To Shelter the American Character from Lasting Dishonor

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Adapted from the Memorial from the Ladies of Steubenville, Ohio, Protesting Indian Removal, February 15, 1830:

Your memorialists would sincerely deprecate
Any presumptuous interference
On the part of their own sex
With the ordinary political affairs of the country
As wholly unbecoming
The character of American Females.
Even in private life
We may not presume
To direct the general conduct
Or control the acts
Of those who are in the near
And guardian relations
Of husbands and brothers.
Yet all admit that
there are times
When duty and affection call on us
advise and persuade
As well as to cheer and console.
And if we approach the public representatives
Of our husbands and brothers,
Only in the humble character of suppliants
In the cause of mercy and humanity,
May we not hope
That even the small voice of
female sympathy
Will be heard?

When, therefore, injury and oppression
Threaten to crush a hapless people
Within our borders,
We, the feeblest of the feeble,
Appeal with confidence to those
Who should be the representatives
Of national virtues
As they are the depositories
Of national powers,
And implore them
To succor the weak and unfortunate.
In despite of the
undoubted natural right
Which the Indians have
To the land of their fathers,
And in the face of solemn treaties
Pledging the faith of the nation
For their secure possession of those lands,
It is intended, we are told,
To force them from their native soil,
And to compel them to seek new homes
In a distant and dreary wilderness.
To you, then,
As the constitutional protectors
Of the Indian within our territory,
And as the peculiar guardians
Of our national character
And our country's welfare,
We solemnly and earnestly appeal
To save this remnant of a much-injured people
From annihilation,
To shield our country from the curses denounced
On the cruel and ungrateful,
And to shelter the American character
From lasting dishonor.

Copyright by Nicholas Gordon. Free for personal or non-commercial use.

Audio and Video Music: Spirit of Fire.
By Jesse Gallagher. Music free to use at YouTube.

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