New Echota, Sept. 10, 1831
We are informed the United States agent has opened his office for enrolling emigrants to Arkansas.
A rumor has been circulating in this part of the nation, that Judge Clayton lately discharged a Cherokee prisoner who was confined in jail for digging gold, on the ground that the state has no right to prevent the Indians from the use of the precious minerals found on their lands. It is the opinion of the Judge, we understand, that the right of soil is in the Cherokees--that they have a right to dig gold, and that the law of Georgia enacted at the last Legislature, denying that right, is unconstitutional. Another week will enable us to ascertain whether the rumor is well founded.
After writing the above we find the following in the Milledgeville Recorder.
We understand that at the late sitting of the Superior Court in Walton County, Judge Clayton delivered an opinion, the substance of which, as well as our informant could understand it, was to this effect:- That the Cherokee Indians have the right, notwithstanding the act of the last session, to dig gold on the lands of their occupancy.
MR. HUNTINGTON'S SPEECH- As we have nothing of very great importance to present our readers at present, we have concluded to publish the Speech of Mr. Huntington on the Indian Bill, to a part of which a large portion of this week's paper is devoted. We presume many of our readers have not perused it--to them it will be new and interesting.
It will be recollected by the reader of this paper that on the 22d of last June a detachment of the Georgia Guard came to the missionary station at Hightower and claimed the right of occupying the premises, and appropriating to their use the produce of the little farm attached to them. The commander of the detachment told Miss Fuller, who was then at that station, that he should not occupy it that night, but should the following night. It will also be recollected that Mr. Thompson was arrested, for no other supposable reason but for refusing to relinquish his houses into the hands of the Guard. The Guard, however, did not at that time take possession of the station. Not long after Miss Fuller was removed from that place, and Mr. Thompson got a Cherokee family to take charge of it. We are now informed that a part the Guard have taken possession of this missionary station, and have compelled the Cherokee family to move out. Whether they intend to convert it into a permanent stand, or to use it only for the time being, does not fully appear. In either case we consider it to be a palpable invasion of the right of property. We should like to see the question referred to some tribunal for adjudication.
Sometime before the first of March it was very currently reported that the Guard intended to seize the property of such white men as would not take the oath of allegiance. Many of our white citizens were accordingly thrown into great anxiety and employed measures to secure their property. We gave very little credit to the report; for we knew of no law which would authorize such a procedure; besides, we thought it would be an act of the highest barbarity with respect to some families--It would be like taking break (sic) from the mouths of the wives and children of unfortunate white men, whose only crime consisted in refusing to support oppressive laws. We thought it utterly impossible that such a thing could take place. Now possession has actually been taken of a missionary station, we confess we are utterly at a loss what to believe and what to discredit. We know not what is to come next.