrants from thence to the Kiamechie, via this place, and are expected here by the 20th inst.

About 1,000 emigrants, via Red River and the Washita, it is expected passed Washington, Hempstead County, on or about the 1st inst., on their way to Kiamechia; and there are about 2,000 now at the Post of Arkansas, waiting the arrival of wagons to convey them to their destination. About 1,400 of the latter number go to the Kiamechia-the residue will settle on the Arkansas, near Fort Smith.

We visited the emigrants while they lay at Camp Pope, about 3 miles south of this place, a few days previous to their leaving for the south, and were very agreeably surprised to remark the degree of cheerfulness and contentment which seemed to prevail in every part of the Camp. They appeared to be bountifully fed with bacon, fresh beef, and corn, and with very few exceptions, comfortably clad, and to exhibit generally quite as great a degree of comfort as is usual to be found about an Indian Camp. Some few cases of sickness and a few deaths had occurred, but the number of either were such smaller than might have been reasonably expected when the inclemency of the weather which they had encountered on their journey from the Post of Arkansas, was taken into consideration . Those who were ill, were restored by the attentions of a Physician provided by Capt. Brown, and by the rest which they were able to obtain while the party lay in camp and few, if any, cases of illness remained when they resumed their journey to the south.

We conversed with several of the emigrants (some of whom spoke English fluently), and were gratified to learn, that the party were perfectly satisfied with the arrangements made by Capt. Brown, for their comfort and could not learn that a murmur of complaint against him, or any of the Agents of the Government employed in their removal, was to be heard throughout the camp. The party left the Saline, 30 miles south of this on Saturday morning last, and were proceeding on very finely when last heard from.


In General Jackson's message to Congress in Dec. 1829, we find the following language made use of, in his remarks on the policy, which in his opinion the government ought to pursue towards the Indians.--'Our conduct towards these people is deeply interesting to our national character. Their present condition, contrasted with what they once were, makes a most powerful appeal to our sympathies.' In his message in December, 1830, he renews the subject, and in the course of his remarks says-'Towards the aborigines of the country no one can indulge a more friendly feeling than myself, or would go further in attempting to reclaim them from their wandering habits, ' make them a happy and prosperous people.'

Thus much for profession. The next step in the governmental process is recommendation.

'The consequences of a speedy removal will be important to the United States, to individual states, and to the Indians themselves. The pecuniary advantages which it promises to the Government are the least of its recommendations. It puts an end to all possible danger of collision between the authorities of the General and State Governments, on account of the Indians. It will place a dense and civilized population in large tracts of country now occupied by a few savage hunters.'--'It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with the settlements of the whites; free them from the power of the states ____ ____ ____ happiness in their own way, and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers; and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good councils, to cast off their savage habits, and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community.' --'As a means of effecting this end [the removal of the Indians] I suggest for your consideration, the propriety of setting apart an ample district west of the Mississippi, and without the limit of any state or territory now formed, to be guarantied to the Indian Tribes as long as they shall occupy it, each tribe having a distinct control over the portion designated for its use.' Under this system a number of these maneuvers called treaties have been negotiated with different Indian Tribes, who have been induced by such means as the executive government could make use of, to quit their lands in different parts of the United States, and remove to the wilderness beyond the Mississippi under the most solemn assurance that there were lands enough for them, and that they should be protected in the enjoyment of them.

We now come to the practice. In the report of Elbert Herring, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, we find the following passage. 'In pursuance of this policy {the removal of the Indians) the necessary measures have been taken for the execution of the Choctaw Treaty ratified at the last session of Congress, and the Indians of that tribe are now in motion. It is presumed that about 5,000 will emigrate west of the Mississippi before the winter sets in; and there are the best grounds for believing that a much greater number will go over in the course of the ensuing year. Sanguine expectations may thus be indulged, that the whole nation will be moved within the time (three years) prescribed by the treaty.

'The Chickasaw Indians who are disposed to follow their friends and neighbors, the Choctaws, and to reside near them, have not yet been provided with suitable lands. For the purpose of procuring such for their accommodation, it become necessary to effect and arrangement with the Choctaws for cession of a portion of their country in the West. Major John H. Eaton and General John Coffee have been accordingly 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.'

Here then we have a practical exposition of the nature and character of the policy now in vogue towards the Indians. A part of the Choctaws, under the influence of agency of this same Major Eaton, then Secretary of War, have been persuaded to remove beyond the Mississippi, upon the promise of the government that they shall be provided with lands, and that they shall be guaranteed and protected in the enjoyment of them.--A large proportion of the tribe, it seems, are behind, not having hitherto agreed, or not being ready to go. But to persuade the Chickasaws to follow their example, and to furnish lands for their use, it becomes necessary to take away a part of the lands granted to the Choctaws, and give them to the Chickasaws; and that profound statesman, Major John H. Eaton, well skilled in Indian diplomacy, as well as in Indian warfare, is sent to the Choctaws, to induce them to relinquish a portion of the lands which the government had granted to them, and to the enjoyment of which they had promised them protection and security,for the use and behoof 'of their friends and neighbors' the Chickasaws. Can any upright man read this, and not hang his head with shame for the unblushing disregard of truth and justice n this branch of our government towards the Indians. The short explanation of the system is--we force them by oppression to abandon their possessions on this side of the Mississippi, and then by Eatonian negotiation, deprive them of those they were promised beyond the Mississippi. This mode of executing 'treaties' with the Indians, ought to call forth an enquiry in Congress unless, indeed the whole powers of the government are to be surrendered to the Executive department.