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Gen. Winfield Scott’s Address to the Cherokee Nation

 


[Edited to student friendly terms by Mr. Daniel]

 

“Cherokees! The President of the United States has sent me with a powerful army, to cause you, to obey the treaty of 1835 and join your people who have already established in a new home on the other side of the Mississippi. Unhappily, for two yearsyou were allowed time to move but you have wasted that time without following the treaty and without making any preparation to follow.  Now, or by the time that this letter shall reach your distant settlements, the emigration, or your forced move to a new home must be begin quickly, but I hope without any fighting.

I have do not have the authority to allow you to stay longer. The full moon of May is already on the here; and before another shall have passed away, every Cherokee man, woman and child in those states must be in motion to join their fellow Native Americans in the far West.

My friends! This is new information from the President, whom you and I must now obey. By the treaty, the emigration should have completed on or before the 23rd of this month; and the President has constantly kept you warned, during the two years allowed, through all his officers and agents in this country, that the treaty would be enforced and you would have to move.

 

 

I am coming to carry out that his orders. My troops already occupy many positions in the country that you are to abandon, or leave, and thousands and thousands more troops are approaching from every quarter, so that resistance and escape alike hopeless.

All those troops, regular and militia, are your friends. Receive them and trust in them as such. Obey them when they tell you that you can stay no longer in this country. Soldiers are as kind-hearted as brave, and the desire of every one of us is to follow our orders without any violence. We were told by the President to act towards you in a kind way and that is also the wish of the whole people of America.

Chiefs, head-men and warriors! Why would you want to resist us or force us to resort to fighting? God forbid! Or will you, by flight, seek to hide yourselves in mountains and forests, and thus oblige, or force us to hunt you down?

Remember that it may be impossible to avoid conflicts. The blood of the white man or the blood of the red man may be spilt, and, if spilt, however accidentally, it may be impossible to prevent a general war and carnage.

Think of this, my Cherokee brethren! I am an old warrior, and have been present at many a scene of slaughter, but spare me, I beg you, the horror of witnessing the destruction of the Cherokees.

Do not wait for the close approach of the troops.  Prepare for emigration and be ready to move as you can and hurry to places where we will prepare you to leave this land. You all will be received in kindness by officers selected for the purpose. You will find food for all and clothing for the destitute at either of those places.  We will help in your comfort as you are transported to your new homes, according to the terms of the treaty.

This is the address of a warrior to warriors. May his promises by kindly received and may the God of both prosper the Americans and Cherokees and preserve them long in peace and friendship with each other!

 

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