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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter VIII. — Close of the First Decade of the Colonization Plan.

THE transactions of this year were resultant from the final performance of the remaining treaty stipulations with the minor tribes, which evidenced the complete removal of all the tribes, and parts of tribes, from the limits of the States and Territories, to a land where they could themselves exercise the sovereign power, and where they could not fail to, and did, annually prosper. But few allusions to the details of this period will be necessary.

The Cherokees, whose discordant relations had reached their acme in 1839, developing themselves in the internal discords and crimes which have been described, were convulsed by political turmoils for some years, during which unmistakeable tokens gave evidence that, however much dissensions prevailed, the ultimate result would be a union of all the jarring elements, and the institution of a permanent government. Strong wills and clear minds were to be found in their councils. The rivalries and jealousies of the chiefs had been fearfully excited by the transaction of New Echota, which, it was hoped, the conciliatory measures of the Government would have soothed; but, like a violent and stubborn disease, it could not be cured by palliatives, and required stronger applications, which, while they relieved, at the same, infuriated the patient. It required time to quell discords which had distracted the Cherokee nation to the centre; and the result has proved that time was the true remedy. No tribe of the same aggregate population had emigrated, and no other tribe which removed to the territory had been so long and so successfully the subject of instruction. A people who had invented a new alphabet, who had long participated in the school system; who had learned the arts of the loom and spindle, and had reached a condition of domestic society and manners, the refinement, tastes, and elegance of which may be judged of by the bright example of Catherine Brown, 678 could not lack clearness of conception, or the power of distinguishing between the principles of right and wrong. To deny this, as there was a Scottish element in the nation, would be as absurd as to aver

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that the mental calibre of the Scottish people, at a distinct era of Caledonian history, should be judged by the examples of Rob Roy, or the actors in the brutal atrocities of Glencoe.

The smaller tribes, who yet lingered in the States, may be regarded as occupying the relative position of boulders in the geological system. They had been removed from their natal positions, and located in questionable situations. The flood that swept them forward before its resistless waves was the European race, and it seemed doubtful whether they would ever again find a permanent foothold on the soil. Mr. Monroe uttered a truth, in 1824, when he said that such a resting place was only to be found west of the Mississippi; and in 1830, Congress, by clothing it in the language of a legal enactment, gave vitality to the suggestion.

One of these boulder tribes, who, of their own accord, sought refuge in the colonized territory, was the so-called Stockbridges, comprising the remnants of the ancient Mohicans. At the period of the discovery of the rivers Hudson, Chatemuc, the Mohigan, 679 of their own vocabulary, and the Cohahatatea of the Iroquois, this people resided on its western banks, opposite to, and south of Albany. When the population of the colonies pressed upon them, they crossed the Taconic range, and concentrated their people in the valley of the Housatonic, in Massachusetts, where for years they received tuition from the eminent theologian, Edwards. They espoused the cause of the colonies during the Revolutionary war, their services as runners, flankers, and gun-men, having been highly appreciated. After the close of that contest, they removed to the upper waters of the Oneida creek valley, by virtue of an arrangement with the Oneida canton — then under the government of the benevolent Skenandoah. 680 About the year 1822 they entered into negotiations with the Menomonees of Wisconsin, and subsequently removed to, and settled on Fox river, of Green Bay; but ten or twelve years' residence in this quarter was sufficient to satisfy them, that the white population would soon hem them in as closely there as they had done in New York. They entered into frequent negotiations with the Government, first accepting a tract on the banks of Lake Winnebago; but subsequently selling this, they stipulated for a location on the banks of the Mississippi. In 1840 a considerable number of the tribe, located on Lake Winnebago, in Wisconsin, withdrew from the others, and emigrated to the
Indian colony west of the Missouri. They were accompanied by the Munsees, whose ancestors had been their neighbors on the west bank of the Hudson in ancient times, and by an emigrating party of Delawares, from the river Thames, in Canada, under command of the chief, Thomas T. Hendrick. The entire party, numbering 174 persons, 681 were received by their tribal relatives, the Delawares, who furnished them with a residence on their large reservation near Fort Leavenworth, on the Kanzas river.

The oft-tried temporizing and erroneous policy of removing Indians from one location,

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within the States, to another, however remote, also within their limits, has uniformly proved to be a failure. The experience of the Stockbridges, Munsees, and segregated Delawares was now added, to prove the evil results arising from this policy. Such removed tribes and bands were speedily surrounded by a white population, with whom they did not coalesce, and naturally wasted away under the influence of adverse manners and customs.

The same attempt to remove a tribe from one State to another was made with the Winnebagoes. Having been implicated in the Sauk war, they agreed in 1832, at Rock island, where the American army was then encamped, to leave the east banks of the Mississippi, abandoning their favorite Rock river, Wisconsin, and Fox river valleys, and remove to a position west of the Mississippi, denominated the Neutral Ground. For them, however, it was not "neutral ground." It was, in fact, the war ground of the Sacs and Foxes and Sioux; and they had, under the influence of the presence of a military force, agreed to a proposition, which they had not the ability, and were unwilling, to perform. Though ethnologically of the Sioux stock, their affinity was not to be relied on; they possessed a nationality of their own, and could not, after ages of separation, take shelter under the Sioux flag. The plan of the neutral ground was a benevolent theory, which it was hoped and believed would work well, but it eventually proved to be an utter fallacy. It had, however, strong advocates, being favored by many persons who did not wish to see the Winnebagoes removed, with their large means and annuities, beyond the reach of a peripatetic pedlar's footsteps, or to lose sight of the distribution of their annual per capita dollars.

In 1837 the Winnebagoes renewed by treaty their engagement to remove to the Neutral Ground, in Iowa, within eight months after the ratification of that instrument. The treaty was not ratified until June, 1838, which would limit the period for their removal to February, 1839. They still lingered in the valleys of their ancient home, until the matter of their removal was placed in the hands of General Atkinson. When they discovered that the United States were in earnest, the mass of them removed across the Mississippi without causing much difficulty; but, though still urged to proceed to the Neutral Ground, they encamped on the western margin of the river, where they were allowed to remain until the following year. Meantime they were afflicted by considerable sickness, and surrounded by whiskey shops, together with every temptation that Indians, possessing heavy annuities, are sure to encounter. Their agent established his buildings and shops on the Neutral Ground, where the tribe was eventually induced to settle, by the announcement that there only would they be paid their annuities. It will be seen in the sequel, that in a few years it became necessary to remove the Winnebagoes from the limits of Iowa.

A mistake of a similar kind was made with the united Chippewas, Ottowas, and Pottawattamies, who ceded their lands in Illinois by the treaty concluded at Chicago in 1833. A part of the consideration named in it was the grant of 5,000,000 acres

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of land in the West; in accordance with which they were placed on a tongue of land situate between the western boundary of the State of Missouri and the Missouri river. The progress of the settlements in Missouri made this tract of land so essentially a geographical part of that State, and so necessary to its agricultural and commercial development, that Congress annexed it thereto; which act rendered it imperative for the Government to provide these Indians with the stipulated 5,000,000 acres west of the Missouri river.

Other bands of Pottawattamies, residing in Indiana, who had ceded their possessions in that quarter, were removed during this year, under the immediate surveillance of General Brady. There were also some accessions of the Seminoles from Florida, and of fragments of the segregated bands of the Black river and Swan creek Chippewas, of Michigan. The whole number of Indians removed in 1840 was 5671. 682 The Cherokee difficulties had, this year, been so far compromised between the two contending parties, that Mr. Poinsett, the Secretary of War, directed the annuities to be paid. 683

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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