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

[Northern superintendency],   pp. 34-65 PDF (12.8 MB)

Page 61

SIOUX OF THE MISSISSIPPI.                     61 
No. 17. 
QOce Indian Affairs, November 20, 1856. 
SIR: An examination of the annual report of P. Prescott, superin- 
tendent of farming for the Sioux Indians in Minnesota Territory, dated 
September 3, 1856, and addressed to Major Murphy, late agent, has 
led me to believe that one of the greatest obstacles in the way of do- 
mesticating those Indians has been the employment of Mr. Prescott 
in the very important position he has occupied with the tribe, His 
report bears unmistakable evidence that he has entertained and har- 
bored very erroneous views; and that imparting them to the Indians, 
as he doubtless has done, it is not surprising that they have been con- 
stantly dissatisfied, and hence have been difficult to be controlled or 
Without admitting the correctness of or reviewing the account cur- 
rent which Mr. Prescott parades in his report, as superintendent of 
farming, and in which he treats of matters altogether foreign to his 
duties, and in relation to which he cannot be presumed to be accu- 
rately informed, and without adverting to his volunteer defence of the 
removed agent, it may be observed that in view of the fact that agent 
Murphy had, according to his own showing in his annual report, dated 
September 24, 1856, paid out to and expended for these Indians the 
large sum of $5,62,000 in three and a half years, and the very meagre 
account of lands ploughed and fenced and other improvements which 
the superintendent of farming exhibits, it is a matter of congratulation
that a considerable amount of funds for objects of education, improve- 
ment, and other useful ends has been retained in the treasury, and 
may now, it is hoped, be expended under more favorable auspices. 
Mr. Prescott speaks of this report being his last one; to this there 
can certainly be no objection. And it is to be regretted that the tem- 
per and spirit manifested by him in it had not been disclosed at an 
earlier day, and his official connexion with the Sioux Indians been 
thus severed long since. 
In the selection of a successor to this superintende'nt of farming, 
you will admonish agent Flandrau to exercise great care and caution, 
to the end that the services of a man suitable in every respect for a 
post of such great responsibility may be obtained. 
I do not deem it necessary to go into any defence of my action in 
the premises. The fact that so little can be shown for the large sums 
of money disbursed, I may and do regret; but that there are still in 
the treasury large sums for educational and agricultural uses among 
the Sioux, which, had they gone forward, it is to be feared, would 
have not been more judiciously applied than the moneys remitted, 
is a source of congratulation. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Superintendent Indian Abffairs, Milwaukie, W/isconsin. 

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