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storms. It was not safe, at that season, in the boat,
to attempt to sail around the head of the cape, and to
brave the storms of the Atlantic on the eastern shore.
He therefore sailed across the bay in a southeasterly
direction, and entering Barnstable Bay, ascended a
little creek called Namskeket, which ran inland nearly
a mile. From the head of this creek it was but two
miles across the cape to Manamoyake Bay, where the
vessel was stranded.

The Indians, accustomed to portages, were read-
ily hired to transport the articles across the land.
The shoulders of the Indian women would bear very
heavy burdens. The arrival of the Governor with
the abundant supplies caused great rejoicing. He
spent a few days with them, and then, returning to
his boat, sailed along the inner coast till he had pur-
chased of the natives a full cargo of corn, with which
he replenished the granaries at Plymouth.

The stranded vessel was repaired and floated,
when another fierce tempest arose, and she was
driven, a hopeless wreck, upon the shore. The beach
in Chatham, where she was stranded, is still called


the " Old Ship." Remains of the wreck were visible
within the present century.

Some of these shipwrecked emigrants were men
of wealth, bringing with them many servants to culti-
vate large estates in Virginia. But the majority were
men in the humble walks of life. Application was
immediately made to Governor Bradford that they all
might be permitted to repair to Plymouth, and to re-
main there until they shouM have the means to con-
vey themselves to Virginia. The humane Pilgrims,
ever ready to do a kind deed, without hesitancy ac-
ceded to their request. Boats were sent up the
Namskeket Creek, and with great labor the ship-
wrecked emigrants and their goods were transported
to the Christian colony.

" After they were hither come," writes the Gover-
nor, " and something settled, the masters desired
some ground to employ their servants upon, seeing it
was like to be the latter end of the year before they
could have passage for Virginia, and they had now
the winter before them ; they might clear some ground
and plant a crop, to help bear their charge, and keep
their servants in employment. And if they had op-
portunities to depart before the same was ripe, they
would sell it on the ground. So they had ground
appointed them in convenient places."

Among these emigrants there were many irrelig-


ious and disorderly men. Some were men of high
character, who were highly appreciated by the Pil-
grims. But there was general rejoicing in the little
colony at the end of the summer, when two vessels
arrived from England, and conveyed them to their
original destination in Virginia.

It was now decided to build a pinnace, on the
southern coast of the Cape, so that they could easily
run along the shore there, in both directions, engag-
ing in trade with the Indians. About twenty miles
south of Plymouth, upon the shore of Buzzard's Bay,
in the present town of Sandwich, there was a small
harbor called Manomet, which the Pilgrims had not
unfrequently visited. Sailing down from Plymouth
on the north side, they could approach this spot
within about four or five miles. Thus all the furs and
corn which they could purchase on the south and
eastern shores of the cape, could be sent across this
" carrying place," and thence could be conveyed to
Plymouth, avoiding the dangerous navigation around
the cape. A boat-house was built here, and also a
dwelling-house, where a few agents were stationed, to
navigate the boat and to engage in agriculture. The
enterprise proved eminently successful.

Again the company sent Mr. Allerton to England
with a cargo of furs, to meet their engagements there,
and to obtain authority to establish a trading-post on


the Kennebec River. The Dutch were establishing
trading-posts and agricultural colonies near the mouth
of the Hudson, and many friendly messages and cour-
teoiJs acts were interchanged between these two
parties. There were many English refugees in Ley-
den who, upon the death of their pastor, Mr. Robin-
son, were anxious to join their friends in America.
They had expressed this desire very earnestly ; but
they were poor. They were unable to provide them-
selves with an outfit, or even to pay for their passage
across the Atlantic. In order to aid these exiled and
impoverished brethren, Governor Bradford, Captain
Standish, and several others, formed a company and
purchased of the Plymouth colony all their right to
trade with the Indians for six years. For this they
paid twelve thousand dollars. The main object of the
purchasers seemed to be to raise money enough to
bring over their friends from Holland. There were
eight of the Pilgrim fathers united with four gentle-
men in London who assumed these responsibilities.
Very truly Mr. Baylies writes :

"The generosity of the chiefs of the colony to
their Leyden brethren is unparalleled. They almost
deprived themselves of the common necessaries of life
to get them over, and to support them until they were
able to support themselves ; laboring at the same time
under heavy debts, for which they paid exorbitant


Interest. But their necessities seemed only to stimu-
late them to greater exertions." *

This new company, having obtained a patent for
a trading-post on the Kennebec River, erected a
house in a place called Cushenoe, now the city of
Augusta. Here they collected, for purposes of trade,
a large supply of coats, shirts, rags, blankets, biscuit,
pease, etc. In the month of August, 1629, thirty-five
families arrived at Plymouth from Leyden. Nine
months after, in May, 1630, another ship arrived,
bringing several more families. The new company,
of which the Governor and the captain were the prin-
cipal men, paid all their expenses, though they
amounted to two thousand seven hundred dollars.
Houses were assigned to them ; grounds were pur-
chased for them, and they were fed from the public
stores for more than a year. When we remember
that there was no blood relationship between these
parties, no partnership, no bond of union excepting
Christian charity ; that the benefactors were poor,
struggling for their own support, and that many of
those whom thfey were thus aiding they had never
seen before, we must regard this act as one of ex-
traordinary generosity.

A trading-post had been established on the Pen-
obscot River, at a point called Bagaduce, now Cas-

* Blake's Plymouth Colony, p. 153.


tine. Here a very lucrative trade was transacted
with the Indians, mainly in furs. The French claimed
this post as within their domain. A small French
vessel entered the bay, and finding the post defence-
less, rifled it of all its contents, and carried off three
hundred pounds of beaver skins and other property
to the value of over two thousand dollars. Governor
Bradford, in his description of this annoying event,
writes :

" It was in this manner : The master of the house,
and part of the company with him, were come with
their vessel to the westward to fetch a supply of goods
which was brought over for them. In the mean time
comes a small French ship into the harbor ; and
amongst the company was a false Scot. They pre-
tended that they were newly come from the sea, and
knew not where they were, and that their vessel was
very leaky, and desired that they might haul her
ashore and stop her leaks. And many French com-
pliments they used and conges they made. And in
the end, seeing but three or four simple men, that
were servants, and by this Scotchman understanding
that the master and the rest of the company were
gone from home, they fell of commending their guns
and muskets that lay upon racks by the wall-side.
They took them down to look on them, asking if they
were charged. And when they were possessed of


them, one presents a piece, ready charged, against
the servants, and another a pistol, and bid them not
stir, but quietly deliver up their goods. They carried
some of the men aboard, and made the others help
to carry away the goods. And when they had taken
what they pleased, they set them at liberty and went
their way with this mockery, bidding them tell their
master when he came, that some of the Isle of Rye
gentlemen had been there."

The emigration from England rapidly increased
and, ere long, the colony numbered fifteen hundred
souls. In the year 1628, John Endicot, with a party
of emigrants, established rather a feeble settlement
at Salem, then called Naumkeag. On the 3Oth of
May, 1630, another party commenced a colony at Dor-
chester, then called Mattapan. In the months of
June and July of the same year, a fleet of eleven ves-
sels arrived from England, bringing over a large num-
ber of passengers, and, after some deliberation, they
selected what is now Charlestown for their principal
settlement. A part of the company went to Water-
town. About fifteen hundred came over during the

The Puritans in England were now gaining the
ascendency. Men of influence and rank were join-
ing them. They were not at all disposed to bow the
knee to those who had heretofore been their persecu-


tors. The eminent John Winthrop came as Governor
of the powerful Massachusetts colony, which colony
was stronger in numbers, and far stronger in wealth
and influence, when it first landed, than was the Ply-
mouth Colony after long years of struggle with the
hardships of the wilderness. Governor Winthrop
was a gentleman of culture, position and wealth.
Two of the emigrants, Humphry and Johnson, had
married sisters of the Earl of Lincoln. Sir Richard
Saltonstall, who was one of their number, was son
of the Lord Mayor of London. There were many
others, men of family and fortune, who, having lived
in the enjoyments of large estates, were accustomed
to all the refinements of polished society. Others,
such as Hampden, Cromwell and Pym, who subse-
quently became conspicuous in the overthrow of the
tyrannic throne of Charles I, wished to join them,
but were prevented by a royal edict.

As early as 1623 there were as many as fifty ves-
sels engaged in fishing on the New England coast.
Several of these were owned by parties in Dorches-
ter, England. They sent a party of fourteen persons
to a spot near Cape Ann, where Gloucester now
stands, to commence a small settlement. It was their
main object to provide a home upon the land, to which
the sailors might resort for refreshment and rest, and
where they might be brought under religious influ-


ences. The site was purchased of the Plymouth
colony. They carried out live stock, and erected a
house, with a stage to dry fish, and with vats for the
manufacture of salt. The experiment proved an utter
failure, from the incompetence of the colonists.

The New World, as affording facilities for promis-
ing homes, was attracting ever increasing attention.
This led to the organization of a powerful company,
who obtained a grant of lands extending from the
Atlantic to the Western Ocean, and in width, run-
ning from three miles north of the Merrimac river to
a line three miles south of the Charles. The com-
pany invested with this immense territory consisted
of a number of private individuals, who, by their
charter, became invested with almost imperial pow-
ers. The Plymouth colonists recognized the supe-
rior numbers, opulence and rank of their Massachu-
setts brethren, and were ever ready to render to them
the precedence. And though the Massachusetts
colonists were occasionally somewhat arrogant, as if
fully conscious of their superiority, they were gener-
ally just, and at times even generous, to those breth-
ren who were in entire accord with them in religious
faith, and whose virtues they could not but revere.

The advent of these colonists was a great blessing
to the Indians. The men of Plymouth and of Mas-
sachusetts, alike recognizing that universal brother-


hood which Christianity so prominently enforces, were
disposed to treat the Indians with the utmost kind-
ness, and to do everything in their power to elevate
and bless them. They purchased their lands, their
corn and their furs, and paid fair prices for them, thus
introducing into their wigwams comforts of which they
previously had no conception. The Indians were
thus stimulated to industry, and these friendly rela-
tions would have continued, to the inestimable benefit
of both parties, but for the outrages inflicted upon the
savages by such godless wretches as the infamous
Captain Hunt, the low and thieving gang of Wey-
mouth adventurers, and drunken sailors and reckless
vagabonds, who, fleeing from crimes in their own
country, gave loose to unrestrained passions in this
New World.

The Pilgrims had no power to prevent these atro-
cities. The poor savages, ignorant and degraded,
knew not how to discriminate. If drunken white
men, vagabond sailors from some English vessel, pil-
fered their wigwams, insulting their wives and daugh-
ters, there was no law to which they could appeal,
and, in their benighted state, the only redress before
them was to violate, with still more terrible atrocities,
with torture and flame and blood, the inmates of some
white man's log house, the home, perhaps, of piety
and prayer, where the Indian, if hungry, would be


fed, if sick, would be nursed with true brotherly and
sisterly tenderness. Thus, in God's mysterious gov-
ernment of this world, the consequences of the crimes
of the vilest men fell with awful desolation upon the
heads of the best of men.

The Indians had no circulating medium. Indeed
they had no trade among themselves. In illustration
of the benefits which the coming of the Pilgrim
Fathers conferred upon them, let us again refer to the
trading-post established, about twenty miles south
from Plymouth, at Manomet, now Sandwich. Here,
upon a small but navigable stream, a dwelling and
storehouses were erected, where canoes and coasting
vessels from all along the shore, as far as New Am-
sterdam, at the mouth of the Hudson, could meet
in the exchange of their articles of value. A land
carriage of but about six miles, over the neck of the
Cape, the Suez of America, as it was then called,
brought them to the waters of Massachusetts Bay,
and to intercourse with all the settlements and Indian
villages scattered along its shores. Indian runners
could easily transport the light articles of traffic, and
thus the dangerous passage around the vast peninsula
of Cape Cod was avoided. Some circulating medium
seemed essential in the trade thus commenced and
rapidly extending.

The Narragansets and Pequots, residing upon


Narraganset and Buzzard's Bays, made, from the small
shells of a species of clam, a very beautiful ornamen-
tal belt, called wampum. The shells, graceful in
form, beautifully colored and highly polished, were
strung like beads, by a hole drilled through the cen-
tre, or were woven into rich embroidery. Three
purple shells or six white ones were considered equiv-
alent to an English penny. A string, two yards in
length, was valued at five shillings. The Dutch,
from New Amsterdam, sent cargoes to this trading-
post. Thus sugar, cloths of various texture, cutlery
and garden tools were obtained by the Indians.
Friendly relations existed, and the happiness thus
fostered might have continued uninterrupted but for
the wickedness of men who were strangers to the
principles which animated the Pilgrims.

A powerful Indian chief had his seat upon an ad-
joining hill, at the foot of which a busy Indian village
was nestled. When the Dutch, at the mouth of the
Hudson, first heard of this post, they sent a small
trading-vessel to it, with very friendly letters to Gov-
ernor Bradford. They landed and marched up to the
trading-house, accompanied by a band of music. The
trumpet notes, reverberating through those wilds,
must have emptied the Indian village to gaze upon
the unwonted scene. The Dutch commander sent
,an Indian runner to Governor Bradford, requesting


him to send a boat for him to the other side of the
bay, as he could not travel so far on foot through the
Indian trails. A boat was at once despatched to
what is now called Scussett, and the chief men of the
Dutch party were conveyed to Plymouth, where they
were received with the highest honors. They re-
mained several days with the Pilgrims, enjoying their
profuse hospitality, and were then sent back in the
boat. The friendly intercourse thus commenced, was
continued for several years uninterrupted. Governor
Bradford, speaking of the trade thus introduced, and
of its great advantage to the Indians, writes :

" But that which turned most to their profit, in
time, was an entrance into the trade of wampum.
Strange it was to see the great alteration it made in
a few years among the Indians themselves. For all
the Indians of these parts and the Massachusetts had
none or very little of it, excepting the chief and some
special persons, who wore a little of it for ornament.
It being only made and kept by the Pequots and Nar-
ragansets, who grew rich and potent by it ; whereas,
the rest, who use it not, are poor and beggarly.

" Neither did the English of this plantation, or
any other in the land, till now, that they had knowl-
edge of it from the Dutch, so much as know what it
was, much less that it was a commodity of that worth
and value. But after it grew thus to be a commodity


in these parts, these Indians fell into it also, and to
learn how to make it. It hath now continued a cur-
rent commodity about this twenty years, and it may
prove a drug in time. In the mean time it makes the
Indians of these parts rich and powerful."

Such were the humble beginnings of the com-
merce of New England. The very spot upon which
this trading-house stood can now be pointed out.
" On it may the traveller pause and reflect how things
then were ! how they now are ! Now, on what sea,
to what coast of the habitable globe have not their
descendants carried the products of their soil and in-
dustry, outstripping all other nations, with only Eng-
land as a rival." *

In the year 1630 the first public execution took
place. It will be remembered that one John Billing-
ton, a man of worthless character, had, in some way,
smuggled himself into the company of the Pilgrims.
He had two boys, who seem to have been as worth-
less as he himself. Governor Bradford had written
of him, " He is a knave, and so will live and die."
He had already, in 1621, for vile abuse of Captain
Standish, been condemned to have his neck and heels
tied together. For some alleged injury or insult, he
waylaid and shot a young man by the name of John
Newcomen. The murderer had adopted the opinion

* Life of Elder William Brevvster, p 335.


that the colonists had no power granted them to inflict
capital punishment. He had a fair trial before a jury
of twelve men. There was no doubt whatever re-
specting his guilt. The court had some doubt as to
its authority to inflict the penalty of death, since the
Council, from whom its authority was derived, had
no such power. The advice of Governor Winthrop
was sought, and that of the ablest men of the Massa-
chusetts colony. They advised, with perfect unanim-
ity, " that the murderer ought to die, and the land be
purged from blood." He was accordingly executed
in October, 1630.

In the year 1631, a singular event occurred. A
very eccentric man, calling himself Sir Christopher
Gardner, visited Massachusetts. He was descended,
it is said, from the illustrious house of the Bishop of
Winchester, and in his extended travels had visited
nearly all quarters of the globe. At Jerusalem, he
had been made knight of the Holy Sepulchre. Weary,
as he said, of the world, and desiring to do penance,
by bodily mortification, for his sins, he came to the
Pilgrims, offering to perform the most menial services
for his living. Still he brought over with him two
servants, and a very fine-looking woman whom he
called his cousin. He endeavored to join the church,
but they would not receive him. Being guilty of con-
duct for which he was about to be arrested and brought


to trial, he fled into the wilderness, and took refuge
with the Indians. The Massachusetts authorities
offered a reward for his capture and return to them.

Some of the Namasket Indians came to Governor
Bradford, from the vicinity of Middleborough, and
told him where Sir Christopher was, and that they
could easily kill him, but could not easily take him
alive ; that he was a desperate man, and had a gun
and sword, and that he would certainly kill some of
them should they attempt to take him. The Gover-
nor told them by no means to kill him, but to watch
their opportunity and to capture him. They did so,
and catching him one day by the side of a river, en-
deavored to surround him. In his attempts to escape,
by getting into a canoe to cross the stream, as he
presented his musket to his pursuers, to keep them
off the frail structure of bark, swept by the current
against a rock, turned under him, and he was thrown,
with his musket, into the water. Dripping, he reached
the shore, his musket no longer of any use, and his
only resource the rapier. He brandished that so
fiercely that the Indians did not dare close in upon
him. They, however, got some long poles, and with
blows such as savages would be likely to strike, beat
the sword out of his hands, fearfully bruising and
mangling them.

He being thus disarmed and rendered helpless,



they seized him and conveyed him to Governor Brad-
ford. As the Governor looked upon the poor man,
with his arms and hands terribly inflamed and swollen,
the Indians said : " We did not hurt him ; we only
whipped him a little with our sticks." The Governor
censured the Indians for beating him so cruelly, and
had his wounds tenderly nursed. Some papers upon
his person showed that he was a concealed papist,
and one who had enjoyed the highest advantages of
university education. Governor Winthrop, being in-
formed of his apprehension, caused him to be brought
to Massachusetts, and then sent him immediately to

This man sent in a petition, which two others
signed, to the British Government, condemning se-
verely both the colonies of Plymouth and Massachu-
setts, stating that they intended rebellion ; "that they
meant to be wholly separate from the church and
laws of England, and that their ministers and people
did continually rail against the state, the church and
the bishops."

Sir Richard Saltonstall, and two other prominent
members of the Massachusetts colony, were then in
England. They were called before the Council to
answer the accusation. They did it in writing, and
so satisfactorily, as to draw from the Council a vote of
approbation instead of condemnation. They were


also informed that, as freedom of religious worship was

one of the principal reasons of emigration to New
England, and that, as it was important to the govern-
ment to strengthen New England, it was not the in-
tention of his Majesty to impose the ceremonies of
the Church of England upon the colonists.

The first party of colonists for Massachusetts
embarked in six vessels. It consisted of three hun-
dred men, eighty women, married and single, and
twenty-six children, with an abundant outfit of food,
clothing, tools, and military weapons, and "a plentiful
provision of godly ministers." Mr. Francis Higgin-
son, one of the most prominent of these emigrants,
soon after his arrival wrote home saying :

" When we first came to Naumkeag, we found
about half a score of houses, and a fair house newly
built for the Governor. We found also abundance of
corn planted by them, very good and well liking.
And we brought with us about two hundred passen-
gers and planters more, which, by common consent
of the old planters, were all combined together in one
body politic, under the same Governor. There are
in all of us, both old and new planters, about three
hundred, whereof two hundred of them are settled at
Naumkeag, now called Salem, and the rest have
planted themselves at Massachusetts Bay, beginning
to build a town there which we do call Charlesto ivn.

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Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottMiles Standish, the Puritan captain .. → online text (page 15 of 21)