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A Conference Held at Watertown, in the Colony of Massachusetts-Bay


In Council, Friday, A˙ M˙, July 12, 1776.

A Message wept from the Board to the honourable House of Representatives, then sitting in the Meeting-House, to inform them that certain Indians from the St˙ John' s and Mickmac Tribes were in town, with whom the Board purposed to hold a Conference at eleven o' clock, and to invite the honourable House to be present at it; and to propose to them that it should be held in the Meeting-House.

A Message was received from the House in answer, that they would attend the Conference at the Meeting-House, which should be at the service of the honourable Board for that purpose.

The Council then proceeded to the Meeting House, into which they were introduced by the Speaker. Being seated, and the Indians also come and seated, the Conference was renewed.


PRESIDENT. Brothers of the St˙ John' s and Mickmac Tribes: We are glad to see you today, and hope you are all well.

AMBROSE. We thank you.

PRESIDENT. As some of you speak French, we have desired Mr˙ Job Prince, who speaks French also, to interpret what shall be said at this Conference. And we have appointed Mr˙ John Avery as Clerk to take Minutes of it. They will be each sworn to the faithful discharge of their office respectively.

[They were sworn by the President accordingly, and Colonel Lithgow, who understands the Indian language, was desired to assist as Interpreter.]

AMBROSE. We like it well.

PRESIDENT. At our first interview you told us that you came from and represented the St˙ John' s and Mickmac Tribes. What evidence do you give us of this?

AMBROSE. Ambrose hereupon rose, and delivered to the President a large parchment, containing a Treaty made between those Tribes and the Government of Nova Scotia in 1760. Also, a letter to them from General Washington, dated in February last, and a letter to them from the General Court of Massachusetts Bay, dated in October last; and said that those letters were the occasion of their corning hither to see General Washington.

PRESIDENT. We are now ready to hear what you have to say to us, and shall give great attention to it.

AMBROSE. The St˙ John' s and Mickmac Tribes are all one people, and of one tongue and one heart.

We are very thankful to the Almighty to see all the Council; the Almighty has given the English and Indians one heart.

General Washington sent us something (the letters aforesaid) last fall and this spring, and that is the reason of our coming here now to speak.

The Captains that are come up with me, and all our people, are all one as Boston; our eyes and our ears will not turn to the other side of the water to see or hear what they do.

We want a Father or a French Priest.

Jesus we pray to, and we shall not hear any prayers that come from England.

We shall have nothing to do with Old England, and all that we shall worship or obey will be Jesus Christ and General Washington.

[Here Ambrose delivered to the President a silver gorget and heart, with the King' s Arms and the busts of the King and Queen engraved on them.]

General Washington advised us to pray to Jesus for aid and assistance, and to be thankful for the lands that God had given us. All our old men and women pray that the Almighty would enable us to walk in the right way. General Washington wrote us a letter desiring us to pray for him, and assist him all in our power. All our Captains and Chiefs do pray that he and his brothers may be masters of this country. We are both one country. We are of their country and they are of our country.

There are Boston people down with us, and we esteem them there as our own people, and treat them as such.

There are a number of French people upon our land, who disturb us in hunting, and we want to remove them a little further from us, near the sea coast.

[Here Ambrose presented and delivered a sword and pistol, which he said had been offered to them by one Anderson, and which they afterwards took from him; and he then proceeded —]

Mr˙ Anderson told us if we would be for England, as he intended to be, we might have that sword and pistol. He told us that if we lost any money by the Boston people, the King in Old England would make it up.

After we received letters from General Washington, we took the sword from Anderson, and told him we would have nothing to do with him, and set him up as a mark, and despised him.

We told Anderson when we took the sword from him, we would deliver it up to General Washington, if he would receive it.

We have now said what we had to say concerning this matter; and would again mention, that we want a Truck-House and a Priest.


PRESIDENT. You mentioned there were some Frenchmen in your country whom you wanted to have removed: Are they in opposition to the interest of this country?

AMBROSE. They are all for you.

PRESIDENT. For what purpose did Anderson give you the sword?

INDIANS. As Mr˙ Anderson would not be for the people of Boston, we took it from him.

PRESIDENT. Did Mr˙ Anderson appear as an Agent for the Government of Nova Scotia, or only as a private individual?

INDIANS. Anderson told us in the winter and in the spring not to go to Boston, but to Halifax. He said it would not signify to go to Boston, but if we could go to the Governour of Halifax, we should have a hat-full of money given to us by the Governour.

INDIANS. We did not want money, but we wanted to lay our hearts open to the people of Boston.

PRESIDENT. Was Anderson a publick agent, or employed by the Governour of Halifax?

INDIANS. We believe he was.

PRESIDENT. What is the disposition of the English people in Nova Scotia with regard to the disputes between England and America?

INDIANS. We do not know.

PRESIDENT. What is the disposition of the Mickmac and St˙ John' s Tribes in general? Would they all enter heartily and with resolution into the war on our side?

INDIANS. Both the Mickmac or Cape Sable Indians and the St˙ John' s Indians are all for helping Boston; we know their hearts, for we had a talk with them.

The President then delivered a Speech to them, which was as follows:

PRESIDENT: Brothers: What you have said, we like well. It makes a strong impression on our hearts, and at our next Conference with you, we will give you a full and particular answer. We will now open our minds to you. You have heard that the English people beyond the great water have taken up the hatchet, and made war against the United Colonies in America. We once looked upon them as our brothers, as children of the same family with ourselves, and not only loved them as brothers, but loved and respected them as our elder brothers. But they have grown old and covetous; many of their great men have wasted and squandered not only their own money, but the money of the publick; and because they cannot obtain in their own country a sufficiency to support their excessive luxury and satiate their avarice, they want to take from us our money and our lands for those purposes; and at the same time to deprive us of our liberties and make us slaves. They have already taken away a great deal of our money and many of our privileges, and we have borne it with patience, having only told them that their doing so was unbrotherly and unkind, and most earnestly prayed them again and again to desist from their unfriendly and cruel treatment of us. But all our petitions have been disregarded, and they have trodden them as waste paper under their feet. After this ill usage and repeated insults, we have refused to part with any more of our money and privileges; and this refusal has brought upon us the war in which we are engaged. Our enemies, before they openly declared themselves to be such, we received as friends, and admitted them into our towns and sea ports. Taking advantage of this peaceable disposition of ours, they sent ships and troops and took possession of Boston, and strongly fortified it, expecting we should permit them to do the same with other places, till they had secured the whole country. But they found themselves mistaken: for when a large body of them went from Boston secretly by night into our country in the month of April the last year, and killed some of our people, burnt or damaged many of their houses, stole and destroyed much of their property, and committed other acts of cruelty, a number of our warriors assembled and drove them back, and killed a great many of them; and a little while after killed a much greater number of them at Charlestown, with comparatively little loss of lives on our side. The war being thus begun, all the Colonies on the Continent, from New Hampshire to Georgia, (including them,) determined in a great Council, held by some of their wise men at Philadelphia, to unite together for their mutual defence; and their Army, under the command of that great warrior, General Washington,


have lately driven away the British Army from Boston, where for many months they were held as prisoners, not daring to march out of the town to fight General Washington. And we doubt not, through the favour of Divine Providence, that, although the British troops have gained some advantages in Canada, the armies of the United Colonies will be able to drive them out of all other parts of America within the limits of the said Colonies; and out of Canada also if the Canadians are not blind with regard to their own interest and liberty.

We have given you this information, that you might know the true state of things. And we would inform you further, that as we and the St˙ John' s and Mickmac tribes of Indians are countrymen, and not very distant from each other, we ought to be, and it is our interest to be mutual friends, and as brothers. And we are glad to find by what you have now said, that you are of the same mind. Accordingly, we, the governours of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, in behalf of this Colony and of all the United Colonies in North America, receive you to our friendship. Your acceptance of it entitles you to be considered by us as brothers; and your enemies we shall deem our enemies, and will do all in our power to protect you from them. We do not, however, ask you to join with us in the war, unless it is your free choice to do so. If you choose to join with the United Colonies in the war, and shall tell us so clearly, we will immediately take the matter into consideration, and let you know our minds at the next Conference. In the mean time we are glad to see you do not intend to join our enemies against us. It is probable that the Governour of Nova Scotia, the Governour of Canada, and other enemies of these Colonies, will endeavour to deceive you, and by presents and threats try to make you join with them against the United Colonies. But be not deceived by them. Our love for you obliges us to forewarn you of their arts, and earnestly to caution you against being deceived. If they should engage you in the war against us, you will be undone, and will be a ruined people. We do not mention this, as supposing you will join them, but only as a friendly caution to you, that you do not suffer them to deceive you to your own ruin.

When you have considered what we have now said, and are ready to give an answer to it, we will hear you.

AMBHOSE. We will consider it, and speak to you again.

PRESIDENT. You told us the sword and pistol you took from Anderson was at our disposal. We thank you, and now return them to you, in confidence that they will be employed by you only against your own enemies and our enemies.

[The silver gorget and heart, with the King' s Arms and bust engraven on them, were delivered to the Interpreter to be returned to the Indians. He presented them to their Speaker, but with great vehemence and displeasure he refused to take them, saying they had nothing to do with King George and England. Whereupon the President told them they should have a new gorget and heart, with the bust of General Washington, and proper devices to represent the United Colonies.]

The Conference was then adjourned to tomorrow, after drinking mutual healths.