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William Hutchinson to Jacob Collamer

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Lawrence, Kansas, March 5, 1858 Confidential Hon. J. Collamer
Dr Sir, I wish to invite your attention to a matter of great importance to myself and those associated with me and possibly of some prospective interest to you. In doing this I enjoin the strictest secrecy upon the whole subject, except so far as conference with friends may be essential to success.
I refer to a treaty with the Delaware Indians by which a portion of their lands will be opened by purchase, like the “Trust lands” of last year. This land lies on the opposite side of the Kansas River, to our town, and embraces some of the most valuable land in the territory. Its value to us must be seen at a glance, and the eyes of speculators have been upon it for more than a year. Without knowing how far you may be initiated I will give a brief history of the condition of this land. The Delawares now own a strip on the North side of the Kansas River 40 miles long, extending from the Western boundary of the Wyandott lands, to the Kaw half-breeds reservation approx site, Lecompton, and some 5 miles in width. The Indians living on the lower half of these lands nearest

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the Wyandotts are somewhat civilised and many of them are well educated. These would like to become citisens, as the Wyandotts have done and make a selection of the best of their lands and allow the balances to be sold. The Indians living on the approx half opposite Lawrence do not wish to become citisens – except a few of them – but are anxious to have government sell their lands, for their benefit and remove South to the Indian Territory. A delegation of their tribe start for Washington next Monday to negotiate such a treaty by which these lands can be thus sold, and another delegation are about to start, for the South prospective for a location there. In case the treaty is made, it is evident that there will be a general stampede for these lands, expecting to hold them until the sale, under a squatters law, as other Trust lands were held last year. All this is not known to our people generally, but a few are in the secret. In anticipation of the result, an association has been formed in Lawrence, numbering some 200 all pledged to protect each other on their claims, when the hour arrives. The survey is now going on quietly, and it is intended to have the quarter section drawn by lot as soon as the plan is sufficiently perfected. The number will be increased considerably before the time of drawing, as it is understood that the tract for which negotiations

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will be made, will contain about 1400 claims any one of which could not be with less than $2000.
Besides this association I will state that, we are satisfied there is another in Lawrence. For months this land has been watched and Washington hawkers have been eyeing it also. Last Summer a Mr Forsyth – a friend of Douglas was here and spent some weeks among the Delawares, with a [xxx] to figure in a treaty by which he could be made a millionaire. There is a democratic clan connected with him including Parrott, Johnson and others in Washington, to which this Leavenworth Company belongs. Now you must see that time is every thing in this matter, and that, to succeed we must learn of the treaty as soon as the other company. A committee of correspondence has had this duty in charge for some time, but I cannot now give you the names of parties in Washington with whom you can confer. I have been recently added to this committee and requested to aquaint you with the movement, and ask your assistance, provided you would render it without money, but with the assurance that you should have an interest with us upon the land – say a claim that should be drawn for the boards of Trustees. I am aware that your business and associations are wholly distinct from the Indian Department, still it was presumed that you would

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be willing to interest, yourself in the matter enough to be of service to us, without trespassing upon your official duties. Do not approach Parrott or Pugh or Douglas, or any one that would be liable to be an accomplice, with the other association, but choose such counsel as you can with safety. A Mr. Stevens of Lecompton leaves for Washington on Monday, who is an agent of ours and will assist in the work there. We, of course, are in favor of such a treaty as I have indicated then of having news of the same telegraphed as early as possible. The line extends to Brownville [xxx] and arrangements will be made to take it from there with all possible dispatch [xxx] I have given you a rough outline of our plan, and will write you more soon; probably, when I learn what instructions are given the Delaware Delegation starts Monday.
We are preparing to elect Delegates to the Constitutional Convention, next Tuesday, and intend to make that movement our only reliance hereafter and hope you will be able to stave-off the Lecompton question until we can perfect the new organization and complete a government under it. I see you keep your end up so far. The longer you can keep the subject open to agitation, the more convincing will be the facts arrayed before the country. My greatest regret at present is the springing up of democratic seed upon our soil that threatens soon to be powerful party. Yours etc Wm Hutchinson

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