CASTEEL INCIDENT: MI’KMAQ - BRITISH WAR RESUMES
It seems evil acts begets evil acts. The English Scalping Proclamations came back to haunt them in the spring of 1753, and would bring their treaty making efforts with the Mi'kmaq to an end for several years. The preliminary details are cited from the introduction to Anthony Casteel's journal of 1753.
The surveyor Morris in a letter, dated April 16 1753, to Cornwallis reported what details he had of the crime:Yesterday (the 15th of April) arrived from the Eastward two men, in an Indian Canoe, who have brought six scalps of Indians. The account they gave of the affair, upon their examination, was that James Grace, John Conner (a one eyed man, formerly one of your bargemen), with two others, sailed from this port about the middle of February last in a small Schooner, and on the 21st were attacked in a little harbour to the Westward of Torbay by nine Indians, to whom they submitted, and that the same day on which they landed the Indians killed their two companions in cold blood; that Grace and Conner continued with them till the 8th of the month, when some of the Indians separating, they remained with four Indian men, a squaw, and a child: that the four Indians left them one day in their Wigwam with their arms and ammunition, upon which hoping to recover their liberty, they killed the woman and child, and at the return of the men killed them also, and then taking the Canoe made the best of their way to this place.
This is the substance of their story; but as the Indians complained, a little after the sailing of this Schooner, that one exactly answering her description put into Jedore where they had their stores, and robbed them of forty barrels of provision given them by the Government....
If this be the case, it is a very unhappy incident at this juncture, and time only can discover what its consequences will be. "The Chiefs of every Tribe in the Peninsula had sent in messages of friendship, and I believe would have signed Articles of Peace this Spring, if this incident does not prevent them."
The truth of the matter was expressed by the authors of "Documents Sur L'Acadia."
Thus for Mr. Morris's (account). But the fact was still blacker than he suspected. After having robbed the Indian store houses, the crew of this unfortunate Schooner was obliged to encounter the fury of the deep. They suffered the shipwreck; were found by the Indians drenched with water, and destitute of everything; were taken home, cherished, and kindly entertained. Yet they watched their opportunity, and to procure the price of scalps murdered their benefactors, and came to Halifax to claim the Wages of their atrocious deed.
The British did not prosecute them, as they were mandated to do under the provisions of the Treaty of 1752, thus the peace process came to a halt.
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