I’ve been discussing the negotiating that led up to the Treaty of Watertown in July 1776, and how it intersected with news of the Declaration of Independence. This page offers links to an image of that treaty and a transcription of its text. It’s said to be the first diplomatic pact that the new U.S. of A. entered into.
However, this “Treaty of Watertown” isn’t discussed in many chronicles of the American Revolution. In fact, the phrase doesn’t appear in any titles in Google Books’s database before the 1990s. I was therefore dubious about its place in history.
But the text of the treaty makes two things explicit:
- Massachusetts and the other United Colonies had just become independent from Great Britain. Indeed, it appears that the Mi’kmaq and Malecite representatives held off on formalizing their alliance until the United States officials felt they were legally able to do so.
- James Bowdoin and his fellow Council members signed the agreement as “We the Governors of the said State of Massachusetts Bay and on behalf of said States, and the other United States of America.” Massachusetts had undertaken to speak for the entire alliance represented at the Continental Congress.