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suddenly disappearing; as the lightning will sometimes be seen playing silently about the edge of the cloud that is brewing up the tempest.
Though sometimes pursued, and even surrounded by the settlers, yet Philip as often escaped almost miraculously from their toils; and plunging into the wilderness, would be lost to all search or inquiry until he again emerged at some far distant quarter laying the country desolate. Among his strong-holds were the great swamps or morasses, which extend in some parts of New-England; composed of loose bogs of deep black mud; perplexed with thickets, brambles, rank weeds, the shattered and mouldering trunks of fallen trees, overshadowed by lugubrious hemlocks. The uncertain footing and the tangled mazes of these shiggy wilds, rendered them almost impracticable to the white man, though the Indian could thread their labyrinths with the agility of a deer. Into one of these, the great swamp of Pocasset Neck, was Philip once driven with a band of his followers. The English did not dare to pursue him,
. fearing to venture into these dark and frightful recesses, where they might perish in fens and miry pits, or be shot down by lurking foes. They therefore invested the entrance to the neck, and began to build a fort, with the thought of starving out the foe; but Philip and his warriors wafted themselves on a raft over an arm of the sea, in the dead of night, leaving the women and children behind ; and escaped away to the westward, kindling the flames of war amongthe tribes of Massachusetts and the Nipmuck countıy, and threatening the colony of Connecticut.
In this way Philip became a theme of universal apprehension. The mystery in which he was enveloped exaggerated his real terrors. He was an evil that walked in darkness; whose coming none could foresee, and against which none knew when to be on the alert. The whole country abounded with rumours and alarms. Philip seemed almost possessed of ubiquity; for, in whatever part of the widely extended frontier an irruption from the forest took place, Philip was said to be its leader. Many superstitious notions also were circulated concerning him. He was said to deal in necromancy, and to be attended by an old Indian witch or prophctess, whom he consulted, and who assisted him by her charms and incantations. This indeed was frequently the case with Indian chiefs; either through their own credulity, or to act upon that of their followers : and the influence of the prophet and the dreamer over Indian superstition has been fully evidenced in recent instances of savage warfare.
At the time that Philip effected his escape from Pocasset, his fortunes were in a desperate condition. His forces had been thinned by repeated fights, and he had lost almost the whole of his resources. In this time of adversity he found a faithful friend in Canonchet, Chief Sachem of all the Narrhayansets. He was the son and heir of Miantonimo, the great Sachem, who, as already mentioned, after an honour
able acquittal of the charge of conspiracy, had been privately put to death at the perfidious instigations of the settlers. “ He was the heir," says the old chronicler, “ of all his father's pride and insolence, as well as of his malice towards the English;" he certainly was the heir of his insults and injuries, and the legitimate avenger of his murder. Though he had forborne to take an active part in this hopeless war, yet he received Philip and his broken forces with open arms; and gave them the most generous countenance and support.
This at once drew
him the hostility of the English; and it was determined to strike a signal blow, that should involve both the Sachems in one common ruin. A great force was, therefore, gathered together from Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut, and was sent into the Narrhaganset country in the depth of winter, when the swamps, being frozen and leafless, could be traversed with comparative facility, and would no longer afford dark and impenetrable fastnesses to the Indians.
Apprehensive of attack, Canonchet had conveyed the greater part of his stores, together with the old, the infirm, the women and children of his tribe, to a strong fortress ; where he and Philip had likewise drawn
the flower of their forces. This fortress, deemed by the Indians impregnable, was situated upon a rising mound or kind of island, of five or six acres, in the midst of a swamp; it was constructed with a degree of judgment and skill vastly superior to what is usually displayed in Indian fortification,
and indicative of the martial genius of these two chicftains.
Guided by a renegado Indian, the English penetrated, through December snows, to this strong-hold, and came upon the garrison by surprise. The fight was fierce and tumultuous. The assailants were repulsed in their first attack, and several of their bravest officers were shot down in the act of storin. ing the fortress, sword in hand.
The assault was renewed with greater success. A lodgement was effected. The Indians were driven from one post to another. They disputed their ground inch by inch, fighting with the fury of despair. Most of their veterans were cut to pieces; and after a long and bloody battle, Philip and Canonchet, with a handfull of surviving warriors, retreated from the fort, and took refuge in the thickets of the surrounding forest.
T'he victors set fire to the wigwams and the fort; the whole was soon in a blaze; many of the old men, the women and the children, perished in the flames. This last outrage overcame even the stoicism of the savage. The neighbouring woods resounded with the yells of rage and despair, uttered by the fugitive warriors as they beheld the destruction of their dwellings, and heard the agonizing cries of their wives and offspring. “The burning of the wigwams," says a cotemporary writer, “the shrieks and cries of the women and children, and the yelling of the warriors, exhibited a most horrible and affecting scene, so that it greatly moved some of the soldiers.'
The same writer cautiously adds, “they were in much doubt then, and afterwards seriously inquired, whether burning their enemies alive could be cousistent with humanity, and the benevolent principles of the gospel."*
The fate of the brave and generous Canonchet is worthy of particular mention: the last scene of his life is one of the noblest instances on record of Indian magnanimity.
Broken down in his power and resources by this signal defeat, yet faithful to his ally and to the hapless cause which he had espoused, he rejected all overtures of peace, offered on condition of betraying Philip and his followers, and declared that “he would fight it out to the last man, rather than become a servant to the Engiish." His home being destroyed; his country harassed and laid waste by the incursions of the conquerors; he was obliged to wander away to the banks of the Connecticut; where he formed a rallying point to the whole body of western Indians, and laid waste several of the English settlements.
Early in the spring, he departed on a hazardous expedition, with only thirty chosen men, to penetrate to Seaconck, in the vicinity of Mount Hope, and to procure seed-corn to plant for the sustenance of his troops. This little band of adventurers had passed safely through the Pequod country, and were in the centre of the Narrhaganset, resting at some
* MS. of the Rev. W. Ruggleg.