The reserve of the Delawares contained nine square miles, or 5760 acres. For this it was agreed at the treaty, that they should be paid 6000 dollars, and the value of the improvements, which I conceived to be a fair bargain. I was not then aware of the practice pursued by the government, of making deductions, under various pretences, from the purchase-money, until the unfortunate Indian is left scarcely anything in lieu of his lands, and says, that “the justice of the white man is not like the justice of the red man,” and that he cannot understand the honesty of his Christian brother. The following extract, taken from the New York American, will give some insight into the mode of dealing with the Indians.
“The last of the Ottowas.—Maumee Bay, Ohio, Sept. 3, 1831.—Mr. James B. Gardiner has concluded a very important treaty at Maumee Bay, in Michigan, for a cession of all the lands owned by the Ottowa Indians in Ohio, about 50,000 acres. It was attended with more labour and greater difficulties than any other treaty made in this state: it was the last foothold which that savage, warlike, and hostile tribe held in their ancient dominion. The conditions of this treaty are very similar to those treaties of Lewistown and Wapaghkenetta, with this exception, that the surplus avails of their lands, after deducting seventy cents per acre to indemnify the government, are to be appropriated for paying the debts of their nation, which amount to about 20,000 dollars.” [Query, what are those debts?—could they be the amount of presents made them on former occasions?] “The balance, if any, accrues to the tribe. Seventy thousand acres of land are granted to them west of the Mississippi. The Ottowas are the most depredating, drunken, and ferocious in Ohio. The reservations ceded by them are very valuable, and those on the Miami of the lake embrace some of the best mill privileges in the State.”
The Delawares were too few (being but fifty-one in number) to contend the matter, and therefore accepted of the proposed terms. At the conclusion of the conference, the Commissioners told them that they should have a barrel of flour, with the beef that had been killed for the occasion, which was received with “Yo-ha!—Yo-ha!” They then said, laughing, “that they hoped their father would allow them a little milk,” meaning whisky, which was accordingly granted. They drank of this modern Lethe and forgot for a time their misfortunes.