New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Father Rale’s War – 1722-25; How it Ended

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Father Rale’s War – 1722-25; How it Ended

The War of Spanish Succession was a wide-ranging European conflict and was brought to an end by the Peace of Utrecht in 1713. By that Peace, France ceded Newfoundland and Acadia to Great Britain, but retained Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton. Most of the other provisions of the Peace do not concern this story, including the fate of other North American territories and such far-flung European regions as Gibraltar.

“Acadia” was not well defined. There was no question that Great Britain controlled present-day Nova Scotia, but New Brunswick and a large part of Maine remained in dispute. To protect their claims, France built forts, and established missions at native villages including on the Saint John River at Meductic. None of these claims were recognized by Britain. Significantly, the natives had not been consulted in the transfer of Nova Scotia and the disputed territories to Britain, which they opposed; nor had they been consulted in any of the preceding European treaties.

The Peace was therefore challenged by the Wabanaki Confederacy which included the Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), Abenaki and Penobscot Indians. Battles were fought in peninsular Nova Scotia and along the borders of the disputed territories, and these conflicts became known as Father Rale’s War (1722–1725), after Sabastian Rale who encouraged the natives in their dispute. The war has several names, but “Father Rale’s War” is one of the common ones.

A large number of natives and Father Rale were killed in 1724, at the Battle of Norridgewock in Maine. This was followed by other raids against the Indians in 1724 and 1725. At this point, the Wabanaki Confederacy was losing to the New Englanders, and a peace treaty soon followed.

Battle of Norridgewock

A Depiction of the Death of Father Rale at the Battle of Norridgewock


The purpose of this blog posting is to present the peace treaties which ended Father Rale’s war.

The first document is the treaty of December 15, 1725, signed at Boston by three native chiefs. It was essentially a surrender. The three chiefs accepted responsibility for the war; promised to keep the peace with all whites; agreed that New Englanders could settle wherever they pleased; and undertook to submit any disputes to the authorities for settlement according to the law. They also promised to put down any dissident tribes. The only concession to them was that they could continue to hunt and fish on property not owned by an English white person. By tradition, the first document was not so much a surrender, but, given the content of the second document, was an expression of a genuine desire to live in peace and friendship.

It took about six months to gather the required signatures of a large number of native chiefs and elders, but this was done and the treaty was ratified in June 4, 1726. The ratification is not reproduced here.

The second document is usually termed the Reciprocal Promises, and was signed by John Doucett at Annapolis Royal on the same date as the ratification treaty. It promised that the Indian bands would not be molested in their persons, and that they would have access to the law and reparations in the event of any outrage being committed against them. They were also assured freedom of religion, and their traditional rights to hunting, fishing and planting. All commerce was reserved to the Crown which implies that they could not, for example, sell fish for profit.

Much has changed since 1725-26, and this two-document treaty, and others up to the 1760s were not recognized as valid until the adoption of the Canadian Constitution in 1982, and tension between present-day hunting and fishing regulations and treaty obligations continued even after that. The whole matter was examined by the Supreme Court in 1999, when it was noted that the treaties from the 1760s permitted the selling of fish without reference to a fishing season, so long as the sales were to government truckhouses. The disappearance of truckhouses, the Supreme Court ruled, did not abrogate the right to fish, nor the right to sell fish. The 1725-26 treaty and others with similar provisions therefore continue to have effect today. It took the Supreme Court to determine what, in retrospect, seems clear enough: a promise made is a debt unpaid.

All spelling is as found.

First Document: The Treaty of December 15. 1725

Whereas the several Tribes of the Eastern Indians viz the Penobscot, Narridgwolk, St. Johns Cape Sables & other Tribes Inhabiting within His Majesties Territorys of New England and Nova Scotia, who have been Engaged in the present War, from whom we Sauguaaram alias Loron Arexus Francois Xavier & Meganumbe are Delegated & fully Impowered to Enter into Articles of Pacification with His Majties Governments of the Massachusetts Bay New Hampshire & Nova Scotia Have contrary to the several Treatys they have Solemnly Entered into with the said Governments made an open Rupture & have continued some years in Acts of Hostility Against the subjects of His Majesty King George within the said Governments, They being now sensible of the Miseries and Troubles they have involved themselves in, and being Desirous to be restored to His Majesty’s Grace & Favour & to live in Peace with all His Majesties Subjects of the said three Governmts & the Province of New York and Colonys of Connecticut & Rhode Island, and that all former Acts of Injury be forgotten Have Concluded to make and we Do by these presents In the Name and behalf of the said Tribes make our Submission unto Hist Most Excellent Majesty George by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith &. in as full and ample manner as any of our Predecessors have heretofore done.

And we do hereby Promise and Engage with the Honorable William Dummer Esqr as he is Lieutenant Governor & Comander in Chief of the said Province for the time being That is to say.

We the said Delegates for and in behalf of the several Tribes aforesaid Do Promise and Engage that at all times forever from and after the date of these presents We and they will lease and forbear all Acts of Hostility Injuries and Discords towards all the Subjects of the Crown of Great Britain, & not offer the lease hurt Violence or Molestation to them or any of them in their Persons or Estates, But will hence forward hold & maintain a firm and Constant Amity and Friendship with all the English and will never Confederate or Combine with any other Nation to their prejudice.

That all the Captives taken in this present War shall at or before the time of the further Ratification of this Treaty be Restored without any Ransom or payment to be made for them or any of them.

That His Majesties Subjects the English shall and may peaceable and Quietly Enter upon Improve & forever Enjoy all & Singular their rights of Land and former Settlements Properties & possessions within the Eastern parts of the said Province of the Massachusetts Bay Together with all Islands Islets, Shoars Beaches and Fishery within the same, without any Molestation or Claims by us, or any other Indians, and in no ways Molested Interupted, or disturbed therein.

Saving unto the Penoscot, Narridgewalk And other Tribes within His Majesties Province aforesaid and their Natural descendants respectively All their Lands liberties & properties not by them Conveyed or sold to, or possess’d by any of the English Subjects or aforesaid As alsot the Privlege of Fishing, Hunting & Fowling as formerly.

That all Trade and Commerce which hereafter may be allowed betwixt the English & Indians shall be under such Management & Regulation, as the Government of the Massachusetts Province shall direct.

If any Controversy of difference at any time hereafter happen to arise between any of the English & Indians for any real or supposed wrong or injury done on either side, no private Revenge shall be taken for the same, but proper Application shall be made to His Majesty’s Government upon the place for remedy or Redress there in a due Course of Justice we submit Our selves to be Ruled and Governed by His Majesties Laws and desiring to have the Benefit of the same.

We also the said Delegates in behalf of the Tribes of Indians Inhabiting within the French Territorys who have assisted us in this War, for whom we are fully Impowered to Act in this present Treaty. Do hereby Promise and Engage that they and every of them shall henceforth lease and forbear all Acts of Hostility Force & Violence towards all and every the Subjects of His Majesty the King of Great Britain.

We do further in behalf of the Tribe of the Penobscot Indians Promise & Engage That if any of the other Tribes Intended to be included in this Treaty, shall notwith standing refuse to Confirm & Ratify this present Treaty Entered into on their behalf & Continue or renew Acts of Hostility against the English in such case the said Penobscot Tribe shall Joyn their Young Men with the English in reducing them to reason.

In the next place we the aforenamed Delegated Do Promise and Engage with the Honorable John Wentworth Esqr as he is Lieutt Governor & Comander in Chief of His Majesties Province of New Hampshire & with the Governors & Comanders in Chief of the said Province for the time being, That we & the Tribes we are Deputed from, will henceforth lease & Forbear all Acts of Hostility Injuries and Discords towards all the subjects of His Majesty King George within the said Province. And we do understand and take it that the said Government of New Hampshire is also Included and Comprehend in all and every the Articles aforegoing, Excepting that respect the Regulating the Trade with us.

And further we the aforenamed Delegates Doe Promise & Engage with the Honoble Lawrence Armstrong Esqr Lt Governor & Comander in Chief of His Majesties Province of Nova Scotia or Accadie to live in peace with his Majesty’s Good Subjects & their Dependants in that Government according to the Articles agreed upon with Majr Paul Mascarene Commissioner for that purpose & further to be Ratified as mentioned in the said Articles.

That this present Treaty shall be Accepted Ratified & Confirmed in a Public and Solemn Manner by the Chiefs of the several Eastern Tribes of Indians Including therein at Falmouth in Casco Bay so time in the Month of May next In whereof we have signed these present Affixed our Seals.

Dated in the Council Chamber in Boston in New England the fifteenth day of December Anno Domini One thousand seven hundred and Twenty five Annoq. RRS Georgii Magna Britanix &c Duodecimo.

Done in the presence of the Great & General Court or Assemble of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay Aforesaid

Being first read distinctly & Interpreted by Capt. John Giles Capt. Saml Jordan & Capt. Joseph Bane sworn Interpreters.

[Signed] Att J Willard Secry; Sauguaaram Alt Loron; Arexies; Francois Xavier; Lignum; Meganumbe.

Second Document: The ‘Reciprocal Promises’ of June 4, 1726

Whereas Maj. Paul Macerene one of the Council of his Majesty’s Province of Nova Scotia Commissioned and Appointed By the Hon.ble Lieutenant-Coll. Lawrence Armstrong. Lt. Govr and Commander in Chief of this his Majesty’s said province to Negotiate and treat about the Indians Engaged in the Late Warr hath by and with the Desire of His Majesty’s said Council in Connection with his Majesty’s province of New England, Concluded and Effected the Same for his Majesty’s said province as well as that for New England with Sangaurium (alias) Laurent, Alexis, Francois Xavier and Maganumbe, Delegates of the Penobscot, Norrigwock, St. John’s & of the Cape Sable Indians & of the other Indian Tribes Belonging to and Inhabiting within this his said Majesty’s said province of Nova Scotia & that of New England as appears by the Instruments Sign’d Seal’d and Exchang’d by the Said Maj. Paul Mascerene Commissioner for His Majesty’s said province and the Said Indian Delegates in presence of the great and general Court or Assembly of the Province of Massachusetts Bay Bearing date at the Council Chambers in Boston New England the Fifteenth day of December one thousand Seven hundred and twenty Five, Whereof the Following Articles being Exactly the Same as required by the said Delegates to be performed on his Majesty’s Part by this his said Government

I do therefore in the Name of the Honble Lawrence Armstrong Esq the Lt. Gov & Commander in Chief as aforesaid By with the Advicxe of the Council of this his Majesty’s said province for and in the name of my master his most Sacred Majesty George of great Brittain, France & Ireland King Defender of the Faith &c the Chiefs of the Said Indian Tribes having Conforme to the said Articles Stipulated by their said Delegates come here and first performed their parts Ratify & Confirme the same and in Testimony thereof I Have to the Following Articles Sett my hand & Seal:

Whereas the Chiefs of the Penobscot, Norrigwock, St. Johns Cape Sable Indians and of the other Indian Tribes & their Representatives Belonging to and Inhabiting within this his Majesty’s Province of Nova Scotia Conforme to the Articles Stipulated by their Delegates, Sangarumn (alias) Laurens, Alexis, Francois Xavier, & Meganumbe, at Boston in New England the Fifteenth day of December one thousand seven hundred & twenty five have come to this His Majesty’s Fort at Annapolis Royal and Ratifyed said Articles and made their submission to his Majesty George By the grace of god of great Brittain France & Ireland King Defender of the Faith &c and Acknowledged his said Majesty’s Just Title to this his said province of Nova Scotia or Acadia & promised to Live peaceably with all his Majesty’s Subjects & their Dependents & to perform what Further is Contained in the Severall articles of their Instruments. I do therefore in His Majesty’s name for and in Behalf of this his said Government of Nova Scotia or Acadia Promise the Said Chiefs & their Respective Tribes all marks of Favour, Protection & Friendship

And I do Further promise & in the absence of the honble the Lt. Govr of the Province in behalf of this his said Government, That the Said Indians shall not be Molested in Their Persons, Hunting Fishing and Shooting & planting on their planting Ground nor in any other their Lawfull occasions, by his Majesty’s Subjects or Their Dependants in the Exercise of their Religion Provided the Missionarys Residing amongst them have Leave from the Government for So Doing

That if any Indians are Injured By any of his Majesty’s Subjects or their Dependants They shall have Satisfaction and Reparation made to them According to his Majesty’s Laws whereof the Indians shall have the Benefit Equall with his Majesty’s other Subjects

That upon the Indians Bringing back any Soldier Endeavouring to run away from any of his Majesty’s Forts or Garrisons, the Said Indians for their good Office Shall be handsomely rewarded.

That as a Mark and token of a true Observation & Faithfull Performance of all and Every Article promised on his Majesty’s part by the Government I have by and with the Advice and Council for said Government Releas’d and Sett att Liberty the Indian Prisoners

Given under my hand and seal at his Majesty’s Fort of Annapolis Royall this 4th day of June in the Twelvth year of his Majesty’s Reign

Given under my hand and seal at his Majesty’s Fort of Annapolis Royall this 4th day of June in the Twelvth year of his Majesty’s Reign

John Doucett Lieu Govt of Annapolis Royal

By Order of his hon the Lt Gov by and with the Advice of the Council, W. Sheriff Secy


Written by johnwood1946

March 4, 2015 at 9:13 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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