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and this will thus cause us to pass through the entire length and almost centre of their country. This valley, a very small portion of the country about Fort Hall, probably a part of Cache valley, and it may be New Park, (which latter, you will observe, is the valley of the head of the North fork of the Platte) are the only.portions of all their claim which can ever be applied to the purposes of agriculture, on account of the high altitude of its position; their whole country is essentially a fine grazing conntry during the summer and fall, and many places in the valleys, stock (I mean cattle, horses, mules, &c.) sustain themselves all the year round, and this I am informed they can always do except when the snows are too deep; indeed, with the exception of this valley, the snows always fall too deep; but the face of the country is so covered with high mountains and deep valleys, which produce so many currents of the winds as to almost insure that much of the land is left bare by the drifting, in the deepest snows, so that the cattle, &c., can still get access to the grass which remains upon the land all winter; and although dry, it is good hay, because it is cured without much if any rain; so little of it falls in this country, as to leave the grass cured for hay. This valley has been already taken up by the Latter-Day Saints, who will soon spread to Cache and Bear river valleys if they shall be found to produce grain and vegetables, which is exceedingly doubtful; and the government have already occupied the most favored portion about Fort Hall; and then the Indians will have only the New Park, (if indeed it will answer for agricultural pursuits,) and this is a very small piece of country for so many people to attempt the cultivation of the soil, if it should be the policy of the government to attempt to draw the attention of the Indians to that pursuit to enable them to sustain the simplest but imperative calls of nature. The valley along Black's fork and Harn's fork of Green river and their tributaries (in which is Fort Bridger,) is, perhaps, next to this valley, (and you will see the Sho-sho-nies do not claim all this,) the most extensive: and most beautiful, and as to pasturage, is perhaps little behind this, but yet it is conceived to be entirely beyond the power of the most approved cultivation to raise either grain or vegetables, so as to pay for the labor of the husbandman, for there is frost nearly every night in the year, as it is reported by those who have long resided therein. The elevation of Fort Bridger is 6,665 feet above the level of the sea; that of the South Pass, 7,085 feet; that of Bear river, (where we crossed it,) 6,836 feet; while the elevation of this valley is only 4,300 feet, and is enclosed in, entirely surrounded by mountains about one and a half mile high. Even in this valley there are light frosts many nights during all the summer months, as I am informed; and indeed, in last month several have fallen while we have been here. There only remain, then, to be mentioned, New Park and Brown's Hole, (see Fremont's map, by Colonel J. J. Abert,) if, indeed, that belongs to the Sho-sho-nies (or Snakes,) in which we can expect to find land within their reach and claim fit for cultivation, and it is very questionable whether the play would be worth the candle" in either.
Under the present statute policy of the government, it will unquestionably become its duty, at as early a day as possible, to extinguish by. treaty their title to this and the Cache valleys and the adjacent country, and a portion near Fort Hall, and at least negotiate for a highway through their country to this valley and Fort Hall, and, I think, to the country about Fort Bridger, where, in my opinion, without delay, there ought to
be established a military post. In a very short time (next year) all the emigration to the Oregon, California, as all to this valley does now, will pass that plase, and from thence diverge into separate roads, which will lead to their respective destinations. There is a road, already opened by partial travel, almost in a direct line from Fort Bridger to Fort Laramie, (see the
map before quoted, which crosses Green river below the mouth of Harn's fork, and, perhaps, above the mouth of Mary's river, and thence pretty directly across to one of the forks of Laramie river, (perhaps the right hand one,) and thence down to Fort Laramie, which will cut off more than 150 miles in the distance; and Mr. Vasques, one of the firm of Bridger & Vasques, who reside at and own Fort Bridger, and who have both resided in this country about 28 years, says it is a much better road, and passes the Rocky mountains by a pass considerably lower than the South Pass, and affords a far better supply of both water and grass the whole road; and as proof that his statement is made upon a complete knowledge of the country, he (Mr. Vasques) is now upon his journey on that road with 7 or 8 ox teams to Fort Laramie for their fall supply of goods, which are already at Fort Laramie; and he intends returning that way with his loaded wagons, thus avoiding a most barren, and, indeed, to cattle, mules, &c., a disastrous road, now travelled from Fort Laramie to the South Pass, called (and properly) the road through the black hills, which we found for many long distances without both water and grass. The country in general, through which the present travel goes, between Fort Laramie and the South Pass, is a desert in every sense of the term. Captain Stansbury, under the guidance of Mr. Bridger, has already traced out and reviewed a road direct from Fort Bridger, so as to cross Bear river just above where it flows into the Great Salt lake, thus making the road almost straight from Laramie to the north end of the Salt lake, which is the direct course towards where the road crosses the Sierra Nevada to California -not only bettering the road for water and grass, but shortening it to this valley 150 miles, and to the Sierra Nevada more than 300 miles on the one at present travelled by Fort Hall, leaving the latter place more than 100 miles to the north. If Mr. Vasques is not deceived (and he cannot be; as he has often travelled it) in relation to the improvement this cut-off will make in the road between Forts Bridger and Laramie, all the travel hereafter to Oregon, California, and this valley, which comes up the Platte, will unquestionably pass by Fort Bridger; even this year more than half the California emigrants passed by Bridger, and those who did not are said to have nearly perished for want of water and grass. Thus, if the above information proves to be correct, (and I have taken all the pains in my power to have it so,) you will see at once the great importance of the position of Fort Bridger, and the inevitable propriety of making it the great military post of this country. Aside from its peculiar propriety, when the facility of the department over which you preside, as regards its intercourse with both the Snake and Utah tribes of Indians, is considered, it is unquestionably
the most convenient of all others, so far as I am informed, for the centre • of your operations with all the Indians in California, east of the Sierra
Nevada. "To come to this valley, is entirely too much to the west; to stop short of Bridger, would be too far to the east. Were there any di." rect communication with the Middle or Old Park, (where the Grand river takes its vise,) it might be more central for a communication with both
Snakes and Utahs, and still more central would the South Park be for a direct communication with the Utahs alone. From the best information I can obtain, (and I hope you will appreciate what I say, when I state that my opportunities have been very limited, and yet nearly all the sources of information, except that of personal examination, have been within my reach that the country affords,) to gain anything like a personal knowledge of the actual situation of these tribes, less than five years' travel on pack mules would scarcely justify the attempt to answer the many questions, with any degree of certainty and accuracy, which are propounded to me in the instructions which were furnished me for my official guidance. I think it probably certain that the two nations, not very far back in their history, were one, and that they originally were but a branch of the Comanches. I suppose it is true that the Snake and Utah languages are now somewhat different, although not essentially so, and yet agree more nearly than either does with that of the Comanches, and that probably the Utah language more nearly resembles the original than the Snakes' does; and one evident cause of this is, (if the supposition be true,) they have remained nearer the parent nation than the Snakes. The Green (or Colorado) river, which rises in the Wind River mountains, the sources of which interlock with those of Lewis's fork of the Columbia, northwest of the South Pass, is, where we cross it on the present road from the latter place to Fort Bridger, a fine stream, nearly of the size of the Ohio at Pittsburg at low water; and, as far as we travelled along it, (only 8 or 10 miles,) continued to be so, with a regular but very rapid current. Its valley, however, did not present any signs to encourage the husbandman to make that his home, nor to entice the herdsman to drive his flock there for pasturage, and it is not till we arrive at Brown's Hole, if then, that it becomes very valuable for either. After that, it is said to furnish in its own, as well as the valleys of its tributaries, (as the Yam-pah, the White, and Grand rivers,) fine and extended bottoms, in many places, that will prove fruitful, and will amply reward the labors of both the agriculturist and herdsman. This, including the New, the Middle, and South Parks, (the two latter, and perhaps the first, are fine valleys for cultivation,) would make a large and fertile country amongst and surrounded by mountains, not desirable for settlements for white people, and perhaps better fitted than any other portion of the United States, now to be had, for the settlement and collocation of a large number of the original inhabitants of the wilderness; and, indeed, if my information be correct, it is the only large and proper space of country within the reach of the government, and suitable for such a purpose, beyond and out of the reach of the millions of Anglo-Saxons, who are pressing towards the setting su with almost race-horse speed, and will soon cover every reasonably inhabitable spot within our very extended national boundaries, especially towards the west and south. The country spoken of, including the valley of the Green, parts of the headwaters of the Platte and the Arkansas rivers, is the only fitting and sufficiently secluded spot that seems to be left in which to attempt to extend that national philanthropy to the Indians of the mountains which has so many years engaged the attention and expended such vast sums of the treasure of the nation, and which has unquestionably fallen far short of the end expected by those who originated and put in motion this system for civilizing the aborigines of the forest, which has been for many years the business of the Indian bureau to
carry out and perfect. The philanthropy which originated the measure was certainly correct; whether the system was founded on the best basis was then a question of division, and which perhaps still divides the opinions of some of its best wishers; but I suppose all agree that no very satisfactory results have been attained. When I say all agree, I mean all true philanthropists, for the greedy and land-hungry politician, many of whom went eagerly for the system, have been amply repaid for their support, in the vast territories that have been purchased, perhaps extorted, from these natives of the forest, declared, and who, by this system, are supposed to be entirely capable of managing their own affairs; while in practice they have been either cajoled or menaced out of the soil that contained the bones of their fathers for many generations past, for which, in fact, they only have to show, as the price they have received in exchange, gewgaws and other worthless articles, at the most enormous and unreasonable prices, which the giving consciences of those licensed sharpers: chose to ask, into whose hands these simple and inexperienced people have been suffered to fall, until their all is spent, and they left a thousand times worse off than they were when the system began; and the true philanthropist may well exclaim that scarcely any of the benefits of the civilization intended by its original framers have been imparted to these suffering and receding people. The fault is either in the system, or fails of its benefits by the incompetence or corruption of its administrators, or grows out of both; and to them both I attribute the unquestionable failure to im-part any of the substantial benefits of civilization, except in a very few and isolated cases. The system I have always considered radically wrong, in supposing the untutored Indian to be capable of dealing with the Anglo-Saxon race, especially those who have descended from the first settlers of America. My idea is, they ought to be treated entirely as wards of the government, and that the execution of the law ought to be confided to the true philanthropist, and not intrusted to the brawling, and often bankrupt politician, who seeks the office, to restore by speculation, out of these uninstructed people, what he has spent in aiding in the political intrigues and caucuses in his township or county; and as soon as he is thus fully indemnified, which he is almost sure to secure in an incredible short time, he leaves them, and instead of teaching them the beauties and benefits of civilization, leaves amongst them disgusting evidences that he has, by his example, encouraged them to continue in their basest immoralities.
The answer to these charges, which cannot be denied by any, is often given by those who uphold the unparalleled scenes of corruption and speculation that have so generally attended the whole system, with a few honorable exceptions, by declaring that men cannot be found honest enough to carry out a system founded on the presumption of the entire inability of the Indian to act for himself; and therefore the present system, say they, is better managed where the Indian is allowed to make his own bargain, than one would be where men were appointed to bargain for him. This declaration is founded upon the presumption that honest men cannot be found to manage such a system; but if, indeed, this is true, then ive ought to be blotted out as a nation, and branded is degenerate sons of worthy ancestors. This cannot be true. We have thousands of virtuous, and self-sacrificing, and philosophic persons, who, for a fair but moderate salary, which the government could easily afford to pay, would devote their whole time and talents for the benefit not only of the poor, unfortu
nate tenants of the forest, but of true philanthropy, which teaches us to wish the civilization of all mankind.
If the system was changed to the one I suppose-of considering the Indians minors in relation to all their interests, subject to be released under some prescribed rule—when they come of age in their progress towards civilization, the government would only have to turn their attention to that part of the community, in making their appointments, (and we have such a class,) who would look with anxious care to the elevation of the morals and character of the red men of the forest. Whether the present system is to be changed or not, I feel bound to say to the department that the best plan to manage and conduct the affairs of the nations of Indians over which, for the present, I hold, by appointment of the government, the direction and management, is, if possible, to unite the Sho-sho-nies and Utahs into one nation, and which I believe can be done; and then endeavor, if possible, to turn their attention, to some extent at least, to the cultivation of the soil; for I do believe no other employment will civilize a wild man of the forest. There is no part of the Snake country (except, indeed, exceeding small portions entirely inadequate) that they can now occupy for such a purpose, whilst that of the Utahs contains (if I am correctly informed) an ample space, and perhaps prolific soil, to answer all the demands of both nations; in parts, too, now wholly appropriated to the red men and beasts of the forest, and to which region the latter are constantly receding from the advance of the Anglo-Saxon on the south, the east, and northeast, as well as from the west and northwest. The upper end of the valley of the Arkansas, and the south and middle Parks, are said to be splendid valleys of the richest lands and finest pasturage, and that although perpetual snows cap the high and rugged mountains by which these valleys are, for the greater part, hemmed in; still these valleys are of an altitude low enough to produce fine rewards to the husbandman, and these hills and mountains ample space for the herdsman, and for a long series of years the hunter, also; while the climate is supposed to be comparatively mild and pleasant.
The larger portion of the Snake tribe are called Sho-sho-coes, or Walkers -that is, they are too poor to have horses. They usually draw most of their subsistence from roots and the black-mountain cricket, and are usually called root-diggers—(not gold diggers)—which costs .them very considerable labor; and it is supposed that this portion of the tribe, at least, could be easily trained, by the right sort of men, to engage in the labors of husbandry, while some of the Utahs are already engaged in raising com and potatoes.
The only way in which any such attempt can be made with success, it seems to me, is to call a great council of both nations and see what can be done, and if present policy with other Indians is to be pursued, buy of them such parts of their country as we need, including, at all events, this valley now settled by the whites, its adjacent country, as also a highway through their country, and such places as will be wanted for forts and other public agencies, and agree to pay them in useful implements of husbandry and clothing at the net cost and carriage of such articles, which they should not be allowed to re-sell to any white man; and then send proper men amongst them, who should, out of parts of the annuity coming to them, if any, establish farms—model farms—not models of extravagance in fine buildings and fine enclosures, but plain, simple, and well conducted