- Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842
- [Letter] 1832 Apr. 28, Camp Etowa[h], Cherokee County, [Georgia] to Wilson Lumpkin, Milledgeville, G[eorgi]a / Will[ia]m W. Williamson
- Williamson, William W.
- Date of Original:
- Cherokee Indians--Government relations
Gold mines and mining
- United States, Georgia, 32.75042, -83.50018
- official reports
- Letter dated April 28, 1832 from William W. Williamson, subcommander of the Georgia Guard assigned to protect the gold mines in the Cherokee territory, to Wilson Lumpkin, Governor of Georgia (1831-1835). Williamson reports on a number of issues related to the state of affairs in the Cherokee Nation including the general optimism following the Supreme Court decision in the court case of Worcester v. Georgia (1832). Williamson indicates that he took it upon himself to relieve the Cherokees from their delusions by explaining to them that despite the court's ruling, the federal government would not interfere with Georgia's actions against them. Williamson also describes his travels through the area and remarks on a grand waterfall formed by Amicalola Creek, which flows into the Etowah River. Williamson mentions his conversations with Cherokees Richard Taylor and (Walter ?) Adair.
Digital image and encoded transcription of an original manuscript, scanned, transcribed and encoded by the Digital Library of Georgia in 2001, 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], Telamon Cuyler, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries, presented in the Digital Library of Georgia
- 6 pages/leaves
- Original Collection:
- Manuscript held by the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries, Telamon Cuyler, box 49A, folder 03, document 03.
- Holding Institution:
- Hargrett Library
Head Quarters Camp Etowa Cherokee County
Apr. [April] 28 1832
Your letter of the 5th Inst. [Instant] to Genl. [General] Coffee I received under an envellope [envelope] from the Genl. [General] the day previous to my takeing [taking] my line of March from Head Quarters. My route was almost an entire circuit of the Country. I spared no exertions to obtain all the information on the subject of the Survey of the Country that my limitted [limited] means would afford the Indians on the Coosa, the Alabama line together with those of the Mountains were strangers to the Guard. haveing [having] no Interpreter, & finding no Indian that could or would speak the English Language my communications in some instances were not as satisfactory as I could of wished. The information received by your Excellency from Tarvin in part is correct. the decision of the Supreme Court has had a most powerful effect. Rejoicings Dances & Meetings have been held in all their Towns. They not only believed that the right of Jurisdiction was restored but that they were Sovereign independent nation & the U.S. bound by Treaty to afford them protection. Hence they have in some instances threatned [threatened] the Georgians with the strong arm of the U.S. When Genl. [General] Coffee left this we were not apprised of the mischevious [mischievous] effects of this Mischevious [Mischievous] decision. In order to arrest the delusion and set these poor deluded people to rights before any serious consequences might ensue. I have been necessarily compelled to be prompt & energetic in my course. There I have had committed to Jail & my march though [through] the
Country together with some Lengthy conversations with a few of the leading Men of the Nation has produced an entire change in the action of the country. I entertain no fears that any Surveyor will be molested most of the Surveyors were in their districts on the West & North where the greatest danger was apprehended. I directed them if there was the slightest cause for alarm from the Indians to despatch [dispatch] an express forthwith to the nearest Station, and the call would be attended to [unclear text: instanta ] . I passed through the Mountains with only nine of the Guard. believing from report the almost impossibility of Success. However I had determined to make the trial. I had no pilot and fortunate to pass without ever being lost. I passed Mountain Town Ellajay & several other smaller Towns that I did not learn their names. In the course of [added text: my ] route in the Mountains I discovered a Water Fall perhaps the greatest in the World the most majestic Scene that I have ever witnessed or heard of the Creek passes over the Mountain. & the Fall I think can't be less than Six hundred yards. The mountain is a least three fourths of a Mile high. I made great exertion, to get on the summit, but [added text: the ] ascent was so great that I was completely exhausted by the time I reached half way. My position was such that I had a perfect view of the entire Fall The Stream is called Um.ma.colo.la from the Fall. (Sliding Water) I remark in your information received from Washington. hopes entertained that a Treaty might yet be effected, upon that
Subject I have left nothing undone, all the energies of my character, has been brought in requisition & I have in some instances been compelled to turn Indian. in order to effect my purposes. I have Learnt [Learned] that the present delegation had powers to Treat in the event the decision of the Court going against the Missionaries. The decision produced [illegible text] entire change in their Feelings & Views. The principal Men in this Country have great confidence in the powers of the Supreme Court & did believe the President bound at all hazards to carry the decision into effect. I took great pains to paint out the difference between a decision founded on law. & the powers delegated to the different branches of the Government by the Constitution. That this question was a constitutional one & not a legal enquiry. That the President was sworn to support the Constitution as well as the Court and if the Court had usurped powers in the opinion of the President in that decision or any other he was not bound to notice it. But to lend his aid in putting down such high handed measures. After being satisfyed [satisfied] on that subject that their case with the President was hopeless; I found that they rested their hopes on the New York memorial. That Congress would compel the President to send an [deleted text: ar ] Armed force to their relief. I made strong appeals to their better since [sense] on that subject, and put the question direct is they could believe that the People of other States would resque [risk] -- Civil War & disunion for the protection of a few Cherokees. They seemed not to be satisfyed [satisfied] at my manner of putting the question I then admitted that it was possible for all
to happen that they wished. The President to send on an Army & whip Georgia into her duty. In reply I simply asked them in that event if they had ever thought of the awful situation in which they would be placed. In a few words I stated to them that they would be considered as Allies of the Army sent here & as enemies to Georgia, as such they would be swept of the Earth before any assistance could arrive. One would not be left to tell the news & when their Allies arrived they would find no Cherokee to protect. These last remarks seemed to satisfy them as they firmly believe that a large portion of the Georgians wanted only a small pretext to exterminate them. They then asked my opinion on the subject of the Lottery. I gave it that I had no doubt that the Land would be drawn for granted & Settled as speedily as possible. My opinions was asked as to the course they should pursue. I recommended a Treaty & pointed out the advantages they now possed [possessed], that all the difficulties growing out of the decision of the Supreme Court might be adjusted and all parties yet be satisfyed [satisfied], than they had any right ever again to expect. When it was settled by the Whites they could not remain in the Country They in turn would be beggars for a Treaty the U.S. would prescribe the terms & they would be compelled to agree. They at length state there was great wealth in the Nation and some individuals would be compelled to make large sacrifices. I understood the drift of their remarks, but could not give them entire satisfaction on that subject. I would not commit myself, but gave as my opinion that the Government would be liberal
that satisfactory stipulations should be made in favor of all those who possessed fine Plantations & fine Buildings & that I would exert myself to have it so. I also used your Excellencys name and influence freely on this same subject. If some pledges of Indemnity for Plantations and fine Houses could be made it would be a powerful incentive. I have the promise to know everything touching this question immediately on the arrival of the delegation There will be a council called in Tenesee I am invited to attend it; I think probably it is best I should not. I shall receive information as to its acts & doings immediately after they adjourn. It was not in my power to spend as much time with the Knowing ones of this country on my march as I could of wished I disliked to incur the additional expence [expense] that delay would of occasioned. I have been very much pressed to return to see them again as soon as possible. I shall avail myself of the ivitation [invitation] as soon as the Genl. [General] returns. My [deleted text: principal ] conversations on subjects of consequence were with Dick Taylor & Black Wat. Adair it is their wish that it should not be made public. My letter is unmercifully long and I close it here with assurances of my great esteem and respectful consideration.
Excellencys Humble Servt. [Servant]
[Signed] Wm. [William] W. Williamson [illegible text] Sub Comdr. [Commander] of the G.G. [Georgia Guard]
Hightower Ch. Co. [Cherokee County]
Double 37 1/2
His Excellency Wilson Lumpkin Milledgeville Baldwin Cty [County] G--a [Georgia]
Will: [Williamson] W. Williamson
Sub. Commandant of the Georgia Guards for the protection of the Gold Miles. Ansd. [Answered]
May 3d. [3rd] 1832.