Dating france indian affairs
Abuses crept in where authority was so diffused, and the hand of a strong man was needed when William Johnson was appointed Indian agent by Clinton in 1744.From that date to the present there runs through the Indian administration a living and developing theory of government. I know that many mistakes arise here from erroneous accounts formerly made of Indians ; they have been represented as calling themselves subjects, although the very word would have startled them, had it been ever pronounced by any interpreter.Before that date a purely military administration prevailed, the duty of the government being restricted to maintaining the loyalty of the Indian nations to the crown, with almost the sole object of preventing their hostility and of conserving their assistance as allies.About 1830 the government, with the disappearance of the anxieties of the first period, began to perceive the larger humane duties which had arisen with the gradual settlement and pacification the country.When the French standard was set up the Indian passed at once from undisputed possession of his ancestral domain to a mire precarious occupation.His land was parcelled out and patented without his consent; his hunting-grounds were constrained by feudal tenure and customs, without tribal or individual acquiescence.Protection from vices which were not his own, and instruction in peaceful occupations, foreign to his natural bent, were to be substituted for necessary generosity.
In 1763 he informed the Lords of Trade regarding the Indian population of his department.
According to the doctrine of English law, the lands occupied by the Indians before the Conquest vested thereupon in the British crown; the Indians continuing to occupy under the crown by a sort of precarious title.
That title may exist merely as policy, but it has actuated all the British dealings with the Indians ; and while it sprang in the seventeenth century from ideals of right and justice, it could be understood and interpreted in the nineteenth by the law lords of the crown in the following words : 'There has been all along vested in the Crown a substantial and paramount estate, underlying the Indian title, which became a whenever that title was surrendered or otherwise extinguished.' The idea that there existed something in the relations of the white man with the Indian which demanded more than casual attention, which in fact required special training and study, is formulated in the instructions of 1670 to which reference has just been made.
Persons were to be employed to learn the Indian languages, and from this special class of official intermediary or interpreter rose the separate department of the government which was to be charged with the supervision of Indian affairs, and the oversight by which traditional policy should be expanded to meet the needs of advancing civilization.
In New France the affairs of the Indians were merged in the government of the country ; there was no officer or board of commissioners designated to control or influence the conduct of the natives ; the missionaries were free agents for evangelization, but had no official standing; and the nerves of policy spreading from the central authority were therefore neither numerous nor sensitive.