FOR THE CHEROKEE PHOENIX.SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
Mr. Editor,- The Emigration begins to assume a very important aspect not because of the great number of its disciples, or the character of those who have turned their faces to the setting sun; but in consequence of the deceptions and oppressive measures resorted to, in order to tempt and force our people from the land of their birth. When the benevolent policy of the General Government was revived, under the administration of John Q. Adams, the Indians were to be treated as human beings and free agents; and when the Indian Bill was passed, provision was made that existing treaties should be held sacred.
But have these principles been adhered to? No. Soon as the President got the money into his hands, he made an experiment, and soon ascertained that the Cherokees could never be enrolled for the West on fair and honorable terms. Then Georgia commenced her cruel legislation. The President stooped to the small business of with-holding our annuity. Next Alabama caught the spirit of sister Georgia, and came up to the help of the 'Hero' against the innocent and patriotic Cherokees. Lastly long forbearing Tennessee stepped forward to help the matter out! Wonderful combination! Where now are the Constitution, Laws, and treaties of the United States? 'O, never mind, come let us get the Indians out of our way, and all the matters and things will work again-don't talk about Constitution and treaties in settling our Indian affairs-insignificant creatures- 'poor devils'- they killed our fathers. away with them! Send them to the Rocky Mountains. Come Georgia! come Alabama! come Tennessee and North Carolina- help me to get these savages to the West.'
But how stands the matter now?- Worse and worse! Having tried the virtue of diabolical laws, and menaces, direct force is now the last resort! And has it come to this! Not long since some four or five wagons rolled on towards the Southwest in search of emigrants, but unfortunately the deluded creatures were unwilling to take up the line of march. Some had fled and concealed themselves, others denied having enrolled. What was to be done? It would'nt (sic) do to expend so much Government money for nothing. Direct force was resorted to! The wagons were drove (sic) up to the doors of the emigrants, their plunder thrown in, while they themselves were put in ropes or chains! The wagons started for the place of embarkation, but alas! they had not got far before the prisoners made their escape, and left the unsuccessful Agent in a state of defunction!
The case of Desadaske is exceedingly disgraceful. While the Georgia guard were parading about in this country, Desadaske, without any just cause, was arrested put in chains, and threatened with penitentiary, but by promising to go to the West, he washed away all his 'high misdemeanors,' and redeemed himself from the curses of the Georgia law!!
His valuable improvement was forced from his possession, and the honorable councilor took refuge in another part of his country! Considering the circumstances under which he was compelled to enroll, nobody believed he was under any obligations to comply with an extorted promise. But, under a late order, even this man was hunted up, and had it not been for the bravery of his wife, it is likely, he and his family would have been hauled in ropes or chains to the Agency! How strong is the benevolence of the policy?
One poor fellow, who it is said is not quite as honest as he ought to be, had the great misfortunate (sic) to get one hundred lashes while in the custody of the Agents! This is somewhat marvelous; for it is not unusual for the emigrants to pay off all their criminal and civil debts too, by simply enrolling! I wish our friends has been a little more careful, and retained this Arkansaw (sic) thief, for we have supported enough by such fellows, of a different color.
But why are some of the emigrants so unwilling to embark for the West, after having enrolled? Is it because they were drunk when they made their mark? or have they been deceived with regard to the money business?
There is yet something more mysterious in this wonderful hurrying. Why hurry the emigrants off before their individual treaties are ratified? One of our benevolent Agents favored me with a perusal of his Co-wna-te*, and I am very confident it talked something about a treaty. But perhaps the 'Gineral' can ratify these little treaties, without troubling the Senate with them!
Now Mr. Editor, before we enroll, or make our treaties, we must have a better understanding on the subject-We must be wide awake and duly sober! For if we, like Esau, sell our birthright for one morsel or pottage, we shall afterwards find no place for repentance, though we seek it ever so carefully with tears.
Fort Clay, March 10th 1834.
* Paper or instrument of writing.