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Special Message

December 30, 1808

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

I lay before the Legislature a letter from Governor Claiborne on the subject of a small tribe of Alabama Indians on the western side of the Mississippi, consisting of about a dozen families. Like other erratic tribes in that country, it is understood that they have hitherto moved from place to place according to their convenience, without appropriating to themselves exclusively any particular territory; but having now become habituated to some of the occupations of civilized life, they wish for a fixed residence. I suppose it will be the interest of the United States to encourage the wandering tribes of that country to reduce themselves to fixed habitations whenever they are so disposed. The establishment of towns and growing attachments to them will furnish in some degree pledges of their peaceable and friendly conduct. The case of this particular tribe is now submitted to the consideration of Congress.


Thomas Jefferson, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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