as well as ours. The unfortunate resort of an arbitrament of arms seems now to be the only alternative. Our State has of necessity to co-operate with her natural allies, the Southern States. It is now only a question of North and South,and the "hardest must fend off." we expect manfully to bear our part of the privations and sacrifices which the time require of Southern people.
This being our attitude in this great contest, it is natural for us to desire, and we think we may say we have a right, to know what position will be taken by those who may greatly conduce to our interests as friends or to our injury as enemies. Not knowing your political status in this present contest as the head of the Cherokee Nation, we request you to inform us by letter, at your earliest convenience, whether you will co-operate with the Northern or Southern section, now so unhappily and hopelessly divided. We earnestly hope to find in you and your people true allies and active friends; but if, unfortunately, you prefer to retain your connection with the Northern Government and give them aid and comfort, we want to know that, as we prefer an open enemy to a doubtful friend.
With considerations of high regard, we are, your obedient servant,
W. B. WELCH,
E. W. MACCLURE,
J. A. McCOLLOCH,
J. M. LACY,
J. P. CARNAHAN,
And many others.
[Inclosure No. 14.]
PARK HILL, CHEROKEE NATION, May 18, 1861.
GENTLEMEN: Your letter of the 9th instant has been received. Personal indisposition and the press of official business and correspondence will account to your satisfactory, I hope,for my delay in acknowledging it.
You are right in supposing that both my attention and interest have been elicited by the momentous issues to which you refer. Since the receipt of your communication I have been addressed in relation to the same subject by Lieutenant-Colonel Kannady,commanding at Fort Smith, and I beg you to accept of the inclosed copy of my reply to him as a response to yourselves; also as to the position which I occupy in regard to the objects of your inquiry. A residence of more than twenty years in your immediate vicinity can leave no room for doubt as to my friendship for the people of Arkansas; but if you might desire us to be, you will not surely regard us as an enemy.
You are fully aware of the peculiar circumstances of our condition, and will not expect us to destroy our national and individual rights and bring around our hearth-stones the horrors and desolations of civil war prematurely and unnecessarily. I am - the Cherokees are - your friends and the friends of your people, but we do not with to be brought into the feuds between yourselves and your Northern brethren. Our with is for peace, peace at home and peace among you. We will not disturb it is it now exists, nor interfere with the rights of the people of the States anywhere. War is more prospective than real. It has not.