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During my absence, Mr. John H. Davis had charge of my office and its affairs, and conducted matters to my entire satisfaction.
Andrew Lee and Benjamin F. Lee, both from South Carolina, have rendered me very efficient aid in various ways in the discharge of my
du. ties. I may make the same remark of. William H. Mitchell, avhose general health has somewhat interfered with his efficiency.
I may here state, I am under increased obligations to Judge Joab Houghton for valuable information, and for pointing out to me avenues through which I might glean more. I may be pardoned, I trust, for saying my efforts have been unceasing, and that I have avoided no exposure, either by night or day, in order to comply with your instructions; and although the compliance is not precise and accurate in every particular, yet I am emboldened to say, with such aids and such assistance as I have named above, there must be a near approximation to a compliance, where a compliance has been possible; and that it is sufficiently so, or will be when this paper is completed, to enable the government at Washington to legis. late and order wisely in the premises.
Recent information has confirmed me in opinions heretofore gravely im. pressed upon my mind; and I now the more readily proceed to lay before you a summary, or rather a condensation of the suggestions contained in, my previous letters, and such other suggestions and facts as may possibly serve to some extent to guide you in the management of our Indian affairs in this country, under such laws as the Congress of the United States may be pleased to enact in relation thereto.
On yesterday' or the preceding afternoon, as I am informed, a part of the lost mail, concerning which I wrote you on yesterday, (No. 9,) was received by Governor Washington.
It appears that Chapitone, the second in rank among the Navajoes, was found by the governor, and others of Zunia, at Pagnati, a small pueblo be. longing to and about two leagues from Laguna. This occurred about the Sth of the present month. Chapitone stated that he and his people gathered all the stolen property, collected together the captives, and had prepared themselves in every way to comply with the terms of the late treaty, and would have done so but for the statements of Mexican trad-rs, represent. ing that all the Pueblo Indians, the Spaniards from the villages near the Pueblos, and American troops, were marching to their country for the purpose of exterminating them, and taking possession of all that belonged to them. Under the impressions made by the statements of these traders, they were frightened from their purpose of being at Jemez on the day appointed. It was then he resolved to ascertain from actual observation whether the reports of the traders were true or false, and therefore it was he was at Pagnati. He accompanied the Zunias to Jemez, sent out a mes. senger, who brought in the recovered portion of the lost mail, and sent word to Governor Washington and myself that he and others would be at San Isidora on the 28th or 29th of this month, prepared to comply with the terms of the treaty. These are the facts as gathered by my agents, who were charged to go out and inquire into this matter.
Some time about the 5th of this month, at and near the Spanish village Le Bugarito, not more than fifteen miles north west of Laguna, Navajoes, and others unknown, attacked the people of said village in the day time, killed two Spaniards and wounded one, and succeeded in carrying off as captive a woman.
This morning an Indian came in from Cochiti, a pueblo on the west side of the Rio Grande, a few miles north of Santa Domingo, and informed Governor Tyashington in my presence that he and his friends had killed three Apachus the preceding day, overtaken in the manuer" of driving off Sheep belonging to their village. He further said there were a number of Apaches in the mountains beyond Cochiti, who gave them much trouble by driving off their stock, killing their men, and making captives of their women and children.
This Indian, in behalf of the people of Cochiti, asked for munitions of war.
The governor, the grand captain, and the captain of war, from Zunia, an Indian pueblo, which you will remember is 201,07 miles west of Santa Fe, have been with me to-day. These are intelligent, active, and athletic Indians, and stated their grievances with great energy, and were especially vehement and vindictive in their denunciations of the faithlessness of all Navajoes. They represented they had been greatly harassed since we left their village on the 16th of September last; that wheresoever they went, they were under the necessity of going guarded and armed, and that they had to watch their horses, mules, and sheep during every hour of the twenty-four.
& These people asked for arms and ammunition, and permission to make a war of exterminplion against the Mwajoes.
The deputation from Zunia also stated there were five hundred and fifty-five able-bodied men in their village, and only thirty-two fire. arms, and less than twenty rounds each for said arms.* They spoke confidently of their ability to protect and defend themselves against the ag. gressions of the Navajoes and Apaches; and if permitted to form a combi. nation of Pueblos, they could and would exterminate these tribes, especially every Navajo who should be so unfortunate as to be caught south of the high mountains north of the San Juan, a supposed tributary to the western Colorado, provided the government of the United States would furnish the necessary fire arms, amtunition, and subsistence. That a combination as suggested above could accomplish the end so desired by them, admits not of the slightest doubt, notwithstanding the ties existing between the Navajoes, Utahs, and Apaches, backed as they might be by the Comanches, provided the Mexicans from either side of the line between the United States and Mexico, and all others, were effectually prevented from the indiscriminate and vicious commerce now open to them, and against which there seems to be at this time not the slightest impediment.
While at Zunia I saw several Mexican traders, who hailed from various places; all, however, on our side of the supposed boundary line between the United States and Mexico. They informed me they had travelled hrough the Apache country from the Rio Grande, west, a great distance on the Gila river, in the direction of the Colorado. T'hey spoke of the Apaches as good people, who have treated them kindly, which fact is not to be doubted; and although it was true that these Indians had a number of Mexican captives, they were nevertheless friendly with and peaceably disposed towards the people of the United States, and guiltless of outrages generally.
* Mr. F. Brown, an American, assisted in taking this census, and says there are 597 mer, and 42 muskets and rifles, and 555 men without fire-arms.
So long as these wandering merchants are permitted a free and unrestrained access to the wild and roving Indians of this country, just so long are we to be harassed by them and their allies, the various bands of robbers and other disturbers of the peace, to be found east, west, north, and south, and whose agents these merchants may be. It is through the medium of these traders that arms and ammunition are supplied to the Indians who refuse submission to our authority. These traders go where they please without being subjected to the slightest risk; but one not of the fraternity dare not advance an inch abroad, without risking life and property. Why is it that these traders have no fears, no apprehensions, and pass in every direction through the country roamed over by the Comanches, Apaches, Navajoes, and Utahs, unharmed in person or property, when these same Indians show by their conduct a determined and eternal hostility to all Mexicans and others who remain quietly at home, and whose wives and children, and property of every kind, are unsafe beyond the shadow of their own domicils?
The question cannot be answered in such a way as to justify a further toleration of these travelling merchants, who are daily creating much anxiety among, and bewildering many of the Indians of the various pueblos, by attempting the impression that the government of the United States are unable to hold possession of this country; that the Mexican government, at this time, has twenty-five thousand troops marching, or ready to march, into New Mexico, for the purpose of reconquering and repossessing the ceded domain; and that extermination will be the fate of all Indians who are found in alliance with, or claiming the protection of the United States; and further, if it were possible (and none but a very wild imagination can think it possible) that the Americans should continue to hold the country, the fate of all Indians is fixed, as, nothing will satisfy the American people short of the entire possession of their whole country and their utter extermination. To this may be added, the crafty misrepresentations of wicked priests, aided by the robbing and thieving instincts of others, have also continued to give circulation to falsehoods of every hue, for the purpose of alienating these people, and causing them to believe the Americans were more heartless and untruthful than their former oppressors, and more insatiable in their purposes upon their property than the banded robbers of the mountains.
The whole object of these people is, to keep American settlers out of the country as long as possible; for their presence 'might lessen the power of some, and throw impediments in the way of others, so as to check their present impositions and frauds upon the Indians, and put an earlier end to their designs upon the lands of this country, in covering the most desirable spots with fictitious grants. I do not assert that all these mischievous people are under preconcerted arrangements; but the tendency of their efforts points to a common end.
There is scarcely a day passes, that a deputation from some one or more of the pueblos does not come to me with statements confirmatory of what is herein stated, and the facts noted in my previous communications; and the question comes up, ought not some effective remedial measures to be adopted at once? Before I conclude this letter I will show, what to me is very plain, the measures that should be adopted for the government of the Indian tribes in this far-off region.
First, then, the Pueblos. You are already apprized of the fact, if we in
clude the Mochies, only, beyond Zunia, these people of various tongues, each unknown to the tribes of their respective origins, are to be found in villages (pueblos) at uncertain distances from each other, in an extent of country near four hundred miles square. Their pueblos are built with direct reference to defence, and their houses are froin one to six stories high, and not one is reached in the ordinary way, except by ladders. These and all other Indians of this country send out mounted warriors only; foot soldiers remain at home, and fight on foot only when their pueblos are assaulted.
The rapidity of the movements of all Indian warriors or robbers shows the utter worthlessness of infantry, except to take care of localities and property.
To remove and consolidate the Indians of the various pueblos at mon point, is out of the question. The general character of their houses is superior to those of Santa Fe. They have rich valleys to cultivate, grow quantities of corn and wheat, and raise vast herds of horses, mules, sheep, and goats, all of which may be immensely increased, by properly stimulating their industry, and instructing them in the agricultural arts. For the reasons, in an economical point of view, heretofore given, the ernment of the United States should instruct these people in their agricultural pursuits. They are a valuable and available people, and as firmly fixed in their homes as any one can be in the United States. Their lands are held by Spanish and Mexican grants—to what extent is unknown; and in their religion they are Catholics, with a certain admixture of an early superstition, with its ceremonials; all of which attaches them to the soil of their fathers—the soil upon which they came into existence, and the soil upon which they have been reared; and their concentration is not ad. visable.
But, in considering this subject, it must not be forgotten there are a few old Spanish villages to be found in the vicinity of, perhaps, all the pueblos; and the extent of their grants and privileges is not yet known, and judicial proceedings only can reveal the truth in relation to these matters. In this way is the Indian country of the pueblos chequered, and the difficulties in relation to a disposition of them suggested.
Santa Anna, as Major Weightman, a gentleman and a very intelligent lawyer, informs me, decreed in 1843 that one born in Mexico was a Mex. ican citizen, and, as such, is a voter; and therefore, all the pueblo Indians are voters. But still the exercise of this privilege was not known prior to what is termed an election, the last one in this Territory. I understand this was a hurried affair, and manageable voters picked up at whatever place found; and this arose from their extreme anxiety to secure the services of an exceedingly clever man, the Hon. Hugh N. Smith, as the delegate of certain influential citizens of this Territory. Under this view of the subject, what, will you do with them?
They must become citizens, sooner or later, of the United States; and, if there was a State or Territory to be formed immediately west of the Rio Grande, I should not hesitate to say these Pueblo Indians are entitled to all the rights and privileges of citizens of the United States as mere voters. As to the rights which it may have been designed to confer upon them under the 9th article of the late treaty, I venture not an opinion. If Congress must give to this country a territorial government, they must, of ne. cessity, include the Spanish; and if there be such, Mexican villages too,
that are found in the neighborhood of the pueblos. If the Pueblo Indians are to be taxed, they are, from their general intelligence and probity, as inuch entitled to select their agents as the mass of New Mexico. But, for the present, unless a Territory or State is to be organized on the western side of the Rio Grande, these people should be subjected only to the laws passed by the Congress of the United States. The Mecicans and the Puebln Indians have not one feeling in common.
It is a subject of great delicacy; yet I apprehend it is easier to dispose of the tribes of roving Indians than the better and more civilized Pueblo Indians.
In disposing of the “savage” Indians, the most vexatious, troublesome, and delicate questions will arise from our obligations as recorded in the 11th article of the before referred to treaty. At all hazards, and without reference to cost, the government of the United States will, to the letter and to the spirit, comply with our every pledge, and redeem our every undertaking
It is not necessary to repeat to you that the Apaches, although frequently roving east of the Rio Grande, their conceded localities, the great mass of them, when at home, are to be found on the west side of the aforesaid river, and on both sides of the boundary line between the United States and Mexico, as indicated by the maps, running west, several hundred miles to or near the Pimo villages. Here are to be found a majority of the captives to be delivered up under the before mentioned treaty. Here are a people who feed on game, the spontaneous products of the soil, and the fruit of other people's labor. Here it is the boundary line will present a barrier to the castigations which these Indians should receive. Here you will find about an equal number upon each side of the boundary line, all alike committing depredations; and it may be we shall be called upon to pay millions on account of the doings of Mexican Apaches, whose bad deeds will be charged to those on our side of the line-the one not being better than the other.
Here, too, the most delicate questions will arise. How are these people to subsist, if you efectually check and stop their depredations? How are you to comply with your obligations under the aforesaid 11th article, with-, out invading foreign territory?
To establish a proper state of affairs in this country, with the economy which the government of the United States should and will ever observe, requires a strong arm, and a prompt arm, guided by an enlightened patriotism and a generous spirit of humanity.
It Expend your milion now, if necessary, that you may avoid the expenditure of millions hereafter.
The Comanches and Apaches, with all the adjacent fragments of other tribes, must he penned up; and this should be done at the earliest possible day.
If the Navajoes comply with the treaty as entered into with Governor Washington and myself, it is believed the Utahs will ask for a similar treaty. There are strong indications of a disposition to yield upon their part, independently of the course which the Navajoes may pursue. But suppose these tribes continue to withhold their submission to our authority, and to war upon our interest: it will be absolutely necessary to removeand concentrate these people.
To what localities should these wild tribes be confined?