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Schurz, Carl (1829-1906) to A. C. Barstow

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06009 Author/Creator: Schurz, Carl (1829-1906) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 3 November 1879 Pagination: 4 p. ; 19.6 x 12.3 cm.

Summary of Content: Secretary of the Interior Schurz writes to the Chairman of the Board of Indian Commissioners about the Meeker Massacre at the White River Ute Reservation in Colorado. Mentions that Special Agent General Charles Adams secured the return of women and children held as captives. Discusses reaching a settlement with Utes, arguing against an all-out war because other bands of Utes friendly to the United States might become involved. Written on stationery of the Department of the Interior.

Full Transcript: Department of the Interior
November 3, 1879 My dear sir,
Your letter of Oct. 29th was handed to me by Mr. Hayes. I am glad to receive the assurance that the ...policy followed with regard to the Ute Troubles has your hearty approval, and I thank you sincerely for your congratulatory remarks on the success so far achieved, although there is more to be done.
It is now, I think, generally admitted that had the war continued without the interventions of special agent Adams, the captive women and children, recently rescued, would have been sacrificial. To save them was our first [2] duty. The latest dispatches received from Genl. Adams, who had so far performed his mission with remarkable spirit and judgment, greatly encouraged the hope that he whole trouble will be peaceably composed in accordance with the instructions given him. I may add that there is now also a good prospect of making such arrangements with regard to the settlement of the Utes as will be just to them and at the same time alleviate all future conflicts between them and the people of Colorado.
This is the final object we have steadily in view.
There are still many who clamor for war without considering that, although such a conflict would undoubtedly at last result [3] in the destruction of the Ute , it would also be likely to drive into hostilities by an indiscriminate attack Indians who have so far been friendly to the whites and are entitled to our friendship; that therefore the war would not be confined to the white river band but assume larger proportions; that a winter campaign in the mountains of Colorado, where the Indians have the advantage of greater familiarity with the country and of superior facility of movement, - in other words on a fighting ground most favorable to them would be most expensive, difficult and harassing to our troops, and would without doubt lead to the devastation of the [inserted: exposed] border settlements and mining camps and bring destruction and distress upon a great many innocent people.
[4] If we succeed in accomplishing all that justice and grand policy require, without inflicting upon whites as well as Indians the calamities which would inevitably follow a difficult line of action, every sensible man will have reason to be satisfied.
The hope you express that we adhere firmly to our present purposes as long as there is any chance for their realization, will certainly not be disappointed, and I trust that the good sense and love of justice of the American people will finally sustain us our endeavors.
Very truly yours
C. Schurz
Hon. A.L Barstow,
Chairman Board of Indian Commissioners
Providence, R.I.

Notes: Written on Department of The Interior Washington stationery.
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People: Schurz, Carl, 1829-1906
Barstow, Amos Chafee, 1813-1894
Adams, Charles, 1845-1895

Historical Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900

Subjects: American Indian HistoryMilitary HistoryMassacreWomen's HistoryChildren and FamilyAtrocityAmerican West

Sub Era:

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