Red Clay Council Ground.
Oct. 17th, 1835
To the Chiefs, Headmen & Warriors,
of the Cherokee Indians in Gen.
I received a communication yesturday signed
by John Ross Principal Chief, Goerge Lowry Asst. Principal Chief, George
W. Waters & Lewis Ross Executive Council; enclosing a Resolution signed by
R. Taylor Prest. and Wm. Rogers Sect. of Natl. Committee, and Going his+mark
Snake Speaker and Moses Daniel Secy. of National Council, purporting to be
an answer to my communication of the 14th Inst., After receiving this
communication, I sent a verbal message to these gentlemen by the Hon. Wm. H.
Underwood requesting a personal interview with them. He called on the
Principal Chief for that purpose, who I understand declined the interview.
It was my intention to have had a free and full conversation with them, on
the subject of a Treaty, and satisfied them, as to my authority to act, as
a commissioner & to arrange with their Chiefs the most acceptable manner of
bringing our business before the people. Since this opportunity has not been
afforded me, I take the liberty to address you again in answer to this
The Independent States Government organized by the Cherokees, within
the Terrirorial limits of the States of Georgia, No. Carolina, Tennessee &
Alabama; under the constitution adopted by them, in 1827, and by which the
Executive, & National Council & National Committee are constituted, and the
persons now composing these Councils & Committees hold office, has never
been recognized by these States; as is evident by their extension of their
laws over the Indians. Neither has it ever been recognized by the United
States, but on the contrary, the Cherokees have been expressly informed,
at the time of this organization, by the late President of the United States.
The Hon. John Q. Adams, that this act of theirs was contrary to the
constitution & laws of the United States; and therefore is could not be done.
Moreover it is believed a majority if those, who composed the Convention that
formed the Cherokee Constitutions were citizens of the United States, as is
evident from the accompanying document marked.
Some of the officers of this Cherokee Government, at present, are
persons who, as citizens of the United States, have been chosen and acted as
magistrates, Military Officers, Legislators within the States; & have
exercised the elective franchise within the last year.
"The Commissioners are therefore instructed as follows," As the
application will be made to the Cherokee people assembled for that purpose,
the commissioners will not recognize any other authority, there can be no
objections however to a free interchange of opinion, and to a conditional
arrangement, on all the disputed points between them and a committee
fairly and publicly chosen. Should the Cherokees think proper to commit
the details in the first instance, to such a committee. But the Final action
upon the subject must be had by the people themselves, in open Council.
Although the mode of authenticating the fact either by Signature of some of
their people, selected, for that purpose or any other manner, is left for the
commissioners to determine." From this you will perceive the Commissioners
cannot Treat with any Executive Council, and National Councellors and
Committee, but only with the Cherokee people, assembled in General Council,
according to their ancient usages and customs as Chiefs, Headmen, and
Warriors, you will now percieve to whom the communications of the
Commissioners General Council, are now prepared to enter into negotiations,
to settle the details of a Treaty; on the basis of the five millions they may
if they please, and they are hereby requested to appoint a Committee of their
own number to confer with the Commissioners assembled for their convenience
The Commissioners has also to observe, for the information of the
General Council, that the Cherokee Delegation, who visited Washington last
Winter, consisting of Messrs, John Ross, Richard Taylor, Wm. Rogers, D. McCoy
& Sam'l Gunter who were authorized by a full power of Atty. as your Agents
to settle all of your difficulties with the United States; and either into a
Treaty for the cession of your whole country, did agree to sell the same to
the United States for such a sum, as the Senate of the United States should
award. The Senate fixed the price at five millions, and when the President
called upon them, through the Secy of War; to submit propositions, as to the
manner in which, they wished this amount paid, and disposed of, for the
purpose of embracing the same in a Treaty, they declined; I proposed that
this matter should be referred to the Cherokee Nation in General Council
to deliberate & determine on the subject; in order to produce harmony
& good feeling amoung themselves & to prevent any unjust imputations
or prejudices, against themselves or theirs.
The Commissioners has only to add, that if a settlement of the
Cherokee difficulties is not affected, at this present Council that then
the commissioners will call another Council; at such time and place
as they think best; and submit the propositions for a Treaty, already
explained to the people, at the Council at Running Waters in July
last; and should these be rejected the President of the United States
will offer them no other terms during his administration. The
Commissioners, therefore wish to know distinctly, whether the people
of the Cherokee Nation, at this General Council, will enter into negociations
for a Treaty on the basis of the $5,000,000 - awarded by the Senate; and
which of our Delegation, duly authorized, with a full power of Attorney,
agrees for themselves to accept; and urge upon their people to
close their difficulties with the United States by a Treaty; or whether
they are determined to do nothing on the subject.
Your very obedient
Coms. to the Treaty with the Cherokee East.
Source: Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama. Governor C.C. Clay administrative records, SG6483 folder 13