HENRY L. DAWES (October 30,
1816-February 5, 1903) was a Republican United States Senator and a
Representative, notable for the Dawes Act, aimed at stimulating assimilation of
Indians by ending tribal government and control of communal lands. The act,
adopted by Congress in 1887, was known as the General Allotment Act or the
Dawes Severalty Act of 1887. It authorized the United States to survey American
Indian tribal land and divide it into allotments for individual American
Indians. Those who accepted allotments
and lived separately from the tribe would be granted United States citizenship.
The stated objective was to lift Native Americans out of poverty and simulate
them into mainstream society. Dawes was
born in Cummington, MA, taught at Greenfield, MA, and also edited The
Greenfield Gazette. From 1853 to 1857, he was United States attorney for the
western district of Massachusetts.
In this one page, Civil War-Date ALS, 5 ¼ x 8 ¼, North Adams [MA], Aug. 4, 63, Dawes writes to “My Dear Allen. I am in receipt of yours. I would gladly do anything in my power to aid Lieut. Remington whose case is a hard one. I do not know exactly what style of letter to write but I enclose one to Gov. & one to the Secy. If a different tone would be more acceptable, please command me.
“Very truly yrs,
Toning, folds. Writing in another hand on verso regarding the Dawes Act.
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