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that we would have a white doctor and plenty of medicines, and none of us would die. That all these things were to be given to us in payment for our lands. That we would not have to work for them, but had a right to them under the treaty. The agent treats us well, except George, at the Yaquima. I do not like him.
I do not like him. He troubles our women ; he beats them. This is all I have to say.
John. It is well that you should understand what little I have to say. I never saw you before, but expect you came here for a good purpose. It is good in the President to send to know what our hearts are. For my own part my heart is sick; many of my people have died since they came here; many are still dying. There will soon be none left of us. Here the mountains are covered with great forests. It is hard to get through them. We have no game; we are sick at heart; we are sad when we look at the graves of our families.
A long time ago we made a treaty with Palmer. There was a piece of land at Table Rock that was ours.
He said it should remain ours, but that for the sake of peace, as the white settlers were bad, we should leave it for a while. When we signed the paper that was our understanding; we now want to go back to that country.
I am glad I can now send my talk to the President. During the war my heart was bad. Last winter when the rain came, and we were all starving, it was still bad. Now it is good. I will consent to live here one year more; after that I must go home. My people are dying off. I am unable to go to war, but I want to go home to my country.
George. I also want to tell you what my heart is. What the white chiefs have said to me. I have not forgotten. When Palmer was buying our lands, we sold him all our country except two small tracts, one on Evans' Creek and one on Table Rock. That portion was reserved for our own use. We did not sell it, and such was the understanding when we signed the treaty. I would ask, am I and my people the only ones who have fought against the whites that we should be removed so far from our native country. It is not so great a hardship to those who have always lived near here. But to us it is a great evil. If we could be even on the borders of our native land, where we could sometimes see it, we would be satisfied. I have kept silent until now. The time has come when I can talk out. I want the President to know how we feel about it. I am carried further away from my country than anybody else. My heart is not bad ; it is sick. Palmer told us, when he bought our country, we could live at Table Rock and Evans' Creek for five years. Then we would have to come to the reservation. I told Palmer we would never consent to sell him those lands; we wanted them to live upon; we could always fish and hunt there; we only wanted the mountains, which were of no use to the whites.
I am told the President is our Great Father. Why, then, should he compel us to suffer here? Does he not know it is against our will? If he cannot fulfill the promises made to us through his agents why does he not let us go back to our homes? Does he like to see his children unhappy? We are told that if we go back the white people will kill us all-that their hearts are bad towards us. But the President is powerful. Let him send a paper to the whites, and tell them not to trouble us; if he is powerful they will obey him. We are sad now; we pine for our native country. Let us go back to our homes, and our hearts will be bright again like the sun.
Before I end my talk, I would ask what has become of our guns. Palmer took them from us on pretence that he would return them as soon as we reached the reservation. We have never seen them since. Has he stolen them?
John. I have a word more to say, and then I am done. My heart is for peace. When there was war we fought like brave men. But there were many of us then; now there are few. I saw, after we had fought for our country, that it was no use- that we could not stand it long. I was the first to make peace. My people were dwindling away
before the white man. All the tribes that were united with us were fighting in different parts of the country; but they were badly provided with arms. The whites were numerous and rich. They had muskets and ammunition. My son-in-law went to the Dalles to live with the Yakimas and Klickitats. I made peace, and sent word to him, and to all the hostile tribes, to quit fighting. I told him to tell them I had made peace, and it was no use to fight any more. For this I think we deserve well of the President. He ought to let us go home, and not compel us to remain here, where we are all dying.
Jim, chief of the Too-too-tenays. My talk shall be short. I think we have been here long enough. We came from the mouth of Rogue river. There we had plenty of fish. It is a good country. We want
back to our old fishing and hunting grounds. What George has said is our heart. We have long been wishing to see this tyee, sent here by the President. We want to tell the truth. We want the President to know our condition. This tyee is writing our names on paper. We hope that paper will be sent back to us. We are afraid to have our names on it. If it should be lost we will all die..
The talk having thus ended, I desired the interpreter to communicate to the Indians as follows:
I had listened to what they had to say with great attention, and taken it all dow.. in writing. Every word of it would be transmitted to the President at Washington. He would read it all, as if he heard it with his own cars. It was true they had many causes of complaint, but this was owing to circumstances over which the President had no control. The people on the other side of the great deserts, where he lived, were very numerous. They came, many of them, from far off countries, across the sea, and every year they became so numerous that the country became too small for them. Then they came over here to seek a place to live in. Here they found many tribes of Indians; and at first they were peaceable, because there were not many of them. Soon, however, as they kept coming, and became more numerous, they had to cultivate the lands to live by, and they got into trouble with the Indians. Now, the President being unable to stop all these white people from overrunning their country, asked the Grand Council to pay them for their lands, and furnish them with a place to live in, where they could be kept apart from the whites, and protected against the hostilities of bad men. Why should
they now desire to go back? They were fed and clothed; they had plenty of beans and flour; good blankets, and shelter from the rain. Soon they would have fields of their own; but they must work. All white people had to work. The shirts and blankets they wore were made by white men’s labor. Were they better than white men, that they should live without working? If they went back they would all be killed. Their country was all settled up, and the game was nearly gone. In a few years there would be neither deer nor elk upon the hills. They ought to be paid for their lands. If General Palmer deceived them about Table Rock and Evans' creek it was wrong. But it would be all fairly represented to the President. In the meantime, however, they must remain quietly on the reservation. If they undertook to go back to their homes they would be shot down, and then the President's heart would be sad, because he could no longer protect them.
CHARGES AGAINST R. B. METCALFE.
After a careful investigation of the charges preferred by Lieutenant Sheridan against Agent Metcalfe, for alleged violent and improper conduct towards the Indians, &c., as reported to the superintendent through the Department of War, I have arrived at the conclusion that they are based upon the following facts :
Lieutenant Sheridan had undertaken to move certain tribes of Indians to the reservation. As they were somewhat averse to going, and were in a disaffected condition, he deemed it expedient to disarm them; but promised them that, upon their arrival at the reservation, their arms would be returned to them. They were well provided with muskets, of which they well understood the use. A number of them, however, retained their arms; and, as soon as they came upon the reservation, they demanded the return of those which had been taken from them. At this time the condition of the various tribes was so threatening that Mr. Metcalfe did not think it safe or proper to comply with their demand. On the contrary, he felt constrained to compel them to turn over the arms which they still retained. The employés give him notice that unless this was done, they would be forced in self-preservation, to quit the premises. The Indians refused to surrender their muskets. Mr. Metcalfe then armed himself and a party of four employés and, in defiance of their threats, took the muskets away from them. Lieutenant Sheridan regarded this as a breach of faith towards them, and so reported it to his commanding officer.
The whole quarrel seems to have arisen from a prevailing jealousy between the civil and military authorities as to the control of the reservations.
The agents being responsible for the maintenance of peace among the Indians under their charge, and the security of the lives of the employés, I consider that the officers of the army have no right to interfere, unless called upon, and I can see nothing to disapprove in the course pursued.
As to the various other charges of insolent and improper language, exciting threats, &c., it is no doubt true Mr. Metcalfe has a way of his own of talking to Indians; but they appear to like him, nevertheless, and his wonderful control over them during the trying ordeals of the past winter shows that he thoroughly understands their character.
As an example of this remarkable supremacy, I need only refer to an incident which recently occurred, and which is attested by all the employés.
The murderers of Benjamin Wright, late an Indian agent on the coast, had brought with them to the reservation his scalp, over which they held nightly dances. Mr. Metcalfe regarded this as an outrage, and demanded the scalp. Upon their refusal to deliver it up, he took the murderers, two in number, dragged them into his office, in the face of two hundred Indians, and there told them that unless the scalp was delivered in fifteen minutes he would kill them both. One of them was then set at liberty. The Indians continued to gather, and there seemed to be a general determination to kill the agent and the few employés who stood by him. Before the expiration of the allotted time, however, the scalp was delivered and peace restored.
It has been my desire in this report to furnish the department with information on every point affecting the public interest that came under my observation. From the great extent of country travelled over and the variety of subjects introduced, it has been out of my power, in consequence of other pressing engagements, to conclude my sabors on Indian affairs in time for this mail. There still remain the following agencies and reservations to be reported upon : Vancouver, Dalles, Warm Springs, Simcove, Umpqua, Astoria and Flat Head, and Nez Percés agencies.
I have also collected valuable data, and contemplate reporting fully on the subject of the late Indian war in the Territories of Oregon and Washington. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. ROSS BROWNE,
Special Agent of the Treasury Department. Hon. J. DENVER,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
35TH CONGRESS, Y HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. 1st Session.
CONTRACTS MADE DURING THE YEAR 1857 BY THE COM
MISSIONER OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS,
THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR,
A report of the Commissioner of Public Buildings of the contracts made
by his office during the year 1857.
JANUARY 25, 1858.–Laid on the table and ordered to be printed.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, January 20, 1858. SIR: I have the honor to transmit to you herewith, to be laid before the House of Representatives, the communication of the Commissioner of Public Buildings, dated the 17th ultinio, and the copies of contracts made in his office in the year 1857, and of other papers, as required by a resolution of the House of the 16th April, A. D. 1838. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Secretary. Hon. JAMES L. ORR,
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States.
OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS,
December 17, 1857. SIR : In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives, dated 16th of April, 1838, I respectfully transmit to you here
I with copies of the contracts made with this office during the current Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN B. BLAKE,
Commissioner, , Hon. JACOB THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Interior.