Hartford: Printed by Elisha Babcock, 1797. 39, [1 blank] pp. Disbound, tiny hole on title leaf costs two letters in Bishop's name and parts of two letters on verso. Good+.
On the Yazoo Land Fraud. The introduction states, "This Pamphlet is an...answer to the 'State of Facts,' published by the Georgia Companies. It contains the outlines of the present state of the Georgia business, and a brief sketch of the arguments on both sides, with such Commentaries as the compass of the work would allow." Georgia's Companies had issued their defense in 1795. See Howes G126.
Georgia had granted four land companies the right to buy what later became Mississippi and Alabama, for a half million dollars. Virtually the entire Georgia legislature was bribed. Enraged, Georgia's Crawford-Jackson political faction spearheaded the election of a new legislature the next year which rescinded the grant. A State constitutional amendment ratified the rescission. Bishop says Georgia's land grant is void: in addition to the rampant fraud, Georgia had never acquired title to the lands, which belonged to the resident Creeks, Chickasaws, and Choctaws. But the Companies had nevertheless made many sales of the lands to settlers and speculators. These purchasers, known as the 'Yazoo Claimants', disputed Georgia's rescission. In 1810, after years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Fletcher v. Peck, the landmark case construing the Constitution's prohibition on a State's impairment of the obligations of a contract. The Court held unanimously that Georgia's rescission was unconstitutional.
FIRST EDITION. Howes B471. Cohen 7859. Evans 31830. 111 Eberstadt 227. DeRenne 278. Not in Field or Gilcrease-Hargrett. Item #38811