The Broken Treaty of 1713

By Anne Jennison

Adapted from NH Historical Marker Application from the Indigenous NH Collaborative Collective

Queen Anne’s War, (1702-13), was the second in a series of wars fought between Great Britain and France in North America for control of the continent.[1] Queen Anne’s War had begun in Europe, as had King William’s War (1688-1697), before those conflicts spread to the colonies.[2] Queen Anne’s War, as King William’s War had, pitted the English colonists of New England and their allied Native American tribes, such as the Mohawk, against the French colonists in New France (now Canada) and the Native American tribes with whom they were allied, such as the Wabanaki. The land between the centers of those two opposing forces was N’Dakinna, the Wabanaki homeland, comprising the areas we think of today as: New Hampshire, Northern Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Southern Quebec, and the Canadian Maritime provinces.  Until European colonies began populating the coast, the Indigenous inhabitants of N’Dakinna had been loosely affiliated but without significant political organization.  However, as a means of adaptation and survival, they formed the Wabanaki Confederacy towards the end of the 17th century so as to be a more formidable sovereign entity in the face of colonization.

These wars took a high toll on both sides. Not only is war costly because of the loss of life but also because of the need to clothe and feed an army, buy weapons and ammunition, all while trade, agriculture, and all the normality of daily life is interrupted. Additionally, with the almost constant warfare with only a few years’ break between these two wars, both sides were living in a war zone, with a constant expectation of violence, for an extended period of time.[3] In 1708, the Massachusetts General Court sent a desperate letter to Queen Anne:

May it please yr Majesty.

It’s nothing short of Twenty years, That your Majesty’s good Subjects of this Province have been wasting under the Calamities of a Distressing and Expensive War, taking the Commencement Hereof from the Rebellion and Eruption of the Eastern Indians in the year 1688…save only the intervention of three or four years cessation…. Yet in those years we were put to a very considerable charge in keeping constant guards and espyals over them, to prevent suprizals by their perfidy and treacherys. And very soon upon the new declaration of war with France they broke out again in open rebellion and hostility, committing diverse 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 expences for our necessary defence, and to prevent the incursions of the enemy is vastly great…[4]

The letter, signed by Thomas Oliver as Secretary of the Massachusetts General Court, went on to ask permission to seek a military alliance with tribes the English colonists felt they were on good terms with, such as the Mohawk who were longtime enemies of the “Eastern Indians” (known interchangeably through this document as the Wabanaki) in order to bring the warfare to a speedier close.[5] The English did ally with the Mohawk but it did not end the war sooner; it just bred more violence.[6] It wasn’t until 1713 that the English finally won the war on its European front and signed a treaty with France that required France to relinquish its hold on the homeland of the Wabanakis.[7] The Governor of Massachusetts, Joseph Dudley, was then highly motivated to stop the fighting by bringing representatives of the “Eastern Indians” to a treaty conference to notify them that the English Queen had defeated the forces of the King of France, and what that would mean for the Wabanaki peoples now that England claimed rights to their territory.[8] [9] Such a treaty was framed as a renewal of a similar agreement in 1693,[10] which was signed during King William’s War.

On January 23, 1713, Governor Dudley received a letter[11] signed by Ascumbuit, Saguadommameg, and Mowemets, telling him they had heard while making a stop at the fort in Saco that the war in Europe had ended. They wrote, “May it please your Excellency we are come now on purpose to settle matters betwixt your government and us and to make a perpetual Peace with you.”[12] They went on to say that once they made peace with him, they would “at all time be ready to defend the subjects of the crown of England with the hazard of our lives. And if your Excellency should scruple us and be willing to treat with any more of our place that we will give you a meeting at any time when your Excellency should think fit.”[13] They also asked him to consider setting up a fair trading house at Salmon Falls and they entreated him to bring an interpreter with him to their meeting so that they would all better understand one another.[14]

Eager to end the hostilities with the Wabanaki tribes, Governor Dudley agreed[15] to travel north to meet with representatives of the Wabanaki tribes in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on July 11, 1713. Portsmouth was a compromise location to lessen the traveling distance between Boston

and the territory of Eastern Indians.[16] At that time, New Hampshire fell under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts General Court, so Dudley was accompanied by some members of the Massachusetts government but also invited some of New Hampshire’s leaders to attend the treaty conference as well.[17]

Dudley’s goal was to inform the “Eastern Indians” that the war had ended and to have the representatives of those tribes sign a treaty in which they would acknowledge the sovereignty that Queen Anne and her colonial representatives now held over their homeland, submit to her authority, and set limits as to the territory in which that “Eastern Indians” would now be permitted to live and hunt.[18] All grievances were to be handled in the colonial British courts, rather than in “private revenge.”[19] In addition to advocation for guaranteed hunting and fishing rights, the Wabanaki representatives were looking for clarity as to why the English Queen now controlled their homeland and what this development would mean for their people going forward. They also wanted to learn how the English would re-establish trade with the Eastern tribes so they would get a fair price for their beaver pelts to use in trade for English goods such as woven cloth, items of clothing, powder and shot, metal pots, and some basic food supplies they’d become accustomed to in the time since Europeans solidified their presence.

The treaty conference was convened on July 11, 1713, in Portsmouth, NH. Present were representatives from several Wabanaki tribes, of which the Amasacontee, Maliseet, Norridgewock, Pennacook, Penobscot, and Sokoki peoples are referenced. The tone during the three days of speeches and negotiations was hopeful on both sides. Governor Dudley provided the interpreter he’d promised, John Gyles, and then welcomed the Wabanaki representatives graciously, telling them he’d provided lodging and entertainment for them. He also told them the residents of the town had been ordered to treat them with respect, that he would assure their safety while in Portsmouth by providing escorts, and that no matter the outcome of the negotiations, they would be returned home safely after the conference on the same sloop he’d sent to bring them to Portsmouth. He began the conference by holding up seven previously signed treaties and reminded the Wabanaki delegates that their Tribes had broken all of them (not pointing out that the English had as well). A colonial general showed the representatives a New England shilling with a pine tree and stated that they and the English should be like that tree with one root and several branches – “the pine is always green an emblem of truth and if the root be cut the branches die.”[20] Dudley then moved on to discussing terms. He required that they sign a treaty that would make it clear to Queen Anne that the “Eastern Indians” had agreed to peaceful terms, including avoiding the French and the priests, staying north of the Saco River and away from settlements until the English colonists themselves had come to accept peace, and that they abide by the terms of the new treaty. Dudley noted that he saw those among the Wabanaki delegates with whom he’d previously known friendship, and urged them to speak freely during the conference. On their side, the Wabanaki also wanted assurances of peace and also asked that Governor Dudley establish new trading houses further up into their territory – making sure that the traders were honest, used accurate scales, and set fair prices. The governor readily agreed to this and warned the Wabanaki delegates to avoid trading with fishermen putting ashore in small vessels to trade, who would surely take advantage of them. The negotiations continued on July 12 and the morning of July 13 with the treaty signing taking place that afternoon. There were moments of tension, moments of hopefulness, and even some exuberant moments on the part of both sides during the negotiations. At the end of the second day, their interpreter told Governor Dudley that the Wabanaki representatives were very polite in their expressions of agreement with the terms of the treaty – and “they desired to speak a few words in thanks to his Excellency for his great and good expressions to them and so danced and sang two songs taking several of the gentlemen by the hand, one after another in the time of dancing and when they left off they said they had expressed their love and joy to his Excellency and all the honorable gentlemen as her Majesty Queen Anne’s servants.”[21] The treaty, formally titled “The Submission and Agreement of the Eastern Indians,” was written up and signed the next day. However, despite having a translator, one wonders if the Wabanaki understood the words in the treaty that required their “submission to Queen Anne” in the same way as did the Englishmen.[22]

The next day, on July 14, 1713, representatives from Boston and Portsmouth sailed up to Casco with the Indigenous delegates to meet a larger contingent of Wabanaki and have the treaty ratified. The articles of the treaty were read aloud by interpreters to 180 Wabanaki men in attendance, as well as 460 women and children who were “at a distance.”[23] Eight of the sag8mok (tribal “spokesmen,” used interchangeably with the Algonquian term “sachem;” pronounce “sag-ohn-mohk”) signed the document with pictographs (pictures that represent a word or phrase).  The Wabanaki in Casco did wonder how it was that the King of France could give their homeland to the English Queen. This speaks to the disjoint between Wabanaki and European concepts of land ownership. However, after going over the terms of the treaty, their response was, “If the Queen at home makes this Peace contained in those Articles as Strong and durable as the Earth We for our Parts shall endeavor to make it as strong and firm here.” However, not all of the treaty terms were fulfilled by Governor Dudley in a timely manner.

In January 1713/14[24] Wabanaki delegates were sent to Boston to meet once again with Dudley, because the promised trading houses north of the Saco River hadn’t yet been set up. It wasn’t until July 1714 that Dudley convened another conference in Portsmouth which turned into a several-day discussion to clarify the economic issues relating to trade with the Wabanaki, who still had no new trading houses in their territory a year after the first conference. The Wabanaki delegates made it clear that their people were unable to travel as far as Boston or Annapolis Royal to trade.

In June 1716 NH Lt. Gov. George Vaughan held a conference[25] in Portsmouth with the Eastern Indians. Joseph Dudley’s term as Gov. of Massachusetts had ended the previous year. The tone of this meeting was accusatory, with Vaughan questioning the delegates about many rumors that the Wabanaki were once again threatening violence. The Wabanaki delegates insisted on their innocence and denied each of the rumors that Vaughan repeated, indicating that the French were agitating and trying to make it appear that the Wabanaki were causing trouble. Mistrust on the part of the Englishmen could not be overcome. Unfortunately, it began to appear that the already tenuous Treaty of 1713 had completely collapsed. Tensions between the Wabanaki and the English increased over the next few years until Lovewell’s War (aka Rasles War) broke out in 1722. Anglo-Abenaki conflicts continued with few breaks until the dawn of the American Revolution. While once well-intended, the 1713 Treaty had benefited the prosperity of the Portsmouth region, but promises the English made to the Wabanaki had unfortunately never been fulfilled, much like the treaties before and after it.

The 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth is significant because it challenges the systematic erasure of Indigenous peoples from New England’s and New Hampshire’s history. Since treaties are made between sovereign entities, the British considered these “Eastern Indians” a sovereign entity.[26] This treaty provides a different picture of a power dynamic between the European colonial settlers and Indigenous peoples of this area than is commonly conveyed, especially in regards to the “vanishing Indian” trope written into 19th century historical literature. This treaty is also significant because it documents individual Indigenous peoples, adding a more personal element to our understanding of history. Most of the pictographs are recognizable depictions of animals and likely conveyed tribal affiliation, but the pictographic signature of Bomoseen (sometimes spelled in other documents as “Bomazeen,” “Bummaseen,” “Bombaseen,” “Bomasein,” “Abomasun,” or “Abomasein”) is intriguing because it is not as apparent as to what it depicts. The signatures of Bomoseen and other Abenaki Tribal leaders on this document also indicate their acceptance of British customs in an attempt to conduct themselves as a respectable military power. It is also noteworthy that there are no indications that the document was forged in any way (unlike documents such as the Wheelwright Deed of 1629[27]).

The 300th anniversary of the treaty signing was observed in Portsmouth, NH in 2013. A collection of documents, records, and modern reactions to the treaty and its effect on tribal history in the region are collected here: Portsmouth Peace Treaty of 1713. The original document is at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.


The Indigenous signatories were all men.  The following names are subjective phonetic transcriptions written by the colonial representatives for them.  They were Qualebeenewes, Warrakansit (aka Warrancansit, Warraquassit, Woroquassit, Waracansit), Bomoseen (aka Bummaseen, Bomazeen, Bombaseen, Bomasein, Abomasun, Abomasein), Edaranaquin (aka Wedaranaquin), Eneas (aka Ineas), Iteansis (aka Ileansis), Jackoit, and Josep (aka Joseph).

The following summer, twenty more Indigenous representatives (all men) signed a document endorsing the previous year’s treaty.  The signers were Pequaret, Weebenoose, Caterramoggus (aka Teramaugous, Terranaugons), Nuctungus, Quinnawus, Quirebooset, Neguscawit, Pierre Abinnaway, Scawwease, Addeawando, Seguncewick, Kissuragunnit, Pittaurisquanne, Caesar Moxusson, Erixes (aka Quarrexis), Estien, Wenemoet, Wohonumbamet, and Sanboddies.

Other representatives (all men) in the conference were Ascumbuit, Saguadommameg, Mowemets, Kirebenuit (aka Kireberuit), Wadaeanaquin, Wunungonet (aka Wononoganet), Nudagumboin (aka Nodagonebawit), Surragonet, Querabannity (aka Quarabannit), Ossamewanes, Owanabamit, Pear Exec, Sockheret, and Wach hoa.

Pictograph signature of Qualebeenewes, Abenaki sag8mo
Photo credit: Library of Congress.
Pictograph signature of Bomoseen (sometimes spelled in other documents as “Bomazeen,” “Bummaseen,” “Bombaseen,” “Bomasein,” “Abomasun,” or “Abomasein”), Abenaki Sag8mo
Photo credit: Library of Congress.


Baxter, James Phinney (ed.)
1916. Documentary History of the State of Maine Containing The Baxter Manuscripts. Vol. XXIII. Portland: Fred. L. Tower Company. pp. 59-60.

Brindamour, Emmanuelle
2021. “The Obscure History of Indigenous Exeter.” Indigenous New Hampshire Collaborative Collective. Accessed November 22, 2022.

Doleac, Charles B.
2010. “Portsmouth Peace Treaty of 1713.” 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth Tricentennial Committee. Accessed November 22, 2022.

Giese, Paula (transcr.)
1997. “Treaty of 1693 with Tribes of Massachusetts Bay and Rivers Area.” Paula Giese. Accessed November 22, 2022.

Lackenbauer, P. Whitney, John Moses, R. Scott Sheffield, & Maxime Gohier
2009. A Commemorative History of Aboriginal People in the Canadian Military. Department of National Defense. nal-people-canadian-military.pdf Accessed July 19, 2022.

Library of Congress
“Indian treaty signed at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 13 July 1713, and addendum signed at same location, 28 July 1714.” Accessed July 19, 2022.

Lesser, Mishy
2021. The “Bounty” Teacher’s Guide. For Bounty 2021. Film. Upstander Project. Accessed July 19, 2022.

Oliver, Thomas.
1708. “Queen Anne’s War.” Digital History. Accessed July 19, 2022.

Pechenik, Mark.
2014. “Treaty of Portsmouth proves inspirational.” SeacoastOnline, January 27. Accessed November 22, 2022.

The Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History
The Province of Massachusetts Bay requests aid from Queen Anne, 1708: A Spotlight on a Primary Source by Thomas Oliver. setts-bay-requests-aid-queen-anne-1708 Accessed July 19, 2022.

The Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History
Late seventeenth-century map of the Northeast, 1682: A Spotlight on a Primary Source by Nicholas Visscher entury-map-northeast-1682 Accessed July 19, 2022.

Further Reading

Howard, Rebecca
“Signature: Treaty of Portsmouth (1713) by Bomoseen.” Indigenous New England Digital Collections. Accessed July 19, 2022.

Strawbery Banke Museum
“First Nations Diplomacy Opens the Portsmouth Door: 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth.” Accessed July 19, 2022.


[1] All totaled, there were 6 wars that brought the Abenaki/Wabanaki peoples into conflict with the English. In an effort to decolonize the teaching of New England history, some scholars- including Mishy Lesser- are beginning to organize the telling of the events as the Six Anglo-Abenaki Wars rather than as their Eurocentric names: King Philip’s War, King William’s War, Queen Anne’s War, Lovewell’s/Rasles/Dummer’s War, King George’s War, and The French and Indian War.

[2] Oliver, Thomas. 1708. Queen Anne’s War, and The Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History. The Province of Massachusetts Bay requests aid from Queen Anne, 1708: A Spotlight on a Primary Source by Thomas Oliver.

[3] Lesser, Mishy. 2022. The “Bounty” Teacher’s Guide, pp. 82-86.

[4] The Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History. The Province of Massachusetts Bay requests aid from Queen Anne, 1708: A Spotlight on a Primary Source by Thomas Oliver.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Lackenbauer, P. Whitney (et. al), Chapter II: The Imperial Wars, pp. 38-57

[7] Ibid.

[8] Library of Congress, “Indian treaty signed at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 13 July 1713, and addendum signed at same location, 28 July 1714.”

[9] Baxter, James Phinney (ed.). 1916. Documentary History of the State of Maine Containing The Baxter Manuscripts. Vol. XXIII. Portland: Fred. L. Tower Company. pp. 59-60.

[10] Giese, Paula (transcr.). 1997. “Treaty of 1693 with Tribes of Massachusetts Bay and Rivers Area.”

[11] Baxter, Op. cit.

[12] Ibid. p. 59.

[13] Ibid. pp. 59-60.

[14] Ibid.

[15] A statement Dudley made within the text of the conference treaty proceedings. See Baxter, Op. cit., pp. 64-65.

[16] The Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History. Late seventeenth-century map of the Northeast, 1682: A Spotlight on a Primary Source by Nicholas Visscher.

[17] Baxter, Op. cit.

[18] The following review is based on Baxter, Op. cit.

[19]  Doleac, Charles B. 2010. “Portsmouth Peace Treaty of 1713.” 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth Tricentennial Committee.

[20] Conference transcription records available via Doleac, Opt. cit.

[21]  Baxter, Op. cit. p. 43.

[22] The word submission is used within the text of the treaty document. See Baxter, Op. cit., pp. 37-45.

[23] Doleac, Op. cit.

[24] At the time, the calendar year was April-March, so dates in January, February, and March of a given year were recorded as being from the prior calendar year.

[25] The following review is based on Baxter, Op. cit.

[26] Pechenik, Mark. 2014 “Treaty of Portsmouth proves inspirational.” SeacoastOnline, January 27.

[27] Brindamour, Emmanuelle. 2021. “The Obscure History of Indigenous Exeter.” Indigenous New Hampshire Collaborative Collective.