[Letter], 1831 June 7, Haweis [Mission, Cherokee Nation] to George R. Gilmer, Governor of Georgia / Elizur Butler

Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842
[Letter], 1831 June 7, Haweis [Mission, Cherokee Nation] to George R. Gilmer, Governor of Georgia / Elizur Butler
Butler, Elizur, 1794-1857
Manuscript held by the The Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN, State Library Cherokee Collection, box 1 , folder 29, document ch046.
Date of Original:
Cherokee Indians
Georgia--Politics and government--1775-1865
United States, Georgia, 32.75042, -83.50018
letters (correspondence)
Letter dated June 7, 1831 from Elizur Butler, Christian missionary living in the Cherokee Nation, to Georgia Governor George R. Gilmer in response to a letter Butler received from Gilmer. Butler explains his purposes in living within the Cherokee Nation. He says that he arrived ten years ago to assist the United States in its policy to "civilize" and Christianize the Cherokees, and his only concern is the spiritual growth of the Cherokees and not political issues. He indicates that he cannot in good conscience take the oath of Georgia since it would imply that the state has jurisdiction over the Cherokee Nation.
Digital image and encoded transcription of an original manuscript, scanned, transcribed and encoded by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Libraries in 2000, as part of GALILEO, funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
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Cite as: [title of item], State Library Cherokee Collection, The Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN, presented in the Digital Library of Georgia
2 pages/leaves
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Tennessee State Library and Archives
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Dr. Butler's reply to Governor Gilmer.

June 7, 1831
To his Excellency George R. Gilmer, Governor of Georgia.
Sir, --
A few days since, I received a communication purporting to be from your excellency
Suffer me to say, I was not a little surprised at some ideas that communication contained. It is due to the cause in which I am engaged, definitely and concisely to state the object of my residence in the Cherokee nation of Indians.
My sole object in commencing my residence among this people, more than ten years since, was to assist the government of the United States in promoting the civilization and Christianization of the Cherokees.
I have, during my life, studiously avoided all connection or interference with political affairs, and more particularly since my residence among this people. Since living among them, I have invariably pursued that course of conduct, which I conceived would tend most for their spiritual good. Though I may have been accused of being " a mortal enemy to Georgia and her measures," I solemnly affirm I am not, although I could not in conscience subscribe to all her enactments. For instance, I could not take the oath required of white men who reside in her chartered

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limits, as this would acknowledge the jurisdiction of Georgia over the Cherokees, which would be adverse to my opinion, and essentially effect my usefulness. My principles of action are founded on the work of God; and if adhering to the "law and the testimony," and endeavoring to follow the examples of holy writ, my conduct be construed into an unjustifiable interference with political transactions, I cannot help it. I cannot change my religious views, or general religious conduct, with the various political changes of the times. It is what neither your excellency nor any other person can expect. Rather than change my religious views, to meet the exigencies of political affairs, permit me to say, I should sacrifice my life. I wish you distinctly to understand, that I came into the nation for no political or selfish purposes; and that I remain here only for the spiritual good of this people; and that no sufficient reasons have ever been presented to my mind for me to leave the infant church collected here, to be broken to pieces and scattered. If I must suffer for the above course of conduct, I hope the Lord will enable me to meet suffering, with Christian meekness and fortitude. Wishing you and your state, the greatest and best blessings heaven can bestow,

I am very respectfully Your obedient servant,
[Signed] Elizur Butler