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the great sagamore, Massasoit. He received a pres-
ent of a knife, a bracelet and a ring, promising to
return in a few days, bringing with him some of Mas-
sasoit's people, and some beaver skins to sell.

Sunday, the i8th, was another mild and lovely
day. As the colonists were assembling for the Sab-
bath devotions, Samoset again made his appearance,
with five tall Indians in his train. They were all
dressed in deer skins, fitting closely to the body.
The most of them had also a panther's skin, or some
similar furs on his arm, for sale. As Captain Stand-
ish did not deem it safe to allow any armed savages
to enter the town, he made a previous arrangement
with Samoset, that whoever of the Indians he might
bring with him, should leave their bows and arrows a
quarter of a mile distant from this village. This ar-
rangement was faithfully observed. Samoset also
brought back the tools, which, it will be remembered,
had been carried away by the Indians. Mourt, in


his Relation, describes, in the following language, the
appearance of these strange visitors :

" They had, most of them, long hosen (leggins)
up to their groins, close made ; and above their groins
to the waist, another leather. They were altogether
like the Irish trousers. They are of complexion like
our English gipseys ; no hair, or very little, on their
faces ; on their heads, long hair to their shoulders,
only cut before ; some trussed up before with a
feather, broadwise like a fan ; another a fox tail hang-
ing out. Some of them had their faces painted black,
from the forehead to the chin, four or five fingers
broad ; others after other fashions, as they liked."

The Pilgrims, anxious to win the confidence and
friendship of the natives, received these savages with
the utmost kindness, and very hospitably entertained
them. They seemed to relish very highly the food
which was set before them, and manifested their sat-
isfaction and friendship by singing hilariously, and
performing the most grotesque antics in a dance. It
was Sunday, and this was not pleasing to these devout
exiles. They told Samoset that they could not enter
into any traffic on that day ; but that if he and his
companions would withdraw and return upon the mor-
row, or any other day of the week, they would pur-
chase, not only all the furs they had with them, but
any others which they might bring. Each one was


made happy with a present of some article which to
him was of almost priceless value. They all retired
except Samoset. Pie refused to go, asserting, and as
the Pilgrims thought, feigning, that he was sick. He
therefore remained until Wednesday. Each of these
men carried his commissariat stores with him, con-
sisting of a small bag of the meal of parched corn.
Mr. Gookin, in an article in the Massachusetts Histor-
ical Collection, writes :

"The Indians make a certain sort of meal of
parched maize, which they call nokake. It is so sweet,
toothsome and hearty that an Indian will travel many
days with no other food but this meal, which he eat-
eth as he needs, and after it drinketh water. And
for this end, when they travel a journey or go a hunt-
ing, they carry this nokake in a basket or bag, for their

Roger Williams says, " Nokake, or parched meal,
is a ready, very wholesome food, which they eat with
a little water, hot or cold. I have travelled with near
two hundred of them at once, near a hundred miles
through the woods, every man carrying a little basket
of this at his back, and sometimes in a hollow leather
girdle about his middle, sufficient for a man three or
four days. With this ready provision and their bows
and arrows, they are ready for war or travel at an
hour's warning."


The corn was usually parched in hot ashes, and
then, after having the ashes carefully brushed off, was
beat to powder. About a gill of this mixed with
water, taken three times a day, gave them sufficient
nourishment. With no other food than this, a man
would often travel through the woods four or five days,
carrying a very heavy burden upon his back.

When the Mayflower was leaving England, a man
by the name of John Billington, uninvited, with two
ungovernable boys, joined the company. He proved
to be a very uncongenial companion. Governor
Bradford, writing of him, said : " This Billington was
one of the profanest among us. He came from Lon-
don, and I know not by what friends, was shuffled
into our company." Again, Governor Bradford wrote
to Mr. Cushman, in June, 1625, " Billington still rails
against you, and threatens to arrest you, I know not
wherefore. He is a knave, and so will live and die."
In " Mourts' Narrative," under date of December 5th,
he writes :

" This day, through God's mercy, we escaped a
great danger by the foolishness of a boy, one of Bil-
lington's sons, who, in his father's absence, had got
gunpowder, and had shot off a piece or two and made
squibs ; and there being a fowling-piece charged in
his father's cabin, shot her off in the cabin." There
was half a keg of powder in the cabin, with many


grains scattered over the floor ; also flints and pieces
of iron strowed about. It was a very narrow escape
from an explosion which might have blown the May-
flower, with all its occupants, into the air. This John
Billington, " a mischievous and troublesome fellow,"
was dissatisfied with the authority with which Captain
Standish was invested. He endeavored to under-
mine his influence by assailing him with insulting and
opprobrious language. This was a very serious of-
fense, since, in their perilous position, it was a matter
of infinite moment that the orders of their military
commander should be implicitly obeyed. The whole
company was convened to try the culprit and pass
sentence upon him. " He was adjudged to have his
neck and heels tied together. But upon humbling
himself and craving pardon, and it being the first of-
fense, he was forgiven."

The Indians.

Two Savages on the Hill. The Return of Samoset with Squantum.
The Story of Squantum. The Visit of Massasoit and His War-
riors. Etiquette of the Barbarian and Pilgrim Courts. The
Treaty. Return of the Mayflower to England. A View of Ply-
mouth. Brighter Days. Visit of Messrs. Winslow and Hop-
kins to the Seat of Massasoit. Incidents of the Journey.

Several days passed, and the Indians, who had
retired into the forest, did not return. The cottages
of the Pilgrims, each man building his own, had now
v become habitable, and Monday and Tuesday, the
weather being fair, they were busy digging the ground
and sowing their garden seeds. On Wednesday morn-
ing, the 2 ist of March, Samoset was sent into the
woods to ascertain why the Indians did not come back
according to their promise. He had but just disap-
peared in the forest when two savages, in war cos-
tume and thoroughly armed, appeared upon the hill,
on the other side of Town Brook the same eminence
upon which the two Indians had appeared on the i /th
of February and brandishing their weapons, with
every demonstration of hostility, seemed to bid the


new-comers defiance. This was probably one of the
acts in their drama of incantation.

Captain Standish, who was ever prompt to assume
any office of danger, took a companion with him and
advanced to meet the challengers. They both took
their muskets, but carefully avoided any attitude of
menace. Two other Pilgrims followed, at a little dis-
tance, also with their muskets, to render aid should
there be any rush of the Indians from an ambush.
But before Captain Standish had arrived within arrow-
shot of the natives they both turned, as before, and

In consequence of sickness and the imperfect ac-
commodations on the shore, several of the Pilgrim
company had thus far remained on board the May-
flower. To-day, however, the shallop brought them
all to the land, and their colonizing became complete.
One-half of the crew of the ship had already died ;
and so many of the remainder were enfeebled by sick-
ness that Captain Jones did not deem it safe to un-
dertake his return voyage in so crippled a condition.
A month passed before the sick and his diminished
crew were so far recovered as to allow him to venture
to set sail.

The sun of Thursday morning, with healing in its
beams, rose bright and warm over the busy little vil-
lage of the exiles. The dreary winter had manifestly


passed. The sick were generally recovering, and
there was presented a very cheering scene of peace,
industry and happiness. At noon all the men had
met upon some public business, when, in the midst
of their deliberations, they saw Samoset returning, ac-
companied by three other Indians. The name of one
was Squantum, and it was said that he was the only
surviving member of the Patuxat tribe, who had for-
merly occupied the territory upon which the Pilgrims
had now settled.

His story, undoubtedly truthful, was that he was
one of the men whom Captain Hunt had so infamously
kidnapped. He had been carried to Spain and sold
there as a slave. A humane Englishman, whose name
we love to perpetuate, Mr. John Slaney, chanced to
meet the poor fugitive. He liberated him, took him
to England, and treated him with that truly fraternal
kindness which Christianity enjoins upon all men.
At length he had an opportunity to send Squantum
back to his native land.

Good deeds and bad deeds ever bear their corre-
sponding fruit. As the treachery of the miserable
Hunt caused the hostility of the Indians, the massa-
cre of the shipwrecked Frenchmen, and the attack at
the First Encounter, so did the brotherly kindness of
good John Slaney secure for the Pilgrims, in theii
Hour of need, a permanent and influential friend.


Squantum, forgetting the outrage of the knave who
had kidnapped him, remembered only the kindness
of his benefactor. His residence in England had
rendered him quite familiar with the English language,
and he became invaluable to the Pilgrims as an inter-
preter. He attached himself cordially to them, and
taught them many things of great value in their new
life in the wilderness. And when, after many years,
he died, the good old man was heard praying that
God would take him to the heaven of the white men.

Squantum had joined the powerful tribe of the
Wampanoags, his own tribe having become extinct.
These Indians brought with them a few skins to sell,
and some dried red herrings ; and they also an-
nounced the rather startling intelligence that their
great Sagamore, or King Massasoit, accompanied by
his brother Quadequina and a retinue of sixty war-
riors, was near at hand to pay the Pilgrims a friendly

After the lapse of an hour Massasoit appeared
on the top of Watson's Hill with his plumed warriors.
From that eminence, distant about a quarter of a
mile, they had a perfect view of the little village, and
were conspicuously exposed to the view of the Pil-
grims. Under the circumstances, knowing not what
might be the treachery of the Indians, Captain Stand-
ish did not deem it safe to allow so powerful a band


of armed savages to enter the village, or to allow any
considerable band of his weak force to withdraw from
behind the intrenchments which they had reared, and
to go out to meet the royal retinue. Neither did
Massasoit deem it prudent to place himself in the
power of the white men, whom the treachery of Hunt
had caused him to dread.

After several messages had passed to and fro
between the two parties, through Squantum, their in-
terpreter, Massasoit, who, though unlettered, proved
himself to be a man of much sagacity, proposed that
the Pilgrims should send one of their men to his en-
campment to communicate to him their designs in
settling upon ands which had belonged to one of his
vassal tribes. Mr. Edward Winslow consented to go
upon this important and somewhat hazardous mis-
sion. He took, as a present to the barbarian mon-
arch, two skins and a copper necklace, with a jewel
attached to it. He also took to Quadequina a knife,
an ear-ring, consisting of a pendent jewel, some bis-
cuit and butter, and, we are sorry to add, a jug of
rum ; but those were the days cf ignorance which
God winked at.

Mr. Winslow, accompanie b Squantum, as his

interpreter, crossed the brook, ascended Watson's

Hill, and presented himself before the Indian chief.

r< Our messenger," writes Mourt, " made a speech



unto him, that King James saluted him with words
of love and peace, and did accept him as his friend
and ally ; and that our Governor desired to see him,
and to truck with him, and to confirm a peace with
him, as his next neighbor."

Massasoit listened attentively to the speech, as
communicated to him by the interpreter, and seemed
much pleased with it. In token of amity, they had a
little feast together. Massasoit seemed much im-
pressed with the long and glittering sword which
hung by the side of Mr. Winslow, and expressed a
strong desire to purchase it ; but Mr. Winslow could
not consent to part with the weapon. .

After a pleasant and very friendly interview, Mas-
sasoit, cautiously leaving Mr. Winslow as a hostage
in the custody of his brother Quadequina, came down
to the brook with twenty men, as his retinue, all un-
armed. Six of them were sent into the village, as
hostages in exchange for Mr. Winslow.

Then Captain Standish, with one companion, prob-
ably Mr. Thomas Williams, and followed by half a
dozen musketeers, advanced to the brook to meet the
royal guest and to escort him, with all due honor, to
the presence of their Governor. A salute of six mus-
kets was fired, and the monarch with his Indian band
was led to an unfinished house which had been has-
tily decorated for their reception. It was deemed


important to arrange something of an imposing pa-
geant to impress the minds of their barbarian visitors.
Two or three cushions were laid down, covered with
a green carpet, as seats for the Indian chief and for
the Governor in this important interview. As soon
as Massasoit was seated the music of drums and of
a trumpet was heard, and Governor Carver, with a
suitable retinue, entered. Gracefully he took the
hand of Massasoit and kissed it. In accordance
with the mistaken views of hospitality in those days,
ardent spirits were brought forward to regale the
guests. This was probably the first time Massasoit
had ever seen the accursed liquid, and he was entire-
ly unacquainted with its fiery nature. The Indian
chieftain, deeming it a part of politeness to partake
generously of the entertainment provided for him,
when the goblet was presented, " drunk a great draft
which made him sweat all the while after."

Massasoit was a remarkable man. He was of
majestic stature, in the prime of life, of grave and
stately demeanor, reserved in speech, and ever prov-
ing faithful to all his obligations. He wore a chain
of white bone beads about his neck, and a little bag
of tobacco, from which he smoked himself and pre-
sented to Governor Carver to smoke. His face was
painted of a deep red color, and his hair and face so
oiled as to present a very glossy appearance. Hi-


followers were also all painted, in various styles and
of various colors. Some were partially clothed in
skins, others were nearly naked. They were all tall,
powerful men. After much friendly deliberation, the
Governor and Massasoit entered into the following
very simple, but comprehensive treaty of peace and
alliance :

1. The Sagamore pledged himself that none of his
men should do any harm to the Pilgrims ; and that, if
any harm were done, the offender should be sent to
them that they might punish them.

2. That, if any property belonging to the white
men should be taken away, it should be restored,
Governor Carver agreeing to the same in reference
to his party.

3. The Governor agreed that if any Indian tribe
should wage an unjust war against Massasoit, he
would help him ; Massasoit agreeing in the same way
to aid the Pilgrims, should they be assailed.

4. Massasoit pledged himself to send word to all
his confederate tribes that he had entered into this
alliance with the white men, and to enjoin its faithful
observance upon them.

5. Finally, it was agreed that whenever any of the
Indians visited the settlement of the white men, they
should leave their arms behind them. The Pilgrims
were also bound always to go unarmed whenever they
should visit the residence of the Indian chief.


As evening approached, Massasoit and his follow-
ers withdrew. The Governor accompanied him to
the brook, where they embraced and separated. The
six Indian hostages were retained until Mr. Winslow
should be returned. But soon word was brought that
Quadequina wished to make them a short visit. He
soon appeared, with quite a troop around him. He
was a young man, tall, modest and gentlemanly. He
was also conducted, with music of drum and fife, to
the Governor. He seemed very much afraid of the
muskets ; and to calm his manifest fears they were
laid aside. After a short interview he returned to
the hill, and Mr. Winslow came back to the camp.
The Indian hostages were also then released. The
scenes of the day had inspired them with so much
confidence in the Pilgrims that two of them wished
to remain all night. But Captain Standish did not
deem it prudent to grant their request.

Samoset and Squantum remained with the Pil-
grims. Massasoit withdrew his party from the hill,
about half a mile south into the forest, and there they
encamped for the night. Their wives and children
were with them there. During the night both parties
kept up a vigilant watch, for neither had, as yet, full
confidence in the other. In the morning several of
the Indians came into the settlement, according to
their agreement, unarmed. They said that in a few


days they should come to the other side of the brook
and plant corn, and remain there with their families
all summer. The king sent an invitation to have some
of the Pilgrims visit him.

" Captain Standish and Israel Alderton," writes
Mourt, " went venturously, who were welcomed of
him after their manner. He gave them three or four
ground nuts and some tobacco. We cannot yet con-
ceive 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, and especially as he has a potent adversary in
the Narragansets, that are at war with him, against
whom he thinks we may be some strength to him, for
our pieces are terrible unto them."

The English visitors remained in the encampment
of Massasoit until about eleven o'clock. Governor
Carver sent by them to the chief a kettleful of peas,
which the Indians seemed to regard as truly a prince-
ly gift. The next day, Friday, it was again pleasant.
Squantum, who with Samoset, still remained with the
Pilgrims, went to a neighboring creek, since appro-
priately called Eel River, and at night came home
with as many eels as he could carry. " They were
fat and sweet. He trod them out with his feet, and
so caught them with his hands, without any other in-


strument." In a comparatively recent history of Ply-
mouth, it is stated that a hundred and fifty barrels of
eels are annually taken from that creek. The Pil-
grims on that day held a general meeting, to conclude
some military arrangements, to enact certain needful
laws, and to choose a Governor for the year. The
choice fell, with apparently great unanimity, upon the
then incumbent, Mr. John Carver.

In Young's Chronicle of the Pilgrims we find a
note containing the following statement : " It will be
recollected that Carver had been chosen Governor on
the nth of November, the same day on which the
Compact was signed. It was now the 23d of March,
and the new year commencing on the 25th, according
to the calendar then in use, Carver was re-elected for -
the. ensuing year."

Pleasant summer days now came, and glided rap-
idly away, with nothing occurring of essential import-
ance. Friendly relations were established with the
Indians, and the affairs of the colony seemed as pros-
perous as, under the circumstances, could be expected.
On the $th of April the Mayflower weighed anchor
and set sail on her return voyage to England. She
had but one-half of the crew with which she had
sailed from Old Plymouth. The rest had fallen vic-
tims to the winter's sickness. It is remarkable that,
notwithstanding the hardships to which the Pilgrims


were exposed, not one was disposed to abandon the
enterprise and return in the ship. When the May-
flower left, there remained in the colony but fifty-five
persons. Of these, nineteen only were men. The
remaining thirty- six were women, children and ser-

Scarcely had the ship disappeared over the distant
horizon, ere Governor Carver, " oppressed by his great
care and pains for the common good," on one hot
April noon returned from the field, complaining of a
severe pain in his head, probably caused by a sun-
stroke. He soon became delirious, and, in a few days,
died. It was a severe loss to the colony, and they
mourned over him with great lamentation and heavi-
ness. He was buried with all the imposing ceremonies
of sorrow which the feeble colony could arrange. His
wife, overwhelmed with grief in view of her terrible
loss, in a few weeks followed her husband to the grave.
Soon after, Mr. William Bradford, who was then in a
state of great debility from his recent sickness, was
chosen his successor.

The settlers, having no animals to draw the plough,
were laboriously opening the ground near their dwell-
ings with the spade. Six acres they sowed with bar-
ley and peas. Fortunately they had ten bushels of
corn for seed. With this they planted twenty acres,
Squantum showing them how to plant and hill it


Berries were found in abundance in the woods, as the
season advanced, and a very grateful supply of grapes.

Mr. Palfrey, in his admirable History of New Eng-
land, writes very pleasantly, " A visitor to Plymouth
during this summer, as he landed, on the southern
side of a high bluff, would have seen, standing between
it and a rapid little stream, a rude house of logs,
twenty feet square, containing the common property
of the plantation. Proceeding up a gentle declivity,
between two rows of log cabins, nineteen in number,
some of them, perhaps, vacant since the death of
their first tenants, he would have come to a hill sur-
mounted with a platform for cannon. He might have
counted twenty men at work with hoes, in the en-
closures about the huts, or fishing in the shallow har-
bor, or visiting the woods or beach for game ; while
six or eight women were busy in household affairs,
and some twenty children, from infancy upwards,
completed the domestic picture."

All fears of famine seem now to have passed away.
In addition to the stores which they brought with them
they had an abundant supply of fish, wild fowls and
native fruits. On the i8th of June two of the ser-
vants of Mr. Hopkins undertook to fight a duel with
sword and dagger. Both were wounded. The Pil-
grims met in a body to adjudge the penalty for so se-
rious an offense. They were sentenced to be tied


together, by their head and feet, and thus to lie
twenty-four hours, without meat or drink. The pun-
ishment was begun to be inflicted, " But within an
hour, because of their great pains, at their own and
their master's humble request,' upon promise of bet-
ter carriage, they are released by the Governor."

Early in July, Governor Bradford decided to send
a deputation to visit Massasoit. There were several
objects he wished to accomplish by this mission.
First, it was desirable to ascertain where he lived and
what his strength was. He also wished to honor Mas-
sasoit by paying him a friendly visit. Another con-
sideration of no little importance which influenced
him was, that vagabond Indians were increasingly in
the habit of coming with their wives and children,
loitering about the village to the great annoyance of
the settlers, and clamoring for food, which they de-
voured with the voracity of famished wolves,

Mr. Winslow and Mr. Hopkins, accompanied by
Squantum as their interpreter, were appointed for this
important mission. Mr. Winslow has transmitted to

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Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottMiles Standish, the Puritan captain .. → online text (page 7 of 21)