The Grand River Indians declined to come to Mackinack, the place specially named in the treaty, to receive their half annuity, in consequence of which, it was not practicable to send it to them till the next spring. I paid it myself on the 5th of June, 1848, in silver. Yet the rumor of gross injustice to the Indians only gained force as it spread. The Grand River memorialists made “nuts” of it, and General Jim Wilson wielded it for my benefit, in his classical stump speeches in New Hampshire. I had carefully shielded my Indians from a cent’s loss, yet my name was pitched into the general condemnation, like the thirteenth biscuit in a baker’s dozen. Nothing rolls up so fast as a lie, when once afloat.
[Footnote 86: Harris felt disobliged by my independence of action respecting the “goods offer.” He had, in fact, been overreached by a noted commercial house, who dealt heavily in Indian goods in New York, who sold him the goods on credit; but who actually collected the specie from the western land offices, on public drafts, before the year expired. He vented this pique officially, by suspending my report of Oct. 18th, 1837, on the debt claims against the Indians, finally assumed powers in relation to them, directly subversive of the principles of the treaty of March 28th, 1836, which had been negotiated by me, and referred them for revision to a more supple agent of his wishes at New York, who had been one of the efficient actors in the “goods offer” at Green Bay, Wisconsin, as above detailed.]
Missions—Hard times, consequent on over-speculation—Question of the rise of the lakes—Scientific theory—Trip to Washington—Trip to Lake Superior and the Straits of St. Mary—John Tanner—Indian improvements north of Michilimackinack—Great cave—Isle Nabiquon—Superstitious ideas of the Indians connected with females—Scotch royals—McKenzie—Climate of the United States—Foreign coins and natural history—Antique fort in Adams County, Ohio—Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries—Statistics of lands purchased from the Indians—Sun’s eclipse—Government payments.
1838. June 18th. W. Lowrie, Esq., Missionary Rooms, N.Y., announces the sending of an agent to explore the missionary field, which it is proposed to occupy by the Presbyterian Board, in the region of Lake Michigan, bespeaking my friendly offices to the agent.
The plethora of success which has animated every department of life and business, puffing them up like gas in a balloon, since about ’35 has departed and left the fiscal system perfectly flaccid and lifeless. The rage for speculation in real estate has absorbed all loose cash, and the country is now groaning for its fast-locked circulating medium. A friend at Detroit writes: “With fifty thousand dollars of productive real estate in the city, and as much more in stocks and mortgages, I am absolutely in want of small sums to pay my current expenses, and to rid myself of the mortification produced by this feeling I am prepared to make almost any sacrifice.”