Petition of Barsa Jeshel and Others of the Herring Pond and Black Ground Tribe to the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives

To the Honorable the Senate and the Honorable the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts                             

The subscribers, belonging to the Herring Pond and Black Ground Tribe of Indians, and Proprietors of certain land lying partly in Plymouth and partly in Sandwich, respectfully represent, that it has been the policy of the Legislature of this State, almost ever since the settlement of the country by the Whites, to deprive us, in some measure, of the right of self-government in order to guard our persons from imposition and our lands from alienation, and we are constrained to acknowledge that we are indebted to this policy, for the few acres of land that still remain to us.  In the various revolutions of Government we have witnessed, there is no one with which we have been better satisfied and in which we have placed greater confidence than that established over us by an act of the Legislature passed the thirtieth of January 1789.1 While reposing in security under this establishment which has been in peaceable operation almost nineteen years, our fears have been lately excited by a petition to this Honorable Court, which we have been solicited to subscribe, praying that this establishment and the administration of it may be changed. The only reason urged for this change, to wit, the expense of it, is fallacious and delusive, for in no period have we been so well provided for and in period have our finances been in so good a state as at this moment, nor is the number of our Governors an objection, as we have the strongest conviction, founded on experience, that a less number would in many respects lessen our safety and confidence. Why then should individuals, totally unconnected with us, take so deep an interest in our concerns as in opposition to our wishes to waste their time and money, to introduce an alteration in our government, which we conscientiously believe, will render our situation more wretched than it necessarily must be. We justly suspect the motives of this pretended friendship and, therefore, pray Your Honors would not consent to make any untried experiments in our condition which will probably endanger our tranquility and happiness, but as imperious circumstances require that we must be governed, permit us to live undisturbed under the government, sanctioned by our approbation and choice.

Barsa Jeshel, her mark  
Lucy Carter, her mark      
Hiley Hall, her mark            
Jerusha Moses, her mark     
Matty Parsons, her mark              
Silver Robbins, her mark  
Dorcus Webquish, her mark
Thyer Thomas, her mark                  
Solomon Joseph, his mark   
Frances Joseph, her mark
Desire Joseph, her mark                
Jesse Conet, his mark     
Lemuel Joseph, his mark               
Patience Coombs, her mark
Molly Thompson, her mark
Dinah Edwards, her mark
Sally Reed, her mark      
Susanna Conet, her mark
James Conet, his mark
George Conet, his mark
Jasper Hall, his mark
London Thomas, his mark
William Carter, his mark
Sarah Liberty, her mark
Deborah Mark, her mark
Hannah Chummuck, her mark
Canada Reed, her mark
Desire Conet, her mark
Martha Parsons, her mark
Deborah2

Legislative Action:

Petition of the Herring Pond and Black Ground Tribes of Indians.  Remonstrance.  Mr. Hill, Mr. Spooner.  3 In the House of Representatives. January 28, 1808. Read, etc. [ illegible ] to Mr. Moody of Saco, Mr. Smith of W. S.4 and Mr. Tamer of Scituate with such as the Honorable Senate may join.  Sent up for concurrence, Perez Morton, Speaker. Senate. January 29, 1808.  Read and concurred and Mr. Hill and Mr. Spooner are joined, Samuel Dana, President

  • 1. The Resolve on the Petition of the Herring Pond Tribe of Indians provided for overseers with the authority to "establish rules & regulations for the well ordering and managing the affairs Interest and concerns of the Herring Pond tribe." Chapt. 23, Acts & Resolves (Massachusetts, 1789), 536-537.
  • 2. The identity of this woman is currently unknown.
  • 3. Deleted Text: Colonel Turner, Mr. Welles of B, Mr. Brewer of Roxbury
  • 4. West Springfield or West Stockbridge