2. Andrew Jackson to John C. Calhoun, 2 Sept 1820
To Secretary Calhoun
Nashville, September 2, 1820
I have just received the enclosed letter from John Rodgers the deputy from the Arkansa Cherokees, to the cherokees on Tennessee River now there, and hasten to lay it before you, believing with proper caution the information it contains may prove beneficial in laying the ground work, on which, the whole Georgia claim may be obtained from the Cherokees. This summer as I passed through the lower part of that nation, I was informed by a half Breed, Riley, that the opinion now expressed by Rogers was prevalent amongst the Indians in that part of the nation, and Hicks and others threatened with death for deceiving them. I have now but little doubt, that a large portion of the real Indians wish to pass to Arkansas, if they had the means. Might it not have a good effect to have this inquired into, and the real fact obtained; and if found true, could it not be carried into effect without much expense to the U. States, except the transportation and provisioning them. Let a confidential agent who will act impartially be appointed to go through the nation, and enroll all Indians who want to pass to the Arkansas, and when enrolled take their relinquishment of all their claim to land where they now live. As soon as this is done, let Congress provide the means of transporting and provisioning them and pass a law providing that land shall be laid out for them adjoining the bounds of the Cherokees on Arkansas, and that a like portion of their land here, shall be surrendered to the state of Georgia adjoining the settled parts thereof. There can be no question but Congress has the right to legislate on this subject.
The policy of treating with Indian tribes within the jurisdiction of the U. States, and acknowledging its Sovereignty, could only have arisen at a time when the arm of Government was too weak to execute any law passed for the regulation of the Indian tribes within our territorial limits. To treat with Indians acknowledging our sovereignty, and situate within our declared Territorial limits, as a nation, has always appeared very absurd to me; now when more justice can be done the Indians by Legi[s]lation then by treaties, and the arm of Government is sufficiently strong to carry into effect any law that Congress may deem necessary and proper to pass for the welfare and happiness of the Indian and for the convenience and benefit of the U. States, It appears to me that it is high time to do away the farce of treating with Indian tribes. Should it be the fact that the wish of the large mass of the cherokees on this side the M. River, are ripe for emigration, it opens a fair field for Legislative interference by Congress, by which justice can [be] done the Indians, and the pledge of the union to Georgia, to extinguish the Indian title fulfilled. These are a few hasty remarks for your consideration. I have heretofore submitted to Mr. Monroe my ideas more fully.
I am, Sir, with sincere respect
2. Andrew Jackson to John C. Calhoun, 2 Sept 1820, in John S. Bassett, ed., Correspondence of Andrew Jackson vol. 3 (Washington: Carnegie Institute, 1929), 31-32.