- Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842
- An appeal of the Cherokees, to the people of the United States / [Chostosa ... et al.]
- Date of Original:
- Cherokee Indians--Government relations
Indians, Treatment of--Georgia
- United States, Georgia, 32.75042, -83.50018
- This address signed by several Cherokees was appended to the proceedings of a meeting held in the Aquohee District of the Cherokee Nation, published in the Cherokee Phoenix on September 11, (1830?). The undersigned appeal to the people of the United States to support and assist them in their struggle to retain their homeland in the Southeast. They protest against the extension of the oppressive laws of Georgia over their own territory and insist that such actions violate treaties. The Cherokees say that the U.S. President has refused to grant them protection as stipulated, and their petitions to Congress have been unsuccessful. They ask for justice and insist that they do not desire to emigrate west of the Mississippi River. They also protest against the occupancy of their land by U.S. citizens, the use of bribes among commissioners in an attempt to corrupt Cherokees, and the distribution of annuities to individuals.
Digital image and encoded transcription of an original manuscript, scanned, transcribed and encoded by the Digital Library of Georgia in 2002, as part of GALILEO, funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
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- Bibliographic Citation (Cite As):
- Cite as: [title of item], E78 .G3 A6, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries, presented in the Digital Library of Georgia
- 4 pages/leaves
- Original Collection:
- Manuscript held by the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries, E78 .G3 A6, box N/A, folder N/A, document N/A.
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- Hargrett Library
PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES.
September 11th, contains the proceedings of a meeting in Agnohee District, Cherokee Nation, viz: resolutions of thanks to "William Penn," and to those Senators, Representatives, Editors, memorialists and other citizens, who have taken an interest in their behalf, -- appended to which is the following ADDRESS:
Friends and Brethren: --
The occasion of our present Address, is one which affects, not only the well-being, but the very existence of our country.
A course of policy, has of late been pursued with relation to us, which we consider to be at variance with the most solemn treaties, and which has filled our minds with painful anxiety.
Oppression is at this moment vigorous operation, under the appellation of 'Laws of Georgia.' These overbearing and cruel edicts, are evidently designed, to exterminate us from the earth. Under the sable banners of these pretended laws, are already marshalled, for the purposes of rapine and plunder, a host of the most abandoned characters, who drive off our property, brake the repose of our families, imprison our persons, and threaten our lives. But these laws grant us no hearing, they afford us no redress.
We consider these doings to be flagrant violations of those indentical [identical] treaties, by virtue of which millions of acres of land,
once ours, are now vested in the United States, as the price of protection against these very evils.
We have asked your Executive, for the stipulated protection, but it is not granted. We have petitioned Congress; but without success. We have assumed the attitude of abject suppliants, in soliciting that, for which we have paid, in full tale; but we have met nothing but mortifying repulses. -- We are grieved. We are oppressed. What are we to do? Where shall we look for succour [succor] ? The arm of your President, heretofore potent, to enforce justice, has lost its wonted energy; he cannot help us.
The State of Georgia, in the vehemence of her thirst for sovereignty, has overleaped her bounds. She tramples on our dearest rights, and frowns to silence the interrogatories of Justice.
People of America, where shall we look? Republicans, we appeal to you. Christians, we appeal to you. We need the exertion of your strong arm; we need the utterance of your commanding voice: we need the aid of your prevailing prayers.
In times past, your compassions yearned over our moral desolations, and the misery which was spreading amongst us, through the failure of game, our ancient resource. The cry of our wretchedness reached your hearts, you supplied us with implements of husbandry, and domestic industry, which enabled us to provide food and clothing for ourselves. You sent us instruction in letters and the true religion, which has chased away much of our mental and moral darkness.
Your wise President Jefferson, tool much pains to instruct us in the science of civilized government, and recommended the government of the United States and of the several States, as models for our imitation. He urged us also to industry and the acquisition of property. His letter was read in out towns; and we received it as the counsel of a friend. -- We commenced farming. We commenced improving our government. And by gradual advances we have attained our present station. But our venerable father, Jefferson, never intimated, that whenever we should arrive at a certain point, in the science of government and the knowledge of the civilized arts, that then our rights would be forfeited; our treaties become obsolete; the protection guarantied by them withdrawn; our property confiscated to lawless banditti, and our necks placed under the foot of Georgia.
The improvements we have made, we attribute in a great degree to the measures originated and carried on, under the fostering care of your enlightened Presidents, and associations of pious individuals among your citizens.
If your benevolence responded to our silent petitions, when we possessed no other claims than our wretchedness, and no other advocate than the generous emotions of your own breasts, we feel assured that our appeal will not be disavowed, when we ask for justice at your hands.
Much industry has been employed to misrepresent our condition. Our faults and our misfortunes and our defects, have been magnified; and unfounded odium has been cast upon our name, as if the worthlessness of our character, and the degradation of our condition, could exonerate the United States government from her engagements, and annul the binding force of the treaties.
Sometimes our untamable barbarism and deplorable degradation, are urged against us; and at others, our civilization and our cultivation of the domestic and social advantages, resulting therefrom, are charged upon us, as unpardonable crimes.
It has been frequently asserted, that we are willing and even desirous, to go on to the west! We assure our friends it is not so. We love our homes: we love our families: we love to dwell by our father's graves. We love to think that this land is our Great Creator's gift to them, that he has permitted us to enjoy it after them, and that our offspring are preparing to succeed us in the inheritance.
This land is our last refuge; and it is our own. Our title to it has no defect but the inferiority of our physical force, and this defect is amply supplied by our compacts with the powerful and magnanimous government of the United States.
Respected and honored friends, permit us to speak plainly. Much has been done against us. Promises, threats, and stratagems have been employed. But we are still unshaken in our attachment to the land of our birth, and we do solemnly protest against the exercise of oppressive measures to effect our removal. We protest against the extension of the laws of Georgia, over any part of our territory; against the occupancy of our lands, by United States citizens, in virtue of compacts between the United States government and another nation, with which we have no political connexion [connection], and which possesses no rights, within our territory against the removal
of our boundary lines; and against the employment of money or other bribes, to corrupt our citizens and induce them to become traitors to their country; and against the distribution of our annuities amongst individuals, as, being all contrary to the letter and spirit of our treaties.
We are greatly encouraged, in bearing up under accumulated wrongs, to know, that our rights are acknowledged and our claims advocated, by a great majority, of the wise, the honorable, and the virtuous among the citizens of the United States.
Brethren, while we beg your acceptance of the imperfect expression of our unfeigned gratitude, for your past exertions, we ask, with the most earnest solicitude and respect, the continuance of your aid, in every way, which your wisdom and philanthropy may dictate. And trusting to the guidance of an all wise Providence, we are encouraged to look forward, through generations yet to come, in the hope that the Cherokees will be still known on their native soil, that the light of truth which already illuminates our horizon, will advance to meridian splendor, and that the magnanimous deeds of the vindicators of our rights will live in the memory and the veneration of our posterity, long after our bodies shall have mingled with the dust.
Signed by order and on behalf of the meeting.
[Signed] CHOSTOSA, Chairman.
[Signed] JOHN WICKLIFF, Clerk.
[Signed] JOHN TIMSON,