NEW ECHOTA,July 7, 1832
What do the good people of the United States think of the distressed condition of the Cherokees? Is their attention so completely engrossed in their own private affairs that they cannot even find time to shed a tear at the recollection of such accumulated oppressions heaped upon their fellow creatures? Has the cause of the Indians been swallowed up in other questions, such as the tariff, the bank 'c.? For how can we account for the silence which pervades the public in regard to the conduct of the General Government and the State of Georgia towards the Cherokees? After the just ' most solemn decision of the highest tribunal in the country, measures which have been declared unconstitutional are still pushed forward with a degree of impudence truly remarkable and alarming. Look at the conduct of the President.- He will not move his little finger to support the Constitution and Laws of the country, and save his once Indian allies from utter destruction, ' yet he sends, at the suggestion of the Governor of a neighboring state, a company of his troops, to drive off a half dozen gold diggers! And look at Georgia. While a few half starved gold diggers are to be expelled at the point of the bayonet, she has been permitted and encouraged to send in five hundred surveyors to violate the laws and treaties of the United States, by running lines, marking trees 'c. To this great company, agents or instruments of robbers, cultivated fields were no obstacles. Corn fields, wheat fields, and what not were as waste lands, and those who owned them were like the wild beasts of the forest, so insignificant ' contemptible were they in the eyes of this Christian people!
But what signifies to tell all this! They glory in their shame,-TRIUMPH over their own laws, and SMILE at the cries of the subjects of their cruelty! What signifies to tell it, when the complaints of the oppressor are unheeded by those in high places, and regarded by the people only in silence!
A company of United States' troops have been ordered to the North Carolina side of the Nation, for the purpose, we are told, of driving out the gold diggers.---There may be a few dozen such persons in that section of the country. CONSISTENCY! CONSISTENCY! where hast thou fled.
For the Cherokee Phoenix
In looking over your numerous and respectable exchange papers, I find the following passage in the N. Y. American as introductory to an extract of my late communication taken from your paper.
'The wealth of the Cherokee Gold District is undoubtedly exaggerated, in the annexed extract from the Cherokee Phoenix, but this very exaggeration, existing publicly alike in the estimates made by the Georgians and the Cherokees, of the value of their lands, serves to explain the rapacious and law contemning perseverance, with which the former seek to appropriate to themselves so rich a territory.'
The geographical extent of the gold region which I had described in my communication was confined to the chain where the operations of a very profitable kind had been carried on, and with the exception of one mine I had worked myself, on a line of nearly one hundred miles. But this region of treasure does not end at each of the points which I had described as the gold region, for at the southern point the gold bed still continues south for about fifteen miles to the line of Carroll County, Ga. ' north to the line between Ga. and N. Carolina, a distance of about twenty five miles, so that more than one third of this region was not included in my former estimate. This district of gold comprises an area of one million and a half of acres by something like a territory 130 miles long by 20 wide. The average productions of these mines in 1830 wa generally about 200 dwts. to two square rods of ground. In the estimate which our friend of the American desires to be an exaggeration I made no pretentions to be entirely accurate; because I had no means by which to ascertain the price of similar property. In this condition of the property, and having seen the proceeds of these mines with my own eyes, I considered it a reasonable conclusion, for a man possessing anything like a judgement of the price of such lands, to hold the price at least at one hundred millions of dollars,* which estimate our friend of New York would seem to think altogether a mistake. The extent of this region now is much greater than I stated before,_ I have therefore no inducement and less reason to retract, from what I stated.
In regard to the law contemning perseverance, with which the sovereign state of Georgia seems to be vitally infused, to enable it to appropriate to itself so rich a treasure, our friend is not a whit out of his definition: and if it was true as the white man says, that 'virtue fadeth not' our numerous friends in that quarter would not now be the companions of silence on the momentous cause of the Cherokees. But in this sudden silence of our friends,I am enabled to say, huzzah to our New York friend, the arbitrary measures of Georgia are justly held the subjects of merited reproof. The great question then rises for solution in this crisis of the Cherokee question. If one state can at pleasure nullify not only one law of the United States, but a score of treaties as Georgia has done, and Congress suffer the President to do the same, and no check to this assumption of power can be interposed, then tell me not that the muddy Mississippi is the line of justice for the Indians. Our lot then has been cast to endure the elements and horrors of despotism, the dread of freemen and the bane of Indians.
Written the 4th of July 1832
*One hundred millions of dollars is a heap of money, which to our ears sounds too much for the value of the Cherokee gold mines. The gold region is extensive enough no doubt, and that there are immensely rich mines in it, but we can hardly suppose that every foot of the land is enriched with the precious metal. If that region was divided into lots of one acre and every lot sold, to the highest bidder, we have no doubt it would bring millions of dollars, whether it is really worth that or not, for there is in Georgia and elsewhere nothing, like the Cherokee Gold mines, and nothing like the Cherokee land, although it be a desert,-Ed. Cher. Phoenix,