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The Council to the Commissioners.
Newtown, Cherokee nation, October 24th, 1823. IN GENERAL COUNCIL. Friends and Brothers: \our communication of the 21st inst. has been deliberated by the General Council, and it seems that you antici pate a hope that your application for a cession might yet be granted. We assure you, in the strongest terms, that our rejection is founded upon a mature and deliberate determination, which cannot be changed. The title of the Cherokees to the lands in their possession, is indisputable; and the U nited States, by the treaty of Holston, in 1791, in the 7th article, fully de clares it to be so, by solemnly guar antying it to them. Brothers: We arc fully sensible that we are dependent upon the Gov ernment of the United States for pro tection, and have ever manifested a disposition to conduct ourselves in such a manner as to comport with our duty in that respect; and we are sur prised, and at a loss to know what has given grounds to harbor a contrary o piuion of our disposition in that re spect. There must be a source from whence a misrepresentation of our disposition has been communicated to our father the President. The re mark that we made, "that the Cher okees once possessed an extensive country, and they made cession after cession, to our father, the President, to gratify the wishes of our neighbor ing brethren, until our limits had be come circumscribed," was not intend ed to mean that we would wish to re possess what we had surrendered, (as would seem from your eloquent re marks on that point) but to shew that, if we continued to yield to our father's application in behalf of our neighbor ing brethren, as we had heretofore done, that the whole of our lands would be gone. It is not our wish to "demolish temples raised to science, and dedicated to God, so that beasts might have a wider range, or game a broader play," nor to "lay waste a ci ty, that a wigwam might rise uponit6 ruins." But it is our desire that monuments of science may be raised, by our hands on the dust of our pro genitors, from which the beasts of the field have receded, and the wigwam is tottering into ruins. The bow and the quiver are laid a side, and the pursuits of the chase are forgotten. The axe, the hoe, the plough, and the shuttle, are intro duced, and progressing like a consu ming fire, and it is hoped that a mist will not arise to dampen its progress. You suggest an idea, that, if this na tion would preserve a compact form of a territorial government of the Uni ted States, not within the limits of the states, no obstacle would remain to the organization; but, while they are within the limits of the states, the state sovereignty must prevail, and they must become merged in the white population, and take the stand ing of individual citizens. And you further remark, that, incase of a ces sion of a part, that all those who do not choose to become citizens, would be indemnified for their losses, and those that chose to become members of the states can be secured in a resi dence, and let into all the privileges of ordinary citizens. Brothers: the sug gestion of the organization of a terri torial government, is a subject of too great weight for the nation to take up in their present situation, therefore the suggestion cannot meet our accep tation. As respects being secured, with indemnification and residence, and privileges of citizenship in the states, we beg leave to ask you to look to the treaty of 1819. What was the provision made for the Cherokees in the second article of that treaty? And what has been the course pursued by the states of Tennessee and Geor gia, and some of their citizens, rela tive to the sacred obligations contain ed in that article? We find that op- fraud, and every species of injustice, were raised against the in . terests of ttye poor inexperienced Cherokees by them; and before the aid and assistance of the magnanimous band of the General Government could be extended to their relief, an entire ruin and loss of property have been sustained by many of them; and many of them who are entitled to com pensation for improvements under that treaty, have never received one cen t—a very small portion of the im provements left have been valued and paid for. Brothers: We cannot curtail the preset limits, which has been reserved to this nation in the treaty of 1819. The prosperity and future happiness of our posterity cannot be lost sight of, when their destiny is placed in our hands; and should we act as an honest father, and preserve their interest and their right, they will rejoice and be happy in commemorating our names, when we are no more- Under these circumstances, our brethren of Geor gia cannot, or ought not, to desire us to destroy ourselves, so that they may aggrandize themselves, and raise tem ples upon our ruin. Their state is respectable in wealth and popula tion, as well as in liberal sentiments of honorable men, and the extent of its bounds not small, but considerably larger than many of the other states in the Union. Brothers: We beg leave to present this communication as a positive and unchangeable refusal to dispose of one foot more of land', so that no furthei application or anticipation of success may be encouraged on your p&rt, and that a final close of the correspondence on this subject should herewith take place, as the Council will very soon rise, having already continued four days over the time allowed by the au thorities of the nation for its sitting. With calmness and cordiality, we subscribe ourselves as friends and brothers, his . PATH X KILLER, Principal Chief, mark. h' B MAJOR X RIDGE, Sp'kr. of Coun. mark. JNO. ROSS, Prest. N. Com. A. M'COY, Clerk N. Com. ELIJAH HICKS, Clerk N. Council. NEW ECHOTAs WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 1828. The length of Mr. Ridge's communica tion excludes from our paper articles of in telligence and other matter. We could not well divide it elsewhere. We have al ready given our opinion upon this unpleas ant affair. As a particular account of the proceedings of Col. McKenney in the Creek Nation has been given to the public by himself, it is nothing but just that the de fendant should have the liberty of a reply. We understand that Col. Williams, Sub Agent, and Mr. John Miller, United States' interpreter, have lately been engaged, un der the authority of the General Govern ment, in burning houses and destroying corn of the intruders who had moved, in defiance of the existing treaties, into the Nation from the frontier of Georgia. We are pleased with this new instance of the kind disposition of our "Great Father the President." LOOK OUT FOR ROGUES. We understand that some person broke into the store of Mr. Elijah Hicks last night, and helped himsell' to a number of articles, such as pocket knives, shoes, boots, sugar, whiskey, &c. It appears that the thief became so intoxicated before leaving the store as to forget his own shoes. FOR THE CHEROKEE PH<ENIX. The purpose of this communication is to expose the evasion of Col. T. L. McKenney in his report to the Secre tary of War, in relation to his conduct as Commissioner of the U. S. in the fall of 1827, in the Creek Nation. In one of his letters, he says that, "it was not until I had met the Creeks in a third Council, I could succeed with them, nor then until in their midst, I demonstrated the cupidity and bad counsels of one of these interfering A gents, and assuming the responsibility broke him on the spot, (Query, of what?) by announcing in the name of the President of the United States, that for the reasons then assigned, no communication of any sort would be received by the President from the Creek Nation, if that man had any a gency in it. This broke the spell of their opposition and the agreement [treaty] was made." But as my name was not mentioned and as more than one of " interfering Agents" was intimated I was willing he should en joy the benefit of his qualified mis statements. The House of Represen tatives thought proper to inquire of the Secretary of War, the reasons that governed Col. McKenney in his conr duct, and he was accordingly called upon to make an explanation, which he has done; but not with proper re gard to facts, for he has brought the "foulest charges" and crimination a gainst my motives and conduct in the Creek Country, all of which have no other foundation, according to. his re port, than the " baseless fabric" of (l vagu& testimony." This Gentlemai has passed currently with laurels o friendship and benevolent considera tions towards the Indians, and it nov\ becomes my duty to pluck the un merited crown lrom his head ant place, him exposed in his own colors I owe my birtli to the Cherokee Na tion, and to thaf- only my character if bestowed for their safe keeping. Mj Education I awe to the Americai Board of Missions, a class of worth) citizens, who at all times acting fron correct motives, may be the last tc suspect Col. McKenney for duplicitj and cunning. For their informatior the task of self defence has been un dertaken. In the first place I shall state the proceedings of the Council to whicl Col. McKenney has alluded, his con' duct and mine, therein, and his defeat Secondly, I shall notice his char' jes on "vague testimony." And thirdly, I shall prove that the treaty was not made with the Coun cil, nor at the place reported by him. but at Fort Mitchell, about sixty miles distant. In the month of Nov. 1827, the Creek Nation, who were yet unap prised of Col McKenney's coming, appointed a time for a Council for the purpose of transacting business in re lation to the collection of taxes, and the counting of it previously to the disposition of it in their Treasury for hat year. I was invited by letter tc attend this Council. I set out for the Creek Country in company with Mr. David Vann, and having joined the Chiefs of Cheyahha and Telladega. ,vho were waiting for us, moved on to wards Tuckaubatchee. A*- a little t illage of Creeks called Foosochha chee, or Hatchet Creek, two days ourney from Tuckaubatchee, we toi he first.time heard of the expectec arrival of "Land Buyers," accpmpa lied by the Chiefs of the "Lowei Towns." We reached the town nf .er Col. McKenney, and took lodgings ■vith Opothleholo, unconscious of the mpression our arrival had occasionec 11 the breast of McKenney, as our vi sit was of a private nature. The next norning the chiefs met in Council, & [ was invited by them to attend anc take a seat among them which was lear their most distinguished chiefs ivhen a speech was delivered, announc ing our arrival agreeable to their in citation. The Council composed oi the Upper and Lower towns rose, anc individually took me by the hand anc expressed their pleasure at my arri ral. After this, the Chiefs were ii consultation, which resulted in the despatch of an invitation to Col. Me Kenney and Crowell, to come to the Council, of which I was informed af er the messenger had started. Thej -ame. Opothleholo ordered seats foi hem just before him and the princi pal Chiefs, Little Prince excepted ivho was prevented by his conjure] >om entering the square while he was sick and under his care. But the my business they thought proper.— Col. McKenney in a friendly mannei shook hands with me and Mr. Yann jut Col. Crowell did not and seemec to avoid an interview. Opothleholc then told McKenney, that the Council aeing called for private business, hac Made no provision for the subsistence af a Grand Council any length of time and as he had come on the business o: the President, lie wished to know whether he would supply the Council in provisions. Col. McKenney re plied that he had but a short time tc stay, his business being but small anc ■equired despatch and could be effect »d in two days, and for that period he vould furnish the Council in beef.— Expressing at the same time his readi less to make known his business then, lirect. He was told that when the Douncil was prepared they woulc send for him on the next day. He a ;reed to it and in company with Col Crowell and Mr. Compere, a Baptisi Preacher and Missionary, left the Council. But Mr. Compere soon af er returned and invited us to hi< louse, where Cols. McKenney anc Crowell had taken quarters, and saic hat he had no doubt but the Colone vould be glad to see us there. We lccepted the invitation, & in the eve ling reached Compere's mission house n the porch of which were seated ; lumber of Creeks and white men, anc imong them Col. 'Crowell, I shool lands with all, except Crowell who efused . my hand.. Col. McKenney oon afterappeared, and we sat clown In another part of the porch from where Crowell sat, and commenced a conversation, or rather listened to Col. McKenney, who as usual gave us a pompous description of his travels and interviews with the Indians. Not withstanding the polite attentions of Mr Compere's family, the time passed a way very unpleasantly with me, in consequence of having given Crowell an opportunity of refusing my hand, of which I could hardly forgive myselt. Mr. Vann during this conversation told Mr. McKenney that we had received his letter at the instance of the Sec retary of War in regard to our claim against the Creek Nation for and wished to know of him whether he would have any objection to give a verbal statement to the Creeks, of the origin of this claim. McKenney said, he would cheerfully do it, and he would devote a day to it, and make the Creeks sensible of its justice.— ''But let me (said he) pass over my mountain first and then 1 will attend to yours." The letter, marked A will explain itself. The Delegation at Washington in order to obtain the an nulment of the base treaty, saw the necessity of baiting the Lion, the U- States, with a large piece of Land, to induce it to do justice. And as this Land was about to pass away from under their feet, they wished us as friends to procure us reservations of 460 acres each in fee simple, and directed us to negotiate for them- — We did so and succeeded so far as to obtain the Secretary's promise to us for $5,000 each in lieu of the reserva tions,which would be less objectionable to Georgia, on who had formerly com plained of reservations being given to Indians. This sum was accordingly added to the consideration money of the new treaty. 'The Creek Nation paid us for our services as secretaries to their Delegation, but the commu tation money, in lieu of the reserva tions was withheld, as we were in formed, by misrepresentations of our arch enemy, Col. Crowell. At a late hour we started to our lodgings in the night, Col. McKenney having attended us to our horses and politely wished us "good night." In the evening of the next day, the Chiefs having assembled in Council sent word to Col. McKenney that they were ready to hear his talk. McKen ney came and delivered a speech to them, no doubt in style and manner, practised among the Chippeways, Kickapoos, Menominees, Sioux, &c. That the Great father told him to go and visit his red Children to the cold country at the lakes,then to his children I who live Where the Sun sleeps, then those who live in the warm country, and by all means his Creek children. He obeyed and went in stages and travelled far—then got into the great canoe that carries fire in its bottom and sends its smoke to heaven, and travelled to the great lakes, where the winds live and where cold dwells and makes the waters to freeze hard so men and cattle can pass over dry shod. He left the big canoe, and entered in a bark canoe and went up a river whose rapids were like the falls of the Tallapoosa, and found Indians.— They were sitting in darkness and had not heard their father's talk for a great while. Their paths were choked up with briers and their feet were bleed ing. He gave them their father's talk, and with it the light, and cleaned their paths of briers, and cured their bleeding feet—the Indians were glad, but said when you go away the briers will grow again, and again our feet will bleed—he asked them why? Be cause, said they, we have bad birds among us and they make the briers to grow. Then he drove away these bad birds from their country, and left a mouth with them, and told them they must listen to that mouth alone, it would talk the voice of wisdom from Washington, and if the bad birds come back again to listen to them no more. They promised him they would do as he told them, and then shook hands with them and went to another river to which he had his canoe carried— went down that river to the great fa ther of rivers, the Mississippi. His subsequent speeches, in this Indian inspection summer travel, were all similar to the above, among all of whom after clearing the briers from their paths and heating their bleeding feet, be left "a mouth to speak the voice of wisdom from Washington." He arrived at last among the Chicka saws and Choctaws—they knew him and were glad to see him—their hearts grew so warm and big within them, that tbey could scarcely breathe, they felt so rejoiced, because tliey had seen him at Washington near their Great Father, and because they knew that he always carried, a sweet thing under his tongue for the Indians. He said, the Chickasaws had received his talk, and because they had drank from the pure water that flowed from the spring at Washington, the Chickasaws would become a great Nation, mark it, they would live to see it. Now he wanted the Creeks to listen to what he was going to say. It was the talk of their Great Father. If he made a good talk to put it in their hearts, if a bad one put it under their feet. There was a small strip of land in their country which the treaty of Washington did not embrace, and as the Georgians wanted it, & as the Del gation promised, if the treaty lines did not reach it, that they would throw it in, he wished them to carry their promise into effect, and give up the land, and he would pay them well for it. He understood that some peo- ple regretted that this strip was not included in the new treaty; For his part he was glad of it, as now the Greeks would enjoy from it an addi tional consideration in money. This was about the substance of his talk in regard to this strip of land, or as the Creeks call it, E-kan-nah-silk-ee. The greatest part of his talk was ir relevant to the subject matter of his object, consisting in gross Indian and disgusting flattery. He wished an answer immediately. He wished to be gone soon, as he was afraid the President might shake himself before he heard from them, he however had written on to him from Fort Mitchel, and had told him to be stiH and not shake himself for ten days longer, as he would vouch for the Creeks they would do what was right and comply with their father's wishes. The Chiefs, by their speaker, replied that tomorrow they would give him an an swer. He wished it then, it was a . plain talk like his walking stick; he did not ask them to count the leaves of a tree, pointing to it, or to pick burs from a horse's tail. The speaker said, the council was composed of sev eral hundred, among whom were a great many that had but little sense, and coup not understand a plain sub ject, in so short a time, and they must think on his talk until tomorroy. M'Kenney had to acquiesce in thi« termination I said he would wait then time, and hoped their consultation would result in the adoption of his talk, which he knew was for their good. The time allowed for the con sideration of Col. M'Kenney'sjtalk was spent, and he was called upon to listen to the reply of the Council by Opoth leholo, in substance as follows. "We have bestowed attention toyotfr talk of yesterday, and have determined to give yon an answer. When our Del egation were at Washington it was their purpose to get just ice of the li nked States in annulment of the base M'lntosh treaty, which was not grant ed, however, without an immense sa crifice on our part of our lands, so fast-- were we held in difficulties, & so un merciful were those who wanted our lands. Tn this treaty of Washington, the limits of our country were specif ic and designated, and guarartti<to ut by the General Government *Vc have but little land left and Only suf ficient to raise our children upon.— We had hoped a remission of your ear nestness for our lands after having ob tained so much from us. The verbal promise you spoke of yesterday was not made in the recollection of the Delegation. If such had been the un derstanding, the whole chartered lim its of Georgia would have been surren dered in the treaty, but it is not there so written. This is all we have to j say on the subject." Col. M'Kenney ! then referred to me as having made this verbal promise, "that if the trea ty lines did not comprehend the whole of the Georgia limits, the nation woul J throw it in." The Creeks requested me to make a statement to Col. M'- Kenney in regard to it, which I did by telling him, that in conversation Col, M'Kenney said if it should happen that these treaty lines come close to take in the Georgia limits, would the Creeks give it up? Not acting offi cially at the time, and not authorised to make a promise, being a subject of incidental conversation, I said that if the lines should come short of a small strip, such as a mile or two, I did not presume the Creeks would object to their extension. I told the Creeks this was all I recollected of the sub ject. Col. M'Kenney, then insisted that I was their secretary and had