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the blessings of civilization and Christianity, to these untutored heathen tribes, and to the people generally, in this favored country. With high consideration and respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant,

JEDIDIAH MORSE. Hon. John C. Calhoun,

Secretary of War.






On the 7th February last, I had the honour of receiving from your hand a commission, of which the following is a copy.*

Depurtment of War, 7th February, 1820. SIR,

I have laid before the President your proposition, to make a visit of observation and inspection to the various Indian Tribes in our immediate neighbourhood, in order to acquire a more accurate knowledge of their actual condition, and to devise the most suitable plan to advance their civilization and happiness. The Presi. dent approves of the proposed arrangement, and has directed me to allow you the sum of five hundred dollars towards the expense of your contemplated journey; and he further authorizes me to state to you, that should your actual expense exceed that sum, that the excess will be allowed you, provided the state of the appropriation for the Indian Department will, at the end of the year, justify the allowance.

It is desirable that you should make your visit to the Northern Tribes the next spring and summer, and to the Southern, the next autumn and winter, as it is the wish of the Department to have your report as early as practicable, in order to avail itself of it in the future application of the fund for the civilization of the Indians.

* It is proper here to note, that the author was, at this time, acting under commissions from the Hon. and Rev. Society in Scotland for propagating Christian Knowledge, and the Northern Missionary Society in the State of New-York, for the same purposes, as those expressed in this commission from the President. The prosecution of the objects of these two commissions, led to the reception of that under which he is now acting, in behalf of the Government.

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I enclose a general letter of introduction to the superintendents and agents for Indian affairs, with a list of their names and residences, who will afford you all the information and facilities in their power.

Your attention will be directed to ascertain the actual condition of the various tribes, which you may visit, in a religious, moral, and political point of view, and your report to the Department, which you will make, at such times as will be convenient, will comprehend all such facts, with your reflections on them, as will go to illustrate this interesting subject. You will particularly ascertain, as far as prácticable, the number of the various tribes which you may visit, and those adjacent; the extent of territory, with the nature of the soil, and climate of the country occupied by them; their mode of life, customs, laws and political institutions; and the character and disposition of their most influential men. You will also particularly report on the number of schools, their position, the number and character of the teachers, the number of scholars of each sex, the plan of education, with the degree of success which appears to attend the respective schools, and the disposition which appears to exist in the tribes, and with their chief men, to promote among them education and civilization. You will also report your opinion as to the improvements which may be made, and the new establishments, to promote the object of the government in civilizing the Indians, which can be advantageously formed.

The moral condition of the Indians will necessarily be very dependent on the character of the trade with them, and a subject so important will, of course, claim your attention. You will report such facts, as may come within your knowledge, as will go to show the state of the trade with them, and the character of the traders, and will suggest such improvements in the present system of Indian trade, as in your opinion will render it better calculated to secure peace between them and us, and will contribute more efficiently to advance their moral condition.

You are so fully apprized of the views of the President in your intended visit to the Indian Tribes, that a farther enumeration of the objects, which are thought interesting, is deemed unnecessary; satisfied, as I am, that your zeal and intelligence will permit nothing to escape your observation, which may be useful to be known to the government.

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After you have collected your materials, you will digest the whole into one body, and present it in such form, and accompany it with such reflections and suggestions, as you may deem necessary to accomplish the interesting objects, which it is intended to promote by your tour.

I have the honour to be,

Your obedient Servant,

Rev. J. MORSE, D. D. now in Washington.


In fulfilment of the foregoing commission, I left New-Haven on the 10th of May 1820, with my youngest son, Mr. Richard C. Morse, for my companion, and travelled to the north-west, as far as Green Bay, in the N. W. Territory; a distance, the way we travelled, of 1500 miles. We passed in Steam-Boats to New York and Albany; thence to Ulica in the stage ; to Montezuma, ninety-six miles, on the new Canal; thence to Buffalo by stage; thence across Lake Erieto Detroit, and thence to Mackinaw, in the Steam-Boat Walk-inthe-water; thence to L'Arbre Croche, thirty-six miles, in birch canoes; thence to Green Bay, in the U.S. Cutter Dallas, Capt. Knapp; and returned home to New-Haven on nearly the same route, where we arrived on the 30th of August, after an absence of nearly four months. To the Great Preserver of men, we would devoutly render the tribute of praise due to Him, for his goodness manifested in our preservation and prosperity.

In New-York, we remained four days, making preparations for the journey; in Albany two days, for the same purpose ; in Canandaigua one day, where I had an interview with J. Parrish, Esq. Indian agent. A council of the Six Nations had been appointed the 1st of June, which I was expected to attend. As, however, the Steam-Boat for Detroit was to depart the 31st May, and the omission to take that opportunity, would delay us a fortnight, deranging all my plans for the west, I left a hasty speech with the Agent, and Rev. Mr. Hyde, to be communicated to the Council,* and embarked in the Steam-Boat.

* Appendix A.



At Detroit we spent twelve days. Here is concentered a variety and abundance of valuable information concerning the Indians, out of which I endeavoured to collect whatever related to the various topics specified in my commission.

At Mackinaw, at the military establishment of that Island, we spent sixteen days : from the 17th of June, to the 3d of July, in the family of the Commandant of this post, Capt. Pierce, where we received the kindest attention. Probably there is no situation of more importance to the government of the United States, in promoting the civilization of the Indians, than Mackinaw.*

The contemplated removal of this Military Post, or the principal part of the establishment, to the Saut of St. Mary's, near Lake Superior, to prepare the way for which a purchase has been made of a proper site for such an establishment, will furnish another very advantageous station for planting an Education Family, whose influence, in connexion with that of Mackinaw, through the medium of the thousands of Indians, and that of the Traders, who annually resort to these stations, may be extended over the whole of the wide territories, bordering on the largest of our Lakes.

At L'Arbre Croche, to which place we were accompanied by Col. George Boyd, the Indian agent at Mackinaw, with his interpreter, Mr. Graverod, we spent a day and a night, in which time Col. Boyd held a Treaty in behalf of the Government of the United States, with the Chiefs of that part of the Ottawa Indians, who reside here, for the purchase of the Martin Islands, I which are in the vicinity of Mackinaw. Afterwards I held a conference with them on the subjects of my mission.g

At Green Bay we remained fifteen days, from the 7th, to the 23d of July, in the hospitable family of Col. J. Smith, Commandant at the military post in this place. Green Bay may vie with Mackinaw in its importance, as a place adapted to carry into effect the benevolent plans of the Government in reference to the Indians. This place, and Prairie du Chien, will probably be the future capitals of the N. W. Territory, which is now without any white population, except the garrisons of the U. States, and a few families of mingled French and Indian blood, settled around them. This, therefore, is a country well adapted for the developement

Appendix B. † Appendix C. I Appendix D. Appendix E.

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