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WATERTOWN TREATY: 1776

In spite of the past wars that they had fought with Great Britainís American colonies, the Mi'kmaq, in the 1770s, flirted with the idea of assisting the Americans in their war of Independence with Great Britain. To explore the possibility, delegates were sent by the Miíkmaq Chiefs to meet with the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, at which time they worked out the terms of the "Watertown Treaty." As a result, an agreement in principle was signed by the Delegates and the Governor at Watertown, Massachusetts, on July 19, 1776. Although the prospect of exacting revenge against the English for the suffering that they and their ancestors had endured under England's occupation of their homeland must have been tempting, caution prevailed, it was never ratified by the Mi'kmaq Chiefs.

However, probably to gain personal revenge against the British for the past atrocities that they had committed against their families and friends, many individual Mi'kmaq did go to the States and enlist in the rebel army. But, the vast majority had been burned once too often by the "White man's wars" and were not overly enthused about joining one side or the other in this one. Another factor that weighed heavily on the side of the Mi'kmaq Nation setting out the war was that the Roman Catholic Church threatened to excommunicate any Mi'kmaq, who were by then among its strongest believers, if they did.

TERMS OF THE 1776 WATERTOWN TREATY

WHEREAS, the United States of America, in general Congress Assembled, have ... declared that these United Colonies are ... free and independent States ... and ... have full power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and things which independent States have the right to do;

WE THE GOVERNORS, of the State of Massachusetts Bay, do ... enter into and conclude the following Treaty of Friendship and Alliance....

1st, We the Governors of the said State of Massachusetts Bay, in behalf of the said State, and the other United States of America on the one part, and Ambrius Var, Newell Wallis, and Francis, delegates of the St. John's Tribe, Joseph Deneguarra, Charles, Mattahu Antrane, Nicholas, John Battis, Peter Andre and Sebattis Netobcobwit, Delegates of the Micmac Tribe of Indians, inhabiting within the Province of Nova Scotia, for themselves, and in behalf of said Tribes on the other part, do solemnly agree that the people of the said State of Massachusetts Bay, and of the other United states of America, and of the said Tribes of Indians shall henceforth be at peace with each other, and be considered as Friends and Brothers united and allied together for their mutual defence, safety and happiness.

2nd, That each party to this Treaty shall, and will consider the enemies of the other as Enemies to themselves, and do hereby solemnly promise and engage to and with each other, that when called upon for that purpose, they shall, and will, to the utmost of their abilities, aid and assist each other against their public Enemies, and particularly, that the people of the said Tribe of Indians shall and will afford, and give to the people of the said State of Massachusetts Bay, and the people of the other United States of America, during their present war with the King of Great Britain, all the aid and assistance in their power.

AND, that they the people of said Tribes of Indians shall not, and will not directly or indirectly give any aid, or assistance to the Troops, or Subjects, of the said King of Great Britain, or others adhering to Him, or hold any correspondence, or carry on any Commerce with them during the present war.

3rd, That if any robbery or outrage happens to be committed by any of the Subjects of the said State of Massachusetts Bay, or any of the United States of America, upon any of the people of said Tribes, the said State shall upon proper application being made, cause satisfaction and restitution speedily to be made to the Party injured.

4th, That if any robbery or outrage happens to be committed by any of the said Tribes of Indians, upon any of the Subjects of the said State, or of any of the other of the United States of America, the Tribe to which the offender, or offenders shall belong, shall, upon proper application being made, cause satisfaction and restitution speedily to be made to the Party injured.

5th, That in case any misunderstanding, quarrel, or injury shall happen between the said State of Massachusetts Bay, or any other United States of America, and said Tribes of Indians, or either of them, no private revenge shall be taken, but a peaceable application shall be made for redress.

6th, That the said Tribes of Indians, shall and will furnish and supply 600 strong men out of said Tribes, or as many as may be, who shall without delay proceed from their several homes up to the Town of Boston within this State, and from thence shall march to join the Army of the United States of America, now at New York, under the immediate command of his Excellency, General George Washington, there to take his orders.

7th, That each of the Indians who shall by their respective Tribes, be appointed to join the Army of the United States of America, shall bring with him a good gun, and shall be allowed One Dollar for the use of it; and in case the Gun shall be lost in the Service, shall be paid the value of it.

AND, the pay of each Man shall begin from the time they sail from Machias for Boston, and they shall be supplied with provisions, and a vessel or vessels for their passage up to Boston. Each private Man shall receive the like pay as is given to our own private Men. The Indians shall be formed into Companies when they arrive in Boston, and shall want them not exceeding the term of three years, unless General Washington and they shall agree for a longer time.

AND, as Joseph Denaquarra, Peter Andre and Sabattis Netobcowit, have manfully and generously offered to enter immediately into the war, they shall be sent as soon as may be, to General Washington to join the Army, and shall be considered as entering into our pay at the time of arrival at New York.

8th, The delegates above named, who may return to their homes, do promise and engage, to use their utmost influence with the Passamaquoddy, and other neighbouring Tribes of Indians to persuade them to furnish, and supply for the said service, as many strong men of their respective Tribes as possible, and that they come along with those of the Tribes of St. John's Micmac.

AND, the said Governor, of the said State of Massachusetts Bay, does hereby engage to give to such of the Passamaquoddy, or other neighbouring Indians, who shall enter into the service of the United States of America, the same pay and encouragement in every particular, as is above agreed to be given to the St. John's, or Micmac Indians, and to consider them as our friends and Brothers.

9th, That the said State of Massachusetts Bay shall, and will furnish their Truckhouses at Machias, as soon as may be with proper Articles for the purpose of supplying the Indians of said Tribes with the necessaries and conveniences of life.

10th, And the said Delegates do hereby annul and make void all former Treaties by them or by others in behalf of their respective Tribes made with any other Power, State, or Person, so far forth as the same shall be repugnant to any of the Articles contained in this Treaty.

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