Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stay Here and Become Industrious

If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience. - George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

On August 29, 1808, Indian Agent Return J. Meigs addressed the Cherokee Council:

You have your choice to stay here and become industrious, like white people, so that the women and children will not cry any more for bread, or go over the Mississippi where meat is plenty and where corn may be raised as well as here. Your Father the President wants what is best for you, but in the east it will be difficult. That is why from time to time your people Straggle one or two at a time to the West or in small parties.

Brothers, it is well known everywhere that the Cherokees stand on the highest ground of reputation as a Nation of Red men. The Cherokees have more knowledge as farmers, as manufacturers, and have more knowledge of literature than any nation of Red men in America, I may safely say, than all the Red men in America put together. . . . You have more money, more cattle, more horses, more and better clothing than any other nation of Red men of equal numbers in America. . . . I wish to excite in yourselves a just pride, that is, to have you value yourselves as Cherokees; the word "Cherokee" or "Cherokees" should always convey an Idea of Respectability to your people.

On August 29, 1829, the governor of Tennessee wrote to John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation:

It is scarcely necessary to say that the President of the U States feels a deep interest in the removal of the Cherokees West of the Mississippi. This you have been informed of by himself. He believes that it will tend to the permanent advancement of the prosperity of the nation, and will prevent those unpleasant bickerings that are sure to arise from the extension of Jurisdiction by the adjoining States over that part of the nation within their respective chartered limits.

Without entering further into a train of reasoning upon this subject, permit me to say that I am directed to make the plain, simple proposition to you. Will you agree to meet commissioners to be appointed by the President, at such time as might best suit the convenience of both parties, for the purpose of discussing the subject of the Cherokees removing West of the Mississippi. …
Receive assurances of my best wishes for the future happiness of the nation over which you preside, and of the regard, with which I am most respectfully

Your friend,
Wm Carroll

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