George Washington to Edmund Randolph, October 10, 1791
Mount Vernon, October 10, 1791.
By the Post of Friday, I received your communications of the 1st. instant; and, from the character of Mr. Campbell
I am glad to hear he is disposed to act as attorney for the district of Virginia; and that you had forwarded the
commission to him for that purpose. Also, that a pardon had been sent to Samuel Dodge, as it
appears that his errors were unintentional.
It is my wish and desire that you would examine the Laws of the General Government which have relation to Indian
affairs, that is, for the purpose of securing their lands to them; Restraining States or Individuals from purchasing
their lands, and forbidding unauthorized intercourse in their dealing with them. And moreover, that you would suggest
such auxiliary Laws as will supply the defects of those which are in being, thereby enabling the Executive to enforce
If Congress expect to live in peace with the neighbouring Indians and to avoid the expenses and horrors of continual
hostilities, such a measure will be found indispensably necessary; for unless adequate penalties are provided, that
will check the spirit of speculation in lands and will enable the Executive to carry them into effect, this Country
will be constantly embroiled with, and appear faithless in the eyes not only of the Indians but of the neighboring
powers also. For, notwithstanding the existing laws, solemn Treaties, and Proclamations which have been issued to
enforce a compliance with both, and some attempts of the Government s. west of the Ohio to restrain their proceedings,
The agents for the Tennessee Company1 are at this moment by public advertisements under the signature of a Zachariah Cox
encouraging by offers of land and other inducements, a settlement at the Mussle-Shoals, and is likely to obtain
Emigrants for that purpose altho there is good evidence, that the measure is disapproved by the Creeks and
Cherokees; and it is presumed is so likewise by the Chicasaws and Choctaws, unless they have been
imposed upon by assurances that trade is the only object in view by the Establishment.
I am Sir,
Your most obedt hble Servt
The Attorney Genl
of the UStates
Source : Library of Congress, American Memory, The George Washington Papers.
1. The Tennessee Company referred to was one of three land companies in
Georgias Yazoo land fraud. In 1789, the South Carolina Yazoo Company, the Virginia
Yazoo Company, and the Tennessee Company were formed to buy land from the Georgia Assembly.
For lack of good money the deal was not completed. In 1794, four new Yazoo companies, the
Georgia Company, the Georgia-Mississippi Company, the Upper Mississippi Company, and the
Tennessee Company managed to obtain through bribery, a vast amount of acreage, later
this deal was voided. (See map)
These companies were granting land in Indian territory. Therefore, their grantees would be intruders.
Most grant records of these companies have been destroyed.