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Extract from a government report written in 1836 commenting on relations between the British and the Native Americans
(Catalogue ref: T 64/393)
Source 1a

[In its Favour it may be stated:]

1st, That we should save an annual Expenditure of, say 4,000l.
2nd, That, according to common Laws among Nations, there appears to be no Reason
why, having lost all Dominion over and Interest in the United States, we should
continue to make annual Payments to any Portion of its Inhabitants.
3rd, That it amounts almost to an Act of Hostility for the British Government to
continue to give Guns, Powder, and Ball to the Indians of the United States, with
whom that People are at this Moment engaged in Civil War.
4th, That a considerable Portion of the Presents which we give to the Indians are
shortly after their Delivery to be seen displayed for Sale by the Shopkeepers of the
United States, who often obtain them almost for nothing.

In reply to the First Objection, namely, "that by withholding the Presents we should save an annual Expenditure of 4,000l," it may be stated, that of all the Money which has ever been expended by the British Government there is perhaps no Sum which ought to be less regretted than that which we have hitherto bestowed upon the Aborigines of America. It has purchased for us the Blessing of their Race; they love us; they have shed their Blood for us; they would do so again; they look upon us as the only just and merciful Inhabitants of the Old World; and impressed with these Feelings their Attachment to our Sovereign amounts almost to Veneration: "When we see the Sun rise in the East," said a Warrior to me at the Great Council at the Manatoulin Island, "it is our Custom to say to our young Men, there is our Great Father; he warms us, he clothes us, he gives us all we desire."

There can be no Doubt, that up to the present Page in the History of the British Empire we have acted well towards the Indians. What that Reflection may intrinsically be worth it is not so easy to determine, as every Man will perhaps estimate it differently; however, its moral Value, whatever it may be, should be deducted from the Expense of which we complain; for we cannot enjoy both Advantages; if we save the latter we must lose the former.

In reply to the Second Objection, namely, "that according to Common Laws among Nations there appears to be no Reason why, having lost all Dominion over and Interest in the United States, we should continue to make annual Payments to any Portion of its Inhabitants," it must be recollected that in our Wars with the Americans we gladly availed ourselves of the Services of the Indians, whom invariably we promised we would never desert. In these

Source 1b

promises we made no Restriction whatever as to Domicile; when the Tribes joined us, we never waited to ask them whence they came; at the Close of the War, when their surviving Warriors left us, we never prescribed to them where they should go.

It will be asked, in what Way were these our Promises made? It is difficult to reply to this Question, as it involves the Character of the Indian Race.

An Indian's Word, when it is formally pledged, is one of the strongest moral Securities on Earth; like the Rainbow it beams unbroken when all beneath is threatened with Annihilation. ......

To the Third and Fourth Objections I have nothing to reply, for I must say I think the Americans have Reason for the Jealousy they express at the British Government interfering, by positively arming their own Indians, with whom they are at war, with English Guns, Powder and Ball. I also cannot deny that a great Proportion of the Presents we give to the American Indians form a Tribute which we annually pay to the Shopkeepers of the United States.
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