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Indian Nullification of the Unconstitutional Laws of Massachusetts Relative to the Marshpee Tribe Or, the Pretended Riot Explained   By: (1798-1839)

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[Illustration: MANNER OF INSTRUCTING THE INDIANS.]

INDIAN NULLIFICATION OF THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL LAWS OF MASSACHUSETTS. RELATIVE TO THE MARSHPEE TRIBE: OR, THE PRETENDED RIOT EXPLAINED,

BY WILLIAM APES, AN INDIAN AND PREACHER OF THE GOSPEL

1835.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty five, by WILLIAM APES, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

TO THE WHITE PEOPLE OF MASSACHUSETTS

The red children of the soil of America address themselves to the descendants of the pale men who came across the big waters to seek among them a refuge from tyranny and persecution.

We say to each and every one of you that the Great Spirit who is the friend of the Indian as well as of the white man, has raised up among you a brother of our own and has sent him to us that he might show us all the secret contrivances of the pale faces to deceive and defraud us. For this, many of our white brethren hate him, and revile him, and say all manner of evil of him; falsely calling him an impostor. Know, all men, that our brother APES is not such a man as they say. White men are the only persons who have imposed on us, and we say that we love our red brother, the Rev. WILLIAM APES, who preaches to us, and have all the confidence in him that we can put in any man, knowing him to be a devout Christian, of sound mind, of firm purpose, and worthy to be trusted by reason of his truth. We have never seen any reason to think otherwise.

We send this forth to the world in love and friendship with all men, and especially with our brother APES, for whose benefit it is intended.

Signed by the three Selectmen of the Marshpee Tribe, at the Council House, in Marshpee.

ISRAEL AMOS, ISAAC COOMBS, EZRA ATTAQUIN.

March , 19, 1835.

BOSTON, OCTOBER 2, 1834,

To whom it may concern .

The undersigned was a native of the County of Barnstable, and was brought up near the Marshpee Indiana. He always regarded them as a people grievously oppressed by the whites, and borne down by laws which made them poor and enriched other men upon their property. In fact the Marshpee Indians, to whom our laws have denied all rights of property, have a higher title to their lands than the whites have, for our forefathers claimed the soil of this State by the consent of the Indians , whose title they thus admitted was better than their own.

For a long time the Indians had been disaffected, but no one was energetic enough among them to combine them in taking measures for their rights. Every time they had petitioned the Legislature, the laws, by the management of the interested whites, had been made more severe against them. DANIEL AMOS, I believe, was the first one among them, who conceived the plan of freeing his tribe from slavery. WILLIAM APES, an Indian preacher, of the Pequod tribe, regularly ordained as a minister, came among these Indians, to preach. They invited him to assist them in getting their liberty. He had the talent they most stood in need of. He accordingly went forward, and the Indians declared that no man should take their wood off their plantation. APES and a number of other Indians quietly unloaded a load of wood, which a Mr. SAMPSON was carting off. For this, he and some others were indicted for a riot, upon grounds extremely doubtful in law, to say the least. Every person on the jury, who said he thought the Indians ought to have their liberty, was set aside. The three Indians were convicted, and APES was imprisoned thirty days.

It was in this stage of the business, after the conviction, that I became the counsel of the Indians, and carried their claims to the Legislature, where they finally prevailed.

The persons concerned in the riot, as it was called, and imprisoned for it, I think were as justifiable in what they did, as our fathers were, who threw the tea overboard; and to the energetic movements of WILLIAM APES, DANIEL AMOS and others, it was owing that an impression was made on the Legislature, which induced them to do partial justice toward this long oppressed race... Continue reading book >>




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