« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
poisoned with the malaria of the climate. Already the effect of the climate may be seen upon them in the ennui that seems to have settled upon each, and in the large number now sick.
"It is a matter of astonishment to me that the government should have ordered the removal of the Ponca Indians from Dakota to the Indian Territory, without having first made some provision for their settlement and comfort. Before their removal was carried into effect an appropriation should have been made by congress sufficient to have located them in their new home, by building a comfortable house for the occupancy of every family of the tribe. As the case now is, no appropriation has been made by congress except of a sum but little more than sufficient to remove them; no houses have been built for their use, and the result is that these people have been placed on an uncultivated reservation to live in their tents as best they may, and await further legislative action.”
The trials of this brave and patient people during the years that have intervened between that sad day and the present may sometime be told as a sequel. Only one other chapter remains to be written of them, in their relation to Nebraska, and that may not here be given. It is the attempt of a number of the Poncas to return to their native place, known in law as the Ponca Habeas Corpus Case.
This very small and insignificant tribe of Indians has cost the government of the United States, in appropriations, about $1,280,000. Its members are perhaps no happier to-day than they were 100 years ago, and much of the time during which the United States has acted as their guardian, the Poncas have been in achaal distress.
If a small tribe costs a million and a quarter, what does a large tribe cost? A single instance will suffice to show how it sometimes costs. In 1877, the same law which set apart $15,000 for removal of the Poncas, appropriated outright, in one lump sum, $1,125,000 "for subsistence, [for the Sioux) including the Yankton Sioux,
and for oth purposes of their civilization.” The same act also appropriates, besides this, in several
small sums, $419,600. The government had to be more liberal in dealing with the Sioux, for they were crafty fellows.
Where two generations ago the Ponca chiefs led their warriors in the chase, and where later these tried as best they could to learn the white man's ways and endured untold hardships to keep unbroken the word of promise which they held sacred, white farmers now follow the plow, unconscious of the pitiful story acted out upon that soil.
A BRIEF SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN P. S. REAL.
Read before the State Historical Society, January 14, 1896, by Father William
Murphy, of Seward.
Captain Patrick Sarsfield Real, by birth an Irishman, catholic in religion, in political affiliations republican, at the age of sixteen, immigrated in 1851, with his parents to Peoria county, Illinois. The months of the year not occupied with the labors of the farm he spent in assiduous application to the studies afforded him in our public schools at that time, and thereby developed and rendered more perfect the qualities of a mind which nature had already made more than ordinarily strong. By the training thus received, a training admirably calculated to mature and invigorate the qualities of mind, heart, and body, for the reason that the influences of home and the school and the farm combined, like so many potent forces, in exerting all their power at the same time on the same individual at the formative period of life, he became well fitted for the duties which patriotism afterwards called upon him to perform in that great contest which was forever to decide whether free institutions were to continue to exist, or be forever supplanted by the political serfdom which before the declaration of independence had claimed that man was made for the government, and not government for the man.
About the time the first shot was fired on the flag at Fort Sumter, Captain Real was detained by sickness in a hospital in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. One day, feeling better than usual, he took a short walk to a neighboring park, where, sitting in the midst of a group of men, he listened for a short time with feelings of growing indignation to their intemperate and disloyal conversation. At length, with that calm, determined, resolute manner characteristic of him, he interrupted the conversation by declaring that the Union had a claim on his loyalty, pot only because he had sworn to defend it, but also because it was
the best government on earth, and possessed, moreover, the absolute affections of his heart. He called upon those present to point out a single wrong ever done to any citizen by that government. Such language seems simple and easy in 1896, but in 1861, in the city of New Orleans, alone and far from loyal citizens, it required something of the heroic to give utterance to it. Having been immediately informed that a longer residence in that city would endanger his safety, he set out in a day or two for St. Louis, where, responding to the first call of Abraham Lincoln in 1861, he enlisted as a private in company E, Seventh regiment of Missouri volunteers, from which he was transferred one, year later to company K, Ninetieth regiment of Illinois volunteers.
Right here he again manifested one of his remarkable characteristics. His soldierly and civic virtues attracted to him the attention of his comrades, and won their confidence to such an extent that in the election of officers, he was chosen captain, to the exclusion of him who had enlisted and formed the company. While Mr. Real ardently desired that office on account of the honor and greater opportunities it gave him of performing more effective deeds for his country, he nevertheless refused to accept, it, and informed his comrades that justice and honor required them to elect for their captain him who had labored so patriotically to enlist the company, and that he himself was determined for the present not to wield the sword, but to shoulder the musket. The other was accordingly elected captain, but after a short experience in the field had to retire, because he wanted those qualities w ch alone can win the confidence of men in actual warfare. Mr. Real was immediately elected to the vacancy and was distinguished by his soldierly virtues to the end of the war, in which he participated in twenty-five general engagements, among which may be mentioned Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and all through the Atlanta campaign. To have been a soldier of that army in such a campaign, familiarly known as Sherman's march to the sea, to have shared the hardships, to have overcome the dangers, to have won every battle in obtaining the objective of a campaign so unique in the history of warfare,
either ancient or modern, to have followed a commander so distinguished for extraordinary military genius and success that he stands out alone in all history, is glory enough for any man, how exalted soever may have been his rank. It is enough for Captain Real to have performed well the duties that devolved upon him as a captain in that magnificent array of wonderful men, and thus with theirs to have his name written upon the scroll of immortality.
I will now narrate some of those actions which portray a few of his special characteristics. He took special pleasure in speaking in the highest terms of his commander, General Sherman, and of the absolute confidence reposed in him by the soldiers. Nothing, how small soever it apparently might be, was beneath the attention of that general. On one occasion Captain Real wished to mail a letter he had written to the young lady who afterward became his wife, It happened that he inquired of some soldiers marching by about the mail agent. General Sherman, who had not been noticed, was close by on horesback, and hearing the captain's inquiry, said to him: “Captain, I will take charge of your mail and see that it will be forwarded.” It was by such courtesies and attentions, seemingly small, as well as by his transcendent abilities, that General Sherman won the hearts of his soldiers and fused them into one with his own.
Although engaged in the terrible business of waging war, Captain Real did not deem it necessary to become sullied with any vices. He looked upon war as the supreme effort of man to administer justice. He revered justice as one of the four cardinal virtues. In the exercise of virtue he could not see why vice should be contracted. While striking heavy and deadly blows in the midst of battle, the lips of his heart often invoked the God of justice and of armies. He fought for pure love of country and of right, not from hatred of his fellow man in the form of an enemy. When the battle was ended he extended to his subdued antagonist the right hand of fellowship and all the sympathies of the human heart. For him the war was ended with submission to the supreme law of the land. He was thus in truth a man