I was appointed chairman of the committee on expenditures, and a member of the judiciary, &c. I directed my attention to the incorporation of a Historical Society; to the preparation of a system of township names derived from the aboriginal languages; and to some efforts for bettering the condition of the natives, by making it penal to sell or give them ardent spirits, and thus desired to render my position as a legislator useful, where there was but little chance of general action. As chairman of the committee on expenditures, I kept the public expenditures snug, and, in every respect, conformable to the laws of congress. The session was closed about the first of July—early enough to permit me to return to St. Mary’s, to attend to the summer visits of the interior traders and Indians.
10th While engaged in the council, a friend writing from New York, who is a close watcher of political movements, alludes to the sudden and lamented death of Governor Clinton, last winter, and its effects on the political parties of that State. Heavy, indeed, is the blow that removes from the field of action a man who had occupied so wide a space in the public esteem; and long will it be till another arises to concentrate and control public opinion as he did. To me, as a personal friend, and one who early counselled and directed me in my investigations in natural history, it is a loss I feel deeply. Politicians spring up daily, but men like him, who take a wider view of things, belong to their country.
Official journal of the Indian intercourse—Question of freedmen, or persons not bonded for—Indian chiefs, Chacopee, Neenaby, Mukwakwut, Tems Couvert, Shingabowossin, Guelle Plat, Grosse Guelle—Further notice of Wampum-hair—Red Devil—Biographical notice of Guelle Plat, or Flat Mouth—Brechet—Meeshug, a widow—Iauwind—Mongazid, chief of Fond du Lac—Chianokwut—White Bird—Annamikens, the hero of a bear fight, &c. &c.
1828. July 6th.—My return to the Agency at the Sault was in the midst of its summer business. Indians and Indian traders from remote interior positions, were encamped on every green spot. No trader had yet renewed his license from the government to return. It would be difficult to indicate a place more favorable than this was, to observe the manners and customs of the Indians, and the peculiar questions connected with the Indian trade. I amused myself a few days, by keeping minutes of the visits of the mixed Indian and metif multitude.
12th. Antoine Mauce, Alexis Blais, and Joseph Montre, freedmen, of Indian blood or connections, ordered from the Indian villages last fall, presented themselves for a decision on their respective cases.