Communication from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs: And other documents, in relation to the Indians in Texas: 30th Congress, First Session: Rep. Com., No. 171. [Senate] [Digital Version]

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United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Indian Affairs, Communication from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (June 15, 1848)

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Title: Communication from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs: And other documents, in relation to the Indians in Texas: 30th Congress, First Session: Rep. Com., No. 171. [Senate] [Digital Version]
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Source(s): United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Indian Affairs, Communication from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (June 15, 1848)
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30th CONGRESS, 1st Session. [SENATE.] REP. COM., No. 171.

IN SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
JUNE 15, 1848.
Submitted from the Committee on Indian Affairs, and ordered to be printed.
[To accompany bill S. No. 193.]

COMMUNICATION
FROM
THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS,

And other documents, in relation to the Indians in Texas.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

SIR:

As the present uncertain and precarious condition of our
relations with the Indians of Texas is now under consideration by
the Committee on Indian Affairs of the Senate, I deem it proper to
transmit, for its information, a copy of the last report, just received
from the special agent of the government for those Indians,
and the newspaper referred to therein.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. MEDILL.
Hon. D. R. ATCHISON,
Chairman Committee on Indian Affairs, Senate.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

SIR:

With the view of maintaining an intercourse with the Indians
in the State of Texas until some permanent arrangements can
be adopted, Congress has made an appropriation for the employment
of a special agent, and of an interpreter or interpreters, for
that purpose, for the period of one year; and, by direction of the
Secretary of War, you are hereby appointed to the situation of
special agent for that period.

The Senate, at a late period of the last session, ratified the treaty
with the Texas Indians, negotiated by Messrs. Butler and Lewis,


2

with amendments, a copy of which, as ratified, is herewith enclosed.
The amendments, as you will perceive, consist in the
third and fifth articles being struck out, and, in the ninth, inserting
the sum of ten thousand dollars, for presents in goods, to be furnished
when the President may think proper. This change was of course necessary;
for the treaty, as it stood, designated a period for the delivery
of the presents which had already passed. The striking out
of the third article has, it is believed, no material bearing upon
the interests or welfare of the Indians at this particular time. It
was probably supposed to involve the question of the relative jurisdiction
of the United States and Texas, which there was not sufficient
time to examine into and define. This must, ere long, be
settled, when, no doubt, proper safeguards will be established to
prevent the intrusion of improper persons among the Indians.
Prior to that time, it is presumed, this will not take place to any
injurious extent.

With respect to the striking out of the fifth section, it cannot be
of much consequence to the Indians, as there will always be some
one among them through whom all their wishes and wants can be
made known; and they may be assured that so fár as this department
may be entrusted with the means and the power, no efforts
will be spared to secure their welfare and comfort. In making
known to them the fact of the ratification of the treaty, you will
please to communicate these views, and to assure them that all
proper measures will be taken to carry out the remaining provisions
of the treaty in a manner best adapted to promote their true
interests.

Under the appointment now conferred upon you, it will be your
duty to see the different bands as often, and be as much among
them, as may appear to be necessary; and on all occasions you will
impress them with the friendly disposition of the government, if
they continue to fulfil their promises, to remain peaceable, and to
refrain from depredations upon our citizens. You will endeavor
to restrain them from approaching too near the frontier, where
they might become embroiled with the whites; and use all your
influence and your utmost exertions to prevent white persons from
going among them, unless of a proper character and for legitimate
and proper purposes. So far as may be in your power, you will
watch narrowly the conduct of any white persons who may go
among or come in contact with them, in order to be able to report
their intentions and acts, when, should they appear to be of an
improper character, calculated to disturb the present peaceful relations
between the Indians and the government, the department will
endeavor, either directly or through the authorities of Texas, to
apply the proper corrective. You should particularly direct your
efforts to prevent, as far as possible, the introduction of ardent
spirits and the nefarious traffic in it among the Indians, as there is
no other thing so calculated to create disturbances among themselves,
or a disposition to perpetuate outrages upon our frontier inhabitants.
You will say to the Indians that their great father, the
President, is well pleased, so far, with their general good conduct and


3

their having kept the promises made to him by the delegation when
here, and that, so long as they continue to do so, he will faithfully
keep all his to them. It is expected that you will report your
proceedings, your observations, and such information as you may
be able to procure as to the disposition and movements of the Indians
monthly, if possible, or, if not, as frequently as you can.
Precise instructions on every point cannot be given to you, and
much must therefore be left to your discretion, which the department
feels justified in doing, from you experience and knowledge of
these Indians, and the discreet and faithful manner in which you
have heretofore acted whilst in its service.

Congress has appropriated the amount requisite to compensate
the Messrs. Torrey for the presents distributed by them last fall,
and the additional sum of ten thousand dollars provided by the
treaty for that object. Immediately on the receipt of this, you will
please transmit your views as to the period when these presents
should be furnished, of what they should consist; giving a list of
the various articles, and the quantity of each, and where they
should be sent to your care. The department has supposed that
the fall, about the approach of cold weather, would be the best
period. The blankets and other requisites, to protect them from
the cold, would then be most useful to them, and they would not
be so likely to barter them away for whiskey or less beneficial articles.
Should you think it advisable to send out, or to authorize
you to procure, this spring, a moderate supply of agricultural imments,
and of the lighter articles of clothing, such as shirts, calicoes,
stuff for breech-cloths, leggings, &c., and some trinkets, this
will be done immediately on being apprized of your opinion in
favor of the measure, and on receiving from you an estimate of the
proper quantity of the several kinds of articles mentioned. It
must be borne in mind, however, that the whole sum to be thus
used and distributed during the present year is only ten thousand
dollars.

The compensation of Indian agents in the service of the government
is fifteen hundred dollars per annum, but as it is probable that
you will be put to greater expenses than they, in travelling in the
execution of the duties imposed upon you, you will be allowed at
the rate of seventeen hundred dollars per annum, which will include
your compensation and all your personal expenses of every
name and nature.

It is presumed that you will not require an interpreter continuously
during the year, and though you may, at different times, be in need
of those speaking different dialects, that the terms of necessary
service of the whole will not exceed that of one for the whole
year. The sum of five hundred and fifty dollars, which is deemed
a liberal amount for the compensation and all the expenses of one
is therefore allowed, and this must not be exceeded unless you
find it absolutely essential to expend a small amount more to enable
you to perform your duties.

Your salary and that of the interpreter will be remitted quarterly,
or if you can conveniently so arrange it, you are authorized to


4

draw on this department for the amount at the end of each quarter.
Your salary will commence from the period of your acceptance
of this appointment and your entering upon duty.

Please notify this office of the acceptance or non-acceptance of
this appointment without delay.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. MEDILL.
R. S. NEIGHBORS, Esq.,
Austin, Texas.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

SIR:

Since my letter of instructions of the 20th instant, it has
occurred to me that it will be necessary that you have some articles
of presents to take with you into the Indian country, which
would be pleasing to the Indians, and which, judiciously distributed,
would give you a greater degree of influence with some of
the more important and influential, and enable you to exercise a
greater degree of control over them, than it would be in your
power to acquire without such means. For the purchasing of such
articles for presents as you may think best adapted to this object,
a remittance will, therefore, immediately be made to you of the
sum of five hundred dollars, for which you will account to this
office under the head of "purchase of presents for Camanches and
other wild tribes of the prairies."

An existing law requires that all supplies of merchandise or
goods for Indians, "shall be purchased under the direction of the
Secretary of War, upon proposals to be received, to be based on
notices previously given," &c.; that is, that they should be purchased
by contract. This mode of purchasing gives rise to competition
among the merchants in our large cities, and enables us
to obtain a much larger quantity for the same amount of money
than could be procured in any other way. The law being general,
is equally applicable to the supplies required for the Indians in
Texas; and they must be procured in the same manner. Hence the
requirement in the instructions, that you transmit without delay a
list of such articles as you think best suited for the Texas Indians,
specifying the character and quantity of each kind, in order that
they may be advertised for. The law does not preclude the casual
purchase in open market of the presents, such as that to be made
with the five hundred dollars now remitted to you; but any general
or stated supply of merchandise or goods, purchased or procured,
in any other manner than by contract, as required by the
law, cannot be paid for. Torrey & Brother could only be paid for
those furnished by them last fall, because there was a special provision
in the act of appropriation authorizing it. Lest the fact of
their supplying goods without the authority of the government,
and obtaining payment for them, might induce those not acquainted
with the facts to do the same thing, the foregoing information is


5

given to you, that you may communicate it to any and all persons
who might be disposed to pursue that course, in order that they
may be saved from loss. You will, therefore, discountenance any
and all attempts to furnish goods to the Indians, under an expectation
that they will be paid for by the government.

Very respectfully, &c.,
W. MEDILL.
R. S. NEIGHBORS, Esq.,
Special Agent for the Indians of Texas,
Austin, Texas.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

SIR:

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 24th
ultimo.

The reasons you assign for your conclusion to employ Jim Shaw
as an interpreter continuously during the year are satisfactory.

In regard to the establishment of trading houses among the Indians,
and your being authorized to grant licenses to traders for that
purpose, I have to remark, that though the treaty provides therefor,
it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine at present how far
the department has the power and jurisdiction, with respect to the
Indian country in Texas, to carry that stipulation into effect, Congress
not having extended the laws regulating trade and intercourse
with our Indian tribes over that country. In the present state of
the undefined relative jurisdiction of the United States and Texas,
a proper sense of delicacy towards that State would dictate that
the department assume the exercise of no doubtful powers, and it
therefore seems to me that the question will have to be deferred
until the nature and extent of the jurisdiction of the United States
and Texas, respectively, shall have been defined and fixed by Congress.

No provision was made for the employment of an armorer or
blacksmith, but the department will endeavor to find the means to
pay for such repairs to agricultural implements, &c., of the
Indians, as you may think important to have done and authorized,
not to exceed two hundred dollars within the year for which you
have been appointed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. MEDILL.
R. S. NEIGHBORS, Esq., Special Indian Agent,
Austin, Texas.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

SIR:

Your monthly report and two other communications, dated
June 22d, have just been received.


6

The department is much gratified with the account you give of
the present peaceful disposition of the Indians of Texas, and with
the prospect of a good and friendly understanding with them for
the future. Whatever points of difficulty or uncertainty now exist
in our relations with them, it is hoped will be definitely settled by
legislation at the next session of Congress.

With reference to presents to these Indians, it must be clearly
understood that those they have received and those about to be furnished,
are only given to them in fulfilment of the stipulation in
the treaty, which, in fact, provides for only one delivery of goods.
The idea must not be permitted, or, if entertained, must be discouraged
in a judicious manner, that presents to the amount of ten
thousand dollars annually are to be made to them. Such is not the
provision in the treaty nor the present intention of the government.
To make them presents to so large an amount annually, without
any equivalent, except their promises to remain peaceable, would
be bad policy with reference to them and to others of our frontier
Indians. It would lead them to suppose that the government feared
them and hence purchase their forbearance; while it would tend
to create jealousy and dissatisfaction on the part of other tribes,
not so benefitted, and possibly influence them to commit outrages
that they might also be conciliated with presents. Should the Indians
of Texas, and the territory possessed by them, be placed
under the control of the general government, in the same manner
as in the case of other Indians of the United States, another treaty
with them might become necessary in order to define their boundary
and to acquire from them such extent of country, as may, for
some years, be necessary for the extension of our white population.
In this event, a consideration would be probably stipulated, in the
form of an annuity, for such purposes as would conduce to their
welfare, their civilization and improvement.

The cost of the goods purchased in New York was $5,254 20,
deducting which, together with the five hundred dollars remitted
to you, leaves of the ten thousand appropriated for presents the
sum of four thousand two hundred and forty-five dollars and eighty
cents. Deduct from this the amount estimated by you as necessary
for subsistence for the Indians who will probably assemble to receive
the presents, viz: $2,700, will leave $1,545 80. Out of this
balance the transportation of the goods from New York to Galveston
and into the Indian country, is to be paid. What this will be
is not known, but it is supposed that sufficient will be left for the
additional goods which you say will be necessary. As there is not
now time to purchase and send them to you, they must of necessity
be procured by yourself; and you are therefore authorized so to
do. You will endeavor to keep within the balance left after the
cost of transportation of the goods from New York is paid, whatever
the same may be, unless you find it absolutely insufficient, in
which case you may expend a further amount, but not to exceed
in the whole, the sum of fifteen hundred dollars. In making the
purchases, you will of course do so on the most fair and reasonable
terms in your power. The cost of the goods sent from New


7

York, with the transportation added, will indicate what would be a
fair price for those you may have to purchase.

With respect to the employment of a smith, all was said and authorized
on that subject, in my letter of May 19th, that at present
can be.

Your attention is called to the subject of the frequent attacks
upon our wagon trains on the route to Santa Fé, which are said to
be made principally by Camanche and Arapahoe Indians, and, in
some instances, it is believed, headed by white men, supposed to be
Mexicans. You will please endeavor to ascertain and report where
these Indians come from; whether they are portions of bands usually
residing within the limits of Texas; where they are most generally
to be found, and what would be the best course to reach
them with a military force, in order to punish them for the outrages
they have committed, and to deter them from similar acts in
future; and any further information you can procure in relation to
their character and habits; and the most effectual mode of restraining
them from the commission of such depredations.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. MEDILL.
R. S. NEIGHBORS, Esq.,
Special Indian Agent, Austin, Texas.

Extract from a letter of David G. Burnet, esq., addressed to Major
R. S. Neighbors, special Indian agent, &c., dated

Although the subject is not comprised in the queries propounded
by the department, I will suggest that the future peace
and happiness of the large inland frontier of Texas requires an
early intervention of the general government to adjust our complex
Indian relations. It is quite impossible for the State, acting within
her limited sovereignty, to control and peaceably dispose of the
various tribes resident within her territorial limits. The entire
subjugation of the Camanches in particular, and probably of other
tribes, or their early removal, will be inevitable. The spread of
our population will, in a very few years, so crowd upon the Camanches'
ancient hunting grounds as will compel them either to
recede westward, or to resist by arms a progression which is perfectly
irresistible to their feeble powers. The result of such an
issue must be their entire and absolute extermination, which, by
the way, will not be effected without much disaster and bloodshed
on our part. The federal government alone is competent to prevent
a catastrophe, which, however oppressive to the ancient occupants,
is necessarily consequent to the progress of civilization.
The State has not the means to extinguish the Indian titles to the
spacious territory over which they roam in pursuit of the only
means of subsistence they know, and which they claim, by the emphatic
right of occupancy, for 'time immemorial' to them. She


8

cannot provide them another and more secure, because remote
country, for their future habitation. Such country can be found
only in the region of the Rocky mountains, beyond the local jurisdiction
of the States, and is disposable only by the federal government.

To effect this humane policy, the only practical substitute for
the actual extermination of the Indians, it is indispensable that the
federal government should become the proprietor of the vacant domain
of Texas, which comprehends the territory over which these
erratic people wander in quest of game. To reclaim the Camanches
from the chase, and adapt and reconcile them to the less attractive
labors of agriculture, if it be not utterly impracticable, would require
many years of experimental tuition, to the very initiative of
which they are habitually averse, and which they never would consent
to receive from the insulated and defective authority of the
State. The general government only can manage this delicate subject,
of so deep, abiding, and growing interest, happily for all parties,
and peradventure without great blood guiltiness, to some of
them."

WAR DEPARTMENT,

SIR:

Your letters of the 5th and 6th instants have been received.
Mine of the 2d will advise you of your being authorized to purchase
some additional presents and provisions, to the amount estimated
by you, for the Indians when assembled to receive the
presents, &c.

With respect to giving you specific instructions on every point,
it is impracticable, under the undefined relative jurisdiction of the
United States and Texas, with reference to the Indians within her
borders and the lands they occupy. The treaty with those Indians,
as ratified by the Senate, a copy of which has been furnished you,
together with the instructions given you when you were appointed,
and since, are as comprehensive and specific as under present circumstances
any directions can be made. You must do your best to
preserve peaceful relations between the Indians and our own citizens,
in which it is hoped that the proper authorities of Texas, as being
the party most deeply concerned, will co-operate to the fullest extent
in their power. Should any circumstances arise, or the Indians
manifest expectations not provided for by the treaty, and the
instructions already given to you, you will promptly report them
to the department for its consideration.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. MEDILL.
R. S. NEIGHBORS, Esq.,
Special Indian Agent, Austin, Texas.


9

UNITED STATES SPECIAL INDIAN AGENCY,
November 18, 1847.

SIR:

I have the honor to report that, since my communication of
the 13th October last, there has nothing worthy of note transpired
among the various tribes of Indians in Texas. The several bands,
immediately after the council, retired from our frontier to their
hunting grounds for the purpose of a "fall hunt," and but few
have been near our settlements since that time.

Most of the war party of Camanches have returned from their
campaign in Mexico, and as usual have brought with them many
horses, mules, and a number of prisoners. A party, with the chief,
La-bi-ar-te, (Little Wolf,) visited this post a few days since, and
gave many proofs of the continued friendly disposition of the nation.
All the bands appear to be perfectly satisfied with the course
the department has pursued with regard to their affairs, and are
content to await the further action of government. I have endeavored,
so far as I could, to induce them to remain at a distance
from our settlements, and also to prevent settlers from encroaching
on them.

With the Indians, I have much less difficulty than I do with our
own citizens. The many vexatious occurrences in the last few
months, growing out of inroads of surveying parties and settlers
into their country or hunting grounds, caused me to submit the
matter to the consideration of the executive of this State, under
the impression that the State authorities would adopt measures to
restrain its citizens within proper limits, and thereby prevent hostilities.
Governor Henderson, seeing the necessity of action on
the part of the State authorities, declared the laws of the late "republic"
of Texas, regulating intercourse with the Indians, to be in
force, and designated a temporary line about thirty miles above our
highest settlements, as a point "above which no white person
should be allowed to go, unless for legal purposes." The several
ranging corps were stationed on said line, and the Indians notified
of its existence, and as a point below which they would not be
permitted to locate or hunt, without permission of the authorities.
This arrangement has proved perfectly satisfactory to them; but no
sooner had our frontier become quiet and they friendly and contented,
than some of our citizens are endeavoring to settle beyond
that line at the risk of again involving us in difficulty with them.

It is with much trouble that I have been able thus far to restrain
those citizens, although they have been threatened by me with expulsion
by forcible means, should they be found above the line.
I feel assured, if the Indians are not molested, we will have peace
until the government has full time to settle permanently the many
questions arising out of our contemplated Indian matters. For the
information of the department, I will here state that the band of
Cherokees that have for some time resided in Texas, has removed
to Red river, in the vicinity of "Warren's trading house," as I
have been informed. They gave no intimation of their intentions,
or the causes which led to removal. For some time past a part of


10

them, in connexion with their friends from the Cherokee nation,
had been engaged in the introduction and sale of considerable
quantities of whiskey among the wild tribes. This having come
to my knowledge, I notified their chief that if he permitted its introduction
or sale in their village, I would remove them all to the
Cherokee nation. I presume this was one cause for their leaving.
I have been compelled, in the absence of proper laws regulating
intercourse, to deal strictly with those found introducing spirits,
and have kept them informed of the consequences, if caught in
such traffic the second time. These measures have, in a great degree,
put a stop to its introduction, as I have not been able to detect
any since the council. In these endeavors, I have been aided
by the ranging companies on our frontier—whose commanders
have spared no exertions to carry out my views—under the instructions
of the department.

Believing that the commissioner is fully sensible of the great
necessity for the speedy action by the honorable Congress, so as
to place the Indians of Texas under the full control of the United
States, and of adopting such measures as will remove the many
causes of distrust on the part of the Indians, as to the course
the government may pursue with regard to their land matters, I
deem it proper to make no further suggestions at present.

Your instructions heretofore are as full as I could expect under
the existing laws, and I hope, by strictly adhering to them, to be
able to preserve peaceful relations with our border bands.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBT. S. NEIGHBORS,
Special Indian Agent. Hon. W. MEDILL,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

UNITED STATES SPECIAL INDIAN AGENCY,
December 10, 1847.

SIR:

It becomes my duty to respectfully call your attention to
the position assumed by some few of our citizens on the Brazos
river. Your excellency is fully aware that since the establishment
of the temporary line between the Indians and our citizens, that
this frontier has enjoyed a tranquillity heretofore unknown.

The Indians, since agreeing to that compromise, have evinced a
disposition to adhere strictly to it, as agreed to at the late council.
Those citizens, however, show a determination to violate the agreement
by locating themselves above that line, thereby threatening to
disturb our present peaceful relations with those tribes. A man by
the name of "Spencer," a lawyer formerly of Franklin, Robertson
county, a few days since, entirely disregarding the compromise and
his obligations to his country, located himself on a tract of land a
few miles above the line known as the "council ground." On
being remonstrated with by myself, he threatened to "shoot the


11

first Indian that came on the land" claimed by him; at the same
time refusing to respect the authority of the State by which said
line was established. Finding remonstrance entirely useless, I
complied with what was considered my duty by calling on Captain
Johnston, requesting that he would remove this Mr. Spencer below
the designated line, by force if necessary.

I would respectfully suggest, in order that the propriety of a
temporary line between our settlers on the frontier and the Indians
be more perfectly understood by them, that you furnish me with
your wishes and views generally in regard to its maintenance, until
further action on the subject by the general and State governments.

I am fully convinced that the wish to violate the compromise is
confined to a few individuals for speculative purposes, and by no
means a general movement of our actual settlers.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBT. S. NEIGHBORS,
Special Indian Agent. His excellency J. PINCKNEY HENDERSON,
Governor of the State of Texas, Austin.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE,

SIR:

Your communication of this day's date, complaining that
certain persons, citizens of Texas, have lately settled above the
temporary line fixed upon between the Indian tribes and our settlements,
has been received and considered. You did right in having
those persons removed below the line referred to, and I now request
that you will, in all instances, in future pursue the same course, until
you are otherwise directed by the executive. The law passed by
Congress of Texas on the 14th January, 1843, entitled "An act to
provide for the establishment of peace, and to regulate friendly intercourse
with the Indians," is still in force, and gives to the executive
of Texas the power to give the instructions which I now
give to you. The interest and dispositions of the few must yield
to the interest of the public.

The general government is doing all things necessary to protect
our frontier and preserve peace with the Indians, by stationing
troops far above our settlements. Tranquillity upon our frontier
cannot be preserved unless our citizens will observe the line which
has been established temporarily between our settlements and the
Indians.

No white persons would risk settling as far in the wilderness as
the line fixed upon, if the United States troops were not on that line
to protect them. If settlements are permitted above that line, the
troops will not be able to keep peace. The object of the government
in stationing them where they are will be defeated. Withdraw
the troops from their present position, and no white man


12

would dare to settle near the line. As it is, no one can be injured
by this order and the policy adopted, and thousands are benefitted.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. PINCKNEY HENDERSON,
Governor of Texas. To Major R. S. NEIGHBORS,
United States Indian Agent.

UNITED STATES SPECIAL INDIAN AGENCY,
December 13, 1847.

SIR:

Since my monthly report of November 18, although I have
been in constant correspondence with our several prairie tribes, I
can discover nothing of a hostile character, or that would induce
me to believe that any of those bands were in the least disaffected.

On the 25th ultimo, the Camanche chief Go-chau-a-gua-hirp
(buffalo-hump) visited the special agency, with twenty-five of the
principal warriors and under-captains of his band, and a number of
women and children. He remained several days, during which time
our intercourse was of the most intimate character, and he returned
to the "hunting grounds" of his nation, to all appearance, well
satisfied with his visit to the agency. The principal matters of interest
to his tribe, especially the question of their lands, was discussed
on his part; he finally appeared content to leave that matter
to the future adjustment of the government. I found it necessary
to furnish his party with provisions while he remained, and
also gave him some few presents.

In my last report, I alluded to the frequent difficulties between
myself and the citizens of Texas, who wished to settle in the country
now occupied by the Indians. I was compelled recently to remove
a Mr. Spencer, a lawyer by profession, and until of late a
citizen of the State of New York, who had, contrary to the laws of
the State of Texas, settled himself above the temporary line designated
by the governor. Finding that a number of the citizens of
the State wish to locate in the Indian country, which would, at present,
certainly create much difficulty, and probably tend to hostile
movements on the part of the latter, I have thought proper to refer
the subject to his excellency Governor Henderson, a copy of which
communication, together with his reply thereto, I have the honor
to enclose herewith for your consideration. The Indians being perfectly
quiet, precludes the necessity of any further suggestions on
my part at present.

For the information of the department, I would here state, that
there are, at this time, very large bodies of the "Upper Camanche
bands" and Kioways—say from five to six thousand—near the
mouth of the "San Saba" and "Pecan Bayou" waters of the Colorado
river, including, also, some few "Muskaleros," (Apaches.)


13

They, nowever, appear perfectly friendly, our citizens not feeling
the least apprehension of danger from them.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBT. S. NEIGHBORS,
Special Indian Agent. To W. MEDILL,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
Washington, D. C.

UNITED STATES SPECIAL INDIAN AGENCY,
March 16, 1848.

SIR:

I have the honor to submit for your consideration a communication
addressed to me by the agent of the "Texas Emigration
and Land Company," with a copy of my answer thereto.

For the information of the department, I deem it proper to say,
that the lines proposed to be run for the purpose of establishing
the boundaries of "Peters's Colony" will pass directly through the
country now occupied by the Keechies, Wachitas, Wacoes, Tahwac-caros,
Caddoes, Ionies, and Ten-a-wish Indians. It would
cross the Brazos river a short distance above the "Camanche
Peak," and recross not far from the mouth of the Clear Fork, and
strike Red river at or near the Wachita mountains. Being fully
convinced, if the movement proposed be carried into effect, that it
will create hostility on the part of those tribes, I submit the matter
for the consideration of the department, without any suggestions.

I also deem it proper to state, that since my arrival in the settlements,
I have had an opportunity of conversing freely with
Lieutenant Colonel Bell, of this frontier, in regard to the movements
of the military force under his command, during which I
was pleased to learn that there is no intention on his part, or orders
from the War Department, to send a body of troops against the
Indians alluded to in my report of the 2d instant. The Camanches,
since my visit to their country, have been perfectly quiet, as well
as all other bands on our own frontier.

The various existing rumors published in the several newspapers
by designing persons, is well calculated to create confusion on this
frontier, and not only render our citizens hostile towards the Indians,
but disposed to oppose the efforts of those charged by the
government with sustaining friendly relations with them. Some
of the officers commanding stations, for (as I suppose) the purpose
of making themselves somewhat conspicuous, have been forward in
those publications, particularly Captain H. McCullough, who has
even gone so far as to address a communication to the legislature
of this State on the subject of our Indian relations, and the prohibiting
of immediate hostilities with them; instead of which,
should there have been sufficient cause, he ought to have reported
it to his commanding officer, Colonel Bell. The address alluded to
became the subject of considerable discussion in the house of representatives,


14

your attention to which is particularly called, in consequence
of the excitement created amongst settlers on the frontier,
and which is liable to continue so long as subordinate officers of
the ranging service are permitted to interfere with those matters.
I would, therefore, respectfully suggest that the attention of the
commander of this frontier be called thereto, in order that better
discipline may be maintained. From the energetic measures heretofore
carried out by Lieutenant Colonel Bell, for the preservation
of peace with our several Indian tribes, it is presumed he will,
after receiving instructions from the department, use every exertion
to check the evil.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBERT S. NEIGHBORS,
United States Special Indian Agent. To Col. W. MEDILL,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington City, D. C.

OFFICE OF THE TEXAN EMIGRATION AND LAND COMPANY,

SIR:

I am about to proceed with a corps of surveyors, accompanied
by a sufficient armed force, to run, measure, and mark, and
otherwise define and establish, the southern and western boundaries
of the grant made to W. S. Peters, et al., by the republic of Texas,
commonly called "Peters's Colony," now belonging to the Texas
Emigration and Land Company, whose legally and properly authorized
colonial agent I am, and whom, in this communication, I
have the honor to represent, by commencing at an established corner
of said grant, situate about 36 miles southeast by south from
the town of Dallas, on the Trinity river, in Dallas county, of this
State; to run thence due west one hundred and sixty-four (164)
miles, and there to establish the southwestern corner of said grant;
thence to run due north to the southern bank of Red river, and
there to establish the northwestern corner of said grant or colony.

Having been informed that you are the United States agent for
Indian affairs in Texas, and particularly for that part of the State
through which I intend to run, and that it is likely you might conceive
it to be your duty to interfere with any party I might send
on this expedition, as intruding on the rights of the Indians, and,
perhaps, to stop or punish the persons sent out by me for the prosecution
of the work, I have, in consequence of this, taken the liberty
to send to you the following inquiries, which, as they are made
solely for the purpose of avoiding any collision with the government
authorities, I hope will be answered by you in a similar
spirit of candor and good feeling:

Have you, either by law or instructions from the proper authorities
of the United States, or of the State of Texas, any authority or
right to hinder any citizen of this State, or of the United States,
from going into or prosecuting his lawful business in any part of
the State of Texas, whether the country is occupied by Indians or


15

not? If you have, please inform me what is its nature, and how
far it extends.

Should you have the authority, or conceive it to be your duty,
to stop or otherwise interfere in any way with the party or parties
of surveyors I shall send out for the purposes abovementioned, or
to prevent or hinder the said company or their agents from surveying
into sections all the country claimed by them and granted by
the republic of Texas, or from settling emigrant families upon any
part thereof, be pleased to inform me how far you will exercise
that authority, and by what means you would enforce it, and to
what extent force would be employed.

By a reference to the accompanying pamphlet, you will discover
that the republic of Texas has, by the most solemn acts she was
capable of performing, granted, for certain purposes, all the lands
or territory, north and east of the lines heretofore mentioned to be
run as boundaries, to the parties whom I represent; and you will
readily perceive that we have an unquestionable right to survey
and occupy the same, as well as that the State of Texas is bound
constructively to put us in possession of all the lands included in
said grant. Under this view of the case, and with our rights and
privileges exhibited to you, will you be obliged to stop or hinder
us in any way from defining our boundaries or taking possession of
and settling all the territory thus granted?

And supposing that you should admit our right to survey and
settle the said boundaries and territory, and give to us assurances
that we shall not be stopped by you, or should you deem it necessary
to conciliate the Indians through whose district we should
pass or remain in while engaged in said surveys and settling of
families, will you, in contemplation of such a state of things, render
us any assistance, either of armed men, as a protection, or by
making, as a preparatory step, some amicable arrangements with
the Indian tribes?

Your immediate answer, made positive and not to be mistaken,
will greatly influence our conduct in this affair, as well as confer
a great obligation on the undersigned.

Be pleased to accept the assurances of great respect with which
I have the honor to be, sir, your very obedient, humble servant,
HENRY O. HEDGCOXE,
Colonial agent of the Texas Emigration and Land Company. Major———NEIGHBORS.

UNITED STATES SPECIAL INDIAN AGENCY.

SIR:

Your communication bearing date February 18, 1848, has
been received and contents duly considered. Being in my official
capacity governed entirely by instructions from the United States
"Commissioner of Indian Affairs," I should deem it improper for
me to assume any definite position in relation to the subjects contained
in your letter, or to answer your several enquiries. I am


16

under the impression that the subject alluded to would more properly
belong to, and be discussed and determined by the authorities
of the State of Texas, and not by an Indian agent of the United
States. I am pleased to accept your manifestations of "candor and
good feeling," and assure you of my disposition to reciprocate. I
shall therefore, as in duty bound, submit your communication to the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for his consideration.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBT. S. NEIGHBORS,
United States Special Indian Agent. To H. O. HEDGCOXE,
Colonial Agent, &c., &c.

UNITED STATES SPECIAL INDIAN AGENCY,

SIR:

Having just returned from the Indian country, I hasten to
lay before the department a report of my proceedings, observations,
&c., since the 20th January.

In my report of that date, I notified the department that the Camanches
had sent for me to visit their camp. In accordance with
this request, I started for their camp on the 31st January, and arrived,
on the 14th February, on the Salt Fork of the Brassos, about
350 miles N. W. of this place, where I found camped the friendly
band of Penetakas or Hois. I found that they had abandoned their
usual hunting grounds, which are some 200 miles nearer the settlement
than this point, and thought proper to follow them, in order
to be able to report to the department their intentions, and the
cause of their unprecedented movements. The principal chief,
Mo-po-cho-ko-pio, met me about fifteen miles from the camp and
received me in the most friendly manner, expressing much gratification
at my arrival, and giving me many assurances of the friendly
dispositions of his band, and their wish to preserve peace with the
whites. It being late, we did not arrive at the main camp, but the
chief with a small party remained with us all night, for the purpose
of conducting me to the camp and to afford protection against
the party who had declared themselves hostile. Having arrived at
camp, he gave me a full and complete history of the movements
and disposition, of the several prairie bands, which, for the information
of the department, I deem it proper to communicate at
length. He informed me that "the depredations lately committed
and charged to the Camanches, were committed by the Ten-a-wish
and No-ke-nees, and a small portion of the lower bands or Pe-ne-ta-kees,
over whom he could exercise no control. The first party that
commenced depredating, was a party of the Ten-a-wish and No-ke-nees,
who had been on a foray in Mexico. On their return they
met with a party of Lepans, who had received information that the
Camanches and whites were at war; on hearing this, the party
concluded to steal some horses before returning to camp, and in
consequence stole the horses from Captain Sutton's company."


17

On their arrival at the camp of the friendly band, the chiefs immediately
took possession of the stolen property for the purpose or
returning them to their owners. When the Ten-a-wish heard of
this, they sent out their warriors out to steal more, saying, "they
wanted to see how long before the old chiefs of the Pene-ta-kees
would get tired of returning stolen horses." Several parties immediately
started down and have stolen a number of horses, principally
from the ranging company.

The second party was the one that stole horses from Captain
Gillett's company. The rangers followed and overtook them—recovering
their horses, killing two Indians, and wounding two.
When the news reached camp, a brother of the Indians that were
killed went down with a small party of warriors, and finding his
brothers dead, killed, near San Antonio, a white man and his wife.

The chiefs of the Pene-ta-kees have used every exertion to prevent
further difficulty, and to return the stolen property, and have
carried their measures so far that they found it would lead to war
among themselves if persisted in, when they abandoned their attempts
to preserve peace, and fled with great precipitance to the
upper prairies, as they expected our troops to follow the parties
that had committed the depredations. He also informed me that
the chiefs that had signed the treaty, and all the Camanches, (with
the exception of the small parties that it was impossible to control,)
were much disposed for peace, and were willing to do all in
their power to recover the stolen property, but did not wish to be
held responsible for the acts of the depredators.

On the morning of the 14th, I arrived at the main camp, which
I found to consist of about 250 lodges of Camanches, 50 of Ton-ka-keeas,
and 10 of Wichitas. All the principal chiefs and councillors
of the lower bands were present, being the first time that I
have seen them all together during the year. I met with a friendly
reception from all the chiefs, and was conducted by them to the
lodge of the principal chief, who done everything in his power to
make me comfortable. In the evening the chiefs assembled for a
smoke at the lodge of Mo-po-cho-co-pie, where all matters appertaining
to their affairs were freely discussed, as well as the subject
of the depredations lately committed. All the chiefs present manifested
the utmost friendship for the whites, and renewed their
promises to "preserve peace themselves," and use all their influence
to induce the other bands to do the same. I was informed
by the chiefs in council, who fully sustained the statements made
by the principal chief, that they had, soon after their arrival on
the Brazos, met with, and held a council with, all the northern
bands of Camanches, Kiowas, &c., who expressed themselves
strongly in favor of peace, and expressed a wish to enter into
treaty stipulations with the United States, and to be on the same
footing as the lower bands; also that one of the Ten-a-wish chiefs,
whose brother was killed by Captain Gillett's company, was there
in the camp, and wished to kill me and the young man with me
(John McLennore,) advising us to keep on guard, and have out
arms in good order, and advising us not to go much about the camp


18

for fear that he might carry his threats into execution, if he found
opportunity; that they had sent express for Pa-ha-yu-ca, and the
chief of the Ten-a-wish and No-ko-nie bands, as soon as they heard
of my arrival, and expected them in the next day. On their arrival
they wished to hold a council and try to end the hostility that
existed on the part of those bands. I also learned that a large
portion of the warriors had gone on an expedition against the
Pawnee Mohaws, who had been stealing many horses from them.

On the evening of the 15th, Pa ha-yu-ca, with five of the principal
Ten a-wish, one Ne-ko-nie, and one Koo-chi-ta-ker chief arrived
at the village. I was introduced to them separately by Pa-ha-yu-a,
and usual ceremonies gone through with They appeared
to be much gratified at the meeting, and the friendly chiefs used
every exertion to make us friends. In a short time everything
like reserve had disappeared, and the usual topics were discussed
freely between us. At night Mo-po-cho-co-pie invited us to his
lodge to a feast. I found, in addition to the chiefs lately arrived,
a number of the principal men of the Hois assembled. Mo-po-cho-co-pie
then said "that he had invited us to his lodge to eat together,
and hoped that we would be friends for a long time; he had
eaten with the white people, and smoked the tobacco of our great
father, the President of the United States. He wag not tired of
peace. His heart was glad to see the Ten-a-wish and No-ko-nies
meet his white brother and smoke and eat together. He hoped we
would be the same as the Hois chiefs, 'great friends.'"

I found them to be a very jovial set, and the evening was spent
in eating and smoking, and the discussion of the usual themes
among the prairie bands, viz: "war and women," finding myself,
in the end, upon a good understanding with them. On the morning
of the 16th, the chiefs and principal men assembled in council.
I stated to them the cause of my visit to their country, detailing
the depredations lately committed by the Camanches on our citizens,
and wishing to know the cause of their hostility. I was answered
by every chief present that there was no general feeling
of hostility existing; that the late occurrences were brought about
by the many false rumors that were circulated in the Indian
country, by the Creeks, Kickapoos, and other designing persons,
and was confined to a small portion of Camanches, beyond control,
and those bands who did not consider themselves in treaty with
the United States.

Finding them disposed to be peaceable, I proposed that they
should return all the stolen property, and refrain from committing
depredations for the future; also, that the Ten-a-wish, No-ko-nies,
and Koo-che-takees should come under the same agreement and
treaty as the Hois, or Pen-e-takees, and live in peace with the
government and citizens of the United States; inviting them, at the
same time, to-attend our councils, and offering them all the benefits
of the treaty, as made by the friendly bands, in behalf of the Camanche
nation. They agreed, very readily, to my proposition, and
pledged themselves, in behalf of their bands, to refrain from committing
any act of hostility against the whites in future. I deem


19

it proper to enclose, herewith, for your consideration, copies of
the "talks" of the Ten-a-wish, No-ko-nies, and Koo-chee-takee
chiefs, on the occasion.

I used every exertion to induce the chiefs to restore the stolen
property, and notified them that they would be held, by the government,
to a strict account, and be made to pay for each horse
stolen; but found myself unable to effect that object, the chiefs
assuring me that they were unable to exercise sufficient control
over those who had stolen them, for their recovery, but would still
do their utmost to preserve peace, and induce those disposed to depredate
to remain quiet, and if they could recover any of the
stolen horses, they should be immediately returned. I am decidedly
of the opinion that, had I a sufficient force to sustain the
chiefs in their good intentions, I should have been able to settle
all matters of difference, in the manner prescribed by the treaty,
without, in the least, interfering with, or compromising, the
friendly relations that exist between them and the whites; and
prompt action in that matter, would do much to prevent such occurrences
in future. I have heretofore called your attention to the
little control exercised by the several chiefs over their bands, and
to the propriety of placing a sufficient force at the disposition of
the agent to enforce the stipulations of the treaty. The chiefs
proposed that we should say nothing more about the property
stolen, and were anxious for a settlement of differences, without
holding them responsible; to which I would by no means agree.
Each chief appearing to act for himself, I could effect no concert
of action by which I hoped to recover the stolen property.

Not having sufficient force or influence to enforce the stipulation
of the treaty, I submit the matter to the consideration of the
department, for its action, and respectfully suggest that the whole
band be held strictly accountable for the depredations committed,
and that any divisions in the tribe, or band, by which a portion
wish to preserve peace while the balance depredate, should be discountenanced.
I am decidedly of the impression that, had there
been no blood shed, I should have been able to settle matters satisfactorily.
The death of the Camanches killed by Captain Gillett's
company has already led to retaliation, by which a peaceable
family has been murdered. As the Indians themselves have informed
me, I therefore deem it proper that the matter should be
settled under definite instructions from the department.

Finding that I could do nothing in the premises, I agreed with
the principal chiefs to submit the matter to the commissioner for
final action; at the same time giving them notice, if any Camanches
were found near our settlements, except at the trading house,
until the matter was adjusted, they would be treated as hostile.

On the 18th I arrived at the camp of the Wacos and Tah-wac-carros.
I found them perfectly friendly and peaceable, and could
trace no act of hostility to them since my arrangement, as reported
on the 22d June last. On the 22d, I arrived at the village of the
Keechie, and, found a considerable number of Indians assembled in
the neighborhood, consisting of Caddoes, Ionies, Keechies, and


20

Wacos. The principal body of these tribes had not returned from
their winter hunt; but, from the friendly manifestations of those I
saw, I was fully assured of their friendly and peaceful disposition.
The only depredation that can be traced to these bands, is a theft
committed by three Keechies and one Wichita, who stole twelve
horses from our settlements. Immediately on the arrival of the
thieves at camp, the horses were taken away by the chiefs, and
eight of them were placed in my hands, to be returned to their
owners, with a promise to return the balance as soon as the hunters
returned; the four not recovered being with a party of the Keechies,
who had not come in from their winter's hunt.

I find all the small bands perfectly manageable, and have no difficulty
whatever with them. By the judicious arrangements made,
and the great influence I am enabled to exercise over the principal
chiefs, I can easily detect any party that may be disposed to depredate,
or molest the property of our citizens. Since the commencement
of my term of service, I have recovered, from the various
bands, over seventy head of stolen animals, which have been
returned to their owners, wherever they could be found.

At the council in September last, I made an arrangement with
most of the smaller bands for them to settle contiguous to each
other, for the purpose of planting corn this year, agreeing to assist
them all in my power, and furnish them with seed to plant. They,
in accordance with this agreement, are now assembling near the
Keechie village, on the Brazos, which is about 150 miles above Torrey's
trading-house. The parties forming said settlement are the
Wacos, Tahwaccarros, Keechies, Caddoes, and Ionies, with a few
Cherokees and Delawares, who are associated with them. I would
respectfully recommend that they be sustained and encouraged by
the department in their laudable undertaking, as they are now under
good chiefs, and if properly attended to will give the department
but little trouble.

On the 27th I arrived at the camp of the Anadahkos (Jose Maria's
band.) I found that they had just returned from Torrey's trading-house,
where they had spent several days, for the purpose of disposing
of their peltries. Jose Maria was furnished, by my order,
with corn to plant, while there. Although he appeared perfectly
friendly, I found, by conversing with him, that he was in some perplexity,
and uncertain what would be his movements. He spoke of
the rapid extension of our settlements, and was afraid if he settled
and attempted to make corn, that he would be driven off before he
could gather the crop. I again assured him of the good intentions
of the government of the United States, and advised him to remain
in his village, as I felt assured that the government would do him
justice, even if the line so often spoken of should be run above his
village.

I find that great doubt exists in the minds of all principal Indian
chiefs in regard to the final settlement of their land matters. They
are suspicious of the promises made; and from the late movement
of the troops on this frontier, and rapid extension of our settlements
previous to any negotiation or agreement on the part of the several


21

tribes, are under the impression that they are to be driven entirely
out of the country, and deprived of their usual hunting grounds by
force.

On the 1st instant I arrived at this place, having been absent in
the Indian country thirty days, during which time I had communications
with portions of every tribe in the limits of this agency except
the Lipans, who are still on the Rio Grande, near the mouth
of the Pinco, and occupy a doubtful position. During my travels
with the several bands I endeavored, as far as possible, to ascertain
their disposition and feeling towards the whites, and used extra exertions
myself, as well as through my interpreters, separately, to
ascertain if any thing like a general feeling of hostility existed in
any tribe, but was unable to detect anything of the kind in any
band, (except as reported in regard to the Camanches.) On the
contrary, I received on all occasions renewed assurances of the disposition
on the part of the several bands to place themselves entirely
under the control and at the disposition of the government
of the United States, and all expressed a wish to cultivate friendly
relations with our citizens.

I deem it proper to call the special attention of the department
to the many influences at present brought to bear upon the several
wild bands in this special agency, calculated to interrupt our
friendly intercourse, and create hostile feeling toward the whites.
On my arrival at each camp, the first subject brought to my notice,
was the reports circulated by the small bands of Kickapoos and
Muskogies, (Seminoles,) who for the last two months have been
engaged in visiting the several prairie bands, representing themselves
as emissaries of the Creeks, and inviting most of the small
bands to join the Creeks and emigrate to their country.

The first intimation that I had of their operations was on my arrival
at the Camanche camp, when the chief Mopochocopie informed
me that a party of Kickapoos and Creeks had just left his village;
that the several chiefs of the Camanches, on hearing of my approach,
insisted on their remaining to see me, as it was important
that their reports should be told me. They left, however, with
much precipitance. They had told the Camanches that the whites
were decidedly hostile, and were preparing to make a campaign in
their country; also, that they had lied at every council held with
them in regard to their lands, &c. Pa-ha-yu-ca, the Camanche chief,
said: "I have heard all that these people (the Creeks) have to
say; I do not know whether they have told the truth or not. They
told me that the presents you gave my people was to pay us for
our land; if I had believed that to be the case, I would not have
taken those presents. I have not sold any of my land."

On my arrival at the camp of the Wacos, I found that they had
been speading the same reports, and had used every exertion to
induce the Wacos to emigrate to the Creek nation. They told the
chiefs that I was dead, and that the wild Indians had no friend in
this part of the country; that the whites on this frontier would
kill all the Indians, at the same time offering them much larger
presents than they received at the late council, if they would join


22

the Creeks. The same thing has been offered every band in the
limits of this agency, as I am informed by the chiefs; the consequence
is, that much confusion exists among the several bands:
some had already agreed to remove previous to my arrival in the
Indian country.

Those that had mostly given in to the measure were the Ton-ka-huas
and Keechies. I am informed that this measure is undertaken
by the Seminole chiefs "Wild Cat" and "Alligator." What
their object is in inducing these wild bands to emigrate to their
country, or why they wish to assemble so large a force, I was unable
to ascertain, but would respectfully call the attention of the
department to the fact. I have on a former occasion called the
attention of the department to the propriety of adopting such
measures as would compel these bands to remain in their own
country.

Notwithstanding the several bands have been notified of the many
false reports of the Kickapoos, and all possible means tried to
counteract their influence, they have, on the present occasion,
created much confusion, and done much to weaken the confidence
of the wild tribes in the good intention of the government. They
have, on this occasion, had a better opportunity, by a combination
of circumstances, to create dissension, than on any former occasion.
For the last few months our settlements have extended to grounds
heretofore considered exclusively the privileged lands of the Indians,
(I allude to the occupation of the late council ground, near
Torrey's trading-house,) which has attracted the attention and
special notice of every band that has visited the trading-house.
The effect, in a manner, confirms the reports circulated by the
Kickapoos and others, (who appear to be decidedly hostile to the
citizens of this frontier,) "that the whites intend to deprive them
of their lands by force."

I have heretofore called the attention of the department to the
fact that, by the laws of this State, the Indians are not acknowledged
to have any right or claim to lands. Our citizens, acting
under this privilege granted by these laws, are generally disposed
to settle on the lands occupied by the Indians, regardless of the
consequences, and, there being no power to control them, must
necessarily and inevitably lead to serious difficulty, unless measures
are immediately adopted to settle the questions involved. A crisis
has now arrived;
this matter cannot be postponed with safety much
longer. I have deemed it my duty, under your instructions, to use
all my influence to induce our citizens to remain quiet until the
question involved, in regard to the land occupied by the Indians,
and claimed by them as their hunting grounds, could be definitely
settled by the action of the United States government, but find that
the many opposite influences brought to bear on that subject have
rendered my efforts ineffective, and I am unable to effect further
delay on the part of our citizens. Up to the date of my return
from the Indian country, I was decidedly of the opinion that the
"temporary line" designated by Governor Henderson, and agreed
to by the Indians at the council in September last, in the presence


23

of Lieutenant Colonel Bell and others, and alluded to in the copy
of a communication from Governor H., forwarded with my report
of the 18th December, would be sustained, until some definite action
in relation to our Indian matters. But, finding that the agreements
then made are disregarded, I deem it proper to notify the department
that the Indian country in Texas is now open to all persons
who may choose to visit or settle therein. This subject has been
fully tested, in the last few months, by the case reported in my
communication of the 18th December, when I notified the department
that a Mr. Spencer had located on the council ground of the
Indians, and forwarded a copy of Governor Henderson's views in
regard to the propriety of maintaining the temporary line, until the
United States government could place our Indian matters on a firm
and permanent basis. For near a month after his removal, I was
absent in the western portion of this agency; on my return, in the
early part of January, I found that Spencer, in connexion with a
Mr. Moore, had returned to the place from which he was removed,
and engaged in selling whiskey to Captain Johnston's ranging company,
a portion of which had strongly espoused his cause. This
matter being susceptible of full proof, the subject was called to the
notice of the commanding officer, Captain Johnston, with a request
to have those persons removed from the Indian country; enclosing
him, at the same time, a copy of Governor Henderson's views in regard
to the maintenance of the "temporary line." I herewith enclose
a copy of Captain Johnston's letter to Spencer on that occasion,
which will more fully call the attention of the commissioner to
the propriety of permitting such men to settle in the Indian country.

Spencer received permission from Captain Johnston to remain
until the matter could be further discussed; laid the subject before
Governor Wood, (who had succeeded Gov. H.,) who would take
no notice of the matter. He next applied to the legislature, petitioning
for permission to become a citizen of this State, and to
locate and settle any land he might think proper, in the limits of
Texas. His petition was not granted.

On my arrival at this place, I was informed by Captain Ross,
who is now in command, that Lieutenant Colonel Bell has given
him orders not to interfere with or prevent any settlers from going
above the trading house; to remove the station about fifteen miles
further up, and to encourage and protect those who wish to settle.
The field that Spencer now cultivates has been cultivated by the
Indians for the last four or five years. I have heretofore called the
notice of the commissioner to the necessity of establishing a complete
co-operation between the agent and the military on this frontier.
Not being conversant with the orders given the commanding officer
of the frontier in regard to Indian matters, I deem it proper merely
to call the attention of the commissioner to the influence that the
present movements are likely to exercise over our several border
tribes.

On my late visit I could easily see, by the guarded manner of a number
of the chiefs, and their questions relative to the movements and


24

intentions of our military force, that the Indians were very apprehensive
and afraid to approach our frontier. Mo-po-cho-co-pie, chief of
the friendly Camanches, thus spoke on the subject: "You told me
that the troops were placed there for our protection, as well as the
whites; that I know is not so. You told me, also, that if I wished
to go below the line, if I would go to the captains of the stations,
they would give me permission to go down below to hunt. Soon
after the council, I wanted to go below the station, on the Colorado,
as I heard that there were some buffalo down in the lower prairies.
I applied to Captain McCullough, with a party of eight old men
and their women and children; he would not let me go down. I
told him that I did not wish to go to the settlements; had no warriors
with me; but merely wanted to hunt where there were no
houses, and kill some meat for my women and children, as there
were no buffalo near, above his station. He said he would not
permit me, under any circumstances, to go down. This made me
angry, and I quarrelled with him. I told him that I was an old
man, and had hunted in these prairies before he was born, and before
there was any white man for a long way below. I am now
going down, and will try again to go to my old hunting grounds.
If I am again refused a permission, I have done trying. We have
been at peace for a long time, and I do not see why you keep so
many soldiers on the line, if you still wish to keep peace."

There is now eight companies of rangers on this frontier, which
is more than was ever before stationed here, even when we were
at war with all the tribes on our borders. They are stationed at intervals
from the Rio Grande to Red river. During the last month,
the lieutenant colonel commanding visited the several posts, and,
while I was still in the Indian country, established several new
ones. I am informed by the officers at this station, (Captain Ross
and Lieutenant Hill,) that no Indian is to be permitted to pass below
said line of posts, unless they have passports! I would respectfully
ask the commissioner, who is to grant these passports?
The position of the troops, and the line they now propose to defend,
is entirely above the setlements, being some thirty miles
higher than they existed some three months since, and ten miles
above Torrey's trading post, and the council grounds of the Indians;
at which point, I have, heretofore, held my office for the transaction
of the necessary business with the Indians.

I am also informed by these officers, that the lieutenant colonel
stated that, "if the Camanches committed any further depredations,
he would send a force immediately into the Indian country," which
proceeding would at once end our peaceful relations with them.

Believing it to be the intention of the department to settle all
difficulties between our citizens and the several Indian tribes in
the manner prescribed by the treaty, I am unable to account for
the present movements. If a small body of any band of Indians
should steal a few horses, is it deemed of sufficient moment to commence
hostilities? or should the matter be settled by negotiation,
as provided for in the treaty? That some bands of the prairie tribes
will depredate until they are induced to understand our institutions,


25

by the usual mode practised by the government, must be expected.

Up to the present moment, there has been no definite arrangement
made with the wild Indians; no permanent means adopted
by the government to protect them from the depredations of other
persons, or to allow them the privilege of subsisting unmolested,
by hunting on grounds that they occupied before Texas was populated
by a more civilized race. I have only been in the settlements
three days, after having visited, without any protection or military
force whatever, all the bands that could be reached by our present
force, and can see no necessity, whatever, for war with the Indians.
This matter is entirely within the control of the government,
and I feel fully assured and justified in stating to the department
that they have sufficient influence already to settle our
Indian matters upon the terms that the government may think
proper to propose, without war.

The position assumed by the troops on this frontier of course,
renders it impossible for me to exercise any influence or control
whatever, either over the Indians or persons who may choose to
interfere in Indian matters. Nor do I deem it proper for me to attempt
any further measures or negotiations with the Indians, without
special instructions from the commissioner.

Every avenue leading to our settlements is guarded by a body
of troops. The Indians are cut off from the possibility of holding
intercourse, or cultivating friendly relations with our citizens, even
if they were so disposed; and I can readily assure the department
that the wild Indians will not, under any circumstances, place
themselves in the reach of so large a body of troops, unless they
are fully assured of their intentions: I would, therefore, respectfully
suggest that the department define their position, at as early
a period as possible, and notify the several bands on our frontier
what are the intentions of the government in regard to their affairs.
At present I would not feel justified to guarantee good treatment
to any Indian who wished to visit our settlements, from the feeling
of hostility exhibited by a portion of our citizens.

I am instructed by the department to report the several influences
calculated to interrupt friendly relations with our Indians. I do
not feel myself authorized to discuss the actions of the military,
but deem it my imperative duty, in my present position, to call the
attention of the department to any movement of the military or our
citizens that is calculated, in my opinion, to interfere with our
present peaceful relations with the Indians.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBT. S. NEIGHBORS,
United States Special Indian Agent. To Colonel W. MEDILL,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
Washington, D. C.


26

UNITED STATES SPECIAL INDIAN AGENCY,
April 10, 1848.

SIR:

I have the honor herewith to transmit for your information
"The Austin Democrat," of the 8th ins ant, containing the account
of an attack made by Captain Highsmith, with a portion of his
command, on a party of Wichita Indians, on the —— day of
March.

The report given by Captain Highsmith is all the information I
have thus far been able to acquire, notice of the affair not having
reached the Indians through any other source. The attack was of
course entirely unexpected, as those Indians, as far as my observations
have extended, remained perfectly quiet and friendly since
my arrangement with them, reported on the 22d June, 1847. What
the consequences will be, I am at present unable to decide, though
think it more than probable that they will endeavor to retaliate.

I am not aware of their having committed any act of hostility,
nor are these facts of the murder of the German to be positively
attributed to them, alluded to in the report, I therefore deem it
proper to respectfully suggest that the matter be considered by the
commissioner, and the necessary instructions given that a full investigation
of the circumstances be made.

It may not be deemed improper by the commissioner to call his
attention to the fact that my term of appointment will expire on
the 13th instant, three days from this date; and not having been
notified respecting the wishes of the department, I shall proceed
to settle finally all the business of this special agency, and forward
my accounts as soon as practicable.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBT. S. NEIGHBORS,
United States Special Indian Agent. Col. W. MEDILL,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

SIR:

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of the 13th instant, enclosing a copy of "a bill to regulate trade
and intercourse with the Indian tribes residing within the limits of
Texas," and desiring information, and the views of the department
upon the subject.

In the two last annual reports from this office, I had the honor
of calling attention to the peculiar position of the Indians of Texas;
and the difficulties arising, or likely to arise, in the management of
our relations with them. The existing laws regulating trade and
intercourse with the Indian tribes are limited to certain geographical
boundaries, and have never been extended over Texas; and, as
that State reserved exclusive jurisdiction over all the lands within
her own limits, it is doubtful whether those laws can be so extended


27

without a conflict of jurisdictions; and yet, without that or some
equivalent measure, it is the opinion of the department that the
bill in question will be practically inoperative and useless. If the
department have no power to enforce its orders, it can render but
little service, and will require but few agents. Indeed, it would
be impolitic to impose upon the general government or any branch
of it responsibilities and duties which it has no power to meet or
to execute. It is not known whether Texas considers her laws in
force over all the territory within her limits; if she does, it is not
seen how this department can "establish trading-houses," or "prescribe
the rules and regulations of trade and intercourse with the
said Indian tribes;" especially as this is required by the bill to be
done according to the laws now in force, and in a manner "not
inconsistent with the relations existing between the State of Texas
and the said tribes of Indians."

In pursuance of a recommendation of this department, a special
appropriation was made, at the last session of Congress, to defray
the expenses of employing a special agent to aid the government
in the management of our affairs with the Indians of Texas, until
some permanent and satisfactory arrangement could be made upon
the subject. This was but a temporary measure, limited to one
year, which may be considered as having expired. A person of
great experience was appointed, who had served in a similar capacity
under the republic of Texas. He appears to have acted with
great discretion, and has faithfully and satisfactorily performed the
delicate and responsible duties that devolved upon him. The correspondence
with him (copies of so much of which as was not published
in my late annual report are herewith transmitted) will inform
the committee of the difficult and perplexing questions arising,
and likely to arise, under existing laws, and the total want of
power in the department to meet and settle them. From his report
of the 2d of March last, it will be perceived that he is of opinion
that a crisis has arrived when some definite understanding must be
had between the general government and Texas, or his further continuance
in the service in which he has been employed will be useless.
Among the documents will be found a correspondence with
the late governor of Texas, General Henderson, prescribing an arrangement
which, could it have been carried out in good faith,
would have been attended with good results; but the government
has no power to enforce the observance of such a measure upon the
citizens of Texas, and it seems to have been resisted and overturned,
or abandoned. I also add, for the information of the committee,
an extract from a communication of the Hon. D. G. Burnet, one of
the Presidents of the late republic, giving his views on the vexed
question of our relations with the Indians in question.

The question of the power of Congress to regulate trade and intercourse
with Indian tribes residing within the limits of a State,
where the lands have not been reserved to the general government,
was so fully discussed in Congress in 1831, (see report of Committee
on Indian Affairs of the Senate, dated February 22, and of the same
committee of the House of Representatives, dated the 24th of the


28

same month,) and in the special message of President Jackson,
communicated to the Senate, February 22, 1831, as to require
nothing to be said upon that subject by this department.

Respecting the bill, I have only further respectfully to remark,
that the number of agents, considering the probable character and
extent of their respective duties, and the grades of salary provided
for, seem to be disproportioned to the number and compensation
now authorized. Rates of compensation should be kept as uniform
as possible. It is believed that one, or at most two, efficient agents,
with the same power new possessed by the President in regard to
the other Indians of the United States, of employing such number
of sub-agents as circumstances require, would be amply sufficient.
It is the opinion of the department that no officers of the grade of
superintendent would be necessary.

In answer to your general inquiry, I have the honor to remark
that this office is not in possession of specific information in regard
to the names, number, and particular location of all the tribes in
Texas. All that it has will be found in the correspondence herewith
communicated in the report of Messrs. Butler and Lewis, commissioners,
who negotiated the existing treaty with the Texas Indians,
(House Doc. No. 76, 2d sess., 29th Cong.,) and the accompanying
copy of a report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for
Texas, dated November 3, 1838.

The copy of the bill enclosed by you is herewith returned.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. MEDILL.
Hon. D. R. ATCHISON,
Chairman Committee on Indian Affairs, Senate.

Letter from the Secretary of War, transmitting a report of Messrs-Butler
and Lewis relative to the Indians of Texas and the south-west
prairies.

SIR:

I have the honor to transmit herewith a report of the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs in answer to resolutions of the House
of Representatives of the 10th of August and 13th of January,
1846, requiring a copy of the report of Messrs. Butler and Lewis,
late commissioners to the Indians of Texas and the southwestern
prairies, and information in relation to those of Texas.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. MARCY,
Secretary of War. Hon. JOHN W. DAVIS,
Speaker, House of Representatives.


29

WAR DEPARTMENT,

SIR:

A resolution of the House of Representatives of the 10th
of August last requires a copy of the report of Messrs. Butler and
Lewis, late commissioners to the wild tribes of Indians of Texas
and the southwestern prairies, and a statement of their expenditures
and the sums allowed and paid to them. A copy of the
report has not sooner been submitted to you because of the accounts
of the commissioners not having been finally acted on and
settled by the accounting officers. As it is now probable that this
will not be done in season to furnish the information during the
present session, I have the honor to lay the report before you for
transmission to the House. This report contains the best information
which it has been in the power of this office to procure
in relation to the Indian tribes of Texas, a report respecting whom
is required by a resolution of that body dated January 13th, 1846.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. MEDILL.
Hon. WM. L. MARCY,
Secretary of War.

SIR:

Under instructions from your department of the 12th September,
1845, we proceeded to the duties assigned to us, and have
the honor to submit the following report:

In point of time, the first named commissioner preceded his colleague.
He arrived at New Orleans on the 22d October; there purchased
a small outfit for the mission, with some suitable articles as
presents, to be used in conciliating the Indians. He proceeded up Red
river by land as far as Shreveport, and then across the country to Fort
Gibson, where he applied, in the joint name of the commissioners,
for a company of dragoons. The commanding general of the department
declined, for satisfactory reasons, to yield to the request.
The first named commissioner then wrote to his colleague, apprising
him of his want of success in obtaining the dragoons as they
had expected, (as on two former occasions a similar requisition
had been complied with.) Thus thrown on our own resources, and
being unable to obtain aid by way of guard, the commissioners
proceeded, as well as they could, to make other arrangements. It
would have been imprudent and hazardous for them to venture
alone among the Indians without assistants. The government had
an important object in view, and we were without the ordinary and
anticipated means of effecting it. The experience of one of the
commissioners on former occasions had satisfied him of the necessity
of availing ourselves of the sympathy and confidence existing
everywhere between the Indian races. Let them meet together at
any time, not as hostile adversaries, and this mystical affinity of
blood exhibits itself in a way calculated to touch the feelings of


30

the most indifferent. In selecting their guard, and other agents of
their mission, they had more than common advantages in availing
themselves of the services of influential persons connected with
tribes living under friendly treaties with the United States. Some
of these Indians were gentlemen of intelligence, and were capable
of appreciating, in its largest sense, the true objects of the mission.
Under such circumstances, they did not hesitate as to the propriety
and policy of employing the friendly delegations that accompanied
them. And their influence was very great—perhaps more than any
other that was exerted—not only from the cause alluded to, but
these friendly representatives seemed to overcome the unfortunate
influence of secret emissaries, who were in the habit of going in
advance, and, with the discontent of renegades, would spread
alarm, and sow the seeds of jealousy against the purposes of the
white men who might be sent to induce the wild tribes to enter into
friendly treaties. In the sequel, these friendly representatives,
consisting of two Cherokees, three Chickasaws, two Creeks, and
two Seminoles, with their interpreters, cooks, &c., were our best
and most efficient agents to counteract such secret and unfavorable
influences.

At Coffee's station, where the commissioners met, we became
more fully satisfied of the hazard of attempting to penetrate the
Indian country without an adequate force for our protection. The
Indians, from many accidental causes, had become suspicious and
discontented. We thought it prudent and proper again to address
an application to General Arbuckle for a guard of dragoons. The
application being refused, we set about forming our plans, and
succeeded in organizing a force to enable us to proceed. It should
be remarked, that before this time (which was January) we had
taken preliminary measures towards our ultimate purposes.

As early as November we reached the Indian country, and had
sent out runners ahead of us to invite the different tribes of wild
Indians to meet us at the Camanche Peak, on the Brazos. Contrary
to our calculations, these runners became deterred from going
among the wild tribes, who were represented as having been greatly
exasperated, and hostile to the authorities of the United States.
These rumors were no doubt put in circulation by the refugees and
renegades from other more civilized tribes, for the purpose of giving
themselves all the advantages of their selfish intention. They
value very much the incidental advantages of their irresponsible
position, and are disposed to resort to any means to maintain it.

Although they are not acceptable to those on whom they have
obtruded themselves, still they are able to do great mischief. Some
measures should be taken to remove them. Having been disappointed,
from the causes alluded to, of meeting the chiefs at the
time first appointed, which was the full moon in January, we again
sent forward two sets of runners, with small presents for the Indians,
with assurances that our purpose was peace. One set of runners
swept the country on both sides of the Colorado; the other
the country on the Brazos and the head of the Trinity. The commissioners,
with their party, took a more direct route for the Camanche


31

Peak, hoping to get there before the second appointment
for the assembling of the Indians, which was the full moon in
February, to have every thing in the greatest possible state of forwardness,
in order that all unnecessary delay and expense might be
avoided in concluding our council with the Indians. Our Indian
guide, however, proved entirely ignorant of the country, led us
across the Brazos fifty miles above, and one hundred beyond the
Camanche Peak, near the waters of the Colorado, before we discovered
our mistake. Our guide was discharged, and we took the
most direct route, according to our judgment, to the "Peak."
While lost between the Brazos and Colorado, we encountered a
party of Wacoes and Keechies, who had been on a marauding expedition
to the frontier of Texas. Supposing us to be Texans, and
that we came to make war on them, they stole twelve of our horses
and mules, and gave evident demonstrations of hostility. As soon,
however, as they ascertained who we were, and what our purpose
was, they not only restored our horses, but expressed great regret
for what they had done. In this we believed them sincere. After
travelling about two hundred miles down the waters of Little river
—a tributary of the Brazos in a direction south of east—we met,
about the 10th of February, with a Boluxie camp, the headmen of
which informed us that we were below the Camanche Peak, and
about two days ride from the Brazos. We went immediately to the
Brazos, where we saw several hunting parties of Indians, from
whom we learned, for the first time, that our second set of runners,
seeing the impossibility, on account of constant rains and swollen
streams, of the Indians getting to the "Peak" by the full moon in
February, had very wisely and properly postponed the meeting
until the full moon in March. We then pitched our camp on the
Brazos, for the purpose of recruiting our horses and getting a supply
of provisions for our men. This was absolutely necessary, as
our horses and men were worn out and exhausted, from excessive
fatigue and short allowance, the horses having subsisted for several
weeks on nothing but the short dry grass of the prairie, and our
men had depended the same time upon such game as our hunters
had chanced to kill, which afforded but a bare subsistence.

While encamped here, several parties of Ionies, Onadaicas, Caddoes,
Tonkaways, and Lippans, on their way to the "Peak," joined
us. They were hungry and without provisions, and they claimed
the fulfilment of our promises, made through our runners, that they
should be fed after they joined us, until the council closed. We
could not refuse, and procured such provisions as were to be had
from the nearest settlements, until we reached the Peak, where we
were to meet a supply of beef by contract. As soon as our horses
were able to travel we started for the Peak; arrived there, and
found a number of Indians had already assembled, amounting, together
with those we carried with us, to several hundred. Here
the treaty might have been concluded, but for the disinclination of
the chiefs or headmen to enter into any permanent treaty arrangement
before consulting their people, and without having their leading
war captains, and as many of their people as possible, to hear


32

what was said and done. They represented that treaties had been
concluded before, and promises made to the chiefs in council; that
they had reported these things to their people; and for the violation
of faith in the fulfilment of any stipulation or promises on the part
of the white men (and they had been frequent) they were held
responsible. They were therefore unwilling to do any thing definitely
until they had consulted their people, and brought as many
to the council as would come. They also suggested the "Council
Springs" as a more suitable place for the adjourned meeting, as affording
more abundant subsistence for their horses, and greater
facilities for procuring provisions for themselves. In all these
things we had to indulge them. Accordingly a portion of the Indians,
with five or six of our men with each party, as security of
our good faith, started to scour the whole Indian country, for the
purpose of notifying the Indians of the time, place, and purpose
of our next meeting, which was appointed for the full moon in
April; but long continued and unprecedented rains, high waters,
and the ungovernable aversion of the Indians to travel in the rain,
or to cross water-courses when swollen, so retarded their movements
that delay was unavoidable. Other untoward events were
the cause of much delay. Some of the hunting parties of the Camanches,
without knowing any thing of our visit or purpose, or of
the new relation of Texas to the United States, had committed
depredations on the Texas frontier; and when their chiefs heard of
it they became alarmed, and would not come into council until runners
had been sent several hundred miles, and peace offerings exchanged
as a pledge for their security and kind treatment while in
council. The interested and selfish purposes of unprincipled men
upon the borders, and evil reports of renegade Indians, had to be
met and counteracted. All these things produced delay, and our
meeting did not take place until about the middle of May. The
bulk of the Indians that were at the Peak accompanied us to the
Council Springs, and remained until the close of the council.
There were acquisitions to their numbers almost daily from the various
tribes, which swelled our subsistence account to an amount
greatly beyond our calculations at the outset. It must not be supposed
that while we were at Council Springs we were unemployed,
indeed, from the time of our arrival there, until the conclusion of
the treaty, hereafter to be noticed, was a period of our greatest
troubles and difficulties. Daily communications and constant attention
had to be maintained with the Indians; and one of the commissioners
was at this time ill. During an excursion in the month
of March, in which he had to be very much exposed, he contracted
a disorder, which continued to increase in violence until he was
compelled to take his bed about the 1st of April; and from that
time he could give little more than the aid of his advice and counsel
on all the essential matters involved in pending negotiations.

Both he and his colleague saw the importance of their peculiar
situation, and they were under every obligation to make the most
of it. The solicitude and apprehension which were entertained at


33

a very critical period for the army under General Taylor's command
cannot be forgotten.

It was generally understood that his small force was surrounded
by an overwhelming body of Mexicans. His situation, in any
point of view, was certainly full of imminent peril. The Indians,
looking at the mere demonstration of numbers, were manifestly
excited by such a state of things. The constituted authorities of
Texas saw the importance of guarding against the outbreak of savage
violence; and, under a resolution of their legislature, the governor
of Texas despatched two special messengers to apprize us of
the necessity of maintaining a control over the savages by every
practical means in our power. General Taylor, with a becoming
vigilance, seeing the great danger of the savages taking a part in
the war at such a juncture, either by murdering their white neighbors
from a supposed impunity from danger, or by joining the
Mexican forces, also sent a despatch to the executive of Texas, of
which we were apprized by express immediately.

We were then so far distant from anything like efficient aid that
could have been afforded us, should an occasion have called for it,
that we were bound to resort to the most obvious means of security
and safety. Under such circumstances, what could the commissioners
do?—leave the camp, and thereby abandon the Indians to
their own wild and ferocious course of policy? This could not
have been done in the discharge of their duty, with honor as patriotic
citizens, or as official agents of the government.

They felt bound to retain their post, and make the most of their
influence in conciliating the friendship and overcoming any hostile
indication on the part of the Indians which they had reason to fear
might be exhibited. To do this, they had to resort to more than
ordinary exertions. They held a highly important position that
required them to use all the discretion vested in them by their instructions
from the government.

They had not only to make many promises, but were at once
compelled to make profuse presents, and resort to unusual expenditures
of money, to secure themselves and divert and detain the
Indians. If they had not taken the course they did, what would
have been the consequences cannot now be conjectured. It must
not be supposed that the savages would have remained entirely
passive and neutral. We had many reasons to think otherwise;
and it was fortunate, at this particular time, that many of the influential
chiefs were separated from their people. Under such circumstances,
their aversion to the conterminous white population
could be appeased and thwarted, if not entirely overcome.

The tribes with whom we were in negotiation at the Camanche
Peak, and with whom we concluded a treaty at Council Springs
on the 16th May, a copy of which has been sent to the department,
are as follows:

1st. The Camanches, who are regarded as the master spirits of
the prairie, acquired by their numbers and general daring of character.
They are an athletic and fine looking race of people, living
entirely by the chase, and principally upon buffalo and wild horses.


34

They make no corn, and have no permanent places of abode. They
are predatory in their habits, ranging as far south as the Rio Grande,
and the head waters of Red river and the Canadian; wintering principally
upon the Brazos and Trinity rivers, where they find abundance
of green grass all winter for the subsistence of their horses.
They make frequent incursions into the northern provinces of
Mexico, from whence they derive their best horses. They likewise
capture women and children, and make slaves of them. It is believed
that they have as many as one thousand Mexican children
at this time. These Camanches are known upon the prairies under
the general appellation of Pah-to-cahs, and are subdivided into six
distinct bands. The separate organization and internal regulations,
such as head chiefs, councillors, war chiefs, and captains,
are as follows:

1st. Yam-pe-uc-coes, or "Root Diggers." They number about
five hundred lodges, averaging about seven souls to the lodge,
making in all about thirty-five hundred souls. They range generally
on the headwaters of the Canadian and Red rivers.

2d. The Hoo-ish, or "Honey Eaters," who number about four
hundred lodges, averaging about seven to the lodge, making in all
about twenty-eight hundred souls. They inhabit the southernmost
part of the Camanche country bordering the settlements of Texas.
Their principal, chief, Pah-hah-u-cah, is an excellent man, and
quite friendly with the whites.

3d. The Co-che-ta-cah, or "Buffalo Eaters." They have something
upwards of three hundred lodges, and number about two
thousand souls, and are located principally upon the headwaters of
the Brazos.

4th. The Noonah, or "People of the Desert." They have about
two hundred lodges, and number about fifteen hundred souls.
They live upon the open plain or prairie between the Colorado and
Brazos rivers.

5th. The No-coo-nees, or "People in a Circle." They number
about two hundred and fifty lodges, in all about seventeen hundred
and fifty souls; are located between the Colorado and Rio
Grande.

6th. The Le-na-wosh, or "People in the Timber." They have
about four hundred lodges, and number about twenty-eight hundred
souls; making in all fourteen thousand three hundred souls. These
people command the prairies, and are the principal ones to be
treated with and conciliated. In this place it is proper to remark
that there has recently been formed an alliance and acquisition to
this band from two bands of Indians heretofore inhabiting the
northern provinces of Mexico, known as the Es-ree-que-tees and
Mus-ca-lar-oes; the first numbering about thirty-five hundred souls,
and the latter about five hundred. They have heretofore been at
war with the Camanches, but recently become their allies, and are
now at war with Mexico. We did not see any of the former tribe,
but received messages from their chiefs of their friendly disposition,
and their wish to come under our protection.

The chiefs of the latter tribe were in attendance, and are now
planting corn on the St. Saba, a tributary of the Colorado. Both


35

of these tribes are the same people in language, manners, habits
&c., as the Lippans of Texas.

The other little bands, viz: Witch-a-taws, Tow-zash, To-noc-o-nies,
Keechies, and Wacoes, are inconsiderable in number and degenerate
in character. They do not exceed one hundred and fifty
souls each. They plant corn and pumpkins for their own use and
raise some for trade. They live in villages, and have temporary
huts, made of skins and straw.

The Witch-a-taws and Tow-zash live on the north side of Red
river, in the Witch-a-taw mountains. The other three tribes reside
upon the Brazos, about one hundred miles above the Camanche
Peak. They informed us they had lost their numbers by the small
pox and repeated wars with the Texans. They have the reputation
of being the best horse thieves in the prairie.

Next are the Ionies, An-no-dar-coes, and Caddoes. They live
upon the Brazos, about forty miles below the "Peak;" reside in
villages, and their houses are made of straw, and are comfortable.
They plant corn, pumpkins, &c. The aggregate of the three tribes
is about fifteen hundred souls. They have intermarried with each
other, and become identified as one people, controlled by one chief.

Next are the Ton-que-was and Lippans: the first number about
seven hundred souls, the latter about one hundred and twenty
five. They reside near San Antonio, in Texas, and have been
uniformly the friends and allies of Texans. They rely upon game
alone for subsistence; they do not cultivate the soil, or have any
stationary place of abode. They are extremely depraved in their
habits; great drunkards, and fond of gambling. Most of them
speak the Spanish language with great fluency. The vice of drinking
ardent spirits is common only to those two tribes and the
Ionies, An-no-dar-coes, and Caddoes. The rest of the tribes do
not indulge in the vice of intemperance; but the vice of gambling
is prevalent among all the other tribes to an alarming extent.
These tribes all speak or understand the Spanish language, and
seem to have imbibed from them the habit of gaming.

In their religion or superstitious ceremonies they are observant
to a painful extent. They all recognise an overruling or controlling
Spirit, but have limited or no knowledge of the worship of the
living and true God. They use their women as serfs or slaves,
compelling them to perform all the drudgery of life. Like all
savages, they have three or four wives; the women providing for
the men, and the men living in comparative indolence.

We will here recapitulate the number and names of all the different
tribes, and give the aggregate of the whole, which will stand
thus:

Camanches 14,300
Esse-qua-ties and Mu-ca-la-moes 4,000
Witch-a-taws and Tow-zash 300
Wacoes, Keechies, and Li-woch-o-nies 450
Ionies, An-no-dar-coes, and Caddoes 1,500
Ton-que was and Lippans 850
Numbering in all 21,400

36

It is believed that all of the above tribes could not muster more
than four thousand warriors. They do not act in large numbers;
rarely above one or two hundred men engage in the same enterprise.
Besides the tribes enumerated above, there is one other
tribe in friendly intercourse with the United States and her friendly
Indians—the Ki-o-ways, numbering about four thousand souls.
They reside high up on the Canadian river, between that and the
Arkansas, extending their rambles to the Rio Grande, towards
Mexico. Through our runners, we received friendly messages from
these people, with a request to meet next fall in council, to hold a
friendly talk and smoke the pipe. They are to some extent in intercourse
with the Camanches, and form a link in the great chain
of the prairie Indians.

As to the ransom of white children who have been seized and
detained in captivity, we have to remark, that we succeeded in rescuing
one white child and three Mexicans. We heard of but three
other children of white parents; but it is said that there is a large
number of Mexican children. One of the whites is a young man
by the name of Lyons, who expressed an unwillingness to our runners
to withdraw from his association. Of the other two, one is a
girl about seventeen years old, and her brother, of the age of ten,
known as the Parker children. They have been in captivity of
the Yam-pi-ric-coes, and were on the head of the Washita, where
our runners saw them last. The young woman is claimed by one
of the Camanches as his wife. From the influence of her alleged
husband, or from her own inclination, she is unwilling to leave the
people with whom she associates. The headmen seemed to acquiesce
in the propriety of her being surrendered, on an adequate
sum in the way of ransom being paid. A large amount of goods
and four or five hundred dollars were offered, but the offer was unavailing,
as she would run off and hide herself, to avoid those who
went to ransom her. Measures, however, have been taken to secure
both herself and her brother. We were assured by the chief that
he would take measures to have her delivered up to the authorities
of the United States upon the next "fall of the leaves;" and if he
would not yield to the inducements of the ransom money, he would
exert forcible coercion.

In their negotiations and treaties the commissioners have been
sensible to the instructions of the government to employ all the
means in their power to effect the emancipation of such persons,
and to urge upon the Indians the necessity of abstaining in future
from the capture of white persons. By the treaty we have concluded,
we feel that we have acquired important advantages. Many
of the most influential chiefs seemed to place confidence in our
promises; but had only a vague conception of the power and resources
of our government. It was important, for the reasons assigned,
not only to retain a practicable control over them at this
juncture, but to impress them with the greatness of the American
government. Hence the propriety of prevailing on them to accompany
the commissioners to the seat of government. Two objects
were to be effected by so doing. By having them at a distance


37

from their homes, and under our immediate charge, they were as
hostages for the good behavior of all that were left behind. We
were satisfied that, by coming among us, a favorable impression has
been made on their minds. They will go back impressed with our
strength, and their own weakness. A fatal delusion has been dispelled,
calculated to do much good in giving security to the frontier
settlements. They will no longer judge of the numbers of the
white men by their estimate of their Texan neighbors. They have
heretofore supposed that the prairies and buffalo were made exclusively
for the red man, on account of his numbers. These constitute
the great sources of their thanks to the Great Spirit for his
special bounties to their race. Many matters that may appear as
trifles in review were vastly important at the time events were
transpiring. "The looker on can sometimes see more than the
gamester;" and in the same way, in taking a retrospective view of
matters connected with our mission, some may be disposed to place
a different judgment upon them from what we found, when emergency
forced them on our determination.

We can see nothing to change our judgment on the more essential
objects and purposes which it was our joint design to effect. In
some matters, subordinate and to be regarded as the means of carrying
out our plans, we entertained different views—such as must
always be expected to be incident to the agency of two persons
acting under a joint commission.

Unless we are mistaken, the successful accomplishment of the
mission will, in its results, and not distant results, do credit to the
enlightened policy and benevolent humanity that dictated it. Other
great and more important measures may reflect higher renown and
more splendid brilliancy on the government; but if the treaty
should be preserved and carried out in all its essential provisions,
very few other measures will redound more to the real cause of
humanity, and the security of the frontier settlements. We have
done nothing in matters connected with the treaty but what we
felt ourselves authorized to do, under ample instructions from the
government; and, let others think as they may, we had to act
under great embarrassments, and with comparatively limited means;
and that, too, at a juncture both critical and inauspicious.

An exhibit of our accounts, vouchers, &c, and a roll of the persons
in our employment, only require to be copied to be presented
to the department. All of which is respectfully submitted.

P. M. BUTLER,
Indian Commissioner.
M. G. LEWIS,
Indian Commissioner. Hon. W. MEDILL,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington city, D. C.


38

Report of G. W. Bonnell, Commissioner Indian Affairs, third Congress
first session.

BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS,

SIR:

Agreeably to instructions from his excellency the president,
dated the 30th June, 1838, I have the honor to lay before your department
a report on the subject of our Indian relations. In making
this report, I have relied very little on hearsay testimony, but
have, in most instances, visited the tribes in person, or derived my
information from the stationary agents.

The number of Indians residing within the territory of Texas, as
near as can be ascertained, is about 30,000. Out of this number,
26,450 are designated as wild Indians, and reside north and west
of San Antonio. Three thousand seven hundred and fifty reside on
the Trinity, and between that stream and Red river; and about six
hundred reside near the coast in the western part of Texas. The
Bedies are a small remnant of a tribe, at present camped near this
city, numbering not more than thirty or forty, and scarcely worthy
of a notice in a general report. About four thousand of the Appachies
reside in the mountainous country high up the Rio Grande,
within the boundaries of this republic.

Most of the Indian tribes in this republic have manifested much
hostility to the white inhabitants. It is natural to them, from their
habits, to oppose the approaches of civilization, and most of them
have sagacity enough to know, that the white man and the Indian
cannot flourish in the same vicinity. This feeling has been fanned
and kept alive by Mexican emissaries; who have furnished them
with arms and ammunition, and urged every argument in their
power to impel the Indians to wage an exterminating war against
the country. They have even gone so far as to make an offer of
the whole territory to the Indians, if they could succeed in dispossessing
the American population. Many of the Indian tribes, however,
possess as much hostility to the Mexicans as they do to the
American race; and consequently, the Mexicans have not been
able to visit them with that friendly cordiality which has characterized
their intercourse with other tribes. But even at the risk
of their being used against their own citizens, they have been furnished
with arms and ammunition, hoping that it might induce
them to commence hostilities against the citizens of Texas. The
citizens of this republic, not more sagacious than the Mexicans,
have followed the same course, and arms and ammunition have
been given to Indians, which have, in too many instances, been
used against our own citizens. But I shall speak of each tribe individually,
commencing on our southwestern frontier, when I shall
go more into detail on this subject.

The Lapans are a small tribe, numbering about one hundred and
fifty souls, with sixty or seventy warriors. They have no settled residence.
They are generally found near the seacoast, about the
bays of Aransas and Corpus Christi; and between these bays
and the mouth of the Rio Grande. They pretend to subsist by
hunting; but their principal subsistence has heretofore been derived


39

from plundering and robbing either Mexicans or Texans, or any
others which chance or misfortune may have placed within their
power. About the commencement of the year, Castro, the chief of
that tribe, pretended to have formed a great friendship for the people
of Texas, and hatred for the whole Mexican race. After sending
several messages of friendship, he at last ventured, about the
first of March last, with a portion of his tribe, to pay a visit to this
capital. He was received with the characteristic confidence of the
American people; loaded with presents—among which were several
rifles, with arms and ammunition, and departed, to all appearance,
well pleased with his visit.

A formal treaty was entered into with him, as the representative
of his tribe, and he was bound not only to respect the rights of the
citizens of this republic, but give them timely notice of any operations
of the Mexicans against this country. On leaving this city,
he shook hands with a great number of our citizens, and made this
striking observation: "We have now formed a treaty of friendship
—time will show who will be the first to break it
!!!"

His subsequent acts have shown effectually the importance which
he places upon treaties: He had scarcely reached his own camp,
before he despatched a portion of his tribe across the Rio Grande,
to hold a similar treaty with the commandant of the Mexican
forces at Matamoras. They were so well pleased with their visit,
that they forgot their pledges of eternal friendship to the people
of this country, and on being requested to co-operate with the western
people to rid that country of a band of Mexican robbers who
had been for some months infesting it, they fled to the Rio Grande
and took shelter under the Mexican government. Report says that
the notorious Castro himself has a commission of brigadier general
in the Mexican army. Whether this be true or false, it is well
known in the west, that the Lapans have been committing depredations
upon this country, and in strict alliance with the Mexicans
for some months past. Castro is notorious among all the Indian
tribes for his cowardice; and admits, himself, that he is not fit for
a "War Chief." The tribe over which he presides is not as warlike
as their neighbors, the Karokaways and Tonkaways. They
are hunted by the Commancies, and cannot fly to the mountains,
and might easily be driven out of the country, or destroyed altogether,
by thirty mounted men.

Encouraged by the success of the Lapans, the Tonkaways were
the next tribe which made their appearance in this city to make a
treaty, and receive presents from this government. They reside on
the Guadaloupe, below Gonzales, and are almost entirely surrounded
by white settlements. They number about four hundred and fifty
souls, and about one hundred and seventy five warriors. Campo is
the principal chief of the tribe. He accompanied a portion of his
people to this city. A treaty was also made with them, and presents
distributed. It was as faithfully kept as the one entered into
by the Lapans. Their first act of hostility coming within my knowledge,
after the treaty, was an attack upon Captain Boyd, on the
8th of August last. Captain Boyd, in company with six or eight


40

friendly Mexicans, was going from San Antonio to Goliad, with
about sixty horses. They were encamped near the Cibolo for the
night; when, about 3 o'clock in the morning, the Indians, about
thirty in number, made an attack upon them. Boyd and his party
each took a tree, and made the best defence in their power. They
kept up a random fight until near 8 o'clock, when the Indians succeeded
in getting off with all of Boyd's horses. This was an act
of extreme madness on their part, considering the defenceless situation
in which they were placed. They were at war with the Camanches,
and could not fly to the wilderness, and were entirely in
the power of the whites; but the prize was too tempting, and they
could not let it pass; they depended upon that species of chicanery
for which our Indians are so celebrated—to lie out of it, and still
pretend to be our friend!

They brought them boldly into their camp, and declared they
had taken them from a company of hostile Mexicans west of the
Nueces river. Even this would have been contrary to their treaty,
but they were compelled to give some account of the manner in
which they came into their possession. But when at last the facts
were proved upon them, they laid it to an Indian whom they called
John, and said he, was a "bad man," and had left the tribe, with
about twenty followers, and they did not know where he was gone.
To make amends for this, a portion of them joined Colonel Morehouse,
on an expedition against the Mexicans; and I have not heard
that they misbehaved on that occasion. But shortly after their
return they got into a difficulty with some of the citizens of Goliad,
and murdered two or three persons, and drove off a large number of
horses.

Exasperated at this act of treachery, the citizens of the west
turned out, surrounded, and made captives of the whole nation.
Here Indian craft again procured their liberation. The chief made
his appearance with the treaty in his hand, declaring that he was a
good friend to the white people! That he still wished to be friendly,
and that if he bad any bad men in his tribe, if the white people
would point them out he would give them up to punishment; well
knowing that it was not in the power of the whites to distinguish
the individual Indians who were guilty of the crime. The humanity
of our people triumphed over justice, and they were again set
at liberty, to commit new acts of rapine and plunder.

In such cases as this the chief and several of the head-men of the
tribe should be seized, and held as hostages, until they designate
and deliver up the criminals. They should be taught distinctly to
understand, that any depredation will be punished, and that there
will be no avoiding the just retribution of their crimes. But we
may expect a continued repetition of such scenes so long as we suffer
them to go unpunished. It is in their power to detect the
offenders, and if they fail to do it, we should demand an equal number
of their people for instant execution. This may to some appear
a cruel remedy; but I believe it a just one, and the only way we
can restrain savages.

These Indians are as celebrated for their cowardice as their treachery;


41

and a force of twenty men, to act as rangers in that part of
the country, it is believed would effectually keep them in check.
Or we might demand and retain as hostages the children of some of
the principal families. It is submitted to your consideration and
the wisdom of Congress, whether the government should incur even
this expense to watch a band of known outlaws and robbers, or visit
them at once with that retribution which their many crimes and
outrages demand. They are cannibals, and the unfortunate prisoner
who falls into their hands is devoured with as little ceremony
as the deer of the forest. This has been doubted by some; but a
gentleman, in whose statement I have every confidence, assured me
that he was present and witnessed, not more than four months ago,
one of these horrid feasts. A war party came in, bringing with
them the body of a Camanche Indian, which was cut up, divided
out, and eaten! When he reproached them for it, they said that the
Camanches would eat them if they could catch them; and that it had
been the custom, from time immemorial, for all of the southwestern
Indians to eat their prisoners. One of them passed through the
city of San Antonio, a few months since, with the hand and arm of
a Camanche Indian roasted and hanging to his saddle. On being
asked what he intended to do with it, he said that "he was carrying
it home to his wife and children
!"

This, and their known duplicity and treachery, will show the
respect they are entitled to. The citizens of the west have witnessed
many of their acts of cruelty, for years past, and only
await the orders of the government to visit them with that retribution
which they have long since merited. They have heretofore
been preserved by the clemency of this government, but good
offices appear to be lost on such a people. It is hoped that some
measures will be taken during the present session of Congress to
prevent any further difficulty from this quarter.

The Karancaways are a small tribe, inhabiting the sea coast, between
Matagorda and Aransaso bays. They do not amount to more
than one hundred souls, with, perhaps, 25 or 30 warriors. They
have been a hardy and warlike race; but their continued difficulties
with the Indians of the interior, and their continued wars with
the Mexicans and Texans, have reduced them to a mere handful.
Their spirits have met with a corresponding depression. They
have learned that their very existence depends upon their friendship
with the white people, and I have not heard of any depredations
committed by them for the last few years. Their known
bravery and warlike habits, and their dependance upon this country,
would render them useful auxilliaries in any difficulty with the
wild Indians; but their services would be dangerous, as it might
awaken their ancient feelings of war and plunder, and they had
better remain in that dependant situation from which there is little
prospect of their attempting to free themselves. They are a nation
of cannibals; and we hear many tales of horror connected
with them and the early settlers of this country.

Those tribes compose all the Indians on our western frontier,
below the road leading from San Antonio to Loredo; and that section


42

of the country is consequently less endangered from Indian
depredations than any other part of the republic. But should the
government think proper to place a force in this portion of the
republic, it would not only have the effect of restraining Indian
depredations, but would prevent the incursion of Mexican robbers,
which have heretofore too much infested this portion of the country.

This portion of the republic is extremely fertile, healthy, and
well adapted to the purposes of agriculture. It is therefore believed
that, with a little protection from the government, it would
soon settle with a dense population, and effectually shut out the
incursions of savages of any kind. Too much importance cannot,
therefore, be attached to it, and I hope to see Congress alive to
the importance of the subject. The improvement of so large a
portion of fertile country should not be retarded on account of a
few miserable, cowardly savages, which a force of fifty men would
be sufficient to exterminate.

The Camanches are the most important tribe on our western
and northwestern frontier; and they are only formidable from their
number, and even that has been vastly overrated by those who
have written on the subject. In May last, I left the city of San
Antonio, and, after travelling about one hundred and thirty miles
northwest, I reached the camp of Isowacany, the principal chief
of that nation. I learned from him (and he would not be apt to underrate
his force) that the nation amounted to about twenty thousand
souls, and that it could probably raise a force of five thousand
warriors. About one-third of this number reside north of
the Arkansas river, in the territory of the United States.

They are a wandering people, having no settled residence, and
depend entirely upon plundering other nations, and the chase, for
their subsistence. They are divided into small hands, and roam
from the western settlements in Texas and the United States, west
to the Pacific, and north to the Missouri river. They seldom appear
in bands of more than three or four hundred; by the predatory
manner in which they live, it would be difficult for a greater
number to obtain subsistence. Each party or tribe is under the
command of one or more chiefs, who are in turn subject to the
control of one principal chief, elected by the universal suffrage of
the whole nation. The Camanche nation is, perhaps, the most perfect
democracy on the face of the globe; everything is managed
by primary assemblies, and the people have a right to displace a
chief and elect a successor at pleasure. Even male children have
a right to rebel against their parents, and the parents have no
right to punish them but by consent of the tribe. But any warrior
claims and exercises the right of punishing a woman with the utmost
rigor, for the most trifling offences. With such a state of
things it cannot be expected that there would be much harmony
in their councils; and their war councils not unfrequently terminate
with a battle between the different tribes. This sometimes
produces permanent enmities, and the chief of the disaffected tribe,


43

as in the instance of Towacany, separates from the nation, and
sets up for himself.

They have no idea of making any preparation for the support of
an army, but depend upon the contingencies of every day to supply
them with food, and a body of five hundred could not be kept together
for a single month, without starvation. This will prevent
anything like united action on their part, against this or any other
country. Added to this, they are not a people disposed to war,
when there is any prospect of opposition, and their depredations
are always committed upon defenceless individuals. Even a single
traveller has been known to keep large companies of them off, and
make his escape; because their motto is, that it is better to suffer
a dozen enemies to escape, than run the risk of losing a single
Camanche; and, with proper caution, in all probability, fifty men
might pass through the nation unharmed. It is held among them
to be much more honorable to murder a man in his sleep, than to
take him in open combat; and bravery is looked upon as a less
virtue than intrigue. They therefore use every exertion to throw
the unwary traveller off his guard, by declarations of friendship,
that he may be murdered without any prospect of endangering the
lives of any of their own party.

The country which they inhabit, is one of extraordinary beauty
and fertility; and the spontaneous productions of nature are all
which they look to for support. It is thought by many, and indeed
I am of that opinion myself, that it is the most healthy, fertile,
and desirable portion of the republic. The mountains are not
high, nor continued chains, like the mountains in the United States,
but composed of broken peaks, which shoot suddenly up out of the
plain. Those peaks are surrounded on every side by the richest
kind of land, which affords pasturage for innumerable herds of
buffalo and wild cattle; from this source, roots, and wild fruit,
they draw their entire subsistence.

They are a nation of robbers, and will plunder alike from Mexicans,
Texans, Americans, or any other people who may come in
their power. Unlike most other Indians, they rarely ever destroy
the lives of women and children; but, when taken captives, they
are incorporated into the nation, and so closely guarded that they
rarely ever have an opportunity of escape.

They have made many treaties with Mexico, all of which have
been violated; and, not unfrequently, within twenty-four hours
after their signature; insomuch, that the remark, "As
faithless as a Camanche treaty
!" has become proverbial in Mexico. They
have no idea of performing the stipulations of treaties, and only
enter into them to get presents, and throw their enemies off their
guard, and give them a better opportunity of committing acts of
rapine and plunder.

During the last winter, and the early part of the spring, they
pretended to have formed a great friendship for the people of
Texas, and came into San Antonio, with many professions of
friendship for this government, and hatred towards Mexico. For
two years previous to this time, we had scarcely seen a Camanche


44

on our frontier, and they came in with the vain boast upon
their tongue, that "they had never spilt the blood of a white man!"
Many of our citizens were ready to testify to this fact, and felt
very anxious to enter into a treaty, even with a nation of savages,
which had uniformly manifested such friendship towards us. A
few of our citizens, among whom was the honorable Joseph Baker,
member of Congress from San Antonio, accompanied them to their
country. They were received kindly by the principal chiefs, but
some of the under chiefs and warriors formed the plan of murdering
them, and possessing themselves of their property. A violent
altercation ensued, some for, and some against, murdering the
party. The council, however, terminated favorable to our people,
and they left, with many pledges of fidelity on the part of the Indians;
and were informed by the principal chief that he, accompanied
by a large number of his people, would visit San Antonio, for
the purpose of entering into a formal treaty with this country.
General Johnson was empowered, on the part of this government,
to make a treaty with them; and, about the 1st of May last, they
arrived in San Antonio for that purpose.

Never were a set of savages more kindly received; they were
furnished with provisions during their stay, and presents, to a very
considerable amount, were distributed amongst them. On this occasion,
neither arms nor ammunition were given to them, but they
procured several good rifles, and a quantity of powder and ball
from our citizens. They appeared overjoyed at their reception, and
declared that they believed the Americans were a superior race,
who were under the special protection of the Great Spirit, and
and that they "would never run the risk of his displeasure by harming
a hair of a white man's head!
" How well they kept their
pledges, their subsequent acts will show.

About the same time a party of them visited this city, who also
made a treaty and received presents, and returned to their own
country well pleased with their reception. As resident agent,
Lieutenant Miles was appointed by the President, who accompanied
them on their return home. It was made his duty to reside in the
nation, and report every thing of interest to this government.

Encouraged by the prospect of peace, the citizens of the western
frontier opened a trade with the Camanches, and hopes were entertained
that a long peace would continue between the Indians of
that nation and this government. But the hope was vain: a company
of fifteen Americans, under the direction of Captains Love
and Skinner, left San Antonio about the 25th May last, on a trading
expedition with the Camanche Indians. They were all destroyed,
and their scalps and clothes have been carried into a Mexican
town, the Presidio de Rio Grande, as a proof of their hostility
to us, and to enable them to "make a treaty" with the Mexicans.
About the same time Isomania, who styles himself the principal
war chief of the Camanches, and who had been one of the principal
chiefs who had made the treaty with General Johnson, fell in with
a party of our citizens on the Medina, eighteen miles from San
Antonio. They came up as usual, with many demonstrations of


45

friendship, and partook of the hospitality of the company. On
their departure they drove off the horses of the party. Captain
Cage and a Mr. Campbell, who were acquainted with the chief, followed
them in hopes of recovering the horses back. On their
coming up the Indians requested them to go forward and speak
with the chiefs; and when they had nearly reached the centre of
their company the Indians fired upon them, killed Mr. Campbell,
and wounded Captain Cage in the arm. Captain Cage had his rifle
with him, and had presence of mind enough not to fire it, but fled
to the timber, which happened to be near by, and whenever the
Indians approached presented his gun, which kept them at a distance.
He effected his escape, and got back to his own company
without farther injury. Nothing can more effectually demonstrate
the cowardice of the Camanches than the fact, that a body of more
than a hundred of them suffered one wounded man, on whom they
had made an attack, to retreat three miles and make his escape.
This was a portion of the same party who made the treaty with
General Johnson at San Antonio, but a few weeks before.

About the same time a company of Camanches came to the farm
of Colonel Patton, who lives on the Cibolo. Colonel Patton suspected
their friendship; but they came with such cordiality, and
with so many declarations of friendship, and exhibited a certificate
from Lieutenant Miles, the resident agent appointed by the President,
stating that they were the party who had visited this city and
made a treaty; that, although his suspicions were not removed, he
received them in a friendly manner, and furnished them with some
provisions. On their departure they attempted to drive off some of
the colonel's cattle, but were followed and prevented by a party
from the house. That night, however, they returned, killed a young
gentleman who was in the colonel's service, and stole some of his
horses.

Even after this a party came into Bastrop to make another, treaty,
and the people of that place suffered them to depart in peace, with
presents
; although the blood of our murdered citizens was scarcely
dry upon the ground when they made their appearance.

We have commenced with the worst policy that we can possibly
pursue towards them: every present which they receive they look
upon as an additional proof of our fear, which stimulates them to
new acts of hostility. The only kind of treaties that ever an Indian
kept, particularly a Camanche Indian, was after having been
severely whipped and compelled to sue for peace. They are as
incapable of feeling gratitude as the wolves that roam over their
country; and the only way to secure their friendship is to whip
them into subjection. The country which they inhabit is open and
dry, and would present none of the obstacles to Indian warfare
which have characterized those of many other portions of the country.
They have neither impenetrable swamps nor inaccessible
mountains to shelter themselves. When they remove they carry
their women and children, an immense drove of horses and mules,
and everything they possess, with them. Their movements are
necessarily slow; a troop of cavalry would have no difficulty in


46

coming up with them; and I have no hesitation in saying that our
countrymen would whip them ten to one. They are the most degraded
portion of the human family; scarcely enough civilized to
understand the use of weapons. They have a few guns, but do not
understand enough about them to keep them in order; and their
war parties generally depend upon the bow and arrow. They have
urged an uncompromising war against our citizens since their pretended
treaty of peace. If something is not speedily done by the
government for the protection of that portion of the country, the
city of San Antonio, and indeed all the settlements west of the Colorado
river, must be abandoned. I hope the disgrace of having
our citizens driven from their homes, by so miserable a set of savages,
is not reserved to our country. I am convinced that a force
of five hundred men would drive them beyond the Rocky Mountains,
and that they would never return to our frontiers.

Information has just reached this place, that a large company of
Camanches have made an attack upon a company of thirteen
Americans, within three miles of San Antonio, and killed eight of
the number. Our government cannot be too speedy in sending relief;
the Mexican citizens of that place cannot be relied on, and
there is not probably more than from fifty to sixty Americans capable
of bearing arms. The place must either be abandoned immediately,
or put in a proper state of defence; and it is of too much
importance to be given up.

The Towacanies are a small tribe residing on Pecan Bayou, a
branch of the Colorado, entering that river from the east, about
sixty miles above the falls. They take their name from Towacana,
a disaffected Camanche chief, who flourished about 30 years back.
The whole tribe amounts to about 500, with perhaps 100 warriors.
They, like their ancestors, are a nation of thieves and robbers, and
neither their habits nor courage have improved by their separation
from the Camanche. Stealing horses is their principal business,
and to be expert at that is looked upon as the highest accomplishment
among them. Their depredations have been mostly confined
to the country, bordering on the Colorado and Brazos rivers. They
rarely attack the house of even a single settler, but content themselves
with the murder of the unprotected traveller, and the stealing
of horses. No attempt at a treaty has been made with this
tribe.

The Wacoes inhabit the country bordering on the Brazos above
the falls. They range as far west as the Colorado, and sometimes
as far east as the Trinity river. They are also a branch of the
Camanches which have separated from that nation, carrying with
them their habits of duplicity and treachery. That tribe numbers
about 450 souls, with perhaps a hundred warriors.

The Caddoes also inhabit the same section of country. They are
in alliance with the Wacoes, and generally join them in their predatory
expeditions. This tribe amounts to about 600 souls, and
150 warriors. They are braver and more desperate men than the
Camanches, partaking more of the nature of the northern Indians.
The chief of this tribe visited this city some twelve months ago,


47

for the purpose of entering into a treaty with this government. He
returned home as usual, with pledges of eternal friendship, which
were made only to be broken. The constant alarms and dangers
of the citizens of Robeson and Milam counties show the futility of
such a course.

The Pawnee Picts, or Towcashes, reside on Red river: they are
sometimes in the United States and sometimes in Texas. The portion
of the tribe which visits this country amounts to about 300
souls, with 60 or 75 warriors. They are in alliance with the Wacoes
and Caddos, and their depredations are generally confined to
the Upper Brazos country.

The tribes already spoken of compose the whole strength of the
wild Indians of Texas, except about 4,000 Appachies, which reside
high up the Rio Grande, so far removed from our settlements that
they never visit them.

The next Indians to be spoken of, are those residing on the Trinity,
and between that stream and Red river. They are known as
the Ten United Bands, and have all been introduced into this country
from the United States. Some of them came with the approbation
of the Mexican government previous to the revolution, and some
of them have taken forcible possession without any authority at all.
They are much more brave, desperate and warlike, than the wild
Indians of this country, and have created much difficulty in the
northern portion of this republic. These bands are composed of
portions of the following named tribes, with the numbers of each
as near as can be ascertained, attached:

Kickapoos 1,200
Cooshattas 500
Delawares 400
Shawnees 375
Boluxies 200
Cherokees 100
Iawanies 150
Alabamas 125
Unataquos 600
Quapaws 100
Tohookatokies 100
3,950

Three of those tribes, the Unatoquas, the Quapaws, and the Tohookatokies,
amounting to 800, have left that part of the country
and it is not known whether they have returned to the United
State, or gone up Red river. This will reduce their number to
about 3,000. Assuming that there is one warrior to each five souls
it would give them a force of 600 fighting men. There is, however,
little doubt but Indians from the United States have and
will again join them in case of wars with this country.

These Indians have made many advances towards civilization;
they have settled residences, cultivate the soil, raise cattle, and


48

have many of the comforts of life around them. The subject of
granting them a right to the lands they occupy has created much
excitement in that section of the country. I shall not attempt to
examine the question. The subject has been ably handled by the
Executive, in a message to the Senate, bearing date 22d May, 1838:
I could not expect to add any thing to the able argument there set
forth.

I do not believe that we should adopt the principle of allowing
the right of the Indians to the soil, but think they should be viewed
in the light of tenants at will. If the government should think
proper, in this instance to depart from this rule, it will be necessary
to take efficient measures to prevent a further emigration to
that territory, from the Indians of the United States. I am of
opinion, that a portion of them, the Delawares, the Kickapoos, the
Boluxies, and the Iawanies, have forfeited every claim upon the
clemency of this government, and consequently they should be required
instantly to leave the country.

A deep laid plot has just been brought to light, by which it has
been almost positively ascertained that all the Indian tribes in that
portion of the country would have joined a few disaffected Mexicans
to devastate the country. Their plan was prematurely discovered,
and consequently our people had an opportunity of guarding
effectually against it. To what extent this plot extended, I
have not been able to ascertain; but I am of opinion that it included
nearly all of the ten tribes. A portion of them, on being discovered,
returned to their homes in peace; while others still held
out and shewed a disposition for war.

It has been urged by many that they have been driven into it by
injuries received from the whites. Be this as it may, it would not
justify them in taking up the tomahawk, nor should it avert our
just vengeance towards them, for daring to take up arms against
our people. A war once commenced, the patriot stops not to ask
whether his country is right or wrong, but cheerfully takes the
field for the protection of his own home. This is doubly his duty,
when that war is with savages, who spare neither age nor sex.

I have received an official account of a battle fought on the 16th
October, near the Kickapoo village, by 200 Texans, under the
command of Major Gen. Rusk, and a large body of Indians. The
Texans, as was to have been expected, were victorious, having
gained the victory without the loss of a man. There were Caddoes,
Cooshaties, Boluxies and Cherokees among the slain. So it appears
that a portion of those tribes, at least, had joined the league to wage
war against us. The Indians are represented as being much depressed
in spirits, and very anxious to make peace on any terms.

In regard to the general policy of treating Indians, experience
has taught us that a treaty is good for nothing, unless we commence
by giving them a good chastising; and we have suffered
enough in every portion of our frontier to justify us in taking immediate
measures to make the Indians feel our power. It is believed
that after giving them an effectual chastisement, that they
may then be kept in cheek by a very small force. I would therefore


49

recommend that a sufficient force of mounted men be raised
as quick as possible, to march into their own country, and attack
their villages that they may feel the force of war in all it horrors,
until they are glad to come to any terms of peace.

After that, I would recommend the establishment of Block and
Trading Houses across our whole northern and western frontier.
But there is one thing which has heretofore been too much neglected
by this government. Every person living on the frontier has
claimed and exercised the right of trading with the Indians. This
has too often been abused, by selling the Indians arms and ammunition,
which has not unfrequently been used against our own
countrymen. I am aware that the Executive, in his instructions to
Indian Agents, used every exertion in his power to prevent this
evil; but as no law can be effective without a penalty, it would be
well for Congress to take up the subject, making it a high crime and
misdemeanor for any man, without a special license from the government
to trade with the Indians at all. Congress should also
pass a law preventing even licensed traders from selling or giving
them arms, ammunition, arrow spikes, or any other article which
would assist them in prosecuting war. Large quantities of arms
and ammunition are also introduced to our Indians through the
United States. It would be well to inform our minister at Washington
of this fact, that he might lay it before that government.
It is contrary to every principle of neutrality to suffer her citizens
to furnish a savage foe with the means of annoying us.

During my western and northern tour, I selected several places
which I thought suitable for block houses. But it would probably
give more satisfaction to have commissioners appointed for that
purpose, who would have an opportunity of making a more thorough
examination of the country. I am of opinion that they should be
placed across our whole northern and western frontier, at distances
of not more than forty miles apart. That there should be a company
of 56 men, rank and file, stationed at each place—that they
should either act as rangers or stationary troops. They should be
enlisted for three years, and be employed a portion of the time in
raising corn for their own consumption. For this they might receive
a little extra pay. They should be armed with the old-fashioned
rifle, with a flint lock, and so constructed as to admit the use
of the bayonet. Those block houses should be stationed in the
Indian country, above all our settlements, and the Indians should
not be allowed to come below them without a passport from the
resident agent. I think it would be good policy to unite the offices
of agent and trader in the same individual, and make it his duty
to reside at the block house, and keep a good assortment of Indian
goods always on hand. In order to make it an object worthy the
enterprise of men of character, I would recommend that they be
allowed to introduce their goods duty free.

Deeply connected with this subject, is a strict organization of
the militia. It should be made the duty of captains of companies
on the frontier to appoint regular patrols, whose duty it shall be
to watch out for Indians; and if any should visit the settlements


50

without a passport, to give instant notice to the captain of the beat,
who shall forthwith send an express to the nearest post to give information
to the commandant. In this way, a chain of constant
vigilance might be kept up, which would effectually shut out the
Indians, and protect the frontier. Each post should also be furnished
with a piece of artillery, as it would not only serve to frighten
the Indians, but would serve as an alarm-gun, in case it was necessary
to call out the militia.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE W. BONNELL,
Commissioner Indian Affairs. To the Hon. SECRETARY OF WAR
of the Republic of Texas.

To the Editor of the Texas Democrat:

My attention has just been called to an article published in your
paper of the 8th ultimo, signed by Captain H. E. McCulloch. The
captain states, that he with regret learns that the families have been
sent in from Captain Highsmith's station, with the expectation that
the Indians will commence hostilities; and then vauntingly boasts
that he has a company that he can rely upon, and will not be wanting
in the hour of danger; leaving the inference that Captain Highsmith
either wants confidence in his men, or that he himself
is timid.

For Captain McCullough the writer has always entertained the
opinion that he was both a gentleman and soldier, and regrets that
he has not been able to find a better field to distinguish himself,
than that of trying to detract from the merits of an equally meritorious
officer. Captain Highsmith has been too long in the Texan
service, and distinguished himself on too many occasions, for such
insinuations to affect him. The writer is personally acquainted
with many of Captain McCulloch's company, and has no doubt but
they would fully come up to the captain's expectations, if an opportunity
to display their bravery should offer; and at the same
time he is equally confident that the men under Captain Highsmith
will be found equally as brave and efficient in the hour of danger.

Captain McCulloch is wrongly informed in regard to the families
being sent in, &c. Captain Highsmith had a portion of his
family at his station, and the balance at his residence, in the city
of Austin. In consequence of his intending to take a scout on the
San Saba, to be absent sometime, Mrs. H. prepared returning home
to the balance of her family, and was accompanied by Mrs. Jobe,
whose husband had just died in the company, and being left without
a protector, she of course wished to return home. The other
families are still at the station, and have no fears of an attack, &c.

I have given this explanation, hoping that Captain McCulloch,
when properly informed, will do Captain Highsmith and his
company
the justice due them.

A CITIZEN.


51

From the Democrat.

MESSRS. EDITORS:

The movements on our frontier are not uninteresting
to you, and I will give you a rough statement of facts
connected with my last scout to the San Saba valley, from which I
have just returned. I received instructions from Lieutenant Colonel
Bell, commanding the frontier, dated the 5th March, directing
me to take charge, in person, of a strong detachment from my company,
for observation of any Indian movements in the country adjacent
to the German settlements on the Llano; and also to extend
my scout to, and some distance up the San Saba valley. The
movement to the latter point was made with special reference to a
party of Ten-a-wish Comanches, who had threatened to destroy the
advance settlements, and who, there were many reasons to believe,
were lying in wait for a favorable moment to strike. In compliance
with my orders, I fitted out a scout, consisting of Lieutenants
Williams and Conway, 43 privates, John Conner, my interpreter,
and accompanied by Mr. Miller and Doctor McGinnis.

The detachment moved on the morning of the 13th in charge of
Lieutenant Conway, in the direction of the San Saba valley—being
myself detained at my station until the 14th. During this interval
I received information that a German had been killed near Fredericksburg,
by a party of Indians. Immediately on the receipt of
this intelligence, I pressed forward and joined my command about
night, which had halted on the Llano. Very soon after my arrival
several of my men, who had been sent in advance, returned to camp
with information that they had discovered a large trail of Indians
on foot, bearing up the Llano. Early on the following morning,
taking charge of my command, I despatched Lieutenant Williams
with two men as spies. Lieutenant Williams followed the trail
about 20 miles over a rugged and mountainous country, when he
returned to me, being about a half a mile in his rear, and reported
that he had discovered the Indians, who seemed to be encamped.
We immediately prepared for action, and every eye flashed with
animation at the prospect of inflicting merited chastisement on this
lawless band, whose Lands were yet warm with the settlers' blood.
Having satisfied myself of their position, and the character of the
party
, I dashed down upon them, and here was a dilemma which I
had not anticipated. A small party of friendly Lipans were encamped
near, who were at once recognized. My orders from Col.
Bell were plain and specific—not to disturb the friendly relations
with any tribe, unless satisfied that they had committed depredations,
and, in this case, to chastise them. I was determined to execute
this command on this occasion, as I have on all previous occasions,
in good faith. I was, however, relieved from the dilemma.
The Lipans separated themselves in a moment from the party, which
was composed of Wichitas and Wacoes, and left me the game.
Being scrupulously disposed to do no wrong, I called a talk with the
chief of the gang, who, a minute after the parley commenced told his
party to escape. He enforced his words with a corresponding motion


52

of the hand. They instantly commenced to move off the ground,
and when ordered to halt his men, he attempted to make his escape.
To permit them to do so—allow them to go unpunished, required
more forbearance than I possessed, or any of my men.
As he retreated, I fired and killed him. My men then
done their work with despatch, and in a most satisfactory manner.
The party numbered 35 or 40—but few escaped. Fourteen
were found dead near the ground where the fight commenced.
Most of the others were shot in the river. I found in the shot-pouch
of the chief the small bone of a man's arm, fresh cut therefrom.
This bone was taken to use as a whistle. There was a simlar
one already converted into a whistle which was found in their
possession. They had some guns, lots of bows and quivers, and
all the apparatus which horse-stealing parties usually carry—cabristos,
lariatos, &c. The Lipans were truly gratified at the occurrence.
They declared to me, that my attack on this party (who
trailed them up a day and a half before) greatly relieved them, for
they expected every moment that they would fall on them and rob
them of every thing they had. The whole Lipan tribe subsequently
came to my camp expressing the greatest joy at the result. This
murdering thieving band of Wichitas and Wacoes (renegades from
both tribes) told the Lipans that their movements were first for
Castroville, where they would be sure of a good many horses and
some scalps; and that if they did not succeed at that place, they
would hang on the settlements until they were satisfied. The Lipans
further stated that Big- Water, who commanded this party,
about one year ago, killed three or four Americans between the Guadalupe
and the head of the Blanco. This was, most probably, the
party with Capt. Bartlett Simms, who narrowly escaped. Three
of his men were killed.

The officers with me, and my men, deserve the highest praise for
the manner in which they sustained themselves in the affair.

I anticipate, myself, good results from the fight; but whatever
may be the effect, the act was a proper one, and the consequences
on our line we are prepared to take care of, should the tribes to
which this party belonged be disposed to resent it.

My instructions then directed me to the examination, in the San
Saba valley, for a suitable military station, should it be determined
to keep up the military line. Having satisfied myself on this point,
and finding no signs of the Ten-a-Wish band alluded to, I returned
to my station at the Enchanted Rock, without any loss on my part,
and with the command in fine health and spirits.

Respectfully,
S. HIGHSMITH,
Captain Commanding, Enchanted Rock Station.



Rice University
Date: 2010-06-07
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