and at the same time support themselves, a sis their custom. I explained all these difficulties very fully in the conference which was had between the Secretaries of War and the Interior, General Grant and myself.
It is idle to talk of making treaties of peace with the Indians when not even an unmolested home in the great region which they claim can be promised then with any sort of certainty that such a promise can be fulfilled. The very soldiers placed to protec the limited district which the Government could alone protect against the incursion of white men would render it impossible for the Indian to maintain himself in the only manner known to him. It is useless to think of the Government undertaking to subsist large bodies of Indians in remote and inaccessible districts. Whatever may be the abstract wrong or right of the question, all history shows that the result in this country must inevitably be the dispossession of the Indian of all his lands and their occupation by civilized men. The only practical question to be considered is, how this inevitable process can be accomplished with the least inhumanity and the greatest oral and physical benefit to the Indian. We are surely not now pursuing such a course, nor are the means used becoming to a humane and Christian people. My duties as a military commander require me to protect the emigration, the mails, and the settlements against hostile acts of the Indians. I have no power under the laws of the United States to do this except by force. This necessity demands a large military force on the plains, which will have to be increased as the Indians re more and more driven to desperation, and less and less able to protect the game, which is their only means of life. The end is sure and dreadful to contemplate. Meantime, there is, so far as my power goes, nothing to be done except what is being done, and if this condition of affairs demands considerable military force and heavy expenditures they must either be accepted by r the troops must be withdrawn and the plains again given up to the Indians. It would probably not be difficult to make such a peace now with the Indians as has been the custom in times past, but useless to do so unless we can at the same time remove the causes of certain and speedy renewal of war, when by withdrawing our forces we will be far less prepared for it than now. These treaties perhaps answered the purpose (though I think they were always unwise and wrong) so long as the Indians continued to occupy the greater portion of their country and the war only involved small encroachments by whites on its borders. Hitherto the process of dispossessing the Indian of his lands, although equally certain, was far slower and far less alarming. To-day we are at one grasp seizing the whole region of country occupied by the Indians and plunging them without warning into suffering and starvation. Treaties such as we have made with them in times past will no longer answer the purpose. I have presented my views on this subject and suggested what seems to me the proper course to be pursued so fully and so often to the War Department, and have so frequently urged the matter upon the attention of the Government, that it seems unnecessary and hardly consistent with official propriety that I should reiterate them in this manner. I only do so now because the telegram from the General-in-Chief, which You inclose to me, seems to indicate dissatisfaction that so many troops are employed in the Indian country. Either a large force must for a time be kept there, e or we must furnish insufficient protection to our citizens in that region.
It is hoped that during the present season the expeditions now marching against the Indians will be able to inflict such damage upon them that they will prefer to undergo much wrong and suffering rather than again break out in hostilities. This is accurate process, but the only one