Brigham Young and the Government.
LETTER FROM THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.
OFFICE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS,
WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 1857.
SIR: Your communication of the 12th of last September has been received, and would not require a formal reply were it not for the effort you make to place this office in the wrong, when, in fact, whatever difficulties exist have resulted from your own conduct. As the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Utah Territory, it was your duty to keep a supervisory control over the differ-ent agents, and to see that they did not exceed their authority. It was your duty also to notify them of all things pertaining to their duties, and especially to keep them in their expenditures within the appropriations made for your superin-tendency. Their reports were made to you, and by you transmitted here. You cannot, therefore, plead ignorance of their transactions. Knowing, then, the amount of the appropriations, and being fully advised of the affairs of the agents, and that money could not be taken out of the Treasury without an act of Congress, you have allowed the drafts to exceed the appropriations to the amount of $31,380 50 to the close of the fiscal year ending 30th June, 1857. When the agents were notified that their drafts could not be paid in consequence of the appropriation having been exhausted, and rebuked for exceeding them, they replied that they had no information from you on the subject. These communications passed, through your hands, and yet you seem to have passed them by unnoticed. With a full knowl-edge, then, of all the facts, you took no steps, so far as this office is informed, to protect the public interests, or to keep your subordinates within the proper sphere of their duties. On the contrary, you seem to have been disposed to encourage these things, as is evidenced in your orders to Agent HURT, sending him to Carson's Valley at a heavy expense to the Government, when it was well known that the services of an agent were not re-quired in that quarter; and again, when you fitted out an expedition yourself, and conducted it north-ward out of your superintendence, to give pres-ents to Indians not under your control. From all this it follows that if your drafts are not paid you have no right to complain, because you knew at the time that the appropriations on which they were drawn were exhausted.
But even if the money was in the treasury, ready for the Indian service in Utah, I do not see how it can be applied to the payment of your drafts until they shall have first passed through the strictest scrutiny, for this Department has in-formation from reliable sources that, so far from encouraging amicable relations between the In-dians and the people of the United States, outside of your own immediate community, you have stu-diously endeavored to impress on the minds of the Indians that there was a difference between your own sect, usually known as Mormons, and the Government and other citizens of the United States—that the former were their friends, and the latter their enemies. In addition to this, you have been denouncing this Government, and threatening an armed re-sistance to the authorities sent out by the President. Indeed, unless you and your coadjutors are most grossly misrepresented, and your language misquoted, the appearance of those authorities among you is all that is necessary to prompt you to an overt act of treason. It could never have been intended, when the appropriations were made by Congress, that the money should be used in arousing savages to war against our own citizens, or to enable a subordinate officer to carry on trea- sonable practices against his own Government The rule of this office is to withhold annuities from the Indians whenever they place themselves in a hostile or antagonistic attitude towards the Government; and I know of no reason why the same rule should not be applied to you at this time; but as the appropriation has been exhaust-ed, it is not necessary to consider that question now.
You say "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 for persons and property." The troops are under the direction of the President, and it is fair to presume that he would not send them to Utah Territory unless there was a necessity for so doing; and if it be true that wherever the great-est number of troops are, there are to be found greatest number of hostile Indians, it arises from the troops are, necessary at such places to preserve the peace and to keep the Indians in subjection. There is no reason why persons and property should be any the less secure in the neighborhood of the troops, nor is there any reason why peaceable citizens should object to their presence. If it is your intention to preserve peace, the troops will not interfere with you; but if you intend otherwise, than it is necessary that the troops should be on the ground to enforce it.
It is much to be regretted that such a stats of affairs should exist, and it is always with great reluctance that we arrive at the con-clusion that American citizens should at any time require the strong arm of power to compel obedience to the laws, or that a subordinate officer should so far forget his duty as to use his official position to injure one portion of his fellow-citizens, and to alienate another portion from loyalty to their Government. But, when convinced of the existence of such facts, the Chief Executive has no alternative left but to crush out rebellion, and for this purpose all the powers of the Government are placed under his control.
Your claim for double salary cannot be allowed, for, even if it did not come in conflict with the general rule, which forbids the payment of two salaries at the same time to the same person, yet you could not be entitled to it for the reason that, you became Superintendent of Indian Affairs by virtue of your appointment of Governor of the Territory ; and, although these offices have since been separated, yet you had not, at the date of your communication, been relieved from the duties appertaining to them. Your other account will be examined into, and whenever it shall be ascer-tained that the expenditure was properly made, it will be paid, should Congress make an appropria-tion for that, purpose.
You say "The Department has often manifested its approval of the management of the Indian af-fairs in this superintendence, and never its disap-proval." The reverse of this is the fact. This of-fice has often found fault with your conduct; and to prove this, it is only necessary to quote your own language. One extract from your communi-cation to this office, dated "Great Salt Lake City, June 26,1855," will suffice. You there say, "For the last two years I have experienced the greatest difficulty in getting my accounts adjusted at the Department; and, when they have finally been so adjusted, that it has been done by suspending and disallowing a great portion thereof." Many simi-lar extracts might be given, but this is sufficient to establish the incorrectness of your statement that this office had never manifested its disap-proval of your conduct.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. W. DENVER, Commis.
His Excellency BRIGHAM YOUNG, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory.
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