« PreviousContinue »
consideration for this territory was the same number of acres elsewhere located. The inducement to the bargain set forth in the treaty was “the anxious desire of the Government of the United States to secure to the Cherokee nation of Indians a permanent home, and which shall, under the most solemn guarantee of the United States, be and remain theirs forever-a home that shall never in all future time be embarrassed by having extended around it the lines or placed over it the jurisdiction of a Territory or State, or be pressed upon by the extension in any way of the limits of any existing State.' To assure them of their title, a patent for the Territory was issued.”
This was the view of the Department of the Interior in 1870. In 1876 the Department says that affairs in the Indian Territory are " complicated and embarrassing, and the question is directly raised whether an extensive section of country is to be allowed to remain for an indefinite period practically an uncultivated waste, or whether the Government shall determine to reduce the size of the reservation."
The phrase “ whether the Government shall determine to reduce the size of the reservation" sounds much better than “ whether the Government shall rob the Indians of a few millions of acres of land;" but the latter phrase is truth, and the other is the spirit of lying.
The commissioner says that the question is a difficult one, and should be considered with calmness, and a full purpose to do no injustice to the Indians." He gives his own personal opinion on it " with hesitancy," but gives it nevertheless, that “public policy will soon require the disposal of a large portion of these lands to the Government for the occupancy either of other tribes of Indians or of white people. There is a very general and growing opinion that observance of the strict letter of treaties with Indians is in many cases at variance with their own best interests and with sound public policy.” He adds, however, that it must not be understood from this recommen
dation that it is “the policy or purpose of this office to in any way encourage the spirit of rapacity which demands the throwing open of the Indian Territory to white settlement." Ile says, “the true way to secure its perpetual occupancy by Indians is to fill it up with other Indians, to give them lands in severalty, and to provide a government strong and intelligent enough to protect them effectually from any and all encroachments on the part of the whites."
Comment on these preposterously contradictory sentences would be idle. The best comment on them, and the most fitting close to this sketch of the Cherokee nation, is in a few more quotations from the official reports of the Indian Bureau.
Of this people, from whom the Department of the Interior proposes, for "public policy,” to take away“ a large portion” of their country, it has published within the last three years these records :
“It has been but a few years since the Cherokees assembled in council under trees or in a rude log-house, with hewed logs for seats. Now the legislature assembles in a spacious brick council-house, provided with suitable committee-rooms, senate chamber, representative hall, library, and executive offices, which cost $22,000.
"Their citizens occupy neat hewed double log-cabins, frame, brick, or stone houses, according to the means or taste of the individual, with ground adorned by ornamental trees, shrubbery, flowers, and nearly every improvement, including orchards of the choicest fruits. Some of these orchards have existed for nearly twenty years, and are now in a good, fruitful condition. Their women are usually good house-keepers, and give great attention to spinning and weaving yarns, jeans, and linsey, and make most of the pants and hunter-jackets of the men and boys. The farmers raise most of their own wool and cotton, and it is not an uncommon sight, in a well-to-do Cherokee farmer's house, to see a sewing-machine and a piano.
“They have ample provision for the education of all their children to a degree of advancement equal to that furnished by an ordinary college in the States. They have seventy-five common day-schools, kept open ten months in the year, in the different settlements. For the higher education of their young men and women they have two commodious and well-furnished seminaries, one for each sex; and, in addition to those already mentioned, they have a manual labor school and an orphan asylum. The cost of maintaining these schools the past year (1877) was, as reported by the superintendent of public instruction, $73,441 65, of which $41,475 was paid as salary to teachers.
“They have twenty-four stores, twenty-two mills, and sixtyfive smith-shops, owned and conducted by their own citizens.
"Their constitution and laws are published in book form; and from their printing-house goes forth among the people in their own language, and also in English, the Cherokee Advo. cate, a weekly paper, which is edited with taste and ability.
“They have (and this is true also of the Choctaws, Creeks, Chickasaws, and Seminoles) a constitutional government, with legislative, judicial, and executive departments, and conducted upon the same plan as our State governments, the entire expenses of which are paid out of their own funds, which are derived from interest on various stocks and bonds—the invested proceeds of the sale of their lands, and held in trust by the Government of the United States—which interest is paid the treasurers of the different nations semi-annually, and by them disbursed on national warrants issued by the principal chief and secretary, and registered by the auditors.
"They are an intelligent, temperate, and industrious people, who live by the honest fruits of their labor, and seem ambitious to advance both as to the development of their lands and the conveniences of their homes. In their council may be found men of learning and ability; and it is doubtful if their
rapid progress from a state of wild barbarisın to that of civilization and enlightenment has any parallel in the history of the world. What required five hundred years for the Britons to accomplish in this direction they have accomplished in one hundred years."
Will the United States Government determine to "reduce the size of the reservation ?"
MASSACRES OF INDIANS BY WHITES.
I.-The Conestoga Massacre. When the English first entered Pennsylvania messengers from the Conestoga Indians met them, bidding them welcome, and bringing gifts of corn and venison and skins. The whole tribe entered into a treaty of friendship with William Penn, which was to last “ as long as the sun should shine or the waters run into the rivers."
The records of Pennsylvania history in the beginning of the eighteenth century contain frequent mention of the tribe. In 1705 the governor sent the secretary of his council, with a delegation of ten men, to hold an interview with them at Conestoga, for purposes of mutual understanding and confidence. And in that same year Thomas Chalkley, a famous Quaker preacher, while sojourning among the Maryland Quakers, was suddenly seized with so great a concern " to visit these Indians that he laid the matter before the elders at the Nottingham meeting; and, the idea being "promoted” by the elders, he set off with an interpreter and a party of fourteen to make the journey. He says: “We travelled through the woods about fifty miles, carrying our provisions with us; and on the journey sat down by a river and spread our food on the grass, and refreshed ourselves and horses, and then went on cheerfully and with good-will and much love to the poor Indians. And when we came they received us kindly, treating us civilly in their way. We treated about having a meeting with them in a religious way; upon which they called a council, in which