NEW ECHOTA, FEBRUARY 8, 1834
A murder of a very wicked character and atrocity, falls to our lot to record, as the effects of the humane policy of the Government. In the early part of last week, on the Hightower, 30 miles south of this, a large collection of Cherokees, for the purpose of a dance, took place. A Cherokee Indian, speaking good English, by the name of John Fields, of a bold disposition, attended. Fields, it appears, received the appointment of enrolling agent, from the numerous United States agents, traversing this country, with the bounty of $10 per head, for every Cherokee that he might enroll for emigration. It appears that some two or three women had enrolled, and at that time, some altercation ensued, between another family and these emigrants, when an Indian by the name of Bread Baker, became enraged at these emigrants. Fields having the Georgia laws and the Government to protect him, arrested Baker, for the purpose of enrolling him. A considerable fight ensued; Fields proving the strongest, brought Baker to the ground, drew a heavy pocket knife, with a plunge near the naval cut a gash into his hollow, which brought out his entrails; another near the arm pit, which cut into the hallow. Baker was literally elsewhere, cut to pieces, of which he died the most agonizing ' sanguinary death. Fields is at home, protected by the Georgia laws, for the wilful murder of a Cherokee opposed to emigration. They were both intoxicated.
The Message of the President, and the Report of the Secretary, on their relations with the Indian tribes, both of new and old, we had omitted in our last to remark more generally of their character and bearings, to the extent that we deemed it may be interesting to our readers, for the want of time and space. The policy of concentrating the Indians west of the Mississippi, having for its object new relations, have been in operation for some time past. Whatever of justice and principle, has been observed by the Government, in the prosecution of this plan towards the aborigines, to effect this object, every observer of the progress of the Government in it, must, it seems to us, discover the great moral principle-justice, and truth palpably, violated. The paeado(sic)-prophet of Arabia gave to the inhabitants of that country, the choice of his religion, or the point of his sword. If you will believe in my creed you shall be happy, if not, I will cut you off from the earth. The measures of Government which have been brought to aid in the accomplishment of its policy, in a physical point of view, exercised as it is in this enlightened age, gives to it much more atrocity than the case transacted in the days of barbarism and fanaticism. The unprovoked aggression of one sovereign against another is considered by Christendom as wrong and unjustifiable. But the language of the Government to sustain its policy towards our race, which otherwise is reprobated by enlightened mankind, comes to us with this language: We are a superior race of beings, you are a small people, if you do not believe in our policy, we must consider it in that case perfectly right to rob you of your property. This is the brightest picture which we can draw of the nature and effects of the policy of the Government.- The assault of Mahomet on the inhabitants of the east, was on the right of conscience, that of the Federal Government, on the political, and not less dear rights of the Cherokees. The usurper in the former, is doubtless culpable, but in the latter, it is in a course of perpetration and sanctioned by the Government. In this anomalous condition of politics it is with pain that we still discover in the President, his exalted opinion of this new, but destructive policy. He describes the Indians in the West as in a prosperous condition, whose removal and settlement have been made since the year 1828. The inference to be drawn from the message is, 'that the two southern tribes are considered to be an ignorant and indolent people, but drive them west of the Mississippi, and they become prosperous.' - Where is the Indian statistics to prove to us this unprecedented change of condition, their transition from heathenism to the unqualified annunciation of their prosperity? Where are their hundreds of newspapers circulating, thousands of Indiana books, printing presses in operation? Where are their numerous brick houses, court houses, mills and smith shops, with the implements of the mechanic, sending forth its sound of industry almost to enchantment? In the absence of evidence to prove to us the facts of their sudden march of improvement, we have reasons to receive with caution the correctness of the President's description, according to the letter of his message.
The objects for which we have commenced these remarks, is to defend ourselves from the imputation which the President has thought proper to cast upon us, as one of the southern tribes, whose condition he has represented to be of a degraded condition.- That we have no desire to improve, nor seek to control our inferiority in order to our improvement. We have been not a little astonished to see this argument promulgated at this time. to justify the prosecution of his policy towards us. The commencement of this new era was accompanied with the notification that the government would not sanction the substantive government which the Cherokees had formed within their own territory. The establishment of this government, was the President's ground of objections to sustain the Cherokees according to his treaties with us. The improvement of the Cherokees was here frustrated by himself, who has now drawn the dismal picture of our degradation. It is true, we have not measured the depth and surface of the seas, nor the distance from the earth to the sun, nor counted the number of valleys in the moon, but our progress in literature and the arts, are sufficient, to enable us to improve, if our territory is restored to us. Therefore it is incidental upon us, without intending offensive expressions against the Executive, to remark against the unjust imputation which has been given us of our condition, and that it is incorrect, and was uncalled for, and we hope inadvertently made. But pay us our annuities, $25,000, now travelling with the depositor and withheld from our nation, it will improve us more than all the country west of the Mississippi.
The Secretary likewise, accuses the Chiefs of being instrumental in defeating the objects of the Government, to change the relations existing with the Cherokees. This doctrine has been so often repeated from that source, and the general disposition of the Cherokees being so well known, that the charge upon our chiefs, we hope will soon expire with its own weakness.
STATISTICKS (SIC) OF THE CHEROKEE NATION -April 15th 1825
Population 15,1__, Wagons 72, Looms 752, Spinning wheels 2,485, Plows 921, Horses 7,653, Cattle 17,531, Hogs 47,782, Sheep 2,556, Goats 420, Schools, 12, Smith shops 62, Turnpike gates, 6, Ferries, 18, Stores 9, Saw, Grist Mills and Cotton Gins, 10.
For the Cherokee Phoenix.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
Mr. Editor, Sir:- The affairs of the Cherokees have arrived to a very important crisis. Long have we struggled for victory, our efforts have not been in vain; we are not yet cast into the whirlpool of despair. No! All the inhumane and foolish legislation of Georgia cannot unnerve us. We are not such knaves and fools as they wish, nor as their childish laws suppose! We yet love the land of our fathers, and will not give it up without another struggle. It is true, some of our own people, together with the surrounding States, and the present administration, have leveled their artillery at us, and have made several charges upon us. But what signifies all that! As a nation, we are yet invulnerable, and it will require something more terrible than we have yet witnessed, to move us from our posts. I am no prophet, but from the signs of the times, I will yet regret her folly, and relax her last full hold. She has gone as far as she dare go. She will not be allowed to complete the robbery in deed. Her will is good, but she has got to the end of her rope, she dare not make another step without our consent.
With regard to their improvements the Cherokees need not be alarmed. Why? Because
1st. The late laws of Georgia are so exceedingly cruel and unconstitutional that it will be impossible to enforce them. There is not an honest court in Georgia, nor in the United States, that would not trample them under foot with the greatest abhorrence.
2nd. If the robber should even get possession, it will only be momentary, for if the Cherokees should be under the painful necessity of turning their faces to the 'far west,' they will most assuredly be restored to the occupancy of their improvements. But
3d. There is a strong probability that our difficulties will be settled by a compromise, and if they should, there is no doubt but our tormentors will have to back out! Now, let the scale turn which ever way it may, our Georgia friends will be stopped in their mad career, and many of them will wish a thousand times they had never left their granny's old fields. There is too much diabolical rascality in the Georgia policy, for it not to meet with an over throw.
Emigration is now vehemently urged upon us, b all sorts of agents, as the only alternative, and to help out the matter, Georgia has passed a gag law on the subject, and to make sure work she has again reminded us of her big house in Milledgeville! The Georgians must have great confidence in their penitentiary, much more I fear than they have in their Maker! But before they can prevent us from talking with our neighbors and friends for their good, they will have to send another military force into the nation to tie sticks in our mouths, or doctors to cut out our tongues.
But as to this emigration business, it is the poorest alternative of which we could avail ourselves. The policy of the 'Gineral' towards us has greatly increased the value of our improvements, so much so, that the use of them for one year, in many instances, is worth more than the assessing agents would allow us! And if we go to the West, we shall have to give double and tribble (sic) for improvements there, as good as those we abandon here. But to make up this great loss, and as a further inducement to enroll, some have been offered the privilege of renting their improvements for one year after their enrollment. Yes, Mr. Watie enrolled under this spacious promise, but no sooner did he make his mark, than measures were taken to hurry the drawer into his house, and now, if even Mr. Watie gets anything for the rent of his place, he will have to beg it our of the 'Gineral!'