Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/321

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LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

and which would ultimately gain their confidence and respect.

Why persist in maintaining a Department not only unnecessary, but which has always imposed enormous expenditures upon the people, and has frequently plunged us into costly Indian wars? What can a political camp-follower, who has done party service in our cities, and been appointed Indian Agent as reward for such services, possibly know of Indian character? And being profoundly ignorant of all that pertains to the people whose affairs he is about to manage, how can he conduct them with any degree of justice toward these people? It has been the writer's lot to be present at many meetings between Indian Agents and their constituencies; and he has always been shocked at the insolent, intolerant and supercilious manner of the Agents. It is as necessary to use common intelligence and prudence in our intercourse with savages as in the performance of any other act. If a man were required to move an object, his first business would be to ascertain the weight and character of that object, with a view to applying the proper motive power in a rational manner; but in our dealings with Indian tribes this common sense and practical style of operation is completely ignored. We have not even condescended to apply the rules of every day life to a subject of such extensive interest. Is the savage to be blamed because he becomes provoked at such intolerable folly? Is it to be wondered at that he should lose all confidence in people who, while claiming to be his superiors, display such despicable disregard of decency and good faith? And when he does evince anger and disgust, after his fashion—the only one he comprehends—straightway the worthy Agent shouts "stop thief," to conceal his own avarice and rascality, while