George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Chiefs of the Passamaquoddy Indians, 24 December 1776

To the Chiefs of the Passamaquoddy Indians

[Bucks County, Pa., 24 December 1776]

Brothers of Passamaquodia

I am glad to hear by Major Shaw, that You Accepted of the Chain of Freindship which I sent you last February from Cambridge, & that you are determined to keep it bright and unbroken.1

When I first heard that you refused to send any of your Warriours to my Assistance when called upon by our Brothers of St Johns I did not know what to think; I was Afraid that some Enemy had turned your Hearts Against Me. But I am since informed that all your young Men were employed in Hunting, which was the reason of their not coming; This has Made my Mind easy, and I hope you will allways in future join with your Brothers of St Johns & Penobscott when required.

I have desired My Brother the Governr of Massachusetts Bay to pay you the Money which Capt. Smith promised you for Sending My Letters to the Micmack Indians.2

Brothers—I have a peice of News to tell you which I hope you will Attend to.

Our Enemy the King of Great Britain endeavoured to Stir up all the Indians from Canada to South Carolina Against Us, But our Bretheren of the Six Nations and their Allies the Shawanese and Delewares would not hearken to the Advice of the Messengers sent among them but kept fast hold of our Ancient Covenant Chain; The Cherokees and the Southern Tribes were foolish enough to listen to them, and to take up the Hatchet Against us, Upon this our Warriours went into their Country, burnt their Houses, destroyed their Corn, and Oblidged them to sue for peace and give Hostages for their future Good Behaviour.

Now Brothers never lett the Kings Wicked Councellors turn your Hearts Against Me and your Bretheren of this Country, but bear in Mind what I told you last February and what I tell you now. In token of my Freindship I send you this from my Army on the Banks of the great River Delaware this 24th Day of December 1776.

George Washington

Copy, M-Ar; copy, IHi. John Avery, deputy secretary of the Massachusetts council, signed both of these documents attesting that they were true copies of the original.

GW wrote a similar letter to the St. Johns Indians on this date that begins: “It gave me great Pleasure to hear by Major Shaw, that you kept the Chain of Friendship, which I sent you in February last from Cambridge bright & unbroken.

“I am glad to hear that you have made a Treaty of peace with your Brothers and Neighbours of the Massachusetts Bay, who have, agreable to your desire established a Truck House at St John’s, out of which they will furnish you with every thing you want and take your Furs in Return.

“My good Friend & Brothers Govr Pierre Temner and the Warriors that came with him, shall be taken good care of, and when they want to return home, they and our Brothers of Penobscott shall be firnished with every thing necessary for their Journey” (copy, M-Ar). The conclusion of that letter is practically the same as the last three paragraphs of the letter to the Passamaquoddy chiefs.

1This letter, which GW apparently sent to the Passamaquoddy Indians by their representatives who visited him at Cambridge, Mass., on 31 Jan. 1776, has not been found (see Speeches of the Caughnawaga, St. Johns, and Passamaquoddy Indians, that date).

2These letters have not been identified.

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