Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Oliver, Thomas (fl. 1708) [A Memorial of the State of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England to Queene Anne during Queen Anne's War]

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also request a pdf of the image from us here.

Log in
to see this thumbnail image

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04891 Author/Creator: Oliver, Thomas (fl. 1708) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Manuscript document signed Date: 20 October 1708 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 38.5 x 25 cm.

A high-resolution version of this object is available for registered users. LOG IN

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04891 Author/Creator: Oliver, Thomas (fl. 1708) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Manuscript document signed Date: 20 October 1708 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 38.5 x 25 cm.

Summary of Content: A petition from the Massachusetts colonists requesting help in quelling the hostile Indians allied with the French during Queen Anne's War. Gives insight into the conflict's costs upon New England. Discusses the Indians' barbarity and the French setting prices for scalps. Describes their need of aid and the ineffectiveness of regular troops against the Indians. Asks Queen Anne to enlist the help of Mohawks and other friendly Indian nations. Comments on trade, French holdings, and the supply of masts for ships. Signed by Oliver as clerk of the House of Representatives.

Background Information: Queen Anne's War (1702-1713) was the second of four great wars for empire fought between France, England, and their Indian allies. This struggle broke out when the French raided English ...settlements on the New England frontier. Fighting then spread to the southern frontier, where English colonists in the Carolinas attacked Spanish territory in Florida. An English invasion of QuÈbec in 1710 failed, but in the Treaty of Utrecht ending the conflict, France ceded Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and the French territory around Hudson Bay to England, and abandoned its claim to sovereignty over the Iroquois. Following the war, conflict persisted in the South, where English settlers destroyed the Yamassee Indians, who had been French allies, while the French brutally put down resistance by the Natchez Indians and their Chickasaw allies. See More

Full Transcript: [draft]
A Memorial of the State of the Province of the Massachusetts
Bay in New England, with Reference to the War, humbly Offered to your
most Sacred Majesty, by the ...Council and Assembly of your Majesty's
Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, convened in
General Court the Twentieth of October 1708. -
May it please yor: Majesty.

It's nothing short of Twenty years, That your Ma.tys good Subjects of this Province, have been wasting under the Calamity's of a Distressing and Expensive War, taking the Commencem:t thereof from the Rebellion and Eruption of the Eastern Indians in the year 1688. - save onely the Intervention of Three or four years Cessation after the peace of Reyswick, during the Continuance whereof they forbore to commit their Bloody Villanies and Outrages. The french not dareing then openly to Avow, Assist and protect them therein, Yet in those years we were put to a very Considerable Charge, in keeping Constant Guards & Espyalls over them to prevent Surprizals by their perfidy and Treachery's -
And very Soon upon the New Declaration of War wth. france, they broke out again, in open Rebelion and hostility, Committing divers barbarous Murders, just after a Repeated and fresh Recognition of their Duty and Allegiance to your Majesty -
We have been sharers in Common with other our fellow Subjects to a great Degree in Losses, both of men and Estate, at home and at Sea, both in the former & the present War, our Trade is greatly diminished, and we are very much Exhausted; our yearly Expence for our necessary defence, and to prevent the Incursions of the Enemy is vastly great. But by the good Providence of God, In the Early Advice from time to time given, of the Motions of the Enemy, and the prudent Methods taken by your Ma:tys Captain General; to Observe them, and preparations made for their Reception in their Descents upon us, has prevented those Impressions, which probably we might otherwise have felt, and they have been forced to Return back Ashamed, not without Loss on their part. -
But we have no prospect of the End of these Troubles, & of being Eased of our heavy and Insupportable Charge and burthen, whilst we can Act only Defensively, and have to do with Enemy's and Rebels within our very Bowells, who like Beasts of prey seek their Living by Rapine and Spoiles, and are such Monsters that their Barbarity's and Cruelty's are horrendous to humane Nature, And they are Animated & Encouraged to such Barbarity's by the french setting the heads of your Ma:tys Subjects, at a price upon bringing in their Scalps, and they kill many in cold blood after they have received them to Quarter, They have the advantage of Retiring for shelter, to the Obscured Recesses of a Vast rude Wilderness, full of Woods, Lakes, Rivers, ponds, Swamps, Rocks and Mountains, whereto they make an Easy and quick Passage, by means of their Wherry's or burchen Canoes of great Swiftness and light of Carriage; The matter whereof they are made being to be found almost every where, and their skill and dexterity for the making and Using of them is very extraordinary, which renders our Tiresome marches after them Ineffectual. -
These Rebels have no fixt Settlements, but are Ambulatory, & make frequent removes [2] Removes, having no other Houses, but Tents or hutts made of Barque or Kinds of Trees, Matts &c. which they soon provide in all places where they come, So that it is Impracticable to pursue or follow them with any Body of Regular Troops, they are supported and Encouraged by the french, who make them yearly Presents Gratis, of Clothing, Armes and Ammunition, Besides the Supply they Afford them for the Beaver and Furrs, which they take in hunting, and Constantly keep their Priests & Emissaries among them, to steady them in their Interests, and the bigotries w:ch they have Instilled into them. The French also oft times join them in their Marches on our Frontiers./ -
We humbly Conceive w.th Submission, That the most probable Method of doing Execution upon them & Reduceing them, is by men of their own Colour, way & manner of living.
And if yor Majesty shall be Graciously pleased to Command the Service of the Mohawks, and other Nations of the Western Indians that are in friendship and Covenant with your Ma.tys Several Governments, against these Eastern Indian Rebels, for which they Express themselves to stand ready, and to whom they are a Terrour. - They would with the Blessing of God in Short time Extirpate or Reclaim them, and prevent the Incursions made upon us from Canada or the East. The force of the Enemy is Chiefly besot against this yor. Maj:tys Province, and Province of New Hampshire, whilst we are a Barrier to the others./ -
A Letter from Mons:r Vaudreuil Govern:r of Canada to Mr. Brouillan, late Governr. of Port Royal, was some time since happily Intercepted, and came to our Governours hand, wherein he writes thus, Namely, That he Endeavours to keep all quiet on the side of Orange (or Albany) having Command from the King his Master, not to have any Quarrel with your Ma:tys Subjects on that side, or with the Mohawks; which he hath strictly Observed. And they are in a profound peace, having met with Little or no loss on the Land Side, either in men or Estates this War; which has proved so very Chargable and grievous to us, in Respect of both which, we made bold humbly to Represent in our humble Address to your Majesty in the year 1704. And the sd Original French Letter was then Transmitted by your Ma:tys Governr. to the R.t Honble the Lords of your Council for Trade and Plantations. -
In the former War, when your Ma:tys subjects of Albany w.th their Dependant Indians Acted Offensively against the Enemy, by Party's frequently Issuing forth into the Woods, they greatly distressed the french & the Indians in their Interest, made Considerable Spoyles upon them, and prevented the descents from Canada upon these Plantations, which now are frequent. -
We pray leave in most humble manner further to Offer to your Royal Consideration, the very great Disadvantage, this your Ma:tys Province is at all times under, more Especially in time of War, by reason of Port Royal remaining in the hands of the french, which was Originally a Scotts Colony Granted and begun, and is Included in the Royal Charter or Letters Patent of this Province, Granted by their late Majesty's King William & Queen Mary; The situation whereof makes it a Dunkirk to us, with Respect to Navigation, It lying so Apt and Commodious for the Intercepting of all shipping comeing to or going from hence to the Eastward, And is a fit Receptacle for Privateers, who can soon Issue out thence and are near hand to send in their Prizes. As also to Annoy our Fishery, whereof we have had frequent Experience. To the very great hurt of the Trade of our Nation, & the Diminution of your Ma.tys Revenue. If
[3] If your Majesty shall be Graciously pleased, during the Continuance of the present War by your Royal Armes to Reduce that Country, and take it by force out of the french hands, or if by the Blessing of God the just Armes of your Majesty & your Allies, be followed with Repeated Glorious successes as of late they have been, so that the french King find himselfe under a Necessity of Sueing for Peace, And a Treaty be thereupon Negotiated, And your Majesty in your princely Wisdom shall think fit, that place may have a Consideration in the Treaty, to be Restored to your Ma:tys Obedience And setled by your Ma:tys British Subjects. -
It will be of the last Importance to your Majesty's good Subjects Tradeing to & from these Provinces, and a General Security to them, And also of Singular Benefit and Advantage, for the providing of Masts for the Use of your Ma:tys Royal Navy whereof that Country Affords great plenty, which are now grown Scarce nearer hand, And prevent the french King of that Yearly supply he has from thence of Naval Stores./-
All which is humbly Submitted by
Madam
Y:r Majesty's
Most Loyal Obedient and -
Dutiful Subject. -

In the name & by Order of
the Council -
[Js:ae] Addington Secry.

In the name and by Order of
the house of Representatives -

Thomas Oliver Speaker
[docket]
Memorial. 20. Octr. 1708
See More

People: Oliver, Thomas, fl. 1708

Historical Era: Colonization and Settlement, 1585-1763

Subjects: French and Indian WarMilitary HistoryAmerican Indian HistoryPetitionGovernment and CivicsFranceAtrocityDeathWartime Pillaging and DestructionMilitiaCommerceMerchants and TradeMaritime

Sub Era: Early Settlements

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources