We invite the particular attention of our readers to the following. The political opinions of Thomas Jefferson, we believe, are held in high repute, and frequently appealed to as authority. Why should not his views of Indian rights have equal weight on the public?
From the National Intelligencer
MESSRS. GALES AND SEATON: The enclosed copy of a letter was sent to me a few days since, by a friend, with a desire that it might appear in your paper. As it contains the opinions of a great Statesman, upon a subject that is daily increasing in interest, I would request its insertion in you valuable paper.
From Memoirs and Correspondence 'c, of Thomas Jefferson. vol. 3, page 120.
To General Knox.
Philadelphia, Aug. 10, 1791.
Dear Sir: I have now the honor to return you the petition of Mr. Moultrie on behalf of the South Carolina Yazoo Company. Without noticing that some of the highest functions of sovereignty are assumed in the very papers which he annexes as his justification, I am of opinion that Government should firmly maintain this ground; that the Indians have a right to the occupation of their lands, independent of the States within whose chartered lines they happen to be; that until they cede them by treaty or other transaction equivalent to a treaty, no act of a State can give a right to such lands; that neither under the present constitution, nor the ancient confederation, had nay State, or persons, a right to treat with the Indians, without the consent of the General Government; that that consent has never been given to any treaty for the cession of the lands in question; that the government is determined to exert all its energy for the patronage and protection of the rights of the Indians, and the preservation of peace between the United States and them, and that if any settlements are made on lands not ceded by them, without the previous consent of the United States, the government will think itself bound not only to declare that such settlements are without the authority or protection of the United States, but to remove than also by public force.
It is in compliance to your request, my dear sir, that I submit these ideas to you, to whom it belongs to give place to them, or such others as your better judgment shall prefer, in answer to Mr. Moultrie.
I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most sincere and respectful esteem, dear sir, your most obedient and most humble servant.