Sac and Fox Indian Council of 1841.
The Council having met at 11 o'clock A. M. Gov. Chambers addressed the assembled chiefs, braves and head-men as follows: My friends; We are now about to enter upon a subject of vast importance to you and one of deep interest to the Government of the United States. Your great father, the President, has sent us here to act the part of friends towards you, and we wish you to act as such towards us. We want your own honest & candid opinions upon the subject we are about to submit to you, and not the opinions of your traders and those who have claims against you. We want, I say, your own opinions for we believe you are capable of forming
322correct ones and honest enough to express them. Your friend from Washington who has been sent here by your great father, the President, will explain to you what the President wants. We come as friends, from your great friend the President and we wish to act towards you in pure friendship. We do not wish to entrap or over-reach you, but to act honourably and fairly towards you and we wish and believe you will act so towards us.
Hon. Mr. Crawford:
My friends and brothers: Your great father the President of the United States has sent me in conjunction with my powerful friend on my left and my friend the Governor of Wisconsin on my right, to tell you what he wants. I am extremely happy to see you once more friendly and united, and I sincerely hope you will remain like the iron on a wheel, no part of which can move without the whole. You are met a handsome and powerful people, but you must know that you will become weak if you do not cultivate peace and friendship among yourselves and cease to follow the advice and practice of those whose design is to destroy you. What is better than anything else, you are honest still, but will not remain so if you obey the council of those whose endeavor it is to corrupt you. The times past have satisfied your great father that there is no safety for you unless you are removed beyond the reach of white men, where they can
323have nothing to do with your funds or anything that concerns you. We wish to purchase the lands you now occupy and claim, but not without your full and free consent. To get that assent, freely and without the controul of any body we have sent away all white people from you and from the council house, and want you to be let alone, to get your opinions without the interference of white people. It is the opinion of the Sac & Fox nations we desire and not the opinion of persons coming from a distance who want your money and care nothing about your condition or happiness. Having these views for your advantage, we propose to you in behalf of the President of the United States to cede to the United States all that portion of land claimed by you and embraced within the present limits of the Territory of Iowa. For this we propose to give you one million of dollars and money enough to pay your debts. The country we wish you to remove to should such cession be made, will be on the head waters of the Des Moines and west of the Blue Earth River. To remove apprehension of hostilities from your red brothers in that section, we propose to establish and man three forts there for your protection to be established before your removal from your present villages. Out of the million of dollars we propose that you have farms & farmers, mills and millers, blacksmiths, gunsmiths, school houses, and a fine Council House. But what will be of more value to you
324than all, we would propose to build a house for each family, each house to be worth not exceeding one hundred & fifty dollars, to fence and plough six acres of ground for each family. We propose to build for each of the chiefs a house worth not exceeding three hundred dollars and fence and plough twelve acres of ground for each. We then intend you all to live in one village, like brothers. This is the proposition we are authorized to make. If you will once try this mode of life, you will never quit it. The white people have found it good. You will be happy with your wives and children in fine, warm & close houses. Your children will grow strong and be healthy, if kept from the weather & well fed and you will all live long.
But to make your children respected, they should be taught to read & write. To enable them to do so, we propose to place fifty thousand dollars at interest, for the purposes of instruction. If you will live in houses, cultivate the land and educate your children you will be contented and happy. I have now told you the terms upon which we propose to treat. You will probably want time to reflect upon this subject.In making this proposition I have been honest and plain with you and I expect the same from you. Any other course of conduct would be unworthy of you and unjust to the Government.
My Friends: You have listened to what your friend the chief from Washington has said. I approve of every thing you have heard from him. I am sent here to remain as your superintendent. It is my duty to watch over you and see that no injustice is done to you by any one, either by our traders or the government. If the President should require me to do what was wrong towards you, I would spurn the direction. We have been directed by him to treat with you and to make you proposals for the purchase of your lands. If I thought the proposals you have heard were unjust or dishonourable I would not sanction or advocate them. I may be mistaken as to what is for your interest, but you are capable and must judge for yourselves. I have fought the
325red men and esteem them brave. Brave men are always honest and I respect them for their bravery and honesty. You have now been two years without your money. You are surrounded by blood suckers who are constantly endeavoring to obtain all the money paid to you. All the money you yesterday reced. has already gone into their hands. You have paid them enough to supply all your wants for a year. Those of them who sell you whiskey are men who desire only your money and would kill all your women and children to obtain it. They have no souls. They are men of bad hearts and you should not permit them to exercise any influence over you whatever. I believe it to your interest to get out of their reach. Your great father proposes to give you such an opportunity — he proposes to you to go north. I know that in going north you will go towards your enemies the Sioux and Winnebagos but the President authorizes us to propose to establish for you a line of forts for your protection and to place sufficient troops there to prevent aggression upon you, and if they will not be peaceable, to chastize them. Farther south a great many red men have been gathering for some years and frequent difficulties have occurred among them. You would be much safer where we propose to send you. We propose to give you as your friend from Washington has stated, one million of dollars and money enough to pay your debts; to build you out of that one million of dollars comfortable houses and farms, mills, blacksmith shops, school houses, &c. Why is it the white people increase like the leaves on the trees and the red men are constantly decreasing! Because the whites live in comfortable house, are well fed and comfortably cloathed. Your band only fifteen years ago numbered no less than sixteen-hundred warriors, and now it numbers but twenty-three hundred persons, including men, women and children. Another reason why the red man is continually decreasing is that the evil spirit has been introduced among you in the shape of liquor impregnated with pepper and tobacco and other poisonous ingredients. But few as you now are, there are young men among you who will yet live to see you a powerful and prosperous people if you settle down and
326cultivate the earth as we propose to you. There is no reason why you should not increase as fast as any people on the earth if you live in comfortable houses, are well fed and keep clear of the vultures who are about you. It will indeed be a happy day to me to hereafter go among your homes and find you a happy & strong people. These old men and myself must soon be gone, but if we are so disposed, we can do much good for those who shall come after us. In deciding upon the acceptance of our proposal, we wish you to use your own judgment without the controul of others. "We have forbidden white men to have any intercourse with you during the progress of this treaty.
Ke-o-kuck, the Chief:
All our chiefs and braves have heard what you have said to us, and understand your desires. We are glad you have told us to reflect upon it and not decide immediately. Our chiefs and then our braves will have to council together before we can give you an answer. We have to take more time among us in matters of this kind, than the whites do. When the Sun is half gone tomorrow, we will give our answer.
Saturday, 16th Oct. 1841, 12 o'clock, Council met, Gov. Chambers said, We have come to hear what reply the chiefs and braves have to give to our proposals.
Ke-o-kuck, Sac Chief:
We have come together without coming to any conclusion. Many of our people are not accustomed to business and do not understand your propositions. We want them explained slowly and plainly. We do not know whether the houses are to be paid for from the thousand boxes or to be paid besides. We wish this explained so there will be no misunderstanding. We hope we shall be excused for our not understanding, for our people are not much acquainted with business. After you will explain to us, we shall have a council among ourselves alone and then explain & talk over the whole matter among ourselves. We wish a guard stationed around us to prevent interference from the whites while in council.
Hon. Mr. Crawford repeated and explained the proposals made as substantially stated in yesterday's proceedings, whereupon council adjourned 'till Sunday 17th at 10 O'clock.
Sunday 17th Oct. 10 o'clock, Council met.
Kis-ke-kosh, a Fox brave and chief:
Wish-e-co-mac-quet's band are going to give their opinions first and then Ke-o-kuck's band.
Wish-e-co-mac-quet, Sac Chief, called Hard-Fish.
My braves and warriors who sit around me had a council yesterday. All our chiefs, braves and warriors had one council and are all of one opinion. We have thought of our families and those who are to follow us, and my answer is the answer of all. It is a great concern to us and we hope the great Spirit and this earth will bear favourable witness to our answer. It is impossible for us to accept your proposals. We can't subsist in the country where you wish us to go. It is impossible for us to live there. In reflecting upon it, it seems like a dream to think of going and leaving our present homes and we do not want to hear any new proposals.
Pow-e-sick, Fox chief from Iowa River:
You have heard through Wish-e-co-mac-quet the opinion of our whole nation. We have thought of the condition of our families, and what it will be where you wish us to live. We hold this country from our fathers. We have an hereditary right to it, and we think we have a right to judge whether we will sell it or not. According to our custom, our chiefs own all the trees and the earth and they are used for the benefit of our people. We should give up a timber for a prairie country if we went where you wish. I call the great spirit, earth, sky and weather to witness that we choose what is best for our people. After being a powerful people, we are now but the shade of one. We hope the great spirit will now pity and protect us.
Pash-o-pa-ho, Sac brave:
We yesterday listened to what was sent to us from our great father at Washington. We have had a council together about it and now come to give our answer. After thinking of our families and those who are to come after us we think
328we cannot accept your proposals. We have already given to government all the land we owned on the other side of the Mississippi River and all they own on this side. Our country is now small and if we part with it we cannot live. We hope you will not be displeased with our refusal.
Kish-ke-kosh, Fox brave:
You have heard the unanimous opinion of our nations. We do not wish to accept your proposals. This is the only country we have. It is small and it is our only timber.
Wish-e-wah-ka, a Fox brave;
You have already heard our opinion. We are all of the same mind. This is the only spot of timber we own and it is small. The country you wish us to remove to is without timber and very poor. We hope our great father will not insist upon our removal.
Ke-o-kuck, Chief of the Sac nation:
Day before yesterday we did not understand the terms upon which you wish to buy our land. We have since then had a council & have come to one mind. We have never heard so hard proposals. We never heard of so hard a proposal as you have made us. The country where you wish to send us, we are acquainted with. It looks like a country of distress. It is the poorest in every respect I have ever seen. We own this land from our fathers, and we think we have a right to say whether we will sell or not. You have read and heard the traditions of our nation. We were once powerful. We conquered many other nations and our fathers conquered this land. We now own it by possession and have the same right to it that white men have to the lands they occupy. We hope you will not think hard of our refusal to sell. We wish to act for the benefit of our children & those who shall come after them, and we believe the Great Spirit will bless us for so doing. As to the proposal to build school houses, we have always been opposed to them and will never consent to have them introduced into our nation. We do not wish any more proposals made to us.
Wa-pel-lo Chief of the Foxes:
You said you were sent by our Great Father to treat with us and buy our land. We have had a council and are of one
329opinion. You have learned that opinion from our chiefs & braves who have spoken. You told us to be candid and we are. It is impossible for us to subsist where you wish us to go. We own this country by occupancy and inheritance. It is the only good country & only one suitable for us to live in on this side the Mississippi River and you must not think hard of us because we do not wish to sell it. We were once a powerful, but now a small nation. When the white people first crossed the big water and landed on this Island, they were then small as we now are. I remember when Wiskonsin was ours and it now has our name. We sold it to you. Rock River & Rock Island was once ours. We sold them to you. Dubuque was once ours. We sold that to you and they are now occupied by white men who live happy. Rock River was the only place where we lived happily & we sold that to you. This is all the country we have left, and we are so few now, we cannot conquer other countries. You now see me and all my nation. Have pity on us. We are but few and are fast melting away. If other Indians had been treated as we have been, there would have been none left. This land is all we have. It is our only fortune. When it is gone, we shall have nothing left. The Great Spirit has been unkind to us in not giving us the knowledge of white men, for we would then be on an equal footing, but we hope He will take pity on us.
Ap-pa-noose a Sac Chief:
You have truly heard the opinion of our nation from our chiefs and braves. You may think we did not all understand your proposals, but we do. We have had a council upon them among ourselves and concluded to refuse them. We speak for our whole nation. We were told at Washington that we would not be asked to sell anymore of our land, and we did not expect to be asked to do so, so soon. We would we willing to sell some of our country, if we could subsist where you wish us to live. The country you offered us is the poorest I ever saw. No one can live there. Wish our great father at Washington to know the reason why we do not wish to sell.
My friends: We have heard your answer to the proposals the President directed us to make to you. We hope and have reason to believe you have been governed by your own judgment and not by the advice of others. Your great father has no intention to drive or force you from your lands. I am sent here to remain and to watch over and attend to you — to see justice done, and I will not see wrong done to you while I can prevent it. I have been led to believe that the Country we wish you to go to is different from the description you have given of it. Your friend Gov. Doty has lately been over it and says it is different. He says there is timber there. There must be some mistake. Now I will tell you why your great father proposes to sell at this time. He knows and I know that white people have got near you — are selling you whiskey, and that we cannot prevent them from selling or you from buying. Bad white people are thus encouraged to sell and you are degraded by buying, and you will become more & more degraded until you become entirely extinct. Troops have been sent here, but on account of your proximity to the white settlements, improper intercourse with them cannot be prevented. I had learned and reported to your great father that you bought goods which you did not need and immediately traded them away for whiskey. Your great father thought you wished to pay your debts. I have ascertained that 300,000 dollars will not pay them. This is an other reason why he thought you should sell. A few months ago you went to Montrose and bought fifteen thousand dollars of goods, none of which you needed (save perhaps a few horses) and they are now all given to the winds. How will you pay the man of whom you procured them? The whole amount of your annuities for five years will not pay your debts to your traders. They will not trust you any more. They have sold to you heretofore, expecting you would sell your lands and that they would then be paid. You will get no more goods on credit. It was kindness then on the part of your great father which induced him to offer to buy your land — to furnish you money with which you could render yourselves, your wives and children comfortable & happy.
331It is my business to superintend your affairs and watch over your interests as well as the interest of government, and I want you to reflect upon the fact that in a few days all your money, will be gone, you will be without credit — you may be unsuccessful in your hunts & what will become of you? Even your whiskey sellers will not sell you that without money or an exchange of your horses, guns and blankets for it. Many of you do not reflect upon this now, but you will before a year, with sorrow.
These Chiefs (Gov. Doty & Mr. Crawford) are going away. I am to remain and it will be the first wish of my heart to do you all the good in my power, but I cannot render you much service unless you are more prudent. We shall not come to you any more to induce you to sell your lands however great may be your sufferings. We shall let the matter rest until your misfortunes & sufferings will convince you that you have been guilty of an act of folly in refusing to sell your lands —
The Indians signifying no further disposition to treat, the Council was indefinitely dissolved.
I hereby certify the foregoing to contain substantially true & correct minutes of the council held as above stated by Hon. John Chambers, Hon. James D. Doty & Hon. T. Hartley Crawford with fhe Confederated tribes of the Sac & Fox Indians on the 15th day of Oct. 1841.
JAS. W. GRIMES, Secty. of the Commission.
Sac and Fox Indian Council of 1842.
Minutes of a council held by Governor Chambers with chiefs, braves and headmen of the Sac and Fox Mission, commencing on the 4th of October, 1842, at the Sac and Fox Agency, Indian Territory for the sale of their lands in said Territory.
Tuesday morning, 10:00 o'clock, council opened. Governor Chambers rose and said "My friends, I am glad to meet you once more in council. When I was here last
332year, at the fall of the leaf, we made you an offer for the sale of your land in this territory to which you were not willing to accede. I then told you that no further attempt to treat with you would be made until you asked for it. Towards the close of the last winter, your agent told me you wished to go to Washington for that purpose. I wrote to your Great Father and told him of your wishes, but the great council of the whites was then in session and he had too much business to permit him to meet you there.
But he has now sent me here to talk to you again about it and he has told me he does not wish to hold frequent councils with you and make frequent purchases of you. He wishes now to settle you in a permanent home.
At the time we were here last fall, we had bought a part of the Sioux country on the St. Peters river, and you remember we wanted you to go there, but the great council have rejected that treaty and put it away, and we now have no land there. We could not therefore, offer you a home there if we wished to and you were willing to go to it, but you were not willing to go there then.
Your Great Father has told me to say to you now that he still wishes to buy the whole of your country and find you another home where you will not be troubled by the white people as you are here. You see that he has been compelled to keep part of his army here to protect you and he now wants to give you a home where they can no longer molest you. If he buys the whole of your country, he will want you to move further west until he can find another home which he will do as soon as he can.
I will now tell you what he offered. He will give you one million dollars (one thousand boxes of money). Out of that he expects you to pay all the debts you now owe. He will put a part of it in such a situation that it will never lessen and give you so much a year through all time; that is, he will give 5% a year or fifty dollars on each box. He directs me to urge upon you to apply some portion of it to educate your children, to learn them to read and write and to keep accounts so that they may not be cheated by bad men. He wished you to make yourselves farms and build comfortable
333homes. He thinks it is very important to you to make yourselves comfortable homes and to educate your children. You will be better and happier and it will prevent white men from imposing upon you. He has instructed me to urge this upon you because he has seen that your red brother of the south who have done so, have good cattle, hogs and horses, and good homes and are increasing in numbers and are happy. He is your friend and he knows that this is for your good. He wants you all, your old men and braves, and your young men, to consider this deeply. Your money is now wasted, like water; your young men are dissipated and you all have a great deal of trouble. If you will adopt his advice, your money will last longer, your young men will be kept from the evils of intemperance, your condition will be bettered and you will all be happier.
I will now repeat to you briefly that if you sell your land, your Great Father will give you one thousand boxes of money. Out of that he will pay all the debts I may be satisfied ought justly to be paid (after the gentlemen I have here with me have investigated them to prevent your being cheated) and he will take pleasure in disposing of any amount of your money you may wish to for the purpose of educating your children and making them wiser and better. He does not wish to force you ( ) do so but he knows that it is for your good and he hopes you will see it and adopt it and it will give him great pleasure to hear you have done so.
If you accept the proposition now made, he will want you for the present to go west of a line running north and south from the mouth of the Racoon river. He only wishes you together to get out of the way of the white men who are continually rushing in upon you in great numbers and giving him trouble to send them back into the white settlements, and he will select a permanent home for you as soon as he can do so, so that you will not remain there long.
You will now take this matter into consideration and answer me tomorrow, and if you conclude to sell your land we will then enter into the details as to when you are to move and of the disposition you will have of your money."
Kaw Kaw Ke, Fox brave, then rose and said "My friends, the advice of our father is good and I hope we may all meet and talk it all over friendly and amicably." When several other braves from the different bands having repeated the same in substance, the council adjourned.
Thursday morning, October 6th, the council having reconvened. Kaw kaw ke, a Fox brave, having said (addressing the Indians) "Chiefs and braves of the Sac and Fox, as we will leave the answer to the matter now under consideration to him whom the Great Spirit has given us to be the representative of our people, and we, braves and warriors, will listen."
Powsheik, Fox Chief, "You have heard what my brave has said. We govern by the appointment of the Great Spirit, and by the will of the nation. This land was given to us to do with as we please. After the Great Spirit made this vast island, he placed the chiefs upon it, he gave us the sun and moon and stars and all the great lights; he gave us the beasts of the field and the birds that fly for our meat and for our dresses. He made the trees and gave names to them for our benefit, and he not only gave us these but he gave us the great medicine bag arid everything you see to make us a great people.
"You was sent by our Great Father to make a proposition to us for a sale of our lands. We have advanced and talked over several propositions among ourselves and you will hear the fourth one, to which we have all agreed."
Governor Chambers' commissioner then said "My friends I am glad you have determined to leave your chiefs to speak for you. I will consider it the answer of all of you and if I do not accept it, you can then say what other conclusion youcan come to."
Kish ke kosh, Fox Brave. "I suppose our father did not understand precisely what my chief meant. I will explain. He said that the answer about to be given would be by the chiefs whom the Great Spirit approves as the rulers of our people. This is the first time the Foxes have ever spoken first, in council. Heretofore it has been always our friends the Sacs. But my chief is the one to whom the Great Spirit
335first gave this laud, and you have heard him speak. We have been two days trying to make all of one mind to reconcile all to the answer about to be given, and you was perhaps impatient. We first proposed among ourselves to sell all our lands south of the Des Moines, but all did not agree. We then spoke of selling from Wishecomaque's
Wish e co maque, "You have heard what my friends, the Foxes have said. I was pleased to hear you advise us to think deeply of this matter and I think we have done so. Now the fourth proposition upon which we have all agreed is to sell all the land east of a line commencing where the northern boundary of Missouri is met by the eastern boundary of our session of 18 (for Indian purposes) thence northeast to a point on the Des Moines called Painted Rocks, (about eight miles from White Breast) and onward to the mouth of Deer River
"This is a serious matter with us. The country we now have left upon which to support our women and children is very small. But we have agreed among ourselves to this offer. We talked a great deal before concluding upon it, weighing and examining the matter well before we made up our mind. And we are now willing to sell you this portion
336of our land because we want to pay our traders and to please our friends and relations by giving something to them."
Pash e pa ho, "I am pleased that you gave us time and advised us to consult among ourselves. It is an important matter and we wished the consent of all our people before we answered you which is the reason we were so long in consultation. Last fall our Great Father sent commissioners to buy our land but we could not agree and you have now made us the same proposition to which you have heard this answer of our chiefs and which is the answer of all."
Cha ko mart or Wa pe ke shit the Prophet, "I am not ashamed to come before you like a man and express my pleasure at the understanding to which we have come among ourselves. I hope that when you make this treaty you will blot out all our debts and I have thrown off my blanket to show you that I am willing to give all I have to pay an old debt we owe for having robbed a trader, Mr. George Hunt, a long time ago."
Governor Chambers, "My friends, I told you to consider well on this matter among yourselves. It is the wish of your Great Father that you should all unite in whatever you do, and although he would not regard the voice of a few turbulent ones, he would be pleased to have you all of one mind. I told you the day before yesterday and now tell you again, it is his wish to buy all your land provide you a better home. He knows as well as you do that your game is nearly all gone from your lands here and that if you go north to hunt, you meet with your old enemies, the Sioux, who will fight and kill you, and he wants to put you where your hunting grounds will be better. He knows that if he buys only a part of your land now, you will soon have to sell more. The Whites will follow you as buzzards do a carcass to get your money and everything of value you have, and they will follow you again. You know this and you know that it will be the case as long as you have any land to sell. If you sell all the lands you now own, and get the money for them, you will be out of their reach and be able to live easier and better and have better hunting grounds than you now have. One of (you) said you wanted money to pay your traders; well,
337if you pay them now, how long will it be before you will again be in debt to them and have to pay them again and when you sell it all, how will you then pay them? You see then you will be compelled to continue selling until you will be shoved off your lands entirely and will then have nothing left to pay with or live upon.
"The president looks upon you as a part of his great family. It is his duty to take care of you and to protect you and see that you are not imposed upon. He does not want your land for present use. He has enough in Illinois and Missouri, and in the north. You attach great value to your lead mines but all you have sold him have only been a trouble to him. Some of his people make money by it, but others wear out their lives in digging without any success. He does not consider lead mines of any advantage to him. Those he has, gave him more trouble than profit. Day before yesterday, I made you the proposal the President directed me to make to you and you have rejected and have made one of your own. You have offered me less than a half of your land and if I were to accept your offer I could only pay for it in proportion to the whole sum I have offered you for all, and all I could give you for it would but little more than pay your debts. Your land then would be gone, and your money would be gone to the traders and whiskey sellers who would be ready next year for as much more.
"I cannot therefore accept your proposition. The President would be displeased if I were to do so because you would be ruined by it. I wish you therefore to go into council again, think well of what I have said to you think of the effect of selling a small part of your lands and then I will meet you in council again."
Keokuk then said "This is the second time we have heard you on this subject. I think my friends have made a mistake in saying that all of our peoples have been in council. That cannot have been." And leaving the council, it thereupon dispersed.
Saturday, October 8th. The council having been assembled.
Ma why why, a Fox, said, "We told you the day before Yesterday that we had determined to permit those men whom
338the Great Spirit had placed over us to speak for us in this matter and they will now give our final answer."
Powsheik, "I believe we are now all present. This is an important occasion to us and as is usual with us in such cases, we have taken much time to consider it and we are all willing now to accept the proposition you made us last fall."
Kish ke kosh, "You told us day before yesterday to go back to our tents and reconsider this subject. We have done so and after much difficulty have reconciled all to the answer just given. We were certain you had forgotten something on this occasion which you promised to us last fall. Then you was willing to give us one million dollars and pay all our debts in addition and as you appear to have forgotten it, we now remind you of it and submit it as the wish of all our people. In our treaties heretofore, our friends the Sacs have had the entire management but what my chief has said is the wish of all, both Sacs and Foxes. We are one people. In our new home we hope you will not let us be imposed upon by the red men we live near and we want you to prepare the agents of those people for our coming."
Wish e co maque, "I am pleased to hear the opinion of our friends the Foxes. I also was of opinion that you had forgotten a part of the offer made last fall and was listening to hear it. We wish you to adhere to that proposition. Our people have not forgotten it and have agreed to accept it."
Pash e pa ho, "You have heard what has just been said. It is good. Although you forgot to mention that you would pay our debts in addition to giving us $1,000,000, you can do so now and we know you will. It is also good that you inform the agents of our brethren on the Missouri to tell their people that we are coming among them. Some of them are bad men, for I know them my self, and you know us well enough to tell them that if they do not meddle with us, we will not trouble them, and to tell them too, that if they molest us we will retaliate and you know that we can do it."
Keokuk, "You have heard the cause of our delay and I presume think it is a good omen. And now on this clear day. I give you the answer of all our people to your proposition for the sale of our lands. Last fall, our Great Father told
339you to offer us $1,000,000 and to pay all our debts, and find us a good home if we would let him have all the land we owned. After many consultations, among ourselves, we have come to the conclusion that it was good, but we want them to look at our new home and prepare to move their women and children there. We wish therefore to remain in our present country west of a line running north and south through the mouth of White Breast, for three years. We want you also to inform those people on the Missouri that we are coming to live among them and that we want to live peaceably. Some of them steal and sometimes they kill each other, but if they do so to us, we will have to protect ourselves and to fight too. We caution you now so that if they molest us you cannot be angry if we seek revenge. We will not trouble them but they must let us alone.
"We are now ready to draw up the writing and in doing so, we have many little things to talk about; many poor friends and relatives to think of, and also to provide for the future as well as the present and past. We would like to have our white friend, Mr. Choteau's son-in-law, Mr. Sandford, and our interpreter, Mr. Le Claire, to be with us. They know us and can advise us."
Governor Chambers, "My friends, I am glad that you have come to an agreement among yourselves as one people. I can only know and consider you as such in my intercourse with you. You are all brothers. You have inter-married. You hunt together and live together and you can only be considered as one nation. You have now agreed to sell your lands and ask the protection of your great father in your new homes. This you shall have, my long intercourse with you has made me your friend, and if I thought you could not live peaceably and happy where he places you, I would not ask you to sell and remove. I will tell your red brethren wherever you go, that you are coming to live near them and that they must be your friends. Your great father has soldiers everywhere who can and will protect you if these people attempt to molest you. But I hope we will be able to place you among your friends whom you know and with whom you have hunted.
"I am now ready to prepare the papers and will meet your chiefs this evening for the purpose of talking over the details that are to be written down. You can bring any of your white friends you wish with you, and we will talk it all over."
On meeting the chiefs and braves in the afternoon in a similar conversation, they again urged that the Governor should confirm the offer made last fall of paying their debts in addition to the $1,000,000 to which he replied that he had told them very candidly what their great father had allowed him to offer them, and that he could not consent to extend the offer. They, however, insisted upon it, and after some consultation among themselves, they inquired how much he thought their debts would amount to, to which the Governor replied that he had not yet been able to ascertain the amount, but that from the examination that had been made, he thought it would not exceed $300,000. They then said they would agree to pay $200,000 of the debts out of their $1,000,000, but their great father must pay the balance, which the Governor finally agreed to, but said it must be understood that no debts should be allowed by them but such as he should consider just, to which they agreed.
The chiefs then said that having agreed to sell their land they must have a home upon it west of the line running north and south from the mouth of the White Breast at the Des Moines to strike the neutral ground on the north and the line of the state of Missouri on the south, for three years. To this the Governor answered that it was very important to them to remove as early as the President could point out the place to which they could go and he would much prefer that they should remove as soon as that was done.
The chiefs said it was probable they would wish to do so, but still they desired to have three years to remove in. The Governor then told them that if they would agree to let the line run north and south from the Painted or Red Rock on White Breast, understood to be 6 or 8 miles from the junction of that stream with the Des Moines and would remove west of that line by the first of May next, he would agree that they should remain there three years, if they insisted upon
341it, but advised them earnestly against doing so longer than the President should give them a place to go.
This being agreed to, they entered into a variety of arguments to prove that they ought to make provision for their poor friends, meaning the half breeds and white people who had inter-married among them. The Governor advised them against such a disposition of their money and their friend Major Sanford told them they ought to divide the half breeds with the Governor and let him provide for one half of them as they were the children of white people as well as of the redskins, but that it was wrong to give them anything. It was too much like hiring the white men to take their women for wives. They however adhered to their wish and left the matter open for further consideration.
The chiefs by Keokuk then told the Governor that they wanted to give one mile square of land around the agency house to the family of their old friend General Street, their late agent. The Governor asked them why they wished to make such a gift and told them he did not wish them to begin to make presents of land. There would be no end to it. Keokuk answered that General Street had been good friend to them when alive, that they had buried their distinguished chief Wapello along side of General Street, and had given their agent $100 to erect such a stone over his grave as was over General Street; that their tribe was now going away and they would not consent to let these graves go into the possession of strangers; they want the family of General Street to take care of them.
Sunday morning, October 9th.
At the meeting of the council this morning Governor Chambers told the Chiefs and head men that if anything further had occurred to them which they wished to suggest before the treaty was drawn up, he wished to hear it, and then told them that he would again recommend to them very earnestly the adoption of the wishes of their great father, the President, that they should apply some portion of their money to agricultural purposes and to the education of their children, and reminded them of what had been recommended to them last year upon those subjects. He then told them it was his advice to them to make some provision for their chiefs who were compelled to attend the affairs of the tribe, and were expected to entertain and feed strangers, and friends who visited them, and had not time to hunt and attend to their own interests. And he recommended that they should give the principal chiefs $500 each per year to be applied with the advice of their agent. He recommended to them to make provision for a national fund to be expended by their chiefs with the consent of their agent for the support of their poor and helpless of the tribe and for such other benevolent purposes as might present themselves, and to purchase provisions when their hunts failed and their necessities required.
Keokuk then answered that as to expending their money for agricultural purposes, or schools, or building houses, they had consulted among themselves and determined as they did last year they could not consent to it. A number of the braves then spoke and all concurred in the suggestion of giving their chiefs $500 a year and creating a national fund as recommended by the Governor. They said they believed he was their friend and had a good heart, and they wished him to fix the amount to be retained every year as a national fund. Finally the chiefs and braves were unanimous in assenting to the adoption of those suggestions. Several of their chiefs then spoke with much earnestness of their wish to provide for two women of their tribe who were married to white men, said they had given up the idea of providing for any others upon the advice of the Governor, but they hoped he would consent to their giving one box of money to
343each of these women because the Indians very often ate at their houses and were always kindly treated by them. The Governor told them he liked the manly liberality which they always manifested and especially when it was directed towards their women, but that if they opened the door, he knew there were forty or fifty more ready to rush in and that they could not withstand them. These people always gathered about them when they made a treaty or received a payment, and cared nothing about them at any other time; that these white men's wives deserved nothing more from them than any other of their women and they were only offering a premium to white men to marry their prettiest young women and deprive their young men of a choice. He entirely disapproved it and hoped they would give it up — which, upon further consideration, they agreed to do.
They then requested that provision should be made for marking the line from the Painted or Red Rock on White Breast west of which they were to remove. They wanted it so marked that the white people could see it and wished that they should be allowed to follow the surveyors over it.
The Indians finally requested that the papers might be drawn up and prepared for signing, and the Governor desired them to meet him early tomorrow morning to look into the debts that were brought in against them, and tell him which of them were just and which of them were not so. Whereupon the council adjourned.
The council having reassembled, at 10:00 o'clock on Monday the 10th of October, Governor Chambers proceeded to read the articles of the treaty to the Indians present and to have every part of it carefully interpreted to them, requesting them repeatedly to ask explanations if there was anything they did not perfectly understand. They all expressed their entire satisfaction with the terms of the treaty as read to them, but there was a blank left for the insertion of the aggregate amount of their debts which the Governor told them could not be filled until he held a council with them on that subject (of the claims which had been presented against them). There was also a blank for the amount of the national fund which they proposed to retain each year
344out of their annuities; that he had considered their request to him to fix the sum, but felt at a loss about it and would be glad to have their views on the subject. He said he thought this fund had better be a large one. If they did not use it in any one year, there would be no loss of the money. It would still be in the hands of their agent for their use another year. He said he had thought of $200,000 as the least sum they ought to reserve and would be pleased to enlarge it if they were willing. They then consulted together and finally requested that the sum might be set down at $300,000.
Keokuk then said there was one thing he wished to mention to their father. They were now making their last treaty with their white friends for the sale of their lands, and it had been customary on such occasions for their great father to send their chiefs each a large medal and each of the principal braves a smaller one; and they hoped he would do so now. The Governor told him they would make the request of their great father and had no doubt he would take great pleasure in complying with it.
Keokuk then said there was another thing he wished to say. He understood that the great council at Washington sometimes altered treaties made with the red men after they were signed. That he and his people did not want this treaty changed after they had signed it, and they wished to have it written down in the treaty that it is not to be altered or changed in any way, and that if it is, it shall no longer be binding upon them. The Governor told them in reply that he would to satisfy them, insert a clause in the treaty that if any alteration or change in the treaty should be proposed by the Senate, it should be sent back for them to consider of it and if they disapproved the proposed change or amendment, it should have no effect and the treaty should be sent back to Washington for ratification or rejection as it was when they signed it. Keokuk answered for his people that they would be satisfied with such an article.
The commissioners appointed by the Governor to affirm the claims against the Indians then came into the council and together with the Governor and Chiefs, head men and braves,
345proceeded to council upon the various claims that had been presented.
The council having again assembled on this morning of the llth of October, the treaty was publicly read by the Secretary after which it was duly signed by the Commissioner and Indians. This done, Governor Chambers remarked: "My friends, this business on which we have been engaged, being now concluded, I take pleasure in saying to you that you have acted nobly and generously. I shall so inform your great father who I am sure will feel much kindness towards you. The step you have taken is an important one. I believe it will insure your greater comfort and happiness.
"In conclusion, I implore that the Great Spirit above will always watch over and protect you. I bid you now farewell."
And the Indians, having taken the Governor by the hand, the council dissolved.
I certify that the foregoing record is correct.
JOHN BEACH, Secretary.
Letters from Henry Dodge to George W. Jones, published In Vol. III, p 292, of the Annals of Iowa, tell of Jones defeating Doty in 1835 for delegate to Congress from that part of Michigan Territory not included in the new state of Michigan, but that Doty defeated Jones in 1838. Henry Dodge seems to have been bitterly opposed to Doty. He charges in these letters that Doty was interested in locating the capitol of Wisconsin at Madison because he was interested in real estate there.