Tennessee Governor John Sevier’s 1803 letter to Cherokee warriors asking for permission to build a road through Cherokee territory.
John Sevier writes to the warriors of the Cherokee Nation requesting their permission to build a road through Cherokee territory. President Thomas Jefferson is commissioning the road. Governor Sevier attempts to convince the Cherokee that the road will benefit them more than it will benefit settlers. Sevier tells the Cherokee that the council in Knoxville is waiting for their opinion on the matter.
You have just now heard your Father’s the President talk, sent to you and delivered by your brother Colonel Meigs. It is a request from your great Father that a road be opened for the good and benefit of all his children both red and white, and will be more so for our red brothers, as the road will be through their own land and they will have the benefit of the ferries, houses of entertainment and all oppertunities of selling and disposing of their corn meat and provisions of every kind __ The road will be of the same use to yourselves to travel on, to market, and for every other advantage that it can be of to your Brothers the white people, and as the road
road is to be cut out at the cost and charge of the United States it cant be attended with any difficulty on your part. It is a common practice among all nations to allow and permit free intercourse between nation and nation even to those that live at the greatest distance from each other; Our roads our markets and our country is always open to your people to travel through, and I am confident you will not refuse to permit your near brothers and neighbours having a road the nearest and most convenient route to travel to market with their waggons, to remove with their families, to drive their stocks of hogs, cattle, horses and any other article they may wish to carry to market.
Your great Father the President makes you such proposals to your interest and such profitable and advantageous offers, that I am confident that you, a wise and prudent people cannot by any means disregard or regret Colonel Meigs has explained to you the earnest desire of the President, and how willing he is to render, and has rendered to your people every service in his power, and promoted your interests in the same manner and indeed more so than to some of his White Children. I therefore hope that my red brothers will not discover themselves unfriendly, but do every thing in their power to keep the great white chain of peace for ever clean and bright. We have, now for a long time lived like brothers, ought to live, and I hope that no dark cloud will ever intervene to prevent that happy circumstance.
Brothers our beloved Council is now sitting at Knoxville, and that Counsel have advised me to wait on my brothers the Cherokees; to assure them that it is the wish of all the good people of Tennessee to always live in peace and friendship
friendship with our brothers the red people. We have not forgot you, and I have come here to avail myself of an oppertunity of renewing our former friendship and good understanding, and to assure you we shall always feel ourselves happy in your prosperity and well doing; hoping you may raise your families in peace & plenty.
The Chiefs & Warriors of the Cherokee Nation.
October 17th, 1803