Upon a full review of the origin and progress of the War, I arrived at the conclusion that the feud between the Commanding officer of the Military Department on the Pacific Coast, and the citizens of the Territories, out of which the charge of speculation upon the public Treasury grew, is a matter of very little national importance. The result of a mere formal and political quarrel of this kind cannot affect the great questions at issue. The origin of the war is not different from that of any other Indian War. It is the natural result of immigration and settlement; and whether the Governor of the Territory, public officers and citizens generally, committed an error in not placing themselves under the control and direction of General Wool, who came up after the war had commenced; is whether the part taken
by him was best calculated to preserve and maintain peace, is not the question now to be decided. A war took place an expensive and disastrous war, from the effects of which the Territories will suffer for many years. Neither the Commanding Officer of the Military Department, nor the citizens of the Territories, in my opinion, could have prevented it. The quarrel between them is undignified and unstatesmanlike. It was a war of destiny bound to take place wherever the causes reached their culminating point. Although occasional hostilities have been engendered between the whites and particular tribes of Indians in every state of the Union by individual acts of aggression, either on the one side or the other, the history of our Indian Wars will show that the primary cause is the progress of civilization, to which the inferior races, from their habits and instincts are naturally opposed. From the time of the landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock, to the present day we have had wars with the Indians, and they have all had a beginning. It matters little whether an incidental act of aggression or a general movement [...]
[...] be forgotten. These tribes were in constant intercourse with those of the Willamet Valley. They saw that there was but one way of securing their rights by force of arms. Nor were they by any means conquered when they agreed to the treaty of September 10th 1853. Had they chosen to hold out and take to the mountain fortresses of their country, it might have taken ten years to subdue them. It was not only through the determination and gallantry of Genl. Lane, who led the volunteer forces in this war, but his thorough knowledge of Indian Character, his skill in that sort of diplomacy, his general sagacity and prudence, that it was brought to a close. The most enlightened and influential of the Chiefs knew him personally, and respected him both in war and peace. But they either misunderstood the terms of the treaty, or the inducements held out to them to stop the war were such as it was not afterwards practicable to fulfill. Their views upon this point are fully set forth in my report of Novr 17nth, in which the result of a "Talk" with them at the "Siletz Reservation" is given in detail.
In order to preserve as far as practicable, the connection between the causes of war in different parts [...]
The Nisqually and other tribes of Puguet Sound, whose chief intercourse had always been with "King George's" men, naturally shared their animosity against the Americans. When Governor Stevens treatied with them, he found them in a very disaffected condition. It was with difficulty the Chiefs could be gotten together. Something had to be done with them, and under the circumstances of difficulty attending the making of these treaties, I am satisfied no public officer could have done better. The treaties were not the cause of the war. I have already shown that the war had been determined upon long before. If Governor Stevens is to blame because he did not so frame the treaties as to stop the war, or stop it by not making treaties at all, then that charge should be specifically brought against him. My own opinion is, that he had no more control over the course of events than the Secretary of War in Washington.
Leschi, the celebrated Nisqually Chief, was most determined in his hostility. Bold, adventurous and eloquent, he possessed an unlimited sway over his people, and by the earnestness of his purpose, and the persuasiveness of his arguments carried all with him,
who heard him speak. He traveled by day and night, caring neither for hunger nor fatigue; visited the camps of the Yakimas and Klickitats; addressed the council in terms of eloquence such as they had seldom heard. He crossed the Columbia; penetrated to Southern Oregon; appealed to all the disaffected there. He dwelt upon their ways; painted to them in the exuberance of his imagination the terrible picture of the "Polakly Illaha" the Land of Darkness, where no ray from the Sun ever penetrated; where there was torture and death for all the races of Indians; where the sting of an insect killed like the stroke of a spear and the streams were foul and muddy, so that no living thing could drink of the water. This was the place where the white men wanted to carry them to. He called upon them to resist like braves so terrible a fate. The white men were but a hand-full now. They could all be killed at once, and then others would fear to come. But if there was no war, they would grow strong and many, and soon put all the Indians in their big ships and send them off to that terrible land, where torture and death awaited them.