Testimony taken by the Committee on Indian Affairs - 1885
Testimony taken by the Committee on Indian Affairs

JOHN W. SCOTT (recalled)

By the Chairman :
Question. Mr. Scotty do you desire to make any further statement?—Answer. Yes, sir. I would like to modify my answer to two questions. First, as to whether I reported the leases on the reservation to the Department. I answered that I did not. I think I should have added, that while I made no specific report, I reported them incidentally in my regular monthly reports as they were made. The next is the reason why I did not report. My answer was substantially correct, but not as clear as it might have been. The reason was, that when I assumed charge, I understood that it was a matter that the agent had nothing to do with officially; that the Department neither approved nor disapproved of these leases, but simply permitted the Indians to make them.
Q. Mr. Scott, what do you mean by "reported incidentally"?—A. Well, sir, I make a monthly report to the Department, and in the monthly reports I have made I referred to the fact that leases had been made.
Q. Do you consider that everything you have done there in reference to these leases has been voluntary on your part?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you ever been instructed by the Department to take any part in the matter whatever?—A. No, sir.
Q. Have you ever been advised in respect to what you have done?—A. No, sir; I have had no instructions whatever.
Q. Is the Department at this moment aware of what you have done?—A. Yes, sir; the Department understands that leases have been made.
Q. Has the Department been entirely silent as to what you have been doing?—A. Well, sir, I have received no instructions.
Q. Has it been silent in respect to what you have done, so far as you know?—A. I think I may say so.
Q. So the Department has neither approved nor disapproved of these leases?—A. No, sir.
Q. Have you ever suggested to the Department the idea that the money should be invested in a different way than being paid per capĀ­ita?—A. No, sir; never.
Q. Have you ever suggested an idea in reference to the wisdom of this proceeding?—A. I have not.
Q. Nor the Department to you?—A. No, sir.
Q. You were guided by your own judgment?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And accountable to nobody?—A. Yes, sir; I suppose I am accountable.
Q. In what respect are you accountable to the Department, if what you have done has been entirely voluntary and an unofficial proceeding on your part?—A. Well, sir, if I voluntarily undertook something the Department disapproved of, of course I would be responsible.
Q. Is there anything you do, in reference to the Indians, that is not your official duty?—A. Well, sir, I do not know how to answer that question.
The Chairman . Well, I am sure I do not either. Now, sir, if anything occurs to you that you can do in reference to the Indians which is not a part of your official duty, would you be responsible for your actions to the Department?—A. Well, sir, in regard to the matter of leases I have done nothing.
Q. I am not asking that. Is not this matter of leases a matter in reference to the Indians?—A. Yes, sir. They were made while the Indians were under my charge, and it is a matter the Indians did for themselves.
The Chairman. You are like the man who held the garments and let somebody else stone the prophets.
Q. And this was done under your eye, your protection, and your authority, and you had nothing to do with it?—A. Well, sir, it transpired within my knowledge, but not in my presence.
Q. Mr. Scott, has any white man a right to come on this reservation of which you have charge, without your consent or the consent of the Indian Department?—A. I presume not.
Q. Then if the Department did not give consent, if you stood there and let them come upon the reservation, did you not give consent?—A. Silence gives consent.
Q. Is not that an official act of yours to permit them to be there?—A. I suppose it is.
Q. Then, are you not responsible for all they do there?—A. Yes, sir; I believe so, if they do anything contrary to law.
Q. You are responsible for their acts if they are there by your consent?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And without your consent they have no business on the ground?—A. If I permit them to be there and their acts are contrary to law, and I permit these acts without protesting, I should be, of course, responsible.

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