of that acute and learned officer, Charles H. Warren,
Esq. to the points made in this opinion, well assured
that if it can be refuted by any professional gentleman,
it can be done by him. If he cannot do so, I
hope he will permit the title of the parsonage to
be brought before the Court, under an indictment for
cutting wood contrary to the act of 1834. I regret
the necessity of presenting arguments to dispossess
Mr. Fish of what he doubtless supposes be lawfully
holds; but I am looking for the rights and the property
of the Indians, and am not at liberty to consult personal
feelings, that would certainly induce me to favor the
Rev. Mr. Fish, as soon as any man in his situation.
I think it as important to him as to the Indians,
that the title to the parsonage should be settled,
for there will be feuds, and divisions, and strifes,
as long as that property remains as it now is, wrongfully
taken and withheld from the Indians, to support an
“ESTABLISHED CHURCH,” in Marshpee.
With this view I have proposed to Mr. Fish, in behalf
of the Indians, to make up an amicable suit, before
the Supreme Court, and obtain their opinion, and the
parties be governed by it. The Indians are ready
to submit it to such an arbitration. Mr. Fish
declines. The only other remedy is an injunction
in chancery, to stop the cutting of wood. The
Indians are not well able to bear the expense, at present,
or this course would be taken to recover their property.
Until some legal decision is had, Mr. Fish cannot
but see, from an examination of the legal grounds
set forth herein, that there are strong reasons for
regarding him as holding in his possession that which
rightfully belongs to another. The public will
not be satisfied, until the rights of the Indians
are fully secured. I have always been desirous
that Mr. Fish should not be disturbed in his house
lot, and for my own part, it would give me pleasure,
should the Indians, immediately, on getting legal
possession of their own parsonage, unanimously invite
him to settle over them. But so long as he withholds
from them their property, it cannot be expected that
they should receive him as their spiritual teacher.
It is in direct violation of the Constitution and
of religious freedom.
BENJAMIN F. HALLETT,
the Marshpee Indians.
Boston, May, 20,
The Selectmen of Marshpee District, are at liberty
to make such use of the foregoing, as they think proper.
[Footnote 1: He is not an Indian, nor an original
[Footnote 2: This was Mr. Alvin Crocker, who
had formerly enjoyed more benefits from the Plantation,
than he does under the new law.]
[Footnote 3: In June, 1763, the Governor and
Council appointed Thomas Smith, Isaac Hinckley and
Gideon Hawley, “pursuant to an act empowering
them to appoint certain persons to have the inspection
of the Plantation of Marshpee.”]