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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1855
([1855])

[Texas Indians],   pp. 177-186 PDF (4.2 MB)


Page 181

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.               181 
Enclosed, marked "B," you will find a communication from the 
Rev. John W. Phillips of the Methodist Episcopal church, in regard 
to the establishment of a mission, and my answer thereto. You will 
perceive, by reference to the census rolls, that there are on the two 
reservations 344 children under 12 years of age, and all of the tribes 
now settled here are anxious to have a school for their children; the 
Comanches are equally as anxious as the other tribes. Mr. Phillips, 
in all probability, will submit, in the course of the present fall, propo-
sitions for establishing a mission and school at Brazos agency. I 
would commend the matter to your favorable consideration, as nothing 
would tend more to give permanency to our efforts in behalf of the 
Indians of Texas than the introduction of schools and the introduc- 
tion of the English language among the children. 
My efforts, and those of the agent who has co-operated with me, 
have been directed particularly to give individuality to the Indians, 
and to teach them the value of property, and as soon as possible, to 
encourage each head of a family to settle and cultivate his own farm, 
raise his own stock, &c., as I am fully convinced that all progress in
civilization must be slow while tribal rights are maintained; and my 
convictions are strong that the policy of the general government 
should be, at as early a period as possible, to dissolve all tribal rights,
and to bring the Indians under the influences and protection of civil 
laws as individuals. 
I have always held the opinion that it was preposterous to acknow- 
ledge or treat with tribes of Indians as a nation, nor could I ever 
bring myself to acknowledge that they should exercise any vested 
rights that could not be adjudicated by the civil laws of the State or 
Territory in which they reside; although that is my firm conviction, 
yet, until that policy can be carried into effect, and proper legislation
had in States and Territories where Indians are located, it would be 
proper that the intercourse laws should be proclaimed and enforced; 
and I much regret that action was not taken to extend them over the 
reservations in Texas, as provided for by the State in the grant of 
land and jurisdiction. It is absolutely necessary for the Indians now 
settled on the reservations to have the protection of law; the trade 
and intercourse with them must be regulated, and their property and 
lives protected; and in the absence of any State laws that would in- 
sure them protection, I would earnestly recommend the extension of 
the intercourse laws over the Texas reservations at the next session of 
Congress. The reservations are now being surrounded by a white 
population, and unless there is some mode of giving protection to the 
Indians, it must eventually create serious difficulties. 
In all my actions as the supervising agent, I have been governed 
strictly by your instructions of the 2d of February, and have adopted 
a strict system of accountability, and have made no expenditure for 
any other purpose than those comtemplated by the appropriation. 
hat the Indians who have settled on the reservations have made 
progress commensurate with the expenditure is beyond doubt; in fact 
they have far exceeded the hopes of the most sanguine, and it is only 
necessary to visit the reservations and see the improved condition of 


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