Camp on Clear Lake 120 Miles N.E. of Yreka 30th. Aug 1856.
To Col. Thos. J. Henley Supt. Indn. Affs. Cala. -
I have the honor to say that, I got from Judge S. M. Rosborough, a short time since, a letter, directed from you to him, asking for information relating to the Indian tribes in this section of the United States. This letter he has done me the honor of handing to me, requesting that I should give the required information, - which I take pleasure in doing, to the best of my knowledge and abilities.
I suppose that in the area of country beginning at the Pacific Coast, on the Northern Coast of California, and running thence about due East, 300 miles to the summit of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to a point about where the emigrant trail from Yreka, to the sinks of the Humboldt, crosses said mountains - and thence, due West, to the Coast - and thence to the place of beginning, - there are some 5000 or 6000 Indians, at least, - amongst whom there are, perhaps, 8 or 10 different tribes - all of whom live on fish, flesh, and fowl, roots, and seeds of different grasses, together with a variety of nuts and berries. Their habits are predatory; and as far as petty
thieving goes, they are in the habit of preying upon each other, and upon the white settlers - who usually have stock, such as cattle and horses, which the Indians find so tempting to steal, that they avail themselves of it, which brings on collisions - keeping the settlements in trouble, retarding their progress, - and induces expeditions against the Indians - exceedingly expensive, either to the State or General Government. The only regular force, in this whole area of Country, (now fast settling,) is at Fort Jones, - some 20 miles from Yreka; and it is totally inadequate to hold in check and overawe so many small tribes, in so large an extent of country, - especially, where so many miners and settlers from all parts of the world are in juxtaposition with the Indians: & hence difficulties or aggressions, on one side or the other, are constantly occuring. I am now at this point, - engaged in an expedition against the Indians, - on the staff of Maj. Gen. Casley. I am satisfied that peace, under the liberal auspices of the general government, is a better policy than that of war; and, without this interference, war must continue to be the result, till the Indians are completely conquered.
An experience of more than 20 years, amongst the different tribes of Indians, on the South Western frontiers of the United States and of California, warrants me in respectfully suggesting it as good policy in the General Government, to place Special Agents in this Country, - who
have good sense in such matters - with ample means and full power to act, for the common weal, and promote peaceful relations. The whole, or most of them, (Inds) can be gathered on Reserves, and taught the civil arts, at infinitely less expense than to war with them. An Agent, with these powers for acting, and a force of 75 or 100 men to aid him - ready to enforce obedience, with the refactory - could even establish these Indians on Reserves, present them with gew-gaws, promote industrial pursuits, & inculcate into their minds the fact that the Whites were really their friends. Establish this belief into their minds, and the greatest difficulty is surmounted. There is, always, on the frontiers, renegade, reckless, and irresponsible white men, who do more to promote quarrels with the Indians than all other causes combined; and, unfortunately, the Inds. (enraged, as they are,) _ are too apt to form their estimate of our race from these persons, who commit upon them these injuries and outrages.
Let an Indian know that he is the recipient of benefits, - that he is safe in his person, and that of his squaw and papooses - that they have comfortable means of subsistence, - and he is easily managed. As a savage foe, he is quite a different being. If the people of the United States would give one tenth part of their attention to their Indian Affairs, that is given to the question of African Slavery, it would be infinitely better for the Indians, on the same of humanity, and to the Whites, on the same of
expense; for I have [& care?] yet seen an instance, where peace, (under proper management,) could not have been better maintained with them than a state of war.
The Pacific Coast Indians, the Lower Klamath, Salmon River, Upper Klamath or Lake Indians, the Scotts Valley, Shasta, Modock, (or Tula Lake,) Pitt River, McCloud River, and Goose Lake, Indians, compose the tribes in this section of country: and I respectfully urge that the General Government cannot too soon act, in some such manner as it deems best, in relation to these tribes,- both for their own welfare, and that of the White settlers, who are prevented from settling some fine portions of the country, on account of the position of Indn. Affairs as they now exist here. - - Since the settlement of this section of the country, by the Whites, (which began about the year 1851,) the Indians, (then much more numerous than now,) have considerably decreased in numbers, - as far as relates to those immediately in juxtaposition with the Whites. War with each other and with the Whites, whiskey, and a variety of diseases, unknown to them, till the advent of the Whites, has been the cause of this; and it is a fact, well established, that the Indians when brought in contact with the Whites, are prone to contract their vices, instead of their virtues.
The uprooting of the soil for farms, the grazing of stock, and the working of the streams for gold, has a tendency to stop the supply of game, roots and fish - which