We have frequently been obliged to occupy much space on the Indian question; as one of all pervading importance to this people, and also of no little moment to the nation. In its discussion, we have always taken that view which experience has taught us is the one best calculated to promote the true interests of the people and government and in the end the Indian also. For this honest course, Mr. Colyer has declared his purpose to injure us pecuniarily, that is to say--Free speech will not be tolerated with impunity by United States officials in Arizona. If Mr. Colyer is a king in fact, as he declares and boasts of possessing more power than absolute monarchs would at this day dare to exert over their subjects, then he may and is welcome to succeed; but, in the meantime and henceforward, THE CITIZEN will go on as we presume will all the papers which express like sentiments to our own. Possibly Mr. Colyer, whose information of the Indian character is obtained only under protection of the armed troops of the nation, has nearer correct views than those journals from which we quote, and most of whose editors have gathered their Indian history under more matter-of-fact circumstances than Mr. Colyer, but he will find it an up-hill business to change or stop their utterances. The Press of the United States is quite free and is daily growing in independence and consequently in power. Conscious of the correctness of our own views, it is pleasurable to find the representative Press of all the Great West substantially in harmony with us. Our quotations must be brief and scores of like opinions expressed at different times omitted, as well as those of dozens of other reputable journals:
The San Francisco Bulletin often has expressed sentiments like the following clipped from its columns as a specimen:
It is announced that, in view of the Apache troubles, Vincent Colyer has set out for Arizona, to make every effort, not to force the savages to keep the peace, but to induce Cachise, the famous Apache war chief, to visit Washington, see the sights, be feted and speechified at by well-meaning gentlemen, whose knowledge of Indian affairs and Indian character is hardly superior to that of the Apache's about astronomy. If Mr. Colyer, who takes with him an armed escort for his own protection, can satisfy the country that troops are any less needed to protect the people of Arizona against the Indians, or if, after a grand pow-wow at Washington, he will engage to trust himself among them without an armed escort, a favorable opinion may be entertained of his reported errand. But till such time, the work of impressing the Apaches with the power of the Government ought to be left to the army, with a full supply of ammunition, and orders to suppress outrages by or against them; and the public entertainment of the noble red men, should be dispensed with. When, throughout the country, ill disposed citizens threaten to murder peaceful persons, it is not customary to send an emissary to induce them to travel long distances to be convinced that there is power enough in the land to bring them to the gallows. That power is forth with exerted against them. Why should it be otherwise in the case of bloodthirsty savages?
The Alta California has often and often plead our cause in the most pointed and intelligent way, and very recently said:
The Indian question is becoming more and more complicated. The peace policy does not seem to work well; it rather stimulates the red devils to renewed acts of fiendishness, and leaves the whites at their mercy. The gentle savage rather likes the supplicant manner in which a great and powerful nation like ours begs for mercy at his hand, and where the whites merely venture to protect themselves when attacked, or fly to places of safety.
The people of this coast would like to know how much longer this noble red man farce is to be continued, and how many more white men must be killed before the Apaches are taught that murdering American citizens is wrong. If a band of white people had committed one-tenth the number of murders the Apaches have, they would have been hunted to the death long before this, if it had taken all the resources of the country to have accomplished it.
The Morning Call, San Francisco, speaking of the Mexican State of Sonora in reference to the Apaches closes an article thus
The [unclear]system was for a long time in favor with that State, to propitiate these Indians, but it only made them more insolent and exacting in their demands.
The Chronicle, News Letter, Herald and Market Review and other San Francisco journals have expressed like sentiments.
Now we come to the Sacramento Union, a paper pre-eminently sound on all questions of human rights. Last May 27th, The Union said among other things:
The history of North American Indian tribes affords no chapter as strange as that of the Arizona Apaches. Arizona itself covers an area of 110,000 square miles. Over this, with more than half of New Mexico, all of Chihuahua and the greater part of Sonora, the Apaches have lorded it with savage sovereignty for the thirty and odd years which have passed since the Americans first came sharply in conflict with them. All the tribes did not, in their best estate, number as many as the Ogalallah Sioux fifteen years ago. In those fifteen years the Apaches have probably killed more white people and Mexicans than they had members in all their tribes or bands. They have in those years murdered more whites and Mexicans than were slain in Kentucky and the whole Northwest Territory (out of actual pitched battle) by Indians in the first thirty years of this century. And they are worse and more dreaded today than at the beginning of the conflict.
There is surely something radically wrong in the past methods of treating this evil. We think the wrong lies in the treaty system. The treaty binds none but those who sign it. No chief has authority to bind any other person. Hence all treaties are ineffectual and in waging war against the Apaches, the law of self-defense compels their enemies to adopt the bloody code of extermination. Terrible as this may seem, we begin to believe it presents the only solution of the Apache question. Every prisoner taken and turned loose is soon found to be in arms again, as implacable and cruel as ever.
What Arizona needs at once is such a commander as General Crook. It is to be hoped that the next Congress may give this subject special attention and General Crook all the means he may wish to put a speedy end to the bloody scenes enacted by these human monsters.
In the same journal, of September 9, we find an elaborate article on the Arizona Apaches, and as will be seen, it pronounces strongly for he President's Peace Policy, but excepts from it "these human monsters," as it calls the Apaches. We extract as follows:
There is a clashing of authority between the Indian Bureau and the War Department upon the treatment of the Arizona Apache problem. Crook, having now got all his forces well in hand, and being on his way to prosecute a vigorous campaign, is confronted by a messenger from the Superintendent of New Mexico, asking permission to see, confer with, and, if possible, induce the most noted, cruel and powerful of the Apache chiefs in Arizona to go to Washington and patch up some sort of peace or truce, to be broken, as are all the Apaches' treaties, at the first convenient opportunity. Such an arrangement ought not to be thought of. It is simply lending aid and comfort to the enemy.
The peace policy of President Grant has and always had our hearty approval. It is humane, economical and just. It saves over $3,600,000 a year to the treasury, and has avoided wars with the Sioux, Cheyennes and other tribes during the past year and a half which would have cost many millions more. The Secretary of the Interior reports that while the old thieving agency policy cost during the last year of Johnson's administration $7,042,923, the new mode of treating the Indian problem cost for the year ending June 30, 1870, but $3,407,938, at the same time avoiding wars which under the old policy had been inevitable. This is eulogy enough for the Indian policy inaugurated by President Grant. Had he done nothing else, this reform ought to cause his administration to be long and favorably remembered. But this policy is not applicable to the Arizona Apaches. There appears to be no remedy left us against their constant robberies and murders but that of extermination or remorseless chastisement. Until this is done, they will render a territory of 100,000 square miles impractical to white settlement. General Crook has been chosen to push the work. He has made a good beginning, and he should not be disturbed or interfered with till he has had a fair trial and fought at least one fall campaign. The question now is, not whether the Apaches shall be driven out of Arizona. When they are once chastised into a spirit of obedience to the stipulations of treaties will be time enough to talk of applying to them the same humane policy under which the tribes of the plains and Rocky mountains have been brought to peace and progress in civilization.
The Sacramento Record, extremely humane in its treatment of all questions affecting humanity, has often spoken substantially as follows, which we take from a late number of that paper:
The safety of General Crook and his detachment is assured by late dispatches from Arizona, but his expedition appears to have been a complete failure, and for the singular reason that the Indian Bureau pursues a policy counter to the objects of the Military Department and in opposition to the interests of the Territory. It is a notorious fact that the Apaches have heretofore frequently sent their women and old men on to reservations, and have drawn Government rations for their whole part, while the warriors of the band were at the same time engaged in plundering and murdering all the settlers and soldiers they could surprise. Thus the Government has been nursing and protecting the bloody savages that have massacred its citizens, and thus the work of one Department has been neutralized by another. It is clear that this cannot go on. It is clear that while the Apaches are afforded convenient asylums on the Reservations whenever pursued by the troops, the protection of the settler and the chastisement of the redhanded savage cannot be accomplished.
The Sacramento Reporter is equally emphatic to the same effect, and the California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Montana, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Dakota, and the Western press almost without exception, are unmistakably and frequently appealing and arguing the subject in like manner. Is it not with marvelous unanimity this matter is discussed where practically observed? Is it possible that all the press and people most nearly affected by the issue are wrong? And is it possible that each year of experience intensifies their error?
We now turn to remarks of some of the truly humane Eastern press.
The New York Evening Post, a journal that has for scores of years been noted for its just and advanced views on all questions affecting persons, says:
It is right to deal gently with the Indians, wherever there is reasonable ground for the hope that gentle treatment will induce them to conduct themselves peaceably. In many cases, no doubt, the whites are as much to blame as the Indians, for an Indian war; and in some cases the fault has been entirely with the whites. But the Apaches are an exceptional tribe. They are savages, and only that. They have for years murdered and outraged the settlers of Western Texas and Arizona; and the tales of their brutality and treachery, which are told on the most respectable authority and many of which we have heard from humane and Christian men, show that with this tribe mild measures promise no useful results, and that what is needed is such vigorous and severe punishment as will cowe them into good behavior.
It is quite possible that the Apaches were originally wronged by their white neighbors, and that their ferocity now is due to causes which acted upon the character of the tribe many years ago. But what is needed now is that they shall be peaceable and not revengeful--they are only robbers and murderers; and as society, when it imprisons a pick-pocket or hangs a murderer, does not stop to inquire what made him a criminal, so the safety of the people of Arizona, not only of the whites, but of the peaceful and industrious Indians, demands that the Apaches shall be kept in order, and shall be made to keep the peace, without reference to the evil influences which may, years ago, have helped to turn them into the brutes they are.
The appointment of General Crook to command in Arizona has been hailed with delight by the people of that Territory, because he is an energetic and brave officer, prompt and vigorous in all his measures, and while of gentle manners and humane disposition, not a man who will tolerate murder and robbery in the district he commands.
The Herald, Journal of Commerce, World, and other New York papers have held similar views at one time or another, and even a late number of The Tribune in referring to Mr. Colyer's visit made this pointed remark:
But it stands to reason that Mr. Colyer and his peace agents have no business looking after Apaches while Crook and his fighters are hunting them also. Either give up the Indians to General Crook, or give up Colyer to the Indians.
The Chicago Post, noted for its humane teachings, lately gave a long article to the Apaches, General Crook and Colyer. We extract as follows, merely introducing the same by saying that it refers first to how Cachise respects a treaty:
He would have kept a temperance pledge equally well. The quota of military in the Southwest became reduced. The quota of Quaker Indian Agents became augmented. The Apaches found their reservations were mere "imaginary lines," as the children read in the geographies, and Cachise murdered and stole at his own sweet will. The two Territories were reduced to a condition of helpless terror. The stage coach--the only means of communication between the two Capitals--was attacked by parties in ambush, day after day, the outriders shot, the mail bags cut and their contents strewn over the plains: the passengers robbed, scalped, and, if women, murdered a thousand times before death came; all this went on, and instead of Stoneman whipping the savages back to their reservation, and the Quakers then maintaining the peace that could not otherwise be made possible--instead of Stoneman's colliding with Cachise, we find him in a war of words with the Indian Agents. He was transferred and Crook assigned to his Department.
The Apache's ravages continued. The whole West cried to Washington for help, and the President sent troops, and the Indian Bureau sent Vincent Colyer.
Colyer and Crook have met. Crook is vanquished. Meanwhile Cachise remains master of the situation, and the people of Arizona and New Mexico are witnesses of a spectacle that reflects little credit on whoever is responsible for the folly of its creation. Crook organized an expedition to scour the mountains and drive the hostile Indians back to the reservation. Before his party had left Tucson, news came there that Vincent Colyer had sent forth paid Mexican scouts to gather in the families and cripples of Cachise's band, and thus leave the able warriors free to elude their armed pursuers. Colyer's invitation was gladly accepted by the fugitives, and while Crook sent in his audited bills of thousands of dollars expended in getting his men ready for the conflict, Vincent Colyer sent on his bills for preventing Crook's expedition from accomplishing anything.
There is something wrong in this self-contradictory system. The Indian agents in the West have been in command long enough to prove that they cannot wholly prevent murderous outbreaks; and when a state of war has been produced, despite their efforts to the contrary, they have no business to interfere with the efforts to reduce the rebels to subjection. As the matter stands now, Cachise, chief of the Apaches, has superseded both Crook and Colyer in the Department of the Southwest.
The Grand Army Journal of September 9, published in Washington, has this say on the subject:
General Crook's campaign against the Apaches, it is now announced, has been rendered a failure by the interferences of the Peace Commissioners. These well-meaning but inpracticable gentlemen have succeeded in playing into the hands of the savages in a manner that must be highly satisfactory to the warlike red man. The campaign of the bloody Apaches against the defenseless white settlements is prosecuted with sanguinary success. The frontier people and journals assert that while the Government is feeding the non-conbatants on their reservations, the fighting Indians are on the war-path. Nothing could be more acceptable to the Indians than this convenient arrangement, and the action of the Government in affording him such unusual facilities for going to war ought to inspire in the savage breast feelings of the liveliest gratitude. "Ugh!"
For the present, we turn from the emphatic expressions of well informed journalists to those of men whose knowledge is the result (of practical) life and official business among the Arizona Indians.
It my be well to here introduce the testimony of the world renowned Alexander Von Humboldt, who made his researches on the subject in 1803. The following is from his "Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain." In speaking of the savages of Arizona, then in Sonora, Baron Humboldt says:
The villages de la Pimeria Alta are separated from the banks of the Rio Gila by a region inhabited by independent Indians, of which neither the soldiers stationed in the presidios, nor the monks posted in the neighbouring missions, have been hitherto able to make the conquest.
There is not an intelligent man in the world that will deny the self-sacrificing devotion of the Catholic clergy to conquer the Indians by pious teachings and humane treatment. Here we have unquestionable testimony that neither the soldiers in the presidios nor the monks in the neighboring missions were able to make the conquest, and to this day the Catholics are laboring for the same end, and yet in Mexico and here they positively declare that the work of civilization must be preceded by thorough subjugation by force. The good Bishop of Arizona emphatically holds this opinion now, and for further information any one may address him at Tucson.
We now call to the stand John Feudge, Esq., who was at the time of his report Special Indian Agent of the Colorado River Indians. Hon. George W. Leihy was in 1868 Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Arizona. He entered upon his duties fully believing that the Indians would not commit outrages unless provoked by the whites or settlers, and while he lived he practised what he preached, but the Indians did not let their friend live long. October 15, 1866, he left La Paz accompanied by his clerk only. We will let Indian Agent Feudge tell the fate of Mr. Leihy, which he did under date of December 15, 1866, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Here it is and needs no comment:
Mr. Leihy and his clerk, Mr. H.C. Everts, started from Prescott to come to La Paz about 8 o'clock A.M. on Sunday, the 18th ultimo. They had with them in the wagon a friendly Maricopa for interpreter, and an Apache Mohave Indian. The latter was taken prisoner last July in the fight at Skull valley, and had been kept in confinement since that time at Prescott. The Superintendent was bringing him to this place to turn him over to his tribe, which belongs to my agency, to be punished by his chief. When about 12 miles from Prescott, near a place called Bell's ranch, the Superintendent and party (clerk and two Indians) were attacked and most fiendishly massacred by hostile Indians. It is believed that Mr. Leihy fell into the hands of the savages while yet alive, as his arms and legs were broken in several places, his heart torn out, and his head mashed with rocks into a jelly. Mr. Everts' head was cut off and carried away by the savages.
The wagon was burned and all the animals were killed. This is another sad chapter to the many barbarities which are constantly being committed in this territory, and not withstanding that there are persons to be found ready to assert that there are but few hostile Indians in the Territory, there is not a week passes without the commission of some horrible atrocity by Indians.
Let the public note specially the foregoing. Mr. Leihy was consistent if imprudent. He sacrificed his life in practicing his belief. How different the case of Vincent Colyer! The latter is too prudent--to say the least--to enforce his precepts by examples. He has the wisdom of the frontiersman on the danger of travel here, and is more fortunate in having the military power of the nation to protect him--and he has not failed to avail himself of his superior privilege.
Hon. Geo. W. Dent succeeded Mr. Leihy as Superintendent in Arizona. He possessed experimental knowledge of Indian affairs in his charge and under date of July 15, 1867, he made a report to the Indian Commissioner, from which we extract as follows:
It is but within a few months that additional troops have been placed in the field, and as the enemy are numerous, active, wary, without fixed residences, inured, and familiar to the country, and travel in squads, and their whereabouts are not known till they strike, a campaign to be fully successful should be made with many troops, perhaps in numbers exceeding the enemy, and attacking in every converging point. In an immense territory like this a few troops, though successful in individual encounters, effect little toward the full quelling of the hostiles, and in my belief, unless a campaign is conducted as General McDowell officially expressed in a plan, "action offensive, persistent, combined and simultaneous," the Apache war will be interminable.
For like opinions by General Halleck, Sheridan, Ord, Crook, Carlton and others of experience and high standing in the army, we refer the reader to the published Executive Documents of the United States.
We will fill our space by saying that September 14th or 15th, Vincent Colyer declared in presence of competent witnesses that President Grant told him (Colyer) in substance, in a conversation, that the soldiers had been fighting the Indians long enough, and it was time their bayonets were turned the other way--meaning upon the citizens. Colyer also said in substance that the power vested in him authorized him to turn the guns of the United States against the citizens at will, without any accountability to anyone.
We ask attention to these facts: Arizona was organized with a civil government in 1863; that government has been notably well conducted--the Territory being out of debt; our citizens have readily paid their local and national revenues; the southern border has been constantly infested with foreign outlaws; the Territory has always been overrun with merciless Apaches, and hundreds of our people of all ages and sexes slain by them; yet during all this period this suffering people (and then very few) but one single time resorted to self-defense outside the Courts or in any exceptionable manner. Vincent Colyer caused the guns of the nation to be turned upon this people--and Arizona wants to know, with these facts given, if Colyer's actions meet the approval of the country?
[The Arizona Citizen, October 7, 1871, p.1]