ARIMPH (Alymph), JEAN-BAPTISTE, a second chief of the Micmacs of Richibucto (N.B.); fl. 1776–78.
In the years immediately preceding the American War of Independence, both the Americans and the British attempted to win the Malecites and Micmacs as allies. In May 1775 the Massachusetts government petitioned these tribes for aid against the British, and in September the Indians agreed. Perhaps the Micmacs were so inclined because the British had virtually cut off gunpowder supplies to them during the summer. Realizing that their move had cost them the Indians’ good will, the British hastily summoned the chiefs to a conference at Halifax, where they gave them gunpowder and clothing. This gesture swayed many of the Micmacs since they not only appreciated the gifts but also realized the power of the British and the potential threat they posed. The Malecites, encouraged by chiefs such as Ambroise Saint-Aubin and Pierre Tomah, and at least some of the Micmacs continued nonetheless to affirm their friendship with the Americans, their leaders signing a treaty to that effect in the spring of 1776. In July the Malecites of the Saint John River, led by Saint-Aubin, and some unauthorized Micmac men signed a treaty with the government of Massachusetts committing the Indians to furnish 600 men to fight on the American side. When the Micmac chiefs heard of it two months later, they sent a letter in which they reaffirmed their friendship but declined to supply the men. Arimph, designated “Chief of Rechibouctou,” signed this letter along with seven other leaders. It seems the older chiefs refused to provide so many fighting men because they realized that the British would learn of such aid and would destroy the Indians’ undefended villages.
The Americans, using agents such as John Allan*, continued to incite the Indians, and their efforts culminated in the Indians’ declaration of war against the British in August 1778. The British then called leading Malecites and Micmacs to a peace treaty session at Menagouèche (Saint John, N.B.) [see Nicholas Akomápis]. Arimph, still a leader among his people, attended and on 24 Sept. 1778 signed the treaty as “second chief of the Micmacs of Richibucto.” On behalf of all the Micmacs he subsequently joined two Malecite chiefs in signing a letter to the Americans at Machias (Maine) warning them to leave the two tribes alone and to return items stolen from the Saint John River trading post by an American privateer in 1777. Arimph disappears from written history after these events.
PANS, RG 1, 45, doc.66. Documentary history of Maine (Willis et al.), XXIV, 165–95. Military operations in eastern Maine and N.S. (Kidder). “Selections from the papers and correspondence of James White, esquire, A.D. 1762–1783,” ed. W. O. Raymond, N.B. Hist. Soc., Coll., I (1894–97), no.3, 306–40.