1863 Reports of the Commissioner Affairs and Indian Agent
"Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs," pp. 128-634 . In U.S. House. 38th Congress, 1st Session. Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior, 1863 (H.Ex.Doc.1, Vol. 3). Washington: Government Printing Office, 1864. (Serial Set 1182).
. . It gives me great pleasure to state that the danger of hostilities with the Nez PercÚs, on account of the rush of miners to their country, in consequence of the discovery of extensive gold-bearing districts within their reservation, has passed away. On the 9th of June last, Superintendent Hale and Agents Hutchins and Howe, all of Washington Territory, concluded a treaty with this powerful tribe, whereby they cede to the United States about nine-tenths of their reservation, or ninety thousand square miles of territory, which was ceded to them by their treaty of 1855. A copy of this treaty is in my possession, the original not yet having reached me. Its provisions appear to me reasonable and just. As soon as the original is received, it will be laid before you for submission to the President and Senate. On account of its great importance to the citizens of Washington and Idaho Territories and the State of Oregon, and to the Indians interested, I trust that the treaty will be promptly ratified, and its provisions carried into effect. (pp. 156)
From: Report of C. H. Hale, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Washington Territory, pp. 554-564.
. . . Owing to the erection of the new Territory of Idaho, and the establishment of a separate superintendency for the Indians embraced in its limits, the bounds of this have been materially diminished. It is well that such a division has been made, for the former boundaries were too extensive to permit the superintendent, in the course of the year, to visit each agency, and bestow that attention which the business of the office demanded. In accordance with your instructions, I transferred the Nez PercÚs and Flathead agencies in the latter end of the month of June to Governor Wallace, as ex-officio superintendent of Indian affairs for Idaho, to take effect on the first day of July, together with the papers and moneys in my hands pertaining to each, of which you were fully advised at the time.
As these agencies were under my control up to the close of the fiscal year, they will necessarily be embraced in this report. . . .
In my former report I alluded to the condition of affairs among the Nez PercÚs; of the unfinished state of the mills; the partial completion of the shops and agency buildings, and the want of a house for the head chief; besides other matters which were promised in the treaty of June 9, 1855. Having, just prior to forwarding that report, received instructions in reference to negotiating a new treaty with this people, I felt called upon to use every exertion in my power to remove, as far as it was practicable, such obstacles as I knew would be in the way of its accomplishment. Agent Hutchins, feeling it important to have the mills completed as speedily as possible, but being without any funds for the payment of freight, and credit for the same being refused, had, in the spring of 1862, entered into a contract with a third party, who engaged to forward and pay the freight on the machinery, to allow him the use of the saw-mill for a specified time to repay him. At the time freights were very high on the Columbia river, and the means of transportation unequal to the demand. Lumber was in great demand at Lewiston, and the price correspondingly high. Finding upon my visit to the agency, in September following, that the contract had not been complied with, although the time had been extended, that the machinery was not yet delivered, and being satisfied that the delay was unwarrantable, I rescinded the contract. Without waiting to receive funds from the department, I secured the immediate use of the machinery, and the saw-mill was soon in running order. The flouring mill was completed by the first of November; and in May last the miller reported to me some seventeen thousand bushels of grain as having been ground, up to that time. This grain had been raised by the Nez PercÚs, but the amount was, no doubt, composed in part of the crop for two or three successive years.
Similar difficulties were in the way of the erection of the house for the head chief; there being neither funds nor appropriation for the building of the house or for the purchase of saw-logs, out of which to manufacture the necessary lumber. I therefore took the responsibility of instructing the agent to purchase logs with any funds he could command, or to saw on the shares, and as lumber was still in demand at Lewiston, to which place it could be easily and speedily rafted, to take a sufficient amount there for sale, to enable him to refund that which might be used in the purchase of the logs, and to furnish the means to procure other necessary materials for building. By so doing he erected a very neat frame dwelling, which was occupied by the sawyer at the time of the council. In the same way a school-house was built and nearly finished in June last. A portion of the ten acres of land promised in the treaty to be prepared for the use of the head chief, was also ploughed and fenced; and commencement was made to enclose each of the fields pertaining to the agency farm with a board fence. Much was thus accomplishedmuch still remains to be done. That which was done, however, was effected without incurring any additional liability. Sufficient means were believed to be turned over to the agent at the time of the transfer to the Idaho superintendency, not only to meet all the liabilities of the year, but to leave a small surplus in his hands. This does not, however, include what is due on the contract for erection of mills, for which special provision is understood to be made in the 5th article of treaty of June, 1855, and was begun to be carried out in the appropriation of $9,000 in the act of March 29, 1860, and that of $500 in the act of March 2, 1861, none of which has been received by me. . . .
As the report connected with the treaty negotiated in June contains much in reference to this tribe, it is unnecessary for me to enlarge any further in this. I would, however, call the attention of the department to the condition of the agency at the mouth of the Lapwai, at which much is required to be done in the way of buildings. This agency is situated on land claimed as a mission station by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. One of the buildings now occupied as a warehouse was built by the missionaries, and used by them as a dwelling. In it the first printing press on the Pacific coast was set up. If their claim is just, as they allege, and hold themselves ready to establish, the department should either purchase this interest or locate the agency differently. The latter, however, cannot now very well be done, except by submitting to the loss of the mills, as they could not be removed. Moreover, it is the most eligible point for the agency. If the new treaty be ratified, it is of the utmost importance that the title to this place should be decided beyond further dispute. . . .
I would again urge a similar amendment to the intercourse act as that recommended in my former report, and the making such appropriations as are included in my estimates, for the purpose of arresting, prosecuting and confining criminals charged and found guilty of selling liquor to Indians. . . . The want of such a provision as would give the United States commissioner greater power to deal with such cases was clearly shown at the time of holding the recent council with the Nez PercÚs.
A most flagrant case occurred, the offender was found, and being brought before the commissioner his guilt was clearly established, but the officer was powerless to punish him, or even to confine him to prison or at the guard-house of Fort Lapwai, for want of sufficient bail to make his appearance at court. There was no United States marshal near, and no prison to which he could be committed to await his trial, nor does not permit a person "apprehended by military force to be detained longer than five days after the arrest and before the removal," and no means are provided to meet the expenses of keeping such persons under military restraint even for that limited period.
On these accounts, therefore, the commissioner was compelled to let the prisoner, against whom the proof was most positive, go free upon his own recognizance, which in reality amounted to nothing. Such proceedings thus compelled to end are ridiculous, and not only bring the complaining witnesses and the judicial officers, but the law itself, into merited contempt. . . .