16. John Ross to David Crockett, 13 January 1831
Your favor of the 16th Ult. together with the letter enclosed came safe to hand, for which you will please to accept my sincere thanks. It is gratifying to hear that your vote on the Indian Bill has given general satisfaction to your constituents - that it has or will produce for you among the friends of humanity & justice a just respect and admiration, I cannot doubt. Cupidity and avarice by sophistry intrigue and corruption may for a while prevail - but, the day of retributive justice must come and will come, when, integrity and moral worth will predominate and make the shameless monster hide its head. Whether this day will come in time to save the suffering Cherokees from violence and fraud, it is for wisdom, magnanimity & justice of the United States to determine. To those Gentlemen who have so honorably and ably vindicated the rights of the poor Indians in Congress at the last session, this Nation owes a debt of gratitude which the pages of history will bear record of until time shall be no more - and for which they will receive a just rewards in the Courts of Heaven. The effects of this Bill have brought to view the reality of what was anticipated by those who opposed it - the exercise of jurisdiction assumed by Georgia & Mississippi have been exhibited in awful colours to the Indians by the negotiators on the part of the U States, and as a dernier alternative to escape the impending calamity, the generous douceur of the Bill have been introduced to them - but the Cherokees have borne with untiring fortitude and forbearance all those oppressive acts which Georgia have ungraciously heaped upon them, and they have escaped the serpentine movements made against them by her coadjutors. Still entertaining confidence in the justice and good faith of the United States, the Cherokees flatter themselves that the the present Congress will do something definitively for the relief of their sufferings. The circumstances under which the U.S. Troops were ordered into this Nation, and the manner in which they were employed whilst here, and their sudden withdrawal from the Nation, leaves a chasm full of mystery, especially when it is known that the withdrawal of the federal troops has been ordered for the purpose of making room for the militia Troops of Georgia, who are ordered into service by the authority of that state for the purpose of dispossessing the Cherokees of their gold mines within their own Territory, and for aiding in the execution and enforcement of the laws of Georgia over the Cherokees and for protecting their surveyors in runing out our lands and enforcing possession to those citizens of Georgia who may rent from the state, those improvements which have been abandoned by emigrants and are now in the occupancy of Cherokees. How the President of the U States can reconcile it to his feelings to withdraw from us the protection pledged by treaty, and to allow the state of Georgia to usurp from us the rights and liberties of freemen and to keep up a standing military force in our country and in time of profound peace too, I cannot understand. Such a manoeuvre under state authority exhibits a warlike movement and is calculated to distroy the peace and tranquility of our citizens, as there can be no doubt that it is repugnant to the Constitution, statutes and treaties of the United States. I have known Genl. Jackson from my boyhood - my earliest and warmest friends in Tennessee are generally his advocates - during the late war [1813-1814] I held a rank in the Cherokee regiment & fought by his side - and so far as common sense will dictate to me that his measures are correct & just I should be among the last to oppose them - but it is with deep regret, I say, that his policy towards the aborigines, in my opinion, has been unrelenting ands in effect ruinous to their best interests and happiness. And whatever may be the final result of our present difficulties and troubles, we are prepared to meet it - but never to remove West of the Mississippi upon lands within the limits of the U States. May health and happiness attend you. I am Sire very respectfully your obt. Servt.
16. John Ross to David Crockett, 13 Jan 1831, in Gary E. Moulton, ed., The Papers of Chief John Ross vol. 1 (Norman,OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985), 210-12.