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Chronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 online

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ness, like their neighbours ; which they hoped and look-
ed for, (though God in mercy provided better for us,)
and he knew would be glad tidings to his countrymen.
But here the Governor stayed him ; and sending for
him to the fort, there gave the guard charge of him as
their prisoner ; where he told him he must be contented
to remain till the return of Captain Standish from the
Massachusets. So he was locked in a chain to a staple
in the court of guard, and there kept. Thus was our
fort hanselled,^ this being the first day, as I take it, that
ever any watch was there kept.

The Captain, being now come to the Massachusets,
went first to the ship ; but found neither man, or so
much as a dog therein. Upon the discharge of a mus-
ket, the master and some others of the plantation
showed themselves, who were on the shore gathering
ground-nuts, and getting other food. After salutation.
Captain Standish asked them, how they durst so leave
the ship, and live in such security ; who answered,
like men senseless of their own misery, they feared
not the Indians, but lived and suffered them to lodge
with them, not having sword or gun, or needing the
same. To which the Captain answered, if there were
no cause, he was the gladder. But, upon further in-
quiry, understanding that those in whom John Sanders
had reposed most special confidence, and left in his
stead to govern the rest, were at the plantation, thither
he went; and, to be brief, made known the Indians'
purpose, and the end of his own coming, as also, (which

* Hansel, to use for the first time.


formerly I omitted,) that if afterward they durst not chap.
there stay, it was the intendment of the governors and -— 1-
people of Plymouth there to receive them, till they 1623.
could be better provided ; but if they conceived of any
other course, that miaht be more likely for their g-ood,
that himself should further them therein to the utter-
most of his power. These men, comparing other cir-
cumstances with that they now heard, answered, they
could expect no better ; and it was God's mercy that
they were not killed before his coming; desiring there-
fore that he would neglect no opportunity to proceed.
Hereupon he advised them to secrecy, yet withal to
send special command to one third of their companv,
that were farthest oft, to come home, and there enjoin
them on pain of death to keep the town, himself allow-
ing them a pint of Indian corn to a man for a day,
though that store he had was spared out of our seed.
The weather proving very wet and stormy, it was the
longer before he could do anv thinoj.

In the mean time an Indian came to him, and
brought some furs, but rather to gather what he could
from the Captain, than coming then for trade ; and
though the Captain carried things as smoothly as pos-
sibly he could, yet at his return he reported he saw by
his eyes that he was angry .in his heart ; and therefore
began to suspect themselves discovered. This caused
one Pecksuot, who was a pniese,^ being a man of a
notable spirit, to come to Hobbamock, who was then
with them, and told him, he understood that the Cap-
tain was come to kill himself and the rest of the salvages
there. " Tell him," said he, " we know it, but fear
him not, neither will we shun him ; but let him begin

' The same as pinse, on page 28S.


cH-\p. when he dare, he shall not take us at unawares." Many


■^"^ times after, divers of them severally, or few together,
162 3. came to the plantation to him ; where they would whet
and sharpen the points of their knives before his face,
and use many other insulting gestures and speeches.
Amongst the rest Wituwamat bragged of the excel-
lency of his knife. On the end of the handle there
was pictured a woman's face ; '• but," said he, "I have
another at home, wherewith I have killed both French
and English, and that hath a man's face on it : and by
and bv these two must marry." Further he said of
that knife he there had, Hinnaim namen, hinnaim mi-
chen, matta cuts ; that is to sav, Bv and bv it should
see, and by and by it should eat, but not speak. Also
Pecksuot, being a man of greater stature than the
Captain,' told him, though he were a great captain,
yet he w^as but a little man ; and, said he, though I be
no sachim, yet I am a man of great strength and cour-
age. These things the Captain observed, yet bare
with patience for the present.

On the next day, seeing he could not get many of
them together at once, and this Pecksuot and A\ itu-
wamat both together, with another man. and a vouth
of some eighteen years of age, which was brother to
Wituwamat, and, villain-like, trod in his steps, daily
putting many tricks upon the weaker sort of men, and
having about as many of his own company in a room
with them, gave the word to his men, and the door
being fast shut, began himself with Pecksuot, and
snatching his own knife from his neck, though with
much stmggling, killed him therewith, the point where-

' Standish is said to have been on page 126, and Mass. Hist. Coll.
a man of short stature. See note xv. Ill, and xviii. 121.


of he had made as sharp as a needle, and ground the chap.
back also to an edge. Wituwamat and the other man -^^
the rest killed, and took the youth, whom the Captain i^^^
caused to be hanged. But it is incredible how many
wounds these two pineses received before thev died,
not making any fearful noise, but catching at their
weapons and striving to the last. Hobbamock stood
by all this time as a spectator, and meddled not, ob-
serving how our men demeaned themselves in this
action. All being here ended, smiling, he brake forth
into these speeches to the Captain : '• Yesterdav Peck-
suot. bragging of his own strength and stature, said,
though you were a great captain, yet you were but a
little man : but to-day I see you are big enoush to lav
him on the ground." But to proceed ; there being
some women at the same time. Captain Standish left
them in the custody of ^Ir. AVeston-s people at the
town, and sent word to another companv, that had
intelligence of things, to kill those Indian men that
were amongst them. These killed two more. Him-
self also with some of his own men went to another
place, where they killed another : and through the
negligence of one man, an Indian escaped, who dis-
covered and crossed their proceedings.^

' When the news of the first In- with saying, " how happy a thing

dians being killed by Standish at had it been that you had convert-

"Weymouth reached Mr. Robinson, ed some before you killed any I"'

their pastor, at Leyden, he wrote Prince adds, '•' It is to be hoped that

to the church at Plymouth, Decern- Squanto was converted." It seems

her 19, 1623, " to consider the dispo- Standish was not of their church at

sition of their Captain, who was of first, and Hubbard says he had

a warm temper. He hoped the more of his education in the school

Lord had sent him among them of ^lars than in the school of

fgr good, if they used him right ; Christ. Judge Davis remarks,

but he doubted where there was "These sentiments are honorable

not wanting that tenderness of the to Mr. Robinson ; they indicate a

life of man, made after God's image, generous philanthropy, which must

which was meet;" and he concludes always gain our affection, and


CHAP. Not lono^ before this execution, three of Mr. Weston's


— v-L men, which more regarded their bellies than any com-
162 3. mand or commander, having formerly fared well with
the Indians for making them canoes, went again to
the sachim to offer their service, and had entertain-
ment. The first night they came thither, within night,
late came a messenger with all speed, and delivered a
sad and short message. Whereupon all the men gath-
ered together, put on their boots and breeches, trussed
up themselves, and took their bows and arrows and
went forth, telling them they went a hunting, and
that at their return they should have venison enough.
Being now gone, one being more ancient and wise
than the rest, calling former things to mind, especially
the Captain's presence, and the strait charge that on
pain of death none should go a musket shot from the
plantation, and comparing this sudden departure of
theirs therewith, began to dislike and wish himself at
home again, which was further off than divers other
dwelt. Hereupon he moved his fellows to return, but
could not persuade them. So there being none but
women left, and the other that was turned salvage,
about midnight came away, forsaking the paths, lest
he should be pursued ; and by this means saved his

should ever be cherished. Still little doubt. It is certain that they
the transactions to which the stric- were fully persuaded of its exist-
tures relate, are defensible. As ence, and with the terrible exam-
to Standish, Belknap places his de- pie of the Virginia massacre in
fence on the rules of duty imposed fresh remembrance, they had sol-
by his character, as the military emn duties to discharge. The ex-
servant of the Colony. The gov- istence of the whole settlement
ernraent, it is presumed, will be was at hazard." See Prince, p.
considered as acting under severe 226 ; Hutchinson's Mass. ii. 461 ;
necessity, and will require no apol- Belknap's Am. Biog. ii. 330; Mor-
ogy if the reality of the conspiracy ton's Memorial, p. 91.
be admitted, of which there can be


Captain Standish took the one half of his men, and chap.


one or two of Mr. Weston's, and Hobbamock, still
seeking to make spoil of them and theirs. At length 162 3.
they espied a file of Indians, which made towards them
amain ; and there being a small advantage in the
ground, by reason of a hill near them, both companies
strove for it. Captain Standish got it ; whereupon
they retreated, and took each man his tree, letting fly
their arrows amain, especially at himself and Hobba-
mock. Whereupon Hobbamock cast off his coat, and
being a known pinese, (theirs being now killed,) chased
them so fast, as our people were not able to hold way
with him ; insomuch as our men could have but one
certain mark, and then but the arm and half face of a
notable villain, as he drew^ at Captain Standish ; who
together with another both discharged at once at him,
and brake his arm ; whereupon they fled into a swamp.
When they were in the thicket, they parleyed, but to
small purpose, getting nothing but foul language. So
our Captain dared the sachim to come out and fight
like a man, showing how base and womanlike he was
in tonguing it as he did ; but he refiised, and fled.
So the Captain returned to the plantation ; where he
released the women, and would not take their beaver
coats from them, nor suffer .the least discourtesy to be
offered them.

Now were Mr. Weston's people resolved to leave
their plantation, and go for Munhiggen, hoping to get
passage and return^ with the fishing ships. The Cap-
tain told them, that for his own part he durst there
live with fewer men than they were ; yet since they
were otherways minded, according to his order from

' His bow. ^ To England.



CHAP, the governors and people of Plymouth, he would help
^-^ them with corn competent for their provision by the
162 3. ^yav; which he did, scarce leaving himself more than
brouo^ht them home. Some of them disliked the


choice of the body to go to Munhiggen, and therefore
desiring to go with him to Plymouth, he took them
into the shallop ; and seeing them set sail, and clear
of the Massachuset bay,' he took leave and returned to
Plymouth ; whither he came in safety, blessed be God !
and brought the head of Wituwamat with him.

Amongst the rest, there was an Indian youth, that
was ever of a courteous and loving disposition- towards
us. He, notwithstanding the death of his country-
men, came to the Captain without fear, saying, his
good conscience and love towards us imboldened him
so to do. This youth confessed, that the Indians in-
tended to kill Mr. Weston's people, and not to delay
any longer than till they had two more canoes or boats,

' "Thus this plantation is broken in the bottom of the bay betweea

up in a year; and this is the end of Pascataquak and Merrimak river,

those who being all able men, had and hardly escapes with his life,

boasted of their strength and what Afterwards he falls into the hands

they would bring to pass, in com- of the Indians, who pillage him of

parison of the people at Plymouth, all he saved from the sea, and strip

who had many women, children, him of all his clothes to his shirt,

and weak ones with them ; and At length he gets to Pascataquak,

said at their first arrival, when borrows a suit of clothes, finds

they saw the wants at Plymouth, means to come to Plymouth, and

ihatthey would take another course, desires to borrow some beaver of

and not fall into such a condition us. Notwithstanding our straits,

as this simple people were come to." yet in consideration of his neces-

Bradford, in Prince, p. 214, and in sity, we let him have one hundred

Morton, p. 92. and seventy odd pounds of beaver,

" Shortly after Mr. Weston's peo- with which he goes to the east-
pie went to the eastward, he comes ward, stays his small ship and
there himself with some of the fish- some of his men, buys provisions
ermen, under another name and and fits himself, which is the foun-
disguise of a blacksmith ; where dation of his future courses ; and
he hears the ruin of his plantation ; yet never repaid us any thing save
and getting a shallop with a man reproaches, and becomes our ene-
or two comes on to see how things my on all occasions." Bradford, in
are; hut in a storm is cast away Prince, p. 216. See note' on p. 78.


which Mr. Weston's men would have finished by this chap.
time, having made them three ah'eady, had not the ^^
Captain prevented them ; and the end of stay for those 162 3.
boats was to take their ship therewith.

Now was the Captain returned and received with
joy, the head being brouglit to the fort, and there set
up.^ The governors and captains with divers others
went up the same further, to examine the prisoner,
who looked piteously on the head. Being asked
whether he knew it, he answered. Yea. Then he
confessed the plot, and that all the people provoked
Obtakiest, their sachim, thereunto, being drawn to it
by their importunity. Five there were, he said, that
prosecuted it with more eagerness than the rest. The
two principal were killed, being Pecksuot and Witu-
wamat, whose head was there ; the other three were
powahs, being yet living, and known unto us, though
one of them was wounded, as aforesaid. For himself,
he would not acknowledge that he had any hand
therein, begging earnestly for his life, saying he was
not a Massachuset man, but as a stranger lived with
them. Hobbamock also gave a good report of him,
and besought for him ; but was bribed so to do. Nev-
ertheless, that we might show mercy as well as ex-
tremity, the Governor released him, and the rather,
because we desired he might carry a message to Ob-
takiest, his master. No sooner were the irons from
his legs, but he would have been gone ; but the Gover-

1 " This may excite in some year 1747, the heads of the lords

minds an objection to the humanity who were concerned in the Scots

of our forefathers. The reason as- rebellion were set up over Temple

signed for it was that it might Bar, the most frequented passage

prove a terror to others. In mat- between London and Westmin-

ters of war and public justice, they ster." Belknap's Am. Biog. ii.

observed the customs and laws of 326.
the English nation. As late as the


CHAP, nor bid him stay, and fear not, for he should receive


no hurt ; and by Hobbamock commanded him to de-
162 3. Hver this message to his master : That for our parts it

Mar. .

never entered into our hearts to take such a course
with them, till their own treachery enforced us there-
unto, and therefore they might thank themselves for
their own overthrow ; yet since he had begun, if again
by any the like courses he did provoke him, his coun-
try should not hold him ; for he would never suffer
him or his to rest in peace, till he had utterly con-
sumed them ; and therefore should take this as a
' warning; further, that he should send to Patuxet
the three Englishmen he had, and not kill them ; also
that he should not spoil the pale and houses at Wicha-
guscusset ; and that this messenger should either bring
the English, or an answer, or both ; promising his safe

This message was delivered, and the party would
have returned with [an] answer, but was at first dis-
suaded by them, whom afterwards they would, but
could not persuade to come to us. At length, though
long, a woman came and told us, that Obtakiest was
sorry that the English were killed, before he heard
from the Governor ; otherwise he would have sent
them. Also she said, he would fain make his peace
again with us ; but none of his men durst come to
treat about it, having forsaken his dwelling, and daily
removed from place to place, expecting when we
would take further vengeance on him.

Concerning those other people, that intended to
join with the Massacheuseuks against us, though we
never went against any of them ; yet this sudden and
unexpected execution, together with the just judgment


of God upon their guilty consciences, hath so terri- chap.
fied and amazed them, as in like manner they for- — v-^
sook their houses, running; to and fro like men distract- IJ^^^-

, ,. . . Mar.

ed, living in swamps and other desert places, and so

brought manifold diseases amongst themselves, where-
of very many are dead ; as Canacum, the sachim
of Manomet, Aspinet, the sachim of Nauset, and la-
nough, sachim of Mattachiest. This sachim in his
life, in the midst of these distractions, said the God of
the English was offended with them, and would de-
stroy them in his anger ; and certainly it is strange to
hear how many of late have, and still daily die amongst
them. Neither is there any likelihood it will easily
cease ; because through fear they set little or no corn,
which is the staff of life, and without which they can-
not long preserve health and strength. From one of
these places a boat was sent with presents to the
Governor, hoping thereby to work their peace ; but
the boat was cast away, and three of the persons
drowned, not far from our Plantation. Only one escap-
ed, who durst not come to us, but returned ; so as
none of them dare come amongst us.

I fear I have been too tedious both in this and other
things. Yet when I considered how necessary a thing
it is that the truth and grounds of this action especially
should be made known, and the several dispositions of
that dissolved colony, whose reports undoubtedly will
be as various, I could not but enlarge myself where I
thought to be most brief. Neither durst I be too brief,
lest I should eclipse and rob God of that honor, glory,
and praise, which belongeth to him for preserving us
from falling when we w^ere at the pit's brim, and yet
feared nor knew not that we were in danger.



CHAP. The month of April beine: now come, on all hands


— ^ we began to prepare for corn. And because there was
162 3. no corn left before this time, save that was preserved
' for seed, being also hopeless of relief by supply, we
thought best to leave off all other works, and pro-
secute that as most necessary. And because there
was 110^ small hope of doing good, in that common
course of labor that formerly we were in f for that the
governors, that followed men to their labors, had no-
thing to give men for their necessities, and therefore
could not so well exercise that command over them
therein, as formerly they had done ; especially con-
sidering that self-love wherewith every man, in a
measure more or less, loveth and preferreth his own
good before his neighbour's, and also the base disposi-
tion of some drones, that, as at other times, so now
especially would be most burdenous to the rest ; it was
therefore thought best that every man should use the

' The word 710 appears to be an ^ See note ^ on page S4.
error of the press. F.


best diligence he could for his own preservation, both chap.


in respect of the time present, and to prepare his own
corn for the year following; and bring in a competent 162 3.
portion for the maintenance of public officers, fisher-
men, &c., which could not be freed from their calling
without greater inconveniences. This course was to
continue till harvest, and then the governors to gather
in the appointed portion, for the maintenance of them-
selves and such others as necessity constrained to
exempt from this condition. Only if occasion served,
upon any special service they might employ such as
they thought most fit to execute the same, during this
appointed time, and at the end thereof all men to be
employed by them in such service as they thought
most necessary for the general good. And because
there is great difference in the ground, that therefore a
set quantity should be set down for a person, and each
man to have his fall by lot,* as being most just and
equal, and against which no man could except.

At a general meeting of the company, many courses
were propounded, but this approved and followed, as
being the most likely for the present and future good
of the company ; and therefore before this month
began to prepare our ground against seed-time.

In the midst of April we began to set, the weather
being then seasonable, which much encouraged us,
giving us good hopes of after plenty. The setting
season is good till the latter end of May. But it
pleased God, for our further chastisement, to send a
great drought ; insomuch as in six weeks after the

' This allotment was only for lot, as before, he gives every person

one year. In the spring of the next an acre of land." Bradford, in

year, 1623-4, " the people request- Prince, pp. 215 and 226. See this

ing the Governor to have some land latter allotment in Hazard, i. 100,

for continuance, and not by yearly and in Morton, p. 376.


CHAP, latter setting there scarce fell any rain ; so that the

ii^ stalk of that was first set began to send forth the ear,

162 3. before it came to half growth, and that which was

'^"^^' later, not like to yield any at all, both blade and stalk

hanging the head, and changing the color in such

manner, as we judged it utterly dead. Our beans also

ran not up according to their wonted manner, but

stood at a stay, many being parched away, as though

they had been scorched before the fire. Now were

our hopes overthrown, and we discouraged, our joy

being turned into mourning.^

To add also to this sorrowful estate in which we
were, we heard of a supply that was sent unto us
many months since, which having two repulses before,
was a third time in company of another ship three
hundred leagues at sea, and now in three months time
heard no further of her ; only the signs of a wreck
were seen on the coast, which could not be judged to
be any other than the same.^ So that at once God

' " But by the time our corn is divide among the company ; and

planted, our victuals are spent, in the winter are helped with fowl

not knowing at night where to and ground-nuts." Bradford, in

have a bit in the morning, and Prince, p. 216.

have neither bread nor corn for * "At length we receive letters

three or four months together, yet from the adventurers in England

bear our wants with cheerfulness of December 22 and April 9 last,

and rest on providence. Having wherein they say, ' It rejoiceth us

but one boat left, we divide the much to hear those good reports

men into several companies, six that divers have brought home of

or seven in each ; who take their you;' and give an account, that last

turns to go out with a net and fall, a ship, the Paragon, sailed

fish, and return not till they get from London with passengers, for

some, though they be five or six New Plymouth ; being fitted out

days out ; knowing there is nothing by Mr. John Pierce, in whose name

at home, and to return empty our first patent was taken, his name

Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 30 of 44)