NEW ECHOTA, Sept. 8, 1832
The Editorial department of the Cherokee Phoenix having been relinquished by the resignation of Mr. Elias Boudinot, the authorities of the Nation have authorized and appointed the undersigned to perform that delicate and responsible trust as the future Editor of this paper.
In entering upon the duties assigned by this appointment, it is due to the public to state that in succeeding the former respectable and highly gifted Editor, ' having discharged his duties with the ability, and firmness which have sustained the great rights of the Cherokee people, sanctioned by the approval of an intelligent public, it is with no ordinary feeling of diffidence and incompetency that I enter upon the arduous duties of conducting the Editorial department, which shall have for its primary object the maintenance of the rights of the Cherokees, the diffusion of knowledge and science, that will meet with a similar approbation of the public mind.
The literary acquirements which is essentially requisite at all times to enable an Editor to furnish subjects written to a style of language that shall meet the taste of its readers, the undersigned would make no pretensions.
The principles by which I shall be governed in the publication of this paper shall be that contained in the prospectus, issued by the former Editor, at the commencement of this paper.
To our home readers it is necessary to inform them, that the former Editor together with his assistant found it impossible to comply with the prospectus, ' after repeated and laborious efforts made for furnishing the requisite quantum of matter in the Cherokee language, the labor of these men were inadequate to prepare materials sufficient for that part of the paper so anxiously looked for by our Cherokee readers. To this deficiency the present Editor can promise no improvement. However, difficult as the labor may be in this part of the paper, the Editor promises to publish as much Cherokee as he can prepare, apart from his other labors.
In assuming the duties as Editor of the paper, no efforts on my part shall be withheld to maintain the merit at which it had arrived during the labor of its former Editor. The undersigned would therefore desire of those friendly persons who have patronized the Cherokee Phoenix to continue their subscriptions, and to the public generally he would respectfully solicit an increased patronage.
We publish in another part of this paper an act passed by the late Congress of the United States for the appointment of three Commissioners to visit the Western Indians, together with those who have emigrated thereto in order to the establishment of certain boundary lines that may remain unadjusted, and to report a plan for the government of the Indians. The right of the United States to dictate a code of laws for the government of the Indians who have emigrated west of the Mississippi cannot now be doubted. Preliminary to the exercise of this power, we do not hesitate to pronounce this law to be its ostensible object. The Constitution of the United States does not give the power to Congress to create independent communities of Indians west of the Mississippi; and to relinquish their right of jurisdiction to the same; but it is on the other hand provided that new states should be admitted into the Union, and consequently on the vacant territories of the United States. The binding obligations of one treaty with each of these small emigrant tribe of Indians, fled from the very furnace of oppression; will be construed by the government as nugatory and not made in accordance with the spirit of the federal Constitution. If the President of the U. States cannot falter, as he has done, to refuse the execution of every article of 16 of the most solemn treaties with the Cherokees recognized by his own government to be constitutional and binding, and destroy all the rights and benefits arising from them; will it not be a mockery of reason to say that such a President would be bound by a compact at least doubtful of it legality, when the high demands of justice, and constitutional law have not forced him to regard the former? We predict that the cases which compelled some of the Southern Indians to emigrate west of the Mississippi, in order to participate in the enjoyment and blessings of liberty inherited from our fathers will sooner or later reach them, when they will be constrained to abide by such laws and regulations as the government will give them.
We publish below the letter of Lewis Cass Secretary of War to the Cherokees, containing the general basis on which he proposes to enter a treaty for the removal of the Cherokees west of the Mississippi; and the answer of the Cherokee Council held at Red Clay signed by all the members of the Council, which we have necessarily omitted to annex. Mr. Chester who was appointed by the Secretary to be the bearer of this letter, we understand was instructed to deliver it to those who may be authorized to receive it, and in accordance with his instructions delivered the letter to the principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, and by him submitted to the Council. These proceedings of the U. S. messenger seem to us to recognize in the aplmost (sic) manner the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation over which the President have so unceasingly connive at and in his various messages surrendered to the legislation of the States. Altho' the Cherokees have suffered much under the administration of President Jackson, it will be seen that no change has taken place in the determination of the Cherokees to maintain their rights as secured to them by treaties. To abolish these treaties as a measure by which to enable the President to acquire the Cherokee country we presume must now soon be abandoned. The decision of the Supreme Court having been made fully to sustain all the rights of the Cherokees and withal the supreme law of the land; must consequently supersede all other conflicting measures or else the United States will as soon cease to exist as a government of regular law.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
April 17th, 1832
Your great father the President of the United States, has recently been informed, that a change was probably taken place in the sentiments you have heretofore entertained on the subject of a removal to the Country west of the Mississippi and that propositions from the government, having that object in view, would be favorably received by you. Satisfied as the President is, that this measure can alone secure to you permanent prosperity, and lay the solid foundations of your future improvement and civilization, and prepared as he ever has been to make you offers, which shall be not only just, but liberal, he has instructed me to address you upon the subject, and to make known to you the stipulations he is willing to grant; so far as his authority extends. I have therefore to request that you will take the matter into your serious consideration and communicate to me your ultimate decision.
The President is willing to enter into an arrangement for your removal west of the Mississippi upon the following general principles.
1. That a country, sufficiently extensive and fertile, shall be distinctly marked out, west of the Territory of Arkansas, for you and your brethren, where they now are.
2. That this country shall be surveyed by you by patent, under the provisions of the Act, 1830, and that it shall be forever without the boundaries of any State or Territory.
3. That you shall have all the powers of self government, so far as may be compatible with that general supervisory authority, which it is necessary Congress should exercise over you.
4. That you shall have the privilege of appointing an agent, who shall reside at Washington, to communicate your claims and wishes to the government; and who shall be paid by the United States.
5. That if Congress assent to the measure you shall be allowed a delegate to that body, and shall also when your improvement and other circumstances will permit, and when Congress think proper, be placed in the relation of a Territory.
6. That all white persons, unless specially authorized by the laws of the United States shall be excluded from your country.
7. That you shall remove to your new country at the expense of the United States, in either of the following modes you may prefer.
1. By a commutation to be allowed to individuals or families.
2. By persons to be appointed and paid by the United States.
3. By arrangement to be made among yourselves, by which some of those who are competent to the undertaking, may remove all your people at a rate to be fixed.
8. That subsistence shall be provided by the United States for the term of one year, after you reach your destination.
9. That an annuity, proportioned to the value of the cession you may make, be secured to you.
10. That all the improvements upon the ceded territory which add real value to the land be appraised and paid for.
11. That ample provision be made for the support of schools and teachers and of blacksmiths 'c. for the supply of steel and iron, and for the erection of mills, school houses, Cherokees council houses, and houses for a few of the principal chiefs.
12. That a rifle and equipments be given to each male adult; that a quantity of blankets be allowed to your families; together with axes, hoes, wheels, cards, and looms.
13. That your stock be valued and paid for by the United States.
14. That the annuities due to you by former treaties, be paid to you west of the Mississippi.
15. That provision be made for your orphan children.
16. That protection be guaranteed to you against the hostile effect of any other Indians.
17 It is the wish of the President, that all your people should remove, and he is therefore unwilling that any reservations of land should be made in the ceded territory. Still he would not make this an indispensable condition, but would agree should it be found necessary, that reservations should be made for a few of your people, in situations and under circumstances rendering such a measure proper, and within the scope of this legal authority. But your people must distinctly understand that those who remain will become citizens of the state in which they may reside, and that all the relations between them and the United States, founded upon previous circumstances, as Indians must cease.
These are the general terms I have been directed by the President to offer to you. They form an outline of an arrangement, which can be filed up when you are prepared to enter into a negotiation. The details and any other stipulations you may ask, will more properly be discussed and determined, when your views of the matter are known, and the ultimate mode of proceedings adopted.
If you are prepared to assume these propositions as the basis of a negotiation, can appoint your agents to come on to this place clothed with authority to act, or the President will appoint commissioners to meet with you in Council and conclude the affair.
I cannot but hope that your will see in this frank and liberal offer full evidence of the desire of the President that the difficulties of your present situation may be removed, and your future destinies place beyond the reach of those causes which have occasioned such misery to the Indian race.
Shut your ears I entreat you to bad counsels, if any such should be offered to you. Whatever may be told of you, it is impossible you can remain where you now are and prosper. And if you persist in the effort the time of regret will come. I am afraid after the most injury to yourselves.
(Signed) LEWIS CASS .
To the CHEROKEE east of the Mississippi
In General Council Convened at Red Clay, Cherokee Nation August 6th 1832.
The Honorable L. Cass, Secretary of War.
Sir:- Your letter bearing date the 17th of April last, containing certain propositions as the genl. terms upon which the President is willing to treat with this Nation, has been received through the hands of Elisha W. Chester, Esq. It is with much astonishment we learn from this letter the President has been informed, that a change had probably taken place in the sentiment, this Nation heretofore entertained on the subject of a removal to the country west of the Mississippi, and that propositions from the Government having that object in view would be favorably received.
The subject matter has been fully considered together with the peculiar embarrassments that now surround us; and in compliance with your request we proceed to our reply. In the first place we wish to call your attention to the decisions of the Nation on former occasions on this subject, and to inform the President that the true sentiments of the Cherokee people remains the same.- That the basis of his propositions is objectionable, and that the Nation is placed in duress. From the illegal proceedings of Georgia in assuming to exercise jurisdiction over a large portion of our Territory, and by placing a military force with other officers of her own creating in our country for the purpose of oppressing our citizens. She has also introduced a great many many of her citizens among us, to intrude on our lands and in her chief magistrate the discretionary power of drawing a lottery for the occupation of them. And in the peculiar state of things, the protecting arm of the President is withheld from the enforcement of the treaties and laws of the United States made for the protection of our national rights. And moreover divers agents of the General Government have been commissioned for the purpose of enlisting our citizens as emigrants for the country west of the Mississippi, and in the prosecuting of this business some of them have been seduced under circumstances calculated to create disquietude and disagreeable feelings. But let the President remove all the difficulties arising from unjust measures and afford us that necessary protection which is solemnly guaranteed to us by treaties; and then the exercise of that privilege which is so essential to the enjoyment of freedom would place us at liberty to reflect, speak, and act freely on the subject of our national interest and welfare.--In conclusion we would respectfully call your attention to the frequent complaints which have been made to the Department against the numerous intrusions on our lands bordering on the boundaries of the several adjoining States; and to urge the removal of the intruders.
Very respectfully your friend and Ob't Servants
(Signed; by all the members of the General Council.)