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Title: Indian Nullification of the Unconstitutional Laws of Massachusetts Relative to the Marshpee Tribe - Or, the Pretended Riot Explained
Author: Apess, William, 1798-1839
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Indian Nullification of the Unconstitutional Laws of Massachusetts Relative to the Marshpee Tribe - Or, the Pretended Riot Explained" ***

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight
hundred and thirty-five, by WILLIAM APES, in the Clerk's Office of the
District Court of Massachusetts.


       *       *       *       *       *

The red children of the soil of America address themselves to the
descendants of the pale men who came across the big waters to seek
among them a refuge from tyranny and persecution.

We say to each and every one of you that the Great Spirit who is the
friend of the Indian as well as of the white man, has raised up among
you a brother of our own and has sent him to us that he might show us
all the secret contrivances of the pale faces to deceive and defraud
us. For this, many of our white brethren hate him, and revile him, and
say all manner of evil of him; falsely calling him an impostor. Know,
all men, that our brother APES is not such a man as they say. White
men are the only persons who have imposed on us, and we say that we
love our red brother, the Rev. WILLIAM APES, who preaches to us, and
have all the confidence in him that we can put in any man, knowing him
to be a devout Christian, of sound mind, of firm purpose, and worthy
to be trusted by reason of his truth. We have never seen any reason to
think otherwise.

We send this forth to the world in love and friendship with all
men, and especially with our brother APES, for whose benefit it is

Signed by the three Selectmen of the Marshpee Tribe, at the Council
House, in Marshpee.


_March_, 19, 1835.


_To whom it may concern_.

The undersigned was a native of the County of Barnstable, and was
brought up near the Marshpee Indiana. He always regarded them as a
people grievously oppressed by the whites, and borne down by laws
which made them poor and enriched other men upon their property. In
fact the Marshpee Indians, to whom our laws have denied all rights of
property, have a higher title to their lands than the whites have, for
our forefathers claimed the soil of this State by the _consent of the
Indians_, whose title they thus admitted was better than their own.

For a long time the Indians had been disaffected, but no one was
energetic enough among them to combine them in taking measures for
their rights. Every time they had petitioned the Legislature, the
laws, by the management of the interested whites, had been made more
severe against them. DANIEL AMOS, I believe, was the first one among
them, who conceived the plan of freeing his tribe from slavery.
WILLIAM APES, an Indian preacher, of the Pequod tribe, regularly
ordained as a minister, came among these Indians, to preach. They
invited him to assist them in getting their liberty. He had the talent
they most stood in need of. He accordingly went forward, and the
Indians declared that no man should take their wood off their
plantation. APES and a number of other Indians quietly unloaded a load
of wood, which a Mr. SAMPSON was carting off. For this, he and some
others were indicted for a riot, upon grounds extremely doubtful in
law, to say the least. Every person on the jury, who said he thought
the Indians ought to have their liberty, was set aside. The three
Indians were convicted, and APES was imprisoned thirty days.

It was in this stage of the business, after the conviction, that I
became the counsel of the Indians, and carried their claims to the
Legislature, where they finally prevailed.

The persons concerned in the riot, as it was called, and imprisoned
for it, I think were as justifiable in what they did, as our fathers
were, who threw the tea overboard; and to the energetic movements of
WILLIAM APES, DANIEL AMOS and others, it was owing that an impression
was made on the Legislature, which induced them to do partial justice
toward this long oppressed race. The imprisonment of those men, in
such a cause, I consider an honour to them, and no disgrace; no more
than the confinement of our fathers, in the Jersey prison-ship.


_Counsel for the Marshpee Indian_.


       *       *       *       *       *

The writer hopes that the public will give him credit for an intention
to adhere rigidly to the truth, in presenting his views of the late
difficulties of the Marshpee Tribe, as it is as much his wish as his
intention to do justice to all his brethren, without distinction of
colour. Yet he is sensible that he cannot write truly on this subject
without attracting the worst wishes of those who are enemies to
liberty, or would reserve it exclusively to themselves. Could he speak
without incurring such enmity, he would be most happy to do so; but he
is fully aware that he cannot even touch this matter without exposing
himself to certain calumny. This has been his portion whenever he has
attempted to plead the cause of his ignorant and ever-oppressed red
brethren. Nevertheless, he will endeavour to speak independently, as
if all men were his friends, and ready to greet him with thundering
applause; and he would do so if their voices were to pronounce on him
a sentence of everlasting disgrace. He writes not in the expectation
of gathering wealth, or augmenting the number of his friends. But
he has not the least doubt that all men who have regard to truth
and integrity, will do justice to the uprightness of his intentions.
(Heaven be praised! there are some such men in the world.) He is
equally sure that the evidence contained in this little work will be
satisfactory, as to all the points he wishes to establish, to all who
are open to conviction.

It is true that the author of this book is a member of the Marshpee
Tribe, not by birth, but by adoption. How he has become one of that
unfortunate people, and why he concerns himself about their affairs,
will now be explained to the satisfaction of the reader. He wishes
to say in the first place, that the causes of the prevalent prejudice
against his race have been his study from his childhood upwards. That
their colour should be a reason to treat one portion of the human race
with insult and abuse has always seemed to him strange; believing
that God has given to all men an equal right to possess and occupy the
earth, and to enjoy the fruits thereof, without any such distinction.
He has seen the beasts of the field drive each other out of their
pastures, because they had the power to do so; and he knew that the
white man had that power over the Indian which knowledge and superior
strength give; but it has also occurred to him that Indians are men,
not brutes, as the treatment they usually receive would lead us to
think. Nevertheless, being bred to look upon Indians with dislike and
detestation, it is not to be wondered that the whites regard them as
on a footing with the brutes that perish. Doubtless there are many who
think it granting us poor natives a great privilege to treat us with
equal humanity. The author has often been told seriously, by sober
persons, that his fellows were a link between the whites and the brute
creation, an inferior race of men to whom the Almighty had less
regard than to their neighbours, and whom he had driven from their
possessions to make room for a race more favoured. Some have gone so
far as to bid him remove and give place to that pure and excellent
people who have ever despised his brethren and evil entreated them,
both by precept and example.

Assumption of this kind never convinced WILLIAM APES of its own
justice. He is still the same unbelieving Indian that he ever was.
Nay, more, he is not satisfied that the learned and professedly
religious men who have thus addressed him, were more exclusively the
favourites of his Creator than himself, though two of them at least
have been hailed as among the first orators of the day, and spoke
with an eloquence that might have moved stocks and stones. One of
them dwells in New York and the other in Boston. As it would avail him
little to bespeak the favour of the world in behalf of their opinions
by mentioning their names, he will proceed with the matter in hand,
viz. the troubles of the Marshpee people, and his own trial.


It being my desire, as well as my duty as a preacher of the gospel, to
do as much good as in me lay to my red brethren, I occasionally paid
them a visit, announcing and explaining to them the word of life,
when opportunity offered. I knew that no people on earth were more
neglected; yet whenever I attempted to supply their spiritual wants,
I was opposed and obstructed by the whites around them, as was the
practice of those who dwelt about my native tribe, (the Pequods,) in
Groton, Conn. of which more will be said in another place.

Being on a tour among my brethren in May, 1833, I was often asked why
I did not visit my brethren of Marshpee, of whom I had often heard.
Some said that they were well provided, and had a missionary, named
FISH, who took care of their lands and protected them against the
fraud of such of their neighbours as were devoid of principle. Others
asserted that they were much abused. These things I heard in and about
Scituate and Kingston, where I had preached. Some of those who spoke
thus, were connected with the missionary. The light thus obtained
upon the subject being uncertain, I resolved to visit the people of
Marshpee, and judge for myself. Accordingly I repaired to Plymouth,
where I held forth on the civil and religious rights of the Indians,
in Dr. KENDALL'S church, and was treated with Christian kindness by
the worthy pastor and his people. Dr. KENDALL gave me a letter of
introduction to Mr. FISH, at Marshpee. Being unacquainted with
the way, I strayed a little from it, and found a number of good
Congregationalists of the old school, who invited me to tarry and
preach to them in the evening, which I did, to their acceptance; for
they and their pastor desired me to remain and preach on the Sabbath,
which, however, I could not consistently do. I proceeded thence to
Sandwich, where I made my mission known to Mr. COBB, the Orthodox
preacher, who appeared to be pleased.

Mr. COBB said that he had agreed to exchange with Mr. FISH, on the
Sabbath following, but as it was inconvenient for him to do so, he
would give me a line to him. With this furtherance I set forward, and
arrived at Mr. FISH's house before sunset, informing those I met on
the way that I intended to preach on the next day, and desiring them
to advise others accordingly. When I made my business known to Mr.
FISH, he treated me with proper kindness, and invited me to preach for
him. When I awoke in the morning, I did not forget to return thanks to
God for his fatherly protection during the night, and for preserving
me in health and strength, to go through the duties of the day. I
expected to meet some hundreds of the tribe, and to hear from their
lips the sweet song of salvation which should prepare their minds for
the words of life, to be delivered by one of the humblest servants of
God. I hoped that grace might be given to me to say something to my
poor brethren that might be for their advantage in time and eternity;
after which I thought I should see their faces no more. I looked to
see them thronging around their missionary in crowds, and waited for
this agreeable sight with great anxiety.

The time appointed for the service was half past ten. When it arrived,
we got into our carriages and proceeded to the Meeting-house, which
was about two miles and a half distant. The sacred edifice stood in
the midst of a noble forest, and seemed to be about a hundred
years old; circumstances which did not render its appearance less
interesting. Hard by was an Indian burial ground, overgrown with
pines, in which the graves were all ranged North and South.
A delightful brook, fed by some of the sweetest springs in
Massachusetts, murmured beside it. After pleasing my eyes with this
charming landscape, I turned to meet my Indian brethren and give
them the hand of friendship; but I was greatly disappointed in the
appearance of those who advanced. All the Indians I had ever seen were
of a reddish color, sometimes approaching a yellow; but now, look to
what quarter I would, most of those who were coming were pale faces,
and, in my disappointment, it seemed to me that the hue of death sat
upon their countenances. It seemed very strange to me that my brethren
should have changed their natural color, and become in every respect
like white men. Recovering a little from my astonishment, I entered
the house with the missionary. It had the appearance of some ancient
monument set upon a hill-top, for a landmark to generations yet
unborn. Could Solomon's temple have been set beside it, I think no one
would have drawn an architectural comparison. Beautiful as this place
was, we had little time to admire it; something more solemn demanded
our attention. We were to prepare ourselves for a temple more splendid
than ever was built by hands. When the congregation were seated, I
arose and gave out the psalm. I now cast my eyes at the gallery, that
I might see how the songsters who were tuning their harps appeared;
but, with one exception, paleness was upon all their faces. I must
do these _Indians_ the justice to say that they performed their parts
very well. Looking below, something new caught my attention. Upon
two seats, reserved along the sides of the temple for some of the
privileged, were seated a few of those to whom the words of the
Saviour, as well as his scourge of small cords, might be properly
applied, "It is written that my house shall be called the house of
prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves;" for these pale men were
certainly stealing from the Indians their portion in the gospel, by
leaving their own houses of worship and crowding them out of theirs.
The law, perhaps, allowed them to do so. After singing and prayer, I
preached one of my humble sermons, after which I attended a Sabbath
School, in which a solitary red child might be seen here and there.
By what I saw, I judged that the whites were much favored, while the
little red children were virtually bidden to stand aside. I understood
that the books that were sent to them had been given to the white

After a slight refreshment, the duty of worship was resumed; and I
discovered that plain dealing was disagreeable to my white auditory.
I inquired where _the Indians_ were; to which Mr. Fish replied, that
they were at a place called Marshpee, and that there was a person
called _Blind Joe_, who tried to preach to them, which was the cause
of their absence. Though the said Joe was one of them, he had done
them more harm than good. I asked why he did not invite Blind Joe, and
get him to preach for him a part of the time. He answered, that that
could not be; that Joe was not qualified to preach and instruct. I
replied that he could not, perhaps, be sure of that, and that if he
had followed the course I had mentioned, it would at least have been
the means of uniting the people, which would of itself have been great
good. It was then concluded to have a meeting at Marshpee; and, in the
afternoon of the next day, I paid the people of that place a visit in
their Meeting-house. I addressed them upon temperance and education,
subjects which I thought very needful to be discussed, and plainly
told them what I had heard from their missionary, viz: That it was
their general disposition to be idle, not to hoe the corn-fields they
had planted, to take no care of their hay after mowing it, and to lie
drunken under their fences. I admonished them of the evil of these
their ways, and advised them to consider any white man who sold them
rum their enemy, and to place no confidence in him. I told them that
such a person deserved to have his own rum thrown into his face.
I endeavored to show them how much more useful they might be to
themselves and the world if they would but try to educate themselves,
and of the respect they would gain by it. Then, addressing the throne
of grace, I besought the Lord to have mercy on them and relieve
them from the oppressions under which they laboured. Here Mr. Fish
cautioned me not to say any thing about oppression, that being,
he said, the very thing that made them discontented. They thought
themselves oppressed, he observed, but such was not the case. They
had already quite liberty enough. I suggested to him the propriety of
granting them the privileges enjoyed by the whites about them; but he
said that that would never do, as they would immediately part with
all their lands. I told him that, if their improvement was his aim,
he ought to go among them and inquire into their affairs; to which he
replied that he did go at times, but did not say much to them about
their worldly concerns. He asked me if I thought it proper to preach
about such things. I answered that I thought it proper to do good in
any way; that a variety was not amiss, and that such a course would
convince his flock that he had their welfare at heart.

I had now appointed to meet my brethren on Wednesday evening
following, when I expected to bid them farewell forever; and in the
mean while I had obtained a letter of introduction to Mr. Pratt, of
Great Marshes. There I gave the audience a word in season, upon the
subject of Indian degradation, which did not appear to please them
much. I then visited Barnstable, and finding no resting place there
for the sole of my foot, I journeyed as far as Hyannis, where I was
entertained with hospitality and kindness. On the evening of the
fourteenth day, I again preached on the soul-harrowing theme of Indian
degradation; and my discourse was generally well received; though it
gave much offence to some illiberal minds, as truth always will, when
it speaks in condemnation. I now turned my face toward Marshpee, to
preach the word there.

I had made up my mind to depart early on the morrow, and therefore,
that I might hear of their concerns, and how they fared from their own
mouths, I intended to commence my labours early in the day. I had not
the least intention of staying with my brethren, because I saw that
they had been taught to be sectarians, rather than Christians, to
love their own sect and to hate others, which was contrary to the
convictions of my own experience as well as to the doctrine of Jesus
Christ. What ensued led me to look farther into their case. The
lecture I had delivered in the Meeting-house, had wrought well, and a
small pamphlet that contained a sketch of the history of the Indians
of New England had had a good effect. As I was reading from it, an
individual among the assembly took occasion to clap his hands, and
with a loud shout, to cry, "Truth, truth!" This gave rise to a general
conversation, and it was truly heart-rending to me to hear what my
kindred people had suffered at the hands of the whites.

Having partook of some refreshment, we again met to worship God in the
School-house; where I believe that the Spirit of the Lord was revealed
to us. Then, wishing to know more of their grievances, real or
supposed, and upon their invitation, I appointed several meetings;
for I was requested to hear their whole story, and to help them. I
therefore appointed the twenty-first of May, 1833, to attend a council
to be called by my brethren. In the mean while I went to Falmouth,
nine miles distant, where I held forth upon the civil and religious
rights of the Indians. Some, who apparently thought that charity
was due to themselves, but not to the red men, did not relish the
discourse; but such as knew that all men have rights and feelings,
and wished those of others to be respected as well as their own, spoke
favourably of it. Of this number was Mr. Woodbury, the minister, who
thought it would do good. I then returned to Marshpee, to attend the

The meeting was held in the school-room. Business commenced at about
nine in the morning, and continued through the day. The first that
arose to speak was an Indian, Ebenezer Attaquin by name. Tears flowed
freely down his time-furrowed cheeks, while he addressed us in a
manner alike candid and affectionate. The house was well filled.

After listening patiently to the tale of their distresses, I
counselled them to apply for redress to the Governor and Council. They
answered, that they had done so; but _had never been able to obtain a
hearing_. The white agents had always thrown every obstacle in their
way. I then addressed them in a speech which they all listened to with
profound attention.

I began by saying that, though I was a stranger among them, I did
not doubt but that I might do them some good, and be instrumental in
procuring the discharge of the overseers, and an alteration of the
existing laws. As, however, I was not a son of their particular tribe,
if they wished me to assist them, it would be necessary for them to
give me a right to act in their behalf, by adopting me; as then our
rights and interests would become identical. They must be aware that
all the evil reports calumny could invent, would be put in circulation
against me by the whites interested, and that no means to set them
against me would be neglected. (Had the inspiration of Isaiah spoken
these words, they could not have been more fully accomplished, as is
known to the whites of Barnstable County, as well as the Indians.)

Mr. Ebenezer Attaquin, being one of the prayer leaders, replied first,
and said, "If we get this man to stand by us, we must stand by him,
and if we forsake him after he undertakes for us, God will forsake us

Mr. Ezra Attaquin wished to know if I could not come and dwell with
them, as so I could do them more good than if abiding at a distance.
Mr. Ebenezer Attaquin said in reply, that if such a chance should be
offered to a white man, he would be very glad to accept it.

I now inquired what provision could be made for me, if I should
consent to their wishes. They answered that their means were small,
but that they would provide a house for me to live in, and do what
they could for my support. I said that, knowing their poverty, I did
not expect much, and gave them to understand that I could dig, and
fish, and chop wood, and was willing to do what I could for myself.
The subject of religious instruction was then discussed, and the
inquiry was made, what should be done with their poor, blind brother,
(who was then absent among another sect.) I answered that I was very
willing, to unite my labours with his, as there was plenty of work for
both of us; and that had I but half a loaf of bread, I would gladly
divide it with him. It was then agreed that we should unite, and
journey together on the road toward heaven.

The case Of Mr. Fish was next laid before the council, and Complaints
were made, that he had neglected his duty; that he did not appear to
care for the welfare of the tribe, temporal or spiritual; that he had
never visited some of the brethren at all, and others only once in
five or seven years; that but eight or ten attended his preaching;
that his congregation was composed of white people, to whom his visits
were mostly confined, and that it seemed that all he appeared to
care for was to get a living, and make as much as he could out of the
Indians, who could not see any reason to think him their friend.
It was, therefore, agreed to discharge him, and three papers were
draughted accordingly. One was a petition to the Governor and Council,
a second to the Corporation of Harvard College; the first complaining
against the Overseers, and the laws relating to the tribe; and the
second against the missionary set over them by Harvard College and the
Overseers. The third document was a statement of my adoption into the
tribe, and was signed by all present, and subsequently by others, who
were not present, but were equally desirious of securing their rights.
It was as follows,

    _To all whom it may concern, from the beginning of the world
    up to this time, and forever more_.

    Be it known, that we, the Marshpees, now assembled in the
    presence of God, do hereby agree to adopt the Rev. William
    Apes, of the Pequod tribe, as one of ours. He, and his wife,
    and his two children, and those of his descendants, forever,
    are to be considered as belonging to the Marshpee tribe of
    Indians. And we solemly avow this, in the presence of God, and
    of one another, and do hereby attach our names to the same,
    that he may take his seat with us and aid us in our affairs.
    Done at the Council House in Marshpee, and by the authority of
    the same, May 21st, 1833.

        EBENEZER ATTAQUIN, _President_.

        ISRAEL AMOS, _Secretary_.

To this instrument there are about a hundred signatures, which were
affixed to the other papers above mentioned also. The resolutions
which were sent to the two bodies were these:

    _Resolved_, That we, as a tribe, will rule ourselves, and have
    the Constitutionso; for all men are born free and equal, says
    the Constitutien of the country.

    _Resolved_, That we will not permit any white man to come upon
    our plantation, to cut or carry off wood or hay, or any other
    article, without our permission, after the 1st of July next.

    _Resolved_, That we will put said resolutions in force after
    that date, (July next,) with the penalty of binding and
    throwing them from the plantation, if they will not stay away

These resolutions were adopted by the tribe, and put in force, as will
be seen hereafter. It was hoped that, though the whites had done all
they could to extinguish all sense of right among the Indians, they
would now see that they had feelings as well as other men.

The petition to the corporation of Harvard set forth the general
dissatisfaction of the tribe with the missionary sent them by that
honorable body, according to the intended application of the Williams
Fund. The money was no more intended for Mr. Fish than for any other
clergyman; neither had the Indians given him a call. They thought it
right to let his employers know that he had not done his duty, because
he not only received between five and six hundred dollars from the
college, but had possession of five or six hundred acres of the
tribe's best woodland, without their consent or approbation, and
converted them to his own exclusive use, pretending that his claim and
right to the same was better than that of the owners themselves. Not
liking this, the Indians solicited his discharge. The document runs

    To our white brethren at Harvard College and trustees of the
    Williams fund, that is under the care of that body, for the
    important use of converting the poor heathen in New England,
    and who, we understand, by means of that fund, have placed
    among us the Rev. Phineas Fish.

    We thought it very likely that you would like to know if we,
    as a people, respected his person and labors, and whether the
    money was benefiting the Indians or not. We think it our duty
    to let you know all about it, and we do say, as the voice of
    one, with but few exceptions, that we as a tribe, for a long
    time, have had no desire to hear Mr. Fish preach, (which is
    about ten years) and do say sincerely that we, as a body, wish
    to have him discharged, not because we have anything against
    his moral character, but we believe his labors would be more
    useful somewhere else, and for these reasons,

    1st. We, as a people, have not been benefited by his
    preaching; for our moral character has not been built up, and
    there has been no improvement in our intellectual powers, and
    we know of no Indian that has been converted by his preaching.

    2d. We seldom see him upon our plantation to visit us, as a
    people. His visits are as follows--To one house, one visit in
    one year--to another, two visits in five years--to another one
    in seven--and to many, none at all. (We would here remark that
    Mr. Fish has not improved, but rather lost ground; for history
    informs us that such was the anxiety of the whites, that it
    was thought best to visit the Indians twice in one year, and
    preach to them, so as to save them.)

    3d. We think that twenty years are long enough for one trial.
    Another reason is that you and the people think that we are
    benefited by that fund, or money paid to him for preaching to
    the Indians--and we are not. White people are his visitors
    and hearers. We would remark here that we have no objection to
    worship with our white neighbors, provided they come as they
    ought to come, and not as thieves and robbers, and we would
    ask all the world if the Marshpee Indians have not been robbed
    of their rights. We wonder how the good citizens of Boston, or
    any town would like to have the Indians send them a preacher
    and force him into the pulpit and then send other Indians to
    crowd the whites out of their own meeting house and not pay
    one cent for it. Do you think the white men would like it? We
    trow, not; and we hope others will consider, while they read
    our distressing tale. It will be perceived that we have no
    objection if hundreds of other nations visit our meeting
    house. We only want fair play; for we have had foul play

    4th. We do not believe but that we have as good a right to
    the table of the Lord as others. We are kept back to the last,
    merely because our skins are not so white as the whites', and
    we know of no scriptures that justify him in so doing. (The
    writer would here observe, that he wonders any person
    guilty of a dark skin will submit to such unchristian usage,
    especially as the minister is as willing to shear his black
    sheep as his white ones. This being the case, ought he not to
    pay as much regard to them? Should he turn them loose to shift
    for themselves, at the risk of losing them?)

    5th. We never were consulted as to his settlement over us, as
    a people. We never gave our vote or voice, as a tribe, and we
    fully believe that we are capable of choosing for ourselves
    and have the right to do so, and we would now say to you, that
    we have made choice of the Rev. Wm. Apes, of the Pequod
    tribe, and have adopted him as one of ours, and shall hear him
    preach, in preference to the missionary, and we should like
    to have him aided, if you can do it. If not, we cannot help
    it--he is ours--he is ours.

    Perhaps you have heard of the oppression of the Cherokees and
    lamented over them much, and thought the Georgians were
    hard and cruel creatures; but did you ever hear of the poor,
    oppressed and degraded Marshpee Indians in Massachusetts,
    and lament over them? If not, you hear now, and we have made
    choice of the Rev. Wm. Apes to relieve us, and we hope that
    you will assist him. And if the above complaints and reasons,
    and the following resolutions, will be satisfactory, we shall
    be glad, and rejoice that you comply with our request.

    _Resolved_, That we will rule our own tribe and make choice of
    whom we please for our preacher.

    _Resolved_, That we will have our own meeting house, and place
    in the pulpit whom we please to preach to us.

    _Resolved_, That we will publish this to the world; if the
    above reasons and resolutions are not adhered to, and the Rev.
    Mr. Fish discharged.

    The foregoing addresses and resolutions were adopted by a vote
    of the tribe, almost unanimous. Done at the Council House at
    Marshpee, May the 21st, 1833.

        EBENEZER ATTAQUIN, _President_.

        ISRAEL AMOS, _Secretary_.

The Hon. Josiah Quincy, President of the College, promised to attend
to this matter, said that he had long been satisfied that the money
from the Williams fund had not been applied to the object for which it
was intended, and hinted at an intention to send no more to Mr.
Fish till he should be better informed concerning the matter. (We
understood that he actually did retain the money, though he never
found leisure to make the inquiry alluded to.) He said that, had it
been in the summer, he would have gone himself to the place. Summer
has passed away, and we have seen no Mr. Quincy yet. We have heard
that he was requested by several gentlemen to come and investigate our
affairs, but we suppose he thinks that the poor Marshpees cannot have
been wronged. However, as nothing has been done, we think it is time
that the public should be made aware of our views and intentions.

Leaving Marshpee for New Bedford, I preached at several places on my
way, and delivered lectures on Indian affairs. Many of the advocates
of oppression became clamorous, on hearing the truth from a simple
Indian's lips, and a strong excitement took place in that quarter.

Some feared that an insurrection might break out among the colored
people, in which blood might be shed. Some called me an imposter, and
others approved of my proceedings, especially the Quakers, whom I ever
found benevolent and ready to help us. Their generous good will toward
colored people of all races is well known. I feel bound to say, too,
that there were others of the highest respectability in those parts
who were anxious that their red brethren should obtain their rights
and redress of their grievances.

When the time I had fixed for my return to my friends at Marshpee
arrived, I turned thitherward, and reached the place on the sixth of
June. Here I met the blind preacher, whom I had never before seen. He
bade me welcome, and cordially agreed to join me in my labors, saying
that God had listened to his prayers. He had for several years prayed
for an assistant, and now consented to labor in conjunction with me
for the spiritual and temporal advantage of our brethren. We went
through the plantation together. On the Sabbath there was a large
meeting, and the assistance of God enabled me to preach to them, after
which we set forth, as a delegation to the Governor and Council in
Boston. We stopped at several towns by the way, to discharge our
duties, as Christian ministers, and were kindly and hospitably
received by the teachers.

When we arrived in Boston, we communicated our business to a certain
doctor, who lived in Roxbury. He did not think so favorably of it as
we had expected; but, nevertheless, agreed to lay it before the board
of trustees, which we presume he did, as he is a man of truth. We told
him that we asked for justice, not money, and said that we wished the
Marshpee Indians to avoid the meeting-house, if it did not belong to
them. With this we left him, and have never heard from him from that
day to this. He is gone where his deeds done in the flesh will receive
their just reward; which I hope is a crown of blessedness and glory.

We did not find the Governor in Boston; but were advised to wait on
Mr. Armstrong, the Lieut. Governor. We showed him our petition and
resolutions, which he said, would avail us nothing, unless enforced.
We answered that they would be enforced, at the appointed time. He
then suggested that we might have been instigated to the measures
in question by some of our enemies; probably meaning some of our
unprincipled white neighbors. We replied that ill usage had been our
only instigation, and that no one had interfered in the matter. He
advised us to deliver our petition to the Secretary of State, to be
submitted to the Council at their next session; which we did.

This done, we called on one of the tribe who was engaged in the
coasting business, and had done much to teach the Indians, and to
bring them to a right knowledge of their degraded condition. He said
that he would willingly relinquish his business, and join in the
efforts of his brethren to shake off the yoke which galled them; and
thereupon it was resolved to hold a convention on the twenty-fifth of
June, for the purpose of organizing a new government. He desired to be
there, and his name is Daniel Amos.

I now set out for Essex, where my family was living, accompanied by
the blind preacher. I put my wife and little ones on board a small
vessel, bound for Boston, while I and my blind brother returned
thither by land. We all arrived safely, and soon after embarked for
Barnstable, where we arrived on the eighteenth of June, and landed at
a spot about twelve miles distant from the hospitable Indians. Here
we found ourselves breathing a new atmosphere. The people were very
little prepossessed in our favor, and we certainly owe them small
thanks on the score of hospitality. We succeeded in obtaining the
shelter of an old stable for two nights, by paying two dollars. We
applied to one individual for accommodations during that time, for one
of our party who was sick, but were refused. He said he had no room.
If any white man should come to Marshpee and ask hospitality for a
night or two, I do not believe that one of the whole tribe would turn
him from his door, savages though they be. Does not he better deserve
the name who took from us two dollars for sleeping in his stable? This
usage made me think that in this part of New England prejudice was
strong against the poor children of the woods, and that any aid we
might receive must come from the more hospitable Indians, among whom
we arrived on the twenty-first, and rested till the twenty-fifth. We
regarded ourselves, in some sort, as a tribe of Israelites suffering
under the rod of despotic Pharaohs; for thus far, our cries and
remonstrances had been of no avail. We were compelled to make our
bricks without straw.

We now, in our synagogue, for the first time, concerted the form of a
government, suited to the spirit and capacity of free born sons of the
forest; after the pattern set us by our white brethren. There was but
one exception, viz. that _all_ who dwelt in our precincts were to
be held free and equal, _in truth_, as well as in letter. Several
officers, twelve in all, were elected to give effect to this novelty
of a government; the chief of whom were Daniel Amos, President, and
Israel Amos, Secretary. Having thus organized ourselves, we gave
notice to the former board of overseers, and the public at large, of
our intentions. This was the form of our proclamation:


    _Marshpee Plantation, June 25th, 1833_.

    Having heretofore been distressed, and degraded, and
    robbed daily, we have taken measures to put a stop to these
    things.--And having made choice of our own town officers to
    act instead of the whites, and having acquainted the Governor
    of our affairs and resolutions, he has nothing against our
    putting them in force.[1] And now we would say to our white
    friends, we are wanting nothing but our rights betwixt man
    and man. And now, rest assured that said resolutions will
    be enforced after the first day of July, 1833. Done at the
    National Assembly of the Marshpee Tribe, and by the authority
    of the same.

        DANIEL AMOS, _President_.

        ISRAEL AMOS, _Secretary_.

Hereupon the Missionary and agents and all who put faith in them,
combined together to work our destruction, as is well known to all

We then proceeded to discharge all the officers appointed by the
Governor and Council, firmly believing that each and every one of the
existing laws concerning the poor Israelites of Marshpee was founded
on wrong and misconception. We also forwarded a letter and resolution
to Gideon Hawley, to the effect that we were dissatisfied with his
proceedings with regard to our affairs and with those of the other
officers, that we desired their stay among us no longer, that we were
seeking our rights and meant to have them, and we therefore demanded
of them all a final settlement, and warned them not to violate our
regulations. The resolution was as follows:

    _Resolved_, That we will no longer accede to your terms after
    the first day of July next, 1833.

    Done by the authority of the Marshpee Tribe.

        DANIEL AMOS, _President_.

        ISRAEL AMOS, _Secretary_.

We also proceeded to discharge the missionary, telling him that he and
the white people had occupied our meeting house long enough, and that
we now wanted it for our own use. We likewise gave him notice that we
had complained against him to the authorities at Harvard.

Those who had, as we think unlawfully, ruled us hitherto, now awoke
in astonishment, and bestirred themselves in defence of their temporal
interests. Mr. Hawley was despatched to the Governor at Worcester,
to whom he represented the state of affairs in colors which we cannot
acknowledge to have been faithful. He stated that the Indians were in
open rebellion, and that blood was likely to be shed. It was reported
and believed among us that he said we had armed ourselves, and were
prepared to carry all before us with tomahawk and scalping knife;
that death and destruction, and all the horrors of a savage war, were
impending; that of the white inhabitants some were already dead, and
the rest dreadfully alarmed! An awful picture indeed.

However, several weeks previous to this the Governor and Council had
been apprised of what was going forward, and had authorised one of the
Council to visit the tribe, in order to hold counsel, and if possible,
restore peace among them. But the first of July arrived before he
came, and we did even as we had pledged ourselves to do, having in
view no other end than the assertion and resumption of our rights. Two
of the whites, indeed, proved themselves enemies to the Indians, by
holding themselves in readiness to break up the new government, and
daring them to carry it into effect. They were brothers, and one of
them has since gone to his reward. Their name was Sampson. They came,
in defiance of our resolutions, to take away our wood, in carts. As I
was walking in the woods, I discovered them in the act of removing
our property, and called to him who was the owner of the teams to come
near me. He complied, and appeared much agitated as he approached.
I mildly stated to him the views and intentions of the tribe, saying
that it was not their design to wrong or harm any man in the least,
and that we wished them to desist till we should have had a settlement
with the Overseers, after which every thing should be placed upon a
proper footing. I begged them to desist, for the sake of peace; but it
was to no purpose. They said that they knew what they were about, and
were resolved to load their teams. I answered, that the men who owned
the wood were resolved to carry their resolutions into force; and
asked if they had not seen the notification we had posted up. One of
them replied that he had seen, but had not taken much notice of it. I
again told them that the owners of the wood were at hand, and by the
time one of the teams was laden, the Indians came up. I then asked
William Sampson, who was a member of the missionary's church, if
he would, even then, unload his team and wait till things were
more quiet; to which he replied that he would not. I then, having
previously cautioned the Indians to do no bodily injury to any man,
unless in their own defence, but to stand for their rights, and
nothing else, desired them to unload the teams, which they did very
promptly. One of the Sampsons, who was a justice of the peace, forbade
them, and threatened to prosecute them for thus protecting their own
property, which had no other effect than to incite them to work more
diligently. When they had done, I told the justice, that he had,
perhaps, better encourage others to carry away what did not belong
to them, and desired the teamsters to depart. They said they would,
seeing that it was useless to attempt to load the carts. Throughout
this transaction the Indians uttered neither a threat nor an unkind
word, but the white men used very bitter language at being thus, for
the first time, hindered from taking, away what had always been as a
lawful spoil to them hitherto.

The defeated Sampsons hurried off to get the aid of legal might
to overcome right, and were wise enough to trouble the Indians no
further. The tribe were thus left in peaceable possession of all their
property. Mr. Fiske stated in his report of the case, that we wanted
possession of the mission house; but in this he was mistaken. No such
thing was intended or even mentioned among us, though it is true
that the meeting-house and the two school houses, and all the land,
excepting that on which Mr. Fiske's house stood, were in our hands.

The Indians now made it part of their business to watch their
property; being determined to disappoint the rapacity of the whites.
They soon learned that the Governor had sent an envoy to deal with
them, and the news cheered their hearts not a little; for they
earnestly wished for peace and quietness. A verbal message was
brought, desiring us to meet him. We replied by asking why the agent
did not come to us, if the Governor had sent him for that purpose,
instead of going to a tavern and calling on us to come to him there. I
now suppose that this proceeding on his part was not so much his fault
as that of one Ezra Crocker, who received twenty dollars _per annum_
for entertaining the Indians in his house, and who not unfrequently
thrust them out of doors. Nevertheless, we sent the agent an answer in
writing, to the following effect.

_To the Honorable Agent sent by the Governor to inquire into our

    Dear Sir,

    We are much gratified to see that the Governor has noticed us
    so much as to inquire into our affairs. Your request could not
    be attended to yesterday; our people being very busy in the
    affairs of the day; but we will meet you with pleasure this
    morning at nine o'clock, at our meeting-house, there being no
    other place where we should like to see you for an interview.

        DANIEL AMOS, _President. July 4th_, 1833.

At the time appointed, we met the Counsellor, and he appeared to enjoy
himself very well among us. When the meeting had been called to
order, it was observed that the Overseers were not present, and it was
proposed to send for them, that they might have fair play and hear
of what faults they were accused. They came, accompanied by the
High Sheriff of Barnstable County, the Hon. J. Reed of Yarmouth, and
several other whites, who were invited to take seats among us. The
excitement which pervaded Cape Cod had brought these people to our
council, and they now heard such preaching in our meeting-house as
they had never heard there before; the bitter complainings of the
Indians of the wrongs they had suffered. Every charge was separately
investigated by our people, who gave the entire day to the work. The
white persons present seemed very uneasy; often getting up, going out
and returning, as if apprehensive of some danger. The ground work of
their fears, if they had any, was this: Three of our people, who had
been out in the morning, hunting deer, had brought their guns into the
meeting house, and this circumstance was thought, or pretended to be
thought by a few of our neighbors to portend violence and murder. Also
the Counsellor had brought a letter from the Governor, indicating that
he had been led, by wrong reports, to believe that something of the
kind was likely to take place.[2]

This letter was read to the people, and was to them as a provocation
and a stimulus. They thought it grievous that the Governor should
think they had put him in mind of his oath of office, to secure the
Commonwealth from danger, and given him cause to call out perhaps
fifty or sixty thousand militia; especially when the great strength
and power of the Marshpee tribe was considered. To this supposed great
demonstration of military power they might, possibly, have opposed
a hundred fighting men and fifteen or twenty rusty guns. But it is
written, "One shall chase a thousand, and two shall put ten thousand
to flight;" so there might have been some reason for persons who
believe the Bible to fear us. Who can say that little Marshpee might
not have discomfitted great Massachusetts. Nevertheless, the birth
place of American freedom was spared so great a disgrace; for the
governor, very wisely, remained at home.

Toward the close of the day Mr. Fiske desired the Hon. Mr. Reed
to explain to the Indians the laws, as they then stood, and the
consequences of violating them. He told us that merely declaring a law
to be oppressive could not abrogate it; and that it would become us,
as good citizens whom the government was disposed to treat well, to
wait for the session of the Legislature, and then apply for relief.[3]
"He went fully," says one reporter, whose name it may be well to
omit, "into the situation of the tribe, in a very forcible and feeling
manner, warning them against the rash measures they had already taken
or adopted."

Mr. Fiske then pathetically stated his opinions concerning the awful
consequences which would result from a violation of the laws, and
spoke much at large of the parental feeling of government for the
remnant of a once mighty and distinguished race. Wm. Apes replied
that the laws ought to be altered without delay; that it was perfectly
manifest that they were unconstitutional, and that, even if they were
not so, there was nothing in them to authorize the white inhabitants
to act as they had done. Being very anxious to learn what amount of
good his brethren might expect, he spoke with an energy that alarmed
some of the whites present considerably. The Hon. Mr. Reed questioned
him as to his right to interfere. He replied that he had obtained it
by the adoption of the tribe.

Mr. Reed, if I correctly understood him, answered that the Indians
had no right to do such an act; no power to confer such a privilege. I
replied, that if the plantation belonged to them, they undoubtedly had
a right to give me leave to dwell upon it. Many other things he
said of which I could not see the reasonableness and propriety, and
therefore we could not come to an agreement.

While these things were being done and said, as I have reason to
believe, a warrant for my apprehension was put into the hands of the
High Sheriff, who, it appeared to me, was not very desirous to execute
it. He approached me, and with some agitation, told me I must go with
him to Catuiot; and added, that if I did not accompany him peaceably,
he would have out the whole county of Barnstable. I was not conscious
of giving any cause for this perturbation of mind, but I suppose
others saw my conduct in a different light. It is admitted by all that
nothing was done contrary to good order, though I admit, that if I had
refused to obey the warrant, the Sheriff would not have been able to
enforce it. The fact is I was in no wise unwilling to go with him, or
to have my conduct brought to the test of investigation, or to give
all the satisfaction that might be required, had it appeared that I
had done wrong. I was also very desirous to have the truth appear,
viz. that it was not the intention or wish of the Marshpees to do
violence or shed blood.

The Sheriff told me that I should not suffer any injury or injustice,
and that I should have a hearing in the presence of my friend, Mr.
Fiske. I went with him very quietly. The excitement ran very high, and
almost all Cotuet was present at my examination. If wishes could have
availed, I doubt not that I should have been ruined forever. I was
arraigned on three charges: for riot, assault, and trespass; and
pleaded NOT GUILTY.

The Messrs. Sampsons, four in number, were called, and testified as
follows, That on the first day of July, between eight and nine, A.M.
they were carting wood from the Marshpee plantation, that they were
hailed by Wm. Apes, and forbidden by him to take any wood away until a
settlement with the overseers should have been had; that the said
Apes threatened them that he would call his men if they persisted,
who would "_cut up a shine with them_,"[4] (the Sampsons.) They all
agreed, however, that no unchristian temper was manifested, and no
indecorous language used. They admitted that they had no fear for
their personal safety, and that no harm was done to any of the persons
concerned, save unloading their teams, and ordering them to depart.

Now if I had taken any neighbors' wood without his leave, and he had
thrown it out of my cart, and told me to go away, and had given me no
farther molestation, I should think I had gotten off very easily. If
a poor Indian wishes to get into a jail or penitentiary, that is just
the course I would advise him to pursue. I leave it to the reader to
say who were the persons aggrieved and injured, and that had the right
to complain of trespass.

It was thought proper, by those who had the power so to do, to bind me
over to appear and take my trial before the Court of Common Pleas, at
the next session, in the sum of two hundred dollars, and sureties for
the like amount were also required. Compliance was not difficult. I
had only to send for Lemuel Ewer, Esq. of South Sandwich, who had, in
former times, been the treasurer of the tribe, knew their wrongs, and
was their friend. It was well for me that there was one man who knew
on which side the right lay, and had the courage to support it, for
I verily believe that no other person would have dared to become my
bondsman. I owe Mr. Ewer the justice further to say that he has
done much to advance the interests of the Marshpee tribe, by giving
information respecting them to the Legislative body, for which we
cannot easily show our gratitude.

The Cotueters now waxed exceedingly wroth at what Mr. Ewer had done.
Truth had been shot into their hearts, and if I should say that they
bellowed like mad bulls, and spouted like whales, gored mortally by
the harpoon, I do not think the figure of speech would be too strong.
Mr. Crocker, the contractor or agent, for our wood, felt himself
especially aggrieved that I had gotten bail, and was let loose upon
the plantation, to hinder him in his business. His life, he thought,
would be in danger. There was a great deal of loose talk and a pretty
considerable uproar.

While I was waiting for Mr. Ewer, to bail me, I had some conversation
with the Hon. J.J. Fiske, who expressed himself concerned about the
Indians, and thought that something ought to be done. I said to him
that my object was to get them righted, and allowed that I might
possibly have gone too fast and far. In this I am now satisfied that
I was mistaken. I believe that neither I nor any of my brethren went
fast enough. I think there is no white man, Christian or Infidel,
who would have shown half so much forbearance as we did in the like
circumstances. Mr. Fiske said he would do all he could for me, and I
have no doubt that he did so. It was very proper in him to endeavor
to quiet the whites. The Indians were already quiet, and had no
disposition to be otherwise.

Nevertheless, it seemed to be the common opinion that the imprisonment
of Apes would frighten the rest of the tribe, and cause them to forego
their efforts to recover their rights. Had this been the case, they
might have carted a few more good suppers and dinners out of our
woods, and have eaten them on their town meeting days, for two or
three days together, twice in the year, and have thrown the bones and
crusts to the poor, old and ignorant, among the natives, as they had
done, year after year. The missionary, as usual, might have helped
them to devour the spoil, and have seen his flock degraded and abused,
before his eyes. Much was also said about the pains that had been
taken to educate the Marshpees, and it was averred, that, instead of
going to the schools opened for them, they preferred going about the
country picking berries, and basket making. Mr. Crocker said he had
been at great pains to induce the Indians to go to school. Let him who
has been prejudiced against the Marshpees, by such argument, look
at the legislative act of 1789, section 5, for the regulation of the
plantation, prohibiting the instruction of the Marshpees, in reading
and writing, under pain of death. Who, then, dared to teach them?

Mr. Hawley, the former missionary, spent fifty or sixty years in
Marshpee. He is mentioned in the history of Berkshire County, as a
schoolmaster, for the Mohawks, Onedias and Tuscaroras, in 1748, and
nothing more is known of him, up to his arrival in Marshpee. Thither
he came to teach, in A.D. 1757, and there he staid till his death.
What his care to educate the tribe was, may be judged from the facts
that he _did not teach one_ Indian to read during his residence among
them, as I am informed by those who knew him. He had probably imbibed
the opinion that the natives were incapable of being taught, and
therefore spared himself trouble that he thought would be of no use.
Nevertheless, he was willing to preach to them, and had a good portion
of their land set off for his support. Truth obliges me to say that
not one Indian was converted during the fifty years of his ministry.
The neighbouring whites were the sole recipients of the good resulting
from his labors, if there was any. Speaking on this subject, the Rev.
Cotton Mather Smith says that the arrangements for managing Indian
schools were never thoroughly made; admirable as was the general plan,
and much as it promised. I think I may safely vouch for the truth and
honesty of the reverend gentleman's admission.

Mr. Fish succeeded Mr. Hawley, in 1809, and was confirmed in his
office by the authorities at Harvard, and the white overseers at
Marshpee. The arrangement was sanctioned by the General Court, in
1811; contrary to law, as we think. Surely it takes two sides to make
a bargain, and the consent of the Indians was never asked or obtained.
Both of the divines mentioned above were willing to have the use of
the property of the Marshpees; I fear, under a mere pretext of doing
them good; and, therefore, that they and the overseers might have a
support from the plantation, the owners were constantly proclaimed
to be savages. I wonder what the whites would say, should the Indians
take possession of any part of their property. Many and many a red man
has been butchered for a less wrong than the Marshpees complain of.

Neither of the reverend gentlemen set up schools, and when the
Marshpee children were put out to service, it was with the express
understanding, as their parents all agree, that they should not be
schooled. Many of those who held them in servitude, used them more
like dogs than human beings, feeding them scantily, lodging them hard,
and clothing them with rags. Such I believe has always been the case
about Indian reservations. I had a sister who was slavishly used and
half starved; and I have not forgotten, nor can I ever forget, the
abuse I received myself. To keep Indian children from hearing the
gospel preached in a land of gospel privileges, in order that they
might do work unbefitting the Sabbath at home, has been the practice,
almost without an exception, wherever I have had opportunity to
observe. I think that the Indians ought to keep the twenty-fifth
of December[5], and the fourth of July, as days of fasting and
lamentation, and dress themselves, and their houses, and their cattle,
in mourning weeds, and pray to Heaven for deliverance from their
oppressions; for surely there is no joy in those days for the man of

Let the reader judge from what has been stated, what good the Marshpee
Indians have derived from their two missionaries. I say boldly, none
at all. On the contrary, they have been in the way of the good that
would have been done by others. I say also that all the religious
advantages the Indians have enjoyed, have come from other ministers,
and members of other churches. I am equally sure that the money paid
for our use, from the Williams Fund, has been a curse, and not a
blessing to us. Had some good Christian minister come to the tribe
with half the sum, there is no doubt that God would have made him an
instrument to raise up a respectable Christian Society; whereas the
fund has only served to build up the missionaries and the whites about
the plantation. I am glad that it has done even this good; though it
be to our enemies; for I am not of a spirit to envy the prosperity
of others; I rejoice in it. But I sincerely think it is wrong in the
whites to take the gospel from the Indians, as they do in Marshpee,
by occupying their meeting-house, and receiving the benefit of the
missionary fund. I mean that the people about Cotuet and Marshpee go
to our house, and fill it, to our exclusion, without any charge; while
the Indians are enforced by the laws which deprive them of the use
of their own lands, to pay a heavy tax, from which they derive no
benefit. Is not depriving them of all means of mental culture the
worst of all robberies? Can it be wondered, that the Indians become
more and more degraded? I presume all honest people will regret that
such has been the case. It will be seen that both the missionaries and
their white followers, imbibed all the prejudices of the day, and by
disseminating them, hindered others from doing us good. This is no
excuse, however, for the government of this Commonwealth, whose duty
it was to see that its red children were not abused in this way. We
greatly fear that our white fathers did not much care about their
colored children in Marshpee. At any rate, it may be some satisfaction
to the philanthropists in the country to know how liberal they have
been to their poor dependants.

To begin--the Indians owe nothing to the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, or to the inhabitants of New England generally, for
religious instruction, excepting a single appropriation of
four hundred dollars, made in 1816 or 1818, for repairing their
Meeting-house. Four hundred dollars more were appropriated in 1831,
for the purposes of erecting two school houses; but not one cent for a

The way the Marshpees have supported a school hitherto, has been this.
Some of them have lived abroad among the whites, and have learned to
read and write, with perhaps some small smattering of arithmetic.
On returning to the tribe, they have taught others what they knew
themselves; receiving pay from those who had the means, and teaching
the rest gratuitously. At the same time they have been compelled to
support a preacher whom they did not wish to hear, and to pay, in one
way or other, to the amount of four hundred dollars _per annum_ to
white officers, for doing them injury and not good. Thus then, in one
hundred and forty years they have paid fifty-six thousand dollars to
the whites, out of their own funds, in obedience to the laws of the
Commonwealth. In return, the whites have given them one thousand in
labor and money. Truly the Commonwealth must make haste, or it will
hardly be able to pay us the interest of our money. The principal we
never expect to get.

Thus, though it is manifest that we have cost the government
absolutely much less than nothing, we have been called State
paupers, and as such treated. Those are strange paupers who maintain
themselves, and pay large sums to others into the bargain. Heigho! it
is a fine thing to be an Indian. One might almost as well be a slave.

To return to the proceedings of the court at Cotuet: When supper time
was past, the Cotueter's were anxious to draw something out of me,
by questioning. They said they knew more about the matter than I did;
that I had gotten myself into difficulty, and that Mr. Fish was a good
man, and had gained twenty members over to his church in twenty-five
years. They might have added that these were infants, who became
members merely by undergoing the rite of baptism. Perhaps they were
very good members, when they grew up--perhaps not.

Mr. Fish, alluding to the charge that but eight or ten of the Indians
heard him preach, stated, in his memorial to the Legislature, that
more than twice ten were upon his Sabbath School list. That might be
true; but it was no answer to the charge. There may well have been
on his list the names of so many persons, who attended neither his
meeting nor his school. Nor had he denied the statements of the
Indians in the least. I said to the gentlemen who were rejoicing over
my supposed downfall, that I was glad they had taken me into custody,
as it would lead to an investigation of the whole ground in dispute.
Mr. Ewer presently arrived; his bail was accepted, and I and my
friends returned home.

On the seventh of July, I was again visited by the Hon. J.J. Fiske,
who conversed freely with me on our religious affairs. He said it
would be better for us to turn Congregationalists, as then we should
probably be able to get assistance from the fund, I replied, that I
cared little by what name I was called; for I was no sectarian, but
could unite in the worship of God with all good Christians. It seemed
to be the opinion of the Hon. J.J. Fiske, that it was wrong for the
Rev. Mr. Fish to receive the salary he did, without attending to the
concerns of the Indians.

On the sixth, the head men of the tribe held a meeting, and agreed to
rescind the former meetings until the session of the Legislature, as
the commissioner had fairly stated that whatever could be done for us,
would be done by that honourable body. We could do no less than accept
a promise coming from so high an authority, and await the leisure of
our father, the Legislature, though he had neglected us and suffered
us to be abused. Who could say but that he would uplift his voice
and weep aloud, on hearing the story of our wrongs, as Joseph and his
brethren did when they recognized each other. And indeed, though our
tender parent proved a little hard-hearted at first, by and by there
was a little relenting toward his poor suffering babes of the woods,
as will be seen in the proper place. The following notice was drawn up

    Whereas, certain resolutions have been made by us, the
    Marshpee Indians, in reference to our plantation, we do
    hereby solemnly declare, upon the security of the Governor's
    Counsel,[7] that we shall be righted; and that there shall be
    a change of government, if necessary, and that the governor
    has pledged himself to do right, and that the property sold
    for money or otherwise disposed of, shall be refunded to us
    again, and that justice shall be done. Now, in consideration
    thereof, we do hereby guaranty to our white neighbours that
    they shall not be molested in their lawful concerns upon our
    plantation, provided that no white man meddles or interferes
    in any way whatever in our lawful affairs; and that you may
    understand that it is so, we say the resolutions are revoked,
    and we will wait with pleasure the sitting of the Legislature.

    Done by order of the Marshpee Tribe, July 6, 1833.

        DANIEL AMOS, _President_.

        ISRAEL AMOS, _Secretary_.

Soon after this, the Commissioner departed, and I saw him no more till
the sitting of the General Court. About this time our affairs got into
the public prints, and it was reported through the whole land that
there were hostile movements among the Indians at Cape Cod, or
Buzzard's Bay. All the editors were very willing to speak on the
favorite topic of Indian wrongs; but very few of them said any thing
about redress. On this head they were either silent or against us.
Here and there was found one liberal and independent enough to speak
in our behalf. Some of these articles shall be given, that it may be
seen who were for or against our rights and privileges. It will be
proper to state in the first place, however, that from July 4, to the
sitting of the Court of Common Pleas, in September, there was little
disturbance upon the plantation. We thought, from what we heard among
the whites that they were inclined to spare no pains to frighten
us; but we listened patiently and remained quiet, according to our

In August, we had a four-day meeting, which was the means of much
good. Twelve Indians were redeemed from sin, and during the eighteen
months that I have known them, the power of God has been manifested
in the conversion of some thirty. God forbid that I should glorify
myself; I only mention the circumstance to show that the Marshpees are
not incapable of improvement, as their enemies would have the world
suppose. But, under these circumstances, is it not natural for the
Indians to think that their missionaries have cared less for saving
their souls than for filling their own pockets, and that their
thousands have been expended on them to very small purpose? I do think
that the result of this meeting was in no wise pleasing to our white

At harvest time the reapers cut their grain and carried it to their
granaries. But they were under the control of their task masters. A
dispute arose. A woman whose husband was absent, doing business upon
the great waters, claimed a portion of the grain, while the overseers
maintained that it belonged to them. She applied for assistance to one
of the true proprietors, who, in the presence of five or six men who
were with the overseer's team, unloaded it, and placed the grain where
it ought to have been. I was present and happened to smile at this
novel proceeding, which, I suppose was the cause of a prosecution that
presently took place for trespass. My horse had bitten off five or six
rye heads in a rye field, for which enormity his owner was obliged to
pay ten dollars, though the actual damage was not to the value of six
cents. I will not retort the petty malice which prompted this mean act
of revenge, by mentioning names. I now proceed to mark out the state
of public feeling, by some extracts from the newspapers. The following
is from the New Bedford Press, of June 1, 1833:


    The remnants of that race of men who once owned and inhabited
    the forests and prairies of the Old Colony that have new
    given place to large and populous villages and the busy hum
    of _civilized_ man, are, it would seem, somewhat dissatisfied
    with the manner in which they are governed by the State
    authority. Communications illustrative of the condition of
    the _Marshpee Indians_ in the County of Barnstable, have been
    forwarded to us by the agent of the tribe, by which it appears
    that they have been abused. Intelligence from other quarters
    comes fraught with bitter complaint, and there can be
    no manner of doubt that too ample room remains for the
    improvement of their condition. The communications at hand
    advise the Indians to stand out for their right to appoint
    their own overseers, and do all business now especially done
    by the State. That they ought to be allowed this privilege,
    (if _privilege_ it may be called,) there is no question; but
    there is a question, whether this is the first important step
    to be taken. By a list of names which accompanies our advices,
    it appears that very few are able to write their own names,
    their mark being affixed instead; and in addition to this, we
    are informed that there are many who cannot even read. With
    this view of their condition the correct and efficient course
    to be pursued would seem to be that of sending _Education
    Missionaries_ among them, that in contending for their rights,
    of which they say they are deprived, they may be enabled to
    act understandingly.

This may serve to show that the Marshpees had long been dissatisfied
with their government, and that very many complaints had been made;
which will be illustrated by extracts from divers petitions, in
another page. The next refers to the Marshpee trials, and is signed
in a manner signifying that the writer speaks advisedly, and from

    _From the Barnstable Journal of July 18, 1833_.

    Mr. Apes was arrested at the Marshpee Plantation on the 4th,
    by order of the Executive, and required to give bond for his
    good behaviour.

    Mr. Apes now says, that this statement is not correct; that
    the Governor has ordered no such thing, and that he never was
    requested in all his life to give bond for his behavior.

    Much has been said in and out of the papers about the Indians
    in Marshpee. All that the Indians want in Marshpee is to enjoy
    their rights without molestation. They have hurt or harmed no
    one. They have only been searching out their rights, and in so
    doing, exposed and uncovered, have thrown aside the mantle of
    deception, that honest men might behold and see for themselves
    their wrongs. The Indians could spread columns before the
    world which would cause the hearts of good men to be sad, and
    recoil at the conduct of their white brothers. All that Mr. A.
    wishes is, that people would tell the truth.

        A BEHOLDER.

With regard to this article, I have to say that it speaks the truth.
If an honest white man could look into our private affairs and know
what wrongs we have suffered, it would change his complexion to a hue
redder than the Indian's. But the crimes committed against our race
cannot be enumerated here below. They will each and all, however, be
judged at the bar of God, and it must be the comfort of the poor and
oppressed, who cry for justice and find it not, that there is one who
sees and knows, and will do right. The next is from the Boston Daily
Advocate, of July 12.

    Rev. Mr. Apes, who has been conspicuous in the Marshpee
    nullification, has, we learn, been taken and committed to jail
    in Barnstable county; upon what process, we are not informed,
    but we trust, for the honor of the State, that while our
    mouths are yet full of bitterness against Georgian violence,
    upon the Indians, we shall not imitate their example.

How true it is that men see the faults of others, rather than their
own. If the good people of Massachusetts were as ready to do right as
to have the Georgians do right, the Marshpee Indians might, perhaps,
send a Representative to the Legislature. I hope the remark will give
no offence. The next is from the same print, of July 15, 1833.

    The Marshpee affairs, we are gratified to learn, are
    more quiet than they have been. The Indians took forcible
    possession of the Meeting-house the other day, and have
    retained it ever since, but no farther act has been committed
    on their part. They notified Mr. Fish that they had dismissed
    him from their Parish, and also formally gave notice to the
    overseers that their offices were at an end. Hon. J.J. Fiske,
    of the Executive Council, has visited the Indians, by request
    of the Governor, and has, we learn, discharged the duty in a
    highly conciliatory and discreet manner. The Indians would
    not at first consent to see him, but being satisfied of the
    disposition of the Executive to listen to their grievances,
    they met Mr. Fiske alone in the Meeting-house, where, by their
    special request, the overseers also appeared. The Sheriff of
    the county, Hon. John Reed, and others, were also present.
    About one hundred of the Indians appeared, many of them armed
    with guns. They were perfectly under the command of Apes, but
    all of them conducted with propriety, and seemed peaceably
    disposed. Mr. Fiske heard their complaints for one day. Their
    demands were to have the overseers removed, and the books and
    funds, now in the hands of the Treasurer, transferred to
    them; and in fact to be left to the entire management of their
    affairs. It was explained to them that the Governor had no
    power to do this, if he were so disposed. That he could only
    change their overseers, and lay their complaints before the
    Legislature, who alone could alter the laws now governing the
    plantation. To this, Apes would not agree, insisting that they
    should be relieved of the guardianship of the State, and that
    the Governor could do it at once.

    He was questioned as to his own right to be on the plantation,
    to which he does not belong, and finding all argument useless
    with him, Apes was arrested in the assembly, (where he was
    acting as moderator,) upon a warrant for assault and trespass,
    in unloading the teams of Mr. Sampson. The Indians were
    perfectly quiet, and Apes having been bound over for his
    appearance to take his trial, in the sum of $200, he was
    immediately bailed by Mr. Ewer, a Justice of the Peace, and
    was not committed to jail, as has been represented. After his
    arrest, he expressed some contrition, and admitted he had gone
    too far. The ultimate understanding appears to be with the
    Indians, that they will offer no further resistance, but wait
    patiently for a redress of grievances, until the meeting of
    the Legislature, when they confidently expect to have their
    guardianship removed. As an evidence of their peaceable
    disposition, "President" Amos, at the request of Mr. Fiske,
    gave up the key of the Meeting-house, for Rev Mr. Fish to
    occupy the pulpit, and asked as a favor, that the Indians
    might occupy it half the time. The result of the mission
    of Mr. Fiske, is therefore very favorable, and if a similar
    course is pursued hereafter, there will be no further
    difficulty with the tribe. They should be treated with
    all possible lenity and kindness, for the honor of the

The Indians would not consent to see Mr. Fiske at first, because they
did not like to meet their enemies off their own ground, and I
presume they would not have consented to do so to this day. As to the
Counsellor's meeting us alone, it was the especial direction of
the Governor that he should hear the parties separately, because,
supposing the government to be oppressive, it seemed to him that the
Indians would be afraid to speak plainly in presence of their masters,
or proffer their complaints. The Indians wished to do nothing in a
corner; but rather to proceed with an open and manly spirit, that
should show that they were unjustly accounted abject and willing
slaves. As to my opinion of the powers of the Governor, I have already
admitted that I was in error; for I am not a man skilled in legal
subtleties. My reason for pressing our claims so strongly was, to make
the way easy for my brethren, till something could be done for them.
The Indians were requested to give up their own Meeting-house to
a gentleman who did not come at their request, and to gather other
people into it to suit his convenience. The Indians asked for their
own house for only half the time, and even this was denied them.
The law not bearing out their petition, they could only obtain it by
force, and, finding this to be the case, they forbore.

The question is, how can a man do good among a people who do not
respect him or desire his presence, and who refuse to hear him preach?
Yet Harvard College has forced such an one on the Marshpees against
their will, right or wrong.

I heard a white lady observe, that Mr. Fish was not a preacher for
every one; as though he was not fit to preach to any but us poor
ignorant Indians. Nevertheless, if any people need a talented,
enterprising preacher, we are the very ones. Some may suppose Mr. Fish
to be a Unitarian. He was, when he was first settled at Marshpee;
but his opinions underwent a change soon after, and he became what is
commonly called an orthordox Congregationalist. In order to be a good
one, he ought to make one more change--a change of inclination, to
force himself on poor Indians. One who has such an inclination cannot
be a good member of any sect, or an honor to it. Such a person can be
no ornament to any ecclesiastical body. I would not have it inferred
from this that a breath of reproach is in my mind, or in those of my
brethren against any denomination of Christians. We love all who love
the Lord Jesus in sincerity.

I expressed no contrition because I thought I had acted morally wrong,
or had asked any thing more than was right; but because I had mistaken
the _law_, which in this case was a very different thing from justice.

The next article is from the Barnstable Journal, of July 25. It will
serve to show that though the matter had been perfectly explained to
the inhabitants of Barnstable County; yet it contained some of our
worst enemies as well as best friends. Our enemies were those in
office, and those under their influence. The majority believed the
Indians to be wronged, and ought to have had redress; and these were
unable to act in our behalf. Those who did act were either our enemies
or persons who had no minds of their own, and were led by them in all
they did. Many of them did, nevertheless, sympathise with the Indians,
and pitied them when cast into prison, for all men can appreciate the
blessing of liberty.



    We observed in one of your late papers, some editorial remarks
    which breathed a spirit of candor and good will towards us,
    and not of ridicule and sarcasm, like that of your neighbor,
    the Patriot. Now Messrs. Editors, as our situation is but
    little understood, and the minds of the people much agitated,
    we feel a desire to lay before them some of the causes of the
    late excitement. We have long been under guardians, placed
    in authority over us, without our having any voice in the
    selection, and, as we believe, not constitutional. Will the
    good people of Massachusetts revert back to the days of their
    fathers, when they were under the galling yoke of the mother
    country? when they petitioned the government for a redress of
    grievances, but in vain? At length they were determined to try
    some other method; and when some English ships came to Boston,
    laden with tea, they mustered their forces, unloaded and threw
    it into the dock, and thereby laid the foundation of their
    future independence, although it was in a terrible war, that
    your fathers sealed with their blood a covenant made with
    liberty. And now we ask the good people of Massachusetts, the
    boasted cradle of independence, whom we have petitioned for a
    redress of wrongs, more grievous than what your fathers had
    to bear, and our petitioning was as fruitless as theirs, and
    there was no other alternative but like theirs, to take our
    stand, and as we have on our plantation but one harbor, and no
    English ships of tea, for a substitute, we unloaded two wagons
    loaded with our wood, without a wish to injure the owners of
    the wagons. And now, good people of Massachusetts, when your
    fathers dared to unfurl the banners of freedom amidst the
    hostile fleets and armies of Great Britain, it was then that
    Marshpee furnished them with some of her bravest men to fight
    your battles. Yes, by the side of your fathers they fought
    and bled, and now their blood cries to you from the ground to
    restore that liberty so unjustly taken from us by their sons.


The next article is from the Boston Daily Advocate. In the editorial
remarks will be discerned the noble spirit of independence and love of
right which are prominent characteristics of Mr. Hallett's character,
and which induced him, throughout the controversy, to lend the aid of
his columns to the poor and oppressed descendants of the people who
welcomed his forefathers to their shores. He is not ungrateful for the
kindness showed them in a time so remote. I think it my duty to say
of him, that he has been fruitful of good works in behalf of all the
oppressed. We Indians have tried his integrity and have found it sound
metal. He gave us the aid of his extensive learning and undeniable
talent, and carried our cause before the Legislature with no other end
in view than the good of the Commonwealth and of the Marshpee tribe,
and a strong desire to wipe from the character of his native State the
foul blot of our continued wrongs. He never asked where his pay was to
come from; but exposed the iniquities which had been transacted in the
affairs of the Marshpee people, without hesitation, fear or favor, a
course he has steadily pursued to this day. We acknowledge his doings
as acts of pure benevolence toward us, and we say that the sons of the
pilgrim fathers may well be proud of such a brother. Had others been
only a little like him, we should have had no reason to complain; and
we recommend him as an example, to all who may hereafter have dealings
with Indians. Let them do as he has done, and they will be honored as
he is. To be sure, it is no great matter to be loved and honored by
poor Indians; but the good will of even a dog is better than his ill
will. The rich man fared sumptuously every day, while the poor one was
lying at his gate, feeding on the crumbs that fell from his table, and
the dogs only had compassion on him. They both died; and we read that
God sent a convoy of angels to bring the poor man safe home. The rich
man doubtless had a splendid funeral; but we do not hear that he had
any favor from his Maker. O, ye who despise Indians, merely because
they are poor, ignorant, and copper-colored; do you not think that God
will have respect unto them?


    We have received a genuine communication from one of the
    Marshpee Indians, and as we verily believe that tribe is in
    many respects wronged by the whites, and neglected by their
    legal guardians, the Legislature, we are desirous of giving
    them a hearing, that justice may be done them, if it be a
    possible matter to get such a thing as justice and good faith
    from white men toward Indians. Undoubtedly some of their
    supposed grievances are imaginary and much exaggerated, but
    others are real, and tend greatly to depress them. We have
    had an overflow of sensibility in this quarter toward the
    Cherokees, and there is now an opportunity of showing to the
    world whether the people of Massachusetts can exercise more
    justice and less cupidity toward their own Indians than the
    Georgians have toward the Cherokees. We earnestly exhort the
    Marshpeeians to abstain from all acts of violence, and to rely
    with full confidence upon the next Legislature for redress.
    That body has heretofore treated their claims too lightly,
    but there is a growing disposition to hear and relieve their
    grievances. A memorial from the tribe, setting forth the
    wrongs of which they complain, would unquestionably receive
    prompt attention. The laws by which they are exposed to the
    cupidity of their white neighbors, are extremely defective,
    and require a thorough reform. Our correspondent, who we
    believe speaks the sentiments of the tribe, shall be heard for
    himself, and we hold our columns free to publish any facts,
    on either side of this question, which may be offered to the

    "MARSHPEE, AUG. 5, 1833.


    _Dear Sir_--With regret I say that your white brethren still
    think it a privilege to impose upon us here. The men upon
    our plantation were gathering their rye harvest, and the poor
    women whose husbands were at sea, who had let out their land,
    confidently expected to have their share, but it was taken
    from them by unjust men, and not so much as a spear of it left
    to sustain them, or even the promise of help or aid in any
    way; it was not taken for debt and no one knows for what. The
    overseers have now become displeased, and choose at this time
    to use their great power. I hope we shall not have to call
    upon the State to protect us, but if we are imposed upon in
    this manner, we believe we shall. And while we are willing
    to be still and peaceable, we think that those of our white
    friends, with the light they possess, ought to show as much
    of the spirit of kindness as poor ignorant Indians. The
    Legislature has bound the poor Indians as they have. The
    Indians would propose one thing. We have some white men here
    who will smuggle rum, and sell it to the Indians, and as they
    have no license, they ought to be stopped. We are happy to say
    that many of our Indians are temperate, but we wish them
    all to be, and we want some way to have a stop put to these
    things, for these white men are ten times worse than any
    of the Indians. I might name a Fuller, a Chadwick, and a
    Richardson; we really wish that the honorable Legislature
    would place guardians over them, to keep them from wasting our
    property in this way. While I was absent, there was a man
    that sued me for trespass, and tried the case without my
    information. What kind of law is this? I had the liberty of
    baiting my horse in a field. A man had rye in a field he did
    not hire, but took it upon shares. My horse got in his rye,
    but six cents would pay all the damage. But the action is not
    damage, but trespass, and that done unknown to me.

    It is impossible to give you the details of wrongs imposed
    upon the Indians. We are to be accused by our enemies, tried
    by them, and condemned by them. We can get redress no where,
    unless we trouble the government all the while, and that we
    are delicate to do.

    Now we believe that some of these things published abroad
    would do good, and we should have more peace.

    Yours, most obediently."

    We have received another communication from Marshpee, upon the
    same subject.

    "Having seen several articles in your paper, relating to
    the Marshpee tribe, we perceive that your paper is free, not
    muzzled. Marshpee Indians speak for themselves. It is not to
    be doubted but that the public would like to hear the Indians
    speak for themselves. It has been represented that the Indians
    were troublesome, and war-like movements were among us. If to
    make an inquiry into our rights by us, is war-like, so it is.
    Otherwise than this we know nothing about it, and we know of
    none that has a disposition to shed blood. It is true that
    the day the Hon. J.J. Fiske, of the Governor's Council,
    was present with us, in a council at the meeting-house, the
    Indians, three in number, were out in the morning, hunting
    deer, and when they came to the meeting-house, they had their
    business to attend to, and could not conveniently go four or
    five miles to put up their muskets, neither did we see the
    propriety of their so doing. We believe that a just man would
    not have trembled at an old rusty musket.

    We are hard to believe, that any people, served as we have
    been here, would more kindly submit to it, than we have. We
    think now we have submitted long enough, and we thought it no
    crime to look, or ask after our rights. But we found our
    white neighbors had thrown their chains of interest around our
    principal stock, so much so that we began to think they soon
    would drag both interest and principal all away. And no wonder
    they began to cry out, when they saw that the Indians were
    likely to unhook their chains, and break their hold. We
    believe white men had more war in their hearts than any of the

    We are willing to hint a few things. We thought white men
    would do well, that they were trusty. We doubt not but what
    they be among themselves; but we scarcely believe that they
    care much for the poor Indians, any further than what they can
    get out of them. It is true we have land in Marshpee. We can
    stay upon it; but we have had to pay one dollar per cord, to
    the overseers, for our own wood, and take it or carry it
    just where these men said. Our meadows were taken from us and
    rented out to white people, our pastures also. About twelve
    hundred cords of our wood has been cut the last year, and we
    judge the minister has cut one hundred and fifty cords for his
    share. And in a word, they did as they pleased. The poor could
    get a pound of meat, or a half peck of corn, and one quart of
    molasses for two weeks. Much might be said, but we forbear.
    It is true that we have had a preacher, but we do not believe
    that he cares any thing about us. Neither had we any hand in
    his settlement over us. To be sure, he likes to stay with us,
    but we think it is because he gets so much good pay. But five
    or six adult persons attend his preaching, there being _not
    one Indian male_ belonging to his church. This gentleman has
    cut much wood, to the dissatisfaction of the Indians; and it
    is true they have passed resolutions that they will not hear
    him preach. Yet he wants to stay with us.

    Interest men tremble and threaten, but we fear not, and
    sincerely hope they will soon tremble before God, and prepare
    to meet their Judge, who will do right, and who will have no
    regard for skins or color.


We turn from this judicious and liberal article, to one that is less
favorable. It is from the Barnstable Journal, of August 22, 1833.


    We learn from South Sandwich that the Indians, constituting
    the Marshpee tribe, intend to petition at the sitting of the
    next Legislature, for a redress of grievances, and a revision
    of the code of laws by which they are governed. The recent
    revolt among them, and the measures adopted to make known
    their situation and treatment, by themselves, and by those who
    have avowed their friendship toward them, (its validity time
    will determine,) gave rise to considerable excitement. An
    inquiry into the state of affairs was instituted, which
    terminated, as far as we have been able to learn, to the
    satisfaction of those employed in the investigation, that
    some of the evils under which they are labouring are real,
    and rendered so by the laws of the Commonwealth, but many
    imaginary. We do not doubt that the state of society among
    them is low and degraded, comparatively speaking, but what
    contributes to keep them in this situation we are unable to
    say, unless it be, that the plantation has been a resort of
    the vagrant, the indolent, and those whom refined society
    would not allow among them. If this is the case, and we
    believe it has been, something should be done, either among
    the Indians, or by the Legislature, to remedy the evil.
    We have understood also, that certain individuals, located
    contiguous to the plantation, retail ardent spirits to them
    in quantities as large as they are able to pay for. If this be
    the fact, such men should be ferreted out, and in justice to
    the Indians, to the community about them, and to the laws of
    the land, they should be made to suffer, by being exhibited to
    public derision, and by the penalty of the act prohibiting
    the retail of spirits. If they have not the power, and no one
    feels willing to go forward in shutting up these poisonous
    springs, give them the power, and if they do not exercise it,
    let them suffer.

    Mr. Apes is among them, and attended the "Four Days Meeting,"
    held during the present month, which we are told was managed
    with good order and regularity.

The writer here says that the Indians are vile and degraded; and
admits that they can be improved. He gives no explanation of the
causes of their degradation. If the reader will take the trouble to
examine the laws regarding the Marshpees, he will see those causes of
the inevitable and melancholy effect, and, I am sure, will come to
the conclusion that any people living under them must necessarily be
degraded. The Journal, however, does us the small justice to admit,
that we are not so degraded but that we can hold a meeting of four
days duration, with propriety and moderation. What, then, might we not
do, were proper pains taken to educate us.

The next two extracts are from the Boston Advocate of September 10 and
11, 1833.


    We are mortified for the honor of the State, to learn from
    Barnstable County, that the Court of Common Pleas and Sessions
    there, (Judge Cummins,) have tried and convicted William Apes
    and six Indiana of the Marshpee tribe, upon charges connected
    with the efforts of the Indiana to obtain justice from their
    white masters. Apes is very popular with the Indians, and
    this persecution of him, which at least was unnecessary, will
    inflame them the more.

    The papers say the conviction was for _riot_. This cannot
    be, for there was no riot, and no riot act read. Apes and
    his associates prevented a man from carrying wood off the
    plantation. They were, perhaps, wrong in doing so, but the
    law which takes this wood from the Indian proprietors, is as
    unjust and unconstitutional as the Georgia laws, that take the
    gold mines from the Cherokees. Could the question of property
    have been tried, the act of stopping their own wood, by the
    Indians, could not have been made even trespass, much less
    riot. It is said that Apes and the rest were indicted under
    some obsolete law, making it a misdemeanor to conspire against
    the laws. We have looked for such an act, but cannot find it
    in the Statute Book.

    At any rate, law or no law, the Indians were indicted and
    convicted. They were tried by their opponents, and it would be
    impossible to get justice done them in Barnstable County. An
    impartial jury could not be found there. It is the interest of
    too many to keep the Indians degraded. We think the conviction
    of these Indians is an act of cruelty and oppression,
    disgraceful to the Commonwealth. The Marshpee Indians are
    wronged and oppressed by our laws, nearly as much as ever the
    Cherokees were by the Georgians. But it is useless to call for
    the exercise of philanthropy at _home_. It is all expended

    An attempt was made to indict some of the white harpies, who
    are selling rum to the Indians, without license. Those men got
    clear, and are still suffered to prey on the poor Indians;
    but to stop a load of wood, which in reality belonged to the
    Indians themselves, was an outrage which the Court were ready
    enough to punish! Is it creditable to let the _white_ spiders
    break through the laws, while we catch and crush the poor
    Indian flies?


    William Apes and the Marshpee Indians, who were tried before
    the Court of Common Pleas, in Barnstable County, were ably
    defended by Mr. Sumner, of this city. Apes was sentenced by
    Judge Cummings, to thirty days imprisonment in the common
    jail. One other was sentenced to ten days imprisonment, and
    the rest were not tried. When the sentence was pronounced,
    several Indians who were present, gave indications of
    strong excitement at what they conceive to be a tyrannical
    persecution. It is much to be feared, that this unnecessary
    and apparently vindictive course, pursued by the overseers
    and their friends, after the Indians had become quiet, and
    resolved to wait patiently for redress from the Legislature,
    will inflame them to acts of violence, and give the whites,
    who wish to oppress them, further advantages over them.

    We have visited the greater part of the tribe recently, in
    their own dwellings, and we know how strongly and unanimously
    they feel upon the subject of what they really believe to be,
    their slavery to the overseers. If, therefore, the course we
    have pursued, and mean to pursue, in laying their claims to
    justice before the public, entitles us to be listened to as
    a friend, we beg them to abstain from all acts which violate
    even the unjust and hard laws by which they are now held
    in bondage. Resistance will furnish their enemies with the
    strongest weapons against them, and discourage their friends.
    Let them endure patiently, till the next Legislature meets,
    and if there is any virtue or honesty in our public men, the
    rights of the Marshpee Indians will be secured.

    In our last article we said that it was impossible for the
    Indians to have an impartial jury in Barnstable. We did not
    mean that this arose from all the whites being opposed to
    the Indians. They have many friends in Barnstable County, who
    think them deeply injured, and who have no interest in keeping
    them degraded, in order to enjoy the privileges which too many
    whites now have, at the expense of the tribe. We alluded to
    the influences that would be used upon the jury, as in
    the case of Apes, where we learn, that three individuals,
    favorable to the Indians, but having formed no opinion in that
    case, were excluded from the regular jury. One of them was set
    aside, for saying he thought the Indians ought to be free. We
    are still at a loss to know under what law these Indians were
    found guilty of riot, in preventing their own wood from
    being carried off their own land. Where are all our Cherokee
    philanthropists, at this time?

The injustice of the proceedings of the Barnstable Court of Common
Pleas and Sessions, is here fitly exposed. In empanelling the jury, it
is certain that no name of one favorably inclined toward the Indians
was selected, and there are many who do not scruple to say, that it
was the determination of the Court to condemn them, right or wrong.
Nevertheless, it appeared from the evidence brought, that no fear or
alarm whatever had been occasioned to the complainants; and that all
they had to complain of was having been hindered from taking away the
Marshpees' wood.

It may not be amiss to say here, that when the honorable Judge said he
thought it would be well to postpone the case till the next session,
the District Attorney, Mr. Warren, replied that he did not think it
would be proper, because such a course would involve the Commonwealth
in extra expense. I should like to ask what thanks are due to
the learned gentleman from the Commonwealth, for subjecting it to
continued reproach and disgrace for the sake of a few dollars. Or, can
it be that there is no disgrace in persisting in wrong toward Indians?
Let those who think so, think so still; but there are many who think
otherwise, and there is one above who knows that they think rightly.

When the witnesses and the pleadings had been heard, the jury retired,
for the sake of decency, and presently returned with a verdict of
_guilty_. I thought that his Honor appeared to be pleased with it. The
judgment was suspended about two hours, when the Court again sat, and
the matter was called up. There was not a little said concerning
the case. Messrs. Reed, Sumner, Holmes and Nye, of Yarmouth, Boston,
Rochester, and Sandwich, all professional men, were opposed to the
course pursued by the Court, and thought that an exposition of the
law to us and reprimand would be productive of a better effect, than
imprisonment, or other severe punishment, which they justly believed
would do no good whatever. Their judgment has since been confirmed by
public opinion, and by the acts of the Legislature.

Since this affair took place, I have been kindly informed by a
gentleman of Barnstable, that my punishment was not half severe
enough. I replied that, in my mind, it was no punishment at all; and I
am yet to learn what punishment can dismay a man conscious of his own
innocence. Lightning, tempest and battle, wreck, pain, buffeting and
torture have small terror to a pure conscience. The body they may
afflict, but the mind is beyond their power.

The gentleman above mentioned, and one other, have frequently said to
the Marshpees, "If you will only get rid of Apes, and drive him off
the plantation, we will be your friends." This has been their continued
cry since I began to use my poor endeavors to get the Indians righted;
and if it is not now universally believed that it is impossible to
benefit and befriend the Indians while I am among them, it is not
because they have spared any pains to propagate the doctrine. One
would think, to hear these gentlemen talk, that they have a strong
desire to benefit the Marshpees; and the question naturally arises,
what steps they would take to this end, if they had the power. If
we are to judge of the future by experience of the past, we may
reasonably suppose that they would profit the tribe, by getting
possession of their property, and making their own advantage of it.

The Taunton Gazette found fault with the government of the
Commonwealth, for having placed the Marshpees under its laws contrary
to their wish and consent, and denies its right so to do. This may
be considered as in some degree indicative of the feeling of the good
people of Taunton; and there are many other towns in Massachusetts
where a kindly feeling is entertained for our persecuted race. We
believe the wish to relieve us from bondage is general throughout the
State, and we earnestly hope that a few designing men will not be able
to accomplish their selfish ends, contrary to the will of a majority
of the people.

The next article is from the Boston Advocate, of December 4, 1833.


    The Indians met upon the 11th of October to take into
    consideration the cause of temperance, and to investigate the
    evils that King Alcohol has practised upon us, by infusing
    into our heads fancied riches, fame, honor, and grandeur,
    making us the sovereigns of the whole earth. But having been
    so often deceived, beat, abused and tyrannized over, and
    withal cheated, and robbed, and defrauded by this tyrant, and
    to cap the climax, almost deprived of our senses, burnt and
    nearly frozen to death, and all our expectations cut off as
    to the comforts of life, it was agreed upon, (after an
    appropriate address from the Rev. William Apes, setting forth
    the evils of intemperance and its awful effects in wasting
    away our race, like the early dew, before the morning sun,)
    by our most influential people to attack this mighty champion,
    and if possible, overcome him, and shut him up in prison, and
    set a seal upon him, that he shall deceive our nation no more.
    Accordingly a Temperance Society was formed, and the following
    officers were elected: Rev. William Apes, President; Rev.
    Joseph Amos, Vice President; Dea. I. Coombs, and Thomas
    Hush, Recording Secretaries; Dea. C. Hinson, Corresponding
    Secretary; Executive Committee, Oakes Coombs, Joseph Tobey,
    Frank Hicks. Forty-two of the tribe united in the pledge of

    Nov. 14. We met again, and the President again addressed the
    meeting, much to the satisfaction of the people. After which
    many others gave spirited addresses, setting forth the evils
    of intemperance, in a most pathetic manner. It has caused a
    wonderful effect, and our brethren are enlisting to take hold
    and shut up our great enemy in prison, and choke him to death
    by total abstinence. Friends of Temperance help.

    The Society passed the following resolutions:

    _Resolved_, That we will not countenance the use of ardent
    spirits among us, in any way whatever; and that we will do
    all in our power to suppress it. That we will not buy it
    ourselves, nor suffer it to be in our houses, unless ordered
    by a physician.

    _Resolved_, That this Society shall meet monthly, to regulate
    itself, and if any one is found to break their pledge, the
    same shall be excluded, without speedy repentance.

    _Voted_, That the above be printed. Sixty-one is found upon
    our list.

        CHRISTOPHER HINSON, _Cor. Sec'y_.

        _Marshpee, Nov. 15_.

It appears from this that Indians can be temperate, and have a
disposition and desire to benefit themselves. It shows, too, that
they are capable of organizing societies, and taking care of their own
concerns, as well, to say the least, as any equal number of persons in
the Commonwealth; for they certainly feel more strongly interested for
themselves than others can be for them.

It will be seen that little was done concerning our tribe, from
the session of the Court at Barnstable up to the meeting of the
Legislature, though the opposition to us had wealth, talent and power
in its ranks. Clergymen, lawyers, physicians, counsellors, Governor,
senators, and representatives were arrayed against us; and we
Marshpees account all who opposed our freedom, as tories, hostile
to the constitution, and the liberties of the country. This is our
sincere opinion of them, and it is to us a thing inexplicable that his
Excellency, the then Governor, should have seen fit to place himself
at their head.[8] We desire to thank our Maker that they found
themselves in the minority of the people, and fell in the esteem of
Christian and benevolent persons who heard of their conduct. We thank
the majority of the controllers of public affairs, that they had
more sense than to think of holding the rightful lords of the soil in
bondage any longer, for the gratification of selfish and unjust
men. Honorable is it to Massachusetts that there are enough good and
upright men in authority, to counteract the measures of those of a
different character, and remedy the evils they may occasion.

I shall now proceed to present to my brethren, an Indian's appeal to
them, and the laws framed by the Legislature for the oppression and
moral and political destruction of the Marshpees in by-gone days.
My comments thereupon will be omitted, because, should I say all
the subject suggests, it would swell my book to a bulk that would be
wearisome to the reader.


    As our brethren, the white men of Massachusetts, have recently
    manifested much sympathy for the red men of the Cherokee
    nation, who have suffered much from their white brethren;
    as it is contended in this State, that our red brethren,
    the Cherokees, should be an independent people, having the
    privileges of the white men; we, the red men of the Marshpee
    tribe, consider it a favorable time to speak. We are not free.
    We wish to be so, as much as the red men of Georgia. How will
    the white man of Massachusetts ask favor for the red men
    of the South, while the poor Marshpee red men, his near
    neighbors, sigh in bondage? Will not your white brothers of
    Georgia tell you to look at home, and clear your own borders
    of oppression, before you trouble them? Will you think of
    this? What would be benevolence in Georgia, the red man thinks
    would be so in Massachusetts. You plead for the Cherokees,
    will you not raise your voice for the red man of Marshpee?
    Our overseers are not kind; they speak, you hear them. When we
    speak for ourselves, our voice is so feeble it is not heard.

    You think the men you give us do us good, and that all is
    right. Brothers, you are deceived; they do us no good. We
    do them good. They like the place where you have put them.
    Brothers, our fathers of this State meet soon to make laws;
    will you help us to enable them to hear the voice of the red

        _Marshpee, Dec. 19, 1833_.

This appeal was published in several of the public prints, in order to
make our dissatisfaction manifest.

The next extract is from the Boston Advocate, and shows what
opposition was made to the reading of our petition in the House of
Representatives. The article says all that can be said for itself.[9]


    Yesterday morning, in the House, Mr. Cushing of Dorchester,
    presented the petition of the Proprietors and inhabitants of
    the Marshpee Plantation, signed by 79 males and 92 females on
    the plantation, and in behalf of 79 males and 37 females, who
    are absent from the plantation, and say they will not return
    to live under the present laws, in all 287: praying for the
    privilege to manage their own property; for the abolition of
    the overseership, that they may be incorporated as the town of
    Marshpee, with the right to make municipal regulations; that
    one or more Magistrates may be appointed among them; and for a
    repeal of the existing laws relating to their tribe, with the
    exception of the law preventing their selling their lands,
    which they pray may be retained; and for a redress of

    [The Memorial sets forth in detail, the complaints of the
    tribe, and was drawn up among themselves, without assistance.
    It is represented here by Deacon Coombs, Daniel Amos, and
    William Apes, all of them well informed Indians, who
    are deputed by the tribe, and were present in the House

    Mr. Cushing moved that the petition be read and referred to a
    special Committee, to be joined by the Senate.

    Mr. Swift of Nantucket, said there was a statement to be
    made from the Governor and Council, on the subject of the
    difficulties with the Indians, and he hoped the petition would
    be laid on the table without being read.

    Mr. Allen of Pembroke, hoped the motion to read the petition
    would not prevail. We should have in a few days a statement
    from the Governor and Council, and he hoped nothing would be
    done until that was received, to prejudice the House.

    Mr. Cushing of Dorchester, was not aware that any objections
    could be made to the reading of the petition, which he
    considered as a matter of course; nor could he see how a
    knowledge of the matter could prejudice the House. He presumed
    the House would not take upon itself to refuse to hear the
    petition of the humblest individual, and he did not fear that
    they could not control their minds so far as to be ready to
    give a fair hearing to the other side. The intimation that
    some document was to come from another source, did not go at
    all to show that the petition ought not to be read. Whether
    the statement which gentlemen said was to be made, was in aid
    or explanation of the petition did not appear, but the subject
    was before the House, and ought to receive the attention due
    to it.

    Mr. Lucas of Plymouth, said (as far as we could hear him) that
    the difficulty in the Marshpee tribe had been caused by an
    itinerant preacher, who went there and urged them to declare
    their independence. They proceeded to extremities, and the
    Governor and Council sent a commissioner to examine the
    affair, and he made a report to the Council, and until that
    was heard, he hoped nothing would be heard from the Indians.
    It ought first to come before the House. The petition
    originated no doubt, from the itinerant preacher, who had been
    pouring into their ears discontent until they had a riot, and
    the rioters were prosecuted with the preacher among them,
    and he was convicted and imprisoned. Whether any of the
    petitioners were among those rioters or not, he did not know.

    Mr. Allen of Pembroke, said he had not heard the gentleman
    from Plymouth. It was not his wish to prevent the petitioners
    being heard at a proper time, but he thought the House ought
    to hear the other side, before any course was taken.

    Mr. Robinson of Marblehead, hoped that the attempt would not
    be persisted in, to withhold from these Indians the common
    indulgence of having their petition read.

    Mr. Loring of Hingham, understood that this was the same
    petition which went before the Governor and Council, [Mr. L.
    was misinformed; It is a different petition,] and as it was
    very long, it would take up time unnecessarily to read it. He
    hoped it would be laid on the table.

    Mr. Allen of Worcester, thought those who opposed the reading
    were in fact increasing the Importance of the petition by that
    course. If the House should refuse to hear it read, a
    course he did not remember had ever been adopted toward any
    respectful petition, from any quarter, it would become a
    subject of much more speculation than if it took the ordinary

    Mr. H. Lincoln of Boston, was surprised to hear an objection
    raised to the reading of this petition. It was due to the
    character of the House, and to our native brethren the
    petitioners, whose agents were here on the floor, that they
    should be heard, and heard patiently. He hoped that out of
    respect to ourselves, and from justice to the petitioners,
    their petition would find every favor, which in justice ought
    to be extended to it.

    Mr. Swift of Nantucket, again urged that the petition ought
    not to be read, until the report from the Governor and Council
    was first heard.

    Mr. Chapman.--The petitioners have a constitutional right to
    be heard. I know not of what value that provision is which
    gives a right to petition, if the House can refuse to hear the
    petition. They do not ask for action, but to be heard. It can
    be read and laid on the table. So long as I hold a seat in
    this House, my hand shall be raised to give a hearing to the
    humblest individual who presents a petition for redress of

    Mr. Loring of Hingham hoped the idea could not be entertained
    that they wished to throw this subject out of the House. He
    wanted the whole subject should be brought up, and not that
    this petition should go in first. It was not his wish to
    prevent the petitioners being heard.

    The Speaker put the question, shall the petition be read? and
    it was carried in the affirmative, nearly every hand in the
    House being raised. In the negative we saw but five hands. The
    petition was then read by the Speaker.

    Mr. Roberts of Salem moved that it be laid on the table and
    printed for the use of the House, as there must be a future
    action of the House upon it. The motion was carried without

    The attempt to prevent the petition of the Marshpee Indians
    from being read, was repelled in the House with an unanimity
    which shows the value the Representatives place upon the right
    of petitioning. The poor Indians are without advice or counsel
    to aid them, for they have no means to fee lawyers, but they
    will evidently find firm friends in the House ready to do them
    justice. This is no party question. It involves the honor of
    the State. Let all be done for them that can be wisely done
    in a spirit of paternal kindness. Let it not be shown that our
    sympathy for Indians extends only to those at the South, but
    has no feeling for our own.

       *       *       *       *       *

    [_From the same_.] THE MARSHPEE INDIANS.

    The laws which regulate this remnant of a once powerful tribe
    of Indians, are not familiar to many, and it is one great
    defect in the present system, that these laws are so difficult
    of access, and so complex that the Indians neither know nor
    comprehend them; and it cannot be expected that they should
    live contentedly under oppressive regulations which they do
    not understand. Should any new laws be passed, they ought to
    be as simple as possible, and be distributed for the use of
    the Indians.

    By the Act of 1788, Ch. 38, Vol. 1 of Laws, page 342, new
    provisions were made, the previous act of 1788, Ch. 2, being
    found insufficient "to protect them and their property against
    the arts and designs of those who may be disposed to take
    advantage of their weakness." The wisdom of the whites, at
    that time, invented the following provisions for that purpose:

    SECTION 1. A Board of five Overseers was established,
    (afterwards reduced to three,) two to be inhabitants of
    Barnstable County, and three from an adjoining County. (Now
    two are inhabitants of Barnstable and one of Plymouth County.)
    These Overseers were vested with full power to regulate the
    police of the plantation; to establish rules for managing
    the affairs, interests and concerns of the Indians and
    inhabitants. They may improve and lease the lands of the
    Indians, and their _tenements_; regulate their streams, ponds
    and fisheries; mete out lots for their particular improvement;
    control and regulate absolutely, their bargains, contracts,
    wages, and other dealings, take care of their poor, and bind
    out their children to suitable persons.

    The Overseers are directed to hold stated meetings, elect a
    moderator, secretary and treasurer, and may appoint and
    remove guardians over any of the Indians, to act under the
    the Overseers, and to carry their regulations into effect, the
    guardians to give bonds to the Overseers.

    By section 2, the Overseers or the guardians they appoint have
    power to demand and receive all property or wages owing to
    said Proprietors or any of them, by any person, and may sue in
    their own names for its recovery, or for any trespass, fraud
    or injury done to their lands or them. They may settle all
    accounts and controversies between the Indians or any white
    person, for voyages or any services done by them, and may bind
    the children of poor proprietors by indenture, to suitable

    SECT. 3. No lease, covenant, bond or bargain, or contract in
    writing, is of any validity unless approved by the Overseer or
    guardian; and no Indian proprietor can be sued for any goods
    sold, services done, &c. or for money, unless the account is
    first approved by the Overseers.

    [This, it is said, enables the Overseers to sanction the
    accounts of those who sell to the Indians upon the expectation
    of obtaining the favor of the Overseers, and opens a door for

    SECT. 4. The Overseers are to keep a fair account of all
    monies, wages, &c. they receive, and all proceeds of the
    plantation, and shall distribute to the proprietors their
    respective shares and dues, after deducting reasonable expense
    of conducting their business, _paying their just debts_, (of
    which the Overseers are made the judges,) and providing for
    the sick and indigent, from the common profits, and reserving
    such sums as can be spared conveniently, for the support of
    religious instruction, and schooling children. The accounts to
    be laid before the Governor annually. The Governor and Council
    appoint the Overseers and displace them at pleasure.

    SECT. 5. The Indian Proprietors are prohibited giving any one
    liberty to cut wood, timber or hay, to milk pine trees, carry
    off any ore or grain, or to plant or improve any land
    or tenement, and no such liberty, unless approved by the
    Overseers, shall bar an action on the part of the Overseers to
    recover. The lands shall not be taken in execution for debt,
    and an Indian committed for debt may take the poor
    debtor's oath, his being a _proprietor_ to the contrary

    The last act relating to this tribe, was passed Feb. 18, 1819,
    Chap. 105, 2d vol. of Laws, page 487. It provides that no
    person thereafter shall be a proprietor of the Plantation,
    except a child or lineal descendant of some proprietor, and in
    no other way shall this _right_, as it is called, be acquired.
    Other inhabitants are called members of the tribe.

    The Overseers are to keep a record of names, or census, of all
    who are proprietors, and all who are residents or members of
    the tribe, a return of which is to be made to the Governor the
    last of December.

    The Overseers, in addition to all former power, are invested
    with all the powers and duties of guardians of the Indians,
    whenever such office of guardian shall be vacant. [A very
    blind provision, by the way, which it may be as difficult for
    white men as for Indians to understand.]

    Any person selling ardent spirits to an Indian, without
    a permit in writing from the Overseer, from some agent of
    theirs, or from a respectable physician, may be fined not more
    than fifty dollars, on conviction; and it shall be the duty
    of the Overseer to give information for prosecuting such

    The Overseers may bind out to service, for three years at
    a time, any proprietor or member of the tribe, who in their
    judgment has become an habitual drunkard and idler, and they
    may apply his earnings to his own support, his family's, or
    the proprietors generally, as they think proper.

    All real estate acquired or purchased by the industry of the
    proprietors and members, (meaning of course without the limits
    of the plantation,) shall be their sole property and estate,
    and may be held or conveyed by deed, will, or otherwise.

    If any Indian or other person shall cut or take away any wood,
    timber, or other property, on any lands _belonging_ to the
    proprietors or members, which is not set off; or if any person
    not a proprietor or member, shall do the same on lands that
    have been set off, or commit any other trespass, they shall
    be fined not over $200, or imprisoned not over two years.
    The Indians are declared competent witnesses to prove the
    trespass. No Indian or other person is to cut wood without
    a permit in writing, signed by two Overseers, expressing the
    quantity to be cut, at what time and for what purpose; and the
    permit must be recorded in their proceedings before any wood
    or timber shall be cut.

    [Of this provision, the Indians greatly complain, because it
    gives them no more privilege in cutting their own wood than a
    stranger has, and because under it, as they say, the Overseers
    oblige them to pay a dollar or more a cord for all the wood
    they are permitted to cut, which leaves them little or no
    profit, and compels the industrious to labour merely for
    the support of the idle, while the white men, who have their
    teams, vessels, &c. can buy their permits and cut down the
    wood of the plantation in great quantities, at much greater
    profit than the Indian can do, who has nothing but his axe,
    and must pay these white men a dollar or more for carting his
    wood, and a dollar or more to the Overseers, thus leaving him
    not enough to encourage industry.]

    All accounts of the Overseers are to be annually examined by
    the Court of Common Pleas for Barnstable, and a copy sent by
    the Overseers to the Governor.

    Any action commenced by the Overseers, does not abate by their
    death, but may be prosecuted by the survivors.

    All fines, &c. under the act, are to be recovered before
    Courts in Barnstable County, one half to the informer, and the
    other to the State. These are all the provisions of the law
    of 1819, and these are the provisions under which the tribe is

As I suppose my reader can understand these laws, and is capable of
judging of their propriety, I shall say but little on this subject, I
will ask him how, if he values his own liberty, he would or could rest
quiet under such laws. I ask the inhabitants of New England generally,
how their fathers bore laws, much less oppressive, when imposed upon
them by a foreign government. It will be at once seen that the third
section takes from us the rights and privileges of citizens _in toto_,
and that we are not allowed to govern our own property, wives
and children. A board of overseers are placed over us to keep our
accounts, and give debt and credit, as may seem good unto them.

At one time, it was the practice of the Overseers, when the Indians
hired themselves to their neighbors, to receive their wages, and
dispose of them at their own discretion. Sometimes an Indian bound
on a whaling voyage would earn four or five hundred dollars, and
the shipmaster would account to the overseers for the whole sum. The
Indian would get some small part of his due, in order to encourage
him to go again, and gain more for his white masters, to support
themselves and educate their children with. And this is but a specimen
of the systematic course taken to degrade the tribe from generation
to generation. I could tell of one of our masters who has not only
supported himself and family out of the proceeds of our lands and
labors, but has educated a son at College, at our expense.

It is true that if any Indian elected to leave the plantation, he
might settle and accumulate property elsewhere, and be free; but if he
dared to return home with his property, it was taken out of his hands
by the Board of Overseers, according to the unjust law. His property
had no more protection from their rapacity than the rest of the
plantation. In the name of Heaven, (with due reverence,) I ask,
what people could improve under laws which gave such temptation and
facility to plunder? I think such experiments as our government have
made ought to be seldom tried.

If the government of Massachusetts do not see fit to believe me, I
would fain propose to them a test of the soundness of my reasoning.
Let them put our white neighbors in Barnstable County under the
guardianship of a Board of Overseers, and give them no privileges
other than have been allowed to the poor, despised Indians. Let them
inflict upon the said whites a preacher whom they neither love nor
respect, and do not wish to hear. Let them, in short, be treated
just as the Marshpee tribe have been, I think there will soon be a
declension of morals and population. We shall see if they will be able
to build up a town in such circumstances. Any enterprising men who may
be among them will soon seek another home and society, which it is not
in the power of the Indians to do, on account of their color. Could
they have been received and treated by the world as other people are,
there would not be so many living in Marshpee as there are by half.

The laws were calculated to drive the tribe from their possessions,
and annihilate them, as a people; and I presume they would work the
same effect upon any other people; for human nature is the same under
skins of all colors. Degradation is degradation, all the world over.

If the white man desired the welfare of his red brethren, why did he
not give them schools? Why has not the State done something to supply
us with teachers and places of instruction? I trow, all the schooling
the Marshpee people have ever had, they have gotten themselves. There
was not even a house on the plantation for the accommodation of a
teacher, till I arrived among them. We have now a house respectable
enough for even a white teacher to lodge in comfortably, and we are in
strong hopes that we shall one day soon be able to provide for our own
wants, if the whites will only permit us to do so, as they never have
done yet. If they can but be convinced that we are human beings, I
trust they will be our hindrance no longer.

I beg the reader's patience and attention to a few general remarks. It
is a sorrowful truth that, heretofore, all legislation regarding the
affairs of Indians, has had a direct tendency to degrade them, to
drive them from their homes, and the graves of their fathers, and
to give their lands as a spoil to the general government, or to the
several States. In New England, especially, it can be proved that
Indian lands have been taken to support schools for the whites, and
the preaching of the gospel to them. Had the property so taken been
applied to the benefit of its true owners, they would not and could
not have been so ignorant and degraded a race as they now are; only
forty-four of whom, out of four or five hundred, can write their
names. From what I have been able to learn from the public prints and
other sources, the amount annually derived to the American people,
from Indian lands is not far from six millions, a tax of which they
have almost the sole benefit. In the mean while, we daily see the
Indian driven farther and farther by inhuman legislation and wars,
and all to enrich a people who call themselves Christians, and are
governed by laws derived from the moral and pious puritans. I say
that, from the year of our Lord 1656, to the present day, the conduct
of the whites toward the Indians has been one continued system of

I suppose many of my readers have heard of the late robbery at
Barnegat, and are ready to say, that the like has never been known in
this country, and seldom in any other. Now, though two-thirds of the
inhabitants, not excluding their magistrates, have been proved to
be thieves, I ask, was their conduct worse, or even so bad as that
constantly practised by the American people toward the Indians? I say
no; and what makes the robbery of my wronged race more grievous is,
that it is sanctioned by legal enactments. Why is it more iniquitous
to plunder a stranded ship than to rob, and perhaps murder, an Indian
tribe? It is my private opinion that King Solomon was not far wrong
when he said, "Bring up a child in the way he should go, and when
he is old he will not depart from it." He might have said with equal
propriety, "in the way he should _not_ go." I am sorry that the
puritans knew no better than to bring up their children to hate and
oppress Indians. I must own, however, that the children are growing
something better than their fathers were, and I wish that the children
of Barnegat had had better parents.

The next matter I shall offer is in two more articles from the Boston
Advocate. The first is by the Editor.


    The arms of the State of Massachusetts, which appear at the
    head of all official acts, and upon the seals of office, are
    an Indian with his bow and arrows. Over his head is an arm
    holding the sword of Justice. Is this sword designed to
    protect or oppress the Indians? The Legislature now have the
    opportunity to answer this question, and as they answer, will
    be the record in history. The principal community of Indians
    in this State, the Marshpee tribe, have presented their
    complaints before the Legislature. Though an unwise attempt
    was made by some few of the Representatives from the
    neighborhood of the Indians, to prevent the reading of their
    petition, it was received with marked kindness by the House,
    and ordered to be printed, a favor which the Indians did not
    think of asking.

    There is evidently a disposition in the House to prove that
    our sympathies are not confined merely to the Georgia Indians,
    for political effect.


    I perceive that your paper has spoken a good word now and then
    for the native Indians of Massachusetts. There is no class of
    human beings in this State, who have more need of a candid and
    humane advocate.

    I do not know much about the remnants of a once noble and
    hospitable race, and yet I know enough to make me grieve for
    them, and ashamed of the State.

    For about two hundred years, the laws have prohibited Indians
    from selling their lands to whites, within this Commonwealth.
    This restriction, designed originally to protect the natives
    against fraud, has, upon the whole, had an unfavorable effect
    upon their happiness. If they had been at liberty to dispose
    of their land and depart with the proceeds, or even without
    the proceeds, to seek some new location, they would in all
    probability have been happier. Nor have these prohibitory laws
    had even the poor effect to protect them from the rapacity
    of their white neighbors. These have contrived to clip the
    corners of those simple people, and to get hold of their
    pleasant and fertile vallies in a very surprising manner,
    considering the strictness of the law.

    But the great ground of complaint is, that no native Indian,
    or descendant, is allowed by us _to be a man, or to make
    himself a man_, whatever may be his disposition and capacity.
    They are all kept in a state of vassalage, under officers,
    appointed sometimes by the Governor, and sometimes by
    the Legislature. The spot of his own ground, which he
    may cultivate, is annually rented out to the Indian by an
    overseer; and provisions are doled out to the tribe according
    to the discretion of _"Guardians," "Trustees,"_ &c. Their
    accounts are presented to the Governor and Council, who allow,
    and the Treasurer of the Commonwealth pays them as a matter of
    course. I dare not say whether those accounts are in all cases
    correct, or not. If they are, we ought to be thankful to
    the honesty of the Trustees, &c. not to the wisdom of the
    Legislature in providing checks upon fraud.

    But the effect upon the _Indians_ is the great question. This
    is decidedly bad. They are treated more like dogs than men. A
    state of tutelage, extending from the cradle to the grave; a
    state of utter dependence, breaks down every manly attribute,
    and makes of human creatures, designed to walk erect, creeping

    But there is another very great evil, if I am rightly
    informed, which calls loudly for the interposition of the
    Legislature. The Marshpee and other Indian communities in
    this State, are not included within the jurisdiction of any
    incorporated town. The consequence is, that they are without
    police, except what the Trustees and other officers appointed
    by them, exercise. These officers never live among them;
    and the consequence is, that the Indian grounds are so
    many _Alsatias_, where the vagrant, the dissipated, and the
    felonious do congregate. Nor is this the fault of the native.
    It is the fault of their State; which, while it has demolished
    Indian customs, has set up no regular administration of
    municipal laws in their stead. Thus I am informed, that at
    Gayhead, spirituous liquors are retailed without license, and
    that _it is considered_ that there is no power which can reach
    the abuse. There are many industrious and worthy people among
    these natives, who are anxious for improvement, and to promote
    the education and improvement of their people, but a degrading
    personal dependence on the one hand, and the absence of nearly
    all incentives and all power to do good on the other, keeps
    them down.

    The _paupers_ among these natives, who are at some seasons of
    the year a majority or nearly all of them, are supported
    by the State, and there must be a great opportunity and
    temptation to the agents of the government to wrong these poor
    people. The agents always have the ear of the government, or
    rather they _are_ the government. The Indians have nobody to
    speak for them. They are kept too poor to pay counsel. I think
    it is not too much to say that almost any degree of injustice,
    short of murder, might be done them without any likelihood of
    their obtaining redress.

    Why should not this odious, and brutifying system be put
    an end to? Why should not the remaining Indians in this
    Commonwealth be placed upon the same footing as to rights of
    property, as to civil privileges and duties, as other men?
    Why should they not _vote_, maintain schools, (they have
    volunteered to do this in some instances,) and use as they
    please that which is their own? If the contiguous towns
    object to having them added to their corporations, let them
    be incorporated by themselves; let them choose their officers,
    establish a police; maintain fences and take up stray cattle.
    I believe the Indians desire such a change. I believe they
    have gone as far as they are allowed to introduce it. But they
    are fettered and ground to the earth.

    I am informed that many of the stoutest _whalers_ are produced
    among our small Indian tribes. I am also informed, that they
    are defrauded by the whites of a great part of their
    wages, which would otherwise amount to large sums. If some
    respectable men could be trained up and fostered among these
    people, their intelligence and influence would be invaluable
    to educate, protect and guide their seafaring brethren. Under
    such auspices, they would, after the years of peril, return
    and settle down with snug independence, be a blessing to their
    brethren, and respectable in the sight of all. Now they are
    so knocked about, so cheated, preyed upon and brutalized,
    that they think of nothing, and _hope_ nothing, but sensual
    gratifications; and in consequence, die prematurely, or live
    worse than to die.

    The Christian philanthropists of Massachusetts little know
    the extent of evil, which there is in this respect. I entreat
    them, I entreat the constituted authorities, to look to it.


I use these pieces chiefly because they partly correspond in truth
and spirit with what I have already said. Let our friends but read the
laws, and they will see what the sword of the Commonwealth is intended
for. In the second article there is a grievous mistake. It says that
the government has assisted us. The Marshpee Indians have always paid
their full share of taxes, and very great ones they have been. They
have defrayed the expense of two town meetings a year, and one of two
of the white men whose presence was necessary, lived twenty-five miles
off. The meetings lasted three or four days at a time, during which,
these men lived upon the best, at our cost, and charged us three
dollars a day, and twenty-five cents a mile, travelling expenses,
going and coming into the bargain. This amounts to thirty-five dollars
a trip; and as there were, as has already been said, two visitations a
year, it appears that we have paid seventy dollars a year to bring one
visitor, whose absence would have been much more agreeable to us than
his presence. Extend this calculation to the number of seven persons,
and the other expenses of our misgovernment, and perhaps some other
expenditures not mentioned, and see what a sum our tax will amount to.

The next article is from the Boston Advocate of December 27, 1833.


    It was stated in the Barnstable Journal the other day, and has
    been copied into other papers, that the Marshpee Indians
    were generally satisfied with their situation, and desired no
    change, and that the excitement, produced principally by
    Mr. Apes, had subsided. We had no doubt this statement was
    incorrect, because we had personally visited most of the
    tribe, in their houses and wigwams, in August last, and found
    but one settled feeling of wrong and oppression pervading the
    whole; not a new impulse depending upon Mr. Apes or any other
    man, but the result of the unjust laws which have ruled them
    like a complete despotism.

    The Overseers are not so much to blame as the laws. We doubt
    not they have acted honestly; but, in the spirit of the laws,
    they have almost unavoidably exercised a stern control over
    the property and persons of the tribe. In fact the laws, as
    they now stand, almost permit the Overseers, with impunity,
    to sell the Indians for slaves. They can bind them out as they
    please, do as they please with their contracts, expel them
    from the plantation almost at will, and in fact use them
    nearly as slaves. We do not think they have intentionally done
    wrong to the Indians, but the whole system of government is
    wrong; and hence the unalterable dislike the Indians have to
    their Overseers. No better men could be appointed, that
    we know of; but the best men must play the tyrant, if they
    execute the present laws, designed as they are to _oppress_,
    and not to protect the poor Indians.

    We have known these Indians, from our youth up. They live near
    our native home. The first pleasure we ever derived from the
    exercise of benevolence, was in satisfying the calls of their
    women and children for bread, at our father's door, and we
    always found them kind hearted to those who were kind to
    them. We have often met with them to worship in their rural
    meeting-house, and have again and again explored with the
    angling rod, the romantic stream, abounding with the nimble
    trout, which courses through their plantation.

    For those reasons, and these alone, we felt it our duty to
    give them an opportunity to be heard through the columns of
    our paper, while all others were closed to them, or cold to
    their complaints. If we can do them any good, we shall have
    a full reward in the act itself. We have it already in the
    simple tribute of gratitude, which they have unexpectedly
    bestowed upon our poor services.

    They have sent us a communication, which is signed by the best
    men in the tribe. We know most of these names, and they belong
    to the most sensible and most industrious to be found on the
    plantation. Will other papers publish this simple appeal to
    the justice of the white men? It is useless to say after this,
    that the Indians of Marshpee are content with their condition.
    Something must be done for them.



    It has been stated in some of the papers that the Marshpee
    Indians are generally satisfied with their situation, and the
    conduct of the Overseers, and want no change. It is also said
    that the most industrious men on the plantation are opposed
    to petitioning the Legislature to give them the management of
    their own property; and they would all have been quiet, if it
    had not been for Mr. Apes.

    Now we know something of our own rights without being told by
    Mr. Apes, or any one. We have confidence in Mr. Apes, and
    have seen no reason to doubt that he means well; but our
    dissatisfaction with the laws and the Overseers was the same
    as it is now, long before Mr. Apes came among us, and he will
    have our confidence no longer than while we are satisfied he
    does right. If he does wrong, we shall oppose him as soon as
    any man, but so long as he honestly aids us in seeking for our
    rights, we shall be in his favor. He is only one of us, and
    has no more authority over the tribe than any other member
    of it. He has been adopted into the tribe, according to the
    Indian custom; and as long as he deserves our confidence, we
    shall regard him as a friend.

    But it is unfair to attempt to prejudice the public against
    us, while we are petitioning for our rights. It is not true
    that the Indians are satisfied. The Legislature ought not to
    be deceived by such stories from interested men. There is
    a universal dissatisfaction with our condition, and unless
    something is done to relieve us, the whole tribe must suffer,
    and they will feel as if they must give up all hope of
    improving their condition. We wish you to publish this with
    our names, that the public may not be deceived.

        Daniel B. Amos,
        James Hush,
        Ezra Attaquin,
        Christopher Hinson,
        Aaron Keeter,
        Joseph Pocknet,
        Nicholas Pocknet,
        David Wilbur,
        William X[Note: sideways X] Jones, (his mark,)
        Isaac X[Note: sideways X] Simons,     "
        Oaks A. Coombs,
        Isaac Coombs,
        James Lowes,
        George Cannada,
        Richard Simon,
        Daniel X[Note: sideways X] Pocknet, (his mark,)
        Peter X[Note: sideways X] Squib,       "
        Joseph X[Note: sideways X] Squib,      "
        Jacob X[Note: sideways X] Pocknet,     "
        Israel Amos,
        David Mingo.

    N.B. There could be a host of names procured, but we think
    here are enough to satisfy the whole earth that we are _not_
    satisfied to remain in bondage.

    We also feel very grateful for the patriotic and benevolent
    course that the worthy editor, Mr. Hallett, has pursued, in
    laying our claims and oppression before the public, especially
    as he has done it without asking the least compensation.
    We rejoice to find such friends, for we believe them to be
    Christians, and impartial philanthropists.

    Gentlemen and ladies of other papers are not forgotten. The
    Indian's heart swells with gratitude to them for noticing us;
    and we wish that editors who are friends to our rights, would
    please notice the above.

    Done at a regular meeting at Marshpee, Dec. 23, 1833.

        DANIEL B. AMOS, _Sec'y. Marshpee, Dec. 23, 1833_."

I quote these articles only because they serve to show that there was
a disposition prevalent among the editorial fraternity, to prejudice
the people at large against the rights and liberties of the Indians.

After our petition had been presented, our delegates obtained
admission into the Hall of the Representatives, where they were
privileged to tell their own story. Our enemies endeavored to hinder
them even of this, though without success; and thankful are we that
they did not succeed. It will be seen from the following, that the
delegation were not unmindful of their duty.

    The address of the Marshpee Indians at Boylston Hall, last
    evening, was listened to with great attention, by a crowded
    house, and with approbation, too, if we may judge from the
    repeated marks of applause.

    The address at the State House last Friday evening was also
    attended by an overflowing house. We were unable to get in,
    and cannot, therefore, say what effect was produced by it.

The next is from the Liberator of Jan. 25, 1834.


    This is a small tribe, comprising four or five hundred
    persons, residing at the head of Cape Cod, in Barnstable
    County. They have long been under the guardianship of the
    State, treated as paupers, and subjected to the control of a
    Board of Overseers. A memorial from them was presented to
    the Legislature last week, (written entirely by one of their
    number,) in which they set forth the grievances which are
    imposed upon them, the injustice and impolicy of the laws
    affecting their tribe, the arbitrary and capricious conduct of
    the Overseers, and the manner in which they are defrauded
    of the fruits of their labor; and earnestly beseech the
    Legislature to grant them the same liberty of action as is
    enjoyed by their white brethren, that they may manage their
    own concerns, and be directly amenable to the laws of the
    State, and not to their present Overseers.

    A delegation from this tribe is now in this city, consisting
    of Deacon Coombs, Daniel Amos, and William Apes. The use of
    the Hall of the House of Representatives having been granted
    to them, they made a public statement of their situation
    and wants to a crowded audience on Friday evening last,
    principally composed of members of the House; and were
    listened to most respectfully and attentively.

    Deacon Coombs first addressed the assembly, in a brief but
    somewhat indefinite speech; the purport of which was, that,
    although by taking side with the Overseers, he might have
    advanced his own interests, he nevertheless chose to suffer
    with his people, and to plead in their behalf. Their condition
    was growing more and more intolerable; excessive exactions
    were imposed upon them; their industry was crippled by
    taxation; they wished to have the Overseers discharged.

    Daniel Amos next addressed the meeting. He said he was aware
    of his ignorance; but although his words might be few, and his
    language broken, he as deeply sympathized with his suffering
    constituents, as any of his tribe. He gave a short sketch of
    his life, by which it appeared that he went at an early period
    on a whaling voyage, and received some bodily injury which
    incapacitated him from hard labor for a long time. He sought
    his native home, and soon experienced the severity of those
    laws, which, though enacted seemingly to protect the tribe,
    are retarding their improvement, and oppressing their spirits.
    The present difficulties were not of recent origin. He stated,
    with commendable pride, that he had never been struck for
    ill-behaviour, nor imprisoned for crime or debt; nor was he
    ashamed to show his face again in any place he had visited;
    and he had been round a large portion of the globe. The
    memorial before the Legislature had been read to the tribe;
    some parts had been omitted at their request; and nothing had
    been sent but by their unanimous consent. After vindicating
    the character of Mr. Apes, and enumerating some of the
    complaints of the tribe.

    He was followed by William Apes, who, in a fearless,
    comprehensive and eloquent speech, endeavored to prove that,
    under such laws and such Overseers, no people could rise
    from their degradation. He illustrated the manner in which
    extortions were made from the poor Indians, and plainly
    declared that they wanted their rights as men and as freemen.
    Although comparatively ignorant, yet they knew enough to
    manage their own concerns more equitably and economically than
    they were then managed; and notwithstanding the difficulties
    under which they labored, their moral condition was improving.
    There was not so much intemperance among them as formerly;
    many of the tribe were shrewd, intelligent and respectable
    men; and all that was necessary to raise up the entire mass
    from their low estate, was the removal of those fetters
    and restrictions which now bind them to the dust. Mr. Apes
    described the cause and the extent of the disturbance
    which took place last summer, and which resulted in his
    imprisonment. The head and front of their offending was in
    going into the woods, and unloading a cart, and causing it to
    be sent away empty. The reason for that procedure was, that
    they wished no more wood to be cut until an investigation of
    their rights had been made. They used no violence; uttered no
    oaths; made no throats; and took no weapons of defence. Every
    thing was done quietly, but firmly. Mr. Apes wished to know
    from whence the right to tax them without their consent, and
    at pleasure, and subject them to the arbitrary control of a
    Board of Overseers, was derived? He knew not himself; but he
    feared it was from the color of their skin. He concluded by
    making a forcible appeal to the justice and humanity of the
    Legislature, and expressing his confidence that the prayer of
    the memorialists would not be made in vain.

    In several instances, the speakers made some dextrous and
    pointed thrusts at the whites, for their treatment of the
    sons of the forest since the time of the pilgrims, which were
    received with applause by the audience. They were all careful
    in their references to the conduct of the Overseers; they
    wished to say as little about them as possible; but they
    wanted their removal forthwith.

    This is the first time our attention has been seriously called
    to the situation of this tribe. It is a case not to be treated
    with contempt, or disposed of hastily. It involves the rights,
    the interests, and the happiness of a large number of that
    race which has been nearly exterminated by the neglect, the
    oppression, and the cruelty of a superior number of foreign

    In the enslavement of two millions of American people in the
    Southern States, the tyranny of this nation assumes a gigantic
    form. The magnitude of the crime elevates the indignation of
    the soul. Such august villainy and stupendous iniquity soar
    above disgust, and mount up to astonishment. A conflagration
    like that of Moscow, is full of sublimity, though dreadful
    in its effects; but the burning of a solitary hut makes the
    incendiary despicable by the meanness of the act.

    In the present case, this State is guilty of a series of
    petty impositions upon a feeble band, which excite not so much
    indignation as disgust. They may be, and doubtless are, the
    blunders of legislation; the philanthropy of proscriptive
    ignorance; the atoning injuries of prejudice, rather than
    deliberate oppression. No matter who are the Overseers, (we
    know them not,) nor how faithfully they have executed
    the laws. The complaint is principally against the State;
    incidentally against them. They may succeed, perhaps, in
    vindicating their own conduct; but the State is to be judged
    out of the Statute Book, by the laws now in force for the
    regulation of the tribe. Fearing, in the plenitude of its
    benevolence, that the Indians would never rise to be men, the
    Commonwealth has, in the perfection of its wisdom, given them
    over to absolute pauperism. Believing they were incapable of
    self-government as free citizens, it has placed them under
    a guardianship which is sure to keep them in the chains of
    a servile dependance. Deprecating partial and occasional
    injustice to them on the part of individuals, it has shrewdly
    deemed it lawful to plunder them by wholesale, continually.
    Lamenting that the current of vitality is not strong enough
    to give them muscular vigor and robust health, it has fastened
    upon them leeches to fatten on their blood. Assuming that they
    would be too indolent to labor if they had all the fruits of
    their industry, it has taken away all motives for superior
    exertions, by keeping back a portion of their wages. Dreading
    lest they should run too fast, and too far, in an unfettered
    state, it has loaded them with chains so effectually as
    to prevent their running at all. These are some of the
    excellencies of that paternal guardianship, under which they
    now groan, and from which they desire the Legislature to grant
    them deliverance.

    We are proud to see this spontaneous, earnest, upward movement
    of our red brethren. It is not to be stigmatized as turbulent,
    but applauded as meritorious. It is sedition, it is true; but
    only the sedition of freedom against oppression; of justice
    against fraud; of humanity against cruelty. It is the
    intellect opposed to darkness; the soul opposed to
    degradation. It is an earnest of better things to come,
    provided the struggling spirit be set free. Let this tribe
    have at least a fair trial. While they remain as paupers, they
    will feel like paupers; be regarded like paupers; be degraded
    like paupers. We protest against this unnatural order of
    things; and now that the case has come under our cognizance,
    we shall not abandon it hastily.

    We are aware that another, and probably an opposite view of
    this case is to be laid before the public, on the part of a
    commissioner delegated by the Governor and Council, to inquire
    into the difficulties which have arisen between the tribe and
    the Overseers. We shall wait to get a glimpse of it before we
    pass judgment upon it. Whatever may be alleged either against
    the Indians or against those who hold a supervision over them,
    or whatever may be said in favor of them both; we have felt
    authorized to make the foregoing remarks, upon an examination
    of the laws enacted for the government of these discordant
    parties. An augmentation, diminution, or change of the Board
    of Overseers, will not remedy the evil. It lies elsewhere;
    in the absolute prostration of the petitioners by a blind
    legislation. They are not, and do not aspire to be an
    independent government, but citizens of Massachusetts.

    Fortunately, there is a soul for freedom in the present
    Legislature. A more independent House of Representatives has
    never been elected by the people. The cries of the Indians
    have reached their ears, and we trust affected their hearts.
    They will abolish a needless and unjust protectorate. The
    limb, which is now disjointed and bleeding, will be united to
    the body politic. What belongs to the red man shall hereafter
    in truth be his; and, thirsting for knowledge and aspiring to
    be free, every fetter shall be broken and his soul made glad.

About this time the opposition of our enemies increased to a flood.
Yet we remained undismayed; for we knew that we had the right on
our side. So we endured the shots of their sharp shooters against us
patiently. The following, from the Boston Courier of January 28, 1834,
will show to what I allude.

    Late in the month of June last, an extraordinary proceeding
    was had by the Marshpee tribe of Indians, residing on their
    plantation in Barnstable County, under the protection and
    guardianship of this Commonwealth. Excited, as it has since
    appeared, by the turbulent spirit of a stranger and intruder,
    they assembled in what they termed a town meeting, and adopted
    resolutions declaring their independence of the government
    of Massachusetts, abjuring the authority of the laws, and
    proclaiming that after the first day of July then next, they
    should assume the management of their own affairs; and, _that
    "they would not permit any white man from that day, to come
    upon their Plantation to cut or carry off any wood, hay, or
    other article, without their permission, under the penalty of
    being bound and thrown from the Plantation."_

    To allay the excitement which had been created among these
    misguided people, and to ascertain and remove, as far and as
    speedily as possible, any just cause of complaint, the most
    prompt measures were adopted by the Executive. A discreet
    and confidential agent was despatched to the plantation
    with instructions to make thorough examination into their
    grievances, real or supposed, and to become acquainted with
    their condition, and what their interest and comfort required.
    He was especially charged to represent to them the parental
    feelings and regard of the government of the Commonwealth
    towards them; to assure the head men, that, if the Overseers
    appointed by the State, had been unjust or unkind, they should
    forthwith be removed, and others appointed in their stead, and
    the wrongs sustained at their hand amply redressed, but
    that the guardianship, originally imposed for their security
    against the frauds and wicked devices of unprincipled white
    men, and continued under frequent assurances, _by the Indians
    themselves_, of its necessity, could not be suspended by the
    authority of the Governor and Council. That this rested with
    the Legislature, to which, after careful investigation of
    their complaints, a proper representation would be made by
    the Executive. He was also directed to caution them against
    heeding the counsels of those who would excite them to
    disquiet in their present situation, and to admonish them,
    that disorder and resistance to any rightful authority would
    meet with immediate and exemplary correction, through the
    civil tribunals.

    On reaching the plantation, the agent found these deluded
    people in a state of open rebellion against the government of
    the State, having with force, seized upon the Meeting-house,
    rescued from the Overseers a portion of property in their
    possession, chosen officers of their own, and threatened
    violence to all who should attempt to interfere with them,
    in the measures of _self-government_ which they had assumed.
    These threatenings and outrages had already created great
    alarm among the white inhabitants in the neighborhood, and
    induced to apprehensions of more serious consequences. Through
    the firmness and prudence of the agent, sustained by the
    advice and good offices of several intelligent citizens of the
    County, the leader in the sedition was arrested for a breach
    of the peace, and delivered over to the civil authority.
    An inquiry into the conduct of the Overseers subsequently
    conducted by the agent in the presence of the head men, and
    the conciliatory, and friendly explanations offered to the
    tribe, of their relations to the government of the State,
    resulted in inducing them to rescind their former violent
    resolves, and restored quiet to the plantation.

    A minute and interesting report by the gentleman to whom this
    delicate service was assigned, embracing an historical
    account of the tribe, and describing their present condition,
    character and numbers, with the situation, value, and
    improvement of their property, and the manner in which the
    guardianship constituted by law has been exercised over them,
    accompanies this communication. The Indians have received
    an assurance, that the attention of the Legislature shall be
    invited to their complaints, and the report will not fail
    to assist in the deliberations to which the subject may give

Does it not appear from, this, and from his message, that the
Ex-Governor is a man of pure republican principles? He seems to
consider the Marshpees as strangers, and thinks they ought to be
driven to the wilds of the far West; in humble imitation of that wise,
learned, and humane politician, Andrew Jackson, L.L.D.

I do consider that neither I nor any of my brethren enjoy any
political rights; and I desire that I and they may be treated like
men, and not like children. If any among us are capable of discharging
the duties of office, I wish them to be made eligible, and I wish for
the right of suffrage which other men exercise, though not for the
purpose of pleasing any party by our votes. I never did so, and I
never will. O, that all men of color thought and felt as I do on this

I believe that Governor Lincoln had no regard whatever for our rights
and liberties; but as he did not get his ends answered, I shall
leave him to his conscience. The following from Mr. Hallett, of the
Advocate, fully explains his message:


    The current seems to be setting very strong against extending
    any relief to our red brethren. Governor Lincoln's ex-message
    has served to turn back all the kind feelings that were
    beginning to expand toward the Marshpee tribe, and force and
    intimidation are to be substituted for kindness and mercy.

    We cannot but think that Massachusetts will be dishonored by
    pursuing the stern course recommended by Ex-Governor Lincoln,
    who seems, by one of his letters to Mr. Fiske, to have
    contemplated almost with pleasure, the prospect of
    superintending in person, military movements against a handful
    of Indians, who could not have mustered twenty muskets on the

    We see now how unjust we have been to the Georgians in their
    treatment of the Cherokees, and if we persist in oppressing
    the Marshpee Indians, let us hasten to _unresolve_ all the
    glowing resolves we made in favor of the Georgia Indians. If
    Governor Lincoln is right in his unkind denunciation of the
    poor Marshpee Indians, then was not Governor Troop of Georgia
    right, in his messages and measures against the Cherokees? If
    the Court at Barnstable was right in imprisoning the Indians
    for attempting to get their rights, as they understood them,
    and made their ignorance of the law no excuse, were not the
    Courts of Georgia justifiable in their condemnation of the
    Cherokees, for violations of laws enforced against the will of
    the helpless Indians?

    Oh, it was glorious to be generous, and magnanimous and
    philanthropic toward the Cherokees, and to weep over the
    barbarities of Georgia, because that could be turned to
    account against General Jackson; but when it comes home to our
    own bosoms, when a little handful of red men in our own State,
    come and ask us for permission to manage their own property,
    under reasonable restrictions, and presume to resolve that all
    men are free and equal, without regard to complexion; Governor
    Lincoln denounces it as _sedition_, the Legislature are
    exhorted to turn a deaf ear, and the Indians are left to their
    choice between submission to tyrannical laws, or having the
    militia called out to shoot them. How glorious this will read
    in history!

The next is from the Barnstable Patriot, of February 5, 1834, of a
different character.



    William Apes, Deacon Coombs, and Daniel Amos, are now in
    Boston, where they are much caressed, by the good citizens,
    and are styled the "_Marshpee Deputation_;" and we see in the
    Boston papers notices that the "Marshpee Deputation will be
    present at the Tremont Theatre, by invitation."[10] That the
    Marshpee Deputation will address the public upon the subject
    of their grievances, in the "_Representative Hall_," "in
    Boylston Hall," &c. And we learn at their "_talk_," in the
    Representative Hall, they drew a large audience, and that
    audience was so indiscreet, (not to say indecorous or
    riotous,) as to cheer and applaud Apes in his ribaldry,
    misrepresentation and nonsense. Really, it looks to us, as
    if there was much misunderstanding upon the subject of the
    Marshpee difficulties. If there is any thing wrong we would
    have it put right; but how does the case appear. At the time
    of Apes' coming among them, they were quiet and peaceable, and
    their condition, mentally, morally and pecuniarily improving.
    At this time, and when this is the condition and situation of
    the Indians, comes this intruder, this disturber, this
    riotous and mischief-making Indian, from the Pequot tribe, in
    Connecticut. He goes among the inhabitants of Marshpee, and
    by all the arts of a talented, educated, wily, unprincipled
    Indian, professing with all, to be an apostle of Christianity;
    he stirs them up to sedition, riot, _treason_! Instigates them
    to declare their independence of the laws of Massachusetts,
    and to _arm themselves_ to defend it.

    We need not follow, minutely, the transactions which rapidly
    succeeded this state of things. We will merely remark that, in
    that time of rebellion, prompt, efficient, but mild measures
    were taken by the Executive, to quell the disturbances, and
    restore good faith. An agent was sent by the Governor, to
    inquire into the cause, and if possible, to remove it. That
    agent found it to be his duty to arrest Apes, (that _pious_
    interloper,) as a riotous and seditious person, and bind him
    over for trial, at the Common Pleas Court. He was there tried;
    and, in our opinion, never was there a fairer trial. He was
    convicted; and, in our opinion, never was there a more just
    conviction, or a milder sentence. After the performance of his
    sentence, Apes is again at work stirring up new movements. And
    having strung together a list of _imaginary_ grievances,
    and false allegations, and affixed a great number of names,
    without the knowledge or consent of many of the individuals,
    he goes to the Legislature, with two of his ignorant, deluded
    followers, pretending to be "_the Marshpee Deputation_," and
    asks redress and relief.

    We would be the last to object to their receiving redress and
    relief; and we doubt not they will obtain, at the hands of the
    Legislature, all they ought to have. But who is the "_Marshpee
    Deputation_," that is showing off to such advantage in the
    city? It is William Apes, the convicted rioter, who was the
    whole cause of the disgraceful sedition at Marshpee the last
    summer; who is a hypocritical _missionary_, from a tribe in
    Connecticut; whose acquaintance with the Marshpeeans is of
    _less than a year's_ standing. And he is endeavoring to enlist
    public sympathy in _his_ favor, _in advance_, by lecturing
    in the Hall of Representatives, upon that pathetic and
    soul-stiring theme, Indian degradation and oppression;
    vilifying and abusing the irreproachable pastor of the
    plantation, Mr. Fish; stigmatizing and calumniating the
    Court and Jury who tried and convicted him, and flinging his
    sarcasms and sneers upon the Attorney and Jury who indicted
    him. And for _all this_, he is receiving the _applause_ of
    an audience, who _must be_ ignorant of _his_ character; and
    blinded by the pretences of this impostor. And as far as
    that audience is composed of Legislators, their conduct, in
    permitting Apes to enlist their passions and feelings in his
    favor, pending a Legislative investigation of the subject, is

    But, there is no fear that the matter will not be set right.
    That the investigation by the intelligent agent last summer,
    (Mr. Fiske,) and the investigation now going on by a committee
    of the Legislature, will show the true character of Apes, and
    point out the real wants and grievances of the Indians; and
    that the remedy will be applied, to the satisfaction of the
    Indians and the discomfiture of that renegade impostor and
    hypocritical interloper and disturber, Apes, there is little
    doubt; that _such_ may be the result, is the sincere wish of


The spirit in which this unrighteous piece is written, speaks for
itself, and is its own antidote. However, it is just what we might
expect from a liberal paper of the liberal town of Barnstable. So one
gang of partizans call it. Deliver us from a "patriot," who would set
his face against all good, and destroy the people themselves. These
writers, if there be more than one of them, seem to have some idea of
piety and religion. I therefore advise them to pluck the motes out of
their own eyes, that they may see clearly enough to make better marks
with their pens. The editor and his correspondents, (if he did not
write the article himself,) have rendered themselves liable to a suit
for defamation; but I think it best to let them go. I will not touch
pitch. The discomfited, hypocritical impostor, renegade and interloper
will forgive, and pray for them. He will not render evil for evil,
though sorely provoked.

Nevertheless, I feel bound to say to these excellent friends of the
Marshpees, who wished them to remain crushed under the burthen of hard
laws forever and ever, that they will go down to their graves in the
disappointment, which, perhaps, will cause them to weep away their
lives. I should be sorry to hear of that, and exhort them to dry their
tears, or suffer a poor Indian to wipe them away.

Notwithstanding all that was said and done by the opposition, the
Marshpee Deputation left the field of battle with a song of triumph
and rejoicing in their mouths, as will presently be seen. I shall
give a brief sketch of the proceedings of one of the most enlightened
committees that ever was drafted from a legislative body. Every thing
was done to sour their minds against the Indians that could be done,
but they were of the excellent of the earth, just and impartial.

The Committee was composed of Messrs. Barton and Strong, of the
Senate, and Messrs. Dwight of Stockbridge, Fuller of Springfield, and
Lewis of Pepperell, of the House. Benjamin F. Hallett, Esq. appeared
as Counsel for the Indians.

Lemuel Ewer, Esq. of South Sandwich, was a witness, and the only white
one who was in favor of the Indians. The Indian witnesses were Deacon
Coombs, Daniel B. Amos, Ebenezer Attaquin, Joseph B. Amos, and William

On the other side appeared Kilburn Whitman, Esq. of Pembroke, as
Counsel for the Overseers; Messrs. J.J. Fiske of Wrentham, and Elijah
Swift of Falmouth, both of the Governor's Council; the Rev. Phineas
Fish, the Marshpee missionary, sent by Harvard College; Judge Marston,
Nathaniel Hinckley and Charles Marston, all of Barnstable; Gideon
Hawley of South Sandwich, Judge Whitman of Boston, and two Indians,
Nathan Pocknet and William Amos, by name. It was a notable piece of
policy on the part of the Overseers, to make a few friends among the
Indians, in order to use them for their own purposes. Thus do pigeon
trappers use to set up a decoy. When the bird flutters, the flock
settle round him, the net is sprung, and they are in fast hands. Judge
Whitman, however, could not make his two decoy birds flutter to his
satisfaction, and so he got no chance to spring his net. He had just
told the Indians that they might as well think to move the rock of
Gibraltar from its base, as to heave the heavy load of guardianship
from their shoulders; and, when he first came before the committee, he
said he did not care a snap of his finger about the matter, one way or
the other. But he altered his mind before he got through the business,
and began to say that he should be ruined if the bill passed for the
relief of the Indians, and was, moreover, sure that Apes would reign,
king of Marshpee. The old gentleman, indeed, made several perilous
thrusts at me in his plea; but, when he came to cross-examination,
he was so pleased with the correctness of my testimony, that he had
nothing more to say to me. I shall now leave him, to attend to his
friend Judge Marston.

This gentleman swore in court that he thought Indians an inferior race
of men; and, of course, were incapable of managing their own affairs.

The testimony of the two decoy pigeons was, that they had liberty
enough; more than they knew what to do with. They showed plainly
enough that they knew nothing of the law they lived under. The
testimony of the Rev. Mr. Fish was more directly against us. Some may
think I do wrong to mention this gentleman's name so often. But why,
when a man comes forward on a public occasion, should his name be kept
out of sight, though he be a clergyman. I should think he would like
to make his flock respected and respectable in his speech, which he
well knew they never could be under the then existing laws. Is it
more than a fair inference that it was self-interest that made him
do otherwise, that he might be able to continue in possession of his
strong hold? If he had said to the Indians, like an honest man, "I
know I have no right to what is yours, and will willingly relinquish
what I hold of it," I do not doubt that the Indians would have given
him a house, and a life estate in a farm; and perhaps have conveyed it
to him in fee simple, if he had behaved well. Such a course would have
won him the love and esteem of the Indians, and his blind obstinacy
was certainly the surest means he could have taken to gain their ill
will. He may think slightly of their good opinion, and I think, from
his whole course of conduct, that we are as dogs in his sight. I
presume he could not die in peace if he thought he was to be buried
beside our graves.

It is the general fault of those who go on missions, that they cannot
sacrifice the pride of their hearts, in order to do good. It seems to
have been usually the object to seat the Indians between two stools,
in order that they might fall to the ground, by breaking up their
government and forms of society, without giving them any others in
their place. It does not appear to be the aim of the missionaries to
improve the Indians by making citizens of them. Hence, in most cases,
anarchy and confusion are the results. Nothing has more effectually
contributed to the decay of several tribes than the course pursued by
their missionaries. Let us look back to the first of them for proofs.
From the days of Elliott, to the year 1834, have they made one
citizen? The latter date marks the first instance of such an
experiment. Is it not strange that free men should thus have been
held in bondage more than two hundred years, and that setting them at
liberty at this late day, should be called _an experiment_ now?

I would not be understood to say, however, that the Rev. Mr. Fish's
mission is any criterion to judge others by. No doubt, many of them
have done much good; but I greatly doubt that any missionary has ever
thought of making the Indian or African his equal. As soon as we begin
to talk about equal rights, the cry of amalgamation is set up, as
if men of color could not enjoy their natural rights without any
necessity for intermarriage between the sons and daughters of the two
races. Strange, strange indeed! Does it follow that the Indian or
the African must go to the judge on his bench, or to the Governor,
Senator, or indeed any other man, to ask for a help-meet, because his
name may be found on the voter's list, or in the jury boxes? I promise
all concerned, that we Marshpees have less inclination to seek their
daughters than they have to seek ours. Should the worst come to the
worst, does the proud white think that a dark skin is less honorable
in the sight of God than his own beautiful hide? All are alike, the
sheep of his pasture and the workmanship of his hands. To say they are
not alike to him, is an insult to his justice. Who shall dare to call
that in question?

Were I permitted to express an opinion, it would be that it is more
honorable in the two races, to intermarry than to act as too many of
them do. My advice to the white man is, to let the colored race alone.
It will considerably diminish the annual amount of sin committed.
Or else let them even _marry_ our daughters, and no more ado about
amalgamation. We desire none of their connection in that way. All we
ask of them is peace and our rights. We can find wives enough without
asking any favors of them. We have some wild flowers among us as fair,
as blooming, and quite as pure as any they can show. But enough has
been said on this subject, which I should not have mentioned at all,
but that it has been rung in my ears by almost every white lecturer I
ever had the misfortune to meet.

I will now entreat the reader's attention to the very able plea of Mr.
Hallett, upon our petition and remonstrances. The following are his
remarks after the law which gave us our liberty was passed by his
exertions in our cause:

    I will now briefly consider the "documents, relating to the
    Marshpee Indians," which have been presented and printed, this
    session, by the two Houses.

    The first is a Memorial, signed by seventy-nine males and
    ninety-two females, of the Plantation. Of the seventy-nine
    males, sixty-two are Proprietors, and forty-four write their
    own names. They are all united in wishing to have a change of
    the laws, and a removal of the Overseership, but desire that
    their land may not be sold without the mutual consent of the
    Indians and the General Court.

    This memorial represents, 1. That no particular pains has been
    taken to instruct them. 2. That they are insignificant because
    they have had no opportunities. 3. That no enlightened or
    respectable Indian, wants Overseers. 4. That their rulers and
    the minister have been put over them, without their consent.
    5. That the minister, (Mr. Fish,) has not a male member in his
    church of the Proprietors, and they believe twenty years
    would have been long enough for him to have secured their
    confidence. 6. That the laws which govern them and take away
    their property, are unconstitutional. 7. That the whites have
    had three times more benefit of the Meeting-house and the
    minister, than they have had. 8. That the business meetings
    for the tribe, have been held off the plantation, at an
    expense to them. 9. That their Fishery has been neglected and
    the whites derived the most benefit from it. [The Overseers
    admit that the Herring Fishery has not been regulated for
    fifty years, although in 1763, it appears it was deemed a
    highly important interest, and in 1818, the Commissioners
    reported that it ought to be regulated for the benefit of the
    Indians to the exclusion of the whites.] 10. That the laws
    discourage their people, who leave the plantation on that
    account. 11. That men out of the tribe are paid for doing what
    those in it are capable of doing for the plantation. 12. That
    the whites derive more benefit than themselves, from their
    hay, wood and timber. 13. That the influence of the whites has
    been against them, in their petitions for the past years.
    14. That they believe they have been wronged out of their
    property. 15. That they want the Overseers discharged, that
    they may have a chance to take care of themselves. 16. That
    very many of their people are sober and industrious, and
    able and willing to do, if they had the privilege. All these
    statements will be found abundantly proved.

    This memorial comes directly from the Indians. It was drawn up
    among them without the aid of a single white man. They applied
    to me to prepare it for them. They happened to select me, as
    their counsel, simply because I was born and brought up within
    a few miles from their plantation, and had known their people
    from my infancy. I told them to present their grievances
    in their own way, and they have done so. Not a line of the
    memorial was written for them.

    On the other side, opposite to their memorial for
    self-government, is the remonstrance of _Nathan Pocknet_
    and forty-nine others, the same Nathan Pocknet, who in
    1818 petitioned for the removal of the Overseership. This
    remonstrance was not prepared by the Indians. It came wholly
    from the Rev. Mr. Fish, and the Overseers. It speaks of the
    "unprecedented impudence" of the Indians, and mentions a
    "_Traverse Jury_." No one who signed it, had any voice in
    preparing it. It shows ignorance of the memorial of the tribe,
    by supposing they ask for liberty to sell their lands; and
    ignorance of the law, by saying that the Overseers have not
    power to remove nuisances from the plantation.

    This remonstrance is signed by fifty persons, sixteen males
    and thirty-four females; seventeen can write. Of the signers,
    _ten_ belong to Nathan Pocknet's family. Ten of the males
    are Proprietors, of whom two are minors, and one a person non
    compos. Of the non-proprietors, one is a convict, recently
    released from State prison, who has no right on the
    Plantation. Two of the Proprietors, who signed this
    remonstrance, (John Speen and Isaac Wickham,) have since
    certified that they understood it to be the petition for Mr.
    Fish, to retain his salary, but that they are entirely opposed
    to having Overseers and to the present laws.

    Thus it is shown that out of the whole Plantation of 229
    Proprietors, but _five_ men could be induced, by all the
    influence of the Minister and the Overseer, to sign in favor
    of having the present laws continued, and but _eleven_ men out
    of the whole population of 312. The signers to the memorial
    for a change of the laws are a majority of all the men, women
    and children belonging to the Plantation, at home and abroad.

    Another document against the Indians who ask for their
    liberty, is the memorial of the Rev. Phineas Fish, the
    missionary. Of the unassuming piety, the excellent character,
    and the sound learning of that reverend gentleman, I cannot
    speak in too warm terms. I respect him as a man, and honor him
    as a devoted minister of the gospel. But he is not adapted
    to the cultivation of the field in which his labors have been
    cast. Until I read this memorial, I should not have believed
    that a severe expression could have escaped him. I regret the
    spirit of that memorial, and in its comparison with that of
    the Indians, I must say it loses in style, in dignity and in
    Christian temper.

    In this memorial, Mr. Fish urges upon the Legislature the
    continuance of the laws of guardianship as they now are, and
    especially the continuance of the benefits he derives from the
    property of the plantation. What are the reasons he gives for
    this. Do they not look exclusively to his own benefit, without
    regard to the wishes of the Indians?

    He states, as the result of his ministry, twenty members of
    the tribe added to his church in _twenty-two_ years. This
    single fact proves that his ministry has failed of producing
    any effect at all proportioned to the cost it has been to the
    Indians. Not from want of zeal or ability, perhaps, but from
    want of adaptation. If not, why have other preachers been so
    much more successful than the missionary. There never has been
    a time that this church was not controlled by the whites.
    Mr. Fish now has but five colored members of his church, and
    sixteen whites. Of the five colored persons, but one is a
    male, and he has recently signed a paper saying he has been
    deceived by Mr. Fish's petition, which he signed, and that he
    does not now wish his stay any longer among them.

    On the other hand, "blind Jo," as he is called, a native
    Indian, blind from his birth, now 28 years of age, has
    educated himself by his ear and his memory, has been regularly
    ordained as a Baptist minister, in full fellowship with that
    denomination, and has had a little church organized since
    1830. The Baptist denomination has existed on the plantation,
    for forty years, but has received no encouragement. Blind
    Jo has never been taken by the hand by the missionary or the
    Overseers. The Indians were even refused the use of _their_
    Meeting-house, for the ordination of their blind minister, and
    he was ordained in a private dwelling. Though not possessing
    the eloquence of the blind preacher, so touchingly described
    in the glowing and chaste letters of Wirt's British Spy,
    yet there is much to admire in the simple piety and sound
    doctrines of "Blind Jo;" and he will find a way to the hearts
    of his hearers, which the learned divine cannot explore.

    There is another denomination on the plantation, organized
    as "The Free and United Church," of which William Apes is the
    pastor. This denomination Mr. Fish charges with an attempt
    to _usurp_ the parsonage, wood-land and the Meeting-house; he
    denounces, as a "_flagrant act_," the attempt of the Indians
    to obtain the use of _their own Meeting-house_, and appeals
    to the sympathies of the whole civilized community to maintain
    _by law_ the Congregational worship, which, he says, "is the
    most ancient form of religious worship there!" "Why should
    Congregational worship be excluded to make room for others?"
    asks the Rev. Mr. Fish. "Where will be the end of vicissitude
    on the adoption of such a principle, and how is it possible,
    amid the action of rival _factions_, for pure religion to be
    promoted." [Pages 7, 8, 9, of Mr. Fish's memorial. Senate, No.
    17.] Is this language for a Christian minister to address
    to the Legislature of Massachusetts? To petition for an
    established Church in Marshpee? Can he ever have read the
    third Article of the Bill of Rights, as amended?

    What has been the result of those "rival factions," in
    Marshpee? Blind Jo and William Apes, have _forty-seven_ Indian
    members of their churches, (fourteen males,) in good standing,
    collected together in three years. The missionary has baptized
    but twenty in twenty-two years. The Indian preachers have also
    established a total abstinence Temperance Society, without any
    aid from the missionary, and there are already sixty members
    of it, who, from all the evidence in the case, there is no
    reason to doubt, live up to their profession.

    I do not say this to detract from the good the missionary has
    done; I doubt not he has done much good, and earnestly desired
    to do more; but when he denounces to the Legislature other
    religious denominations, as _usurpers_ and "_rival factions_,"
    it is but reasonable that a comparison should be drawn between
    the fruit of his labors and that of those he so severely

    I confess, I am struck with surprise, at the following
    remarks, in the memorial of the Rev. Mr. Fish. Speaking of the
    complaint of the Indians respecting their Meeting-house, that
    it is not fit for respectable people to meet in, being
    worn out; he says, "As it was built by a _white_ Missionary
    Society, and repaired at the expense of the _white_
    Legislature of the State, perhaps the _whites_ may think
    themselves entitled to some wear of it, and being no way fit
    for '_respectable_ people,' the church and congregation
    hope they may the more readily be left unmolested in their
    accustomed use of it." [Page 4.] Again he says of the
    complaints of the Indians, that they were forbidden to have
    preaching in their School-houses. "The School-houses, built
    by the munificence of the State, began to be occupied for
    _Meeting-houses_, soon after their erection, and have been
    more or less occupied _in this fashion_! ever since; and your
    memorialist desires to affirm that _in this perversion_ of
    your _liberal purpose_, he had no share whatever!"

    Is this possible? Can it be a _perversion_ of buildings
    erected for the mental and moral improvement of the Indians,
    that religious meetings should be held there, by ministers
    whom the Indians prefer to the Missionary?

    The inequality in the appropriations for religious
    instruction, is remarked upon by the Commissioner, Hon.
    Mr. Fiske, who says in his report that if the present
    appropriations are to be restricted to a Congregationalist
    minister, some further provision, in accordance with religious
    freedom, ought to be made for the Baptist part of the colored
    people. [Page 29. No. 14.]

    I regret too, the unkind allusion in the Rev. Mr. Fish's
    memorial to Deacon Coombs, the oldest of the Marshpee
    delegation, formerly his deacon, and the last proprietor to
    leave him. He says the deacon "once walked worthy of his holy
    calling." Does he mean to insinuate he does not walk worthily
    now? I wish you, gentlemen, to examine Deacon Coombs, who is
    present, to inquire into his manner of life, and see if you
    can find a Christian with a white skin, whose heart is purer,
    and whose walk is more upright, than this same Deacon Coombs.
    In point of character and intelligence, he would compare
    advantageously with a majority of the Selectmen in the

    With the religious concerns of Marshpee, I have no wish to
    interfere. I only seek to repel intimations that may operate
    against their prayer for the liberties secured by the
    Constitution. Neither do I stand here to defend Mr. Apes, who
    is charged with being the leader of the "sedition." I only
    ask you to look at the historical evidence of the existence of
    discontent with the laws, ever since 1693, and ask if Mr.
    Apes has been the author of this discontent. Let me remind
    you also, of the fable of the Huntsman and the Lion, when
    the former boasted of the superiority of man, and to prove it
    pointed to a statue of one of the old heroes, standing upon a
    prostrate lion. The reply of the noble beast was, "there
    are no _carvers_ among the lions; if there were, for one man
    standing upon a lion, you would have twenty men torn to pieces
    by lions." Gentlemen, by depressing the Indians, our laws have
    taken care that they should have no _carvers_. The whites have
    done all the _carving_ for them, and have always placed them
    _undermost_. Can we blame them, then, that when they found
    an educated Indian, with Indian sympathies and feelings, they
    employed him, to present their complaints, and to enable them
    to seek redress? Look at this circumstance, fairly, and I
    think you will find in it the origin of all the prejudice
    against William Apes, which may be traced to those of the
    whites who are opposed to any change in the present government
    of Marshpee. If aught can be shown against him, I hope it
    will be produced here in proof, that the Indians may not be
    deceived. If no other proof is produced, except his zeal in
    securing freedom for the Indians, are you not to conclude that
    it cannot be done. But his individual character has nothing to
    do with the merits of the question, though I here pronounce it

    I will allude to but one other suggestion in the memorial
    of the Rev. Mr. Fish, [page 10.] To show the necessity of
    continuing the present laws, he says, "already do we witness
    the force of example in the visible increase of crime. But a
    few weeks since, a peaceable family was fired in upon, during
    their midnight repose; while I have been writing, another has
    been committed to prison for a high misdemeanor."

    Now what are the facts, upon which this grave allegation
    against the whole tribe is founded. True, a ball was fired
    into a house on the plantation, but without any possible
    connection with the assertion of their rights by the Indians,
    and to this day it is not known whether it was a white man or
    an Indian who did it. The "high misdemeanor," was a quarrel
    between Jerry Squib, an Indian, and John Jones, a white
    man. Squib accused Jones of cheating him in a bargain, when
    intoxicated, and beat him for it. The law took up the Indian
    for the assault, and let the white man go for the fraud.

    Respecting then, as we all do, the personal character of the
    missionary, can you answer his prayer, to continue the present
    government, in order to protect him in the reception of
    his present income from the lands of the Indians? Are the
    interests of a whole people to be sacrificed to one man?

    What says the Bill of rights? "Government is instituted for
    the common good, for the protection, safety, prosperity, and
    happiness of the _people_, and not for the _profit_, honor or
    _private interest_ of any _one_ man, family, or class of men."

    I have now only to consider the report of the Commissioner,
    Mr. Fiske, who visited Marshpee in July last. The
    impartiality, candor and good sense of that report, are highly
    honorable to that gentleman. Deriving his first impressions
    from the Overseers and the whites, and instructed as he was
    with strong prepossessions against the Indians, as rebels
    to the State, the manner in which he discharged that duty,
    deserves a high encomium. He has my thanks for it, as a friend
    of the Indians. As far as the knowledge of the facts
    enabled the Commissioner to go, in the time allowed him, the
    conclusions of that report, substantiate all the positions
    taken in defence of the rights of the Indians. The
    Commissioner was instructed by the then Governor Lincoln, to
    inform the Indians that the government had no other object
    than their best good; "let them be convinced that their
    grievances will be inquired into, and a _generous_ and
    _paternal_ regard be had to their condition." They were so
    convinced, and they come here now, for a redemption of this

    But his Excellency seems to have been strangely impressed
    with the idea of suppressing some rebellion, or another Shay's
    insurrection. Mr. Hawley, one of the Overseers, had visited
    the Governor, at Worcester, and because a few Indians had
    quietly unloaded a wood-cart, the calling out of the militia
    seems to have been seriously contemplated by the following
    order, issued to the Commissioner, by the Governor, dated July
    5. "Should there be reason to fear the insufficiency of the

    Think of that, gentlemen of the Committee! Figure to
    yourselves his Excellency, at the head of the Boston and
    Worcester Brigades, ten thousand strong, marching to Marshpee,
    to suppress an insurrection, when scarce twenty old muskets
    could have been mustered on the whole plantation?

    With the utmost respect for his Excellency, I could not
    refrain on reading this "order of the day," from exclaiming,
    as Lord Thurlow did, when a breathless messenger informed him
    that a rebellion had broken out in the Isle of Man--"pshaw--a
    tempest in a tea pot."

    Let us not, however, because the Indians are weak and
    in-offensive, be less regardful of their rights.

    You will gather from the Report of Mr. Fiske, conclusive
    evidence of the long continued and deep rooted dissatisfaction
    of the Indians with the laws of guardianship, that they never
    abandoned the ground that all men were born free and
    equal, and they ought to have the right to rule and govern
    themselves; that by a proper exercise of self-government, and
    the management of their own pecuniary affairs, they had it
    in their power to elevate themselves much above their present
    state of degradation, and that by a presentation of new
    motives for moral and mental improvement, they might be
    enabled, in a little time, to assume a much higher rank on
    the scale of human existence. And that the Legislature would
    consider their case, was the humble and earnest request of the

    Is not the conclusion then, from all the facts in the case,
    that the system of laws persisted in since 1763, have failed
    as acts of paternal care? That the true policy now is to try
    acts of kindness and encouragement, and that the question of
    rightful control over the property or persons of the Indians
    beyond the general operation of the laws, being clearly
    against the whites; but one consideration remains on which the
    Legislature can hesitate: the danger, that they will squander
    their property. Of the improbability of such a result, Mr.
    Fiske informs you in his report, [page 26.] He found nearly
    all the families comfortably and decently clad, nearly
    all occupying framed houses, and a few dwelling in huts or
    wigwams. More than thirty of them were in possession of a cow
    or swine, and many of them tilled a few acres of land, around
    their dwellings. Several pairs of oxen, and some horses are
    owned on the plantation, and the Commons are covered with an
    excellent growth of wood, of ready access to market. Confine
    the cutting of this wood to the natives, as they desire, and
    they never can waste this valuable inheritance.

    Mr. Fiske also says in his report, [page 30,] "that it is
    hardly possible to find a place more favorable for gaining a
    subsistence without labor, than Marshpee." The advantages of
    its location, the resources from the woods and streams, on one
    side, and the bays and the sea on the other, are accurately
    described, as being abundant, with the exception of the
    _lobsters_, which Mr. Fiske says are found there. The
    Commissioner is incorrect in that particular, unless he adopts
    the learned theory of Sir Joseph Banks, that _fleas_ are a
    species of lobster!

    Is there, then, any danger in giving the Indians an
    opportunity to try a liberal experiment for self-government?
    They ask you for a grant of the liberties of the constitution;
    to be incorporated and to have a government useful to them as
    a people.

    They ask for the appointment of magistrates among them, and
    they ask too for an _Attorney_ to advise with; but my
    advice to them is, to have as little as possible to do with
    Attornies. A revision of their laws affecting property by the
    Governor and Council, would be a much better security for them
    than an Attorney, and this they all agree to. Is there any
    thing unreasonable in their requests? Can you censure other
    States for severity to the Indians within their limits, if you
    do not exercise an enlightened liberality toward the Indians
    of Massachusetts? Give them then substantially, the advantages
    which they ask in the basis of an act which I now submit to
    the Committee with their approval of its provisions. Can you,
    gentlemen, can the Legislature, resist the simple appeal of
    their memorial? "Give us a chance for our lives, in acting for
    ourselves. O! white man! white man! the blood of our fathers,
    spilt in the revolutionary war, cries from the ground of our
    native soil, to break the chains of oppression and let our
    children go free."

The correctness of Mr. Hallett's opinions are demonstrated in the
following article.

Other editors speak ill enough of Gen. Jackson's treatment of the
Southern Indians. Why do they not also speak ill of all the head men
and great chiefs who have evil entreated the people of Marshpee. I
think Governor Lincoln manifested as bitter and tyrannical a spirit as
Old Hickory ever could, for the life of him. Often and often have our
tribe been promised the liberty their fathers fought, and bled, and
died for; and even now we have but a small share of it. It is some
comfort, however, that the people of Massachusetts are becoming
gradually more Christianized.

    [From the Daily Advocate.] THE MARSHPEE INDIANS.

    The Daily Advertiser remarks that the Indian tribes have been
    sacrificed by the policy of Gen. Jackson. This is very true,
    and we join with the Advertiser in reprehending the course
    pursued by the President toward the Cherokees. If Georgia,
    under her _union_ nullifier, Governor Lumpkin, is permitted to
    set the process of the Supreme Court at defiance, it will be a
    foul dishonor upon the country.

    But while we condemn the conduct of General Jackson toward the
    Southern Indians, what shall we say of the treatment of our
    own poor defenceless Indians, the Marshpee tribe, in our own
    State? The Legislature of last year, with a becoming sense of
    justice, restored to the Marshpee Indians a _portion_ of their
    rights, which had been wrested from them, most wrongfully, for
    a period of _seventy-four_ years. The State of Massachusetts,
    in the exercise of a most unjust and arbitrary power, had,
    until that time, deprived the Indians of all civil rights, and
    placed their property at the mercy of designing men, who had
    used it for their own benefit, and despoiled the native owners
    of the soil to which they hold a better title than the whites
    hold to any land in the Commonwealth. These Indians fought
    and bled side by side, with our fathers, in the struggle for
    liberty; but the whites were no sooner free themselves, than
    they enslaved the poor Indians.

    One single fact will show the devotion of the Marshpee Indians
    to the cause of liberty, in return for which they and their
    descendants were placed under a despotic guardianship, and
    their property wrested from them to enrich the whites. In
    the Secretary's Office, of this State, will be found a muster
    roll, containing a "Return of men enlisted in the first
    Regiment of Continental troops, in the County of Barnstable,
    for three years and during the war, in Col. Bradford's
    Regiment," commencing in 1777. Among these volunteers for that
    terrible service, are the following names of Marshpee Indians,
    proprietors of Marshpee, viz.

    Francis Webquish, Samuel Moses, Demps Squibs, Mark Negro,
    Tom Cæsar, Joseph Ashur, James Keeter, Joseph Keeter, Jacob
    Keeter, Daniel Pocknit, Job Rimmon, George Shawn, Castel
    Barnet, Joshua Pognit, James Rimmon, David Hatch, James
    Nocake, Abel Hoswitt, Elisha Keeter, John Pearce, John Mapix,
    Amos Babcock, Hosea Pognit, Daniel Pocknit, Church Ashur,
    Gideon Tumpum.

    In all twenty-six men. The whole regiment, drawn from the
    whole County of Barnstable, mustered but 149 men, nearly
    _one-fifth_ of whom were volunteers from the little Indian
    Plantation of Marshpee, which then did not contain over one
    hundred male heads of families! No white town in the
    County furnished any thing like this proportion of the 149
    volunteers. The Indian soldiers fought through the war; and as
    far as we have been able to ascertain the fact, from documents
    or tradition, all but one, fell martyrs to liberty, in the
    struggle for Independence. There is but one Indian now living,
    who receives the reward of his services as a revolutionary
    soldier, old Isaac Wickham, and he was not in Bradford's
    regiment. Parson Holly, in a memorial to the Legislature in
    1783, states that most of the women in Marshpee, had lost
    their husbands in the war. At that time there were _seventy_
    widows on the Plantation.

    But from that day, until the year 1834, the Marshpee Indians
    were enslaved by the laws of Massachusetts, and deprived of
    every civil right which belongs to man. White Overseers had
    power to tear their children from them and bind them out where
    they pleased. They could also sell the services of any adult
    Indian on the Plantation they chose to call idle, for three
    years at a time, and send him where they pleased, renewing the
    lease every three years, and thus, make him a slave for life.

    It was with the greatest effort this monstrous injustice was
    in some degree remedied last winter, by getting the facts
    before the Legislature, in spite of a most determined
    opposition from those who had fattened for years on the spoils
    of poor Marshpee. In all but one thing, a reasonable law was
    made for the Indians. That one thing was giving the Governor
    power to appoint a Commissioner over the Indians for three
    years. This was protested against by the friends of the
    Indians, but in vain; and they were assured that this
    appointment would be safe in the hands of the Governor. They
    hoped so, and assented; but no sooner was the law passed, than
    the enemies of the Indians induced the Governor to appoint
    as the Commissioner, the person whom of all others they least
    wished to have, a former Overseer, against whom there were
    strong prejudices. The Indians remonstrated, and besought, but
    in vain. The Commissioner was appointed, and to all appeals to
    make a different appointment, a deaf ear has been turned. It
    seems as if a deliberate design had been formed somewhere, to
    defeat all the Legislature has done for the benefit of this
    oppressed people.

    The consequences have been precisely what the Indians and
    their friends feared. Party divisions have grown up among
    them, arising out of the want of confidence in their
    Commissioner. He is found always on the side of their greatest
    trouble; the minister who unjustly holds almost 500 acres of
    the best land in the plantation, wrongfully given to him by an
    unlawful and arbitrary act of the State, which, in violation
    of the Constitution, appropriates the property of the Indians
    to pay a man they dislike, for preaching a doctrine they will
    not listen to, to a _white_ congregation, while the native
    preachers, whom the Indians prefer, are left without a cent,
    and deprived of the Meeting-house, built by English liberality
    for the use of the Indians. The dissatisfaction has gone on
    increasing. The accounts with the former Overseers remain
    unadjusted to the satisfaction of the Selectmen. The Indians
    have no adviser near them in whom they can confide; those who
    hold the power, appear regardless of their wishes or their
    welfare; no pains is taken by the authorities to punish the
    wretches who continue to sell rum to those who will buy it;
    and though the Indians are still struggling to advance in
    improvement, every obstacle is thrown in their way that men
    can devise, whose intent it is to get them back to a state of
    vassalage, that they may get hold of their property. All this,
    we are satisfied, from personal inspection, is owing to the
    injudicious appointment made by Gov. Davis, of a commissioner,
    and yet the Governor unfortunately seems indisposed to listen
    to any application for a remedy to the existing evils.

    The presses around us, who are so eloquent in denouncing the
    President for his conduct towards the Southern Indians, say
    not a word in behalf of our own Indians, whose fathers poured
    out their blood for out independence. Is this right, and ought
    the Indians to be sacrificed to the advantage a single man
    derives from holding an office of very trifling profit? Let
    us look at home, before we complain of the treatment of the
    Indians at the South.

The following; extract refers to the act passed to incorporate the
Marshpee District, after so much trouble and expense to the Indians.
I should suppose the people of Massachusetts would have been glad to
have done us this justice, without making so much difficulty, if they
had been aware of the true state of facts.


    Restoring the rights of self-government, in part, to the
    Marshpee Indians, of which our legislation has deprived
    them for one hundred and forty years, passed the Senate of
    Massachusetts yesterday, to the honor of that body, without a
    single dissenting vote. Too much praise cannot be given to Mr.
    Senator Barton, for the persevering and high-minded manner
    in which he has prepared and sustained this act. With two or
    three exceptions, but which, perhaps, may not be indispensable
    to the success of the measure, it is all the Indians or their
    friends should desire, under existing circumstances. The
    clause reserving the right of repeal, is probably the most
    unfortunate provision in the act, as it may tend to
    disquiet the Indians, and to give the Commissioner a sort of
    threatening control, that will add too much to his power, and
    may endanger all the benefits of the seventh section. This
    provision was not introduced by the Committee, but was opposed
    by Messrs. Barton and Strong, as wholly unnecessary.

        [_Daily Advocate_.

       *       *       *       *       *


    In the resolve allowing fees to the Marshpee Indians, who have
    attended as witnesses this session, the high-minded Senator
    Hedge of Plymouth, succeeded in excluding the name of William
    Apes, as it passed the Senate; but the House, on motion of
    Col. Thayer, inserted the name of Mr. Apes, allowing him his
    fees, the same as the others. Mr. Hedge made a great effort
    to induce the Senate to non-concur, but even his lucid and
    _liberal_ eloquence failed of its _noble_ intent, and the
    Senate concurred by a vote of 13 to 6. Mr. Hedge must be
    sadly disappointed that he could not have saved the State
    twenty-three dollars, by his manly efforts to injure the
    character of a poor Indian. Mr. Hedge, we dare say, is a
    descendant from the pilgrims, whom the Indians protected at
    Plymouth Rock! He knows how to be _grateful_!

        [_Daily Advocate_.

It appears that I, William Apes, have been much persecuted and abused,
merely for desiring the welfare of myself and brethren, and because I
would not suffer myself to be trodden under foot by people no better
than myself, as I can see. In connection with this, I say I was never
arraigned before any Court, to the injury of my reputation, save once,
at Marshpee, for a pretended riot. An attempt to blast a man merely
for insisting on his rights, and no more, is a blot on the character
of him who undertakes it, and not upon the person attempted to be
injured; let him be great or small in the world's eyes. I can safely
say that no charge that has ever been brought against me, written
or verbal, has ever been made good by evidence in any civil or
ecclesiastical court. Many things have been said to my disparagement
in the public prints. Much was said to the General Court, as that I
was a gambler in lotteries, and had begged money from the Indians to
buy tickets with. This calumny took its rise from certain articles
printed in the Boston Gazette, written, as I have good reason to
believe, by one Reynolds, a proper authority. He has been an inmate of
the State prison, in Windsor, Vermont, once for a term of two
years, and again for fourteen, as in part appears by the following
certificate of a responsible person.

    CONCORD, N.H. JUNE 27, 1832.

    _To all whom it may concern_.

    This may certify, that _John Reynolds_, once an inmate
    of Vermont State Prison, and since a professed Episcopal
    Methodist, and also a licensed local preacher in Windsor,
    Conn. came to this place about June, 1830, recommended by
    Brother J. Robbins, as a man worthy of our patronage; and of
    course I employed him to supply for me in Ware and Hopkinton,
    (both in N.H.) in which places he was for a short time,
    apparently useful. But the time shortly arrived when it
    appeared that he was pursuing a course that rendered him
    worthy of censure. I therefore commenced measures to put him
    down from preaching; but before I could get fully prepared for
    him, he was gone out of my reach. I would however observe, he
    wrote me a line from Portsmouth, enclosing his license, also
    stating his withdrawal from us; and thus evaded trial. We
    have, therefore, never considered him worthy of a place in any
    Christian church since he left Hopkinton, in May, 1831. And
    I feel authorized to state, that he does not deserve the
    confidence of any respectable body of people.

        E.W. STICKNEY, Circuit Preacher,
        In the Methodist Episcopal Church.

His wrath was enkindled and waxed hot against me, because I thought
him scarce honorable enough for a high priest, and could not enter
into fellowship with him. I opposed his ordination as an elder of
our church, because I thought it dishonor to sit by his side; and he
therefore tried to make me look as black as himself, by publishing
things he was enabled to concoct by the aid of certain of my enemies
in New York. They wrote one or two letters derogatory to my character,
the substance of which Reynolds took the liberty to publish. For this
I complained of him to the Grand Jury in Boston, and he was indicted.
The following is the indictment:

    The Jurors for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, on their
    oath present, that John Reynolds of Boston, Clerk, being a
    person regardless of the morality, integrity, innocence and
    piety, which Ministers of the Gospel ought to possess and
    sustain, and maliciously devising and intending to traduce,
    vilify and bring into contempt and detestation one William
    Apes, who was on the day hereinafter mentioned, and still is a
    resident of Boston aforesaid, and duly elected and appointed
    a minister of the gospel and missionary, by a certain
    denomination of Christians denominated as belonging to
    the Methodist Protestant Church; and also unlawfully and
    maliciously intending to insinuate and cause it to be
    believed, that the said William Apes was a deceiver and
    impostor, and guilty of crimes and offences, and of buying
    lottery tickets, and misappropriating monies collected by
    him from religious persons for charitable purposes, and for
    building a Meeting-house among certain persons called Indians.

    On the thirteenth day of August now last past, at Boston
    aforesaid, in the County of Suffolk aforesaid, unlawfully,
    maliciously, and deliberately did compose, print and publish,
    and did cause and procure to be composed, printed and
    published in a certain newspaper, called the "Daily Commercial
    Gazette," of and concerning him the said William Apes, and of
    and concerning his said profession and business, an unlawful
    and malicious libel, according to the purport and effect, and
    in substance as follows, that is to say, containing therein
    among other things, the false, malicious, defamatory and
    libellous words and matter following, of and concerning said
    William Apes, to wit: _convinced at an early period of my_
    (meaning his the said Reynolds) _acquaintance with William
    Apes_, (meaning the aforesaid William Apes,) _that he_
    (meaning said William,) _was not what he_ (meaning said
    William,) _professed to be; but was deceiving and imposing
    upon the benevolent and Christian public_, (meaning that said
    William Apes was a deceiver and impostor,) _I_ (meaning said
    Reynolds,) _took all prudent means to have him_ (meaning
    said William,) _exposed, and stopped in his_ (meaning said
    William,) _race of guilt_, (meaning that said William had been
    guilty of immorality, dishonesty, irreligion, offences and
    crimes;) _these men_, (meaning one Joseph Snelling and one
    Norris,) _were earnestly importuned to investigate his_
    (meaning said William,) _conduct, and enforce the discipline_
    (meaning the discipline of the church,) _upon him_ (meaning
    said William,) _for crimes committed since his_ (meaning
    said William's) _arrival in this city_, (meaning said city of
    Boston, thereby meaning that said William Apes had been guilty
    of crimes in said Boston,) _though well acquainted with
    facts, which are violently presumtive of his_ (meaning said
    William's) _being a deceiver, his_ (meaning said William's)
    _friends stand by him_, (meaning said William's) _and will not
    give him_ (meaning said William,) _up, though black as hell_,
    (meaning that said William was a deceiver, and of a wicked and
    black character.) _When I am informed that he_ (meaning said
    William) _is ordained_, (meaning as a minister of the gospel,)
    _that he_ (meaning said William,) _is by permission of the
    brethren travelling, and permitted to collect money to build
    the house aforesaid_, (meaning the aforesaid Meeting-house,)
    _for his_ (meaning said William's,) _Indian brethren to
    worship God in, I shudder not so much because he_ (meaning
    said William,) _is purchasing Lottery Tickets_, (meaning that
    said William was purchasing Lottery Tickets, and had spent
    some of the aforesaid money for that purpose,) _but because I
    know of his_ (meaning said William's) _pledge to the citizens
    of New York and elsewhere_, to the great injury, scandal, and
    disgrace of the said William Apes, and against the peace and
    dignity of the Commonwealth aforesaid.

        SAMUEL D. PARKER, Attorney of said Commonwealth, within the
        County of Suffolk.
        PARKER H. PEIRCE, Foreman of the Grand Jury.
          A true Copy.--Attest,
            THOMAS W. PHILLIPS, Clerk of the Municipal Court of the
            City of Boston.

Subsequently, I entered civil actions against two others, for the
same offence, and had them held to bail in the sum of fifteen hundred
dollars, with sureties. This soon made them feel very sore. They had
put it in my power to punish them very severely for giving rein to
their malignant passions, and they asked mercy. I granted it, in order
to show them that I wanted nothing but right, and not revenge; and
that they might know that an Indian's character was as dearly valued
by him as theirs by them. Would they ever have thus yielded to an
Indian, if they had not been compelled? I presume it will satisfy
the world that there was no truth in their stories, to read their
confessions, which are as follows:

    _Extract from a letter written by David Ayres, to Elder T.F.
    Norris, dated New Orleans, April 12, 1833_.

    "I have arrived here this day, and expected to have found
    letters here from you, and some of my other brethren
    respecting Apes' suit. I never volunteered in this business,
    but was led into it by others, and it is truly a hard case
    that I must have all this trouble on their account."

    _Extract of a letter written by David Ayers to William Apes,
    dated July 1, 1833_.

    "I am, and always have been your friend, and I never expected
    that any things I wrote about you, would find their way into
    the public papers. I am for peace, and surely I have had
    trouble enough. I never designed to injure you, and when all
    were your enemies, I was your warm friend."

    _Extract from a letter written by G. Thomas to Rev. Thomas F.
    Norris, dated New York, July 12, 1833_.

    "William Apes might by some be said to be an excepted case;
    but when this is fairly explained and understood, this would
    not be the fact. My good friends of Boston, and my active
    little brother Ayres, are to blame for this, and not me. I had
    no malice against him, I never had done other than wish him
    well, and done what I hoped would turn out for the best; but
    knowing he was liable to error (as) others, and the case being
    placed in such colors to me, I awoke up; and being pressed to
    give what I did in detail as I thought, all for the good of
    the cause and suffering innocence; but I am sorry I ever
    was troubled at all on the subject; I thought that brother
    Reynolds was a fine catch; but time I acknowledge is a sure
    tell-tale. And by the by, they have caught me, and eventually,
    unless Apes will stop proceedings, I must bear all the
    burthen. Reynolds has got his neck out of the halter, and
    Ayres is away South, and may never return; and poor me must be
    at all the trouble and cost, if even the suit should go in my
    favor. Can I think that Apes will press it? No. I think he has
    not lost all human milk out of his breast, and will dismiss
    the suit; and, as to my share of the cost, if I was able, that
    should be no obstacle. If he will stop it all, if my friends
    do not settle it, I will agree to, as soon as I am able."

       *       *       *       *       *

    I hereby certify, that I have copied the foregoing passages
    from the letters purporting to be from David Ayres and G.
    Thomas, respectively, as above mentioned, and that said
    passages are correct extracts from said letters. I further
    certify, that, as the Attorney of said William Apes, I acted
    for him in the suits brought by him against said Thomas and
    Ayres for libel, that while said suits were pending, said Apes
    manifested a forgiving and forbearing disposition, and wished
    the suits not to be pressed any further than was necessary to
    show the falsehood of the statements of said Ayres and Thomas,
    and contradict them; and, that he expressed himself willing to
    settle with them upon their paying the cost, and acknowledging
    their error, in consequence of which, by direction from him,
    after he had perused said letters, I accordingly discharged
    both suits, the bail of said Thomas and Ayres paying the
    costs, which amounted to fifty dollars.

    I further certify, that during my acquaintance with said Apes,
    which commenced as I think, in March last, I have seen nothing
    in his character or conduct, to justify the reports spread
    about him, by said Thomas and Ayres; but on the contrary, he
    has appeared to me to be an honest and well disposed man.

        HENRY W. KINSMAN, No. 33, Court Street. _Boston, November 30,

        I, the subscriber, fully concur in the above statement.
          JAMES D. YATES, Elder of the Methodist Protestant Church.

The original confession of Reynolds being lost, I trust that the
following certificate will satisfy the reader that it has actually had

    _To whom it may concern_.

    This is to certify that I have repeatedly seen, and in one
    instance, copied a paper of confession and _retraction_
    of Slanders, which the writer stated he had uttered, and
    published in papers of the day, against William Apes, the
    preacher to the Marshpee tribe of Indians, signed, John
    Reynolds, and countersigned as witness, by William Parker,
    Esq. The copy taken of the above mentioned confession by the
    subscriber, was sent to the Rev. T.R. Witsil, Albany, N.Y.

        THOMAS F. NORRIS, President of the Protestant Methodist
        Conference, Mass.
          JAMES D. YATES.
        _Boston, May 7, 1835_.

Nevertheless, lest this should not be sufficient, I am prepared to
defend myself by written certificates of my character and standing
among the whites and natives, (the Pequod tribe,) in Groton. They are
as follows:

    We the undersigned, native Indians of the Pequod tribe, having
    employed Rev. William Apes as our Agent, to assist us, and to
    collect subscriptions and monies towards erecting a house to
    worship in, do hereby certify, that we are satisfied with
    his agency; and that we anticipated that he would deduct
    therefrom, all necessary expenses, for himself and family,
    during the time he was employed in the agency, as we had no
    means of making him any other remuneration.

        By permission, FREDERICK X[Note: sideways X] TOBY,
                       LUCRETIA GEORGE,
        By permission, MARY X[Note: sideways X] GEORGE,
        By permission, LUCY X[Note: sideways X] ORCHARD,
                       WILLIAM APES,
        By permission, MARGARET X[Note: sideways X] GEORGE.

    I, Pardon P. Braton of Groton, in the County of New London,
    and State of Connecticut, of lawful age, do depose and say,
    that I was present when the above signers attached their names
    to the above certificate, by them subscribed, and am knowing
    to their having full knowledge of the facts therein contained;
    and further the deponent saith not


     _Groton, Dec. 3, 1832_.

    County of New London, ss.--Groton, Dec. 3, 1832. Personally
    appeared, Pardon P. Braton, and made solemn oath to the truth
    of the above deposition, by him subscribed. Before me,

        WILLIAM M. WILLIAMS, _Justice of the Peace_.


    This may certify, that we, the subscribers, native Indians
    of the Pequod tribe, do affirm by our signatures to this
    instrument, that William Apes, Senior, went by our request
    as Delegate, in behalf of our tribe, to New York Annual
    Conference, of the Methodist Protestant Church, April 2, 1831.
    The above done at a meeting of the Pequods, Oct. 6, 1830.

        WILLIAM APES, JR. Minister of the Gospel, and Missionary to
        that tribe.

    As witness our hands, in behalf of our brethren,
        By permission, MARY X[Note: sideways X] GEORGE,
        By permission, LUCY X[Note: sideways X] ORCHARD,
                       WILLIAM APES,
        By permission, MARGARET X[Note: sideways X] GEORGE.

    I, Pardon P. Braton of Groton, New London County, State of
    Connecticut, do depose and say, that I am acquainted with the
    Pequod tribe of Indians empowering William Apes, Sen. as their
    Delegate to the New York Conference, as is above stated; and
    further the deponent saith not.


    _Groton, Dec. 3, 1832_.

    New London County, ss.--Groton, Dec. 3, 1832. Personally
    appeared, Pardon P. Braton, and made solemn oath to the truth
    of the above deposition, by him subscribed. Before me,

        WILLIAM M. WILLIAMS, _Justice of the Peace_.

    _To all whom it may concern_.

    This may certify, that we, the undersigners, are acquainted
    with William Apes and his tribe, of Pequod, and that we live
    in the neighborhood with them, and know all their proceedings
    as to their public affairs, and that Mr. Apes, as far as we
    know, has acted honest and uprightly; and that he has done his
    duty to his Indian brethren, as far as he could consistently.
    And that he has duly made known his accounts, and appropriated
    the monies that was in contemplation for the Indian
    Meeting-house, for the Pequod tribe; and we also certify that
    said monies shall be duly appropriated.

    Dated North Groton, Conn, Aug. 28, 1833.

        ASA A. GORE,
        JOHN IRISH,

[Footnote 1: Here we were a little mistaken, not knowing in our
ignorance, that we were making the Lieut. Governor commander in chief,
and using his name to nullify the existing laws. Nevertheless, our
mistake was not greater than many that have been made to pass current
by the sophistry of the whites, and we acted in accordance with the
spirit of the constitution, unless that instrument be a device of
utter deception.]

[Footnote 2: "In respect to the measures you may deem advisable, let
them be confined in their adoption to an application of the _civil
power_. If there is resistance, the Sheriff will, with your advice,
call out the _posse comitatus_, and should there be reason to fear the
inefficiency of this resort, I will be present personally, to direct
any _military_ requisitions," &c.]

[Footnote 3: Surely it was either insult or wrong to call the
Marshpees citizens, for such they never were, from the declaration of
independence up to the session of the Legislature in 1834.]

[Footnote 4: I do not recollect uttering this expression, and it is
not one that I am in the habit of using. It surprised me much, too,
that the Sampsons should all swear alike, when it was impossible that
they could have heard alike. If I used the word _shine_, it must have
been in speaking to Mr. William Sampson, in a low tone, about fifty
yards from the others.]

[Footnote 5: Christmas.]

[Footnote 6: By an Act of the Legislature in April last, 1835, _One
Hundred Dollars_ is hereafter to be appropriated annually, from the
School Fund, for the public schools in Marshpee. For this liberal
act the Marshpees are indebted to the representations made to the
Committee on education by their Counsel, B.F. HALLETT, Esq. This is
an evidence of the paternal care of the Legislature, for which we can
never be too grateful.]

[Footnote 7: Meaning Envoy.]

[Footnote 8: His Excellency LEVI LINCOLN, who proposed to raise
a regiment to exterminate our tribe, if we did not submit to the

[Footnote 9: The Counsel for the Indians, B.F. HALLETT, Esq. could not
find a member of the House from Barnstable County, who would present
the petition. The Indians will not forget that they owed this act of
justice to Mr. CUSHING of Dorchester.]

[Footnote 10: Mr. Apes did not attend.]


On the subject of the means taken to educate the Indians, I will say
a few words in addition to what has already been said, because we wish
to show that we can be grateful when we have favors bestowed on us. Up
to 1835, the State had done nothing for education in Marshpee, except
build us two School-houses in 1831.

Last winter the subject came up in the Legislature of distributing the
School fund of the State among the towns. A bill was reported to the
House, in which Marshpee was made a School District and entitled to
receive a dividend according to its population by the United States
census. Now this was meant well, and we feel obliged to the Committee
who thought so much of us as this; but had the law passed in that
shape, it would have done us no good, because we have no United States
census. The people of Marshpee, nor the Selectmen knew nothing of this
law to distribute the School fund, and our pretended missionary, Mr.
Fish, never interested himself in such matters; but our good friend
Mr. Hallett, at Boston, thought of us, and laid our claims before the
Committee, by two petitions which he got from the Selectmen and from
himself, and the Commissioner. We are told that the chairman of the
School Committee, Hon. A.H. Everett, took much interest in getting a
liberal allowance for education in Marshpee. He was once before a
warm friend to the Cherokees, and his conduct now proved that he was
sincere. He presented the petitions and proposed a law which would
give us one hundred dollars a year forever, for public Schools in
Marshpee, which was the largest sum that had been asked for by our
friend Mr. H. A number of gentlemen spoke in favor of this allowance,
and all showed that a spirit of kindness as well as justice toward the
long oppressed red men, begins to warm the hearts of those who make
our laws, and rule over us. We trust we are thankful to God for so
turning the hearts of men toward us.

The Bill passed the House and also the Senate, without any objection,
and it is now a law of the State of Massachusetts, that the Marshpee
Indians shall have one hundred dollars every year, paid out of the
School fund, to help them educate their children. Our proportion as a
District, according to what other towns receive, would have been but
fifteen dollars. By the aid of our friends, and particularly of our
counsel, (Mr. H.) who first proposed it, we shall now receive one
hundred dollars a year; and I trust the Indians will best show their
gratitude by the pains they will take to send their children to good
schools, and by their raising as much more money as they can, to get
good instructers; and give the rising generation all the advantages
which the children of the whites enjoy in schooling. This will be one
of the best means to raise them to an equality, and teach them to put
away from their mouths forever, the enemy which the white man, when he
wanted to cheat and subdue our race, first got them to put therein, to
steal away their brains, well knowing that their lands would follow.

The following are the petitions presented to the Legislature, which
will give some light on the history of Marshpee.

    To the Honorable General Court:

    The undersigned are Selectmen and School Committee of the
    District of Marshpee. We understand your Honors are going to
    make a distribution of the School Fund. Now we pray leave to
    say that the State, as the guardians of the Marshpee Indians,
    took our property into their possession, so that we could not
    use a dollar of it, and so held it for sixty years. We could
    make no contract with a school-master, and during that time,
    till 1831, we had no school house in Marshpee, and scarcely
    any schools. We began to have schools about five years ago,
    but still want means to employ competent white teachers
    to instruct our children. Our fathers often petitioned the
    Legislature to give them schools, but none were given till
    1831, when the State generously built us two school-houses.

    We also beg leave to remind your Honors that our fathers shed
    their blood for liberty, and we their children have had but
    little benefit from it. When a continental regiment of
    four hundred men were raised in Barnstable county, in 1777,
    twenty-seven Marshpee Indians enlisted for the whole war. They
    fought through the war, and not one survives. After the war
    our fathers had sixty widows left on the Plantation, whose
    husbands had died or been slain. We have but one man living
    who draws a pension, and not a widow. We pray you, therefore,
    to allow to Marshpee, out of the School Fund, a larger amount
    in proportion than is allowed to other towns and districts who
    have had better means of education, and to allow us a certain
    sum per year--and as in duty bound, will ever pray.

        EZRA ATTAQUIN,  : Selectmen and School
        ISAAC COOMBS,   : Committee of Marshpee
        ISRAEL AMOS,    : District.

       *       *       *       *       *

    To the Honorable, the Senate and House of Representatives in
    General Court assembled:

    The undersigned beg leave to represent in aid of the petition
    of the Selectmen and School Committee of the District of
    Marshpee, praying for a specific appropriation from the School
    Fund for the support of public schools in said district, that
    we are acquainted with the facts set forth in said petition,
    and believe that the cause of education could no where be more
    promoted in any District in the Commonwealth than by making
    a specific annual allowance to said Marshpee District. The
    Legislature have made a specific annual appropriation of
    fifty dollars to the Indians on Martha's Vineyard for public
    schools, and the undersigned are of opinion, that an annual
    appropriation of double that amount, would be no more than a
    fair relative proportion for the District of Marshpee. It is
    highly important that the District should be able to employ
    competent white teachers, until they can find a sufficient
    number of good teachers among themselves, which cannot be
    expected until they have enjoyed greater means of education
    than heretofore. The undersigned therefore pray that the
    petition of said Selectmen may be granted, by giving a
    specific annual allowance to said District.

        BENJ. F. HALLETT, Counsel for the Marshpee Indians.
        CHARLES MARSTON, Commissioner of Marshpee.

Here it will be seen that the missionary for the Indians on Martha's
Vineyard, did not go to sleep over his flock, or run after others
and neglect what ought to be his own fold, as did the missionary,
Mr. Fish, whom Harvard College sent to the Marshpees, and pays for
preaching to white men. Mr. Bayley, the white missionary on the
Vineyard, as I understand, took pains to send a petition to Boston,
and he got fifty dollars a year for our brethren there, of which we
are glad. From all we can judge of Mr. Fish, we should have sooner
expected that instead of trying to help our schools, he would opposed
our getting any thing for schools, as he also opposed our getting our
liberty. He has done nothing for us, about our schools, and even tried
to set the Indians against their counsel, Mr. Hallett, by pretending
he had lost his influence. When Mr. Fish does as much for our liberty,
and for our schools, as Mr. Hallett has done, we will listen to his

Mr. Bayley, the missionary on the Vineyard, we understand has but
two hundred dollars a year from Harvard College, while Mr. Fish, at
Marshpee, has between four and five hundred, and wrongly uses as
his own about five hundred acres of the best land on the plantation
belonging to the Indians. The Legislature in 1809, took this land from
the Indians, without any right to do so, as we think, and thus
compel them, against the Constitution, to pay out of their property
a minister they never will hear preach. Is this religious liberty
for the Indians? Mr. Fish is now cutting perhaps, 200 cords of wood,
justly belonging to the Indians, when there is scarce five who will
go and hear him preach in the Meeting-house, erected by the British
Society for propagating the gospel among the Indians, and given to the
Indians, but in which Mr. Fish now preaches to the whites, (having but
one colored male member of his church,[1]) and keeps the key of it,
for fear that its lawful owners, the Indians, should go in it, without
his leave. He will not let them have it for holding a camp meeting, or
for any religious purpose.

Last August we invited Mr. Hallett to come and address us on
Temperance, and to explain to us the laws. We appointed to meet at the
Meeting-house, as the most central place. Mr. Fish at first refused to
let the Indians go into their own Meeting-house, and the people began
to assemble under the trees, when it was proposed for the Selectmen to
go and ask for the key, that they might see if Mr. Fish would refuse
it. At this moment, a white man who had been there some time, and had
tried to pick a quarrel with Mr. Hallett and the Indians,[2] said he
was sent by Mr. Fish with the key, and would let the people in, if
they would promise to come out when _he_ told them to. Mr. Hallett
declined going in on such terms, and proposed to hold the meeting
under the trees. This shamed the messenger of Mr. Fish, and he opened
the door, and the people went in, where Mr. Hallett addressed them.
While the Indians were thus gratified in meeting their friends, and in
hearing good advice from Mr. Hallett, on temperance and their affairs,
Mr. Fish's messenger interrupted the speaker, in a very abrupt and
indecent manner, and tried to bring on a quarrel and break up the
meeting. Captain George Lovell, always a friend to the Indians,
tried to keep Mr. Crocker still, and Mr. Hallett declined having any
controversy, yet the man persisted in his abuse, until he broke up
the meeting. Had it been thought best, this insulting ambassador would
have been put out of the house as a common brawler and disturber; but
Mr. Hallett forbore to have any controversy with him. He afterwards
met the Indians in their School-houses, and delivered two addresses
without interruption from the emissaries of Mr. Fish. This is a
sample of the way the Indians have been treated about their own
Meeting-house. In some of the old petitions, the Indians speak of
this Meeting-house as _our_ Meeting-house, and it was built for them,
without a dollar from the white men of this country, except when the
Legislature, at the petition of the Indians, repaired it in 1816. And
now, no Indian can go inside of it, but by the permission of Mr. Fish,
whom they will not hear preach.

It seems that the Indians are not to have the benefit of any thing
given to them. It must all go to the whites. The whites have our
Meeting-house, and make Marshpee pay about one-third the support of a
minister they will not hear preach. The other two-thirds comes from a
fund. In 1711, a pious man named Williams, died in England, and in his
will he said, "I give the remainder of my estate to be paid yearly to
the College of Cambridge, in New England, or to such as are usually
employed to manage the blessed work of _converting the poor Indians_
there, to promote which, I design this part of my gift."

This was the trust of a dying man, given to Harvard College, that
great and honorable Literary Institution. And how do they fulfil the
solemn trust? They have been and still are paying about five hundred
dollars a year to a missionary for preaching to the whites. This
missionary, by his own statement, [see Mr. Hallett's argument,] shows
he has added to his church _twenty_ members from the tribe of over
three hundred persons, in _twenty-two years_. Is not this more
expensive in proportion to the good done, than any heathen mission
on record? Mr. Fish has now been preaching in Marshpee _twenty-four
years_. In that time he has received from the Williams fund, given
solely to convert the poor Indians, about five hundred dollars a year,
as nigh as can be ascertained, which is TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS for
persuading twenty colored persons to join his church. This is six
hundred dollars for every member added to his church, and if his other
pay is added, it amounts to nine hundred dollars for each member.

Besides this, Mr. Fish has derived an income, we think not much,
if any, short of two hundred and fifty dollars a year, from the
wood-land, pasturage, marshes, Meeting-house, house lot, &c. which he
has wrongfully held and used of the property of the Indians. Add this
to his pay from Harvard College, and he has had EIGHTEEN THOUSAND
DOLLARS, of money that belonged to the Indians, and which, if it had
been laid up for a fund, would have supplied missionaries for all
the Indians in New England, according to the will of the pious Mr.
Williams. We respect the President and Trustees of Harvard College.
They are honorable men and mean to do right, but I ask them to look
at this statement, then to read the will of Mr. Williams, and laying
their hands upon their heart, to ask in the presence of the God of
the Indian as well as the white man, whether they have done unto the
Indians of New England and their children, as they would that the
Indians should do unto them and their children? We are told that we
might bring a suit in equity, or in some way, to compel the Trustees
of the Williams fund, to distribute it as the pious donor meant, not
for the conversion of the whites, even to the taking away from the
Indians of their Meeting-house and lands, but for "the blessed work of
converting the poor Indians," as Mr. Williams says in his will.

But it is hard for Indians to contend in the courts of white men,
against white men. We can have none of our people to decide such
questions, and what could we do against all the power and influence
of the Corporation of Harvard College? If the President and Fellows
of Harvard College prefer to deal unjustly by the poor Indians, and
violate the trust of Mr. Williams, by giving the funds to the whites
instead of the poor Indians, they must submit to the wrong, we
suppose, for there are none strong enough to help them. They can take
the money from the Indians, but cannot compel them to hear a preacher
they dislike.

Some people may say that William Apes wants to get what Mr. Fish
has, but all he asks is, that Harvard College and the State will not
support an _established religion_ in Marshpee, but leave the Indians
free to choose for themselves. Mr. Williams did not give his property
to the Marshpee Indians, more than to any others. It was designed for
all the Indians in New England, and we cannot see what right Harvard
College has to give it all for the whites near Marshpee and the
Indians on Martha's Vineyard. If they are afraid that blind Joseph or
William Apes, the Indian preachers, should have any of this money, if
it is withdrawn from Mr. Fish, let them take it, and send a missionary
among the Marshpee Indians they like. Or let them employ a man, some
Elliot, if they can find one, to visit all the Indians in New England,
to find out their condition and spiritual wants, and try to relieve
them. This would be doing some good with money that is now only used
to disturb the Indians, to take from them their Meeting-house, to
create divisions among them, and turn what the pious Williams meant
for a blessing into a curse to the Indians. What would the pious
Williams say to Harvard College, could he visit Marshpee on a Sabbath?
He might go to the Meeting-House built for the Indians, by the society
in England, of which I believe he was a principal member. He would
find a while man in the pulpit, white singers loading the worship, and
the body of the church occupied by seventy or a hundred white persons,
of the neighboring villages, scarcely one of whom lives on the
plantation. Among these he would see four, five, six, or possibly ten
persons with colored skins; not but one male among them, belonging to
the church. He would probably think he had made a mistake, and that
he was in a white town, and not among the Indians. He might then go to
the house of blind Joseph, (the colored Baptist preacher,) or to the
School-house in Marshpee, and he would there find twenty, thirty, or
forty Indians, all engaged in the solemn worship of God, united and
happy, with a little church, growing in grace. He might then visit the
other School-house, at the neck, where he would find William Apes,
an Indian, preaching to fifty, sixty, or seventy, and sometimes an
hundred Indians, all uniting in fervent devotion. After the sermon, he
would hear a word of exhortation from several of the colored brethren
and sisters, in their broken way, but which often touches the heart
of the Indian, more than all the learning that Harvard College can
bestow. He would hear the Indians singing praises to God, and making
melody in their hearts if not in their voices. What would he say then,
when told that Harvard College had paid twelve thousand dollars of his
funds for converting the poor Indians, to the white minister, who
had made twenty members in twenty-four years, while the two Indian
preachers, with forty-seven members to their churches, added in
three years, were like St. Paul, laboring with their own hands for a

All the Indians ask of Harvard is, take away your pretended gift. Do
not force upon us a minister we do not like, and who creates divisions
among us. Let us have our Meeting-house and our land, and we will be
content to worship God without the help of the white man.

This Meeting-house might as well be in India as in Marshpee, for all
the benefit the Indians have of it. It is kept locked all the time,
with the key in Mr. Fish's possession. It is seen that he would not
let the Baptist church of Indians have it to ordain their beloved
pastor, blind Joseph in, and we see how it was granted to the Indians,
when they wanted it for Mr. Hallett to address them last summer. Not
only were we forbidden the use of the Meeting-house, but even the land
which the Legislature unconstitutionally as we think, took from the
Indians to give to Mr. Fish, is considered by him too holy to be
defiled by the Indians, who are its true owners.

Last summer, sometime in July, my church desired to have a
Camp-meeting, of which we had had one before, attended, as we believe,
with a great blessing. We selected a spot some distance from the
Meeting-house, in a grove, beside the river; but though not in sight
of the Meeting-house, it was on the ground which Mr. Fish thinks has
been set apart for his sole use. After the notice was given of the
Camp-meeting, I received from Mr. Fish the following note, which is
here recorded, as an evidence of the Christian spirit with which
a church in Marshpee consisting of thirty-five members, who were
Indians, was treated and molested in their worship, by the missionary
Harvard College has paid so liberally to "convert the poor Indians,"
and who had but five Indians in his church, not one being a male

    MARSHPEE, JULY 19, 1834.

    Mr. WM. APES,

    _Sir_,--Perceiving by a notice in the "Barnstable Journal," of
    last week, that you have appointed a Camp-meeting, to commence
    on the 30th inst. and to be holden on the Parsonage, and in
    the vicinity of the Meeting-house,

    _This is to forbid the proceeding altogether_!

    You have no pretence for such a measure; and if you persist
    in your purpose to hold such Meeting, either near the
    _Meeting-house_, or on _any part of the Parsonage allotment_,
    you must consider yourself _responsible for the consequences_.

    I am &c.



Soon after this, the Selectmen, one of whom was a member of my
church, applied to Mr. Fish respecting holding the Camp-meeting on the
parsonage. The place selected could not have disturbed Mr. Fish, any
more than people passing in carriages in the main road. We had no
Meeting-house, our School-houses would not hold the people, and we had
no other means but to erect our tents and worship God in the open air.
A pious family of whites from Nantucket, came on the ground, and began
erecting their tent. Mr. Fish came there in person and ordered them
off. The man told him that he had his family there, and had no other
shelter for the night but his tent, which he should not remove, but
would do so the next day, if he found that he was trespassing on
any man's rights. But he added, if Mr. Fish turned him off, he would
publish his conduct to the world. Mr. Fish's interference to break
up our religious meeting, created much talk, and finally he wrote the
following letter to the Selectmen; after which we went on and had our
meeting, in a quiet, orderly and peaceful manner, and we believe it
was a season of grace, in which the Lord blessed us.

    _To the Selectmen of Marshpee_.

    On mature thought, and in compliance with your particular
    request, I consent to your holding the Camp-meeting, which
    is this day commenced, on the spot near the river, where the
    first tent was erected. I consent, (I say,) on the following
    conditions, viz: That you undertake that no damage come upon
    the parsonage property, either wood land, or Meeting-house;
    that no attempt be made to occupy the Meeting-house; that
    there be no attempt on the Sabbath, or any other day, to
    interrupt the customary worship at the Meeting-house, and,
    _that peace, order, and quietude_ be maintained during the
    time of the Camp-meeting. It is also distinctly understood,
    that this license is of _special favor_, and _not conceded as
    your right_, and no way to be taken as a ground for similar
    requests in future, or for encouraging any future acts of
    annoyance, vexation, or infringement of the quiet possession
    of the privileges, secured to me by the _Laws_. And that
    should any damage be done in any way as aforesaid, you will
    consider yourselves responsible to the proper authorities.

    With my best wishes for your welfare, your friend,

        _Marshpee, July 30, 1834_.

The reader may now ask, how came Mr. Fish in possession of this
property, which he claims to hold by the Laws? I am at liberty to
publish here, the following views of the law and the facts in the
case, drawn up by legal counsel whom the Selectmen have consulted. And
here I take my leave.


The first act of the General Court which interfered with the right of
the Indians to sell their own lands, all of which they owned in common
in Marshpee Plantation, (including what is now called the parsonage,)
was in 1650, which provides that no person shall _buy_ land of
any Indian without license of the General Court. In 1665, this was
extended to grants for term of years. In 1693, the Indians were put
under guardianship.

In 1701, an Act was passed specially to protect the Indians in the
enjoyment of their lands. [Col. Laws, page 150,] It also shows why the
restriction in the sale of their lands was adopted.

    "Whereas, the government of the late Colonies of the
    Massachusetts Bay and New Plymouth, to the intent the native
    Indians might not be injured or defeated of their just rights
    and possessions, or be imposed on and abused in selling and
    disposing of their lands, and thereby deprive themselves
    of such places as were suitable for their settlement", did
    inhibit the purchase of land without consent of the General
    Court, notwithstanding which, sundry persons have made
    purchases, &c.; therefore, all such purchases of lands were
    vacated, with the exception of towns, or persons who had
    obtained lands from the Indians, and also by virtue of a grant
    or title made or derived by or from the General Court. All
    leases of land from Indians for any term or terms of years to
    be void, unless license was obtained for such lease from
    the County Court of Sessions. _Provided_, nevertheless, that
    nothing in this act shall be held or deemed in any wise to
    hinder, defeat or make void any bargain, sale or lease of
    land, made by an Indian to another Indian or Indians.

    1718. This is the first act which took from the Indians
    their civil capacity to make contracts. It says, "whereas,
    notwithstanding the care taken and provided (by the former
    act,) a great wrong and injury happens to said Indians,
    natives of this country, by reason of their being drawn in by
    small gifts, or small debts, when they are in drink, and out
    of capacity to trade, to sign unreasonable bills or bonds for
    debts which are soon sued, and great charge brought upon them,
    when they have no way to pay the same, but by servitude";
    therefore no contract whatever shall be recovered against any
    Indian native, unless entered into before two Justices of the
    Peace in the County, both to be present when the contract is
    executed by the Indian.

The act of 1725, recognizes the rights of Indians to employ persons
to build houses on _their own lands_. Their own lands then were the
commons, including the parsonage.

In 1763, Marshpee was incorporated as a District, including the land
now called the parsonage. "_Be it enacted_, &c. that all the lands
_belonging_ to the Indians and mulattos in Mashpee be erected into a
district, by the name of Mashpee." The Proprietors are empowered to
meet "IN THE PUBLIC MEETING HOUSE," [the one now claimed by Mr. Fish,]
to elect a Moderator, five Overseers, two to be Englishmen, a town
Clerk and Treasurer, being Englishmen, two Wardens, and one or more
Constables. The majority of the Overseers had the sole power to
regulate the fishery, to lease such lands and fisheries as are held in
common, not exceeding for two years, and to allot to the Indians their
upland and meadows. This act was to continue for three years and
no longer. It does not appear ever to have been revived. The
revolutionary war intervened, and there is no act after 1766, until
the act of 1788, after the revolutionary war, which last act put the
Indians and their lands under strict guardianship.

In this interval between 1766 and 1788, the only transaction on which
Mr. Fish can found any claim to the parsonage look place. There
was then either no law existing, which could empower any person to
sequester and set apart the lands of the Indians, or the law of 1693,
(if that of 1763 had expired,) was revived, by which the guardianship
again attached to the Indians. The Indians, it is believed, continued
to choose their own Overseers, under the charter of 1763, after it
had expired, and without any authority to do so. It was the only
government they had during the troubles of the revolution.

We now come to the first evidence of any thing relating to the
parsonage land being set apart from the common land. This was in 1783,
and the following is the Deed from the Records of Barnstable County,
and the only deed relating to this property.


    _Know all Men by these Presents_, That we, Lot Nye, Matthias
    Amos, Moses Pognet, Selectmen, and Israel Halfday, Joseph Amos
    and Eben Dives, of the district of Marshpee, _for the support
    of the Gospel in said Marshpee in all future generations,
    according to the discipline and worship of the Church in
    this place, which is Congregational_, do allot, lay out,
    and _sequester_ forever, a certain tract of land, being four
    hundred acres more or less, lying within the Plantation of
    Marshpee, and _being Indian property_, which is to lay as a
    parsonage forever and to be _improved and used for the sole
    purpose aforesaid_; and the said tract or parcel of land for
    the said Parsonage, is situated on the East side of Marshpee
    river, and bounded as follows, viz: Beginning at a certain
    spring of fresh water which issues from the head a small
    lagoon on the East side of Marshpee river aforesaid, and runs
    into said river a small distance below, and South of the spot
    where negro Scipio and his wife Jemimai had their house, which
    is now removed, and from thence running due East into the land
    until it comes to the great road which leads into Marshpee
    Neck, so called, and from thence Northwardly bearing Eastward
    as the said road runs, until it comes to the great road,
    which is the common road from Barnstable to Falmouth, and then
    bounded by the last mentioned road Northwardly, and running
    Westwardly until it comes to Ashir's road, then crossing
    Falmouth road and running in Ashir's path till it comes
    to Marshpee river aforesaid, and then upon the said river
    Southwardly, and on the East side, until it comes to the first
    station, leaving Quokin, and Phillis his wife, quiet in their
    possessions; which tract of land, (except Mary Richards'
    fields and plantation,) which is within the said boundaries,
    and wood for Mary's own use, and fencing stuff for her fences
    as they now stand, with all the appurtinances and privileges
    thereunto belonging, shall be forever for the important
    purpose of propagating the Gospel in Marshpee, without any
    let, hindrance or molestation. In confirmation whereof, we
    have hereunto set our hands and seals, this seventh day of
    January, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three. 1783.

        LOT NYE,
        MATTHIAS X[Note: sideways X] AMOS, his mark.
        MOSES X[Note: sideways X] POGNET,    "

    N.B. Before the insealing the premises, reserve was made
    by the signers of this instrument, for the heirs of Mary
    Richards, that they forever be allowed her in her life time,
    and Abraham Natumpum and his heirs, be allowed severally to
    enjoy and possess Scipio's cleared spot of land, and fencing
    stuff for the same.

        ISRAEL X[Note: sideways X] HALFDAY, his mark.
        JOSEPH X[Note: sideways X] AMOS,      "
        EBEN X[Note: sideways X] DIVES,       "

    In possession of: Gideon Hawley
                    : Simon Fish.

    Received November 10, 1800, and is recorded in the 25th Book
    of Records, for the County of Barnstable, folio 139, and

        Attest, EBENEZER BACON, _Register_.

Lot Nye was a white man, a great Indian speculator. The other five
were Indians, two calling themselves Selectmen. Now what power had
these men in 1783, to sequester four hundred acres of the common land
of the Indians, for any purpose? If they were Selectmen, and had any
power, that power was expressly limited by the act of 1763, to leasing
lands for a term not exceeding two years. Here they undertook to make
a perpetual grant, a sort of dedication of the property to a certain
purpose. If they could dispose of one acre so, they might with equal
propriety, have disposed of the whole Plantation. The Indians were all
tenants in common, and no dedication or transfer of the common land
could be made, without a legal partition, or the consent of every
individual tenant. If the pretended Selectmen acted for the Indians,
they could only do so by power of attorney to act for all the tenants
in common. There is no other possible legal way, by which land, the
fee of which is owned by tenants in common, can be transferred, either
in fee or in occupancy out of their possession forever. But besides,
no act of the Indians was then valid unless confirmed by the General
Court. This deed, therefore, of 1783, was void at the time. It seems
nothing was done with it, until 1800, _seventeen years_ after, when
it was recorded in the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds, at whose
instigation does not appear. Now in 1800, when this deed was recorded,
the Indians were legally minors, and could do no act, and make no
contract. All the power their Selectmen had in 1783, was taken away.
They were under five Overseers, who had power to improve and _lease_
the lands of the Indians and their tenements, but no power to sell,
sequester or dedicate any part of them. The Overseers had no power to
take a dollar from the Indians, for religious worship. While this was
the condition of the Indians under the law of 1789, (which continued
in full force, with an additional act in 1819, till the new law of
1834,) the deed was recorded, in 1800, _seventeen years_ after it
was made by persons who had no power at all to make such a deed. The
professed object was to set apart 400 acres, of the common land,
lying in Marshpee, "_and being Indian_ _property_," for a parsonage,
forever. The clear title then was in the Indians as tenants in common,
for the deed so declares it, in 1783. The parsonage was their property
then. How has it ever been conveyed out of their hands? The purpose
for which this land was to be used, as sequestered by Lot Nye, &c. was
for the sole purpose aforesaid, viz. "For the support of the Gospel
in Marshpee in all future generations, according to the discipline
and worship of the Church in this place, which is Congregational."
And this property, says the deed, "shall be forever for the important
purpose of propagating the gospel in Marshpee, without any let,
hindrance or molestation."

This, then was the design of the original signers of this deed, who
had no right to sign such a deed at all. Their object was to promote
the gospel in Marshpee, but how has it turned out? The property has
been used for twenty-four years, to pay a minister who preaches to the
whites, and whom the Indians with very few exceptions, will not hear.
Is not this a gross perversion of the design of the donors, even if
they had any power to have made this grant? No lawyer will pretend
that the grant was not void, under this deed alone. There was no
grantee, no legal consideration, and no power to convey. The deed
remained on record, until 1809, when the following act was passed by
the Legislature, attempting to confirm a deed made 26 years before, by
men who had no power to make such deed.


    _House of Representatives, June_ 15, 1809.

    On the representation of the Overseers of the Indian
    Plantation of Marshpee, in the County of Barnstable, stating
    in behalf of said Indians, that it would be conducive to their
    interests, that a certain grant and allotment of lands therein
    described, _formerly owned by said Indians_, for the support
    of the gospel ministry among them, should be confirmed and
    rendered valid.

    _Resolved_, That a certain grant or allotment of land made by
    Lot Nye, Matthias Amos, Moses Pognet, Isaac Halfday, Joseph
    Amos, and Eben Dives, of the District of Marshpee, in the
    County of Barnstable, as appears by their deed by them, and
    by them signed, sealed and executed, on the seventh day of
    January, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three, and
    recorded in the Registry of Deeds, in and for said County of
    Barnstable, in the fifty-fifth book thereof, and 139th
    folio of said book, said land being 400 acres more or less,
    according to said deed, be and the same hereby is confirmed
    and rendered valid to all intents and purposes by them in
    their said deed expressed, and the said tract of land shall be
    and remain forever as a parsonage, for the use and benefit of
    a Congregational gospel minister, as expressed and declared in
    their said deed. Sent up for concurrence.

        TIMOTHY BIGELOW, _Speaker_.

        _In Senate, June_ 19, 1809,

    Read and concurred.

        H.G. OTIS, _President_. Approved, C. GORE.

        June 19, 1809,
        [True Copy.]

Now, if the deed was not valid in 1783, without the concurrent action
of the General Court, it could not be made valid by an act of the
General Court 26 years afterwards. Besides, the land had been in
possession of the Indians, by virtue of their title, more than twenty
years, after the making of the pretended deed. The power of the
grantors, if they ever had any power, had long expired, and Marshpee
was governed by new laws. We might as well hold that an act passed
by the House of Representatives in 1783, could be made valid by a
concurrence of the Senate, in 1809.

It is plain, therefore, that unless the General Court had power
without the consent of the Indians, to sequester this land in 1809,
the setting of it apart from the common land, is wholly void, and an
act of mere arbitrary power. But the general Court never assumed the
power to convey any land for any purpose, belonging to the Indians
without their consent. Where and how was their consent given to this
act of 1809? They were minors in law, and could give no such consent.
Their Overseers could give none for them, for their power only
extended to alloting laws to the Indians, and _leasing_ them.
The pretence, therefore, that this was done at the request of the
Overseers, gives no strength to the act.

Let another fact be remarked. The original sequestration in 1783,
was to promote the gospel in Marshpee. The General Court profess to
confirm and render valid the deed of Lot Nye and others, but they say
that this four hundred acres "shall remain forever as a parsonage for
the use and benefit of a Congregational gospel minister, _as expressed
in their said deed_."

Now no such thing is expressed in their deed. There is not a word
about a Congregational _minister_; only "for the support of the
gospel, according to the discipline and worship of the church in this
place, which is Congregational."

The General Court, therefore, gave a construction to the deed, which
the deed never warranted. The whole proceeding must be illegal and
void. The fee still remains in the Indians, and no power existed to
take it from them without their whole consent as tenants in common,
which they have never given, and could not give, because they were in
law minors. Mr. Fish was sent to Marshpee as a minister, and ordained
in 1811. The Indians, as a society, never invited him to come,
or settled him. They never gave him possession of the land or
Meeting-house. They were then minors in law, and could give no
consent. The white Overseers and Harvard College, were the only powers
that undertook to give Mr. Fish possession of the property of the
Indians. It is true, he has held it twenty years, but the statute
of quiet possession does not run against minors. The Indians were
declared minors, and could bring no action in court.

This is the true history of the parsonage and Meeting-house now
wrongfully held by Mr. Fish. Have not the Indians a right to their
own property? Has the Legislature and Harvard College, a right to
establish a religion by law in Marshpee, and take the property of
the Indians to support a minister they will not hear? Where did the
General-Court get any power to give away the property of the Indians,
any more than the lands of white men, held in common? They cannot take
the property of the Indians to support a private individual. Was it
then a public use? But the Constitution says "no part of the property
of any individual, can with justice be taken from him, or applied to
public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative
body of the people, and whenever the public exigencies require that
the property of any individual should be appropriated to public uses,
he shall receive a reasonable compensation therefor." Apply this to
the act of the General Court, by which Mr. Fish holds four hundred
acres of the common lands of the Indians, against their consent,
and for which they never received a dollar, and answer. Is not the
Constitution violated, every day he is suffered to remain on the
plantation, against their consent, subsisting on the property of the
poor Indians, not to benefit them, but to preach to the whites?

Look at this subject also, in connexion with religious freedom.
The old article of the Constitution, gave the Legislature power
to _require_ the towns to provide for public worship at their own
expense, where they neglected to make such provisions themselves;
but it also provided that the towns, &c. "shall at all times have the
exclusive right of electing their public teachers, and of contracting
with them for their support and maintenance."

This right the Indians have never had in regard to Mr. Fish, nor did
they neglect to support worship, and if they did, the Legislature had
no power to take their property and set it apart, but might impose a
tax or a fine.

But what says the amended article on this subject of religious
freedom? "The several religious societies of this Commonwealth, (the
Indian as well as the white man,) whether corporate or unincorporate,
shall ever have the right to elect their pastors or religious
teachers, to contract with them for their support, to raise money
for the erecting and repairing houses of public worship, for the
maintenance of religious instruction, and all religious sects and
denominations, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good citizens,
shall be equally under the protection of the law."

Are the Indians at Marshpee, protected in the same manner the whites
are, in their religious freedom? The Indians think not, and with good
reason; and yet they cannot get redress. They have warned Mr. Fish to
leave their property; they have dismissed him as their minister, if he
ever were such, and have forbidden his using their Meeting-house, or
carrying off their wood. But he persists in holding and using their
property, as they say wrongfully, and even prohibits their having
a religious meeting in the woods, without his consent. He is, it
is stated, at this time employing men to cut and cart wood off the
plantation, for his support, and it is supposed he will thus take of
the property really belonging to the Indians, about two hundred cords
of wood the present year.

Now if this land belongs in common to the Marshpee Indians, as they
contend it does, Mr. Fish and the white men he employs, (and it is
understood he employs no others,) violate the law of 1834, and are
liable to indictment. That law says, "that no person other than
proprietors or inhabitants of said District, shall ever cut wood [upon
the common lands,] or transport the same therefrom. And every person
offending against this provision, shall be liable to indictment
therefor, and upon conviction, shall pay a fine of not less than
fifty, nor more than one hundred dollars, to the use of said
District." In this mode, by indicting the white men employed by Mr.
Fish, to cut and carry off wood, the question could be tried, which is
simply whether the fee of the parsonage is in the Indians, or whether
it is in Mr. Fish, who never had any deed of it in any way. The
parsonage was common land in 1783. Has it been legally changed since
in its title, is the question. But even in this matter, as we are
informed, the courts of justice which are open to white men, are
closed to the poor Indians. At the last session of the court in
Barnstable, the Selectmen of Marshpee complained against the white
men employed by Mr. Fish, for cutting wood on their common lands. The
District Attorney on ascertaining that the wood was taken from the
parsonage, so called, undertook to decide the whole question,
before it went to the court, as it is stated to us, and without any
examination as to Mr. Fish's title, refused to act upon the complaint.
Had the indictment been found, the question could have gone to the
Supreme Court, and been there settled. The Indians now must either
submit to be wronged until some prosecuting officer will hear their
complaints, or they must apply for an injunction, to stop Mr. Fish
cutting any more of their wood. These are believed to be substantially
the facts and the law, in this case. They are left with a candid
public to consider, and to form their opinion on, if they cannot be
shown to be unfounded.

It should be understood that the Committee who reported the act of
1834, giving the new law to the Indians, did not decide any question
touching the parsonage. They treated all the plantation as lands owned
in common. It has been said that the Chairman of the Committee, Mr.
Barton, had given an opinion that Mr. Fish was entitled to hold
the property. This is incorrect. To obviate such an impression,
Mr. Hallett, the counsel for the Indians, wrote to Mr. Barton, and
received the following reply, which will fully explain the position in
which the question was left by the Legislature. In the views expressed
by Mr. Barton, Mr. Hallett fully concurs. Too much praise cannot be
given to Mr. Barton for the zeal, patience and ability with which he
discharged the duties of Chairman of the Committee.

    WORCESTER, JULY 1, 1834.


    I last evening received your favor of the 28th ult. The Committee of
    the Legislature, who had in charge the Marshpee business,
    intentionally avoided expressing any opinion in regard to the tenure
    by which Mr. Fish held the parsonage. In our report we merely
    adverted to the facts, that in 1783, Lot Nye, and several Indians
    granted 400 acres of the common land, "to be forever for the
    important purpose of propagating the Gospel in Marshpee." There were
    no grantees named in the deed. In 1809, the General Court confirmed
    this grant of a parsonage, "to be held forever for a Congregational
    Gospel Minister." We found Mr. Fish in possession of the parsonage,
    _as such a minister_. But whether by virtue of said grant, and his
    settlement at Marshpee he could hold the parsonage, _as a sole
    corporation_, we regarded it as a question of purely a judicial
    character, and one with which it was "not _expedient_," and might we
    not have added _proper_, "for the Legislature to interfere." If Mr.
    Fish has rights under these grants, and by virtue of his settlement,
    I know you will agree with me, that the Legislature can do nothing
    to divest him of them. And if he had no such right, we were not
    disposed to create them. I am entirely satisfied with the course
    which the Committee took in relation to the parsonage; and the
    circumstance that questions are now agitated in relation to it, show
    that in one particular, at least, the Committee acted judiciously.
    We left the parsonage precisely as we found it; leaving to another
    branch of the government the appropriate responsibility of settling
    all questions growing out of the grant of 1783, the confirmation of
    1809, and the settlement of Mr. Fish. Could we by legislation settle
    those questions, it might have been our  duty to do so, for the
    sake of the harmony of the District. But it seems to me that any
    such attempt would have had a tendency to create new difficulties,
    rather than to diminish old ones.

    A word in regard to my advice to Mr. Fish. I received a letter
    from Mr. Fish some time since, in which he expressed some
    apprehensions that an attempt would be made by the natives
    to take possession of the Meeting-house, parsonage, &c. His
    letter enclosed rather a singular communication, signed by the
    Selectmen of Marshpee. I did not keep a copy of my answer
    to Mr. Fish, but recollect distinctly the substance of it. I
    alluded to the authority of the Legislature in the premises
    as I have above. That they intended to leave the parsonage
    as they found it, without undertaking to limit or modify
    the effect of former acts. That the appropriate mode for the
    natives to ascertain their rights to, or to obtain possession
    of, the parsonage, &c. was by resorting to the courts.
    That any forcible attempt by single individuals to obtain
    possession of the Meeting-house, &c. would be a trespass; that
    if numbers combined for that purpose, it would constitute
    a riot. I take it I hazarded no professional reputation by
    giving these opinions. For you very well know, that they would
    be correct, Mr. Fish being in peaceable possession of the
    premises, whether he were so by seisin or disseisin, by right
    or by wrong. I hope, my dear sir, that our experiment in
    regard to the affairs of our Marshpee friends may yet succeed.
    If not, I think we may console ourselves as one of old did:
    that if Rome must fall, we are innocent.

    I am, very respectfully yours,
        J. BARTON.

The Legislature having thus left the question, to be decided by the
Courts, if Mr. Fish insists on holding the parsonage, the inquiry must
arise on legal principles, how was Mr. Fish settled in Marshpee, and
by what right does he, as a sole corporation, or otherwise, hold the
parsonage, as an allotment set apart forever for the support of a
Congregational minister, in Marshpee? Harvard College in which he was
then, or had been a tutor, sent him there as a missionary under
the Williams fund. The Legislature took no part whatever in the
settlement. The Overseers permitted him to take possession of the
Meeting-house and the parsonage land, so called, and it is understood
that they consented he should cut the annual growth of the wood off
the parsonage. But even admitting that the Overseers could so dispose
of the property of the Indians, for promoting a particular religious
worship in Marshpee, (which is explicitly denied,) could they convey
any thing to Mr. Fish beyond the period of their own existence? By the
law establishing the Overseers, they had no power beyond leasing land
for two years. How then, could the Overseers grant for life to Mr.
Fish the improvement of the parsonage and Meeting-house? They might
have given it to him from year to year, while they were in office, but
on the abolition of the Overseers, in 1834, and a restoration of
civil rights to the owners of the fee of the parsonage, the Marshpee
Proprietors, how could Mr. Fish continue to hold the parsonage against
their will? Was it by virtue of his settlement, so that he now claims
the land as a sole corporation? But a minister cannot be settled or
constituted a sole corporation, without a parish to settle him. "A
minister of a parish seized of lands in its _right_ as parsonage
lands, is _a sole corporation_, and on a vacancy, the parish is
entitled to the profits;" 2d Dane's Abrg. 342. 7 Mass. Rep. 445. Mr.
Fish is not seized of a parsonage in right of any parish or religious
society, and therefore he cannot be a sole corporation. In point of
fact, there was no legal parish in Marshpee, when Mr. Fish went there
and took possession, under the Overseers, and not in right of
the parish. A parish or precinct as the law then was, must be a
corporation entitled and required to support public worship, and
having all the powers and privileges necessary for that purpose. (See
8th Mass. Rep. 91.) And where there has been no parish as such created
in a town, the town itself will be considered a parish. (15 Mass. Rep.
296.) Marshpee was not a town. The Marshpee Indians were minors in
law, and there was no legal parish to settle a minister, or to hold a
parsonage, and no one to make contracts as such. Harvard College had
no power to settle a minister in Marshpee, nor had the Overseers any
such power. Their supervision was temporal and not ecclesiastical.
Besides, the actual Congregational society which subsisted in
Marshpee, when Mr. Fish was sent there, in 1811, was composed of a
majority of _whites_. Mr. Fish himself testified before the Committee,
that the church at Marshpee, in 1811, consisted of sixteen whites
and but five colored persons. The church members were a majority of
whites, so that even had the church voted to settle Mr. Fish, it would
have been a vote of white men having no interest in the premises, and
not of Indian Proprietors. Mr. Fish admits that the church passed no
vote. It was asserted by one of the old Overseers, Mr. Hawley, that
five Indians called on him, after Mr. Fish had preached there, and
personally expressed a wish to have him stay with them, but there was
no official act, and no vote of the church or society, and no assent
of the Proprietors of Marshpee in any form.

Who were the Congregational church, and who the society in Marshpee,
in 1811? A regularly gathered Congregational church, is composed
of several persons associated by covenant or agreement of church
fellowship, (9th Mass. 277.) and a church cannot exist for any legal
purposes, except as connected with a congregation or some regularly
constituted religious society. (16 Mass. 488.) Where there are no
special powers given to the church by the Legislature, the church
cannot contract with or settle a minister, but that power resides
wholly in the parish, of which the members of the church, who _are
inhabitants_, are a part. (9 Mass. Reports, 277. Burr vs. First Parish
in Sandwich.)

We have seen that there was no legal parish in Marshpee, in 1811, and
therefore the Congregational church, if there were such then, had no
power to settle Mr. Fish, even had they done so, which they did not.
A parish may elect a public teacher, and contract to support him,
without the consent of the church, if he be ordained by a council
invited by the parish; but in Mr. Fish's case, he was ordained by the
request and under the direction of the President and Corporation of
Harvard College, the Trustees of the Williams fund, with the assent of
the Overseers. There is then no ground whatever for assuming that
Mr. Fish ever was settled legally over a Congregational parish in
Marshpee, so as to establish him a sole corporation, to hold the lands
belonging to the Proprietors of Marshpee, under the dedication deed of
1783. If that deed and the subsequent act of 1809, conveyed any thing,
the conveyance was for the use of the inhabitants as a parsonage,
there being no parish in Marshpee, distinct from the Plantation. In
such case, it would be held to be a grant to Marshpee, (that is
the town,) for the use of its ministers, (14 Mass. 333.) The grant,
therefore, could it be regarded as such, was to the whole Proprietors
of Marshpee, and they must first settle a minister before he could
claim the use of the grant as a minister of the parish.

Neither has Mr. Fish, even if he had been legally settled, any just
right, under the deed of 1783, to take the whole parsonage, because
that deed states the principal object of the sequestration of the land
to be, for the important purpose of promoting the gospel in Marshpee,
and merely referred to the only worship then known there, which was
Congregational. When Mr. Fish went there in 1811, there was a Baptist
church, and they objected to his taking possession of the parsonage.

There is a case in point in the 13th Mass. Rep. 190, which decides,
that where the original Proprietors of a township appropriated a lot
of land for a parsonage, and at the same time voted that they would
endeavor that a Congregational minister should be settled in the
township, such vote ought not to be construed to limit the benefit of
the parsonage to a minister of the Congregational order, and that if
the inhabitants of the parish should become Christians of any other
Protestant sect, they would be entitled to the land, and that a
Congregational society, incorporated as a full parish would have no
right to the parsonage. Neither can a parish convey a parsonage to a
minister to be held by him in his personal right. By this decision,
the Baptist or Methodist church in Marshpee have as good claim to the
parsonage as Mr. Fish has.

The dedication, or whatever it may be called, of Marshpee parsonage,
was made by Lot Nye, &c. in 1783, and confirmed in 1809, by the
General Court. Mr. Fish did not become a minister in Marshpee, until
1811. Whoever settled him there, for the Indians did not, made no
stipulation as to the income of the parsonage, which could bind the
Plantation. The society only, could make such stipulation, and they
did not act in the premises. The Overseers could make no stipulation
either to bind the parish or the proprietors, because their power only
extended to giving a lease of land not exceeding two years. In the
case of Thompson vs. the Catholic-Congregational Society in
Rehoboth, (5th Pickering, 469,) it was settled that where there was
a ministerial fund in a parish, and the society settled a minister
stipulating to pay him a salary, without taking any notice of the
income of the fund, he must be considered as accepting the salary as
a full compensation, and the society are entitled to the fund. Harvard
College settled Mr. Fish in Marshpee, and agreed to pay him about five
hundred dollars, or two-thirds the proceeds of the Williams fund. The
society to which Mr. Fish was sent to preach, took no notice of the
parsonage, nor did the Proprietors of Marshpee, hence Mr. Fish cannot
hold the proceeds of the parsonage by right of succession, or by
stipulation, either from the society or the Marshpee Proprietors, and
therefore the Proprietors of Marshpee are entitled to the parsonage.

There is one other consideration that might legally deprive Mr.
Fish of his rights in the parsonage, even if he acquired any by the
transaction in 1811, which is denied. When he went to Marshpee, and
first preached there, he was of the Unitarian faith, and so continued
some time. Subsequently, (and most undoubtedly from high conscientious
motives,) he became Orthodox in his creed, and has remained so ever
since. [This fact has been named by the President of Harvard College,
as one reason why the Williams fund has continued to be diverted from
its proper use; the delicacy Harvard College felt at dismissing Mr.
Fish, lest it should be ascribed to persecution, for his change of
sentiments from Unitarian to Orthodox.]

But if Mr. Fish claims to hold the parsonage by the "_laws_," he must
be governed by the decision of the Court in the celebrated case
of Burr, vs. the first parish in Sandwich. Mr. Burr was settled an
Unitarian, and became Orthodox, and this the Supreme Court decided was
just cause for the parish to dismiss him. Chief Justice Parsons,
said in that case, that "according to the almost immemorial usage
of Congregational churches, before the parish settle a minister, he
preaches with them as a candidate for settlement, with the intent of
declaring his religious faith, and if he is afterwards settled, it is
understood that the greater part of the parish and church agree in his
religious sentiments and opinions. If afterwards the minister adopts
a new system of divinity, the parish retaining their former religious
belief, so that the minister would not have been settled on his
present system, in our opinion the parish have good cause to
complain." On this ground the Court decided that Mr. Burr had
forfeited his settlement.

The principle is the same applied to the relation Mr. Fish holds
to the Marshpee Indians. He was placed over them by others, and the
Indians are now compelled either to lose all the benefits of their own
parsonage, or to hear a man in whose doctrines they do not believe,
and whom they cannot consent to take as their spiritual teacher.

Upon a full investigation into this branch of the inquiry, there seems
to be no legal or equitable ground, on which Mr. Fish can claim to
hold the parsonage and Meeting-house against the Proprietors, and he
must therefore, be regarded as a trespasser, liable to be ejected,
and the men he employs to cut and cart wood from the plantation, are
liable to indictment under the new law of 1834.

The invalidity of title, is however, a still stronger ground against
Mr. Fish's right of adverse occupancy, which he now holds, and a case
in principle precisely like this, has been decided by the Supreme
Court of Massachusetts. It occurred in 1798, before there was a
reporter of the Supreme Court. Hon John Davis, United States District
Judge, was counsel for the Indians, and Samuel Dexter, for the
defendant. It was tried on a demurrer, before the Supreme Court in
Barnstable, upon an action of ejectment, Proprietors of Marshpee, vs.
Ebenezer Crocker. Judge Paine delivered the opinion of the Court in
favor of the Indians. Judge Benjamin Whitman of Boston, was also, we
believe, concerned in the cause. The substance of the case, as stated
by Judge Davis and Judge Whitman, was thus:

Ebenezer Crocker of Cotuet, had furnished an Indian woman, (known
as the Indian Queen,) with supplies for many years. She occupied and
claimed in severalty as her own, a valuable tract of about 200 acres
of land on the Marshpee Plantation, called the neck, of which tract
she gave a deed in fee, some time before her death, to said Crocker,
in consideration of the support he had given her. The consideration
at that time, was not very greatly disproportioned to the value of
the land. After her death, she having left no heirs, the grantee,
Mr. Crocker, who was an influential member of the General Court,
petitioned that body and procured a full confirmation of the deed
to him, in the same manner the General Court in 1809, confirmed the
parsonage deed of 1783, except that there was not so long a time
intervening between Mr. Crocker's receiving the deed from the Indian
Queen in her life time, and its full confirmation by the General Court
after her death.

This took place previous to the law of 1788, putting the Indians under
guardianship, when either the law of 1693 or the charter of 1763, was
in force.[3] When the white Overseers came in, in 1798, they found
Crocker in possession of this land, under the above title, and they
employed Judge John Davis, as counsel, to vacate the deed and the
act of the General Court. Judge Davis brought an action of ejectment
against Crocker, (not in the name of the Overseers,) but in the name
of the Proprietors of Marshpee, whose property he claimed, was as
tenants in common, on the ground that the old Queen, though she
occupied it in severalty during her life, could not, as one tenant in
common, convey the interest of her co-tenants in common. It was tried
in the Supreme Court, and the deed was set aside, for insufficiency
of title. This insufficiency of title vitiated the conveyance on the
ground that the old Queen had no power to convey when she made the
deed, and that the General Court had no power to make good, by a
resolve, a title originally invalid.

Crocker also set up the claim of quiet possession, for thirty years,
which it was supposed would secure the title; but the Court decided
that this gave no title, and the land was restored to the Indians, and
now forms a portion of their common land. Mr. Crocker of course, lost
all he had furnished to the old Queen, and in this respect, his
case was harder than it would be, were Mr. Fish dispossessed of the
parsonage, after enjoying it for twenty-four years, without any title
thereto. It would he difficult for any lawyer to show why Crocker's
deed confirmed by the General Court, should have been set aside in
1798, and Lot Nye's deed, of the parsonage, be held valid in 1834.

On referring to my minutes of the trial of the petition of the
Indians, for their liberty, in 1834, before a Committee of the
Legislature, I find the following facts stated by Rev. Phineas Fish,
who was a witness before that Committee. They will throw some light on
the subject of inquiry.

    _Rev. Phineas Fish_, sworn. Testifies that he was ordained
    at Marshpee in 1811. Was invited there by the Overseers of
    Marshpee. There were five persons of color belonging to the
    church, and sixteen whites. At the ordination, a white
    man rose up and protested against it. He said all were not
    satisfied. It was not a vote of the Indians by which he was
    settled, and no vote of the church was taken. Five Indians had
    expressed a wish that he would remain. He received two-thirds
    of the Williams fund, from Harvard College. It had varied from
    390 to 433 dollars. Received about 150 dollars per year from
    the wood-land of the parsonage. Has built a dwelling house,
    and made improvements on an acre and a half of land of the
    plantation, of which he holds a deed from the Overseers,
    confirmed by a resolve of the General Court.

    _Mr. Gideon Hawley_ testified that the Meeting-house was
    built by the funds of the English Society for propagating the
    gospel, before 1757, when his father was sent as a missionary
    to the Indians, by the London Missionary Society. In 1817,
    five hundred dollars were granted on petition of the Indians,
    as a donation by the Legislature, to repair the church for the
    Marshpee Indians. After Mr. Fish had preached in Marshpee, 5
    Indians came to Mr. Hawley and expressed a wish he would stay
    with them. There was no vote and no record. Before his father
    came to Marshpee, in 1757, Bryant, an Indian preacher, used to
    preach to the Indians, in the Meeting-house. The missionary,
    (Mr. Hawley,) received one hundred dollars annually, from
    Harvard College, of the Williams fund. In 1778, the Indians
    gave the missionary, Mr. Hawley, two hundred acres of land,
    which witness inherits. [The validity of this title is not

    _Hon. Charles Marston_, (one of the Overseers,) testified that
    Mr. Fish had a Sunday School, principally composed of white
    children. He did not recollect ever seeing more than eight
    colored children in it. There were more whites. The Overseers
    paid the school mistress seven and sixpence a week, and she
    board herself. To an Indian, who kept school in winter, were
    paid twelve and nineteen dollars a month. The whites who
    attend Mr. Fish's meeting, never pay any thing to him or the
    church. When the tax was required in parishes, many whites got
    rid of their tax by attending Mr. Fish's meeting. There was
    always twice as many whites as blacks in the society. Last
    summer, (1833,) he counted eighteen colored persons, and
    twice that number of whites. Mr. Dwight, one of the Committee,
    asked, if so many whites being there, did not tend to
    discourage the Indians from being interested in the meeting?
    Mr. Marston thought it might.

    _Deacon Isaac Coombs_, who had been twenty years a deacon in
    Mr. Fish's church, changed his sentiments, and was baptized
    by immersion. He testified before the Committee of the
    Legislature, that when he told Mr. Fish he had been baptized
    again, Mr. Fish said, "that was rank poison, and that he
    should expect some dreadful judgment would befal me." Deacon
    Coombs, who is sixty years old, testified also, that the
    Meeting-house was built for the use of the Indians. No one
    could remember when it was built. There was but one colored
    male church member, when Mr. Fish came to Marshpee, in
    1811. He further stated to the Committee that his family got
    discouraged going to Mr. Fish's meeting, from the preference
    he gave to the whites. He did not come to see his family, and
    lost his influence by taking part with the guardians against
    the Indians. There was a difficulty in Mr. Fish's meeting
    about the singing. The colored people were put back, and the
    whites took the lead. Mr. Fish has 50 or 60 acres of pasture,
    East of the river, besides the parsonage.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have thus given my views of the law and the facts, touching the
parsonage in Marshpee, in order that the Indians and their Selectmen
who have desired legal advice on the subject, may fully understand
their rights. I am confident they will never attempt to obtain those
rights, except in a legal and peaceable way. The Courts at Barnstable,
it is said, are closed to them, in the way pointed out by the law, the
District Attorney refusing to prosecute the men who cut wood on the
parsonage. I invite the attention of that acute and learned officer,
Charles H. Warren, Esq. to the points made in this opinion, well
assured that if it can be refuted by any professional gentleman, it
can be done by him. If he cannot do so, I hope he will permit the
title of the parsonage to be brought before the Court, under an
indictment for cutting wood contrary to the act of 1834. I regret the
necessity of presenting arguments to dispossess Mr. Fish of what he
doubtless supposes be lawfully holds; but I am looking for the rights
and the property of the Indians, and am not at liberty to consult
personal feelings, that would certainly induce me to favor the Rev.
Mr. Fish, as soon as any man in his situation. I think it as important
to him as to the Indians, that the title to the parsonage should be
settled, for there will be feuds, and divisions, and strifes, as long
as that property remains as it now is, wrongfully taken and withheld
from the Indians, to support an "ESTABLISHED CHURCH," in Marshpee.
With this view I have proposed to Mr. Fish, in behalf of the Indians,
to make up an amicable suit, before the Supreme Court, and obtain
their opinion, and the parties be governed by it. The Indians are
ready to submit it to such an arbitration. Mr. Fish declines. The
only other remedy is an injunction in chancery, to stop the cutting of
wood. The Indians are not well able to bear the expense, at present,
or this course would be taken to recover their property. Until some
legal decision is had, Mr. Fish cannot but see, from an examination of
the legal grounds set forth herein, that there are strong reasons
for regarding him as holding in his possession that which rightfully
belongs to another. The public will not be satisfied, until the rights
of the Indians are fully secured. I have always been desirous that Mr.
Fish should not be disturbed in his house lot, and for my own part,
it would give me pleasure, should the Indians, immediately, on getting
legal possession of their own parsonage, unanimously invite him
to settle over them. But so long as he withholds from them their
property, it cannot be expected that they should receive him as their
spiritual teacher. It is in direct violation of the Constitution and
of religious freedom.

      _Counsel for the Marshpee Indians.
      Boston, May, 20, 1835_.

The Selectmen of Marshpee District, are at liberty to make such use of
the foregoing, as they think proper.

[Footnote 1: He is not an Indian, nor an original proprietor.]

[Footnote 2: This was Mr. Alvin Crocker, who had formerly enjoyed more
benefits from the Plantation, than he does under the new law.]

[Footnote 3: In June, 1763, the Governor and Council appointed
Thomas Smith, Isaac Hinckley and Gideon Hawley, "pursuant to an act
empowering them to appoint certain persons to have the inspection of
the Plantation of Marshpee."]


If, in the course of this little volume, I have been obliged to use
language that seems harsh, I beg my readers to remember that it was in
defence of the character of the people under my spiritual charge and
of my own. The Marshpees have been reviled and misrepresented in the
public prints, as much more indolent, ignorant, and degraded than
they really are, and it was necessary, for their future welfare, as
it depends in no small degree upon the good opinion of their white
brethren, to state the real truth of the case, which could not be done
in gentle terms. The causes which have retarded our improvement could
not be explained without naming the individuals who have been the
willing instruments to enforce them.

For troubling my readers with so much of my own affairs, I have this
excuse. I have been assailed by the vilest calumnies; represented as
an exciter of sedition, a hypocrite and a gambler. These slanders,
though disproved, still continue to circulate. Though an Indian, I
am at least a man, with all the feelings proper to humanity, and
my reputation is dear to me; and I conceive it to be my duty to the
children I shall leave behind me, as well as to myself, not to leave
them the inheritance of a blasted name. In so doing, I humbly presume
to think, I have not exceeded the moderation, proper for a Christian
man to use.


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