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Here followeth a true Copie of the Letter sent unto the Governour oj the Massachusets, verbatim, as it is still extant under the hands of the witnesses, which were taken, lest they should put us off, and not make answer to our letter.
Shawomet, March the 26. 1644.
rpHe order of your Court last held, made concerning us, be.*. ing darke and obscure, which beseems not a matter of that concernment, which you have now entred upon, and made some short progresse therein; the issues whereof are pressing on unto perfection, whose arrivall is waited for, with that hope that never makes ashamed, we may not therefore forbeare To require an explanation of what you intend, by the Lands of Pumhom and Soccononocco, for we know none they have, or ever had within your jurisdiction; if you should therefore, so farre forget your selfe, as to intend thereby our Land lawfully bought, and now in our possession, and inhabited by us, called Shawomet, together with other parts near adjoyning: Give us your minds, and meaning in plaine terms, under your hands: And whereas you conclude, for such our lawfull aboad, and residence, to prosecute against us by course of Law unto death; we resolve upon your answer, with all expedition, to wage Law with you, and try to the uttermost, What right or interest you can shew to lay claime, either to our Lands or our Lives; and shall take it as your own Act, urging us and constraining us thereunto, to looke after our right, in the havock and spoyls, you have already made among us, which otherwise God hath taught us, to suffer joyfully the robbing and spoyling of our goods, if you did not necessitate us to look after recompence from you: We expect your answer by this Bearer, and in case you returne it not speedily, we conclude your order of Court to intend no such thing, as to drive us from our lawfull possessions, as above-said, but that you used such termes, as scarcrows, imagining you had children to deale with, or as a starting hole to evade part of that danger that may insue: nor can you put us of! for answer, till the Court sit againe, being a generall Act, and you but one; now to answer, for we know you may better open unto us the intent of the Court for our satisfaction, then you could expell us out of any part of your
jurisdiction, jurisdiction, before the time set by the Court, contrary to the liberty it had given unto us.
By the order or government of Shaw-omet, John Warner, Secretary. Sufficient witnesse being taken of our plaine and man-like dealing with you herein.
A true Copie of a Letter sent to the Government, and Governour of the Massachusets, the day and year above-said: In witnesse of, or in presence of Ralph Earle.
Here Followeth a true Copie of the Governours answer to our Letter above-said, set downe here verbatim, and is extant under his own hand.
To Samuel Gorton, John Warner, and the rest of that company.
-C^Or satisfaction of what you require, by your writing of *• March, 26, 1644. Thi3 is to let you know, that the expression and intent of the order of our last generall Court, concerning your comming within any part of our jurisdiction, doth comprehend all the Lands of Pumhom, and Soccononocco, and in the same are included the Lands which you pretended to have purchased, upon part whereof you had built some houses, (be the place called Shaw-omet or otherwise) so as you are not to come there upon perill of your lives. This I testifie to you. Boston 2. (i) 1644 lohn Winthrope.
You must know withall, that the Court did not intend their order should be a scar-crow (as you write) for you will find it reall, and effectuall, if you shall transgresse it.
Thus far the Governors Letter, written with his own hand.
Now upon our comming to Road-Island, the Indians of that great Countrey of the Nanhyganset hearing of our return without the losse of our lives, they wondred, having observed the causelesse cruelty they had offered unto us, some of them being within the hearing of the shot of the Guns, whilst they lay intrenched trenched against us, as also how we were used in the Massachusets, and the constant report, whilst we lay amongst them, that some of our lives should be taken away, or else kept as slaves so long as we lived ; considering these and the like things they marvelled much at our deliverance and release, from amongst them: Nowourcountrey men having given out formerly, amongst the Indians, that we were not English men, to encourage them against us (because the awe of the English, hath been much upon them) and being they could not father the name of any Sectary, or Sect upon us, but we could clearly demonstrate, we were no such opinionated persons, they then called us Gortoneans, and told the Indians we were such kind of men, not English: now the Indians calling the English in their language Wattaconoges, they now called us Gortonoges, and being they had heard a rumour of great war to be in Old-England, and that it was a land so furnished with multitudes of people, they presently framed unto themselves a cause of our deliverance, imagining that there were two kinds of people in Old-England, the one called by the name of English men, and the other Gortonoges; and concluded that the Gortonoges were a mightier people then the English, whom they call Wattaconoges; and therefore the Massachusets thought it not safe to take away our lives, because how ever there were but a few of us in ^NewEngland, in comparison of those that came out against us, yet that great people, that were in Old-England would come over, and put them to death, that should take away our lives from us, without a just cause.
Whereupon the Sachims of the Nanhyganset consulting together, presently sent Messengers unto us, to come and speake with them, and being they were those of whom wee had bought our Land (which now the Massachusets had taken away from us,) as all that inhabite upon that Bay have done) they being very importunate to have us to come over to speak with them, we not knowing what the occasion was, yeelded unto their request, a matter of halfe a dozin, or seven of us took boat to goe over the Bay to them, they seeing the vessel come, newes wa3 brought to the Sachim, who sent a band of lusty well armed men, who met us, as soon as we were come to Land, to conduct us to old Sachim Conaunicus his house, multitudes of Indians, as we passed along, coming forth, and seemed joyfull, which we taking notice of, (neither the one nor the other being usuall amongst them) some of us began to be a little jealous, that the Agents of the Massachusets, who lived near unto us,
had had gone about to betray us into their hands, upon some false suggestion concerning the death of their Sachim Myantonomy, who lost his life immediatly before the Massachusets came against us; and however he was suddenly slaine by an Indian coming behind him, as he marched upon the way, yet there were English present at the doing of the act, which we were a little jealous, the above-said Agents might have suggested, that we might be consenting thereunto, which all the Indians tooke for a most injurious act, not onely because he was so famous a Prince amongst them, but also how ever he was taken in a stratagem of warre by the Indians, yet a great ransome was paid for his Redemption, and his life taken away also, and they are very consciencious, to recompense the shedding of blood, (especially of such personages) with blood againe: But when wee were come to the old Sachims house, we were courteously entertained, and from thence conducted to the house of Sachim Pessecus, Brother, and successor in government to the late Myantonomy, when we were there, divers Sachims, and their chiefe Counsellors, took us aside to consult with us, and asked what we intended to doe, or how we could live, seeing the Massachusets had not onely taken our estates from us in goods and chattels, but also our houses, lands and labours, where we should raise more, for the preservation of our Families, and withall, told us that their condition, might (in great measure) be paraleld with ours, else they would willingly have done any thing for our helpe, in regard that our Land was bought of them, and we had faithfully paid them for it, according to our contract: But they told us, they had not only lost their Sachim, so beloved amongst them, and such an instrument of their publick good; but bad also utterly impoverished themselves, by paying such a ransome for his life, (as they then made us an account of) notwithstanding, his life taken away, and that detaine also; we made answer unto them, that for our parts, we were not discouraged, in any thing that had befalne us, for we were subjects to such a noble State in Old-England, that however we were farre off from our King and State, yet we doubted not but in due time, we should have redresse, and in the mean time we were resolved, to undergoe it with patience, and in what way we could, labor with our hands, for the preservation of our wives and children: the answer that they made unto us was this, That they thought we belonged to a better Master then the Massachusets did: whereupon, desiring our stay, they called a generall Assembly, to make known their minds, and to
see see the minds of theip people, and with joynt and unanimous consent, concluded to become subjects to the State and Government of Old-England, in case they might be accepted of; we told them, we could promise them nothing, nor take any ingagements upon us, not knowing the minds of that Honourable State; but if they would voluntarily make tender of themselves, as they themselves thought meet, we would endeavour to convey it safely (in cese we went over about our own occasions) and bring them word what was the pleasure of the State therein; whereupon they chose four of us, as Commissioners in trust for the safe custody, and conveyance of their Act and Deed unto the State of Old-England.
The Act and Deed of the voluntary and free submission of the chiefe Sachim, and the rest of the Princes, with the whole people of the Nanhygansets, unto the government and protection of that Honourable State of Old-England, set down here verbatim, the Deed it selfe being extant.
KNOW ALL MEN, Colonies, Peoples and Nations, unto whom the fame hereof shall come; that we the chiefe Sachims, Princes or Governours of the Nanhyganset (in that part of America, now called New-England) together with the joynt and unanimous consent of all our people and subjects, inhabitants thereof, do upon serious consideration, mature and deliberate advise and Counsell, great and weighty grounds and reasons moving us thereunto, whereof one most effectual unto us, is, That noble fame we have heard of That Great And Mighty Prince, CHARLES, King Or Great Britain, in that honorable and Princely care he hath of all his servants, and true and loyall subjects; the consideration whereof moveth and bendeth our hearts with one consent, freely, voluntarily, and most humbly, to submit, subject, and give over our selves, Peoples, Lands, Rights, Inheritances, and Possessions whatsoever, in our selves and our heires, successively for ever, unto the protection, care, and government of that Worthy And Royall Prince, CHARLES, King Of Great Britain And Ireland, his Heirs and Successors for ever, to be ruled and governed according to those ancient and honourable