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Lot #17
Native American Wars

To Secretary of War John Calhoun on "the necessity of a change in our intercourse with the differant Indian tribes on our border"

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Estimate: $300+
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To Secretary of War John Calhoun on "the necessity of a change in our intercourse with the differant Indian tribes on our border"

Fascinating ALS signed “Duff Green,” four pages on two adjoining sheets, 7.5 x 12.5, March 12, 1821. Passionate and lengthy letter addressed by General Duff Green to the "Hon. Secretary of War Department," John C. Calhoun, in part (spelling and grammar retained): “A late outrage committed on the persons & property of some citizens who engaged in an enterprise for the Council Bluffs, goes strongly to prove the necessity of a change in our intercourse with the differant Indian tribes on our border. The circumstances of the outrage as well as the loss sustaned are herewith transmitted and a confident hope is entertained that the Government will endemnify the sufferers.

There are some points in this claim which I beg leave to notice. The offence proven to have been committed within our territory & now if M Ross intended to cross the line, & it were improper for him to do so, the intention to cross cannot justify the Indians within our territory, of course the claim for indemnity for whiskey is as good as for any other article. It is further proved that the whiskey was intended as a supply for the troops at the council Bluffs and altho I have it not in evidence yet I believe it will appear by the reports from that place that there was none or very little there on account of the Government, and altho the commanding General has been careful not to envolve the Government in avoidable expences, yet it has been his professed policy to encourge citizens to furnish supplies when the situation of the troops, or a deficency on the part of the contractor made it necessary.

If the Government make a military establishment in the Indian Teritory, and encourge the citizens to forward supplies by a road opened for the expressd purpose of facilitating communications with that post, are they not bound in good faith to protect all who relying on the pledge (implied if not expressed) risque their property in the Indian Territory much more then are they bound to protect all such in our own territory.

In answer to this are we told that the offending tribe have no annuity from which the amount can be deducted and that no provision is made for such claims. Does not this case go strongly to prove the necessity of making provision for such claims? Under present regulations if the Indians steal horses, all that is required of them is to deliver them up when demanded; thus if war parties from the different tribes are disappointed in their excursions, they are sure to put themselves in countenance by stealing from us, the difficulty of identifying the offenders makes it probable that the horses will never be demanded; and if they are the best are generally kept and others old and broken down given up in their stead, in the mean time the offending pass unpunished. If a white man steals a horse, he suffers the penalty of the law—If an Indian steals a horse he rides him untill worn down with hunger & fatigue, he may give him up & pass unpunished—in addition to this aggravating difference, the frontier setlers heretofore have been compelled to go to St Louis & expend as much or more money as the horses were worth in reclaiming them—Do you not suppose the Indians have sense enough to see their advantage? If they steal horses and are detected they have only to give them up; if they steal & are not detected they have the horses—If the tribe were made responsible not only for the stolen property, but for the thieves and the thieves thus given up were executed, the others would be detered from stealing—one example of this kind would have more effect than ten thousand talks.” In very good condition, with overall toning and light staining.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: March Auction
  • Dates: #523 - Ended March 07, 2018