Journal of George W. Barbour, May to October, 1851 145
THE JOURNAL OF GEORGE W. BARBOUR, MAY 1,
TO OCTOBER 4, 1851
ALBAN W. HOPES
On the thirteenth day of January, 1851, Redick McKee of
Virginia, George W. Barbour of Kentucky, and Oliver M. Wozen-
craft of Louisiana met in San Francisco to determine the pro-
cedure of the commission of which they were the responsible
members. They had been appointed in pursuance of an act passed
by congress the last day of the preceding September ;1 theirs was
the task of formulating a definite policy with regard to the aborigi-
nal tribes of California.
This was to prove most difficult. The United States had ac-
quired that remote region only three years before, by the terms
of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Although a reasonably definite
Indian policy had been conceived by the military authorities as
early as the summer of 1847, no treaties had as yet been con-
cluded, while explicit and reliable information concerning the
numerous tribes-small and large, weak and powerful, friendly
and hostile-was as yet in an utterly inchoate state.
Between March 15, 1851, and January 7, 1852, the commis-
sioners negotiated eighteen treaties.2 Varying in detail, certain
conditions were common to all, and may be summarized as follows:
(1) The Indians acknowledged themselves to be under the exclu-
sive jurisdiction of this nation, and promised "to live on terms
of peace and friendship with the government of the United States
and the citizens thereof, with each other, and with all Indian
tribes." (2) In case of "any wrong or injury done by individuals
of either party to the person or property of those of the other,
no personal or individual retaliation shall be attempted, but in
all such cases the party aggrieved shall apply to the proper civil
29 United States Statutes-at-Large, 558.
'The eighteen treaties are at present tied in one folder in the Office of
Indian Affairs, General Files, California, I 76/1852. They are listed in
this article, Appendix A.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101099/. Accessed April 21, 2015.