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    Description

    "The Petition of the Guardians of the Indians"

    [Massachusetts Indians]. Two Colonial Massachusetts Documents, one granting land to Indians and the other reclaiming land. Each document is one page from Dudley, Massachusetts. In the first document dated April 30, 1734, [William] Dudley-one of the founders of the town-"freely and absolutely" gives four acres "and other lands in the township" to the local "natives." (Toned and irregularly cut, roughly 7" x 7".)

    The second document is a petition dated January 1763 from the heirs of William Dudley. Calling themselves the "Guardians of the Indians in the Town of Dudley," Dudley's heirs seek to reclaim much of the land from the local Indians who had become indebted to them. According to this petition, William Dudley had leased a total of one square mile in the town to the local Indians in the 1730s "so long as they shall continue to plant and improve the same." The petitioners claimed that this had not happened in the ensuing "thirty to forty years": "they raise no Corn of any value and are Destitute of any stock so that they are much in Debted to Doctors for taking care of them when Sick . . . and the guardians have nothing in their hands to pay their Debts." Therefore, the petitioners requested a part of the land be given to them in order to pay the Indians' debts. (The top half of the petition is affixed to paper backing. The lower half has separated into two parts. The signature of "Edward Davis" is affixed in the lower margin. Text is clear and legible.) These fascinating documents demonstrate the early paternalism of the Euro-colonials, a paternalism which defined European-American relations with Native Americans for the next two centuries. Also included is the clipped signature of "Isaiah Thomas," affixed to a larger page.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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