Winant to Editor, Weekly Corvallis Gazette
(Corvallis, Oregon), 9 November 1877, 2, NADP Document D172.
LETTER FROM CAPT. WINANT.
EDITOR GAZETTE: [...] arrived on the 2nd inst., from Sacramento, with a general cargo of merchandise for Messrs. Hammond, Williams, Hulse, and others. I shall load oysters in a few days, if weather permits, and return.
I notice some criticisms, both in your paper and the Statesman
, in regard to an article published by me recently in the San Francisco Chronicle
, in relation to the Indians. So far as your remarks go, I have no fault to find but would merely suggest that you have the opportunity of finding out the truth of what I wrote by corresponding with almost any of the residents of this place, most of them, of course, being personally known to you. The Statesman
, however, besides indulging in a little fling at me, by intimating that I was "putting up a job" to fleece the charitable people of San Francisco, goes further, and publishes an absolute falsehood in conveying to its readers the idea that Col. Watkins has just visted the Indians spoken of in my article as being destitute. The fact is Col. Watkins did not see those Indians at all; he only got as far as the Siletz Agency, and remained there only one day. When Mr. Bensell, who met him there, asked him if he would not visit the Alseas, he regretted his inability to do so, for the want of time. So the news gatherers who have made it appear that Col. Watkins visited the Alseas must use his name without authority, as the Col. certainly did not reach Yaquina Bay, and he is not the man to make a misstatement. In this connection I will also state that I see an item telegraphed from Portland to San Francisco, conveying the same idea, "that Col. Watkins had visited the Indians reported by me as being destitute, and found the whole story false." Some how it seems that the people who are so anxious to contradict my story, without investigating the facts, get the Siletz mixed up with the Alsea Indians. My article stated distinctly that the suffering Indians were from the Alsea Agency. And I want to make this plain, in justice to Mr. Bagley, the Agent at Siletz, as it might otherwise be understood that I was reflecting on his management. This I certainly have no desire to do. As, from the best information I can get, Mr. Bagley has had more difficulties to contend with than any Agent on the Siletz. He has been denied the means heretofore accorded to the agents, and he has done all that it was in his power to do with the means afforded him. He has been active and diligent in attending to the wants of his people; and has, doubtless, often regreted his inability to do more. This much I think due to Mr. Bagley, and I hope that those that may yet try to disprove the facts stated by me, will not make it appear that I have charged him with mismanagement or neglect of duty, as I have not, or could not do. And yet, I say, in conclusion, that the condition of the Indians along this part of the coast is even worse than I have made it out, and instead of foolish and groundless denials, calls for honest investigation. Yours respectfully, J.J. WINANT.
Newport, Nov. 4, 1877.