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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1856
([1856])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [3]-24 PDF (10.1 MB)


Page 20

REPORT OF THE 
,"The tabular statements appended to this report contain much valu-
able and useful information in relation to Indian affairs. 
A contract has been entered into with the publisher, for the execu- 
tion of the work connected with the printing of the sixth volume of 
the History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes. 
Proceedings have been instituted in the Court of Claims, by parties 
holding drafts for large sums of money, drawn by agents and sub- 
agents in California, for beef and flour, alleged to have been furnished
for the Indian service there in the years 1851 and 1852. It is under- 
stood that other similar drafts are still outstanding. An act was 
passed on the 29th of July, 1854, appropriating a sum    equal to 
$242,036 25, for the payment of one lot of drafts of a like description.
These drafts were all drawn without authority of law-a fact noto- 
rious at the time, and of which the parties to whom they were made 
payable had full notice. Having had occasion to examine the subject 
to some extent, there appear to me to be irregularities of Such a 
character connected with these beef and flour transactions, that a Tull 
and thorough investigation into them  should, I think, be instituted, 
especially as there appears to be no satisfactory evidence of the issue 
of, the articles to the Indians.            . 
The operations of this branch of the public service would be greatly 
promoted if the authority and means were placed at the disposal of 
the department, to keep constantly in ifs employment a special agent 
of high character for intelligence and integrity. Occasions frequently 
arise requiring the services of such an agent. 
Since the 4th of March, 1853, fifty-two treaties with various Indian 
tribes have been entered into. These treaties may, with but few 
exceptions of a specific character, be separated into three classes: 
first, treaties of peace and friendship; second, treaties of acquisition,
with a view of colonizing the Indians on reservations; and third, 
treaties of acquisition, and providing for the permanent settlement 
of the individuals of the tribes, at once or in the future, on separate 
tracts of lands or homesteads, and for the gradual abolition of the 
tribal character. The quantity of land acquired by these treaties, 
either by the extinguishment of the original Indian titles, or by the 
re-acquisition of lands granted to Indian tribes by former treaties, is 
about one hundred and seventy-four millions of acres. Thirty-two 
of these treaties have been ratified, and twenty are now before the 
Senate for its consideration and action. In no former equal period of 
our history have so many treaties been made, or such vast accessions 
of land been obtained. Within the same period the jurisdiction of this 
office and the operations of its agents have been extended over an addi-
tional area of from four to six thousand square miles of territory, 
embracing tribes about which, before that time, but little was known ; 
and by authority of several acts of Congress thirteen new agencies 
and nine sub-agencies have been established. The increased labor 
which has been thus devolved on the Commissioner of Indian Affairs 
and the entire force of the bureau, as well as upon the superinten- 
dents and agents, has been very great, and has swelled the business 
connected with our Indian affairs to an extent almost incredible. 
The labor of this branch of the service has doubled since 1852, and 
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