CHAPTER IV. WHAT CONGRESS DID FOR ARIZONA.
Collection District Proposed—Improvements on Colorado River Indian Reservation—Delegate Bashford's Speech upon—Debate upon—Amendment to Postal Bill—Delegate Bashford's Speech upon—Acts of Third, Fourth and Fifth Legislatures Legalized—Sixth Legislature held at Tucson.
At the Congressional Session of 1867–68, Coles Bashford, the Arizona Delegate in Congress, introduced a bill to create a collection district for Arizona, which bill was read the first and second time and referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, where it remained.
For completing construction of irrigating canal on the Colorado reservation, breaking and fencing lands, purchase of seeds, teams and tools, construction of agency buildings, subsistence, etc., $84,500.’’
Mr. Chairman, I had not intended to say anything upon this amendment proposed by the chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs. That committee made, so far as they were able, a careful examination into this subject, and although there was not a full attendance, the
The amendment proposes to bring together some ten thousand Indians who now have no local habitation, no home, and put them upon the reservation. During the discussion upon this bill I have heard a great deal about our Indian policy. It has been argued that the policy pursued by the Government is unwise. But, sir, can any better Indian policy be adopted than that contemplated by this amendment, which is to give the Indians a home, to put them upon a reservation where they can be self-sustaining?
The principal difficulty in making treaties with the Indians has been that when you have made a treaty, the Indians having no home, you have not been able to enforce it. You cannot punish them when they violate their treaty obligations. But when you put them upon a reservation, where they gather about them their families, their horses, their cattle, where they engage in the cultivation of their fields, they always keep their treaties, because they can be punished when they violate them. Sir, the true Indian policy to be pursued by this Government is to place these Indians upon reservations.
Upon this reservation all the Indians of that country can be supported and cared for; and instead of being our enemies they will be our friends. We have heretofore raised companies of Indians to fight the Apaches, who have been our foes, stealing our property and murdering our people. I presume that this amendment was not properly presented and pressed before the Committee upon Appropriation, otherwise they would have been in favor of it. I know that it contemplates the only policy which the United States can wisely pursue in regard to the Indians in that far off country.’’
Plats of survey for canal are on file in the Indian Bureau. Estimated cost about one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, but by Indian labor can be done for much less. The canal, now already under course of construction, is thirty miles in length, twenty feet wide, with an average depth of about nine feet. When completed will irrigate seventy-five thousand acres of land. The work is being prosecuted by the Indians, who work with a will, and it is confidently expected that the entire work will be completed during the present year, affording a home for ten or twelve thousand Indians, and rendering them in the future entirely self-sustaining. Should this appropriation fail fears are entertained that the labor already performed may be lost by reason of rains and overflow of river. This appropriation is asked also for breaking and fencing lands, building of houses, purchase of seed, agricultural implements, etc.
There are but two reservations in Arizona—the one on the Colorado river, for which the appropriation is asked, and the Maricopa and Pima reserve on the Gila river. This latter is now self-sustaining, and with an Indian population of six thousand, whose boast is 'that they do not know the color of the white man's blood,' furnishing statistical returns of products of last year amounting to $200,000, and during the year have furnished corn for supply of contracts to the Government troops in Arizona (Fort Whipple) at a rate one-half less than has ever been furnished heretofore.’’
Item No. 7, relating to the sum of $20,000 for maintaining Indians on the reservation that may be turned over by the military, I regard as very important. There can be no reasonable doubt but that the considerable force now engaged against the hostiles will conquer bands or tribes during the coming year, and it is highly proper that they should be immediately brought on the reservation, kept there by force, if necessary, and maintained until they can be made self-sustaining.’’
The proposition, therefore, is to appropriate $84,000, in addition to the $50,000 already appropriated, for the purpose of building an irrigating canal for Indians, a large portion of whom are yet to be caught, and brought in and set to work on the land which is to be thus irrigated.’’MR. WINDOM:—‘‘The gentleman is mistaken on that point. There are several tribes of Indians there, two of them the largest in the Territory, I believe. They are now industrious, and have never been at war with the whites at all. Only a portion of the Indians, one tribe, is warlike.’’MR. BUTLER:—‘‘Upon examining the whole matter as well as we could the committee came to the conclusion that this was an expenditure that could wait, and hence struck out the appropriation.
I want to call the attention of the committee to the fact that in this bill we appropriate $35,000 to take care of the Indians of this Territory. According to the official returns there are seven thousand of them. We appropriate $15,000 to take care of ninety-three hundred and thirty Indians in Idaho. Now, the amendment asks an appropriation to build a canal. A canal nine feet deep, instead of being merely for purposes of irrigation, looks to me like a manufacturing project. Somebody, I imagine, wants to get water power. It is an immense work, and must cost quite a large amount. I think it had better wait a year. The Indians always have been without it, and in my judgment they can live without it another year. I hope the amendment will not prevail.’’
The canal in question was never built. The $50,000 which was said to have been appropriated before for this purpose was used, just how no one knows, for according to Genung, there was less than one-half a mile of the canal built and the River Indians were never collected upon this reservation. A part of the Mohaves were gathered there, but the most of them were on the war-path in 1868, as will be seen further on in this history.
‘‘And be it further enacted, That all mailable matter which may be conveyed by mail westward beyond the western boundary of Kansas, and eastward from the eastern boundary of California, shall be subject to prepaid letter postage rates; Provided, however, That this section shall not be held to extend to the transmission by mail of newspapers from a known office of publication to bona fide subscribers, not exceeding one copy to each subscriber, nor to franked matter to and from the intermediate points between the boundaries above named at the usual rates: Provided further, That such franked matter shall be subject to such regulations as to its transmission and delivery as the Postmaster General shall prescribe.’’
‘‘'The operation of the fourth section of an act to provide for carrying the mails of the United States to foreign ports, and for other purposes, approved March 25, 1864, shall cease and determine on and after the 30th day of September, 1868,'’’ the Senate fixing the time when the amendment should go into effect, as will be seen, on the 30th of September, 1868, when the contracts for carrying the mails would cease. The bill came back, as amended by the Senate, for concurrence in the house. A lively
The debate was a long one, and the representative from the State of Nevada, and the Delegates from the Territories affected, were heard. Mr. Bashford, Delegate from Arizona, spoke as follows in favor of the amendment and its immediate passage:‘‘
As I have said, it was hotly contested by the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads, but finally the House concurred in the amendment of the Senate, and the bill was passed. Thereafter all printed matter was carried through the mails and not by Wells, Fargo & Company.
Wells, Fargo & Company, upon the building of the Central Pacific, by some agreement with that corporation, took over the exclusive right to forward express matter over their lines, and, therefore, there was an alliance between this corporation and that of the Pacific Railroads which made a strong combination in Congress. It is the first and for many years the only time in Congress when a combination of the Express and Railroad Companies was defeated in any measure they wished to pass.
In 1867 a decision was handed down by Judge Backus declaring that the Third, Fourth and Fifth Legislatures of Arizona were illegal, the apportionment for which was made by the Governor instead of by the Legislature, as required by the Organic Act. This decision threw everything into confusion. Laws passed during these sessions and criminals convicted, were all declared illegal, and Congress was called upon and did, in the session of 1869–70, pass a bill, legalizing the action of these Legislatures. There was