their wandering habits and subjected under the most favorable circumstances to all the influences of education and Christianity, I have no doubt that such treaties would be eminently wise and humane; but between such a condition and the native state of the Indian there is no intermediate arrangement which is not attended with wrong to the Indian, unnecessary expense to the Government, and constant danger to the frontier settlements. In his wild condition the Indian possesses at least many noble qualities, and has only the vices which are inseparable from the savage state. He is free, and, so far as he can be, happy, contented, and easily managed. If the Government make any change in his condition it should be for the better. It is easier far to preserve the peace and protect emigration where only wild Indians are in question than where these annuity Indians are concerned. Either a radical change in our Indian policy should be made, or, in justice to the Government as well as to the Indian and to the cause of humanity, he should be left in his native state, only subject to the condition that he shall not molest the emigrants who pursue their journey though his vast domain.
If we cannot adopt the former of these alternatives, the latter has at least been made more easy by the fact that we have already reached the western limit of the great fertile region between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. The great region now roamed over by the Indians offers no inducements to settlement and cultivation, and the lands are not coveted by the whites, except in the circumscribed regions within the mountains where gold has been discovered. Special arrangements can, if necessary, be made with the Indians who claim those immediate districts, but there is no longer the necessity of interfering with the wild Indians of the great plains further than to secure immunity of travel for white emigrants. This safety of travel can readily be secured by thee kind action of the military authorities.
I believe that the further application by Indian agents of our present system of treaty making would only jeopardize this result, and for this reason, as well as in consideration of the facts heretofore stated, I urge upon the Department that no treaties be made nor renewed with Indians in this department. The system of Indian policy I have herein sketched and recommended I hope earnestly will be adopted, as well for the good of the Indian as for the good of the country. Until that is dome or some such change in our Indian system be made, I trust that on grounds of humanity, as well as of interest, the Government will decide to leave the Indian in his native wildness.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. DIST. OF MINN., DEPT. OF THE NORTHWEST,
Saint Paul, Minn., February 6, 1864.
Major General JOHN POPE,
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of dispatch from department headquarters of 2nd instant, directing me to "relieve those men of the Ninth Minnesota Volunteers transferred by you (me) to the Third Minnesota Battery, and forward them to