S.A. Ferrall.

A Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America online

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in the old nation. This they have not received. They were further assured
that they should receive, upon their arrival on Arkansas, _thirty dollars_
per head for each emigrant. This they have not received. But the acting
sub-agent, in the spring 1829, finding their wants very pressing (indeed
many of them were in a famishing condition), gave to each one his due
bill, in the name of the agent, for the amount of bounty due them, and
took their receipts for the amount, as vouchers for the agent, to settle
his account by with the government. The consequence was, that the Indians,
not regarding paper as of any real value, would go to the traders, and
sell the due bills at what they could get for them. And the traders having
no confidence in the promises of the government through its agents, united
with the hazard of delay at all events, would not give the real value of
the amount promised by the due bills. If the Indians attempted to trade
them to the whites for cattle, or any thing which they stood in need of,
the consequence was, that they were compelled to make a discount upon
them. Not finding them worth as many dollars as they purported to be for,
they were willing to let them go upon any terms, rather than keep them in
their possession. The due bills amounted, in all, to about _twenty-one
thousand dollars_, which due bills are now in the hands of the original
holders, or the purchasers, but not lifted by the agent according to his
promise. (Is not the government bound by the acts of its agent or
attorney?). It is but fair to estimate the loss of the Indians at one
third of the sum above stated, and this loss owing entirely to the
government, by its agent's withholding the fulfilment of its contract with
the M'Intosh party.

* * * * *

"Mr. Joseph Brearly was left here by his father, the agent, in charge of
his affairs, and being apprised of a party of _emigrants_ about to arrive,
was making preparations to obtain the provisions necessary to subsist them
for one year; and for that purpose had advertised to supply six thousand
bushels of corn. The day came for closing the contract, when Colonel
Arbuckle, commanding Cantonment Gibson, handed in a bid, in the name of
the Creek nation, to furnish the amount of corn required at _one dollar
and twelve cents_ per bushel; the next lowest bid to his was _one dollar
and fifty cents_; so that Colonel Arbuckle saved the government 2,280

* * * * *

"Mr. Blake, the sub-agent sent by Colonel Crowell, had superseded Mr.
Brearly, and was engaged in giving his receipts for the corn delivered
under the contract. A speculation was presented; and as the poor Indians
were to be the victims of rapacity, why, it was all very well. The
aforesaid Major Love, to secure the speculation, repaired to St. Louis,
with _letters of credit_ from Mr. Blake, the sub-agent of Colonel Crowell,
and purchased several thousand dollars' worth of merchandize, and so soon
as he could reach the Creek agency, commenced purchasing the corn receipts
issued by the sub-agent. It is reasonable to suppose that the goods were
sold, on an average, at two hundred per centum above cost and carriage;
and by this means the Indians would get about one third of the value of
their corn at the contract price! - they offered to let the receipts go at
twenty-five per cent. discount, if they could only obtain cash for them.

"The United States owe the Creeks money - they have paid them none in three
years - the money has been appropriated by congress. It is withheld by the
agents. The Indians are destitute of almost every comfort for the want of
what is due to them. If it is longer withheld from them, it can only be
so, upon the grounds that the poor Indian, who is unable to compel the
United States to a compliance with solemn treaties, must linger out a
miserable degraded existence, while those who have power to extend to him
the measure of justice, will be left in the _full_ possession of _all_ the
_complacency_ arising from the solemn _assurance_, that they are either
the _stupid_ or _guilty_ authors of his degradation and misery.


"P.S. The Creeks have sent frequent memorials, praying relief from the War
Department; also a delegation, but can obtain no relief!!"

_Extract from a Communication made by a Cherokee Chief._

"A company of whites was in this neighbourhood, with forged notes and
false accounts to a very considerable amount upon the Indians, and
forcibly drove off the property of several families. This, Sir, is the
cause of our misery, poverty, and degradation, for which we have been so
much reproached. This is what makes us _poor devils_. If we fail to make
good crops, some of the white neighbours must starve, for many of them are
dependent upon us for support, either by fair or foul means. Some of the
poor creatures are now travelling among us, almost starved, begging for
something to eat - they are actually worse than Indians. If they can't get
by begging, they steal. To make us clear of these evils, and make us happy
for ever, the unabating avarice of some of the Georgians, by their
repeated acts of cruelty, point us to homes in the west - but as long as we
have a pony or a hog to spare them, we will never go, and not then. This
land is heaven's gift to us - it is the birthright of our fathers: as long
as these mountains lift their lofty summits to heaven, and these beautiful
rivers roll their tides to the mighty ocean, so long we will remain. May
heaven pity and save our distressed country!


The following Extracts may serve to show the state of the country to which
the Indians are compelled to emigrate:


_Extract of a Letter, dated Prairie du Chien._

"January 15, 1830.

"There is a prospect, I think, that the Indian department in this part of
the country will soon require efficient officers. There is little doubt
that there will be a general and sanguinary war among the Indians in the
spring. The outrages of the Sauks and Foxes, can be endured no longer.
Within a short time, they have cut off the head of a young Munomonee
Indian, at the mouth of Winconscin river - killed a Winnebago woman and
boy, of the family of Dekaree, and a Sioux called Dixon. The whole Sioux
nation have made arrangements for a general and simultaneous attack on the
Foxes; the Winnebagoes, and probably the Munomonees will join them."

"Little Rock, Ark. Ter. Feb. 5.

"_Murderous Battle._ - A gentleman who arrived here yesterday, direct from
the Western Creek agency, informs us that a war party of Osages returned
just before he left the agency, from a successful expedition against the
Pawnee Indians. He was informed by one of the chiefs, that the party
seized a Pawnee village, high up on the Arkansas, and had surrounded it
before the inmates were apprised of their approach. At first the Pawnees
showed a disposition to resist; but finding themselves greatly outnumbered
by their assailants, soon sallied forth from their village, and took
refuge on the margin of a lake, where they again made a stand. Here they
were again hemmed in by the Osages, who throwing away their guns, fell
upon them with their knives and tomahawks, and did not cease the work of
butchery as long as any remained to resist them. Not one escaped. All were
slain, save a few who were taken prisoners, and who are perhaps destined
to suffer a more cruel death than those who were butchered on the spot.
Our informant did not learn what number of Pawnees were killed, but
understood that the Osages brought in sixty or seventy scalps, besides
several prisoners.

"We also learn, that the Osages are so much elated with this victory, that
another war party were preparing to go on an expedition against some
Choctaws who reside on Red river, with whom they have been at variance for
some time past."

_Extract of a Letter from an Officer of the Army, dated Prairie du Chien._


"May 6, 1830.

"_Indian Hostilities._ - When coming down the Mississippi, on the raft of
timber, a war party of Sioux came to me and landed on the raft, but did
not offer any violence. They were seventy strong, and well armed; and when
they arrived at the Prairie, they were joined by thirty Menominees, and
then proceeded down the river in pursuit of the Sauks and Foxes, who lay
below. This morning they all returned, and reported that they had killed
ten of the Foxes and two squaws. I saw all the scalps and other trophies
which they had taken; such as canoes, tomahawks, knives, guns, war clubs,
spears, &c. A paddle was raised by them in the air, on which was strung
the head of a squaw and the scalps. They killed the head chief of the Fox
nation, and took from them all the treaties which the nation had made
since 1815. I saw them, and read such as I wished. One Sioux killed, and
three wounded, was all the loss of the northern party. The Winnebagoes
have joined with the Sioux and Menominees, and the Potawatomies have
joined with the Sauks and Foxes. We shall have a great battle in a day or


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Online LibraryS.A. FerrallA Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America → online text (page 15 of 15)