Page images
PDF
EPUB

the Narigansets had concluded a newtrality with the English of Providence and those of Aquidnett Iland. Wherupon the comissioners, considering the great danger and provocations offered, and the necessitie we should be put unto of making war with the Narigansets, and being also carfull, in a matter of so great waight and generall concernmente, to see the way cleared, and to give satisfaction to all the colonies, did thinke fitte to advise with such of the magistrates, and elders of the Massachusets as were then at hand, and also with some of the cheefe millitary comanders ther; who being assembled, it was then agreed,

First, that our ingagmente bound us to aide and defend Uncass. 2. That this ayde could not be intended only to defend him and his [in his] forte, or habitation, but (according to the comone acceptation of shuch covenants, or ingagments, considered with the grounds or occasion therof) so to ayde him as he might be preserved in his liberty and estate. 3ly. That this ayde (265) must be speedy, least he might be swalowed up in the mean time, and so come to late. 4ly. The justice of this warr being cleared to our selves and the rest then presente, it was thought meete that the case should be [briefly] stated, and the reasons and grounds of the warr declared and published. 5ly. That a day of humilliation should be apoynted, which was the .5. day of the weeke following. Oly. It was then allso agreed by the comissioners that the whole number of men to be raised in all the colonies should be •300. Whereof from the Massachusets a · 190. Plimoth, •40Conightecute, .40. New-Haven, .30. And considering that Uncass was in present danger, .40• men of this number were forthwith sente from the Massachusets for his sucoure; 2 and it was but neede, for the other prince, and recover their ransome for his life, etc. or to perish with him.” This letter was written on June 25, 1645, and Williams urged the maintenance of peace. 4 Mass. Hist. Collections, vi. 266.

1 This Declaration is printed in Plymouth Col. Rec., ix. 50. This paragraph after the opening sentence is almost word for word from the records of the Commissioners.

? The forty men from Massachusetts were under the command of Lieutenant

[ocr errors]

•40. from Conightecutt had order to stay but a month, and their time being out, they returned; and the Narigansets, hearing therof, tooke the advantage, and came suddanly upon him, and gave him another blow, to his further loss, and were ready to doe the like againe; but these . 40• men being arrived, they returned, and did nothing

The declarations which they sett forth I shall not transcribe, it being very large, and put forth in printe,' to which I referr those that would see the same, in which all passages are layed open from the first. I shall only note their prowd carriage, and answers to the •3• messengers sent from the comissioners. They received them with scorne and contempte, and tould them they resoloved to have no peace without Uncass his head; also they gave them this further answer: that it mattered not who begane the warr, they were resolved to follow it, and that the English should withdraw their garison from Uncass, or they would procure the Mowakes against them; and withall gave them this threatening answer: that they would lay the English catle on heaps, as high as their houses, and that no English-man should sturr out of his dore to pisse, but he

Humphrey Atherton and Sergeant John Davies. They were to go to Monhegan and remain there till Captain Mason should arrive, when they were to place themselves under his command, and then proceed to the Narragansett or Nian

iz tick country where the rest of the

bofort moo force would meet them. The men raised in Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay (apart from the forty already sent) were to meet at Seecunck, now Rehoboth. As the Nianticks were regarded as the chief incendiaries and causes of the war, Mason's instructions directed him to punish them first. The Plymouth and Massachusetts forces were to go against the Narragansetts, “or to divide themselues as the service may require, and as oppertunity serueth.” The action of the Massachusetts commissioners was not satisfactory to the General Court, which gave it a qualified approval only, at the same time securing the appointment of Major Edward Gibbons to the supreme command. Plymouth Col. Rec., IX. 34-37.

1 A Declaration of Former Passages and Proceedings betwixt the English and the Narrowgansets, with their Confederates. 1645.

should be kild. And wheras they required guides to pass throw their countrie, to deliver their message to Uncass from the comissioners, they deneyed them, but at length (in way of scorne) offered them an old Pequente woman. Besides allso they conceived them selves in danger, for whilst the interpretourel was speakeing with them about the answer he should returne, •3• men came and stood behind him with ther hatchets, according to their murderous maner; but one of his fellows gave him notice of it, so they broak of and came away; with sundry shuch like affrontes, which made those Indeans they carryed with them to rune away for fear, and leave them to goe home as they could.?

Thus whilst the comissioners in care of the publick peace sought to quench the fire kindled amongst the Indeans, these children of strife breath out threatenings, provocations, and warr against the English them selves. So that, unless they should dishonour and provoak God, by violating a just ingagmente, and expose the colonies to contempte and danger from the barbarians, they cannot but exerciese force, when no other means will prevaile to reduse the Narigansets and their confederates to a more just and sober temper.

So as here upon they went on to hasten the preparations, according to the former agreemente, and sent to Plimoth to send forth their .40. men with all speed, to lye at Seacunke, least any deanger should befalle it, before the rest were ready, it lying next the enemie, and ther to stay till the Massachusetts should joyne with them. Allso Conigtecute and Newhaven forces were to joyne togeather, and march with all speed, and the Indean confederates of those parts with them. All which was done accordingly; and the souldiers of this place were at Seacunk, the place of their rendevouze, -8. or • 10 days before the rest were ready; they were well armed all

· Benedict Arnold.

: Bradford has here summarized or quoted from the “Declaration.” Plymouth Col. Rec., IX. 54.

with snaphance peeces, and wente under the camand of Captain [266] Standish. Those from other places were led likwise by able comander[s), as Captaine Mason for Conigtecute, etc.; and Majore Gibons was made generall over the whole, with shuch comissions and instructions as was meete.

Upon the suden dispatch of these souldiears, (the present necessitie requiring it,) the deputies of the Massachusetts Courte (being now assembled immediatly after the setting forth of their • 40. men) made a question whether it was legally done, without their comission. It was answered, that howsoever it did properly belong to the authority of the severall jurisdictions (after the warr was agreed upon by the comissioners, and the number of men) to provid the men and means to carry on the warr; yet in this presente case, the proceeding of the comissioners and the comission given was as sufficiente as if it had been done by the Generall Courte.

1. First, it was a case of shuch presente and urgente necessitie, as could not stay the calling of the Courte or Counsell. zly. In the Articles of Confederation, power is given to the comissioners to consult, order, and determine all affaires of warr, etc. And the word determine comprehends all acts of authority belonging therunto.

3ly. The comissioners are the (sole) judges of the necessitie of the expedition.

4ly. The Generall Courte have made their owne comissioners their sole counsell for these aff[adires.

5ly. These counsels could not have had their due effecte excepte they had power to proceede in this case, as they have done; which were to make the comissioners power, and the maine end of the confederation, to be frustrate, and that mearly for observing a ceremony.

bly. The comissioners haveing sole power to manage the warr for number of men, for time, place, etc., they only know their owne coun

1 The minutes of the special session of the General Court will be found in Mass. Col. Rec., 111. 39. The decision of the Commissioners and discussion leading up to it are in Plymouth Col. Rec., ix. 36.

sells, and determinations, and therefore none can grante commission to acte according to these but them selves.?

All things being thus in readines, and some of the souldiers gone forth, and the rest ready to march, the comissioners thought it meete before any hostile acte was performed, to cause a presente to be returned, which had been sente to the Gove[rno]r of the Massachusetts from the Narigansett sachems, but not by him received, but layed up to be accepted or refused as they should carry them selves, and observe the covenants. Therfore they violating the same, and standing out thus to a warr, it was againe returned, by•2• messengers and an interpretour.? And further to let

1 Plymouth Col. Rec., ix. 36.

? “The Bay had provided an army to go against the Narragansetts, had they not been prevented in the very interim, thus. Captain Harding informed the Court of

the difficulty of the enterprize, upon which the Court employed him and Mr. Wilbour,

to go to Narragansetts, and take Benedict Harding

[Arnold) to interpret. When they came to Benedict, he refused to go without a hun

dred men in arms, only to possess them with danger, to effect his bloody plot; upon which Mr. Williams, being sent for to Narragansett, and also myself, to inquire of us, what the minds of these mad people were, to kill men for nothing; upon which I went to Providence, a thinking to go with Master Williams; but when I came there, he was gone with the Captain and Mr. Wilbour, upon Benedict's refusal. I stayed their return, and their agreement was to have Pessicus go into the Bay, and Master Williams was necessitated to put himself hostage till his return. This news coming into the Bay, did so vex the ministers, that Master Cotton preached upon it, that it being so wicked an act to take Master Williams with them, being one cast out of the Church. It was all one as to ask counsel of a witch, and that those that did it were worthy to die. Upon which Master Wilbour was ready to die, for fear he should be hanged. So then the Indians went down, and they compelled them to cease wars with Uncas, and to pay them five hundred pounds, for charges of Court, and provisions for soldiers, and to leave four of the chief sachem's children, till the money be paid, and to leave four of his chief men till the children came, and to promise them not to sell any land without their consent.” J. W. to Samuel Gorton, November 20, 1645. Simplicities Defence, (in R. I. Hist. Soc. Coll., II. 171, 172.) The editor of the volume, William R. Staples, believes John Wickes or John Warner was the writer. Plymouth Col. Rec., IX. 41, 43.

ار

for

forum

Kit

« PreviousContinue »