« PreviousContinue »
winter; to which my family must have leave to resorte, though
they break good manners, and make mee many times forget
what I would say, and say what I would not.” [He probably first gives some description of the Bays and Rivers, and after
this appears an account of the Indian Sagamores, or Sachems, of which a few lines are gone.]
* * * * * * * “Sachim in New England, whom I saw the last somer. Vppon the river of Naponset, neere to the Mattachusetts feilds dwelleth Chickatalbott who hath betweene 50 & 60 subjects. This man least favoureth the English of any Sagamore (for soe are the kinges with vs called, as they are Sachims Southwards) wee are acquainted with, by reason of the old quarrell betweene him and those of Plymouth wherein hee lost 7 of his best men, yet hee lodged one night the last winter at my house in freindly manner. About 70 or 80 miles westward from theis are seated the Nipnett men whose Sagamore wee know not, but wee heare their numbers exceed any but the Pecoates and the Narragansets and they are the only people wee yet heare of in the inland Country. , Vppon the river of Mistick is seated Saggamore John", and vppon the river of Sawgus Sagamore Jamest his brother, both soe named by the English. The elder brother John is an handsome young [one line missingl conversant with us affecting English apparell and howses and speaking well of our God. His brother James is of a sarr worse disposition, yet repaireth often to us. Both theis brothers command not above 30 or 40 men for aught I can learne. Neer to Salem dwelleth two or three families, subject to the Saggamore of Agawam whose name hee tould mee, but I have forgotten it. This Sagamore hath but few subjects, and them and himselfe tributary to Sagamore James, haveing beene before the last yeare (in James his minority) tributary to Chicka Talbott. Vppon the river Merrimack is seated Sagamore Passaconaway haveing under his comand 4 or 500 men, being esteemed by his countrymen a false sellow, and by us a wich. Ffor any more northerly I know not, but leave it to after relacons. Haucing thus breisly & disorderly especially in my description of the Bays and Rivers set downe what is come to hand touching the [one line missing.]
Now concerninge the English that are planted here, I find that about the yeare 1620 certaine English sett out from Leyden in Holland intendinge their course for Hudson's river the mouth whereof lyeth south of the river of the Pecoates, but ariseth as I am informed northwards in about 43 degrees, and soe a good part of it within the compass of our patent. Theis being much weather beaten and wearied with seekinge the river after a most tedious voyage arrived at length in a simall Bay lyeing north east from Cape Cod, where, landing about the month of December, by the favour of a calme winter such as was never seen here since, begunne to build their dwellings in that place which now is called New Plymouth, where, after much sicknes famine, poverty & great mortality, (through all which God by an unwonted Providence carried them) they are now growne upp to a people, healthful, wealthy, politique & religious. Such things doth the Lord for those that waite for his mercies. Theis of Plymouth came with Patents from King James and have since obtained others from our Sovereigne King Charles, haueinge a Governour and Counsaile of their owne. There was about the same time one Mr. Wesen” an English merchant who sent diverse men to plant and trade who sate doune by the river of Wesaguscus, but theis comeing not for soe good ends as those of Plymouth spedd not soe well, for the most of them dyinge and languishing away, they who survived were rescued by those of Plymouth out of the hands of Chickatalbott, and his Indians who oppressed these weake English, and intended to haue destroyed them, and the Plymotheans also, as is sett downe in a tract written by Mr. Winslow of Plymouth. Alsoe since one Capt. Wollastone w'u, some 30 with him, came neer to the same place & built on a hill which he named Mount Wollaston, but being not supplied with renewed provisions they vanished away as the former did—Also diverse merchants of Bristow, and some other places haue yearly for theis 8 years or thereabouts sent shipps hether at the fishing times to trade for Beaver where their factors, dishonestly for their gaines, haue furnished the Indians with Guns, Swords, powder & shott. Touching the plantacon which wee here haue begun, it sell out thus about the yeare 1627 some freinds beeing togeather in Lincolnesheire, sell into some discourse about New England and the plantinge of the gospell there; and after some deliberation, we imparted our reasons by l’res & messages to some in London & the west country where it was likewise deliberately thought vppon, and at length with often negociation soe ripened that in the year 1628. wee procured a patent from his Ma” for our planting between the Matachusetts Bay, and Charles river on the South ; and the River of Merimack on the North and 3 miles on ether side of those Rivers & Bay, as allso for * Thomas Weston.
* His Indian name was Wonohaquaham. i His Indian name was Montowampate. He died three years after the date of this letter. Lewis' Hist. of Lynn. 16, 17.
the government of those who did or should inhabit within that compass and the same year we sent Mr. John Endecott & some with him to beginne a plantacon & to strengthen such as he should find there which wee sent thether from Dorchester & some places adioyning; from whom the same year receivinge hopefull news. The next year 1629 wee sent diverse shipps over w’th about 300 people, and some Cowes, Goates & horses many of which arrived safely. Theis by their too large comendacons of the country, and the comodities thereof, invited us soe strongly to goe on that Mr. Wenthropp of Soffolke (who was well knowne in his owne country & well approved heere for his pyety, liberality, wise.dome & gravity) comeinge in to us, wee came to such resolution that in April 1630, wee sett saile from Old England with 4 good shipps.” And in May following 8 more followed, 2 haveing gone before in Ffebruary and March, and 2 more following in June and August, besides another set out by a private merchant. Theis 17 Shipps arrived all safe in New England, for the increase of the plantacon here theis yeare 1630 but made a long, a troublesome, and a costly voy'ge beeing all wind bound long in England, and hindred with contrary winds after they set saile and so scattered with mists and tempests that few of them arrived togeather. Our 4 shipps which sett out in Aprill arrived here in June and July, where wee found the colony in a sadd and unexpected condicon aboue 80 of them beeing dead the winter before and many of those aliue weake and sicke: all the corne & bread amongst them all hardly sufficient to seed them a fortnight, insoemuch that the remainder of 180 servents wee had the 2 years before sent over, comeinge to vs for victualls to sustaine them wee found ourselves wholly unable to feed them by reason that the p'visions shipped for them were taken out of the shipp they were put in, and they who were trusted to shipp them in another failed us, and left them behind; whereupon necessity enforced us to our extreme loss to giue them all libertie; who had cost us about: 16 or 20 £s a person furnishing and sending over. But bearing theis things as wee might, wee beganne to consult of the place of our sitting downe: for Salem where wee landed, pleased us not. And to that purpose some were sent to the Bay to search vpp the rivers for a convenient place; who vppon their returne reported to haue found a good place vppon Mistick; but some other of us seconding theis to approoue or dislike of their judgement; we sound a place liked vs better 3 leagues vp Charles river—And there vppon vnshipped our goods into other vessels and with much cost and labour brought them in July to Charles Towne; but there receiveing advertisements by some of the late arived shipps from London and Amsterdam of some Ffrench preparations against vs (many of our people brought with vs beeng sick of fleavers & the scurvy and wee thereby vnable to cary vp our ordinance and baggage soe farr) wee were forced to change counsaile and for our present shelter to plant dispersedly, some at Charles Towne which standeth on the North Side of the mouth of Charles River; some on the South Side thereof, which place we named Boston (as wee intended to haue done the place wee first resolved on) some of vs vppon Mistick, which wee named Meadford; some of vs westwards on Charles river, 4 miles from Charles Towne, which place wee named Watertoune; others of vs 2 miles from Boston in a place wee named Rocksbury, others vppon the river of Sawgus betweene Salem and Charles Toune. And the westerne men 4 miles South from Boston at a place wee named Dorchester. This dispersion troubled some of vs, but helpe it wee could not, wanting abillity to remove to any place fit to build a Toune vppon, and the time too short to deliberate any longer least the winter should surprize vs before wee had builded our houses. The best counsel wee could find out was to build a sort to retire to, in some convenient place if any enemy pressed therevnto, after wee should have fortifyed ourselves against the iniuries of wett and cold. So ceasing to consult further for that time they who had health to labour fell to building, wherein many were interrupted with sicknes and many dyed weekely, yea almost dayley. Amongst whom were Mrs. Pinchon,” Mrs. Coddington,f Mrs. Phillips and Mrs. Alcock, Š a sister of Mr. Hookers. Insomuch that the shipps beeing now vppon their returne, some for England some for Ireland, there was as I take it not much less than an hundred (some think many more) partly out of dislike of our goverment which restrained and punished their excesses, and partly through feare of famine not seeing other means than by their labour to feed themselves) which returned back againe. And glad were wee so to bee ridd of them. Others also afterwards hearing of men of their owne disposition, which were planted at Piscataway went from vs to them, whereby though our numbers were lessened yet wee accounted ourselves nothing weakened by their removeall. Before the departure of the shipps wee contracted with Mr. Peirce Mr. of the Lyon of Bristow to returne to vs with all speed with fresh supplies of victualls & gave him directions accordingly. With this shipp returned Mr. Revil, one of the 5
* The Arbella, Jewell, Ambrose, and Talbot.
* Wife of Hon. Wm. Pynchon. # Wife of Hon. Wm. Coddington. t Wife of Rev. Geo. Phillips. § Wife of Dea. John Alcock.