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National Gazette
Literary Register.

Principles And Men

Philadelphia, Tuesday, March 29, 1831.
VOL. XI.  No. 1573.

From the A. D. Advertiser
[The author of the following is a full blooded Indian]
Washington City, Feb. 6, 1831.

Mr. Elliot Cresson. – My friend: Permit me to address you as such, in which character I view all the humane and benevolent who exercise sympathetic feelings for the Indians under their trials and sufferings.  Far was it from the expectation of Washington and Penn, when they entered into treaties of peace with our ancestors, that we, their descendants should so soon feel the inconveniences of violated faith which they and other great men assured them should endure forever.  Even now, do we believe that if partisan newspapers and leaders, and aspiring politicians, did not throw clouds and darkness upon our rights, that Justice would be continued to our race by the people of the United States.  It was with surprise, and as unexpected to me as the noise of thunder in a cloudless sky, that I read the remarks of Judge Wilkins of Pittsburgh, calculated to tarnish the fair fame of William Penn, whose kindness, honor, integrity and justice is above all price, and cherished in the remembrance of even the South Western Indians,  Is it true that the good people of Pennsylvania hold their tenures of land, forced from the bleeding and weeping Indians, who, like the wounded deer, driven off by hunters from their standing forests and running waters, have languished away their doleful existence in the remote regions of the West?  Where is the monument of the injustice of that man recorded?  It is not in the heart of an Indian!

Did he ever compel Indians to be amenable to Pennsylvania laws, and at the same time denied them the right of evidence in her courts?  If laws were passed by him, they were not to oppress but to protect.  Sir, we have nothing to do with the party warfare which rages in these United States.  But politicians should not in this enlightened age, seek the examples of cruelty practised by some of the colonists, under British and Spanish influence, to justify their favorite chief.

But I am yet to learn of the time and manner of Penn’s injustice to my ancestors, or to other tribes of Indians who were his immediate neighbours.  If the plea of State necessity, in thus exercising oppression, to effect the removal of the children of the forest, (as they have been kindly termed,) be permitted to obtain, and to disregard treaties, trample on the dignity of the Supreme Court, and set at defiance the Constitutional acts of the majority; they must not “lay the flattering unction to their souls“ that its disorganizing tendency will cease at the point of the extinguishment of Indian rights.  It will extend far, and cut the vitals of these United States.  It is a twin brother to nullification, which has reared its head, and spoke the discordant sentiments of disunion in South Carolina.  May I then, feeble as must be the voice of an Indian, raise it on this occasion, and call the attention of your people to the dangerous rock of State necessity. -  

We all are entitled to law, and receive it as the boon guaranteed to us, by the great men who established the government, which declares that all men are by nature equal, and possess certain inalienable rights - the pursuit of happiness, and enjoyment of liberty and life.  This is what is right, and demanded by the Cherokee Nation, whose rights are by treaty engrafted into the Constitution of the United States.  They have yet a little spot of earth given them by the great King of kings, on which they desire to repose, and raise their children.  For the love of righteousness and charity, let them enjoy it without molestation.

What have they done that they are outlawed from the favour of the Executive of the General Government?  They have learned to read the word of God, and to worship him in spirit and in truth.  They have only practised the lessons of Washington and other great men, the illustrious predecessors of the present Chief Magistrate of the United States.  Then what is their offence? No- my dear friends, the people of Pennsylvania! to you I call for help to save my nation from destruction.  You have done much, for which we hope to be grateful – but preserve us still in your generous sympathy – let us live and enjoy the blessings of civilization and religion on the land of our fathers. 

Yours, respectfully,
            JOHN RIDGE.