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Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
May 26, 1892

GLIMPSES OF THE PAST

Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.

XVIII – THE PASSAMAQUODDY INDIANS IN THE FRENCH AND ENGLISH WARS-Continued.

[Rev. W. O. Raymond, M. A.]

3.-The New Englanders as Aggressors, and the Treaty of 1725.

Brouillan continued the same policy as his predecessor, Villebon, with regard to the Indians.  He presented them with handsome gifts, and also sent French flags for their forts, and a gun and sabre for each man.

The English likewise made an effort to gain the friendship of the Indians, and had well nigh completed an amicable treaty with the Maliseet tribes, when the folly of a New England marauding party, which plundered and destroyed St. Castine’s post at Penobscot, brought on another crisis.  The Indians were greatly encouraged to break with the English by Vaudreuil, governor general of New France.

The renewed outbreak, known in history as Queen Ann’s war, was quite unexpected.  Indians and French, numbering in all about 500, divided themselves into several bands, which, in August, 1703, simultaneously fell upon the settlements of Maine.  Terror and confusion reigned at Casco, Saco, Wells, and in fact along the entire frontier.  About 155 English were killed or captured in the several attacks.

The militia was called out forthwith, and the legislatures of New Hampshire and Massachusetts offered a bounty of 20 for each Indian prisoner under ten years of age and 40 for every older prisoner or for his scalp.

It was resolved to ‘carry the war into Africa.’  Accordingly, Colonel Church was sent, about the end of May, 1704, with a force of 450 men, to ravage the French settlements.  The expedition did great damage at Penobscot, Port Royal, Mines and Chignecto.  Col. Church also visited Passamaquoddy, where he killed or made prisoners a number of the French settlers, who made no resistance, and should have received some consideration.

From this time forward the New Englanders became the aggressors, and set before them, as their ultimate object, the overthrow of the French power in Acadia.  As a consequence, we shall now find the Indians as a rule too busily engaged in supporting their allies to the eastward to pay much attention to the New England settlements in Maine which had hitherto suffered so greatly from their attacks.

In the unsuccessful attack made on Port Royal, in 1707, by Col. March, the French commander says that but for the assistance he received from Baron St. Castine and his Indians, he knew not what might have been the result.  There can be little doubt that the Passamaquoddies were present with St. Castine at Port Royal.

After the peace of Utrecht was proclaimed, Messrs. Capoon and Button, in the ship of war Caulfield, came to St. Croix to proclaim King George I. lawful sovereign of Acadia, and to tender the oath of allegiance to the French inhabitants.  The latter refused to take the oath, alleging their fears of the Indians by way of excuse.

General Phillipps, governor of Nova Scotia, writing to the British ministry in 1720, complains of the inveterate hostility manifested to English rule by the Acadian Indians, and suggests ‘bringing two hundred Mohock Indians from New York and keeping them in service to keep the Indians here in awe.’

General Philipps, nevertheless, tried the power of conciliation.  He despatched a vessel to St. John to convey nine chiefs to Annapolis, where he gave them presents and handsomely entertained them.  In his parting address, after expressing the hope that they are satisfied with their reception, he says:-

‘Make known to your neighbors of Passamaquoddi that I shall be glad to see two or three of their chiefs here . . . I am sorry I have not better presents to make you just now, but I expect by the next large ship the king’s presents for you and for the rest of the savages.

The vessel is ready to take you back.  I have ordered provisions to be put on board for you with some wine and brandy.  I wish you a good voyage.’

Probably the Indians, if left to themselves, would have remained peaceable; but this was not in the interests of France, and the influence of the French, especially that of the missionaries, was constantly exercised to maintain the hostile feeling that had heretofore prevailed.

As an example of the influence possessed by the Jesuits, it may be mentioned that the Wabanaki had opened friendly negotiations with the people of New England in 1721; but, their proceedings becoming known to the governor of Canada, the Jesuit superior, Pere la Chasse, and another priest, were sent to put an end to these negotiations.  They assembled the Wabanaki, to the number of 200, including deputies from Medoctec and ‘Pemoukady’ (Passamaquoddy), and, after addressing them, persuaded them to break off all negotiations with the English.

Father Rasle, missionary at Norridgewock, was largely instrumental in causing the failure of these negotiations.  The New Englanders manifested their resentment by an unsuccessful attempt to seize him; and this act, together with the seizure of the young Baron St. Castine, caused an Indian uprising in the following summer.

The war, known as Lovewell’s or Dummer’s war, lasted nearly three years.  Passamaquoddy bay was the scene of the first incident in the campaign.

A vessel, in which Mr. Newton, collector of customs at Annapolis Royal; John Adams, son of one of the council of Nova Scotia, and Captain Blin, of Boston, were passengers, touched at Passamaquoddy for water.  They were not aware of the Indian hostilities, and, going on shore, they were made prisoners by a party consisting of ten or twelve Indians and about an equal number of French.  The people in the sloop cut their cable and escaped.  During the course of the war the Indians destroyed the settlement at Brunswick, Maine.  They also surprised and killed Captain Josiah Winslow1 and his party of sixteen men.

The savages themselves lost heavily during the continuance of hostilities, and received a particularly severe blow in the destruction of Norridgewock, where many of their chiefs and most noted warriors were slain.  The English sullied their laurels by the barbarous act of killing and scalping the old missionary, Father Rasle, who had been with the Indians twenty-six years, and was greatly venerated by them.

The Indians were now sincerely desirous of peace.  Negotiations were commenced in July, 1725, and in November four eminent sagamores, representing the various tribes of Acadia, after several weeks of prolonged discussion, arranged the details of the celebrated treaty of 1725, whereby King George was acknowledged as ‘the rightful possessor of the province of Nova Scotia or Accadie, according to its antient boundaries.’

This treaty was ratified at a great pow-wow held at Falmouth, at which were present the lieutenant governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Col. Paul Mascarene, of Nova Scotia, and about forty Indian chiefs.2  By the treaty, the Indians of New England and Acadia made submission to the king of England, in as ample a form as they had formerly done to the king of France, and promised not to molest any of his British majesty’s subjects in their settlements.

The treaty of 1725 not only, for the time being, terminated hostilities, but served as the basis of negotiations held in 1749, and again in 1760.

The number of Indians at Passamaquoddy at this time was not large.  John Gyles estimated their warriors at about 30, and says ‘their chief is Assoquad.’  It is, however, a difficult matter to determine the number of Indians resident at any particular place, owing to their nomadic habits.

A year after Gyles made his estimate, Lieut. Governor Armstrong wrote from Halifax to the chief of Passamaquoddy as follows:-

‘Being informed by Andre Simon, the bearer hereof, that there are twenty-one canoes of Indians at Passamaquady, who are afraid to come here on account of a false report that the English vessels have fired on some Indians in the passage of Fronsac, (Gut of Canso): For this reason I send you this letter, in all friendship for the Indian nations in this government and elsewhere, to assure them that they have no reason to fear the least molestation or violation of the treaty of peace made with the English, etc.’


1Capt. Josiah Winslow was a great grandson of Governor Edward Winslow, of Plymouth, and a brother of General John Winslow, who, in 1755, removed the Acadians of Grand Pre.

2This treaty will be found in Murdoch’s History of Nova Scotia, vol. i, pp. 429, 430.  The original is in the secretary’s office in Boston.

The following note should have been appended to last week’s article, in connection with the combined effort of French and Indians to secure the destruction of the fort at Pemaquid in 1696:-

It was the design of the French at this time to establish themselves in undisputed possession of the territory lying to the east of the Kennebec, and to claim that river as the western boundary of New France.  Consequently the re-establishment by Sir William Phipps of a strongly fortified post at Pemaquid was deemed a standing menace by the French and their Indian allies.  They termed the obnoxious fort Creve-Coeur as being, in view of their ambitious designs, ‘heart breaking.’

Cadillac wrote, in 1692, ‘This place is very troublesome to our Indians.’  The same writer states, amongst the reasons why every effort should be made to retain the good will of the Indians, ‘They defend Acadia and protect it from inroads of the English, who have often designed to come and fortify themselves at Pentagoet, and, were it not for the Indians, could have done so without any resistance.  Thus it is easy to see that they not only defend their own soil and our boundary, but they also attack and destroy their enemies, our neighbors.  They completely prevent their forming any settlements upon our shores, and oblige them to abandon their own and to take refuge in their towns.’


Correction: Article Additions and Corrections, between Articles XXXVII and XXXVIII, contains the following correction to this one: "In fifth paragraph, for ‘450 men,’ read ‘550 men.’"