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In Their Own Words

November 09, 1797

Letter Opposed Indian Removal

The following letter from Colonel Thomas Butler to Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins shows not all military leaders favored forcible removal of Indians from their lands:

“…The Indians are unquestionably the rightful possessors of their lands; they have ever been so, and there is but two ways of ousting them, conquest or compact… . I remember your and my being together at Colonel Craig’s when he urged the right of intrusion; he said he had lived their ten years, knowing himself to be an intruder, and five years of that time lived in an intrusion castle. I remember that the bare mention of intrusion as a right was new to you and me… .”

Source: Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. IX, Letters of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1806 (Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1916), p. 221.