and Indians' Advocate
Wednesday, September 9,1829
Vol. II no. 23
Page 2, col. 4b-5b
It appears that the determination of some of the States at the South, in the limits of which several Indian tribes own and occupy lands, to avail themselves of the present crisis to drive off the natives, and take possession of their territories. The State of Georgia, more especially, having for a time coveted their neighbors' property, seem to be bent upon the accomplishment of this favorite object with as little delay as possible. In the year 1802, the government of the United States agreed with the State of Georgia, not with the Indians, to procure the Indian lands for that State as soon as practicable. The Georgians seem to understand practicability to allude to power; and as the United States have long been able to force the Indians to quit, they complain much of delay in using that power; and finally, being tired of waiting, they have commenced a series of measures, the effect of which they intend shall be to clear the ground of the natives, that they may seize it for themselves. A few years since, a pretended treaty was entered into by a part of a tribe, in which was the form of a provision that they should quit the country. The instrument was hurried through and sent to Congress, and there, in point of form, ratified by the Senate. Upon a representation of facts, alledging [sic] that it had been fraudulently obtained; the Senate annulled it; and a new one was entered, and sanctioned by the government. The politicians of Georgia complain loudly of the refusal on the part of the national government to adopt as valid, and to execute, this fraudulent treaty; and many threats of proceeding themselves against the Indians, have been uttered in that State.
We presume the present generation of politicians in Georgia have forgotten what took place in their own State; somewhat more than thirty years ago. The legislature of that State, in the year 1795, if we recollect right; having a strong disposition to speculate in lands, as exists in the State at the present time, sold a large quantity of land, commonly called the Yazoo purchase, and received more or less of the pay therefor. A great noise was made about this sale, and at subsequent election, a new set of men were chosen to the legislature; who in a formal manner, and by a legislative act, declared the sale to be void, on the ground of fraud in the contract; and then, formed a grand and solemn procession of the members, who moved in a dignified manner to a bonfire, and committed all the records of the State, that related to this transaction, to the flames.
This seems to be a precedent in point, the authority of which that State cannot gainsay or dispute, to show the power of the legislative body to vacate and destroy a legislative act, on the allegation of fraud. The cases, in this respect, are precisely parallel. In the Yazoo purchase, the legislature of Georgia satisfied themselves at least, that there was fraud in that contract, and on that specific ground declared it null and void. The Senate of the United States became equally convinced that the pretended treaty above referred to had been fraudulently obtained, and therefore considered it as null and void.
In this state of things, then, the state of Geo. must find some other ground on which to justify their proceedings calculated to force the Indians from their own grounds, for the purpose of seizing them for themselves. Indians are men, not beasts; and therefore cannot be hunted like bears and wolves- they are red, not black, and therefore cannot be treated with gross injustice like negro slaves. If unlawful violence is used towards them, we trust, there is still, low as we are reduced, justice enough in the country to protect them from violence & robbery. If there is not, we have confidence that there is a higher power that will first or last avenge their wrongs.