Letter from Governor of Arkansas to Chief John Ross

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.


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,


Governor of Arkansas.