WILES OF THE APACHE.
How General Crook Whipped and Protected Them in Turns.
General George Crook, the Indian fighter, recently told a reporter some of his experiences among the red men, and although it has often been his province to subdue the hostiles, he has not devoted his whole attention to that part of his duty, but has studied the Indian question, as it is called, in all its phases, and if practical experience counts anything no man is more familiar with the wild Indians than he.
Thirty-five years ago be was graduated at West Point, and, excepting the five years of the late war, he has been constantly among the very wildest tribes. His last campaign was against Geronimo and his band, and the surrender of that chief is still fresh in the public mind.
General Crook said that he had experience with all the Indian tribes on the Pacific slope from the British to the Mexican boundary lines, including the Apaches, Sioux and Cheyennes. The Apaches, he said, now hold land practically in severalty. It was land that he had himself assigned them, but whether or not it would be granted to them was a matter for the Government to settle. It was by all means his opinion that the Apaches should remain where they are.
He had always whipped the Indians when they were bad and protected them when they were good, and they understood his position perfectly. He had negotiated many treaties with the Indians, and many of them bad been broken. In the old time before the War of the Rebellion the Indians went on the war path out of "pure cussedness," or because they regarded the white men as usurpers, but that was all done away with now. The Indians saw that their only hope was to adopt the white men's mode of life. They understood the situation as well as we did, and took more interest in it because their very existence was involved.
Indian wars nowadays were the result of an accumulation of wrongs. When the last straw came to break the camel's back the Indians went to war and the people of the country, not knowing of any of the previous wrongs, got the erroneous impression that war was declared on account of some trivial matter.
In regard to having the Indians in charge of two separate departments of the Government, General Crook said it was like two captains on board ship, and was sure to cause trouble.
He regarded the Indians as superior to the negroes in intellect, and up to a certain point the Indian boys learn faster than their white brothers, but when it comes to teaching them anything about civilization or abstract truth they are all at sea. And that, of course, was easily explained, for they did not have the generations of educated people behind them. It was all new to them.
General Crook considered the Apaches the worst and the smartest of all Indians, and said that it was true of all Indians that they were frenzied when at war and could not reason. When friendly they would not steal. There was no truth in the story which so many people believe that the Government issues arms to the Indians. They get the arms from traders and in a secret manner, and never peach on a man who sold arms to them.
Without aid from friendly Apache scouts, said the General, the hostiles could never be captured. The Apaches lived in a country half the size of Europe, and as rough as any in the world. Over their rough country the Indians could travel on foot at the rate of sixty miles a day, and pick up as they went along enough food to subsist upon. An army to follow them must take along provisions. The Indians always watched their back trail, and their rear pickets were at least six miles behind the main body. These pickets saw the pursuers and watched their every move, but were themselves unseen. If the pursuing force got up to within a mile of their camp, which was always selected in the worst part of the country, among the rocks, when morning came the Indians might be fifty miles away in any direction, and traveling over the rocks they would leave no more trail than a bird. How could they be followed or captured? It would take a million men to surround the country and anticipate the movements of the Indians.
When General Crook left the San Carlos reservation, a few months ago, there were 2,000 Apaches there who were self-supporting, and he supposed the number was largely increased now. The Indians at that time furnished a large part of the supplies for General Crook's force. The white traders disliked him because he bought from the Indians. He had known the Indians to carry hay a distance of fifteen miles to the army. They got two cents a pound for it, and one Indian said it was like "finding money in the sand." But take away the army and there was no market for the hay and grain, and one of the great troubles on all the reservations was the lack of a market. He tried to get them to raise cattle and sheep, and told them there would always be a market for their wool and beef, and many of them had adopted his suggestions and were doing well. One source of trouble was that the Indians made a drink out of their corn and barley called "tizwin." This was not so intoxicating as whisky and the Indians had to fast a couple of days in order to get drunk on it.
The Onondaga tribe of Indians has reorganized politically, discarding the form of government by chiefs and instituting a republic, with Daniel La Fort, president. The new government has legislative, executive and judicial departments. All the members of the Onondaga nation now have a voice in the government. Fourteen of the officers are Christian.
Story of Martin Van Buren.
Among the many stories told by Thurlow Weed about Martin Van Buren was one narrating an incident which occurred on the deck of a Hudson river steamboat, on the way from Albany to New York. The merits of Mr. Van Buren were being discussed when the boat touched at Kinderhook, and "The Little Magician," as he was called, came on hoard. One of the party had been dwelling on his non-committalism, and complaining that "a plain answer to a plain question was never yet elicited from him."
"I'll wager the champagne for the company," added he, "that one of us shall go down to the cabin and ask Mr. Van Buren the simplest question that can be thought of, and he will evade a direct answer. Yes, and I'll give him leave, too, to tell Mr. Van Buren why he asks the question, and that there is a bet depending on his reply."
This seemed fair enough. One of the party was deputed to go down and try the experiment. He found Mr. Van Buren, whom he knew well, in the saloon, and said to him:
"Mr. Van Buren, some gentlemen on the upper deck have been accusing you of non-committalism, and have just laid a wager that you would not give a plain answer to the simplest question, and they deputed me to test the fact. Now, sir, allow me to ask you: Where does the sun rise?"
Mr. Van Buren's brow contracted; he hesitated a moment, and then said:
"The terms east and west are conventional; but I--"
"That'll do," interrupted the interrogator, "we've lost the bet!"—Ben: Perley Poore in Boston Budget.
Not to be Outdone.
"I have a friend," said a Syracusan, "who paints grapes so naturally that the birds leave the real article to peck at the pictures."
"Oh, that's nothing," replied a Utican, "I have a cousin who reproduces dogs so well that he has to nuzzle them to prevent their barking.''—Rochester Union.
George Crook: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Crook
Martin Van Buren: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Van_Buren