Note-This is a MUST read for all Cherokees.
The following is the
Memorial of the CHEROKEE NATION.
To The Honorable the Senate and House
of Representatives of the United States.
in Congress assembled, most humbly
and most respectfully showeth :
That whereas, we, the undersigned, citizens of the Cherokee Nation, have always regarded the instrument purporting to be a Treaty, made in December, 1835, at New Echota. by the Rev. John F. Schermerhorn. and certain unauthorized individual Cherokees. to be a violation of the fundamental principles of justice, and on which your great empire is founded, an outrage on the primary rules of national intercourse as well as the known laws and usages of the Cherokee nation, and therefore to be destitute of any binding force on us :
And whereas, at a General Council of the Nation, held at Red Clay, in September, 1836, our sentiments were set forth and our solemn protest entered against it:
And whereas, at a subsequent General Council of the Nation, held at Red Clay, in August, 1837. a communication from the President of the United States, on the subject of said instrument, was delivered in full Council, by Col. John Mason. Special Agent of the U. States :
And whereas, after mature deliberation on the said communication, the resolutions of the preceding Conncil in reference to that compact, were re-affirmed, together with the memorial which accompanied the same:
And whereas, we entertained the belief that, through the medium of the Special Agent's report, the President would become correctly informed of the state of the matter, and of the real sentiments of the Cherokee people.
"We. therefore, cherished the confident hope, that he would deem it right to abrogate that fraudulent instrument, and at once, enter into arrangements with us for the adjustment of all difficulties.
With these views, we then appointed a delegation to represent us before the government of the United States, and vested with them full powers to make final arrangements of all matters in controversy; and we were animated with prospect of a speedy termination of our distresses; but the cup of hope is dashed from our lips; our prospects are dark with horror, and our hearts are filled with bitterness---Agonized with these emotions; language fails; our tongues falter as we approach the bar of your august assemblies, before who we again beg leave humbly to present our grievances.
With the full details of our troubles, we forbear to trespass on your indulgence. They are extensively known, and our delegation now at Washington, will be found ready to furnish any information which may be needed.
We therefore respectfully present the following, which will show the appalling circumstances in which we are placed by the operation of that perfidious compact.
A communication has recently issued from the U. States' Agency, addressed to the Chiefs, Head Men and People of the Cherokee Nation, in which we are told that "the Executive has formally declined" all intercourse or correspondence with Mr. Ross in relation to the treaty, "and" that "an end has been put to all negotiation upon the subject"—"that it is the unalterable determination of the President to execute the treaty"—"the time cannot possibly be prolonged"—-another day. beyond the time named, cannot and will not, be allowed you."—The writer says. "we will not attempt to describe the evils that may fall upon you, if you are still obstinate, and refuse to conform to the requirements of the treaty"---"we will not paint the horrors that may ensue in such an event."
It will be readily conceived that declarations like these, emanating from such a source—our country already filled with troops—cannot fail so fill our minds with consternation and surprize. What have we done to merit such severe treatment? What is our crime ? Have we invaded any one's rights? Have we violated any article of our numerous Treaties? Have we in any manner acted in bad faith?---We are not even charged with any such thing. But we are accused of "laboring under a dangerous error." and of being "duped and deluded by those in whom we have placed implicit confidence."---"Your pretended friends." say they "have proved themselves to be your worst enemies." But what is our "dangerous error?" What is our "delusion?" Is it a delusion to be sensible of the wrongs we suffer? Is it a "dangerous error" to believe that the great nation, whose representatives we now approach, will never knowingly sanction a transaction originated in treachery and to be executed by violence and oppression? It cannot be.--- Is it a "delusion" to assert that the makers of that ill omened compact were destitute of authority ?
This fact we are prepared to prove by incontestible evidence. Indeed, it is virtually admitted by the parties themselves. and the very fact that an armed force should be put in requisition to defend their persons, and to compel our submission, argues, not obscurely, a defect of confidence in the validity of the compact. Is it obstinacy to refuse our assent to an act which is a flagrant violation of the first principles of free government, and which sets foot on the neck of our liberties, and our dearest rights? Are we to be thus frowned into silence, for attempting to utter our complaints in the ear of our lawful and covenanted protector? Is it a crime to confide in our chiefs—the men of our choice—whom we have tried and found faithful? We would humbly ask, in whom should we confide ? Surely not in those who have, in the face of our solemn injunctions, and in opposition to the reiterated expression of our sentiments conspired the ruin of our country—usurped the powers of the nation—framed the spurious compact—and by artifice and fraud, palmed it on the authorities of the U. States and procured for it the recognition of those high functionaries.
And now, in the presense of your august assemblies, and in the presense of the Supreme Judge of the Universe, most solemly and most humbly do we ask—are we, for these causes, to be subjected to the indescribable evils which are designed to be inflicted on us? Is our country to be made the scene of the "horrors" which the Commissioners "will not paint?" For adhering: to the principles on which your great empire is founded, and which have advanced it to its present elevation and glory, are we to be despoiled of all we hold dear on earth? Are we to be hunted through the mountains like wild beasts, and our women, our children, our aged, our sick, to be dragged from their homes, like culprits, and packed on board loathsome boats for transportation to a sickly clime?
Already are we thronged with armed men ; forts, camps, and military posts of every grade, already occupy our whole country. With us. it is a season of alarm and apprehension. We acknowledge the power of the U. States. We acknowledge our own feebleness. Our only fortress is, the justice of our cause.—Our only appeal, on earth, is to your tribunal. To you. then, we look. Before your honorable bodies—in view of the appalling circumstances with which we are surrounded—relying on the righteousness of our cause, and the justice and magnanimity of the tribunal to which we appeal—we do solemnly and earnestly protest against that spurious instrument: and we do hereby, also, respectfully re-affirm, as a part of this our memorial, the resolutions and accompanying memorials of the two last General Councils of the Nation, held at Red Clay. Our minds remain unaltered. We never can assent to that compact; nor can we believe that the U. States are bound in honor or in justice, to execute on us its degrading and ruinous provisions.
It's true, we are feeble people; and as regards to physical power, we are in the hands of the United States; but we have not forfeited our rights; and if we fail to transmit to our sons, the freedom we have derived from our fathers, it must not be by an act of suicide; it must not be by our own consent.
With trembling; solicitude and anxiety, we most humbly and most respectfully ask, will you hear us? Will you extend to us your powerful protection? Will you shield us from the "HORRORS" of the threatened storm? Will you sustain the hopes we have rested on the public faith, the honor, the justice of your mighty empire? We commit our cause to your favor and protection:
And your memorialists, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Cherokee Nation; Feb. 22, 1838.
Signed by fifteen thousand six hundred and sixty five of the Cherokee people, as will appear by referring to the original submitted to the Senate by the Cherokee Delegation.
(Source - The Adams Sentinel; Gettysburg, Penn; April 9, 1838; p.4)
Transcription by Polly's Granddaughter
My heart breaks and my eyes fill with tears every time I read that.
Those are my thoughts for today.
Thank you for reading.