October 10, 1923

A Treaty With The Micmacs

We have been favored with a copy of a Treaty, said to have been made with the Micmac Indians of Nova Scotia in 1752. The sender says that the Treaty was made between the Micmac Indians and King George III. As George the Third did not come to the throne till 1760, this must be a mistake. An inspection of the copy forwarded shows that the Treaty was made between Governor Peregrine T. Hopson, on behalf of the British Government and Major Jean Baptiste Cope, on behalf of the Indians. Hopson became Governor in September, 1752, and retired in November, 1753.

This Treaty, we are told, "was unearthed by Chief Joseph Julian, of the Truro Reserve. During the last six months it has been studied by the Indian Chiefs throughout the Province, who in due course, will make it a base for dealing with the Federal Government in respect to what they may term The Micmac Indian’s Rights."

The Micmac Chiefs claim that much of the land mentioned in the Treaty was squatted upon by whites, and that provision for the trading post at Shubenacadie is still in force. This would seem to be true if this copy is of the last Treaty made, which it is said to be. They also claim that privileges of wood and of fishing and hunting are included in the Treaty.

The following is a copy of the document:

"At a Council, Sept. 15, 1752, present as ye last, the answer prepared for the Indian Chief was read to him; and, being approved by him as satisfactory it was ordered that the same should be fairly drawn on parchment in French and English in order to be ratified and exchanged on the morrow. (Sgd.) P.T. Hopson.

At a Council holden at the Governor’s house at Halifax, on Saturday, Sept. 16, 1752, (present: His Excellency the Governor, the Noble Chas. Lawrence: Benj. Greene, John Salisbury, Wm. Steele, Jno. Colier, George Fotheringham. His Excellency the late Governor (Cornwallis) being also present) the following answer to the proposal of the Indian Chief was interchangeably signed and sealed, after which he took his leave and embarked on board the vessel that brought him and sailed the sameday.

The answer of his Excellency Peregrin Thos. Hopson, Esq., Capt General and Governor in Chief in his Majesty’s province of Nova Scotia or Acadia, Vice-Admiral of the same, and Colonel of his Majesty’s Regiment of foot and his Majesty’s Council for the said province: To the proposals of peace and friendship made by Jean Baptiste Major Cope, for himself and his tribe, and to his offers and engagements to endeavour to bring here the other Micmac tribes to renew ye peace:

Friend, it is with pleasure that we see thee here to commune with us touching the burying of the hatchet between the British children of his present Majesty, King George, and his children, the Micmacs of this country. We do assure you that he has declared unto us that you are his children and that you have acknowledged him for your great chief and father. He has ordered us to treat you as dear brethren, and we did not commence any new disputes with you upon our arrival here. But what is past shall be buried in oblivion, and for the time to come we shall be pleased and charmed to live together as friends. We shall not suffer that you be hindered from hunting or fishing in this country as you have been used to do, and if you shall think fit to settle your wives and children upon the river Shubenacadie no person shall hinder it nor shall meddle with the lands where you are. The Governor will put up a truck house of merchandise there, where you may have everything you stand in need of at a reasonable price, and which shall be given unto you, to the full value, for the peltries, feathers or other things which you shall have to sell.

We approve of your engagement to go and inform your people of this our answer and then the other tribes with the promise of our endeavour to bring them to a renewal of ye peace. When you return here, as a mark of our good will, we will give you handsome presents of such things whereof you have the most need, and each one of us will put our names to the agreement that shall be made between us. We hope to brighten the chain in our hearts and to confirm our friendship every year. And for this purpose we shall expect to see here some of your chiefs to receive annual presents while you behave yourselves as good and faithful children to our great King. You shall be furnished with provisions for you and your families every year. We wish you an happy return to your friends and that the sun and moon shall never see an end of our friendship.

And for a more particular mark of our sincerity, we have given you a golden belt; a laced hat for yourself and another for your son.

Given under our had and seal at the Council chamber at Halifax, this 16th day of September, 1752 in ye 54th year of his Majesty’s reign.

(Sgd.) P. T. Hopson

Chas. Lawrence

John Salisbury

Wm. Steel

John Collier

Geo. Fotheringham

I, Major Jean Baptiste Cope, do accept sincerely and with a true heart the conditions of this answer of his Excellency the Governor and his Majesty’s Council to bring here with me to sign and ratify the Treaty of Peace upon the above said conditions in a month or as soon as possible, and I promise and engage to do my utmost endeavours to bring here the other tribes of Micmacs to make a peace.

Given under my hand and seal in the presence of the said Governor and Council in the Council Chamber of Halifax, 1752, and the 24th year of his Majesty’s reign.

Jean Baptiste Major Cope (X)

P. T. Hopson

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