5. John Ross, et al, to Joseph Gales & William Seaton, 20 April 1824
We have read in the Georgia Journal of the 6th Instant, a letter from the Georgia delegation in Congress to His Excellency Geo. M. Troup the Governor of Georgia, and also some remarks of the Editor of that paper, however great our surprise has heretofore been at the course of proceeding of this delegation, as set forth in their letter to the President of the United States [James Monroe], and which the Georgia delegation consider "respectful," but which, if it be, is different in its style, and temper, from what we are accustomed to observe in our intercourse with our chiefs, yet this surprise has been much heightened at a new attempt to deprive us of another portion of our blessings. Not satisfied with wishing the Executive of the United States violently to rupture the solemn bond of our rights to our lands, & to put at defience the pledges which existing Treaties contain, guaranteeing to us our lands, it is attempted to take from us the intellect which has directed us in conducting the several negotiations with Commissioners appointed to treat with us for our lands, and with the Executive Government, by the unfounded charge, that "the last letter of the Cherokees to the Secretary of War, contains internal evidence that it was never written, or dictated by an Indian." Whilst we profess to be complimented on the one hand by this blow at our intelligence, we cannot in justice allow it to pass, upon the other, without flat contradiction. That letter, and every other letter was not only written, but dictated by an Indian. We are not so fortunate as to have such help. The whiteman seldom comes forward in our defence. Our rights are in our own keeping; and the proofs of our loneliness and the prejudiced eye with which every thing is looked upon which relates to us by such a vast majority of those who should be our guards and friends, have put us upon our resources and we do thank God, sincerely, and our benevolent White Brothers, (for there are some Christian hearts which regard us) who, seeing our bereaved and helpless state came into our help, with letters and the lights of civilization & christianity, we felt the necessity of our case and we have endeavored to improve it, our letters are our own. And if they are thought too refined for "Savages" let the whiteman take it for proof that, with proper assistance Indians can think, and write for themselves. We refer the Georgia delegation, and the Editor of the Georgia Journal to our correspondence with their own Commissioners in our own Country - they can tell whether the head of a whiteman conceived, and his pen dictated the negotiations on our part; or whether they were the lonely and unassisted efforts of the poor Indian - whose home, now that it begins to blossom, and the seed time and harvest are greeted, and the chase abandoned, and churches are rising and the Great Spirit is felt in his influence upon our hearts and our gratitude and our little ones are learning to read his blessed word, and sing anthems in his praise for the gift of the redeemer. Yes, they can tell whether they, from whom it is attempted to force all these blessings, and drive them into barbarity and savagism as cruel and as dark as ever, did, or did not, conduct their own correspondence. We say we did - and we love the Truth. It is not for us to vindicate or attempt to vindicate our Great Father the President of the United States. He does not need an Indian's aid, nor an Indian's eulogy - but however we are bound to love him, yet it is due to justice to state that we have been often pained and especially of late at the earnestness with which he has pressed upon us the subject of ceding our lands. Why he has acted thus we were at a loss to conceive, we were not ignorant of the nature of the Convention of 1802. We know every one of its promises - if however these are to be violated and the fell war whoop should ever again be raised against us to dispossess us of our land by a deposit of our bodies and our bones. For we are resolved never to leave them but by a parting from them, and our lives together. How the Christians of America, and the world will view their attempt upon our right; this effort to force a kind and just President to violate the faith of Treaties and dip his fingers in our blood, It is not for us Indians to say - but our cause is with God and goodmen, and there we are willing to leave it.
We mean nothing disrespectful to any one - but justice and truth require that we should say this much on the occasion to which we have referred. We are Sirs, Respectfully your obt Servts
John Ross Major Ridge (X)
Geo Lowery Elijah Hicks
5. John Ross to Joseph Gales and William Seaton, 20 Apr 1824, in Gary E. Moulton, ed., The Papers of Chief John Ross vol. 1 (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985), 78-80.