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tory, including nearly all the most fertile tracts, are in our hands. And they indulged the hope, no doubt, that a magnanimous people would at last be satisfied to leave them their sterile mountains, and few remaining vallies without molestation-certainly without violent seizure. But in this, alas, they find themselves grievously disappointed. "Give, give,' is the insatiable cry, which continues to vex their ears and sadden their hearts.
They are are now distinctly told, You can no longer be tolerated as distinct nations here. A sovereign and independent state cannot permit the existence of other sovereignties within its limits. We want your lands, and we are determined to have them.
You must set your faces with your wives and children towards the Rocky Mountains, and settle down where you will have more room and be better off. Do you say you will not go ? Then stay, and take the consequences.
We shall soon make you repent of your obstinacy. Put out your coun- : cil fires-demolish your court-houses-burn up your laws -depose your chiefs—and come under our jurisdiction. This is the alternative which is now presented to 70,000
women and children, in the 19th century, and under the sanction of the most enlightened and christian republic on earth !! O tell it not in Gath! If such a construction of the most solemn treaties, and guaranties is to prevail; if the faith of this great nation is thus to be given to the four winds, then let me plead for the Indians while I may-for who can tell how long I shall be permitted to enjoy this, or any other constitutional right?
But why are the Choctaws, and Cherokees, so unwiling to remove ? What is their present condition ? and what are the prospects which are opening upon them, if
permitted to remain where they are ? Full answers to these questions, would require hours, instead of a few moments. The truth is, that a mighty change is taking place in the character, and condition, of the southern Indians. Under the influence of industrious habits, of education, of religion, and of efficient laws, they are waking up to a new existence. It may be doubted, whether civilization ever advanced faster in any part of the world, than it is now advancing in some of their districts. Having abandoned the chase, multitudes of them are living in the enjoyment of independence and plenty, in comfortable houses, and upon their own well cultivated farms. They wear their own domestic fabrics. They have their mills, their mechanics, their labor-saving machinery, their schools, and their own Cadmus, too, under whose instruction, a nation may almost literally learn to read in a day. They have, too, their legislative assemblies; their courts of civil and criminal jurisdiction; their juries; and nearly all the safe-guards of life, liberty, and property, which exist in the best regulated communities. For the suppression of intemperance, gaming, and other kindred vices, it may safely be affirmed, that they have as good laws as any of their English neighbors, and they execute them far better. To give a single example. "A case occured in the Cherokee nation last spring, where one of the judges of the circuit court, on finding the air of the court house strongly impregnated with whiskey, ordered the sheriff to follow certain suspected persons to their baunts in the woods, where he found and poured out the contraband article before their eyes. By the same judge, six men were fined fifty dollars each for gambling, and one was fined for profane swearing.' Add to all this, the Christian religion is taking deep root and rap
idly filling the wilderness with churches and songs of salvation, under the instructions of pious teachers, and the remarkable effusion of the Holy Spirit.
Now in view of these facts and brightening prospects, can it be wondered at, that the Indians are unwilling to remove? And who that has a home of his own and a heart of flesh in his bosom, can wish them to go, contrary to their will? Who that is not dead to sympathy, and deaf to justice, can resist the imploring appeal, which was lately made by a Choctaw chief, to the agent of our government? I wish a copy of it could be placed in évery dwelling in the land, and read every evening in every domestic circle, till every child should learn it by heart.
"We do not wish to sell our land and remove. This land our great Father above gave us. We stand on it. We stood on it before the white man came to the edge of the American land. It belongs to no one in any place but ourselves. Our land is not borrowed land. White men came and sat down here and there all around us. When they wished to buy land of us, we have had good councils together. The white man always said, the land is yours, it is yours.' Poor, simple souls! These savages thought the white men meant as they said, and would do'ks they promised! :. We have always been true friends to the American people. We have not spoiled the least thing belonging to an American. But now we are told, that the king of Mississippi is about to extend his laws over us.
We, the chiefs and beloved men in this nation, are distressed. Our hands are not strong; we are a small people; we do not know much. We are distressed. Colonel Ward knows, that we have just begun to build new houses, and
and make new fields, and purchase iron. We have begun to make axes, hoes, and ploughs. We have some schools. We have begun to learn, and we have also begun to embrace the gospel.
We are like an infant that has just begun to walk; we have just begun to rise and go. And now our great father who sits in the white house looking this way, says to us : Unless you go yonder, the white man will extend bis laws over you.' We do not say, that his words are lies, but we are distressed. Oh that our great father would love us! Oh that the king of Mississippi would love us! The American people say they love liberty ; they talk much about it. They boast of their own liberty, Why will they take it from the red men?'
Take it from the red men ! With our consent peither the lands, nor the liberty of these red men shall ever be taken from them. Never! What! either drive them into the great western desert; then over the Rocky Mountains; and finally into the Pacific Ocean: or else dissolve their governments, and crush them where they
God forbid that such inhumanity, that such injustice should ever stain the pages of our history. With my consent, such a record shall not go down to posterity. But how can I hinder it? I am but a humble individual. I can have but little influence anywhere, and none where influence it most needed. free. I bless God, that I have a heart which cannot help being distressed for the poor, persecuted Indians. I have a voice, too, feeble though it be, and no man, without the scimitar or the bow-string shall binder my pleading for the oppressed. I have a right to petition, to remonstrate, to implore, and God forbid that I should be silent. It shall be my aim and my
But as yet,
glory at this fearful crisis, to enlist as many hearts, and tongues, and pens, and prayers as possible, in the sacred cause of humanity, of national faith, and of eternal justice. I had rather receive the blessing of one poor Cherokee, as he casts his last weeping look back upon his country, for having attempted to prevent his being driven from it, than to sleep beneath the marble of all the Cæsars.
Shall I be told that all this is idle preaching—that I have entirely mistaken the policy of Georgia in reference to the Cherokees-that she has no thoughts of compelling them to emigrate ?-I am astonished that such an expedient should be resorted to, to quiet the friends of the Indians and to ward off public remonstrance.
It is an insult offered to the cominon sense of the nation. What ? Tell the Indians, We want your country and you had better leave it,-You can never be quiet and happy here?' And then, because they do not take your advice, cut it up into counties, declare all their laws and usages to be null and void, and substitute laws, which it is known they cannot live under; and then turn round and coolly tell the world, O, we mean no compulsion! The farthest in the world from it! If these people choose to stay, why by all means let them stay. These are the tender mercies of which we shall undoubtedly learn more in due time. - You have got a fine farm and I want it. It makes a notch in a corner of mine. I will help you to move five hundred miles into the wilderness, and there give you more and better land, which you may cultivate and enjoy without molestation, as long as grass grows and water runs.' You must go:-however, do just as you please. I shall never resort to any other compulsion, than just to lay you under certain restrictions. Perhaps, for instance, as I am the strongest and you have more