Petition of John Brigham to the Massachusetts General Court
To the Honorable General Court now Sitting in Boston
The declaration and petition of the inhabitants of the town of Marlborough humbly sheweth that we the inhabitants of the said town, having obtained a grant of a plantation at the abovesaid place, and having run the lines of our township, Mr. Elliot complained to the General Court in the behalf of the Indians of Okommakamesit and the said Honorable Court finding that the Indians had a grant of a plantation in that place before the English obtained theirs, did order a committee to lay out a plantation for the Indians to contain six thousand acres, which was accordingly done, and so a great part of the best planting land and nearest meadows were laid out to the Indians. And the said committee appointed by said General Court foreseeing that it would prove greatly prejudicial to the English plantation if the said lands laid out for the Indians should be improved by any others themselves or afterwards impropriated by any other persons, therefore did take so much care for the said town as to insert in their return to the said Court.
And in the time of the late war, the Indians left their place. Some of them turning to be our enemies, we suffered greatly by them. And they not returning again to their place, and we bordering upon their planation and seeing, from time to time, persons possessed of sundry parts thereof who have obtained the best hills of planting land and fruit trees, and nearest and best parcels of meadow (without any tender being made to the said town, according to the said Court's order), and that others went endeavoring to purchase the remainder, we were troubled and did inform the Indians of the tender that was to be made to us by order of Court. Then the said Indians told us we should have it if we would and then said that they did then tender it to us. And we considering the act of the General Court and the value of Indian title now amongst us, we did adventure to contract with them and gave them something in hand and engaged to give them the remainder when we had obtained the consent of the Honorable General Court, which we are humbly petitioning (as by two petitions already in Court may appear) for, for we already find such an inconvenience by those that have obtained part of said Indians' land, that if we cannot procure the other part, some of us who border upon it must be forced to remove from our habitations, the granting of which said petitions will ever oblige us to pray, etc.
Notwithstanding the war, all Indians have desired that no man should bystand without General Court consent, we crave that we may have liberty to sell our own land. Thomas Waban, James Rumneymarsh. Nagata, his mark