Samuel Gardner Drake.

The aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index online

. (page 22 of 131)
Online LibrarySamuel Gardner DrakeThe aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index → online text (page 22 of 131)
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dered to appear there, which he did without delay, and agreed to assist them
in a war against the Pequots ; without whose aid and concurrence, the English
would hardly have dared to engage in a war against them at that time.

Early in 1637, (March 21,) to show the governor of Massachusetts that he
kept his promise of warring against the Pequots, Miantunnomoh sent him, by
26 of his men, a Pequot's hand and 40 fathom of wampom. The war with
them now commenced, and though of short duration, destroyed them to such
a degree, that they appeared no more as a nation. One hundred of the Nar-
ragansets joined themselves with the English in its accomplishment, and re-
ceived a part of the prisoners as slaves for their services.}} When the war
was over, Miantunnomoh still adhered to the English, and seized upon sue!)
of the Pequots as had made their escape from bondage, and returned them to
their English masters; gave up to them his claim of Block Island, and other
places where the English had found Pequots, and which they considered as
belonging to them by right of conquest.

About the same time, or in the course of the year 1638, troubles had grown
to an alarming height between the Narragansets and Mohegans, and, as usual,

* This spelling is according to \Vinthrop: we prefer Williams' s method, as more correci,
which is Miantunnomu; but, having- employed the former in jjr f.rst edition, it is retained in
this. It is, however, oftener written Myantonimo now, w'-ich only shows another pronuncia-
tion. The accent is usually upon the penultimate syllable. Gee Calender's Cent. Dis-
course, page 1.

tMSS. of R. Williams. \ Now published in the Coll. Mass. Hist. Roc.

by order of Major Wahlron." 3 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc.

|| " Receaued this First of luly, 1659, of Maj r . Humfrey Aderton, [Atherton,] and the rest
of his friends, the sume of 75 pounds in Wampam peag \v& seueral other things as gratuity
for certaine lands giuen ye said May. Aderton and his frio:ids, as may appeare by two seuerali

deeds of gift. I say receaued by me.

COGINAQ.UAN ^^- his md-k*

[MS. Documents.

IT Hist. New Eng. 446. ** A name the sachems gave their attendants,

ft Winthrop's Journal. \\ Miantunnomoh received eighty, Mather's Relation, 3d.


Roger Williams exercised all his skill to restore tranquillity. Many of thr>
Pequots who had escaped the sword of the war of 1637, were among the
Mohegans, and seem to have taken part with them against Miantunnomoh.
They did this, no douht, that the Mohegans might screen them from the
English, who were still seizing on all of that nation against whom they could
find any cause of suspicion of having been engaged in murdering the English,
or in arms against them.

Miantunnomoh, it is probable, had been ordered before the magistrates of
Connecticut, to give some account of the Pequot refugees in the hands of the
Mohegans, as well as of those in his nation ; which may have been a main
cause of the war they had now waged against him. For, when he set out for
Hartford, he had a guard of "upwards of 150 men, and many sachems, an;l
his wife and children." Mr. Williams was with him, and strongly urged him
not to venture upon the journey, even with this force, because of the hostility
of the Mohegans; but the sachem would not be dissuaded, although he had
no doubt that the Mohegans and their Pequots were in great force not far oft'.
And while they were on their march, "about 660 "of them fell upon the
Wunnashowatuckoogs, a tribe under Canonieus, where they committed exten-
sive robberies, and destroyed " about 23 fields of corn."

Notwithstanding this great Mohegan army had prepared an ambush to
intercept and cut off Miantunnomoh, and gave out a threat that they would boil
him in a kettle, yet he went to, and returned safe from, Connecticut.*

On this occasion he discovers great bravery, if it border not too closely
upon temerity ; for, when Williams urged him to retreat, they had performed
half their journey, or about 50 miles ; and Miantunnomoh^ answer was, after
holding a council with his chiefs, "that no man should turn back, resolving
rather all to die."

The Mohegan sachem, Uncas, was at the same time ordered to appear at
Hartford, to give an account of the Pequot warriors, or murderers, as the
English called them, in his keeping, as well as to effect a reconciliation of
differences between him and Miantunnomoh ; but, instead of appearing, he
sent a messenger, with word that he was lame and could not come. The
governor of Connecticut, Mr. Haynes, at once saw through the artifice, and
observed that it was a lame excuse, and immediately sent for him to come
without delay.

Whether cured of his lameness or not before coming, we are not informed ;
but, in a few days after, the subtle sachem appeared, not daring to forfeit the
friendship of the English, which, it seems, he preferred to hiding longer his
guilty face from the presence of the magnanimous Miantunnomoh.

Now before the English, Uncas was charged with the depredations, some
of which were too well attested to admit of a denial, and others were dis-
owned in part. The inquiry seems to have ended after the parties were tired
of it, without any advantage to the injured Narragansets, and we hear of no
measures taken for their relief.

The next thing in order was a call upon Uncas for an account of the
Pequots which he was sheltering, which resulted only in a new series of
falsehoods from him. When he was requested to give their names, he said he
knew none of them, and that there were but 20 in his dominions. Whereupon
witnesses were called, whose testimonies proved, in his presence, that his
statement was false. "Then he acknowledged that he had 30." At length
Mr. Haynes dismissed him, with orders to bring in their names in 10 days, or
he would take those Indians by force out of his country. But, when Mian-
tunnomoh was called upon for the names of those with him, nothing was

At this time, at the request of the English, Miantunnomoh consented to lay
aside all animosities, and take Uncas by the hand. When he had done this,
he urged Uncas to dine with him ; but the guilty sachem would not, though
pressed by the English for some time to do so ; and thus all efforts to bring
about a peace vanished, f

* Col!. R. I. Hist. Soc. iii. 145. f Ibid. iii. 146, 147.


Rev. Samuel Gorton and his associates purcha-ed Shaomet, afterwards
railed Warwick, from the Karl of Warwick, of Miiinlnnnomoh ; hut, as
(Inrtnn could do nothing right in the eyes of the J'uritaiis of Ma>sachuseits,
Pnmham was instigated to claim said tract of country ; and, although a
t.-'.chem under Miantunnomoh,* did not hesitate, when supported hy the Kng-
lish, to a - ert liis claim as chief sachem. And the government of Ma>-achu-
setts, to irive to their interference the appearance of disinterestedMess, which it
would seem, from their own vindication, they thought there was a chance n.
douht, 'Send for the foresaid sachems, [who had complained of .Mr. Gorton
and others, through the instigation of the English,] and upon examination
find, hoth by English and Indian testimony, that Miantonomo was only a
usurper, and had no title to the foresaid lands." f This is against the testi-
mony of every record, and could no more have been believed then, than that
Philip was not sachem of Pokanoket. In all cases of purchase, in those
times, the chief sachem's grant was valid, and maintained, in almost every
instance, by the purchaser or grantee. It was customary, generally, to make
the inferior sachems, and sometimes all their men, presents, but it was by no
means a law. The chief sachems often permitted those under them to
dispose of lands also, without being called to account. This was precisely
the situation of things in the Warwick controversy, of which we shall have
occasion again to speak, when we come to the life of Pumham.

In March, 1638, JWiantunnomoh, with four other sachems, sold to William
C'tnlilington and others, the island now called Rhode Island, also most of the
others in Xarraganset hay, "for the full payment of 40 fathom of white peag,
to be equally divided" between them. Hence Miantunnomoh received eight
fathom. He was to "have ten coats and twenty hoes to give to the present in-
habitants, that they shall remove themselves from the island before next winter."
The deed of this purchase, a copy of which is in my possession, is dated
24th March, and runs thus: "We, Canonicas and Meantinomie, the tw r o chief
nachems of Xaragansets, by virtue of our general command of this Bay, as
also the particular subjecting of the dead sachems of Aquednick, Kitacka-
mucknut, themselves and lands unto us, have sold unto Mr. Coddington and
his friends * * the great Island of Aquidnick, lying from hence [Providence]
eastward * * also the marshes, grass upon Qunnonigat and the rest of the
islands in the bay, excepting Chabatewece, formerly sold unto Mr. Winthrop,
the now Gov. of Mass, and 31 r. Williams of Providence, also the grass
upon the rivers and coves about Kitackarnuckqut, and from thence to Pan-

" The mark of ^ CONONICUS.

The mark of ^ YOTNESH, [OTASH,
brother of MIANTUNNOMOH.]

The mark of &> MEANTINOMIE.

The mark of , <> ASOTAMNET.

The mark of v~~ MEIHAMMOH,

CANONIC us his son.

a This witnessed! that I, Waiiamatanamet, the present sachem of the island,
have received five fathom of wampum and consent to the contents.

The mark of &> WANAMATANAMET.

"Memorandum. I, Osemequon, freely consent" that they may "make use
of any grass or trees on the main land on Pocasicke side," having receiued
five fathom of wampum also.

The mark of /\ OSAMEQUEN.

As late as 21 Sept. 1638, the hand of Miantunnomoh is set to an instrument,
.vitli that of Uncas. Said instrument was a treaty of peace, a bond for the
settling of difficulties between these two sachems and their men, and an

O '

*" The law of the Indians in all America is, that the inferior sachems and subjects shall
plant and remove at the pleasure of the highest and supreme sachems." Roger Williams
This is authority, and \ve need no other commentary on the arbitrary proceedings of the court
wf .Massachusetts.

t In iiuinuscript on file, at the state-house, Boston.


obligation from both to appeal to the English when any difficulty should arisr
between them. This treaty was done at Hartford, the substance of which
follows :

1st. Peace and friendship is established between Miantunnomoh on the part
of the Narragansets, and Poquim, as Uncos was then sometimes called, on thft
part of the Mohegans. And all former injuries and wrongs to be forgiven,
and never to be renewed.

2d. Each of the sachems agree, "that if there fall out injuries" from either
side, they will not revenge them, but that they will appeal to the English,
whose decision shall stand ; and if either party refuse to submit, " it shall b^
lawful for the English to compel him."

3d. The sachems further covenant with the English, that they nor none of
their people shall harbor any Indians who shall be enemies to them, or sha'l
have murdered any white people. They further agree that they will, "as
soon as they can, either bring the chief sachem of our late enemies thv
Peaquots, that had the chief hand in killing the English, to the sd English, or
take of " his head. As to the "murders that are now agreed upon amongst
us that are living, they shall, as soon as they can possibly, take off their

4th. And whereas it is agreed that there are now among the Narragansets
and Mohegans, 200 Pequot men, besides squaws and papooses; this article is
to provide, that the Narragansets have enough of them to make up 80, with
the 11 they have already, " and Poquime his number, and that after they, the
Peaquots, shall be divided as above, shall no more be called Peaquots, but
Narragansets and Mohegans." They agree to pay for every sanop one fathom
of wampom, and for every youth half as much "and for every sanop
papoose one hand to be paid at killing-time of corn at Connecticut yearly,
and shall not suffer them for to live in the country that was formerly theirs,
but is now the English's. Neither shall the Narragansets or Mohegans
possess any part of the Pequot country without leaue of them."




The wife of Miantunnomoh, named WAWALOAM, was alive as late as 1661
as appears by an information which she gave, dated 25 June, concerning the
right of Sokoso to sell the lands adjacent to Wecapaug.

On a time previous to 1643, Roger Williams delivered a discourse to some
Indians at their residence, as he was passing through their country. Mian-
tunnomoh was present, and seemed inclined to believe in Christianity. Mr.
Williams, being much fatigued, retired to rest, while Miantunnomoh and others
remained to converse upon what they had heard. One said to the chief,
" Our fathers have told us that our souls go to the south-west ; " Miantunno-
moh rejoined, "How do you know your souls go to the south-west? did you
ever see a soul go that way?" (Still he was rather inclined to believe, as Mr.
Williams had just said, that they went up to heaven or down to hell.) The
other added, " When did he (meaning Williams] ever see a soul go up to
heaven or flown to hell ? ''

We have given the above anecdote, which is thought a good illustration
of the mind of man under the influence of a superstitious or prejudiced

When it was reported, in 1640, that Miantunnomoh was plotting to cut off
rlie English, as will be found mentioned in the account of Ninigret, anil
.several English were sent to him in July, to know the truth of the matter, he
\vould not talk with them through a Pequot interpreter, because he was then
.-it war with that nation. In other respects he complied with their wishes,
and treated them respectfully, agreeing to come to Boston, for the gratification
of the government, if they would allow Mr. Williams to accompany him.
This they would not consent to, and yet he came, agreeably to their desires.
We shall presently see who acted best the part of civilized men in this affair



He had refused to use a IVquot interpreter lor good reasons, but when lie was
at Boston, and surrounded In armed men, he was obliged to submit. "The
Lrovernor beiiii_ r a< resolute as he, refused to use any other interpreter, thinking
it a dishonor to us to give so much way to them ! " The great wisdom of the
government now displayed itself in the person of Governor Thomas J)u</lci/.
It is not to he expected hut that Miantunnomoh should resent their proceedings ;
fin- to the above insult they added others; "would show him no countenance,
nor admit him to dine at our table, MS j'ormerly he had dune, till he had
acknowledged his tailing, &c., which lie readily did." * By their own lolly,
the English had made themselves jealous of a powerful chief, and they appear
i UT ready afterwards to credit evil reports of him.

That an independent chief should be obliged to conform to transitory
notions upon such an occasion, is absolutely ridiculous ; and the justness of
i he following remark from him was enough to have shamed good men into
i heir senses. He said, " When your people come to me, they are permitted to use
llieir own fashions, and I expect the same liberty when I come to you"

In 1U42, Connecticut became very suspicious of Miantunnomoh, and urged
.Massachusetts to join them in a war against him. Their fears no doubt grew
out of the consideration of the probable issue of a war with Uncos in his
favor, which was now on the point of breaking out. Even Massachusetts did
not think their suspicions well founded ; yet, according to their request, they
-.lit to Miantunnomohj who, as usual, gave them satisfactory answers, and,
agreeably to their request; came again to Boston. Two days were employed
by the court of Massachusetts in deliberating with him, and we are aston-
ished at the wisdom of the great chief, even as reported by his enemies.

That a simple man of nature, who never knew courts or law, should cause
such acknowledgments as follow, from the civilized and wise, will always be
contemplated with intense admiration. "When he came," says Winihrop,
" the court was assembled, and before his admission, we considered how to
treat with him, for we knew him to be a very subtle man." When he was
admitted, " he was set down at the lower end of the table, over against the
governor," but would not at any time speak upon business, unless some of his
counsellors were present; saying, "he would have them present, that they
might bear witness with him, at his return home, of all his sayings." The
same author further says, "In all his answers he was very deliberate, and
showed good understanding in the principles of justice and equity, and
ingenuity withal."

He now asked for his accusers, urging, that if they could not establish their
allegations, they ought to suffer what he expected to, if they did ; but the
court said they knew of none ; that is, they knew not whom they were, and
therefore gave no credit to the reports until they had advised him according
to a former agreement. He then said, "If you did not give credit to it, why
Then did you disarm the Indians?" Massachusetts having just then disarmed
some of the Merrimacks under some pretence. "He gave divers reasons,"
says Governor Winihrop, f " why we should hold him free of any such con-
spiracy, and why we should conceive it was a report raised by Uncas, &c.
and therefore offered to meet Uncas, and would prove to his face his treachery
against the English, &e., and told us he would come to us at any time," al-
though he said some had tried to dissuade him, saying that the English won id
put him to death, yet he feared nothing, as he was innocent of the charges
against him. j;

The punishment due to those who had raised the accusations, bore heavily
upon his breast, and "he put it to our consideration what damage it had been
to him, in that, he was forced to keep his men at home, and not suffer them to
go forth on hunting, &c., till he had given the English satisfaction." After
two days spent in talk, the council issued to the satisfaction of the English.

During the council, a table was set by itself for the Indians, which Mian-

\Vintlirnp' s Journal. t Sen hook iii. rbap. vii.

J Here, the reader may with propriety exclaim, was another Michael Set-veins: " Pour-
(f'toij, Messei^neurs, fe dernande que inon faulx accn-sattur soil puni poena taiionis," Ace
Rosooe's Leo X. iv. 457.


tunnomoh appears not to have liked, and " would not eat, until some food had
been sent him from that of the governor's."

That wisdom seems to have dictated to Massachusetts, in her answei to
Connecticut, must be acknowledged ; but, as justice to Miantunnomoh abun-
dantly demanded such decision, credit in this case is due only to them, as to
him who does a good act because it was his interest so to do. They urged
Connecticut not to commence war alone, "alleging how dishonorable it would
be to us all, that, while we were upon treaty with the Indians, they should
make war upon them; for they would account their act as our own, seeing
we had formerly professed to the Indians, that we were all as one ; and in our
last message to Miantunnomoh, had remembered him again of the same., and
he had answered that he did so account us. Upon receipt of this our answer,
they forbare to enter into a war, but (it seemed) unwillingly, and as not weli
pleased with us." The main consideration which caused Massachusetts to
decide against war was, " That all those informations [furnished by Connecti-
cut] might arise from a false ground, and out of the enmity which was
between the Narraganset and Mohigan" sachems. This was no doubt one
of the real causes; and, had Miantunnomoh overcome Uncas, the English
would, from policy, as gladly have leagued with him as with the latter ; for it
was constantly pleaded in those days, that their safety must depend on r
union with some of the most powerful tribes.

There can be no doubt, on fairly examining the case, that Uncas used many
arts, to influence the English in his favor, and against his enemy. In the
progress of the war between the two great chiefs, the English acted precisely
as the Indians have been always said to do stood aloof, and watched the
scale of victory, determined to join the conquerors: and we will here digress
for a moment, to introduce a character, more fully to illustrate the cause of the
operations of the English against the chief of the Narragansets.

Miantunnomoh had a wretched enemy in Waiandance, a Lo A ig Island
sachem, who had assisted in the destruction of the Pequots, at their last
retreat. He revealed the plots and plans of Miantunnomoh; and, says Lion
Gardener, " he told me many years ago," as all the plots of the Narrajfansete
had been discovered, they now concluded to let the English alone until they
had destroyed Uncas and himself, then, with the assistance of the Mohawks,
"and Indians beyond the Dutch, and all the northern and eastern Indiana,
would easily destroy us, man and mother's son."

Mr. Gardener next relates that he met with Miantunnomoh at Meanticut,
Waiandance's country, on the east end of Long Island. That Miantunnomoh
was there, as Waiandance said, to break up the intercourse with those Indians.
There were others with Miantunnomoh, arid what they said to Waiandance was
as follows :

" You must give no more wampum to the English, for they are no sachems, nor
none of their children shall be in their place if they die. They have no tribute,
given them. There is but one king in England, who is over them all, and if you
should send him 100,000 fathom of wampum, he would not give you a knife for it,
nor thank you." Then said Waiandance, " They will come and kill us all, as
they did the Pequits;" but replied the Narragansets, "Ao, the Pequots gave
them wampum and heaver, which they loved so well, hut they sent it them again,
and killed them because they had killed an Englishman ; but you have killed none,
therefore give them nothing"

Some time after, Miantunnomoh went again, " with a troop of men, to the
same place, and, instead of receiving presents as formerly, he gave presents
to Waiandance and his people, and made the following speech :

"Brothers, we must be one as the English are, or we shall soon all k
destroyed. You know our fathers had plenty of deer and skins, and m -r
plains were full of deer and of turkeys, and our coves and rivers were full of
fish. But, brothers, since these English have seized upoii o^i country, they
cut down the grass with scythes, and the trees with axes. Their cows and
horses eat up the grass, and their hogs spoil our beds of clams; and finally
we shall starve to death ! Therefore, stand not in your own light, t beseech
you, but resolve with us to act like men. All the sachems both to the east
and west have joined with us, and we are all resolved to fall upon them, at g


day appointed, and then-lore I have come secretly to yon, because you can
persuade the Indians to do what you will. Brothers, I will send over 50
Indians to .Vanisses, and 30 to you from thence, and take an .100 of
Southampton Indians, with an 100 of your own here. And, when yon
M-e the three fires that will he made at the end of 40 days hence, in a
lea- night, then act as we act, and the next day fall on and kill men, women
md children, hut no cows: they must be killed as we need them for pro-
visi.-.ns, till the deer come a^ain."

To this speech all the old men said, " Wurregen" i. e. "!T is WELL." But
'his great plot, if the account given by Waiandance be true, was by him
brought to the knowledge of the English, and so failed. "And the plotter."
siys Gardener, "next spring after, did as Jlhab did at Kamoth-Gilead. So h
to Mohegan,* and there had his fall."f

Capture and death of Miantunnomoh. The war brought on between Uncas
and Miantunnomoh was not within the jurisdiction of the English, nor is it to
be expected that they could with certainty determine the justness of its cans .
The broil had long existed, but the open rupture was brought on by Uncas'
making war upon Sequasson, one of the sachems under Miantunnomoh. Th"
English accounts say, (and we have no other,) that about 1000 warriors wer

Online LibrarySamuel Gardner DrakeThe aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index → online text (page 22 of 131)