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Cherokee Proposals for Cession of their Land
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DECEMBER, 11, 1820
My DEAR WHITE BROTHER: I understand by our messengers that your are resolved to do any thing for us respecting our petition, and, if it is the case, I want you to do every thing that is in your power for us.
The King of the Cherokee Nation.
CREEK PATH TOWN, Jan. 3d, 1821
Address of the Chiefs and Warriors of Creek Path Town, in the Cherokee nation, to Major General Andrew Jackson.
DEAR SIR: Having learned by our messenger, George Fields, your friendly disposition towards us, your having told him to inform us that you would use your influence to see justice done to us with respect to the land we now live on, we address you with full confidence that you will not see us wronged out of what we consider our just right by any, persons whatever. Unhappily, differences exist between us and the upper part of the nation–they claim the right of depriving us of our lands when they think fit to do so; they allow us no voice in the national councils, and, in fact, treat us, in a manner, as intruders. We now appeal to you to use your influence to have us reinstated in the enjoyments and privileges we formerly possessed as a part of our nation, and to put it out of the power of the upper part of the nation to dispose of our lands against our consent. Owing to indisposition, the Path Killer is not with us while writing this, but has sent us, by a trusman, what he wishes inserted in this letter, (which is, as nearly as the writer can understand, to this effect:)
My Dear Brother: My first acquaintance with you was at Fort Strother, in the Creek campaign. We went on and beat our enemies. The next time I saw you was at Turkey town. Then, after that, you was at Hiwassee; but from my indisposition at that time, I was deprived of the pleasure of seeing you; but was much pleased to hear of the good advice you gave my people, particularly to the women. We feel thankful to you for having the intruders removed from amongst us. We feel satisfied that you will keep them from off our lands and from doing violence to us We have been informed that some of them intend returning and planting corn again in the spring but trust you will have them removed if they should. Capt. James Reed and his sons have been a protection to our property ever since they have lived amongst us. We hope that you will do what you think best, in order to give them power to suppress any bad practices of ill disposed white men towards us. For further information we refer you to our messenger, George Fields, who will give you a full account of our wishes with respect to boundaries, &c.”
The Path Killer commenced a letter to you; but, for the want of a writer who could explain to you what he wished to communicate, he had to decline it. The scrap, as begun, we have sent enclosed by George Fields, and others, whom we shall send; and, on their return, we request that you will be so good as to write us on the subject of this letter.
Accept, dear Sir, assurances of our regard and good will. SPEAKER,
Sir: We, the Chiefs of Creek Path, do send the two messengers that you saw before, with two more with them, and we would wish you to receive thorn as your real friends, as they are. We have chose one man out of the four, that, if any thing should be omitted in writing to you, that he shall tell you our wishes, and we wish you to receive what he tells you the same as if it was a letter; the one who will tell you is Turtle Fields, one of our young Chiefs. If our messengers should fall short of money, or provisions, by being detained, we would wish you to assist them.
We remain, with respect, your real friends and well wishers,
The following chiefs, as a delegation from the lower part of the Cherokee nation, viz. George Fields, Wolfe, and Turtle Fields, reached Nashville this 17th of January, 1821, and presented to me the following letters: first, an address of the chiefs and warriors of the Creek Path Town, in the Cherokee nation, to Major General Andrew Jackson, dated 3d of January, 1821, signed by the Speaker, Wausaucy, Archibald Campbell, Night Killer, James Spencer, and John Thompson; another from the same chiefs, dated the 8th of January, 1821; and one from the Path killer, chief of the Cherokee nation, dated the 11th of December, 1820. On the 8th January, 1821, I met this delegation, and had the following talk with them:
Friends and Brothers: I am glad to see you, and shake you by the hand, and greet you, not only as friends and brothers, but as my trusty warriors, and to express to you the pleasure I feel on hearing that my old friend and brother the Path Killer still lives.
Friends and Brothers: I have read the two letters from your chiefs, and the one from the principal chief of the Cherokee nation, Path Killer, with great attention; and can assure you, your chiefs and warriors, that I have no doubt but your father, the President of the United States, will do every thing he can do, to secure you in possession of that tract of land you desire, upon your relinquishing to the United States, all claim to any other part of the land reserved to the Cherokee nation.
But, before I can forward your letters and request to your father the President, you must state to me the precise bounds of the country your chiefs and warriors wish to have reserved for themselves; the number of families, and the number of the chiefs and warriors within your district, who wish to he included in the bounds of your reservation which you ask for.
To which they answered: The reservation we wish, is represented in the plan we hand you, and bounded as follows: beginning on the south bank of the Tennessee river, above Ditto Landing, where the present Cherokee boundary is established; thence, with said line, round the head of Thompson’s and Brown’s creek, to an acute point in said line, northeast of General Jackson’s trace to Fort Strother; then, a due north line to Short creek; thence, dower said creek, to the Tennessee river, to include the islands at the mouth of Short creek; and thence, down Tennessee, to the beginning.
There are, and will be, settled within these bounds, about eighty families, and upwards of one hundred chiefs and warriors. Upon our father the President, and Congress of the United States, securing to us, the chief’s and warriors of said district, a permanent right to said land, as above described, we will relinquish to the United States all claim to any other land within the lands reserved for the Cherokee nation by treaty. We are instructed to state to you, and to request you to lay the same before our father the President of the United States, that we are entitled to a proportionable part of the annuities granted to the Cherokee nation by treaty with the United States, that have become due, or may hereafter became due, none of which we have; received for three years, nor have we been heard by our chiefs in council for that period. The council for the Cherokee nation last fall dividers the nation in eight districts or countries; the one in which we live is bounded as follows: beginning on the Tennessee river, at the mouth of Racoon creek, runs up that creek to its source; thence, in a direct line, to the forks of Coosa river, at the mouth of Emuchchy creek; thence, to the Creek line, with the Creek line to the Coosa river, with the Coosa river to the mouth of Wells’ creek; thence, with the Cherokee boundary, to the Tennessee river, and up that river to the beginning: which, being considered one-eighth part of the nation, we are entitled to one-eighth part of the annuities, which we pray may be secured to us, and placed into the hands of our own chiefs, to be equally divided amongst us by them in whom we have confidence, under the conditions and stipulations of the treaty of 1817, which secured to all who wished to remove to Arkansas compensation for their improvements, transportation, and provisions; many of as were prepared to remove, and incurred great expense; we were forbidden by our king and chief the Path Killer. Without the consent of any of the chiefs of our town, a delegation was sent on to the City of Washington, who made a treaty, securing to themselves, and some others, reserves and benefits, rescinding the stipulations of the treaty of 1817, which secured to the Cherokee pay for his improvement, and transportation and provision on his removal, which has prevented many who were prepared to remove to the Arkansas: from such acts as these we are fearful that the upper part of the nation may, at some future day, deprive us of our country, without our consent: we, therefore, wish the President and Congress to take into consideration our prayer, and that, by a solemn act, we may be permanently secured in the title to the bounds herein set forth, and in the plan handed you, and that we may be protected from the intrusion of others, by whole some regulations: all which we request you, for ourselves, and as representatives of the chiefs and warriors of our district, you will lay before the President of the United States; and, looking to you as a friend and brother, that you will use your influence with our father the President of the United States, that our prayers may be heard, and that we and our property may be secured in the peaceable enjoyment and permanent possession of the small spot of land we ask for.
DIVISION OF THE SOUTH
Nashville, January 18, 1821
Friends and Brothers: By the hands of our brothers George Fields, Wolfe, and Turtle Fields, I received your letters, one from my old friend and brother the king of your nation, the Path Killer, dated the 11th December 1820, and two from your chiefs, the Speaker, Wausacy, Archibald Campbell, Night Killer, James Spencer, and John Thompson, which I have read and considered with great attention, and have received from the month of your faithful friend and agent Turtle Fields, who has explained to me all your wishes, not, expressed in your letters; as it respects the boundary you wish reserved, and the grievances you labor under, from the want of being beard in the councils of your nation, by your chiefs, heretofore, and your apprehensions of being hereafter deprived of your country without your consent, as you have been of receiving your proportion of the annuities for the last three years; all of which I think reasonable, and I have no doubt but will be heard and redressed by your father, the President of the United States.
You have fought with me I then told you I was your friend; that your father, the President of the United States, was not only your friend, but he loved you as children, and he would act always as your friend. You now ask him, through me, to have secured to you a tract of country, small in proportion to what you are entitled to, compared with your numbers, and compared with the whole country reserved by treaty, for the use of the whole Cherokee nation; and to have this allotted to you and your posterity, permanently, so that your nation cannot sell, without your consent, to the United States–relinquishing all right to any other land you may be entitled to, which has been secured by treaty to the Cherokee nation, and which may of right belong to you as part of that nation. This is so reasonable that I have no doubt but your father, the President of the United States, and Congress assembled, will readily grant. The chiefs of the upper part of your nation cannot complain of this. They can procure, by proper application, the same security. This done, you know that you will rest unmolested in possession of what is thus allotted to you as long as you choose to possess it; and, if the upper part of the nation chooses, it can obtain the same security you now ask for. I hope your request will be granted you; and I can assure you, as a friend and brother, and as a friend of your whole nation, that, as far as I have influence, it shall be exercised to obtain your request from the President and Congress of the United States; and for which purpose I have transmitted to your father, the President, the three letters received by your trusty friends and brothers addressed to me, as well as your trusty agent Turtle Field’s explanation of all your wishes. So soon as I receive an answer from your father, the President of the United States, I will forward it to you.
Friends and Brothers: I never have flattered or deceived one of my red brothers. I never tell them lies. I have not the power to say positively that your request will be granted; and that I will make a faithful recommendation of it to your father, the President of the United States, and use my influence that the reserve you ask shall be made to you; your happiness and permanent security require it; the interest of your white brethren urges it; from which I conclude it will be granted to you. I have directed your delegation to shake you all by the hand for me as friends and brothers, and say to you that I wish the happiness of you, and your whole nation.
I am, your friend and brother,
To the Path Killer
DIVISION OF THE SOUTH,
Head quarters, Nashville, January 18, 1821.
SIR: On yesterday, a deputation of Cherokees from the Creek. Path Town, consisting of George Fields, Wolfe, and Turtle Fields, handed me the letters marked A, B, and C, herewith enclosed. The paper marked D contains the explanation and talk delivered to me by their confidential agent, Turtle Fields, and subscribed to by the others, which is also enclosed.
On my return from the Creek frontier, last summer, and passing through the lower part of the Cherokee country, I found great dissatisfaction prevailed, arising from the jealousy of Hicks and others, which, I think, I communicated to you.
When I set out to hold a treaty with the Choctaws, I heard that the Path Killer had sent to me a deputation. They passed my house, and finding me not at home, followed me to the Choctaw Nation. That deputation consisted of part of the present, viz: George Fields and Wolfe. They remained with me during the negotiation with the Choctaws; said they had a talk for me when it was concluded; and appeared very desirous that the Choctaws should obtain a country adjoining their Cherokee brothers on the Arkansas, that they might aid each other in the day of danger. They did not, however, hint their business till I reached Russelville, Alabama, on my return, and on the morning when we were to part. They then informed me of their instructions to consult me whether their Father, the President of the United States, would, upon the terms mentioned in their talk, marked D, and herewith enclosed, give to them the reservation asked for–informing me, also, that they had no confidence in Hicks, &c.; that their people had not been heard in council, and, for three years, had not received any part of the annuities; that they were fearful that Hicks and others would, at some future day, cheat them out of their land: all of which they wished to make known to their Father, the President of the United States, and get him to secure them permanently in the lands they now ask for. I then told them that I could make no communication to their Father the President, until the chiefs of their town would, in writing, address me on that subject; when that was done, I would freely make it known, through you, to him, and I had no doubt but it would be granted.
I do believe it to be a reasonable request, and ought to be granted. It is a small demand, compared to what their population entitles them, out of the whole country reserved to the Cherokee Nation. The only good land on the reserve asked for, is on Thompson and Brown’s Creeks. The distance from the one to the other is about one and a half miles, and from Brown’s to Short creek is about one and a half. The whole reservation does not contain more than six thousand acres of good land; the balance is rock and mountain, of the most rugged kind.
I do believe, in a political point of view, as well as justice to these people, their prayer ought to be noticed. It is inviting Congress to take up the subject, and exercise its power, under the Hopewell treaty, of regulating all the Indian concerns as it pleases. This is a precedent much wanted; that the absurdity in politics may cease, of an independent sovereign nation holding treaties with people living within its territorial limits, acknowledging its sovereignty and laws, and who, although not citizens, cannot be viewed as aliens, but as the real subjects of the United States. If Congress, by law, will, on the terms proposed, take up the subject, and give them the grant asked for, it will give to Georgia and Alabama all the Cherokee lands not settled upon by those who will petition Congress, at the next session, for the right of citizenship. In short, I believe, in a very short time, these people will offer this part of reserved land to the United States, for lands on the Arkansas; and as part of their nation is now there, good policy will dictate the propriety of sending all there, who do not wish to remain where they now are, as citizens of the United States. This belief is bottomed on my mere opinion, and to be taken as such. These people wishing to go to the Arkansas, could not, un less they abandoned their improvements, without compensation. They now fear the injustice of the upper part of the nation, and desire to become independent of them, and be in such a situation that they can remain where they now are, forever, or, if they choose, offer theirs for other land, in a country more beneficial to themselves.
If the real object of the Government is to send all over the Mississippi that are not disposed to be citizens, to consolidate our Southern population, now is the proper time for Congress to take up the subject, allow the grant, and establish a happy precedent. that will hereafter establish the rule of legislating for, rather than treating with, the Indians within our territorial limits. This will secure to the nation of Indians more justice, and great saving to our nation. I have only to add, that I do hope their prayer may be granted, and the precedent established, of Congress legislating for them.
I am, Sir, with great respect,
Your most obedient servant,
The Hon. J. C. CALHOUN, Secretary of War.
Cherokee Nation, Nov. 2, 1822
DEAR SIR: We, the undersigned Chiefs of the Creek Path town in the said Cherokee nation, bet;. your attention, a short time, to read a few lines addressed to you from your red brethren, the Creek Path people. You are no stranger to the services we rendered you in time of the Creek war, when we were under the command of Gen. Jackson. At that time we had Col. Richard Brown, our beloved Chief for our leaders but he is now no more, and it is us that feels the effects to our sorrow. While he was yet alive, we had a representative in our national councils; but since his death we have none, nor can’t be heard, and for no other reason than this: About the summer of 1817, General Jackson being appointed by the United States to hold a conference with the Cherokees, at Turkey town, on Coosa river, for the purpose of extinguishing, part or all of the Cherokee claim of land, but did not, at that time, get his ends accomplished. Some time after this, Governor M’Minn was appointed commissioner, to conclude said treaty at Highwassee, when we fully understood our country was to be given up as a part of said cession, but finally they did not treat with Governor M’Minn, and appointed a delegation, altogether from the upper part of the nation, giving us no chance to be heard at all. These went on to the Federal City, and made a treaty to please themselves, which made them and their friends all rich, by getting money and reservations of 640 acres of the best lands in all the country, in the mean time getting rights in fee simple for all their relations, (a great part boys and women,) that never had been of any service to their country, and leaving men out who has been of essential service to the United States, such as Capt. John Thompson, for one, why you were well acquainted with during the war. True it is, some of us did enroll our names as Arkansas emigrants, not knowing but our lands were sold at the same time; and finding, shortly after, they were not, we sat still on our farms that we had made, thinking no one had a better right than we who made them. Nevertheless, we plainly see there is no peace for us on this side the Mississippi. Therefore, we have sent our long tried friend, Capt. James Reed, to you, for the purpose of getting you to use your influence with the General Government, and your state members in Congress, for us, the Creek Path people, to have privilege to sell our own part of the country, at a reasonable price, to the United States, and for us to reap the benefit of the proceeds of the sales, to enable us to move away in peace, well knowing the United States is not bound to furnish us with any thing, without an equivalent, to defray the expense in removing away. We are not able to move without we can have that privilege. The upper Chiefs are now in Council, as we understand, for the purpose of selling all the Cherokee lands in the chartered limits of the state of Georgia. The next will be ours, if they can. Our request is a reasonable one. We only want from the mouth of Short Creek down, which is only eight miles above site, on Tennessee river; then, to Coffee’s bluff; then, with the crooked line that Gen. Coffee run, for the express purpose of favoring the Creek Path people, otherwise it would have been government land before this time. The bearer can give you full information on the subject, having lived among us for several years. In confidence, we conclude, and remain your respectful brothers, so long as we live.
JOHN THOMPSON, Interpreter.
To His Excellency Wm. CARROLL,
Governor of the State of Tennessee.
NASHVILLE, Dec. 8, 1822
SIR: A few days since I received the communication herewith enclosed from the Creek-Path Cherokee Indians, Indians, and in reply gave it as my opionon, that our Government would not be disposed to purchase any of their lands, unless with the approbation of at least a majority of the head men of the nation.
But as they were desirous to know the disposition of the President in relation to this matter, I have thought proper to forward their address, and to request that you will be pleased to communicate such decision as may be made thereon.
I have the honor to be, &c. &c.
The Hon. J. C. Calhoun,
Copy of a letter from the Secretary of War, to Colonel J. E. Meigs,
Cherokee Agent, dated
DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
30th December, 1822.
Sir: I have received your letters of the 20th and 22d ult. and the 4th instant.
The Department hag, been apprized of the proceedings of the Nanional Committee, and Council by a communication from them, previous to the receipt of your letter of the 22d ultimo. Your remarks upon these proceedings are believed to be correct, and it is hoped, notwithstanding the declaration which they contain, a treaty will he effected with the Cherokee Nation, by the Commissioners appointed for that purpose. The enclosed extract of a letter from the Creek Path towns, addressed to Governor Carroll, and transmitted by him to this Department, will show that the nation is not unanimous in the declaration, not to cede any more lands, above referred to; and you will use every proper exertion to dispose the nation generally to meet the Commissioners at the time appointed by them, for holding the purposed treaty.
You will lay the enclosed extract before the commissioners, for their information, on their arrival at the agency.
I have, &c. &c.
J. C. CALHOUN
Col. R. J. Meigs,
April 12th, 1824
Sir: I have the honor to furnish, herewith, copies (marked A) of all the correspondence called for by the resolution of the House of Representatives, of the 8th instant, in relation to proposals made by several Creek Path Indians of the Cherokee Nation, to make cession of their lands to the United States: also, a copy of a letter from this Department (marked B) to Colonel Meigs, on the subject of that proposition.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
.Your obedient servant,
I. C. CALHOUN
TO THE PRESIDENT of the United States.
TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
I herewith transmit to the house of Representatives a report from
the Secretary of War, which contains the information requested by
the resolution of the 8th instant, respecting the proposals that were
made by certain Indians, therein described, of the Cherokee Nation,
for the cession of their lands to the United States.
April 16th, 1924
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