Penebscot Indians:- A party of these Indians, about forty or fifty in number, have lately made a visit and pitched their temporary wigwams at Belfast, Me. Considerable improvement is visible, it is said, in their character and condition. They are no longer victims to the vice of intemperance. They attribute their reformation to the influence of their priest. A white house with green door, is now the delight and pride of the young chiefs.
The Workingmen's Advocate relates an interesting story told by Capt. Stanislaus, one of the above mentioned visitors, and which is in substance this:- John Neptune, his brother, Capt. Paul Tomer and his son Louis Tomer, left Old Town last autumn with their canoes and took with them provisions and apparatus suitable for a hunting expedition. They ascended as far as the head waters of the Penebscot River, travelled the unbroken wilderness until they struck the St. Lawrence about forty miles below Quebec;- here they hired a chebacco boat and were carried to the outlet of Salmon River where again took their own canoes and went up far beyond the traces of civilized or savage life. They found plenty of game and they spent the winter trapping the beaver, otter, sable, and musk-rat, in which employment they were successful, having taken furs to the amount of $1500.
Thus far they were fortunate; but they had intruded upon the hunting ground of his MAJESTY who had reserved this very spot for a tribe in the vicinity, whose furs they monopolized by the Government. John Neptune and his party knew of this, and in ascending and descending the river, they secreted themselves and their canoes by day, and silently pursued their way by night, lest they should be discovered by those jealous sentinels who had been appointed to seize any who should venture to intrude upon the dominions of the King.
On returning homeward and when near the Salmon river the hunting party began to feel themselves in less danger and neglected to secrets their guns, and the consequence was that they were discovered by a custom house officer, while encamped with their guns lying round them, who immediately demanded them as the property of the King. The Penebscots refused to give them up. The officer then dispatched his son for a reinforcement who soon returned with 20 Canadians and 10 Indians. The furs were again demanded and on forcibly attempting to remove them a fight ensued with continued for sometime. The Penebscots were by far the weaker party. Captain Stanislaus says:
'John Neptune he seize them two English; he hold him still, when a third English he came up behind and strike John between he's shoulders hard with the pole of an ax-John let go-drop down-give up. The British then took all the furs, canoes, traps, provisions, and everything else they possessed, and left our poor fellows entirely destitute.
The next day John and his party went to see the officer. He told them as they were American Indians and not supposed accounted with the law, he would give them up everything but their furs; but should they ever again be caught hunting upon the King's lands, they would be imprisoned at Quebec.
This occurrence happened five weeks ago.