1843 Reports of the Commissioner
Affairs and Indian Agent Reports
"Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs," pp. 269-468. In U.S. House. 28th Congress, 1st Session. Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress, 1843 (H.Ex.Doc.2). Washington: Blair and Rives, Printers, 1843. (Serial Set 439)
From: No. 104, Report of Elijah White, Sub-agent of Indian Affairs, Relative to Indians, Schools, Country, &c., West of the Rocky Mountains, pp. 450-462.
. . . The Nez Percés, still farther in the interior, number something less than three thousand. They inhabit a beautiful grazing district, not surpassed by any I have seen for verdure, water privileges, climate, or health. This tribe forms, to some extent, an honorable exception to the general Indian character; being more noble, industrious, sensible, and better disposed towards the whites, and their improvements in the arts and sciences; and, though brave as Cæsar, the whites have nothing to dread at their hands in case of their dealing out to them what they conceive to be right and equitable. . . .
. . . Left the day following for the station of Mr. Spalding, among the Nez Percés, some 120 or 130 miles from Waiilatpu, which we reached on the 3d December, after a rather pleasant journey, over a most verdant and delightful grazing district, well watered, but badly timbered. Having sent a private despatch in advance, they had conveyed the intelligence to the Indians, many of whom were collected. The chiefs met us with civility, gravity, and dignified reserve, but the missionaries with joyful countenances and glad hearts. Seldom was a visit of an Indian agent more desired; and none could be more necessary and proper. As they were collecting, we had no meeting for eight-and-forty hours. In the mean time, through my able interpreter and Mr. McKay, I managed to secure confidence and prepare the way to a good understanding; visited and prescribed for their sick; made a short call at each of the chiefs lodges; spent a season in school, hearing them read, spell, and sing; at the same time examined their printing and writing; and can hardly avoid here saying, I was happily surprised and greatly interested at seeing such numbers so far advanced, and so eagerly pursuing after knowledge The next day I visited their little plantationsrude to be sure, but successfully carried on, so far as raising the necessaries of life was concerned; and it was most gratifying to witness their fondness and care for their little herds, pigs, poultry, &c., &c. The hour arriving for the public interview, I was ushered into the presence of the assembled chiefs, to the number of twenty-two, with some lesser dignitaries, and a large number of the common people. The gravity, fixed attention, and decorum of these sons of the forest, were calculated to make for them a most favorable impression. I stated explicitly, but briefly as possible, the design of our Great Chief in sending me to this country, and the present object of my visit; assured them of the kind intentions of our Government, and of the sad consequences that would ensue to any white man, from this time, who should invade their rights, by stealing, murder, selling them damaged for good articles, or alcohol, (of which they are not fond.) Without threatening, I gave them to understand how highly Mr. And Mrs. Spalding were prized by the numerous whites, and with what pleasure the Great Chief gave them a paper to encourage them to come here to teach them what they were now so diligently employed in obtaining, in order that they and their children might become good, wise, and happy. After me Mr. McKenley, the gentleman in charge of the Hudson Bay establishment at Wallawalla, spoke concisely, but very properly alluded to his residence of some years, and to the good understanding that had generally existed between them, and to the happiness he felt that one of his brothers had come to stand and judge impartially between him, them, and whites and Indians in generaldeclared openly and frankly, that Boston, King George, and French, were all of one heart in this matter, as they, the Keyuses, and Wallawallas should beflattered them delicately in view of their (to him unexpected) advancement in the arts and sciencesand resumed his seat, having made a most favorable impression. Next followed Mr. Rogers, the interpreter, who, years before, had been employed successfully as linguist in this section of country, by the American Board of Commissioners, and was ever a general favorite with this people. He adverted sensibly and touchingly to past difficulties between whites and Indians west of the mountains, and the sad consequences to every tribe who had resisted honorable measures proposed by the more numerous whites; and having, as he hoped, secured their confidence in my favor, exhorted them feelingly to adopt such measures as should be thought proper for their benefit.
Next, and lastly, arose Mr. McKay. He remarked, with a manner peculiar to himself, and evidently with some emotion: "I appear among you as one arose from the long sleep of death. You know, at the violent death of my father on board of the ship Tonquin, who was one of the partners of the Astor company, I was but a youth. Since which time, until the last five years, I have been a wanderer through these wilds. None of you, or any Indian in this country, has travelled so constantly or extensively as I have; and yet I saw you or your fathers once or more annually. I have mingled with you in bloody wars and profound peace. I have stood in your midst surrounded by plenty, and suffered with you in seasons of scarcity. We have had our days of wild and joyous sport, and nights of watching and deep concern, until I vanished from among men, left the Hudson Bay Company silently, retired to my plantation, and there confined myself. There I was still silent, and as one dead. The voice of my brother at last aroused me; I spoke and lookedI mounted my horseam here. I am glad it is so. I came at the call of the Great Chief, the chief of all the whites in the country, as well as all the Indiansthe son of the mighty chief, whose children are more numerous than the stars in the heavens, or the leaves in the forest. Will you hear and be advised? You will. Your wonderful improvement in the arts and sciences prove you are not fools. Surely you will hear. But if disposed to close your ears and stop them, they will be torn open wide, and you will be made to hear." This speech from Mr. McKay, (whose mother is part Indian, though the wife of Gov. McLaughlin,) had a singularly happy influence, and opened the way for expressions on the other side, from which there had not been hitherto a sentence uttered. First arose Five Crows, a wealthy chief of forty-five, neatly attired in English costume. He stepped gravely but modestly forward to the table, remarking: "It does not become me to speak first. I am but a youth as yet, when compared to many of these my fathers; but my feeling urge me to arise, and say what I am about to utter in a very few words. I am glad the chief has come. I have listened to what has been saidhave great hopes that brighter days are before us; because I see all the whites united in this matter. We have much wanted somethinghardly knew whatbeen groping and feeling for it in confusion and darkness. Here it is. Do we see it? shall we accept it?" Soon the Bloody Chief arose, (not less than ninety years old,) and said: "I speak to-day; perhaps to-morrow I die. I am the oldest chief of the tribe; was the chief when your great brothers Lewis and Clark visited this country. They visited me, and honored me with their friendship and counsel. I showed them my numerous wounds received in bloody battle with the Snakes. They told me it was not good; it was better to be at peace; gave me a flag of truce. I held it up high. We met and talked, but never fought again. Clark pointed to this dayto you and this occasion. We have long waited in expectation: sent three of our sons to Red river school to prepare for it; two of them sleep with their fathers; the other is here, and can be ears, mouth, and pen for us. I can say no more. I am quickly tired; my vice and limbs tremble; I am glad I live to see you and this day; but I shall soon be still and quiet in death." The speech was affecting. Six more spoke, and the meeting adjourned three hours. Met at the hour appointed; all the chiefs and principal men being present. Stated delicately the embarassed relation existing between whites and Indians in this upper country, by reason of a want of proper organization, or the chiefs authority not being properly regarded; alluded to some cases of improprieties of young men, not sanctioned by the chiefs and old men; and where the chiefs had been in the wrong, hoped it had principally arisen from imperfectly understanding each others language, or some other excusable cause, especially so far as they were concerned; advised them, as they were now to some extent prepared, to choose one high chief of the tribe, and acknowledge him as such by universal consent. All the other subordinates chiefs being of equal power, and so many helps to carry out all his lawful requirements, which they were at once to have in writing in their language, to regulate their intercourse with whites, and in most cases with themselves, I advised that each chief have five men, as a body guard, to execute all their lawful commands. They wanted to hear the laws. I proposed them one by one, leaving them as free to reject as to accept. They were greatly pleased with all proposed, but wished a heavier penalty to some, and suggested the dog law, which was annexed. We then left them to choose the high chief, assuring them that, if they did this unanimously by the following day at ten, we would all dine together with the chief on a fat ox at threehimself and myself at the head of the table. This pleased them well, and they set about it in good cheer and high hopes; but this was a new and delicate task, and they soon saw and felt it; however, all agreed that I must make the selection, and so reported two hours after we left. Assuring them this would not answer, and that they must select their own chief, they seemed somewhat puzzled, and wished to know if it would be proper to counsel with Messrs. McKay and Rogers. On telling them it was not improper, they left a little relieved, and worked poor Rogers and McKay severely for many hours; but all together at length figured it out, and in great good humor; so reporting at ten, appointing Ellis high chief. He is the one alluded to by the Bloody Chiefa sensible man of thirty-two, reading, speaking, and writing the English language reasonably well; has a fine small plantation, a few sheep, some neat stock, and no less than eleven hundred head of horses. Then came on the feasting; our ox was fat, and cooked and served up in a manner reminding me of the days of yore. We ate beef, corn, and peas to our fill, and in good cheer; took the pipe; when Rev. Mr. Spalding, Mr. McKinley, Rogers, and McKay wished a song from our boatmen. It was no sooner given than returned by the Indians, and repeated again and again in high cheer. I thought it a good time, and required all having any claims to bring, or grievances to allege against Mr. Spalding, to meet me and the high chief at evening in the council room, and requested Mr. Spalding to do the same on the part of the Indians. We met at six and ended at eleven, having accomplished in the happiest manner much anxious business. Being too well fed to be irritable or disposed to quarrel, both parties were frank and open, seeming anxious only to learn our opinion upon plain undisguised matters of fact, many of the difficulties having arisen from an honest difference of sentiment respecting certain measures.
Ellis, the chief, having conducted himself throughout in a manner creditable to his head and heart, was quite as correct in his conclusions, and firm in his decisions, as could have been expected. The next day we had our last meeting, and one full of interest, in which they proposed to me many grave and proper questions; and, as it was manifestly desired, I advised in many matters, especially in reference to begging, or even receiving presents, without, in some way, returning an equivalent; pointed out, in strong language, who beggars are among the whites and how regarded, and commended them for not once troubling me during my stay with this disgusting practice. And as a token of respect, now at the close of our long and happy meeting, they would please accept, in the name of my Great Chief, a present of fifty garden hoesnot for those in authority, or such as had no need of them, but for the chiefs and Mr. Spalding to distribute among their industrious poor. I likewise, as they were very needy, proposed and ordered them some medicines to be distributed, as should from time to time be required. This being done, I exhorted them to be in obedience to their chief, highly approving the choice they had made; assuring them, as he and the other chiefs were responsible to me for their good behavior, I should feel it my duty to see them sustained in all lawful measures to promote peace and order. I then turned, and, with good effect, desired all the chiefs to look upon the congregation as their own children; and then pointed to Mr. Spalding and lady, and told the chiefs and all present to look upon them as their father and mother, and treat them in all respects as such. And should they happen to differ in sentiment respecting any matter, during my absence, to be cautious not to differ in feeling, but leave it until I should again return, when the chief and myself would rectify it. Thus closed this mutually happy and interesting meeting; and, mounting our horses for home, Mr. Spalding and the chiefs accompanied me for some four or five miles, when we took leave of them in the pleasantest manner; not a single circumstance having occurred to mar our peace or shake each others confidence.
I shall introduce a note, previously prepared, giving some further information respecting this tribe, and appending a copy of their laws.
The Nez Percés have one governor or principal chief; twelve subordinate chiefs of equal power, being the heads of the different villages or clans, with their five officers to execute all their lawful orders; which laws they have printed in their own language, and read understandingly. The chiefs are held responsible to the whites for the good behavior of the tribe. They are a happy and orderly people, forming an honorable exception to the general Indian character, being more industrious, cleanly, sensible, [di]gnified, and virtuous.
This organization was effected last fall, and operates well, and with them, it is to be hoped, will succeed. A few days since Governor McLaughlin favored me with a note addressed to him from the Rev. H. H. Spalding, missionary to this tribe, stating as follows:
"The Indians in this vicinity are remarkably quiet this winter, and are highly pleased with the laws recommended by Dr. White, which were unanimously adopted by the chiefs and people in council assembled. The visit of Dr. White and assistants to this upper country will, evidently, prove an incalculable blessing to this people. The school now numbers two hundred and twenty-four in daily attendance, embracing most of the chiefs and principal men of the nation."
Laws of the Nez Percés
Article 1. Whoever wilfully takes life shall be
2. Whoever burns a dwelling-house shall be hung.
3. Whoever burns an out-building shall be imprisoned six months, receive fifty lashes, and pay all damages.
4. Whoever carelessly burns a house, or any property, shall pay damages.
5. If any one enter a dwelling without permission of the occupant, the chiefs shall punish him as they think proper. Public rooms are excepted.
6. If any one steal, he shall pay back twofold; and if it be the value of a beaver-skin, or less, he shall receive twenty-five lashes; and if the value is over a beaver-skin, he shall pay back two-fold and receive fifty lashes.
7. If any one take a horse and ride it without permission, or take any article and use it without liberty, he shall pay for the use of it, and receive from twenty - fifty lashes, as the chief shall direct.
8. If any one enter a field and injure the crops, or throw down the fence so that cattle or horses go in and do damage, he shall pay all damages, and receive twenty-five lashes for every offence.
9. Those only may keep dogs who travel or live among the game; if a dog kill a lamb, calf, or any domestic animal, the owner shall pay the damage and kill the dog.
10. If an Indian raise a gun or other weapon against a white man, it shall be reported to the chiefs, and they shall punish him. If a white man do the same to an Indian, it shall be reported to Dr. White, and he shall punish or redress it.
11. If an Indian break these laws, he shall be punished by his chiefs; if a white man break them, he shall be reported to the agent, and punished at his instance.
And here allow me to say, except at Wascopum, the missionaries of this upper country are too few in number at their respective stations, and in too defenceless a state for their own safety or the best good of the Indians; the latter taking advantage of these circumstances, to the no small annoyance, and, in some instances, greatly endangering the personal safety of the former. You will see its bearings upon this infant colony, and doubtless give such information or instructions to the American Board of Commissioners, or myself, as will cause a correction of this evil; it has already occasioned some difficulty and much cost. I have insisted upon an increase of numbers at Mr. Spaldings mission, which has accordingly been reinforced by Mr. Littlejohn and lady, rendering that station measurably secure; but not so at Waiilatpu, or some of the Catholic missions, where some of them lost a considerable amount in herds during the last winter, and I am told were obliged to abandon their posts, their lives being endangered: This was in the interior, near the Blackfeet country.
You will observe the reports of the different missions, which, so far as I am otherwise informed, are correct. They are doing some positive good in the country, not only by diffusing the light of science abroad among us, but also by giving employment to many; and, by their drafts upon the different boards and others, creating a circulating medium in this country. But though they make comparatively slow progress in the way of reform among the aborigines of this country, their pious and correct example has a most restraining influence upon both whites and Indians; and in this way they prevent much evil.
They have in successful operation six schools (Rev. Mr. And Mrs. Spalding, whose zeal and untiring industry for the benefit of the people of their charge entitle them to our best considerations, have a school of some two hundred and twenty-four in constant attendance,) most successfully carried forward, and give promise of great usefulness to both sexes and all ages. . . .
From: No. 104, Report H. H. Spalding, Relative to Indians, Schools, Country, &c., West of the Rocky Mountains, pp. 462-468.
MY DEAR BROTHER: The kind letter our mission had the honor of receiving from yourself, making inquiries relative to its numbers, the character of the Indian tribes among whom its several stations are located, the country, &c., is now before me.
The questions referring to the Indian character are very important; and, to answer them, demands a more extended knowledge of character and habits, from personal daily observations, than the short residence of six years can afford, and more time and attention than I can possibly command, amidst the numerous cares and labors of the station. I less regret this, as the latter will receive the attention of my better informed and worthy associates of the other stations.
Concerning many of the questions, I can only give my own half-formed opinions, from limited observations, which have not extended far beyond the people of my immediate charge.
Our mission is under the patronage of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and was commenced in the fall of 1836, by Marcus Whitman, M. D., and myself, with our wives, and Mr. Gray. Doctor Whitman was located at Waiilatpu, among the Keyuse Indians, 25 miles east of Fort Wallawalla, a trading-post of the Hudson Bay Company, which stands 9 miles below the junction of Lewis and Clark rivers, 300 miles from the Pacific, and about 200 from Fort Vancouver. I was located at this place, on the Clearwater, or Kooskoosky river, 12 miles from its junction with the Lewis river, 120 miles east of Waiilatpu. Mr. Gray left the same winter, and returned to the States. In the fall of 1838, Mr. Gray returned to this country, accompanied by Mrs. Gray, Messrs. Walker, Eells, and Smith, and their wives, and Mr. Rogers. The next season, two new stations were commencedone by Messrs. Walker and Eells, at Cimakain, near Spokan river, among the Spokan Indians, 135 miles northwest of this station, 65 miles south of Fort Colville, on the Columbia river, 300 miles above Fort Wallawalla; the second by Mr. Smith, among the Nez Percés, 60 miles above this station. There are now connected with this mission the Rev. Messrs. Walker and Eells, Mrs. Walker, and Mrs. Eells, at Cimakain; myself and Mrs. Spalding at this station. . . . But two natives have as yet been admitted into the church. Some ten or twelve others give pleasing evidence of having been born again.
Concerning the schools and congregations on the Sabbath, I will speak only of this station. The congregation on the Sabbath varies at different seasons of the year, and must continue to do so until the people find a substitute in the fruits of the earth and herds for their roots, game and fish; which necessarily requires much wandering. I am happy to say that this people are very generally turning their attention, with much apparent eagerness, to cultivating the soil and rearing hogs, cattle, and sheep; and find a much more abundant and agreeable source of subsistence in the hoe than in their bows and sticks for digging roots. For a few weeks in the fall, after the people return from their buffalo hunt, and then again in the spring, the congregation numbers from 1,000 to 2,000. Through the winter, it varies from 200 to 800. From July to the first of October, it varies from 200 to 500. The congregation, as also the school, increases every winter, as the quantity of provisions raised in this vicinity is increased.
Preparatory to schools and a permanent congregation, my earliest attention, on arriving in this country, was turned towards schools, as promising the most permanent good to the nation, in connexion with the written word of God and the preached Gospel. But to speak of schools then, was like speaking of the church-bell, when, as yet, the helve is not put in the first axe by which the timber is to be felled, nor the first stone laid in the dam which is to collect the water, from whence the lumber [is to be drawn, to be used] in the edifice in which the bell is to give forth its sounds. Suffice it to say, through the blessing of God, we have had an increasingly large school for two winters past, with comparatively favorable means of instruction.
But the steps by which we have been brought to the present elevation, (if I may so speak,) though we are yet exceedingly low, begin far, far back, among the days of nothing, and little to do with. Besides eating my own bread by the sweat of my brow, there were the wandering children of a necessarily wandering people to collect and bring permanently within reach of the school. Over this department of labor hung the darkest cloud, as the Indian is noted for despising manual labor; but I would acknowledge, with humble gratitude, the interposition of that hand which holds the hearts of all men.
The hoe soon brought hope, light, and satisfaction; the fruits of which are regularly becoming much more than a substitute for their former precarious game and roots, and are much preferred by the people, who are coming in from the mountains and plains, and calling for hoes, ploughs, and seeds, much faster than they can be furnished, and collecting around the station, in increasing numbers, to cultivate their little farms; so furnishing a permanent school and congregation on the Sabbath, from four to eight months; and, as their farms are enlarged, giving employment and food for the year. I trust the school and congregation will be permanent through the year. It was no small tax on my time to give the first lessons on agriculture. That the men of this nation (the first chiefs not excepted) rose up to labor when a few hoes and seeds were offered them, I can attribute to nothing but the unseen hand of the God of missions. That their habits are really changed, is acknowledged by themselves. The men say, whereas they once did not labor with their hands, now they do; and often tell me, in jesting, that I have converted them into a nation of women. They are a very industrious people, and, from very small beginnings, they now cultivate their lands with much skill and to good advantage. Doubtless many more would cultivate, but for the want of means. Your kind donation of fifty hoes, in behalf of the Government, will be most timely; and should you be able to send up the ploughs you kindly proposed they will without doubt, be purchased immediately, and put to best use.
But to return to the school. It now numbers 225 in daily attendance, half of whom are adults, nearly all the principal men and chiefs in this vicinity, with one chief from a neighboring tribe, are members of the school. A new impulse was given to the school by the warm interest yourself and Mr. McKay took in it while you were here. They are as industrious in school as they are on their farms. Their improvement is astonishing, considering their crowded condition, and only Mrs. Spalding, with her delicate constitution and her family cares, for their teacher.
About 100 are printing their own books with the pen. This keeps up a deep interest, as they daily have new lessons to print, and what they print must be committed to memory as soon as possible.
A good number are now so far advanced in reading and printing, as to render much assistance in teaching. Their books are taken home of nights, and every lodge becomes a school-room.
Their lessons are scripture-lessons; no others (except the laws) seem to interest them. . . .
The laws which you so happily prepared, and which were unanimously adopted by the people, I have printed in the form of a small school-book. A great number of the school now read them fluently. . . . Without doubt, a school of nearly the same number could be collected at Kamiat, the station above this, vacated by Mr. Smith, the present residence of Ellis, the principal chief.
Number who cultivate.
Last season about 140 cultivated from ¼ of an acre to 4 or 5 acres each. About half this number cultivated in the valley. One chief raised 176 bushels of peas last season, 100 of corn, 400 of potatoes. Another, 150 of peas, 160 of corn, a large quantity of vegetables, potatoes, &c. Ellis, I believe, raised rather more than either of the above mentioned. Some 40 other individuals raised from 20 to 100 bushels of various grains. Eight individuals are now furnished with ploughs. Thirty two head of cattle are now possessed by 13 individuals; 10 sheep by 4. Some 40 hogs.
Arts and sciences.
Mrs. Spalding has instructed 10 females in knitting; a majority of the female department in schools in sewing, and 6 in carding and spinning, and 3 in weaving. Should our worthy brother and sister, Mr. and Mrs. Littlejohn, join us soon, as is now expected, I trust, by the blessing of God, we shall see greater things than we have yet seen. From what I have seen in the field, the school, the spinning and weaving-room, in the prayer-room, and Sabbath congregation, I am fully of the opinion that this people are susceptible of high moral and civil improvement.
Moral character of the people.
On this point there is a great diversity of opinion. One writer styles them more a nation of saints than of savages; and if their refusing to move camp for game, at his suggestion, on a certain day, reminded him that the Sabbath extended as far west as the Rocky Mountains, he might well consider them such. Another styles them supremely selfish; which is nearer the truth, for, without doubt, they are descendants from Adam. What I have above stated is, evidently, a part of the bright side of their character. But there is also a dark side, in which I have sometimes taken a part. I must, however, confess, that when I attempt to name it, and hold it up as a marked exception to a nation in similar circumstances, without the restraint of wholesome laws, and strangers to the heaven-born fruits of enlightened and well-regulated society, I am not able to do it. Faults they have, and very great ones; yet few of them seem disposed to break the Sabbath by travelling and other secular business. A very few indulge in something like profane swearing. Very few are superstitiously attached to their medicine men, (who are, without doubt, sorcerers,) and are supposed to be leagued with a supernatural being, (waikin,) who shows himself sometimes in the gray bear, the wolf, the swan, goose, wind, clouds, &c. Lying is very common; thieving comparatively rare. Polygamy, formerly common, but now rare. Much gambling among the young men; quarrelling and fighting quite rare. Habit of taking back property after it is sold, is a practice quite common, and very evil in its tendency. All these evils, I conceive, can be traced to the want of wholesome laws and well-regulated society. There are two traits in the character of this people I wish to notice. One, I think, I can account for; the other I cannot. It is often said that the Indian is a noble-minded being, never forgetting a kindness. So far as my experience has gone with this people, the above is most emphatically true; but in quite a different sense from the idea there conveyed. It is true they never forget a kindness, but often make it an occasion to ask another, and, if refused, return insults according to the favor received. My experience has taught me, that if I would keep the friendship of an Indian and do him good, I must show him no more favors, in the way of property, than what he returns some kind of an equivalent for; most of our trials have arisen from this source. I am, however, happy to feel that there is a manifest improvement, as these people become more instructed, and we become more acquainted with their habits. This offensive trait in the Indian character, I believe, in part, should be charged to the white man. It has been the universal practice of all white men to give tobacco (to name no other articles) to the Indians when they ask for it. Hence two very natural ideas: one is, that the white man is in debt to them; the other is, that, in proportion as a white man is a good man, he will discharge the debt by giving bountifully of his provisions and goods. This trait in Indian character is capable of being turned to the disadvantage of traders, travellers, and missionaries, by prejudiced white men.
The last trait, which I cannot account for, is an apparent disregard for the right of white men. Although their eagerness to receive instruction in school on the Sabbath, and on the farm, is without a parallel in my knowledge; still, should a reckless fellow from their own number, or even a stranger, make an attack upon my life or property, I have no evidence to suppose but a vast majority of them would look on with indifference, and see our dwelling burnt to the ground, and our heads severed from our bodies. I cannot reconcile this seeming want of gratitude with their many encouraging characteristics. But, to conclude this subject: should our unprofitable lives, through a kind of Providence, be spared a few years, by the blessings of the God of missions, we expect to see this people christianized to a great extent, civilized, and happy; with much of science and the word of God, and many of the comforts of life, but not without many days of hard labor and sore trials of disappointed hopes and nameless perplexities.
The number of this people is variously estimated from 2,000 to 4,000. I cannot give a correct estimate. At this station there is a dwelling-house, a school-house, store house, flour and saw-millsall of a rough kind; 15 acres of land under improvement; 24 head of cattle; 36 horses; 67 sheep. . . .
The arable land in this upper country is confined almost entirely to the small streams, although further observation may prove that many of the extensive rolling prairies are capable of producing wheat. They can become inhabited only by cultivating timber. But the rich growth of buffalo grass upon it will ever furnish an inexhaustible supply for innumerable herds of cattle and sheep. I know of no county in the world so well adapted to the herding system. Cattle, sheep, and horses, are invariably healthy, and produce rapidlysheep, usually twice a year. The herding system adopted, the country at first put under regulations adapted to the scarcity of habitable places, (say that no settlers shall be allowed to take up over 20 acres of land on the streams,) and the country, without doubt, will sustain a great population. I am happy to feel assured that the United States Government have no other thought than to regard the rights and want of the Indian tribes in this country. And while the agency of Indian affairs in this country remains in the hands of the present agent, I have the fullest confidence to believe that the reasonable expectations in reference to the intercourse between whites and Indians will be fully realized by every philanthropist and every Christian; but as the Indian population is sparse, after they are abundantly supplied, there will be remaining country sufficient for an extensive white population.
The thought of removing these tribes, that the country may come wholly in possession of the whites, can never, for a moment, enter the mind of a friend of the red man, for two reasonsto name no other: 1st. There are but two countries to which they can be removedthe grave and the Black Foot, between which there is no choice. 2d. The countless millions of salmon which swarm the Columbia and its tributaries, and furnish a very great proportion of the sustenance of the tribes who dwell upon these numerous waters, and a substitute for which can nowhere be found east or west of the Rocky Mountains, but in herds, or cultivating their own land.
Many of the following valleys I have extensively examined; with others, I am more or less acquainted from information. . . .
. . . This valley (Lapwai) will probably settle some 250 families of Indians. Most of the land is already taken up. Yactoin, putting in from the opposite side, 3 miles above this, will settle as many more. There are said to be several other valleys between this and the mountains, containing more or less arable land. . . . About 40 miles southeast of this, is another rich valley, of some 35 miles in length, interspersed with large plats of white clover, through which a beautiful lake pours its cold waters into a rapid river, which unites with the Grand Round, and forms the Wailua, a branch of the Snake river. There are three or four other considerable streams putting into the Salmon river, above this, from the south, on two or three of which there are said to be large fertile plains. I know of but very little arable land in the vicinity of Salmon river. . . .