Page images
PDF
EPUB

secretly to shoot him, and shuch like attempts. But none of these taking effecte, he made open warr upon him (though it was against the covenants both betweene the English and them, as also betweene them selves, and a plaine breach of the same). He came suddanly upon him with .900.or · 1000. men (never denouncing any warr before). The others power at that presente was not aboute halfe so many; but it pleased God to give Uncass the victory, and he slew many of his men, and wounded many more; but the cheefe of all was, he tooke Miantinomo prisoner. And seeing he was a greate man, and the Narigansets a potente people and would seeke revenge, he would doe nothing in the case without the advise of the English; so he (by the help and direction of those of Conightecutt) kept him prisoner till this meeting of the comissioners. The comissioners weighed the cause and passages, as they were clearly represented and sufficiently evidenced betwixte Uncass and Myantinomo; and the things being duly considered, the comissioners apparently saw that Uncass could not be safe whilst Miantynomo lived, but, either by secrete trechery or open force, his life would be still in danger. Wherfore they thought he might justly put shuch a false and bloud-thirstie enimie to death; but in his owne jurisdiction, not in the English plantations. And they advised, in the maner of his death all mercy and moderation should be showed, contrary to the practise of the Indeans, who exercise tortures and cruelty.3

1 The various attempts upon the life of Uncas are detailed in the Acts of the Commissioners of the United Colonies, in their meeting of September, 1643. Plymouth Col. Rec., IX. 10.

· Bradford summarizes the statement of the matter recorded in the Acts of the Commissioners, at their first meeting, often using their exact words. He could hardly have received independent information of the jealousy between Uncas and Miantunomo. The incident is narrated in detail by Winthrop, and from his narrative it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that a great wrong was done to Miantunomo.

: “The fate of Miantinomo cannot fail to impress the attentive reader of the history of that transaction with a feeling of deep sympathy for the noble prisoner. The reasons for the advice given to Uncas by the commissioners of the United Colonies

will not appear satisfactory to a reader of the present day. There is reason to

[ocr errors]

a

And, [261] Uncass having hitherto shewed him selfe a freind to the English, and in this craving their advise, if the Narigansett Indeans or others shall unjustly assaulte Uncass for this execution, upon notice and request, the English promise to assiste and protecte him as farr as they may againste shuch violence.

This was the issue of this bussines. The reasons and passages hereof are more at large to be seene in the acts and records of this meeting of the comissioners. And Uncass followed this advise, and accordingly executed him, in a very faire maner, acording as they advised, with due respecte to his honour and greatnes. But what followed on the Narigansets parte will appear heare after. believe that the friendly relations of Miantinomo with Gorton and his heterodox associates, in connection with the sale of Shawomet and Patuxet to the latter, may have operated as a secret ground of influence against him.” DEANE.

This incident is described in Winthrop, 11. *131. A defence of the conduct of the Commissioners will be found in Palfrey, History of New England, 11. 128 n; a condemnation in Savage's note in Winthrop. Instead of securing peace the death of Miantunomo opened a period of reprisal and recrimination, and the unrest continued until the policy of "thorough” was again applied in Philip's War.

1 The Commissioners at this meeting decided that for any emergency Massachusetts should supply one hundred and fifty men, Plymouth and Connecticut, each thirty, and New Haven, twenty-five. This apportionment does not differ materially from that made in May, 1645 (p. 378, infra), and furnishes an approximate measure of the estimated resources and population of the four settlements at this time. In the later force the numbers from New Plymouth and Connecticut were slightly increased, and those from Massachusetts and New Haven, less. Both apportionments were made before the returns of the male population required by the Articles of Confederation had been prepared (p. 356, supra).

Anno Dom: •1644.

M

R. EDWARD WINSLOW was chosen Gov[erno)r this year.

Many having left this place (as is before noted) by reason of the straightnes and barrennes of the same, and their finding of better accomodations elsewher, more suitable to their ends and minds; and sundrie others still upon every occasion desiring their dismissions, the church begane seriously to thinke whether it were not better joyntly to remove to some other place, then to be thus weakened, and as it were insensibly dissolved. Many meetings and much consultation was held hearaboute, and diverse were mens minds and oppinions. Some were still for staying togeather in this place, alledging men might hear live, if they would be contente with their condition; and that it was not for wante or necessitie so much that they removed, as for the enriching of them selves. Others were resolute upon removall, and so signified that hear they could not stay; but if the church did not remove, they must; insomuch as many were swayed, rather then ther should be a dissolution, to condescend to a removall, if a fitt place could be found, that might more conveniently and comfortablie receive the whole, with shuch accession of others as might come to them, for their better strength and subsistence; and some shuch like cau

1 The Assistants this year were the same as those of the last year, with the exception that Bradford took the place of Prence.

· That the plantation really suffered at this time may be gathered from the following resolution passed by the town January 14, 1642-43: “It is also agreed upon that the money remayneing of the poores stock shalbe to buy corne to releeve the present extreme necessities of such as are ready to perish for want of bread.” The returns of the poors' stock in 1642 showed a balance due it of £15. 125.9d. Records of the Town of Plymouth, 1. 10, 12.

a

tions and limitations. So as, with the afforesaide provissos, the greater parte consented to a removall to a place called Nawsett, which had been superficially viewed and the good will of the purchassers (to whom it belonged) obtained, with some addition thertoo from the Courte. But now they begane to see their errour, that they had given away already the best and most commodious places to others, and now wanted them selves; for this place was about · 50. myles from hence, and at an outside of the countrie, remote from all society; also, that it would prove so straite, as it would not be competente to receive the whole body, much less be capable of any addition or increase; so as (at least in a shorte time) they should be worse ther then they are now hear. The which, with sundery other like considerations and inconveniences, made them chang their resolutions; but shuch as were before resoloved

a

1 Nauset was included in one of the three tracts reserved, in 1640, to the “purchasers” (p. 285, supra), but no steps had been taken to occupy the place. A committee of the church now viewed the lands and reported in favor of taking them under an agreement with the “purchasers.” Some doubt appears to have arisen on the report, and a second visit was made to Nauset, where it was recognized that only a part of the church could be accommodated in the proposed settlement, and so the removal of all was out of the question. The names of those who did remove were, Thomas Prence, who had married Patience, daughter of Elder Brewster, John Doane, Nicholas Snow, Josias Cook, Richard Higgins, John Smalley and Edward Bangs. They purchased the Indian rights to the lands from Mattaquason, sachem of Monamoyick, and of George, supposed to be the successor of Aspinet, permitting them to retain some corn land, to have liberty to fish in the cove near the town, and to share in the blubber of any whales that should bedriven upon the shore. The General Court, March 3, 1644-45, extended the grant, so as to include what at a later day became Harwich and Truro; and in June, 1646, recognized Nauset as a township. Five years later the name was formally changed to Eastham. The Indian title does not appear to have been determined until 1666. Mass. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, XLIV. 257. The church at Eastham, says Cotton, "was the third which came forth as it were

out of our bowels,” that is, from the Plymouth Church. The other two were those of Duxbury and Marshfield. The first

clergyman at Eastham was Rev. John Mayo, who had been serving as colleague of Rev. John Lothrop, at Barnstable, since 1640. Freeman, History of Cape Cod, 11. 347.

John Mayo

upon removall tooke advantage of this agreemente, and wente on notwithstanding, neither could the rest hinder them, they haveing made some beginning.' And thus was this poore church left, like an anciente mother, growne olde, and forsaken of her children, (though not in their affections,) yett in regarde of their bodily presence and personall helpfullnes. Her anciente members being most of them worne away by death; and these of later time being like children translated into other families, and she like a widow left only to trust in God. Thus she that had made many rich became her selfe poore. ' [262] ?

2

1 Duxbury also required more land for its growth, and asked for an extension to the westward. The General Court in August, 1644, passed the following order: "Upon the petition of Duxbury men, it is thought good by the Court, that there be a view taken of the lands desired by them, namely, twelve miles up into the woods from Plymouth bounds at Jones river. And if it prove not prejudicial to the plantation to be erected at Teightaquid (Titicut), nor to the meadows of Plymouth at Winnytuckquett (Winnetuxet), it may be confirmed unto them.” In the following year a competent proportion of lands about Saughtuckquett (Bridgewater) towards the west for a plantation was granted to the inhabitants of Duxbury, provided it did not entrench upon Winnytuckett, formerly granted to Plymouth. The number of inhabitants of Duxbury at that time who shared in the grant was fifty-four, and two additional shares were set aside for a minister and miller. The names of the proprietors, with Bradford first on the list, are in a deed from Ousamequin (Massasoit), sachem of Pokanoket, dated March 23, 1649-50. Bridgewater, the name given in 1656, was the first interior settlement in the county of Plymouth, and two of the early Plymouth settlers came to the new plantation, William Basset, a passenger in the Fortune, in 1621, and Experience Mitchell, who came in the Ann, in 1623. 2 Mass. Hist. Colllections, VII. 138-148; Mitchell, History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater.

? The Commissioners of the United Colonies in their meeting of September, 1644, took into consideration the question of the support of the churches in the different governments. The motion undoubtedly came from the ministers of the Bay, and in all probability in connection with the proposition made by Rev. Thomas Shepard, pastor to the church at Cambridge, for a general contribution for the maintenance of poor scholars at the newly established college in that place. While this proposition received the unquestioning commendation of the Commissioners, "as a matter worthy of due consideration and entertainment for advance of learning," the question of supporting the churches called out a doubt from one of the Plymouth representatives,

« PreviousContinue »