James Madison Papers

James Madison to William Wirt, 12 October 1830

Ocr. 12. 1830

Dr. Sir

I have recd. yours of the 5th. The explanation of your motives in not declining the cause of the Cherokees was not needed. Of their purity it was impossible for me to entertain a doubt. From the aspect of the publick proceedings towards the Indians within the bounds of the States, there is much danger that the character of our Country will suffer, and I do not know that any formal discussion of the case can make it worse; whilst by bringing into full view, the difficulties & alternatives which beset it, those proceedings may possibly be mitigated in the eyes of the world:

The circumstance seeming most to impair the national character of the Indians, is the admitted restriction on the sale of their sales. May not the restriction be regarded as taking effect agst. & through the purchasers? It is plainly rightful agst. such as are subject to the Govt. imposing the restriction, and made so, agst. the subjects of all the process connected with this Continent, by the common understanding among them that the subjects of each should in that respect be under the controul of the others. With respect to individuals, if such there be, who belong to powers not parties to that sanction, or who assume a State of expatriation, the restriction must be resolved into an interposition, benevolent, as well as provident agst. frauds on the ignorance or other infirmities characterizing the Savage modes of life With great esteem & cordial regards

J. M.

Draft (DLC).

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