NEW ECHOTA FEB. 1, 1832
(nb. this is the date as it appears in the paper)
of a letter from the Editor.
[I perceive by the Milledgeville paper, that the legislature of Georgia has passed what is called here the Land Bill; that is, to authorize the Governor to survey and occupy that part of the Cherokee Country which lies within the charter. It appears Georgia is now practicing upon the principle contended for in the famous report of 1827, to extinguish the Indian title by force. It is not enough that Indian treaties alone should be counted as dead letter, but her own obligations with the United States must be violated according to the compact of 1802, the Indian title is to be extinguished by the United States, whenever it can be done on 'peaceable and reasonable terms' But now, according to the 'Land Bill,' is about to be extinguished by force ' on unreasonable terms. How will the President of the United States act on this occasion? Will he interfere? It is supposed by many in Georgia that he will. Some of the partisans of the old General say he will interfere. Some again suppose he will not, but that there is a secret understanding between him and the leaders of Georgia on this subject.
Be that as it may, it is certain there is yet an obstacle in the way which Georgia does not wish to, or dare not overcome. You will see it is left to the discretion of the Governor when to occupy the Cherokee lands. His discretion may tell him to wait, until the Indian title is properly extinguished, from a fear of coming in conflict with the General Government, or from motives of policy.
And if the Executive does not interfere, will Congress remain silent, connive at such a robbery and consent to the violation of their compacts with the Indians and with Georgia? Whatever may be the conduct of the Executive and Congress on this question, it cannot, in the least, effect the determination of the Cherokees. They have taken their stand, and there they will stand! Let the crisis arrive, and it is better that it should come soon. We will test the government to the last, so that we may know what to depend upon hereafter.
There are deputations here from several tribes of Indians, all of whom have grievances to lay before the Government. Those from the State of New York you know have difficulties in regard to certain lands they once purchased at Green Bay. In that affair the Government has treated them most shamefully. It was very generally stated in the newspapers, not long since, that the Shawnees in the State of Ohio had agreed to remove to the West of the Mississippi, and had made arrangements to do so in a treaty with the United States. The Commissioner on the part of the Government was one Gardner. It appears now the terms of that treaty were effected by fraud, and a deputation from that tribe are here to protest against them. It is, I believe, their design to remain, but not in such a way as is proposed for them in the treaty. They will probably make new arrangements with the Government while they are here. Under the present administration the Indians appear to be doomed to trouble.