Cherokee Phoenix


Published January, 19, 1833

Page 2 Column 4b


Whilst the nullification of South Carolina excites much observation, that of Georgia calls for little notice.-- And yet the one is only in preparation, and other is effective. Georgia nullification is in favor with the President of the United States-that of South Carolina is under his ban. Every other matter serves to cast disrepute upon the nullification of Georgia. A most greedy and discreditable mania for land speculation lies at the bottom of it, which has given the Government of the United States a great deal of trouble.

It is not perhaps generally known that the foundation of the Colony was a canting piece of land begging. The original application was for a 'grant of land for the charitable purpose of transporting necessitous persons and families from London to procure a livelihood by their industry.' Upon this foundation the grant was made and the colony settled.

After the Revolution, Georgia claimed to own most of the territory that now composes the states of Alabama and Mississippi. In August, 1786, when New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Virginia, at the suggestion of Congress, had granted their waste lands to the Union, upon a most pressing request from Congress, Georgia proposed to cede to the United States, a very small portion of these lands on terms so unreasonable, that their acceptance was refused.- At that time, the boundary between Spain and the United States was not ascertained, and whilst the negotiations between the two governments were in a favorable train, the State of Georgia commenced her land speculations on a prodigious scale.

In January, 1795 she passed a law for selling her vacant lands, to form companies of land traders. Under this law, one company effected the purchase of a tract of land, beginning where the 31st degree of latitude intersects the bay of Mobile, ' running into the Alabama River, to the 4th degree of latitude, west to the Mississippi River. This was commonly called the Yazoo sale. At the next session of Georgia Legislature, notwithstanding the sale had been completed under the law of the state, and a patent issued by the Governor, it was resolved to nullify the whole. An act was passed, declaring the sale to have been fraudulent, directing the law and the act to be expunged from the records and asserting that the title to the land remained in the state. Here was real nullification with a vengeance. And out of this sale, and the assumption of a power to rescind it has arose the present difficulty with the Indians and the United States. The States within whose territorial lines there are large bodies of waste and unappropriated land, at the completion of the Revolution, claimed those lands as there (sic) individual separate property. The justice of the claim was not admitted by the other States. The acquisition was obtained at the common charge. It was a consequence of the successful termination of the War of the Revolution; and that had been achieved by all the States together, who had jointly borne the expense as far as it was paid, and were jointly liable for what remained due. It was by way of compromising this intricate and delicate question, that Virginian (sic) took the lead in ceding much the largest portion of her unsold land to the United States. And upon the same principle other states followed her example. The sale made by Georgia to the land companies just noticed, and the attempted nullification of that sale greatly embarrassed both the States and the United States. The purchaser denied the power of the States to rescind the sale, the State stoutly stuck to its right to nullity.--Public opinion was divided as to the title, whether it was in Georgia or the purchasers. Jurists and statesmen differed; and in the meantime the lands remained, and were likely to remain a wilderness. With a view to dis-embarrass the title, the United States, in the year 1802 accepted a cession from the state of Georgia of the disputed lands, with some more territory upon certain specified terms and conditions, one of which was that the United States should 'extinguish for the use of Georgia, as early as the same could be peaceably obtained, on reasonable terms the Indian title to certain lands within the states.' It is upon this stipulation that Georgia has been constructing difficulties for years. In 1803, after the compact was made with Georgia, Congress passed a law authorizing the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Attorney General, to receive, from purchaser, under the rescinded law, and grant of Georgia propositions of compromise. Such propositions were received, and a compromise agreed upon, and an act of Congress was passed in the Spring of 1806 for confirming it.

For some time this was an absorbing topic of political discussion. The Yazoo fraud was rung upon thousand changes. It furnished to John Randolph a theme for declamation. To innumerable demagogues it was a sweet morsel to roll under their tongues. Many of our citizens cannot have forgotten the furious attack made upon Mr. Morrow, then our single representative in Congress, because he voted for perfecting the companies. A Mr. Pritchard of Jefferson County, was put in nomination against him, at the October election of 1806, and the canvass was a most furious one. The principal charge against him being that of voting to compromise the claims of these purchases. The courts of the United States came in for their share of opprobrium. The Circuit Court for the District of Massachusetts, in a case brought before it, had decided that the State of Georgia could not by legislative act, rescind her own grant, thus affirming the title of the purchases. The decision was subsequently affirmed in the Supreme Court of the United States. See 6th Cranch 87. Hence the Georgia nullifiers, in Georgia and elsewhere, denounced the court. Its opinion sustained the rights of individuals against the pretensions of the State and therefore it became obnoxious.

The United States, having removed all claims of Georgia and of the purchasers under her to the lands in question, put them into the market, and they soon sold so as that now the States of Alabama and Mississippi have been erected out of the territory they secured. The population improvement and cultivation of these lands have tended to greatly increase the value of the lands of the Cherokee Indians within the State of Georgia.- Cupidity to possess them has been long excited and very much increasing.- At first it appeared only in Georgia importuning the United States to purchase the Indian title. The importunity suggested the plan of sending the Indians west of the Mississippi. Then came the McIntosh treaty with the Creeks and the murder of McIntosh, the wrathful controversy between General Gains and Governor of Georgia, in respect to which there was but one opinion here at that time. At length Georgia started the doctrine that she had a right to extend her laws over the Indians within her own jurisdiction. She was staid from practically asserting this power by the declaration of President Adams that he would call the military force of the Union to protect the Indians in the quiet possession of their lands. President Jackson, however, very soon after entering on the duties of his office, took occasion to announce his opinion in favor of the pretension of Georgia, to make it known that he would not interpose the shield of the Union between her and the Indians. In the preparatory and progressive measures of the state of taking possession of these Indians lands, Tassels has been hung and the Missionaries imprisoned, in violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States, as adjudged, by the Supreme Court. So far Georgia has nullified and speculated with impunity. With what of honor or morality, the reader is left to form his own judgment.-------------Cincinnati Gazette