EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, GA.
Milledgeville April 26, 1833
Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of War.
Sir:- A few days ago, I addressed a letter to the President of the United States, on the subject of our Indian relations, which I requested, might be submitted to you.
In connection with the same subject, I herewith enclose you a copy (of the copy) of a letter, received by me a few days ago from a respectable gentleman who resides in the neighborhood of John Ross. That gentleman, with various others, informs me that Ross is exhibiting this indiscreet letter, and impressing the ignorant Indians and Indian countrymen, with the belief that he is authorized to say, from the authority of the War Department, that in a short time, all the Georgia settlers who have settled under the authority of the laws of Georgia, will be driven from their homes by the United States army. There may be some exaggeration in these statements; but I am forced to the conclusion, from what I have heard, and from the reading of this imprudent letter, that great efforts are making in that country to mislead, and delude the unfortunate Cherokees.
I do not hesitate in my reply, to such communications, to assure the people on place in the views of the Federal Executive, and the Indians so long as they choose to remain in Georgia, must yield implicit obedience to the supremacy of the laws of the state. And that no power of the Federal Government, will ever be exerted to remove the inhabitants, who have settled under the authority of the State, 'c. 'c., 'c; I am engaged in using all the means in my power, to counteract the mischievous influence of the enemies of good order in this half settled country.
But I consider it highly important, that you should with all possible dispatch, make such a communication to the Cherokees, as shall put an end to all false stories of the character pointed out. Such a communication should be publicly and authentically made to the whole people, who may assemble at their council on the 11th of next month. It is submitted to your considerations, whether a communication from you or the President of the U. States himself might not be made through me to the Cherokees most effectually. At any rate please to let me hear from you immediately on this subject, for I deem it indispensable, at their approaching council, by some means, to remove the idle delusion into which these people are led, by the exertions of bad men. If the copy of the letter which I enclose you, be not a forgery, its deserves strong reprehension. Such production, from such a quarter are most mischievous. With great respect, your obedient servant.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
Office of Indian Affairs, March 14.
Sir:- Your letter of the 8th inst. addressed to the Secretary of War on the subject of intrusion on Cherokee land by white citizens, has been referred to this office for reply.
It cannot be denied, that your complaints are well founded, and that your people have sustained injuries from the rapacity and lawless conduct of our citizens. It is however in some degree an unavoidable evil incident to the present condition of your tribe, and no blame is fairly attributable to the Department on that account. It is due to the Secretary of War, to say that as soon as he received notice of intruders having presented themself (sic) on your land, he gave orders for their expulsion. These orders will now be repeated; and a military force will forthwith be sent to the assailed parts of your country for the purpose of expelling and keeping off intruders. And orders will also be given to the District Attorney of the United States to prosecute for trespass, all such as may dare to return after expulsion. You cannot consider it a misplaced assurance, and it is made with the utmost sincerity, that the Department cherishes deep solicitude for the welfare of your nation, and will to the extent of its powers, endeavor to promote it. With high respect, your humble servant.
Messrs. John Ross and other, Cherokee Delegates.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
Office of Indian Affairs.
March 15th 1833
Complaints from various quarters and particularly from the Cherokee delegation to this place of intrusion on Cherokee land, have recently been made to the Department. It is the duty of the Government to put a stop to this illegal and most disgraceful practice of our people. The Cherokees must be protected in the quiet enjoyment of their possessions and our citizens must be punished, if possible, for any encroachment on their rights. The commanding officer at Fort Mitchel will be ordered to station troops at whatever places you may direct, and to assist you in expelling intruders and preventing their return. He will act under your instructions-and in carrying this into effect, you will proceed with firmness and at the same time with all possible moderation. A recurrence to former instructions on this subject will render it unnecessary to enlarge on this topic. Much must necessarily be left to your discretion, and it cannot be doubted that you will proceed with all due caution, and at the same time with all proper energy. Justice to the Cherokees and the plighted faith of the Government, demand instant and thorough attention to this business. If after their expulsion any of the intruders shall have the hardihood to return, you will cause the District Attorney of the United States to prosecute them for trespass. Their punishment would be but a proper atonement for their outrageous conduct and would tend to prevent it in others. You will of course cause public notice to be given to the intruders to depart peaceably and thereby avoid forcible expulsion. I am 'c.
Col. H. Montgomery.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR
May 2, 1833
Sir:- I had the honor to receive your letter of the 26th ult. together with the copy of one from the commissioner of Indian Affairs, date March 11th, and addressed to some of the principal men among the Cherokees.
Before the receipt of your letter, application had been made by some of the Cherokees, to know whether any change had taken place in the opinions of the President, respecting the constitutional right of the Executive to remove persons from land claimed by the Indians, where the laws of the states had been extended over such land. They stated, that they made the inquiry because some of their people had taken up such an impression, founded on the above letter of the Commissioner. Correct this misapprehension, and explanatory letters, copies of which I have the honor to enclose, were written and despatched to Col. Montgomery, Cherokee Agent, Major Curry, the special Agent, for emigration, and to the Cherokee persons, who sought the information. These letters will undoubtedly remove any errors, which may have prevailed and will show that the opinions of the President, are unchanged.
Very respectfully, I have the honor to be, your ob't ser'vt.
His Excellency Wilson Lumpkin, Milledgeville, Ga.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
OFFICE INDIAN AFFAIRS,
May 1, 1833
Sir:- In consequence of an application from several of the Cherokees, I have been instructed by the Secretary of War, to call your attention to my letter to you of March 15th, 1833, and to say to you that the provisions of that letter relate solely to those portions of the Cherokee country, within the state of Tennessee and North Carolina, and over which the laws of those States have not been extended.- The views of the President upon this subject have been too often and too publicly expressed, to leave any doubt of the course which, in his opinion, should be pursued. And this explanation would have been considered unnecessary, had not some of the cherokees intimated different views. The President yet thinks, as, he has always thought, the Executive has no constitutional right to apply military force to remove persons from any part of the States of Georgia or Alabama.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your ob't serv't
Col. H. Montgomery.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
Office Indian Affairs.
May 1, 1833
Sir:- Enclosed I transmit your copies of two letters of this date, one addressed to the Agent Col. Montgomery, ' the to (sic) other several of the Cherokees. You will see by these letters, that some misapprehension has existed, or has been affected, respecting the purport of an order sent by this office to Col. Montgomery on the 15th March last for the removal of intruders from the Cherokee country. That order is intended to operate only upon the Cherokee lands within the States of North Carolina and Tennessee, over which the state laws have not been extended. The views of the Executive on this subject, have been so well known, that it was not supposed that any mistake could arise. If however any has arisen it will be cleared up by these instructions.- I am directed to communicate these facts to you, that you may be aware of the precise views of the President, and that you may correct any erroneous impressions which may have a tendency to prevent a favorable decision by the Cherokee council, which is about to convene.
Your obedient servant.
Benj. F. Curry, Esq.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
Office Indian Affairs
May 1, 1832 (sic)
Gentlemen:_ I have been directed by the Secretary of War to acknowledge the receipt of your letter to him of April 5th and to inform you that no change whatever has taken place in the opinions of the President so often expressed to your people, and so clearly stated in the letters to which you allude from the War Department of 2d and 20th Feb. 1833 as well as in previous communications respecting the constitutional right of the Executive to apply military force, to the removal of persons from any part of the Indian country over which the laws of the proper States have been extended. My letter to Mr. Ross and others of the 14th March, and to Col. Montgomery of the 15th of March, were intended to relate solely to that part of the Cherokee country lying within the States of North Carolina and Tennessee, and over which these States have not extended their jurisdiction. The whole views of the Executive, were so well known to your people, that it was not supposed that any misapprehension on this subject could have existed.- And I am directed to state to you clearly, that the opinion is of the President, heretofore expressed, are unchanged, and that no interference with the laws of the respective States on this subject, must be expected. These views have been communicated to Col. Montgomery, though they cannot be necessary for his action in the matter. And I am instructer further to express to you the opinion of the President, that the immediate removal of your people in conformity with the very liberal terms held out to them, offers the only prospect of their permanent and prosperous establishment.
Very respectfully, I am. gentlemen, your ob't servant.
John Ridge, Esq. and others, Head of Coosa.