Henry White.

The early history of New England, illustrated by numerous interesting incidents online

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*'P God, our fathers have told us what work thou didst in their days.*'











H 1931 L

Entered according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1841,
By Rev. Henry White,
In the Clerk's OfHce of the District Court of New-Hampshire.

v.v^ :•



It has been the growing conviction of the author

of these pages, that there is much in the early his-
tory of New England suited to effect the happiest
results ; that it contains numerous incidents highly
adapted to exhibit God in a most glorious and de-
lightful view ; to give us admiring thoughts of his
wisdom, benevolence, and faithfulness ; to inflame
the love, strengthen the faith, and awaken the
gratitude of his people ; to interest and instruct
the mind, and to promote morality and religion in
the community.

With this impression, it seemed exceedingly de-
sirable that these incidents should be extensively
read. But hitherto they have been confined to a
•^ few rare works, so that, to most persons, they have
^ been inaccessible, and to a great degree unknown.
The design of this volume is, to embody these
incidents, and present them to the reader in one

Selections have been made from the folio wmg
works, viz. Mather's Magnalia, Winthrop's Journal,
Morton's New England Memorial, Prince's Chrono-
logy, Hubbard's History of New England ; the His-
tories of Hutchinson, Trumbull, Belknap, Williams,


Whiton, Williamson, Sullivan, Morse and Parish ;
Neal's History of New England ; Dwight's Tra-
vels ; the Annals of Holmes; Trumbull's History
of the United States, Hoyt's Antiquarian Researches
and Indian Wars, Barber's Historical Collections of
Massachusetts, Collections of the Massachusetts His-
torical Society, Goodrich's Church History, Annals
of Portsmouth, Memoirs of Roger Williams, Drake's
Indian Biography, Allen's Biographical Dictionary,
Hubbard's Indian Wars, Thacher's History of Ply-
mouth, Willis' History of Portland, Collections of
the New Hampshire Historical Society, Hawes' Tri-
bute to the Memory of the Pilgrims, Mirick's His-
tory of Haverhill, Williams' Memoir of Rev. John
Williams, Turner's Traits of Indian Character, Ba-
con's Historical Discourses, and Barber's Historical
Collections of Connecticut. Some incidents have
been taken from Miss Leslie's Boston Cards, and
from other small works.



Causes which led to the Emigration of the Fathers of New-
England page 7

Difficulties and Perils of the Voyage H

Hardships, Privations, and Sufferings of the first Company
and others, after their Arrival 13

The Manifestations of God's peculiar Regard for them 31

Remarkable Answers to Prayer 41

Public Calamities 47

Ambuscades, Assaults, Massacres, and Depredations of the
Indians J>8

A particular Account of several who fell into the Hands of

the Indians Ill

Remarkable Escapes and Preservations 179

Interesting Traits in the Indian Character 217

Interest manifested in the Welfare of the Indians, and its In-
fluence upon them 242

Estimate placed upon the Institutions of Religion by the first
Settlers of New England. . : 258


Miscellaneous 280







During the reign of Elizabeth, who ascended the
throne of England in 1558, there*hrose a class of people
who were called Puritans. They were so named from
the superior purity and simplicity of their mode of wor-
ship. In them were seen the happy fruits of the reforma-
tion from popery, which was to the church the ushering
in of a bright and glorious day, after a dark and dismal
night of ten centuries. They were lights upon the earth.
They increased in number, until they were found in every
portion of the kingdom. For a length of years they were
united in their mode of worship ; but, in 1602, a portion
of them, being dissatisfied with certain usages and cere-
monies practised by the great body, which they deemed
unscriptural, withdrew, and, '' as the Lord's free people,
joined themselves by covenant into a church state to walk
in all his ways, made known, or to be made known to
them, according to their best endeavors, whatever it might
cost them."

This church, having elected Rev. John Robinson their
pastor, emigrated to Holland, and settled at Leyden in
1610, where they remained nearly eleven years. But their
situation being unfavorable to their prosperity as a com-
munity, — their youth being greatly exposed to the evil
example of the Dutch, and their opportunities for useful-
ness limited and ill suited to their enlarged desires of doing
good, — they, after mature consideration and many fervent


prayers for divine direction, resolved to emigrate to the
unexplored shores of America. "It was agreed," says
Morton, " that part of the church should go before their
brethren into America, to prepare for the rest ; and if,
in case the major part of the church did choose to go
over with the first, then the pastor to go along with
them; but if the major part stayed, he was then to stay
with them." Accordingly, a vessel was procured, and
less than half their number sailed for England, where they
arrived about the 2d of July, 1620. Having engaged
another vessel, on the 6th of September following, they
embarked for America, and, on the 11th of November,
anchored in Cape Cod harbor ; having been more than
(wo months on the passage.

Causes of the chief influence in the removal of our
forefathers are found in the oppression of ecclesiastical
intolerance which prevailed in England, and in the desire
and hope of establishing the gospel and its institutions in
foreign parts.

Love of religious freedom is natural to man. We inhale
it with our very being. Accordingly, in every age, men
have been tenacious of the privilege of worshiping the
Supreme Being in a way suited to their own views of duty.
With this spirit the fathers of New England were deeply
imbued. They were men of enlightened views — magna-
nimous in their character — of warm and ardent feelings.
And no men living better understood the subject of human
rights than they. For several successive reigns, a spirit
of intolerance had oppressed and afflicted the Lord's
people in the mother country. Laws, prescribing certain
usages and modes of worship, and threatening the severest
penalties, were promulgated, and, more or less, severely
executed. A few brief facts will show the condition of
those times.

" An act," says Hoyt, '* was passed in 1593, for punish-
ing all who refused to come to church, or were present at
any conventicle, or unauthorized meeting. The punish-
ment was imprisonment until the convicted agreed to con-
form, and made declaration of his conformity ; and if that
was not done in three months, he was to quit the realm,
or go into perpetual banishment. In case he did not


depart within the time limited, or returned without license,
he was to suffer death."

In 1567, one " Bolton, with twenty-three men and
seven women, were sent to Bridewell, and kept there a
year," for absenting themselves from tlie meetings of the
established church, and repeatedly assembling to attend
upon the worship and ordinances of God in a way they
deemed according to the rules of Christ.

Prince says, that " in 1592, a company set up another
church in London, choosing Mr. Francis Johnson pastor,
and Mr. Greenwood teacher ; who, with fifty-four of their
church, were soon seized by the bishop's officers, and sent
to several jails, where some were loaded with irons, some
shut up in dungeons, some beat with cudgels, some, both
men and women, perished, Mr. Greenwood and Barrow
executed, others kept in close prison for four or five years."

Goodrich says of those times, " Toleration was a virtue
unknown on English ground. In exile alone was security
to be found from the pains and penalties of non-conform-
ity to the church of England." Speaking of Mr. Robin-
son and his people, when about to embark for Holland,
he says, " The design of this congregation being suspect-
ed, strict orders were given that they should not be suffered
to depart. They were necessitated to use the most secret
methods, to give extravagant fees to seamen, by whom they
were often betrayed. Twice they attempted to embark,
were discovered and prevented. At another time, having
got on board a ship, with their effects, the shipmaster
sailed a little distance, then returned and delivered them
to the resentment of their enemies. The next year they
made another attempt, in which, after the severest trials,
they succeeded. Having engaged a ship belonging to
Holland for their conveyance, they were going on board.
By some treachery, their enemies had been informed of
their design, and, at this juncture, a great number of armed
men came upon them. A part of the men were on board,
without any of their effects ; the women and children
were in a bark approaching the ship. The Dutch captain,
apprehensive of danger to himself, hoisted sail, and with
a fair wind directed his course to Holland. The passen-
gers used every effort to persuade him to return, in


vain. They saw their wives and children fall into the
hands of merciless enemies, while unable to afford them
any relief They had none of their effects, not even a
change of clothes, on board. — After some time, all their
friends who had been left, by the favor of a gracious Pro-
vidence, 171 perils of robbers, in perils by their own coun-
trymen, in perils in the sea, in perils a7nong false brethren,
arrived safely in Holland, where they mingled their mutual
congratulations with grateful praise to God."

Such being the character of the times in the mother
country, our fathers were induced to make their escape
from the trimly storin and tempest, and finally to take
refuge in this distant land, where they could breathe the
vital air of religious freedom.

Nor was it merely with the view of escaping the evils
which assailed them at home, that they crossed the Atlan-
tic, and took up their abode in a strange land. No, a
benevolent desire to benefit others greatly influenced their

True benevolence is expansive. It extends to all its
kind regards. It seeks the welfare of those it never saw.
This lovely principle dwelt in the bosom of our fathers,
and under its influence they lived and moved. They
knew that the savage tribes, which roamed this western
wilderness, were immortal like themselves ; that they were
lost in sin ; and that, without a knowledge of the blood of
Christ, they must perish. They knew, also, that they had
never seen the Bible, nor heard the gospel. A view of
their condition moved the pity of their heart. They felt
an unquenchable desire to come over and help them ; and
moved by this desire, as well as by the cause before
mentioned, they came over. Prince mentions, as a promi-
nent reason of their removal, " an inward zeal and great
hope of laying some foundation, or making way for pro-
pagating the kingdom of Christ to the remote ends of the
earth, though they should be as stepping stones to others."

Here is the spirit of 7nissions. Here is seen its true
character. It attc7npts great things — expects great things
• — is not influenced by a regard to self. It was not in
pursuit of fame — it was not to amass wealth — it was not to
aggrandize themselves or families, that the fathers of New


England visited these shores, and took up here their resi-
dence. No, like their descendants, — who, in these latter
days, hcive gone far hence to the heathen; like Paul, the
great apostle of the Gentiles; yea, like the Son of Gorl,
who came down to this world upon an errand of infinite
kindness, — they were influenced by a regard to the good
of others, were moved by a spirit of benevolence, a spirit
of missions.



Two vessels, the Speedwell and Mayflower, the one GO,
the other ISO tons, having been procured, and all things
made ready, the pilgrims went on board, and sailed from
Southampton the 5th of August, 1620. But it is not eve-
ry cloudless morning that is followed by a clear and plea-
sant day. Before them were difl^culties and perils that
would have unnerved the resolution of any but those Avho
could say, ** It is not with us as with other men, whom
small things can discourage or small discontentments cause
to wish ourselves at home again." They had not sailed
far, before the Speedwell was discovered to be leaky, and
they put into Dartmouth. Having refitted at great expense,
with loss of time and fair wind, they again put to sea.
When they had sailed about 100 leagues beyond Land's
End in England, the Speedwell was again found to be
leaky. Both vessels then returned and went into Plymouth.
Here it was resolved to dismiss the Speedwell, and as many
as could, one hundred and one in all, went on board the
Mayflower. The rest, twenty in number, after a sorrow-
ful parting, returned to London. Having now been de-
tained on the coast of England, perplexed with disappoint-
ments and delays, a full month, on the Gth of September,
they put to sea with a fair wind, and proceeded on their
way. About the middle of the voyage they were met by
cross winds, and severe and heavy storms lay on them for
many days together. They could carry no sail, and were



obliged to lie wholly at the mercy of winds and waves.
The vessel, through the violence of the storm, became
shattered and leaky, and one of the main beams in the mid-
ship was cracked, and removed from its place. Strong
fears were now felt that they should not be able to pro-
ceed. Accordingly, a consultation was held between the
passengers and officers of the ship, upon the subject of re-
turning. But there was a passenger on board who had
brought from Holland a large iron screw, by means of
which the fractured beam was brought to its place, and
made fast. They then renewedly committed themselves
to the care of a kind Providence, and proceeded on the
passage, and, on the 9th of November, at break of day,
to their exceeding joy, they made the land of Cape Cod.
But as it was their intention to settle somewhere about
Hudson's River, they bore away to the southward. Pro-
ceeding on in that direction about half a day, they found
themselves in the midst of perilous shoals and breakers.
Seeing that it would be exceedingly hazardous for them
to proceed, they returned to Cape Cod harbor, where they
anchored in safety on the 11th of November. " And being
brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees, and blessed
the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast
and furious ocean, and delivered them from many perils
and miseries."

How strongly are we here reminded of the fact which
often meets us on the page of history, that great and im-
portant events are jjreceded by dark and trying providences !
To the Israelites God gave the land of Canaan, but not
until they had passed through all that great and terrible
wilderness, and endured many privations and sufferings.
Columbus discovered and gave to the nations of Europe a
NEW WORLD, but uot Until he had been severely tried by
disappointments and the frowning disapprobation of those
in power ; not until he had crossed a pathless ocean,
outbraved fierce and appalling storms, and been in jeo-
pardy from a mutinous and daring crew. Our fathers
were put in possession of this goodly land ; but not until
they had endured difficulties and perils, such as have fallen
to none of their sons; such as were suited to deject and
lay low the courage of the firmest mind


Let none, after reading this account, conclude that they
are not in the path of duty, simply because their vva) ia
beset with trials and discouragements.

Nor let it pass unnoticed how small a circumstance
sometimes controls a great event. The fate of this voy-
age, it appears, turned on the mere incident that one of the
passengers had on board a screw, by means of which a
fractured beam was repaired and held in its place.

And it should be remembered that, even at this distance
of time, our hearts should swell with devout gratitude to
the great Ruler of the universe for bearing our fathers
through the perils of the deep, and landing them in safety
upon our shores. Who that treads the soil of New Eng-
land has not cause to be grateful ? For all, in one way
or another, are reaping the advantages of those noble in
stitutions our ancestors established. And how many, who
have gone before us, have partaken of similar benefits !



We have followed this little band in their trials along
the English coast, and at length across the stormy and
perilous ocean.

We now behold them on the unexplored coast of Ame-
rica, in a northern latitude, just at the setting in of winter ;
having no place of settlement, and not knowing that any
would or could be discovered ; without a shelter to screen
them from the piercing cold and storms of a severe en-
mate; with a vast ocean rolling between them and the
civilized world ; their only place of retreat a waste, howl-
ing wilderness, wearing the gloom of November, and
inhabited only by savage beasts and more savage men ;
with no kind friends to welcome them to these shores and
to their hospitable dwellings ; some of them having left


their wives either in Holland or EnghnrJ, while others
had left part, and some even all their children.

What a spectacle is here presented to our view ! One,
it should seem, that might awaken emotion in the breast
of the most unfeeling, and bring the tear of sympathy into
the dryest eye.

But true greatness docs not sit dovvn in despondency.
It looks upward to God's merciful throne for guidance
.and support, and goes steadily forward in the path of duty,
trials and discouragements notwithstanding.

Before leaving Holland, this little company had sent
over to England, and, after long delay, and no little diffi-
culty, obtained of the South Virginia Company a charter,
which secured to them the right of settlement about Hud-
son's River. But it gave them neither right nor power
on the coast of New England, which was in another juri^
diction. Consequently, this instrument was useless, and
they were in a manner " reduced to a state of nature."

This being their condition, they deemed it important
to form themselves " into a body politic under the crown
of England." Accordingly, on the 11th of November,
after uniting in prayer to Almighty God, by mutual con-
sent they entered into a solemn combination, as a body
politic, to submit to such government and governors, laws
and ordinances as should, by general consent, from time
to time, be made choice of, and consented to." Thev
elected Mr. John Carver their governor for the first year.

Having taken these preparatory measures for their secu-
rity and prosperity, they, on the same day, set fifteen or
sixteen men on shore to make discoveries and procure
wood. They returned at evening, having seen neither
house nor inhabitant.

On Monday, the ISth of November, many went on shore
to refresh themselves, and the wornen for washing. In
passing from the ship to the shore, they were obliged to
wade through the water quite a distance; and the weather
being cold and freezing, numbers caught cold, which
hrouaht on a severe cough. Many of them did not sur-
vive the approaching \\ inter.

On the 15th, while the boat, called the shallop, was
refitting, Capt. Standish with sixteen men set out in search


of a place of settlement. Directing their course south-
ward, they had not marched far, before they saw five or
six Indians, who Hed from them into the woods. They
pursued, but could not overtake them. Night coming on,
they passed it in the wilderness. The next day they found
a number of Indian graves ; near which they discovered a
quantity of corn buried in the ground. They took part
of it, intending to satisfy the natives the first opportunity.
They now set out on their return. Having arrived at a
large pond they had visited in coming from the ship, they
built a barricado, kindled a fire, set sentinels, and retired
for the night, which proved very rainy. The next day
they lost their way, wandering about, not knowing what
course to take. At length, after travelling through woods,
over sands, and in water, sometimes up to the knees, they
reached the ship, where they received a joyful welcome.

On the 27th of November, the shallop being repaired,
twenty-four of their number, Mr. Jones, the master of the
ship, and nine sailors, set out upon another expedition for
discovery. Before they had proceeded far, the weather
became rough and the wind contrary, and they were forced
to row for the nearest shore, wading above their knees to
the land. It blew, and snowed, and froze, all this day
and night ; and disease, which soon terminated the life of
many of them, originated in this exposure. The next day
they sailed for the port they were in pursuit of, but found
it unfit for shipping. They landed, however, and marched
four or five miles along a creek, passing over hills and
valleys, the snow being half a foot deep. Having become
weary, they encamped for the night under a cluster of
pine-trees. They had eaten little during the day; but a
kind Providence furnished them with three geese and six
ducks for their supper, which they ate with a good appe-
tite. The next day, in digging for the discovery of corn,
they found the ground to be frozen a foot in depth — such
had been the severity of the weather. Capt. Jones, with
fifteen others, some of whom had become weak and feeble,
and others sick, set out on their return to the sliip.
Ei^rhteen remained to make further discoveries. On the
following day, they marched five or six miles into the
woods, but discovering no signs of inhabitants, returned.


The shallop arriving, they went on board at night, and the
next day returned to the ship. They remained on board
several days ; during which, one of their number, named
Edward Thomson, died, and, before the close of Decem-
ber, Jive others were called down to the grave.

On the (ith of December, a company set out on a third
expedition. The weather being very cold, the spray of
the sea froze upon their clothes so that they were com-
pletely covered with ice. At night they found themselves
at the lower end of the bay. As they drew near the shore,
they saw ten or twelve Indians cutting up a fish. They
landed a league or two from them ; but it was with much
difficulty that they reached the shore, on account of shoals.
After making preparations for the night, they betook them
selves to their lodgings, such as they were, the smoke of
the Indians' fire being in full view, about four or five miles
distant. The next morning they divided their company, a
part travelling along the shore, while the rest coasted along
the shoaJs. About nine or ten o'clock, they lost sight of
the shallop. They roved about, making discoveries, until
night, when they hasted out of the woods, and seeing
the shallop, they made a signal for her to come into the
creek. Here they passed the night. At five in the morn-
ing, they arose, united in prayer, and were expecting soon
to go on board the shallop, when one of their number cam©
running in, calling out, *' Indians! Indians !" At this mo-
ment the arrows came flying about them. The cry of the
Indians was dreadful. The company defended themselves
most manfully. One of the enemy, who was more stout
and brave than the rest, stood behind a tree and discharged
his arrows. He kept his position until three muskets were

Online LibraryHenry WhiteThe early history of New England, illustrated by numerous interesting incidents → online text (page 1 of 39)