Cherokee people; but neither have we any to make war against the United States,or to believe that our treaties will not be fulfilled and respected by that Government. At all events a decent regard to good faith demands that we should not be the first to violate them.
It is not the province of the Cherokees to determine the character of the conflict going on the States. It is their duty to keep themselves, if possible,disentangled,and afford no grounds to either party to interfere with their rights. The obligations of every character,pecuniary and otherwise, which existed prior to the present state of affairs between the Cherokee Nation and the Government are equally valid now as then. If the Government owe us, I do not believed it will repudiate its debts. If States embraced in the Confederacy owe us, I do not believe they will repudiate their debts. I consider our annuity safe in either contingency.
A comparison of Northern and Southern philanthropy, as illustrated in their dealings toward the Indians within their respective limits, would not effect the merits of the question now under consideration,which is simply one of duty under existing circumstances. I therefore pass it over, merely remarking that the "settled policy" of former years was a favorite one with both section when extended to the acquisition of Indian lands, and that but few Indians now press their feet upon the banks of either the Ohio or the Tennessee. The conflict in which you are engaged will possibly be brought to a close by some satisfactory arrangement or other before proceeding to very active hostilities. If you remain as one government our relations will continue unchanged; if you separate into two governments upon the sectional line we will be connected with you; if left to the uncertain arbitrament of the sword the party holding, succeeding to the reins of the General Government, will be responsible to us for the obligations resting upon it.
I have the honor to be,sir, your obedient servant,
Principal Chief Cherokee Nation.
[Inclosure No. 16.]
Whereas we the Cherokee people have been invited by the Execution of the Cherokee Nation, in compliance with the request of many citizens, to meet in general meeting, for the purpose of drawing more closely the bonds of friendship and sympathy which should characterize our conduct and mark our feelings toward each other in view of the difficulties and dangers which have arisen from the fearful condition of affairs among the people of the several States,and for the purpose of giving a free and frank expression of the real sentiments we cherish toward each other and our true position in regard to questions which affect the general welfare, and particularly on that of the subject of slavery: Wherefore,
Be it hereby resolved, That we fully approve the neutrality recommended by the Principal Chief in the war pending between the United and Confederate States and to General McCulloch our thanks for the respect he has shown for our position.
Resolved, That we renew the pledges given by the Executive of this nation of the friendship of the Cherokees toward the people of all the States, and particularly toward those on our immediate border, with whom our relations have been harmonious and cordial, and from whom they should not be separated.
Resolved, That we also take occasion to renew to the Creeks, Choctaws,