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Title:[Letter] 1838 Apr. 13, Washington to President Martin Van Buren / delegation of the Cherokee Nation: a machine-readable transcription
Author:Cherokee Nation

This work is the property of The Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

Date: April 13,1838
Extent: 4p
Summary:This document is a copy of a letter from a delegation of Cherokee leaders, including John Ross, Elijah Hicks, and White Path, among others, to President Martin Van Buren (1837-1841), dated April 13, 1838. The delegation complains to the President that their communications in Washington were unfairly curtailed before they truly began, and the news of this occurrence has caused considerable distress in the Cherokee Nation. They prepared a Memorial to be delivered to Congress in response, and it was signed by over fifteen thousand people. The Memorial is no longer attached.
Repository:The Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN
Collection:State Library Cherokee Collection
Box: 1
Folder: 23

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Washington City
April 13th. 1838To His Excy [Excellency]
Martin Vanburen
President of the U.S.

At the interview with which we were honoured [honored] on our arrival here some Months ago, as a regularly appointed Delegation from the Cherokee Nation , we were referred by your Excellency to the Secretary of War. We were then encouraged to expect that a negotiation would be forthwith opened to settle all matters between the Cherokee Nation and the United States . Informal Communications followed, at the express suggestion of the Secretary of War, between Mr. John Mason jr. , and two individuals of our Delegation, John Ross and Edward Gunter , who were told that if there should be no result from those Communications, the Delegation, as a body, would Still be at perfect liberty to proceed with our official intercourse, as though nothing had intervened. But while the individuals in question were yet waiting a reply

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from Mr. Mason , to the last unofficial suggestion they had offered, and before any pro official proposition whatever had been presented by us to the Secretary of War, subsequently to his recognition of our Credentials,— A letter was written by Mr. Harris , the Indian Commissioner, to the Government Officers in the Cherokee Country, stating that all official Communication between the Government and the Delegation was closed. We were certainly at a loss to understand how that could be closed, which had not as yet commenced; And we were Still further perplexed when we found that, upon this assurance from Mr. Harris , a Circular was sent among our people, of which we convey [added: a copy] to your Excellency. The effect of this paper upon the Nation will be seen from a protest and Memorial which it produced, signed by fifteen thousand, six hundred and sixty five persons, and of which we also enclose a copy . We were instructed to present this protest and memorial to Congress, and we did present it. It was there remarked that nothing having been referred [added: by the Executive] to Congress, the whole affair more properly belonged to the Executive. This, we trust, will sufficiently explain why We have thought it proper to bring the Subject at once before your Excellency.

We would now distinctly assure your Excellency,

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that since our ardent desire to have settled the differences between the United States and our Nation, by retaining a portion of our territory and becoming Citizens, with all the previleges [privileges] of becoming Citizens of the United States , has been entirely rejected by the Government;— We are perfectly ready, under the necessity of the case, to meet the views of the United States , by entering into such a treaty of entire Cession for ever of the Cherokee Country, as our duty to our Constituents will permit.

We cannot but believe that, blended with the vast power of the United States , there must be all that magnanimity, which may entitle us to hope that this earnest wish on our part to settle an extremely embarrassing question in a manner which can afford no pretext whatever for difficulty on either side, will be met in the same spirit with which it is offered. Our people expect that we [added: shall] should finally arrange the matter here in Washington . We are fully prepared to do so; and we cannot doubt, if such be the disposition of your Excellency, that the whole subject will be most satisfactorily terminated without delay, "peaceably and on reasonable terms."

We need not explain to the considerate mind of your Excellency, why we ask the earliest decision

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upon this request, from,

Sir, Most respectfully Your Excellency's most humble and Obt [added: devoted] Servts. [Servants]
Jno [John] Ross
Edward Gunter
R. Taylor
James Brown
Saml. [Samuel] Gunter [unclear]
Elijah Hicks
White Path

Copy of a letter from the Delegation of the Cherokee Nation to The President of the United States April 13th 1838

From papers of John Ross in possession of his grandson Robert B. Ross Park Hill , Okla [Oklahoma]

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