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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1855
([1855])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [1]-21 PDF (9.4 MB)


Page 12

REPORT OF THE 
and encourage them to maintain a friendly disposition towards our 
citizens, and to treat kindly and assist, if necessary, emigrants and 
other peaceful citizens passing through their country. The agents 
were enjoined to reside among the tribes, to make the personal ac- 
quaintance of the chiefs, and to inform them fully respecting the 
power of the United States, the readiness of the President to treat 
them with kindness and magnanimity when they do right, and his 
ability and purpose to punish them when they do wrong. They were 
directed to exert their personal influence to persuade the Indians to 
abandon their marauding excursions and hostile expeditions against 
neighboring tribes, to forsake their wandering habits and savage cus- 
toms and settle in permanent homes and obtain their subsistence by 
agricultural and other pursuits of civilized life. They were instructed 
also to procure the delivery, for trial, of all individuals charged with
high crimes, and to take all needful measures to obtain the release of 
citizens of the United States or of friendly powers that might be held 
in captivity by any of the tribes of their charge; and they were ad- 
monished of the necessity of co-operation and concert of action with 
the officers in command of the military expedition which was organiz- 
ing for operations on the plains during the season. They were also 
directed to forward, from time to time, as they had opportunity, such 
information as would exhibit to the government here the actual condi- 
tion of affairs within their agencies. Copies of such papers as have 
been received from them will be found among the accompanying docu- 
ments. 
From  the appropriations, made at the session of Congress of 
1853-'54, to defray the expenses of negotiating treaties with Indian 
tribes in Oregon and Washington Territories, remittances were made 
early after the close of the session, and goods were procured and 
shipped immediately, from New York, for presents to the tribes. 
Instructions, in the month of August, 1854, were given to Joel 
Palmer, superintendent in Oregon, and Isaac I. Stevens, governor of 
Washington, to enter at once upon the negotiations, commencing 
with those tribes in the vicinity of the settlements of the whites, and 
having for a principal aim the extinguishment of the Indian claims 
to the lands, and the concentration of all the tribes and fragments of 
tribes on a few reserves of limited extent, naturally suited to the 
requirements of the Indians, and located, as far as practicable, so as 
not to interfere with the settlement of the Territories respectively. 
They were admonished of the importance, also, of adopting but few 
stipulations to be fulfilled on each behalf, which should be simple and 
well understood by the Indians, and of, providing that the moneys 
to be paid might, at the discretion of the President, be applied for 
the establishment of farms, the purchase of implements of agricul- 
ture, or any other objects of benefit to the Indians, and which their 
peculiar condition and circumstances may from time to time render 
proper and advantageous. 
Under these instructions the officers charged with the negotiations 
concluded four treaties, which were transmitted in time to receive the 
sanction of the Senate at the last session of Congress; and several 
others have subsequently been signed and transmitted here. 
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