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warfare. The imagination shrinks at the idea, how many intellectual beings were hunted from the earth how many brave and noble hearts, of Nature's sterling coinage, were broken down and trainpled in the dust!
Such was the fate of Philip OF POKANOKET, an Indian warrior, whose name was once a terror throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. He was the most distinguished of a number of coteinporary Sachems, who reigned over the Pequods, the Narr. hagansets, the Wampanoags, and the other eastern tribes, at the time of the first settlement of New. England : a band of native untaught heroes; who made the most generous struggle of which human nature is capable; fighting to the last gasp in the cause of their country, without a hope of victory or a thought of renown. Worthy of an age of poetry, and fit subjects for local story and romantic fiction, they have left scarcely any authentic traces on the page of history, but stalk, like gigantic shadows, in the dim twilight of tradition.*
When the pilgrims, as the Plymouth settlers are called by their descendants, first took refuge on the shores of the New World, from the religious persecutions of the Old, their situation was to the last degree gloomy and disheartening. Few in number, and that number rapidly perishing away through sickness and
* While correcting the proof-sheets of this article, the author is informed, that a celebrated English poet has nearly finished a heroic poem on the story of Philip of Pokanoket.
hardships ; surrounded by a howling wilderness and savage tribes ; exposed to the rigours of an almost arctic winter, and the vicissitudes of an ever-shifting climate; their minds were filled with doleful forebodings, and nothing preserved them from sinkirg into despondency but the strong excitement of re ligious enthusiasm. In this forlorn situation they were visited by Massasoit, chief Sagamore of the Wampanoags, a powerful chief, who reigned over a great extent of country. Instead of taking advantage of the scanty number of the strangers, and expelling them from his territories into which they had intruded, he seemed at once to conceive for them a generous friendship, and extended towards them the rites of primitive hospitality. He came early in the spring to their settlement of New-Plymouth, attended by a mere handfull of followers; entered into a solernn league of peace and amity; sold them a portion of the soil, and promised to secure for them the goodwill of his savage allies. Whatever may be said of Indian perfidy, it is certain that the integrity and good faith of Massasoit, have never been impeached. He continued a firm and magnanimous friend of the white men ; suffering them to extend their possessions, and to strengthen themselves in the land; and betraying no jealousy of their increasing power and prosperity. Shortly before his death, he came once more to New-Plymouth, with his son Alexander, for the purpose of renewing the covenant of
and of securing it to his posterity.
At this conference, he endeavoured to protect the
religion of his forefathers from the encroaching zeal of the missionaries, and stipulated that no farther attempt should be made to draw off his people from their ancient faith ; but, finding the English obstinately opposed to any such condition, he mildly relinquished the demand. Almost the last act of his life was to bring his two sons, Alexander and Philip (as they had been named by the English) to the residence of a principal settler, recommending mutual kindness and confidence; and entreating that the same. love and amity which had existed between the white men and himself, might be continued afterwards with his children. The good old Sachem died in peace, and was happily gathered to his fathers before sorrow came upon his tribe; his children remained behind to expe. rience the ingratitude of white men.
His eldest son, Alexander, succeeded him. He was of a quick and impetuous temper, and proudly tenacious of his hereditary rights and dignity. The intrusive policy and dictatorial conduct of the strangers, excited his indignation ; and he beheld with uneasiness their exterminating wars with the neighbouring tribes. He was doomed soon to incur their hostility, being accused of plotting with the Narrhagansets to rise against the English and drive them from the land. It is impossible to say whether this accusation was warranted by facts, of was grounded on mere suspicions. It is evident, however, by the violent and overbearing measures of the settlers, that they had by this time begun to feel conscious of the apid increase of their power, and to grow harsh and inconsiderate in their treatment of the natives. They despatched an armed force to seize upon Alexander, and to bring him before their court. He was traced to his woodland haunts, and surprised at a hunting house, where he was reposing with a band of his followers, unarmed, after the toils of the chase. The suddenness of his arrest, and the outrage offered to his sovereign dignity, so preyed upon the irascible feelings of this proud savage, as to throw him into a raging fever; he was permitted to return home on condition of sending his son as a pledge for his re-appearance; but the blow he had received was fatal, and before he reached his home he fell a victim to the agonies of a wounded spirit
The successor of Alexander was Metamocet, or King Philip, as he was called by the settlers, on account of his lofty spirit and ambitious temper. These, together with his well-known energy and enterprise, had rendered him an object of great jealousy and apprehension, and he was accused of having always cherished a secret and implacable hostility towards the whites. Such may very probably, and very naturally, have been the case. He considered them as originally but mere intruders into the country, who had presumed upon indulgence, and were extending an influence baneful to savage life. He saw the whole race of his countrymen melting before them from the face of the earth; their territories slipping from their hands, and their tribes becoming feeble, scattered, and dependent. It may be said that the soil was originally purchased by the settlers; but who does
not know the nature of Indian purchases, in the early periods of colonization? The Europeans always made thrifty bargailis, through their superior adroitness in traffic; and they gained vast accessions of territory by easily-provoked hostilities. An uncultivated say age is never a nice inquirer ir.to the refinements of law, by which an injury may be gradually and legally insicted. Leading facts are all by which he judges ; and it was enough for Philip to know, that before the intrusion of the Europeans his countrymen were lords of the soil, and that now they were becoming vagabonds in the land of their fathers.
But whatever may have been his feelings of general hostility, and his particular indignation at the treatment of his brother, he suppressed them for the present; renewed the contract with the settlers; and resided peaceably for many years at Pokanoket, or, as it was called by the English, Mount Hope,* the arcient seat of dominion of his tribe. Suspicions, however, which were at first but vague and indefinite, began to acquire form and substance; and he was at length charged with attempting to instigate the various eastern tribes to rise at once, and, by a simultaneous effort, to throw off the yoke of their oppressors. It is difficult at this distant period to assign the proper credit due to these early accusations against the Indians. There was a proneness to suspicion, and an aptness to acts of violence on the part of the whites that gave weight and importance to every idle tale.
* Now Bristol, Rhode Island.