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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Proclamation by Josiah Martin concerning an agreement between the Transylvania Company and the Cherokee Nation
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
February 10, 1775
Volume 09, Pages 1122-1125

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. No. 222.]
A Proclamation by Governor Martin against Richard Henderson and the Transylvania Purchase.

Whereas his Majesty by his Royal Proclamation bearing Date at St James's the seventh day of October 1763, did among other Regulations

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thereby made, declare his Royal Will and Pleasure with respect to his Territory claimed by the Indian Nations in North America in the following words: “And Whereas great Frauds and Abuses have been committed in the purchasing Lands of the Indians to the great Prejudice of our Interests and to the great Dissatisfaction of the said Indians. In Order to prevent such Irregularities for the future and to the end that the Indians may be convinced of our justice and determined Resolution to remove all reasonable cause of Discontent, we do with the advice of our Privy Council strictly enjoin and require that no private person do presume to make any purchase from the said Indians of any Lands reserved to the said Indians within those parts of our Colonies where we have thought proper to allow Settlement; but that if at any time any of the said Indians should be inclined to dispose of the said Lands the same shall be purchased only for us in our name at some public Meeting Assembly of the said Indians, to be held for that purpose by the Governor or Commander in Chief of our Colony respectively within which they shall be: And in case they shall be within the limits of any Proprietary Government they shall be purchased only for the Use and in the Name of such Proprietaries conformable to such Directions or Instructions as we or they shall think proper to give for that Purpose.”

And Whereas in and by an Act of the General Assembly of this Province intituled “An Act for restraining the Indians from molesting or injuring the Inhabitants of this Government and for securing to the Indians the Right and Property of their own Lands”; it is, among other things, “Enacted, That no white Man shall, for any consideration whatsoever, purchase or buy any Tract or Parcel of Land claimed or actually in possession of any Indian without special Liberty for so doing from the Governor and Council first had and obtained under the Penalty of Twenty pounds for every hundred Acres of Land so bargained for and purchased; one half to the Informer, and the other Half to him or them that shall sue for the same.”

And Whereas I have information that a certain Richard Henderson, late of the County of Granville in this Province, confederating with divers other Persons, hath, in open violation of his Majesty's said Royal Proclamation and of the said act of the General Assembly of this Province, entered into Treaty with certain Indians of the Cherokee Nation for the Purchase and Cession of a very large Tract of Country, by some reported to be Two Hundred Miles Square, by

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others Three Hundred Miles Square, and said to be part of the hunting Grounds of the Cherokee Nation, and actually comprized within the limits of the Colony of Virginia and the Royal Grant to the Right Honorable the Earl Granville.

And whereas, this daring, unjust and unwarrantable Proceeding is of a most alarming and dangerous Tendency to the Peace and Welfare of this and the neighboring Colony inasmuch as it is represented to me that the said Richard Henderson and his Confederates have conditioned to pay the Indians for the Cession of Land before mentioned a considerable quantity of Gunpowder, whereby they will be furnished with the means of annoying his Majesty's subjects in this and the neighboring Colonies; and that he hath also invited many Debtors, and other persons in desperate circumstances, to desert this Province and become Settlers on the said Lands, to the great injury of Creditors.

And whereas, it is to be apprehended that if the said Richard Henderson is suffered to proceed in this his unwarrantable and lawless undertaking, a settlement may be formed that will become an Asylum to the most abandoned Fugitives from the several Colonies, to the great Molestation and Injury of his Majesty's subjects in this Province in particular and to the manifest Detriment of the Interest of Earl Granville, within whose proprietary District the Lands treated for as aforesaid by the said Richard Henderson with the Cherokee Indians are deemed and reported to be in part comprehended: I have thought proper to issue this Proclamation hereby in his Majesty's Name and also in Behalf of the Earl Granville, as his Agent and Attorney strictly to forbid the said Richard Henderson and his Confederates, on pain of his Majesty's highest displeasure, and of suffering the most rigorous Penalties of the Law, to prosecute so unlawful an Undertaking, as also to enjoin all his Majesty's liege subjects to use all lawful means in their Power to obstruct, hinder and prevent the Execution of his Design of settlement, so contrary to Law and Justice and so pregnant with ill consequences. And I do hereby forewarn all, and all manner of persons against taking any part or having any concern or dealings with the said Richard Henderson, touching the Lands for which he is said to have entered into Treaty with the Indians as aforesaid or with any other Person or Persons who have engaged or may engage in Projects of the like Nature, contrary to the Tenor of his Majesty's Royal Proclamation aforesaid, as every Treaty, Bargain and Agreement

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with the Indians repugnant thereto is illegal, null and void, to all Intents and Purposes, and that all partakers therein will expose themselves to the severest Penalties. And as it is necessary for the more effectual Prevention of such illicit and fraudulent dealings with the Indians, to advertise them of the Rules and Regulations established by his Majesty's Proclamation; it is hereby required of his Majesty's subjects having intercourse with the Indians and particularly of the Officers appointed to superintend Indian Affairs, that they do fully explain to them the beneficial Nature and Design of the said Royal Proclamation to themselves and that they do make the Indians sensible of the high Offence they commit against his Majesty in doing anything contrary to the directions thereof.

Given under my Hand, and the Great Seal of the said Province, at Newbern, the 10th day of February, Anno Dom 1775, and in the 15th year of his Majesty's Reign.


God save the King.
By His Excellency's command.
James Parratt, D. Sec.