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21.  John Ross, et al, to Andrew Jackson, 12 March 1834

Honored Sir

    The relations of peace and friendship so happily and so long established between the white and the red man by your illustrious predecessors and our beloved chieftains, induces us, as representatives of the Cherokee nation, to address you in the language of our departed sires, and in the character of children - call you Father.  The appellation in its original sense carries with it simplicity, and the force of filial regard.  By treaty the Cherokee nation divers important considerations acknowledge the Cherokee people to be under the protection of these United States and of no other sovereign whosoever and stipulated that they will not hold any treaty with any foreign power, with individual State, or individuals of any State.  And the United States, in return, gave assurances of protection, good neighborhood and the solemn guarantee for the remainder very naturally was induced to look upon the Chief Magistrate of this great nation as the guardian of his rights.  Hence the emphatic and endearing appellation "Father" was bestowed on him.  Under the fostering care and patronage of this government the arts of civilization and christianization were successfully introduced into our nations; and from the growing intercourse of the good neighborhood between the Cherokees and the citizens of bordering states, the progress of  improvement soon spread its happy influence over the whole country - thereby exhibiting clearly by practical demonstration the force and effects of surrounding circumstances.  It is not our purpose in this address, to go into an argument on the question of the relations which the Cherokee nation sustain towards the United States, nor to discuss the merits of our rights under them, as have been recognized and established by existing treaties.  The records of the several Departments of this Government, as we humbly conceive, amply testify to, and proclaim them.  It is enough for us to know, and say to you frankly, Father - your Cherokee children are in deep distress owing to the unnatural and very oppressive acts extended by the illegal hand of their white brethren of Georgia, and other bordering states.  By those enacted by Georgia the property, the liberty, the freedom and life of the Cherokee are placed in jeopardy because they are left at the mercy of the white robber and assassin to be taken with impunity.  No redress of wrongs can the Cherokee receive from the Georgia courts, unless the foul deed be perpetuated in the sight of a white person, who may possess sufficient independence and honesty to testify to the facts, in behalf of the injured person.  In a word, Georgia ha not only surveyed and lotteried off all the Cherokee lands among her citizens, within the chartered limits of that state, but she has gone on in her legislation to act on the principle that the Cherokees are intruders upon her soil, and are liable to be expelled therefrom at her discretion.  For such is the fact exhibited by the late act we laid before you - and the effects of that law have already been witnessed and felt by some of the Cherokees.  Thus it is seen that solemn treaty engagements, made under the Constitution of the United States, by those departed sages who once sat in the exalted chair you now fill, with the Cherokee nation, have been assailed and are about to be destroyed by a power from a quarter least to have been expected.  Our territory within the limits of the other adjoining states are also likely to be overrun by intruders from the several states, as there are already numerous trespassers on Cherokee lands in those sections of the country.  Each state being a party bound by the constitution of the Union, must equally be so in relation to the treaties made under its provisions.  The power of making treaties having been conceded by the states to the general Government, the Cherokee nation established its alliance with the United States alone, and have ever since faithfully observed and never departed therefrom.

    It is reasonable to suppose had Georgia not conceded this power to the General Government and the Cherokees had preserved their right of treating with whatsoever power they pleased, treaties at that early day might have been entered into by the Cherokee nation with Georgia upon as favorable principles as those made with the United States.  However, be this as it may, the Cherokees can now only hang their hopes on the magnanimity and good faith of the United States.  And in order to relive our suffering people from their present distressed situation we feel it to be our duty to bring the subject immediately before your serious consideration in such a manner, as in our judgement the principles of honor and justice will sanction.  The great body of the Cherokee people having refused & will never voluntarily consent to remove west of the Mississippi.  And with the view of harmonizing the good feeling of all the interested parties & to put an end to the perplexing difficulties which have so unhappily brought distress upon our people, we most respectfully call your attention to the following point.  Should the Cherokee nation agree to cede to the United States for the use of Georgia a portion of its territory, will the President agree to have the laws and treaties executed and enforced for the effectual protection of the Cherokee nation on the remainder of their territory.

    And should you be disposed to enter into an arrangement on this basis, you will please to signify it as early as practicable.   To avoid misunderstanding and waste of your time by a personal interview, we have deemed it most proper to communicate these sentiments in writing.  And we should be gratified, if possible, to receive your reply from under your own signature.  With great respect we have the honor to be, Sir yr. obt. Hble. Servts.

John Ross                     Hair Conrad (X)

Danl. McCoy                John Timson

R. Taylor

 

21.  John Ross, et al, to Andrew Jackson, 12 Mar 1834, in Gary E. Moulton, ed., The Papers of Chief John Ross vol. 1 (Norman, OK:  University of Oklahoma Press, 1985), 277-79.