Colonel Cook, finding that nothing could be accomplished by the further continuance of the pursuit, turned back and sought a refuge for his soldiers from the toils and hardships of their campaign, in the little Mexican town of Abiguire, about sixty miles northwest from Santa Fe, on a tributary of the Rio del Norte.
On his march back, Colonel Cook had encountered and captured an Indian warrior, whom he supposed to be one of the hostile Apaches. The Indian was deprived of his horse and arms, and treated as a captive. He made his escape. Afterwards it was learned that he belonged to the friendly Utah tribe. Colonel Cook, regretting the mistake, and fearing that it might induce the Utahs to join the Apaches, very wisely decided to do his duty, and make an apology and reparation.
Kit Carson was, of course, employed as the ambassador of peace. He sent an Indian runner to the principal village of the Utahs, with the request that their chief would hold a council with him. They all knew him, loved him, and familiarly called him “Father Kit.”
The council met, Mr. Carson explained the mistake and expressed the deepest regret, that through ignorance, one of their friendly braves had been captured, and treated like an enemy. He assured them of his readiness to make ample reparation for the wrong.
“My countrymen,” he said, “do not wish to do you any injury. They hope that you will overlook this accident. They do not ask this through fear. The warriors of the Utah are but a handful, when compared with those of their Great Father. But they wish to live with you as brothers. The country is large enough for both.”
The Indians seemed ever ready to listen to reason. They were satisfied with the explanation, and declared that their hearts were no longer inimical to their pale face brothers. Thus another Indian war was averted. Had the Indians always been treated with this spirit of justice and conciliation, humanity would have been saved from innumerable woes.
The Last Days of Kit Carson.
The Hunting Party.—Profits
of Sheep Raising.—Governmental
Appointment.—Carson’s Talk with the Apaches.—His Home in
Taos.—His Character.—Death of Christopher Carson.
We left Mr. Carson at his farm in Razado. After a short time he organized a pleasure hunting-party of eighteen of his most highly esteemed companions of former years. It was unanimously voted that the excursion should not be one of boy’s play but of man’s. It was Carson’s last trapping excursion. Each trapper felt that he was bidding farewell to the streams and valleys, where in past years, he had encountered so many exciting adventures.
“The boldest and one of the longest routes, known to their experienced footsteps, was selected. It comprised many of the mighty rivers of the Rocky mountains, every one of which was almost a hunting ground by itself. Onward, over the wild and broad plains, this band of stalwart men, brave and kindred spirits, dashed. They soon put several miles between them and the comfortable firesides of Razado.