28 March 2020

Red Tape and Etiquette [guest post by Edward Fox, 27 March 1873]

[From the New York Herald, 1873; story possibly by Edward Fox]
esterday General Gillem, Elder Thomas, of the Peace Commission, and a troop of cavalry made a reconnoissance of the country between Van Bremer’s Hill and the lava fields.
An interview was had with Boston Charley and Bogus Charley, both of whom came out under the bluffs and evinced a desire to say something. Bogus Charley desired the immediate return of the horses captured by Colonel Biddle, and further stated that he would have come out beyond the limits of the rocks to-day if he had obtained a horse to carry him. It is probable that the Commissioners will send to Yreka and get a new horse for him as a means of testing his sincerity.
Another of the Peace Commission will go out with the next scout, and then another, until these peace men have all viewed the promised land from the bluff. It is uncertain how long these gentlemen will stand on Indian etiquette and red tape; but they will probably thus remain until they have been thoroughly fatigued, when the official foot will be put down and this ridiculous farce be brought to an end.
The members of the Commission well know the terms on which the Modocs will make peace and whether these terms are acceptable to the government, and the general opinion prevails that they could so arrange matters as to make peace at once if they desired to bring the business to a close. What they intend to offer next is unknown, or when they expect to quit.
Some members of the Commission complain that they have been held back by authority and prevented from obtaining an interview with Captain Jack so as to thoroughly ventilate the questions at issue themselves. If there is any just ground for this complaint, which I am inclined to doubt, it would seem that there is a little jealousy between the military and civil powers, each, according to the latter, being desirous of the honor of concluding peace. I do not think that such is the case, although on several occasions it has looked that way. Canby is scarcely the man to encourage any such complication.
The Indians tell the interpreters that they will be willing to negotiate for peace if they can have their home on Lost River; probably they might even consent to go to Yainax reservation. Up to the present, however, no effort has been made to effect peace on these terms.
Lieutenant Boutelle and fifty-two recruits for the various cavalry companies arrived here yesterday via Yreka.
[This dispatch seems to have been sent by all three correspondents at the lava beds; it appears in Fox’s, Atwell’s, and McKay’s papers, though with minor variations. Where Fox, for example, suggests that the Commission would send to Yreka for a horse for Bogus Charlie, McKay substitutes a saw-horse and Atwell makes no comment. Where Fox refers to the official foot being put down Atwell has “It is uncertain how long the Commission will stand on etiquette and red tape, but probably until it is weary, when it will sit down and this ridiculous farce be ended.” (McKay’s version is nearly identical.) The observation that “Canby is scarcely the man to encourage any such complication” is found in Fox’s version alone. San Francisco Evening Bulletin, 28 March 1873; New York Herald, San Francisco Call, San Francisco Chronicle, and Yreka Union, 29 March 1873.]

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