4. Wilson Lumpkin to the House of Representatives, 2 December 1831.
. . . If Georgia were at this day to relinquish all right, title and claim to the Cherokee country, what would be its situation? The impotency and incompentancy of the Cherokees to maintain a regular government, even for a few months, perhaps for a few weeks, would at once be demonstrated. The country would be speedily overrun, chiefly by the most abandoned portions of society from all quarters.
The gold mines would hold out an irresistible temptation to all such characters. The existence alone of the rich gold mines utterly forbids the idea of a state of quiescence on this all engrossing subject.
Our true situation and motives on this question are still misunderstood, and often misrepresented, by those at a distance. In order to appreciate our policy, our true situation must be understood. I will not attempt to enumerate the wrongs, embarrassments, and perplexities, which this State has encountered, by what I am constrained to deem the impertinent intermeddling of "bust-bodies." Officious persons of various descriptions have unfortunately succeeded in inducing our Indian people to believe that we are their enemies and oppressors, and in alienating their affections from us. These various intermeddlings hastened the crisis which compelled the State to the course which she has taken; and the day must speedily arrive when all the heart-burnings on this subject must be put to final rest. The combined and combining influences now in operation against the character, interest, peace, and prosperity of the State, cannot be much longer deplored in silent inaction; nor ought we to place any reliance on inefficient measures. Unfounded calumny and prejudice, kept at a distance, may be endured; but domestic and household enemies produce unceasing disquietude and danger.
The unfortunate remnant of Cherokee Indians remaining in Georgia ought now to consider themselves the admitted charge of our peculiar care; and if possible we ought, as their friends and benefactors, to preserve and cherish them. They ought not forcibly to be dispossessed of their homes, or driven from the land of their fathers; they ought to be guarded and protected in the peaceable enjoyment of a sufficient portion of land to sustain them, with their families, in their present abodes, so long as they may choose to remain; and their rights and property should be as well secured from all lawless depredation as those of the white man. It would be as cruel as unjust, to compel the aborigines to abandon the graves of their fathers; but in the present extraordinary state of things it would be visionary to suppose, that the Indian claim can be allowed to this extensive tract of country - to lands on which they have neither dwelt, nor made improvements.
Principles of natural law and abstract justice have often been appealed to, to show that the Indian tribes within the territorial limits of the States ought to be regarded as the absolute owners and proprietors of the soil they occupy.
All civilized nations have acknowledged the validity of the principles appealed to, with such modifications and interpretations of these principles as the truth of history has verified, especially in the settlement of this country.
The foundations of the States which form this confederacy were laid by civilized and Christian nations who considered themselves instructed in the nature of their duties by the precepts and examples contained in the Sacred Volume which they acknowledged as the basis of their religious creed and obligations. To go forth, subdue, and replenish the earth, were considered Divine commands . . .
4. Wilson Lumpkin to the House of Representatives, 2 Dec 1831, in Lumpkin, Removal of the Cherokee Indians, vol. 1, 96-98.