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20.  Annual Message to the Cherokee Nation, 15 October 1833

Friends and Fellow-Citizens -

    . . . The question being now determined, by the highest judicial tribunal of the United States, in favour of our nation, and the very lucid opinion of that venerable court having been published before the world, it is not necessary that I should at this date, attempt by argument, to shew the correctness of that righteous decision, nor to remove the duresse of which the nation so justly complains; nor to suspend the oppressive proceedings of his own agents towards us; it has become my bounden duty to recommend you to take such steps as shall appear most proper to bring the whole subject before the approaching session of Congress, for a final action.  The memorials which have been presented before that branch of the Government, on the part of this nation, together with the numerous petitions presented by citizens from various parts of the United States, in our behalf, have never been answered; and they are subject to be called up for action on a proper occasion, and from the peculiar situation of affairs at this time, that occasion seems to have arrived, which imperiously demanded final action of Congress on the subject without further delay . . .

    . . . If, however, contrary to every principle of justice and humanity, the United States should, in the end, come to the determination, not to be bound by their treaties, and shall refuse to us the protecting arm of the General Government, and our citizens be compelled by the force of circumstances to abandon the land of "their Fathers," then, in the language of your resolution, I may with great sincerity, repeat, that we can "determine no other alternative promising, than a removal beyond the limits of the United States."  However I confidently hope that this alternative may never present itself, as I cannot for a moment, permit myself to entertain so unfavorable opinion as to loose all confidence in the justice and good faith of the United States . . .

    . . . It is a self evident truth, that no community can successfully surmount an opposing difficulty and attain the object of desire, unless the members thereof can and do exercise a controlling influence of common interest, so as to ensure harmony and perseverance among themselves by unity of sentiment and action, and the force of this truth, is equally applicable to nations; hence it is clear that we cannot be too strongly impressed with the necessity of pursuing that course which is best calculated to meet the views, interest and welfare of the people.  On all important questions, when a difference of opinion arise in regard to their rights and interest, the sentiments of the majority should prevail, and whatever measure is adopted by that majority for the public good, should be the duty of the minority to yield, and unite in the support of the measure, this is the rule of order, sanctioned by patriotism and virtue; whilst a contrary course would lead to faction, confusion and injury . . .

John Ross

 

20.  John Ross, Annual Message to the Cherokee Nation, 15 Oct 1833, in Gary E. Moulton, ed., The Papers of Chief John Ross vol. 1 (Norman, OK:  University of Oklahoma Press, 1985), 269-72.