Major Ridge Main Page
The Essex Register
Vol. XXIV. Salem, (Massachusetts) Thursday, May 20, 1824 No. 41.
From the Ontario Repository
Mr. Bemis – As the recent connexion between John Ridge, of the Cherokee nation, and Miss Northrup, of Cornwall, has excited some interest, and called forth some severe remarks, I take the liberty of sending you some particulars, collected from public documents, in relation to the character and condition of young Ridge, that I do, not because I am pleased with the connexion, but because I deeply regret it, and fear that it may prejudice the minds of some against the school of Cornwall.
John Ridge is but half Indian, the son of one of the chief men of the Cherokee nation, who has long sustained a reputable character, and is now a man of intelligence, wealth, and influence among his people. He has around him all the appearance of civilization; and indeed some of the refinements of life. He and his daughter were recently admitted to the splendid circle at Washington, and treated with that attention which morality and intelligence should ever receive. John Ridge (for this is the name which he has always borne) was a few years ago placed at the school of Cornwall. He very soon gave evidence of a great thirst for learning. In Sept. 1822, he completed his term of study at Cornwall, and returned to his father. He resolved on preparing himself for the profession of law, and determined to see the Cherokees formed into a well organized civil community, and not to rest until they were admitted to all the privileges of American citizens. Tho’ perfectly friendly to all the missionary operations among the Indians, he makes no pretensions to piety, not has he ever designed to enter the ministry, as has been stated. While on his way to his father’s he visited many of our cities, and in all was received as a worthy, genteel, intelligent young man. The specimens of intellectual strength, which he has left in the public journals, would do no dishonor to any man of professional eminence.
A few months ago, he returned, and agreeable to the good laws of Connecticut, took him a wife, no one objecting. The young bride is pleased, the mother is pleased, and the father, as a matter of course, must be pleased. The parties have gone off happily to the west; and now, why should the gallant conduct of the young Cherokee be so unmercily censured? If all the parties are satisfied & happy, surely we have no reason to complain. If the Connecticut ladies wish Cherokee husbands, who has a right to say aught against it? “De gustibus, nil disputandum.”
Young Ridge has not taken his wife to a savage wilderness, to become the companion of savage squaws; but he returns to his father’s house, where is wealth, intelligence, and refinement; where white wives have been before, and found too not a little good society. After all, it may be that the young Cornwall lady has not made a bad bargain; and considering the talents and the great and laudable ambition of young Ridge, he may yet be found in the councils of our country; and Mrs. Ridge, who now shares so bountifully the sympathies of the public, be figuring at the capitol, not ashamed to own her husband, the honorable son of an Indian chief.