Session on January 16, 1861 - Added Nov., 2010.
Journal of the House of Representatives, State of Michigan
Lansing, Wednesday, January 16, 1861.
RAYMOND VS. STEVENS.
REPORTS of the Majority and Minority of the Committee on Elections, to whom was referred the Memorial of Hon. Henry Raymond, contesting the seat of Hon. Appleton Stevens.
Your committee, to whom was referred the memorial of Hon. Henry Raymond, of Bay county, contesting the seat in this House of Hon. Appleton Stevens, of said county, respectfully ask leave to report that they have had the subject under consideration, and have instructed me, as their chairman, to report that they have considered certain affidavits and the depositions of sundry individuals who have been sworn before the committee, a memorandum of whose testimony is hereto annexed, with said affidavits, and find that at the election held in November last, Appleton Sevens received, in the county of Bay, 334 votes, and Henry Raymond 295 votes, making Stevens' majority 39; that of the 334 votes received by Mr. Stevens, 41 in the township of Arenac, and 4 in the township of Bangor, were given by Indians; that these Indians in the township of Arenac were, at the time of said elections, members of a tribe, to with: of the Saginaw band of the Chippewa tribe, for the most part uncivilized, without fixed habitation, dressing most like savages; that their agriculture is but little different from that which prevailed at the first settlement of the county by whites; that they acknowledge a principal and several minor chiefs; that they came to the polls not as civilized men, but as savages, and there publicly acknowledged allegiance to chiefs, and were probably paid for voting the ticket upon which was Mr. Stevens' name.
Your committee have not positive proof that the 4 Indian votes case in the town of Bangor were cast for Appleton Stevens, but the evidence in their minds is conclusive that they were illegal, and that they were cast for said Appleton Stevens. The 41 Indian votes cast in Arenac, are, in the judgment of the committee, clearly illegal, and ought to be deducted from the votes canvassed for Appled Stevens, which will reduce the vote in his favor to 293, and give Mr. Raymond two majority.
Your committee therefore recommend the granting of the prayer of the said memorial, and Mr. Raymond be entitled to a seat in the House now held by Mr. Stevens.
H. C. HURD, Chairman
P. S. After this report was completed, Mr. Stevens received sundry affidavits which were objected to by Mr. Raymond, but by consent of the parties are submitted to this House with the other papers and affidavits.
Your committee would take this opportunity, in view of the gross frauds committed in our elections, to recommend the passage of a more stringent law than now exists on our statute, for the punishment of fraud and bribery in elections.
All of which is respectfully submitted, with the accompanying papers and affidavits, and your committee ask to be discharged from the further consideration of the same.
H. C. HURD, Chairman.
The undersigned from the committee on elections, to which was referred the memorial of Henry Raymond, contestant for the seat now held by Appleton Stevens, as member of this House from the county of Bay, ask leave to report, that we have examined the allegements and evidence of the parties contestant, with the following result:
The canvassers' statement shows that the sitting member received a majority of thirty-nine of the votes actually polled, and was thereby elected. The contestant seeks to avoid the election only on the ground that votes were given for the sitting member in number larger than his majority, by Indians who were not “civilized persons of Indian descent, not members of any tribe.” The contestant assumes the burden of proof and undertakes to show, that at least forty such illegal votes were given against him, and for the sitting member, in order to entitle him to be regarded as elected. For this purpose, he introduces affidavits of certain individuals, which affidavits the sitting member holds as ex parte, and not binding as proof, being taken without process of law, as provided in the laws of Michigan – compiled laws, page 1171, where, in section 4270, it is provided that “depositions may be taken, in the manner and according to the regulations provided in this act, to be used before any magistrate or other persons authorized to examine witnesses,” and so depriving him of his right to cross-examination. The committee overruled the objection and received the affidavits as testimony, as they said, “for what it was worth.” Whether the House receive that class of testimony or not, we expect to show that even if they would otherwise be legal, they are false upon their face, and contradicted by the contestant's own witness, Mr. Benjamin F. Partridge, who testified in person before the committee.
But the contestant has undertaken to prove, first, that certain Indians who voted in the town of Arenac, in Bay county, were not civilized, and in proof introduces the ex parte affidavit of Thomas Westfall, who deposes that a large number of Indians voted in Arenac, and that “said Indians live almost entirely by hunting and fishing.”
Eleven residents of Bay county depose ex parte that they “have seen the Indians who live in the county of Bay, at Bay City, and that their general reputation is that they live by hunting and fishing.”
Benjamin F. Partridge testifies that he was at the polls at Arenac, all day; that he did not go there to electioneer, but to see to his own interest, being the Republican candidate for County Surveyor, and all the Indians (41) who voted, voted for him; the he is acquainted with Na-gon-wa-we-dung, who is one of them, and he conforms to the Indian customs; also Daniel Hall, who conforms to the Indian customs as much as any of them; also Elliott Kaba, who he says is son of a chief, and has a log house that he lives in part of the time; he had on pants, an Indian blanket and moccasins; Daniel Kaba, also one of them, has a house, but only occupies it part of the time; has seen him have on pants and a coat. Thomas and Peter Sagto and Me-ge-ne-ne are equal, She-bau-ge-zick, George Ta-wa-gonce, Benjamin Ca-ba-as-sa, John Ca-ba-on-quet, Peter Wa-tum and Peter Baldwin are inferior, and Au-te-go-na-bee is a chief and superior in intelligence and advancement.
To guard the House against being misled by generalities with which the evidence abounds, we insert here what the same witness said when testifying generally, showing by the comparison also what injustice he thus inadvertently perpetrated upon all those excellent citizens he has just spoken so well of. He says: “they live by hunting and fishing; use no chairs or other domestic furniture, and no domestic animals but ponies; dress in blankets, leggings and moccasins; bake their bread in the ashes, or by putting dough around a stick and turning it before the fire, and live in tents and bark camps.”
But on the part of Mr. Stevens, Rev. George Bradley testifies before the committee, in person, that from fifteen years association with them as a Missionary preacher, he is acquainted with every Indian named by Mr. Partridge, and knows by personal observation that Daniel Hall is a gentleman and a scholar, and that all the others are fully and in every was his equal.
He says further that all these and may others, in the town of Arenac, living in comfortable houses, furnished with tables and chairs, and things to eat as good as many white folks, and bake good bread in ovens; that a good many of them can write a better hand than he had seen any gentleman, member of this Legislature, perform; that some of them have frame houses; the identical Kaba lives as Passaigoning, in the town of Arenac, in a good frame house with a carpeted sitting room in it; he says it is a good place to stay, and that at that same place there are twelve to fifteen log houses, hewed down smooth and shingled, with glass windows and clapboard gable ends. Some of them, he adds, are not equal to this description, and some live in camps and tents, but even at River O'Gray, the least improved neighborhood in all Arenac, the most of them can speak English well, up to middle age. He thinks they have had schools kept some part of the time every year, since 1846 or 1847, and they also keep a good many cows and young cattle. Baldwin and Bourrassa told Mr. Bradley that they had both been warned out to work their poll and property highway fax, and had worked it out, a thing no white man that we know or can hear of, had done in the town of Arenac.
One more Indian we will name at this point; it is Tawas, who has told Mr. Bradley that his is a hundred years old; served the United States in the war of 1812, was present at Hull's surrender at Detroit, and was so mad he has never got over it.
Rev. W. H. Brockway knows by name, as he testifies before the committee in person, ten of the Indians names by Mr. Partridge, and cordially endorses Mr. Bradley's statements, adding that Baldwin is a very civilized man, educated at Berea, in Ohio, a good speaker and preacher. We consider it entirely unnecessary for us to say more in vindication of the claims of the Indians to civilization, patriotism and good citizenship. The Constitution uses the term Indian descent, so as to include part blood Indians – not to exclude full bloods. For a person of purely Indian descent could not in human nature help being an Indian, if he was ever so civilized.
But the contestant undertakes to show, secondly, that no less than 40 of those Indians belong to a tribe.
The only ghost of evidence in the whole array is the ex parte affidavit of John Melvin, wherein, in speaking of the Indians who voted in Arenac, he deposes that “said Indians were sworn, and claimed they were members of a tribe,” but it appears from Mr. Partridge's testimony in person before the committee, that only a part of them were sworn. Mr. Melvin does not say what tribe they belong to, or what was the nature of their connection with a tribe.
Mr. Partridge was present at the polls all day, and heard all of them sworn that were sworn, and the only one that said any thing about it was Tawas, who said he was Chief. These Indians own real estate, the title to which they hold by patent from the United States government, and can dispose of it at pleasure. The tribal government recognizes no such right to individual ownership and control. All such disqualifying tribal organizations were legally dissolved by the treaty of 1855, and “practically dissolved,” as Mr. Brockway testifies, by carrying out its provisions. We hold it at least reasonably certain that Indians who are highly civilized, as fourteen at least are, who are designated by name from the poll list in the testimony of Mr. Bradley, who own land and control it with other property, paying taxes to this State upon it, and legally and practically free from all allegiance or obedience to any Chief, are “not members of any tribe.” It is said that ex-Attorney General Howard once expressed the opinion that acknowledging a Chief was a disqualification.
A paper purporting to be such legal opinion is among the evidence in this care. Attorney General Upson wrote an opinion which also was among the evidence, but was withdrawn by the contestant as unfavorable to his claim. The purport of it was that no such thing as a tribe could exist under the treaty; that they were not voters simply by being “not members of any tribe,” but they must also be civilized. The only statements offered as evidence that they acknowledge a chief, are the ex parte statements of Pelkie, that the Indians in the town of Arenac “acknowledge Nank-chig-ome as thier chief,” of William S.Patrick, “that two of them claimed to be head men, and that the other Indians acknowledged them to be such head men.” In what manner, or under what circumstances, he does not say, and eleven residents of Bay county, who depose (ex parte) that their “general reputation is that they acknowledge a chief.” According to the testimony of Mr. Partridge, who was at the polls all day, only part of them said anything about it, all that he could be persuaded to say, after very close questioning, by the contestant, was that “Tawas was sworn, and said he was chief.”
He did say that that venerable patriot who fought our battles half a century ago, and was betrayed into the hands of a remorseless foe by our General “was kept upon the stand a long hour” by challengers, who will never know so much of the country's history as Tawas carried on his wampum belt, and communicates to his numerous descendents in words of enrapturing eloquence unknown to the Anglo-saxon tongue, before they would permit him to exercise the right of suffrage, and make his choice whether he would have Mr. Stevens or Mr. Raymond to represent the county, (all of which was justly his own property, and which he had magnanimously permitted those challengers to make their house out of pity for their destitute and homeless condition,) on the floor of this House.
Mr. Partridge further testifies that the town of Arenac comprises sixteen townships of territory, and contains more than one hundred Indian men who live at Bay City, thirty miles from Arenac, or that Mr. Westfall, who lives in the town of Arenac, or even Antoine Pelkie, whose wife is an Indian woman, can be so familiar with every individual Indian in sixteen townships of primeval forest, occupied by three times the number of adult Indian men that voted, and twenty times the number necessary to elect the sitting member, as to be able to say that each individual, by name, is a savage, and member of a tribe? Not one of them has pretended to do it.
Our opinion is, that evidence enunciated in such general terms as the Indians, the Saginaw bands of Indians, or the Indians in the town of Arenac, which is the most positive and pointed statement used, cannot be soundly held to include every particular Indian in that whole territory. If any Indian whose name is in the poll list is distinctly recognized as known to a witness to be a member of any tribe, contrary to the terms of his treaty, then he should be excluded; but no such case occurs. Fourteen, at least are distinctly recognized by fifteen years intimate acquaintance with Mr. Bradley, and ten by twenty-five years acquaintance with Mr. Brockway, that are first class citizens anywhere, without any legal or practical connection with any tribe. Mr. Partridge testified that Tawas said he was chief of that band. Mr. Raymond asked him the question if a tribe did not consist of bands, and he answered that it did. The most, therefore, that can be made out of the whose mass of testimony, is, that perhaps a part of the Indians in Arenac belong to bands. If they are tribes, they must be very weak ones, for no less than four – Nankchigome, Antog-gonabee, Peter Watum and Tawas – are said to be chiefs!
The fact is, that these men were formerly chiefs of bands, and a part of the people, formerly belonging to some of the bands, are not sufficiently conversant with commercial intricacies to venture to conduct their business relations with the United States government, and so these persons who were formerly chiefs, now act as agents for the others in those matters only, and are called chiefs by the government, as well as by the Indians, instead of agents; but according to Mr. Bradley's explanation of their method of transacting such business, it is so far from chiefship, in the primitive Indian sense, (in which sense the chief could bargain,) that they have not even the power of an attorney, but every individual must sign his own name with his own hand when he receives any pay from Government, and is simply vouched for by the so-called chief or agent, so as to prevent him from drawing pay more than once.
In all the evidence, no person has said that any Indian, or set, or class of Indians, acknowledged a chief any more positively than the two Patricks did that they voted the domocratic ticket, which is clearly proved they did not.
But the contestant undertakes to show, 3d, that as many as forty of those Indians voted for the sitting memember, and therefor introduces the ex—parte affidavit of Scott W. Sayles, wherein it is deposed the four Indians voted, in the town of Bangor, whose names were not duly registered, and “he has no doubt they voted the democratic ticket.” We think it is not proved that those four Indians voted for Mr. Stevens, even if the ex parte nature of the affidavit is not considered; for George F. Patrick deposed (ex-parte) that the Indians who voted in Arenac “stated” that they voted the democratic ticket,” but Mr. Partridge testified in person before the committee that he was at the polls in Arenac all day, and that the Indians did not vote the entire democratic ticket, but certainly voted for the witness, and for aught he knows, some of them voted for Mr. Raymond. He had better change to know than Mr. Sayles, for Mr. Sayles was a member of the Board of Inspectors, and Mr. Partridge was attending exclusively to his party interest, and had leisure to watch how people voted.
In proof that certainly 40 Indians voted for the sitting member in Arenac, Mr. Partridge testifies that 41 Indians voted there, and he has no means of knowing whether any one of them voted for Mr. Stevens, or Mr. Raymond. It is true that William S. Patrick, George Patrick, John Melvin, David Sherman, John S. Sherman, Oliver B. Beach, George Palmer, Joseph Fox, John S. Wilson, S. P. Havens, John Major, William Smith, Edward Oates, Samuel M. Wilson, Benjamin Tabasa, George Washton, and James Roberts, 17 in all, depose (ex parte) that they voted in Arenac for Henry Raymond, and Mr. Partridge swore that Lorango Jenny so voted, which makes out the 18 votes which Mr. Raymond had, in that town, by the canvassers' statement.
Here, then, (if the ex parte nature of the evidence to prove 17 of them is not considered,) we have the names of all the men who supported the contestant in that town.
They may be white men, but if they are, it is not in evidence before the committee! Every one of them may belong to that savage race of which the poet sung -- “Lo! the poor Indian.” If they are white men, the are such as the Indian referred to when he said, “white men very onsartin.” Not one of them has deposed that he was a white man, and not a witness has sworn that a single one of them was. Seventeen of them have indeed deposed that they were legal voters, and the Indians also swore to the same when they were challenged at the polls.
But this is not all. It is certain that they are not all white men. Since the testimony before the committee was closed, the sitting member has received a copy of the poll list from the town of Arenac, and certain affidavits, which evidence the committee have received by consent of the contestant. The affidavits are ex parte like the others, but the poll is duly certified, by the Supervisor of the town, to have been copied by him, and he has marked each name so as to distinguish between white men and Indians. By that list, George Washton is an Indian! and Mark D. Bourrassa and Peter Watum depose ex parte, that he is an Indian. The name of Benjamin Tabasa does not occur in that list, and no Benjamin, except Benjamin Ca-ba-as-sa, who is marked as an Indian, deposed to be an Indian by Bourrassa and Watum, and sworn to be an Indian by Bradley, Brockway and Partridge. The name of James Roberts does not occur in the list, but in the contestant's copy, certified to be a true copy, number 62 is Loo-wa-way-shing, an Indian.
Mr. Partridge swore that forty-one Indians voted in Arenac, and twenty-one white men and two half-breeds. Daniel Williams, John Lantz, James Mackin, John W. Whiting, Lewis McNeil, and George Law, have made affidavits (ex parte) that they are white men, and voted for Stevens, and Mark D. Bourrassa and Bernard Bourrassa, that they are half-breeds, and voted for Stevens. Here are two cross bloods and six white men. 18 and 6 = 24, and there were but twenty-one white men.
It is now apparent that the contestant took those affidavits ex parte from choice, and for the purpose of imposing the names of Indians upon this House as those of white men, and that he studiously and craftily neglected to have any of them depose that they were white men, or to allow any witness to swear to it, judging with great sagacity that the committee, good honest souls, would take it for granted that they were all alike, white men, if the testimony, upon this point, was all alike silent.
And here we rest that our promise in the beginning of this report to show that this ex parte evidence was false upon its face, for where good evidence should contain the whole truth, this does not set forth enough to entitle it to be the dignity of even ex parte evidence; for ex parte means on one side, and this does less than that, and is really no more than in part ex parte
The contestant alleges that those 18 voters were scattered over 16 townships of territory, and he had to employ an officer to go around with him to find them, and could by no means inform the sitting member when, where, and of whom he was to take testimony.
This difficulty we hold to be the misfortune of the contestant, and not of the sitting member.
The fact is, that three Indians voted for Raymond, and 39 for Stevens; exactly the majority by which he is elected. Now, throwing out all the Indians, 39 from Stevens' vote, and 3 from Raymond's and Stevens is elected by 3 majority. Mr. Raymond, however, is not unprepared for this emergency, for here comes the affidavit of Mr. Sayles concerning the 4 Banger Indians.
Our apology is due to the House for introducing arguments into this report to show the insufficiency of that testimony, and it is this: that although the committee took it, as they did all of the ex parte class of evidence, “for what it was worth,” they decided that Mr. Sayles' affidavit – notwithstanding the ex parte nature of it, and notwithstanding he does not pretend to know who they voted for – that “it was worth” enough to unseat a member of this House! We do not believe this House will value it as high, if they take it at any price.
If they do, the question will recur upon the legality or illegality of the votes of all those Indians; for if the Bangor Indians voted for Stevens, and the Indians are all thrown out, then Raymond has a clear majority of one. The three Indians who voted for him all depose that they were legal voters, and their names are ranked by all the witnesses among the first class of citizens; and no less than eleven others, who actually voted for Stevens, are equally respectable.
The vote of Peter Wa-tum, who depose that he is no chief and acknowledges no chief, and Peter Baldwin's vote, give Stevens a majority of one, and Baldwin is a man who was educated in the very centre of civilization, is a profound scholar, a brilliant orator, and an eminent divine. But to still further satisfy the house that a large number of those were legal voters in the strictest sense of the term, Julius B. Hart and Barzelius B. Hart, of Bay City, Indian traders, depose (ex parte) that they are well acquainted with the Indians in the town of Arenac, describe them the same as witnesses Bradley and Brockway, and say that no tribal relations whatever exist among them to their knowledge. Mark D. Bourrassa, a cross-blood, of Arenac, depose (ex parte) that he knows twenty-six of the Indians who voted, in that town, for Stevens, and whose names he gives, corresponding with the poll-lists, and describes as farmers, making agriculture their principal business, and eight of whom can read and write, and positively, as of his own knowledge, that no tribal relation has existed there since 1855.
And Peter Wa-tum depose (ex parte) that he is an Indian, and resides in the town of Arenac, and has for twenty years – corrborates Bourrassa as to twenty-two that are farmers, and that can read and write; and says there has no tribal relation existed among them since 1855; that those who were formerly chiefs, exercise no authority as such; that all the Indians who voted in Arenac are civilized, and that not one of them belongs to any tribe or band whatever; that he was formerly a chief, but neither claims nor exercises any such right, and has exercised no such authority since 1855.
The conclusion is unavoidable to us, that those Indians were legal voters, and we hope the House will not deprive Mr. Raymond of the benefit of the three Indian of the three Indian votes which he received, for he will probably never receive another; or if he does, we will then believe that the Indian who gives it ought not to be a legal voter.
We, therefore, reminding such members, if there are any, who are in doubt, that legally and justly the sitting member is entitled to the benefit of every reasonable doubt, report that in our deliberate judgment, Appleton Stevens was legally elected, and is legally and justly entitled to the seat he now holds as member of the House from the county of Bay, and that the prayer of the memorial ought to be refused.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
ANDREW J. LEECH,
Mr. Gregory moved that the report be printed in the journal,
Which motion prevailed.
Mr. Childs moved to make the whole subject the special order for Wednesday next, at 2 o'clock p.m.
Mr. Gregory moved to amend by striking out “Wednesday next at 2 o'clock p. m., “ and insert “Tuesday evening at 7 o'clock.”
Mr. Tibbits called for a division of the question.
The question being upon striking out, the same did not prevail.
The original motion was then adopted, and the report was made the special order for Wednesday next at 2 o'clock p. m.
J. B. WILSON, Chairman.
Session - January 23, 1861. - Added Nov., 2010.
Session - January 24, 1861. - Added Nov., 2010.