Copy of a letter to the Editor of the Arkansas Gazette, from Col. S. C. Stanbaugh, Secretary to the Board of U. S. Commissioners for settling differences, 'c. among the Western tribes of Indians, dated.
'Fort Gibson, Feb. 5, 1833.
'Dear Sir:- An express arrived at this place yesterday, from Fort Towson, bringing the intelligence, from the Commandant of that post, that a very serious outrage has been committed by a party of Osage Indians, in Miller County, Arkansas Territory. Mr. Simpkins, who is represented as a very respectable citizen, has sustained damages in the loss of property to the amount of nearly two thousand dollars; and several other houses have been plundered. Parties of Osage Indians have been discovered within a few miles of this place, within the last ten days, approaching this county from the direction of Red River, loaded with articles of clothing, bed quilts, knives, spoons, and a variety of merchandise, answering to the property stolen. As the depredating Indians used violence, in driving families from their homes, and killed and drove off a number of cattle, it is supposed a military force will be sent in the direction of Fort Towson, from this place, as it is supposed there are still a band lurking in the vicinity. The commissioners can do nothing more in the matter than direct the Intercourse Law, which is plain on the subject, to be carried into effect-that is, demand the stolen goods of the Indians, and if they refuse to surrender them, to report the matter to the War Department, that the proper steps may be taken to secure indemnity to the party injured. I am sorry to say, that the Osages have been very troublesome lately-very little behind the Pawnees and Koomanchees (sic).
'The Commissioners are now in the midst of the Cherokee and Creek treaty, for the purpose of establishing their boundaries. I trust we shall get throu' in two or three days, and that the dispute about their lines existing between these tribes, will be adjusted in such a manner as not only to gratify those who have already emigrated, but who to induce the removal of the whole of the nations still remaining east of the Mississippi. You are aware that this is a matter of deep and absorbing interest to the Government, and the adjustment which we hope to make will be received with much satisfaction by the Government and the States interested.'
An Act to protect the Cherokee Indians in the peaceable and quiet possession of the lands secured to them by the existing laws of the state, and also to secure their property and persons from illegal violations, and to provide for bringing to trial of the trespassers upon the lots or fractions of land belonging to the state in the Cherokee country, and prescribing the punishment to which they shall be subjected upon conviction 'c.
Whereas under the provisions of the existing laws of this state, the right of occupancy and peaceable and quiet possession of their lands, has been secured to the Cherokee Indians, who still remain in this state, so long as they can continue to occupy the same; and whereas the unoccupied lands, which surround their present abodes, are about to be granted to and settled by the inhabitants of this state, and whereas that country in a short time will be regularly organized into counties and districts, to further the administration of public justice and whereas, doubts exist that the remnant of Indians remaining in said Territory may be liable to the depredations of lawless and dissolute white men.
Be it enacted by the Senate ' House of Representatives of the state of Ga. in General Assembly met and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same. That ten men under the command of a fit and qualified officer, shall be continued in the Cherokee country, who shall have full and complete power to protect each and every Indian in his and their persons, and also in the enjoyment of all their personal property that may be in their possession; and it shall be the duty of said commanding officer and his guard, to prevent the intrusion no matter by whom on any lot of land already or hereafter to be drawn or fraction undisposed of, on which any Indian or Indians may and do actually reside and occupy, under the provisions of the land act, for the survey and disposition of the said Cherokee territory passed the twenty second day of December, eighteen hundred and thirty.
Sect. 5. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall be the duty of the said commanding officer with the said guard in a body or in detail to continue to examine and visit and inspect all the aforesaid Indians' habitations and settlements, and to see that in the occupation of their lands they are not interrupted or disturbed, and also carefully to protect their persons from assault and abuse, as well as their personal property; and it shall also be the duty of said officer and those under his command, when trespass, or offence has been committed against the legal rights of said Indians and contrary to the spirit and meaning of this act, without delay to reinstate said Indians in the possession of their lands and personal property, and in these two latter cases as well as in cases of the abuse or injury of their persons to bind over the person or persons so offending, in a reasonable sum, with bond and security to answer for such illegal conduct, at the next Superior Court, that may be held in the county where the offence was committed; and that it shall be the duty of the Solicitor General said Judicial Circuit to prosecute to conviction all persons so offending.
Sec. 3 And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said commanding officer and guard aforesaid shall be appointed by his excellency the governor with the same pay and emoluments, and the late Georgia guard for the protection of the gold region, and shall be under the special direction and orders of the executive to be discharged upon the organization of the said counties.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the time the Justices of the Inferior Courts of the several counties which are laid off in the Cherokee territory, have been duly qualified it shall be their special duty, immediately thereafter to convene ' appoint some fit and proper person to act as agent or guardians, to protect the right of person and property of said Indians, say one for each county; and the said agent or guardian shall take the following oath before one of the said justices to wit: 'I, A B do solemnly swear that I will justly and impartially superintend, examine into, protect and defend all the rights of the Cherokee Indians residing in the County of _____ both as respects the occupation of their land and personal property, agreeably in the laws of this state, and against the unjust and illegal proceedings of all persons whatsoever; and that I will to the best of my ability, protect and defend the fractions belonging to the state in said county from the trespass of intrusion so help me God,' which agents had received a reasonable compensation out of the treasury of the state.
And be if further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall be the bounden duty of such agents who may induce said Indians dispossessed of the occupation of their lands or that their personal property has been illegally taken from them, immediately to restore the same to the Indian occupant or owner. Provided never the less, that the person setting up any claim to the aforesaid property, shall have a right to appeal from said agents decision as and acting, which shall be proceeded on as claims on sheriffs levies, but the bunas probandi shall rest on said appellant, and the said appeal or claim, shall be tried at the next ensuing Superior Court, where the offence was committed, but until such decision is made, the Indian owner of personal property or Indian occupant of land shall be continued in possession; and it is hereby made the duty of said agent to guard diligently the fractions lying in the county in which he resides belonging to the state and prosecute to conviction or acquittal any person or persons trespassing on said fractions, by digging gold or otherwise, according to the laws of force in this state. As it is of importance to the humane and just character of the state and the citizens thereof, that in this particular case of the Cherokees, that no wanton, illegal, or oppressive proceedings, acts, or doings should be exercised towards them, during their residence in the said territory.
And be in further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Justices of the Inferior Court, Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs, Constables, and all Military officers, in each of the several counties aforesaid are hereby enjoined to see impartial justice done to said Indians, and to aid in sustaining their just rights.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That to secure the personal property of said Indians any person or persons, who shall actually dispossess them of it or attempt to do so; shall be considered as having been guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be subject to be prosecuted criminally, and the fact being established, he will be subject to a fine of fourfold the value of the property so taken or attempted to be taken, besides such other fine not exceeding two hundred dollars, as the said court may deem fit.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all persons who shall by any act, either forcible deprive or in an illegal manner endeavor to deprive any Indian or Indians of the possession or occupation of any lot of land on which, or any part thereof, the said Indian has resided as a home, shall be subject to be indicted in the name of the state, as a misdemeanor, and in violation of the laws which are in a letter and spirit extended to the protection of said Indians; and on conviction, shall forfeit all right and title to said lot or any part thereof, and be fined in a sum not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that though the oaths of the Indians are not admitted in our courts of law for the purpose of protecting their persons property and lands, their rights shall be recognized for these special purposes, and be considered as standing on the same footing with free white citizens of the state, though all prosecutions and sentences be and shall be carried on in the name of the state, and on the criminal side of the Superior Court; and the laws shall be so construed as to carry the spirit and intent of this law into effect.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all persons who shall attempt or actually dig gold on any fraction belonging to the state, or on any lot or lots of land belonging to the persons who have drawn or actually own the same, and who have not actually taken possession of the same, in the territory lately organized in the Cherokee country, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and subject the offender to a confinement in the penitentiary for a term of years not less than four years nor more than eight years.
And be it further enacted, That any person who shall be guilty of any trespass upon the premises of the Indian resident aforesaid shall be guilty of high misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars and confinement in the county jail for a term not less than three or more than six months.
And be it further enacted, That it shall not be lawful from and after this time, for any inferior court in this state whilst sitting as a Court of Ordinary, to grant letters of administration to any person or persons on the estate either real or personal of any deceased Cherokee Indian or the descendant of a Cherokee Indian.
Speaker of the House of Rep.
President of the Senate.
Assented to Dec. 21, 1832
WILSON LUMPKIN, Gov.