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Indian Nullification of the Unconstitutional Laws of Massachusetts by William Apes

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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 Caesar, 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

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