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Lights and Shadows of a Long Episcopate
Being Reminiscences and Recollections
of the Right Reverend
Henry Benjamin Whipple, D.D., LL.D.
Bishop of Minnesota

New York: The Macmillan Company, 1899.

Chapter XII

THE friendly Indians and those who had surrendered were taken to Fort Snelling, where we at once began to hold daily religious services. They were subdued, and felt very sore because their chiefs and Medicine-men had misled them in their prophecies of a successful war. Mr. Hinman lived in the camp at Fort Snelling, and Dr. Knickerbacker and myself were there every week. One night some white roughs from St. Paul broke into the stockades and beat Mr. Hinman until he was insensible. Those who live much with the Indians seem to imbibe their spirit of fortitude and apparent indifference to suffering. Mr. Hinman made no allusion to his experience until I happened to see the stitches in his scalp.

I confirmed one hundred Indians while in camp. They brought me their charms and medicine-bags, and many of them became faithful scouts for General Sibley. When the General began the spring campaign I asked him what would be done with the wives and children of these scouts, and the families of those who had rescued the white captives. He answered sadly, "I shall have to send them with the other Indians to the Missouri River. The people will never consent to have a Sioux remain in Minnesota." I said that I should take them to Faribault. "But how will you take care of them?" asked the general. "I do not know now," I answered, "but I shall find a way."

I went at once to Mr. Alexander Faribault, told him my plan, and found him, as always, generous and public-spirited. He offered me his land for a camp,

Mr. Faribault had Indian blood in his veins and had lived among the Sioux from childhood. He was one of the kindest men I have ever known.

Of those who were brought to Faribault the leading men were Pay-Pay, Wah-con-di-ga, and Taopi. Much excitement was caused by this removal, and foolish threats were made. Some time later the Rev. Mr. Hinman came to Faribault to hold service for them. It was at this time that he began the translation of the Prayer Book into the Dakota language.

One morning Taopi came to my house with Mr. Faribault and gave me a paper" which read:--

The bearer, Taopi ( "wounded man ") is entitled to the lasting gratitude of the American people for having, with other Christian Indians, during the late outbreak, saved the lives of nearly two hundred white women and children.

Colonel Commanding.

Taopi said: "I hear that white men say they will kill me. If it is because the white man has the same law as the Indian--that when one of his people is killed another must die in his place, then tell them not to shoot me like a dog, but to send for me to go to the public square, and I will show them how a man can die." Mr. Faribault published this in the village paper, and it ended the excitement.

The Government confiscated all the lands and annuities of the Sioux. These annuities were twenty dollars per capita, besides interest from funds for civilization, and over one million acres of land. Taopi would have starved, but for the care of Mr. Faribault and myself. He became very ill, and suddenly I received the message: "Come quick! The Great Spirit has sent for me to go on the last journey. I want to see your face once more." After the Commendatory prayer he looked up into my face and whispered: "I am not afraid to go. Jesus has walked in this trail before me. I shall not be lonesome on the road."

The following letter from the widow of Taopi shows the gratitude of an Indian's heart.

FARIBAULT, Dec. 2nd, 1869.


My very dear Friend: I long very much to hear the sound of your voice. We are of different nations, but you have always been kind to us and why should I not think of you? I feel as though I had no Father since you are gone. But your Church still stands where it did when you were here, and we all meet there on the Praying day, in prayer for you, and daily at home it is pleasant to feel that this is not denied us, and we do not fail to remember you ever in our daily prayers. I am with my whole family to approach the Sacrament on Christmas day at three o'clock in the morning, when we shall offer earnest prayers and beg the Great Spirit to restore you to your anxious friends. As the Christmas holy days approach we are all children and all reminded of your great kindness to us, for at these times you were wont to make our hearts glad and our little ones to rejoice over your kind attentions. My white sister tells me that you say we are still to have a Christmas tree. How good to know that though the great water rolls between us, you yet stretch forth your hand and bid our hearts rejoice again. Your poor Indian children are all well, and their hearts are flowing with prayers for you. We all love you deeply, for you have taught us all the good we know, and we shall never forget it. I and my family hold your hand tight and long to hear the sound of your voice.


At about this time Captain Wilkins overheard some frontiermen declare that they "must go down to Faribault and clean out that bishop."

"Boys, you don't know the bishop," said the captain, "but I do; he is my neighbor, and I will tell you just what will happen when you go down to ' clean him out.' He will come on to the piazza and talk to you five minutes, and you will wonder how you ever made such------fools of yourselves." My good friend's words evidently had weight, for nothing further was heard on the subject.

In the autumn the General Convention met in New York, and at the same time I visited Washington. General Halleck went with me to the President, to whom I gave an account of the outbreak, its causes, and the suffering and evil which had followed in its wake. Mr. Lincoln had known something of Indian warfare hi the Black Hawk War. He was deeply moved. He was a man of profound sympathy, but he usually relieved the strain upon his feelings by telling a story. When I had finished he said:--

"Bishop, a man thought that monkeys could pick cotton better than negroes could because they were quicker and their fingers smaller. He turned a lot of them into his cotton field, but he found that it took two overseers to watch one monkey. It needs more than one honest man to watch one Indian Agent."

A short time after this, President Lincoln, meeting a friend from Illinois, asked him if their old friend, Luther Dearborn, had not moved to Minnesota. Receiving an affirmative answer, he said: "When you see Lute, ask him if he knows Bishop Whipple. He came here the other day and talked with me about the rascality of this Indian business until I felt it down to my boots. If we get through this war, and I live, this Indian system shall be reformed!"

He gave me a card to the Secretary of the Interior with the message, "Give Bishop Whipple any information he desires about Indian affairs."

I found upon examination that the warrant drawn by the superintendent for the Sioux payment instead of reading, "Pay on account of appropriation for the annual payment of the Sioux, forty-three thousand and odd dollars," read, "Pay on account of the unexpended balance of the appropriation for annuities, eighteen thousand dollars; pay on account of appropriation for extinguishing Indian titles, fifteen thousand dollars; pay on account of purchase of Indian lands, ten thousand dollars."

In the treaty of 1858, for the purchase of eight hundred thousand acres of the Sioux reservation, there was a clause authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to use any of their money as he deemed most to the advantage of the Indians. There was also a provision that no debts should be paid unless they were approved in a public coTincil of the Indians.

No council of the kind was ever held. A council was held with Little Crow and a few other chiefs in our Lower Agency school-house. What took place I do not know, but the following day Little Crow had a new wagon.

I went to the General Convention sick at heart, and the more depressed because I was half ill from having poisoned my hand severely in caring for the wounds of the sufferers at St. Peter. I drew up the following paper to present to the President and showed it to one of the bishops, who after reading it said, "I hope that you will not bring politics into the House." Bishop Alonzo Potter, observing my distress, asked me the cause, and I answered:--

"My diocese is desolated by Indian war; eight hundred of our people are dead, and I have just come from a hospital of wounded and dying. I asked one of my brothers to sign this paper and he responds by calling it 'politics.' "

In his own warm-hearted way the bishop exclaimed, "My dear Minnesota, give me the paper. I will get it signed, and will go to Washington with Bishop McIlvaine and present it."


Sir: We respectfully call your attention to the recent Indian outbreak, which has devastated one of the fairest portions of our country, as demanding the careful investigation of the Government.

The history of our relations with the Indian tribes of North America shows that after they enter into treaty stipulations with the United States a rapid deterioration always takes place. They become degraded, are liable to savage outbreaks, and are often incited to war.

It is believed that much of this record has been the result of fundamental errors of policy that thwart the Government's kind intentions toward this helpless race. We therefore respectfully call your attention to the following suggestions:--

First, That it is impolitic for our Government to treat a heathen community living within our borders as an independent nation, instead of regarding them as our wards. As far as we know the English Government has never had an Indian war in Canada, while we have seldom passed a year without one.

Second, That it is dangerous to ourselves and to them to leave these Indian tribes without a Government, not subject to our laws, and where every corrupt influence of the border must inevitably foster a spirit of revenge leading to murder and war.

Third, That the solemn responsibility of the care of a heathen race requires that the agents and servants of the Government who have them in charge shall be men of eminent fitness, and in no case should such offices be regarded as a reward for political service.

Fourth, That every feeling of honor and justice demands that the Indian funds, which we hold for them as a trust, shall be carefully expended under some well-devised system which will encourage their efforts toward civilization.

Fifth, That the present system of Indian trade is mischievous and demoralizing, and ought to be so amended as to protect the Indian and prevent the possibility of the sale of the patrimony of the tribe to satisfy individual debts.

Sixth, That it is believed that the history of our dealings with the Indians has been marked by gross acts of injustice and robbery, such as could not be prevented under the present system of management, and that these wrongs have often proved the prolific cause of war and bloodshed. It is due to the helpless red men that these evils shall be redressed, and without this we cannot hope for the blessing of Almighty God in our efforts to secure permanent peace and tranquillity on our Western border.

We feel that these results cannot be obtained without much careful thought, and we therefore request you to take such steps as may be necessary to appoint a Commission of men of high Character, who have no political ends to subserve, to whom may be referred this whole question, in order that they may devise a more perfect system for the administration of Indian affairs, which shall repair these wrongs, preserve the honor of the Government, and call down upon us the blessings of God.

Bishop of Minnesota.

Rector of St. Paul's Church, Stockton.

Bishop of Connecticut.

Deputy from Massachusetts.

Bishop of Rhode Island.

Rector Immanuel Church, Bellows Falls, Vt.

JACKSON KEMPER, Bishop of Wisconsin.

Bishop of Missouri.

Bishop of Maine.

Bishop of Illinois.

Bishop of Pennsylvania.

Bishop of New Hampshire.

Bishop of Delaware.

Bishop of Ohio.

Bishop of Kentucky.

Bishop of Massachusetts.

Bishop of New York.

Bishop (Assistant) of Ohio.

Missionary Bishop of Northwest.

Assist. Bishop of Pennsylvania.

Bishop of Diocese of Iowa.

Bishop of Indiana.

Rector of Christ Church, Cambridge, Mass.

Rector St. John's Church, Waterbury, Conn.

Rector of Christ's Church, St. Louis.

Missionary in Minnesota.

Rector St. Andrew's Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Rector St. Andrew's Church, Hopkinton, N.H.

Rector St. Luke's Church, Portland, Maine.

WM. WELSH of Philadelphia.
ISAAC ATWATER, Asst. Justice, Supreme Court, Minnesota.
E. T. WILDER, Red Wing, Minnesota.
L. BRADISH, New York.

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