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Informers abounded, where tale-bearing met with countenance and reward ; and the sword was readily unsheathed, when its success was certain, and it carved out empire.
The only positive evidence on record against Philip is the accusation of on: Sausaman, a renegado Indian, whose natural cunning had been quickened by a partial education which he had received among the settlers. He changed his faith and his allegiance two or three times, with a facility that evinced the looseness of his principles. He had acted for some time as Philip's confidential secretary and counsellor, and had enjoyed his bounty and protection. Finding, however, that the clouds of adversity were gathering round his patron, he abandoned his service and went over to the whites; and, in order to gain their favour, charged his former benefactor with plotting against their safety. A rigorous investigation took place. Philip and several of his subjects submitted to be examined, but nothing was proved against them. The settlers, however, had now gone too far to retract; they had previously determined that Philip was a dangerous neighbour; they had publicly evinced their distrust; and had done enough to insure his hostility : accord ing, therefore, to the usual mode of reasoning in these cases, his destruction had become necessary to their security. Sausaman, the treacherous informer, was shortly after found dead in a pond, having fallen a victim to the vengeance of his tribe. Three Indians,
whom was a friend and counsellor of Philip, were apprehended and tried, and, on the testimony
of one very questionable witness, were condemned and executed as murderers.
This treatment of his subjects and ignominious punishment of his friend, outraged the pride and exasperated the passions of Philip. The bolt which had fallen thus at his very feet, awakened him to the gathering storm, and he determined to trust himself no longer in the power of the white men. The fate of his insulted and broken-hearted brother still rankled in his mund; and he had a farther warning in the tragical story of Miantonimo, a great Sachem of the Narrhagansets, who, after manfully facing his accusers before a tribunal of the colonists, exculpating himself from a charge of conspiracy, and receiving assurances of amity, had been perfidiously despatched at their instigation. Philip, therefore, gathered his fighting men about him; persuaded all strangers that he could, to join his cause; sent the women and children to the Narrhagansets for safety; and wherever he appeared, was continually surrounded by armed warriors.
When the two parties were thus in a state of distrust and irritation, the least spark was sufficient to set them in a flame. The Indians, having weapons in their hands, grew mischievous, and committed vanous petty depredations. In one of their maraudings, a warrior was fired upon and killed by a settler. This was the signal for open hostilities; the Indians pressed to revenge the death of their comrade, and the alarm of war resounded through the Plymouth colony.
In the early chronicles of these dark and melancholy times, we meet with many indications of the
diseased state of the public mind. The gloom of re ligious abstraction, and the wildness of their situation, among trackless forests and savage tribes, had disposed the colonists to superstitious fancies, and had filled their imaginations with the frightful chimera of witchcraft and spectrology. They were much given also to a belief in omens. The troubles with Philip and his lodians were preceded, we are told, by a variety of those awful warnings which forerun great and public calamities. The perfect arm of an Indian bow appeared in the air at New-Plymouth, which was looked upon by the inhabitants as a "prodigious apparition." At Hadley, Northampton, and other towns in their neighbourhood, “ was heard the report of a great piece of ordnance, with a shaking of the earth and a considerable echo."* Otliers were alarmed on a still sunshiny morning, by the discharge of guns and muskets; bullets seemed to whistle past them, and the noise of drums resounded in the air, seeming to pass away to the westward; others fancied that they heard the galloping of horses over their heals; and certain monstrous births which took place about the time, filled the superstitious in some towns with doleful forebodings. Many of these portentou sights and sounds may be ascribed to natural phenomena; to the northern lights which occur vividly in those latitudes ; the meteors which explode in the air; the casual rushing of a blast through the top branches of the forest; the crash of falling trees or disruptured rocks; and to those other uncouth sounds and echoes, which will sometimes strike the ear go strangely amidst the profound stillness of woodland solitudes. These may have startled some melancholy imaginations, may have been exaggerated by the love for the marvellous, and listened to with that avidity with which we devour whatever is fearful and mysterious. The universal currency of these superstitious fancies, and the grave record made of them by one of the learned men of the day, are strongly characteristic of the times.
* The Rev. Increase Mather's History,
The nature of the contest that ensued was such as too often distinguishes the warfare between civilized men and savages. On the part of the whites, it was conducted with superior skill and success; but with a wastefulness of the blood, and a disregard of the natural rights of their antagonists: on the part of the Indians it was waged with the desperation of men fearless of death, and who had nothing to expect from peace, but humiliation, dependence, and decay.
The events of the war are transmitted to us by a worthy clergyınan of the tirne; who dwells with horror and indignation on every hostile act of the Indians, however justifiable, whilst he mentions with applause the most sanguinary atrocities of the whites. Philip is reviled as a murderer and a traitor; without cousidering that he was a true-born prince, gallantly fighting at the head of his subjects to avenge the wrongs of his family; to retrieve the tottering power of his line; and to deliver his native land from the oppression of usurping strangers. Vol. II.
The project of a wide and simultaneous revolt, if such had really been formed, was worthy of a capacious mind, and, had it not been prematurely discovered, might have been overwhelming in its consequences. The war that actually broke out was but a war of detail; a mere succession of casual exploits and unconnected enterprises. Still it sets forth the military genius and daring prowess of Philip; and wherever, in the prejudiced and passionate narrations that have been given of it, we can arrive at simple facts, we find him displaying a vigorous mind; a fertility in expedients; a contempt of suffering and hardship; and an unconquerable resolution, that command our sympathy and applause.
Driven from his paternal domains at Mount Hope, he threw himself into the depths of those vast and trackless forests that skirted the settlements, and were almost impervious to any thing but a wild beast,
ca or an Indian. Here he gathered together his forces, like the storm accumulating its stores of mischief in the bosom of the thunder-cloud, and would suddenly emerge at a time and place least expected, carrying haroc and dismay into the villages. There were now and then indications of these impending ravages, that filled the minds of the colonists with awe and apprehension. The report of a distant gun would perhaps be heard from the solitary woodland, where there was known to be no white man; the cattle which had been wandering in the woods, would sometimes return home wounded; or an Indian or two would be seen lurking about the skirts of the forests, and