Cherokee Phoenix

From the New England Galaxy

Published April, 14, 1832

Page 2 Column 1b

From the New England Galaxy.

Mr. Editor:- In the present time of excitement with respect to the rights of the Cherokees to their native soil almost every one is desirous of knowing something of their history, and of obtaining information generally in relation to the more important tribes, who occupied this country at the time of its settlement by our ancestors. It is very singular that so important and interesting a portion of our history should be so much neglected by those even who think an ignorance of any important historical fact disgraceful. That such ignorance is very common in regard to the Aborigines of North America is undoubtedly true. The subject is almost wholly neglected at our schools and colleges, we are brought up in the belief that the Aborigines were a cruel and savage race, whose constant exertion from the first discovery of this country was to exterminate every white person who came here to settle and improve it. That such impressions are as untrue as they are common will appear to every candid inquirer, and by a very little examination it will be seen that the first settlers were received here with real kindness, and frank hostility, by the tribes who then occupied these shores;-that it was only, when driven to desperation by the perfidy, rapacity and cold blooded cruelty of the whites, they turned upon them, and more in self defence, than otherwise they gave battle for their homes, which had been violated, for their brothers who had been slain. We shall find that the most frivolous pretenses, the most groundless accusations were made use of by the whites for the purpose of destruction, and it was thought praiseworthy and courageous to sack and burn an Indian village for an offence committed perhaps by an individual, the fact of the commission of the offence remaining unsubstantiated except by the interested testimony of some malignant white man. We do not mean now to discuss this matter, we merely allude to it for the purpose of calling the attention of the public mind to it, and we refer those who are anxious to be correctly informed upon the subject to the two following works published a year or two since viz: Conversations principally on the Aborigines of North America, Salem 1828, and a history of 'The first settlers of New England; or conquest of the Pequods, Narragansetts and Pokanokets, as related by a mother to her children. By a Lady of Massachusetts, Boston Monroe and Francis, 1829.'

These two works, we understand, are written by the same lady, who has devoted the intellectual powers of her mind to this interesting subject. We cannot close this brief notice without enforcing the remarks we have made, by a quotation from the work last cited.

'Caroline. Is it not generally believed, mother, that the Indians are a vagrant, idle race, who have no settled abode here today and there tomorrow, wherever they can find subsistence? Whenever I speak of the Indians and compassionate their condition, I am asked how I can feel so much for these miserable hordes?

Mother. The Indians have been strangely misrepresented, either through ignorance or design or both: and men have given themselves little trouble to investigate the subject, people seldom forgive those whom they have wronged, and the first settlers appear to have fostered a mortal aversion to the Indians whom they had barbarously destroyed. However strong were their convictions of justice of their cause, however plausible were their arguments in defence of their usurpations, they were unable to silence the voice of conscience; and they vainly attempted to escape from the remorse, which, with all its terrors, seize on the hearts of the guilty, by redoubling their superstitious observances. They fasted and prayed, and the authorities they imposed upon themselves and others, destroyed in a great degree all social enjoyment; and whilst they were systematically planning the destructions of the Indians, they were sharply engaged in discussing with each other points of faith altogether unimportant or incomprehensible.'

We have heard it repeatedly said when commiserating the condition of the South American Indians, that the course of policy pursued by our ancestors, was very different, that they usurped theirs, while we purchased our territory, that our lands came to us by the voluntary deed of the Indian. Before those assertions are believed, let every one look at the facts themselves and further let him watch the course pursued even at this present time by a sister state against the primitive lords of the soil it occupies.