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title:“A Bill Declaring the Exclusive Right of the Commonwealth in Purchasing Indian Lands”
authors:George Mason
date written:1779-6-17

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Mason, George. "A Bill Declaring the Exclusive Right of the Commonwealth in Purchasing Indian Lands." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 2. Ed. Robert A. Rutland. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 518-19. Print.
Manuscript, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Va.

A Bill Declaring the Exclusive Right of the Commonwealth in Purchasing Indian Lands (June 17, 1779)

[17 June 1779]
To remove and prevent all Doubt concerning Purchases of Land from the Indian Natives, Be it declared by the General Assembly, that this Commonwealth hath the exclusive Right of Preemption from the Indians of all Lands within the Limits of it's own Chartered Territory, as described by the Act and Constitution of Government in the Year one thousand seven hundred and seventy six; that no Person or Persons whatsoever have, or ever had, a Right to purchase any lands within the same from any Indian Nation, except only Persons duly authorised to make such purchases on the public Account, formerly for the Use and Benefit of the Colony, and lately of the Commonwealth; and that such exclusive Right of Preemption will, and ought to be maintained by this Commonwealth, to the utmost of it's Power. And be it further declared and enacted that every Purchase of Lands heretofore made by or on Behalf of the Crown of England, or of Great Britain from any Indian Nation, or Nations, within the before mentioned Limits, doth and ought to inure for ever to and for the Use and Benefit of this Commonwealth, and to and for no other Use or Purpose whatsoever; And that all Sales a[nd] Deeds which have been or shall be made by any Ind[ian] or Indians, or by any Indian Nation or Nations, for Lands within the said Limits, to or for the separate Use of any Person or Persons whatsoever, shall be, and the same are hereby declared utterly void and of no Effect.

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