This issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is published in 4 columns only
PURCHASE OF INDIAN LANDS
It might be curious to ask these scrupulous men, who say that the Indians ought to have received a greater price for their lands.
How the proper standard could be fixed? Our ancestors were no prophets. They were not certain but that their settlements would fail, as other settlements had failed before. If they should succeed, the settlers could not tell what the intermediate difficulties would be; nor how many reverses must be experienced before they should be successful. But suppose they had been assured, when Boston was settled by the pilgrims in 1630, that lands on Ann Street would sell for ten pounds an acre in 1670; that lands on Washington Street, between Summer and Bedford streets, would rise to the same value before 1700; that lands in the west part of the peninsula would be taken up for building lots soon after 1800; and that the site of an insurance office in State street would be sold for fifteen pounds a square foot in 1825. How would all this affect the price, which they were bound to offer to the Indians? By which of these prices were they to regulate their offers? These facts, seen with absolute certainty before hand, would not have proved that the land on which Boston has been since built, was worth a farthing in 1630.
There are millions of acres of land in the Carolinas, which would not at this moment be accepted as a gift; and yet, as a planter of credit and character assured the writer of this article, much of this land will produce, with very little labor, one hundred and fifty bushels of sweet potatoes to the acre. Two hundred years hence, it will probably bring a hundred dollars an acre. Perhaps some of those kind hearted gentlemen who think that their ancestors dealt hardly by the Indians, in giving them so small a price for their lands, would like to purchase some of the best tracts on the Columbia River or, if they prefer an inland district, some of the best intervals near the head waters of the Yellow Stone. These tracts are now in the possession of Indians, and if any man thinks he ought to give the same price for them, as he would be obliged to give the present owners of lands on the Connecticut, or the Susquehanna for an equal number of acres, he can doubtless act accordingly. The probability is, that within two hundred years, every acre of land in North America, which shall then be capable of cultivation, will command a good price.
Dr. Dwight has, somewhere in his travels, perfectly vindicated our ancestors from any just imputations on this subject. Among other facts, he mentions the following-One of the first settlers of Northampton, a few years after the settlement began, and the Indian title was extinct, made a bargain in which it was left optional with the other party to take five shilling or several hundred acres of land in that town-the money being deemed a fair equivalent for the land, which was then the undisputed property of a white man. The whole matter is summed up by Dr. Dwight, in the very sensible and forcible remark, that land in America, when our fathers first came hither, `was like water;- too abundant to be the subject of price.-' North American Review.