BRIGHAM YOUNG AND THE INDIANS.
The Commissioner of Indian Affairs has received the following report from Brigham Young :
OFFICE OF SUPERINTENDENT OF INDIAN AFFAIRS,
Great Salt Lake City, Sept. 12,1857.
SIR : Inclosed please find abstract account current and vouchers from 1 to 35 inclusive (also abstract of employees), for the current quarter up to this date, as owing to the stoppage of the mail, I have deemed it best to avail myself of the opportunity of sending by private conveyance, not knowing when I may have another chance. The expenditure, as you will ob-serve by the papers, amount to $6,41136, for which I have drawn my drafts on the Department in favor of the Hon. John M. Bernhissl, delegate to Congress from this Territory. You will also observe that a por tion of these expenditures accrued prior to this quar-er, which may need a word of explanation. Santa Clara is in Washington County, the extreme southern County of this Territory, and this labor was commenced and partly performed, seeds, grain, &c., furnished prior to the time that Major Armstrong visited those parts of the Territsry; hence failed to find its way into his reports, and failed being included in mine, because the accounts and vouchers were not sooner brought in, and hence not settled. Until re-cently, but little has been effected in that part of the Territory at the expense of the Government, although much bas been done by the citizens in aiding the In-dians with tools and instruction in cultivating the earth. The bands mentioned are parts of the Riede tribe, In-dians who are very numerous, but only in part inhabit this Terri ory. These Indians are more easily induced to labor than any others in the Territory, and many of them are now engaged in the common pursuits of civ-ilized life. Their requirements are constant for wagons, plows spades, hoes, teams and harness, &c., to en-able shem to work with advantage.
In like manner, the Indians in Cache Valley have received but little at the expense of the Governnent, although a sore tax upon the people. West and along the line of the California and Oregon travel they con-tinue to make their contributions, and I am sorry to add, with considerable loss of life to the travelers. This is what I have always sought, by all means in my power, to avert, but I find it the most difficult of any portion to control. I have for many years suc-ceeded better than this. I learn by report that many of the lives of their emigrants, and considerable quantities of property have been taken. This is principally owing to a company of some three or four hundred returning Californians who traveled these roads last Spring to the Eastern States, shooting at every Indian they could see—a practice utterly ab-horrent to all good people, yet I regret to say, one which has been indulged in to a great extent by trav-elers to and from the Eastern States and California. Hence the Indians regard all white men alike as their enemies, and kill and plunder wherever they can do so with impunity, and often the innocent suffer for the deeds of the guilty. This has always beeu one of the greatest difficulties that I have had to contend with in the administration of Indian affairs in this Territory. It is hard to make an Indian believe that the whites are their friends, and the Great Father wishes them to do good when, perhaps, the very next party which crosses their path shsots them down like wolves.
This trouble with the Indians only exists along the lire of travel west and beyond the influence of our settlements. The Shosones are not hostile to travelers, so far as they inhabit in this territory, except, perhaps, a few called ' Snake Diggers," who ineabit, as before stated, along the line of travel west of the settlements. There have, however, been more or less depredations the present season north, and more within the vicinity of the settlements, owing to the causees above men-tioned, and I find it of the utmost difficulty to restrain them. The sound of war quickens the blood and nerves of an Indian.
The report that troops were wending their way to this territory has also had its influence upon them. In one or two instances this was the reason assigned why they made the attack which they did upon some herds of cattle. They seemed to think, if it was to be war, they might as well begin to lay in a supply of food when they had a chance. If I am to have the direc-tion of the Indian affairs of this Territory, and am ex-pected to maintain friehdly relations with the Indians, there a few things that I would most respectfully sug-gest to be done.
First: That travelers omit their infamous practice of shooting them down when they happen to see one. Whenever the citizens of this territory travel the roads, they are in the habit of giving the Indians food, tobacco, and a few other presents, and the Indians ex-pect some such trifling favor, and they are emboldened by this practice to come up the road with a view of receiving such presents; when therefore, travelers from the States make their appearance, they throw themselves in sight with the same view, and when they are shot at, and some of their number killed, as has frevently been the case, we cannot but expect them to wreak their vengeance upon the next company.
Secondly. That the Government should make more liberal appropriations to be expended in presents. I have proven that it is far cheaper to feed and clothe the Indians than to fight them. I find, moreover, that after all, when the fighting is even, it is always fol-lowed by extensive presents which, if properly dis tributed in the first instance, might have averted the fight. In this case, then, the expense of presents is the same, and it is true in nine-tenths of the cases that have happened. Third: The troops must be kept away, for it is a prevalent fact that wherever there are the most of these we may expect to find the greatest amount of hostile Indians and the least security to persons and property.
If these three items could be complied with, I have no hesitation in saying that, so far as Utah is con-cerned, travelers could go to and from, pass and re-pass, and no Indian would disturb or molest them or their property.
In regard to my drafts, it appears that the Depart ment is indisposed to pay them—for what reason I am at a loss to conjecture. I am aware that Congress separated the office of Superintendent of Indian Affairs from that of Governor; that the salary of Governor remained the same for his gubernatorial duties, and that, that of the Superintendent was $1,500. I do think that, inasmuch as I perform the duties of both offices, I am entitled to the pay appropriated for both, and trust you will so consider. I have drawn again for the expenditure of this present quarter, as above set forth. Of course you will do as you please about paying, as you have with the drafts for the two last quarters.
The Department has often manifested its approval of the management of the Indian affairs in this super-intendeccy, and never its disapproval. Why, then, should I be subjected to such annoyance in regard to obtaining the funds for defraying its expenses ? Why should I be denied my salary ? Why should appro-priations made for the benefit of the Indians of this Territory be retained in the Treasury, and individuals left unpaid ? These are questions I leave for you to answer at your leisure, and meanwhile submit to such course in relation thereto as you shall see fit to direct.
I have the honor to be, &c. , your obedient servant.
BRIGHAM YOUNG, Governor and ex-officio Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Utah Territory.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.