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

[Washington territory],   pp. 184-193 PDF (4.3 MB)

Page 185

friendly Indians and preventing their taking part iii the war has not 
only been completely successful, but that the policy of kindness and 
mercy to submissive and unconditional prisoners has been practically 
enforced, and has the concurrence of public opinion in the Territory. 
I will ask the indulgence of the department in presenting a brief 
view of the history of the superintendency from the commencement of 
the war. The war broke Out early in October, confined first to the 
Yakimas and Klikatats; it gradually extended to the Tyh, Deschutes, 
John Day's, and Umatilla Indians of Oregon, to the Cayuses and 
Walla-Wallas of Oregon and Washington, and to the Palouses, all 
east of the Cascades, and to detachments from several bands at or near 
the head of Puget Sound, west of the Cascade mountains. Being 
absent in attendanc3 on the Black Foot council, the duty of meeting 
this difficult emergency devolved upon Acting Governor and Superin- 
tendent of Indiax Affairs Mason. 
The circumstances of the defection of the Indians on Puget Sound 
were so extraordinary as to excite universal alarm and consternation 
through all classes of the community, and to create a universal dis- 
trust of the fealty of all the tribes. The Indians who took up arms 
had been but a few days before visited by Acting Governor Mason and 
several gentlemen connected with the Indian service, and had assured 
him that all the reports of their meditating an outbreak were false, 
and that they were the fast friends of the whites. 
The uniform good conduct, moreover, of all the leaders of the party 
referred to had been such, that gentlemen best acquainted with the 
Indians reposed the utmost confidence in them. 
Leschi, the leader of the hostiles on the Sound, was- familiarly 
known to most of our citizens; had in part adopted the habits and 
usages of civilized life, was a good farmer, an expert hunter, and be- 
lieved to be an honest man. 
Nelson, the monster who perpetrated the massacre on White river, 
was in like manner treated and respected by the inhabitants of the 
county of King. 
The other leaders were held in similar trust. I have never heard 
of any charge that they had been maltreated by the settlers. I know 
they were treated with consideration and respect. 
Recollect, Leschi lived within three Lours' ride of Olympia, and two 
hours of Steilacoom; that he frequently visited both places; and 
Nelson was a welcome and frequent visitor to the town of Seattle, and 
so with the other leaders. C@nceive, therefore, of the consternation 
of this whole community, when the Indians, believed to be the most 
reliable, in direct violation of their solemn word, commenced the war 
by the massacre of an entire settlement. 
McAlister and Edgar were betrayed and shot by their own guides. 
McAlister went with his neighbor Stahi to see Leschi, believing that 
their old friendship of ten years could be appealed to to induce Leschi 
to continue friendly. Stahi treacherously betrayed and shot him on 
the road, and joined the enemy. 
Were it necessary, I could give many cases. Moses and Miles, re- 
turning from the east of the mountains with several other gentlemen, 
pused through the camp of Leschi, on-White river, believing them to 

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