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    Available in PDF Format | ILLINOIS IN 1818 2ND ED.pdf | Unknown
    Solon J Buck
Excerpt from book: frontier were almost unanimous in advocating a liberal distribution of presents as the most effective and the cheapest means of controlling the savages. Governor Edwards in 1816 recommended that presents be distributed to the Indians of the Illinois river and vicinity with a free hand, for a few years at least: "nothing less," he said, "can wean them from British influence to which they more than any other Indians in those territories have long been devoted."" The giving of presents may also be regarded as the price of peace along the frontiers, and of freedom from petty annoyance, such as cattle and horsethieving. A threat to withhold presents was a much more effective argument with the Indians than any appeal to their higher sensibilities. It was also considered necessary to distribute presents in order to give dignity and prestige to the agent himself. Invoices sent out by Thomas L. McKenney, superintendent of the Indian trade, in 1818, indicate that merchandise to the value of two thousand dollars was destined for Kaskaskia for distribution among the Indians, while equal amounts were sent to Peoria and Prairie du Chien. Besides the presents which were distributed among the Indians each year, it was also customary to feed those who visited the various posts from time to time for business or other purposes. It took nearly as much food to supply the visiting savages as the regular garrisons. Governor Cass described the situation in the following words: "A long established custom, a thousand wants real or imaginary, and the restlessness and impatience of their mode of life send them in upon us. They come with trifling articles to barter, they come to get their arms repaired, to get their farming utensils, to enquire about their annuities, to complain of injuries from some of ou...   show more
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Book details

  • PDF | 356 pages
  • Solon J Buck
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Unknown
  • 5
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