The Project Gutenberg eBook of Indian Biography; Vol. 1 (of 2)

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Title: Indian Biography; Vol. 1 (of 2)

Author: B. B. Thatcher

Release date: June 12, 2017 [eBook #54898]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Roger Burch with scans from the Internet Archive.



{Transcriber's Note: Quotation marks have been standardized to modern usage. Footnotes have been placed to immediately follow the paragraphs referencing them. Transcriber's notes are in curly braces; square brackets and parentheses indicate original content.}




The Author does not propose an elaborate explanation, nor an apology of any kind, for the benefit of the following work. If it absolutely requires either, he must even be content to have written it in vain, as no statement or argument can give it any degree of vitality or popularity in the one case or in the other.

He has regarded it, historically, as an act of mere Justice to the fame and the memories of many wise, brilliant, brave and generous men,—patriots, orators, warriors and statesmen,—who ruled over barbarian communities, and were indeed themselves barbarians, but whose influence, eloquence and success of every description were therefore but the nobler objects of admiration and the worthier subjects for record. Nor can Philosophy look upon them without predilection. Comparatively unopinionated and unaffected as they were,—governed by impulse and guided by native sense,—owing little to circumstances, and struggling much amidst and against them,—their situation was the best possible for developing both genius and principle, and their education at the sane time the best for disclosing them. Their Lives, then, should illustrate the true constitution of man. They should have, above all other history, the praise and the interest of "philosophy teaching, by example."

The strictly moral inducements which have operated on the Author's mind, must be too obvious to require dissertation. We owe, and our Fathers owed, too much to the Indians,—too much from man to man,—too much from race to race,—to deny them the poor restitution of historical justice at least, however the issue may have been or may be with themselves. Nor need it be suggested, that selfishness alone might dictate the policy of a collection such as the Author has endeavored to make this, were it only for the collateral light which it constantly throws on the history and biography of our own nation.

Nothing of the same character is before the public. What may be called an Indian Biographical Dictionary has indeed recently appeared, and to that the Author has gladly referred in the course of his researches; but the extreme difficulty of doing justice to any individuals of the race, and at the same time to all, may be inferred from the fact that the writer alluded to has noticed such men as Uncas in some six or eight lines, while he has wholly omitted characters so important as Buckongahelas, White-eyes, Pipe, and Occonoetota. On these, and on all their more eminent countrymen, the Author has intended to bestow the notice they deserve, by passing over the vast multitude distinguished only by detached anecdote, or described only in general terms.

In fine, conscious of many imperfections, but also conscious of a strenuous exertion to render them as few and small as might be, the Author submits the Biography to the public, and especially to the candor of those whose own labors, if not the results of them, have shown them the essential fallibility of every composition like this. He will have reason to be satisfied if it do good, as he will assuredly be gratified if it give pleasure.

Boston, Sept. 10, 1832.


CHAP. I.—The Indian tribes of Virginia at the date of the Jamestown settlement; their names, numbers and power—The Powhatan confederacy—The Indian Village of that name—Powhatan—The circumstances of the first interview between him and the English—Opechancanough, his brother—Opitchipan—Reception of Captain Smith by Powhatan—Interposition of Pocahontas in his favor—Second visit of the colonists—Third visit, and coronation—Entertainment of Smith by Pocahontas—Contest of ingenuity between Powhatan and Smith; and between the latter and Opechancanough—Smith saved again by Pocahontas—Political manœuvres of Powhatan and Opechancanough—Smith's return to Jamestown.

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CHAP. II.—Conduct of Powhatan after Smith's departure for England, and causes of it—Hostilities resumed—Peace finally effected by the capture of Pocahontas—Manner of gaining this point—Marriage of Pocahontas with John Rolfe—Death and character of Powhatan—His person, manner of living, talents, influence. His method and means of warfare—The discipline of his warriors—The manner in which he availed himself of the English arms and science—Causes of his hostility towards the colonists—His dignity—Shrewdness—Independence—Courtesy—Liberality— Simplicity—Affection for his relatives—A review of various opinions entertained of him by various historians.


CHAP. III.—The family of Powhatan—His successor—Sequel of the history of Pocahontas—Her acts of kindness to the colonists at various times, and especially to Smith—His gratitude—Her civilisation, and instruction in Christianity—Her visit to England in 1616—Reception at Court—Interview with Smith—His memorial respecting her to Queen Anne—Her death and character—Her descendants.


CHAP. IV.—Sequel of the history of Opechancanough—Renewal, by him and Opitchipan, of the treaty of peace—Finesse by which he extended his dominion over the Chickahominies—Preparations for War—Causes of it—Profound dissimulation under which his hostility was concealed—Indian custom of making Conjurers—Manœuvres against the English interest—The great massacre of 1622; circumstances and consequences of it—particular occasion which led to it—Character and death of Nemattanow—Details of the war subsequent to the massacre—Truce broken by the English—New exertions of Opechancanough—Battle of Pamunkey—Peace of 1632—Massacre of 1641—Capture of Opechancanough by the English—His death and character.


CHAP. V.—Biography of other Virginian chieftains—Opitchipan—Some particulars respecting Tomocomo—His visit to England, interview with Captain Smith, and return to America—Japakaws, chief sachem of the Patowomekes—His friendship for the English—Ill treatment which he received from them—Totopotomoi, successor of Opechancanough—His services—His death in 1656—Notices of several native chiefs of North Carolina—Granganimo who dies in 1585—Menatenon, king of the Chowanocks—Ensenore, father of Granganimo; and Wingina, his brother—Plot of the latter against the Hatteras colony—His death—Comment on the Carolinian Biography.


CHAP. VI.—Synopsis of the New England Indians at the date of the Plymouth settlement—The Pokanoket confederacy—The Wampanoag tribe—Their first head-Sachem known to the English, Massasoit—The first interview between him and the whites—His visit to Plymouth, in 1621—Treaty of peace and friendship—Embassy sent to him at Sowams, by the English—Anecdotes respecting it—He is suspected of treachery or hostility, in 1622—His sickness in 1623—A second deputation visits him—Ceremonies and results of the visit—His intercourse with other tribes—Conveyances of land to the English—His death and character—Anecdotes.


CHAP. VII.—Massasoit succeeded by his son Alexander—The occasion of that name being given by the English—History of Alexander previous to his father's death—Covenant made with Plymouth in 1639—Measures taken in pursuance of it, in 1661—Anecdote illustrating the character of Alexander—Notice of the charges made against him—Examination of the transaction which led to his death—Accession of Phillip—Renewal of the treaty by him—Interruption of harmony—Supposed causes of it—Measures taken in consequence—Philip's submission—Letter to the Plymouth Governor—Second submission in 1671—Remarks on the causes of Phillip's War.


CHAP. VIII.—Preparations for war between Philip and the Colonies—Great excitement of the times—Deposition of Hugh Cole—Immediate occasion of hostilities—Commencement of them, June 24th, 1675—Summary sketch of the war—Consequences to the parties engaged—Exertions, adventures and escapes of King Philip—His death—Anecdotes respecting him—Observations on his character—His courage, dignity, kindness, independence shrewdness, and self-command—Fate of his family—Defence of his conduct.


CHAP. IX.—The Narraghansett tribe; territory and power—Chief Sachems at the date of the English settlements in New England—Canonicus associates with himself Miantonomo, his nephew—Their treatment of Roger Williams in 1634—Hostility to the Plymouth Colony—Invited by the Pequots to fight the English—Treaty negotiated at Boston, in 1636, by Miantonomo—War with the Pequots and result of it—Subsequent hostility between Miantonomo and Uncas—Sequassen—Battle of the Sachem's-Plain—Capture of Miantonomo—Sentence of the English commissioners upon him—Execution of it.


CHAP. X.—Consideration of the justice of the Commissioners sentence upon Miantonomo—Their reasons, as alleged—The charge against him of ambitious designs—Of employing the Mohawks—Of breaking the league of 1638—"Concerning the Pequot squaws"—Of hostility to the English—Of peculation—Proofs of his fidelity and friendship—Causes of complaint by him and Canonicus against the English—Character of both Sachems—Their treatment of Roger Williams—Letters of that gentleman—Anecdotes—Death of Canonicus.


CHAP. XI.—Canonicus succeeded by Pessacus—Mexhan—Ninigret, Sachem of the Nianticks—Proposals made by them to the English, and by the English in return—They commence hostilities against Uncas—The English resolve to make war upon them—They make concessions—Their visits to Boston—Subsequent movements against Uncas. An armed party sent against Ninigret and Pessacus—They are accused of a league with the Dutch against the English.


CHAP. XII.—Sequel of the lives of Ninigret and Pessacus, from 1653—Various accusations, deputations, and hostile movements between them and the English—Controversy between Ninigret and Harmon Garrett—Application for justice in 1675—Conduct of Ninigret in Philip's War—Consequences of it—His death—Death of Pessacus—Some of the charges against the former considered—His hostility to Uncas, and the Long Islanders, and "League with the Dutch"—Remarks on his character.


CHAP. XIII.—The Pequot tribe—Their first chief-sachem known to the English, Pekoath—succeeded by Sassacus—An embassy sent to Boston in 1631—Residence and strong-hold of Sassacus—His earliest intercourse with the English—Murder of Captain Stone—Justification of it by Sassacus—He proposes a treaty of peace in 1634—Sends deputies to Boston twice—Treaty concluded—Anecdotes—His wars with the Narraghansetts—Fresh controversy with the English—They send an armed party to demand damages—Conduct of the party, and consequences of it—War with the Pequots in 1636—Political movements of Sassacus—English expedition against him in 1637—He is defeated—Driven from his country—Killed by the Mohawks—The English policy in his case briefly considered.


CHAP. XIV.—The Pequot territory claimed by Uncas—His tribe, family, and early history—Services in the Pequot expedition rewarded by the English—Effect of their favor—His contest with Miantonomo, and result—Subsequent wars and quarrels with various tribes and chiefs—Assistance rendered him by the English—Complaints brought against him to them—His Christianity considered—His morality—Evidence of his fraud, falsehood, violence, tyranny, ambition—His services, and those of his tribe to the English—Manner in which he met the accusations made against him—Cunning and servility—His treatment of neighboring sachems—Various negotiations with the English—His death—fate of his tribe.


CHAP. XV.—Indians who submitted to Massachusetts—The Gortonists—Pomham, Sachem of Shaomet, and Saconoco complain of them—Submit to the Government—Their examination and entertainment—Policy of Massachusetts in the case of Pomham—He and Saconoco much harassed by their neighbors—Subsequent history—Pomham takes part in Philip's war, and is killed—Canonchet, son of Miantonomo—His agreement of October, 1675—Weetamore Squaw-Sachem of Pocasset—Canonchet's career during Philip's war—Particulars of his surprisal and death—His character—Anecdotes—His reputation with the English—Defence of his conduct.


CHAP. XVI.—Account of the Pawtucket confederacy in New Hampshire—Passaconaway, their Chief Sachem—He is disarmed by order of the Massachusetts Government. His residence, age and authority—He maintains a good understanding with the English—Visits Boston—The Apostle Elliot's acquaintance with and notice of him—His views of Christianity—Festival, and Farewell speech to his tribe in 1660—Death and character—His son and successor, Wonolanset. Anecdotes of the family—Legend of Passaconaway's feats as a Powah.




The Indian tribes of Virginia at the date of the Jamestown settlement; their names, numbers and power—The Powhatan confederacy—The Indian Village of that name—Powhatan—The circumstances of the first interview between him and the English—Opechancanough, his brother—Opitchipan—Reception of Captain Smith by Powhatan—Interposition of Pocahontas in his favor—Second visit of the colonists—Third visit, and coronation—Entertainment of Smith by Pocahontas—Contest of ingenuity between Powhatan and Smith; and between the latter and Opechancanough—Smith saved again by Pocahontas—Political manœuvres of Powhatan and Opechancanough—Smith's return to Jamestown.

At the date of the first permanent settlement effected within the limits of Virginia, and for an unknown period previous to that date, the country from the sea-coast to the Allegheny, and from the most southern waters of James river to Patuxent river, (now in the state of Maryland) was occupied by three principal native nations. Each of these nations was a confederacy of larger or smaller tribes; and each tribe was subdivided into towns, families or clans, who lived together. [FN] The three general names by which these communities have been ordinarily known, are the Mannahoacks, the Monacans and the Powhatans.

[FN] Jefferson's Notes on Virginia. The author has apparently intended to use the word family in its most enlarged sense.

Of these, the two former might be called highland or mountain Indians. They all lived upon the banks of the various small streams which water the hilly country between the falls of the Atlantic rivers and the Alleghany ridge. The Mannahoacks consisted of eight tribes, five of which were located between the Potomac and Rappahannoc, and three between the last named river and the York. Of the five tribes of the Monacans, [FN] two were between the York and James, and three extended southward from the James to the boundaries of Carolina. The most powerful respectively of the eight and of the five—the Mannahoacks and the Monacans, properly so called—seem to have given their own names to the entire nation or confederacy of which they were members. The former tribe occupied chiefly what are now Stafford and Spotsylvania counties. The latter resided upon James river above the falls.

[FN] It may be well to take this occasion of observing, that the author's only rule in the orthography of Indian term has been to follow what appears to be the most approved usage. Stith uses Manakins, instead of Monacans.

The Powhatan nation inhabited the lowland tract, extending laterally from the ocean to the falls of the rivers, and from Carolina on the south to the Patuxent on the north. This comprised a much larger number of tribes than either of the others. As many as ten of them (including the Tauxenents, whose chief residence was about Mount Vernon) were settled between the Potomac and Rappahannoc. [FN] Five others extended between the Rappahannoc and York; eight between the York and James, and five between the James and the borders of Carolina. Beside these, the Accohanocks and Accomacks, on what is called the Eastern Shore (of Chesapeake Bay) have also been considered a part of this nation.

[FN] Both these rivers have derived their names from the tribes originally settled on them. The former have been commonly called the Patowomekes.

The territory occupied by the whole of this great confederacy, south of the Potomac, comprehended about 8,000 square miles. Smith tells us in his history, [FN] that within sixty miles of Jamestown were 5,000 natives, of whom 1,500 were warriors. Mr. Jefferson has computed the whole number of Powhatan warriors at 2,400, which, according to the proportions between Smith's estimates (being three to ten) would give an entire population of 8,000, or one to each square mile.

[FN] A work of which the value is well known to all readers of the early American history. The title is—"The Trve Travels, Adventures and Observations of Captaine Iohn Smith in Europe, Asia, Africke and America, beginning about the yeere 1593, and continued to this present 1629." We copy from the London edition of the date last named.

This calculation is probably quite moderate enough. It would leave an average of less than one hundred warriors to each of the thirty tribes. But we find it recorded by an early writer, that three hundred appeared under an Indian chieftain in one body at one time, and seven hundred at another; all of whom were apparently of his own tribe. The Chickahominies alone had between three hundred and four hundred fighting men. The Nansamonds and Chesapeaks showed on one occasion a force of four hundred. And when Smith ascended the Potomac, in June 1608, though he saw no inhabitants for the first thirty miles, he had scarcely entered "a little bayed creeke towards Onawmanient (now Nominy) when he found all the woods roundabout layd with ambuscadoes to the number of three or four thousand Savages, so strangely paynted, grimmed and disguised, shouting, yelling and crying as so many spirits from hell could not have shewed more terrible."

It is well known that the valiant Captain was wont to express his opinions in strong terms, but he has rarely been detected in any great inaccuracy. And the circumstances of this case are in his favor; for it has been truly remarked, that the Powhatan confederacy inhabited a country upon which nature had bestowed singular advantages. Unlike the natives of more northern region, they suffered little from cold, and less from famine. Their settlements were mostly on the banks of James, Elizabeth, Nansamond, York and Chickahominy rivers, all which abounded with the most delicious fish and fowl. In his Potomac expedition, Smith met with "that aboundance of fish, lying so thicke with their heads above the water, as for want of nets, (our barge driving amongst them) we attempted to catch them with a frying-pan." And though the captain naturally enough concluded, after some trials, that this was a poor instrument for his purpose, he persists in adding that "neither better fish, more plentie, nor more varietie for small fish had any of vs euer seene in any place so swimming in the water—but they are not to be caught with frying-pans." He found the stingrays in such abundance among the reeds at the mouth of the Rappahannoc, that he amused himself by nailing them to the ground with his sword: "and, thus," he observes, "we tooke more in owne houre than we could eate in a day."

Vast quantities of corn, too, yearly rewarded even the simple agriculture of the Indians, bestowed as it was upon the best portions of a generous soil. "Great heapes" of it were seen at Kekoughtan, "and then they brought him venison, turkies, wild fowle, bread and what else they had." In none of his captivities, or his visits among the natives, did the captain ever suffer from want of food; and he often brought off his boat and his men laden with plenty. The Nansamonds gave him 400 baskets-full at one time. The Chickahominies, though they complained extremely of their own wants, yet "fraughted" him with hundred bushels. The woods furnished another inexhaustible supply both of fruits and game; so that, on the whole, it is very easy to believe, that a considerably greater population than Mr. Jefferson's estimate supposes, might have subsisted without much difficulty on the soil they are known to have occupied. "And now the winter [of 1607—8] approaching," we are informed in another passage, "the rivers became so covered with swans, geese, duckes and cranes, that we daily feasted with good bread, Virginia pease, pumpions and putchamins, [FN] fish, fowle, and diverse sorts of wild beasts, so fast as we could eate them; so that none of our Tuftaffaty humourists desired to go for England." On one occasion, when Smith undertook an exploring tour into the interior, late in the season, a violent storm obliged him and his men to keep Christmas among the savages. "And we were never more merry," he relates, "nor fed on more plenty of good oysters, fish, flesh, wild fowle and good bread, nor ever had better fires in England." In a peaceful interval of a few months, which occurred during the next season, the Indians are said to have brought into Jamestown more than a hundred deer and other beasts daily for several weeks.

[FN] A species of indigenous plum, which is elsewhere described as growing to a considerable height, with fruit like a medlar, first green, then yellow, and red when ripe. "If it be not ripe, it will draw a man's mouth awry with much torment. If ripe, it is delicious as an apricot."

It is evident, at least, that the Powhatan confederacy must have been among the most numerous on the continent. It was warlike too; and though the situation of the Monacans and Mannahoacks among the hills of the back country protected them in some measure, yet nothing but a union of these two nations could assure them of security against their more powerful neighbors on the coast.

The Powhatans proper, who gave their own appellation to the confederacy of which they were leading members, were located in what is now Henrico county, on the banks of the James river, and at the distance of about two days' journey from the English settlement at its mouth. The principal chief—or emperor, as the old historians style him—of the thirty tribes of the nation, was found by the first colonists residing with these Indians, and is believed to have been one of their number by birth. His proper name was Wahunsonacook. He had that of Powhatan, by which he has been generally designated, from the town so called, which was the chief seat and metropolis of his hereditary dominions. This town is described as pleasantly situated on a hill. It consisted of twelve houses; in front of which were three islets in the river, not far from what in modern times has been called Mayo's plantation, and a little below the spot where Richmond now stands. It was considered by the English both the strongest and pleasantest place in the whole country; [FN] and was consequently named Nonsuch, it seems, about two years after the settlement at Jamestown, when it was purchased of the emperor by Smith. "The place is very pleasant," says the captain in his history, "and strong by nature, and about it are many corn fields."

[FN] Stith's History, p. 105.

The occasion of the first acquaintance which the colonists had with Powhatan was as follows. The adventurous and ambitious spirit of Smith had prompted him to make several journeys and voyages along the Virginia coast, and into the interior of the country. Within a few months after the settlement of Jamestown, among other tribes he discovered the Chickahominies, and procured a large quantity of provision from them at a time when the colonists were in great need of it.

But with the idle and unruly in the colony, this good fortune served only to produce murmuring. They complained of his having done so little instead of applauding him for having done so much; and some even of the council undertook to say, that he ought to have followed up the Chickahominy river to its source.

Smith was not a man to submit tamely to reproach. He set off again, therefore, in the winter of 1607-8, taking with him a crew sufficient to manage a barge and a smaller boat proper for the navigation of the upper streams. He ascended the Chickahominy with the barge, as far as it could be forced up, by dint of great labor in cutting away trees and clearing a passage. Then leaving it in a broad bay or cove, out of reach of the savages on the banks, the captain, with two other whites, and two friendly Indians, proceeded higher up in the smaller boat. Those who were left meanwhile in possession of the barge, were ordered on no account to go on shore until his return. The order was disobeyed; for he was scarcely out of sight and hearing, when the whole of the crew went ashore. They were very near forfeiting their lives for their rashness. The Indians, to the number of two or three hundred, lay wait for them among the woods on the bank of the river, under the direction of Opechancanough, Sachem of the Pamunkies and reputed brother of Powhatan. One George Cassen was taken prisoner; and the savages soon compelled him to tell them which way Smith had gone. They then put him to death in a cruel manner, and continued the pursuit.

The captain, meanwhile, little dreaming of any accident, had gone twenty miles up the river, and was now among the marshes at its source. Here his pursuers came suddenly upon the two English-men, who had hauled up their boat, and lain down to sleep by a fire on the dry land, (while Smith himself went out some distance to kill game with his musket for a supper.) The unfortunate wretches were shot full of arrows and despatched. The savages then pressed on after Smith, and at last overtook him. Finding himself beset by the multitude, he coolly bound to his arm, with his garters, the young Indian who had attended him as guide, for a buckler—(what had become of the other, does not appear)—and received the enemy's onset so briskly with his fire-arms, that he soon laid three of them dead on the spot, and wounded and galled many others so effectually that none appeared anxious to approach him. He was himself wounded slightly in the thigh, and had many arrows sticking in his clothes; but he still kept the enemy at bay. His next movement was to endeavor to sheer off to his boat; but taking more notice of his foe than his path, as he went, he suddenly slipped up to his middle in an oozy creek. Hampered as he was in this awkward position, not an Indian dared venture near him, until, finding himself almost dead with cold, he threw away his arms and surrendered. Then drawing him out, they carried him to the fire where his men had been slain, carefully chafed his benumbed limbs, and finally restored him to the use of them.

The incidents of the ensuing scene are a striking illustration both of the sagacity of the prisoner and the simplicity of his captors. He called for their chief—through the intervention of his Indian guide, we suppose—and Opechancanough came forward. Smith presented him with a round ivory double compass-dial, which he had carried at his side. The savages were confounded by the playing of the fly and needle, especially as the glass prevented them from touching what they could see so plainly. He then gave them a sort of astronomical lecture, demonstrating "by that Globe-like Iewell," as he calls it, the roundness of the earth, the skies, the sphere of the sun, moon and stars; "and how the sunne did chase the night round about the world continually; the greatnesse of the land and sea, the diversitie of nations, varietie of complexions, and how we were to them antipodes, and many other such like matters," his tawny auditors standing all the while motionless and dumb with amazement.

But within about an hour they returned to their original purpose of killing him, as they had killed three of his comrades. He was tied to a tree, and the savages drew up in a circle to shoot him. The arrow was already laid upon a hundred bows. But at this moment Opechancanough held up the compass. This was a signal of delay, if not of mercy, and they threw by their arms at once. With great exultation and parade they then conducted the captive to Orapakes, a hunting-residence of Powhatan, lying on the north side of Chickahominy swamp, and much frequented by that Sachem and his family, on account of the abundance of game it afforded. The order of procession was a proper Indian file. Opechancanough, marching in the centre, had the English swords and muskets carried before him as a trophy. Next followed Smith, led by three stout savages who held him fast by the arm; while on either side six more marched in file, with their arrows notched, as flank-guards.

On arriving at Orapakes, a village consisting of some thirty to forty mat-houses, the women and children flocked out to gaze at a being so different from any they had ever before seen. The warriors, on the other hand, immediately began a grand war-dance, the best description of which is in Smith's own language. "A good time they continued this exercise, and then cast themselues in a ring dauncing in such severall postures, and singing and yelling out such hellish notes and screeches; being strangely paynted, every one his quiver of arrowes, and at his backe a club; on his arme a fox or an otter's skinne, or some such matter for a vambrace; their heads and shoulders paynted red, with oyle and pocones [FN] mingled together, which scarlet-like color made an exceeding handsome shew; his bow in his hand, and the skinne of a bird with her wings abroad dryed, tyed on his head; a peece of copper, a white shell, a long feather, with a small rattle growing at the tayls of their snaks tyed, or some such like toy." Thrice the performers stopped to take breath, and thrice they renewed the dance—Smith and the Sachem meanwhile standing in the centre. The company then broke up; and the prisoner was conducted to a long matted wigwam, where thirty or forty tall stout savages remained about him as a guard. Ere long, more bread and venison was brought him than would have served twenty men. "I thinke," says the captain himself "his stomacke at that time was not very good." He ate something, however, and the remainder was put into baskets, and swung from the roof of the Wigwam over his head.

[FN] A small root which turned red by being dried and beat into powder. It was used also for swellings, aches, anointing the joints after fatigue and exposure, and painting garments. Beverly calls it puccoon.

About midnight these liberal provisioners set their fare before him again, never tasting a morsel themselves all the while. But, in the morning, when they brought in a fresh reinforcement, they ate the fragments of former meals, and swung up the residue of the last one as before. So little reason had the captain to complain of famine, that he began seriously to believe they were fatting him for the slaughter. He suffered occasionally from the cold, and would have suffered more but for an unexpected relief. An Indian, named Mocasseter, brought him his goune, as Smith calls it—perhaps a fur mantle, or a blanket—and gave it to him, professedly in requital of certain beads and toys which Smith had given him at Jamestown, immediately after his arrival in Virginia. [FN]

[FN] A fine illustration of that principle of gratitude which is proverbially characteristic of the Indians as their revenge, for similar reasons. No favor is wasted upon them, and no injury or insult is forgiven. The anecdote following this in the text is an instance in point.

Two days afterwards, he was violently assaulted, and but for his guard would have been killed, by an old Indian whose son had been wounded in the skirmish which took place at his capture. They conducted him to the death-bed of the poor wretch, where he was found breathing his last. Smith told them he had a kind of water at Jamestown which might effect a cure, but they would not permit him to go for it, and the subject was soon forgotten. Within a few days, they began to make great preparations for assaulting the English Colony by surprise. They craved Smith's advice and assistance in that proceeding, offering him not only life and liberty for his services, but as much land or a settlement and as many women for wives as he wanted—such an opinion had they formed of his knowledge and prowess. He did every thing in his power to discourage their design, by telling them of the mines, the cannon, and various other stratagems and engines of war, used by the English. He could only succeed in prevailing upon several of them to carry a note for him to Jamestown, (under pretence of getting some toys,) in which he informed his countrymen of his own situation and the intention of the savages, and requested them to send him without fail by the bearers certain articles which he named. These were to be deposited at a particular spot in the woods near Jamestown. The messengers started off, we are told, in as severe weather as could be of frost and snow, and arrived at Jamestown. There, seeing men sally out from the town to meet them, as Smith had told them would be the case, they were frightened and ran off. But the note was left behind; and so coming again in the evening, they found the articles at the appointed place, and then returned homeward in such haste as to reach Orapakes in three days after they had left it.

All thoughts of an attack upon the colony being now extinguished in the astonishment and terror excited by the feats of Smith, they proceeded to lead him about the country in show and triumph. First they carried him to the tribe living on the Youghtanund, since called the Pamunkey river; then to the Mattaponies, the Piankatunks, the Nantaughtacunds on the Rappahannoc, and the Nominies on Potomac river. Having completed this route, they conducted him, through several other nations, to Opechancanough's own habitation at Pamunkey; where, with frightful howlings and many strange ceremonies, they "conjured" him three days in order to ascertain, as they told him, whether he intended them well or ill. [FN] An idea may be formed of these proceedings, which took place under Opechancanough's inspection, from the exercises for one day as described the captive himself.

[FN] Stith, p. 53.

Early in the morning, a great fire was made in a long house, and mats spread upon each side of it, on one of which the prisoner was seated. His bodyguard then left the house, "and presently came skipping in a great grim fellow, paynted over with coale, mingled with oyle; and many snakes and wesels skinnes stuffed with mosse, and all their tayles tyed together, so as they met on the croune of his head in a tassell; and round about the tassell was a coronet of feathers, the skinnes hanging round about his head, backe and shoulders, and in a manner covered his face; with a hellish voyce and a rattle in his hand." This personage commenced his invocation with a great variety of gestures, postures, grimaces and exclamations; and concluded with drawing a circle of meal round the fire. Then rushed in three more performers of the same description, their bodies painted half red and half black, their eyes white and their faces streaked with red patches, apparently in imitation of English whiskers. These three having danced about for a considerable time, made way for three more, with red eyes, and white streaks upon black faces. At length all seated themselves opposite to the prisoner, three on the right hand of the first named functionary (who appeared to be the chief priest, and ringleader) and three on the left. Then a song was commenced, accompanied with a violent use of the rattles; upon which the chief priest laid down five wheat-corns, [FN] and began an oration, straining his arms and hands so that he perspired freely, and his veins swelled. At the conclusion, all gave a groan of assent, laid down three grains more, and renewed the song. This went on until the fire was twice encircled. Other ceremonies of the same character ensued, and last of all was brought on, towards evening, a plentiful feast of the best provisions they could furnish. The circle of meal was said to signify their country, the circles of corn the bounds of the sea, and so on. The world, according to their theory, was round and flat, like a trencher, and themselves located precisely in the midst.

[FN] An inadvertency, we presume; or the words may be used rather loosely to signify what had as yet no distinctive name. Indian corn must be meant.

After this, they showed Smith a bag of gun-powder, which had probably been taken from the boat, and which they were carefully preserving till the next spring, to plant with their corn—"because they would be acquainted with the nature of that seede." Opitchipan, another brother of Powhatan—of whom we have here the first mention—invited him to his house, and treated him sumptuously; but no Indian, on this or any other occasion, would eat with him. The fragments were put up in baskets; and upon his return to Opechancanough's wigwam, the Sachem's wives and their children flocked about him for their portions, "as a due by custom, to be merry with such fragments."

At last they carried him to Werowocomoco, where was Powhatan himself. This residence of his, lay on the north side of York river, in Gloster county, nearly opposite the mouth of Green's creek and about twenty-five miles below the mouth of the river. It was at this time his favorite village, though afterwards, not coveting the near neighborhood of the English, he retired to Orapakes. Powhatan, which gave him his name, was sold to the English in 1609.

On his arrival in the village, Smith was detained until the emperor (as we shall call him, for convenience,) and his train could prepare themselves to receive their illustrious captive in proper state; and meanwhile more than two hundred of these grim courtiers gathered about him to satisfy their curiosity with gazing. He was then introduced to the royal presence, the multitude hailing him with a tremendous shout, as he walked in. Powhatan—a majestic and finely formed savage, with a marked countenance, and an air of haughtiness sobered down into gravity by a life of sixty years—was seated before a fire, upon a seat something like a bedstead, and clothed in an ample robe of Rarowcun [FN] skins, with all the tails hanging over him. On each side sat a young wench of sixteen or eighteen years old; and along each wall of the house, two rows of women in the rear and two rows of men in front. All had their heads and shoulders painted red. Many had their hair decked with the white down of birds. Some wore a great chain of white beads about their necks. But no one was without ornament of some kind.

[FN] A variation of Raccoon, perhaps.

Soon after Smith's entrance, a female of rank, said to be the queen of Appamattuck, was directed to bring him water to wash his hands; and another brought a bunch of feathers, to answer the purpose of a towel. Having then feasted him (as he acknowledges) in the best barbarous manner they could, a long and solemn consultation was held to determine his fate. The decision was against him. The conclave resumed their silent gravity; two great stones were brought in before Powhatan; and Smith was dragged before them, and his head laid upon them, as a preparation for beating out his brains with clubs. The fatal weapons were already raised, and the savage multitude stood silently awaiting the prisoner's last moment. But Smith was not destined thus to perish. Pocahontas, the beloved daughter of Powhatan, rushed forward, and earnestly entreated with tears that the victim might yet be spared. The royal savage rejected her request, and the executioners stood ready for the signal of death. She knelt down, put her arms about Smith, and laid her head over his, declaring she would perish with him or save him. The heart of the stern Sachem was at length melted. The decree was reversed; and the prisoner was spared for the purpose—as the emperor explained it—of making hatchets for himself, and bells and beads for his daughter. [FN]

[FN] This celebrated scene is preserved in a beautiful piece of sculpture, over the western door of the Rotunda of the Capitol at Washington. The group consists of five figures, representing the precise moment when Pocahontas, by her interposition, saved Smith from being executed. Smith is attired in the military dress, reclining on his elbow, his body extended, ready to receive the death-blow from the war-mace of an Indian who stands near his head. This is the work we believe, of Capellano, an Italian pupil of Canova.

This was apparently a mere pretext for concealing the emotions which he thought unworthy of his name as a warrior, and for preventing any jealousy on the part of his counselors. And subsequent events would lead to the same conclusion. He detained his prisoner but two days. At the end of that time, he caused him to be conducted to a large house in the woods, and there left alone upon a mat by the fire. In a short time, a horrible noise was heard from behind a wide mat which divided the house; and then Powhatan, dressed in the most fantastic manner, with some two hundred followers as much begrimed and disguised as himself; came in and told Smith that now they were friends; "and presently he should go to Jamestown to send him two great guns and a grindstone, for which he would give him the country of Capahowsick, and forever esteem him as his own son." He was accordingly sent off with twelve guides, to Jamestown. The party quartered in the woods one night, and reached the fort the next morning betimes. The savages were handsomely entertained while they staid. Two demi-culverins and mill-stone were shown them, with other curiosities. They proposed to carry the former to Powhatan; but finding them somewhat too heavy, contented themselves with a variety of lighter presents. They were excessively frightened by a discharge of the culverins.—Smith, who had political as well as personal motives in view, had loaded them with stones, and these he fired among the boughs of a tree covered with huge icicles. The effect may easily be imagined.

During the same winter, Smith visited Powhatan, in company with Captain Newport, a gentleman newly arrived from England, who had already sent many presents to the emperor. Attended by a guard of thirty or forty men, they sailed as far as Werowocomoco the first day. Here Newport's courage failed him. He was especially alarmed by the appearance of various bridges they were obliged to pass over in crossing the streams; for these were so loosely made of poles and bark, that he took them for traps set by the savages. But Smith, with twenty men, leaving the boat, undertook to go forward and accomplish the journey. He accordingly went on, and was soon met by two or three hundred Indians, who conducted them into the town. There Powhatan exerted himself to the utmost to give him a royal entertainment. The people shouted for joy to see Smith; orations were addressed to him; and a plentiful feast provided to refresh him after the weariness of his voyage. The emperor received him, reclining upon his bed of mats, his pillow of dressed skin lying beside him with its brilliant embroidery of shells and beads, and his dress consisting chiefly of a handsome fur robe "as large as an Irish mantell." At his head and feet were two comely young women as before; and along the sides of the house sat twenty other females, each with her head and shoulders painted red and a great chain of white beads about her neck. "Before these sat his chiefest men in like order in his arbor-like house, and more than fortie platters of fine bread stood as a guard in two pyles on each side the door. Foure or fiue hundred people made a guard behinde them for our passage; and Proclamation was made, none vpon paine of death to presume to doe vs any wrong or discourtesie. With many pretty discourses to renew their old acquaintance, this great King and our captaine spent the time, till the ebbe left our barge aground. Then renewing their feest with feates, dauncing and singing, and such like mirth, we quartered that night with Powhatan." [FN]

[FN] Smith's History, Richmond Edition, p. 167.

The next day, Newport, who had thought better of his fears, came ashore, and was welcomed in the same hospitable style. An English boy, named Savage, was given to Powhatan at his request; and he returned the favor by presenting Newport with an Indian named Nomontack, a trusty and shrewd servant of his own. One motive for this arrangement was probably the desire of gaining information respecting the English colony. During the three or four days more which were passed in feasting, dancing and trading, the old Sachem manifested so much dignity and so much discretion, as to create a high admiration of his talents in the minds of his guests. In one instance, he came near offending them by the exercise of his shrewdness, although that may be fairly considered their fault rather than his.

Newport, it seems, had brought with him a variety of articles for a barter commerce—such as he supposed would command a high price in corn. And accordingly the Powhatans, generally of the lower class, traded eagerly with him and his men. These, however, were not profitable customers; they dealt upon a small scale; they had not much corn to spare. It was an object therefore to drive a trade, with the emperor himself. But this he affected to decline and despise. "Captain Newport," said he, "it is not agreeable to my greatness to truck in this peddling manner for trifles. I am a great Werowance, [FN] and I esteem you the same. Therefore lay me down all your commodities together; what I like I will take, and in return you shall have what I conceive to be a fair value." This proposal was interpreted to Newport by Smith, who informed him at the same time of the hazard he must incur in accepting it. But Newport was a vain man, and confidently expected either to dazzle the emperor with his ostentation, or overcome him with his bounty, so as to gain any request he might make. The event unluckily proved otherwise. Powhatan, after coolly selecting such of Newport's goods as he liked best, valued his own corn at such a rate, that Smith says it might as well have been purchased in old Spain; they received scarcely four bushels where they had counted upon twenty hogsheads.

[FN] A Powhatan term of general signification, answering to Northern Sachem, the Basheba of Maine, and the English Chief.

It was now Smith's turn to try his skill; and he made his experiment, more wisely than his comrade, not upon the sagacity of the emperor but upon his simplicity. He took out various toys and gewgaws, as it were accidentally, and contrived, by glancing them dexterously in the light, to show them to great advantage. It was not long before Powhatan fixed his observing eye upon a string of brilliant blue beads. Presently he became importunate to obtain them. But Smith was very unwilling to part with these precious gems; they being, as he observed, composed of a most rare substance, of the color of the skies, and fit to be worn only by the greatest kings in the world. The savage grew more and more eager to own such jewels, so that finally a bargain was struck, to the perfect satisfaction of all parties, whereby Smith obtained between two and three hundred bushels of corn for a pound or two of blue beads. A similar negotiation was immediately after effected with Opechancanough at Pamunkey. He was furnished with a quantity of this invaluable jewelry at very nearly the same price; and thus the beads grew into such estimation among the Indians far and near, that none but the great werowances, and their wives and children, dared to be seen wearing them. They were imperial symbols of enormous value.

But it was not upon beads only that Powhatan set a high estimate. He perceived the vast advantage which the English possessed over his own men in their weapons; and he became exceedingly anxious to place himself upon equal terms on one side with the colonists, while he should domineer over the less fortunate foreign Indian tribes, as he liked, on the other. When Newport left the country for England, he sent him twenty fine turkeys, and requested in return the favor of as many swords, which that gentleman was inconsiderate enough to furnish him. He subsequently passed the same compliment to Smith; and when the latter gave him no swords in payment, he was highly offended, and is said to have ordered his people to take them wherever they could get them, by stratagem or by force. But Smith soon checked this project in his usual summary manner; and Powhatan, finding that game a desperate one, sent in Pocahontas with presents, to excuse himself for the injury done "by some of his disorderly warriors," and to desire that those who were captive might be liberated for this time on their good behavior. Smith punished them sufficiently, and granted the request of the emperor "for the sake of Pocahontas." The council were offended at what they considered his cruelty; but Powhatan affected at least to be satisfied.

We hear of the emperor again in September, (1608,) when Captain Newport arrived with a second supply for the colony, and a new commission for himself. By this he was authorized to make an exploring expedition, for gold, among the Monacans of the mountain country; and a barge was brought out from England in five pieces, to be carried over the hills, and thence convey the company to the South Sea. Smith opposed this sage proposition on the ground of the necessities of the colony; they were especially in want of provision to be laid in for the coming winter. But a large majority were against him. He was even accused of jealousy towards Newport; and the latter defeated all his opposition, as he thought, by undertaking to procure a bark-load of corn from Powhatan, on his proposed route to the South Sea, at Werowocomoco. He required, however, that one hundred and twenty men should go with him; he put no confidence in the friendship of the emperor or his subjects.

Smith now came forward, and volunteered to carry the necessary messages to Powhatan himself, and to invite him to visit Jamestown, for the purpose of receiving the presents brought over for him by Newport. Among these, it appears, were a splendid basin and ewer, a bed, bedstead, clothes, and various other costly novelties; the only effect of which would be, as Smith alleged, to cause the emperor to overrate the importance of his own favor, and to sell for gold and silver alone what he had heretofore sold readily for copper and blue beads. Another of the presents was a royal crown, sent out by his Britannic Majesty King James I. probably under the expectation of wheedling Powhatan into submission to his own authority, and at all events with orders to consecrate the "divine right" of his royal ally in Virginia by the ceremonies of a solemn coronation.

Smith took with him four companions only, and went across the woods, by land, about twelve miles, to Werowocomoco. Powhatan was then absent, at the distance of twenty or thirty miles. Pocahontas immediately sent for him, and meanwhile she and her women entertained their visitor in a style too remarkable to be passed by without notice. A fire was made in a plain open field, and Smith was seated before it on a mat, with his men about him. Suddenly such a hideous noise was heard in the woods near by, that the strangers betook themselves hastily to their arms, and even seized upon two or three old Indians who were standing near, under the apprehension that Powhatan with all his forces was come upon them by surprise. But Pocahontas soon made her appearance; and a little explanation convinced the captain that, however she might succeed or fail, her only intention was to gratify and honor him. He mingled fearlessly therefore with the Indian men, women and children, already assembled as spectators, and the ceremonies went on.

"Then presently they were presented with this anticke. Thirtie young women came naked out of the woods, only couered behind and before with a few greene leaves; their bodies all paynted, some of one colour, and some of another but all differing. Their leader had a fayre payre of Buck's hornes on her head, and an Otter's skinne at her girdle, another at her arme, a quiuer of arrowes at her backe, a bow and arrowes in her hand. The next had in her hand a sword, another a club, another a pot-sticke, all horned alike; the rest euery one with their severall devises. These fiends, with most hellish shouts and cryes, rushing from among the trees, caste themselves in a ring about the fire, singing and dauncing with the most excellent ill varietie, oft falling into their infernall passions, and solemnly again to sing and daunce. Having spent neer an hour in this mascarado, as they entred, in like manner they departed."

"Having reaccomodated themselves, they solemnly invited him to their lodgings, where he was no sooner within the house but all these nymphs more tormented him than euer, with crowding, pressing and hanging about him, most tediously crying, Loue you not me? Loue you not me? This salutation ended, the feast was set, consisting of all the salvage dainties they could deuise; some attending, others singing and dauncing about them. This mirth being ended, with fire-brands instead of torches they conducted him to his lodging.

"Thus did they show their feates of armes, and other art in dauncing;
Some others vs'd there oaten pipe, and others' voyces chaunting."

Powhatan arrived on the following day, and Smith delivered his message, desiring him to visit "his father," Newport, at Jamestown, for the purpose of receiving the newly arrived presents, and also concerting a campaign in common against the Monacans. The subtle savage replied to this artful proposal with his accustomed intelligence and independence. "If your king has sent me presents," said he with great composure, "I also am a king, and this is my land—Here I will stay eight days to receive them. Your Father is to come to me, not I to him, nor yet to your fort. I will not bite at such a bait. As for the Monacans, I can avenge my own injuries. As for Atquanachuck, where you say your brother was slain, it is a contrary way from those parts you suppose it. And as for any salt water beyond the mountains, the relations you have had from my people are false." Upon this he began to delineate the geography of these various regions with a stick upon the ground. After some farther discourse upon general and complimentary subjects, Smith returned with his answer. His servant, Nomontack, who had been to England with Newport, was given back to him upon this occasion.

The presents were sent round to Werowocomoco, by water; and the two captains went by land, with a guard of fifty men. The parties here agreed upon the next day for the coronation; and at that time the presents were brought in, the bed and furniture set up, and the scarlet cloak and other apparel put on the emperor, though with much ado, and only in consequence of Nomontack's earnest assurance that they would not injure him. As for kneeling to receive the crown, which was requested of him, he entirely exhausted the patience of his visitors by his resistance. They gained their point in the end by stratagem. One leaned hard upon his shoulders, so as to cause him to stoop a little, and three more stood ready to fix the royal gewgaw on his head; whereupon, at the discharge of a pistol, the guard were prepared with such a volley of musketry as a salute, that the emperor (now a crowned-head at least) started up, as Smith says, in a horrible fear till he saw all was well. Soon recovering his composure, he generously gave his old shoes and mantle to Newport in acknowledgment of his courtesy. But perceiving that the main object of that gentleman was to discover the Monacans, he labored to divert his resolution, and absolutely refused to lend any of his own men excepting Nomontack. Every thing was said and done civilly, however; and, before leaving, Newport was presented with a heap of corn-ears to the amount of seven or eight bushels, in farther return for his politeness and his presents.

For some time after this, little was heard of Powhatan except occasionally through the medium of some of his tribes, who are said to have refused trading with the English in consequence of his orders to that effect. He had become jealous of them, it would seem; and Smith, on the other hand, reciprocated so much of his ill humor, that he at one time thought of falling upon him by surprise, and taking away all his stores. But appearances were still kept up on both sides; and in December, (1608) the emperor invited the captain to visit him—he wanted his assistance in building a house, and if he would bring with him a grindstone, fifty swords, a few muskets, a cock and a hen, with a quantity of beads and copper, he might depend upon getting a ship-load of corn. Smith, always ready for an adventure, accepted the invitation, and set off with a pinnace and two barges, manned by forty-six volunteers. The expedition was considered so hazardous that many excused themselves from going, after having engaged to do so; though all knew that if any thing was to be had, Smith was not the man to return disappointed.

Commencing his voyage on the 29th of the month, with victualling for three or four days, he lodged the first night at Warrasqueake. The chief Sachem at this place, being friendly, did all in his power to dissuade the captain from pursuing his journey. "Powhatan will use you kindly," said he, "but he has sent for you only to cut your throat. Trust him not, and give him no opportunity to seize upon your arms." The next night and several more were passed at Kekoughtan, where the English were detained by a severe storm, but found merry cheer, and good fires. The colonists who were in the habit of traveling with Smith had learned hardihood. "They were not curious in any weather, (he informs us,) to lye three or foure nights together vnder the trees." They liked hunting too as they marched, and here was a fine opportunity; "an hundred fortie eight foules, the President, Anthony Bagnall, and Serieant Pising did kill at three shoots." It was the 12th of January when they reached Werowocomoco.

They went ashore, quartered without much ceremony at the first house they found, and sent to Powhatan for a supply of provisions. They were promptly furnished with plenty of bread, venison and turkeys. Their liberal host feasted them again the next day; but not without inquiring, at the close of the entertainment, when they proposed to go home, insinuating that the pleasure of their company was wholly unexpected, and that he and his people had very little corn—though for forty swords he thought forty baskets might be collected. In reply, Smith asked if he had forgotten his own invitation thus suddenly; and then produced the messengers who had carried it, and who happened to be near at hand. The emperor affected to regard the affair as a mere joke, and laughed heartily. Smith then proposed trade; but Powhatan would take nothing but guns and swords, and valued a basket of corn higher than a basket of copper. The captain was nettled, and spoke his mind boldly and without reserve, giving the emperor to understand withal, that necessity might force him to use disagreeable expedients for relieving his own wants and the need of the colony.

Powhatan listened to this declaration with cool gravity, and replied with a corresponding frankness "I will spare you what I can," said he, "and that within two days. But, Captain Smith, I have some doubts as to your object in this visit. I am informed that you wish to conquer more than to trade, and at all events you know my people must be afraid to come near you with their corn, so long as you go armed and with such a retinue. Lay aside your weapons then. Here they are needless. We are all friends, all Powhatans." The information alluded to here was probably gathered from two or three Germans, who had deserted the colony and gone among the Indians.

A great contest of ingenuity now ensued between the Englishman and the savage—the latter apparently endeavoring to temporise only for the purpose of putting the former and his men on their guard. He especially insisted on the propriety of laying aside their arms. "Captain Smith," he continued, "I am old, and I know well the difference between peace and war. I wish to live quietly with you, and wish the same for my successors. Now the rumors which reach me on all hands make me uneasy. What do you expect to gain by destroying us who provide you with food? And what can you get by war, if we escape you and hide our provisions in the woods? We are unarmed too, you see. Do you believe me such a fool as not to prefer eating good meat, sleeping quietly with my wives and children, laughing and making merry with you, having copper and hatchets and any thing else—as your friend—to flying from you as your enemy, lying cold in the woods, eating acorns and roots, and being so hunted by you meanwhile, that if but a twig break, my men will cry out there comes Captain Smith. Let us be friends, then. Do not invade us thus with such an armed force. Lay aside these arms."

The captain answered this speech, and several others to the same effect, until, either seeing or supposing that the emperor's object was hostile, he gave secret orders for hauling his boat ashore through the ice, and landing those of his company who still remained aboard. He also attempted to detain Powhatan with the delivery of divers rigmarole harangues; but the latter was not to be so easily outwitted. He introduced two or three women to sustain a sharp conversation with the enemy, and suddenly availed himself of that opportunity to leave the house, with all his attendants and luggage. In a few minutes Smith found himself surrounded with Indians; and thereupon, we are told, "with his pistoll, sword and target, hee made such a passage among these naked Diuils, that at his first shoot those next him tumbled one over another." The rest fled in all directions.

Powhatan was not yet discouraged. His men again flocked about Smith with civil explanations of every thing which had happened; and he himself sent him a large and handsome bracelet by the hand of one of his chief orators, with a speech full of compliments and excuses. Baskets were furnished for carrying the corn which had been sold aboard the boat; and the Indians even offered their services to guard the arms of the English, while they were taking care of the provisions. This favor was declined; but as the English were still under the necessity of waiting for the tide of the next morning, no pains were spared to entertain them with feasts and sports meanwhile. Smith supposes that the Sachem was all this time preparing his forces for surprising them at supper. He probably conjectured right; and but for Pocahontas there is reason to believe that this game would actually have succeeded. The kind-hearted princess came to Smith's quarters in the woods, alone and in the evening, and earnestly advised him by all means to leave her father's territories as soon as possible. The latter was collecting all his power, she said, to make an assault upon him, unless those who were sent with his supper should themselves succeed in despatching him.

In less than an hour afterwards came eight or ten lusty fellows, with great platters of venison and other victuals, who were importunate that the English should extinguish their matches, the smoke of which they affected to think very disagreeable. The captain, without noticing this circumstance, made them taste every dish, and then sent some of them back to tell Powhatan that the English were ready to see him; as for themselves, he understood their villainy, but they should go free. Other messengers came in soon after, at intervals, to learn how matters went on. The night was spent without sleep on either side. Each party watched the movements of the other with vigilant eyes, while both were subtle and civil enough still to affect friendship. At high water, Smith went off with his company, leaving with the emperor, at his own request, an Englishman to kill game for him, and two or three of the Germans to assist him in building a house.

But the game was not yet over. He had no sooner set sail for Pamunkey, than the emperor despatched a deputation across the woods to Jamestown, to take advantage of his absence for buying up a quantity of ammunition and arms. On arriving, these messengers told Captain Winne, the temporary commander of the colony, "that their comming was for some extraordinary tooles and shift of apparell; by which colourable excuse they obtained sixe or seuen more [of the colonists] to their confederacie, such expert theeues, that presently furnished them with a great many swords, pike-heads, peeces, shot, powder and such like." [FN] Indians enough were at hand to carry away the articles as soon as obtained; and the next day, the deputation returned home unsuspected, after making an agreement for the services of such traitorous vagabonds as were willing to desert from the colony. One or two of those who had deserted already, had provided Powhatan with as many as three hundred hatchets, fifty swords, eight "pieces" and eight pikes.

[FN] Smith's History, p. 213.

Meanwhile, Smith had arrived at Pamunkey, and here Opechancanough was entertaining him with all manner of feasting and mirth. On the day agreed upon between the parties for commencing trade, the captain, with fifteen of his men, went up a quarter of a mile from the river to the Sachem's house, the appointed rendezvous. He found no person there, excepting a lame man and a boy. The other houses in the village were entirely abandoned. Presently, however, came the Sachem, followed by many of his subjects, well armed with bows and arrows. Attempts were made to buy corn, but so unsuccessfully that Smith was provoked, and remonstrated as he had done with Powhatan. Upon this, the Sachem sold what provision was at hand, and promised to give better satisfaction the next day.

Then, accordingly, Smith made his appearance again. He found four or five men at the house with great baskets, but whether with any thing in them does not appear. Opechancanough himself came in soon after, and commenced a cheerful conversation, enlarging particularly upon the pains he had taken to keep his promise. Just at this moment one of Smith's company brought him word that the house was beset. The woods and fields all around him were thronged with more than seven hundred savages, armed and painted for battle.

The English, of whom there were only fifteen on shore, were generally much alarmed at this news, and could easily perceive that Opechancanough enjoyed their surprise. But Smith was now in his element. "My worthy countrymen," said he to his trembling comrades, "Had I no more to fear from my friends, than from these enemies, I should be willing to meet twice as many—would you but second me. But what course shall be taken? If we begin with them, and seize the king, we shall have more than our hands full to keep him and defend ourselves. If we kill them all, we must starve for want of their provisions. As for their fury, that is the least subject of apprehension. You know I have heretofore managed two or three hundreds of them alone. Now here are sixteen of us, to their seven hundred. If you dare stand but to fire your pieces the very smoke will be enough for them. But at all events let us fight like men, and not die like sheep. First, however, let me propose some conditions to them, and so we shall have something to fight for." The occasion admitting of no argument, the company pledged themselves promptly to second him in whatever he attempted, or die.

The captain then advanced towards the Sachem, and addressed him. "Opechancanough," said he, "I perceive you are plotting to murder me, but I fear you not. As yet neither your men nor mine have done much harm. Now therefore take your arms—as you see here are mine—my body shall be as naked as yours—the island in the river is a fit place for a combat, and the conqueror of us two, shall be master of all. If you have not men enough about you, take time to muster more—has many as you will—only let everyone bring his basket of corn, and against that I will stake the value in copper."

The Sachem replied very soothingly to this proposal. He was sorry to see any suspicion of unkindness; and begged that the captain would do him the honor to accept a handsome present, (by way of peace-offering,) which was ready for him at the door of the house. The object of this suggestion was sufficiently obvious; for besides the forty or fifty Indians constituting the Sachem's body-guard within, "the bait," as Smith calls it, at the door, (meaning the present) was guarded by about two hundred men, and thirty more were stationed behind a large tree which lay lengthwise athwart the passage-way with their arrows ready notched. It was now Smith's turn to make a movement. He seized the Sachem in the midst of his retinue, by his long locks, presenting a pistol ready-cocked at his bosom; and in this position led him out trembling with terror, among the multitude who surrounded the house. He immediately gave up his vambrace, bow and arrows, and his frightened subjects hastened to follow his example.

"I perceive, ye Pamunkies"—shouted the captain at this moment, still holding on by the Sachem's hair—"I perceive how eager ye are to kill me. My own long suffering is the cause of your insolence. Now shoot but one arrow to shed one drop of blood for one of these men, or steal but the least of these beads, and ye shall not hear the last of me so long as a Pamunkey remains alive who will not deny the name. I am not now in the mire of a swamp, ye perceive. Shoot then, if ye dare. But at all hazards ye shall load my boat with your corn, or I will load her with your carcasses. Still, unless you give me the first occasion, we may be friends, and your king may go free. I have no wish to harm him or you."

This speech had its effect. The savages laid aside their arms, and brought in their commodities for trade in such abundance, that the English at length became absolutely weary of receiving them. Once indeed, in the course of the day, some forty or fifty stout fellows made a violent rush into the house when Smith was asleep, and some two hundred more followed close after them; but by Smith's usual activity they were soon driven back, and then the Sachem sent some of his ancients, or counselors, to excuse the intrusion. The rest of the day passed in harmony, and towards night the captain began his return-voyage down the river, leaving the Sachem at liberty. Various attempts were made to surprise him on the route, and he was at one time near being poisoned to death in his food. On the other hand, Smith was determined not to go home without his revenge upon Powhatan. He returned by way of Werowocomoco for the purpose of seizing him; but he found, when he reached that village, that the traitorous Germans had caused the emperor to abandon his new house, and carry off all his family and provision. Those of the Powhatans who remained, treated the English so indifferently, that the latter had much ado to escape with their lives. They finally reached Jamestown after an absence of six weeks, with a cargo of four hundred and seventy-nine bushels of corn and two hundred pounds of deer-suet, that entire amount having been purchased for twenty-five pounds of copper and fifty pounds of iron and beads.


Conduct of Powhatan after Smith's departure for England, and causes of it—Hostilities resumed—Peace finally effected by the capture of Pocahontas—Manner of gaining this point—Marriage of Pocahontas with John Rolfe—Death and character of Powhatan—His person, manner of living, talents, influence. His method and means of warfare—The discipline of his warriors—The manner in which he availed himself of the English arms and science—Causes of his hostility towards the colonists—His dignity—Shrewdness—Independence—Courtesy—Liberality— Simplicity—Affection for his relatives—A review of various opinions entertained of him by various historians.

From the date of the expedition of which the particulars have just been given, to the time of Smith's departure for England, a few months subsequent, the English and the Powhatans treated and traded with each other upon tolerably amicable terms. A principal cause of this harmony is to be looked for in several fortunate incidents which went to impress the savage simplicity of one party with an inordinate conception of the superiority of the other.

Soon after the return of the expedition, several articles were stolen at Jamestown by one of the Chickahominy Indians who traded there; and a pistol among the rest. The thief fled, but two of his brothers, suspected of being accessories in the case, were apprehended. One of them was discharged, to go in search of the offender; and the other was imprisoned, with the understanding that unless the former should be successful in his search within twelve hours, he was to be hanged. But for his comfort during that interval, Smith furnished him with victuals, and charcoal for a fire. In the evening, the man who had been discharged, returned with the pistol; but the poor fellow in the dungeon was meanwhile very nearly smothered with the smoke of his coal. Those who came to release him took him up for dead. "The other most lamentably bewayled his death, and broke forth into such bitter agonies that the President [Smith] to quiet him, told him that if he would steale no more, he would make him [his brother] alive again; but he little thought he could be recovered. Yet we doing our best with aqua Vita and Vinegar, it pleased God to restore him againe to life, but so drunke and affrighted that he seemed lunaticke, the which as much tormented and grieued the other, as before to see him dead. Of this maladie, vpon promise of their good behavour, the President promised to recover him; and so caused him to be layd by a fire to sleepe, who in the morning having well slept had recovered his perfect senses, and then being dressed of his burning, and each a peece of copper given them, they went away so well contented that this was spread among all the savages for a miracle, that Captain Smith could make a man alive that was dead" [FN]

[FN] Smith's History, p. 226.

Another of the incidents just alluded to is as follows. One of Powhatan's subjects, in his zeal to acquire knowledge and some other things, obtained possession of a large bag of gun-powder and the backe, as Smith calls it, of an armour. This ingenious artisan, on his return to Werowocomoco, determined to display these precious prizes to his wondering country-men, and at the same time to exhibit his own extraordinary skill in the management of them. He therefore began drying the powder upon the armour, as he had seen the soldiers do at Jamestown. Unluckily, he dried it too much. An explosion took, place, which blew up the proprietor, together with one or two of the spectators who were peeping over his shoulders. Several others were badly scorched, and all horribly frightened; and for some time after powder fell into a general disuse with the savages, much to the benefit of the English.

These and other similar accidents, we are told, so affrighted Powhatan and his people, that they came in from every quarter with proffers of peace. Several stolen articles were returned, the loss of which had never before been discovered; and whenever an Indian was convicted of theft, wherever he might be found, he was promptly sent in to Jamestown for his punishment. Not long afterwards we find that "so affraide was al those kings and the better sort of the people to displease vs [the colonists] that some of the baser sort that we haue extreamely hurt and punished for their villianies, would hire vs we should not tell it to their kings or countrymen, who would also punish them, and yet returne them to Iames-Toune to content the President for a testimony of their loues."

Still, the prowess and the name of Smith himself were the best preservatives of peace; and he had scarcely left the country for England when matters relapsed into their worst state. About thirty of the English were cut off by Powhatan's men at one time; and of a population of six hundred left in the colony at Smith's departure, there remained at the end of six months only sixty men, women and children. These were subsisted chiefly upon roots, herbs, acorns, walnuts, berries and now and then a little fish. The skins of horses, and even considerable quantities of starch, were used for food. Others went so far as to disinter and devour the body of an Indian who had been slain and buried. One man killed his wife, "powdered her," and had eaten a part of her before it was known. The poor wretch was hanged for his horrible deed of despair.

Peace was finally effected with Powhatan through the intervention, or rather by the mere medium of Pocahontas, in the following manner. Early in 1613, [FN-1] two ships arrived at Jamestown with supplies for the colony. These being insufficient, Captain Argall, who commanded one of them, was sent up the Potomac river to trade with the natives for corn. Here Argall formed a particular acquaintance with Japazaws, the chief sachem of the Potomacs or Patawomekes, and always a stanch friend of the English. He informed the captain, among other things, that Pocahontas was at this time in his territories, and not far distant, keeping herself in seclusion, and known only to a few trusty friends. What were the reasons which induced her thus to forsake her father's dominions for a foreigner's, does not appear. Stith supposes it was to withdraw herself from being a witness of the frequent butcheries of the English, whose folly and rashness, after Smith's departure, put it out of her power to save them. And very probably, as a later historian suggests, [FN-2] she had already incurred the displeasure of the emperor by these repeated and futile though highly honorable attempts.

[FN-1] This date is mentioned by all the Virginian historians; but Prince, in his Annals, says that the voyage took place a year afterwards. Belknap (Am. Biog.) is of same opinion.

[FN-2] Burk's History of Virginia, Vol. I. p. 167.

But whatever her motives might be, Argall had no sooner received intelligence of her situation, than he resolved on obtaining possession of her person, as a means—which he had no doubt the colony would thank him for—of effecting a peace with Powhatan. Japazaws seems to have been a well-meaning and honest fellow in general; but the temptation of a large new copper kettle, which Argall held out before him as the promised recompense for his aid and abettance in the case—the consideration of the praiseworthy object proposed to be accomplished by the measure—and last though not least of all, the captain's pledge that Pocahontas should not be harmed while in his custody, were sufficient to overcome his scruples. The next thing in order was to induce the princess—as this amiable and talented Indian female has generally been styled to go on board Argall's boat. To that end, Japazaws, who had himself seen many of the English vessels before this, induced his wife to affect an extreme curiosity upon the subject, so intolerably importunate that he finally threatened to beat her. The good woman on the other hand actually accomplished a few tears. This happened in the presence of Pocahontas, and the scene was frequently repeated, until at last Japazaws, affecting to be subdued by the manifest affliction of his wife, reluctantly gave her permission to visit the vessel, provided that Pocahontas would have the politeness to go with her.

The princess, always complaisant, and unable to witness any longer the apparent distress of her kind friend and hostess, consented to go on board the ship. There they were civilly welcomed, and first entertained in the cabin. The captain then found an opportunity to decoy Pocahontas into the gun-room, on pretence of conferring there with Japazaws, but really because the kind-hearted Sachem, who had received ere this the brilliant wages of his sin, and began perhaps to relent, was unwilling to be known by the princess to have been concerned in the plot against her liberty. When Argall told her, in his presence, that she must go with him to the colony, and compound a peace tween her father and the English, she wept indeed in the bitterness of her soul; as for Japazaws and his wife, they absolutely howled with inconsolable and inconceivable affliction. But the princess recovered her composure on finding herself treated with kindness; and while she turned her face towards the English colony, (which she had not seen since Smith's departure) with something even like cheerfulness at the prospect of doing good, her distressed guardian and his pliant spouse with their copper kettle filled with toys, trudged merrily back to their own wigwam.

On Argall's arrival at Jamestown, a message was immediately despatched to Powhatan, "that his daughter Pocahontas he loued so dearly, he must ransom with our men, swords, peeces, tooles, &c., hee trecherously had stolen." [FN] This was not so complimentary or soothing as might have been imagined, it must be allowed (—the courtesy of Smith was no longer in the colony—) and this perhaps was the reason why, much as the unwelcome news of his daughter's captivity is said to have troubled him, he sent no answer to the message for the space of three months. Then, at the further persuasion of the council of Jamestown, he liberated and sent in seven of his English prisoners, with three rusty unserviceable muskets, an axe, a saw, and one canoe laden with corn. They were instructed to say that if Pocahontas should be given up, he would make satisfaction for all the injuries he had done, conclude a perpetual peace, and send in a bonus of five hundred bushels of corn. To this the council replied that his daughter, though they would use her well, could not be restored to him until all the English arms and captives in his possession should be delivered back to the owners. They did not believe, what he or some of his men had asserted, that these arms had been lost, or that the whites who remained with him were free volunteers in his service.

[FN] Smith's History, Vol. II. p. 14.

This ungracious message was no more conciliating than the former; nor was any thing more seen or heard of the emperor until the spring of 1614, when a party of one hundred and fifty colonists, well armed, went up his own river to Werowocomoco, taking Pocahontas with them. The Powhatans received them with scornful bravadoes, proudly demanding the purpose of this new invasion. The English answered, that they had brought the emperor's daughter, and that they expected the proper ransom for her, either peaceably or by force. The Powhatans rejoined, that if they came to fight, they were welcome, and should be treated as Captain Ratcliffe [FN] had been. Upon this the English said they would have a more civil answer at least, and forthwith commenced making rapidly for the shore in their small boats, the Indians having about the same time begun to let fly their arrows among them. They effected a landing, and burned and destroyed every thing they could find. The next day they sailed farther up the river; and meeting with a fresh party of Powhatans, after some altercation and explanation, a truce was concluded, and messengers were promised to be sent off for the emperor. This was probably a mere feint. It was also stated, that the English captives or deserters had run off for fear of being hanged by their countrymen. As for the swords and pieces, they were to be brought in the next day. But nothing was seen of them, and the English proceeded till they came to a residence of Powhatan (called Matchot) where were collected about four hundred of his warriors, well armed. These men challenged the English to land; and when they did so, walked boldly up and down among them; demanded a conference with their captain; and said, that unless time should be allowed them to send and receive directions from Powhatan, they would fight for their own as well as they were able. Other bravadoes passed between the parties, but a truce was finally agreed upon until noon of the next day. Meanwhile, two of the brothers of Pocahontas—of whom this is the first mention—came to see her. They were delighted to find her in good health, and promised to do every thing they could to effect her redemption. Two of the English also set off to visit Powhatan. They were not admitted to the emperor's presence—for what reason, it is not stated—but Opechancanough treated them in the most hospitable manner. On their return, the whole party descended the river to Jamestown.

[FN] Massacred with the thirty colonists mentioned previously in this chapter. He was otherwise called Sicklemore.

One of the two messengers last named was John Rolfe, styled by an old historian, [FN] "an honest gentleman and of good behaviour;" but more especially known by the event which we have now to notice—his marriage with Pocahontas—between whom and himself there had been an ardent attachment for some time. The idea of this connexion pleased Powhatan so much, that within ten days after Rolfe's visit, he sent in one of his near relatives named Opachiko, together with two of his sons, to see (as says the authority just cited) the manner of the marriage; and to do in that behalf what they were requested for the confirmation thereof as his deputies. The ceremony took place about the first of April; and from that time until the death of the emperor, which happened in 1618, the most friendly relations were uniformly preserved with himself and with his subjects.

[FN] Ralph Hamer, whose relation is incorporated with some of the oldest histories of other writers. He was subsequently one of the Council.

There are too many memorable passages in the history of this celebrated chieftain, and too many remarkable traits in his character, to be passed over with a mere general notice. But, previous to any other comment, it may be proper to mention certain facts respecting him, which belong rather to the curious than to the characteristic class. In the case of all great men, as well as of many noted men who are not great, there is a good deal of information generally to be gathered, which maybe interesting without being strictly important. Powhatan was both a great and a noted man, though a savage; and the rude circumstances under which he proved himself the one, and made himself the other, should only render him the more signally an object of popular admiration and of philosophical regard.

In person, he is described, by one who saw him frequently, as a tall well-proportioned man, with a severe aspect; his head slightly gray; his beard thin (as that of the Indians always is;) and "of a very able and hardy body to endure any labor." As he appeared to be about sixty years of age, when the English first saw him, in 1607, he was probably about seventy at his death. He troubled himself but little with public affairs during his last years, leaving the charge of them chiefly to Opechancanough, as his viceroy, and taking his own pleasure in visiting the various parts of his dominions.

We have already had occasion to observe, that he had as many as three or four places of residence. Werowocomoco was abandoned for Orapakes, with the view of keeping at an agreeable distance from the colonists. The latter became a favorite resort. There, at the distance of a mile from the village, he had a house in which were deposited his royalties and his revenue—skins, copper, beads, red paint, bows and arrows, targets and clubs. Some of these things were reserved for the time of his burial; others were the resources of war. The house itself was more than one hundred feet in length—one historian says fifty or sixty yards—and as it seems to have been frequented only by the Indian priests, probably a sacred character attached to it in the minds of the multitude, which was one of the means of its security. Four rudely-graven images of wood were stationed at the four corners; one representing a dragon, the second a bear, the third a panther, and the fourth a gigantic man—all made evil-favoredly as we are told, but according to the best workmanship of the natives.

The state which Powhatan adopted as emperor, appears in some degree from the preceding details of his history. He is said to have kept about his person from forty to fifty of the tallest men in his dominions; which might be the case in war, and upon occasions of parade and ceremony, more regularly than in peaceable and ordinary times. Every night, four sentinels were stationed at the four comers of his dwelling; and at each half-hour one of the body-guard made a signal to the four sentinels. Want of vigilance on their part was punished with the most exemplary strictness.

According to the universal custom of the North American natives, he kept as many wives as he thought proper; and is represented to have taken no little pleasure in their society. When the English saw him at home, reclining on his couch or platform, there was always one sitting at his head, and another at his feet; and when he sat, two of them seated themselves on either side of him. At his meals, one of them brought him water in a wooden platter to wash his hangs, before and after eating; and another attended with a bunch of feathers for a towel. Some were the daughters, and had been the wives of distinguished rivals and enemies, conquered in battle. When he became weary of them, he transferred them as presents to his favorite warriors.

A general proof of the talents of Powhatan may be found in the station which he held, as well as the reputation he enjoyed far and wide among his countrymen. The Indian tribes are democracies. He who rules over them must acquire and sustain his influence by his absolute intellect and energy. Friends and family may assist, occasionally, in procuring rank; but they will not secure the permanent possession of it. Generally, therefore, the head-Sachem may be looked upon as comparatively a model of those qualities which his countrymen esteem suitable to that dignity. He must not only be a warrior, brave, hardy, patient, and indefatigable; but he must show talents for controlling the fortunes and commanding the respect of the community which he governs.

But in is case there is better evidence; and especially in the ultimate extent of Powhatan's government as compared with his hereditary dominions. These included but six tribes of the thirty which were finally subject to him, and all which must have become attached to his rule in consequence of the character maintained and the measures adopted by himself. Among others were the Chickahominies, a very warlike and proud people, numbering from two hundred to five hundred while the Powhatans proper, (the original nucleus, so to speak, of the emperor's dominion,) numbered less than a hundred. The fear which these savages entertained of him appears on many occasions, and particularly when they embraced an opportunity, in 1611, of exchanging his yoke for that of the English. They were so desirous of this change—or in other words of procuring what they considered the protection of the new master against the power of the old—that they offered to adopt a national name indicating their subjection. A peace was accordingly concluded on condition—

I. That they should be forever called Tassautessus [Englishmen,] and be true subjects to King James and his deputies.

II. They were neither to kill nor detain any of the colonists, or their cattle, but to return them on all occasions.

III. They should stand ready to furnish three hundred warriors for the colony's service, against the Spaniards or any other enemy.

IV. They were not to enter the English settlements, but send word they were new Englishmen, (an obscure provision, meant to prevent confounding them with hostile tribes.)

V. Every fighting man, at the beginning of harvest, was to pay two bushels of corn as a tribute, receiving the same number of hatchets in return.

VI. The eight chief men were to see all this performed, on forfeit of being punished themselves. Their salary was to be a red coat, a copper chain, the picture of King James, and the honor of being accounted his noblemen.

This treaty was concluded with a general assent, manifested by acclamation; and then one of the old men began a speech, addressing himself first to those of his own age, then to the young, and lastly to the women and children, a multitude of whom were present. He gave them to understand how strictly these conditions must be observed, and how safe they should then be, on the other hand, "from the furie of Powhatan or any enemie whatsoeuer," [FN] besides being furnished with arms to resist them. The name of the emperor, it will be observed, is not inserted in the articles of peace; there was supposed to be a hazard, probably, of its coming to his ears; and he had then himself just concluded an amicable treaty. "But all this," adds our historian, "was rather for feare Powhatan and we being so linked together, would bring them again to his subjection; the which to preuent, they did rather chuse to be protected by vs than tormented by him, whom they held a Tyrant."

[FN] Authorities referred to in Smith's History, Vol. II.

We have seen, that of the whole Indian population between the sea-coast and the Alleghany from east to west, and between the borders of Carolina and the river Patuxent in Maryland from south to north, all who were not subject to Powhatan's dominions were leagued against him. The former class comprised the lowland tribes; and the latter, the mountaineers. In the language of Stith, the Monacans and the Mannahoacks formed a confederacy against the power and tyranny of Powhatan. Another writer says, that he also fought against the famous Massawomekes; a powerful and populous nation, thought to be situated upon a great salt-water, "which by all probability is either some part of Canada, some great lake, or some inlet of some sea that falleth into the South Sea." This is not a very definite description, even for Smith to give; but the Massawomekes are generally understood to have been no other, we believe, than the celebrated Five Nations of New York. At all events, they were exceedingly troublesome to the northernmost tribes of Powhatan—which might be a principal reason why they submitted the more willingly to him. And thus, while the greater part of his own empire was a conquered one, he was environed by foreign enemies in every direction, including the civilized colony on the sea-coast.

As to his particular system of war and conquest, we are not minutely informed. Like Indian warfare in other sections and times, it is said to have consisted, in a great degree, of stratagem and surprisal rather than force. In 1608, a rebellion which arose among the Payuntatanks, was suppressed in the following manner. They being near neighbors, a number of his own tribe was sent into their villages, who under some disguise or false pretence obtained lodgings over night. The several houses were meanwhile beset with ambuscades; and at an appointed signal, the two parties, within and without, commenced an attack at the same moment. Twenty-four Payuntatanks were slain, and their scalps carried to Powhatan, who kept them some time suspended on a line between two trees, as a trophy. The women and children, as also the Werowance or Sachem, were made prisoners, and afterwards slaves or servants.

Powhatan's warriors were regularly and thoroughly disciplined. At one of his first interviews with the English, a martial parade formed part of the entertainment. Two or three hundred Indians having painted and disguised themselves in the fiercest manner possible, were divided into two companies, one of which was temporarily styled Powhatans and the other Monacans. Each company had its captain. They stationed themselves at about a musket-shot from each other. Fifteen men abreast formed the front line of both, and the remainder ranked themselves in the rear with a distance of four or five yards from rank to rank; and not in file, but in the opening between the files, so that the rear could shoot as conveniently as the front. A parley now took place, and a formal agreement was made that, whoever should conquer, such warriors as survived their defeat should have two days allowed them for their own submission, while their wives and children should at once become prize to the victor.

The parties advanced against each other—a sort of sergeant commanding each flank, and a lieutenant the rear; and the entire company came on leaping and singing to warlike music, but every man in his place. On the first flight of arrows, they raised upon both sides a terrific clamor of shouts and screeches. "When they had spent their arrows, (writes the describer of this scene,) they joined together prettily, charging and retiring, every rank seconding the other. As they got advantage, they caught their enemies by the hair of the head, and down he came that was taken. His enemy with his wooden sword seemed to beat out his brains, and still they crept to the rear to maintain the skirmish." The Monacan party at length decreasing, the Powhatans charged them in the form of a half moon. The former retreat, to avoid being enclosed, and draw their pursuers upon an ambuscade of fresh men. The Powhatans retire in their turn, and the Monacans take this opportunity of resuming their first ground. "All their actions, voices and gestures, both, in charging and retiring, were so strained to the height of their qualitie and nature, that the strangeness thereof made it seem very delightful." The warlike music spoken of above was a large deep platter of wood, covered with skin drawn so tight as to answer the purpose of a drum. They also used rattles made of small gourds or pompion-shells; and all these—it may well be supposed—mingled with their voices, sometimes twenty or thirty together, "made such a terrible noise, as would rather affright than delight any man."

It was probably by no little drilling of this description that Powhatan made soldiers of his subjects; and it naturally enough mortified him, after taking so much trouble with so much success, to see them defeated so readily as they were by the English. The chief cause, too, of this superiority, was a matter of wonder. No Indian had ever before seen any thing which resembled, in form or effect, the fire-arms of their strange enemy. For some time, therefore, their fear was attended with a superstition, against which no courage could prevail. But Powhatan was not long in determining at all events to put himself on equal terms with the colonists, whatever might be the hazard; and from that moment he spared no efforts to effect his purpose. On Newport's departure for England, he bargained away from him twenty swords for twenty turkeys. He attempted the same trade with Smith; and when the latter shrewdly declined it, his eagerness became such, we are told, "that at last by ambuscadoes at our very gates they [the Powhatans] would take them per force, surprise vs at worke, or any way." [FN] Some of these troublesome fellows being seized and threatened, they confessed that the emperor had ordered them to get possession of the English arms, or at least some of them, cost what it might.

[FN] Smith's History, Vol. I.

He availed himself, with great ingenuity, of a disposition among some of the colonists to trade privately in these contraband articles; and in that way obtained large quantities of shot, powder and pike-heads. So, upon Smith's departure for the settlement, after his famous visit, in December, 1608, he artfully requested the captain "to leaue him Edward Brynton to kille him foule, and the Dutchmen to finish his house." This house, we have seen, was abandoned; and as for fowl, the idea of employing an Englishman to hunt for his Powhatans was absurd. He had no objection, however, to Brynton's gun or his martial services. The Germans he was probably sure of already. They proved, traitors to the colony, and soon after we find them diligently engaged in arming and instructing the savages. One of them subsequently stated, that the emperor kept them at work for him in duress. He himself sent answer to Smith's demand for them, that they were at liberty to go if they chose—but as for carrying them fifty miles on his back, he was not able. The adroitness with which he obtained arms at Jamestown, during Smith's absence, has already been the subject of comment.

The implicit obedience which he exacted of his own subjects, notwithstanding the apparently precarious tenure by which he held his command, is a striking indication of the extent of his mere personal influence. "When he listeth," says an old writer, "his will is a law, and must be obeyed; not onely as a King, but as halfe a God, they esteeme him. What he commandeth they dare not disobey in the least thing. At his feete they present whatsoever he commandeth, and at the least froune of his browe, their greatest spirits will tremble with feare." This subordination was sustained by measures which, for severity and courage, would do no discredit to the most absolute despot of the Eastern world. On one occasion, certain, offenders were burned to death in the midst of an immense heap of glowing coals, collected from many fires made for the purpose. A more merciful punishment was by braining the criminal with a club, as Smith was to have been sacrificed. The most horrible was fastening the poor wretch to a tree, breaking his joints one by one, and then whittling down the body with reeds and shells. Thrashing with cudgels was no trifle. Smith says he saw a man subjected to this discipline under the hands of two of his practised countrymen, till he fell prostrate and senseless; but he uttered no cry or complaint.

The extraordinary native shrewdness of Powhatan was abundantly manifested in the amusing advantages he obtained over Newport; his long and artful conversations with Smith, some of them sustained under the most embarrassing circumstances, merely to procure time; the promptness with which he rejected and defeated the proposal to make common cause against the Monacans—a bait, as he expressed it, too foolish to be taken; and, in fine, upon every occasion when the English undertook to negotiate or to argue with him. He availed himself most essentially of the aid of the German deserters heretofore mentioned, but he had too much sagacity to trust them after they deserted himself; and so, when two of them fled to him a second time, with proposals for delivering his great rival, Captain Smith, into his hands, he only observed, that men who betrayed the captain would betray the emperor, and forthwith ordered the scoundrels to be brained upon the spot. [FN]

[FN] Stith Book III.

Powhatan, like many others of his race, has been regarded with prejudice for the very reasons which entitle him to respect. He was a troublesome enemy to the colonists. His hostile influence extended for hundreds of miles around them; cutting off commerce with the natives in the first place, and making inveterate enemies of them in the next. Powhatan, we are told, "still as he found means cut off their boats, and denied them trade;" [FN] and again, "as for corne, contribution and provision from the salvages, we had nothing but mortall wounds, with clubs and arrowes." Here, too, we find the emperor availing himself of the disasters and despair of the colony, to procure swords, muskets and ammunition—so reckless had the colonists become through famine.

[FN] Authorities in Smith's History, Vol. II.

Still, it does not appear, that Powhatan adopted any policy but such as he believed indispensable to the welfare, not to say, the existence, of his sovereign dominions. His warfare was an Indian warfare, indeed. But setting aside those circumstances of education and of situation which rendered this a matter both of pride and necessity, it may be safely said, that he but followed the example of those who should have known better. Not only did he act generally in self-defence against what he deemed the usurpation of a foreign and unknown people, who had settled without permission upon his shores; but he was galled and provoked by peculiar provocations in numerous instances. The mere liberty of taking possession of a part of his territory might have been overlooked. Probably it was so. In the earliest days of the settlement, when nothing could be easier for Powhatan than to extinguish it at a single assault, it is acknowledged that his people often visited the English and treated them with kindness. [FN] Not long afterwards, indeed, they committed some trespasses, but meanwhile a party of the English had invaded the interior of the country. Considering the dissolute and unprincipled character of a large part of them, it is not improbable that still greater freedom was exercised with the Indians; such of course as the historians would be likely neither to record nor to know. And yet Smith himself has told enough—of himself—to make this point clear. In his very first expedition after corn, seeing, he says, "that by trade and, courtesie nothing was to be had, he made bold to try such conclusions as necessitie inforced." He let fly a volley of musketry, ran his boats ashore, skirmished with the natives, and forcibly obtained a supply of provisions. And thus—adds the scrupulous captain—

"Thus God vnboundlesse by his power
Made them so kinde would vs devour."

[FN] Ibid, Vol. I.

It was nothing to the emperor, or to his subjects, that Smith went beyond his authority in these matters. "The patient council"—he writes in another connexion—"that nothing would moue to warre with the sauages, would gladly have wrangled with Captaine Smithe for his crueltie." He adds, that his proceedings—his conclusions, is his own language—had inspired the natives with such fear, that his very name was a terror. No wonder that he sometimes had peace and war twice in a day. No wonder that scarcely a week passed without some villainy or other. Again, when the Chickahominies refused to trade, the resident, "perceiving [supposing] it was Powhatan's policy to starve him," landed his company forthwith, and made such a show of anger and ammunition that the poor savages presently brought in all their provisions.

So we are summarily informed in Mr. Hamer's relation, that about Christmas (1611) "in regard of the iniurie done vs by them of Apamatuk, Sir Thomas Dale, without the losse, of any except some few Salvages," took possession of the territory and provision of the tribe, made a settlement upon the former without ceremony, and called it New Bermudas! One more illustration must suffice. It is a passage of Smith's history relating to a detachment of vagabonds, under the command of one West, who left Jamestown, and located themselves not far from Powhatan's residence at the falls of the river. "But the worst was, that the poore Salvages that daily brought in their contributions to the President, that disorderly company so tormented these poore soules, by stealing their corne, robbing their gardens, beating them, breaking their houses, and keeping some prisoners, that they daily complained to Captaine Smith he had brought them for Protectors worse enemies than the Monacans themselves, which though till then for his love they had endured, they desired pardon if hereafter they defended themselves—since he would not correct them as they had long expected he would." A most reasonable determination, civilly and candidly expressed.

But, whatever may be said of the motives or method of the warfare of Powhatan, it must be acknowledged that his character appears to no disadvantage in peace. We cannot but admire the Roman dignity with which he rejected all offers of compromise, so long as the English seemed disposed to take advantage of their own wrong in the violent seizure of Pocahontas. They knew that this was his favorite child, and they presumed on the strength of his attachment. But, much as her situation troubled him, he would not sacrifice his honor so far as to negotiate for her restoration on derogatory terms. He was afflicted, but he was still more incensed. When, however, he ascertained, by sending his sons to visit her, that she was well treated, and in good health, (though, we are somewhere told, "they had heard to the contrarie,") he began to think better of the offers of peace. Then came Rolfe "to acquaint him with the businesse," and kindly he was entertained, though not admitted to the presence of Powhatan. The young gentleman explained himself, however, to the emperor's brother; and the latter promised to intercede for him, as did also the two sons. Their explanations proved successful. The emperor was not only convinced that his daughter was entertained civilly by the English, but he was pleased with the honorable intentions and touched by the passionate and tender affection of Rolfe. No sooner, therefore, did the time appointed for the marriage come to his knowledge—and no doubt Rolfe had already had the politic courtesy to apply for his consent—than he despatched three members of his own family to confirm the ceremony. "And ever since," adds the historian, "we have had friendly trade and commerce, as well with Powhatan himselfe, as all his subjects." So jealous were he and they of injustice; and so susceptible were they, at the same time, of mild and magnanimous impressions.

We find characteristic anecdotes, to the same effect, in the curious account Mr. Hamer has left on record of a visit which he paid the emperor in 1614, soon after the conclusion of peace. After some conversation upon business matters, the visitor was invited to Powhatan's own residence, where was a guard of two hundred warriors, which, (as Mr. Hamer supposes,) always attended his person. Having offered that gentleman a pipe of tobacco, he immediately inquired after the health of Sir Thomas Dale, at that time President, and then of his own daughter and her husband; wishing to know especially how these two liked each other. Hamer answered, that Sir Thomas was perfectly well; and as for Pocahontas, she was so contented, that she never would return to her father's court again if she could. Powhatan laughed heartily at this reply, and soon after asked the particular cause of Mr. Hamer's present visit. On being told it was private, he ordered his attendants to leave the house, excepting only the two females—said to have been Indian queens—who always sat by him, and then bade Mr. Hamer proceed with his message.

The latter began with saying, that he was the bearer of sundry presents from Sir Thomas Dale, which were delivered accordingly, much to the emperor's satisfaction. He then added that Sir Thomas, hearing of the fame of the emperor's youngest daughter, was desirous of obtaining her hand in marriage. He conceived, there could not be a finer bond of union between the two people, than such a connexion; and besides her sister Pocahontas was exceedingly anxious to see her at Jamestown. He hoped that Powhatan would at least oblige himself so much, as to suffer her to visit the colony when he should return.

Powhatan more than once came very near interrupting the delivery of this message. But he controlled himself and replied with great gravity to the effect, that he gladly accepted the President's salutation of love and peace, which he certainly should cherish so long as he lived; that he received with many thanks the presents sent him as pledges thereof; but that, as for his daughter he had sold her only a few days before, to a great Werowance, living at the distance of three days journey, for three bushels of Rawrenoke [Roanoke]. Hamer took the liberty to rejoin, that a prince of his greatness might no doubt recall his daughter, if he would—especially as she was only twelve years of age—and that in such a case he should receive for her from the President, three times the worth of the Roanoke, in beads, copper and hatchets.

To this Powhatan readily rejoined, that he loved his daughter as his life; and though he had many children, he delighted in her most of all. He could not live without seeing her, and that would be impossible if she went among the colonists, for he had resolved upon no account to put himself in their power, or to visit them. He therefore desired Mr. Hamer to say no more upon the subject; but to tell the President in his name. 1. That, he desired no other assurance of the President's friendship than his word which was already pledged. He had himself, on the other hand, already given such assurance in the person of Pocahontas. One was sufficient, he thought, at one time; when she died, he would substitute another in her stead. But, meanwhile, he should consider it no brotherly part to bereave him of two children at once. 2. Though he gave no pledge, the President ought not to distrust him or his people. There had been already lives enough lost on both sides; and by his fault there should never be any more. He had grown old, and desired to die peaceably. He should hardly fight even for just cause; the country was wide enough, and he would rather retreat. "Thus much," he concluded, "I hope will satisfy my brother. And so here, as you are weary and sleepy, we will end." He then ordered a supper and good lodgings for his guest, and the latter took his leave for the night.

Early the next morning, Powhatan himself visited Mr. Hunter at his lodging-place, and invited him to return to his own wigwam. There he entertained him in his handsomest manner. The time passed pleasantly, and Mr. Hamer began to feel at home. By and by came in an Englishman, one who had been surprised in a skirmish three years before at Fort Henry, and detained ever since. He was so completely savage in his complexion and dress, that Hamer only recognised him by his voice. He now asked that gentleman to obtain leave for him to return with him to the colony and the request was accordingly made, and even pressed. The emperor was vexed at length. "Mr. Hamer," said he, "you have one of my daughters, and I am content. But you cannot see one of your men with me, but you must have him away or break friendship. But take him, if you will. In that case, however, you must go home without guides [which were generally offered the English on these occasions]; and if any evil befalls you, thank yourselves."

Hamer replied that he would do so; but he would not answer for the consequences, if any accident should happen. The emperor was incensed at this, and left him; but he appeared again at supper time, feasted his guest with his best fire, and conversed cheerfully. About midnight he roused Hamer from a nap, to tell him he had concluded to let Parker (the captive) go with him in the morning. But he must remind Sir Thomas to send him, in consideration thereof ten large pieces of copper, a shaving-knife, a grindstone, a net, and sundry fish-hooks and other small matters. For fear Hamer should forget these particulars, he made him write a list of them in what the historians call a table-book, which he produced. "However he got it," [FN] says the narrator, "it was a faire one, and I desired hee would give it me." Powhatan evaded this modest request by saying that he kept it to show to strangers; but when his guest left him in the morning, he furnished him and his attendants with ample provision for his journey, gave each of them a buck's-skin, "as well dressed as could be," and sent two more to his son-in-law and-his daughter.

[FN] Probably of some English captive. Smith wrote his famous letter to Jamestown, during his first captivity, on what he calls the leaf of a table-book.

There is much matter for reflection in this simple narrative. The sagacity of Powhatan in discerning the true object of the visit, is worthy of the fearless dignity with which he exposed it. He gave little {heed?}, it would seem, to the pretext of marriage; and considering only the age of his daughter—especially as compared with the President's—there was reason enough why he should. His conjectures were undoubtedly correct, and he had some right to be offended at the jealousy which was still harbored by the colonists. Stith expressly states, that the policy of Sir Thomas was merely to obtain an additional pledge for the preservation of peace. [FN]

[FN] History, p. 133.

The affection which Powhatan here manifests for his children, his hospitality even to one who took liberties upon the strength of it, his liberality, the resolution with which he maintained peace while he still evidently distrusted the English honor, his ready evasions and intelligent reasoning, his sensibility to insult which he nevertheless thought it beneath him to resent, are all easily to be perceived in this instance, and are well worthy to be regarded among other evidences of his temper and genius.

His self-command and his chivalrous courtesy, on every former occasion, would have done no dishonor, in another country and time, to the lion-hearted monarch of England himself. In this respect he was well matched with Smith; and it is not the least interesting point in the common history of the two, to observe the singular union of suavity and energy with which both effected their purposes. Immediately after delivering the celebrated reply which he sent to Newport's proposal by Smith, the historian adds that, "many other discourses they had, (yet both content to give each other content in complimentall courtesies) and so Captain Smith returned with his answer." In the same style, when Newport came himself—perceiving his purpose was to discover and invade the Monacans—we are told that he "refused to lend him either men or guides more than Nomantack, and so after some complimentall kindnesse on both sides," he presented the disappointed captain with seven or eight bushels of corn, and wished him a pleasant journey to Jamestown. He would not suffer so brave a man as Smith to be even beheaded, without having first ordered two of his queens to serve him with water and a bunch of feathers, and then feasted him in what the victim himself considered his best barbarous manner. It is very evident there was neither fear nor hypocrisy in any of these cases.

None of the noble traits we have mentioned lose any of their charm from being connected, as they are, with the utmost simplicity of barbarism. The reader of these times, therefore, may be allowed to smile at the pertinacity with which this mighty warrior and renowned monarch insisted upon Parker's being ransomed in fish-hooks; and the solemn gravity with which he divested himself of his mantle and old shoes for the gratification and reward of Newport. The presents sent to him by Sir Thomas Dale were two pieces of copper, five strings of white and blue beads, five wooden combs, ten fish-hooks, and a pair of knives—not to mention the promise of a grindstone, whenever he should send for it—clearly a much better bargain for his daughter, had he wished to dispose of her, than the two bushels of Roanoke. The Werowances and queens of conquered nations waited upon him at his meals, as humbly as certain kings of the middle ages are said to have waited upon the Pope; but unlike his Holiness, Powhatan could make his own robes, shoes, bows, arrows, and pots, besides planting his corn for exercise, and hunting deer for amusement. The Indians generally subsisted on fish in the spring, and lived light for some months after; but "Powhatan, their great king, and some others that are provident, rost their fish and flesh vpon hurdles, and keepe it till scarce times." [FN]

[FN] Smith's account of the Natural Inhabitants of Virginia.

In fine, it would seem, that no candid person can read the history of this famous Indian, with an attentive consideration of the circumstances under which he was placed, without forming a high estimate of his character as a warrior, a statesman and a patriot. His deficiencies were those of education and not of genius. His faults were those of the people whom he governed and of the period in which he lived. His great talents, on the other hand, were his own; and these are acknowledged even by those historians who still regard him with prejudice. Stith calls him a prince of excellent sense and parts, and a great master of all the savage arts of government and policy. He adds, that he was penetrating, crafty, insidious and cruel. "But as to the great and moral arts of policy," he concludes, "such as truth, faith, uprightness and magnanimity, they seemed to have been but little heeded or regarded by him." Burk's opinion appears to us more correct. In the cant of civilisation, (says that excellent historian,) he will doubtless be branded with the epithets of tyrant and barbarian. But his title to greatness, though his opportunities were fewer, is to the full as fair as that of Tamerlane or Kowli Khan, and several others whom history has immortalized; while the proofs of his tyranny are by no means so clear. Still, it might have been as reasonable to say, that there are no such proofs in being. The kind of martial law which the emperor sometimes exercised over his own subjects, was not only a matter of custom, founded on the necessity which must always exist among ignorant men; but it was a matter of license, which had grown into constitutional law, by common consent. It has been justly observed, that there is no possibility of a true despotism under an Indian government. It is reason that governs,—nominally at least—and the authority is only the more effectual as the obedience is more voluntary.


The family of Powhatan—His successor—Sequel of the history of Pocahontas—Her acts of kindness to the colonists at various times, and especially to Smith—His gratitude—Her civilisation, and instruction in Christianity—Her visit to England in 1616—Reception at Court—Interview with Smith—His memorial respecting her to Queen Anne—Her death and character—Her descendants.

The family of Powhatan was numerous and influential. Two sons and two daughters have already been mentioned. There were also three brothers younger than himself; and upon them successively, according to their several ages, custom seems to have required that the government should devolve after his own death. The eldest, Opitchipan, [FN] accordingly succeeded him, in form at least. But this prince was an inactive and unambitious man—owing in some degree perhaps to his being decrepit; and he was soon thrown into the shade by the superior energy and talent of Opechancanough, who before many years engrossed in fact the whole power of the government. Of the younger brother, Kekataugh, scarcely any thing is known. He probably died before any opportunity occurred of signalizing himself in a public station. The sequel of the history of Opechancanough is well worthy of being dwelt upon at some length; but previously, the order of time requires us to devote a share of attention to the fortunes of his celebrated niece, Pocahontas.

[FN] By various writers called Itopatin, Itoyatin, Oetan, Opitchipan, Toyatan—a characteristic instance of the uncertainty which attends the orthography of Indian proper names. One cause is in the custom of changing the name upon great occasions. Opitchipan himself after his accession was called Sasawpen; and Opechancanough, Mangopesomen.

This beautiful and amiable woman, whom John Smith, in the excess of his admiration, styles "the Numpareil of Virginia," has been distinguished in modern times, chiefly, by that single extraordinary act of courage and humanity to which the gallant historian was indebted for the preservation of his life. But this was by no means the only evidence of these noble qualities which history has preserved. Her name indeed is scarcely once mentioned by the most ancient chronicles of the colony, except in terms of high eulogy, and generally in connexion also with some substantial facts going strongly to justify the universal partiality with which her memory is regarded to these times.

In the earliest and most gloomy days of the settlement, immediately after Smith's return from his captivity, the liberal and thoughtful kindness of Pocahontas went very far to cheer the desponding hearts of the colonists, as well as to relieve their actual necessities. She came into Jamestown with her attendants once in every four or five days, for a long time; and brought with her supplies of provisions, by which many lives are stated to have been saved. This will appear more fully from an ancient document which we shall hereafter transcribe at length.

When Smith was absent upon one of his Indian expeditions, emergencies occurred at Jamestown which rendered his presence extremely desirable. But not a man could be found who dared venture to carry a message to him from the council. He was known to be environed by enemies, and the hostility and power of Powhatan were at that period subjects of the most exaggerated apprehension. One Richard Wyffin at last undertook the hazardous enterprise. Encountering many dangers and difficulties, he reached the residence of Powhatan, a day or two after Smith had left it for Pamunkey. He found that great preparations for war were going on among the Powhatans; and he soon became himself the object of suspicion. His life undoubtedly would have paid the forfeit of his rashness, had not Pocahontas, who knew his perilous situation even better than himself, concealed him, and thwarted and embarrassed the search of the savages who pursued him, so that "by her means and extraordinary bribes and much trouble in three days travell," as history says, "at length he found vs in the middest of these turmoyles," (at Jamestown.)

Her conduct was the same after Smith's departure for England. Of the thirty men who accompanied Ratcliffe when he was massacred by the Indians, only one escaped to the colony, and one was rescued by Pocahontas. This was a boy named Henry Spilman, who subsequently was restored to his friends, [FN-1] and from the knowledge of Indian languages which he obtained during his residence with the Patowomekes proved highly serviceable as an interpreter. Smith himself was more than once under obligations to the princess for his personal safety. We have alluded to that occasion when he quartered, over night, near the residence of her father. "Pocahontas, his dearest iewell and daughter, in that darke night came through the irksome woods, and told our Captaine great cheare should be sent vs by and by; but Powhatan and all the power he could make, would after come kill vs all, if they that brought it could not kill vs with our owne weapons, when we were at supper. Therefore if we would liue, she wished vs presently to be gone. Such things as she delighted in, he would haue giuen her; but with the teares running downe her cheekes, she said she durst not be seen to haue any, for if Powhatan should know it, she were but dead, and so she ran away by herself as she came." [FN-2] What an affecting instance of the most delicate tenderness mingled with the loftiest courage.

[FN-1] He was destined, however, to die at last by the hands of the savages, in 1623.

[FN-2] Smith's History.

It would have been strange indeed, if Smith, with all his passionate chivalry, had been insensible of these repeated kindnesses. Even Powhatan had too good an opinion of him to suppose so, for he had the sagacity to rely upon his gratitude for political purposes. When some of the emperor's subjects were taken prisoners by Smith, (although peace was nominally existing,) and forced to confess that Powhatan had employed them to work mischief against the colony, the latter "sent messengers, and his dearest daughter Pocahontas," with presents, to make apologies for the past, and promises for the future. Smith, on the other hand, (who understood as well as any one, the part of a gentleman,) after giving the prisoners such correction as he deemed necessary, treated them well for a day or two, and then delivered them to Pocahontas, "for whose sake onely he fayned to have saued their liues, and gaue them libertie." The emperor was paid for this ingenuity in his own coin, when the colonists, in 1613, took the princess herself captive, relying on the well-known strength of his attachment to her, as the surest means of procuring peace.

Her subsequent history may be soon told. Rolfe had become ardently enamoured of her beauty, and he used the fortunate occasion of her stay in the colony—perhaps was active in bringing it on—to procure the intercession of the President in his behalf. Pocahontas cherished similar feelings towards himself and when her brothers came to visit her she made one of them her confidant. Rolfe gained information of her sentiments, and thus was emboldened to prosecute his suit with a spirit worthy of the success which it met with. The parties married. In the course of a year or two, the young bride became quite an adept in the English language and manners, and was well instructed in the doctrines-of Christianity. She was entitled by her new acquaintances the Lady Rebecca.

In 1616, she and her husband accompanied Sir Thomas Dale to England. King James, (that anointed pedant, as Stith calls him,) is said to have been offended with Rolfe for his presumption in marrying the daughter of a king—a crowned head, too, it will be recollected.—He might have thought, perhaps, following up his own principles, that the offspring of the marriage would be fairly entitled to succeed Powhatan in his dominion. But the affair passed off, with some little murmuring; and Pocahontas herself was received at Court, by both the King and Queen, with the most flattering marks of attention. Lord de la War, and his lady, and many other courtiers of rank, followed the royal example. The princess was gratified by the kindness shown to her; and those who entertained her, on the other hand, were unanimously of opinion, as Smith expresses himself; that they had seen many English ladies worse-favored, proportioned and behaviored.

The captain was at this time in England; and although upon the eve of leaving that country on a voyage to New England, he delayed his departure for the purpose of using every possible means in his power of introducing the princess to advantage. A memorial which he draughted with his own hand, and sent in to the Queen, is supposed to have had no little influence at Court. It is well worth transcribing, both as a curiosity of style, and as a document of authentic history. It reads thus:

"To the most high and vertuous Princess Queene Anne of Great Britain:

"Most admired Queene,

"The loue I beare my God, my King and Countrie hath so oft emboldened mee in the worst of extreme danger, that now honestie doth constraine mee presume thus farre beyond myselfe, to present your Maiestie this short discourse. If ingratitude be a deadly poyson to all honest vertues, I must be guiltie of that crime if I should omit any meanes to be thankful. So it is,

"That some ten yeeres agoe, being in Virginia, and taken prisoner by the power of Powhatan their chiefe King, I received from this great Salvage exceeding great courtesie, especially from his sonne Nantaguans, the most manliest, comeliest, boldest spirit I euer saw in a salvage; and his sister Pocahontas, the King's most deare and well-beloued daughter, being but a childe of twelue or thirteene yeeres of age, whose compassionate pitifull heart, of desperate estate, gaue mee much cause to respect her; I being the first christian this proud King and his grim attendants euer saw; and thus inthralled in their barbarous power, I cannot say I felt the least occasion of want that was in the power of those my mortall foes to preuent, notwithstanding al their threats.

"After some sixe weeks fatting among these Salvage Courtiers, at the minute of my execution, she hazarded the beating out of her owne braines to saue mine, but not onely that, but so preuailed with her father, that I was safely conducted to Iames-towne, where I found about eight and thirtie miserable poore and sicke creatures, to keepe possession of al those large territories of Virginia; such was the weaknesse of this poore commonwealth, as had the salvages not fed us, we directly had starued.

"And this reliefe, most Gracious Queens, was commonly brought vs by this Lady Pocahontas, Notwithstanding al these passages, when inconstant fortune, turned our peace to warre, this tender Virgin would still not spare to dare to visit vs, and by her our iarres haue been oft appeased, and our wants still supplyed. Were it the policie of her father thus to imploy her, or the ordinance of God thus to make her his instrument, or her extraordinarie affection to our nation, I know not. But of this I am sure; when her father, with the utmost of his policie and power, sought to surprise mee, hauing but eighteene with mee, the darke night could not affright her from comming through the irkesome woods, and with watered eies gaue me intilligence, with her best aduice, to escape his furie; which had hee knowne, he had surely slaine her.

"Iames-toune, with her wild traine, she as freely frequented as her father's habitation; and during the time of two or three yeeres, she next under God, was still the instrument to preserve this colonie from death, famine and utter confusion, which if in those times had once been disolued, Virginia might haue line as it was at our first arrivall to this day.

"Since then, this businesse hauing beene turned and varied by many accidents from that I left it at, it is most certaine, after a long and troublesome warre after my departure, betwixt her father and our colonie, at which time shee was not heard off, about two yeeres after she her selfe was taken prisoner. Being so detained neere two yeeres longer, the colonie by that means was relieued, peace concluded, and at last reiecting her barbarous condition, shee was maried to an English gentleman, with whom at this present shee is in England; the first Christian euer of that nation, the first Virginian euer spake English, or had a childe in marriage by an Englishman. A matter, surely, if my meaning bee truly considered and well vnderstood, worthy a Prince's vnderstanding.

"Thus, most Gracious Lady, I have related to your Maiestie, what at your best leasure our approued Histories will account you at large, and done in the time of your Maiestie's life; and howeuer this might bee presented you from a more worthy pen, it cannot from a more honest heart. As yet I neuer begged any thing of the state, or any, and it is my want of abilitie and her exceeding desert, your birth meanes and authoritie, her birth, vertue, want and simplicitie, doth make mee thus bold, humbly to beseech your Maiestie to take this knowledge of her, though it bee from one so vnworthy to be the reporter as my selfe, her husband's estate not being able to make her fit to attend your Maiestie. The most and least I can doe is to tell you this, because none so oft hath tried it as my selfe; and the rather being of so great a spirit, howeuer her stature.

"If shee should not be well recieued, seeing this kingdom may rightly haue a kingdom by her meanes, her present loue to vs and christianitie might turne to such scorne and furie, as to diuert al this good to the worst of euill; where [whereas] finding so great a Queene should doe her some honor more than she can imagine, for being so kinde to your seruants and subjects, would so rauish her with content, as endeare her dearest blood to effect that your Maiestie and al the King's honest subjects most earnestly desire. And so I humbly kisse your gracious hands."

The final interview between the gallant and generous writer of this memorial and the princess who was the subject of it, is an occasion too interesting to be passed over without notice. She had been told that Smith, whom she had not seen for many years, was dead; but why this information was given her, does not appear. Perhaps it was to make his appearance the more gratifying. Possibly, Master Rolfe, in the heat of his passion, during the critical period of courtship had deemed it advisable and justifiable to answer, to this effect, the anxious inquiries she would naturally make after Smith, especially during her confinement at Jamestown. But whatever the reason was, the shock of the first meeting had nearly overwhelmed her. She was staying at Brentford, after her visit to London, having retired thither to avoid the noise and smoke of the metropolis, which she was far from enjoying. Smith was announced and soon after made his appearance. She saluted him—modestly, he says himself; and coolly, according to some other writers—and then turning away from him, she covered her face, and seemed to be too much discomposed for conversation.

Undoubtedly she was deeply affected with a multitude of conflicting emotions, not the least of which was a just indignation on account of the imposition which the English had practised upon her. For two or three hours she was left to her own meditations. At the end of that time, after much entreaty, she was prevailed upon to converse; and this point "once gained, the politeness and kindness of her visitant and her own sweetness of disposition, soon renewed her usual vivacity."

In the course of her remarks she called Smith her Father. That appellation, as bestowed by a King's daughter, was too, much for the captain's modesty, and he informed her to that effect. But she could not understand his reasoning upon the subject. "Ah!" she said—after recounting some of the ancient courtesies which had passed between them—"you did promise Powhatan that what was yours should be his, and hee the like to you. You called him Father, being in his land a stranger; and by the same reason so must I doe you." Smith still expressed himself unworthy of that distinction, and she went on. "Were you not afraid to come into my father's countrie, and caused fear in him and all his people—but mee—and fear you I should here call you father? I tell you then I will; and you must call mee childe, and then I will bee foreuer and euer your country-woman." She assured Smith, that she had been made to believe he was dead, and that Powhatan himself had shared in that delusion. To ascertain the fact, however, to a certainty, that crafty barbarian had directed an Indian, who attended her to England, to make special inquiries. This was Tomocomo, one of the emperor's chief counselors, and the husband of his daughter Matachanna—perhaps the same who had been demanded in marriage by Sir Thomas Dale, in 1614.

It is the last and saddest office of history to record the death of this incomparable woman, in about the two-and-twentieth year of her age. This event took place at Gravesend, where she was preparing to embark for Virginia, with her husband, and the child mentioned in Smith's memorial. They were to have gone out with Captain Argall, who sailed early in 1617; and the treasurer and council of the colony had made suitable accommodations for them on board the admiral-ship. But, in the language of Smith, it pleased God to take this young lady to his mercy. He adds, that she made not more sorrow for her unexpected death, than joy to the beholders, to hear and see her make so religious and godly an end. Stith also, records that she died, as she had long lived, a most sincere and pious Christian. The expression of a later historian is, that her death was a happy mixture of Indian fortitude and Christian submission, affecting all those who saw her by the lively and edifying picture of piety and virtue, which marked her latter moments. [FN]

[FN] Burk's Virginia, Vol. I.

The same philosophic writer, in his general observations upon the character of Pocahontas, has justly remarked, that, considering all concurrent circumstances, it is not surpassed by any in the whole range of, history; and that for those qualities more especially which do honor to our nature—a humane and feeling heart, an ardor and unshaken constancy in her attachments—she stands almost without a rival. She gave evidence, indeed, of possessing in a high degree every attribute of mind and heart, which should be and has been the ornament and pride of civilized woman in all countries and times. Her unwearied kindness to the English was entirely disinterested; she knew that it must be so when she encountered danger and weariness, and every kind of opposition and difficulty, to bestow it, seasonably, on the objects of her noble benevolence. It was delicate, too, in the mode of bestowment. No favor was expected in return for it, and yet no sense of obligation was permitted to mar the pleasure which it gave. She asked nothing of Smith in recompense for whatever she had done, but the boon of being looked upon as his child. Of her character as a princess, evidence enough has already been furnished. Her dignity, her energy, her independence, and the dauntless courage which never deserted her for a moment, were worthy of Powhatan's daughter.

Indeed, it has been truly said that, well authenticated as is the history of Pocahontas, there is ground for apprehension that posterity will be disposed to regard her story as a romance. "It is not even improbable," says Burk, "that considering every thing relating to herself and Smith as a mere fiction, they may vent their spleen against the historian for impairing the interest of his plot by marrying the princess of Powhatan to a Mr. Rolfe, of whom nothing had been previously said, in defiance of all the expectations raised by the foregoing parts of the fable."

Young Rolfe, her only offspring was left at Plymouth, England, under the care of Sir Lewis Steukley, who undertook to direct his education—his tender years making it inexpedient to remove him to Virginia. As that gentleman was soon after completely beggared and disgraced by the part which he took in the proceedings against Sir Walter Raleigh, the tuition of Rolfe passed into the hands of his uncle, Henry Rolfe of London. He became in after years a man of eminence and fortune in Virginia, and inherited a considerable tract of land which had belonged to Powhatan. At his death he left an only daughter, who was married to Col. Robert Bolling. By him she had an only son, who was father to Col. John Bolling, (well known to many now living;) and several daughters married to Col. Richard Randolph, Col. John Fleming, Dr. William Gay, Mr. Thomas Eldridge and Mr. James Murray. This genealogy is taken from Stith; and he shows with sufficient minuteness, that this remnant of the imperial family of Virginia, which long survived in a single person, had branched out into a very numerous progeny, even as early as 1747. The Hon. John Randolph of Roanoke is, if we mistake not, a lineal descendant of the princess in the sixth degree.


Sequel of the history of Opechancanough—Renewal, by him and Opitchipan, of the treaty of peace—Finesse by which he extended his dominion over the Chickahominies—Preparations for War—Causes of it—Profound dissimulation under which his hostility was concealed—Indian custom of making Conjurers—Manœuvres against the English interest—The great massacre of 1622; circumstances and consequences of it—Particular occasion which led to it—Character and death of Nemattanow—Details of the war subsequent to the massacre—Truce broken by the English—New exertions of Opechancanough—Battle of Pamunkey—Peace of 1632—Massacre of 1641—Capture of Opechancanough by the English—His death and character.

Captain Argall brought out from England, among other things, a variety of presents for Opechancanough, who seems now to have been, notwithstanding that Powhatan was still living, the chief object of the colony's apprehension and regard. He lamented as the Indians did universally, the untimely fate of their favorite princess; but he also expressed himself satisfied with the care which had been taken of her son. Argall sent messengers to him immediately on his arrival at Jamestown; and the chieftain paid him a visit, and received his presents. Tomocomo, who returned with Argall, had conceived a dislike for Sir Thomas Dale, and he railed violently against him in particular, as he did against the English in general; but Opechancanough either was or affected to be convinced, that his anger and his accusations were equally groundless. On the death of Powhatan, in 1618, both himself and his royal brother Opitchipan renewed the ancient league of the emperor with the English; under the protection of which, we are told, every man peaceably followed his building and planting without any remarkable accidents or interruption. [FN]

[FN] Stith.

A transaction which occurred in 1616, furnishes the best comment we can give upon the character of Opechancanough. It appears, that President Yeardly at that time undertook to relieve the necessities of the colony by collecting tribute of the Chickahominies. But for some reason or other, that warlike people refused to pay it; and even sent him an answer to his demand, which he construed into an affront. He therefore called upon them, soon after, with a company of one hundred soldiers, well armed. Some threatening and bravado ensued on both sides, and a regular battle was the speedy consequence. The Indians were defeated, and as Yeardly was returning to Jamestown with his spoil, Opechancanough met him, and artfully effected an agreement with him, that he (Yeardly) would make no peace with the Chickahominies without his consent. He then went to that tribe, and pretended that, he had, with great pains and solicitation, procured a peace for them. To requite this immense service, as it was now considered, they cheerfully proclaimed him King of their nation, and flocked from all quarters with presents of beads and copper. From this time he was content to be entitled the King of Chickahominy; and thus was subjected to him, with their own free consent, a brave and resolute people, who had successfully resisted, for many years, the power of every savage and civilized foe.

The English historians generally agree in representing Opechancanough as an inveterate enemy of the English from first to last. Such may have been the case; and he might have had what appeared to him reason and occasion enough for his hostility. The character of many of the colonists was but too well calculated to thwart the best intentions on the part of the government, however peaceable and just might be their theory of Indian intercourse. The discontent of Tomocomo might have its effect, too, and especially among the mass of his countrymen. The pledge of harmony which had existed in the person of Pocahontas was forgotten. But above all, Opechancanough was too shrewd a man not to perceive, in the alarming disproportion which was daily showing itself between the power of the English and the Indians of Virginia—independently of particular provocations—a sure indication of the necessity of a new system of defence.

Subsequent events confirm this conjecture. No better preparation for a war could have been made on the chieftain's part, than he effected in the submission of the Chickahominies. It is not unlikely that he himself instigated, through his satellites, the very insolence whereby they drew upon themselves that severe chastisement from the colony, which increased his own influence over them as much as it aggravated their hostility to the English. We find that, in 1618, they committed several outrages of a most flagrant character; and although Opechancanough, who was applied to for satisfaction, promised to send in the heads of the offenders, this was never done, and it may be questioned, whether he was not privy to, or perhaps the chief author and contriver of the whole affair. At all events, historians represent, that his regal authority over the tribe was thereby "firmly riveted and established."

Still, not only had the artful chieftain given no open cause of offence or evidence of hostility; but he absolutely succeeded, as we have seen, in completely quieting the suspicions of the colonists. In 1620, indeed, we find it recorded in the journal of Mr. Rolfe, that "now Opechankanough will not come at vs; that causes vs suspect his former promises." But this little uneasiness was wholly done away, on the arrival of Sir Francis Wyatt, the successor of Yeardly, in 1621. That gentleman immediately sent messengers to Opechancanough and Opitchipan, who both expressed great satisfaction at the accession of the new President, and cheerfully renewed their former leagues with the colony. The former also declared himself pleased with the idea of the English inhabiting the country. He proposed, by way of amalgamating the two nations, that some of the white families should settle among his people, while some of his should settle at Jamestown. A former promise was confirmed, of sending a guide with the English to certain mines represented to be situated above the falls. Nay, so far was the deception carried, that "Mr. Thorpe [the chief messenger] thought he perceived more motions of religion in Opechancanough than could easily be imagined, in so great ignorance and blindness. He acknowledged his own religion not to be the right way; and desired to be instructed in the Christian faith. He confessed that God loved the English better than them, and he thought the cause of God's anger was their custom of conjuring their children, and making them black boys." [FN]

[FN] Allusion seems to be made here to a custom which is sufficiently singular to deserve some description. Smith calls it a yearly sacrifice of children. A ceremony of the kind which was performed near Jamestown may best be described in his own words. "Fifteene of the properest young boyes betweene ten and fifteene yeeres of age, they paynted white. Hauing brought them forth, the people spent the forenoone in dauncing and singing about them with rattles. In the afternoone they put those children to the roote of a tree. By them all the men stood in a guard, each hauing a Bastinado in his hand, made of reeds bound together. This made a lane betweene them all along, through which there were appointed fiue young men to fetch these children. So euery one of the fiue went through the guard to fetch a childe, each after other by turnes, the guard firecely beating them with their Bastinadoes, and they patiently enduring and receiuing all, defending the children with their naked bodies from the vnmerciful blowes, that pay them soundly, tho' the children escape. All this while, the women weepe and cry out very passionately, prouiding mats, skinnes, mosse and dry wood, as things fitting their childrens' funerals. After the children were thus passed the guard, the guard tore down the trees, branches and boughs, with such violence that they rent the body, and made wreaths for their heads, or bedecked their hayre with the leaues. What els was done with the children was not seene, but they were all cast on a heape in a valley as dead, where they made a great feast for all the company. The Werowance being demanded the meaning of this sacrifice, answered that the children were not all dead, but that the Okee or Divill did sucke the bloode from their left breast, who chanced to be his by lot, till they were dead; but the rest were kept in the wildernesse by the young men till nine months were expired, during which time they must not converse with any, and of these were made their Priests and Coniurors." Master Pory says, in his Observations that the Accomacks were a civil and tractable people: "nor doe they vse that deuillish custome in making Black Boyes."

It must have been about this time that Opechancanough took the trouble to send some of his men to a sachem on the eastern shore, for a quantity of poison, peculiar to that region, and which he wished to use in his operations against the English. [FN] This may have been the true object of the embassy; and it may also have been but a cover for sounding the disposition of the eastern tribes towards the colony. Accordingly, it is recorded in the "Observations of Master Iohn Pory, secretarie of Virginia, in his travels," that Namenacus, the Sachem of Pawtuxent, made an application to the colony, in 1621, for the privilege of trading with them. This request was so far attended to, that the English promised to visit him within six weeks. Now it seems that their commerce with the Indians at this period was mostly carried on by the aid of one Thomas Salvage, an interpreter, and the same man whom Smith had left with Powhatan fourteen years before. The visit took place according to promise, and it was then ascertained that Opechancanough had employed one of his Indians to kill Salvage. The pretence was, "because he brought the trade from him to the easterne shore." The truth probably was, that the chieftain was jealous of the English influence among the tribes of that region.

[FN] Stith.

But the storm which had been gathering ever since the death of the emperor, was at length ready to burst upon the devoted colony. Opechancanough had completed every preparation which the nature of things permitted on his part; and nothing remained, but to strike the great blow which he intended should utterly extinguish the English settlements forever. The twenty-second day of March, 1622—an era but too memorable in Virginian history—was selected for the time; and a certain hour agreed upon, to ensure a simultaneous assault in every direction. The various tribes engaged in the conspiracy were drawn together, and stationed in the vicinity of the several places of massacre, with a celerity and precision unparalleled in the annals of the continent. Although some of the detachments had to march from great distances, and through a continued forest, guided only by the stars and moon, no single instance of disorder or mistake is known to have happened. One by one, they followed each other in profound silence, treading as nearly as possible in each other's steps, and adjusting the long grass and branches which they displaced. [FN] They halted at short distances from the settlements, and waited in death-like stillness before the signal of attack.

[FN] Burk.

That was to be given by their fellow-savages, who had chosen the same morning for visiting the different plantations, in considerable numbers, for the purpose of ascertaining their strength and precise situation, and at the same time preventing any suspicion of the general design. This, it should be observed, had recently become too habitual a practice with the Indians, to excite suspicion of itself. The peace was supposed to be inviolable. The savages were well known to be in no condition for a war; and had shown no disposition for one. The English, therefore, while they supplied them generally with whatever they asked for, upon fair terms, neglected to prepare themselves for defence. They were so secure, that a sword or a firelock was rarely to be met with in a private dwelling. Most of their plantations were seated in a scattered and straggling manner, as a water-privilege or a choice vein of rich land invited them; and indeed it was generally thought, the further from neighbors, the better. The Indians were daily received into their houses, fed at their tables, and lodged in their bedchambers; and boats were even lent them previous to the twenty-second, as they passed backwards and forwards for the very purpose of completing the plan, of extirpation.

The hour being come, the savages, knowing exactly in what spot every Englishman was to be found, rose upon them at once. The work of death was commenced, and they spared neither sex nor age, man, woman nor child. Some entered the houses under color of trade. Others drew the owners abroad upon various pretences; while the rest fell suddenly on such as were occupied in their several labors. So quick was the execution, that few perceived the weapon or blow which despatched them. And thus, in one hour and almost at the same instant, fell three hundred and forty-seven men, women and children; most of them by their own arms, and all, (as Stith observes,) by the hands of a naked and timid people, who durst not stand the presenting of a staff in the manner of a firelock, in the hands of a woman.

Those who had sufficient warning to make resistance, saved their lives. Nathaniel Causie an old soldier of Captain Smith's, though cruelly wounded, cleaved down one of his assailants with an axe; upon which the whole party who had surrounded him fled, and he escaped. At another place, two men held possession of a house against sixty Indians. At Warrasqueake, a Mr. Baldwin, whose wife was so badly wounded that she lay for dead, by repeatedly discharging his musket drove off the enemy, and saved both her and himself. Ralph Hamer, the historian, defended himself in his house, successfully, with spades, axes and brickbats. One small family, living near Martin's Hundred, where as many as seventy-three of the English were slain, not only escaped the massacre, but never heard any thing of it until two or three days afterwards. Jamestown and some of the neighboring places were saved by the disclosure of a Christian Indian named Chanco, who was confidentially informed of the design by his brother, on the morning of the 22d.

Such was the evidence which Opechancanough gave of his deep-rooted hatred of the English. And yet, such was his profound dissimulation, that so late as the middle of March, he treated a messenger sent to him from the President with the utmost civility, assuring him he held the peace so firm, that the sky would fall sooner than it should be violated on his part. Mr. Thorpe, an excellent man, who had taken a peculiar interest in christianizing the Indians, supposed that he had gained the especial favor of Opechancanough by building him a very neat house after the English fashion; in which he took such pleasure, as to lock and unlock his door a hundred times a day. [FN] He seemed also to be pleased with the discourse and company of Mr. Thorpe, and expressed a desire to requite some of his kindness. Nevertheless, the body of this unfortunate man was found among the slain. Only two days before the massacre, the Indians guided a party of the English through the woods, and sent home one who had lived among them to learn their language. On the very morning of the fatal day, as also the evening before, they came, as at other times, unarmed into the houses of the English, with deer, turkeys, fish, fruits and other things to sell; and in some places sat down to breakfast with the same persons whom they rose up to tomahawk.

[FN] Stith.

The particular occasion—as the historians consider it—of the conspiracy, is too characteristic to be omitted. There was a noted Indian, named Nemattanow, who was wont, out of vanity or some unaccountable humor, to dress himself up with feathers in a most barbarously fantastic manner. This habit obtained for him among the English the name of Jack-of-the-feather. He was renowned among his countrymen both for courage and cunning; and was esteemed the greatest war-captain of those times. But, what was most remarkable, although he had been in many skirmishes and engagements with the English, he had always escaped without a wound. From this accident, seconded by his own ambition and craft, he obtained at length the reputation of being invulnerable and immortal.

Early in 1622, Nemattanow came to the house of one Morgan, who kept and sold a variety of well-selected commodities for the use of the Indians. Smitten with a strong desire to obtain some of them, Nemattanow persuaded Morgan to accompany him to Pamunkey, on the assurance of an advantageous traffic at that place. On the way, he is supposed to have murdered the trader. Within two or three days, he returned again to the house of his victim where were only two stout young men, servants of Morgan, at home. They, observing that he wore their master's cap on his head, inquired after him; and Jack told them frankly he was dead.

Confirmed in their previous suspicions by this declaration, they seized him, and endeavored to carry him before Mr. Thorpe, who lived at a neighboring settlement. But their prisoner troubled them so much by his resistance, and withal provoked them so intolerably by his bravadoes, that they finally shot him down, and put him into a boat, in order to convey him the remaining seven or eight miles of the way. But the Indian soon grew faint; and finding himself surprised by the pangs of death, he requested his captors to stop. In his last moments he most earnestly besought of them two great favors; first, never to make it known that he was killed by a bullet; and secondly, to bury him among the English, that the certain knowledge and monument of his mortality might still be concealed from the sight of his countrymen. So strong was the ruling passion in death.

Opechancanough was so far from being a particular friend of Nemattanow that he had given the President to understand, by a messenger, sometime before the transaction just related, that he should consider it a favor in him, if he would take measures to have Jack despatched. The popularity of the war-captain was the only reason why he forbore to take such measures himself. Nevertheless, with a consummate wiliness he availed himself of this same popularity, on the death of his rival—as Jack seems to have been—the better to inflame and exasperate the Indians against the whites. He affected to be excessively grieved at his death, and for sometime was unusually loud in his declarations of resentment and his threats of revenge. A messenger came from the President, to ascertain what was intended by these demonstrations of hostility, and again all was quiet as before; nothing could induce the Sachem to violate the vast regard which he had always entertained for the English. About the same time he gave them liberty, by negotiation, to seat themselves any where on the shores of the rivers, within his dominions, where the natives had no villages. The treaty he had already made for the discovery of mines, as well as for mutual friendship and defence, was at his request engraven on a brass plate, and fastened to one of the largest oaks growing upon his territories, that it might be had always in remembrance. [FN]

[FN] Belknap's Am. Biog. p. 64, Vol. II.

For several years after the massacre, a war was waged between the colonists and the savages, so inveterate and ferocious as to transmit a mutual abhorrence and prejudice to the posterity of both. The former obtained at this period the name of the Long-Knives, by which they were distinguished to a very late day in the hieroglyphic language of the natives. Every precaution and preparation was taken and made upon both sides, in view of a desperate conflict. Orders were issued by the government, from time to time, directing a general vigilance and caution against the enemy who now engrossed all thought; and especially prohibiting the waste of arms and ammunition. The remnants of the settlements were drawn together into a narrower compass. Of eighty plantations all were abandoned but six, which lay contiguous at the lower part of James river; and three or four others, of which the owners or overseers, refusing to obey public orders, intrenched themselves, and mounted cannon for their own separate defence. [FN]

[FN] Purchas V. 1792.

A considerable space of territory between the Virginians and the savage tribes, was wasted with fire, for the sole purpose of laying bare the stealthy approaches of the enemy, who, under cover of the long grass and underwood, and the gigantic shield of the oak and cypress, had heretofore been able to advance unperceived, and rise up in attack almost from under the very feet of the English. But even a boundary of fire could not always restrain the fury, nor elude the skill, of the Indians. Wisely content with short and sudden incursions, for plunder and revenge rather than conquest, they frequently succeeded in carrying off the corn and cattle of the colonists, and sometimes their persons into captivity. They were themselves, on the other hand, hunted like beasts of prey. No prisoners were made; no quarter was given.

From the time of the massacre, Opechancanough seems no longer to have taken the least trouble to conceal his hostility. He returned a haughty answer to the first demand, made upon him for the redemption of the English captives; and trampled under foot the picture of the English monarch, which was sent to him as a compliment. Late in 1622, when Captain Croshaw was trading on the Potomac, with the only tribe which was now willing to carry on commerce, he had scarcely landed from his vessel, when a messenger arrived from Opechancanough to Japazaws, (king of the Patowomekes,) bearing two baskets of beads as a royal present, and soliciting the king to murder his new visitants on the spot. He was assured, that whether he did his part or not, before the end of two moons, there should not be an Englishman left in the whole country. Japazaws first disclosed the message to his guest; and then, after thinking and talking of it two days, made answer that the English were his friends, and Opitchipan (the Powhatan emperor) his brother; and therefore there should be no more blood shed between them by his means. The beads were returned by the messenger.

After this, the colonists had their season of success; and more Indians are said to have been slain during the autumn and winter of 1622-3, than had ever before fallen by the hands of the English, since the settlement of Jamestown. [FN] But the course adopted by the civilized party sufficiently indicates the desperate state of their affairs. They availed themselves of a stratagem worse than barbarous in its principle, however circumstances might be supposed in this case to justify it. A peace was offered to the enemy and accepted; but just as the corn which the latter were thus induced to plant, was beginning to grow ripe, the English fell upon them in all directions at a given hour of an appointed day, killed many, and destroyed a vast quantity of provisions. Several of the greatest war-captains were among the slain; and for sometime Opechancanough himself was reported to be one. This rumor alone, so long as believed, was equal to a victory; "for against him," says the historian, "was this stratagem chiefly laid."

[FN] Stith.

Such language furnishes evidence enough of the apprehension which his movements and reputation had excited. But he gave more substantial reasons for the respect which he still wrested from his enemy, by his prowess. A battle took place at his own village of Pamunkey, in 1625, in which the main body of the savages numbered eight hundred bow-men, independently of detachments from remote tribes; and though the English, led on by Governor Wyatt in person, succeeded in driving the enemy from the field, they were unable to pursue them even as far as Matapony. That town was their principal depot and rallying point, and the acknowledged inability to reach it, though but four miles distant, proves that the battle was by no means decisive. It appears from this affair, too, that all the efforts of the English, during an inveterate war of three years, had not driven the tribes even from the neighborhood of their own settlements. What was more discouraging, Opechancanough was not to be deceived a second time by the arts of diplomacy. In 1628, the governor's proclamation, which announced the appointment of commissioners to negotiate with the enemy, declared expressly an intention to repeat the stratagem of 1622; [FN] but the plan failed of success, and the Pamunkies and Chickahominies—most immediately under the influence of Opechancanough—were more troublesome at this period than ever before.

[FN] Ancient Records of Virginia.

Four years afterwards, the same tribes made an irruption so furious and alarming, that every twentieth man was despatched, under the command of the governor, to parley with them—a term in the records which shows forcibly, as Burk observes, the respect this brave people had inspired. But Opechancanough was still implacable; and when, in the course of 1632, a peace was at last formally concluded, so little dependence was placed on that circumstance, that even while the commissioners on both sides were adjusting the preliminaries, a proclamation was issued, forbidding the colonists either to parley or trade with the Indians.

This truce or treaty was understood to be on both sides a temporary expedient; but the chieftain was the first to take advantage of it. During nine years he remained quietly making his preparations for the conflict which his sagacity told him must some day or other be renewed. The hour at length arrived. The colony was involved in dissensions. Insurrections had taken place. The governor was unpopular, and the people were unprepared and heedless. Opechancanough lost not a moment in concerting measures for effecting at a single blow the bloody, but in his bosom noble design, which had engrossed the solicitude and labor of so large a part of his life.

He was now advanced in years, but his orders were conveyed with electric rapidity to the remotest tribes of the great confederacy associated under his influence. With the five nearest his own location, and most completely under his control, he resolved to make the principal onset in person. The more distant stations were assigned to the leading chiefs of the several nations; and thus the system of a war that raged from the mouth of the Chesapeake to the heads of all the great rivers, which flow into it, was so simple as to render confusion impossible. The whole force was let loose upon the entire line of the English settlements at nearly the same instant of time. Five hundred persons perished in the massacre. [FN] Many others were carried into captivity. The habitations, corn, household utensils, instruments of farming, every thing essential to comfort, and almost every thing necessary to life, was consumed by fire. But for circumstances in the situation of the settlements, over which Opechancanough had no control, and which he could not guard against, the fate of Virginia had been decided by this single blow.

[FN] Beverly's History, p. 49.

As it was, every other labor and thought were suspended in the terrors of an Indian war. The loom was abandoned. The plough was left in its furrow. All who were able to bear arms were embodied as a militia for the defence of the colony; and a chosen body, comprising every twentieth man, marched into the enemy's country under Governor Berkeley's personal command. The operations of the war, which raged thenceforth without any intermission until the death of Opechancanough—and that alone was expected to end it—are detailed by no historian. The early Virginian records which remain in manuscript are altogether silent respecting this period; and the meagre relation of Beverly is the only chronicle which has survived the ravages of time. This circumstance of itself sufficiently indicates the confusion and dismay of the era.

Opechancanough, whose last scene now rapidly approaches, had become so decrepit by age, as to be unable to walk, though his spirit, rising above the ruins of his body, directed, from the litter upon which his Indians carried him, the onset and the retreat of his warriors. The wreck of his constitution was at length completed by the extreme fatigues encountered in this difficult and laborious service. His flesh became macerated; his sinews lost their elasticity; and his eyelids were so heavy that he could not see, unless they were lifted up by his faithful attendants. In this forlorn condition he was closely pursued by Berkeley with a squadron of horse, and at length surprised and taken. He entered Jamestown, for the first time in his life, as the most conspicuous figure in the conqueror's triumph.

To the honor of the English, they treated their distinguished captive with the tenderness which his infirmities demanded, and the respect which his appearance and talents inspired. They saw the object of their terror bending under the load of years, and shattered by the hardships of war; and they generously resolved to bury the remembrance of their injuries in his present melancholy reverse of fortune. His own deportment was suitable to his former glory, and to the principles of an Indian hero. He disdained to utter complaint or to manifest uneasiness. He believed that tortures were preparing for him; but instead of any consequent reduction in his haughtiness, his language and demeanor bespoke the most absolute defiance and contempt.

But generally he shrouded himself in reserve; and as if desirous of showing his enemies that there was nothing in their presence even to rouse his curiosity, and much less to excite his apprehensions, he but rarely permitted his eyelids to be lifted up. He continued in this state several days, attended by his affectionate Indian servants, who had begged permission to wait upon him. But his long life of near an hundred years [FN] was drawing to its close. He was basely shot through the back by one of the soldiers appointed to guard him, from no other provocation than the recollection of his ancient hostility.

[FN] So write some historians, but as he is understood to have been younger than Powhatan, the estimate is possibly too large by ten or twenty ears. It is said that Berkeley had proposed taking him to England, as a living argument to counteract the representations made in that country as to the unhealthiness of the Virginian climate.

To the last moment his courage remained unbroken. The nearer death approached, the more care he seemed to use in concealing his dejection, and preserving the dignity and serenity of his aspect. Only a few minutes before he expired, he heard an unusual bustle in the room where he was confined. Having ordered his attendants to raise his eyelids, he discovered a number of persons crowding round him, for the purpose of gratifying an unseasonable curiosity. The dying chief felt the indignity, but disdaining to notice the intruders he raised himself as well as he could, and with a voice and air of authority, demanded that the governor should be immediately brought in. When the latter made his appearance, the chieftain scornfully told him that "had it been his fortune to have taken Sir William Berkeley prisoner, he should not have exposed him as a show to his people." [FN]

[FN] Beverley.

Such was the death of Opechancanough. His character is too well explained by his life to require any additional comment. His own countrymen were more extensively and more completely under his influence than they had been under that of Powhatan himself. This is the more remarkable from the fact that Opitchipan, whose age and family at least entitled to some deference, retained the nominal authority of emperor so long as he lived. Beverley says, that Opechancanough was not esteemed by the Indians to be in any way related to Powhatan; and that they represented him as the prince of a foreign nation residing at a great distance somewhere in the Southwest. He might be an emigrant or an exile from the empire of Mexico, or from some of the tribes between that region and Virginia. The same historian describes him as a man of large stature, noble presence and extraordinary parts. Stith calls him a politic and haughty prince. Burk entitles him the Hannibal of Virginia.

He was perhaps the most inveterate and troublesome enemy which any of the American colonies have ever met with among his race. The general causes which made him so, independently of his inherent talents and principles, are to be looked for in the situation of the tribes under his command, and especially in the relations existing between them and the colonists. He saw, that either the white or the red man must sooner or later establish an exclusive superiority; and he very reasonably decided upon doing all in his own power to determine the issue in favor of his country and himself. But more particular provocations were not wanting. Even after the peace of 1636, great as the anxiety was for its preservation, "the subtle Indians," says Beverley, "resented the encroachments on them by Hervey's grants." A late historian expresses himself in warmer terms. It was not enough, he writes, that they had abandoned to their invaders the delightful regions on the sea-shore, where their fathers had been placed by the bounty of heaven—where their days had rolled on in an enchanting round of innocence and gayety—where they had possessed abundance without labor, and independence without government. The little that remained to them was attempted to be wrested from them by the insatiable avarice and rapacity of their enemies.[FN]

[FN] Burk, Vol. II.


Biography of other Virginian chieftains—Opitchipan—Some particulars respecting Tomocomo—His visit to England, interview with Captain Smith, and return to America—Japazaws, chief sachem of the Patowomekes—His friendship for the English—Ill treatment which he received from them—Totopotomoi, successor of Opechancanough—His services—His death in 1656—Notices of several native chiefs of North Carolina—Granganimo, who dies in 1585—Menatenon, king of the Chowanocks—Ensenore, father of Granganimo; and Wingina, his brother—Plot of the latter against the Hatteras colony—His death—Comment on the Carolinian Biography.

The characters we have heretofore noticed are far the most prominent in the Indian history of Virginia. Indeed, they are almost the only ones which have been preserved with distinctness enough to excite much interest in them as individuals. Still, there are several which ought not to be wholly passed by; and the want of a vivid light and coloring in some of them, may perhaps be compensated, at least, by the appearance of milder qualities than are predominant in the portraitures we have hitherto sketched.

The extant information respecting certain members of the Powhatan family, whose history has not been concluded, may soon be detailed. Opitchipan is not mentioned subsequently to the great battle of Pamunkey, in 1625, when for the first time he appears to have placed himself at the head of his countrymen, in opposition to the English. As the name of Opechancanough is not even alluded to in the records of that period, it may be presumed he was accidentally absent. Generally, he seems to have been out of favor with his reigning brother, and to have contended against his influence, such as it was, in all his design hostile to the colony. Opitchipan disapproved of the great massacre of 1622; and early in the ensuing season we find him sending in Chanco, the Christian convert who disclosed the conspiracy in that case, with a message to Governor Wyatt, that if he would send ten or twelve men, he would give up all the English prisoners in his possession—(which, as we have seen, Opechancanough had refused to do.) He even promised to deliver up his implacable brother—if brother he was—bound hand and foot. "Captain Tucker," says Stith, "was accordingly sent upon this service, but without the desired success. However, Opitchipan sent back Mrs. Boyce, naked and unapparelled, in manner and fashion like one of their Indians." So insignificant, even with these savages, was the power of mere family rank, as opposed to the authority of reputation and talent.

One of the chief counselors and priests of Powhatan, and the husband of his daughter Matachanna, was Tomocomo, who went to England with Pocahontas, and returned with Captain Argall. Smith, who calls him Vttamatomakkin, says he was held by his countrymen to be "a very understanding fellow." The same inference might be made from the commission which Powhatan gave him, on the occasion just alluded to, to take the number of the people in England, and to bring him an exact and minute account of their strength and resources. Tomocomo set about that business with equal simplicity and zeal. Immediately on his arrival at Plymouth, he procured a long stick, whereupon to cut a notch with his knife for every man he should see. But he soon became weary of his task, and threw his stick away. When the emperor inquired, on his return, how many people there were, he could only compare them to the stars in the sky, the leaves on the trees, and the sands on the sea-shore.

Mr. Purchas, (compiler of the famous collection of voyages,) was informed by President Dale, with whom Tomocomo went out from Virginia, that Opechancanough, and not Powhatan, had given instructions; and that the object of them was not so much to ascertain the Population, as to form an estimate of the amount of corn raised, and of forest trees growing in England. Nomantack and the other savages who had previously visited that country, being ignorant, and having seen little of the British empire except London, had reported a very large calculation of the men and houses, while they said almost nothing about the trees and corn. It was therefore a general opinion among the Indians, that the English had settled in Virginia only for the purpose of getting supplies of these two articles; and in confirmation, they observed their continual eagerness after corn, and the great quantities of cedar, clapboards, and wainscoting, which they annually exported to England. Tomocomo readily undeceived his countrymen upon this point. Landing in the west of England in summer, and traveling thence to London, he of course saw evidences of great agricultural and rural plenty and wealth; and was soon obliged to abandon the account he had undertaken to keep—his arithmetic failing him on the first day.

In the British metropolis, he met accidentally with Captain Smith; and the two immediately renewed their ancient acquaintance. Tomocomo told the captain, that Powhatan had given orders to request of him—if indeed he was not dead, as reported—the favor of showing Tomocomo the English God, and also their King, Queen and prince, of whom they had formerly conversed so often together. "As to God," as Stith expresses it, "Captain Smith excused and explained the matter the best he could." As to the king, he told Tomocomo he had already seen him, which was true. But the Indian denied it; and it was not without some trouble that Smith, by mentioning certain circumstances, convinced him of the fact. The Indian then assumed a most melancholy look, "Ah!" said he, "you presented Powhatan a white dog which he fed as himself. Now, I am certainly better than a white dog; but your king has given me nothing." Such an arch sense, adds the historian, had this savage of the "stingy" treatment he had received at court. Nothing is known of Tomocomo after his return to America.

The most constant friend and ally of the Virginian English, for twenty years from the settlement of Jamestown, was Japazaws, the Sachem—or, as the old writers call him, the king—of the Potomacs or Patowomekes. He was a person of great influence and authority on the whole length of the river which bears to this day the name of his tribe; being in fact a kind of petty emperor there, and always affecting to treat Powhatan and the other emperors rather as brethren than superiors. He had two hundred bowmen in his own village, at the date of the great massacre. The entire population which was more or less subject to him, appears, though somewhat indistinctly, from Smith's account of his first interview with the Sachem and his people, in 1608.

"The 16th of Iune," he writes, "we fell with the riuer Patowomek. Feare being gone and our men recouered, we were al content to take some paines to know the name of that seuen-mile broad riuer. For thirtie miles sayle we could see no inhabitants. Then we were conducted by two Salvages vp a little bayed creeke towards Onawmanaient, where al the woodes were layd with ambuscadoes to the number of three or fours thousand Salvages, so strangely paynted, grimed and disguised, shouting, yelling and crying as so many spirits from hell could not haue showed more terrible. Many brauadoes they made, but to appease their furie, our captaine prepared with as seeming a willingness as they to encounter them. But the grazing of our bullets vpon the water (many being shot on purpose they might see them) with the ecco of the woodes, so amazed them, as downe went their bowes and arrowes; and (exchanging hostages) Iames Watkins was sent six myles vp the woodes to their King's habitation. We were kindly vsed of those Salvages of whom we vnderstood they were commanded to betray us by the direction of Powhatan." After this, he was supplied with plenty of excellent provisions by the subjects of Japazaws, and furnished by that sachem himself with guides to conduct his party up some of the streams. Finally, he "kindly requited this kinde king and al his kinde people."

Thus auspiciously commenced a valuable acquaintance; and it is eminently worthy of observation, with what fidelity of friendship the English were repaid for the courtesy shown to this intelligent barbarian, and for the justice done to his subjects. Ever afterwards, they sustained the English cause, and supplied the English necessities, when all the rest of their countrymen were willing neither to treat nor trade upon any terms. When Argall arrived, in 1614, for example, "he was sent to the riuer Patawomeake," (as Master Hamer calls it,) "to trade for corne, the Salvages about vs hauing small quarter, but friends and foes as they found aduantage and opportunitie." Then, Argall "hauing entred into a great acquaintance with Japazaws, an old friend of Captaine Smith's, and so to all our nation, ever since hee discouered the countrie," the negotiation ensued which resulted, as we have heretofore shown, in getting possession of the person of Pocahontas, and thereby ultimately effecting a general peace.

The warmth of the Sachem's gratitude perhaps caused him to lay too little stress on the hospitality due to a princess and a guest—if guest she was—but the struggle which attended the bargain, and the sorrow which followed it, both show that Japazaws was not without principle or feeling. The argument which probably turned the balance in his mind, respected the prospect of a treaty to be brought about by means of Pocahontas, in which she and Powhatan had much more interest than himself. The bright copper kettle was a subordinate consideration, though not a slight one. We have seen, that the Powhatan Sachems were willing to barter almost their birthright for a pound or two of blue beads. At all events, Japazaws must have credit for the delicate arrangement by which the princess was first notified of her forlorn condition. "Iapazaws treading aft on the Captaine's foot, to remember he had done his part, the captaine, when he saw his time, persuaded Pocahontas to the gun-roome, faining to have some conference with Iapazaws, which was only that shee should not percieue hee was any way guiltie of her captiuitie."

In 1619, Iapazous—so called by master John Rolfe—came to Jamestown, for the first time, to desire that two ships might be sent to trade in his river, corn being more abundant than for a long time before. Parties were sent, accordingly; but, for some reasons, not explained, they met with indifferent success in the commerce, and so concluded to take eight hundred bushels of corn by force. That Japazaws was not much in fault, would appear from the circumstance that he had no part in the great conspiracy of 1622; immediately after which we find, that Captain Croshaw went up the Potomac, "where he intended to stay and trade for himself by reason of the long acquaintance he had with this King, that, so earnestly entreated him now to be his friend, his countenancer, his captaine and director against the Pazaticans, the Nacotchtanks and Moyaons, his mortall enemies." [FN]

[FN] Smith's History, Vol. II.

Croshaw gladly availed himself of this invitation, first for the sake of conducting his commerce to advantage, and secondly, for the purpose of "keeping the king as an opposite to Opechancanough." It was soon afterwards, that the chieftain last named sent his messengers to Japazaws, with presents of beads, and proposals of alliance against the English—both which were rejected. Then we are told, that "Captaine Hamer arriuing with a ship and a pinnace at Patawomeke, was kindly entertained both by him [Croshaw] and the king." The two were living snugly together at this time; using common efforts for supplying the colony—or at least the captain—on the one hand, and for suppressing the king's enemies, as named above, on the other. Their union was at length interrupted by the machinations of an exile Sachem, who had taken refuge at Potomac from the discontent of his own subjects. Angry with Japazaws for not assisting him in the recovery of his dominion, he forged an artful story about Japazaws and his tribe having recently leagued with Opechancanough.

That story he told to one Isaac Madison, who had just been sent to Potomac by Governor Wyatt, with a reenforcement of thirty men, and a commission expressly charging him to assist the Patowomekes against their enemies, and to protect them and their corn to his utmost power. To give his falsehood the air of probability, this savage Iago cunningly commented upon certain circumstances which had recently occurred. Madison was at length so much alarmed, that sending for Japazaws to his own strong-house (which Japazaws himself had assisted him in fortifying,) he locked in the Sachem, his son, and their four attendants, set over them a guard of soldiers, and then made a violent and bloody assault upon the neighboring village of the Indians. The king remonstrated, but in vain. He denied all the charges brought against him, to no purpose. Madison then led him and the other five prisoners to his ship, promising to set them at liberty as soon as his men were safely aboard. The king meanwhile prevented his subjects from annoying the English on the way. But, contrary to all good faith, the captives were carried to Jamestown, and detained there till the following October, when they were taken home by Captain Hamer and ransomed with a quantity of corn. Madison was prosecuted afterwards for his infamous conduct, but never punished. The Patowomekes must of course have been estranged by it from the English interest, though there is no evidence of their ever opposing them in arms. Japazaws kept himself aloof; and is no more mentioned in history.

The death of Opechancanough was a signal for the dissolution of the famous confederacy which it had required the whole genius of that chieftain and his predecessor to form and maintain. The tribes relapsed into their former state of separate government; and no formidable leader ever again roused them to union. The nominal successor of Opechancanough was Totopotomoi, whom we do not find even mentioned until after a lapse of ten years from his accession. The ancient records of Virginia show, that in 1651, an Act of Assembly was passed assigning and securing to Totopotomoi such lands on York river as he should choose; and commissioners were appointed to conduct him and his attendants in safety to Jamestown, and from that place home again, after the adjustment of the treaty. The termination of his reign and life was as follows. Five years subsequent to the date last mentioned, and after an interval of profound peace with the Indians which had continued for fifteen years, information was suddenly received at Jamestown, that a body of inland or mountain savages, called Rechahecrians, to the number of six or seven hundred, had seated themselves near the falls of James river, with the apparent intention of forming a regular settlement. The motives of this singular movement have never been explained. It is only known, that it gave no little alarm to the colonists; and that active preparations were made for driving the new enemy back to their own territories. A campaign ensued, and a battle was fought; and in this battle fell the king of the Powhatans, gallantly fighting in aid of the English, at the head of one hundred warriors. Victory declared for the Rechahecrians, but a peace was soon after negotiated with them on terms satisfactory to both parties.

Totopotomoi has at least his name immortalized by the author of Hudibras, who introduced him (to make out a rhyme,) in his noted allusion to a certain scandal upon the New England colonists.

A precious brother having slain.
In time of peace, an Indian,
. . .

The mighty Tottipotimoy
Sent to our elders an envoy,
Complaining sorely of the breach
Of league, held forth by brother Patch.
. . .

For which he craved the saints to render
Into his hands, or hang, the offender.
But they, maturely having weighed,
They had no more but him of the trade—
A man that served them in a double
Capacity, to preach and cobble—
Resolved to spare him; yet to do
The Indian Hogan Mogan too
Impartial Justice, in his stead did
Hang an old weaver that was bed-rid.

We may certainly be amused with the wit of the satirist in this case, without insisting upon a strict proof of his statements.

Such is the meagre biography of the last of the Virginian chieftains. We shall close this chapter with some particulars respecting two or three of the principal Indians known, at an earlier date, to the first colonists of Carolina. One of these was Wingina, the king of a considerable tract of territory called Wingandacoa, bordering upon Albemarle Sound. Another was Granganimo, the brother of Wingina. Not much information is extant concerning either of these persons; but the little which is known derives an additional interest both from the style of the ancient writers of that period, and from the circumstance that the foreign settlements which led to this partial acquaintance were among the very first upon the continent.

On the 27th of April, 1584, Philip Amidas and Arthur Barlow sailed from the west of England, as commanders of two barks, fitted out by Sir Walter Raleigh, for the purpose of exploring a vast tract of country granted to him by a patent from Queen Elizabeth, of the March previous. Taking the usual route by way of the Canaries and West Indies, they approached the coast of the Southern States, (now so called,) on the second of July, (enjoying for a day or two "a most delicate sweete smell" from the shore.) After sailing one hundred and twenty miles north, they entered the first harbor they met with, returned thanks to God for their safe arrival, went to view the neighboring land, and then took possession of it, formally, "for the Queene's most excellent majestie." "Which done," writes our ancient chronicler, "they found their first landing-place sandy and low, but so full of grapes that the very surge of the sea sometimes overflowed them; of which they found such plenty in all places, on the sand, the greene soyle and hils, as in the plaines, as well on euery little shrub as also climbing towardes the tops of high cedars, that they did thinke in the world were not the like abundance."

{FN} See the Collections of Hackluyt.

{Transcriber's Note: This citation is not referenced in the text, but appears on the same page as the preceding paragraph.}

This beautiful spot was the island of Wococon, supposed to be the same now called Ocracock. The newly arrived adventurers wandered over every part of it with mingled feelings of amazement and delight. Goodly woods covered the green bosom of its quiet valleys. There, we are told, were the highest and reddest cedars of the world, "bettering them of Azores or Libanus. There, were Pynes, Cypres, Saxefras, the Lentisk that beareth mastick, and many other of excellent smelle and qualitie. Then there were deere and conies, and fowl in such incredible abundance, that the discharge of a musket would raise a flock of them from under the very feet of the travelers, with a noise, 'as if an army of men had shouted altogether.'"

On the third day, three of the natives appeared in a canoe, one of whom went fearlessly aboard an English bark. The crew could hold no conversation with him; but they gave him a shirt, a hat, wine and meat. These he liked exceedingly; and so having satisfied his curiosity with gazing, he paddled off to the distance of half a mile. He there loaded his boat with fish in a short time, then landed on a point near by, divided his booty into two heaps—"pointing one heap to the ship, and the other to the pinnace"—and then departed. This pacific interview was followed with happy consequences. The next day Granganimo appeared, with forty or fifty of his people. He came to the point with his train, and seated himself upon a mat. A party of the English went ashore, well armed; but instead of showing any indications of suspicion or fear, he made signs to them to be seated at his side—stroking their heads and breasts, as also his own, no doubt in testimony of his good will. He then made a long speech to his new visitants—probably of welcome—and they presented divers gewgaws to him in return, which he politely accepted. He was so much regarded by his attendants, that none of them would sit or even speak in his presence, with the exception of four. To them the English gave other presents; but they were immediately put into Granganimo's hands, who signaled, with an air of dignity, that every thing of this nature must be at his own disposal.

At the next interview, the English entertained him with a display of many commodities calculated to dazzle and surprise him. But none of them struck his fancy like a large bright pewter dish or plate, and a copper kettle, for the former of which he gave twenty deer-skins, [FN-1] and for the latter fifty. He made a hole in the plate, and hung it about his neck for a breastplate. Much other "truck" passed between the parties, in such good humor and good faith, that in the course of a day or two a meeting took place on board one of the vessels, and, the Sachem ate, drank and made merry with the English, like one of their own number. Not long afterwards, he brought his wife and children, who are described as slender, but well-favored and very modest. The wife wore, as her husband did, a band of white coral on her forehead, and in her ears bracelets of pearl, [FN-2] "hanging down to her middle, of the size of large peas." Her female followers had pendants of copper; and the noblemen—as those who seemed to be leading characters among the males are entitled—had five or six in each ear. All were dressed alike in skins. The women wore their hair long on both sides of the head; the men, only on one.

[FN-1] Then valued at a crown each. The anecdote reminds one of Japazaws.

[FN-2] So called by the early writers on various occasions. Probably they were shells, or rock-crystal, or something of that kind.

The next step in the acquaintance, and a very natural one, was that great numbers of people began to come in from various parts of the neighboring coast, bringing skins, coral and different kinds of dyes for sale; none of which, however, any of them but the noblemen ("them that wore red copper on their heads, as he did,") would undertake to barter in presence of Granganimo himself. The character of the Sachem showed itself more and more to advantage at every interview. With a very considerate and civil regard for the comfort of the English, he never paid them a visit without previously signifying the number of boats he should bring with him, by fires kindled upon the shore; so that his strength might be exactly estimated. He invariably kept, with perfect punctuality, every promise which he made in the course of traffic, as he also regularly sent to the vessels, daily, a gratuitous fresh supply of provisions—generally a brace of bucks, conies, rabbits, and fish; and sometimes melons, walnuts, cucumbers, pears and other roots and fruits. Finally, he invited the English to visit him at his own residence, on the north end of an island called Roanoke, distant about twenty miles from the harbor first made by the colonists.

The invitation was promptly accepted by a party of eight of the English. They found Granganimo's village to consist of nine houses, built of cedar, and fortified with sharp palisades, "and the entrance like a turnpik." The Sachem himself was absent when they arrived; but his wife came out eagerly to meet them. Some of her people she commanded to draw their boat ashore, that it might not suffer from the sea's dashing; others to carry the English on their backs through the surf, and put away their oars under cover. Meanwhile she conducted her guests into a house containing five apartments. As they were wet with rain, she had a large fire kindled in an inner apartment, washed their feet and their clothes, and then served up a bountiful dinner in another room. "She set on the bord standing along the house somewhat like frumentie, sodden venison and rosted fish; and in like manner mellons raw, boyled rootes, and fruites of diuers kindes."

She manifested the utmost anxiety for the comfort of her guests. While they were eating, two or three Indians happened to enter, with bows and arrows, upon which the English started up and laid hold of their arms. She perceived their distrust, but instead of being offended, caused the weapons of the intruders to be snapped asunder, and themselves to be beaten. Still the company did not feel perfectly at home, and towards evening they retired to their boat. This grieved her not a little; but she sent them a supper. When she saw them jealously pushing off some rods from the shore for a safe anchorage, she sent them mats to shelter them from the rain, and directed a guard of her people to watch during the night upon the shore. On the whole, it has been justly observed, that there is scarcely in all history a picture of unaffected and generous hospitality more striking than this.

Wingina, meanwhile, lay at his chief town, ill of wounds he had recently received in battle; and the English saw nothing of him. Nor was any thing more seen of Granganimo, until April of the next year, when Sir Richard Grenville brought out a colony of one hundred and eight persons, whom he left on the Carolinian shore at Hatteras. Granganimo then came on board his ship in his usually friendly and fearless manner. But it was his last visit. He died during the year 1585.

This event produced a great alteration of affairs in the colony. They were settled on Roanoke, an island at the mouth of Albemarle Sound, and that situation made it quite convenient for them to visit the coast and the country in various directions, which they were instructed to do. They explored, therefore, in the course of their expeditions, as far south as beyond Pamlico river; and as far north as the territory of the Chesapeake, on the bay of their own name. They also went up Albemarle Sound and Chowan river, one hundred and thirty miles, to a nation of Indians called Chowanocks, living above the junction of the Nottaway and the Meherrin.

We mention these particulars for the sake of introducing Menatenon, the king of the tribe last named. His province is described as the largest on the whole length of the river; and the town of Chowanock, it is said, could bring seven hundred bowmen into the field. Menatenon was lame—owing probably to a wound in battle—but writes an old chronicler "he had more understanding than all the rest." He amused the colonists, and especially their governor, Mr. Lane, with a story about a copper mine and a pearl fishery, somewhere along the coast. He also gave a strange account of the head of the river Moratuc, (now called the Roanoke,) where lived a king (he affirmed,) whose country bordered on the sea, and who took such an abundance of pearls from it, that not only his skins and his noblemen's, but his beds and his houses were garnished with that ornament. Mr. Lane expressed a wish to see a specimen of them; but Menatenon readily replied, that the king of that rich country reserved them expressly for trading with white men. [FN]

[FN] "This King was at Chowanock two yeares agoe to trade with blacke pearle, his worst sort whereof I had a rope, but they were naught; but that king he, [Menatenon] sayth hath store of white, and had traffcke with white men, for whom he reserved them."

The source of the Moratuc was described as springing out of a vast rock, standing so near the sea, that in storms the surges beat over it. As for the copper, that he said was generally collected in great bowls, covered with skin, at a place particularly described, and yielded two parts of metal for three of ore. There might be a shadow of foundation for some of these relations; but the chief object of Menatenon—who was a captive among the colonists at the time of his making them—must have been to render himself an important man in their eyes, and perhaps to lead them into some hazardous enterprise. Hearing them talk much about mines and pearls, and the South Sea—which were all hobbies with the credulous adventurers of that period—he adapted his discourse accordingly, and his eager hearers were simple enough to believe every thing he asserted. [FN]

[FN] The Mangoaks haue such plentie of it, they beautifie their houses with great plates thereof; this the salvages report; and young Shiko, the King Chawonocks sonne my prisoner, that had been prisoner among the Mangoaks, &c. . . .

Menatenon also confirmed all this, and promised me guides to this mettall country, &c.

They even undertook the proposed expedition in search of the copper mine and the South Sea; and had actually advanced nearly two hundred miles up the country, before famine and fatigue, and the hostility of innumerable savages compelled them to turn about. It seems that Wingina had heard of this expedition—perhaps from Menatenon—and like that cunning though crippled Sachem, he did all in his power to make it both specious in prospect and fatal in result. After having said every thing to excite the curiosity and avarice of the colonists, till he saw them determined to go, he sent word to the different powerful tribes living on their proposed route, that the English were coming against them; and that the sooner they suppressed this new enemy, the better. Hence it was, that the party several times came very near being cut off by the savages; and hence, instead of being plentifully supplied with choice provisions, as expected, they were glad to live several days upon two dogs "boiled down with saxefras leaves."

Fortunately for the colony, several circumstances concurred in the period of distress which succeeded this enterprise, to prevent Wingina from making open war upon them. One was the influence of his father, Ensenore, the best friend, next to Granganimo, whom the English had ever found among the natives. But the safe return of the expedition made a stronger impression upon the mind of Wingina. Rumors had been circulated that the party were all starved or slain; and then he had "begun to blaspheme our God that would suffer it, and not defend vs, so that old Ensenore had no more credit for vs; for he began by al the deuises he could to inuade vs." [FN] But the return of the expedition after having defeated all enemies—"asswaged a little his deuises, and brought Ensenore in respect againe, that our God was good, and wee their friends, and our foes should perish, &c."

[FN] See the journal of Governor Lane, as preserved in the old collections.

The last observation suggests another circumstance which went to restrain the enmity of the chieftain. This was a mortal epidemic, of unknown character, which prevailed exclusively among the Indians, and carried off great numbers. The colonists had the art to make these simple beings regard it as a punishment for the hostility hitherto manifested towards the English. Wingina himself, who lived in the immediate vicinity of the colony, was exceedingly overcome by his superstition. Twice he was very sick, and came near dying. He then dismissed the priests who usually attended him, and sent for some of the English to pray for him, and to be—as Master Heriot expresses it, in his "Observations" upon this voyage—"a meenes to our God that hee might liue with him after death." He supposed that he had offended the Deity of the English by his blasphemy. They were themselves in great repute, of course. "This marueilous accident in all the country wrought so strange opinion of vs that they could not tell, whether to thinke vs Gods or men." Of the two, they considered the former most probable, for the whites having no women among them, the inference in their minds was, that instead of being born of women, they were men of an old generation many years past, and risen again from immortality. [FN] All which, we are told, so changed the heart of Pemissapan (—a name assumed by Wingina since the death of Granganimo—) that, at Ensenore's suggestion, when the English were reduced to extremities for want of food, he sent in his subjects to make fish-weirs for them, and to plant the fields they had hitherto thought of abandoning.

[FN] Heriot.

But in April, 1586, Ensenore died; and as Wingina had now completely recovered his health, and most of the enemies which the colony had among the tribes took this opportunity of renewing their machinations, he relapsed into his former hostility. Arrangements were made for collecting seven, or eight hundred Indians, under pretence of solemnizing the funeral of Ensenore. Half of them were to lie in ambush for those of the colonists who daily straggled along the coast in pursuit of crabs, fish and other provisions. The other detachment was to assault the settlement of Roanoke, at a signal by fire in the night. Even the particular houses were allotted to be burned by particular persons or parties. Twenty were charged to beset the dwelling of Governor Lane, and fire the reeds which covered it; this would bring him out, naked and unarmed, and then they could despatch him without danger. The same order was made for Mr. Heriot's, and various other habitations, which were to be fired at the same instant. In the meantime, as it was of great consequence to reduce the strength of the colony by dispersing it, Wingina provided for breaking up the weirs, and strictly prohibited all trade in provisions. He kept himself aloof also with a similar view.

The plan was well concerted, and not without success. The Governor was soon obliged to send off twenty of the colonists to a part of the coast called Croatan, merely that they might collect the means of their own sustenance. Ten more were sent to Hatteras for the same purpose; and other small companies scattered themselves about on the seacoast, to gather oysters and roots. But the ingenuity of the civilized party, driven to desperation, finally prevailed against the chieftain's naked shrewdness. The Governor sent him word he was going to Croatan, to meet an English squadron which had touched there with supplies, covering the object of this fabrication by also requesting the services of a few Indians to fish and hunt for the colony. Desirous of gaining time, Wingina promptly replied, that he would himself visit Mr. Lane in eight days. No doubt he expected to complete his conspiracy in this interval.

But the Governor was not so to be deceived. He resolved, on the contrary, to pay the Sachem a visit the next day after receiving his answer. Previous to that, however, he proposed to surprise the Indians at Wingina's old settlement on the island (Roanoke) and to take their canoes from them. But they, too, were on the alert, so entirely had Wingina prepared them for emergencies. "For when I sent to take the canows," says Mr. Lane in his Journal, "they met one going from the shore, overthrew her, and cut off two Salvages' heads; wherevpon the cry arose, being by their spies perceived; for they kept as good watch ouer vs as we ouer them." A skirmish ensued, and the Indians fled into the woods. The next morning, the Governor crossed over to a place on the main called Dassamonpeak, and sent Wingina word he was going to Croatan, and having certain complaints to make to him respecting his subjects, would be happy to call upon him by the way. On the faith of this proposal, the chieftain, with several of his principal men, met the Governor's party on their route. But no conversation took place. The Governor gave an appointed watchword to his men on approaching, and they fired upon the Indians. Wingina was shot through with a pistol-bullet, and fell. Recovering his feet immediately, he fled, and was near escaping his pursuers, when an Irish boy shot him a second time. He was soon overtaken, and then beheaded on the spot.

We do not feel disposed to dismiss these biographies of the Carolinian Sachems, short and slight as they are, without offering such comment as they most obviously suggest. It appears singular, at first sight, that so striking a difference of feeling towards the English should be manifested by the two brothers. Perhaps there was fault on both sides. Master Heriot admits, that some of the colony, "towards the latter end showed themselves too furious, in slaying some of the people in some Townes, vpon causes that on our part might haue been borne with more mildnesse." We have seen with how little ceremony the Governor proceeded to take summary measures. He was driven to extremities, indeed, but that in itself was no fault of the Indians—they were not under obligation to supply him, though it appears that they sometimes did, gratuitously.

Perhaps a remark should be made respecting a provocation which occurred when the colony was first left by Grenville. The English went about ranging the coast from tribe to tribe, and from town to town—which very circumstance, besides being probably accompanied by other trespasses, and at all events wholly unlicensed by the natives, could hardly be looked upon as either friendly or just. Then, "at Aquascosack the Indians stole a silver cup, wherefore we burnt the towne, and spoiled their corne, and so returned to our fleet at Tocokon." [FN] This was certainly no way to make friends, and those who are familiar with the Carolinian history subsequent to Wingina's death, will remember that the injury was by no means forgotten. Finally, setting aside the attempt to justify either party, it will be noticed, by such as may take the pains to look into the annals of this period, that the greater part of the information which the Governor received of the Sachem's motives and movements came through the medium of that shrewd cripple, Menatenon, and his son Shiko. Whatever the facts might be, then, the evidence was clearly inadequate if not wholly inadmissible.

[FN] Relation of Lane.


[FN] Not to subject ourselves to the charge of plagiarism, it may be proper to remark here, that several passages in the following notices of the Pokanoket Sachems have been taken almost unaltered from an article on Indian Biography, published heretofore in the North American Review, and written by the author of this work. The same is true of a part of the subsequent notice of Tecumseh and his brother.

Synopsis of the New England Indians at the date of the Plymouth Settlement—The Pokanoket confederacy—The Wampanoag tribe—Their first head-Sachem, known to the English—Massasoit—The first interview between him and the whites—His visit to Plymouth, in 1621—Treaty of peace and friendship—Embassy sent to him at Sowams, by the English—Anecdotes respecting it—He is suspected of treachery or hostility, in 1622—His sickness in 1623—A second deputation visits him—Ceremonies and results of the visit—His intercourse with other tribes—Conveyances of land to the English—His death and character—Anecdotes.

The clearest, if not the completest classification of the New England Indians, at the date of the settlement of Plymouth, includes five principal confederacies, each occupying their own territory, and governed by their own chiefs. The Pequots inhabited the eastern part of Connecticut. East of them were the Narraghansetts, within whose limits Rhode Island, and various smaller islands in the vicinity, were comprised. The Pawtucket tribes were situated chiefly in the southern section of New Hampshire, the Massachusetts tribes around the bay of their own name; and between these upon the north and the Narraghansetts upon the south, the Pokanokets claimed a tract of what is now Bristol county, (Rhode Island) bounded laterally by Taunton and Pawtucket rivers for some distance, together with large parts of Plymouth and Barnstable.

This confederacy exercised some dominion over the Indians of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, and over several of the nearest Massachusetts and Nipmuck tribes;—the latter name designating an interior territory, now mostly within the boundaries of Worcester county. Of the Pokanokets, there were nine separate cantons or tribes, each governed by its own petty sagamore or squaw, but subject to one grand-sachem, who was also the particular chief of the Wampanoag canton, living about Montaup. [FN]

[FN] This celebrated eminence (frequently called, by corruption of the Indian name, Mount-Hope) is a mile or two east of the village of Bristol. It is very steep on all sides, and terminates in a large rock, having the appearance to a distant spectator, of an immense dome.

The first knowledge we have of the Wampanoags, and of the individuals who ruled over them and the other Pokanokets, is furnished in the collections of Purchas, on the authority of a Captain Dermer, the Master Thomas Dirmire spoken of by John Smith in his New England Trialls, as "an vnderstanding and industrious gentleman, who was also with him amongst the Frenchmen." Dermer was sent out from England in 1619, by Sir F. Gorges, on account of the President and Council of New England, in a ship of two hundred tons. He had a Pokanoket Indian with him, named Squanto, one of about twenty who had been kidnapped on the coast by Captain Hunt, in 1614, and sold as slaves at Malaga for twenty pounds a man. [FN] Squanto and a few others of the captives were either rescued or redeemed, by the benevolent interposition of some of the monks upon that island. "When I arrived," says Dermer in his letter to Purchas, "at my savage's native country, finding all dead, I traveled along a day's journey to a place called Nummastaquyt, where, finding inhabitants, I despatched a messenger a day's journey further west, to Pacanokit, which bordereth on the sea; whence came to see me two kings, attended with a guard of fifty armed men, who being well satisfied with that my savage and I discoursed unto them, (being desirous of novelty) gave me content in whatsoever I demanded. Here I redeemed a Frenchman, and afterwards another at Masstachusitt, who three years since escaped shipwreck at the northeast of Cape Cod." One of these two kings—as the sachems were frequently entitled by the early writers,—must have been Massasoit, so well known afterwards to the Plymouth settlers; and probably the second was his brother Quadepinah. The "native country" of Squanto was the vicinity of Plymouth, where the Indians are understood to have been kidnapped. Thousands of them, there, as well as elsewhere along the whole coast of New England, had been swept off by a terrible pestilence.

[FN] It is gratifying to learn from Smith that Hunt was punished, though not according to the baseness of his infamous crime. "He betraied foure and twentie of these poore Saluages aboord his ship, and most dishonestly and inhumanely for their kinde usage of me and all our men, carried them with him to Maligo, and there for a little priuate gaine sold those silly Saluages for Rials of eight; but this vilde act kept him ever after from any more imploiement to these parts."—Generale Historie of New England, published in 1632.

The first appearance of Massasoit, [FN] after the settlement of Plymouth, was upon the 22d of March, 1621, a week previous to which some information concerning him had been gathered from an Indian named Samoset, who entered the village with great boldness, and greeted the inhabitants with a "welcome." On the second occasion, he came in with four others,—having engaged to introduce some of the Wampanoags, to traffic in furs,—among whom was Squanto, at that time probably the sole remaining native of Plymouth. This party brought a few fish and skins to sell, and informed the English that the great sachem, with his brother and his whole force, were near at hand. Massasoit soon appeared upon the neighboring hill, with sixty men. As they seemed unwilling to approach nearer, Squanto was despatched to ascertain their designs; and they gave him to understand, that they wished someone should be sent to hold a parley.

[FN] We have given the most simple orthography of this word. It is frequently written Massasoyt, Massasoiet, Massasowat, &c. Mr. Belknap says, (American Biography,) that contemporary pronunciation made it a word of four syllables, with the accent on the second,—Mas-sass-o-it. The sachem subsequently assumed another name, which has undergone still more various modifications,—Oosamequin, Woosamequin, and Ausamequin, are some of them.

Edward Winslow was appointed to this office, and he immediately carried presents to the sachem, which were willingly accepted. He addressed him also in a speech of some length, which the Indians listened to with the decorous gravity characteristic of the race, ill-explained as it was by the interpreter. The purport of the speech was, that King James saluted the sachem, his brother, with the words of peace and love; that he accepted him as his friend and ally; and that the Governor desired to see him, and to trade and treat with him upon friendly terms. Massasoit appears to have made no special reply to this harangue, for the sufficient reason, probably, that he did not precisely comprehend the drift of it. He paid more attention to the sword and armor of Winslow while he spoke; and when he had ceased speaking, signaled his disposition to commence the proposed trade forthwith by buying them. They were not, however, for sale; and so, leaving Winslow in the custody of his brother, he crossed a brook between him and the English, taking with him twenty of the Wampanoags, who were directed to leave their bows and arrows behind them. Beyond the brook he was met by Captain Standish and another gentleman, with an escort of six armed men, who exchanged salutations with him, and attended him to one of the best houses in the village. [FN] Here, a green rug was spread upon the floor, and three or four cushions piled on it for his accommodation. The Governor then entered the house, followed by several soldiers, and preceded by a flourish of a drum and trumpet,—a measure probably recommended by Standish, and which answered the purpose of delighting and astounding the Wampanoags, even beyond expectation. It was a deference paid to their sovereign, which pleased as well as surprised them. The sachem and the Governor now kissed each other, and after the interchange of certain other civilities, sat down together, and regaled themselves with what Neal calls an entertainment. It consisted, it seems, chiefly of "strong waters, a thing the savages love very well; and the sachem took such a large draught of it at once, as made him sweat all the while he staid." A treaty was concluded upon this occasion, the terms of which were as follows.

[FN] A stone arch has in modern times been thrown over this brook, to point out the precise spot of the meeting. The hill where the chieftain first appeared was by the settlers of his time called "Strawberry-Hill."

1. That neither he, nor any of his (Massasoit's) should injure or do hurt to any of their people.

2. That if any of his did any hurt to any of theirs, he should send the offender, that they might punish him.

3. That if any thing were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored, and they should do the like to his.

4. That if any did unjustly war against him, they would aid him; and if any did war against them, he should aid them.

5. That he should send to his neighbor confederates, to inform them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in these conditions of peace.

6. That when his came to them upon any occasion they should leave their arms behind them.

7. That so doing, their Sovereign Lord King James, would esteem him as his friend and ally.

"All which," says Morton,—and some other annalists agree with him,—"he liked very well, and withal, at the same time, acknowledged himself content to become the subject of our Sovereign Lord the King aforesaid, his heirs and successors; and gave unto him all the lands adjacent, to him and his heirs forever." This acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the King, if it really made a part of the agreement, certainly deserved a place as a distinct article; being by far more important than all the others. The grant of land,—and this grant constituted the entire title of the Plymouth settlers, as against the natives,—is confirmed by subsequent transactions, and especially by the acts of Massasoit. But his submission to the authority of King James, as a subject to a sovereign, is more doubtful; nor does it by any means accord with the seventh express article. That the treaty itself also was not preserved precisely as it was probably understood, may be inferred from the variations of it given by Mourt in his Relation. According to his sixth article, for example, a just reciprocity is maintained, by providing that the English should leave their pieces behind them in their interviews with the Indians. This distinction between alliance and subjection,—at least in the mind of one of the parties,—seems to have been too much overlooked.

Such, however, was the first treaty made with the Indians of New England,—a passage in its history of great interest. It was made upon peaceable and honorable terms. The Indians came in voluntarily to make it; and though they received as a consideration for the immense territory granted at the time, only a pair of knives, and a copper chain with a jewel in it for the grand sachem; and a knife, a jewel to hang in his ear, a pot of strong water, a good quantity of biscuit, and some butter for Quadepinah, [FN]—yet were all parties satisfied with the substance as they were gratified by the ceremonies of the agreement. It is pleasing to learn from history, that this simple negotiation was remembered and adhered to on both sides for the unparalleled term of half a century; nor was Massasoit, or any of the Wampanoags during his lifetime, convicted by the harshest revilers of his race, of having violated, or attempted to violate, any of its plain, just, and deliberate provisions.

[FN] So minutely is the transaction described in The Journal of a Plantation at Plymouth, preserved by Purchas, and re-published among the Historical Collections of Massachusetts. There is reason to think that Winslow was the author.

The two parties seem to have regarded each other on this occasion with a curiosity of equal interest and minuteness; for while the sachem was inspecting the armor of Winslow, and his Wampanoags exerting themselves to blow the trumpet in imitation of their hosts, [FN] the English by-standers, on the other hand, were making their own observations. The writer of the Journal of a Plantation settled at Plymouth, describes Massasoit as "a very lusty man, in his best years, an able body, grave of countenance, and spare of speech." In his attire, he is said to have differed little from the rest of his followers, excepting that he wore a large chain of white bone-beads about his neck, which was, probably, one of the royal insignia; and that he had suspended from it behind, a little bag of tobacco, which he drank, says the writer, "and gave us to drink." His appearance otherwise does not seem to have been particularly elegant; his face being painted of a sad red, like murrey, and both head and face so oiled that he "looked greasily." His only weapon was a long knife, swinging at his bosom by a string. His attendants were probably arrayed for this great occasion with peculiar attention to etiquette; some of them being painted black, others red, yellow, or white; some wearing crosses and "other antick works;" and several of them dressed in furs or skins of various descriptions. Being tall, strong men also, and the first natives whom most of the Colonists had ever seen near at hand, they must have made to them a somewhat imposing, as well as interesting spectacle.

[FN] "He marvelled much at our trumpet, and some of his men would sound it as well as we could."—Journal.

Leaving a few of their number among the whites, as hostages, the Wampanoags retired to the woods about half a mile distant and spent the night; and Winslow acted as their hostage. The English were not yet prepared, it would seem, to put faith in the professions of savages; for they kept strict watch all night, besides retaining the security just named. Their guests, on the contrary, enjoyed themselves quietly in the woods; and there were some of their wives and children with them, who must have come upon this courteous visit from a distance of forty miles. The sachem sent several of his people the next morning, to signify his wish that some of his new friends would honor him with their presence. Standish and one Alderton [FN-1] "went venturously" among them, and were cordially, if not royally welcomed with an entertainment of tobacco and ground-nuts. "We cannot yet conceive," continues our still unsatisfied informant, "but that he is willing to have peace with us; for they have seen our people sometimes alone two or three in the woods at work and fowling, when they offered them no harm, as they might easily have done." They remained at their encampment till late in the forenoon; the Governor requiting the sachem's liberality, meanwhile, by sending an express messenger for his large kettle, and filling it with dry peas. "This pleased them well; and so they went their way;"—the one party as much relieved, no doubt, as the other was gratified. [FN-2]

[FN-1] From whom the outer point of Boston harbor is said to have been named.

[FN-2] Such was the earliest visit, of ceremony or business at least, which the natives of New England paid to the Colonists. The account given of it, though ex parte, as all such descriptions must be, is honorable to the former in the highest degree. They show that many, if not most of the savages, who were fairly dealt with, were at first as sensible and as prone to kindness as could have been wished. They went unarmed among the settlers without fear, disposed to be honest and friendly at all events, and as hospitable as their means permitted. It will appear in the sequel, that they continued so for a long course of years, as they also continued faithful to their express obligations.

We meet with Massasoit again in July, 1621; an embassy being then sent to him at his own residence, Montaup or Sowams. This embassy consisted of Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins; and the objects of it were, says Mourt, [FN] "that forasmuch as his subjects came often and without fear upon all occasions amongst us," so the English went now to visit him, carrying with them a coat from the Governor to his friend the sachem, as a token of good will, and desire to live peaceably. It was farther intimated, though with great delicacy, that whereas his people came frequently and in great numbers to Plymouth, wives, children, and all, and were always welcome,—yet being but strangers in the land, and not confident how their corn might prosper, they could no longer give them such entertainment as they had done, and still wished to do; If Massasoit himself, however, would visit them, or any special friend of his, he should be welcome. A request was then made, that the Pokanokets, who had furs, should be permitted to dispose of them to the Colonists. The Governor wished him also to exchange some corn for seed with the Plymouth people.

[FN] See Mourt's Relation, part of which is also preserved in the Collections. The name of the publisher only seems to be attached to it.

The remaining article in this message is more illustrative of the relations understood to exist and to be desirable between the parties. On the first arrival of the Colonists at Cape Cod, it seems they had found corn buried there in the ground. Seeing no inhabitants in the neighborhood, "but some graves of the dead newly buried," they took the corn, with the intention of making full satisfaction for it whenever it became practicable. The owners of it were supposed to have fled through fear. It was now proposed, that these men should be informed by Massasoit,—if they could be found,—that the English were ready to pay them with an equal quantity of corn, English meal, or "any other commodities they had to pleasure them withal;" and full satisfaction was offered for any trouble which the sachem might do them the favor to take. This proposal was equally politic and just.

The visitors met with a generous, though humble hospitality, which reminds one of the first reception of Columbus by the West-Indian islanders. They reached Namaschet about three o'clock in the afternoon; and there, we are told, the inhabitants entertained them with joy, in the best manner they were able; giving them sweet bread [FN] and fish, with a less acceptable accompaniment of boiled musty acorns. Various civilities were exchanged after this primitive and savory repast,—as ancient, by the way, as the early Greeks,—and some time was passed very pleasantly in shooting a crow at a considerable distance, to the vast astonishment and amusement of the Indians. They were then directed to a place about eight miles distant, (Middleborough) where, says the Journalist, they should find "more store and better victuals." They were welcomed, on their arrival, by a party who were catching great numbers of fine bass in Taunton river, and who gave them a supper and a breakfast in the morning, besides the privilege of lodging in the woods near by over night.

[FN] Called maxium, and made of Indian corn, no doubt. Gookin says, that a meal which they made of parched maize was so sweet, so hearty, and so toothsome, that an Indian would travel many days with no other food.

Attended by six of their hosts the next day, they were assisted in passing the river; and here they met with the first indications of ill-will, in the persons of two old Indians upon the opposite bank. These two, espying them as they entered the river, ran swiftly and stealthily among the high grass to meet them; and then, with loud voices and drawn bows, demanded of the strangers who they were; "but seeing we were friends," it is added, "they welcomed us with such food as they had, and we bestowed a small bracelet of beads on them." The remarks which follow this, upon the conduct of the six attendants we cannot forbear citing at large, irrelevant to our main purpose as they are. "When we came to a small brook," says our accurate writer, "where no bridge was, two of them desired to carry us through of their own accords; also fearing we were, or would be weary, offered to carry our pieces; also if we would lay off any of our clothes [it being excessively hot,] we should have them carried; and as the one of them had found more special kindness from one of the messengers, and the other savage from the other so they showed their thankfulness accordingly, in offering us help and furtherance in the journey."

After one more entertainment on the way, our travelers reached Sowams. Massasoit was not at home, but arrived soon after, and was saluted by his visitors with a discharge of musketry. He welcomed them kindly after the Indian manner, took them into his lodge, and seated them by himself. They then delivered their message and presents, the latter comprisinig a horseman's coat of red cotton, embroidered with fine lace. The sachem mounted this superb article without delay, and hung the chain, which they also gave him, about his neck, evidently enjoying the unspeakable admiration of the Wampanoags, who gaze upon him at a distance. He now answered the message, clause after clause; and particularly signified his desire to continue in peace and friendship with his neighbors. He gathered his men around him, in fine, and harangued them; they occasionally confirming what he said by their customary ejaculations. Was not he, Massasoit, commander of the country about them? Was not such a town within his dominions—and were not the people of it his subjects—and should they not bring their skins to him, if he wished it?

Thus he proceeded to name about thirty of his small settlements, his attentive auditors responding to each question. The matter being regularly settled, he lighted tobacco for his guests, and conversed with them about their own country and King, marveling, above all, that his Majesty should live with out a squaw. As it grew late, and he offered no more substantial entertainment than this,—no doubt for the sound reason, that he had nothing to offer,—his guests intimated a wish to retire for the night. He forthwith accommodated them, with himself and his wife, they at one end and his visitors at the other, of a bed consisting of a plank platform, raised a foot or two from the ground and covered with a thin mat. Two of his chief men, probably by way of compliment, were also stationed upon the same premises; and this body-guard performed their pressing duty of escort so effectually, that no other circumstances were necessary to make the honored guests "worse weary of their lodging than they had been of their Journey."

On the following day, many of the petty chiefs, with their subjects, came in from the adjacent country, and various sports and games were got up for the entertainment of the English. At noon, they partook, with the sachem and about forty others of a meal of boiled fish shot by himself, (probably with arrows.) They continued with him until the next morning, when they departed, leaving Massasoit "both grieved and ashamed" that he could not better entertain him. Very importunate he was, adds the Journalist, to have them stay with him longer; but as they had eaten but one meal for two days and a night, with the exception of a partridge, which one of them killed; and what with their location at night, the "savages' barbarous singing of themselves to sleep," mosquitoes without doors, and other trifling inconveniences within, could not sleep at all; they begged to be excused,—on the score of conscience, Sunday being near at hand,—not to mention that they were growing light-headed, and could hardly expect, if they stayed much longer, to be able to reach home.

Massasoit's friendship was again tested in March, 1622, when an Indian, known to be under Squanto's influence, [FN] came running in among a party of colonists, with his face gashed, and the blood fresh upon it, calling out to them to flee for their lives, and then looking hind him as if pursued. On coming up, he told them that the Indians, under Massasoit, were congregating at a certain place for an attack upon the Colony; that he had received his wounds in consequence of opposing their designs; and had barely escaped from them with his life. The report occasioned no little alarm; although the correctness of it was flatly denied by Hobamock, a Pokanoket Indian resident at Plymouth, who recommended that a messenger should be sent secretly to Sowams, for the purpose of ascertaining the truth. This was done, and the messenger, finding every thing in its usually quiet state, informed Massasoit of the reports circulated against him. He was excessively incensed against Squanto, but sent his thanks to the Governor for the opinion of his fidelity, which he understood him to retain; and directed the messenger to assure him, that he should instantly apprize him of any conspiracy which might at any future time take place.

[FN] Which, it may be here observed, was quite considerable. Squanto was ambitious and meddlesome, though not malicious—well-disposed and serviceable to the English, but a little too anxious to have credit for that fact among his countrymen. He amused himself with telling them that the whites kept the plague barreled up in their cellars, that they intended war upon various tribes, &c. for the sake of being employed, sometimes hired, to act as mediator; and of course he always succeeded in settling the difficulty. Squanto died in November, 1622, on an expedition fitted out by Governor Bradford for obtaining corn among the Indians. His last request was, that the governor would pray for him that he might go to the Englishman's God in Heaven. He bequeathed, his little property to his English friends. So perished the last aboriginal of the Plymouth soil. He sometimes played "Jack upon both sides," as Hubbard says, but his death was justly considered a public loss.

That the declarations of Massasoit, upon this occasion, were far from being mere words of compulsion or of courtesy, is abundantly proved by his conduct during the next season, 1623. Early in the spring of that year, news came to Plymouth, that he was very sick at Sowams; and it was determined to send Mr. Winslow to visit him once more, in token of the friendship of the colonists. That gentleman immediately commenced his journey, being provided with a few cordials, and attended by "one Master John Hampden, a London gentleman, who then wintered with him, and desired much to see the country,"—no doubt the same character so eminently distinguished afterwards in the politics of England.

They heard, at various places on their route, that the sachem was already dead; and their guide, Hobamock, indulged himself all the way in the most unbounded grief. They found him still living, however, on their arrival; and the multitude of dependents and friends who thronged his lodge, made way as fast as possible for their admittance and accommodation. He appeared to be reduced to the last extremities. Six or eight women were employed in chafing his cold limbs, and the residue of the numerous company were exerting themselves to the utmost, meanwhile, in making what Winslow rather uncharitably calls "such a hellish noise as distempered those that were well." [FN] He had the good sense to wait for the conclusion of the ceremony; and the exhausted performers being then satisfied they had done all that in them lay for the benefit of the patient, one of them apprised him of the arrival of the English.

[FN] Probably an Indian Powah was leader of the chorus. Of these barbarian quacks, Roger Williams says, that "the poore people commonly dye under their hands," for the very good reason that they "administer nothing, but howle, and roar, and hollow over them, and begin the song to the rest of the people about them, who all joyne (like a quire) in prayer to the gods for them." Key to the Indian Language, chapter xxxi.

"Who have come?" muttered the sachem, still conscious, though his sight was wholly gone. They told him Winsnow had come, (as they generally substituted n for the English l.) "Let me speak with him then," he replied, "Let me speak one word to him." Winslow went forward to the matted platform where he lay, and grasped the feeble hand which the sachem, informed of his approach, held out for him. "Art thou Winsnow?" he whispered the question again, (in his own language,) "Art thou Winsnow?" Being readily answered in the affirmative, he appeared satisfied of the fact. But "O Winsnow," he added mournfully, "I shall never see thee again!"

Hobamock was now called, and desired to assure the sachem of the Governor's kind remembrance of him in his present situation, and to inform him of the articles they had brought with them for his use. He immediately signified his wish to taste of these; and they were given him accordingly, to the great delight of the people around him. Winslow then proceeded to use measures for his relief, and they wrought a great change in him within half an hour. He recovered his sight gradually, and began to converse, requesting his good friend Winslow, among other things, to kill him a fowl, and make him some English pottage, such as he had seen at Plymouth. This was done for him, and such other care taken as restored his strength and appetite wonderfully within the day or two of Winslow's stay.

His expressions of gratitude, as well as those of his delighted attendants, were constant, as they were evidently warm from the heart. Finally, as his guests were about to leave him, he called Hobamock to his side, and revealed to him a plot against the colonists, recently formed, as he understood, among certain of the Massachusetts tribes, and in which he had himself been invited to join. He also recommended certain summary measures for the suppression of the plot, and concluded with charging Hobamock [FN] to communicate the intelligence to Winslow on the way to Plymouth. It may be added here, that these measures were subsequently executed by Standish, and were successful. The conspiracy itself was occasioned by the notorious and outrageous profligacy of the banditti of "Master Weston," at Weymouth.

[FN] The date of this Indian's death is not known. He is said to have once been a war-captain among the Massachusetts tribes. Hubbard describes him as a "proper lusty young man, and of good account among the Indians of those parts for his valor." He was useful, like Squanto, without being troublesome.

The leading particulars in the residue of Massasoit's life, may soon be detailed. In 1632, he was assaulted at Sowams, by a party of Narraghansetts, and obliged to take refuge in an English house. His situation was soon ascertained at Plymouth, and an armed force being promptly despatched to his succor, under his old friend Standish, the Narraghansetts retired. About the year 1639, he probably associated his eldest son, Moanam or Wamsutta, with him in the government; for they came together into open court at Plymouth, it is said, on the 28th of September of that year, and desired that the ancient treaty of 1621 might remain inviolable. They also entered into some new engagements, chiefly going to secure to the Colony a pre-emptive claim to the Pokanoket lands. "And the whole court," add the records, "in the name of the whole government for each town respectively, did then likewise ratify and confirm the aforesaid ancient league and confederacy."

From this time, the names of the father and son are sometimes found united, and sometimes not so, in instruments by which land was conveyed to the English. In 1649, the former sold the territory of Bridgewater in his own name. "Witnes these presents"—are the words of the deed—"that I Ousamequin Sachim of the contrie of Pocanauket, haue given, granted enfeofed and sould unto Myles Standish of Duxborough Samuel Nash and Constant Southworth of Duxborough aforesaid in the behalfe of all ye townsmen of Duxborough aforesaid a tract of land usually called Saughtucket extending in length and the breadth thereof, as followeth, that is to say—[here follow the boundaries of what is now Bridgewater]—the wch tract the said Ousamequin hath given granted enfeofed and sould unto ye said Myles [Standish] Samuel Nash and Constant Southworth in the behalfe of all ye townsmen of Duxborough as aforesaid wth all the emunities priveleges and profitts whatsoever belonging to the said tract of land wth all and singular all woods underwoods lands meadowes Riuers brooks Rivulets &c. to have and to hould to the said Myles Standish Samuel Nash and Constant Southworth in behalfe of all the townsmen of the towne of Duxborough to them and their beyers forever. In witnes whereof I the said Ousamequin have here unto sett my hand this 23 of March 1649.

"The mk of {mark} Ousamequin.

"In consideration of the aforesaid bargain and sale wee the said Myles Standish Samuel Nash and Constant Southworth, doe bind ourselves to pay unto ye said Ousamequin for and in consideration of ye said tract of land as followeth

"7 Coats a yd and half in a coat} Myles Standish
9 Hatchets }
8 Howes } Samuel Nash
20 Knives }
4 Moose skins } Constant Southworth.
10 Yds and half of cotton }"

The original document of which we have here given a literal and exact copy has been preserved to this day. It is in the handwriting of Captain Standish.

The precise date of Massasoit's death is unknown. In 1653, his name appears in a deed by which he conveyed part of the territory of Swansey to English grantees. Hubbard supposes that he died about three years subsequent to this; but as late as 1661, he is noticed in the Records of the United Colonies, as will appear more particularly in the life of his eldest son. Two or three years afterwards, conveyances were made of the Pokanoket lands in which he appears to have had no voice; and it may be fairly inferred that he died in that interval. He must have been near eighty years of age.

Such are the passages which history has preserved concerning the earliest and best friend of the Pilgrims. Few and simple as they are, they give glimpses of a character that, under other circumstances, might have placed Massasoit among the illustrious of his age. He was a mere savage; ignorant of even reading and writing, after an intercourse of near fifty years with the colonists; and distinguished from the mass of savages around him, as we have seen, by no other outward emblem than a barbarous ornament of bones. It must be observed, too, as to them, that the authority which they conferred upon him, or rather upon his ancestors, was their free gift, and was liable at any moment to be retracted, wholly or in part, either by the general voice or by the defection or violence of individuals. The intrinsic dignity and energy of his character alone, therefore, must have sustained the dominion of the sachem, with no essential distinction of wealth, retinue, cultivation, or situation in any respect, between him and the meanest of the Wampanoags. The naked qualities of his intellect and is heart must have gained their loyalty, controlled their extravagant passions to his own purposes, and won upon their personal confidence and affection.

That he did this appears from the fact, so singular in Indian history, that among all the Pokanoket tribes, there was scarcely an instance of even an individual broil or quarrel with the English during his long life. Some of these tribes, living nearer the Colony than any other Indians, and going into it daily in such numbers, that Massasoit was finally requested to restrain them from "pestering" their friends by their mere multitude,—these shrewd beings must have perceived, as well as Massasoit himself did, that the colonists were as miserably fearful as they were feeble and few. Some of them, too,—the sachem Corbitant, for example,—were notoriously hostile, and perhaps had certain supposed reasons for being so. Yet that cunning and ambitious savage extricated himself from the only overt act of rebellion he is known to have attempted, by "soliciting the good offices of Massasoit," we are told, "to reconcile him to the 'English." And such was the influence of the chief sachem, not only over him, but over the Massachusetts sachems, that nine of the principal of them soon after came into Plymouth from great distances, for the purpose of signifying their humble respect for the authority of the English.

That Massasoit was beloved as well as respected by his subjects and neighbors, far and wide, appears from the great multitude of anxious friends who thronged about him during his sickness; Some of them, as Winslow ascertained, had come more than one hundred miles for the purpose of seeing him; and they all watched his operations in that case, with as intense anxiety as if the prostrate patient had been the father or the brother of each. And meagre as is the justice which history does the sachem, it still furnishes some evidence, not to be mistaken, that he had won this regard from them by his kindness. There is a passage of affecting simplicity in Winslow's Relation, going to show that he did not forget their minutest interests, even in his own almost unconscious helplessness. "That morning," it is said, "he caused me to spend in going from one to another among those that were sick in the town [Sowams]; requesting me to treat them as I had him, and to give to each of them some of the same I gave him, saying they were good folk."

But these noble traits of the character of Massasoit are still more abundantly illustrated by the whole tenor of his intercourse with the whites. Of his mere sense of his positive obligations to them, including his fidelity to the famous treaty of 1621, nothing more need be said, excepting that the annals of the continent furnish scarcely one parallel even to that case. But he went much further than this. He not only visited the Colony in the first instance of his own free will and accord, but he entered into the negotiations cheerfully and deliberately; and in the face of their manifest fear and suspicion. Henceforth the results of it were regarded, not with the mere honesty of an ally, but with the warm interest of a friend. It was probably at his secret and delicate suggestion,—and it could scarcely have been without his permission, at all events,—that his own subjects took up their residence among the colonists, with the view of guiding, piloting, interpreting for them, and teaching them their own useful knowledge. Winslow speaks of his appointing another to fill the place of Squanto at Plymouth, while the latter should be sent about among the Pokanokets, under his orders, "to procure truck [in furs] for the English."

The vast grant of territory which he made in the first instance has been spoken of. It was made with the simple observation, that his claim to it was the sole claim in existence. It was also without consideration; the generous sachem, as Roger Williams says of the Narraghansetts in a similar case, "being shy and jealous of selling the lands to any, and choosing rather to make a gift of them to such as they affected." Such is the only jealousy which Massasoit can be said ever to have entertained of the English. Nor do we find any evidence that he repented of his liberality, or considered it the incautious extravagance of a moment of flattered complaisance. We do find, however, that he invariably watched over the interest of the grantees, with more strictness than he would probably have watched over his own. He laid claim, in one instance, to a tract for which Mr. Williams had negotiated with the Narraghansetts,—that gentleman being ignorant, perhaps, of an existing controversy between the two tribes. "It is mine," said the sachem, "It is mine, and therefore theirs,"—plainly implying that the ground in question was comprised within the original transfer. Whether this claim was just, or whether it was insisted upon, does not appear; but there is indication enough, both of the opinion and feeling of Massasoit.

An anecdote of him, recorded by Governor Winthrop, under the title of a "pleasant passage," is still more striking. His old friend Winsnow, it seems, made a trading voyage to Connecticut, during the summer of 1634. On his return, he left his vessel upon the Narraghansett coast, for some reason or other, and commenced his journey for Plymouth across the woods. Finding himself at a loss, probably, as to his route, he made his way to Sowams, and called upon his ancient acquaintance, the sachem. The latter gave him his usual kind welcome, and, upon his leaving him, offered to conduct him home,—a pedestrian journey of two days. He had just despatched one of his Wampanoags to Plymouth, with instructions to inform the friends of Winslow, that he was dead, and to persuade them of this melancholy fact, by specifying such particulars as their own ingenuity might suggest. All this was done accordingly; and the tidings occasioned, as might be expected, a very unpleasant excitement throughout the Colony. In the midst of it, however, on the next day, the sachem entered the village, attended by Winslow, and with more than his usual complacency in his honest and cheerful countenance. He was asked why such a report had been circulated the day previous. "That Winsnow might be the more welcome," answered he, "and that you might be the more happy,—it is my custom." He had come thus far to enjoy this surprise personally; and he returned homeward, more gratified by it, without doubt, than he would have been by the most fortunate foray among the Narraghansetts.

It is intimated by some writers, rather more frequently than is either just or generous, that the sachem's fear of the tribe just named lay at the foundation of his friendship. It might have been nearer the apparent truth, considering all that is known of Massasoit, to say, that his interest happened to coincide with his inclination. At all events, it was in the power of any other of the sachems or kings throughout the country, to place and sustain themselves upon the same footing with the colonists, had they been prompted either by as much good feeling or good sense. On the contrary, the Massachusetts were plotting and threatening on one hand, as we have seen, not without provocation, it must be allowed,—while the Narraghansett sachem, upon the other, had sent in his compliments as early as 1622, in the shape of a bundle of arrows, tied up with a rattlesnake's skin.

Nor should we forget the wretched feebleness of the Colony at the period of their first acquaintance with Massasoit. Indeed, the instant measures which he took for their relief and protection, look more like the promptings of compassion, than of either hope or fear. A month previous to his appearance among them, they were reduced to such a pitiable condition by sickness, that only six or seven men of their whole number were able to do business in the open air; and probably their entire fighting force, could they have been mustered together, would scarcely have equaled that little detachment which Massasoit brought with him into the village, delicately leaving twice as many, with the arms of all, behind him; as he afterwards exchanged six hostages for one. No wonder that the colonists "could not yet conceive but that he was willing to have peace with them."

But the motives of the sachem are still further manifested by the sense of his own dignity, which, peaceable as he generally was, he showed promptly upon all suitable occasions. Both the informal grant and the formal deeds we have mentioned, indicate that he understood himself to be the master of his ancestral territory as much in right as in fact. There is nothing in his whole history, which does more honor to his intelligence or his sensibility, than his conduct occasioned by the falsehoods circulated among the colonists against him by Squanto. His first impulse, as we have seen, was to be offended with the guilty intriguant; the second, to thank the Governor for appealing to himself in this case, and to assure him that he would at any time "send word and give warning when any such business was towards." On further inquiry, he ascertained that Squanto was taking even more liberties with his reputation than he had been aware of. He went forthwith to Plymouth, and made his appeal personally to the Governor. The latter pacified him as well as he could, and he returned home. But a very short time elapsed before a message came from him, entreating the Governor to consent to the death of the renegade who still abused him. The Governor confessed in reply, that Squanto deserved death, but desired that he might be spared on account of his indispensable services. Massasoit was not yet satisfied. The former messenger was again sent, "with divers others," says Winslow in his Relation, "demanding him, [Squanto] as being one of Massasoit's subjects, whom by our first articles of peace we could not retain; yet because he would not willingly do it [insist upon his rights] without the Governor's approbation, he offered him many beaver-skins for his consent thereto." The deputation had brought these skins, accordingly, as also the sachem's own knife, for the execution of the criminal. Squanto now surrendered himself to the Governor, as an Indian always resigns himself to his fate upon similar occasions; but the Governor still contrived a pretext for sparing him. The deputies were "mad with rage and impatient of delay," as may be supposed, and departed in great heat.

The conduct of the sachem in this case was manifestly more correct than that of his ally. He understood as well as the Governor did, the spirit of the articles in the treaty, which provided, that an offender upon either side should be given up to punishment upon demand; and he was careful to make that demand personally, explicitly and respectfully. The Governor, on the other hand, as well as the culprit himself, acknowledged the justice of it, but manœuvred to avoid compliance. The true reason is no doubt given by Winslow. It is also given in the language of John Smith. "With much adoe," says the honest Captain, "we appeased the angry king and the rest of the saluages, and freely forgaue Tusquantum, because he speaking our language we could not be well without him." The king was angry, then, as he well might be; and the Governor took the trouble, he was both bound and interested to take, to appease him. It is not to be wondered at, perhaps, that the particulars of this transaction are so little dwelt upon by the writers of that period. Winslow barely states,—speaking, in another connexion, of the Indians being evidently aware of the weakness of the Colony,—that, what was worse "now also Massasoit seemed to frown upon us, and neither came nor sent to us as formerly." This passage is no less significant than brief; but not more so than a subsequent dry observation respecting Squanto, "whose peace, before this time, (the fall of the same year) was wrought with Massasoit."

Such were the life and character of Massasoit. It is to be regretted, that so few particulars are preserved of the former, and that so little justice, consequently, can be done to the latter. But so far as his history goes, it certainly makes him one of the most remarkable men of his race. There is no nobler instance in all history, of national fidelity, (for which he mainly must have the credit,) or of individual friendship. This instinct of a generous nature in the first instance, being confirmed by a course of conduct generally alike creditable to the feelings and shrewdness of the Colonists, finally settled itself in the mind of Massasoit as ineradicably as his affection for his own subjects. "I know now," said he to Winslow, on his first recovery from the severe sickness we have mentioned, "I know that the English love me,—I love them—I shall never forget them."

But putting even the most unnatural construction upon the professions and the conduct of the sachem, the relation he commenced and for forty-five years sustained with the English, must be allowed to show at least a consummate sagacity. He certainly succeeded during all this time, not only in shielding his tribes from their just or unjust hostility, but in gaining their respect to such a singular degree, that the writings of no single author within our recollection furnish one word to his disparagement. Even Hubbard speaks of him with something like regard; notwithstanding the obnoxious trait in his character indicated in the following passage. "It is very remarkable," he says, "that this Woosamequin, how much soever he affected the English, was never in the least degree well affected to their religion." It is added furthermore, that in his last treaty with the whites at Swanzey,—referring to a sale of land which we have mentioned,—he exerted himself to bind them solemnly "never to draw away any of his people from their old pagan superstition and devilish idolatry to the Christian religion." [FN] This he insisted on, until they threatened to break off the negotiation on account of his pertinacity, and he then gave up the point.

[FN] In that rare tract (published in London, 1651.) entitled "The Light appearing more and more towards the perfect Day" &c. and written by the Rev. Thomas Mayhew, it is stated, that some of the Christian Indians of Martha's Vineyard had a conversation with "Vzzamequin a great Sachem or Governor on the maine Land (coming amongst them) about the wayes of God"—he enquiring what earthly good things came along with them, and what they had gained by their piety, &c. This was previous to 1650.

Massasoit did not distinguish himself as a warrior; nor is he known to have been once engaged in any open hostilities, even with the inimical and powerful tribes who environed his territory. This is another unique trait in his character; and considering the general attachment of all Indians to a belligerent life, their almost exclusive deference for warlike qualities, the number and scattered location of the Pokanoket tribes, and especially the character of their ancient neighbors, this very fact is alone sufficient to distinguish the genius of Massasoit. All the native nations of New England, but his, were involved in dissensions and wars with each other and with the whites; and they all shared sooner or later the fate which he avoided. The restless ring-leaders who plotted mischief among the Massachusetts, were summarily knocked upon the head by Miles Standish, while hundreds of the residue fled, and miserably perished in their own swamps. The Pequots,—a nation who could muster three thousand bowmen but a short time previous, were nearly exterminated in 1637; and the savages of Maine, meanwhile, the Mohawks of New York, the Narraghansetts and the Mohegans were fighting and reducing each others' strength, as if their only object had been, by ultimately extirpating themselves, to prepare a way in the wilderness for the new comers.


Massasoit succeeded by his son Alexander—The occasion of that name being given by the English—History of Alexander previous to his father's death—Covenant made with Plymouth in 1639—Measures taken in pursuance of it, in 1661—Anecdote illustrating the character of Alexander—Notice of the charges made against him—Examination of the transaction which led to his death—Accession of Philip—Renewal of the treaty by him—Interruption of harmony—Supposed causes of it—Measures taken in consequence—Philip's submission-Letter to the Plymouth Governor—Second submission in 1671—Remarks on the causes of Philip's War.

Massasoit was succeeded in the Pokanoket government by his eldest son Moanam, or Wamsutta, known to the English chiefly by the name of Alexander; which appellation he received at the same time when that of Philip was conferred on his younger brother. The two young men came together on that occasion into open court at Plymouth and professing great regard for the English, requested that names should be given them. Their father not being mentioned as having attended them at the observance of the ceremony has probably occasioned the suggestion of his death. It would be a sufficient explanation of his absence, however, that he was now an old man, and that the distance of Sowams from Plymouth was more than forty miles. It is easy to imagine, that the solicitude he had always manifested to sustain a good understanding with his Plymouth friends, might lead him to recommend this pacific and conciliatory measure, as a suitable preparation for his own decease, and perhaps as the absolute termination of his reign.

There is some reason to believe, indeed, that Alexander had a share in the Pokanoket sovereignty, many years previous to the date of the ceremony just mentioned. The Plymouth records show, that on the 25th of September, 1639, the father came into court, bringing Moanam with him. He desired that the old treaty of 1621 might remain inviolable, "and the said Woosamequin or Massasoit, and Moanam or Wamsutta," did also promise that he nor they shall or will needlessly and unjustly raise any quarrels, or do any wrongs to other natives, to provoke them to war against him; and that he or they shall not give, sell or convey, any of his or their lands territories or possessions whatsoever, to any person or persons, without the privity and consent of the Government of Plymouth aforesaid; "and the whole court in the name of the whole government, for each town respectively, did then likewise ratify and confirm the aforesaid ancient league and confederacy; and did also further promise to the said Woosamequin and Moanam his son, and his successors, that they shall and will from time to time defend them, when occasion shall require, against all such as shall rise up against them to wrong or oppress them unjustly."

Agreeably to the terms of this covenant, the Records of the Colonies for 1661 set forth, that a message was that year sent by the United Commissioners to Uncas, chief Sachem of the Mohegans. [FN] The complainants in that case were the General Court of Massachusetts; and the charge alleged against Uncas was a violent "Invading of Wesamequin and the Indians of Quabakutt whoe are and longe haue bine Subjects to the English." The dominion here assumed, is probably intended to apply only to the Quabakutt Indians, and not to Massasoit. Uncas, in his answer, professed that he was ignorant they were subjects of Massachusetts, "and further says they were none of Wesamequin's men but belonging to Onopequin his deadly enemie." &c.

[FN] See the message and reply at large in the Life of Uncas.

He then alleges "that Wesamequin his son and diuers of his men had fought against him diuers times." The last paragraph of the answer—which was given in by Major Mason in behalf of Uncas—is as follows:

"Alexander allis [alias] Wamsutta Sachem of Sowamsett being now att Plymouth hee challenged Quabauke Indians to belong to him and further said that hee did war Warr {sic} against Vcus this summer on that account."

It is very clear at least that Alexander maintained fearlessly and frankly, what he believed to be his rights; nor does it appear, that the exercise of his sovereignty in this manner was objected to by the party which had the best, if not only right to object. He manifested the same independence in regard to the efforts of the English missionaries; so that Hubbard concludes he had "neither affection for the Englishmen's persons, nor yet for their religion."

This is licentious reasoning, at the best; for not a tittle of evidence exists in the case, so far as we are aware, which goes to rebut the just inference to be drawn from the circumstance that no difficulty or controversy occurred between Alexander and his allies from his accession to his death—with a single exception. The excepted case, which comes in order now to be considered, is one of the more importance, that its immediate effect was to terminate at once the reign and life of the chieftain.

In connexion with the remark last cited from Hubbard, that historian barely observes, that the Governor and Council were informed of the fact. Mather states, with no more particularity, that the sachem solicited the Narraghansetts to rebel with him;—upon the good proof whereof, the Plymouth Government adopted certain summary measures. From other sources we find, that this proof was communicated by letters from Boston, where it was probably founded upon rumors gathered from straggling Indians. At all events, no conclusive testimony appears in the case; and it may be plausibly surmised, therefore, that none was ever received, the writers just cited not being remarkably prone to omit matters of this kind. The rumor might originate from circumstances really suspicious; but were this true, and far more, if it were both false and malicious, like the charges against Massasoit, we may well question both the justice and the policy of the steps taken by the Plymouth Government.

"They presently sent for him, to bring him to the court," says Hubbard,—a very remarkable proceeding, related with a corresponding brevity. The business was intrusted, it also appears, to a gentleman who was neither afraid of danger, nor yet willing to delay in a matter of this moment. We are then told that this gentleman, Mr. Winslow, forthwith taking eight or ten stout men with him, well armed, set out for Sowams; that he fortunately met with Alexander, at a few miles' distance, in a Wigwam with eighty of his followers; that they seized upon the arms of the party, which had been left without the Wigwam, and then went in and summoned the sachem to attend them to Plymouth. He obeyed, reluctantly, being threatened that "if he stirred or refused to go, he was a dead man." Such was his spirit, however, adds Hubbard, that the very surprisal of him threw him into a fever. Upon this, he requested liberty to return home, and the favor was granted to him on certain conditions; but he died upon the way.

This account agrees with Mather's. "The Government sent that valiant and excellent commander," says the Reverend Doctor, "to fetch him down before them. The major-general used such expedition and resolution in this affair, that, assisted with no more than ten men, he seized upon Alexander at a hunting-house, notwithstanding his numerous attendants about him; and when the raging sachem saw a pistol at his breast, with a threatening of death to him if he did not quietly yield himself up to go down to Plymouth; he yielded, though not very quietly, thereunto." Mather attributes his death, furthermore, to the "inward fury of his own guilty and haughty mind." Now, even if the sachem were not compelled to travel faster or further than was decent in his unfortunate situation, as one of our authorities is careful to argue; and granting to the other, that he was treated (on the march) with no other than that humanity and civility, which was essential to the Major-General, [FN] it is abundantly clear, we conceive, that a more hot-blooded or high-handed measure could hardly have been executed by the adventurous John Smith himself. The son of Massasoit, and the ruler of a nation who had been forty years in alliance and warm friendship with the Colonists,—throughout all their feebleness, and in spite of all jealousies and provocations,—was assaulted in his own territory and among his own subjects, insulted, threatened, and finally forced to obey a summons of his ancient ally to appear before his court for his trial. It does not appear that he was even apprised of the occasion which required his attendance. And what is worse than all the rest, the whole proceeding was founded, so far as we can ascertain, upon no better testimony than accusations gathered from stragglers at Boston, and then communicated "by letters" to Plymouth. It must be admitted, that a different coloring is put upon the affair by the Rev. Mr. Cotton, whose relation may be found among the excellent notes appended to Mr. Davis's recent edition of Morton. He states, that the sachem readily consented to attend Winslow; and that he was barely examined before certain justices at Eastham, and dismissed. This account, however, does not much mitigate the essential circumstances of the case; and it admits the fact, that the sachem died within two or three days after being carried home on the shoulders of his men, although the English party seem to have found him in perfect health.

[FN] Among other civilities, he was offered the use of a horse on the journey, and declined that favor on the ground that some of his women, in the company, were obliged to walk; a fine trait of savage politeness.

Such was the ignominious death of Alexander, and under such circumstances did the government devolve upon his brother Metacom,—or Philip, as he is generally called. That Prince seems to have assumed the Pokanoket government, favored by a more than usual popularity; for the event was celebrated by the rejoicing and revelry of multitudes of his subjects, sachems and others, gathered together from the remotest limits of his territory. One of his earliest measures, was to appear with his uncle before the Plymouth Court, following the example of his father and brother. He expressed an earnest wish for the continuance of peace and amity; and pledged himself,—as the Court did also upon the other hand—to use all suitable measures for effecting that desirable purpose. For several years after this, the intercourse between the two parties went on, ostensibly, as it had done in former times, though probably not without some distrust upon both sides.

The first public interruption of this harmony occurred in 1671, during which season Philip was heard to complain, openly, of certain encroachments by the English upon his hunting-grounds. About the same time rumors were circulated that his subjects frequently assembled at various places in unwonted numbers and were repairing their guns, and sharpening their hatchets. The Plymouth Government were alarmed. They sent messengers to communicate with the Massachusetts Government, and at the same time other messengers to Philip, not "to fetch him before the Court," as in the case of his brother, but to ascertain his intentions.

He seems to have paid a dignified regard to this measure. On the 10th of April, a message was received from him, inviting the officers of the Plymouth Government to a conference. It was received by the latter at Taunton, where also were several gentlemen, despatched by the Massachusetts Government, with instructions to mediate between the contending parties. Governor Prince, of Plymouth, sent word back to Philip,—who was tarrying meanwhile at what is now called Three-mile-river, about four miles from Taunton green,—that he was heartily disposed to treat with him, and expected that the sachem would come forward for that purpose; and his personal safety was guaranteed in case he should do so. Philip so far complied with the request, as to advance a considerable distance nearer the village. He then stationed himself at a place called Crossman's mill, placed sentinels on a hill in his rear, and again despatched messengers to the Governor, desiring an interview. This, the town's-people, who could scarcely be restrained from falling forthwith upon the Indian party, would not permit. At last, the Massachusetts Commissioners, volunteering to take the supposed hazard upon themselves, went to Philip, and persuaded him to consent to a conference. This was on condition that his men should accompany him; and that the business should be done at the meeting-house, one side of which was to be reserved for the Wampanoags, and the other for the English.

The council took place agreeably to these arrangements, in the old meeting-house of Taunton. The English stood upon one side, solemn and stern in countenance, as they were formal in garb; and opposite to them, a line of Indian warriors, armed and arrayed for battle, their long black hair hanging about their necks, and their eyes gleaming covertly with a flame of suspicion and defiance, scarcely to be suppressed. Philip alone was their orator. He denied that he entertained any hostile design; and promptly explained his preparations for war, as intended for defence against the Narraghansetts. The Commissioners rejoined, however, with such arguments and evidence as satisfied themselves and completely surprised him. At least, he affected to admit all that was alleged against him; and though he refused to give compensation for past aggressions, he and some of his counsellors subscribed an acknowledgement drawn up by the English in the words following:

"Taunton, April 10th, 1671.

"Whereas my father, and my brother and myself have formerly submitted ourselves unto the king's majesty of England, and to this colony of New Plymouth, by solemn covenant under our hand; but I having of late, through my indiscretion and the naughtiness of my heart, violated and broken this my covenant with my friends, by taking up arms with an evil intent against them, and that groundlessly; I being now deeply sensible of my unfaithfulness and folly, do desire at this time solemnly to renew my covenant with my ancient friends, and my father's friends above mentioned, and do desire that this may testify to the world against me if ever I shall again in my faithfulness towards them (whom I have now and at all times found kind toward me) or any other of the English colonies. And as a pledge of my true intentions for the future to be faithful and friendly, I do freely engage to resign up to the Government of New Plymouth all my English arms, to be kept by them for their security so long as they shall see reason. For the true performance of the promises, I have hereunto set my hand, together with the rest of my counsel.

"In the presence of   The mark P of Philip,
William Davis,   The mark V of Tavoseh,
William Hudson,   The mark M of Capt. Wispoke,
Thomas Brattle,   The mark T of Woonchapaponchunk,
  The mark 8 of Nimrod."

From the tenor of this submission, it has been generally supposed that the Sachem was frightened into it. Hence Hubbard relates, that "one of his captains, of far better courage and resolution than himself, when he saw his cowardly temper and disposition, flung down his arms, called him white-livered cur, or to that purpose, and from that time turned to the English," &c. This might be true, though it is well known, that Mr. Hubbard's authority in regard to every thing touching the character of Philip is to be regarded with many allowances for his intemperate prejudice. He hesitates not, almost as often as he finds occasion to mention his name, to pay him the passing compliment of "caitiff," "hell-hound," "fiend," "arch-rebel," and various similar designations of respect and affection.

But there is no doubt that the acknowledgement was at least a mere artifice to gain time. Apparently it had no effect in reference to the impending hostilities, other than to hasten them by aggravating the ill-will of the Indians. It does not appear that their arms were given up, even so far as stipulated in the submission. The following reply of Philip to some communication respecting them may be deemed exposition of his side of the question. The precise date is undetermined.

"Sachem Philip, his answer to the letter brought to him from the Governor of New Plymouth.

"First. Declaring his thankfulness to the Governor for his great respects and kindness manifested in the letter.

"Secondly. Manifesting his readiness to lay down their arms, and send his people about their usual business and employments, as also his great desire of concluding of peace with neighboring English.

"Thirdly. Inasmuch as great fears and jealousies hath been raised in their minds by several persons, which now they better understand the falsity of such reports, as hath formerly been conveyed unto them, Philip doth humbly request the Governor will please favorably to excuse and acquit them from any payment of damage, or surrendering their arms, they not apprehending themselves blameworthy in those late rumors.

"Fourthly. They are not at present free to promise to appear at court, hoping there will be no necessity of it, in case their freedom for peace and readiness to lay down arms may be accepted; as also suggestions of great danger that befall them, in case they appear, with harsh threats to the Sachem, that may be considered.

"Per me, "Samuel Gorton Junior."

Whether Philip was at this time preparing for war, cannot be decided; but he was evidently as yet unprepared. He went to Boston, therefore, during the month of August (1671). He knew the Massachusetts government to be more friendly to him than the Plymouth; and although letters had arrived that very day from the latter place, announcing an intention of declaring war upon him forthwith, the Sachem succeeded in persuading the Massachusetts authorities of his entire innocence. They sent a proposal to Plymouth for a new council, to settle all difficulties. This being declined, they gave their opinion decidedly against war. Staggered by this declaration, the government of the old colony consented to try the effect of another mediation. A conference of all parties soon took place at Plymouth; and the following articles of accommodation were agreed upon.

"1. We, Philip and my Council and my subjects, do acknowledge ourselves subject to his Majesty the King of England, and the government of New Plymouth and to their laws.

"2. I am willing and do promise to pay unto the government of Plymouth one hundred pounds in such things as I have; but I would intreat the favor that I might have three years to pay it in, forasmuch as I cannot do it at present.

"3. I do promise to send unto the governor, or whom he shall appoint, five wolves' heads, if I can get them; or as many as I can procure, until they come to five wolves yearly.

"4. If any difference fall between the English and myself and people, then I do promise to repair to the governor of Plymouth, to rectify the difference amongst us.

"5. I do promise not to make war with any, but with the Governor's approbation of Plymouth.

"6. I promise not to dispose of any of the lands that I have at present, but by the approbation of the governor of Plymouth.

"For the true performance of the promises, I the said Sachem; Philip of Paukamakett [FN] do hereby bind myself, and such of my council as are present, ourselves, our heirs, our successors, faithfully, and do promise; in witness thereof; we have hereunto subscribed our hands, the day and year above written.

"[In the presence of the Court,   The mark P of Philip.
divers magistrates, &c.]   The mark [ of Uncomparn.
     The mark T of Wocokon.
     The mark 7 of Samkama."

[FN] Alias Pokanokit. Other variations of this ill-fated word, are
Pachanokik and Puchanokik, by   Purchas.
Pocanaket,   Morton.
Pockanockett,   Morton's Continuation.
Pacanokie,   Prince.
Pokanockett,   Hutchinson.
Pawkunnawkutt,   Gookin.
Puckanokie,   Winslow's Relations.
Pokanackst,   Hubbard.

This negotiation was a new stratagem; [FN] and the success of it answered the purpose of Philip completely; for although he does not appear to have killed one wolf; or paid one cent, even "in such things as he had," nothing occurred for three years, to rouse the suspicions of the Colonies. There can scarcely be a doubt, that during all this time,—if not for a longer time previous,—the sachem was maturing one of the grandest plans ever conceived by any savage;—that of utterly exterminating the English of the northern provinces. This, he was well aware; could only be done by means commensurate with the danger and difficulty of the enterprise. The Colonies were no longer the feeble and timid allies, known fifty years before to his father. They had grown in numbers and in strength; and still more in experience and spirit. Nothing less, than a general union of the New England tribes, who lived among and around them all, would furnish a safe guarantee for the complete success of such a war as was now meditated.

[FN] Mather remarks upon the passage thus: "When the Duke of Archette, at his being made governor of Antwerp castle, took an oath to keep it faithfully for King Philip of Spain, the officer that gave him his oath used these odd words. If you perform what you promise, God help you; if you do it not, the Devil take your body and soul! and all the standers-by cried 'Amen!' But when the Indian King Philip took his oath, nobody used these words unto him; nevertheless you shall see anon whether these words were not expressive enough of what became of him!"

To that great preparation, then, the whole energies of Philip must be devoted. It was as difficult, he well knew, as it was desirable. The ruler of one small confederacy,—already suspected, and constantly under the close scrutiny of his powerful neighbors,—he must unite and interest in one common object, a multitude of scattered nations who had met and known each other, until this time, only in jealousy, envy, revenge, and in many cases hereditary and inveterate war; and among whose councils no similar plan, for any purpose whatever, had even been conceived of. How far Philip surmounted these obstacles, will be seen. The great train of events we are approaching, are so interesting both as a passage of general history, and still more, as they implicate and illustrate the character of Philip, that it may be proper to take some notice of the causes which gave rise to them. It is well known, that his English contemporaries looked upon him, very generally, With feelings far from benevolent. It was natural under the circumstances that they should do so; but it is no more necessary, than it is philosophical or just on the other hand, to confide implicitly either in their opinions or their statements. Philip and his Wampanoags are unlucky enough, like the lion in the fable, to have no painter.

It should be observed here, that Philip like his elder brother, unquestionably considered himself an ally and not a subject of the English;—at least, until his nominal submission in 1671. Even the same authorities who record this submission, speak of his renewing his ancient covenant, (as indeed the instrument itself shows.) A distinct article recognises Massasoit as an independent sovereign. Philip, then, held the same relation to the English, that his father and brother had done for the fifty years, during which the two parties had treated and associated upon equal and intimate terms. He was bound by the same engagements, and possessed of the same rights; and it only remains to be seen, if due regard was paid to these circumstances upon either side.

Now, we look upon the assault of Alexander, in 1662, in the first place, as not only a sufficient cause of suspicion and resentment, but of war; and that, upon the best construction which can be put upon the most favorable of the ex-parte relations that appear upon record. By the old treaty itself; which Alexander also took the gratuitous trouble to renew,—and without any reference to courtesy or humanity, or to national fidelity, or to personal friendship, existing up to this date,—the English were bound generally to treat him as an allied sovereign, and especially to make a preliminary demand of satisfaction, in all eases of complaint. We have seen that the charge brought against him in 1662,—vague and unsupported as it was,—was not so much as explained to the sachem, previously to his being taken from his own territory by an armed force, and carried before an English justice of the Peace. In no other instance does the Plymouth Colony seem to have exercised an authority of this nature, even over the meanest subjects of the sachem. "Inasmuch as complaint is made, that many Indians pass into divers places of this jurisdiction," say the records of the Colony for 1660, "it is enacted that no strange or foreign Indians be permitted to become residents, and that notice be given to the several sagamores to prevent the same."

A remark might be made upon the policy of laws like these, so far as the Pokanokets were concerned; as also of the acts of 1652, and 1653, which prohibited the sale of casks, barques, boats and horses, to the Indians, besides providing a punishment for such of them, resident in the Colony, as should violate the Christian sabbath, or discharge their guns in the night-time. But these regulations the Government had an undoubted right to make, as Massasoit and Philip had possessed a right,—which, however, they were complaisant enough to relinquish,—of selling their own lands to purchasers of their own choosing.

Such was the state of things previous to the submission of 1671. With regard to this, it is quite clear that, even if Philip was made to understand the instrument which it is well known he could not read, he could look upon it only as an insult, imposed upon him under circumstances amounting to duress. Independently of any force, too, he must have thought himself justified, by the manifest disposition and the summary measures of the English, in availing himself of any stratagem to lull suspicion and to gain time. He might or might not, at this period or before, have meditated acting offensively against them, in revenge of the indignity suffered by his brother and his nation; but it was certainly both prudent and patriotic in him, to put himself on the defensive. He had a right, it appears to us, both to drill his own people in martial exercises, and to make alliances with his Indian neighbors.

It might have been a safe policy in the Plymouth Government, to have considered these things, in regard at least to what they might call the jealous and barbarous prejudices of the Indians, before proceeding to extremities with either Alexander or Philip. On the contrary, while they enacted laws, and encouraged accusations, and took the execution of the penalty of them into their own hands, they used no means to conciliate Philip, but sending for him to appear before "the Plymouth Court." Whether they were cautious in all other respects after this time to avoid offence, it is not to be expected that history should enable us to determine. We find, however, that certain of the Colonists, in 1673, took upon them to negotiate treaties for land with private subjects of Philip; and there is no reason to doubt, that they entered and kept possession accordingly. As the sachems are known to have been as tenacious of their territory in claim, as they were liberal of it in disposal, it may well be conceived that this first instance of a similar nature upon record, should occasion Philip no little dissatisfaction. In imitation of the English courtesy, he might have despatched Nimrod, Tobias, Woonkaponcpunt, or some other of his "valiant and excellent" majors-generals to "fetch down" the offending grantees to Sowams. He seems to have taken no express notice of the affair. But that he understood his territorial rights, is apparent from the singular communication which follows. It is preserved in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, volume second of the first series, as precisely copied from the original, which is still preserved at Plymouth.

"King Philip desire to let you understand that he could not come to the Court, for Tom, his interpreter, has a pain in his back, that he could not travel so far, and Philip sister is very sik.

"Philip would intreat that favor of you, and aney of the magistrate if aney English or Engians speak about aney land, he pray you to give them no answer at all. This last summer he made that promis with you, that he would not sell no land in seven years time, for that he would have no English trouble him before that time, he has not forgot that you promis him.

"He will come as soon as possible as he can to speak with you, and so I rest, you very loving friend, Philip, dwelling at mount hope nek." [FN]

[FN] Since the text was written, our opinion has been confirmed by meeting with the following significant query in a petition of Mr. Gookin and Mr. Elliot to the Massachusetts Government in 1684, for the rescinding of certain purchases made of the Indians which they considered fraudulent:—"Was not a principal cause of the late war about encroachments on Philip's lands at Mount Hope?" No remarks of ours can add to the force of a suggestion from such a source.

This unique letter is addressed "To the much honored Governor, Mr. Thomas Prince, dwelling at Plymouth." As Philip himself could neither read nor write, the honor of the orthography and construction must be attributed to the infirm interpreter. But the sentiments are worthy of the sachem himself; and they certainly manifest a mingled civility and independence which do him great credit. No date is affixed to the letter. If it do not refer to the transaction just mentioned, it was probably prompted by some other of the same description. The interest which the sachem felt in cases of this kind, is apparent from one of his own conveyances, made in 1668. It was of a tract included within the present limits of Rochester, upon the sea-shore. He drafted an accurate plan of it with his own hand, (still preserved upon the records of the Old Colony) and forwarded it to the Court, with the following explanation.

"This may inform the honorable Court," we read, "that I, Philip, am willing to sell the land within this draught, but the Indians that are upon it may live upon it still; but the land that is mine that is sold, and Watashpoo is of the same mind. I have put down all the principal names of the land we are now willing should be sold." Watashpoo was probably one of the occupants, chiefly interested in the case. The letter ends thus; "Know all Men by these Presents, That Philip has given power unto Watashpoo, and Sampson, and their brethren, to hold and make sale of said land to whom they will," &c. This letter must have been sent in compliance with some request from his Plymouth friends. It is dated at Pocanauket; subscribed by the capital P, which was the sachem's mark; and attested, and no doubt written, by his secretary, John Sassamon.

Sassamon is distinguished in history as having been the immediate occasion of the first open hostilities. He was born in some family of praying Indians, and after receiving a tolerable education at Cambridge and other places, was employed as a school-master at Natick. The composition above cited rather supports Hubbard's remark, that he was a "cunning and plausible Indian, well skilled in the English language." This writer says, that he left the English on account of some misdemeanor. Mather states, that "apostatizing from the profession of Christianity, he lived like a heathen, in the quality of secretary to King Philip." He adds, that he afterwards deserted the sachem, and gave such notable evidences of repentance, as to be employed in preaching among the Indians at Natick, under the eye of his old instructor, the venerable Eliot.

This was another of the provocations which must have annoyed Philip. Hubbard states expressly, that Sassamon was importunately urged to forsake him; and it appears from other sources, that there had previously been such an entire confidence between the two, that the Secretary was intrusted with all the secrets of his master. The provocation went still farther. Sassamon, either having or pretending to have some occasion to go among the Pokanokets frequently, availed himself of this opportunity to scrutinize their movements, and to report them as he thought proper to the English. In consequence of this, Philip and some of his subjects were "examined," we are told, but nothing definite was learned from them. Soon after, Sassamon disappeared; and as he had expressed some well-founded fears of meeting with a violent death in the course of these manœuvres, his friends were alarmed. They commenced, a search, and finally found his dead body in Assawomset pond, (in Middleborough) where a hole in the ice, through which he had been thrust, was still open, and his hat and gun left near by, as if he had drowned himself. "Furthermore," says Mather, "upon the jealousies of the spirits of men that he might have met with some foul play, a jury was empanelled, unto whom it appeared that his neck was broken, which is one Indian way of murdering."

The next step of the Plymouth Government was to seize upon three Pokanoket Indians, on the testimony of a fourth, "found," says Hubbard, "by a strange providence." This man swore that he had seen the murder committed from a hill near the pond. It must be inferred that he swore to the identity of the prisoners, for it appears they were convicted from "his undeniable testimony and other circumstances," [FN] and forthwith hanged. Whatever may be said of the legal, the moral probability certainly is, that they were guilty. They were probably appointed to execute the judgement of Philip upon Sassamon, one of them being Tobias, a man of some distinction. At all events, Philip must have thought himself justified in taking this summary measure with a vagabond who was mean enough to avail himself, as Sassamon did, of being tolerated in his territory after having betrayed his confidence, and apparently for the very purpose of following up his own treason.

[FN] The Colonists were but too ready, throughout these transactions, to believe any thing and everything which supported a charge against Philip. One of the undeniable circumstances is, probably, stated by Mather. The dead body bled afresh, says the Doctor, on the approach of Tobias, "yea, upon the repetition of the experiment, it still happened so," albeit he had been deceased and interred for a considerable while before.


Preparations for war between Philip and the Colonies—Great excitement of the times—Deposition of Hugh Cole—Immediate occasion of hostilities—Commencement of them, June 24th, 1675—Summary sketch of the war—Consequences to the parties engaged—Exertions, adventures and escapes of King Philip—His death—Anecdotes respecting him—Observations on his character—His courage, dignity, kindness, independence, shrewdness, and self-command—Fate of his family—Defence of his conduct.

Whatever had previously been the disposition or determination of Philip, it is universally agreed, that subsequent to the transaction mentioned at the close of the last chapter, he took but little pains either to conceal his own hostility or to check that of his subjects. It would be incredible that he should. He well remembered what had happened to his brother in much more peaceable times; and, as several historians intimate, he must actually have apprehended "the danger his own head was in next." A passage in one of his letters heretofore cited, is to the same purpose—"as also suggestions of great danger in case they [his subjects] there [at Plymouth] appear; with harsh threats to the sachem, that may be Considered."

Every preparation was now made for the impending crisis on either side. The following ancient document, taken from the records of Plymouth, shows that the agitation of all the parties concerned had already arrived to a high pitch. It is the deposition of one Hugh Cole, taken in court previous to Sassamon's death, and attested by Nathaniel Morton as secretary. [FN]

[FN] Vide 6th. Vol. Mss. His. Coll. 1st Series

"Hugh Cole, aged forty-three, or there abouts, being deposed, saith;—That in February last past before the date hereof he went to Shewamett, and two Englishmen more with him: and that their business was to persuade the Indians to go to Plymouth, to answer a complaint made by Hezekiah Luther. The Indians (saith he) seeing us, came out of the house towards us, being many of them, at the least twenty or thirty, with staves in their hand; and when the Indians saw there were but three of us, they laid down their staves again. Then we ask the Indians what they did with those staves in their hands? They answered, that they looked for Englishmen to come from Plymouth, to seek Indians, to carry them to Plymouth. But they said they were not willing to go. And some time after, in the same morning, Philip, the chief sachem, sent for me to come to him; and I went to Mount Hope to him; and when I came to Mount Hope, I saw most of the Indians that I knew of Shewamett Indians, there at Mount Hope, and they were generally employed in making of bows and arrows, and half pikes, and fixing up of guns. And I saw many Indians of several places repair towards Mount Hope. And some days after I came from Mount Hope, I, with several others, saw one of Captain Willett's rangers, coming on post on horseback, who told us, that king Philip was marched up the neck with about three score men; and Zacary Eddy, on his report, went to see if he could find them; and he found them towards the upper part of the neck, in several companies. One Caleb Eddy further saith, that he saw many there in arms; and I was informed by John Padduck, that he saw two several guns, loaded with bullets or slugs. And I further testify, that those Indians that I saw come towards Mount Hope, as aforesaid, came better armed than I usually have seen them. Further saith not."

The Pokanokets mustered at Mount Hope, early in the spring of 1675, from all quarters, and the whole country was in agitation. The ungovernable fury of some of these fierce warriors was the immediate occasion of the war which ensued. They had not the power which Philip himself had, of enduring provocation with the reservation of revenge; and they were by no means so well aware, on the other hand, of the advantages to be gained by such a course. At length, a party of them expressed their feelings so intolerably—soon after the execution of their three countrymen—that an Englishman at Swanzey discharged his musket at one of them, and wounded him. This affair took place June 24, 1675, a day memorable in American history as the commencement of Philip's War. "Now," says a reverend historian of those times, "war was begun by a fierce nation of Indians upon an honest, harmless Christian generation of English, who might very truly have said unto the aggressors, as it was said of old unto the Ammonites, 'I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me.'" Such no doubt was the persuasion of a large majority of the contemporary countrymen of the learned divine.

Hostilities were now promptly undertaken. A letter was sent to Philip, in the month of June, which, of course, did no good; applications were also made to the Massachusetts Government for immediate assistance; forces were raised and stationed throughout the Colony; and matters very soon after proceeded to a length which made compromise or conciliation impossible. We do not intend to give for the present the well-known particulars of this celebrated war. It is sufficient to observe, that it was carried on for more than a year with a violence, and amid an excitement unparalleled, perhaps, in the history of the country; and that it terminated with the death of Philip, late in the season of 1676.

The result of it was decisive, as the sachem was well aware that it would be, of the fate of the New England Indians. The Pokanokets were nearly exterminated. The Narraghansetts lost about one thousand of their number in the celebrated swamp-fight at Sunke-Squaw. All the Indians on the Connecticut river, and most of the Nipmucks who survived, fled to Canada, (where they were subsequently of great service to the French!) and a few hundreds took refuge in New York. The English detachment of Captain Church alone, are estimated to have killed about seven hundred between June and October of 1676. Large numbers of those who were captured were sent out of the country, and sold as slaves.

But the triumph of the conqueror was dearly bought. The whole fighting force of the four Colonies seems to have been almost constantly in requisition. Between one and two thousand men were engaged at the swamp-fight alone,—an immense force for a population of scarcely forty thousand English throughout New England. Thirteen towns were entirely destroyed by the enemy; six hundred dwelling-houses burned; and about the same number of Englishmen killed, so that almost every family lost a relative. The mere expense of the war must have been very great; for the Commissioners of the United Colonies afterwards estimated the disbursements of the Old Colony alone, at more than one hundred thousand pounds.

Such was the war of King Philip—sustained and managed, upon his side, by his own single-handed energy and talent alone. Not that the sixty Wampanoags of the sachem's own house-hold, as it were, or even the various tribes of the Pokanoket country, were his sole supporters; but that all the other tribes, which supported him, did it in consequence of his influence, and were induced to unite and operate together, as they never had done before, under his control. Some writers have asserted, that he engaged the various Atlantic tribes as far south as Virginia to assist him; but of this there is no proof, and it is rendered improbable by the great want of inter-communication among these tribes.

Nor is it true, as other writers have stated, that all the natives of New England itself were involved with Philip. On the other hand, it was the most trying circumstance of the great struggle of the sachem, that he had not only to rely upon bringing and keeping together scores of petty cantons, as jealous of each other from time immemorial as so many Highland clans; but he had to watch and resist, openly and secretly, all who would not join him, besides the multitudes who deserted, betrayed and opposed him. The New Hampshire tribes mostly withdrew from the contest. The praying Indians, of whom there were then thousands, either remained neutral, or like Sassamon turned against their own race. One of Philip's own tribes forsook him in his misfortunes; and the Pequots and Mohegans of Connecticut kept the field against him from the very first day of the war to the last. It may be supposed, that some of these tribes were surprised, as Philip himself was, by the sudden breaking out of the war, a year before the time which had been fixed for it. This was occasioned by the proceedings in which Sassamon was concerned, and by the ungovernable fury of a few of the young warriors.

Philip is said to have wept at these tidings of the first outrage of the war. He relented, perhaps, savage as he was, at the idea of disturbing the long amity which his father had preserved; but he may well have regretted, certainly, that being once forced upon the measure, he should enter the battle-field unprepared for what he well knew must be the last, as it was the first, great contest between the red men and the whites. But the die was cast, and though Philip never smiled after that memorable hour alluded to, his whole soul was bent upon the business before him. Day nor night, scarcely was there rest for his limbs or sleep for his eyes. His resources must have been feeble enough, had his plans, now embarrassed, succeeded to his utmost wish; but he girded himself, as it was, with a proud heart for the mortal struggle. The strength of his own dominions was about six hundred warriors, ready, and more than ready, long since, for the war-cry. The whole force of his old enemies, the Narragansetts, was already engaged to him. He had negotiated, also, with the Nipmucks and the tribes on the Connecticut and farther west, and one after another, these were soon induced to join him. Nor was it six weeks from the first hostilities, before all the Indians along the coast of Maine, for a distance of two hundred miles, were eagerly engaged, in what Philip told them was the common cause of the race.

That no arts might be left untried, even while the court were condemning his three subjects, he was holding a grand war-dance at Sowams, and mustering his tawny warriors around him from all quarters. Several tribes afterwards confessed to the English, that Philip had thus inveigled them into the war. And again, no sooner were his forces driven back upon the Connecticut river tribes, about the first of September, 1675, than he enlisted new allies among them. The Hadley Indians, who had joined the English,—very likely at his instigation,—were suspected, and fled to him. Their Springfield neighbors, soon after, joined three hundred of Philip's men, in an attack upon that town; and thus the whole Nipmuck country was involved. In the course of the ensuing winter, the sachem is said to have visited the Mohawks in New York. Not succeeding in gaining their alliance by fair argument, he was desperate enough to kill some of their straggling young men in the woods, in such a manner that the blame would obviously be charged upon the English. But this stratagem was defeated, by the escape of one who had only been stunned by the sachem. The latter was obliged to take abrupt leave of his hosts; and from that time, they were among his worst enemies.

His situation during the last few months of the war, was so deplorable, and yet his exertions so well sustained, that we can only look upon him with pity and admiration. His successes for some time past had been tremendous; but the tide began to ebb. The whole power of the Colonies was in the field, aided by guides and scouting-parties of his own race. The Saconets, the subjects of a near relation of his own, enlisted under Church. Other tribes complained and threatened. Their territory, as well as his, had been over-run, their settlements destroyed, and their planting and fishing-grounds all occupied by the English. Those of them who were not yet hunted down, were day and night followed into swamps and forests, and reduced to live,—if they did not actually starve or freeze,—upon the least and worst food to be conceived of. Hundreds died of diseases incurred in this manner. "I have eaten horse," said one of these miserable wretches, "but now horse is eating me." Another informed Church, on one occasion, that about three hundred Indians had gone a long way to Swanzey, in the heat of the war, for the purpose of eating clams, and that Philip was soon to follow them. At another time, the valiant captain himself captured a large party. Finding it convenient to attack a second directly after, he bade the first wait for him, and join him at a certain rendezvous. The day after the skirmish, "they came to him as they were ordered," and he drove them all together, that very night, into Bridgewater pound, and set his Saconet soldiers to guard them. "Being well treated with victuals and drink," he adds, with great simplicity, "they had a merry night, and the prisoners laughed as loud as the soldiers; not being so treated for a long time before."

The mere physical sufferings of Philip, meanwhile, are almost incredible. It is by his hair-breadth escapes, indeed, that he is chiefly visible during the war. Occasionally, the English come close upon him; he starts up, like the roused lion, plunges into the river or leaps the precipice; and nothing more is seen of him for months. Only a few weeks after the war commenced, he was surrounded in the great Pocasset swamp, and obliged to escape from his vigilant enemies by rafting himself, with his best men, over the great Taunton river, while their women and children were left to be captured. On his return to the same neighborhood, the next season, a captive guided the English to his encampment. Philip fled in such haste as to leave his kettle upon the fire; twenty of his comrades were overtaken and killed; and he himself escaped to the swamp, precisely as he had formerly escaped from it. Here his uncle was shot soon afterwards at his side. Upon the next day, Church, discovering an Indian seated on a fallen tree, made to answer the purpose of a bridge over the river, raised his musket and deliberately aimed at him. "It is one of our own party," whispered a savage, who crept behind him. Church lowered his gun, and the stranger turned his head. It was Philip himself, musing, perhaps, upon the fate which awaited him. Church fired, but his royal enemy had already fled down the bank. He escaped from a close and bloody skirmish a few hours afterwards.

He was now a desolate and desperate man, the last prince of an ancient race, without subjects, without territory, accused by his allies, betrayed by his comrades, hunted like a spent deer by blood-hounds, in daily hazard of famishing, and with no shelter day or night for his head. All his chief counsellors and best friends had been killed. His brother was slain in the Pocasset swamp; his uncle was shot down at his own side; and his wife and only son were captured when he himself so narrowly escaped from the fire of Church. And could he have fled for the last time from the soil of his own country, he would still have found no rest or refuge. He had betaken himself once to a place between York and Albany; but even here, as Church says, the Moohags made a descent upon him and killed many of his men. His next kennelling-place [FN] was at the fall of Connecticut river, above Deerfield, where, some time after, "Captain Turner found him, came upon him by night, killed a great many men, and frightened many more into the river, that were hunted down the falls and drowned." He lost three hundred men at this time. They were in their encampments, asleep and unguarded. The English rushed upon them, and they fled in every direction, half-awakened, and crying out, "Mohawks! Mohawks!"

[FN] The language of Church. The same name might be as properly applied, we suppose, to a curious cave in the vicinity of Winnecunnett pond, in Norton (Mass.) In the midst of a cluster of large rocks, it is formed by the projection of one over another which meets it with an acute angle. It is five feet high, and the area at the base is seventeen feet by nine. Tradition represents it as one of the Sachem's secret retreats, and it bears the name of "Philip's-Cave" to this day.

We cannot better illustrate Philip's character, than by observing, that within a few days of this affair, he was collecting the remnants of the Narraghansetts and Nipmucks among the Wachuset hills, on the east side of the river; that they then made a descent upon Sudbury; "met with and swallowed up the valiant Captain Wadsworth and his company; [FN-1] and many other doleful desolations in those parts." We also find, that Philip was setting parties to waylay Church, under his own worst circumstances; and that he came very near succeeding. He is thought to have been at the great swamp-fight in December, 1675; and to have led one thousand Indians against Lancaster on the ensuing 8th of February. In August of the former season, he made his appearance among the Nipmucks, in a swamp ten or twelve miles from Brookfield. "They told him at his first coming," said one of them who was taken captive, "what they had done to the English at Brookfield [burning the town.] Then he presented and gave to three sagamores, namely, John alias Apequinast, Quanansit, and Mawtamps, to each of them about a peck of unstrung wampum." [FN-2] Even so late as the month before the sachem's death, a Negro, who had fought under him, informed the English of his design of attacking certain towns, being still able to muster something like a thousand men. In his last and worst days, he would not think of peace; and he killed with his own hand, upon the spot, the only Indian who ever dared to propose it. It was the brother of this man by whom he was himself soon after slain.

[FN-1] This strong expression of the Captain's may refer to the really savage treatment which the unfortunate prisoners met with in this case. We have it on the authority of Mather, at least, that those "devils incarnate" inflicted a variety of tortures not necessary to be enlarged upon here; "and so with exquisite, leisurely, horrible torments, roasted them out of the world." History of New England, Book VII. p. 55, London Ed. 1702.

[FN-2] Note to Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts. Mather says, that these very Indians had covenanted by a formal treaty, a month before, that they would not assist Philip.

These are clear proofs, then, that Philip possessed a courage as noble as his intellect. Nor is there any doubt that history would have furnished a long list of his personal exploits, but that his situation compelled him to disguise as well as conceal himself. If any thing but his face had been known, there was nothing to prevent Church from shooting him, as we have seen. And universally influential as he was,—the master-spirit every where guiding, encouraging, soothing and rewarding,—it is a fact worthy of mention, that from the time of his first flight from Pocasset until a few weeks before his death, no Englishman could say, that he had either seen his countenance or heard his voice. Hence Church describes him as being always foremost in the flight. The price put upon his head, the fearful power which pursued him, the circumstance that some of his own acquaintance were against him, and especially the vital importance of his life to his cause, all made it indispensable for him to adopt every stratagem of the wary and cunning warfare of his race.

We have said something of Philip's ideas of his own sovereign dignity. Hence the fate of Sassamon, and of the savage who proposed peace. There is a well settled tradition, that in 1665 he went over to the island of Nantucket, with the view of killing an Indian called John Gibbs. [FN] He landed on the west end, intending to travel along the shore, undiscovered, under the bank, to that part of the island where Gibbs resided. By some lucky accident, the latter received a hint of his approach, made his escape to the English settlement, and induced one Mr. Macy to conceal him. His crime consisted in speaking the name of some deceased relative of Philip (his brother, perhaps,) contrary to Indian etiquette in such cases provided. The English held a parley with the sachem, and all the money they were able to collect was barely sufficient to satisfy him for the life of the culprit. It was not a mere personal insult, but a violation of the reverence due from a subject to his king.

[FN] The fact, as to the visit itself, is authenticated by the extant records of Nantucket.

It appears, that when he visited Boston, before the war, he succeeded in persuading the government,—as, no doubt, was the truth of the case,—that notwithstanding the old league of his father, renewed by himself, or rather by force of it, he was still independent of Plymouth. "These successive engagements were agreements of amity, and not of subjection any further, as he apprehended." He then desired to see a copy of the treaty, and requested that one might be procured for him. He knew, he added, that the praying Indians had submitted to the English; but the Pokanokets had done no such thing, and they were not subject. The letter of the Massachusetts to the Plymouth Government, written just after this interview with the sachem, is well worthy of notice. "We do not understand," say the former, "how far he hath subjected himself to you; but the treatment you have given him, does not render him such a subject, as that, if there be not present answering to summons, there should presently be a proceeding to hostilities."

Philip had himself the same notion of a Plymouth summons; and yet either policy or good feeling induced him to visit the Plymouth Governor, in March, 1675, for the purpose of quieting the suspicions of the Colony; nothing was discovered against him, and he returned home. He maintained privately the same frank but proud independence. He was opposed to Christianity as much as his father was, and would make no concessions upon that point. Possibly the remembrance of Sassamon might have rankled in his bosom, when, upon the venerable Eliot once undertaking to convert him, he took one of his buttons between his fingers, and told him he cared no more for the Gospel than for that button. That he was generally more civil, however, may be inferred from Gookin's statement; "I have heard him speak very good words, arguing that his conscience is convicted &c." The sachem evidently made himself agreeable in this case.

In regard to his personal appearance, always a matter of curiosity in the case of great men, sketches purporting to be portraits of him are extant, but none of them are believed to have more verisimilitude than the grotesque caricature prefixed to the old narrative of Captain Church (the model of the series); and we must therefore content ourselves to remain ignorant in this matter. As to his costume, Josselyn who saw him at Boston says that he had a coat on, and buskins set thick with beads, "in pleasant wild works and a broad belt of the same;" his accoutrements being valued at £20. A family in Swanzey (Mass) is understood to be still in possession of some of the royalties which were given up by Anawon, at the time of his capture by Church. [FN] There were two horns of glazed powder, a red-cloth blanket, and three richly and beautifully wrought wampum belts. One was nine inches wide, and so long as to extend from the shoulder to the ankles. To the second, which was worn on the head, were attached two ornamented small flags. The third and smallest had a star figured in beads upon one end, which came over the bosom.

[FN] Anawon is said to have been Philip's chief counsellor and captain during the war; and also to have fought under Massasoit. But the latter was not a very belligerent character; nor do we find mention of Anawon's services under Philip, previous to the time of his fall at the swamp-skirmish, when the counsellor made his escape. Hubbard states that he boasted of having killed ten whites in one day; but nearly all that is known of him we derive from the picturesque account of his capture by Church, who headed an expedition for the express purpose. Anawon met his misfortune, and even entertained his conqueror, most manfully on that occasion; and Church reciprocated his courtesies; but all in vain—the old warrior, with many others of his tribe, was soon after beheaded at Plymouth. To the traveller from Taunton to Providence, through the south-east corner of Rehoboth, Anawon's rock is pointed out to this day—an enormous pile, from twenty-five to thirty feet high, on a sort of island in a swamp of some thousand acres.

Philip was far from being a mere barbarian in his manners and feelings. There is not an instance to be met with, of his having maltreated a captive in any way, even while the English were selling his own people as slaves abroad, or torturing and hanging them at home. The famous Mrs. Rowlandson speaks of meeting with him during her doleful captivity. He invited her to call at his lodge; and when she did so, bade her sit down, and asked her if she would smoke. On meeting her again, he requested her to make some garment for his child, and for this he paid her a shilling. He afterwards took the trouble of visiting her for the purpose of assuring her, that "in a fortnight she should be her own mistress." Her last interview, it must be allowed, shows his shrewdness to rather more advantage than his fair dealing. It was Indian stratagem in war-time, however; and the half-clad sachem was at this very time living upon ground-nuts, acorns and lily-roots. "Philip, smelling the business, [her ransom,] called me to him, and asked me what I would give him to tell me some good news, and to speak a good word for me, that I might go home to-morrow. I told him I could not tell,—but any thing I had,—and asked him what he would have. He said two coats, and twenty shillings in money, half a bushel of seed-corn, and some tobacco. I thanked him for his love, but I knew that good news as well as that crafty fox." It is probable he was amusing himself with this good woman, much as he did with the worthy Mr. Gookin; but at all events, there are no traces of malevolent feeling in these simple anecdotes.

What is more striking, we find that when one James Brown, of Swanzey, brought him a letter from Plymouth, just before hostilities commenced, and the young warriors were upon the point of killing him, Philip interfered and prevented it, saying, that "his father had charged him to show kindness to Mr. Brown." Accordingly, it is recorded in Hubbard, that a little before his death, the old sachem had visited Mr. Brown, who lived not far from Montaup, and earnestly desired that the love and amity he had received, might be continued to the children. It was probably this circumstance, which induced Brown himself, to engage in such a hazardous enterprize, after an interval, probably, of some twenty years.

Nor should we pass over the kindness of Philip to the Leonard family, who resided near Fowling Pond, in what is now Raynham. Philip, who wintered at Montaup,—for the convenience of fishing, perhaps,—was accustomed to spend the summer at a hunting-house, by this pond. There he became intimate with the Leonards, traded with them, and had his arms repaired by them frequently. On the breaking out of the war, he gave strict orders that these men should never be hurt, as they never were; [FN] and, indeed, the whole town of Taunton,—as it then was,—remained almost entirely unmolested throughout the war, and amid all the ravages and massacres which daily took place upon its very borders. How much of provocation and humiliation he was himself enduring meanwhile, we have already seen. All his relations were killed or captured, and a price set upon his own life.

[FN] A forge is still in operation upon the site of the one here mentioned. The original Leonard-House, where tradition says that Philip's head was deposited for some time, is represented in the Vignette prefixed to this volume. It is still occupied by one of the family, of the sixth generation from the builder, and, so far as we are informed, is the oldest mansion now standing in this country. The vane, at one of the gable-ends is inscribed with the date 1700; but there is little doubt of the house having been erected at least thirty years previous. The workmanship, especially within, is remarkably massive and sound. It is apparently modelled after an English fashion of the eighteenth century, with some modifications proper for defence against the Indians. It was garrisoned during the war.—The Fowling Pond, still so called, has become a thick swamp. An aged gentleman was living not many years since, who in boyhood had frequently gone off in a canoe, to catch fish in its waters. Indian weapons and utensils are still found on its borders.

It is a matter of melancholy interest to know, that the sachem, wretched and hopeless as he had become in his last days, was still surrounded by a band of his faithful and affectionate followers. At the very moment of his fatal surprise by the English, he is said to have been telling them of his gloomy dreams, [FN-1] and advising them to desert him and provide for their own safety. A few minutes after this, he was shot in attempting to escape from the swamp. An Englishman,—one Cook,—aimed at him, but his gun missed fire; the Indian who was stationed to watch at the same place, discharged his musket, and shot him through the heart. The news of this success was of course received with great satisfaction; Church says, that "the whole army gave three loud huzzas." It is to be regretted that the honest captain suffered his prejudices to carry him so far, that he denied the rites of burial to his great enemy. He had him quartered, on the contrary, and his head carried to Plymouth, where, as Mather is careful to tell us, it arrived on the very day when the church there were keeping a solemn thanksgiving. The conqueror's temper was soured by the illiberality of the Government toward himself. For this march he received but four and sixpence a man, together with thirty shillings a head for the killed. He observes that Philip's head went at the same price, and he thought it a "scanty reward and poor encouragement." The sachem's head was carried about the Colony in triumph; [FN-2] and the Indian who killed him was rewarded with one of his hands. To finish the wretched detail, several of his principal royalties were soon after given up by one of his chief captains; and the lock of the gun which was fatal to him, with a samp-dish found in his wigwam, are still to be seen among the antiquities of the Historical Society of Massachusetts. Montaup, which became the subject of a dispute between the Massachusetts and Plymouth Colonies, was finally awarded to the latter by a special decision of King Charles.

[FN-1] The violent prejudice existing against Philip, unmitigated even by his sufferings and death, appears singularly in a parenthetical surmise of Hubbard, "whether the devil appeared to him that night in a dream, foreboding his tragical end, it matters not." So Mather says, he was hung up like Ahag, after being shot through his "venomous and murderous heart." Church, generally an honorable and humane man, speaks of his fallen foe, in terms which we regard his reputation too much to repeat.

[FN-2] It was kept many years at Plymouth, Dr. Mather says in 1700.—"It is not long since the hand which now writes upon a certain occasion took off the jaw from the exposed skull of that blasphemous leviathan."

Last and worst of all, his only son, a boy of nine years of age, whom we have already noticed as among the English captives, was sold as a slave and shipped to Burmuda. It should be stated, however, that this unfortunate measure was not taken without some scruples. The Plymouth Court were so much perplexed upon the occasion, as to conclude upon applying to the clergymen of the Colony for advice. Mr. Cotton was of opinion that "the children of notorious traitors, rebels, and murderers, especially such as have been principal leaders and actors in such horrid villainies, might be involved, in the guilt of their parents, and might, salva republica, be adjudged to death." Dr. Increase Mather compared the child to Hadad, whose father was killed by Joab; and he intimates, that if Hadad himself had not escaped, David would have taken measures to prevent his molesting the next generation. It is gratifying to know, that the course he recommended was postponed, even to the ignominious and mortifying one we have mentioned.

Such was the impression which had been universally forced upon the Colonists by the terrible spirit of Philip. And never was a civilized or an uncivilized enemy more generally or more justly feared. How much greater his success might have been, had circumstances favored, instead of opposing him, it is fortunately impossible for us to estimate. It is confessed, however, that had even the Narraghansetts joined him during the first summer of the war,—as nothing but the abrupt commencement of it prevented them from doing,—the whole country, from the Piscataqua to the Sound, must have been over-swept and desolated. But as it was, Philip did and endured enough to immortalize him as a warrior, a statesman, and we may add, as a high-minded and noble patriot. Whatever might be the prejudice against him in the days of terror produced by his prowess, there are both the magnanimity and the calmness in these times, to do him the justice he deserves. He fought and fell,—miserably, indeed, but gloriously,—the avenger of his own household, the worshipper of his own gods, the guardian of his own honor, a martyr for the soil which was his birth-place, and for the proud liberty which was his birth-right.


The Narraghansett tribe; territory and power—Chief Sachems at the date of the English settlements in New England—Canonicus associates with himself Miantonomo, his nephew—Their treatment of Roger Williams in 1634—Hostility to the Plymouth Colony—Invited by the Pequots to fight the English—Treaty negotiated at Boston, in 1636, by Miantonomo—War with the Pequots and result of it—Subsequent hostility between Miantonomo and Uncas—Sequassen—Battle of the Sachem's-Plain—Capture of Miantonomo—Sentence of the English commissioners upon him—Execution of it.

Next to the Pokanoket confederacy, none has a stronger claim on the early notice of the historian, than the Narraghansett; a nation, composed of various small tribes, inhabiting a large part of the territory which afterwards formed the colony of Rhode-Island. Their dominion extended also over the islands in the bay of their own name; and the Sagamores of a part of Long-Island, Block-Island, Cawesit, and Niantick were either their tributaries or subject to them in some other way. They had once been able to raise more than four thousand warriors; and so late as Philip's time, we have seen they could muster two thousand, one half of whom were provided with English arms, and were skillful in the use of them. From time immemorial, they had waged war with both the Pokanokets on the North and the Pequots on the West.

It might be expected, that the rulers of such a confederacy, thus situated, should be men of talent and energy; and this expectation will not be disappointed. Throughout the history of the New England Indians, as we find no people more resolute in declaring what they believed to be their rights, or more formidable in defending them, so we find no sachems more ready and able than theirs, on all occasions, to sustain the high spirit of their subjects.

There is an unnecessary confusion in the information conveyed by some of our best annalists, respecting the particular personage who governed the Narraghansetts at the date of the first intercourse between them and the English. Governor Hutchinson, for example, speaks in one case of Canonicus as being their chief sachem. In another, alluding to the death of Miantonomo, while the former was yet living, he observes, that although they had lost their chief sachem, yet they had divers other stout ones, as Canonicus, Pessacus and others.

The ambiguity has arisen from the circumstance, that although Canonicus exercised the chief authority of the country when the English first arrived, he soon after became associated in the Government with Miantonomo, his nephew. What were the particular conditions of the royal co-partnership, or what was the occasion of it, cannot now be determined. Some writers suppose, that the sole authority belonged to the younger of the two, and that the elder acted in the capacity of regent; but considering that the association continued during the whole term of the joint lives of the two, it appears more probable, that Canonicus, finding himself far advanced in years, [FN] as well as encumbered with the charge of an extensive dominion, at the period of the first English settlements, thought proper to make such an alteration in his regal state as seemed to be required by the exigencies of the times. He therefore selected as an associate, the most popular and active prince of his own family.

[FN] Roger Williams tells us in his Key to the Indian Languages, first printed in 1643, that he was about fourscore years of age. Elsewhere, it is stated, that "Canonicus, being the sole governor or chief sachem, employed his nephew Miantonomy, to manage his warlike affairs, as general of his army, and in his declining years took him as a partner in his government for assistance." His. Narr. Country. Mass. His. Coll.

Mr. Hutchinson himself appears finally to adopt the conclusion we have just stated. In a part of his history [FN] subsequent to the passage above cited, he refers to information derived from authentic manuscripts, which furnished the opinion of the Narraghansetts themselves upon the subject. The oldest of that people reported, when the English first arrived, that they had in former times a sachem called Tashtassack, incomparably superior to any other in the whole country in dominion and state. This chieftain, said they, had only two children, a son and a daughter; and not being able to match them according to their dignity, he joined them together in wedlock. They had four sons; and of these, Canonicus, "who was sachem when the English came," was the eldest.

[FN] History of Mass. Vol. I. pp. 72. and 458.

Mr. Hutchinson observes, that this is the only piece of Indian history, or tradition of any sort, from the ancestors of our first Indians, he had ever met with. The brothers of Canonicus here referred to, are occasionally spoken of by the old writers, but not as having signalized themselves by any thing worthy of notice.

The fact that Canonicus and his nephew administered the government in harmony, as well as in union, is shown most clearly by the letters of Roger Williams. [FN] It is well known that, in 1634, when that reverend gentleman was compelled to leave the Massachusetts colony, (on account of his religious opinions,) he fled to Seekonk; But that place lying within the limits of the Plymouth jurisdiction, and the people of that colony being unwilling to embroil themselves with Massachusetts, Governor Winslow informed him of the difficulty which was apprehended, and advised him to occupy a spot on the other side of the river, without the boundaries of either jurisdiction. Upon this, Mr. Williams, utterly forlorn, crossed the river, and threw himself on the mercy of Canonicus.

[FN] See Vol. I. Mass. His. Coll. 3d Series. The same writer says in his Key to the Indian Languages—"Their agreement in the government is remarkable. The old Sachem will not be offended at what the young Sachem doth; and the young Sachem will not do what he conceives will displease his uncle."

The savage chieftain—to his eternal praise, be it recorded—received him with a hospitality worthy of an emperor. At first, indeed, he was suspicious of his visitor's motives; and he was none the more prepossessed in his favor, from his subjects having recently suffered excessively from a formidable epidemic, which he supposed to have been introduced by the English. "At my first coming among them," Mr. Williams writes, "Caunounicus [FN] (morosus aeque ac barbarus senex) was very sour, and accused the English and myself of sending the plague among them, and threatening to kill him especially." Soon afterwards, however, he not only permitted the refugee, and the poor wanderers who had followed him from Salem, to have a resting place in his domain, but he gave them all "the neck of land lying between the mouths of Pawtucket and Moshasuck rivers, that they might sit down in peace upon it, and enjoy it forever." Mr. Williams divided this land equally among his followers, and founded the town of Providence. The settlement of Rhode Island commenced at Patuxet a short time afterwards, Canonicus conveying to Williams nearly the whole of what is now Providence county at one time.

[FN] The following are but a few of the other modifications of this name in use.
Cononicus,   Trumbull's mss. Vol. 19th.
Caunonicus,   Baylies' History of Plymouth.
Conaucus,   Winslow's Good News from New England.
Cannonicus,   Gookin.
Cananucus,   Documents in Hazard's Collection.
Coonoonacus, Canoonacus, Conownacus,   Same.

The kindness of the Narraghansett rulers is the more creditable to their feelings, inasmuch as the former relations between them and the English colonies had been far enough from friendly. Early in 1622, their threats of hostility were so open, that the English were receiving constant intelligence of their designs from the Indians in their own alliance; and not long afterwards, Canonicus sent a herald to Plymouth, who left a bundle of arrows enclosed in a rattle-snake's skin—the customary challenge to war. The Governor despatched a messenger in return, bearing the same skin stuffed with gunpowder and bullets; assuring the chieftain also, that if he had shipping, instead of troubling him to come so far as Plymouth to gratify his wish for fighting, he would have sought him in his own country;—and furthermore, that whenever he did come, he should find the English ready for him. This resolute message had the desired effect, and the sachem's superstition confirmed it. Fearful of some mysterious injury, he refused to touch the skin, and would not suffer it even to remain in his house. It passed through several hands, and at length was returned to the colony, unopened.

In 1632, the sachem made an attack on Massasoit, who fled for refuge to an English house at Sowams; and sent despatches for the assistance of his English allies. As Captain Standish took a special interest in this case, there must soon have been a warm contest between the parties, had not the Narraghansetts hastily retreated, on account of a rumor that the Pequots were invading their own territory. Four years afterwards, when the last named nation formed the design of completely extirpating the English from New England, they applied to their old enemies, Canonicus and Miantonomo, to conclude a peace, and to engage them with as many other tribes as possible in a common cause against the colonists.

The sachems are said to have wavered on that occasion, between the gratification of present revenge upon the Pequots, and the prospect of an ultimate triumph over the English power by uniting with them. Their friendship for Roger Williams, and the influence he was consequently enabled to exercise, probably turned the scale. Miantonomo informed him of the Pequot application; Mr. Williams forwarded the news immediately to Governor Winthrop at Boston; and Canonicus, by the same messenger, sent word of recent depredations which he had just understood to have been committed by the Pequots at Saybrook. The Governor, probably following the suggestion of Mr. Williams, sent for Miantonomo to do him the honor of a visit.

He came to Boston accordingly in September 1636, attended by two of the sons of Canonicus, another sachem, and about twenty sanops (or male adults.) As he had given notice of his approach the day previous, the Governor sent a corps of musketeers to meet him at Roxbury; and they escorted him into town about noon. By this time, Mr. Winthrop had called together most of the magistrates and ministers of Boston, but it being now dinner time, ceremony and business were both postponed. The sachems dined by themselves in the same room with the governor, while the sanops were amply provided for at an inn. In the afternoon, Miantonomo made his proposals of peace; and said that, in case of their acceptance, he should in two months send a present to confirm them. The governor, according to their own custom, asked time to consider this proposal. At the second conference, which took place the next morning, the following terms were agreed upon, and subscribed by the governor on the one hand, and the marks of the sachems on the other.

1. A firm peace between the Massachusetts colony, and the other English plantations, (with their consent,) and their confederates (with their consent.)

2. Neither party to make peace with the Pequots, without consultation with the other.

3. Not to harbor the Pequots.

4. To put to death or deliver over murderers, and to return fugitive servants.

5. The English to notify them, when they marched against the Pequots, and they to send guides.

6. Free trade between the two nations.

7. None of them to visit the English settlements during the war with the Pequots, without some Englishman or known Indian in company.

The treaty was to continue to the posterity of both nations. On its conclusion, the parties dined together as before. They then took formal leave of each other; and the sachems were escorted out of town, and dismissed with a volley of musketry. The present promised by Miantonomo appears to have been sent in early in 1637, when a deputation of twenty-six Narraghansetts came to Boston, with forty fathom of Wampum and a Pequot's hand. The governor gave each of the four sachems in the company, "a coat of fourteen shillings price, and deferred to return his present till after, according to their manner." [FN] It is well known, how fully the Narraghansetts discharged their engagements in the expedition which took place about this time against the Pequots. They also furnished, through Mr. Williams, not a little useful information. respecting the common enemy, by which the expedition was guided at the outset; and offered the use of the harbors of the Narraghansett coast, for the English vessels.

[FN] Winthrop's Journal, p. 217.

The joint invasion of the allies took place in May. The English forces, taking the Narraghansett country in their way, acquainted Canonicus and Miantonomo with their arrival and plan of campaign. The latter met them, the next day, with about two hundred of his chief counsellors and warriors. Mason made a formal request for permission to pass through his territories, on his way to the Pequot forts. Miantonomo, after a solemn consultation, replied, that he highly approved of the expedition, and would send men, especially as the English force appeared to him quite too insignificant to meet the Pequots, who were great warriors. About five hundred warriors accordingly marched against the enemy, under the command of Mason; and some of them did active service. The chief sachems took no part, personally, in the campaign. [FN]

[FN] According to some writers they did not even meet Major Mason, in conference, as above related. Mr. Wolcott, (Gov. of Conn. from 1751 to 1754,) in his poetical "Account of Mr. Winthrop's agency in obtaining a charter for Connecticut," gives the following notice of that interview:

The news of this our march, fame doth transport With speed to great Miaantinomoh's court. Nor had that pensive king forgot the losses, He had sustained through Sassacus's forces. Cheer'd with the news, his captains, all as one, In humble manner do address the throne, And press the king to give them his commission, To join the English in this expedition. To their request the cheerful king assents, And now they fill and form their regiments To war: a cohort which came marching down To us, who lay encamp'd before the town. Their chiefs go to our general, and declare What's their intention and whose men they are, &c.

In September 1638, the Pequots being completely conquered, Uncas, the chief sachem of the Mohegans, (who had assisted in the war,) and Miantonomo, were invited to meet the Connecticut magistrates at Hartford, to agree upon a division of captives. These were two hundred in number, besides women and children. Eighty of them were allotted to the Narraghansett sachem; twenty to a neighboring chief Ninigret; and the other one hundred to Uncas. The Pequots were to pay an annual tribute of Wampum at Hartford. It was also covenanted, that there should be a perpetual peace between Miantonomo and Uncas; that all past injuries should be buried; that if any should be committed in future, complaints should be submitted amicably to the arbitration of the English, both parties being bound to abide by their decision on pain of incurring their hostility. No open enemies of the English were to harbored, and all individual criminals were to be given over to justice.

The terms of this treaty did not long remain inviolate. Whatever were the motives of Miantonomo, and whatever his justification, he soon became bitterly hostile to the Mohegans at least. It might have been reason enough with him for opposing both them and the English, that either was his enemy; because he knew them to be bound together by alliance of offence and defence. But it seems probable, that he intended only to fight the Mohegans. His old grudge against the Pequots revived against them, as a branch of the Pequot stock. Uncas, too, was his greatest personal rival; and Miantonomo was ambitious to stand at the head of all the New England Indians. If, however, as has been asserted by some, his main design was to resist the growing power of the English, from merely patriotic motives, it was clear, that an essential step towards the attainment of this object, and especially towards a hostile union of all the tribes, must be the death of Uncas, and the suppression of his tribe. Other causes of hostility will be considered hereafter.

But be the reasoning of the sachem what it might, his measures were of a character not to be mistaken. Great efforts were made for a general co-operation of the tribes, especially in Connecticut. They were observed to be collecting arms and ammunition, and to be making a general preparation for war. The colonists thought themselves obliged to keep guard and watch every night, from sunset to sunrise, and to protect their inhabitants from town to town, and even from one place to another in the same neighborhood.

Meanwhile Miantonomo is said to have hired a Pequot, subject to Uncas, to kill him. The assassin made an attempt, in the spring of 1643. He shot Uncas through the arm, and then fled to the Narraghansetts, reporting through the Indian towns that he had killed him. When it was understood, however, that the wound was not fatal, the Pequot circulated a rumor that Uncas had purposely cut his own arm with a flint, and then charged the Pequot with shooting him. But, Miantonomo soon after going to Boston in company with the refugee, the governor and magistrates, on examination, found clear evidence that the latter was guilty of the crime with which he was charged. They proposed sending him to Uncas to be punished; but Miantonomo pleaded that he might be suffered to return with himself; and gave them to understand, it is said, that he would send him to Uncas. He took occasion to exculpate himself of all blame in the affair, and convinced them so completely, that his requests were granted. Two days afterwards, he killed the Pequot with his own hand.

About the same time, an event took place in another direction, under circumstances which strongly indicated the same authorship. Sequassen, a sachem on the Connecticut river, killed a principal Indian of the Mohegan tribe; and waylaid Uncas himself; as he was going down the river, and shot several arrows at him. Uncas complained to the governor and court of the colony, who took great pains to settle the affair; but without success. He was finally induced to accept of one of Sequassen's Indians, to be given up as an equivalent for the murdered man; but Sequassen would not consent to submission or concession of any kind. He insisted upon fighting. Uncas accepted his challenge, and invaded his territory; and Sequassen was defeated, with the loss of many of his wigwams burned, and his men killed. [FN]

[FN] Trumbull's Connecticut.

As the conquered sachem was nearly allied to Miantonomo, and upon intimate terms with him, it was generally believed that he acted from his instigation, and with the promise of his assistance in case of necessity. He even expressed, openly, his reliance on the aid of Miantonomo.

The Narraghansett chief was not a man to desert his ally or to retreat from his foe. Having hastily matured a plan of campaign, it was the next object to strike the intended blow with the most possible effect, and that implied the least possible notice. He raised an army of between five hundred and one thousand men, and marched towards the Mohegan territory. The spies of Uncas discovered their approach, and gave him intelligence. The enemy was already near, and Uncas was unprepared; but he hastily rallied four or five hundred of his men, and telling them that the enemy must by no means be suffered to surprise them in their villages, marched out to meet him forthwith. At the distance of three or four miles, the two armies encountered each other upon a large plain. Meanwhile, Uncas, who found himself obliged to rely more upon stratagem than strength, had acquainted his warriors on the march with a plan which he now proceeded to put in execution.

He desired a parley, and the two armies halted in the face of each other. Then advancing in the front of his men, he addressed Miantonomo: "You have a number of stout men with you, and so have I with me. It is a great pity that such brave warriors should be killed in a private quarrel between us only. Come on, then, like a man, as you profess to be, and let us fight it out. If you kill me, my men shall be yours. If I kill you, your men shall be mine." Miantonomo saw advantage too clearly to accept such a proposal. "My warriors," said he, "have come a long way to fight, and they shall fight." The reply was anticipated, and it was scarcely uttered, when Uncas fell to the ground. His men discharged over him a shower of arrows upon the Narraghansetts; and then following up the surprise without a moment's interval, rushed upon them furiously with a hideous yell, and soon put them to flight.

The pursuit was sustained with a ferocious eagerness. The enemy were chased down rocks and precipices, like the doe flying from the huntsman. About thirty were slain, and a much greater number wounded. Miantonomo was exceedingly pressed. Some of the bravest men of Uncas at length came up with him; but not daring actually to skirmish with him, or preferring to leave that honor to their leader, they contrived to impede his flight by twitching him back, and then passed him. Uncas now came up, and rushing forward like a lion greedy of his prey, he seized him by the shoulder. The Narraghansett saw that his fate was decided—Uncas was a man of immense strength, and his warriors were thick around him. He stopped, sat down sullenly, and spake not a word. Uncas gave the Indian whoop, and called up a party of his men, who gathered about the royal captive and gazed at him. He still continued moody and speechless. Some of his sachems were slain before his eyes, but he moved not a muscle. "Why do you not speak," inquired Uncas, at length; "had you taken me, I should have besought you for my life." But the Narraghansett was too proud to ask such a boon of his enemy, and especially of his rival. Uncas however spared his life for the present, and returned in great triumph to Mohegan, leading along with him the splendid living evidence of his victory.

The notorious Samuel Gorton having purchased lands of Miantonomo, under the jurisdiction of Plymouth and Massachusetts, and expecting to be vindicated by him in his claims against those colonies, and against other Indian tribes, he immediately sent word to Uncas to give up his prisoner, and threatened him with the vengeance of the colonies if he refused a compliance. But Uncas shrewdly bethought himself of a safer course. He carried his prisoner to Hartford, and asked advice of the governor and magistrates. There being no open war between the Narraghansetts and English, these authorities were unwilling to interfere in the case, and they recommended a reference of the whole affair to the commissioners of the United Colonies; at their next meeting in September. Meanwhile, Miantonomo had recovered his speech. He probably expected better treatment with the English than with Uncas, and he now earnestly pleaded to be committed to their custody. Uncas consented to leave him at Hartford, but insisted on having him kept as his prisoner.

At the meeting of the commissioners the whole affair was laid before them. In their opinion it was fully proved that Miantonomo had made attempts against the life of Uncas, by all the means and measures heretofore alluded to, and by poison and sorcery besides; that he had murdered the Pequot assassin with his own hand, instead of giving him up to justice; that he was the author of a general plot among the Indian tribes against the colonies; and that he had moreover gone so far as to engage the aid of the Mohawks, who were now within a day's journey of the English settlements, waiting only for Miantonomo's release to serve him according to his pleasure.

"These things being duly weighed and considered," say the commissioners in their report,[FN-1] "we apparently see that Vcus cannot be safe while Myantenomo [FN-2] lives, but that either by secret treachery or open force his life will still be in danger. Wherefore we thinke he may justly putt such a false and blood-thirsty enemie to death, but in his owne Jurisdiccon, not in the English plantacons; and advising that in the manner of his death all mercy and moderacon be shewed, contrary to the practice of the Indians who exercise tortures and cruelty, and Vcus haveing hitherto shewed himself a friend to the English, and in this craveing their advice, if the Nanohiggansetts Indians or others shall unjustly assault Vcus for this execucon, vpon notice and request the English promise to assist and protect him, as farr as they may, against such vyolence."

[FN-1] Hazard's Collections, Vol. II. p. 7.

[FN-2] Haz. Coll. Vol. II. p. 7.—The reader will observe the variation of the Sachem's name here used. There are several others in Hazard. Hutchinson writes Myantinomo and Miantonomo in the same volume; Baylies, both terms in the course of the same; Trumbull adds an h. Winthrop admits this spelling with the qualification that the chief was otherwise called Mecumah (as he was); but he afterwards regularly uses Miantunnomoh. Mason, (account of the Pequot war) writes Myantonimo and Miantomo; Wolcott, Miaatinomoh; Roger Williams, Miantunnomu, and several other variations. We are thus particular only in the hope of amusing the curious.

The commissioners further directed, that Uncas should immediately be sent for to Hartford, with some of his trustiest men; and informed of the sentence passed upon his captive. He was then to take him into the nearest part of his own territory, and there put him to death in the presence of certain discreet English persons, who were to accompany them, "and see the execucon for our more full satisfaccon, and that the English meddle not with the head or body at all." The Hartford Government was subsequently to furnish Uncas with forces enough to defend him against all his enemies.

These directions were promptly obeyed. Uncas made his appearance at Hartford, received his prisoner, and marched off with him to the very spot where the capture had happened. At the instant they arrived on the ground, a Mohegan who marched behind Miantonomo split his head with a hatchet, killing him at a single stroke; so that he was probably unacquainted with the mode of his execution. Tradition says that Uncas cut out a piece of his shoulder, and ate it in savage triumph. "He said it was the sweetest meat he ever eat—it made his heart strong." The royal victim was buried, by the conqueror's order, at the place of his death; and a great heap or pillar was erected over his grave. The field of battle, situated in the eastern part of the town of Norwich, is called the Sachem's Plain to this day.


Consideration of the justice of the Commissioners' sentence upon Miantonomo—Their reasons, as alleged—The charge against him of ambitious designs—Of employing the Mohawks—Of breaking the league of 1638—"Concerning the Pequot squaws"—Of hostility to the English—Of peculation—Proofs of his fidelity and friendship—Causes of complaint by him and Canonicus against the English—Character of both Sachems—Their treatment of Roger Williams—Letters of that gentleman—Anecdotes—Death of Canonicus.

It is not easy to determine, at this period, the justice of the sentence by which Miantonomo was led to the slaughter. As between himself and his enemy, considering Indian custom and character, it might be considered just; and the sufferer would certainly have been the last to complain of it. But though Uncas may not be blamed for using the privilege of the victor, a different opinion has been entertained of the interference of the English. Their justification, as laid before the Narraghansett nation, after Miantonomo's death, was as follows:

"They may well vnderstand that this is without violacon of any couenant betweene them and vs; for Vncus being in confederacon with vs, and one that hath diligently observed his couenants before mentioned for aught we know, and requiring advice from vs, vpon serious consideracon of the premises, viz. his [Miantonomo] treacherous and murtherous disposition against Vncus &c. and how great a disturber he hath beene of the common peace of the whole countrey, we could not in respect of the justice of the case, safety of the countrey and faythfulness of our frend, do otherwise than approve of the lawfullness of his death. This agreeing so well with the Indians owne manners, and concurring with the practice of other nations with whom we are aquainted, we persuade ourselves howeuer his death may be grieuous at present, yet the peaceable fruits of it will yield not only matter of safety to the Indians, but profite to all that inhabite this continent."

Supposing every thing to be true which is here and elsewhere alleged, it may still be doubted whether the colonies could be justified in the part taken by their commissioners;—but such is not the case.

His killing the Pequot was one point against him; but what could be more natural than for them to misunderstand his promise in that case, or for him to suppose that administering justice with his own hand would be the most satisfactory course he could take. Stress is laid upon Miantonomo's "ambitious designes to make himself vniversal Sagamore or Governor of all these parts;" but this, whether laudable or reprehensible in itself, was clearly no usurpation as against them. As to his hostility towards the English, suffice it to say here, that the evidence of it seems to have been furnished chiefly by his enemies, whose direct interest it was to oppress him by engaging the English interest in their own favor. As to the employment of the Mohawks, in particular, the most that was made to appear, even through this medium, was, that they were awaiting Miantonomo's release—"and then they will carry on their designes, whether against the English or Vncus or both, is doubtful." [FN]

[FN] Hazard's Col. Vol. II. p. 9. Commissioners' Report.

Let us observe the testimony of Mr. Williams in regard to this affair, borrowing from a letter written immediately after it took place. "A fortnight since, I heard of the Mauquawogs coming to Paucomtuckqut, their rendezvous; that they were provoked by Onkas wronging and robbing some Paucomtuck Indians the last year, and that he [Uncas] had dared the Mauquawogs, threatening if they came to set his ground with gobbets of their flesh &c."

He admits, that a few of the Narraghansetts had joined the Mohawks; but these, whether they were well or ill disposed towards the English, were at all events considered traitors to Miantonomo. Elsewhere he states, "yt ye Narigansetts and Mauquawogs are the two great bodies of Indians in ye country, and they are confederates, and long have bene as both yet are friendly and peaceable to ye English." [FN]

[FN] Ms. Letters in the Mass. Col. Rec. (File 10. No. 45.)

Miantonomo is said to have violated the league of 1638, by invading the country of Uncas, without having previously submitted his grievances to the decision of the English. But did he not think himself absolved from the obligation created by that league, in consequence of violations of it on the part of the English. He probably regarded them at this very time, precisely as they regarded him. Roger Williams writes on one occasion, when letters of complaint had been sent to him from Massachusetts, that "they [Miantonomo and Canonicus] thought they should prove themselves honest and faithful when Mr. Governor understood their answers; and that (although they would not contend with their friends) yet they could relate many particulars, wherein the English had broken (since these wars) their promises."

Respecting the alleged violation of the Hartford league in particular, we might perhaps properly waive all attempts at justification, inasmuch as the charge hardly purports to be true. Governor Winthrop gives an account of the affair as received officially from Connecticut, by which it appears that Miantonomo, before taking plan with Sequassen, applied to the authorities of that province for redress of grievances committed upon him by Uncas. He was answered, that the English had nothing to do with the business. He then applied also to Governor Winthrop himself, and was very desirous to know if he would not be offended, by his making war upon Uncas. Our Governor answered, if Onkus had done him or his friends wrong, and would not give satisfaction, we should leave him to take his own course. [FN]

[FN] Journal Vol. II. and Records of the Colonies.

The account which follows next of the explanation given upon one point by the accused parties, is sufficiently characteristic of their intelligence, at least, to be quoted at length. "First then, concerning the Pequot squaws. Canaunicus answered that he never saw any, but heard of some that came into these parts, and he bade carry them back to Mr. Governour; but since he never heard of them till I came, and now he would have the country searched for them. Miantunnomu answered, that he never heard of but six; and four he saw which were brought to him, at which he was angry, and asked why they did not carry them to me, that I might convey them home again. Then he bid the natives that brought them to carry them to me, who departing brought him word that the squaws were lame, and they could not travel, whereupon he sent me word, that I should send for them. This I must acknowledge, that this message I received from him, and sent him word, that we were but few here, and could not fetch them nor convey them, and therefore desired him to send men with them, and to seek out the rest. Then, saith he, we were buzy ten or twelve days together, as indeed they were in a strange kind of solemnity, wherein the sachems eat nothing but at night, and all the natives round about the country were feasted. In which time, saith he, I wished some to look to them, which notwithstanding, in this time, they scaped, and now he would employ men instantly to search all places for them, and within two or three days to convey them home. Besides he profest he desired them not, and was sorry the governour should think he did. I objected that he sent to beg one. He answered, that Sassamun, being sent by the governour with letters to Pequot, fell lame, and lying at his house, told him of a squaw, which was a sachem's daughter, who while he lived was his, Miantunnomue's, great friend. He [Miantonomo] therefore desired in kindness to his, dead friend, to beg her or redeem her" [of Mr. Williams.]

In reply to a charge touching his fidelity to the English alliance, Canonicus declared that the Narraghansetts "had stuck to the English in life or death, without which they were persuaded that Okace [Uncas] and the Mohiganeuks had proved false, as he fears they will yet." He then went on to specify his reasons for this persuasion and this fear. He also stated, that although the Mohegans had yet brought in no captives, his own brother, Yootash, had on one occasion "seized upon Puttaquppuunk, Quame and twenty Pequts and three-score squaws; they killed three and bound the rest, watching them all night, and sending for the English delivered them into their hands in the morning." It seems that soon afterwards Miantonomo passed the house where the Pequots were kept confined by the English, and having a curiosity to see one of the captive sachems—a man of considerable note—he made application for that purpose—but was thrust at with a pike several times by the English sentinels, and finally driven off. Mr. Williams suggested, that probably he was not recognised; but he thought that he was, and several of the Narraghansetts were of the same opinion, and asked if they should have dealt so with "Mr. Governour." Mr. Williams still denied, that he could have been known; to which Miantonomo answered that, at least, his whole company [FN] were disheartened, "and they all and Cutshamquene desired to be gone; and yet, saith he, two of my men (Waqouckwhut and Maunamoh) were their guides to Sesquanket from the river's mouth."

[FN] He was at the head of two hundred of his warriors, just returned from an expedition against the Pequots, in which they had taken ten prisoners, and had faithfully brought them in at this time. See the Life of Cutshamequin in a succeeding Chapter.

To a third accusation, that he had received prisoners and Wampum of the enemy, which belonged to the common stock, and were nevertheless monopolized by himself; Canonicus replied, that although he and Miantonomo had paid their own warriors many hundred fathom of wampum, he never had received one Pequot or one yard of beads. Miantonomo added, that he had received nothing but one small present from four women of Long-Island, who were no Pequots, but of that Island, and who, for safety's sake, had thereby put themselves under his protection.

Other facts, if not opinions, appear in some of the early annals, which would lead to similar conclusions respecting the fidelity of the Narraghansett chiefs. Governor Winthrop says, in his journal of February 1637—"Miantunnomoh &c. sent twenty six, with forty fathom of Wampum, and a Pequot's hand." In March, he records intelligence received from the same source, concerning the Pequot movements, with proposals of fresh assistance. On the 22d of the month, "Miantunnomoh sent us word, that Mason had, surprised and slain eight Pequods" &c. Again, during the same summer, "Miantunnomoh sent here some Pequod squaws, which had run from us;" and five days afterwards, "the Narraghansetts sent us the hands of three Pequods" &c. The two last statements agree with the declaration of the sachems to Mr. Williams, apparently upon the same points.

We have seen that Canonicus accused the English of having broken their promises. Omitting the proof of that statement, it is impossible to doubt at least, that it was made in the most earnest sincerity. The writer just cited informs us incidentally in is Key to the Indian Languages, that Canonicus, in a solemn address to himself, before a large assembly, had once used the following expression—"I have never suffered any wrong, to be offered to the English since they landed, nor never will. If the Englishmen speak true," he added, "then I shall go to my grave in peace, and hope that the English and my posterity will live in peace and love together." Mr. Williams observed, that he hoped he had no occasion to question the friendliness of the English. Upon this the sachem took a stick, broke it into ten pieces, and related ten instances, laying down a stick to every instance, which gave him cause for apprehension or suspicion. With regard to some of them, he was afterwards convinced of his being mistaken, and readily acknowledged himself to be so; but not as to all.

The truth probably is, that provocations of some sort had been received upon both sides; but that the English had any peculiar reason to complain, and especially to assume the violent administration of punishment or prevention, certainly cannot be admitted. There is no evidence extant to support such a position. Mr. Williams indeed acknowledges, with his usual frankness, that individual Narraghansetts had perhaps now and then committed offences in "matters of money or pettie revenging of themselves in some Indians upon extream provocation;" but he also states, in the same paragraph, that he "could not yet learn yt ever it pleased ye Lord to permit ye Narraghansetts to staine their hands with any English blood, neither in open hostilities nor secret murthers, as both Pequts and Long Islanders did, and Monhiggans also in ye Pequt wars." [FN]

[FN] Ms. Letters.

This statement we suppose to be uncontradicted, and the authority is certainly deserving of credit. Now, for a moment, let us examine the other side of the question, bearing in mind how little likely we are, under the circumstances, to be furnished by history with the truth, and least of all with the whole truth.

Some instances in point have already been given. The excessive jealousy and the frequent complaints of the English were in themselves calculated, to produce, if not to justify, what they referred to "The governor of the Massachusetts"—says Mr. Winthrop, in his journal of 1638—"wrote also to Mr. Williams to treat with Miantunnomoh about satisfaction, or otherwise to bid them look for war." This was a harsh message, at the best, to send to a sovereign ally, who had faithfully served the English cause. The only reason for it which appears in the context is, that Janemoh, a Niantick chief, was understood to have committed certain depredations on a settlement of Long Island Indians who were tributary to the English. Now some of that tribe, we have seen, put themselves under Miantonomo's protection; and there are no means of determining whether that chieftain did not in this case, like the English, feel himself aggrieved by Janemoh. We do find it recorded, however, that, in the summer of 1637, Miantonomo came to Boston. The governor, deputy, and treasurer, treated with him, and they parted upon fair terms. He acknowledged on this occasion, that all the Pequot and Block Island country belonged to the English, and promised that he would not meddle with them but by their leave. "In fine, we gave him leave to right himself for the wrongs which Janemoh and Wequash Cook had done him; and for the wrong they had done us, we would right ourselves in due time." [FN]

[FN] Winthrop's Journal, Vol. I. 243.

Not far from the time when the above mentioned complaint seems to have been made through Mr. Williams, the latter writes to Governor Winthrop as follows. "Sir, there hath been a great hubbub in all these parts, as a general persuasion that the time was come for a general slaughter of natives, by reason of a murther committed upon a native [Narraghansett] within twelve miles of us, four days since, by four desperate English. . . . An old native comes to me, and tells me that the natives round about us were fled, relating that those four had slain an Indian, who had carried three beaver-skins and beads for Canaunicus's son, and came home with five fathom and three coats; that three natives which came after him found him groaning in the path; that he told them, &c." The particulars of this flagrant outrage even to the Christian and surnames of the four murderers—are given with a minuteness which precludes the possibility of mistake. And yet we find no mention of this transaction in the English histories. Miantonomo perhaps made his complaint to the proper authority, without success. But more probably he endured the injury in silence, as a new evidence that his allies were become his enemies.

Still, it should not be omitted, that Miantonomo never declined to make all the explanation for which a fair opportunity was given him. [FN-1] As late as 1642, two messengers were sent to him by the Massachusetts government, with articles of complaint; requiring him to come himself or send two of his chief counsellors to the governor, in order to give satisfaction for certain grievances alleged. He attended this summons promptly and personally. On his arrival at Boston, he came forward in court, and demanded that his accusers should be brought before him face to face; and that if they failed in their proof; they should suffer the same punishment which their accusations were calculated to bring upon himself. The whole on this occasion was grave and dignified. His answers were given with great deliberation, and never except in the presence of the counsellors who attended him, that they might be witnesses of every thing which passed. Two days were spent in treaty. He denied all he was charged with and affirmed—what we have already suggested—that the reports to his disadvantage were raised and circulated, either by Uncas, or some of his people. Such an effect, (it should be observed) had these reports already produced, that the Connecticut people were importunate for open war with the Narraghansetts at this very time; and it required the whole influence of the Massachusetts authorities, (who doubted, "whether, they had sufficient proofs of the designs of the Indians to justify a war,") to prevent immediate hostilities. Such alarm existed, that places of refuge for the women and children were provided in most of the towns and plantations. Beacons were set up, in readiness to be fired; and smiths were ordered to postpone other business until all the arms in the colony were put in complete repair. A great excitement was produced in the towns about Boston, by a poor man, in a swamp at Watertown, crying out for help against a kennel of wolves which he heard howling around him in the night. And although Massachusetts was opposed to war, "Yet the governor, with the magistrates, before the court met, thought it necessary to disarm the Indians within the colony, which they readily submitted to." [FN-2]

[FN-1] "The messengers coming to him, he carried them apart into the woods, taking only one of his chief men with him, and gave them very rational answers to all their propositions, &c." Win. Journal, Vol. II.

[FN-2] Hutchinson, Vol. I.

Miantonomo, as was very natural, not only noticed these symptoms of jealousy on his visit to Boston, but felt keenly the ill-will they implied, and inquired the cause of them. Governor Winthrop gave him an evasive answer, with which, however, he politely professed to be satisfied. He then entered into quite an argument, to show that the suspicions which had been entertained of him were unjust, and were owing to the machinations of his enemies. He offered to meet Uncas either at Hartford or at Boston, and to prove his treachery to the English, in their presence. He should stand ready to come at any time, he added; and this notwithstanding he had been advised not to visit the English again, lest they should seize upon his person. He relied upon his innocence, and he would visit them, whenever it was deemed necessary that he should.

It is acknowledged in fine, that he gave perfect satisfaction at this time. Considering the entertainment which was given him, and his great pride of character, that was quite as much as could be expected. "When we should go to dinner"—it is recorded in the Governor's Journal—"there was a table provided for the Indians to dine by themselves, and Miantunnomoh was left to sit with them. This he was discontented at, and would eat nothing till the governor sent him meat from his table. So at night, and all the time he staid, he sat at the lower end of the magistrates' table." But he overlooked the indignity, and parted upon good terms. "We gave him and his counsellors coats and tobacco; and when he came to take his leave of the governor, and such of the magistrates as were present, he returned and gave his hand to the governor again, saying, that was for the rest of the magistrates who were absent." It may be observed, that the examination in this case, which resulted thus satisfactorily to Massachusetts, was a deliberate and thorough one. The court was already assembled, when he arrived at Boston; and even before his admission, all the points and order of inquiry were agreed upon; "For we knew him," says the governor, "to be a very subtle man." [FN] The same authority admits, that he showed, in his answers, "a good understanding of the principles of equity and justice, and ingenuity with withal."

[FN] A phraseology, which, as implying prejudice, is rather more creditable to the subject than the writer. Hubbard describes him as a very goodly personage, of tall stature, "subtile and cunning in his contrivements, as well as haughty in his designs."

The attack of Miantonomo upon Uncas, independently of the interest which the English had in it, has been regarded as a moral if not legal outrage—an unprovoked, unprincipled aggression—the off-spring of hatred, envy, or at best of mere ambition. But even here we do not happen to be without proof as well as probability, in favor of the accused. In more than one case, if not generally, the fault was on the side of Uncas; and that being true, it must naturally occur to every reader, to inquire, in the language applied to a similar case by Mr. Williams,—"Graunt these subjects, What capacitie hath their late massacre of ye Narrgansetts (with whom they had made peace) without ye English consent, tho' still under ye English name, put them into?" [FN] A very forcible query, it must be admitted; and to show its relevancy to the present subject, let us look again for a few facts.

[FN] Ms. Letters, dated 1654.

Soon after the Pequot war, when the chieftains who had assisted the English in carrying it on, convened at Hartford for a division of the spoil, Mr. Williams accompanied Miantonomo on his journey. "By the way," says he, ("lodging from his house three nights in the woods,) we met divers Nanhiggontick [Narraghansett] men complaining of robbery and violence, which they had sustained from the Pequts and Monahiggins in their travel from Cunnihticut [Connecticut]; as also some of the Wunnashowatuckoogs [subject to Canaunicus] came to us and advertised, that two days before about six hundred and sixty Pequts, Monahiggins and their confederates had robbed them and spoiled about twenty-three fields of corn; and rifled four Nanhiggontick men amongst them; as also that they in way and wait to stop Miantunnomue's passage to Cunnihticut, and divers of them threatened to boil him in the kettle."

These tidings being confirmed by various authorities, Mr. Williams and the other English in the company, were strongly in favor of turning back, and going to Hartford by water. But Miantonomo declared that not a man should retreat; he would keep strict watch by night, and in dangerous passes the sachems should all march with a body-guard, but they should die, as he himself would, rather than turn back. They moved on, therefore, the English with Miantonomo and his wife in front, and a flank-guard of forty or fifty men on either side to prevent surprisal. They arrived safely at Hartford, and the conference took place. Uncas was accused of conniving at the trespasses of his men upon the Narraghansetts, and he retorted with charges of the same kind upon Miantonomo. The result of this angry discussion was, as follows. "At last we drew them to shake hands, Miantunnomu and Okace; and Miantunnomu invited (twice, earnestly) Okace to sup and dine with him, he and all his company (his men having killed some venison;) but he would not yield, altho' the magistrates persuaded him also to it."

The magnanimity manifested by the chieftain on this occasion, was uniformly a prominent part of his character. When he visited Boston in 1640—as he always did, at the request of the Massachusetts government—he was entertained first by the government at Roxbury; but when the parley was to commence, he refused to treat through the medium of a Pequot interpreter. The governor being unwilling to yield this point to him as good policy, if not manners apparently required that he should—he departed abruptly for Boston, without so much as taking leave of his host. The latter informed the court of this conduct, "and would show him no countenance, nor admit him to dine at our table as formerly, until he had acknowledged his failing, which he readily did as soon as he could be made to understand it." [FN] He observed, however, with some dignity, that when the English should visit him, he should cheerfully permit them to use their own fashions, as they always had done.

[FN] Win. Jour. vol. II.

Previous to the expedition against the Pequots, both Miantonomo and Canonicus had expressed a wish that whatever was done with the warriors of the enemy, their women and children should be spared. There was a chivalry in this request—and it does not seem to have been soon forgotten—which accords with all that is known of both these chieftains. Canonicus might have suppressed the Plymouth colony in 1622, at a single blow; but he thought it more honorable to give them formal notice of hostile intentions, by a messenger; and when he became convinced that they had been misrepresented to him, he at least ceased to be their enemy if he did not become their friend. In the same spirit, Miantonomo, while in the custody of the governor of Connecticut, cautioned him to increase his guard. He openly declared—what was the fact—that attempts were and would be made by his Narraghansett subjects for his rescue.

There is a most affecting evidence of the same noble disposition, in the report of the commissioners for 1644. The Narraghansetts, now constantly complaining of the conduct of Uncas and his tribe, brought a charge, among other things, that the latter had embezzled a quantity of wampum which had been put into their hands for the ransom of Miantonomo, while the chief was yet living. How much truth there might be in the allegation, cannot well be ascertained. The commissioners however report, that they gave a fair hearing to the "Narraghansett" deputies on the one hand, and to Uncas on the other. The result is thus stated:

"That though several discourses had passed from Vcus and his men that for such quantities of wampom and such parcels of other goods to a great value there might have been some probabilities of spareing his life, yet no such parcells were brought. But Vncus denyeth; and the Narrohiggansett Deputies did not allready, much less proue that any ransome was agreed, nor so much as any treaty begunn to redeeme their imprisoned Sachem. And for that wampoms and goods sent as they were but small parcells and scarce considerable for such a purpose, a part of them disposed by Myantinomo himself to Vncus his counsellors and captaines for some favour either past or hoped for and part were giuen and and sent to Vncus and to his Squa for preseruing his life so long and vssing him curteously during his Imprisonment." What could be nobler than this?

The warm and constant friendship of the two sachems for Williams himself, is a sufficient indication of noble natures. Canonicus was suspicious of him at first; "but with Miantunnomu," writes Mr. Williams soon after his removal, "I have far better dealing. He kept his barbarous court lately at my house. He takes some pleasure to visit me, and sent me word of his coming over some eight days hence." When the treaty of 1636 was negotiated at Boston, Miantonomo not being able to understand perfectly all the articles, or perhaps not placing entire confidence in the Massachusetts government, desired that a copy should be sent to his friend Williams—if he was satisfied, it was intimated, no objection or difficulty would arise upon his own part. The conveyances of land heretofore spoken of, were made to him in the same feeling. "It was not price or money," says the grantee, "that could have purchased Rhode Island; but 't was obtained by love, that love and favor which that honored gentleman, Sir Henry Vane, and myself, had with the great sachem, Miantunnomu, about the league which I procured in the Pequod war. The Indians were very shy of selling lands to any, and chose rather to make a grant [gift] of them, to such as they affected."

It might be supposed, that Mr. Williams had peculiar facilities for instructing the sachems in the doctrines of Christianity; but he did not attempt a great deal in this way, and his reasons for it are given in his Key to the Languages. [FN] He observes, that he once heard Miantonomo conversing with several of his chief warriors about keeping the English Sabbath. At another time, a Connecticut Indian undertook, in Miantonomo's presence, to dispute Mr. Williams' doctrine, that the souls of the good should up to heaven, and those of the wicked to hell. Our Fathers have told us, said he, that all go to the South-West, and this I believe. "And why so," asked the sachem, "did you ever see a soul go to the South-West?" To this the other rejoined, that the evidence was the same in this respect for the Indian doctrine as for that of Mr. Williams. "Ah!" answered Miantonomo, "but he has books and writings, and one which God himself has made; he may well know more than we or our fathers." The anecdote certainly shows a great confidence of the sachem in his English acquaintance.

[FN] In 1654, (Mass.) he writes—"at my last departure for England, I was importuned by ye Narigansett sachims, and especially by Nanekunnat, to pressent their petition to ye high sachims of England, yt they might not be forced from their religion, and for not changing their religion be invaded by war; for they said they were daily visited by threatenings by Indians yt came from about ye Massachusetts yt if they would not pray they should be destroyed by war." Ms. Letters.

We shall close our remarks upon this part of our subject with citing at large one of the letters to which we already have been so much indebted for facts. It is sufficiently characteristic of both the writer and the chieftains his friends, to repay us for the labor of perusal. It is supposed to have been written in October 1637.

"The last of the week. I think the 28th of the 8th.


"This bearer, Miantunnomu, resolving to go on his visit, [to Boston] I am bold to request a word of advice from you concerning a proposition made by Canaunicus and himself to me some half year since. Canaunicus gave an island in the bay to Mr. Oldam, by name Chibachuwese, on condition, as it should seem, that he would dwell there near unto them. The Lord (in whose hands all hearts are) turning their affections towards myself, they desired me to move hither and dwell nearer to them, I have answered once and again, that for the present I mind not to remove. But if I have it from them I would give them satisfaction for it, and build a little house, and put in some swine, as understanding the place to have store of fish and good feeding for swine. Of late I have heard that Mr. Gibbons, upon occasion, motioned your desire and his own of putting some swine on some of these islands, which hath made me since more desire to obtain it. I spake of it to this sachem, and he tells me that because of the store of fish, Canaunicus desires that I would accept half (it being spectacle-wise, and between a mile or two in circuit, as I guess) and he would reserve the other; but I think, if I go over, I shall obtain the whole. Your loving counsel, how far it may be inoffensive, because it was once (upon a condition not kept) Mr. Oldam's. So with respective salutes to your kind self and Mrs. Winthrop, I rest

"your worship's unfeigned, in all I may.
"Ro. Williams.
"For his much honored }    Mr. Governour, these.  }"

A singular paragraph in a previous communication addressed to the same gentleman, indicates that the writer took some pains to requite the various favors conferred upon him. "Sir, if any thing be sent to the princes, [alluding to proposed presents,] I find that Canaunicus would gladly accept of of eight or ten pounds of sugar, and indeed he told me he would thank Mr. Governor for a box full."

In fine, we cannot dismiss the biography of Miantonomo without confessing a sensation of sorrow, and even shame, arising from the contemplation of the lofty and noble traits which certainly adorned his character, contrasted with the ignominious death which he met with at the hands of his allies. The learned editor of a recent edition of Winthrop's Journal, calls it a case of "perfidy or cruelty, or both." He also expresses an opinion, that the argument which really though secretly decided the minds of the commissioners against the sachem, was his encouragement of the sale of Shaomet and Patuxet to Gorton and his associates. Without going as far as this, we may be permitted to say; that the case requires all the apology which can be derived from the great excitement of the times, occasioned especially by the power and movements of the Indians.

Such seems to have been the opinion of Governor Hopkins, [FN] who, it will be observed, also intimates a new explanation of the conduct of the colonies, towards the Narraghansett chief. His eloquent and generous tribute to the memory of the latter, we do not think ourselves at liberty to omit or abridge.

[FN] See his Account of Providence Colony, first published in the Providence Gazette of 1765, and preserved in the Mass. His. Coll. He was governor of Rhode-Island for nine years, but is better known as one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

"This," says that eminent scholar, and patriot, "was the end of Myantinomo, the most potent Indian prince the people of New-England had ever any concern with; and this was the reward he received for assisting them seven years before, in their war with the Pequots. Surely a Rhode-Island man may be permitted to mourn his unhappy fate, and drop a tear on the ashes of Myantinomo; who, with his uncle Conanicus, were the best friends and greatest benefactors the colony [of R. I.] ever had. They kindly received, fed, and protected the first settlers of it, when they were in distress, and were strangers and exiles, and all mankind else were their enemies; and by this kindness to them, drew upon themselves the resentment of the neighboring colonies, and hastened the untimely end of the young king."

Nothing of great interest can be added to the history of Canonicus, subsequent to the death of his colleague. Messengers were sent to him, the same year, to explain the circumstances of that event, and to take measures for preserving peace. In 1644, he is said to have subjected himself and his territory to the Government of Charles I. of England, by a deed dated April 19th. [FN] He must have been near ninety yearn of age at this time, and if actually in the exercise of government, no doubt was more disposed than ever to live peaceably with his English neighbors.

[FN] Report of Commissioners appointed in 1683 by Charles II. to enquire into the claims and titles to the Narraghansett Country. 5th Vol. of Mass. His. Coll. 1st. Series.

Mr. Winthrop states, that he died June 4th, 1647. Mr. Hubbard says 1648, and he has been copied by late writers (including Holmes;) but the former date is believed to be the better authenticated of the two. One or two historians indeed seem to confound the old sachem with a younger man, who was killed in Philip's war, by the Mohawks, in June 1676. This person bore the same name, and may have been one of his descendants. Between twenty and thirty years before this, Mr. Williams, (the best authority on all that relates to the Narraghansetts,) writes, that "their late famous long-lived Caunnonicus so liv'd and died, and in ye same most honorable manner and solemnitie (in their way) as you laid to Sleepe your Prudent Peace-Maker, Mr. Winthrop, did they honour this, their Prudent and Peaceable Prince." [FN]

[FN] Ms. Letters.


Canonicus succeeded by Pessacus—Mexham—Ninigret, Sachem of the Nianticks—Proposals made by them to the English, and by the English in return—They commence hostilities against Uncas—The English resolve to make war upon them—They make concessions—Their visits to Boston—Subsequent movements against Uncas. An armed party sent against Ninigret and Pessacus—They are accused of a league with the Dutch against the English.

Strictly speaking, there was no successor to Canonicus in the government of the Narraghansetts, the lineage, talents and age of that sachem having given him a peculiar influence over his countrymen, which none other among them could command. At his death, therefore, the authority which he had monopolized at one time, and afterwards shared with Miantonomo and others, reverted into that form of dominion (half way between oligarchy and democracy, and occasionally vibrating to each extreme,) which is common among the Indian tribes.

One of the Narraghansett chiefs, after that period, was his son, Mexham, otherwise called Mexamo, Mixamo, Meihammoh, and by Roger Williams also Mriksah and Mejhsah. Considering the multitude of his names, he is rather less distinguished than might be supposed. Mr. Williams however gives him the credit of inheriting "his father's spirit" of friendliness for the English. In another passage, speaking of the Nipmucks, he says "they were unquestionably subject to ye Narrhigansett sachims, and in a special manner to Mejhsah, ye son of Caunonnicus, and late husband to this old Squa-Sachim now only surviving." [FN] This letter bearing date of May 7th, 1668, Mexham must have died previous to that time. The name of his widow and successor, (sometimes called Quaiapen, and more frequently Magnus,) who was a woman of great energy, figures not a little in the history of King-Philip's war. We may hereafter have occasion to mention both husband and wife.

[FN] MS. Letters.

A more distinguished character was Pessacus, generally believed to have been the brother of Miantonomo, [FN] and therefore nephew of Canonicus—a better authenticated theory than that of Johnson's, who (in Wonder-Working Providence,) calls him a son. He was born about the time of the English settling at Plymouth, and was therefore not far from twenty years old when his brother was killed. His name being associated with that of Canonicus in the deed of 1644, alluded to in the preceding chapter, it may be presumed, that the mantle of Miantonomo, after his death, fell upon the shoulders of Pessacus. It will soon appear, how much he interested himself, both as sachem and brother, in the revenge of that outrage.

[FN] Winthrop.

It is impossible to pursue the career of either of these chieftains, eminent in history as some of them are, without connecting them not only with each other, but with a foreign party who still remains to be named. We refer to Ninigret, [FN] chief sachem of the Nianticks, generally considered a Narraghansett tribe, and certainly the most considerable of all those which profited by the alliance of that people. Miantonomo spoke of them to Governor Winthrop in 1642, "as his own flesh, being allied by continual intermarriages;" and the governor consequently had "some difficulty to bring him to desert them." In fact, they were rather confederates than tributaries to Canonicus during his life, and the relationship of blood, with no other bonds of sympathy, would have abundantly sufficed to keep up an intimate connexion after his death. Prince states that Ninigret was the uncle of Miantonomo; but other writers represent him as the brother or brother-in-law; and considering the age of the parties especially, the latter supposition is much the more plausible. Either will explain the regard which he will be found to have cherished for the memory of the dead chieftain, and for the person of Pessacus, the living brother.

[FN] Variously entitled by various writers.
e g.
Ninigrate, by   Hutchinson.
Nynigrett,   Mason's Pequot war
Ninicrite,   Hubbard.
Ninicraft,   Same and others.
Ninegrad,   Prince.
Nennegratt and Nennegrate, &c.,   Hazard.
Nanekunat, Niniglud, &c.,   R. Williams and others.

We first hear of Ninigret in 1632, from which time to 1635 a violent war was carried on between the Narraghansetts and Pequots. In this he is said to have taken no part; and the fair inference is, that he was not from his relation to the former under any necessity, and probably not under obligation, to assist them.

A similar conclusion might be drawn from the division of captives made at the close of the war of 1637, when Ninigret's services were acknowledged by the compliment of twenty Pequots—in the same manner, though not in the same measure, with those of Uncas and Miantonomo. Like the latter, however, Ninigret took no personal or active part in that war; and like him, he permitted his subjects to go volunteers under Mason. Mr. Wolcott thus mentions him on the occasion of Underhill's arrival in his territory, [FN] on his way to the Pequots:

[FN] The principal residence of Ninigret, and the centre of his dominion, was at Wekapaug, now Westerly, R. I. It was formerly a part of Stonington, Conn.

"And marching through that county soon they met The Narraghansett Prince, proud Ninigrett, To whom the English say, we lead these bands, Armed in this manner, thus into your lands, Without design to do you injury, But only to invade the enemy; You, who to the expense of so much blood Have long time born their evil neighborhood, Will bid us welcome, and will well excuse That we this way have took our rendezvouz, &c." [FN]

[FN] "A Brief Account of the Agency of the Hon. John Winthrop Esq. in the Court of King Charles the second, Anno Dom. 1682; when he obtained a charter for the Colony of Connecticut." Vol. IV. Mass. His. Coll.

If what is here intimated was true, that the Pequots had been bad neighbors to the Nianticks, as they certainly had been to the Narraghansetts, it is no matter of wonder that numbers of those tribes engaged in the English expedition; and it indicates the pride, if not magnanimity on the other hand that neither would consent to fight against the common enemy of both.

From Major Mason's account of the affair, it would appear that the English took this independence of Ninigret rather in dudgeon. "On the Wednesday morning," says that writer, "we marched from thence to a Place called Nayanticke, it being about eighteen or twenty miles distant, where another of those Narraghansetts lived in a Fort; it being a Frontier to the Pequots. They carryed very proudly towards us; not permitting any of us to come into their Fort." Upon which Mason set a guard about them, forbidding the Indians to go in or out, and quartered in the neighborhood over night. Whether this "Sachem" was Ninigret or one of his subjects, the conduct of Mason could hardly have left a very gratifying impression on the mind, of that chieftain. Possibly, if borne in mind by the reader, it may throw some light upon subsequent events.

From the time of Miantonomo's death, all the sachems we have mentioned as succeeding to his power, came prominently into intercourse with the English. Ninigret and Pessacus, particularly, were distinguished by a continual series of controversies alternately with that people, and the Mohegans, and very often with both. They inherited the strong prejudice of the slaughtered Narraghansett against Uncas and his tribe; and most bitterly was that prejudice exasperated by the slaughter itself.

Anticipating such an excitement, the commissioners, immediately after the execution of the sentence, despatched messengers to Pessacus, who were directed to inform him that they had heard of the quarrel between himself and Uncas; and to propose that he should send delegates to Hartford; these should meet delegates from Uncas, and thus all differences be adjusted. A conference accordingly was agreed upon, and it took place as proposed. The result was stated, in the commissioners Report: "They did require that neither themselves [the Narraghansetts] nor the Nayanticks should make, any warr or injurious assault vpon Vncus or any of his company vntil they make proofe of the ransome charged &c."—alluding to the allegation that Uncas had embezzled money, deposited in his hands for Miantonomo's redemption.

The following agreement was subscribed by the four "Narrohhiganset Deputies," as they are called in the Report. It should be observed, that although "the Nayantick sachems" are ostensibly here represented, the only evidence going to justify such a phraseology, so far as we know, is in a previous statement (in the Report,) that when the English messengers had been sent to propose this conference, the Narraghansett sagamores "consulting among themselves and with Kienemo one of the Nayantick sachims had sent a sagamore &c." We copy literatim and punctuatim:

"Weetowisse one of the Narrohiggansett sachims Pummumsh (alias) Pumumshe and Pawpianet two of the Narrohigganset Captaines being sent with two of the Narrohiggansett Indians as Deputies from the Narrohigganset and Nayantick sachims to make proofe of the ransome they pretended was given for their late sachim's life as also to make knoune some other greevances they had against Vncus sachim of the Mohiggins did in conclusion promise and engage themselves (according to the power committed to them) that there should be no war begun by any of the Narrohiggansets or Nayantic Indians with the Mohegan sachim or his men till after the next planting tyme, and that after that, before they begin warr, or vse any hostility towards them, they will give thirty dayes warneing thereof to the Government of the Massachusetts or Conectacutt.

"Hartford the XVIIth of September, 1644

"(Signed with the marks of)   Weetowisse

This, considering it an agreement authorised by Pessacus, was certainly as much as could be reasonably expected of him; for such was his eagerness to revenge the death of his brother, that he had himself sent messengers to confer upon the subject with the Massachusetts Government. Only a month or two after that event, they carried a present from him, of an otter coat, with Wampum to the value of fifteen pounds. Proposals of peace and friendship were tendered; but a request was added, that the Governor should not assist Uncas, whom he (Pessacus) intended shortly to make war upon. The Governor replied, that he desired peace, but wished that all the Indian tribes, including the Mohegans, might be partakers of it; and that unless Pessacus would consent to these terms, his present could not be received. The messengers said, they had no instructions upon this point; they would however return, and consult with Pessacus; and meanwhile the Governor was requested to retain the present, which he did.

After this, (in April, 1644) and previous to the Hartford conference, the Governor sent messengers on his own part to the Narraghansetts, probably to sound the disposition of Pessacus. They went first to the wigwam of the old sachem Canonicus, whom they found in such ill humor that he did not admit them, (as they stated) for two hours, during which time they were not altogether at ease, being obliged to endure the pelting of a rain-storm. On entering, they found him lying upon his couch. He noticed them, not very cordially, for the purpose of referring them to Pessacus; and for him they waited four hours more. When he came, he took them into a shabby wigwam, and kept them talking with him most of the night. On the whole, he appeared determined to wage war on Uncas forthwith; not in the manner of Miantonomo, but by sending out small war-parties, to cut off the straggling Mohegans, and to interfere with their hunting and fishing.

There is reason to believe, that he either had taken, or was about taking some measures in pursuance of this scheme; and that the message of the commissioners was therefore rather as much in consequence as in anticipation of his acts. On the 23d. of April, messengers came to Boston from Pomham, (a chief, hereafter noticed at length, who had put himself under the Massachusetts protection,) with intelligence that the Narraghansetts had captured and killed six Mohegan men and five women; and had sent him two hands and a foot, to engage him in the war. If this statement was true—and we know no particular reason for doubting it—the commissioners might certainly consider themselves fortunate in checking hostilities, so far as they did in September.

They convened again, at Boston, early in 1645; and messengers were again sent to the Narraghansetts, with directions afterwards to visit the Mohegans, inviting all the sachems to meet them for a new adjustment of difficulties. The instructions given to these men [FN] imply, that the commissioners supposed Pessacus to be in a state of warfare with Uncas at that time—whether it was now past "planting-tyme," or not—but the same records show that the messengers brought back "a letter from Mr. Roger Williams wherein hee assures vs the warr would presently break forth and that the Narrohiggansett sachims had lately concluded a neutrallyty with Providence and the Townes upon Aquidnett [Rhode] Island."

[FN] See records of the United Colonies. Hazard.

It would seem, then, that the treaty was not yet broken—when the messengers were sent. Pessacus at first told them, that he would attend the commissioners' summons, and that meanwhile there should be no operations against Uncas; but he soon afterwards said, that his mind was changed. They then went to Ninigret. He expressed great discontent on account of certain military assistance which the English had sent to defend Uncas; and threatened haughtily, (said the messengers) that unless that force were withdrawn, he should consider it a violation of the treaty. "He would procure as many Mowhauques as the English should affront [meet] them with, that would lay the English cattell on heapes as heigh as their houses, and no Englishman should stir out of his doore but he should be killed."

After meeting such a reception here, the messengers were afraid to set out for the Mohegan country, and they therefore went back to Pessacus and requested him to furnish them with a guide. He offered them an old Pequot squaw—in derision (as they supposed)—and even while they were speaking, several of his Indians who stood close behind him, appeared to them to be frowning rather grimly, besides brandishing their hatchets in a most ominous manner.

"Wherevpon," [on the return of the messengers] says the Report, "the commissioners considering the great provocations offered and the necessyty we should be put unto of making warr vpon the Narrohiggansets &c." it was agreed, "First, that our engagement bound us to ayde and defende the Mohegan Sachem. 2dly, That this ayde could not be intended onely to defend him and his in his fort or habitacon, but (according to the common acceptacon of such covenants or engagements considered with the fraude or occasion thereof) so to ayde him as hee might be preserved in his liberty and estate. 3dly, That this ayde must be speedy least he might bee swallowed vp in the meane tyme and so come too late."

The engagement here alluded to was made at Hartford in these words: "That if they assualt Vncus the English are engaged to assist him." Whether they had assaulted him or not—whether, if they had, it was under circumstances which started such a casus faederis as to justify the English interference—and whether, under any circumstances, the latter could justify sending an expedition designed "not onely to ayde the Mohegans but to offend the Narrohiggansets, Nyanticks and other their confederates" [FN]—need not now be discussed. Nor shall we inquire whether any blame was chargeable, on the other hand, to Uncas, as having himself secretly provoked hostilities—which, it may be observed, is a matter that in its nature cannot easily be determined.

[FN] "Instructions for Serjeant Major Edward Gibbons, comaunder in chief of our military forces and for such as are joyned to him as a counsell of warr." Hazard.

Preparations were made for a war; but, at the suggestion of some of the Massachusetts Government, it was concluded to make still another offer of compromise to the Narraghansetts, returning at the same time, by way of manifesto, the present of wampum "long since sent and left by messengers from Piscus [Pessacus]." A conference took place between some of the messengers and some of the Sachems, at which Mr. Williams officiated as interpreter, and the result was almost necessarily pacific, several of the allegations of the English (which Benedict upon oath had formerly certified [FN]) were denied, says the commissioners' Report, and others excused; and as the English desired further conference, it was agreed "that Pissicus chiefe-sachem of the Narraghansetts and Mixano Canownacus his eldest sonn and others should forthwith come to Bostone to treat with the commissioners for the restoreing and settleing of peace."

[FN] Report of Commissioners, 1645. Benedict Arnold is here referred to, a person employed as messenger for a long series of years. He seems to have been in this case the only witness against the Sachems; and what his testimony amounted to, we have already seen.

This promise was faithfully kept. The sachems just named, with a Niantick deputy, made their appearance at Boston within a few days, followed by a long train of attendants. Some altercation took place between them and the commissioners, in the course of which the latter charged them (as the Report shows,) that, notwithstanding the Hartford treaty, "they had this summer (1645) at severall tymes invaded Vncus &c." At length, with great reluctance, and "after long debate and some private conferrence they had with Sergeant Cullicutt they acknowledged they had brooken promise or covenant in the aforemenconed warrs." They then offered to make another truce, but that not satisfying the commissioners, they wished to know what would. Upon which the commissioners, "to show their moderacon required of them but twoo thousand fathome of white wampon for their oune satisfaccon," beside their restoring the boats and prisoners taken from Uncas, and making reparation for all damages. A treaty, containing these and other stipulations, and providing that the payment of one instalment should be made in twenty days, was drawn up and finally subscribed by all the deputies. Four hostages were given for security, including a son of Pessacus; the English army was disbanded; the sachems returned home; and the 4th of September, which had been appointed for a fast, was now ordered to be observed as a day of thanksgiving.

We have thought it the less necessary to specify all the provisions of this "treaty," inasmuch as the circumstances under which it was made, amount, as appears to us, to such a duress as not only must have exasperated the Sachems, but clearly invalidated the treaty itself. This point, however, we shall leave to be decided by every reader who will trouble himself to become familiar with those minutiæ which cannot here be stated. It is sufficient to add, that the Report itself; as above cited, shows the consideration (so to speak) upon which the whole transaction was founded, to have failed, or rather never to have existed. The "acknowledgements," indeed, like the agreements, under the circumstances we count nothing; but even these, as the commissioners state them, only intimate that the Narraghansetts had invaded Uncas "this summer"—that is, (for aught we are told) subsequent to "planting-tyme," when the former treaty expired—and not then without previous and repeated declarations to the English, as we have seen, of their intended movements. No remarks need be made upon the invasion of the English, or upon the requisitions on the deputies at Boston.

One provision of the treaty was, that the Narraghansetts should meet Uncas at New Haven in 1646, which they failed to do, though Uncas himself attended the meeting of the commissioners at that place. Nor did they make their payments of wampum according to promise. Three instalments, to the amount of one thousand three hundred fathoms, being now due, they sent into Boston one hundred fathoms—mostly, it is said in "old kettles"—excusing themselves on the score of poverty and the failure of the Nianticks to contribute their proportion. So small a sum the commissioners would not accept; and the messengers who brought it therefore sold their kettles to a Boston brazier, and deposited the money in his hands, to be paid over when they should bring the residue of the debt. Messengers were sent for Pessacus, but he failed to make his appearance.

The summons being repeated in 1647, on the 31st of July, "Thomas Stanton returned with Pessacks answere as followinge. Pessack being charged for not meeting the commissioners at New Haven the last yeare, his answere was, he had no warninge. It is true, said he, I have broken my covenant these two years, and it is and hath been the constant griefe of my spirit. 2dly, The reason why he doth not come at this time is, because he hath bene sicke and is now sicke; had I bene but pretty well, said he, I would have come to them." He also stated, that he when the last treaty was made, he had acted in fear of the English army; [FN] and he proposed to send Ninigret to Boston forthwith, with full authority to treat in his own name.

[FN] Report of the comm. for 1647. "He doth say when he made his covenant he did it in feare of the army that he did see, and tho' the English kept their covenant with him there and let him go from them, yet the army was to goe to Narragensett ymmediately and kill him there, therefore said the commissioners sett your hands to such and such things or els the army shall goe forth to the Narragensetts." Excellently well stated!

Ninigret accordingly came on the 3d of August. When the commissioners demanded an explanation of his past defaults, he at first affected ignorance of what agreements had been made by the Narraghansetts. He then argued the matter, and inquired upon what pretence the alleged debt was originally founded. He was reminded of all the old subjects of complaint, including his own declarations of hostility towards the English. In respect to the latter, he said that the messengers had given him provocation. As to the money, he considered it impossible ever to pay it, but nevertheless wished to know how the reckoning now stood. It appeared, on examination, that Pessacus had paid seventy fathoms of wampum the first year. As for the kettles sold to the braziers, that property had since been attached by one Woddy, a Boston man for goods stolen from him by a Narraghansett Indian. Ninigret excepted to this procedure. It was neither the property of Pessacus, he said, nor of the thief; it was deposited as part payment of the debt, and ought so to be received. Having gained this point, he next proposed that credit should be given him for one hundred and five fathoms, sent by the hand of the Indian called Cutchamaquin. [FN-1] It was rejoined, that the sum referred to had been intended as a present to the Governor. Ninigret, "being pressed to cleare the questione himselfe, he answered, his tounge should not belye his heart, let the debt be satisfied as it may—he intended it for the Governour." He had sent ten fathoms to Cutchamaquin for his own trouble; but that covetous Indian, unsatisfied with so liberal a commission, had appropriated all but forty-five fathoms to his own use and "lied" about the residue. The facts came out upon a cross-examination, instituted by Ninigret in presence of the commissioners. [FN-2]

[FN-1] Whom we suppose to be the Sachem of Braintree, (near Boston), so well known for his violent opposition to Mr. Elliot's preaching, and called also Kitchmakin and some half dozen other names. He submitted to the Massachusetts Government in 1643. Neal says, that soon after his appearing at Mr. Elliot's lecture, and protesting against the building of a town for the Christian Indians in what he considered his dominions, "he himself turned Christian." But that reverend missionary does not himself state quite so much. In that old tract, The Light Appearing &c. he says, that after a certain pungent discourse which he took occasion to level at the Sachem, and not long after his remonstrance just mentioned, "Elder Heath his observation of him was, that there was a great change in him, his spirit was very much lightned, and it much appeared both in his countenance and carriage, and he hath carried all things fairly ever since." We are glad to leave him thus—he died soon after his reformation.

[FN-2] Hazard Vol. II. p. 80 (quarto 3d. Phil. 1794) "Hereupon Cutchmaquin was sent for and before Ninegrate questioned &c. He at first persisted, and added to his lyes, but was at last convinced by Ninegrate &c." A good illustration of the impropriety of giving implicit credit in such cases.

He then asked time to give in his final answer, and the commissioners allowed him a day. Having consulted meanwhile with his companions, he appeared the next morning again. He was sorry to find, he said, that the burden of the business had been shifted from the shoulders of Pessacus upon his own, but he had determined to do what he could; and he would therefore send some of his men home to collect the arrears due to the English. In the course of three days he should know the result, and in ten he thought the wampum might be forwarded. He would himself remain at Boston till that time, and send word to the Narraghansetts of the arrangement. "But if the collection," he added, "should fall short of the sum due, he desired some forbearance, being sure that the residue would be shortly paid, and that the English would at all events perceive his great desire to give them entire satisfaction." The commissioners accepted these proposals, and Ninigret despatched his messenger.

They returned on the 16th of the month, but brought only two hundred fathom of wampum. The commissioners complained of this new default, and Ninigret was a little embarrassed. He said, it must be owing to his own absence; but as it was, he wished that the Wampum intended, but not yet received, as a present to the Governor, should go in part payment of the debt. For the remainder, he desired a respite till the next spring, when, if it were not fully paid, the English should have his country and his head. [FN] The commissioners accordingly gave him leave to return home, and allowed him twenty days for sending in one thousand fathoms; if he failed, he must suffer the consequences. If he did what he could, and Pessacus failed, as heretofore he had done, they should punish him, and expect Ninigret's assistance.

[FN] The account, which may be considered a curiosity, now stood thus.
Mr. Pelham received allmost two yeares since,  }
above what was given Vncus  } 70 fathoms.
Left by the Narraghansetts in Mr. Shrimpton's  }
hands, in kettles and wampum  } 70 fathoms.
In Cutchamaqua's hands by Ninegrett   105 do.
Received of Ninegrett 16. Aug. 1647.  243 1/2 do.
The sum being 443.

At their meeting in 1648, the commissioners received information of new movements of Pessacus and Ninigret, in disturbance of the common peace. Both sachems were said to be withdrawing their old men, women and children into swamps, hiding their corn, and preparing for the reception of the Mohawk, whom they had engaged to assist them. The invading army was to consist of eight hundred men. The Mohawks had four hundred guns, and three pounds of powder to a gun. Ninigret had made inquiry whether the English would probably defend Uncas, and seemed to calculate, in that case, upon the necessity of fighting them. The Pocomtock tribe were also engaged to assist him. But both these and the Mohawks were finally discouraged from undertaking the expedition, by the prospect of having to contend with the English.

But depredations were soon after committed by some of the Narraghansetts upon the English; and as for Uncas, the hostility against him was carried so far, that he came very near losing his life by an Indian hired to assassinate him, having been run through the breast with a sword, as he was going on board a vessel in the river Thames. At the commissioners' meeting in 1649, he appeared, laid his complaints before them, and demanded the protection of his ally. Ninigret also presented himself. As to hiring the Indian to assassinate Uncas, he observed, the confession of the criminal himself was the only evidence in the case, and that was forced from him by the Mohegans. As to the arrears of wampum, of which much was said, he thought there been a mistake in the measure, and that only two hundred fathoms were due, while the English at this time acknowledged the receipt of only one thousand five hundred twenty-nine and a half in the whole. But the commissioners were dissatisfied with his answer; and they therefore once more set themselves to making vigorous preparations for war.

The measures adopted in 1650, may be learned from the following passage of the commissioners' record for that year. "Taking into consideration the seueral offensiue practices of the Narraghausetts whereby they have broken their couenents and endeauoured to disturbe the peace betweene the English and themselves; and how they yet delay to pay the wampum which hath been so long due [having sent but one hundred fathom since the last meeting at Boston;] it was therefore thought meet to keepe the colonies from falling into contempt among the Indians, and to preuent their improuing said wampum to hire other Indians to joyne with themselves against vs or Vcus, that twenty men well armed bee sent out of the Jurisdiccon of Massachusetts to Pessicus to demand the said Wampum which is three hundred and eight fathom, and vpon Refusall or Delay to take the same or to the Vallew thereof in the best goods they can find; Together with so much as will satisfy for their charges &c."

The messengers were farther instructed to go to Ninigret, and make the following complaints. 1. That the commissioners were told he had married his daughter to the brother of the old Pequot chief; Sassacus, and had made some pretensions to the Pequot territory. 2. That Weekwash Cooke had complained to them of certain grievances received at his hands. 3. "That about twelve years sence a Mare belonging to Elty Pomary of Winsor in Connecticatt was killed wilfully by Pequiam a Nyantick Indian brother to Ninegrett which Mare cost twenty-nine pounds, for which satisfaccon hath often been required." &c. They were then to demand payment of all charges due the English, and as also categorical answers to a certain list of questions.

The party sent out by Massachusetts in pursuance of these orders was commanded by Major Atherton. On meeting with Pessacus, and stating the purposes of his visit, some altercation ensued. As the Narraghansett warriors meanwhile appeared to be collecting around him, Atherton marched directly to the door of his Wigwam, posted a guard there, entered himself with his pistol in hand, seized Pessacus by his hair, and drawing him out from among his attendants, declared he would despatch him instantly on perceiving the least attempt for his rescue. This bold stroke made such an impression, that all arrearages were paid on the spot. Atherton then visited Ninigret, and having stated the accusations, suspicions and threats of the commissioners—though without obtaining any farther satisfaction—returned home. [FN]

[FN] Trumbull's expression is—"Having in this spirited manner Accomplished his business, he returned in safety." History of Conn. Vol. I.

In 1653, the commissioners sent messengers to demand of Ninigret, Pessacus and Mexham, answers to the following questions. They are given in full, as a curious illustration both of the policy of the former and the character of the latter. The object and occasion are sufficiently manifest on the face of them.

"1. Whether the Duch Governor hath engaged him [Ninigret] and others to healp them to fight against the English, and how many?

"2. Whether the Duch Governor did not attempt such a Conspiracy?

"3. Whether hee [Ninigret] hath not received of the Duch Governor guns powder bullets and swords or any ammunition to that end; and how much or many of the said provision for warr?

"4. What other sachems or Indians to his Knowlidg that are so engaged?

"5. Whether himselfe or the Rest are Resolved according to theire engagement to fight against the English?

"6. If hee bee Resolved of his way what he thinks the English will do?

"7. Whether it bee not safest for him and his men to be true to the English?

"8. Whether the Duch hath engaged to healp him and the Rest of the Indians against the English?

"9. If hee haue engaged against us to aske vpon what grounds and what wrong wee haue donn him?

"10. Whether hee thinks it meet to com or send his messengers to give satisfaction concerning these queries?

"11. Whether hee hath hiered the Mohakes to healp him against us?"

The answer of Mexham, as reported by the messengers, to the first question, was thus. "I speak vnfeignedly from my hart without Dessimulation that I know of noe such plott that is intended or ploted by the Duch Governour against the English my frinds. Though I bee poor it is not goods guns powder nor shott that shall draw mee to such a plott." Pessacus said, "I am very thankfull to these two men that came from the Massachusetts and to you Thomas and to you Poll and to you Mr. Smith that are come soe fare as from the Bay to bring vs this message, and to enforme vs of these things wee knew not of before."

To the second, Mexham answered "No." Pessacus said, "that for the Governor of the Duch, wee are loth to Inuent any fakehood of him, though we bee far off from him, to please the English or any other that bring these Reports. The Duch Governor did never propound such a thing." He also represented the evident folly of his leagueing with a remote people against his nearest neighbors. He gave a negative to the fifth question. The sixth he supposed to be already answered. To the seventh, he said, "wee desire to keeps it [peace] feirmly to our dieing day as neare as we can." The eighth and ninth, Mexham and Pessacus thought they had answered already. As to the tenth, they replied, that Pessacus was too old [FN] to "trauell two daies together, but they would send some men into the Massachusetts to speak with [tell] the Sachems that they had sent to Mr. Smith and Voll his man to speake to Mr. Browne that they loved the English sachems and all English in the Bay." The charge implied in the last query they absolutely denied.

[FN] Probably meant for too ill.

The answers of Ninigret, which were given separately, are the more worthy of notice that he was known to have visited New York during the previous winter, and had been accused by various Indians, including some of the Mohegans, of having formed an alliance with the Dutch against the English. He utterly disclaimed such conduct. "But," he added, "whiles I was there att the Indian Wigwames there cam som Indians that told mee there was a ship com in from Holland, which did report the English and Duch were fighting together in theire owne countrey, and theire were severall other shippes cominge with amunition to fight against the English heer, and that there would bee a great blow given to them, but this (said he,) I had from the Indians, and I cannot tell how true it is." Next, four queries were answered in the negative. As to the sixth, "What shall I answare these things over and over again? What doe the English thinke that I thinke they bee asleep and suffer mee to do them wronge? Doe we not know they are not a sleepy people? The English make queries for gunpowder, and shot and swords. Do they thinke wee are mad to sell our liues and the liues of all our wiues and children and all our kindred, and to haue our countrey destroyed for a few guns powder shott and swords? What will they doe vs good when wee are dead?" The eighth, ninth, and eleventh, were denied. To the seventh he replied, that he knew no reason for breaking his league with his old friends the English; and why should he ally himself to a few Dutchmen, so far off when he lived next door to them? The answer to the tenth would puzzle the most mystifying politician of modern times. "It being indifferently spoken whether hee may goe or send yet bee knowing nothing by himselfe wherein hee hath wronged the English but that hee may goe yet being Indifferently spoken hee would send to speak with the English." [FN]

[FN] We copy punctuatim, from the Records of the United Colonies, as preserved in Hazard's Collections. Perhaps the Interpreter was to blame for this problematical sentence.

Letters having been also sent to the sachems from the commissioners, Pessacus and Mexham sent word in return, that they wished for a good understanding, and hoped it might be preserved. They requested, furthermore, that the English would make known the names of their accusers, and the other sources of their information respecting their alleged league with the Dutch. Ninigret replied as follows:

"You are kindly welcom to vs and I kindly thanke the Sachems [magistrates] of the Massachusetts that they would Nominate my Name amongst the other to require my answare to the propositions; had any of the other Sachems been att the Duch I should have feared theire folly might have donn some hurt one way or other, but they have not been there. I am the Man that haue bene there myselfe, therefore I must answare for what I haue donn. I doe utterley deney and protest against any such acteings doun by mee or to my knowlidge att or with the Duch. What is the story of these great Rumers that I hear att Pocatocke, that I should bee cut off and that the English had a quarrell against mee. I know of noe such cause att all for my parte. Is it because I went thither to take Phisicke for my healthe? Or what is the cause I found noe such entertainment from the Duch Governour, when I was there to giue mee any Incorragement to sturr mee up to such a league against the English my friends. It was winter-time, and I stood a great parte of a day knocking at the Governor's dore, and he would neither open it nor suffer others open it to lett mee in. I was not wont to find such carriage from the English my frinds." The messenger promised to be sent by Pessacus was sent accordingly. The English, examined him very closely, but ascertained nothing new.


Sequel of the lives of Ninigret and Pessacus, from 1653—Various accusations, deputations, and hostile movements between them and the English—Controversy between Ninigret and Harmon Garrett—Application for justice in 1675—Conduct of Ninigret in Philip's War—Consequences of it—His death—Death of Pessacus—Some of the charges against the former considered—His hostility to Uncas, and the Long Islanders, and "League with the Dutch"—Remarks on his character.

In September, 1653, new complaints were made against the Narraghansett and Niantick Sachems. It was reported to the commissioners, that they had attacked the Long Island Indians, and slain two Sachems and thirty others. This was deemed a case requiring their interference; and messengers were forthwith despatched as usual, to demand explanation and satisfaction, on penalty that the commissioners would otherwise "proceed as they should find cause." These men executed their errand, and returned on the 19th of the month. According to their own account, they were not very graciously received, as indeed it was hardly to be expected they should be.

They declared upon oath that, on entering the Niantick country, they saw about forty or fifty Indians, all in arms, who came up to them as they rode by; and the leader having a gun in his hand, "did, in the presence of Thomas Staunton Serjeant Waite and Vallentyne Whitman, put his hand back as if hee would have cocked it; Richard Waite said this man will shoote; whervpon the English men faced about, Rode vp to the said Indians, asked what they intended to doe and bedd them goe before, which some of them did but others would not; and particularly the said Captaine Refused. The English rode on in the way towards Ninigrett, but coming vp into the Woods, the former company of Indians first fell on shouting in a triumphing way. After the English Messengers came to a greater company of Indians, all armed, whoe comaund them to stand to alight and to tye there horses to a tree showed them, which the Messengers refused to doe. The Indians then strove to becompase the English, which they would not suffer, but being Informed that Ninnigrett would come thither they stayed awhile, but Ninnigrett not coming the English tould the Indians that if they might neither passe nor Ninnigrett come then they would return home. The Indians answared hee would com presently, but hee not coming the English rode forward and mett Ninnigrett; the Indians running on both sides hollowing, the English Messengers made a stand, when they mett Ninnigrett haveing many armed men with him and him selfe a pistoll in his hand. Ninnigrett sat doune and desired them to alight which they did. The Indians then surrounded them and som of them charged their guns with powder and bullets and som primed their guns. The English in the meen time delivering their message to Ninnigrett his men were so Tumultus in speaking especially one whoe they said was a Mohauke they were much desturbed." [FN]

[FN] This Valentyne is apparently the same whom Ninigret familiarly called "Voll," and another chief, "Poll."

The messengers were afterwards informed by one of Ninigret's chief men, "that the aforementioned Mohauke came to see what news, for they heard that English were coming to warr against the Narraghansetts, which if true the Mohaukes take what is doun against the Narraghansetts as doun against themselues." After leaving Ninigret, two Indians, with bows and arrows in their hands, came running out of the woods, and roughly demanded of Staunton whither he was going, when he was coming back, and which way he should come.—Upon this report, the commissioners decided to make war at once, with the exception of Mr. Bradstreet alone, (the member from Massachusetts,) who protested against such a proceeding, and thereby prevented it.

In 1654, the commissioners were informed, that Ninigret was not only prosecuting hostilities against the Long-Island Indians as before, but had hired the Mohawks, Pocomtocks and Wampanoags to assist him. They immediately sent messengers demanding his appearance at Hartford, and the payment of the tribute so long due, as they alleged, for the Pequots under his dominion. One article in the messenger's instructions was expressed thus. "That vnlesse hee either com himselfe forthwithe to Hartford or give som satisfying securitie to the commissioners for the true and constant paiment of the said Tribute the commissioners shall thinke of some course forthwithe to despose of the said Pequots some other way." On the 18th of September, the following report was made of the result of the interview.

"1. When Ninigret was told, that the commissioners had perused the letter he had sent to the governor of Massachusetts [FN] concerning the suspicions he had of Uncas, he answered, that he knew nothing of such letter, and expressed great wonder at its being charged upon him."

[FN] We see no previous mention of this letter. It must have been one of many cases where the commissioners were deceived by false testimony.

"Again, as to the breach of covenant alleged against him, he desired to know who could say that he had any Pequots under him. 2. Mr. Eaton and Mr. Hopkins, being both at New Haven, had told him that he was to pay for the Pequots only ten years. And 3. Those ten years had elapsed three years before." [FN]

[FN] Such an agreement was made in 1651, between the commissioners, Uncas, and some of Ninigret's men. The ten years were to commence with 1650; but, probably, Ninigret was either uninformed or misinformed respecting this stipulation. Frequently, treaties were not understood even by those who subscribed them.

"3. In respect to the Long-Islanders he answered in the following remarkable manner: Wherefore should he acquaint the commissioners therewith when the long-islanders had slayne a sachem's son and sixty other of his men; and therefore he will not make peace with the long-islanders, but doth desire the English would lett him alone, and doth desire that the commissioners would not Request him to goe to hartford; for hee had doun noe hurt what should he doe there; hee had bene many times in the Bay, and when was Uncas there; Jonathan [the messenger] asked him whether he would send two or three of is men that might act in his Rome and steed if hee would not goe him selfe hee answared what should hee or his men doe att hartford; Adding if youer Governor's sonne were slayne and seuerall other men would [you] aske counsell of another Nation how and when to Right yourselves; and againe said hee would not goe nor send to Hartford.

"4. Concerning the vpland Indians his answsre was they are my frinds and came to healp mee against the long-islanders which had killed seuerall of my men; wherefore should I acquaint the commissioners with it; I doe but Right my owne quarell which the long-islanders began with mee."

This spirited reply, alone sufficient to immortalize Ninigret, brought on open war. A body of troops was raised in the three united colonies, and sent into the Niantick country, under Major Willard of Massachusetts, with orders to demand of Ninigret the Pequots subject to his control, the tribute already due from them, and also a cessation of hostilities against the Indians of Long Island. On refusal to comply with these terms, they were to reduce him to submission and tribute by force, and take hostages for security. The place of general rendezvous was appointed at Stanton's house in the Narraghansett country. On arriving there, Major Willard found that Ninigret had fled into a swamp ten or fifteen miles distant from the army leaving his country, corn, and wigwams, at the invader's mercy. Messengers were sent to him, inviting him to a conference, and pledging the safety of his person. He returned answer that aggressions had already been made upon his territory and property, and he did not think it safe for him to visit the Major. He wished to know, too, what had occasioned the present invasion. What had he done to the English, that they beset him in this manner?—Whatever the difficulty was, he was ready to settle it by messengers, but not in person.

A day or two afterwards, as he was still in close quarters, six new messengers were sent to him, two of whom, only, after much debate with his guards and scouts, were admitted to his own presence. They began with demanding the Pequots; to which he replied, that most of that people had left him already—nearly one hundred had deserted to the English army—; and the few that remained were hunting and straggling up and down the country. He however set his mark to the following agreement, dated Oct. 18, 1654.

"Wheras the commissioners of the vnited collonies demaund by theire Messengers that I deliuer vp to the English all the captiue Pequotes in my countrey I heerby ingage myselfe to surrender the said Pequotes within seuen daies to Mr. Winthrope or Captain Mason Witnesse my hand.

"Witnesse Thomas Stanton and Vallentine Whitman Interpretors Witnesse alsoe Thomas Bligh."

The messengers next demanded the tribute due for the Pequots. He replied, that he never engaged to pay it. "Why then," said they, "did you pay it, or part of it, at New Haven?" "Because," he readily answered, "I feared they would be taken from me if I did not, and therefore made a gratuity out of my own wampum to please you." Being now forbidden in the commissioners' name, to pursue hostilities against the Indians of Long-Island, he stood silent for some time, and then asked if it was right that his men—such men—should lose their lives and their blood, and not be revenged. The English observed, that he should have offered his complaints to the commissioners; but to this he made no reply; nor yet to the unceremonious if not uncivil declaration of the messengers, that in case he gave any farther trouble to any of the friends of the English, they should forthwith take the liberty to set his head upon a pole. The conference ended with their requesting him to pay the expenses of the expedition, which he refused to do; "Hee was not the cause of it, but longe-Island Indians killed him a man att Connecticott." Thus the affair ended. The commander was censured by the commissioners, for neglecting a good opportunity of humbling a troublesome enemy, but no farther strictures ensued. [FN] They contented themselves with stationing an armed vessel in the road between Neanticut and Long-Island, with orders to prevent hostile movements on the part of Ninigret, and with encouraging his Indian adversaries by promises of English assistance. The next year, Ninigret continuing his attacks, they thought themselves under obligation to furnish it.

[FN] A Mss. private letter of Major Willard is extant, (in the possession of Mr. Shattuck, author of a very valuable History of Concord, which we hope may be soon published,) in which, alluding to this expedition, he rather mysteriously speaks of his "hands being tied" Whether this alludes to his general instructions, or to something more secret, every reader will judge for himself.

From this time forward, there is little of interest in the life either of Pessacus or Ninigret. We hear of them occasionally, but not much farther than is sufficient to indicate their existence. Whether they gave less reason to be complained of than before, or whether the English at length grew weary of sending messages to them, cannot be ascertained; but there is probably some truth in both suppositions.

One of the last deputations to Ninigret, in 1656, was occasioned by complaints which he made to the English of grievances received from the Long-Islanders. He failed to prove them as alleged, and the commissioners took that occasion to remind him of his own duties and defaults, in their wonted manner. The lesson was repeated in 1657, some affrays and assaults having meanwhile occurred, which threatened to bring on more serious troubles between the Indian tribes. The most remarkable circumstance connected with the deputation of this season, is the dissent of the commissioners of Massachusetts, who frequently had occasion to differ with their associates in regard to intercourse with the Indians. The terms of this opinion, expressed in the records, are worthy of notice, as throwing a casual light on the charges brought against Ninigret.

"There hauing bine," say they, "many messengers to this purpose formerly sent from the commissioners to the Indian Sachems, but seldom obserued by them, which now to Renew againe when many complaints have bine made against Vncus by seuerall sachems and other Indians of his proud Insolent and prouocking speeches and Trecherous actions, and with much probabilitie of truth, besides his hostile attempts at Potunck &c.—seems vnseasonable; and can in Reason have no other attendance in conclusion than to Render vs lo and contemptable in the eyes of the Indians, or engage vs to vindicate our honer in a dangerouse and vnecessarie warr vpon Indian quarrells, the grounds whereof wee can hardly euer satisfactoryly understand, &c." There is manifestly great truth, as well as some severity, in this declaration. We may hereafter allude again to what is said respecting Uncas.

We now refer to the instructions of messengers sent two years after the embassy last named, merely to illustrate the style of diplomacy which still continued to be used. They were directed "to Repaire to Ninnigrett, Pessicus, Woqnocanoote, and the Rest of the Narraghansett Sachems, and distinctly and clearly deliuer to them the following message." One article of complaint runs thus:

"The comissioners doe require ninety-five fathom of Wampam ordered by them to bee payed the last yeare for the Insolencyes committed att mistress Brewster's feet to her great affrightment and stealing corne &c. and other affronts."

Again: "The comissioners doe charge Ninnigrett with breach of couenant and high neglect of theire order sent them by Major Willard six yeares since not to Inuade the longe Iland Indians; and doe account this surprising the longe-Iland Indians att Gull Iland and murthering of them to be an insolent carriage to the English and a barbarous and inhumaine acte; therefore the comissioners haue proeuided for his entertainment at longe-Iland if hee shall dare further to attempt vpon them before hee hath satisfied the comissioners of the justnes of his quarrell, ordering the English there to assist the Indians and driue him from thence." It will be recollected, that Ninigret had always disclaimed the right of the English to interfere in this contest with his neighbors, though he explained to them, so far as to justify himself on the ground of having been first aggrieved and attacked by his enemy. More recently he had chosen—probably for the sake of keeping peace with the English—to make complaints to them; but because he had failed to prove them (—and no doubt they were mostly incapable of being proved, in their very nature—) the commissioners had taken no other notice of his suit than to send Thomas Stanton and others to reprimand him at once for his present insolence and his old sins.

Still, he was not utterly discouraged, for he did not invariably fail of having justice done him. In 1662, the commissioners being informed of his intention to sell a certain tract of land in his actual possession, which was nevertheless claimed by one Harmon Garrett, they sent to him—not a message of threats by Thomas Stanton—but "a writing vnder theire hands sertifying the said Harmon Garrett's claime, which being made knowne to Ninnigrett, the said Ninnigrett by his Messengers to the comissioners att theire last meeting att Plymouth made claime to the said land, and Refered the Determination therof to the next meeting of the court att Boston, desireing that notice might bee given to the said harmon Garrett att the said Meeting of the comissioners to apperr."

This honorable proposition was adopted. Garrett made his appearance, and Ninigret sent his attorney to meet him at Boston. Garrett stated, that his father was a great sachem, and was possessed of the lands in controversy, and that Ninigret was the said Sachem's younger brother. On the other side, Cornman in behalf of Ninigret, showed that his master was possessed of said lands according to the Indian custom, being allowed to be the chief sachem, and having married the sister of Harmon Garrett; and that said Harmon was not of the whole [Niantick] blood, because his mother was a stranger. This evidence was furnished orally by divers Narraghansett and Pequot Indians, as also by Uncas and others in writing. The commissioners decided, that it was "not meet to prejudice the title of Ninnigrett, being in posession by any acte of theires, and that the writing giuen vnder theire hand att New-hauen conserning harmon Garrett bee not vnderstood nor made vse of to prejudice Ninnigrett's title and posession, but aduise all the English to forbeare to disturbe Ninnirett." [FN]

[FN] Records of the Colonies. Hazard, Vol. II.

The good effect of this decision is to be seen in the almost total silence of history in regard to Ninigret for the next twelve or thirteen years, when we find him coming forward, confidently and amicably, in a similar case. The particulars may be best gathered from a letter written by Mr. John Easton, (probably a magistrate living near the sachem,) to the Governor of Plymouth Colony. It runs thus:

"Ninigret, one of the two chief sachems of the Narraghansetts in our colony, importuned me thus to write to you, that, as he saith, it is the Indian custom or law, that when any sachem's men are driven and cast ashore, or their goods, upon any other sachem's Jurisdiction, or taken up by any other sachem's men, that the goods are to be restored to the sachem whose men they were; and this spring, twelve Indians, at a time, were drowned in the sea, coming from an Island, and some of their goods drove up in your jurisdiction at Dartmouth; and he desireth you to inform those Indians [at Dartmouth] that they should restore to him all the goods of those drowned that they have got." [FN]

[FN] Sixth volume of the Mass. His. Col. 1st series.

This letter was written in March, 1675, just on the eve of the great war of King Philip. The friendly disposition of Ninigret was now put to the test. The Nipmucks, Nashaways, Pocontocks, the Hadley and Springfield Indians, the Pokanokets of Philip, the tribes of Maine, and still nearer home the Narraghansetts, were involved in the common controversy of the times. But Ninigret remained faithful to the English; and though he took no personal part in the war, some of his warriors distinguished themselves more than once by their zealous cooperation with their allies. Ninigret was one of the signers of the treaty of July, wherein the Narraghansetts bound themselves to remain neutral; and in October his counsellor, Cornman, signed a confirmation of the same instrument, in his name, at Boston, with an additional agreement to surrender up such Pokanoket refugees as might be found in his territories. Several of the Narraghansett sachems did the same, but Ninigret, alone, seems to have maintained his fidelity. At all events, he alone had the credit of it, and the consequent benefit. The Narraghansetts were completely subdued, and their country overrun and subjected. The tribe and territory of Ninigret were spared; and several of their descendants were living on the premises so late as 1738, when few, if any, of the Narraghansett blood could be found within the limits of Rhode Island. [FN]

[FN] Callender's Century Discourse.

The precise time of the death of Ninigret is not recorded. It is not probable that he lived long after Philip's war, for two good reasons. He is rarely if at all mentioned, subsequently; and he must have been already quite advanced in age. It was now over forty years since that Pequot war, at the date of which he is mentioned by Prince. Pessacus must have died previous to Phillip's war. We do not find his name in the Colonial Records after 1658, though it would certainly have been among the signatures to the treaty last mentioned, had he been living at the date of its execution. The English regarded him as the leading man of his tribe.

The three principal complaints made against Ninigret, and the occasion of the ill-treatment he received from the English, were his hostility to Uncas, his intercourse with the Dutch, and the wars which he waged with the Long Islanders. Respecting the latter, enough has already been said. Enough appears in the protest of the Massachusetts commissioners, alone, to show that the English had but a poor reason for interfering as they did. They barely alleged that these Indians were their friends; but nothing is more obvious than that such reasoning, however satisfactory to themselves, could only render them, in the words of the protest, "low and contemptible in the eyes of the Indians."

"There being noe agreement produced or proved,"—said Mr. Bradstreet, of Massachusetts, in 1653—"whereby the collenies are obliged to protect the Long Island Indians against Ninnegrett or others, and so noe Reason to engage them in theire quarrells the grounds whereof they cannot well vnderstand: I therefore see not sufficient light to this vote."

It is obvious that even an "obligation," by agreement, to protect those Indians, might not imply a right to do so as regarded other parties—but granting such a right as consequent upon sufficient provocation, it still remains to prove upon which party lay the blame of the first attack. Ninigret always asserted that he acted in self-defence, and no doubt such was his real opinion. The English only reprimanded him upon old scores, when he laid his grievances before them; and then sent an armed vessel and a body of troops to fight for his enemies. The Long Islanders told a different story; but this was at best but one Indian testimony against another; and how much theirs in particular could be relied upon, appears from the fact, that within a year or two after this same affair, they themselves committed the most flagrant depredations upon the English. Trumbull says, that in 1657, "after all the trouble and expense which the English had been at for their defence, they became tumultuous, and did great damage to the inhabitants of Southampton."

To conclude this discussion, we introduce some passages of a manuscript letter from Roger Williams to the government of one of the colonies, which has already been cited. It bears date of Oct. 5, 1654, and was written to prevent war. [FN]

[FN] Col. Rec. of R.I.

"The Cause and Roote of all ye present mischief is ye Pride of 2 Barbarians, Ascassassôtick, ye Long Island Sachim, and Nenekunat, of the Narigansett. The former is proud and foolish. The latter is proud and fierce. I have not seene him these many years, yet from their sober men I hear he pleads,

"First, yt Ascassassôtick, a very Inferior Sachim (bearing himself upon ye English) hath slain 3 or 4 of his people and since yt sent him challenges and darings to fight and mend himself.

"2dly. He, Nenekunat, consulted by Solemn messengers with the chiefe of the English Governors, Major Endicott then Govr of ye Massachusetts, who sent him an Implicite consent to right himselfe.

"3. After he had taken revenge, upon ye Long Islanders and brought away about 14 Captives, yet he restored them all again upon ye mediation and desire of ye English.

"4. After this peace made, the Long Islanders pretending to visit Nenekunat at Block Island, slaughtered of his Narigansetts neere 30 persons at midnight, 2 of them of great note, especially Wepiteammock's sonn, to whom Nenekunat was uncle."

Mr. Williams afterwards says;

"1. I know it is said ye Long Islanders are subjects; But I have heard this greatly questioned, and indeed I question whether any Indians in this Country, remayning Barbarous and Pagan, may with truth or honor be cald ye English subjects.

"2. But graunt them subjects, what capacitie hath their late massacre of ye Narigansetts (with whom they had made peace) without ye English consent, though still under ye English name, put them into?"

As to a league between Ninigret and "the Duch Governor," his own reply to the charge has been given. It will furnish some amusement, at least, to review parts of the evidence upon which it was founded. Ninigret and Pessacus sent an Indian named Awashaw to the commissioners, in pursuance of their agreement to give what satisfaction they could in regard to this subject; "whoe being demanded why Ninigret went to the Manhatoes the last winter, answared that Ninigret told him that hee went thether to bee cured of his disease, hearing there was a Frenchman there that could cure him; that Mr. Iohn Winthorpe knew of his going; that he carried thirty fathom of wampam, ten whereof he gave the Doctor and fifteen to the governor; and the governor gave him in Lieue thereof sleived coates but not one gun, but the Indians there gave Ninigrett two guns." This was in 1653.

Not long before, it seems that Uncas—the last man whose evidence should have been noticed at all—had called on Governor Haynes at Hartford, and informed him of Ninigret's visit to the Dutch; as also that he had made a league with them, bought up a large quantity of ammunition, and negotiated with the New York Indians for a war against Uncas and the English. Furthermore, it was said that Ninigret had sent to a neighboring Sachem, to procure a man skillful in poisoning, and had promised him one hundred fathoms of Wampum in return. The Wampum was sent by a canoe, which Uncas intercepted, with seven Indians aboard, one of whom his men had killed, (according to his own story,) and two others had confessed Ninigret's whole plot. We are inclined to hold, that this testimony should be received only so far as it goes against Uncas himself, showing that he took the liberty, on the strength of his suspicion alone, to assault a canoe belonging to Ninigret, and to murder one of his subjects. When these accusations were stated by the commissioners to Awashaw, the messenger just mentioned, and he was particularly questioned who and what was in the canoe, he replied, "that in the canoe that was sent back which was taken by Vcus his men, hee sent in it sixty fathom of wampam to pay for the two guns which he had of the Indians whiles hee was att the Monhatoes, and the Remainder of the Phissicke he had there." Being asked what corn Ninigret sent, to the Dutch in the Vessel taken by the English [another aggression it would seem,] he said, "that hee Intended not to send any corne to the Duch Governor, but what come was aboard the Duch vessel was for the hier of the vessel that brought him home," It appears, he had returned by water, while some of his men had walked; and he paid for his passage in corn.

Awashaw on this occasion had an Indian in company with him, named Newcom Matuxes. The means resorted to for obtaining proof of the accusation, are farther illustrated by the information gravely given us in the Records, that this fellow "spake with one Iohn lightfoot of Boston, an Englishman, whoe as Lightfoot saith, told him in Duch that the Duchmen would cutt off the English on Long-island. Newcom also confesseth that Ninnigrett said that hee heard that some shipps were to come from holland to the Monhatoes to cutt off the English; and that when the said Newcom lived att Southhold an Indian tould him that the Duch would come against the English and cutt them of; but they would saue the weemen and children and guns for themselves; But Captaine Simkins and the said Lightfoot doe both affeirme that the said Newcome tould them that the Duch men tould him as before, tho' he now puts it of and saith that an Indian tould him. Further hee the said Newcom tould captaine Simkins (as hee confidently afeirmeth) that if he would goe to serue the Duch the Duch would giue him an hundred pounds a yeare." It matters but little, we conceive, whether Captain Simkins recollected correctly or not, his reminiscences amounting to nothing in any case. Ninigret had himself expounded the transaction, much more completely than all these witnesses together.

But the examination was still pursued, "Thomas Stanton [Interpreter] being there alsoe to charge it vpon him. The said Newcom not being able to cleare himselfe from the guilt of the charge, the comissioners then tould Awashaw that had the said Newcom not bine a Messenger sent by Ninnigrett hee should not have escaped without some punishment, and therfore they willed Awashaw to tell Ninnigrett hee would doe well to send the said Newcom againe to vs, the better to cleare himselfe from all suspition." This manœuvre has a little too much the air of a pretext for getting a farther opportunity to cross-examine and confuse poor Newcom; he had thus far been able to make out a respectably clear statement.

Before leaving town, Awashaw sent a request to the commissioners for another interview; which being granted, he inquired who had informed them of these matters against Ninigret. They mentioned in reply "severall Indians, and more particularly the Monheage Indian, and the Narraghansett taken by Vncus his men." Awashaw then requested restitution of the wampum taken by these men. The commissioners only said, that they had not yet ascertained the truth of that affair; but when they had thought of it more, he should know their decision.

The following amusing document is a fair specimen of the testimony furnished against Ninigret by other Indians. It is the deposition—taken in May, 1653—of one Adam, of whom nothing further is known. After mentioning what the Dutch Governor had done among the Indians, which is not to our purpose,

"Further hee saith that Ninnegrett the Fiscall [Treasurer] and the Duch Governor were vp two daies in a close Roome with other Sagamores; and there was noe speaking with any of them except when they came for a cole or fier or the like and much sewam [Wampum] was seen at that time in Ninnegret's hand and he carried none away with him; Further hee saith that Ronessocke a Sagamore on longe Island tould the said Addam that the Duch Governor bid him fly for his life; for that the plott was now descovered; and besides hee sends word dayly that they had as good appear now for when hee is cutt of they English will cut them all of.

"This was testifyed aboard Tuson near the white stone

"before John Leverett
William Davis."

Other evidence, considerably relied upon, was an Indian squaw's relation to a person in Wethersfield, (Conn.)—being an assertion, in general terms, that the Dutch and the Indians were leagued against the English. In fine, the commissioners say, "wee heare that some of the Duch att or about the Monhatoes tell the English they shall shortly have an East India breakfast, in which it is conceived they Refer to that horrid Treachervs and crewill plott and execution att Amboina. . . . And not to multiply Indian Testimonies which from all parts of the countrey presse vpon the colonies—[we quote the only definite statement we can find]—nine Indian Sagamores whoe liue about the Monhatoes did voullentarily without any Motion or Reward from the English send theire Messengers to Stanford declaring and afeirming that the Duch had solissited them by promising them guns pouder swords weapons war-coates and coates to cutt of the English" &c. It is of no consequence, so far as regards Ninigret, whether these Sagamores conspired to tell a falsehood or to tell the truth. Nor do we intend to enter at length into this ancient controversy between the colonies and the Dutch. It is sufficient to observe, that the charges of the former were officially and distinctly denied by the latter. Governor Stuyvesant, in a letter to the commissioners dated May 26, 1658, and written by the order of the Counsel of New-Netherlands, says—

"As touching what happened in the Amboyna busines in the East Indies is unknown vnto vs, neither hath there been any of vs there, therefore wee sease to answare to the same or to trouble yourselues or vs therein.

"It is in parte as youer Worships conclude that about January there came a strange Indian from the North called Ninnigrett, Commaunder of the Narraghansetts. But hee came hither with a passe from Mr. John Winthrope vpon which passe as wee remember the occasion of his coming was expressed viz: to be cured and healed," &c. On the whole, the reader of our times, on perusing these records, can hardly go farther with the commissioners than to extenuate their harshness towards Ninigret, like their treatment of Miantonomo, on the score of their exaggerated fears.

Upon the quarrel with Uncas, we shall waste no words. Ninigret and Pessacus no doubt considered the circumstances of Miantonomo's case a sufficient cause for war upon the English. But this they waived; and even engaged, at their instance, to forbear hostilities against Uncas for some months, expressing at the same time a strong desire to be upon friendly terms with the English, if they could be left to pursue their own business in their own way. It is neither necessary nor possible to determine upon which side the provocation began between these sachems and Uncas. It has been seen, that the latter took many liberties for which the English never called him to account, as well as some for which they did; but of still more they must necessarily have remained in ignorance. The truth seems to be most plainly set forth by Hutchinson, who says, it would appear to have been good policy not to interpose in this Indian quarrel; but the English were afraid of the success of the Narraghansetts, and as they had generally espoused the cause of the Mohegans, it was feared, that as soon as they were subdued, if not in the course of the war, the Narraghansetts and their allies would fall upon the plantations of the English, against whom they were then in a peculiar manner enraged for the death of Miantonomo. The same historian acknowledges, that it was with great reluctance the Narraghansetts submitted to the hard terms of the treaty of 1645, and only in consequence of the armed force which had already invaded their country. They must have considered the tribute a most insulting, forcible imposition.

Waiving a statement of the charges which Ninigret made, or might have made, on the other hand, against the English, we shall only observe in conclusion that whatever may be thought of his political course, there are points in his personal character not unworthy of esteem and even of admiration. It was noble in him, according to the principles of a warrior and king, to revenge, as far as he was able, the cool-blooded massacre of his relative and predecessor. That purpose he pursued with undaunted courage and indefatigable energy. He would gladly have avoided a contest with the English; but he would not sacrifice his honor either to his friendship or his interest. The spirit with which he repulsed their attempts to interfere in his contest with the Long-Islanders, indicated a soul of the same stamp. His reasoning upon that occasion—assuming the truth of his premises, which we have no means either of proving or falsifying—appears to us wholly unanswerable.


The Pequot tribe—Their first chief-sachem known to the English, Pekoath—succeeded by Sassacus—An embassy sent to Boston in 1631—Residence and strong-holds of Sassacus—His earliest intercourse with the English—Murder of Captain Stone—Justification of it by Sassacus—He proposes a treaty of peace in 1684—Sends deputies to Boston twice—Treaty concluded—Anecdotes—His wars with the Narraghansetts—Fresh controversy with the English—They send an armed party to demand damages—Conduct of the party, and consequences of it—War with the Pequots in 1636—Political movements of Sassacus—English expedition against him in 1637—He is defeated—Driven from his country—Killed by the Mohawks—The English policy in his case briefly considered.

The Pequots, or Pequods, inhabited that part of the southern coast of New England, which is now comprehended within the limits of Connecticut. They are said to have been originally an inland tribe, and to have gained possession by mere force of arms of the fine territory which they occupied at the date of their first acquaintance with the English. They were in the meridian of their glory and power about forty years previous to that period, and were then the most considerable tribe in New England, mastering as many as four thousand bowmen. Their principal settlements were now about New London and Groton; the former of which was their chief harbor, and called by their own name. The Nipmuck Indians, on their north, were still tributary to them. So also were a part of the Long Islanders, and most of the Indians on the Connecticut river. The Narraghansetts alone of the neighboring tribes had been able to oppose them with success, and against that nation they waged an implacable and almost perpetual war.

The first great sachem of the Pequots known to the English was Pekoath, from whom they probably derived the national name. He appears to have been a great warrior. He was going on conquering and to conquer, when the earliest settlements of the English were made upon the Massachusetts coast. Tribe after tribe retreated before him as he advanced, till his terrible myrmidons were at length in a situation to locate themselves at their ease on the best soil, and beneath the most genial skies, of New England.

As early as 1631, Waghinacut, a sachem of one of the expelled or subject tribes just mentioned, travelled across the wilderness to Boston; and attended by a Massachusetts Sagamore, and one Jack Straw (an Indian who had formerly lived with Sir Walter Raleigh in England,) made application for the alliance or assistance of the Massachusetts government against Pekoath. He gave a glowing description of his native land; and promised, if some of the English would go there and settle, that he would supply them with corn, and pay them eighty beaver-skins yearly. This proposition being rejected, he desired that at least two men might be permitted to accompany him, with the view of examining the country. He showed great anxiety to effect that object, but to no purpose; the governor suspected some stratagem, and politely dismissed his visiter with the compliment of a good dinner at his own table. [FN]

[FN] Winthrop's Journal. Waghinacut persevered, however, and succeeded. He went to Plymouth, and Governor Winslow sent out a party, at his suggestion, who are understood to have been the first discoverers of Connecticut river and the adjacent parts.

The successor of Pekoath, and the last as well as first great sachem of his tribe known personally to the whites, was Sassacus, a warrior of high renown, who, when the English commenced their settlements in Connecticut, soon after the transaction last mentioned, had no fewer than twenty-six sachems or war-captains under his dominion, and could at that time muster, at the smallest calculation, seven hundred bowmen. The site of his principal fortress and residence, was on a most beautiful eminence in the town of Groton, commanding one of the best prospects of the Sound and the adjacent country which can be found upon the coast. Another strong-hold was a little farther eastward, near Mystic river; and this also was finely situated upon a verdant swell of land, gradually descending towards the south and southeast.

Sassacus, and his warlike Pequots, are almost the only American chieftain and tribe who, in the light of history, seem to have been from the outset disposed to inveterate hostility against all foreigners. They were, as Trumbull observes, men of great and independent spirits; and had conquered and governed the nations around them without control. They viewed the English especially, as not only strangers but mere intruders, without right or pretence of right to the country, who had nevertheless taken the liberty to make settlements and build forts in their very neighborhood, without asking their consent—and even to restore the Indian kings whom they had subjected, to their former lands and authority. Under these circumstances, it is no matter of wonder, that the whites had scarcely located themselves within the bounds of Connecticut, when "that great, spirited and warlike nation, the Pequots, began to murder and plunder them, and to wound and kill their cattle." [FN]

[FN] Trumbull.

And yet—setting aside the general offence committed, or at least by Sassacus understood to be committed, in the act of making settlements without leave—it does not clearly appear whether the first particular provocation was given on the one side or the other. It is only known, that in the summer of 1633, one Captain Stone, on a voyage from Maine to Virginia put into the mouth of the Connecticut river, and was there murdered by the natives, with all his crew. Three of them, who went ashore to kill fowl, were first surprised and despatched. A sachem, with some of his men, then came aboard, and staid with Captain Stone in his cabin until the latter fell asleep. The sachem then knocked him on the head; and his crew being at this time in the cook's room, the Indians took such guns as they found charged, and fell upon them. At this moment, all the powder on board the vessel, in the hurry of sudden alarm, was accidentally exploded. The deck was blown up; but most of the Indians escaping, returned, completed the massacre, and burned the wreck.

Such was the English account of the proceeding. The Pequots had a different story to tell. In October, 1634, Sassacus sent a messenger to the Governor of Massachusetts, to desire friendship and alliance. This man brought two bundles of sticks with him, by which he signified how many beaver and otter skins his master would give, besides a large quantity of wampum. He brought also a small present. The Governor received it, and returned a moose coat of the same value; but sent word to Sassacus withal, that a treaty could not be negotiated, unless he would send men proper to negotiate, and enough of them. [FN]

[FN] Winthrop Vol. I.

Accordingly, but a fortnight afterwards, (though the distance to the Pequot country was a five-days journey,) two more messengers arrived at Boston, bringing another present of wampum. They were told, in answer to their renewed application, that the English would willingly come to amicable terms with Sassacus, but that his men having murdered Captain Stone, he must first surrender up the offenders to justice. The messengers readily replied, that the sachem concerned in that transaction had since been killed by the Dutch; and that all the other offenders had died of the small pox, excepting two. These, they presumed Sassacus would surrender if the guilt were proved upon them. They asserted, that Captain Stone, after entering their river, had taken two of their men, and detained them by force, and made them pilot the vessel up the river. The captain and two of his crew then landed, taking the guides on shore, with their hands still bound behind them. The natives there fell upon and killed them. The vessel, with the remainder of the crew on board, was blown up—they knew not how or wherefore.

This—in the words of the journalist who gives the particulars—was related with so much confidence and gravity, that the English were inclined to believe it, especially as they had no means of proving its falsity. A treaty was concluded on the following terms.

1. The English to have as much land in Connecticut as they needed, provided they would make a settlement there; and the Pequots to render them all the assistance they could.

2. The Pequots to give the English four hundred fathoms of wampum, and forty beaver and thirty otter skins; and to surrender the two murderers whenever they should be sent for.

3. The English were to send a vessel immediately, "to trade with them as friends, tho' not to defend them," and the Pequots would give them all their "custom."

The agreement was put in writing, and subscribed by the two messengers with their marks. The chief object proposed by Sassacus in effecting it, appears to have been, not the assistance of the English in his wars, but their commerce in peace. He thought himself competent to fight his own battles; and perhaps would have made no attempt to conciliate even the English, but for having quarrelled with the Dutch of New York, who had hitherto supplied him, and thereby lost their trade as well as incurred their hostility.

Meanwhile, he was at deadly war, as usual, with the Narraghansetts. The very next morning after the treaty was concluded, and while the messengers still tarried in Boston, news came, that a party of two or three hundred of the tribe last named had come as far as Neponsett, (the boundary between Milton and Dorchester) for the purpose of laying wait and killing the Pequots on their way home. The English immediately despatched a small armed force, to request a visit from the Narraghansetts; and two sachems, with about twenty of their men, obeyed the summons. They said they had been hunting round-about the country, and came to visit the Indians at Neponsett, according to old custom. However this might be, they showed themselves quite ready to gratify the English in their requests; and the Pequots were permitted to return home unmolested.

A passage in the Journal of Winthrop, relating to this occasion, illustrates the spirit of Sassacus and his subjects. The Narraghansetts were privately told by the Governor, that if they should happen to make peace with the Pequots, they should receive a goodly proportion of the wampum just sent.—"For the Pequots held it dishonorable to offer them any thing as of themselves, yet were willing we would give it them, and indeed did offer us so much to that end."

Thus matters remained until 1636. During that season one Oldham, an Englishman who had been trading in Connecticut, was murdered by a party of Block-Island Indians; several of whom are said to have taken refuge among the Pequots, and to have been protected by them. On the strength of this fact and this supposition, the Governor of Massachusetts—Mr. Oldham being a Dorchester resident—despatched a force of ninety men, under Captain Endecott, commissioned (as Mr. Winthrop tells us,) to put to death the men of Block-Island, but to spare the women and children, and bring them away, and take possession of the Island. Thence they were to go to the Pequots, "to demand the murderers of Captain Stone and other English, and one thousand fathom of wampum for damages &c. and some of their children as hostages which if they should refuse the were to obtain it by force."

The proceedings which ensued upon the attempt to execute these orders ought not to be overlooked. From Block-Island, the English sailed to Pequot harbor. Here an Indian came out to them in a canoe, and demanded who they were, and what they would have in the country of the Pequots. Endecott replied, that he came from the Governor of Massachusetts, to speak with the Pequot sachems. The Indian answering that Sassacus was gone to Long-Island, he was directed to communicate Endecott's message to another sachem. He returned to the shore, and the English meanwhile made a landing. The messenger came back, and the Indians began to gather about the English. Several hours passed in desultory conference, until Endecott, growing impatient, announced his commission to the crowd which surrounded him, and at the same time sent word to the sachem, that unless he would come to him or satisfy his demands, he should try forcible measures. The messenger, who had been several times running to and fro between the parties, said that the sachem would come forward if the English would lay down their arms, the Indians also leaving their bows and arrows at a distance.

Endecott was incensed by the proposal, considering it a pretext for gaining time. He therefore bade the Pequots begone, an take care of themselves; they had dared the English to come and fight with them, he said, and now he was ready for the battle. The Pequots withdrew peaceably to a distance. When they were beyond musket-shot, "he marched after them, supposing they would have stood it awhile, as they did to the Dutch," [FN]—but they all fled, letting fly a few arrows among the English, which did no damage. Two of their own number were killed and several more wounded; and the English then marched up to their village, and burned all their wigwams and mats. At night, concludes the historian, they returned to their vessels; and the next day they went ashore on the west side of the river, and burnt all their wigwams and spoiled their canoes in that quarter; and so set sail and came to the Narraghansett country. There they landed their men, "and on the 14th of 7ber they came all safe to Boston, which was a marvellous providence of God, that not a hair fell from the head of any of them, nor any sick nor feeble person among them."

[FN] Winthrop.

The sequel of the tragedy must be gathered from other authorities. A detachment of Endecott's party was appointed to reinforce the English garrison at Saybrook. Lying wind-bound off Pequot harbor, after his departure, a part of these men went on shore to plunder the Pequots, and bring off their corn. Their ravages were interrupted by an attack from these Indians. The skirmish lasted till near evening, and then both parties retired, the English with one man wounded, and the Pequots with a loss unknown. We have given the particulars of this transaction, (according to the English version of course) because it throws light upon the subsequent relations between Sassacus and the English.

Whatever was the disposition of the Pequots previous to this date, there is no question about them ever afterwards. They determined to extirpate the whites from the limits of Connecticut; and to that great object Sassacus now devoted the whole force of his dominions and the entire energies of his soul. The forts and settlements were assaulted in every direction. In October, five of the Saybrook garrison were surprised, as they were carrying home their hay. A week afterwards, the master of a small English vessel was taken and tortured; and several others within the same month. The garrison just mentioned were so pressed before winter, (1636-7) that they were obliged to keep almost wholly within reach of their guns. Their out-houses were razed, and their stacks of hay burned; and so many of the cattle as were not killed, often came in at night with the arrows of the enemy sticking in them. In March, they killed four of the garrison, and at the same time surrounding the fort on all sides, challenged the English to come out and fight, mocked them with the groans and prayers of their dying friends whom they had captured, and boasted they could kill Englishmen "all one flies." Nothing but a cannon loaded with grape-shot, could keep them from beating the very gates down with their clubs.

Three persons were next killed on Connecticut river, and nine at Wethersfield. No boat could now pass up or down the river with safety. The roads and fields were everywhere beset. The settlers could neither hunt, fish, nor cultivate the land, nor travel at home or abroad, but at the peril of life. A constant watch was kept night and day. People went armed to their daily labors, and to public worship; and the church was guarded during divine service. Probably no portion of the first colonists of New England ever suffered so horribly from an Indian warfare, as the Connecticut settlers at this gloomy and fearful period.

Nor was the employment of his own subjects the only measure adopted by Sassacus against his civilized enemy. He knew them too well to despise, however much he detested them. He saw there was need of all the ingenuity of the politician, as well as the prowess of the warrior, to be exercised upon his part; and he therefore entered upon a trial of the arts of diplomacy with the same cunning and courage which were the confidence of his followers in the field of battle. The proposal of alliance offensive and defensive which he made to his ancient rival and foe, the chief sachem of the Narraghansetts, was a conception worthy of a great and noble soul. And such was the profound skill with which he supported the reasonableness of that policy, that, (as we have heretofore seen,) Miantonomo himself wavered in his high-minded fidelity to the English cause. But for the presence and influence of Roger Williams, [FN] the consummate address of the Pequot must have carried his point.

[FN] That gentleman, in one of his letters preserved on the Mass. Records, writes—"That in ye Pequt Wars it pleased your honoured Government to employ me in ye hazardous and waighty Service of negotiating a League between Yourselves and the Narigansetts; when ye Pequt messengers (who sought ye Narigansett's league against the English) had almost ended yt my worck and life together."

The measures taken by the other colonies, in consequence of the state of things we have been describing, and the minutiæ of the famous expedition of Mason, are too well known to be repeated at length. The contest was not long continued, but it required the most serious efforts on the part of the English; and not only did Massachusetts and Plymouth feel themselves under the necessity of aiding Connecticut in the suppression of this common and terrible foe, but many of the Narraghansetts also were called on to aid, with the Nianticks, the Mohegans and other tribes upon the river.

Sassacus must have felt, that the day of restitution and reparation was indeed come upon him for all his ancient victories and spoils. Every people in his neighborhood who had suffered, or expected to suffer, from his pride or his power, now gladly witnessed the onset of a new enemy against him; and large numbers availed themselves of the opportunity to do personal service. Not less than five hundred Indians of various tribes accompanied Mason in his march against the great Pequot fortress. Not a few of them, without doubt, remembered old times as well as Miantonomo himself; though they acted very differently in consequence.

These gallant allies were so eager to go against the Pequots, that nothing but the van of the army could satisfy them for their own station. "We hope," said they, (—or something, no doubt, to that purpose—)

"We hope it will offend not you nor yours The chiefest post of honor should be ours."

Upon which

"Mason harangues them with high compliments And to confirm them he to them consents. Hold on, bold men, says he, as you've began; I'm free and easy; you you shall take the van." But,—("as we always by experience find, Frost-bitten leaves will not abide the wind")

These formidable veterans had gone but a few miles, when every man of them fell in the rear, and that unluckily to such a distance that not one could be found. They were in the enemy's country, and the truth was, they

"—Had so often, to their harm, Felt the great power of Sassacus's arm, That now again just to endure the same, The dreadful sound of great Sassacus' name, Seemed every moment to attack their ears, And fill'd them with such heart-amazing fears, That suddenly they run and seek to hide, Swifter than leaves in the autumnal tide." [FN]

[FN] Wolcott's Account.

This was in the evening. As the English approached the fortress about day-light, they halted at the foot of a large hill, and Mason sent word for his allies "to come up." After a long time, Uncas and Wequash [FN] alone made their appearance. "Where is the fort?" inquired Mason. "On the top of that hill," answered they. "And where are the rest of the Indians?"—Uncas said, "they were behind, exceedingly afraid;" and the most that Mason could induce them to do, was to form a semi-circle at a particularly respectful distance, for the purpose of witnessing the attack of the English upon the enemy's fort, and waylaying such of the Pequots as might escape their hands.

[FN] Vide "A Brief History of the Pequot War: Especially of the memorable Taking of their Fort at Mystic in Connecticut in 1637, written by Major John Mason, a Principal Actor therein, as the chief captain and commander of Connecticut Forces: Boston: Printed and Sold by S. Kneeland and T. Green in Queen St. 1736." The following is the motto of this tract.—"We have heard with our ears, God, . . . how thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people and cast them out," &c.

The author of New England's First Fruits calls this man a famous captain, a proper man of person, and of very grave and sober spirit. He became religious after the Pequot war, lived sometime among the whites, and then preached to his countrymen until his death, which was occasioned by a dose of poison wherewith some of them repaid him for his labors. A Massachusetts clergyman says of him, in 1648: "He loved Christ, he preached Christ up and down, and then suffered martyrdom for Christ; and when he dyed, gave his soule to Christ, and his only child to the English, rejoycing in this hope, that the child should know more of Christ than its poore father ever did."

The resistance was manly and desperate, but the whole work of destruction was completed in little more than an hour. The extent and violence of the conflagration kindled by the assailants, the reflection of this pyramid of flames upon the forest around, the flashing and roar of arms, the shrieks and yellings of men, women and children within, and the shouts of the allies without, exhibited one of the most awful scenes which the pens of the early historians have described. Seventy wigwams were burnt, and five or six hundred Pequots killed. Parent and child alike, the sanop and squaw, the gray-haired man and the babe were buried in one promiscuous ruin.

It had been Mason's intention to fall upon both the principal forts of the enemy at once; and finding it impossible, he says, "we were much grieved, chiefly because the greatest and bloodiest sachem there resided, whose name was Sassacus." The execution of this design would have saved him much subsequent loss and labor. That great warrior was so little discouraged by the horrible havoc already made among his subjects, that immediately on receiving the intelligence he despatched, perhaps led on in person, a reinforcement of three hundred warriors, who pursued the English very closely for a distance of six miles, on their march towards Pequot harbor.

But the reception which this body met with from the English, drove them to desperation. The whole remaining force of the nation repaired to the strong-hold of Sassacus, and vented all their complaints and grievances upon his head. In their fury they even threatened to destroy him and his family; and perhaps nothing but the entreaties of his chief counsellors, who still adhered to him in his misfortunes, prevented his being massacred by his own subjects in his own fort. A large number deserted him, as it was, and took refuge among the Indians of New York. The fort was then destroyed, and Sassacus himself, with seventy or eighty of his best men, retreated towards the river Hudson.

To kill or capture him, was now the main object of the war; and the Pequots were pursued westward, two captured sachems having had their lives spared on condition of guiding the English in the surprisal of their royal master. The enemy were at last overtaken, and a great battle took place in a swamp in Fairfield, where nearly two hundred Pequots were taken prisoners, besides killed and wounded. Seven hundred, it was computed, had now been destroyed in the course of the war. As Mason expresses himself, they were become "a prey to all Indians; and happy were they that could bring in their heads to the English—of which there came almost daily to Windsor or Hartford." So Winthrop writes late in the summer of 1637-"The Indians about still send in many Pequots' heads and hands from Long Island and other places." &c. [FN]

[FN] Journal, Vol. I.

But Sassacus was not destined to fall by the hands of the English, although thirteen of his war-captains had already been slain, and he was himself driven from swamp to swamp, by night and day, until life was hardly worthy of an effort to preserve it. Even his own men were seeking his life, to such extremities were they compelled by fear of the English. One Pequot, whose liberty was granted him on condition of finding and betraying Sassacus, finally succeeded in the search. He came up with him in one of his solitary retreats; but finding his design suspected, and wanting the courage necessary for attacking a warrior whom even his Narraghansett enemies had described as "all one God," [FN] he left him in the night, and returned to the English.

[FN] Mason's History.

The sachem was at last obliged to abandon his country. Taking with him five hundred pounds of Wampum, and attended by several of his best war-captains and bravest men, he sought a refuge among the Mohawks. These savages wanted the magnanimity to shelter, or even spare, a formidable rival, now brought within their power by his misfortunes. He was surprised and slain by a party of them, and most of the faithful companions who still followed his solitary wanderings, were partakers with him of the same miserable fate. The scalp of Sassacus was sent to Connecticut in the fall; and a lock of it soon after carried to Boston, "as a rare sight," (says Trumbull,) and a sure demonstration of the death of a mortal enemy.

Thus perished the last great sachem of the Pequots; and thus was that proud and warlike nation itself, with the exception of a small remnant, swept from the face of the earth. The case requires but brief comment. However this tribe and their chieftain might have been predisposed to treat the English, and however they did treat their Indian neighbors, they commenced their intercourse with the whites, ostensibly at least, in a manner as friendly and honorable as it was independent. Previous to the treaty, indeed, complaints had grown out of the murder of Stone; but the English had no evidence at all in that case, while the evidence of the Pequots was, according to their own acknowledgement, cogent if not conclusive, in support of their innocence.

We may add, that it was confirmed by what is known incidentally of the character of Stone. Governor Winthrop, speaking of his arrival at Boston in June 1633, on board a small vessel loaded with "corn and salt," adds, that "the governor of Plymouth sent Captain Standish to prosecute against him for piracy." The particulars of the accusation need not be stated, for only a few months after this, we find the same person mentioned as charged with another infamous crime; "and though it appeared he was in drink, and no act to be proved, yet it was thought fit he should abide his trial," &c. He was fined a hundred pounds, and expelled from the Massachusetts jurisdiction.

As to the next proceeding recorded—the expedition of the English in 1635—we have only to remark, 1. That the demand of one thousand fathoms of wampum, with no justifiable nor even alleged reason for it, was an imposition and an insult. 2. The English should at least have taken time to see Sassacus himself, his subjects having no more authority than disposition to treat without him. 3. The English, with no apparent provocation, not only insulted but assaulted the Pequots, merely to see if they would "show fight;" and then burnt their towns and boats; not a hair of their own heads being meanwhile injured, and Sassacus himself being still absent.

With such inducement, the chieftain began a war of extermination; and then indeed it became necessary that one of the two nations at issue should be completely disabled. No, civilized reader entertains a doubt as to the result which, under such an alternative, was most to be desired. But he may nevertheless have his opinion, respecting the moral propriety as well as the state policy of the measures which brought on that horrible necessity. Let the whole truth, then, be exposed. If it shall be found, (as we believe it must be,) that under the influence of strong and sincere though fatal excitement, a rashness of the civilized party was the ultimate cause of the ruin of the savage, let that injustice be acknowledged, though it should be with shame and with tears. Let it be atoned for, as far as it may be.—in the only way now possible—by the candid judgment of posterity and history, upon the merits and the misfortunes of both.


The Pequot territory claimed by Uncas—His tribe, family, and early history—Services in the Pequot expedition rewarded by the English—Effect of their favor—His contest with Miantonomo, and result—Subsequent wars and quarrels with various tribes and chiefs—Assistance rendered him by the English—Complaints brought against him to them—His Christianity considered—His morality—Evidence of his fraud, falsehood, violence, tyranny, ambition—His services, and those of his tribe to the English—Manner in which he met the accusations made against him—Cunning and servility—His treatment of neighboring sachems—Various negotiations with the English—His death—Fate of his tribe.

On the conquest of the Pequots, the whole of their territory, about thirty miles square, was claimed by the Mohegans. The best opinion is, that this tribe was originally a part of the Pequot nation; and that their subsequent name was derived from the place of their subsequent residence. The first chief sachem of the Mohegans personally known to the English, was Uncas, [FN] who was a Pequot by birth, and of the royal line, both by his father and mother. His wife was a daughter of Tatobam, one of the Pequot sachems. Probably he had been himself a war-captain under Sassacus. But when the English began their settlements in Connecticut, he was in a state of rebellion against him, in consequence of some misunderstanding between them, for which either he had expatriated himself; or Sassacus had expelled him from his dominions. At this time, his influence was inconsiderable; but his great address and ambition soon made him the leading Sagamore of the Mohegans, as they afterwards made that tribe the leading one in Connecticut.—[See Appendix No. 1.]

Onkos.   Mason's Pequot Expedition.
Uncass.   Wolcott.
Okack.   Roger Williams.
Onkus and Okoko.   Winthrop.
Uncus, Unquas, Unkowah, &c.   Hazard.

The English were more indebted to Uncas for his zealous services in the Pequot war, than to all the other Indians together, though they at first entertained doubts of his fidelity. Governor Wolcott says:

"'Twas here [at Hartford] that Uncass did the army meet, With many stout Moheagans at his feet. He to the general [Mason] goes, and doth declare, He came for our assistance in the war. "He was that Sagamore, whom great Sassacus' rage Had hitherto kept under vassalage. But weary of his great severity, He now revolts and to the English fly. With cheerful air our captain him embraces, And him and his chief men with titles graces; But over them preserved a jealous eye, Lest all this might be done in treachery."

But he was soon convinced, that his supicions were unjust. The Mohegans embarked with Mason's ninety men, on board a pink or pinnace and a shallop, both which, the water being low in the river, fell aground several times. The Indians disliked this new species of navigation, and especially so much of it as pertained to the flats and sands; and Uncas was still more impatient to recommend himself by an active commencement of the war. He therefore requested, that he and his men might be set on shore, promising to join Mason again at Saybrook. His request was granted; and he not only redeemed his pledge, but, meeting a considerable party of Pequots on the route, he attacked them with great spirit, and killed seven of their number—"which," says Captain Mason, "we looked at as a special Providence; for before we were somewhat doubtful of his fidelity."

This good opinion was daily confirmed by the Sachem's conversation and conduct. "Indeed," our writer elsewhere adds, "he was a great friend and did great service—I shall never forget him." At the commencement of the campaign, the various Indians who engaged in it, were in high glee. They gathered into a ring, and one by one made solemn protestations how gallantly they would demean themselves, and how many men they would kill. But Uncas said very little, until Mason inquired of him what he thought these Indians would do. "Nothing," answered he, gravely; "The Narraghansetts will leave you to a man. I can only say for myself that I never will." And he never did. The Narraghansetts, who had vaunted themselves on the example they should be obliged to set the English, to encourage them in their attack upon the enemy, soon fell into the back ground, and many of them returned home.

The English marched on through the woods by moonlight, until, finding themselves altogether abandoned by these spirited allies, they halted, and sent messengers to know what had become of them. At last,

"—After long waiting for the same, Up trusty Uncass and stout Wequash came, Of whom the general in strict terms demands, Where stands the fort, and how their judgement stands About the enterprise? and what's the cause They left their post [the van] against all martial laws."

From the answer given to these questions, it would appear that, however it might be with the Sachems, the Indians generally were in horrible fear of the Pequots. The apology however was cogent; "when once they were engaged," said they,

"—'tis hard to get A dispensation from them to retreat,"

But no such reasoning influenced the resolution or the fidelity of Uncas. Even after the great success which attended the assault, most of the Indians deserted, or at least disappeared, in consequence of an apprehension of falling in with the wandering Pequots. But Uncas remained steadfast. He also did active service afterwards, against a band of the enemy who had settled themselves at Pawcatuck, contrary to the terms of their submission to the English; joining his friend Mason, on that occasion, with one hundred of his men and twenty canoes.

A small harbor in the southern part of the town of Guilford, (in Connecticut) has to this day a name derived from one of his achievements. He and his Mohegans, with a few of the English, having undertaken, when the enemy fled westward, to scour the shores near the seas for the purpose of cutting off stragglers, came up with a Pequot sachem and a few men, not far from this harbor, and pursued them. As the south side of the harbor is formed by a long narrow neck of land, the Pequots went out upon that point, hoping that their pursuers would pass by them. But Uncas, perceiving the stratagem, ordered some of his men to give chase, which the enemy observing, swam over the mouth of the harbor. There they were waylaid, and taken as they landed. A council being held, and the sachem sentenced to death, Uncas himself is said to have shot him with an arrow, cut off his head, and set it up in the crotch of a large oak-tree near the water. The skull remained there many years, and the name of the Sachem's-Head has been ever since attached to the harbor. [FN]

[FN] History of Guilford, Mass. His. Coll.

The remuneration to Uncas for the part which he took in this war, was a portion of the Pequot territory, (which he afterwards sold to the English,) and one hundred captives of that tribe; and this, with the honor of having subdued his great Pequot rival, and the reputation of being upon the most flattering and favorable terms of intercourse with the English, made him at once a character of high dignity and of no little influence. Indians began to collect around him from neighboring tribes, and he could now muster four or five hundred warriors. The state of Connecticut treated with him, and made him presents, and permitted him to exercise dominion and to give deeds of territory, in all respects like an independent and sovereign authority, while he enjoyed at the same time the benefit of their personal patronage and the protection of his tribe from their enemies.

In July, 1638, Uncas visited in person the authorities of Massachusetts at Boston—the only visit of mere ceremony which is recorded of him in history. Ostensible ceremony, we should perhaps say; for considering the time, the company, and especially the deportment on that occasion, there can be little doubt that the Sachem had an object in view which lightened the weariness of his long journey.

He came attended by thirty-seven men, and accompanied by Governor Haynes, whom he had called upon by the way. He offered the Governor of Massachusetts a present of twenty fathoms of Wampum, which being in open court, the Council thought fit to refuse it, "till he had given satisfaction about the Pequods he kept," &c. [FN] Upon this he appeared much dejected, and even affected to apprehend that his life was in danger. But he was not long at a loss. Evidence was produced which counteracted the main suspicions that rested upon him; and he promised to submit his controversy with the Narraghansetts to English arbitration, and to follow any arrangement they should make as to his Pequots.

[FN] Winthrop.

The present was now accepted, and about half an hour afterwards, he went to the Governor, and addressed him in the following terms: "This heart"—he said, laying his hand on his breast—"is not mine, but yours. I have no men. They are all yours. Command me any hard thing—I will do it. I will not believe any Indian's words against the English. If any man shall kill an English man, I will put him to death were he never so dear to me." The Governor gave him a handsome red coat, defrayed the expenses of his visit, and furnished him with provisions for his return-journey, and a general letter of protection—and so "he departed very Joyful."

This transaction throws some light upon what is far the most singular point in the history of the cunning Sachem, viz: that he invariably maintained at once the best terms with his civilized ally and the worst with his Indian neighbors. The latter circumstance indeed naturally ensued from the former; on account of which, as well as from other causes partially explained heretofore, the inveterate hatred which had so long existed between the Mohegans and the Narraghansetts, previous to their union with the English or the suppression of the common enemy of all, broke out again soon after the treaty of 1638, and continued from that time forward until the proud Narraghansetts in their turn fell beneath the power of the English. Ostensibly, (as we have seen in the life of Miantonomo,) the war was brought on by the quarrel of Uncas with Sequassen, of whose outrage he complained to the Governor and Court of the Colony. The high estimate he set upon his own dignity appears from his demanding six of Sequassen's men for the murder of his subject. With great difficulty he was finally persuaded to accept of the offender alone. But Sequassen objected even to these terms; for he would do nothing but fight. A contest ensued, and Uncas was the victor.

His subsequent war with Miantonomo, and the proceedings which ensued upon his triumph over that formidable chieftain, have been detailed. From this period, so long as the Narraghansetts remained able to send an army into the field, there was no rest for Uncas or his people, day nor night. Truces and promises were negotiated and passed between the parties by the English; but the power which imposed, or the influence which induced these obligations was scarcely withdrawn, when the unextinguishable flame blazed forth, the more furiously for its brief suspension. The Narraghansetts repeatedly invaded the Mohegan country in the course of the year 1645, assaulted Uncas in his own fort, killed and captured numbers of his men, and finally so pressed him, that both Connecticut and New Haven were obliged to send troops to his assistance, as Hartford had done before, to prevent the enemy from completely subduing him and his country.

In 1648, the Mohawks, Pocomtocks, and other tribes were induced to take part against him. Nine years afterwards, he was again beset in his fortress, and again rescued by the Connecticut forces; and so late as 1660, the same emergency led to the same measures. On that occasion, he was besieged until his provisions were nearly exhausted, and he saw that, without speedy relief, he and his men must soon perish by famine or sword. In this crisis, he found means of communicating his danger to the scouts of the English, who had been sent out from Saybrook fort. The case being urgent, one Lefingwell, an ensign of the garrison, and a bold enterprising man, loaded a canoe with beef, corn and pease, and paddled it under cover of the night from Saybrook into the Thames river, where he had the address to get the whole into the besieged fort, which stood near the water's edge. The enemy soon ascertained that Uncas was relieved, and raised the siege. The Sachem is said to have rewarded Lefingwell for his services by a deed of the town of Norwich. [FN]

[FN] Trumbull.

And not open and honorable arms, (as civilized foes would consider them,) alone, were employed against Uncas. One of the Pequots, in 1643, shot him through the arm, at the instigation, as was generally supposed, of Miantonomo; and the war with that chieftain was brought on by similar attempts on the part of Sequassen. The Narraghansett sachems hired an Indian to assassinate him in 1649, and he succeeded so far as to give him a wound in the breast with a sword, which for some time was thought mortal. Sorcery and poison were also tried.

Attempts were meanwhile made to injure him in the estimation of the English; his enemies believing, and with good reason, that the withdrawal of their protection would be fatal to him. Sequassen, whose hatred was inveterate, went so far, in 1646, as to form a plan for murdering Governor Haynes and other of the principal inhabitants of Hartford, with the view of having the crime charged upon Uncas. Watohibrough, a Waranoke Indian was engaged to do the business; and he and Sequassen, after leaving matters in a proper train, were to take refuge among the Mohawks. The price of blood was already paid in girdles of Wampum; but Watohibrough wanted courage to perform what avarice only had led him to undertake. Having altered his mind thus far, he soon bethought himself that the English had given rewards to those who discovered a similar conspiracy on a former occasion; and concluding they would do so again, he went to Hartford, and disclosed every thing he knew. Messengers were immediately sent to demand the attendance of Sequassen, for the purpose of clearing himself from the charge; but he thought it more politic to avoid the messengers, and so escaped unpunished.

The English authorities invariably took cognizance of all these and similar proceedings; and no doubt, but for their interference, and the expectation of it, many more of the same nature would have taken place, and might finally have succeeded. Thus it was the extraordinary good fortune of Uncas to be a favorite with his early allies, from first to last. He complained of no grievance in vain; and as a natural consequence, he uniformly complained upon good occasion, as well as frequently upon bad or none. The Mohansick Sachem, of Long-Island, committed trespasses on his men and forthwith "hee desires the commissioners that hee may be righted therein;" and four persons are immediately appointed to examine the Mohansick Sachem, "and if proof bee cleare to labor to convince him thereof, require satisfaccon, and in case of reasonable complyance endeauor a Composure thereof; but if no satisfaccon will bee giuen for Iniuries, proceed then to lett him know they give the English just cause of offence, and will bring trouble vpon themselues."

[FN] Records of the Colonies: 1649.

The possibility of his giving false testimony against his enemies and rivals, seems scarcely to have entered the Commissioners' minds. Upon rumors of fresh assaults by the Narraghansetts upon the Long-Islanders, in 1653, they sent messengers to the former, requiring their attendance at Boston, for the purpose of compromising the quarrel. These messengers were further instructed to notify, not only to the Long-Islanders, but to Uncas, that if they or any of them find any thing "to enforme charge or propound either in the foremencioned or any other," they were to send witnesses accordingly—"and by Thomas Staunton or otherwise you are to giue notice to Captaine Mason, Vncus &c. that there may bee noe fayling for want of Witnesse or Euidence." It is not wonderful, that Ninigret asked the messengers, on this occasion, after being told of their errand—"Why doe the English slight mee, and respect the Longe-Islanders and the Mohegins, seeing all around mee do love mee and are my frinds?" [FN]

[FN] Ibid for 1653.

In 1654, great complaints were made against Uncas himself. On that occasion, the same messenger sent to the Mohegan sachem was sent also to Ninigret; but although the former was the accused party, it will be observed, that a peculiar provision was made to accommodate him, while the only one made in relation to Ninigret's visit was, that "hee may not bring with him aboue twenty or thirty men; nor may Newcome, or as the Indians call him, Mattackist, come with him whoe last yeare gaue offence att Boston." It is clear, that the plaintiff in this suit was no favorite; and it is further remarkable, that the messenger was directed to take the present occasion of reminding him of his old debts and defaults, and (as if to prevent his appearance) requiring satisfaction to be given at the time of his visit. The following are the messengers instructions:

"You are to informe both Vncus and his brother Woweque that the Commissioners haue receiued information of some purpose of theires to invade the Narraghansetts or Ninnigrett; they haue alsoe heard of some differences lately groune twixt Vncus and his brother and betwixt them and theire men. They are not willing to receive reports without due enquiry; they haue therefore sent for Ninnigrett, the better to secure the longe-Island Indians, and to heare what hee hath to allege against the Mohegens, and compose all other differences. The Commissioners therfore desire and expect that both Vncus and his brother doe forthwith Come to hartford, &c. You are alsoe to informe both Vncus and his brother [FN] and theire men, that the English doe oune Vncus so longs as hee carrieth himselfe well, and shall bee loth hee suffer wrong." &c.

[FN] Woweque, a very troublesome fellow, elsewhere noticed under some ten or fifteen other names.

Next follow the "Instruccons for John Gilbert and John Baily whoe were sent to continue att Vncus his fortt during his absence.

"You shall Repaire to Mohegen, and acquaint Vncus and all other Indians that you are to reside att his fortt by the Commisioners of all the Collonies, to the Intent that Vncus and all others may know the realitie of the English to continew his frinds whiles hee coutinueth faithfull to the English; and because the Commissioners have now sent for Vncus to speak with him concerning some affaires of concernment relating to himselfe Ninnigret and Woweque, and being Informed some sturrs may arise in his absence to his prejudice you shall vse youer Indeauors to keep all things quiett and informe the Indians that such attempts wil bee offenciue to the English." &c.

No fears seem to have been entertained, that "sturrs" would arise in the Niantick country during Ninigret's absence, although the message itself was founded upon the rumor of an attack to be made upon him by the other party. So, when Captain Mason had been commissioned to march against Ninigret with an armed force, on a former occasion, he was ordered "to advise particularly that Vncus Fort be secured when any strength is sent forth against the enemie, lest hee and wee recieue more damage by some Indian stratageme than the enemie." A multitude of other decisions and directions might be cited to the same purpose.

Uncas was in less favor with the English towards the latter part of his life than formerly, for reasons which will soon be mentioned. He did not however come to an open rupture with them at any time; and his subjects, though frequently insolent, were never hostile. On the contrary, they assisted their ally on many occasions, the Commissioners never hesitating to notify them when their services would be acceptable, and they never hesitating to attend a summons. For this zeal, directed as it invariably was against their Indian neighbors, and generally their old enemies, it would be easy to suggest more reasons than one. They thought themselves fortunate in these secure and sanctioned opportunities of revenge and plunder, even had they not also been richly repaid by the protection of the English, reciprocated to them in all emergencies of their own. Their last services during the life of Uncas were during Philip's war, when a party of them was commanded by Onecho, a son of Uncas, and by other sachems. The father was then too old a man to endure much more labor and weariness.

It has been stated, that Uncas was at least convinced of the truth of Christianity, and that he died in the faith; but we fear this information can hardly be relied upon. The only proof of it we have seen is derived from the following anecdote.

In the summer of 1676, a great drought prevailed throughout New England, which was extremely severe in the Mohegan country. The corn was dried up in August, and the fruit and leaves fell from the trees, as in autumn. The Indians were alarmed, but knew not what to do. According to custom, they applied to their Powahs to intercede with the Great Spirit for rain, after their manner; but these men labored to no purpose. They then went to the English settlement at Norwich, and Uncas went with them. He told Mr. Fitch, the clergyman at that place, that it was a hard case with them—the Powahs could do them no service—they must apply to the English God. Mr. Fitch appointed a fast-day at these and other suggestions. The weather on that occasion proved to be clear; but about sunset, at the close of the religious services, some clouds arose. The next day also was cloudy. Uncas now went to the house of Mr. Fitch, with many Indians, and again lamented the great want of rain. "If God shall send it," said Mr. Fitch, "will you not attribute it to your Powahs?" "No," answered the sachem; "we have done our utmost, but all in vain." The clergyman then told him, that if he would make this declaration before the Indians, they should see what God would do for them. Uncas then made a speech to the Indians, confessing with particular emphasis, that if God should grant this favor, it could not be in consequence of their powowing, but must be ascribed to the clergyman's prayers. Of the sequel we only know, that upon the day following there was so copious a rain that the river rose more than two feet.

This testimony proves but little. On the other hand, Mr. Fitch himself in a letter cited by Gookin gives a very clear opinion as follows:

"—Since God hath called me to labor in this work among the Indians nearer to me, the first of my time was spent among them at Moheek, where Unkas, and his son, and Wanuho are sachems. These at first carried it teachably and tractably; until at length the sachems did discern that religion would not consist with a mere receiving, and that practical religion will throw down their heathenish idols, and the sachems' tyrannical authority. Discerning this, they did not only go away, but drew off their people, and would not suffer them to give so much as an outward attendance to the ministry of the word of God. . . . At this time Unkas and his sons seem as if they would come on again. But it is no other but in envy against these [the converts] and to promote some present self-design."

When Mr. Gookin, with the Apostle Elliot, visited the towns of the Massachusetts Praying Indians, in 1674, he says, that on one occasion, a large part of the night was spent at Sagamore's wigwam, in company with the principal Indians then at the settlement, in prayer, singing psalms and exhortation. There was one person present, who sat mute during all these exercises. At length he arose and said, that he was an agent for Uncas, the Mohegan sachem, and that in his name he challenged a right to, and dominion over this people of Wabquissit. [FN] "Uncas is not well pleased," added he, "that the English should pass over Mohegan river, to call his Indians to pray to God." Mr. Gookin replied, that Wabquissit was within the Massachusetts jurisdiction, and that no harm need be feared at all events; the English only wished to bring the Indians to the knowledge of Christ, and to suppress among them the sins of drunkenness, idolatry, powowing, witchcraft, murder, and the like.

[FN] The South-East corner of Woodstock, and still called Wabequasset. It was in truth, as it still is, part of Connecticut, though claimed by Massachusetts, as well as by Uncas.

This was plainly a lecture meant for the benefit of Uncas himself, and his agent was specially requested to inform him of the answer made to his protest. In another connexion, we find Mr. Gookin's opinion expressed to the same effect, without the same circumlocution. "I am apt to fear," is his language, [FN] "that a great obstruction unto his [Mr. Fitch's] labors, is in the sachem of those Indians, whose name is Unkas; an old wicked and wilful man; a drunkard, and otherwise very vicious; who hath always been an opposer and underminer of praying to God—some hints whereof I have given in the narrative of my journey to Wabquissit, before mentioned." The Sachem once took the trouble to visit Hartford for the express purpose of complaining to the Colonial authorities of the attempts made to convert his subjects to Christianity.

[FN] His. Coll. Chapter X.

His piety, then, will hardly bear rigid examination. Whether his morality was quite so objectionable as Mr. Gookin supposed, or whether that good man was unduly prejudiced against him for his opposition to the ministry, may not be easily decided. There is but too much reason for believing, however, that there was great truth in most of the charges, and a most pertinent application for the lecture referred to above. The United Commissioners themselves seem to pay but a sorry compliment to his previous habits when, so late as 1672, they directed a letter to be written to him, "to incurrage him to attende on the Minnestrey."

What is more to the purpose, we find a complaint entered against him before them, in 1647, by one of his Pequot subjects, named Obechiquod. The grievance was, that Uncas had taken possession of and detained the man's wife; and though Foxon, the deputy of the Mohegan sachem, ingeniously argued, that this accident had happened only in consequence of Obechiquod's having unlawfully withdrawn from the jurisdiction of Uncas, and left his wife behind him, to be of course appropriated, according to Indian law, by any other person who desired such a connexion; yet even the Commissioners felt themselves obliged, upon a hearing of the whole case, to express their abhorrence "of that lustfull adulterous carriage of Vncus." He was adjudged to restore the complainant's wife, and allow the husband to live where he chose, on condition of his assisting Uncas in his wars whenever the English desired. He was discharged from another accusation of the same nature made by Sanops, a Connecticut Indian, at the same time—the evidence not being sufficient to convict him.

The proofs of fraud and falsehood are still more abundant. Miantonomo hesitated not to accuse him of foul play, even in the Pequot war; and the account given by Roger Williams of the reports which he rendered in to the English authorities, of the Pequot captives who fell into his hands, goes very far to establish the charge. Six, whom he had taken at one time, he represented to be Mohegans, although an Indian who gave information of the fact to Mr. Williams, knew them as Pequots personally, and perfectly well, and mentioned the names of all.

His conduct at the Hartford conference in 1637, has already been the subject of comment. Some time after Miantonomo's arrival, who had been delayed by his machinations, he sent in messengers to the court that he was lame, and could not visit them. Governor Haynes observed, that this was a lame excuse, at best, and immediately despatched a cogent request for him to attend without fail or delay. He came at length, and the Governor then accused him of the flagrant outrages which he and his subjects had committed on the Narraghansetts. Some altercation ensued between the rival chieftains, but, by the persuasion of the English, they were finally induced to shake hands. Miantonomo then cordially invited Uncas to sup with him, his men having just killed some venison; but he would not consent. The sachems were now called upon to make returns of their Pequot prisoners. Miantonomo made his promptly, and no fault was found. "Okace [Uncas] was desired to give in the names of his. He answered, that he knew not their names. He said there were forty on Long-Island; and that Juanemo [alias Janemoh] and three Nayantaquit Sachims had Pequts, and that he himself had but twenty. Thomas Stanton [Interpreter] told him and the magistrates, that he dealt very falsely; and it was affirmed by others, that he fetched thirty or forty from Long-Island at one time. Then he acknowledged that he had thirty, but the names he could not give. It pleased the magistrates to request me to send to Nayantaquit, that the names of the Pequts might be sent to Cunnihticut; as also to give Okace ten days to bring in the number and names of his Pequts and their runaways, Mr. Haynes threatening also (in case of failing) to fetch them." [FN] This transaction speaks clearly enough for itself.

[FN] Letters of Williams in Mass. His. Coll. Third Series.

The sachem's treatment of the Pequots surrendered to him on this occasion, does him little more credit. In 1647, ten years after the conquest, these unfortunate people sent in a complaint to the commissioners, in which they stated that Uncas had drawn Wampum from them unjustly, on all manner of pretexts, and without any pretext. When his child had died, for example, he made, or pretended to make, a present to his wife, and ordered the Pequots to do the same. Frightened by his threats, they collected one hundred fathoms of Wampum, and gave it as directed. Uncas appeared to be pleased, and promised to treat them from that time forward as his own ancient subjects. But only a few days afterwards, his brother (Woweque) came and told them, that Uncas and his Council had determined to kill some of them. They now thought it necessary to appeal to the English protection, and they set about collecting a quantity of wampum to be sent in to Connecticut with that view. Uncas received a hint of their movements; and the next morning he came to the fort where they were, with a body of warriors, armed, and apparently bent upon killing some of their number. They however escaped safe to Connecticut. It was farther alleged, that they had given Uncas Wampum forty times. Twenty-five times they had sent it by him to the English, in payment of tribute; but they knew not that any part of it was delivered.—Also, that Uncas favored the Mohegans to their prejudice. If they won anything of one of them in play, it could never be collected.—Also, that he had cut all their fishing nets for not aiding him—as they were not bound to do in certain of his forays against the Indians of Long Island.

The reply of Foxon to these charges—no doubt by instruction from his master—is full of his usual ingenuity. 1. As to the Wampum—"he belieueth the Pequats haue for tribute and vpon other occasions at sundry times paid wampam to Vncus, but denyeth that they in particular had giuen him any for the English; but the Moyhegens and they had sometimes joyned togeither to giue in wampam, which had been sent as a presente twice into the Mattachusets, and sometimes to Mr. Haynes at Hartford, but he thinckes the nomber of twenty-fiue times to be altogeither false.

"2. He concieues that the Pequats being an vnder people might haue some wrong from the Mohegens in play and durst not presse for their right, but denyeth that Vncus had any hand therein.

"3. He acknowledgeth that the Pequats did bring in 100 fathome of wampam at the death of Vncus child, and were promised favoure as is expressed, but the latter was only a treacherous plott of Vncus brother perswading the Pequats to withdraw from Vncus into theire oune Country, and there he would come vnto them, and to prouoke them thereunto he tould them (though falsly) that Vncus had determined to kill some of them.

"4. Though Vncus at first apprehended noe inconvenience in such a present to the English, yet being after, informed it was a plott on a fruit of crooked counsell giuen them by Tassaquanott, Sassacus his brother, who had suggested vnto them that most of the cheife Sachems were cutt off, Vncus to them but a stranger, why should they serue or giue wampam to him herewith Vncus was justly offended.

"5. He had heard some of the Mohegans tooke fish from them, but knoweth not that hee cutt theire netts, though he cannot deny it."

The Commissioners decreed, that the Pequots should return to the dominion of Uncas, who should receive them without charge or revenge for the manner in which they deserted; and on the other hand that he should himself be reproved for his tyranny, and seriously informed, that the English would not support him "in any unlawful, much less treacherous and outrageous courses."

Unquestionably, this "brother" of Uncas was quite as troublesome to himself as he was to the white people. Mr. Winthrop complained at this very meeting, that he has fallen upon the Nopnet Indians entirely without provocation, with one hundred and thirty Mohegans, and carried off wampum, copper kettles, great hempen baskets, bear-skins, deer-skins and many other things to a great value. These facts were admitted by Foxon, who also asserted that Uncas had no part either in the assault or the spoil, he being at New Haven when the affair happened. Other complaints being brought forward and proved, the Commissioners directed that Uncas should either disown his brother entirely, or else regulate him in a more suitable manner for the future. This was correct. It is clear that he either instigated these flagrant outrages, or at least connived at them by sufferance. He was able to prevent them as far as he thought proper.

It would be tedious, though not wholly without matter of amusement, to detail at large all the accusations brought against the Mohegan Sachem by various complainants at various times. Massachusetts and Connecticut arraigned him. The English settlements nearest to him accused him of insolence and violent assaults. The Mohawks quarrelled with his tribe. The Narraghansetts and Nianticks charged him repeatedly with inroads and insults upon them. Necwash Cooke, a Pequot under English protection, complained of being plundered with open force. Sanops, an Indian mentioned heretofore, was robbed of his corn and beans, (perhaps hardly less valuable to him than his wife.) Mr. Winthrop stated, in behalf of a Long Island Sachem, that he had sent sixty fathoms of Wampum to the Governor of Massachusetts by Uncas; and though he made the bearer himself a present of twenty at the same time, he had embezzled the whole.

Again, one Apumps "complained against Vncus, that about sixe weekes since hee tooke sixe of his people at Quinnapauge, killed one, and wounded another."

"Pomham [a Massachusetts Sachem] appearing before the Commissioners [at the same meeting] said that about a month agone Vncus or some of his men killed a man and two wemen at Cawesett, the one of them belonging to himselfe, the other vnto Tupayamen, both without provocation."

"Wee desire the English Sachims"—wrote the Pocomptocks in answer to an English message of inquiry—"not to perswade vs to a peace with Vncus; for though hee promiseth much yett will hee performe nothinge. We have experience of his falcenes" &c.

In 1656, he, or his brother, invaded the Norwootucks; and he even joined arms with Ninigret against a Sachem of Long Island. About two years before this, he had taken occasion to push his conquests beyond the river Connecticut by quarrelling and then fighting with Arrhamamet, Sachem of Mussauco (now Simsbury, near Hartford.) He sent one of his warriors to take and burn a Wigwam in the outskirts of the village, killing a few of the inhabitants, and then leaving marks of the Mohawks. His orders were executed, and the stratagem took effect. Arrhamamet ascribed the mischief to the Mohawks, and, burning with resentment, fitted out a war-party, and went in pursuit of them to the Northwest. Uncas thus gained time to equip his men, and fall upon the enemy's town in his absence. Arrhamamet was subjugated and his tribe, the Podunks, were ever afterwards tributary to Uncas.

The season before this, Meeksaw [probably Mexham] a Narraghansett Sachem, complained that Uncas had killed one of his men, and also that he had "afronted him by abusiuely naming and jeering his dead ancestors, and sending him a challenge this summer to fight." The Commissioners inquired of Foxon the truth of the charge, "and hee not giuing a satisfactory answare, they tooke the matter into consideration." &c. Soon afterwards the same person complained "of a gun taken from a Narraghansett Indian by Vncus his son, which some of Vncus his men acknowlidged to bee true." The commissioners' judgment in this case was, substantially, that although Mexham had not sufficient proof, yet, knowing that Uncas out of his pride and folly was apt to insult people, they would send him a suitable reprimand. In some other cases, they went so far as to adjudge, and perhaps enforce restitution.

Not to examine the records farther, it is only necessary to observe, that though all these accusations were not strictly correct, many of them, and many others, were proved; and perhaps a tithe of the truth never appeared after all. Some of the sufferers were too proud to complain. Others had no evidence to offer but their own. Many supposed it impracticable to obtain a fair hearing or decision of the Commissioners, against a chieftain regarded as their ward; and many more were too much irritated not to right themselves in a more customary and summary manner upon the spot.

The secret source of this extraordinary series of wars, forays, challenges, robberies and adulteries, like that of the Sachem's inveterate opposition to Christianity, was in his lawless appetites and passions; but especially an inordinate and uncontrolled ambition. It might be with justice that Miantonomo was accused of a design to make himself Universal Sagamore—as the phrase, was—of New England. But the Narraghansett took no measures for the attainment of his object which were in his own view either mean or malicious. He neither kept back part of the captives, nor embezzled the tribute which they deposited in his hands, nor plundered his neighbors in time of peace, nor unduly availed himself of foreign assistance for the annihilation of his rivals. He sent a few of his men, it is true, to aid in the Pequot expedition—or rather did not, perhaps could not, prevent them from going—but these were only two hundred, out of two thousand; and he neither headed them himself, like Uncas, nor even engaged personally at all in the contest. Indeed, he at most only continued, on this occasion, the hostilities which had existed between the two nations for a long series of years; and all historians admit, that he was very near joining Sassacus at one time against the English themselves. Uncas, on the other hand, made the most of the opportunity, to revenge himself upon Sassacus, and to exalt his reputation and power upon the wreck of the Pequots.

Miantonomo became in his turn a victim to the same over-reaching spirit. He began the war, indeed—or rather the campaign—and Uncas, on the other hand, was encouraged in his course by his allies;—but a magnanimous soul would never have permitted either circumstance to affect the treatment of a sovereign like himself, who had fallen into his hands by the chances of battle.

Ninigret next became the grand object of his scrutiny. He went forward as often as practicable to prejudice the character of that chieftain in the eyes of the English, as well as to reduce his resources by direct attacks. No man was so zealous as he in furnishing evidence—such as it was—to convict him of a conspiracy with the Dutch against the colonies; and though he is understood to have been ostensibly at peace with him at that period, he carried his interference to such a length as to lay wait and intercept a Niantick canoe which, as he pretended to suspect, was laden with certain palpable evidences of the hostile coalition. So we find him falling upon Mexham, Necwash Cooke, Woosamequin, and last of all, King Philip. No doubt, he had sagacity enough to perceive, that such a course must prove unfavorable, if not fatal to his race; but patriotism, honor, friendship, generosity, truth, every nobler feeling of his nature was merged in a barbarous, ferocious ambition.

There is a curious illustration of this weakness upon record:—"Vncus complained that Sequasson som yeares sence as is well knoune began hostile actes vpon him to the desturbance of the publicke peace. Whervpon hee was ocationed to fight and in the Issue ouercame him and conquared his Country, which though hee gaue to the English and did not oppose the fauor they were pleased to shew him in sparing his life, yet hee cannot but look on himselfe as wronged, in that Sequaason, as hee is informed, is set up and endeauoured to bee made a great Sachem, notwithstanding hee hath refused to pay an acknoulidgment of wampam to him according to engagements."

Of this acknowledgement, no proof appears but the Sachem's own assertion; and whether true or not, no real cause of complaint can be gathered from the whole context. The Commissioners, with their usual complaisance, "disclaimed any Endeauors of theirs to make Sequasson great, and are ignorant of what hee afeirmes concerning the other [acknowledgement] yet recommended it to the Gouernment of Conectncot to examine the case, and to provide vpon due proofe Vcus may be owned in what may be just and equall, and Mr. Ludlow was entreated to promote the same." This passage will be found in the Records for 1651. No subsequent mention is made of the suit.

It might be a subject of some speculation, what were the causes of the extraordinary partiality of the English for Uncas; and especially what were the means whereby he counteracted the strong current of reproach which set against him from all other quarters. Different opinions have been entertained upon this point. We suppose, however, the Commissioners considered it good policy, to select some one among the principal uncivilized and unsubjected Indian chiefs, to be made a channel of intercourse and influence with and over all. This one would naturally be the most ambitious, and at the same time least scrupulous of the number. Such was Uncas; and hence it was, that with his shrewdness, he found no difficulty in maintaining a tolerably good understanding with them under all circumstances. The "proud Ninigret" disdained the English interference. Massasoit protected rather than courted them. Sassacus fought them at the first provocation. Philip hated them and kept aloof; and Miantonomo, though he met them and treated them as friends, yet forgot not a soul of his own, more sovereign than his royal blood. But Uncas was neither more nor less than their humble servant. He fought for them, and gave evidence for them, with about the same alacrity, and the same indifference as to subject or occasion, antagonist or defendant.

Whenever complaints were made against himself; he of course had resources for defence. There was something in the testimony he could generally bring forward in his favor; and still more in the ingenuity of his explanations, or the humility of his acknowledgements and apologies. Other Sachems, irritated by suspicion and accusation, frequently committed themselves in reality by rash speeches and rude acts. But Uncas never lost sight of his interest in his pride.

The pliability of Indian evidence, and the manœuvres of Indian politicians, appear singularly in the case of Necwash Cooke. Uncas was at New Haven, attending a meeting of the Commissioners, in 1646, when one William Morton came forward, and charged him with having hired Wampushet, a Pequot Powah then present, "by himselfe or some other with a hatchet to wounde another Indian and lay it vpon Neckwash Cooke." The consideration for the bargain was said to be fifteen fathoms of Wampum, and the Indian was assaulted according to the terms. After some inquiry into the evidence, Wampushet himself was brought upon the stand, and questioned by the English interpreter. Much to the astonishment of Mr. Morton, and of the Pequots who came into court with him, he cleared Uncas and cast the plot upon Cooke himself, and Robin, Mr. Winthrop's Indian; and though the other two Pequots, whereof one was Robin's brother, were much offended, "and after [afterwards] said Uncas had hired him to withdrawe and after his chardge, yet hee persisted and said Necwash Cooke and Robin had giuen him a payre of breeches and promised him twenty-five fathome of wampam to cast the plott vpon Uncas."

As to the main allegation in Cooke's case, which was proved, the Sachem acknowledged some miscarriages or misdemeanors in vindicating what he called his right, so near the English plantations,—but alleged provocation. Then follows the sentence.

1. That it was an error to quarrel with Cooke to the public disturbance, without consent of the English.

2. That to do it near an English plantation was worse still; and the Commissioners required him to acknowledge his fault to that plantation, (as he did to themselves) and by promise to secure them from any such disturbance or the future.

For Uncas it was an easy matter to make such satisfaction. But as if it was thought too harsh by those who decreed it, they took occasion at the same time to sweeten the dispensation with promises of protection and professions of respect. After all, so strong was the additional testimony advanced against him on the same matters, at the next session, that they were induced to modify their decision as follows:—"All which being duly considered the insolency and outrage of Vncus and his men appeared much more heinous than the complaints at Newhaven the last yeere imported. The Commissioners (having the last yeere ordered that Vncus should acknowledge his fault to the English plantation, which they heare he performed in Captain Mason's presence) thought fitt now to add that vpon the return of the Pequots to his subjection Vncus foorthwith pay into the hands of Mr. Jo. Winthrop, to be by him divided to the English and ould Pequots and other innocent Indians, towards the repaire of theire losses in proportion as he shall finde cause, one hundred fathome of wampam."

We conclude these expositions with a literal copy from Hazard, of one of the last formal messages of complaint sent by the Commissioners to Uncas, together with his answer. The date is 1661:


"We have Receiued Information and Complaint from the Generall Court of Massachusetts of youer hostile Invading of Wosamequin and the Indians of Quabakutt whoe are and longe haue bine Subjects to the English killing some and Carrying away others captiues spoyling theire goods to the vallue of 33 lb. as they alledge, and all this contrary to youer couenant and promise to the Comissioners seuerall times Renewed, not to make warr against any of our Tributaries without the allowance of the Comissioners wee alsoe vnderstand that the Generall Court of Massachusetts whose subjects the said Indians are, haue formerly signified theire offence vnto you Requiring the Returne of youer Captiues and Satisfaction for the wronge you haue done to which you haue not returned any answare which seemes to bee an Insolent and proud carriage of youers wee cannot but wonder att it and must beare witnes against it and doe heerby will and require you forthwith to returne the said Captiues with due Satisfaction for other wrongs done them or to make out sufficient grounds and Reesons for youer Invading the said Indians the which you are speedily to send to the Governor of the Massachusetts and if it appeer they haue done you any wronge vpon due proofe wee shall take care that they may make you satisfaction if you shall neglect to obserue our order and Injunction herein contained; wee must leaue the Massachusetts to Right themselues as formerly signifyed vnto you; in which case wee must oune and if need bee assist our Confederates;

"The Comisioners of the Vnited Collonies; (Signed)

"Samuel Willis    Thomas Prence President
Plymouth the 13th.    William Leete    Simon Bradstreet
of September 1661.    Benjamin Fen    Daniel Denison
Thomas Southworth."

Then follows the answer given in on behalf of Uncas by Major Mason. As nothing more is heard of the affair, it may be presumed that the reasons alleged were considered sufficient.

"Whereas there was a warrant sent from the Court of Boston dated, in May last to Vncus wherein it was declared upon the Complaint of Wesamequen that the said, Vncus had offered a great violence to theire Subjects at quabauk killing some and taking others captiue; which warrant came not to Vncus aboue 20 daies before these presents whoe being summoned by Major John Mason in the full scope of the said warrant wherin hee was chardged if hee did not Returne the Captiues and thirty-three pounds damage then the Massachusetts would Recouer it by force of armes which to him was very grieuous; professing hee was altogether ignorant they were subjects belonging to the Massachusetts and further said they were none of Wesamequen's men but belonging to Onopequin his deadly enemie whoe was there borne; one of the men then taken was his oune Cousin, who had formerly fought against him in his oune person; and yett sett him at libertie and further saith that all the Captiues were sent home alsoe that Wesamequin's son and diuers of his men had fought against him diuers times this hee desired might bee returned as his answare to the Commissioners."

Concessions of this nature it was—which no other Indian Sachem of equal power ever submitted to—that went farther than anything else to keep Uncas secure in the English favor. His actual services, which were considerable, have been alluded to. His tribe were an out-guard for the settlements in Connecticut. After selling the town of Norwich, that place being first colonized in a period of general excitement and hostility among the tribes, the Mohegans kept out spies and runners to give the inhabitants intelligence of their enemies' movements, and were a continual defence against them. In times of greater danger, they often moved, and pitched their wigwams near the town. On one occasion, a hostile party of savages approached the outskirts, on the sabbath, with a design to make a descent upon the village; but viewing it from an eminence, and seeing the Mohegan huts, they were intimidated, and retreated without doing the least damage.

The sale just mentioned was but one of a large number with which Uncas was always ready to oblige his civilized friends; and which constituted another claim to their good will. In 1648, on receiving presents to his satisfaction, he conveyed to the Governor and Magistrates of the English on Connecticut river all his lands, called by whatever name, reserving only the ground then planted by him for himself and his tribe. In 1641, he granted to Henry Whitefield and others, certain lands near Guilford, in consideration of four coats, two kettles, four fathoms of wampum, four hatchets, and three hoes. In 1659, he granted all his lands, with all his corn, to his old comrade and friend, Major John Mason, who the next year surrendered it to the Colony of Connecticut. Trumbull says, that the individual towns in this great tract were very generally purchased, either of him or his successors, a second or third time.

It is remarkable, that a very late mention made of Uncas in history, casts an imputation upon his friendship for the English. "It is suggested by them who know him best"—says Hubbard in his Narrative—"that in his heart he is no better affected to the English, or their religion, than the rest of his countrymen, and that it hath been his own advantage hath led him to be this time." &c. This was written in 1667. Only two years previous, at the commencement of Philip's war it was reported to governor Winslow of Plymouth, that the Mohegan Sachem had sent twenty men to join his Pokanoket brother, with a message that if Philip would send him six English heads, all the Indians in his territories would go for him. [FN-1] Uncas is last heard of in 1680, when he must have been a very old man, though still likely, we are told, to survive all his enemies. [FN-2]

[FN-1] Sixth Vol. Mass. Coll. First Series.

[FN-2] Hubbard's General History.

The best comment on the Sachem's husbandry of his own interest is perhaps, after all, in the fact that a remnant of his tribe exists to this day (on a reservation of about three thousand acres of land,) in the neighborhood of Norwich; and are the only natives yet lingering within the limits of the state. The last sachem of the tribe was Isaiah Uncas, once a pupil in the famous school of Dr. Wheelock, at Lebanon. The following epitaph, copied by President Stiles from a grave-stone in the old Indian burial-ground at Mohegan, indicates the end of the genealogy:

Here lies the body of Sunseeto, Own son to Uncas, grandson to Oneko, Who were the famous sachems of Moheagan; But now they are all dead, I think it is Weeheegen. [FN]

[FN] The Mohegan term for All is well or Good-news. Oneko, or Oneoho, is the same who commanded in Philip's war.


Indians who submitted to Massachusetts—The Gortonists—Pomham, Sachem of Shaomet, and Saconoco complain of them—Submit to the Government—Their examination and entertainment—Policy of Massachusetts in the case of Pomham—He and Saconoco much harassed by their neighbors—Subsequent history—Pomham takes part in Philip's war and is killed—Canonchet, son of Miantonomo—His agreement of October, 1675—Weetamore, Squaw-Sachem of Pocasset—Canonchet's career during Philip's war—Particulars of his surprisal and death—His character—Anecdotes—His reputation with the English—Defence of his conduct.

Among a considerable number of chieftains who submitted to the Massachusetts Government, were several whose territory was without their jurisdiction, and in some cases within that of other Governments. The most notorious case of this kind is connected with that much-discussed transaction in which the notorious Gorton and his associates were engaged; and by which they brought themselves into a disagreeable collision with civil and martial authorities in all directions.

To explain that affair very briefly,—Gorton, having become obnoxious as the founder of a new religious sect, left the Massachusetts jurisdiction for Plymouth. Here he met with much the same treatment. He was whipped for disturbing the Church, and required to find sureties for his good behavior; which not being able to do, he either removed or was driven to Rhode Island. There he treated the Court with contempt, and by order of Governor Coddington was imprisoned and again whipped. He then took refuge in Providence, where Roger Williams, though he disliked his principles, yet gave him shelter. But he had hardly located himself, and begun to gather a company of disciples around him, when the neighboring English settlers complained of him to Massachusetts, under the apprehension that he was about to supplant their own possessions by purchasing the Patuxet territory from the Narraghansett original owners. Massachusetts issued a warrant to the Providence people to submit to their jurisdiction. Gorton denied their authority to interfere with him or his company, where they now were, and signified this opinion in a contemptuous letter.

But, perhaps for the sake of being still farther out of the reach of Massachusetts, or from discord among themselves, the Gortonists soon removed to a tract of land called by the Indians Shaomet or Showamet, (since Warwick in Rhode Island,) having previously purchased it of Miantonomo, for the consideration of one hundred and forty-four fathoms of wampum; "with the free and joint consent, [as the deed itself is expressed] of the present inhabitants, being natives." The instrument was dated January 12, 1642-3, and was subscribed with a bow and arrow as the mark of the grantor, and of a hatchet, a gun, &c., as the marks of "the Sachem of Shaomet, Pomham," and other Indians. Possession was given upon the premises, at the same time.

From this moment, Pomham,—who, though he signed the deed of conveyance, and was offered a share of the consideration, (which he would not accept,) affected to consider himself aggrieved,—neither gave rest to his neighbors, nor found any for himself. Whether, according to the relation which existed between himself and Miantonomo, and the customary degree of subjection attached to it, he had reason to complain of that chieftain in the present case, cannot well be decided. But it may be safely said, that the part soon afterwards taken by Massachusetts, was at least an unusual stretch of authority, however it might correspond with the general policy of that government wherever the formidable Narraghansett Sachem was concerned.

Whether at his own suggestion or that of others, Pomham, and Saconoco, a Sachem equally interested in the land, but otherwise of no note in history, went to Boston a few months after the sale, and by an interpreter, made complaint of the manœuvres of the Gortonists whereby, as they alleged, Miantonomo had been induced to compel them to an arbitrary disposal of their territory. They further desired to be received under the protection of Massachusetts, and withal brought a small present of wampum. The matter being referred to the next Court, and Gorton and Miantonomo notified to attend, the latter made his appearance. He was required to prove the interest he had claimed in the Shaomet Sachems and territory, but it is said he could prove none; and upon the testimony of Cutchamequin and other Indians who were present, it appeared that the Shaomet chiefs were not tributary to the Narraghansett, though they sometimes made him presents,—a mark of deference and not of subjection. Upon this an order was passed, authorizing the Governor and certain magistrates to treat with the applicants at their discretion. [FN]

[FN] Winthrop's Journal, Vol. II.

These Commissioners soon after conferred with the Sachems; and, giving them to understand upon what terms they should be received, "they found them very pliable to all." So, indeed, it might be inferred from the answers made by the Sachems to the requisitions touching the ten commandments. The servility which some of them indicate—as represented in the Commissioners' report, at least,—is hardly redeemed by the shrewd simplicity of others.

Being asked if they would worship the true God, and not blaspheme him, they waived the first clause, and replied thus to the latter. "We desire to speak reverently of the Englishman's God, and not to speak evil, because we see Englishman's God doth better for them than other Gods do for others."

As to "swearing falsely," they replied, that they never knew what swearing was, or what an oath was. As to working unnecessarily on the Christian Sabbath,—"It is a small thing," answered they, "for us to rest on that day, for we have not much to do any day, and therefore we will forbear on that day."

In regard to honoring parents and seniors, they said, "It is our custom to do so, for when if we complain to the Governor of the Massachusetts that we have wrong, if they tell us we lie, we shall patiently bear it." The following articles are also part of the report:

5. Not to kill any man but upon just cause and good authority, &c. Answer. It is good, and we desire to do so.

6. Not to commit fornication, stealing &c. Answer. Though they be committed among us, we allow it not, but judge it evil.

8. For lying, they say it is an evil, and shall not allow it. And finally, as to being Christianized, they said, "as opportunity serveth by the English coming among us, we desire to learn their manners."

Whatever may be thought of the right of Massachusetts to interfere in this case, and especially of the policy of interfering as regarded the Narraghansetts and the other colonies, it must be admitted, that the submission itself, so far as concerned the applicants, was conducted with the honesty, as well as civility, generally characteristic of the intercourse of that Government with the natives.

The Governor having sent for the Sachems to appear at Boston on the 22d of April, (1643) they attended, with their interpreter. The submission was then explained to their entire satisfaction. They were also expressly informed, that they were not to be considered confederates, but subjects, to which they manifested their assent. So, adds the historian, they dined in the same room with the Governor, at a table by themselves, and having much countenance shown them by all present, and being told that they and their men should always be welcome to the English, provided they brought a note from Benedict Arnold (their interpreter,) and having some small things bestowed upon them by the Governor, they departed joyful and well satisfied. The submission was as follows:

"This writing is to testify, that we, Pomham, Sachem of Showamet, and Sachonocho, Sachem of Patuxet, have and by these presents do voluntarily and without any constraint or persuasion, but of our own free motion, put ourselves, our subjects, lands and estates under the government and jurisdiction of Massachusetts, to be governed and protected by them according to their just laws and orders, so far as we shall be made capable of understanding them; and we do promise, for ourselves, our subjects, and all our posterity, to be true and faithful to the Government and aiding to the maintenance thereof to our best ability; and from time to give speedy notice of any conspiracy, attempt, or evil intentions of any we shall know or hear of against the same, and do promise to be willing from time to time to be instructed in the knowledge of the worship of God. In witness whereof, we have hereunto put our hands the 22d of the 4th month, 1643.

"The Y mark    The 9 mark
of Saconoco.    of Pomham."

Thus was consummated the title of Massachusetts to the jurisdiction of the Shaomet land. It was at this very time, as well as afterwards, claimed also by Plymouth, and by Rhode Island. [FN] Gorton always alleged, that it belonged to Miantonomo, and that Pomham was secretly influenced by Massachusetts to withdraw from him and seek protection under their authority. No doubt that Government was sufficiently aware of the interest they had, not only in humbling the Gortonists, but in extending their jurisdiction as far as possible towards or into the territory of the Narraghansett chieftain, then, as Hutchinson calls him, the greatest and most powerful sachem of New England. Speaking of the petition of certain settlers, in 1645, for permission to begin a plantation, where Gorton and his company had erected three or four small houses "on the land of Pomham, who had submitted himself," &c. Mr. Winthrop himself states, that the Court readily granted their petition, promising all encouragement, &c.—"for it was of great concernment to all the English in these parts, that a strong plantation should be there, as a bulwark &c. against the Narraghansetts." It may be that this consideration assumed, in the view of the Massachusetts Government, the imperious interest of what is commonly called State-necessity.

[FN] Winthrop, Vol. II. pp. 251. and 317.

Hence the measures occasionally adopted subsequent to the submission, for affording Pomham the promised relief; a policy which certainly accorded better with their stipulations to him, than with their relations to some other parties. The Gortonists harassed him beyond measure, but they were at length subdued. The Narraghansetts, (after Miantonomo's death,) threatened and frightened him still more. In April 1645, "that it might really appear that the Massachusetts did own and would protect him," which would seem to have been heretofore doubted, an order was taken for sending men and an officer to Shaomet, to stay there a few days, and act on the defensive against the Narraghansetts. [FN] These men being volunteers, however, refused to go, unless they were each paid ten shillings a week, furnished with arms and ammunition, and allowed such booty as they might be able to collect in case of fighting. Whereupon the Court, not choosing to establish such a precedent, sent word to Pomham, that the required force would be at his disposal, whenever he should forward sufficient funds to enable then to perform. On the earnest importunity of the Sachem, early in May, his request was finally granted; and, with the aid of the English, he erected a fort upon his lands.

[FN] Winthrop.

This was in 1646. But Pomham and Saconoco were not destined quietly to enjoy their possessions, as the following detail from Mr. Winthrop's records for 1647, will abundantly illustrate. The Gortonists had at that period returned to Shaomet, which they now named Warwick; and, as the Sachems alleged before the Commissioners of the United Colonies, manifested a decided disposition "for eating up all their corn, with their cattle," &c. These functionaries hereupon wrote to certain persons in the vicinity of the premises, to view the damages, and require satisfaction; which process, however, had scarcely been commenced; when Justice Coggleshall and others from Rhode Island came to Shaomet, claimed jurisdiction for that colony over the land in question, and forbade the appraisers to proceed. Upon this, the latter returned home. Another warrant was issued, with the same result. Pomham was reduced to extremities; but still undiscouraged, he renewed his complaints once more. Massachusetts now sent three special messengers, to demand satisfaction of the trespassers, and to warn them to leave the territory. The application did no good; and therefore, "as we could do no more at present," writes Mr. Winthrop, "we procured the Indians some corn in the mean time." The measures subsequently taken for redress, it would be alike tedious and needless to enumerate.

As to Pomham, with whom we have chiefly to do, it must be confessed, that his character assumes, but little dignity throughout this proceeding. In after times, his career was occasionally more independent, while at the same time it gave evidence that his early attachment to the English was by no means, one of indissoluble affection, or of principle sacred in his own eyes. It is not a little remarkable, that after all the trouble and expense taken and incurred by and between the colonies, and especially by Massachusetts, for his protection; and notwithstanding the authorities of the latter government fondly an we trust sincerely represented his submission as the fruit of their prayers, and the first fruit of their hopes, in the great process of civilizing and Christianizing the natives; [FN] this incorrigible savage not only loosened his connexion with the English, but engaged against them, with his whole force and influence, in the great war of King Philip.

[FN] Winthrop.

That course, fatal as it was to himself and his, interests, was upon the whole the most creditable passage of his life. And once adopted, he pursued it with an energy that altogether sets aside any doubts which his former course might suggest, in regard to his real temperament and genius. Even Philip was scarcely more feared than Pomham. Historians universally, while they now call him a Narraghansett, as evidently he had determined to consider himself, place him in the highest rank among the Sachems of that warlike and powerful tribe. He did not even pretend to neutrality in the early part of the war, as they did. He did not sign either the treaty of July, (1675) negotiated at the point of the English bayonet in his own territory, or the submission executed in October following at Boston, although upon the latter occasion one of his fellow-chieftains affected to sign for him. This, at best, like every other part and circumstance of the compromise, was a mere artifice, meant to divert the Government by a show of satisfaction and amity.

During Philip's war the territory of Pomham was ravaged far and wide, and one hundred and fifty wigwams destroyed by fire at one time, in December, 1675. Whether this chief was in the decisive and bloody battle of the 19th, or in what other engagements he was during the war, history does not determine. He was finally slain in July, 1676, a few weeks previous to the death of Philip, and the consequent close of that contest, the most critical and the most furious ever waged between the red man and the white. Great was the exultation of the conquerors over this first success, so encouraging to themselves, and so disastrous to their savage and terrible foes. The event took place in the neighborhood of Dedham, (in Massachusetts) where Pomham, with a small band of faithful warriors, half-starved and desperate, were still roaming the woods in the close vicinity of the English settlements. About fifty Indians were captured; and the Sachem seems to have been the only man of the company who would not be taken alive. "That which increased the victory," says Mr. Hubbard, "was the slaughter of Pomham, which was one of the Stoutest Sachems that belonged to the Narraghansetts." [FN]

[FN] Narrative of Indian Wars. It will be observed in what terms the true allegiance of the Sachem is mentioned.

His spirit and strength were such, that after being mortally wounded in the fight, so that he could not stand, he caught hold of an English soldier who came near him, and had nearly destroyed him by his violence, when the poor fellow was rescued by his comrades, and the dying chieftain relieved at once from his agony and his foes. He had little to live for, had there been a disposition to spare him. His territory was long since subjected to a foreign plower by his own act, and afterwards desolated. His subjects were dispersed and destroyed. His grandson had been slain in the field within a few months; and among the captives at the time of his own fall, historians particularly notice one of his sons, "a very likely youth, and one whose countenance would have bespoke favor for him, had he not belonged to so bloody and barbarous an Indian as his father was." This unfortunate lad was probably executed, by order of the Plymouth government, together with the other principal captives of the last months of the war. At best, he was spared, like the son of Philip, only to be enslaved in a foreign land.

Among other distinguished chieftains of the Narraghansett tribe, who perished much in the same manner, and about the same time with the last named, was Nanutenoo or Quananshett, commonly called by the English Canonchet. He was the son of Miantonomo, and probably, after the death of Mexham and Pessacus, succeeded to his father's high rank,—being generally entitled by historians the Chief-Sachem of his tribe. His reputation, both with his countrymen and his foes was worthy of the noble blood in his veins. Mr. Trumbull observes, that he inherited all his father's pride, and all his insolence and hatred towards the English. What is still more conclusive in his favor, Mr. Hubbard calls him a "damned wretch," enlarges upon his cruelty and blasphemy, and exults over his final destruction. This—not the facts alleged, (which are wholly without proof,) but the assertion—furnishes, as a modern writer has aptly remarked, irresistible evidence of his heroic character.

There is abundant other evidence, however, to the same effect. The only ostensible deference of any description which he even paid to an English authority—detesting, as unquestionably he did, their very name—was the act of subscribing the celebrated treaty of October 1675, negotiated at Boston. The object of it was to quiet the jealousy of the English, who suspected him of having contracted engagements with Philip. One provision went to ratify a treaty executed at Hartford during the month of July previous, (by four of the Narraghansett Sachems, nominally in behalf of all.) Another, and the principal one, was expressed thus: [FN]

[FN] Records of the Colonies.

"And wheras a considerable Number of people both men weomen and Children appertaining to those Indians who haue bin in actuall hostillitie aginst the English are now fled to the Narraghansetts Countrey; and are vnder the Custody of the said Sachems there; after a full and long Conference had concerning that matter, wee doe in the Name and by the Power to vs giuen and betrusted in the behalfe of the Sachems of the aboue said Countrey fully and absolutely couenant and promise to and with the abouenamed Comissioners att or before the 28th Day of this Instant month of October to deliuer or cause to be deliuered all and euery one of the Said Indians, whether belonging vnto Phillip, the Pocasset Sqva [FN-1] or the Saconett [FN-2] Indians Quabaug hadley or any other Sachems; or people that haue bin or are in hostilitie with the English or any of theire Allies or abettors; and these wee promise and Couenant to deliuer att Boston to the Gouenor and Councell there by them to be disposed in the behalfe of and for the best securitie and peace of the Vnited Collonies.

"Sealed and deliuered in   
the presence of vs.
Quananchetts  marke.
Richard Smith
Samuel Gorton Iunnr.

Iames Browne
Sachem in the behalfe of himselfe and
Conanacus and the old Gueen and Pomham
and Quanapeen.  (Seal)
Manatannoo Counsellor 
his  marke.
John Nowhenetts marke   
Indian Interpretor:
and Canaonnacus in his behalfe   (Seal)
Ahanmampowetts   marke
Councellor and his (Seal)
Cornman cheife Councellor to
Ninnigrett in his behalfe and a (Seal.)"

[FN-1] Weetamore, Weetamoe, or Weetanno, a kinswoman of Philip, and the active ruler of the tribe, though married to an insignificant fellow named Peter Nunnuit. All her subjects joined Philip with herself, excepting Alderman, who had the honor of shooting that Sachem with his own hand. Weetamore was drowned in August, 1675, attempting to escape from the English over a stream in Swanzey; and her head, in the barbarous style of the times, was set upon a pole at Taunton, much to the chagrin of such of her tribe as were compelled to witness the spectacle. Pocasset, now Tiverton, was on the coast, opposite the north of Rhode Island.

[FN-2] Or Sogkonate; a tribe on the same coast with the Pocassets, governed also by a Squaw-Sachem named Awashonks, or Awasunck, somewhat celebrated for her masculine qualities, and for the part she took in Philip's war, first against the English and then with them. Captain Church, who effected this change in her politics, has given a minute account of his interviews with her. Ten of her tribe were living in Compton, as late as 1803.

It is well known, how speedily the execution of this instrument was followed up by sending a strong English force to invade the Narraghansett territory, and subdue that spirited people at the point of the bayonet. Canonchet is supposed to have been engaged in the great swamp-fight, the most fatal to the Indians, and they most desperately fought upon their part, of the whole war. It continued to rage with the utmost violence for three hours from the moment of assault, until the enemy's wigwams, to the number of five or six hundred, were fired, and the field of contest became almost instantaneously an immense mass of terrific conflagration. The Savages, inspirited by their leaders, defended every wall and post with the fury of maniacs; and when they at length slowly retreated, they left the ground behind them encumbered with heaps of the slain. Quarter was neither asked nor given. Three hundred of the Narraghansetts, at the least estimate, are supposed to have been killed, besides more than double that number wounded, and an unknown multitude of women, children and old men burnt in the wigwams.

But the victory was dearly bought. Of the one thousand English soldiers of which the civilized portion of the invading army consisted, according to their own statement, eighty were killed and one hundred and fifty wounded. Abandoning the captured fort, they retreated sixteen miles the same night—and that in the depth of winter—leaving the enemy to return the next day to their former position.

It is not our intention to discuss at length the propriety of the summary course adopted by the colonies in this case. The principal offence of the Narraghansetts, as set forth in the Manifesto, was their evasion and delay in surrendering the hostile Indians who took refuge in their country. This refusal was certainly inconsistent with the stipulations of July and October preceding; but these stipulations were enforced in the first instance by the presence of an English army, which had already invaded the Narraghansett territory.

Those of the tribe who made proposals of peace, immediately after the swamp-fight, imputed the blame of hostilities wholly to Canonchet. He had made them believe, that by the former treaty they were not obliged to surrender Philip's followers, until his brother, (who, with three other Indians of rank, was detained as a hostage at Hartford,) had been released. Probably, Canonchet did not himself misunderstand the plain provisions of that instrument, although, as he does not appear to have been present at the execution of it, it might be misrepresented to him. It is more likely, that he considered it an absolute nullity, as having been obtained by force, unjustly and insultingly imposed. The construction referred to by his subjects, he countenanced with the view of overcoming scruples on their part in the protection of Philip's Indians. Whether that protection—independently of the forced promise to surrender the refugees—was or was not a sufficient cause for the war which ensued, it must be allowed at least to do no dishonor to the humanity and honor of Canonchet, and the other Sachems, who persisted in that policy at every hazard and almost in the very face of their enemy. With him and them it was unquestionably a measure of sacred principle. No noble-minded chieftain upon the Continent, educated as an Indian chieftain always is, would have given up men who appealed to their hospitality—their own brethren, in distress and nakedness, driven before the bayonet of a mortal enemy of a distinct race and of vastly superior power—and least of all, when, if surrendered, they were surrendered to a certain alternative of slavery or death. Some of his tribe would have compromitted their dignity through fear, but not the son of Miantonomo. "Deliver the Indians of Philip!" said the haughty Sachem at one time—"Never! Not a Wampanoag will I ever give up. No!—Not the paring of a Wampanoag's nail!"

Those who are familiar with the history of the war will recollect, that the most critical period of it was immediately subsequent to the swamp-fight. This was owing to the desperate exertions of the Narraghansetts, and especially Canonchet and their other Sachems. They were indeed driven about the country far and wide, and reduced to such extremities for food, that corn sold for two shillings a pint; but their sufferings only made them the more ferocious, and the more bold. "That young insolent Sachem, Canonchet, (writes Mr. Hubbard, in his usual complimentary style,) said they would fight it out to the last man, rather than they would become servants to the English."

The destruction of Lancaster took place early in February. Medfield was desolated ten days afterwards; and in March happened that memorable engagement, not far from Providence and upon ancient Narraghansett ground, in which Captain Pierce with his detachment, to the number of fifty English soldiers, were cut off to a man. Canonchet commanded in this affair. The spirit of his warriors, as well as the superiority of the English skill in the use of their arms, appears from the fact that the Indians lost between one and two hundred killed. Warwick, Seekonk, and Providence were next successively ravaged by the victorious foe. Plymouth was assaulted, and eleven of the inhabitants slaughtered; and another party had the courage to commit horrible ravages within eleven miles of Boston itself. The prospects of Philip were never so flattering to himself and so disastrous to the English, as at this memorable juncture, when the exasperated and fearless son of Miantonomo was supporting him with the whole force of his dominions.

The manner in which the Narraghansett Sachems treated Roger Williams, at this period, amid all the excitement of suffering on the one side and success on the other, is worthy of everlasting remembrance. That gentleman was one of the few English who remained at Providence, exposed to the full torrent of war, and with no other security than such as he attributed to long acquaintance, friendship, and good faith, with those who were now become the inveterate enemies, and were openly calculating upon the utter extermination of his race. He had even the hardihood to reproach some of the Sachems who frequently came to converse with him, for their cruelties; and to threaten them with the sure, though it might be lingering vengeance of the English. "Massachusetts," said he, "can raise thousands of men at this moment; and if you kill them, the King of England will supply their place as fast as they fall." "Well!" answered one of the chieftains, "let them come. We are ready for them.—But as for you,—Brother Williams,—you are a good man,—you have been kind to us many years.—Not a hair of your head shall be touched." This noble pledge, bearing upon the face of it the mark of the chivalrous spirit of Canonchet, was regarded throughout the war with the most sacred fidelity. It was not in vain that the young Sachem remembered the warm affection which his father had entertained for his English neighbor and confidant.

But to resume the narrative;—"It was now full sea with Philip's affairs," says Mr. Hubbard, "for soon after the tide of his successes began to turn about the coast, which made way for the falling of the water up higher in the country." The disasters of the Pokanoket Sachem commenced with no less a misfortune than the death of Canonchet. And a matter of rejoicing indeed it was to the Colonies of the English—if we may credit the historian last cited—"that the ring-leader of almost all this mischief; and the great incendiary betwixt the Narraghansetts and us, died himself by that sword of war which he had drawn against others." The last assertion might perhaps have been spared to advantage, but the epithets furnish the best evidence in favor of the subject of them which the case could be supposed to present.

Early in April, it seems, Canonchet, weary of desolating the towns of the English had betaken himself to the Indian haunts on the Connecticut river. Here he continued to take a most active part in the war; the whole body of the savages to the Westward trusting, (as our eulogist expresses himself) under the shadow of that aspiring bramble. Nor was it in battle only that they placed reliance on his courage and genius. It was necessary, as it was difficult, to provide the means of sustenance, from day to day, for something like one thousand five hundred warriors, with their women and children. Canonchet suggested the plan of planting the lands on the West bank of the river, recently taken from the English. But how should even the means of planting be obtained? A council was summoned to solve this question; but not a man could be found who would hazard his life, at this season, in that section of the country where corn must be procured. The Sachem himself went forward, and proposed, with the assistance of thirty volunteers, who soon found courage to second him, to undertake a journey to Seekonk, in the immediate vicinity of Montaup, the old residence of Philip.

The adventure proved fatal to him. On the 27th of March Captain Dennison of Connecticut, had commenced a volunteer expedition against the enemy, with about fifty English soldiers, and eighty Niantick, Pequot and Mohegan Indians, severally commanded by Catapazet, Casasinamon and Oneco. [FN] By the time Canonchet, reached Seekonk, where he encamped on Blackstone river near the Pawtucket falls, Dennison's party, following the sea-coast, had arrived in the same neighborhood. The former was so little apprehensive of danger, that he dismissed all his thirty attendants but seven. The English, on the other hand, received the first intimation of his being near them, from two old straggling squaws, who confessed, on being captured, that Canonchet was not far off. The intelligence put new life into the weary soldiers, and they pressed forward till they came upon fresh tracks, and these brought them in view of a cluster of wigwams on the bank of the river.

[FN] The son of Uncas. The Pequot Sachem was a man of no particular note. Catapazet was subordinate to Ninigret.

In one of those wigwams Canonchet was at this moment reposing from the fatigues of his journey. His seven remaining followers sat around him; and he entertained them with the recital of the bloody victory over Pierce's detachment, which had taken place but a week or two before. [FN] Suddenly the speaker suspended his narrative. His silent audience started to their feet, and stood aghast. The trained ear of the savage had already detected the approach of an enemy. Two of the company were immediately despatched to the summit of the hill, at the foot of which the wigwam was situated. These men, frightened by the near approach of the English, who were now (says Hubbard,) mounting with great speed over a fair champagna on the other side of the hill, ran by, as if they wanted time to tell what they saw. A third was sent, who executed his errand no better. But of two others who were sent up, one had the courage to return and inform the Sachem, in great haste and trepidation, that the whole English army was upon him.

[FN] So writes Mr. Hubbard, and Trumbull and others follow his authority. Baylies (Memoir of Plymouth Colony,) doubts the correctness of the statement, alleging that Canonchet did not leave the Connecticut river until April, whereas Pierce's defeat happened on the 26th of March. We do not however conceive that the distance was so great, but it might have been traversed more than once after the battle and before the surprisal.

Canonchet had no means of defence, and no time for deliberation. He could only attempt an escape by running round the hill opposite his pursuers; and he had not gone far in that direction, when Catapazet, with twenty of his followers, and a few of the English who were lightest of foot, nearly intercepted him as they descended the hill, and immediately commenced a vigorous and close pursuit. Canonchet was a fleet runner, but the swiftest of Catapazet's men began to gain upon him. He threw off his blanket, and then a silver-laced coat which had been given him on the renewal of his league at Boston. His wampum belt was finally abandoned; and this betraying his rank to his pursuers, they redoubled their efforts, until they forced him to betake himself to the river, in which he plunged forward with great haste. Unluckily, his foot slipped upon a stone, and this not only delayed him, but brought him down so far at to wet the gun which he still carried in one hand; upon which accident, he confessed soon after we are told, that his heart and his bowels turned within him, so as he became like a rotten stick, void of strength. [FN]

[FN] Hubbard's Narrative, p. 129.

Thenceforth he submitted to his destiny without a struggle. He was a large, muscular man; and as Hubbard himself allows, of "great courage of mind," as well as strength of body; but the foremost of the hostile party, one Monopoide, a Pequot, laid hold of him without his making the slightest resistance. The first Englishman who came up was Robert Stanton, a young man of some twenty years old; yet adventuring to ask him a question or two, (continues the historian, with a touch of feeling which does him credit,) the manly Sachem looked somewhat disdainfully upon his youthful face, and replied in broken English, "you much child—no understand war—let your chief come—him I will talk with." The English offered him his life if he would submit to their government, but he would make no submission of any kind. They suggested his sending one of his men to propose terms to his Narraghansett warriors in the west; but he refused with scorn. He was then told of the enmity he had manifested towards the English. "And many others," he replied haughtily, "will be found of the same mind with myself. Let me hear no more of that." When informed of what his fate must inevitably be, he only answered, "It is well. I shall die before my heart is soft.—I shall speak nothing which Canonchet should be ashamed to speak.—It is well." Even those who have censured the Sachem most, touched with the the dignity of his last hours, would fain search in the theory of a Pythagorean Metempsychosis for the secret of his greatness. Some old Roman ghost, say they, must have possessed the body of this Western Pagan. [FN]

[FN] Hubbard.

He was soon afterwards taken to Stonington, in Connecticut, where Dennison's expedition had been fitted out; and there was executed upon him the sentence of death. That all concerned in the capture of so proud a victim might be gratified with a share in the honors of his slaughter, the English contented themselves with being spectators of the scene, while the Pequots were permitted to shoot him, the Mohegans to behead and quarter him, [FN] and Ninigret's men to kindle the pile upon which he was burned. As a token of love and fidelity to their civilized allies, his head only was reserved, to be presented to the English council at Hartford. It is remarkable, that Oneco, on this occasion, took the same part in the execution of Canonchet, and under very similar circumstances, which, near forty years before, his father Uncas had taken in that of Miantonomo, the father of Canonchet.

[FN] Baylies' Memoir of Plymouth Colony.

Thus fell, in the prime of his manhood, the last Chief-Sachem of the Narraghansetts, the grand-nephew of Canonicus, and the son of Miantonomo. The English historians of his own period may be excused for the prejudice with which they regarded him (as they did all who fought for the same cause with the same courage,) and which nevertheless affords to the reader of these days the most satisfactory proof of his high reputation and formidable talents. "This," says one writer, "was the confusion of a damned wretch, that had often opened his mouth to blaspheme." Again:—"as a just reward of his wickedness he was adjudged by those who took him to die."

It were useless to dispute these positions, for every reader of history possesses the means of forming a just opinion whether or not they are sound. But at all events, (as an author of a more liberal period has observed,) [FN] we may surely at this day be permitted to lament the unhappy fate of this noble Indian, without incurring any imputation for want of patriotism. In the entire compass of Indian, and we might perhaps add, civilized history, there is no finer instance of that generous and chivalrous character, which—whatever it might be termed under other circumstances—in the situation of Canonchet, and with his sincere and strict principles, can only be approved and admired, as humanity to the suffering who sought his protection; as fidelity to his own and his father's friends; as a proud and lofty sacrifice of royalty, liberty and life itself to honor; as patriotism to his country, and as religion to his gods.

[FN] Baylies' Memoir of Plymouth Colony.


Account of the Pawtucket confederacy in New Hampshire—Passaconaway, their Chief Sachem—He is disarmed by order of the Massachusetts Government. His residence, age and authority—He maintains a good understanding with the English—Visits Boston—The Apostle Elliot's acquaintance with, and notice of him—His views of Christianity—Festival, and Farewell speech to his tribe in 1660—Death and character—His son and successor, Wonolanset.—Anecdotes of the family—Legend of Passaconaway's feats as a Powah.

Turning our attention to a part of the country and to a people which have not yet been the subject of special notice, we shall now introduce, with the following passage from Winthrop's Journal, an individual of far too much distinction to be wholly over-looked. The date is of July, 1642:—

"There came letters from the court at Connecticut, and from two of the magistrates there, and from Mr. Ludlow near the dutch, certifying us that the Indians all over the country had combined themselves to cut off all the English—that the time was appointed after harvest—the manner also they should go, by small companies to the chief men's houses by way of trading &c. and should kill them in the house and seize their weapons, and then others should be at hand to prosecute the massacre. . . . Upon these letters the Governor called so many of the magistrates as were near, and being met they sent out summons for a general court to be kept six days after, and in the meantime it was thought fit, for our safety, and to strike some terror into the Indians, to disarm such as were within our jurisdiction. Accordingly we sent men to Cutshamkin at Brantree to fetch him and his guns, bows &c. which was done, and he came willingly, and being late in the night when they came to Boston, he was put in the prison, but the next morning, finding upon examination of him and divers of his men, no ground of suspicion of his partaking in any such conspiracy, he was dismissed. Upon the warrant which went to Ipswich, Rowlye and Newberry to disarm Passaconamy, who lived by Merrimack, they sent forth forty men armed the next day, being the Lord's-day, but it rained all the day, as it had done divers days before and also after, so as they could not go to his wigwam, but they came to his son's and took him, which they had warrant for, and a squa and her child, which they had no warrant for, and therefore order was given so soon as he heard of it, to send them home again. They fearing his son's escape, led him in a line, but he taking an opportunity, slipped his line and escaped from them, but one very indiscreetly made a shot at him, and missed him narrowly."

The Sachem here mentioned, and commonly, called Passaconaway, [FN] was generally known among the Indians as the Great Sagamore of Pannuhog, or Penacook—that being the name of a tribe who inhabited Concord, (New Hampshire) and the country for many miles above and below, on Merrimac river. The Penacooks were among the most warlike of the northern Indians; and they, almost alone, seem to have resisted the occasional ancient inroads of the Mohawks, and sometimes even to have carried the war into their territories. One of their forts, built purposely for defence against these invasions, was upon Sugar-Ball Hill, in Concord; and tradition indistinctly preserves to this time the recollection of an obstinate engagement between the two tribes, which occurred on the banks of the Merrimac in that vicinity.

[FN] Hubbard writes Passaconnawa; Mr. Elliot, Papassaconaway; Wood, in that most singular curiosity, New England's Prospect, has pointed out Pissaconawa's location on his map, by a cluster of marks representing wigwams.

The Penacooks were one member of a large confederacy, more or less under Passaconaway's control, which, beside comprising several small tribes in Massachusetts, extended nearly or quite as far in the opposite direction as the northern extremity of Lake Winepissiogee. Among those who acknowledged subjection to him were the Agawams (at Ipswich,) the Naamkeeks (at Salem,) the Pascataquas, the Accomintas, and the Sachems of Squamscot, Newichwannock and Pawtucket,—the latter being also the National name of all the confederates. Passaconaway is supposed to have resided, occasionally, at what is now Haverhill (Mass.) but he afterwards lived among the Penacooks.

He must have been quite advanced in life at the date of the earliest English settlements on the coast, for he is said to have died, about 1665, at the great age of one hundred and twenty years, though that statement indeed has an air of exaggeration. The first mention of him is in the celebrated Wheelwright deed of 1629—the authenticity of which it is not necessary to discuss in this connexion. In 1642, Passaquo and Saggahew, the Sachems of Haverhill (Mass.) conveyed that township to the original settlers, by deed sealed and signed,—the consideration being three pounds ten shillings, and the negotiation expressly "wth ye consent of Passaconaway." [FN]

[FN] The original is still in the possession of a gentleman in Haverhill. See Mirick's History of that town.

It was about the time of this conveyance that the measures already mentioned were taken for "disarming" the old chieftain. That was clearly a most unexampled stretch of prerogative, especially as Passaconaway had hitherto maintained his independence equally with his apparent good will for the English. There is some apology for the outrage in the excitement of the period, which was so powerful, it appears, even with the well-informed and well-meaning citizens of Boston, that they hesitated not to entertain the Braintree Sachem, their most obedient servant on all occasions, in the town-jail. Even the report of a gun, in the night-time, in the neighborhood of the town, was now sufficient to rouse the good citizens far and wide; and the shouts of a poor fellow at Watertown, who, having lost himself in the woods, cried out somewhat lustily for help!—help!—against an apprehended assault of the wild-cats round about him, produced an alarm hardly less serious than would probably have followed an actual foray of the Mohawks.

This excitement, we say, furnishes an apology for the harsh treatment of the Grand-Sachem. The government, upon cool reflection, appears to have been sensible of having gone too far, and what is creditable to them, they were not ashamed to make such explanations of the matter, promptly and politely, to the injured party, as were fitting their own true dignity as well as his. Governor Winthrop, speaking of the treatment of the Squaw and the Son as "an unwarranted proceeding," and conceiving "that Passaconamy would look at it as a manifest injury," called the court together, and proposed measures of reparation. Cutchamequin was accordingly sent to the old Sachem, to disclaim any order for kidnapping the woman and child, and discharging a musket at the boy, and to explain to him the real purpose and principle of the warrant. Passaconaway listened with composure, and returned answer that whenever the two absent members of his family should be returned, he would of his own accord render in the required artillery,—(and this, it would seem, the war-party which went out from Boston on the Sabbath, had not after all been able to effect.) One of them was still in custody, and the other had taken refuge in the woods. "Accordingly," adds our authority, "about a fortnight after, he sent his eldest son, who delivered up his guns," &c. The fair inference is, that the conditions made by the Sachem were performed to his satisfaction.

At all events, he considered it a good policy to maintain peaceable relations with his much excited neighbors; he was too old, as most of his near relatives—children or grand-children—seem to have been too young. On the other hand, the English movements in this case, taken together, certainly indicate a respectful estimate of his character; and in fact the policy by which he was gained over, was so much valued, that either Mr. Winthrop alludes to his one act of submission repeatedly, or else the Government troubled itself to have the scene actually rehearsed as many times:—

"At this Court," says the Journal, for the spring of 1644, "Passaconamy, the Merrimack Sachem, came in and submitted to our Government, as Pumham &c. had done before."

And again, in 1645—"At this Court, in the third month, Passaconamy, the Chief Sachem of Merrimack, and his sons, came and submitted themselves and their people and lands under our Jurisdiction, as Pumham and others had done before."

One of the most distinct notices of the old Sagamore occurs in that ancient tract, "The Light Appearing &c." most of which was written by the apostle Elliot, in 1649. He preached about that time at Pawtucket, that being "a fishing place where from all parts they met together."

"The Chief Sachem at this place," says Mr. Elliot, "and of all Mermak, is Papassaconaway, whom I mentioned unto you the last yeere, who gave up himself and his sonnes to pray unto God; this man did this yeere show very great affection to me, and to the Word of God." The writer adds, that the Sagamore even urged his solicitations importunately, using withal many "elegant arguments, with much gravity, wisdome and affection." He observed, among other things, that the preacher's coming there once a year did them but little good, "because they soone had forgotten what he taught, it being so seldome, and so long betwixt the times." Another sound suggestion was, that the Sagamore had many subjects who "would not beleeve him that praying to God was so good," whereas as no doubt they might be convinced by the preaching itself. Nor did Mr. Elliot, he thought, allow himself leisure enough to explain and prove what he asserted. It was "as if one should come and throw a fine thing among them, and they earnestly catch at it, and like it well, because it looks finely, but could not look into it, to see what is within,—whether something or nothing,—stock, stone or precious jewel." So it was with praying; it might be excellent, as it seemed,—but on the other hand it might be hollow and empty,—he wished to see it opened.

Whether this sensible advice was followed as far as it could be, is uncertain; but there can be little doubt that the Sagamore himself became, if not almost a Christian, yet strongly prepossessed in favor of the English. In 1660, an English gentleman, who had been much conversant among the Indians, was invited to a great dance and feast, at which among other ceremonies, Passaconaway, now very old, made a farewell speech to his people. He cautioned them especially, as a dying man, to take heed how they quarrelled with the English. He said, that though they might do the whites some damage, it would prove the sure means of their own destruction; and that, as for himself, he had formerly tried his utmost by the arts of sorcery to hinder their settlement and increase, but all to no purpose.

It is remarkable, that when Philip's War broke out, fifteen years after this transaction, Wonolanset, the Sagamore's son and successor, withdrew both himself and his people into some remote place, where he wholly escaped the disasters and excitement of the times. Probably there was no other instance of the kind among all the tribes.

The allusion made by Passaconaway to the arts of sorcery should be explained, by observing that he had formerly been, for a long term of years, one of the most noted Powahs, or Conjurors, ever heard of among the Indians of New England. Perhaps his dominion itself, and certainly the greater part of his influence, was acquired by his talents exercised in that capacity. He indeed excelled his contemporaries, as all historians allow, in general sagacity and duplicity, as well as in moderation and self-command; [FN] but these were the very qualities proper for playing off that game on the extreme superstition of the Indians, which has so frequently been tried among them, and yet so rarely with a very prevalent or very permanent success.

[FN] See Hubbard, Hutchinson, Belknap, &c.

But Passaconaway's attempt was no failure. He induced the savages to believe it in his power to make water burn, and trees dance; to metamorphose himself into a flame; and to raise, in winter, a green leaf from the ashes of a dry one, and a living serpent from the skin of one which was dead. Few modern practitioners, we presume, have surpassed the old Sagamore in the arts of legerdemain. These, however, were not his substantive profession, or at least not long. The politician soon emerged from the slough of the juggler. The Priest became a Sachem; the Sachem, the Grand Sagamore of Penacook; and the Sagamore preserved not only his own power, but his son's after him, by a series of diplomatic demonstrations, and a few words of "elegant" civility, which, without disparaging his importance with his countrymen, made him the most agreeable neighbor to the English.

That Passaconaway was living as late as 1662, appears from the following anecdote of that date. Manataqua, Sachem of Saugus, made known to the chief of Panacook, that he desired to marry his daughter, which being agreeable to all parties, the wedding was soon consummated, at the residence of Passaconaway, and the hilarity was closed with a great feast. According to the usages of chiefs, Passaconaway ordered a select number of his men to accompany the new married couple to the dwelling of the husband. When they had arrived there, several days of feasting followed, for the entertainment of his friends, who could not be present at the ceremony in the first instance, as well as for the escort; who, when this was ended, returned to Pennakook.

Some time after, the wife of Manataqua expressing a desire to visit her father's house and friends, was permitted to go, and a choice company conducted her. When she wished to return to her husband, her father, instead of conveying her as before, sent to the young Sachem to come and take her away. He took this in high dudgeon, and sent his father-in-law this answer: "When she departed from me, I caused my men to escort her to your dwelling, as became a chief. She now having an intention to return to me, I did expect the same." The elder Sachem was in his turn angry, and returned an answer which only increased the difference; and it is believed that thus terminated the connexion of the new husband and wife. [FN]

[FN] Manuscript documents, cited in Drake's Indian Biography.

In the Third Volume of Farmer and Moore's Historical Collections, may be seen an account of the death of an Indian, called Saint Aspinquid, May 1st, 1682, at Mount Agamenticus on the coast of Maine, where his tombstone is said to be still visible. It is also stated, that he was born in 1598, and of course died aged about ninety-four; that he was over forty years old when he was converted to Christianity; that from that time he employed himself in preaching the gospel among the Indians; and that his funeral obsequies were attended by many Sachems of various tribes, and celebrated by a grand hunt of the warriors. [FN]

[FN] At which were slain "ninety-nine bears, thirty-six moose, eighty-two wild-cats, thirty-eight porcupines," and a long list of other animals of various names.

We are inclined to hazard the hypothesis, that this Saint was no other than our Sagamore; that Agamenticus was the retreat of Wonolanset, or at least of his father, during and subsequent to Philip's war; and that the latter obtained his new name from his new friends, and the title attached to it from an English source. It certainly would be remarkable, that so many and such particulars should appear of the death of a man never before heard of. And on the other hand, the reputation and the age attributed to Aspinquid, agree strikingly with those of Passaconaway. By his "preaching" must be meant his sacred character and the great exertions he made to keep peace with the English; and the date of the alleged "conversion," we suppose to have been the same with that of his first acquaintance with the whites in 1629.

Our sketch may be fitly concluded with one of those popular traditions concerning the old Chief, which happens still to be in such preservation as to form now and then, in some sections of the country, the burden of a fireside tale. It is probably a fair illustration of the opinion entertained of his abilities by the credulous of his own era.

He said, that Sachem once to Dover came, From Penacook, when eve was setting in. With plumes his locks were dressed, his eyes shot flame; He struck his massy club with dreadful din, That oft had made the ranks of battle thin; Around his copper neck terrific hung A tied-together, bear and catamount skin; The curious fishbones o'er his bosom swung, And thrice the Sachem danced, and thrice the Sachem sung. Strange man was he! 'T was said, he oft pursued The sable bear, and slew him in his den; That oft he howled through many a pathless wood, And many a tangled wild, and poisonous fen, That ne'er was trod by other mortal men. The craggy ledge for rattlesnakes he sought, And choked them one by one, and then O'ertook the tall gray moose, as quick as thought And then the mountain cat he chased, and chasing caught. A wondrous wight! For o'er 'Siogee's ice, With brindled wolves, all harnessed three and three, seated on a sledge, made in a trice, On mount Agiocochook, [FN-1] of hickory, He lashed and reeled, and sung right jollily; And once upon a car of flaming fire, The dreadful Indian shook with fear, to see The king of Penacook, his chief, his sire, Ride flaming up towards heaven, than any mountain higher. [FN-2]

[FN-1] The Indian name applied to the White Mountains. There is a curious tradition, preserved in Josselyn's New England, of the veneration of the Indians for the summits of these mountains. They considered them the dwelling places of invisible beings, and never ventured to ascend them. They had also a tradition, that the whole country was once drowned, with all its inhabitants except one Indian with his wife, who, foreseeing the flood, fled to these mountains, were preserved, and afterwards re-peopled the country.—Ed.

[FN-2] See F. and M. His. Coll.