power over them. I am satisfied from my interview with John Ross and from his communication that he is only waiting for some favorable opportunity to put himself with the North. His neutrally is only a pretext to await the issue of events.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, C. N.,
Park Hill, June 17, 1861.
Brigadier General BEN. McCULLOCH,
Commanding Troops of Confederate States, Fort Smith, Ark.:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge by the first return mail the receipt of your communication, dated at Fort Smith, Ark., the 12th instant, informing me that you have been sent by the Government of the Confederate States of America to take command of the district embracing the Indian Territory, and to guard it from invasion by the people of the North. For the expression of your friendship be pleased to accept my heartfelt, thank, and the assurance that I cherish none other than a similar sentiment for yourself and people. I am also gratified to be informed that you will not interfere with any of our rights and wishes unless circumstances compel you to do so, nor violate or molest our neutrality without good cause. In regard to the pending conflict between the United States and Confederate States, I have already signified my purpose to take no part in it whatever, and have admonished the Cherokee people to pursue the same course. The determination to adopt that course was the result of considerations of law and policy, and seeing no reasons to doubt its propriety, I shall adhere to it in good faith, and hope that the Cherokee people will not fail to follow my example. I have not been able to see any reason why the Cherokee Nation should take any other course, for it seems to me to be dictated by their treaties and sanctioned by wisdom and humanity. It ought not to give ground for complaint to either side, and should cause our rights to be respected by both. Our country and institutions are our own. However small the one and humble the others, they are as sacred and valuable to us as are those of your own populous and wealthy State to yourself and people. We have done nothing to bring about the conflict in which you are engaged with your own people, and I am unwilling that my people shall become its victims, and I am determined to do no act that shall furnish any pretext to either of the contending parties to overrun our country and destroy our rights. If we are destined to be overwhelmed, it shall not be through any agency of mine. The United States are pledges not to disturb us in our rights, nor can we for a moment suppose that your Government will do it, as the approved principles upon which it is struggling for an acknowledged existence are the rights of the States and freedom from outside interference. The Cherokee people and Government have given every assurance in their power of their sympathy and friendship for the people of Arkansas and of other Confederate States, unless it be in voluntarily assuming an attitude of hostility towards the Government of the United States, with whom their treaties exist and from whom they are not experiencing any new burdens or exactions. That I cannot advise them to do, and hope that their good faith adhering to the requirements of their treaties and