James L. Hill


Grant, the first governor of the British province of East Florida, arrived at St. Augustine in 1763 with a determination to prioritize Indian diplomacy. He desperately wanted to avoid violence between settlers and the neighboring Creek Indians, as he feared that internecine warfare on the frontier would scare potential immigrants from moving to the colony. The governor sought peaceful relations, not as a humanitarian aim, but as a means of advancing his goal of developing East Florida. To this end, Grant devised what he called a "new system" for the management of Indian affairs. This "new system," actually relied on traditions of gift exchange and reciprocity long used by Southeastern Indians, which Grant familiarized himself with while serving in the Anglo-Cherokee War of 1759-1761. Grant only spent a brief amount of time with the Cherokees, but gained valuable knowledge of their diplomatic discourse and customs. From this experience, Grant acquired a basic understanding of indigenous diplomatic networks in the Southeast.