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The first and second chiefs being present, the first chief replied as follows:
We wish to live in peace with the whites, and do not want to go to war; we wish you to tell our great chief, General Gaines, we do not wish to go to war. We respect him, and will follow his advice, and look up to him as our father. We, and all my nation, try to work and do as well for our families as we can, and wish to be peaceable with all the "whites."
We have never fought against the "whites," nor ever had any disposi tion to do so. We are obliged to go to the prairies to kill buffaloes occasionally to support our families.
I wish it to be made known to our great father, that the whiskey-sellers make us miserable by coming among us; by their trading among us they make us very poor.
We do not wish to fight for the Texian or Mexican armies, but be peaceable.
What the white people have told you concerning our going to war or committing any depredations whatever on the whites is false.
Some Indians visited us some time ago from Texas, and invited me to their country, but I declined going. I believe they wanted me to go to war in their country. My conscience would reproach me very much to leave my own country, where we were all raised together, to fight against people who never injured us.
All of our children have been raised in this country with the Americans, and we consider ourselves their brothers and best friends, and we like them very much.
You asked me if Mamuel Flores has been amongst us persuading our nation to go to war: he has not. I met him in the prairies some time ago, and he asked me to use my influence with the nation, and persuade them to go to Texas. I told him I would not go.
We are very glad to see you, and it gives us pleasure to see you come amongst us, expecting that your advice and good talk will be a benefit to the nation.
We wish you to give us a recommendation that we can show to the people who may come among us to give us bad advice, and also an assurance to them that we are peaceable.
We must again say that we are glad you have come among us. I think it will do great good to the nation.
I wish our great chief, General Gaines, would send some one to talk to us very often, and advise us how to act.
I will endeavor to persuade the men of my nation to follow the advice you have given us. If any new whiskey-sellers come amongst us we wil advise you of it; and also if any one come here to persuade us to go to
The first chief of the nation's name is "Ta-Sha, or the "Wolf," the second "Saw-ne-Naut," or the "Father of children."
STATE OF LOUISIANA.
PARISH OF NATCHITOCHES, September 7, 1836.
This day personally appeared before me, the undersigned, justice of the peace in and for the said county or parish, Juan Francisco Basques, who, being of lawful age, deposeth and saith, that, on or about the 23d of August last, he went to the I-o-ny village; an Indian woman told him to wait a few days, and he would see a Mexican "big-man." Afterwards some of the men were drinking, and told him that this Mexican "big-man" was coming to persuade the Indians to stand against the Americans, and told him to keep it secret. The same day, "Fox," a Cherokee, and a good interpreter, and "Etoi," also a Cherokee, rode up and said they were just from Matamoras. They both had on Mexican dresses, and "Fox" had a sword and short gun; "Etoi" had a sword. They said their company was coming on. Basques remained at the village until the 28th of August, on which day Eusavia Cortinez, a Mexican by birth, and formerly for many years a resident of Nacogdoches, came to the village; he had five Mexicans with him; he said he was just from Matamoras. Cortinez immediately inquired of Basques if the Mexicans of Nacogdoches were friendly to the Mexicans. On being told they were, he said he was very glad to hear it. He said he had been wanting to make an attack on Nacogdoches for a long time; that all the Indians were to meet at Bowles's town the next day, when they would fix the time for making the attack; that they had no time to spare. Cortinez inquired what force was at Nacogdoches. When told 400 or 500 men, he said he did not believe it; but that it would not be a mouthful for the force he would bring. Cortinez wanted him (Basques) to go to the town; and the last thing he said at parting was," Be sure to be at Bowles's to-morrow." He said, also, he would probably send him (Basques) to talk to the Camanches. That he, (Basques,) apprehending he would be made a prisoner, took an opportunity to escape that night.
JUAN FRANCISCO BASQUES.
Juan Francisco Basques further states, that some time in the first of June last, he met a Caddo Indian on the other side of the Sabine river; he had a mule loaded with powder and lead, and going to the Towacanee village, and there he expected to trade his powder and lead to the Indians; and he said he expected the Camanches would be at the village, and if they were not they would be back in the timber; and he further stated that it had been three days since he came into the settlement.
JUAN FRANCISCO BASQUES. Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 7th September, 1836. CARY MORRIS, and for the parish of Natchitoches
Justice of the peace in
The foregoing is a true copy of the original on file in this office.
HEADQUARTERS, WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
SIR: In passing the city of New Orleans I yesterday met a report that some of our merchant vessels, with several citizens of the United States on board, peaceably engaged in voyages purely commercial, and in strict accordance with the law of nations, had recently been captured by armed vessels sailing under the Mexican flag; and that the officers and crews of the captured vessels, together with the supercargoes and other citizens on board, had been held in confinement, and in some cases tried and imprisoned.
How far this report may or may not be entitled to credit is a question which must be left for time to settle. Should it prove to be true, I am sure that I shall not be deemed to be premature in respectfully suggesting such preparatory measures as appear to me most likely to enter into and facilitate the accomplishment of whatever effective military remedy the President of the United States may be pleased to apply to the case in question.
1. I propose to establish recruiting rendezvous at New Orleans, Mobile, Natchez, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Kentucky, Newport, or Covington, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio, and St. Louis.
2. The commandant at each rendezvous to be authorized not only to obtain recruits for every corps of the army, but also to obtain complete companies or battalions of mounted gun-men to serve the United States for one year, or during the war.
3. The United States reserving the right of supplying each battalion with a United States regular officer for each branch of the general staff, viz: an adjutant, a quartermaster, a commissary of ordnance, and a commissary of subsistence; a paymaster, with an assistant surgeon. Such a staff would contribute to aid greatly in the prompt instruction, health, comfort, and immediate efficiency of each battalion-and in so doing it would win the lasting gratitude (rather than incur the displeasure) of every well-disposed officer and soldier of such battalion.
4. Let a post be established at the most healthful spot to be found near the mouth of the Sabine river, (so designated by our treaty with Mexico: "in the Gulf of Mexico, in the sea, at the mouth of the Sabine river;" but which is commonly called the Sabine bay,) as a depot for munitions of war, and for the concentration of force from the several recruiting stations for active service.
5. Let our naval force in this quarter be increased so as to enable us to move with transports carrying every requisite supply to this depot, and to such other depots as we may find it advisable to establish along the coast between the Sabine and Vera Cruz. The transports to be kept afloat, and to move in co-operation with such mounted force as may be deemed necessary to penetrate the country of our western neighbors, until we find them disposed to respect us.
6. Great convenience and economy will be found to result from having experienced and efficient officers in charge of the several recruiting stations which I have proposed; inasmuch as the mounted gun-men may be promptly and correctly mustered into service, and supplied with whatever they need; and their movements thus hastened to the frontier, ready for action.
. If I am permitted to make an arrangement in accordance with the foregoing suggestions, I feel confident that I can thereby obtain and call to the frontier, ready for an active campaign to the city of Mexico, from 50,000 to 100,000 first-rate men, for the most part mounted, before the 1st day of October next, the time they should march westward from the Sabine.
The existing difficulties in commerce, in money, and in manufacturing establishments throughout the Southern and Western States, render the present period of time peculiarly favorable to the employment of men of every description of talent and enterprise for any definite service, if it be popular, as is an expedition against nations so regardless of our rights and interests as the Mexicans seem disposed to be.
All which is respectfully submitted for the information of the Department of War and the General-in-chief.
EDMUND P. GAINES,
Brig. Gen. R. JONES, Adjutant General