General called upon Mr. McCaffry, U.S. District Attorney, and Atty. General of the Territory, to give some reasons why the children should not be given up.
McCaffry then said that in regard to these children--when he was requested by General to have them returned to where they belonged, he went to see each person, who had them, and represented that their relatives demanded them, and claimed their return; and the U.S. Government required of them that the children should be delivered up, and returned to those to whom they belonged. They (the people having them) professed great attachment for the children, and considered them as their own, but said they would deliver them up when required to do so--though it was exactly like giving up their own children, or tearing off a portion of their own hearts.
The Mexicans each asked who had a right to take them; and Mr. McCaffry had answered "their fathers or mothers." He had then arranged with the Mexicans to bring the children here to be identified, and claimed by their fathers and mothers. They professed a willingness to surrender them to their fathers and mothers, but to no one else. Mr. McCaffry had told them that no one else had a right to claim them. He had told them also that General Howard had told him previously, that he (General Howard) would not require the return of any of the captives, who had neither father nor mother, in case they were in good hands, and desired to remain, but that they must be at Grant at the conference, and some arrangements would be made for their future disposal. The General had also said that the Apaches now claimed to be at peace--and were entitled to the rights of those at peace--and one of these rights was the possession of their own children. Under this arrangement these people had brought the children here; expecting to give them up, if claimed by their fathers and mothers, unless they could make arrangements to keep them; but not expecting to give them up to any one else. Under the law General Howard has no right to give them up to any one but to their parents--they being already in good hands and desiring to remain--especially those that are apprenticed under the laws of the Territory.
Gen. Howard then asked Antonio (Chief of the Pimas) what he thought about it. Antonio said that it was well what the General had said; that now they were at peace, let everything therefore be forgotten. He said the children were in good hands, and when they grew up they could come back if they choose. He also had captives among the Apaches and a horse on this Reservation (he here showed on a piece of paper the brand of the horse); but he did not claim them--now that they were at peace. Let them remain and the same way with these children. He thought it would be well for Eskevanzin to think as he thought. Let all past differences go, and they would go out into the mountains together, and see the other Apaches, that they might all be at peace, as they here were at peace. Antonio said there was a party of Apaches at Four Peaks, that were constantly coming and doing damage. They would go together into the mountains (the Pimas and Apaches) after these Four Peak Indians. They should all live at peace; and Antonio wanted the Apaches to instruct their children to obey the orders of their officers, as the Pimas do. If Eskevanzin was not strong enough, he would go with him, with his men, to bring in the bad Indians, and he would get the Maricopas to help; though the latter were a small band, they respected him. He himself and his people were once poor, and had no horses or clothing, and nothing to till the ground with but a stick. If the Apaches would do as they had done--work and be at peace, they could have all things, and raise abundance. The Government had plenty of tools to till the soil (to give them). It was with them as with all nations, there were some bad people; still there were good people to punish the bad. They all had one commander, and they would put themselves under him and go after these bad Indians. Antonio wanted Eskevanzin to consult with his people about doing this, and they would all live at peace.
Eskevanzin said he wanted a carriage and two good horses to go after the bad Indians, and bring them in; he wanted a carriage and two good horses, so that he could ride into the mountains after them; and when they came down, he would give him a horse, even if it were a poor horse to ride (so the latter part of this sentence was interpreted, he probably meant that he would be satisfied with a horse--even a poor horse).
As soon as Antonio, (Chief of the Pimas) could get an opportunity after this speech of Eskevanzin, he said that yesterday he was contented and thought they were going to have a good peace, but to-day he did not feel contented and expressed doubts of the sincerity of Eskevanzin.
General Howard asked Eskevanzin if he wanted to say anything more about the children. He replied that when he talked with the General before, he had taken him to where one hundred and thirty of his people had been murdered. He had told the General it was the Papagos who had killed them and not the people of this post. After this had been done, there were men here who knew this (referred to Whitman and Hutton), he and others came down and lived in the same place. He had told the General that twenty-seven captives had been carried away, and he had asked to have them brought back. He had been told that a paper would be put into his hand, and a letter sent to Washington to see if these captives could be brought back. Gen. Howard told him that the letter had been sent.
Eskevanzin said he had sent some men--Pedro and others--with the General to see the spot where his people had been killed, that he might believe; and he had told him that twenty-nine had been taken away, but two of them came back the following day. And the General had told him that he would go down about San Xavier and Tucson, and see the people and bring the captives back, so that his people could then get them. General Howard said he had done so--he had brought the children back.
Eskevanzin said it had now been two days since they were brought and they had seen them. They had put stones here and in the cañons to see if it would not make them wider. He asked to have the children back, and he asked the favor of God to get them back. He had told General Howard that there were different bands--the Tontos, the Pinals and the Arivipais, and he was authorized to answer for them all. The Indians that were now hostile had no regular captains, and they lived like animals. It was now two days that he had been asking the favor of General Howard (the delivery of the children). What had been said here by the General and by themselves would fly all over Sonora and all over the country. The other Indians would come in and make peace. He said this in front of God. God ordered the General and himself; and it was by the order of God that they were now here holding this conversation. God had ordered that the captives should be brought here and given up. They belonged to his people and he wanted them.
General Howard repeated the question whether Eskevanzin had said that the General spoke bad after the sun went down. After the question was repeated several times Eskevanzin denied that he had said so. General told Eskevanzin that there were many around yesterday who said that he did not intend to make peace longer than to get the children back and then they would go to war. [What Eskevanzin said the day before in this connection did not justify the last part of this statement; what he said was, as interpreted, that the sole object of making the treaty was to get the children back.]
Eskevanzin wanted to see the man who said it. General Howard replied that José Maria Estes the interpreter said so. (The man who had been out for Dal-che came in at this point). Eskevanzin had Agent Jacobs and clerk sit down before him. He said that José Maria was here to make disturbance; he had told these gentlemen (Mr. Jacobs and the clerk), that José Maria was one of the worst men; that he would come here and listen, then go out and make a wrong translation and bad impression; that José didn't like to see a general peace, he liked to seem them out killing all the time. He had put the stone there to make a lasting peace. He had been asking his children last night how José Maria would make a living now. He had told these two men before him that there was a good strong peace made--a legal peace, was afraid José Maria would make disturbance.
General Howard said that Eskevanzin had given him a promise twenty-five days before that he would be here yesterday, when the sun was up there, (about 9 o'clock A.M.), and he had kept his promise. He had promised yesterday, to come back to day when the sun was there, (9 A.M.) and he had come. Now would he promise that he would be at peace with the Americans and Mexicans, with the Pimas and Papagos, and all others as long as he lived? as long--(General Howard looked around on the floor, when it was found that the stone was missing; fortunately however there were some stones on a table near by--employed as paper weights. One of these was procured, and the conference proceeded without serious interruption). Having placed the stone on the floor, the General completed his question; and Eskevanzin answered "Yes," and gave his hand on it.
General Howard said that some doubt had been thrown upon Eskevanzin's promises, but before God, he believed he would keep his word; "If he does not," said the General, "my life is at your service." He believed he would keep his word, because he had been truthful to him.
General Howard then read from a paper, his decision in reference to the children. [This decision had evidently been made up the night before--as he had certainly not written it in the conference, and has he said he had procured a governess for them when placed at the agency, etc.; so that the hearing of the arguments from the citizens, and from the Pima Chief, against giving up the children was merely a matter of form.] Gen. Howard prefaced his decision by saying that he thought Mr. McCaffry had mistaken what he meant to say in regards to the children who had no parents; what he meant to say was, that he thought arrangements could be made where the children had no parents, for the persons who now had them to keep them. He had said yesterday (in the evening) that Colyer had promised on behalf the U.S. Government, that these children should be returned; that was a matter of record. He himself had repeated the promise, and had said he would use every effort to carry it out. An appeal had been taken by U.S. officer, who doubtless knew the law better than he did. It had been said, the night before, that Colyer and himself might have exceeded their authority. Listening to his appeal from the promise he had made, he decided that the children should remain at the Agency on the Reservation, and that they be furnished with an American governess until the case could be brought before the President, and he decided upon it. The General said he had procured a good woman, a Catholic lady to take charge of them. He wanted their friends from Tucson to be permitted to visit them, but he asked that no attempt should made to take them away.
Mr. McCaffry said in reference to the doubt of Eskevanzin's sincerity, that the people believed he intended at the present moment to remain at peace. But what people questioned was whether he would do right if circumstances changed--if other people were here; while General Howard was here they believed he would do right--but when he was gone and other people came here, some of them might do wrong if Eskevanzin should not.
Eskevanzin said he had no doubt. As long as the stone lasts there would be peace, and the stone would last as long as the world.
[The day before, a young buck told Dr. Handy that he had been out to the last rains (last Summer), and down about San Xavier, stole some mules and a horse. He had eaten up the mules and had only the horse left, which he wanted to sell to the Doctor and buy ammunition, to go on another scout. Dr. Handy has been among the Indians considerably, and understands their language so that they would readily tell him things they would not others--in fact, the young buck mentioned, requested the Doctor to say nothing about it.]
The young man was sent for, but could not be found. Eskevanzin said that he had some lazy soldiers, who went around talking. This man, he said, had no horse. he could not prevent their talking.
General Howard asked Eskevanzin when the Tontos were coming to see him. Eskevanzin did not reply, but went out. The General then asked another chief when the Tontos were coming to talk. he answered that there were some down near the little mountain, who were coming to-night.
General Howard asked who they were; and was answered that it was a captain who had been in some time before, to talk with the commanding officer of the post. He was coming with his people.
Eskevanzin who had returned, wanted the General to believe nothing he heard outside, but to believe him. General Howard answered that he did believe him, and had said that he believed him. Eskevanzin did not want the General to believe what these boys say on the outside, but to believe him. He had a good mind, and a good memory. Eskevanzin said that yesterday, they all had a friendly hug, from the General down, and he was contented. How he wanted to talk again. When Gen. Howard went away and others came, they would write that Eskevanzin was a bad man. General Howard said they would not so write. He wanted Eskevanzin to show General Crook, and the Governor and commander of the post, that he was not a bad man. When Dr. Bendell went to Washington with the General, the Doctor would write back and let Eskevanzin know what was being done.
Eskevanzin said that if any other men were dressed in gold from head to foot--if he had gold boots and a gold coat, and a gold hat, he would not like him so well as Whitman. General Howard told him he might like him, (the General) as well, when he came to know him. The General then explained to Eskevanzin that Whitman had charges against him and had to be tried before a court--that he was going to Tucson for that purpose, etc.
Eskevanzin liked his commander, and thought he could bring the bad Indians to terms better than any one else.
General Howard said he wanted to talk with Eskevanzin much before he went away. He would have it all in writing, so that it could be read to him. He wanted to talk with Chiquito and others; and would want Eskevanzin to go with him to look at the place for a new reservation.
They then all joined hands in confirmation of the peace.
Eskevanzin said it was all right.
Sat-chi, a Chief, just then came in. He had come with thirty men to make peace; had never been in before. (He was one of those spoken of by the Pimas, as being at the Four Peaks.) He had been in at the Fort McDowell Reservation, last Winter. Gen. Howard asked what made him leave there. He answered because the commander told him to plant, and he would go out and bring in his family, and he didn't let him (Sat-chi) go out after his family. Sat-chi said he did not like it because they whipped him and beat him with a gun and he left. The conference then broke up.
[Arizona Weekly Citizen, June 8, 1872, p.1]
We are informed that on the third day, (May 23rd), Captain Chiquito came in, and agreed to what had been done. Some Tonto Apaches came in to make peace. They wanted a good strong peace; but a peace that would allow them to go back to their own country, and wherever they pleased. General Howard wanted them to come in on the Reservation. They finally agreed to meet him in eight days, at Camp Apache to talk further.