already stated, do make it essentially necessary that the office of Superintendents should for the present be continued for these purposes, and that they should be enabled by a stated annual establishment confined to a certain sum, to make such presents as have been usual and customary and therefore are become absolutely necessary upon all occasions of treaties held with the Indians for publick purposes ; the expence of which, including salaries to the two Superintendents, need not, according to the calculations and estimates made by them, exceed eight thousand pounds annually.
Having thus fully stated to your Majesty the nature and extent of those services which relate to the management of Indian affairs, independent of the trade with them, we shall in the next place submit what has occurred to us upon the latter subject.
It must be admitted that a proper plan of trade with the Indians is an object deserving great attention, not only from the commercial benefits resulting from it, but also from the effect that its being ill- or well-governed must have upon the temper and disposition of the Savages ; and as it must consist of regulations that depend upon local situation and circumstances, and which require the authority of law to carry them into execution, it cannot be conducted with the same facility or be properly and effectually controlled by officers having no other authority than what they derive from your Majesty's Commission.
Upon the fullest examination into the effect and operation of the several propositions respecting the Indian trade, suggested by this Board in 1764, and adopted by the superintendents, it does appear to us that many of them have, in particular cases, and with respect to particular bodies of Indians, been attended with salutary effect ; we are convinced however upon the whole of this consideration,
First, that no one general Plan of Commerce and Policy is or can be applicable to all the different nations of Indians, of different interests and in different situations.
Secondly, that the confining trade to certain posts and places, which is the spirit and principle of the present system, however expedient and effectual with respect to the Southern Indians, is of doubtful policy with respect to those Indians more particularly connected with New York and Pennsylvania ; and that it is evidently disadvantageous, inconvenient, and even dangerous with respect to the much larger body of Indians, who possess the country to the Westward, and with whom your Majesty's subjects in Quebec in particular do carry on so extensive a commerce.
Thirdly, that, independent of this objection, and of any doubt that might attend the practicability of its execution in its full extent, the whole Plan does consist of such a variety of establishments, and necessarily leads to such extensive operations as to bring on an increasing expence, which, in point of commerce, may exceed the value of the object to which it applies, and being greater than the trade can bear, must, if the present plan should be permanent, either fall upon the colonies, in which case it will be impracticable to settle the proportion each colony should bear, or become a burthen upon this country, which, we humbly conceive, would be both unreasonable and highly inconvenient.
For these reasons, therefore, and under these circumstances, we are humbly of opinion, that the laying aside that part of the present plan which relates to the Indian trade and entrusting the entire management of that trade to the Colonies themselves will be of great advantage to Your Majesty's service as a means of avoiding much difficulty and saving much expence both at present and in future.
It is certainly true, that while the management of this trade was in the hands of the colonies antecedent to the establishment of superintendents, many abuses were committed by the Traders, little care was taken to subject them to proper regulations, and the misconduct of the colonies in this particular contributed not a little to involve us in the enormous expences of an Indian War.
If, therefore, it were probable that the like neglect or mismanagement would again take place, in such a degree as to expose us to the same consequences, we should not hesitate in declaring our opinion against the propriety of suffering the management of this concern ever to revert into the hands of the colonies.
But we trust, that the experience, which the old colonies have had of the ill effects of such inattention and neglect, will induce all of them to use more caution and better management for the future, and particularly to adopt such of the regulations established by the present Superintendents, as have evidently operated to the benefit of the trade, and to the giving that satisfaction and content to the Indians from which alone the colonies can hope to derive either immediate profit or lasting peace and security.
With respect to the question, How far the present expence, regarding the disposition of troops for Indian purposes, may with propriety and safety be lessened by reducing most of the posts now subsisting and entrusting others of them to the provinces themselves, we beg leave in the first place in general to represent it to your Majesty as our humble opinion, that it will be in the highest degree expedient to reduce all such posts in the interior country, as are not immediately subservient to the protection of the Indian commerce, and to the defeating of French and Spanish machinations among the Indians, or which, although in some degree useful for these purposes, cannot be maintained, but at an expence disproportioned to the degree of their utility. But before we apply this observation to the particular posts now subsisting, it may be proper to take a cursory view of the interests and situations of the several tribes or bodies of Indians, whose commerce and connection are the objects of whatever establishments it may be thought necessary to continue.
The Indians included within the Southern district consist principally of the Chactaws, Creeks and Cherokees, the Chickasaws being reduced to a very inconsiderable number, and the Catawbas in great measure domiciliated within the settlements of North Carolina ; the commerce and connection with the Creeks and Cherokees have been, from the situation of their country, principally confined to the British colonies, of Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia, whilst the commerce and connection with the Chactaws, whose country extends from the Albama River to the Mississippi were for that reason altogether confined to the French colony of Louisiana.
By the Treaty of Paris, France has renounced all pretensions to dominion in the Chactaw country, which is thereby become in respect to that stipulation a part of the British empire ; and consequently all Trade and intercourse between the subjects of France or Spain in Louisiana and those Indians, is, in fact, illicit and contraband ; and yet it is evident from the Reports made by the Superintendent of the Southern District, that such trade and intercourse is still continued to be kept up to a very great degree.
Such, may it please your Majesty, is the state of the commerce and connection with the principal tribes of Indians in the Southern district ; and as their commerce both from Louisiana and the British Colonies is carried on through a great variety of paths and routes, and does not depend upon rivers and lakes, forming, as in the Northern district, the only passes into the Indian country, it is evident that both the security and extension of it must depend upon the effect and operation of those regulations, under which it shall be carried on ; and that neither the trade of your Majesty's subjects can be protected, nor the connection and intercourse between Louisiana and the Indians prevented by forts or military establishments.
In the Northern district the principal Indians form themselves into two great confederacies ; the one composed of the Six Nations and their Allies and Dependents, the other, called the Western Confederacy, composed of a great variety of powerful tribes, occupying that extensive country, which lies about the Lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior, and to the West and North West.
The commerce and connection with the first of these bodies of Indians was antecedent to the War, confined chiefly to the province of New York, upon the frontiers of which their principal hunting ground lyes ; and the trade was carried on at fortified Truck houses upon the lake Ontario ; since the Peace a large share of this trade is carried on from Pensylvania by the Channel of the Ohio, and from thence by Venango and Riviere aux Boeufs into Lake Erie.
The commerce and connection with those Indians which form the Western confederacy, were, both from the situation of the country they occupied, and from the plan pursued by France for securing the dominion of it by posts upon the lakes, altogether confined to the French in Canada, and is now principally carried on from thence by your Majesty's subjects there, through the Channel of the Ottawa River and by the Lakes.
In this state, therefore, of the commerce and connection subsisting between your Majesty's subjects and the Indians in the Northern district, and of the channels through which the intercourse is carried on, it does appear to us, that the keeping up military establishments at Detroit, Michilimacinac and Niagara, and the having two, or at most three armed vessels on the Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior may be necessary for keeping up and preserving that good correspondence with the Indians, which is essential to the safety, improvement and extension of the trade with them.
Of these three establishments that at Detroit, which is the great center of Indian commerce, situated amongst many numerous tribes of Indians, and where a considerable number of French remain under the Faith of the
Treaty of Paris, does appear to us to be by far the most important object, not being confined merely to the convenience of any particular colony, but embracing every advantage, upon which the safety and extension of our Indian commerce do depend.
The armed vessels proposed to be kept upon the Lakes, do also appear to us to be of the like general utility ; and therefore we are humbly of opinion, that both these establishments should be maintained upon a respectable footing ; the charge whereof we do not conceive needs to be very consider-able, as the necessity of any large supply of provisions from the settled colonies which has always been a great article of expence attending (listant posts, will in great measure be taken off by the opportunity of their being furnished with corn 'and other provisions raised by your Majesty's new subjects settled at Detroit, who, as we are informed from the most undoubted testimony, have already made a very considerable progress in raising those commodities for that very purpose.
These, may it please your Majesty, are the only military posts and establishments that appear to us to be necessary, solely with a view to protect and promote our commerce with the Indians ; what further may be necessary for public safety in general, or for preventing that dangerous intercourse between the French and Spaniards at New Orleans, and the Indians under your Majesty's protection, stated in the papers referred to us to be carried on to a very great extent ; and which has been confirmed by those we have examined upon the subject, is a consideration, which, we humbly presume, more particularly belongs to your Majesty's servants in the military departments. But we cannot but be of opinion, that all such forces, as shall be judged necessary to be kept up for the security of your Majesty's dominions against a foreign enemy, or for enforcing obedience to, and a due execution of the laws of trade, ought to be garrisoned by troops in your Majesty's pay commanded by officers appointed by your Majesty, as it would, in our humble opinion, be dangerous to public safety, and inconsistent with the true principles of this Government, that forts and military establishments, intended to answer such important objects should be entrusted to any other hands.
Upon the whole, we trust that the expence of the present disposition of troops for Indian purposes may be reduced without hazarding either the safety or the interest of your Majesty's subjects ; unless indeed it should be thought expedient to adopt the proposition, contained in some of the papers referred to us, of settling new colonies in the interior country ; for, in that ease, we should not venture to recommend any reduction of the military expence in the particulars above stated. This consideration therefore naturally leads us to the last Head of Inquiry referred to us by the Earl of Shelburne's letter, viz., How far the establishment of new governments on the Mississippi, the Ohio, and at Detroit, would contribute to answer the purpose of lessening either the present civil or military expence ; or would procure the several other important advantages set forth in the papers referred to us.
Now although it does not appear from the papers referred to us, that propositions have been made for the establishment of more than three new governments or colonies in the interior parts of America, viz., one at the
Detroit between Lakes Erie and Huron ; one at or near the mouth of the Ohio ; and one in the Illinois country at or near the mouth of the river of that name ; and therefore by the strict letter of his Lordship's reference, the present consideration seems to be confined to these only ; yet, as it does appear, both from the nature of the arguments in favour of this measure contained in some of the papers, and from the manner in which others have been explained by the authors of the proposals themselves, that they are meant to support the utility of colonizing in the interior country, as a general principle of policy ; and that in fact they have nothing less in view, than the entire possession and peopling of all that country, which has communication with the rivers Mississippi and St. Lawrence, it does, in our humble opinion, open a much wider field of discussion, than might at the first glance seem to be necessary.
The proposition of forming inland colonies in America is, we humbly conceive, entirely new ; it adopts principles in respects to American settlements, different from what has hitherto been the policy of this kingdom ; and leads to a system, which, if pursued through all is consequences, is in the present state of this country of the greatest importance.
The great object of colonizing upon the continent of North America has been to improve and extend the commerce, navigation and manufactures of this kingdom, upon which its strength and security depend.
First, by promoting the advantageous Fishery carried on upon the Northern Coast ;
Secondly, by encouraging the growth and culture of naval stores, and of raw materials to be transported hither in exchange for perfect manufacture, and other merchandize.
Thirdly, by securing a supply of lumber, provisions and other necessaries for the support of our establishments in the American Islands.
In order to answer these salutary purposes, it has been the policy of this Kingdom to confine her settlements as much as possible to the sea-coast, and not to extend them to places inaccessible to shipping and consequently more out of the reach of Commerce. A plan, which, at the same time that it secured the attainment of these commercial objects, had the further political advantage of guarding against all interference from foreign powers and of enabling this Kingdom to keep up a superior naval force in those seas, by the actual possession of such rivers and harbours, as were proper stations for fleets in time of war.
Such, may it please your Majesty, have been the considerations inducing that plan of policy hitherto pursued in the settlement of your Majesty's American colonies, with which the private interest and sagacity of the settlers co-operated from the first. Establishments formed upon that continent, it was upon these principles, and with these views, that Government undertook the settling of Nova Scotia in 1749 ; and it was from a view of the advantages represented to arise from it in these different articles, that it was so liberally supported by the aid of Parliament.
The same motives, though operating in a less degree, and applying to fewer objects, did, as we humbly conceive, induce the forming the colonies of