War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0503 Chapter XXV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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[Inclosure Numbers 18.]

Declaration by the people of the Cherokee Nation of the causes which have impelled them to unite their fortunes with those of the Confederate States of America.

When circumstances beyond their control compel one people to sever the ties which have long existed between them and another state or confederacy, and to contract new alliances and establish new relations for the security of their rights and liberties, it is fit that they should publicly declare the reasons by which their action is justified.

The Cherokee people had its origin in the South; its institution are similar to those of the Southern States, and their interests identical with theirs. Long since it accepted the protection of the United States of America, contracted with them treaties of alliance and friendship, and allowed themselves to be to a great extent governed by their laws.

In peace and war they have been faithful to their engagements with the United States. With much of hardship and injustice to complain of, they resorted to no other means than solicitation and argument to obtain redress. Loyal and obedient to the laws and the stipulations of their treaties, they served under the flag of the United States, shared the common dangers, and were entitled to a share in the common glory, to gain which their blood was freely shed on the battle-field.

When the dissensions between the Southern and Northern States culminated in a separation of State after States from the Union they watched the progress of events with anxiety and consternation. While their institutions and the contiguity of their territory to the States of necessarily their own cause, their treaties had been made with the United States, and they felt the utmost reluctance even in appearance to violate their engagements or set at naught the obligations of good faith.

Conscious that they were a people few in numbers compared with either of the contending parties, and that their country might with no considerable force be easily overrun and devastated and desolation and ruin be the result if they took up arms for either side, their authorities determined that no other course was consistent with the dictates of prudence or could secure the safety of their people and immunity from the horrors of a war waged by an invading enemy than a strict neutrality, and in this decision they were sustained by a majority of the nation.

That policy was accordingly adopted and faithfully adhered to. Early in the month of June of the present year the authorities of the nation declined to enter into negotiations for an alliance with the Confederate States, and protested against the occupation of the Cherokee country by their troops, or any other violation of their neutrality. No act was allowed that could be construed by the United States to be a violation of the faith of treaties.

But Providence rules the destinies of nations, and events, by inexorable necessity, overrule human resolutions. The number of the Confederate States has increased to eleven, and their Government is firmly established an consolidated. Maintaining in the field an army of 200,000 men, the war became for them but a succession of victories. Disclaiming any intention to invade the Northern States, they sought only to repel invaders from their own soil and to secure the right of governing themselves. They claimed only the privilege asserted by the Declaration of American Independence, and on which the right of