1850 - Treaty Council proposed

        Mitchell and Fitzpatrick re-propose the treaty council they had urged Medill to approve two years before.  Now, Congress was locked in a debate over slavery in Missouri, and the omens for a new council were not good which Fitzpatrick left St. Louis for the Platte River country.

         Fitzpatrick arrived at Big Timber, in late winter, where tribes had assembled to await word on the big council.  Fitzpatrick reported to Mitchell that the tribes were expressing "... great interest and anxiety in regard to the contemplated treaty."

         After the last snows had melted, Fitzpatrick settled in at Bent's Fort, on the Santa Fe Trail to wait for news of the council from Mitchell.  While there, he sent a dispatch to his boss:"I regret exceedingly that the whole arrangement has not been completed the past summer, as I am confident that the Indians of that country will never be found in better training, or their dispositions more pliable, or better suited to enter into amicable arrangements with the government, than they are at the present time." 

         In June, the Missouri Republican newspaper reported that Fitzpatrick had returned to St. Louis the previous day where he learned from that action on their treaty had been delayed while Congress hacked its way through the political thicket of slavery in Missouri.  Meanwhile, cholera continued to rage on the plains, and word from Washington was not auspicious. 

         Then, in September, newspapers published stories that Mitchell and Fitzpatrick were planning a grand treaty council to negotiate rights of passage through Indian lands for Oregon bound emigrants.  Fitzpatrick wrote to Mitchell that a council was "…necessary at this time to have some understanding with [the Indians] in regard to the right of way through their country."   The new national census showed that the population of Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas had grown by 1.7 million in the past decade, while more than 100,000 citizens had rushed to California to claim their fortune.