The Cherokee Nation was the last of the five tribes in Indian Territory to sign a treaty with the Confederacy. Elias Rector, the United States Indian Agent assigned to the Cherokee Nation, endorsed this letter from the secessionist governor of Arkansas, Henry Rector. The letter from the Governor of Arkansas to Principal Chief John Ross was just one more effort by the south to bring the Cherokee Nation into an alliance.
THE STATE OF ARKANSAS, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
Little Rock, January 29, 1861.
To His Excellency JOHN ROSS,
Principal Chief Cherokee Nation:
SIR: It may now be regarded as almost certain that the States having slave
property within their borders will, in consequence of repeated Northern
aggressions, separate themselves and withdraw from the Federal
South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana have
already, by action of the people, assumed this attitude. Arkansas, Missouri,
Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland will probably
pursue the same course by the 4th of March next. Your people, in their
institutions, productions, latitude, and natural sympathies, are allied to the
common brotherhood of the slaveholding States. Your country is sablurious
and fertile, and possesses the highest capacity for future progress and
development by the application of slave labor. Besides this, the contiguity of
our territory with yours induces relations of so intimate a character as to
preclude the idea of discordant or separate action.
It is well established that the Indian country west of Arkansas is looked to
by the incoming administration of Mr. Lincoln as fruitful fields,
ripe for the harvest of abolitionism, freesoilers, and Northern mounte-banks.
We hope to find in your people friends willing to co-operate with the South
in defense of her institutions, her honor, and her firesides, and with whom
the slaveholding States are willing to share a common future, and to afford
protection commensurate with your exposed condition and your subsisting
monetary interests with the Gen. Government.
As a direct means of expressing to you these sentiments, I have dispatched
my aide-de-camp, Lieut. Col. J. J. Gaines, to confer with you
confidentially upon these subject, and to report to me any expressions of
kindness and confidence that you may see proper to communicate the
governor of Arkansas, who is your friend and the friend of your people.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY M. RECTOR,
Governor of Arkansas.