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 thanks and the assurance that I cherish none other than a similar sentiment for yourself and people; 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 the 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 that course was the result of consideration of law and policy and seeing no reason 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 give ground for complaint to either side,and should cause our right to be respected by both. Our country and institutions are our own. However small the one or humble the others, they are as sacred and valuable to us as are those of your own populous and wealthy State to yourself and your people. We have done nothing to bring about the conflict in which you are engaged with your own people, and I am that my people shall become its victims. 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 pledged not to disturb us in our rights, nor can we suppose for a moment that your Government will do it,as the avowed principle upon which it is struggling for an acknowledged existence is 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 not voluntarily assuming an attitude of hostility toward 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 in adhering to the requirements of their treaties and of their friendship for all the whites will be manifested by strict observance of the neutrality enjoined.
Your demand that those people of the nation who are in favor of joining the Confederacy be allowed to organize into military companies as home guards for the purpose of defending themselves in case of invasion from the North is most respectfully declined. I cannot give my consent to any such organization for very obvious reasons:
1st. It would be a palpable violation of my position as a neutral.
2nd. It will place in our midst organized companies not authorized by our laws, but in violation of treaty,and who would soon become efficient instruments in stirring up domestic strife and creating internal difficulties among the Cherokee people.
As in this connection you have misapprehended a remark which I made in conversation at our interview some eight or ten days ago, I