An Appeal for the Indians.
A LETTER TO PRESIDENT LINCOLN FROM FATHER
Father BEESON, the well-known advocate of the Red Man, has undertaken the cause of Minnesota Indians who are under sentence of death for the outrages which they have committed in Minnesota. In a letter to President LINCOLN he says:
There are, I conceive, very grave reasons why capital punishment should not be inflicted upon these condemned Indians; for --
First-- They had, by treaty, given to our Government the largest and best portion of their lands, on condition of their receiving its protection, with means of self-sustainment by the arts of civilized life; but which it utterly failed of giving them, as the facts and the testimony of Bishop WHIPPLE and many others, fully prove.
Second-- The Indians are not recognized as citizens, under our Government, and not being protected by it, they owed no allegiance to it, and therefore cannot be considered in the light of rebels against it: therefore it is manifestly unjust to subject them to the penalty of laws, the administration of which affords them no protection against the "dishonesties of unscrupulous men."
Third-- There is reason to believe that the Indians were not only excited to hostilities by traitorous white men, but were actually accompanied and led on by white men dressed up in disguise as Indians. * * * I invoke you, Sir, whom the Indians are taught to regard as their Great Father, to respond to this appeal by the appointment of able and honest men, who are competent, by the possession of wisdom and experience, to investigate the condition and needs of every tribe, or remnants of tribes in all our States and Territories, and to prepare a plan for their best and permanent well-being. * * * The work to be done is simply to ascertain what of right belongs to them, and then set it apart as sacred for their use, in freedom and in peace. And if agents or armies are necessary at all, they sould be placed outside the Indian Territory, to prevent the intrusion of "unscrupulous" thieves and vagabonds who infest all our Territories.