Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Colorado. Alexander Cummings.

Vicious Politics in Territorial Colorado Against the Backdrop of Impeachment

Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Colorado

Notes: A printed record of the testimony before the House Committee on Indian Affairs, charging Colorado's Territorial Governor, the ex officio Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the territory, of corruption. The charges were politically motivated—Alexander Cummings (1810–1879) opposed statehood and faced strong opposition from Colorado residents clamoring to join the Union (Cummings had been appointed by President Andrew Johnson who twice vetoed Colorado statehood bills).

The claims put forward in this hearing by A. A. Bradford, a Cummings enemy representing the Colorado territory in Congress, concerned an inflated contract for hauling goods to Native Americans in the territory and the appointment of Cummings daughter to a territorial Indian Affairs post when she spent most of the year on the East Coast. The viciousness of the politics is palpable in this hearing report, which compiles witness testimony and statements on the two matters. Cummings name is misspelled throughout without the final "s" and his children are frequently referred to as "reputed" children.

Cummings was cleared of the charges. While his daughter officially held a position in the government, his son performed the work; and for the hauling contract, it turned out the distance involved appeared short, but there was no direct road, forcing the wagons to take a circuitous route that was almost impassible. "We were three days going one mile, with two men to every wagon... The Indians themselves finally came and helped the wagons over" (p. 9).

It was a Pyrrhic victory. Within a few months, Cummings was replaced as territorial governor. See " 'His Turbulent Excellency,' Alexander Cummings, Governor of Colorado Territory, 1865–1867" by William Hanchett in The Colorado Magazine, April 1957, for a good summary of this affair.

39th Congress, 2d Session. House of Representatives Mis. Doc. No. 81. March 2, 1867.

Edition + Condition: First edition. Original sewn gatherings; untrimmed and unbound as issued. Minor chipping to the bottom edge of a few of the untrimmed leaves. Scarce in original condition.

Publication: [Washington, DC]: (n.p.), 1867.

Item No: #307451

Price: $300