10th. My position at St. Mary’s, and the prominent part I occupied in the collision of authority between the military and the citizens, on some points, and between the former and the Indian department, was anything but agreeable, and would have been intolerable to any one, having less resources than I had, in an absorbing study, which every day and every evening turned up some new and fresh point of interest. I had therefore sources of enjoyment which were a constant support, and this was particularly the case, after the scenes which were opened up in the winter of 1824 by my intercourse with the Rev. Mr. Laird. But I resolved early in the summer to spend the winter in New York, and to visit Washington, to place some of the official transactions to which I have referred, in their proper lights. This day I therefore left the city, to visit the Capitol. During the expected absence; Mrs. Schoolcraft, with her child, little sister, and nurse, had accepted an invitation to spend the time with Mr. and Mrs. Samuel S. Conant, who had a pleasant residence on the Bloomingdale road, some two or three miles from the Park. My visit was altogether agreeable. So far as the subjects at issue on the frontier were not of local jurisdiction, in which I was fully and promptly sustained by the Executive, I was met by Mr. Calhoun in his usual frank, explicit, and friendly manner. I was authorized to erect buildings for the agency, and to define the Indian reservation under the treaty, and counseled to go forward in a firm, cautious, and conciliatory policy in establishing the intercourses with the bands of the agency, and to take every proper measure to see that the intercourse laws were faithfully executed, and a good understanding cultivated with the tribes. And I returned to New York early in February, with “flying colors,” as a friend wrote.
During my absence, some letters, disclosing matters of literary interest, were received. General C. writes (January 20th):—
“In investigating the subject before me, agreeably to the views I have communicated to you, it appears to me that Purchas’s Pilgrimage, and Hackluyt’s collection are indispensable to my progress. They contain translations or abstracts of all the earlier voyages and travels to this country.” “In considering the various points which are involved in the subject I have undertaken, a thousand doubtful facts present themselves, which require time, labor, and opportunities to solve. For instance, I strongly suspect that the Eries, who are said to have been destroyed by the Iroquois, were the Shawnese, who were driven from their ancient seat upon Lake Erie to the south-west.” “Volney mentions two works upon the Indians. One is Umphraville, and the other Oldmixon.”