Petition of Isaiah Belain, Abraham Brown, and Lawrence Prince to the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives

To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court Assembled             

The undersigned Indians and People of Colour, resident at Chappaquiddick in the County of Dukes County respectfully represent that they are grateful for the guardian care exercised over them by the Legislature and especially for providing for the instruction of their children, who are now obtaining such knowledge as will soon enable them to transact their own business, that your petitioners are under great disadvantage from not having had the means for gaining knowledge which our children now have and that we need counsel and assistance to enable us to live among a people who know much more than your petitioners, that through the kind and fatherly care and assistance of our present Guardian, who have been able for the four years last past to get along without any difficulty, and to make a comfortable living for ourselves and our families. Your petitioners have learned with deep regret that a proposition has been made in the Legislature to take of the Guardianship, and especially that some of our white neighbours have petitioned (we know not for what reasons) that the Guardianship may be abolished, representing that the undersigned desire it, against which representation your petitioners earnestly but respectfully remonstrate.  Your Petitioners farther represent that most of our young men are employed in the whale-fishing and often need assistance in settling their voyages, that your petitioners would suffer many other evils by the removal of the Guardianship at the present time.            

Wherefore, your petitioners, fully understanding the meaning and representation of this our petition, pray Your Honourably Body that the Guardianship may not be removed at present.


Constable for the Indian aforesaid
Chappaquiddick, March 9, 1840

Legislative Action:

Remonstrance, Isaiah Belain against removing the Guardianship of the Chappaquiddick Indians.  D. Davis of Edgartown.  House of Representatives, March 12, 1840.  Referred to the Committee on the Reduction of Salaries.  L. S. Cushing, Clerk