Benjamin Franklin
1706 - 1790

Franklin wrote the following after a large group of innocent Indians were massacred because of the actions of others from another Tribe:

"If an Indian injures me, does it follow that I may revenge that Injury on all Indians?

"It is well known that Indians are of different Tribes, Nations and Languages, as well as the White People.

"In Europe, if the French, who are White People, should injure the Dutch, are they to revenge it on the English, because they too are White People?

"The only Crime of these poor Wretches seems to have been, that they had a reddish brown Skin, and black Hair; and some People of that Sort, it seems, had murdered some of our Relations.

"If it be right to kill Men for such a Reason, then, should any Man, with a freckled Face and red Hair, kill a Wife or Child of mine, it would be right for me to revenge it, by killing all the freckled red-haired Men, Women and Children, I could afterwards any where meet with."

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7
Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 |Chapter 14 
Chapter 7

We Were Not the Savages - More Bounties for Human Scalps and the Treaty of 1752

When Governor Edward Cornwallis and his entourage founded Halifax in 1749, it was during a lull in the war with the Mi’kmaq. In fact, the Mi’kmaq greeted them with hospitality. One settler wrote home: “When we first came here, the Indians, in a friendly manner, brought us lobsters and other fish in plenty, being satisfied for them by a bit of bread and some meat.”1

However, at British instigation, this would soon change. At an early September 1749 meeting with the Mi’kmaq Chiefs, a British emissary restated the dictum given to their predecessors in 1715, submit to British rule unconditionally. He also confirmed their fears about the Colonial Council’s new settlement plans for the province. This gravely alarmed the Chiefs and they reacted as could be expected. On September 23, 1749, the Mi’kmaq renewed their declaration of war against the British and began attacking military, shipping and trade targets.

Geoffrey Plank lays bare what Cornwallis had planned if such occurred: If the Micmac chose to resist his expropriation of land, the governor intended to conduct a war unlike any that had been fought in Nova Scotia before. He outlined his thinking in an unambiguous letter to the Board of Trade. If there was to be a war, he did not want the war to end with a peace agreement. “It would be better to root the Micmac out of the peninsula decisively and forever.” The war began soon after the governor made this statement.2

Scalping Proclamation of 1749

After he had read the first edition of We Were Not the Savages, published in 1993, Charles Saunders, a columnist with the Halifax Daily News, sent me a congratulatory note dated February 2, 1994:

Several years ago, I watched a panel discussion that had several minority members, including a Black and a Micmac. The Micmac representative said that Blacks were slaves in the early days of European colonization, but his people were lower than slaves. At that time, I didn’t understand what he meant. What, I wondered, is lower than being a piece of property to be bought and sold like a horse or cow? Then, in the chapter of your book titled “The Edge of Extinction,” I read about how your people were systematically starved to death. At least a slave gets fed, simply because

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