THE situation of the numerous Tribes of Indians now located West of the Mississippi River, haying long claimed the attention of the Society of Friends, and increasingly so since their removal from their former homes, the Yearly Meetings of New England and New-York, in the year 1837, entered into a correspondence upon the subject, to ascertain in what way the efforts of Friends might be directed to their benefit. This correspondence was continued from time to time, and resulted in a proposition, that means should be taken to become more fully acquainted with their situation and necessities.
In the year 1842, our valued friends JOHN D. LANG and SAMUEL TAYLOR, JUN., from a sense of religious duty, and with the full approbation and unity of their friends, in order to carry into effect the concern of the Yearly Meetings aforesaid, proceeded to visit many of the Tribes of Indians in their present locations.
A condensed statement of the result of this visit is contained in the following pages, which after having been presented to the Yearly Meetings of Friends of New England and New-York, is now published for the information of the community generally, by the Committees appointed by the said Meetings to have charge of this concern.
Report, To the Committee of New England and New-York Yearly Meetings of Friends.
HAVING been permitted through the goodness and merciful preservation of our great Care Taker, to accomplish our journey among the Indians, we would now inform that we have visited about twenty tribes, and remnants of tribes of those located on the western frontier of the United States, and have taken the following notes and observations respecting them.
At the close of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends in 1S42, having consulted with several members of the committee on Indian Affairs, both of New England and New York Yearly Meetings, and they having expressed their concurrence in our prospect of visiting Washington at that time, in order to procure some documents from the Indian department, we proceeded directly there and had an introduction to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Upon being made acquainted with our business, he received us kindly, and freely offered to furnish us with such letters and documents signed by the Secretary of War and himself, as might be useful in facilitating our contemplated visit. While at Washington, we procured some public documents and reports respecting the Indians, and returned pretty directly to New York. There we made some arrangements with the committee preparatory to our journey, and then returned to our homes.
Having made the needful preparations, and having certificates of the concurrence and unity of the respective Meetings of which we are members in this engagement, we took leave of our families and friends the latter part of the Eighth month, 1842, On our way we called on some of the Indian Committee of New England Yearly Meeting, and then proceeded to New York: where, having completed our arrangements for the journey, we took leave of the committee and many other Friends, and pursued our way to Ohio Yearly Meeting. We there met with the committee on the concern for the Indians, of that Yearly Meeting, heard their report respecting the Shawnee School, and made such inquiries as seemed proper respecting the best mode of getting to the Mississippi River. Having a special desire to commence our journey as far north as the Winnnebago tribe of Indians — and fearing that the boats would be impeded on account of the low stage of the water in the Ohio River, it seemed most advisable to take the northern route. We accordingly travelled
6by land to Cleaveland, thence by steamboat to Detroit, and by land across the State of Michigan to the Mouth of St. Joseph's River. Here we took steamboat over Lake Michigan sixty miles to Chicago. After waiting one day in this place, we departed by stage for Galena and Dubuque, crossing the State of Illinois, a distance of one hundred and eighty miles. We reached the latter place in safety, though much fatigued with our journey, the roads being very dry and dusty, and the weather exceedingly warm. We arrived at Dubuque early on First-day morning, the 25th of Ninth Month; and the following evening procured a conveyance to the Winnebago Indians. On Second-day morning, we left in a wagon travelling in a north westerly direction about one hundred miles across a beautiful prairie country to Turkey River. On Third-day afternoon, while stopping for some refreshment, about twenty-five miles distant from the Indian village, there came to the house five or six Indians in a state of intoxication; having procured their whiskey at a shop near by. They were very noisy, calling for whiskey &c., and greatly annoying the peaceable settlers, The next morning, after leaving for the agency, we fell in with a number of companies, most of whom were intoxicated: some of them carrying whiskey on their ponies to their villages.
On Fourth-day of the week and 29th of the month 1842, we reached the Mission for the Winnebago tribe of Indians and took lodgings with the sub-agent David Lowry, where we were kindly entertained, by him and his family, and every facility in their power afforded us for conferring with the Indians, as well as a readiness evinced to furnish such information as was desired.
Winnebago Tribe of Indians.
THIS tribe is located north west from Iowa Territory, and west of Prairie du Chien, on lands called the Neutral Ground. They are located in different parts of this land in settlements called villages. Their principal one called the School Baud is near the sub-agency of David Lowry on Turkey River about one hundred miles north west from Dubuque, and within four or five miles of Fort Atkinson. They number altogether about two thousand. These Indians live in rude lodges or wigwams as they are sometimes called, built in the usual Indian style, by forcing forked sticks into the ground for posts, into the forks of which they lay poles for plates and ribs, preparatory to covering them with oak bark. The sides are either made of bark, mats made of flags, or skins fastened to the plates and extending to the ground. These wigwams are from ten to twenty-five feet in length, and about ten feet wide, The inside of the building is fitted up with a sort of frame work on each side, made of poles about two feet high and three feet wide, intended as a sort of bedstead, on which they fasten skins or mats where thy lounge and sleep, leaving a space through the centre four feet wide. At each end there is an
7aperture or door. The fire is built in the centre, the smoke escaping through a hole in the top.
There are not unfrequently as many as three or four families, amounting to twenty persons or more, occupying one of these miserable hovels. When about their homes, they live principally upon soups, made of wild fowl and venison, turnips and potatoes. They also eat an abundance of boiled corn. Some corn-bread and a very little wheat flour are used by them.
There is no regular order as to the time or manner of taking their meals. Some are seen eating their soups outside of their wigwams, some are eating while sitting on their beds; while others are engaged in different pursuits; and should any person of an other family happen to come into the lodge when he needed food, he would as freely partake without invitation as he would of his own.
The dress of the men consists mainly of blankets; all of them wear the waistcloth; some wear moccasins and leggins, and a few wear a calico frock or shirt. The head is generally uncovered; a few, however, use a turban. The dress of the women consists of a broad cloth skirt and blanket. Some of them wear moccasins and leggins; the head is entirely uncovered, except that the blanket is sometimes thrown over it for a covering, but they use no other. The dress of the large children is similar to that of the grown persons of the same sex. Most of the small children go naked during the warm season; but those that attend school are clothed similarly to the white children on the frontier settlements. The greater part of the men and women wear ornaments, such as wampum, beads, bells and jewelry. Most of the men paint their faces on special occasions; some part of the face is painted red and some black.
The principal employment of the men consists of hunting at certain seasons of the year; and when not thus engaged, they do but very little labor of any kind, it being considered disgraceful both by men and women for the man to be seen at work. Much of their time is spent in riding, of which they are exceedingly fond. They likewise spend a portion of it in ball-playing and other sports, and a considerable time is spent in lounging about in idleness. The women are generally industrious, performing the greater part of the manual labor both in the camp and on the land. They look dejected, and appear more like slaves than otherwise. Many of the women and children receive very severe treatment from the men in their drunken revels; from which cause some of them are maimed.
The Winnebagoes have but one school, and that is supported by the general government, and is under the immediate superintendence of the sub-agent. There have been, the past year, about ninety children at the school, some of whom have made pretty good proficiency in learning. The school was vacated while we were there. We were informed that there was much difficulty in getting a portion of the children to attend constantly, in consequence of an undue influence exercised over them by interested men. This school may be considered as rather an interesting institution; and, from what we
8could gather from the teachers, the children are as susceptible of instruction as the whites. They are taught in the English language altogether.
This tribe is governed by chiefs, who sometimes receive the office by hereditary descent; and at others by a choice of the people; and sometimes they are appointed by the agents of the general government. They have some vague notions of the Deity, or Great Spirit as he is more generally called by them. They also believe in a state of future rewards and punishments, and talk about a bad spirit. Very few if any have embraced Christianity.
The Winnebagoes this year raised about 2500 bushels of Indian corn, besides a pretty large supply of potatoes and other vegetables, on grounds prepared by the agent of the government near his location, by the band called the School Band. The annuity paid to this tribe amounts to nearly ninety thousand dollars in money, goods and appropriations for different purposes. Previously to their receiving it, the sub-agent collects the whole tribe and pays over to the head of each family the amount due them. Notwithstanding the large sum which they receive, they are still in a deplorable and suffering condition, and fast wasting away. Much of their misery may be traced to the treatment of some of the white people towards them. But leaving the past, and looking only to the present conduct of the white man, it is evident that unless something more effectual is done to break up the corrupt and iniquitous traffic in whiskey, as well as the fraudulent trade carried on among the Indians by some of those persons licensed by the government, the Winnebagoes will in a few years be numbered with the tribes that are not.
The Indian as a general thing, is improvident to the last degree, and but poorly calculated to keep any amount of surplus property; so that within four or five days the whiskey seller residing on the frontier, and the licensed trader who is permitted to vend his goods among them, get nearly all the money. The licensed traders are numerous, and generally plant themselves at the time the money is paid over, in the immediate vicinity of the place where the payment is made. They sell the Indians the most trifling and worthless articles for an enormous profit; the Indian is tempted oftentimes to buy these articles from their gaudy appearance. After he has parted with his last dollar in money to the whiskey seller or licensed trader, in payment of old debts for whiskey or for some of the above mentioned
9articles, (and the Indian is always largely indebted to these dealers,) he then takes the articles he has purchased of the licensed trader to the whiskey shop, and sells them for a much less price than he gave, and takes his pay in whiskey, at ten or even twenty times the actual cost to the settler. It is no uncommon thing for an Indian after he has parted with all his money and many other necessary articles, to barter away his gun, horse, and even his blanket for a few bottles of whiskey. We were credibly informed that these whiskey shops not unfrequently have large piles of blankets and large stacks of guns that have been taken from the poor natives for a little whiskey.
Thus we see that the policy of the government, and the benevolent efforts of those who are honestly laboring among them for their good, are almost wholly defeated by the avarice of those lawless men.
On Sixth day of the week and the first of Tenth month, agreeably to previous arrangement, we met about thirty of their chiefs and principal men in council at the agent's house. Our object in calling them together, was explained by David Lowry, the sub agent; and then our certificates from our friends, and the letters and talk from the Secretary of War addressed to the Indians, were severally read and explained to them. We then felt constrained to make a few remarks, and to extend such advice as seemed proper; after which, Little Hill, one of the chiefs replied; that what he had heard was very good, and that they had heard a number of talks from their great father, the President; and he had promised to help them and keep off the whiskey sellers, but he had not done it, and now it was too late. He supposed he had tried but could not, that he had such great matters to attend to that he could not see to their small concerns; and now it was too late to help them.
We then told them we did not believe it was too late for them to refrain from drinking whiskey. We told them that much that they complained of we believed to be true, and that the white man had wronged them, but that we wished them to understand that they yet had good friends among the whites, who were grieved with the conduct of bad white men towards them; we hoped they would not be discouraged, but try to do better themselves, and that we and our brothers at home were disposed to do all in our power to help them. And after making on our part some other remarks relative to their condition, they expressed their satisfaction. Little Hill spoke to some of the elder chiefs, and, as we understood, requested them to reply to us as he was young, and wanted some of his elder friends to make a speech. They severally said, they where well pleased with our talk but had nothing further to say. Little Hill then rose and shook hands with us, and then commenced speaking with us through the interpreter, young Lowry. Referring to their former condition previous to their intercourse with the whites, he said, "The Great Spirit had made us all, but he had made us different. Some men he made white, some he made red, and placed them at a distance one from the other. They, the red men, lived happy, and he supposed
10the white man lived happy too. They then had no sickness nor deaths amongst them, except from old age; all their people lived to be old and white-headed. But when the white man came among them, they then became sick, and died young. The white man brought fire-water amongst them, they supposed the white man got the whiskey from the bad Spirit, for surely they never got it from the good Spirit. They began to sell it to the Indians, and then their miseries commenced; and they had become reduced and could not refrain from drinking, so long as the white man sold it to them, and now they despaired of ever being any better, and the only way for them to be made better was to keep the whiskey away. The white man did not know what it was to go hungry and cold; but the poor Indian did, he believed that we pitied them and talked to them for their good, and he thanked us for it, and said he would tell it to his people, and hoped they would mind our talk, to which they all assented. He then said, Brothers I have nothing more to say, and shaking hands with us again sat down.
After gathering the foregoing facts and observations respecting the Wennebagoes, we took leave of our friend Lowry and family, as well as the other white inhabitants connected with them at the establishment, and returned to Dubuque, on the Mississippi. We then took steam boat down the river about two hundred miles to Burlington: thence we took stage and private conveyance by way of Mount Pleasant and Salem, Iowa, to the SACS and FOX agency, distant about eighty miles. We reached this place the eighth of Tenth month, about one o'clock, P. M. The tribes were, at the time, assembled for the purpose of negotiating a treaty with the General government, through Governor John Chambers, the negotiator. The whole Sac and Fox nation were in the neighborhood, but the men only attended the council. Just as we reached the council, the chiefs commenced speaking, and spoke with much animation. One of the Fox chiefs spoke first, and then a Sac, and so alternately till four had spoken, the last being Keeokuk, their principal chief, a celebrated orator. The purport of their talk was about the same, and resulted in an agreement to sell all their lands to the United States for the sum of one million and fifty-five thousand dollars. Eight hundred thousand of this sum was to be put at interest at five per cent., and the remainder to be appropriated to the payment of their debts. They were also to be provided with lands to settle on, south west of the Missouri River, where they were to remove within three years.
After the adjournment of the council at that time, we went to the agent's house, where the Governor put up during his stay at this place. He received us kindly and entered into conversation very freely, respecting the condition of these tribes of Indians. He remarked that unless something was done to better their condition, and that soon, they must in a very few years all be wasted away, in consequence of the wickedness and treachery of the whiskey sellers and other traders, who are taking advantage of these poor ignorant natives, by obtaining their money and other valuable articles in exchange
11for whiskey and trifling commodities of no real value to the Indians. These articles he remarked are frequently sold to them for ten or twenty, and in some instances for a hundred times their real cost; and in a very short time these unprincipled traders manage to obtain the last dollar the Indian has. And he further said, that some of the accounts brought in against the Indians stagger credulity; in one instance one of these accounts was exhibited for settlement amounting to sixteen thousand dollars, which he had ascertained to have grown out of the remnants of an old stock of goods not worth five hundred dollars. He remarked that whiskey was no doubt in many instances sold to the Indians, and charged as corn, blankets, or other articles which the licensed traders have a right to sell to the Indians, while it is unlawful to sell them whiskey. He said also, that the advice of the whiskey sellers and other traders was unbounded in its influence upon the Indian, and that he had found much difficulty in treating with them on that account, as these traders were constantly hanging about them and advising them against adopting such a course as would be for their good, and cautioning them not to leave the chase, nor lay down the gun or the blanket, not to have schools established among them, and in fine, against civilization in any way. What we saw and heard during our stay at the Council Ground, fully confirmed the statements of the governor. While we were there, we met with men of influential character, some of whom it is known have been long engaged in a trade with the Indians, by which they have amassed great wealth. These men used their utmost skill to make us believe that the Indians were a happy people; that there was no necessity for any benevolent exertions on their behalf, and that they were now living very comfortably. An Indian, say they, was made to hunt, not to work; and they are so very happy in keeping to their old habits of living, that any attempts to induce a change only serve to make them unhappy. They argued against educating the Indians, altogether, either within or without their borders; saying, they have as much knowledge as it is necessary for an Indian to possess.
There were also other men associated with these traders, either by friendship or otherwise, men of high standing in the community, who were forward in sustaining them in their selfish and erroneous statements. And what is most to be deplored is, that the Indians will more readily listen to the counsel of these men, than to those who are disinterestedly engaged for their good. We can but hope, however, that when they shall be removed to their new homes, all intercourse with their old advisers may be broken off, and they be left to receive better counsel from men who are not so intently bent on their own aggrandizement at the expense of the life and happiness of the Indian.
These tribes number in all about two thousand two hundred. They are a large stately race, particularly the men, None of these Indians to our knowledge cultivate the soil; but they are, in general, hunters. They have, however, a large pattern farm carried on for their benefit, by a government farmer. Their annuity at this time is about half the amount of that of the Winnebagoes. They live in
12wigwams or lodges similar to those of all the uncivilized Indians. They have no schools, nor any civil or religious institutions among them; but in other respects their manners and customs are about the same as those of the Winnebagoes. A few of their children have received some instruction at the Choctaw Academy in Kentucky; but for the want of a suitable opportunity to apply what little learning they may have obtained, and in consequence of the jealousy and prejudice of their own nation against civilization, soon after their return, they fall into the habits of their uncivilized brethren. There was little opportunity while there of conversing with them, owing to their engagements in making their treaty. We visited most of their tents and took a view of them as they were encamped on the open prairie.
After collecting what facts we could in relation to these tribes, we returned to Salem, a distance of about fifty miles, where we staid two or three days with Friends, and then returned to the Mississippi, where we took stage at Fort Madison for Keeokuk, and from thence by steamboat went to St. Louis. While there, we called on D. D. Mitchell, superintendent of Indian affairs. He received us kindly. We presented him with our documents from the government as well as our certificates from our friends at home. He gave us a passport to travel through all the tribes within his superintendence.
Here again the same lamentable tale was told respecting the devastation that whiskey was making amongst all the different tribes within his jurisdiction. He informed us that they were annually diminishing in numbers; and that unless something more effectual could be devised for their benefit by way of putting a stop to the iniquitous traffic in whiskey, they would soon be all wasted away. He gave us copies of reports received from the several schools within his superintendence, for our perusal.
We left St. Louis by stage for St. Charles, a distance of twenty miles; thence took steamboat for Westport, nearly five hundred miles up the Missouri River; the navigation of which at this time was considered very precarious on account of the low stage of the water, and the numerous snags and shoals in the river, which caused much anxiety to us as well as to the officers of the boat, both by night and by day; yet through all, we were mercifully favored to reach our destined port unharmed, and then proceeded by land about nine miles to Friend's School in the Shawnee Nation. We reached the school early in the evening, where we were cordially received by all the Friends of the Establishment, and hospitably entertained.
The day following we made arrangements for a council with the Indians, viewed the premises &c., and in the evening visited the school, heard the scholars answer scripture questions, spell, &c. The school consists of twenty-three boys and fourteen girls. We were pleased with its appearance at this, and subsequent visits that we made; the scholars manifested a good degree of activity and appeared cheerful and happy. They had made considerable proficiency in their studies, as much as could reasonably be expected under the circumstances
13in which they were placed. They are taught in the English language, and converse in English with the whites; but when conversing among themselves, they speak the Shawnee. Attached to this school is a large farm, the income of which goes to the support of the Institution. The boys work on the farm and are instructed in agriculture, the school being conducted somewhat on the manual labor plan. We were well satisfied with the appearance of the farm. The school is wholly supported by the Yearly Meetings of Friends of Baltimore, Ohio, and Indiana; and was instituted at its present location by them at the request of the Indians. We made a visit to the Methodist Mission School, distant about three miles from that of Friends'. Their buildings are of brick and large, and an extensive farm is attached to the Establishment. This school also, is conducted on the manual labor plan. We were informed that they instruct upwards of eighty children annually at this Institution. Our government has done much towards its establishment and support, and the deficiency is made up by the Methodist Board. The children were making tolerable progress in the various studies in which they were engaged, as well as in agriculture and the mechanic arts. The Baptists have also a small school in the Shawnee nation, but at the time of our visit it was vacated.
After visiting the schools, we called on several families of the Indians, many of whom appeared to be living tolerably well in comfortable log houses; some of them have pretty good furniture, utensils for cooking &c., and some have barns and other out-buildings. They raise a supply of indian corn for themselves and cattle, and keep oxen, cows, horses, hogs and a few sheep. All of them raise a large number of fowls. Some of them have peach orchards, and have sent some peaches to market the past season. Many of the men of this tribe are industrious as well as the women; a few of the men are mechanics and work by the day for the white settlers, and give satisfaction to their employers. They appear to be adopting the dress and manners of the whites, and to be advancing slowly in civilization. It is reported that some of them have embraced Christianity, but most of them adhere to their ancient views of religion. A considerable number are yet given to dissipation; they all appear to have a continued regard for Friends, and received us kindly, manifesting much interest in our visit. We held a number of councils with them during ring our stay in the nation to pretty good satisfaction, and rendered them such advice as seemed proper, to which they listened with interest and attention. They were apt at making us acquainted with their greivences. At one of the councils with the chiefs and head men of the nation, the following speech was made, our certificates and documents having been previously read, and we having rendered such counsel and advice as way opened for.
BROTHERS: — Perhaps it is the will of God that we should meet to-day to talk over things together; and if there was no trouble in the way, we could get along much better in making you a reply. You know that when there is only a little trouble in the way, we cannot get along so well. Brothers, we are glad to hear your talk, and when we meet in this way, we think about God and talk about Him; for we believe it is his will that we should think about him and talk about him. We greet you as brothers and send our love and best wishes to our friends, the Quakers, who sent you to see us, their Indian brothers. Brothers, this is not the first time our friends, the Quakers have come to see us to instruct us in the things you have been talking about to day. A long time ago our friends, the Quakers, gave us the same instruction, and our young men who are seated around you at this time, have heard their talk, and now live agreeable to their advice; for we think that your way of living is good. Brothers, all our young men who are here to-day understand what you say and like your talk, they do not drink whiskey, but work; raise corn, wheat, oats, have horses, cows, sheep and hogs, and live comfortably, and are saving something for their children. As to my improvement, it is growing less as I grow older. Brothers, we that are seated around you, believe that what you say is true. I have given up drinking whiskey a long time ago, and think about other things. I think about God and feel that I have religion in me. We believe that your religion is a good one, and your talk and your feelings towards the Indians is good and right. A long time ago, your old men talked to us about your religion, and we told them about our religion; and they told us that though, your religion was different from our religion, yet if the heart was right we could travel together through this world and be saved at last.
Brothers, you say that you have come a long way to see your Indian Brothers, and now you see we are in a bad condition, (alluding to their head chief who was present in a state of intoxication,) like some of our Indian brothers whom you have been to see. We cannot help it so long as the white men will sell whiskey to the Indians. Our Great Father can prevent it, but no one else can. We want he should stop up the barrel and not suffer any to run out to the Indian.
Brothers, as to the school, we cannot do much; we can talk to our people about sending their children, but if parents will not send their children, we cannot help it. If you get along well with the children you now have, parents will see it, and become willing to send their children, as they wish them to learn to work and read and write like white people. Brothers, we believe that all you have said to us is true, and we wish you to carry this talk of ours home with you, and tell our friends, the Quakers, all about what you have seen
15among your Shawnee friends; that many of them have good farms, raise stock, viz.; horses, cows, sheep and hogs, and many of them do not drink whiskey, but have good houses, good furniture and live comfortably. Brothers, that is all I have to say.
The Shawnee nation number about twelve hundred. They are situated on the east side of the Kansas River, and west of the state of Missouri. They have a beautiful tract of country, one hundred miles long and twenty-five broad.
The Kickapoo Tribe of Indians.
After spending some time with the Shawnees, we hired horses and an Indian guide, and rode up the Missouri River about fifty miles to the Kickapoos, a small tribe of about four hundred, situated above Fort Leavenworth on the Missouri. They are nearly all agriculturists, raising a sufficiency of corn for themselves and some to sell. They also raise some wheat, potatoes and other vegetables, and keep horses, cattle and hogs; some of them live pretty comfortably. Their cabins generally are filthy and some of them exceedingly so. There is no school in this tribe. A number of them belong to the society of Methodists; others are the followers of an Indian man whom they call the Prophet, a man of some talent, but said to be an arch deceiver. The greatest number still adhere to their old traditions. The general appearance of these Indians was filthy; many are much given to dissipation and other vices, especially those of them residing near the Fort. The Methodists have a missionary in this tribe.
We held a council with them, and endeavored to lay before them what appeared proper, persuading them to leave their bad practices, and become sober and virtuous. There were present at this council about thirty of their chiefs and principal men. They heard what we said to them very attentively, but not being ready to reply, requested another interview. Accordingly a number of them met us in the evening, and after consulting a time among themselves, made the following reply through one of their number who understood English.
"Brothers, we understood what you had to say to-day to us and this is what our chiefs say to you. We are glad you are come to see us; we believe what you have said to us to-day is true. We were once bad, but now try to do better, and hope you will help us. We remember what you said about the Great Spirit, and we know what you said about the Great Spirit to be true. We are very glad you have come to talk with us about these things. We believe the Christian way is the best, and what you have told us about it is true.
We are glad to hear what you have said to us about building houses, and schooling our children. We cannot do much; we want you to tell our great father at Washington to help us. We heard his talk to us about whiskey and other matters. We don't make whiskey ourselves, and we tell our young men not to drink it, but we cannot help it so long as white men sell it to them. We don't
16know how to make the white men take the whiskey away, but the great men at Washington do. We hope they will help us."
They then informed us how glad they were we were come to see them, and wished us to tell the men at Washington of their wants. They said they were poor and had no wagons to gather their corn in and carry it to market; they had no ploughs; their mills were out of repair, and their young men had to go to mill near the whiskey shops, and they would get drunk. They said these things were due to them by treaty stipulation; and their great father had promised to attend to those things, but had not. They wished us to go and see him, and let him know what they said. After this talk, They took us by the hand and parted with us in a very friendly manner.
The next morning, the third of Eleventh month 1842, we returned back as far as the Stockbridge tribe; a small remnant of a once numerous tribe of Indians, but at this time numbering only seventy-seven. They were originally from New England. We reached the house of the principal chief Thomas T. Kendrick, about eleven o'clock A. M.; having previously made an arrangement for meeting with them. The chief had a long trumpet which he made use of to collect the tribe, which being sounded, they soon came together, men women and children. They all sat down in an orderly manner, and we had a religious opportunity with them, greatly to our peace and comfort; and as they nearly all understood some English, we spoke to them without an interpreter, it being the first instance of our addressing a company of Indians in this manner. The greater part of the adults of this tribe are professors of Christianity. The principal chief is a sober, sensible man. After we had relieved our minds to them, he spake sometime to his people in the Indian tongue, referring, as we understood, to what had been said. One of their number, a young man that had received an education at some of the schools in Connecticut, was requested by the chief to say to us that they understood all we had said to them, and that it was all true; and he hoped they might often think of it and improve from it.
They said they considered it a great favor from God that he had sent us to see them, and give them such good advice. The Quakers had always been friends to the Indians, and had never wronged them. They had heard much about the Quakers, and considered them their friends. They said they noticed our advice to them to endeavour to forget the injuries done them by the whites, and he hoped they might practice it. They said they were a very little company, but they had long resolved to improve and live like good white men; they had given up hunting and drinking whiskey and were trying to live by farming. They wished us to tell our friends at the east that they were going to build a school house, and have a school for their children. They appeared to be very sincere in their remarks, and we were encouraged to hope that they would continue in their improvements. They were farther advanced in civilization than any of the tribes we had previously visited. The chief, Thomas T. Kendrick, had quite a library of books, and could write tolerably well.
They complained that they had not received their portion of the money due them for the lands sold to the government at Green Bay; that they were promised this money at the time of their removal, but have not yet had it, and that they needed it in carrying on their farming operations, and were now suffering for want of it; that they were poor and not able to go to Washington, but desired that Friends would lend them some assistance in getting their just dues. We accidentally met with an aged female Indian, residing not far from this settlement of Stockbridges, who appeared perfectly bright, although she had lived to the advanced age of seventy-four years. She was living in a small log cabin, her name is Catharine Everett. She told us, when a child she lived at Eavesham New-Jersey, and that she was well acquainted with Friends; and said she knew that dear old Friend Joshua Evans, the man who wore a long beard. She said she thought him the best man in the world, he was so very good to the poor Indians; and she always loved the Quakers from her childhood, and thought a good deal about her good friends in the east, and she believed they prayed both for her and the Indians in the west, and that their prayers were heard and answered, and that she rejoiced that the Lord had remembered them, and sent the Quakers to see them and encourage them, for they needed it. She knew she was a poor ignorant old creature, but sometimes she hoped to be permitted to meet her Saviour in that mansion which Christ had gone to prepare for his followers; where there is no difference between the white man and the red man; for she thought there would be but one place for the good white man and the good red man: and one place for the bad white man and the bad Indian. She desired that we and our friends would remember the poor Indian in the west. Sometimes when she awoke in the morning, her soul was filled with love to God and all mankind; to a great many she never saw in this world. She said she knew she was a poor old woman, and had been very wicked, but hoped the Lord would forgive her; and she was sometimes comforted in remembering that Christ said, he that cometh to Him, he will in no wise cast off. She said she wanted we should give her love to our brethren in the east, and desired us and them to pray for her, for she was a poor creature. "The fervent prayer of a righteous man," said she, "prevails much." Sometimes she was very sick and thought she should die; and at those times she thought she should be happy, for her soul was filled with love to God and every body; she wanted to think of God all the time, it made her so well in the heart (putting her hand to her breast). When we were about parting with her, she appeared much affected, so that the tears rolled down her furrowed cheek. She observed we might never meet again in this world, for it was but a little time that we had to stay here, but we should meet again in an other world where there would be no more trouble. "I am" said she, "a poor old creature, and don't know much, but I feel to love God who has done so much for me through Christ."
We next visited the Delawares. They are situated on the west
18side of the Kansas River, opposite the Shawnees, and number about one thousand souls. They have an excellent country calculated to support a large population, About one half of this Tribe are in an improving condition, cultivating corn and vegetables. They keep horses, cattle and hogs, and an abundance of fowls; most of them live in comfortable log or timber houses, and are advancing slowly in civilization. Some of them have cast off the blanket and are adopting the dress and manners of the Whites. These have given up drinking whiskey and send their children to school. A large portion of them however, yet remain in an uncivilized state, wear the blanket, hunt some, and manifest no disposition to improve in any thing good. They drink whiskey, fight, and are addicted to all the vices common to the Indian in the savage state. Some of these are celebrated hunters, and warriors, and often fight their way through the wild Tribes quite to the Rocky Mountains. They kill the Buffalo, and bring home the skins and barter them away with the traders for whiskey and other articles, such as beads, wampum, &c. Their near location to the line of Missouri and the whiskey-sellers and other traders who settle on and near the line, operates as a great hindrance to their improvement, and will continue to be a bar in the way of their advancement, while these unprincipled traders are suffered to carry on a traffic with them. Every advantage appears to be taken of their ignorance as well as their natural thirst for strong drink.
We met with two of their principal Chiefs and some of their head men at the Baptist missionary's house, and rendered them such advice as appeared to us proper, upon subjects relating to their welfare; all of which they appeared to receive kindly, according to their reply. They referred to the friendship that had long existed between the Quakers and the Delawares, and said that this friendship had never been broken; and after speaking of the wrongs that had been practised upon them by some of the whites, they said that the Quakers had never injured them, that they had never opened their veins, nor so much as scratched them. They were pleased that we had thought so much about them, as to come so great a distance to see them; they hoped they should mind what we had said to them, and try to improve. The chief said that he was sorry that there were no more of his people present on this occasion, but hoped we should not be discouraged, for it was a pity for any one to begin to do good and then give it up.
There are quite a number of war chiefs belonging to this tribe, who refused to meet with their brethren on this occasion, having at a previous time met and heard some remarks intended for their improvement and preservation, with which they were not well pleased, and were decidedly opposed to meeting again on such an occasion. We did not however feel satisfied to leave without seeking an opportunity with them, and accordingly appointed a time when we would like to meet them at one of their own houses; and when the time came we met some ten or fifteen of them and addressed them on subjects
19relating to their moral and religious welfare; to all of which they expressed their satisfaction, saying, they were glad to hear us talk and hoped they should mind what had been said to them. Although these fierce looking warriors had previously made some severe threats against the first man that should name these subjects to them, they offered no violence or unkind treatment to us, but appeared very attentive and willing to hear us speak with freedom on all the subjects relating to their welfare; and then they addressed us in a kind manner; the head chief saying, he was glad to see his dear brothers and hear them talk and hoped they should mind what was said to them. We then parted with them feeling much relieved, and they manifesting much affectionate feeling towards us.
The Moravians, Methodists and Baptists have each separate missions amongst the Delawares. The Baptists have a small school, where some ten or fifteen children are annually receiving some instruction. The Moravians are educating a large number in that portion of the tribe called Munsees. The Baptist school was not in operation when we were there. The Methodists have a missionary among them, but no school. A few of the Delaware children are receiving some education at the several schools in the Shawnee nation. The Munsee Indians consisting of about two hundred, are a branch of the Delaware nation, and formerly resided on the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania; and as we understood, these Indians are the descendants of the tribe that made the treaty with William Penn under the great elm tree.
This memorable event has been handed down by tradition from generation to generation; and there are now a number who can give a pretty correct account of the transactions of that remote period. The Moravian Brethren have extended a care towards a portion of this tribe for more than half a century. Teachers and missionaries have, during that time been employed amongst them; and at the time of our visit, there were two men and their wives engaged in giving them some literary, moral and religious instruction. They appeared to be pious persons and honestly engaged in the discharge of their arduous duties. They received us cordially, and manifested a willingness to assist us in promoting the object of our visit. Owing to the unsettled state of these Indians, their wandering habits and unwillingness to work on the land, and the small annuity paid them by the government, there has not been that improvement that might be reasonably looked for, when we take into account the great amount of labor bestowed upon them. Most of them have log or timber houses, and cultivate more or less land, and raise corn for their own supply during the year. Some few cultivate wheat and potatoes. They keep horses, cattle, hogs and fowls, and have some furniture in their houses, such as poor beds, tables, chairs, some cooking utensils &c. They all wear the blanket and in many respects dress in a style about half way between the whites and Indians. They are great smokers, and some of them drink whiskey to excess. It is said they are a kind hearted people, and a number of them have
20embraced Christianity, and joined with the Moravians, Methodists or Episcopalians. The Moravians have a small meeting house and school house on their land.
We met sixty or seventy of these Indians of both sexes at their meeting house on First-day evening. They behaved with sobriety and Christian gravity, and after we had freed our minds, and our certificates had been read, one of the chiefs of the Delawares after having spoken a few words to his associate chief, (both of whom were at a previous meeting of ours,) rose and delivered the following remarks.
"Brothers, we are glad you have come to see us and have given us such good advice, and to talk with us and tell us about living better and becoming better men and women. Brothers, I hope I shall do better myself, and that my people will do better also. Brothers, our fathers and your fathers lived together as friends and brothers; they never shed each others blood, no, they never scratched each other. I am glad that this friendship continues even to the present time, and that the blood now runs freely in our veins." Afterwards, one of the principal men belonging to the Munsees made a few feeling remarks, expressive of his satisfaction with the meeting, and the interview closed.
Second-day morning, being informed by the Moravian missionary that they usually met every morning at 9 o'clock for worship, and that there was liberty for us to go in and sit with them if we chose. After we had reflected upon it, we thought it might be best for us to attend the meeting; and accordingly we went in and sat with them until their services were over; after which we had some labor amongst them. One of their principal men then rose, and in a feeling and broken manner, even unto tears, made the following very affectionate and pertinent remarks.
"Brothers, I want to talk a little with you. I am glad to see you this morning and glad to hear you talk about Jesus, and was glad to see you and hear you yesterday. Brothers, the Munsees are spread all about, and have now no chiefs. Some few are settled round here; some are mixed with the Stockbridges; some with the Shawnees and some are yet living at Green Bay. But the Munsees have all forsaken their heathen customs, and the practices of their forefathers, and now live in the customs and practices of the Christians. Some of these that live round here are Moravians, and some that live in other places are Methodists and some Episcopalians; But they are Munsees, let them live where they will, and all live as the Christian people do, and do not follow the heathen practices of their fathers."
"Brothers, I do not live in heathen practices, but believe in the one true God and in Jesus Christ. Me a poor Indian, me feel very poor, but me feel religion in me though very poor. Poor Indian believe that God sent his son into this world and that he died for all poor Indians as well as white people; and I believe He is now with God in Heaven, and that he comes into our hearts by his Spirit even poor Indians', and will be there forever. Now we think what Christ say to his followers, I am going away to leave you, but I will come again
21in Spirit into your hearts, that I may be with you forever, be where you will, And now me feel him renewedly in my heart at this time. Brothers, I speak these things not from the tongue but I feel what I say in my heart, though Indian a very poor creature and like little child in these things; yet me feel the Spirit of Christ with me this morning and feel glad to see you and to hear the good advice you have given us, and I feel my spiritual strength renewed.
"Brothers your fathers, William Penn and others of your old men and our old men the Munsees lived in peace like brothers, and made the Treaty under the Elm tree, and the Quakers and the Munsees have always been friends; and my heart is glad you still think about your poor Indian brethren, and come and see them; for it makes poor Indian's heart glad when they see their Quaker brothers. Brothers, that is all I have to say now."
An Account of the Kansas.
This tribe numbers about 1600 souls. The country they claim as their own is situated on both sides of the Kansas River, commencing sixty miles west of its mouth in lat. 38 degrees north, being thirty miles wide. The soil is fruitful and well watered, but sparingly timbered. It is well adapted to agriculture, and the climate is healthy.
The Kansas spend a part of their time in hunting, a part in idleness, and a part in planting and cultivating small crops at home. They are irregular in their manner of living, and although not inclined to eat unwholsome food, yet from necessity they eat such as causes sickness among them. They use ardent spirits less than many other tribes, yet they are degraded and improvident to some extent by this poison: some few of them have reformed; they are more ready receive instruction than they were formely; but most of them are strongly inclined to hold on to their savage habits and superstitious worship. The main difficulties in teaching these Indians, are their wandering habits and their fondness for war with other tribes. They are at home only about four months in the year. They have a smith and a teacher of agriculture furnished them by treaty, who are to continued with them five years, and then all their stipulations with the Government will end.
At the time of our visit, the greater part of the tribe were gone on their fall hunt, and therefore we had an opportunity of seeing but few of them.
After we had completed our visit to the Delawares, Munsees, Stockbridges and Kickapoos, and had seen some of the Kansas tribe, and collected such information as we deemed useful, we returned again to Friends' School in the Shawnee nation, to prepare for our visit to the more southern tribes. The Indians understanding that we were about leaving this part of the country, numbers of them came to make known their grievances, and others to take leave of us. They represented
22to us that there was a prospect of the Wyandots, now living in Ohio, coming to settle on a part of their land, and that a very few of the Shawnees were favorable to such a move, but that the most of them were decidedly opposed to it, and much troubled on account of it. We were not without serious apprehensions that great difficulty might yet arise from this circumstance. We rendered them such counsel as we believed might be proper for them to follow; advising them against discords, jealousies and divisions, all of which appeared to be kindly received. An aged Shawnee chief came to us and said, he wished to have a talk with us. He said when he lived in Ohio he had a good farm and lived well, but by being removed to this country he had become poor; that he was now gaining a little, and he wanted to live where he now did, and so did all his tribe want to remain where they now are. They did not want to be moved again. but he feared they should be soon. He said he was now old and lame, and he could not go further; he wanted to die and be buried here, and not go away off and die on the prairie. It made him feel very bad to think of being moved again, for it seemed like being thrown over a bank away off west of the prairie where they would all die. He, appeared much distressed on this account, and wished to know if we had heard the men at Washington talk about removing them again, remarking that he had heard that they had been talking about it. He wanted we and our friends should help them in getting the title to their lands fixed, so that his people might always live where they now are. He thought the white man ought to be satisfied, that the Indian had been removed far enough, and not move him any farther. He said he was an old man and could live but a little while, and wanted to know before he died that his people and children could never be removed again. All this was spoken in a feeling and candid manner.
After this, a chief of the Chilocathe band remarked that the Indians showed mercy to the white men when they first came across the great water and were weak and could but just get up the bank. The Indian was then like the trees, erect and strong; the white man like the grass, easily bent and waving with the wind. The white man came to the Indian four times with his hat under his arm, and asked the Indian to have mercy on him, for he was poor and needy. White man say, when Indian is poor and needy he would have mercy on him as long as grass grows and water runs. Indian then let him come on the land and live; he now wanted white man to remember his promise and have mercy on the Indian, for he was poor and needy; and not remove him any further.
Having completed our visit to the Indians in this section of the country, we took leave of our kind friends at the Shawnee school on the tenth of Eleventh Month, and proceeded on our way about forty miles in a south-west direction to the sub-agency of A. L. Davis in order to visit the several tribes in that vicinity. We arrived there in the evening of the same day, and made known our business to the sub-agent. He kindly entertained us and offered to lend all the necessary
23aid in collecting the Indians, and also to furnish us with such information as he possessed respecting their state and condition. The day following there was an unusual fall of snow for the season, in consequence of which but few of the Indians came to the council; yet some of the principal men of nearly all these remnants of tribes were present. The names of the several tribes are Weas, Peankshaws, Kaskaskias, Peorias, Ottewas and Chippewas, numbering in all about five hundred and fifty. These Indians are making little improvement in agriculture or otherwise; yet most of them raise some corn and vegetables, and keep some horses, cattle, hogs and fowls. They are but poorly prepared for carrying on farming, having no ploughs waggons or tools of any kind, which is cause of much discouragement to them. With the exception of a few instances, they have made but little advancement in civilization. Some of them live in poor log houses and some in wigwams. They generally wear the blanket, and in most respects dress like the wild Indians. They are much given to idleness, vice and dissipation; there is no school in any of these tribes. There is one missionary among the Peorias, but none in any of the others. Like many other tribes, they are fast wasting away. Some of them are professors of Christianity, but much the larger part of them still adhere to their old traditions.
They complain of having made a bad treaty with the General Government, and are solicitous of further assistance from that source, and say, that if their great father, would send out some good white men to instruct and advise them, they would endeavor to improve from it. We encouraged them to break off from their old habits of dissipation and indolence, and to become a sober and agricultural people ; holding out to them the advantages that would result from such a change. They manifested much interest in what was said to them, saying they believed it all to be true, and hoped they might follow our advice. They promised that they would tell their absent brothers what had been said to them, and advise them to mind it. They were pleased that we came so far to see them, and parted with us in a friendly manner.
After collecting the foregoing account respecting these small tribes, we left for the Potowatomie nation, situated on Potowatomie Creek, about sixty miles from the Shawnee school, and eighteen miles from A. L. Davis' agency. We arrived at the house of a man named Simmerwell, a smith employed by the General Government in repairing the Indian guns, &c. The day being too far spent for a council with them that evening, we thought it most advisable to have notice given for a meeting with them in the morning. The smith has been for many years engaged among the Indians in repairing their guns and otherwise assisting them; we believed him sincerely devoted to their welfare. He lamented their deplorable condition; and, from his own personal knowledge of the facts, attributed most of their misery to the avarice and wickedness of the traders and other corrupt white men, who, ever since his acquaintance, have been prowling about them, like the beast for his prey. Agreeably to our previous appointment,
24we met a number of the chiefs and head men of the nation, at the house of the blacksmith. We endeavoured to impress upon their minds the importance of a change in all their habits and modes of living, and to adopt the manners and habits of good white men. They listened attentively to what was communicated to them, and expressed their gratitude towards the society of Friends that they had thought so much of them as to send persons so far to look into their condition. One of their chiefs remarked that their great father, the President, had promised to send them many things, but, said he, they have not yet got along.
The person that interpreted for us, is a full blood Indian, educated at Hamilton school in the state of New York, and speaks and writes the English language well. He also converses freely in the Potowatomie tongue, and may be reckoned among the most intelligent Indians of the west. He is married to a half breed woman and possesses very considerable property. The Potowatomies are divided into three bands, viz; Potowatomies of St. Josephs, Potowatomies of the Wabash, and Potowatomies of the Prairie. The St. Joseph's band formerly received some assistance from the Baptist missionaries while they were located on the St. Josephs River. This band live principally by cultivating the soil, and what they receive from the government by way of annuities. They are poor and making very little advancement in civilization. They have no school nor missionary, and some of them live in poor log cabins, others in wigwams. Most of them keep cattle, horses and hogs ; nearly all of them drink whiskey, and pass much of their time in idleness and dissipation. They spend their annuities soon after receiving them for whiskey and articles of no real value to them. The manners, dress and general appearance of these Indians, do not materially differ from those small tribes located near them. They wear the blanket as the principal article of dress and hunt some on their own lands and in the adjacent state of Missouri, but do not go on the long hunt to the west.
Our next visit was to the Wabash band, located about twelve miles from the gunsmith's. There are about six hundred of this tribe, comprising about one third of the nation, and are principally settled in one neighborhood. They are under the direction and control of the Roman Catholics, and have three Jesuit priests amongst them, who are educating forty or fifty Indian children. Their school is divided into two departments ; one for boys, and the other for girls. The one for girls is said to be doing some good, the other is in a languishing state. This band are building comfortable log houses, and cultivating the land, keeping some cattle, horses, hogs &c.; but their location is said to be unhealthy and they are addicted to all the vices and immoralities common to the Indians, and are fast wasting away. Their numbers have greatly diminished within the last few years.
The Prairie band is interspersed among the other two bands, and live much after the same manner. The whiskey sellers and other traders practice the same impositions upon these Indians that they do upon all the other tribes within their reach.
Osage Nation of Indians.
Understanding that these Indians were out on their fall hunt and that we should not have an opportunity of seeing many of them, and their principal village being distant about forty miles from the Potowatomies, we did not visit them, but had an opportunity of seeing a few of the tribe, and from good authority gathered the following account respecting them. This tribe is located about one hundred miles south of the Shawnee nation, bordering on the state of Missouri. They once were very numerous, but at this time number only about five thousand, and are fast diminishing in consequence of their roving and intemperate habits. They are more like the wild Indians of the Rocky Mountains than any other tribe on the frontiers; they are great hunters of buffaloes and furs, and the fur traders depend more upon them for buffalo robes and furs than upon any other tribe of the south-western frontier. This circumstance operates as one of the principal causes of their small advancement in civilization.
Much labor has been bestowed within twenty years by the Presbyterian missionaries from New York and Boston to improve their condition, but it was attended with little success, owing, as it is said, to the prejudices against the missionaries in the minds of the Indians, arising from the influence of the fur traders. This influence remains to the present day; and there appears to be no prospect of improvement among them while this state of things exists. The traders discourage them from following agricultural pursuits, telling them they do not want to buy Corn or cattle, but buffalo skins and furs; thus prompting them to keep up the chase. They also advise them not to have schools or any religious instruction among them; hence there are no schools or missionaries among them at this time. We were informed by apparently good authority, that the Indian agents combine with the agents of the Fur company and control the manner of paying out the annuities to the Indians, by which the agents of the company are enabled to monopolize the whole trade with them. It is said, they first take all their annuity money and deduct their charges against the Indians, and for the balance give to each man as many cents with a particular mark upon them as there were dollars due them, promising to pay him as many dollars in goods as he had cents; thus compelling the Indian to purchase all his goods of them at an exorbitant price. There was recently a large amount of appropriation paid this tribe in cattle, swine and agricultural implements. The Indians not being acquainted with the use of them, and having no one furnished to teach them, soon sold and gave away all their ploughs, killed the cattle and swine and the whole plan was frustrated.
The Osages are a stately race; the men are exceedingly large and tall, but the women are short, and like the females of the Winnebago tribe, appear dejected. They dress altogether like the wild Indians.
After leaving, the Osage nation, we travelled south towards the Cherokees and visited on our way the united tribe of the Seneca and Shawnee Indians. We lodged with one Jackson, a half breed. In the morning after our arrival, he sent for some of the principal men to meet us at his house; with whom we held a council. We gave them such advice as in our opinion was needful. They appeared friendly and listened attentively to what we had to say to them. We spoke to them through Jackson, who interpreted for us. They made no reply to us as he was not sufficiently acquainted with our language to render theirs into it. We learned that the greater part of these Indians were raising some corn and domestic animals, and have pretty comfortable log cabins; and some few of them are adopting the habits of the whites in various respects, such as laying aside the blanket as an article of dress, putting on pantaloons instead of leggins &c. They have no schools among them, and none of their children are receiving an education out of the nation excepting two of Jackson's.
After visiting the Senecas and Shawnees, we rode sixteen miles to the house of Daniel Adams, a Mohawk Indian residing in the Seneca nation. The tribe located at this place is styled the Sandusky Senecas. Daniel Adams is a man of tolerable education, and speaks and writes both the English and the Indian language. He is married to a Stockbridge woman formerly from the state of New York. She informed us that when a girl she spent four years on Long Island, where she was educated at a Friends' school. She retains a grateful remembrance of the many kindnesses that were shown her by Friends in those parts, the names of some of whom she mentioned. Her appearance was greatly superior to any Indian woman we saw while on our journey; her whole conduct and conversation were dignified. She was easy in her manners and conversed understandingly upon a variety of subjects, but more especially upon what related to her friends, the Indians in New York state. She manifested a deep interest in the treaty lately made with the Seneca Indians there. This woman and her husband are both professors of the Christian religion, and from appearances were honestly engaged in the discharge of their social, moral and religious duties. They had a family of three small children who were clothed in the style of the whites and taught in the English language altogether. They reside in a good frame house newly built and well furnished. Their manner of living was superior to that of the generality of whites in the west. They spoke freely of the low state and condition of their people, and the strong prejudices existing in their minds against the whites and of the difficulty of overcoming these prejudices in consequence of the ill treatment they had in too many instances received from them.
There is at this time no school nor religious institution in this tribe. A few of them profess the Christian religion and have joined themselves to some of the different religious sects; but the greater part of them still adhere to their former views and superstitious
27worship. Nearly all of them are engaged in agricultural pursuits in a small way, and keep various kinds of domestic animals. We did not learn that any of this small tribe keep sheep or manufacture cloth of any kind. Their principal food is pork and deer, wild fowl, corn bread, potatoes and other vegetables. Some of them have laid aside the blanket as an article of dress, but the greater part attire themselves in the Indian style, and in no important particular differ from the other tribes that have been removed from the east. They are said to be very immoral in their conduct among the neighboring whites. They are unwilling to receive white men among them as teachers, but would not object to having their children instructed in English by persons of their own cast, if those suitably qualified could be procured. They are located upon a small tract of laud west of the state of Missouri, on the Niosho River, bordering on the Cherokee nation, and numbered at the time of their removal two hundred and fifty-one, but have since diminished.
The Cherokee Indians.
This large tribe is settled on lands lying west of the state of Arkansas and bordering on the Arkansas River and numbered about twenty thousand souls. It is thought they have diminished in number since their removal west. The history of this nation is generally known to the public; therefore it may not be expected that we should be so particular in our account of them. We entered upon the northeast corner of their lands and travelled south to their council ground near Park Hill. Some of their lands bordering on the west line of Arkansas are hilly and well watered and timbered, but not well adapted to agriculture; in other parts it is level and fertile. The Cherokees live principally by farming. They raise neat cattle, horses and other domestic animals, and keep an abundance of poultry. Some of the nation are extensive farmers and planters. Cotton is grown in the southern part of the nation, where most if not ail who are able keep slaves to cultivate the land, do the work in the houses &c. The manners and customs of this portion of their community do not differ materially from those of the white planters in the south and west. Their style of dress and mode of living are also very similar. A few of the Cherokees are large slave-holders. Their laws for the government of their slaves are similar to those in the slave states. The slaves frequently desert their masters and run away. Some cotton and woollen goods are manufactured by the Cherokees for domestic use. We saw a number of good dwelling houses as we passed through their country, but most of them reside in small log cabins. They have more generally adopted the manners of the whites than any other tribe we met with. While passing along, we frequently saw white men who were married to Indian women, and in some instances an Indian man was connected
28by marriage to a white woman. There is less similarity in the general appearance of the Cherokees than in that of any other tribe. They are divided into three distinct classes. First; those that are pretty well civilized and appear intelligent. Second; those who may be reckoned among the half civilized or apprentices in civilization. Third; those that have made but little improvement in their dress and manners; the last class is most numerous. They are cultivators of the soil, and have generally given up hunting, but are dissipated.
The Cherokees have a number of missionaries and native preachers among them, and about two hundred profess the Christian religion, and have joined themselves either to the Presbyterian, Baptist or Methodist societies. They have thirteen schools in the nation, where all the children attending them are taught in the English language. These schools are represented to be in a flourishing condition, and in their general features are similar to our district schools in New England. Many of this tribe manifest an interest for the welfare of their children and the rising generation, and have recently made very considerable appropriations in order to extend more generally the benefits of education and civilization among them. They have a printing press in the nation where they have their laws and public documents printed both in English and in the cherokee language.
We arrived at the council ground at a time when their National Council was in session. Their government is divided into three departments, viz. the Executive, Legislative and Judicial. They style the head of the executive department, principal chief. Their legislative department is divided into a committee and council. The Judiciary is composed of a Superior Court and Inferior or Circuit Court. John Ross is now and has been for many years the head chief of the nation. Their committee and council consist of fifteen members each elected by the people. All laws are enacted by the legislature and signed by the principal chief. Their Supreme Court is composed of five judges. At the head of this court is Jesse Busheyhead, an interesting and intelligent man, a half blood Indian and a Baptist preacher.
We were introduced to all the members of the several departments of government, from whom we received many kind attentions; and had an opportunity of witnessing their manner of transacting business, which, although simple and plain, was nevertheless very much to the point. The whole nation, or at least as many as wished to assemble, were one day while we were there, collected together, to hear the annual message of the principal chief and the report of the delegation that were sent to Washington the last winter to transact some business with the general government. The report embraced all their correspondence with the President and Secretary of War; and that and the message were drawn up with ability.
We witnessed nothing like a spirit of hostility on the part of these Indians towards the government of the United States; and yet they
29have not forgotten the wrongs that have been practiced upon them by the whites. It affords them some relief when they can meet with persons who are willing to sympathize with them in the sad tale of their sufferings and miseries. By accounts from persons of unimpeachable veracity who were eye-witnesses of some of the horrid scenes which occurred before and at the time of their removal, we were led to think the half had never met the public eye. They treated us with kindness and much attention while we were in the nation; and although they have not had much acquaintance with members of our own religious society until recently, yet they looked upon them as their friends and spake with grateful hearts of the benevolent and Christian interposition of Friends in a great many instances on behalf of the red man. Much might be said respecting the advancement of this tribe in civilization &c., but we will conclude by saying that our hearts were made to feel deeply for them, and to put up our feeble petitions to the Father of all our sure mercies that he might yet smile upon this stripped and pealed people, and awaken them under a sense of the mercies extended to them to a feeling of their own obligation to deal justly and show mercy and kindness to those poor descendants of the African race who are held in bondage among them.
A band of the Seminole Indians, lately from Florida were temporarily settled upon the Cherokees' land, near the council ground, at the head of which were two chiefs by the names of Wildcat and Alligator, who were noted men in the late Florida war. We held two councils with these chiefs, at one of which came about twenty of their principal men. Wildcat and Alligator made many bitter complaints of the ill-treatment of the white men, both before and since their removal. We feared there might be an outbreak by Wildcat and his party in their present excited state. It was expected that the agents would soon remove them from the Cherokee country to lands provided for them by the general government, in the Creek nation; at which Wildcat and Alligator appeared much offended. We conversed with several of the agents and officers of the general government and desired them to consider their peculiar dispositions, and use all conciliatory means in their power in the removal of these unhappy beings. We also endeavored to persuade these Indians to live peaceably with their neighbors, and to break off from their old habits and become farmers, like the Cherokees and other Indians around them. They are much given to drunkenness, stealing, and other vices, and live like wild Indians. They formerly belonged to the Creek nation, and now speak the Creek language. Some of them hold slaves, who serve for interpreters and servants to them.
We next visited the Creek nation. They are situated south of the Cherokees, on lands bordering on the Verdigris River, and number about fifteen thousand Indians, and three or four thousand slaves. We had an interview with Benjamin Marshall, a very intelligent man, and one of the most wealthy and influential men in the nation. He informed us that every family in the Creek nation would raise
30produce enough the present season to supply their wants throughout the year. They are fast improving in agriculture and domestic manufactures, and in their manner of living. They expect soon to manufacture all the material for their own clothing. Many of them live in comfortable houses and dress like the white people; but others still wear the blanket and are much given to dissipation. They have of late become anxious that their children should he educated, provided it could be done in their own nation; but are generally averse to sending them abroad for this purpose. They have made application to our government for their school fund to be appropriated to education in their nation, instead of being spent at the Choctaw academy, as heretofore. They have at this time but one school and that is continued throughout the year.
They have lately passed severe laws to prohibit the vending of ardent spirits among them, which took effect about six months ago, and those who had been opposed to the law have seen the good effects of it and become satisfied. Many of the slaves and Indians appear sober and religious. Some of the slaves are approved preachers and hold meetings regularly on first-days. We attended one of these meetings which was conducted in a moderate and becoming manner. It was composed of Indians, slaves and their masters; their minister was an uneducated slave. All seemed interested in the meeting, and several much affected even to tears. A slave holder told us that he was willing his slaves should go to these meetings, for it made them better men and women. The Creeks have long been slave holders, and appear insensible on the subject of this great evil. Their laws respecting their slaves and the government of their tribe, are similar to those of the Cherokees and Choctaws. Their country is good for agriculture, well watered and timbered, and we believe this nation would soon become a prosperous and flourishing people, were it not for the injustice and destructive influence of slavery within and around their borders. A few days previous to our arriving there, about two hundred slaves ran away from their masters. They belonged in the Creek and Cherokee nations. This caused much excitement, and a posse was sent after them from both nations. Both Church and State seemed aroused on account of these desertions, and ready to make every possible effort to recover them at all hazards, and in future to enact more rigid laws for the government of their slaves, and for binding their chains more strongly upon them.
The Choctow Indians.
Fifth day of the week, and first of Twelfth month, 1842. After having finished our visit to the Cherokees, Creeks and Seminoles, we hired a private conveyance to Fort Smith, on the border of the Choctaw nation. We then took horses and rode fifteen miles to the Choctaw agency, the greater part of the way through a dense cane swamp, and put up at a tavern kept by an Indian woman. In the
31evening we had some conversation with a young Indian who had been educated at the Choctaw Academy in Kentucky. He was at this time engaged as a clerk in a store, and appeared intelligent and bright. The account he gave of the Academy was not very flattering. We learned while in the nation, that at the council lately held on Red River, the Choctaws resolved not to have any thing more to do with that school. Their annual council was in session near Red River, where the greater part of the Choctaws reside. Many of the Indians near Red River are said to live well; they keep slaves and raise cotton for their own consumption and for market. They also raise corn, wheat, potatoes and other vegetables, and keep large stocks of neat cattle, horses and swine; and a few of them have sheep, and make some cotton and woollen goods for their slaves and for themselves. They have in general comfortable log houses, and live like the new settlers in the west.
They have six or eight schools in the nation, in which the primary branches of an English education are taught; but a small portion of the children however are receiving any education at schools either in or out of the nation. We were informed that the council now in session have resolved to establish two manual labor schools on an extensive plan. One of them is to be located on the Red River, and the other at Fort Coffee, on the Arkansas River. One important feature in the plan about to be adopted by them is, that the female children of the nation are to be educated at a place several miles distant from where the males are educated. They have appropriated eighteen thousand dollars towards the support of these schools. It was reported that the Methodists were expecting to have the control of the one at Fort Coffee. We visited one of their primary schools taught by a man from South Carolina, which consisted of about twenty scholars. We were pleased with the appearance of it and thought the teacher was doing well for the scholars. He informed us that he had been engaged in this school since 1838, and had a salary of eight hundred and fifty dollars per annum, paid by the general government, according to treaty stipulation.
The country owned by the Choctaws extends from the Arkansas to Red River, and is generally fertile and well adapted to the growth of cotton, corn, wheat and potatoes. Some of these Indians have embraced Christianity, but the greater part still adhere to their old traditions. Some have become temperate, but dissipation, idleness, and their kindred vices, are very prevalent amongst most of them. The government and civil policy of this nation, are similar to those of the Cherokees, heretofore described. We saw a few of the Chickasaws, but ascertaining that there was no material difference between these Indians and the Choctaws, we did not consider it important for us to make a special visit to them. They are settled on the Choctaws' land, and speak the same language, and intermarry with them.
After having spent several months in traveling among the Indians located on our western frontier, and having used our utmost endeavors to gather such facts and information as we apprehended might be useful or interesting to our Society and the community at large, we deemed it right for us to submit a few general remarks touching the most prominent points, for the future consideration and action of the Society of Friends, on behalf of the aborigines of our land.
During our visit among the Indians, many circumstances were apparent, which, in our opinion tended to prevent their advancement in civilization, and to retard their moral and religious improvement. We are aware that much labor and property are expended yearly on their account, and yet it is sad to relate, that these poor benighted and almost friendless beings, are daily diminishing in numbers, and in many instances, sinking deeper and deeper in misery and woe. There are but few to look into their wants, or to raise a voice against the mal-practices of the numerous unprincipled white men who infest their country, in order to obtain the money annually paid to them, and at the same time are practising the most degrading and immoral conduct.
If the hand of the destroyer is not speedily arrested, in all human probability, it will be but a few years before this once numerous race will be numbered with the nations that are not. Nearly all the tribes are decreasing yearly, and some of them at the rapid rate of from twelve to twenty per cent. The present condition of the elder part of the uncivilized tribes is such, having long been a prey to unprincipled white men, that we cannot look for much change for the better in many of them ; yet in beholding the younger men and women and the little children who appear to be endowed with talents for improvement equal to the whites, we were encouraged to look forward with a hope of better days for this poor degraded and almost friendless people, if the Christian community should without delay use their influence to remove the prominent obstacles now in the way of their civilization.
We would remark in the first place, that the Indians who have been removed from the east to the west side of the Mississippi River, appear to be in an unsettled state, and to entertain fears of being again removed. They say they have as yet received no guarantee from government that they shall remain on these lands any longer than it may suit the convenience of the whites; and some of them are desirous that Friends and others interested in their welfare, should use their influence to have their lands secured to them in fee simple forever, that their fears on this account may be quieted, and they encouraged to lay up something for themselves and their children.
In the next place, nearly all the tribes have annuities paid them in goods or money, quite sufficient in most cases to make them comfortable
33during the year, if rightly applied. Each tribe receives all their money at one payment, and this money passes from them in a few days, and in most instances the poor ignorant Indian has nothing of value to show for it, but is in fact made more miserable on account of it from its misapplication.
We would suggest the propriety of endeavoring to bring about a change in the manner in which these payments are made, so as to place their money, if possible, out of the reach of avaricious and unprincipled men. We are aware that to effect such a change might be attended with difficulties, but the good that would arise to the Indians would warrant some sacrifice to effect so desirable an object. The Indians in their present state are very improvident, and in most cases incapable of managing their affairs and expending their money to advantage. We would not hold out to the public that they are receiving more than their due, but inasmuch as the government consider them as their wards, they should extend their guardianship still further, and not leave them as much exposed as they now are.
The Indians appear not in general to be governed by moral or religious principles, and every means is used to place before them such things as will entice their appetites and passions, and having little to restrain them, they fall an easy prey to temptation, and the work of destruction goes on while they are possessed of any thing that is valuable or have any credit left. We consider their annuities justly due them, and would be far from proposing any thing that would divert them from being used for their benefit, but we believe it to be very desirable that more effectual measures be adopted to have them disbursed in a manner that will tend as far as is practicable, to the real advantage of the poor Indians. Another great source of immorality and misery is their near location to the military posts. While the ostensible object of these fortifications is to guard the Indians on the frontier from being harmed by the wild tribes, and to prevent hostilities between them and the frontier settlers, the licentiouness hence resulting in many of the tribes is too gross to be mentioned; the effect of which is, to destroy the morals of many of the whites, and to entail wretchedness, misery and death on the Indians.
In regard to their farming operations, we would remark, that the manner in which government in some instances expends the Indian appropriations for agriculture, is to prepare and carry on a farm at a suitable place on the land owned by the tribe as a pattern or sample farm. This manner of farming is attended with considerable expense, and with but little apparent advantage to the Indians, they being more like children that cannot set themselves to work, but might be directed therein, if they had for a few years suitable instructors, not only to show them how, but also to help them to do the work. Therefore we believe that to ensure success, it would be important to employ persons to give general and constant assistance to each Indian in the management of his particular lot. One man could assist twenty or more persons, and it would be desirable that
34some of these should be married men whose wives might be employed to instruct the women in the various branches of housewifery; for we think much more may be expected from the improvement of the women, than from that of the men; the women being more immediately associated with the children, and much better acquainted with habits of industry. This mode of instruction would not be attend with much more expense than the pattern farm system.
Those Indians who live in wigwams, are much inclined to rove; and it is not uncommon for them to remove several times during the summer. On this account, it seemed very important that they should be encouraged to abandon the wigwam altogether, and to live in houses and have lots attached to them — well enclosed, so that an individual interest might be excited, instead of having things in common as they now do; for unless such an interest can be raised among them, it will be difficult to make much improvement in many of the tribes.
We would also give a few hints upon education. The Indians being so generally prejudiced against the white people, are very much averse to their children being educated by them, either in or out of their own nation; and boys who have been educated abroad, are treated with much neglect when they return home; and having no opportunity to apply their education either among their own people or the whites, they soon become discouraged, and in order to initiate themselves again into favor with their tribe, return to the habits and practices of uncivilized life. We regretted that there were no educated Indians employed as teachers or assistants in any of the tribes, white people supplying such places entirely. Much advantage, we believe, might arise in many respects both to parents and children, by encouraging native teachers and assistants; and we would suggest, that special care be taken to bring about so desirable an object.
Having compiled the foregoing statement of facts from extended notes taken during the course of our journey, which occupied us from the latter part of the Eighth-month, to the last of the year 1842, during which we were partakers of many mercies and preservations, we submit it to the consideration and disposal of our dear friends of the committees of New England and New-York Yearly Meetings.
Signed JOHN D. LANG,
SAMUEL TAYLOR, Jun.
Fourth Month 19, 1843.